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its means of
We must make it a day of ease from their usual toil, of quiet happy repose of body and mind, and of spiritual improvement. Yes, brethren, our sons and our daughters, our men-servants and our maidservants, must be permitted, nay, if necessary, required, to rest and worship as well as ourselves. Horses also, and other animals, are to be freed from their week-day labour and exertion, though they may be lawfully employed in the easy task of conveying their owners to the house of God.
I have left several arguments unnoticed, and much unsaid, which might have been advanced on the authority and requirements of this holy day. I have said what I could in one single expository sermon. May the great Lord of the Sabbath accept and bless what has been spoken, and give us all hearts to honour and delight in this first and best of days, and to employ it suitably for his glory and our own salvation.
THE FALL OF MAN.
GENESIS iii. 24.
So he drove out the man; and he placed al
the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every
way, to keep the way of the tree of life. What do we meet with here? What is this that now we read of? We left the creation holy and happy; the creatures good, and man created in the image, and under the especial favour of God. Has some dire change then taken place, that God is driving his new-made creature out before him? Has man rebelled, and is the Almighty punishing him ? It is even so. Man has sinned: he has broken the one commandment given him by his maker, and has presumptuously despised the threatening that was annexed to it. Therefore wrath is gone out against him. God is banishing him from his presence, and will no longer delight in him, nor hold communion with him. This is the mournful subject of the present sermon, the lamentation and woe, of which we have now to consider the circumstances.
We fix upon three points especially for our consideration.
I. The commandment given to man upou his creation.
II. His unhappy transgression of that commandment.
III. The punishment inflicted upon him for his disobedience.
We consider, in the first place, the commandment given to man.—. When Almighty God had created the first human pair, he prepared for them a beauteous abode, even the garden of Eden, where he “made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;” “and the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it.” In the employments of a not laborious industry, (and even these relieved by the rest of the holy Sabbath), in the enjoyment of every pleasant fruit and herb and seed, and in divine communion with his gracious maker, man was appointed to pass his time, innocent, holy, and happy. One only restriction was laid upon him. Of the fruit of every tree in the garden he was permitted freely to eat, whatever his heart desired, except of one. For God had planted two particular trees in the midst of the garden, the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and of the latter he expressly forbade him to taste. The prohibition was made in these positive terms, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat:" and the prohibition was strengthened by this annexed threat, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Such was the commandment.
Now it being the will of the Almighty that man should be placed in a state of trial, it was necessary that some test of his obedience should be appointed : and what could be easier than this ? When he had a full grant of all the other fruit, surely it was not much that he should be restrained from one, Had he been confined to eat only of one, and all the rest
prohibited, his task had been harder, and the commandment more severe; but the profusion of the grant made the restriction easy. And again, what test more proper could have been appointed? This was peculiarly calculated to try the simplicity of Adam's faith and obedience. For the prohibition rested entirely on this point, that such was the will of God. Adam could perceive no moral evil in eating of that particular fruit, and therefore he had to abstain from it only because he was so commanded. Here then he was placed under a covenant of works, of which simple obedience to one single prohibition formed the whole basis: this being observed, he should live; this being transgressed, he should die. Such was the commandment, holy, just, and good, easy of observance, and explicitly enjoined; a commandment against which he could not murmur, and in the keeping of which he ought greatly to have delighted.
II. We proceed, in the next place, to consider his transgression. It originated in an artful temptation from Satan, the head of the rebellious angels, who had themselves