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OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH
Section 1. Fallen Man vifited. DARK was that hour, in which the world
lay wholly fhadowed by the power of the ferpent; but the new day dawned; speedily, in the wind of the day, the voice of one feeking the loft, was heard in the garden that God had planted. Man is found, naked, without covenant righteoufness, without truth and fidelity; and therefore, without confidence, feeking to hide himself from the prefence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden; undone! undone! but a Saviour draws near.
The errand of Chrift to our world now was, to reveal himself as the elect head; and to make an establishment here, upon the foundation of his own truth and righteousnefs, in his engagement in covenant with the Father. By the name of the feed of the woman, he reveals himself as coming forward in the flesh, the mighty antagonist of the ferpent; and by pronouncing a curfe upon the ground; which, in effect, would diforder, ficken, and finally diffolve the conftitution of nature; he intimates the manner of the folemn warfare; but efpecially, by palling
fentence of diffolution upon the human bo dy, in this connection, he reveals the great and eternal purpose of God refpecting himfelf; for having offered himself to view as man, or as the feed of the woman, and then faying to man, duft thou art, and unto duft Jhalt thou return; this was pronouncing the fentence upon himself; and, therefore, it was a declaration of the will of God, and of his own free confent to lay down his life.
Thus the foundation of the everlasting covenant was laid open to view, for an elect establishment in our world; and which is feen immediately to take effect. Adam now ceases to view himself as conftituted in the beginning, the father of the world, or the head of the human family; and turns his attention wholly to that which fhould be of the woman; and he called his wife's name Eve, becaufe fhe was the mother of all living. Alfo, unto Adam, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and cloathed them for, from henceforth, their fupport would not be from a natural fource, but by means of death; and they must now look for cloathing, for protection, life and glory, from the fain; from the fupernatural, and myfterious fource of the shedding of blood.
O the wifdom of God! How far out of fight muft this have been, even from the ferpent's piercing eye, that the Creator would fo promptly have configned over that wonderful creature man, the fairest woman, yea, and that tender body prepared for himself, to the duft of death? And the heavens and
the earth, this finifhed work of his hands, with the beauty and glory of the whole fystem of nature, all to the fiery flame? Thus difarming his enemy of his otherwife almighty power-feizing and binding him with his own acquired forces-and turning upon him the terrors of his own dominion, even the keys of hell and of death-yea, kindled into a quenchlefs flame, turning that very power upon him by which he thought to have reigned for ever, as a chain of eternal eternal vengeance.
Cherubim and flaming Sword.
An establishment being made in our world, by the blood of the everlasting covenant, means must be provided and used to protect it, and carry on the work of redemption; and so, to raise up the building of grace, upon this new foundation.
It is evident, from the nature of the purpofe of God in view, that man, now, muft not eat of the natural tree of life-this would militate directly against the work of graceit is apparent that fhould he continue to eat of that tree, and his body thus be rendered indiffoluble, his falvation would be impoffi ble.
Wherefore, the Lord God faid, Behold, the man is become as God, to know good and evil, i. e. having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he has thrown off his covenant fubjection to the word of God; and,
as God himself, has fet up for independence. Man, therefore, may not be trufted upon the ground of his regard to the authority of God's word or commandment, merely, not to eat of the tree of life; but, for fafety, he must be put under guard. Here commences the whole wonderful scene of redemptiondifcipline.
Jefus Chrift, knowing the will of the Father, laid down his life of himfelf; but mere man could never do this-his life must be taken from him; though, finally, under the irresistible sword of the fpirit, being reduced, as it were, to the laft gafp, by the power of fovereign grace, he is brought to a cheerful fubmiffion to the divine will. So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming fword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. In this folemn, determined, and fure manner, by the power of the elect establishment, we fee the all-wife, and infinitely gracious fentence of natural diffolution, carrying into execution.
All this being on the common ground, and belonging to the higheft intereft of the elect world, the mighty angels, cherubim, are here brought forward and employed as the grand guards; and they appear arrayed upon the fland, in this miniftry to the heirs of falvation..
But behold that flaming fword, united to the cherubim, as their glory and ftrength!— This evidently was not their agent, but their principle, or the ftrength of their eftablifh. It was indeed united to them, and it
flood with them, but they did not wield ititself turned every way. Here, doubtless, we may contemplate the dreadful form, in which Chrift united himfelf to the angelic world; and in which he girded them, and commiffioned them as his miniftering fpirits; and made them, for his Ifrael, chariots of fire and horfes of fire.
Section 3. Sacrifice.
The new establishment in view, it will be perceived, is founded in its nature in the intitution of facrifice; by facrifice I mean the fhedding of blood. Yet Cain, faithlefs Cain, in the view of acceptance with God, chofe ftill to act upon the natural principle. And he brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. But Abel, his brother, brought an offering of the fir filings of his flack, and of the fat thereof.
And the Lord had refpect unto Abel, and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not refpect. And Cain was very wroth, and entered into a controversy with his Brother Abel, upon the ground of this distinction; and, therefore, he entered into a controversy with the Lord himself.
Yet, being full of compaffion, the Lord condefcended to come to an explanation with Cain, and reasoning with him in the most convincing manner, he held out to him the ineftimable provision of his infinite grace, saying,