Owen - BX9315 O81

96 HUMBLE INQUIRY INTO THE the law of the nature of all things, and their relation un- to him; but it was necessary from his divine being and excellencies,. that so he should do. Wherefore it con- cerned both the wisdom and righteousnessof God, to take care that either all things should be preserved in the state wherein they were created, and no disorder be suffered to enter into the kindom and rule of God, or that in a way suited unte them, his glory should be re- trieved and re-established. For God is not the God of confusion, neither the author nor approver of it, nei- ther inhis works, nor in his rule. But sinactually brought disorder into the kingdom and rule of God. And this it did not in any one particular instance, but that which was universal as unto all things here below. For theo. riginal harmony and order of all things consisted in their subordination unto the glory of God. But this they all lost, as was before declared. Hence he who looked on them in their first constitution, and to mani- fest his complacency in them, affirmed them to be ex- ceeding good, immediately on the entrance of sin, pro- nounced a curse on the whole earth, and all things con- tained therein. To suffer this disorder to continue unrectifled, was not consistent with the wisdom and righteousness of God. It would make the kingdom of God, to be like that of Satan, full of darknessand confusion. Nothing is more necessary unto the good of the universe, and without which it were better it were annihilated, than the preservationof the honour of God in his govern, ment. And this could no otherwise be done, but by the infliction of a punishment proportionable in justice un- to the demerit of sin. Some think this might be done by a free dismission of sin, or a passing it over without any punishment at all.. But what evidence should we then have that good and evil were not alike, and almost equal unto God in his rule; that he doti; not like sin as well as uprightness? Nor would this supposition leave any grounds of exercising justice among men. For if God in his rule of all things dismissed the greatest sin without any penalty inflicted, what reason have we to judge that evils among ourselves should at all be pun- ished? That therefore be far from God, that the righ- teous should be as the wicked; shall not the Judge of all the world do right? Wherefore the order of God's rule being broken, as it consisted in the regular obedienceof the creature, and INFINITE WISDOM OF GOD, disorder with confusionbeing brought thereby into the kingdom and government of God; his righteousness as it is the rectoral virtue and power of the divine nature, required that his glory should be restored, by reducing the sinning creature again into order by punishment. Justice therefore must be answered and complied withal herein, according unto its eternal and unanswerablelaw, in a way suited unto the glory of God, or the sinning creature mast perish eternally. Herein the righteousness of Godas the rectoral virtue of the divine nature, was concerned in the sin andapes tacy of men. The vindication and glory of it, to pro- vide, that in nothing it were eclipsed or diminished, was incumbent on infinite wisdom according unto the rule before laid down. That must direct and dispose of all things anew unto the glory of the righteousness of God, or there is no recovery of mankind. And in our in- quiry after the impressions of divine wisdom, on the great and glorious means of our restoration under con- sideration, this provision made thereby for the righte- ousness of God in his rule and governmentof all, is greatly to be attended unto. Fourthly, Man by sin put himself into the power ofMe devil, God's greatest adversary. The devil had newly by rebellion and apostacy from his firstcondition, cast himselfunder the eternal displeasureand wrath of God. God had righteously purposed in himself, not to spare him, nor contrive any way forhis deliverance unto eter- nity. He on the other side was become obdurate in his malice and hatred of God, designinghis dishonour and the impeachment of his glory with the utmost of his re- maining abilities. In this state of things, man volunta- rily leaves the rule and conduct of God, with all his dependance upon him, and puts himself into the pow- er of the devil. For he believed Satan above God, that is, placed hisfaith and confidencein him, as unto the way of attainingblessedness and true happiness. And in whom we place our trust and confidence, themdo we o- bey, whatever we profess. Herein did God's adversary seem for aseason to triumph against him, as if he had defeated the great design ofhis goodness, wisdom, and power. So be would have continued to do, if no way had been provided for his disappointment. This therefore also belonged unto the care of divine wisdom, namely, that the glory of God in none of the