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6. The word Christ, relates to the act of inauguration, or the ordaining or setting up of one, as the head of a body. It signifies one anointed, as the priests and kings of Israel were ordained or set up in these relations, over the people, by the transaction of anointing them with oil. Such a transaction is a real fact, and capable of being explored and understood in all its parts. And this word leads us also to the same eternal principle, which is the subject before us; for Chrilt, the anointed one of God, is said to be the beginning*, Col. i. 18. And, faith Wisdom, I was set up, or ordained, from everlafiing, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
From the above, and such like reasons, we have the greatest certainty, that a fact of thiseternal nature does exist; and as there a sufficient warrant for taking this anointing or setting up of Christ for our principle, or the basis of the divine system, we begin, therefore, with Christ-he is our alpha, the first, the beginning. Tracing the doktrine of Christ to this act of inauguration before the world was, we come up to the highest point of the universe, into which every line of divine truth runs and terminates ; or, at least, if all truth does not terminate here, we presume 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 existed in
* This word in Latin is principium ; from whence is the word Principle; and that ati which confitured a beginning, may, wiin propriety, be termed the principle.
fact, we may neither form to ourselves any conceptions, nor make use of any terms as denoting the existence of some things ante: cedent to this eternal beginning; for such conceptions must be mere imaginations, and such terms all idle.
A system implies harmony, and must con: fist of parts. To begin a system therefore, upon the Unitarian principle, of one something, called by whatever name, supposed to exist alone, without parts or harmony, or any thing which constitutes such a subject, is to begin before the beginning, and is an absur: dity in the idea of lystem. Those professed Trinitarians, also, who begin their system upon the principle of three somethings, or a certain something which, inconceivably, of. fers three, arbitrarily called persons, and who, in their essential existence, are suppo, sed to be just alike, and to bear no distin, guishing characters, such as are imported by the names of Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and, therefore, existing without any thing which constitutes the idea of method and system ; they, we say, in like manner, begin before the alpha; and they are involved in the same, or, if possible, in a worse absurdity than the Unitarians, and are not worthy of the name of divines.
Whatever is fairly charactered may be read-all I propose in the theory, is to study the divine alphabet, This, by the grace
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 to eternity in the doctrine of Jesus Chrift and him crucified, we may be employed in a study worthy either of christian scholars or of angelic masters.
That so many men of talent and influence should be seriously employed in preaching things which, they confess, are in their nature inconceiveable, is truly lamentable. No wonder a trinity, to many, should appear obscure and inexplicable, when it is supposed to exist in something unlettered, a perfect enig, ma, wrapped up in a blank leaf, antecedent to page first 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 Christ; a matter beyond the voluntary union of Father, Son and Holy Ghoft; a certain something beyond that almighty act of setting up the Lord Christ, which, itself, engrosses eternity. This must be obscure indeed!
PROOFS IN SUPPORT OF THE DEFINITION.
From the subject under confideration, the old christian article of cternal generation; though of late it lias been much exploded, and by some called eternal nonsense, is yet maintained, and appears agreeable to sound doctrine, and is indispensably an article of the christian faith. And it appears from our definition, that such a thing is in no wise obscure 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 Jesus Christ
. -To discover this truth, it is only necefl'ary to attend carefully to the import of the terms Father and Son.
The word Father, as applied to God, and so abstracted in sense 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 character.
2. That favor and blessing, which is the proper reward of filial obedience.
The word Son just answers in sense to that of Father, and imports, simply, a mind or will, as the subject of such authority, yielding this cheerful obedience; and, as the object of such pleasure, enjoying this blessed reward.
These terms, like many others, are used commonly, and, doubtless, sometimes in the fcriptures, in a variety of senses; but the sense here given, relative to the will, is ever 10 be considered their highest and most cominanding sense, both in the scriptures and in common conversation.--As when a man neglects his offspring, and appears to be defli. iute of a parental disposition; takes no heed either to govern, educate, or make provision to set them up in the world; we say, he is not a father, but a brute.-Also, when we see a child obílinately rebellious and prodigal, resisting parental authority, or rudely wasting his patrimony; we say, he is not a lon, but a
monster.-On the other hand, a man who takes a child under his government and discipline, and makes him
his heir, though he be not his by blood, will be called the father of that child; and the child shewing obedience in such 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, shall have him become his fon at length; and hence, the father in the parable of the prodigal, faith, This my son 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, speaking of God as our Father, and of our highest obligations to him, on account of this high and commanding sense of the word, he ules it distinctly in relation to the will, as Moses before had used the term God, Numb. xvi, 22. and, as it were, confines it to this sense, whilft he exhorts us to be in fubje£tion unto the Father of Spirits.—This, by way of distinction, I shall term the voluntary sense.
That relations, such as are above stated, do, sublist between God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, no one will dispute; but these relacions result from the nature of our prin. ciple, which we have proved to be eternal.A covenant transaction always implies a duty imposed, and a compensation proffered. The gift of eternal life, made to us in Christ Jefus, as our surety or trustee, imposed upon him an obligation no less than that of laving down his life for us; whild, at the fainc time,