Owen - BX9315 O81

100 HUMBLE INgUIRY INTO THE INFINITE WISDOM OF GOD, in the same kind to return thereunto. This indeed was of apostasy. For he was wholly alienated from the life that which Satan deceived and deluded him withal; namely, that by his diobedience he should acquire new light and power which he had not yet received; he should be like unto God. But he was so Mr from any advantage by his apostasy, that one part of his misery consisted in the loss of all power or ability to live to God. This is the folly of that Pelagian heresy, which is now a third time attempting to impose itselfon the Christian world. It supposeth that men have a power of their own to return unto God, after they had lost the power theyhad of abiding with him. It is not indeed as yet pretended by many, that the first sin was a mere tran- sient act, that no way vitiated our nature, or impaired the power, faculty, or principle of obedience in us. A wound, they say, a disease, a weakness it brought upon us, and rendered us legally obnoxious unto death tem- poral, which we were naturally liable unto before. Wherefore it is not said that men can return unto that perfect obedience which the law required; but that they can comply with, and perform that which the gospel re- quireth in the room thereof. For they seem to sup- pose, that the gospel is not much more but an accom- modation of the rule of obedience unto our present rea- son and abilities, with some motives unto it, and an example for it in the personal obedience and suffer- ing of Christ. For whereas man forsook the lawof o- bedience first prescribed unto him, and fell into various incapacities of observing it, God did not, as they sup- pose, provide in and by the gospel a righteousness where- by the lawmight be fulfilled, and of ectual grace to raise up the nature of man unto the performance of accepta- ble obedience; but only brings down the law and the rule of it into a compliance unto our weakened, diseases ed, depraved nature; than which, if any thing can be spoken more dishonourably of the gospel, I know it not. However, this pretended power of returning unto some kind of obedience, but not that which was required of us in our primitive condition, is no way sufficientunto our restoration, as is evident unto all. 2. As man could not effect his own recovery, so he would not attempt it. For he was fallen into that con- dition wherein, in the principles of all his moral ope- rations, he was at enmity against God; and whatever did befal him, he would choose to continue in his state of God. He likes it not, as that which is incompliant with his dispositions, inclinations, and desires, as in- consistent with every thing wherein he placeth his in- terest. And hence, as he cannot do what he should through impotency, he will not do even what he can through obstinacy. It may be we know net distinctly what toascribe unto man's impotency, and what unto his obstinacy. But between both he neither cah nor will return unto God. And his power unto good, though not sufficient to bring him again unto God, yet is it not so small but that he always chooseth not to make use of it unto that end. In brief, there was left in man a fear of divine power, a fear ofGod because ofhis greatness, which makes him do many things, which otherwise Ile would not do; but there is not left in him any love unto divine goodness, without which he cannot choose to re- turn unto God. S. But let us leave these things which men will dis- pute about, though in express contradiction unto the scripture, and the experience of them that are wrought . upon to believe; and let as make an impossible supposi- tion, that man could and would return unto his primi- tive obedience; yet no reparation of the glory of God, suffering in the loss of the former state of all things, would thereon ensue. What satisfaction would be here- by made for the injury offered unto the holiness, right- eousness, andwisdom of God, whose violation in their blessed effects was the principal evil of sin? Notwith- standing such a supposition, all the disorder that was brought into the rule and government of God by sin, with the reflection of dishonour upon him, in the rejec- tion of his image, would still continue. And such a restitution of things, wherein no provision is made for the reparation of the glory of God, is not to be admit- ted. The notion of it may possibly please men in their apostate condition, wherein they are wholly turned off from God, and into self; not caring what becomes of his glory, so it may go well with themselves. But it is . highly contradictory unto all equity, justice, and the whole reasón of things, wherein the glory of God is the principle and centre of all. Practically things are otherwise among many. The most profligate sinners in theworld, that have aconvic- tion of an eternal condition, would besaved. Tell them it is inconsistent with the glory of the holiness, right-