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was no propensity in them to evil; no inclination' to allow themselves in any sin; no bias on the side of depraved gratification; for that would have been inconsistent with the state of rectitude in which they were formed. On the contrary, they were disposed to follow whatever their Maker approved, and studiously to shun every thing he forbade.
Yet the event shewed that their will was not so entirely confirmed, as to be èxempt from exposure to mutability and error. Their minds were liable to be tempted to commit evil, though God had inclined them only towards good. This admission does not, by any means, reflect on the Divine goodness: for, if our first parents had been formed unchangeably righteous, it must have been by the especial gift of God; and then they could not have been fixed in a probationary state, in which alone a person can conduct himself so as to become the proper subject of praise or blame. Scripture affirms-and the result proves that they were made "sufficient to have stood; yet free," if they abused their liberty, "to fall."
Again The integrity of Adam's state before his fall evidenced itself in the purity of his affections. Man's appetites no doubt, even then, were carried toward objects grateful to the senses; yet these motions of the animal nature were under the direct controul of reason, and exercised in a due subordination to the welfare of his immortal soul. So long as he retained his innocence, no earthly object was permitted to usurp that place in his heart, which exclusively belonged to God, whose pleasure was the sole law by which he acted. Heavenly things therefore, as conducing to his best interests, would be preferred to any sensual gratification whatever. His
mind, free from evil concupiscence, chose God as his portion; and his favour, as an unfailing source of happiness.
2. Knowledge was the other branch of excellence peculiar to the primitive state. Adam, made after the Divine likeness, possessed a clear and vigorous understanding. His acquaintance with God and the varied works of his hand, seem to have been very extensive. He must be supposed to have well understood the will of his Maker; otherwise he could not have been qualified to enter into covenant with him, whereby he bound himself to perpetual obedience. He knew that God was unalterably holy, just, and good; that he loved righteousness, and hated iniquity. This knowledge of the Divine Being, and the obligation he was laid under, by it, to honour him, would greatly assist Adam in his endeavours to preserve the happiness which he was in possession of; and be a forcible motive for constant vigilance, that he might obtain the promised reward. His acquaintance with the works of God shews that he had a greater and more correct knowledge of their real nature, by intuition, than the best-informed minds can now attain by diligent study and investigation. Notice his sagacity in giving names to the different species of animals, descriptive of their properties and habits.
3. The felicity of such an exalted state must have been indescribably great. Adam, when he came out of the hands of his Maker, was, in common with the rest of his works, pronounced to be very good." Indeed, he was a glorious creature, "possessing a sound mind and a healthy body." maladies, which often prove fatal to
e Gen. ii. 19, 20.
None of those many of his de
fib. i. 31.
scendants, afflicted him. His body was a fit tabernacle for the residence of his spirit, and conspired with it in glorifying God. Being thus formed capable of serving him, and contemplating his perfections, he was the favourite of God, an object of his high regard. He was permitted to hold familiar intercourse with his Maker, before guilt effected a sepa→ ration. Privileged with access to God, who smiled on him "as one whom he delighted to honour," we may reasonably suppose that no favour was withheld, which could either augment or secure his happiness.
Besides; Adam was immortal. The day in which he was formed in the image of God; "he became a living soul," endued with a principle of immortality. He was therefore qualified for the endless fruition of God; of which nothing but his voluntary apostacy could deprive him. Under such circumstances, the existence of our first parents would be happy beyond expression. All that the Poets have fabled of the Golden Age, or the delights of the Heathen Elysium, falls short of giving us an adequate idea of man's bliss in Paradise, which was a striking type of the felicity of heaven itself. It must have been a life of great intellectual enjoyment. They would derive much satisfaction from the constant exhibition of God's wisdom, power, and goodness; which would, at the same time, expand their minds with the most valuable knowledge. Possessed of holy affections, their breasts would be happily devoid of shame, reand fear. No anxious cares would disturb them by day; no alarms would disquiet them by night. Innocence was depicted in their lovely countenances, which were a true index of the purity of their souls. At peace with God and themselves, and "in league with the beasts of the field," who
quietly submitted to their authority, they had no danger to apprehend, but enjoyed the sweetest tranquillity. This state of Paradisaïcal enjoyment was heightened by the liberal provision which the Lord had made to afford delight to his creatures. Constituted sovereign of the lower world, creation smiled on Adam as its rightful lord, and acknow ledged his power. The earth teemed with plenty, and, without much culture, supplied them with an abundant succession of herbs, fruits, and plants. The garden of Eden, a spot consecrated by God, yielded every species of fruit and flower, to regale their senses, and minister support to their bodies.
Thus nothing was wanting to complete the happiness of Adam and Eve, but gratitude and obedience. Happy in the friendship of God, and having a promise of increasing felicity, they might have contemplated the prospect of their translation to heaven with great delight; where, had they retained their innocence, they would have inherited "fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore"."
"Gen. ii. 8, 9.
b Psalm xvi.11.
ON THE COVENANT OF WORKS-ITS VIOLATION, BY THE FALL OF OUR FIRST PARENTS FROM THE STATE OF INNOCENCE-THE PENAL CONSEQUENCES ATTACHED TO THAT OFFENCE.
Romans v. 12. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
MAN, when he came out of the hands of his Maker, was gifted with sufficient powers to perform all the duties which his relation to God demanded.
Being thus fitted for communion with the Lord, it was reasonable that Adam should submit to His government, and glorify him by an unreserved obedience to his commands. With this view, he entered into a covenant of works; which was so styled, because it bound him to a strict performance of all that God had enjoined him to do.
The contracting parties were, on the one side, God in Trinity; and on the other, Adam for himself, and in behalf of his posterity, inasmuch as he is the root and stock whence all mankind proceed.
This covenant was an agreement respecting the means of obtaining complete happiness; including a threatening of God's displeasure, upon its infraction by man.
The law of the covenant of works was, in all human probability, the same in substance with the Ten Commandments, afterwards delivered by Moses; which are summed up in the following words of our Saviour: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
The covenant was accompanied by two sacramental signs or seals; the tree of life; and the tree of knowledge of good and evil"." The former was a sort of pledge, to assure our first parents of eternal life, as a reward for their obedience: the latter was the seal of death, in case of transgression; the use of which God forbade, saying, "Thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."
The law of the covenant was legibly engraven on a Matt. xxii. 37-41.
⚫ Gen. ii. 9.
с ib. ii. 17.