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THE CURSE OF THE SERPENT.
“ And they heard the voice of the Lord God walk-.
ing 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 unto 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 myself “ 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 wo
man, and between thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” GENESIS III. 8-15.
The promise Satan had held out to Adam and Eve as the reward of disobedience, was, that they should know good and evil.” The real fruit of their disobedience was, however, something more than this; they not only knew evil, but felt it. They felt evil inclinations, and they felt most bitterly the punishment which God inflicted on sin. In hiding this from them was Satan's subtilty. He told them only part of what they should receive, naming it as if it were a good and desirable end, and keeping from them all the other evil consequences. It is so in every temptation he puts before men now. He so blinds them that they see only the seeming good which sin is to bring them. But as in the case of Eve, as in the case of Gehazi, (2 Kings v,) as in the case of Judas, when they have received all he promised them, they are bitterly disappointed. The disappointment of Adam and Eve, as it may be seen in their knowledge of evil, their wish to hide from God both their
and their sins, and the sentence pronounced by God upon the Serpent, together with the merciful promise it implied to mankind, these are the subjects which we have before us in this passage
of Scripture. Satan's words in a sense were fulfilled. Adam and Eve from this time knew evil which
they did not know before. As
As you read in “the eyes of them both were opened.”...... A sense of shame was a feeling they had not had before.
But far worse than this, was a nakedness of soul of which they now became partakers, as also of a sense of shame before God. These were shown by their actions.
So then, while Satan's promise was in a measure and very painfully made good to them on their obedience to him, God's word was altogether fulfilled on their disobedience to Him. They did “surely die.” Present spiritual death, i.e. estrangement of the soul from God was theirs. The seeds of temporal death were from that day in them, and they became liable to disease and sorrows, and all those infirmities of life, which only end in the return of the body to dust. Eternal death, destruction of body and soul in hell, became also their lot, unless by the rich mercy of God, through faith in His promises of a Saviour, they were pardoned and again accepted.
One of the most remarkable signs of their changed state was the great difference of feelings which they now had towards God. How striking is this if you compare their conduct with their state before they sinned. Who can doubt it was their chief joy and
satisfaction to hold communion with God; to hear Him speak, to speak unto Him, and to be in His presence? But now how different their case! They heard the voice of God and hid themselves. Adam said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid.” That voice once a pleasure, now a terror. That presence once sought, now shunned. And the reason, a guilty conscience within their breasts. And also, we may suppose, an actual dislike to the presence of God. This we see followed by vain attempts to hide themselves from God's sight. They “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Their eagerness to escape God's presence, made them forget the utter uselessness of such hiding places before His allseeing eye.
A blindness of soul had come over them, notwithstanding Satan's promise of more knowledge. This was a proof of spiritual death.
Now it is remarkable how you will find that this dislike to the presence of God, together with attempts to avoid it, is one of the chief proofs now of a soul being “dead in trespasses and sins." And when you remember that there is nothing in God but what is good, and kind, and merciful, and lovely, it more strongly marks the exceeding sinfulness of those hearts
we inherit from our first parents. In all persons who will honestly search their hearts, and say what they find there, there can be no doubt of the existence of this feeling of dislike towards God. Nothing but grace delivers us from it. “ The carnal mind is enmity towards God.” Every man in his natural state has feeling towards God which many persons feel towards another person to whom they owe that which they cannot pay. They would rather not be reminded of this debt by meeting
So it is a guilty conscience, a sense of not being what is right in God's sight, and yet not being quite inclined to give up all that is necessary to become so, this makes many afraid of meeting God at the throne of His grace, in the place of worship, at the Lord's Supper, and other ways. It is this that makes them afraid to hear His voice in the Scriptures, and causes them to turn away from His gracious words therein declared. This makes them ready to speak of any subject whatever rather than of the truths of God's holy word. Our Lord told the Jews who liked not His teaching, “ He that is of God (born of God) heareth God's words, ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” (John viii. 47.) Man by nature cannot find pleasure in the presence of God. To be