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pains. Adam and his partner Eve dwelt peacefully in the garden of Eden, which they were employed to cultivate. All nature smiled around them, and was drest, no doubt, in its most beautiful attire. Every thing was exactly suited to afford them happiness; and this favored pair, without angry passions, without undue felishness, without anxiety or distrust, and without murmur or complaint, enjoyed the good which God had given them, and lived in favour with their Maker.
But we have now to describe a most melancholy change in their condition. It had pleased the all-wise Creator, when he made man, to appoint a certain trial for him, which was meant to serve, no doubt, as a test of his love and obedience. His trial consisted in his being forbidden to eat of one tree standing in the middle of the garden of Eden, which was called, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, while the fruit of all the rest of the trees might be freely eaten.
We have all of us our trials somewhat in the fame manner now; thus, for instance, we may eat the food which is our own, and which is wholesome for us; we may take the rest which is necessary to refresh the body; we may indulge our natural affections and inclinations in the manner which God has ordained; but then we must not carry any thing to excess; and there are a number of things which we must in no case do, Oh! let us remember when we fee. some forbidden pleasure within our reach, that we are not to touch it; but that it is placed there for the trial of our faith, just as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was placed within the fight of Adam's eye, and within the reach of his arm,
66 And God said to Adam, In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The Scriptures proceed to tell us, that Eve was first tempted by the serpent, (namely, by the devil, as is commonly supposed) who said to her, in direct contradiction to God, that if she and her husband should eat of the forbidden fruit, “ they should not die, but should become as gods, knowing good and evil.”-She then seeing that the fruit was fair, and much to be desired to make one wise, gathered some of it, and gave it to her husband, which he did eat.”
Oh! wretched Adam, how art thou now fallen! thou haft believed the enemy of God, instead of God himself, being tempted to this crime by her who was made to be a help-meetfor thee! how is thy gold become dross, and thine honor laid in the dust, and thy glory de. parted from thee! :.
Adam, by this act, renounced his allegiance to God, and broke the condition on which the favor of his Maker had been suspended; and, therefore, the curse which had been threatened : remained now to be executed " In the day that thou eatest thereof, it has been said, thou shalt furely die." Those words muft necessarily be
understood to imply, that he should forfeit his natural life, and be deprived of that happy state of existence, which, while obedient, he was entitled to enjoy; and that, instead of this, he fhould come under the curse of God. Here also the New Testament comes in aid, and teaches us that o fin having thus entered the world, and death by fin, death in this manner passed upon all men, for that all have finned; and that through this one man, judgment came upon all men to condemnation."
Thus did Adam fall; by aiming to be as God, he lost even his former rank as man, and by wickedly listening to the temptation of the devil, he appears to have become a snarer in his guilt, and consequently also in his condemnation.
Soon after this event, our first parents are described as ashamed to meet the eye of God when he appeared to them, as he was wont to do, in the garden; they hid themselves among the trees, and said that they had felt ashamed, because they were naked. Sin and shame, it may be remarked, entered into the world together.
6 And the Lord God said, Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
It seems as if Adain, by this expression, meant partly to cast the blame on God who had given him the woman that had proved his tempter, and he certainly casts the blame partly on Eve, while
fhe in the same self-justifying spirit, replies to God, when he charges her with the guilt, “ The serpent beguiled me and I did eat."
Our first parents, as we may plainly see, were now become poor guilty sinners; they were difposed to palliate and justify their crime, and thus to add fin to sin, just as is the way with all wicked people now. They also became, after this time, full of the dread of God, instead of the love of Him, and disposed to say to him, as Peter did to our Saviour when first called to by Him, 66 Depart from me, for I am a sinful man O Lord.”
God immediately proceeds to pronounce the following curse on them: 66 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in forrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy desire shalt be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”—And unto Adam he faid, " Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, curled is the ground for thy fake; in forrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thisles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return un. to the ground, for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art, and unto dust Malt thou return.” 66 And the Lord sent him forth from the land of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man, and he placed
at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Such is the history of the fall; and O how has iniquity ever since prevailed in the world. Cain, the first born son of Adam, became the murderer of his brother. The whole earth is said, presently after, to have been “ filled with violence.” “God looked down on the children of men, to see if there were any that were righ. teous, but all flesh had corrupted his way before the Lord, and every imagination of man's heart was only evil continually, insomuch that the Almighty is faid (speaking after the manner of men to have grieved him at his heart, and to have repented that he had made man." .
After bearing with the rebellious offspring of Adam for about two thousand years, it pleased God to drown the world with a flood, the fa. mily of Noah alone being excepted, who was found righteous. The great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were, after this, destroyed for their wickedness; and so were Tyre and Sidon in still later times.
In order that true religion might be maintained, at least among one people, God separated to himself the single nation of the Jews, and made a covenant with them, and gave them his laws, and wrought many miracles among them. But fo corrupt is every where the nature of man, that even the Jews.provoked him to wrath, and proved rebellious and unbelieving,
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