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There, undisturbed by care, and, as yet, unaffailed by temptation, all his faculties perfect, and his appetites in fubjection, he walked with God, as a man walketh with his friend, and enjoyed communion with heaven, though his abode was upon earth. He ftudied the works of God, as they came fresh from the hands of the workmafter, and in the creation, as in a glass, he was taught to behold the glories of the Creator. Trained, in the school of Eden, by the material elements of a vifible world, to the knowledge of one that is immaterial and invisible, he found himself excited, by the beauty of the picture, to aspire after the transcendent excellence of the divine original. This facred Garden the first Adam by tranfgreffion loft; but all the bleffings, fignified and reprefented by it, have been, through the fecond Adam, reftored to his pofterity. In our ftead, he subjected himself to the vengeance of "the flaming fword," and regained for us an entrance into Eden. For, "When he overcame the sharpness of death, he opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers." He himfelf "the Tree of: Life in the midft of the Paradife of God;" and, by the effufion of his Spirit, he gives us to drink "rivers of living water.' In his church here be--low, he has all along communicated, and still communicates his gifts, by external facraments, which serve at once as figns, as means, and as pledges :but, admitted to the church above, we shall see, and tafte them, as they are. "Thou," O Lord Jefus, "fhall fhew us," for thou only canft now fhew us "the path of LIFE," the "way to the tree of life, and introduce us to the truth and fubftance of all that was fhadowed out by the blissful fcenes of Eden; for in thy prefence is the fulness of Joy, and at thy right hand there are PLEASURES for evermore ››

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THE TREE OF LIFE.

GEN. ii. Part of verfe 9.

The Tree of Life alfo in the midst of the Garden.

SOME arguments were offered upon a former occafion, tending to prove, that the Garden of Eden, laid out and planted by the hand of the Almighty, for the habitation of our first parents, in a state of innocence and felicity, was of a figurative and facramental nature; that, like the temple under the law, and the church under the Gospel, it was, to its happy poffeffors, a place chofen for the refidence of God; a place defigned to reprefent, and furnish them with ideas of heavenly things; a place facred to contemplation and devotion..

Among the objects prefented to us, there is one, which, though then taken into the general account with the rest, may feem to claim a more particular attention. It stands confpicuous in the Mofaic defcription, the capital figure in that beautiful piece. It is faid to have been placed in the centre of Eden, like the fun of the little fyftem, and bears a name fufficiently calculated to awaken curiofity. The inspired hiftorian having informed us, that "the Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree that was pleasant to the fight, and good for food;" every thing, in the vegetable way, either ufefut,

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ufeful, or ornamental; adds-" The Tree of Life: alfo in the midft of the garden."

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Life, we know, as it relates to man, is twofold; that of the body, and that of the foul; animal and fpiritual; temporal and eternal. Each requires to be supported by a nutriment adapted to its nature, and supplied by fomething external to itfelf. The food of the body is, like the body, material, and cometh out of the earth; the food of the foul is, like the foul, fpiritual, and cometh down from heaThe Tree of Life was, doubtless, a material tree, producing material fruit, proper, as fuch, for the nourishment of the body. The queffion will`. be, whether it was intended to be eaten, in com-mon, for that end alone; or whether it was not rather fet apart, to be partaken of, at a certain time, or times, as a fymbol, or facrament of that celeftial principle, which nourishes the foul unto immortality; meaning, by that term, not a natural immortality, or bare existence, but that divine, fpiritual, eternal life, which was loft by the fall, and the reftitution of which is now "the gift of God, through Jefus Christ our Lord."

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If it be fuppofed, that the Tree of Life was defigned folely for the fupport of the body of man, there will appear no reason for its being distinguished, as it is by its appellation, from the other trees of the garden, which were all, in that fenfe, equally trees of life, being, as we are told, "good for food." And indeed, the matter feems to be clearly determined otherwife, by the twenty-fecond verfe of the third chapter, where we find fallen man excluded from Paradise, "left he should put forth his hand, and take also of the fruit of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live FOR EVER."* Immortality, therefore, was to have been obtained, according to God's original

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original appointment, by eating the fruit of the Tree of Life; not, furely, as the Jews idly talk, by any medicinal quality, or virtue, preferving the eater from fieknefs and death, neither of which, by the way, was in the world, till introduced-by fin. No; the thing speaks itfelf. A material tree could only confer eternal life as a divinely instituted fymbol, or facrament; as, "an outward vifible fign of an inward spiritual grace, given to Adam, as a means whereby he was to receive the fame, and a pledge to affure him thereof." Hereby he would be continually reminded of the truth, communicated to him, without all doubt, from the beginning; that there was another and a better life than that led by him in the terreftrial and figurative Paradife; a life, on which he was to fet his affections, and to which he was to look, as the end, the reward, the crown of his obedience; a life, fupported, as it was given, by emanation from that Being, who only hath life in himself, and is the fountain, from which, in various ways, it flows to all his creatures. Of Him, as the glorious fun of the intellectual world, and of his gracious gift, ftreaming, like light through the heavens, to enliven and blefs the fpiritual fyftem, the Tree of Life, with its fruit, in the midst of Eden, is apprehended to have been ordained, as an inftructive and comfortable fymbol; that fo a memorial of his abundant goodness might be fhewn upon earth, and new created man might fing of his righteoufnefs.

The facramental defignation of the Tree of Life in Paradise may be farther evinced, perhaps, by a paffage or two in the book of St John's Revelation..

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To him that overcometh," fays the captain of our falvation, "will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradife of God." And again--" Bleffed are they that do his commandments,

* Rev. ii. 7.

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mandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life." * By" eating of the Tree of Life in the Paradife of God," is here evidently meant a participation of eternal life with God in heaven. Of this eternal life the faithful followers of their great leader are to be put in poffeffion, as the reward of their labours, when those labours shall have been accomplished; when they fhall have walked to the end of their journey in the path of Chrift's commandments, and shall have finally overcome their fpirittual enemies. May we not therefore, by parity of reafon, infer from hence the fignification and intent of the Tree of Life in Eden? By means of that facrament, had Adam gone happily through his probation, and perfevered in obedience unto the end,. he would have been admitted, in the kingdom of heaven, to that state of eternal life with God, for which he was always defigned, and of which Paradife was the earthly resemblance. He would have been removed from the fhadows of this world to the realities of a better. His removal must have differed, in the manner of it, from that of which we now live, or ought to live, in expectation.. Without fin, death could have had no power over him. He would have been tranflated alive, as Enoch and Elijah, for particular purposes, afterwards were. The change would have been wrought in him at once, as it was in them, and as it will be in. thofe, who fhall be found alive, at the coming of our Lord to judgment.

When tranfgreffion had fubjected Adam to a fentence of condemnation, the cafe was altered. Glory and immortality could no longer be obtained upon the terms of the first covenant, now broken and void. The very attempt became criminal. Man

* Rev. xxii. 14.

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