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he acted upon at the formation of the universe, different in its nature from Himself, and which, for brevity, may be called matter. This principle must have been co-existent with Himself from all eternity : for should we believe that He existed prior to matter, then we must believe that matter must be an emanation from Him; or, in other words, proceeded from His will, and being so, its qualities must be agreeable to the will of an all-powerful, foreknowing God; otherwise, we must stretch our faith to believe what there is no command or occasion for, that from the same fountain could flow sweet water and bitter, which Scripture says is impossible.
Now, if matter had the same qualities as the original, there could be no sin in the world; for, as matter emanated from God, so man emanated from matter, and could have nothing in his disposition, mind, or materials, disagreeable to, or different from, the Great Original. He could have no germ of corruption in Him, nor by possibility displease
Him, which would lead to the conclusion, that Revelation is a fable, and in the language of Pope to say, “whatever is, is right:" or, if we should continue by profession to believe in Scripture, and consider Him the author of every thing, we must, as a natural consequence, believe that He is capricious, tyrannical, and unjust, in punishing mankind with eternal torments for those dispositions and passions, which He had willed them, which were derived from Him, and congenial to Himself-a conclusion subversive of religion, order, and society.
On the contrary, the beginning of the Old Testament first mentions that God created the heavens and the earth, and afterwards, in the same chapter, shews that He created them from that which was without form, and void : for if He had created them in the beginning, and, by that, meaning prior to, or on the first day, how could it be
necessary to re-create them on the second and third days? The book opening with
the words, “ God created the beavens and the earth,” was to give the reader a sublime idea of the power of God, and to attract his attention to the manner in which they were created.
It appears from Scripture, that man disobeyed the commands of God, whether by the wiles of the serpent, or his own inherent corruption, is immaterial; but that he is now inferior in moral excellence to what he might be, and in that happiness which enlightened religion would produce, all have too much reason to lament. If man had been an emanation from the will of the Almighty, he could not have disobeyed, according to the Scriptures; he could not bave sinned, having no mixture of corruption in him ; but, being otherwise, we are told he disobeyed-that his disobedience of the command was sin, and as such met with its merited punishment.
If we believe that God is all-powerful and all-good, we must infer that He would have made man perfect, and free from sin and all possible degrees of moral weakness and corruption; and as the Scriptures, which give these attributes to Deity, say that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” we must likewise infer that there is something in man which the Almighty fiat can only illume, but not eradicate; if this had not been the case, would the Almighty have been displeased with man, when He could have moulded him at His pleasure? or have given laws by Moses, when He could have made them unnecessary ?
The New Testament, Hebrews ii. 7, mentions the fall of the angels; and how can that reasonably be believed, unless we also believe that they were made a little higher than we were, and of the same materials;* and that, having more of the spirit of God than
If Scripture can be admitted as evidence, the Christian cannot consistently say that this is conjecture. See Genesis, chap. sviii. Abraham entertaineth three angels. Chap. xix., Lot entertaineth two angels, “ and they did eat.” Psalm xxviii. 25, &c. ; Heb. xiii. 2.
man had, they were less liable to err, and that their punishment was in proportion to their crime, which increased in the ratio of their knowledge ?-Christians, in general, when speaking of angels, call them pure spirits. Now, if they were altogether spirit, they must be of God, and could not err; and is it possible to believe, if they were an essence of the Almighty that they could have erred, or have done any thing to displease Him? If we use our reason, we must believe that they were not an essence but a compound. If we close our eyes and our ears, and
say it is a subject above our reason and comprehension, we have no right to look down upon the Hindoo, who may as well say the same of the Christian religion, as to its being above his comprehension, and remain with his early prejudices unaltered. It may likewise be argued that, if angels had any portion of matter in their composition, they would not be invisible ; but St. Paul, in speaking of the resurrection of the dead, saith that God giveth it a BODY