Owen - BX9315 O81

AND FOLLOWING HIS EXAMPLE. 91 ensue. (1.) The necessity of universal evangelical o- bedience, seeing it is only in and by the duties of it, that faith is or can be kept in a due exercise unto the ends mentioned. (2.) That believers do hereby increase continually with the increaseof God, and grow up into him who is the Head, until they become the fulness of Isla; who filleth all in all. 3. A conviction that a real interest in, and participa- tion of these things, cannot be obtained any other way, but by the actual exercise of faith on the person of Je- sus Christ. These things were necessary to be handled at large with reference unto the end proposed. But for sundry reasons the whole of this labour is here -declined. l'or. some of the particulars mentioned, 1 have already insist- ed on in other discourses heretofore published, and that with respect unto the end here designed. And this ar- gument cannot be handled as it doth deserve unto full satisfaction, without an entire discourse concerning the life of faith, which my present design will not admit of. God's promises to the church; the communication of federal blessings unto their families; and the exercise of loving-kindness towards mankind in general; with sun- dry other concernments of the life of faith of the like im- portance; but they may be all reduced unto thegeneral heads proposed. What should have been spoken with reference unto these things belongs unto these three heads. I. A declaration that all these things are wrought in, and communicated unto believers according to theirva- rious natures by an emanation of grace and power from the person of Jesus Christ, as the headof thechurch, as heswho is exalted and made a Princeand a Saviour, to give repentance and the forgivenessofsins. 2. Adeclaration of the way and manner how believ- ers do live upon Christ in the exercise of faith, where- by according to the promise and appointment of God, they derive from him the whole grace and mercywhere- ofin this=world they are made partakers, and are esta- blished in the expectation of what they shall receive hereafter by his power. And that two things do hence CHAP. XVI. AN HUMBLE INQUIRY INTO, AND PROSPECT OF TIIE INFINITE WISDOM OF GOD, IN THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST, AND 'rHE WAY OF SALVATION THEREBY. FROM the considerationof the things before insisted on we may endeavour according unto our measure, to take a view of, and humbly adore the infinite wisdom of God in the holy contrivance of this great mystery of godliness, Godmanifest in the flesh. As it is a spiritu- al evangelical mystery, it is an effect of divine wisdom in the redemption and salvation of the church, unto the eternal glory ofGod. And as it is a great mystery, so it is the mystery of the manifold wisdom of God, Eph. ïü, 9, 10. that is, of infinite wisdom working in great variety of actings and operations, suited unto, and ex- pressive of its own infinite fulness; for herein were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge laid up, and laid out, Col. ii. 3. An argument this is, in some parts whereof divers of the ancient writers of the churchhave laboured, some occasionally, and some with express de- sign. I shall insist only on those things which scrip- ture light leads us directly unto. The depths of divine wisdom in this glorious work are hid from the eyes of all living. a God alone understandeth the way there- of; and he knoweth the place thereof;" as he speaks, Job xxviii. 21, 23. Yet is it so glorious in its effects, that "destruction and death say, We have heard the fame of it with our ears," ver. 22. The fame and re- port of this divine wisdom reach even unto hell. Those who eternally perish shall hear afame of this wisdom in the glorious effects of it, towards the blessed souls above, though some of them would not believe it here in the light ofthegospel, and none,of them can understand it there, in their everlasting darkness. Hence the report which they have of this wisdom, is an aggravation of their misery. These depths we may admire and adore, but we can- not comprehend: " For who bath known the mind of the Lord herein, or with whom took he counsel?" Con- cerning the original causes ofhis counsels in this great