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by Valerius
The Masonic Review - 1857


Chapter I

Chapter II - The Mystery of God

Chapter III - The Mystery of Jehovah's Attributes

Chapter IV - The Mystery of Evil

Chapter V - The Mystery of Redemption


MYSTERY is the angel which comes to us in the still hours of the night, or the solitary musings of the day, and whispers to us words of wondrous import. She always bears about her a charm and a power of fascination which at once arrests our attention and we are all eye and all ear to her movements and her voice.

A distinguished writer has said, "No sound mind is ever perplexed by the contemplation of mysteries. Indeed, they are a source of positive satisfaction and delight. If nothing were dark - if all around us and above us were clearly seen, the truth itself would appear stale and mean. Every thing truly great must transcend the powers of the human mind, and hence, if nothing were mysterious, there would be nothing worthy of our veneration and worship. It is mystery, indeed, which lends such unspeakable grandeur and variety to the scenery of the moral world; without it all will be clear it is true, but nothing will be grand. There would be lights but no shadows, and around the very lights themselves there would be nothing soothing and sublime, in which the soul might rest and the imagination revel." The truth of this sentiment commends itself to the experience of all. If there were no dark, impenetrable mysteries spreading away before the mind, taxing its energies and calling forth its mightiest efforts to pierce the gloom, there would soon be a stagnation of thought, and a Dead Sea would roll its leaden monotonous waves around us forever. It is affirmed by him who bears the appellation of the wisest man that ever lived, that "it is the glory of God to conceal a thing," and hence we infer that the very mystery with which we are surrounded, and which enshrouds the universe of matter and mind, more effectually develops the glory of God and enhances our bliss, than if there were no mysteries to excite our attention and wonder.

There is much that we know not and cannot know in relation to God, nature, mind and matter; and the essence of the entities of the vast universe around us, above us, and below us, must elude the grasp and comprehension of the most acute and subtile intellect. Some mysteries will be forever hidden by impervious shadows, and though the mind may eternally progress in knowledge, there will be depths which no line can fathom, and hights which no ken can explore. The prince of philosophers after a long life devoted to the study of nature's mysteries, and who had evolved some of the most important principles of modern science said in his closing hours, "I have been wandering upon the shore, interested and gratified in picking up a smooth round pebble here, and a beautifully variegated shell there, while the vast and boundless ocean of truth unexplored stretched out before me." How true that mind in its most cultivated and mature condition is but in its infancy, that man at his best estate has but just entered upon the threshold of knowledge, and through the partly drawn curtain has but just caught a glimpse of the unknown wonders in the vast domain of science and religion. This fact instead of suppressing inquiry and investigation should prompt to more increased exertions. Because but little comparatively can be known, and we are enshrouded in mystery, having only in our gropings caught the thread which leads through ever dark and interminable labyrinths, shall we, therefore, stop or hesitate in our pursuit? In the vast and various departments of human science, shall the dark robed angel of mystery that flits across our path terrify us and prevent our search ? Never. Rather let her be the alluring angel that beckons us onward.

We have no sympathy for the infidel doctrine, that where mystery begins religion ends, if by the assertion we are to understand, where there is mystery there is no religion. If by mystery we understand what is above the comprehension of human reason, the same remark will apply with equal force to science itself, and we may retort upon the infidel philosopher, and say, where mystery begins science ends, because there are mysteries in science as profound and incomprehensible as any of the mysteries of religion. The idea that because a thing is mysterious no truth or fact can be elicited from it is a most pernicious and destructive idea, and one that no solid mind will consider worthy of a moment's consideration. To say that we are not to give credence to that which is incomprehensible, is to assume a principle which would take away the very foundations of all the modes of existence in the universe, and drive every inquirer after troth out in a crazy uncharted vessel upon an ocean in which there are no soundings, and to which there is no shore.

Religion like science, her affianced bride, reveals some things above the conception of human reason, but not inconsistent or contradictory to any of her teachings; and Coleridge has justly remarked, "If there be anything in the system of religion that contradicts reason, it does not belong to the household of faith." The highest, clearest faith in the mysteries of science and religion is compatible with reason in her loftiest exercise, and to say that because the cannot comprehend a doctrine of religion, we will therefore reject it as unworthy of belief, is the same as to say we cannot conceive of infinite space, and therefore there is no such thing as infinite space. The foundations of faith in religion are as immovably established as the foundations of faith in science, so far at least as compatibility with reason is concerned, and to destroy these foundations would leave the man of science in as hopeless a condition as the believer in divine revelation.

It is not what is really mysterious in religion or science that has caused the mind of the sincere inquirer after truth to stagger, or has produced infidelity or want of faith in their doctrines or assumptions, but the attempt to shroud in mystery that which is plain and comprehensible when rightly interpreted. Some, prompted by the mere love of mystery, have been induced to throw a veil over plain intelligible truth, while others to obviate the absurdity of cherished dogmas have sought refuge in mystery, and they are alike enemies to truth and reason, and are responsible for much of the error and infidelity that exist in the world. The volume of nature and the volume of revelation are both spread out before us for study. They alike contain truths which the feeblest intellect can comprehend. Others are more difficult, and can only be understood by minds disciplined by severe study; yet the more recondite are as clear to the comprehension of cultivated reason, as those which are most simple are plain to the uncultivated, and no more mystery belongs to one than the other. The mystery does not consist in the want of consonance with reason, nor yet in anything necessarily dark and insolvable inhering in the subject, but in the want of intellectual power to solve or comprehend it. The milky way, which, to the wondering eyes of earth's millions in ages and centuries past, seemed like snow flakes scattered along the pavement of the sky, would forever have remained a mystery as to what it was, had not science extended the boundary of her discoveries, and resolved those ethereal flakes into solid globes of matter - suns of systems immensely larger than our own.

Though we would not rush with reckless and inconsiderate daring

"where angels fear to tread,"

or rudely seek to tear off the veil, or draw aside the curtain which has concealed the mysteries of the world from the eyes of the vulgar, yet we propose in a calm, quiet and courageous manner to bring what little ability we may possess to the investigation of those mysteries which for ages have excited the wonder of the world. We hold that nothing within the reach and range of thought, whether as pertaining to religion or science, mind or matter, time or eternity, is interdicted from the scrutiny of man, and that while in the language of the poet

"Felix qui potuit rerum cognoseere causas,"

man is also justified who seeks to explore the vast arcana, though it contain mysteries profound as eternity. It is only to nature which God has bound fast to the laws of necessity, that he says, "Thus far shalt thou go, but no farther." To the human intellect as an emanation from the Almighty mind, he has given a freedom equal to his own, and a scope boundless as eternity. Man was "created in knowledge," and to know all that lies within the province of knowledge this side of Omniscience itself, is the destiny of mind. The sin of primitive mind did not consist in aspirations for knowledge, even such as would raise him to a god, and impart to him a godlike power of intellect. His was a mind created to "search all things, even the deep things of God," and thus employed, "wisdom was justified of her child," It was not the intellect that led man astray from the laws of his being and happiness, but perversion of the affections, or their withdrawment from the source and centre of bliss, and allowing them to flow towards an object less than God. Just as the earth would lose its light and heat and beauty, by being withdrawn from the sun and wander on in darkness forever from the central orb; so man withdrew from God his Sun and source of light and holiness and love, and brought upon himself darkness, despair and death.

Nowhere in the whole volume of revelation or nature is the prohibition to be found, interdicting the mind from its researches. The knowledge resulting from the eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree - the power to distinguish between the good and evil - was not the curse threatened, it was a mere accident growing out of the infraction, and the information received through this act constituted no valuable accession to the domain of knowledge. God has spread out the vast universe for man as a theater upon which he may enter without let or hindrance, and with reason to guide him in his researches, he may enter every avenue and explore every recess. We have in obedience to this indication launched our little bark upon the vast and boundless ocean of thought, and though clouds and darkness may come down and settle around us and close us in on every side, impeding our progress and forbidding our advance, yet with reason and revelation for our guide, we shall make as best we can our reckonings, and steer our course whither they may direct.

TRUTH. - The light which truth sheds upon human steps is the only certain guide through this valley of tears. It is not only the "foundation of every, virtue," but will guide to the highest happiness.

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WE shall not attempt to prove the existence of a great first eternal cause; for though there be no innate ideas of the existence of Gad, yet all nations, in every stage of mental development from the most ignorant and besotted up to the most thoroughly refined and educated, acknowledge his existence. It is as foreign to our subject as it is unnecessary in itself, to enter upon any argument either a priori or a posteriori, to prove the existence of a fact which as naturally impresses itself upon the conviction and consciousness of every intelligent being as the light of the sun. The labors of theologians in the field of metaphysical investigation, to prove a universally self-evident fact, have not only demonstrated the utter uselessness of the undertaking, but have made most apparent the truth of the assertion, that some will seek to be wise above what is written. Revelation in no part of its record or in any of its dispensations has attempted any thing of the kind. The existence of God from first to last is assumed as a fact not only not requiring any proof, but which could not be made more clear and palpable by any arguments that might be adduced. If holy men whose minds were pervaded by the infinite Spirit, and whose pens were touched with holy fire, entered upon no investigation or line of argument to prove the existence of God, it is, to say the least of it, a needless attempt on the part of uninspired man; nay more, it savors much of that bold and reckless temerity which prompts man with thoughtless presumption to invade a sanctuary where seraphs would fear to go.

Indeed, as well might one with a rush light attempt to reveal the sun or enhance its brightness, as for any man, no matter how deeply versed in scholastic or theological lore, by the scintillations of his learning or logic, his wisdom or wit, to reveal the existence or throw light upon the character of God. It becomes a question of grave importance, and one which we submit to the metaphysicians and divines of the christian school, whether the very speculations which have been indulged in, have not, instead of satisfying the inquiring mind, in many instances produced the very skepticism which they were intended to remove. We would give to reason the largest liberty and the widest scope. We would allow it in its researches to grasp after the infinite and thus come up to the development of its highest power, but at the same time we would not forget that the human intellect has its limit, and there are bounds which it cannot pass. However great may be the approximation towards the infinite, there must forever be an impassable gulf. Inspiration pervading and controlling human reason kept it within its God-appointed range, and never allowed it to waste its energies on objects beyond its grasp on the one band, or those which were unnecessary and useless on the other. Instead therefore of attempting to prove the existence of God, the entire record is founded upon an assumption of the fact, and gives to the world simply a narrative of his acts. As before remarked then, our work is not to prove the existence of that great eternal Being who has pavilioned himself in darkness. With the Bible we admit the fact, and it is to the mystery of this fact that we call attention.

That there is a God is the great central fact of the Universe. The causeless and dateless existence of this wondrous being must forever be involved in mystery. We travel back through time and include the various epochs of the world's history in our journey. The period of a thousand years takes us through fields of light, the brightest and most glorious period of the world's history, the era embracing the rapid approximation to the culminating point of Christianity. Another millenium, but it is one embracing periods of darkness and gloom. From the twilight of the reformation we enter shadows, and they lengthen and deepen until we reach the midnight of the dark ages. Anon, the darkness decreases and faint glimmerings of light are seen in the valley. Onward we urge our way, the night is passed and the day has come. The "Sun of Righteousness" himself pours his beams upon the world, and nations and kings gaze upon his brightness. It is the day of Christ, another cycle begins. We enter the land of prophets and walk over the ruins of an ancient God appointed dynasty, embracing its wonderful history to this day unwritten, because its destiny is not yet fulfilled. We travel on through its astounding miracles up to its mysterious origin, and contemplate, as we journey, the surrounding and cotemporary dynasties that have passed away, and whose history is only to be found in the records of the past. Monuments rise from deserted plains in grim colossal grandeur, to tell of their greatness and to mark the place of their graves. At length we reach the last cycle, the last as we travel back but the first in the order of time. Nineveh and Babylon, mighty cities, unrivalled for strength and splendor by any succeeding age. Tyre, Sodom and Petrea are full of commerce and luxury and art, and their marts and streets and palaces echo to the shouts of thousands. All is silent now. The Mediterranean dashes its sweeping tide over Tyre, the Dead Sea rolls its leaden bitter waters over Sodom, and the drifting sands and wandering Arabs of the desert hold possession of the proud city of Edom. We are in the land of the patriarchs, a world of waters is before us and we cross the flood. Gloomily rises before us the huge unsightly tower of Babel, confusion reigns, for the earth has corrupted its way, and violence and blood are in the land. Prom generation to generation we travel up to Adam and wander with him, not a fugitive accursed, among the bowers of Eden, and pluck its flowers and eat its fruits. Birds of brightest plumage and sweetest song are here, and here are beautiful forms of living creatures who come and sport in the presence of their lord and master. This blooming Paradise echoes not only with the voice of bird and beast and man, but the voice of God has sounded in tones of fatherly love through all its sylvan shades.

So far for the history of man, but time has left other records. We walk over the green sward of the earth, and smile upon its youthful face, and kiss its virgin flowers, as though it had just sprung from the hand of its Creator and started on its bright career amid the worlds. But this face, like the smile of beauty which often conceals a sorrowful heart, has beneath it a gloom. Eden blooms and all is joy, but deep down in the bosom of earth are marks of hoary age and sad decay. Let us go beyond this fair exterior and examine within. Let us dig a grave in the dust of Eden, and search in its abyss for the relics of buried life which existed before Adam's dust was fashioned into man. The history of man is passed, and we must seek for a higher chronology than the planting of Eden. The first formation takes us beyond the period of six thousand years, and as the descend into the earth and examine the remains embedded in its crust, and the extent of its strata formed by slow sedimentary processes, we sweep over not only thousands but millions of years. Extinct species of plants and extinct orders of animals present themselves to view as if collected by a naturalist into a great and well arranged cabinet, while we pursue our downward track indicating uncounted periods of time. Proceeding onward, we approach a region older than death, because older than life itself, without any forms whatever of vegetable or animal existence. Before us are trackless, ages. What untold periods must have been consumed in the formation of the immense granite rind, miles upon miles in extent, who can tell? And that mighty molten sea which rolls within this rocky rampart, when it commenced its surges what mind can fathom? Or when the globe came whirling from the Creator's hand, a molten mass of primeval fire in that "beginning" of which the sacred record speaks when it breaks the silence of ancient night and first pours light upon man's darkened vision. Who can count the number of the years?

But we leave this globe of fire and rock and earth, and soar to the nearest star and ask its history. Here silence reigns, or if it have inhabitants we may not hold converse with them, they speak a tongue we understand not. On and on we take our flight and soar

"From world to luminous world afar,"

until we make the circuit of the solar system and rest our wearied wings in the brightness of the sun, the centre as well as the first creation of the system which bears its name. Surveying all, we ask, when did these "morning stars sing together and shout for joy" over the period of their birth? But we have scarcely entered upon the threshold of creation. Suns innumerable, and systems which no arithmetical power can reach, rise before us and spread away in distances which no ken of man or telescope can discover. In the vast infinity oś space there are stars whose light shot forth at their creation, so distant that their rays have not reached the earth, and there are bright orbs rolling on in their destined tracks, created centillions of ages agone, whose rays never will reach the earth even after millenillions of ages have pawed away.

Mystery deep and awful is around us. We have started from the less and ascended to the greater, from a mere speck like the earth to worlds of matter millions of times greater in magnitude. We have seen the works in part - how small a part - of the Great Creator, but where shall we find his beginning? With the old seer of earth, "we go backward, but he is not there, we go forward, but we cannot perceive him; on the left hand where he doth work, but we cannot behold him; he hideth himself on the right hand that we cannot see him." Beyond the earth we find the universe peopled with angels, if not with men, myriad hosts running up through all gradations of angelic nature, and the hierarchies of heaven occupying "thrones and dominions, and principalities and powers," but where is he, and whence came he, who made them all? "Who by searching can find out the Almighty to perfection. Such knowledge is too wonderful for us, we cannot attain unto it. It is higher than heaven, what can we do, deeper than hell, what can we know?" What line shall measure, what plummet fathom the abyss of this mystery? What power can penetrate the deep awful solitude of that eternity in which he dwells! What hand shall lift the veil from the "High and Holy One who inhabiteth that eternity?" Who shall describe the existence of him who is "without beginning of days or end of years," from eternity to eternity the AL-AEON who is in and through and over all, the blessed forever? None can enter the secret place of his pavilion or find out the hidings of his power. None can know his "counsels, for they are of old even from eternity," and they shall stand for ever. The reasons that impelled him to create the world of matter and the world of mind, find their origin only in himself, and shall forever be beyond the search and scrutiny of men and angels. The knowledge which we now have in part, but which in eternity shall be perfected, will never enable us to fathom the infinite mind to such an extent that we shall know the motives which prompted him to create the universe and its intelligences, nor will any intellection or spiritual insight, clear and far reaching as it may be, enable us to unravel the mysteries of that creation. As we have no line by which we can measure eternity, so we can have no mental power by which to scan the mind of the infinite God.

Nothing can be so clear as the fact of the existence of a great eternal self-existent Being, from whom all things have emanated and to whom all things are allied, as an endless series of effects from this first great cause. This fact is as thoroughly impressed upon all intelligences, as the laws of matter upon material objects, or the laws of mind upon intellectual. The consciousness of this fact as much inheres in mind as attraction and cohesion inhere in matter; but the mystery of the fact will for ever remain a mystery, and so far as anything pertaining to its revelation is concerned, it is unapproached and will be unapproachable for ever.

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IN our last Chapter we considered the mystery of the Divine existence; we shall now call attention to the mystery of the Divine attributes. All the attributes of God are co-eternal with his existence, even as matter and its attributes are co-existent, and as we cannot conceive of matter in any of its forms without connecting therewith its essential attributes, no more can we conceive of God only as in possession of those attributes essential to his nature and existence. Progress and development can only be predicated of creatures; perfection, absolute and eternal, from which nothing can be taken and to which nothing can be added, essentially and necessarily belong to the Creator. What he was away back in the infinitely remote periods of his own eternity existing alone, that he is this moment, and what he is now that he will be for ever, unchanged and unchangeable.

As the existence of this eternal Being is a mystery, so alike is the mode of that existence, and as the human mind never will be able to tell the origin of this mysterious Being, neither can it define the mode of his existence; both are alike involved in an impenetrable veil. In contemplating the latter however, we are not left as in the former without data or information on which to base our opinions and conjectures. The path of our investigation is illumined by light from heaven, Revelation instructs us in relation to the attributes of the eternal self-existent One.

In our dissertations on the attributes of God we shall not attempt to pursue any theological order, and shall first invite attention to his infinite knowledge. The fact of such possession is frequently and variously asserted in Divine revelation, and the mind, indeed, apart from, any revelation on the subject, at once infers such a possession in a being who is the cause of all things in the world of matter and mind. With him all facts, all events and all things in the eternity, past, in the time present and in the eternity to come are known with infallible certainty, so that with him, so to speak, there is no succession of ideas, no past, no present or future, but one eternal present, in which all things from eternity to eternity are seen and known as clearly and certainly as one may know his present thoughts and what is transpiring around him. What the infinite mind sees and knows in the future is not seen and known contingently, without foresight or expectation. This is a mere theological expression which is as destitute of propriety as it is of relevancy in a discussion on the Divine attributes. Knowledge with God is an absolute state of mind dependent upon no contingency whatever. To say that he has all knowledge and yet that some things are known by him contingently, is quite as ridiculous as to say though he is omniscient yet there are some things he does not know. Equally ridiculous is the speculation of some theologians, who to avoid a difficulty in the way of their creed, affirm that there are some things which God does not choose to know. The capacity or ability to know all things are very different, as much so as the difference between the finite and the infinite. This infinite knowledge is of necessity, and nothing can come up upon the boundless horizon of the future that has not been and is not now and ever will be present in the Divine mind as a palpable reality. Though no event can transpire simply because it was known to God, yet as known to him it must come to pass and could not by any possibility be otherwise.

Before the first atom was created or the first mind shot forth its intellectual fires through all the endless series of physical and intellectual creations, there has not been a single motion of the one or a thought of the other, and there never will be, that was not known to God from all eternity. The first thought of the first angelic mind that ever existed was known from eternity. The moment of man's birth and the moment of his death were known with infallible certainty from everlasting. Every thought, emotion, volition and action of every moment of our lives in time and forever were known unto God. Man may resolve and re-resolve and counter-resolve, he may determine, pre-determine and then change his mind, but his resolves and purposes and final acts are just such and only just such as they were seen and known of God before he had a beginning. Any other view than this would deprive the infinite mind of omniscience and make Jehovah like ourselves, dependent upon contingencies and the reception of knowledge through the media of the senses or the intellect as the case may be. It must be obvious that any addition to the knowledge of God, by the occurrence of any event whatever in the future, would necessarily argue progress which cannot be predicated of infinite knowledge or absolute perfection, and would be equivalent to the affirmation that God does not know all things in the future as well as the present and past.

Some have attempted to evade the doctrine of the Divine omniscience in relation to the future by asserting that God cannot know what is not the subject of knowledge. Hence, it is said he cannot know a thing as existing before it does exist. We reply, of course not, as this is in itself a contradiction and absurdity. There is no limit to the Divine omniscience but in that which implies a contradiction and an absurdity. Though it is possible for God to know all things, just as it is possible for him to do all things, yet he cannot know what is in itself an absurdity, nor can he do what is wrong. Whatever will transpire in the future, he knows as future. There is a difference however between divine knowledge and divine power, the latter to become active must be preceded by volition, but not so with knowledge, as that is a state of the Divine mind wholly independent of volition.

Omniscience is a full and perfect knowledge of all future events. This knowledge extends through all tune and through all eternity, and not only embraces a perfect cognizance of all things which shall yet crime to pass, but of all things which have transpired through all the cycles of eternity back to the first entity in the universe of God. Before matter was created or a single change had taken place in the modes of its existence, before the earth, was made a habitation for man out of whose dust he was fashioned, all the scenes that would be enacted upon it, together with the nature and consequences of all the actions, and the names and characters and destinies of all the actors were perfectly known to God. So far as this world is concerned, a succession of events embracing a period of six thousand years has transpired, the nature of which with their proximate and ultimate consequences were known from all eternity. Taking our stand point at the beginning we look out upon the earth as a vast theatre, and behold successively the several acts of the grand drama of life, performed according to the precise order and manner in which they existed in the mind of God. There was not in all the past a single prelude, interlude or afterpiece, incidental or accidental, that was not perfectly known to the omniscient mind as certainly as if they had been written out in a programme and occurred in the order laid down; and nothing shall occur in the future, even to the "fall of a sparrow," that is. not a matter of the same certain definite knowledge. The seduction of Satan in Eden, whereby he sought the ruin of its sinless inhabitants, was precisely such as Omniscience saw before that rebel angel left his first estate and was cast-out of heaven. Our first parents fell from their state of holiness and happiness in their thoughts, emotions, and volitions, just in the very manner and at the very time it was foreseen of God. The heart of Cain was excited to envy and conceived the dreadful deed which resulted in the death of his righteous brother, and sent himself a murderer and fugitive accursed over the earth, just as God foresaw the sad and melancholy event. The antediluvians were filled with all manner of wickedness, and covered the land with violence and blood so that their crimes reached heaven and called for vengeance, just as Jehovah foresaw them before Cain fled "to the land eastward from Eden." The faith and righteousness of Noah, the building of the ark and the destruction of the human race by a flood, all came to pass as forever known. The disgrace of Noah, the wickedness of Ham, and the curse of Canaan and his descendents forever, all transpired not as foreordained but as foreknown forever. The wonderful and tragic events in the life of Abraham and Lot, the gross unnatural wickedness of the Sodomites and the dreadful destruction of the cities of the Plain, the fate and fortune of Joseph, and all the events connected with his wonderful life in the court of Egypt; the birth, preservation, and exaltation of Moses, his flight to Arabia, his return to Egypt, the hardness of Pharaoh's heart, the astounding miracles, the deliverance of the Israelites, the passage of the Red Sea, and all the events connected with their wonderful desert wanderings until their entrance into Canaan; the life, fortunes and history of David, the perversity of Absalom, the fate of Saul and Jonathan, the numerous wars of the Israelites, their successes and defeats, and all the events connected with their wonderful history, as well as those which transpired among surrounding and cotemporary nations, the destruction of armies and cities, the rise and fall of empires were all known precisely as they came to pass, from all eternity.

All the events and circumstances connected with the birth of Christ, the sending of Pilate from Rome to Judea as Governor, the ministry of John, the baptism of Jesus, his temptation in the wilderness, all his miracles, parables, sermons and acts, his betrayal, denial, sentence, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension were all known unto God before angels fell or Adam sinned. The stoning of Stephen, the conversion of Saul, his ministry, imprisonment and martyrdom, together with all the actions of the apostles and all the cotemporaneous events, the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, the immense slaughter of the Jews, the preservation of the Christians, the banishment of John, including all events not here enumerated found in sacred, profane and unwritten history, the wonderful spread of the Gospel, the ten Pagan persecutions, the destruction of the Roman Empire, the events which occurred during the long dark night of a thousand years, the rise of Mahommedanism and Popery were all and singular known to the infinite God. The dawn of the Reformation, the struggles and successes of Luther and his coadjutors, the translation of the Scriptures, the burning of Tyndal and Wickliff, the Papal persecutions, the art of printing, the discovery of America, the revolt of the Colonies, the foundation of a Republic, all the wars and revolutions that have occurred in all pants of the world, and all the events that have transpired and are now transpiring were in the Divine mind forever.

If any object to this particular and comprehensive knowledge of God on the ground of its being unnecessary or beneath the notice of the infinite mind, let them remember that the very necessity of the case requires it, and it could not by any possibility be otherwise. The Omniscient God who sees the end from the beginning, unto whom all things are naked and open, whose infinite eye takes in its universal gaze all time and all eternity, must know all things past, present and future. Every thought, every perception, every emotion, and every volition of our minds, whether awake or asleep, and every action of our lives from our entrance into the world to the present time, together with every thought, ward and act of our lives, through the future period of our probation and through the endless duration of a future state were forever known to God. All the events that have befallen us, all the circumstances by which we have been surrounded and all the events that shall befall us, both as it regards their nature and the manner and time of their occurrence, are all known with absolute certainty, and as known they will come to pass as absolutely as if they had been decreed. This foreknowledge does not make them come to pass, nor yet does it argue that they might not have been otherwise, for had they been otherwise they would have been thus known. The period of time we have to live, the day, hour and moment of our death, and the manner of it, and all the attendant circumstances, and the destiny that awaits us in the future world are all known and were known before we had an existence with as much certainty as if they had been foreordained of God. The very nature of Jehovah as revealed in nature and revelation shuts us up to this belief. Nothing can be more clear and conclusive than the fact that if God be eternal, omniscient and omnipresent, there can be no place in the universe where he is not always present, and there can be no thing which he does not know. There is no escaping this conclusion without denying the existence and attributes of God, and the flimsy and puerile argument that omniscience is simply a capacity to know all things, just as omnipotence is a power to do all things; and hence, as God does not choose to do all things he may not choose to know all things as before stated, is an absurdity too gross and palpable for a moment's consideration. Such a statement may properly be affirmed of man, for there is no limit to his capacity to know, while there is a limit to his power to do, but to affirm it of God is a species of irreverence if not blasphemy, which we should shudder to utter. What does such a statement require, but that the knowledge of God in relation to some things, and his ignorance of others shall depend upon his choice, which makes the whole hypothesis absurd and ridiculous, inasmuch as to be able to make a selection of those things he would choose to know, he must necessarily know the nature of those things concerning which he chooses to be ignorant. It is vastly better, honestly and frankly to acknowledge a difficulty which we may find impossible to reconcile with our preconceived notions of theology, than to endeavor by any sophistry to evade it, as all efforts of this description do ultimate injury to the common cause of truth. Theologians may draw out the finest spun theories interwoven with the nicest metaphysical subtitles, bewildering and confounding to minds not adequate to detect their fallacy; but truth needs not such foreign aid, she walks forth not like a spectre dimly seen in the misty twilight, with a veiled face and downcast eyes, but she stands erect, unveiled, full-eyed and beautiful, shining in her own light. To see her is to know her, and to know her is to love her.

The question is not whether the certainty which exists in the mind of God in regard to all events which have come to pass or which shall come to pass is compatible with man's freedom or not, but whether there is such certainty in the divine mind. It is a question of fact and with that alone we are concerned. We should "Follow Truth where'er she leads the way," if in so doing we should cross and re-cross every path we have made in the wilderness of thought for a thousand years. If the temple which we have reared and in which we have enshrined the object of our worship prove to be an idolatrous temple, and our worship a false misplaced one, the sooner we behold it a heap of ruins the better. Truth is that "pearl of great price" which we should be anxious to purchase at any cost or sacrifice within our power. Better throw all our loves away than put out the only light that can shine in eternity.

As it regards the connexion or bearing of God's foreknowledge upon human events and actions, we confidently affirm there is not the remotest conceivable contact so far as causation is concerned in bringing them to pass ; and there can be no more connexion between foreknowledge and foreordination than there is between the volitions of a human mind and the revolutions of a planet, the transit of a star, or the circuit of a comet. The idea that a foreknowledge of every thing that will transpire, from the wreck of a nation to the fall of a bird, or from the conflagration of a world to the derangement of an atom, is attributing to the Almighty a trifling employment, can only be entertained by those who take a narrow and contracted view of his Providence, which extends to the minutest insect invisible to the naked eye, as specially as to the mastodon whose tread shakes the earth. In all God's illimitable empire there is nothing trifling or insignificant, and the same wisdom and power are displayed in the creation and preservation of an atom as a world, of an insect as an archangel.

Though all things come to pass as they were foreknown of God, yet there are some things that come to pass which were predetermined. These events of course are absolute and unavoidable. God predetermined the creation of the Universe with its suns and systems, and all the orders of intelligences from seraph to man. He also foreordained all the laws for the government of the physical and intellectual universe. He also determined the essential freedom of angels and men and endowed them with adequate power to obey all the laws of their being, and any other view of angels or men would make them beings of necessity, mere moral automata, entirely without moral character and without accountability. Hence, there could have been no such thing as sin in the world, unless indeed, we could conceive the horrid idea of making the Creator its author. It would be just the same as if matter should infract one of the laws by which it is governed, and should in consequence thereof be held accountable for the violation. The infinite knowledge of Jehovah took in the fall of angels and men as the result of an abuse of their freedom, and all the provisions growing out of that fall, as well as all the consequences, were alike predetermined. But though all thin is true, yet in man's nature, duty, and mysterious destiny, there are no dark inflexible decrees fixing from all eternity his fate. No terrible iron barrier frowns across his pathway to the world beyond. The same freedom to rise from the fall with gracious help provided by infinite love is his, and in the inception and development of this scheme of restoration a more glorious mystery has been opened up to man's vision than was ever before brought to the contemplation of the minds of angels.

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THERE is no mystery connected with that which is good and right, as we are enabled without any effort or, obscurity to trace the good, and the true, and the right directly to their source. God is essential goodness, and truth, and righteousness, and from him as an exhaustless fountain these qualities flow out into the infinite space which he occupies, as necessarily and spontaneously as light from the sun. Nor yet is the fact of the existence of evil so much a mystery, as its origin. If God is the Creator of all things, if his presence fills all space, his wisdom and holiness pervades all eternity past, all time present, and all eternity to come, and his omnipotence upholds and governs all worlds, whence came evil ? As we contemplate the mysterious problem and attempt its solution, an indefinable sense of bewilderment steals like the shadows of evening upon the mind, deepening and lengthening as we pursue the thought, until midnight darkness settles upon it and we are lost in the gloom.

Revelation tells us, that away back in a remote period of eternity, beyond the chronology of man, evil took its rise and dates its origin. It informs us that beings of a nature pure and seraphic, inhabiting heaven and shining in its brightness, conceived sin, and by an infraction of the laws of their being and blessedness, lost their glorious possession and were "cast down to hell, where they are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, to the judgment of the great day." The allusions to this event are almost as mysterious and obscure as the event itself. We have the simple record of the fact, but the history of the transaction as relating to the motives which led to the sin of the angels is not given. Concerning the cause or causes of what theologians call original sin, revelation is silent, and what little it has given us on the subject, only leaves us darkly to infer the origin of evil. For a period of four thousand years, during which patriarch and prophet walked and talked with God, nothing was communicated on the subject either as it regarded the fall of angels itself, or the nature of that fall; at least no record, bearing however remotely upon the subject, is found in the Jewish Scriptures, and if we accept the declaration of Christ as bearing upon the subject, in which he speaks of having seen Satan fall like lightning from heaven, there is but one other distinct allusion found in the second Epistle of Peter, Jude having evidently quoted his language from that writer, and both having been regarded as spurious by the Church to the fourth century. We repeat it, revelation records the fact of the introduction of evil in heaven among the angels, and the sad consequences growing out of it; but the cause of its origin and the permission which allowed it, are beyond the scrutiny of man.

Revelation discloses the existence of beings emanating from the Great first cause, possessing all the attributes of their divine original, of the same type in regard to the quality of their nature, differing only in degree, allied to God in the scale of existence and forming the connecting link in the chain of causes from the first causeless, dateless existence, down through all the inferior existences to the end of time and through eternity. First in the order of this divine emanation or creation, were the Cherubim through whom the divine glory was manifested, and whether in the language of revelation Jehovah was described as at rest or in motion, as seated on a throne or riding upon the wings of the wind, they were essential to that description. The next in the order of creation were the Seraphim or fiery celestial beings, who are represented as standing around the throne of Jehovah, having a human form furnished with wings, executing his will and praising him with their voices. Belonging to the hierarchy of heaven are other orders, all of which, however, come under the common designation of angels or messengers of Jehovah. These form the connecting link between man and the Creator, and are next in the series of creation to the Seraphim, and their agency is represented as being principally employed in the guidance of human destiny.

In the midst of, and reflecting the all surrounding glory of the High and Holy One who inhabits eternity, the four-faced and four-winged Cherubim are ceaselessly poised; surrounding these as the mighty officers and guard of the throne, are the human formed six- winged Seraphim clothed with fire, and executing the will of the mighty sovereign; still beyond, and encompassing all, are the angels ten thousand times ten thousand in number, and sent forth on ministries to earth and man. It was among these myriad hosts sin began. Here the sad defection rose, and treachery and insurrection sprang up in heaven., Among this sinless, radiant host, sin effected an entrance. All before was perfect obedience, harmony and happiness. Throughout the vast expanse of heaven there was no thought, emotion or volition that did not accord with and vibrate in unison to the touches of heavenly love. All the affections like a sea of love itself, ebbed and flowed at the divine command, and the highest, fullest tide of happiness consisted in obedience to the will of heaven. The largest capacity was satisfied with an inflow of knowledge, and the largest desire with the fulness of bliss. Above, around, beneath, everywhere, all was perfect fruition and joy. No interdict frowned across the path of the most free and enlarged inquiry after knowledge, and no position presented itself to ambition, the attainment of which could by any possibility enhance the bliss. We know that the poet has indulged in a license as unwarrantable as it is untrue, representing the angels as aspiring to the place of God, and asserting this as the cause of their fall. According to the poetic conception the revolt, however, was not confined to angels, but extended up to Seraphim and Cherubim, until many of the higher as well as lower order were involved in the crusade against Omnipotence, and the wild clarion shout of war rang through the vaulted heaven. That depravity should rebel against holiness and goodness, presents no psychological difficulty, and would not be considered as remarkable ; but that purity and love, the very element of angelic existence, should engender corruption and hate, is a mystery beyond expression inscrutable.

But whence came the evil? What was the mysterious spirit alchemy that changed an angel of light, and holiness, and love, the very type and image of God, into a fiend of darkness, corruption and hate? What power changed a friend and an ally into a foe and adversary of the King of heaven? If evil was not to be found in God, the great fountain of being and blessedness, nor yet in Cherub, or Seraph, or angel, all endowed with the same nature and moral attributes, and basking in the same light and glory, from whence-we repeat it-drank in the pure, etherial, stainless spirit, the deep, dark, damning draught which blighted his nature, blackened his spirit, and changed him from a holy, obedient and benevolent creature, into a depraved, rebellious and malicious fiend ? We may adopt any conception, hypothesis or exegesis of poets, philosophers or theologians, in regard to the nature of the sin of the rebel angels, but the deep, dark, solemn mystery remains. Sin and ruin sprang up in heaven, in the immediate presence of God, and we come back to the question, whence came this sin? Where did it originate ? And how did it originate ? Was it ab extra or ab intrafrom without, or from within ? If from without, from what quarter did it come ? If from within, in what department of the soul did it take its rise ? Was it in the perceptions, reflections, emotions or volitions, or was it in all ? Did the perception of God and the reflection of his greatness and glory awaken emotions, (not to be like him, for they were already like him,) to mount his throne and wrest his sceptre, and were the desires followed by volitions and acts corresponding thereto ? Whence these acts of the mind ? What cause or motion produced them ? The effect was evil, only and everlastingly evil, what then could have been the cause ? Like causes we are told produce like effects in like circumstances. Whether this be a truth of universal application and to which there can be no exceptions, we know not, but we are authorized in affirming that a good moral cause is invariably attended with good moral effects. He who was himself " the truth," asserted that a good fountain can not send forth bitter waters, any more than a corrupt fountain can send forth sweet waters. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, any more than a bad tree can bring forth good fruit. The effect will partake of the nature of the cause, and can not by any possibility, if allowed legitimately to operate, be otherwise. So the same divine teacher affirmed, that a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and that an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things. An evil mind can not conceive holy thoughts, and is not capable of holy emotions and volitions ; nor on the other hand, is a pure and sinless mind capable of sinful emotions or acts. The pure fountain, the good tree, and the holy mind, alike must be changed in their nature, radically and essentially, before bitterness and badness and sin can proceed from them.

If these assertions be true, where, whence, how came sin into the pure, bright, ineffable regions of the heavenly world. All questions about God willing it on the one hand, or his permitting it on the other, are foreign and evasive, and touch not the great and awful mystery in regard to the origin of evil. In the order of events every effect must have a cause. Properly speaking there are no casualties or accidents. All miracles have their final as well as formal causes, and it may be that what we regard as contrary to the laws of nature, or a suspension of those laws, is in perfect conformity with laws to us unknown. Nothing causeless can come. Whatever things we see, or hear, or feel, or know, or do, are connected with causes proximate or remote, and in the endless chain, link after link may be traced to the last, Just so sin may be traced to its origin, though it may take an infinite mind to discover it. To find its origin the mind has labored for centuries. Tomes of controversy have been written about it, endless speculations' have been indulged in regard to it, and some have lost the healthy balance of their religious belief in reasoning upon it, but the whole volume of revelation is silent as the grave in relation to the nature of its origin; and hidden in the mysterious depths of the omniscient mind, which no hand can unseal, it will remain unknown until that which is perfect has come, and the arcana of heaven shall be opened to the study of man. And the mind is as much at a loss and bewildered in its efforts to ascertain the date of its origin, as the origin itself. It is perfectly evident from revelation as well as from the nature of the thing, that angels have existed from an indefinite period anterior to the creation of the material universe. We know that at the laying of the foundations of the earth, "the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy." They witnessed the creation of the material out of which the earth was composed. They saw the chaotic mass when it was enveloped in darkness, and " without form and void." They beheld it when it started on its first revolution around its axis, and saw it assume a spherical form. They saw the gathering of its waters, the rising of its mountains, the opening of its vallies, the unfolding of its plains, and the coursing of its rivers. They saw the light first darting from its sun and shedding its genial beams upon its trees, and plants, and flowers. And what they saw in the wonderful formation of the earth, they also doubtless saw in the formation of all the planets of the solar system, and the other planetary systems of the universe. What to us is history gathered from the successive layers of rocks, as so many leaves folded over the earth's surface, and which in fossil language describes the first organic formation, to them is personal knowledge. The period when sin entered among the angels, and discord was first heard in heaven, is beyond the ken of mortals. It may have been before a single orb was created to display the material glory of the infinite one, when in all the vast expanse of space nothing but Jehovah and his angels existed. Or, their "first estate and habitation" may have been abandoned for a residence on some distant orb, which they beheld rolling away from the Creator's hand in brightness and beauty to its destined sphere.

We now turn from the contemplation of the introduction of evil among the inhabitants of heaven, and direct our attention to its origin on earth. Man, as we have already intimated, was created next in order to the angels, in the language of inspiration, only "a little lower, crowned with glory and honor," created "in righteousness and true holiness" and reflecting the image of his Maker. Thus formed and fashioned he was placed in a region of perfect loveliness and perpetual bloom. No imagination can conceive of the exalted bliss enjoyed by the one man Adam, the lord of the creation around him. The sun rose in peerless splendor over the far off summits of the blue mountains, and its glittering beams were reflected from the mirror-like surface of the lakes of Eden, around whose margin flowers of the most gorgeous hue and delicate perfume grew in wild yet graceful luxuriance. Lofty trees cast their grateful shade upon the soft green carpet of the earth. Birds of brightest plumage and sweetest song, filled the air with enchanting music. For him all were made and in perfect rest and bliss amid the bowers, and by the streams he walked and talked with nature and her God. As if to enhance, if possible, his bliss, for him was created, and to him was given, a form like unto his own. Revelation informs us that on awaking from a deep, undisturbed slumber, he beheld before him a being like unto himself, of unsurpassing loveliness. Possessing the same nature physically and intellectually, but cast in a somewhat finer mould, she was not above him or below him, and to her conjointly with himself was given authority over the earth and all its animate and inanimate objects. The two were one in every conceivable adaptation of mind and heart and form. A mysterious influence like the attraction of the spheres bound them together, producing an intercommunion of soul with soul that could only be interrupted by the destruction, of their nature. The love they bore to each other was little less than that which unitedly they bore to God their Creator.

Such was Eden and such was man. We now approach the mystery of the introduction of sin into this pure and peaceful abode, and the equally wonderful mystery connected with its consequences. Sacred history tells us that one of the fallen angels attracted by the bliss of Eden sought its ruin, and that assuming the form of a serpent, he wound his scaly folds around " the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Of the fruit of all the other trees of the garden, Adam and Eve were permitted to eat, but the fruit of this tree was interdicted by divine command, and death was the penalty of its violation. The wisdom and cunning of the demonized serpent proved too great for the virtue of the woman. Sense and reason were alike invaded. The fruit forbidden was beautiful to the eye and pleasant to the taste, and above all it imparted a knowledge above that of mortals. Those who ate it should be like God himself, knowing good and evil. The fatal: fascination prevailed, and the pure and taintless hand, obedient to the will, plucked the fruit. The deed was done. The act, however, did not involve her companion in guilt. Sin had not yet entered his sinless soul, and he might have retained his purity and immortality until now, for anything his unhappy spouse had done. The fatal spell was on her, and with an art obtained from the dark spirit of evil, she was not long in persuading him to become a partner in her guilt. The first act of the dreadful tragedy was now finished, and the thunder of Jehovah announced the fall of a midnight curtain over Eden. Next came the malediction of heaven. The serpent was cursed above all cattle and creeping things, the woman was cursed with perpetual sorrow and subjection to her husband, the ground was cursed for man's sake, and in toil and sorrow he was to eat of its fruit all the days of his life. They were driven from Eden, and Cherubim with swords of fire were sent to guard the way of the tree of life in the midst of the garden.

Some have called in question the truthfulness of this narrative of the fall, and have denominated it an oriental allegory, but whatever may be the opinions or speculations of men about the theory of the introduction of sin into the world, the fact of its existence is apparent, and the sad history of our race demonstrates that sin abounds. It has also been affirmed that because the prohibition in regard to the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge was made to Adam, that therefore in all probability the curse would not have come upon Eve, if she had not tempted Adam and effected his ruin. All such speculations are fruitless, and touch not the dreadful mystery of the fact of the existence of evil in the world.

But we are not done with the mystery of Adam's sin. It extends further, and like a bitter stream grows deeper and darker, and more bitter as we pursue it. Theology informs us that the consequences of Adam's sin not only involved the death of the body, but the infliction of endless pain and misery upon the soul of every descendent down to the last of his posterity; that in the sin of Adam our nature, which was originally holy, became depraved and unholy, and that this depravity is inborn, so that being inclined to evil only and continually, it is as natural for a human being to sin when his mind begins to act emotionally and volitionally, as it is for him to breathe or move, or as it is for trees to grow, or the water to seek a level, or the atmosphere an equilibrium. We think some theologians have erred in the discussion of the subject of depravity. After stating the doctrine of innate depravity or inborn sin, as it is found in the systems of theology, and essays, and sermons, which have been written upon it, the writers :almost invariably start out upon elaborate discussions on the actual depravity which exists in the world. This is all superfluous because conceded by every right mind, and besides, the existence of universal depravity does not touch the question of innate depravity, inasmuch as there was nothing whatever in the condition and circumstances of Adam, when in a state of perfect holiness, which prevented him from transgressing the command of God, and that in the most wilful and deliberate manner. In his holy state it was as natural for him to obey God and work righteousness, as it is for the unholy to sin. Hence, all mankind, may, like Adam, have fallen by their own deliberate choice and act, and a universal depravity overspread the earth. The question relates to man's native condition, or in other words, to the natural state in which he was born. We are taught from childhood that "in Adam's fall we sinned all," and that as the representative of our race all who have descended from him are alike in nature, and as the streams partake of the nature of the fountain, be that fountain bitter or sweet, and as the fruit partakes of the nature of the tree, be that fruit good or bad, so human nature as to its quality is nothing more and nothing less than its origin.

The introduction of evil into the moral universe was a much profounder mystery than the introduction of evil upon earth. The sin of a higher order of intelligences argues at least the possibility of sin in a lower order, and the sin of man, though not necessary, is a sequence in the great chain of disastrous events brought about by the first transgression in heaven. The great mystery connected with the sin of Adam does not consist in the fact of his transgression and fall, but in the nature and effects of that transgression. The sin of the first transgressing angel did not affect the nature or destiny necessarily of any other angel. When he violated the divine law, whatever that violation may have been, the penalty was due to him alone. If others had not with the same deliberateness joined in the transgression, they would be still in the enjoyment of their first estate. Not so, however, with the sin of Adam. We are informed that his sin involved the entire race in ruin, and that all the millions of his posterity by his act were made sinners, and come into the world under the same condemnation which rested upon his guilty head. That the sin of Adam was transferred to his posterity in the sense that his act was their act, or in other words, that all his descendents sinned in him, and thus like him fell under the wrath and curse of God, becoming inheritors of " all the pains and miseries of this life, to death itself, and all the pangs of hell forever." At such a mystery human reason staggers ; nor is the difficulty under which the mind labors in its endeavors to understand the rationale, obviated by the admission of the probability that all men would have followed the first in the way of transgression, and thus would have become personally guilty, and hence deserving of hell, because there is really no valid ground for such a supposition. Indeed, we have reason to infer the contrary from the case of that portion of the angels who did not sin with Satan, nor have they sinned since, but have " kept their first estate and are denominated on that account "the elect angels," confirmed in holiness and happiness forever.

In consequence of Adam's sin we are told that "every man naturally engendered of his offspring is corrupt and inclined to evil only and continually." Sin be must, as soon as he begins to act, and that as necessarily as he breathes, because he is born into a state of sin, and in sin itself.

"Soon as he draws his infant breath

The seeds of sin grow up for death,

The law demands a perfect heart,

But he is defiled in every part"

And for this sinful state which he has inherited by birth and over which he could have no control, and for all the acts growing out of it he is held personally accountable.

"Cursed be the man, forever cursed,

Who doth one wilful sin commit,

Death and damnation for the first

Without relief and infinite."

How terribly gloomy are the mysteries which gather around this subject. But there is another side to this cloud. Though all is dark, and not a single line of light relieves its margin, yet the sun shines on the other side, and all is light and glorious there. Though religion has mysteries dolorous, she has also mysteries glorious, but these we shall reserve for another chapter.

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HAVING discussed the mystery of evil as it regards its origin and consequences, we propose in this chapter to discuss the equally profound mystery of redemption. Man, as we have seen, having revolted from obedience to his Maker, in acting contrary to his express and positive commands, placed himself necessarily at variance and war. A state of rebellion had sprung up in his soul. The healthy harmony which reigned in all his faculties was interrupted, and a sad conflict began in his mental and moral nature, which nothing but omnipotence could arrest. A derangement existed in his being which could only be rectified and cured by the author of that being. But how was this to be effected ? The creature and the creator were at variance, the sin of man had broken off his connexion with and bad separated him from his God. There was no remove on the part of God, nor was there any act on his part which severed a connexion on which depended animal and spiritual life-it was solely the act of the creature and the necessary consequence synchronical thereto ; not only destroyed all conformity with the divine mind, but destroyed all disposition to act in harmony therewith. But more than all this, it destroyed all ability to act in harmony with God, had it even left the disposition, converting the very nature of man into that of opposition, thus making the hostility not only one of relation, but one of state.

What is perhaps as great a mystery as any connected with the human mind in its fallen condition, is the fact that it hates the object against which it is at war, and this hatred is in proportion to the injury inflicted by that mind ; so far as human experience goes, it is invariably the case that we hate those whom we have injured. This strange fact looms up in the experience of all, so that no matter what may have been the cause of the injury done to an individual, especially where personal wrong is considered, the mind invariably harmonizes with the thought, or word, or act by which that opposition is expressed, and a feeling of hatred or contempt springs up. We repeat it, this is a mystery. But when we come to contemplate the state of the mind in relation to God, the mystery grows deeper and darker. He is essential goodness ; never has done wrong, and never can do wrong , has always sought our happiness as the creatures of his everlasting love. He is the eternal fountain of love itself, and no bitter waters of hatred can ever flow therefrom - yet man has turned away from this fountain of perpetual blessedness, and has hewn out to himself cisterns, broken cisterns; has dug stagnant pools, and sought to quench his thirst for happiness in their polluted waters. Such strange and unnatural conduct on the part of man has caused the Almighty to exclaim, "Hear, O, Heavens, and give ear, O, Earth; I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against me. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him return unto the Lord, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

The history of the past is but a continuous record of man's hostility to God, and the experience of the present but verifies and confirms the sad and terrible truth. A chasm was opened in Eden separating man from God, which has been growing wider and deeper for six thousand years ; the Creator and the creature at variance, the latter in open rebellion. In this state of things how can a reconcilliation be effected, how can an atonement be brought about, so that Jehovah and his creatures may be one again. To whom does it belong to make the conditions of peace ? From whence shall come the overtures, from the offended or the offending, from the guiltless or the guilty, from God or man ? Evidently where the offence began, there must begin the reparation, where injustice and wrong has orignated, there must commence the restitution. If man is the offender, if human nature has trangressed the divine law, human nature must suffer the penalty, unless the claims of that law be set aside ; but these claims cannot be set aside ; they must be executed, or Jehovah must give up his throne, relinquish his government, and yield the universe to anarchy. The demands of a violated law must be met.

Every step we take in the investigation of this subject, from the starting point of man's rebellion against God, only increases the difficulties connected with reconcilliation and atonement. The law given to man as a rule of action required perfect and perpetual obedience ; the moment it was violated, the fulfillment of its requirements on the part of man was utterly impossible, and as we have seen, had it left man in possession of an ability to comply with its demands without leaving a disposition and willingness to do so, the impossibility would have been equally as great.

The event of the fall and all its consequences was of course known to God from all eternity, and as no provision was made against it, so as to prevent it, the presumption is that a plan was devised for man's restoration, which in clue time would be made known to the race. How much of this was made known to the first transgressors, and how clearly it was revealed, we are not able to determine. Sacrifices were offered at an early period in the world's history, and the death of the animal victim seemed to shadow forth the medium of satisfaction for sin, but what connexion there could be between the death of an ox or an heifer, a goat, a ram or a lamb, and the satisfaction to justice for the sin of a human soul was, and is, a mystery beyond the power of man to comprehend. How the sprinkling of the blood of these animals upon the altar and the mercy seat, and upon the person, could communicate purification and pardon, none but omniscience who ordained the rite could explain. The whole history of redemption from first to last is full of mystery. In order that we may be able to trace this mystery, though incapable of comprehending it, as a subject in which we are all more deeply interested than any other that can occupy the mind of man, it will be necessary to refer to revelation. Our space will not allow us to enter into detail on this subject, and we can only touch upon certain points in the development of the great plan as they are brought to view in the sacred scriptures. In the dealings of God with mankind, we shall be able to ascertain the state of the Divine mind towards our race. .

The first intimation given in revelation on this subject of redemption or restoration to divine favor is darkly hinted in that obscure passage which after the fall announces that " the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." From woman, through whose agency the ruin of the race was effected, we learn, was thus to come its redemption. Though man was ejected from Eden and forbidden access to the tree of life, he was not entirely separated from his Maker. Jehovah manifested himself under a new form, not as the Creator, but as the Savior. The race increased, and multiplied upon the earth, and in proportion to its increase it became corrupt, until, as sacred history informs us, the whole earth was filled with violence and . blood. So perfect was the anarchy that reigned, that the entire race, with the exception of one family, was destroyed. Revelation informs us, that in view of this destruction it repented Jehovah, that he had made man, yet he declared for his sake he would not again destroy the earth by water, and as a sign of its perpetual preservation from such a calamity, he set the rainbow in the heavens. Again the earth was peopled, but with no purer race. Wherever men existed, wickedness was found, and especially where they congregated in large cities, scenes of polution and excess perpetually and invariably greeted the eye ; judgment from heaven fell in fire storms on devoted cities ; armies met each other on ensanguined fields ; nations were extinguished and cities destroyed. A Chaldean is called from his star worship, and listening to the mysterious voice he hears, which assures him that in him and his descendants all the nations of the earth are to receive a distinguished blessing. After many years of disappointment, and when old age had come to him and his spouse, at length he is blest with a child. Through this child the promised blessing was to come. But before he had reached his majority, the same mysterious voice commanded the father to take him to a certain mountain, which should be divinely designated, and there offer him up as a burnt sacrifice to Jehovah. He obeyed the command, and just as he was about to plunge the fatal knife unto his son's heart, the same voice which commanded the sacrifice told him to stay his hand, as the command was but a test of his faith and obedience. The promise was then renewed, but Abraham slept in Macpelah before it was fulfilled. To Isaac, the child of promise, is born a son, who in the line of the same divine power is blest with a numerous progeny. One of his sons particularly was designated as the chosen vessel through whom the promise was to flow. But Jacob died and his numerous descendants were reduced to slavery in Egypt, and years of affliction roll on. At length through the occasion of a cruel decree, one of the Israelites is introduced into the court of Pharaoh and adopted as a member of the royal family. When he came to years, "he espoused the cause of his down trodden brethren," and was obliged, because of slaying an Egyptian, to flee to Arabia. 'While there pursuing a pastoral life, he went one day to the summit of Sinai in pursuit of a wanderer from the sheep fold. He was startled at beholding a bush on fire, and his surprise was increased when he discovered that the flames which perfectly enveloped it did not consume it. As he drew near it, he-heard a voice, as if coming out of the fire, calling upon him to take off his shoes, because he was standing on holy ground. The same voice declared that he who conversed with him was Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and in confirmation of the assertion converted the shepherds crook which he held in his hand into a serpent, the moment he threw it upon the ground, and when he took it again it resumed its former state. In further confirmation, he was commanded to put his hand into his bosom, and on taking it out it was leprous, but by returning it again it was restored. The voice commanded him to go down to Egypt and command Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free, and if he refused, he would work miracles of power by his hand, which would liberate them.

Moses went into the presence of Pharaoh and communicated the divine command. The King refused to obey, and miracle after miracle was wrought, some of which the magicians imitated, but being entirely foiled in their attempts at others, they acknowledged the hand of God. Finally the Israelites were released after the first born in every house of the Egyptians was slain by the passover angel. Thus liberated, they entered the desert, a bright cloud went before them for a guide, and spread over them like a pavillion. At night it became a pillar of fire. The wonderful rod smote the Red Sea, and its waters were divided so that three millions passed over dry shod. The Egyptian army attempting to follow, the waters closed upon them and they were drowned. The wants of the vast army were supplied in the desert by miracle. At Sinai a tabernacle was constructed by directions given to Moses, on the summit of the same mountain where he first heard the divine voice which commanded him to bring the people there to worship. Awful and glorious scenes were displayed on the summit of this mountain. At one time it was covered with a dark cloud, and from it issued lightnings and thunderings, and the sound of a trumpet. Moses was forty days with Jehovah on this mountain, and received the ten commandments on tablets of stone. The people enter into covenant with Jehovah after being sprinkled with the blood of a bullock offered in sacrifice upon an altar made after the pattern shown in the mount. The cloud of glory which rested on the mountain came down and filled the tabernacle, and a peculiar glory rested upon the Ark of the Covenant in which was placed the tablets of stone, the rod of Aaron, and the pot of manna. The encampment finally removed, and the different tribes took up the line of march. The order of the priesthood was established, and the high priest wore a mysterious breast-plate, composed of twelve precious stones, bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. This was the urim and thummim, and as a divine oracle it could be consulted, and divine responses were always given.

But we can not dwell in detail upon all the incidents connected with the wandering of the Jews in the desert, and the mysterious nature of their worship. Moses died, and was mysteriously buried by angels. He was succeeded by Joshua. After forty years, during which time their clothes did not wear out, they entered Canaan, but no adult who left Egypt, except Caleb and Joshua, entered the promised land, the rest all perished in the wilderness. Miracles continued with them in Canaan. Wars succeeded to wars ; the Israelites became settled in Palestine, and rose to a great nation, were governed by a succession or Kings, some of whom were righteous and others wicked. The chosen and peculiar people became idolatrous, renounced allegiance, and were subject to various fortunes. Their magnificent temple was destroyed, and they carried away to captivity in Babylon. The glory; departed. They were at length allowed to return and rebuild their temple, yet they never recovered their former glory. During the existence of the latter temple, the Messiah so long promised was born, but he was despised and rejected and finally put to death as an imposter. Not long after, the temple and city of Jerusalem were destroyed by the Romans, and the Jews were scattered among the nations, where they exist denationalized to this day. The descendants of Ishmael, not Isaac, are the rulers of the promised land, and where stood the holy temple, now stands the temple of the false prophet.

We have thus given a rapid outline sketch of the history of that wonderful people, chosen of God as the medium through which redemption was to come to the world, and the race was to be restored from the ruins of the fall Revelation informs us that the mystery of redemption was kept from ages and generations, and that this mystery was make known when God became incarnate. The great mystery of redemption was set forth when "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory." God before was manifest in the garden of Eden, on Sinai, in the tabernacle and temple, but now he assumes the form of humanity, and instead of a transient manifestation, takes up his abode among men. Revelation teaches expressly that he took not the form of an angel, but was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, that he might condemn sin in the flesh, and thus deliver man from its curse ; that in assuming human nature, "he became sin for us," and thus, substitutionally, satisfied all the claims of the violated law. Of all the mysteries which we have been contemplating, or which it is possible for man to contemplate, this is the greatest, transcending all the works of the visible creation, including that of the creation of angels, and all the vast systems of Jehovah's empire, the work of redemption, both in its inception and development, towers sublimely above all, and leaves the mind bewildered in the broadest, profoundest mystery ever brought to the contemplation of men or angels. It has been the theme of angelic study from its first announcement. Prophets who communicated the tidings of this mystery in language veiled in imagery or clothed in bold and striking figures or in plain literal description, when they announced the rise of a star in the distant future, or spoke of a scepter and law giver, or the miraculous birth of a child to whom should be given the titles of " wonderful, counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace," and "upon whose shoulders the government should rest," knew not the import of the words they uttered; that the Great Eternal I AM of the patriarchs, and the Jehovah of the Jews who appeared in the bush, was with them in their desert wanderings, whose awful glory made Sinai tremble with its burden, and who dwelt in the holy of holies, should veil that Godhead and glory in humanity, pass through the ordinary process of human generation so as to be born of a woman, under the law, pass through all the stages of life, from . childhood to manhood, submitting to all the filial relations, and all the rites of the church, lead a life of suffering and sorrow, and die upon the cross the death of a criminal, makes a mystery overwhelmingly astounding. Nor is this all connected with the manifestation or appearance of God in human nature. He who created the earth, and to whom belonged all that it contains, became a wanderer upon its surface, a poor houseless, homeless stranger. He who created cherubim and seraphim, and whom all the hosts of heaven obey, and who declared that those who had "seen him, had seen the father," allowed himself to be insulted, blasphemed, spit upon, buffeted, scourged, nailed to the cross, and scornfully taunted with the declaration, "he saved others, himself be cannot save," and was challenged if he were equal with God to come down from the cross, and they would believe on him, is a mystery we wonder not that a Jew should stagger under, and claims a faith in all where reason must be kept in abeyance, and the simple truths of revelation must be credited without question. The declaration that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself," embraces the whole of the mystery of redemption. In this declaration there are no turns abstruse or speculative, every word is plain, and not above the comprehension of a child, and yet they announce a doctrine which a seraph never can, by the most intense application, comprehend, much less explain.

It may be asked why in the scheme of redemption was provision not made for fallen angels? Why pass them by in their chains and darkness without a provision of mercy or a space for repentance ? This, like the mystery of redemption itself, must remain inscrutable. Jehovah assumed human nature that he might represent human nature. He tasted death for every man that, as in Adam its first representative, all became subject to death, as the penalty of transgression, so in him all might be restored to life, as the result of his obedience to death, and a full, perfect, sufficient satisfaction to the claims of the violated. law be met ; that as by the disobedience of Adam, judgment passed upon all men to condemnation, so by the obedience of Christ;' justification passed upon all men. Human nature was assumed and human nature was redeemed, and thus as human nature only is included in the transaction, angelic nature, so far as the manifestation of God in the flesh is concerned, is not provided for.

The death of the Savior, who in the language of Revelation, "gave himself a ransom for us," and who was "the lamb slain from the foundation of the world," clears up the mystery connected with the sacrificial offerings under the law, so far as the design of those offerings was concerned ; but as it respects the reason in the divine mind why there could be " no remission of sin without the shedding of blood," eternity only can disclose. The death of Christ was the grand consummation of the scheme of human redemption. Here type and shadow were fulfilled and passed away. Here was the end of a priesthood ordained to prefigure the last great sacrifice when the high priest of the better dispensation would offer up himself once for all and forever. The last words of the expiring God-man, "it is finished," as they sounded out amid the darkened - heavens, announced the completion of the great work begun in Eden.

"Well might the sun in darkness hide

And shut his glories in,

When Christ the mighty Maker died

For man, the creature's sin.

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