Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Christ's Pre-Incarnate Glory, Pt 3, by John Flavel

2. Let us consider it positively, what it was, and guess by some particular considerations (for indeed we can but guess) at the glory of it; as,

(1.) We cannot but conceive it to be a state of matchless happiness, if we consider the persons enjoying and delighting in each other: he was with God, John 1: 1. God, you know, is the fountain, ocean and centre of all delights and joys: Psal. 16: 11, “In thy presence is fulness of joy.” To be wrapt up in the soul and bosom of all delights, as Christ was, must needs be a state transcending apprehension; to have the fountain of love and delight letting out itself so immediately, and fully, and ever lastingly, upon this only begotten darling of his soul, so as it never did communicate itself to any; judge what a state of transcendent felicity this must be. Great persons have great delights.

(2.) Or if we consider the intimacy, dearness, yea, oneness of those great persons one with another: the nearer the union, the sweeter the communion. Now Jesus Christ was not only near and dear to God, but one with him; I and my Father are one,” John 10: 30, one in nature, will, love and delight. There is indeed a moral union of souls among men by love, but this was a natural oneness, no child is so one with his father, no husband so one with the wife of his bosom, no friend so one with his friend, no soul so one with its body, as Jesus Christ and his Father were one. O what matchless delights must necessarily flow from such a blessed union!

(3.) Consider again the purity of that delight with which the blessed Father and Son embraced each other; the best creature delights one in another, are mixed, debased, and allayed; if there be something ravishing and engaging, there is also something cloying and distasting. The purer any delight is, the more excellent. Now, there are no crystal streams flowing so purely from the fountain, no beams of light so unmixed from the sun, as the loves and delights of these holy and glorious persons were: the holy, holy, holy Father embraced the thrice holy Son with a most holy delight and love.

(4.) Consider the constancy of this delight; it was from everlasting, as in verse 23, and from eternity; it never suffered one moment’s interruption. The overflowing fountain of God’s delight and love never stopped its course, never ebbed; but as he speaks in the text, “I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” Once more, consider the fulness at that delight, the perfection of that pleasure; I was delights: so the word is in its original; not only plural, delights, all delights, but also in the abstract, delight itself: as afterwards from the abundance of his sorrows, he was stiled, a man of sorrows, so here, from the fulness of his delights: as though you should say, even constituted and made up of pleasure and delight.

3. Once more, let us consider it comparatively, and this state still yet appear more glorious, comparing it with either the choicest delights that one creature takes in another, or that God takes in the creature, or that the creatures take in God: measure these immense delights, betwixt the Father and his Son, by either of these lines, and you shall find them infinitely short: For,

(1.) Though the delights that creatures take in each other, be sometimes a great delight; such was Jacob’s delight in Benjamin, whose life is said to be bound up in the lad’s life, a dear and high expression, Gen. 44: 30. Such was that of Jonathan in David, whose soul was knit with his soul, “and he loved him as his own soul,” 1 Sam. 13: 1, and such is the delight of one friend in another: “there is a friend that is as a man’s own soul,” Deut. 13: 6, yet all this is but creature-delight, and can in no particular equal the delights betwixt the Father and the Son; for this is but a finite delight, according to the measure and abilities of creatures, but that is infinite, suitable to the infinite perfection of the divine Being; this is always mixed, that perfectly pure.

(2.) Or if you compare it with the delight that God takes in the creatures, it is confessed that God takes great delight in some creatures. “The Lord takes pleasure in his saints, he rejoices over them with singing! and resteth in his love,” Zeph. 3: 17; Isa. 62: 5. But yet there is a great difference betwixt his delight in creatures, and his delights in Christ; for all his delight in the saints is secondary, and for Christ’s sake; but his delights in Christ are primary, and for his own sake: we are accepted in the beloved, Eph. 1: 6, he is beloved, and accepted for himself.

(3.) To conclude, compare it once more with the delights that the best of creatures take in God, and Christ, and it must be confessed that is a choice delight, and a transcendent love, with which they love and delight in him; Psal. 73: 25. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and on earth there is none I desire besides thee.” What pangs of love, what raptures of delight did the spouse express to Christ? “O thou whom my soul loveth!” But surely our delight in God is no perfect rule to measure his delight in Christ by: for our love to God (at the best) is still imperfect; that is the burden and constant complaint of saints, but this is perfect; ours is inconstant, up and down, ebbing and flowing, but this is constant. So then, to conclude, the condition and state of Jesus Christ before his incarnation, was a state of the highest and matchless delight, in the enjoyment of his Father.

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