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Creator? Shall the ant, which moves humble along the earth,complain that it was made almost infinitely inferior in strength to the ox, or in stature to the elephant ? Shall the spire of grass find fault that it was not formed strong as the oak, or lofty as the cedar ? Shall the beast of the field complain that he was not endowed with the external dignity of man ; with his expressive countenance, his lofty carriage, his powers of understanding and utterance ? Or shall man murmur that he was created inferior to the angels ; that he possesses not their larger sphere of contemplation and action? Certainly not. “ Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus ? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor ?” And has not the great Creator a right to display his sovereignty and wisdom in conferring one excellence on one part, and another excellence on another part of his workmanship? If he may with propriety exercise this prerogative in the creation of all things, why not in their direction and management? We behold him immediately exercising this right in appointing each angel, if the expression be allowed, his own representative, and making his happiness to depend solely on his own obedience. We behold him by a mere act of sovereignty confirming a part of them infallibly in holiness, while the rest were left to their own will, and permitted to fall. We behold him appointing one man to represent the whole human family, and afterwards passing sentence against them in consequence of his transgression. It becomes us, therefore, to adore in the submissive language of the Patriarch, “shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” or in the loftier ascriptions of the holy angels, “ great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
2. Let us learn from this doctrine to acknowledge the righteousness of God in constituting Adam our representative in the covenant. Who can reasonably impeach the divine wisdom in appointing him to a work which he was fully able to perform ; in assigning him a law which he could easily have obeyed to his own honor, and the endless felicity of millions that were to spring from his loins ? Who is not constrained to admire the condescension of God in offering a privilege so great, immortal glory to so many, even all the kindreds of the human kind, as the reward of obedience to one man, an obedience which he might have demanded without the promise of any reward ? In permitting our first father to abuse the freedom of his will, and bring ruin upon himself and a world, we must bow with profound submission, and acknowledge as just what we may not be able to comprehend.
“ Jehovah's ways in wise design
Are form'd upon his throne above
And every dark and bencing line
Meets in the centre of his love.
“ With feeble light and half obscure
Poor mortals his arrangements view,
And the mysterious just and true.” Who “can by searching find out God ?” What finite mind can expand to explore the various plans and operations of this infinite Agent; or trace the important consequences which may result from particular arrangements ? “Who can findout the Almighty to perfection ? Clouds and darkness are round about him ; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” Consequences the most glorious have already arisen from the apostacy of the first Adam. On the ruins of the old covenant, an illustrious building of mercy is erected and established. A second Adam appears, through whose mediation life and immortality are proclaimed to all who believe on bis name. Here divine wisdom is displayed in devising a scheme by which the death denounced is actually inflicted, and yet person, doomed to suffer, enjoys eternal life : mercy appears in compassionating our miseries, and laying our “help on one that is mighty ;" choliness and justice shine forth in awful majesty by not sparing even the Son of God when substituted in the room of sinners. “God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
Be exhorted, therefore, to aim at justisying God in this mysterious transaction ; be humbled before him for the transgression of Adam your representing head; acknowledge his failure as a sufficient cause for the divine controversy with our world; as the dreadful source from which flow all our miseries both temporal and spiritual; then behold by faith that divinely gracious person who has “ taken away sin by the sacrifice of himself," and opened a “ living way into the holiest of all by his own blood.” None stand a greater chance, humanly speaking, to obtain mercy of the Lord, than they who endeavor humbly to acquiesce in his dispensations; none will more probably be delivered from the consequences of Adam's transgression, than they who acknowledge the justice of Jehovah in imputing his guilt to their account. None, on the other hand, will more probably feel its weight, than they who boldly deny the doctrine, or challenge the equity of the appointment. Men may possibly reason and dispute the belief of this truth out of their heads, but they cannot reason away the guilt from their consciences, nor that wrath to which they are exposed as a righteous consequence.
« Who hath hardened himself against God and prospered? He resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.”
3. Let all be convinced from this doctrine, that when Adam sinned we sinned ; that when he was condemned, we as repre
sented in him were really condemned; that as his sons and daughters by natural generation, we are justly the sons and daughters of wrath. The very moment that he, as our federal head, plucked and tasted the forbidden fruit, a general curse was denounced against the human fainily ; we all, without the exception of one, “became guilty before God :" The very moment that the Lord God drove him out of Paradise, you and I and all the kindreds of men were virtually shut out from his favorable presence, and exposed to bis fiery indignation. From Adam, as our federal head, we have derived guilt and condemnation ; from him, as our natural root, we have derived corruption and death. Is it possible for a God of truth to teach any doctrine more clearly than he has taught our representation in the first Adam, and our obnoxiousness to wrath through his breach of the covenant ? “ By one man's disobedience many were made sinners : By the offence of one judgment passed upon all men to condemnation : By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, so that death has passed upon all men, because all have sinned.” How explicit is the Eternal God, that he may bring home conviction to the conscience of
every individual ? “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: What things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth