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SERMON I.

THE HISTORY OF THE FALL OF MAN.

Gen. iii. 1.

“Now the serpent was more subtil 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 ?”

HOLY Scripture opens with an account of the first formation of this world which we inhabit; of the perfection of all the creatures in their several kinds, and particularly of the excellent and happy state of man. Then follows the history of a deplorable change, which, in consequence of man's transgression, took place in the whole creation, and especially in the state of man himself. The whole of the remainder is a detail of the various parts of one grand scheme which Almighty goodness was pleased to devise, and has ever since been executing, for the recovery of our fallen race to righteousness and blessedness.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And at the close of the sixth day, after a goodly Paradise had been prepared for his reception, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping

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1 Gen. i. 1.

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thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them?.” “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

This glorious and happy creature man, being thus pre-obliged to the love and service of his Maker by the free communication of all manner of good, was next, in God's wisdom, to be tried and disciplined. “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil *.” “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die 5."

Man, however, (as we shall see hereafter,) disregarded this prohibition, transgressed, and incurred the penalty of disobedience. In him the whole human nature, at that time contained in his person, fell likewise. And so it has come to pass, that we all are born in sin, and become children of God's wrath. This sad lapse, however, was overruled to God's glory. It gave occasion for the exercise of the Divine attribute of mercy in that method of redemption provided for the penitent believer in Jesus Christ: who (as we shall see presently) was graciously promised to be his Saviour the moment that such a promise became necessary through man's rebellion.

I shall make some observations on the circumstances of the history, in order to the practical application of it.

Pursuing the method which the narrative itself suggests, I am led to consider,

I. First, the temptation.
2 Gen. i. 26, 27.

Gen. i. 31.
4 Gen. ii. 8, 9.

5 Gen. ii. 16, 17.

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