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he is ready to deliver you from all your sins, to blot them out, and to save your soul with an everlasting salvation.
O Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; blessed be thy name, that ever we heard the glad tidings of the Gospel! While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and still He is ready to seek and to save them that are lost. Have mercy upon us, though we are the chief of sinners! Pardon us, if ever we have hindered thy Gospel, slighted thy Ministers, or persecuted thy people. Let our lot now be with thy Children; and give us the blessings of pardon and peace with thee, our God. Enable us, also, to bring others to know and love this gracious Saviour. Open our mouths, that we may speak his praises, and tell others what he hath done for our souls. We ask these mercies for the glory of thy name, through the same our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE ENTRANCE OF SIN INTO THE WORLD.
GENESIS iii. 1-13.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden :
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the
garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die :
For God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
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 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.
EVERY body sees that there is much sin in the world. The Bible is the only book which tells us how it entered.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were created by God, in his own image. They were perfectly holy, just, and good. They knew God, and loved him. But Satan, the author of all evil, the enemy
of God and man, tempted them. Our parents were deceived by the temptation: they fell from their state of innocence, and lost the image of God in their souls. Their children, and children's children, were born in sin: for, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." We, and all mankind, are born "children of wrath.” Like David, each of us must confess, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
The different marks of sin in Adam and Eve are copied so closely by us, that it will be well to notice them, one by one. And while we do so, may the Holy Spirit deeply convince us of our own sinful state!
1. The first thing to notice is, that Eve allowed herself to talk with the serpent. Sin is very deceitful at first: it comes in a pleasant way. ought to be on our guard, and not listen for a moment to the tempter. Never parley with sin. And never talk, even about religious subjects, with careless sinners, merely for conversation's sake.
2. The next thing to notice is, Eve's curiosity in gazing at the tree which she was forbidden to eat of. So do we very often gaze on forbidden objects. We think we will only just look at them. But when we have allowed ourselves to look, we find it hard to take our eyes off. We soon begin to long after them; and then Satan has gained his first advantage over us. The wandering eye may lead us to the very vilest sins.
3. Eve seems also to have been tempted by her taste. She " saw that the tree was good for food." She thought so, as she looked at it. So, when we first indulge the taste of things forbidden, their taste seems very sweet, and, for a time, sweeter and sweeter. But, at the last, sin bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder.
4. Eve saw that this was a tree to be desired, to make one wise. She wished to be wiser, than God intended her to be. This, again, is a very common temptation. Many young persons wish to read books which they ought not. And grown-up persons are ready to meddle with things that are too high for them. "Vain man would be wise;" and he would be wise in his own way, not by learning from God.
5. Satan said to our first parents, "Ye shall be as gods." This is just what men wish to be. They long to be independent; to follow their own understanding; to go out into the world as their own masters; to have nobody to keep them in. Especially, they cannot bear to have God for their Master. They will not be checked by conscience. They set up to be wiser than the Bible. They fall to disputing about the Bible, or against it, or without it." Now," they say, "we will be as gods." But now it is, that the devil has gained a great victory over them. Now it is that they become proud, headstrong, and blasphemous.
6. Moreover, Satan told our first parents, " Ye shall not surely die :" and they believed him, rather
than God. The dying and the dead tell us, by millions, that God was true, and Satan false. The world is a grave, continually opening to receive the dead. Still men go on in sin, believing the devil rather than God. They cannot, indeed, now say, "We shall not die;" but they say, "We shall not die soon." Or they say, "We shall not, when we die, go to hell—there is no such place." The devil wishes sinners to believe that there is no devil, no hell. Thus it is that multitudes travel on to the first death, and to the second death; still believing Satan, and saying, " It shall be well with us in the end." Till, at the last, in hell they lift up thei eyes, being in torments.
7. Another very common sin is, having hard thoughts of God. Satan said to Eve: "God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall be as gods." In the same way many people complain, "The laws of God are very hard, they are only made to keep me from pleasure." How soon do young persons begin to say, "I wish my parents, or my master, were not so strict: they are only keeping me from my rights." This spirit is really the same as rebelling against God. But, alas! we are all of us continually thinking that God deals hardly by us. There is scarcely any sin so common, as impatience. Yet it is a sin, which directly flies in the face of God. Whenever we are impatient, we are, in reality, quarrelling with what God appoints.
We will consider the other marks of temptation