« AnteriorContinuar »
the only relief. This idea of the union of the primitive ordinances, with the legal services of this dispensation, agrees with the import of the great characteristic name, ARCHANGEL; by which, as in the division of the Theory, this part of the divine exhibition is particularly distinguished. So that, in this mediate state of the church, the services which respected the law, and the ordinances which respected the promises, were brought forward together in close connection; and thus Abraham had the means before him, whereby he might order his family, command his children and his household after him, according to the perfect will of God; and so become a great and mighty nation; and, in the voluntary sense, be the Father of the Faithful.
Being thus brought into the enclosure of the sanctuary, which, as in every view given us of the tabernacles of the Most High, is the place of the residence of the holy angels. From this time, men are seen of angels and angels of men. An intercourse takes place between them, familiarly, as being members of the same family, opening a deep fold of the manifold wisdom of God; for, by the ordinance of circumcision, the work of the manifestation of God in the flesh was commenced; and therefore a point was formed for the grand coalition, and for the commencement of the glorious work of gathering together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth: which depth of the infinite wisdom and love of God is now so fully displayed unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, by the Gentiles being made fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ; all which adorable work, will be finished by the restoration of the Jews, at the sound of the great trumpet; and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last; for as the
Gentiles, who were afar off, were among the first who came into the church under the name of Christ the Son; and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch; so, with the recovery of the Jews at the sound of the seventh trumpet, the future kingdom of glory will be commenced, and the mystery of God shall be finished: which things the angels desire to look into.
SECTION II..... The right of Church-membership.
THE church of God being formed according to the nature of a proper and perfect society, whatever things give right to a standing, or exclude from it, in a well regulated community, will operate in the same manner in this body. Persons become members of distinct communities, and subjects of particular governments, in three several ways, viz. by birth, by standing statutes, and by particular conventions; and they may loose their right of membership, either by expatriating themselves, or, when for acts of violence, treason and rebellion, they may justly be excluded. A relation to a society or government, imposes necessarily an obligation of allegiance; and it is ever understood, that all, in such a relation, stand by faith or fidelity; and that if any one proves faithless, treacherous, and breaks his allegiance, he is liable, in just judgment to be cut off.
Agreeably to this view, instances frequently occur, of persons being brought into this society in these several ways. A right of membership by birth is always unquestionable; and by a stand
ing law of the community, all who, in the providence of God, are brought in, and become domesticated, are to be treated as members and subjects; such were the servants in Abraham's family. And also, all who are Christ's who are acknowledged by the Sovereign to be his, are to be admitted to a free participation of the glorious priviledges and interests of his house and kingdom. Such are the Gentiles who are brought in by the call of the gospel, and are acknowledged by the great Head of the Church in his shedding forth upon them the gift and grace of his Holy Spirit; which mercy may be traced up to the article inserted in the original compact, that in Abraham and his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. Rahab was brought in by a particular act of convention; so were the Gibeonites; the daughter of Shuah, and Tamar, 'women of Canaan; Ruth, the Moabitess, and others, came in by marriage; which, when ratified by the authority of a country, is of the nature of a solemn convention. Uriah, Ittai, and the Gittites, who were chiefly native Philistians, were admitted by their enlisting as soldiers, to serve the king and country in the army; and, of all circumstances in which societies are naturally and meetly formed, ample and correspondent views are given in the history of this people.
Also, in like circumstances, which ever forfeit a right of membership in all communities, we have numerous instances of rejection from this: Esau sold his birthright, and confirmed the profane deed by an oath, and so expatriated himself; wherefore, when he sought the blessing, he was rejected: the unbelieving Jews, in the wilderness, did as much, when they despised the land of promise; and, in their hearts, turned back again into Egypt; yea, they did more, when by murmuring against the government, making sc
dition and raising rebellion in the camp, they provoked the Lord; wherefore he sware in his wrath, that they should not enter into his rest.-We have an express statute respecting a rebellious son: Zimri, the son of Salu, was slain for being drawn into an intrigue with an enemy; the son of the Israelitish woman, who, together with breaking the peace, blasphemed the highest authority and cursed, was stoned to death; and Achan, for taking of the accursed thing, which was an act of the most daring disobedience, suffered in the same manner; Absalom, Adonijah, and Joab, fell by attempting to revolutionize the government; Ahithophel and Judas, having committed high treason, and knowing their case was desperate, were their own executioners; Ananias and Saphira perished for the crimes of fraud, sacrilege and perjury; and finally, for betraying their king, delivering him to the Gentiles, and causing him to be crucified, the Jews, as a body, were cut off from their standing in this society--were driven from their country, and dispersed as bondmen or fugitives among all
In the same circumstances men are to be rejected from the church in its gospel state; and by how much they now enjoy greater light and privileges than those in a former state, by so much will the severity of their punishment be increased. Wherefore we are exhorted to look
diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of "God; lest any root of bitterness springing up "trouble us, and thereby many be defiled; lest "there be any fornicator, or profane person as "Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." Heb. xii. 15, 16. We are also reminded of the fearful case of those who fell in the wilderness, and in the view of it, are warned of danger to ourselves. Let us therefore fear---To
day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. "Let us labour therefore to enter into "that rest, lest any man fall after the same ex
ample of unbelief." Heb. ii. 1-11. And again, "Now these things were our examples, to the "intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolators, as were some of them; as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as "some of them committed, and fell in one day "three and twenty thousand. Neither let us "tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, "and were destroyed of serpents. Neither
murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, "and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now "all these things happened unto them for ensam
ples; and they are written for our admonition, 66 upon whom the ends of the world are come."Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth "take heed lest he fall." 1 Cor. x. 6--12. And as the Jews, by taking part with the Roman empire against their own prince, saying, we have no king but Cesar, were mostly cut off, and made to drink of the cup of indignation prepared for that proud city which oppressed them. So it appears, the great body of the Gentile church, by taking part with the last Antichrist in the war against the witnesses, in like manner will be. rejected, and utterly perish in the error and overthrow of that wicked one; of which danger we are warned, Rom. xi. 21. "For if God spa"red not the natural branches, take heed lest "he also spare not thee."
In this, as in all communities, men may have a standing, and possess an interest in common with all its members, who, at the same time, have no true love to their country, or fidelity to their government.....Esau never had faith, yet he had a