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warranted to call the divine Being, God him felf-I am Alpha and Omega-faith the Almighty.
3. The principle of divine knowledge then, or discoverable divine Being, is his purpose or will; in which purpose is included the idea of action, for purpofing and doing cannot be two things with God; farther than his purpose, or voluntary action, nothing is or can be known of God; and, indeed, relative to light and knowledge nothing farther than this exifts.-Our enquiry concerning the divine Being will go no farther than, as according to the ancient He-. brewifm, God is his own workmanship.
In a fenfe unlimited, God is invifible, and his works are unfearchable; for as no approach has been made, nor ever will be made to the difcovery of God, farther than his purpofe, fo neither is, or will there be made any difcovery of his works farther than their state or difpofition, which answers to his purpose; and every attempt or defire to know more of God than his counfel or decree is fruitles and criminal. But the purpofe or will of God is discoverable, and is the fubject of all divine manifeftation, and all rational enquiry and reflection.-This is the true godheadthe intellectual fun, or principle of divine revelation and knowledge.-It is eternal life, the foul-fatisfying object of the wife in heart. The man, who, through defire of this, having feparated himself, findeth treasures; but he who defireth and feeketh it not, wrongeth his own foul.
1. The divine principle or purpose, stated to be the vifibility of God, is a matter of fact, and exists in voluntary action.-If the pur. pofe or will of God be not a fact, and found in voluntary action, it is all unknown, and has been mistaken for the principle of knowledge: for it is certain that our sphere of knowledge does not extend in the leaft beyond matters of fact. This particular of the definition of the divine principle, with thofe also following, will be fupported by the whole illuftration of the theory.
2. The divine purpose or will is the fubject of all the divine characters.—It is immenfe, eternal, unchangeable, almighty, fovereign, wife, holy, juft and good. This has been univerfally acknowledged; and it will not be denied, that this is the only known fubject of these characters.
3. The divine principle or purpose is of the nature of a covenant, or a matter of record between parties. This has been acknowledged as fully, perhaps, as any doctrine of
4. The divine purpofe or will bears the perfonal characters, and exhibits voluntary agency. Being of the covenant nature, or a fact of record, the divine principle cannot be contemplated otherwife than in contemplating intelligent agency, and the full exercife of the perfonal capacities.
5. The divine principle or purpofe presents a trinity, and it cannot be conceived of
otherwise than in conceiving of a trinity. It is fo far from being true, that it is hard conceive of a trinity in the godhead, that no conception can be formed of the eternal truth offered in the purpose of God, and a trinity not to be contemplated, and with the fame, clearness of light.
The difficulty in the minds of men of discovering the Holy Trinity, is nothing more or lefs than the difficulty of difcovering the truth in a falfe principle. But, let the true principle be difcovered and the trinity cannot be hid, for it belongs to the body of the godhead, and is infeparable from the difcovery of the Divine Being, and is the light itfelf. With the men of Athens we may know merely that there is a God, but without the knowledge of the divine will, which, in its nature prefents neceffarily a trinity of perfons, we, like them, know not what God is.
Whatever darkness there be in our minds concerning the Trinity, there must neceffarily be the fame concerning the whole purpose of God; and we can no farther conceive of the divine principle than we conceive of a trinity. In a covenant there is a covenanter, one who makes the covenant; a covenantee, one brought into the covenant; and a mutual intereft contracted for. And, in the purpofe of God each of thefe bear all the divine and perfonal characters, which it will be a part of this work clearly to illuftrate.
In this place it will not be expected that we clear the fubject, but only that we state and define the principle of divine knowledge.
And when an illuftration of this principle is fpoken of in the work before us, it should not be understood to mean that there is any obfcurity in the fubject itfelf. This is as luminous as the body of heaven; but that there is a neceffity of dispelling, by particular application of the true principle, the otherwife impenetrable darkness of falfe principles, fo that if any man have eyes to fee he may fee.
The arduous task before us is not fo much to form as to throw away notions. The opinion that the Trinity is not fo effentially the principle of revelation, but is fomething of God, more diftant, myfterious, and obfcure, in its nature, diftinct from that divine body of light which, like the natural fun, fhines with one indivifible blaze, is the most egregious and fatal error, and never could have exifted and been propagated, had not fome men allowed themfelves to talk and write ofthe Divine Being with their eyes fhut, and others fhut their eyes in order to follow them.
6. The divine principle or purpose is one; and though it confifts of certain diftinct parts; yet it is apparent, when the subject is in view, that a fact of such a nature cannot exift without fuch parts being united together; and that the parts and the whole have a neceffary dependance on each other. The diverfity and unity of the will of God is an acknowledged truth-that there are divifions in the word or will of God is well understood. 2 Tim. ii. 15. Whilft the divine characters it fuftains, immenfity, eternity,
&c. fully demonftrate its unity. These characters can belong only to one principle.
The definition of the divine principle, as being an action or operation, requires a more particular statement:
1. Though with deference to the human mind, ever habituated to make the diftinction, and the common ufe of words; and alfo on account of the nature of the fubject, it is requifite to flate the divine principle both as a purpose and a work. It muft ftill be remembered that the divine operation is. effentially one with the divine purpose; that it is contained in the definition given of the subject; and that no true definition can be given of the purpose of God, which does not contain the primary operation; for it is moft evident that, in God, willing and doing are infeparable.
2. The works of God are manifold; whereever we look, we behold operation fucceeding operation in numberlefs progreffions; but they who attentively consider the works of God, observe one first operation through which all others proceed. This, in the divine system, is the subject which we are attempting to ftate and define.
3. As the thousands of fucceffive undulations of the earth or water, from a fhock or explofion, do all exift in the power of the fhock or explosion; fo abfolutely does all the immenfity of the univerfe exift in one divine operation.
4. The first divine operation being necesfarily comprized in the divine purpose, in