Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

and adore their Divine Master, after his resurrection, in his Divine Humanity, as their Only God in One Person. But some of weak faith doubting, the Lord, or Jehovah Incarnate, in divine love accommodating himself to their weakness, speaks to them, saying, Look to Me, confide in ME ALONE; for I have all power, in heaven and in earth; and, therefore, I, your only Lord and God, send you to proclaim this to all nations : and, further, shew them, by representation in baptism, how they may be conjoined to me by regeneration, which is effected by participation of my nature, which is divine love and divine truth substantiated in divine good, in act, of which my followers severally partake according to their respective finite capacities. And, again, be warned, for I once more, and for the last time, while on earth, repeat to you this tirst and most essential doctrine, which leads to all other true doctrines. Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I, and I Alone, have commanded you. And for your consolation, dever, for one moment forget, that I am, I will not say I shall be, but in reference to Jehovah or AM,I AM with you always unto the end of the world; which cannot be truly said of any but of your TRIUNE GOD."

Thus, in examining the Evangelists, (which most certainly contain our Lord's essential system of divinity in miniature,) with a view to find something relative to the Atonement, as generally understood, we have not met with, even so much as one solitary passage, that either names such a word, or that can, by any means, without violence to the general tenor and import of the Holy Word, be made even to hint at such a doctrine.

But we have found the christian's God to consist of infinite love, wisdom and operative goodness : which three essential perfections undoubtedly constitute the evangelical trinity in the One Divine Human Person of our ever adorable Lord and Only Saviour Jesus Christ.

This brings us to the next conclusion, to which, as stated in my first Letter, [Intell. Rep. last vol. p. 306.] I was brought after examining the Evangelists, viz.

2nd. That our Lord came to redeem us, or to set us at liberty from the powers of hell.

We therefore beg your readers to accompany us in our examination, that they may see how we came to this second conclusion. We think it is not necessary to prove that the devil, by means No. IV.- Vol. I.

NN

of evils and falses, has acquired considerable ascendancy over mankind, so much so, that man may be said to be in his power, and even in bondage to infernal beings, so that we cannot, of our own power, deliver ourselves from this slavery to sin and Satan, who is styled “the prince of this world;" and so much did he look upon himself in this light, that he had the confidence even to approach the Son of God, and offer him dominion over “ all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, saying, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matt. iv. 8, 9, 10.) But here, perhaps for the first time from a being in the form of human nature, he met with an effectual repulse, for man's liberation, by the Redeemer of the world, Jehovah Jesus, " who had taken upon himself to be made in the likenosis of man, and the form of a servant;" so that Satan might well mistake him for such a frail being, although Jesus himself “ thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Phil. ii. 6, 7. We say, then, in a human form, and for the redemption of the human race, our Lord defeated the king of darkness; as appears in the following words, “ Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thon sérve.” And, such was the divine effect, that " the devil," finding his power already diminished in this first combat, “ leaveth bim," and this obstacle to heavenly communication being removed,

Angels came and ministered unto him.” Was not this the first effectual cause why angels can, and do, in a proportionate manner, minister to those who believe, confide in, and follow, this Redeemer of the human race? Was it for himself, or for us, that our blessed Lord thus removed the infernal spirits out of the way, that angels might serve and have some association with mankind; which intercourse, by infernal influence, had for ages, been much interrupted ? Surely what was said on another occasion, is equally applicable in this case, “ It was not for my sake but for yours," that these things were done.

Who does not know, that ever since the first church gave way to the insinuations of Satan, as represented by a serpent, men, for many ages afterward, increased in sensuality, and thus became the servants of Satan, instead of the servants of God, and by evil have been in bondage to, and in communication with, hell, instead of being in communication with, and servants of, heaven? Bat no sooper did man sink into this deplorable state, than a

divine promise was given to this fallen church, that its seed should be in enmity with the seed of the serpent, and, at last, the seed of the woman or church, which refers to the Redeemer, and faith in him, should bruise the serpent's head, which signifies to diminish, if not destroy, the power of infidelity, sensuality, selfhood or the devil, which is the seed of the serpent.

In various parts of the Holy Word, we read of evil of various kinds, personified, and called by several names, particularly, " that old serpent, the devil;” and being as “a roaring lion, going about seeking whom he may devour.” And he is always represented as opposed to the Lord, in an infinite variety of ways. And the Lord is called, “ Jehovah of Hosts ;" is spoken of as going forth conquering and to conquer; staining his garments with the blood of his enemies : and having conquered, he is called “ the Prince of Peace.” Do not all these passages indicate conflicts, conquests, and the final overthrow of his enemies? And do not all these accounts refer to the Lord, the Great and Only Redeemer? Against whom hias he waged this spiritual and successful war? Let any serious and reflecting person answer these questions, and he must confess, that our Lord, as Redeemer, engaged in many severe conflicts with his enemy, and the common enemy of mankind. Was this enemy his Father, viz. Divine Love? or was it evil, viz. self-love in the person of the devil? Or to change the name, though it does not alter the subject, was it the extreme rigour of divine justice that our Lord had so severely to contend with ? In one word, did he conquer heaven or hell? Let common sense, reason, christian love, and divine revelation, answer these important questions; and doubt and hesitation will immediately cease for ever.

That Jehovah, or the Divine Esse, might approach the infernals, it was necessary to assume something imperfect: as, for instance, the frail nature of man, as to his material part, that these enemies of God and man might assail him in the imperfect human nature derived from the virgin Mary. Nothing takes place under the direction of the Divine Providence, but what is necessary. It was therefore ordered that Jehovah should take upon himself imperfect human nature, and, in the person of Jesus, should go into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil; and here, it may be said, the redemption of man spiritually began to take place. Many things rocorded in the Old Testament had pointed to this important circumstance; but this, being under a cloud, was little understood. The part of redemption recorded in the 4th chapter of Matthew, and corresponding places in the other Evangelists, was, indeed, apparently carried on more in the spiritnal world, than some which we shall soon find, where we shall meet with visible conquests over the devil incarnate, or in human nature in the form of man. For, such was the power of devils when our Lord

was upon the earth, that they had not only their abode in the minds of men, but had possession of their bodies. No doubt this was permitted, that the power of the Great Redeemer might be manifested even to the external senses : for men, at that time, thought little of those things which they could not see with their bodily eyes. We hope it will be readily allowed that what our Lord did to those individuals, whom he visibly released from the power of Satan, was done, also, to shew that he came to redeem men in general from their spiritual bondage to this great enemy of the human race.

That nothing might be wanting in this respect, we find, according to St. Mark, chap. i., that when our Lord began this great work of redemption, he first prepared the way by “ preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and be. lieve the gospel;" after which he chose suitable persons to be witnesses of his wonderful undertaking. Immediately after, entering into Capernaum, he met, not by chance, but by divine direction, a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know. thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God.” In the wilderness, our Lord, as it were, alone, appears first to remove evil spirits generally from the spiritual world; and then comes more particularly to man on earth, to shew to all, both in the spiritual and natural world, that redemption was nigh at hand. And the very evil spirits before defeated in the temptation in the wilderness, were now, by divine providence, made to be the first to publish their overthrow to an assembled multitude in Capernaum, in the following words: I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, be came out of him,” verse 21 to 26.

Soon after, it was so ordered, that the Lord also healed Simon's wife's mother of a fever; to shew that he came to deliver his people, not only from the devil, but also from the effects of infernal burning and heats, to which fever corresponds. Thus that he not only redeems but saves, which, though separate things, are carried on together to complete the happiness of man.

Jesus cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalene, (Luke viii. 2.) Also (Luke viii. 26 to 33,) he cast a legion of devils out of a man in the country of the Gadarenes, who wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but among the tombs. These devils, by our Lord's permission, but not otherwise, departed into the deep, and being permitted to take possession of a herd of swine, they ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. Such was the power of the Redeemer, and such the misery of the vanquished; while the liberated man (verse 39,) “ returned in peace to bis own house, and,” according to our Lord's direction, "shewed how great things God had done unto him; and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” Thus, in truth, publishing to all, that God, in the person of Jesus, had made his appearance on earth as the Great Redeemer, and, as a specimen of divine goodness and power, had made him a living instance of effectual redemption.

Was it for individual good, and to be confined to those particular

persons who were delivered from the power of Satan, that Jesus went about doing good, healing all manner of diseases, restoring the blind to sight, enabling the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, the lame to walk ? or was it to shew to all mankind, that he was the Almighty Redeemer, come to deliver his people from all spiritual evils, corresponding to those natural evils, and caused, in one way or other, by the common enemy of man, viz. Satan or the devil, by falses and evils destroying the happiness of man, as shewn in all their imperfections, diseases, and miseries, mental and bodily, ending in the death of the body, and the separation of the soul from God, which is spiritual death?

In the third chapter of Mark, verse 11, we meet with a kind of general submission of evil spirits, who, as if in despair, humbly acknowledge our Lord's superior power, in the following manner: "And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.” While he shewed his

« ForrigeFortsæt »