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At length it pleased God, in his infinite mercy, to fend into this loft and ruined world, his Son Jesus Christ, as he had foretold he would do. even at the very time of the fall of Adam ; for when that curse, which has been already spoken of, was denounced, God, who, in the midst of judgment, remembers mercy, was pleased to declare, that “ the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head;" a promise which implied, that one sprung from the woman should come to destroy the power of the serpent, or evil spirit, and to triumph over him.
The Jews had become so wicked, at the time of Christ, that, instead of welcoming him as their Saviour,, they even put him to death. Having thus filled up the measure of their iniquities, their city was taken, and trodden down of the Gen. tiles, their people were led captive, or destroyed, and they have become a by-word and a proverb among the nations unto this day, as had been foretold:
But have then the other nations of the world been better than the Jews ? No, the heathens around them were so wicked and abominable, that the Jews were ordered to cut them off. And even since the publishing of Christianity in the world, how has wickedness prevailed! Read whatever history you will, you will read an account of little else than the vices and follies of our race. What a wicked world is it that we live in at this hour! How different from that peaceful, happy paradise, which was just now
described! Well may it be said, that “ the thorn and the thifle have grown up in it." Every where, alas! we fee proofs of the fall; for what are all the present wars among nations, together with the bloody revolutions which take place in ftates; wbat are all the conflicts for power among the great, and all the complaining and repining among persons of low degree; what are the feuds and quarrels in private families; what the malice and evil speaking, the fraud and lying, the impurity and the drunkenness, the irreligion and profaneness, as well as the corruption even to Christianity itself-what are all thele but so many consequences of the fall of Adam, and so many proofs of that corrupt nature has descended to all his children.
And as the world has become Ginful, 'no wonder that it has become miserable also. It is disa tressed, at this day, with so many evils, because it has so much that is offensive to God in it. It is one part of his appointment, that men's own evil passions shall be a plague both to themselves and to each other. Death also has been sent into the world; for ever since the days of Adam, that sentence has been executing, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” And what forrows and diseases have been brought in together with death! What pangs of the dying, what affliction for the surviving friends! And above all, what terrors of conscience, and what a melancholly foreboding of a day of future judgment afilict our guilty race!
The story we have now told of the fall of man, and of the corruption which has followed from it, stands in the first pages of our Bible; it leads the way to all Christian truth, and without it all our other religious knowledge will be of little use. But how shall we ever learn the necessity of any change in our character and condition, unless we first know, that the natural state in which we find ourselves, as children of Adam, is altogether fallen and corrupt. “They that are whole," says our Saviour, “ need not a physician; but they that are sick."-" I came not to call the righteous, (that is them that think them. selves righteous,) but sinners to repentance." We must know that we are finners, or we shall never repent and receive the gospel; just as a man muft know that he is sick, or he will never go to the physician for his cure. “ We must be born again;"—We have “ an old man" within us, which must be put off; and we must put on that 66 new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness." · I know that many are not aware, that there is this natural corruption in them; but the reason of it is, that they have not examined carefully the scriptures, nor observed sufficiently the evil that is in the world, whose fashions, probably, they follow, nor looked ftri&tly into their own hearts. Such perfons, in short, have no just discernment of right and wrong, and are far from judging every thing to be evil which God judges to be fo. I say, therefore, let these people Nudy the fcriptures. Other books varnish over the fins of men, and flatter the world that it is better ihan it is; for the writers of them partake in the common blindness and corruption : But the fcriptures, which are the word of God, and which were written by men who were moved by the Holy Ghost alone, speak the truth. The scriptures give the true picture.—They relate the history of the world, and the history they give, is little else than the history of that controversy, which God has had with man ever since the fall of our first parent. Nay, the Bible, even in describing the best of men, describes them as acknowledging their own natural corruption, and as saying, with one voice, that they were born in fin, and shapen in iniquity," and that they “ were by nature children of wrath, even as others."
. But above all, let those, who are not aware of the corruption of their own nature, study the law.of God. Let them examine themselves by each of the ten commandments, explained as our Saviour has taught us to explain them, and as will be made to appear in some of the following tracts. The study of the law of God will not fail, unless we are wilfully blind, to teach us the same lesson which the fall of Adam, and which the history of the world, both ancient and modern, unite to teach us; I mean the sinfulness of our present nature, and the necessity. which zhence arises for that redemption, which has been provided for us by Jesus Christ our Lord. For let no one complain, that the doctrine of the fall is gloomy and uncomfortable; Christ has taken away the gloom of it through the lively hopes, and through all the means of grace which he sets before us in his gospel; for Christ is the second Adam. As Adam brought upon us the curse, so Christ has come down to us with the blessing; and “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."-" The first man was from the earth earthy, the second was the Lord from heaven;" and, therefore, if we are Christians, we may joyfully fay, that “as we have borne the image of the earthy, so also shall we bear the image of the heavenly." .
'In all our religious enquiries, let us, therefore, be sure that we take this knowledge of the fall for our foundation, and then we shall proceed safely, and build securely; whereas, they who set out in religion with the vain notion of the natural goodness of their hearts, do but deceive themselves with a false philosophy, and indulge : their own pleasing dreams in defiance both of fcripture and of experience.
NO A H's FLOOD.
N OAH was an instance of a righteous man living ia the midst of a very wicked generation.
Though the world, which is now about fix thousand years old, had been created only about