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Did not all the haughty pride of ambition fill their minds, when their aspiring thoughts arose so far above their highly favor. ed condition, that nothing would satisfy them, but to be as gods ? How lamentably is this the case, that proud ambition ene grosses the hearts of men ? Every one striving to be before another in honor and dignity. The commons would be nobles, and nobles would be kings, and kings would be gods. Yea, there is such an indescribable ambition in man, were it in his power, he would depose the supreme Jehovah, usurp his authority, and place himself on his throne. The fable of Phacton ascending the chariot of the sun, and driving till he set the world on fire, is an apt description, or a true portrait of the proud, haughty, and ambitious spirit of man.
Did not the sensitive appetite prevail in our guilty original, and fatal indulgence plunge them into all their inextricable calamities? And does not this base principle still hold the ascendancy in corrupted men ? Are not their appetites still hurrying them headlong into guilty criminality, and criminality sinking them in misery and destruction ? They preferred the creature above the Creator, and desired it more than God. And is not this the awful principle which pervades all universally ? Satan filled their minds with hard thoughts of God, as though he envied them the felicity of a better state, so all their guilty progeny have ever been entertaining hard thoughts, complaining of and murmuring against God and his providences, even down to the present day,
They despised the penalty of the law, and the menaces of death. And does not this principle prevail among sinners ? They contemn the threatnings of heaven. “ They set at naught all tlic “ counsels of God, and would none of his reproof."
Did not Adam and Eve undervalue all the rich blessings whicla they enjoyed, and spurn at all the promises of immortality and eternal life? And does not this principle pervade, and this conduct abound among mankind ? Do they not reject all the offers of mercy in the gospel, and undervalue all the promises of everlasting felicity ? “ Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
They were not thankful for all the happiness, honor, and glory conferred upon them. And how does a principle of ingratitude dwell in the heart of every man? “When they know God, they “ glorify him not as God, neither are they thankful. Men are " lovers of their ownselves, unthankful and unholy.” O what monsters of ingratitude are the children of Adam to their heavenly Benefactor ?
In all these, and a multitude of other things, in our tempers, dispositions, appetites, passions and practice, do we not wear the full image and likeness of the original stock? Does the seal impressed upon the wax leave its perfect image and superscription ? Do the printer's types form their likeness on his paper, letter for letter, point for point, and line for line? So is the image and likeness of Adam imprinted on all his posterity. I speak not of bodily lineaments or features, but of moral propensities, principles and conduct. Thus we see the truth and perfect propriety of the assertion in our text : “ Adam begat a son in his own like“ness and in his image.” And if there be such an exact resen blance in all the human race to their first father, and that father was a sinner, therefore, this is the character of all mankind. ~ All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Are we now born in the image and after the likeness of Adam ? Are we not then all born guilty, and children of wrath, as he by his folly and transgression made himself ? True is that apostolic affirma. tion, “ We are by nature all the children of wrath even as others." And thus we remain till we become the children of God by faith in the second Adam, even in the Lord Jesus Christ. We will all continue in this corrupt image and degenerate likeness, until these shall be marred by divine grace, and effaced by the sanctifying influences of the holy Spirit.
A question here of infinite magnitude arises, whether we still bear the image of the earthly, or whether we are again renewed after the image of the heavenly ; whether we are still in our corrupt nature, wearing the deformed likeness of apostate Adam, or whether we are regenerated, and formed anew after the likeness of God by his almighty power, and are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. We bear the similitude either of the first, or second Adam. Therefore, it becomes us all, seriously to ask ourselves, in whose image and likeness we are. If the former, then we are in a miserable condition, poor, and wretched, and blind, and naked ; if the latter, then we are in peace with God, and there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.
Allow me here to sum up the leading constituents of the image of Adam, and the constituents of the image of Christ, and leave it to every one's judgment and conscience to decide whose likeness he bears.
The image of Adam consists, in a prevailing discontentment with the allotinents of providence, and habitual desires to carve for ourselves; in a sinful curiosity to pry into forbidden things ; in irregular propensities and inordinate inclinations after the things of this world ; in having more pleasure in attending to the suggestions of Satan, than in yielding obedience to God; in de lighting more in the gratification of sensual appetites, than in the observance of the precepts of heaven ; in choosing to imitate and follow wicked, rather than good examples ; in extenuating their faults before God, and laying them at his door, and imputing the blame of them to others, and with the greatest reluctance taking it to themselves, and confessing their guilt only by compulsion ; in avoiding the presence of God, his people, and his worship ; in neglecting communion and intercourse with God by prayer ; in despising his commandments and ordinances, and indulging themselves in overt acts of iniquity. This is a sumniary of the lines in Adam's picture. Let us now contemplate the constituents of the image of Christ.
It consists in a supreme love to God, and a genuine faith in the gospel ; in a sense of their own unworthiness and sinfulness, and of the fulness, sufficiency and glory of divine grace ; in renouncing their own righteousness, and depending wholly and entirely upon the atonement of Christ for salvation ; in having more delight in obeying the commandments of God, than walking in the ways of sin ; in cultivating contentment with our circuinstances in life ; in restraining our inordinate desires and passions, and in a weanedness from the vanities of this world ; in choosing to imitate holy rather than evil examples ; in resisting temptations, and yielding obedience to the precepts of heaven ; in aggravating their faults, if possible, before God, and freely confessing the same; in taking pleasure in the presence of God, in the society of his people, and in his worship ; in maintaining communion and intercourse with heaven by prayer ; in delighting in divine ordinances, and avoiding all manner of sin ; and in holy walking with God, and practising righteousness in all their commerce or dealings with men. This is a summary of the lines which constitute the image of Christ.
Let each one now examine and try himself. He who hopes on scriptural grounds that he is blessed with this latter likeness, let him praise God, and become more holy; he who is conscious that he still bears the former image, let him humble himself, repent, and turn unto the Lord.
THE FIRST INTIMATION OF HOPE TO FALLEN
GENESIS III, 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between
thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
THE existence of God is the first reality in the universe ; and greatness, goodness, justice, and holiness are the constituents of bis nature. These are the essence of his Being. It is a summary of his character, nature, and existence : « The righteous Lord “ loveth righteousness," and is infinitely distant from all moral evil or sin. From the very idea of God, his existence, nature, and perfections, arises the impossibility that any thing corrupt, impure or unholy, should be an original production of his hands. From hence it is certain, he cannot be the author of moral evil or sin. To say this, is to say, what all nature abhors, that he is a sinner. Hence his existence and perfections establish this fact, that if he makes a moral agent, an immortal and accountable creature, he must make him upright; he must make him a righteous and holy being. His moral perfections cannot be vindicated, but on this principle. Yet, notwithstanding this, nothing is more certain than that moral evil or sin is in the world. The