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Adam died the day he violated the great law of spiritual life. If he did not, then the serpent was not a deceiver, when he said, “Thou shalt not surely die.” The prohibition had been enforced with the penalty, that “ In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Was he not, by the violation of a great spiritual law, separated from all communion and intercourse with God, and debarred from the light of his presence? By the breach of divine law, he lost the animating and blissful light of the divine countenance.
Disobedience was death ; the separation of his spirit from communion with God; from the smile of the Lord. The likeness of God departed. Like a mirror without light, Adam no longer reflected the moral image or likeness of his glorious Creator. That mirror, the human soul of Adam, having lost the light of the divine pres. ence, ceased to reflect His likeness—the moral beauty and glory of God. Yet who would argue from this that the mirror had no substantial existence, because it could not, without light, reflect the image of the beholder; or that the spirit of Adam ceased to exist, because, forsooth, it did not reflect the moral likeness of his Maker, when deprived of the light of His presence and favor.
But the light of His countenance has been restored in the personal presence of Jesus, the only begotten of the Father. 6. While I am in the world,” said he, “I am the light of the world.” Ignorance is moral darkness. Knowledge, that which Jesus imparted, and which has been left on record, is moral light—the light of life eternal. He is thus the Sun of Righteousness. The understanding, the heart, the conscience, constitute the moral mirror of every man.
If man would again reflect the moral likeness of his Creator and Redeemer, he must consent to come out into the light of this great moral luminary and assume a proper attitude, that he may receive the enlightening, warming, and vivifying rays of this great orb of day-such as were shed upon those around him, when they were felt to be life from the dead, and full of grace and truth.
The busy people of the world are living in a deadly dormanoy. But few appear to be apprised of their danger; yet the kindly warning voice is still being heard, " Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee.” From this spiritual lethargy and death, they are called to awake-mto arise, that they may receive his healing, life-giving rays. They are called from a state of darkness, coldness, and spiritual inactivity, by which they have been separated from God; deprived of the light, warmth, and enjoyment of His gracious presence. The moral mirror is not des. troyed—the spirit is not dead, as is the body, when insensible and incapable of voluntary motion; though ignorant the person may be of what once constituted the spiritual life and happiness of Adam, " he is, though morally dead in trespasses and sins,” addressed as capable of awaking, arising from the dead, and coming out into the light.
Jesus, while standing upon this our earth, once uttered in the hearing of those around him, a single truth, which, if apprehended, was life from the dead. When its meaning is apprehended and its truth confided in, it has the power of the words which Jesus uttered over the grave of Lazarus—“Come forth.” A truth which, when perceived upon its proper evidence, is of such magnitude and power as to re-impress the divine likeness upon the spirit of man, and to restore communion with his Maker, which he had lost the moment he violated the law of spiritual life, when that moral likeness and glory which had assimilated him to his Creator departed from him. The moral power of this truth Jesus declared was such as to reanimate man from a state of death or separation from God, (for such is the meaning of the Hebrew term rendered death,) and to restore to him the moral similitude of his Maker, imperishable and immortal as his being. But is it asked, how is the divine image restored ? He who is the brightness of His glory and the express image of his character, thus declares it, “This is the life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”
Death, spiritually considered, is the opposite of this life; that is, to be ignorant of the true God is eternal death-a death such as a man without faith must feel; a state the reverse of that which Adam enjoyed when he first awoke in the divine likeness. The scriptures no where speak of the destruction of the spirit, in the sense of annihilation, as we have before shown. Destruction is not put in opposition to creation, but to the right use of existence.
Life and creation-death and destruction-are not always well defined in our religious systems. The two latter, in scripture language, are not placed in antithesis with the two forms, but with regard to our happiness as rational and voluntary agents.
Life will ultimately be restored to all that have lived. There will be a resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust. Life and death are great facts, but life from the dead is the great fact. This Paul declares, when he says, “ By man came death; by man came also the resurrection of the dead." “ As in Adam all die, so in Christ,” the second Adam,“ all shall be made alive." We are not to limit these words to suit any fanciful interpretation. The life is commensurate with the death; the quickening spirit more
Vast and extensive than the living soul, and has abolished the last enemy.
The argument with which our Lord met the Sadducean material. ist, contains as plain a statement of man's immortality as language can express. “The children of this world marry and are given in marriage;" it being the appointed means, and in perfect keeping with the condition of bodily mortality, to replenish and perpetuate the race of man; but in the future state, being divested of mortal bodies, “they will resemble the angels; they cannot die any more;" and, consequently, will be in keeping with such a condition of life to be without the power of multiplication, because without the capa. bility of dying. They cannot die any more." The body died, and that was all that could die. It is therefore but congruous, that they should henceforth be “on a par with the angels,” in regard to their immortality.
Having thus authoritatively decided the future and immortal exis. tence of man, he next proceeds to establish the same fact from testimony which, from their own admission, the Sadducees were bound to accept. That testimony he adduces from the writings of Moses, which they held as authentic and divine. “ Now that the dead are raised, Moses showed at the bush, when he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living; for all are alive unto him."
In the first part of his argument with the Sadducees, the Saviour puts all men, whom he styles "the children of this world,” in contrast with those of the anastasis, or future state, which, therefore, refers to all. The dead, both just and unjust, are as immortal as the angels. In the second part of the argument, he declares that all shall be raised and live again, as certainly as that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are now alive to Him and shall live for evermore. As there is no future with Him, the dead are all to Him alive.
In conclusion, may we not ask, does not the oracle of reason, as well as revelation, teach that the intention of the Omniscient, with regard to any being, is expressed in the nature of that being? But to intend annihilation, is really to have no intention, since there can be no purpose in that which is not. God can have no relation to non-existence, and therefore, the annihilation of a human soul is an unimaginable event. “ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all are alive unto Him."
A. W. C.
THE BIBLICAL EXPOSITOR.
THERE was handed me the other day, the July number of a monthly magazine, called the “Biblical Expositor,” edited and published by George P. Smith, Steubenville, Ohio, 1851, and my attention called to some remarks concerning my views of the Fugitive Slave Law. This gentleman professes to be a “Biblical Expositor.” What his abilities may be in that department, I presume not to dogmatically affirm. One thing is evident, he does not worship the Christian's God, but has, in his imgination, created a new God, or new modified a Pagan God. Nor has he ever understood or learned the Ninth Commandment. He pretends to quote my words from the June number of the Millennial Harbinger, as follows: "He,” (that is my. self,] “states in the Millennial Harbinger for June, 1851, 'that a Christian man has the same right to hold a slave, that he has to hold a wise, a son, or a daughter."" These words are not found in the June, or in any other number, of the Millennial Harbinger; and yet they are gravely marked and commented on as mine. My words are, “ That no Christian man can censure another Christian man, because he is a master and owns a man, any more than because he owns a wife, a son, or a daughter; but he may and ought to censure him for any act of cruelty or injustice to a wife, a son, a daughter, or a servant.” Such was, and is, my declaration; and such I showed was the doctrine of the New Testament.
But this “ Biblical Expositor,” in the same spirit of falsehood, not satisfied with putting words into my mouth which I never wrote or spoke, also affirms, that a few years ago I was engaged in selling slaves.” So gratuitously false is this, that I not only never sold a slave, but have set free from slavery every slave that came into my possession by purchase, or in any other way! It will not justify him to say that he has not, with his own hand, written, but only printed the preceding falsehoods, since he endorses them in the words following: “The above communication was written by a man of learning and general observation, and is entitled to due respect. EDITOR."
A notice or two of the doctrines of this “ Biblical Expositor," will suffice to show that his theology is in good keeping with his morality. He teaches that his God is a being possessed of body, parts, and passions. His words are : " The idea that God is a being without body, parts, and passions, is erroneous, and subversive of true and heartfelt worship and adoration.” Page 99. Therefore, the object of his heartfelt worship and adoration, is "a being with body, parts, and passions."
That he has created a material God, of refined and sublimated matter, is not only to be inferred from words as erspicuous and definite as the above, but is expressly avowed in the following words : " I suppose that God is a material being, but composed of the highest elevation of refined and sublimated matter. I cannot conceive, or have any idea, of an immaterial God--a God without vody, parts, or passions.” And to set off the scriptural revelation of God as Spirit, he adds the following elegant argument or illustration: “A God not material, without body, parts, or passions, is a good description of nothing-equal to the school-boy's bodyless jacket without sleeves !”
This essay, headed “ Reform No. 2,” closes with an indication that cannot be mistaken, in the words following: “They,” the modern school-that is, those called orthodox—“ believe God to be a very puissant being; for through his anger he will endlessly damn the wicked, and through love, will save the righteous.” “Upon this point, then, we should reform. We need never expect to become a pious and Godly people, until we form more correct ideas of God. This subject will be continued in several numbers of this work.EDITOR."
We can no longer doubt the position of Mr. George P. Smith, Editor of the “ Biblical Expositor.” He boasts of nine hundred subscribers to his paper. I only wonder, that of so many wicked men as the age affords, he could only obtain nine hundred subscribers to a gospel that so admirably brings to them the consolation that the true material God is not angry with the wicked, but loves them as his saints !
I see on page 104, that one Mr. Daniel Wolfe, publisher of the “Gospel Advocate," at Centersburg, Ohio, in noticing this “Bibli. cal Expositor,” “ hopes that it will prove a valuable auxiliary to the cause (or course) of truth," and prays “God grant it abundant success in the cause of truth and in prosperity.” I have not before heard of this Mr. Daniel Wolfe, of Centersburg, Ohio, but am pleased to see that he is not a wolf in sheep's clothing. A. C.
INTIMACY has been the source of the deadliest enmity, no less than of the firmaest friendship; like some mighty rivers, which rise en the same mountain, but pursue quite a contrary course. SERIES IV.-VOL. I.