Imatges de pÓgina
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fignified the one of which, in relation to the humiliation and fuffering of Chrift, is, as it were, a fign from the deep beneath; and the other, in relation to his exaltation and glory, is a fign as from heaven above. All the figns and tokens of the covenant, have a plain relation to one or both, of thefe distinct parts of the divine will; and, confidered feparately, they are all calculated to express and fhew forth, in the moft instructive and fenfible manner, the different parts; and, taken together, they exhibit, in the strongest and most natural view, the whole of the di vine theory. Ifaiah, with the glorious truth of Immanuel in view, and with evident regard to thefe states of humiliation and exaltation, or to his defcending and afcending, fpake unto Ahaz, faying, Afk thee a fign of the Lord thy God; afk it either in the depth, or in the height above. Ifai. vii. 11. See the connection..

The first fign or token of the ministration of Christ, as from his throne above; or of the ministration of the spirit through righteoufnefs, was given in the rainbow; and it may justly be confidered as one of the clear. est tokens of the New Testament establishment, which has ever existed. For this is aš the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have fworn, that the waters of Noah fhould no more go over the earth; Jo have I fworn, that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thec. For the mountains fhall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness fhall not depart from thee, neither fhall the covenant of my A a a

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peace be removed, faith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. Ifai. liv. 9, 10. As the waters of Noah, by the word and promise of God, folemnly ratified by the bow in the cloud, were interdicted from ever again going over the earth; in like manner, the tribulations and distreffes, which are now flowing in and deluging the church, fhall foon ebb away and retire to the dark abyfs-and by the covenant of peace, and the fign of the Son of Man, which will then appear, thefe great waters, like thofe of the flood, fhall be bound in their place, and shall never, never more return.

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The rainbow is formed by the fedding down, or fprinkling of rain-when the tempestuous cloud has paffed over, and the sky is in the state of clearing up, in a fhort time after the ceafing of the great drops of water, there may be obferved to distill a thick, uniform and fmall rain, very distinguishable from the unequal and bustling drops that had preceded which il fmall rain is that which forms the bow. This kindly rain is obferved to proceed from a smooth and bright cloud, which is feparate from the dark and compreffed body, and is formed in a higher fky; which is fo nigh to it, however, that the small rain defcending from it, is affected in its courfe by the air of the denfe cloud, until it approaches nearer the earth, when it is again governed by the natural current of the air. This feparate part, from which the fine and gentle rain diflills, apbears fometimes to fkirt the whole cloud;

and the circular manner of the defcending of this thick and fine rain which, from the cause in view, is always convexing towards the fun, gives, as has been obferved, the beautiful and fublime phenomenon of the bow in

the cloud.

It appears, therefore, that the rainbow, as a token of the everlasting covenant, is wonderfully expreffive of the grace of the gofpel by the Holy Ghoft; which, in the manner of the shedding forth, pouring out, or sprinkling of rain, or of the bleffing of the dew, defcends and comes upon us from heaven-and, as being thus fignificant of the ministration of the fpirit, it may be seen to have a near relation, in the divine fyftem, to the ordinance of gospel baptifm,

The rainbow is a fign from heaven-and it exhibits the high arch, or the crowning half, of that circle of glory, which is contemplated in the divine will. The vifion of John took in the whole sphere. The rainbow, inthe view given there, was feen round about the throne. The throne of God is spoken of, as having a back part and a face-for being in nature, as has been fhewn, of an eternal frame, the fcriptures speak of it thus, as they often do of God himself. This diftinction plainly intends the two flates, according to the divine will, viz. That of the archangel, and that of the glory of the Son of God.→

Hence Mofes, Elijah, &c. agreeably to the archangel ftate of the church, had their faces covered, either by the hand of the Lord, or by their own mantles and vails, when the

glory of the Lord paffed by them, that they Thould fee only his back parts. But we all with open face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the fame image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of our God. I am folemnized when I fee exhibited figns from the deep; for I know that these things belong to the divine will; but I tremble, when I fee them mistaken and fubftituted for gospel figns.

Jefus, our Lord, was indeed delivered for our offences; but he was raifed again for our juftification. Our juftification, whereof we have a baptifmal fign, relates to the Holy Ghoft, the holy quickening spirit; which is given to us as a fruit of the exaltation of Chrift, and of that righteoufnefs, which it was promifed that the heavens fhould declare.The rainbow round about the throne, as it enclofed the back parts as well as the face thereof, like the pillar of cloud and fire, was a double fign-the Ebal and Gerizim, the bleffing and the curfing, were both in it-and it gave notices as from the dark clouds of the fky, and the watery deep; as well as from the gentle heaven of grace. Hence, there illued from the throne in heaven, lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail; vials of wrath, and many overflowing, Jordan waters; as well as the feven lamps of fie burning, and the four and twenty harps tuned in concert, and golden vials full of odours; and the pure river of the water of life, clear as cryftal, the ftreams whereof shall make glad the city of God.

With fuch views, the Pfalmift exclaimed, Fufice and judgment are the habitation of thy thy throne: Mercy and truth fhall go before thy face. Bleed is the people that know the joyful found: they fhall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.

It has been obferved, that numerous questions and difputes have arifen from the cause of not clearly diftinguishing fubjects which relate to the law, or the archangel-state of the church, from thofe which belong diftinctly to the gofpel. One among thefe, is the difpute about the mode of baptifm. A confcientious brother, fome years fince, becoming doubtful and perplexed concerning the mode of baptifm, undertook, with great care, to fet down, on each fide, the paffages of fcripture which feem to favour the different modes of immerfion and fprinkling; but after much fearching and labour, he found his doubts, and perplexities not in the leaft relieved; for his evidencies, on both fides, were juft equal. And this, doubtlefs, is the fact, that the fcriptures do equally specify, in relation to the church of Chrift, a baptifm as by immerfion, and a baptifm by the sprinkling or pouring of water. And the only poffible means of reconciling the fcriptures upon the fubject, and of relieving the church from this perplexity, are to be had by a recurrence to the doctrine of Chrift, and clearly diftinguishing what belongs to the ftate as under the bond and difcipline of the covenant, from what belongs to the ftate of the gospel kingdom. That there exifts fuch a diftinction as

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