Contents The Christian System
by Alexander Campbell
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CHAPTER VI.

MAN AS HE WAS.

I. THE original man was the rational and moral ultimatum of the mundane system. Naturally, or as he came from God's hand, he was the perfection of all terrestrial creations and institutions. In the elements of his constitution, he was partly celestial and terrestrial, of an earthly material as to his body, but of a spiritual intelligence and a divine life. Made to know and to enjoy his Creator, and to have communion with all that is divine, spiritual, and material in the whole universe, he was susceptible of an almost boundless variety of enjoyments.

II. And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in his own image created he him; a male and a female created he them." Gen. i. 26, 27. Man, then, was a companion of his Father and Creator, capable of admiring, adoring, and enjoying God. Having made the earth for him, God was fully glorified in all his sublunary works, when they made man happy, grateful, and thankful to himself. Man, then, in his natural state, was not merely an animal, but an intellectual, moral, pure, and holy being.

III. His position or state in this creation, was that of a lord tenant. The earth is, indeed, the Lord's; but he gave it to man on a very easy and liberal lease; and so it became his property. He was, therefore, a free and responsible agent, capable of managing his estate and paying his rent; and consequently was susceptible of virtue and vice, of happiness and misery. In order to freedom, virtue, and happiness, it was expedient and necessary to place him under a law; for where there is no law, there can be no liberty, virtue, or happiness. The law became a test of his character, a guarantee of his continued enjoyment of the life and property which God had leased to him on the condition of his obedience to that precept.

IV. That the temptation to disobedience might be weak, and the motive to obedience strong, single, and pure, the precept given here was simple, positive, and clear. It could not be a moral precept, because other reasons than simple submission to the will of his Lord and King might have co-operated and prevented the display of pure loyalty by which his character was to be tried and his future fortunes governed. It was therefore a positive law. The requisition was so little as to present the least conceivable restraint upon liberty of thought and action, and yet it was the most infallible test of his loyalty. The Adamic constitution was therefore admirably designed and adapted to happiness. It placed only one restriction in the way of universal liberty, and that at such a distance as to make the circle of his free and unrestrained movements within a single step of the last outpost of all intellectual, moral, and sensible enjoyment. The whole earth was his to use, one single fruit alone excepted. Truly, God was superlatively good and kind to man in his peculiar condition and state. "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands. Thou hast put all things under his feet: - all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" Psalm viii.5-9


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