Owen - BX9315 O81

IN THE CONTRIVANCE OF THE WORK OF REDEMPTION. 117 of these things? How are the studies, the abilities, the time, and diligence of many excellent persons engaged in, and laid out about the works of nature, and the ef- fects of divine wisdom and power in them, by whom any endeavour to inquire into this glorious mystery is ne- glected, if not despised? Alas, the light ofdivine wis- dom in the greatest works of nature, holds not thepro- portion of the meanest star unto the sun in its full strength, unto that glory of it which shines in this mys- tery of God manifest in the flesh, and the work accom- plished thereby. A little time shall put an end unto the whole subject of their inquiries, with all the con- cernment of God and man in them for evermore. This alone is that which fills up eternity, and which, al- though it be now with some as nothing, yet will shortly be all. Is it not muçh more to be lamented, that many who are called Christians do even despise these mysteries? Someoppose them directly, with pernicious heresies a- bout the person of Christ, denying his divine nature, or the personal union of his two natures, whereby the whole mystery of infinite wisdom is evacuated and re- jected. And some there are, who, though they do not deny the truth ofthis mystery, yet they both despise and reproach such as with any diligence endeavour to en- quire into it. 1 shall add the words used on an alike oc- casion, unto them that sincerely believe the mysteries of the gospel: « But ye beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life." And the doe contemplation of this mystery will certainly be attended with many spiritual advantages. 1. It will bring in stedfastness iu believing, as unto the especial concerns of our own souls; so as to give un- to God the glory that is his due thereon. This is the work, these are the endsoffaith, Rom. v. 1 -5. Wesee how many Christians who aresincere believers, yet floc. ttate in their minds with great uncertainties as unto their own state and condition. The principal reason of it is, because they are unskilful in the word of right- eousness, and so are babes, in a weak condition, as the apostle speaks, Heb. v. 13. This is the way ofspiritual peace. When the soul of a believer is able to take a viewof the glory of thewisdom of God, exalt- ing all the other holy properties of his nature in this Gg great mystery unto our salvation, it will obviate all fears, remove all objections, and be a means of bringing in as- sured peace into the mind; which, without a due com- prehension of it, will never be attained. 2. The acting of faith hereon, is that which is accom- panied with its great power tochange and transform the soul into the image and likeness of Christ. So it is ex- pressed by the apostle, 2 Cor. iii. 18. e, We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." We all, beholding; sssos-sq.0eires not taking a transient glance of these things, but diligently inspecting them, as those do who through a glass design a steady view of things at a dis- tance. That which we are thus to behold by the con- tinued actings of faith in holy contemplation, is the « glory of the Lord in the face ofJesus Christ," as it is expressed chap. iv. ver. 6. which is nothing but that mystery ofgodliness, in whose explanation we have been engaged. And what is the effect of the steady contem- plation ofthis mystery by faith? ¡cvraaeggxpe9a, we are changed, made quite other creatures than we were, cast into the form, figure, and image of Jesus Christ, the great design of all believers in this world. Would we then be like unto Christ? woúl:` we bear the image of the heavenly, as wehave bortee be image of the earthy? is nothing so detestable unto - us as the d?formed image of the old man, in all the lusts'.of the mind and of the flesh? is nothing so amiable and desirable as the image' of Christ, and the representation of God in him? this is the means of attaining the end which we aim at. 3. Abounding in this duty, is the most effectualmeans offreeing us, in particular, from the shame and baneof profession in earthly mindedness. There is nothing an unbecoming a Christian, as tohave his mind always ex. ercised about, always filled with thoughts of earthly things. And according as men's thoughts are exercised about them, their affections are increased and inflamed towards them. These things mutually promote one a- nother, and there is a kind of circulation in them. Multiplied thoughts inflame affections, and inflamed af- fections increase thenumber of thoughtsconcerning them. Nothing is more repugnant uatò the whole life of faith, nothing more obstructive unto the exercise of all grace, than a prevalency of this frame of mind. And at this season, in an especial manner, it is visibly preying on 6 --- -- -,