John Owen, Christologia 
or a Declaration of the glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ--God 
and Man: 
with the infinite Wisdom, Love, and Power of God in the Contrivance 
and Constitution thereof; 
as also, 
of the Grounds and Reasons of His Incarnation; 
the Nature of His Ministry in Heaven; 
the Present State of the Church above thereon; and 
the Use of His Person in Religion: 
an Account and Vindication of the Honour, Worship, Faith, Love, and 
Obedience due unto Him, in and from the Church. 
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the 
loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win 
Christ."--Philippians 3:8. 
Table of Contents 
Prefatory Note 
The Preface 
Chapter I. Peter's Confession; Matt.16:16--Conceits of the Papists 
       thereon--The Substance and Excellency of that Confession 
Chapter II. Opposition made unto the Church as built upon the Person 
       of Christ 
Chapter III. The Person cf Christ the most ineffable Effect of Divine 
       Wisdom and Goodness--Thence the next Cause of all True 
       Religion--In what sense it is so 
Chapter IV. To Person of Christ the Foundation of all the Counsels of 
Chapter V. The Person of Christ the great Representative of God and 
       his Will 
Chapter VI. The Person of Christ the great Repository of Sacred Truth- 
       -Its Relation thereunto. 
Chapter VII. Power and Efficacy Communicated unto the Office of 
       Christ, for the Salvation of the Church, from his Person 
Chapter VIII. The Faith of the Church under the Old Testament in and 
       concerning the Person of Christ 
Chapter IX. Honour due to the Person of Christ--The nature and Causes 
       of it 
Chapter X. The Principle of the Assignation of Divine Honour unto the 
       Person of Christ, in both the Branches of it; with is Faith in 
Chapter XI. Obedience unto Christ--The Nature and Causes of it 
Chapter XII. The especial Principle of Obedience unto the Person of 
       Christ; which is Love--Its Truth and Reality Vindicated. 
Chapter XIII. The Nature, Operations, and Causes of Divine Love, as it 
       respects the Person of Christ 
Chapter XIV Motives unto the Love of Christ 
Chapter XV. Conformity unto Christ, and Following his Example 
Chapter XVI. An humble Inquiry into, and Prospect of, the infinite 
       Wisdom of God, in the Constitution of the Person of Christ, 
       and the Way of Salvation thereby 
Chapter XVII Other Evidences of Divine Wisdom in the Contrivance of 
       the Work of Redemption in and by the Person of Christ, in 
       Effects Evidencing a Condecency thereunto 
Chapter XVIII. The Nature of the Person of Christ, and the 
       Hypostatical Union of his Natures Declared 
Chapter XIX. The Exaltation of Christ, with his Present state and 
       Condition in Glory during the Continuance of his Mediatory 
Chapter XX. The Exercise of the Mediatory Office of Christ in Heaven 
Prefatory Note 
To object of Dr Owen in this treatise is to illustrate the mystery of 
divine grace in the person of Christ. It bears the title, 
"Christologia;" but it differs considerably from modern works of the 
same title or character. It is not occupied with a formal induction 
from Scripture in proof of the supreme Godhead of the Saviour. Owen 
assumes the truth of this doctrine, and applies all his powers and 
resources to expound its relations in the Christian system, and its 
bearings on Christian duty and experience. 
 Chapter 1 of the work is devoted to an exposition of Matt.16:16, as a 
warrant and basis for his inquiry respecting the person of Christ. 
Chapter 2 contains some historical references to the opposition 
encountered by this doctrine in past ages. From Chapter 3 to 7 
inclusive, the person of Christ is exhibited as the origin of all true 
religion, the foundation of the divine counsel, the representation of 
the divine nature and will, the embodiment and sum of divine truth, 
and the source of divine and gracious efficacy for the salvation of 
the church. The faith of the Old Testament Church respecting it is 
illustrated in Chapter 8. Then follows the second leading division of 
the treatise, in which the divine honours and obedience due to Christ, 
and our obligation to seek conformity to him, are urged at some 
length, from Chapter 9 to 15. It is followed in Chapters 16 and 17 
with an inquire into the divine wisdom as manifested in the person of 
Christ. The hypostatical union is explained, Chapter 18. Two more 
Chapters, 19 and 20, close the work, with a dissertation on the 
exaltation of Christ, and the mode in which he discharges his 
mediatorial functions in heaven. 
 The treatise was first published in 1679. We are not informed under 
what particular circumstances Owen was led to prepare it. There is 
internal evidence in the work itself that he laboured under a strong 
impression of the peril in which evangelical religion would be 
involved, if views of the person of Christ, either positively unsound 
or simple vague and defective, obtained currency in the British 
churches. His acquaintance with the early history of the church taught 
him that against this doctrine the persevering assaults of Satan had 
been directed; and, with sagacious foresight, he anticipated the rise 
of heresy on this point in England. He speaks of "woeful contests" 
respecting it,--increasing rather than abating "unto this very day;" 
and intimates his conviction, in language which elucidates his main 
design in this work, that the only way by which they could be 
terminated was to enthrone Christ anew in the hearts and consciences 
of men. 
 Events ensued which justified these apprehensions of Own. A prolonged 
controversy on the subject of the Trinity arose, which drew forth the 
works of Bull (1686), Sherlock (1690), and South (1695). In 1710, 
Whiston was expelled from Oxford for his Arianism. Dr S Clarke, in 
1712, published Arian views, for which he was summoned before the 
Convocation. Among the Presbyterian Dissenters Pierce and Hallet 
(1717) became openly committed to Arianism. Dr Isaac Watts who 
succeeded (1702) to the charge of the same congregation in London 
which had been under the care of Owen, broached the "Indwelling 
Schema"; according to which the Father is so united to the man Christ 
Jesus, whose human soul preexisted his coming in the flesh, that, 
through this indwelling of the Godhead, he became properly God. 
 The Christology of Owes has always been highly valued, and will be of 
use to all ages of the church:--"A work," says the late Dr M'Crie, 
"which, together with its continuation, the 'Meditations on the Glory 
of Christ,' of all the theological works published by individuals 
since the Reformation, next to 'Calvin's Institutions', we would have 
deemed it our highest honour to have produced."--Ed. 
The Preface 
It is a great promise concerning the person of Christ, as he was to be 
given unto the church, (for he was a child born, a son given unto us, 
Isa.9:6,) that God would "lay him in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a 
tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation," whereon "he 
that believeth shall not make haste:" Isa.28:16. Yet was it also 
foretold concerning him, that this precious foundation should be "for 
a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense, to both the houses of 
Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;" so 
as that "many among them should stumble, and fall, and be broken, and 
be snared, and be taken:" Isa.8:14,15. According unto this promise and 
prediction it has fallen out in all ages of the church; as the apostle 
Peter declares concerning the first of them. "Wherefore also," saith 
he, "it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief 
cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not 
be confounded. Unto ye therefore which believe, he is precious; but 
unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders 
disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of 
stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the 
word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed:" 1 
 Unto them that believe unto the saving of the soul, he is, he always 
has been, precious--the sun, the rock, the life, the bread of their 
souls--every thing that is good, useful, amiable, desirable, here or 
unto eternity. In, from, and by him, is all their spiritual and 
eternal life, light, power, growth, consolation, and joy here; with 
everlasting salvation hereafter. By him alone do they desire, expect, 
and obtain deliverance from that woeful apostasy from God, which is 
accompanied with--which containeth in it virtually and meritoriously 
whatever is evil, noxious, and destructive unto our nature, and which, 
without relief, will issue in eternal misery. By him are they brought 
into the nearest cognation, alliance, and friendship with God, the 
firmest union unto him, and the most holy communion with him, that our 
finite natures are capable of, and so conducted unto the eternal 
enjoyment of him. For in him "shall all the seed of Israel be 
justified, and shall glory;" (Isa.45:25;) for "Israel shall be saved 
in the Lord with an everlasting salvation;" they "shall not be ashamed 
nor confounded, world without end:" verse 17. 
 On these and the like accounts, the principal design of their whole 
lives unto whom he is thus precious, is to acquaint themselves with 
him--the mystery of the wisdom, grace, and love of God, in his person 
and mediation, as revealed unto us in the Scripture, which is "life 
eternal;" (John 17:3;)--to trust in him, and unto him, as to all the 
everlasting concernments of their souls--to love and honour him with 
all their hearts--to endeavour after conformity to him, in all those 
characters of divine goodness and holiness which are represented unto 
them in him. In these things consist the soul, life, power, beauty, 
and efficacy of the Christian religion; without which, whatever 
outward ornaments may be put upon its exercise, it is but a useless, 
lifeless carcass. The whole of this design is expressed in these 
heavenly words of the apostle: (Phil.3:8-12:) "Yea doubtless, and I 
count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, 
and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in 
him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that 
which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of 
God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, 
and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his 
death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the 
dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already 
perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which 
also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." This is a divine expression of 
that frame of heart of that design--which is predominant and 
efficacious in them unto whom Christ is precious 
 But, on the other hand, (according unto the fore-mentioned 
prediction,) as he has been a sure foundation unto all that believe, 
so he has in like manner been "a stone of stumbling and a rock of 
offense unto them that stumble at the word, being disobedient: 
whereunto also they were appointed." There is nothing in him--nothing 
wherein he is concerned--nothing of him, his person, his natures, his 
office, his grace, his love, his power, his authority, his relation 
unto the church--but it has been unto many a stone of stumbling and 
rock of offense. Concerning these things have been all the woeful 
contests which have fallen out and been managed among those that 
outwardly have made profession of the Christian religion. And the 
contentions about them do rather increase than abate, unto this very 
day; the dismal fruits whereof the world groaneth under, and is no 
longer able to bear. For, as the opposition unto the Lord Christ in 
these things, by men of perverse minds, has ruined their own souls--as 
having dashed themselves in pieces against this everlasting rock--so 
in conjunction with other lusts and interests of the carnal minds of 
men, it has filled the world itself with blood and confusion. 
 The re-enthroning of the Person, Spirit, Grace, and authority of 
Christ, in the hearts and consciences of men, is the only way whereby 
an end may be put unto these woeful conflicts. But this is not to be 
expected in any degree of perfection amongst them who stumble at this 
stone of offense, whereunto they were appointed; though in the issue 
he will herein also send forth judgment unto victory, and all the meek 
of the earth shall follow after it. In the meantime, as those unto 
whom he is thus a rock of offence--in his person, his spirit, his 
grace, his office, and authority--are diligent and restless (in their 
various ways and forms, in lesser or higher degrees, in secret 
artifices, or open contradictions unto any or all of them, under 
various pretences, and for divers ends, even secular advantages some 
of them, which the craft of Satan has prepared for the ensnaring of 
them) in all ways of opposition unto his glory; so it is the highest 
duty of them unto whom he is precious, whose principal design is to be 
found built on him as the sure foundation, as to hold the truth 
concerning him, this person, spirit, grace, office, and authority,) 
and to abound in all duties of faith, love, trust, honour, and delight 
in him--so also to declare his excellency, to plead the cause of his 
glory, to vindicate his honour, and to witness him the only rest and 
reward of the souls of men, as they are called and have opportunity. 
 This, and no other, is the design of the ensuing treatise; wherein, 
as all things fall unspeakably short of the glory, excellency, and 
sublimity of the subject treated of, (for no mind can conceive, no 
tongue can express, the real substantial glory of them,) so there is 
no doubt but that in all the parts of it there is a reflection of 
failings and imperfections, from the weakness of its author. But yet I 
must say with confidence, that in the whole, that eternal truth of God 
concerning the mystery of his wisdom, love, grace, and power, in the 
person and mediation of Christ, with our duties towards himself 
therein, even the Father, Son, and eternal Spirit, is pleaded and 
vindicated, which shall never be shaken by the utmost endeavours and 
oppositions of the gates of hell. 
 And in the acknowledgment of the truth concerning these things 
consists, in an especial manner, that faith which was the life and 
glory of the primitive church, which they earnestly contended for, 
wherein and whereby they were victorious against all the troops of 
stumbling adversaries by whom it was assaulted. In giving testimony 
hereunto, they loved not their lives unto the death, but poured out 
their blood like water, under all the pagan persecutions, which had no 
other design but to cast them down and separate them from this 
impregnable rock, this precious foundation. In the defence of these 
truths did they conflict, in prayers, studies, travels, and writings, 
against the swarms of seduces by whom they were opposed. And, for this 
cause, I thought to have confirmed the principal passages of the 
ensuing discourse with some testimonies from the most ancient writes 
of the first ages of the church; but I omitted that cause, as fearing 
that the interposition of such passages might obstruct instead of 
promoting the edification of the common sort of readers, which I 
principally intended. Yet, withal, I thought not good utterly to 
neglect that design, but to give at least a specimen of their 
sentiments about the principal truths pleaded for, in this preface to 
the whole. But herein, also, I met with a disappointment; for the 
bookseller having, unexpectedly unto me, finished the printing of the 
discourse itself, I must be contented to make use of what lieth 
already collected under my hand, not having leisure or time to make 
any farther inquiry. 
 I shall do something of this nature, the rather because I shall have 
occasion thereby to give a summary account of some of the principal 
parts of the discourse itself, and to clear some passages in it, which 
by some may be apprehended obscure. 
 Chap. I. The foundation of the whole is laid in the indication of 
those words of our blessed Saviour, wherein he declares himself to be 
the rock whereon the church is built: (Matt.16:18:) "And I say also 
unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my 
church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The 
pretended ambiguity of these words has been wrested by the secular 
interests of men, to give occasion unto that prodigious controversy 
among Christian, with, whether Jesus Christ or the Pope of Rome be the 
rock whereon the church is built. Those holy men of old unto whom 
Christ was precious, being untainted with the desires of secular 
grandeur and power, knew nothing hereof. Testimonies may be--they have 
been--multiplied by other unto this purpose. I shall mention some few 
of them. 
 "Houtos estin he pros ton Patera agousa hosos, he petra, he kleis, he 
poimen", &c, saith Ignatius: Epist. ad Philadelph.--"He" (that is, 
Christ) "is the way leading unto the Father, the rock, the key, the 
shepherd"--wherein he has respect unto this testimony. And Origin 
expressly denies the words to be spoken of Peter, in Matt.16: (Tract. 
1:) "Quod si super unum illum Petrum tantum existimees totam eclesiam 
aedificar, quid dicturus es de Johanne, et apostolorum unoquoque? Num 
audebimus dicere quod adversus Petrum unum non prevaliturae sunt 
portae inferorum?"--"If you shall think that the whole church was 
built on Peter alone, what shall we say of John, and each of the 
apostles? What! shall we dare to say that the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against Peter only?" So he [held,] according unto the common 
opinion of the ancients, that there was nothing peculiar in the 
confession of Peter, and the answer made thereunto as unto himself, 
but that he spake and was spoken unto in the name of all the rest of 
the apostles. Euseb. Preparat. Evang., lib. 1 cap. 3: "Ete onomasti 
prothespistheisa ekklesia autou hesteke kata bathous erridzoomene, kai 
mechris ouranioon hapsidoon euchais hosioon ka theofiloon anoroon 
meteooridzomene--dia mian ekeinen, hen autos apefenato lexin, eipoon, 
Epi ten petran oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian, kan pulai haidou ou 
katischusousin autes". He proves the verity of divine predictions from 
the glorious accomplishment of that word, and the promise of our 
Saviour, that he would build his church on the rock, (that is, 
himself,) so as that the gates of hell should not prevail against it. 
For "Unum hoc est immobile fundamentum, una haec est felix fidei 
Petra, Petri ore confessa, Tu es filius Dei vivi," says Hilary de 
Trin., lib. 2--"This is the only immovable foundation, this is the 
blessed rock of faith confessed by Peter, Thou art the Son of the 
living God". And Epiphanius, Haer.29: "Epi tei petri tautei tes 
asfalous pisteoos oikodomesoo mou ten ekklesian".--"Upon this rock" of 
assured faith "I will build my church". For many thought that faith 
itself was metonymically called the Rock, because of its object, or 
the person of Christ, which is so. 
 One or two more out of Augustine shall close these testimonies: 
"Super hanc Petram, quam confessus es, super meipsum filium Dei vivi, 
aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Super me aedificabo te, non me super te:" 
De Verbis Dom., Serm. 13.--"Upon this rock which thou hast confessed-- 
upon myself, the God of the living God--I will build my church I will 
build thee upon myself, and not myself on thee." And he more fully 
declareth his mind: (Tract. 124, in Johan.:) "Universam significabat 
ecclesiam, quae in hoc seculo diversis tentationibus, velut imbribus, 
fluminibus, tempestatibusque quatitur, et non cadit; quoniam fundata 
est supra Petram; unde et Petrus nomen accepit. Non enim a Petro 
Petra, sed Petrus a Petra; sicut non Christus a Christiano, sed 
Christianus a Christo vocatur. Ideo quippe ait Dominus, 'Super hanc 
Petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam', quia dixerat Petrus, 'Tu es 
Christus filius Dei vivi'. 'Super hanc ergo' (inquit) 'Petram quam 
confessus es, aedificabo eccleaism meam'. Petra enim erat Christus, 
super quod fundamentum etiam ipse aedificatus est Petrus. Fundamentum 
quippe aliud nemo potest ponere, praeter id quod positum est, quod est 
Jesus Christus".--"He (Christ) meant the universal church, which in 
this world is shaken with divers temptations, as with showers, floods, 
and tempests, yet falleth not, because it is built on the rock (Petra) 
from whence Peter took his name. For the rock is not called Petra from 
Peter, but Peter is so called from Petra the rock; as Christ is not so 
called from Christian, but Christian from Christ. Therefore, said the 
Lord, 'Upon this rock will I build my church;' because Peter said, 
'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Upon this rock, 
which thou hast confessed, will I build my church. For Christ himself 
was the rock on which foundation Peter himself was built. For other 
foundation can no man lay, save that which is laid which is Jesus 
 Chap. II. Against this rock, this foundation of the church--the 
person of Christ, and the faith of the church concerning it--great 
opposition has been made by the gates of hell. Not to mention the rage 
of the pagan world, endeavouring by all effects of violence and 
cruelty to cast the church from this foundation; all the heresies 
wherewith from the beginning, and for some centuries of years ensuing, 
it was pestered, consisted in direct and immediate oppositions unto 
the eternal truth concerning the person of Christ. Some that are so 
esteemed, indeed, never pretended unto any sobriety, but were mere 
effects of delirant [raving] imaginations; yet did even they also, one 
way or other, derive from an hatred unto the person of Christ, and 
centred therein. Their beginning was early in the church, even before 
the writing of the gospel by John, or of his Revelation, and indeed 
before some of Paul's epistles. And although their beginning was but 
small, and seemingly contemptible, yet, being full of the poison of 
the old serpent, they diffused themselves in various shapes and forms, 
until there was nothing left of Christ--nothing that related unto him, 
not his natures, divine or human, not their properties nor acting, not 
his person, nor the union of his natures therein--that was not opposed 
and assaulted by them. Especially so soon as the gospel had subdued 
the Roman empire unto Christ, and was owned by the rulers of it, the 
whole world was for some ages filled with uproars, confusion, and 
scandalous disorders about the person of Christ, through the cursed 
oppositions made thereunto by the gates of hell. Neither had the 
church any rest from these convicts for about five hundred year. But 
near that period of time, the power of truth and religion beginning 
universally to decay among the outward professors of them, Satan took 
advantage to make that havoc and destruction of the church--by 
superstition, false worship, and profaneness of life which he failed 
of in his attempt against the person of Christ, or the doctrine of 
truth concerning it. 
 It would be a tedious work, and, it may be, not of much profit unto 
them who are utterly unacquainted with things so long past and gone, 
wherein they seem to have no concernment, to give a specimen of the 
several heresies whereby attempts were made against this rock and 
foundation of the church. Unto those who have inquired into the 
records of antiquity, it would be altogether useless. For almost every 
page of them, at first view, presents the reader with an account of 
some one or more of them. Yet do I esteem it useful, that the very 
ordinary sort of Christians should, at least in general, be acquainted 
with what has passed in this great contest about the person of Christ, 
from the beginning. For there are two things relating thereunto 
wherein their faith is greatly concerned. First, There is evidence 
given therein unto the truth of those predictions of the Scripture, 
wherein this fatal apostasy from the truth, and opposition unto the 
Lord Christ, are foretold: and, secondly, An eminent instance of his 
power and faithfulness, in the appointment and conquest of the gates 
of hell in the management of this opposition. But they have been all 
reckoned up, and digested into methods of time and matter, by many 
learned men, (of old and of late,) so that I shall not in this 
occasional discourse represent them unto the reader again. Only I 
shall give a brief account of the ways and means whereby they who 
retained the profession of the truth contended for it, unto a conquest 
over the pernicious heresies wherewith it was opposed. 
 The defense of the truth, from the beginning, was left in charge 
unto, and managed by, the guides and rulers of the church in their 
several capacities. And by the Scripture it was that they discharged 
their duty confirmed with apostolical tradition consonant thereunto. 
This was left in charge unto them by the great apostle, (Acts 
20:28-31; 1 Tim.6:13,14; 2 Tim.2:1,2,15,23,24; 4:1-5,) and wherein any 
of them failed in this duty, they were reproved by Christ himself: 
Rev.2:14,15,20. Nor were private believers (in their places and 
capacities) either unable for this duty or exempt from it, but 
discharged themselves faithfully therein, according unto commandment 
given unto them: 1 John 2:20,27; 4:1-3; 2 John 8,9. All true 
believers, in their several stations--by mutual watchfulness, 
preaching, or writing, according unto their calls and abilities-- 
effectually used the outward means for the preservation and 
propagation of the faith of the church. And the same means are still 
sufficient unto the same ends, were they attended unto with conscience 
and diligence. The pretended defense of truth with arts and arms of 
another kind has been the bane of religion, and lost the peace of 
Christians beyond recovery. And it may be observed, that whilst this 
way alone for the preservation of the truth was insisted on and 
pursued, although innumerable heresies arose one after another, and 
sometimes many together, yet they never made any great progress, nor 
arrived unto any such consistency as to make a stated opposition unto 
the truth; but the errors themselves and their authors, were as 
vagrant meteors, which appeared for a little while, and vanished away. 
Afterwards it was not so, when other ways and means for the 
suppression of heresies were judged convenient and needful. 
 For in process of time, when the power of the Roman empire gave 
countenance and protection unto the Christian religion, another way 
was fixed on for this end, viz., the use of such assemblies of bishops 
and others as they called General Councils, armed with a mixed power, 
partly civil and partly ecclesiastical--with respect unto the 
authority of the emperors and that jurisdiction in the church which 
began then to be first talked of. This way was begun in the Council of 
Nice, wherein, although there was a determination of the doctrine 
concerning the person of Christ--then in agitation, and opposed, as 
unto his divine nature therein--according unto the truth, yet sundry 
evils and inconveniences ensued thereon. For thenceforth the faith of 
Christians began greatly to be resolved into the authority of men, and 
as much, if not more weight to be laid on what was decreed by the 
fathers there assembled, than on what was clearly taught in the 
Scriptures. Besides, being necessitated, as they thought, to explain 
their conceptions of the divine nature of Christ in words either not 
used in the Scripture, or whose signification unto that purpose was 
not determined therein, occasion was given unto endless contentions 
about them. The Grecians themselves could not for a long season agree 
among themselves whether "ousia" and "hupostatis" were of the same 
signification or no, (both of them denoting essence and substance,) or 
whether they differed in their signification, or if they did, wherein 
that difference lay. Athanasiu6 at first affirmed them to be the same: 
Orat. 5 con. Arian., and Epist. ad African. Basil denied them so to 
be, or that they were used unto the same purpose in the Council of 
Nice: Epist. 78. The like difference immediately fell out between the 
Grecians and Latins about "hypostasis" and "persona". For the Latins 
rendered "hypostasis" by "substantia," and "prosoopon" by "persona." 
Hereof Jerome complains, in his Epistle to Damasus, that they required 
of him in the East to confess "tres hypostases," and he would only 
acknowledge "tree personas:" Epist. 71. And Augustine gives an account 
of the same difference: De Trinitate, lib 5 cap. 8, 9. Athanasius 
endeavoured the composing of this difference, and in a good measure 
effected it, as Gregory Nazianzen affirms in his oration concerning 
his praise. It was done by him in a synod at Alexandria, in the first 
year of Julian'6 reign. On this occasion many contests arose even 
among them who all pleaded their adherence unto the doctrine of the 
Council of Nice. And as the subtle Asians made incredible advantage 
hereof at first, pretending that they opposed not the deity of Christ, 
but only the expression of it by of "homo-ousios", so afterwards they 
countenanced themselves in coining words and terms, to express their 
minds with, which utterly reacted it. Hence were their "homoousios, 
heterousios, ex ouk ontoon", and the like names of blasphemy, about 
which the contests were fierce and endless. And there were yet farther 
evils that ensued hereon. For the curious and serpentine wits of men, 
finding themselves by this means set at liberty to think and discourse 
of those mysteries of the blessed Trinity, and the person of Christ, 
without much regard unto plain divine testimonies, (in such ways 
wherein cunning and sophistry did much bear sway,) began to multiply 
such near, curious, and false notions about them, especially about the 
latter, as caused new disturbances, and those of large extent and long 
continuance. For their suppression, councils were called on the neck 
of one another, whereon commonly new occasions of differences did 
arise, and most of them managed with great scandal unto the Christian 
religion. For men began much to forego the primitive ways of opposing 
errors and extinguishing heresies; retaking themselves unto their 
interest, the number of their party, and their prevalence with the 
present emperors. And although it so fell out--as in that at 
Constantinople, the first at Ephesus, and that at Chalcedon--that the 
truth (for the substance of it) did prevail, (for in many others it 
happened quite otherwise,) yet did they always give occasions unto new 
divisions, animosities, and even mutual hatreds, among the principal 
leaders of the Christian people. And great contests there were among 
some of those who pretended to believe the same truth, whether such or 
such a council should be received--that is, plainly, whether the 
church should resolve its faith into their authority. The strifes of 
this nature about the first Ephesian Council, and that at Chalcedon, 
not to mention those wherein the Asians prevailed, take up a good part 
of the ecclesiastical story of those days. And it cannot be denied, 
but that some of the principal persons and assemblies who adhered unto 
the truth did, in the heat of opposition unto the heresies of other 
men, fall into unjustifiable excess themselves. 
 We may take an instance hereof with respect unto the Nestorian 
heresy, condemned in the first Ephesian Council, and afterwards in 
that at Chalcedon. Cyril of Alexandria, a man learned and vehement, 
designed by all means to be unto it what his predecessor Athanasius 
had been to the Arian; but he fell into such excesses in his 
undertakings, as gave great occasion unto farther tumults. For it is 
evident that he distinguisheth not between "hupostatis" and "fusis", 
and therefore affirms, that the divine Word and humanity had "mian 
fusin", one nature only. So he does plainly in Epist. ad Successum: 
"They are ignorant," saith he, "hoti kath' aletheian esti mia fusis 
tou logou sesarkoomene". Hence Eutyches the Archimandrite took 
occasion to run into a contrary extreme, being a no less fierce enemy 
to Nestorius than Cyril was. For to oppose him who divided the person 
of Christ into two, he confounded his natures into one--his delirant 
folly being confirmed by that goodly assembly, the second at Ephesus. 
Besides, it is confessed that Cyril--through the vehemency of his 
spirit, hatred unto Nestorius, and following the conduct of his own 
mind in nice and subtle expressions of the great mystery of the person 
of Christ--did utter many things exceeding the bounds of sobriety 
prescribed unto us by the apostle, (Rom.12:3,) if not those of truth 
itself. Hence it is come to passe that many learned men begin to think 
and write that Cyril was in the wrong, and Nestorius by his means 
condemned undeservedly. However, it is certain to me, that the 
doctrine condemned at Ephesus and Chalcedony as the doctrine of 
Nestorius, was destructive of the true person of Christ; and that 
Cyril, though he missed it in sundry expressions, yet aimed at the 
declaration and confirmation of the truth; as he was long since 
vindicated by Theorianus: Dialog. con. Armenios. 
 However, such was the watchful care of Christ over the church, as 
unto the preservation of this sacred, fundamental truth, concerning 
his divine person, and the union of his natures therein, retaining 
their distinct properties and operations, that--notwithstanding all 
the faction and disorder that were in those primitive councils, and 
the scandalous contests of many of the members of them; 
notwithstanding the determination contrary unto it in great and 
numerous councils--the faith of it was preserved entire in the hearts 
of all that truly believed, and triumphed over the gates of hell. 
 I have mentioned these few things, which belong unto the promise and 
prediction of our blessed Saviour in Matt.16:18, (the place insisted 
on,) to show that the church, without any disadvantage to the truth, 
may be preserved without such general assemblies, which, in the 
following ages, proved the most pernicious engines for the corruption 
of the faith, worship, and manners of it. Yea, from the beginning, 
they were so far from being the only way of preserving truth, that it 
was almost constantly prejudiced by the addition of their authority 
unto the confirmation of it. Nor was there any one of them wherein 
"the mystery of iniquity" did not work, unto the laying of some 
rubbish in the foundation of that fatal apostasy which afterwards 
openly ensued. The Lord Christ himself has taken it upon him to build 
his church on this rock of his person, by true faith of it and in it. 
He sends his Holy Spirit to bear testimony unto him, in all the 
blessed effects of his power and grace. He continueth his Word, with 
the faithful ministry of it, to reveal, declare, make known, and 
vindicate his sacred truth, unto the conviction of gainsayers. He 
keeps up that faith in him, that love unto him, in the hearts of all 
his elect, as shall not be prevailed against. Wherefore, although the 
oppositions unto this sacred truth, this fundamental article of the 
church and the Christian religion--concerning his divine person, its 
constitution, and use, as the human nature conjoined substantially 
unto it, and subsisting in it--are in this Last age increased; 
although they are managed under so great a variety of forms, as that 
they are not reducible unto any heads of order; although they are 
promoted with more subtlety and specious pretences than in former 
ages; yet, if we are not wanting unto our duty, with the aids of grace 
proposed unto us, we shall finally triumph in this cause, and transmit 
this sacred truth inviolate unto them that succeed us in the 
profession of it. 
 Chap. III. This person of Christ, which is the foundation whereon the 
church is built, whereunto all sorts of oppositions are endeavoured 
and designed, is the most ineffable effect of divine goodness and 
wisdom--whereof we treat in the next place. But herein, when I speak 
of the constitution of the person of Christ, I intend not his person 
absolutely, as he is the eternal Son of God. He was truly, really, 
completely, a divine person from eternity, which is included in the 
notion of his being the Son, and so distinct from the Father, which is 
his complete personality. His being so was not a voluntary contrivance 
or effect of divine wisdom and goodness, his eternal generation being 
a necessary internal act of the divine nature in the person of the 

John Owen, Christologia

(continued in part b (prefactory)...)

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