I got interrupted in reading John Owen’s The Glory of Christ a few months ago and decided to start over. So far, it seems to be a good thing. At the same time, I’m starting to do a very long term study of Colossians. I think that the two go together well, and Owen’s book will help put me in a right frame of mind as I go about studying a book that has some stellar passages about the glory of Christ and contemplating Him. I want to first of all quote the book’s Preface and then a quote on the benefits of contemplating His glory, which is what the book is really about.
The design of the ensuing Discourse is to declare some part of that glory of our Lord Jesus Christ which is revealed in the Scripture, and proposed as the principal object of our faith, love, delight, and admiration. But, alas! after our utmost and most diligent inquiries, we must say, How little a portion is it of him that we can understand! His glory is incomprehensible, and his praises are unutterable. Some things an illuminated mind may conceive of it; but what we can express in comparison of what it is in itself, is even less than nothing. But as for those who have forsaken the only true guide herein, endeavouring to be wise above what is written, and to raise their contemplations by fancy and imagination above Scripture revelation (as many have done), they have darkened counsel without knowledge, uttering things which they understand not, which have no substance or spiritual food of faith in them.
Howbeit, that real view which we may have of Christ and his glory in this world by faith,—however weak and obscure that knowledge which we may attain of them by divine revelation, — is inexpressibly to be preferred above all other wisdom, understanding, or knowledge whatever. So it is declared by him who will be acknowledged a competent judge in these things. “Yea, doubtless,” saith he, “I count all these things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” He who does not so has no part in him.
The revelation made of Christ in the blessed Gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness, than the whole creation and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without the knowledge hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.
How many people there are that make up their own gospels and make God into who they want him to be, and not even look at the revealed Christ, who is the image of the real God? Most people who go to church services are embarrassed to even talk about Jesus.
Believers always have room for improvement too. It can be difficult to spend sufficient time with Scripture, and good teaching of the past and present, compared to the other things that clamour for our attention, whether it’s media or our own thoughts. Some have been able to avoid too much of the other distractions, and by striving with God’s grace, I would like to come even closer to that ideal as time goes on.
The constant contemplation of the glory of Christ will give rest, satisfaction, and complacency unto the souls of them who are exercised therein. Our minds are apt to be filled with a multitude of perplexed thoughts; — fears, cares, dangers, distresses, passions, and lusts, do make various impressions on the minds of men, filling them with disorder, darkness, and confusion. But where the soul is fixed in its thoughts and contemplations on this glorious object, it will be brought into and kept in a holy, serene, spiritual frame. For “to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.” And this it does by taking off our hearts from all undue regard unto all things below, in comparison of the great worth, beauty, and glory of what we are conversant withal. See Phil. 3:7–11 [and Col. 3:1-4]. A defect herein makes many of us strangers unto a heavenly life, and to live beneath the spiritual refreshments and satisfactions that the Gospel does tender unto us.
–John Owen, The Glory of Christ – For those who find Owen hard to read, this edition is abridged, although I’m not familiar with it.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
For God So Loved The World