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nChrist
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« on: July 22, 2005, 05:39:51 AM »

ALMIGHTY GOD'S CREATION

Page 1

(1901 - American Standard Version)

Genesis 1:1   In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:2   And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters

Genesis 1:3   And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:4   And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:5   And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Genesis 1:6   And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

Genesis 1:7   And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

Genesis 1:8   And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Genesis 1:9   And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

Genesis 1:10   And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:11   And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit after their kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and it was so.

Genesis 1:12   And the earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after their kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:13   And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Genesis 1:14   And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years:

Genesis 1:15   and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

Genesis 1:16   And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

Genesis 1:17   And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth,

Genesis 1:18   and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:19   And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Genesis 1:20   And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Genesis 1:21   And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:22   And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.

====================See Page 2
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2005, 05:42:45 AM »

ALMIGHTY GOD'S CREATION

Page 2

(1901 - American Standard Version)

Genesis 1:23   And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Genesis 1:24   And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so.

Genesis 1:25   And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the ground after its kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:26   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 over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:27   And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:28   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 birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:29   And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food:

Genesis 1:30   and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.

Genesis 1:31   And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 2:1   And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

Genesis 2:2   And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

Genesis 2:3   And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

Genesis 2:4   These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.

Genesis 2:5   And no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain upon the earth: and there was not a man to till the ground;

Genesis 2:6   but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

Genesis 2:7   And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:8   And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward, in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Genesis 2:9   And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:10   And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads.

=========================See Page 3
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2005, 05:44:55 AM »

ALMIGHTY GOD'S CREATION

Page 3

(1901 - American Standard Version)

Genesis 2:11   The name of the first is Pishon: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;

Genesis 2:12   and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.

Genesis 2:13   And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Cush.

Genesis 2:14   And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth in front of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Genesis 2:15   And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:16   And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

Genesis 2:17   but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:18   And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.

Genesis 2:19   And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Genesis 2:20   And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was not found a help meet for him.

Genesis 2:21   And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof:

Genesis 2:22   and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Genesis 2:23   And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Genesis 2:24   Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Genesis 2:25   And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 10:39:02 PM »

From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


Of Creation in general. Of the Origin of the Soul. Whence Will and Thought are in the Creature. Why the Will is free. The Origin of Evil solely from the Creature. This World not a first, immediate Creation of God. How the World comes to be in its present State. The first Perfection of Man. All Things prove a Trinity in God. Man hath the triune Nature of God in Him. Arianism and Deism confuted by Nature. That Life is uniform through all Creatures. That there is but one kind of Death to be found in all Nature. The fallen Soul hath the Nature of Hell in it. Regeneration is a real Birth of a Divine Life in the Soul. That there is but one Salvation possible in Nature. This Salvation only to be had from Jesus Christ. All the Deist's Faith and Hope proved to be false.

It has been an opinion commonly received, though without any foundation in the light of nature, or scripture, that God created this whole visible world, and all things in it, out of nothing. Nay, that the souls of men, and the highest orders of beings, were created in the same manner. The scripture is very decisive against this original of the souls of men. For Moses saith, "God breathed into man (Spiraculum Vitarum) the breath of lives, and man became a living soul." Here the notion of a soul created out of nothing, is in the plainest, strongest manner rejected, by the first written Word of God; and no Jew or Christian can have the least excuse for falling into such an error; here the highest and most divine original is not darkly, but openly, absolutely, and in the strongest form of expression ascribed to the soul; it came forth as a breath of life, or lives, out from the mouth of God, and therefore did not come out of the womb of nothing, but is what it is, and has what it has in itself, from, and out of the first and highest of all beings.

For to say that God breathed forth into man the breath of lives, by which he became a living soul, is directly saying, that that which was life, light, and Spirit in the living God, was breathed forth from him to become the life, light and spirit of a creature. The soul therefore being declared to be an effluence from God, a breath of God, must have the nature and likeness of God in it, and is, and can be nothing else, but something, or so much of the divine nature, become creaturely existing, or breathed forth from God, to stand before him in the form of a creature.

When the animals of this world were to be created, it was only said, Let the earth, the air, the water bring forth creatures after their kinds; but when man was to be brought forth, it was said, "Let us make man in our own image and likeness." Is not this directly saying, Let man have his beginning and being out of us, that he may be so related to us in his soul and spirit, as the animals of this world are related to the elements from which they are produced. Let him so come forth from us, be so breathed out of us, that our triune, divine nature may be manifested in him, that he may stand before us as a creaturely image, likeness, and representative of that which we are in ourselves.

Now, from this original doctrine of the creation of man, known to all the first inhabitants of the world, and published in the front of the first written Word of God; these great truths have been more or less declared to all the nations of the world. First, that all mankind are the created offspring of the one God. Secondly, that in all men there is a spirit or breath of lives, that did not begin to be out of nothing, or was created out of nothing; but came from the true God into man, as his own breath of life breathed into him. Thirdly, that therefore there is in all men, wherever dispersed over the earth, a divine, immortal, never-ending spirit, that can have nothing of death in it, but must live for ever, because it is the breath of the everliving God. Fourthly, that by this immortal breath, or Spirit of God in man, all mankind stand in the same nearness of relation to God, are all equally his children, are all under the same necessity of paying the same homage of love and obedience to him, all fitted to receive the same blessing and happiness from him, all created for the same eternal enjoyment of his love and presence with them, all equally called to worship and adore him in spirit and truth, all equally capable of seeking and finding him, of having a blessed union and communion with him.

These great truths, the first pillars of all true and spiritual religion, on which the holy and divine lives of the ancient patriarchs was supported, by which they worshipped God in a true and right faith; these truths, I say, were most eminently and plainly declared in the express letter of the Mosaic writings, here quoted. And no writer, whether Jewish or Christian, has so plainly, so fully, so deeply laid open the true ground, and necessity of an eternal, never- ceasing relation between God, and all the human nature; no one has so incontestably asserted the immortality of the soul, or spirit of man; or so deeply laid open, and proved the necessity of one religion, common to all human nature, as the legislator of the Jewish theocracy had done. Life and immortality are indeed justly said to be brought to light by the gospel; not only because they there stand in a new degree of light, largely explained, and much appealed to, and absolutely promised by the Son of God himself, but chiefly because the precious means and mysteries of obtaining a blessed life, and a blessed immortality, were only revealed, or brought to light by the gospel.

But the incontestable ground and reason of an immortal life, and eternal relation between God, and the whole human nature, and which lays all mankind under the same obligations to the same true worship of God, is most fully set forth by Moses, who alone tells us the true fact; how, and why man is immortal in his nature, viz., because the beginning of his life was a breath, breathed into him from God; and for this end, that he might be a living image and likeness of God, created to partake of the nature and immortality of God.
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2008, 10:43:23 PM »

From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

This is the great doctrine of the Jewish legislator, and which justly places him amongst the greatest preachers of true religion. St. Paul used a very powerful argument to persuade the Athenians to own the true God, and the true religion, when he told them, "that God made the world and all things therein; that he giveth life and breath and all things; that he hath made of one blood, all nations of men to dwell on the earth; that they should all seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after, and find him, seeing he is not far from any of us, because in him we live, move, and have our being." (Act_17:24.) And yet this doctrine, which St. Paul preaches to the Athenians, is nothing else, but that same divine and heavenly instruction, which he had learnt from Moses, which Moses openly and plainly taught all the Jews. The Jewish theocracy therefore was by no means an intimation to that people, that they had no concern with the true God, but as children of this world, under his temporal protection or punishment; for their lawgiver left them no room for such a thought, because he had as plainly taught them their eternal nature and eternal relation, which they had to God in common with all mankind; as St. Paul did to the Athenians, who only set before them that very doctrine that Moses taught all the Jews. The great end of the Jewish theocracy was to show, both to Jew and gentile, the absolute, uncontrollable power of the one God, by such a covenanted interposition of his providence, that all the world might know, that the one God, from whom both Jew and gentile were fallen away, by departing from the faith and religion of their first fathers, was the only God, from whom all mankind could receive either blessing or cursing.

1. This was the great thing intended to be proclaimed to all the world by this theocracy, viz., that only the God of Israel had power to save or destroy, to punish or reward, according to his pleasure; and that therefore all the gods of the heathens, were mere vanity. If therefore any Jews, by reason of those extraordinary temporal blessings and cursings which they received under their theocracy, grew grossly ignorant, or dully senseless of their eternal nature, and eternal relation to God, and of that one true religion, which by nature they were obliged to observe in common with all mankind; if they took God only to be their local or tutelary deity, and themselves to be only animals of this world; such a grossness of belief was no more to be charged upon their great lawgiver, Moses, than if they had believed, that a golden calf was their true god. But to return to the creation.

2. It is the same impossibility for a thing to be created out of nothing, as to be created by nothing. (See Spirit of Prayer, Part II, page 58, &c. Way to Divine Knowledge, page 247, &c.) It is no more a part, or prerogative of God's omnipotence to create a being out of nothing, than to make a thing to be, without any one quality of being in it; or to make, that there should be three, where there is neither two, nor one. Every creature is nothing else, but nature put into a certain form of existence; and therefore a creature not formed out of nature, is a contradiction. A circle, or a square cannot be made out of nothing, nor could any power bring them into existence, but because there is an extension in nature, that can be put into the form of a circle, or a square: but if dead figures cannot by any power be made out of nothing, who sees not the impossibility of making living creatures, angels, and the souls of men out of nothing?

3. Thinking and willing are eternal, they never began to be. Nothing can think, or will now, in which there was not will and thought from all eternity. For it is as possible for thought in general to begin to be, as for that which thinks in a particular creature to begin to be of a thinking nature: therefore the soul, which is a thinking, willing being is come forth, or created out of that which hath willed and thought in God, from all eternity. The created soul is a creature of time, and had its beginning on the sixth day of the creation; but the essences of the soul, which were then formed into a creature, and into a state of distinction from God, had been in God from all eternity, or they could not have been breathed forth from God into the form of a living creature.

And herein lies the true ground and depth of the uncontrollable freedom of our will and thoughts: they must have a self- motion, and self-direction, because they came out of the self-existent God. They are eternal, divine powers, that never began to be, and therefore cannot begin to be in subjection to any thing. That which thinks and wills in the soul, is that very same unbeginning breath which thought and willed in God, before it was breathed into the form of an human soul; and therefore it is, that will and thought cannot be bounded or constrained.

Herein also appears the high dignity, and never-ceasing perpetuity of our nature. The essences of our souls can never cease to be, because they never began to be: and nothing can live eternally, but that which hath lived from all eternity. The essences of our soul were a breath in God before they became a living soul, they lived in God before they lived in the created soul, and therefore the soul is a partaker of the eternity of God, and can never cease to be. Here, O man, behold the great original, and the high state of thy birth; here let all that is within thee praise thy God, who has brought thee into so high a state of being, who has given thee powers as eternal and boundless as his own attributes, that there might be no end or limits of thy happiness in him. Thou begannest as time began, but as time was in eternity before it became days and years, so thou wast in God before thou wast brought into the creation: and as time is neither a part of eternity, nor broken off from it, yet come out of it; so thou art not a part of God, nor broken off from him, yet born out of him. Thou shouldst only will that which God willeth, only love that which he loveth, cooperate, and unite with him in the whole form of thy life; because all that thou art, all that thou hast, is only a spark of his own life and Spirit derived into thee. If thou desirest, and turn towards the sun, all the blessings of the Deity will spring up in thee; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, will make their abode with thee. If thou turnest in towards thyself, to live to thyself, to be happy in the workings of an own will, to be rich in the sharpness and acuteness of thy own reason, thou choosest to be a weed, and canst only have such a life, spirit and blessing from God, as a thistle has from the sun. But to return.
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2008, 10:48:07 PM »

From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

4. To suppose a willing, understanding being, created out of nothing, is a great absurdity. For as thinking and willing must have always been from all eternity, or they could never have been either in eternity, or time; so, wherever they are found in any particular, finite beings, they must of all necessity, be direct communications, or propagations of that thinking and willing, which never could begin to be.

The creation therefore of a soul, is not the creation of thinking and willing, or the making that to be, and to think, which before had nothing of being, or thought; but it is the bringing the powers of thinking and willing out of their eternal state in the one God, into a beginning state of a self-conscious life, distinct from God. And this is God's omnipotent, creating ability, that he can make the powers of his own nature become creatural, living, personal images of what he is in himself, in a state of distinct personality from him: so that the creature is one, in its finite, limited state, as God is one, and yet hath nothing in it, but that which was in God before it came into it: for the creature, be it what it will, high or low, can be nothing else, but a limited participation of the nature of the creator. Nothing can be in the creature, but what came from the creator, and the creator can give nothing to the creature, but that which it hath in itself to give. And if beings could be created out of nothing, the whole creation could be no more a proof of the being of God, than if it had sprung up of itself out of nothing: for if they are brought into being out of nothing, then they can have nothing of God in them; and so can bear no testimony of God; but are as good a proof, that there is no God, as that there is one. But if they have anything of God in them, then they cannot be said to be created out of nothing.

5. That the souls of men were not created out of nothing, but are born out of an eternal original, is plain from hence; from that delight in, and desire of eternal existence, which is so strong and natural to the soul of man. For nothing can delight in, or desire eternity, or so much as form a notion of it, or think upon it, or any way reach after it, but that alone which is generated from it, and come out of it. For it is a self-evident truth, that nothing can look higher, or further back, than into its own original; and therefore, nothing can look or reach back into eternity, but that which came out of it. This is as certain, as that a line reaches, and can reach no further back, than to that point from whence it arose.

Our bodily eyes are born out of the firmamental light of this world, and therefore they can look no further than the firmament: but our thoughts know no bounds; therefore they are come out of that which is boundless. The eyes of our minds can look as easily backwards into that eternity which always hath been, as into that which ever shall be; and therefore it is plain, that that which thinks and wills in us, which so easily, so delightfully, so naturally penetrates into all eternity, has always had an eternal existence, and is only a ray or spark of the divine nature, brought out into the form of a creature, or a limited, personal existence, by the creating power of God.

6. Again. Every soul shrinks back, and is frightened at the very thought of falling into nothing. Now this undeniably proves, that the soul was not created out of nothing. For it is an eternal truth, spoken by all nature, that everything strongly aspires after, and cannot be easy, till it finds and enjoys that original out of which it arose. If the soul therefore was brought forth out of nothing, all its being would be a burden to it; it would want to be dissolved, and to be delivered from every kind and degree of sensibility; and nothing could be so sweet and agreeable to it, as to think of falling back into that nothingness, out of which it was called forth by its creation. Thus is the eternal, immortal, divine nature of the soul, which the schools prove with so much difficulty one of the most obvious, self-evident truths in all nature. For nothing but that which is eternal in its own nature, can have the least thought about eternity.

If a beast had not the nature of the earth in it, nothing that is on the earth, or springs out of it, could be in the least degree agreeable to it, or desired by it. If the soul had not the nature of eternity in it, nothing that is eternal could give it the smallest pleasure, or be able to make any kind of impression upon it. For as nothing can taste, or relish, or enter into the agreeable sensations of this world, but that which hath the nature of this world in it; so nothing can taste, or relish, or look into eternity with any kind of pleasure, but that which hath the nature of eternity in it.

7. If the soul was not born, or created out of God, it could have no happiness in God, no desire, nor any possibility of enjoying him. If it had nothing of God in it, it must stand in the utmost distance of contrariety to him, and be utterly incapable of living, moving, and having its being in God: for everything must have the nature of that, out of which it was created, and must live, and have its being in that root or ground from whence it sprung. If therefore there was nothing of God in the soul, nothing that is in God could do the soul any good, or have any kind of communication with it; but the gulf of separation between God and the soul, would be even greater than that which is between heaven and hell.

8. But let us rejoice, that our soul is a thinking, willing being, full of thoughts, cares, longings, and desires of eternity; for this is our full proof, that our descent is from God himself, that we are born out of him, breathed forth from him; that our soul is of an eternal nature, made a thinking, willing, understanding creature out of that which hath willed and thought in God from all eternity; and therefore must, for ever and ever, be a partaker of the eternity of God.

And here you may behold the sure ground of the absolute impossibility of the annihilation of the soul. Its essences never began to be, and therefore can never cease to be; they had an eternal reality before they were in, or became a distinct soul, and therefore they must have the same eternal reality in it. It was the eternal breath of God before it came into man, and therefore the eternity of God must be inseparable from it. It is no more a property of the divine omnipotence to be able to annihilate a soul, than to be able to make an eternal truth become a fiction of yesterday: and to think it a lessening of the power of God, to say, that he cannot annihilate the soul, is as absurd, as to say, that it is a lessening of the light of the sun, if it cannot destroy, or darken its own rays of light.
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2008, 10:52:49 PM »

KNOW THYSELF
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


O, dear reader, stay a while in this important place, and learn to know thyself: all thy senses make thee to know and feel, that thou standest in the vanity of time; but every motion, stirring, imagination, and thought of thy mind, whether in fancying, fearing, or loving everlasting life, is the same infallible proof, that thou standest in the midst of eternity, art an offspring and inhabitant of it, and must be for ever inseparable from it. Ask when the first thought sprung up, find out the birth-day of truth, and then thou wilt have found out, when the essences of thy soul first began to be. Were not the essences of thy soul as old, as unbeginning, as unchangeable, as everlasting as truth itself, truth would be at the same distance from thee, as absolutely unfit for thee, as utterly unable to have any communion with thee, as to be the food of a worm.

The ox could not feed upon the grass, or receive any delight or nourishment from it, unless grass and the ox had one and the same earthly nature and original; thy mind could receive no truth, feel no delight and satisfaction in the certainty, beauty, and harmony of it, unless truth and the mind stood both in the same place, had one and the same unchangeable nature, unbeginning original. If there will come a time, when thought itself shall cease, when all the relations and connections of truth shall be untied; then, but not till then, shall the knot, or band of thy soul's life be unloosed. It is a spark of the Deity, and therefore has the unbeginning, unending life of God in it. It knows nothing of youth, or age, because it is born eternal. It is a life that must burn for ever, either as a flame of light and love in the glory of the divine majesty, or as a miserable firebrand in that god, which is a consuming fire.

9. It is impossible, that this world, in the state and condition it is now in, should have been an immediate and original creation of God: this is as impossible, as that God should create evil, either natural or moral. That this world hath evil in all its parts; that its matter is in a corrupt, disordered state, full of grossness, disease, impurity, wrath, death and darkness, is as evident, as that there is light, beauty, order and harmony everywhere to be found in it. Therefore it is as impossible, that this outward state and condition of things, should be a first and immediate work of God, as that there should be good and evil in God himself. All storms and tempests, every fierceness of heat, every wrath of cold proves with the same certainty, that outward nature is not a first work of God, as the selfishness, envy, pride, wrath, and malice of devils, and men proves, that they are not in the first state of their creation. As no kind or degree of moral evil could possibly have its cause in, or from God, so there cannot be the least shadow of imperfection and disorder in outward nature, but what must have sprung up in the same manner, and from the same causes, as sickness and corrupt flesh is come into the human body, namely, from the sin of the creature. Storms, tempests, gravel, stone, sour and dead earth are the same things, the same diseases, the same effects of sin, produced in the same manner in the outward body of nature, as corrupt flesh, fevers, dropsies, plagues, gravel, stone, and gout, are produced in the outward body of man. For that, and that only which produces stone in the body of man, did produce stone in the outward nature, as shall plainly appear by and by. For nature within, and without man, is one and the same, and has but one and the same way of working; a stone in the body, and a stone out of the body of man, proceeds from one and the same disorder of nature.

When therefore you see a diseased, gouty, leprous, asthmatical, scorbutic man, you can with the utmost certainty say, this is not that human body which God first created in paradise; so, when you see the disorders of heat and cold, the poisonous earth, unfruitful seasons, and malignant qualities of outward nature, you can with the same certainty affirm, this state of nature is not a first creation of God, but that same must have happened to it, which has happened to the body of man. For dark, sour, hard, dead earth, can no more be a first, immediate creation of God, than a wrathful devil, as such, can be created by him. For dark, sour, dead earth is as disordered in its kind, as the devils are, and has as certainly lost its first heavenly condition and nature, as the devils have lost theirs. But now, as in man, the little world, there is excellency and perfection enough to prove, that human nature is the work of an all-perfect being, yet, so much impurity and disease of corrupt flesh and blood, as undeniably shows, that sin has almost quite spoiled the work of God. So, in the great world, the footsteps of an infinite wisdom in the order and harmony of the whole, sufficiently appears; yet, the disorders, tumults, and evils of nature, plainly demonstrate, that the present condition of this world is only the remains or ruins, first, of a heaven spoiled by the fall of angels, and then of a paradise lost by the sin of man. So that man, and the world in which he lives, lie both in the same state of disorder and impurity, have both the same marks of life and death in them, both bring forth the same sort of evils, both want a redeemer, and have need of the same kind of death and resurrection, before they can come to their first state of purity and perfection.

10. That this outward world was not created out of nothing, is plainly taught by St. Paul, who declares, Rom_1:20, that the creation of the world is out of the invisible things of God; so that the outward condition and frame of invisible nature, is a plain manifestation of that spiritual world from whence it is descended. For as every outside necessarily supposes an inside, and as temporal light and darkness must be the product of eternal light and darkness, so this outward, visible state of things necessarily supposes some inward, invisible state, from whence it is come into this degree of outwardness. Thus all that is on earth is only a change or alteration of something that was in heaven: and heaven itself is nothing else but the first glorious out-birth, the majestic manifestation, the beatific visibility of the one God in Trinity. And thus we find out, how this temporal nature is related to God; it is only a gross out-birth of that which is an eternal nature, or a blessed heaven, and stands only in such a degree of distance from it, as water does to air; and this is the reason why the last fire will, and must turn this gross, temporal nature into its first, heavenly state. But to suppose the gross matter of this world to be made out of nothing, or compacted nothing, is more absurd, than to suppose ice that has congealed nothing, a yard that is not made up of inches, or a pound that is not the product of ounces.
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2008, 10:56:24 PM »

KNOW THYSELF
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

11. And indeed to suppose this, or any other material world to be made out of nothing, has all the same absurdities in it, as the supposing angels and spirits, to be created out of nothing.

All the qualities of all beings are eternal; no real quality or power can appear in any creature, but what has its eternal root, or generating cause in the creator. If a quality could begin to be in a creature, which did not always exist in the creator, it would be no absurdity to say, that a thing might begin to be, without any cause either of its beginning, or being. All qualities, properties, or whatever can be affirmed of God, are self-existent, and necessary existent. Self and necessary existence is not a particular attribute of God, but is the general nature of everything that can be affirmed of God. All qualities and properties are self-existent in God: now, they cannot change their nature when they are derived, or formed into creatures, but must have the same self-birth, and necessary existence in the creature, which they had in the creator. The creature begins to be, when, and as it pleased God; but the qualities which are become creaturely, and which constitute the creature, are self-existent, just as the same qualities are in God. Thus, thinking, willing, and desire can have no outward maker, their maker is in themselves, they are self- existent powers wherever they are, whether in God, or in the creature, and as they form themselves in God, so they form themselves in the creature. But now, if no quality can begin to be, if all the qualities and powers of creatures must be eternal and necessary existent in God, before they can have any existence in any creature; then it undeniably follows, that every created thing must have its whole nature from, and out of the divine nature.

All qualities are not only good, but infinitely perfect, as they are in God; and it is absolutely impossible, that they should have any evil or defect in them, as they are in the one God, who is the great and universal all. Because, where all properties are, there must necessarily be an all possible perfection: and that which must always have all in itself, must, by an absolute necessity, be always all perfect. But the same qualities, thus infinitely good and perfect in God, may become imperfect and evil in the creature; because in the creature, being limited and finite, they may be divided and separated from one another by the creature itself. Thus strength and fire in the divine nature, are nothing else but the strength and flame of love, and never can be anything else; but in the creature, strength and fire may be separated from love, and then they are become an evil, they are wrath and darkness, and all mischief: and thus that same strength and quality, which in creatures making a right use of their own will, or self-motion, becomes their goodness and perfection, doth in creatures making a wrong use of their will, become their evil and mischievous nature; and it is a truth that deserves well to be considered, that there is no goodness in any creature, from the highest to the lowest, but in its continuing to be such an union of qualities and powers, as God has brought together in its creation.

In the highest order of created beings, this is their standing in their first perfection, this is their fulfilling of the whole will or law of God, this is their piety, their song of praise, their eternal adoration of their great creator. On the other hand, there is no evil, no guilt, no deformity in any creature, but in its dividing and separating itself from something which God had given to be in union with it. This, and this alone, is the whole nature of all good, and all evil in the creature, both in the moral and natural world, in spiritual and material things. For instance, dark, fiery wrath in the soul, is not only very like, but it is the self-same thing in the soul which a wrathful poison is in the flesh. Now, the qualities of poison are in themselves, all of them good qualities, and necessary to every life; but they are become a poisonous evil, because they are separated from some other qualities. Thus also the qualities of fire and strength that constitute an evil wrath in the soul, are in themselves very good qualities, and necessary to every good life; but they are become an evil wrath, because separated from some other qualities with which they should be united.

The qualities of the devil and all fallen angels, are good qualities; they are the very same which they received from their infinitely perfect creator, the very same which are, and must be in all heavenly angels; but they are an hellish, abominable malignity in them now, because they have, by their own self-motion, separated them from the light and love which should have kept them glorious angels.

And here may be seen at once, in the clearest light, the true origin of all evil in the creation, without the least imputation upon the creator. God could not possibly create a creature to be an infinite all, like himself: God could not bring any creature into existence, but by deriving into it the self-existent, self-generating, self-moving qualities of his own nature: for the qualities must be in the creature, that which they were in the creator, only in a state of limitation; and therefore, every creature must be finite, and must have a self-motion, and so must be capable of moving right and wrong, of uniting or dividing from what it will, or of falling from that state in which it ought to stand: but as every quality, in every creature, both within and without itself is equally good, and equally necessary to the perfection of the creature, since there is nothing that is evil in it, nor can become evil to the creature, but from itself, by its separating that from itself, with which it can, and ought to be united, it plainly follows, that evil can no more be charged upon God, than darkness can be charged upon the sun; because every quality is equally good, every quality of fire is as good as every quality of light, and only becomes an evil to that creature, who, by his own self-motion, has separated fire from the light in his own nature.
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2008, 11:00:51 PM »

KNOW THYSELF
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

12. If a delicious, fragrant fruit had a power of separating itself from that rich spirit, fine taste, smell, and color which it receives from the virtue of the sun, and the spirit of the air; or if it could in the beginning of its growth, turn away from the sun, and receive no virtue from it, then it would stand in its own first birth of wrath, sourness, bitterness, and astringency, just as the devils do, who have turned back into their own dark root, and rejected the Light and Spirit of God: so that the hellish nature of a devil is nothing else, but its own first forms of life, withdrawn, or separated from the heavenly light and love; just as the sourness, astringency, and bitterness of a fruit, are nothing else but the first forms of its own vegetable life before it has reached the virtue of the sun, and the spirit of the air.

And as a fruit, if it had a sensibility of itself, would be full of torment, as soon as it was shut up in the first forms of its life, in its own astringency, sourness, and stinging bitterness: so the angels, when they had turned back into these very same first forms of their own life, and broken off from the heavenly light and love of God, they became their own hell. No hell was made for them, no new qualities came into them, no vengeance or pains from the God of love fell upon them; they only stood in that state of division and separation from the Son, and Holy Spirit of God, which, by their own motion, they had made for themselves. They had nothing in them, but what they had from God, the first forms of an heavenly life, nothing but what the most heavenly beings have, and must have, to all eternity; but they had them in a state of self-torment, because they had separated them from that birth of light and love, which alone could make them glorious sons, and blessed images of the Holy Trinity.

The same strong desire, fiery wrath, and stinging motion is in holy angels, that is in devils, just as the same sourness, astringency, and biting bitterness is in a full ripened fruit, which was there before it received the riches of the light and spirit of the air. In a ripened fruit, its first sourness, astringency, and bitterness is not lost, nor destroyed, but becomes the real cause of all its rich spirit, fine taste, fragrant smell, and beautiful color; take away the working, contending nature of these first qualities, and you annihilate the spirit, taste, smell, and virtue of the fruit, and there would be nothing left for the sun and the spirit of the air to enrich.

Just in the same manner, that which in a devil is an evil selfishness, a wrathful fire, a stinging motion, is in an holy angel, the everlasting kindling of a divine life, the strong birth of an heavenly love, it is a real cause of an everlasting, ever-triumphing joyfulness, an ever-increasing sensibility of bliss.

Take away the working, contending nature of these first qualities, which in a devil, are only a serpentine selfishness, wrath, fire, and stinging motion; take away these, I say, from holy angels, and you leave them neither light, nor love, nor heavenly glory, nothing for the birth of the Son, Holy Spirit of God to rise up in.

So that here you may see this glorious truth, that the love and goodness of God is as plain and undeniable in having given to the fallen angels, those very qualities and powers which are now their hell, as in giving the first sourness, astringency and bitterness to fruits, which alone makes them capable of their delicious spirit, taste, color, and smell.

13. And thus you see the uniform life of all the creatures of God; how they are all raised, enriched, and blessed by the same life of God, derived into different kingdoms of creatures. For the beginnings and progress of a perfect life in fruits, and the beginnings and progress of a perfect life in angels, are not only like to one another, but are the very same thing, or the workings of the very same qualities, only in different kingdoms. Astringency in a fruit, is the very same quality, and does the same work in a fruit, that attracting desire does in a spiritual being; it is the same beginner, former, and supporter of a creaturely life in the one, as in the other. No creature in heaven, or earth, can begin to be, but by this astringency, or desire, being made the ground of it: and yet this astringency kept from the virtue of the sun, can only produce a poisonous fruit, and this astringent desire in an angel, turned from the light of God, can only make a devil. The biting, stinging bitterness of a fruit, if you could add thought to it, would be the very gnawing envy of the devil: and the envious motion in the devil's nature, would be nothing else but that stinging bitterness which is in a fruit, if you could take thought from the devil's motion.

14. From this attraction, astringency, or desire, which is one and the same quality in every individual thing, which is the first form of being and life, the very ground of every creature, from the highest angel to the lowest vegetable, we are led by an unerring thread to the first desire, or that desire which is in the divine nature. For as this attraction, or astringent desire is in spiritual and corporeal things, one and the same quality, working in the same manner, so is it one and the same quality with that first, unbeginning desire, which is in the divine nature.

That there is an attracting desire in the divine nature, is undeniable, because attraction is essential to all bodies; and desire, which is the same quality, is absolutely inseparable from all intelligible beings; therefore, that which is necessarily existent in the creature, upon the supposition of its creation, must necessarily be in the creator; because no inherent, operative quality can be in the creature, unless the same kind of quality had always been in the creator: therefore, attraction or desire, which are inseparable from every created being and life, are only various participations of the divine nature; or emanations from it, formed into different kingdoms of creatures, and working in all of them according to their respective natures.

In vegetables, it is that attraction, or desire, which brings every growing thing to its highest perfection: in angels, it is that blessed hunger, by which they are filled with the divine nature: in devils, it is turned into that serpentine selfishness, or crooked desire, which makes them a hell and torment to themselves.
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2008, 11:04:11 PM »

KNOW THYSELF
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

15. On the other hand, as we thus prove a posteriori, from a view of the creature, that there must be an attracting desire in the divine nature; so we can prove a priori also, from a consideration of God, that there must be an attracting desire in everything that ever was, or can be created by God: for nothing can come into being, but because God wills and desires it; therefore the desire of God is the creator, the original of everything. The creating will, or desire of God, is not a distant, or separate thing, as when a man wills or desires something to be done, or removed at a distance from him; but it is an omnipresent, working will and desire, which is itself, the beginning and forming of the thing desired. Our own will, and desirous imagination, when they work and create in us a settled aversion, or fixed love of anything, resemble in some degree, the creating power of God, which makes things out of itself, or its own working desire. And our will, and working imagination could not have the power that it has now even after the fall, but because it is a product, or spark of that first divine will or desire which is omnipotent.

16. Here therefore we have plainly found the true original, or first source of all things. The desire of God is the first former, generator, and creator of all things; they are all the births of this omnipotent, working desire; for everything that comes into being, must have the nature of that power that formed it, and therefore the nature of every creature must stand in an attractive desire, that is, everything must be a created, attractive power; because it is the birth, or product of a desire, or attractive power, and could neither come into, nor continue in being, but because it was generated not only by, but out of an attracting desire. And herein lies the band, or knot of all created being and life.

17. Will or desire in the Deity, is justly considered as God the Father, who from eternity to eternity, wills or generates only the Son, from which eternal generating, the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds: and this is the infinite perfection or fullness of beatitude of the life of the Triune God.

Now, as the unbeginning, eternal desire is in God, so is the created desire in the creature; it stands in the same tendency, hath the nature of the divine desire, because it is a branch out of it, or created from it. In the Deity, the eternal will or desire, is a desiring, or generating the Son, whence the Holy Spirit proceeds; the desire that is come out of God in the form of a creature, has the same tendency, it is a desire of the Son and Holy Spirit. And every created thing in heaven and earth attains its perfection, by its gaining in some degree, the birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God in it: for all attraction and desire in the creature, generates in them as it did in God; and so the birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God arises in some degree, or other, in all creatures that are in their proper state of perfection.

18. And here lies the ground of that plain, and most fundamental doctrine of scripture, that the Father is the creator, the Son the regenerator, and the Holy Spirit the sanctifier. For what is this but saying in the plainest manner, that as there are three in God, so there must be three in the creature, that as the three stand related to one another in God, so must they stand in the same relation in the creature. For if a threefold life of God must have distinct shares in the creation, blessing, and perfection of man, is it not a demonstration, that the life of man must stand in the same threefold state, and have such a Trinity in it, as has its true likeness to that Trinity which is in God?

That which generates in God, must generate in the creature; and that which is generated in God, must be generated in the creature; and that which proceeds from this generation in the Deity, must proceed from this generation in the creature: and therefore, the same threefold life must be in the creature in the same manner as it is in God. For a creature that can only exist, and be blessed by the distinct operation of a Triune God upon it, must have the same Triune nature that is answerable to it. And herein lies our true, and easy, and sound, and edifying knowledge and belief of the mystery of a Trinity in Unity: and this is all that the scripture teaches us concerning it. It is not a doctrine that requires learned or nice speculations, in order to be rightly apprehended by us. But when with the scriptures, we believe the Father to be our creator, the Son our regenerator, and the Holy Spirit our sanctifier; then we are learned enough in this mystery, and begin to know the Triune God in the same manner in time, that we shall know him in eternity.

And the reason why this great mystery of a Trinity in the Deity is thus revealed to us, and the necessity of a baptism in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, laid upon us, is this; it is to show us, that the divine, Triune life of God is lost in us, and that nothing less than a birth from the Son and Holy Spirit of God in us, can restore us to our first likeness to that Triune God, who at first created us. This I have fully shown in the little treatise upon regeneration.

19. When man was created in his original perfection, the Holy Trinity was his creator; the breath of lives, which became a living soul, was the breath of the Triune God: but when man began to will, and desire, that is, to generate contrary to the Deity, then the life of the Triune God extinguished in him.

The desire of man being turned from God, lost the birth of the Son, and the proceeding of the Holy Spirit; and so fell into, or under the light and spirit of this world: that is, of a paradisaical man, enjoying union and communion with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and living on earth in such enjoyment of God, as the angels live in heaven, he became an earthly creature, subject to the dominion of this outward world, capable of all its evil influences, subject to its vanity and mortality; and as to his outward life, stood only in the highest rank of animals. This and this alone, is the true nature and degree of the fall of man; it was neither more nor less than this. It was a falling out of one world, or kingdom, into another, it was changing the life, Light and Spirit of God, for the light and spirit of this world. Thus it was that Adam died the very day of his transgression, he died to all the influences and operations of the kingdom of God upon him, as we die to the influences of this world, when the soul leaves the body; and, on the other hand, all the influences, operations and powers of the elements of this life became opened in him, as they are in every animal at its birth into this world.

All other accounts of that fall, which only suppose the loss of some moral perfection, or natural acuteness of his rational powers, are not only senseless fictions, but are an express denial of the Old and New Testament account of it; for the Old Testament expressly says, that Adam was to die the day of his transgression, and therefore it is certain, that he then did die, and that the fall was his losing his first life: and to say that he did not die to that first life in which he was created, is the same denial of scripture, as to say, that he did not eat of the forbidden tree.

Again, the same scripture assures us, that after the fall, his eyes were opened; I suppose this is a proof, that before the fall, they were shut. And what is this, but saying in the plainest manner, that before the fall, the life, light and spirit of this world, were shut out of him? and that the opening of his eyes, was only another way of saying, that the life and light of this world were opened in him?
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2008, 12:07:45 AM »

IF AN ANGEL WAS TO BE SENT INTO THIS WORLD WITH A MESSAGE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


If an angel, or any inhabitant of heaven, was to be sent of a message into this world, it must be supposed, that neither the darkness, nor light of this world, could act according to their nature upon him; and therefore, though he was here, he must be said not to have the opened eyes of this world: but if this heavenly messenger should be taken with our manner of life, should be in doubts about returning to heaven, and long to have such flesh and blood as ours is, as earnestly as Adam longed to eat of the earthly tree; and if by this longing, he should actually obtain that which he desired; must it not then be said of him, when he had got this new nature, his eyes were opened, to see light and darkness; and that only for this reason, because the heavenly life was departed from him, and the earthly life of this world was opened in him? And thus it was that Adam died, and thus his eyes were opened.

Again, when his eyes were thus opened, or the light and life of this world thus opened in him, he was immediately ashamed and shocked at the sight of his own body, and wanted to hide it from himself, and from the sight of the sun. Now, how could this have happened to him, if his body had not undergone some very extraordinary change, from a state of glory and perfection, to a lamentable degree of vileness and impurity?

All the terror at his fallen state, seems to arise from the sad condition, in which he saw and felt his outward body. This made him ashamed of himself; this made him tremble, at hearing the voice of God; this made him creep behind the trees, and endeavor to hide and cover his body with leaves.

And is not this the same thing, as if Adam had said, "All my sin, my guilt, my misery, and shame, is published before heaven and earth, by this sad state and condition in which my body now appears."

But now, what was this sad state and condition of his body? What did Adam see in the manner and form of it that filled him with such confusion? Why, he only saw that he was fallen from his paradisaical glory, to have the same gross flesh and blood as the beasts and animals of this world have; which was, to bring forth an offspring in the same earthly manner, as they did. He could see, and be ashamed of no other deformity in his body, but that which he had in common with the animals of this world; and therefore there was nothing else in his outward form that he could be ashamed of; and yet it was his outward form that filled him with confusion. And is not this the greatest of all proofs, that before his fall, his body had not this nature and condition of the beasts in it? Is it not the same thing, as if he had said, "this body which now makes me ashamed, and which I want to hide, though it be only with thin leaves, because it brings me down amongst the animals of this world, is not that first body of glory into which God at first breathed the breath of lives, and in which I became a living soul."

Again, if Adam's body had been of the same kind of flesh and blood as ours is now, only in a better state of health and vigor, how could he have been created immortal? If he was not created immortal, how can it be said, that sin alone brought mortality, or death into human nature? But if he had immortality in his first created state, then he must have such a body as none of the elements, or elementary things of this world could act upon; for there is no death in any creature of this world, but what is brought upon it by that strife and destruction which the four elements bring upon one another. But if sin alone gave the elements, and all elementary things their first power of acting upon the body of Adam; then it is plain, that before his sin, he had not, could not have a body of such flesh and blood as we now have, but that he stood, as to the state, nature, and condition of his outward body, at as great a distance and difference from the animals of this world, as heaven does from earth, and was created with flesh and blood as much exalted above, and superior to the nature and power of all the elements, as the beasts of this world are under them.

And herein plainly appears the true sense of that saying, "God made not death," that is, he made not that which is mortal, or dying in the human nature, but sin alone formed and produced that in man, which could, and must die like the bodies of beasts. Death, and the grave, and the resurrection, are all standing proofs, that the body of bestial flesh and blood, which we now have, at the sight of which Adam was ashamed, which must die, which can rot in the grave, which must not be seen after the resurrection, was not that first body, in which Adam appeared before God in paradise: for it is an undeniable truth of scripture, that this flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom of God; it must be a truth of the same certainty, that this flesh and blood could not by God himself be brought into paradise; but that it must have the same original with every other polluted thing that is an abomination in his sight, or incapable of entering into the kingdom of God.

20. That the gospel also plainly shows, that man was created in the dignity and glorious enjoyment of the Triune life of God, and that his fall, was a falling into the earthly life of the light and spirit of this world, I have sufficiently proved from the greatest articles of the Christian faith, concerning the necessity, nature, and manner of our redemption, in the book of Christian Regeneration. I have there shown, that baptism in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, signifies nothing but our being born again into this Triune life of God. That the necessity of being born again of the Word or Son of God, of being born of the Spirit, or receiving him as a sanctifier of our newly raised nature, plainly proves that what we lost by the fall, was this Triune life of God: he that denies this, denies the whole of the Christian redemption. (See Spirit of Prayer, Part II, page 63, &c., page 91. Way to Divine Knowledge, pages 39-53.)
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2008, 12:10:15 AM »

IF AN ANGEL WAS TO BE SENT INTO THIS WORLD WITH A MESSAGE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

21. It has been already observed, that when man was created in his original perfection, the Holy Trinity was his creator; but when man was fallen, or had lost his first divine life, then there began a new language of a redeeming religion. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were now to be considered, not as creating every man as they created the first, but as differently concerned in raising the fallen race of mankind, to that first likeness of the Holy Trinity in which their first father was created: hence it is, that the scriptures speak of the Father, as drawing, and calling men; because the desire which is from the Father's nature, must be the first mover, stirrer, and beginner. This desire must be moved and brought into an anguishing state, and have the agitation of a fire that is kindling; and then men are truly drawn by the Father.

The Son of God is now considered as the regenerator or raiser of a new birth in us; because he enters a second time into the life of the soul, that his own nature and likeness may be again generated in it, and that he may be that to the soul in its state, which he is to the Father in the Deity.

The Holy Ghost is represented as the sanctifier, or finisher of the divine life restored in us; because as in the Deity, the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, as the amiable, blessed finisher of the Triune life of God; so the fallen nature of man cannot be raised out of its unholy state, cannot be blessed and sanctified with its true degree of the divine life, till the Holy Spirit arises up in it.

Since then the Triune God, or the three persons in the one God, must have this difference of shares, must reach out this different help to the raising up of fallen man, it is undeniable, that the first created man stood in the image and real likeness of the one God, not only representing, but really having in his birth and life, the birth and life of the Holy Trinity. God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost had such a Unity in Trinity in man, as they had in the Deity itself: how else could man be the image and likeness of the Holy Trinity, if it was not such a birth in man, as it was in itself? Or, how could the Holy Trinity dwell and operate in man, each person according to its respective nature, unless there was the same threefold life in man as there is in God? How could the Holy Trinity be an object of man's worship and adoration, if the Holy Trinity had not produced itself in man? The creature is only to own and worship its creator; therefore Father, Son, and Holy Ghost must have each of them their creaturely offspring, or product in man, if man is to worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If therefore you deny angels, and the souls of perfect men to have the triune nature, of life of God in them: if you deny that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have such union and relation in the soul, as they have out of it, you are guilty of as great heresy and apostasy from the gospel, as if you denied the Father to be the creator or him that calleth and draweth, the Son to be the redeemer, or him that regenerateth, and the Holy Spirit to be him that sanctifieth human nature.

Again: consider this great truth, which will much illustrate this matter; you can be an inhabitant of no world, or a partaker of its life, but by its being inwardly the birth of your own life, or by having the nature and condition of that world born in you. As thus, hell must be inwardly born in the soul, it must arise up within it, as it does without it, before the soul can become an inhabitant of it.

Again: that which is the life of this outward world, viz., its fire, and light, and air, must have such a state and birth within you, as they have without you, before you can be an inhabitant or partaker of the life of this world; that is, fire must be in you, must be the same fire, have the same place and nature within you, have the same relation to the light and air that is within you, as it has without you, or else the fire of the outward world, cannot keep up, or have any communion with your own life.

The light of this world can signify nothing to you, cannot reach or enrich you with its powers and virtues, if the same light is not arisen in the same manner in the kindling of your own life, as it arises in the outward world.

The air also of this world can do you no good, can be no blower up and preserver of your life, but because it has the same birth in you, that it has in outward nature. And therefore it must be a truth of the greatest certainty, that so it must of all necessity be with respect to the kingdom of God, or that life which is to be had in the beatific presence of God; it must, by an absolute necessity, have the same birth within you, as it has without you, before you can enter into it, or become an inhabitant of it: if you are to live, and be eternally blessed in the triune life, or beatific presence of God, that triune life, must, of the utmost necessity, first make itself creaturely in you; it must be and arise in you, as it does without you, before you can possibly enter into any communion with it.

Now is there anything more plain and scriptural, more easy to be conceived, more pious to be believed, and more impossible to be denied, than all this? And yet this is all that I have said, in two propositions in the treatise upon Christian Regeneration: it is there said, "Man was created by God after his own image, and in his own likeness, a living mirror of the divine nature; where Father, Son, and Holy Ghost each brought forth their own nature in a creaturely manner." Now, what is this, but saying, that the Holy Trinity brought forth a creature in its own likeness, standing in a creaturely birth of the divine, triune life? If it did not stand thus, how could it have its form or creation from the Holy Trinity? Or how could it without this triune life in itself, enter into, or be a partaker of the triune life or presence of God? In the next proposition it is said; "In it, that is, in this created image of the Holy Trinity, the Father's nature generated the divine Word, or Son of God, and the Holy Ghost proceeded from them both as an amiable, moving life of both. This was the likeness or image of God, in which the first man was created, a true offspring of God, in whom the divine birth sprung up as in the Deity, where Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, saw themselves in a creaturely manner."

Now, what is this, but saying in the plainest manner, only thus much, that the triune, creaturely life stood in the same birth and generation of its threefold life, as the Deity doth, whose image, likeness, and offspring it is? And can it possibly be otherwise; for if the creature cometh from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as their created image and likeness, must not that which it hath from the Father, be of the nature of the Father, that which it hath from the Son, be of the nature of the Son, and that which it hath from the Holy Ghost, be of the nature of the Holy Ghost? And must they not therefore stand in the creature in such relation to one another, as they do in the creator? If it is the nature of the Father to generate, if it is the nature of the Son to be generated, if it is the nature of the Holy Ghost to proceed from both, must not that which you have from the Father generate in you, that which you have from the Son be generated in you, and that which you have from the Holy Ghost, proceed from both in you? All which is only saying this plain and obvious truth, that that being, or created life, which you have from Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, must stand in such a triune relation within you as it does without you; that having this threefold likeness of God, you may be capable of entering into an enjoyment of his triune, beatific life or presence.
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2008, 12:13:58 AM »

IF AN ANGEL WAS TO BE SENT INTO THIS WORLD WITH A MESSAGE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

For, consider again this instance, with regard to the life of this world. The fire, and light, and air, of outward nature, must become creaturely in you; that is, you must have a fire that is your own creaturely fire, you must have a light that is generated by, or from your own fire, a breath that proceeds from your own fire and light, as the air of outward nature proceeds from its fire and light: you must have all this nature and birth of fire, and light, and air in your own creaturely being, or you cannot possibly live in, or have a life from the fire, and light, and air of outward nature: no omnipotence can make you a partaker of the life of this outward world, without having the life of this outward world born in your own creaturely being. And therefore, no omnipotence can make you a partaker of the beatific life or presence of the Holy Trinity, unless that life stands in the same triune state within you, as it does without you.

The nature of this world must become creatural in you, before you can live, or have a share in the life of this world; the triune nature of God must breathe forth itself to stand creaturely in you, before you can live, or have a share in the beatific life or presence of the triune God.

Now, is not all this strictly according to the very outward letter, and inward truth of the most important articles of the Christian religion? For what else can be meant by the necessity of our being born again of the Word, or Son of God, being born of the Spirit of God, in order to our entrance into the kingdom of heaven? Is not this saying, that the triune life of God must first have its birth in us, before we can enter into the triune, beatific life, or presence of God? What else is taught us by that new birth sought for by a baptism, in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Does it not plainly tell us, that the triune nature of the Deity is that which wants to be born in us, and that our redemption consists in nothing else but in the bringing forth this new birth in us, and that, being thus born again in the likeness of the Holy Trinity, we may be capable of its threefold blessing and happiness? The New Testament tells us of the impossibility of our being made holy, but by the Holy Spirit of God: now, how could we want any distinct thing particularly from the Son of God, any distinct thing, particularly from the Holy Ghost, in order to raise and repair our fallen nature, how could this particularity be thus absolutely necessary, but because the holy threefold life of the Deity must stand within us, in the birth of our own life, as it does without us, that so we may be capable of living in God, and God in us.

Search to eternity, why no devil, or beast can possibly be a partaker of the kingdom of heaven, and there can only this one reason be assigned for it, because neither of them have the triune, holy life of God in them: for every created thing does, and must, and can only want, seek, unite with, and enjoy that outwardly, which is of the same nature with itself. Remove a devil where you will, he is still in hell, and always at the same distance from heaven; he can touch, or taste, or reach nothing but what is in hell. Carry a beast where you please, either to court, or to church, he is yet at the same infinite distance from the joys and fears either of church, or court, as the beasts that never saw anything else but their own kind: and all this is grounded solely on this eternal truth; namely, that no being can rise higher than its own life reaches. The circle of the birth of life in every creature is its necessary circumference, and it cannot possibly reach any further; and therefore it is a joyful truth, that beings created to worship and adore the Holy Trinity, and to enter into the beatific life and presence of the triune God, must, of all necessity, have the same triune life in their own creaturely being. And now, what can be so glorious, so edifying, so ravishing, as this knowledge of God and ourselves? The very thought of our standing in this likeness and relation to the infinite creator and being of all beings, is enough to kindle the divine life within us, and melt us into a continual love and adoration: for how can we enough love and adore that Holy Trinity which has created us in its own likeness, that we might live in an eternal union and communion with it? Will anyone call this an irreverent familiarity, or bold looking into the Holy Trinity, which is nothing else but a thankful adoration of it, as our glorious Father and creator? It is our best and only acknowledgement of the greatest truths of the holy scriptures; it is the scripture doctrine of the Trinity kept in its own simplicity, separated from scholastic speculations, where the three in God, are only distinguished by that threefold share that they have in the creation and redemption of man. When we thus know the Trinity in ourselves, and adore its high original in the Deity, we are possessed of a truth of the greatest moment, that enlightens the mind with the most solid and edifying knowledge, and opens to us the fullest understanding of all that concerns the creation, fall, and redemption of man.

Without this knowledge, all the scripture will be used as a dead letter, and formed only into a figurative, historical system of things, that has no ground in nature; and learned divines can only be learned in the explication of phrases, and verbal distinctions.

The first chapters of Genesis will be a knot that cannot be untied; the mysteries of the gospel will only be called federal rites, and their inward ground reproached as enthusiastic dreams; but when it is known, that the triune nature of God was brought forth in the creation of man, that it was lost in his fall, that it is restored in his redemption, a never-failing light arises in all scripture, from Genesis to the Revelation. Everything that is said of God, as Father, regenerator, or sanctifier of man; everything that is said of Jesus Christ, as redeeming, forming, dwelling in, and quickening; and of the Holy Spirit, as moving and sanctifying us: everything that is said of the holy sacraments, or promised in and by them, has its deep and inward ground fully discovered; and the whole Christian religion is built upon a rock, and that rock is nature, and God will appear to be doing every good to us, that the God of all nature can possibly do. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is wholly practical; it is revealed to us, to discover our high original, and the greatness of our fall, to show us the deep and profound operation of the triune God in the recovery of the divine life in our souls; that by the means of this mystery thus discovered, our piety may be rightly directed, our faith and prayer have their proper objects, that the workings and aspirings of our own hearts may cooperate, and correspond with that triune life in the Deity, which is always desiring to manifest itself in us; for as everything that is in us, whether it be heaven, or hell, rises up in us by a birth, and is generated in us by the will-spirit of our souls, which kindles itself either in heaven, or hell; so this mystery of a triune Deity manifesting itself, as a Father creating, as a Son, or Word, regenerating, as a Holy Spirit sanctifying us, is not to entertain our speculation with dry, metaphysical distinctions of the Deity, but to show us from what a height and depth we are fallen, and to excite such a prayer and faith, such a hungering and thirsting after this triune fountain of all good, as may help to generate and bring forth in us that first image of the Holy Trinity in which we were created, and which must be born in us before we can enter into the state of the blessed: here we may see the reason, why the learned world has had so many fruitless disputes about this mystery, and why it has been so often a stone of stumbling to philosophers and critics; it is because they began to reason about that, which never was proposed to their reason, and which no more belongs to human learning and philosophy, than light belongs to our ears, or sounds to our eyes. No person has any fitness, nor any pretense, nor any ground from scripture, to think, or say anything of the Trinity, till such time as he stands in the state of the penitent returning prodigal, weary of his own sinful, shameful nature; and desiring to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, and then is he first permitted to be baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: this is the first time the gospel teaches, or calls anyone to the acknowledgement of the Holy Trinity. Now, as this knowledge is first given in baptism, and there only as a signification of a triune life of the Deity, which must be regenerated in the soul; so the scriptures say nothing afterwards to this baptized penitent concerning the Trinity, but only with regard to regeneration, everywhere only showing him how Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all equally divine, must draw, awaken, quicken, enlighten, move, guide, cleanse, and sanctify the new-born Christian: is it not therefore undeniably plain, that all abstract speculations of this mystery, how it is in itself, how it is to be ideally conceived, or scholastically expressed by us, are a wandering from that true light, in which the Trinity of God is set before us, which is only revealed as a key, or direction to the true depths of that regeneration, which is to be sought for from the triune Deity? But to go on in a further account of the creation.
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2008, 12:18:04 AM »

ALL CREATURES ARE PRODUCTS OF DIVINE DESIRE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law


23. Now, as all creatures, whether intellectual, animate, or inanimate, are products, or emanations of the divine desire, created out of the Father, who from eternity to eternity generates the Son, whence the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds; so every intelligent, created being, not fallen from its state, stands in the same birth, or generating desire, it generates in its degree, as God the Father generates eternally the Son, and is blessed and perfected in the divine life, by having the Holy Spirit arise up in it.

Hence it is, that those angels which stood, and continued in the same will and desire in which they came out from God, willing and desiring as God from all eternity had willed and desired, were by the rising up of the Holy Spirit in them, confirmed and established in the divine life, and so became eternally and inseparably united with the ever-blessed triune Deity.

On the other hand, those angels which did not keep their will and desire in its first created tendency, but raised up an own will and desire, which own will and desire was their direct, full choosing and desiring to be, and do something which they could not be, and do in God, and is therefore properly called their aspiring to be above God, or to be without any dependence upon him; these angels, by thus going backwards with their will and desire out of, or from God and the divine truth, could only find, or generate that which had the utmost contrariety to God and the divine birth, and so became under a necessity of finding themselves in an eternal state, spirit and life that was directly contrary to all that is good, holy, amiable, blessed and divine.

Now, the will and desire in every creature is generating, and efficacious, strictly according to the state and nature of that creature; (See Way to Divine Knowledge, pages 139-160.) therefore, eternal beings in an eternal state, must have an eternal power and efficacy in the working of their wills and desires: when therefore those angels, with all the strength of their eternal desires, turned away from, and contrary to God and the divine birth, they could become nothing else, but beings eternally separated and broken off from all that was God and goodness: for eternal beings that stood only in an eternal state, acting with all their vigor, not doubting, but strongly willing, could not do anything that had only a temporal nature and effect, because they stood not in such a nature or such a world, and therefore what they willed and generated with all their nature, (which was a contrariety to God) that became the eternal state of their nature. And this is the birth and origin of hellish beings.

God had done all to them and for them, that he had done to and for the angels that stood; he had given them the same holy beginning of their lives, had brought them forth out of himself in the same tendency, that which was the nature of other angels, was theirs; he could not make any established, fixed, and unchangeable angels, because the life of everything must be a birth, and willing beings must have a birth of their wills; he could not make them fixed, because everything that comes from God, must so come from him, as it was in him, a self- existent and self-moving power, and therefore no goodness of God could hinder their having a self-motion, because they were, and could be nothing else but creatures brought forth by, and out of his own self- existent and self-moving nature.

God is all good, and everything that comes out from him, as his creature, product, or offspring, must come forth in that state of goodness, which it had in him; and every creature, however high in its birth from God, must in the beginning of its life, have a power of joining with or departing from God, because the beginning of its life is nothing else but the beginning of its own self-motion as a creature; and therefore no creature can have its state or condition fixed, till it gives itself up either wholly unto God, or turns wholly from him; for if it is an intelligent creature, it can only be so, by having the intelligent will of God derived into it, or made creaturely in it; but the intelligent will brought into a creaturely form, must be that which it was in the creator, and therefore must be the same self-existent and self-moving power that it was before it became creaturely in any angel or spirit. And thus the cause and origin of evil, wherever it is, is absolutely and eternally separated from God.

Again: as all intelligent beings can no way attain their happiness and perfection, but by standing with their will and desire united to God, in the same tendency in which the Father eternally generateth the Son, from whence the Holy Spirit proceedeth as the finisher of the triune, beatific life, so the same thing is manifestly proved to us by the lowest kind of beings that are in this visible world; for all vegetables, by their attraction or astringency, which is their desire, and is an outbirth of the divine desire, reach their utmost perfection by the same progress, that is, by getting a birth of the light and spirit of this outward world into them, and so become infallible, though remote proofs that no life can be brought to its proper perfection in the creature, till the image of the triune life of God, is, according to the state and capacity of the creature, formed in it: look where you will, everything proclaims and proves this great truth. The Christian doctrine of the salvation of mankind by a birth of the Son, and Holy Spirit of God in them, is not only written in scripture, but in the whole state and frame of nature, and of every life in this world; for every perfect fruit openly declares, that it can have no goodness in it, till the light and spirit of this world has done that to it and in it, which the Light and Spirit of God must do to the soul of man, and therefore is a full proof, that it is absolutely necessary for every human creature to desire, believe, and receive the birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God to save it from its own wrath and darkness, as it is necessary for every fruit of the earth to be raised and regenerated from its own bitterness and sourness, by receiving the light and spirit of this world into it.
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2008, 12:21:18 AM »

ALL CREATURES ARE PRODUCTS OF DIVINE DESIRE
From "AN APPEAL TO ALL WHO DOUBT THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL"
by William Law

25. Some learned men, willing to discover the image of the Holy Trinity in the creation, have observed three properties both in body and spirit, which they supposed to be a proper likeness of the Trinity. But all this is nothing to the matter.

For as the Holy Trinity is a threefold life in God, so the image of the Trinity is only found in a threefold life in the creature; for it is the whole birth, or generation of the thing itself, whether it be corporeal or spiritual, that stands in such a threefold state as the Holy Trinity doth, that is the proper likeness or image of the Trinity. As there is one infinitely perfect Deity, because this one Deity is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so every creature that is an original production of the Deity, or in its proper state of perfection, stands in its whole being, or generating as the Deity doth, and neither hath, nor ever can have any perfection, but because the triune nature of God is manifested and brought forth in it; for perfection of life is God, and a perfection of life derived from God, must stand in the same threefold state, and that which is a life from the Deity, must have a life of the Trinity in it.

26. Take away attraction, or desire from the creature of this world, and you annihilate the creature; for where there is no attraction or desire, there can be no nature or being; and therefore attraction or desire shows the work of the creator in everything, or what is meant by the divine fiat, or creating power. Now, what is it which this attraction or desire wants, hungers, draws and reaches after? Nothing else but the light and spirit of this world. What is the true, deep, and infallible ground of this? Why does this desire thus work in every life of this world? It is because the eternal will in the Deity, is a desiring or generating the Son, from whence the Holy Spirit of God proceeds: and therefore attraction, which is an outbirth of the divine desire, stands in a perpetual desiring of the light and spirit of this world, because they are the two outbirths of the Light and Holy Spirit of God. What rational mind can help being charmed with this wonderful harmony and relation betwixt God, nature, and creature?

27. And now, my dear reader, if you are either Arian, or Deist, be so no longer: the ground is dug up from under you, and neither opinion has anything left to stand upon; you may wrangle and wrest the doctrine of scripture, because it is only taught in words; but the veil is now taken off from nature, and every plant and fruit will teach you with the clearness of a noonday sun, these two great truths; first, that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one being, one life, one God: secondly, that the soul, which is dead to the paradisaical life, must be made alive again by the birth of the Son and Holy Spirit of God in it, in the same manner as a dead seed is, and only can be brought to life in this world, by the light and spirit of this world.

If you are an Arian, don't content yourself with the numbers that are with you, or with a learned name or two that are on your side: Arianism has never yet been recommended by the genius and learning of a Baronious, or Bellarmin; and nothing but a poor, groping, purblind philosophy, that is not able to look either at God, nature, or creature, hath ever led any man into it: for it is a truth proclaimed by all nature and creature, that there is a threefold life in God, and everything that is, whether it be happy, or miserable, perfect or imperfect, is only so, because it has, or has not the triune nature of God in it.

A beginning fruit is like a poison; a seed, for a while, is shut up in a hard death. Why are they both at first in this state? It is because each of them stands as yet only in that first birth of nature, which is but a beginning manifestation of the Deity. Let the light of the sun, and the spirit of this world be born in them, and then the sour, astringent fruit, and the dead seed becomes a perfect, vegetable life, and is in its kind perfect, for this one only reason, because the triune life of the Deity is truly manifested in it.

28. If you are a Deist, made so, either by the disorderly state of your own heart, or by prejudices taken from the corruptions and divisions of Christians, or from a dislike of the language of scripture, or from an opinion of the sufficiency of a religion of human reason, or from whatever else it may be, look well to yourself, Christianity is no fiction of enthusiasm, or invention of priests.

If you can show, that the gospel proposes to bring men into the kingdom of heaven by any other method, than that, which nature requires to make any creature a living member of this world, then I will acknowledge the gospel not to be founded in nature.

But if what the gospel saith of the absolute necessity, that the fallen soul be born again of the Son and Holy Spirit of God, is the very same which all temporal nature saith of everything that is to enter into the life of this world, viz., that it cannot partake of the life of this world, till the light and spirit of this world is born in it; then does not all nature in this world, and every life in it, declare, that the Christian method of salvation is as necessary to raise fallen man, as the sun and spirit of this world is, to bring a creature alive into it?

Now, as there is but one God, so there is but one nature, as unalterable as that God from whom it arises, and whose manifestation it is; so also there is but one religion founded in nature, and but one salvation possible in nature. Revealed religion is nothing else but a revelation of the mysteries of nature, for God cannot reveal, or require anything by a spoken or written word, but that which he reveals and requires by nature; for nature is his great book of revelation, and he that can only read its capital letters, will have found so many demonstrations of the truth of the written revelation of God. (Spirit of Love, Part II, pages 134-149.)
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