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"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" - Ver. 10.

These words contain the whole of God's everlasting purposes of grace (sever them from these of creation and providence) toward all or any, either in heaven or earth, whom he regards or loves.
This is his comprehensive scope ; and that both the coherence of them with the former, and the matter itself, when opened, will discover and declare. First, the coherence these words have with the whole he had been discoursing of from ver. 3 until now. From ver. 3 unto ver. 7, he had been enumerating the particular purposes of God's grace to us men in Christ, - the things on earth, - how from everlasting he had chesen, predestinated, and graciously accepted us in his Son Christ. And then, from ver. 7 to this, how he had redeemed us, forgives us, and calls us according to the same rich grace in Christ. Which done and said of us men, whom this epistle was whelly wrote to and concerned, he then brings forth the whole of God's design in the utmost extent of it, so to glorify this grace and this Christ. 'To gather in him,' - not us only, you and us men, the things on earth, but all things that are in heaven also, - ' in him I say;' and it is as if he had said, . 'For a conclusion of these particulars, I will give you the total sum of all in comprehensive words.'
That particular account begun concerning us men, occasioned and drew out this general conclusion and glorious coronis.
The words inediately before, 'he purposed in himself,' there are two known variations of them, yet so as either stream falls into this scope.
1. Some copies, and these more ancient, have not that word 'which.' They render it not, 'which he purposed in himself,' but simply thus, 'he purposed in himself.' And so these words before them, ver. 9, 'having made known the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure,' they give a full period to his former sentence, ver. 8, and then these words, ' He purposed in himself,' begin anew, and do of right belong to this 10th verse, and are to be cut off from the 9th verse. And so the scope runs naturally to show, as hath been said -
2. What was the whole, and all, and utmost, of what he purposed in himself - namely this, to gather all in Christ, the good angels, as well as us men, thereby to show the fulness of Christ's glory. For, secondly, if that word 'which' prove to be that which fell from Paul's pen, (as most copies,) yet still the current empties itself into the same meaning for whereas, in the 9th verse, he had set out the rich grace of God shown to the Ephesians, as also himself in particular, - that he had called them unto Christ by the knowledge of his will, 'making known to them the mystery of his will;' which grace of gathering them personally first unto Christ he attributes unto the good pleasure of his will, as it follows, 'according to his good pleasure,' - that is, according to that, even that same good pleasure which, or out of which, he had purposed to gather universally of them he loved in heaven or earth in his one Christ, - so as comfort yourselves, and adore that grace, which herein is the very same unto you which it is unto any or all of angels and men. And what love can be supposed greater? Yea, and this is your privilege, to be taken into that general account and number of that general assembly, consisting of a universal 'company of angels,' &c., the privilege of which the Apostle doth so celebrate, Heb. xii. What shall I say more? You have the bottom of God's heart, the centre and circumference of his decrees of grace, the greatest birth the heart of God was ever big with; so great, as God having been in travail with it from everlasting, as became so great a design, had also appointed a 'fullness of time,' a centre of time, the delivery or discovery of it; which began when Christ was first revealed, 'seen of angels,' things in heaven - ' believed on in the world,' both of Jews and Gentiles, which shall be gathered together in that last and general assembly in heaven. This is the coherence and general scope.
There are two eminent phrases to be opened
First, What is meant by 'all things in heaven, in earth.'
Secondly, What the import and signification of this word, of 'gathering together in one,' by which the Apostle undertakes to express the ultimate and most perfect design of God toward all his elect. What it signifies and extends itself unto I shall, for a clearer view of what I am to deliver - First, Explain what is meant by 'all things.' And then - secondly, set forth the particular heads I mean to treat on.
Thirdly, After that, I will give the import of that other phrase, 'gathering together in one;' the reason of doing which latter after the other will easily appear, because the variety of the signification of that phrase will be found to fall in with all these heads.
First What is meant by 'all things.'
It expresseth these two sorts of intellectual creatures whe are here set out and distinguished by their original countries they belong unto, the places of their habitation, heaven and earth. The Hebrews are wont thus to express them, as in the Second Conandment - 1. 'Theu shalt not make the likeness of things in heaven above;' whereby are meant angels, whe sometimes took shapes;
2. 'Nor of things on the earth beneath,'
3. 'Nor under the earth;' devils, whe appeared in the shapes of hairy ones, satyrs, &c. You have the very same, Phil. ii. 10.
Now of this third dominion of God's, - viz., that of devils, or of these in hell under the earth, - of this sin was the sole founder. But God only took out his original dominions, heaven and earth, for the subjects of this His cheice. These under the earth are left out, as they are said 'to be with out;' there is no gathering thence. But two colonies he hath singled out of earth and heaven.
Secondly, These are two sorts of intelligent creatures, angels in heaven, and men on earth. Beza and others would have the souls of elect men, that were in heaven when Christ died and ascended, to be the 'things in heaven,' but witheut any instance of any scripture where they are so termed; and also that parallel place, Col. i. 18-20, that Christ is the head of the body, by whom God hath reconciled 'all things to himself, whather things in earth, or things in heaven;' the phrase is clearly interpreted by ver. 16, 'By him all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are on earth;' as being distinguished by the places which by their creation they belong unto,
If, secondly, you ask, Why the persons of angels and men are meant by things?
Resp. - It is ordinary in Scripture so to express it: Gal. in. 32, God hath shut up 'all things under sin,' which is elsewhere expressed, ibm. xi. 32, as meaning persons.
If, thirdly, why all? The answer is, the apostle intends all whom God cares for; and indeed these only are, whom God's favour gives being unto: Of Him ye are in Christ Jesus,' 1 Cor. i. 30. Again, secondly, all; that is, all sorts in either. (1.) In heaven, there are several ranks of angels, which Col. i. 16 warrants, 'thrones and dominions;' as you see among peers, dukes, marquises, earls, although they are all of the same house; so here. Here are archangels, angels; the Scripture mentions both. (2.) On earth there are several ranks of men. Now God affects to have of all, 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, of all nations, countries, families, conditions, that shall he made happy by him.
Secondly, The heads of the ensuing discourse.
The eminent particulars contained in this total of God's purposes of grace, the subjects of my discourse, are -
First, The utmost of that thing itself which God intended to bring all his unto. It is an union with himself, and a collection of all things to himself
Secondly, His setting forth and singling out the person of Christ, the great Him here; 'in him,' I say, in whose very person he first purposed to gather up all sorts of things, and thereby to fit him to become a head or centre, in which he might gather all whom he loved.
Thirdly, That he hath taken his elect out of all sorts of persons that were in heaven or are in earth, and united them in Christ, as in, and through, and under one conon head.
Fourthly, That to illustrate his grace, and the glory of his Christ the more, he ordained a first and second gathering or union of all these; and the first being slippery and failing, he ordained a firm and everlasting union at last, in and through his Son.
Fiftthly, The manner of his effecting this, 'by Christ.' And so you have the heads to be treated on.
Thirdly, Let us consider the import and extent of this great word, and the several significations of it, which the holy Ghost singled out on purpose to express this whole of God's design, and the several particulars forementioned therein.
I shall but give you what is collected from approved interpreters and critics, of which it is too large to give the account.
I. In general, it imports to join many things in one; and to bring them to an unity. This sense our translators favoured, rendering it simply thus, 'a gathering together in one.' And this general sense of the word falls fitly in with the first of these heads mentioned, viz., That God's utmost design was an union with himself.
II. Particularly. This more general contains many more particular significations under it;
1. It is a similitude taken from arithmetic, and signifies a summing up many lesser broken numbers and accounts in one total sum, as merchants do. Thus the tale or total sum of bricks to be gathered by the Israelites, Exod. v. 18, is rendered by the Septuagint, which is a phrase akin to that of the head. The Grecians placed the total sum of any account at the top, as we on the contrary at the bottom of it ; and whereas we call it discomputation, the foot of the account, they termed it the head or top.
2. The word is a similitude from rhetoric, - that is, to sum or gather up many particulars, which have been largely and particularly dilated on, into one word or sentence, which is the brief or compendium of them all. Thus Rom. xiii. 9, having rehearsed many particular conandments, Theu shalt not steal, murder, etc., he concludes, 'and if there be any other conandment, it is briefly comprehended' (it is the same word that is here) 'in this one saying, Theu shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' And these two significations do correspond with the second head, and fitly serve to express how that in the very person of Christ are summed so many particulars as in one sum, or one brief sentence.
3. It is a similitude taken from politics, as when we would express many nations or persons united under one prince, as their head. Thus Chrysostom understood it, and many since. And so in the natural body, 'to cut off the head,' truncate caput; opposite to which is this word here, 'to gather under one head.' And this signification suits and serves the third head, namely, that all things, all sorts of angels and men, are gathered up under Christ, as their head and natural prince.
Lastly, there is added, 'to gather again a second time,' to redeem or collect things or persons that were scattered asunder, as the dead bones in Ezekiel, which being disjointed came together miraculously again, and made up one body under one head.
And this serves fitly to the two last heads proposed, so as not one of them can be spared. You have the heads of my subject cut out, and the words opened as helding them forth. Now to give you the story of all these. For the first head
That the great God purposed and designed an union with himself of these whom in a special manner he had set himself to love; and that this union is the deepest and furthest design of his heart, of any he hath toward then, or the whole creation. The full demonstration of his manifold wisdom and power moved him to make a variety of persons, things, yea, of worlds; but then his goodness and his love moved him to reduce out of that variety an all out of every sort, as a pledge of his respect to all, unto an unity again, and that with himself; and this union is the top perfection of all his works, as that, John xvii. 23, 'I in them, and they in me, that they may be made perfect in one.' It is the perfection of the creature, whereof the unity of the three Persons is the pattern, and the perfection of God's design.
The next thing to be considered is, what medium, means, or corner-stone and foundation it was which God laid and designed, in and by whom most efficaciously and harmoniously to accomplish this designed union between himself and all things in both worlds. For the whole creation was at that distance from God, as God would have them know and retain the sense and remembrance of it, even when this union should be in its height and perfection; and to that end neither admits the generality, the all here, to an inediate union with inmself; and these he doth admit but in and through another, and him the text names and helds up with the greatest emninence, 'in him, in him I say;' thereby showing that it was this great He, and he alone, that was or could have been the foundation of thus work.
Him, whom God hath made both Lord and Christ, and to that end singled forth and made up, and constituted him such a person as should be the centre, the comnpound of all things which he meant in and by him to unite.
And herein let us adore the infinite wisdom of God, to find out and contrive such a kind of person to be his instrument therein ; remembering all along that we are not at present speaking of redemption, but only of union.
Now, to set forth this in general, let us consider, that if there were a general counsel of all sorts of intelligent natures, called by God, and connissionated to cheose out a head to this all of themselves, they would certainly pitch upon such a one, if such a one could be found out by them, in whom all the interest and concernments of them all do meet. Now this hath God done for us, witheut us, in this cheice of his Christ and our Lord. For what can, or could be supposed more harmonious than that, when God meant to unite the variety of all sorts in one head, he should ordain that one head in his person to be the sum of all their natures and conditions, and yet a person of himself, and distinct from them, and independent of them ; and so Christ mystical, the Church, and Christ personal, whe were to be espoused together, might suit and match, and alike consist of all things, to the end they might be like in all things as near as possible might be!
And this collection of all in the very person of Christ takes up two of these fore-mentioned significations of this word, . First, the casting up of divers numbers in one total sum; secondly, the epitomising or summing up a variety of dilated discourses into one sentence.
Let us run through the divided numbers which 'all things, in heaven or earth,' are parted into.
The first great and more general division of all things is, God and the creature, and to cast up or bring in these two into one sum or total was the hardest piece of arithnmetic that ever was. And yet none of us creatures had ever come into this after-account or second union with God under Christ, if God himself had not come into and made one of this first account and hiGhost union, that is, of God and a creature making one Person.
Deny Christ to he God, and deny him to be head, and dissolve all our union with God, as also reconciliation unto God, the foundation of all is taken away. The mutable creature could lover fix unto God, but by this sure and inutable foundation.
Secondly, come we then to creatures. Among them there is another division ; for as God hath made two worlds, so two possessors of them - the angels, the intellectual natures of the world above; and us men on earth, the lower world. It is true, that because the redemption of men was in his eye, as well as this of union of all things, therefore 'he took not the nature of angels ;' and besides, therein there was a more special respect and inclination had unto men, rather than unto the angels, as Heb. il. shows. Yet withal it must also be affirmed that, in order to the fetching in of this general union of all things both in earth and heaven, this was the only way to comprehend and grasp both and all, - to take into one person with him one individual nature of men, rather than any other. And hereby, and by this alone, he hath summed up all in heaven and earth in his person. Not only because in the nature of man, as in a little world, all things are summed up in both worlds; man having a spirit, which like the angels can subsist altogether out of the body, and live in their world, i.e., in heaven ; but he hath a body also, which consists of all sorts of creatures here below. The heathens observed, and their poets feigned, a piece of everything else went to make up man. Whereas, had he taken the nature of angels, then the 'all things on earth' had been quite left out of this account ; for though man hath a spirit like that of the angelical nature, yet that spirit being ordained to dwell in a body, and that body being a part of man, and constituted of him as such; (and therefore Christ proves the resurrection of the body of Abraham by this, that else it is not Abraham, the man Abraham, unless soul and body be joined.) But upon a further ground we shall see it was that in taking of man's nature he took in angels also, that is, the condition of angels.
It is true, had he been no more but an earthly man, as Adam his type, this design of taking in all had fallen short. But the person whe assumes and takes into his porson this individual nature of man being God, the Son of God, that man whom he so assumes is instantly a heavenly man, as to his condition, 1 Cor. xv. 47, 48. And although the substance of his nature is the same as ours, yet the state is heavenly, and to be as angels; yea, 'far above all principalities and powers,' Eph. i. yea, 'higher than the heavens,' Heb. vii. 25. It is not his right only to be in heaven, but he is Lord of it, 'the Lord from heaven,' as 1 Cor. xv. 47, and other scriptures speak, as John in. 13, and is spoken as if, as he is man, he had first been actually in heaven, because it was a real condescension in him to take our nature with its frailty, by which he became for a little while 'lower than the angels,' Heb. ii. His natural due was that heavenly state, and to be as glorious as he is now. Here then is in an instant all in heaven and earth met, and all their interest. For though man could say, he hath our nature ; yet the angels could withal instantly reply, But he is our countryman; by right we should have him here, and there he must in the end be, and live for ever. None of his creatures could say, We have a King and Head in whom ye have no share or alliance unto.
You know how sharp the contention grew between the men of Judah and the ten tribes, 2 Sam. xix., about David their king. 'He is nigh a kin to us,' say the men of Judah, ver. 42, 'flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone.' They of Judah plead, as was David; so ver. 9, 'But he hath saved us out of the hands of our enemies, and delivered us out of the hands of the Philistines.' As he was king, say the ten tribes. And thereupon the men of Israel answered, 'We have ten parts in the thing, and we have also more right in David than ye.'
But, my brethren, here neither things on earth, neither things in heaven, need either of them to complain or quarrel about the like in Christ; for God hath summed up all in their King, Jesus, that so he might become their cathelic King and universal Head. He is flesh of Our flesh, and bone of our bone, and by birth akin to us, might man say, which the angels cannot. But this they can truly reply instead of it, But he is a heavenly man, and that by right of inheritance from a higher birth, which his person had from everlasting. Heaven is his country ; his court is for ever to be there ; his throne is there erected ; and by birthright he is to sit at God's right hand, he is a spiritual man, 1 Cor. xv. 46; yea, and 'a quickening spirit' unto us, and to you the sons of men also, yea, and you men, if you will enjoy your King and his presence for ever, you must come up or be brought where we are, even as Christ prays they may, John xvii., 'be where I am, and see my glory;' and 'I have given it them.' So, then, neither can they say, 'they have no part in Jesse.'
Yea, here I may add that, in taking man's nature there was this further advantage : there was a gratification to all kinds of creatures else; they can all say, We have something of every one of as in him. Man's nature being the epitome of all, the centre of both worlds, higher and lower, - the elements, vegetatives, sensitive creatures, - man is the little idea of all species or kinds of things; and this great idea, the Son of God and the image of God, they married together; and a happy match it must needs prove, which brings God and all creatures thus into one person.
Thirdly, Come we to 'things on earth,' the sons of men. Amongst them we find one famous division of Jew and Gentile; and that Christ might be a recent head to both, God hath summed up both Jew arid Gentile in him. And yet as touching the former, between men and angels, the election was that 'he took not the nature of angels,' Heb. ii. (which you have seen removed :) so here, that which follows, that he 'took on him the seed of Abraham,' serves wholly to exclude us Gentiles from having any portion in his person.
But the answer is as ready. It is true that, inediately and more eminently, he came of the Jewish race, Rom. ix. 5, 'Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.' And as-in that other division between angels and men, the portion that man hath in him preponderates; so it is here on the Jews' side also, yet withal not to the utter exclusion of the Gentiles. For, to allude to that speech of the ten tribes, concerning David, we Gentiles have ten parts in him. There were ten patriarchs that were his ancestors and ours, and came to us and the Jews, before this division of Abraham's seed was brought up in the world; and two thousand years or more before Abraham was styled the Father of the Faithful, and the Promised Seed, Eve was called the Mother of all Living: and so, that both Jew and Gentile had the first promise of the seed that should break the serpent's head, to be her seed. Yea, and after that division made from Abraham, you have two Gentiles mentioned in his very genealogy, Rahab and Ruth, as his great-grandmothers. So it was he would have some of the Gentiles' blood run in his veins, as well as that of the Jews.
Thus you have now seen, 1. God's most deep and comprehensive design to be the union of all things with himself. 2. The fullness of fullness in the person whom he singles forth to be the means or effecter of it; and therein two of the forementioned significations of the word taken up therein.
We come now to the persons gathered. The third head proposed was, That God out of all sorts of persons, both in heaven and in earth, hath designed to collect a body and select company to union with himself, and through Christ as their Head. Which the third particular import of this word gives warrant to; it signifies, 'gathering together as in one head.'
As he is an arithmetical head, so he is a political head. He is a Prince, and a Lord, and a Head to all things in heaven and in earth, and they are made all one, in being reduced to him as to a head. 'He hath given him to be the head over all things to the church,' Eph. i. 22. So that, my brethren, this is the second mystery I am to unfold to you, That as in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ there is God, and angels, and men, Jew and Gentile, summed up in him; he partakes in his person of all these: so his body, if you will so call it, or rather his family, whereof he is head, - (for I do not know that the angels are called members of his body, that is peculiarly the privilege of the saints), - but they are all gathered into one cononwealth, into one city, into one family, both angels and men, unto him as their head. And that same universal Church, that shall appear at the latter day when the fullness of the is out, when the glass is full; for then he will have them all about him, and they will all be under one head; and so that family of his, which shall all come unto him, will have a conformity to his person. Christ mystical will have a conformity to Christ personal; as Christ personal was summed up of all, so will that whole family of his, that whole cononwealth of his, whereof he is the head, be summed up of all too, both angels and men, Jew and Gentile, all sorts of men; all things in heaven, and all things in earth, shall all be gathered in one in him.
And this is that same great mystery as the Apostle calleth it, Eph. in. 9 'To make all men see,' saith he, 'what is the fellowship of the mystery,' - and the angels come in there too, at the 10th verse, for by the preaching of the gospel they have a fellowship with him as well as the Jew and Gentile, - ' to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.' This is that great association of all the creatures, whereby they are all,- though they are two several kingdoms, as England and Scotland are, yet all united; there is an association under one monarch, so under one Christ, that they come all to have relation to one as their head, and all make up a family, and a cononwealth, and a kingdom too.
There are two things here to be treated of.v (1.) That the good angels, as well as men, are united and come into this society under Christ as a head, which alone I need insist upon; for of this there is no question.
(2.) That all of each - that is, all sorts of angels and all sorts of men - 'are taken in to make up this body or society.
(1.) Angels, as well as men; which I explain by these particulars
First, When I say they are 'gathered in one in Christ,' I mean not as a redeemer, not simply as a head. The difference of these two I shall in another section give the account of. I observe that, Rev. v. 9, 11, 12, when the two first rounds, or rings, gathered about the Lamb and the throne, the first and nearest is of men, of angels the second; and both celebrating the Lamb that was slain.
This in general, - That Christ is head both to angels and men.
(2.) The second branch, That all sorts of each, both angels and men, were gathered unto him, as in that one head.
All sorts of angels. There are several ranks of angels, which Col. i. 16 doth give us the heraldry of: 'All things that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whather they be thrones or dominions,' (there are things in heaven,) 'principalities or powers.' 1. Thrones speaks kingly power to be among them, Dan. x. 13, 'Lo, Michael, one of the chief princes,' as he is there called, which is spoken of a good angel; for it is Michael. 2. There are dominions, viceroys, as it were ranks, and orders under them; and this order in hell is kept, by which their kingdom is governed; there is one that is the Prince of Devils, even as under a King there are dukes, and marquises, and earls, etc. And these good angels are all of one house, consisting of the original peers of heaven. And this distinction of angels, for we presume not to give any more ranks of them, (as the counterfeit Dionysius and, from him, the Papists do;) ie elsewhere find in Scripture that some are called archangels. One at least, Jude 9, whe was a mere created angel, as is evident by this, that he 'durst not bring a railing accusation;' which must not be applied unto the second Person as God, as some have done. Likewise, 1 Thess. iv. 16, it is said, 'The Lord shall descend with the voice of an archangel;' which archangel is distinct from the Lord himself. The angels themm are of several ranks, and there are of all sorts of them in heaven.
Men on earth. Christ hath a body of men, made up of all on earth, an elect of all sorts.
The first division of things on earth is into Jew and Gentile, in conon that the Church of men consists of both these, is known to all.
Secondly, Among the Gentiles there are many nations; and, Gen. xvin. 18, the premise is to Abraham, that in him (i.e., in Christ) all the nations of the earth should be blessed, and it is repeated again in chap. xxil. It is not only that Christ should sprinkle 'many nations' with his blood, Isa. in. 15; but the first promise saith, 'all nations.' Ps. lxxxvi 9, 'All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, 0 Lord, and shall glorify thy name.' Christ therefore gave conission that the gospel should be preached to all nations; and so it shall be before the end of the world.
Then, thirdly, in every several nation;on there are many kindreds, families, or fatherhoods, as Peter speaks of them, Acts iii. 25, out of Gen. xii. 3, 'In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed;' and that is twice said, as well as the other of nations. And if you will hear the whole Church of the New Testament sum up all- in their own names, Rev. v. 9, 'Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.' He multiples words enough, even as lawyers use to do, that he might be sure to comprehend all.
Fourthly, There are other divisions. Sinners of all sorts; several ranks, kinds, and degrees of sinners. And God will save out of all these sorts, but of one; and they are such of the sons of mon as join issue with the serpent, and sin the devil's sin, the sin against the holy Ghost, and are in the state of the devils while they are upon earth; and therefore are not to be reckoned with things on earth. But of all sorts of sinners our Saviour Christ hath said, Matt. xii. 31, that they shall be forgiven. 'All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the holy Ghost shall not he forgiven unto men.' He doth not say that all manner of sins may, but he saith that all shall be forgiven in one or other. And he through whose hands all pardons run, it is he saith this. God hath ordered his elect, take the whole body and bulk of them, to fall into all sorts or sins, one or other of them; so as there is no sort, kind, or degree of sin, no way of sinning, manner of sinning, or aggravation of sin, but in some or other it shall be pardoned, and he doth it to glorify his grace in Christ, in whom he gathers them; and this was the mystery of that sheet which Peter saw coming down from heaven, tied at the four corners, as pointing to all the four quarters of the world; 'in which there were all manner of unclean creatures; four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air,' Acts x. 11, 12. It imports all sorts of sinners, all the world over, the most venomous creatures, as many creeping things are; of these should the Church catholic consist.
Lastly, There is another division of the outward ranks of men ; and out of all doth God take some. 1 Tim. il. 1, he exhorts that prayers and thanks may be made for all men; for kings, and far all that are in authority. He takes up kings, and of all sorts and ranks that are in authority else; yea, and out of all men; and therefore he would have thanks given for all sorts. as well as prayers made. You know your calling, brethren, not many wise, not many noble; yet some. I am a debtor to the wise, and to the weak, saith Paul; and God takes fools as well as wise men. The fools shall not err therein, Isa. xxxv. 8; though they be natural fools, he can come at their hearts.
And so you have the third head in general mentioned, and the third signification of the word filled up and made good.
That God, to illustrate the glory of his grace, and of his Christ, purposed a second gathering after a first, both of men and angels. This the word 'to gather again' implies; to amplify the glory of God in this purpose of his. It imports - 1. A first and second gathering of these 'all things,' or a double union of these creatures to Ged ; whereof the first being slippery and failing, he ordained the last firm and fixed in Christ, never to be broken or dissolved again. The first was not firm enough, but soon and easily dissoluble.
2. This did, or again, imports a miserable scattering of the first gathering to fall out between the first and second gathering; a dissolution of all first, on purpose decreed and permitted by God, to make this second gathering, and oneness with himself, and unity one with another, which was the ultimate aim of his design, more illustrious.
3. A third thing is the way, and manner, and means of doing it; it is in Christ. The first serves to magnify his grace in Christ, the Head, to angels, whe are all things in heaven. And the second to magnify his grace to the sons of men, the all things in earth, both as a Head and Redeemer. And all put together contains the whole counsel of God unto both. God united men and angels to himself in their first creation, and one to another. The elect angels stood in need of a second union, or gathering of them in Christ, as a head; to put them out of danger and possibility of being scattered, as their fellows had been; and therein lies their obligation. And elect men having all run into an actual riot and rebellion, and were separated from God, and scattered from one another, needed a gathering together again; and both in and through Christ, to fix either for ever from a perpetual hazard of departing. and the opening these things, and being added to the former, bring in an infinite revenue of glory unto God and Christ; and do give us indeed an account of the whole counsel of God: and still he renders it more and more complete.
For the first branch. There was an union of man and angels to God by the mere law of creation, and covenant of nature or works. And though the angels - for I speak of them now in conon, and so of the elect angels, in the general condition with them that are fallen in their first creation - were created in heaven, and man upon earth, yet the same law of nature, and the same terms and tie of union, were alike enjoyed; and thereby they had an union and conunion with God; but merely by their graces, and the exercise of them, according to the covenant of works. So, as long as that held, their union held, but not a moment longer.
For though the law of creation that was conon both to men and angels had this meet dueness in it, as was said, that God should create them in that estate, and afford them help suitable thereunto; yet no law of nature or creation, either to angels or men, had a promise that God should keep them and preserve them in that estate from falling. They were as glasses without a bottom, which soon fell and broke; which by the event was made good, by the fall both of men and some angels: which shows the weakness and the slipperiness of this first union in either of them.
As concerning the ANGELS, if God would assure them to himself from the possibility of falling, they must be headed in Christ, or by Christ; they must be gathered by a gathering together in Christ as a head a second time, and then all is in sure hands. If therefore the query be, Wherein should the grace vouchsafed to them lie, so as they had need of Christ to interpose, and to make this second gathering of them, whereas they never had fallen actually - for it may be thought needless - the necessity lay in this : -
First, If it were no more but the weakness and slipperiness of their first union: therefore, if there were no more, it was necessary they should be fixed in him by an inutable relation to him who is the Rock of Ages, and then they are in sure hands. For Christ is as sure and inutably fixed as the Son of God himself, by personal union with the Son of God; and they, if they be chosen in him, and accepted in him, and have a relation unto him as to their head, are made as inutable as Christ is. Job iv. 18, 'Behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.' The Lord foresaw that if he kept to the laws that the condition of works required, and unto the dues of it, he could be sure of none; and he plainly saith he could put no confidence. And indeed he had little reason; for you know how all on earth served him, and how great a part of heaven (in the event) did serve him. These morning stars fell. And this in Job is spoken of the good angels, his servants and courtiers he had about him. And all my creatures may serve me so, if they be left unto their first condition, to the law of their creation. And if they stand a thousand years, yet what Grotius dreams may be now, (upon these words, Gal. i. 8, 'If an angel from heaven, let him be accursed;') as if angels might still fall; though that be false now since their confirmation in grace by Christ, yet it was true once; and he chargeth them with folly, because he saw their aptness to folly. He saw the possibility of it, and therefore could have no settled contentment in any of them in that estate, nor perfectly have them; but loved them as these whom he might one day hate, which prejudgeth perfect love; and therefore upon a foresight of their creature condition, he vouchsafed a second gathering of them in Christ, so to fix them. And hence arose a grudge against them, for they had no sin; yet a kind of displicency with them, as mere creatures, if alone and apart considered. And then his charging them with folly might, and did arise, because he is so holy a God; and he is so infinitely holy, as that though in justice he hath nothing against them, - for he knows they are creatures, and whereof they are made, - yet still they are not of that holiness he would be pleased in, as Calvin doth interpret it. Upon all these ground his grace first fixed them in Christ the Rock of Ages, as in their head, and a firm union with him as in that relation; for if he became and undertook to be a head to them, he would not lose his members.
And, secondly, thereby he pleased himself in them through him in whom only he is well pleased; which saying reaches the angels as well as men, even all intelligent creatures he is any way pleased withal; and be is pleased with the relation they bear to his person. Yea, thirdly, to take away all distaste aforesaid, they needed a kind of reconciliation. It was not a reconciliation by a price, so as to purchase their peace for sin actually conitted; they needed not that. Reconciliation is a larger word; there is a reconciliation preventive of them that have any aptness or possibility to fall out, so as to make them fast friends for ever, and to make them sure unto himself, and to take away all occasion of jealousies.
Fourthly, I shall add this further, mercy does not lie only in pardoning, but in preventing. It cost Christ's blood to keep us from the sin we might have connitted, as well as to obtain forgiveness for the sins we have conitted; and therefore the Apostle saith he hath redeemed us from our vain conversation, even whom we might have fallen into. God knows our thoughts afar off: and what they would be of ourselves. So you have seen the need the angels had of their second gathering, and that by Christ.
I shall for the opening of this, do these three things
1. Prove it by other scriptures.
2. Explain it; and that by two things - (1.) What fellowship and association angels and elect have, and shall have, one among another.
(2.) What conunion, and fellowship, and relation angels have to Christ, as to a head.
3. Give some cautions, that you may not be mistaken in the point.
1. First, For the proof of it. There are many places brought, but the truth is, I know none come home to it so much, and therefore I will but name it, as that, Col. ii. 10, 'In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in him, whe is the head of all principality and power.' By principalities and powers, in the usual phrase of Scripture, is still meant the angels : Eph. i. 21, 'He hath raised him up,' speaking of Christ, 'and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.' Now, saith be, what need you go out of Christ? you are complete in him. Why are we complete in him? Here is his reason : if the angels are complete in him, that are the his creatures, that stand at God's right hand, and in his presence, - if he be their head, then you may very well be complete in him, you poor men that live on earth. 'You are complete in him, who is the head of all principalities and powers.'
I will give you some general expressions that will prove it and explaiu it. First, the angels and men do make up one family unto God, whereof Christ is the head, or the pater-familias; as you know it is the ordinary expression in all languages to call the master of the family the head of the familiy; so is Jesus Christ to angels and men, that make up one family to God. And, my brethren, so it falleth out, that the very text hinteth this to be the Apostle's meaning, for that which we translate, 'in the dispensation of the fullness of time,' is in the original the househeld dispensation, the family dispensation, as many read the words. That is, he hath gathered them all in one for a family dispensatien, for a family government of them, into one family, so to order and govern them, and dispense to both, to angels and men, as to one family, now to be dispensed in these last times.
That which fitteth this interpretation, is that in the third of the Ephesians, ver. 15, 'Of whom,' saith he, 'the whole family in heaven and earth is named.' He had named Christ just before ; saith he, ver. 14, 'Unto the Father of onr Lord Jesus Christ, of whom (of Jesus Christ, namely) the whole family, (he takes all in, both angels and men,) in heaven and in earth is named.' They all held of him, You know he that is the head of a family, they have all their name from him; as that of the Turks, they call the Ottoman family, because Ottoman was the first of them. It is spoken there by the Apostle in opposition to the Jews; for the Jews boasted that all God's family was in Abraham's house, in Abraham's children. No, saith he; not only is the family of God not restrained unto Abraham's children, but it is diffused and dispersed over all the earth, and not only so, but it reacheth to heaven, too; and all on earth, and all in heaven, make but one family to God - angels and all. For, otherwise, when the Apostle wrote this, there were few in heaven but Jews, and so he had not spoken so appositely to what the Jews intended, who would arrogate all to themselves. No, saith he, though God hath appointed Abraham, and erected a family in him, peculiar to the Jews, yet all in earth held of Christ, and all in heaven, too, and all are named of him. He is the foundation of both families, and they make all but one family: 'The whole family in heaven and in earth.' I will not stand to open to you the meaning of the word 'named' any further; his meaning is general, universal. He had said two great things of Christ just before : he had said, in the 9th verse, that 'God created all things by Jesus Christ;' he had said, in the 11th verse, that 'God purposed all things in Jesus Christ;' now he telleth you that 'things both in heaven and earth,' that whole family, angels and men, (he bringeth it in here at the 15th verse, to honour Christ,) are all 'named of him.' They all held of him, he owneth them all, and they all own him, and they have their being of him, as the word named oftentimes signifieth.
Again, another expression is, as they are called one family, whereof he is the head, so they are one city, both angels and men. They make one Jerusalem, saints on earth and angels in heaven, whereof Jesus Christ is the governor, and the king and head, a political head. For this, see Heb. xii. 22, 'You are come unto Mount Sion,' which was the place of worship before, 'and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.' Here are the generals. Now who are the inhabitants of this city? Whe are the citizens? Whe are the worshippers in Mount Sion together? It followeth, 'to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and company of the first-born.' All these make up one city to God, they make up one heavenly Jerusalem, they make up one coampany of worshippers, as you shall see afterward. Now, because when a man is converted, he cometh to all these ; that is, he entereth into an association with all these, he is made free of the company of all these; therefore they are said to be gathered in one in Christ.
My brethren, the angels are part of the worshippers of Christ as well as we; as they are part of his family, as they are part of his city, whereof he is the King and Lord, so they are part of his worshippers; and, as you shall see anon, we, with all them, worship God and him together, both here, and shall do so hereafter. They are worshippers of him, and in that sense make a part of the Church; for a church is properly for worship. If they be therefore part of the worshippers of Christ, they come under his Church, they are a part of it; particular churches are ordained for worship, and so is the general Church for a worship to be performed to Christ. And it is the proper expression of the members of a church, what they are designed unto - they are worshippers. Now, in Heb. i. 6, you shall find that the angels are all worshippers of Jesus Christ, ' And again, when he bringeth His first-begotten into the world, He saith, Let all the angels of God worship Him,' speaking of Christ. I will not stand to open the phrase, whether it be at His first coming or his second, for some read the words thus - so Cameron doth, and to me it certainly seems the meaning - ' When he bringeth his Son again into the world,' so the word better beareth it; the second time, when he cometh to judge the world, then the angels of God shall worship him, together with all saints, and all the elect, before all the world. I will not further open the place; I only allege it for this, that they are worshippers of Christ.
See but the reason of this head; you have seen Scripture for it. First, it is due to Christ. If that man Christ shall be the Son of God and the heir of all things, it is his due that he should be the head of the best of God's creatures, of angels that are saved as well as men, that he should be the head of God's family. The eldest, you know, were the head of the family. Are the angels a part of God's family ? Will you shut them out? No; they are a part of God's family as well as you, (how, you shall see afterward.) If they be, then the eldest son, the heir of all, is the head of that family, and so of the angels, by the law of nature. It is Christ's due, and therefore they all held and depend upon him.
Secondly, That all, thus gathered together to one head, to make up one family, and one city and church to God, it was for the infinite glory and splendour of this church. What could be greater than that all in heaven and all in earth should be united one day in one to worship God, and all to bow at the name of Christ, as the apostle telleth us, Phil. ii. ? God appointed his Church to be all in one place; he would have them all up to heaven ; and therefore he appointed them all one happiness. He hath appointed them to be all one city, therefore they shall have one head, they shall be united all together in one. He loves not scattering and distraction, to have two companies of worshippers at last, for God is one. It is therefore for their perfection, it is therefore for their greater splendour, as you shall see in the observations that I shall raise.
Thirdly, Men and angels were capable of this umon, to be knit together thus under one head. Why? For we agree both in an intellectual nature; we have the same understanding, and will, and affections as they have, (take us as we are souls;) we are capable of the same conon happiness that they have, to see God and to see Christ; we shall one day, after the resurrection, be made like unto them - so the expression is, Matt. xxii. 30. If we be brought up to the same condition with them, shall have the same happiness, shall live in the same place, why should we not have the same Head, and be joined all together, that as God is the head of Christ, Christ may be the head of all, both angels and men?
Last of all, By this is made up a most complete parallel opposition with Satan, whe is the head of wicked men and of the devils. So God ordaineth at; he made two heads, and all the world fails to one of them. The devil, you know, that great devil, is the head of the evil angels; therefore, Matt. Xii. 24, be is called the prince of the devils. He is the head of all wicked men; therefore, John xii. 31, he is called the prince of this world. And when the world is at an end, let that devil take all his angels and wicked men, and he as a head is tormented with them for ever; they are cast into the fire with the devil and his angels, you know it is said of wicked men. Answerably, as this great devil, whom God setteth up against Christ, is the great - I cannot call him Antichrist, because he is no way for Christ - but he is the great one that opposeth Christ, whom God setteth up against him to share the world with him. As he is the head of all that are wicked on earth, and of all in hell, so is Christ opposite, the head of all that are godly on earth, and of all in heaven; and though the devil is not of the same nature with men, yet he is the head of wicked men, he is the prince of the world, and he rules effectually in the children of disobedience, Eph. il. 2. So likewise, though Jesus Christ is not of the same nature or substance with the angels, yet he is the head of angels, of all principalities and powers, and rules as effectually, nay, ten thousand times more effectually, for Satan is not such a head as Christ is. And when Jesus Christ hath taken up his all, the devil will take all the rest. Christ is made the head of all things in heaven and in earth; he takes out his saints, and the devil takes all the rest; they share the world between them. So you have the thing proved both by Scripture and by reason.
2. The second thing, then, that I am to do is this, to explain this association between men and angels, under one Christ.
(1.) And, first, as I said, I shall explain the association between men and angels one amongst another, what the fellowship is between angels and men, as making up one family to God. And then, secondly, what communion, what relation, what union and conmmuunion, the angels have with Christ, as with a head. This I must explain. First, Men and angels, amongst themselves, have this fellowship under Christ their head, that they are all worshippers of God and Christ together. They are so in this world, and they shall be so more completely and fully in the world to come, when that fulness of the dispensation of all the shall take place at the latter day. First, I say, there is an association in worship in this world between angels and saints. Little do we think it, but the angels fill our churches as well as men, and are present at all our congregations and assemblies.. Because we are to be with them hereafter, and to worship God together with them, therefore they come down and are present at the worship of God here with us. I could give you many proofs for it; I will but name one or two.
What was the reason that the tabernacle and temple at Jerusalem was all full of cherubim? Read Exod. xxv. 19; there were to be two cherubim over the mercy-seat, in the holy of holies. Read Exod. xxvi. 1; all the curtains that were to be for the tabernacle, they were all to have cherubim wrought in them. Cherubim are angels. Go from thence to the temple of Solomon, 1 Kings vi. 23, there you have cherubim again, at the mercy-seat too; and then, ver. 29, all the walls of the house round about were carved with carved figures of cherubim, with angels still; nay, the very doors for the entering into the holy of holies, and the doors of the temple, had cherubim carved upon them. All this betokened that angels still filled the temple as well as men; and therefore, I Cor. xi. 10, (surely it is the meaning of it,) he biddeth women to be modest, to be veiled, to show subjection, not only because of men, but because of the angels - so the text is there - that are present at their Christian assemblies. He instanceth in the least misdemeanour, and argueth from the lesser to the greater, to make this a motive, that men should behave themselves religiously and holy in the churches of Christ, because the angels are present. If, saith he, you are not to suffer the angels to espy in you the least immodesty, then much more, any other misbehaviour.
In Rev. v. 11, you have the Church of Christ described, and there you I have twenty-four elders and four beasts, which are the people and officers of congregations, and they sing a new song unto Christ, ver. 9, 'Theu art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us unto God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld,' saith he, 'and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne.' Angels are round about the throne; they are present at the courts of God's house; still they are worshippers, you see, together with us on earth.
Secondly, They do delight to hear Christ preached, because Christ is their Head, and therefore are present. The text is express, Eph. in. 10; he showeth there the end why to him was committed, and so to others, the preaching of the gospel : 'To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.' They do not know it out of the Scripture simply, but as it is opened in the church, by the ministers of the church, for the good of the church, so they come to know it; and they delight to do so, for so you have it, 1 Pet. i. 12. Saith he, speaking of the fathers before in the Old Testament, 'It was revealed unto them, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you' (he speaks in general) 'by them that preached the gospel with the holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.' The angels are present, and they are glad to hear Christ laid open and preached unto men, to hear their Head spoken of. They are worshippers together with us of Christ.
Then, thirdly, Here on earth they have joy when any poor soul is converted. As they come to church, so they observe who is wrought upon. When they see a poor soul go home and humble himself, fail down upon his knees and become a new creature, news is presently carried up to heaven; for the text saith, Luke xv. 10, that 'there is joy in the presence of the angels of God' - that is, in the court of heaven, amongst them all, so the word signifieth, in the face of all the angels; it is the same word used, Luke xii. 8, 'him shall the Son of man confess before the angels of God,' he will own him in his court, and confess him in the presence, in the face of all the angels; so there is joy amongst the angels, they rejoice before God - ' over one sinner that is converted,' over a poor soul that is gathered unto Christ their Head.
This association, my brethren, we have with them, besides all the services they do us, which I cannot stand to repeat and reckon up unto you; for all the angels are our fellow-servants; so that angel calleth himself Rev. xxii. 9. And Jacob's ladder that touched heaven, the angels ascended and descended upon it; and Christ himself, John i. 51, interprets it that he is the ladder; they all come down upon him and ascend upon him, for the service of men. He is their head, their ruler, their governor.
But as we have in this world this association with them, so in the world to come we shall all worship God with one worship, both angels and men together. Such he there in Heb. xii., the place I quoted before; 'you are come to the Mount Sion,' - so he calleth the Church, which consisteth both of angels and men, as I observed before. Mount Sion, you know, was the place of God's worship. What is his meaning, then, when he saith, 'you are come to the Mount Sion, to the heavenly Jerusalem?' You are all come, saith he, to the place of worship whither angels are come up; for all the tribes came up there, to that Mount Sion, to worship God - the mount where all the angels are, and where all the souls of just men made perfect shall come up in their succession, and all to worship God. It is called Mount Sion, because it is the place of God's worship. And that which we translate the company of angels, it is the solemn assembly of angels; so the word signifieth, such an assembly as was at a solemn feast of the Jews, whither all the people came up. The men that dwelt at Jerusalem, in comparing them to the angels, for that is their standing seat and dwelling; and we that are upon earth, he compareth to the tribes that came up to the solemn assembly, to the solemn feast. and he calleth them the general assembly, for there God will have all his children about him. So that both angels and we one day shall be common worshippers, all in one kingdom together; we shall be as angels; so Matt. xxii. 30.
We are beholden to the man Christ for doing this, for he hath blessed us with heavenly blessings, as the third verse hath it. We shall live in one city, in one place. I will give you but one scripture for it, and so I will end. It is Zech. in. 7. There our Saviour Christ, the Angel of the Covenant, makes this promise to Joshua the high priest, and to Zerubabel, ' If then wilt walk in my ways, and keep my charge,' - in my house, nay material house, while theu art here below', I will give thee a better house than this, - ' I will give thee places to walk amongst these that stand by,' - I will give thee a place amongst the angels; for they were they that stood by, and appeared upon the speckled horses, as chap. i., - I will give thee a better house, a better temple; theu shalt live with angels, and dwell with them, and worship with them; thou shalt be raised up to a heavenly court, even to holy angels, if theu wilt keep my courts here below. Thus you see what an association men and angels have amongst themselves, both in this world, and in the world to conme.
(2.) Well, let us see what communion they have with Christ as a Head. First, some say that Jesus Christ is a head to them only by way of eminency and eternal government, because he is the principal and the head of all power, be hath all power in him; therefore, because he governeth them and ruleth them externally as a king doth his subjects, in that respect only they say he is a head.
But, my brethren, he is a head in a nearer relation to them than so. Why? For, first, so he is to all creatures in respect of government; all creatures are subject to him. Again, secondly, the angels are a part of his family, as I showed before. Now, though he that is master of the family be a lord to all the things in the house, and the master of them all, yet he is a head only to the person; for he hath a more near relation to the persons in the family than he hath to all the goods. God ruleth all the world, he ruleth all the goods belonging to this family in heaven and in earth, and they are all subject unto him; but he is a head of the persons in this family, of which angels are a part as well as men.
Thirdly, this were to make Christ the head of the angels, as the Papists do make the Pope head of the Church, but by external government; certainly he is more than so. Nay, it were to make Jesus Christ head of the angels in heaven, as the devil is head of evil angels and wicked men, by ruling of them only externally. Certainly he is more than so, when they are made part of the family, when the Scripture saith that he is the head of all principalities and powers. Therefore - In the second place, he is a head to them by way of secret influence of grace and glory. If Jesus Christ be a head, it is fit that he should do something for them, that they should be beholden to him, that he should not only have that headship by virtue of his dignity and excellency, but that they should have some benefit, some influence arising to them from Christ, if that thus He shall be advanced to be a head over them; for God will never advance Christ to be a head over any but they shall have benefit by him.
First, they had their creation by him, Col. i. 15, 16. The apostle telleth us there that all things, whether visible or invisible, are created by hiin. 'By him,' saith he, 'were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,' here is the same enumeration, 'visible and invisible,' here is angels and men, 'whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created by him and for him.' Yea, and, my brethren, they were virtually created by him as supposed to take man's nature; for of him, as supposed to take man's nature, doth the Apostle there speak: 'who is the image,' saith he, ' of the iuvisible God, the First-born of every creature,' which can be ascribed to Christ no way but as he is God-man, and so all the rest likewise; but I will not stand upon that.

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