Owen - BX9315 O81

52 HONOUR DUE TO THE PERSON OF CHRIST; do press the formal invocation of saints and angels as and angels, rejecting also the aids of the Spirit to cord. our duty. And some will not grant that it is lawful for us so to call on Christ himself. The Socinians grant generally that it is lawful for us to call on Christ; but they deny that it is our duty at any time so to do. But as they own that it is not our duty, so on their principles it cannot be lawful. De- nying his divine person, they leave him not the proper object of prayer. For prayer without an ascription of divine excellencies, as omniscience, omnipresence, and almighty power unto him whom we invocate, is but vain babbling, that bathnothing of the nature of true pray- er in it. And to make such ascriptions unto him who by nature is not God, is idolatrous. The solemn ordinary worship of the church, and so of private believers, in their families and closets, is un. Viler an especial directory and guidance. For the per- son of the Father, as the eternal fountain of power, grace and mercy, is the formal object of our prayers, unto whom our supplications are directed. The divine nature absolutely considered, is the object of natural worship and invocation: but it is the same divine na- ture in the person of the Father, that is the proper ob- ject of evangelical worship and invocation. So our Sa- viour hath taught us to call on God under the name and notion of a Father, Matth. vi. 9. that is, his God, and our God, his Father, and our Father, Johnxx. 17. And this invocation is to be, by and in the naine of the Son Jesus Christ, through the aid of the Holy Spirit. He is herein considered as the Mediator between God and man, as the Holy Ghost is he by whom supplies of grace enabling us unto the acceptable performance of our duties, are actually communicated unto us. This is the way whereby God will be glorified. This is the mystery of our religion, that we worship God according to the economy of his wisdom and grace, wherein he cloth dispense of himself unto us in the personsof the Father, Son, and Spirit. Otherwise he will not be honoured or worshipped byus, And those who in their worshipor invocation do attempt an approach unto the divine nature as absolutely considered, without respect unto the dispensation of God in the distinct persons of the Holy Trinity, do reject the mystery of the gospel, and all the benefits of it. So is it with many. And not a few, who pretend a great devotion unto God,- do supply other things into the room of Christ, as saints ply with imaginations of their own, whose assistance herein they more approve of. But this is the nature and method of ordinary solemn evangelical invocation. So it is declared, Eph. ii. IS. " Through him we have an access by'one Spirit unto the Father." It is the Father unto whom we have our access, whom we peculiarly invocate; as it is expressed, chap. iii. 14, 15, 16. " For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you,"&c. But it is through him, that is, by Christ in the exerciseof his mediatory office, that we have this access unto the Father; we ask in his name, and for his sake, John xiv. 13, 14. chap. xvi. 23, 24. They did so of old, though not in that express exercise of faith which we now attainunto, Dan. ix. 17. "Hear, O Lord, and have mercy for the Lord's sake." All this are we enabled unto by one Spirit through the aids and assistance of the Spirit of grace and supplica- tion, Rom. viii. 26, 27. So that prayer is our crying, " Abba, Father, by the Spirit of the Son," Gal. iv. 6. This is farther declared, Heb. iv. 15, 16, chap. x. 19, 20. Herein is the Lord Christconsidered notabsolute- ly with respect untohis divine person, but with respect unto his office, that " through him our faiths and hope might be in God," 1 Pet. i. 20. Wherefore it being our duty, as hath been proved, to invocate the name of Christ in a particular manner, and this being the ordinary solemn wayof the worship ofthe church, we may consider on what occasions, and in what seasons this peculiar invocation of Christ, who in his divine person is both our God and our Advocate, is necessary for us, and most acceptable Onto him. 1. Times of great distresses in conscience through temptations and desertions, 'are seasons requiring anap- plication unto Christ by especial invocation. Persons in such conditions, when their souls, as the psalmist speaks, are Overwhelmed in them, are continually -so- lictious about compassionand deliverance. Some relief, somerefreshment they oftenfind in pity and compassion from them who either have been in the same condition themselves, or by scripture-light do know the terror of the Lord in these things. When their complaints are despised, and their troubles ascribed unto - other causes than what they are really sensible of and feel- within