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The Litany to be said in the midst of the Church, in allusion to the Prophet Joel ii. 17—“ Let the Priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, &c.”—BISHOP ANDREWES.
See Chapter on Churches, page 14.
1. The origin of almost all things is involved in obscurity, conjecture, and contradiction. This awakens and feeds the curiosity of man, who from tradition, report, ancient customs, and experience, endeavours to trace out their beginnings and derivation. The veil of darkness, which would conceal from his view the origin of himself, is removed by the hands of divinely illuminated men. The light of inspiration has dispelled the gloom, which would obscure his character and cause. And he discerns his lofty original, his pristine excellence, his primeval blessedness. He feels he is the creature of God, “Who formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”—(Gen. ii. 7). This fact, forgotten through the lapse of time—though disfigured by the heathen, who were not so highly privileged as the Jews—may still be traced in the Apollodorian account of the creation of the human race, which states that Prometheus made the first of men and women of clay, and animated them by means of fire stolen from heaven.
2. Enlightened by revelation, we can satisfactorily prove that man is not his own creator, but the workmanship of God. We find in his body, which is erect, lordlike, and comely, marks of wisdom, power, and benevolence. The beauteous symmetry of his frame, the wise adjustment of its parts, the situation and relation of all the members to each other, viewed in connection with their adaptation for useful service, prove the structure of man is the product of benevolent and powerful intelligence. How well adapted is the eye for directing the body, the ear for hearing, and the arms and hands (those " instruments of instruments”) for action! How noble is the attitude of man ! He walks erect—the very reverse of all other creatures ! their eyes meet the earth; he looks to the heavens, as though he were called to seek a place in a loftier, a better, a celestial state.
3. Enter this goodly structure, consider its arteries, veins, and nerves ; reflect on the circulation of the blood, the respiration of the lungs, and the natural heat which resides in and pervades the body, whilst it is the residence of the soul; and you will
find proof rise on proof that man is “ fearfully and wonderfully made.” Now, as it is utterly impossible for design to originate in chance--for nothing to produce such proofs of skill, power, and goodness—for any thing to be at once the cause and the effect produced, a creature and Creator-so it is evident that we are the work of God.
4. He who has displayed His perfections in our frame, which is external, has not left Himself without witness in our undying spirit, which is internal; nor has He left us without sufficient evidence of its existence. He who has made the body visible, and perceptible to the senses, so that it may be seen and felt, has also rendered the soul perceptible to the eye of enlightened reason. For just as matter is known by its properties of mobility, impenetrability, divisibility, &c. so our souls are known by the properties of mind or spiritmas thought, reflection, joy and grief, hope and fear, love and hatred. The soul being endowed with memory, treasures up facts as the food of thought; she reflects on the past, considers the present, and travels into futurity; compares persons, things, and events; observes wherein they agree and wherein they disagree; draws inferences and forms decisions--all which is contrary to the nature of matter; and so is evidently a reflecting, thoughtful, reasoning essence—the residence of misery or joy. Hence the soul is not, like the body, in itself a thoughtless, joyless, senseless substance, but the seat of intelligence, the dwelling place of all sensation and emotion, of all fears, desires, and regrets. Hence it is superior to matter, and so must be the production of one superior to matter ; and hence man, the creature of God, is a compound being, partly matter and partly mind, and allied to both heaven and earth.
5. This wondrous being is not in the condition he was, when he was first brought into existence. God, who is benevolent, wise, and powerful, in accordance with His love to prompt him, His wisdom to direct, and His power to achieve, must have made him in a happy condition. But he is not happy; he is not free from sorrow now. No, he has a consciousness of guilt; he is a sufferer, whether found in rude and barbarous, or in civilised and polished life. There is a dread of death, a foreboding of evil, and longing desires, which this world cannot satisfy. This leads us to consider the original state of man; and we shall not take as our guide the fictions of poets, whose splendid dreams of the golden age may be traced to para dise—nor the delusions of mythologists, which are perverted truths—but adhere to the Word of our God.
In prosecuting this inquiry, we may observe, that it is declared again and again in the Volume of Inspiration, that man was made in the image or likeness of God. The apostle Paul says, “ A man ought not to cover his head during Divine worship, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God”—-(1 Cor. xi. 7). If this applies to regenerated man, how much more to man unfallen! Indeed, this is the reason assigned why retributive vengeance will overtake the man who kills his brother. “Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man"—(Gen. ix. 6).
There have been those, who have supposed, his resemblance to the Almighty was to be found in his earthly frame; these are called Anthromorphites, who maintained that God had a human shape. There have been others, who supposed that the Almighty, in the formation of Adam, made him like unto the original model or idea of Christ, which existed in his mind, as possessed of perfect knowledge. This idea is called by Divines of a by-gone century—the archetype of Christ as Mediator. Which opinion is, in some degree, countenanced by a passage or two of the Word of God; as Col. i. 15, which speaks of Christ as “ The image of the invisible God;" and Heb. i. 3, which calls Him“ the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person ;” and Romans v. 14, which calls Adam, “The figure of Him that was to come.
We trace his likeness to God in His nature as a spirit. “God is a spirit"—(John iv. 24). “And a spirit hath not flesh and bones”-(Luke xxiv. 39). And man is a spirit. Dying Stephen said, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” -(Acts vii. 59). “God is the Father of spirits”—(Heb. xii. 9.)--and formeth the spirit of man within him, and by so doing creates a spiritual being God is an everlasting Spirit. “ The everlasting God"-(Isaiah xl. 28).
« From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God-(Psalm xcii). His duration is boundless. Our mortal career soon closes, but our spiritual life is unbounded. It runs parallel or together with that of God, and is destined to last for ever. This arises from the superiority of the soul to the body—“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt. xxvi. 41)—from its superiority to all second causes, which cannot, however powerful and numerous, destroy it—" Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul” (Matt. x. 28); and from its existing apart from the body, (2 Pet. i. 14); Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me”-(2 Cor. v. 8.), “ We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord”—(Phil
. i. 23, 24), “ I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better; nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." God is invisible, and the soul is invisible too.
The soul of man bears some resemblance in its mental endowments to its Creator. It possesses understanding, memory, volition, &c., which are also properties of Deity. But it is not here chiefly or principally, that we find the resemblance to God which Adam bore, for Satan is a spirit whose endowments are great, and fallen men in their unregenerate state are spirits, but they are unlike God. There is between these evil, sinful, impure spirits, and God who is glorious in holiness, as great a difference as between light and darkness, life and death, friend and foe, love and enmity.
But although the invisible, everlasting spirit, endowed with mental faculties, is not of itself the image of God, yet it is the basis of that image, the essence in which it inheres. As an empire, which is now governed by a wise and good king, moved and regulated by laws of a benevolent, wise, and just nature, a flourishing empire, may hereafter be governed by a foolish and malevolent king, and under his dominion be actuated by evil principles, when it would be changed in its nature-so the soul of man, or Adam, under the unbroken reign of God, was very different from the character which it bears under the domination of “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience"-(Eph. ii. 2). Therefore
Secondly, we trace the image of God, in the spiritual endowments of the soul of Adam. And there are three indexes by which we are directed in this investigation. The first is, the consideration of what fallen angels who are disembodied spirits, and lapsed men who are embodied spirits, are destitute of, to render them like their Creator. The answer is, Holiness, which involves spiritual knowledge of God, freedom from all malevolence and disobedience. The second is, the positive statement of the Word (Eccles. viii. 29.) — “God hath man made upright. We inight consider the defects of the unregenerate, as noticed in the sacred Volume; but we confine ourselves, thirdly, to the elements of the regenerated, the spiritually redeemed soul. He who is begotten again is said to be a “partaker of the Divine nature”--(2 Peter i. 4) ---and by consequence must bear some resemblance to God. God is holy; and holiness is required of us. holy, for I am holy:" Holiness of heart produceth righteousness of life; and God, who is glorious in holiness, is “ righteous in all His ways.” If our reasoning be correct, we shall find the renewed mind created by Divine power a holy mind, and governed by Divine principles ;, which is evident from Eph. iv. 24, which says, “ The new man is created after God (as its pattern, model, or archetype) in righteousness and true holiness," and sets it in direct opposition to the old man or nature in which we are born, which is “corrupt according to the deceitful lusts ;” and is still further confirmed by Col. iii. 6, 10, which says, “ Lie not one to another, seeingthat ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” As Satan wants holiness and unregenerate men want holiness, as holiness is the state in which' men are renewed who are said to bear the Divine image, we conclude that Adam as a spirit, invisible, deathless, everlasting, possessing great mental powers, in their full strength, not weakened by sin, in a holy and spiritual state, regulated by love, and possessed of dominion, was the image of God, as intended in Gen. i. 26-28, where it is recorded that God made them, male and female, in His image.
Happy in the highest degree were our first parents in their first estate.
16 Be ye
Strangers to pain, and resident in a body, in a deathless state; surrounded by the beauties of creation-in a blessed state ; pure in heart, holy in affection, free from every evil bias, unacquainted with transgression and guilt-in an innocent state ; their understandings clear, their knowledge sound, their affections well directed, their volitions holy-in a favoured state; theirs was a blissful condition, for all was harmonious, all was peaceful, no unruly passion, no sinful desire, no un.hallowed affection resided in them, no stings of conscience, no dread of future punishment, no fearful forebodings destroyed their joy. They were visited by the voice of the Most High, and they enjoyed His presence and His love in paradise.
Adam, resembling his Maker in his spiritual nature, his moral and mental endowments, his holy, internal, peaceful state, seeing his own character in God in unchanging and unchangeable perfection, and realising his Maker's love in giving him his being and blessedness, must of necessity love and serve Him-and call forth the complacent regard of Him whose tender mercies are over all His works, clothed as he was with dominion over this lower world.
To test the strength of Adam's love, to hold dominion over him, to lay a foundation on which he might build his hope of continued happiness, the Lord God took him and placed him in the garden of Eden, with liberty of eating of every tree of the garden, save one.
This transaction is viewed by some as a covenant, by others as a law. It partakes of both natures. We view it as a covenant–because there were two parties, namely, God and Adam-because God stipulated to give to Adam the enjoyment of the garden with implied privileges on condition of his abstaining from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because Adam restipulated obedience as required, and because the trees of life and of the knowledge of good and evil may be viewed as seals to the covenant. It is also called a covenant in Hosea vi. 7“But they, like Adam, have trangressed the covenant,” see the margin and original. The transaction is thus recorded in Genesis ii. 15–17. " And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it : for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."
In this way was Adam, the greatest and noblest work of God in this lower world, who is described as the effect not of a word, as were the rest of creation, but as the result of that determination, in which God said, 6 Let us make man after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the face of the earth”-in this way was Adam, the image of his Maker, introduced into Eden, a garden in which were spread abroad all the delights of nature, in her primeval beauty. There neither storm nor tempest raged ; there sorrow and sighing were unknown. The eye was gratified with creation erer various and ever blooming, the air was perfumed with the most grateful odours, and the palate pleased with all that was delicious to the taste, while the heart was strengthened with its Maker's favour. This was a holy solitude, where he might have held communion with his God; a temple whose canopy was the blue expanding vault of heaven, whose courts were the wide encircling earth, whose flooring was carpeted with numerous and diversified flowers set in a groundwork of evergreen, and whose glory was a manifested God. Into this gardenthis solitude—this temple-was Adam introduced, and introduced in prospect of a transition without death to glories greater, purer, more exalted and eternal.
This covenant, by granting these blessings, opening these prospects, removing all ground of fear and requiring nothing but abstinence from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was, it must be allowed, of a gracious character. This covenant, as it required of Adam perfect obedience, although of a negative character, as a test of love, a proof of allegiance and a foundation of hope, was a covenant of demand. This covenant, as it connected the punishment of death with the breach of the covenant as well as the loss of the stipulated privileges, partook of the nature of a law and was a covenant of threatening. This covenant, as it required no hard service, imposed no heavy burden, exacted no costly service