Imatges de pÓgina
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information was wanting, that these were provided, by the employment of which man might be strengthened more perfectly to exercise all his faculties to the praise, and in the service of his Creator, and to grow in meetness for that more exalted state of happiness, which was to be the ultimate reward of his labours.

Those passages of scripture which relate to the worship or service of God, during the innocence of our first progenitors, are few and short. “ And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made ; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” “And the Lord planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." +

« And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of * Gen, ii. 2, 3.

+ Gen. ii. 8, 9.

"*

good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In these passages, we are informed of the first establishment and sanctification of the sabbath ; the planting of the garden of Eden, and particularly of two trees, one called the tree of life, and the other, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and the permission given to eat of the fruit of all these, except the last, which was forbidden under pain of death.

The record of an event, which took place immediately after the first transgression, informs us that an intercourse of a most kind and gracious nature occasionally took place between God and our first parents. “ And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”+ It is evident, from the manner in which the historian speaks of this occurrence, that it was not a solitary one. Our parents were perfectly aware of the approach of their Maker, and that they should soon be personally in his presence.

. The facts, then, which are recorded relative to the state of man previous to his first transGen. ii. 15–17.

+ Gen. iii. 8.

gression, are these--that God established a solemn observance of the seventh day as a day of rest from labour, and that in commemoration of his having finished all the works of creation, and rested on the seventh day; that he selected a spot of peculiar beauty and fertility, planted it with the choicest trees, either to please the sight, gratify the taste, or nourish the body, and placed Adam there to dress it and to keep it; that amongst these trees were two which differed in their nature from all the others. One of these, called the tree of life, occupied the middle of the garden, and the other, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, stood near it. Of the fruit of all these trees they were encouraged to eat freely, except the last, and of that they were forbidden to eat under the penalty of death; and that whilst Adam and Eve continued in this state, there existed an intercourse between them and their Maker, most kind and gracious on the part of the latter, most ennobling and beneficial to the former.

That this state was one of probation, and only preparatory to another of more exalted happiness and enjoyment, is evident from various circumstances ;. but it may be desirable to enumerate a few of the particulars by which this conclusion is established. The denunciation of punishment in case of transgression, “ in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” contains an implied promise, that if he continued in obedience he should certainly live, for without such an alternative the threat would be a nullity. The law is always spoken of in scripture as a source of life to them that keep the law, and only as incapable of giving life to us because of the weakness of the flesh; but the life here spoken of is evidently a future one that was to follow, as the consequence of obedience to the commands of the law; and if the weakness of the flesh through sin prevent the law from giving life, before this weakness of the flesh, that is, before our first parents' transgression, it not only could, but was the appointed way for giving them everlasting life. St. Paul also testifies, that “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law;"* but here, as in the preceding, the depravity of human nature is the cause why no law can be given by which men may

obtain righteousness; but the law of which he is here treating, was given before any guilt was incurred, and when no obstacle existed to prevent their obtaining righteousness, therefore, the end of that righteousness, the reward of eternal happiness, must then have been by the observance of its precepts. The redeemed are spoken of as “restored," Psalm xix. 7; xxiii. 3; and as

* Gal. iii. 21.

“ renewed-be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," Rom. xii. 2; “ and be renewed in the spirit of your mind," Ephes. iv. 23; “ the renewing of the Holy Ghost,” Titus iii. 5. Expressions, which could never have applied, if the object of our Saviour's mission had been to give new privileges, and not to restore former ones to those who believe in him. Our Lord declares, that he came to seek and to save that which was lost, a mode of speaking which evidently refers to a return to that state in which they were before they were lost; but after the return, they are heirs of salvation, and the glory that shall be revealed; the manifest inference from which is, that before they fell from that state to which they are now restored, they were inheritors of the same hopes and expectations. God is love, and having exercised that disposition in the creation of man, and the regulation of so many circumstances all conducing to his comfort and enjoyment, it is quite inconsistent with the employment of this his favourite, as also his most glorious attribute, to suppose that he would suspend the influence of it by withholding the fruits of obedience,

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