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spicuous, if we consider the soul of Adam, the father of the human race, in its original state, as he was created on the sixth day. As the soul of man is the most excellent part of any of the works of this lower world, so we should naturally conclude, that it would be the nearest resemblance of its Author. And with such a conclusion the following, scriptural account is in entire accordance. So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him. The Lord is a Spirit, or an intelligent Being, whose understanding is infinite. The soul or intelligence of man is finite, a mere image of the omnipresent, invisible Jehovah. And as the Lord is infinitely holy, and most righteous in all his ways, so we are taught, that God, made man upright. Thus all mankind bear the natural image of their Maker, as they are intelligent beings; and our first parents were created after his moral image in a state of perfect holiness. How happy then must have been such a state; how much resembling that of the holy and blessed angels. The soul of Adam was doubtless more capacious than that of any of his offspring; and his means of improvement and advancement must have been far superiour to those of any of his fallen race. This is evident from the consideration, that sin introduces natural evils, mental as well as bodily. Whether our first parents had a language, suited to their original state, implanted in their very natures, and innate; or whether the Lord thus furnished them in a supernatural manner, we cannot tell. However, that they had such a language and correspondent knowledge, reason would teach as well as scripture. The description, of Adam's giving names to all the animals of the earth, will throw much light on this subject. Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam, to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name
thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field. The idea which some entertain, that Adam though very happy, had but little knowledge, is entirely groundless, and every way inconsistent. It is founded perhaps on the expression of Satan, “ Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” But what must be the proper import of such a temptation ? Truly this. Eat of the forbidden fruit, and your
, extensive knowledge and enlarged views will be supernaturally augmented; and ye, who are but little lower than the angels, will at once be equal to them. The serpent, from dread experience, knew, that the suggestion of the highest possible attainments of knowledge, would be the most likely to excite arnbition in the heart of one of a capacious mind, and of clear and sublime views. Aspiring to be gods, angels fell; aspiring to be angels, man rebelled. But the race of Adam have souls inferiour to him, in consequence of the diseases both of the mind and of the body. How extensive the capacity, how great the knowledge, how holy and happy must have been our first parents, whilst in that blessed situation, the garden of Eden! When we consider the soul of Adam in a state of innocence, a living, holy image of its Creator, the divine goodness shines conspicuously; for the Lord himself saw, that it was made very good.
2nd. If we compare the human body in its original state and present condition, the divine wisdom and goodness will be very manifest
. No doubt Adam had the most regular, bodily form, and the most beautiful and interesting countenance of any mere man, that ever lived. Then, not only the human soul, but the human body, was in a state of perfection. Then, was man the immediate offspring of God, and he breathed air so pure, that his body was not subject to sickness and mortality. By reason of sin every manner of disease and
death itself have entered the world. Hence, the beauty, vigour, and activity of the human body are greatly degenerated. Irregular forms and features, constitutional diseases and the prevalent distempers of mortals, finally all bodily infirmities, are the effect of human apostacy. This, and more than this, is implied in the expression, dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Human bodies are be. come corrupt by irregular, sensual desires, by sinful passions and vitiated appetite. All the affections and passions of man in his original state were for good; and his reason and appetite were in perfect unison. But how sadly reversed the present state! Constitutional sins originate chiefly from the irregularities of the human body; hence the minds of many are excited by what is denominated the right eye sin from some of the defects or irregularities of the animal frame. Many have their minds greatly beclouded and deprest nearly all their days, on the account of some local complaint, or perhaps a variety of bodily maladies. But the healthful and vigorous body of Adam, and the perfect state of the various senses, would be almost constant inlets of entertainment, and sources of joy. Had he not apostatized from God, his body would never have fallen a prey to death, but would probably have been translated, or instantly changed into a spiritual body, like the bodies of Enoch and Elijah, and like the change that shall be produced in those, that shall be on the earth, at the time of the sounding of the last trump. Originally the human frame was a most beautiful temple, containing a perfect, human soul. But now it is a decaying tabernacle, inhabited by a degenerate, apostate spirit. Not only was the soul of man made after the image of God; but a most perfect human body was formed to be its suitable companion and partner. This is fairly infered from the expression, behold, it was very good. Then we may see, that far more excellent and desirable was
the original than the present state of the corporeal system, and how conspicuous the goodness of God!
3rd. The world itself in its original state was pronounced superlatively good, and as such should be viewed by man. The earth in its pristine state was a globe beautifully formed, and well calculated for the support of animals, and for the convenience of man. In its present state it is greatly altered, and wonderfully changed from what it once was. Its surface is far more irregular and rugged, than it was when pronounced very good. Inundations and earthquakes have made havock with certain parts of the world. The flood especially has desolated the whole surface, and produced many dreary mountains and awful gulfs. We read of high hills and mountains, before this catastrophe; but they would not compare with the present. They would not be too stately to render a most agreeable variety either to charm the eye, or to be most productive. In consequence of sin not only the moral but the natural world is greatly degenerated; for the earth itself is cursed for man's sake. We may well bless the Lord, that we have the earth, his foot stool, even in its present state for our abode; but, yet, how must it once have been farmore excellent and most desirable.
4th. The condition of man and all things around him were originally very good; but in his present state they are greatly reversed. Adam had a garden, whose soil was most fertile; and all the requisite labour would only serve to render him healthy, active, and cheerful. Delightful his situation ! for out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree, that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. Though we frequently behold the face of nature clothed with verdant beauty; yet its scenery was once far more beautiful and delightsome. But how are labour and vexation, sorrow and grief, now visible throughout the world, which lieth in wickedness. Awfully true the denunciation, Cursed is the
ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it, all the days of thy life: Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground. Then the unpleasant excesses of climate, and the infected atmosphere are a judgement from heaven for man's transgression. For the same reason the beasts become savage towards one another and towards man. How submissive were they and inoffensive before the fall! Now, many of them are ready to destroy man, the lord of this lower world; and they fear him not only for his intelligent countenance but also for his wicked looks. The beasts of the field and even the elements are now hostile and set in array against him. When considering the manifold miseries of this life, does any one imagine, that the divine goodness is greatly eclipsed? This subject will teach him to contemplate the world and all things therein, on the sixth day, when the Lord pronounced them all very good. Then will he behold the beauties and wonders of paradise; and the same state would have continued to this day with glorious improvement, had not sin entered this world. The evils and direful calamities of this life must not be a reproach to the divine goodness but to man. His revolt from his supreme Lord has immersed him in all the miseries of this life and exposed him to the woes of the life to come. But notwithstanding the sins of the world, through the divine grace, mercy and forbearance of God, how manifold is the divine goodness, what a continued series of varied favours does heaven confer even on the evil and unthankful. Yet how much brighter was the original state of things, when all were perfection, were superlatively excellent in the view of God.
1st. If this subject has reflected some light on the works of creation concerning the goodness of God,