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ported by Revelation, will silence the objections of an honest Church-man; You may therefore assure yourself, that if your doctrine is confirmed by this four-fold authority, I shall oppose it no more.
The minister, having expressed the satisfaction which his visitor's answer gave him, and the pleasure he should feel in being directed right if he were wrong, resumed the subject in the
Wherein the Apostacy and Misery of Man are proved from Scripture.
doctrine of the fall to
To the law and to the
MIN. Let us first bring the the touchstone of scripture: testimony, (says the prophet,) for if we speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in us.' (Isai. viii. 20.)
We read, (Gen. i. 26,) that God made mau not only in his natural image, with life, understanding, and will, which constitute the being of good or bad spirits`; but also after his moral likness, i. e., in righteousness and true holiness,' according to St. Paul's definition of it. (Eph. iv. 24.) In this moral resemblance of God consists the well-being, or divine life of good spirits. While man continued in it, his spotless soul was actuated by the Spirit of God, as our bodies are by our souls, and Eterual truth itself pronounced him very good. (Gen. i. 31.)
But how soon-how low did he fall! In the 3d chapter we see him overcome by the tempter in disguise He wickedly believes the father of lies before the God of truth: He proudly aspires to be equal with his Maker; and, in order to it, madly places appetite on the throne of reason. Thus Unbelief, the besetting sin of man; Pride, which the Apostle calls the condemnation of the devil,' (1 Tim. iii. 6;) and Sensuality, the characteristic of the beast, invade his unguarded
soul. And now,' when lust had conceived, it brought forth sin,' Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, and sin, when it was finished, brought forth death.' (James i. 15.) It instantly quenched the Spirit, put an end to the breathings of prayer and praise in man's heart. defaced the image of God's moral perfections from his breast, alienated him from the life of God,' (Eph. iv. 18,) and infected his whole nature with the poisonous seeds of temporal and eternal death.
Par. So small a sin as that of tasting some forbidden fruit, could never have so dreadful an effect.
Min.-If Adam's transgression were small, as you say, I could put you in mind, that the least spark can blow up the greatest ships, or fire the largest cities; and that the smallest drop of poison, (for instance, the froth of a mad dog,) can infect the whole animal frame, and communicate itself to millions of men and beasts, by means of the smallest bite.
But this is not the case with regard to that sin, under which the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now.' (Rom. viii. 22.) I readily grant the prohibition was small; but this made the sin so much the greater: For it argues the height of rebellion, deliberately to refuse paying so insignificant an homage to so great a Being. Besides, if you consider all the circumstances of our first parent's disobedi ence, you will find in it a complication of some of the most heinous crimes. Not to mention again unbelief, pride and sensuality: An unreasonable discontent in their happy condition, a wanton squandering away of the richest patrimony, a barbarous disregard of their offspring, a base ingratitude for the highest favours, and an impious confederacy with Satan against the Eindest of Benefactors, are some of the black ingredients of what you call a small sin, but might justly term an execrable transgression.
Par. Suppose Adam's offence was as great as you conceive it to be, you should not conclude, without strong proofs, that it totally destroyed God's moral image, in which his soul was at first created.
Min.-The sad effects which it had upon him, are such proofs as amount to a demonstration. Follow the wretch after the commission of his crime, and you will find him proud and sullen, in the midst of shame and disgrace. So stript is his soul of original righteousness, that he feels, even in his body, the shameful consequence of his spiritual nakedness. (Gen. iii. 7.) -So perverted are his affections, that he dreads, hates, and runs away from his bountiful Creator, who was before the object of his warmest love and purest delight. (Gen. iii. 8.) So impaired is his boasted reason, that he attempts to hide himself from Him who fills heaven and earth, and whose eyes are in every place.' So amazingly weak is his understanding, that he endeavours to cover his guilt and shame with an apron of fig-leaves. (Verse 7.) So impenitent, so stubborn is his breast, that he does not vouchsafe to plead guilty, or once ask forgiveness. (Verse 10.) So seared is his conscience, and malicious his heart, that he tries to excuse himself, by indirectly accusing his Maker, and turning evidence against the unhappy partner of his crime : 'The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,' says he, she gave me of the tree,' I did not take of it myself. (Verse 11.) Do you see, through all his behaviour, the least remains of God's moral image? For my part, I discover in it nothing but the strongest features of the fiend, with the stupidity of one of the silliest creatures upon earth.
Par. "The stupidity of one of the silliest creatures upon earth!" What do you mean by this?
Min.-You might have read in natural history, that when the ostrich is closely pursued, she hides her head in a bush, iu hopes that the pursuers will not see her, because she does not see them. That creaturs, which, Job says, 'God hath deprived of wisdom,' is wise, if you compare her to Adam hid among the trees of the garden ;' for by this weak device, she endeavours to trick only short-sighted man, but our first parent attempted to impose on the all-seeing God.
Par. You are excessively severe upon Adam !
Min.-Not so severe as the just Judge, who, by driving him out of Paradise, deprived him of a privilege which the very beasts enjoyed before the fall. See the apostate flying before the cherub's flaming sword ; and in what a miserable condition! In what a wretched dress! Spiritually dead, according to that irrevocable sentence, In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,'-dead to God,—' dead while he lives,' (1 Tim. v. 6 ;) 'dead in trespasses and sins,' (Eph. ii. 1;) he wears the badge of death, in the skins of those beasts which had probably bled in death in his stead. (Gen. iii. 21.) Happy, if going beyond the type, he apprehends, by faith, the righteousness of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, (Rev. xiii. 8;) and covers, with that 'best robe,' the nakedness and shame of his fallen soul !
Par. If Adam was banished out of Paradise, no other punishment was inflicted upon him.
Min.-You forget that, beside the spiritual death he had already suffered, he had two deaths more to undergo, the seeds of which already wrought in his breast: For pain, toil, sorrow and sickness, began to ripen his body for temporal death; while sin, guilt, remorse, and tormenting passions, made him antedate the horrors of the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.' (Rev. xxi. 8.) Happy, if during his reprieve, the woman's promised seed took sin, the sting of death, out of his heart, and by regeneration fitted him again for paradise and heaven!
Par.-You speak often of a dreadful curse attending sin, but I do not see that any curse seized upon man after his offence. God cursed the serpent and not Adam. (Gen. iii. 14.)
Min.-The Lord had pronounced Adam's curse beforehand, when in a prophetic manner he uttered the sentence already mentioned, In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die ;' i. e., Thou shalt die spiritually, and be filled with the seeds of temporal and eternal death. (Gen. ii. 17.) This heaviest of
curses having already taken place, it would have been needless to repeat it. And so far was God from reversing it, that he extended an additional unthreatened curse to all the habitable globe: Cursed is the ground for thy sake, (said he,) in sorrow shalt thou eat of it, all the days of thy life.' (Gen. iii. 17.) From that time the whole creation was made subject to vanity, and began to groan under the bondage of corruption;' (Rom. viii. 21;) and ever Since thorns and thistles,' the natural product of a cursed earth, have been lively pictures of the briars of sin, which naturally overspread our apostate souls. (Gen. iii. 18.). To the curse of the ground,' you may add, 'the sorrow of the woman in bringing forth children,' which, may be considered not only as a peculiar curse upon her, for having been first in the transgression,' but also as a remarkable intimation of the polluted birth of her offspring (Ezek. xvi. 5:) For if our first parents, brought a heavy curse on the earth which they tread upon, how much a heavier one did they entail on the immediate fruit of their bodies! Having infected their whole nature, it was impossible that they should not infect their remotest posterity, which they not only represented, as kings do their subjects, but also seminally contained, as an acorn contains all the future oaks that may grow from it.
Par.-I cannot believe this. It does by no means follow, that, if Adam ruined himself, he ruined also his posterity.
Min.-The scripture plainly affirms that he did. What says St. Paul? By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinued: For by the offence of one judgment came upon all to condemnation.' (Rom. v. 12, 18.) And so terrible were the effects of the fall on his posterity, God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart,' unrenewed by grace, was only evil,' without mixture of good, and that continually,' without any interruption of the evil; inso