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not demanding a righteousness, and enjoining, under penalty of death, “ Thou shalt” or “ Thou shalt not, but recognizing man's bankruptcy and promising, “I will.” Formerly man's standing was that of obedient creaturehood. God's purpose of grace is not fulfilled till we receive the standing and the mind of sons. Here is man in the estate of death; and it will be found that the Divine action with respect to him is for the purpose of raising him from that estate and kindling in his breast everlasting life. It is not a reprieve that is granted—a delay of execution for nine hundred years—a sparing of the fig-tree in order to see what can be done by farther care. It is something altogether new and different. It is the introduction of a dispensation of grace whose aim is recovery and the giving of life to the dead.
The first thing to notice is, that God begins to seek His lost creatore man. Man does not call in Divine help. God takes the first step and speaks the first word. In the cool of the day, when the refreshing evening breeze had begun to blow, the guilty pair heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden,* and in shame and fear they hid themselves like two naughty children-amid the thick garden foliage. It was a poor hiding-place, yet not poorer than sinners hide themselves in to-day, from those awful Eyes before which hell is naked and destruction hath no covering. God seeks after His lost. “ Adam," He calls, speaking the first word and making the first approach, “ Where art thou?" It is not justice tracking the evildoer; it is not an anticipation of the trumpet-blast that summons to judgment: doubtless a guilty conscience did make tho voice sound dread and terrible; yet it is the voice of love seeking the lost, and an anticipation of that voice in which God now speaks to us by His Son
“ Compassion's native, silver voice,
The gentle melody of patient love."
The thing to notice next is, the indication given that God is still man's Friend, and has some purpose in his behalf. The indication is, indeed, faint and dim and mysterious ; in part, it is conveyed by what God does not say; it is not addressed direct to man, but only uttered in his hearing : still there was enough to shadow forth that God took his side against the tempter and destroyer. The serpent is cursed; the ground is cursed for man's sake, so that it shall bring forth thorns and thistles to him ; but no curse is pronounced on man himself. He is, indeed, driven forth from Paradise and re-entrance is barred by cherubim and a flaming sword; he shall henceforth not eat of the tree of life in the midst of the garden; he must extort his bread by labour and toil out of the ground, in place of living without care on the
* This voice is neither the thunder nor the whisper of the evening breeze among the leaves, but the sound of His footsteps-as in 1 Kings xiy. 6, we read of “the voice of the feet."
bountiful fruits of Eden; life shall be filled with pains and sorrows, and instead of being the "god" he hoped to become, ho shall return to dust: these are what Gregory the Great has named “ the bitter arrows from the gentle hand of God.” But man is not cursed and cast off. On the contrary, God is evidently devising in his behalf as his Friend, though the greatness of the Divine purpose is not yet disclosed.
Still farther, the race shall not be cut off and become extinct. But for the coming in of grace, the natural conclusion is that man would have ceased to be. It is impossible to conceive that God would have perpetuated and multiplied a race of beings for whom there was no hope of mercy. The very promise of a “seed " is thus-80 farman indication of some gracious purpose. Looking down the vista thus opened up, we see a Saviour-Victim and Conqueror who is one of us, related to us by kinship as our Brother.
There shall be variance, enmity, war, between the woman and the serpent, between the woman's seed and the serpent's seed. “Because thou hast done this,” the Lord says, " thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field.” The words at first sight appear to be directed against the miserable animal that was the instrument of man's ruin; on the principle of the ordinance that if an ox gored a man it should be put to death, the serpent was to “ bear about” the memory of man's fallor, to borrow the words of Chrysostom, “ Just as a loving father, when punishing the slayer of his son, might snap in two the sword or dagger with which the deed was done,” so God does now. We cannot but feel, kowever, that whether our first parents knew anything of it or not, the stroke is meant for a being behind the serpent. With this being in view, the foe of God and man, the Lord adds, " I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”* The enmity is to be "put" there by God Himself; 1 will do it-for " salvation is of the Lord." There shall not be mere sollen enmity between the two; but enmity coming out in actual conflict, ultimately in personal conflict between—not the woman but the woman's seed—and not the serpent's seed but the serpent. Thus in dim outline we see a personal encounter, as it were, between two shadowy forms, in which man's champion is wounded in the heel, but crushes the destroyer's head—the wound in the heel received while crushing the head. The intimation is brief and mysterious ; it is not addressed directly to the sinners themselves, but it is only spoken in their hearing; the distance forward is not defined, whether a lifetime or thousands of years; but to our first parents it would reveal God's merciful intention, and would enkindle in their breasts the hope of a Redeemer from the evil and misery of the esta e into which they were fallen, who should destroy death and him that had the power of it. Gazing down the vista thus opened to view, our eye at length rests on Him who is born a Saviour—who proves Himself the Brother born for adversity. The real adversity is our sinfal estatethe darkness, guilt, sorrow, defilement which we inherit from our father Adam. He who is born our Saviour came to deliver us from this evil estate ; and that He might do so, “He was made a curse for us; " " He was wounded for our transgressions ; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." The cross is the ruin of Satan's cause.
* For New Testament reference to this see Rev. xii., containing the vision of the woman, the serpent, and the manchild, the woman's seed.
The Fall was no surprise to God, which He had to meet by a suddenly-devised scheme, as an unlooked-for emergency is met. “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world ;” and now at once He begins to carry into effect His eternal purpose which He purposed in Himself. Milton in “ Paradise Lost” represents the archangel Michael as unfolding to Adam the progressive action of grace onward to the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God, with a glance forward to His second coming. In somewhat theological terms the archangel explains the Saviour's yielding of Himself to death as a “ godlike act” which
“ Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died,
In sin for ever lost from life; this act
There is nothing like this in the history. There is no indication that our first parents understood the principles and sweep of the dispensation of grace now introduced. But this was not to prevent their obtaining the benefit of it. Ability to comprehend God's procedure is not faith, nor is it necessary to faith. It was enough that God Himself saw the way clear for mercy-showing. The manifestation of His righteousness herein was reserved for far distant ages, when He set forth His Son as a propitiation. (Rom. iii. 25, 26.) And now " we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." And “wo love Him because He first loved us."
JAMES WARING’S LESSON.
“ DEAR me, so to-morrow's a voice was hardly audible, and he holiday! What senseless things pitied himself, as was his wont. holidays are for people like my. “I wish there was something I self! Not a relation left-not a could do-is there no business that friend who cares for me!”
can be transacted ? Let me see," “ Who's fault is it?" asked con- and he opened his letter-case in science. But James Waring had search of something to help him. so long silenced conscience that its “ Ah! here's the very thing! Thornton writes me that he's not! For years those words, the very received any rent from his cottage last that his mother ever spoke to for the last six months, and sus- him, had been forgotten- buried pects his agent is not decided deep and covered over by money enough with the tenants. That's calculations and business plans ; it! I'll go there to-morrow, and and now he was vexed at his own if the rent isn't paid by the first-memories. out they shall go. Well, I'm glad "Poor mother! If she had lived there's something to do-I hate till I really could afford to give, holidays !!!
I would have been different; but The coal fire burned brightly, just as I was getting comfortably and the elderly man sitting in off-just when I had at last made front of its cheerful blaze gave him- up my mind to take a good holiday self up to dreams, as was his “I heard of her death. Is it any nightly custom. But on this even wonder I hate holidays? I'll go ing his visions took strange forms. to bed, and forget those old times.” Instead of living over the last his-/ But one does not always find torical scenes of which he had been forgetfulness in sleep. James Warreading, or laying fresh plans for ing went from street to street, greater business ventures, his mind looking for the cottage where he wandered back into his own past. was to collect the rent. It seemed He saw a little boy eagerly plead to him that again and again he ing for the entire charge of the saw the place, and each time a poultry-yard, sure that he could voice, strangely familiar in its make money by it.” A year had tones, would say, “Do not let him passed, and the boy, but ten years find it yet; show him the poor he old, was proudly showing his ac- might have helped before he count to his father and mother; throws away this chance;” and there was a clear profit of nearly then he would suddenly find himfive pounds.
self in one of the few homes of the The father had praised and en- poor that he had dealings with couraged the boy, but his mother. The first was his washerwoman's. said little and looked anxious. She had always seemed a very Years went by, and the boy is at respectable, worthy person to him, last sent to take a position in the and certainly he had paid her city. He does not go penniless, regularly, though he was careful for he has earned and saved till his to make an arrangement by the bank book is an important part of month, instead of paying by the his outfit.
piece. “Oh, my son, what part have “Mother, can't you rest toyou given to God?" "asks the morrow, and keep one holiday ? " mother; and the boy, who cares asked a boy, evidently the widow's little for God, but would fain please son. his mother, makes a great effort, “Ah yes, mother,” pleaded the and for her sake parts with some of girl from the other side of her his dearly-loved savings,
mother's ironing-table, “do rest to"Spend this' for your poor, morrow.” mother," are his parting words. 7 " Oh, children, don't ask me!
“Oh, James, if you would but There is no coal in the box, and have your poor! You are going Mary has no shoes for winter; and to a city where there is much want you, John, must have an overcoat,
real destitution-learn the de- and there's the rent. No, no. T light of giving."
must get through all I can, and
try and get more to do, instead of South, I believe I'd grow strong! taking holidays."
| The doctor said it might set me “Mother," asked John, “is there up. But there! I must be a not one person to give you a help- weak fool to talk of it to you! ing hand—just till I am through It can't be done-we haven't a this one year at school? I could relation to help us. Do you know pay back the money, if you couid what I dream about, Marion, when only borrow a few pounds to help you are upstairs doing the work in you over this year.”
the lodgers' rooms—the work that "And I'll be a teacher in three you should never do if I were well years, mother," said Mary. “Oh, and strong ?”. how I wish I could stop your hard “No, dear; tell me your fancies, work at once. Now think, mother, if they are pleasant ones." isn't there any one, as John says?” “I dream, wife, that instead of
James Waring listened breath-the people who have our roomslessly; he longed to hear his the Hoffmans, who care nothing name. Surely she knew he could for us, and those four young clerks lend her that much. But the in the upper storey who can barely widow, after a moment's silence, pay their way, and that moneyonly shook her head. “No, chil- loving Waring—you had a warmdren, we've no rich friends, and I'd hearted, whole-souled man, who only lose work if I should try to would take note of your lovely, un. beg money from customers.” selfish life, and would give me, for
“There's that Mr. Waring,” said your sake, dearest, one more chance Mary, to the listener's great delight. of life.”
"He!" exclaimed mother and The brave wife's eyes were filled son, the first in utter astonishment, with tears, but she would not let the second in scorn.
them overflow. " Who knows what “Well-isn't he rich ? ” asked may happen?" she answered gaily. Mary, doubtfully.
“Now stop dreaming, and we'll "I rather think so!” responded have a game of chess, and then John; “but he's mean.”
I'll sing. Remember, if you went “John, my son, Mr. Waring South, I could not go too, and so it pays us promptly-you should not might be worse than staying." speak so."
"Not yet-let him see one more “He "
lost opportunity, lest he still refuse." “He knows nothing about poverty pleaded the voice, and he was drawn or the need of money, that is all," down a narrow street, and led up to said the widow quietly.
the attic of a tenement house. Again James seemed seeking the “Did you ask him, Ben?” a cottage, and again that voice pleaded woman was saying. “Did you tell “Not yet, not yet!” This time he him we can't get on, with six was led to the basement of the house mouths to feed and six little bodies where his own rooms were. Once to clothe?” in a while he had gone down those - Ask him! To be sure I did. lower stairs, so the scene was not and got just the answer I expected. altogether unfamiliar. He had seen. There are plenty of men would before that thin figure lying on the be glad of your situation; so, if the couch, had noted the air of refine- wages don't suit you, I can fill ment in the cosy sitting-room; but your place.'” now he heard them talk, unaware Yes, those were his own words. of his presence.
James Waring remembered that "Marion, if I could but get the porter had come to him that