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you believe, whatever date you affix to it; but your words by no means express it. You have even excluded the idea by saying, he took our nature, when all through your piece you explain that nature as being a body, and the seed of the woman, &c. without the least hint that he took the intelligent part of our nature, or soul, also. I freely grant, the scriptures speak only of fleshly substance, as that which he put on when he appeared in the form of a servant; and this is mentioned at least eleven times in the New Testament; but this favours the sentiment you reject, for it looks as if he possessed the soul before.
I further observe, you have unhappily confounded Christ's essential fulness as God, with his mediatorial fulness as man. Your words are, "God gave not the Spirit by measure to the Son, for in him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Now the fulness of the Godhead (Col. li. 9.) must mean the fulness of the divine perfections which he as God possesses, but not by the Spirit, any more than the Spirit doth by him, but it is natural and common to the Three who bear record in heaven. It is his mediatorial fulness which is by the Spirit, and according to the will of the Father, (Col. i. 19.) Divine sovereignty chose whether there should ever be such a fulness or not, and where that fulness should dwell, and for what purpose, and in what manner it should be communicated. But not so the fulness of his Godhead, that is incommunicable, and sovereignty is a part of that very fulness.
Let not my brother be offended with me in making these observations; I assure him truth is my only object, of which he calls himself "alover." But before you venture to spurn the pre-existence from you, let me intreat you to study it yet more closely, and try to put away every shade of prejudice from you ; for no one can light a candle if the extinguisher remain on it. I conclude, by commending you to the Lord. Grace, mercy, and peace be with you, and with all who love our Lord in sincerity, is the prayer of your's, in Him,
My heaven-directed spirit longs to climb,
Beyond the bounds of space,—and thee, O Time.
To golden harps my tuneful notes I'll raise,
Through rolling years a ceaseless song of praise.
3. S. S.
Theological Essays, on Select Facts, Characters, and Doctrines of the Holy Scriptures. Second Edition, with three additional Essays. By Isaac Mann, A. M. Palmer.
"Who knows but this little volume may do some good? souls are of inestimable value. If one sinner be aroused from a state of apathy, be alarmed, or be directed to the friend of sinners, by this little manual, through the influence of the eternal Spirit attending its perusal, it will be a mercy, and God shall be praised. Perhaps it may present some truth to the mind, which, by a divine blessing, may refresh the weary, may strengthen the feeble-minded, or which may excite to greater watchfulness, self-examination, and prayer. The enemies of God were discomfited once by the sight of lamps in broken pitchers. God works by what instrument he chooses."— Thus writes Mr. Mann,—presenting an inducement to the reader to be satisfied with nothing short of perusing the volume. And we think that few who enter into the spirit and feeling of the author's preface will retire from the task unprofited or unimproved.
These valuable essays are on the following subjects :—" the Work of Creation,"—" The State of Man Before and After his Fall,"— "the First Institution of Public Worship,"—" Enoch's Walk with God, and his Translation,"—" the Causes of the Flood,"—" the Ark and the Flood,"—" the Person and Offices of Melchizedek,"—" the Backsliding and Restoration ot Solomon,"—" the Nature and Importance of Divine Influence,"—'* Christ's Choice of his Disciples,"—" the State of Christ and his Saints in Heaven,"—" the Sources of Christian Consolation,"—"Repentance,"—"the Joy of the Hypocrite but for a Moment,"—" the Arrogance and Infidelity of Socinianism,"—"the Resurrection and Ascension of Lazarus,"— "Village Preaching,"—" the Happiness of Separate Spirits."
In the sixth Essay, "the Ark and the Flood," is this fine passage on the security of the church in Christ.
"We are reminded, that this vessel was under the direction of God. Without sail or rudder—without coast or compass, by which to steer—they went in perfect safety. God had shut the door of the ark, £Gen. vii. 16.) and at the same moment the whole became his charge. Bide in safety, thou charge of the Lord; all shelves and rocks, all quicksands and whirlpools, are seen by him who directs thy course; thou canst not founder. Many an anxious fear has heaved the christian's breast, when he has seen the church of Christ struggling with the floods of opposition and unrelenting persecution. The day has been awfully gloomy and dark; the heavens have gathered blackness; human aid has failed; and every thing around seemed to threaten the most alarming consequences. But why should the christian fear? Jesus has his church under his care and protection. He commits the direction of it to no one. Wise to direct, and strong to uphold; nothing on his part can miscarry—all must succeed. In the protection, prosperity, and salvation of his church, Jesus Christ has a much greater interest than either men or angels; and the love and compassion of his heart, towards his people, are
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infinitely stronger than any concern creatures can feel for the welfare of souls. He purchased souls by his own heart's blood; he did so, because he had loved them from eternity—from eternity he had written the names of his chosen in the book of life, and stood pledged to his Father to call them by his grace, to justify, sanctify, pardon, and preserve them all to his everlasting kingdom and glory. "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" The reflection that Christ had his people under his own care, quelled all the fears of the timorous, and silenced the turbulent clamours of unbelief, during the bloody reign of the man of sin. Holy martyrs repeated with transport, as expressive of their most entire confidence, the words of David, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." (Psalm xlvi. 1—3.)
The unchangeableness of the love of God, is well described and enforced in the eighth Essay.
"We are taught in the word of truth, that God is unchangeable. "I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Mai. iii. 6.) So of his love to his people we are informed, that "having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end." (John xiii. 1.) Surely the sacred writer could not mean, that God loved his people to the end of a profession of religion, supported in their own strength; for, in that case, every one of God's people would become apostates. No man is able, by his own unaided strength, to persevere in the ways of God. But if by " loving them to the end," we understand to the end of their profession of his name, which God will enable his neople to sustain, then all is clear and plain. God has promised never to leave his people: his presence may be so far withdrawn, that they may very awfully backslide, and be severely chastised for their folly. But his loving-kindness he will not take away from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. Why should Solomon have been at any time an object of divine love, if afterwards he was to be an eternal monument of God's indignation? He who loved him when he was a young man, knew what he would afterwards do in the time of temptation. God certainly knew the whole life of Solomon, eternal ages ere he existed; and nothing could arise in his life as a sufficient reason for Jehovah to abandon him to ruin, that would not have been a sufficient reason why he should have never loved him at all. Besides, it may be remarked justly, that the love of God is not placed on men because they are worthy, or withdrawn because they are unworthy. If it were, on whom would loving-kindness rest in this world? "We were dead in trespasses and sins." " Were enemies in our hearts by wicked works." And after divine grace has renewed the heart of a sinner, and made him truly holy, yet every day of his life bears witness to vain thoughts, improper words, and unchristian conduct, sufficient to induce Jehovah to cast him off for ever, were he not a God of unchangeable mercy. If we can allow ourselves to imagine, that the blessed God is the subject of passions as fluctuating as our own; or, that he is deceived in an object of his regard, and learns somewhat this year which he knew not the last, then we might suppose he can love a sinner for a season, and presently abandon him to his wrath. Or, shall we imagine that Satan shall ever be furnished with an opportunity of insulting God, by exhibiting in the regions of despair an object of divine love, whom he has taken from the hand of Jehovah himself? Nay, farther, if it could be proved, that the God who knew all things from the beginning, would abandon an object he truly did love, because he saw iniquity and baseness in his conduct, then why at first convert him to himself at all, for all was then iniquity and baseness only and entirely? And if, for backsliding, God forsook the sinner, turned his former love into hatred, and left him for ever to perish, it would then follow, the conduct of God is swayed by even the very depravity and wickedness of his creatures! A tender parent may be compelled to abandon a most profligate son, because he cannot reclaim him. Must the blessed God be reduced to this awful necessity?"
The Essay "on Divine Influence," contains an admirable description of the person and operations of the Holy Spirit.
"We are told in the inspired volume, that believers are the temples of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in them. (1 Cor. iii. 16.) From that source of divine knowledge, we are taught to consider the Spirit of God as a person in the divine essence, of equal power, glory, and influence, with the Father and the Son; and that his influence on the heart of a fallen sinner is as essential to salvation, as the mediation of Christ. This doctrine has, however, been denied by many, who are the professed friends of the gospel. Some suppose that divine influence was exerted only on the minds of the patriarchs, prophets, and first ambassadors of our Lord. Others have affirmed, that the Spirit is In the word. And some have wholly denied his existence, and have understood the passages which speak of the Spirit of God, as describing an emanation from Deity, a divine virtue, or a holy disposition. There can be no doubt, but an extraordinary influence was exerted on the minds of the first ministers of the gospel, by which they delivered to men the counsels of heaven; and by the same divine agent giving power to their word, they wrought miracles. This extraordinary influence and power are not now required. The gospel is fully established by infallible proofs; but the hearts of men do need a divine change, they are as depraved as were human minds in any preceding age of the world. Nor can there be any doubt that the Spirit of God can influence the minds of men. He is our Creator, and he who made the mind can govern it, otherwise he would have made a creature mightier than himself, But what saith the scripture on this subject? Here we are informed, that the Holy Spirit's work is to regenerate fallen man. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, lie cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John iii. 5.) This change of nature is elsewhere called a New Creation. "And that ye put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Eph. iv. 24.) It is represented as " passim; from death unto life." (1 John iii. 14.) As being " translated from darkness unto light." (Col. i. 13.) As " taking away the enmity of the heart, and reconciling us to God." (2 Cor. v. 18,19.) These are expressions which do not describe the improving of fallen nature, but an entire change of that nature. They describe " a death unto sin, and a life unto holiness." This change includes in it, a reformation of life and manners, which is rather an effect of the Spirit's work on the soul, than the work itself. Whatever apparent alteration we may witness in external behaviour, and however important such an alteration may be j whatever system of truth we may maintain, even though we should have received every truth of divine revelation, yet there is a radical defect if the heart have not been renewed by the Holy Spirit of God. It ought to be our first work to ascertain that we are "created anew in Christ Jesus." If this be the case, we shall come to God for salvation by Jesus Christ; sin will appear hateful, and Christ exceedingly precious. Yes, he will be our all in all; the foundation of our hopes, and the source of all our joy. The nature of this work will be farther understood, by observing, that in the lively oracles of God, it is described as " cleansing or purifying " sinners from their pollutions. After the apostle Paul had described the unclean natures and practices of the heathens, in 1 Cor. vi.9,11, he adds, "and such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." So God, in the election of sinners unto salvation, had respect to their being sanctified by the Spirit, as one distinguishing blessing. (2 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Pet. i. 2.) This work of the Spirit does not in its commencement utterly remove the existence of sin,
but subdues its reigning power; enables us to mortify carnal affections, and gives a detestation to sin itself, on account of its evil nature; and thus is "the flesh crucified with its affections and lusts." (Gal. v. 24.) Not only is there an aversion to all sin, but also a fervent desire after holiness in the sanctified soul. Holiness appears to the mind in its most lovely light, and to bear the image of God, is justly considered the consummation of felicity." (Psalm xvii. 15.)
Too many of our pages would be occupied, were we to follow the writer through the interesting variety of subjects, and to note such as obtain our decided approbation. "The resurrection and ascension of Lazarus," will excite intense interest in the minds of many of its readers. Mr. Mann proposes to prove that the brother of Martha and Mary, concerning whom it is said, " Jesus groaned in the spirit, and was troubled," and "Jesus Wept,"—* did not die a second lime, but that his body ascended with his spirit to the regions of glory.' And having described the experience and character of Lazarus, with the unparalleled circumstances connected with his decease, advances several powerful reasons in support of the argument. That which we consider has most weight we will transcribe; and our friends in general will be induced to examine the subject, and pursue the enquiry. Remembering the express and commanding terms adopted by our Lord, who is the resurrection and the life, when he said, "Lazarus Is Dead!" it is well to reflect,
"Such a spirit could not be subjected a second time to depravity, to union with Christ; the work of Christ; the reward which Christ was to receive in his salvation ; all his covenant engagements and all divine promises, proceeded on the principle of the final and eternal felicity of all believers in Jesus. But for such a spirit to be united to a mortal body, was, to be brought at least partially undei the curse a second time. Death being a fruit of sin, and of that only, to unite such a spirit to a body where that consequence of apostacy from God must be realized, would be to inflict upon it a very serious calamity. However the mind might triumph over death, yet it must be in union with the body, sustain a near relationship to it, and have the sympathies and cares common to humanity. Nor can it be supposed, that the soul could at any moment, view with perfect indifference a second attack made upon the future partner of its joys, to reduce it to dishonour and shame."
It is unnecessary, after what we have written, to inform our author, that we do not consider his opposition to established opinions on this point, * an impeachment of orthodoxy;' or, that the question, and the manner in which it is resolved, ' approaches towards heresy.'
The last essay, " on the happiness of separate spirits," embraces a to.pic we have often heard discussed with but little satisfaction; namely, the nature of the happiness of human spirits in the invisible world. That glorified spirits are capable of exploring the wonderful works of God, far beyond our present apprehension cannot be disputed; and, that, in the full expansion of the intellectual powers, with the universe thrown open for entering into its glories, indescribable felicity would arise, must equally be granted. Nor are we, with our author, aware that such an idea is at issue with the contents of the inspired volume. It is a pleasing consideration, that " the