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gin to jar : storms and tempests break loose ; the earth, for their sake, is cursed with barrenness, and the serpent, the great agent in this calamitous revolution, is himself sentenced to the vilest degradation. Our first parents, the victims of his malice, already feel their utter wretchedness. They already feel themselves disrobed of all their primitive glory, and honour, and dominion. They feel the elements of infirmity, and disease, and death, working in their frame. They feel foul and unruly appetites and passions disturbing the harmony of the soul. The heart, that, once, was the seat of innocence and peace, now palpitates with guilty fear; and the face that “ shone like “ the face of an angel,” is covered with sinful shame. The corrupted pair are afraid of God, and seek to flee from his presence. But He summons them trembling before him, charges them with their guilt, and leaves them without excuse. They are,
, therefore, expelled the garden of Eden, and at the east of it, are placed, “ cherubim “ and a flaming sword, turning every way, “ to keep the way of the tree of life.” Thus guilty, and exiled and fallen, they are doomed in sorrow, and in the sweat of their
brow, to eat their bread, till they return to the dust, from which they were taken. Death is the wages of sin ; and death too, consisting not only, in the dissolution of the body ; but in the dissolution of the union between God and the soul.
What then remained to our first and rebellious parents, but “ indignation and wrath, tribulation " and anguish,” had not their injured God spared them, and, O astonishing mercy! Himself found out a ransom.
But did the Fall and its direful consequences terminate in Adam? Alas! sin, and sorrow,
and death, have ever since cleaved to all his children. Every man, the 'man Christ Jesus excepted, has been deeply polluted with sin. For proof of this, we need not ransack the page of history, or enter into any laboured discussion. The melancholy truth lies open to common observation, and is acknowledged in every breast by the voice of conscience. We
go astray as soon as we are born. The “ imaginations of our hearts are evil con“ tinually.”—Sin is, almost, the constant employment of the impenitent; and the sad remains of its power, are felt, and daily mourned over, even by the Christian. 66 ( wretched man, that I am ! (even he is sometimes forced to exclaim,) who shall “ deliver me from the body of this death ?" In short, had any one the effrontery to say,—“ I have no sin, he would only be “ deceiving himself, and the truth would
not be in him *.
Besides sin, we also inherit sorrow. Sorrow is the necessary consequence of sin; and we are born to sorrow “ as the sparks “ fly upward.” The voice of weeping is heard from the birth, and fallen man sighs on through every stage of future life. Either his own sufferings, or the sufferings of others, claim the tear of grief, nor is the claim remitted, or does the tear cease to flow, till it be dried up in the dust of the grave.
is the house appointed for all living. Death too, is the consequence of sin, and “ death hath passed upon all men, 66 for that all have sinned.”-And if sin is odious to God and ruinous to the soul, by
* i John, i. 8.
separating it from Him, the great Foun. tain of Life, then without embracing the salvation offered in the gospel, we must die also the second death. We are by sin, as the Apostle awfully expresses it, “ the chil“ dren of wrath ;" obnoxious to “everlast
ing destruction from the presence of the + Lord.”
Now, that all this sin and sorrow, and death, are derived from the fall of Adam, is evident from this, that till Adam fell, sin, and sorrow, and death, had no existence; but that ever since, they have, invariably existed. And if we know nothing of cause and effect, but that the one invariably follows the other, are we not bound to admit the scripture account, and warranted to conclude, that, in this instance, the fall of Adam has been the destructive cause, and sin, and sorrow, and death, the dismal effects.
Various objections, I know, have been raised against this doctrine of the Fall; but all of them are as futile, as they are presumptuous. They can never, with fairness, be urged particularly, against this doctrine, as it is revealed in the Bible; for they hold equally strong against any system, whether of religion or philosophy, which embraces the origin of evil. Surely it was not the Bible that introduced evil; why then should the Bible be, exclusively, blamed for its introduction ? Though there had never been a Bible, evil, both moral and natural, and the same quantity of both, at least, would have existed in the world, that exists now.
Let not, then, the existence of evil be brought forward as an objection to our holy religion, since this is, by no means peculiar to it; but common to all religious and philosophical systems whatever *.
But the truth is, that all those who complain of our subjection to moral and natural evil, as inconsistent with the wisdom and goodness of God, proceed upon this absurd idea, that all his creatures should be perfect. Now observe, for a creature to be perfect, he must be infallible, and consequently, omniscient; for where there is any defect of knowledge, there is not only the
* See Bishop Sherlock's Second Dissertation, annexed to his admirable work, entitled–The USE AND INTEnt or PROPHECY, IN THE SEVERAL AGES OF THE WORLD,