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ion," etc. "So God created man after his own image, in the image
of God created he him: a male and a female created he them. And
God blessed them," etc. Now is it possible for the Creator, in his
creative process, to confer a greater privilege upon a creature, than
to create it in his oicn image, after his own likeness, that it might
not only thus be qualified for the enjoyment of personal intercourse
with its Almighty Creator, but also with a conjoint participation with
him in the possession and enjoyment of his terrestrial creations? Yea
— of everything of which its nature was thus made capable? But the
creative benevolence does not yet stop here. For. "the T^ord God
planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom
he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow
every tree that is plea.^ant to the sight and good for food: the tree of
life also in the midst o.f the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good
and evil." It was well watered — and "atiounded in. gold and pearls;"


for "there was bdellium and the onyx stone." This collection and
concentration of beauties and delicacies, both vegetable and mineral,
might well be called "The Garden of Eden;" that is, of pleasure and
delight. But to consummate the divine benevolence in those original
gifts of the divine love, God was graciously pleased to favor and to
furnish our first parent, in this garden of delights, with the blissful
means of not only enjoying the unspeakable gratification of manifest-
ing, by his obedience, his love and gratitude to his most gracious and
benevolent Creator; but also of securing to himself and his heirs the
perpetual enjoyment of his present happy condition, secured to him
and them by their unrestricted access to the tree of life.

Now, had man continued obedient, would not uninterrupted enjoy
ment have been his continual employment? But he was unnaturally
excited to transgress; and thus justly forfeited all his enjoyment. And
how did the Lord God proceed towards his guilty creature? He pro-
ceeded in mercy and love. For he respited our guilty progenitors
from the immediate full execution of the sentence, dismissed them
from his presence and the blessed garden, under the sentence of
death: but not without the hope of deliverance from the power of the
deadly enemy, that had maliciously seduced them. Thus were they
put, typically, (being covered with the spoils of death,) under the
protection of a remedial dispensation, through sacrifice; to which
they were to have continual recourse, as the divinely appointed means
of access to God, and of acceptance with him. Hence we find animal
sacrifice practiced in the family of Adam, of Noah, of Abraham, etc.,
etc., and so on till the death of Christ, the great antitypical sacrifice,
which taketh away the sin of the world.

Now this brings us up to the great gospel facts specified in our
synopsis: the first of which is, the divine assumption of our humanity,
in its present degenerate, degraded condition. And, surely, if, in the
first instance, it was a transcendent display of the love of God to
man, to create him in his own image, after his own likeness; it was
transcendently greater to assume our nature, degraded into a guilty,
depraved, perishing condition, and thus to assimilate himself to us —
that he might so identify himself with us, that our iniquity might be
laid upon him — that by his stripes we might be healed. (Isa. liii. 5.)
And thus put away our sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. ix. 26.)
If this does not demonstrate the blissful truth that "God is love" —
what could do it?

The second great gospel fact is, the personal gift of the Holy Spirit
to inhabit cur nature, thus assumed. (Matt iii. 16, 17.) "Jesus, when
he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, lo, the
heavens were open to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending
like a dove, and lighting upon him: and, lo, a voice from heaven,


saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am pleased." "For Go.l
giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." "For the Father lovetU
the Son, and hath tiven all tilings into his hand." (John iii. 34, 35. j
"And of his fullness have all we received, even gi-ace for grace." (John
i. IG.) "For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness
dwell. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead bodily, '
(Col. 1. 19; ii. 9, 10.) "And ye are complete in him, who is the head
of all principality and power." Glory to God! What has the Lord
done for the salvation and exaltation of poor, debased, guilty, per-
ishing humanity, in the person of our glorious Emanuel, in whom
dwelleth all the fullness of the divinity substantially, both by the
personal union of tlie Logos, and the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit! !
The third gospel fact in our synopsis, is the deep humiliation, cruel
maltreatment, tremendous sufferings, and ignominious death of this
glorious personage. It appears that his mother was a poor, dowerless
virgin; his legal father, an humble, laborious mechanic. His birth-
place was a stable, his cradle a manger. Shortly after his birth, his
parents had to flee from their country to save his life. Upon their
return, they located in the infamous Nazareth (John i. 46), from
whence our Saviour took his local name — "Jesus of Nazareth;" where
it is probable he wrought with his father; for he is called the carpenter
(Mark vi. 2). And during his ministerial labors he tells us, that "the
foxes had holes, and the birds of the air h£id nests; but that he, the
Son of Man, had not where to lay his head." But not only was he
thus the subject of infantile persecution, local infamy, and humble
laborious poverty; but also of blasphemous reproach; as being in league
with Satan — a glutton, a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners
(Matt. xi. 19). Accordingly, when at last they were permittedtto appre-
hend him, they most insultingly abused him: for having led him away
to the high priest's house, who condemned because he confessed, that
he was the Son of God. For, upon answering the high priest, when
first interrogated, one of the officers struck him: and when condemned
by the high priest for his confession, "the men that held Jesus mocked
him and smote him, and spit in his face; and when they had blind-
folded him, they struck him on the face, saying. Prophesy who it iS
that smote thee. And many other things blasphemously spake they
against him." (Luke xxii. 63-65.) And when they brought him to
Pilate, they accused him with treasonable practices, claiming to be
their king: who, upon hearing that he was a Galilean, sent him to
Herod: who, with his men of war, set him at naught, and mocked
him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to
Pilate (Luke xxiii. 6-11.) But when Pilate, upon finding nothing
proved against him, proposed to release him; availing himself, for
this purpose, of an established custom; which was to release to


them, at the feast of the Passover, a prisoner at the request of the
people; they reject Jesus, and choose Barabbas, a seditious murderer.
Jesua being thus rejected, and the murderer preferred, at the insti-
gation of the priests and rulers, Pilate orders Jesus to be scourged,
and delivers him up to be crucified. (Matt, xxvii. 26-50.) "Then the
soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gath-
ered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him,
and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown
of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand : and
they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King
of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote
him oo the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took
the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him
away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of
Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And
when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, this is to say,
A Place of a Skull, they gave him vinegar to drink, mingled with
gall; and when he tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they
crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots; that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, They parted my garments
among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting
down, they watched him there: and set up over his head, his accusa-
were there two thieves crucified with him; one on the right hand, and
another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging
their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest
it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down
from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with
the scribes and elders, said, He saved others, himself he can not
save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the
cross and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver
him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The
thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his
teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land
unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a
loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabbacthani? that is to say. My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood
there, when they heard that, said. This man calleth for Elias. And
straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with
vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said,
Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when
he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost." What
insulting cruel maltreatment! ! What tremendous suffering! ! Is it
any cause of wonder, that the realizing anticipation of such c horrid


catastrophe should have produced that soul-rending agony and bloody
sweat, which our gracious Lord experienced in the garden of Geth-
semane, just before its commencement? 0! for a true realizing appre-
hension of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that so we
might be filled with all the fullness of God! (Eph. iii. 19.)

But we now proceed to the fourth item in our synopsis, namely, his
trimphant resurrection from under the dominion of deaUi and the
grave; and glorious exaltation far above all heavens: "For he that
descended first into the lower parts of the earth, is the same who also
ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things."
(Eph. iv. 9,. 10.) For, aa we have just before quoted, "It pleased the
Father that in him should all fullness dwell." Now, this most gra^
clous intention was, doubtless, intended for the ultimate perfection
of his people; for God does nothing in vain.

This all-important event, however, took place very early in the
morning of the first day of the week, being the third day after his
death and burial. We learn, from the sacred record, that some of his
female disciples, who were present at their Lord's death and burial,
had agreed to meet very early at the sepulchre, on the first day of
the week, for the purpose of anointing his body, came accordingl:-,
while it was yet dark, and found the sepulchre empty;— that about
the time of their arrival there was a great earthquake; and that an
angel had descended from heaven, and rolled back the stone and sai
upon it— that his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment
white as snow;— and, that for fear of him, the keepers did shake, and
became as dead men. Thus were heaven and earth actuated and affected
at the resurrection of our glorious Emanuel:— a most eminent display
this, of the approbation and love of his heavenly Father, which was
afterwards consummated in his transcendent exaltation. (Ps. ex. 1,
2.) And which will yet be made most graciously apparent when he
shall sit upon the throne of his glory, accompanied with all his holy
angels, and all nations assembled before him, to receive their final
destiny from his all decisive judgment. "For the Father judgeth no
one, but hath committed all judgment to the Son; that all should
honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." (John v. 22, 23; Matt.
XXV. 31, 32.) Now can any possible manifestation of the divine love
equal this, much less exceed it? And does it not terminate upon our
humanity in the person of our glorious Emanuel, without which, he
could not be, in the personal sense of that divine epithet, "God with
us." How great is the love of God to man!!!— At first he made him
but a little lower than the angels, crowned him with glory and honor,
and set him over the works of his hands in this lower world. But in
his redeeming process, he has exalted our humanity above the whole
creation, by a most gracious act of his own sovereign mercy and


benevolence; for we deserved nothing but the very contrary, as
appears most evident in the condition of those, that receive the due
reward of their iniquity. (See Rev. xx. 15.) Yet, however, in the
meantime, the person of our glorious Emanuel, "God manifested in
the flesh," "is exalted far above all heavens, that he might fill all
things." (Eph. iv. 10.) "Angels, autharities, principalities, and
powers being made subject to him." (I. Pet. iii. 22.) So that at
his official name — Jesus — every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every
tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
the Father. (Phil. ii. 10, 11.) Thus has God graciously exalted our
nature in the person of his Son. "Well, therefore, may believers
exclaim: "Behold, what manner of love, the Father hath bestowed on
us, that we should be called the sons of God! For when Christ, our
life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory. For
we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him — that we
shall see him as he is." (Col. iii. 4; I. John iii. 2.) How astonishing
the love of God to man, first and last! ! ! It will neither admit of
comprehension nor comparison.

But after all this vast, transcendent display of the divine love to our
apostate, guilty, perishing nature, without the special agency and gift
of the Holy Spirit to quicken, enlighten, convert, and sanctify us, we
must, after all, ultimately perish: for all to whom the gospel comes,
are really and evidently dead in trespasses and sins; being alienated
from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, by reason
of the blindness of their hearts. (Eph. iv. 18.) "For the carnal mind
is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither
indeed can be." So that they who are under its infiuence, can not
please God. And this is the case with all that have not the Spirit
of Christ. For if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none
of his — And it is only those that are led by the Spirit of God, that
are the sons of God. (Rom. viii. 7-14.) And no man can (truly and
sincerely) say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit. (I. Cor.
xii. 3.) Therefore, our Lord, when about to leave his disciples whom
he had chosen to evangelize the world, promised them the assistance
of the Holy Spirit, to render their labors successful. (John xvi. 7-11.)
Wherefore, all true believers are said to be "born of the Spirit" — born
from above — John iii. 4-6 — to be begotten by an act of the divine will
with the word of truth, that they might be a kind of first fruits ot
his creatures. (Jas. i. 18.) "Created anew in Christ Jesus to good
works, which God before ordained, that they should walk in them"
(Eph. ii. 10). Consequently, all Christian graces and virtues are
ascribed to the Holy Spirit: For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temper-


ance. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit— (For the
fiuit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth;)
proving what is acceptable to the Lord. (Gal. v. 22, 23, 25; Eph. v.
9, 10.) These things being so, Christ would not suffer his coramiS'
sioned disciples to commence their official labors, till they received
the promise of the Holy Spirit — on the day of Pentecost — on which
ever-memorable day, commenced the Gospel Dispensation; and the
Holy Spirit took possession of the Christian church, never to leave
it while sun and moon endure — never — till the whole redeemed family
be ultimately presented in the divine presence, in the perfection of
glory. Thus we have the transcendent love of the Father fillly mani-
fested in the gift of his beloved Son and Holy Spirit, to justify and
sanctify depraved, guilty, perishing sinners, that they might be pre-
pared for the eternal enjoyment of the supreme felicity above
described. All these things being really so, as the Scriptures most
evidently declare; is it not demonstrably evident — that God is lovef
But, whilst heaven and earth, rejoice in this blissful and glorious truth,
it is equally evident to both, that God is as just as he is benevolent
and gracious; for "he will by no means acquit" (Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7,
with Nah. i. 3). He never has permitted, nor ever will, one single
transgression to pass with, impunity. All the divine attributes are
equally infinite. God is as good as he is great — as just as he is merci-
ful. Wherefore, that he might justify the ungodly, he laid on his
beloved Son the punishment due to their iniquities. (See Isa. liii. 5,
with Rom. iii. 25, 26, etc.) So that although the only begotten of
the Father is the supreme object of his love, and although he takes
infinite delight in the salvation of sinners; yet, rather than suffer sin
to pass with impunity, he laid on him the punishment due to the
iniquities of all that shall be saved. How hateful, then, in the divine
judgment, must be that abominable thing called sin! !! (Jer. xliv. 4.)
Nevertheless, it is true of all believers, that "for the great love where-
with. God loved them dead in sins, he quickened them together with
Cnrist." "For you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses
and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of
this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the Spirit
that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also
we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature
the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead
in trespasses and sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by
grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to
come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness


toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works,
lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in
Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that
we should walk in them" (Eph. ii. 1-10). Having thus briefly con-
sidered the transcendent display of the divine love — first, in creation;
next, in the grand gospel facts divinely intended for our salvation;
we proceed in the last place to consider the gracious declarations,
invitations, and promises of the blessed gospel, in connection with
the law of Christ; the belief and obedience of which, connected with
the belief of the aforesaid facts, constitute Christian character.

We commence this all-important part of our deeply interesting sub-
ject with a quotation from the third chapter of Genesis, verse 15: —
"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy
seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his
heel."' This divine declaration takes the lead, it is the root of the
■whole matter now before us; and has been triumphantly accomplished.
Glory to God! Upon the import of this promise, has the Lord founded
the remedial dispensation; and made the congenial declaration of his
great name to Moses. (Ex. xxxiv, 6, 7.) "And the Lord passed by
before him, and proclaimed. The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and
gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keep-
ing mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and
sin; and that will by no means acquit," (that is, suffer to pass with
impunity:" "for the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. liii.
6); "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon
the children's children, unto the third and fourth generation — (of
them that hate me.") (See chapter xx. 5.) These two quotations
introduced, seem to obviate an apparently insuperable difficulty. For
if God by no means will acquit the guilty, then no sinner can be
pardoned. And if he continues to visit the iniquity of the fathers
upon the children to the third and fourth generation, then must all
generations be continually suffering for their parents' sins. But,
obviating this difficulty, we have here a most gracious and blissful dis-
play of the remedial character of God, most graciously adapted to our
gulity, perishing condition. We could not possibly imagine a divine
character, better suited to our relief and deliverance. It goes to
obviate all our fears and discouragements, if we are at all desirous
to be saved from the guilt, the love, the practice, and the punishment
of sin. But, if otherwise, we must be content to die in our sins, and
be damned.

But let us hear him again. Isa. xlv. 21, 22, "Look unto me, and
be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none
else; a just God and a Saviour: there is none beside me." Hearest


thou this, my soul! Thou hast nothing to fear: the Lord Invites
thee to enjoy his salvation. But again, Isa. Iv. 1-3, "Ho, every one
that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money;
come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money,
and without price. Wheiefore do ye spend money for that which is
not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken dili-
gently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul
delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come unto me: hear,
and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant
with you, even the sure mercies of David." Here every one that is
desirous of happiness is divinely invited to the true source of enjoy-
ment, and all mistakes and discouragements obviated. And again,
Rev. xxi. 5, and xxii. 17, the blissful invitation is not only repeated,
but importunately urged. "The Spirit and the Bride say. Come; and
let him that heareth say. Come; and let him that is athirst come;
and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." By the
"water of life," we understand the fruits and effects of the lifegiving
Spirit, as expressed in the gracious declarations, invitations, and prom-
ises of the Blessed Book, which, realized by faith, works by love, puri-
fies the heart, and so fills the soul with joy unspeakable and full of
glory. But, it may be asked. How are we to attain to this? The
answer is obvious; it is by making a due use of the word of God
and prayer. For, saith the Great Teacher, "Search the Scriptures, for
in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify
of me" (John v. 39). And again — "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every
one that asketh, receiveth. For your heavenly Father giveth his
Holy Spirit to them that ask him" (Luke xi. 9-13). These things
being so, there remains neither difficulty nor discouragement; for
whosoever is willing, is welcome. And the way to the Bible and to
the throne of grace stands open night and day. Moreover, the Great
Teacher has given us special directions, how to proceed with success.
(Matt. xi. 28-30.) "Come to me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest: take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your
souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burthen is light" By yoke, here,

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 39 of 70)