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Ouranius reads how God himself said unto Abimelech concerning Abraham, He is a prophet ; he shall pray for thee and thou shalt live. And again, how He said of Job, And my servant Job shall pray for you, for him will I accept.
From these passages Ouranius justly concludes, that the prayers of men eminent for holiness of life have an extraordinary power with God; that He grants to other people such pardons, reliefs, and blessings, through their prayers, as would not be granted to men of less piety and perfection. This makes Ouranius exceeding studious of Christian perfection, searching after every grace and holy temper, purifying his heart all manner of ways, fearful of every error and defect in his life, lest his prayers for his flock should be less availing with God, through his own defects in holiness.
This makes him careful of every temper of his heart, give alms of all he hath, watch and fast and mortify and live according to the strictest rules of temperance, meekness, and humility, that he may be in some degree like an Abraham or a Job in his parish, and make such prayers for them as God will hear and accept.
These are the happy effects which a devout intercession hath produced in the life of Ouranius.
(From Serious Call.)
THE FALL OF ADAM
AGAIN, is it not the plain letter of Scripture that Adam died the day that he did eat of the earthly tree? Have we not the most solemn asseveration of God for the truth of this ? Was not the change which Adam found in himself a demonstration of the truth of this fact? Instead of the image and likeness of God in which he was created, the beauty of paradise, he was stript of all his glory, confounded at the shameful deformity of his own body, afraid of being seen, and unable to see himself uncovered ; delivered up a slave to the rage of all the stars and elements of this world, not knowing which way to look, or what to do in a world where he was dead to all he formerly felt, and alive only to a new and dreadful feeling of heat and cold, shame and fear, and horrible remorse of mind at his sad entrance in a world whence paradise and God and his own glory were departed. Death enough surely!
Death in its highest reality, much greater in its change, than when an animal of earthly flesh and blood is only changed into a cold lifeless carcase.
A death that in all nature has none like it, none equal to it, none of the same nature with it, but that which the angels died, when from angels of God they became living devils, serpentine hideous forms, and slaves to darkness. Say that the angels lost no life, that they did not die a real death, because they are yet alive in the horrors of darkness; and then you may say, with the same truth, that Adam did not die when he lost God, and paradise, and the first glory of his creation, because he afterwards lived and breathed in a world which was outwardly, in all its parts, full of the same curse that was within himself, but further, not only the plain letter of the text, and the change of state which Adam found in himself, demonstrated a real death to his former state ; but the whole tenor of Scripture absolutely requires it; all the system of our redemption proceeds upon it. For tell me, I pray, what need of a redemption, if Adam had not lost his first state of life? What need of the deity to enter again into the human nature, not only as acting, but taking a birth in it, and from it? What need of all this mysterious method, to bring the life from above again into man, if the life from above had not been lost ? Say that Adam did not die, and then tell me what sense or reason there is in saying that the Son of God became man, and died on the cross to restore to him the life that he had lost ? It is true indeed that Adam, in his death to the divine life, was left in the possession of an earthly life. And the reason is plain why he was so, for his great sin consisted in his desire and longing to enter into the life of this world, to know its good and evil as the animals of this world do ; it was his choosing to have a life of this world after this new manner, and his entering upon the means of attaining it, that was his death to the divine life. And therefore it is no wonder, that after his death to heaven and paradise he found himself still alive as an earthly animal. For the desire of this earthly life was his great sin, and the possession of this earthly life was the proper punishment and misery that belonged to his sin ; and therefore it is no wonder, that that life which was the proper punishment, and real discovery of the fruits of his sin, should subsist after his sin had put an end to the life of paradise and God in him. But wonderful it is to a great degree, that any man should imagine that Adam did not die on the day of his sin,
because he had as good a life left in him, as the beasts of the field have.
For is this the life, or is the death that such animals die, the life and death with which our redemption is concerned ? Are not all the Scriptures full of a life and death of a much higher kind and nature ? And do not the Scriptures make man the perpetual subject to whom this higher life and death belong ? What ground or reason therefore can there be to think of the death of an animal of this world, when we read of the death that Adam was assuredly to die the day of his sin ? For does not all that befel him on the day of his sin show that he lost a much greater life, suffered a more dreadful change, than that of giving up the breath of this world ? For in the day of his sin, this angel of paradise, this lord of the new creation, fell from the throne of his glory (like Lucifer from heaven) into the state of a poor, awakened, naked, distressed animal of gross flesh and blood, unable to bear the odious sight of that which his newly opened eyes forced him to see ; inwardly and outwardly feeling the curse awakened in himself and all the creation, and reduced to have only the faith of the devils, to believe and tremble. Proof enough surely, that Adam was dead to the life and light and spirit of God; and that, with this death, all that was divine and heavenly in his soul, his body, his eyes, his mind and thoughts, was quite at an end. Now this life to which Adam then died, is that life which all his posterity are in want of, and cannot come out of that state of that death into which he fell, but by having this first life of heaven born again in them. Now is there any reason to say, that mankind, in their natural state, are not dead to that first life in which Adam was created, because they are alive to this world ? Yet this is as well as to say, that Adam did not die a real death, because he had afterwards an earthly life in him. How comes our Lord to say, that unless ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you? Did he mean you have no earthly life in you? How comes the Apostle to say, he that hath the Son of God hath life, but he that hath not the Son of God hath not life? Does he mean the life of this world ? No. But both Christ and His Apostle assert this great truth, that all mankind are in the state of Adam's first death till they are made alive again by a birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God brought forth in them. So plain is it, both from the express letter and spirit of Scripture, that Adam died a real death to the kingdom
of God in the day of his sin. Take away this death, and all the scheme of our redemption has no ground left to stand upon.
Judge now, Academicus, who leaves the letter of Scripture, your learned friends, or the author of this appeal ? They leave it, they oppose it, in that which is the very life of Christianity.
For without the reality of a new birth, founded on the certainty of a real death on the fall of Adam, the Christian scheme is but a skeleton of empty words, a detail of strange mysteries between God and man, that do nothing, and have nothing to do.
(From Second Part of The Spirit of Prayer.)
LOOK we now at the Scripture account of the nature of the atonement and satisfaction of Christ, and this will further show us, that it is not to atone, or alter any quality or temper in the divine mind, nor for the sake of God, but purely and solely to atone, to quench and overcome that death and wrath and hell, under the power of which man was fallen.
As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. This is the whole work, the whole nature, and the sole end of Christ's sacrifice of Himself; and there is not a syllable in Scripture that gives you any other account of it: it all consists, from the beginning to the end, in carrying on the one work of regeneration; and therefore the Apostle says, the first Adam was made a living soul, but the last or second Adam was made a quickening spirit, because sent into the world by God, to quicken and revive that life from above, which we lost in Adam. And He is called our ransom, our atonement, etc., for no other reason but because that which He did and suffered in our fallen nature, was as truly an efficacious means of our being born again to a new heavenly life, of Him and from Him, as that which Adam did, was the true and natural cause of our being born in sin, and the impurity of bestial flesh and blood.
And as Adam, by what he did, may be truly said to have purchased our misery and corruption, to have bought death for us, and to have sold us into a slavery under the world, the flesh, and the devil, though all that we have from him, or suffer by him is only the inward working of his own nature and life within us ; so, according to the plain meaning of the words, Christ may be said to be our price, our ransom, and atonement, though all that He does for us, as buying, ransoming, and redeeming us, is done wholely and solely by a birth of His own nature and spirit brought to life in us.
The Apostle says, Christ died for our sins. Thence it is that He is the great sacrifice for sin, and its true atonement. But how and why is He so ? The Apostle tells you in these words, The sting of death is sin. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore Christ is the atonement of our sins, when by and from Him, living in us, we have victory over our sinful nature.
The Scriptures frequently say, Christ gave Himself for us. But what is the full meaning, effect, and benefit of His thus giving Himself for us? The Apostle puts this out of all doubt, when he says, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to Himself a peculiar people ; that He might deliver us from this present evil world, from the curse of the law, from the power of Satan, from the wrath to come; or, as the Apostle says in other words, that He might be made unto us wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification.
The whole truth therefore of the matter is plainly this : Christ given for us, is neither more nor less than Christ given into us. And He is in no other sense our full, perfect, and sufficient atonement, than as His nature and spirit are born and formed in us, which so purge us from our sins, that we are thereby in Him, and by Him dwelling in us, become new creatures, having our conversation in heaven.
As Adam is truly our defilement and impurity by his birth in us, so Christ is our atonement and purification, by our being born again of Him, and having thereby quickened and revived in us that first divine life, which was extinguished in Adam. And therefore, as Adam purchased death for us, just so in the same manner, in the same degree, and in the same sense, Christ purchases life for us. And each of them solely by their own inward life within us.
This is the one Scripture account of the whole nature, the sole end, and full efficacy of all that Christ did, and suffered for us. It is all comprehended in these two texts of Scripture. (1) That Christ was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. (2) That as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.