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that hang down?," and, taking to us “ the whole armour of God,” stand prepared for the assaults of our enemy, “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might 2.”
Our business in the present discourse is to prove, that OUR TEMPTATIONS ARE NOT SURPRISING. In order to make this appear, it will be sufficient, first, to consider temptation, in general as the condition of our present state of being; and, secondly, to consider the particular temptations to which we are exposed in this state.
I. That we should be exposed to temptation in this life cannot be surprising to any one, that will consider our final destiny in a future state. It seems plainly to be the settled and uniform design of God, in the great conflict between light and darkness, not merely to conquer but to triumph. The majesty of His unsearchable wisdom interposes, not merely to undo the evil, which, in any particular instance, may have been brought about by the artifice and malignity of Satan, but, so to overrule these apparent counteractions of His purpose, as
1 Heb. xii, 12.
Eph. vi. 10, 13.
out of evil to effectuate a greater good than that which had been lost. His hand is put forth, not merely to restore the shattered ruin, but to raise a fabric more glorious than its original. • What might have been the ultimate destiny of mankind, had our first parents never deviated from their original rectitude, we have no means of knowing. On such à subject invention is profane. But, from any thing we can collect out of the sacred writings, there seems no reason whatever for supposing, that the human race would ever have attained that elevation of moral and spiritual happiness and greatness, to which the children of God are now rendered capable of being advanced, by the incarnation of His eternal Son. Nothing short of this, I apprehend, can be collected from the language of St. Paul. In answering the question, which had been asked by those who doubted the resurrection of the body,—“how are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come 1?"__the Apostle contrasts our future glory, not merely with the degradation of our present condition, but with the capabilities of our original nature. “It is sown,” he says, sin corruption; it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly !.”.
11 Cor. xv. 35.
It is impossible to give these words their due weight without perceiving, that the future destiny of the saints is something
totally different from a bare restoration to that which Adam lost. Created with instinctive propensities to goodness, and with a capability of immortal being, it seems plain from Scripture that Adam was naturally destitute of any knowledge of the relative qualities and consequences of moral actions. The nature that God had given him consisted in this,—not to know good and evil'. The knowledge was only to be acquired by supernatural means. It was to be purchased only by doing violence to the instincts of his nature, and satisfying illegitimately the desire after external objects; and that, at no less a cost than the loss of innocence and the forfeiture of life. The consequence is known. The experiment was tried under many and great advantages; and the result fully and clearly demonstrated, that the obedience of a free being, possessed of particular affections, and surrounded with objects that may solicit him to forbidden indulgence, is not secured by the happiness and innocence of his original nature. Perhaps
i Gen. ii. 17. iii. 22.
the result might have been pretty nearly the same, even if there had been no one to propose and recommend the forbidden gratification. Indeed, on any other supposition, it is difficult to conceive, how moral evil could ever have come into existence : but, circumstanced as man really was, placed within the possibility of being exposed to the arts of such an enemy as the scripture describes Satan to be; the liability of a being of finite virtue, to the admission of moral and natural evil into his intellectual and physical constitution, becomes obvious.
In as far, then, as we have discovered of the original condition of man, and in every point in which we have the means of comparison, we perceive the enormous difference of the destiny set before us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The first man, with all the advantages of nature, lost his innocence. The disciple of Jesus Christ, with all the disadvantages of original depravation, shall yet possess a nature incapable of sin. The first man from un