Images de page
[ocr errors]

the chief good, promising communion with himself, in which man's principal happiness lies, while obeying, and " doing what is well-pleasing to him :" as justice itself, or sovereignly just, threatening death to the rebel. Adam sustained a twofold relation. 1st, As man. 2dly, As head and root, or representative of mankind. In the former relation, he was a rational creature, and under the law to God, innocent, created after the divine image, and endued with sufficient powers to fulfil all righteousness. All these things are presupposed in man, to render him a fit object for God to enter into covenant with.

IV. Man, therefore, just from the hands of his Maker, had a soul shining with rays of a divine light, and adorned with the brightest wisdom; whereby he was, not only perfectly master of the nature of created things, but was delighted with the contemplation of the supreme and increated truth, the eyes of his understanding being constantly fixed on the perfections of his God; from the consideration of which he gathered, by the justest reasoning, what was equitable and just, what worthy of God and of himself. He also had the purest holiness of will, acquiescing in God as the supreme truth, revering him as the most dread majesty, loving him as the chief and only good; and, for the sake of God, holding dear whatever his mind, divinely taught, pointed out as grateful, and like to, and expressive of his perfections: in fine, whatever contributed to the acquiring an intimate and immediate union with him; delighting in the communion of his God; which was now allowed him, panting after further communion, raising himself thereto by the creatures, as so many scales or steps; and finally setting forth the praises of his most unspotted holiness as the most perfect pattern, according to which he was to frame both himself and his actions to the utmost. This is, as Elihu significantly expresses it, Job xxxiv. 9. " delighting himself with God." This rectitude of the soul was accompanied with a most regular temperature of the whole body, all whose members, as instruments of righteousness, presented themselves ready and active at the first intimation of his holy will. Nor was it becoming God to form a rational creature for any other purpose than his own glory; which such a creature, unless wise and holy, could neither perceive nor celebrate, as shining forth in the other works of God; destitute of this light, and deprived of this endument, what could it prove but the reproach of his Creator, and every way unfit to answer the end of his creation. All these particulars the wisest of Kings, Eccles. vii. 29. has thrown together with

a striking simplicity, when he says; "Lo! this only have I found, that God hath made man upright."

V. What I have just said of the wisdom of the first man, ought, I think, to be extended so far, as not to suppose him, in the state of innocence, ignorant of the mystery of the Trinity. For it is necessary above all things, for the perfection of the human understanding, to be well acquainted with what it ought to know and believe concerning its God. And it may justly be doubted, whether he does not worship a God entirely unknown, nay, whether he at all worships the true God, who does not know and worship him, as subsisting in three persons. Whoever represents God to himself in any other light, represents not God, but an empty phantom, and an idol of his own brain. Epiphanius seems to have had this argument in view, when, in his Panarius, p. 9. he thus writes of Adam: "He was no idolater, for he knew God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and he was a Prophet, and knew, that the Father said to the Son, Let us make man."

[ocr errors]

VI. These last words furnish a new argument: for since God, in the work of the creation, manifested himself a Trinity, the Father made the worlds by the Son,' Heb. i. 2. the Holy Ghost cherished the waters by brooding upon them; and the whole Trinity addressed themselves, by mutual consultation, to the creation of man; it is not therefore credible this mystery should be entirely unknown to the Protoplast or first parent; unless we can suppose Adam ignorant of his Creator, who was likewise the Son and the Holy Ghost. It cannot certainly be without design, that the Scripture, when speaking of man's Creator, so often uses the plural number as Is. liv. 5. Ty Thy, which literally signifies, thy husbands, thy makers. Psa. cxlix. 2. Ty, Let Israel rejoice and his makers. Nay, requires man to attend to this, and engrave it on his mind, Eccl. xii. 1. 71, remember thy creators. It is criminal when man neglects it ; and says not Job ch. xxxv. 10. у ¡¡, where is God my makers? Which phrases, unless referred to a Trinity of persons, might appear to be dangerous. But it is absurd to suppose Adam ignorant concerning his Creator, of that which God does not suffer his posterity to be ignorant of at this time; especially as God created man to be the herald of his being and perfections in the new world. But it certainly tends to display the glory of God, that he should particularly celebrate, not only the divine perfections, but likewise how they subsist in the distinct persons of the Deity, and the manner and order of their operation. Admirably to this purpose speaks Basil of Seleucia,

Seleucia, serm. 2. Take particular notice of that expression, Let us make man; again, this word used plurally, hints at the persons of the Godhead, and presents a trinity to our knowledge. This knowledge therefore is coeval with the creation. Nor should it seem strange, that afterwards it should be taught since it is one of those things, of which mention is made in the very first creation.


VII. I own Adam could not, from the bare contemplation of nature, without revelation, discover this mystery. But this I am fully persuaded of, that God revealed some things to man, not dictated by nature. For, whence did he know the command about the Tree of Knowledge, and whence the meaning of the Tree of Life, but by God's declaring it to him? whence such a knowledge of his wife's creation, as to pronounce her flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, but from divine revelation? Seeing then God had revealed to man many things, and those indeed not of such moment; can we believe he would conceal from him a thing, the knowledge of which was so highly expedient to the perfection of man and the glory of God? That learned man therefore, was mistaken who insisted, that the knowledge of the Trinity exceeded the happiness of Adam's state, which was merely natural. For it was not so merely natural, that Adam only knew what the alone consideration of nature could suggest. The contrary we have just shewn. And it must be deemed natural to that state, that innocent man, who had familiar intercourse with his God, should learn from his own mouth what might render him fitter to celebrate his praises. The learned Žanchius observes in his book de Creat. Hom. 1. I. c. I. § 12. that most of the fathers were of opinion, that Adam, seeing he was such, and so great a friend of God before his fall, had sometimes seen God in a bodily appearance, and heard him speak and adds, "but this was always the Son of God." And a little after, "Christ therefore is the Jehovah, who brought Adam and placed him in Paradise, and spoke with him." Thus the ancients believed, that the Son of God did then also reveal 1..nself to Adam, and conversed with him.

VIII. And it seems rather too bold to affirm, "that the œconomy subsisting between the three persons, is so principally taken up in procuring the Salvation of mankind, that the knowledge thereof could not pertain to the state of innocence; in which there was no place either for salvation or redemption." For Moses declares the economy of the divine persons at the very creation. And while the Gospel explains that admirable economy, as taken up in procuring the salva

tion of mankind, it, at the same time, carries our thoughts up to that economy, manifested in the first creation of the world. If now it is so useful and pleasant to think, that the Son of God our Saviour, is the beginning of the creation of God, Rev. iii. 14. By whom were created thrones and dominions, things visible and invisible; that he might have the pre-eminence in all things," Col. i. 16, 18. both of the works of nature and of grace and that the Holy Spirit, now fitting up a new world of grace in our hearts, did at first brood on the waters, and make them pregnant with so many noble creatures; and thus to ascend to the consideration of the same œconomy in the works of creation and nature, which is now revealed to us in the works of salvation and grace. Who then can refuse that Adam in innocence had the same knowledge of God in three persons, though ignorant what each person, in his order, was to perform in saving sinners? Add to this, that though in that state of Adam, there was no room for redemption, yet there was for salvation and life eternal. The symbol of which was the Tree of Life, which even then bore the image of the Son of God: see Rev. ii. 7. For in him was life, John i. 4. which symbol had been in vain, if the meaning thereof had been unknown to Adam.

IX. In this rectitude of man principally consists that image of God, which the Scripture so often recommends; and which Paul expressly places in knowledge, Col. iii. 10. in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. iv. 24. In which places he so describes the image of God, which is renewed in us by the spirit of grace, as at the same time to hint, that it is the same with which man was originally created: neither can there be different images of God. For as God cannot but be wise and holy, and as such, be a pattern to the rational creature, it follows, that a creature wise and holy, is, as such, the expression or resemblance of God. And it is a thing quite impossible, but God must own his own likeness to consist in this rectitude of the whole man; or that he should ever acknowledge a foolish and perverse creature to be like him: which would be an open denial of his perfections. It is finely observed by a learned man, that true holiness is not only opposed to hypocrisy or simulation, or to typical purity, but that it denotes a holy study of truth, proceeding from the love of God. For, s, to which answers the Hebrew 7, signifies in Scripture, one studious in, and eager after good. This true holiness, therefore denotes such a desire, of pleasing God, as is agreeable to the truth known of, and in him, and loved for him.

X. But I see not, why the same learned person would have the righteousness, mentioned by Paul, Eph. iv. 24. to be a privilege peculiar to the covenant of grace, which we obtain in Christ, and which Adam was without; meaning by the word righteousness, a title or right to eternal life; which, it is owned, Adam had not, as his state of probation was not yet at an end. In opposition to this assertion, I offer these following considerations." Ist, There is no necessity, by righteousness to understand a right to eternal life. For that term often denotes a virtue, a constant resolution of giving every one his due, as Eph. v. 9. Where the Apostle, treating of sanctification, writes, for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth. The learned person himself was aware of this, who elsewhere speaks thus, (on Gen. v. § 9.) "Righteousness is, first, the rectitude of actions, whether of the soul, or of the members; and their agreement with sound reason: namely, that they may easily avoid condemnation or blame, and obtain commendation and praise." So Tit. iii. 5. Works of righteousness." And hence the denomination of just or righteous, denotes a blameless or a praiseworthy person." Since then that word signifies elsewhere such a rectitude, why not here too? Especially as it is indisputable, that such righteousness belonged to the image of God in Adam. 2dly, It ought not to be urged, that here righteousness is joined with Loliness, and therefore thus to be distinguished from it; as that the latter shall denote an inherent good quality, and the former a fight to life. For it may be answered, first, that it is no unusual thing with the Holy Spirit, to express the same thing by different words. "It is to be observed, says Ursinus, Quest. 18. Catech. that righteousness and holiness were in us the same thing before the fall; namely, an inherent conformity to God and the law." Nor does the celebrated Cocceius himself speak otherwise on Psal. xv. § 2. "But, righteousness, if you con-. sider the law of works, signifies, in the largest sense, every thing that is honest, every thing that is true, every thing that is holy." Secondly, Suppose we should distinguish rigateousness from holiness it, follows not, that it is to be distinguished in this manner; for there are testimonies, in which, no such distinction can take place: as Luke i. 74, 75.-Serve bim in holiness and righteousness before him and 1 Thess. ii. 10. Te are witnesses and God also, how holily and justly, and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe. And, 1 Kings iii. 6.-be walked before thee in truth and in righteousness, and in uprightness of beurt.


« PrécédentContinuer »