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rations, a reference to this universal scheme? As this scheme was planned, according to the “ eternal purpose” of the Deity, before the creation of the heavens and the earth ; as all things in heaven and in earth are comprehended in this scheme; and as, when this scheme is fully completed, those heavens and that earth will
pass away” and “be dissolved ;” may we not conclude, that when the eternal Word made those heavens and that earth, as He made them for Himself, and with a reference to the scheme of redemption which He was to ratify, so did He stamp the image of that scheme upon all that He made, and model, as it were, all the works of creation after the pattern of Christianity, thus making nature proclaim in every work, as revelation proclaims in every page, that “Christ is all, and in all 8."
Thus we have seen, that “ the Holy Scriptures",” comprising the Old and the New Testament, contain an exposition of that scheme of salvation which was planned, according to "the eternal purpose” of the GODHEAD,“ before eter
," “ before the foundation of the world." Being all given by inspiration of God', they
s Coloss. iij. 11.
ix. 30. Isaiah, lxi. I. Luke, A 2 Tim. jii. 15.
i. 68, 70. 1 Peter, i. 10, 11. i 2 Tim. iii. 16. Nehem. 2 Peter, i. 21.
form one connected whole ; so that, although the several parts of the Bible were written by a succession of inspired penmen (between the first and the last of whom, a period of above fifteen hundred years elapsed), there is, nevertheless, a strict accordance and harmony between all these parts, a perfect unity of design and of subject throughout them, which is preserved in its full integrity from Genesis to The Revelation. The subject of all these written communications from the Deity, is CHRISTIANITY. The first announcement of this stupendous scheme is veiled and obscure, it is “ as a light that shineth in a dark placek;" the progressive disclosure of it is shadowed out in types and ceremonies ; the voice of prophecy proclaims it in highly wrought figures ; the veil is gradually withdrawn, until, in the fulness of time, the SAVIOUR came, to ratify the Christian scheme by his humiliation and passion. The “ veil is done away in Christ?." Still did our Saviour continue to unfold the scheme of Christianity under the figure of parable; for, so limited are the perceptions of man in his present state, and so unspeakablem” in human speech, so incomprehensible by human intellect, are “ heavenly things” (they being things which
eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
m 2 Cor. xii. 4.
K 2 Peter, i. 19.
nor hath entered into the heart of man ""), that figurative language is the only language by which any notion can be conveyed to us of those things which pass man's understanding.
Viewing the commencement of the Bible as the first dawning of the revelation of the Christian scheme, we are prepared to meet, in the first opening of that volume, with a highly veiled and obscure notification of it ; and we are not surprised at finding, that what passed “ in the beginning,” is wrapt in language at once brief, mystical, and figurative. Nor shall we be surprised, when we consider the Bible but as the record of Christianity, that Moses has not departed from the subject of that record, to give a detailed account of the creation. He was not employed as the historian of the economy of the universe ; his writings, as well as his life and actions, were dedicated to Christianity; it was his office to record the first obscure tidings of the institution of this scheme, and to prepare the world for the more full developement of it, by recording acts and events illustrative of it; and by instituting ceremonies typical of its nature, and of the means by which it was ratified. The commencement of the Bible, therefore, is not designed, nor calculated, to satisfy the speculations of the geologist or the astronomer ; but it
n 1 Cor. ii. 9.
affords a study for the believing disciple of Christ, who finds in it the rudiments and the groundwork of his faith, and who views the several parts of the Holy Book, as constituting one connected whole.
By tracing the gradual developement of Christianity, we bring together several passages dispersed throughout the sacred writings, and, by thus placing them under one point of view, we are enabled to illustrate and to explain a variety of passages, which, if examined alone, and without a reference to the rest, appear obscure and unintelligible. We are commanded to “ search the Scriptureso;” and we are told, that no prophecy of the Scripture interprets or explains itselfp; it is only by bringing the several parts of Scripture together in such a way that they may illustrate and explain each other, that we obtain a full insight into their scope and meaning; but, by so doing, we make them interpret themselves; so that, “ whatsoever things were written aforetime,” and “ written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort, might have hope?," “ are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus”.”
• John, v. 39.
4 Rom. xv. 4.
Our Saviour has appointed the ordinance of Baptism as the means whereby we are to be admitted into His church: “ Go ye-and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghosta.” This baptism is a figure of the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghostb," which we receive when we undergo this ordinance : “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of GOD.” We find, then, that regeneration by the Holy Ghost accompanies the washing with water, in the sacred ordinance of Baptism, which is to be performed in the Tri-une name of the GODHEAD. By undergoing this ordinance, we are said to be “ baptized into Christ d;" to be “ baptized into His death • ;” to be “ buried with Him by baptism into deathf;" to be “ born agains;” to “ put
a Matt. xxviii. 19.
e Rom. vi. 3.