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Cunning and artifice. The Serpent appeared to him S proper instrument for his diabolical purpose, on account of its Wonderful cunning, or sagacity; and by a power which, as a spirit, the devil possessed, he entered into the body of this reptile, and addressed himself to the woman, as;- the most likely of the two to be deceived. Without doubt the woman whs, greatly surprised • when she heard the Serpent address her in a way, she had reason to think, peculiar to the human kind, and to find he was acquainted with God's covenant with man ; and she gave too ready attention to" his seducing words! The discourse of the Serpent was" designed to tempt the woman todisbelieve the word of God, to' desire what God had forbidden, and to disobey hist commandment. For every reasonable desire that mankind could with innocence indulge, Gob had graciously provided ; and as much knowledge as was conducive to their happiness, God bestowed by means of divine revelation; surely then it was their duty to be contentedwith the condition of human nature, which Was the most honourable of any in this world. To wish'to eat of what God had expressly forbidden, was an unlawful appetite; to wish to be as Gods, or even as Augei s, was an unlawful desire, neither of which they' could gratify without committing Sin. Reason was bestowed upon the human race, to regulate their appetites and desires; and had they made proper use of their reason, the first pair would not have committed Sin. When' the Man eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, he broke the Covenant made with him as the head of the human race, he corrupted human nature, so that its goodness w^s lost ; and he forfeited not for himself only but for all that should proceed from him all the blessings of Faradise, together with everlasting liie, Vol. I. C and
aRil a title (o a henvenly inheritance. The Woman was in the transgression and justly partook of the punishment. When they had eaten of the forbidden fruit the eyes of the first pair were indeed o/iened, as the Devil promised them, bat the effects of their disobedience were very different from the expectations raised by the Serpent, all the knowledge they had gained was, that they were naked, or, in other words, that they had forfeited the Divine protection, and incurred the just anger of their maker. The minds of both were now filled with the most dreadful apprehensions, and, to avoid the vengeance of an offended God, they endeavoured (but in vain) to hide themselves from His alleeeing eye; . -'
.The case of the wretched pair was now quite hopeless, all the blessings of Paradise were forfeited, and even life itself ; they could make no amends to the Creator and Governor of the world for spoiling his perfect work, and defacing his Divine Image in their souls ; they had no reason to expect Go D would freely forgive the breach of his commandment; neither had they a friend to whom they could apply to intercede for them, — but Death, Everiasting Death appeared their certain portion; nor could they tell how soon the fatal stroke would fall upon them. Such was the miserable condition of the first pair when they fell from innocence, and became sinners. But the all merciful Creator, who foresaw their fall even before they were created, had provided for their Salvation ; a Redeemer was ordained for them ere they came into existence, and a Newcovenant prepared, suited to the condition of sinners, a Covenant Of Grace, under which Repentanceand Faith were to be accepted in the room of perfect obedience.
Into this Covenant God of his infinite goodness called cd the offenders, even while they were trembling for feaf of his anger; but before the Lord intimated to them the purposes of divine grace ; he gave both Adam and Eve the opportunity of acknowledging that they had broken his commandment. After this confession the Lord God pronounced sentence upon all the transgressors; first on the Serpent, as the most atrocious offender; next on Eve, as the first transgressor; and last of all on Adam, who, as the first human creature, was the head of his kind from whence all the rest were to proceed.
The former part of God's sentence upon the Serpent related to the kind of creature which Satan had mad; nse of as his instrument. By degrading the Serpent from its original state in the creation, and makingit an emblem of infernal spite and malice, the Lord God in fact punished the Devil himself; for the serpent, not being possessed of reason, could not be sensible of the alteration it had undergone, and might be as happy crawling in the dust as in a higher condition ; but this alteration reflected perpetual disgrace and ignominy upon the Devil. The latter part of the sentence on the serpent related entirely to Satan, and signified that the Redeemer of mankind, who at God's appointed time was to be born of a woman, should put an end to the power of the Devil.
As for the woman, she was sentenced to bring forth children in sorrow, which implied, that an increase of the human race would be the cause of pain and anxiety to her; she was also to be in subjection to her husband, as a punishment for acting in so material a point without him, and taking advantage of his tenderness, to draw him into «in. ,
While Man continued innocent the earth had yielded
him spontaneous nourishment, prepared by the providence of God. The ground was now cursed for his sake, the blessing of God was cut off from it, that Man might be obliged to labour hard for his subsistence, and instead of the delicious fruits of Paradise, he was condemned to eat ihe herb of the field.
But that the human race might still be distinguished from the brutes, over whom dominion was given them, it pleased God to suggest to their reason means of rendering the fruits of the field more palatable and wholesome to their nature, by making some of them into bread*. •
The first pair certainly became subject to everlasting death, both of body and soul, from the moment they eat the forbidden fruit; but the Almighty graciously resolved to save mankind from everlasting death, and condemned them only to the death cf the body; the earthy /iari was to return to the dust, but no sentence of condemnation was passed rupon the spiritual part of matt, the Soul; a -dreadful alteration indeed had taken place in it, the Image of God was defaced, but that was the work of men through the instigation of the Devil, it was the work of divine Grace to renew the soul unto holiness through the satisfaction of a Re Deem Eh, and by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.
Mankind were now taken into a new Covertltnt, a Covenant of Grace, under which their Mediator, the seed of the wiomcmi was to perform what divine justice required for the tins of mankind, which is fully explained in the New Testament.
*" Every good gift and every perfect gift (soys St. James)is from abori, and cometh down from the Fat-iitr Op Light." It is no improbable conlecture, tliercfore,tliat the thought of making. corn into bread was originally suggested by Divine inspiration.
From what we ourselves experience of the condition of humanity, since mankind learnt to kpow evil as weH as good, we may be certain, that everlasting life, under ouch circumstances, would be a misfortune, instead of a blessing.
It is supposed that, before the Fall of man, beasts had Multiplied; and that God, in consideration of the penitence of mankind, delayed the execution of the penalty of death 5 and commanded Adam to kill some,, and offer them in sacrifice, as an acknowledgement that he and his wife were deserving of death, and only reSpited for a time by God's mercy. And it is probable, that God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of these beasts, to shew them in a figurative way, that as clothes covered their bodies, so sacrifices, offered according to Goo's own appointment, would, in some sense, cover and protect them from the punishment which their sin tad deserved*.
Of the manner in which these sacrifices were offered, we may form an idea from the account given by Moses, of the Jewish sacrifices, which were in fact a renewal of them.
The .expulsion of mankind from Paradise was attended with great solemnity. The Lord God banished them himself from the Tree of Life, and placed some of the heavenly host as guards to prevent their future approach to it. All we know of the nature of the Cherubim is from the prophetic writingsf.
From the history of the Fall of our first Parents, we 'learn the great danger of indulging unlawful appetites and desires. This should make us careful not to desire any thing merely because it appears pleasant to our eyes,
* Dr. Watts's View of Scripture History.
t See Ezck. i. 5. et seq.
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