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chosen by Adam as the name of his wife, because sho was “the mother of all living") were placed in the garden of Eden, a paradise abounding with all that was delightfal to the eye, or delicious to the taste. The splendour of creation, and the bountiful provision for their enjoyment, might intimate to them the existence of a Creator and a Benefactor; but the highest exercise of their mental powers, could ascertain but little of his nature, or of their own obligations. This transcendent knowledge required a divine revelation ; and by a divine revelation they learned that
; their Creator was their Sovereign, entitled to their service, and exacting implicit obedience to his will. The first pair created innocent, and with all holy inclinations, might suppose themselves able to pay the requisite submission, but being endowed with perfect fredom of choice, the Sovereign thought fit to prove them by one positive command. Accordingly he prohibited them from the use of a certain tree in the midst of the garden, in these words : 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.” A forbidden object becomes desirable to our perverse hearts, from the very circumstance of its being forbidden; but such perversity cannot be supposed of the first pair in their original state of rectitude. Listening to the insidious suggestions of Satan, the great enemy of their peace, they were tempted to believe that the tree of knowledge was forbidden, because it possessed the power of exalting their natures to an equality with angelic beings. Ambition 'superseded duty; they ate of the interdicted fruit! The condition of life and happiness was broken, and the penalty of death was incurred! The guilty pair
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were exiled from paradise, where they had been fed by the spontaneous fruits of the earth, and were condemned to earn their bread with toil and in sorrow!
PANNY. Was not the punishment severe for the breach of one command ; that too an act by which no creature
; was injured ?
MRS. M. The command was the test of an obedient disposition; the breach of this was, therefore, the violation of every other ; because the rebellious temper was displayed. The Sovereign has a right to exact perfect obedience, and man is justly punished for his refusal to render it. But man is not left in despair : Divine Mercy had from all eternity laid the plan of his deliverance from the power and penalty of sin, by a Redeemer, and now intimated blessed hope, by a promise to the fallen pair.
FANNY. You called the command not to eat of the tree, a positive command. Are not all the laws of God equally binding ?
MRS. M. Certainly : but we divide them into moral and positive. The first includes the duties which we owe to our Creator, or to ourselves, and each other, and which our own reason might, in some measure, have discovered : the second, are such as derive their importance alone from the will of the supreme lawgiver, and such as we could not have known without a divine revelation. You will keep this distinction in mind, for in the study of the Scriptures, there are frequent examples of the positive, under the Jewish dispensation, and two under our own, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper.
CATHERINE. Where was the garden of Eden situated ? Mrs. M. Eden was a very fertile tract of country in Chaldea, not far from the Persian gulf, and between the cities now called Bagdad and Bassora. The garden of Paradise, with the river Euphrates running through it, is supposed to have been planted where Arecca now stands.
The first descendants of Adam and Eve were Cain and Abel. Cain cultivated the earth, and Abel tended flocks, At an appointed time, * each offered a sacrifice; that of Abel was accepted, while Cain's was rejected.
FANNY. How did God testify his pleasure on that oc casion ?
Mrs. M. The manner is not certain : probably by consuming one by fire from heaven on the one hand, as we read expressly that he did in subsequent cases; and forbearing to do so on the other. The distinction, however expressed, was made evident to the mind of Cain, for it inflamed him with rage, and instead of attending to the suggestion of his Creator, that he too might be accepted if he offered i'n faith and obedience, his jealousy instigated him to the murder of his innocent brother. (B. C. 3875). Some divines have imagined his mother to have believed, that she had received in him, the first born, the fulfilment of the consoling promise of a Redeemer, and to have instilled such an idea into his mind. When, therefore, he saw his younger brother preferred, he was tempted to remove him from the possibility of enjoying his birth-right. You may remember to have heard our excellent preacher not long ago, taking occasion from this hypothesis, to caution mothers against nourishing the mischievous seeds
** In process of time,” or at the end of daysmas the words may be literally translated, seem to signify stated worship at the end of six days.
of pride in their children; for thus early we have to lament the sad effects of Adam's disobedience in the depravity of his children, who were formed, not like Adam, originally, “ in the image of God," but like him in his fallen state, with inclinations averse from good.
CATHERINE. What is meant by a sacrifice
Mrs. M. Sacrifice generally means, an offering made to the deity as an acknowledgment of his power, and a payment of that homage which is due to Him. Eucharistical sacrifices, or thanksgivings, were offered in Paradise; those which are called expiatory, were not instituted till Adam had transgressed the law of his Creator, and had learned, that without an atonement he could not be pardoned. That this sentiment has generally prevailed we discover in the fact, that sacrifices have been found amongst the religious rites of all nations before their conversion to christianity. We have no direct account of the origin of this mode of worship, but we hesitate not to pronounce it of divine authority, because Adam taught immediately by his Creator; and without a command, it is highly probable he would not have thought of destroying the animals committed to his care, nor would he have imagined, that an offering, apparently so cruel, could be acceptable to a Being, whose benevolence was impressed on all around him.
The translation of Enoch, in the order of events, next arrests our attention. He was the descendant of Seth, the third son of Adam, who was given to Eve to console her for the loss of Abel, and whose family continued a long time in the practice of pure religion. This pious man, pious in the midst of universal corruption, was translated to heaven in the 365th year of his age (B. C. 3017),
without suffering the pain of dying. This remarkable event would intimate, to a people destitute as yet of a written revelation, and guided only by the partial light of tradition, that both the soul and bodies of the virtuous would find a glorious reward.
The life of man at this time was protracted to a great length. Methuselah, the oldest of whom we have any account, and who died a little before the flood, lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years. (B. C. 2340.) The earth then would be rapidly peopled, and wickedness appears to have arrived at its utmost degree about this time; for, in the year
of the world 1656, all mankind were swept away by a flood, “ because the earth was filled with violence, and the imagination of man's heart was only evil continually.” From this most awful judgment, one righteous man with his family were preserved. Noah, the great grandson of Enoch, was commanded by God to build an ark, or vessel, and to go into it with his wife, his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet, and their wives; and to take with them also cattle and fowls, and creeping things of every description, that they might be kept alive. Of clean birds and beasts, or such as might be used in sacrifice, seven pair, and two of such as were inadmissible, or unclean. The great length of tiine required to construct a vessel of such strength and dimensions, as should contain so many living creatures and resist a deluge of waters, afforded an opportunity to the sentenced race to return to their long-suffering sovereign, had they been so inclined.
CHARLEȘ. How long was Noah employed in building the Ark ?
Mrs. M. Moses has not told us, nor has he left sufficient