« PreviousContinue »
ceived in man and in brutes, and acting by the same laws in proportion to their influence over them? Such questions, however, never could be answered from our natural knowledge; but must have ever remained in mysterious conjecture if they were not revealed in the Scriptures! They inform us, that these malignant passions proceed from one power of evil, and pervade organized matter; and a catalogue of all the actions of man arising from such malignant influence is given in the New Testament, that we may know ourselves, and also others; for therein we are told, that "by their fruit ye shall know them." The Scriptures also give us a catalogue of all the actions which proceed from minds uninfluenced by those malignant passions, which we know, from experience, would constitute the good man, if any one were totally free from them; and they declare that such minds emanate, and are formed by the pure Spirit of God, that freely pervades all things.
This knowledge, therefore, we could not possibly have obtained, had it not pleased the Almighty to have revealed it. It is found only in the Scriptures, and is consistent, and in unison with our experience and knowledge of mankind, and the organization of the creation.
To illustrate :-It may be asked, how can the passions freely pervade our bodies; and how can the pure Spirit, which forms the mind of man, pervade those passions and all other things?
which we reply,-Physical philosophy informs us, that our bodies and all this visible world are entirely porous. And, by understanding this organization, we may readily understand how the gross spirit, we call the malignant passions, can pervade the body, and with what facility the pure Spirit of God can pervade the whole. The electric fluid freely pervades platina, which is two hundred thousand times denser than hydrogen gas, or 18,390 times atmospheric air; something more than 22 times rain water; near 133 times the bone of an ox; and 23% times the fat of beef.
With this progressive porosity of various substances before us;-that the pores vary in size, as so many sieves from hydrogen gas to laminated platina, and through which the electric fluid freely pervades; and a magnet operates through them without any sensible resistance; and the power called gravitation " suffers no diminution nor modification, when a third body is interposed between the two gravitating masses;"—we may conceive how freely the passions can pervade the body, and act upon the nervous system, as we find by experience they do; and also how freely the pure Spirit of God, in supporting the Universe by his Omnipotence, can pervade all things, and cherish by his benignant rays the soul of man as He pleases. But, we will also add the observations of an enlightened philosopher of the present age, who has dispassionately considered the porosity of the creation,
Gal. v. 22. 1 Tim. i. 5.
Gen. ii. 16.
that power, or deprave its nature; but of the essential nature of either we can know nothing by any reflex act of the mind. We know there is a difference in mankind by their actions: that when they are free from passions, and governed by right reason in truth and justice, they are good characters and support the order and harmony of society; but when they are influenced by malignant passions in committing murders, thefts, lying, &c., they are bad characters and destroy the harmony of society, and in common language are called-diabolical.
Now, no one can allow that the man in the image of God could be influenced by those passions which render his character diabolic, and which are perceived in the brute creation, over which it was decreed he should rule and have dominion!
The New Testament, therefore, reveals the actions which proceed from the living soul, the image of God, which are "love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, temperance, truth, charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience :"-and these actions were the fruit of "the tree of life, in the midst of the garden!" Let us now see the commandment given.
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."
We have already seen the fruit, or actions of the
pure soul in which they were created: and we have here the two principles set forth from the beginning of the world, and seen in the actions of mankind throughout the several ages of it-the good and the evil. Therefore, to partake of evil, to die, the soul must degenerate, or become of another nature in order to fulfil the sentence for disobedience; as the Holy Spirit of God, which gave the dignity they possessed, could not die.
St. Paul, explaining the regeneration of our souls by the grace of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, says: "For since by man came death, by 1 Cor. xv. 21. man came also the resurrection of the dead. For
as in" the spirit of " Adam all die, even so in" the spirit of "Christ, shall all be made alive:"-" For Rom. viii. 6. to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually
minded is life and peace!"-" The last enemy that 1 Cor. xv. 26. shall be destroyed, is death."
In the epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, is an explanation of this enemy of mankind that is to be destroyed, through the regeneration by the Holy Spirit of God, which restores their minds and souls to their primitive purity. He says:
"Forasmuch then, as the children are partakers Heb. ii. 14. of flesh and blood, he, Jesus, also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage," by the reign of the devil in their hearts.
Gen. iii. 4.
Gen. iii. 9.
"And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die. for God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat."
"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? and he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid."
Without attending to the figurative language, we must to the essentials. From whence did his fear arise?—It could not arise from the spirit in which he was created, of conscious innocence; but from an accusing spirit on his conscience that made him afraid of a superior!
The New Testament, being professedly explanatory of the hidden mysteries of the old, informs us, that fear is created by the malignant passions, or that spirit of evil which influences man to commit actions forbidden by the law of God, and operates on our consciences, or upon the general nervous system, in creating fear. For St. John, in explaining our nature, by which we know the purity or impurity of ourselves, says,-" There is no fear in love: God is" the spirit of "love." therefore, arose from guilt, derived from that evil spirit operating on his conscience, after tempting