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The denial of the personality and power of our spiritual adversary, I conceive to be very closely connected with a low and inadequate view of the malignity, the depth, and the danger, of sin. Those persons who are weighed down under the burthen of their transgressions who are well acquainted with the plague of their own hearts—who know what it is to tremble because of the power of temptation, and because of the secret influence of their besetting iniquity-will be little disposed to deny that they have a restless and powerful enemy, against whose aggressions it is absolutely necessary for them earnestly to strive. But, oppressed as the awakened children of God may sometimes find themselves to be, under a sense of the power of Satan, it can never become them to yield to unprofitable discouragement ; for they are assured, that he who is on their side is infinitely wiser and greater than he who is against them. Their adversary, however powerful, is neither omnipresent, nor omniscient, nor omnipotent; but all these characteristics belong to their Saviour, and their God. Though the influence of Satan may be permitted to spread for a time to an alarming and deplorable extent, the Scriptures afford abundant evidence, that God will vindicate his own cause, and in due season will establish and complete the dominion of his Christ, over the souls of mankind. In the mean time, he will not fail to arise, in every needful hour, for the help and preservation of those who love and follow their Redeemer. He will scatter all their enemies. He will bestow upon them the happy and glorious victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
ON THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF MAN.
IN attempting a discussion of the nature, history, and character, of Man, as they are unfolded in the Holy Scriptures, I am very sensible of the complicated nature of this comprehensive subject; and I shall therefore invite the reader's attention only to those features of it which appear to be most important, because most essentially connected with the system of religi. ous truth. These are, first, the creation and mortality of man; secondly, the immortality of his soul; thirdly, his resurrection; fourthly, his moral agency and responsibility ; fifthly, the eternity of his future happiness or misery ; and lastly, his fall from original righteousness, and his actual depravity.
SECTION I. On the Creation and Mortality of Man. On the sixth and last day of the creation, after the world had been supplied with every description of inferior animal, we read that God spake as follows: “ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth :" Gen. i, 26–28. Again, we read, “ And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul:" ii, 7.
The Hebrew word, here rendered “ soul,"* is one of very extensive and sometimes uncertain meaning. Although it is frequently employed to denote the seat of the affections and thoughts--that part in man which loves, hates, fears, meditates, and worships-yet, at other times it signifies merely the natu
ral life, or the creature by which that natural life is enjoyed. The last appears to be the meaning of the expression in the passage before us. A living soul is a a living creature; as we may learn from the fact, that the same expressions (in the original text) are here employed to describe the bird of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beast and reptile of the earth : chap. i, 20, 21, 22, 24.* - The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground;" and the Hebrew word Adam, which, though applied by way of eminence to the first man, is used in that language as the generic name of the race, simply denotes our earthly origin. Like the birds, the fishes, the beasts, and the reptiles, man was formed of tangible matter ; like them, when Jehovah breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, he became a living creature ; and, like them also, when God takes away his breath, he dies, and returns to the dust.
Although we may conclude, from some of the doctrinal parts of Scripture, that if Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would not have died (see Rom. v, 12,) it is plain, from their history, that they were created liable to mortality; and, after their sin had been committed, their mortality was determined and ascertained. - In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," said Jehovah to his fallen child, 6 till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken : for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return :" Gen. ii, 19. There is, indeed, no volume in the world, which abounds with so many vivid descriptions of the shortness of human life, and of the certainty of that death to which we are all hastening, as the volume of Scripture. “Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth,” said David, “and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity :” Ps. xxxix, 5; comp. xc, 9, 10. “ All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field : the grass withereth, the flower fadeth ; because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass :" Isa. xl, 6, 7. “ Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down : he fleeth also as a shallow, and continueth not:" Job xiv, 1, 2. And as the life of a man is but as “ a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away," James iv, 14; so also those outward objects, which here occasion him pleasure and pain, which occupy so much of his attention, and excite so much of his sensibility, are all invariably marked with the same character of brevity and change. “ But this I say,
brethren, the time is short : it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not ; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away:" 1 Cor. vii, 29–31. 6 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity :" Eccl. i, 2.
SECTION II. On the Immortality of the Soul. In the history of the creation, the distinction between man and the inferior animals is marked, not by his receiving from the Lord the breath of life, not by his becoming (to adopt the words of our translators) a living soulmbut by his being formed in the image, and after the likcness, of the Most High God. That he was so formed in a moral point of view that he was “ created after God in righteousness and true holiness''—we shall presently find occasion to observe. But these comprehensive expressions probably include the notion of all those characteristics of humanity which elevate us far above all the lower animals, and from which we derive a faint resemblance to the Author of our being. Among these characteristics are obviously to be reckoned our faculties of thought, reflection, and reason, by which we are enabled to enjoy communion with our Creator, and, in pursuance of his own edict, to exercise dominion over all inferior living creatures : see Gen. i, 26; comp. Ps. viii, 6. Yet the declaration, that man was formed in the image of God, has, in all probability, a yet more especial reference to an eternity of existence to the doctrine that we are endowed with a spiritual substance, which survives the dissolution of its earthly tenement, and lives for ever. “For God created man to be immortal,” says the ancient, though probably uninspired, author of the Book of Wisdom, “and made him to be an image of his own eternity:" ch. ii, 23.*
This higher part of man, which perishes not with his outward frame, and of which his intellectual faculties (though exercised through the instrumentality of bodily organs) may be regarded as an essential property, appears to be very distinctly alluded to in several passages of Scripture, and is by the sacred writers denominated sometimes the spirit, and sometimes the soul.
It is generally supposed, that Solomon was speaking of the
* Such is the explanation given of the image of God in man by Tertullian. " Habent illas ubique lineas Dei, quà immortalis anima, quâ libera et sui arbitrii, quâ præscia plerumque, quâ rationalis, capax intellectus et scientiæ.” Contra Marcion. lib. II, cap. 9.
never-dying soul, as it is distinguished from the mere instinctive spirit of beasts, when, in his preaching, he cried, saying, “ Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth ?”' Eccl. iii, 21. So again, in describing the death of man, he says, “ Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it:" xii, 7. When Isaiah wrote, “ Hear, and your soul shall live :-Ezekiel, “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die :”—Micah, “ Shall I give the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ?” (Isa. lv, 3; Ezek. xviii, 20; Mic. vi, 7 ;) it is by no means improbable that these prophets severally attached to the word " soul" the meaning in which we are ourselves accustomed to employ it—that of the essential and responsible part of man. In the New Testament there are various passages to the same effect. Thus it must surely be allowed, that Stephen was speaking, not of his material breath, but of his immortal soul, when, in the view of immediate death, he lifted up the voice of supplication, saying, 6 Lord Jesus, receive my spirit :" Acts vii, 59. When the apostles wrote of the salvation of the soul, the purification of the soul, and the confidence of the soul in its Redeemer, see James i, 21, v, 20: 1 Pet. i, 9, 22 : Heb. vi, 19: we may reasonably conclude, that by the soul they intended to express the never-dying spirit within us. Again, in the book of Revelation, we read that the apostle John, in his vision, beheld under the altar " the souls of them that were slain for the word of God,” vi, 9.-" the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God:” xx, 4. Lastly, our Lord himself appears to have employed the word “ soul” in this peculiar sense, when he said to his disciples, “ Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell :" Matt. x, 28.
When Jesus thus exhorted his followers, he plainly promulgated the doctrine, that, although men are able to destroy the bodies of one another, they have no power to annihilate the soul-that, in other words, the annihilation of the soul is not effected by the death or destruction of the body that when the body dies, therefore, the soul continues to emini The body, which is justly described, by two inspired aposti.. as the 5 tabernacle”--the tent in which the soul resides for a sason-is laid aside in death, and is presently resolved into its original dust, see 2 Cor. V, 1 ; 2 Pet. i, 13: but the higher and more essential part of man, although invisible to mortal ve, preserves its identity, and is introduced to a new sphere