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them. It is important to keep this in view, since it is this eternal purpose that expounds to us the nature of the redemption : for, as is already understood, the blessedness we have been contemplating was lost by man--the fulness he originally possessed, was exchanged for beggary and destitution, and the heights whereon he once stood erect and joyous, were succeeded by depths of prostration most humiliating and most ruinous. Satan, the treacherous adversary, prevailed to seduce the privileged inhabitants of Eden from their allegiance, dependence, and love ; and transgressing this law, and eating of the fruit of the tree whereof God had said “Ye shall not eat thereof,” their innocence fled-their purity ceased—their inheritance was forfeited, and the Lord God drove out the man from the Garden of Eden; —and ah! worse than all, drove out the man from fellowship and communion with himself: for “what fellowship hath light with darkness, or what communion can there be betwixt Christ and Belial ?”
The history of these affecting truths will be found in the first chapters of Genesis, which should be read, not merely as containing a record of truths simply historical, but as involving those great and soul-important
particulars on which the whole Scriptures ex patiate.
We ought to endeavour to obtain a clear understanding of the extent of the evil into which our first parents fell. When the act alone is contemplated, we are not sufficiently impressed with its abominations; and hence might be in danger of forming upjust conceptions of the Divine severity. We are taught to believe that the weight of judgment following that act is incalculable, involving the whole human race, and procuring miseries to thousands—irremediable miseries, save as they are met in the redemption ; we ought therefore to weigh the transgression in an opposite scale with the sentence of punishment which followed ; that thus we may give glory to God, and agree with him in condemning man. Let us, then, examine the act and ascertain its true character.
We immediately detect the sin of infidelity, subtilely working in the temptation. The word of holy warning had been explicit, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die ;” the denial of this word, “Ye shall not surely die,” was an act of effrontery on the part of Satan ; but the admission of the liar's accusation of the Most High was an act of treachery on the part of Eve, furthered by unbelief. When had she known the God of her mercies untrue ? Had she not lived upon his faithfulness, and had she not heard his law; ought she not to have believed his threatening, and to have adhered to his rule? The readiness with which Adam yielded to the same temptation involved him in the same guilt, and stained our nature with a deep-seated blot which it has never lost.
What ingratitude and discontent are discoverable ! Surely, the cup of happiness was filled up to the brim; yea, as David expresseth it-it ran over. In the fulness of original joy we can conceive of no lack; and scarcely, we suppose, could room have been found for one transient wish for something more. But when the promise of attaining some undefined greatness, or some possible equality with God himself, was insinuated into the mind, immediately without fear or disinclination the coveted fruit was taken, and the ambitious hope indulged. What presumption--what pride! —and how fearfully spreading this transgressing nature, this foul disease-how too truly generated in all, who, descending from Adam, possess his fallen and haughty independence !
What cruelty likewise, standing as Adam
did, in the character of representative of a whole race; how heedless of the consequences to descend to his children! how regardless of the dishonor done to his God, his father, his benefactor ! and how reckless of the curse to be inherited here, or for ever, by a nature thus marred and corrupt! If indeed we may surmise that such consequences were not believed, and such results only considered as possible evils, we do not thereby lessen the guilt of Adam. If he discredited the threat, then it was by infidelity : if he believed, but despised, then it was by the crime of rebellion : if he imagined a possibility of being able to avert the evil, and prevent the curse, then it was by pride and arrogance. In every point of view, therefore, the sin was monstrous, great, and abominable; provoking most justly God's wrath and indignation, and followed most righteously by the execution of the threatening denounced.
The relative consequences of Adam's sin are asserted in one short sentence contained in 1 Cor. xv. 22. as also in Rom. v. 12. Here we learn that the awfully affecting 'dissolution of the union of the soul and body of man, on which our eyes are continually turned, originated in the offence of our first parent, and that it is the execution of the penalty affixed
to transgression, “ The wages of sin is death!” The sorrows of life are likewise expounded to us in the same way, “Man is born to trouble;” it is his inheritance as the offspring of a fallen parent. Paradisaical peace exists not in the wilderness world, and as on the natural production of the earth the blighting displeasure of the Lord is sometimes expressed, so also is it manifest that upon the days of man a cloud is risen, many times giving forth heavy drops of that night which has succeeded to Eden's day. Our way to eternity is darkened and dismal: man, as a sinner, treads amidst scorpions, pits, and perils ; and after closing his day of sorrow and spiritual death, passes into a region yet more dreary and dark. What other portion can be hoped or anticipated by one, who, after the spirit and example of Adam, commits trespass against his Creator and Lord ! That our nature is corrupted after the likeness of fallen man is understood by the Christian, not only by divine assertion, but by observation and experience: he sees and he feels that the workings of unbelief and infidelity are in every sinner's heart, “ The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” Ps. liii. 1. “There is none that understandeth.” “ There is no fear of God before their eyes."