Owen - BX9315 O81

il 53 THE PRINCIPLE OF THE ASSIGNATION GP this consideration from them, and theywere as irration- first promise, but on their walking according to the light of nature, and their obedience unto some especial revelations about temporal things; the vanity whereof bath been before discovered. Whereforeour first par rents and their posterity did so believe the first promise, or they must be supposed, either to have been kept un- der the curse, or else to have had, and make useof some other way of deliverance from it. To imagine the first is impious; for the apostle affirms, that they had this testimony that they pleased God, Heb. xi. 5. Which un- der the curse, none can do; for that is God's displea- sure. And in the same place he confirms their faith, andjustification thereon, with acloud ofwitnesses, chap. xii. 2. To affirm thelatter is groundless, And it -in- cludes a supposai of the relinquishment of the wisdom, grace and authority of God in that divine revelation, for men to betake themselves to none knows what. For that there was inthis promise the way expressed which God in his wisdom and grace had provided for their deliverance, we have proved before. To forsake this way, and to betake themselves unto any other, whereof he had made no mention or revelation unto them, was to rejecthis authority and grace. As for those who are otherwise minded, it is incum- bent on them directly,to prove thesethree things.. (1.)- That there is another way, that there are other means for the justification and salvation of sinners, than that revealed, declared, and proposed in that first pro- mise. And when this is done, they must shew to what end on that supposition the promise itself was given, seeing the end of it is evacuated. (2.) That upon a supposition that God had revealed in the promise the way and means of our deliverance from the curse and state of sin, it was lawful unto men toforsake it, and to betakethemselves unto another way, without any supernatural revelation for their guidance. For if it was not, their relinquishment of the promise was no less apostacy from Godin the revelation of him- self in a way of grace, than the first sin was, as to the revelation of himself in the works of nature. Only the one revelation was by inbred principles, the other by external declaration, nor could it otherwise be. Or, (9.) That there was some other way of the participa- tion of thebenefits of this promise, besides faith in it, or in him who was promised therein; seeing theapostle bath declared, that no promise will profit them by al a service, as unbecoming the divine nature, as any thing that reasonable creatures could fix upon. They are to this day, as reasonable a service as ever they were, but thatonly their respectunto the sacrificeof Christ is taken from them. And what person of any ordinary understanding, could now suppose them a meet service wherebyto glorify the divine nature? Besides, all expi- atory sacrifices were of the same nature, and of the same use, both before and after the giving of the law. But that all those afterwardswere typical of thesacrifice of Christ, the apostle demonstrates at large inhis epis- tle unto the Hebrews. The enquiry therefore is, whe- ther this blessed prefiguration of the Lord Christ and Isis sacrifice, as he was the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world, was an effect of the wisdom, goodness, andwill of God, orof the wills and inventions of men. And let it be considered also, that these men who are supposed to be the authors of this wonderful representation of the Lord Christ and his sacrifice, did indeed know little of them, or as the asserters of this opinion imaginer nothing at all. To suppose that those who knew no more of Christ than they couldlearn from the first promise, which as some think was nothing, at all, should of their own heads find out and appoint this divine service, which consistedonly in theprefiguration of him and his sacrifice, and that God should not only approve of it, but allow it as the principal means for the establishment and exercise of the faith of all believ- ers for four thousand years, is to indulge unto thoughts deviatingfrom all rules of sobriety. He that sees not a divine wisdom in this institution, bath scarce seriously exercised his thoughts about it. Bat I have elsewhere considered the causes and original of these sacrifices, and shall not therefore farther insist upon them. 4. Our first parents and all their holy posterity did believe this promise, or did embrace it as the only way and means of their deliverance from the curse and state of sin, and were thereon justified before God. I con- fess wehave not infallibleassurance of any who did no in particular, but those who are mentioned by name in Scripture as Abel, Enoch, Noah, and some others. But to question it concerning others also, as of our first parents themselves is foolish and impious. This is done by the Socinians, to promote another design, namely, that none were justified before God on the belief of the