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reason, but is above reason, and which in this whole universe has nothing like itself, but differs from all those truths which we discover in this system of the world. (Ibid, p. 859.) [t appears from this definition, that whatever is known by divine revelation, and is not certain from the principles of reason, is a mystery ; otherwise it could not be said to be revealed. Mys. teries are the first things which we conceive concerning revelation ; for no revelation can be conceived without mysteries, and therefore they constitute the sum and essence of revelation.
§ 24. It is to be observed, that we ought to distinguish between those things which were written in the sacred books by the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and those which were only committed to writing by the direction of the Holy Spirit. To the former class belong all the mysteries of salvation, or all those things which respect the means of our deliverance taught in the gospel, which could not be known from the principles of reason, and, therefore, must be revealed. But to the other class those things belong, which either are already known from natural religion, but are of service to inculcate duty on man, and to demonstrate the necessity of revealed means of salvation; or, are histories, useful to illustrate and to assure us of the doctrines revealed, and which point out the various degrees of revelation, the different dispensations of salvation, and the various modes of governing the church of God; all which are necessary to be known in the further explanation of mysteries.
$ 25. Mysteries constitute the criterion of divine revelation; so absurdly do they act, who allow a revelation, and deny mysteries ; or deny revelation for this reason, that it contains mysteries. What the sum and essence of revealed religion are, is plain from the end of it, which is to point out to sinful man the means of obtaining salvation, and of recovering the divine favour. But this is, that Jesus Christ is the only and most perfect cause of salvation, to be received by a true faith. This doctrine, however, is a mystery of godliness manifestly great; 1 Tim. iii. 16. And thus that great mystery constitutes the sum and essence of revelation. The essence of revealed religion consists in this, that men by a true faith receive this doctrine, which the apostle calls a mystery manifestly great. Therefore, the knowledge of the greatest mystery belongs to the very essence of the religion of a sinner. How absurd do many of the doctrines of mathematicians and astronomers appear to ignorant men, when they cannot see the reason of those doctrines, although they are most true and evident, so that not the least doubt concerning them can remain in the mind of a thorough mathematician? (Ibid, tom. iii. p. 560.)
§ 26. Since, in religion, there are some primary truths, and others more remote, which are deduced from the former by
reasoning, and so are secondary-and these last may not be known, though the primary are known; but when once they are known, they cannot be denied-it follows, that those articles, which constitute religion, and so are fundamental, are to be distinguished into primary and secondary. are those of which a man cannot be ignorant, consistently with true religion, and his own salvation; and they are necessary with a necessity of means. The secondary are those of which a man may be ignorant, consistently with his resting upon the foundation of true religion, and with his own salvation; and those are necessary with a necessity of command. Therefore, to the same man, certain doctrines may be now fundamental, which were not fundamental to him before he knew them. (Ibid, tom. i. p. 524, 525.)
Joh. Chr. Kirchmejerus, in his Dissert. concerning fundamental articles, says, " They may be either reduced to fewer, or extended to more; as often one article may include the rest, and so all may be reduced to that one; and, on the other hand, that one, according to the various truths contained in it, may be divided into several. Therefore, authors do not contradict themselves, who reduce all fundamental articles to one: for they cannot well be determined by their number; because, as many fundamental truths are contained in one fundamental truth, as there are essential properties belonging to the truths thus contained. Therefore, the holy scripture often sums up all fundamental articles in one, as in John xvii. 3. This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.' Sometimes, it distinguishes them into several; as in 1 Tim. i. 5. • Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (Ibid, tom. i. p. 528.)
$ 27. On account of the various degrees of men's capacities, and the various circumstances of the times in which they live, one man may know truths which another cannot know. Whence it follows, that the very same articles are not fundamental to all men; but accordingly as revelation hath been more or less complete, according to the several dispensations under which men have lived, their various natural abilities, and their various modes and circumstances of living, different articles are, and have been, fundamental to different men.
This is very plain from the different degrees of knowledge before and since the coming of Christ ; for, before his coming, many truths lay hid, which are now set in the most clear light: and the instance of the apostles, abundantly shows the truth of what I have now advanced; who, although they were already in a state of grace, and their salvation was secured, yet for some time were ignorant of the necessity of the sufferings and VOL. VII.
death of Christ, and of the true nature of his kingdom. Whereas, he who now does not acknowledge the necessity of Christ's death, is, by all means, to be considered as in fundamental error.
Therefore, as a man hath received of God greater or less natural abilities, so let the number of articles to which he shall give his assent, be greater or smaller; and, as revelation hath been made, or information hath been given, to a man, more clearly, or obscurely, in the same proportion is more or less required of him. Therefore, in our own case, we ought to be cautious of even the smallest errors, and to aim at the highest degree of knowledge in divine truths. In the case of others, we ought to judge concerning them with the greatest prudence, mildness, and benevolence. Hence we see, that a certain precise number of articles, which shall be necessary and fundamental to every man, cannot be determined. (Ibid, p. 531.)
OBZERVATIONS CONCERNING THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST AND THE
DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.
If the temptation to the children of Israel was so great, to idolize the brazen serpent, a lifeless piece of brass, for the temporal salvation which some of their forefathers had by looking on it; how great would be their temptation to idolatry by worshipping Christ, if he were a mere creature, from whom mankind receive so great benefits? If that brazen serpent must be broken to pieces, to remove the temptation to idolatry, (2 Kings xvii. 4,) shall so great a temptation be laid before the world to idolize a mere creature, by setting him forth in a manner that he is set forth in scripture?
§ 2. Must Moses's body be concealed, lest the children of Israel should worship the remains of him whom God made the instrument of such great things ? And shall another mere creature-whom men, on account of the works he has done, are under infinitely greater temptation to worship-be most openly and publicly exhibited, as exalted to heaven, seated at God's own right hand, made head over all things, ruler of the universe, &c. in the manner that Christ is? Was not this the temptation to all nations to idolatry, viz. That men had been distinguished as great conquerors, deliverers, and the instruments of great benefit? And shall God make a mere creature the instrument of so many greater benefits, and in such a manner as Christ is represented to be in the scripture, without an infinitely greater temptation to idolatry?
§ 3. When the rich young man called Christ good Master, not supposing him to be God, did Christ reject it, and reprove him for calling him so ? He said, “There is none good but One, that is God;" meaning, that none other was possessed of
goodness that was to be trusted. And yet, shall this same Jesus, if indeed not that God who only is to be called good, or trusted in as such, be called in scripture, He that is Holy; He that is true? the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness? the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace? the blessed, and the only Potentate; the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords ? the Lord of Life, that has life in himself, that all men might honour the Son, as they honour the Father? the Wisdom of God, and the Power of God ? the Alpha and Omega ; the Beginning and the End? God, Jehovah; Elohim, the King of Glory ? Compare Isa. xlii. 8. Ps. Ixxvii. 18. Isa. xlv. 20, 21, &c. “ They pray unto a God that cannot save-Tell ye and bring them near ; let them take counsel together; there is no God else beside me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides me." Yet it is said of Christ, that “ He is able to save unto the uttermost." Yea, the Messiah, in this very book, is spoken of as mighty to save; saving by his own arm, and by the greatness of his strength; Isa. lxiii. 1-6, compared with Rev. xiv. 15. And it is evident, that it is his character, in the most eminent manner, to be the Saviour of God's people; and that with respect to what is infinitely the highest and greatest work of salvation ; the greatest deliverance from the most dreadful evil; from the greatest, worst, and strongest enemies, and bringing them to the greatest happiness. It follows, Isaiah xlv. 22: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Here, it is spoken of as the great glory of God, and peculiar to him, that he is an universal Saviour, not only of the Jews, but of all nations. And this is the peculiar character of Jesus. He is the Saviour of all nations. The glory of calling and saving the Gentiles, is represented as peculiarly belonging to him; so that he has this divine prerogative, which is spoken of here as belonging to the One only God, and to none else. And, which is more than all this, these very things are applied to Christ in the New Testament, Philip. ii. 10, 11." That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, of things in earth, and things under the earth.” And the things spoken of in the following verses, as the peculiar prerogative of God, in distinction from all other beings, as the only Saviour, viz, having righteousness, and being justified in him, are every where in the New Testament most eminently ascribed to Christ, as in a most special manner belonging to him.
§ 4. Being the Saviour of God's people, is every where in the Old Testament mentioned as the peculiar work of the Deity. The Heathens are reproached for worshipping gods that could not save; and God says to the idolatrous Israelites, - Go to the gods whom ye have served, let them deliver you."