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He was made a little lower than the angels,-a partaker of flesh and blood, in the two-fold view of tasting of death for every man, and of, through death, destroying him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.

Incorrect perception of outline leads, of necessity, to inaccuracy in matters of detail, and when the former is wholly lost sight of, it cannot but follow that the latter will cease to have any real affinity to the original design.

This is a mere truism in things of this world, nor is it a whit less so in things divine. Insufficient views of the general scope and objects of truth will assuredly vitiate our conceptions of it in its particular branches, and this has beeri emphatically the case with the Plymouth Brethren.

Having at the outset overlooked the aspect of the incarnation of Christ, in its condemnation to angels, they were led another step out of the way, for they overlooked also its aspect of condemnation to man, and have come to regard the salvation of the church as the alone object of Christ's mission on the earth. It has resulted from this one-sided view, that seeing no sort of necessity, for the glorious purpose of salvation, of the bona fide humanity and obedience through sufferings of Christ, they have ended in the virtual denial that He was man ; that He did obey and did suffer.

The Brethren, therefore, having had no original perception of the absolute necessity to the glory of God in the great day of judgment, of the bona fide humanity of Christ, have utterly disregarded the jealous care of God in the scriptures to assert that Christ came in the flesh, and have also evinced their real unbelief of that which, in words, they are most forward to assert, viz. that Christ has glorified God upon the earth. Wherefore they have not been able to keep to the scriptures, even in the limited view of the mission of Christ, which they chose for themselves.

They have not understood in what respect Christ is said to have glorified God

upon the earth. Those words imply, both that no other had done so, and that some other had failed to do so. But the Scriptures testify that failure to glorify God is nigh akin to giving occasion (pretence or excuse) for the blaspheming of His naine! Had the Brethren reflected, they would have discerned that there existed a question of some kind, inferring occasion of glory, or the opposite, whose solution must lie between the two Adams. God has never been (so to speak) immediately concerned, but in the production of two Adams alone. The Scriptures recognize none other. The first was characterized by disobedience, the second by obedience, and these results give the clue to the purpose of God; they evince that purpose to have been that the obedience of the second Adam should discredit, refute, and abolish some inference to the dishonour of the great name of God, which, the failure of the first Adam might otherwise seem to warrant.

The nature of that inference may be seen in the writings and opinions of open and disguised infidels of every age. The former, have not hesitated to assert, and to base their assertion upon the word of God himself, that to Him alone, either by design or by defect of creation of the first man, are imputable all the evils which are now in the world, and all those which may follow in eternity, by his fall. The latter class, more under the dominion of fear, while seemingly exalting the goodness of the Creator, no less essentially, though more covertly, charge Him with the alone respons bility, both for the creation and fall of the creatures He has made ; and thus, while only professing to prove He cannot, they in fact arraign the justice of his solemn declaration that He will, eternally punish sinners. *

This latter, no less than the former class, have derived their thoughts and hopes from him who “blinds the minds of those who believe not." The position also of the angels, who have sinned, is precisely analogous to that of the hardened among men, wherefore it is a concl zion based on no imaginary grounds, that the origin of the blasphemous ascription to God of the authorship of evil, rests with Satan and his angels alone. Hence the necessity, to the glory of God, that one, made a little lower than the angels, made also of a woman, should, in that condition of being, by a bona fide obedience unto death, vindicate the glory of God, in the v.ry article which, but for that bona fide obedience, would be at this moment, and to eternity, in question.

But the failure of the Brethren to comprehend in what respect Christ has vindicated the glory of God, has led them also, and of necessity, to low apprehensions of his obedience through suffering. Some of them restrict those sufferings to a mere sympathy, and that only in the sorrows of a portion of mankind; others of them, by blending together the ideas of sufferings and sin, have made it a fearful thing to believe he suffered at all; and one of them

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* Note. -A correspondent of “The Universalist,” in its supplementary number for January, 1852, proposes twelve questions, whose object is to turn the Scriptures against God himself! These are a few of them. 2. “ If God hates his enemies, why should we love our enemies ? Are we required to be better than God? If God loves only those who love him, in what respect is he better than a sinner ?” Luke vi. 32, 33.-4. “ If man does wrong in returning evil for evil, would not God do wrong if he were to return evil for evil? Would not the infliction of endless punishment be proof positive, that God was returning evil for evil ?”—9. “Would it be merciful in God to inflict endless punishment ?”—“Can that be just which is not merciful ? Do not cruelty and injustice go hand in hand ?"

has gone the length of representing Christ's sufferings upon the cross, in the light of a mere fiction, unsupported by any circumstance of reality!

These horrible opinions have arisen from total ignorance of the purposes of God in the sufferings of Christ. If we view those sufferings in but one of their purposes, we see the designed contrast between the two Adams. The first fell without one single circumstance which even seems to palliate his disobedience. If this had remained a solitary fact : if there existed no proof to the contrary, the conclusion might have seemed (as it has seemed to some,) irresistible, that Adam was so created, as to be unable to contend against the mere pressure of temptation.

But the refutation of that thought has come by means of the second Adam. It has come, not from one in merely the same circumstances of trial which had sufficed to overthrow the first man, but from one who had to contend against every conceivable obstacle which the united energies of the devil and man, could devise to hinder him. It is this which enhances the glory of Christ's obedience. His perseverance, namely, in despite of sufferings; it is this which has so eminently vindicated the glory of God. To limit those sufferings under any pretext whatever, or to represent them as having been fulfilled by a shameful illusion, worthy only of the heathen oracles of God, is to incur a degree of guilt of which they who have written such things, have not even an idea.

To discern the true nature of an error, it is needful to see clearly the nature of the truth to which it is opposed. The design, therefore, of the papers which precede the examination of the false doctrines of the Brethren, is to present the simple and obvious views of the purposes of God in the incarnation, obedience, and sufferings of Christ, in a degree of prominence, proportioned to the degree in which they have been ignored or suppressed by them.

It has been the neglect of the most simple and palpable truths, which has led the Plymouth Brethren into a deep abyss of error and heresy, in which the greater portion of them now appear to rest and slumber in the most truculent security.

PRELIMINARY ESSAYS.

PURPOSE OF GOD IN THE INCARNATION IN THE

OBEDIENCE-IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST.

I.

PURPOSE OF GOD IN THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST.

IN ITS ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE ANGELS WHO HAVE SINNED.

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There is no idea more essentially reasonable than that which ascribes to the Creator a just, absolute and indefeasible right over the works, whether animate or inanimate, of his own hands. Neither is there any idea which is more pertinaciously insisted upon by men, in their own concerns. They claim an undoubted right of property in the works of their hands, and if that right be so much as questioned they term it injustice. They assert the same claim over the children they beget; they expect from them both submission and love, quite irrespectively of whether they may have deserved either the one or the other, for even where parents have been notoriously harsh and unkind, they do not suppose that ought to excuse or can excuse any lack of submission or love; but are, on the contrary, forward to brand such a lack of submission or love, with terms implying the absence, in their children, of right feeling.

Wherefore men do, in their own practice, universally justify the principle which ascribes to the Creator a just right to the absolute disposal and control of the works of his hands. But while they themselves insist upon that principle where their own rights are in question, they are, nevertheless, found to impugn it, so soon as it is brought to bear upon their own responsibility to the great Father of all. They are then full of subtle arguments and profoundly evasive excuses, which, nevertheless, they would neither hear nor admit the force of for a moment, from the lips of their own offspring.

Men are, therefore, themselves practically evincing that precise line of thought and conduct, which in their own children, they both would and do brand with "absence of right feeling."

It is the province of the Scriptures to reveal whence that perverseness of mind has come.

They declare that it (together with all the misery which belongs to it) had its rise in the introduction into this world of a principle of evil which is termed sin, which was brought in by means of the subtle device óf one, who himself belonged to the angelic race.

The term “angel," seems to designate an entire race, or class of beings, and those other terms by which some of them are distinguished, as Cherubim,

he says,

as

Seraphim, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities and Powers, appear to intimate the existence of degrees of glory, rank, or position in the angelic hosts.

The Scriptures do not afford us much information on the nature of angels; but enough to warrant the belief that, in many respects, they as greatly excel man, as man excels the beasts which perish.

Proportionably greater, therefore, was their responsibility to him who created them. This idea is universally acknowledged among men. They expect much from those to whom they have given or confided much, and their expectation is essentially a right one. We find Christ, while adverting to that principle of thought, assuring us that the Creator will himself act upon it;

To whom much is given, from him shall much be' required. Wherefore, in proportion to the excellency of the nature, exaltedness of the position, and ability to understand and appreciate the goodness of God, in which the angels were created, must have been the exceedingly great and awful nature of their accountability.

The Scriptures give us plainly to understand that some of the angels suffered themselves to disregard that responsibility, and to dare the consequences of disobedience. We read in Jude 6, of some who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation ; and in 2 Peter ii. 4, of some that “ sinned.Both apostles appear to refer to the same body of angels, for they are described

reserved in chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day.” It is no less certain that vast numbers of fallen angels, of whom Satan is the prince, remain at liberty as yet; and, finally, it is equally certain from the pages of Scripture that the entire number of angels who have sinned will, at the judgment of the great day, be for ever cast into the lake of fire, and this enables us to appreciate in some degree the estimate of the responsibility of angels which has been formed by their Creator.

There is sufficient reason to conclude that the sinning of the angels took place antecedently to the creation of man. As this is of deep importance, let us enter into its consideration.

Either Satan was, when he tempted Eve, already a rebel against the most high God, or he was not. If he was not, we are to conclude that evil entered his mind for the first time when he saw the newly-created pair ; that he then tempted Eve, and became thenceforth a sinner. But such a conclusion as that, sets both analogy and experience at entire defiance. To suppose that an angel, without any previous deterioration of mind, suddenly conceived and executed evil, is to infer that angels were created in a more deplorable condition of moral weakness than we ascribe even to man in his fallen state. For, that " none was ever wicked at once," has been in all ages considered true, to an adage, of fallen man, and shall we suppose it less so of an angel before he had fallen ?

But waiving, for the moment, the instance of Satan, in what way are we to account for the fall of the myriads of angels whom the Scriptures link with him ? Are we to conclude that they too were at once moved with an evil sympathy with the tempter, and therefore " kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation ?" We are, upon the supposition that there had been no rebellion among the angels previously to the fall of Adam, driven to conclude that simply out of sheer sympathy with evil, the angels who have fallen joined Satan after he had tempted Eve, and had been himself sentenced too! We

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