網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 obfcure 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 Ghost; a certain something beyond that almighty act of setting up the Lord Christ, which, itself, engrosses eternity. This must be obscure indeed!

[ocr errors]

PROOFS IN SUPPORT OF THE DEFINITION,

From the subject under consideration, the old christian article of eternal generation; though of late it has 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 necessary 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 scriptures, in a variety of senses; but the sense here given, relative to the will, is ever 10 be considered their highest and most commanding sense, both in the scriptures and in common conversation.--As when a man neglects his offspring, and appears to be destiịute of a parental disposition; takes no lieed 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 obstinately rebellious and prodigal, resisting parental authority, or rudely wasting his patrimony; we say, he is not a son, but a

1

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 thewing obedience in such a relation, and receiving in a proper manner his inheritance, will be called his son. And thus, in the scriptures, Solomon faith, He that delicately bringeth up his fervant from a child, shall have him become his son at length; and hence, the faiher 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 subjection untu the Father of Spirits.-This, by way of distinction, I shall term the voluntary sense.

That relations, such as are above stated, do fubfilt between God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, no one will dispute; but these relations result from the nature of our principle, which we have proved to be eterna!. A covenant transaction always implies a duty imposed, and a compensation proffered.The gift of eternal lile, made to us in Christ Jelus, as our furety or trullee, imposed upon him an obligation no less than that of laying down his life for us; whild, at the lume iinke,

it fet before him a reward no less than the inheritance of God, which is his people. The act of inauguration also, whilst it gave the anointed one the most folemn charge, and laid him under the deepest'obligations; at cnce it bestowed upon

him the highest reward, by setting him up, and constituting him the head of the church as his body.-In this same act the commander and rewarder was made a father, and him who was commanded and rewarded was made a son. And as this deed, which gives being to the relation of father and son, and is therefore an act of generation in the sense the word is now used, existed before the world was; the truth of an eternal generation is establifhed upon the strongest grounds, being found in the nature of the divine principle,

And what is there obscure or peculiarly inexplicable in this doctrine? which matter is all comprised in four simple ideas relative to the will; and which are acknowledged, on all hands, to exist in the blessed will of the Father, and of his Son Jesus Christ, viz. parental command and parental favor; acquiescence in such authority, and enjoyment of such blelling.–What can be named more within the sphere of human knowledge than this? If poffible, it is less obscure than the existence of light and heat in the fun.

That the Lord Jesus Christ laid down his life in a way of obedience to the divine will, we have his express declaration. John X. 18. This commandment have I received of my Father. This will of the Father, as it respect

éd the unworthy and juftly condemned creature, is called grace, as in Heb. ii. 9. That he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man. But this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the world was. Which implies his yielding consent and filial duty to the command; and, in effect, his being a lamb sain from the foundation of the world. So evident it is, that this charačter of

paternity, and this of fonship, which is the fruit of it, have existed together, in and with God, from everlasting:

And as to the other branch of the divine will, its existence, and that also from eternity, is as plainly expressed by Wisdóm, Pro. viii

. " I was set up from everlafing, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

When there were no depths, I was brought forth : when there were no foun: tains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled; before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there : when he fet a compass upon the face of the depth : When he established the clouds 'above: when he strengthened the foundations of the deep : When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth, Then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.”_TO which we may also add, the declarations of our Lord, that he had glory with the Father before the world was: and that the Father

« 上一頁繼續 »