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[ 120 ) rail in the hearts of the children of men? How are they constante ly in pursuit of some visionary benefit? Herein we prove ourselves to be the true descendants of Adam. Although he possessed and enjoyed every matter and thing necessary for his complete felicity, yet he imbibed the mad and covetous desire of obtaining that which proved his destruction. Adam was faithfully warned of his perdition, if he should eat the prohibited fruit-yet all this prevented him not from perpetrating the horrid deed. And is not this awfully the case with mankind? Will either threatnings, arguments, or promises restrain their covetous propensities? Will they not surmount every obstacle, and rush through every obstruction to gratify their irregular passions? And what is their gain? Nothing but disappointment, sorrow and mortification. • They toil for that which is not bread, and weary theinselves for “ very vanity."
Fifthly, The pride of knowing much, what an intoxicating influence has it upon the human mind ? Our first parents would be as gods, wished to have understandings equal to their Maker. Thus, what the children of men, in the pride of their hearts breathe after, is knowledge rather than holiness. They seek for knowledge which puffeth up, but assinulates not the soul to God. Adam pursues vain knowledge, that he might equal the gods, and became conformed unto Satan. Is not this the case with many ? They labour for speculative science, till they sink down into end. less darkness.
Sixthly, What a strange disposition is there in inan to hearken to evil counsels ? To dangerous advice they will be all attention ; the alluring persuasions to folly and vice they will drink in like water. Thus our first parents stood to listen to the insinuations of the serpent, rather than obey the plain oracles of heaven. They would yield to the counsels, allurements, and persuasions of the destroyer of their souls, rather than recollect or be induced to a proper conduct by the commands and by the voice of the most High. How natural is. it for us to stand, ponder, and parley with
temptations, while our strength is weakening and their's encreasing, till at last they acquire the ascendancy, and we plunge into iniquity. The best mode of arguing against temptations, is immediate resistance. If you dispute, you are undone ; if you reresist, you conquer. “Resist the devil and he will flee froni you. “ Get thee behind me Satan,” is against the evil one, an invincible argument. In all these particulars, how is the resemblance of Adam imprinted upon his miserable posterity ?
He conveys to them likewise various dispositions which appeared in him immediately after his fall.-- There is a natural disposition in us to lay the blame upon others to spread a mantle over our own infirmities-a readiness to follow evil examples-to avoid the presence of God, and a reluctance to confess our sins. In these things we appear evidently to possess, in a striking likeness, the features of our great ancestor.
First, How natural is it to us to lay the blame of our misconduct upon others? Thus Adam imputed the blame of his disobedience to Eve, and Eve her evil conduct to the serpent. Yea,, rather than take blame to ourselves, we will in some form or other impute the fault to God. Adain not only put off the blame from himself, and laid it upon the woman, but his language implied a strong reflection upon his Maker. “ The woman which " thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree." This involves a tacit implication that God was to blame in this business as well as the woman. For it fully intimates, if he had not given her to be with him, he would have maintained his integrity. And this is the wretched disposition of man throughout all ages. They are continually blaming one another, blaming certain incidents which intervened, often indirectly blaming God himself, and in short blaming every thing that occurs to their minds, rather than laying it where they should, cordially taking the blame to themselves, and sincerely pleading guilty.
Secondly, It is exceedingly natural to us to spread a manile
over our own infirmities, and to cloak our sins. Adam and Eve, as soon as they had eaten the forbidden fruit, and their glory had departed from them, and they perceived themselves to be naked, “They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Instantly they engaged in projecting a covering for their shame and for their folly. In this, their children bear an exact resembiance of the parents. Let them be guilty of any sin or iniquity, they immediately invent soine cloak or excuse for it. Yea, they will make the most indifferent coverings as our guilty progenitors, rather than be absolutely destitute. If any remorse of conscience for any of their wickedness arise within them, how ready is their invention in forming excuses or "apologies for it. And if they find something must be done to palliate their offence, they pick up a leaf here, and a leaf there, to forin a righteousness to cover them before the judge eternal. The leaves of their own works, their honesty, their prayers, church membership, regular deportment, charities, &c. must be patched together, to frame a mantle or cloak of rigliteousness to screen them froin the wrath of Jehovah. And, alas! what poor, wretched fig leaves do they often collect, which will be of no more avail to cover them in the day of judgment, than the fig leaves of our original parents were to protect them, “ when they heard the voice of the Lord God * walking in the garden in the cool of the day;" O the folly, the ignorance, infatuation, and madness of the children of Adam...
Thirdly, How ready and prone are we to follow evil examples ? Jll example has the force of a violent torrent to drive us away from duty, or as a boisterous wind to hurl us into iniquity. Let -the unhappy example be set before 'us, we need no other persuasion, enticement, or inducement. Thus Eve only eat the fruit before her husband, and gave it unto hiin, “ and he did eat." Good examples have no such influence upon mankind, as those which are evil. Beholding one doing wrong, this has a hewitching effect upon another to do likewise. Yea, hearing from afar, the conduct of such and sucli persons, especially, if persona of eminence or fame, what a strange influence it has upon the. corruptions of the human heart? Many think it no harın to imitate the reported example, to allow themselves in indulgencies of the same or similar kind. Evil example blinds the mind, bribes the conscience, and stupifies the heart. O let us beware of it, and guard against its infatuating tendency.
Moreover, when persons indulge themselves in sin, low are they disposed to avoid and flee from God and his presence? How natural is it to us to follow the steps of our primitive parents in this respect ? « Adam and his wife hid themselves from the pre"sence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” What clouds of ignorance and thick darkness instantly enveloped their minds? They quickly imagined, that a few trees, or some thin shrubbery, could conceal them from the eyes of Jehovah. Thus it is with mankind in general; they fancy, if in secret places, that God neither sees nor hears. In hidden retirements, or under covert of the night, they choose rather to perpetrate their wickness, than in open day. “ The eye of the adulterer waiteth for “ the twilight, saying, no eye shall see me.” Multitudes will commit that in a dark and secreted place, which they would scarcely venture upon in the presence of a babe ; as if privacy or darkness could cover them from the all penetrating, and all discerning eye of the great Supreme. How gross the ignorance, how inconceivable the folly, which has taken possession of the souls of men ? " They know not, neither will they understand, " they walk on in darkness. My people is foolish, they have not “known me ; they are wise to do evil, but to do good, they have “ no knowledge.” This is matter for lamentation, mourning, and sorrow. O man, how art thou fallen ? How is the glory of wisdom and knowledge departed from thee?
Lastly, Among all the evils we have derived from our unhappy ancestors, they have conveyed also to us an extreme reluctance to confess our sins. As we imbibed an aversion from all communion or intercourse with God, so like Adam, we flee from his. presence, and never wish for any feilowship or connection witir him. God called after him, and brought him by almighty power to his feet, and with what difficulty and reluctance was wrung from him the feeble confession of his ofience, “ I did eat.” When first detected, “ And God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou ?" He acknowledged his nakedness, but not his transgression. It was with the utmost struggling, and against the very grain of his heart, he was at last brought to make the simple confession, which compulsion alone extracted from him. Alas, how natural is it for us to conduct ourselves in like manner? With what reluctance do we confess our guilt and our sins? “ No man repenteth him of his wickedness, saying, “ what have I done ? Every one turneth to his course, as the “ horse rusheth into the battle. All this evil is come upon us, yet « made iwe not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we “ might turn from our iniquities." Othat men could be brought to renounce with abhorrence the reluctance in their souls to the confession of their offences, and come forward in frank and sina care acknowledgments, saying, “ We have sinned, and have “ committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebell"ed. O Lord to us belong confusion of face, because we have " sinned against thee.”
All these things exhibit, in the clearest light, the astonishing similarity between the human race and their great progenitor. Face does not answer to face in a glass more perfectly than all the children of men, in temper, disposition, and practice answer to their original parent.
We may also briefly consider, how strikingly similar natural men's principles are to those principles, which actuated the soul of Adam. Did our first parents hearken to the allurements and temptations of Satan, rather than to the reasonable, just, and benevolent authority of their Maker and Benefactor ? And how does this perverse principle reign in the hearts of all their degene rate offspring?