Owen - BX9315 O81

IN THE CONSTITUTION OF ss rld from and by the nature of man, is filled with en- vy, malice, revenge, cruelty, oppression, and all engines of promoting self, whereunto man is wholly turned, as fallen off from God. He that would learn the di- vine nature, from the representation that is made of it, in the present actings of the nature of man, will be gradually led unto the devil instead of God. Where- fore no greater indignity could be offered unto divine wisdom and holiness, than there was in this rejection of the image of God wherein we werecreated. 2. There was no way left whereby glory might re- dound unto God, from the remainder of the creation here below. For the nature of man alone was designed to be the way and means of it, by virtue of the image of God implanted on it. Wherefore man by sin did not only draw off himself from that relation unto God wherein he was made, but drew off the whole creation here below with himself, into an uselessness unto his glory. And upon the entrance of sin, before the cure of our apostacywas actually accomplished, the genera- lity of mankind divided the creatures into two sorts; those above, or the heavenly bodies, and those here be- low. Those of the first sort they worshippedas their gods; and those ofthe other sort theyabused unto their lusts. Wherefore God was every way dishonoured in and by them all; nor was there any glory given him on their account. What some attempted to do of that na- ture, in a wisdom of their own, ended ein folly, and a renewed dishonour of God, as the apostle declares, Rom. i. 18, 19, 21, 22. 3. Man hereby lost all power and ability of attaining that end for which he was made, namely, the eternal enjoyment ofGod. Upon the matter, and as much as in us lay, the whole end of God in the creation of all things here below, was utterly defeated. But thatwhich was the malignity and poison of this sin, was the contempt that was cast on the holiness of God, whose representation, and all its expresscharacters were utterly despised and rejected therein. Herein then lay the concernment of the holiness or righteous- ness of God in this sin of our nature, which we are in- quiring after. Unless some reparation be made for the indignitycast upon it, in the rejection of the imageand representation of it, unless there be some way whereby it may be more eminently exalted in the nature ofman, than it was debased and despised in the same nature; it TIIE PERSON OF CHRIST. 95 was just, equal, righteous with God, that which becomes the rectitude and purity of his nature, that mankind should perish eternally in that condition whereinto it was cast by sin. It was not therefore consistent with the glory of God, that mankindshould be restored, that this nature of ours should be brought unto theenjoyment ofhim, unless his holiness be more exalted, be more conspicuously repre- sented in the same nature, than ever it was depressed or despised thereby. Thedemonstration of itsglory in any other nature, as in that of angels, would not serve unto this end, as we shall see afterwards. We mustnow a little return unto what we before laid down. Wisdom being the directive power of all divine operations, and the end of all those operations being the glory of God himself, or the demonstrationof the excellencies of the holy properties of his nature, it was incumbent thereon to provide for the honour and glory of divine holiness, in an exaltation answerable unto the attempt for its debasement. Without the consideration hereof, we can have no due prospect of the actings of infinite wisdom in this great work of our redemption and recovery by the incarnation of the Son of God. Thirdly, Sin brought disorder and disturbance into the whole rule and government of God. It was neces- sary from the infinite wisdom of God, that all things should be made in perfect order and harmony, all in a direct subordination unto his glory. There could have been no original defect in the natural or moral order of things, but it must have proceeded from a defect in wisdom. For the disposal of all things unto their pro- per order, belonged unto the contrivance thereof. And the harmony of all things among themselves, with all their mutual relations and aspects, in a regular tenden- cy unto their proper and utmost end, whereby though every individual subsistence or being hath a peculiar end of its own, yet all their actings, and all their ends tend directly unto one utmost common end of them all, is the principal effect ofwisdom. And thus was it at the beginning; when God himselfbeheld the universe, and lo, it was exceeding good. All things being4hus created and stated, it belonged unto the nature of God to be the rector and disposer of them all. It was not a mere free act of his will, whereby God chose to rule and govern the creation, according unto