Owen - BX9315 O81

118 THE NATURE OF THE PE the vitals ofreligion. To abound in the contemplation of this mystery, and in the exercise of faith about it, as it is diametrically opposed unto this frame, so it will: gradually cast it out of the soul. And .without this we shall labour in the fire for deliverancefrom this perni- cious evil. 4. And hereby are we prepared-for the enjoÿ,rtent of glory above. No small part .ofthin glory consists in theeternal contemplation and adoration of the wisdom, goodness, love, and power of God in this mystery and RSON OF CHRIST, AND THE it,, but by implanting a sense of it on our minds; by se- dulous contemplation whilst we are in this world. God will not take us into heaven, into the vision and pos- session of heavenly glory, with our heads and hearts reeking with the thoughts and affections of earthly things. He bath appointed means to make.us meetfor the inheritance of the saints in light, before he will bring us unto theenjoyment ofit. And this is theprin- cipal way whereby he doth it. For hereby it is, that we are changed into the image of Christ from glory to the effects of it, as shall afterwards be declared. glory, and make the nearest approaches unto the eter- And how can we better or otherwise be prepared for I nal fulness of it. CHAP. XVIII. HYPOSTATICAL UNION OF HIS NATURES DECLARED. John xvii. 24. yet are instructions from the scripture of use, to lead us into those farther degreesof the know- ledge of himwhich are attainable, in this life. 2. To manifest in particular, how "ineffably distinct the relation between the Son of God and the man Christ Jesus" is, from all that relation and unionwhich may be between God and believers, or between Godand any other creature. The want of a true understanding hereof is the fundamental error of many in our days. We shall manifest thereupon, how w it pleased the Fa- ther, that in him should all fulness dwell;. so, that in all things, he might have the pre-eminence," Col. i. 18, 19. And I shall'herein wholly avoid the curious in-- quiries, bold conjectures, and unwarrantable determin- ations of the schoolmen and some others. For manyof them designing to explicate this mystery, by exceeding the bounds of scripture-light and sacred sobriety, have obscured it. Endeavouring to render all things plain unto reason, they have expressed many things unsound- as unto faith, and fallen into manifold contradictions among themselves. Hence Aquinas affirms, that three of the ways of declaring the hypostatical union, which are proposed by the master ofthe sentences, are so far from probable opinions, as that they are downright heresies. I shall therefore confine myself; in the ex-. plication of this mystery, unto the propositions of di vine revelation, with the just and necessary expositions of them. What the scripture represents of the wisdom of God THE NATURE OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST, AND THE r7 Y HE nature or constitution of the person of Christ bath been commonly spoken unto, and treated of in, the writings both of the ancient and modern divines. It is not my purpose, in this discourse, to handle any thing that bath been so fully already declared by others. How- beit, to speak something of it in this place, is necessary unto the present work; and I shall do it, in answer un- to a double end or design. 1. To help those that believe, in the regulation of their thoughts, about this divine person, so far as the scripture goeth before us. It is ofgreat importanceun- to our souls, that we have right conceptions concerning him; not only in general, and in opposition unto the pernicious heresies of them, by whom his divine person, or either of his natures, are denied; but also in those especial instances, wherein it is the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and grace. For although the know- ledge of him mentioned in the gospel, be not confined merely unto his person, in the constitutionthereof but extends itselfunto the whole workof his mediation, with the design of God's love and grace thereon, and ourown duty thereon; yet is this knowledge of his person the foundation of all the rest, wherein ifwe mistake or fail, our whole building in the other parts of the knowledge of him will fall unto the ground. And, although the saving knowledge of him is not to beobtained without especial divine revelation, Matth, xvi. 17. or saving il- lumination, I John. v. 20 nor-can we know him per- fectly, until we come where he is, to behold his glory,