Thomas Goodwin: “Now, as Christ is thus in regard of his person and works the liveliest image and representation of God’s glorious riches, which is otherwise invisible; so is the gospel the image of Christ, who otherwise should be invisible to us in this life. When he dwelt with men, the apostles and believers who saw and heard him and his works, saw his glory then, ‘as of the only begotten Son of God,’ John 1:14. But Christ was to be taken up to glory, John 16:7, ‘It is necessary that I go away.’ And though we shall see him when we are taken up also; see his glory which he had before the world was, John 17:24, yet how should believers do in the mean time to see him, and the riches of God’s glory in him?
Therefore hath God framed and revealed the doctrine of the gospel, in the preaching of which, Gal. 3:1, Christ is said to be evidently set forth or pictured, proegrafh, before our eyes. And as he is the liveliest image of God, so the gospel is the liveliest representation of Christ that could possibly be made, for it is a glass, 2 Cor. 3:18, and a glass is the liveliest way of representing things absent that over could be invented, not in dead and lifeless colours only, which pictures only do. And indeed it is a middle way of representing a man, from that either when we see his person directly before our eyes, or when we see his picture drawn in colours; for though it be less clear and perfect than seeing the man himself, yet is more lively than all the pictures in the world; for quod videtur in speculo non est imago, it is more than a bare image which is seen in a glass, even the person himself, though by a reflex and reverberated species, that is his likeness beaten back again to the eyes, which otherwise when we behold him face to face is received more directly; and therefore is a more obscure and imperfect way of seeing a man than to see him face to face, as the apostle says, 1 Cor. 13:1, 2, as in heaven we shall do Christ, yet in the mean time this puts down all the pictures in the world. And such is the knowledge of Christ under and by the gospel, in comparison of that knowledge which was had of him under and by the ceremonial law, Heb. 10:1, which he calls the ‘shadow,’ those representations under the gospel, ‘the image of good things to come;’ which the apostle calls but a shadow of him, Col. 2:17, drawn in wan and lifeless colours, and of that sight and knowledge we shall have of him in heaven, when we shall see him as he is; this knowledge of him in the glass of the gospel is as a middle way of seeing him between both, less lively than the one, yet infinitely more bright and real than the other, even as I said before, that the image of God in Christ which shineth in his works of mediation is a middle image or representation between that which shone in Adam and that which is substantial in his person.”