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pressed in the text which I have just quoted. It seems a simple matter, The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, but the serpent shall bruise his heel ;” but it carries in its womb the whole history of redemption. Not a tear, not a groan, not a weary hour, not a toilsome journey, not a thankless gift of the Son of Man was forgotten when that promise was made to the race. The mother bending over the babe in the manger of the inn at Bethlehem, and meeting already in those young eyes a glance of prophetic sorrow, which as a sword pierced her heart; the tear-stained, blood-wet footsteps of the Man of Sorrows along the world's sad pathways; the swimming agony of the moment when the over-strung chords had reached their breaking strain, and the touch of an angel's hand enabled them to endure; the trembling, tottering steps which could hardly bear the self-devoted victim to the scene of His lastagony; the horror of great darkness which fell on His soul, when God incarnate fainted, died, under the weight of the burden which He had lifted from the world; all these were before the eye of Him who, when He ordained that the sinful race should multiply sin and suffering if they would, until the world was filled with it, announced Himself as its Redeemer, and took the crushing burden on His own heart. In that hour, when man was bending in shame and anguish before Him, and tasting the bitter cup of which the coming generations should drink the dregs, He lifted it to His own lips. In that hour the Redeemer of man took it from the Father's hand: Bethlehem, Gethsemane, and Calvary, were already there in Eden to the Saviour's heart. Then said He, “ Lo, I come ; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” Then the word was spoken, “ The cup which my Father giveth me to drink, shall I not drink of it:” and then the strength was won which expressed itself in the prayer, “ Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. Nay, but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Whatever that hour of transgression had cost to Adam, it had cost more to the Lord. However heavily that life of sin and suffering pressed on Adam, there was One on whom it pressed more heavily, and who needed all His divine strength to endure. When murder broke up the first human home, and Eve and Adam hung in speechless sorrow over the first revelation of what was meant by death, there was one who watched it from on high; whose home, too, had been rifled, whose earth already was red with the guilty blood-stains which would one day incarnadine its fairest plains. At
once, as the responsible Lord and Keeper of men, He came forth to judge the murderer, and to take at once a sorrowful part in pressing forward the development of the human race. The day came when He could endure the spectacle no longer. I have already spoken to you of the Deluge, and prayed you to imagine what burden that Fatherly heart had borne before the day of long-suffering patience was exhausted, and even He saw no remedy but the stroke of doom. The record is calm, collected, and stern as the word of a judge pronouncing sentence of death. But we too little think of the sorrow, the anguish, through which this stern necessity revealed itself. “It is a ruler judging his rebels ;” we say, “a swift, sharp stroke, and it is over, and his kingdom is the better and quieter for their death." Yes ! this is a part of the truth. But that Ruler was One who, even then, was capable of the sacrifice, yea, had offered it in His heart, which, when it was revealed at length, appeared the very fervour of tenderness, the very prodigality of love. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet rebels Christ died for us." “ Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." “ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.” The love was there in
that Ruler's heart already. Consider how fully He shared with Noah the burden, nay, bore it as Noah could never bear it, as He watched daily the godless conversation of the wicked, and saw the hour approaching when even His love could find no longer a reason to spare.
And this, brethren, is the key to history. God was grieved with Egypt, He was grieved with Canaan, above all He was grieved with Israel ; but it was the old grief with which Adam had filled His heart. Take this touching picture as the key to God's dealings :-" I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them : in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit : therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them. Then He remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is He that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock? where is He that put His Holy Spirit within Him? That led them by the right hand of Moses with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make Himself an everlasting name? That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest : so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.” (Isaiah lxiii. 7-14.) Even then, closer than a mother's relation to a nursling, was God's relation to mankind. Nothing of all the sin, the wrong the wretchedness, which filled earth with wailing, failed to reach and grieve His heart. For His love is so true and tender, though He be the High and Lofty One inhabiting eternity, that the tiniest human nursling is dear to Him as no star is dear. “ He feeds His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs with His arm, and folds them in His bosom, and gently leads those that are with young." Realize what to Him has been through the ages the burden of all this wrong and anguish with which Adam's transgression has filled His world. I again say that the laws by which man exists are His work. Every human infant born into the world comes into it ultimately from His hand. Each moment renews the first election, to let man live on, and see for himself that sin is deadly ; to let him try the path which he had chosen, and press