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MAN, THE IMAGE OF GOD.
BY REV. HENRY GILES.
" FOR A MAN INDEED OUGHT NOT TO COVER HIS HEAD, FORASMUCH AS
HE IS THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD."-1 Cor. xi. 7.
" AND WHEN HE CAME TO HIMSELF, HE SAID-HOW MANY HIRED SER
VANTS OF MY FATHER'S HAVE BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE, AND I
We are often told that man was originally created in the image of his Maker; and, in the same connection, we are told that, in his fall, he lost it. If this be true, we might expect that Scripture writers, in alluding to fallen man, would never ascribe to him so holy a resemblance. Paul, however, does it in one of the texts I have quoted ; and Paul is not alone in this ascription. In an ordinance to Noah, immediately after the deluge, we find the same truth made the foundation of a most solemn injunction. “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”* Had the resemblance of God been effaced from the soul of man in the fall of Adam, there had been in this ordinance neither meaning nor solemnity. Since, therefore, the sacred writer uses the fact of man's likeness to God to stamp deeper guilt on the crime of murder;
since, moreover, that fact is alleged after the narration of the fall,—we are justified by Scripture in claiming this high and glorious distinction for our universal nature.
I have quoted the second text, because the principle implied in it is identical with that which I stand here to maintain, namely, that sin is not of our nature, but against it; that it is not consistent with it, but contradictory to it; that to be sinful, is not to be natural, but unnatural. Sin, properly speaking, is moral delirium; and the progress towards that last paroxysm which, by revulsion, arouses the soul from its madness, is eloquently symbolised in the parable from which my second text is taken. Having tried all that sin could offer him; having sunk to the very husks of carnal appetites, and vainly sought thus to satisfy the hunger of an immortal soul, wearied, disappointed, and disgusted ; satiated, but not satisfied, the prodigal arises from his torpor; he awakens from his wildering dream; the delirium that so long beset him is dispersed; with a calm and clear brain he finds himself in open day-light, and discerns the empty and unsubstantial vanities for which, in a false hope, he spent his labour and his strength, to reap at last, in the bitterness of a repentant heart, nothing but grief, tribulation, and anguish.
Sin is not a following of nature, but a violence on it; not conformity, but contradiction to it. And so, as when returning life beats in the palsied heart, or the dawn of reason bursts again on the madman's brain, the prodigal is said “ to come to himself;" when the spirit of moral renovation opens on him with compunctuous visitings of nature, and reveals to him a full sense of his condition. In his guilt ne was at variance with all the moral instincts of humanity; and, in the sorrow of repentance, he needed as much to at peace with himself as with his father. It is universally thus. God has established a certain order and harmony our nature, appointed to each faculty a place and a pun