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cording to the promise” (Gal. iii. 28, 29). Which is easily apprehended by understanding the gift or transmission of the Spirit by Christ, from the “Everlasting Father ;”? whereby not only Christ “ the First-born among many brethren ” (Rom. viii. 29), but every child and inheritor of the Kingdom with him, as Abraham for one, will be cleared of his old birth or affinity, and born again to this unfading inheritance to which he is born originally of God: as St. Peter intimates—“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: which, according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (Pet. I. i. 3, 4). Hence it may appear, how with the particular being, life or person of Christ another universal Being is combined, in which he partakes preeminently as an individual; others also partaking of the same, the Rock from which they are hewn with him, and by him, and through him;-as shewn more particularly in the idea before given * of his divine or universal life.
1. And remembering likewise the effect of the personal, complex, or particular life of the First-born, as there expressed, it would therefore seem necessary to make one grand distinction among the earthly or human Mediates of the Kingdom besides those of administrations and operations aforesaid, namely into Principal of whom we are now to consider and inferior whose mention is to follow. This distinction would not seem more necessary than just either, that other mediates of the same sphere might not be named in the same degree with that One, who stands unrivalled, -as before, so especially from the time that he sped to the realms above, or, as it is said, “ascended up on high, led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men ... giving some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
* P. 117, &s.
edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph.iv.8,11,12). Therefore it is just as well as necessary to exalt the Subject even in bis terrestrial capacity to a several eminence beyond all the mediates that he has given, as aforesaid, being in this respect their Subjective. And while, as it is written, “Such honour have all his saints” let us write the honour of one PECULIAR; inasmuch as he stands alone in the centre of this relation; all the others being related, whether to the Supreme Being or to each other, only through him : just as our second and third rate luminaries are related to the sun, and through him not only to each other, but also to an higher or more central influence; all shining by his light, and moving as he directs..
With this understanding there can be no danger of exalting men as demi-gods on the one hand by associating their names with the highest mediate relation of the Kingdom, nor of disparaging by such association on the other hand that relation which begins with the Father and is continued by the Son : who coming after many eminent individuals of the first race of mankind, is yet preferred before them, as i signified above *; before Adam, its common ancestor ; and Noah, the second Patriarch in a temporal respect; and Abraham, the first in a spiritual, the godfather of mankind; and Moses, the political father of Israel ; with the judges, the kings, the prophets, and other great names in sacred history; to say nothing of illustrious men, being not a few, in heathen antiquity also ; who might be added to the forementioned as correlatives, if such examples were wanted. For before all these the Second Mediate, and also Second Man, or Head of the second race is preferred; and for the reason assigned by his immediate precursor, namely that he was before them (John i. 10) as their Creator (Ib. 3, &c.). “God standeth in the congregation of princes : He is a Judge among gods." He stands in the centre of his Kingdom, its Life and Soul, the Axis of all its affairs and proceedings. Therefore, as every centre,
. Pp. 139, 140.
though formed by its circumference is still before it, if not as a centre, yet at least as an existence; so is the Second man likewise in principle before all, before not only those who follow, but those who preceded him; before them in dignity of course, and before them in age too, considering his dignity, the beginning of which is laid in eternity. “Thou art God from everlasting and world without end” (Ib. xc. 2): he is before all worlds, before any creation.
Accordingly in tracing* the relation of earthly mediates, or the mediate correlatives of the Kingdom of God upon earth, we are to place its proper Head at the beginning of the account, and its several members, the said correlatives, in the order of their relation to the Head as near as may be: but at any rate in subordination to him. And, considering, how he exhibited in himself a representative and creative, as well as a mediatorial or intermediate character; that, as the Eternal Word, and only begotten Son of God; this, as the first born of every creature; the Principal mediate of earthly mould-he might also be named, the End, as well as the Principal and Medium of the Kingdom that was created by him; as it is written in the Old Testament, “The Lord hath made every thing for himself” (Prov. xvi. 4), and more fully expressed in the New: as for example by St. Paul, where he mentions the Subject as “ The Image of the Invisible God, The first born of every creature. For by him were all things created, (says he) that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible; whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers : all things were created by him and for him” (Col. i. 15, &c.); likewise by St. John, “ I am Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End” (Rev. xxi. 6). Indeed no words can better express the multiple relation of the Incarnate Word to his Kingdom. No wonder then, if it should appear, as if every favourable dispensation having mankind for its IMMEDIATE object regarded him as the FINAL or ULTI
* Attempted more expressly in Kingdom Sermons, or Sermons on the Accidents, and the class belonging to this relation.
MATE; as for example in the original predestination of the saints; the end of which was to make a kindred for Christ,
that he might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. viii. 29), as well as “ the first-born of every creature:” also in the predestination of martyrs; which seems to have the same object as that of saints, namely to do honour to the Subject; as they seem to remind him, “For THY SAKE also are we killed all the day long” (Ps. xliv. 22). And other instances could be cited if necessary of this dispensation by which the Second man and Second Mediate of the Kingdom becomes its First End or Purpose “ which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Eph. i. 9, 10). “For of him, and through him, and to him are all things: to whom be glory for ever, Amen” (Rom. xi. 36).
In the magnificent creations of Omnipotence mysteries and dispensations are like families and kingdoms,-their particulars, like human individuals; an angel is like an intellectual system; and the word for an angel, like the word for a thousand generations of men: if therefore God has been pleased of his wisdom and goodness to fix on one righteous intellect as the centre of light and righteous, ness, and to surround it with a nucleus of righteous minis ters, and that nucleus with an innumerable collection of righteous 'assistants, all conforming in succession to the centre, "to him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his father” (Rev. i. 5, 6): and if it has pleased God in the same manner, to observe a natural as well as official order in this formation; placing first and nearest to the Centre, which is Shiloh, his kindred after the flesh descending in a male line from Adam to that last age or generation when the sceptre should depart from Judah and the pale of Israel be enlarged: finally, if God with this gracious purpose has been pleased to ordain one dispensation preparatory to another, and by that other an especial Kingdom not distinct from his universal dominion, but operating and assimilating within it, like the animal properties in the body, till all be converted thereto-so much ought we to acknowledge. And it is by no means clear, either, that the benefit of these dispensations can be enjoyed by any one without such acknowledgment: though some may think it of no consequence; never stopping to inquire, whether the circumference was made for the centre of the system, or the centre for the circumference;' his Kingdom for Christ, or Christ for his Kingdom ; which would never have been told us, it it had been of no consequence.
It may seem remarkable, that so spiritual and enlightened a production as this Kingdom, or institution, should ever have originated with so dull and spiritless a stock as the Jews have been represented by their own prophets (Deut. xxxii. 5; Isai. vi. 10; Jer. vii. 28). But so it was ordained, and so it may be expected to continue until the revolution predicted by one of them; when the Lord of hosts will destroy " the face of the covering cast fover all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.” (Isai. xxv.7): and it shall be said to them, “ Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Ib. lx. 1). For at present it is apparently with that people, and not with that people only, more according to the other part of the prediction, “Behold the darkness shall cover the earth ; and gross darkness, the people.” (Ib. 2): so that, auguring the fulfilment of the first part from the obvious fulfilment of the second, or the fulfilment of the consequence from that of the occasion, we may still look forward to the redemption of Zion; when “ the Lord shall arise upon thee, and the gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Ib. ii. 3). For, as the preacher says, “ the thing that hath been it is that which shall be” (Eccles. i.9): if one part of the prediction has been fulfilled, the other shall be so too; and the present grossness of the Jewish stock and others, instead of detracting from, will rather add to the credit of the en