Monday, March 14, 2011

Christ's Pre-Incarnate Glory, Pt 1, by John Flavel

Proverbs 8:30
Then I was by him, [as] one brought up [with him]: and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him;

These words are a part of that excellent commendation of wisdom, by which in this book Solomon intends two things; first, Grace or holiness, Prov 4: 7. ” Wisdom is the principal thing.” Secondly, Jesus Christ, the fountain of that grace: and look, as the former is renowned for its excellency, Job 28: 14, 15, so the latter, in this context, wherein the Spirit of God describes the most blessed state of Jesus Christ, the wisdom of the Father, from those eternal delights he had with his Father, before his assumption of our nature: “Then was I by him,” &c. that long Evum was wholly swallowed up, and spent in unspeakable delights and pleasures. Which delights were twofold,
(1.) The Father and Son delighted one in another (from which delights the Spirit is not here excluded) without communicating that their joy to any other, for no creature did then exist save in the mind of God, verse 30.
(2.) They delighted in the salvation of men, in the prospect of that work, though not yet extant, verse 31. My present business lies in the former, viz. the mutual delights of the Father and Son, one with and in another; the account whereof we have in the text; wherein consider,

1. The glorious condition of the non-incarnated Son of God, described by the person with whom his fellowship was, “Then was I by him,” or with him; so with him as never was any, in his very bosom, John 1: 18, the only begotten Son was in the bosom of the Father, an expression of the greatest dearness and intimacy in the world; as if he should say, wrapt up in the very soul of his Father, embosomed in God.

2. This fellowship is illustrated by a metaphor, wherein the Lord will stoop to our capacities, (as “One brought up with him”), the Hebrew word “amon” is sometimes rendered a cunning workman, or curious artist, as in Cant. 7: 1, which is the same word. And indeed Christ shewed himself such an artist in the creation of the world; “For all things were made by him, and without him there was nothing made, that was made,” John 1: 3. But Montanus, and others, render it nutricius; and so Christ is here compared to a delightful child, spotting before its Father: the Hebrew root “shachak”, which our translation renders “rejoicing before him,” signifies to laugh, play, or rejoice; so that, look as parents delight to see their children sporting before them, so did the Father delight in beholding this darling of his bosom.

3. This delight is farther amplified by the perpetuity, and uninterruptedness thereof; “I was day by day his delight, rejoicing always before him.” These delights of the Father and the Son one in another, knew not a moment’s interruption, or diminution: thus did these great and glorious persons mutually let forth their fullest pleasure and delight, each into the heart of the other; they lay as it were embosomed one in another, entertaining themselves with delights and pleasures ineffable, and inconceivable. Hence we observe,

Doctrine: That the condition and state of Jesus Christ before his incarnation, was a state of the highest and most unspeakable delight and pleasure, in the enjoyment of his Father.

John tells us he was in the bosom of his Father: to lie in the bosom is the posture of dearest love, John 13: 23. “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples whom Jesus loved:” but Christ did not lean upon the Father’s bosom, as that disciple did in his, but lay in it: and therefore in Isa. 42: 1, the Father calls him, “Mine elect in whom my soul delighteth;” which is variously rendered; the Septuagint, quem suscepit, whom my soul takes, or wraps up: others, complacuit, one that highly pleases and delights my very soul: and 2 Cor. 8: 9, he is said, in this estate, wherein I am now describing him, to be rich: and, Phil. 2: 7. “To be equal with God, and to be in the form of God,” (i. e.) to have all the glory and ensigns of the majesty of God; and the riches which he speaks of, was no less than all that God the Father has, John 16: 14. “All that the Father has is mine:” and what he now has in his exalted state, is the same he had before his humiliation, John 17: 5.

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