Page images

in relation to this doctrine, to speak particularly of beafts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. We are affured this was once done; by the aid, no doubt, of this grand clew of wifdom and knowledge, that the worlds were framed by the word of God.

That fuch a theory of Chrift does pervade the creation, and is legibly inscribed in the bosom of Heaven, and on every object belonging to the earth and fea, is a fact which every man that cometh into the world appears, in fome degree, confcious of; and which ought, as the firft ground of conviction, to be appealed to by Chrift's witnesses in all the world. The preacher of the everlasting gofpel will proclaim unto them that dwell on the earth, faying with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the fea, dnd the fountains of water.

But all that we have propofed, was an illuftration of the divine theory in fuch of the leading facts of the creation, &c. as may establith the principle, unfetter the human mind of the prejudices of falfe principles and mistaken facts, and give it boldnefs in exploring rational, philofophical, fcriptural truth.. And it is thought, that what has been offered, is fufficient to establish this view of the great truth, viz. that the creation once exifted in a ftate of glory and happiness, all anfwerable to the firft flate and primitive glory of Christ,


[blocks in formation]

Section 1. The Fall of Angels.

AS the fcriptures fo clearly reveal the truth

of the heaven and the earth being united to Chrift by the conftitution of creation; and all worlds being framed together upon one divine foundation, and fo particularly mention the angelic worlds, things invifi ble, thrones, and dominions, and principalities and powers, as being all originally thus conftituted; they alfo reveal, very exprefsly, that the fin and fall of the apoftate angels confifted in breaking off from their foundation, or not holding to their divine conftituted head. The angels fell by finning against Christ, revealed to them in the conftitution and law of their creation.

Of the devil, the first rebel and seducer of angels and men, it is declared that he was a murderer from the beginning. John viii. 44. By this expreffion, compared with other fcriptures in agreement, we understand that his fin, and fill attempt to feduce others, refpected Chrift as the Beginning, the Foundation and Head of the creation;-and it is immediately added, and abode not in the truth. This expreffion confirms the sense of the other-Chrift is both the beginning and the truth. The divine declaration, that the

devil was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, is a very exprefs revelation of the nature of the fin of the devil and his angels.

The fame thing is expreffed, in much the fame manner, 1 John iiì. 8. The devil finneth from the beginning;-and it is added here, For this purpofe the Son of God was manifefted, that he might deftroy the works of the devil. This alfo confirms the fentiment, that the works of the devil were the feducing of creatures from Chrift; and therefore his coming into the world, and recovering loft creatures to himself, destroys the works of the devil.

But we have a paffage in the epiftle of Jude, verfe 6, which, though in the fame ftyle as the foregoing, and refpects the revelation of Chrift in the fame remarkable word, the beginning, is ftill more exprefs-The angels that kept not their beginning.* This fentence is conftructed in the fame manner as the last sentence in the preceding verse, which respects the people of Ifrael who were deftroyed in the wilderness;-and not holding their beginning, foundation, and head, as evidently expreffes the fin of the angels, as not believing expreffes the fin of the people who perifhed in the wilderness. The angels fell, jun inproavras not keeping Christ their beginning: the people in the wilderness fell believing Chrift their angel,

πιςεύσαντας μη


The devil, in thus breaking off from Chrift and feducing others, was a murderer;-he

* Αίγελως τε τες μη τηρησανίας την εαυίων αρχήν.

destroyed himself and all whom he drew after him; and inftead of continuing the illuftrious and rational being he once was, he is now ranked with the brute creation, named and described as a dreadful beast, a dragon, lion, or dog.


The change of the character of this angel, which took place immediately upon his fall, from being the Son of the Morning, to that of a horrible fiend;--and the change of his condition, from being free in the habitation of light, to that of a beaft chained in darknefs, will illustrate to all eternity the infinite worth of Christ, and fhew the abfolute dependence of all the excellence and felicity of creatures upon him.

Section 2. The Fall of Man.

The devil, having departed from the be ginning, and become an enemy to the truth, immediately determined upon war, if by any means he might dethrone his fovereign, and overthrow his kingdom; and as man was affociated with the Lord Christ, and stood with him in the intereft, and on the party of the government, his ground became, as it were, the out poft or frontier of the empire, and prefented the natural point for commencing the attack.

As man was made in the image of God, and crowned with his glory and honor, it might be fuppofed that the mysterious char

ter of his dominion extended to an afcendancy over the angels; for, indeed, without any exception, he was by the Lord God fet over the works of his hands; against man, therefore, this proud, difobedient and rebellious fpirit rofe up, as against his lord and fovereign. And as man had begun to exercise the highest acts of fovereignty, by giving names to the creatures, which were among the firft exercises in a way of administration that exifted in the creation; he was confidered as flanding high upon the ground of this dominion; fo that, in this his wonderful union with Chrift, the reafons are apparent, why the devil aimed at man his first blow.

And here, again, we may view and admire the depth of the divine counfel, that the fame circumftance in the state of man which occafioned his overthrow, led to his recovery, viz. that the matter which raised against him an eneiny, was a cause of infinite value, and an intereft in common between him and the Lord Chrift, in which the Lord his maker had the greatest share!

The ferpent, which for powers of intelligence was above all the beafts of the field, was the proper inftrument to be employed in carrying this dark defign into effect; for which purpose, the neceffary trial of man, to give him the knowledge of truth and obedience, according to the good pleasure of God, afforded a fair opening.

From what has been obferved, respecting a certain analogy fubfifting between the fubjects of both worlds, the affociation of this

« PreviousContinue »