« AnteriorContinua »
What this objection intends, is undoubt edly the principal covering, which in the human mind, has lain over this fubject; but my answer is this, That the fubitratum which is fuppofed to be the Being, of which the die vine will is the attribute, lies, confeffedly, without the beginning of the universe, and the Sphere of eternity, which has been fhewn to be comprised within the divine purpose or will; and, therefore, this supposed fomething, whatever it may be called, is no part of our fyftem.
I have engaged not to attempt one step be yond the beginning of the difcoverable univerfe; and I am content with the limits of my liberty, to go to the utmost points of that compass of the divine will, which was fet in order to frame the worlds.-Thefe points, which, as in a compass, are neceffarily three, are found exifting in the eternal divine pur pose; and with this discovery I am fatisfied; but if any man poffeffes a compass of doctrine, reafoning and fyftem, which can outstretch and take in ground beyond that by which his Maker framed the univerfe, it is expected that he will improve it to great advantage.
I have now, in my turn, an objection to of fer against these schoolmen, viz. That they give the name of fubftratum, hypoftafis, fomething, being, godhead, or whatever name to what they themselves confefs is altogether unlettered, and, in the whole, is inconceivable, and, therefore, nameless; this, certainly, is ufing words without knowledge.
But have we not the warrant of the fcrip
tures for calling this luminous and all-inftructive matter of the will and word of God, God himself? The apostle John, after having difcourfed, throughout his first epistle, of the commandment and will of the Father in Jefus Chrift, which our Lord had expressly called life everlasting, John xii. 50. he concludes with these fummary words, This is the true God and eternal life. It may be faid, that this is a figure of fpeech; but, if fo, the whole epiftle is a figure of speech; for it is evident, that this peculiar construction of language runs through the epiftle, yea, thro' the whole New Teftament. God is light. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.-The word was God: He that is "born of the will of God," is "born of God:" If the "will" or "word of God" dwells in us, "God dwells in us;" and, he that abideth in the doctrine of Chrift, he hath both the Father and the Son.
The "wisdom" of God, the "name" of God, the "love" of God, the "will" of God, the "word" of God, &c. according to the fcriptures, is truly God; and upon this ground refts the evidence of the proper deity of our Saviour. He appealed to this himself, as the great evidence of his divinity; and the weight of the teftimony of the scriptures, that Jefus Chrift is truly the Lord Jehovah, lies in this fact, that the "wisdom" of God, the name" of God, the "word" of God, &c. is in him.-Comparing the fcriptures, it is evident that these divine attributes, as they are called, were the fullness intended in thofe
ftrong declarations of his divinity. Col. i. 19: For it pleafeth the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell: and, Col. ii. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
5. The doctrine of the Trinity is afferted in the fcriptures to be a mystery.-Answer. Understanding it of the divine will, it is directly afferted to be a myftery. Eph, i. 9. The mystery of his will: but, to obviate this objection, it is neceffary to obferve how the word myftery is ufed in the fcriptures; for though we fhall find it ufed, undoubtedly, in fome different fenfes, yet it may be queftioned whether it be ever ufed in the fcriptures, to convey the meaning in which it has fo commonly been applied to the Trinity.
Is the mystery of the will of God inexplicable? It is hidden, indeed, from the wife and prudent; it is a path which the vulture's eye hath not feen; the lion's whelps have not trodden it; yet to babes-the meek and lowly in heart, the mystery is all difclofed; they have both the Father and the Son.-The will of God is the fubject of the whole divine revelation, and is fo far from being dark and obfcure, that all divine light is comprifed in this mystery. In the riches of his grace, God has "abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the myftery of his will."
The policy of the Devil, in his oppofition to the will of God, is alfo, called a mystery; not as being unfearchable, for in every age of the world, they who do the will of God, will
be able to penetrate, and fee to the bottom of the delufion; but, merely, because it is deep, wonderfully deceiving, and exceedingly dif ficult to fearch out and disclose. And, indeed, in the sense of obfcurity, mystery is more applicable to the policy of Satan than to the counsel of God; for fin is darkness-its directions are crooked, and its forms and meafures are endlessly changing and varying; whereas God is light, and the lines of his counsel are all Araight, and with him there is no variableness or shadow of turning.
Godliness, and every branch of it, is called a mystery; for it is a fcience, great and glorious, worthy of being looked into, ftudied, and improved by men and angels.-Great is the mystery of godliness. 1 Tim. iii. 16. God was manifeft in the flesh; this is a mystery, but no fecret.-God was "manifeft," not concealed; "juftified in the Spirit;" this is a mystery; the teftimony of the fcriptures, and the power of God, went with the doctrine of the humble Jefus.- "Seen of angels; this is a mystery. He was Lord of angels-" preached unto the Gentiles;" this is a mystery.-The poor Gentiles were very far from the fold of God-" believ "ed on in the world;" this is a mystery; for it is an unbelieving world." Received up "into glory;" this is a great mystery; from To deep a state of humiliation, to be lifted up to the right hand of the Majesty on high; what an amazing reflection!-Taken altogether, or in any particular part, godlinefs is a mystery.-And in the fenfe that all
godlinefs is a mystery, the truth of the Trinity is, indeed, a mystery, and a mystery of myfteries; for the purpose, or will of God in Chrift Jefus, is the principle and foundation
of the whole.
The union of Christ and the church is alfo called a mystery.-Eph. v. 32. This is a great mystery; for it fubfifts, as has been fhewn, in the fame truth with the union of Father and Son.-In the union of Chrift and the church, we contemplate the divine principle itself; the ftream which makes glad the city of God, iffues from the fountain-head; it is the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifefted unto us, even the glorious "mystery of his will." Yet, it is no new thing for preachers to venture out free. ly upon this ground, and undertake, for the edification of the faints, to open and unfold this great mystery.
The gospel of the kingdom of God being extended to the Gentiles, is likewife often called a mystery, as in Eph. iii. How he made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Chrift, which in other ages was not made known unto the fons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apoftles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles fhould be fellowheirs, and of the fame body, and partakers of his promife in Chrift by the gospel.-The Gentiles being brought in, and made children of Abraham, and heirs of the promises made to the fathers, is called a myflery; not, furely,