Owen - BX9315 O81

102 HUMBLE INQUIRY INTO THE INFINITE WISDOM OF OOD, of the law as becoming the holiness of God, and as an whole creation below, should for ever go unpunished? effect thereof, could not be made manifest. For if it were never kept in any instance, never fulfilled by any one person in the world, howshould the glory of it be declared? how should the holiness of God be represent- ed by it? how should it be evident that the transgres- sion of it was not rather from some defect in the law it- self, than from anyevil in them that should have yield- ed obedience unto it? The obedience yielded by the an- gels that stood and sinned not, made it manifest that the transgression of it by them that fell and sinned, was from their own wills, andnotfrom anyunsuitableness un- to their nature and state in the law itself. But if the law given unto man should " never be complied withal in perfect obedience by any one whatever," it might be thought that the law itself was unsuited unto our na- ture, and impossible to be complied withal. Nor did it become infinite wisdom to give a law, whose equity, righteousness, and holiness should never be exemplified in obedience: should never be made to appear, but in the punishment inflicted on its transgressors. Where- fore the originallaw of personal righteousness,was not given solely nor primarily, that men might suffer justly for its transgression, but that God might be glorified in its accomplishment. If this be not done, it is impos- sible that men should be restored unto the glory of God. If the law be not fulfilled by obedience, man must suf- fer evermoreforhis disobedience, or God must lose the manifestation of his holiness therein. Besides, God hadrepresented his holiness in that image of it which was implanted in our nature, and which was the princi- pleenabling us unto obedience. This also was reject- ed by sin, and therein the holiness of God despised. If this be notrestored in our nature, and thatwith advan- tages above what it had in its first communication, we cannot be recovered unto the glory of God. 2.. It was necessary, that the disorder brought into the rule and government of God by sin and rebellion should be rectified. Thiscould no otherwise be done but by the infliction of that punishment, which in the unalter- able rule and standard of divine justice, was due there - untos The dismission of sin on-any other terms, would leave the rule of. God under unspeakable dishonour and confusion. For where is the righteousness of govern- ment, if the highest sin and provocation that our nature was capable of and which brought confusion on the The first express intimation that God gave of his right- eousness in the government of mankind, was, his threat- ening a punishment equal unto the demerit of disobe- dience, if man should fall into it. " In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die." Ifherevoke anddisannul this sentence, how shall the glory of his righteousness in the rule of all be made known? But how this punish- ment should beundergone, which consisted in man's ev ternal ruin, and yet man be eternally saved, was a work for divine wisdom to contrive. This therefore was necessary unto the honour of God's righteousness, as he is the supreme Governor and Judge of all the earth. 8. It was necessary that Satan should be justly des- poiledof his advantage and power over mankind unto the glory of God. For hewas not to be leftto triumph in his success. And inasmuch as man was on his part rightfully given up unto him, his deliverancewas not to be wrought by an act of absolute dominion and pow- er, but in away of justice and lawful judgment; which things shall be afterwards spoken unto. Without these things the recoveryof mankind into the favour and unto the enjoyment of God was ut- terly impossible, on the account of the concernment of the glory of his divine perfections in our sin and a- postasy. How all this might be effected; how the glory of the holiness and righteousness of God in his law and rule, and in the primitive constitution of our nature, might be repaired; how his goodness, love, grace, and mercy might be manifested and exalted in this work of the reparation of mankind, was left unto the care and con- trivance of infinite wisdom. From the eternal springs thereof, must this work arise, or cease for ever. To trace some of the footsteps of divine wisdom here- in, in and from the revelation of it by its effects, is that which lieth before us. And sundry things appear to have been necessary hereunto. As, I. That all the things required unto our restoration, the whole work wherein they consist, must be wrought in our own nature, in the nature that had sinned, and which was tobe restored and brought unto glory. On supposition, I say, of the salvation of our nature, no satisfaction can be made unto the glory of God for the sinof that nature, but in the nature itself that sinned,