Monday, July 04, 2011

A bride knows her husband. We know the Lord

(Hosea 2:20).

It is a fruit of the conjugal union betwixt Christ and the soul. When a man and his wife are but suitors they do not communicate their secrets one to another; but when they are married they open all their hearts. There is no secret but they will disclose one to another. So says God, when I am once married to you, I will even open my whole heart to you.

A man in the dark may know where he is but feeling, he may discover the length and thickness of many things in the house, but when the light of the day comes, he knows what there is in the room in another manner than he did in the dark: this is the difference between knowledge of God in a natural man, and the knowledge of one espoused to Christ.

By his natural knowledge he may understand the history of the gospel, and have some general notions of God, and of Christ; but when the Sun of righteousness arises, he sees the excellency and glory of God shining in all his attributes, he sees that in Christ which draws his heart unto him in an everlasting covenant. As we read, Song 7:5, Christ 'is held in the galleries' that is Christ, as soon as he is married to the soul takes her, as it were, by the and and walks in the galleries, and there opens his heart unto her. There is many a sweet turn that a gracious heart has with Christ in his ordinances, wherein Christ opens his whole soul unto it.

According to the capacity of the soul, so Christ makes known to it what he has heard of the Father. Certainly Christ has heard great things of the Father; he is the wisdom of the Father; he has been with the Father from all eternity; and the Father loves him, he will tell him all the glorious things he has in his heart, and Christ will hide none of those things from his saints! This is the privilege of a saint.

Yea, and Christ makes God known to the saints in another way than others know him... when God makes known himself to his people he reveals things to their ear, as we to a friend who is intimate with us. Many a secret Jesus Christ speaks in the ears of his saints, with which others are never made acquainted. 2 Cor 4:6 "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." It would require time for fully opening the gradations of this scripture; here is 'knowledge' and 'the knowledge of the glory of God' and 'the light of the knowledge of the glory of God' and 'shining' and 'shining into our hearts' and 'into our hearts in the face of Jesus Christ'.

Surely, they shall know the Lord, and they shall know him in a very spiritual way. The light of the saints is a light three stories high. First, they have the light of reason which other men have. Secondly, they have the light of common gifts which other men have too, and that is story higher than the other. Thirdly, they have the light of a sanctifying Spirit, that is a third loft, and they shall come to a fourth story, and that is the light of glory.

They know God as their God. Great is the excellency of this knowledge, the soul has blessed satisfaction in it. Show us the Father, and it suffices. The sanctification of the heart by the presence of the beams of the glory of God, transforming it into the same image, is the very beginning of eternal life.

What superior means have we to know God than the heathens had! The Roman histories describe the poor and mean ways those wise men took to know God; as thus, they would look into the entrails of beats, thereby to find out the minds of their gods; they would observe how the beats came to the slaughter, whether willingly or unwillingly; they would observe the fire of their sacrifices, whether the flame ascended right or not: thus they attempted to ascertain the mind of their gods. What poor ways are these!

We have Jesus Christ, God blessed for ever, the eternal Son of the Father, who is come from the bosom of the Father, to make known to us the mind of God, his and our Father. We know the truth as it is in Jesus, Eph 4:21, not only as it is in the works of nature. Some know much of God in the works of creation and providence and we may learn much of God in those great things which the Lord has lately done amongst us, but to know the truth as it is in Jesus, to know God in Christ, is another kind of knowledge that to know God in the way of his works. Here we see the truth really, when we see it in Christ Jesus.

Certainly, then, no one united to Christ in a conjugal union can be an ignorant sot, for Christ engages himself in his faithfulness, upon this marriage of a soul with himself, to reveal himself and the Father unto it. John 8:54, 'of whom you say he is your God' but mark the next words ' yet you have not known him'. A likely matter, that he should be your God, and you not know him! a likely matter, that Christ should be your Saviour, and you not know him, seeing he has engaged himself in his faithfulness, that if you be married to him you shall know him and his Father!

Jeremiah Burroughs, An Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea, Chapter 2:19-20, p177-178.


  1. Interesting stuff. Bit like Luther's three lights but with more emphasis on Spiritual experience.

    I don't quite understand what he means by "light of common gifts" in distinction from "light of reason". Any light to shed?

  2. I'm not sure he elaborates on that!I imagine he's talking about the sun shining, the air being breathable, having basic provisions of life as gifts. Which is a bit different from the basic ability to think which I assume is his first level...