Owen - BX9315 O81

22 THE PERSON OF CHIS other in their disposal into their order and harmony. Man was a creature that God made, that by him he might receive the glory that he aimed at in and by the whole inanimate creation, both that below which was for his use, and that above which was for his contempla- tion. This was the endofour nature in its original con- stitution. Thereunto are we again restored in Christ, James i. 18. Psal. civ. 24. cxxxvi. 5. Rom. i. 20. 2. God was pleased topermit the entrance ofsin, both in heaven aboveand in the earth beneath, whereby this whole order' and harmony was disturbed. There are yet characters of divine power, wisdom, and goodness remaining on the works of creation, and inseparable from their beings. But the primitive glory that was to redound unto God by them especially as unto all things here below, was from the obedienceof man, unto whom they wereput in subjection. Their good estatedepend- ed on their subordination unto him, in a wayof natural use as his didon God in the way ofmoral obedience, Gen. i. 26, 28. Psal. viii. 6, 7, 8. Man as was said, is a creature which God made, that by him he might receive the glory that he aimed at, in and by the whole inani- mate creation. This was the end of our nature in its original constitution. Thereunto are weagain restored in Christ, James i. 18. But the entrance of sin cast' all this order into confusion, andbrought the curse on . all things here below. Hereby were they deprived of that estate, wherein they were declared exceeding good, and cast into that of vanity, under the burden whereof they groan, and will do so to the end, Gen. iii. 17, 18. Rom. viii. 20, 21. And these things we must again consider afterwards. 3. Divinewisdom was no way surprised with this dis- aster. God had from all eternity laid in provisions of counsels for the recovery of all things into a better and more permanent estate than what waslost by sin. This is the âvfoi.v,,s, the âsronarasows mahrso, the revification, the restitution of all things, Acts iii. 19, 21.; the a'var.F- gssaiams, or the gathering all things in heaven and earth into a new head in Christ Jesus, Eph. i. 10. For although it maybe there is more of curiosity than of edification, in a scrupulous inquiry into the method or order of God's eternal decrees or counsels, and the disposal of them into a subserviency one unto another; yetthis isnecessary from the infinitewisdom, prescience, and immutability of God, that he is surprised with no- IST THE FOUNDATION thing, that he is put unto no new counsels by any events in the works of creation. All things were disposed by him, into those ways and methods, and that from eter- nity, which conduce unto, and certainly issue in that glory which is ultimately intended. For as weare care- ful tostate the eternal decrees 9f and the actual ope- rations of hisprovidence, soas that the libertyof the will of man as the next cause of all his moral actions benot infringed thereby; so ought we to be careful not to a- scribe such a sacrilegidus liberty unto the wills of any creatures, asthat God should besurprised, imposed on, or changed by any of their actings whatever. For known unto him are all his worksfrom the foundation of the world, and with him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning. 4. There were therefore eternal counsels of God, whereby he disposed all things into a new order, unto his ownglory, in the sanctificationand salvation of the church. And of them two things may be considered. (1.) Their original. (2.) The design of their accom- plishment. Their first spring or original was in the divine will and wisdom alone, without respect unto any external moving cause. No reason can be given, no cause be assigned of these counsels, but thewill of God alone. Hence are theycalled or describedby, the " good plea- sure which he purposed in himself." Eph. i. 9.; 5' the purposeof him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will," ver. 11. " Who bath known the mind of the Lord, or whobath been his counsellor? or who bath first given unto him, and it shall be recom- pensed to him again? for of him, and through him, and to him are all things," Rom. xi. 34, 35, 36. The in- carnation of Christ, and his mediation thereon, were not the procuring cause of these eternal counsels of God; but the effects of them, as the scripture constant- ly declares. But the design of their accomplishment was laid in the person of the Son alone. As he was the essential Wisdom of God, all things wereat first creat- ed by him. But upon a prospect of the ruin of all by sin, God would in and by him, as he wasforeordained to be incarnate, restore all things. The whole counsel of God unto this end centred in him alone. Hence their foundation is rightly said to be laid in him, and is declared so to be by the apostle, Eph. i. 4. For the . spring of the sanctification and salvation of the church