« ÎnapoiContinuă »
ancestor had been; and then we have no further account of any of them, till the flood came, and swept them all away.
Of the reflections that may be drawn from this awful subject, surely this must be one; that the nature of man is full of evil. What adequate cause can be assigned for the dreadful passions which often agitate the human breast, and for the horrid crimes which are often committed? No outward provocation can ever be great enough to raise such a tumult, destroy the power of reason and conscience, and transform a man into a devil. It is the innate depravity, the evil nature within, which produces the storms that deform and defile the human mind and face, and fill the world with sin and woe. Every part of scripture will prove this truth, its facts as well as its assertions. The history of individuals, of the antediluvian world, of the nation of Israel, of the idolatries of the heathen, will all present it before us; while every experience of the natural emotions of our own hearts must confirm the melancholy and humbling truth. Our search therefore must be after a religion
which is calculated for the salvation of sinners; and such a one is presented to us in the gospel of Christ. There we see how sin may be pardoned, and the heart renewed, and man restored to the favour of his offended Maker.
We may learn also from hence the danger of admitting and indulging evil passions. "Cain was wroth and his countenance fell." Had he felt this to be a sin, and resolutely expelled it from his heart, and sought pardon in confession and prayer, no further crime and misery would have followed. But he suffered his anger to dwell in his mind; he brooded over the supposed affront and cherished the desire of revenge. Hence eventually he slew his brother, and the brand of the first murderer remains on his name to this day. The passions of mortified pride, of envy, and wrath, urged him on to this dreadful deed. These were the poisonous seeds of which that was the deadly fruit. For this cause St. John declares in the words of inspiration, having alluded to this very history of Cain, that “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." And do not many other terrible deeds and
abominable sins proceed from the indulgence of sinful passions? "When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Remember therefore the texts, which say, "Keep thine heart with all diligence, since out of it are the issues of life;" "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation."
We further perceive from this history that sin cannot be hid. Cain looked for concealment by slaying his brother in the field; but he could not hide the murder from the eye of God. And what is the sin, or where shall it be done, that it shall escape his notice? There can be no privacy with regard to him: the darkness of night is as the light of day, and the secret and solitary place as the open and crowded street. Can you sin, and will not God see it? will he not search it out? will he not say, what hast thou done? will he not also convict, condemn, and punish? "Some men's sins are open before-hand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after." But whether they be open or concealed, whether committed publicly or
practised in secret, whether they be manifested in act or indulged in thought, be sure your sins will find you out: be sure also that if not repented of and pardoned they will meet with punishment either in this world, or in the next, or perhaps in both. See then with what omniscience you have to do, and what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God.
Lastly, all scripture declares that sin can only be pardoned through that sacrifice, in the faith of which "Abel presented of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof," that is, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son. Of his blood the Apostle remarks that it "speaketh better things than that of Abel;" because while Abel's cried from the ground for vengeance, the blood of Christ cried from the cross for mercy. Its language was, deliver them from going down into the pit, here is a ransom. Through him, brethren, and through faith in his sacrifice, is preached to you the forgiveness of sins: there is redemption through his blood: and by him all who believe are justified from all things. That
blood may be seen, by the eye of faith, as streaming from the Saviour's side, and cleansing from all sin; it may be heard by the ear of faith as crying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Let every one that has sinned,-and who has not sinned? seek mercy in this appointed way, and then, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Oh! take in the hand of faith that "one offering," by which "He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified," and lay it upon the altar of God, as the atoning sacrifice for your sins. So you shall surely be accepted. The blessing of God shall descend upon you, and the constant love of that" friend that sticketh closer than a brother," will be ever with you. Yes, in that First-Begotten of God you will have a brother indeed, “a brother born for adversity," who will be your protector, guardian, and guide, unto death, and through death to Eternity.