Owen - BX9315 O81

OF ALL THE COUNSELS OF GOD. 21 kg him with folly and ingratitude, Behold, the man is become as one ofus, Gen. iii. 22.; we may withall hum- ble thankfulness, express, the means of our recovery, Behold, God is become like one of us, as the apostle declares it at large, Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8. It is the nature of sincere goodness, even in its lowest degree, above all other habits or principles of nature, to give delight and complacency unto the mind in the exercise of itself, and communicationof its effects. A good man doth de- light in doing good, and hath an abundant reward for the'doing of it, in the doing of it. And what shall we conceive concerning eternal, absolute, infinite, perfect, immixed goodness, acting itself in the highestinstance, (in an effect cognate and like unto it) that it can extend unto? So was it in the counsels of God, concerning the incarnationofhis Son, and the salvation of the church thereby. Noheart can conceive, notongue can express the least portion of that ineffable delight of the holy blessed God, in these counsels wherein he acted and expressed unto the utmost his ownessential goodness. Shall a liberal man devise liberal things, because they are suited unto his inclination? Shall a good man find a secret refreshment in the satisfaction and exercise of that low, weak, imperfect, mixed goodness that hisnature is inlaid withal; and shall not he whose goodness is essential unto him, whose being it is, and in whom it is the immediate principle of communicating himself unto others, be infinitely delighted in the highest ex- ercise of it, which divine wisdom did direct? Theeffect of these eternal counsels of God in future glory, is reserved for them that do believe; and therein will there be the nearest manifestation of the glory of God himself unto them, when he shall be glorified in his saints, and eternally admired in all that believe. But the blessed delight and satisfaction of God, was and is, in those counsels themselves, as they were acts of his infinite wisdom and goodness. Herein was the Lord Christ his delight continually, before the founda- tion of the world; in that in him wereall these counsels laid, and throughhim were they all to be accomplished. The constitution ofhis person was the only way where- by divine wisdom andgoodness would act, and communi- cate of themselves unto mankind, in which actings are the eternal delight and complacency of the divine Being. 3. Love and grace have the same influence into the 2 counsels of God, as wisdom and goodness have. And in the scripture notion of these things, they superadd, unto goodness this consideration, that their object is sinners, and those that are unworthy. God doth uni- versally communicate of his goodness unto all his crea- tures, though there be an especial exercise of it towards them that believe. But as unto his love andgrace, as they are peculiar unto his elect, the church chosen in Christ before thefoundation ofthe world, so they respect them primarily in a lost undone condition by sin, Rom. v. 8. " God commendeth his love unto us, in that whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." God is love, saith the apostle, his nature is essentially so. And the best conception of the natural internal actings of the holy Persons is love. And all the acts of it are full of delight. This is, as it were, the womb of all theeternal counselsof God; which renders his compla- cency in them ineffable. Hence doth he so wonderful- ly express his delight and complacency in the actings of his love towards the church, Zeph. iii. 17. " The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will rejoice over thee with singing." The rea- son why in the salvation of the church, he rjoicethwith joy, and joyeth with singing, the highest expression of divine complacency, is because he resteth in his love, and no is pleased in the exercise of its effects. But we must return to manifest in particular, how all these counsels of God, were laid in the person of Christ, towhich end the things ensuingmay bedistinct- ly considered. 1. God made all thingsin thebeginning good, exceed- ing good. The whole of bis work was disposed into a perfect harmony, beauty, and order, suited unto that ma- nifestation of his own glory which he designed therein. And as all things had their own individual existence and operations suitedunto their being, andcapable ofanend, a rest, or a blessedness, congruous unto their natures and operations; so in the various respects which they had each to other, in their mutual supplies, assistances, and co-operation, they all tended unto that ultimate end, . of his eternal glory. For as in their beings and existence they were effects of infinite power, so were their mutual respects and ends disposed in infinite wis- dom. Thereon were the eternal power and wisdom of God glorified in them; the one in their production, the F