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put in possession of the Garden of Eden, in which was collected together, by divine bounty, all that was pleaJant to the eye and good
for food. Without divine revelation mankind could not have known that the animals were in subjection to them ; but before they could feel any fear or dread. of creatures to all appearance more powerful than themselves, the LORD God said unto them, Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and fowls of the air, and over every living thing, not excepting the huge elephant and the mighty leviathan!
Divine revelation has been continued to all generations of mankind from the beginning of the world ; without it they would have wandered in darkness and error, and never could have known the will of God and their own duty, neither could they have had wellgrounded hopes of everlasting life and happiness. The methods employed by the Deity in communicating divine truths have been various, and adapted to the dif. ferent conditions of mankind under different dispensations*. At present Christians enjoy the benefit of divine revelation in the Holy SCRIPTURES. Let us then most thankfully avail ourselves of this inestimable benefit ; let us read the Scriptures with reverence, as the WORD OF God, and be ever ready to improve, with diligence, all that the goodness of God has made known to us ; remembering that we can neither call in question tile truth of God's WORD, nor wilfully act in opposition to it, without risking our eternal salvation.
* Heb. i. 1.
ON THE FALL OF MAN,
From Genesis, Chap. iii, Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made and he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,
But of the fruit of the tree' which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die.
For God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened ; and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat ;
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked ; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden, in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God, amongst the trees of the garden.
And the LORD God called uoto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou ?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid Ayself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked ? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The Serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the Serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed : it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
And unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow shalt thou: bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed is the ground for thy sake ; in sorrow'shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it thou wast taken ; for. dust, thou, art, and unto dust thau shalt re. turn.
And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Unto. Adam alse, and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
And the LORD Gop said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to now good, and evil and now lest he put forth his band, and take also,' of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever :
Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. :43
So he drove out the man, and he placed in the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
ANNOTATIONS, AND REFLECTIONS, When God entered into covenant with mankind, life and death were set before them ; it depended upon themselves whether they would live for ever, or become subject to death : as long as they should refrain from eating of the forbidden fruit, they would, according to the divine covenant, be ettitted to live and remain in Paradise, for so long they would be innocent or free from sin ; but innocence alone would not entitle them to a farther reward. In order to obtain heavenly bliss and immortal life, it was requisite that they should become righteous, which they could only do by testifying their Faith and Obedience, when tempted to disbelieve the WORD OF GOD, and disobey His COMMANDMENTS.
Mánkind are not the only intellectual beings among God's creatures ; there are above them mạny orders of angels, the original inhabitants of heaven ; and we learn from Scripture, that some of these superior intel. ligences kept not their first estate, but rebelled against God and provoked him to cast them out from Heaven, and condemn them to eternal banishment from his glorious presence. These are denominated fallen angels, and devils ; and we are told in Scripture that their
number is very considerable. The chief of the falles angels is called, by way of eminence, The Devil, and he is distinguished by the name of SATAN, which sig. nifies an adversary or accuser.
The particular crime for which the fallen angels were cast out of Heaven, is not expressly mentioned ; but from some texts of Scripture, we are led to suppose, that Satan set himself against the LORD God, and re fused to pay homage to him ; and that the other rebellious spirits united under him as their head. SATAN thus became the declared enemy of God, and his ad. herents followed his wicked example. It pleased God that the final punishment of the devil and his angels should be deferred till the end of this world ; in the mean time they were left at liberty, 10 tempt mankind, who, without temptation, could not have had an op, portunity of testifying their Faith and Obedience ; and God had ordained that, unless they did so, they should not be admitted into heaven, where an eternal reward was provided for the righteous only. The Devil, envious of the happiness of the first human pair, and desirous of establishing a kingdom for himself, in opposition to that prepared for the righteous, resolved to try if he could not tempt them to break God's command
Whether mankind knew that there were such beings as the devil and his angels, we are not told ; but they certainly were endued with reason, and their will was left perfectly free, either to obey God's com mandment, or to break it ; and they knew the conditions of the covenant to be, “ Obey and live," or " 'Eat, and die.”
Satan had not the power to force mankind to sin, and he knew, that if he attacked them openly, he should raise suspicion ; so he resolved to proceed by