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No. 2..

2 BETHANY, VIRGINIA: Smu S MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1832. '

I saw another messenger flying through the midst of heaven, having everlast. ing good news to proclaim to the inhabitants of the earth, even to every nation and tribe, and tongue, and people-saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgments is come: and worship him who made heaven, and earth, and sea, and the fountains of water. - Joun,

Great is the truth and mighty above all things, and will prevail.

ARCHIPPUS. AT the special request of the writer, and because we think, upon re-examination, the following essay contains many valuable remarks, we copy it from the Christian Messenger.

EDITOR.

No. V. The Death of Christ, and the Doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy

Spirit, and their effect and consequences necessary to the cxistence of Religion in the IVorld.

ÞR. ELY said some time ago, that a few metaphysical opinions were the occasion of the principal controversies in religion among Presbyterians. I say, that the controversies about the atonement, and the trinity, and the operations of the Spirit, among professed christians, (which have existed for more than fifteen hundred years,) and the almost innumerable systems of religion that have been formed by them, have originated in unscriptural views, and in a false philosophy of the human mind, in reference to religion. What occurred in the Arian controversy in the fourth century, and the unscriptural forms of expression used in the Athanasian or Nieenę and Arian Creeds, or articles of faith, formed in that century, and which have been incorporated with, and given character, more or less, to all the creeds of this day, confirm this observation.

I believe that correct views of the death of Christ, and its effects, and of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as they are connected with the existence of religion in the world, according to the word of God, and the history of mankind, in reference to it, will obviate all difficulties upon these subjects, except what are incident to ultimate principles, and unite all christians: I mean, all those who do in truth and in deed regard the word of God as true, and the only mean and rule of faith and conduct in religion. With my views I cannot see any more or greater occasion for men to differ about the christian religion, and form different sects on acoount of it, than there is for their dividing and forming different sects on account of their different opinions about light.

VOL. III.

With these remarks I submit the following observations to ihe intelligent reader, for serious consideration :

Every doctrine of God in religion is necessary for some appropriate practical end, and, without which, that end cannot be accomplished in the human mind.

The scriptures, the history of the world, and the state of man, indicate that somt great catastrophe has happened to the human family in relation to God. The word of God informs us that God created man in his own image and likeness, from which he has fallen. And from the short account that Moses has given us in the three first chapters of Genesis, it appears that the image of God, in which man was made, comprehended the knowledge, love, and fellowship of God, as it consisted in a state of purity, and included the knowledge and use of language in relation to God and spiritual things, as well as the knowledge of natural ones, and the use of language in respect to them. Hence we find Adam conversing with his Maker the Logos, while in a state of innocence, in the use of words and sentences in the most familiar manner, receiving and understanding his instructions and precepts relative to the divine will, and his own duty, expressed in the same way. And after he sinned he knew and felt his guilt, and understood his Maker's voice. In proof that Adam was endowed immediately by his Creator with the knowledge of natural things, and with language suitable to express, and to distinguish them, we are informed that "the Lord God brought unto him every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, to see what he would call them, and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." Gen. ii. 19.

The image and likeness of God, in which man was made, and all that appertained to them, (as distinguished from their original natural powers,) which were lost by sin, were coeval endowments, and were bestowed upon him by his munificent Creator, the Logos, or Word, the moment that gave him birth. These coeval endowments, though withdrawn, man's original, intellectual faculties and powers, and native susceptibilities, would remain, though destitute of the means of spiritual improvement. In this case of spiritual desertion, these faculties, and powers, and affections would, of necessity, be employed upon, and engrossed by, the objects of sense, animal appetite and selfishness, and be bounded by time.

In man's primitive, pure estate, to the extent of his limited powers, he saw as God saw, and loved as God loved, and willed as God willed. He corresponded in these respects with his Maker; and, possessed of immortality, he was like him. But this state was lost by sin: the image of God was destroyed, and man became mortal.

The tempter began his operations by seeking to cloud the powers of man's understanding; for without this, he could not corrupt his affections, or pervert his will. He accordingly presented a different view to the mind of Adam and Eve, of the propriety and authority of God's command, from that in which God held them, and had expressed them; and in that way affected their heart, so as to bring it in opposi.

tion to God. Gen. iii, 1–6. ï. 15.-18. Now for the first time man's intellect ceased to harmonize with God's intellect, and his affections and will ran counter to God. Man sinned by violating the will of God. He broke God's covenant and fell under his curse; the coeval endowments, in which the image of God consisted, ceased; for, indeed, God left him. That communion with God, on which these principles depended, ceased, because it would have been utterly improper in itself, and inconsistent with the covenant and constitution God had established, that God should still maintain communion with man after he had become a rebel. Man was left involved in spiritual darkness, guilt, and ruin. In the whole of this transaction God exerted no power in occasioning man's fall, or in promoting the temptation that led to it, but he did every thing that he could do to prevent it. Nor did he infuse any principle of sin or corruption into the fallen state of man. By the abuse or improper use of his moral powers, man sinned against God, and broke his covenant; and God withdrew from him in a spiritual point of view, intellectually and morally speaking, left him flesh without the Spirit; and by the change man became naturally mortal. As the light withdrawn from a room leaves it in darkness, so the withdrawal of God from man left him in spiritual darkness and death, imprisoned within the walls of time and sense, under the dominion of animal appetite and passions, and under the sentence of natural death. In this case the natural presence and operations of God's Spirit did not cease; had that been the case, man would instantly have died a natural death, and the human race would have ended, Job xxxiv. 14, 15. These continued, but these do not give spiritual knowledge or religion. They only sustain the natural existence of man so long as it lasts, and his original and native powers and susceptibilities, which render him capable of religion; but I repeat, they do not give religion, or the knowledge of God: this is given by external, verbal revelation. Religion was natural to man's original estate; but it is supernatural to his fallen state.

The process by which we must be brought to God, to holiness, and heaven, is precisely an inversion of the process of our fall. The devil deceived our first parents, and ruined them by darkening their minds and corrupting their affections by falsehood. Our minds must be enlightened, our guilt must be pardoned, and our affections purified by the merciful truth of God, and that is gospel truth. The Word made man first in the image of God, and gave him speech and knowledge upon spiritual subjects. The word, made flesh in his mediatorial character, under the new covenant, again speaks to man through his own blood, and is the light of life, and renews him by knowledge, after the image of him that created him. This is done by giving him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Through faith in him we are justified and sanctified. The light of this knowledge is the gospel character of God.

I observed that in man's first estate religion was natural to himthat is, the knowledge of God formed a part of the state natural. Agreeably to the caption of this essay, I now observe that the death of Jesus Christ, in the divine purpose and conduct, and the fact of the existence and agency of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," have been, since the fall of man, intimately connected with, and concerned in, the divine and spiritual communications to, and in the existence of religion in our world.

I designedly omit the terms atonement and trinity, because they are not properly in the New Testament, and have been the subjects of much unprofitable verbal disputation; and I employ the expressions "the death of Christ,” and “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” in their place, as they are connected with the revelation and knowledge of God, and the existence of religion in the world.

What I have now said is chiefly preparatory to what I am now about to advance in proof of the necessity of the death of Christ, and of the truth of the doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and their effects and operations to the existence of religion in our world. By religion I mean a system of truth, affection, and conduct, of which God is the great subject, and supreme object, and which I maintain, since the fall of man, could not exist without supernatural revelation in words,

My method of proof, in this case, will consist in the simple exclusion of the death of Christ, and of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and all their obvious consequences since men fell, in reference to religion, to show that their absence leaves the world without the knowledge of God and religion altogether, and that their existence and operations are necessary to the knowledge of God and of religion in the world. . 1, I exclude the death of Christ as it was announced, and promised, and prophesied of, and all its consequences, as it existed in the divine purpose, and was made known by God immediately after the man feil, Gen. ii. 15. By this the promise of the seed of the woman'i is excluded, who was to bruise the serpent's head, and all the communications and institutions that were made and ordained by God in reference to it. The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that was to follow, of which the spirit of Christ that was in the prophets did speak from the earliest ages of the world, are with the revelations of them blotted out. Abel's offering by feith, and Enoch's prophecies and walk with God, and his translation, and Noah's faith and conduct, and the patriarchal and Mosaical systems and dispensations of religion, and all the bleeding victims and smoking altars, which were typical, are excluded, with every form of worship, and all spiritual ideas, whether true or false, except those which Adam may have remembered of what he knew before the fall, and which he may have communicated to his posterity. In the absence of all that was said and done in reference to Christ, there has been no communication made by God to man intelligibly, since he fled from the presence of his Maker. I will resume the subject of the death of Christ and its effects under the second head of the next division, as it is connected. with the existence of religion in the world.

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