Owen - BX9315 O81

PREFACE. of forms, as that they are not reducible unto any heads oforder; although they are not promoted with more subtlety and specious pretences than in former ages; yet if we are not wanting unto our duty, with the aids of grace proposed unto, us, we shall finally triumph in this cause, and transmit this sacred truth inviolateunto- them that succeed us in the profession of it. Cunt'. HI. This personof Christ which is the foun- dation whereon the church is built, whereunto all sorts of oppositions are endeavoured and designed, is the most ineffable effect of divine goodness and wisdom, whereof we treat in the next place. But herein when I speak of the constitution of the person of Christ, I' intend not his person absolutely as he is theeternal Son of God. He was truly, really, completely a divine person from eternity, which is included in the notion ofhis being the Son, and so distinct from the Father, which- is his complete personality. Flis being so was not a voluntary contrivance or effect of divine wisdom and goodness, his eternal generation being a necessary internal act of the divine nature in the person of the Father. Of the eternal generation of the divine person of the Son,. the sober writers of the ancient church, did con- stantly affirm that it was firmly to be believed, but as unto themanner of it not to be inquired into. Scrzztator Mesjestatis, absorbetur a gloria, " the searcher into di- "-vine Majesty is swallowed up by his glory," was their rule, And the curious disputes of Alexander and Arius about it, gave occasion nato- that many-headed monster ofthe Arian heresy, which afterwards ensued. For when once men of subtle heads, and unsanetified hearts, gave up themselves to inquire into things infinitely a- bove their understanding and- capacity, beingvainlypuf- fed up in their fleshly minds, they-fell into endless divi- sionsamong themselves, agreeing only in anopposition unto the truth. But those contented themselves tobe wiseunto sobriety, repressed this impious boldness, To this s purpose speaks Lactantius lib. 4. de vera Sapient. Quomodo-igitur pfoct-eavil? Nec sei, i a quoquampossum, sec- sins-s-mi opera divinai sed tamers same literee docent illunt:Deí FiliumDei esse Sernzonem. " How therefore "'didthe Fatherbeget the Son? These divine workscan " be known of none, declared by none. But the holy "writingsteach, wherein it is determined, that he is the Son of God, thathe is the Word of God." And Ambrose defzde ad Gratianunz: ammo abs te, quando aut qüonsodo putesFiliunz esse generaturusa? mihi enim impossibile est scire generations secretum.. Mens de el, vox silet, non mea tantum sed et angelorum;. supra potentates,: supra angelos, supra Cherubims, supra sen- sum, supra omnem sensum. Tu quoqúe matum -ori ad- move;. scrotari nvnlicet superna mysteria. Licet scire quod natus sit,. non licet discutere quomodo natus sit: illud negare midi non licet, hoc qucerere metes est. Nam si Fautus ea quaaudivit, raptus in tertium ccélum, in- effabilia dicit, quomodonos exprimere possumus paterna generationis arcanum, quadnet sentire potuinuts, neo au- dire? Quid to ista qucestionum tormenta delectant? " I " < inquire ofyou, when, and how, the Son was begotten? " Impossible it is to me to know the mystery of this " generation. Mymind faileth, my voice is silent, and " not only mine, but of the angels; it is above princi- palities, above angels, above the Cherubim, above " the Seraphim, above all understanding. Lay thy " hand on thy mouth; it is not lawful to search into " these heavenly mysteries. It is lawful to know that " he was born; it is not lawful to determine how he < was born: that it is not lawful for me to deny; this " I am afraid to inquire into. For if Paul when he " was taken into the third heaven, affirms that the " things which he heard could- not be uttered; how " can we express the mystery of the divine generation, " which we can, neither apprehend nor. hear? Why- " do such tormenting questions delight thee?' Ephraim Syrtis wrote a book to this purpose, against them who would search out the nature of the Son of God. Among many other things to the same purpose - are his words, cap. 2. Infalix profecto,- miser, atque impudentissimus est, qui scrutaci cupit OpVcem swum. Millia mzllium, et contienmilker millena, millia angelo- rum et archangelorum, cum horrore glorifiean, et tre- mentes odorant; et homines lutei,; pleni peccatis, di- Divinitate intrepide.disserunt? Non Woman. . exhoirescid corpus, non.contremescit animus;. sed securi- et gareuli, de Christo. Dei Filio, quiprome indAgno-peecatore pas- sus est, deque ipsius atrague generation loquuntur; nec saltem quad in luceccecseiunt,- sentiunt. " He is unhappy, '" miserable, and most impudent, who desires to ex- l" amine or search out his Maker. Thousands of thòu- "sands, andhundreds of thousands of millions-of an-