« PreviousContinue »
TO THE READER.
The design of this Preface is not to commend either the Author or the matter contained in this little book. Let every reader do as he finds cause. Nor need any assurance be given that Dr. Owen was the Author, to any who have conversed with his writings, and will be at the pains to read this over. It is indeed his application of the former discourses upon this subject, printed in the year 1684. But the reason why it was not then added (the omission whereof rendered that book imperfect to judicious readers.) seems necessary to be given. Had it pleased God he had lived a little longer, it would have come out as perfect as his other works. But there being no more transcribed in his life-time than what was then printed, and that published soon after his death; these two chapters wrote only with his own hand, were found too late to be then added. They are therefore now printed to complete those discourses. And it is presumed, that as no serious Christian who reads this, will be satisfied without the other also ; so all who prize the former, will be glad of the opportunity to add this thereunto.
MEDITATIONS AND DISCOURSES
THE GLORY OF CHRIST.
Application of the foregoing meditations concerning the glory of Christ,
First in an exhortation unto such as are not yet partakers of him. That which remains, is to make some application of the glorious truth insisted on unto the souls of them that are concerned ; and what I have to offer unto that end, I shall distribute under two heads. The first shall be with respect unto them who are yet strangers from this holy and glorious one, who are not yet made partakers of him, nor have any especial interest in him. And the second shall be directed unto believers, as a guide and assistance unto their recovery from spiritual decays, and the revival of a spring of vigorous grace, holiness, and obedience in them.
For the first of these, although it seems not directly to lie in our way, yet is it suited unto the method of the gospel, that wherever there is a declaration of the excellencies of Christ, in his person, grace, or office, it should be accompanied with an invitation and exhortation unto sinners to come unto him. This method he himself first made use of, Matt. xi. 27–30. John vii, 37, 38, and consecrated it unto our use also. Besides, it is necessary from the nature of the things themselves, for who can dwell on the consideration of the glory of Christ, being called therewith to the declaration of it, but his own mind will engage him to invite lost sinners unto a participation of him. But I shall at present proceed no farther in this exhortation, but only unto the proposal of some of those considerations which may prepare, incline, and dispose their minds unto a closúre with him as he is tendered in the gospel. As, 1. Let them consider well what is their present state with respect unto God and eternity. This Moses wisheth for the Israelites; Deut. xxxii. 29. Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end.' It is the greatest folly in the world to leave the issues of these things unto an uncertain hazard; and that man who cannot prevail with himself strictly to examine what is his state and condition with respect unto eternity, doth never do any good, nor abstain from any evil in a due manner. Remember, therefore, that many are called, but few are chosen.' To be called, is to enjoy all the outward privileges of the gospel, which is all you unto whom I speak can pretend unto, yet this you may do and not be chosen; even among those unto whom the word is preached, they are but few that shall be saved. In the distribution made by our Lord Jesus Christ of the hearers of the word into four sorts of ground, it was but one of them that received real benefit thereby; and if our congregations are no better than were his hearers, there is not above a fourth part of them that will be saved; it may be a far less number : and is it not strange that every one of them is not jealous over himself and his own condition ? Many herein deceive themselves, until they fall under woful surprisals. And this is represented in the account of the final judgment; for the generality of those who have professed the gospel are introduced as complaining of their disappointments; Matt. xxv. 41–43. For what is there spoken, is only a declaration of what befell them here in the close of their lives, and their personal judgment thereon.
2. Take heed of being deluded by common presumptions. Most men have some thoughts in general about what their state is, and what it will be in the issue ; but they make no diligent search into this matter, because a number of common presumptions do immediately insinuate themselves into their minds for their relief; and they are such, as all whose force and efficacy unto this end lies in this, that they differ from others, and are better than they; as that they are Christians, that they are in the right way of religion, that they are partakers of the outward privileges of the gospel, hearing the word, and participation of the sacraments; that they have light and convictions, so as that they abstain from sin, and perform duties so as others do