Owen - BX9315 O81

DIVINE HONOUR UNTO THE PERSON OF CHRIST. 59 whom it is not mixed with faith, Heb. iv. 2. Unless whole is the dechiration of him and his grace. And it these things are plainly proved, which they will never is unprofitable unto them who are otherwise minded. be, whatever men declaim about universal objective grace in the documents of nature, it is but a vain ima- gination. 5. The declaration of this promise before the giving of the law, with the nature and ends of it, as also the u'se of sacrifices whereby it was confirmed, was commit- ted unto the ordinary ministry of our first parents and their godly posterity, and the extraordinary ministry of the prophetswhich God raised up among them. For God spake of our redemption by Christ, by the mouth of his holy prophetsfrom the beginning ofthe world, Luke í. 70. No greater duty couldbe incumbent on them by the light of nature, and the express revelationof the will ofGod, than that they should in their several capacities communicate the knowledge of this promise unto all in whom they were concerned. To suppose that our first parents who received this promise, and those unto whom they first declared it, looking on it as the only foundation of their acceptancewith God, and deliver- ance from the curse, were negligent in the declaration and preaching of it, is to render them brutish, and guil- ty of a second apostacy from God. And unto this prin- ciple which is founded in the light of nature, there is Countenance given by revelation also. For Enoch did prophecy of the things which were to accompany the accomplishment of this promise, Jude ver. 15. And Noah was apreacher of the righteousnessto be brought in by it, 2 Pet. ii. 5. ashe was an heir of the righteous- ness which is by faith in himself, Heb. xi. 7. 6. All thepromises:that God gave afterwards unto the church under the Old Testament, before and after giving the law, all the covenants that he entered into with particular persons, or the whole congregation of believers, were all of them declarations and confirma- tions of this first promise, or the way of salvation by the mediation of his Son, becoming the seed of the wo- man to break the head of the serpent, and to work out the deliverance of mankind. As most of these promises were expressly concerning him, so all of them in the counsel of God were confirmed in him, 2 Cor. i. 20. And as there are depths in the scripture of the Old Testament concerning him which we cannot fathom; and things innumerable spoken of him or in his person whichwe conceive not; so the principal design of the Sundry promises concerning temporal things were on various occasions superadded unto this great spiritual promise of life and grace. And the enemies of the person and mediation of Christ, do contend that men are justified by their faith and obedience with respect unto those particular revelations, whichwere only con- cerning temporal things. But to suppose that all those revelations and promises were not built upon, and re- solved into, did not include in them the grace andmer- cy of this first promise, is to make them curses instead of blessings, and deprivations of that grace which was infinitely better than what on this supposition was con- tained in them. The truth is, they were all additions unto it, and confirmations of it, nor had any thing of spiritual good in them, but upon a supposition of it. In some of them there was an ampliation ofgrace in the more fill declaration of' the nature of this promise, as well as an application unto the persons unto whom they were made. Such Was the promisemade unto Abraham, which had a direct respect unto Christ, as the apostle proveth, Gal. iii. 4. 7. Those who voluntarily, through the contempt of God and divine grace, fell off from the knowledge and faith of this promise, whether at once and by choice, or gradually through the love of sin, were in no better condition than thosehave been, or would be, who have so fallen off, or should sb apostatize from Christian re- ligion after its revelation and profession. And although this proved in process of time, both before and after the flood, to be the condition of the generality of mankind, yet it is in vain to seek after the means of salvation a- mong them, who had voluntarily rejected theonly way which God had revealed and provided for that end. God thereon " suffered all nations to walk in their own ways," Acts xiv. 16. " winking at the times of their ig- norance," not calling them to repentance, chap. xvii. 80.; yea, he gavethem" up unto their own hearts lusts, and they walked in their own counsels," Psal. lxxxi. 12. And nothing can be more derogatory unto the wisdom and holiness of God, than to imagine that he would grant other ways of salvation unto them, who had re- jected that only onewhich he had provided, which was by faith in Christ as revealed in that first promise. 8. From these considerations, which are all of them