« EelmineJätka »
for each some improvement in thinking and doing, lest double darkness and desperate infidelity overtake us.
God keep us from such a misfortune: and what we cannot believe perfectly, because it is above our comprehension, enable us to believe rightly; that is modestly and reverently, adoring the truth in simplicity,
RELATIONS OF THE KINGDOM.
MEDIATE IN MULTIPLICITY.
1. Celestial.-2. Terrestrial.
" That God may be all in all.”—Cor. I. xv. 28.
QUITTING the Principal and Peculiar Medium of the Kingdom, in which its External, and indeed Only real Subjective, was considered under three different forms, types, or persons—to wit, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; first singly or in unity, then unitedly or in distinction, whether of duality or trinity,—we are now to proceed with a commoner sort or relation of Mediates; which will present the same Only Subjective again to view ; but this time in Multiplicity. And only in multiplicity too: they will not present the Subjective solely and individually, that is, in unity; nor in the peculiarity of either combination above mentioned; but generally and at large in the mediate bodyor, as St. Paul has it, “THE CHURCH ” (Eph. i. 22), and “ The Church of God” (Acts xx. 28),-composing the “general assembly and church of the first born which are written in Heaven," (Heb. xii. 23,) and few enough all together for the purpose ; as it cannot be said of any one of
them," that God giveth not the Spirit to him by measure (John iii. 34): but, “Every man hath his proper gift of God; one after this manner, and another after that ” (Cor. I. vii. 7). Neither is it only as Mediates of the Subjective himself, that we are to regard these numberless correlatives; but also, or rather, as Mediates of the Kingdom or government. Yet in a divine respect the whole of this relation may be termed, a common plurality of the Godhead, in the same manner as a trinity is here said to be its proper or specific: the Godhead in multiplicity having about the same relation to the Godhead in Trinity, as the common existence of a man, or that in which he partakes or is one with other men, will have to that which he presents in his own life, soul and person. For, as human nature is generally the same in one man as in another, notwithstanding that each has his peculiarities; so will the divine Nature be the same in all the sons of God, including the only or peculiar, except in his peculiarities aforesaid: and the same likewise in either person of the blessed Trinity, with the same exception.
It is from this internal or peculiar communion of the Godhead, that we are enabled to conceive an extension of the same to objects without: and if we consider, it will appear that the same authority, being chiefly that of divine Revelation, again both sanctions and requires such a conception, however some may be disposed to object or think otherwise. But previously either to authorities or objections respecting the subject, let us consider its doctrine as heretofore: and as we are continuing our inquiry through the different relations of the Kingdom which proceed by a regular evolution or descent from its centre in the real Subjective, it will be obvious, to divide the present relation, or that of which we are considering at present, first of all into two degrees, or, as it were, concentric circles, --including 1, the celestial or angelic Mediates of the Kingdom; as nearest its centre, or Subjective; and 2, the terrestrial; as a degree farther removed from the Fountain of honour.
§ 1. Of the celestial mediate class or relation, which being inmost accordingly stands foremost, it may be well to preface the consideration with some notice of the angelic order generally; that is, in an objective, as well as in a mediate relation, and of the evil as well as the good-attending at the same time chiefly to the last mentioned and proper object of our present consideration ; though few are the examples of this class that have come to knowledge by the only credible medium of divine Revelation aforesaid. The order and method being here as usual to consider 1, the Incidentals of the Subject; 2, their Constituents
1. Among the first mentioned topics—that is to say Incidentals may be enumerated several of the sort before ascribed to other subjects: as 1: 2, Name and Notion ; 3, Place or Habitation; 4, Power and Dominion ; 5, Worship; 6, Blessing and Benediction.--Accordingly,
1: 2, Name and Notion occur first: which being Angels and Spirits sometimes alternately, sometimes conjunctively, and most times indifferently, it may be right, in order to avoid ambiguity, as well as the inconvenient use of a periphrasis, to determine at once 1, the Extent or Definition of the class; with 2, the Distinction between Angels and Spirits, as far as there seems to be any implied or understood; after which the common Subject may be mentioned by either name or both, as chance shall direct or occasion require.
-1, For the extent of the relation or class, in other words, its Definition ; we may observe, that neither Angel nor Spirit would seem to be the name of a natural class ; the former as having a merely relative signification, the latter as a derivation from that; because it is said “ He maketh his angels spirits ” (Ps. civ. 4): so that by nature, or in principle, they must be first angels or something else, apparently, before of angels they are made spirits. Neither can we call these heavenly beings Gods, as they are called sometimes in Scripture ; except it be relatively likewise, as Scripture calls them in various instances, but most eminently in a common name of the Deity, JEHOVA.-Elohim, by which the unity in multiplicity is quaintly expressed. As a natural class, we should rather call the whole of them, GENII, perhaps, with the nations of the East; the definition of a genius being that of an intellectual spirit in person or circumscription, as near as can be conceived. For in so great a dearth of information as one finds on this subject any thing beyond a bare conception is hardly to be expected. We may know who is meant by JEHOVAHElohim: and if not strictly correct, we shall not perhaps be far from the truth in referring the first member of the expression to the Centre of divinity, and the last to its circumference; to that, as the Life or Spirit, being One God in trinity: to this, as the body or common presence, in which the same is displayed above, as it is in the visible church here below *.
Such things may be; but to say, they are, would be arrogant, and presuming beyond our authority. In speaking of things so much above human reason or inference, apologies are more becoming than assertions. All that can be said at all confidently here in the way of definition is, that if both these names of the class, that is, both Angel and Spirit-appear to be relative, and their application indifferent, the existence of the class is however absolute, and its mode as definite as that of man, or of any other being whose denomination is more proper or positive. Its notion
* Jehovah has been stated above as the absolute, and Elohim as a relative name of the Deity: the former being indeclinable, but the latter varying in the Hebrew idiom with the objects to which it relates ; so that the title of a superior will here require the plural number in reference to a plural or complex inferior or object, as 75m? O7218? (Gen. xl. 1); making Pharaoh the king, literally two lords, i. e. one to each of his unfortunate officers, the chief butler and chief baker who were imprisoned with Joseph - also yox? ? WIXT (Ib. xlii. 30); making the kind hearted Joseph, a single man, as it were a several lord to every individual in the country. And in the same sense Jehovah is millions of millions of gods of angels, being One God to each, and in each of them—One above all, and through all, and in all (Eph. iv. 6) essentially, as he rules.