« AnteriorContinua »
himself the foundation and beginning of the creation.
The shekinah, or cloud of God, was altogether supernatural; and the glory which appeared there, was doubtless the uncreated form, and pre-existent glory of Christ. And it appears to be called a cloud, not only on account of its general aspects, but particularly, because it presented a power, the most in, conceivably active and commanding; such as may be contemplated in that first and most wonderful agent, the electric fire, which, in the visible world, though every where diffused, most clearly offers itself to view in the natural cloud.
This, then, is given as a view of our préfent argument, or of the truth of Chrilt as the Beginning, viz. he was set up from everlasting, in the realm and dominion of the Father, in heaven, and so was in the form of God; which pre-existent glory of Christ was the perfect institute, the foundation and beginning of the creation. According to which, the divine exhibition, in the creation, will be feen to open in a state of perfect harmony and felicity; and, in a covenant relation to Christ, with a crown of glory and honor; all expressive of the invisible things of God, even bis eternal power and Godhead.
OF THE UNFOLDING OF THE TRUTH OF
CHRIST IN THE FIRST CREATION.
The Work of Creation. THE work of creation is attributed in the
holy scriptures to the Trinity; and, according to the theory, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost being necessarily in the first cause, the divine efficiency, or the existence of the whole universe, must be ascribed to them equally. But the repeated divine declarations, that the heavens and the earth were created in Christ, and confft by him, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence, evidently intend that he is the Creator and Upholder of all things in a distinct sense.
By such declarations, we are led to contemplate Christ, as the constituted efficient head of the creation, and, as being laid in the wisdom and purpose of God, as the chosen, all meritorious foundation of the whole work; we are led, both by the scriptures, and by reason, to contemplate a matter that took place in the work of creation, respecting Chrift, so entirely disinet from his being, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Creator; or his concerting together with them the work of creation, that he is therein viewed as being himself the beginning of the work, and laid as the foundation in the prosecution of the design.
It is certain, from the scriptures, that a transaction took place, respecting Christ, previous to the existence of the heaven and earth, avhich is to be considered as properly the beginning of the creation, as the laying of the foundation is to be considered the beginning of the fabric.-And it is all important to the attainment of clear ideas of the divine cha. racter and counsel, to know that the beginning of all the works of God was in the eltablishment of a Christ, and a Christ alone; and that in Christ, as the foundation, all God's works from eternity were completely embraced,
The knowledge of a relation sustained by Christ to the creation, as of the foundation to the superstructure, or head to the body, by a conftitution of divine counsel, distinct from the idea of a relation by mere efficien. cy, is absolutely necessary in order to account for the existence of the creation; or, indeed, to conceive of the divine efficiency in the creation of worlds; for, we can have no rational idea of God's being connected with creatures, otherwise than by some infinitely meritorious medium.
And, after all the boalled theories of creafure-excellence and merit, suggested by the pride of man, the theory of Christ, or that of a
çonstitution, divinely framed, uniting the crear tures with the Creator, as by a foundation or head, or crown of glory and honor, can only explain the possibility of God's sustaining the relation of Creator. Without the knowledge of Christ, man is in utter darkness; and, if he attempts to explain his own existence, or to take one step in moral philosophy, he must necessarily stumble upon the dark mountains of atheism or idolatry. But we are now entering upon that part of the work, which is to confiit chiefly of a statement of facts, and, at present, we mean only to state this revealed fact concerning the creation of the world.
The truth of Chrift, as being the head of all things that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, is clearly expressed by the names in which he appears in the work of creation: Here he is called the Beginning. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, Gen. i. 1. This name, Rev. ii. 14. is written out at full length, viz. The Beginning of the creation of God, The Lord, by wisdom, hath founded the earth; by ụnderflanding hath he established the heavens, Prov. 111, 19.-By him all things consist, Col. i, 17:41ho, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his perfon, and upholding all things by the word of his power, Heb. i. 3.-Christ is often referred to in the peculiar scripture expression, which, perhaps, may also be considered as one of his glorious names, the Foundation of the World. In many. such passages Christ is clearly revealed, as the
Head, Institute, or Foundation of the Crea. tion,
The many plain passages of scripture, at, tributing the work of creation equally and directly to the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, leave no room for the fuppofition' that Christ was used as an instrument in that work, otherwise than as a constituted Head, or an Archetype, may be called an inftrument. The idea of a secondary agency, or efficiency, is unwarranted and irreconcilable both with the scriptures and reason. The re. peated divine declarations therefore, that all things were created in Christ, and by Christ, teach
that he is the medium, foundation, or conftituted head of the creation.
The Apostle to the Ephesians, chapter iii. unfolding the mystery and unsearchabie rich, es of Christ, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ; Of whom the whole fåmiiy in heaven and earth is named; goes back to this foundation of the whole creation, and observes, that this divine mystery, or deep counsel of God, of the whole family in heaven and earth being named of Christ, was from the beginning of the world hidin God, who created all things by Jesus Chrift: By which it is plainly intimated, that in this truth of God's creating all things by Jesus Christ, is the grand disclosure of the divine scheme.-0, what manifold wisdom of God might be known, and shall be made known by the church, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our.