Genesis 3:7
Narrative of the fall is of interest not only as the record of how mankind became sinful, but as showing the working of that "lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:11) by which the tempter continually seeks to draw men away (2 Corinthians 11:3). Eve's temptation is in substance our temptation; Eve's fall illustrates our danger, and gives us matter whereby to try ourselves and mark how far we "walk by faith." The SUBSTANCE OF THE TEMPTATION was suggesting doubts -

(1) As to God's love.

(2) As to God's truth.

The former led to self-willed desire; the latter gave force to the temptation by removing the restraining power. We are tempted by the same suggestions. The will and unbelief act and react upon each other. Where the will turns away from God's will doubt more easily finds an entrance, and having entered, it strengthens self-will (Romans 1:28). Unbelief is often a refuge to escape from the voice of conscience. But mark - the suggestion was not, "God has not said," but, It will not be so; You have misunderstood him; There will be some way of avoiding the danger. Excuses are easy to find: human infirmity, peculiar circumstances, strength of temptation, promises not to do so again. And a man may live, knowing God's word, habitually breaking it, yet persuading himself that all is well. Note two chief lines in which this temptation assails: -

1. As to the necessity for Christian earnestness. We are warned (1 John 2:15; 1 John 5:12; Romans 8:6-13). What is the life thus spoken of? Nothing strange. A life of seeking the world's prizes, gains, pleasures. A life whose guide is what others do; in which the example of Christ and guidance of the Holy Spirit are not regarded; in which religion is kept apart, and confined to certain times and services. Of this God says it is living death (cf. 1 Timothy 5:6); life's work neglected; Christ's banner deserted. Yet the tempter persuades - times have changed, the Bible must not be taken literally, ye shall not die.

2. As to acceptance of the gift of salvation. God's word is (Mark 16:15; Luke 14:21; John 4:10) the record to be believed (Isaiah 53:5, 6; 1 John 5:11). Yet speak to men of the free gift, tell them of present salvation; the tempter persuades - true; but you must do something, or feel something, before it can be safe to believe; - God has said; but it will not be so. In conclusion, mark how the way of salvation just reverses the process of the fall. Man fell away from God, from peace, from holiness through doubting God's love and truth. We are restored to peace through believing these (John 3:16; 1 John 1:9), and it is this belief which binds us to God in loving service (2 Corinthians 5:14). - M.







The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.
Homilist.
I. A CONSCIOUS LOSS OF RECTITUDE. Moral nudity (Revelation 3:17).

1. They deeply felt it.

2. They sought to conceal it.

II. AN ALARMING DREAD OF GOD.

1. This was unnatural.

2. Irrational.

3. Fruitless. God found Adam out.

III. A MISERABLE SUBTERFUGE FOR SIN. The transferring of our own blame to others has ever marked the history of sin. Some plead circumstance, some their organization, and some the conduct of others.

(Homilist.)

I. They suffered together. The immediate effects of their act of disobedience were of a sense of shame — "the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked" (ver. 7); and a dread of judgment — "Adam and his wife hid themselves," through fear, as Adam afterwards admits — "I was afraid" (ver. 8, 10). They were ashamed, then, and they were afraid. This was the fulfilment of the threatening — "Thou shalt surely die — dying, thou shalt die." There was present death felt, and future death feared. And as shame and fear drive them away from God, so, when they are brought into His presence, the same feelings still prevail, and prompt the last desperate expedient, of deceit or guile, which marks the extent of their subjection to bondage, the bondage of corruption. They do not deny, but they palliate, and extenuate, their sin. The attempt to excuse their sin only proves how helplessly they are debased by it, as the slaves of a hard master, who, having them now at a disadvantage, through their forfeiture of the free favour of God, presses unrelentingly upon them, and compels them to be as false and as unscrupulous as himself. Shame, therefore, fear, and falsehood, are the bitter fruits of sin. Guilt is felt; death is dreaded; guile is practised. The consciousness of crime begets terror; for "the wicked flee when no one pursueth." How degrading is the bondage of sin! How entirely does it destroy all truth in the inward parts! The sinner, once yielding to the tempter, is at his mercy, and having lost his hold of the truth of God, he is but too glad, for his relief from despair, to believe and to plead the lies of the devil.

II. God, however, has a better way. He has thoughts of love towards the guilty parents of our race. For the sentence which He goes on to pronounce, when He has called them before Him, is not such as they might have expected. It is not retributive, but remedial, and in all its parts it is fitted exactly to meet their case.

1. In the first place, their complaint against the serpent is instantly attended to. He is judged and condemned.

2. Having disposed of the serpent, the sentence proceeds, secondly, to deal with his victims more directly, and announces both to the woman and to the man a period of forbearance and long suffering on the part of God. Their fear is, in so far, postponed. The woman is still to bear children, the man is still to find food. But there are these four tokens of the doom they feared still abiding on them:

(1)The woman's pain in child-bearing;

(2)Her subjection to the man;

(3)The man's toil and trouble in finding food;

(4)His liability to the corruption of death.

III. And now, Satan being put aside, who, as the father of lies, prompted guile, and death being postponed, so as to give hope instead of fear, the sentence goes on to provide for the removal of the shame which sin had caused: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (ver. 21).

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

I. MAN CAN DISCERN NOTHING BUT WHAT AND WHEN, AND HOW FAR GOD IS PLEASED TO DISCOVER IT UNTO HIM.

II. IT IS A GREAT FOLLY IN MEN NOT TO FORESEE EVIL BEFORE IT BE TOO LATE TO HELP IT. Wise men beforehand see a plague and prevent it (Proverbs 22:3), and hearken for time to come (Isaiah 42:23), and indeed for this special end was wisdom given, that men having their eyes in their head (Ecclesiastes it. 14) they might foresee both good and evil to come, that they might lay hold on the one while it may be had, and avoid and prevent the other before it comes. As for after-wisdom, it is of no use but to increase our misery, by looking back upon our misery when it is too late to help it.

III. SATAN NEVER DISCOVERS ANYTHING UNTO US, BUT TO DO MISCHIEF. Thus he shows us the baits of sin to allure us; as he did to our Saviour Christ the glory of all the kingdoms of the earth, to entice Him to fall down and worship him (Matthew 4:8). Thus he discovers the means of affecting what our inordinate lusts move us unto, to encourage us to sin, as by Jonadab he showed Ammon the means how he might satisfy his lust upon his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:5), and by Jezebel to Ahab the means of getting Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:7), and if he shows the foulness of sin, after it is acted, it is to drive men, if possibly he can, into despair, when the case is desperate.

IV. EVEN THOSE WHICH DISCOVER NOT BEFOREHAND THE EVILS WHICH THE ERRORS OF THEIR WAYS LEAD THEM INTO, YET THEY SHALL SEE IN THE END, AND FEEL TOO THE MISERY INTO WHICH THEY BRING THEM.

V. SIN IS ABLE TO MAKE THE MOST EXCELLENT AND GLORIOUS OF GOD'S CREATURES VILE AND SHAMEFUL.

1. It defaces the image of God in them, which especially consists in righteousness (Ephesians 4:24), which sin perverts (Job 33:27).

2. It separates a man from God (as all sin doth, Isaiah 59:2) who is our glory (Isaiah 60:19; Isaiah 28:5).

3. It disorders all the faculties of the soul, and parts of the body, and consequently all the motions and actions that flow from them, and subjects us to our own base lusts and vile affections, to do things that are not comely (Romans 1:4, 26, 28).

VI. MEN ARE MORE APT TO BE SENSIBLE OF, AND TO BE MORE AFFECTED WITH THE OUTWARD EVILS THAT SIN BRINGS UPON THEM, THAN WITH THE SIN THAT CAUSETH THEM.

VII. GARMENTS ARE BUT THE COVERS OF OUR SHAME.

1. The first occasion of the use of clothing was to cover our shame.

2. The materials of it are things much baser than ourselves, in just estimation.

3. The apparel at the least doth but grace the body, but adorns not the soul at all, which is the only part wherein man is truly honourable.

4. And the outward person they commend also, only to men of vain minds, but to no wise or sober man.

5. And withal, do more discover the vanity of our minds than they cover the shame of our bodies.

VIII. MOST OF OUR NECESSITIES ARE BROUGHT UPON US BY SIN.

IX. WHEN MEN ARE ONCE FALLEN OFF FROM GOD, THEIR NATURE THEREBY CORRUPTED, CARRIES THEM STRONGLY FORWARDS TO SEEK HELP FROM THE CREATURE.

1. They Ere wholly carnal and sensual in their dispositions, and therefore easily carried after sensual and carnal things.

2. They cannot but be enemies to God, from whom they are driven away by the guiltiness of their own consciences, as having no cause to depend on Him whose yoke they have cast off, and therefore have ground to expect no help from Him, to whom they resolve to do no service.

3. And they are by the just judgment of God delivered over to abase themselves to vile things far below them.. selves, because they have not advanced God, nor glorified Him as God, as they ought.

X. SIN BESETS MEN AND MAKES THEM FOOLS.

XI. ALL THE CARE THAT MEN TAKE, IS USUALLY RATHER TO HIDE THEIR SIN THAN TO TAKE IT AWAY.

XII. ALL SATAN'S FAIR PROMISE, PROVE IN THE EVENT NOTHING ELSE BUT LIES AND MERE DELUSIONS.

(J. White, M. A.)

The real nature of sin, its disgrace and misery and ruin, are never fully known till it has been committed. The tempter veils it in a false and delusive garb, which can never be entirely stripped off but by actual experience. As a matter of assurance, Adam and Eve knew beforehand the miserable consequences of their breach of the Divine command: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." They could, therefore, have no possible reason to doubt on this point; the terrible result lay open before them; perhaps revealed in many more particulars than are recorded, for the history of this eventful period is exceedingly short; yet still nothing was known, or could be known, of the awful reality, till it was felt in the stricken heart, till the accursed step had been taken, and the wretched working stood confessed in all the blight and agony. And in similar ways he continues to deceive mankind: every temptation to evil is an instrument in his hand, promising by its appearance, or else in our imagination, some pleasure or some gain: this is the whisper of the same great adversary of souls, this a reflection of his deceitful image. Let us now seek, in the spirit of humility, to learn and apply the moral lesson of the text; which teaches us the direful consequences of sin, the evils with which it makes us acquainted, as the foretaste and assurance of the dreadful end to which it infallibly leads. It was not till the commission of their sin, but it was instantly after, that the eyes of our parents were opened; that the evils of guilt and disobedience flashed upon them in all their terribleness and extent. Their conscience was immediately smitten: new thoughts entered their minds, new and painful feelings arose instantly in their bosom: there was in them a sense of disgrace and degradation; love and confidence were gone, and shame had taken possession, and fear and trembling. We must all have felt, on manifold occasions, the sudden and painful effects of sin; the sharp convictions, the uneasiness and wretchedness, and not seldom the injury thereby inflicted upon us; the disgrace attending it when brought to light; our altered position in the esteem of men, nay, even in our own esteem. How often has the fairest character been blasted by only one transgression! and the humbled offender suddenly brought to perceive the truth of all the denunciations and threatenings against sin; what would he not give to retrace that one step, to recall that one word, to undo that one miserable deed? How sad and complete was his folly! How could he have been thus deceived and betrayed? What shame, what indignation, what grief, what abasement, what violent self-accusation, yea, what astonishment is raised within him! That he, a man of reason, a man of faith, a man of religious profession, one of the people of God, should have flung such discredit upon the whole cause, should have so sinned against the majesty and holiness, the goodness and long suffering of the Lord; should have admitted such corruption into that body which Christ has redeemed, which was made one with Christ, should thus have disordered and dishonoured and endangered his soul. I say, how many a servant of God has been distressed by such feelings and sentiments; sometimes hurried into wretchedness, lowered to the dust! I speak not of the hardened and abandoned sinner: of those whose consciences are, as the apostle describes it, "seared with a hot iron": when the mind and affections have grown long familiar with vice and iniquity, and have become inured to its effects, we must expect the feeling to be blunted, the moral eye to be judicially closed: the Spirit of God, which keeps alive the conscience, withdraws from the bosom of the determined offender, leaves it ordinarily incapable of emotion: I say ordinarily, because there are seasons, when even the vilest transgressors are suddenly roused and awakened to a sense of guilt and ruin; led, like the prodigal, to look back upon the happiness they have lost; and mourn, after a godly sort, over their evil and perishing condition. But this is a conviction not to be trusted to, often appearing too late: bringing disturbance and distress, but no comfort, no living hope of salvation. How blessed are they, whose conscience is quickly moved and opened to the perception of evil: there is a hope of their speedy recovery; no one, who is truly alive to the wretchedness of sin, can be content to abide in it: it is every way hateful and distressful, as well as dangerous, to the soul that is humbled under a sense of it: and the consciousness and sorrow and vexation of spirit frequently, as in the case of our first parents, follow the offence in rapid succession, and the heart is overwhelmed.

(J. Slade, M. A.)

The Fall of man was most disastrous in its results to our entire being. "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," was no idle threat; for Adam did die the moment that he transgressed the command — he died the great spiritual death by which all his spiritual powers became then and evermore, until God should restore them, absolutely dead. I said all the spiritual powers, and if I divide them after the analogy of the senses of the body, my meaning will be still more clear. Through the Fall, the spiritual taste of man became perverted, so that he puts bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter; he chooses the poison of hell and loathes the bread of heaven; he licks the dust of the serpent and rejects the food of angels. The spiritual hearing became grievously injured, for man naturally no longer hears God's Word, but stops his ears at his Maker's voice. Let the gospel minister charm never so wisely, yet is the unconverted soul like the deaf adder, which hears not the charmer's voice. The spiritual feeling, by virtue of our depravity, is fearfully deadened. That which would once have filled the man with alarm and terror no longer excites emotion. Whether the thunders of Sinai or the turtle notes of Calvary claim his attention, man is resolutely deaf to both. Even the spiritual smell with which man should discern between that which is pure and holy and that which is unsavoury to the Most High has become defiled, and now man's spiritual nostril, while unrenewed, derives no enjoyment from the sweet savour which is in Jesus Christ, but seeks after the putrid joys of sin. As with other senses, so is it with man's sight. He is so spiritually blind, that things most plain and clear he cannot and will not see. The understanding, which is the soul's eye, is covered with scales of ignorance, and when these are removed by the finger of instruction, the visual orb is still so affected that it only sees men as trees walking. Our condition is thus most terrible, but at the same time it affords ample room for a display of the splendours of Divine grace. Dear friends, we are naturally so entirely ruined, that if saved the whole work must be of God, and the whole glory must crown the head of the Triune Jehovah.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. The effects of the Fall may be arranged under three divisions: the loss of God's special gifts; the corruption of man's own nature; and his new position of guiltiness in the sight of God. And for our present purpose it will be most convenient to consider these now under two heads — the internal, which will cover the first and second; and the external, which corresponds to the third.

1. Viewed internally then, the effects of the Fall must be regarded as two fold. The one was negative — the immediate loss of that original righteousness which we have learnt to connect immediately with God's supernatural gift of grace. The other was positive — the wound, which struck instantly to the very heart of man's nature, carried poison along with it, which tainted all that nature with immediate corruption. The will had rebelled, therefore the channel of God's grace was closed. So much was negative. But within that cast off and isolated will there lurked a prolific power of fatal mischief, which immediately burst forth into positive evil. Hence sprung at once that "concupiscence and lust" which "hath of itself the nature of sin"; hence "the flesh" learnt immediately to lust against "the spirit"; hence came "the sin" that reigns in our mortal bodies; hence that other "law in our members," which wars against the law of our minds.

2. But all this evil was man's own work. It was man himself who closed the door of grace. It was man himself who severed his will from his only safeguard, by withdrawing it from dependence upon God. It was man himself who thus introduced rebellion into his nature, who caused this outburst of trouble and confusion in his heart. We must look to another quarter for the penalty which God imposed. And this is the external aspect, which, as I have said, demands a separate consideration. Man no sooner fell than he recognized the immediate certainty of punishment, and fruitlessly strove to conceal himself from the vengeance of his offended Creator. So weak and worthless was his new-found knowledge. It told him how he might hide his shame on earth; it could not aid him when he wished to escape the wrath of God. God's sentence may be briefly said to involve three different judgments; the first to toil and sorrow; the second to exile; and the third, which completes them, to death.

II. Let us pass then to that closing portion of our subject — the extension of the sin of Adam to ourselves, in connection with the doctrine of the Atonement of our Lord.

(Archdeacon Hannah.)

1. Yielding to Satan and suffering in evil are the twins of the same day.

2. Man and woman are equal in vengeance as well as sin.

3. Sin blinds to good, but opens mind and sight to experience evil.

4. Sin makes men very knowing in misery; wise to see their fall from heaven to hell.

5. Sin strips stark naked of spiritual and bodily good, and makes sensible of nothing but shame.

6. Sin is ashamed of itself, and seeks a covering.

7. Sin is very foolish in patching a veil or covering to hide from God — Leaves (ver. 7).

8. The voice of God pursueth sinners after guilt; sometimes inward and outward.

9. God hath His fit time to visit sinners.

10. God walks sometimes in wind and storms to find out the guilty.

11. Conscience hears and trembles at God's voice pursuing.

12. The face of the Lord God, which is life to His, is terrible to the guilty.

13. Sin persuades souls as if it were possible to hide from God.

14. All carnal shifts will sin make to shun God's sight; if leaves do not, then trees must closet them (ver. 8).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

What an opening of the eyes was this, my brethren! What disclosures followed! How much is contained in these few words, "The eyes of them both were opened"! Various are the circumstances under which men may open their eyes. After a dark, dreary, stormy night, the eyes may be opened to behold the dawn of a fine day, and the heart may be gladdened by the bright rays of the sun gilding the chambers of the east and restoring warmth and comfort to all around. After a night of pain and weariness on a bed of sickness, the eyes of the sufferer from a gentle slumber may be opened to a sense of relief at the return of light with respite from suffering. After a tedious and dangerous sea voyage, the eyes may be opened some morning to behold with joy the desired port at hand. Under these and a thousand such-like circumstances the eyes of a man may be opened with emotions of various kinds; but no case that we can imagine can be a parallel with the one now before us — even the condition of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, immediately after their fatal disobedience, when, yielding to the wiles of Satan, they ate of the forbidden fruit, and proved the truth of the Divine warning and declaration. The eyes of them both were opened to see the snare which had been artfully spread for them, and in which they had been caught; and what did they see? They saw misery before them; horror and dismay attended the sight, and their discovery was accompanied with the most galling bitterness. For all men are naturally more ashamed of being detected in sin than of committing it; and more desirous of keeping up a good opinion of themselves than of obtaining pardon from God, though they can hide nothing from Him, and can neither elude His justice nor recover His favour by any device or contrivance of their own. What a discovery must Adam and Eve have made when their eyes were opened! How appalling the conviction of their condition! They were fallen, degraded creatures; no longer holy, pure, innocent, perfect, but unholy, defiled, guilty, depraved. They recognized sin in themselves, they felt it: and although they vainly attempted to excuse it, yet they denied it not. They were fallen beings; guilt lay upon them, the anger of God pressed hard on them; their expectations were disappointed; instead of delicious enjoyment, they had bitterness to reward their pains; and although natural death did not instantly take place, the prospect of it was set before them, hung over them in suspense, and spiritual death was theirs. In this sad state we are all born, children of wrath, slaves of Satan, enemies to God, and by nature we are not sensible of it. Adam and Eve felt their change instantly; they had known innocence and happiness; they perceived at once the difference occasioned by guilt and misery. But we by nature are not sensible of our guilt and danger; our eyes are not open to behold our wretchedness: and hence we are not disposed to flee to that Refuge promised to Adam, and fulfilled and set before us in Christ Jesus. Like the church of the Laodiceans, we are disposed to say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." Our eyes must be opened to a sense of our danger and guilt; we must see spiritual things in a spiritual light; and then we shall not only see our guilt and danger, but the mercy, goodness, and love of God in stretching out an arm of salvation, and raising up a Saviour in the person of Jesus Christ. Having drawn your attention to man's wretchedness, and the cause of it, I must now invite you to consider the remedy provided for it, and freely set before us in the gospel. This St. Paul sets forth very forcibly (Romans 5): "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned"; "therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." The "Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil."

(T. R. Redwar.)

This one act, this one feeling, was, above all things, expressive of the fall of the whole condition of man as he now is; it is the sense of something within which we wish to hide. For it has been said that there is no man who would not rather die than that all which he knows of himself should be known to the world. It is the want of a covering which we so deeply and thoroughly feel. Our souls must needs dwell apart, isolated in this their own consciousness of ill. So that when we turn for sympathy to each other, yet language conceals as much as it expresses; and when we turn to God, our prayers immediately take the form of confession, though it be but to confess what we know that He knows; yet it is expressive of a burden which we feel, and which we most of all wish to get rid of; and in turning to Him our feeling is, "Thou art a place to hide me in": "Thou shalt hide me by Thine own Presence." "Hide me," — but from what? Not from other men only, but from ourselves. And what are the pursuits of busy life, but to hide from ourselves this our internal want and shame? "Thou sayest I am rich, and knowest not that thou art miserable, and blind, and naked." And what is the great dread of death? It is chiefly connected with this divesting and stripping off of all disguises, and going naked into the land of spirits. "For in this, our earthly house, we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon"; "if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." Hence the glory of the redeemed is to be "clothed" — to be "clothed in white raiment before the throne," and to "walk with Christ in white." The law of nature has become hallowed into the law of grace. "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked." Our great care is that we be not "found naked." The judgment and condemnation is, "Thy nakedness shall be uncovered." Further, another expression here in the text is remarkable and emphatic — "made for themselves"; "made for themselves," in distinction from the covering of God. It is fruitless, and worse, to strive to hide ourselves from ourselves and God. "Woe unto him, saith the Lord, that cover with a covering, but not of My spirit." It is in this our great want He has visited us: "When thou wast under the fig tree I saw thee"; under the sense of sin I succoured thee, and "thou shalt see greater things than these." His comings to us are called Epiphanies and Manifestations, as dissipating all vain disguises of the soul. It is said, "He will destroy the face of the covering east over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations." He unclothes us, that we may be clothed upon by Himself, "that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

(I. Williams, B. D.)

Sin had, like a snake from hell, crossed over and darkened human nature. A disease had appeared on earth of the most frightful and inveterate kind, moral in its nature, destined to be universal in its prevalence, deep seated in its roots, varied in its aspects, hereditary in its descent, defying all cures save one, and issuing where that one cure was not sought for or applied — in everlasting death.

1. The disease was a moral disease. This grand disease of sin combines all the evil qualities of bodily distempers in a figurative yet real form — the continual fretting heat of fever, the loathsomeness of smallpox, the fierce torments of inflammation, and the lingering decay of consumption, and infects with something akin to these diseases, not the material, but the immaterial part, and turns not the body but the soul into such a mass of malady that from the "crown of the head to the sole of the foot there is no soundness in us; nothing but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores."

2. Again, the disease introduced by the sin of Adam is universal in its ravages. It has infected not only all Adam's sons and daughters, but all of them in almost every moment of their existence. Their very dreams are infected with this distemper. The boa constrictor binds only the outer part of the body of its victim, although he binds it all; but the serpent of sin has seized on and knitted together individual man — body, soul, and spirit — and even collective man, into a knot of selfish, malignant, mortal distemperatures. The entire being is encrusted with this leprosy.

3. Again, the disease introduced by man's first disobedience is deep seated in its roots. It is in the very centre of the system, and infects all the springs of life. It makes us cold, and dead, and languid, in the pursuit of the things that are good. It, in fine, pollutes the fountain of the heart, and turns it into a "cistern for foul toads," instead of being a sweet and salubrious source of living waters.

4. Again, this disease is a hereditary disease. It is within us as early as existence; it descends from parent to child more faithfully than the family features, or disposition, or intellect. As the tree in the seed, so lies the future iniquity of the man in the child, and in this sense "the boy is father of the man." And even as letters are sometimes traced in milk on white paper, and are only legible when placed before the fire, so the evil principles in man's heart are often not disclosed till they are exposed to the flame of temptation, and then they come forth in black prominency and terrible distinctness.

5. Again, this is a disease which assumes various forms and aspects. Its varieties are as numerous as the varieties of man and of sinner. Each particular sin is a new species of this disorder. It has one aspect in the ambitious man who sacrifices millions in his thirst for renown. It has another in the petty tyrant of a village or factory. It has one aspect in the openly profane, and another in the hypocrite and secret sinner.

6. Again, this is a disease which defies all human means of cure. Many attempts, indeed, have been made to check its ravages and abate its power. Empires innumerable have stood up, each with his several nostrum in his hand as an infallible remedy for the evil; all differing from each other as to the nature of the grand specific, but all agreeing in this, that they offer a cure apart from the help of God. When we think of the enormous number of remedies which have been proposed, and are still being proposed, to effect the cure of the world, we seem standing in an immense laboratory, where, however, there are more labels than medicines; where even the medicines are, in general, exploded or powerless, and where we miss the true and sovereign remedy, the "Balm of Gilead." Yes, that bloody Balm, and balmy Blood, as it was in the beginning, two thousand years ago, is still the one thing that can effectually mitigate the evil of the disease of sin, as well as the only remedy that has the authoritative stamp of God.

7. We remark, again, that this disease, if not cured, will terminate in everlasting death and destruction from the presence of the Lord. And what a termination this must be! If men are at all moved by regarding this world as a vast bed of disease, they must surely be moved immensely more when they look to the next as a vast bed of death.

(G. Gilfillan.)

Some time ago passengers in the streets of Paris were attracted to the figure of a woman on the parapet of a roof in that city. She had fallen asleep in the afternoon, and under the influence of somnambulism had stepped out of an open window on to the edge of the house. There she was walking to and fro to the horror of the gazers below, who expected every moment to witness a false step and terrible fall. They dared not shout, lest by awakening her inopportunely they should be only hastening on the inevitable calamity. But this came soon enough; for moving, as somnambulists do, with eyes open, the reflection of a lamp lit in an opposite window by an artisan engaged in some mechanical operation, all unconscious of what was going on outside, aroused her from sleep. The moment her eyes were opened to discover the perilous position in which she had placed herself, she tottered, fell, and was dashed below. Such is the sleep of sin; it places the soul on the precipice of peril, and when the spell is broken it leaves the sinner to fall headlong into the gulf of woe.

(W. Adamson.)

As when Adam had tasted of the forbidden fruit, he espied his own nakedness, poverty, and how that he was miserably fallen, for remedy whereof he went about to hide it with fig leaves, and so shroud himself amongst the trees of the garden, so it is that too, too many of Adam's sons now living go about to cloak their sins with the fig leaves of their foolish inventions, and to hide their treacherous designs in the thicket of their wicked imaginations, covering their vices with the cloak of virtue. And hence it comes to pass that murder is accounted manhood; pride looked on as decency; covetousness as frugality; drunkenness as good fellowship, etc.

(J. Spencer.)

Wonderful in its depth of meaning is this expression, "the eyes of them both were opened"! They saw before; no new organs of vision were created; yet they saw what they had never seen, as we ourselves have done. Temptation blinds us, guilt opens our eyes; temptation is night, guilt is morning. In guilt we see ourselves, we see our hideousness, we see our baseness: we see hell! "Their eyes were opened," and they saw that their character was gone! You can throw away a character in one act, as you throw away a stone. Can you go after it and recover it? Never! You may get something back by penitence and strife, but not the holy thing exactly as it was. A stone that is thrown along the road you may recover, but a stone thrown at night time into the sea who. can get back again!

(J. Parker, D. D.)

"They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons." And this we have been doing ever since! We try to replace nature by art. When we have lost the garment sent from heaven we try to replace it with one woven from earth. But our deformity shows through the finest robe! The robe may be ample, brilliant, luxurious, but the cripple shows through its gorgeous folds. Ever since this fig-leaf sewing, life has become a question of clothes.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

A sense of shame either in regard to soul or body is not natural. It does not belong to the unfallen. It is the fruit of sin. The sinner's first feeling is, "I am not fit for God, or man, or angels to look upon." Hence the essence of confession is, being ashamed of ourselves. We are made to feel two things; first, a sense of condemnation; and secondly, a sense of shame; we are unfit to receive God's favour, and unfit to appear in His presence. Hence Job said, "I am vile"; and hence Ezra said, "I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God" (Ezra 9:6). Hence also Jeremiah describes the stout-hearted Jews, "They were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush" (Jeremiah 6:15). Hence Solomon's reference to the "impudent face" of the strange woman (Proverbs 7:13), and Jeremiah's description of Israel, "Thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusest to be ashamed" (Jeremiah 3:3). It was the shame of our sin that Christ bore upon the cross; and therefore it is said of Him that He "despised the shame." It was laid upon Him, and He shrank not from it. He felt it, yet He hid not His face from it. He was the well-beloved of the Father, yet He hung upon the tree as one unfit for God to look upon; fit only to be cast out from His presence. He took our place of shame that we might be permitted to take His place of honour. In giving credit to God's record concerning Him we are identified with Him as our representative; our shame passes over to Him, and His glory becomes ours forever. It was this sense of shame that led Adam and Eve to have recourse to fig leaves for a covering. What is it but this same consciousness of shame that leads men to resort to ornaments? These are intended by them to compensate for the shame or the deformity under which men are lying. They feel that shame belongs to them; nay, confusion of face. They feel that they are not now "perfect in beauty," as once they were. Hence they resort to ornament in order to make up for this. They deck themselves with jewels that their deformity may be turned into beauty. But there is danger here — danger against which the apostle warns us, specially the female sex (1 Peter 3:3, 4). There is nothing, indeed, innately sinful in the gold, or the silver, or the gems which have been wrought by the skill of men into such forms of brightness. But in our present state they do not suit us. They are unmeet for sinners. They speak of pride, and they also minister to pride. They are for the kingdom, not for the desert. They are for the city of the glorified, not for the tent of the stranger. They will come in due time, and they will be brilliant enough to compensate for the shame of earth. But we cannot be trusted with them now.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

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