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or (which is all one) the good. *And so it is the increate good, the blessed God himself, formally considered nnder the notion of good. Nothing can harm you if you be like God, that is the plain sense of this scripture. Likeness to God, is armour of proof, that is an imitation of him, namely in his moral goodness; which holiness as a general name of it comprehends. A person truly like God, is secure from any external violence; so far as that it shall never be able to invade his spirit. He is in spirit far raised above the tempestuous, stormy region, and converses where winds and clouds have no place.
Nor can, so far as this temper of soul prevails, any evil grow upon such a mind within itself. It is life and peace ; it is light and purity; for it is the image, the similitude of God. God is light, and with him is no darkness at all. 1 John. 1.5. Holy souls were darkness, but they are light in the Lord. Eph. 5. 8. He the Father of light, they the children of light. Jam. 1. 19. They were darkness : not in the dark; but, in the abstract “darkness :” as if that were their whole nature; and they nothing else but an impure mass of conglobated darkness. So, ye are light: as if they were that, and nothing else ; nothing but a sphere of light. Why suppose we such a thing, as an entire sphere of nothing else but pure light? What can work any disturbance here or raise a storm within it? A calm, serene thing; perfectly homogeneous, void of contrariety, or any self-repugnant quality: how can it disquiet itself? We cannot yet say, that thus it is with holy souls in their present state, according to the highest literal import of these words, Ye are light : but thus it will be when they awake; when they are satisfied with this likeness. They shall then be like God fully, and throughout. O the joy and pleasure of a soul made after such a similitude ! Now glory is become as it were their being; they are glorified. Glory is revealed into them, transfused throughout them. Every thing that is conceivable under the notion of an excelleney competent to created nature, is now to be found with them; and they have it in-wrought in their very beings. So that in a true sense it may be said, that they are light; they not only have such excellencies, but they are them : as the moralist saith of the wise, or virtuous man, Omnia non tam habere quam esse, that he not so properly hath all things, as is all things. Sen. It is said of man, in respect of his naturals, he is the image and glory of God. 1 Cor. 11. 7. As for his supernatural excellencies,
* As Plato and his followers used the expression to'payaboʻv, fally according to the sense of Mat. 19. 17.
+ Σφαίρα ψυχης αυτοειδης, "οταν μη τε εκτεινηται επί τι, μητε "εσω συντρε' χη, μη' τε συνιζα' νη, αλλα φωτι λα' μπηται, &c. the mental sphere is harmonious; when it is susceptible neither of attraction from without nor of confusion within, but is irradiated with light. Marc. Antonian. lib. 11.
though they are not essential to man, they are more expressive of God; and are now become so inseparable from the nature of man too, in this his glorified state, that he can as soon cease to be intelligent, as holy. The image of God, even in this respect, is not separable from bim : nor blessedness (surely) from this image. As the divine excellencies, being in their infinite fulness in God, are his own blessedness : so is the likeness, the participation of them in the soul, that now bears this image, its blessedness. Nothing can be necessary to its full satisfaction, which it hath not in itself, by a gracious vouchsafement and communication. The good man (in that degree which his present state admits of,) Solomon tells us, is satisfied from himself: (Prov. 14. 14.) he doth not need to traverse the world, to seek his happiness abroad; he hath the matter of satisfaction, even that goodness which he is now enriched with, in his own breast and bosom: yet he hath it all by participation from the fountaingoodness. But that participated goodness is so intimately one with him, as sufficiently warrants and makes good the assertion, he is satisfied from himself : namely from himself, not primarily or independently; but by derivation from him, who is all in all, and more intimate to us, than we to ourselves. And what is that participated goodness, but a degree of the divine likeness? But when that goodness shall be fully participated : when this image and imitation of the divine goodness, shall be complete and entire; then shall we know the rich exuberant sense of those words. How fully will this image or likeness satisfy them ! And yet more distinctly, we may apprehend how satisfying this likeness or image impressed will be, if a little further deferring the view of the particulars of this likeness which we have designed to instance in, we consider these general properties of it.
First. It is a vital image : not the image only of him that lives, the living God: but it is his living and soul-quickening image. It is the likeness of him, in that very respect; an imitation and participation of the life of God; by which, once revived, the soul lives that was dead before. It is not a dead picture, a dumb shew, an unmoving statue; but a living, speaking, walking, image ; that wherewith the child is like the father: the very life of the subject where it is; and by which it lives as God, speaks and acts conformably to him. An image, not such a one as is drawn with a pencil, that expresses only color and figure; but such a one as is seen in a glasst that represents life and motion, as was noted from a worthy author before. It is even, in its first and more imperfect draught, an analogical participation (as we must understand it) of the divine nature; (2 Pet. 1. 4.) before which first tincture, those preludious touches of it upon the spirit of man, his former state is spoken of as an alienation from the life of God; (Eph. 4. 18.) as having no interest, no communion therein. The putting on of the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, (ver. 23. 34.) is presently mentioned, in direct opposition to that dismal state, implying that to be a participation of the divine life: and certainly, so far as it is so, it is a participation of the divine blessedness too.
* Intimo nostro intimior. Esse nostrum laudabile : more intimate than our inmost soul. The very possession is an honor. Gibeut. de libertate, ex. Plat. and Aug.
† Sic oculos, sic ille manus, sic ora ferebat: just so did he carry his eyes, his hands, his countenance.
Secondly. It is an image most intimate, therefore, to its subject. Glory it is : but not a superficial skin-deep glory; such as shone in Moses' face which he covered with a vail. It is thoroughly transformative; changes the soul throughout; not in external appearance, but in its very nature. All outward embellishments would add little felicity to a putrid, corrupt soul. That, would be but painting a sepulchre: This, adds ornament unto life; and both, especially to the inward man. It is not paint in the face, while death is at the heart; but it is the radication of such a principle within as will soon form and attemper the man universally to itself. It is glory: blessedness participated, brought home and lodged in a man's own soul, in his own bosom; he cannot then but be satisfied. A man may have a rich stock of outward comforts, and while he hath no heart to enjoy them, be never the bappier. But it is impossible, that happiness should be thus lodged in his soul, made so intimate, and one with him ; and yet, that he should not be satisfied, not be happy.
Thirdly. An image connatural to the spirit of man. thing alien, and foreign to his nature, put into him purposely, as it were, to torment and vex him; but an ancient well-known inhabitant, that had place in him from the beginning. Sin is the injurious intruder; which therefore puts the soul into a commotion, and permits it not to rest, while it bath any being there. This image calms it, restores it, works a peaceful, orderly composure within; returns it to itself, to its pristine, blessed state; being re-seated there, as in its proper, primitive subject. For though this image, in respect of corrupted nature be supernatural ; in respect of institute, and undefiled nature, it was in a true sense natural, as hath been demonstrated by divers of ours against the papists; and upon the matter, yielded by some of the more moderate among themselves.* At least it was connate with human nature, consentaneous to it, and perfective of it. We are speaking, it must be remembered, of that part of the divine image, that consists in moral excellencies; there being another part
* As may be seen by comparing what Estius says to the two questions, 1. An gratia fuerit primo homini naturalis? 2. Utrum originalis justitia fuerit homini supernaturalis ? 1. Whether grace was natural to the first man? 2.Whether original righteousness was supernatural to man? 1. 2. dist. 25.
of it, as hath been said, that is, even in the strictest sense, natural. There is nothing in the whole moral law of God, (in conformity whereunto this image did, ab origine, originally, consist) nothing of what he requires from man, that is at all destructive of his being, prejudicial to his comforts, repugnant to his most innate principles : nothing that clashes with his reason, or is contrary to his interest: or that is not, most directly, conservative of his being and comforts agreeable to his most rational principles, subservient to his best and truest interest. For what doth God the Lord require, but fear and love, service, (Deut. 10. 12. Mic. 6. 8.) and holy walking from an entire and undivided soul ? what, but what is good; not only in itself, but for us; and in respect whereof, his law is said to be holy, just and good ? Rom. 7. 12. And what he requireth, he impresseth. This law, written in the heart, is this likeness. How grateful then will it be, when after a long extermination and exile, it returns and re-possesses the soul, is recognized by it, becomes to it a new nature, (yea, even a divine) a vital, living law, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus ? Rom. 8. 2. What grievance, or burden, is it to do the dictates of nature ? actions that easily and freely flow from their own principles ? and when blessedness itself is infolded in those very acts and inclinations ? How infinitely satisfying and delightful will it be, when the soul shall find itself connaturalized to every thing in its duty : and shall have no other duty incumbent on it than to be happy! when it shall need no arguments, and exhortations to love God; nor need be urged and pressed, as heretofore, to mind him, to fear before him! when love, and reverence, and adoration, and praise ; when delight, and joy, shall be all natural acts: can you separate this,' in your own thoughts, from the highest satisfaction?
Fourthly. This image will be now perfect : every way, fully perfect. In all its parts ; as it is in the first instant of the soul's entrance into the state of regeneration; the womb of grace knows no defective maimed births. And yet here is no little advantage, as to this kind of perfection. For now those lively lineaments of the new creature all appear, which were much obscured before; every line of glory is conspicuous, every character legible, the whole entire frame of this image is, in its exact symmetry and apt proportions, visible at once. And it is an unspeakable addition to the pleasure of so excellent a temper of spirit, that accrues from the discernible entireness of it. Heretofore, some gracious dispensations have been to scek, (through the present prevalence of some corruption or temptation) when there was most need and occasion for their being reduced into act. Hence the reward and pleasure of the act, and improvement of the principle, were lost together. Now, the soul will be equally disposed, to every holy exercise that shall be suitable to its state. Its temper shall be even and symmetral ; its motions uniform, and agreeable: nothing done out of season ; nothing seasonable omitted, for want of a present disposition of spirit thereto. There will be not only an habitual, but actual entireness of the frame of holiness in the blessed soul.–Again this image will be perfect in degree ; so as to exclude all degrees of its contrary, and to include all degrees of itself. There will now be no longer any colluctation with contrary principles ; no law in the members warring against the law of the mind; no lustings of the flesh against the spirit. That war is now ended in a glorious victory, and eternal peace. There will be no remaining blindness of mind, nor error of judgment, nor perverseness of will, nor irregularity or rebellion of affections: no ignorance of God, no aversation from him, or disaffection towards him. This likeness removes all culpable dissimilitude or unlikeness. This communicated glory fills up the whole soul, causes all clouds and darkness to vanish, leaves no place for any thing that is vile or inglorious ; it is pure glory, free from mixture of any thing that is alien to it. And it is itself full. The soul is replenished, not with airy, evanid shadows; but with substantial, solid glory, a massive, weighty glory, (2 Cor. 4. 17.) for I know not but subjective glory may be taken in within the significancy of that known scripture, if it be not more principally intended : in as much as the text speaks of a glory to be wrought out by afflictions, which are the files and furnaces, as it were, to polish or refine the soul into a glorious frame. It is cumulated glory, glory added to glory. Here it is growing progressive glory, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. 2 Cor. 3. 18. It shall, now, be stable, consistent glory: that carries a self-fulness with it (which some include also in the notion of purity* :) it is full of itself, includes every degree requisite to its own perfection. God hath now put the last hand to this glorious image, added to it its ultimate accomplishments. Now, a conformity to Christ, even in the resurrection from the dead, in his glorious state, is fully attained. That prize of the high calling of God is now won. And the humble sense of not having attained as yet, and of not being already perfect (in which humility, the foundation of the temple of God in a saint is laid, and the building raised) is turned into joyful acclamations, “Grace, grace!” for the laying on of the topstone, the finishing of this glorious work. And when this temple is filled with the glory of the Lord, the soul itself replenished with the divine fulness, will not its joys be full too ? For here is no sacrifice to be offered but that of praise, and joy is the proper seasoning for that sacrifice.