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righteous one and the Lord our righteousness, as he appeared and acted fulfilling all righteousness:-Holiness, corresponding with the more especial attribute of the spirit who receives the denomination of the Holy One, the Holy Spirit. The regenerate sinner is said by the apostle to be "renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him," and in another place to have "put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," as though regeneration secured the restoration of properties originally characteristic of man.
Without venturing into any thing like minute investigation with regard to the import of these expressions, it may suffice to remark, that they are properties appropriate to the different capacities of man's moral nature. Knowledge implies, and is appropriate to the power of perceiving and understanding the truth-his intellectual capacities: Righteousness to his active powers or capacities for voluntary action: and Holiness to his sensitive powers or capacities for feeling and emotion. Where there is knowledge, there must be truth or fact, and a mind to perceive and apprehend it. Where there is righteousness, there must be a law or standard of right and actions conformed to it. Where there is holiness, there must be some sensitiveness to take alarm at the approach and presence of any thing improper, and impure, and to preserve the harmony of all the powers, passions and affections of the soul. When man therefore was created, he was possessed of a mind capable of perceiving, and stored with the knowledge of, truth; he was strictly and perfectly conformed to the law of God both in letter and in spirit, in outward act and inward volition; and he was so sensitive to every thing that concerned the honor and glory of God--so fully under the influence of love to Him, as to be devoid of any of those selfish, sordid and morbid passions and affections which now oppose themselves to the truth and justice and purity of God.
1 Col. iji. 14.
2 Eph. iv. 24
Our first parents, unlike their progeny, were created in full possession of all the powers of their being, and that in a state of perfection. They were created in knowledge. Nature spread forth her rich treasures to their enraptured attention, and immediately on inspection they understood their use and character. The Lord brought the beasts of the field to Adam, to receive their names; and the names he gave them --if, as it is most probable, the Hebrew dialect approaches nearest to the first language spoken by manare to this day most appropriate, and plainly show, that he understood their nature. His skill in language, therefore, must have been equal to his acquaintance with natural history. Nor should we conclude that he was ignorant of God and spiritual realities. It was his great employment, and, while he continued innocent, his great enjoyment to rise
From nature up to nature's God. He knew God, not by any abstract process of reasoning; but by intuition. The whole creation, in all the brightness of its primitive glory, stood forth as the polished mirror, to reflect the perfections of Deity; and man had but to behold, admire and adore. At every turn he met the ever, and everywhere present God. In every plant and shrub he traced the workings of His hand. His converse with nature, was his communion with the Divinity.
And while his mind was exercised, in those contemplations, and with that knowledge, by which a blissful intercourse, and communion with God were maintained, his outward actions, and inward volitions, were in exact conformity with the will of God, or law, which he had given for their regulation. Being created in righteousness, his powers' were adapted to that law, or, the law was adapted to them. At all events, the adaptation was reciprocal and complete. Man inclined to obedience, and till the moment of his fall, perfectly conformed himself in all the exercise of his varied powers, to the equitable precepts of God's most holy law. No thought of rebellion entered his mind. No act of rebellion ever appeared in his deportment. No feeling of rebellion, lurked in his heart.
He was also created in holiness, with powers so attuned, if we may thus speak, as to be pleasureably affected with the knowledge of God, and obedience to his will, and pained and distressed with the contrary. Thus knowing, acting, and being affected, man was the object of the divine favour, and did certainly and continuously apprehend that favour, as the means of his highest and most ennobling blessedness. Such was the design of his being. Such was the appropriate exercise of his intellectual, active, and sensitive powers. Such was his life. It consisted in the ac tings of his mind and will and heart toward God, as his supreme good and chief end. VI. THIS LIFE, MAN LOST IMMEDIATELY ON HIS GIV
His belief in the testimony of the prime apostate obscured his perceptions of the truth of God, deranged' his conceptions, destroyed his rectitude, and disordered his affections, so that he died, in a spiritual sense, as really, the moment he yielded to the seducer, as he did, in a natural sense, when several centuries after his body dropped into the grave. His peaceful and blissful intercourse with God was interrupted, and instead of rejoicing to hear His voice-that voice which he was wont to hear with delight—and of wishing to meet His benificent Creator, and receive His gentle embrace, he shrunk amazed, appalled, and flying, vainly thought to shun His presence. Communion with his God, was no longer blissful. The source of that happiness, for which all the susceptibilities and capacities of his being had been adapted, became the fruitful spring of misery. The object
ING PLACE TO THE TEMPTER.
he had chosen as his supreme good, was avoided and rejected as his supreme misery. God and His glory was no longer his chief end, but were lost in the absorbing influence of supreme selfishness. He shuddered at the very thought of drawing nigh to God. Instead of basking in the sunshine of the divine favour, and absorbing the mild rays of the divine glory, to invigorate and enliven his soul, he felt the wrath of God to be like “a consuming fire." Oh, it was a death horrible and agonizing, that eventuated in the soul of man, when first he violated the command of God. “By one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin." The rational soul, where every blissful emotion was wont to play, in all the delights of heavenly benevolence, became the foul den of thieves, a cage of unclean birds, whence issued every hateful passion, the vile progeny of Hell. All was lost, and man was instantly transformed, from the delightful friend and lover of God, into his dark and malignant foe. The pestilential breath of Hell, had sullied the fair mirror, from which had been reflected the very glories of God, and on it, now might be traced, in fixed characters, the resemblance of the first rebel. See the hideous portrait
Love was not in their looks, either to God,
Anger and obstinacy, and hate and guile. Having seen in what the life of man's rational soul consisted before he rebelled, we are now prepared, in a few words, to state in what consists his REGENERATION. As it is essentially, but making alive again, as the apostle has styled it-restoring a forfeited life; and as the life of man's rational soul consisted, as we have shown, in the appropriate exercise of its various powers or capacities, so,
VII, REGENERATION IS THE RECOMMENCEM LIFE THAT HAS BEEN LOST; THE RATIONAL SOUL OF MAN
T OF THE
1. Rom. v. 12.
BEGINNING TO ACT APPROPRIATELY IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS MORAL POWERS OR CAPACITIES, HIS MIND AND WILL AND HEART BEING DIRECTED TO GOD AS THE SUPREME
GOOD AND CHIEF END.
There are spiritual as well as sensible realities. Of the former, we have as real and satisfactory information, as of the latter. The testimony of God, is better evidence than our sensible perceptions. But the testimony of God, which, as it were, draws aside the veil of sense and discloses to our minds, the wonders and realities of the spiritual world, affects not the great mass of men. “They are earthly, sensual, devilish.” They are absorbed in the scenes of this life, intent on the objects that arrest the attention of their senses. Yea, many are disgusted and painfully affected with the little they do learn from the testimony of God, with respect to spiritual things. Others, however, are filled with delight in the contemplation of them, and feel their minds and hearts swayed by their influence. For, says an apostle, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not
That there is some essential difference between them, is obvious. That difference consists in the want, on the one hand and in the possession on the other, of spiritual vitality. The rational soul perceives, enjoys and acts in view of spiritual realities, as disclosed by the testimony of God.
They control the currents of feeling, and influence the flowings of thought. The spiritual world rises into view in all its wondrous glory, and at no time, however they may vary in the degree of their impressiveness, do they lose the power of reaching and affecting the man, and rousing him to some appropriate action. The whole mind and heart and soul and in all their strength, flow forth to God, as the object of highest delight. “Whom have I in Heaven but Thee, and there is none on carth that I de
1. 1 Cor. iv. 18.