Page images
PDF
EPUB

how God could pardon sin, justify the ungodly, maintain the honour of his law and justice, and be strictly “just," and yet “the justifier of the ungodly who believe in Jesus”-here, Adam needed a new and further revelation of God, than what had been discovered in the law, and by the covenant of works. This revelation was made when the words were spoken threatening-wise to the devil in the serpent, “the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." I say,

, though man's fall and Christ's salvation are the two leading subjects which run throughout the whole book of God, yet there are connected with these a vast variety of subjects; so that though the scriptures are small in bulk, yet are they vast as it respects the multitude and variety of subjects contained in them; there being nothing in the whole circle of true science, knowledge, philosophy, astronomy, or history, but is to be found in and supported from them.

In the bible you have history, prophecy, types, promises, the covenant of grace, exhibited under a various economy and dispensation, with precept and promises suited to its various forms under which it hath been dispensed. And it is a matter which should be attended to in reading it, carefully to consider and keep in view the dispensation of the covenant under which the church is—and the people among whom the church is continued - the nations and states which have to do with it:-all which will serve to give us a proper and right apprehension of the word of the Lord to and concerning them.

It will be my business to lead my reader to view the general subjects contained in the divine pages, beginning with the book of Genesis, and ending with the second book of the Kings.

The first chapter of Genesis gives an account of God's going forth into creation and creature-acts, beginning and forming the substance of all things, visible and invisible; and that out of a rude, indigested chaos, or mass of matter, he created all things which are in heaven and in earth, in the space of six days. All which were pronounced by him to be very good.

God in the beginning creating the heavens and the earth, includes two things. First, that those were created in the beginning of time, and before all other things. Secondly, that God begun the creation of the world from those things. Therefore, before the heavens and the earth there was nothing absolutely created, and therefore no matter in being before an act of creation passed upon it. Out of the chaos that had no form, neither essential nor accidental, which was actually nothing, potentially all things, therefore called earth and water, but in truth a darkness and deep confusion without form, the Lord God divides this lump of matter, and puts forms thereto to perfect it, and so makes the four elements. Then he fits and fills it with inhabitants, garnishing the fiery heavens with stars. He fills the water with fishes: he fills the air with birds; the earth with beasts. And of these, those that had a more perfect kind of life, were still created in order, after the more imperfect; and still the Jatter containing all the perfections of the former. And then, last of all, man, the end and epitome, the lord of all; that hath the excellencies of angels, sun, moon, and stars in him. See Eccles. xii. 2. The Hebrew doctors say, “ All whatsoever the holy blessed God hath created on this his world, is parted into three parts. Some creatures are compounded of matter and form, and are generated and corrupted continually; as the bodies of men, and beasts, and plants, and minerals. Other some are compounded of matter and form like the former, but are not changed from body to body, and from form to form, like the former; and they are the heavenly spheres, and stars in them : and their matter is not like other matter, nor their form like other forms. And some creatures have form without matter, and they are the angels. For the angels have no body nor corporeal substance, but forms disparted one from another.

As it respects the six days work of the creation, you may view it thus :

On the first day, God created the heavens; and according to Piscator, angels with and in them.

On the second day, the firmament, which is firm, lasting, and durable ; which is wide in its extent, reaching from the earth to the third heavens. The lower and thicker parts of it form the atmosphere in which we breathe ; the higher and thinner parts of it, the air in which the fowls fly; and the ether, or sky, in which the sun, moon, and stars are placed. And God divided by this outspread firmament, the waters of the great deep, which at this time covered the earth, from the waters which were above the firmament, which are the clouds full of water, from whence the rain descends upon the earth, and gave the name of heaven to this vast expanse.

On the third day, God made the earth dry land, by stretching out the earth above the waters, and he endowed the earth with fruitfulness, enabling it to bring forth grass, and herbs, and trees.

On the fourth day, the sun, moon, and stars were created, and placed in the heavens. According to Sir Isaac Newton, the sun is 900,000 times bigger than our earth or world on which we dwell; and though it be at an immense distance from us, yet the rays of light emitted from it, reach the earth in seven minutes and a half, and are said to pass ten millions of miles in a minute. The use of the sun, moon, and stars, and planets, were to give light upon the earth, and “ to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness." As the sun was created, and shone forth on the fourth day of the creation, so the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, of everlasting light and glory, became incarnate and shone forth with health and healing in his beams on the fourth millenium of the world.

On the fifth day, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea were created, and great whales.

On the sixth day, cattle, creeping things, beasts of the earth, and lastly, man. The Jews observe, that throughout this whole chapter, unto the finishing the work of creation, God is expressed by a name which is expressive of goodness, and kindness, and power. They say rather, that thirty-two times in this first chapter, his name by which he is called is expressive of power.

But after the finishing the six day's work, he is expressed by a name denoting goodness and kindness. His power is first visible in framing the world, before his goodness is visible in sustaining and preserving it.

The Psalmist seems to give us the true comment on the three first verses of the first chapter of Genesis, and ascribes the whole work of creation to the co-equal and co-eternal Three in these words ; “ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

The 104th Psalm was composed on purpose to celebrate Jehovah's praises for his six days' work of creation, and for his providential care in sustaining the work of his hand, and for his renewing the earth on every returning spring. If you compare it with the first chapter of Genesis, it will reflect light upon it. And by a proper attention to it, and other parts of the divine word, you will see that the Holy Ghost, who is the Lord and Giver of life, is in the Godhead uncreate, incomprehensible, eternal, almighty, Lord and God, equal in every perfection with the Father and the Son, and as such the object of prayer, and praise, and of every act of worship.

The firmament garnished, adorned, and embellished with sun, moon, and stars—the air with fowl-the waters with fish, and the earth with grass, herbs, beasts, cattle, and creeping things, God brought forth man as lord of all. “ The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” Man, as created by the Lord God, was the noblest of all Jehovah's works in this lower world. His body was framed, fashioned, and made out of the dust of the ground. And being shaped, organized, and created into this lifeless lump of clay, the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life or lives, including the vegetative, sensitive, animal, and rational; and man became a living soul; which being an immaterial spirit, ils essence and faculties of understanding, will, and affections will last for ever. The soul as immediately created by the Lord, by him infused into nd united to the body is the principle of life. The body quickened by it became alive, and lively; and the soul, though vastly superior to the body, yet as united to it, and one with it, was at first and still is in the present state dependent upon the body for all its conceptions and ideas. For all our ideas they are original, or they are the resemblances of those originals. The first they cannot be ; for how is it possible that an originated being should be the true and proper original of ideas, until they be exhibited to us by some sensible objects? Then it may ; for then, these are the patterns of them ; the mediums to convey intelligences to our senses. The Lord God made the world for man, and every creature in it for his benefit and delight, and formed man's body, the senses and faculties of it, to take in delight, pleasure, and satisfaction from all things in this lower world. Man is the

epitome of every creature : and from them, by means of impressions made on his senses, which is through the medium of the nerves, and blood; the soul, the inhabitant within, has, and does receive its apprehensions of present things, and feels, perceives, and knows what is pleasing, profitable, and good for its present happiness. The Jews observe, that upon perfecting the whole work of creation, the full and perfect name of God is given, Jehovah Elohim, the Lord God, which is first expressed in the second chapter of this Book, ver. 4.

(To be continued in our next.)

(For the Spiritual Magazine.)

THE COMPREHENDING GREATNESS OF THE PERSON

OF CHRIST.

Christ is all.-Col. iji, 2. It is the glory of our holy religion that all its truths are immutable, being built in the indestructible person of the God-man, Christ Jesus the Lord : all the branches of truth emanate from him, who is the truth, and are the reflection of his immutable character. Infinite certainty reigns in all the designs of Jehovah in the glorification of his name, the ingathering of his people, and their perfection in ultinate bliss. What a pitiable representation of the gospel is that, that attaches any thing to the creature in the reception and salvation thereof, while the cloudless glories of the Trinity in their unfrustrable acts of

grace and salvation are concealed behind the curtain of human ability! Where is the majesty and divinity of the gospel marching through the world under the authority and almighty reign of God the Holy Ghost gathering up the people under the line of election, and the especial marks of sovereign redemption? Where are the honors of his essential majesty and covenant undertakings, his almighty reign, official greatness, and glorious presidency in Zion? Where are his infinite prerogatives, his eternal love, his deep interest, his fulness of anointing, his omniscient care, his all-sufficiency of power to raise the dead, quicken the living, reveal the glories of Christ, bring up the people in faith, knowledge, assurance, &c. ? To support them in trouble, to keep them in temptation, to make them conquerors over all their foes, io exalt them in all spiritual acts to live upon Christ, and to dwell in them in all the majesty of rich grace, as the fountain of eternal life, the earnest of eternal fruition, and the pledge of their eternal inheritance ? Ye living witnesses in Jerusalem ! is it not a solemn fact, that the majesty of the Holy Ghost is little known in Zion, and his immortal honors seldom sounded forth from our pulpits. O Lord the Holy Ghost, arise and shine forth, that under thy blissful rays our souls may live, be lively, and go forth to meet our celestial bridegroom. Without thy unction, teaching, and reviving presence, we droop and die; without thy illuminations and revelations, we sink into formality; and without thy powerful influences, and soul renewing energies, we get cold and barren, and indifferent in the way to the kingdom. It is Zion's infinite mercy, that her Teacher is divine, and her salvation built in her immortal Husband, and all readycrowned Redeemer. All creature boasting is excluded, but boasting in the Lord is illimitable. Here the saints may glory fearless of excess, may vie with each other in extolling his name, and never end the song while he is the comprehensive subject of it. There is an infinite variety in his complex person, that will fill the thought of angels and his redeemed for ever. It was heaven's grand design to glorify the Son of God; and the summit of the new-born soul's desire is, to aid in, the uplifting of his matchless person. In dependence on the alone spiritual revealer of his saving Majesty, I have assumed to take up this sacred motto for my subject—“Christ is all.”

He was all in Jehovah's everlasting decree and purpose. It was his gracious determination and everlasting thought to exalt Christ. He eternally decreed to set out his peerless sovereignty in raising up an individium of humanity into personal union with one in Godhead-to have a peculiar begotten Son, who should be exalted into divine nearness and the all-gracious design of the Lord God, in the person of the essential Word, to take into personal union and divine fellowship, the first-begotten of the eternal Father.

The everlasting thought of Jehovah revolved on the person of his Christ as the brightness of his glory-the centre of all communicable fulness the medium of divine communion--the foundation of crea, tion acts--the grand reflector of eternal attributes, and developer of heaven's harmonious wonder of redemption. Jehovah delighted in him as chief of all his works--the Alpha and Omega of his plans the eternally appointed agent to effect the eternal designs of peerless grace, and reveal the glorious acts of eternal forethought. From all eternity he was the one

chosen out of the people :
“ Jehovah's great all, in council divine,

Where all his grace-acts embodied doth shine;
The mirror through which divine Majesty's secn,

And all divine honours resplendantly beam." He was God's decreed basis, whereon all the supreme acts of his gracious will are founded. God went forth in the infinite resolves of his mind in Christ to bless the myriads of his delight; all the purposes of his eternal goodwill in embracing the elect was in Christ: without him was not any immanent act of the divine mind to bless eternally. Sovereignly loved in him-eternally elected in him-predestinated to the adoption of children by him--foreknown in him-blessed in him—accepted in him—justified in him, and glorified in him. He was God's all, being dignified in divine council, exalted in divine thought, appointed head and mediator in everlasting settlements : in whom all the plans of eternity centered—all the everlasting councils were fixed— all the great mysteries of eternal love were folded-and Jehovah's apprehended channel of conveying all the blessings of his heart to the objects of his everlasting love. He was exalted into preVOL. VIII.-No. 86.]

С

« PreviousContinue »