Billeder på siden



ble part of his earth, and my delights were the paths of the seas."* And Christ the Lord, with the sons of men."*

even in the days of his flesh, while he yet Secondly,—The constitution of Adam's dwelt among men, not only possessed but exnature prefigured the person of Christ. In ercised an unlimited authority over the whole Adam, an immaterial immortal spirit was world of nature, over things visible, and united to a material earthly body, to consti- things invisible. The prince of the power of tute one perfect, living man; in Christ, the the air fled at his command: the boisterous human nature was united to the divine, to elements heard and obeyed his word: disconstitute one perfect life-giving Saviour. ease, and death, and the grave fulfilled his The one a mystery of nature, the other a pleasure. How much more justly, after his mystery of grace. The one, though incom- resurrection from the dead, when declared prehensible, yet certainly known by every the Son of God with power," could he say of man to be true; the other though incompre- himself, “ all power is given unto me, in heahensible, yet by every christian believed to ven and in earth ?" and the Apostle also, conbe true.

cerning him, “God hath highly exalted him, Thirdly,—The paternal relation which and given him a name, which is above every Adam bears to all the human race, beauti- name: that at the name of Jesus every knee fully represents to us Jesus the Son of God, should bow, of things in heaven, and things as the spiritual father of all them that be- in earth, and things under the earth: and lieve. The first man, Adam, says the text, that every tongue should confess that Jesus was made “a living soul,” that is, the source Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Faof a natural life, to them who had it not be ther.”+ We see Jesus, who was made a little fore; the last Adam was made “ a quickening lower than the angels, for the suffering of spirit,” that is, the giver and restorer of a death crowned with glory and honour. “And spiritual and divine life, to those who, having he must reign, till he hath put all his enelost it, were “dead in trespasses and sins." mies under his feet.” The sovereignty of The water in the conduit will rise to the Adam, however, was derived, dependent, level of its fountain, but can never mount limited, and might be forfeited: and his hishigher. Thus Adam can communicate only tory, and our own experience feelingly aswhat he was, and what he had himself; be sure us, “ that, being in honour he continued ing therefore of the earth, earthly, he could not;" that the crown is fallen from his head, only propagate an earthly existence; but the and the sceptre dropt from his hand. His desecond man, being the Lord from heaven, rived authority was withdrawn by him who can, and does, make his spiritual offspring bestowed it; his dependent power was check" partakers of a divine nature.” As every ed and curbed, because he had abused it; his man, upon coming into the world of nature, limited empire was reduced to nothing, bethe instant he draws the breath of life, bears cause he presumed to affect equality with his the image of the first man whom God created; Creator; and having received dominion unso from Jesus Christ, progenitor of them who der a condition, failing in the condition, he believe, all who are regenerated, or born into forfeits his throne. But the Sovereignty of the world of grace, derive their spiritual ex- Christ is inherent, independent, unlimited, istence, and bear the image of him, from and everlasting. “Unto the Son he saith, whom the whole family of heaven and earth Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, a is named. But Adam is the remote, not the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy immediate father of our flesh: whereas Christ kingdom;" and the Son himself saith, “I lay is the immediate source of spiritual light and down my life, that I might take it again. I life to all those who are born, not of blood lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of down, and I have power to take it again." man, but of God."!

“ And I give unto them eternal life, and they Fourthly,-Adam and Christ bear a strik- shall never perish, neither shall any man ing resemblance in respect of dominion and pluck them out of my hand. My Father, Sovereignty. When God had created man, which gave them me is greater than all: and " he blessed him, and said unto him, Have none is able to pluck them out of my

Father's dominion over the fish of the sea, and over hand. I and my Father are one." I the fowl of the air, and over every living Again, the sacred and pure matrimonial thing that moveth upon the earth.” “ Thou union established in paradise between Adam hast made him," says the Psalmist, “a little and Eve, was intended to prefigure the myslower than the angels; and hast crowned terious union, the pure and reciprocal affechim with glory and honour. Thou madest tion of Christ and his church: in which also him to have dominion over the works of thy we follow the Apostle of the Gentiles in his hands: thou hast put all things under his epistle to the Ephesians, 8 " for the husband feet. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish head of the church; and he is the Saviour of of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through * Prov. viii. 22-31.




1 John i. 13.
1 John X. 28–30.

Chap. v. 23.

* Psalm viii. 5–8.

† Phil. ii. 9-11.

the body. Therefore as the church ış subject | adulterous generation, but preserved unspotto Christ, so let the wives be to their own ted innocence; "he did no sin, neither was husbands in every thing. Husbands, love guile found in his lips.” Adam by one offence your wives, even as Christ also loved the became guilty of the whole law, poured conchurch, and gave himself for it; that he tempt upon it, and transmitted his crime, might sanctify and cleanse it, with the wash- together with the punishment of it, to all ing of water by the word ; that he might pre- mankind: Christ, by a complete obedience, sent it to himself a glorious church, not hav- " magnified the law, and made it honouring spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but able,” approved himself unto God, and conthat it should be holy, and without blemish. veys the merit of his obedience and sufferings We are members of his body; of his flesh, to all them that believe, for their justification and of his bones. For this cause, shall a man and acceptance. Adam, aspiring to a condileave his father and mother, and shall be tion superior to that in which his Maker joined unto his wife, and they two shall be placed him, not only failed to obtain what he one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I aimed at, but also lost what he had ; desiring speak concerning Christ and the church.” to be as God, to know good and evil, he ac

Finally,—The whole tenor of scripture quired indeed the fatal knowledge of evil, teaches us to consider Adam, the first of men, but lost the knowledge of good which he alas the covenant head and representative of ready possessed ; and sinking himself, drugs all his posterity, according to the order and down a devoted world with him: whereas course of nature; and Jesus Christ the Lord, Christ, for the voluntary abasement of himas the federal head and representative of all self, is exalted to the right hand of the his redeemed, according to the election of Majesty on high," " for the suffering of death, grace. “For since by man came death, by is crowned with glory and honour," and man came also the resurrection of the dead.” “ lifted up on the cross, draws all men unto “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ him.” The moment we exist, in virtue of our shall all be made alive.” “ By one man sin relation to the first Adam, we die for an ofentered into the world, and death by sin; and fence we could not commit; so, we no sooner so death passed upon all men, for that all become united to the second Adam through have sinned.” And if by one man's offence, faith in his blood, than we become partakers death reigned by one, much more they which of a spiritual and divine nature, and heirs of receive abundance of grace, an of the gift everlasting life, in virtue of a righteousness of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, not our own. “Being justified by faith, we Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offence of have peace with God, through our Lord Jeone, judginent came upon all men to con- sus Christ; and rejoice in hope of the glory demnation: even so by the righteousness of of God.” In Adam, we are condemned for one, the free gift came upon all men unto one sin: in Christ we are justified for many justification of life. For as by one man's dis- offences. The history of Adam represents to obedience, many were made sinners: so by us a garden with one tree of life amidst many the obedience of one, shall many be made that were good for food, and near to one that righteous."*

was pregnant with death: the Revelation of But whatever admits of comparison, by Jesus Christ exhibits to us a paradise, all bearing resemblance, must likewise admit of whose trees are of one sort; whose fruit is contrast, on account of dissimilitude: for what life-giving, whose very leaves are salutary; so like, as to be undistinguishable? What trees of life which know no decay, never distwo persons are so much the same, as not to appoint the gatherer's hope, never feel the exhibit, to the least discerning eye, charac- approach of winter. teristical marks of difference? And indeed, Genesis presents to our trembling, astonthe very particulars wherein the first and ished sight, “ cherubims and a flaming sword, second Adam coincide, evince the infinite which turn every way to keep the way of superiority of the one above the other, as the tree of life.” The Apocalypse discloses well as those circumstances which could not to our delighted eyes, angels ministering to possibly be in common between them. them who are the heirs of salvation; and

Adam was assaulted of the wicked one, by our ravished ears hear these glad accents a slight temptation; yielded; and fell: Christ bursting from amidst the excellent glory, was tempted of the devil, by repeated, vigor- “To him that overcometh, will I give to eat ous, and well-conducted attacks; resisted to of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the last; and overcame. Adam in paradise, the paradise of God.” “ Let him that is became guilty, and miserable, and liable to athirst, come: and whosoever will, let him death: Christ passed through a corrupted take the water of life freely." world, lived in the midst of a sinful and The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be

with you all. Amen.

* Rom. v. 17-19.




By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he

was righteous, God testifying of his gifts, and by it he, being dead, yet speaketh-HEBREWS X1. 4. A state of innocence was apparently of of communicating that natural life to others; short duration. The history of it contains for that Eve should become a mother, though but a very few particulars. To plunge the the pain and sorrow of conception and childhuman race into guilt and ruin was the work bearing were to be greatly multiplied. In only of a moment: but to restore mankind process of time she accordingly brings forth to life and happiness, employed depth of de-a son; and pain and sorrow are no more resign to contrive; length of time to mature membered, for joy that a man-child is born and unfold; and irresistible force to execute. into the world. What she thought and felt The history of the world is, in truth, the his- upon this occasion, we learn from what she tory of redemption. For all the dealings of said, and from the name she gave her newDivine Providence with men, directly or by born son. With a heart overflowing with implication immediately or remotely, point gratitude, she looks up to God, who had not out and announce a Saviour. To our first only spared and prolonged her life, but made parents, immediately upon the fall, a promise her the joyful mother of a living child; and was given, in general, indeed, but not in ob- who, in multiplying her sorrow, had much scure terms, of deliverance and recovery, by more abundantly multiplied her comfort. one who should be in a peculiar and proper Ease that succeeds anguish is doubly relished sense, “ the seed of the woman.” And it is and enjoyed. Kindness from one whom we far from being unreasonable to suppose, that have offended, falls with a weight pleasingly the skins employed to cover the shame of our oppressive upon the mind. Some interpretguilty first parents, were taken from victims ers, and not without reason, suppose, that she slain by divine appointment; who by the considered the son given her, as the promised shedding of their blood were to typify the seed, who should bruise the head of the sergreat atonement, styled in scripture " the pent; and they read her self-gratulatory exLamb slain from the foundation of the world." clamation thus, “ I have gotten the man from But admitting this to be merely a fanciful the Lord.” And how soothing to the materconjecture, we have the authority of God nal heart must have been the hope of deliverhimself to affirm, that the immediate descendance and relief for herself, and triumph over ants of Adam offered such sacrifices, and her bitter enemy, by means of the son of her looked in faith and hope to such propitiation : own bowels ! How fondly does she dream “ For by faith Abel offered unto God a more of repairing the ruin which her frailty had excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he brought upon her husband and family, by this obtained witness, that he was righteous, God " first-born of many brethren !" The name testifying of his gifts, and by it he, being she gives him signifies “ possessed" or a dead, yet speaketh.” The history, charac- " possession.” She flatters herself that she ter, and conduct of these two brothers, from has now got something she can call her own; the materials furnished us in scripture, are and even the loss of paradise seems compento be the subject of this Lecture.

sated by a dearer inheritance. If there be a Adam, with the partner of his guilt and of portion more tenderly cherished, or more his future fortunes, being expelled from Eden, highly prized than another, it is that of which and tumbled from all his native honours, en- David speaks, * « Lo, children are an heritage ters on the possession of a globe, which was of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is cursed for his sake. He feels that he is fallen his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a from a spiritual and divine life, from right- mighty man; so are children of the youth. eousness and innocence; that he has become Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of liable to death; nay, by the very act of dis- them : they shall not be ashamed; but they obedience, that he really died to goodness and shall speak with the enemies in the gate. happiness. But the sentence itself which But 0, blind to futurity, with how many sorcondemns him, gives him full assurance, that rows was this “possession” so exultingly trihis natural life, though forfeited, was to be umphed in, about to pierce the fond maternal reprieved; that he should live to labour; to breast! How unlike are the forebodings and eat his bread with the sweat of his brow; and wishes of parental tenderness and partiality, not only so, but that he should be the means

* Psalm cxxvi. 3–5.

to the destinations of Providence, and the , we blame; it is not the shepherd's life, but discoveries which time brings to light!“ And good Abel the shepherd that we esteem. she again bare his brother Abel.” The word " And in process of time it came to pass, that denotes vanity, or a breath of air. Was this Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an name given him through the unreasonable offering unto the Lord. And Abel he also prejudice and unjust preference of a partial brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of mother? Or was it an unintentional predic- the fat thereof; and the Lord had respect tion of the brevity of his life, and of the la- unto Abel, and to his offering :"* What is mentable manner of his death? But the ma- any condition, any employment, unconnected terials of which life is composed, are not so with, unsupported, unadorned by religion ! much its days, and months, and years, as How wretched a creature is the mere citiworks of piety, and mercy, and justice, or zen of this world, whose views, pursuits, and their opposites. He dies in full maturity, enjoyments, all terminate in time! The man who has lived to God and eternity, at what- who sees not his comforts and his successes ever period, and in whatever manner he is as coming from the hand of God; and whose cut off

. That life is short, though extended heart rises not in gratitude to the Giver of all to a thousand years, which is disfigured with good, is a stranger to the choicest ingredient vice, devoted to the pursuits of time merely, in the cup of prosperity. But can God, the and at the close of which the unhappy man great God, stand in need of such things as is found unreconciled to God.

these? “ Is not every beast of the forest Behold this pair of brothers, then, growing his, and the cattle upon a thousand hills ?" in wisdom and in stature; gladdening their Yes, verily: religion was not instituted for parents' hearts. They arrive at the age of the sake of God, but of man : for man cannot reason, of vigour, of activity ; they feel the be profitable to his Maker, as he that is wise, law of God and nature upon them. Though and good, and pious, may be unto himself. the heirs of empire, they must labour for Region is pressed upon us by the very law their subsistence—“ Abel was a keeper of of our nature; and it is absolutely necessary sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground."* | to human happiness. The earth will no longer spontaneously yield Cain observes the fruits of the earth arrive her increase. The clods must be turned up, at their maturity. He knows that all his and the seed must be cast into the furrow, care and skill, without the interposition of through the care, foresight, and industry of Heaven, could not have produced a single man, else in vain will the heavens shed their grain of corn. He had observed the seed influence; and in vain will the blessing of which he cast into the ground, dying, in orthe Most High be expected. That cattle der to be quickened; he saw from putrefacmay furnish either the fleece for clothing, or tion a fresh stem springing up, and bearing milk for food, they must be protected from thirty, sixty, an hundred fold; and a power inclement seasons, and ravenous beasts; they more than human conducting this wonderful must be conducted to proper pasture, and progress. Of the first and best, therefore, he provided with water from the brook. And brings an offering unto the Lord ; not to enthis is the origin of the first employments rich his Maker, but to do honour to himself. which occupied our elder brethren in a state Abel's flocks and herds likewise, through the of nature. And here it is observable, that blessing of the Almighty, increase and multhe different dispositions of the brothers may tiply; he adores the hand that makes his be traced in the occupations which they fol- wealth; and presents the firstlings of his lowed. Pious and contemplative, Abel tends flock to the Lord. But, alas ! his offering, his flock; his profession affords more retire- in order to be accepted, must bleed and die. ment, and more leisure, for meditation; and The innocent lamb which he had tended the very nature of his charge forms him to with so much care, had fed from his hand, had vigilance, to providence, and to sympathy. carried in his bosom, must by his hand be His prosperity and success seem to flow im- slain, must find no compassion from the tenmediately, and only, from the hand of God. der shepherd's heart, when piety demands Cain, more worldly, and selfish, betakes him-him-must be consumed to ashes before his self to husbandry; a work of greater indus- eyes. " And the Lord had respect unto Abel, try and art; the necessary implements of and to his offering. But unto Cain, and to which, suppose the prior invention of sundry his offering, he had not respect.” What branches of manufacture ; and in whose made the difference? Not the nature and operations, and their effects, art blending with quality of the things offered, but the dispo nature, would claim at least her full propor- sition of the offerers. Our text illustrates tion of merit and importance. But it is not and explains the passage in Genesis, “ By the occupation which has merit or demerit; FAITH Abel offered unto God a more excelthe man who exercises it, is the object of cen- lent sacrifice than Cain.” Cain came before sure or of praise. It is not the husbandry of God as a righteous man; Abel as a sinner. Cain, but wicked Cain the husbandman that Cain brought an offering of acknowledgment; * Genesis iv. 2

* Genesis iv. 3, 4.


Abel a propitiatory sacrifice. Cain's gift be-, disobedience a slight evil, which introduced speaks a grateful heart: Abel's a contrite such desperate wickedness into the world ; spirit. Cain eyes the goodness of God; Abel which transformed man into the most savage his mercy and long-suffering. Cain says, of beasts! “ He rose up against Abel his “ Lord, I thank thee for all thy benefits to brother, and slew him.” Now was death for ward me; Abel, “ Lord I am unworthy of the first time seen; and seen in his ghastlithe least of thy favours.” Cain rejoices in est form! Death before the time! The the world as a goodly portion; Abel, by death of piety and goodness! Death inflictfaith, discerns and expects a better inhé-ed by violence, and preceded by pain! Death ritance. Cain approaches, trusting in an embittered to the sufferer by reflecting on imperfect righteousness of his own, and de- the hand from which it came; the hand of a parts unjustified ; Abel draws nigh, depend- brother, the hand which should have suping on the perfect righteousness of a Medi- ported and protected him, which should ator, and goes away righteous in the sight of have barred the door against the murderer, God.

not borne the fatal instrument itself! At In what manner the divine approbation and length the feeble eyes close in peace; and displeasure were expressed, we are not in the pain of bleeding wounds, and the pangs formed; whether by a celestial fire seizing of fraternal cruelty are felt no more. The and consuming the one offering and leaving dust returns to the earth as it was, and the the other untouched ; or by a voice from spirit unto God who gave it.”. The spirit heaven, declaratory of the mind of God. But returns to God, to see his unclouded face, we are assured that it was sufficiently noti- formerly seen through the medium of natural fied to the parties themselves. On Abel, un objects, and of religious services; to underdoubtedly, it had the effect which a sense of stand, and to enjoy the great mystery of the the favour of God will always produce upon atonement, hitherto known only in a figure. a good mind, a mind which esteems the Happy Abel, thus early delivered from the loving-kindness of the Most High more than sins and sorrows of a vain world! And life; sweet complacency and composure of thus death, at whatever season, in whatever spirit, “ the peace of God which passeth all form, and from whatever quarter it comes, understanding.' On Cain it producetha is always unspeakably great gain to a good very different effect; he was very wroth, man. " and his countenance fell.” Men are often Such was the life, and such the untimely angry when they ought to be grieved; and end of “ righteous Abel ;" for so our blessed remorse for their own unworthiness frequent- Lord styles him, who fell a martyr to religion. ly becomes resentment against their innocent The remainder of Cain's history; the short neighbours; and not seldom it changes into view given us of the character of his descendsullenness, insolence, and rebellion against ants, together with the birth of Seth, given God himself. Observe the goodness and con- and appointed of God to preserve the sacred descension of God; he vouchsafes to reason line, to propagate the holy seed, in place of with, to warn, and to admonish this peevish, Abel, whom Cain slew; will, with the perpetulant man; and gives encouragement to mission of God, furnish matter for another a better temper and behaviour. “ If thou Lecture. Let us conclude the present, by doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ?" He setting up the character of Abel as an object promises to support him in his right of pri- of esteem, and a pattern for imitation. mogeniture, unworthy as he was" To thee Faith in God, and in a Saviour to come; and shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over the righteousness which is of God by faith, him;" but at the same time, he points out are the leading and striking features of this the danger of persevering in impiety, and of portrait; and by these, “ being dead, he yet prosecuting his resentments—“ If thou doest speaketh;" or if you choose to adopt the marnot well, sin lieth at the door.” But the ginal reading, " is yet spoken of.” It is a soul, of which envy, malice, and revenge, desirable thing to enjoy a good name while have taken possession, is lost to the better we live, and to be remembered with kindness feelings of human nature; is deaf to remon- after we are dead. But reputation is the gift strance, and insensible of kindness. The in- of others: it is often gained without merit, nocent are simple and unsuspicious; intend- and lost without a crime. Whereas true ing no evil, they fear none. Cain, it would goodness is a real, unalienable possession; it appear from the letter of the narration, and cleaves to us in death ; it accompanies us to the scene where the action is laid, decoyed the world of spirits ; it instructs the world his brother into solitude, under the mask of while we live; it speaks from the grave; it familiarity and friendship; " he talked with shines in the presence of God in heayen. him," they were in the field. What a horrid Here, my friends, it is lawful and honourable aggravation of his guilt! A deed of violence! to aspire. Permit others to get before you in Murder! a good man's, a brother's murder ! wealth or in fame; grudge not to your neighDeliberately resolved on, craftily conducted, bour the superiority in wit

, or strength, or remorselessly executed! Was man's first beauty; but yield to none in piety, in purity,



« ForrigeFortsæt »