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the mind with its clear and convincing energy, it is not to be controled by any human authority, though the most worthy among men. How far the author will be accused of departing from the beaten track ip the following discourse, especially with respect to his manner of explaining some important points of the christian system ; or what censure may be passed upon him on account of it, cannot easily be dee termined before-hand. The reader will find some points of divinity brought up to view, in a dress; in some respects, different from that in which they have commonly appeared ; especially the doctrine of ori. ginal sin ; which doctrine, as it has been commonly stated and defended by Calvinistic divines, is confessedly encumbered with some pressing difficulties, which their Arminian antagonists have eagerly laid hold of, and strenuously improved to the great disadvantage of that doctrine. But that doctrine, in the manner in which it is stated and explained in the following discourse, will be found to have no connection with such things, nor to admit of such consequences, on which the Arminian triumphs are chiefly grounded ; and yet, every thing retained that a strict Calvinist looks upon useful. The reader will also find some other doctrines, which the author, in consequence of his diligent inquiry after truth, has been led to view and exhibit, in a manner something singular; but whether it is, upon the whole, of any real advantage to religion, must be submitted to the reade er's own judgment.
It is obvious, that the brief system held up to view in this discourse, proceeds upon the supposition of the pre-existent state of the created nature of the Son of God; a sentiment, though not generally received yet has been held by many learned and pious divines, in the christian church.
it is not necessary for me to essay the establishment of this point. Such as have already undertaken the proof of it, have brought such evidence from divine revelation for its support, as is not easily answered.
For although this pre-existent state may not be expressly asserted in any one text ; yet it is so strongly implied in vari. ous descriptions of the glorious character of our exalted Redeemer, as is sufficient to persuade a rational mind into the belief of it ; especially since the ob. jections brought against it are of so little weight, and none of the truths and doctrines of divine revelation, in any measure, weakened by it; and as the admission of it will set many difficult texts in a plain and easy light; and will give us a more noble view of the necessary, important, and exalted character of the Redeemer, than the contrary supposition will easily admit of: which consideration is in itself, no contemptible argument in proof of it.
Union to, and communion with God is essential to the well-being and blessednes of created and rational nature. This is a truth too evident to need proof. And it is not much less evident; that such a mediator of access to God as the Lord Jesus Christ is described to be, is necessary as a foundation of, and a meth
od to bring about and accomplish this union with God, among all rational creatures. And if created nature stands in need of such a mediator of access, it will follow that this is the case of the highest, as well as of the lowest rank of rational creatures : all which is strongly implied in that connexion and relation between the Son of God, and all things visible and invisible, so often mentioned in the sacred scriptures. And if the creator of the universe is uniform in all his works, it will lead us to suppose, that as God, before he formed man to be lord of this lower world, first prepared an habitation for him, in creating this earth, and filling it with vegetable and animal life ; so he also provided for the well-being and blessedness of all his rational creatures, before he brought, any of them into existence, by this mysterious union of the created and uncreated nature of the Son of God; which will lead us to understand that text in its most plain and literal meaning, where Christ styles himself “ The beginning of the creation of God.”
To suppose the union of the created and uncreated nature of the Son of God, did not commence till his incarnation, when he was made flesh and dwelt among us, casts great obscurity upon all such texts as point out his connection with, and relation to all orders of rational creatures, even the angels of light, as well as the children of men, who are gathered together into one in him ; and brings down the mediatorial character so low, as to confine his influence in that capacity, merely to the fallen race of Adam ; which is a
low, and diminutive character, compared to that which our Redeemer appears clothed with, when we consider him as a mediator of access to God for all rational creatures throughout the whole systein ; which with strong evidence appears to be the doctrine of divine revelation. Indeed, we should not have needed a Redeemer to save us from the curse, if we had not violated the divine law. But does it hence follow, that the original natural distance between God and man, was not so great, but that man was capable of enjoying all necessary union and communion with God, for securing his safety, and completing his blessedness, without assistance from such a mediator as Christ is describcd to be, in the gospel ? Such a conceit must surely arise from too low conceptions of the Deity, and exalted notions of the creature, There are but few truths which appear to the rational mind in a stronger light, than that of our necessary dependence on God. And if in connexion with our necessary dependence on him, we consider the infinite distance between God and the creature, modesty would teach us at least, to acknowledge the propriety, if not to see the necessity of a mediator of access to him, as the way in which our interest in him might be secured, and the enjoyment of him obtained. Some liave expressed themselves in bold and strong terms, concerning Adam's right which he had in his innocent state, to expect favor and protection, and even perfect blessedness, at the hands of his creator; considered merely as an innocent creature. But in harangues of this sort, we are apt to forget that God had as much power over him, as the potter has over the clay, who of the same lump, makes one vessel unto honor, and another to dishonor ; which, if true, might teach us that an innocent creature, considered merely as such, can, properly speaking, have no right or title to any good thing, nor make any challenge or demand upon his creator. All right or title that any creature can have to any good thing at the hand of God, must be the result of some condescension on God's part, in making a covenant of grace with his creature, and treating him as a probationer. There is no other conceivable way in which a creature can plead any title before God. And the experience we have already had of a probation-state, under both the first and the second covenant, might be reasonably supposed sufficient to convince us of the usefulness and propriety of a mediator, even in 'our best estate. And for the same Teason we ought to acknowledge the propriety and usefulness of a mediator to every rank of rational beings, how many, or how noble soever we may suppose them to be.
How greatly does it enlarge our conceptions of the glorious and exalted character of our divine Redeemer, when we consider him as the beginning of the creation of God, the first-born of every creature, and the universal mediator by whom every order of rational creatures throughout the whole system, enjoy access to God, and communion with him; above