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in Christ, hath this seal upon it, being founded and formed in the Lord's pleasure. For what the Lord said to Moses, personally considered as to himself, is in effect said no less to all the Lord's people each for himself; “ Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name,” Exod. xxxiii. 17. Observe, it is not said that the Lord found grace in Moses ; but that Moses found grace in the Lord. Not any merit then, nor any foreseen merit hereafter, to be found in man;
grace found in the Lord, and from the pleasure of the Lord. And the more the wonderful subject is pondered and studied by the Lord's people, under the Lord's teaching, the more palpable and clear will be the conclusion that all the tendencies of Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons, of grace, mercy, and peace, bestowed upon the church, wholly result from the Lord's pleasure which he taketh in the church; and as the scripture most blessedly expresseth it, all is “according to the good pleasure of his will—and according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself,” Eph. v. 9.
And let me add this one observation more before we enter upon the subject itself; namely, if the regenerated child of God be led by the Lord into a scriptural and spiritual apprehension of this divine truth, and be kept in the daily enjoyment of it, as of one sure, invariable, and fixed principle, it will tend to open and keep open a source of unceasing confidence and peace in the Lord, to counteract all surrounding circumstances of evil which the child of God meets with in this sinful, sorrowful world, Isa. xxvi. 3. The principle itself being founded in God, and God's good pleasure, hath nothing depending for its accomplishment in the will of man. It riseth therefore above all created excellency ; above any thing and every thing in the mere creature; yea, it transcends heaven and all the felicities of heaven. For this will and pleasure of Jehovah, is Jehovah himself manifested in emanations from himself to his church in Christ : and inasmuch, as Jehovah in himself, is greater than all his works; so the pleasure of Jehovah, and which he is said to take in his people, is greater than all the gifts he bestoweth upon his people : his gifts are but effects, of which he himself and his pleasure is the cause. And to this amount is the testimony of holy scripture; for when speaking of the Lord's goodness to his people, it is said, “ Thy mercy, O Lord, is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.” But when speaking of the Lord himself, the subject riseth higher; for the same scripture immediately adds, “ Be thou exalted, O God! above the heavens, and thy glory above all the earth!" Ps. Ivii. 10, 11.
Assuming then for a principle this great and leading truth, which is in itself perfectly unquestionable, I begin the subject from hence, with premising (though the doctrine itself is so plain and obvious as can hardly need the observation) that this pleasure of Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons, which he taketh in his people, ariseth wholly from the relationship into which the church is brought, in being from all eternity chosen, and adopted, and accepted in Christ. The Holy Three in One could find no object of complacency or delight but in himself; or, from being brought into communion with himself. When, therefore, the Son of God assumes into union with his divine nature, that holy portion of our nature, whereby, as God and man, he is one Christ, he is the head of all the election of grace; and he that is fellow to the Lord of Hosts, as God, hath brethren that are fellows to him, as man; and thus he gives in himself, by the union of both, a blessedness to his people ; hence, the Lord taking pleasure in him, takes pleasure in them he hath chosen in him ; and in loving him, he loveth the church also in him, Zech. xiii. 7. 1 Cor. i. 9. Matt. iii. 17. So that, it is in him the church becomes the object of Jehovah's delight, "men shall be blessed in him!” Ps. lxxxii. 17. Both the original choice of the church is in him; the gracious acceptation of their persons is in him; and the final gathering of the church and of all things is in him. Eph. i. 10: without him, the church would have no foundation neither for being or acceptation before God. The whole individual persons which constitute the mystical body of Christ, would be but as so many cyphers without this mighty One at their head, giving both being and number to them all. He it is which is the “ all in all.” And I should not err were I to add, that for him and the glory of his person, and the infinite merit of his work, the whole dispensation in the covenant of grace was founded. Yea, from what the Lord Jesus in the days of his flesh said, it should seem that infinitely more sublime objects than what relate to Christ being head of his church, were among the purposes for which the Son of God stood up from everlasting in this glorious character to assume into union with his divine nature another nature, and thereby become God and man in one person.
For beside a great variety of expressions to be found in scripture leading to this conclusion, (see John i. 3.iii. 12, 13.-Col. i. 16, 17, &c.) we find the Lord Jesus thus speaking to his Father, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was,” John xvii. 5. The glorifying Christ by the Father “ with his own self,” implies an infinitely higher degree of glory than what can be from his headship to his body, the church. And for the right apprehension of this sublime contemplation, let it be observed, that when Christ thus spake to the Father, is was as Christ; that is, as God and man in one person. And let it be further observed, that the glory Christ speaks of, could not mean the glory peculiar to the divine essence only; for then, in that sense, he could not have asked it as a gift, being his already in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Hence, therefore, it follows, that there is a special, peculiar, personal glory, belonging to the Son of God in his double nature, God and man in one, and which he had “ before the world was," when, as he says himself elsewhere," the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old, I was set up from everlasting,” Prov. viii. 22, 23. It is not, therefore, I humbly conceive, too much to say, nor too great to suppose, that somewhat higher than all that related to his church the Lord of life and glory had in view, when he said, “ and now, O Father, , glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” But be this as it may, certain it is that Jehovah's great design all along hath been, and is, and everlastingly must be, in all the revelations he hath at any time made to his creatures, to glorify and exalt his dear Son, Isa. xlii. 1. And hence, the sole cause for which Jehovah takes pleasure in his people is the beholding them in him, “ who is the head over all things to the church, which is the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all,” Eph. i. 22, 23.
Let us proceed to another observation, it is among the most blessed and precious endearments of this love and pleasure which Jehovah taketh in his people, that the whole Persons in the Godhead take equal part and are alike interested in this act of grace.
Of the Person of God the Father, the church is said with special reference to be his; and that of him “ the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” Eph. iii. 14, 15. And the Lord Jesus confirms the same, when ascribing the gift of the church to the Father, “ Thine they were, (saith Christ) and thou gavest them me,” John. xvii. 6.
Of the Person of God the Son, he is said not only to have made the church his by marriage, but to have redeemed her by his blood. Hence, the church is called "his inheritance;” and said to be the “purchased possession unto the praise of his glory,” Isa. liv. 5. Eph. i. 7, 11, 14.
And of the Person of God the Holy Ghost, it is expressly declared, that the bodies of the Lord's people are his temple,” and that “ he dwelleth in them;" and is “ the earnest of our inheritance,” 1 Cor. vi. 19. Eph. i. 13, 14.
When, therefore, we read in holy scripture such gracious expressions as these," for the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance,” Deut. xxxii. 9. -and again, " for the Lord hath chosen Zion, he hath desired it for his habitation; this is my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it," Ps. cxxxii. 13, 14.-it should be always remembered, that Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons is meant, and the whole is equally included. As such, it is in the unity of the divine essence the Lord is said "to take pleasure in his people,” and each glorious Person becomes specially and unitedly the equal objects of love, adoration, and praise. And in every instance where this is not done, there the person of each, and the grace
of each in the unity of the divine essence, is neither known nor enjoyed.
Shall I for a short moment in this place detain the regenerated child of God, and beg him to remark with me the marvellous condescension of Jehovah, in his Trinity of Persons, in this sovereign act of grace? What a world of wonders is contained in this one mystery : that he should make his people his portion, who is himself" the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity ;” and before whom“ the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the dust of the balance?" Surely, it is an unspeakable mercy when the Lord's people are enabled under divine teaching to call the Lord their portion ; but by what name shall we distin