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that they may be the guilty and unhappy agents of eternal destruction to their own offspring, or the honoured and blessed instruments of their eternal salvation and glory-then every impediment will give way under the irresistible pressure of these sovereign motives, and the work of

ticipator of his cares, the soother of his griefs, the healer of his wounded spirit, and the commissioned trustee of a lost world's redemption. To replenish that is not, as some imagine, to fill again, but to fill completely-the earth with inhabitants was one great part of the gracious purpose of the Creator; and to this end aa godly education will advance, blessing the lowly portion of his original blessing was specially cottages of the poor, and the lordly dwelling of directed. And if this gracious purpose has never the rich on earth, and swelling the train of those yet been fully realized, the fault lies not in any that follow the Lamb, and celebrate his praises in deficiency in the blessing, but in the folly and heaven. wickedness of men, by which the human race has been continually drained away in wars and fightings,' arising from the lusts that 'war in the members;' while the progress of population has been still farther impeded by the barbarism arising from the cruelties and devastations of war, and from the pestilences and famines that have invariably followed on its track.


But the mere multiplication of inhabitants was not God's full purpose. His purpose included the multiplication of men to know him as God, to remember him as Creator, to love him as Redeemer, to fear him as Judge, to be like him as Sanctifier, and to obey him as Lawgiver and Father. And here it is that the helpmeet's qualifications, and worth, and excellency, are to be chiefly discovered. In training up a vigorous youth to bodily activities or to mental acquirements, a father may effect much; but in training the child to teachableness, to self-denial, to gentleness, almost every thing depends upon a mother. A father may raise and finish a noble superstructure; a mother must previously have laid the unseen foundation. It is thus father and mother should combine and be mutually helpful to each other in training up their offspring in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But not as if a father's work begins only where a mother's ends. To ensure the ends of a good education, they must be concurrent instructors, and proceed upon one uniform system, and with one great object-not the mere accomplishments, but the salvation of their children. What a beautiful, what a glorious sight! a pious family on eartha redeemed family in heaven!

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Let it then be never forgotten, that, in every such union of earthly interests, eternal interests are inseparably involved. And let it be farther considered that these are the eternal interests not merely of the parties forming this union, but it may be the interests of many generations. How needful then to seek the divine guidance and blessing, remembering that, while house and riches are the inheritance of fathers, a prudent wife is from the Lord.' And that while 'favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; a woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praised.'


And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,' Gen. ii. 16, 17.

EVERY created thing must be subject to some law; and every law must prescribe or enforce some limit beyond which the subject may not pass. This fact is manifest in God's works of creation. The planets in their heavenly courses are subject to the laws of motion and attraction from which they never depart. The plants in their earthly beds are subject to the laws of heat and moisture, and to which they are ever obedient in bud, and flower, and fruit. The beasts of the field, the fishes of the water, the fowls of the air, all follow the instinct, that is, the law of their reThat the impediments to parental education spective natures. Shall man be found an excepare great and many, cannot be denied. Soine are tion to this general rule of creation? Certainly impeded by sickness, some chilled by poverty, not. He must be the subject of some law, beothers distracted by cares and troubles, some cause he is a creature; and he must be subject overwhelmed in business; but the great, and in- to a moral law, because he is intelligent and deed the only insuperable impediment, is the ne- accountable. glect of salvation as the only worthy aim of in struction. When the value of a child is estimated by its soul—when the destiny of the child is felt to be heaven or hell-and when the parents fcel

We find, accordingly, that the law given to Adam is neither the mechanical law that governs the heavenly bodies, nor the vegetable law that produces the plants, nor the instinctive law that

rules the lower tribes,—all which laws originate | a tree as a sacramental test of human obedience. and terminate in the constitution or qualities of But have they forgot that man was now confined the things themselves—but is a law originating to vegetable food? Have they forgot that man had in the will of Almighty God himself, and ad- now no inclination to sin, while he had the same dressed to a creature possessing a will the image inclination then that he now has for food? Have of the will of God, not impressing necessities on they overlooked the fact, that to subordinate inclina mere body, but presenting reasons to an intelli-ations to the will of God is the only real morality? gent spirit.

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In contemplating this law, we cannot fail to acknowledge, in the very first place, its great liberality; Of every tree of the garden,' saith the sovereign Ruler, thou mayest freely eat.' And here it is specially to be observed, that while man continued in obedience, the tree of life was not excepted from the generous grant. It was the emblem, the pledge, the visible security of life; that is, of immortal life; for life, where death has not yet intruded, and where, by the conditions of the covenant, it cannot intrude, is immortal life.

But to remind our first parents that this liberality is not a right, but a gift-God is pleased to except from the grant a single tree, to which he gives the ominous name of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' And here it is to be carefully noted that, in creation, all was pronounced 'good,' yea, very 'good;' and that now when 'evil' is superadded, as a possibility, the description of that evil is, thou shalt surely die.' Whether we contemplate God or man, this was a most appropriate ordinance. It was fit that God, as the Sovereign of the world, should still retain some royalty, as it were, in his own possession, to remind man of his dependence and his allegiance. It was suited also to the condition of man. Adam was not now the victim of the carnal mind' to which sin has enslaved his posterity. free from all tendency or desire to moral wrong. Had God, therefore, given him a mere moral law, such as is addressed to sinners, regarding a moral good to be done, or a moral evil to be avoided, there would have been no suitableness of the law 'to the creature. God, therefore, gives him a law suited to his condition of innocence; that is, a positive injunction, not a moral precept; yet a positive injunction involving all moral consequences in its breach or observance.

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The divine injunction was intended to impress upon man that the reason of obedience is to be referred implicitly to the divine will; and that because the divine will is simply an expression of the divine nature, that is, of the divine wisdom, sovereignty, goodness, and mercy.

Thoughtless, ignorant, and foolish men, have raised various objections against this narrative. They have objected against the appointment of

Surely they cannot overlook, they cannot forget these facts. Now God placed his precept in the way of the only inclination that man could have to disobey; and, consequently in the only way where temptation could test obedience.

But farther, it has been objected, that so small a sin as the eating of a fruit, could not have provoked the divine displeasure as Adam's sin is represented to have provoked it. Here it is not important to question or discuss what men mean by small sins. Were that needful, it might be easily shown that there are few of the more heinous immoralities that were not in the sin of our first parents-such as unbelief in God, the fruitful parent of all sin, ingratitude, covetousness, pride, robbery, atheism. But to demonstrate this is not our present object, we are only concerned to examine how far the test was suited to the state of man, and worthy of the divine Legislator.

That it was suitable to the state of man, we have seen, because it stood in the only path where temptation could test allegiance. That it was suited to the dignity of God must be admitted, as dignity consists not in soaring infinitely above his creatures, but in condescending to their low estate, an estate that must always be low, just because God is high; and that can never be elevated, but in proportion as God 'humbleth himself to see the things in the earth.' Now the test was worthy of the God of wisdom, because it could be, and was most clearly stated, and because it was most perfectly understood, and because, in breach or observance, it formed a perfect witness between the parties to the original covenant.

The institution of the tree of knowledge was farther worthy of God, because it exemplified his goodness, secured the multitude of his other favours, and prescribed a law of the most easy and simple observance.

The narrative, independently of the character. miracles, and prophecies of Moses, carries in its bosom its own evidence. Man never could have invented a narrative so simple, a plan so efficient, so worthy of God, or so suitable to man.

It details the legislation of innocence, one simple injunction, one implied promise, one awful sanction. How easy the study, how easy the obedience of the law. Hasten, Lord, the time

when still greater simplicity of law, and still greater ease—yea, delight—of obedience shall be established! When Christ shall be the Kingparadise the kingdom-saints the subjects, and love the only law!


‘And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat,

Gen. iii. 6.

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WE are truly informed that evil communications corrupt good manners,' and we are solemnly warned to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.' And if inattention to these lessons brought ruin upon a state of innocence, how needful for our recovery from a state of sin!

That we may justly estimate their value, let us trace the progress of the first sin arising from the neglect of them; for in that sin we have not only the fountain, but the similitude of all other sins. In examining the sin we must first observe what leads to its commission-the woman holding converse with the serpent. In this she contravened no positive law, but seemed to be guided by the general principles of sociality. Nay more, she was called on to converse of God, and his gifts and prohibitions, and to communicate information to an apparently anxious inquirer. Now in all this she sinned not. Perhaps we may not even call her prudence in question, as, for aught that appears, she may have been totally ignorant of the character of her inquirer. But the moment the serpent commences to contradict God's word, and to brave his threatenings, or to insinuate against him a charge of insincerity, stinginess, or jealousy—and the moment she lends a willing ear to this contradiction and charge, then commences that sin by which our first parents fell, and death was entailed on themselves and their posterity.

And so ordinarily commences every subsequent sin, especially the sin of infidelity. The infidel assumes the form of a modest inquirer after the things of God; starts first some difficulties we are requested to solve; insinuates some doubts we are entreated to weigh; and when the equilibrium of the mind is disturbed, puts forth some bolder contradiction of a divine truth; suggests some argument in favour of greater liberty than the word of God permits, and thus, so well suits

temptations to tendencies, that, before we are aware, the seeds of infidelity and of immorality— infidelity's inseparable offspring-are deeply sown in the heart, and advancing to maturity before we are aware of their existence.

In another remarkable particular do the temptations of infidelity resemble that of the serpent. He represented the tree as desirable ‘to make one wise, thus sophistically confounding knowledge and wisdom. That the woman would know more

when she had sinned, was a literal truth-that she would be wiser, was an absolute falsehood. Even so does infidelity ever affect to ally itself with philosophy, and by 'great swelling words of vanity' to deceive the minds of the simple. Nay, even sound philosophy, legitimately inquiring into the truths of nature, often produces the same injurious effect, by leading away the mind from the 'invisible things of God,' and riveting the attention altogether to visible and perishing objects.

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The next view of this sin presents it as arising from agreeableness to the appetite and the eye. And these still continue to be the most vulnerable quarters upon which satan makes his assaults, and where he gains his victories. The moment our attention is fixed upon what we shall eat, and what we shall drink,' farewell communion with a holy Father and a crucified Saviour; and the moment the mere beauties of nature and art take full possession of our imaginations, the beauty of holiness' loses all its attractiveness, and we become idolaters of the creature, while we forget the Creator, and are betrayed to worship the works of men's hands, whilst we think we are but admiring them as mere objects of curiosity or taste.

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Another point demanding our most serious attention is, the instant activity and zeal that sin inspires for its farther propagation. The moment the woman had taken, she gave—and what is specially lamentable, she gave to him who was bone of her bone, and copartner in her destiny, and thus misled and ruined her nearest and dearest friend. And so would every sinner have others to sin with him :—


'Depravity's own work is to deprave.' There is an apostolic zeal in the cause of evil that presents a bold similarity to the most ardent zeal in the cause of good,—a zeal that will often 'compass sea and land to make one proselyte,' and seeks and finds its reward in making him ' child of hell.' But alas! how much is sin aggravated when it is communicated through the channels of kindred and family; when husbands and wives encourage one another to forget God; when parents train up their children in the way that

When, moved by the importunity of his wife, Adam took of the fruit and did eat, he knew he was commanded to replenish the earth; therefore must have known that he represented all his posterity, and that they would be involved in his sin and misery. Accordingly the scriptures inform us that by the disobedience of one many were made sinners,' and 'as by one man's disobedience, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.'

they should not go; and the table of friendship | sight of God himself. It is impossible to enumeis turned into a snare. rate all the sources from which those excuses are drawn; but it may be useful to instance a few of the most common, not to suggest them for the use of sinners, but, by the mere mention of their names, to demonstrate their futility. Not a few, for example, seek their excuse in admitting their sin, but pleading, in palliation, that it is a little one. Others, again, will not plead the littleness of their sin, but urge the infrequency of its commission. Others will plead their ignorance of the evil of their sin, and urge that whatever has been wrong in their conduct, they did not intend. Others charge their sin to mere want of thought, or assert that the temptation took them suddenly and unawares. Others will plead the imperfection of their natural temper, and affect to deplore that it is weak or ungovernable; while others produce, as a full satisfaction for all that is past, their purpose or determination to amend for the future. But of all excuses the chief is that which shifts the sin from the sinner's own shoulders, and lays the burden of the guilt upon another. This was the first excuse, and urged in reply to the questioning of God himself; and, since that hour, it has constituted the great model upon which most excuses for sin have been formed.

Can that sin be small which disbelieved God, and gave full credence to the devil? Can that sin be small that renounced allegiance to the Creator, and knowingly inflicted ruin upon all his posterity?

Yet of this sinful parent, are we the sinful children! How humbling are such views of human nature. Weak it was in innocence, how much weaker when fallen! How wonderful the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich!' That to the tree of knowledge we might really be admitted, even to that tree of the knowledge of good unmixed with evil! To that tree of life which is in the paradise of God, and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations!

And let it be seriously observed, that all good to the descendants of Adam must come in the form of healing. 'Lord, heal my soul,' must each of us say, for I have offended thee.' And they that be whole need not the physician, but 'they that are sick.' Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' What gratitude do we not owe to the second Adam? Who from the fallen earth raises to a throne in heaven; who from slavery conducts to freedom, from ruin to restoration, from darkness to day, from death to life, from degradation to glory!


Before we can fully comprehend the futility of the excuse, we must examine the circumstances that led to it as a final effort to escape from the accusations of conscience, or the cognisance and judgment of God.

Our first parents, while in innocence, had freely conversed with God. But the moment they had sinned, being smitten by their conscience,' they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. Whence we discover that the object of every excuse is, in some manner, to hide our sin. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave unto

And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, me, and I did eat.' Now in this reply it is to and I did eat, Gen. iii. 13.

AN unconverted sinner is never found without some ready excuse for his sin; and every excuse has one of three objects. The first object is to satisfy the sinner's own conscience, or, at all events, to silence its accusations; the second, is to satisfy the reason, or to silence the rebukes of others; and the third, is to palliate or justify sin in the

be remarked, that it is not obvious whether Adam charges his sin more to the woman than to God himself; for while he relates that the woman 'gave to him,' he tells the Lord, it was the woman whom he had given to be with him. So that it would appear he traces the evil back to God, and charges to his gift, the shame and the guilt in which he now stands before his Judge.

To this excuse, so frivolous and ungrateful, God does not pause to reply, but immediately said unto the woman, 'What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'

The chief thing remarkable in this excuse is, great ignorance of God. To the trees of the garden our first parents had foolishly fled as a hiding-place from the eyes of omniscience; and now to any but the true account they have recourse, hoping to evade his searching yet merciful examination. They do not confess to God that, in the midst of his bountiful profusion, they had coveted the only gift he had withheld; they do not tell him that a little food had tempted them to disregard his authority; they do not tell him they had felt discontented with their state of blissful innocence and happy communion with God; they do not tell him that, moved by ambition, they had sought to escape from the rank of subjects, and claim an equality with their Creator-but, concealing these things in their own bosom, they answer as under the impression that God can discover no more than they are pleased to reveal.

But ignorance of God's omniscience is not the only thing remarkable; there appears an equal ignorance of his mercy and his grace. To fly, to hide, to evade, to deceive, are the objects of every act and answer; but not a word of sorrow, not a prayer for pardon, is heard from the lips of the sinners.

How wonderful that one simple act of sin, and within a period so obviously brief, could have produced a transformation of character so sad and so degrading!

But at this we need not wonder; the natural world around us can sufficiently illustrate the process. One single cloud can obscure the sun; one single injury to the bodily eye can render his glories invisible-so one single sin interposing between God and the soul becomes as a cloud impenetrable to the light of his countenance, and totally deprives us of that purity of heart without which no man can see the Lord.

Let us learn then the utter vanity of every excuse for sin. The ingenuity of our first parents was unsuccessful. Most probably they were unsuccessful in satisfying themselves; it is certain they were unsuccessful in satisfying God.

Let us learn also the danger of abiding in the way of temptation-of standing in the way of sinners, of walking in the counsel of the ungodly, or sitting in the seat of the scorner.

Let us beware of the shallow selfishness that would lay down our guilt at the door of our

neighbour. That we may be tempted by others is most certain. And theirs is the guilt of the temptation, and for that they must account to God; ours, the guilt of compliance; and for this we must account likewise.

Instead, then, of excusing our sins, let us confess our sins, and flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us. For though we have sinned, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus the righteous: and if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us in his blood from all unrighteousness.


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'Watch and that pray, ye tion,' Matt. xxvi. 41. AFTER our Lord and his disciples had ended the observance of his last supper, they sung an hymn, and went forth unto the mount of Olives. There he warned them of his own approaching trials, and of their defections from him. So little, however, did the disciples know their own hearts, that instead of being cast down with the prospect of their weakness, or unfaithfulness, or led to pray that the dark hour or the bitter cup might pass from them, they boldly conclude against the possibility of their defection, and promise and aver, with one consent, that though they should die with him, yet would they never deny him.

Thus solemnly conversing they arrive at Gethsemane, a small garden situated at the foot of the mount; and here leaving the rest of his disciples, as when formerly taking witnesses of his glory, he now takes with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, to be witnesses of his agony; and going with them to a short distance from the others, he began to be sorrowful, and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face and prayed, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.'

Four chief uses of watching seem to be recorded in scripture.

First, Watching the mere progress of time, as saith the prophet Isaiah, 'He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watch

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