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have availed nothing to grant him the tree of life, whose fruit had the power of perpetuating existence. And lastly, who can doubt that his nature was such that he might have been stabbed, or suffocated, or burnt, or crushed to pieces, or in many other ways destroyed ?
But how can this be reconciled to those passages of Scripture wherein it is asserted, that “God made man in his own image, and after his own likeness” (Gen. i. 26); that “ he was created to be immortal,” (Wisdom of Sol. ii. 23); and that « death entered into the world by sin” (Rom. v. 12)?
With respect to the first passage, wherein it is declared that man was made in the image of God, it is to be remarked, that the “ image of God” does not signify immortality; as is hence apparent, that the Scriptures, even after man had been made subject to death, still acknowledge this image in him: thus Genesis ix. 6; 66 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed-for in the image of God made he man.” And James iii. 9; “ Therewith (the tongue) bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.”—The phrase properly iniports the authority of man, and his dominion over all inferior creatures, which result from the reason and judgement communicated to him; as may clearly be perceived from the very passage itself in which it is first employed, Genesis i. 26 ; “ Let us make man, in our own 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.”
What think you of the second testimony adduced in this case ?
I observe, first, that the passage is taken from an apocryphal book, and therefore cannot be admitted to furnish any decisive proof. Secondly, it is one thing to assert that man was created immortal, but a far different thing to say that he was created for immortality. The former indicates his natural condition; the latter only declares the end for which he was created. Indeed, if man was created with the intent that he should ultimately become immortal, how could he have been created immortal ? Lastly, the word açdagooch, (incorruptibility,) which the author employs in this place, is not here opposed to every kind of corruption or death, but to that' only which truly deserves the name—that which involves the utter destruction of man. This he intimates, among other reasons, by describing the just as exempt from this corruption and death; though he asserts not only that
they naturally die, but also that they often close their - lives in torments. See Wisdom, chap. i. 12; and chap. iii. 1, &c.
What answer do you make to the third testimony adduced in this case, from Rom. v. 12,—that death entered into the world by sin ?
The apostle does not in this passage speak of mortality, but of death itself; and, indeed, of eternal death ; but mortality differs widely from these ; since a person may be mortal, and yet never die; much
less necessarily remain for ever under the power of death.
What is the second cause of man's being obnoxious to death?
That the first man transgressed an express command of God, to which the denunciation of death was annexed. Hence, also, it has come to pass, that he has brought the whole of his posterity under the same ordinance of death as himself; the personal offences of all of riper years being, however, taken into account, the guilt of which has been aggravated through the declared law of God, which men have violated. This you may perceive from the comparison which the apostle institutes, in the fifth chapter of his epistle to the Romans, between Christ and Adam, and from what he there observes concerning the effect of the introduction of the law in multiplying offences.
I perceive that man is obnoxious to death :-how do you prove that he could not of himself discover the way by which he might avoid death, and which would infallibly conduct hiin to immortality ?
This may be seen from hence,-that so glorious a recompense, and the sure means of obtaining it, must wholly depend on the will and counsel of God. But this will and counsel, what human being can explore, and clearly ascertain, unless they be revealed by God himself? The difficulty of discovering them is, besides, increased, in proportion to the degree in which they differed from the thoughts of the “natural man.” And that the things which relate to our salvation are of this kind, the apostle shows in the se
cond chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, where he treats at large upon this subject. ..
CONCERNING THOSE THINGS WHICH CONSTITUTE THE
WAY OF SALVATION. · I PERCEIVE that the way of salvation has been discovered to us by God:-I wish now to be informed what it is?
It consists of the knowledge of God and of Christ," as the Lord Jesus has himself declared (John xvii. 3). “ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."
What kind of knowledge do you mean?
By this knowledge I do not understand any merely barren and speculative acquaintance with God and Christ, but accompanied with its proper effects; that is, with a lively or efficacious faith, and a suitable and exemplary conduct. For this alone do the Scriptures acknowledge as the true and saving knowledge of God, as the apostle John testifies (1 John ii. 3, 4), when he states, “ Hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” To this might be added other declarations of a similar kind from the writings of the same apostle, and of some other sacred authors. (See particularly John iii. 6. 3 John ii. Titus i. 16.)
OF THE NATURE OF GOD.
Him, who, in his own right, has dominion over all things, and is dependent upon no other being in the administration of his government.
What does this dominion comprise ?
A right and supreme authority to determine whatever he may choose (and he cannot choose what is in its own nature evil and unjust) in respect to us and to all other thmgs, and also in respect to those matters which no other authority can reach ; such as are our thoughts, though concealed in the inmost recesses of our hearts;—for which he can at pleasure ordain laws, and appoint rewards and punishments.
State to ine wherein consists the knowledge of God? In an acquaintance with his NATURE and his WILL.
What things relating to his NATURE are to be known?
They are of two kinds: the one comprising those things which are necessary to be known in order to salvation; and the other, those, whereof the knowledge eminently conduces to our salvation.