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OUR last look at our first parents was immediately after their transgression, and when they were plunged in despair. They fled from the first indications of the divine presence; the very sound of his footsteps whose light and love had never failed to cheer them, now filled them with alarm. They were dark shadows that encircled them, that settled upon them like midnight. In that fearful threatening, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” they had heard the voice of him who could not look on sin. He was their Maker and their Lawgiver; he was the Lord God omnipotent; and he had expressed his mind and will to execute the penalty they had incurred, in language well fitted to sink them into utter despair of mercy. What now had man to look for 2 Will the dreadful denunciations of the law have their course ? Will the flames of divine wrath break forth upon him, and he himself and the long line of his descendants remain forever the monuments of that spotless rectitude of the divine nature that cannot connive at wickedness & Will his future history be written in mourning, lamentation, and woe ; or will it record some new and unexpected manifestations of the all-sufficient Deity, more resplendent even than his infallible justice, and so bright that while they leave his rectitude stainless, they shall still more illustrate his unsearchable mercy? Our first parents did not know that the invitations of heavenly mercy would ever reach them in theirgloomy exile. They had no reason to hope, and could not hope to escape the punishment their sin deserved. Why the threatened penalty was not promptly executed to the full extent, is one of the difficult problems in theological science, because the divine justice was most solemnly pledged to destroy them. Our only solution of this problem is, that as the supreme Lawgiver, God had a right to remit the penalty of his law, provided there was any method by which it could be remitted consistently with the claims of his punitive justice. Such a method it was not in the power of human reason to devise, though it was not beyond the province of God's unsearchable wisdom and love. He had indeed thought of it “before the foundation of the world;” he had arranged it all in the eternai covenant of redemption with his Son; and therefore, in the interview he sought with our fallen parents, his great object was not to harden them in despair, but to elevate them from the depths of their hopeless depression, and invite them, wanderers as they were, back to their heavenly Father's house. God himself was thus the first preacher of the gospel, and himself proclaimed this first call to repentance. Before their expulsion from the garden, there was an affecting and instructive interview between him and them, which reads lessons of wisdom and experience to those who are authorized in his name to call sinners to repentance, and to sinning men themselves to whom this divine call is addressed. The more we study this chapter in the early history of our race, the more we shall find it contains those treasures of truth and grace with which we are entrusted as ministers, and in which we all have so deep an interest as sinners. Thoughts are presented here which furnish the means of conviction to the thoughtless, of detection to the disingenuous, of humiliation to the proud, of support to the humble, of alarm to the stout-hearted, and of comfort to the broken in spirit. The narrative of this interview is in the following words: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the

day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord, 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 that 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 o And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” The interview was a most solemn and serious interview. Our first parents had become alienated from God. The bond which had hitherto connected them was sundered; they had no sweet fellowship with their Maker; they knew that he looked upon them as criminals, and felt that they deserved his displeasure. They were alarmed, but saw no way of averting the judgment they deserved, but to flee from him, and “go forth like Cain with God's mark upon them, and under his eye in all their wanderings.” Never were creatures more anxious to put themselves far from the being they had so offended. Left to themselves, they would never have welcomed another thought of God to their bosoms. How different their present state of mind from their wonted affection and confidence What chilling alienation, what bitter jealousy What a mournful character to be thus the enemy of the living God! There was that in their intelligent and moral nature, and in their remembrance of the past, which reminded them of what they lost in departing from him; but there was that within their own bosoms which drove them from the divine presence. In order to reclaim and restore them, and before he would give them any intimations of pardoning mercy, God's first object was to convince them of their wickedness. And he did this with so much tenderness, and faithfulness, and heavenly wisdom, that we may well feel that his ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts. He held up before their minds the mirror in which they might distinctly see their own character and condition; well knowing that they would be strangers to true repentance, if they had no sense of their sin; that they would have no reason for hope, unless they themselves saw that they had reason to fear; and no refuge, unless they had some just view of their danger. The Lord God came into the garden as though he knew nothing of what they had done, and would know nothing but from these offenders themselves. He did not forestall the convictions of their own conscience by first charging their wickedness upon them ; he would rather that they should fill

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