Owen - BX9315 O81

26 THE PERSON OF CHRIST THE GREAT would do what God had not done. By common con- 2. Because nothing that can fall into the invention or sent theyframed representationsofGod unto themselves; and were so besotted therein, that they utterly lost the benefit which theymight have received, by the manifes- tation of him in the worksof the creation, and took up with most foolish imaginations. For whereas they might have learned from thence, the being ofGod, his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness, namely, in the impressions and characters of them on the things that were made; in their own representations of him, they changed the "glory of the invisible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and four- footed beasts, and creeping things," Rom. i. 23. Wherefore this common presumption, that there was no way to attaina due sense of theDivine Being, but by some representation of it, though true in itself yet by the craft of Satan, and foolishsuperstitionsof the minds of men, became the occasion of all idolatry and flagi- tious wickedness in the world. Hence were all those tvepamou or supposed illustrious appearances oftheirgods, which Satan deluded the Gentiles by; and hence were all the ways which they devised to bring God into hu- man nature, or the likenessof it. Wherefore in allthe revelations that ever God made of himself, his mind, andwill, he always laid this practice of making represen- tations ofhim, under the most severe interdict and pro- hibition. And this he did evidently, for these two rea- sons. 1. Because it was abold and foolish intrenching upon hisprovisional wisdom in the case. He had taken care that there should be a glorious imageand representation of himself infinitely above what any created wisdom could find out. But as when Moses went into the mount, the Israelites would not wait for his return, but made a calf in his stead; so mankind refusing to wait for the actual exhibition of that glorious imageof him- self which God had provided, they broke in upon his, wisdom and sovereignty, to make some of their own. For this cause was God so provoked, that hegave them up to such stupid blindness, that in those things where- in theythought to shew themselves wise, and to bring God nearer unto them, they became contemptibly fool- ish, abased their nature, and all the noble faculties of their minds unto hell, and departed unto the utmost distance from God, whom they sought to bringnear unto them. imagination of men, could make anyother butfalse re- presentations of him, and so substitute an idol in his - place. Hisown immediate works have greatcharacters ofhis divine excellencies upon them, though unto us ob- scure and not clearly legible without the light of revela- tion. Somewhat hedid of old represent of his glorious presence, though not ofhis being, in the visible insti- tutions of hisworship. But all men's inventionsto this end, which are neither divine works of nature, nor di- vine institutions ofworship, are all but false representa- tions of God, and therefore accursed by him. Wherefore it is granted, that God path placed many characters of his "divine excellenciesupon his works of creation and providence; many of his glorious presence upon the tabernacle and temple of old; but none of these things ever did or could give sucha representation of him, as wherein the souls of men might fully acqui- esce, or obtain such conceptions of him as mightenable them toworship and honour him in a due manner. They cannot, I say, by all that may be seen in them, and learned from them, represent God as the complete object of all our affections, of all the actings, of our souls in faith, trust, love, fear, obedience, in that way whereby he may be glorified, and we may be brought unto the everlasting fruition of him. This therefore is yet to be inquired after. Wherefore, 5. A mere external doctrinal revelationof the divine nature and properties, without any exemplification, or real representation of them, was not sufficient unto the end of God in the manifestation of himself: This is done in the scripture. But the wholescripture is built on this foundation, or proceeds on this supposition, that there is a real representation of the divine nature unto us, which it declaresand describes. And as there was such a notionon the minds of all men, that some repre- sentation of God, wherein hemight be near unto them, was necessary, which arose from the consideration of the infinite distance between thedivine nature and their own, which allowed of no measures between them; so as unto the event God himself hath declared, that in his own tray such a representationwas needful unto that end of the manifestation of himself, whichhe designed. For, 6. All this is done in theperson ofChrist. He is the complete image and perfect representation of the divine