**** "The Church of GOD, if we may gather its judgment from the writings of the most approved doctors thereof in their several ages, hath constantly believed and asserted these two things: 1. That paradise was to Adam a type of Heaven; and that the never-ending life of happiness promised to our first parents, if they had continued obedient, and grown up to perfection under that economy wherein they were placed, should not have been continued in the earthly paradise, but only have commenced there, and been perpetuated in a higher state: 2. That our first parents, besides the seeds of natural virtue and religion sown in their minds, in their very creation, and besides the natural innocence and rectitude, wherein also they were created, were endowed with certain gifts and powers supernatural, infused by the Spirit of GOD; and that in these gifts their perfection consisted."--Bp. Bull.
O GOD, WHOSE BLESSED SON WAS MANIFESTED THAT HE MIGHT DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL, AND MAKE US THE SONS OF GOD, AND HEIRS OF ETEL NAL LIFE; GRANT US, WE BESEECH THEE, THAT HAVING THIS HOPE, WE MAY PURIFY OURSELVES, EVEN AS HE IS PURE; THAT WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR AGAIN WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY, WE MAY BE MADE LIKE UNTO HIM IN HIS ETERNAL AND GLORIOUS KINGDOM; WHERE, WITH THEE, O FATHER, AND THEE, O HOLY GHOST, HE LIVETH AND REIGNETH, EVER ONE GOD, WOL RD WITHOUT END.--Amen.
And GOD said Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: So GOD created man in His own image, in the image of GOD created He him.
THE mind of man takes a peculiar delight in becoming acquainted with important events that have occurred in the remotest antiquity. To retrace the footsteps of time, to go back to the beginning of things, to wander in the sacred obscurity of ages long since past, seems to lengthen the period of our duration, and to give us, if I may so speak, an existence before we were born. Then, we say, the general deluge overwhelmed the world; then, Israel was redeemed from Egypt, the law was proclaimed from Sinai, the temple of Jerusalem was built; then, the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, or Roman, empires rose; then, they attained to the summit of their power and glory; then, they were overthrown: as if we had been actually present to witness the succession of [5/6] these important transactions. Our souls are affected with pleasure, and expand with a consciousness of their own greatness.
What delight shall not we then experience, in meditating on a subject which brings us to the beginning; which is exhibited to our view, not in the obscure and fabulous writings of heathen authors, but delineated in the simple majesty of Divine truth; and which, so far from presenting scenes of ignorance or cruelty, presents to our contemplations the primitive, the blissful state of the human race. Here our attention is not only excited by the great antiquity of the subject, but we feel ourselves interested as parties immediately concerned. When we think of the venerable parents of the human race, when we consider their happy situation, and the intercourse which they held with Heaven, we are affected with gratitude and joy. That state of bliss, those delicious gardens in which they were placed, all those temporal benefits which they so richly enjoyed, and, especially, the favour and protection of the Creator, were not designed to be confined to themselves; but, if they continued obedient, to be transmitted and secured to their numerous posterity.
That there has existed a state of innocence and happiness we are led to conclude, not only from the Holy Scriptures and the deductions of reason, but from the tradition of various nations. The Romans [6/7] derived their literature chiefly from the Greeks whom they had conquered; and the Greeks from the Phenicians, Egyptians, and other nations of the East; so that on subjects of a general nature we may expect a great coincidence of opinion. Nothing was more commonly received among the Heathen nations than the belief, that there had existed a happy period when the ground brought forth its productions spontaneously, when violence was not known on the earth, when no evil was experienced, and when man lived a life of intercourse with Heaven. This they called the 'Golden Age,' which (they said) was of short continuance, and was succeeded by pain and trouble, "Such are the shadowy scenes, which, by the faint glimmering of tradition reflected from an original revelation, present themselves in that night of the world, the era of pagan fable and delusion; when the imaginations of poetry, and the conjectures of philosophy, were equally unable to supply the information which had been long lost, concerning the origin of the world, of man, and of evil." [Bp. Horne.]
I propose, on the present occasion, to consider the PRIMITIVE STATE OF MAN, as respects the perfection with which he was invested; the happiness which he enjoyed; and the future glory to which he was destined.
No other probable reason can be assigned for the [7/8] creation of man, or, indeed, of any class of intellectual beings, than the benevolent intention of the Creator to communicate to him some portion of that happiness which emanates from Himself as its first and all-prolific source. Hence, it may readily be conceived that, when the Creator spoke the world into existence, adorned it with beauty, impressed it with grandeur, and filled it with various accommodations for conveniency and enjoyment: when He caused herbs and flowers to spring up, the sea to abound with its inhabitants, and birds and beasts to multiply on the face of the earth;--He would also form a creature of higher order, who should be actively instrumental in displaying His glory, and with whom the Deity Himself could hold communion. Such, then, was man. He was lord of this lower creation, and was fitted, not only to taste the bounties and enjoy the various delights of a temporal nature, but to live a life of uninterrupted spiritual comforts. To this state all subordinate objects were agreeably accommodated. Tranquility reigned within; peace and order prevailed without. The heavens, free from pestilential and destructive vapours, were serene as his own soul, and presented to him only the resemblance of his Father's smiles. No tempests gathered in the air. No terrifying thunders rolled on high. No lightnings streaked the troubled sky with fire. The earth, his present habitation, was fertile and lovely; calculated [8/9] to produce every species of fruit, and every kind of supply necessary for his then happy state. The garden in which he was placed, prepared for his immediate use by the Divine hand, while it was adapted to the joys of innocence and contributed to the gratification of sense, at the same time was an emblem and pledge of a Heavenly Paradise; where supreme beauty was to be displayed, and higher delight to be enjoyed, in the more immediate presence and the more intimate communion of his Father. This was his primitive state.
But such an external state necessarily supposes a correspondent excellence in the creature who was to taste its joys. What, then, was the perfection with which man was originally invested?
Here we are abandoned by nature, by reason, and by tradition, which, separately or combined, possess not the power of informing us with what peculiar moral excellence man was originally honored. We would still be left in darkness, and to the uncertainty of contradictory and vain conjecture, were we not favoured with the light of Revelation.
With the needful information we are furnished by the writings of Moses. The record of inspiration lifts up the veil from the scene of Nature's earliest history, and unfolds the mystery of her birth. Within the compass of a single page, it tells more of the rise and progressive formation of the stupendous work [9/10] of creation, than is contained in all the volumes which the researches of philosophy and unaided reason have accumulated for the instruction of mankind. It transports us beyond the farthest limits of time and change, of matter and visible form: and exhibits to our view the streams of being as they issued forth at the command of GOD. 'O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all! Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone! Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts, the earth, and all things, that are therein!'
The whole account of the creation in the first chapter of Genesis abounds with sublimity. But sublimity was united with a benevolent concern, when man was about to be formed. With respect to the other parts of His works, JEHOVAH had uttered the word of command, 'Let there be light; let there be a firmament: let there be an universe.' Light appeared; the firmament was spread; an universe arose. But, with respect to man, this command was changed into one of consultation. [It is only however, in a figurative sense, and in accommodation to human conceptions, that counsel or deliberation can be predicated of the Deity.] 'And GOD said; Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness So GOD created man in His own image, in the image of GOD created He him.' To whom did the Almighty call on this interesting occasion? Did He summon the angelick host to assist Him in this last-finished piece of [10/11] His workmanship? But, 'who hath known the mind of the LORD?' Or, what creature, among all the exalted 'sons of the morning,' could counsel the Almighty? Or, who but GOD can create? Now this language being taken, as the language of the Divine records should ever be, in its plain and literal significance, must necessarily import, first, that there were other Divine Persons or Intelligences to whom GOD said, 'Let us make man;' and yet that their image, their likeness, was 'His own:' there was but one and the same image, one and the same likeness and yet it was 'our image and our likeness.' Here, then, in the mighty work of creating man, there were THREE IN ONE, or Trinity in Unity; and, in the likeness which was impressed upon the being created, there was ONE IN THREE, or Unity in Trinity. For this, again, however mysterious, there is a plain and prompt solution: 'I and the Father,' declared the LORD JESUS CHRIST, 'are One;' and He spake of the Spirit of Truth as 'proceeding from the Father,' and therefore, by necessary implication, proceeding from Himself; and, consequently, One with both. The image, then, in which man was created, was that of GOD the Father, and of GOD the Son, and of GOD the Holy Ghost; and it was the voice of the THREE IN ONE which spake, 'Let us make man after our likeness.'
But, here we may ask, what was that 'image' and that 'likeness?' Did it consist in corporeal form [11/12] and personal beauty, as some ancient hereticks supposed? Man, we find, differs in his external appearance from the inferiour animals. They, designed for a temporary existence, made only for the enjoyment of sensual objects, go with their heads prone to the ground, indicative of their final end. But man has an elevated front, and an eye which fixes on the heavens. Dignity is impressed upon his presence. He is, in a certain sense, a heavenly creature; for it was in this form he was originally made. If we discover in the figure of man, if we perceive in his countenance, if we discern in the brilliancy of his eye the remains of greatness;--what must he have been, when first he came pure and lovely from the Creator's hand? GOD could make nothing imperfect. We may, therefore, naturally conclude, that man was eminently beautiful and dignified in his primitive state. But still this was not the Divine image. Otherwise, those who at present possess, in an eminent degree, this kind of excellence, would most resemble GOD. But, how often (to our shame be it spoken!) are the attractions of beauty, and the elegance of form, united to vice, to meanness, to irreligion, to vanity and ignorance, to qualities which degrade the name and debase the character of man!
When man came pure from the hand of his Creator, he had dominion over every creature; over the noblest and stateliest of brutes that range the desert, and [12/13] the swiftest of 'fowls that fly above in the open firmament of heaven;' and his dominion was a rule of love. There was no violence in the tiger's spring, nor any venom in the serpent's fang. 'The wolf and the lamb fed together; the lion did eat straw with the ox; and the leopard lay down with the kid.' And whilst beauty and freshness were mantling the earth, and nature, in her various departments, was sending up the homage of her deep, though silent adorations--man was a being worthy to stand forth as king and priest of the glorious creation, to sway the sceptre, and present the devotions of the new province, with which GOD had enriched His empire. Nevertheless, the 'image of GOD' did not consist in this dominion: although the original subjection of the creatures must have been universal and absolute. Let tyrants, whose footsteps are marked by oppression and blood, who fatten on the spoil, and delight in the tears and groans of millions, exercise dominion; but let it not be said, with wicked irreverence, that in this they bear the resemblance of the Deity.
Man was created immortal. This truth we can gather from the threatening which GOD uttered, 'In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' Hence, continual life was implied as the reward of obedience. His body was free from ever seed of corruption; and, though it implied no contradiction to bring it to dissolution, yet, in his first state, there [13/14] was no inherent disposition toward such an event. No death could have taken place, where no act demanded punishment. It was not, we may be sure, through any fault in his original constitution that Adam fell away. He was indeed mutable, because he was a creature; and no created nature, not the very highest, can in itself be immutable. But neither the immortality nor the spirituality of man constituted the divine image. For the 'angels who kept not their first estate,' but were 'hurled' by Almighty power to 'bottomless perdition,' cease not to be spiritual beings.
Since man, as well as every rational creature, was made to glorify GOD and enjoy the bliss of His presence, we must look for the Divine image in certain properties which would qualify him for this happy and dignified end. Man must, therefore, possess a certain excellence, which, in the language of Solomon, caused GOD to 'rejoice in the habitable parts of the earth, and to take His delights with the children of men.' It must be a perfection, which makes it natural for Him to love the creature in whom it is found; such a resemblance of Himself as produces in GOD complacency, and in the creature holy desire. This, neither the beauty and authority which man possessed, nor his immortal nature, necessarily produced. He might have possessed all these excellencies, and yet, as we have seen, been an unfit object of the [14/15] Divine communion. Now the Deity is a Spirit, possessed of intelligence and holiness; and every creature endued, in his degree, with these perfections, must essentially resemble the Great Original, and be fitted for the most glorious and happy end. The similitude impressed upon man must, therefore, have been exclusively a moral image; and, as he walked the paradise which was full of sacramental mystery, and excited the homage of the beauteous world over which he had dominion, we may declare of him that he was like the Creator, (not because he was beautiful and immortal, and chief in his appointed sphere, but) because the motions of his Spirit were all in righteousness, and the understanding and the will and the affections harmonized in holiness.
This exactly accords with the declarations of Scripture on this important subject. In this sense the apostle congratulated the Colossians, that they had escaped the pollutions in which they had formerly lived, and adopted the principles of purity established in the Gospel: 'ye have,' said' he, 'put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.' With very little variation of phraseology, he enjoins the Ephesians to walk worthy of their Christian profession: 'Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind.' This expression, while it explains what the Divine image was, in its connexion [15/16] infers also that it is lost, until the regenerating influences of the HOLY SPIRIT restore it: 'Be ye renewed in the Spirit of your mind; and put ye on the new man, which, after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.' Here we are plainly informed what was the perfection which man enjoyed, and the glory with which he was crowned in his primeval state. The benevolent purpose for which CHRIST came in the flesh, the end for which He fulfilled all the demands of the law by His complete obedience and His agonizing death, was to restore man to the happy and honourable condition in which he was first placed. There are 'given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; whereby, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, we may be made partakers,' as at first, of the Divine nature.' 'Through CHRIST we have access by one SPIRIT unto the FATHER.' 'As many as are led by the Spirit of GOD, they are the sons of GOD.' The image of GOD, which is designed to be both perfect and continual, is again imparted when we are 'born of water and of the Spirit,' and thus enter into the Kingdom of GOD; when we have 'put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,' and 'put on the new man, which after GOD is created in righteousness and true holiness'; when we follow, in our conduct, the example of our Master, and embody, in our conversation, 'the mind that was in CHRIST.'
 In the texts just now quoted, we find that the new man consists in righteousness, in true holiness, and in knowledge. These are expressly said to be 'after,' or, 'according to GOD; and 'after the image of the Creator.' If, therefore, man be restored by Redemption to the original likeness of the Deity, and if this renewal or restoration consist in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; then the conclusion is undeniable, that this was the perfection in which man was made.
How extensive or how profound was the knowledge of our first parent, the Scriptures do not declare. Whether it embraced those objects which surrounded him, made him acquainted with the laws which regulated the heavenly bodies, or unfolded to him the properties of plants, and of animals,--it is impossible for us with certainty to say. We are informed by the sacred historian, that 'the Lord brought to Adam every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, to be named'; and it is worthy of remark that the names of animals, in the Hebrew language, are peculiarly expressive of their natural qualities.
But there are certain truths, which lie as the foundation of duties, forming the basis on which all the reasons of Divine worship are built. With these Adam must have been intimately acquainted.
He knew GOD in His nature, perfections, and manner of existence. Some have maintained that Adam [17/18] was not acquainted with his Maker as to the manner of His existence, and was of course ignorant of the mystery of the Trinity. But, what can be more rational than to suppose, that a doctrine so important to the human race was communicated from the beginning, that men might know whom they worshipped, and how they ought to worship? If it was the duty of Adam to pay supreme homage to his Maker, as certainly it was; if he engaged in that duty, of which we can entertain no doubt; if he was accepted of GOD in his worship; then it must have been true. But how could he have paid a true obeisance, unless he had known GOD as He existed? Had he been ignorant of his Maker in this respect, the object of his love and of his pious services would not have been 'The Holy, Blessed, and Glorious Trinity,' but an imaginary being. Therefore, although no creature, however excellent, can fully comprehend GOD, yet
it is a satisfaction, it is a comfort, to reflect that, in this momentous article of our faith, we have patriarchs and prophets for our fathers; that they lived, and that they died in the belief of it; that the GOD of Adam, of Noah, and of Abraham, is likewise our GOD; and that, when we adore Him in three Persons, and give glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, we do as it was done in the beginning,. is now, and ever shall be." [Bp. Horne.]
 Great and exalted must have been the views which tour first parents had of the Deity. Their understanding, perfect for the ends designed, was a lamp always burning. They contemplated GOD in His eternity, in His independence, in His omnipresence, and unchangeableness. They viewed Him as the Supreme Good, infinitely wise, holy, and glorious.
But man, in this blissful state, not only knew his Maker, but he knew himself. He saw that he was a creature, called into being through the bounty, and supported by the power of GOD; Who, naturally, had a right to all his services and his praise; and to Whom he actually and justly belonged. He saw the necessary relation which subsists between the Creator and created, and on which all religious worship is founded.
Hence, he knew the Law, that rule of conduct, which it was his obligation to obey in thought, word, and action. This law, consisting in love to GOD and His creatures, was written originally upon the human mind; was afterward proclaimed to the children of Israel from Sinai; and, expressing the moral perfections of Deity, was unchangeable in its obligation, and eternal in its nature.
But as knowledge alone, however perfect and extensive, does not necessarily produce happiness in the creature, nor make him an object of the Divine love, the image of GOD must have included something else. [19/20] This, agreeably, to the language of St. Paul already mentioned, was righteousness and true holiness. The first of these words may mean a conformity of heart and principle to that part of the moral law, which regards our neighbor; the latter, a similar conformity as it regards GOD. Man was made upright and holy. He was created according to that rule which was the pattern of moral excellence; and his nature was similar, in the most important respects, to that of GOD. He hated all sin. He was pure and orderly in all his affections. This was absolutely necessary for the enjoyment of happiness: for, in the language of a pious writer, as troubled water is unfit to receive the image of the sun; so the heart, filled with impure and disorderly affections, is not fit for Divine communion."
This, then, was the perfection of man in the state of innocence. His understanding was enlightened; he was acquainted with his Creator in His nature, His attributes, and manner of existence; his will was conformable to the Divine law; and his affections were pure, and fixed upon holy objects. Can any one, therefore, conceive that the will of holy Adam was placed, as it were, in an exact balance between good and evil; inclined no more to one than the other? How, then, could he have been made after the image of GOD? How could his righteousness have been a resemblance and his holiness an [20/21] expression of the Holiness and Righteousness of GOD? If a copy be made after a certain pattern, if an edifice be erected according to a given model, must they not bear a similitude to the original? Holiness and sin are infinitely distant, are opposite extremes, and are contradictory the one to the other. The one is light, the other darkness; the one is supreme beauty, the other odious deformity; the one is all excellence, the other imperfection; the one is strictly conformable to order and naturally productive of happiness, the other is the source of confusion and the inevitable cause of misery. How then could man, who was rendered lovely by the moral excellence which adorned his soul, be indifferent to that which he knew, which he saw, which he felt, and which he was convinced by his sweetest experience was the supreme good!
Besides, are not sinners, by the quickening and sanctifying operations of the Spirit of GOD, made new creatures, and renewed according to that Divine likeness which Adam possessed? Are their wills then left in a state of indifference? Or, are they not rather 'constrained by the love of CHRIST' to desire after a greater conformity to GOD? Once they preferred the world to heaven, and were devoted to objects of sense. But, when they are visited in mercy, when they are 'convinced of sin,' and alarmed at the deep crimson of their crimes; when they are made [21/22] to see JESUS the Lord as the 'chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely;' are their wills then suspended in even balance between good and evil, between pollution and holiness, between tile creature and GOD? Common sense, the experience of Christians, the Word of GOD,, will answer with denial. If, then, in this imperfect state, where the image of GOD is not absolutely restored, there be an inclination of the soul toward GOD and holiness; how much more, when Adam was lovely in innocence and holy as an angel of the Most High!
How bright, how excellent was man, when from the hands of GOD he came, reflecting the purity and splendour of his Great Original. The King's son was 'all glorious within,' "O how did light shine in his holy conversation to the glory of the Creator! while every action was but the darting forth of a ray of that unmixed light, which GOD had kindled in his soul; while that lamp of love, lighted from Heaven, continued burning in his heart, and the law of the Lord, put in his inward parts by the finger of GOD, was kept by him there as in the Most Holy Place." [Boston's Fourfold State.] There was no impurity to be seen without; no uncleanness existed within. The tongue spoke nothing but the language of Heaven; for his communion and fellowship were with his Maker.
This spirituality was the tablet on which the Divine [22/23] image was inscribed; immortality was its native effect; dominion over the creatures was one proof of its existence: and exquisite beauty and dignity of form was an external evidence of similar qualities within.
How great then was the happiness which man enjoyed, and how unspeakable the future glory to which he was destined!
Possessed of these eminent qualities, not only free from all taint of impurity, but adorned with holiness, Adam must have drank of the pure waters of unmixed felicity. Who of the children of men can tell what it is to be unacquainted with the visitation of pain, the alarms of fear, the pale apprehensions of terror? Who can declare what it is to feel an invariable composure, and to enjoy peace perfect and uninterrupted? But, however numerous were the sources of delight in the state of innocence, however gratifying to Adam that every thing around him was tranquility, that the earth and the heavens contributed fo his enjoyment, that the inferiour animals were mild in their natures and subject to his commands, that the flowers bloomed beneath his feet and regaled him with their rich fragrance, that beauty every where charmed and grandeur exalted his soul; the chief ingredient of his happiness--that, without which nothing could produce substantial and permanent joy, and, with which, whatever loss he might sustain, nothing could rob [23/24] him of felicity,--was the favour and communion of GOD. Ah! my brethren, surround a creature with every enjoyment found in the circle of temporal things; elevate him to the highest stations of honour; endue him with a wisdom which shall astonish the world; let him sway the sceptre over nations, and receive universal homage; give him not only power, but that mildness of nature which shall win, and that dignity of character which shall awe mankind: yet, without the favour of that Being who fills all space, who can kill and make alive,' who is the only-satisfying portion of the soul, he can never enjoy true happiness in time, and in eternity must lie down in sorrow.
Our first parents held communion with GOD. What an unspeakable condescension! Infinite Excellence stoops from its throne of glory, to smile upon the work which it had made! However great this favour, it is strictly natural; for, wherever GOD beholds, He loves His own image and likeness. A holy creature is intimately united to the great Creator, pants after the enjoyment of Him, and delights to be in His presence. Now, is it reasonable that GOD should plant in the soul such heavenly desires, and not gratify them? Shall He say to the creature, 'Thou shalt be holy as I am Holy; thou shalt see in Me the most overpowering and attractive loveliness; thou shalt earnestly and constantly pant after Me; but [24/25] thou shalt never rejoice beneath the light of My countenance, thou shalt never taste My love, thou shalt never enjoy My communion?' My brethren, it is impossible. GOD cannot but love a holy creature; and every intelligent being, from the first moment of his existence, is favoured with the affection and communion of the Almighty Creator. This is the true natural state. It cannot be otherwise; else JEHOVAH would discover an indifference to His own glorious image; He would abandon an innocent being to misery. This happy natural state is continued, without interruption, to all rational creatures who have never sinned. Do you ask in what this communion consisted, as enjoyed by our first parents? Inquire of Paul, who was 'caught up into the third heavens,' and heard unspeakable words which it is not 'lawful for a man to utter.' Inquire of the bright and holy angels, who stand around the throne of GOD, and are as 'flames of fire' to do His will. Ask of the 'spirits of just men made perfect,' who express their gratitude in unceasing hymns of praise. Apply to the humble Christian, who, in believing, 'rejoices,' at times, with 'joy unspeakable and full of glory.' Dearly beloved, you will never taste the sweetness and the rapture of communion with GOD, till you shall be renewed by His Holy Spirit, and till the Divine image be formed in your soul. None will know it in its perfection as it was enjoyed in [25/26] Paradise, till this 'corruptible shall put on incorruption,' and this 'mortal shall put on immortality.' For, now, our highest joy is but languor, compared with our future fulness of bliss; our present light but a lamp, compared with the future and eternal shining of the 'Sun of Righteousness;' our present happiness but a stream, compared with the vast, deep, interminable ocean of felicity above. Does the countenance of a friend inspire us with gladness? Do the presence and the smiles of an earthly parent create joy in our souls? Does the approbation of the wise, the pious, or the great, constitute a source of sweet gratification? What, then, ye friends of JESUS, ye humble followers of the Lamb, what will be your rapture, what the rich and lasting harvest of your hope, when, all tears shall be wiped from your eyes;' when the light of your Father's countenance shall kindle in your souls a joy, unknown, untasted before, and which shall never be allayed! Similar to this was the communion of Adam with his GOD.
But this was not all the privilege belonging to the primitive state. The works of GOD are progressive, advancing from perfection to perfection, from glory to glory. His rational creatures, whilst they continue unstained by sin, not only remain happy and immortal, but increase in excellency as they advance in the duration of their existence. Adam, innocent, holy, and happy, was not destined to terminate his earthly [26/27] course by descending into the tomb; but, after a certain period of obedience, to change this earthly abode for everlasting mansions--to leave these suburbs of Creation for the 'City, of GOD,' where His throne is erected, and where His perfections beam with brightest effulgence.
O man 'greatly beloved!' O Adam, son of The Highest, who would not desire thy state of primitive bliss! who would not love and obey that bountiful Creator, who hath bestowed on thee such distinguished favour! Ah, fond wish! Ah, sad reverse! * * * * * * * How fallen, how changed! How short the period of that bliss! How transient that brightness! How soon obscured that glory! How deep the subsequent wretchedness! * * * * * * * * * My brethren, casting a shade over the particulars of 'the Fall,' let us lift our eyes to 'the hills whence our salvation cometh.' The Divine image, though lost, can be restored, and we placed in a more secure and more glorious state than the first man enjoyed. We are invited to come, not to an earthly paradise, where was forbidden fruit, and where the wily serpent could enter; but we are invited by JESUS HIMSELF to enter the celestial Paradise, where flows the river of GOD, where flourishes the tree of Life, where no cares distract, where no passion bewilders; and where, for the sorrow and the sighing of this world, shall be the shout and [27/28] jubilee, the voices and harpings of ten thousand times ten thousand angels.
To HIM therefore, Who alone can do such great things for those who serve Him,--to GOD the Father, GOD the Son, and GOD the Holy Ghost, THREE PERSONS AND ONE GOD, be rendered and ascribed, as is most due, all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, both now and evermore.