Imatges de pÓgina

ral hereditary dominion, and over his pro per fubjects.

But material fubftances are inconceivably diverse from each other.-All flesh is not the fame flefh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beafts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are alfo celeftial bodies, and bodies terreftrial: but the glory of the celeftial is one, and the glory of the terreftrial is another.

We look for the faints to come in the refurrection with a real human body; changed indeed it will be; for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. And the faying fhall be brought to pass that is written, Death is fwallowed up in victory? Still it will be a body, and be peffeffed of the powers and capacities which diftinguifh the human body, as really as in the prefent fiate. And a reference to the angels, in order to give an idea of the state of the faints in the refurrection; fuch as that of our Lord in his reply to the queftion of the Sadducees, would fuppofe that the angels have bodies which are, however, of the most pure and celeftial nature.

That active and powerful ftate of the air and other fubftances, which we call fpirit, is known to exift from a degree of expansion of the element; how free, then, from every thing grofs and heavy--how exceedingly pure and fpiritual, quick and commanding, muft the powers of that world be, which took its frame from a ftate of the elements juft the oppofite to that which formed the earth, and

was conftituted by the fulleft and freest action of that most wonderful power, which may be properly called the firength of nature?

The doctrine of Chrift, or of one having authority, implies fubjects and fervants; the natural fubjects and fervants of God were the angels; this is imported, as has been fhewn by the name of angel.-And the ftate of fubjects and fervants implies a law, which is that glorious inftitution commonly called the Moral Law; but which, in the fcriptures, is fimply called the law, and is comprehended in the ten commandments, and the bleffings and curfes given at Mount Sinai.-By the law being ordained by angels, and receiv ed by the difpofition of angels, it feems to be imported that it was a fyftem derived from them, a ftate of things properly their own, or an economy conformable to their natural condition.

The law is holy, juft and good; it points out precifely the relation which fubfiits between the Prince and his fubjects, the Lord and his fervants; it is molt perfect in all things. It gives to God the throne, for it is his right to reign; it exalts the Lord as the King and rightful Sovereign over all, and places the fubject univerfe at the abfolute difpofal of his will. The creature it claims as a fervant, and requires of him all his heart, and all his foul, and all his mind, and all his ftrength, to be given to the Lord God-all that he is, and all that he has, and all that he can do, to be devoted to him unrefervedly,

continually, and without the leaft failure for. ever. It points out alfo the relations which fubfift between the creatures and their fellow fubjects, and the duties which they severally owe to each other, viz. that each one fhould love his neighbor as himself.

This ftate, as being under the law, is a glorious flate; the angel, or mere fervant of God, is highly privileged: for a law fo perfect, fo holy, juft and good, to a mind that is erect and pure, muft afford an ample field of divine entertainment; and in keeping it, there must be great reward; for it cannot fail to enlighten, expand and feed the rational exiftence. Such a state of action must be inconceivably improving. This is intimated in the word, Pfalm civ. 4. Who maketh his angels Spirits. To ferve a God fo great and glorious, and to be conftantly employed according to a law fo exceeding broad, muft greatly elevate, honor and dignify a creature. How did the face of Moles fhine, when, but a few days, he was employed in this angelic miniftry.

[ocr errors]

A creature exifting in fuch a flate has interefts and rights; fupport, of course, becomes his due; he has a claim to his living, yea, he has a claim to protection from his Lord and Mafter. Moreover, a good fervant or fubject is entitled to the approbation and favor of his prince and fovereign. These are high privileges! rich interells! a fupport, fuch as the proper world of the angels will afford them, mufl be bountiful. The hired fervants in the houfe of our heavenly Father, have bread e

nough and to fpare; protection they are assured of, and the fmiles of the good Lord upon them must be a felicity the most completely fatisfying to their nature, and perfecting to all their heavenly powers; a felicity, which only they who have experienced the favor of God can know. The righteoufnefs of the law is a glorious righteousness, and will endure and be renowned for ever.-Heaven and earth fhall pafs away, whilft the law fhall be established and honored, and not one jot or tittle of this divine institution fhall fail,

But, with all this felicity and glory, the righteousness of the law could only give to the angels the place, the privileges and the dif politions of fervants. The fpirit of adoption, the privileges of children, and the inheritance of fons, could never refult from the most perfect righteoufnefs of the law; yea, the most excellent being in the univerfe, who fhould do all that the law requires, and repeat the deeds of the whole fyftem without the leaft fault, millions of times, and for millions of ages, would be ftill from this fource of perfection, at an infinite and unapproachable diftance from the righteoufnefs of Godthat righteoufnefs which is upon all them that believe, and which entitles the poffeffor to an inheritance in the kingdom of Chrift and of God, and yields the fruits of the Spirit.Moreover, the law can never make the comers thereunto perfect, or give them more than a precarious establishment. For Mofes defcrib eth the righteoufnefs which is of the law, That the man which doth those things fhall live by

[ocr errors]

them. And also it is written, Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.This is, therefore, in the highest ftate of the comer thereunto, a mount that might be touched, and that burneth with fire,-Hence the fpirit of the law, in a greater or less degree, is that of bondage, and must neceffarily affect the minds of those who are under it with the bondage of fear; and, therefore, it must for ever remain diftinct from, and in fome refpects opposed to the fpirit of the gospel, by which we cry Abba, Father.


The fervant, under the law, has no inheritance; he has no righteoufnefs laid up for him;-no fund in referve;-no provision in flore; he earns well his penny a day; but God is never found in his debt, for he receives his wages every day in full, before the fun goes down: and after he has done all thofe things which are commanded him, he is poor, and has nothing but his hands for his fupport; and he muft fay, I am an unprofitable fervant: I have done that which was my duty to do. And if he turn away from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness that he hath done fhall not be mentioned: In his trefpafs that he hath trefpaffed, and in the fin that be hath finned, in them fhall he die.

By thefe obfervations, I would not be underflood to mean that this is the prefent flate of the angels; on the contrary, the holy angels are undoubtedly now confirmed, and have a railed landing in the family of God,

« AnteriorContinua »