« AnteriorContinua »
Alfo, the dominion of man, by the divine charter, confifted of four provinces:-And let them have dominion over the fish of the fea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Thus was Adam a figure of Chrift. And it may be obferved, that angels are reprefented by the diftinguishing properties of these four kinds of creatures; as by the leviathan, which is the monster of the deep; by the eagle, which is the king of birds;-by the ox, which is diftinguished among cattle;-and by the serpent, which is the first of the creeping things.
Mofes, in his account of the creation, discovers evidently a defign to connect these four provinces of creatures with the four first creative operations:-Hence, those of the waters, he makes the firft province;-thofe of the air the fecond;-of the earth, the third; -and the creeping things, the laft.-It has been obferved of the work of creation, that there was a progreffion in the operations, and that the light of the unfolding divine will brightened each day; and the refult of each fucceffive movement was ftill more and more perfect. So, in this view, the fish, un-doubtedly, are to be confidered as the lowest fpecies of the animal creation;-the birds are a higher fpecies;-the cattle are still more perfect; and the ferpent is defcribed to have poffe fled powers of intelligence nearly allied to thofe of the rational worlds; and being the last formed, may be fuppofed the most perfect of the animal natures, and to
have been the next link in the chain of beings, to those who were capable of moral government. The fame remark may be made. upon the great fucceffive difpenfations of divine providence, which, in the fcriptures, are called days, that they fhine with increasing brightness unto the perfect day.
In the paffages which have been quoted, and there are many others in the fame flyle, it may be seen that the angelic powers, which are the fubjects of the throne of heaven, are in a fimilar manner connected with the four winds; the idea of which, as has been noticed, feems to have originated in those creative operations which framed the worlds.To recite only two inftances is fufficient:Thefe are the four fpirits, or winds of the heavens, which go forth from ftanding before the Lord of all the earth. Zech. vi. 5.-And af ter thefe things, I faw four angels ftanding on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind fhould not blow on the earth, nor on the fea, nor on any tree. Rev. vii. 1. And by being thus connected, the angels are placed in a frong point of analogy with thefe lower subjects of Adam's empire.
It may also be obferved, that, with the winds, the courfes of the waters in the world. before the flood, appear to have conformed to the fame fystem; for a river went out of Eden, and having watered the paradife of Adam, it was parted into four heads extending to the four quarters of the earth; dividing thofe realms into four grand departments, and
forming a natural communication throughout the whole dominion. And it may be natur ally inferred, that the grand divifions and progreffions in those divine operations conftituting the world, which are traced in the courfes of the winds and waters, and in the animal natures, and angelic economies, are alfo the grounds of the divifion of this world's empire into four great kingdoms in fucceffion; which kingdoms are reprefented in prophecy by diftinct kinds of beafts, and are ordained of God, and limited by the fame laws that govern the heavens, and control the figns and feafons, and the days and years.
It appears, moreover, that the angels are confecrated beings, and that the confecrating vow of holiness was laid upon them foon after their creation; their flate as being under the law implies this, and that the altar of God was fet up among them; for the idea of confecration relates to the altar; alfo, this is imported by their common name, Angel; for wherever the word el is taken into a name, it fignifies that the perfon or thing is either a confecrator, or is confecrated under the vows and oath of God. The ground of the ftanding of the angels, being made facred under the law, was the fearful circumftancethat rendered the fin of thofe who fell fo exceedingly finful, and gave it fuch ftrength to their condemnation; and their flanding fingly and alone on this holy ground, left them in a fallen flate, hopelefs and irrecoverable; for, Wo to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Section 4. Man created in the Image of God,
The state of man when firft created, was widely different from that of the angels; for instead of being made with the frame, and placed in the condition of a fervant, God gave him a portion of his own spirit, and thereby capacitated him for dominion; and he was affociated with the Lord himfelf in the glory of his majesty, and fet up in flate with his Maker over the works of his hands.
Christ is the image of God; and as man was created in union with Chrift as the Beginning, or as the Head and Lord of the Creation, he was made in the image of God; in his being capacitated with wifdom and knowledge to hold the dominion of the world, and being actually invefted with this fovereign authority; man was made after the fi militude of God-fearfully and wonderfully made! His firft ftate was nothing less than a partnership with Chrift in the glory of his dominion, as far as it refpected the first creation! With fuch an imprefs of majesty het was fearfully made, and it is all a matter truly wonderful!
As Chrift was united with the Father by the everlasting covenant, so Adam was affociated in a covenant with Chrift; and as Chrift was with the Father a fellow in the glory of the eternal world, fo was Adam a
partner with Chrift in the glory of the creation. Hence, as Chrift, in having by the Spirit of the Father all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and in being fet up in the ancient dominion of heaven, was the image of God, and the brightness of his glory; so Adam, being capacitated by the Spirit of the Lord the Creator for the dominion of the world, and fet up in this glory, was in the image of God, and was the figure and likenefs of Chrift. In like manner, Chrift having become the Head of the New Creation, and being declared the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the refurrection from the dead; and the penitent finner being brought into union with him by the grace of the new covenant, and receiving from him the Holy Ghoft, which is the Spirit of the new world, he becomes a new creature, and puts on the new man, which is re newed in knowledge, after the image of his new Creator. In what clear light does the divine theory here open to view!
The fuppofition that mere creature excellence could be the image of God, or that creatures could be faid, with propriety, to be in the image of God on account of their own moral righteoufness, or on any account other than their being by an act of fovereign beneficence united with the divine Word, the true and only image of God, is grofs folly and idolatry; and it is truly aftonishing that this fhould ever be fuppofed by serious perfons, who have bibles in their hands. When God was about to create man, he called his