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measure the baneful workings of the Evil Spirit, in corrupting Man's true Faith; and to mark his devices in the promulgation of Error. We shall thus the more clearly see our Danger, and the more fully understand the Blessing of possessing a Faith 'Sure and Steadfast,' and of which it is Written, 'The Gates of Hell shall not Prevail against it.' (St. Matt. xvi. 18.)

Little or no account is given in Holy Scripture respecting the cause which occasioned the fall of Satan and his Angels from their place in Heaven; it is not therefore needful for us to know; but it is most agreeable both to Reason and to Revelation to suppose that the Sin of Pride was the origin of their Rebellion against the Most High.

Having experienced GOD's Wrath in their Expulsion from Heaven, and feeling their own Impotency compared with His Almighty Power, yet retaining within them their Wicked Pride, Malignity would take possession of them, and this would be exerted to the utmost in a deep-rooted Malevolence towards GOD, and directed to destroy, if possible, the fairest work of His Creation-Mankind.

Immediately after this Wicked Spirit had succeeded in drawing away Man from his Obedience to his Maker, sentence was passed upon him by the Almighty, a sentence proclaiming a contest perpetually to be maintained between the Redeemer and the Destroyer of Souls; between 'the Power of GOD unto Salvation,' and the Power of Satan unto Perdition. It was in

these Words

'I will put Enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy Seed and her Seed; It shall Bruise thy Head, and thou shalt Bruise His heel.' (Genesis, iii. 15.)

"The Promise contained in this remarkable passage, respecting the final Defeat of our great Spiritual Adversary, is that which can alone encourage us to "Fight the good fight of Faith;" but at present let us consider the Text only in the light of a Prediction, which has been verified in a wonderful manner, from the earliest period of History to the present moment; a Contest such as that which is here foretold, has actually taken place; there always has been an unabating and determined Opposition carried on against the Christian Scheme. There has been a manifest coincidence between the Prediction and the Event.

This affords a convincing argument that more than Human Foresight was concerned in it. A Development of the rise and progress of the contest therein foretold, cannot but strengthen our confidence in the truth of the Christian Revelation, and may help to convince the Unbeliever in how hopeless a cause he is engaged. Whoever would attain to a just conception of the Wisdom of GOD in Man's Redemption, will be greatly assisted by viewing it in contrast with those false Religions, which the Great Enemy of Mankind has endeavoured to substitute in its place.'*

Let this then be our present Consideration.

The first Offence which Man committed had its origin in a Disbelief of the Divine Word; the Evil One tempted him to Forsake GOD, and to Trust to himself, thus undermining his Faith, and substituting in its stead Presumption in his own Powers. 'It was then ordained that his Title to pardon and acceptance should depend upon Faith in his Redeemer, and that a want of that Faith should no less certainly expose him to irrecoverable Misery and Destruction. Here a

* Dr. Van Mildert. 'Boyle Lectures.'

new scene was opened for the exercise of the Tempter's Malice, whom henceforward we shall perceive, under every dispensation, endeavouring to strike at this fundamental ground of the Hope of Man.'

Next followed the Institution of Sacrifices, whereby the necessary Atonement for the Sin of Man was Typified.

Here we have the contrast between one whose heart was 'right' before GOD, and one on whom the Evil One had exerted his baneful Influence, exhibited to us in a striking manner by the history of Cain and Abel.

We read that 'Cain brought an offering of the Fruit of the Ground; and Abel of the firstlings of his Flock and the Fat thereof. And the LORD had Respect unto Abel and his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.' (Gen. iv.)

Bishop Sherlock remarks upon this passage: 'Abel came a petitioner for Grace and Pardon, and brought the Atonement appointed for Sin. Cain appears before GOD as a just person, wanting no Repentance; he brings an Offering in acknowledgement of GOD's Goodness and Bounty but no Atonement in acknowledgement of his own wretchedness.'

So also observes Dr. Ridley: 'Hence it is plain, that though Cain's first-fruits might signify his Gratitude, Abel's animal testified his Faith.' St. Paul says, 'By Faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.' He declared, when he offered of the Firstlings of his Flock, either his Confidence in some Promise which GOD had made, or Belief in some Truth which GOD had Revealed. Cain appears conceited of his own works, and brings his Thanksgiving Offering; like the Pharisee, who prayed thus, GOD, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are:' while Abel humbly


acknowledged his unworthiness, and brings the appointed Atonement; like the Publican, praying, 'GOD be Merciful to me, a Sinner.'

As a proof that the very spirit of Evil had entered into the Soul of Cain through this avenue of Selfestimation, the fearful Crime of Murder followed as its first fruit, and his immediate Punishment was that of being abandoned to his own Devices, and becoming a prey to the sinful Passions of his Corrupt Nature. In the solemn language of Holy Scripture, 'Cain went out from the Presence of the LORD.' (Gen. iv. 16.)

'In like manner, it would not be difficult to show that, in all ages of the World, the progressive variations in Error and Falsehood have run parellel with the progressive state of True Religion; so as clearly to indicate the constant operation of a Deceiving Spirit, prosecuting an invariable purpose, that of frustrating GOD's Gracious Designs towards Fallen Man; and under every Dispensation of the Divine Will, suggesting new modes of Delusion, according to the peculiar circumstances and condition of Mankind.' *

We must not suppose, however, that because Man's Nature had, as the consequence of his Fall, become depraved, and therefore more liable to Sin, that it was of necessity to be betrayed into Error. Ordinances were appointed in order to preserve in his mind the remembrance of the Promised Redeemer; and upon the faithful use of these depended his feeling of Insufficiency without GOD's Help, and a sense of Gratitude to his LORD for having mercifully devised a scheme whereby Justice and Mercy would be alike satisfied. Against these Ordinances the Tempter first directed his attacks, as we have seen in the case of Cain. * Bishop Van Mildert. 'Boyle Lectures.'

Having gained his point in leading Man to consider himself as independent of his Creator and capable of working out his Salvation by his own Devices, the Foundation of Error was laid. Upon this the Superstructure of Idolatry was quickly raised. Man's nature requires him to look for something higher than himself; and because he had Rejected the LORD, he must needs Exalt the Works of Nature, or of Men like himself, whom he chose to Deify; and to them he fell down and Worshipped! Satan, whose Devices never ceased in pursuing that 'Enmity' towards Man which he had strikingly exhibited in Paradise, aimed more and more to excite the Passions of human nature, and incited more and more the gratification of Sensual Desires; until Men's Minds were depraved and blinded to a deplorable extent. That which had commenced from Man's wilfully turning away from the Light and Knowledge vouchsafed to him, ended in that Light being withdrawn from him; consequently the Grossest Ignorance, and the Deepest Darkness, took possession of his Soul. 'Darkness covered the Earth, and gross Darkness the People'-the dominion of the Evil One seemed supreme. But it was not so!

Almighty God had always preserved amidst the mass of increasing Unbelief a Stream of pure Light emanating from Himself, and stirring in the Hearts of those who, amidst the Corruption around them, still adhered to a due observance of those Ordinances which had been instituted for preserving them in the True Faith. Righteous Noah, and Faithful Abraham, are instances of this in a remarkable degree. The Chosen People of GOD-the Children of Israel-were more especially selected from all the Nations of the Earth to be instructed in those Laws and Sacred Rites which Typified

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