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'Before I elose this subject, a few words must be said respecting the sanction of the covenant of works. "In the day thovr"eatest thereof, thou shak surely die." What is the import of. the death here threatened? It must evidently. be correspondent, or co-extensive to the life, which Adam enjoyed, and the contmuance of it promised upon his persevering obedience.
This consisted of three great articles; natural,. spiritual, and. eternal life—so the reverse must be natural, spiritual, and eternal death. In the day Adam eat of the forbidden fruit, and at that very hour, he became mortal. He had forfeited his natural life, and God might take the forfeiture of him, and all his posterity, whensoever be pleased, which lws actually and universally. been done. In the same unhappy hour, he also lost his spiritual life; holiness departed from his heart, and all his glory and lmppiness forsook him,.and he became dead in trespasses and sins, as all his progeny are. He likewise lost all claim to immortal felicity. And immortality, without happiness, is a curse and not a. blessing. Therefore, he had incurred the awful curse and indescribable doom of death eternal.—But it is [time I should finish this subject, in a very few reflections.
First, We may reflect, whatever may hare been the misconduct of Adam, and the state of mankind in all generations, yet God's throne is clear, and iniquity is not to be imputed to hinu God cannot be the autKor of the fall of man, or of any sin, either directly or indirectly. Whatever we may charge upon man, let us always beware of charging God foolishly. Whatever may be our blindness, darkness, and ignorance, respecting the introduction of sin into our world, and when we shall have proceeded in our investigations, as far as rational and scriptural disquisitions will carry us, and we find new difficulties in our course, let us, in want of satisfaction, take all blame to ourselves, and ever acquit and vindicate the ways of God.. Whatever man may think, believe and do, the great Supreme is, "A Godoftrutbi "without iniquity, just and right is he. God is just in all that "is brought upon us. There is no iniquity with the Lord. "Surely God will not do wickedly. And shall mortal man be more just than God?"
Secondly, We may reflect, that however man hath sinned and come short of the glory of God, this cannot in the least impair or dissolve his obligations of love, gratitude, and duty to his infinitely glorious Creator. Every one will readily acknowledge, that the crimes and perverseness of malefactors do not dissolve their obligations of obedience to good laws, or in the least impair a righteous government. Evil conduct in such cases, in the common sense of mankind, always aggravates their offences, and heightens their transgressions. Therefore, we are under the same obligations of love, service, and homage to God, as if we and, our first parents had never sinned against him.
A Third reflection is, that we ought to love God with all our hearts, and praise him for once placing us in such happy and dignified circumstances, as well as to abase ourselves in the deepest humiliation and repentance, that we have wickedly fallen from that blissful state, and perversely rejected all our priviledge*, honors and happiness. O man, thou hast destroyed thyself. How art thou fallen, O thou favorite of heaven? Alas, man being in honor abideth not. O let all the children of men .humble themselves before their offended God, and repent in dust and ashes, and return unto him with your whole hearts, if so be he may yet have mercy upon you.
THE IMAGE OF ADAM IMPRESSED ON ALL MIS FOSTERITr.
Genesis, V. 3.
Jlnd Adam Iked an hundred and thirty years, end begttt a son in his ovm likeness and after his image.
THE original offence in our.world, which was sinful in itself, *nd gave rise to all the sin that now is, or ever have been in it, was of a complex nature, and analytically considered, many constituent particulars formed that combined and awful crime, commonly called Adam's transgression. The'mere overt act in itself, abstracted from the covenant, law and commandment of God, and from the principles and grounds originating it, must be a matter of indifference. Aside from the divine authority and constitution, it is probable there was no more evil or harm in eating that fruit than any other. But it was the violation of the holy precept, inclusive of the motives, views, and exercises of mind, that formed the malignity and horrid criminal nature of that first transgression. And these principles, tempers, and dispositions Adam has propagated to all his unhappy posterity.—There is no exempt case here; not a single exception has ever taken place; in him all his progeny fell, sinned, and died.
In the first verse of the chapter f.om whence our text is taken, it is said, " God created man, in the likeness of God made lie “him.” That is, he was made in the righteous and holy image of his Creator, and consequently in a happy and glorious state; but after man had fallen, and the divine image had forsaken his heart, and his glory and happiness had departed from him, we read in our text, “Adam begat a son in his own likeness, and “ after his image.” He did not beget a son after the divine likeness, or in the holy image in which he himself had been created, but he now has a son in his own likeness and image, a fallen, sinful, frail and mortal creature ; guilty, miserable, wretched, and naked, obnoxious to the displeasure of God, and liable to suffer all those penalties annexed to a violated constitution. The son was in his own likeness, the very reverse of the divine image. Adam having lost this, he could not convey it to his children.
Some things seemed to have entered into the very nature, and constituted the transgression of Adam itself; some corruptions. appear to have followed immediately after, and are transferred to his posterity throughout all their generations.
The evil principles, views, and exercises which seem to have constituted the very nature of his transgression, were most probably such as these—An aversion to restraint, discontent, vain curiosity, covetous desires, a pride of knowing, and a disposition to hearken to evil counsels. What a similitude to Adam does all his posterity bear in these unhappy tempers :
First, Let the supreme Lord of the universe, either by holy laws, or his governing providence, lay any restraint upon us. How does the very restriction itself, raise and strengthen in us a propensity to enjoy that which is prohibited In this we bear a strong resemblance to our first parents. Thus we were restrained from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This restraint was designed for their advantage; to be a test of their obedience, to support them in the season of their probation, and to cause them to exercise faith, confidence, and a steadfast dependance upon God, and to look to heaven for the completion and
<fcon£rm«tion of their felicity. Yet this small restriction seems t» awake in them an evil propensity, which brought ruin upon themselves, and all their descendants. And this perverse and contradictory disposition, is strongly apparent in all their posterity. This proverb of Solomon is founded in nature, " Stolen waters "are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.'' Man is a creature naturally averse from every species of restriction. Thit early manifests itself in children, and it is exceeding hard to extirpate it from the human heart.
Secondly, Discontent seems to be inwrought in our very constitutions. Who is contented with his own lot? How are all eagerly desiring change? And what multitudes are there, who imagine other people's circumstances are preferable to their own? Adam was not contented in Paradise, neither would his posterity be, were they placed in the same situation. He, by his folly, multiplied his wants, and thereby encreased his discontentment, so his children are always imitating their common father; changing from good to bad, and from bad to wors», wreathing along through this miserable life in the corroding torment of discontented minds. Few, very few, living under the influence of that gospel counsel, "That in whatever calling ye are called there"with to be content."
Thirdly, A vain curiosity reigns in the hearts of men, which is also an impress of our progenitor's image. How much more are we delighted with novelties, than properly grateful for substantial realities? Our first parents, through a vain curiosity, were desirous of knowing both good and evil. Iu this they became gratified to their entire undoing. They experienced the bitter acquisition of evil, and the loss of all that was truely good. And tins unhappy conduct is approved and followed by their miserable offspring.
Fourthly, Alas, what crouds of covetous desires arise and pre