« ZurückWeiter »
material spirit of man in its state of innocency and degeneracy; a soul in a body, a mind in matter, an intelligent principle, a power that perceives, thinks, reasons, judges, approves, condemns, wills, desires, loves, hates, hopes, fears, and rejoices. A power and susceptibility of intelligence that pervades the earth, encompasses the heavens, measures the sun, counts the number of orbs it lights in its system, kens other suns, and other systems, and ascends above the stars. A power and intelligence that rises from this stretch of its contemplation of created things, to the Divine Creator. And through the medium of the manifold revelations of our God, to behold his beauty, admire his infinite excellency, to feel his loye, taste its ravishing pleasures, and imitate in finite efforts his goodness and perfections ; susceptive, and to be made conscious of the soul's immortality, and made conscious itself, was created with a capacity, through the righteousness of him that was sent, to behold and enjoy the glory of its God, as the great fountain and sum of happiness, throughout the interminable ages, and boundless realms of eternity. We say, we must conclude the creator must be more than a mere creature. And if we look to the state of things and the condition, capacity,and provision made for man in the time of his innocency,the time of his apostacy, and the plan of his redemption, we find every incentive to seek that knowledge which edifies, and nothing can be more to our edification, than to see if the scriptures do not say that Christ is the creator and finisher of these things. We discover there is much to do, and much to lose and gain, and that it is a duty to hold on to every minute of time for improvement and for divine blessing. Intensely desiring from the lights of scripture to know more and more of the divine mode of existence, and purposes and promises to us ward, as connected with the power, justice, mercy, long suffering, loving kindness, and redemption gloryof the divine subsistences, as the way, the truth and the life.” And from this beauty and excellency of creation generally, and the elevated gifts and capacities, powers, intelligence and innocency committed to man at his creation, we are led to turn our attention to a more melancholy scene, the fallen state of man; and to contemplate, in reference to the subject in hand, the change which man's disobedience has wrought, and the way, manner, and how often the Saviour would have gathered the human family under the wings of his infinite mercy.
The sacred history informs us that man did eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God had said, “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The goodness and glory of all creation is now changed. Man has subjected himself to guilt, horror, wretchedness, misery, and despair, and feels as a guilty wretch-his God is no longer his delight, and he now views with anguish and dread the Being in which he once had the greatest confidence, and in whom centered his greatest comforts. He now discovers his nakedness and poverty; and when the Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the day, and said to the man Adam, “where art thou ?” alas ! he was hidden among the trees of the garden, for he had discovered that he was naked, and fed from the presence of the Lord. When they appear to answer to their crimes : unto the woman the Lord saith, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto
D Adam, he said, because thou hast hearkened to with the voice of thy wife, and eaten,” &c. “ cursed is Find the ground for thy sake ; in sorrow shalt thou eat sub of it all the days of thy life: Thorns also, and In thistles, shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt 200- eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face OVshalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the mground; for out of it thou wast taken ; for dust 1 thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” mar If we reflect upon the perfections, beauty, ct and spontaneous fertility of the primitive creabition, the excellency of the endowments, dignity ate and comforts given to man, and the condescension
and love of God manifest therein, the magnitude of the crime man committed, and the judgment and curse pronounced upon him and this lower
world as a consequence of man's disobedience, by roof the Judge of all the earth, we are led to conclude,
that a Being to make an atonement for sin, to re
deem man from the sentence of the law so sol2emnly declared, and to repair from the fall, the ruins of a world, must be more than a created being.
The first intimations which God hath been pleased to give of his kind designs towards us in e providing a Saviour to redeem us from our state
cf apostacy, are to be found in the special promises recorded in Genesis. The first we shall notice
is found in the 3d chapter, 15th verse, “and I 72 will put enmity between thee and the woman, it and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise
thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The next we find in the 22d chapter, and 18th verse,
and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” And likewise, the 49th chapter, 10th verse, “the sceptre shall not depart from dudah, nor a law-giver from between his fcet, un
til Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” On these three general promises, stand all the other promises of the coming of the Messiah, and the glories of his kingdom. And no doubt, Moses, although a divine prophet himself, had reference to these general promises, when he informed the children of Israel, that “a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever. He shall say unto you, and it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”
Now for us to have right views of the three general promises, and likewise of the prophet last named and spoken of, is a subject of the first interest and magnitude as to the Christian Religion. On this foundation rests the chief corner stone of all our hopes of eternal salvation. And as this subject is so weighty and important, God has been pleased to superadd to these promises and intimations of his love towards us, confirmations in various degrees and in repeated ways, subsequently to the promises and before the coming of the Messiah. He selected first a family, then a nation from all the families and nations of the earth. He raised up unto them prophets, which spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, whom he employed in teaching and explaining the wonderful way of redemption which was to be accomplished by the Messiah, until the fullness of time in which the Son of God made his appearance on the earth, until he spoke by his incarnate Son, the whole way and plan of redemption.
Abraham, the father of this favored family and nation, is called the friend of God. And to him
was one of these ancient and general promises made. The Lord frequently appeared to him, and conversed with him, and entered into covenant with him, and gave him the covenant of circumcision and promised to be a God unto him,
and his seed after him, and from the fruit of his - loins should the Messiah spring. Notwithstand
ing the scriptures have given us so clear a declaration of the divinity and dignity of the Messiah, yet various are the opinions of christians on this subject.