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And after all, out of this bitter lot of labour comes forth the sweet portion of happy rest. True, " the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain.” “True, the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly,” but why? " by reason of Him that hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom. viii. 21.) God then hath cursed this earth to us, not only as a punishment, but as a pathway to the blessings of heaven. In judgment He has remembered mercy. The very curse of labour, and sorrow, and bondage, and weariness of the flesh, through mercy and grace, becomes a blessing. Thus, who so happy, as he that has his time fully occupied ? What more nfiserable in itself and what it leads to, than idleness,“ the mother of mischief,” the opportunity of Satan? And above all, who, may we not ask, so happy, as he to whom the sorrows of this world are sanctified? It is so to the children of God. By these things their affections are weaned from earth. They learn to feel this is not their rest, and to say “I would not live always.” They learn to live by hope. And though they groan within themselves, they are filled with joy and peace, “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of their bodies,” through the merits of that same Saviour who hath redeemed their souls from death spiritual.
Hence it follows necessarily that the remaining part of the curse becomes also a blessing to those that are of the seed of the second Adam. To remain here in sorrow, were unhappiness. To remain here in health and peace were impossible. To return to dust, becomes a blessing to those who, like the grain of wheat, are cast into the ground to die and rise with another body which God giveth. For “ except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit."
God would not let Adam and Eve remain in the garden of Eden, lest they should “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.” Had man lived for ever under his present state, he had lived for ever under a curse. Blessed then be God who hath subjected His creatures to vanity, that they might be partakers of a glorious hope, and hath“ devised means that His banished be not expelled from Him.”
Reader, are you certainly one whom God will thus fetch home again ? Have you through grace, a “good hope” that the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in you, and by it God will quicken your mortal body at the last day ? God graciously clothed Adam and Eve with skins of animals, slain perhaps as types of the One great Sacrifice for sin. To this day our very clothing reminds us of the naked state and the spiritual wants of our souls. Hath God clothed you with the righteousness of Christ, the Lamb ? Are you protected from His wrath at the last day, and “accepted in the Beloved” now, because of God Christ is made unto you “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption ?”
O Lord God! In just anger thou didst pass sentence on the first man and woman. And we in Thy wisdom are made to inherit their curse. Lord, I confess, I am as guilty as they
I have done evil; yea; I have loved it. I deserve eternal death. Every day's sins and infirmities prove it. Yet Lord with Thee there is mercy and plenteous redemption. Thou hast given Thy Son to be the Father of a new and godly seed. O God, make me one of that seed. Give me as truly of the nature of Christ, as I inherit the nature of Adam. Grant me as strong desires after righteousness by Christ dwelling in me, as I have had after sin by being like Adam. And as I have been a sinner by Adam's disobedience, so now for the sake of the obedience of thy dear Son, count me righteous. Put not my sins to my account. In vain have I tried to clothe my. self and cover my nakedness of sin, now Lord do thou clothe me with thine own hand, and cause me to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him let me live. In Him let me die. In Him let me be found at the last day to the praise and the glory of Thy grace, through the same Jesus Christ. AMEN.
MAN ACCEPTED BY FAITH.
" And in process of time it came to pass, that
Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an
offering unto the Lord. “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his
flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord
har respect unto Abel and to his offering : “ But unto Cain and to his offering he had not
respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell." Genesis iv. 3–5.
ADAM and his wife are driven out from the garden of Eden : sentence hath been passed upon them by the Lord God, against whom they have sinned. Henceforth man is known to us only as a fallen creature. From this time forth, every man or woman that is born into the world, is born a sinner in God's sight. The questions then immediately arise, how are men to serve God? In what way shall God and His sinful creatures go on together? “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” These questions are answered by the history now before us.
We here find that Eve has become the mother of two sons.
Her first-born son she