« AnteriorContinuar »
peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and THEIR LORD shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth; and such as be faithful in love shall abide with him: for, grace and mercy is to his saints, and he hath care for his elect” (Wisd. iii. 1-10).
These are they whose names, according to another book which some have also deemed apocryphal, are written in the BOOK OF LIFE (Rev. xxi. 27): which may be regarded as the ROLL OF MEDIATES, an enumeration of " the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven” (Heb. xii. 23). And their lives are all described in ONE WORD of which Christ is the meaning, and in ONE SPIRIT of which God is the Fountain. “That they all may be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe, that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are One: I in them, and Thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me” (John xvii. 21-23). And such is the unity of the Trinity in multiplicity, being a continual reflexion of the Deity; who is first One in Himself substantially; then One in the relation of the ever blessed Trinity; then One thereby in the multiplicity of other mediates, whether celestial or terrestrial just described: the multiplicity on the other hand being all one in effect to the Deity. “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for
the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Rom. x. 12).
-Such an extension of the divine Presence as is here intimated may be inferred from numerous passages of the sacred records, beginning even with the history of the beginning of the Kingdom, or rather of its projection; as when “God said, Let us make man in our image,” &c. (Gen. i. 26). For, 1 if it be assumed by some among us, that God meant Us Three, when he said Us, they may assume it; but there is no substantial ground for such an assumption, or for his not meaning millions, instead of units,-the least of whom might have been equal to the operative part of the project, God giving the mode and matter, or the Word and Spirit: also, 2 when we read a little after, “And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us” (Ib. iii. 22) how many soever there were in his presence; also, 3 whenever the angel of God or of the Lord speaks as God, it is begging the question, to understand Us Three again, or that such and such an angel * was the only angel of God, or bearer of his presence; the very first idea of such a presence being that of a tree, namely THE TREE OF LIFE; AS COMPLEX AN IMAGE AS POSSIBLE, AND AS CLEAR A TYPE OF THE UNITY IN "MULTIPLICITY.
Such is the divine offspring and medium of the divine Presence, springing from Paradise or the seat of happiness; as the Psalmist intimates (Ps. xvi. 12). And if some of the branches have been broken off, for others to be inserted, it will still be the same eternal life, and the same eternal beginning to all; to angels and men, to saints in Heaven and saints upon earth. For these two conditions are always necessary to eternal life ; first a birth, insertion, or
* Concerning the supposition of this character, and of the extension of the divine Presence by his means, more has been said above in this volume; p. 401.
beginning in the Eternal Parent or Fountain, if it be at the last hour of our human existence, and next a continual nourishment or sustenance by communion with the same to its last moment. Which two conditions, it is presumed, were enjoyed by man originally from his first breath, as being born of God and nourished with his Word, at least in the most essential respect; as it is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. iv. 4). And so the proof of one condition is to be found in the presence of the other; of man's divine original in his love of wisdom and absolute dependence on the Word of life, or Bread as it is also called, for supplying the same; and of his absolute dependence on such food in the evidence of his divine origin. This is "the living bread which cometh down from Heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die; (as he says) I am the living Bread, which came down from Heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John vi. 50, 51). For every thing in nature will haveits proper pabulum, down to the very elements, according to its nature or beginning; and the fruit of the Tree of life which was originally conceded to man (Gen. ii. 9, 16), and is thus wonderfully restored, would have been no food for him, if he had not been born again at the same time, and had not a higher beginning than the grasses which spring from the earth, or than the noblest animal either that expatiates on its beautiful surface. ,.
. .“ For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (Cor. I. xv. 22). Naturally all mankind are “ dead in trespasses and sins ” (Eph. ii. 1), or so far paralysed, as to have only the form of men remaining. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by whose grace ye are saved; and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come, he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus” (Ib. 4—7). So the Psalmist alleges, “ Thy Word bath quickened me” (Ps. cxix. 50). And being thus regenerated by Christ, or by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, full of grace and truth—and restored by the same, not to a transitory life like that which we are quitting, but to the life of eternity proceeding from God the Father by him, we fondly hail him as our everlasting Father, and date all our affinities from this commencement; bidding an eternal adieu to our nearest and most esteemed relatives after the flesh-cousins by Adam, as considered in this relation; and determining with St. Paul, to know no man after the flesh, not even Christ himself in this light, the only light in which some are apt to consider him (Cor. II. v. 16).
- On the other hand; considering the restoration in blood, as we may say, according to the idea here given, and having already observed the peculiarity of one relation to the Father in different respects, we may now farther observe on this common affinity, in which the said peculiarity occurs, how the conclusion of those who will have it, that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God in an absolute sense, can only be evidence to themselves. Why Jesus Christ is called “the Son of God,” we know on the authority of an angel (Luke i. 35); also why he may be called “ Only,” the reason of which has been already specified : so far therefore no abuse of titles can need to be apprehended. And farther than that, there can be no doubt of all the heavenly creatures who are called in Scripture “Sons of God,” or “the Children of God,” whether sons or daughters,-being properly so called; though we know not, nor are concerned to know the particular grounds of their appellation, or any other, except as it relates to ourselves particularly, which we are concerned with. Thus God being presented to us PERSONALLY by his Son Jesus
Christ, we receive the Son of God as God in person ; thus being presented to us SPIRITUALLY by the Holy Ghost, we receive the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, as God in spirit; being presented to us OFFICIALLY by his holy apostles, we receive an apostle as one of his good angels, being by reason thereof a son likewise; as St. Paul was once received by the Galatians (Gal. iv. 14): and thus we should receive any person, presence, representation or medium of apprehension however designated that speaks or is spoken of in Scripture as God, or as an angel of God or the Lord,-all One in all. .
It may justly astonish, if any theological extravagance can justify astonishment under all circumstances, that ever any one should conceive or take into his head the idea of sorts or degrees in divinity, whatever sorts or degrees may be found among those who are honoured with its Presence,
— Mediates of the Kingdom as they are properly called. How can any one doubt that the One only God whom we adore is the same singly, in duality, in trinity, in multiplicity, and also in every kind of presence; in the angel of his presence, and in the presence of the heavenly host; in the Holy Spirit, and in the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. xii. 23); “ One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all”? (Eph. iv. 6.) But this is in the way of involution, as before signified, and confirmed by the forecited expression of the Second Mediate, “I in them, and Thou in me ” (John xvii. 23), with many similar expressions that could be cited if necessary.
Therefore if a man should maintain, that the Godhead in Jesus Christ was any way different from that of the Fa. ther on the one hand, or that presented in angels on the other hand by whom God was pleased to reveal himself occasionally, or from the Godhead presented in mankind, or in any other medium by which he now does or ever did reveal himself to men, he would be guilty of asserting polytheism, and of a formal blasphemy,—as dividing God, and insinuating or bringing in false gods. Whereas one should