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Section 3. Eleflion. The truth of an election of God, as has been shewn, is founded in the nature of the divine principle:--the consecrating and setting apart of Christ as a trustee of the gift of eternal life, rendered him an elect head ;and it implies necessarily, an object of ever: lasting love connected with him, as an elect body.
In a case of this nature, where an interest, deeded or willed, is put into the hands of a trustee, under heavy and sacred bonds, to keep it and deliver it over to the party in favor of whom the deed or will is made; it is most plain, that such heir or heirs must be chosen, so as to be known and named in the deed or testament. This matter of an election, therefore, existed in, and is clearly traceable to that established fact and glorious first principle, of an eternal covenant transacti, on. But our present inquiry relates to the divine exhibition, and to the truth of God as disclosed in his works.
Though questions may arise in a rational mind, respecting certain offered senses and circumstances of this doctrine, yet the fact itself, of an election of God, is most clearly exhibited, and cannot be doubted by any ra. uional reflecting mind ;-- which fact, in the present view of the subject, lies before us in the existence of a division in the creation.
The word election, is used in relation to one or more, being selected in design, to be in effe& feparated, or fet apart from others.
But a division in the creation could not exist, except by a new divine eltablishment; for, as the serpent had possessed himself of the grand stream of natural influence, or of the whole power of the natural establishment, it is plain, that in that state, he must have penetrated the whole creation; and angels as well as men, must have sunk down together under one universal flood of apostacy.
The standing of the holy angels cannot be accounted for, consistently with the doctrine of Christ, on any other ground than this of their being elect angels ;-and that Christ appeared at the moment of danger, opening to them a new source of life, according to this great distinction in the divine will, by uniting them to himself as the head of the elect world, and so dividing them off from the rest of the creation, which opened, like an abyss under their feet; the divine eonftitution of which being now broken up, and all its strength and glory laid prostrate before the fearful conqueror.
Doing this, implies his taking a new form anfwerable to the dispoßtion of angels; hence his name of Angel, and allo of Lord of Hosts; for this new establishment of election, is a war establishment:- It is the dividing off of world against world, and putting betweeix them enmity of the most irreconcilable opposition of principle. Hence war will commence immediately-angel will be opposed to angel-man to man—the powers of heaa ven conflicting-the sea and waves roaring.
Thoug! Christ did not take the nature of angels, yet he took their livery, and so associated himself to them, as to appear among them their Captain and Commander in Chis); putting arms into their hands--arranging them under election banners--appointing their armies--teaching them fkill-inspiring them with courage-and affording them strength to resist, repel, and, finally, to van: quish what otherwile had been an all-con. quering enemy.
Entering now upon his covenant-service, a state in which all before him was labour and warfare, he cheerfully prepares himself for the long engagement-puts on the dress of a lervani-associates with, and makes the servants his companions, to whom his language was not, Come serve me ; but, Come. serve with me. Come into the yoke, fellow fervants, with me-Come ye elect of God, take upon you with me, in my engagement to my Göd and to your God, ihe willing share of friends! Fellow foldiers, come on—it is a common cause! I will make it with you a common cause!
But this establishment of an intermediate world, upon an elect foundation, is plainly the unfolding of the divine principle. It is the commencement of the work engaged by the everlasting covenant. ------The doctrine, eherefore, of an election of angels and men, from the foundation of the worid, even from the eternal inéditura of Chrill, is no more
to be denied than is the being of the living and true God. The denial of election cannot be separated from the denial of that divine covenant.ground, which we have seen to be the principle of knowledge, the discoverable Divine Being and true Godhead.
Moreover, as this elect establishment, even of the angels of God, was made upon the ground of the everlasting engagement of Christ, which, as has been shewn, was to lay down his life that he might take it again; all the virtue and strength of the establishment must result from his obedience, or coverant righteousness. The angels could not have resisted one moment, but by gospel
Hence it is said, that Michael and his angels overcame the dragon by the blood of the Lamb.
This establishment was, in the exhibition, one act of Christ's laying down his life, i. e. it comported with, and, in some degree, brought into the view of the angels, his free consent to the divine parental will, requiring him to lay down his life; and therefore it was, that this act afforded them a standing. It is true, it afforded them a standing only as of men on the field of battle; for the vicetory could not be obtained, and the field won, until the whole work, act by act, was finished. And so it appears from the scriptures, that the serpent was not cast out of heaven, until after the death of Jesus.
As Christ went forward, step by step, in his covenant work, the elect gained, to their own view at least, more and more strength;
but it is plain from the divine theory, that the bringing forward of a new establishment, could not vanquish the enemy;--this could only be done by the dissolution of the old.
So long, therefore, as the elect saints are not entirely changed, and taken off from the natural ground, which cannot be the case whilst they are resident in their earth'y house of this tabernacle, the watchings and struggles of warfare are inevitable; whilst thus they remain in the natural body, the power of the serpent will be felt; in the nature of things, so long that creeping thing will reach and bruise their heel.
A View of the mediate State and
In entering upon this part of the
of the argument, it will be necessary to take a more particular view of the nature of the great subject to be, illustrated, which is that part of the divine will which is unfolded in Christ's mediate state and redemption-work.
The object of the requirement of the divine will, or commandment of God, was his glory; which finished, is the manifestation of God, even the Father; and for God to be manifested, Christ must be declared, even the Son of God; for it has been shewn, that the character of the Father is essentially involved in that of the Son; and, therefore, that