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him who was the life of men (John i. 4.), was an eternal life, and a spiritual life, is a matter almost too clear to need demonstration. Fall bears the same relation to sin that death does to condemnation. As fall saves, for regeneration infers sin, so does death save; for resurrection infers condemnation. We know that there is a second life and a second death : and we also know, that though their exhibition is not now, their essence is. The . death in Adam is the precise converse of the life in Christ; that life is the tree of life in the New Jerusalem ; and unless we are prepared to maintain that humanity, fallen in Adam, is not the heir of hell, we must allow that the life of the tree of the garden sets forth explicitly eternal life, that life which being eaten in the bread of life, exists now hidden; and, gloriously permeating the valley of the shadow of death, holds on in unbroken and eternal continuity, and verifies the word of God, that whosoever, even of all mortal men,
66 eateth the bread from heaven, shall not only live for ever, but not die” (John vi. 50. 58).
To the possession of this tree of life, that of the tree of knowledge appears appointed, as not only the indispensable, but the unfailing requisite. They stood together: the latter alone was directly prohibited, as being the sole possible introduction to the former. Of the latter alone our first parents partook : and as we have it most explicitly stated, that they, having eaten of the latter, were expelled from Eden, as the sole method of preventing their use of the former, we are entitled to infer, that the possession of the tree of knowledge in Eden must necessarily have given the possession of the tree of life (Gen. iii. 22); and, that had our first parents remained in Eden, they would have had life, at once polluted and misadjudged; the reward of sin, and the prize of usurpers, for whom it was never destined. The Fall lay in the disobedient attempt to arrogate; the sentence went forth in punishment of the disobedience, in prevention of the arrogance. And, while Adam was constituted, and yet, though sorely marred, abides in his children, the type of God's eternal Heir, this is the point at which Adam became the converse, as well as the similitude of Christ, at which he to his ruin sought to. be as well as to betoken, at which he commenced his hellward career, and hence his foreordained antitype his willing and glorious travail to up-turn, redintegrate, and far exceed.
We have seen that the prohibition to eat of the tree of knowledge, pointed also to the tree of life (Gen. ii. 17, iii. 22). This prohibition was indeed a trial of obedience, - a trial of the most favourable kind, actual or conceivable; a trial, the minuteness of which only served to leave the more unencumbered the great moral and abstract question of man's obedience, then solemnly pending. Nevertheless, as creation, however fair and noble, is
but the handmaid and offspring of that eternal redemption, the features of which hers but shadow, and to which subject she ministers, this prohibition must be regarded, not more as a trial of obedience, than as a method of fall. Make creation the great subject, and redemption but the remedy, and you have creation spoiled, and at best no more than repaired. But make redemption the eternal subject, and creation the mere instrument, and you discover at once the use, the righteousness, the mercy of the Fall: and if so, the penalty also must have been in some sense a method of redemption. The tree of knowledge was death by virtue not of quality, but of barrier. Death was not more a consequence of disobedience, than a mean to deter any creature-attempt at the tree of life. And on nothing but the fact that the penalty had been incurred, even by man in the image of God, could have been reared ever the fabric of redemption through the Incarnate Word, or the mighty demonstration of his single worthiness to assert that tree of life, which for him Jehovah had so solemnly reserved. When the law was given, “ Thou shalt not eat of the tree of knowledge,” Adam had that knowledge of sin by the law, which is essential to the cognizance of sin. His immediate guilt was that of simple disobedience: but his mediate guilt was a thing more solemn still. Furnished as he was with a law, he was yet ignorant of the distinction between good and evil; for while his possession of a law demonstrated the possibility of his transgression, that law did not become the measure and test of sin until sin was; and we are expressly given to understand that the knowledge of good and evil was peculiar to the Godhead (Gen. iii. 22). In the Godhead, that knowledge is attended with the supreme love of good; for the will of God is the good. Man impiously grasped at the attribute: he got the knowledge, indeed, but he got it not as in the Godhead; for in its very acquisition he preferred the evil. He found not the tree of the Eternal. That tree, accessible by the tree of knowledge, was indefeasible life for
And in Eden the tree of knowledge indefeasibly secured the tree of life : it was equally certain, that no creature could have attained the latter : yet it was so, just because every attempt would infer immediate banishment from Eden. It is in the Word made flesh, in Him who as God has right to the tree of life, and as a creature has capacity to taste it, and in none other, that any creature can obtain the tree of life. The Word alone asserted it from the first, enjoys it to the last; and as it now stands in the New Jerusalem, so once it stood in Eden, fenced by death for its great proprietor, according to that eternal purpose in the Son before all worlds, whereof the Sabbath prefigures the final evolution. And if Adam, eating the one tree, had not been cast out of Eden, he might hence have derived life as
a rival Godhead of evil. Such was at once the necessity and the mercy of his expulsion. Unfallen he could not eat it, and therefore could not take possession of life for ever. Attempting, he disobeyed and fell. The crime was at once anticipation and arrogance. He was carried in mercy from the scene where alone he could have completed its foul perpetration. And the great function of the Eternal, yet Incarnate word: of “ Him by whom and for whom are all things;” of Him who, born the Son of Adam, our earthy head, shall yet be seen his contradiction in respect of history, his antitype, nay archetype, in respect of investiture: thus hath remained as unsullied as ever by mortal assumption.
The essential condition, then, in which the serpent found our first parents, was that of simple goodness; devoid of preference; holding no debate on obedience; mentally instinctive in morals, as matter in physics; having in them neither the Spirit lusting against the flesh, nor the flesh against the Spirit; having no membership in Christ. So that, in that work whereby the first Adam lost Eden by his spouse, in contrast to the Second asserting it for his, the tempter had to overcome no preference for good. He needed to do no more than present temptation; for no unsupported creature, even though made the type of Divine stability, can resist the first motion to sin. Flesh can stand in no way but with respect had to the union of flesh with the Word; its occupation by the Spirit, its new vitality from the Father. Satan himself is a creature in regard to whom we are warranted to believe nothing else than that he with his angels fell untempted. And, therefore, while the interposition of Satan in Adam's fall only removes us back to the question, How did Satan fall ? the example of his apostasy, without temptation, grounds on fact a great practical argument to show that his assault was not the independent agency, but the selected mean, in the apostasy of mankind.
The prophetic sanction of disobedience was, that of death. That the word of God must have been verified, and this sanction felt on the occurrence of this disobedience, is evident. And
yet how it was so, they who maintain that no more than natural death lay strictly within the sanction, have ever found it most difficult to shew. The words are, “ In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. ii. 17). And while some have supposed the day to express the whole duration of fallen humanity, as Adam's children are constantly eating the tree of knowledge, others have with little, if any less violence, conceived that to Adam the commencement of toil and suffering and strife, destined to end in unavoidable death, was, in the very day of eating, the death threatened. But it is obvious in point of fact, that the sanction “ Thou shalt die --death,” was one of
the most solemn and comprehensive kind, peculiarly illustrated by what we read in the New Testament, of the death in trespasses and sins, and the second death ; and admitting of the most exact contrast with the life which is in Christ. Now we know that this life, which we all understand to mean life eternal, and to regard the soul as well as the body, although the simple word life be used, is a life which dates its existence not from the conclusion of natural life, but from the commencement of faith, and the continuity of which to eternity in those who having eaten the bread of life never die (John vi.) is not in the least impaired by natural death. The features, therefore, of this life thus contrasted, harmonize entirely with the terror of the threatening against Adam, in demonstrating the death so threatened a thing present-as death spiritual and eternal, applicable to both body and soul; a thing vastly more solemn, yet much more neglected than natural decease. And so it was just as literally true of Adam, that in the day of eating of the tree of knowledge he should die death, as it is true that in the day of eating the bread of life by faith, any one of Adam's children lives life. And just as real life in righteousness comes at the time upon him who believes, although its perfect manifestation yet awaits him; so real death in sin came at the very time threatened upon Adam, although its perfect manifestation yet awaits all them who are not translated from the membership of the first, into the membership of the second Adam.
The fatal parley which ensued between the arch-deceiver and Eve, appears eminently inculcated to illustrate the perfect harmony between that revealed will and that secret counsel of God, of which Satan insinuated the contrariety. Although the sequel shews the great meaning of the prohibition to eat the tree of knowledge, that prohibition as delivered to Adam, had no assigned reason but its own sanction. And that sanction had no assigned reason at all. The aim of the tempter was to impeach the goodness and verity of the Godhead. To the weaker vessel he addressed himself, assuming the attitude of an enquirer. He asked, “ Hath God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of of the garden ?” (Gen. iii. 1.) The reply of Eve was not as many seem to think, a defence of the prohibition (for as yet no temptation had presented itself, and when it did so she instantly yielded to it) but a mere satisfaction of his pretended ignorance, by informing him that so it stood in terms as applicable then to both, as originally to Adam alone (Gen. ii. 17.). Having thus ascertained the fact, he proceeded openly to question the truth of the sanction, saying, “ Ye shall not die death” (Gen. iii. 4.). And all this he did under the proud and blasphemous idea, that he the out-reacher of God, had a secret key whereby to open up to the view of our beclouded parents, a pious fraud practised
VOL. VI.-NO. II.
upon their ignorance. That omniscience of God wherein stood inseparably associated the contingent desire of life with the certainty of death as the consequence of knowledge, and banishment as the barrier of life, beautifully harmonized with that ignorance in which our first parents were of any thing but death as the consequence of eating. But Satan's wisdom lay between the two. More wise than man-wise as a serpent—he saw God-like knowledge as the immediate result of eating the tree, and seeing that this was a consequence studiously concealed as he thought from Adam and Eve, he regarded it as the only truth, and death as but a bug-bear to deter any interference on the part of man with an unworthy monopoly of knowledge. Accordingly, proud of his penetration through the flimsy artifices of the Godhead, and impiously challenging the Almighty to deny the charge, he declared, “ Ye shall not die death; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be God-knowers of good and evil” (Gen. iii
. 5. 22.). And yet the serpent was less wise than God. In his ignorance, he confounded the immediate knowledge with the mediate death the consequence appointed by the Divine government of the world, with that appointed by the Divine sanction against disobedience. Although wise enough to see that eating of the tree had other consequences than death, he was not wise enough to see that, so far from the knowledge supplanting the death, that very knowledge which he so complacently regarded in prospect, as the grand mean whereby would be experimentally demonstrated the futility of the sanction, would, by begetting the attempt at life, be the very, nay the indispensable instrument in bringing that sanction to pass. As his aim in crucifying the Lord of glory was to destroy the help of man, so his aim in tempting our first parents was not merely the poor ruin of a race, but the usurpation of the tree of life by means of man, to him enslaved, to God a rebel. And yet, just as the crucifixion was that very thing without which help in the resurrection-life of Christ could not have come to man so this attempt at the tree of life by the tree of knowledge, was just that very thing without which that tree could not have been found for the manifestation of his redemption-work. Thus Satan, beginning that work of over-reaching himself, which he has ever since been constrained to continue, taken as a wise one in his own craftiness, knowing of the Divine counsel enough to sin, yet not enough to conquer; prospering at once the scheme of God, and the sad work of fulfilling his own vast scheme of iniquity, and in very darkness attempting to make truth conflict with truth, only to be made the unwilling instrument of demonstrating their harmony and his own peculiar fatherhood of lies – he in fiendish haste to demonstrate God a liar, condemned, confounded, counterworked him