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tery of godliness manifestly great; 1 Tim. iii. 16. And thus that great mystery constitutes the sum and essence of revelation. The essence of revealed religion consists in this, that men by a true faith receive this doctrine, which the apostle calls a mystery manifestly great. Therefore the knowledge of the greatest mystery belongs to the very essence of the religion of a sinner.
How absurd do many of the doctrines of mathematicians and astronomers appear to ignorant men, when they cannot see the reason of those doctrines, although they are most true and evident, so that not the least doubt concerning them can remain in the mind of a thorough mathematician? Ibid. tom. üi. p. 560.
Since, in religion, there are some primary truths, and others more remote, which are deduced from the former by reasoning, and so are secondary, and these last may not be known, though the primary are known, but when once they are known they cannot be denied ; it follows that those articles which constitute religion, and so are fundamental, are to be distinguished into primary and secondary. The primary are those of which a man cannot be ignorant, consistently with true religion and his own salvation; and they are necessary with a necessity of means. The secondary are those of which a man may be ignorant, consistently with his resting upon the foundation of true religion, and with his own salvation; and those are necessary with a necessity of command. Therefore, to the same man, certain doctrines may be now fundamental, which were not fundamental to him before he knew them. Ibid. tom. i. p. 524, 524.
Joh. Chr. Kirchmejerus, in his Dissert. concerning fundamental articles, says, “ They may be either reduced to fewer, or extended to more; as often one article may include the rest, and so all may be reduced to that one; and on the other hand, that one, according to the various truths contained in it, may be divided into several. Therefore, authors do not contradict themselves, who reduce all fundamental articles to one : for they cannot well be determined by their number; because as many fundamental truths are contained in one fundamental truth, as there are essential properties belonging to the truths thus contained. Therefore the holy Scripture often sums up all fundamental articles in one, as in John xvii. 3: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Sometimes it distinguishes them into several; as in 1 Tim. i. 5: “Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” Ibid. tom. i. p. 528.
On account of the various degrees of men's capacities, and the various circumstances of the times in which they live, one man may know truths which another cannot know. Whence it follows that the very same articles are not fundamental to all men ; but accordingly as revelation hath been more or less complete, according to the several dispensations under which men have lived, their various natural abilities, and their various modes and circumstances of living, different articles are, and have been, fundamental to different men. This is very plain from the different degrees of knowledge before and since the coming of Christ; for before his coming, many truths lay bid, which are now set in the most clear light': and the instance of the apostles, abundantly shows the truth of what I have now advanced ; who, although they were already in a state of grace, and their salvation was secured, yet for some time were ignorant of the necessity of the sufferings and death of Christ, and of the true nature of his kingdom. Whereas, he who now does not acknowledge, or perhaps denies, the necessity of Christ's death, is by all means to be considered as in a fundamental error. Therefore, as a man hath received of God greater or less VOL. III.
natural abilities, so let the number of articles to which he shall give his assent be greater or smaller; and as revelation hath been made or information bath been given, to a man, more clearly or obscurely, in the same proportion is more or less required of him. Therefore, in our own case, we ought to be cautious of even the smallest errors, and to aim at the highest degree of knowledge in divine truths. In the case of others we ought to judge concerning them with the greatest prudence, mildness, and benevolence. Hence we see, that a certain precise nunber of articles, which shall be necessary and fundamental to every man, cannot be determined. Ibid.
531. If one single article of faith be so comprehensive, that in it are involved all things necessary to salvation, a man is not to be condemned as a latitudinarian, or as indifferent to all other doctrines, because he says that one article only is fundamental. For instance, that by the grace of the Triune God, Jesus, the true and eternal God, having assumed the human nature, became, through his satisfaction for sin, by his sufferings and death, the only and most perfect cause of our salvation; who, therefore, together with the whole sacred Trinity, is, in the way of self-denial, to be sought, loved and worshipped. Ibid. p. 532.
PARTICULAR PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE.
Genesis ii. 1.—“ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” This argues that the angels belong to the Mosaic creation, who are so often spoken of as God's host, and as the hosts of heaven.
Genesis iv. 23, 24.-“And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, I have slain a man to my wounding,” &c. The probable design of the Holy Ghost in relating this, is to show the great increase of the depravity and corruption of the world, or of Cain's posterity and those that adhered to them. This is shown in the particular instance of Lamech, the chief man of Cain's posterity, in his day. Lamech had been guilty of murdering some man that he had a quarrel with. And he justifies himself in it, and endeavors to satisfy his wives that he shall escape with impunity, from the instance of Cain, whose life God spared, and even took special care that no man should kill him, making the declaration, that if any man killed him, vengeance should be taken of him seven-fold, though the man he slew was his brother, and a righteous man, and had done him no injury. But the man he had slain in or for his wounding (as the words are interpreted by some learned men, see Pool's Synopsis in Loc.), i. e., the man he had slain had injured or wounded him. Therefore, if Cain should be avenged seven-fold, doubtless he seventy-and-seven-fold. By this speech to his wives, he shows bis impenitence and presumption, and great insensibility. When Cain had slain his brother his conscience greatly troubled him. But Lamech with great obduracy shakes off all remorse, and as it were bids defiance to all fear and trouble about the matter.
Genesis iv. 26.-—“And to Seth, to him also was born à son, and he called his name Enos. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” The right translation probably is, Then began men to call by the name of the Lord, or in the name of the Lord, i. e., then they began to call themselves, and their children by, or in his name: signifying that then the people of God, of whoni Seth was the principal man, and as it were their head, leader, and chief priest, being with his posterity appointed another seed (seed or generation of God) instead of Abel ; I say, then the people of God began openly to separate themselves from the wicked apostate world of the posterity of Cain, and those that joined with them; and began to appear in a visibly distinct society, being called the children of God, when the other were called the children of men.
The children and posterity were looked upon as being in the name of the father, and upholding his name.
See Numb. xxvii. 4; Deut. ix. 14, and xxv. 7; 1 Sam. xxiv. 21 ; 2 Sam. xviii. 18; Ruth iv. 5; Job xviii. 17; Isai. xiv. 22; Gen. xlviii. 16, compared with Numb. vi. 27. On the birth of Enos it probably first began to be a custom for parents openly to dedicate their children to God, and call them by his name, and as it were insert them
into his name, by bringing them to the place of public worship; the transaction being personal, by the parents' solemn declaration and covenant, attended with prayer and sacrifice.
GENESIS ix. 26.—“Blessed be the Lord God of Shem.” By Jehovah, the God of Shem, seems especially meant Jesus Christ, who was of his posterity, and eminently his seed. The blessing here pronounced on Japhet, is on his posterity. And the curse of Canaan respects his posterity. Therefore it is reasonable to understand the blessing of Shem to be also on his posterity.
Genesis xxix. 20.—“And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” Jacob was a type of Christ, in his obtaining his wife by a servitude, and in his servitude's seeining so light to him, and his going so cheerfully through it, for the love wherewith he loved her. That Jacob might enjoy his beloved Rachel, was the joy set before him ; for which he despised the difficulty of his servitude. So, that Christ might redeem his church and present it to himself a glorious and blessed church, to dwell with him in glory for ever, was the joy that was set before bim, for which he endured the cross and despised the shame.
Genesis xlv.-Joseph's making himself known to his brethren. It is without all doubt that one thing signified by Joseph's being hated of his brethren, with a mortal hatred, their intending to kill him, and selling him to the Gentiles, was the rejection of Christ by the Jews his brethren, his being hated, and envied, and slain by them, and delivered up to the Gentiles; see Psal. lxix. 6, Matt. XI. 19. So Joseph's brethren being brought to repentance, and Joseph's being made known to them, their being reconciled and received with great joy, represents the future conversion of the Jews, their being brought to repentance after having rejected and crucified Christ, and the great joy and gladness there shall be on that occasion. This affair was much taken notice of by Pharaoh and his servants, and was very pleasing to them. So the coming in of the Jews will be life from the dead to the Gentiles.
Deut. viii. 4.—“Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell these forty years.
This was probably a type of the desirableness of the clothing of the spiritual Israel, in their journey through the wilderness of this world towards the heavenly Canaan. The saints' grace or righteousness is often represented as this clothing. [Neither did thy foot swell.] If their feet bad swollen they would not have been able to proceed any farther. But the righteous shall be enabled to hold on his way; and God will keep the feet of his saints, and establish their goings. This seems to be the chief reason why this is remarked, viz., because it was a type. For in itself it seems no very extraordinary thing, that their foot did not swell. For they lay still most of the time; and when they travelled it is probable it was not by long journeys, but as the women and children could bear.
Deut. xxxii. 2.—“My doctrine shall drop as the rain; my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” God here speaks to the people quite in a different manner from what he did at Mount Sinai, when he spake to them out of the midst of the fire God's word then was like thunder and lightning and devouring fire, threatening to overbear and consume so frail and tender a creature as man, who is like the grass and flower of the field. God's voice now is gentle. It is heard in pleasant song. Instead of being like lightning to destroy and consume, it is like the gentle showers, and refreshing dew on the tender grass, revealing, not his wrath, but his great mercy, in a manner adapted to men's tender frame. In this song is much of the glorious gospel. Even the warnings and threatenings that are
in it, are delivered in an evangelical manner, much in the same way that they were delivered in the mild language of the glorious Messiah. All the songs of the Scripture are the voice of the gospel. The glorious things of the gospel are their foundation and subject matter ; and therefore in them God's word drops as the rain.
Deut. Xxxü. 8.-" And of Levi he said, Let thy urim and thy thummim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah.” Here Christ is evidently called Levi's holy one. Aaron, the high priest of that tribe, was Levi's holy one in some
But it was not Aaron, but Christ, that was tempted at Massah and Meribah (1 Col. x. 9). Moses also was of that tribe, and might be called their holy one, but neither was he the person there tempted. Both Moses and Aaron rather concurred with the people in tempting. Numb. xx. 10–13. Christ, the great antitype of Moses and Aaron, the true high priest, that was the substance and end of all the ancient sacrifices and offerings, and of all the peculiar ministrations of the high priest of the tribe of Levi, according to Jer. xxxiii. 17—22, may well be called Levi's holy one. For it is there represented as the great honor and privilege of Levi, that his priesthood was to be upheld and completed in Christ: All the honor and privilege that there ever was in having the priesthood of his tribe, arose from the relation of that priesthood to Christ, the glorious things which he should accomplish by the sacrifice of himself, and the eternal benefits he should procure. Therefore this is properly mentioned in the blessing uttered by Moses with respect to this tribe. The priesthood was not a vain thing, but of unspeakable value, as it stood in relation to the priesthood of Christ, and was to be brought to its infinitely glorious and interesting effect in him. It was by the Urim and the Thummim that the high priest was especially furnished to make intercession for the people, and to reveal the mind and will of God to them. The Urim and Thummim had their principal importance, as they were typical, and represented the perfection, and merit, the light and glory, there are in Christ.
2 Sam. XV.—Absalom seems to have been a type of Antichrist. He was the son of David; as the man of sin was originally a Christian bishop, one of the ministers of the gospel, who in a peculiar manner are Christ's sons. Absalom was David's son by Maacah, daughter of the king of Geshur, the only wife that he had that was a Gentile. So Popery is a mixture of Christianity with Heathenism. Absalom was the son of a Heathen mother, or one that had been a Heathen. So the Papistical church is the daughter of old Heathen Rome. Absalom usurped his father's authority over his kingdom, his city Jerusalem, and over his house. So the pope usurps the authority of Christ, sets himself up to be king in his kingdom, and takes possession of the church, the true spiritual Jerusalem, sitting in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Absalom was a person of great beauty, and was admired, and praised by the people for his beauty. So it has been with the pope. Whereas Christ appeared in a mean and low condition, without any external splendor, and when the people saw him there was no beauty in him wherefore they should desire him n; Antichrist appears in great external pomp and glory, decked with gold and silver and precious stones, fine linen and scarlet, which all the world has admired and wondered after, saying, Who is like unto the beast ? Absalom cloaked his rebellion and usurpation with a pretence of religion. Like Antichrist, he said to his father, chap. xv. ver. 7, 8, “ Let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed,” &c. Absalom drove David, and those that adhered to him, out of Jerusalem. So Antichrist casts out of the church all the true and faithful followers of Christ.