Owen - BX9315 O81

_,._- -; __- 38 POWER COMMUNICATED UNTO THE OFFICE OF CHRIST even before his incarnation, considered as God, he is said to act in it so as to be sent ofGod, unto his work, Mic. v. 2. " The Ruler of Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old from everlasting." His goings forth are not his eternal generation, which consistsinone individual, eternal act of the Father. But it is the e- gress, the exercise ofhis power and care for the church, that is so expressed. These were from the beginning, the first foundation of the church, in answer unto his everlasting counsels, Zech. ii. 8. " Thus sail' the Lord of hosts, After theglory. bath besent me unto the nations that spoiled you; and I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants; andye shall know that the Lordof hosts bath sent me." He who issent calleth himself the Lordofhosts, and af- firms that he will destroy the nations by the shaking of his hand, who can be no other but God himse f. That is, it was theSon of God who was to be incarnate, as is declared in the next words. " Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Sion: for lo, I come, and will dwell in the midst of them, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined unto the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwellin the midst of them, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts bath sent me unto thee," ver. 10, t L He promiseth that he will dwell in the midst of the people, which was accom- plished when the " Word was made flesh and dwelt a- mong us," John i. 14.; which was the time of the call- ing of the Gentiles, when manynations were to be join- ed unto the Lord: and those that were so called, were to be his people; they shall be my people: and yet in all this he was sent by the Lord of hosts; thou shalt know that the Lord ofhosts hat' sent me unto thee. Where- fore, with respect unto his susception of his offices to- wards the church, the Lord ofhosts, in the person of the Son, is said tobe sent by the Lord ofhosts, that is, in the person of the Father. So was he the Prophet of the church even before his incarnation, sent or design- ed by the Father to instruct it, to communicate spiritual and savinglight untoit. So he testified concerninghim- selfunto theJews, Before Abraham was I am, John viii. 56. Which as it invincibly proveshis eternal pre-exist- ence unto his incarnation, so it is not only intended. He was so before Abraham, as that the care of the church was then andalways from the beginning onhim. And he discharged this office four ways. (l.) Bypersonal appearances in the likeness:of human nature, in the shape ofa man, as an indication ofhis fu- ture incarnation; and under those appearances instruct- ing the church. So heappeared unto Abraham, to Jacob, toMoses, to Joshua, as I have proved elsewhere. And those peculiar appearances of the person of the Son, for the instruction ofbelievers, are a full demonstration that the care and work of it were committed unto him in a peculiar manner. And I amnot without thoughts, although I see some difficulty in it, " That the whole Old Testament, wherein God perpetually treats with men, by an assumption of human affections unto him- self so to draw us with the cords ofa man, proceeded from theperson of the Son, in a preparation for, and prospect of his future incarnation." (2.) By the ministry ofangels. Upon his undertak- ing to be the Mediator for the church with God, the an- gels were in a peculiar manner put into dependanceon him, even as he became a new and immediate headun- to the whole creation. This belonged unto that espe- cialglory which he had with the Father before the world was, whereof we have treated before. All things were to be anew gathered intoan head in him, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, Eph. i. 10. And he became thefirst-born ofevery creature, Col. i. 15. the Lord and proprietor ofthem. Hence thewhole minis- try of angels was subordinate unto him; and whatever instruction was thereby given unto the church, in the mind andwill of God, it was immediately from him, as the great Prophet of the church. (8.) By sending his Holy Spirit to inspire, act, and guide theprophets, by whomGod would reveal himself. God spake unto them by the "mouth of his holy pro- phets from the beginning of the world," Luke i. 70. But it was the Spirit ofChrist that was in them, that spake by them, that revealed the things which con- cerned the redemption and salvation of the church, 1 Pet. i. 1 t, 12. And by this Spirit hehimselfpreached unto those that were disobedient in the days ofNoah, who are now in prison for their disobedience, I Pet. iii. 13, 20. For he was so the Prophet of the church always, as to tender manifold instructions unto the perishing' unbelieving world. Ifence is he said to "lighten every man that comet' into the world," John i. 9. by one way' or other communicating to them some notices of God andhis will: forhis light shineth in, or irradiates -dark- i;