« PreviousContinue »
whole divine exhibition, being one entire work, framed upon one unbroken plan, the foregoing is not fhut by the opening of a following scene; but the work of exhibiting the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, is continually proceeding on from glory to glory.
It has already been hinted, that the glory of the approaching day will confift of the exhibition in one full view of the univerfe, of the threefold glory of Chrift, viz. the glory of the Beginning, in the most perfect flate of the creation; the glory of the angel, in the illuftrious proofs of his merit and honor, as he will appear covered with the wounds and fears of the faith and patience of the militant ftate; and the glory of the Son of God, in the open fhew of his victory, by the prefentment of his trophies in the full assembly of the church triumphant,
Section 2. The Divinity of the Archangel.
In this place, it will be proper to notice the scripture evidence of the divine character of the archangel, and that he is none other than the Lord Chrift.-Among the angels of God, no doubt, there is a natural chief; one, whose proper name is Michael, and who, on account of his highest poft and command, from their firft eftate, bare among them the diftinguishing title of archangel; but, upon the awful emergency of the breaking out of a
rebellion, when Chrift himfelf flood forward to defend their ground of truth, this mighty angel willingly gave up to him his command, his title, and his name; and as Chrift went in perfon into the field, as commander in chief of God's hofts, he was known among them by the proper name and title of their Angelic Commander.
The reprefentations which are made under this character are such, as sometimes lead us neceffarily to conceive of the Lord himfelf; at other times, however, another diftinct perfon is most naturally underflood; as in i Theff, iv, 16. where it is faid, The Lord himself fhall defcend from heaven with a fhout, with the VOICE of the ARCHANGEL: So that to explain and reconcile these representations, it appears neceffary to adopt the above hypothefis, that two perfons may be intended by this fame name.
Among the evidences, that this glorious. angel, fo diftinguished in the affairs of the holy people, is the Lord Chrift, the following paffages may be noticed. And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the fecond time, And faid, By myfelf have Ifworn, faith the Lord, for because thou haft done this thing, and haft not withheld thy son, thine only fon: That in bleffing I will blefs thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy feed as the flars of heaven, and as the fand which is up. on the fea hore; and thy feed fhall poflefs the gate of his enemies; And in thy feed fhall all the nations of the earth be blefled; because thou haft obeyed my voice. Gen. xxii,
15, 16, 17, 18.—The angel which redeemed me from all evil, blefs the lads. Gen. xlviii. 16 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not confumed.-Moreover he faid, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Ifaac, and the God of Jacob. And Mofes hid his face: for he was afraid to look upon God. Exod. iii. 2-6.-Behold, I fend an angel before thee, to keep thee in thy way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.-Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not: for he will not pardon your tranfgreffions: for my. name is in him, Exod. xxiii. 20, 21.-And in all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his prefence faved them. Ifai. Ixiii. 9. And they answered the angel of the Lord that ftood among the myrtle trees, &c. Zech. i. 11, -The prophet called this angel that talked with him his Lord. See verfe 9. The angel of God, whofe I am, and whom I ferve. Acts xxvii. 23.- And the angel which I faw ftand upon the fea, and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and fware by him that liveth for ever and ever, that there fhould be time no longer. Rev. x. 5, 6.-Hagar called the name of the angel that spake unto her, Thou God feeft me. Gen. xvi. 13. And Jacob was called ifrael, power with God, because he had power over the angel, and prevailed. Hofea xii, 4.—It may be obferved in all thefe inftances, that angel is Chrift's mediate or fervice-name, and refers to him as being engaged in the work of redemption.
Section 3. Election.
The truth of an election of God, as has been fhewn, is founded in the nature of the divine principle:-the confecrating and fetLing apart of Chrift as a trustee of the gift of eternal life, rendered him an elect head; -and it implies neceffarily, an object of ever. lafting love connected with him, as an elect body.
In a cafe of this nature, where an interest, deeded or willed, is put into the hands of a trustee, under heavy and facred bonds, to keep it and deliver it over to the party in favor of whom the deed or will is made; it is moft plain, that fuch heir or heirs must be chofen, so as to be known and named in the deed or testament. This matter of an election, therefore, exifted in, and is clearly trace, able to that established fact and glorious first principle, of an eternal covenant transaction. But our present inquiry relates to the divine exhibition, and to the truth of God. as disclosed in his works.
Though queftions may arife in a rational mind, refpecting certain offered fenfes and circumftances of this doctrine, yet the fact itself, of an election of God, is most clearly exhibited, and cannot be doubted by any rational reflecting mind;-which fact, in the prefent view of the fubject, lies before us in ihe exiftence of a divifion in the creation.
The word election, is used in relation to one or more, being felected in defign, to be in effect separated, or fet apart from others.
But a divifion in the creation could not exift, except by a new divine establishment; for, as the ferpent had poffeffed himself of the grand ftream of natural influence, or of the whole power of the natural establishment, it is plain, that in that ftate, he must have penetrated the whole creation; and angels as well as men, must have funk down together under one universal flood of apoftacy.
The standing of the holy angels cannot be accounted for, confiftently with the doctrine of Chrift, on any other ground than this of their being elect angels-and that Chrift appeared at the moment of danger, opening to them a new fource of life, according to this great diftinction in the divine will, by uniting them to himself as the head of the elect world, and fo dividing them off from the reft of the creation, which opened, like an abyfs under their feet; the divine conftitution of which being now broken up, and all its strength and glory laid prostrate before the fearful conqueror,
Doing this, implies his taking a new form anfwerable to the difpofition of angels; hence his name of Angel, and alfo of Lord of Hosts; -for this new establishment of election, is a war establishment:-It is the dividing off of world against world, and putting between them enmity of the most irreconcilable oppofition of principle, Hence war will commence immediately-angel will be opposed