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: Deity, is originally bottomed the life or nature that we possess accord
ing to divine good pleasure. This nature, as we have hinted above, is divine in its origin, and in that sense, we may affirm, that every child of God is a partaker of a divine nature. You will readily perceive, the distinction between the essence of God, and that which is a matter of arbitrary will in him. The first is the prerogative of self-existence, and peculiar to the Deity; the second exists in the mind of God, he having received his necessary free-will in a way becoming of his perfection, respects objects who were then to be created; and this decree of election renders their natural existence, certain, as introductory to the possession of eternal life. That plan of wisdom which had its commencement in the divine mind, is very comprehensive, and embraces every thing pertaining to the present and everlasting welfare of the just. We are said to be “ partakers of a divine nature.” This is what you consider as being difficult to be understood; but if you will kindly notice the above remarks, they may help you in your enquiry after truth. • There is another view that we may take of this truly important subject, viz. the person of the Lord Jesus is the root of life to his family; and what he is federally to them, according to the covenant of grace, that he is in them by a new creation. Here we may notice, that the person of Christ is the first and highest object of eternal election. We never could have a spiritual existence if it had not pleased the Father to choose the man of his right hand to be the image of himself, and the representative of the whole family that is to appear finally in the heavenly world. “ Christ is our life.” Consider then, that whatever is contained in such a declaration, the person of whom it is found being divine, we cannot cut off the quality of the agent from the life that he imparts to his subjects. This order of existence is entirely the result of divine determination. We are in the habit of thinking very superficially, upon divine things, and indeed we are not prepared to enter very extensively into that region in this imperfect state. The holy estate of perfection, which Christ as the head of the church inherits, was conferred upon him according to the will of the Father; and in him eternal love has treasured all its stores to be conveyed to the seed which has ever sacredly existed in him, and is by the eternal Spirit supernaturally found to receive through hiin what has been settled upon them in the contract of eternity. When Adam as the root of natural life to his posterity lived in Eden, he held, as a trustee in law, the life and perfections of his unborn childrenį and when he trespassed, he had nothing to convey to his progeny by natural generation but the defilement of his nature.
You will now perceive what I mean when I say, that the quality of the agent cannot be severed from his actions. When this is carried upward, and Christ is viewed as the Lord of life, although he is not so abstractedly considered as a divine person, yet we must not deny that he is by nature so, above the consideration of his complex being; for if we do we shall take away the natural reason why he is our life;
but by maintaining this we soon arrive at the conclusion, that all his acts partake of the native perfection of his person," the true God and eternal life.” By this time, Madam, you perhaps perceive how very appropriate is the term, divine nature. There is no necessity for us to be converted into Gods; No, we still are creatures. But we are raised so wondrously high in the scale of being, as to be parts of the mystical body of Christ. In this chosen order of things the most high God has done that which will bring a revenue of glory to his divine name for ever. The holy religion that we profess is not something which is separated from God, but that which has eternally existed in his mind, and now possessed by us even as he appointed.
The whole Trinity of Persons in the Godhead are actually employed in this great mystery. Each person has supremely condescended to take office to give existence to what was eternally designed to be accomplished. The Holy Ghost cannot produce any thing in any creature that is contrary to his nature and perfection, and he is the agent by whom we are formed to live in the heavenly world. This glorious person had a very important part assigned to him in the eternal covenant, and he is pleased to execute it according to stipulation. It would not be proper to ascribe divinity to the acts of the Father, and the Son, and at the same time to withhold it from the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the efficient cause by whom the whole election of grace are regenerated to inherit what was settled upon them in Christ before the foundation of the world. As he enters the human mind in a way peculiar to himself, and brings the life of Christ into it in the same moment, do observe the method wisely elected by God to make known himself in all his persons to the heirs of grace. The one eternal God is the author of our life and purity; but each of the divine persons in Jehovah is actively engaged to accomplish his sovereign will. What honour and dignity has God conferred upon and elevated the church to, in the person of her holy Lord and head. Our bodies are the temples of God, and we are really holy, without which we could have no relish for divine realities. This vital union to the person of Christ has exceeding great advantages connected with it. We are made partakers of the nature of Christ, without which we could have no fellowship with him.
It is scarcely necessary for me to notice at this time, that the whole of this scheme is above creation-right, and therefore it must be heavenly. Men of inquisitive minds would ask many questions which cannot be answered by imperfect mortals ; but I can see no just reason why this mode of acting should be relinquished. To limit our enquiries within the bound of revelation is becoming of us, but there is no necessity for us to doubt u here God has spoken plainly. There is no doubt that every thing that exists was the subject of divine decree ; and as God has prepared a better state of existence for his family, than that from which they have fallen, he wisely secured them to himself before they were ruined in Adam. He could hold the church fast by the decree of election, so as to constitute her state
immutable and endless in holiness. Thus then, we see that supercreation grace has exalted our nature to the uttermost in the person of Christ, and the nature provided for us to inherit is. by consequence spiritual and divine.
I know not, Madam, whether by these reflections, I have made myself perfectly intelligible to you, but if they should be in any degree useful to you, or an occasion to excite farther enquiry, if I can promote by any means your spiritual knowledge of Christ, whenever you please you may command my poor services. The subject is worthy of our closest and most patient investigation; for as it has engaged the mind of God to devise it, it can never be thought that it is beneath the notice of the church to observe it. I might have gone into the subject, and laboured the point, by comparing various parts of scripture to illustrate and confirm the fact, but I have given you a few brief remarks anticipating that you will prefer this short statement. There is one text of scripture which I would wish you to consider in connection with these remarks; it is, “ your life is hid with Christ in God.” This is an important declaration, forasmuch as it contains the sentiment that you are solicitous to understand. Permit me, Madam, to entreat you to spread the sentiment before the throne of grace, and the numerous texts of holy writ which contains it, and I modestly venture to say that you will not pursue such a course in vain .. Wishing you a correct knowledge of this important subject,
I am, Madam, your most obedient humble Servant, July 19, 1827.
J. B. T.
A HINT TO THE REVIEWERS, AND ON MR. MANN'S
RECENT PUBLICATION. Mr. Editor;
Who is the reviewer of recent publications, in your magazine, I stop not to enquire, but am sorry to say there is in my opinion too often a quibble about words. In the review of Mr. Bickersteth's publication he objects to the word connect : the expression is treating of justification by faith alone, " receives the only Saviour and connects the soul with him.” The objectionable term with the reviewers appears to be the word connects;' now the simple word, connect, signifies to unite, to be in union, and that man of God, the late Mr. Hart, says in his hymns,
The faith that unites to the Lamb,
Is more than mere notion or name. - I cannot see much difference between the word connect and unitc. The Holy Ghost saith, he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with the Lord; when Paul describes Christ and his church under the metaphor of a body, he says, Christ is the head of his body the church; and all believing sinners are members of his body, his flesh,
and his bones : then there must be connection, for what is connection but union. And how sweetly does that blessed Spirit set this forth by the apostle ; “ It is written, for this cause (namely, love) shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they (thus connected or united) shall be no more twain but one flesh: this is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and his church.” The union or connection between Christ and his church is an eternal one, as they were chosen of God in Christ, and loved with an everlasting love; and this is manifested in time, to the blessed objects of God's love, by the display of almighty power in their regeneration by the Spirit, by which they are made partakers of the divine nature, and so sensibly connected with and united to Christ the living and true vine, that by virtue of this union or connection they bring forth fruit to the praise and glory of God. If therefore Mr. Bickersteth by the word, connect, meant, as 1 presume he did, a vital, real, living union with Christ, by the Spirit as the Spirit of faith and love, I think the reviewer to blame to quibble at the word.
But when I took my pen to write to you, Mr. Editor, I purposed to drop a few thoughts on Mr. Mann's hypothesis, that Lazarus, whom our Lord raised from the dead, never afterwards deceased as touching the body. That Lazarus's was an actual death I firmly believe, (and not a suspension of the animal functions,) for Martha says, “ he hath been dead four days," and his body was in a state of putrefaction. Our most glorious Christ, in the resurrection of Lazarus, displayed his eternal power and Godhead to confirm and establish the faith of his disciples.
The many instances we have, in the old as well as the new testament, of the bodies of men being raised from death, are mani. fest proofs of the power of God: and when the widow's son was raised, I have no doubt, as a good man hath observed, it was to lead her by faith to behold the death and resurrection of Christ. But if it be admitted, as Mr. Mann observes, that these if raised were to die again, it would be a great calamity. I think he enters too much into those things of which it is said, God giveth no account of his matters; and who shall say unto him, what doest thou? Surely, after all the arguments of Mr. Mann, the Judge of all the earth will do right.
My grand objection is, that if those who were raised from the dead never died again, how can the blessed Jesus be the first begotten from the dead? It is true, Enoch and Elijah were translated that they should not see death; but with all due deference to Mr. Mann, I see no impropriety in God's acting thus towards his creatures, yea, towards the objects of his eternal love. We live in a day, Mr. Editor, when men are intruding into those things that they understand not, and are arraigning at the bar of their reason the inscrutable acts of Jehovah. Hoping that some more able pen may take up the subject, I subscribe myself March, 1828.
A LOVER OF TRUTH.
THE HUMAN SOUL OF CHRIST. In the christian course so much depends on correct views of the person of Christ, that the command to search diligently the mind of the Spirit, never ceases its obligations from the commencement to the close of the pilgrimage of life. Yea, when mortality is swallowed up of life eternal, and hope gives place to everlasting fruition; and when the ample means the church now enjoys in that pursuit are removed; and not till then, the sealed book of the divine decrees will be opened, and it will be her endless employ to explore the glories and the mysteries inscribed on each immortal page. It has been the good pleasure of Jehovah to shed forth, through the clouds and darkness which surround the eternal throne, some faint rays of his inexpressible glories, which have from the time of the introduction of sin to the present, illumined our dark world, and which to the final consummation of all things will continue " a light to lighten the gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel.” But though, in comparison with the effulgence of uncreated light, our conception of those beams is infinitely less than that of one glimmering spark abstracted from an ocean of flame,
-how great is that light! We can only conceive correctly of the immeasurable extreme, when we have formed a due estimate of the 'boundless evil of sin, and of the perfect pollution of our nature.
To arrive at a scriptural understanding of the person of Christ, we must revert to the covenant engagements of the divine persons in Jehovah, when for the manifestation of his glory the one LORD, whose name is “ ONE,” revealed himself as the Father who chose the church, the Son to redeem the church, and the Holy Ghost to sanctify the church.
The eternal Three, personally distinct, though essentially one, each act distinctly in the divine essence. The divine wisdom and will, acting distinctly in the distinct person of the Father, planned and resolved the incarnation of the Son for accomplishing the great work of redemption. The divine wisdom and will, acting distinctly in the distinct person of the Son, approved of this design and concurred therein, and he engaged to unite himself to our nature to effect the wonderful undertaking. The divine wisdom and will, acting distinctly in the distinct person of the Holy Spirit, agreed in the great design of the salvation of the church, and he undertook the work and office of glorifying Christ, and sanctifying a peculiar people to the praise and glory of sovereign grace. These distinct and mutual actings
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