صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

for be they ever so ingenious, or otherwise learned, they can not be competent judges in things they have not experienced, and which are not to be known but by experience.

I have no animosity toward my antagonist; but his work appears to me founded in mistakes, both concerning the sense of Scripture, and the intention of our writings. To proceed minutely to unravel and clear, what he has been at so much pains to perplex and confuse, would be more tedious than difficult, and could by no means compensate either for the reader's time or my own. My first endeavor, therefore, shall be, to show the verity of our true leading principles, from the original and present state of mankind, with the assistance requisite thereunto, and afterward to add some remarks upon divers of the treatise before me.

divers parts

THE

ORIGINAL AND PRESENT

STATE OF

M A N.

CHAPTER I.

1. Man was originally created in Purity, and in a State of due Order and

Rectitude.-2. He was inspired with a Sense of his Duty; and 3 and 4, empowered to perform it._-5. Being tempted, he lapsed from his proper Guard, the preserving Power of God, into Sin.-6. He fell from the Image of the Heavenly, into the Image of the Earthly. How unlawful Self rose in him.—7. That he really suffered Death in Spirit, in the Day of his Transgression. What the Life and Death of the Soul are.

1. In the beginning God created all things good. Inherently and immutably good himself, every production of his must necessarily be so, according to the several kinds wherein he created them. As man was wholly made by him, he must have been made wholly good ; his nature clear of all impurity, and free from all defect and disorder. His faculties were not imperfect, but limited to their proper sphere, and every part of his composition constituted in its due rectitude; the the body placed in subservience to his rational spirit, or soul, as to the more noble and excellent, and therefore the superior part, made for immortality, and in subjection only to the guidance of its Creator.

2. The human faculties, or powers of capacity, must then be clear, unprejudiced, and fit to receive impressions, yet void of any but those of immediate sense. Man, merely as man, could not originally bring any real knowledge into the world with him. That must either be immediately communicated to him by his Maker, or afterward acquired by himself, through observation and experience. The latter required time to effect; and as it was requisite to his situation, that he should be immediately endued with such an understanding of himself, and his Creator, as related to his present duty, and affected his felicity, he certainly was, by Divine Wisdom and Goodness, timely furnished with it.

3. Man must not only then be supplied with a due degree of light and understanding, but he must also be empowered to act up to it, else his knowledge would have been afforded him in vain. Yet, though he certainly was thus empowered, the sequel manifested he was placed in a state of probation, otherwise, he could never have been guilty of the least failure ; for his Maker being essentially and unchangeably good, must have fixed him in a state of immutable virtue and goodness, had he determined to fix him at all.

4. As the omniscient Creator most certainly saw what a subtle adversary man would have to encounter, he as surely furnished him with means sufficient to discover his snares, and resist his assaults. If Satan was suffered to use his subtilty and influence to deceive him, doubtless he was not only warned, but also endued with a sufficiency of divine light and influence to withstand his attempts, as he kept duly upon his watch.

Nothing but the Divine Nature can enable any intelligent creature to resist temptation, and act up to the Divine Will. If therefore any created being is required to keep up thereunto, it must be assisted by Divine Power so to do. God created man for a purpose of his own glory. To glorify God, and to partake of his glory, man must walk in obedience to his will. Man could neither infallibly know his will, nor constantly perform it, merely by the strength of his own faculties; he must therefore, necessarily have been assisted by the Spirit of God, to enable him to perform his will, and so to obey him as to glorify him, and enjoy a blessed inheritance in him; otherwise, the end of man's creation could not be answered. Hence it is concluded, the first man Adam was made a living soul by the inspiration of the second Adam Christ, who is a quickening spirit; for “ That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural ; and afterward that which is spiritual.”* That is, Adam was first created a natural man, and then rendered a spiritual one by the quickening power of the spirit of Christ, which is the true life, and proper element for immortal spirits to live and move in.

Thus the parents of mankind in their original uncorrupted state, being fit temples for the Holy Ghost to dwell in, were, as well as the sanctified in Christ afterward, partakers of the divine nature,* by the internal quickening of divine life. The

1 Cor. xv. 45, 46. † 2 Pet. i. 4.

[ocr errors]

author of the Book of Wisdom observes,* that Wisdom in all ages, and certainly in the first and purest, entereth holy souls which wisdom he describes to be the breath of the power of God, a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty, the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness. This clearly denotes the spirit of the eternal Son of God himself, and evidently concurs with those parts of the New Testament, which declare him to be, the power of God, and the wisdom of God, the true light, and life of men, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the image of the invisible God.t

It was undoubtedly in the light of this pure influence that Adam had such an intuitive discerning of the creation, as enabled him to give names to them according to their several natures. For we read, “ The Lord God formed

every

beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam, to see wliat he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof.”!

Under this celestial enduement, the sacred impression of the divine image conspicuously appeared in the first-of mankind. “In the image of God created he them."||

5. Had man kept in faithful obedience to his Heavenly Guide, and rejected the efforts of the tempter, he might undoubtedly, in due time, have been advanced to a degree of establishment beyond all possibility of falling ; but not continuing strictly upon his watch, and, contrary to the warning before given him, turning his attention toward the temptation, when alluringly presented, he slipped from his proper guard; leaving hold of that Spirit wherein his life and strength lay, he fell from it, and all its advantages, out of the liberty of the sons of God, into the bondage of corruption: a sure introduction to misery. For as holiness and happiness are inseparably united, so sin and misery are indivisibly connected.

To suppose that the Almighty Author of all good, originally subjected man under a moral necessity to transgress upon

the

appearance of temptation, is an imagination too injurious to the Divine character to be admitted. Our first parents were unquestionably enabled by their Maker to abide in due watchfulness, which would have entitled them to preservation; their defection from which, was certainly not of him, but of themselves. Had their lapse been through his will, or intentional disposition of circumstances, so that it

† 1 Cor. 24 ; Col. i. 15; John i. 4,9; 2 Cor. iv. 4. Gen. ii. 19. Gen, i. 27.

• Wisd. vii.

must inevitably follow, he could not consistently have sentenced them to punishment for it; because, in so doing, they performed his will, which could not be a sin against him.

A dangerous fondness to become knowing in things hurtful, and no way necessary, seems to have an early entrance into the human mind. “ In the day ye eat, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.”* By the suggestion of this flattering falsehood, Eve was deceived. Knowing nothing but good, she might have remained happy; but experiencing evil, she became otherwise. This knowledge is as opposite to that of the divine wisdom, as darkness is to light. It is certain the Omniscient knows both good and evil, but he knows the first by immutable possession, and perfect enjoyment, and the last he beholds with abhorrence, in eternal opposition to, and infinite distance from the purity of his nature.

With sinful man the case is reverse, evil having immediate possession of him, and good being out of his reach, without divine mercy, he must be completely wretched. This is the necessary consequence of that boasted knowledge of the world, which men acquire by tasting the pernicious and poisonous sweets of temptation,

6. The consequences of this primary lapse were immediately affecting to the actual transgressors, and remotely to all their posterity. 1. They lost the bright impression of the divine image, and the felicity attending it. Forfeiting the immediate indwelling and pure influence of God's Holy Spirit, they lost that divine similitude, wherein they had enjoyed eternal light, life, love, goodness, righteousness, holiness, and happiness. That Omnipresent Spirit of power, truth, and virtue, which in their original state had been their comforter, disunited from them through transgression, now became their accuser and convicter. 2. Lapsing from under due and constant subjection to the mind and spirit of his Creator, the will of man separated from the will of God, and became self-will. Self-love in man was originally and properly placed in subservience to the love of his Maker, who being in all respects justly supreme, had, while man stood in cheerful obedience, the supremacy in his affection ; but, by his undutiful self-gratification, aud letting in the suggestion of the tempter, his chief love turned from his Maker to himself. Thus probably inordinate self-love and self-will originated in man, and they always stand in a will separate from the will of God, and a spirit contrary to his Holy Spirit. This mental

* Gen. iii. 5.

« السابقةمتابعة »