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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
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
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
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
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." John, 3:16. So loved them: how did he love them? nay, here you must excuse the tongues of angels. Which of us would deliver a child, the child of our delights, an only child, to death, for the greatest inheritance in the world? what tender parent can endure parting with such a child? When Hagar was taking her last leave (as she thought) of her Ishmael," she went and sat her down over against him, a good way off: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept." Gen. 21: 16. Though she were none of the best of mothers, nor he the best of children, yet she could not give up the child. Oh it was hard to part! What an outcry did David make, even for an Absalom, wishing he had died for him! What a breach has the death of some children made in the hearts of some parents, which will never be closed up in this world! Yet surely, never did any child lie so close to a parent's heart, as Christ to his Father's; and yet he willingly parts with him, though his only one, the Son of his delights; and that to death, a cursed death; for sinners, for the worst of sinners. Oh the admirable love of God to men! matchless love! a love past finding out! Let all men, therefore, in the business of their redemption, give equal glory to the Father with the Son. John, 5: 23. If the Father had not loved thee, he had never parted with such a Son for thee.
2. From one wonder let our souls turn to another, for they are now in the midst of wonders: adore, and be for ever astonished at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners, that ever he should consent to leave such a bosom, and the ineffable delights that were there, for such poor worms as we are. Oh the heights, depths, lengths, and breadths of unmeasurable love! See Rom. 5:6-8: read, and wonder. How is the love of Christ
commended to poor sinners! As the Father loved him; even so, believers, hath he loved you. John, 17: 23. What manner of love is this! Who ever loved as Christ loves. Who ever denied himself for Christ, as Christ denied himself for us?
3. An interest in Jesus Christ is the true way to all spiritual preferment in heaven. Do you covet to be in the heart, in the favor and delight of God? Get interest in Jesus Christ, and you shall presently be there. In heaven, persons are preferred according to their interest in the Beloved. Eph. 1: 6. Christ is the great favorite there: his image upon your souls, and his name in your prayers, makes both accepted with God.
How worthy is Jesus Christ of all our love and delights! You see how infinitely the Father delighteth in him; and shall not our hearts delight in him? Oh that you did but see this lovely Lord Jesus Christ! Why do ye lavish away your precious affections upon vanity? none but Christ is worthy of them. When you spend your precious affections upon other objects, what is it but to dig for dross with golden mattocks? The Lord direct our hearts into the love of Christ. Oh that our hearts, loves, and delights, did meet and concentre with the heart of God in this most blessed object! Oh let him that left God's bosom for you, be embosomed by you, though your love be nothing to God's: he that left God's bosom for you, deserves yours.
If Christ be the beloved of the Father's soul, think what a grievous and insufferable thing it is to the heart of God, to see his dear Son despised, slighted, and rejected by sinners: how God will bear this, that parable, Matt. 21: 33-41, will inform you: surely he will miserably destroy such wretched sinners. What a dismal word is that, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha," 1 Cor. 16: 22; that is, let the great curse of God lie upon that man till the