Imatges de pÓgina
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6. The word Chrift, relates to the act of inauguration, or the ordaining or fetting up of one, as the head of a body. It fignifies one anointed, as the priests and kings of Ifrael were ordained or fet up in thefe relations, over the people, by the tranfaction of anointing them with oil. Such a tranfaction is a real fact, and capable of being explored and underflood in all its parts. And this word leads us alfo to the fame eternal principle, which is the fubject before us; for Chrift, the anointed one of God, is faid to be the beginning*, Col. i. 18. And, faith Wisdom, I was fet up, or ordained, from everlafling, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

From the above, and fuch like reasons, we have the greatest certainty, that a fact of this eternal nature does exift; and as there appears a fufficient warrant for taking this anointing or fetting up of Chrift for our principle, or the bafis of the divine fyftem, we begin, therefore, with Christ-he is our alpha, the firft, the beginning. Tracing the doctrine of Chrift to this act of inauguration before the world was, we come up to the highest point of the univerfe, into which every line of divine truth runs and terminates; or, at least, if all truth does not terminate here, we prefume this is certain, that at this point terminates our capacity of tracing out and of coming to the knowledge of an; thing whatever. And as before this, nothing has exifted in

This word in Latin is principium; from whence is the word Principle; and that act which confituted a beginning. may, with propriety, be termed the principle.

fact, we may neither form to ourselves any conceptions,, nor make ufe of any terms as denoting the existence of fome things antecedent to this eternal beginning; for fuch conceptions must be mere imaginations, and fuch terms all idle.

A fyftem implies harmony, and must con, fift of parts. To begin a fyftem therefore, upon the Unitarian principle, of one something, called by whatever name, fuppofed to exift alone, without parts or harmony, or any thing which conftitutes fuch a fubject, is to begin before the beginning, and is an abfur dity in the idea of lyftem. Thofe profeffed Trinitarians, alfo, who begin their fyftem upon the principle of three fomethings, or a certain fomething which, inconceivably, of fers three, arbitrarily called perfons, and who, in their effential exiftence, are suppofed to be just alike, and to bear no diftinguishing characters, fuch as are imported by the names of Father, Son and Holy Ghost'; and, therefore, exifting without any thing which conflitutes the idea of method and fyftem; they, we fay, in like manner, begin before the alpha; and they are involved in the fame, or, if poffible, in a worfe abfurdity than the Unitarians, and are not worthy of the name of divines.

Whatever is fairly charactered may be read-all I propofe in the theory, is to ftudy the divine alphabet. This, by the of God, we may learn-we may begin at A and read down; and taking this ground of the open field of divinity, opened from eternity

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to eternity in the doctrine of Jefus Chrift and him crucified, we may be employed in a ftudy worthy either of chriftian scholars or of angelic masters.

That fo many men of talent and influence fhould be feriously employed in preaching things which, they confefs, are in their nature inconceiveable, is truly lamentable. No wonder a trinity, to many, fhould appear obfcure and inexplicable, when it is fuppofed to exist in something unlettered, a perfect enigma, wrapped up in a blank leaf, antecedent to page firft of the book of God's kingdom, taken and opened by the lion of the tribe of Judah, and to the alpha of the doctrine of Chrift; a matter beyond the voluntary union of Father, Son and Holy Ghoft; a certain fomething beyond that almighty act of setting up the Lord Chrift, which, itself, engroffes eternity. This must be obfcure indeed!

PROOFS IN SUPPORT OF THE DEFINITION.

From the fubject under confideration, the old chriftian article of eternal generation; though of late it has been much exploded, and by fome called eternal nonfenfe, is yet maintained, and appears agreeable to found doctrine, and is indifpenfably an article of the chriftian faith. And it appears from our definition, that fuch a thing is in no wife obfcure and inexplicable, but, on the contrary, that

it is held forth clearly in the most manifest and undeniable facts, relative to the knowledge of God the Father, and of our Lord Jefus Chrift-To difcover this truth, it is only neceflary to attend carefully to the import of the terms Father and Son.

The word Father, as applied to God, and so abstracted in fenfe from every thing of a bodily nature, respects merely what belongs to the will, and imports two things,

1. That command and government which is necessary to form the obedient filial cha

racter.

2. That favor and bleffing, which is the proper reward of filial obedience,

The word Son just answers in sense to that of Father, and imports, fimply, a mind or will, as the fubject of fuch authority, yielding this cheerful obedience; and, as the object of fuch pleasure, enjoying this bleffed reward.

These terms, like many others, are used commonly, and, doubtlefs, fometimes in the fcriptures, in a variety of fenfes; but the fenfe here given, relative to the will, is ever to be confidered their higheft and most commanding fenfe, both in the fcriptures and in common converfation. As when a man neglects his offspring, and appears to be deflitute of a parental difpofition; takes no heed either to govern, educate, or make provifion to fet them up in the world; we fay, he is not a father, but a brute.-Alfo, when we fee a child obílinately rebellious and prodigal, refilling parental authority, or rudely wafling his patrimony; we fay, he is not a fon, but a

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monster. On the other hand, a man who takes a child under his government and difcipline, and makes him his heir, though he be not his by blood, will be called the father of that child; and the child fhewing obedience in fuch a relation, and receiving in a proper manner his inheritance, will be called his fon. And thus, in the scriptures, Solomon faith, He that delicately bringeth up his fervant from a child, fhall have him become his fon at length; and hence, the father in the parable of the prodigal, faith, This my fon was dead, and is alive again.-And though God is the author of our bodies as really as of our minds, yet the Apostle to the Hebrews, fpeaking of God as our Father, and of our higheft obligations to him, on account of this high and commanding fenfe of the word, he ufes it diftinétly in relation to the will, as Mofes before had ufed the term God, Numb. xvi. 22. and, as it were, confines it to this fenfe, whilft he exhorts us to be in fubjection unto the Father of Spirits.-This, by way of diftinction, I fhall term the voluntary fenfe.

That relations, fuch as are above stated, do fubfift between God the Father and our Lord Jefus Chrift, no one will difpute; but these relations refult from the nature of our principle, which we have proved to be eternal.― A covenant tranfaction always implies a duty impofed, and a compenfation proffered.The gift of eternal life, made to us in Chrift Jefus, as our furety or truftee, impofed upon him an obligation no lefs than that of laying down his life for us; whilft, at the fame time,

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