Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

conjunction with such as were properly so. They might be (nobay) offerings, or ascensions; but (Smi) sacrifices they were not. And the nature of a sacrifice principally consists, not in the actings of the sacrificer, but, in the bringing of it to be slain, and in the slaying itself; all that followed, belonging to the religious manner of testifying thereby faith and obedi

ence.

This also discovers the proper and peculiar end of sacrifice, properly so called; especially such as might prefigure the sacrifice of Christ, to which our present discourse is confined. All such sacrifices must respect sin, and an atonement to be made for it. There never was, nor ever can be, any other leading end of the effusion of blood in the service of the living God. This the nature of the action, and the whole series of Divine institutions in this matter, fully manifest. For to what end should a man take another creature, in his power and possession, which also he might use to his advantage; and, slaying it, offer it up unto God, if not to confess a guilt of his own, or somewhat for which he deserved to die; and to represent a commutation of the punishment due unto him, by the substitution of another in his room, according to the will of God?

$8. Some have maintained, that if man had not sinned, yet the Son of God should have taken our nature on him. In answer to which, we shall here only say, that the assertion is (cypa@ov) unwritten (evleypaQov) contrary to what is written, and (croyov) destitute of any solid spiritual reason, for the confirmation of it; and, therefore, must needs be false. I say, that to ascribe to God a purpose of sending his Son to be incarnate, without respect to the redemption and salvation of sinners, is to enervate and contradict the whole design of revelation, and particular testimonies with

out number. Origen observed this; "If sin had not been, there would have been no necessity, that the Son of God should be made a lamb; but he had remained what he was in the beginning, (Deus Verbum) GOD THE WORD.

But because sin entered into the world, and stood in need of a propitiation, which could not be but by a sacrifice, it was necessary that a sacrifice for sin should be provided."*

From what hath been spoken, it appears, that there was no decree, no counsel of God, concerning either priest or sacrifice, with respect to the law of creation, and the state of innocency. A supposition, therefore, of the entrance of sin, and what ensued thereon, the curse of the law, lie at the foundation of all real priesthood and sacrifice. Having made these previous remarks, it remains, that we proceed to declare the special origin of the priesthood of Christ in the counsel of God.

89. From what hath been discoursed, it is manifest, that the counsel of God, concerning the priesthood and sacrifice of his Son to be incarnate for that

purpose, had respect to sin, and the deliverance of the elect from it. That which now lies before us, is, to inquire more expressly into the nature of the counsels of God in this matter, and their progress in execution. And as, in this endeavor, we shall carefully avoid all curiosity, or vain attempts to be “wise above what is written;" so, on the other hand, study with sober diligence to improve what is revealed, to the end that we should so increase in knowledge, as to be established in faith and obedience.

God in the creation of all things, intended to manifest his nature in its being, existence, and essential properties; and the things themselves that were made, had,

*Homil. xxiv. in Numer.

in their nature and order, such an impress of Divine wisdom, goodness, and power, as made manifest the original cause from whence they proceeded, Rom. i, 19 -21. Psal. xix, 1, 2, &c. Wherefore the visible works of God, man only excepted, were designed for no other end, but to declare in general, the nature, being, and existence of God. But in this nature (as we learn from his word of grace) there are three persons distinctly subsisting. And herein consists the most incomprehensible and sublime perfection of the Divine Being. This, therefore, was designed to be manifested and glorified in the creation of man: herein God would glorify himself, as subsisting in three distinct persons, and himself in each of these persons distinctly. And as this was not designed immediately in other parts of the visible creation, but in this, which was the complement and perfection of them; therefore, the first express mention of a plurality of persons in the Divine nature, is in the creation of man. And therein also are the personal transactions intimated, concerning his present and future condition.

$10. (I.) This, therefore, is what, in the first place, we shall evince: “That there were from all eternity, personal transactions in the Holy Trinity, concerning mankind, in their temporal and eternal condition, which first manifested themselves in our creation.

The first relation of the counsels of God, concerning this matter, we have, Gen. i, 26; (07% nwys Dubx 72899999999999973 19ya ) " And God said, let us make “Man in our image according to our likeness; and let “ "THEM have dominion.” This was the counsel of God concerning the making of (7) Adam; that is, not that individual person who was first created, and so called; but of the species of creature which, in him, he now proceeds to create; for the word “Adam” is used in this, and the next chapter, in a three-fold sense: First, for the name of the individual man who was first created. He was called Adam from Adama, the ground, from whence he was taken, chap. ii, 19–21; 1 Cor. xv, 47. Secondly, it is taken indefinitely for the man spoken of, chap. ii, 7. And “the Lord creat“ed (787) man;” not he, whose name was Adam, for the He Hajediah is never prefixed to any proper name; but the man indefinitely of whom he speaks. Thirdly, it denotes the species of mankind; as in this place; for the reddition is in the plural number: “And "let them have dominion;" the multitude of individuals being included in the expression of the species; hence it is added, ver. 27; “So God created man in his own “image, in the image of God created he him, male and “female created he them;" which is not spoken with respect to Eve, who was not then made, but to the kind, or race of men, including both sexes.

Concerning them, God saith, (nwys) let us make in the plural number; and so are the following expressions of God in the same work (932 772)“in our image, (1391275) according to our likeness.This is the first time that God so expresseth himself; as to all other parts of the creation, we hear no more but (TDN91) "and God said;in which word also I will not deny, but respect may be had to the plurality of persons in the Divine essence, as the Spirit is expressly mentioned, chap. i, 2. But here that mysterious truth is clearly revealed.

$11. It is an easy way, which some have taken in the exposition of this place, to solve the seeming difficulty: God, they say, speaks in it plurally (more regio) in a kingly manner. “It is the manner of the Hebrews, saith Grotius, to speak of God as of a king; and kings transact important matters with the counsel of the

chief men about them, 1 Kings xii, 6; 2 Chron. x, 9; 1 Kings xxii, 20.” But the question is not about the manner of speaking among the Hebrews (of which yet no instance can be given to this purpose) but of the words of God himself, concerning himself; and of the reason of the change of the expression used constantly before. God is king of all the world, and if he had spoken more regio, would he not have done it, with respect to the whole creation, equally, and not signally with respect to man? Besides, this mos regius is a custom of much later date; and that which then was not, was not alluded to. And the reason added, why this form of speech is used, because “kings do “great things on the counsel of their principal atten“dants,” requires, in its application, that God should consult with some created princes, about the creation of man, which is an anti-scriptural figment.

The ancients unanimously agree, that a plurality of persons in the Deity is here revealed and asserted; yea,

the counsel of Syrmium, though dubious, though Arianizing in their confession of faith, denounced an anathema to any that shall deny these words, “Let us make man;" to be the words of the Father to the Son, (Sacrat. Lib. II, Cap. xxv.) Chrysostom lays the weight of his argument for it, from the change in the manner of expression before used, as he justly and solidly might. Ambrose observes, (Apparet concilio trinitatis creatum esse hominem) “it appears that man was created by a council of the Trinity.Nor have any of those, who of late have espoused this evasion, answered the arguments of the ancients in favor of this Catholic sense, nor replied with any likelihood of reason to their exceptions against the contrary interpretation. Theodoret (in Ques. xx, in Gen.) urgeth that if God useth this manner of speech, concerning him

« ÖncekiDevam »