Owen - BX9315 O81

98 BUMBLE INQUIRY INTO THE INFINITE WISDOM OF GOD, fall out as it were accidentally, without divine provision and disposal, would argue a defect in wisdom, and a possibility of a surprise] into the loss of the whole glory he designed in the creation of all things. And to have it a mere effect of divine ordination and disposal, is as little consistent with his goodness. Wherefore the same nature which sinned and perished in the angels that fell, abideth in the enjoyment of God, in those myriads of blessed spirits, which left not their first habitation. The nature of man was in like manner made capable of the eternal enjoyment of God. This was the end for which it was created, unto the glory of him by whom it was made. For it became the divine wisdom and goodness, to give unto every thing an operation and end suited unto its capacity. And these in this race of in- tellectual creatures, were to live unto God, and to come unto the eternal enjoyment ofhim. This operationand end their nature beingcapable of, they being suited un- to it, unto them it was designed. But sin entered them -also; we also sinned, and came short of the glory of God. The inquiry hereon is, whether it became the divine goodness and wisdom, that this whole nature in all that were partakers of it, should fail and come short of that end for which alone it was made of God. For whereas the angels stood in their primitive condition every one in his own individual person, the sin of some did not prejudice others, who did not sin actually them- selves. But the whole race ofmankind stood all in one common head and state; from whom theywere to be e- duced and derived by natural generation. The sin and apostasy of that one person, was the sin and apostasyof us all. In him all sinned and died. Wherefore unless there be a recovery made of them, or of some from a- rmingthem, that whole species ofintellectualnature, the whole kind of it, in all its individuals, which was made capable of doing the will of God, so as tocome unto the eternal fruition of him, must be eternally lost and ex- cluded from it. This, we may say, became not thewis- dom andgoodness of God, no more than it would have done to have suffered the whole angelical nature in all its individuals to have perished for ever. No created understanding could have been able to discern the glory of God in such a dispensation, whereby it would have had no glory. That the whole nature in all the indivi- duals of it, which was framed by the power of God out of nothing, and madewhat it was for this very end, that it might glorify him, and come unto the enjoyment of him, should eternally perish, if any wayof relief for any portion of it were possible unto infinite wisdom, doth not give an amiable representation of the divine excel- lencies unto us. It was therefore left on the provision of infinitewis- dom, that this great effect of recovering a portion of fal- len mankind out of this miserable estate, wherein there was a suitableness, a condecency unto the divine excellencies, should be produced. Only it was to be done on and by a free act of the will ofGod; for otherwise there was no obligation on him from many of his properties so to do. But it may be yet said on the other side, that the na. tureof man was so defiled, so depraved, so corrupted, so alienated andseparated from God, so obnoxious un- to the curse by its sin and apostasy, that it was not re- parable to the glory of God; and therefore it would not argue any defect in divine power, nor any unsuita- bleness unto divine wisdom and goodness, ifit were not actually repaired and restored. I answer two things. 1. The horible nature of the first sin, and the hei- nousness of our apostasy from God therein, were such and so great, as that God thereon might, righteously and suitably unto all the holy properties of his nature, leave mankind to perish eternally in that condition whereinto they had cast themselves. And if he had ut- terly forsaken the whole race of mankind in that con- dition, and left them all as remediless as the fallen an- gels, there could have been no reflection on his good- ness, and an evident suitableness unto his justice andho- liness. Wherefore wherever there is any mention in the scripture of the redemption or restoration of man- kind, it is constantly proposed as an effect of a, mere sovereign grace and mercy." See Eph. 3 II. And those who pretend a great difficulty at present in the re- conciliation of the eternal perishing of the greatest part of mankind, with those notions we have of the divine goodness, seem not to have sufficiently considered what was contained in our original apostasy fromGod; nor the righteousness of God in dealing with the angels that sinned. For when man had voluntarily broken all the relation of love and moral good between God and him, had defaced his image, the only representation of his holiness and righteousness in this lower world, and de- prived him of all his glory from the works of his hands,