Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

having been dissolved by sin, that connexion was never more to be restored upon its former conditions, wbich were now and for ever annulled. By the deeds of the law, no flesh should be justified in God's sight. Rom. iii. 20. A right to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, could never more appertain to the fallen creature, in connexion with any righteousness of his own. He must now desist from claiming life as the reward of his own obedience, and must learn to seek for it in some other way, even in the way which the Lord his God would reveal to him. Should any man, that is, should any sinner, (for all men are now such, Rom. v. 12.) presume to lay hold upon eternal life on the plea of having been obedient to the law of God, the broken law, of which the flaming sword was the expressive symbol, would become its own avenger, and would slay the sinner. “ For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse ; (Gal. iii. 10.) and how then obtain a blessing by pleading the fulfilment of the legal precept, which can now only convince of sin ? Rom. iii. 20. Death must be the penalty of any sacrilegious attempt forcibly to lay hold upon that life, which from henceforth could only become the sinner's in the way of a free gift from God, irrespective of any merit on the part of the creature. It is probable that we are not wrong in this interpretation of the symbolic sword, and we may also believe that Adam was instructed in the truths that it typified. As to what the actual appearance may have been, which was visible to the eye of our first parents, we may conclude from the text, that it was a species of lightning of a terrific character, whose vivid and swiftly vibrating flashes assumed the form of a venge

ful faming sword. Any recourse to allegory in the explanation of the present passage would be altogether out of place, as it is evident that the sacred historian is describing a fact that really took place, and appearances that were visible. No further mention being made of these celestial phenomena, we cannot assign the period of their duration. It may be conjectured, however, with some show of probability, that the entrance to the garden of Eden continued impracticable till that fair abode was destroyed on the occasion of the deluge, and with it every tree swept away “ which was pleasant to the eyes and good for food, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life also in the midst of the garden." (chap. ii. 8, 9.)

The tragic history of our race, has proceeded rapidly to the close of its first awful consummation; and how completely is the scene changed! The Adam who was alive, is now dead. Luke xv. 32. The pleasant child, the dear son, (Jer. xxxi. 20.) has left his father's house, has become a prodigal, and roams at large through the wide earth. Forgetful of bis lineage and high extraction, he will ultimately be reduced so low as to be compelled to take on bim the care of swine; and instead of freely feeding upon the fruits of Paradise, he will even desire to partake of the husks which these unclean beasts do eat. Luke xv. 11–16. Unhappy Adam, thou didst expel thyself from that blest Eden, from that garden of delights, and where art thou now, poor wanderer? Surely in the wilderness caused by thine own sin. Psalm cvii. 33, 34. And now on every side, thou dost behold the myrtle changing itself into the brier, and the fir-tree into the thorn; (Isaiah lv. 13.) and thistles are springing up beneath thy feet. And now also the son begins to smite thee by day, and the moon by night; and in lieu of the sweet warbling notes of the feathered choir of thine Eden, the screech-owl utters a voice of terror in thine ear, and the cormorant and the vulture flap their wings, whilst the hissing serpent, alike inimical to thy approach, takes part in the new infernal melody. But yet, poor outcast, sad as thy condition is, to sight, and sense, and nature, and apparently all but lost and ruined as thou art, Angels are still thy ministering servants, and have charge concerning thee, to keep thee in all thy ways, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone ; for thou art an heir of salvation, one of the remnant according to the election of grace. Rom. xi. 5. Heb. i. 14. Psalm xci. 11, 12. Thou dost see afar off the glittering cherubim with their flaming swords, hostilely guarding the entrance to thy once happy home, and making thy return to that blest abode impracticable; but thou dost not discern the friendly legions who surround thee, performing on thy behalf tender offices of love, and warding off from thee many a mishap, which, but for their aid, would befal thee. And thou dost not as yet know, that if thy first Paradise is for ever gone, another, a far more glorious Eden, is in store for thee; and that although thou art now by reason of thy sin, expelled from the fair earthly tabernacle, which thy gracious Father made for thee at the first, He will provide thee with a more perfect dwelling

a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Still, thou fallen Adam, unconscious as thou art, or but most dimly conscious, of the rich inheritance which thy heavenly Father's free, immu

place, “

table, and boundless love has provided for thee, . thou shalt most surely possess it. For thy God “is not a man, that He should lie, nor the son of man, that He should repent.” Yes, a kingdom was indeed prepared for thee, before the foundation of the world. Matt. xxv. 34; 1 Pet. i. 4; Rom. viii. 17, 29. A kingdom far unlike the earthly one with which thy Creator invested thee, upon the day in which he formed thee in His own image and likeness, the sovereignty of which kingdom was wrested from thee through thine own fault, by thy subtle enemy the Devil; a kingdom-unlike indeed to the kingdoms of this world, which may be lost by human weakness,' or won by human strength, for thy heavenly inheritance is of an incorruptible nature, incapable of defilement by sin, and fadeth not away; moreover it is reserved in heaven for thee; not put into thine own care and keeping, as was the kingdom of this world, wbich thou didst so quickly lose again, but kept for thee by the power of the same God who has declared that “none shall ever pluck thee,” His Adam, His child, “out of His hand.” Jobn x. 27–29; 1 Pet. i. 3—5. And but for some such thoughts as these, but for some such reminiscences, and some such consolatory appeals to our first father, albeit to some they may appear wild and imaginary, how shall we endure the view of bis disgrace, how bear to peruse the recital of his wretched downfal, and to behold the bright son of the morning fall from heaven to the earth, cast out as a carcase trodden under feet, yea more, cast as it were, into the bottomless pit, into the lowest bell. To the scorner, to whom the page of scripture is an idle tale, and who knows of no real Adam with whom his own

destinies are inseparably linked, our sympathy will indeed appear uncalled for; but not so to the christian, who believes that “in Adam all die," and who also finds the sentence of death in himself: (2 Cor. i. 8—10.) who groans in this tabernacle, being burthened, and who exclaims from day to day, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom. vii. 24. 2 Cor. v. 2. To such an one it cannot be too often told, that the elect church, although she is in the wilderness, and driven there by reason of her sin, is nevertheless to be seen by the eye of faith, clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and having upon her head a crown of twelve stars. Rev. xii. 1. That if from the daughter of Zion all her earthly beauty is departed, if she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, is become tributary, she shall yet shake herself from the dust, and Joose the bands from about her neck ; because her Maker is her husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name; because, although in a little wrath He hid His face from her for a moment, with everlasting kindness He will have mercy on her; so that she shall no more be termed Forsaken,' nor her land • Desolate,' but the name of her God shall be upon her; and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.

« AnteriorContinuar »