Owen - BX9315 O81

IN THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST.. 99 and hadput himselfinto the society, and under the con- duct of the devil; what dishonour would it have been unto God, what diminution would therehave been of his glory, ifhe had left him unto his own choice, to eat for ever of the fruit of his own ways, and to be filled with his own devices unto eternity? It is only infinite wisdom that could find out a way for the salvation of anyone ofthe wholerace of mankind, so as that it might be reconciled unto the glory of his holiness, righteous- ness, and rule. Wherefore, as we ought always to ad- mire sovereign grace in the few that shall be saved; so we have no ground to reflect on divine goodness in the multitudes that perish, especially considering that they all voluntarily continue in their sin and apostasy. 2. I grant the nature of manwas not reparable nor recoverable, by any such actings of the properties of God as he had exerted in the creation and rule of all things. Were there not other properties of the divine nature than what were discovered and revealed in the creation of all; were not some of them sodeclared ca- pable of an exercise in another way or in higher degrees than what they had as yet been instanced in, it must be acknowledged that the reparation of mankind couldnot be conceived compliant with the divine excellencies, nor to be effected by them. I shall give one instance in each sort, namely, first in properties of another kind than any which had been manifested in the works of creation, and then the actingsofsome of them so mani- fested, in another way, or farther degree than what they were before exerted in or by. (1.) Of the first sort, are love, grace, and mercy, which I refer unto one head, their nature being the same, as they have respect unto sinners. For although these were noneof them manifested in the works of creation, yet are they no less essential properties of the divine nature, than either power, goodness or wisdom. With these it was that the reparation of our nature was compliant, unto them it had a condecency, and the glory of them infinite wisdom designedt herein. That wisdom on which it is incumbent to provide for the ma- nifestation of all the other properties of God's nature, contrived this work unto the glory of his love, mercy, and grace, as in the gospel it is every where declared. (2.) Of the second sort is divine goodness. This, as the communicative property of the divine nature, had exerted itself in the creation ofall things. Howbeit, it had not done so perfectly, it had not done so to the ut- termost. But the nature of goodness being communi- cative, it belongs unto its perfection, to act itself unto the uttermost. This it had not yet done in the crea- tion. Therein God made man, and acted his goodness in the communication of our being unto us, with all its endowments. But there yet remained another effect of it, which was, that God should be made man, as the way unto, and the means of our recovery. These things being premised, we proceed to enquire more particularly by what way and means the recovery of mankind might be wrought, so as that Godmight be glorified thereby. Iffallen man be restored and reinstated in his primi- tive condition, or brought into a better, it must either be by himself, or by some other undertaking for him. For it must be done by some means or other. So great an alteration in the whole state of things was made by the entrance of_sin, that it was not consistent with the glory of any of the divine excellencies, that a restoration of all things should be made by a mere act of power, without the use of any means for the removal of the cause of that alteration. That man himself could not be this means, that is, that hecould not restore himself, is openly evident. Two ways there were whereby he might attempt it, and neither jointly nor severally could he do any thing in them. 1. He might do it by returning unto obedience unto Godof his own accord. He fell off from God of his own accord by disobedience through the suggestion of Satan. Wherefore a voluntary return unto his former obedience, would seem to reduce all things unto their first estate. But this way was both impossible, and, upon a supposition of it, would have been insufficient unto the end designed, For, I. This he could not do. Hehad by his sin and fall lost that power wherebyhe was able to yield any accept- able obedience unto God. And a return unto obedience is an act of greater power than a persistency in the way and course of it, and more is required thereunto. But all man's original power of obedience consisted in the image of God, This he had defaced in himself, and deprived himself of. Having therefore lost that power which should have enabled him to live unto God in his primitive condition, he could not retaina greater power