Imatges de pÓgina
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himfelf the foundation and beginning of the

creation.

The fhekinah, or cloud of God, was altogether fupernatural; and the glory which appeared there, was doubtlefs the uncreated form, and pre-éxiftent glory of Christ. And it appears to be called a cloud, not only on account of its general afpects, but particularly, because it prefented a power, the most inconceivably active and commanding; fuch as may be contemplated in that firft and moft wonderful agent, the electric fire, which, in the vifible world, though every where diffufed, moft clearly offers itfelf to view in the natural cloud.

This, then, is given as a view of our prefent argument, or of the truth of Chrift as the, Beginning, viz. he was fet up from everlasting, in the realm and dominion of the Father, in heaven, and fo was in the form of God; which pre-exiftent glory of Christ was the perfect inftitute, 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 expreffive of the invifible things of God, even his eternal power and Godhead.

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CHAPTER II.

OF THE UNFOLDING OF THE TRUTH OF CHRIST IN THE FIRST CREATION.

Section 1. The Work of Creation.

THE work of creation is attributed in the

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holy fcriptures to the Trinity; and, according to the theory, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghoft being neceffarily in the first cause, the divine efficiency, or the exiftence of the whole univerfe, must be afcribed to them equally. But the repeated divine declarations, that the heavens and the earth were created in Christ, and confift 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 diftinct sense.

By fuch declarations, we are led to contemplate Chrift, as the conftituted efficient head of the creation, and, as being laid in the wifdom and purpofe of God, as the chofen, all meritorious foundation of the whole work; we are led, both by the feriptures, and by reason, to contemplate a matter that took place in the work of creation, refpecting Chrifl, fo entirely diftinct 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 profecution of the defign.

It is certain, from the fcriptures, that a tranfaction took place, refpe&ting Christ, previous to the exiflence of the heaven and earth, which is to be confidered as properly the beginning of the creation, as the laying of the foundation is to be confidered the beginning of the fabric.—And it is all important to the attainment of clear ideas of the divine character and counfel, to know that the beginning of all the works of God was in the establishment of a Chrift, and a Chrift 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 fuperftructure, or head to the body, by a constitution of divine counsel, distinct from the idea of a relation by mere efficien. cy, is abfolutely neceffary in order to account for the exiftence 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, otherwife than by fome infinitely meritorious medium.

And, after all the boafled theories of creature-excellence and merit, fuggefted by the pride of man, the theory of Chrift, or that of a

conftitution, divinely framed, uniting the crea tures with the Creator, as by a foundation or head, or crown of glory and honor, can only explain the poffibility of God's sustaining the relation of Creator. Without the knowledge of Chrift, man is in utter darkness; and, if he attempts to explain his own existence, or to take one ftep in moral philofophy, he, muft neceffarily ftumble upon the dark mountains of atheism or idolatry. But we are now entering upon that part of the work, which is to confift chiefly of a flatement of facts, and, at prefent, we mean only to ftate 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, vifible and invifible, 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 wifdom, hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens, Prov. iii. 19.-By him all things confist, Col. i. 17.—Who, 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-Chrift is often referred to in the peculiar fcripture expreffion, which, perhaps, may also be confidered as one of his glorious names, the Foundation of the World. In many. fuch paffages Chrift is clearly revealed, as the

Head, Inftitute, or Foundation of the Creation.

The many plain paffages of fcripture, attributing the work of creation equally and directly to the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, leave no room for the fuppofition that Chrift was ufed as an inftrument in that work, otherwife than as a conftituted Head, or an Archetype, may be called an inftrument. The idea of a fecondary agency, or efficiency, is unwarranted and irreconcilable both with the fcriptures and reason. The re peated divine declarations therefore, that all things were created in Chrift, and by Chrift, teach us, that he is the medium, foundation, or conftituted head of the creation.

The Apoftle to the Ephefians, chapter iii. unfolding the mystery and unfearchable riches of Chrift, that the Gentiles Thould be fellow heirs, and of the fame body, and partakers of the promife in Chrift; Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named; goes back to this foundation of the whole creation, and obferves, that this divine myftery, or deep counsel of God, of the whole family in heaven and earth being named of Chrift, was from the beginning of the world hid in God, who created all things by Jefus Chrift: By which it is plainly intimated, that in this truth of God's creating all things by Jefus Chrift, is the grand difclosure of the divine fcheme.-O, what manifold wifdom of God might be known, and fhall be made known by the church, according to the eternal purpofe which he purpofed in Christ Jefus our

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