Imágenes de páginas

But let us sum up the positive doctrine which has been ascertained in this discussion.

1. That God, by his sovereign wisdom and power, ereated Adam with a natural adaptation to be the parent and representative of a race, each of whom might be affected by his virtue or vice, and participate in his happiness or misery.

2. That God did, in his infinite wisdom, make a positive, explicit, verbal covenant with Adam, exactly corresponding with the natural powers and adaptation of the creature; in which he promised life, as the reward of obedience, and threatened death as the punishment of disobedience; and that this covenant, this law, includes Adam's posterity, or more strictly every human person.

3. That in this covenant Adam did not represent simple human nature, for he did not represent Jesus Christ, who possessed human nature: nor human nature considered as descending from him by ordinary generation, for he represented Eve, who did not so descend from him. But that he represented all human persons, considered in their distinct personality, descending from him in any way which God might be pleased to appoint.

4. That though Adam did not know his posterity individually; yet God knew them all; their names, periods, habitations, and every thing respecting them, and did intend that this covenant should include every one of them, and no one else-and Adam must have assented to this covenant in its fullest terms.

These then I consider as established truths, and shall hold myself intitled to assume them as truths, in the subsequent part of this investigation.

Let us, on the other hand, sum up the subjects

which we have rejected as false, or incapable of being proved.

1. A covenant of works, distinct from that made verbally with Adam, we have proved to be without scriptural support, and to be an erroneous conception.

2. That we cannot decide what sort of world this would have been, had God not instructed Adam, and given him the revealed law, or covenant-that we dare not assert that to create a world on such a plan would be worthy of God. But we are sure enough that this is not the plan of the world which God has actually created.

3. That we do not know what would have been the consequence in respect to the human family, if Jesus Christ had not immediately interposed-we do not know whether Adam and Eve would have suffered the infliction of death instantly on their transgression, if Christ had not interposed-we do not know whether without such interposition they must have been kept in being, in order that all their posterity might come into being. In fine, we do not know whether it would have been worthy of God to create such a race as ours, foreseeing their fall and fate; and not to provide a remedial system. But this we know, that such is not the world that God has made. And leaving the worldmaker to inhabit his own world,

Quas condidit arces
Ipse colat.

We shall content ourselves with humbly tracing the laws, enjoying the comforts, and attempting the duties which belong to the world, in which divine sovereignty has been pleased to order our lot.

Now we shall in our further discussions reject all

these notions, and questions which we have thus proved to be either false or insolvable. We shall not pay the least notice to them, nor once name their name, nor look after a single one of the numerous consequences they generate; unless some of them should happen so to block up our way that we cannot readily pass. If, therefore any one should think that he will have need of any or all of these principles, in any future part of this discussion, or any other discussion whatever, I give him fair warning to turn back and examine carefully what has been offered on each subject; let him prove to his own satisfaction, that these subjects are decided in the sacred volume.-Let him prove to his own satisfaction, that they are capable of ever being solved by the human mind.-I say, let him prove these things to his own satisfaction; and then let him state with simplicity the evidence which has satisfied his mind, and I have no doubt it will satisfy mine. But until this is done, I insist on excluding all those questions intirely. This, I trust, is fair and honourable dealing towards truth, and towards the friends of truth. The analysis of religious truth, like the analysis of natural truth, is a work of patience, circumspection, and time. He that detects a mistake does much, he that adds one ascertained truth to the common stock does more. But let us not be hasty in system-making. Let us lay up the few truths we are sure of properly labelled and described

Poma carpent nepotes.

The reader may recollect, that in page 23, I reserved a subject for future discussion; I now add, that I reserve some others in relation to the covenant of works; as they will come up under more favourable circum


stances, after we shall have examined the covenant of grace, and come to compare the two institutions together. This course will save the trouble and disgust of repetition; besides that notwithstanding the very extensive analogy which runs through the two covenants of works and of grace; some of the elemental truths are best studied, and easiest illustrated in the one institution, and some in the other. Here, accordingly, I conclude this part of my task, praying that the spirit of wisdom and grace may lead us into all truth according to the Scriptures.


Representation by Jesus Christ.

I proceed now to investigate the subject of Christ's representative character, in the covenant of grace; and as the production of human authority on this subject would exact more reading and research, than I have either time or inclination at present to bestow ; and as such authority, when come at, is frequently very difficult to be understood, and after all not conclusive, I shall not trouble myself with inquiring what others may have thought or said on the subject; but shall go directly to the divine word, where truth blazes in its own essential light and native sphere. I shall also abstain for the present from all definitions; as it will be time enough (indeed the precise time which scientific investigation prescribes) to define things, when we shall have ascertained what they are. I shall select the few following passages of Scripture out of many.

Prov. viii. 22, &c. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his work of old. I was


anointed a covenant head from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was, when there were no depths, I was begotten; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I begotten. While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment : when he appointed the foundations of the earth, then was I by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth and my delights were with the sons of men. Now therefore, hearken unto me, O ye children; for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, watching at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall find favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me love death."

The above passage overflowing, at once, with the richness of evangelical truth and the richness of eloquence, is one of the most distinguished, among the distinguished proofs, afforded in the Old Testament, that the ancient Israelites were not those babes in theology, which they are sometimes represented to be; but, while they must be allowed to stand far below the New Testament church in regard to the extent of their religious knowledge and attainments, they were accu


« AnteriorContinuar »