« PoprzedniaDalej »
service. Now this perfect holiness, Adam, doubtless, possessed immediately after he was created, and while he continued in the garden of innocence. He knew most intimately the divine law; what he admired he chose, and evinced his choice by the most spotless and ardent obedience *. No wrong bias, no corrupt principle disturbed, for a moment, the harmony of his mind. His affections and passions, all pure and spiritual, were ceaseless ministers to the Lord. ‘Love stood before his altar, and offering her grateful incense, kept up the hallowed flame. Fear, with angel-reverence, bowed down before the sanctuary, where, as yet, no interposing veil had hid the presence of Divinity. Hope lifted up her hands and
eyes to heaven, and shewed, by the intenseness of her countenance, where and what she expected to be. Joy told her raptures in glad hosannahs of praise, and sought, on earth, to join in those songs which Seraphs sing in the celestial mansions. Whilst MeMORY unfolded the records of eternal love, and, with extacy, reviewed the glorious past: And Conscience, yet unsullied, stood by, witnessed the sacred service, and gave her
* See Haweis Sermons.
approbation as the voice of God.
-Such was man in the day when God created him. Knowledge and Holiness,—the image of God,—all that is great, and all that is excellent, conspired to adorn and sublimate his soul,
Now from this pre-eminent knowledge and holiness, there must necessarily have resulted another part of the Divine image-Con
Such is the constitution of things, that happiness is inseparable from knowledge and holiness. God is infinitely wise and holy, and He is therefore infinitely happy. Angels too, are far more wise and holy than men, and as they are more wise and holy, they are proportionally more happy.-How transcendantly happy, then, must our first parents have been before the fall! The earth had not yet suffered the curse : sin had not yet entered and spread its rueful ravages : pain and sickness were strangers to the body: inquietude, fear, and remorse, were strangers to the soul. The soul, conscious of innocence, and admitted into the fullest communion with its Maker, felt the joy, and reflected the serenity of heaven.-0 happy, happy Pair ! A
cloudless mind, a clear conscience your continual feast—" health the charmer,” your companion, every angel your friend, God himself your Father, and Paradise your home And but for sin, this high felicity would never have had an end. What man then was, he was destined, while obedient, always to be ; or if there was to be any change, it was to be a change only from glory to glory. This corruptible would never have seen corruption, nor this mortal been subjected to mortality. The tree of life would have been the sacramental pledge of the eternity of our happiness. “ Eye hath not “ seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it 6 entered into the mind to conceive,” what would have been the measure of our divine enjoyments.
Such is the image in which our first parents were originally made. It consisted in knowledge, and holiness, and happiness And all this, had not sin entered into the world, would have been to us an eternal, and eternally increasing inheritance.
Let us here adore the goodness of God: Let us think of the evil of sin: - let us con
sider how much we are indebted to Jesus Christ.
LET US ADORE THE GOODness of God. God is good, and delights to communicate happiness. For ever independent and glorious in himself, nothing but a desire to communicate happiness can be conceived as inducing Him to give birth to his creatures. Accordingly, when they came from his cream ting hands, evil had no place in his works. Man in particular, He “ made in his own
image, after his likeness,” and surrounded with all the delights of Paradise.—Paradise! how sweet thy blissful bowers! How did thy rich profusion charm the eye! How did thy inviting sweets, thy aromatic fragrance, feast the senses! But what was far more glorious, in thy sacred retreats, the soul held high converse with its God, knew andadmired his works, reflected his image, and rejoiced with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.-O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name! What is man that Thou art mindful of him, and that Thou shouldst have clothed him, even at first, with such glory and power! O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !
LET US THINK OF THE EVIL OF SIN. Sin is the very reverse of all that perfection in which Adam was made, and for which, had he not fallen, all his posterity were destined. Sin is the transgression of the law of God, it effaces the divine image, expunges knowledge, holiness, and happiness from the mind, and sinks it in misery, and ruin, and death. Other evils may be exaggerated ; but this original evil, it is impossible to exaggerate. It blasted man in the morning of his existence, and it cast down angels, from their radiant thrones, to the doleful abodes of utter darkness. It is the enemy of God, and the bane of the universe. Let us then abhor it with all our soul and with all our strength. If we see it as it really is, and have the consciousness that we are all chargeable with its direful guilt, we shall feel impelled to smite our breasts, and exclaim God be merciful to us sinners !" “ Take away all our sin, and create us again “ in thy image !" And if sin is of such an odious and dangerous nature, what a dreadful state must they be in, and how fast hastening to final ruin, who have never yet