Owen - BX9315 O81

DIVINE HONOUR -UNTO Mans to set forth and adorn a natural religion, as if it were sufficient unto all ends of our living unto God. But as most of its pretended ornaments are stolen from the gospel, or are framed in an emanation of light from it, such as nature of itself could not rise up unto; so the whole proceeds from a dislike of the mediation ofChrist, and even weariness of the profession of faith in him. So is it with the minds of men, who were ne- ver affected with supernatural revelations, with the my- stery of the gospel, beyond the owningof some notions of truth, who never had experience of its power in the life of God. THE PERSON OP CHRIST. 65 But here lies the trial of faith truly evangelical. Its steady beholding of the Sun of righteousness proves it genuine and from above. And let them take heed who find their hearts remiss or cold in this exercise of it. When men begin tosatisfy themselves with general hopes of mercy in God, without a continual respect unto the interposition and mediation of Christ, whereinto their hope and trust is resolved, there is a decay in their faith, and proportionably in all other evangelical graces oleo. Herein lies the mystery of Christian religion, which the world seems to be almost wearyof. CHAP. XI. OBEDIENCE UNTO CHRIST, TIIE NATURE AND CAUSES O .ALL holy obedience, both internal and external, is that which we proposed asthe second part ofour religious regard unto theperson of Christ. His great injunction unto his disciples, is, That they keep his commandments, without which, none are so. Some say the Lord Christ is to be considered as a lawgiver, and the gospel as a new law given by him, whereby our obedience unto him is to be regulated. Some absolutely deny it, and will not grant the gospel in any sense to bea new law. And many dispute about these things, whilst obedience itself is on all hands ge- nerallyneglected. But this is that whereon our princi- pal concernment doth lie. I shall not therefore at pre- sent ínmix myself in any needless disputations. Those things wherein the nature and necessity of our obe- dience unto him is concerned, shall be briefly declared. The law under the Old Testament, taken generally, had two parts. First, themoral preceptive part of it; and secondly, the institutions of worship appointed for that season. These are jointly and distinctly called the late. In respect unto the first of these, the Lord Christ gave no new law, nor was the old abrogated by him, .which it must be if another were given in the room of it, unto the same ends: for the introduction of a new law in the placeof, and unto the end of a former, is an actual abrogation of it. Neither did he add any T. new precepts unto it, nor give any counsels for the per- formance of duties in matter or manner beyond what it prescribed. Any such supposition is contrary to the wisdom and holiness of God in giving the law, -and in- consistent with the nature of the law itself. For God never required less of us in the law than all that was due unto him. And his prescription of it, included all circumstances and causes that might render any duty at any time necessary in the nature or dcgreess of it. Whatever at any time may become the duty of anyper- son towards God in the substance or degrees of it, it is made so by the law. All is included in that summary of it, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself." Nothingcan be the duty of men but what and when it is required by the love of God or our neighbour. Wherefore no ad- ditions were made unto the preceptive part of the law by our Saviour, nor counsels given by him for the per- formance of morethan it did require. In this regard the gospel isno new law, only the duties of the moral and eternal law, are plainly declared in the doctrine of it, enforced in its motives, and directed as to their manner and end. Nor in this sense did the Lord Christ ever declare himself to be a new lawgiver; yea, he declares the contrary, that he came to confirm the old, Matth. v. 17. Secondly, the lace maybe considered, as containing