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Lord’s Day 50, 2005

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalms 122:1, (Geneva Bible)

The Divine Will

O Lord,

I hang on thee; I see, believe, live,
when thy will, not mine, is done;
I can plead nothing in myself
in regard of any worthiness and grace,
in regard of thy providence and promises,
but only thy good pleasure.
If thy mercy make me poor and vile,
blessed be thou!

Prayers arising from my needs
are preparations for future mercies;
Help me to honour thee by believing before I feel,
for great is the sin if I make feeling a cause of faith.

Show me what sins hide thee from me
and eclipse thy love;
Help me to humble myself for past evils,
to be resolved to walk with more care,
For if I do not walk holily before thee,
how can I be assured of my salvation?

It is the meek and humble
who are shown thy covenant,
know thy will, are pardoned and healed,
who by faith depend and rest upon grace,
who are sanctified and quickened,
who evidence thy love.
Help me to pray in faith and so find thy will,
by leaning hard on thy rich free mercy,
by believing thou wilt give
what thou hast promised;
Strengthen me to pray with the conviction
that whatever I receive is thy gift,
so that I may pray until prayer be granted;
Teach me to believe that all degrees of mercy arise
from several degrees of prayer,
that when faith is begun it is imperfect
and must grow,
as chapped ground opens wider and wider
until rain comes.

So shall I wait thy will, pray for it to be done,
and by thy grace become fully obedient.

The Divine Will taken from The Valley of Vision - A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, Arthur Bennett, editor. ©The Banner of Truth Trust 1975, 2002

Ecclesiastes 7 (Geneva Bible)

1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Today’s exposition
is brought to us by
John Bunyan (1628-1688)

We began John Bunyan’s Exposition of Genesis on Lord’s Day 47. Chapter I began with: I. Of God, and II. Of the Persons or Substances in the Godhead. On Lord’s Day 48, we began III. Of the Creation of the World, which was continued on Lord’s Day 49. We continue with the creation of man, and the conlusion of chapter I…

III. Of the Creation of the World (Gen 1) (continued).

“And God said, Let us make man” (v 26).

I observe, that in the creation of the world, God goeth gradually on, from things less, to things more abundantly glorious; I mean, as to the creation of this earth; and the things that thereto appertain. First he bringeth forth a confused chaos, then he commands matter to appear distinct, then the earth bringeth forth trees, and herbs, and grass; after that beasts; and the sea, fowls; and last of all, Let us make man. Now passing by the doctrine of the trinity, because spoken to before, I come to make some observation upon this wonderful piece of the workmanship of God.

“Let us make man.” Man in whom is also included the woman, was made the last of the creatures. From whence we may gather,

God’s respect to this excellent creature, in that he first provideth for him, before he giveth him his being: He bringeth him not to an empty house, but to one well furnished with all kind of necessaries, having beautified the heaven and the earth with glory, and all sorts of nourishment, for his pleasure and sustenance.[4]

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

An image, or the likeness of any thing, is not the thing of which it is a figure; so here, Adam is an image, or made in the likeness of God. Now as Adam is the image of God, it must either respect him, as he consisteth of the soul, as a part; or as he consists of a body and soul together: If as he is made a reasonable soul, then he is an excellent image of the eternal Godhead, the attributes of the one being shadowed out by the qualities and passions of the other; for as there is in the Godhead, power, knowledge, love, and righteousness; so a likeness of these is in the soul of man, especially of man before he had sinned: And as there is passions of pity, compassion, affections, and bowels in man; so there are these in a far more infinite way in God.

Again, If this image respect the whole man, then Adam was a figure of God, as incarnate; or of God, as he was to be made afterwards man. And hence it is, that as Adam is called the image of God (Rom 5:14); so also is Christ himself called and reckoned as the answering antitype of such an image.

But again, Though Adam be here called the image or similitude of God; yet but so as that he was the shadow of a more excellent image. Adam was a type of Christ, who only is “the express image” of his Father’s person, and the likeness of his excellent glory (Heb 1:3). For those things that were in Adam, were but of a humane, but of a created substance; but those that were in Christ, of the same divine and eternal excellency with the Father.

Is Christ then the image of the Father, simply, as considered of the same divine and eternal excellency with him? Certainly, No: for an image is doubtless inferior to that of which it is a figure. Understand then, that Christ is the image of the Father’s glory, as born of the Virgin Mary, yet so, as being very God also: Not that his Godhead in itself was a shadow or image, but by the acts and doing of that man, every act being infinitely perfect by virtue of his Godhead, the Father’s perfections were made manifest to flesh. An image is to be looked upon, and by being looked upon, another thing is seen; so by the person and doings of the Lord Jesus, they that indeed could see him as he was, discovered the perfection and glory of the Father.—“Philip, He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9). Neither the Father nor the Son can by us at all be seen, as they are simply and entirely in their own essence. Therefore the person of the Father must be seen by us, through the Son, as consisting of God and man; the Godhead, by working effectually in the manhood, shewing clearly there through the infinite perfection and glory of the Father: “The word was made flesh, and - [then] we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, [He being in his personal excellencies, infinitely and perfectly, what is recorded of his Father,] full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). So again, he “is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). The Godhead is indeed invisible; how then is Christ the image of it? Not by being invisible also; for so is he as much hid as the Father; but being clothed with flesh, that the works of the Son might by us be seen, he thereby presenteth to us, as in a figure, the eternal excellency of the Father. And hence as he is called “an image,” he is also called “the first-born” of every creature (Col 1:18). His being a creature, respecting his manhood, and his birth, and his rising again from the dead. Therefore a little after, he is called, “the first-born from the dead” (v 19): And in another place, “the first-begotten of the dead” (Rev 1:5): And “the first-fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor 15:20). So then, though Adam was the image of God, yet God’s image but as a mere creature: But Christ though a creature as touching his manhood; yet being also God, as the Father, he shewed forth expressly, in capital characters, by all his works and doings in the world, the beauty and glory of the Father: “The light of the knowledge of the glory of God,” is given “in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). Where by face, we must understand that which is visible, that being open when all else is covered, and that by which most principally we are discovered to others, and known. Now as to the case in hand, this face must signify to us the personal virtues and doings of Christ, by which the glory of the Father is exposed; the glory of his justice, by Christ’s exactness of life; the glory of his love, by Christ’s compassion to sinners, &c.

Ver. 26. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

As Adam was a type of Christ, as the image and glory of God; so by these words he further showeth, that he was a type of his sovereign power; for to him be dominion and power everlasting (Heb 2:8,9), “to whom be praise and dominion for ever” (1 Peter 4:11; Jude 25). Now by the fish of the sea, the beasts of the earth, the fowls of the air, and every creeping thing, we may understand all creatures, visible and invisible, whether they be men, angels, or devils; in heaven, earth, or under the earth: also all thrones, authorities and powers, whether in heaven, in earth, or hell: Christ is made head over all; He hath also a name above every name, “not only in this world, but in that which is to come” (Eph 1:25).

Ver. 28. “And God blessed them; and God said unto them, [that is, to the man and his wife] Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it,” &c.

This in the type doth show, in the antitype, how fruitful Christ and his church shall be; and how he at last shall, all over the earth, have a seed to replenish and subdue it by the power of the immortal seed of the word of God: how his name shall be reverenced from one end of the earth to the other: how the kingdoms of the earth shall ALL at last become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.

“And subdue it.” God did put that majesty and dread upon Adam, at his creation, that all the beasts of the field submitted themselves unto him. As God also said to Noah, “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered” (Gen 9:2).

“And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth; and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (Gen 1:29).

These herbs and trees are types of the wholesome word of the gospel, on which both Christ, his church, and unconverted sinners, ought to feed and be refreshed; and without which thee is no subsisting either of one or the other: “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart” (Psa 104:14,15).

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (v 31).

All things have their natural goodness by creation. Things are not good, because they have a being only, but because God gave them such a being. Neither did God make them, because he saw they would attract a goodness to themselves; but he made them in such kind, as to bring forth that goodness he before determined they should. “And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

These entries are quite lengthy, I know. I am breaking Bunyan’s commentary into as small segments as I believe I can without losing continuity. I realize that many people lack the attention span to read them. I hope those of you who persevere to the end are blessed by the work of this great Puritan.

Heidelberg Catechism for Lord’s Day 50 from CoffeeSwirls.

Grace and peace to you this Lord’s Day.

2005-12-11 at 12:01 AM MT | |