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that man is a compound being, or unites in himself several distinct kinds of life. The Spirit of God would most probably be designated the breath of lives, from the circumstance of His being the author of several forms of life in man, rather than from the fact of His being the universal author of life; for it is common in the scriptures for God to be designated from the particular occasions, or relations, or circumstances under which He is at the time contemplated. If, as some will contend, it is man's life, and not the Spirit of God, which is denoted by this expression, then it cannot be denied that man was originally the subject of several kinds of life.
We have already seen that there are two distinct kinds of life united in man, viz., that which consists in the appropriate action of the organic parts of the human bodythe vegetable, or as it is technically called the organic life; and that which consists in the appropriate action of the superadded and complicated machinery of nerves and muscles, so essential to sensation and voluntary motionthe distinctive peculiarities of animal life. These are in entire accordance with two of the great classifications which the apostle Paul has made of the constituent parts of man, viz., body and soul. The term which our translators have rendered "soul,"l as has been seen, conveys the idea of animal life. This remark may be of use to the reader of the scriptures in more instances than one.
It is obvious, that both these parts of man's being are material--formed of the dust of the ground. There is however another, which the apostle calls "spirit”? and which he designates by the very term which he employs to denote the Spirit of God. It is in this, that theologians generally consider, we must look for the traces of the divine image in which man was created. As to what constituted that resemblance however, they are not gener
ally agreed. Some allege that it was mere spirituality, others the lordship or sovereignty over the creatures with which he was invested, and others again the moral qualities of his nature, knowledge, righteousness and holiness. It is perhaps safest to adopt neither opinion exclusively; but to trace the likeness in every respect in which true resemblance can be discerned. It is not in one feature only in which we are to trace a likeness, but in the toute ensemble.
There is, however, we apprehend, one important respect in which this resemblance in man to God may be seen, which indeed is generally overlooked, but which, we are disposed to think, is of principal consequence.
It is not one person of the Godhead only who is represented as speaking at the formation of man, but the whole three. Jehovah, the ever-blessed Three in One, said, “let us make man in our image”_not in the image of any one person, nor of each distinctly, but of all conjointly. How admirably are the distinct personality and essential unity of the Godhead represented or imaged in man possessing three distinct kinds of life, and yet constituting but one moral being. In him are united the vegetable, the animal, and the moral or spiritual life, each having and preserving its distinct character, but all combined in one responsible individual.
La support of this explanation of the likeness in which man was originally created, we merely observe, that from the consultation which is represented to have taken place among the persons of the Godhead about his creation, it is obvious this image must have been something different from any thing which had as yet been exhibited in the creatures. It could not have been the spiritual part of man's nature, for “He maketh His angels spirits,”” and man's spiritual nature was greatly obscured by his body, which was formed of the dust of the ground.
1 lleb. 1.7.
It could not nave been the mere lordship which He exercised over the creatures, for this was made a matter of special grant, after that he had been already created in the divine image.
It could not have been exclusively the moral qualities with which he was endowed, for knowledge, righteousness and holiness are the attributes of the angelic, as well as of the human nature.
It could not have been merely as a designed representation of the form and appearance which it was intended the son of God should assume, for He is himself styled "the image of the invisible God," and man, in this respect, would have been not so much the image of God, the three in one, as of Christ the second person. We are therefore compelled to conclude, that man was created the image of the great THREE IN ONE, as he was characterized by this peculiarity among the creatures, that he alone unites in one moral individual the three great orders of life, viz., vegetable, animal and spiritual.
There is therefore abundant proof it would seem, from the very account of man's primitive formation, that there were associated in him several distinct kinds of life. Of the two inferior kinds, the organic or vegetable, and the animal life in man, there is no dispute; nor do they here require explanation. Sufficient has been already advanced in illustration of them. But this cannot be said of the third--the life of the spirit or immortal soul of man. This forms the governing and distinguishing part of human nature. It is the tie which binds man to other worlds. It is the immediate seat of all the higher and ennobling attributes of humanity. In the other parts of his nature, he is directly dependent on and connected with this material world. His body is a part of the earth. But his spirit is dependent on God, and in its appetites and cravings, he aspires after the bliss of his communion.
is in this part of his nature he has sustained the severest shock. Here too the ravages of death are most appalling; but here the energies of the Divine Spirit are exerted to impart the life of God. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Inasmuch therefore as regeneration is predicated particularly of the soul of man, and, as authorized by the language of the scriptures, it is contemplated as being the re-commencement of life in that soul, it becomes necessary to inquire as to what constitutes the peculiar appropriate life of the rational soul of man.
Here, however, as in every other case, when inquiring into the essence of a thing, we must confess our ignorance. We use the term soul or spirit, to denote an existence that is not material; but this is the chief account that we can give of its nature. Our blessed Lord himself has done no
" A spirit,” said he to his disciples, “hath not flesh and bones. "2 Whether He is here to be understood as declaring the immaterial nature of spirit, or merely cit. ing the vulgar opinion on the subject of apparitions, it is of little consequence to determine ; for Aesh and bones constitute the material part of man, and when to spirit they are denied, the presumption rises that it is immaterial. This however is a point which is much disputed.
If the soul be immaterial, perhaps it is asked, how can we ever have any knowledge of it?' We have no senses so delicately organized, as to be capable of perceiving spirit. Our senses were all made for the perception of a material world around us. How then can we know that there is such a thing? And is it at all possible for us, to have any knowledge of it whatever?
In reply to such inquires, we might ask, whether the testimony of God is not as sufficient evidence as that of our senses, and if He has told us, that we have a soul, that there is such a thing as spirit-Is not that enough? And 1. John üü. 6.
2. Luke xxiv, 39.
as to our having any idea or notion of what cannot be perceived by means of our senses, we may ask whether much of our knowledge is not of this very character? What are all our abstract ideas and general truths? Are they not knowledge, which the mind itself has excogitated from, and by means of, the ideas originally derived through the medium of sense. ? What too is our knowledge of God? “No man hath seen God at any time;'" yet how few have reasoned themselves into a notion that there is not a God? Let the objector declare himself, and say whether God must be a material Being in order to our having any knowledge of Him. The scriptures say “God is a Spirit ?" How then is He known? It will not do to say that our knowledge of Him is intuitive, innate, and such like. Intuitive is a figurative expression, and as to innate, it is not necessary, at this late day, to expose such an absurd pretence, as that man is born into the world with the knowledge of God, or of any thing else.
The truth is, that all our knowledge of God is analogical. We employ our conceptions of things originally material, to represent in our minds God and divine things, in consequence, not of a mere apparent but true resemblance, in the nature of things. En like manner we talk of our own souls, and the operations of our own minds, although we have no direct or immediate perception of them. “We cannot” says a profound writer, “.with our utmost intention of thought, and greatest energy of abstraction form to ourselves any original and purely intellectual ideas of the workings of our own minds. And the reason of this is, because the most abstracted and exalted operations of the human mind are actions of both matter and spirit in essential union, and not particular to either alone. We have indeed an immediate consciousness of the operations themselves, without the intervention of any idea of them; but no perception of them by such abstract or separate 1. John i. 18.
2. John iv. 24.