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The Son can do nothing of himself, hut what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeti, these also doeth the Son likewise.” — In this way, that "glorified” and visible MEDIATOR of the otherwise invisiblc God, from a heaven as before an angel, is every-where the “express Image of the Father's Person, the Image of bis Glory.”
“Respecting the INCARNATION, it is necessary to inquire whether, as some suppose, the Divine Being then descended, and were `exclusively enshrined within the Person of JESUS CHRIST; or, whether it were the EMANATED Glory or Divine Spirit of the IMMUTABLE God, as existing forth in the heavens, which became Soul in the REDEEMER.
“ If the DIVINE BEING descended on that occasion, He who built the universe, and continually gives life to every animated creature, must necessarily have worked for a time, on our earth, as a common carpenter; and then have died, like a frail mortal : For, Jesus CHRIST, it is certain, by following the occupation of that reputed parent to whom he was subject,' was denominated the Carpenter'; and, after a laborious and painful life, died as man ever dies, by the separation of soul and body, when he had cried, · Father ! into thy hands I commend my spirit.'
“ But if we admit, as we ought to do, according to the Scriptures, That "God gave not the Spirit,' His Son, by measure to JESUS CHRIST, but
dwelt' thereby in Him, in heaven, and in the universe, at the same time and in the same manner, ONE UNDIVIDED God: That the Son of Man' also, or the Human Spirit, which was associated with the Divine at the incarnation, was in JESUS CHRIST on earth, and “in heaven,' at one and the same time ;- finally united with the GREAT OMNIPOTENT, the DIVINE SPIRIT in both worlds, when He said, “ All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth': - In this case, we neither finite the DIVINE Spirit, nor limit the HUMAN, exclusively', to the Person of JESUS CHRIST. -On the contrary, we maintain, That they have been from eternity united in the heaven of heavens,' the throne of God, as intimately as the soul and body of man are united into one person ; — but not 'exclusively', even there. That, on earth, the Human was partially separated from the Divine Spirit, at the fall of man. That in JESUS CHRIST, the fallen, the carnal spirit of man was ultimately re
united with its APPROPRIATE DEGREE of the Divine Spirit, as that exists, — Unseparated from the throne, — down into our world. That this Divine SPIRIT, descending from the throne and pervading the universe, is that · HOLY SPIRIT', which came upon the Virgin and assumed materiality at the incarnation. That when this Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Light ‘that enlightens every man that comes into the world,' had, through the fleshly tabernacle of JESUS CHRIST diffused itself throughout this world of man, as ether diffuses itself in our atmosphere; it then began to exhibit the Divine HUMAN APPEARANGE* of the HEAVEN of HEAVENs, as ether exhibits the refracted image of of the sun in our atmosphere. That this “IMAGE' of that Divine Human Appearance, which is given in the glorified Human Spirit | at the centre of creation, is the true “JESUS CHRIST,' whom we shall meet in the air’; — that 'Quickening Spirit,' the “Mediator between God and Man', by whom', as refracted to the right hand of God', all the faithful shall apparently pass, when He delivers up the kingdom to the Father in the eternal heavens. That the Glory investing this express Image of the Father's Person', is again the ‘Holy SPIRIT', which was ‘not given' forth in full manifestation from the throne of JESUS', till He was fully glorified, or till His HUMAN SPIRIT, leaving its fleshly Tabernacle on the cross, be
* This APPEARANCE is most sublimely described by the Prophets ; -as HE that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grass-hoppers ; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them as a tent to dwell in.'
Isai. xl, 22.
- And upon the likeness of the throne was a LIKENESS as the APPEARANCE OF A Man al ove, apon it :—from the appearance of His loins even upward; and from the appearance of His loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire ; and it had brightness round about, as the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain : - This was the appearance of the Likeness of the GLORY OF THE LORD.'
Ezek. i. 26–28.
+ In looking through the atmosphere, as in looking through a Telescope, toward an object, we never see the object itself (the sun, for instance) but only that image of it which is formed (in the lowest stratum of the atmosphere, and) next the eye in the Telescope.
See FERGUSON, Lecture VII. -Also Bp. BERKELEY's Theory on Vision, passim.
That the Human Spirit, in its greatest and smallest portions, in heaven and in man, is ever in the human form, -may be demonstrated by what is natural, thus : -Every salt, in crystallizing, invariably assumes its own peculiar form. You may dissolve cominun salt, or saltpetre, a thousand times, and crystallize them as often by evaporating, or cooling the water in which they are dissolved, yet will you still find the common salt will be constantly crystallized in the form of a cube, and the saltpetre in the form of a prism; and if you examine with a microscope such saline particles as are not visible to the naked eye, you will observe these particles to be of the same shape with the larger masses.'
See Bp. Watson's Chem. vol. i. p. 87.
came one with the right Spirit of Man as filled and united with the good Spirit of God throughout the universe. That the material body, re-assumed at the resuscitation, and .' handled by the unbelieving Thomas, could spontaneously pass off from the Spirit of Jesus; as the “flesh and blood,' which cannot enter the kingdom of heaven', undoubtedly deflagrated from the prophet Elijah, in the fire beheld by Elisha. That, in this way, the body' of Jesus, which had given offence to some, and might have caused idolatry in others, became truly and properly a 'sacrifice for sin'. And that, finally, the At-one-ment, or reconciliation between God and Man, was virtually effected, when the human spirit was reunited with the Divine ; and fully accomplished against sin, when Jesus, byvo luntarily laying down His life', prevented his enemies from murdering him :—thus overruling their wicked design, for good to them and their posterity, by preventing sin, — particularly the sin of idolatry, among Gentiles as well as Jews, even to the remotest generations. — In this way of viewing the Incarnation and the Redemption, the pious Christian may be edified, the infidel silenced or reclaimed, and all the great attributes of Divine Wisdom, Mercy and Goodness, completely reconciled with common sense, sound reason, and every expression of Sacred Scripture.
“It is also a subject of great importance to consider, whether REVELATION, particularly that of the BIBLE, came to the inhabitants of this earth by secret Inspiration, or by open Vision and audible Dictation. — It may be clearly perceived, that Revelation by secret Inspiration could only be of a private nature, merely to the individual who received it; attended with much fear and uncertainty, lest it should not be from the right source ; and requiring continually a fresh inspiration in the hearer, before it could be believed. This, it must be allowed, would have been a fruitful source of great delusion, enthusiasm, and dangerous imposition ; not at all calculated to give stability and confidence to public faith.
“But open Vision and an audible Dictation, such as, according to the Scriptures and other antient Testimonies, took place before thousands on Mount Sinai', in the 'pillar of the cloud', and in the Temple at Jerusalem', might give a reasonable conviction even to the whole world; provided the nature of those manifestations, which occur so frequently both in the Old and New Testament, could be rationally understood, and intelligibly accounted for.
“On duly deliberating on this important subject, and on the ideas already developed concerning the God of REVELATION, &c., the following most interesting conclusions are submitted to the impartial consideration of the serious Reader :That the Patriarchs, Moses, the Prophets, the Apostles, and other holy men of old', being possessed of that right human spirit ever filled with the Divine, which, in their surrounding sphere, would receive and reflect the DIVINE IMAGE, as it is received and refracted by the same Spirit in our atmosphere; it must necessarily happen, in all their unobscured states of mind and spirit, that they would see the LORD, or what they called the WORD OF THE LORD, apparently standing near to them, and by the .suggestions of His Spirit, there apparently speaking to them as “a man does to his friend'. That the Reflected IMAGE OF God is that Personal Holy SPIRIT, and the Refracted IMAGE OF GOD that Personal Jesus Christ, by and in whom alone the ETERNAL FATHER has ever been manifested, and His Will and Wisdom revealed, to the sons of men. That the ONE God, thus appearing in His Son and Spirit, did actually speak all the laws and all the predictions contained in the Bible, and virtually perform all the things ascribed to Him in the historical parts of the OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS. That the Four Ages of the world, so much spoken of by the Antients, are the Four successive Revelations, which God has given of Himself, — in Paradise, — in the Church which perished at the flood ; – to, the Hebrews, — and to Christians. That the Holy Bible, which treats professedly of the beginning, duration, and ending of those Four Ages, being, of course, the complete Canon of Sacred Writ; no man can presume to be the medium of any further Revelations from God, without being either a deceiver, or deceived. That the Revelations of the Bible, which were first given by God HIMSELF, being now fixed in Writing, are the only true medium through which He, by His Spirit, continues, at this day, to enlighten mankind. That those men are enlightened through the Scriptures, who see therein the eternal laws of that DIVINE PROVIDENCE which governs the world; and the interior principles, good and evil, which, in proportion as they alternately prevailed, did successively elevate and depress the different Churches described in the BIBLE, and will, at this day and in all ages, elevate the faithful and depress the wicked in every Church under heaven. That a further unfolding of those laws and those principles, in any particular WRITINGS, is not to be considered as a new Revelation, but as a new Doctrine, providentially contained in the BIBLE from the time it was first written; but developed, under God, precisely when wanted, to re-edify or re-establish
a scripture-founded Church. – This plain account of Biblical Revelation exhibits a true Characteristic of what may properly be called the WORD OF GOD, as being SPOKEN by God HIMSELF; and shows also, how genuine Church-doctrine may, at all times, be derived from that WORD, by unfolding the eternal laws and interior principles ever abounding in its literal Facts.
“We will now proceed to examine the difference between a real and an apparent CHURCH. — All must acknowledge the difference between a Church professing under man, and a Church PRACTISING Under God, the Truths and Precepts of Sacred Scripture ; and that the LATTER is the GENUINE CHURCH of Revelation, ever to be sanctioned and established on earth; whilst the former is that noisy and ostentatious Pretender, always relinquished by the true-born children of God.'
“This distinction will lead us to the following conclusions which are well calculated to make all christians of one heart and of one mind in the doctrine and practice of their holy Religion :—That the well-disposed natural man, 'not knowing the things of the Spirit of God' himself, yet capable of reformation and inclining towards religion, puts himself, voluntarily and implicitly, under the teaching and direction of some religious Leader, whom he cannot perhaps rightly understand, but whom he conceives to be nearly infallible in the exposition and elucidation of scriptural doctrines. That this natural man,' though not apprehending ideas, is extremely zealous for the words of his Leader, which he will maintain even in direct opposition to the sense they were intended to convey. That, if his Leader be spiritual-minded, - one that directs the heart and life in true submission to the revealed will of God; — in process of time, this natural carnal man,' once enmity against God, turning from evil, will turn to the one living and true God,' — under whose influence, perceiving the truths he had hitherto but blindly followed, he is enabled, at length, to say to his Leader, as the people did to the woman of Samaria, • Now I believe, not because of thy word; for I have seen and heard the TRUTH myself.' That, in this way, there is a double conversion, first to religious men, NEXT to the GOD OF REVELATION :- Those in the former conversion are the Sectarians ; these in the LATTER are the genuine and UNITED CHURCH. That thus, in every Church, the adopted under man are the elect; the heaven-born, the predestinated' who, from the foundation of the world,' ever take precedence of those born after the flesh,' and inherit the highest privileges and possessions of their FATHER's