Imatges de pÓgina

sionary superstructures have been raised by many who would build up to heaven, but they have been gazed at and admired, and then tumbled into ruin, each in his turn, for want of a foundation. Had we not been accustomed to concede too much to the powers of human reason, we should have learnt, that divine ar-chitecture needed the explanation of its divine architect; we should have found the inspired author of the Pentateuch to be the most faithful historian, the wisest of legislators, and the soundest philosopher. Nay, we venture to assert, upon the most satisfactory proofs, that in proportion as discovery has taken place of conjecture, and experiment filled up the void of theory, the grand and awful scene of creation, as exhibited to our view in the first chapter of Genesis, accords with the known principles of material agency, and disposes of the elements in a manner consistent with their visible and immediate properties.

But to quit the subject of Moses, till he appears as the leader and law-giver of Israel, we will now return to the eventful records of the patriarchal dispensation. In the earliest, and

what is called the antediluvian, period of it, they are but few, and these not pursued into any minute particulars; the inspired historian seems hastening to that important era, when the separation from idolatry began in the faithful founder of his nation, and was continued and preserved in his descendants, through a series of miraculous interpositions, till the partition wall was enlarged and secured by the religious observances of a whole people, and the ritual ceremonies of the Jewish church.

But what is wanting in historical detail, is amply supplied by the precision and importance of the events related. We are shewn the world in its glory, as it was formed by the great Creator, and man placed in it, in his primæval beauty of innocence and conscious dependence. The picture soon changes-and seduced from his faith and dependence, we see him driven from the blissful scenes of paradise, delivered over to sin and death, and robbed of immortality.

Without dwelling upon the conditional prohibition, without entering into any examination of the Tree of Life as a sacramental pledge, or of the Cherubim that was appointed to guard

it, (though both must have a spiritual meaning, from being made the emblem of mercy, and the end of atonement) we will take up man from his wretched and helpless state, and put him into the hands of Him who interposed for his deliverance. But we would impress it strongly on the hearts of all, that the fruit of the tree of life is no longer within human reach, and that it can no more be eaten, but through the gift of Him, who came down from heaven to preserve the spiritual food, to prove himself the substance of this sacred figure, and to give life to the world. To him that overcometh, says our Saviour, in the same figurative language, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of GOD.

The plan of restoration was no sooner revealed to our first parents, under the emblem of the seed of the woman that was to bruise the serpent's head, than it was accompanied with institutions and ordinances, symbolical of the event, and intended to perpetuate the memory of it. The nearer we keep to Adam, this promise of a second Adam, perfect and sinless, to stand before GOD, appears to be the constant

object of hope, and the subject of meditation. When Cain was born unto Eve, what was her reflection, I have gotten a man from the Lord; after he had killed his brother, and was driven from the presence of the Lord, her next offspring she calls Seth, because, said she, God has appointed me another seed. Thus keeping in view the promise made to her, and transmitting to her children the glorious inheritance to be derived through her.

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The perpetration also of the horrid crime, the first entry of death into the world, furnishes questions that it would be hard to answer, but upon the supposition of such expected blessing. And the death of Abel, in its cause and consequences, brings a considerable accession of evidence to prove a believed inheritance beyond the grave, and the faith and worship of Him, by whose triumph over death it was to be secured.

Unless a resurrection unto life eternal had been specified, the loss of one child, thus cut off from every share of the promised restoration, could not have been compensated to the repentant mother by the birth of another.

Moreover, if Cain's hatred were heightened. into revenge, from the signified rejection of his peace-offering, and the acceptance of his brother Abel's, there must have been some ordained mode of worship, some commemorative reference, necessary to be observed in the sacred office. Both sacrificed to their Creator; but the one, with a piety that looked to the recovery of what he had lost-the other, with a self-sufficiency that claimed as a right, what was to be a pure gift of grace and favour. Thus made to feel his inferiority and dependence, and sharpened into resentment by the dread of being supplanted in his birthright, Cain listens to the same wicked counsels, that had ruined his unhappy parent-that he was master of his own destiny, that the blessing belonged to him, and that GoD could not deprive him of it, without an act of injustice; but to frustrate any such intention, he had only to destroy his brother, and thus secure possession. The fatal purpose was resolved upon and executed.And if by faith, as the Apostle argues, Abel offered unto GoD a more excellent sacrifice than Cain; if he obtained witness that he was

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