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This doth not at all exclude Jesus Christ, as the second person in Trinity ; but only distinguisheth the pure Deity, or the only true God, as such, from Jesus Christ, as Mediator between God and man.
TRUE_There are many that falsely and metaphorically are called gods. If we think of God but as one of these, it is not to know him, but deny him.
GOD--The word God doth not only signify the Divine perfections in himself but also his relation to the creatures. To be a God to us, is to be one to whom we must ascribe all that we are or have; and one whom we must love, and obey, and honour, with all the powers of soul and body: and one on whom we totally depend, and from whom we expect our judgment and reward, in whom alone we can be perfectly blessed.
AND JESUS CHRIST-That is, as Mediator, in his natures (God and man), and in his office and grace.
WHOM THOU HAST SENT—That is, whom thy love and wisdom designed and commissioned to this undertaking and performance.
The knowledge of the Holy Ghost seemeth here left out, as if it were no part of life eternal. But 1. At that time the Holy Ghost in that eminent sort, as sent by the Father and Son on the apostles, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, was not yet so manifested as afterwards, and therefore not so necessarily to be distinctly known and believed in as after. The having of the Spirit being of more necessity than the distinct knowledge of him. Certain it is that the disciples were at first very dark in this article of faith: and Scripture more fully revealeth the necessity to salvation of believing in the Father and Son, than in the Holy Ghost distinctly; yet telling us, that "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his.” (Rom. viii. 9.) 2. But presently after, when the Spirit was to be sent, the necessity of believing in him is expressed ; especially in the apostle's commission to baptize all nations (that were made disciples) in "the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
Doct. The knowledge of the only true God, and of Jesus Christ the Mediator, is the life of grace, and the necessary way to the life of glory.'
As James distinguisheth between such a dead faith as devils and wicked men had, and such a living and working faith as was proper to the justified ; so must we here of the knowledge of God. "Many profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.” (Titus i. 16.) There is a form of knowledge which the unbelievers had, (Rom. ii. 22,) and a knowledge which puffeth up, and is void of love, which hypocrites have. (1 Cor. viii. 1. 13.) But no man (spiritually) knoweth the things of God, but by the Spirit. And they that rightly "know his name will put their trust in him.” (Psal. ix. 10.) Thus he giveth the regenerate" a heart to know him;" (Jer. xxiv. 7;) and the new creature “is renewed in knowledge.” (Col.iii. 10.) And“vengeance shall be poured out on them that know not God.” (2 Thess. i. 8.)
This saving knowledge of God which is eternal life, containeth and implieth in it all these acts : 1. The understanding's apprehension of God according to the necessary articles of faith. . 2. A belief of the truth of these articles : that God is, and is such as he is therein described., 3. An high estimation of God accordingly. 4. A volition, complacency, or love to him as God, the chiefest good. 5. A desiring after him. 6. A choosing him, with the rejection of all competitors. 7. A consent that he be our God, and a giving up ourselves to him as his people. 8. An intending him as our ultimate end in the use of means, in the course of our conversations. 9. A seeking him in the choice and use of means. 10. An obeying him as our Sovereign Governor. 11. An honouring, and praising him as God. 12. And an enjoying him and delighting in him (in some small foretaste here, as he is seen by faith; but perfectly hereafter, as beheld in glory). The effective practical knowing of God, which is life eternal, containeth or implieth all
And every Christian that hath any of this knowledge, desireth more: it is his great desire to know more of God, and to know him with a more affecting powerful knowledge. He that groweth in grace, doth accordingly grow in this knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. The vigour and alacrity of our souls liveth in it: the rectitude of our actions, and the holiness of them, floweth from it: God is the xcellency of our hearts and lives : our advan cement and
our joy is here only to be found. All other knowledge is so
crites shall know him superficially and uneffectually: and his holy ones shall know him so as to love him, fear him, trust him and obey him; with a knowledge effectual upon heart and life: and he will "continue his loving kindness to them that know him.” (Psal. xxxvi. 10.)
He is the best Christian that hath the fullest impression made upon his soul by the knowledge of God in all his attributes. Thus it is our life eternal to know God in Christ. It is to reveal the Father that the Son was sent; and it is to reveal the Father and the Son, that the Holy Spirit is sent; God is the light, and the life, and the felicity of the soul. The work of its salvation is but the restoring it to him, and putting it in possession of him. The beginning of this is regeneration and reconciliation ; the perfection of it is glorification, beatifical vision and fruition. The mind that hath least of God is the darkest and most deluded mind : and the mind that hath most of him is the most lucid, pure and serene. And how is God in the mind, but as the light and other visible objects are in the eye; and as pleasant melody is in the ear; and as delightful meats and drinks are in the taste? but that God maketh a more deep and durable impress on the soul, and such as is suitable to its spiritual, immaterial nature. As
your seal is to make a full impression on the wax, of the whole figure that is upon itself, so hath God been pleased in divers seals to engrave his image, and these must make their impress upon us.
1. There is the seal of the Creation; for the world hath much of the image of God: It is engraven also on the seal of Providential Disposals (though there we are incapable of reading it yet, so fully as in the rest). 2. It is engraven on the seal of the Holy Scriptures. 3. And on the Person of Jesus Christ, who is the purest, clearest image of the Father, as also on the holy example of his life. 4. And by the means of all these applied to the soul, in our sober Consideration, by the working of the Holy Ghost, the image of God is made upon us.
Here note, 1. That all the revealed image of God must be made on the soul, and not a part only: and all is wrought where any is truly wrought. 2. That to the completeness of his image on us, it is necessary that each part of God's description be orderly made, and orderly make the impress on us, and that each part keep its proper place: for it is a
monster that hath feet where the head should be, or the backpart forward, or where there is any gross misplacing of the parts. 3. Note also, that all the three forementioned seals contain all God's image on them; but yet not all alike; but the first part is more clearly engraven upon the first of them, and the second part upon the second of them, and the third part most clearly on the third and last. :'
To open this more plainly to you; unity in trinity, and trinity in unity, is the sum of our holy faith. In the Deity there is revealed to us, one God in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the essence is but one; the subsistences are three. And as we must conceive and speak of the Divine Nature according to its image, while we see it but in a glass; so we must say, that in this blessed Deity in the unity of essence, there is a trinity of essential properties and attributes; that is, power, wisdom and goodness, life, light and love: the measure of which is to have no measure, but to be infinite. And therefore this Being is eternal, and not measured by time, being without beginning or end: He is immense, as being not measured by place, but containeth all places, and is contained in none : he is perfect, as not measured by parts or by degrees, but quite above degrees and parts. This infiniteness of his being doth communicate itself, or also consist in the infiniteness of his essential properties. His power is omnipotency, that is, infinite power; his knowledge or wisdom is omniscience, that is, infinite wisdom: his goodness is felicity itself, or infinite goodness.
The first seal (to our cognizance) on which he engraved this his image, was the Creation, that is, 1. The whole world in general. 2. The Intellectual Nature or Man in special.
In the Being of the Creation and every particular creature, his Infinite Being is revealed; so wretched a fool is the atheist, that by denying God, he denieth all things! Could he prove that there is no God, I would quickly prove that there is no world, no man, no creature. If he know that he is himself or that the world or any creature is, he may know that God is : for God is the Original Being; and all being that is not eternal, must have some original : and that which hath no original is God, being eternal, infinite and without cause.
The Power of God is revealed in the being and powers of the creation. His wisdom is revealed in their nature,