Owen - BX9315 O81

I`r TIIE PERSON OF CHRIST THE MOST INEFFABLE Andhe who bath ordained strength out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, as hehath given ability to ex- press these poor mean contemplations of his glory, can raise by them a revenue of honour untohimself in the hearts of them that do believe. And some few things I must premise in general unto what I do design. As, I. The instances which I shall give concerning the use andconsideration ofMeperson ofChrist in Christian religion, or of him as he is the foundation whereon the church is built, are but few, and those perhaps not the most signal or eminent, which the greater spiritual wis- dom and understanding ofothers might propose. And indeed, who shall undertake to declare what are the chief instances of this incomprehensible effect of divine wisdom? What is his name, andwhat is his Son's name, ifthou caust tell? Prov. xxx. 4. See is. ix. 6. It is enough for us to stand in an holy admiration at the shore ofthis unsearchable ocean, and to gather up some parcels of that divine treasure, wherewith the scripture of truth is enriched. 2. I make no pretence of searching into the bottom or depths of any part ofthis great mystery ofgodliness, Godmanifest in the, flesh. They are altogether un- searchable unto the line of the most enlightened minds in this life. What we shall farther comprehend of them in the other world, God only knows. We cannot in these things, by our utmost diligent search,find out the Almighty unto perfection. The prophets could not do so of old, nor can the angels themselves at present, who desire to look into these things, 1 Pet. i. 10, 11, 12. Only I shall endeavour to represent unto the faith of them that do believe, somewhat of what the scripture doth plainlyreveal, evidencing in what sense the person ofChrist is the solefoundation of the church. 3. I shall not herein respect them immediately by whom thedivine personof Christ is denied andopposed. I have formerly treated thereof, beyond their contradic. tion in way.of reply. But it is their conviction which I shall respect herein, who, under an outward confes- sion of the truth, do either notionally or practically, either ignorantly or designedly, God knows, I know not, endeavour to weaken the faith of the church in its adherence unto this foundation. Howbeit neither the one sort nor the other have any place in my thoughts, in comparison of the instruction and edification of o- thers, who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. CHAP. III. THE PERSON OF CHRIST THE MOST INEFFABLE EFFECT OF DIVINE WISDOM AND GOODNESS. THENCE THE NEXTCAUSE OF ALLTRUE RELIGION. IN WHAT SENSE IT IS SO. THEperson of Christ is the most gloriousand ineffable effect ofdivine wisdom, grace, and power, and there- fore is the next foundation of all acceptable religion and worship. TheDivineBeing itself is the first formal rea- son, foundation, and object of all religion. It all de- pends on taking God to be our God, which is the first of his commands. For religion, and the worship per- formed in it, is nothing but the due respect of rational creatures, unto the divine nature and its infinite excel- lencies. It is the glorifying ofGodas God, the way of expressing that respect, being regulated by the revela- tion of his will. Yet the divine essence is not in itself the next and immediate cause of religious worship. But it is the manifestation of this Being and its excel- lencies wherewith the mind of rational creatures is im- mediately affected, and whereby it is obliged to give that religious honour and worship which is due unto that Being, and necessary from our relation thereunto. Upon this manifestation, all creatures capableby an in- telligent nature of a sense thereof, are indispensably obliged to give all divine honour and glory to God. The way alone whereby this manifestation may be made, is by outward acts and ejects. For in itself the divine nature is hid from all living, and dwelleth in that light whereunto no creature can approach. This there- fore God first made by the creation of all things out of nothing. The creation of man himself, with the prin- ciples of a rational intelligent nature, a consience at- testing his subordination unto God, and of all other things declaring the glory of his wisdom, goodness, and power, was the immediate ground ofall natural religion, and yet continuesso to be. And the glory of it answers