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like manner it must be immense, eternal, and sustaining all the divine characters, and none but the divine.
This is the grand principle called The Word of God, by which the worlds were framed; and The Law, through which every operation, existing through ages of ages, must proceed, until the progression of divine operation, returning as a circle and uniting in the principle, that shall be all in all. The notion of an endless progression is a chimera--there is nothing in nature to support it. We know that whatever progresses moves in a circle, and must return and final. ly terminate.
PROOFS-IN SUPPORT OF THE STATEMENT,
The foregoing statement of the divine principle, takes a ground the most univerlally acknowledged, viz. That the holy compact, commonly called the Covenant of Redemption, is of eiernal existence; and as this fact is the grand principle in the divine system, the knowledge of it is brought forward in every beam of divine light that. shineth in the world. For instance :
1. The very name of God, which doubtless imports his eternal godhead, is evidently expressive of this truth. The Hebrew word God, Aleim or Elohim, may be interpreted, the swearers, or the covenanters, or contractors
by oath. If then this name be eternal, that covenant act which gives it, must be eternal. Moses writes of the creation, In the begin, ning God, Aleim, created the heaven and the earth. As therefore God bare this name at the creation of the world, that fact from which it is taken must have pre-existed all time.
2. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we understand to be an eternal name of the Lord our God; but it is demonstrable, that these terms have their origin in this divine transaction respecting redemption; which covenant transaction, therefore, must be equally eternal with this name of our Lord Jehovah.
3. Holiness may well be considered the eternal attribute of God; but holiness relates to a confecration. In the strict sense of the word, to be holy is to be set apart; and it is to this divine transaction which, in its nature, is a consecration—that we trace, as to its origin, every thing that is properly expressed or understood, by a term of this import as applied to God. That action, therefore, in which God took upon him the vow of holiness, must be eternal.
4. This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. 1 John v, 11. And it is further declared, as'in 2 Tim. i. 9. that this grace was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.A gift is a transfer of some property ; it is a real deed. The mere purpose to give, is not giving or beltowing a gift; but God
éternal life before the world was. This was done in that covenant transaction under consideration. It appears, therefore, from the gospel record, that there has existed a transaction which is of the nature of a contract between parties, respecting some great interest, wherein their obligations are folemnly confirmed and left on record; and that this one real faet bears the eternal date.
5. It is said in the scriptures, and often repeated, that our Lord was made an High Priest. His Priesthood then, is a matter of fact; for such we consider every thing which is made or done, But it is also said, that this was done after the power of an endless life. Heb. vii. 16. The levitical priesthood was made after the law of a carnal commandment. In both cases, the law and the priesthood are joined and subfift together, bear datė and run parallel with each other.The temporal law has a priesthood answerable to its nature-the eternal law also, has one answerable to its nature. As, therefore, the priesthood of Aaron, according to the nature of its law, which was carnal, must liave begun and ended in time; fo likewise, the priesthood of Christ, according to the power of an endless life, which is life and immortality, must be from eternity to eternity. Such was the reasoning of the apostle upon this very point, and demonstrates that the priesthood which has the of an
power endless life, i. e. the life of God, for its law, must be co-existent with that life; and, like God himself, have no beginning of days.
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 Christ, the anointed one of God, is said to be the beginning*, Col. i. 18. And, faith Wisdom, I was set up, or ordained, from everlasting, 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 appears 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 doétrine 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 di. vine 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 any thing whatever. And as belore this, nothing has existed in
* This word in Latin is principium ; from whence is the word Prisciple; and that a which conilituled a beginning, . may, with propriety, be termed the principie, i
fact, we may neither form to ourselves any conceptions, nor make use of any terms as denoting the existence of some things antécedent to this eternal beginning; for such conceptions must be mere imaginations, and such terms all idle,
A system implies harmony, and must confist of parts. To begin a system therefore, upon the Unitarian principle, of one fomething, called by whatever name, supposed to exist alone, without parts cr harmony, or any thing which constitutes such a subject, is to begin before the beginning, and is an absurdity 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, offers three, arbitrarily called persons, and who, in their effential existence, are supposed to be just alike, and to bear no distinguilhing characters, such as are imported by the names of Father, Son and Holy Ghoft; and, therefore, existing without any thing which conftitutes. the idea of method and fystem ; 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 alpliabet. 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