« AnteriorContinua »
brief statement of some leading known facts in the creation, in order to illustrate it, and shew how it theorizes in the works of God. What remains of the work more than this must be left to other hands, and them God will provide.—The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those that published it.
his being dismissed from his charge, and, in some measure gaining his health by travelling, enabled him very considerably to enlarge his plan; but the same being accompanied with oppofitions from various quarters, threw discouragements in the way, and retarded the publication ; and, at last, he considers the object very imperfectly accomplished.
November, a, D. 1798.
STATING AND DEFLYING
DIVINE PRINCIPL E.
STATEMENT. 1. THE divine principle, which may be sta.
ted and defined, must be the discoverable divine Being.- 'To offer a discussion of what is undiscoverable would be absurd. No statement or definitior can be rationally give en of the invisibility of God. It must, therefore, be understood (for no more can be rationally meant) that our principle is merely the visibility of God, or the principle of divine knowledge.
2. As to the invisibility of God we make no enquiry. For as this bears no letters or characters, to angels and to men, both in time and eternity, it must be equally unknown. But there is a legible divine character-an alphabet which may
be read and understood. This belongs to us. Here is an Alpha with which we may begin, and an Omega
with which we must end. And what is offered to us in this lettered name, we are
warranted to call the divine Being, God him. felf-I am Alpha and Omega-faith the Al. mighty.
3. The principle of divine knowledge then, or discoverable divine Being, is his purpose or will; in which purpose is included the idea of action, for purposing and doing cannot be two things with God; farther than his purpose, or voluntary action, nothing is or can be known of God; and, indeed, relative to light and knowledge nothing farther than this exifts.--Our enquiry concerning the divine Being will go no farther than, as according to the ancient He. brewisin, God is his own workmanship.
4. In a sense unlimited, God is invisible, and his works are unsearchable; for as no approach has been made, nor ever will be made to the discovery of God, farther than his purpose, so neither is, or will there be made any discovery of his works farther than their state or disposition, which answers to his purpose; and every attempt or desire to know more of God than his counsel or decree is fruitless and criminal.-But the purpose or will of God is discoverable, and is the subject of all divine manifestation, and all rational enquiry and reflection.--This is the true godheadthe intellectual sun, or principle of divine revelation and knowledge.—it is eternal life, the soul-fatisfying object of the wife in heart. The man, who, through defire of this, having separated himself, findeth treasures; but he who desireth' and seeketh it not, wrong. eth his own soul.
DEFINITION. 1. The divine principle or purpose, stated to be the visibility of God, is a matter of fact, and exists in voluntary action. If the pur. pose or will of God be not a fact, and found in voluntary action, it is all unknown, and has been mistaken for the principle of knowledge: for it is certain that our sphere of knowledge does not extend in the least beyond matters of fact, This particular of the definition of the divine principle, with those also following, will be supported by the whole illustration of the theory,
2. The divine purpose or will is the subject of all the divine characters. It is immense, eternal, unchangeable, almighty, sovereign, wise, holy, just and good. This has been universally acknowledged; and it will not be denied, that this is the only known subject of these characters.
3. The divine principle or purpose is of the nature of a covenant, or a matter of record between parties. This has been acknow. ledged as fully, perhaps, as any doctrine of divine revelation.
4. The divine purpose or will bears the personal characters, and exhibits voluntary agency. Being of the covenant nature, or a fact of record, the divine principle cannot be contemplated otherwise than in contemplating intelligent agency, and the full exercise of the personal capacities.
5. The divine principle or purpose pre. sents a trinity, and it cannot be conceived of otherwise than in conceiving of a trinity. It is so far from being true, that it is hard to conceive of a trinity in the godhead, that no conception can be formed of the eternal truth offered in the purpose of God, and a trinity not to be contemplated, and with the same clearness of light.
The difficulty in the minds of men of discovering the Holy Trinity, is nothing more or less than the difficulty of discovering the truth in a false principle. But, let the true principle be discovered and the trinity cannot be hid, for it belongs to the body of the godhead, and is inseparable from the disa covery of the Divine Being, and is the light itself. With the men of Athens we may know merely that there is a God, but without the knowledge of the divine will, which, in its nature presents necessarily a trinity of per. sons, we, like them, know not what God is.
Whatever darkness there be in our minds concerning the Trinity, there must neceflari
be the lame concerning the whole purpose of God; and we can no farther conceive of the divine principle than we conceive of a trinity. In a covenant there is a covenanter, one who makes the covenant; a covenantee, one brought into the covenant; and a mus tual interest contracted for. And, in the pura pose of God each of these bear all the divine and perfonal characters, which it will be a part of this work clearly to illustrate.
In this place it will not be expected that we clear the subject, but only that we ftate and define the principle of divine knowledge.