Owen - BX9315 O81

OF ALL THE CO lies in election, the decree whereof compriseth the counselsof God concerning them. Herein God from the beginning "chooseth us unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit," 2 Thess. ii. IS. The one being the end he designeth, the other the means and way thereof. But this he did in Christ; " he bath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unblameable before him in dove;" that is, " unto salvation, through'sanctification of the Spirit." In hint we were not actually, nor by faith, before the foundation of the world; yet were we then chosen in him, as the only foundation of the ex- ecution of all the counsels of God, concerning our sanctification and salvation. Thus as all things were originally made and created by him, as he was the essentialwisdom of God; so all things are renewed and recovered by him, as he is the provisional wisdom of God in and by his incarnation. Therefore are these things put together and compared unto his glory. Col. i. 15-19. " He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, - visible and invisible: all things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and by -him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church; the beginning, the first- born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." Two things as the foundationofwhat is ascribed unto the Lord Christ in the ensuingdiscourse, are asserted.. ver. 15. (1.) " That he is the image of the invisible - God ;" . (2.) That he is the "first-born ofevery crea- ture ;" things seeming very distant in themselves, but gloriouslyunited and centring in his person. 1. He is the image of the invisible God; or as it is elsewhere expressed, be is in the form of God, his es- sential form, for other form there is none in the divine nature. The brightness ofthe glory, and express image of the Father's person. And he is called here the invi- sible God, not absolutely with respect unto his essence, though it be most true, the divine essencebeing abso- lutely invisible, and that equally, whether consideredas in the Father or in the Son. But he is called so, with respect unto his counsels, his will, his love, and his grace. For so " none bath seen him at any time, bdt the only begotten which is in the bosom of the Father," he de- UNSELS OF GOn. 23 clarea him, John f: 18. As he is thus the essential, the eternal image of the invisible God, hiswisdom and pow- er, the efficiency f thefirst creation, and its consistence being created, is ascribed unto him. ver. 16, 17. " By him were all things created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible." And because of the great notions and apprehensions that were then in the world, especially among the Jews, unto whom the apostle had respect in this epistle, of the greatness andglory ofthe invisiblepart of the creation in heaven above, he men- tions their, in particular, under the most glorious titles that any could, or then did ascribe unto them; whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, orpowers. All things were created by him, and for him; the same expression'that is used of God absolutely, Rom. xi. 36. Rev. iv. 11. Add hereunto those other places to this purpose, John i. 1, 2, 8. Hob., i. 1, 2, 3: And those that are not under the efficacyòf spiritual infatuations, cannot but admire at the power of unbelief, the blind- nessof the minds of men, and the craft of Satan, in them who deny the divine natureofJesus Christ. For where- as the apostle plainly affirms, that the works of the crea- tion do demonstrate the eternalpower and, Godhead of him by whom they were created, Rom. i. 19, 20.; and not only so, but it is uncontrollably evident in the light of nature; it being so directly, expressly, frequently af- firmed that all things whatever, absolutely, and in their distributions intoheaven and earth, with the things con- tained respectively in them, were made and created by Christ; it is the highest rebellion against the light and teachingsof God, to disbelieve his divine existence and power. 2. Again it is added, that he is thefirst-born ofevery creature; which principally respects the new creation, as it is declared, ver. 18. " He is the head of the body, thechurch, thebeginning, thefirst-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." For in him were all the counsels of God laid, for the recovery of all things unto himself; as he was to be in- carnate. And the accomplishmentof thesecounsels of God by him, the apostle declares at large in the ensuing verses. And these things are both conjoined and com- posed in thisplace. As God the Father did nothing in the first creation but by him as his eternal Wis- dom, ,John i. 8. Heb. i. 2. Prov. viii.; so he de- signed nothing in the new creation or rbstorationof all