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are so because the Scriptures distinctly represent the fall of man as the work of Satan alone.
But that would indeed be a monstrous supposition. What idea of angels, or of God who created them, can the mind have which can believe that beings so exalted in their nature, while hitherto incorrupt, could upon the mere presentation of evil--of evil judged, too, be induced to rush at once to side with and share in the ruin of the tempter ? Such an idea will not be for a moment entertained by a rightly-balanced judgment, and there remains therefore, only the conclusion that the fall of angels took place before the creation of man.
We may here observe that the Lord's words, “ The devil and his angels," naturally suggests, and has always been understood to signify, both the headship of the former and the oneness in evil both of him and them; and his intimation that the everlasting fire was prepared for them, warrants the belief. there existed, in the divine purpose at least, a future judgment for them, quite irrespectively of, and antecedently to, the creation of man.
The entrance of evil among the angels marks, therefore, an epoch in the history of creation, prior to that of the creation of man.
We might, without any especial warrant of Scripture, not unreasonably conclude, that the subsequent creation of man had some reference to that state of things. Is it possible, (we might argue) that the Creator could look with an eye of indifference upon the evil which had entered among so glorious an order of his creatures ? The punishment of some of them proves the contrary. But wherefore had not all of them met the same fate? If the vindication of his authority had been the Creator's alone end, that would have been at once attained by the simultaneous punishment of all the disobedient. Wherefore, the as yet unpunished state of some of the fallen angels, both suggests and warrants the belief, that some other object did exist in the divine mind, which would not have been attained by the summary punishment of the whole of the disobedient.
And if we reflect that nothing can be hidden from God, that he must, therefore, have foreseen that the evil which had entered among the angels would be brought into connection with the beings he was now about to create, in the very face, as it were, of such a state of things, the connection of man with that other object will seem invested with a degree of probability amounting almost to certainty.
It is perhaps no unreasonable conclusion, that the purpose of God in creating Adam was, that by means of the continuance in obedience of one, made lower still than the angels, the great condemnation in which they, created so much higher than he, stood, might be manifest by the contrast ; or, failing that, if Adam too should disobey, then by his medium, and that of his descendants, to evidence through their lower nature, both the fearful character of the evil: principle and its utter incompatibility with good ; whereby the final destruction of the agencies in whom that principle exists, will, in the great day when God will judge the world, be seen as not merely just, but to the glory of God imperatively necessary.
Two inferences may seem to be suggested by the above, which it is needful to meet.
1st. Do they give any colour to the thought that God purposed the entrance of evil? God forbid !
We are expressly told that God created both Adam and Eve in his own image, by which we are doubtless (for it cannot be understood of form or shape) to understand the moral image of God; and that supposes a perfect rectitude, without any the least bias towards evil. But as a creature not infinite, the continuance of Adam in the image of God necessarily depended upon his not departing from it of his own motion. Any exercise of the will which was in opposition to the will of God, would constitute a departure from the moral image of God. While, therefore, failure was a possible contingency, that failure depended upon Adam alone ; and of this he was fully and solemnly warned by the Creator. It is scarcely possible to conceive of subjection, without the idea of something by which insubjection is defined and may be known; or of control, without the idea of some term or limit by which it is asserted. God, therefore, appointed a test of obedience to the pair whom he had created. He distinctly forewarned them of the consequence which would acrue to them if they disobeyed his prohibition, " in the day they ate they would die,“ God also distinctly apprised them of the nature of the tree of which he forbade them to eat; he called it the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In these words it was plain that it was of the entrance of evil knowledge alone they were forewarned ; the result
that. What circumstances can more fully vindicate the name of God from the thought that He designed or desired the fall of his creatures ?
2nd. Does the supposition that God created man with the foreknowledge that he would fall, sanction the thought that he has purposed that the eternal consequences of the entrance of sin should necessarily result to those whom he created at the first, or to any of their descendants ? God forbid ! We read in Gen. i. 28, that when God created the man and the woman in his own image, he blessed them; and in Gen. v. 2, the same thing is repeated, but with the additional circumstance that God blessed them in the day when they were created. When we consider the immutabilty of the character and of the word of God; that He does not repent, change, or draw back from that which he has once given, we perceive that in the very day in which God created the man and woman, his blessing placed them at once beyond the possibility that any eternal result of condemnation could befal them as a consequence of their creation. They had been blessed by the Creator, and thus his truthfulness to himself was their shield from the eternal consequences which might otherwise—but for that previous blessing-have seemed a contemplated result, necessarily accruing from the Creator's foreknowledge of the success of Satan's efforts to overthrow the newly-created pair.
And if we turn to the aspect of the entrance of evil upon the descendants of Adam, we shall perceive that the Creator has never designed that its eternal consequences should rest upon any one of them, as a necessary result of the fall.
Before any offspring had been even begotten by the newly-created pair, (for it was not until they had been expelled from Eden that Adam knew his wife, Gen. iv. 1,) God gave the promise of one who should bruise the serpent's head, meaning thereby in its purport towards man, the frustrating of his device for their ruin. From that moment a door of escape from the eternal consequences of the entrance of sin was set open before the fallen pair, not for themselves, for they were already within its sanctuary, but for their offspring even for all who should spring from them; and so Adam evidently. understood it, for he changed his wife's name. He had called her“ woman," now he called her Eve" because (so Adam judged) “she was the mother of all living." Nothing can more conclusively evince Adam's belief that the aspect of the everlasting covenant in the promised seed, was one of life towards all who should be born of Eve.
It is not seen from Adam's words alone, but from those of God himself, that his design in the promised seed was to afford a free escape from the eternal consequences of the entrance of sin, to all the descendants of Adam. It is for this very reason that the cases of Cain and Abel occupy so prominent a place. They were the first-born of the now sinful Adam, and that which may be gathered from them, must necessarily apply, in principle, to all his other descendants.
In process of time, Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to God. But Abel brought a sacrifice of blood, an offering of blood to God. The offering of Cain was not regarded—that of Abel visibly accepted.
The Scriptures in another place give us the key to this. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain; by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts.” (Heb. xi. 4.) That is to say Abel pleaded the blood of the everlasting covenant-he had faith in the atoning blood of the promised seed, and was accepted as righteous; that is, he had escaped the consequences (eternal condemnation of the entrance of sin by Adam's means.
Cain on the other hand had no such faith ; he would do according to his own pleasure. In that he had not done well ; and was therefore not accepted.
; His countenance fell, and he was angry.
The words, at once of gentle expostulation, encouragement, and of warning, which were addressed to Cain by the Lord, are both the counterpart of the language he is now holding to all men, “ beseeching sinners to be reconciled to himself ;' and establish beyond dispute that he had no desire that Cain should perish, but rather that he should come to repentance. “And the Lord said unto Cain, why art thou wroth, and why is thy countenance fallen ? If thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted ? (and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door) and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him !” (Gen. iv. 3–8.) In these words Cain was told, that the rejection of his offering had arisen from no partiality to Abel, but was the alone result of his not having done well,-(that is, according to the will of God) in the offering he had brought. Yet-he was told—the door was still open ; that, if he would do well, as Abel had done, he would certainly be accepted, and that the further results of such obedience would be, that he should continue in his place of superiority over his brother, as the first-born, and be of necessity therefore the heir of Adam's blessing. But with these words of gentle expostulation, there was solemn warning mingled; they have been marked with parentheses, and are introduced with a singular beauty, reminding us rather of the mode of speech of a parent to a sullen child. The warning is but touched upon, and then the thread of expostulation and promise is resumed. But it was solemnly declared to Cain that he was on the very threshhold of sin.
Cain would not hear, neither would he offer the blood of lambs. Wherefore the sin, of which he had been forewarned, entered his soul, and he shed the blood which cried to God, not for pardon, but for vengeance alone.
He wlio will ponder these things will (unless like Cain he prefers his own
thoughts to those of God), not fail to see the essential distinction between foreknowledge and design. The former is essentially of a passive character, and before men can wring from it any theory implying an active purpose of the Creator against his creatures, they must set aside the opposite inference so plainly discernible in the details of the fall, and contradict his own word, that “He wills not that any should perish, but that all shall come to the knowledge of the truth."
In seeking to meet the evil which might seem couched under the assumption that the purpose of God in creating man was to bring, by his medium, the nature of evil to its full manifestation and final decision, we have arrived at the perception that such a purpose did not necessarily involve the eternal ruin either of the first man, or of any of his descendants. But that is not all. We may justly affirm, that the provision of a way of escape, available to all, amounts to a positive protest, on the part of the Creator himself, against the thought that he has designed or desired that any should perish as a consequence of his act in the creation of Adam : for there can be no necessity to perish where a free way of escape has been provided.
Let us now trace the result of man's creation upon Satan, and those of the angels who are linked with him in evil.
The idea which resolves Satan's motive in seeking the overthrow of Adam into simple envy, or into a simple desire to act in opposition to God, seems very inadequate to the occasion.
It is much more probable that he felt that God's purpose in the creation of Adam, bore in some way upon himself. We can see, that if Adam had maintained a perfect conformity to the will of God, that fact would have borne upon him in condemnation. If we consider the comparative feebleness of the newlycreated pair, measuring it only by the fact that they were limited to the spot which had been created for them, and of whose very dust they had been made, while he, a being by creation of incomparably greater glory and power, whose energies even space itself can scarcely be said to limit, was yet, in one thing, their inferior! They had the blessing of God, while he had it not; and should they continue in the sunshine of that blessing, how deeply degradinghow full of condemnation would that fact be to him! What, to him, was all his own personal glory and power, so long as one sat, upon the ground of personal integrity, "in the king's gate ?" Satan therefore resolved to overthrow Adam, and he attained to it by means of the woman.
By this most evil act, Satan let loose upon the world both the terrible evil of the death of the body, and all other miseries, of what kind soever, which have resulted to the human race in consequence of it. But it is not only as opening the flood-gates of evil that the fearful power of the evil principle in Satan is seen ; it is seen no less in the fact that he and his angels have thrown their whole energies into incessant efforts to foster the principle of evil which himself brought in, and to aggravate it into continual outbreaks of adultery, murder, and depravity: it is seen, finally, and yet more fearfully, in the fact that both he and they are unceasingly occupied in blinding the eyes of men to the sole way of escape from the entrance of sin which the mercy of God has provided in Christ; and thus, not only the original fall of man is traceable to Satan, but their final and eternal ruin, will have been the alone work of his hands! How fearful the manifestation of the nature of the principle of evil, in its effects upon Satan and his angels, has he himself made by means of men.
It may be summed up in the words perfect, immitigable hatred to God and to man.
But in the very hour in which Satan overcame Adam, he found he had done so to his own ruin. He found that if God's purpose in the creation of Adam had been frustrated in one aspect of its condemning power upon him, it was nevertheless still to bear upon him in another, and yet more terrible manner.
There can be little doubt Satan had no.conception whatever that the “death" which was attached to the eating of the tree, had any other meaning than the entrance of sin. His words to Eve clearly evince that he perfectly well understood “ evil knowledge” would be the result of their eating ; for he told her more than God had seen fit to reveal. Satan said, “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened." Satan therefore plainly understood that the effect of eating of the tree would be the entrance of sin, but his words so artfully disguised that fact, that Eve was induced to expect increase of understanding alone-of a wisdom which should make her as God. She therefore ate of the tree, as did Adam, and straightway, even
as Satan had said, " the eyes of them both were opened”—but it was to a perception of evil alone,” they knew they were naked,”—and were ashamed: a feeling to which before they had eaten of the tree they were entire strangers. (See Gen. ii. 25.) This was therefore that for which Satan had wrought.
The conclusion is irresistible, that he had no conception whatever of the death of the body as a circumstance which was also to follow by the sentence of God, and which was to bring, in its consequences, irretrievable ruin upon his own head.
After hearing the statements of Adam and Eve, the first words of the Creator were addressed to the tempter. The aspect of the promised seed was that of destruction to the tempter personally.
The sentence of the death of the body, which was passed at the same time upon Adam, revealed to Satan the means by which his destruction would be accomplished. Even, therefore, from the moment he had deceived Eve, the hours began to strike, which would in the fulness of their time, eventuate in the incarnation and death of the promised seed of the woman, and terminate in the irretrievable ruin of Satan and of all who are linked with him. The promise, to the poor beings whom he had deceived, of the future rising of the Sun of Righteousness, to shine for ever in an unbroken day of blissful eternity ; hoded no less to the deceiver, the coming of an eternal night—that final separation of darkness from light, in a place which will be lurid, not light, with the burning of the lake of fire and brimstone for ever! And herein will Satan, in due time, experience the fulfilment of that word of God, “Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray into an evil path, he shall fall himself into his own pit.” (Prov. xxviii. 10.)
We have thus traced the purpose of God in the creation of man to one of its ends, viz., the prospective destruction of the tempter, and of all of his own race who are linked with him in evil. That destruction is as yet future, for the bruising of the serpent's head will have its final accomplishment only when he shall be cast into the lake of fire for ever; and of that event the Apostle wrote more than 1800 years ago,
“ The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." To us that time still appears remote, but we must remember, that “one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as but one day: and we, ourselves, shall, when the great day of judgment is