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CREATION OF THIS WORLD AND OF MAN-THE TEMPTATION, FALL, FIRST PROMISE-THE CONNEXION OF THIS PROMISE WITH THE COUNSEL OF GOD IN CHRIST ITS FULFILMENT IN CHRIST -THE COMPREHENSIVE CHARACTER OF THE COUNSEL OF GOD IN CHRIST-THE INSTITUTION OF SACRIFICE, AND ITS CONNEXION WITH THE COUNSEL OF GOD IN CHRIST-REFLECTIONS.
CREATION OF THIS WORLD, AND OF MAN.
In the foregoing pages it was shewn that the redemption of the world, and the mode of it, were appointed in the Divine councils before the foundation of the world. The economy
of preparation is now to be displayed; that economy which forms so distinguishing a feature of our religion, and which from the consistency, dependence, and harmony of its numerous arrangements through so many generations plainly indicates, that it was the design and work of God.
Having decreed that this world should be created, God proceeded, after the fall and punishment of the angels, to put his intention into execution. In six days the mighty work was
completed; and "the sons of God," the ministering angels that kept their first estate, contemplating with amazement the operations of the omnipotent Architect, "shouted for joy."*
Among all the creatures upon earth, wonderful as they were every one of them, two only were made rational and intelligent beings capable of feeling his goodness, admiring his wisdom, and reverencing his power. These he had created in his own image after his own likeness, and having thus constituted them pure and upright in their nature, he placed them in the garden of Eden, and gave them to enjoy therein, in addition to their immediate communion with him, a plenteousness of delights, such as none have been able adequately to conceive since sin entered into the world. made them, moreover, free agents; but at the same time afforded them every inducement in the profusion of their enjoyments to continue in their obedience, and left only one way open by which they could fall into transgression. No evil was to happen to them-no knowledge of it was to be admitted into their minds-pain was not to afflict them-sorrow was not to come nigh them-death was to have no power over them--
* Job, xxxviii. 7.
so long as they abstained from eating of the fruit of which he had said unto them, " Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."*
THE TEMPTATION, FALL, FIRST PROMISE.
Such was the primitive nature and condition of our first parents, altogether pure and every way happy. But too soon all this purity was sullied, all this happiness destroyed. The chief of the fallen angels, whom God permitted to tempt Adam and Eve, but not to control or force them against their will, inflamed with hatred and envy against his Almighty Conqueror, and perceiving that he had made two noble creatures upon earth in a degree resembling the Divine nature, and but a little lower than the angels of light, conceived the malignant design to seduce, if possible, these innocent and upright beings from their allegiance to their Creator, and involve them in his own utter disgrace and ruin. He saw that he had no other way to effect his purpose, than by prevailing upon them through some artifice or other to disregard the prohibition of the Almighty. Too artfully he laid his snare-too
* Genesis, iii. 3.
successfully he wrought his mischief. The woman was beguiled the man yielded to her solicitation-the forbidden fruit was eaten and Satan with malicious triumph exulted in the establishment of his power over the rational creatures of God, and in that general defacement both of the natural and moral world, which immediately upon the admission of sin spread itself around.
But in that fatal hour, when man lost the original brightness of his nature, and the high dignity of his character, and brought upon himself the execution of the Divine menace, and the forfeiture of all his former blessings, the Almighty, before he passed sentence upon the disobedient pair, uttered in his denunciation against the serpent that gracious, that comfortable, that ever-memorable promise; "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."*
Now here we have, immediately after the fall, the word of God foreshewing that a particular enmity would subsist between Satan and one born of a woman; and that after a severe conflict, in which mutual bruises would be in
* Genesis, iii. 15.
flicted, victory would declare on the side of the latter to the destruction of the power of the former.
The circumstances under which this promise was given, evince that it had respect to the coming of a person of great might and of higher power than Satan; a person who, although he himself should suffer in the contest, would nevertheless vanquish the seducer for the sake and deliverance of the seduced; and consequently for the sake and deliverance of those who should be born of their corrupted blood.
THE CONNEXION OF THIS PROMISE WITH THE
COUNSEL OF GOD IN CHRIST.
A promise of redemption made by the Almighty at such an hour, and immediately after an event the most melancholy on the records of the world, can be considered in no other light than that of a Divine grace vouchsafed to fallen creatures. But it is a fundamental principle of the Gospel that all favour shewn by God to man, whether immediate or remote in its operations, proceeds from the covenant which the Father made with the Son before the world, and can only through the Son be bestowed upon mankind. This early promise, therefore, of