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And when an illustration of this principle is spoken of in the work before us, it should not be understood to mean that there is any obscurity in the subject itself. This is as luminous as the body of heaven; but that there is a necessity of dispelling, by particular application of the true principle, the otherwise impenetrable darkness of false principles, so that if any man have eyes to see he may see, ,
The arduous task before us is not so much to form as to throw away notions. The opinion that the Trinity is not fo essentially the principle of revelation, but is something of God, more diftant, mysterious, and obscure, in its nature, diftinct from that divine body of light which, like the natural sun, shines with one indivisible blaze, is the most egregious and fatal error, and never could have existed and been propagated, had not some men allowed themselves to talk and write of the Divine Being with their eyes shut, and others shut their eyes in order to follow them.
6. The divine principle or purpose is one; and though it consists of certain distinct parts; yet it is apparent, when the subject is in view, that a fact of such a nature cannot exist without such parts being united together; and that the parts and the whole have a necessary dependance on each other. The diverhty and unity of the will of God is an acknowledged truth-that there are divisie ons in the word or will of God is well un. derstood. 2 Tim. ji. 15. Whilst the divine characters it fultains, immensity, eternity,
&c. fully demonstrate its unity. These characters can belong only to one principle.
The definition of the divine principle, as being an action or operation, requires a more particular statement:
1. Though with deference to the human mind, ever habituated to make the distinction, and the common use of words; and also on account of the nature of the subject, it is requisite to state the divine principle both as a purpose and a work. It must ftill be remembered that the divine operation is effentially one with the divine purpose; that it is contained in the definition given of the subject; and that no true definition can be given of the purpose of God, which does not contain the primary operation; for it is moft evident that, in God, willing and doing are inseparable.
2. The works of God are manifold; whereever we look, we behold operation succeed. ing operation in numberlels progressions ; but they who attentively consider the works of God, observe one first operation through which all others proceed.' This, in the divine system, is the subject which we are attempting to state and define.
3. As the thousands of successive undulations of the earth or water, from a shock or explosion, do all exist in the power of the shock or explosion; so absolutely does all the immensity of the universe exilt in one divine operation.
4. The first divine operation being necesfarily comprized in the divine purpose, in
like manner it must be immense, eternal, and sustaining all the divine characters, and none but the divine.
This is the grand principle called The Word of God, by which the worlds were framed; and The Law, through which every operation, existing through ages of ages, must proceed, until the progression of divine operation, returning as a circle and uniting in the principle, that shall be all in all.The notion of an endless progression is a chimera—there is nothing in nature to support it. We know that whatever progrelles moves in a circle, and must return and finally terminate.
PROOFS IN SUPPORT OF THE STATEMENT.
The foregoing statement of the divine principle, takes a ground the most universally acknowledged, viz. That the holy compact, commonly called the Covenant of Redemption, is of eternal existence; and as this fact is the grand principle in the divine system, the knowledge of it is brought forward in every beam of divine light that shineth in the world. For instance :
1. The very name of God, which doubtless imports his eternal godhead, is evidently expressive of this truth. The Hebrew word God, Aleim or Elohim, may be interpreted, the swearers, or the covenanters, or contraclors
by oath. If then this name be eternal, that. covenant act which gives it, must be eternal. Moses writes of the creation, In the beginning God, Aleim, created the heaven and the earth. As therefore God bare this name at the creation of the world, that fact from which it is taken must have pre-exilted all time.
2. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we understand to be an eternal name of the Lord our God: but it is demonstrable, that these terms have their origin in this divine iransaction respecting redemption; which covenant transaction, therefore, must be equally eternal with this name of our Lord Jehovah.
3. Holiness may well be considered the eternal attribute of God; but holiness relates to a confecration. In the strict sense of the word, to be holy is to be set apart; and it is to this divine transaction which, in its nature, is a consecration—that we trace, as to its origin, every thing that is properly expressed or understood, by a term of this import as applied to God. That action, therefore, in which God took upon him the vow of holiness, must be eternal.
4. This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. i John v. 11. And it is further declared, as in 2 Tim; i. 9. that this grace was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.A gist is a transfer of some property ; it is a real deed. The mere purpose to g ve, is not giving or beltowing a gift; but God gave us
leternal life before the world was. This was done in that covenant transaction under confideration. It appears, therefore, from the gospel record, that there has existed a transaction which is of the nature of a contract between parties, respecting some great interest, wherein their obligations are folemnly confirmed and left on record ; and that this one real fact bears the eternal date. 5
It is said in the scriptures, and often repeated, that our Lord was made an High Priest. His Priesthood then, is a matter of fact; for such we consider every thing which is made or done. But it is also said, that this was done after the power of an endless life. Heb. vii
. 16. The levitical priesthood was made after the law of a carnal commandment. In both cases, the law and the priesthood are joined and subsist together, bear date and run parallel with each other. The temporal law has a priesthood answerable to its nature—the eternal law also, has one answerable to its nature. As, therefore, the priesthood of Aaron, according to the nature of its law, which was carnal, must have begun and ended in time ; so likewise, the priesthood of Chriit, according to the power of an endless life, which is life and immortality, must be from eternity to eternity. Such was the reasoning of the apostle upon this very point, and demonstrates that the priesthood which has the power of an endless life, i. e. the life of God, for its law, must be co-existent with that life; and, like God himself, have no beginning of days.