THE HARMONY OF THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES IN THE PRIMITIVE STATE OF MAN

Taken from: The Harmony of the Divine Attributes in the Contrivance and Accomplishments of Man’s Redemption
Written by William Bates, D. D.(1625–1699) was an English Presbyterian minister.
Edited for thought and sense.

creation-museum-0251The wonderful happiness which the Lord Jesus procured for believers, includes a perfect freedom from sin, and all afflictive evils, including the just consequences of it…

…and it also includes the fruition of righteousness, peace and joy, wherein the kingdom of God consists. In this the evangelical covenant excels the natural. The law supposes a man upright, and the happiness it promises to exact obedience, is called life; it rewards innocence with immortality. But the blessedness of the gospel is styled salvation which signifies the rescuing of lapsed man from a state of misery, and the investing of him with unperishing glory.

In order to discover the excellency of this benefit, and the endearing obligations laid on us by our Redeemer, it is necessary to take a view of that dreadful and desperate calamity which seized upon mankind. The wretchedness of our captivity illustrates the glory of our redemption. And since the misery of man was not the original condition of his nature, but the effect of his guilty choice, it is necessary to make some reflection upon his first state, as he came out of the pure hands of God; that comparing our present misery with our lost happiness, we may revive in our breasts the affections of sorrow, shame, and indignation against ourselves; and considering that the heavenly Adam hath purchased for us a title to a better inheritance than was forfeited by the earthly one, we may, with the more affectionate gratitude, extol the favor and power of our Redeemer.

God who is the living fountain of all perfections, spent eternity in the contemplation of his own excellencies, before any creature was made. In the moment appointed by his wisdom, he gave the first being to the world. Three distinct orders of natures he formed, the one purely spiritual. The other purely material, and between both one mixed, which unites the extremes in itself. This is man, the abridgment of the universe, allied to the angels in his soul, and to material things in his body, and capable of the happiness of both; by his internal faculties enjoying the happiness of the intellectual, and by his external, tasting the pleasures of the sensitive, world. Man’s greatest excellency was a perfect conformity to the divine pattern. “God created man in his own likeness, in the image of God created he him.” This includes the natural similitude of God in the substance of the soul, as it is an intelligent, free, spiritual, and immortal being; this is assigned to be the reason of the law, that “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man,” Gen. 9:6; “a moral resemblance in its qualities and perfections; that happiness and dignity of man’s state, was the consequence of man’s acquiring the right to God’s holiness.

The natural resemblance I shall not insist on. For the distinct illustration of the other, we must consider God in a threefold respect:

1. In respect of his absolute holiness, unspotted purity, infinite goodness, incorruptible justice, and whatever we conceive under the notion of moral perfections:
2. With respect to his complete blessedness, the result of his infinite excellencies; as he is perfectly exempt from all evils which might alloy and lessen his blessedness, and enjoys those pleasures which are worthy of his pure nature and glorious state:
3. In regard of his supreme dominion, which extends itself to all things in heaven and earth. Now in the participation of these the image of God did principally consist. The holiness of man was the copy of the divine purity; his happiness a representation of the divine felicity; and his dominion over the lower world the resemblance of God’s sovereignty.

I will take a particular survey of them [in a following post].

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: William Bates, D. D. (1625–1699) He was born in London in November 1625, and was educated at Cambridge, initially at Emmanuel College and subsequently (1644) at Queens’ College. In 1647 he proceeded B.A. He was a presbyterian. His first living was St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West, London, and he remained as vicar until the Act of Uniformity 1662 was passed, when he was ejected. He also took part with other evangelical clergy in carrying on a lecture series in Cripplegate church under the name of ‘Morning Exercise.’

In the negotiations for the restoration of Charles II, Bates took part. Royal favour came to him, and he was appointed one of the royal chaplains. In 1660 he acted as one of the commissioners of the Savoy conference. In 1661 Cambridge conferred on him the degree of D.D. by royal mandate. At the same time he was urged to accept the deanery of Lichfield and Coventry, but like Richard Baxter, Edmund Calamy the elder, Thomas Manton, and others in their position, he declined office. Later, Bates conducted the discussion between the nonconformists and John Pearson, Peter Gunning, and Anthony Sparrow. In 1665 Bates took the oath imposed by the parliament which met at Oxford ‘that he would not at any time endeavour an alteration in the government of church or state.’ In this he was supported by John Howe and Matthew Poole, although Richard Baxter refused it.

In 1668 some of the more moderate churchmen endeavoured to work out a scheme of comprehension that would bring presbyterians back into the Church of England. In this Bates, Baxter, and Manton co-operated. But no agreement could be reached. A little later he joined in the presentation of a petition to the king for ‘relief of nonconformists.’ His majesty received him graciously, but nothing came of it. Again in 1674, under the conduct of John Tillotson and Edward Stillingfleet, a fresh effort was made towards comprehension through Bates, but once more nothing came of it. After the accession of James II, the disabilities and sufferings of the nonconformists increased. Bates was at Baxter’s side when George Jeffreys browbeat and insulted Baxter and his associates. He s successfully interceded with Archbishop Tillotson in behalf of Nathaniel, Lord Crewe, bishop of Durham, who had been excepted from the act of indemnity of 1690.

On the accession of William III and Mary, Bates delivered two speeches to their majesties on behalf of the dissenters. In the last years of his life he was pastor of the presbyterian church of Hackney. He died there 14 July 1699, aged seventy-four, having outlived and preached the funeral sermons of Baxter, Manton, Thomas Jacomb, and David Clarkson. As a preacher he was held to be ‘silver-tongued’ and the ‘politest’ of all the nonconformists. John Howe’s funeral sermon to Bates’s memory was printed with Bates’s works.

He was born in London in November 1625, and was educated at Cambridge, initially at Emmanuel College and subsequently (1644) at Queens’ College. In 1647 he proceeded B.A. He was a presbyterian. His first living was St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West, London, and he remained as vicar until the Act of Uniformity 1662 was passed, when he was ejected. He also took part with other evangelical clergy in carrying on a lecture series in Cripplegate church under the name of ‘Morning Exercise.’

In the negotiations for the restoration of Charles II, Bates took part. Royal favour came to him, and he was appointed one of the royal chaplains. In 1660 he acted as one of the commissioners of the Savoy conference. In 1661 Cambridge conferred on him the degree of D.D. by royal mandate. At the same time he was urged to accept the deanery of Lichfield and Coventry, but like Richard BaxterEdmund Calamy the elderThomas Manton, and others in their position, he declined office. Later, Bates conducted the discussion between the nonconformists and John PearsonPeter Gunning, and Anthony Sparrow. In 1665 Bates took the oath imposed by the parliament which met at Oxford ‘that he would not at any time endeavour an alteration in the government of church or state.’ In this he was supported by John Howe and Matthew Poole, although Richard Baxter refused it.

In 1668 some of the more moderate churchmen endeavoured to work out a scheme of comprehension that would bring presbyterians back into the Church of England. In this Bates, Baxter, and Manton co-operated. But no agreement could be reached. A little later he joined in the presentation of a petition to the king for ‘relief of nonconformists.’ His majesty received him graciously, but nothing came of it. Again in 1674, under the conduct of John Tillotson and Edward Stillingfleet, a fresh effort was made towards comprehension through Bates, but once more nothing came of it. After the accession of James II, the disabilities and sufferings of the nonconformists increased. Bates was at Baxter’s side when George Jeffreys browbeat and insulted Baxter and his associates. He s successfully interceded with Archbishop Tillotson in behalf of Nathaniel, Lord Crewe, bishop of Durham, who had been excepted from the act of indemnity of 1690.

On the accession of William III and Mary, Bates delivered two speeches to their majesties on behalf of the dissenters. In the last years of his life he was pastor of the presbyterian church of Hackney. He died there 14 July 1699, aged seventy-four, having outlived and preached the funeral sermons of Baxter, Manton, Thomas Jacomb, and David Clarkson. As a preacher he was held to be ‘silver-tongued’ and the ‘politest’ of all the nonconformists. John Howe’s funeral sermon to Bates’s memory was printed with Bates’s works.