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with the testimony of the prophets and apostles, and the whole cloud of witnesses recorded in the Scriptures ; a book so replete with the revelation of the mind and will of God, that he of whom it testifies, saith, “ And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
" It is God that justifieth."-Rom, viii. 88. Our glorious Lord is worthy to receive all glory, and honour, and praise, for the Lord alone created all things ; and for his pleasure they are and were created. In the beginning the Eternal God our refuge created the heaven, and the things (angels) that therein are, and the sea, and all things which are therein." Rev, 8, 6.
Some of the angels are called elect angels; (1 Tim. v. 21.) And some of the angels kept not their first estate or principality, but sinned ; therefore God spared them not, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness; and they are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day ;(2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6.) when the same judgment or sentence will be pronounced upon the reprobate of mankind, as will be inflicted upon the devil and his angels : for it is written ; ". Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels! (Matt. xxv. 41.)
As some of the angels kept not their first estate, but sinned ; they must have been under the law ; for sin is the transgression of the law. il John iii. 4.) Again, it is written, where there is no law there is no transgression, or imputation of sin. (Rom. v. 13.) If therefore, the angels bad not been under the law, the devil could not have sinned from the beginning, &c. ; (John viii. 44.) he was undoubtedly under the law. As the devil is the father of a lie; and as a lie is sin ; therefore the devil is the father or author of sin. This is further evident, in that, the Lord our God is the Father, the Author of mercies, and all his works, the works of creation, are declared to be very good. (Gen. i. 31.) But misery is the couse. quence of sin ; and sin is the work of the devil. (1 John iii. 8.),
The devils are angels, although fallen by their iniquity. Amongst
undoubte sinned from els bad noch imputationen, wherensgressi
que he devils are clebub, or Best And as
devil. (Luke xi. 15. Mark ix. 34.) And as Michael fis said to be an arch.angel, it is evident that Beelzebub by creation was an arch. angel as well as Michael : We therefore read in the Holy Scriptures of the dragon and his angels, the dragon a leader, and his angels ; Michael a leader, and his angels as under him. (Rev. xii. 7., 9.) And we are exhorted not to speak evil of dignities, for Michael the arch-angel, when contending with the devil, he disputed
years they of Godore the time out into the they besoffered
about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 9.) This scripture is of great importance, for if Michael durst not bring against the devil a railing accusation, boasting on his part was excluded ; therefore none but the Lord of Michael hath the right or power to rebuke the devil, which right and power our glorious Lord exercised, when he tabernacled in our nature on earth. See Mark i. 23-26. ix. 25, 26. Yea, at his rebuke they trembled ; for devils believe and tremble; yea, “they cried out, saying, Wbat have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? I beseech thee torment me not. Art thou come to destroy us before the time? And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep-but as there was an herd of swine feeding on the mountain : they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them: and he suffered theni. The acknowledgment of the evil spirits, that they knew Jesus was the Son of God and the Holy One of God; and the dreadful alarm they expressed, from their having no interest in him, that he was come to their destruction, and to destroy sin the work of the devil, together with their obedience to his command and rebuke, all bespeak, that the Christ of God is Lord of angels and arch-angels, yea, that he is Lord of all.
The elect angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of salvation. (Heb. i. 13, 14.) And when they have done all those things which they are commanded, they acknowledge they are unprofitable servants: they have done that which was their duty to do. (Luke xvii. 10.) They are dependent creatures; they are debtors to the strength of Jehovah's power that they fail not! (Is. xl. 26.) It was under a deep sense of this dependence upon God, and that it was owing to the strength of Jehovah's power the hosts of heaven failed not, that Michael when contending with the devil, durst not bring against him a railing accu. sation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee!
As the angelic hosts are under the law, they, by the deeds of the law never can be justified. The past and present obedience of the elect angels will never justify them for the time to come, from the demands of the law. For, nothing short of the EVERLASTING righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, can answer the eternal demands of God's holy law. And as the righteousness of Christ is not imputed to the elect angels, so by their own righteousness they can never be justified from the eternal demand of God's holy law. Indeed, if their righteousness would justify them, then their election would be the wages of their obedience; and then, by disobedience they might hereafter lose their electionwhich is impossible. ,
As to man. We read, that God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness : and let them have dominion, &c. And that God did create Adam in his own image, and in his own like. ness. (Gen. i. 26, 27. v. 1.)
We have God's testimony in the Holy Scriptures, that his image : is knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. And further, that God's holiness is called himself: for when be swore by himself, he swore by his holiness, und his life; therefore to be holy, for I Am is holy, is to be in the image of God.
The Socinians and other Freethinkers contend, that Adam's nature was not created holy. When we urge that it was, they retort upon us most absurdly, by saying, that he must bave been inmutably holy ; because God's holiness is an immutable holiness; and therefore if man had the image of it -by creation, then be should have had it immutably. To this we reply, that we might as well contend, that Adam was an infinite being because he was created in the image of an infinite being But as they are not so absurd as to contend that Adam was an eternal being, neither ought they to be so absurd as to argue, that the image of holiness must be either immutable or eternal, because God's holiness is both immutable and eternal. Neither ought they to be so absurd as to require an image to be equal to its original ; for in so doing they require a creature to be equal to its Creator. But, what saith the Scripture? The testimony from God is, that knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness is the image of God; and therefore the saints are exhorted; “ Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the OLD MAN with his deeds ; and have put on the NEW MAN, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him. (Col. jjj. 10.) The NEW Man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. iv. 21.) : Tbat knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness is the image of God may be further proved, if further proof be necessary, by the sacred record, in which record is contained the solemn declaration, that, the wicked who never put off the old man with his deeds, who have never been renewed in the image of God, will be cast down into destruction, because God will despise their image. (Psalm 1xxiii. 20.)
Again. In the sacred scriptures we find it recorded, that to represent any man on earth to be the likeness of God, is to liken God to a thing less than nothing and vanity. (Is. xl. 17, 18.) Yet there are men so depraved among the professors of Christianity; who set up an image and likeness of God of their own invention ; and these are Satan's ministers, who appear like ministers of righteousness, (2 Cor. xi. 13, 14.) saying, “ The natural image in Adam may be observed as personal and as accidental ;. or, as to what was essential to Adam's being a man ; and what was necessary to his being a good man: for he continued the former, when he ceased to be the latter.” In plain words, that Adam, in their creed, continued to be the personal image of God when he ceased to be a good man; Christian, we ought not to be surprised, that Satan should send forth such ministers, who speak such lies, who represent the
te of a wicked man, which God despises, as the personal image
of God; and who will conceal their wicked image under the artifice, that knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, in which the elect are renewed, is merely the artificial image of God! Reader, such lies are quite consistent with their reasonable creed, that the names Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are assumed characters, in plainer words, that they are artificial characters; for they say, these characters will be hereafter laid aside as of no more use. But, before we proceed further, I hope the reader will pause for a mo. ment to consider, what must be the awful end of such ministers, who were to appear like ministers of righteousness; and who have the bardihood to represent the reprobate in hell, whose image God despises, as the personal image of God, in which image, they say, Adam was created ! Surely, the Scripture saith not in vain, they delight in lies.” (Psa. Ixii. 4.)
I hope the reader will allow me to observe, that the Lord our God hath been so explicit upon the subject of his likeness, that he calls upon Israel to say, whether they will liken him to any of the spirits, the hosts in heaven, who have wrot fallen from their first estate; but who would fail, were it not for “ the greatness of his might; for that he is strong in power, not one faileth.” (Isaiah sl. 21, 26.) From this scripture, namely, the 40th chapter of Isaiah, it is evident, that neither the spirit of an angel, nor the soul or body of an uregenerate man is either the IMAGE or the likeness of God.
But to proceed with the subject under our immediate consideration, namely," it is God that justifieth ;" we must first observe, that the Lord our God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul. As he was created in the image and likeness of God, so Adam loved the Lord his Creator with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind : and he also loved his help meet, bis neighbour, as himself, The Lord God also planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed, to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God 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, or dying thou shalt die. (Gen. ii. 17, 25.)
The Old Serpent stands upon record as the creature who introduced the subtilty of questioning the truth of God's word, and of using REASONABLE arguments to pervert its meaning. " Yea, said the Old Serpent to the woman, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? To which Eve replied, 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.” Whereupon the Old Serpent gave the following reason, why God's word could not be true. : “ Ye shall not surely die : for God doth know in the day ye ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” This subtile answer was so be. guiling; for to be made wise was so desirable, that nothing could appear MORE REASONABLE than that, the fruit of the tree must be for food and GOOD TO EAT, AS IT WOULD MAKE HER AND ADAM AS WISE AS GODS; and therefore, “ When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat," and ,,ave also unto her HUSBAND with her; and he DID EAT.” (Gen. iii. 1-6) Thus the serpent by his subtilty beguiled Eve, and she gave to her husband and he did eat : thus by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that, or in whom all have sinned, (Rom. v. 12.) and come short of the glory of God. In this transgression there is plainly manifested, (1) The lust of the flesh, the woman saw that the tree was good for food; (2) The lust of the eyes, that it was pleasant to the eyes, (3) The pride of life, a tree to be desired to make one wise. « Little children, saith an apostle, love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world! (1 John iji. 15, 16.) As Adam, by eating of the forbidden fruit transgressed God's com. mandment; are we authorized by Holy Scripture to call that law, by which Adam was, “ the covenant of works," or the old covenant Did Jehovah promise Adam upon condition of his obedience, some better inheritance or dominion than the one he gave bim, when he placed Adam in the garden ? Surely not! The angelic hosts that never sinned, have not merited their election of God by their obedience: and as to Adam ; we read of no promise made to him as a reward for his observance of God's command : but we read on the contrary of a threatening of death, in the event of his transgress. ing the only commandment imposed upon him Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat-for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die;"—that is, Thou shalt lose that life which thou doth now enjoy. So that the obedience or righteousness of Adam, if he had never sinned, would have been, at best, but negative; for although, at bis creation, God pronounced him to be very good-it is both unreasonable and contrary to revelation to suppose that Adam would merit by his obedience any thing as a reward. “ Can man be profitable to God }” Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that he is righteous, or any gain to HIM, that he waketh his way perfect? If thou be righteous, what givest thou bim? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Therefore, all unscriptural statements or expressions respecting the law, which Adam transgressed, ought to be avoided. It was so far from being a covenant of works, that it may be, with the strictest propriety called, a law of prohibition ; a law not to do, rather than a law to do