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tongues of the dumb, make the against it.” Matt. xvi. 18. “Go ye, lame to walk, render the maimed therefore, and teach all nations, perfect, opened the eyes of those baptizing them in the name of the who had been born blind, and raise Father, and of the Son, and of the the dead? It was not “by Beelzebub Holy Ghost; teaching them to obthe prince of the devils," as the serve all things whatsoever I have Jews blasphemously asserted, be commanded you: and, lo, I am with cause Satan had no such power you alway, even unto the end of the himself, nor was it ever delegated world.” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. Had to him. But even admitting he had the Christian religion been a human such a power, the exercise of it in contrivance, it could not possibly such actions as are ascribed to Je have existed during so many centusus Christ, would have been ex
its propagators would certaintremely prejudicial to his best inter ly be exceedingly reproached, for est. “And if Satan cast out Satan, exhibiting to the world, a religion, he is divided against himself; how the author of which was ignominishall then his kingdom stand." ously put to death, by a Roman proMatt. xii. 26. But, on the contrary, curator; and in addition to all these it was predicted that these very
mi circumstances, its success would be racles should be performed by the still more improbable, when the Messiah. “ Then the eyes of the very precepts it inculcated, were blind shall be opened, and the ears diametrically opposite, to the corof the deaf shall be unstopped: ruptions of the human heart. But then shall the lame man leap as an the work was not of man but of hart, and the tongue of the dumb God. He therefore by the power sing:" Isaiah xxxv. 5, 6.
of miracles, (a power which was The accomplishment of those never granted in establishing any events, which Christ predicted, other religion) enabled the apostles prove him to have been the Mes
to overcome all the powers of Sasiah. And Jesus went out, and tan. As our holy religion has, theredeparted from the temple: and his fore, been more than a counterbadisciples came to him for to show lance against all its enemies until him the buildings of the temple. now, corroborating the prediction of And Jesus said unto them, see ye our Lord, it will continue, overcomnot all these things ?. Verily I say ing all opposition, to the end of the unto you, there shall not be left world. here one stone upon another, that From the preceding arguments, shall not be thrown down. Verily we presume, the inference is obI say unto you, this generation shall vious, that Christ who was promised not pass, till all these things be ful to the Jews, has truly come. filled.” Matt. xxiv. 1, 2, 34. So
JOHN A. GETTY. Titus, with his Roman legions, for Poplar Town, (Md.) 4th Sept. 1821. ty years after the ascension of our Lord, before that generation had passed away, surrounded Jerusa
LECTURES ON BIBLICAL HISTORY. lem, and after he had put more than
No. III. one million of men to the sword,
" And when the woman saw that the caused the foundation of the tem
tree was good for food, and that it was ple to be dug up.
pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be de. To conclude, his prediction of sired to make one wise, she took of the the success of the gospel is an irre
fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also fragable proof of his divine mission. unto her husband with her, and he did ** Thou art Peter, and upon this
eat.”—GEN. iii. 6. rock I will build my church; and The fall of man, the introducthe gates of hell shall not prevail tion of sin, with its long train of Vol. I.
direful consequences, may be rank world. Let us attend to it, then, ed among the deep things of God. with an honest desire to know the Why was it permitted ? how was it truth, however humbling it may be brought about? and what will be its to the pride of our hearts. And be issue? are questions which, when it our fervent prayer to God, that, duly considered, can hardly fail to as we have borne the image of the make us feel our intellectual weak earthy, we may also bear the image
“O the depth of the riches, of the heavenly." 1 Cor. xv. 49. both of the wisdom and knowledge It will be proper, here, to recolof God! how unsearchable are his lect the leading points attempted judgments, and his ways past find to be established, in a preceding ing out!" The fact that mankind lecture, viz. that as man is a moral are a depraved race of beings, is and accountable creature, he reundeniable; and to suppose that ceived his being under a law suited they came from the hand of the to his rational character, honouraCreator in this depraved state, ble grade, and high destination in would be to impeach the glorious the great kingdom of the Creator; purity of the divine character. To that, as he was designed to propaaccount for the sad degeneracy of gate his species, it was fit and proour nature, has long been a matter
any transactions between of laborious investigation with the God and the original progenitor of learned and the inquisitive. Various the race, should have a bearing on opinions have been started, and, for his descendants; that the covenant a time, prevailed in the pagan
formed with our first parents, by a world. One set of philosophers promise of eternal life and felicity maintained the absurd and self-de in case of their obedience, and a structive notion of two indepen- | threatening of death in the contrary dent principles, the one good, and event, imposed upon them no new the other evil-the latter aiming, or irksome obligation. That being perpetually, to mar and defeat the already complete and undeniable designs of the former: hence, they from the law of their nature, it is fancied, arose all the corruption, plain that such a dispensation could disorder, and infelicities of nature. be of no disadvantage, whatever beOthers talked about the perverse nefits it might secure to them and ness and obliquity of matter-as if their posterity. We have seen, also, its connexion with mind in the hu that Adam and Eve were made in man species, unavoidably produced the divine image were endued a deterioration of our intellectual with knowledge, rectitude and hopowers and moral qualities. In liness-indulged with divine comdeed, one hypothesis has given munications,-invested with domiplace to another, in such long suc nion over all other creatures in this cession, and with so little addition lower world, loaded with a rich al light or probability, that it would profusion of the bounties of Heaven, seem philosophy and unaided rea and placed in circumstances the
come to no satisfactory most favourable that can be conconclusion on the subject. The ceived, for holding fast their inteshort account of Moses, comprised grity and securing the blessings of in the third chapter of Genesis, the covenant; insomuch, that no though not without its difficulties, person has any ground to think, he will be found, on candid examina would have acted a wiser, or a bettion, even aside from its inspired ter part, had his destiny been put authority, more rational, coherent, at his own disposal. and consistent with the character Bearing these ideas along with of God and man, than any other us, proceed we now to contemplate that has ever been given to the our fallen nature, but the wreck
of what it was, “till one greater Man class, equally formidable and perrestore us, and regain the blissful plexing, if not more so.
Moses reseat.” The subject naturally di marks that “ the serpent was more vides itself into three parts, which subtle than any beast of the field we shall consider briefly, in the fol which the Lord God had made." lowing order: viz. First, the temp Had it been, naturally, a speaking tation which led to the breach of and reasoning creature, capable of the covenant, in eating the forbid referring so adroitly to the characden fruit; secondly, the criminality ter of God, and of giving to his of that act; and thirdly, the conse threatening, in the penal sanction quences that ensued.
of the covenant, so deceptive a I. The temptation. The visible gloss, its superior subtlety would instrument employed in this, ac not have been at all remarkable ; cording to the narrative of the sa for, in that case, it would have borne cred historian, was “the serpent." a stronger resemblance to a fallen Of what species this serpent was, angel than to any beast of the field. or how far its nature and proper We prefer, therefore, the common ties may have been changed and de understanding of the Mosaic acgraded, as a memorial of God's ha count; i. e. that the visible agent, tred of sin, it were useless and vain in this affair, was a serpent, in the to inquire. Some writers suppose, usual import of the term, and that that, before the fall, serpents were
Satan, the prince of apostate spirits, beautiful, docile, and inoffensive was the efficient actor and foul increatures; that they inhabited trees, stigator of the evil that ensued. and fed on fruits; that they were
How he made the sharp tongue of endued with great sagacity; and the reptile subservient to his nefathat our first parents regarded them rious purpose, we pretend not to as favourites, in comparison of the explain. Neither do we know by other orders of inferior animals. what organs he spake when he asThe learned and ingenious Dr. sailed our Saviour in the wilderAdam Clarke is of opinion, that, ness of Jordan, or how he comby the serpent is meant one of the manded the tongues of the demoape or ouran-outang tribe; that niacs, of which we read in the evanthose disgusting caricatures on hu gelists. These were instances of man nature were, originally, gifted extraordinary power, which the Alwith speech and reason, walked mighty permitted him to exert, for erect, and possessed we know not reasons doubtless just and good, but how many other noble endowments; which lie beyond the horizon of our but upon their concurring with the limited view. That this apostate prince of devils, in the ruin of our prince of darkness was the real species, they were degraded to their tempter of our first parents, is perpresent condition, deprived of ar fectly evident from a variety of ticulate language, and in a great passages in the New Testament, measure of reason, doomed to go on where we find him mentioned by all-fours and lick the dust, “cursed names and titles drawn from the above all cattle, and above every malignity of his character, particubeast of the field.” As the doctor larly as it was manifested in the has kindly licensed his readers to sad tragedy of the garden of Eden. adopt or reject this opinion as they Our Saviour calls him a murderer, may see meet, no person can hesi a liar, the father of lies, and an adtate to give him all the credit due versary. The apostle Paul speaks to such a novel and curious disco of the serpent that beguiled Eve, very. They who adopt this opinion and in the same chapter tells us to get rid of one set of difficulties, that he is sometimes transformed will have to encounter another into an angel of light. In other
places, he speaks of his devices, lying and perjury, with a successful his fiery darts,--and exhorts Chris appeal to the rising pride, self-will, tians tó vigilance and prayer, from and libertinism of the human heart. the consideration that Satan goeth To “be as gods," was the overpowabout like a roaring lion, seekingering charm,--the fatal ambition, whom he may devour. The apostle
that ruined and degraded our speJohn calls him a sinner from the
cies, as it had, probably, hurled the beginning, the old serpent, a dra devil and his angels from the gon, and a deceiver.
These and heights of heaven to the depths of the like expressions may be consi misery and despair. The secret dered as incidental notes, explana aim and supreme desire of our untory of the text before us.
sanctified nature is, to “ snatch hath God said, ye shall not eat of from God's hand the balance,-to every tree of the garden ?” This rejudge his justice, and be the god abrupt sentence in the interroga of God.” tory form, is supposed to have been “ And when the woman saw that but a part of the serpent's address the tree was good for food, and that to Eve. However that may be, it is it was pleasant to the eyes, and a extremely artful and insinuating; tree to be desired to make one wise, as if he had said, expressly, “ It she took of the fruit thereof and cannot be that the bountiful Lord did eat, and gave also unto her husand proprietor of all things would band with her, and he did eat.” forbid you the use of any fruit with Perhaps Satan suggested that he which he has enriched this delight had tasted the fruit, and derived ful garden. You must have mis extraordinary advantages from ittaken his meaning. Such a re his subtlety, power of speech, great straint would be unreasonable and acuteness in discerning the properunworthy of God." Hereupon the ties of things, and, in one word, a half conquered already by the ad- resembling the Creator himself. versary's plausible speech, added a The result of the interview was a small comment of her own : “ We determination, on the part of our may eat of the fruit of the trees of first parents, to break through the the garden: but of the fruit of the salutary restraint of the covenant. tree which is in the midst of the The woman took, and ate, and
gave garden, God hath said, ye shall not to her husband, and he ate also. eat of it, neither shall
touch it, “And what great wrong was there lest ye
die." This “ neither shall (says the unbeliever) in this act" ye touch it,” does not appear in the
What harm could there be in eatprohibition, as given by God in the ing an apple, a fig, or a cluster of 17th verse of chapter 2d. And
193 This we are now to in“lest ye die," a soft and doubtful quire into a little. phrase, is substituted for the point II. Any act, however indifferent ed and peremptory declaration, “In in itself, may, by divine institution the day that thou eatest thereof, or appointment, become vastly imthou shalt surely die.” Embolden portant. The will of God is the ed by this reply, as clearly indi standard of right. To oppose his cating the beginning of pride and will, whatever may be the matter unbelief, the serpent lays aside his or form of the opposition, is to do disguise, and declares roundly, “ Ye wrong. Our first parents had beshall not surely die; for God doth fore them a clear and express reveknow, that in the day ye eat there lation of their Maker's will in this of, then your eyes shall be opened, case: “ Thou shalt not eat of it." and ye shall be as gods, knowing
Now the violation of this precept good and evil.” Here we have both a practical renunciation of
their allegiance to the great Lord of was death, was, untouched, a source heaven and earth,-a foolish attempt of useful instruction and moral imto withdraw from the divine government, inarked by the blackest ingra Thirdly, it served as a sacramentitude to their heavenly Benefactor, tal pledge of faithfulness to the coand by the most unequivocal con venant, which God was pleased to tempt for infinite authority. And form with them, and in them, with was there no wrong in all this? But their posterity. In this covenant, let us look at this matter a little there was a promise of life and hapmore closely. The prohibition in piness, ratified by the tree of life, question, was not a mere display of which they were allowed to use, arbitrary sovereignty. The holiness while they continued obedient; and and benignity of God make it mo a threatening of death, in case of rally impossible that he should ever transgression, ratified and sealed, by will or command any thing which is the tree of knowledge, the fruit of not wise and good. "The tree of the which was forbidden to be used. knowledge of good and evil (says the "When, by a gratuitous promise of learned and pious Vitringa) was cho immortality, the law of duty was sen of God to be a visible, familiar, and converted into a pacific covenant, the permanent lesson, by which man was tree of life and the tree of knowledge not only adınonished of the eternal were the two sacraments of that distinction between good and evil; covenant; the former being a visible but was put upon his guard as to the document of God's faithfulness to his quarter from which alone evil could promise, and the latter a visible doassail him.” But why was the fruit cument of his faithfulness, to his of it forbidden? In answer to this threatening. And thus the assurance question, we remark, that the probi of life or death being exhibited to our bition answered three purposes, all first parents, by sensible signs, they tending to the honour of God and constantly admonished of the the good of the creature.
interest staked in their hands, and First, it served as a test of man's of the infinitely happy or horrible isobedience. And this enters essen sue of their probationary state.” (Vitially into the very notion of a pro
tringa.) bationary state suited to the charac If these views of the subject be ter of a rational and accountable correct, the criminality of eating the creature. Here was a positive pre forbidden fruit must be abundantly cept. The thing to which it related evident. It was preferring self-will was simple and easily understood. to God's will, and profanely denying It was well adapted to the existing his right to the homage of his intelcircumstances of those whose obe ligent creatures; it was an arrogant dience it demanded. They were in
encroachment on the divine prerogaa garden of the Lord's own planting, tive; it was a profanation of the seal with liberty to use all its productions, of the covenant, and a forfeiture of this only excepted.
life, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Secondly, it served to keep man
Nor is that opinion extravagant, in mind of his dependance on the which makes it a virtual violation of bountiful Giver of every good and every precept in the decalogue, an perfect gift: it taught him to seek infraction of every tie that binds the his happiness in the way which God rational creature to the Creator and had prescribed, and to expect higher Sovereign of the universe. and purer and holier enjoyments,
III. What then were the consequen. than were to be found in the terres ces of this high and heinous offence? trial Eden: that unqualified submis To Adam and Eve,as might be expectsion to the will of his Creator was, ed, the immediate consequences were at once, his duty, bis privilege, and shame, fear, confusion, and expulsion safety. Thus that tree, whose touch from the garden of God. Vile affec