Imatges de pÓgina
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pearance, fairly promifing the ultimate happinefs of the foul, and bearing its name, yet man was not tempted and deceived by his Creator; whilft, at the fame time, he was plainly informed, by the word of the Lord God, what the nature of it was, and what must immediately follow upon his attempt ing to obtain from hence, notwithstanding its good and defirable appearance, either fup. port and delight for the body, or improvement and elevation for the mind,

He was exprefly admonished concerning this tree and its fruit, as being no more than the appearance of good; and in the name it bore, he was warned of its dangerous nature, in that it prefented two oppofite cafes; fo that being regarded according to the interdicting command of God, it was to him ufeful and good, as thereby he would have the knowledge of obedience and duty, which is the knowledge of Chrift; but in the other cafe, it was evil, as by eating thereof, he would know from it what is the bitter fruit of tranfgreffion, and the fatal nature of difobedience.

By the name of this tree, fufficiently deciphered by the word of the Lord given to him, Adam was fully apprized, that if he gave it credit, and, against the word of God, prefumed to use it for food, or in any way as a medium of fupport, life and knowledge, he would know, by woful experience, that he had loft good, and, not abiding in the knowledge of Chrift, that he had conceived evil, a delufion and lie.

Diftin&t, therefore, and oppofite in its nas ture, as this tree was from the tree of life; ftill, as it fprang up neceffarily in the garden of God, from the divine and most benificent operation, which caused there to grow a tree of life, its exiftence, the existence of evil, is neceffarily comprized in the argument of the divine theory; for, without fuch means of a trial, the covenant union, and the duty, fidelity and glory, which compofe the whole doctrine of Chrift, could have never been known, and man could no more have had the knowledge of good, than he could have had the knowledge of evil.

O the depth and the height, to which the mind is tranfported by the knowledge of Chrift! On high, to our view, it garnisheth the heavens, and openeth the gates of the Lord, into which the righteous do enter! and in the deep, it formeth the crooked fers pent, the dark region of dead things, and them that people it!

Section 10. Conclufion of the Chapter on

Creation.

To give a full illuftration of the truth of Chrift, as the beginning of the creation, it would be neceffary to trace the argument of divine wifdom through all the natural world, and offer divine effays upon all trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyffop that springeth out of the wall; and alfo

In relation to this doctrine, to fpeak particularly of beafts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. We are affured this was once done; by the aid, no doubt, of this grand clew of wifdom and knowledge, that the worlds were framed by the word of God.

That fuch a theory of Chrift does pervade the creation, and is legibly infcribed in the bofom of Heaven, and on every object belonging to the earth and fea, is a fact which every man that cometh into the world appears, in fome degree, confcious of; and which ought, as the firft ground of conviction, to be appealed to by Chrift's witnesses in all the world. The preacher of the everlafting gofpel will proclaim unto them that dwell on the earth, faying with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the fea, and the fountains of water.

But all that we have propofed, was an illuftration of the divine theory in fuch of the leading facts of the creation, &c. as may establish the principle, unfetter the human mind of the prejudices of falfe principles and mistaken facts, and give it boldnefs in exploring rational, philofophical, fcriptural truth. And it is thought, that what has been offered, is fufficient to establish this view of the great truth, viz. that the creation once exifted in a state of glory and happiness, all anfwerable to the firft ftate and primitive glory of Christ,

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CHAPTER III.

or THE APOST A.C Y.

Section 1. The Fall of Angels.

AS the fcriptures fo clearly reveal the truth of the heaven and the earth being united to Chrift by the conftitution of creation; and all worlds being framed together upon one divine foundation, and fo particularly mention the angelic worlds, things invifible, thrones, and dominions, and principalities and powers, as being all originally thus conflituted; they alfo reveal, very exprefsly, that the fin and fall of the apoftate angels confified in breaking off from their foundation, or not holding to their divine conftituted head. The angels fell by finning againft Chrift, revealed to them in the conflitution and law of their creation.

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Of the devil, the first rebel and feducer of angels and men, it is declared that he was a murderer from the beginning. John viii. 44. By this expreffion, compared with other feriptures in agreement, we understand that his fin, and fit attempt to feduce others, refpected Chrift as the Beginning, the Foundation and Head of the creation;-and it is immediately added, and abode not in the truth. This expreffion confirms the fenfe of the other-Chrift is both the beginning and the truth. The divine declaration, that the

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devil was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, is a very express re. velation of the nature of the fin of the devil and his angels.

The fame thing is expreffed, in much the fame manner, 1 John iii, 8. The devil finneth from the beginning;-and it is added here, For this purpofe the Son of God was manifefted, that he might deftroy the works of the devil. This alfo confirms the fentiment, that the works of the devil were the feducing of creatures from Chrift; and therefore his coming into the world, and recovering loft creatures to himself, deftroys the works of the devil.

But we have a paffage in the epiftle of Jude, verfe 6, which, though in the fame tyle as the foregoing, and refpects the revelation of Chrif in the fame remarkable word, the beginning, is fill more exprefs-The angels that kept not their beginning. This fentence is conftructed in the fame manner as the last sentence in the preceding verfe, which respects the people of Ifrael who were destroyed in the wilderness;-and not holding their beginning, foundation, and head, as evidently expreffes the fin of the angels, as not believing expreffes the fin of the people who perished in the wildernefs. The angels fell, jun Inpoartas not keeping Christ their beginning: the people in the wildernefs fell μη πιςευσαντας not believing Chrift their angel.

The devil, in thus breaking off from Chrift and feducing others, was a murderer;—he

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