Imatges de pÓgina
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hiftory. Philp. ii. Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a fervant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.-Wherefore God alfo hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jefus every knee fhould bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things unter the earth.-And that every tongue fhould confefs that Fefus Chrift is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

A view, therefore, of the whole doctrine of Chrift may be given in three words, high, humbled, and exalted, This threefold glory of our Lord Jefus Chrift forms the all-comprifing circuit of the Sun of Righteoufnefs; and it manifeftly unfolds from the divine will; for, his filial character was the delight of the Father, and he was bleffed as a Son from everlafting; but, the manifeftation of this filial character, which neceffarily implies the manifeftation of the Father's authority, required that he fhould stoop in obedience and to make fuch a ftoop, as would answer to, and exprefs the infinite authority of the Majefty of Heaven, required that he should defcend to the lowest poffible state of humiliation: and a reward, fuch as the infinite merit of a work giving birth to a manifestation of the glory of God requires, could be nothing than his exaltation above all heavens.

As we have stated, the ftipulations of the covenant which Chrift was brought into by the Father, were for fubftance these, that he fhould come into the world and perform a work of filial duty, which should give a full display of the authority and glory of the Father; and, as a reward, he fhould be exalted and exhibited in all the splendour of that display.

Alfo, in the full exhibition of the divine principle, we shall behold three states of the creation, in perfect conformity to thefe three ftates of Chrift as the Head and Lord of all. One all dreffed out in the habiliments of innocence and primitive glory-bright and joyful as the morning: another, fhrouded in a cloud and baptifmal waters, groaning and travelling in pain; and the other fhining, glowing and fructifying under the beams of the Sun of Righteoufnefs, or by the light, heat, and blefledness of the Defire of all Nations.

This theory, arifing neceffarily from the divine principle, is the argument exhibited by the apostle Peter, in his fecond Epiftle, chapter third, against them who deny a future ftate, faying, Where is the promife of his coming? or, where is the evidence of a world to come? for all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.—But the Apoftle replied, This, this fundamental principle they willingly are ignorant of, that the heavens, fuch as were at firft, and the earth be ing conftructed of water and by water, by the word of God; whereby the world that then

was, being overflowed of water, perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the fame word are kept in ftore, referved unto fire againfi the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

It is most evident that the Apoftle speaks here of fome one principle, called the word of God and promife, which muft be known to men not willingly ignorant; which both conflituted and deftroyed the old world; which fame principle conftitutes this world, and keeps it, in flore, reserved unto fire againft the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men; and, according to which alfo, we look with certainty for a new world-new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

This divine theory is contemplated in the fcripture expreffions of the heaven of heavens, and the third heavens; implying three ftates of the creation, as the firft or natural heavens -the middle or angelic heavens-and the glorified flate, or heaven of Christ.—The word heaven thus ufed, whether fingular or plural, means the fame thing, and evidently intends a whole world. The holy temple of the Lord being made according to the pattern fhewed Mofes in the mount, exhibited the fame divine fcheme: First, the porch, or court of the people; fecondly, the fanctuary, or court of the priests; and, thirdly, the oracle, or holy of holies.-To thefe three ftates of Chrift

and the creation, diftinctly marked out in the xixth Pfalm, we have already alluded; and there can be no doubt of this being the true explanation of the three covenants, or cove nant ftates of man; and that the whole respects one eternal one eternal truth, pattern, or principle of divine knowledge,

Moreover, according to the principle of the divine theory, we fhall behold Chrift exhibited in three perfonal forms, anfwerable to the nature of the whole exhibition, viz. the divine form, or form of God, the angelic form, or form of a fervant, and the human form, or fashion of a man, in which form he is glorified. And thus in the day of judgment, when all his glory will be exhibited in one view, he will appear in the glory of the Father, and in the glory of the holy angels, and in his own glory.

And, in like manner, in this exhibition, Chrift bears three moft diftinguishing names, viz. The Beginning-The Archangel, and The Son of God; which names properly diflinguifh the three heads of the Divine Theory; and for this purpose we fhall ufe them.

THE DIVISIONS OF THE THEORY.

THE divifion of this all-comprehenfive fubject into three heads, diftinguished by the three names, as mentioned above, and the characters belonging to them, arifes clearly from the nature of the divine will; and this

is the ground of thofe three different exhibitions of Chrift, each forming a world, which, diftinctly, it will be the object of the three parts of this work to illuftrate.-But, before we proceed to the more full and conclufive illuftrations in the exhibitions themselves, fome particular examination of these names, in order to familiarize to the mind the characters belonging to the feveral glorious dif plays under them, together with fome general illuftrations of the theory, may be found to be of advantage.

THE BEGINNING.

THE word Beginning is a name of Chrift, and one of the most remarkable of all the names given to him by the Holy Spirit. It begins and, excepting the atteftation and benediction, it ends the infpired volume. This word, ufed in the fcriptures as a name of Chrift, fignifies at least, a head, chief, prince, or principal one.

With this word, Mofes introduced his account of the creation of God, and thereby fignified as infpired writers after him underflood, that Chrift was the beginning, the principal one, and glorious head of the creation. Solomon, in a view which evidently includes the work both of creation and redemption, ufes the word, and repeats it, fo as therein to place Chrift in one view, at the head of both words. It is placed in the

Prov. viii. 22, 23.

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