« السابقةمتابعة »
was the joy of his heart; yea, all his hope, and all his salvation. He shewed, that the fact of Christ's resurrection, was his exemption from condemnation: He viewed it, and rejoiced in it as such. And without doubt, what he apprehended to be truth, he preached unto others, as he sought not himself, in the things which he spake: the glory of the Lord Jesus, and the happiness of his fellowcreatures, being that, which he had always in view, in preaching the kingdom of God. As to mankind, the apostles thought them sufficiently qualified, (as being all concluded under sin) for the grace which they preached. They were taught to drop all distinctions, and no longer to consider men as clean, and unclean, as chosen, and rejected for saith Peter, the Lord hath shewed me, that I should not call any man common or unclean. This was not because mankind were reformed, and better now, than when God taught the Jews to respect the Gentiles as common and unclean, which he did under the law; where he forbid the Jews to have any connexion with the Gentiles; and, if it was not owing to any change in the Gentiles, that they were now received, and were no longer to be considered as common and unclean: The query is, what was it owing to I answer, it was unto the death and resurrection of Jesus: for it was there that God had cleansed them. Therefore was it, that when Peter refused to eat, in the vision of the sheet; saying, nothing that was unclean, had at any time come into his mouth: he was answered: call not thou that common and unclean which God hath cleansed. Thus was he taught, that mankind, who in themselves were unclean, were cleansed of God, in Christ Jesus: according to which cleansing, he was instructed to respect them; and that he ought not any more to call any man common or unclean. Therefore, it was the business of the Apostles, to tell the people what God had done for them: Namely, that he had loved them and washed them from their sins, in his own blood. Thus as to matter, and manner, did the first witnesses of Jesus preach his salvation unto the children of men. For where they tell us, that they preached the Son of God; that they preached Christ Jesus the Lord, Christ crucified, &c. without meddling with the characters and conditions of those unto whom they preached, to point them out, as qualified, or unqualified for the reception of the truth. I say this, their matter, and manner of preaching, plainly shews, that they did not aim at making a schism in the body; by dividing the head and members, as having separate interests: but, they aimed at shewing that the interest of the head, was that of the members: therefore was it, that holding the head, they constantly preached his excellence, his labours, triumphs, and honours: that the people as his members, hearing of it, might hear of their own salvation and grace: because, the glory which is given unto him, as the head, he gives it to us, as his members. From this union, it appears, that hear- | ing and believing of Christ, according to the apostle's testimony, we hear and believe, what truly relates unto ourselves. And thus did they, by preaching the obedience, death,
resurrection, and ascension, of the Lord Je.
This is a short specimen of the apostle's matter and manner of preaching: and according to my apprehension, it is obvious that they had the union between Christ and the people in view, when they thus preached.
There are many who respect the epistles, written by the apostles to the Churches, as a pattern of their preaching: but they are to consider, that there is a wide difference between private letters, written unto such who already believed on the Lord Jesus, wherein there is promiscuously thrown out such hints, as were designed to establish their faith, and form their manners. I say, a real difference between those, and their manner of preaching in public, where having to do with the multitude, their only subject was the person, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus: of which their sermons recorded in the Acts of the apostles, are instances. But since then there has been a great falling away, and the man of sin is revealed. And, as it is more than probable that the day of Christ is at hand, antichrist hath great wrath, and strives to the utmost extent of his power and cunning, to hinder the revival of the apostolic testimony, and the rising of the witnesses. Sometimes he seeks to establish his own maxims, under the popular names of virtue, benevolence, repentance, faith, fruitfulness, &c. Then he calumniates the testimony of Jesus, giving it the most opprobrious characters, and mad with rage against all the witnesses thereof, breathes forth nothing but slaughter and threatenings. And many are they, whom he either prevails on to adopt his maxims, and become his willing disciples; or so intimidates with his threatenings, that they dare not embrace the truth, because of the certain reproach that follows. But let him rage, he has but a short time, ere the Lord shall consume him with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming: and then shall the witnesses who now lie slain in the streets of the great city, stand again upon their feet; and the ancient testimony be revived.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus: make no long tarrying, O my God.
BY THOMAS F. KING.
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die."-GEN. iii. 4.
In the second chapter of Genesis, we read, (v. 15, 16, 17.) that the Lord God took the man, and put him unto the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden, thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.' And in the commencement of the succeeding chapter it is said, 'Now, the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shalt not eat of every tree in the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die.'
It must be confessed that this account has been made the occasion of some of the wildest In our apprehension, there never was a and most extravagant fancies that the human clearer case than this. It certainly becomes imagination ever conceived. We do not those who are in the habit of palming these mean that the sacred historian taught extrava- extravagant fancies on the credulity of the gant fancies in his narrative; but that man- public, to pause and consider the injury they kind have so distorted and perverted his facts, are likely to inflict on the cause of Christianas to turn them into the greatest imaginable ity, by continuing the practice. A reasonable nonsense. In the first place, it should be re- man cannot believe representations which collected, they have infinitely exaggerated oppose the common sense that God has given the threatening in which God announced the him. For various motives, he may not openly penalty attached to the law, under which he disavow belief in the chimeras; but we may placed our original parents. Have they not depend upon it, that he will cherish his un perseveringly asserted that the threatened belief in secret, and extend it probably to punishment was death temporal, spiritual and the Bible, in which, he is told, the absurdities eternal? If the reader is at all acquainted | originate. The nonsense of the popular syswith the creeds, or preaching, or religious tems of divinity, has done more to inconversation of the popular class of profess- crease the ranks of infidelity, than all the ors, he knows that such is their constant, not writings of the professed enemies of our reto say obstinate, declaration. But on a sub- ligion. Universalists have done, and are still ject of so much importance, we trust we may doing, more to rescue Christianity from the be allowed to demand the authority for our attacks of unbelievers, than any class of those being required to believe that Adam was who maintain the prevailing doctrines of the threatened with eternal misery. One thing day. This may be called egotism; but it is we know that in the account which Moses matter of fact and sober experience. has given of the first transgression, there is not a particle of evidence that such a penalty was annexed to the violation of the law. Without meaning to treat with contempt or with hostility, we defy, in direct terms, any man to point out, there, even a shadow of intimation to that purport. All that Moses records of the threatening, is simply this: 'in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.' Why, then, should webe required to believe ina punishment, which our heavenly Father has not announced to his creatures? But, in the second place, there is another opinion which has widely prevailed, in relation to this passage of scripture, and which we regard as equally visionary and equally false, with that just examined. Who would have thought, from what Moses has said in this connexion, that a mighty fallen angel had
any agency in the seduction of the first human pair? He has made not the least mention of such a being; nor has he given the most distant hint or allusion from which we could infer his belief in the monster. If there were such a being, who had stirred up rebellion in heaven, suffered a memorable defeat, and been thence thrust down to hell, but who had afterwards managed matters so adroitly as to enter into the serpent, and under this mask to wreak his spite on the unsuspecting parents of mankind, is it not very strange that Moses should pass over the whole affair in profound silence? If such things had been, as is commonly supposed, he must have been as well acquainted with them, as mankind are at the present day; and since there is no roason why he should have industriously kept them secret, we regard his silence concerning them as proof that he had no knowledge of such incredible events.
As we have no faith in the existence of a fallen angel, and as the common opinion is, that such a being was the principal, indeed the sole, agent in the temptation of our first parents, it may, perhaps, be demanded what we understand by the serpent which Moses mentions. We answer with all readiness, that it appears to be, in this instance, a metaphorical term, by which the inspired historian would signify to us, the carnal or vicious propensities in human nature. These constitute, in our judgment, what may be properly and emphatically denominated the tempter. Our authority for this explanation, is not only the testimony of the universal experience of mankind, but the language also of the scriptures. In the first chapter of St. James' Epistle, we read, 'Let no man say, when he is
and I am tempted of God; for God can
not be tempted with evil; neither tempteth he better emblem, could temptation have been But every man is tempted, when represented. It is indeed a serpent. To purhe is drawn away of his own lust, and en- sue the metaphor,-he coils himself around ticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it the unsuspecting sinner with the utmost caubringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finish- tion, till in a favourable moment, he fixes his ed, bringeth forth death.' (v. 13, 14, 15.) The fangs in the infatuated victim. The deed is same doctrine, substantially, is taught in the done; and the poison is left to effect the work fourth chapter of this epistle: 'From whence of death. The history of his operations with came wars and fightings among you? come Eve, is the faithful record of his success with they not hence, even of your lusts that war her numerous sons and daughters. He bein your members?' (v. 1.) Why did he not gan by suggesting doubts respecting the proattribute all this to the suggestions and in-priety of the divine prohibition; and finding fluence of a fallen angel? Again: in the se- her disposed to listen to these insinuations, venth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, he proceeded boldly to deny the consequence St. Paul says, 'We know that the law is spir- which Deity had declared should result from itual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For the transgression of his law. 'Ye shall not that which I do, I allow not; for what I would, surely die,' said he. But let it be remembered that I do not; but what I hate, that do I. If-let it never be forgotten-that this old serthen I do that which I would not, I consent pent has always been a deceiver. He estaunto the law that it is good. Now, then, it is blished this character in Eden; and he reno more I that do it, but sin, that dwelleth in tains it still. Our first parents soon discoverme. For I know that in me, (that is, ined his delusion; for on the very day of their transgression, they actually experienced the death which the unerring word of Jehovah had threatened. Had they escaped, had the pun|ishment been either remitted or delayed, then indeed the declaration of the serpent would have been verified, and the denunciation of the true and living God proved false.
my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not. For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now, if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin, that dwelleth in me. I find, then, a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For In our opinion, every man, from the first I delight in the law of God, after the inward to the last, comes into the world under moral man; but I see another law in my members, circumstances precisely the same. We are warring against the law of my mind, and ushered into being in the state of perfect inbringing me into captivity to the law of sin nocency, with no guilt or vice, whatsoever; which is in my members. wretched man and from all that we can learn, th was the that I am! Who shall deliver me from the condition of the parents of our race, when body of this death?' (v. 14-24.) Here, St. they came from the forming hands of their Paul appears to describe the reflections of a Creator. We know it is often said that Adam man who is striving against the current of was created perfectly holy, as well as innosinful inclinations; and we perceive that he cent: but the absurdity of this proposition places the whole force of temptation in the will be manifest, when we consider, that hovicious propensities of human nature, which liness is the result of correct moral action, and he calls a law in the members warring against that Adam could not have begun to perform the law of the mind. Let it now be remem-such actions, till after he was created. He bered that St. James teaches that this is the was innocent, until he yielded to the solicitaground on which every man is tempted. So tions of his deceived partner, and ate of the that, if there were, indeed, such a mighty fal- forbidden fruit. Then, his innocence forlen angel as is commonly imagined, his in-sook him, and he felt in his soul the bitterness fluence and services would be altogether su- of spiritual death. St. Paul, says, 'to be carperseded by the irregular and turbulent pas-nally minded is death;' and this 'death has sions of mankind. He would be an utterly passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. useless piece of machinery in the conduct of human life. Those who properly govern their appetites and passions, he could not, of course, lead astray; and those who neglect this pre-so often repeated against the advocates of caution, would wander without his assistance. Universalism, viz. that they are propagating the doctrine which the serpent taught in the garden of Eden. And who, we ask, are they that fondly deal in this slander? Why, those that tell us with great vehemence, that if they believed God would save all mankind, they would throw off every moral restraint, and sin with a high hand and an outstretched arm. Perhaps they are not aware that in betraying such sentiments, they lay themselves open to suspicion of being, themselves, somewhat enamoured of the serpent's doctrine. If they did not think that sin is, in itself, to be desired,' and that it would contribute to their happiness in the day' they indulged therein, they would have no wish to practice it, whether Universalism were true or false.
In conclusion, we would remark, that there never was a more groundless charge urged against any class of men, than that which is
Having thus stated our views of what is signified by the serpent which beguiled Eve, and shown that it must have been the carnal mind, which, according to St. Paul, is enmity against God, is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be,-we come next to inquire, why this tempter is represented as uttering the declaration, 'Ye shall not surely die.' In eastern countries, even to this day, abstract principles and passions are frequent-a ly personified; and in accordance with this style of writing, the principle of evil, or that which has the power to entice men from the way of rectitude, is here described under the figure of a serpent: the most odious of reptiles, and yet the most fascinating. By no
RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS:
GOODNESS AND GRACE OF GOD.
TO BE MANIFESTED AT LAST, IN THE RECOVERY OF HIS WHOLE CREATION OUT OF THEIR FALL.
BY JEREMIAH WHITE,
CHAPLAIN TO OLIVER CROMWELL.
THE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation, and kindred,
and tongue and people."-Rev. XIV. 6.
GIHON, FAIRCHILD & Co.