• Today's Daily Devotion
Sabbath Rest: Dignity Defined
The dignity of man appears from his bearing the image of his Maker,” Nathanael Emmons declared in his sermon on the dignity of man to his Massachusetts ...

Sabbath Rest: Dignity Defined

The dignity of man appears from his bearing the image of his Maker,” Nathanael Emmons declared in his sermon on the dignity of man to his Massachusetts congregation.

Emmons told his listeners that God formed “a more noble and intelligent creature to bear his image.” Because God breathed life into their nostrils, men and women are the only creatures created in God’s image.

“This allows us to say, that man is the offspring of God, a ray from the fountain of light, a drop from the ocean of intelligence. Though, man, since the fall, comes into the world destitute of the moral image of God, yet … he still bears the natural image of his Maker. His soul is a transcript of the natural perfections of the Deity,” Emmons continued.

The Lord gave man something he didn’t give other creatures. He gave him a soul. “God is a spirit, and so is the soul of man; God is intelligence and activity, and so is the soul of man. In a word, man is the living image of the living God.”

But the Lord did not confine man’s dominion to the earth. “God has, besides, instamped a dignity upon man by giving him not only a rational, but an immortal existence,” asserted Emmons. “The soul, which is properly the man, shall survive the body and live forever.”

Emmons pointed to the lifespan of God’s lesser creatures to explain humanity’s capacity for immortality. “The creatures and objects, with which we are now surrounded, have but a short and momentary being. One species of insects, we are told, begin and end their existence in twenty-four hours,” he said, noting that larger animals have longer life cycles than mere bugs.

Emmons shared that God cared for all his creations, but humanity was Providence’s favorite, which is why he gave angels “charge over” men and women. God also gave humans a gift: a large world to inhabit and explore.

“But, the most distinguishing and most astonishing display of the divine mercy, is the incarnation and death of the Son of God for the salvation of man. By the incarnation of Christ, our nature was united with the divine, and the dignity of man with the dignity of Christ,” proclaimed Emmons.

He noted the eternity of Christ was God’s ultimate gift to the souls of his most honored creatures. “Hence all the sufferings, which Christ hath endured on earth, and all the honours, which he hath received in heaven, have displayed the dignity of man. And for the same reason, the dignity of man will be eternally rising, with the rising honour and dignity of Christ,” Nathanael Emmons concluded.

Prayer

Thank you for breathing life into me, for giving me a soul.

“Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

(Ecclesiastes 3:21).


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