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one of his commissions was the last. He appeared several times to us; and at each time, gave us various and additional commissions and commands; one of which one relates, and the other another, and so on. RESURRECTION. The restoration to life of the
man, whose case is recorded in 2 Kings, xiii. 21, is quite a distinct transaction from a resurrection from the dead. This person was evidently not dead, but in a trance; and having been cast into the sepulchre where Elisha had been buried, the violence with which he was precipitated therein, was a sufficient stimulant to rouse him; accordingly the man " revived and stood upon his feet.”
It happening be where the bones of Elisha lay, was one of those remarkable coincidences, which so often occur, even at the present day; and well calculated to lead the ignorant to suppose, that the bones of Elisha had some virtue in them. But the Sacred writers themselves, never mentioned it, nor recorded it, as a miracle.
RESTED. It is written in Gen. ii. 2, that “God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again it is written in John, v. 17; Jesus says, my
father worketh hitherto." There is here no contradiction whatever; the former alludes to the works of creation; the latter, to the works of Providence and grace.
REVELATION. No one who believes in the existence of an intelligent Creator, (and no one but a fool or a madman doubts it!) can entertain a second opinion on the possibility of that Being revealing himself to mankind. The question then is, is it probable that the Almighty has revealed himself to his creatures ? confidently answer, that it is not only probable, reasons hereafter to be mentioned; but the reverse would
be, the greatest improbability, that could possibly be imagined.
1. If the almost universal opinion of mankind at all times, be worth any thing, there was but one opinion on this subject, and that was in the affirmative.
2. If the opinion of the greatest philosophers and lawgivers, of all nations under the sun, be worth any thing, it is also in the affirmative. Thus Zoroaster, Minos, Pythagoras, Solon, Lycurgus, Numa, Socrates, and Plato, of antiquity; Newton, Boyle, Locke, Blackstone, Washington, Harvey, Hunter, Rush, Haller, Cuvier, &c. &c. of modern times. All these, and ten thousand other great, learned, and wise men, not only admitted the probability of Divine revelation, but almost all of them admitted the Bible to contain that revelation. The few, the very few, men of any learning, who may be mentioned as exceptions to this cloud of witnesses, were men, the gratification of whose vile lusts, and carnal passions, were their summum bonum, their only guide. See Morality.
3. The indispensable necessity for a revelation from God, proved by the wretched condition of mankind with. out it. Hence the probability. See Morality.
4. That a BEING, of infinite power, wisdom and justice, would create intelligent creatures; endow them with intelligence, as it were, only to enable them to know their own misery and nothingness, is not only highly improbable, but absurd !
But what is the sum and substance of that which God has revealed in the Bible, respecting himself, his attributes, his will, and his creatures ? It is briefly as follows, viz:
The Scriptures reveal,
1. The living God to be a God of truth, of righteousness, and of mercy. Who is “ of purer eyes than to
behold iniquity." Hab. i. 13.
Hab. i. 13. “In whose sight the Heavens are not clean.” Job xv. 15.
2. That “God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.' Ecc. vii. 29. That “ the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.” Isa. i. 5, 6. That “ the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jer. xvii. 19. That man is “ dead in trespasses and sins." Eph. ii. 1–5. That “the fleshly mind is enmity against God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Rom. viii. 7. That it " receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him.” i Cor. ii. 14. That " all the ways of man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” Prov. xvi. 2. That "the righteousness of man are as filthy rags." Isa. lxiv. 6. And every work of their hands, and that which they offer is unclean." Hag. ii. 14. That “there is none righteous, (Jew nor Gentile,) no, not one."-" None that seeketh after God.”—“ Are together become unprofitable.--None that doeth good, no, not one”—“That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God.” Rom. iii. 10–19.
3. That God originally never required any duty of man but that, for the performance of which he had given man ability. That God requires a perfect obedience to his law; and if any man keep that law perfectly, he would, on that condition, enjoy eternal happiness: from this condition not one of the human race is exempt; but one failure forfeits the promises connected therewith. Matt. v. 48; xix. 17, 21; Gal. iii, 10; James ii. 10.
4. When man complained against the justice of God in punishing mankind for doing those things, the propensity to which they had inherited from their fathers, saying, " the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge" - The Lord replied, “ As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.” Accordingly the Lord instituted repentance; saying, “If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die."
66 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.” Therefore, “Repent and turn from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin;" “ for I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: therefore turn and live." Ezek. xviii. 11-19; Isa. lv. 7. This is 6 repentance," not Gospel. Thus, by this grant of the conditions of repentance, every mountain was levelled, and every valley filled up, (figures of man's excuses,) before the personal appearing of the Lord Jesus. This was the object of John the Baptist's mission. Isa. xi. 3, 4; Matt. 3-11.
5. Notwithstanding this offer of eternal life to every member of the human race without exception, man has brought himself to a state of spiritual death, “ the whole world lying in wickedness." John v. 19. None being delivered from this state till they are born of God-still saying “ the way of the Lord is not equal."
6. The Almighty knowing that it was impossible to give any condition or law by which man might be saved, Gal. iii. 21, in consequence of the wretched state of misery, blindness and intoxication, to which he had brought himself; devised in rich mercy, mercy far beyond the conception of man, a plan by which he would overtake man in his mad career; would reach man in his lowest state of helplessness and misery, and pluck him as a brand from the burning, while madly hastening on to his eternal ruin. And all this without forfeiting his character as a God of truth and justice; without accepting an imperfect righteousness; without letting sin go unpunished; and without receiving man but clothed in perfect holiness. Accordingly, “He is still just, and the justifier of the ungodly.” This he has done, by “laying hold upon one that is mighty, even Jesus, his only and well-beloved son, who was made a sin offering,”. “ whom it pleased the Lord to bruise, and to put to grief;" who “ hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;" was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted:” " for the transgressions of my people was he stricken,”. saith the Lord God Almighty. Isa. liii. “ Him hath God set forth a propitiation through faith in his blood." Romans, iii. 25. He is “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans, x. 4. He magnified the Law and made it honourable. Isa. xvii. 21. - The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake," and declared from Heaven, “ this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matt. iii. 17. Thus, “by one offering, he hath perfected forever, them that are sanctified.” Heb. x. 14. These glad tidings are called the Gospel, and are proclaimed in the Scriptures to all, without exception, even to the ungodly and unrighteous, without money and without price, (figures of conditions and stipulations,) even to all; so that man is without exeuse.
7. All men naturally despise this proclamation of free pardon and mercy through the blood of Jesus; and treat it with the same contempt that they do, and ever did, the Law of God. “ No man receives the testimony which God testifieth of his son,” John iii. 32, " till compelled by the Father.” John vi. 44. Hence, all who believe