Imatges de pÓgina
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And when an illuftration of this principle is fpoken of in the work before us, it fhould not be understood to mean that there is any obfcurity in the fubject itself. This is as luminous as the body of heaven; but that there is a neceffity of difpelling, by particular application of the true principle, the otherwife impenetrable darkness of falfe principles, fo that if any man have eyes to fee he may fee,

The arduous task before us is not fo much to form as to throw away notions, The opinion that the Trinity is not fo effentially the principle of revelation, but is fomething of God, more diftant, myfterious, and obfcure, in its nature, diftinét from that divine body of light which, like the natural fun, fhines with one indivifible blaze, is the most egregious and fatal error, and never could have exifted and been propagated, had not fome men allowed themselves to talk and write of the Divine Being with their eyes fhut, and others shut their eyes in order to follow them.

6. The divine principle or purpofe is one; and though it confifts of certain diftinct parts; yet it is apparent, when the fubject is in view, that a fact of fuch a nature cannot exift without fuch parts being united together; and that the parts and the whole have a neceffary dependance on each other. The diverfity and unity of the will of God is an acknowledged truth-that there are divifions in the word or will of God is well un-. derstood, 2 Tim. ii. 15. Whilft the divine characters it fuftains, immenfity, eternity,

&c. fully demonftrate its unity. These châracters can belong only to one principle.

The definition of the divine principle, as being an action or operation, requires a more particular statement:

1. Though with deference to the human mind, ever habituated to make the diftinction, and the common ufe of words; and alfo on account of the nature of the subject, it is requifite to flate the divine principle both as a purpose and a work. It must fill be remembered that the divine operation is effentially one with the divine purpose; that it is contained in the definition given of the subject; and that no true definition can be given of the purpose of God, which does not contain the primary operation; for it is moft evident that, in God, willing and doing are infeparable.

2. The works of God are manifold; whereever we look, we behold operation fucceeding operation in numberlels progreffions; but they who attentively confider the works of God, obferve one firft operation through which all others proceed. This, in the di vine fyftem, is the fubject which we are attempting to ftate and define.

3. As the thousands of fucceffive undula tions of the earth or water, from a fhock or explofion, do all exift in the power of the fhock or explofion; fo abfolutely does all the immenfity of the univerfe exift in one divine operation.

4. The firft divine operation being necesfarily comprized in the divine purpofe, in

like manner it must be immenfe, eternal, and sustaining all the divine characters, and none but the divine.

This is the grand principle called The Word of God, by which the worlds were framed; and The Law, through which every operation, exifting through ages of ages, muft proceed, until the progreffion of divine operation, returning as a circle and uniting in the principle, that shall be all in all.The notion of an endless progreffion is a chimera-there is nothing in nature to fupport it. We know that whatever progreffes moves in a circle, and must return and finally terminate.

PROOFS IN SUPPORT OF THE STATEMENT.

The foregoing ftatement of the divine principle, takes a ground the most univerfally acknowledged, viz. That the holy compact, commonly called the Covenant of Redemption, is of eternal existence; and as this fact is the grand principle in the divine fyftem, the knowledge of it is brought forward in every beam of divine light that fhineth in the world. For inftance:

1. The very name of God, which doubtlefs imports his eternal godhead, is evidently expreffive of this truth. The Hebrew word God, Aleim or Elohim, may be interpreted, the fwearers, or the covenanters, or contractors

by oath. If then this name be eternal, that covenant act which gives it, must be eternal. Mofes writes of the creation, In the beginning God, Alcim, created the heaven and the earth. As therefore God bare this name at the creation of the world, that fact from which it is taken must have pre-existed all

time.

2. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghoft, we understand to be an eternal name of the Lord our God; but it is demonftrable, that thefe terms have their origin in this divine tranfaction refpecting redemption; which covenant tranfaction, therefore, must be equally eternal with this name of our Lord Jehovah.

3. Holiness may well be confidered the eternal attribute of God; but holiness relates to a confecration. In the ftrict fenfe of the word, to be holy is to be fet apart; and it is to this divine tranfaction which, in its nature, is a confecration-that we trace, as to its origin, every thing that is properly expreffed or underflood, by a term of this import as applied to God. That action, therefore, in which God took upon him the vow of holinefs, must be eternal.

4. This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. 1 John v. 11. And it is further declared, as in 2 Tim: i. 9. that this grace was given us in Chrift Jefus, before the world began.A gift is a transfer of fome property; it is a real deed. The mere purpofe to give, is not giving or beftowing a gift; but God gave us

This was

eternal life before the world was. done in that covenant tranfaction under confideration. It appears, therefore, from the gofpel record, that there has existed a tranfaction which is of the nature of a contract between parties, refpecting some great intereft, wherein their obligations are folemnly confirmed and left on record; and that this one real fact bears the eternal date.

5. It is said in the fcriptures, and often repeated, that our Lord was made an High Prieft. His Priesthood then, is a matter of fact; for fuch we confider every thing which is made or done. But it is also faid, that this was done after the power of an endless life. Heb. vii. 16. The levitical priesthood was made after the law of a carnal commandment. In both cafes, the law and the priesthood are joined and fubfift together, bear date and run parallel with each other.The temporal law has a priesthood answerable to its nature-the eternal law alfo, has one answerable to its nature. As, therefore, the priesthood of Aaron, according to the nature of its law, which was carnal, must have begun and ended in time; fo likewife, the priesthood of Chrift, according to the power of an endless life, which is life and immortality, muft be from eternity to eternity. Such was the reasoning of the apoftle upon this very point, and demonftrates that the priesthood which has the power of an endless life, i. e. the life of God, for its law, must be co-exiftent with that life; and, like God himself, have no beginning of days.

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