« AnteriorContinuar »
ed on in the world, would have been unnecessary.
The death of the Saviour was not only intended to expiate for sin, but, also, to manifest the glory of God; his goodness, and severity, in the redemption of man; to intelligent beings, and, in a striking, and affecting manner, to man himself, as a moral being, placed, by the death of Christ, in a state of gracious probation, as preparatory to the enjoyment of God in heaven. In order to this, the scenes exhibited in the hour of his sufferings; the divine, and supernatural attestations of their true character, and relations, together with the glory that followed; were necessary to be made in the marner, and form in which they were manifested, as the only means by which the weak, and humble capacity of the human mind, could be reached, and the heart be affected. It is by these mea 13, employed in consequence of the vicari- : ous, and meritorious death of Immanuel, that the understanding, which was before darkened, and the heart, which was alienated from the life of God through ignorance, are renewed in spirit; and the creature enabled to put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness, and true holiness. He is thus enabled to put off the old man with his deeds, and to put on the man which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him. Cor.: structed, and formed as the human mind is; accessible only through the senses; (except by the immediate inspirations of God's Spirit; which is not his method of communication, only when new ORIGINAL ideas, and knowledgeare to be imparted;) and being united to a body susceptible of pain, and pleasure, from the different conditions of which it derives its principal ideas of happiness, and misery, and its leading motives of action; and being, by a necessity of nature, and the natural ceconomy, as existing between God, and itself
, ignorant of supernatural
, and spiritual things, and relations, and its own connection with the invisible world, naturally; no other plan than the one adopted by divine wisdom, both as to the manner, and the inatter of communication, together with the ordinancies, &c. embraced in the promulgation, and establishment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, could have answered the purposes intended. Every thing in that stupendous scheme is adapted to the condition of inan, in his fal.
len, natural state; and is perfectly suited, by its supernatural, and divine fitness, to exalt humanity from a state of sensuality, and nature, to a spiritual, and divine character. This is effected by the Spirit of God, through those means, working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ, who is the mediator between God, and man. Every mean employed for this purpose, is supernatuaal, when apprehended in its proper character; and never can produce its proper effect upon the mind, until it is thus apprehended; it derives its meaning from the explanation of God's Spirit in words, and is not otherwise known-as for example:
The human nature of Jesus Christ was created by the immediate power of the Holy Ghost—this had not been known to the human race, but for the revelations of God's Spirit. He was a teacher come from God—this had not been known, but by his divine credentials, consisting in working miracles, and their explanations by the words of God's Spirit, to establish the fact. His body was consecra ted a sacrifice for sin, by the adorable Jehovah--this had not been known to our world, but by the revelations of God in words. He was exalted by the right hand of God, a Prince, and a Saviour, in his human body, glorified, until the restitution of all things-the only competent proof of this, consisted in the out-pourings of the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven in signs, and wonders, and words explanatory; by whose inspirations ignorant, and unlearned men, who had believed by the evidence they previously received, were enabled to speak in tongues before unknown, the wonderful works of God. Acts 2. 7-11. It was determined by God, that, by virtue of the meritorious death of Jesus Christ, his resurrection, and intercession, that both great, and small of the human race, should, by the power of the Holy Ghost, be raised from the dead--this had not been known, and believed, but for the actual resurrection of the Saviour from the dead, and others; the gifts of the Holy Ghost, by whose power the dead are to be raised, and the assurances made in words, and sanctioned by miracles, that the fact will be realized by every individual. God determined to destroy the present heavens, and earth; and to create new ones; and also to have a future judgment at the
slose of the mediatorial dispensation. These hand Hot bear known, but by the revelation of his decrees upouy these subjects in wordsy and established by supernatural evita dence. He has also decreed, that the salvatióiv of men's souls, and bodies are to be secured by faith in Jesus Christ, in his proper characters; and thut this fallen province of his government should be administered by him as the Prince of Peace. These things had not been knowni
, but by his revelations in words, nor believed in, but by the de. monstrations of the Holy Ghost in signs, and wonders. In accommodation to man, in relatior to his God, who is not an object of sense; and for the purpose of aiding him in spiritual knowledge, and a life of faith; and to promote the order, and happiness of society; God saw it necessary to consecrate a seventh portion of time for his peculiar' wor ship; and called it a day of rest. This is exclusively of divine appointment; and could not have been discovered as having any relation to, or connection with, the everlasting rest of the saints in heaven, had it not have been revealed It is from divine stipulation that the Sabbath is an emblent of the heavenly rest. The Sabbath is made for man, and not man for the Sabbathi All the nations in Christendom have seen, and felt, the necessity of this appropriation of time, as established by divine appointment, in order to the preservation of public morals, and of their political, and civil institutions. Atheistical France, at one time; when on the high tide of mental perfectability, to the exclusion of every thing divine; spurned the sacraments; and ordinances of hea. ven; and even the idea of a God, as obstacles; and encum. brances to their boid march to perfection, in the develope ment of the intellectual, and moral faculties of man, and the attainment of the highest state of individual, and political happiness. The uncontroulable licentiousness, however, and the horror-smiting scenes of blood, and carnage, and every abomination that followed, portended the entire extermination of every thing that characterized civilized life, and of the annihilation of the nation itself. These compelled the national council to substitute the Decades (which is a' tenth portion of time) for the christian Sabbath; and to de: crec that the IDEA of a God, in the mind of the nation,
was necessary to the preservation of civiforder, and moralt ty. Such is the necessary practical fitness in the ordinances, and appointments of heaven, for the intellectual, moral, social, civil, and religious interests, and improvements of man. Those religious denominations, who affect to attach but lit. tle importance to the Sabbath, and its divine exercises, are assuredly ignorant of how much they conduce to the corruption of good manners, and the demoralization of the people. They also forsake their own blessings, and abuse their own privileges. The earthly Sabbath is a symbolical representà. tion of the heavenly rest, which remaineth to the people of God. In the heavenly Sabbath, the saints will rest from their work of trial, and from all the evils they are subject to in the present life; and shall recollect the labours they have undergone, the dangers they have escaped, and the temptations they have overcome. And, by reflecting on these things, and on the method of their salvation, they shall be unspeakably happy. Being admitted into the immediate presence of God, to worship, they shall pass a perpetual Sabbath in those elevations of pure devotion which the sublimest moments of their most sacred, and happy days, can teach them but imperfectly to conceive. The exercises of the earthly Sabbath are preparatory to the enjoyment of the hea. venly,
With an eye to the same purpose for which the Sabbath was instituted, and with a view to the same end, were the sacraments of baptism, and the supper established. By the former is reprcsented, as used, and explained by Christ, and the Apostles, the renovating influence of the faith of the Gospel; the resurrection of the Saviour from the dead, by the Holy Ghost: it is also used as a symbolical representation of the resurrection of the believer by the power of God, exerted in consequence of the vicarious, and meritorious death, the triumphant resurrection, and victorious reign of Immanuel. The supper is used as a memorial of the sufserings, and death of the Redeemer. These sacraments are only influential upon the minds of men, and suitable for practical purposes, in spiritual knowledge, and devotion, as they are explained by the Spirit of God, who alone knoweth the things of God in the record of his Son. It is in this Aväy, according to the established order of God's throne, that the mind is accessable to divine instruction since immediate inspirations ceased. The meaning of all these things, when rightly apprehended in the explanations given by the Spirit of God, is; that man, though a poor worm of the dust, brought low by sin, and thereby dissevered from the communion of his God, is a candidate for the skies, through the death, and mediation of the Prince of Peace—that, being a passenger through this world, his present state of being is a state of gracious probation; and death a door through which he obtains an entrance into the spiritual, and invisible worid; and that faith in Jesus Christ is the only ground of acceptance with God, and admission into the celestial abodes of happiness, and glory, forevermore.
In the commencement of the Gospel dispensation, it was necessary that Apostles, and witnesses be appointed, and disciplined, for the purpose of bearing witness to what they had seen, and heard, during the personal ministry of the Saviour; and also to what appeared at his death, resurrection, and ascension; and that they should all be influenced by the same Spirit, and agree in their testimony; and, by a supernatural, miraculous, and divine power, to break through the strong holds which natural appetite, and desire; natural ex.. perience, and the objects of time, and sense, had erected, and established in the opinions, and hearts of mankind; and to establish a divine, and supernatural order of things, upon the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, the twelve Apostles were appointed, and received the Holy Ghost; by whose gifts, and graces, they were enabled to surmount all opposition; and to establish the truth of what they asserted to be true, by divine attestations. As it was not according to the plan of divine wisdom that the gifts, and miraculous powers of the Spirit, by which the Gospel was first published, and established, should continue after a certain period; it was necessary that its principles, and evidences should be recorded with faithfulness, and truth; and be made the standing mean for the spiritual edification, and faith of succeeding ages. Accordingly, the Spirit of Truth, having fully disclosed, and established the Gospel by the Apostles, after the ascension of the Saviour; agreeably to