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tion. Thus did these great and glorious persons mutually communicate their fullest pleasure and delight, each into the heart of the other: they lay, as it were, embosomed in one another, entertaining themselves with delights and pleasures ineffable and inconceivable. Hence we observe, The state of Jesus Christ before his incarnation was that
of the highest and most unspeakable delight and pleasure in the enjoyment of his Father. As he was
in the bosom of the Father,” John, 1: 18, the posture of dearest love, John, 13 : 23; so in Isaiah, 42:1, the Father calls him " Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth ;" and he is said, in this state, to be rich, 2 Cor. 8:9; and to be "equal with God," and
in the form of God;" Phil. 2:6; that is, to have all the glory and ensigns of the majesty of God; and the riches which the apostle speaks of, was no less than all that God the Father hath ; " All that the Father hath is mine,” John, 16 : 15; and what he now hath in his exalted state is the same that he had before his humiliation. John, 17:5. Now to portray (as we are able) the unspeakable felicity of that original state of Christ :
I. Let us consider that state negatively, by removing from it all the degrees of debasement and sorrow involved in his incarnation.
1. He was not then abased to the condition of a creature, which was a low step indeed; for by this, saith the apostle, " he made himself of no reputation,” Phil. 2 : 7; it emptied' him of his glory. For God to be made man, is such an abasement as none can express; but not only to appear in true flesh, but also " in the likeness of sinful flesh,” Rom. 8: 3, oh, what is this !
2. Christ was not under the law in this state. It was no disparagement to Adam in the state of innocency, or to angels in their state of glory, to be under law to God; but it was an inconceivable abasement to the ab
solute independent Being to come under law; yea, not only under the obedience, but also under the malediction and curse of the law : " But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Gal. 4 : 4.
3. In this state he was not liable to any of those sorrowful consequences and attendants of that frail and fee- . ble state of humanity which he afterwards assumed. There was no sorrowing or sighing in that bosom where he lay, though afterwards he became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isa. 53 : 3. "A man of sorrows,” as if he had been constituted and made up of pure and unmixed sorrows; every day conversing with griefs, as with his intimate companions and acquaintance. He was never pinched with poverty and want while he continued in that bosom, as he was afterwards, when he said, " The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Matt. 8 : 20. Ah! blessed Jesus! thou neededst not to have wanted a place to lay thy head, hadst thou not left that bosom for my sake. He never underwent reproach and shame in that bosom: there was nothing but glory and honor reflected upon him by his Father, though afterwards "he was despised. and rejected of men.” Isaiah, 53 : 3. His Father never looked upon him without smiles and love, delight and joy, though afterwards he became a reproach of men, and despised of the people. Psa. 22 : 6. While he lay in that bosom of peace and love, he never knew what it was to be assaulted with temptations, to be besieged by unclean spirits, as he did afterwards: "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matt. 4:1. It was for our sakes that he submitted to those exercises of spirit, to be "in all points tempted like as we are,” Heb. 4 : 15, that he might be unto us a merciful and faithful High Priest.”
Heb. 2:17. He was never sensible of pains and tortures in soul or body, though afterwards he groaned and sweat under them. Isa. 53 : 5. The Lord embraced him from eternity, but never wounded him till he stood in our place and room. There were no hidings or withdrawings of his Father from him ; there was not a cloud from eternity upon the face of God, till Jesus Christ had left that bosom. It was a new thing to Christ to cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matt. 27 : 46. There were never any impressions of his Father's wrath upon him, as there were afterwards : God never delivered such a bitter cup into his hands before, as that. Matt. 26 : 39. There was no death, to which he was subject, in that bosom. All these things were new to Christ ; he was above them all, till, for our sakes, he voluntarily subjected himself unto them.
II. Let us consider Christ's primeval state positively, and guess (for indeed we can but guess) at the glory of it.
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, the fountain, ocean, and centre of all delights and joys; "In thy presence is fulness of joy.” Psa. 16: 11. To be wrapt up in the soul and bosom of all delights, as Christ was, must needs be a state of bliss transcending apprehension.
2. Consider the intimacy, dearness, yea, oneness of those great persons; and 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. Oh 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 of creature delights are mixed, debased, and alloyed; if there be something engaging and delightful, there is also something cloying and distasteful. 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: "I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.”
III. Let us consider the glory of that state comparatively either with 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, between the Father and his Son, by either of these lines, and you shall find them infinitely short.
1. The delight that creatures take in each other, is sometimes a great delight; such was Jacob's delight in Benjamin, whose life is said to be " bound up in the lad's life," Gen. 44 : 30, a dear and high expression; such was that of Jonathan in David, whose soul was knit with his soul," he loved him as his own soul,” 1 Sam. 18:1; 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 between 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. 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 between 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. The delight that the best of creatures take in God and Christ, it must be confessed, is a choice delight; and that is a transcendent love, with which they love and delight in him; "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Psa. 73 : 25. But surely our delight in God is no perfect rule by which to measure his delight in Christ; for our love to God, at best, is still imperfect: that is the burden and constant complaint of saints; but this is perfect: ours is inconstant, ebbing and flowing, but this is constant. So then, 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.
INFERENCE 1. What an astonishing act of love was this, for the Father to give the delight of his soul, out of his very bosom, for poor sinners! All tongues must needs pause and falter, that attempt the expressions of his grace, expressions being here swallowed up: "God