(Owen, Christologia, Prefactory part b)

 Of the eternal generation of the divine person of the Son, the sober 
writers of the ancient church did constantly affirm that it was firmly 
to be believed, but as unto the manner of it not to be inquired into. 
"Scrutator majestatis absorbetur a gloria", was their rule; and the 
curious disputes of Alexander and Arius about it, gave occasion unto 
that many-headed monster of the Arian heresy which afterwards ensued. 
For when once men of subtile heads and unsanctified hearts gave 
themselves up to inquire into things infinitely above their 
understanding and capacity--being vainly puffed up in their fleshly 
minds--they fell into endless divisions among themselves, agreeing 
only in an opposition unto the truth. But those who contented 
themselves to be wise unto sobriety, repressed this impious boldness. 
To this purpose speaks Lactantius:(lib.4, De Vera Sapient.:) "Quomodo 
igitur procreavit? Nec sciri a quoquam possunt, nec narrari, opera 
divina; sed tamen sacrae literae docent illum Dei filium, Dei esse 
sermonem".----"How, therefore, did the Father beget the Son? These 
divine works can be known of none, declared by none; but the holy 
writings" (wherein it is determined) "teach that he is the Son of God, 
that he is the Word of God." And Ambrose: (De Fide, ad Gratianum:) 
"Quaero abs te, quando aut quomodo putes filium esse generatum? Mihi 
enim impossibile est scire generationis secretum Mens deficit, vox 
silet, non mea tantum, sed et angelorum. Supra potestates, supra 
angelos, supra cherubim, supra seraphim, supra omnem sensum est. Tu 
quoque manum ori admovere; scrutari non licet superna mysteria. Licet 
scire quod ntus sit, non licet discutere quomodu ntus sit; illud 
negare mihi non licet, hoc quaerere metus est. Nam si Paulus ea quae 
audivit, raptus in tertium coelu, ineffabilia dicit, quomodo nos 
exprimere possumus paternae generationis arcanum, quod nec sentire 
potuimus nec audire? Quid te ista questionum tormenta delectant?"--"I 
inquire of you when and how the Son was begotten? Impossible it is to 
me to know the mystery of this generation. My mind faileth, my voice 
is silent--and not only mine, but of the angels; it is above 
principalities, above angels, above the cherubim, above the seraphim, 
above all understanding. Lay thy hand on thy mouth; it is not lawful 
to search into these heavenly mysteries. It is lawful to know that he 
was born--it is not lawful to discuss how he was born; that it is not 
lawful for me to deny--this I am afraid to inquire into. For if Paul, 
when he was taken into the third heaven, affirms that the things which 
he heard could not be uttered; how can we express the mystery of the 
divine generation, which we can neither apprehend nor hear? Why do 
such tormenting questions delight thee?" 
 Ephraim Syrus wrote a book to this purpose, against those who would 
search out the nature of the Son of God. Among many other things to 
the same purpose are his words: (cap. 2:) "Infelix profecto, miser, 
atque impudentissimus est, qui scrutari cupot Opificem suum. Millia 
millium, et centies millies millena millia angelorum et archangelorum, 
cum horrore glorificant, et trementes adorant; et homines lutei, pleni 
peccatis, de divinitate intrepide disserunt Non illorum exhorrescit 
corpus, non contremescit animus; sed securi et garruli, de Christo Dei 
filio, qui pro me indigno peccatore passus est, deque ipsius utraque 
generatione loquuntur; nec saltem quod in luce caecutiunt, sentiunt".- 
-"He is unhappy, miserable, and most impudent, who desires to examine 
or search out his Maker. Thousands of thousands, and hundreds of 
thousands of millions of angels and archangels, do glorify him with 
dread, and adore him with trembling; and shall men of clay, full of 
sins, dispute of the Deity without fear? Horror does not shake their 
bodies, their minds do not tremble, but being secure and pealing, they 
speak of the Son of God, who suffered for me, unworthy sinner, and of 
both his nativities or generations; at least they're not sensible how 
blind they are in the light." To the same purpose. speaks Eusebius at 
large: Demonstratio Evang., lib. 5 cap. 2. 
 Leo well adds hereunto the consideration of his incarnation, in these 
excellent words: (Serm. 9, De Nativit.:) "Quia in Christo Jesus Filio 
Dei non solum ad divinam essentiam, sed etiam ad humanan spectat 
naturam, quo dictum est per prophetam--'generationem ejus quis 
enarrabit?'--(utramque enim substantiam in unam convenisse personam, 
nisi fides credat, sermo non explicat; et ideo materia nunquam deficit 
laudis; qui nunquam sufficit copia laudatoris)--gaudeamus igitur quod 
ad eloquendum tantum, misericordiae sacramentum impares sumus; et cum 
salutis nostrae altitudinem promere non valeamus, sentiamus nobis 
bonum esse quod vincimur. Nemo enim ad cognitionem veritatis magis 
propinquat, quam qui intelligit, in rebus divinis, etiamsi multum 
proficiat, semper sibi superesse quod quaerat". See also Fulg., lib. 2 
ad Thrasimund. 
 But I speak of the person of Christ as unto the assumption of the 
substantial adjunct of the human nature, not to be a part whereof his 
person is composed, but as unto its subsistence therein by virtue of a 
substantial union. Some of the ancients, I confess, speak freely of 
the composition of the person of Christ in and by the two natures, the 
divine and human. That the Son of God after his incarnation had one 
nature, composed of the Deity and humanity, was the heresy of 
Apollinarius, Eutyches, the Monothelites, or Monophyeites, condemned 
by all. But that his most simple divine nature, and the human, 
composed properly of soul and body, did compose his one person, or 
that it was composed of them, they constantly affirmed. "Ton Theou 
mesiten kai enthroopoon, kata tas grafas sunkeisthai famen ek te tes 
kath' hemas anthroopotetos teleioos echousas kata ton idion logon, kai 
ek tou pefenotos, ek Theou kata fusin huiou", saith Cyril of 
Alexandria--"A sanctis patribus adunatione ex divinitate et humanitate 
Christus Dominus noster compositus praedicatur:" Pet. Diacon., Lib. De 
Incarnat. et Grat. Christi, ad Fulgentium. And the union which they 
intended by this composition they called "enoosin fusiken", because it 
was of diverse natures, and "enoosin kata sunthesin", a union by 
 But because there neither was nor can be any composition, properly so 
called, of the divine and human natures, and because the Son of God 
was a perfect person before his incarnation, wherein he remained what 
he was, and was made what he was not, the expression has been forsaken 
and avoided; the union being better expressed by the assumption of a 
substantial adjunct, or the human nature into personal subsistence 
with the Son of God, as shall be afterwards explained. This they 
constantly admire as the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and 
grace: "Ho asarkos tarkoutai, ho logos pachunetai, ho aoratos horatai, 
ho anafes pselafatai, ho achronos archetai, ho huios Theou huios 
anthroopou ginetai", saith Gregory Nazianzen, (Orat. 12,) in 
admiration of this mystery. Hereby God communicates all things unto us 
from his own glorious fulness, the near approaches whereof we are not 
able to bear. So is it illustrated by Eusebius: (Demonst. Evang., 
lib.4 cap.5, &c.:) "Houtoo de footos heliou mia kai he aute prostole 
homou kai kata to auto kataugadzei men aera, footidzei de ofthalmous, 
hafen de termainei, piainei de gen, auxei de futa, k. t. l. (cap.6) Ei 
goun hoos en hupothesei logou, katheis ouranothen autos heauton 
pamfaes helios sun anthroopois epi ges politeuoito, oudena toon epi 
tes ges meinai an adiaforon, pantoon sulletden empsuchoon homou kai 
apsuchoon athroai tei tou footos prostolei dieaftharesomenoon". The 
sense of which words, with some that follow in the same place, is unto 
this purpose: By the beams of the sunlight, and life, and heat, unto 
the procreation, sustentation, refreshment, and cherishing of all 
things, are communicated. But if the sun itself should come down unto 
the earth, nothing could bear its heat and lustre; our eyes would not 
be enlightened but darkened by its glory, and all things be swallowed 
up and consumed by its greatness; whereas, through the beams of it, 
every thing is enlightened and kindly refreshed. So is it with this 
eternal beam or brightness of the Father's glory. We cannot bear the 
immediate approach of the Divine Being; but through him, as incarnate, 
are all things communicated unto us, in a way suited unto our 
reception and comprehension. 
 So it is admired by Leo: (Serm. 3, De Nativit.:) "Natura humana in 
Creatoris societatem assumpta est, non ut ille habitator, et illa 
esset habitaculum; sed ut naturae alteri sic misceretur altera, ut 
quamvis alia sit quae suscipitur, alia vero quae suscepit, in tantam 
tamen unitatem conveniret utriusque diversitas, ut unus idemque sit 
filius, qui se, et secundum quod verus est homo, Patre dicit minorem, 
et secundum quod verus est Deus Patrise profitetur aequalem"-- "Human 
nature is assumed into the society of the Creator, not that he should 
be the inhabitant, and that the habitation," (that is, by an 
inhabitation in the effects of his power and grace, for otherwise the 
fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily,) "but that one nature 
should be so mingled" (that is, conjoined) "with the other, that 
although that be of one kind which assumeth, and that of another which 
is assumed, yet the diversity of them both should concur in such a 
unity or union, as that it is one and the same Son who, as he was a 
true man, said that he was less than the Father, or the Father was 
greater than he--so as he was true God, professeth himself equal unto 
the Father." See also Augustinus De Fide, ad Pet. Diacon., cap. 17; 
Justitianus Imperator Epist. ad Hormisdam, Romae Episcop. 
 And the mystery is well expressed by Maxentius: (Biblioth. Patr. pars 
prima:) "Non confundimus naturarum diversitatem; veruntamen Christum 
non tu asseris Deum factum, sed Deum factum Christum confitemur. Quia 
non cum pauper esset, dives factus est, sed cum dives esset, pauper 
factus est, ut nos divites faceret; neque enim cum esset in forma 
servi, formam Dei accepit; sed cum esset in forma Dei, formam servi 
accepit; similiter etiam nec, cum esset caro, verbum est factum; sed 
cum esset verbum, caro factum est".--"We do not confound the diversity 
of the natures, howbeit we believe not what you affirm, that Christ 
was made God; but we believe that God was made Christ. For he was not 
made rich when he was poor; but being rich, he was made poor, that he 
might make us rich. He did not take the form of God when he was in the 
form of a servant; but being in the form of God, he took on him the 
form of a servant. In like meaner, he was not made the Word when he 
was flesh; but being the Word, he was made flesh." 
 And Jerome, speaking of the effects of this mystery: (Comment. in 
Ezekiel, cap. 46:) "Ne miretur lector si idem et Princeps est et 
Sacerdos, et Vitulus, et Aries, et Agnus; cum in Scripturis sanctis 
pro varietate causarum legamus eum Dominum, et Deum, et Hominem, et 
Prophetam, et Virgam, et Radicem, et Florem, et Principem, et Regem 
justum, et Justitiam, Apostolu, et Episcopu, Brachium, Servum, 
Angelum, Pastorem, Filium, et Unigenitum, et Promogenitum, Ostium, 
Viam, Sagittam, Sapientiam, et multa alia."--"Let not the reader 
wonder if he find one and the same to be the Prince and Priest, the 
Bullock, Ram, and Lamb; for in the Scripture, on variety of causes, we 
find him called Lord, God, and Man, the Prophet, a Rod, and the Root, 
the Flower, Prince, Judge, and Righteous King; Righteousness, the 
Apostle and Bishop, the Arm and Servant of God, the Angel, the 
Shepherd, the Son, the Only-begotten, the First-begotten, the Door, 
the Way, the Arrow, Wisdom, and sundry other things." And Ennodius 
has, as it were, turned this passage of Jerome into verse:-- 
 "Corda domat, qui cuncta videt, quem cuncta tramiscunt; 
 Fons, via, dextra, lapis, vitulus, leo, lucifer, agnus; 
 Janua, spes, virtus, verbum, sapientia, vates. 
 Ostia, virgultum, pastor, mons, rete, columba, 
 Flama, gigas, aquila, sponsus, patientia, nervus, 
 Filius, excelsus, Dominus, Deus; omnia Christus." 
                        (In natalem Papoe Epiphanii.) 
 "Quod homo est esse Christus voluit; ut et homo possit esse quod 
Christus est", saith Cyprian: De Idolorum Vanitate, cap. 3. And, "Quod 
est Christus erimus Christiani, si Christum fuerimus imitati:" Ibid. 
And he explains his mind in this expression by way of admiration: 
(Lib. de Eleemosyn.:) "Christus hominis filius fieri voluit, ut nos 
Dei filios faceret; humiliavit se, ut popolum qui prius jacebat, 
erigeret; vulneratus est, ut vulnera nostra curaret". 
 Chap. IV. That he was the foundation of all the holy counsels of God, 
with respect unto the vocation, sanctification, justification, and 
eternal salvation of the church, is, in the next place, at large 
declared. And he was so on a threefold account. 1. Of the ineffable 
mutual delight of the Father and the Son in those counsels from an 
eternity. 2. As the only way and means of the accomplishment of all 
those counsels, and the communication of their effects, unto the 
eternal glory of God. 3. As he was in his own person, as incarnate, 
the idea and exemplar in the mind of God of all that grace and glory 
in the church which was designed unto it in those eternal counsels. As 
the cause of all good unto us, he is on this account acknowledged by 
the ancients. "Houtos goun ho logos ho Christos kai tou einai palai 
hemas, en gar en Theooi, kai tou eu einai aitios. Nun de etefane 
anthroopois, autos houtos ho logos, ho monos amfoo Theos te kai 
anthroopos, hapantoon hemin aitios agatoon", saith Clemens, Adhort. ad 
Gentes--"He, therefore, is the Word, the Christ, and the cause of old 
of our being; for he was in God, and the cause of our well-being. But 
now he has appeared unto men, the same eternal Word, who alone is both 
God and man, and unto us the cause of all that is good". As he was in 
God the cause of our being and well-being from eternity, he was the 
foundation of the divine counsels in the way explained; and in his 
incarnation, the execution of them all was committed unto him, that 
through him all actual good, all the fruits of those counsels, might 
be communicated unto us. 
 Chap. V. He is also declared in the next place, as he is the image 
and great representative of God, even the Father, unto the church. On 
what various accounts he is so called, is fully declared in the 
discourse itself. In his divine person, as he was the only begotten of 
the Father from eternity, he is the essential image of the Father, by 
the generation of his person, and the communication of the divine 
nature unto him therein. As he is incarnate, he is both in his own 
entire person God and man, and in the administration of his office, 
the image or representative of the nature and will of God unto us, as 
is fully proved. So speaks Clem. Alexandrin., Adhort. ad Gentes: "He 
men gar tou Theou eikoon ho logos autou, kai huios tou nou gnesios, ho 
Teios logos footos erchetupon foos, eikoon de tou logou ho 
enthroopos".--"The image of God is his own Word, the natural Son of 
the" (eternal) "Mind, the divine Word, the original Light of Light; 
and the image of the Word is man." And the same author again, in his 
Paedagogus: "Prosoopon tou Theou ho logos hooi footidzetai ho Theos 
kai gnooridzetai"--"The Word is the face, the countenance, the 
representation of God, in whom he is brought to light and made known." 
As he is in his divine person his eternal, essential image; so, in his 
incarnation, as the teacher of men, he is the representative image of 
God unto the church, as is afterwards declared. 
 So also Jerome expresseth his mind herein: (Comment. in Psal.66:) 
"Illuminet vultum suum super nos; Dei facies quae est? Utique imago 
ejus. Dicit enim apostolus imaginem Patris esse filium; ergo imagine 
sua nos illuminet; hoc est, imaginem suam filium illuminet super nos; 
ut ipse nos illuminet; lux enim Patris lux filii est."--"Let him cause 
his face to shine upon us; or lift up the light of his countenance 
upon us. What is the face of God? Even his image. For the apostle 
says, that the Son is the image of the Father. Wherefore, let him 
shine on us with his image; that is, cause his Son, which is his 
image, to shine upon us, that he may illuminate us; for the light of 
the Father and of the Son are the same." Christ being the image of 
God, the face of God, in him is God represented unto us, and through 
him are all saving benefits communicated unto them that believe. 
 Eusebius also speaks often unto this purpose, as: (Demonstratio 
Evangelica, lib. 4 cap. 2:) "Hothen eikotoos hoi cresmoi teologountes, 
Theon geneton auton apofainousin, hoos an tes anekfrastou kai 
aperinoetou theotetos monon en autooi feronta ten eikona di' hen kai 
Theon einak te auton kai legesthai tes pros to prooton exomoiooseoos 
charin".--"Wherefore, the holy oracles, speaking theologically, or 
teaching divine things, do rightly call him God begotten," (of the 
Father,) "as he who alone bears in himself the image of the ineffable 
and inconceivable Deity. Wherefore, he both is, and is called God, 
because of his being the character, similitude, or image of him who is 
the first." The divine personality of Christ consists in this, that 
the whole divine nature being communicated unto him by eternal 
generation, he is the image of God, even the Father, who by him is 
represented unto us. See the same book, chap. 7, to the same purpose; 
also, De Ecclesiast. Theol. contra Marcell., lib. 2 cap. 17. 
 Clemens abounds much in the affirmation of this truth concerning the 
person of Christ, and we may yet add, from a multitude to the same 
purpose, one or more testimonies from him. Treating of Christ as the 
teacher of all men, his "paidagoogos", he affirms that he is "Theos en 
anthroopou schemati", "God in the figure or form of man;" "achrantos, 
patrikooi telemati diakonos, logos, Theos, ho en patri ho ek dexioon 
tou patros, sun kai tooi schemati Theou", "impolluted, serving the 
will of the Fsther, the Word, God, who is in the Father, on the right 
hand of the Father, and in or with the form of God". "Houtos hemin 
eikoon he akelidootos, toutooi panti sthenei peirateon exomoioun ten 
psuchen".--"He is the image (of God) unto us, wherein there is no 
blemish; and with all our strength are we to endeavour to render 
ourselves like unto him". This is the great end of his being the 
representative image of God unto us And: (Stromat., lib. 4:) "Ho men 
oun Theos anapodeiktos oon, ouk estin epistemonikos. Ho de huios sofia 
te esti kai episteme, kai aletheia, kai, hosa alla toutooi sungene".-- 
"As God" (absolutely) "falls not under demonstration," (that is, 
cannot perfectly be declared,) "so he does not" (immediately) "effect 
or teach us knowledge. But the Son is wisdom, and knowledge, and 
truth, unto us, and every thing which is cognate hereunto." For in and 
by him does God teach us, and represent himself unto us. 
 Chap. VII. Upon the glory of this divine person of Christ depends the 
efficacy of all his offices; an especial demonstration whereof is 
given in his prophetical office. So it is well expressed by Irenaeus, 
"qui nil molitur inepte:" lib. 1 cap. 1. "Non enim aliter nos discere 
poteramus quae sunt Dei, nisi magister noster verbum existens, homo 
ffactus fuisset. Neque enim alius poterat enarrare nobis quae sunt 
Patris, nisi proprium ipsius verbum. Quis enim alius cognovit sensum 
Domini? Aut quis alius ejus consiliarium factus est? Neque rursus nos 
aliter discere poteramus, nisi Magistrum nostrum videntes, et per 
auditum nostrum vocem ejus percipientes, uti imitatores quidem operum, 
factores autem sermonum ejus facti, communionem habeamus cum ipso".-- 
"We could not otherwise have learned the things of God, unless our 
Master, being and continuing the" (eternal) "Word, had been made man. 
For no other could declare unto us the things of God, but his own 
proper Word. For who else has known the mind of the Lord? Or who else 
has been his counsellor? Neither, on the other side, could we 
otherwise have learned, unless we had seen our Master, and heard his 
voice," (in his incarnation and ministry,) "whereby, following his 
works, and yielding obedience unto his doctrine, we may have communion 
with himself." 
 I do perceive that if I should proceed with the same kind of 
attestations unto the doctrine of all the chapters in the ensuing 
discourse, this preface would be drawn forth unto a greater length 
than was ever designed unto it, or is convenient for it. I shall 
therefore choose out one or two instances more, to give a specimen of 
the concurrence of the ancient church in the doctrine declared in 
them, and so put a close unto it. 
 Chap. IX. In the ninth chapter and those following, we treat of the 
divine honour that is due unto the person of Christ, expressed in 
adoration, invocation, and obedience, proceeding from faith and love. 
And the foundation of the whole is laid in the discovery of the true 
nature and causes of that honour; and three things are designed unto 
confirmation herein. 1. That the divine nature, which is individually 
the same in each person of the holy Trinity, is the proper formal 
object of all divine worship, in adoration and invocation; wherefore, 
no one person is or can be worshipped, but in the same individual act 
of worship each person is equally worshipped and adored. 2. That it is 
lawful to direct divine honour, worship, and invocation unto any 
person, in the use of his peculiar name--the Father, Son, or Spirit -- 
or unto them altogether; but to make any request unto one person, and 
immediately the same unto another, is not exemplified in the 
Scripture, nor among the ancient writers of the church. 3. That the 
person of Christ, as God-man, is the proper object of all divine 
honour and worship, on the account of his divine nature; and all that 
he did in his human nature are motives thereunto. 
 The first of these is the constant doctrine of the whole ancient 
church, viz, that whether, (for instance,) in our solemn prayers and 
invocations, we call expressly on the name of the Father, or of the 
Son, or of the Holy Spirit; whether we do it absolutely or relatively, 
that is, with respect unto the relation of one person to the others as 
calling on God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, on Christ as 
the Son of his love, on the Holy Spirit as proceeding from them both-- 
we do formally invocate and call on the divine nature, and 
consequently the whole Trinity, and each person therein. This truth 
they principally confirmed with the form of our initiation into Christ 
at baptism: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost." For as there is contained therein the sum of 
all divine honour, so it is directed unto the same name, (not the 
names,) of the Father, Son, and Spirit, which is the same Deity or 
divine nature alone. 
 So speak the Fathers of the second General Council in their letters 
unto the bishops of the west; as they are expressed in Theodoret, lib. 
5 cap. 9. This form of baptism teacheth us, say they, "Pisteuein eis 
to onoma tou patros, kai tou huiou, kai tou hagiou pneumatos, delade, 
teotetos te kai dunameoos kai ousias mias tou patros, kai tou huiou, 
kai tou hagiou pneumatos pisteuomenes, homotimou tes axias, kai 
sunaidiou tes basileias, en trisi teleiais hupostasesi".--"to believe 
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; 
seeing that the Deity, substance, and power of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Spirit, is one and the same; their dignity equal; their kingdom 
coeternal, in three perfect persons." "In nomine dixit, non nominibus, 
erog non aliud nomen Patris est,"&c., "quia unus Deus:" Ambrose, De 
Spirit. Sanct., lib. 1 cap. 14. "Onoma de koinon toon trioon en, he 
teotes".--"The one name common to the three is the Deity:" Gregor. 
Nazianzen, Orat. 40. Hence Augustine gives it as a rule, in speaking 
of the Holy Trinity: "Quando unus trium in aliquo opere nominatur, 
universa operari trinitas intelligitur:" Enchirid., cap. 38.--"When 
one person of the three is named in any work, the whole Trinity is to 
be understood to effect it." "There is one Lord, one faith, one 
baptism," according to the Scriptures. Wherefore, as there is one 
faith in Christ, and one baptism of truth, although we are baptized 
and believe in the Father, Son, and Spirit, "kata ton outon, oimai, 
tropon kai logon, mia proskunesis he patros, kai enanthroopesantos 
huiou, kai hagiou pneumatos;"--"so plainly, in my judgment, there is 
one and the same adoration, of the Father, the Son incarnate, and the 
Holy Spirit:" Cyril. Alex. De Recta Fide, cap. 32. 
 And this they professed themselves to hold and believe, in that 
ancient doxology which was first invented to decry the Arian heresy: 
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." The 
same glory, in every individual act of its assignation or ascription, 
is directed unto each person jointly and distinctly, on the account of 
the same divine nature in each of them. I need not produce any 
testimonies in the farther confirmation hereof; for, in all their 
writings against the Arians, they expressly and constantly contend 
that the holy Trinity (that is, the divine nature in three persons) is 
the individual object of all divine adoration, invocation, and all 
religious worship; and that by whatever personal name--as the Father, 
Son, or Spirit--we call on God, it is God absolutely who is adored, 
and each person participant of the same nature. See August. Lib. con. 
Serm. Arian. cap. 35, and Epist. 66 ad Maximum. 
 For the second thing, or the invocation of God by any personal name, 
or by the conjunction of the distinct names of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Spirit together, nothing occurs more frequently among them. Yea, 
it is common to find in their writings, prayers begun unto one person, 
and ended in the name of another; yea, begun unto Christ, and closed 
in the name of His only-begotten Son; it being one and the same divine 
nature that is called on. Yea, the schoolmen do generally deny that 
the persons of the holy Trinity, under the consideration of the formal 
reason which is constitutive of their personality, are the formal 
object and term of divine worship; but in the worship of one, they are 
all worshipped as one God over all, blessed for ever. See Aquin. 22 q. 
81, a. 3, ad prim., and q. 84, a. 1, ad tertium; Alexand. Alens. p. 3, 
q. 30, m. 1, a. 3. 
 But yet, although we may call on God in and by the name of any divine 
person, or enumerate at once each person, (oo trias hagia 
arithmoumene, trias en heni onomati arithmoumene", Epiphan. Ancorat., 
8 22,) it does not follow that we may make a request in our prayers 
unto one person, and then immediately repeat it unto another; for it 
would thence follow, that the person unto whom we make that request in 
the second place, was not invocated, not called on, not equally adored 
with him who was so called on in the first place, although the divine 
nature is the object of all religious invocation, which is the same in 
each person. Wherefore, in our divine invocation, we may name and fix 
our thoughts distinctly on any person, according as our souls are 
affected with the distinct operations of each person in grace towards 
 For what concerns, in the third place, the ascription of divine 
honour, in adoration and invocation, unto the person of Christ; it is 
that which they principally contended for, and argued from, in all 
their writings against the Arians. 
 Evidences of infinite wisdom in the constitution of the person of 
Christ, and rational discoveries of the condecencies therein, unto the 
exaltation of all the other glorious properties of the divine nature, 
are also treated of. Herein we consider the incarnation of the Son of 
God, with respect unto the recovery and salvation of the church alone. 
Some have contended that he should have been incarnate, had man never 
fallen or sinned. Of these are Rupertus, lib. 3, De Gloria et Honore 
Filii Hominis; Albertus Magnus, in 3 distinct. 10, a 4; Petrus 
Galatinus, lib.3 cap.4; as are Scotus, halensis, and others, whom 
Osiander followed. The same is affirmed by Socinus concerning the 
birth of that man, which alone he fancied him to be, as I have 
elsewhere declared. But I have disproved this figment at large. Many 
of the ancients have laboured in this argument, of the necessity of 
the incarnation of the eternal Word, and the condecencies unto divine 
wisdom therein. See Irenaeus, lib 3, cap. 20, 21; Eusebius, Demonst. 
Evangel., lib 4 cap. 1-4, &c.; Cyril. Alexand., lib. 5 cap. 6, lib 1. 
De Fide ad Regin.; Chrysostom, Homil. 10 in Johan., et in cap.8, ad 
Rom. Serm. 18; Augustine, De Trinit., lib. 13 cap.13-20; Leo, Epist. 
13, 18, Sermo. De Nativit. 1, 4, 10; Basil., in Psal. 48; Albinus, lib 
1 in Johan. Cap.11; Damascen., lib. 3, De Fide, cap. 15, 19; Anselm., 
quod Deus Homo, lib. duo. Guil. Parisiensis, lib. Cur Deus Homo. Some 
especial testimonies we may produce in confirmation of what we have 
discoursed, in the places directed unto. There is one of them, one of 
the most ancient, the most learned, and most holy of them, who has so 
fully delivered his thoughts concerning this mystery, as that I shall 
principally make use of his testimony herein. 
 It belonged unto the wisdom and righteousness of God, that Satan 
should be conquered and subdued in and by the same nature which he had 
prevailed against, by his suggestion and temptation. To this purpose 
that holy writer speaks, (lib. 3 cap. 20,) which, because his words 
are cited by Theodore, (Dial. 2,) I shall transcribe them from thence, 
as free from the injuries of his barbarous translator: "Henoosen oun 
kathoos proefamen ton anthroopon tooi Theooi, ei gar me anthroopos 
henikesen ton antipalon tou anthroopou, ouk an dikaioos henikethe ho 
echthros, palin te, ei me ho Theos edooresato ten sooterian, ouk an 
betaioos echoimen auten, kai ei me sunenoothe ho anthroopos tooi 
Theooi ouk an edunethe metaschein tes aftharsias. Edei gar ton mesiten 
tou Theou te kai anthroopoon, die tes idias pros hekaterous 
oikeiotetos eis filian kai homonoian tous anfoterous sunagagein". 
Words plainly divine; an illustrious testimony of the faith of the 
ancient church, and expressive of the principal mystery of the gospel! 
"Wherefore, as we said before, he united man unto God. For if man had 
not overcome the adversary of men, the enemy had not been justly 
conquered; and, on the other hand, if God had not given and granted 
salvation, we could never have a firm, indefeasible possession of it; 
and if man had not been united unto God, he could not have been 
partaker of immortality. It behaved, therefore, the Mediator between 
God and man, by his own participation of the nature of each of them, 
to bring them both into friendship and agreement with each other." And 
to the same purpose, speaking of the wisdom of God in our redemption 
by Christ, with respect unto the conquest of the devil: (lib 5 cap. 
1:) "Potens in omnibus Dei Verbum, et non deficiens in sua justitia, 
juste etiam adversus ipsam conversus est apostasiam, ea quae sunt sua 
redimens, ab eo, non cum vi, quemadmomdum ille initio dominabatur 
nostri, ea quae non erant sua insatiabiliter rapiens ... Suo igitur 
sanguine redimente nos Domino, et dante animam suam pro anima nostra, 
et carnem suam pro carnibus nostris", &c. Again divinely: "The 
all-powerful Word of God, no way defective in righteousness, set 
himself against the apostasy justly also; redeeming from him (Satsn, 
the head of the apostasy) the things which were his own--not with 
force, as he bare rule over us, insatiably making rapine of what was 
not his own--but he, the Lord, redeeming us with his own blood, giving 
his soul for our soul, and his flesh for ours, wrought out our 
deliverance." These things are at large insisted on in the ending 
 It belongs unto this great mystery, and is a fruit of divine wisdom, 
that our deliverance should be wrought in and by the me nature wherein 
and whereby we were ruined. The reasons hereof, and the glory of God 
therein, are at large discoursed in the ensuing treatise. To the same 
purpose speaks the same holy writer: (lib 5 cap. 14:) "Non in 
semetipso recapitulasset haec Dominus, nisi ipse caro et sanguis 
secundum principalem plasmationem factus fuisset; salvans in semetipso 
in fine illud quod perierat in principio in Adam. Si autem ob aliam 
quandam dispositionem Dominus incarnatus est, et ex altera substantia 
carnem attulit, non ergo in semetipso recapitulatus est hominem, adhuc 
etiam nec aro quidem dici potest ... Habuit ergo et ipse carnem et 
sanguinem, non alteram quindam, sed ipsam principalem Patris 
plasmationem in se recapitulans, exquirens id quod perierat". And to 
the same purpose: (lib. 5 cap. 1:) "Neque enim vere esset sanguinem et 
carnem habens, per quam nos redemit, nisi antiquam plasmationem Adae 
in seipsum recapitulasset". That which these passages give testimony 
unto, is what we have discoursed concerning the necessity of our 
redemption in and by the nature that sinned; and yet withal, that it 
should be free from all that contagion which invaded our nature by the 
fall. And these things are divinely expressed. "Our Lord," saith he, 
"had not gathered up these things in himself, had not he been made 
flesh and blood, according unto its original creation." The reader may 
observe, that none of the ancient writers do so frequently express the 
fall of Adam by our apostasy from God, and our recovery by a 
recapitulation in Christ, as Irenaeus--his recapitulation being 
nothing but the "anakefalaioosis" mentioned by the apostle, Eph.1:10-- 
and he here affirms, that, unto this end, the Lord was made flesh; 
"secundum principalem plasmationem", as his words are rendered; that 
is plainly, the original creation of our nature in innocence, 
uprightness, purity, and righteousness.) "So he saved in himself in 
the end, what perished in Adam at the beginning." (The same nature, in 
and by the same nature.) "For if the Lord had been incarnate for any 
other disposition," (i. e., cause, reason, or end,) "and had brought 
flesh from any other substance," (i. e., celestial or ethereal, as the 
agnostics imagined,) "he had not recovered men, brought our nature 
unto a head in himself, nor could he have been said to be flesh. He 
therefore himself had flesh and blood not of any other kind; but he 
took to himself that which was originally created of the Father, 
seeking that which was lost." The same is observed by Augustine: (Lib. 
de Fide, ad Petrum Diaconum:) "Sic igitur Christum Dei Filium, id est, 
unam ex Trinitate personam, Deum verum crede, ut divinitatem ejus de 
natura Patris natam esse non dubites; et sic eum verum hominem crede, 
et ejus carnem, non coelestis, non aeriae, non alterius cujusquam 
putes esse naturae, sed ejus coujus est omnium caro; id est, quam ipse 
Deus, homini primo de terra plasmavit, et caeteris hominibus plasmat."- 
-"So believe Christ the Son of God, that is, one person of the 
Trinity, to be the true God, that you doubt not but that his divinity 
was born" (hy eternal generation) "of the nature of the Father; and so 
believe him to be a true man, that you suppose not his flesh to be 
aerial, or heavenly, or of any other nature, but of that which is the 
flesh of men; that is, which God himself formed in the first man of 
the earth, and which he forms in all other men." That which he speaks 
of one person of the Trinity, has respect unto the heretical opinion 
of Hormisdas, the bishop of Rome, who contended that it was unlawful 
to say that one person of the Trinity was incarnate, and persecuted 
some Scythian monks, men not unlearned about it, who were strenuously 
defended by Maxentius, one of them. 
 It carrieth in it a great condecency unto divine wisdom, that man 
should be restored unto the image of God by him who was the essential 
image of the Father; (as is declared in our discourse;) and that he 
was made like unto us, that we might be made like unto him, and unto 
God through him. So speaks the same Irenaeus: (lib. 5 Praefat:) 
"Verbum Dei Jesus Christus, qui propter immensam suam dilectionem, 
factus est quod sumus nos, ut nos perficeret quod est ipse".--"Jesus 
Christ, the Word of God, who, from his own infinite love, was made 
what we are, that he might make us what he is;" that is, by the 
restoration of the image of God in us. And again: (lib. 3 cap. 20:) 
"Filius Dei existens semper apud Patrem, et homo factus, longam 
hominum expositionem in seipso recapitulavit; in compendio nobis 
salutem praestans, ut quod perdideramus in Adam, id est, secundum 
imaginem et similitudinem esse Dei, hoc in Christo Jesus reciperemus. 
Quia enim non erat ppossibile, eum hominem, qui semel victus fuerat et 
elisus per inobedientiam, replasmare et obtinere brabium (brateion) 
victoriae; iterum autem impossibile erat ut salutem perciperet, qui 
sub peccato ceciderat. Utraque operatus est filius Verbum Dei 
existens, a Patre descendens et incarnatus, et usque ad mortem 
descendens, et dispensationem consummans salutis nostrae".--"Being the 
Son of God always with the Father, and being made man, he reconciled 
or gathered up in himself the long-continued exposing of men," (unto 
sin and judgment,) "bringing in salvation in this compendious way, (in 
this summary of it,) that what we had lost in Adam--that is, our being 
in the image and likeness of God--we should recover in Christ. For it 
was not possible that man that had been once conquered and broken by 
disobedience, should by himself be reformed, and obtain the crown of 
victory; nor, again, was it possible that he should recover salvation 
who had fallen under sin. Both were wrought by the Son, the Word of 
God, who, descending from the Father, and being incarnate, submitted 
himself to death, perfecting the dispensation of our salvation." 
 And Clemens Alexandrinus to the same purpose: (Adhort. ad Gentes.) 
"Nai femi ho logos h tou Theou anthroopos genomenos, hina de kai su 
para anthroopou matheis, te pote ara anthroopos genetai Theos".--"The 
Word of God was made man, that thou mightest learn of a man how man 
may become" (as) "God." And Ambrose, in Ps. 118 Octonar. decim.: [of 
the authorized English version, Ps. 119 73:] "Imago, [id est, Verbum 
Dei,] ad eum qui est d imaginem, [hoc est, hominem,] venit, et quaerit 
imago eum qui est ad similitudinem sui, ut iterum signet, ut iterum 
confirmet, quia amiseras quod accepisti."--"The image of God, that is, 
the Word of God, came unto him who was after the image of God, that is 
man. And this image of God seeks him who was after the image of God, 
that he might seal him with it again, and confirm him, because thou 
hadst lost that which thou hadst received." And Augustine in one 
instance gives a rational account why it was condecent unto divine 
wisdom that the Son, and not the Father or the Holy Spirit, should be 
incarnate--which we also inquire into: (Lib. de Definitionibus 
Orthodoxae Fidei sive de Ecclesiastica Dogmatibus, cap. 2:) "Non Pater 
carnem assumpsit, neque Spiritus Sanctus, set Filius tantum; at qui 
erat in divinitate Dei Patris Filius, ipse fieret in homine hominis 
matris Filius; ne Filii nomen ad alterum transiret, qui non esset 
eterna nativitate filius".--"The Father did not assume flesh, nor the 
Holy Spirit, but the Son only; that he who in the Deity was the Son of 
the Father, should be made the Son of man, in his mother of human 
race; that the name of the Son should not pass unto any other, who was 
not the Son by an eternal nativity." 
 I shall close with one meditation of the same author, concerning the 
wisdom and righteousness of God in this mystery: (Enchirid. ad 
Laurent., cap. 99:) "Vide--universum genus humanum tam justo judicio 
Divino in apostatica radice damnatum, ut etiam si nullus inde 
liberaretur, nemo recte possit Dei vituperare justitiam; et qui 
liberantur, sic oportuisse liberari, ut ex pluribus non liberatis, 
atque in damnatione justissima derelictis, ostenderetur, quod 
meruisset universa conspersio, et quo etiam istos debitum judicium Dei 
duceret, nisi ejus indebita misericordia subveniret."---"Behold, the 
whole race of mankind, by the just judgment of God, so condemned in 
the apostatical root, that if no one were thence delivered, yet no man 
could rightly complain of the justice of God; and that those who are 
freed, ought so to be freed, that, from the greater number who are not 
freed, but left under most righteous condemnation, it might be 
manifest what the whole mass had deserved, and whither the judgment of 
God due unto them would lead them, if his mercy, which was not due, 
did not relieve them." The reader may see what is discoursed unto 
these purposes: and because the great end of the description given of 
the person of Christ, is that we may love him, and thereby be 
transformed into his image, I shall close this preface with the words 
of Jerome, concerning that divine love unto Christ which is at large 
declared. "sive legas", says he, "sive scribas, sive vigiles, sive 
dormias, amor tibi semper buccina in auribus sonet, hic lituus excitet 
animam tuam, hoc amore furibundus; quaere in lectulo tuo, quem 
desiderat anima tue:" Epist. 66 ad Pammach., cap. 10.--"Whether thou 
readest or writest, whether thou watchest or sleepest, let the voice 
of love (to Christ) sound in thine ears; let this trumpet stir up thy 
soul: being overpowered (brought into an ecstasy) with this love, seek 
Him on thy bed whom thy soul desireth and longeth for."

John Owen, Christologia

(continued in Part 1...)

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