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intelligent Creation. Then would God cease to be God, and a moral chaos, infinitely more terrible than that of created matter, would swallow up the Uni
• Yea, let God be true and every man a liar!' (Rom. iii. 4.) God's Mercy is for ever sure because His Justice never swerves nor yields the utmost point; His Pity and His Love endure for ever because His Holiness admits no shadow of a stain, and His Truth is a Shield and Buckler.
How then could sinful man stand before God unscathed by the Fire of His Wrath, untouched by the Curse ? for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them.' (Gal. iii. 10.) How could sinful man stand before God to receive only the Promise of Life, and the Chastening of Almighty Love?
Another Life was there unseen by all except the eternal Father, offering itself for sinful man on the Altar of Atonement, a Sacrifice for Sin, to be consumed by the Fire of the Holy Wrath of God against Sin. Another Head was bowed before the God of Judgment, to receive the Curse for Man. • Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a Tree.' (Gal. iii. 13.) “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man that is my Fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts.' (Zech. xiii. 7.) Then said I, Lo! I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of
Me), to do Thy Will, O God.' (Heb. x. 7.) Before that Death for sinful Man had sealed His lips of Truth and Mercy in the silence of the grave, He said, 'I am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' (John, x. 10.) I am the Resurrection and the Life, he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.' (John, xi. 25.)
To us the promise given to Adam that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, may appear barren as the unplanted grain; but who shall limit the means by which God quickeneth the Dead, and calleth those things that be not as though they were? 'He giveth not account of any of His matters.' (Job, xxxiii. 13.) Who shall say what glorious Fruit of Faith, and Hope, and Love, sprang up from that quickening Promise, planted and watered by God in the soul of sinful man ? For us it is enough to be sure that the Promise was given. How enlarged that knowledge may have been we do not need to know; we, who dwell in the full Light, not of the Promise, but its blessed fulfilment. the voice of forgiving Love; it opened the door of Hope ; it poured the Light of Life on the Darkness and Death of the soul. It led the Sinner out of himself to look for Salvation in Another; in One, bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, the woman's seed, and yet mighty to destroy the works of the Devil, and to set his captives free.
We cannot trace the first softening of heart under this rising Beam of Light and Life from Christ the Sun of Righteousness, the first godly sorrow working repentance to salvation (2 Cor. vii. 10), the first unutterable feeling of the Love of God that passeth knowledge. To have passed from Death unto Life, and that Life Everlasting; to find that Life hid in Him from whom no thief could steal and destroy it; to be nearer to the Eternal Father than ever, because brought nigh by the Blood that foreshadowed the Love stronger than Death! All this, and depths and heights far beyond it, lay open to the eye of Faith, so far as it may have pleased God to illumine that sight.
We cannot trace the newborn Life in its upward, onward course ; each heart that lives in that new life must read, by its own experience, the dawn within the soul of Immortality that brightens to the perfect Day. Yet once the living rill gleams on our sight, when Adam, rising from the Death of Sin in himself to the blessed Promise of Life in another, and that the Woman's Seed, called his wife's name Eve, the Mother of all living.' Life in the Woman's wondrous Seed had chased the Darkness of Death away. However dimly and afar, it was still looking unto God's Promise in Christ Jesus, who is the Life of them that believe, and the Resurrection of the dead.
The Sinner's first utterance to God had been, • I heard Thy voice in the Garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.' God's first recorded act for the Sinner is, Unto Adam also, and his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.' Man never feels a need, a want, that God in His infinite mercy and love is not ready and waiting to meet and supply. The reason why the Blessing is not given is because the real need is not felt. A Voice is speaking, and it says, 'Because thou sayest I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten : be zealous, therefore, and repent.' (Rev. iii. 17-19.)
Far dearer to Man than unconscious Innocence, must have been the Clothing made for them to hide their shame and calm their fear, by Him against whom they had sinned. Then first to find that though they had fallen indeed from Innocence, fallen from God, they had not fallen from His Love, that it embraced them even while they fell, and raised them up, never to stand in themselves again, but in Another, in One who could not fall, in One who would give His Life a Ransom for them, in One whose precious Life- Blood should be the cleansing fountain opened by God for their sin and uncleanness (Zech. xiii. 1), and whose spotless, perfect Righteousness should be their garment of salvation, their covering robe before God and His created Universe.
A little further and we see that God had taught sinful man to draw near to Him by the life-blood of the offered Lamb, showing forth the Lamb of God that taketh away the Sin of the World,''the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World.' The coats made by the Lord God to clothe His fallen but restored children, may have been made of the skins of the animals slain in the sacrifices, that set forth that One, full, perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, by which the Sinner who believes ard receives the Atonement is not only cleansed, but clothed : Whom He called, them He also justified ; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.' (Rom. viii. 30.) Then what was said of Israel, is absolutely and for ever fulfilled in those whom God hath saved and called with an holy calling. “Thy beauty was perfect, through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.' (Zech. xvi. 14.) For this Isaiah raises his triumph song, ‘I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of Salvation, He hath covered me with the Robe of Righteousness, as a Bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a Bride adorneth herself with her jewels.' (Isa. lxi. 10.) It may have pleased God, who at all times has deigned to teach by outward signs as well as inward pre