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us down to the Feast of Tabernacles in chap. vii.; but above all from this silence being half an hour, while the kings reign one hour with the beast (xvii. 12), and in one hour Babylon is judged (xviii. 10–17). But, taking the interval of ten days, between the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement, as the one hour in which Babylon is destroyed ; five days, or half that period, half an hour, would bring us to the Feast of Tabernacles, the time at which we suppose the last seal will be opened and the mystery of God finished. Then, after the silence of half an hour in the Hallelujahs of heaven, the throne itself shall be transferred to this earth, the Son of God having already potentially redeemed it, by taking of its substance and in it bruising the serpent's head; Christ shall mount his own throne ; his people shall reign with him kings and priests for ever; and “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
THOUGHTS, MORAL AND DIVINE, TOUCHING GOD'S METHOD
AND ORDER OF REVEALING HIMSELF.
(By the Rev. EDWARD IRVING.)
I. Of God, The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. CONCERNING God, it is to be believed that He loveth all and hateth none of the creatures which he hath made; being the Good One, who, out of very goodness, and to communicate of his goodness to the creatures, did create all things out of nothing by his Son, and for his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost. Also, that He is the most Holy One, who cannot look upon iniquity but with detestation and abhorrence; and that all which is in the world, the last of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are not of the Father, but of the world. Sin is the uncaused act of the creature's will, which, like all his other works, God created good, and endowed with the noblest faculty of freedom, which it abused by taking part against its Maker. In all this, whether it be the sin of angels or of men, God had no hand whatever, direct or indirect, but did all which, consistently with the freedom of the will, he could do to prevent it; advertising man of the sure and certain penalty of death which would follow if he should transgress the commandment delivered unto him. When man had sinned, I believe that God's holiness, which continueth unchanged and unchangeable, shewed itself forth in the way of judgment, inflicting upon man death—that is, the loss of liberty in his will, of cleanness in his conscience, of incorruption in his body, and of obedience in all his members, drawing on and ending in the dissolution of his being by death; which would have been eternal, but for the operation of God's love ; which also continueth, like every Divine attribute, unchanged and unchangeable, and shewed itself forth in the forms of mercy and grace. His holiness demanded satisfaction ; and the satisfaction is nothing less than the penalty and wages of sin, which is death, in the large and full sense declared above : his love presented to the first, as to the last, and to all men, the fountain of a new life in Christ Jesus, and entreated us, without money and without price, to come and obtain, from the Lamb slain, liberty to the will, cleanness to the conscience, resurrection to the body, and a holy life to the whole man here, and hereafter for ever. And, being thus regenerated with new life through faith in Christ, he did require of us to use this regenerate life in crucifying the natural life; and so to vindicate his holiness, and execute the penalty of sin upon ourselves all our life long; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus fighting against and making us free from the law of sin and death. Thus I believe the love of God did (upon the entering in of sin), fall asunder into two parts or poles; theone, holiness, visiting moral and natural and eternal death,—the other, grace in Christ, presenting regeneration, resurrection, and eternal life unto all men.
Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, it is to be believed that he is the eternal Son of the Father ; very God of very God; the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; whom the Father loved as Himself, being indeed of his own substance, equal in power and glory; yet, for the much love with which together they loved the children of men, the Father did consent to yield him up from his own bosom to die the most cursed and cruel death of the cross; and He, the Son, did forego the dearest love of his Father, and was willing, for the great love with which he loved us, while we were yet sinners, to come into the world, and die, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God. This purpose of redemption was laid in Christ before the world began-from the foundation of the world he was the Lamb. slain, and before the foundation of the world eternal life was promised to us in him ;-wherefore he is called the First-born of every creature, the Beginning of the creation of God: not that he became a creature until he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, but that he was the Christ before the foundation of the world, and as the Christ did create all things for himself, in whom all things subsist. The Father was moved to give up his Son by nothing but his love : the Son was moved to give himself by nothing but his love. The Father had no desire that his Son should suffer and die; still less had he any gratification in seeing
him suffer and die. His anger was against man, and not against his Son; his claim was upon man, and not upon his Son; because the sin was man's, and not his Son's. His Son was sinned against; had no hand in the sin whatever; and the guilt can attach to him in no way whatever, being done against Him as much as against the Father: and whatever part he takes in the sinner's lot, and whatever he doth for the sinner's redemption, is of free will and sovereign grace, without obligation on his part, without desert on man's.
Concerning the Holy Ghost also, I believe that He is of the same substance with the Father and the Son, from whom he proceedeth as a Person from all eternity, forming the link of union between the Father and the Son, being the medium of their blessed communication; for ever pouring the fulness of the Father's love into the Son, so that the Father shall ever behold in him the completeness of his own being; and from the Son bearing back unto the Father his entire love, and willingness in all ways to do the Father's good pleasure. So that the Godhead in Itself not only possesseth all moral and spiritual perfections-such as love, and goodness, and bounty, and truth—but doth enjoy within Itself the exercise of the same anterior to all creation, which is but the utterance and expression of that which is already in God. Creation doth not add anything to the affections and attributes of God, nor doth it make any change whatever in the relations of the Divine Persons to one another; it doth only bring their relations into outward and open manifestation, and make the creatures par. takers, to the extent of their fulness, of that enjoyment which God hath within himself. A God in Unity, without diversity of Persons, were incapable of moral affections—as of love and goodness-for there were nothing to love and bless : such a God must wait for a creation to bring alive and give exercise to such affections : but to make God beholden to any one save Himself, is to subvert God : and therefore a God in Trinity subsisting, the God who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is really the only God of whom it is possible to conceive, as the Creator of moral beings, and the moral Governor of the world.
II. Of the Christ of God, and God's Purpose in the Christ. The Holy Scriptures teach us, that before the foundation of the world God set up Christ to be his image and his fulness; in whom, by whom, and for whom, all things should be created and consist (1 Pet. i. 20; Col. i. 16-18); and through whom alone God should manifest and communicate himself to the creatures which should be made (John i. 18). It was proper for the Son to be this mediator, intervener, or intercessor between God and creation (1 Tim.ii.5); it was proper for the Father to purpose that he should be so, and to define the form in which he should subsist, according to his own good pleasure (Heb.i. 1-4; ii. 6-11), which the Son dutifully and lovingly yieldeth himself to take, and for ever to sustain (Heb. x. 9–12); it was proper to the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, and so comprehending the purpose of the one and the submission of the other, to bring the eternal Son of the Father into the form of the Christ of God, and to maintain for ever the intercourse between God and the Christ, between the Father and the Son, now conformed to the Father's purpose (John xiv. 16, xv. 26, xx. 22; Luke i. 35; Matt. ii. 16; John iii. 34 ; Isai. xi. 2, xlii. 1, lxi. 1). Thus God's purpose, desire, and good-will is realized in the form of the Christ before the world was: creation, redemption, and the eternal state of all things, are but the unfoldings of that which was not only purposed by the Father, but seen in the Son, as realized by the Holy Ghost in the Christ, who is at once the fulness of Godhead and the beginning of the creation of God (Eph. i. passim ; Col. ii. 9; Rev. iii. 14). In him God saw his own image, and in him creation beholdeth its high original. And as the creatures came forth in their order by his workmanship, to represent, to enact, and to enjoy a part of his fulness (Col. i. 15--20); they were beloved by God, for his sake, with what love he loveth Christ his own Son: they were good and beautiful, because they were as God had foreseen and foreordained them in the Christ (Eph. i. 4, 5, ii. 10); and for them to rise up against Christ, is to rise up against their own life and beauty and stability, which have their being only in him, and to despise the love with which God loveth his own Son (John iii. 16–18, 35, 36). The love with which the elect are loved in Christ-" thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me ” (John xvii.)-is not a new thing, but an old thing; is, in truth, no more than the record and the exemplification of that love with which God loved all his creatures, as they were seen in Christ, before the foundation of the world, and in him loved as the offspring of the Father's originating Word, and a part of the fulness contained in his dear Son. Now the end of God in all his working, is to bring this perfect image of himself and fulness of the Godhead into outward existence, that God may manifest toward the creatures, and the creatures towards God, the same affections which subsist between God and Christ (John xx. 17; Rom. viii. 14-17, 21, 29, 39; 2 Cor. v. 18 to end, vi. 18). It is not merely the realizing of a purpose which God hath in view in creation, but the revelation of that love which he hath to Christ (Matt. iii. 17; Luke ix. 35), because, though he was God, he did become the Christ; and likewise the receiving from the creatures, in their several places, the expression of the like dutifulness and submission which his own Son had shewn (Rom. vi. 11, 22). The infinite condescension, dutifulness, and love of the Son, who, being very God of very God, doth receive a life not self-existent, but ever dependent upon the Father, a Christ-life-that is, an anointed life-poured into him from above, with which he delighteth to serve God.
This the Son did of his own free will, and God looks for the same in every creature who hath a will; it is the form and end of a will in creation to do, and to be for ever doing, that same thing. The will is created free, as the Son was free; in order that, like the Son, it may out of pure love to God continue the Son's self-denying act of becoming submissive unto the Father for evermore, to the end of receiving from the Father supplies of his own, blessed Spirit for evermore. Thus a creature becometh a Christian; it sealeth itself of Christ by doing the Christ-act of selfsacrifice, in order to make manifest and enjoy an all-informing, all-blessing God. For this reason the Son of God is called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, because he consented, and ever consenteth, to come out of his self-existence as a person in the Godhead, in order to receive a dependent life with whieh to become the servant of God. He ever slayeth himself, in order to be made alive again. And this great thing he doth in order to teach the law of self-denial and God-pleasing to those creatures who were to be made in the image of God, with a will the cause of itself. And in consequence of this doing of the Father's will, he receiveth that plenitude of all existence and blessedness which is comprehended in the word Christ, the Lordship of heaven and earth, the Headship of the world; is constituted the Wisdom of God, “whom the Lord possessed in the beginning of his way before the works of old;" the Word of God, which was in the beginning with God, and which was God; the Word of Life; at once the Beginner and the beginning of the creation of God, at once the Creator of all things and the first-born of every creature : and all to teach and shew the free-born creatures that all honour and office in creation dependeth upon the voluntary submission of the will to the one absolute will of God. This setting up of the Christ by the persons of the Godhead is preliminary to creation, the first step and the last step of it; for, after all is perfected, all things shall stand together exactly according to that idea or form which before time they had in the Christ.
III. Of the Creation and Constitution of Man. Man was created for two ends : the first, “ to be an image and likeness of God;" the second, “ to have dominion over the creatures.”
The former is descriptive of his reasonable soul, which is fashioned on very purpose to be an image of God, who is a Spirit; endowed with his affections of love and goodness, of truth and justice, of wisdom and understanding, &c.: so
VOL. V, -NO. II.