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We have seen the triangle embraces the constitution of satan's kingdom; that dynasty is not formally proderit; but anti-Christ. Satan does not call men his vassals or slaves ; nay he is too subtle to style them royal cousins or brothers, faithful leagues or allies. He says to men, “ Ye shall be as gods.” He never said to any, “Fall down and worship me,” Matt. iv. 9, save to the man Christ Jesus; and as He knew him, even serpentine diplomacy was obliged, for once, to be explicit, and to come direct to the point. But in dealing with us, who are blind, it is the old text: “ Ye shall be as gods"_"your eyes shall be open"
ye shall not die"-"ye shall know good and evil.” Here is the cause of the deadly poison of that old serpent the devil; here is the fundamental law of the kingdom of darkness; and upon this square is erected every form of false religion that ever was in the world. Among all the "isms” which have been among men, we have never seen one comprehensive enough to include all forms of error but " EGOISME"; this is noinen generalissimum, and will embrace every form of anti-Christ.
The false doctrine of Satan in respect to the condemnation, to the penalty of the law, to the curse, was the death of man; and ever since the promise of grace, it has been the great work of the devil to deceive men as to the nature of the BLESSING, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4; and this he accomplishes most successfully by his old philosophy, concealing and denying the nature, effects and desert of sin.
Let us now proceed, as proposed, to notice the operation of the human triangle on the church and on individuals; and herein we shall treat of the church in her political organization as she is seen; for we have this treasure in an earthen vessel ; there is a wheel within a wheel, an imperium in imperio. And we find on examination not the good, but the evil doings of the Church, the topics of record in the chronicles of history sacred and profane. The story of the invisible church is only read in the annals of Sovereign mercy and redeeming love; in the wonderful works of God; Psalms cy. and cvi. We read of action and of passion; of doing and of suffering; of the struggles between the flesh and the Spirit; we see
two nations and two manner of people."
Immediately after the fall, the first pair fall to work upon triangular principles, and their attempts to hide the naked
ness of their souls from the knowledge of God, when they heard his voice and were afraid, is an instructive and affecting comment on the expedients and sufficiency of human ability. Gen. iii. 7-11.
We find Cain working upon the same principles. He had no doubt of his personal competency, in all matters connected with worship; be brought such as he had, according to his ability, for an offering ; and claims, as a matter of right, that his doings should be respected ; for when himself and offering were rejected, he felt that injustice had been done him; “his countenance fell.” Gen. iv. 5. He was manifestly upon the old covenant of works, Rom. iv. 4; and according to its tenor, the Lord dealt with him. “If thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted ; and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Gen. iv. 7 ; Rom. x. 5; Gal. iii. 12. Cain's work testified what were his principles; and they were evil, for they were his own. Abel's works were righteous, for they were wrought of God. 1 John iii. 12; John iii. 20, 21; and vi. 28, 29; Heb. xi. 4. Abel relied upon the promise of God, and so “by faith offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain."
The tower of Babel was a triangular concern, the result of the enterprize of the voluntary and utilitarian principles; " Let us make brick; and let us build us a city, and a tower; and let us make us a name," &c. Gen. xi. 3—5.
Ishmael was a “wild man” in a state of nature, untamed, unsubdued, unsanctified; he was upon the triangle; and therefore “ his hand was against every man and every man's hand against him." Gen. xvi. 12. With bim "a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush.” He prefered an earthly estate in possession, to the promise of a heavenly inheritance, Gen. xxi. 9; Gal. iv. 29; he obtained, fortified and possessed for himself and posterity, towns, castles and principalities. Gen. xxv. 16. His heart and treasure were upon the earth. Luke xii. 19; Matt. vi. 19-21 ; Psalm xlix. 11; Gen. vi. 17; Luke xxii. 24–26.
Esau, like Ishmael, embarked in enterprises and achievements that ministered to his own lusts. He was a man of the world, and counted nothing profitable that did not minister to his gratification. He was a mere utilitarian; and his cardinal maxim,“What profit will it be to me?" Gen. xxv. 32; and so coming home from the chase half famished, the first food he sets his eyes on is the red pottage of Jacob,
and that he must instantly have; nothing else will do; he must and will have it; and profanely renounces his birthright for the meat; Heb. xii. 15.-17. As to the promise, said he, what profit will that be to a starving man ? can I live upon mere words ? Matt. iv. 4; upon breath? You take the promise Jacob, and give me something solid and tangible to go upon; give me something in possession, and you may have the super-naturals, the spirituals, the promises, the world to come ; I have my eyes opened, I know what red pottage is, that I understand--but the birth-right that you Jacob, and our good mother make such a fuss about, 1 acknowledge I hold it in cheap estimation, “what profit will it be to me?” I cannot see, and I have seen too much of the world, not to "look before I leap." I must feel a foundation before I bear my weight upon it. At a later time when Esau observes the estimation in which Isaac held the promise, the blessing, he thinks it might be of more profit to him, somehow, than he had imagined, and is distressed that he had made a losing bargain. He was a man eminently of this world, and his treasures were here. He lived by the trophies of his sword, Gen. xxvii. 40; and his ultimate dependence, and chief ends, lay within the lines and entrenchments of his own personality; and he obtained wealth, and children, and power, and kingdoms upon the earth. Gen. xxxvi.
The patriarchs and saints are not so. They looked for a heavenly city, (Heb. xi. 10, 16.) whose maker and builder was God.'2 Cor. v. 7; Rom. viii. 24, 25; 2 Cor. iv. 18; 1 Cor. xiii. 12. They have nothing of the promised inheritance in possession, Acts vii. 5. They are strangers and pilgrims on earth, Heh. xi. 13-17; Gen. xlvii. 9. Their treasure is the promise of God; and not an earthly possession, Gen. xxviii. 20, 21; Isaiah xxxiii. 16; Matt. vi. 31-33. They “looked not at the things which were seen and temporal; but at the things which were unseen and eternal, 2 Cor. iv. 18.
The first knowledge of the counsel of redemption was communicated in the revelation of the decree that “the sced of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, Gen. iii. 15. Again to a man, to Abraham, and to his seed, were the
promises made, Gal. iii. 16; and again, the promise is limited to Isaac and his seed, Gen. xxi. 12; Rom. ix. 7 ; Heb. xi. 18. And now Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, was with child
by him, and that in answer to prayer, Rom. xi. 10; Gen. xxv. 21; and doubtless, the confident expectation of the Church now was, that the set time to favor her had come; that the promised seed and the blessing were at hand. But now, to demonstrate that actions and works, by virtue of the universal and established laws of nature, have no agency, casually or synergestically, in procuring the blessing; that the "doings" of the Church have no part nor lot in this matter, while Rebecca was “enseint" with male twins, each bearing the same relation to the parents; and furthermore, to demonstrate that the works or doings of the issue themselves could have no possible influence in this respect, God did reveal, before the children were born, that their destiny respectively, and that of their posterity, was fixed according to his own sovereign will, Gen. xxv. 23; Rom. ix. 11, 12; and finally, the reason of this divine constitution is revealed to be, to remove all contingences and make the promise sure to all the seed. Rom. iv. 16. Here God is upon the throne of supreme dominion, and consequently every vestige of the human triangle is annihilated.
From the Exodus to the possession of Canaan, the land of promise' was regarded by Israel as the great object of her enterprise and achievements; Psl.cv. 11. And we may notice the doctrines of the triangle, as the exhaustless source of her misery, rebellion, and abominable idolatry. It is when she is reposing upon herself, and not "leaning on the arm of her beloved" Cant. viii. 5, that the Church is in a state of apostacy. Exod. xxxii. 1—7. Hence she is in a panic, because her own arm is not able to cope with Egypt and so proves her unbelief and practical rejection of the Divine promise and power. Exod. xiv. 10–15. Modern Pelagians and Arminians argue if men are not able to do what is required to be done, we might as well preach to trees as to them; but is there no difference between a child of Abraham and a tree? and is there not power with God from stones to raise up children unto Abraham ? Matt. iii. 9. Rom. iv. 16.
This same spirit of unbelief was with the Church in the wilderness. When the providence of God showed her, that her own resources were inadequate to a crisis, unbelief, (which is based upon the triangle,) dispairs. The stiff neck and stubborn way of Israel was triangular; she
would depend upon nothing but human ability, her own doings and natural power and resources, Judges. ii. 11-20 Psalm cvi. 29, 39. Hence their murmuring at Taberah, Massah, Meribah, and at Kibroth Hattaavah. A conviction of a state of supernatural dependence, distressed the people; they complained, cried out, and rebelled against God; and in dispair of ever seeing the land of promise, declared their belief to be that with so precarious a dependence as the “ word of God” Matt. iv. 4. the rock for water, 1 Cor. x. 4., and the “corn of heaven," Psalm lxxviii. 24, they could never live, but should die in the wilderness. They longed for the bread and water, the vegetables, fowl, fish, and meat on which they had always lived; they cried for their natural food, the sustenance of Egypt; they wept for something solid, palpable and substantial to go upon; a stock of provisions in possession after the manner of all the nations.” They rejected a dependence, spiritual, unseen, and eternal, and cried for “FLESH TO EAT,” Num. xi. 1–7. Psalm 78 ; Num. xiv. chap. Deut. chapter i. and ii.; Psalm cvi ; also 1 Cor. x. 1--15. an instinctive choice, to which there is no contrary in all the wonderful properties of the human triangle. We see Israel bemoaning herself with feminine weakness, at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran, in tears, because her own power and valor are not equal to victory; and again, we see her falling before her enemies, because of her self confidence and vain glory. To despair or to boast is all the triangle can do, Num. xvi. 40–45. Num xi. 1–7; Num. chapt. xii. and xiv. ; Deut. ix. 4—27; Heb. iii. 16-19; Psalm cvi. 7-46; also lxxviii. Psalm.
From the Exodus to the time of Samuel the prophet, the acknowledged government of Israel was a theocracy. The symbols of his presence were in the midst of the people of God, to whom he revealed his will and manifested his power by prophets, teachers, and judges, whom he raised up from time to time for his own glory. During all this period, the essence of apostacy in the Church consisted in a renunciation of the supreme dominion of God, a practical denial of his truth, and unbelief in his power, a contempt of his grace, a departing from his ways; in short, a rejection of his covenant, and in a decided and fatal preference of her will, her own ways, and her own inventions. This spirit finally manifested itself politically, by a formal rejection on the part of the people of the royal authority of God. They