Owen - BX9315 O81

wirtnet614. THE d is the highest blasphemy to apply unto any other but Jesus Christ alone. He therefore is alone that founda- tion which God hath laid in and of the church, see Psalm cxviii. 22. Matth. xxi. 42. Mark xii. 10. Luke xx. 17. Acts iv. 11. 1 Pet. ii. 4. Eph. ii. 20, 21, 22. Zech. iii. 9. Hf10.CÌf ì3 ßt1ILT. ^/ But this fundamental truth of Christ being the only foundation of the church, is so expressly determined by the apostle St. Paul, as not to need any farther confir- mation, 1 Cor. iii. 11. F'or otherfoundationcart no man lay, but that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. CHAP. II. OPPOSITION MADE UNTO THE CHURCH AS BUILT ON THE PERSON OF CHRIST. THESE 1;. H are in the words of our Saviour unto Peter, concerning the foundation of the church, a promise of its preservation, and aprediction of the opposition that should be made thereunto. And accordingly all things are come to pass, and carrying on towards a complete accomplishment. For (that we may begin with theop position foretold) the power and policy ofhell ever were, and ever will be engaged in opposition unto the church built onthisfoundation ; that is, the faith of it concerning his person, office, and grace, whereby it is built onhim. This, as unto what is past concerning matter of fact; whereof therefore I. must give a brief account; and then` we shall examine what evidences we have of the same endeavour at present. The gates ofhell, as all agree, are the power and po- licy of it; or the actings of Satan both as a lion, and as a serpent, by rage, and by subtilty. But whereas in these hings he acts not visibly in his own person, but by his gents, he bath always had two sorts of them employed his service. By the one he executes his rage, and by the other his craft; he animates the one as a lion, the other as a serpent: in the one he acts as the dragon, in the other as the beast that had two horns like the lamb, but spoke like the dragon. The first is the unbelieving world, the Other apostates and seducers of all sorts. Wherefore his work in this kind is of a double nature; the one an effect of his power and rage, acted by the world in persecution, the other of his policy and craft, acted by heretics in seduction. In both he designs to separate the church from its foundation. The opposition of the first sort he began against the person of Christ immediately in his human na- ture. Fraud he first once attempted in his temptation, Matth. iv. but quickly found that that way he could make no approach unto him. The princeof this world came, but had nothing in him. Wherefore he betook himself unto openforce, andby all means possible sought his destruction; so also the more at any time thechurch is by faith and watchfulness secured against seduction, the more doth he rage against it in open persecution. And for the example and comfort of the church, in its con- formity unto him, no means were left unattempted that might instigate and prepare the world for his ruin. Reproaches, contempt, scorn, false and lying accusations by his suggestions, were heaped on him on every hand. Hereby in the whole course of his ministry, he endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, Heb. xii. 3. And there is herein blessed provision made of inestim- able consolation, for all those who are predestinated to be conformed unto his image, when God shall help them by faith to make use of his example. He calls them to take up his cross andfollow him; and he hath shewed them what is in it by his own bearing of it. Contempt, reproach, despiteful usage, calumnies, false accusations, wrestings of his words, blaspheming of bis doctrine, re_ vilings of his person, all that he said and did as to his principles about human government, and moral conver- sation, encompassed him all his days. And he bath as- sured his followers, that such and no other, at least for the most part, shall be their lot in this world. And some in all ages have an experience of it in an eminent man- ner. But have they any reason to complain? why should theservantlook for better measure than the Master met withal? To be made like unto him in the worst of evils, for his sake, is the best and most honourable condition in this world. God help some to believe it. Hereby was way made for his death. Butin the whole it was manifested, how infinitely in all his subtilty and