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sometimes spirit; and in respect to this is man to be considered in the image of his Maker. If we could attach any ideas of form or shape to the soul, we might likewise of God, of whom we conclude man in this respect is an image.
When it was said Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth, we consider ourselves instructed to believe, Seth possessed the features and form of our first earthly progenitor. But when it is said, God created man in his own image, as we can have no idea of form or shape concerning our Creator, so we cannot suppose this image relates to any visible figure whatever. It cannot relate to an infallibility of nature; for though man was declared to be very good, in common with the Creator's works, he was not infallibly so. God is infallible, but man is fallible. It does not appear that any thing of a perishable nature, can possess the image of God. As the image spoken of cannot relate to form or shape, if we admit one perishable thing to be in the image of God, what rule have we by which we can exclude any other perishable thing from this title? I know not any. It appears, therefore, evident that man possesses an immortal part, in consequence of being created in the image of God. He is constitutionally fitted for happiness, and when in any degree miserable, it is by disorder, and: not from original constitutional nature.
Perhaps it will be asked how disorder can be attached to that which is constitutionally immortal? It evidently cannot, but by being united with different principles. Gold or silver can be debased by the alloy of baser me. tal; but still loses not its own innate quality, so but what it can be refined, and be pure gold or silver as it originally was. Wicked men are compared to debased silver. "Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them."
It is conceived any thing may be properly termed immortal that has not the seeds of dissolution in its nature; yet always dependent upon the Deity, and may by his power be destroyed. God is the only being that does or ever can possess an independent and underived immortality.
When man was first created, he was said to be in the image of his Maker, but when formed of the dust of the ground, there was no mention made of the image,and undoubtedly because his formation did not at all-relate to it. We sometimes hear of man's losing the image of God by what is
but there is no mention mCalled the fall;"
of it in scripture, nor have we reason to allow the idea. God is. yet the Father of all, though not the Father of wickedness or corruptibility, as is easily proved from the scriptures, we have selecte for this purpose,
We find that notwithstanding the transgression of man, he is taught to pray, saying, C*
"Our Father which art in heaven." If God be our father, it follows that we are his children; and if children, the image in which we were created is not lost by sin. Christ exhorts the people, saying, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to themthat hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute_you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." If from this text, the inference be drawn, that of doing these acts of kindness constitute us the children of our heavenly Father, a disregard of them would deprive us of this privilege, it is still plain to be seen that God is the Father of them all, without any reference to their loving or hating, blessing or cursing. The text, then contains, apparently a contradiction. God is the Father of all; consequently all are his children; and yet, they are not his children, without loving and blessing their ene-mies, and praying for them. Let these ideas distinctly appear in their proper place, and our subject is clear. Those that are not the children of their Father, for the want of his love and kindness, are not his children in re-spect of character, and in this respect only ;: for they do not the works of their "Father in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just... and on the unjust." In this sense Jesus denied the Jews; "If ye were Abraham's chil- dren, ye would do the works of Abraham.???
By this we are not to understand, they were not the descendants of Abraham, and by natural descent his children.
The prophet Malachi asks, "Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us ?" According to the following words he seems to take the questions for granted; but his additional question implies that the children of this one Father are wicked. "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother by profaning the covenant of our fathers ?" It does not, therefore, appear that the image of our heavenly Father is lost, or rather annihilated by our dealing treacherously, or profaning the covenant of our progenitors, though the impropriety of such conduct is very visible and striking.
St. Paul's words on this subject are very express; "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone graven by art or man's device." Does not the force of this passage plainly rest on the natural idea, that there is anilarity of image between a father and his offspring? And as there is no gold, silver, or stone in the composition of man, is it absurd to worship these as God if man be his offspring? It would be very absurd, if man in his earthly frame or capacity be considered the offspring of God much more so, when we consider this offspring to be a nobler gift of our Maker. Moses was exceeding careful to caution the peo-
ple against the idea of any similitude or image discernible by the mortal eye, when he enforces the worship of God. See Deut. iv, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, "Take ye, therefore, good heed unto yourselves (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire,) lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female; the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air; the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which' the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven."
With this scripture we may now reason from cause to effect. When God appeared and spake to the ancient Israelites, they "saw" no manner of similitude." Therefore man, as the offspring and image of God, exhibits not similitude that can be seen.
But St. Paul détermines the sense in which God is to be considered our Father, and we Iris offspring in Hebrews xii. 9, with great clearness of language."Furthermore," says he, "we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall