« AnteriorContinuar »
BY R. RANDALL, M.A.
BY ARCHDEACON BICKERSTETH.
The Victor, in the Counsels of Eternity.
REVELATIONS xiii. 8.
"The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
"THE Victor in the Counsels of Eternity." What words, brethren, for us to utter! What thoughts for us to muse upon! We-creatures of a day-creatures not merely under the narrow circumscribing law of time, which at its widest expansion and longest duration is but a poor finite measure, incapable of shewing even as a point beside eternity; but yet more,— under that law of time in its most cramping measures: creatures to whom time is dropped out by minutes; who are born but to die; whose longest life is "even as a vapour, which appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away," we can scarcely speak about the counsels of eternity. Our speculating on them at all is as if a creature, which by the law of its being was chained to some living stalk, which had fixed itself in the narrow chink of some riven rock whence it floated idly in the lazy current of the half-stagnant tide, should speculate upon the mighty currents of the neighbouring ocean, as it surged by in its deep azure mystery. And even this is an unworthy and incompetent analogy. For nearer far in relative magnitude is the least of these half-animated zoophytes to the mighty ocean with all
its trackless unmeasured depths, than is one drop of Time to the illimitable sea of Eternity.
For what is eternity? how can our minds even grasp the very idea of what is so unlike anything around us in this world, which is bound so fast beneath the bonds of time and space, of extension and succession. For eternity is not time prolonged; no, not to the uttermost prolongation through which, by heaping in thought millions upon millions, we strain the weary imagination to get something like a calculation of its infinity. It is not this at all; it is not time prolonged, but time abolished; it is not the lengthening out of the narrow stream as it toils on between the banks, broken into many a reach, marked out by many a boundary, losing the past and hiding the future by many a winding; it is not this: it is the boundless, shoreless, indivisible unity of the measureless ocean, where past is not, nor future, nor fading, nor darkness, but the all ever-present now. THE COUNSELS OF ETERNITY! They reach us as the echo on the shore when the mighty storm breaks in its thunder upon the tossed-up billows of the far-off ocean-tide. They come from the trackless distances which lie beyond space itself, and seem too great for thought.
But, further, between Whom are these counsels taken? Who are those who framed them? Who are these "inhabiters of eternity?" Between the Three Divine Persons in the ever-blessed Godhead; These are the counsels of the unsearchable Trinity; of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The counsels of Love, of Wisdom, of Power, which are not qualities, but essences; the counsels of the Father, the fountain of Godhead; the counsels of the Son, begotten before all worlds, one in the unbroken unity of the Godhead, co-equal, co-eternal