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ture, to have fallen from their heavenly state; and more especially of their powerful and insidious chief, called the devil, or Satan. Of him we read, that he is ever originating evil-that he is full of malignity-a liar from the beginning, and the father of it-the adversary of God and Christ-the tempter, accuser, and destroyer of man-that he betrayed our first parents; afflicted Job; provoked David to sin; resisted Joshua the priest; and tempted, buffeted, and persecuted, the Messiah himself. Finally, while we are assured that no other end awaits the enemy of our souls, and all who adhere to him, than absolute defeat and destruction, yet, in the mean time, the wrath and deceitfulness which he is at present permitted to exercise, are, in Scripture, presented to us, as the strongest of motives to watchfulness unto prayer-to the investing of our souls, and that perpetually, with the whole armour of God.

Our inquirer now turns his attention to a branch of scriptural truth, fraught with a very peculiar degree of interest-the history, condition, prospects, and character of our own species; and truly there is nothing by which the declarations of the Bible are more clearly distinguished from the results of merely human speculation, than by the exact and extensive information which they communicate to men respecting themselves. In the Scriptures he finds a clear account, in the first place, of the creation of our first parents, in that condition of natural and moral perfection, in which sin, Satan, and death, possessed no mastery over them; of their fall from that condition; of the consequent mortality of themselves and their descendants; and of the brief and withering nature of all those enjoyments which here excite their desire, and engage so much of their attention. In the second place, he observes, that the sacred writers, nevertheless, represent man as the

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child of eternity; and he notes a variety of passages which prove that we possess not only a mortal body, but a soul which, after death, continues to exist, and is introduced to a condition either of happiness or of suffering. He is also assured by prophets and apostles, and more especially by Jesus Christ himself, that the day is coming, when, all who "are in the graves" shall hear the voice of the Son of God-when the dead shall actually be raised, even as Christ was first raised-when the souls of men shall be invested with spiritual bodies, "this mortal" clothed with immortality, and death swallowed up in victory.

He next ascertains, on the authority of Scripture, that man is ever treated by his Creator as a free moral agent; that we are capable either of righteousness or of sin; that we are individually responsible to the Supreme Governor of the world, for the use we make of his gifts, and for our whole conduct and conversation; and that, in the great day of final retribution, we shall (after a rule of perfect justice and equity) be rewarded or punished, according to our works. Nor can the searcher after truth do otherwise than tremble under the weight of his own responsibility, when he reads the plain declarations of our Saviour, couched in terms too clear to be misunderstood, and too strong to admit of any palliated interpretation, that both the rewards of the righteous and the punishments of the wicked are of eternal duration. Lastly, he finds it plainly recorded, that when Adam and Eve gave way to the first temptation of their adversary, they became transgressors, and lost the moral image of God; that from them the whole race of their descendants have inherited a nature infected with sin, and prone to evil -that all mankind, in their fallen nature, and without grace, are in a condition of darkness, and alienation from God-that we are universally sinners-and that,



as such, we are individually liable to the operation of the curse of the law: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."

Such is the view, which the sacred writers present to us, of the condition and prospects of unregenerate man. The inquirer reads a corresponding lesson in his own heart. He is humbled in a sense of his vileness, and trembles in the view of the just judgments of an offended Deity. But despair is not his portion. While he utters the sincere and earnest cry-" A Saviour, or I die—a Redeemer or I perish for ever!" he cannot be ignorant of the multiplied declarations of Holy Writ, that such a Saviour and Redeemer is actually provided for us.

The mysterious and exalted person to whom this description applies is, in the Old Testament, described as the Messiah; in the New Testament, as the Christ -both the Hebrew and the Greek word signifying the Anointed One; and, being already convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was that Anointed One of whom the whole Scriptures testify, it is with the most lively feelings of interest that the friend of truth now institutes the great inquiry-what are the nature and character of Jesus Christ?

In order to pursue this inquiry in its true order, he directs his attention to the history of the Son of God, as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. He finds it declared in the New Testament, that when Jesus came into the world-that is, when he was born-he proceeded forth from the Father out of heaven. Hence, he learns, that before his incarnation, Jesus was in heaven with the Father; and the Scriptures enable him to trace backward the preexistence of the Son of God, from the days of the birth of John the Baptist, to those of Abraham; from the days of Abraham, to the period of the creation; and from the period of the




creation, to an antecedent eternity. Was, then, this preexistent Messiah a creature, or did he subsist in the nature of God himself? A deliberate investigation on this subject leads to the following results: that the preexistent Messiah was "in the form of God," and "thought it not robbery to be equal" with the Father-that he is described in terms which are applicable only to the first Great Cause-that he was the only-begotten" Son of God the Father-that he was the Word, whose attributes and operations were understood by the Jews to be those of Deity, i. e. of Jehovah present with his people—that by him all things were created, visible and invisible, in heaven and in earth-that he was the light and life of men, the spiritual Lord of the people of God, the Angel of the Covenant, in whom dwelt the name, character, and power, of Jehovah. On these multiplied evidences the enquirer is fully satisfied that the Messiah preexisted in the nature, not of man-not of any superior order of creatures-but of the Supreme Being himself.

He proceeds with the thread of the Messiah's history. The Word was made flesh; that is to say, he assumed the human nature. At the point, therefore, of his incarnation, he, who before was God only, became God and man. The narrative which the Gospels present to us, of the abode of the Messiah on earth, affords the plainest evidences that his humanity was real. He was nourished, he was tempted, he was inspired; he prayed, suffered, wept, and died. These and other coincident circumstances were the proper consequences of his having become invested with the nature of man. But the deity of Christ can know no change. No wonder, therefore, that during his mortal career, he is found to have claimed the character, displayed the powers, and accepted the homage, which appertain to JEHOVAH ALone.



The Son of God broke the bands of death asunder; rose from the dead; ascended into that heaven where he was before; and, clothed in a glorified body, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. There, while as Mediator between God and man, and as still possessing the human nature, he is, in all things, subject to the Father, he is, nevertheles, described as exercising, by an invisible agency, a divine government, not only over his own church, but over all the creatures of God. He is declared to be the author of grace, and the bestower of every spiritual gift. He regulates the external circumstances of his church, and by his providence the universe consists. He is a legitimate object of prayer, praise, religious affiance, and complete mental devotion. Finally, in the last awful day of retribution, though he will still be found the sympathising friend and brother of his unworthy followers; yet, (according to the records of inspired prophecy,) in raising the dead of all generations-in destroying or purifying with fire the visible world-in detecting the secrets of all hearts, and in dispensing eternal rewards and punishments-he will again display the characteristic attributes, and perform the acknowledged works, of JEHOVAH.

Such are the harmonious moral and practical evidences, derived from the past and future history of the Son of God, which convince our inquirer of the truth of the doctrine of his eternal divinity. But, on this essential subject, he finds himself in possession also of abundance of direct testimony. Do Christians still ask the question-Is Jesus Christ God? is he JEHOVAH? The sacred writers reply to that question with a clear and often repeated affirmative. They declare that he was in the beginning with God, and was God: John i, 1. They describe him as Jehovah, who laid the foundations of the earth: Ps. cii, 25; comp. Heb. i,

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