Owen - BX9315 O81

AS SüILT ON THE iERSON OF CHRIST. I I religion were never vented by any persons before, who yea, it is odds, but in them all, we shall meet with SOME reflections on those who judge them to be the life and centre of our religion. The things of Christ beyond the example of his conversation on the earth, are of no use with such persons unto the promotion of piety and gospel. obedience. Concerning many books of this na- ture, we may say what a learned person did of one of old; there were in it many things laudable and delecta- ble, sed nomen Jesu non erat iii. 5. Suited unto these manifest inclinations of the minds of men, unto a neglect of Christ in the religion they Game unto themselves, dangerous and noxious insinua- tions concerning what our thoughts ought to be of him, are made and tendered. As (l.) It is scandalously pro- posed and answered, ofwhat use is the consideration of the person ofChristin Ms' religion? Such are the novel enquiries of men, who suppose there is any thing in Christian religion, wherein the person of Christ is of no consideration; as though it were not the life and soul that animates the whole ofit, that which gives it its spe- cial form as Christian ; as though by virtue of our re- ligion, we received any thing from God, any benefit in mercy, grace, privilege, or glory, and not through the person of Christ; as though any one duty, or act of religion towards God, couldbe acceptably performed by us, without a respect unto, or a consideration of the person of Christ; or that there were any lines of truth in religion as it is Christian, that did not relate there- unto. Such hold inquiries, with futilous answers an- nexed unto them, sufficiently manifest what acquaintance their authors have, either with Christ himself, which in others they despise, or with his gospel, which they pre- tend to embrace. (2.) A. mock scheme of religion is framed, to represent the folly of them who design to learn the mind and will of God, in and by him. (3.) Reproachful reflections aremade on such, as plead thene- cessity of acquaintance whh him, or the knowledge of him, as though thereby they rejected the use of the gos- pel, (4.) Professed love unto the person of Christ is traduced as a mere fancy, and vapour of distempered minds, or weak imaginations. (5.) The union of the LordChrist and hischurch is asserted to bepolitical only with respect unto laws and rules of government. And many other things of a like nature are asserted, de- rogatory unto hisglory, and repugnant unto the faith of the church; such as from the foundation of Christian did not openly avow some impious heresy concerning his person. And I no way doubt, but that men may with less guilt and scandal, fall under sundry doctrinal misapprehensionsconcerning it, thanby crying hail there- unto, todespoil it of all its glory, as unto our concern- ment therein, in our practical obedience unto God. Such things have we deserved to see and hear. 6. The very name or expression of preaching Christ, is become a term of reproach and contempt; nor can some, as they say, understand what is meant thereby, unless it be an engine todrive all rational preaching, and so all moralityandhonesty, out oftlse world. 7. That which all thesethings tend unto and centre in, is that horrible profaneness of life, that neglect of all gospel-duties, that contempt of all spiritual graces and their effects, which the generality of them that are called Christians in many places are givenup unto. I know not whether it were not more for the honour-of Christ, that such persons would publicly renounce the professionof his name, rather than practically manifest their inward disregard unto him. Thatby these and the like means, Satan doth yet at- tempt the ruin of the church, as unto its building on the everlasting Rock, falls under the observation of all who are concerned in its welfare; and whatever others may apprehend concerning this state of things in the world, how any that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, especially such as are called to declare and represent him onto men in the office ofthe ministry, can acquit them selves to be faithful unto him, without giving their tes- timony against, and endeavouring to stop what lies in them, the progress of this prevailing declension, from the only foundation of the church, I know not ; nor will it be easy for themselves to declare. And in that variety of conceptions which are about him, and the opposition that is made unto him, there is nothing more necessary than that we should renew and attest our confession of him, as theSon of the living God, the only Rock whereon the churchof them that shall be saved is founded and built. Panca ideo de Christo, as Tertullian speaks; some few things concerning the person of Christ, with respect unto the confession ofPeter, and the promise thereunto annexed, wherein he is declared the solefoundationofthe church, will be comprised in the ensuing discourse,