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for thyself. Therefore thy acceptance now depends upon thy doing well. And if thou dost, shalt thou not be accepted? Certainly thou shalt; but not otherwise: for, if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. Thou rejectest the only remedy for thy sin; and therefore, if thou doest ill but once, sin lies at thy door: is not, and cannot be taken away; but must of necessity be imputed to thee, unto perdition.
The Lord give us faith to look back upon that sacrifice for our sins, once offered by Jesus Christ, to which the elders, who lived previous to his coming, by faith looked forward!
SARAH THE FIRST LADY.-If there be any who did not altogether go with us in describing Abraham as the first gentleman, they will not probably find the same difficulty, in viewing Sarah as the first lady. Her name, Sarah,, implying Lady, Mistress, or Princess, was given her by God himself.
On the same Divine authority, two individuals are required to render her that honour which a lady is entitled to receive. The first is Hagar: "Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands." (Gen. xvi. 9.) Upon which we may observe, that though many are mistresses of families, yet none will be found to maintain due authority over their servants, but ladies. And if there are so many mistresses in the present day, who are unable to manage their household, or to maintain any thing like decent order or proper submission, perhaps the reason may be, that, though mistresses, they are not after all ladies, and therefore occupy a position which they are unable to support.
The other individual who is directed to render due honour to Sarah, is no less a person than her husband, Abraham himself. "In all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice." (Gen. xxi. 12.) This injunction is the more remarkable, when we contrast it with what was said to Adam. To Adam, the covenant head of the whole human race, it was said, 66 Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife." So begins the curse. His hearkening to the voice of his wife is made the very head and front of his offending. But to Abraham, the covenant head of God's elect and justified people, that very thing is commanded, which to the other is made a ground of accusation: "HEARKEN unto her voice." This is no accidental correspondence. The two passages are designedly antithetic and parallel, as any one may see by comparing them. First, to Adam, it is said,
Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife : Then, to Abraham,
In all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice.
And accordingly, it has been observed in the world, that the more the religion of the Gospel prevails, the more honour, and the higher rank, is given to the female sex. Abraham might safely do that, which Adam did to his destruction. The father of the faithful is commanded by God himself to hearken, where hearkening brought the father of mankind under God's curse. And a similar principle will be found to prevail very extensively in the world. Amongst grossly idolatrous nations, the wife is a menial slave. Amongst Mohammedans, though not a slave, she is a prisoner. Amongst Talmudical Jews, she is placed by Rabbinism on the footing of a child. Amongst Christians, she is a partner: a help, according to the primitive appointment before the Fall, meet for her husband; the two being heirs together of the grace of life. In this condition, her footing is well determined by the New Testament. She is not suffered to teach. She is forbidden to usurp authority. What is said, as we have seen, to Abraham concerning Sarah, by no means sets aside these injunctions; for it is expressly said by St. Peter, that "Sara obeyed Abraham." (1 Pet. iii. 6.) But her voice is to be hearkened to; and hearkened to with due regard, and kind compliance. The Christian is placed, by the word of God, on the footing not only of a priest, but of a king but no Christian husband, in maintaining this character in his household, must for a moment forget that the king's wife is queen.
Holy women, believing in Christ, ought to look up to Sarah as their head, as much as holy men to Abraham. The important character which Sarah holds in Scripture, is observable even from this; that, at the time of her death, her age is given. And it has been remarked, that this is the case with no other female in the Old Testament. But that is not all. The same place is assigned to Sarah in the Epistles, with respect to believing women, as is assigned to Abraham, with respect to believing men. The latter are there taught to regard themselves as the sons of Abraham (Rom. iv. 16); the former, as the daughters of Sarah (1 Pet. iii. 6). But, be it remembered, this is true only of those who really believe in Christ Jesus. The unbelieving and self-righteous are the children of the bondwoman Hagar. (Gal. iv. 25, &c.) Let us stand fast, then, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, that we may receive the promises made to Abraham, through faith.
EVE THE FIRST WOMAN.-Our Jewish brethren cannot reasonably object, if, at the beginning of our New-Testament Scriptures, they read of a Man from a woman only: for, at the beginning of their own Scriptures, we read of a woman from a man only.
We should observe the order followed, in the creation of the world. The plan seems to have been, that the best things should come last. Thus we have first darkness, then light. Thus we have first morning, then evening. Thus first appear things without life, as the waters and the dry land; then things with only vegetable life, grass, herbs, and fruit-trees; then things with animal life, fishes, fowls, and beasts; and lastly man, a living soul, to have dominion over all. But in the making of man, we have still the same order followed: for Adam was first formed, then Eve. The Apostle justly uses this, as an evidence of Eve's inferiority, as to command. But viewed in connection with the general order which we have already pointed out, and as part of the same plan, it seems to accord with the idea of greater excellence, as to beauty and temperament. Eve takes her beginning from the perfect man, when formed. Adam takes his beginning from the dust of the ground.
Satan, bent apparently to mar the work of creation when fresh from God's hand, does not begin by assailing some inferior and prior parts of the work, but proceeds at once to attack that which is last and fairest. He begins with Eve. In like manner the invading general makes at once for the capital of the land attacked, supposing that if he can carry that, he can carry all. In this attempt, Satan succeeds. Created last, and first in sin, Eve gives credit to his lies, and falls. Thus Satan works downwards, upon the whole of God's creation. The Creator, beginning with things inanimate, carries up his work to Eve, its fairest and last perfection. Satan, on the contrary, beginning with Eve, carries back his work of mischief from Eve to Adam, from Adam to the inferior animals, and so downwards, till a curse comes upon the very ground itself, and the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, crushed and confounded in the common ruins of the Fall!
But, lo, the Lord proceeds to repair this mischief, as soon as it is done; and with infinitely greater glory to himself, than if Satan had never succeeded. He provides not only an adequate remedy, but a remedy in that quarter, in which the evil began. It is the woman whom Satan began by attacking; and the devil now hears, to his cost, that the Seed of the woman shall bruise his head.
This the Seed of the woman has done, and Satan must see his end. It is a notion with country people, that if a snake is injured sufficiently to kill it, yet nevertheless does not die at once, it will live till the sun goes down. Thus Satan, the old: serpent, , will carry on his existence and power on earth unto
the end, and not till then be consigned to everlasting perdition; but he has already received his fatal wound, and his hours are numbered. In crucifying Christ, he committed a suicidal act. By that act the serpent crucified himself, and became the antitype of his brazen image, lifted up by Moses. Hence, while we view Christ hanging on Calvary, let us also, by the eye of faith, view the serpent hanging in the wilderness, being assured that the two transactions were, both, realized and completed at the same time. The fable tells us of a serpent, that began to lick a file, but soon found that it had licked off its own tongue. The Bible tells us of a serpent, that bruised a heel, by which its own head, in offering the injury, was crushed and trampled in the mire." Ye shall not surely die," said he to Eve. Yet die they did, and he died also; an endless death, PREPARED for the devil and his angels!
TUBAL-CAIN THE FIRST ARTIFICER.-Besides the direct line, extending from Adam through Seth, Noah, Abraham, Israel, Judah, and David, to Christ, we have many other lineages, continually branching off from the parent stock, soon lost sight of, or ending in nations, tribes, and families, whose names are specified. There is great meaning in that expression, The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. Abraham has two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Yet it is not said, The God of Abraham, of Ishmael, and of Isaac: but only, The God of Abraham and of Isaac. Ishmael is one of these side-shoots, which go off from the direct stem. So, again, with regard to Isaac. He also has two sons, Esau and Jacob. Yet it is not said, The God of Isaac, of Jacob, and of Esau; but only, of Isaac and of Jacob. Esau is another side-shoot, and goes off into Edom. Hence with so much emphasis it is said, Esau is Edom. (Gen. Xxxvi. 8.) At Jacob, indeed, the same rule does not exactly hold good any longer. Jacob has twelve sons, but they are all the chosen heads of tribes; and all so regarded and dealt with by that God, who is the God of ALL the families of Israel.
When lineages thus branch off from the main stem, one thing is observable. The Bible frequently gives an account of them, but if so, for the most part gives it at once, or very speedily, and then has done with them. In the tenth chapter of Genesis, for instance, which contains the respective descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japhet; those of Ham and Japhet are first disposed of; and then that of Shem, the chosen line, is taken up, at the close of the chapter. Yet even this genealogy of Shem is not sufficiently particular or exclusive; as it gives many branches, besides the chosen line. Consequently, the line of Shem is again taken up in the next chapter, and carried on by a direct
course as far as Abraham. We now come to Abraham and Lot. And here again, upon precisely the same principle, Lot is first disposed of, as the father of the Ammonites and Moabites; and then the history proceeds with Abraham alone. With the two sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and with the two sons of Isaac, Esau and Jacob, the case is still the same. First, in the twenty-fifth chapter, Ishmael and his descendants are disposed of (ver. 12, &c.), so as to leave Isaac alone (ver. 19): then, in the thirty-sixth chapter, Esau and his descendants are disposed of, so as to leave Jacob alone; the thirty-sixth chapter beginning, "Now these are the generations of Esau ;" and the thirty-seventh (ver. 2), "These are the generations of Jacob."-By this way of clearing as he goes, and only carrying on one particular line, the sacred writer seems, as it were, to say, I am not writing the history of the children of Lot, of Ishmael, or of Edom. I am writing the history of the chosen race; of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; from whom, in due time, and in a direct line, the promised Seed shall come. And therefore I dispose of other lineages as I go along, in order that I may proIceed with this.
But if these things are worthy of remark after the Flood, before it they are far more so. Here again we have two lines; namely, those of Cain and Seth. And, precisely on the plan already pointed out, that of Cain is first given, towards the latter part of the fourth chapter; and then that of Seth, at the end of the same chapter, and throughout the next. But there is one difference. After the Flood, the diverging lineages gradually pass out of sight, and are forgotten. But, before the Flood, we can tell what becomes of them. They are all cut off by the waters. Even of the descendants of Seth, there escapes only a single family but of the descendants of Cain, not one. Flood came, and took them ALL away!
Since the destruction of this progeny was so complete, we may be led to inquire, Who were of it? And we shall find some individuals mentioned in it, whom, according to our own erring judgment, we might expect, with their descendants, to find spared. In this line we find Tubal-Cain, the father of artificers in this, Jubal, the father of instrumental music: in this, Jabal, the nomadic patriarch. If it appear strange that the useful artificer should be taken away, the destruction of the pleasing musician may be deemed stranger still. If it appear dreadful that destruction should come in foaming torrents upon the inhabitants of the city, it seems yet more terrible that the same flood of vengeance should have swept before it the peaceful inhabitants of the valley and the mead. Yet it came, and