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years and in many places, and I shall attend thereto with as much freedom as if my acquaintance had been of long standing.
First, That man was made in the image of God, is clear to all who pay any attention to divine revelation; but it is not so clear, even to the scripturaian, what the Holy Ghost intended thereby. Yet, had we from our infancy been taught by the scriptures of the Old and New-Testaments, instead of the scriptures of the Assembly's Catechism, we should not have been so much at a loss respecting this matter; we should then have seen, that the creating our first parents in the image of God was creating them male and female, and calling their names Adam. When we are enabled under the directing influence of the Spirit of truth, who constantly taketh of the things of Jesus, showing them to us, to attend to this figure, we trace therein the glory of wisdom and grace divinely displayed.
The God of grace
First, as a God of and God said unto
The female was first created in the male. and truth first speaks to her in her husband. grace, Genesis i. 28, "And God blessed them; them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:" &c. &c. And again, Genesis ii. 15, "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it."
Secondly, As a lawgiver, Genesis ii. 16, 17, "And the Lord 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."
It was not until after all this, the woman received a personal form, Genesis ii. 22, "And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man; in which form, she was still bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, as much as when she lay concealed in his side." And that she was made to understand, that what God said to her husband was said to her, while she and her husband made but one visible character, is manifest from her reply to the serpent, iii. 2, 3:
"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."
Now, when it is remembered that Adam was a figure of him who was to come, Romans v. 14, "Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." When reverting to this figure, we behold Christ the second Adam, the substance of that figure, and as he is emphatically styled the husband of the ransomed race, Isaiah liv. 5, "For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer the holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called." When we behold this ransomed race, who had grace given them in Christ, (the husband, the second Adam) before the world began, 2 Timothy i. 9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." When we revolve and compare all these testimonies, we see the grace contained in the formation of our nature, and then we are made to understand something of the divine purpose, when he said, Let us make man in our image.
But, should I follow the influence of my feelings, it would lead me beyond the bounds usually prescribed to a letter.
Secondly, You add, (and it is a very consolatory consideration) that we are all the offspring of God. Yes, our God who is a Spirit, is indeed the Father of our spirits; and if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more doth our heavenly Father? I think we may venture to assert, that he will be as much more careful to provide for his offspring than we are for ours, as he is more powerful, more wise, and more gracious; and that he has been thus careful for every one of his offspring without exception, is manifest not only by his providential care, in which as a most indulgent Father, (indulgent even to the evil and unthankful,) he openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing, Psalm cxlv. 16. But also as a God of
grace, giving our Saviour to taste death for every man, which death was the wages of sin, Hebrews ii. 9. And as it is life eternal to know the only true God, he will in this also evince his paternal care; for they shall all, saith the God of truth and grace, know me from the least to the greatest; as it is written, they shall all be taught of God. You are, therefore, strictly correct in saying, that the love of God to man is unchangeable; and you may also add, that
it is unsearchable.
But in this is the love of God made manifest, not that we loved him, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Had God loved us because we loved him, to what reward would he have been entitled? Do not even Publicans the same? But as our God has proved his love for us sinners, by giving his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, 1John, iv. 10, in the same way he has proved his love for the whole world, 1John ii. 2. "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." As he has done this, we are authorized to place unbounded confidence in the justice, power, love, and mercy of Deity.
Again, you observe, "that Adam as a public character, a federal head, acting not only for himself, but for all mankind, brought his whole posterity into a state of sin, and consequently into the toils of death, which is the wages of sin. Thus death passed upon all' men, for all have sinned." Romans, v. 15. Sir, I humbly conceive death did not pass upon our Saviour, as a descendant from Adam, then he would have suffered as a sinner, but as a sinner he could not have been a Saviour.
"Death takes hold of every individual of Adam's offspring, not only as sinners in him, but as sinners with him, for we have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God." But to the glory of our Saviour be it spoken, he was holy, harmless and undefiled, and separate from sinners. Hebrews, vii. 26. Sir, death did not take hold of Jesus with us, as the offspring of Adam, but it took hold of us, and every individual of the offspring of Adam, in him, as the second Adam. This was the truth which the love of Christ constrained the apostles to testify, when they declared that if one died for all, then were all dead. Probably this was the idea you had, although the mode of expression you made use of, did not, as I conceive, on the face of the letter, exactly convey as much.
I beg leave in the freedom of christian, brotherly love, further to observe, that although Jesus Christ was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, and that thus being recog nised as the representative of lost humanity, indeed as the human nature itself, for it pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell, the curses of the law, or the curse in that law, denounced upon every one that continueth not in all things written therein, fell upon him, so that he was made a curse for us; yet, he was not as one amongst the rest of the offspring of an apostate head, VOL. II.
doomed to the curse, then he would have been cursed in his individual character as a transgressor, which supposition is an impious, blasphemous supposition..
But while he inherited all the promises, as fulfilling every jot and tittle of the law, under which he was made, entitled, fully entitled, by his own complete and perfect obedience, to the reward of blameless rectitude, being in his own individual person free from stain, the Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guilt, he nevertheless, suffered as a just one, for us the unjust, all that the law of God denounced upon the disobedient. The justice of which transaction is only proved by the union subsisting between the perfect head, Christ Jesus, and the offending members, the first Adam and his posterity, which is aptly figured or described, by the iniquity of his heels, which was said to compass him about.
It appears, that the first Adam received a law from his Maker, the obedience to which was to be rewarded with life, whilst disobedience thereto was to be punished with death.
But God addressing him as a public head, and of course speaking to us in him, we become interested in the law, and its breach, even to the death. In the fulness of time, however, the second Adam made his appearance, when the law spoke to him, and to us also in him, had he failed, we should have been totally ruined, but he having suffered the punishment due to our transgressions, delivered us from death, and having fulfilled all righteousness for us, we became legal heirs of everlasting life. Let me then beg leave, once more to observe, our blessed Lord died for, not in Adam. I shudder at the impiety of this God-dishonouring idea!!!!
The human family are individuals in both the first and second Adam.
Thus in Adam, all die. Thus in Christ, the second Adam, all are made alive; and as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Corinthians, xv. 47. "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."
You observe justly, because scripturally, that the head of every man is Christ, that he fulfilled the law for every man, and that every blessing annexed to every good character is ours in him, in whom as the seed spoken of to Abraham, all the families of the earth are blessed. Yes, truly, mankind are as much entitled to eternal life, through what Jesus Christ has performed and suf
fered, as if every individual, had thus in his own proper person, performed and suffered.
But what mode of expression is that which says, Christ Jesus is in every man before he believes. I know of but one way that Christ can be in any man, and that is by faith. Indeed, except Christ is thus formed in the heart by faith, there can be no capacity for sinning against the law of Christ, against light and knowledge.
But perhaps you mean that God hath given life in Christ Jesus to every man, while in a state of unbelief, else they could not sin by disbelieving. Again, with respect to our being in Christ, I think the scriptures speak of this particular in a two fold sense. First, as members of the body, of which he, as an individual, is the head; and, secondly, as by faith, putting on the Lord Jesus, and walking in him. Sir, it would be well upon all occasions, rightly to distinguish the words of life. As private Christians, it is our interest and duty thus to do. But as public labourers and teachers, it is abundantly more so; nay, it becomes an indispensible requisite.
We should consider ourselves as dwelling among wolves, many of which are in sheep's clothing. Sir, this consideration combining with many others, has induced me to speak of divine revelation with great caution, and while engaged in the promulgation of the truth, as it is in Jesus, I am careful to clothe my ideas, in the language, in the precise, literal language of the sacred writings. As a soldier of Christ, there is but one sword, in which I dare to confide; this sword is obviously the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. If we are instructed, by the Captain of our salvation, how to use this sword, it will be proof against all assaults of the enemy. We should therefore do well diligently to study the sacred scriptures. I profess myself a true scriptuarian. I am not conscious of cherishing any religious tenet which is not clearly taught in the scriptures of the Old and New-Testament. But I receive these scriptures as they are taught in those Testaments, and not according to the comments of men. In this I flatter myself we agree. I am obliged by your friendly letter, and happy to observe you thus far acquainted with the truth, as it is in Jesus; and that you are enabled to bear your public testimony in favour of the Redeemer of the world.
I should more fully attend to other subjects contained in your letter but Mr. S. leaves town almost immediately. In compliance