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Section 3. Election.
The truth of an election of God, as has been fhewn, is founded in the nature of the divine principle:-the confecrating and setting apart of Chrift as a trustee of the gift of eternal life, rendered him an elect head ;and it implies neceffarily, an object of everlafting love connected with him, as an elect body.
In a cafe of this nature, where an interest, deeded or willed, is put into the hands of a trustee, under heavy and facred bonds, to keep it and deliver it over to the party in favor of whom the deed or will is made; it is most plain, that fuch heir or heirs must be chofen, fo as to be known and named in the deed or teftament. This matter of an election, therefore, exifled in, and is clearly traceable to that eftablished fact and glorious firft principle, of an eternal covenant tranfaction. But our prefent inquiry relates to the divine exhibition, and to the truth of God as disclosed in his works.
Though queftions may arife in a rationa mind, refpecting certain offered fenfes and circumstances of this doctrine, yet the fact itfelf, of an election of God, is moft clearly exhibited, and cannot be doubted by any rational reflecting mind;-which fact, in the prefent view of the fubject, lies before us in the existence of a divifion in the creation.—
The word election, is ufed in relation to one or more, being selected in defign, to be in effect feparated, or fet apart from others.
But à divifion in the creation could not exift, except by a new divine establishment; for, as the ferpent had poffeffed himself of the grand stream of natural influence, or of the whole power of the natural establishment, it is plain, that in that flate, he must have penetrated the whole creation; and angels as well as men, must have funk down together under one univerfal flood of apoftacy.
The ftanding of the holy angels cannot be accounted for, confiftently with the doctrine of Chrift, on any other ground than this of their being elect angels;—and that Christ appeared at the moment of danger, opening to them a new fource of life, according to this great diftinction in the divine will, by uniting them to himfelf as the head, of the elect world, and fo dividing them off from the rest of the creation, which opened, like an abyfs under their feet; the divine conftitution of which being now broken up, and all its strength and glory laid prostrate before the fearful conqueror.
Doing this, implies his taking a new form anfwerable to the difpofition of angels; hence his name of Angel, and alfo of Lord of Hosts; -for this new establifhment of election, is a war establishment:-It is the dividing off of world against world, and putting between them enmity of the most irreconcilable oppofition of principle, Hence war will com mence immediately-angel will be oppofed
to angel-man to man-the powers of heaven conflicting the fea and waves roaring.
Though Christ did not take the nature of angels, yet he took their livery, and fo affociated himfelf to them, as to appear among them their Captain and Commander in Chief; putting arms into their hands-arranging them under election banners-appointing their armies-teaching them fkill-infpiring them with courage-and affording them strength to refift, repel, and, finally, to vanquifh what otherwife had been an all-conquering enemy.
Entering now upon his covenant-fervice, a state in which all before him was labour and warfare, he cheerfully prepares himself for the long engagement-puts on the dress of a fervant-affociates with, and makes the fervants his companions, to whom his language was not, Come ferve me; but, Come ferve with me. Come into the yoke, fellow fervants, with me-Come ye elect of God, take upon you with me, in my engagement to my God and to your God, the willing fhare of friends! Fellow foldiers, come on-it is a common caufe! I will make it with you a common caufe!
But this establishment of an intermediate world, upon an elect foundation, is plainly the unfolding of the divine principle. It is the commencement of the work engaged by the everlasting covenant.The doctrine, therefore, of an election of angels and men, from the foundation of the world, even from the eternal inflitution of Chrill, is no more
to be denied than is the being of the living and true God. The denial of election cannot be feparated from the denial of that divine covenant-ground, which we have seen to be the principle of knowledge, the difcoverable Divine Being and true Godhead.
Moreover, as this elect establishment, even of the angels of God, was made upon the ground of the everlasting engagement of Chrift, which, as has been fhewn, was to lay down his life that he might take it again; all the virtue and ftrength of the establishment must result from his obedience, or coverant righteousness. The angels could not have refifted one moment, but by gofpel arms, Hence it is faid, that Michael and his angels overcame the dragon by the blood of the Lamb.
This establishment was, in the exhibition, one act of Chrift's laying down his life, i. e. it comported with, and, in fome degree, brought into the view of the angels, his free confent to the divine parental will, requiring him to lay down his life; and therefore it was, that this act afforded them a standing. It is true, it afforded them a standing only as of men on the field of battle; for the victory could not be obtained, and the field won, until the whole work, act by act, was finished. And fo it appears from the fcriptures, that the ferpent was not caft out of heaven, until after the death of Jesus.
As Chrift went forward, ftep by step, in his covenant work, the elect gained, to their own view at least, more and more strength; K k
but it is plain from the divine theory, that the bringing forward of a new establishment, could not vanquifh the enemy;-this could only be done by the diffolution of the old.
So long, therefore, as the elect faints are not entirely changed, and taken off from the natural ground, which cannot be the cafe whilst they are refident in their earthly houfe of this tabernacle, the watchings and struggles of warfare are inevitable; whilst thus they remain in the natural body, the power of the ferpent will be felt; in the nature of things, fo long that creeping thing will reach and bruise their heel.
Section 4. A View of the mediate State and Covenant Work.
In entering upon this part of the argument, it will be neceffary to take a more particular view of the nature of the great fubject to be illustrated, which is that part of the divine will which is unfolded in Christ's mediate state and redemption-work.
The object of the requirement of the divine will, or commandment of God, was his glory; which finished, is the manifestation of God, even the Father; and for God to be manifested, Christ must be declared, even the Son of God; for it has been fhewn, that the character of the Father is effentially involved in that of the Son, and, therefore, that