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Through the fall, man lost all spiritual power and will to love and serve God. But through the covenant of grace, he regains both; “for God worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
An attentive perusal of the third and fourth chapters of Genesis will convince every humble inquirer after truth, through the teaching of the divine Spirit, that every man born into this world deserves nothing but everlasting damnation ; since, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh;” and “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” "Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again;" was the reply of the Saviour to the inquiring Nicodemus. The sinner may cavil and dispute, but his own heart will condemn him. His own life will condemn him. The law of God will condemn him. The sin of his nature, as a child of fallen Adam, will condemn him. He will find nothing but condemnation here, and judgment in the world to
But let him look out of himself to the second Adam, the Lord from heaven; to Jesus Christ, the promised deliverer, and there he will find every thing needful to repair the ruins of the fall; yea, to raise him to a more glorious state, than if Adam had never sinned.
“And what in yonder realms above
Nearest the throne and first in song,
Amazing mystery! O wonderful wisdom of God, in thus educing such good out of such evil; and making that to redound to his glory, and conduce to the bright display of his perfections, which Sitan intended as an awful blight on his new and fair creation.
Thus Satan is foiled, and" grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Sing, O! ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it. Shout, ye lower parts of the earth : break forth into singing, ye mountains, O! forest, and every tree therein ; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israet.”
Surely none but fools can make a mock at sin.
Sin converted the angels of light into powers of darkness : sin rendered the happy pair in Eden wretched outcasts in a world of woe. Sin was the cause of the universal deluge, and the fiery overthrow of the cities of the plain.
Sin has ever marked its steps by misery and blood. Pride, malice, envy, murmuring, uncleanness, and every abomination hateful to a holy God, and destructive to our wretched race, spring from this poisonous root. Every particle of sin contains an infinity of evil, and deserves everlasting damnation.
But, O! my soul, if thou wouldest view sin in its darkest colours and most terrible effects, go to Bethlehem, and ask, why did the king of heaven become an infant of days? Why was he, who filleth all space, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger ? Go to Gethsemene, and ask, why did the incarnate God agonize, and sweat great drops of blood ? Go to the Judgment-hall, and ask, why did the Soverign Judge of men and angels submit to be judged? Why did the innocent suffer such indignities? Why was the guiltless condemned to die? Go to Calvary, and ask, why did the Lord of glory hang on the accursed tree? Why did the Lord of life condescend to pour out his soul unto death? It was to save thee from thy sins; to redeem thee from the curse of the law, by, being made a curse for thee; to deliver thee from going down into hell, by becoming thy ransom: it was to merit heaven for thee by his precious atonement and obedience unto death; it was to purchase for thee the eternal Spirit, by whose powerful aid thou mightest believe and love and delight in this precious Savi. our, this adorable Redeemer, this almighty Deliverer, through whom thy sins are pardoned, and by whom thou hast access unto God, as thy reconciled Father.
0! my soul, praise the Lord for his mercy, and never cease to speak good of his name.
Let this view of sin, and of a sin-bearing Saviour, humble thee in his presence; and empty thee of all pride and vain glory. Let it at the same time fill thee with gratitude to God, for having provided such a remedy against the evils of the fall.
Sin, even thy sin, nailed, pierced, and agonized the Lord of glory! O! then hate sin, and avoid it as thou wouldest tremble to plunge a spear into thy Saviour's bosom; as thou wouldest shudder to trample under foot his sacred blood. “The wages of sin is death.” But 0! rejoice in this gracious declaration,“ The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
And what is sin ? “ Sin is the transgression of the law." _“All unrighteousness is sin." Sin is enmity against God; an inveterate opposition to the gospel method of salvation ; a preference of our own will and the enjoyment of the creature, to the will and favour of the Creator. As sin crucified the Son of God, so it hates and persecutes him in all his faithful people. Sin is a daring rebellion against the Majesty of heaven, and would, if it were possible, pluck the Éternal from his throne. The proud sinner presumptuously asks, “Who is the Lord that I
should obey him?" And, “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."
0! my soul, and is this hideous evil the inmate of thy heart? Canst thou cherish such a serpent in thy bosom? Lord, I tremble at the thought. Blessed Jesus, turn out thine enemy-my sin, and make me wholly thine ; the purchase of thy blood, the trophy of thy grace, the monument of thy mercy, a living temple consecrated to thy praise.
Why is my heart so prone to leave
A God of mercy and of love ?
Why far from Christ and heaven remove ?
Lord, 'tis the fruit of Adam's sin,
The awful taint which nature bears ;
Dissolve my flinty heart to tears.
To thee I look, my only Lord;
On thee, my trembling soul depends ;
Thy pard'ning mercy never ends.
Then will my heart o'erflow with joy,
My life proclaim its grateful praise,
My soul shall chaunt celestial lays.
IV. ON THE PROHIBITION IN PARADISE.
Much of the beauty of Scripture is lost to us for want of spiritual discernment. The ways of God appear dark, in proportion to the thick film which rests upon our understanding.
The view which the Rev. Hartwell Horne has given of the prohibition in paradise, in a note in the first volume of his " Introduction to the Critical Study of the Holy Scriptures,” is very important. He says, “ that the particular injunction given to our first parents not to eat of the fruit of a particular tree has been a favourite subject of sneer and cavil with the opposers of revelation.”
It is awful to reflect, how weak, polluted worms of earth dare to charge the infinite wisdom of Jehovah with folly. Surely we must say with the Psalmist, “God is strong and patient"_and God is provoked every day.
The following considerations shew at once the reasonableness, holiness, and goodness of the law of paradise.
1. As God had made man the governor of this lower world, and crowned him with so many mercies, “it was manifestly proper that he should require some particular instance of homage and fealty, to be a memorial to man of his dependence, and an acknowledgment on his part, that he was under the dominion of a higher Lord, to whom he owed absolute subjection and obedience.
2. “ What instance of homage could be more proper, circumstanced as man then was, than his being obliged, in obedience to the divine command, to abstain from one or more of the fruits of paradise?”
3. “It pleased God to insist only upon his abstaining from one; at the same time that he indulged him in full liberty as to the rest.”
4. This easy and reasonable prohibition “served both as an act of homage to the supreme Lord from whose bountiful grant he held paradise, and all its enjoyments; and was also fitted to teach our first parents a noble and useful lesson of abstinence and self-denial ; one of the most necessary lessons in a