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like manner it must be immenfe, eternal, and sustaining all the divine characters, and none but the divine.
This is the grand principle called The Word of God, by which the worlds were framed; and The Law, through which every operation, exifting through ages of ages, muft proceed, until the progreffion of divine operation, returning as a circle and uniting in the principle, that shall be all in all.The notion of an endless progreffion is a chimera--there is nothing in nature to fupport it. We know that whatever progreffes moves in a circle, and muft return and finally terminate.
PROOFS IN SUPPORT OF THE STATEMENT,
The foregoing ftatement of the divine principle, takes a ground the most univerfally acknowledged, viz. That the holy compact, commonly called the Covenant of Redemption, is of eternal existence; and as this fact is the grand principle in the divine fyftem, the knowledge of it is brought forward in every beam of divine light that. fhineth in the world. For inftance:
1. The very name of God, which doubtless imports his eternal godhead, is evidently expreffive of this truth. The Hebrew word God, Aleim or Elohim, may be interpreted, the fwearers, or the covenanters, or contractors
by oath. If then this name be eternal, that covenant act which gives it, must be eternal. Mofes writes of the creation, In the beginning God, Aleim, created the heaven and the earth. As therefore God bare this namė at the creation of the world, that fact from which it is taken must have pre-existed all
2. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghoft, we understand to be an eternal name of the Lord our God: but it is demonftrable, that these terms have their origin in this divine transaction respecting redemption; which covenant tranfaction, therefore, must be equally eternal with this name of our Lord Jehovah.
3. Holiness may well be confidered the eternal attribute of God; but holiness relates to a confecration. In the ftrict sense of the word, to be holy is to be fet apart; and it is to this divine tranfaction which, in its nature, is a confecration-that we trace, as to its origin, every thing that is properly expreffed or underflood, by a term of this import as applied to God. That action, therefore, in which God took upon him the vow of holiness, must be eternal.
4. This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. 1 John v. 11. And it is further declared, as in 2 Tim. i. 9. that this grace was given us in Chrift Jefus, before the world began.A gift is a transfer of fome property; it is a real deed. The mere purpose to give, is not giving or beftowing a gift; but God
éternal life before the world was.
done in that covenant tranfaction under confideration. It appears, therefore, from the gofpel record, that there has existed a tranfaction which is of the nature of a contract between parties, refpecting fome great intereft, wherein their obligations are folemnly confirmed and left on record; and that this one real fact bears the eternal date.
5. It is faid in the fcriptures, and often repeated, that our Lord was made an High Prieft. His Priesthood then, is a matter of fact; for fuch we confider every thing which is made or done. But it is also faid, that this was done after the power of an endless life. Heb. vii. 16. The levitical priesthood was made after the law of a carnal command
In both cafes, the law and the priesthood are joined and fubfift together, bear datė and run parallel with each other.The temporal law has a priesthood answerable to its nature-the eternal law alfo, has one answerable to its nature. As, therefore, the priesthood of Aaron, according to the nature of its law, which was carnal, muft have begun and ended in time; fo likewise, the priesthood of Chrift, according to the power of an endless life, which is life and immortality, must be from eternity to eternity. Such was the reasoning of the apoftle upon this very point, and demonftrates that the priesthood which has the power of an endless life, i. e. the life of God, for its law, must be co-exiftent with that life; and, like God himself, have no beginning of days.
6. The word Chrift, relates to the act of inauguration, or the ordaining or setting up of one, as the head of a body. It fignifies one anointed, as the priests and kings of Ifrael were ordained or fet up in thefe relations, over the people, by the tranfaction of anointing them with oil. Such a transaction is a real fact, and capable of being explored and understood in all its parts. And this word leads us alfo to the fame eternal principle, which is the fubject before us; for Chrift, the anointed one of God, is faid to be the beginning, Col. i. 18. And, faith Wisdom, I was fet up, or ordained, from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
From the above, and fuch like reasons, we have the greatest certainty, that a fact of this eternal nature does exift; and as there appears a fufficient warrant for taking this anointing or fetting up of Chrift for our principle, or the basis of the divine fyftem, we begin, therefore, with Christ-he is our alpha, the firft, the beginning. Tracing the doctrine of Chrift to this act of inauguration before the world was, we come up to the highest point of the universe, into which every line of divine truth runs and terminates; or, at leaft, if all truth does not terminate here, we prefume this is certain, that at this point terminates our capacity of tracing out and of coming to the knowledge of any thing whatever. And as before this, nothing has exifted in
* This word in Latin is principium; from whence is the word Principle; and that at which conflituted a beginning, may, with propriety, be termed the principle.
fact, we may neither form to ourselves any conceptions, nor make use of any terms as denoting the existence of fome things antecedent to this eternal beginning; for fuch conceptions must be mere imaginations, and fuch terms all idle.
A fyftem implies harmony, and must confift of parts. To begin a fyftem therefore, upon the Unitarian principle, of one fomething, called by whatever name, fuppofed to exift alone, without parts or harmony, or any thing which conftitutes fuch a fubject, is to begin before the beginning, and is an abfurdity in the idea of fyftem. Thofe profeffed Trinitarians, alfo, who begin their fyftem upon the principle of three fomethings, or a certain fomething which, inconceivably, offers three, arbitrarily called perfons, and who, in their effential existence, are fuppofed to be just alike, and to bear no distinguilhing characters, fuch as are imported by the names of Father, Son and Holy Ghoft; and, therefore, exifting without any thing which conftitutes. the idea of method and fyftem; they, we fay, in like manner, begin before the alpha; and they are involved in the fame, or, if poffible, in a worfe abfurdity than the Unitarians, and are not worthy of the name of divines.
Whatever is fairly charactered may be read-all I propofe in the theory, is to ftudy the divine alphabet. This, by the grace of God, we may learn-we may begin at A and read down; and taking this ground of the open field of divinity, opened from eternity