Owen - BX9315 O81

60 THE PRINCIPLE Or THE ASSIGNATION OP Unquestionable principles of truth, two things are evi. dent. (1.) That there was no way of the justification and salvation of sinners, revealed and proposed from the foundation of the world, but only by Jesus Christ, as declared in the first promise. (2.) That there was no way for the participation of the benefits of thatpromise, or of his workof mediation, but by frith in him as so promised. There was there- fore faith in him required from the foundation of the world; that is, from the entrance of sin. And how this faith respected his person bath been before declared. Now faith in him as promised for the works and ends of his mediation, and faith in him as actually exhibited, and as having accomplishedhis work, are essentially the same, and differonly with respect unto the economy of times which God disposed at his pleasure. Hence the efficacy of his mediation was the same unto them who then so believed, as it is now unto us after his actual ex- hibition in the flesh. But yet it is acknowledged, that as unto the clearness and fulness of the revelation of the mystery of the wisdom and grace of God, in him, as unto the con- stitution of his person in his incarnation, and therein the determination of the individual person promised from the beginning, through the actual accomplish- ment of the work which he was promised for; faith in him as the foundation of that divine honour which it is our duty to give unto him, is far more evi- dently and manifestly revealed and required in the gos- pel, or under the New Testament, than it was under the Old. See Eph. iii. 8 -11. The respect of faith nowunto Christ, is that which renders it truly evange- lical. To believe in him, to believe on his name, is that signal especial duty which is now required of us. . Wherefore the ground of the actual assignation of divine honour unto the person of Christ in both branches of it, adoration and invocation, is faith in him. So he said unto the blind manwhose eyeshe opened, "Believest thou on the Son of God?" John ix. 35. And he said, " Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him," ver. 38. All divine worship or adoration, is a consequent effect and fruit of faith. $o also is invoca- tion; for "how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?" Rom. x. 14. Hirn, in whom we believe, we ought to adore and invocate. For these are the principal ways whereby divine faith doth act itself. And so to adore or invocate any, in whòm we ought not to believe, is idolatry. This faith therefore on the person of Christ is our duty. Yea, such a duty it is, as that our eternal con- dition doth more peculiarly depend on the performance or non-performance of it, than on any other duty what- ever. For constantly under those terns it is prescrib- ed untous. " He that believeth on the Son, hath ev- erlasting life: and lie that believeth not the San, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," John iii. 36. Wherefore the nature and exerciseof this faith must be inquired into. First, There is a faith which is exercised towards thoseby whom the mind and will of God is revealed. So it is said of the Israelites, "they believed the Lord and Moses," Exod. xiv. 33. that is, that he was sent of God, was no deceiver, that it was the word and will of Godwhich he revealedunto them. So 2 Chroms. xx. 20. "Believe in the Lordyour God, so shall ye be establish- ed; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." It was not the persons of the prophets, but their message that was the object of the faith required. It was to believe what they said, as from God, not to believe in them, as if they were God. So is it explained by the apostle, Acts xxvi. 27. "King Agrippa, believest thou thepro- phets? I know that thou believest." He believed that they were sent of God, and that the word they spake was from him; otherwise there was no believing o_ them that were dead so many ages before. And this is all the faith in Christ himself which some will allow. To believe in Christ, they say, is only to believe the doctrine of the gospel revealed by him. Hence they deny that any could believe in him, before his coming into the world, and the declaration of the mind of God in the gospel made by him. An assent unto the truth of the gospel as revealed by Christ, is with them the whole,of that faith in Christ Jesus which is required of us. Ofall that poison which at this day is diffused in the minds of men, corrupting them from the mystery of the gospel, there is no part that is more pernicious than this oneperverse imagination, that to believe in. Christ, is nothing at all but tq believe the doctrine of thegos- pel, which yet we grant is included therein. For as it allows the consideration of no office in him, butthat of