Page images

exiftent Chrift. He is, therefore, as neceffarily eternal as is the purpose of God.

To this agree the fcriptures: I(Wisdom,) was fet up from everlafting, in the beginning, Prov. viii. 23.-Christ, the beginning, was, therefore, from everlafting. He is called, The everlasting Father, Ifaiah ix. 6-And again, Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer, thy name is from everlasting, Isaiah Ixiii. 16.—But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee fhall he come forth unto me, to be ruler in Ifrael, whofe goings forth have been from of old, from everlafting, Mic. v. -According to the eternal purpose, which he purpofed in Chrift, Eph. iii, 11. As the divine purpose was purpofed in Chrift, he must have been as ancient and eternal as the purpofe or will of God. And he is before all things, and by him all things confift, Col. i. 17.

2. There exifts an eternal heaven,

[ocr errors]

The view we have taken of the divine will, as of a principle expanding and operating, implies neceffarily a pre-exiftent and eternal ftate of elevation and glory: And thus, the inauguration, or fetting up of Chrift, implies a throne and kingdom; and as this work is effential to the divine principle, fuch a kingdom, power and glory, muft have been co exiftent with the divine will. Moreover, this eternal truth of Chrift implies, that the hea ven of God exilts in fact, and has a real form; and that, according to the divine will, it con-fifts of parts, and is a frame of things, fuch as may be represented by a building, an house,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

or a city; the whole of which is included in that intereft, called eternal life, which was given to us in Chrift Jefus before the world


And as this glory was given to Chrift for us, and actually received by him before the world began, the Giver was elevated or glorified thereby, and the Receiver was elevated or glorified therein; and the premifes and goods thus bestowed and received, fhone out like a glorious houfe opened for ufe, or like a treasure taken in inventory.-Hence, the name of the God of Glory, the Lord of Glory, and the King of Glory.

To this alfo agree the fcriptures. Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whofe builder and maker is God. By this city being fo defcribed and diftinguifhed, as having foundations, nothing lefs than its eternal nature can be imported; and by its builder and maker being God, it is expreffed to be his work, in a higher, and altogether different fenfe, from that of his being the builder and maker of all things which are temporal, and which will be changed and pass away.

Our Lord faid, What and if ye shall fee the Son of Man afcend up where he was before? John vi. 62.-This place to which our Lord afcended, where he was before he came into the world, muft be eternal; and fo it is defcribed in the Pfalms, Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory fhall come in: Who is the King of Glory? The Lord firong and mighty-the Lord mighty in battle - Lift

[ocr errors]

up your heads, O ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlafting doors, and the King of Glory fhall come in.-Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hofts, he is the King of Glory.

We know, faith the Apostle, that if our earthly houfe of this tabernacle were diffolved, we have a building of God, an houfe not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. This, undoubted, was the great original of the pattern which the Lord fhewed Mofes in the mount; and it is here fpoken of as the property of believers, for it was given to them in Chrift Jefus, -We have a building of God; an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

John saw the great city, the holy Jerufalem, defcending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Effential, eternal glory is here evidently intended; for by its having the glory of God, this city is defcribed and diftinguifhed from all fuch other things as are merely declarative of the glory of God; and to exprefs the fame thing, it is faid, that the glory of God did lighten it, in diftinction from the light of the fun, and the moon, and all created light. This is called the tabernacle of God, Rev. xxi. 3, and must be the fame which is called a building of Cod, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; and the high and holy place, where the Moft High dwelleth.

God is faid to dwell in light, which no man in a mortal flate can approach unto; and the faints gone to God, are diftinguished from thofe in the body, and called faints in light: We understand, however, by God's dwelling

in light, no more than his dwelling in hea ven; and by the departed faints being in light, no more is underflood than that they are gone to God in heaven. But, that light and glory in which God dwells, and which renders him invifible and inacceffible, muft be in its nature eternal.

What other than immortal glory could be that throne, feen by the elders of Ifrael, when they went up with Mofes into the mount of God; which they defcribed to be, as it were a paved work of a fapphire ftone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness? Or that feen by Ifaiah, upon which the Lord was fitting, high and lifted up?

What but effential, eternal glory, was that adorable vifion, opened to Ezekiel, of the living creatures, the wheels, and the firmanent and throne; the defcription of which he calls the likeness of the glory of God; and at the fight of which he fell upon his face? Or that of Daniel, of the throne on which the Ancient of Days did fit; which he defcribes. to be as the fiery flame, and his wheels burning fire? What was that bright cloud which overshadowed the difciples in the mount of transfiguration, and the brightnefs which they then faw upon the countenance and raiment of the Lord? The evangelift fays, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which faid, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleafed; hear ye him but Peter, relating the fame glorious fcene, fays, He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came fuch a voice to him from the excellent Glory, This is my

beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. This cloud then was Heaven; excellent Glory; glory uncreated, tranfcendent and di


And what, alfo, was that great white throne, which John faw, upon which was feated the judge of all? That this throne belongs effentially to the word of God, and is of the eternal fubftance, is evident; for, whilft the earth and heaven were feen to flee away, and there was found no place for them; this flands, and fupports ftill the adminiftration of eternal judgment.

The inheritance of the faints in light is called an eternal inheritance: and Paul fays to the Corinthians, we ftrive for an incorrup table crown; and again, to Timothy, Hence forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteoufnefs, which the Lord, the righteous Fudge Shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing.James fays, Bleed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried he shall receive a crown of life, which the Lord hath promifed to them that love him: and Peter flyles it a crown of glory that fadeth not away. This is that eternal intereft, fo often called a kingdom and city, which is prepared for the faithful, and was given to them in Chrift Jefus before the world was: on which account they are called bleffed of the Father, and God is not afhamed to be called their God. Thefe, furely, are eternal things.

« PreviousContinue »