« السابقةمتابعة »
direction for their conduct amid its dangerous temptations, or any means of support under its trials and afflictions. They are, in short, withholding from them the best, the only shield of defence against all that can assault the soul, or overwhelm the spirit, in this life; and exposing them (a thought which may well strike daggers to the heart of every careless parent) to the danger of being numbered with the condemned in that future state of being, which will be alike without change and without end!
Subject. THE FALL OF ADAM.
MORAL AND PHYSICAL EVIL, THEIR CAUSE.
FREE-WILL OF MAN. TEMPTATION, ITS Na-
GENESIS iii. 6.
She took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.
HAT human life is a state of imperfection and trouble, embittered by many moral and physical evils; and that no condition of it is free from pains of body and sorrows of spirit; are facts, forced upon our conviction, by general and personal experience; by what we observe, when we throw a glance into society; and by what we feel, when we confine our attention to our own temporal lot.
Every stage, indeed, of man's mortal journey furnishes proofs more than sufficient to confirm these truths.
The weakness, helplessness, and numerous diseases of infancy; the disastrous and often fatal effects of the uncontrolled passions of youth; the cares, perplexities, and deliberate violations of duty in manhood, and the evils and remorse that follow all such wilful sin; the infirmities, distresses, and privations of old age, "when the grinders cease because they are few; when the
keepers of the house do tremble; and "those that look out of the windows be"darkened:" all these melancholy and humiliating appearances combine to assure us, that Jacob's representation to Pharaoh of the nature of human life in his own caseapplies to the generality of mankind; "few and evil are the days of the years of our "pilgrimage ;" and that Job was fully justified in his saying," when he asserted that "man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upwards."
This lowering aspect of the condition of man here below was remarked and acknowledged by the more thoughtful part of the ancient Gentile world; and occasioned no small perplexity to their minds.
They could not conceive that a state of
being, into which so large a portion of evil had been infused, could be the gift of a God, infinitely good and infinitely wise. "Had such been the attributes of the "Creator," they reasoned," his creation "would have been a production consistent "with these attributes; the moral world "would have presented an uniform picture "of excellence, harmony, and peace; and "the face of external nature would have "worn an universal and perpetual smile. "But, instead of this necessary result of "united beneficence and wisdom, we see "the one over-run with vice and misery; "and the other deformed by every species "of physical evil.”
Unable, therefore, to settle their doubts, and satisfy their difficulties, many of the heathen sages adopted the most impious. or senseless fancies to account for them: and attributed appearances, which to them were incomprehensible, either to a blind chance, that acted without design or system; or to a fixed fate, that directed all things by its own malignant will; or to the joint opera tion of two opposite and contending principles; the one good, showering down blessings upon man, and the place of his habitation; the other evil, pouring misery into the cup
of life, and blasting the visible creation with every noxious visitation.
Happily, however, for mankind, tossed by doubt, and wandering in darkness on this difficult subject; there is a fountain of light, infinitely brighter than the speculations of the sage, or the dreams of the philosopher, to which they may have recourse for full illumination, and compleat satisfaction, amid their perplexing difficulties.
REVEALED RELIGION dispels, in a moment, all the obscurity that surrounds the subject; and the HOLY BIBLE affords a particular explanation, how "these things "came to pass." We there find that "in "the beginning," man, and the place of his residence, wore a very different aspect to that which they now present; that, formed" in the image of God," he was a creature bright with every moral beauty, and exempt from every natural evil; and that the place of his abode was every way suited to the excellence of its inhabitant: but that man, careless of his extraordinary privileges, and despising the goodness of Him who had bestowed them, wilfully and deliberately stooped to sin, and violated the divine command; that in consequence of this fatal act, he corrupted his nature; the