Imágenes de páginas

tate" of holiness and felicity: and who, hav-| of love, has in a moment learned to reproach ing artfully seduced our first parents from and upbraid. The heart which glowed at the their innocence, exposed them to the wrath of God, procured their expulsion from paradise, rendered them a prey to fear, shame, and remorse, and subjected them to pain, disease and death.

The circumstances of the case, according to the scripture account of it, were these. The devil observed the serpent to be an animal of peculiar sagacity and penetration, and fixes on him as a fit instrument of seduction. Fearing a repulse from the superior firmness and discernment of the man, he watches for, and finds the unhappy moment, when the woman, being separated from her husband, opposed to his wiles inferior powers of reason and intelligence, with greater softness and pliancy. He addresses himself to a principle in her nature, the immoderate indulgence of which has proved fatal to so many thousands of her daughters, curiosity; curiosity, the investigator of truth, the mother of invention; curiosity, the prompter to rashness, the parent of danger, the guide to ruin. Having first gained her attention, he excites her to doubt and to reason in the face of a positive command; rouses in her a spirit of pride and ambition; and at length persuades her to make the fatal experiment. She eats of the prohibited tree, and, by transgression, acquires the knowledge of evil, whereas she had hitherto known only good.

By what arguments Adam was prevailed upon to become a partner of her guilt, we are not informed. From the apology he made for his conduct, it is to be inferred that female insinuation and address misled him from the law of his God. And thus were both ruined by the operation of principles in themselves good and useful; but carried to excess, unchecked by reason, unawed by religion. Eve perished by a curious and ambitious desire after a condition for which God and nature had not designed her, a desire to be "as God, to know good and evil;" Adam fell by complaisance to his wife, carried to unmanly weakness and compliance, yielding to his subject, bidding defiance to his sovereign.

And what words can express, what heart can conceive the bitter change! All his posterity have experienced the melancholy transition from health to sickness, from ease to pain: very many have passed from affluence to indigence, from glory to shame, and not a few have exchanged empire itself for banishment or a dungeon. But more than the accumulated weight of all these at once, falls on the devoted head of our guilty first father. The eyes, which before met the approach of God with rapture, now are clouded with sorrow, tremble with fear, or strain with remorse and horror, at the voice of the Almighty. That tongue, which was once tuned only to the accent and the language

promise and the prospect of a fair, numerous, and happy progeny, now sinks in dejection at the dismal apprehension of that guilt and woe, in which his folly had plunged all his hapless children. Where innocence sat enthroned, there fell despair broods over her own stinging reflections, and tormenting fears. Above, the awful throne of an offended God; beneath, a fathomless gulf, kindled by the breath of Jehovah as a stream of brimstone; within, a troubled conscience, like the raging sea, incapable of taking rest. "The glory is departed: the gold is become dim, and the most fine gold changed."

And now too a revolution in outward circumstances takes place, corresponding to that which had passed on his internal constitution and character. Adam must no longer possess that paradise of which he had rendered himself unworthy. Justice drives out from Eden the man, who had cast himself out from the favour of God. A wall reaching up to heaven, and immoveable as the decree of the Eternal, prevents the possibility of return. The flaming sword of the cherubim bars all access to the tree of life. His labour, formerly his delight, must henceforward be accompanied with pain. The subject tribes throw off their allegiance, and either shun, or threaten their Lord. The elements change their influence, and his fair domain becomes a vast solitude. The sole partner of his former joys, now become the cause and the companion of his guilt, becomes also the companion of his woe. Mutual reflections and reproaches embitter and increase their common misery; and stern death stares them in the face.

But will God contend for ever, will he be always wroth? Then "the spirit should fail before him, and the souls which he had made." Behold a dawn of hope arises, and the promise of the Most High saves from despair. The moment man becomes, and feels himself, a miscrable offender, that moment is the gospel preached unto him; as the woman was first in the transgression, so from her the prospect of salvation arises; and it is declared that "the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan," who had, in deceiving her, destroyed her posterity, should by one who was peculiarly her posterity, be destroyed and slain. Thus they leave Eden, supported and cheered with the expectation of triumph over their bitter enemy, and of being restored at length to the favour of their offended God. To keep alive this hope, as well as to afford present relief from shame, at this period, it would appear, sacrifice was instituted. The same victim shed its blood, the type of atonement: and furnished its skin to clothe the naked, thereby presenting the emblem of a perfect righteousness, to cover and shelter

the naked soul. And thus early, distinctly and unequivocally was Christianity taught to mankind.

designed of God to be, and is in itself, the dearest bond of union among men.

An event now took place in Adam's family In process of time, however, Adam has by which every former grief must have been the felicity of becoming a father; and en- renewed and embittered; and to his inexjoys the satisfaction of seeing the blessing pressible mortification he finds himself a root pronounced upon him in his better state, of bitterness, of which all his branches must notwithstanding his apostacy, taking effect. and do partake. Cain, incensed at the preferEve becomes the joyful mother, perhaps at ence given to his brother's offering, burning one birth, of two sons, and the earth begins with envy and resentment, watches his opporto be replenished. Behold the first parents tunity, and finding himself alone with him in of mankind exulting in affections unknown, the field, puts Abel to death. Thus man unfelt before; exulting in this fresh proof becomes the executioner of the dreadful senthat God had not forgotten to be gracious. tence of the divine law, upon man-brother Behold the nuptial tie strengthened and con- upon brother. What must have been the firmed; the voice of upbraiding and re-emotions of Adam's soul when these sad proach turned to the language of gratulation, complacency, and love.

Adam observes, with growing delight, his sons increasing in stature and wisdom. Stung with keen reflection upon the happiness which he had vilely thrown away, and the misery which he had entailed upon his hapless children, how would he exert himself to repair that loss! How forcibly inculcate, by his own fatal example, the obligations of God's holy law! With what gratitude lead them to the promised atonement! With what heartfelt delight infuse knowledge into their opening minds!

Man is destined to labour from the beginning; and, for his punishment, guilty man must labour with the sweat of his brow. But all the punishments of Heaven in reality, and in the issue, are blessings. It is the privilege and the happiness of Adam and all his sons to be employed, though to weariness and fatigue. Accordingly the heirs and possessors of the whole globe, as soon as they arrive at man's estate, betake themselves to the humble and necessary occupations of that simple state of human nature. "Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a tiller of the ground."

news were brought him! To lose a son, a pious, promising son: almost an only one; prematurely, unexpectedly, by the hand of his own brother! The one dead! the other worse than dead; a wretch unworthy to live! How would his own transgression again stare him in the face! How would he again accuse himself as the author of his own wretchedness, and the propagator of wo on wo to his posterity! The empire of Satan over this miserable world would now seem confirmed; and the purpose of the divine grace would be apparently defeated. But God yet takes pity on fallen, guilty man, being mindful of his promise; and Seth is given to supply the loss of Abel-Seth, in whose line the promise runs, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ should come. And thus the divine interpositions always seasonably and suitably meet our necessities and wants.

into the world, and death must inevitably follow, and pass, upon him and upon all men. He had seen the ghastly appearance of death, in the person of his murdered son; he must now drink the bitter cup for himself; "And the days that Adam lived, were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died."

Adam's own forfeited life is prolonged to many generations, and he lives to see his posterity increased to a great multitude, inventing and cultivating the arts which support, adorn, or comfort life. But the time approaches, at last, that he must die. Mercy flew as on the wings of a dove to his relief; But Adam, we find, has taught his sons to justice walks with slow and steady steps to blend religion with their secular employ-his punishment. By himself sin had entered ments; nay, to make their very employments the monitors and the means of religious worship. "In process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof; and the Lord had respect to Abel, and to his offering; but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect."* And O, how early did the different passions and affections of the human mind discover themselves! Abel brings with his offering, an humble, pious, and believing spirit. Cain approaches the altar of God with a proud, selfish, murderous heart. And melancholy it is to observe, the first quarrel in the world, the first human blood that was shed, were occasioned by religion, which is

* Gen. iv. 4, 5.

This is the end of all men, and the living should lay it to his heart. And thus at length decayed the fabric which God himself had reared; thus "the dust returned to the earth as it was, and the spirit to God who gave it." And thus must conclude the history of every life, though protracted to a thousand years, whether adorned with virtues, or sullied with vice, whether passed with noise on the great theatre, or obscurely spent in the shade. To this complexion the wise and the beautiful, the brave and the

good, as well as the simple and the homely, the timid and the vicious, must come at last. "Here the rich and the poor meet together; here the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."

The next Lecture, if God permit, will attempt to exhibit to you, the comparison and contrast of the first and second Adam: in the former of whom all died; and by the latter, an elect world is made alive, and "raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Let us endeavour to improve what has been said; by learning habitually to acknowledge, adore, and serve the great Author and preserver of our being, who has lavished so much goodness upon us, who adorned our nature with his own glorious image, pitied us in our low and lost estate, and has laid help for us on one who is mighty to save: and who, by the exceeding great and precious promises of the gospel, is aiming at making us partakers of a divine nature, and delivering us from that bondage of corruption, in which we are sunk by reason of sin. Let us learn, secondly, from the sad example of the first transgression, to rest contented with that state and condition which Providence has assigned us in life; to use only lawful means for bettering it; to make the known will of God the only rule of conduct; never to reason and tamper with temptation; but to repel or flee from it at once and to shun those as our worst enemies, who, on any occasion or pretence, would attempt to make us think lightly of the law of God.

furnishing matter for a little conversation. There must be more virtue, religion, and good sense among the young men of the age, before this crying evil be remedied.

[ocr errors]

Finally, let us take the conclusion of the book of God, and the bright prospect which it discloses to our view, to support and cherish us under the melancholy scene exhibited to us in the beginning of it. "According to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new." " And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God, and of the Lamb, shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him. And they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun: for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever." "I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and people and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Let me take occasion, thirdly, from that And all the angels stood round about the institution which God designed for the com- throne, and about the elders, and the four pletion of human happiness in a state of in- beasts, and fell before the throne on their nocence, and for the mutual assistance and faces and worshipped God; saying, Amen: comfort of the sexes, in their fallen condi- blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thankstion, to censure and condemn that spirit and giving, and honour, and power, and might practice of celibacy, which is one of the be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. crying vices of our own age and country, And one of the elders answered, saying unto and which is equally inimical to religion, to me, What are these which are arrayed in good morals, to public spirit, and human white robes? And whence came they? And comfort. He who says, or lives as if he I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he thought, that it is "good for man to be said unto me, These are they which came alone," gives the lie to his Maker; sins out of great tribulation, and have washed against the constitution of his nature, dis- their robes, and made them white in the honours his parents; defrauds another of one blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they beof the justest rights of humanity, and in a fore the throne of God, and serve him day case too where it is impossible so much as to and night in his temple, and he that sitteth complain; and exposes himself to commit on the throne shall dwell among them. offences against society which are not to be They shall hunger no more, neither thirst mentioned in this place. In truth, celibacy any more, neither shall the sun light on is a vile compound of avarice and selfish- them, nor any heat; for the Lamb, which is ness, which would fain pass upon the world in the midst of the throne shall feed them, for prudence and self-denial; and the state and shall lead them unto living fountains of of our own country at present, in this re-waters: and God shall wipe away all tears spect, looks as if a single state, as in Ro- from their eyes."‡ man Catholic countries, were established by a law, but that the laity, not the clergy, were bound by it. But, alas! I am only

[ocr errors]

Thus the mercy of God, and the blood of the Lamb, remove the guilt, and rectify the Rev. xxi. 5. † Rev. xxii. 1-5. ↑ Rev. vii. 9-17.

disorders of sin. Thus guilty, fallen man is no mixture of evil intrudes itself, where recovered and restored. Thus the evils re-none but the trees of life find a place. And corded in the first pages of the Bible are remedied and done away in that bright revelation of a world to come, which is opened to us in the close of it. Thus is Adam, and his renewed offspring, conducted from a terrestrial paradise, where the tree of knowledge of good and evil grew up among the trees of life, to the paradise of God, where perfect.

thus the several parts of divine revelation explain, illustrate, strengthen, and confirm each other; and the whole taken together, exhibiting throughout one great leading object, carrying on one great design, and accomplishing, at length, the one original purpose of the ETERNAL, is gloriously



And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a
quickening spirit-1 CORINTHIANS XV. 45

THE frame of nature, the ways of Providence, and the work of redemption, mutually illuminate, explain, and support each other. The invisible things of God are clearly understood by the things which are made: the world is evidently upheld and governed by him who made it at first. And the suspension of the laws of nature, and the special interpositions of Divine Providence, constitute the proof, that the gospel dispensation is from Him who has the universe under his control, to continue or to change its appearance at his pleasure; who has all hearts in his hand, and consequently, all events at his disposal. When we attempt to contemplate the providence of God, we immediately find it to be a system infinitely too vast for human capacity to take in, too complex for our penetration to unfold, too deep and mysterious for our understanding to fathom. All that we can do is to consider the detached parts of this majestic whole, as they present themselves to our senses, or to our reason; as they are transmitted to us in the history and experience of others; or as they are discovered to us by a revelation from heaven. Without the Bible, it were utterly impossible to give a tolerable account, much less one completely satisfactory, of the origin of the world, or of the appearances of nature; of the events which are past and are recorded, or those which are every day presenting themselves to our observation. But when reason vouch safes to kindle her feeble lamp with fire from the altar of God, and to supply it continually with fresh oil from the sacred stores, what was formerly dark becomes clear: what before seemed intricate and perplexed, is found to be in perfect order and harmony; and the

dim and scattered fragments become both legible and intelligible.

Nay, farther, the different parts of scripture itself, taken separately and without connexion, may seem to have less force, beauty, and importance; but when brought together, like the magnet and the steel, they immediately attract each other and unite; like the scattered bones in the valley, bone coming together to his bone, there starts up a perfect man, nay, an exceeding great army. Type meeting the thing typified, prediction squaring with event, promise tallying exactly with accomplishment, scripture acquires a solidity which bids defiance to all created force: becomes, in its own energetic language, "as a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces." The persons exhibited, the events recorded, the scenes described, the institutions ordained in one age and state of the world, which were the shadows of good things to come, are not only instructive and interesting in themselves, but acquire a weight and importance which they possessed not before, when viewed in their relation to Him, to whom all the prophets give witness, and whose person, character, and work, are the fulfilling of all that was written of old time.

The history of Adam ministers both pleasure and instruction to us as men: but Christians feel a peculiar interest in the perusal of it, by considering Adam "as the figure of him who was to come."

Having, in the last Lecture, attempted a delineation of the life of the first man, according as it is transmitted to us in the holy scriptures, we proceed, in prosecution of our plan, to institute in a few particulars, a comparison between Adam and Christ; between


the federal head and representative of the human race, and the covenant head and representative of the church. But first, let us observe wherein the first man differs from, and wherein he resembles all other men, who have descended from him by ordinary generation.

first man, into whose nostrils God breathed the breath of life, and who thereby became a living soul, was "the type or figure of him that was to come:' "* and in many other places, in his epistles, shows us wherein the resemblance consists. Following him therefore, and the other sacred writers of the New Testament, as our guides, we observe,

First, that Adam typified Christ, as being in a peculiar sense the Son of God. The evangelist Luke, in tracing the natural pedi

from son to father, till he comes to the first progenitor of all, “who was," says he, “the Son of God:" that is, his immediate offspring, deriving his existence without any interposition, from the great source of being. And what saith the scripture concerning the Messiah? "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee," and "when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world," he saith, "And let all the angels of God worship him."‡

First, In the manner of his production. Other men arrive at their maturity, such as it is, by slow and insensible degrees; they make a progress through infancy, childhood, and youth, to man's estate; Adam was creat-gree of our Saviour, ascends step by step ed perfect at once; the moment he began to exist, he existed in all the dignity and strength of reason and intelligence. All other men are conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity; he came from the hands of his Creator, holy and blameless, the son of God. The mental powers of the wisest and most intelligent of mankind, his sons, are narrow and contracted; we know but a few things, and them imperfectly: the whole world of nature was an open volume to his understanding. Since the fall, men are born into the world with the seeds of decay and dissolution in the constitution and frame of their nature; but Adam was created incorruptible, immortal. The property and power of the greatest of his posterity is cramped and confined; limited by mountains, rivers, and seas; liable to be encroached upon, disputed, invaded, taken away: but the dominion of the first man was uncontrolled, his authority indisputable, his property universal; the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea, all, all were put under his feet. But Adam, fallen and lost, is just what all his hapless children are; like them a slave to divers lusts and passions; like them liable to disease and death; like them a prey to sorrow, fear, and remorse; like them a child of wrath, an heir of hell; and like them, to be recovered, restored, re-established, only by the mercy of God, and through the atoning blood of a Saviour; and how that Saviour was typified or held forth to the world, by the person, character, and relative connexions of Adam, is to be the subject of the remaining part of this discourse.


As the manner in which Adam was produced, was new and unexampled, so the conception and birth of Christ were "a new thing in the earth:" the former created of dust from the ground, the latter formed by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of a virgin. But Adam, the son of God, though made in the likeness of his Creator, expressed that divine image only externally, as the coin exhibits the image and impress of the sovereign: whereas Christ the Son of God displayed "the brightness of his Father's glory," and bore "the express image of his person." Adam the son of God was produced in time, on the sixth day of the creation, after all the other works of God were finished: but Christ, the Son of God, the eternal wisdom of the everlasting Father, thus speaks of himself. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth: when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: Adam, perhaps, was not himself aware, while as yet he had not made the earth, nor that he was in this respect fulfilling the de- the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of signs of Providence. We know that many the world: when he prepared the heavens I others exhibited striking types of the pro- was there: when he set a compass upon mised Saviour, in their persons, offices, and the face of the depth: when he established actions, without being conscious that such the clouds above: when he strengthened honourable distinction was conferred upon the fountains of the deep: when he gave them; and Moses, the inspired author of the to the sea his decree, that the waters should history of the first man, no where hints, that not pass his commandment: when he aphe considered Adam, or that Adam consider- pointed the foundations of the earth: then ed himself in this light. But to us the matter is put beyond a doubt, by one who wrote also under the inspiration of God, the great apostle of the Gentiles, who informs us, that this

I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, and rejoicing always before him: rejoicing in the habita* Romans v. 14. ↑ Psalm ii. 7.

Heb. i. 6.

« AnteriorContinuar »