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'indulgence in the immediate search. Thus the love of novelty mounts up to curiosity, a highly pleasing, oftentimes an useful appetite, but an appetite restless and insatiate as the grave. Curiosity, the investigator of truth, the purveyor of the sciences, the handmaid of the arts, the mother of invention :-curiosity, the prompter to rashness, the harbinger of danger, the guide to ruin, curiosity was fatal to the mother of all living, and has proved the bane of myriads of her daughters.
Nor was this the only principle that operated with Eve. That fine and delicate sense which is wrought up to extacy by seeing, derives impressions no less lively and commanding from all the beauties and magnificence which die open to inspection. It is that therefore which prompts to works of taste and neatness; it is that highly sensitive feeling which, apart form the more cold dictates of the understanding, shrinks back instinctively from grossness and unfitness; it is that principle which is really the guardian of taste and of decorum in the world. Man would be more careless, more rude and less aspiring, he would aim at fewer of the accommodations or of the elegancies of life, did not the finer and instinctive feelings of the other sex enforce a higher standard of attainment. But then that very prin-, ciple which, from its superior delicacy, stands centry over the decencies of life; because it apprehends with exquisite discernment the charms and the advantages of profusion and distinction;may readily become a trap for the rectitude of those who cherish it, by transmutation into childish vanity, studying appearances only when they should weigh the worth of things; or by rising from a temperate and legitimate desire of distinction into the consuming fires of inordinate ambition. So fell our mother Eve. The
serpent had told her that if she ate that fruit, she should be as God, krowing good and evil; she saw in his work the trace of wondrous knowledge; her curiosity was raised; she should like to know what he knows. She saw in his creation the attestation of a grandeur vast beyond expression; her vanity took wing; she should like to appear as he did: Her ambition was on fire; she would be peerless as her Maker. Her informant had told her she should become as God, knowing good and evil. The experiment was an easy one, it was well worth the trying, she thought to be as God. But had not her husband told her that far different would be the issue of the perilous trial! Ah yes, but the serpent had just informed her otherwise; her husband might possibly be mistaken in the matter, for surely that kind, that gentle creature knew. But God bimself had said it, in the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die. Should God be discredited and the serpent be believed? Why then the serpent had just now spoken it that she should not surely die. Most probably, my friends, she did not weigh these matters. The suggestion was a sudden one, it was tempting, it was bewildering. As yet she knew not evil, she thought not of any falsehood, in the whirl of curiosity, with the gorgeous imagery of all she was about to gain fitting before her eye; she thought not of her husband, she thought not of her Maker: she saw pros. pects far different from those which had been depicted by eter al truth, and, under the impulse of the feeling thus elicited, unthinking
“her rash hand in evil hour “Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat. "Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat, "Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe, "That all was lost.”'
But where, meanwhile, was Adam? Him she speedily found. What were his emotions on the discovery of this deed, we can readily imagine, but no man may describe. You too are human. Depict them for yourselves. Fear hot to let imagination loose. One thing is certain. Adam could not be deceived. The apostle Paul has told us he was not deceived. He saw at once the full extent of the calamity. He indeed was safe, but Eve was gone irrecoverably; Eve was gone forever. Now mark the busband of this rash and desperate woman, ye who imagine that holiness of heart is death to every tender and every noble feeling. The commandment was still unbroken by our federal head. He knew full well the calamity that must ensue upon the breach of it. Eternal felicity and eternal honors were full before his eyes. No, Adam was not deceived. He looked upon his partner, he knew the judgment of anbending righteousness. And now, what should he do? Why, wait the issue of the pending judgment. Why, wait till, Eve removed from paradise, God should cast him into a second sleep, and of another rib prepare another help-mate as fair and far more blessed. No. Such thing might not be. Another might be fairer, but still she was not Eve. Another might stand firm in everlasting bliss, warned by the fate of a hapless predecessor; but then she would not be Eve. She was the first, she had been the only object of attachment; and God has graven deeply in the hearts of all creation the memory of a first and honorable love. Times and circumstances and scenes may change. Other objects may succeed, other prospects *, may unfold themselves, but the memory never perishes of
that first impression that thrilled thro’ the trembling hearte No; Adam was not deseiyed. His Eve had perished, per:
ished without redemption, and he would perish too. We will not say in rash, but still in evil hour, he too put forth his hand. He plucked, he ate. No wonder if
“Nature gave a second groan, “Sky loured, and mutterit g thunder, some sad drops
“Wept at completing of the mortal sin.” It was done, and the decree of heaven went forth, "Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return." But on that sentence we may not now detain you. We lock up for the present this guilty and hapless pair in that paradise now rendered a very prison house. On the morning of next Lord's day, we will accompany them to judgment. To a a judgment that was mingled with unuttérable mercy, for eternal truth had sealed the doom irrevocable, "the wages of sin is death,” yet eternal mercy had itself provided a lamb for the sacrifice.
We reserve to the concluding stage of this biography, the various lessons suggested by this scene. There is only one to which we would solicit your attention at the present moment. Let the history of our first parents illustrate the remark we made at the commencement of this discourse. The great part of buman crimes originate not in principles essentially bad, but in those which are just and proper in themselves, but only followed out to excess,
, or urged at improper times. And those pursuits in which so many make shipwreck of the faith, and those attainments for which so many barter the hope of eternal life, are for the most part matters quite allowable in themselves. We do not say, abstain from pleasures, because many are intoxicated by them; nor from the love of honest fame, because many sacrifice principle to it; nor from the diligent pursuit of business, because many are so engrossed by it
that they think of nothing else. But we do say that you are only safe when on the side of caution; we say that be. cause a particular pursuit be allowable, it does not there fore follow that you should give it all your time all your heart. There are other objects in the universe besides those which strike our senses; there are other pleasures provided that it is important we should cultivate; there are other duties binding to which we must attend; to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven; and that person acts as the veriest fool and madman, who overlooks the greater in attending to the less. How deeply was nature mingled with the motives of our first unhappy mother! How near to the supremacy of kind and noble feeling approached those emotions in the bosom of our first father, which wrought the mortal sin. It seemed so much a deed of unutterable tenderness, of exalted fellow feeling, that though righteousness condemned it, though we must condemn it as a judgment most unballowed, that thus respected the creature more than the Creator; yet was it an act of such heroic desperation that we might almost imagine that when the recording angel wrote it in his book, such tears as angels weep ran rapid down his cheek, and blurred it e'er it dried. Let us then remember that the finest feelings and most innocent enjoyments may verge on actual crime. Let no single occupation seduce from other duties. Let us above all things commit the keeping of our hearts to God, now that they are deceitful and desperately wicked; and knowing that if we are wise, for ourselves we shall be wise; but if we scora this needful caution, we alone must bear it,