Owen - BX9315 O81

ON THE GLO lously, daily con,teníplate on the wisdom, love, grace, goodness, holiness, and righteousness of God, as re- vealing and manifesting themselves in him? Dowe suf- ficiently consider, that the immediate vision of this glo- ry in heaven will be our everlasting blessedness? Doth the IMPERFECT VIEWwhich we have of it here increase our desires after the PERFECT SIGHT of it above? With respect unto these inquiries, I shall briefly speak unto sundry sorts of men. Some will say they understand not these things, nor any concernment oftheir own in them. If they are true, yet are they notions which they may safely be without the knowledge of; for so far as they can discern, they have no influence on Christian practice, or duties of morality.. And the preaching of them doth but take off the minds of men front more necessary duties. But if the gospel be hid, it is hidunto them that perish. And unto the objection I say, 1. Nothing is snore fully and clearly revealed in the gospel, than that unto us Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, that he is the character of theperson ofide Father, no as that in seeing him, we see the Fa- ther also; that we have the light ofthe knowledgeof the glovy of. God in his face alone, as hath been proved. This is the principal fundamental mystery and truth of the gospel; and which, if it be not .received, believed, owned, all other truths are useless unto our souls. To refer ell the testimonies that are given hereunto, to the doctrine which he taught, in contra-distinction unto his person as acting in the discharge of his office, is anti- evangelical, anti-christian,- turning the whole gospel in- to a fable. 2. It is so, that the light of faith is given .unto us principally to enable us to behold the glory. of God in Christ; to contemplate on it, as unto all the ends of his manifestation. So it is expressly affirmed, 2 Cor. iv. G, If we have not this light, as it is .communicated by the power of God unto them.that do believe, Eph. i. 17,- tS, 19.; we must be strangers unto the whole mystery ofthe gospel. 2 Cor. iv. 3, t. 3. That in thebeholding ofthe glory of God in Christ, we behold his glory also. For herein is he infinitely glorious above the whole creation, in that in and by him alone the glory of the invisible God is represented unto us. Herein do our souls live. This is that whereby D RV OF. CIIRIST. I3 the image of God is renewed in us, and we are made like unto the first-born. 4. This is so far from being unnecessary unto chris- tian practice, and the sanctified duties of morality, that he knows not Christ, he knowsnot the gospel, he knows not the faith of the catholic church, who imagines that they can be performed acceptably without it. Yea, this is the root whence all other christian duties do spring and whereon they grow, whereby they are distinguished from the works of heathens. He is no christian who believes not that faith in the person of Christ is the spring of all evangelical obedience; or who knows not that this faith respects the revelation of theglory of God in him. If these things are so, as they are the most important truths of the gospel, and whose denial overthrows the foundation of faith, and is ruinous to christian religion; certainly it is our duty to live in the constant exercise of faith with respect unto this glory of Christ. And we have sufficient experience of what kind of morality the ignorance of it bath produced. Others there are who may be some way strangers but are no ways enemies unto this mystery, and to the prac- tical exercise of faith therein: unto such I shall tender the ensuing directions. I. Reckon in your minds, that thie beholding of the glory of Christ, by beholding the glory of God, and all his holy properties in him, is the greatest PRIVILEGE whereof in this life we can he made partakers. The dawning of heaven is in it, and the is first fruits of glo- ry; for this is life eternal to know the Father, and is Jesus Christ whom he bath sent.'' Johnxvii. 3. Un- less you value it, unless you esteem it as such a privi- lege, you will,not enjoy it; and that which is not valued according unto its worth, is despised. It is not enough to think it a privilege, an advantage; but it is to be val- ued above other things according to its greatness and excellency. Destruction and death say, eve haveheard i/aefame ofit with our ears. Job xxviii. 22. And if we do no more, we shall die strangers unto it. We are to -cry after this knowledge, and lift 'up our voice for this understanding, if we design to attain it. 2. As it is -a great privilege which requires a due val- uation, so it is a -great MYSTERY, which requires mach spiritual wisdotn to the aright understanding of it, and to ,direct in its practice. I Cor. ii. 4, 3.. Fleshand blood