(Owen, Christologia, Part 4)

Chapter IV. To Person of Christ the Foundation of all the Counsels of 
Secondly, The person of Christ is the foundation of all the counsels 
of God, as unto his own eternal glory in the vocation, sanctification, 
and salvation of the church. That which I intend is what the apostle 
expresseth, Eph. 1: 9, 10: "Having made known unto us the mystery of 
his will, according to his good pleasure, which he has purposed in 
himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might 
gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, 
and which are on earth; even in him." The "mysteries of the will of 
God, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself"--are 
his counsels concerning his own eternal glory, in the sanctification 
and salvation of the church here below, to be united unto that above. 
The absolute original hereof was in his own good pleasure, or the 
sovereign acting of his wisdom and will. But it was all to be effected 
in Christ--which the apostle twice repeats: he would gather "all 
things into a head in Christ, even in him" that is, in him alone. 
 Thus it is said of him, with respect unto his future incarnation and 
work of mediation, that the Lord possessed him in the beginning of his 
way, before his works of old; that he was set up from everlasting, 
from the beginning, or ever the earth was: Prov. 8: 22, 23. The 
eternal personal existence of the Son of God is supposed in these 
expressions, as I have elsewhere proved. Without it, none of these 
things could be affirmed of him. But there is a regard in them, both 
unto his future incarnation, and the accomplishment of the counsels of 
God thereby. With respect thereunto, God "possessed him in the 
beginning of his way, and set him up from everlasting." God possessed 
him eternally as his essential wisdom--as he was always, and is 
always, in the bosom of the Father, in the mutual ineffable love of 
the Father and Son, in the eternal bond of the Spirit. But he signally 
possessed him "in the beginning of his way "--as his wisdom, acting in 
the production of all the ways and works that are outwardly of him. 
The "beginning of God's ways," before his works, are his counsels 
concerning them--even as our counsels are the beginning of our ways, 
with respect unto future works. And he "set him up from everlasting," 
as the foundation of all the counsels of his will, in and by whom they 
were to be executed and accomplished. 
 So it is expressed: (verses 30, 31:) "I was by him, as one brought up 
with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 
rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were 
with the sons of men." And it is added, that thus it was before the 
foundation of the world was laid, or the chiefest part of the dust of 
the earth was made--that is, [before] man was created. Not only was 
the delight of the Father in him, but his delight was in the habitable 
part of the earth, and among the sons of men--before the creation of 
the world. Wherefore, the eternal prospect of the work he had to do 
for the children of men is intended herein. In and with him, God laid 
the foundation of all his counsels concerning his love towards the 
children of men. And two things may be observed herein. 
 1. That the person of the Son "was set up," or exalted herein. "I was 
set up," saith he, "from everlasting." This cannot be spoken 
absolutely of the person of the Son himself--the Divine nature being 
not capable of being so set up. But there was a peculiar glory and 
honour belonging unto the person of the Son, as designed by the Father 
unto the execution of all the counsels of his will. Hence was that 
prayer of his upon the accomplishment of them: (John 17: 5:) "And now, 
0 Father, glorify me with thine own self, with the glory which I had 
with thee before the world was." To suppose that the Lord Christ 
prayeth, in these words, for such a real communication of the 
properties of the divine nature unto the human as should render it 
immense, omniscient, and unconfined unto any space--is to think that 
he prayed for the destruction, and not the exaltation of it. For, on 
that supposition, it must necessarily lose all its own essential 
properties, and consequently its being. Nor does he seem to pray only 
for the manifestation of his divine nature, which was eclipsed in his 
exinanition or appearance in the form of a servant. There was no need 
to express this by--the "glory which he had with the Father before the 
world was." For he had it not, in any especial manner, before the 
world was; but equally from eternity, and in every moment of time. 
Wherefore, he had a peculiar glory of his own, with the Father, before 
the world was. And this was no other but that especial exaltation 
which he had when he was "set up from everlasting," as the foundation 
of the counsels of God, for the salvation of the church. In those 
eternal transactions that were between the Father and the Son, with 
respect unto his incarnation and mediation--or his undertaking to 
execute and fulfill the eternal counsels of the wisdom and grace of 
the Father--there was an especial glory which the Son had with him-- 
the "glory which he had with the Father before the world was." For the 
manifestation hereof he now prays and that the glory of his goodness, 
grace, and love--in his peculiar undertaking of the execution of the 
counsels of God--might be made to appear. And this is the principal 
design of the gospel. It is the declaration, as of the grace of God 
the Father, so of the love, grace, goodness, and compassion of the 
Son, in undertaking from everlasting the accomplishment of God's 
counsels, in the salvation of the church. And hereby does he hold up 
the pillars of the earth, or support this inferior creation, which 
otherwise, with the inhabitants of it, would by sin have been 
dissolved. And those by whom the eternal, divine preexistence, in the 
form of God--antecedent unto his incarnation his denied, do what lies 
in them expressly to despoil him of all that glory which he had with 
the Father before the world was. So we have herein the whole of our 
design. "In the beginning of God's ways, before his works of old" that 
is, in his eternal counsels with respect unto the children of men, or 
the sanctification and salvation of the church--the Lord possessed, 
enjoyed the Son, as his eternal wisdom--in and with whom they were 
laid, in and by whom they were to be accomplished, wherein his 
delights were with the sons of men. 
 2. That there was an ineffable delight between the Father and the Son 
in this his setting up or exaltation. "I was," saith he, "daily his 
delight, rejoicing always before him." It is not absolutely the 
mutual, eternal delight of the Father and the Son--arising from the 
perfection of the same divine excellencies in each person--that is 
intended. But respect is plainly had unto the counsels of God 
concerning the salvation of mankind by him who is his power and wisdom 
unto that end. This counsel of peace was originally between Jehovah 
and the Branch, (Zech. 6: 13,) or the Father and the Son --as he was 
to be incarnate. For therein was he "foreordained before the 
foundation of the world;" (1 Pet. 1: 20 ,) viz, to be a Saviour and a 
deliverer, by whom all the counsels of God were to be accomplished; 
and this by his own will, and concurrence in counsel with the Father. 
And such a foundation was laid of the salvation of the church in these 
counsels of God--as transacted between the Father and the Son--that it 
is said, that "eternal life was promised before the world began:" Tit. 
1: 2. For, although the first formal promise was given after the fall, 
yet was there such a preparation of grace and eternal life in these 
counsels of God, with his unchangeable purpose to communicate them 
unto us, that all the faithfulness of God was engaged in them. "God, 
that cannot lie, promised before the world began." There was eternal 
life with the Father--that is, in his counsel treasured up in Christ, 
and in him afterwards manifested unto us: 1 John 1: 2. And, to show 
the stability of this purpose and counsel of God, with the infallible 
consequence of his actual promise, and efficacious accomplishment 
thereof, "grace" is said to be "given us in Christ Jesus before the 
world began:" 2 Tim. 1: 9. 
 In these counsels did God delight--or in the person of Christ, as his 
eternal wisdom in their contrivance, and as the means of their 
accomplishment in his future incarnation. Hence he so testifieth of 
him: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul 
delighteth;" (Isa.42:1;) as he also proclaims the same delight in him, 
from heaven, in the days of his flesh: Matt. 3: 17; 17: 5. He was the 
delight of God, as he in whom all his counsel for his own glory, in 
the redemption and salvation of the church were laid and founded: "My 
servant, in whom I will be glorified;" (Isa. 49: 3;) that is, "by 
raising the tribes of Jacob, restoring the preserved of Israel, in 
being a light unto the gentiles, and the salvation of God unto the 
ends of the earth:" verse 6. 
 We conceive not aright of the counsels of God, when we think of 
nothing but the effect of them, and the glory that ariseth from their 
accomplishment. It is certainly true that they shall all issue in his 
glory, and the demonstration of it shall fill up eternity. The 
manifestative glory of God unto eternity, consists in the effects and 
accomplishment of his holy counsels. Heaven is the state of the actual 
accomplishment of all the counsels of God, in the sanctification and 
salvation of the church. But it is not with God as it is with men. Let 
men's counsels be ever so wise, it must needs abate of their 
satisfaction in them, because their conjectures (and more they have 
not) of their effects and events are altogether uncertain. But all the 
counsels of God having their entire accomplishment through revolutions 
perplexing and surpassing all created understandings, enclosed in them 
infallibly and immutably, the great satisfaction, complacency, and 
delight of the Divine Being is in these counsels themselves. 
 God does delight in the actual accomplishment of his works. He made 
not this world, nor any thing in it, for its own sake. Much less did 
he make this earth to be a theatre for men to act their lusts upon-- 
the use which it is now put to, and groans under. But he made "all 
things for himself," Prov. 16: 4; he "made them for his pleasure," 
Rev. 4: 11; that is, not only by an act of sovereignty, but to his own 
delight and satisfaction. And a double testimony did he give hereunto, 
with respect unto the works of creation. (1.) In the approbation which 
he gave of the whole upon its survey: and "God saw all that he had 
made, and, behold, it was very good:" Gen. 1: 31. There was that 
impression of his divine wisdom, power, and goodness upon the whole, 
as manifested his glory; wherein he was well pleased. For immediately 
thereon, all creatures capable of the conception and apprehension of 
his glory, "sang forth his praise:" Job 38: 6, 7. (2.) In that he 
rested from his works or in them, when they were finished: Gen. 2: 2. 
It was not a rest of weariness from the labour of his work--but a rest 
of complacency and delight in what he had wrought--that God entered 
 But the principal delight and complacency of God, is in his eternal 
counsels. For all his delight in his works is but in the effects of 
those divine properties whose primitive and principal exercise is in 
the counsels themselves, from whence they proceed. Especially is it so 
as unto these counsels of the Father and the Son, as to the redemption 
and salvation of the church, wherein they delight, and mutually 
rejoice in each other on their account. They are all eternal acts of 
God's infinite wisdom, goodness, and love--a delight and complacency 
wherein is no small part of the divine blessedness. These things are 
absolutely inconceivable unto us, and ineffable by us; we cannot find 
the Almighty out unto perfection. However, certain it is, from the 
notions we have of the Divine Being and excellencies, and from the 
revelation he has made of himself, that there is an infinite delight 
in God--in the eternal acting of his wisdom, goodness, and love-- 
wherein, according to our weak and dark apprehensions of things, we 
may safely place no small portion of divine blessedness. 
Self-existence in its own immense being--thence self sufficiency unto 
itself in all things--and thereon self satisfaction--is the principal 
notion we have of divine blessedness. 
 1. God delights in these his eternal counsels in Christ, as they are 
acts of infinite wisdom, as they are the highest instance wherein it 
will exert itself. Hence, in the accomplishment of them, Christ is 
emphatically said to be the "Wisdom of God;" (1 Cor. 1: 24;) he in 
whom the counsels of his wisdom were to be fulfilled. And in him is 
the manifold wisdom of God made known: Eph.3:10. Infinite wisdom being 
that property of the divine nature whereby all the acting of it are 
disposed and regulated, suitably unto his own glory, in all his divine 
excellencies--he cannot but delight in all the acts of it. Even 
amongst men--whose wisdom compared with that of God is folly itself-- 
yet is there nothing wherein they have a real rational complacency, 
suitable unto the principles of their nature, but in such acting of 
that wisdom which they have (and such as it is) towards the proper 
ends of their being and duty. How much more does God delight himself 
in the infinite perfection of his own wisdom, and its eternal acting 
for the representation of all the glorious excellencies of his nature! 
Such are his counsels concerning the salvation of the church by Jesus 
Christ; and because they were all laid in him and with him, therefore 
is he said to be his "delight continually before the world was." This 
is that which is proposed as the object of our admiration, Rom. 11: 33- 
 2. They are acts of infinite goodness, whereon the divine nature 
cannot but be infinitely delighted in them. As wisdom is the directive 
principle of all divine operations, so goodness is the communicative 
principle that is effectual in them. He is good, and he does good-- 
yea, he does good because he is good, and for no other reason--not by 
the necessity of nature, but by the intervention of a free act of his 
will. His goodness is absolutely infinite, essentially perfect in 
itself; which it could not be if it belonged unto it, naturally and 
necessarily, to act and communicate itself unto any thing without God 
himself. The divine nature is eternally satisfied in and with its own 
goodness; but it is that principle which is the immediate fountain of 
all the communications of good unto others, by a free act of the will 
of God. So when Moses desired to see his glory, he tells him that "he 
will cause all his goodness to pass before him, and would be gracious 
unto whom he would be gracious:" Exod. 33: 19. All divine operations-- 
in the gracious communication of God himself--are from his goodness, 
by the intervention of a free act of his will. And the greatest 
exercise and emanation of divine goodness, was in these holy counsels 
of God for the salvation of the church by Jesus Christ. For whereas in 
all other effects of his goodness he gives of his own, herein he gave 
himself, in taking our nature upon him. And thence, as he expresseth 
the design of man in his fall, as upbraiding him with folly and 
ingratitude, "Behold, the man is become as one of us," Gen. 3: 22, we 
may, with all humble thankfulness, express the means of our recovery, 
"Behold, God is become like one of us," as the apostle declares it at 
large, Phil. 2: 6-8. It is the nature of sincere goodness--even in its 
lowest degree--above all other habits or principles of nature, to give 
a delight and complacency unto the mind in the exercise of itself, and 
communication of its effects. A good man does both delight in doing 
good, and has an abundant reward for the doing it, in the doing of it. 
And what shall we conceive concerning eternal, absolute, infinite, 
perfect, immixed goodness, acting itself in the highest instance (in 
an effect cognate and like unto it) that it can extend unto! So was it 
in the counsels of God, concerning the incarnation of his Son and the 
salvation of the church thereby. No heart can conceive, no tongue can 
express, the least portion of that ineffable delight of the holy, 
blessed God, in these counsels, wherein he acted and expressed unto 
the utmost his own essential goodness. Shall a liberal man devise 
liberal things, because they are suited unto his inclination? Shall a 
good man find a secret refreshment and satisfaction in the exercise of 
that low, weak, imperfect, minced goodness, that his nature is inlaid 
withal?--And shall not He whose goodness is essential unto him--whose 
being it is, and in whom it is the immediate principle of 
communicating himself unto others--be infinitely delighted in the 
highest exercise of it which divine wisdom did direct? 
 The effect of these eternal counsels of God in future glory is 
reserved for them that do believe; and therein will there be the 
nearest manifestation of the glory of God himself unto them, when he 
"shall be glorified in his saints," and eternally "admired in all that 
believe." But the blessed delight and satisfaction of God, was, and 
is, in those counsels themselves, as they were acts of his infinite 
wisdom and goodness. Herein was the Lord Christ his "delight 
continually before the foundation of the world,"--in that *in* him 
were all these counsels laid, and *through* him were they all to be 
accomplished. The constitution of his person was the only way whereby 
divine wisdom and goodness would act and communicate of themselves 
unto mankind--in which acting are the eternal delight and complacency 
of the Divine Being. 
 3. Love and grace have the same influence into the counsels of God, 
as wisdom and goodness have. And, in the Scripture notion of these 
things, they superadd unto goodness this consideration--that their 
object is sinners, and those that are unworthy. God does universally 
communicate of his goodness unto all his creatures, though there be an 
especial exercise of it towards them that believe. But as unto his 
love and grace, as they are peculiar unto his elect--the church chosen 
in Christ before the foundation of the world--so they respect them 
primarily in a lost, undone condition by sin. "God commendeth his love 
towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us:" 
Rom 5: 8. "God is love," says the apostle. His nature is essentially 
so. And the best conception of the natural internal acting of the holy 
persons, is love; and all the acts of it are full of delight. This is, 
as it were, the womb of all the eternal counsels of God, which renders 
his complacency in them ineffable. Hence does he so wonderfully 
express his delight and complacency in the acting of his love towards 
the church: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will 
save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he 
will joy over thee with singing:" Zeph. 3: 17. The reason why, in the 
salvation of the church, he rejoiceth with joy and joyeth with singing- 
-the highest expression of divine complacency--is because he resteth 
in his love, and so is pleased in the exercise of its effects. 
 But we must return to manifest in particular how all these counsels 
of God were laid in the person of Christ--to which end the things 
ensuing may be distinctly considered. 
 1. God made all things, in the beginning, good, exceeding good. The 
whole of his work was disposed into a perfect harmony, beauty, and 
order, suited unto that manifestation of his own glory which he 
designed therein. And as all things had their own individual 
existence, and operations suited unto their being, and capable of an 
end, a rest, or a blessedness, congruous unto their natures and 
operations--so, in the various respects which they had each to other, 
in their mutual supplies, assistances, and cooperation, they all 
tended unto that ultimate end--his eternal glory. For as, in their 
beings and existence, they were effects of infinite power--so were 
their mutual respects and ends disposed in infinite wisdom. Thereon 
were the eternal power and wisdom of God glorified in them; the one in 
their production, the other in their disposal into their order and 
harmony. Man was a creature that God made, that by him he might 
receive the glory that he aimed at in and by the whole inanimate 
creation--both that below, which was for his use, and that above, 
which was for his contemplation. This was the end of our nature in its 
original constitution. Whereunto are we again restored in Christ: 
James 1: 18; Ps. 104: 24; 136: 5; Rom. 1: 20. 
 2. God was pleased to permit the entrance of sin, both in heaven 
above and in earth beneath, whereby this whole order and harmony was 
disturbed. There are yet characters of divine power, wisdom, and 
goodness, remaining on the works of creation, and inseparable from 
their beings. But the primitive glory that was to redound unto God by 
them--especially as unto all things here below--was from the obedience 
of man, unto whom they were put in subjection. *Their* good estate 
depended on their subordination unto him in a way of natural use, as 
*his* did on God in the way of moral obedience: Gen. 1: 26, 28; Ps. 8: 
6-8. Man, as was said, is a creature which God made, that by him he 
might receive the glory that he aimed at in and by the whole inanimate 
creation. This was the end of our nature in its original constitution. 
Whereunto are we again restored in Christ: James 1: 18. But the 
entrance of sin cast all this order into confusion, and brought the 
curse on all things here below. Hereby were they deprived of that 
estate wherein they were declared exceeding good, and cast into that 
of vanity--under the burden whereof they groan, and will do so to the 
end: Gen. 3: 17,18; Rom. 8: 20, 21. And these things we must again 
consider afterwards. 
 3. Divine wisdom was no way surprised with this disaster. God had, 
from all eternity, laid in provisions of counsels for the recovery of 
all things into a better and more permanent estate than what was lost 
by sin. This is the "anapsuxis", the "apokatastasis pantoon", the 
revivification, the restitution of all things, Acts 3: 19, 21; the 
"anakefalaioosis", or the gathering all things in heaven and earth 
into a new head in Christ Jesus: Eph 1: 10. For although, it may be, 
there is more of curiosity than of edification in a scrupulous inquiry 
into the method or order of God's eternal decrees or counsels, and the 
disposal of them into a subserviency one unto another; yet this is 
necessary from the infinite wisdom, prescience, and immutability of 
God--that he is surprised with nothing, that he is put unto no new 
counsels, by any events in the works of creation. All things were 
disposed by him into those ways and methods--and that from eternity-- 
which conduce unto, and certainly issue in, that glory which is 
ultimately intended. For as we are careful to state the eternal 
decrees of God, and the actual operations of his providence, so as 
that the liberty of the will of man, as the next cause of all his 
moral actions, be not infringed thereby--so ought we to be careful not 
to ascribe such a sacrilegious liberty unto the wills of any 
creatures, as that God should be surprised, imposed on, or changed by 
any of their acting whatever. For "known unto him are all his works 
from the foundation of the world," and with him there is neither 
"variableness nor shadow of turning." 
 4. There were, therefore, eternal counsels of God, whereby he 
disposed all things into a new order, unto his own glory, in the 
sanctification and salvation of the church. And of them two things may 
be considered: (1.) Their original; (2.) The design of their 
 (1.) Their first spring or original was in the divine will and wisdom 
alone, without respect unto any external moving cause. No reason can 
be given, no cause be assigned, of these counsels, but the will of God 
alone. Hence are they called or described, by--the "good pleasure 
which he purposed in himself;" (Eph. 1: 9;) "the purpose of him who 
worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will:" verse 
11. "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his 
counsellor? Or who has first given unto him, and it shall be 
recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, 
are all things:" Rom. 11: 34-36. The incarnation of Christ, and his 
mediation thereon, were not the procuring cause of these eternal 
counsels of God, but the effects of them, as the Scripture constantly 
declares. But, (2.) The design of their accomplishment was laid in the 
person of the Son alone. As he was the essential wisdom of God, all 
things were at first created by him. But upon a prospect of the ruin 
of all by sin, God would in and by him--as he was foreordained to be 
incarnate--restore all things. The whole counsel of God unto this end 
centred in him alone. Hence their foundation is rightly said to be 
laid in him, and is declared so to be by the apostle: Eph 1: 4. For 
the spring of the sanctification and salvation of the church lies in 
election, the decree whereof compriseth the counsels of God concerning 
them. Herein, God from the beginning "chooseth us unto salvation 
through sanctification of the Spirit;" (2 Thess. 2: 13;) the one being 
the end he designeth, the other the means and way thereof. But this he 
did in Christ; "he chooseth us in him before the foundation of the 
world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love;" 
that is, "unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit." In him 
we were not actually, nor by faith, before the foundation of the 
world; yet were we then chosen in him, as the only foundation of the 
execution of all the counsels of God concerning our sanctification and 
 Thus as all things were originally made and created by him, as he was 
the essential wisdom of God--so all things are renewed and recovered 
by him, as he is the provisional wisdom of God, in and by his 
incarnation. Therefore are these things put together and compared unto 
his glory. He "is the image of the invisible God, the first born of 
every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven, 
and that are in earth, visible and invisible; ... all things were 
created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him 
all things consist: and he is the head of the body, the church; who is 
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he 
might have the preeminence:" Col. 1: 15-18. 
 Two things, as the foundation of what is ascribed unto the Lord 
Christ in the ensuing discourse, are asserted: verse 15.--(1.) That he 
is "the image of the invisible God." (2.) That he is "the firstborn of 
every creature;" things seeming very distant in themselves, but 
gloriously united and centring in his person. 
 (1.) He is "the image of the invisible God;" or, as it is elsewhere 
expressed, he is "in the form of God"--his essential form, for other 
form there is none in the divine nature--the "brightness of the glory, 
and the express image of the Father's person." And he is called here 
the "invisible God," not absolutely with respect unto his essence, 
though it be most true--the divine essence being absolutely invisible, 
and that equally, whether considered as in the Father or in the Son-- 
but he is called so with respect unto his counsels, his will, his 
love, and his grace. For so none has seen him at any time; but the 
only-begotten, which is in the bosom of the Father, he declares him: 
John 1: 18. As he is thus the essential, the eternal image of the 
invisible God, his wisdom and power--the efficiency of the first 
creation, and its consistence being created, is ascribed unto him: "By 
him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in 
earth, visible and invisible:" Col. 1: 17. And because of the great 
notions and apprehensions that were then in the world--especially 
among the Jews, unto whom the apostle had respect in this epistle of 
the greatness and glory of the invisible part of the creation in 
heaven above, he mentions them in particular, under the most glorious 
titles that any could, or then did, ascribe unto them--"Whether they 
be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things 
were created by him, and for him;" the same expression that is used of 
God absolutely: Rom. 11: 36; Rev. 4: 11. Add hereunto those other 
places to this purpose, John 1: 1-3; Heb. 1: 1-3; and those that are 
not under the efficacy of spiritual infatuations, cannot but admire at 
the power of unbelief, the blindness of the minds of men, and the 
craft of Satan, in them who deny the divine nature of Jesus Christ. 
For whereas the apostle plainly affirms, that the works of the 
creation do demonstrate the eternal power and Godhead of him by whom 
they were created; (Rom. 1: 19, 20;) and not only so, but it is 
uncontrollably evident in the light of nature: it being so directly, 
expressly, frequently affirmed, that all things whatever, absolutely, 
and in their distributions into heaven and earth, with the things 
contained respectively in them, were made and created by Christ is the 
highest rebellion against the light and teachings of God, to 
disbelieve his divine existence and power. 
 (2.) Again it is added, that he is "the firstborn of every creature;" 
which principally respects the new creation, as it is declared: (verse 
18:) "He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, 
the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the 
preeminence." For in him were all the counsels of God laid for the 
recovery of all things unto himself--as he was to be incarnate. And 
the accomplishment of these counsels of God by him the apostle 
declares at large in the ensuing verses. And these things are both 
conjoined and composed in this place. As God the Father did nothing in 
the first Creation but by him--as his eternal wisdom; (John 1: 3; Heb. 
1: 2; Prov. 8;) so he designed nothing in the new creation, or 
restoration of all things unto his glory, but in him--as he was to be 
incarnate. Wherefore in his person were laid all the foundation of the 
counsels of God for the sanctification and salvation of the church. 
Herein he is glorified, and that in a way unspeakably exceeding an 
that glory which would have accrued unto him from the first creation, 
had all things abode in their primitive constitution. 
 His person, therefore, is the foundation of the church--the great 
mystery of godliness, or the religion we profess--the entire life and 
soul of all spiritual truth--in that all the counsels of the wisdom, 
grace, and goodness of God, for the redemption, vocation, 
sanctification, and salvation of the church, were all laid in him, and 
by him were all to be accomplished. 

John Owen, Christologia

(continued in Part 5...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-05: owlog-04.txt