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revealed to us in the Scripture concerning this mystery of godliness.”
The revelation which God hath been pleased to make of himself on this the momentous truth, begins with the statement of himself concerning the unity of his divine essence, and trinity of persons.
“Hear o Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deut. vi. 4.) Here is Jehovah's own declaration of himself, and consequently not liable to error, and in it we may discover a plain conclusion, that in the oneness of the divine essence here is implied a plurality of persons ; for while it is said the Lord our God is one Lord, the word Lord is singular, and God is plural; the former expresseth the unity of Jehovah, and the latter God being plural, plainly shews that in the divine essence there is no more than one; yea, the very charge given to Israel, “ Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is, one Lord,” saith as much, for it would have been unnecessary to have charged Israel to remember that one is one, if that bad been all intended; but as in the word God, which is plural, the Israelite might have lost sight of the oneness, from the plurarity of persons, he is therefore charged to have always in remembrance that the Alehim, that is God, being in persons more than one; he should hold with the unity of the GODHEAD, while adoring God no less in his trinity of persons. "And wbat is this precious Scripture but to the same amount as that the Holy Ghost in after ages gave the church by John, when he said, " for there are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these Three are One.” (1 John v. 7.)"
Next to the spiritual and scriptural apprehension of this foundation truth of all revelation, the subject proceeds to the statement of the gracious acts of the holy Three in One, in relation to the church. A covenant “ordered in all things and sure” was
ordained by God in his trinity of persons ; and one of the Holy Three engaged in what in Scripture language is called the fulness of time, to take into union with himself an holy portion of our nature, in which he might become the visible Jehovah to his church and people, and accomplish all the purposes decreed from everlasting, in all the departments of nature, providence, grace, and glory. Hence we find that this Almighty One was set up from everlasting ; hence in Him the church was chosen from everlasting ; hence though this election of grace, according to fore-views and fore-appointments in the divine counsel before all worlds, was to come, like all the other sons and daughters of Adam, during this timestate upon earth, into the same fallen sinful state as the whole race of men; yet from their electionunion in Christ their glorious Head, security was made for their recovery in the person, and by the great salvation accomplished for them through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In this stupendous plan, which could originate only in Jehovah, and be wrought only by Jehovah, the holy Scripture gives a farther statement in the outlines of the covenant entered into from everlasting by the Almighty contracting parties; when each glorious person in the GODHBAD undertook to accomplish certain gracious acts toward the church chosen by the Father in Christ before all worlds, which should bring home the church to eternal glory, through the redemption in Christ Jesus, when all worlds were done away, and one vast eternity as had been before all time now remained ; in which the church in Christ should be happy, and blessed, and holy, for ever. Hence the election of grace being all chosen by the Father, adopted by the Father, and accepted by the Father in Christ, (Eph. i. 4,—6.) were united to the person of Christ, redeemed by Christ, and : saved with an everlasting salvation in Christ, (Isa. liv. 5. Hosea ii. 19, 20. Isa. xly. 17. Eph. i. 7.) and anointed in Christ by the Holy Ghost, and regenerated by the Holy Ghost, from the Adam-fall apostacy; and “sealed unto the day of redemption.” (2 Cor. v. 5. Eph. i. 1. Eph. iv. 30.)
.. Before I proceed to the second branch I proposed, in this subject, I would only detain you with a short observation from what hath been already offered, under the former; namely, to say, that as thespiritual knowledge of these sublime truths can only be spiritually taught, and spiritually learnt, it will be your special happiness to have a personal acquaintáncewith the Holy Three in One, in those things by what John calls (through the unction of the HolyGhost)"fellowship with the Fatherand with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 Johni. 3.)
*Inow proceed to the consideration of the second branch of the subject. under the special bearing of the doctrine, namely, the distinct and irreconcilable difference between “ the children of the bond-woman, and of the free."
And I begin this part with observing, that, according to the statement of Scripture, the original root and stock of the opposite families began from everlasting, and must continue to everlasting. No alteration can take place; no alliance can be formed between principles so opposite. The seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent are as hostile to each other as the most opposed elements in nature. Fire and water, cold and heat, light and darkness, can never be combined. What the monarch saw in vision, concerning the image of " the iron and the clay,” which could not coalesce, is in reality verified, in the totally opposite principles of the children of the bond-woman, and the children of the free. “For what concord hath Christ with Belial ? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel ?? (2 Cor. vi. 15.)
BETWEEN NATURE AND GRACE.
Hence, as the origin of each family ariseth out of principles so opposite, their progressive state becomes marked uniformly, from beginning to end, with the same repugance, and total separation to each other. The children of the free-woman, being from everlasting the children of promise, have union with Christ, and communion with Christ their spiritual Head, in all things which pertain to life and godliness. Neither doth their apostacy in Adam affect their interest in Christ, or cut off their relationship amidst all their delinquency; for what began in eternity, and was destined to last to all eternity, could not be defeated by the events of time. The church of Christ, in all her defilements in Adam, both by original and by actual sin, was and is still the church of Christ; and though'adulterous, was and is no less his wife. Hence Paul blessed God for the church, that God had from the beginning chosen his people to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth : whereunto he called the church by the gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”. (2 Thes, ü.13, 14.) And hence (and which is the grand and infinite cause of all) by virtue of this everlasting union with Christ, and eternal life in Christ, every child of promise, notwithstanding his being by nature, from the Adam-fall transgression, “ dead in trespasses, and sins," hath a capability of being quickened into this new and spiritual life, from that spiritual life and grace. he had given to him in Christ Jesus, " before the world began.” (2 Tim. i. 9.) And this is very blessedly stated by the Holy Ghost himself, 'through Paul. "For whom He did foreknow; he also did predestito be conformed to the image of his Son; that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans viii. 29, 30.)
On the other hand, the son of the bond-woman never had, and never can have any communication of spiritual life from Christ, for there never was any union between them. And as it was by Ishmael, so was it, and is the state of all like Ishmael who spring from the same stock. “He who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh.” He had no more than the mere natural life of flesh. Hence there was nothing in him capable of spiritual apprehension. And this incapability runs through the whole of the bond race, from generation to generation. If you consult the history through all ages, you will find the same uniformity. In the succeeding family to that of Abraham we have the same truth illustrated in the instance of Jacob and Esan : these two persons were not only brothers, but twin-brothers: they not only lay in the same womb, begotten by the same father; but lay at the same time together in the same womb. Yea Esau was the eldest, and according to birthright he was according to the patriarchal custom the priest of the family. But what was the ordination of God concerning these two brothers? Hear the Lord's decision : “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth: it was said, the elder shall serve the younger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Malachi i. 2, 3.) “What shall we say then ?” (said the apostle Rom. ix. 11, 14.) And if you are so disposed, you may say the same. But what is the silencing answer to such sayings ? “ Shall pot the judge of all the earth do right!".
But what shall be said to those things we behold in life, where we see many making a profession of godliness, as though of the seed of the freewoman, but in the after circumstances of their life prove, that they bad all along been of the children