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1. There is not the smallest doubt, but that God, having created man in a state of blessedness, actually had a wish, that he might remain for ever in that happy condition; because the very immortality of the soul is a proof of this, which requires, that the happiness in which man was created, according to the intention of God, should be eternal; and the words in Gen. ii. 17, in which God threatened, that the breaking of the law would be followed by every evil, and by death itself, prove the same thing: consequently, that state of blessedness would have lasted for ever, had the law not been broken. But who could have supposed, that the infinitely good God would have created man with an intention, that, after having enjoyed himself for a short time, he should be deprived of all, nay, that at last he himself should for ever perish? However, the Holy Scriptures speak clearly on this point: "For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity," (Wisdom of Solomon, ii. 23;) that he might never be deprived of his happiness. From this we conclude, that if man had not broken the union by which he was closely connected with God, he would have enjoyed a most happy life on earth, and at last, according to the determination of his Maker, would have been translated
to heaven, to enjoy God eternally. Of this, we have an example in the person of Enoch; Gen.
2. Man is composed of a body and a soul, both of which have their peculiar affections. The soul being a pure spiritual being, longs after that which reason dictates to it, and can only find happiness in being united with God by virtue. But our bodily affections attach themselves most to what is agreeable to our feelings. Our bodily affections are neither sinful nor hurtful, so long as they are governed by reason, and never come into action, except when they are no hinderance to our progress in virtue. The happiness of man consists in this union being preserved betwixt the bodily and spiritual affections. So long as this union remains perfect, the happiness of man continues complete. But so soon as the bodily affections overcome the powers of reason, man errs from the right way, and such a deviation is a shock which demolishes the temple of happiness. Those affections which overcome reason are called passions; and because they bring the soul into an evil state, they are called vices ; and because through them also we break the law of God, they are called sins.
The state of happiness in which the first man was created, necessarily required, that in him
there should exist the most perfect union between the affections of the body and those of the soul, and that reason should reign over the whole man. Every one sees, that it was the duty of the first man, in order to preserve his happiness from being destroyed, as a reasonable and free creature, to make use of all his powers, to preserve himself from being overcome by the revolt of his affections against the dictates of his reason. Otherwise the danger was evident, of his being plunged into the most grievous miseries.
Behold also the infinite goodness of divine providence, that provided for man so many induce ments, fitted to preserve him in a state of rectitude, as are recorded in the sacred history; Gen. ii. Having made him, he settled him in a most beautiful and fruitful place, such as was becoming for the chief of God's creation. That place, on account of its inexpressible gaiety and fruitfulness, of the beauty of its trees, and most serene and wholesome atmosphere, is called in Holy Scripture Paradise; Gen. ii. 8.
Though this paradisiacal beauty and gaiety was a most evident proof of the goodness of God, yet (though God did not intend it should have such an effect,) it was capable of becoming an occasion of man's being attracted by the visible beauty of the
creature, and of his preferring it to that beauty, which pure reason finds in virtue and in God.
In order, therefore, to prevent such evil consequences, by a particular providential care of man, God warned him of them, by making known unto him clearly his divine will, that he might not, in defiance of his reason, cleave to sensual pleasures, but ever prefer that which brought him spiritual enjoyment with God.
This manifestation of the will of God to man was the law and the command, beyond the limits of which, for the sake of his own happiness, he ought not to have gone. This command is expressed in the Holy Scriptures in the following words: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it;" Gen. ii. 16, 17. And in order that this command might prove the more effectual, God gave man timely intimation, that, as soon as he should become a transgressor of it, he would overthrow all his own happiness; would fall into a most lamentable condition; would become the slave of his passions, and the butt of every temptation; that his body would be exhausted by numerous labours and diseases; and at last be forcibly separated from the soul, and pass into a state of cor ruption, and that the soul itself should for ever
be cast out from the presence of God. All this is implied in the following words of holy writ; "For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die;" Gen. ii. 17. From these particulars, you may clearly see the kind providential care which God exercised over man, in order to promote his happiness.
Of the transgression of God's command.
Man broke that salutary command which was given to him by God; and by so doing, overturned and destroyed that godlike happiness in which he was created.
1. The salutary preventive furnished by the merciful God, had not the desired effect upon man. His bodily affections overcame the powers of his reason; pleasure, by flattering his feelings, overthrew his sound reason; and material beauty and enjoyment were preferred to that which is spiritual and divine. Thus you behold in what manner this fatal fall of the human race happened, of which we are assured by the word of God; Gen. iii. Paradise abounded in all that was beautiful, and possessed all that was capable of charming the senses of man. But man was most of all attracted by the beauty of that tree, which was forbidden by the command of God, and which by