Зображення сторінки

Their trust in God was dead, they were afraid at His familiar voice, and hid themselves. God had given to Adam so clear a knowledge of His Works in Creation, that Adam could name each object brought to him,—that act of deepest insight and highest intelligence, by which the distinct character of each was uttered in a special name ;—so brightly shone the light of knowledge in the soul of Adam ! God is spoken of as watching with Divine interest to see what Adam would call the Creatures brought before him, and whatsoever Adam called every living Creature, that was the name thereof. This knowledge no doubt extended to all that surrounded him; trees, plants, and flowers, inanimate as well as animate nature in the Garden in which God had put him, to dress it and to keep it. How unspeakably sorrowful then to see him hiding from His Gracious Creator, his Glorious Father and Friend, amongst those very Trees! Trees whose nature he so well knew, and beneath whose foliage he may have walked in familiar converse with God.

O Lord, I have heard Thy speech and was afraid.' (Hab. iii. 2.) But man lost in the bewildering darkness of Sin, had not yet that holy fear, that reverence and awe of God. He could not then say,

O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee my God, for our iniquities are increased over our heads, and our trespass is grown up unto the Heavens.' (Ezra, ix.) It was as yet that dread of God of which the Prophet speaks : “They shall


go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of His Majesty.' (Isa. ii. 19.) It was remorse, terror, and shame, that dared not look upon God; not repentance, contrition, and love.

True love and reverence are one in the soul of man, and cannot be parted; where the one is the other is; but Sin had withered both in man. When called into the immediate Presence of God and questioned, with the calm Majesty of Him who is the TRUTH, Adam sought to find the source of his sin in God, and in that highest gift of God which had been until he sinned his Crown of Earthly Blessing. The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the Tree, and I did eat.' “And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done ? And the woman said, The Serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.' The first utterance of Life towards God, had they still retained any, would have been in each the heartfelt confession of their own Sin against the infinite love, that had poured out every blessing upon them; but dead in Sin, they felt not its evil toward God; they knew not any way of return, they sought not any, their effort was to hide, to excuse Sin. "If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom. (Job, xxxi. 33.) Sinking deeper in the Darkness of that Death, into which had God Himself not followed them in infinite Mercy, they had been lost for ever.


Man was dead in Sin. “You being dead in your Sins.' (Col. ii. 13.) There was in him no life to God; nothing left that under favourable circumstances might bud and blossom, and bring forth fruit unto God. The Apostle who had been caught up unto the third Heaven teaches this fact with the utmost clearness, saying, "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh,' (man's state by nature, man's standing in himself) dwelleth no good thing.'(Rom. vii. 18.) And in Eph. ii. he speaks of himself, with others, as having been by nature the Children of wrath!' So long as man is in his natural state, that is, so long as he stands in himself before God, he is dead; there is not, and there cannot be in him any true movement of the soul towards God.

May we not then with wondering awe enquire, how could the Sinner in his Sin stand in the Presence of God ? Must not the wicked perish at the Presence of God ? O the depth of the riches both of the Wisdom and Knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out !' (Rom. xi. 33.) God, who foreknew man's fall, had before the foundation of the World devised means that His banished be not expelled from Him. (2 Sam. xiv. 14.) 'God, who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now made manifest, by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ; who hath abolished

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Death ; and brought Life and Immortality to Light through the Gospel.' (2 Tim. i. 9, 10.) Van stood in his own Death before God, and heard the Promise of Life in Another. "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered ? Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered.' (Isa. xlix. 24, 25.)

With the Tempted and Fallen stood the Tempter and Destroyer. With Adam and with Eve the Lord God had questioned as a Father with His children, but He suffered not the Tempter to speak. Accused before the Dread Majesty of the Eternal by her whom he had drawn to Sin and Death, no voice inquired of him, What is this that thou hast done? He had once known the voice of the Lord God, kindling into brighter radiance and more thrilling life the ranks of Cherubim and Seraphim ; but he had fallen! “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven.' (Luke, x. 17-19.) And now his deadly aim was to ensnare and drag with him to Hell's dark depths the sinless children of Earth. His strength had overmatched their weakness ; his guile had drawn them into the net, they were his captives, and even in the Presence of the Most High he held his prey ; but on him and him alone fell the dread sentence of the Second Death, that Death on which there gleams no hope; that Night that has no morning, no dawn, however distant, of Resurrection Light.


Fallen the Tempter was already, but he heard another Sentence now; he was to be crushed, his head bruised beneath the heel of that same woman's seed. “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.'

To Man the Tempted, Fallen, and dead in Sin, the Promise of Life in Another was given ; while the merciful discipline of toil and pain was to humble in him the pride of self-exaltation, to prove the barrenness, emptiness, and vanity of all which would tempt the soul in pursuit of objects not given of God; while the weariness of toil and the disappointments of Earth, yielding the thorn and the thistle, should leave the yearning heart ready for the voice which would say, 'Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' (Matt. xi. 28-30.)

• Till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken : for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.' Words whose sad reality each generation learns beside the grave, awful in their fatal sound, but yet embalming Immortality! A body that could not die must have shut man up in enduring sin, and pain, and weariness for ever; but' them that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him.' (1 Thess. iv. 14.) 'It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory : it is sown in weak

[ocr errors]



« НазадПродовжити »