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His own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them.”
The first application of scripture which I shall make to my subject is the beginning of the first Epistle general of St. John, where he describes the person of Christ, in whom we have eternal life, by a communion with God.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked
and our hands have handled of the Word of Life:
(For the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.)
“ That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
It has been observed that the evangelist, after the manner of the sacred history of the creation, commences his observations on the divine and human nature of the Word, the Son of God, from the beginning of his creations: a method of proceeding admirably calculated to reconcile, and at the same time to connect and confirm that one and the same truth (redemption by the sacrifice of Christ) contained alike in the Old and New Testaments, and which mode of acting had also an evident tendency to establish more firmly the early Hebrew converts in the full assurance of the verity of the Christian faith. In speaking of the Divinity of Christ, St. John sets out by telling us, “In the beginning was the Word,” &c. and again, when speaking of the Redeemer's humanity, he begins thus, “ That which was from the beginning;” plainly intending to show us, in both these cases, that the Divine Word, “whose goings forth had been ever of old, from everlasting," was an eternal in-dweller in the bosom of the Father, after the manner in which the word of living man is an indweller in the bosom of man, and that the Father was never without him. In speaking of the human nature of Christ, the evangelist begins with an enumeration of three of the five senses, and which indeed are the most effectually pre-eminent in conveying to the minds of rational creatures a conviction of Christ's corporality, viz. the senses of hearing, of sight, and of touch; these being properties with which the Omniscient endowed man for his guidance, instruction, and mental conviction. St. John says,
" That which was from the beginning, which we have heard." The assertion of having heard the natural and human voice of Christ, is here first made a proof of his manifestation in the flesh, and an auricular proof, according to the natural speech of man generally, and must be regarded and received as viva voce, evidence of Christ's similarity in this respect with mankind universally. The evangelist next adduces, for the conviction of those to whom his epistle was more immediately addressed, the sense of sight, which he makes an additional proof of Christ's participation of his and our common human nature, by using this double form of expression with regard to the sight, in order to make a deeper impression on our feelings, viz. “which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon.” In this language, St. John presents us with progressive and enlarged testimony of our Lord's real humanity; since many things are indeed audible, which at the same time are not visible—so that we here have all possible reality with regard to the person of Christ which can be required, as the result of hearing, and of sight in God the Word made flesh, in common with the race of man. But further, that nothing defective in point of evidence for reasonable credibility might be wanting, either to the early or succeeding Gentile converts to the Christian faith, St. John adjoins as a superior and more convincing test of substance, the sense of touch or feeling to those of hearing and seeing, and gives us, by way of a more positive and certain description, those truly remarkable and significant words with regard to the bodily substance of our Lord Jesus Christ“ and our hands have handled of the Word of Life.”
Out of this concluding part of the evangelist's description of our Lord's human nature a question arises, the explanation of which lays the foundation for this work :- What is referred to when Jehovah said, “ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ?" I answer, that in its primary sense, this symbolical word image has reference to the material or human body of the first Adam, who was of the earth, earthy, but that in its secondary and highest signification, the word image relates to the seed of the woman,
which is Christ, and therefore to the corporality of both their persons; because if any thing of an intricate or doubtful nature should be pleaded with regard to the persons of the Godhead, by the specious subtlety or sophistry of unbelievers, equally unwise and inconsiderate, the poverty and inefficiency of such argument become most apparent, when the whole amount of prediction on this head, delivered at different and widely distant periods of time, present one unvarying accordance with the decisive contents of this 27th verse of the first chapter of Genesis, where the language assumes a new and distinct feature of personal identity, in these words:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them;" which relates exclusively to God the Word made flesh.
The task which now devolves on me is to establish scripturally that the word image, used in the inspired history of the creation, relates alike to the humanity of the first Adam and of Christ, and that the word likeness has reference exclusively to the spiritual likeness of Jehovah and the soul or spirit of man.
We know that “God is a spirit," and further,