Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

A Sermon
DELIVERED BY THE REV. H. MELVILL,

AT CAMDEN CHAPEL, CAMBERWELL, OCTOBER 24, 1830.

Genesis, iii. 24.-“ So he drove out the man.”

It hath been often argued, and upon discourse on the New Heavens and the the common notion of futurity I think New Earth wherein dwelleth Righteousvery justly, that heaven, whatever its ness: and the orator contends with joys, whatever its delights, would be all the strength of argument, that a place of tedium and irksomeness, what is material is not necessarily rather than enjoyment, to any one sinful ; and that New Heavens and New who has never been renewed by the Earth may justly denote á material grace of the Most High; and that be creation rising in purity from the refore the immediate presence of God, and novation of the Old. And whatever the chaunting his praises, can avail to may be thought in respect of this inthe constitution of our happiness, an | troduction of materialism into the essential change must pass over the coming state of the church, it strikes desires and affections of the inner man ; me that the common conception of and a new train and current must be heaven, as a place wherein a wicked given to the feelings, ere they can man could find no possible enjoyment, afford felicity in the occupations and has a direct tendency to lessen the pursuits which we generally suppose | | awful sanctions with which God has allotted to glorified saints.

girded about the future. For if you Now, there is truth in this reason- can prove to the sinner, as I have often ing; but possibly it may have been | known it attempted to be proved, that pushed somewhat beyond its due and | even if he obtain admission into legitimate bounds. It is not much heaven, he would find it so wearisome that is revealed to us of our future | a scene that he would soon desire excondition ; but even the little which pulsion; it is quite manifest that you has been revealed, is diminished and render heaven less desirable to him, ground down by our manner of hand- | and the fear of banishment from ing it: and we are not always wise to heaven less appalling. If he is certain the extent of what is written, through that he could not enjoy it, why asfear, it may be, of seeking to be wise suredly he must be somewhat less above what is written. If the scrip- startled at the prospect of losing it: tural notices of heaven are obscure, and thus I venture to contend, that by our apprehensions are obscurer : and throwing materialism out of the quesalthough the Bible has introduced all tion, and allowing heaven to be octhe imagery of materialism into its cupied by none of the furniture and descriptions of heaven, we seem un- imagery with which we have become equivocally to conclude, that heaven familiar as dwellers on the earth, we will certainly be immaterial ; and we do virtually fritter away the apparatus entertain no notion, save of a shadowy | of motive and stimulous which is apand unsubstantial scene, inhabited by plied by the rewards and punishments aërial and impalpable forms; forget of another state ; inasmuch as we give ting all the while, that we shall our the impenitent transgressor ground for selves have bodies, and that though concluding, that although had he been these bodies shall be spiritual, they converted he would have gained much shall not, and cannot be actually which he would have then felt to be spirit. This idea-I mean that of precious, yet still, remaining unconmaterialism in heaven-has been verted, he loses nothing which to him powerfully worked out by one of the could ever have been valuable. greatest living masters of thought and You will naturally ask me what language-I mean Dr. Chalmers—in a connection these remarks have with

the words I have brought forward as to roam : there being so much left, the subject of meditation—" So he even when so much had been lost, that drove out the man.” These words Paradise could not be quitted without describe the ejection of our first pa- reluctance, although it could not be rent from Paradise, when by eating retained without alloy. the forbidden fruit he had fallen away Now, there can be no doubt that from the innocence of his early crea- Paradise was in many respects a retion. It appears to me that they ne presentation of heaven. The imagery cecessarily denote there was a reluc- by which, in the Book of Revelation, tance in Adam to depart, which ren- | the final condition of the Church is dered it needful to exercise some kind described, borrows sundry of its chief of compulsion. You cannot read the figures from the garden of Eden: the words, “He drove out the man," city with the gates thrown openwithout figuring our offending ancestor and the pure river of water and the lingering amid the lovely scenes of tree of life and superadded to all this his primeval habitation, retreating with material scenery, the shining and illuslow and weary footsteps, and turn- minating presence of the Lord God Aling ofttimes back to catch another mighty. But am I warranted in saying, glimpse of the sparkling land from that by all this phraseology there is a which he was exiled : and when you description of blessedness, no portion add to this, that no sooner had the whereof can be appreciated by nature, man been driven out by the strength and that in its very details it is susof the Almighty, than the Cherubimceptible only of being relished by with the flaming sword was placed to grace? I think that such a conclusion watch the entrance of the garden, you is utterly at variance with the tenor of will conclude, that as Adam was loath the words—“So he drove out the to leave, so did he long to return into man.” If the first transgressor still Eden. We may imagine him wan found Paradise exquisitely delightful, dering about the precincts of the glo- why would every other find heaven rious spot, able just to mark the wav most wearisome? And I ask again, ing of its lofty cedars, and to catch whether, with the scrupulous anxiety the music of its distant waterfalls ; with which we have been wont to shun but prevented from again entering, the introduction of materialism into whatever be the avenue by which he the composition of our heaven, we approached; for the sword, we are have not spiritualized away much of told, turned every way, guarding the the motive and enjoyment which might tree of life from human intrusion. solace the godly? We make the next

Now Adam was a fallen being ; world to possess nothing in common there had passed over his soul that with the present world : and by thus · change which gave a perverse bias to removing it wholly without the sphere his desires and affections : and Paradise of present knowledge, we render it was a holy place; and the peculiar comparatively inefficient either for presence of God was there; and it had stimulous or comfort. been prepared as the residence of crea- ! I throw out these hints as suggested tures possessing in all its unsullied by the peculiar character of the exbeauties the image of the Creator : and pression, “ He drove out the man;" nevertheless the fallen being clung to which it would be easy to enlarge into the pure and holy dwelling. The man a lengthened discoure. But I know had become depraved; yet Paradise not how it can be doubted that the had not become distasteful: he had garden of Eden was in no sense a luxrendered himself unworthy its enjoy. urious and a Mahomedan dwelling; ments; but it does not appear he but that it served as a holy temple, as had made himself incapable of them. the tabernacle of Israel when crowded “So be drove out the man." Adam with its altars, and cherubim, and sanccould still have gladly tarried : and tuary. It has been conceded, that at although compelled by a sense of his least the tree of knowledge of good guiltiness to hide himself when he and evil, and the tree of life, must heard the voice of his Maker, he would have been of a sacramental nature : willingly have remained amid the very there could have been no inherent virscenes over which this voice was wont tue in the fruit of a material tree to

communicate knowledge or life." But But again-as this expression, “He such fruits,” says Bishop Horne,"might | drove out the man,” implies a reluctbe ordained as a sacrament, on the ance on Adam's part to quit Paradise, participation of which certain effects so it may also denote a repugnance to would follow; such an institution being the new dwelling whereof he was to conformable to reason, and to the na- be the tenant. He must henceforward ture of man and religion.” And the go forth to eat his bread in the sweat more we thus survey Paradise as an of his brow, and to till the ground on actual school of piety and devotion, which there rested the curse of its the less surprising appears the reluc Creator, and from whence thorps tance of the fallen being to depart and thistles were to spring up: the from its sphere: and I draw from this earth thus figuring by its produce, the reluctance more and more strongly the heart with its cares and its anxieties. inference, that we err in refusing to Now, I admit, that repugnance to associate the happy manifestation of enter the new, may be as strongly God's countenance with glorious exhi. marked by the words of the text, as bitions of material beauty: for it is reluctance to quit the old habitation. undeniable that the very creature unto The practical and important position whom communion with the Most High remains unchanged-namely, that all had become terrible, and who had dis that preaching proceeds upon a false qualified himself for sharing in the assumption, which taunts the unrepure and simple worship that was on generate man with an absolute incaall sides figuratively enjoyed, was ne- | pacity of finding any happiness in vertheless torn away from Paradise. heaven. Heaven would be heaven in And if therefore I discourse to an un contrast to hell, even if it were not converted man on the glories that are heaven by the enjoyment of its peculaid up in heaven, I feel I am taking liar delights. Heaven could never be low and unscriptual ground, if so irksome to the sinner, that hell I tell him heaven is a place in should cease to be appalling; and he which he could find no pleasure that never would exchange the tedium of every thing around him would be so l the one for the terror of the other, uncongenial to his taste that he would without being driven out by the mighty speedily long for emancipation from hand of the Supreme. the celestial abode. When I tell him But I forbear enlarging on the sinthat although he hath not the capacity / gular lesson which is thus incidentally of relishing the chief blessings of heaven taught by the expression, “ He drove -that he possesses not the faculties | out the man." Adam is, and must by which he might appreciate the be, regarded as the representative of noblest joys that are reserved to the our race; and his expulsion from Pafaithful, still that the new heavens radise requires to be surveyed in its and the new earth shall be paved with effects upon ourselves as well as in a jewelry, and carpetted with a dra reference to himself. I proceed therepery, on which his eye would gaze fore to discourse on the words,“ So delighted-so vast should be the de- / he drove out the man,” considering velopment of splendour that if once generally the human race as the party admitted (though such admission can thus driven : and I enquire,-FIRST, never be independent of conversion) he Whence, or from what, has this race would cling to the place, and rejoice been driven-SECONDLY, Whither, or in the place, and never think of de to what, has this race been driven. parting, until God by the strength of God's justice will be made conspicuous his resistless arm should literally drive under the first topic : God's mercy will him out.

shine as illustriously under the second.

(To be continued.)

London : Published for the Proprietors, by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand;

and Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country.

Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Court, Fleet Street.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Created originally in the image of of this character are not so much the Most High, man was the object of points to be explained, as points to be God's especial favour; and he pre-established. You cannot read the pared for him a present home of hap- brief record of occurrences following piness; and he designed for him a immediately on the fall, without perfuture abode of righteousness. It was ceiving that such a change had acbut a slight trial of obedience which tually passed on the dispositions of the Creator imposed on this his yet Adam ; and that this father of our innocent creature: and had he passed race had parted with the principles of unblemished through the term of his innocence, as well as provoked the probation, then we suppose, that, like penalties of guilt. The excuse which the elect angels, he might have been he makes to God for having eaten the confirmed in his uprightness, and se- forbidden fruit, involves almost a direct cured for ever from the possible risk and deliberate blasphemy. “The woof falling away from his first estate. man whom thou gavest to be with me, But transgression brought with it the she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." universal forfeiture of all these bless. I pass over the paltry and disingenuous ings; and so soon as man fell, he evasion by which he endeavours to was driven at once to the very ex- shift the blame on Eve; although this tremity of the scale of being, and ban- demonstrates that lofty integrity no ished to all human appearance, hope- longer bore sway within him. -"The lessly and finally, from communion woman whom thou gavest to be with and intercourse with Jehovah. Now, | me.” He tacitly insinuates that God it is much, yea, infinitely more than himself was the author of evil : he we have the power of estimating, from traces his disobedience to the gift of whence the human race was driven the Creator ; implying, if not directly out. They were driven from all in affirming, that had that gift been withwhich mainly consisted the image of held, or been more capable of resisting the Creator. They were driven from temptation, he should not himself rectitude of judgment, and uprightness have incurred displeasure : and thus of will, and from holiness of affection : his representation was strongly tinc. and so indissoluble was the connection tured with blasphemy. This stands between sin committed and nature cor. | forth as sufficient witness, that Adam rupted, that a depraved heart was the had become a corrupted as well as a result of a vitiated practice. The condemned creature : he was contransgressor, by one and the same act, demned, for he had broken a positive drove himself from all favour with command; he was corrupted, for he God, and from all dignity as man. had arraigned the proceedings of a And here it is that the doctrine of perfect being. Thus we must take the human apostacy gives most common consequences of the fall under a twooffence, and raises objections. Adam fold aspect : we have a share in the might have incurred punishment, but guilt of Adam ; and we have a share how could he have changed his very in the degeneracy of Adam : there is nature? - how could he have been penalty hanging over us on the one driven from the possession of his ori- hand, and there is pollution attaching ginal and inherent capacities? Points to us on the other. And when you

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

demand of me to explain all that from rigid as it hath been represented in which God drove out the human race, the declarations of a morose and biI must open before you two distinct goted priesthood—then I would make and separate store-houses. In the that individual tremble at the words, first there shall be the glories of im- “ So he drove out the man.” Thou mortality, and the crowns and palms canst not plead in extenuation the of accepted creatures : and from all thousandth part of what Adam might the enjoyments of the eternal inheri. have pleaded : thou canst not be betance, I tell you God drove out the loved as Adam was beloved : one ofman. In the second there shall be fence his-millions of offences thine : holy dispositions, and pure affections, thou canst not appeal as he might and lofty and noble desires; and from have appealed, to the holy commuall the array of feelings which belongnings of early days. He might have to unsullied innocence, I tell you that spoken pathetically of his former God drove out the man. Man, in the walking with God: he might have strictest and most unlimited sense, was dwelt on the sweetness of departed driven out from God: punishment hours : he might have implored forpursued him, and the power of seek | giveness by the memory of sanctified ing God was lost. So that it was not and enraptured friendship-and yet a temporary alienation; it was not the “he drove out the man.” I give you banishment of a day, or a year, or a the words independent of their concentury : for even had the penalty in nection with Scripture history; I tell curred been a finite penalty, still, in- you not in what part of the Bible they asmuch as there was now an obliquity are to be found : and I ask you for the in the will, and a corruption in the images which they must necessarily desire, man freed from punishment call up within you. Put the sentence, would still have been man far from “He drove out the man,” on canvass; God; he would have possessed neither and your picture will necessarily be the inclination nor the ability to re that of two beings-the one reluctant turn; and we are forced to conclude to quit some scene of enjoyment, linin the largest sense, that he was driven gering in its precincts, clinging to its out from holiness, driven out from confines-the other armed with the happiness, yea, driven out from God, apparatus of vengeance, relenting in who alone is the centre of whatever is no degree at the vehement supplicaholy and whatever is happy.

tions with which he is assailed, apNow, I stated to you, that in this plying to them a determined and overexamination of the whence, or from powering resistance, wrenching asunwhat, man was driven, we should be der the convulsive grasps of the agomet with a conspicuous display of the nized object of his indulgence, and justice of the Most High. You be- compelling him to depart. Is not this hold this justice as a most righteous the language of our text transferred to and unbending attribute : for here is the pencil of the artist? And when the very being for whose reception this picture is before us, and I write God had prepared this earth, and under it, “GOD DRIVES OUT ADAM," adorned it with exuberant displays of will there be one amongst us who his workmanship—the being to whom will deem Almighty justice a thing he had given dominion over the fish of with which he may trifle, an attribute the sea, and over the fowls of the air, on which he may presume without the and over every living thing that moveth danger of perishing in his presumpon the earth-here is this being, the tion? object of the tenderest solicitude of But I shall now pass on to the se-Deity, exiled and banished for one so-cond topic of discourse ; and from conlitary offence. The penalty had been sidering whence, or from what, the incurred, and not one jot of it shall be man was driven, I would show you remitted: the law had been infringed, WHITHER, OR TO WHAT, THE MAN WAS and justice must be satisfied. If there DRIVEN. be one individual who would presume I recently laid open to you the on the compassion of the Creator- opinion, that the mediation of Christ who would ever flatter himself that Jesus interposed at the very first injustice shall not at length be found so stant of human transgression, and

« FöregåendeFortsätt »