seen that a pleasurable animal existence is given to millions, from among whom some are conditionally to be advanced to a higher state of existence.

[ocr errors]

219. Knowledge the principle and measure of life. Sensual or spiritual knowledge; perishing or immortal. All vice, in essence, ignorance. We exist as intellectual beings no further than we know. What we can know, determined by our organization what we do know, by the developement of our 220. organs, consequent on our exercise of them. Our organization material, till our "corruption shall have put on incorruption." 221. No spiritual life without spiritual food. Then the wicked will never put on immortality. The great bulk of mankind seek only meat, drink, and raiment; then they possess not immor. tality. Neither the world without Christianity, nor Christianity with Eternal Torments, can be reconciled to the facts of 222.creation as the work of a good God. The imperfection of man's nature no impeachment of the Divine wisdom. To imagine all absolutely perfect, all must be infinitely good, which God alone can be; then, as all God's works would be excluded, we should: then, on this scheme, we could not have existed. If imperfection exists, of this there must be degrees. 223. Each rank or degree must be finite. Any individual offending against the laws of his nature, would leave void his place in the rank to which, he belonged. Then the angels' fall might give occasion to man's creation; man's fall by disobedience, to peopling the earth with mortal creatures capable of immortality. Circumstances of the fall. Undeniable depravity of man's nature not to be accounted for, but on the Christian 224. scheme. Adam, having disobeyed, extinction, or a new dispensation. Our existence proves the latter was chosen by God. Worthy of Him, since by it the blessing of human life to countless millions is added to that of spiritual life to as many in number as those who followed Satan in his rebellion. The penalty, the loss of the Spirit of God. Divine justice satisfied if voluntarily incurred by another. But who capable 225.of so doing? Nature of Christ. What reason suggests. 226. What revelation teaches. Hebrews, i. Colossians, i. The 227. voice of God, by reason and revelation, declares the same, thing. Probable that God would employ an intelligent agent 228. such as the Holy Spirit is revealed to be in scripture. Different ranks; how graduated. Christian scheme clears the


229. Divine goodness. Duration of the world dependent on completing the number of the elect. Why should the world be destroyed? Both explained on. this system. Tempter, he 230. whose lost glory man was candidate for. God would permit him to tempt mankind only in case of equal good in either alternative. This is so on the Christian scheme. The difference to the individuals who possess it in either case. Faith would have been a sufficient protection to Adam. Plainly his duty. Necessary to fit him for the Divine presence. Adam's fall not permitted to shew God the result, but that fit creatures 231. might be formed to stand in the Divine presence. God's justice in punishing Christ for the sins of mankind could not be vindicated if the sentence were conscious active sin, which seems essential to Eternal Misery. But, considering it as a privation of good, and Christ as voluntarily incurring it, it shines forth as a glorious proof of love, both in God and 232. Christ. All possessions may be compared in two respectstheir quantity, and the time for which they are possessed. Then Christ, possessing God's spirit infinitely, compensated man's forfeiture of it eternally. The satisfaction made by Christ, the only means of man's obtaining immortality. What are the conditions. Being born of water and of the spirit. Baptism and regeneration then indispensable to immortality. Circumcision a sign of God's covenant. Baptism the sign of the new covenant. Extended to children by Christ's words, 233. "Suffer little children to come unto me." Can God make His blessings depend on that which it is impossible for some to perform? He does so in dispensing the blessings of this life. The condition is, in either case, not an obstacle, but a facility. 234. Such are baptism, prayer, and the Lord's supper. Can be no 235. hardship to those who attain to adult age. As to infants, it requires two things, 1st. That they have no right to the withheld blessing; 2d. That the condition is one calculated to fit 236. them for the blessing it entitles them to. If the condemnation were suffering of misery, infants could not incur it. Nonattainment of that which is conditionally offered they may be liable to. The condition shewn to be wise and salutary. The act of devoting a child to God adds a motive to fit him for His presence, therefore tends to provide that which is a neces237.sary condition. If the blessing be lost, can the parent complain? Only of his own folly. Can the child? Only if he


lives to know the value of the blessing. Then he can secure it by performing the condition. If parents act with the same disregard of God's laws in general, with respect to their children, they will have severed the natural ties of affection. 238. The neglect of the rites proves the parent to be an unfit channel to transmit spiritual blessings. Unbelievers cautioned not to reject this best gift of God, immortality and bliss.

239. Appeal to the reader. The point in question interesting to all. If the present attempt has failed to convince, let every one act on his belief; and, standing on the brink of hell, surrounded by infant fiends, (which the bulk of mankind must be,) let them proclaim aloud these terrors of their God. 240. Points to advert to, should a doubt arise. Truth the author's 241. object. Records his conviction that truth will prevail.






TRUTH, like a ray from the sun, which in its direct course points us unerringly to its Author, may be intercepted or refracted, so as to conceal or misrepresent the Being it was designed to reveal to us; but, like the sun in the material system, so the Son of Righteousness, that hath risen with healing on his wings, makes himself known by the blessings he diffuses, whatever partial obscurities may remain, until the dawn of that perfect day when there shall be no more night.

Until the arrival of that day, of which we have, in our experience of God's goodness, and in holy writ, a foretaste and a sure and certain hope, we can only know Him through the medium of his works, as seen in the kingdoms of nature and of grace. At that day we shall know all things; for this plain reason, we shall see Him in whom are all things, as He is, and know even as we are known; in the full measure of our capacity we shall be like unto the Highest, and, oh! glorious consummation! shall be one with Him.


« VorigeDoorgaan »