Owen - BX9315 O81

OF CIIltIS2' I NH- N HEAVEN. 143 tery of the wisdom of God in Christ, which is here so despised in the dispensation of the gospel, is the princi- pal part of the blessedness of the angels in heaven, which fills them with eternal delight, and is the ground of their ascribing praise and glory unto him for. evermore. This is that manifestative glory wherewith God satin» fieth himself until the end determined shall be. On the account hereof, he doth and will bear with things in this world, unto the appointed season. For whilst the creation is in its present postnce, a revenue of glory must be taken out of it for God, and longer than that is dune it cannot be continued. But the world is so . full of darkness and confusion, of sin and wickedness, of enmity against God, is so given up to villany, . unto all the ways whereby .God may be dishonoured, that there is little or no appearance of any revenue of glory unto him from it. Were it not on the secret ac- count of divine wisdom, it would quickly receive the end of Sodom and Gomorrah, The small remnant of the inheritance of Christ, is shut up in such obscurity, that as unto visible appearance and manifestation, it is no way to be laid in the balance against the dishonour . that is done unto him by the whole world. But whilst things are in this posture here below, God bath a so- lemn honour, glory and worship above, in thepresence of all his holy ones, wherein he resteth and takes plea- sure. In his satisfaction herein, he will continue things in this world unto all the ends of his wisdom, goodness, righteousness, and patience, let it rage in villany and wickedness as it pleaseth. And so when any of the saints who are wearied and even worn out with the state of things in this world, and it may be understand not the grounds of the patience of God, do enter into this state, they shall, unto their full satisfaction, behold that glory which abundantly compensates the present dishonour done to God here below. 2. This state of things is continued for the glory of Christ himself. The office of Mediator was committed by God the Father unto his only begotten Son, no o- ther being able to bear or discharge it. See Ina. vi, 9.. Rev. v. l -6. But in the discharge of this office it was necessary he should condescend unto a mean and low condition, and to undergo things difficult, hard, and terrible, Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8. Such were the things which our Lord Jesus Christ underwent in this world; his i. 1-2. Hereby is all the glory of the counsels of God in Christ made conspicuous unto them, and they re- ceive themselves no small advancement in glory thereby; for in the present comprehension of the mind of God, and doing of his will, doth their blessedness consist, Heaven itself was not what it is, before the entrance of Christ into the sanctuary for the administration of his office. Neither the saints departed, nor the angels themselves, were participant of that glory which now they are. Neither yet doth this argue any defect in heaven, or the state thereof in itsprimitive constitution; for the perfection of any state bath respect unto that order of things which it is originally suited unto. Take all things in order of the first creation, and with re- spect thereunto, heaven was perfect in glory from the beginning. Howbeit, there was still a relation and regard in it unto the church of mankind on the earth, which was to be translated thither. But by the entrance of sin, all this order was disturbed and all this relation was broken, And there followed there- on an imperfection in the stateof heaven itself; for it had no longer a relation unto, or communion with them on earth, nor was a receptacle meet for men who were sinners to be received into. Wherefore, by the blood of the cross, God a reconciled all things unto himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven," Col. i. 20.; or gathered all things into one in him 4, both which are in heaven, and which are in the earth," Eph. i. 10. Even the things in heaven so far stood in need of a reconciliation, as that they might be gather- ed together in one, with the things on earth; the glory whereof is manifested in this heavenly ministration. And the apostle affirms, that the " heavenly things them- selves were purified by the sacrifice of Christ," Heb. ix. 23. Not that they were actually defiled in them- selves, but withoutthis purification they were not meet for the fellowship of this mystery in the joint worship of the whole society in heaven and earth, by Jesus Christ. Hence therefore there is a continual manifes- tation of the glory of God unto the angels themselves. They behold his manifold wisdom and grace in the blessed effects of it, which were treasured up in the holy counsels of his will from eternity. Hereby is their own Tight and blessedness advanced, and they are filled with admirationsof God, ascribing praise, honour, and glory unto him for evermore. For the beholding ofthe niys-