Imatges de pÓgina
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brief statement of fome leading known facts in the creation, in order to illuftrate it, and fhew 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 thofe that publifhed it.

his being difmiffed from his charge, and, in fome measure gaining his health by travelling, enabled him very confiderably to enlarge his plan; but the fame being accompanied with oppofitions from various quarters, threw difcouragements in the way, and retarded the publication; and, at last, he confiders the object very imperfectly accomplished.

SALEM, (MASSACHUSETTS,)
November, A. D. 1798.

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STATEMENT.

THE divine principle, which may be ftated and defined, muft be the difcoverable divine Being.-To offer a difcuffion of what is undiscoverable would be abfurd. No statement or definition can be rationally given of the invifibility of God. It muft, therefore, be understood (for no more can be rationally meant) that our principle is merely the vifibility of God, or the principle of dívine knowledge.

2. As to the invifibility 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

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warranted to call the divine Being, God himfelf-I am Alpha and Omega-faith the Almighty.

3. The principle of divine knowledge then, or difcoverable divine Being, is his purpose or will; in which purpofe is included the idea of action, for purpofing 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 Hebrewifin, God is his own workmanship.

4. In a fenfe unlimited, God is invifible, and his works are unfearchable; for as no approach has been made, nor ever will be made to the difcovery of God, farther than his purpofe, fo neither is, or will there be made any difcovery of his works farther than their flate or difpofition, which anfwers to his purpofe; and every attempt or defire to know more of God than his counfel or decree is fruitlefs and criminal. But the purpose or will of God is difcoverable, and is the subject of all divine manifeftation, and all rational enquiry and reflection.-This is the true godheadthe intellectual fun, or principle of divine revelation and knowledge.-It is eternal life, the foul-fatisfying object of the wife in heart. The man, who, through defire of this, having feparated himself, findeth treafures; but he who defireth and feeketh it not, wrongeth his own foul.

DEFINITION.

1. The divine principle or purpose, stated to be the vifibility of God, is a matter of fact, and exists in voluntary action.-If the pur pofe 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 fupported 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, fovereign, wife, holy, juft and good.-This has been univerfally acknowledged; and it will not be denied, that this is the only known fubject 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 acknowledged as fully, perhaps, as any doctrine of divine revelation.

4. The divine purpose or will bears the perfonal characters, and exhibits voluntary agency. Being of the covenant nature, or a fact of record, the divine principle cannot be contemplated otherwife than in contemplating intelligent agency, and the full exercife of the perfonal capacities.

5. The divine principle or purpose prefents 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 fame clearness of light.

The difficulty in the minds of men of difcovering the Holy Trinity, is nothing more or less than the difficulty of difcovering the truth in a falfe principle, But, let the true principle be difcovered and the trinity cannot be hid, for it belongs to the body of the godhead, and is infeparable from the dif covery of the Divine Being, and is the light itfelf. 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 prefents neceffarily a trinity of per fons, we, like them, know not what God is.

Whatever darkness there be in our minds concerning the Trinity, there muft neceffarily be the fame 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 mu tual intereft contracted for. And, in the purpole of God each of these bear all the divine and perfonal characters, which it will be a part of this work clearly to illuftrate.

In this place it will not be expected that we clear the fubject, but only that we flate and define the principle of divine knowledge.

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