At Home, Harrisburg Ia., Sept., 15, 1848.
To the Redeemed Flock of Christ, scattered abroad in the East, West, North, and South.
BELOVED BRETHREN: – When visiting the churches which compose the few Associations which I attended on the east of the Alleghany Mountain, viz., the Baltimore, Md., Delaware, Del., Delaware River, N.J., and Warwick, N.Y. I was delighted in beholding their order, and the steadfastness of their faith in Jesus Christ. At the session of these four associations I became acquainted with many others, both ministers of the word, and other faithful brethren and sisters, from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Maine, many of whom requested me to write to them, through the Signs, on my return home, which I cheerfully promised to do. Since my return, which was on the 13th day of July, I have visited many of the churches and vive of the associations West of the Mountain, viz., White Water, Lebanon, and Conn’s Creek, in Indiana, the Salem, In Owen Co., Ky., and the Miami, in Warren Co., Ohio. These were all attended by vastly large assemblies; the seasons were solemn and impressive. The correspondence and visiting ministers at these nine associations were from the scattered sections of Zion, from Main, to Missouri; yet although so widely scattered, and habituated to all the varieties of custom, climate, habits, and fortune, their messages were the same, and their manner of delivering and defending the truth so similar that no discord could be detected; but one unbroken chain of testimony was presented by all the ministers (about fifty in number) of these nine associations. This condensed body, or cloud of testimony, must be confirming to the saints, and comforting to those who “feed the flock of God.”
The health of myself and wife, throughout our long journeys this season has been unusually good; and finding all the churches and associations in such perfect peace and gospel fellowship, all speaking the same language, and all minding the same things, has been truly refreshing to us. Our Western brethren from regions afar off, with some who are near, having joined with the brethren at the East, in requesting to edify, if I cold believe myself capable of writing for their edification and for the comfort of the dear sheep and lambs of the Good Shepherd I should esteem it a great privilege to contribute, if it were but a mite to their advantage. I will, the Lord being my helper, try to write a few things on the subject of
And in what I shall write, the respective families of the two Adams will be included of course. The apostle (I Cor. xv:45,) says, “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” These two Adams are distinguished in their orders, first and last; also in their natures, soul and spirit. The order here observed is doubtless, not in point of existence; but in the order of manifestation, in all the tangible and corporal substances of the actual animal man in this mode of being. Although Christ was brought forth, set up, &c., before the earth was, and his goings forth, were of old, from everlasting; yet in the visible creatureship of this world, Adam, the living soul, was first; and many generations of his offspring had peopled this world before Adam, the quickening Spirit, literally appeared in this mode of being. It is in this sense the order of first and last are to be viewed. When God created the first man Adam, in this order he was formed or framed, in all his corporal parts, of the dust of the ground, and by direct application of air, by the agency of the Almighty, this formed man became a living soul. See Gen. ii:7. God created this first man, male and female, Gen. i:27 & 28, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” This universal dominion over all created things, in this order, was given to Adam, the living soul, and this Adam was both male and female, with the blessing of God on them, and the seed in them, and the legal authority, or command of God, to be fruitful, &c. All this was in the one person of Adam, the living soul. In this one man was the male and female, and the seed of all the human family; not virtually, or in purpose, as some have said; but really and actually; for the man was a living soul, and the seed, to be fruitful and multiply, was as actually created in this first man, as was his flesh or his bones. Here then, in the one man did God create all men, male and female, to dwell upon all the earth, and he hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. See Acts xvii:25 & 26; also Mal. ii:10. After all were created in one man, all men blessed in one man, and dominion over all things in this order, was given to this one man, all other living things were named by him; the law of his Creator was given to him, and he was placed in the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to control, subdue, and replenish the earth. Thus all nations of men, male and female, were actually created in one man, and the earth, sea, and air, with all their hosts were put under his authority, or made subject to him. See Psa. viii:3-8. This man in all this authority, with all men, male and female, actually created in him, was the first man, Adam; and he was made a living soul. To him, as such, the law was given, and this law was binding on all the men, male and female, and seed, all in one Adam. After all this, the female was so separated as to take a distinct form, in person, but not essence; she was still bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh; as really so as when she existed a rib in his side. Therefore Adam said, “She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” Gen. ii:22-24. This union was not only now perfect as before, but was to continue indissoluble forever; and for this cause, the indissoluble oneness, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. This test of true affection, and God’s imperatives, and man’s acknowledged obligation to cleave to his wife, were soon tried by a severe ordeal; for the woman, being deceived by the serpent, was in a great transgression; but Adam, the man was not deceived, yet he cleaved to his wife, and thus complied with the above shalls; and left all, and followed her. These shalls showed his obligation; the unity justified the shalls, and his willingly partaking at her hands, showed the strength of his love, as he was not deceived. By this one act of this one man, in cleaving to his wife, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death has passed upon all men – (upon the whole seed created in him,) for that all had sinned. And so judgment unto condemnation, came upon all men – the male, the female, and the seed were all involved. This man being set over all created things in this order, the earth and all that God had formed out of it, was cursed for man’s sake. Many strange speculations have been indulged in, as to what this first man was in his nature; some contend that he was spiritual, and that, in his fall, he died a spiritual death. But this we know was not the case; for the apostle says, in positive terms that he was not spiritual, but natural. I Cor. xv:45-48. This text speaks of Adam, as he was made, a living soul. He was truly a very good natural man, placed in a very good natural place; and invested with authority to rule over a very good natural world; and to him was given, by his Creator, a very good law, with liberty and proper prohibition, touching good natural things. Man, in this state, was possessed of a capacity for endless duration; but was subject, or liable to vanity; but he had no immortality, or death could never have passed on him. God only hath immortality dwelling in the light; and Christ, in his resurrection from the dead, first brought it to light; or made a manifestation of it through the gospel. Man had a soul, a mind and rational faculties, and a strength of natural affections. God only required of him the proper exercise of the power that he possessed, either in the law respecting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or in the larger edition of it, as given by Moses; to love the Lord God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might. Deut. vi:5. Matt. xxii:36-39. This was required of man, and this was no more than every natural man has; for he has a heart, a soul, a mind, and a might, and God required the exercise of no other heart, soul, mind, or might, but that which he had. Man by sin is now already condemned to death, and his heart, soul, mind and strength, have become alienated from the life of God; the mind has become carnal, and is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can be. This relation between God as a Creator, and man as a creature, is that upon which is founded all natural theories of religion. The natural powers, natural senses, natural exercises, and means to operate through, and upon the natural organs, and natural susceptibilities. God, as our Creator, is claimed, as the Father of all, and his pity and sympathy for his poor frail children, is argued by every teacher of natural religion. The apostle, so far from preaching salvation on this relation, shows universal condemnation, and that there is no possible salvation by any mediation in this relation; not a victim, not a priest, not a brother or a kinsman, or an intercessor possessed either the worth, the innocence, or the right to redeem either himself or his fellow. In the absence, then, of another relation, and another order of things, salvation is utterly impossible for any of the human race. Adam, the living soul, by creation, in the order of creatureship, was the son of God. (See Luke iii:38, Gen. i:26.) As the whole seed, male and female, was in one man, the sonship embraced them all, so in the order of creation, we are all the sons of God; but while our accountability, natural obligations, guilt and condemnation, results from this relation and man’s unreasonable rebellion in it, we must look elsewhere for salvation. In illustration of another relation in which alone salvation is revealed, the apostle shows us that Adam, the living soul, was a figure of him that was to come; even of him as the last Adam, a quickening Spirit. Rom. v:14.
We will now consider the force of this figure. First. Adam, was by natural creation, the son of God; Christ, by a spiritual creation, is the beginning of the creation of God, and his Son; the First Born of every creature, in the spiritual order. (Rev. iii:14, Col. i:15.)
Second. Adam was made a living soul, possessing all the natural parts and mental faculties of a very good natural man; Christ possessed all the spiritual parts and powers of a quickening Spirit. See Col. i:18 & Eph. ii:1. Adam was the first man of all natural men; Christ was the first of all spiritual men. Adam with all natural men actually created in him, as a seed, was blessed of God with all natural blessings, in earthly places; Christ with all the spiritual family actually created in him, as a seed, was blessed of God, with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. See Eph. i:3,4 & ii:10. This seed shall serve him, and he shall see it and be satisfied. Adam’s seed though actually in him was dormant except by his action; Christ’s seed which was actually in him, was also dormant except by his action. Adam received the blessing and the law of God in reference to all natural things before Eve, or any of his race were separated from his person. Christ received all spiritual blessings and the law of the Lord before the church or any of his spiritual seed were separated from the unity of his person. When every blessing and every natural faculty, with every prerogative to govern the natural world, and every right and every prohibition was given to Adam, his wife was in him, as an actual part of him, and she was as perfectly bound, and as responsible as he. So also was the wife or church in Christ, when every spiritual blessing, promise, gift, divine faculty, prerogative to govern all things in the spiritual world; and when every right and prohibition was given, she, as a part of him, was as perfectly bound and responsible as he. Adam was bound to leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, after she had taken her distinct personal mode of existence, although she was still bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh, and they were still one flesh. Christ was bound to leave father and mother and cleave to the church, after she had taken her distinct personal mode of existence, though she was still in the spirit, identified as his body, his flesh, and his bones. Eph. v:29-32. I Cor. xii:27. Adam’s wife was deceived and was in the transgression, and Adam was involved by her act, and bound to leave his father, God, and his honorable station, with his mother earth, and cleave to his wife, and this he did of choice, for the union could not be dissolved. Christ’s wife the church, was also deceived, and in the transgression, and Christ, the last Adam was involved by her act, and legally bound to lay aside the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, and cleave to his wife the church. This, justice required, and the unity legally bound him to do, and he willingly, through his love to her, not being deceived, did. Cleaving to her, he came forward to suffer the curse, and bear her sins. The seed which was created in Adam was afterwards developed by natural generation in a multiplication of distinct forms, or persons; but still was and ever must be the very same seed that was first created in him. The spiritual seed created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, was afterwards by spiritual generation, born again, by an incorruptible seed, the Word of God, (Christ,) developed in multiplication of distinct forms or persons, but still are, and forever must remain, no more, nor less than the seed which was first created and chosen in Christ.
Much more might be said on this figure; but this must suffice. In the natural Adam, the living soul, and in all the relations in this order there is nothing spiritual. Natural powers, natural susceptibilities, and natural obligations, all of which are properly required to be in subjection to God, our Creator, as our reasonable service, and this obligation grows out of our relation, as the creatures of his creation; but in this relation we have all become sinners, and under the reigning power of death, without one ray of hope for salvation to cheer the gloom that shrouds us in the darkness of eternal night. All the religion and religious schemes that are based on this relationship, with all the means, money, tracts, bibles, preachers, works, and schools, with every other engine and power, mental and physical, that ever was, or ever can be brought to bear upon any of our natural organs, senses, powers, or sympathies; nor all the zeal, logic, and pathos of others in our behalf, can ever produce one vital spark, or spiritual motion. Just as sure as it is that nature cannot produce an effect above itself, so sure it is that all the compunction of soul, penance, repentance, reformation, fear, sorrow, hope, joy, zeal or obedience that can arise from this relation, or that can be produced from any of the resources of it, upon any of our natural faculties, can never result in anything more than natural religion; and all belongs to the first man Adam, which was not spiritual, but natural. It therefore remains an irrefragable truth, that we must be born again, or we cannot see the kingdom of God. We must be born of an incorruptible seed; not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, before we can see, or have one spiritual sensation or emotion. The children of God in Christ, from of old, in their spiritual relation are wholly of a right seed; but when put forth in Adam they became partakers of flesh and blood; and here they stood in both the spiritual and natural relations. In the spiritual relation they are one with Christ, and in the natural, they are one with Adam. Christ, to whom all these children of God had been given, seeing them now in the flesh and blood, lost and legally condemned, willingly took part of the same flesh and blood; and with the whole seed of Abraham upon him, was made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. Here then was a full flesh and blood relationship, legally tangible and capable of suffering the legal penalty, and of obeying the precepts of the law. Sin was a transgression of the law; the penalty was legal; Christ was made under the law, to legally fulfill it by a legal righteousness for our legal justification. This was the righteousness wrought out by Christ and as to his spiritual, personal righteousness, that was always theirs as they were one with him. He was “brought forth,” “set up,” “ordained,” and “appointed heir of all things,” and given to be the Head over all things to the church, which is his body, was in the fullness of time manifest in the flesh, for us, in a nature capable of obeying and suffering legally all that the law could demand. He bare our sins in his own body on the tree, and put them away by the sacrifice of himself; and through death destroyed death, and him that had the power of death. Therefore he could not be holden of death; but rising again has brought life and immortality to light, (not the old natural life of Adam, but immortal life.) The suffering body now becomes a glorious, spiritual, and immortal body; and here the resurrection of the bodies of all the saints, to a glorious, spiritual and immortal state is clearly and fully established.
This long letter contains only a hint at the two Adams, and their respective families. Our evidences that we are of the natural Adam are, that we are born of the flesh, and feel the effects and fruits of that relationship; so our evidences that we have a standing in the Spiritual Adam - Christ, are that we are born of the Spirit, are led by the Spirit; that we bear the fruits of the Spirit, and that we worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, or in any fleshly or natural system of religion. May these fruits of the Spirit be in us all and abound.
Yours, in the best of bonds,
Signs of the Times.
Volume 16, No. 20
October 15, 1848