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both men and women and leads them into sin and death? Furthermore, St. Paul says; "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like." These works are all the natural productions of our fleshly, earthly nature, and the wisdom which is earthly, sensual, devilish, is the serpent which beguiles us. Now if we have found the real source of our own temptations, we have also found the source of the temptations of all mankind, not excepting the mother of our race. Flesh and blood was the same in the beginning as it is now, its powers were the same, its lusts were the same, its wisdom was the same, and it is to the powers and appetites of the flesh that every sin we commit may be traced.

St. Paul says; "The woman being deceived, was in the transgression." Could she have been deceived if she had been truly wise? No, but she was made subject to vanity. If she had been perfectly satisfied with her condition would she have disobeyed her Maker for the sake of being more wise? And was it not perfectly natural for her to wish to have her husband with her in this wisdom? There appears nothing in this whole account that differs from our common experience and observation. There is no condition in which man can be placed, in the present state, that can bound his desires, or render him perfectly satisfied with what he possesses. There has been much said concerning the happy, the consummately happy state in which Adam and Eve were placed in the garden; long accounts have been dressed up in all the beauties of rhetoric concerning the felicity of the happy pair before transgression. But to describe the dreadful consequences of the first sin, the calamitous change which it effected in all nature here on earth, and the endless wo to which the whole posterity of Adam was exposed by it, has exhausted all the powers of human imaginaAnd yet, if we look for these things in the scrip-


tures we find them not. What is said of the happy state of our first parents before they knew good and evil? Nothing. How does the word of divine revelation expatiate on the miserable state into which the first transgression brought man? It extends the subject no further than human experience in all ages of the world extends it. Sin was attended with guilt and fear according to the first account we have of it, and experience has taught us all, that guilt and fear are its natural consequences. But that the first transgression was attended with worse consequences than the sins which were committed afterward, we find no authority for believing. And what would be the fruits of our researches should we examine what the scriptures say concerning the state of endless wo to which the first sin exposed the whole human race? Why in fact we should search in vain to find any thing of the kind in the word of God. Even the serpent had no malediction pronounced on him, that either deprivea him of his natural food or extended beyond his natural life; much less, if possible, was there any suggestion either to the man or the woman, that the consequences of their sin would extend into a future state.

All the vain notions which the earthly, sensual wisdom of this world has framed on this subject are evidences in support of what we have endeavoured to make evident, namely, that imperfection and sin manifest themselves in our strife to be wise by violating the word of God; and that vanity to which man is the most inclined, is seen in his inventions by which he renders truth, which is perfectly simple in itself, obscure and mysterious.

But shall it be said, because God has made the creature subject to all this vanity, that he is therefore unfriendly to his offspring? No, my brethren, this is not the case. Blessed be God, though in his infinite wisdom he saw best to subject his creatures to vanity in this mortal state, he has made extensive and ample provisions in his providence to render this vain state convenient in an infinite variety of ways, and has so bountifully scattered down his blessings that we

have constant reason to rejoice in his goodness. He did not forsake man in the beginning of his career in sin, but though he manifested his holy disapprobation of the defection of his children, he made them sensible likewise of his fatherly kindness and unchangeable goodness. How affecting is the account we have of the voice of the Lord God in the cool of the day calling after Adam. How tender are the words; "Adam, Adam, where art thou?" Who can hear the language of divine mercy expressed in the promise of the seed of the woman who should bruise the serpent's head, without emotions of lively gratitude? That all gracious, merciful Creator, who made the creature subject to vanity, subjected him in hope.

The reason assigned by the Apostle, why the creature was subjected to vanity in hope, he expresses in the verse following our text in these words; "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Just above he had said; "The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the maifestation of the sons of God."

As the creature was not the author of this state of vanity, so he is not the author of that hope in which he is subjected; no nor is he the author of that glorious liberty of the sons of God into which the whole creation shall be delivered, from the bondage of corruption.

This hope of life and immortality, our kind and merciful Creator has implanted in our nature, and it seems to exist as universally as the idea of a supreme Being. Those notions which owe their origin to the inventions of priests, and their standing to the super stition of the ignorant are not universal; they are lim

ited to a certain denominations or nations, and have nothing in them which compares with the wisdom and goodness of the divine Being. But the universality of the hope of a future, happy existence, very fitly compares with the impartial goodness of God, from which circumstance it acquires no small share of its natural evidence.

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But one of the principal objects of the gospel of Jesus Christ seems to have been, to present us with full and adequate proof of the doctrine of a future happy state for all mankind.

Speaking of Jesus, the Apostle says; "Who hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

The hearer is cautioned against the notion, that our Saviour was sent into the world to go through a process in order to purchase, or procure life and immortality for man; for he came to suffer, die, and rise from the dead, that he might bring life and immortality to light; that is, that he might make that manifest which the creature groaned and travailed for, and which God had given unto us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

This glorious liberty of the sons of God, in hope of which the whole creation groans and travails in pain, is the inheritance of which we are joint-heirs with Christ. Jesus our fore-runner hath entered into glory, and being the head of every man, is "the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

From the doctrine of our text may be drawn the following inferences:

1st. The opinion which has long maintained that the first temptation which led to the introduction of sin into our world, was the instigation of a fallen Angel, appears to be without foundation or authority in the scriptures, which plainly indicate that the constitutional infirmities of flesh and blood are in fact the source from whence all sinful temptations rise.

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2d. That the common notion which christian people entertain and cultivate in the minds of their children, of an invisible agent, who was once a holy angel in heaven, that now continually accompanies people wherever they go, and is all the time tempting them to sin, is nothing more than an invention of the wisdom of the flesh, and is supported by no other means than superstition. Is there even a child, who has come to the years of discretion, that cannot see, that in order for this evil agent to do all that is attributed to him, he must be every where at the same time? It seems reasonable that we should be rightly informed on this subject, because if we have enemies to contend with, it is surely necessary to know them and to know their strength. Our appetites and passions are at all times with us; and though they are all good in the place for which they were made, and for the use for which they were created, yet as they are blind in proportion to their strength, they will surely lead us into sin if they are not governed by wisdom and prudence.

3d. There appears no authority for the common opinion, that the first transgression produced a radical change in the moral constitution of man, or that in consequence of this first sin, man became totally depraved and altogether opposed to all good, and inclined wholly to all evil. Nor does it appear that there was any such change effected in the physical constitution of the creature, as to communicate any taint to posterity. If even Cain had been wholly inclined to evil by nature, he would have been as likely to take the life of Abel without the occasion mentioned in the Scriptures as with it.—And if Abel had been wholly inclined to evil, he would have been as likely to take the life of Cain, and even that of Adam and Eve, as Cain to take his life. Before sin took place it required a temptation to produce it, and since the first transgression the case has always been the same; every crime is preceded by temptation, which would not be required if man was naturally altogether inclined to evil.

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4th. The religion of Jesus affords us divine evidences in support of that glorious hope of life and immor

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