Owen - BX9315 O81

IN THE CONTRIVANCE OP T tt He hath spoken unto us by his Son, who isthe bright- ness of his glory, and the express image of his person," Heb. i. 1, 2, 3. The consideration hereof, is suf- ficient to dispel all that darkness and confusion which fear, dread, and guilt do bring on the minds of men when they are invited to return unto God. That that God against whomwe have sinned, should speak unto us and treat with us in our own nature, about a return unto himself, is the utmost that divine excellencies could condescend unto. And as this was needful for us, (though proud men and senseless of sin understand it not,) so if it be refused, it will be attended with the sorest destruction, Heb. xii. 25. 2. This treaty principally consists in a divine decla- ration, that all the causes of fear and dread upon the account ofsin are removed and taken away. This is the substance of the gospel, as it is declared by the apostle, 2 Cora v. 18-21. Wherefore if hereon we refuse to return unto God, to make him the object of our faith, trust, love, and delight, it is not by reason of any old or former sin, not of that of our original a- postacy from God, nor of the effects of it against the law, but by themeans of a new sin, outdoing them all in guilt and contempt of God. Such is final unbelief a- gainst the proposal of the gospel. It hath more malig- nity in it, than alt other sins whatever. But, by this wayof our recovery, all cause of fear and dread is ta- ken away, all pretences of a distrust of the love and good will of God are defeated; so that if men will not hereon be recovered unto him, it is from their hatred of him, and enmity unto him, the fruits whereof they must feed on to. eternity. 3. Whereas, ifwe will return untoGod byfaith, n-a are also to return unto him in love; what greater mo- tive can there be unto this, than that infinite love of the Father and the Son unto us, which is gloriously dis- played in this way of our recovery? .See L John iv. 9, 10. Si amare, pigebat, saltem redamare nepigeat. 4. The whole race of mankind falling into sin against God, and apostacy from him, there was no example left untothem to manifest how excellent, how glorious and comely a thing it is to live unto God, to believe and trust in him, to cleave unto him unchangeably by love. For theywere utter: strangers unto what is done by an- gels above, nor could be affected with their example. But without a pattern of thesethings, manifesting their HE WORK OF REDEMPTION. 111 excellency and reward, they could not earnestly endea- vour to attain unto them. This is given us most con- spicuously in the human nature of Christ. See Heb. xii. 13. Hereby therefore every thing needful for our encouragement toreturn unto God, is in infinite wisdom . provided for, and proposed unto us. 5. Divine wisdom in the way of our recovery by Jesus: Christ, God manifest in the flesh, designed to ,r glorify a state of obedience unto God, and to cast the reproach of the most inexpressible folly on the relinquishment of that state by sin." For as God would recover and re- store us, so he would do it in a way of obedience on . our part, of that obedience which he had forsaken.. The design of man, which was imposed on him by the craft of Satan, was to become wise like unto God, knowing good and evil. The folly of this endeavour was quickly discovered in its effects. Sense of naked- ness, with shame, misery, and death, immediately en- sued thereon. But divine wisdom thought meet to aggravate the re- proach ofthis folly. Hewould-let us see wherein the true knowledge of good-and evil did consist, and how fool- ishly we had aspired unto it by a relinquishment of than state ofobedience wherein we were created. Job xxviii. from ver. 12. unto theend ofthe chapter,. there is an inquiry after wisdom and the place of its habitation, All creatures give an account, that is is not in them, that it is hid from them, only they have heard the fame thereof. All the context is to evince, that itis essentially and originally only in God himself. But if we cannot comprehend it in itself, yet may we notknow what is wisdom unto us, and what is required thereunto? yes, snub het « For unto man he said, Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil, that is understanding," ver. 28. Man, on the other hand, by the suggestion of Satan thought, and now of himself continues to think otherwise, namely, that the way to be wise is to relinquish these things. The world . will not be persuaded that the fear of the Lord is wis- dom, and to depart from evil is understanding. Yea, there is nothing that the most of men do more despise and scorn, than thoughts, that true wisdom Both consist in faith, love, fear, and obedience unto God; see Peal. xiv. 6. Whatever else may be pleaded to be in it, yet sure - enough they are, and those who count it misdom,.are. -but fools.