Page images

from religious hypocrisy, bigotry, superstition, and intolerance, to the true sublime of man; he will appear the viceroy of his maker, his soul beaming with the irradiations of heavenly light, and all his powers directed to, and employed upon, their proper objects, his understanding convinced of its greatest good, by the best evidence, the will directed by the strongest motive, and the heart ravished by divine love, truth, and wisdom, beating responsive to the commands of his great creator, and bearing upon it the divine portrait of his gracious redeemer, drawn in celestial colours by the Holy Ghost. Then they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord; for they shall all know him, from the least of them even unto the greatest. Man then will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The wood, hay, and stubble, which men have built upon the foundation which is Jesus Christ, will be willingly thrown away, and the Apostles, and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom all that believe will be builded together for an habitation of God through the spirit, will be relyed upon--for the word of God, when perceived in its proper character, and believed in its proper evidence, as it is in truth the word of God, will effectually work in those that believe.

[ocr errors]


An inquiry into the origin, nature, and effects of the

Christian Faith.


It may not be amiss to detail the origin of the human race, and its progress until placed under a dispensation of grace, as introductory to our investigation of faith.

After the creator had finished making the heavens, and earth, he addressed himself, when about to enter

the formation of man, in a way which distinguishes that part of his creation from all others. “Let us make man (said he:) in our own image, (Heb. in the sketch, or shadow of us, after our likeness." These words, with respect to God, are diminutive, and denote that the most perfect endowments of human nature are but a sketch, a shadow, or something resembling the likeness of God. And yet, with respect to other creatures on earth, it speaks high distinction, and superiority. This sketch of the image of God in man must include, Ist. The noble faculties of his mind, understand. ing, and will, or freedom of choice for the government all his actions, and passions, and his continual improvement in wisdom, purity, and happiness. 2. His dominion over the inferior creatures expressly mentioned; by which he is God's representative, or vice-roy, upon earth. Man must have been endowed, by immediate inspiration, with all the knowledge which he possessed, which consisted in not only a knowledge of the nature, and properties of the sensible objects which were presented to him, and in the knowledge of God himself, but also in the use, and meaning of language; “for the Lord God, after he had formed every beast



of the field, and every fowl of the air, brought them untó Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof, and Adam gave names to all the cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.” He was also made without sin, but not, according to some, in righteous. ness, and true holiness; which, in the nature of things, could not be created, or wrought into his nature at the time he was made; because such a righteousness would have been produced in him without his knowledge or consent, which would have been to the exclusion of his intellectual, and moral powers; and so would have been no righteousness at all—for whatever is wrought in my nature without my knowledge or choice, cannot possibly be either sin or virtue in me, because it is no act of mine, and must be a mere natural instinct, like the industry of the bee, or the fierceness of the lion. It could not have been an instinctive

principle, for, if it had, man could never have fallen. Righteousness is right action, directed by knowledge, and judg. ment; but Adam could neither act, nor know, nor judge, before he, and all his intellectual powers, were created, and furnished with knowledge; and, therefore, he must exert, and use his intellectual powers, before he could be righteous, and holy. The most adequate ideas that I can form upon the subject are these-God created man, and, by inspiration, endowed him with that knowledge which was necessary for his being placed upon trial as a moral agent, having, for a test of obedience, the tree of the knowledge of good, and evil, assuring him that, in the day he eat thereof, he should surely dié. During man's innocency, God held immediate intercourse with him; he talked, and conversed with him. Man was created with appetites, and passions, for they form an essential part of his nature as man; they were no less existent before than after the fall. In this state of moral probation man fell, by attending to appetite, and the paintings of imagination, aided by the decorated allurements of Satan; intermitting his attention to, or en. tirely neglecting the commandment of his God, which could only have overcome the propensities to sini; he eat, and fell. A proof of the agency of passion, and its great strength, together


with the seductive influence of the imagination, are in the fact, that the dreadful penalty of the Law was not sufficiently strong to restrain them when man was in a state of sinless innocency. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eye, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat." No representation of the influence of appetite, and imagination, were ever made more striking than the above sketch exhibits before the fall, and as leading to it.

This false suggestion stripped the prohibition of its sanction, and clothed the fruit with new attractions. But they eat, and, by eating, they transgressed. That the likeness in which man was made to his God, in regard to his knowledge, consisted only in the capacity for receiving knowledge, and that what knowledge he had, was derived by immediate inspiration from God, but was entirely different, both in degree, and quality, is apparent, and self-evident, from one of the inducements which the serpent held out to him to transgress; viz. “ye shall become as Gods, knowing good, andevil;" and, from the sequel, as declared by God himself, “And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, knowing good, and evil.” Transgression consisted in the obedience of the appetite, and imagination, in opposition to the commandment of God. Sensuality belonged to man's nature, but never governed until the monient of the fall; it was then that he lost communion with his God, and became liable to the

penalties of the Law. A new order of things were then introduced; instead of the favour, and protection of the government of God, which were holy, and immutable, nothing

but the curse, according to justice, awaited him, being in actual rebellion against the sovereign; God withdrew his immediate communications, and, with an eye to the seed of the woman, (Jesus Christ) suspended the execution of wrath, or the sentence of condemnation. Here commences the mediatorial government; before rebellion, no mediator was necessary, because a state of perfect harmony, unity, and communion between the subject, and the sovereign, as long as obedience to the laws continued, were necessary consequences of that obedience. The moment the law was broken, tlie seed

« EelmineJätka »