Christianity merely remedial!

This is the opening sentence in a paragraph by Hugh Martin in his review of R. S. Candlish’s The Fatherhood of God, which caused some stir in the mid 1800s. Candlish’s work is dealing with the theme of adoption. In Martin’s paragraph he goes on to explain what he means and how Christianity is NOT merely remedial, it is so much more. It is not Eden restored, but better than Eden. Listen to Martin:

Christianity merely remedial! Are its revelations merely remedial? Does i but sweep away a cloud, or couch a cataract, that we may behold the former light shining as before–at the best but as bright as ever, shewing all things again as they were at the first–all, doubtless, “very good?” Is this all that comes to light by the gospel? Is it old knowledge merely come freshly back like a revelation? Is it old knowledge of God and ourselves–of the attributes of His nature and the capacities of our own–when we look upon Emmanuel and see that Godhead is incarnable and manhood capable of hypostatic union? Was it known before that the anger of the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, could be expressed by the frown of a human face; or the pity of the Most High by the tears of a Man? Is it but Adam’s knowledge–his actual or possible knowledge–of the glorious Trinity we gain when we contemplate with adoration and with awe, the love of the Father, the mission, the death, the intercession of the Son, the outpouring and the indwelling of the Spirit? Did Adam, or did angels, know the Trinity as the Trinity may now be known–now that He which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Ancient of days, is seen on the throne of his glory, and his Only-begotten Son, now the first-begotten from the dead, at his right hand, and the seven Spirits of God before his throne–Father, Son and Holy Ghost enthroned thus, the Divine object, the Divine intercessor, the Divine author and paraclete, of prayer? Is it but the former things disclosed anew, when we read in the cross the consistency of sin-avenging justice and invincible redeeming love, and are taught that the angels, when they witness righteousness and peace embrace each other, shout aloud that “the whole earth is full of his glory?”

I think what Martin is saying, and goes on to say, is that in the gospel there is a knowledge of God, an experience of God, a relationship with God that is better than if Adam had never fallen.


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