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he guilty of omissions, or commissions ?-What degree of punishment awaits him ?
48. In what does the guilt of ignorance consist ?— What makes the difference in these cases ?
THE FIRST GARDEN ;
“The wages of sin is death."-Rom. vi. 23. In the last Number, I spoke to you of Adam and Eve in their happy home; I tried to show you what made them so happy, and then told you of Satan's visit to them, and how Adam and Eve let Satan do the wicked mischief he had planned to do. I am now going to speak of the sad change in Adam and Eve and their home.
God had said to them, “ If you eat the fruit of that tree, you shall surely die.” Now God's words are sure; he cannot make mistakes. Adam and Eve have eaten the fruit. Now let us notice what happened afterwards, that we may see in what way God's words came true.
Very soon after Adam and Eve's sin, when the sun had set, and the air was cool and pleasant, a sound in the garden was heard by Adam and Eve, which made them tremble. Why did they tremble? They had often heard that sound before, and they had been always delighted to hear it; but now it frightened them so much that they hid themselves among the branches which hung thickly around. And what was this sound P It was the voice of God, who had come into the garden to visit them. This had been their greatest joy before; now they are ashamed and alarmed. What a change! How they had loved him before, but now their love to him is gone. How pleased they used to be to thank and praise him for his kindness to them, but now they are not inclined to thank him for anything. They used to be ready to do everything that was good and holy, and the nearer they were to their God, the better they were pleased ; but now their hearts are so cold, they seem as if they had no life in them: God had said, “You shall surely die," and this is part of the meaning of it.
You see that Adam and Eve have become like Satan already. Adam used to love Eve very much, and he used to thank God for giving her to him, but now he seemed out of temper with her, and is ready to find fault, even with God; for when God said to him, “Have you eaten the fruit which I commanded you not to eat ?" Adam answered sollenly, " The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
This was the terrible change in Adam and Eve's spirits; but there was a change too in their home. God would not allow them to stay any longer in the beautiful garden of Eden. God had good and wise reasons for this, as he always has for everything he does ; so Adam and Eve's home, once so happy, was theirs no more:
I think it must have been much harder to work in the ground outside the garden. Most likely the trees and plants would not grow 80 easily there. I think that Adam must have often sighed over his work, as
he cleared away the thorns and the brambles, or dug up the hard ground; for there was a change too in Adam's body; both he and Eve had pain very often now, and sometimes felt weak and ill. When Adam had worked in the garden of Eden it was nothing but pleasure to him; but now, after he had been busy, how tired he was, how worn out he felt. And then the thoughts would very often come : God has said that our bodies, which were made of dust, shall die and turn to dust again ; when will this be ? and as they felt their bodies wearing out, they dreaded the thought of it. But was this all that Adam and Eve had to dread when they thought of their bodies dying? Oh no ; Adam and Eve knew very well that their dying was a very different thing to the dying of a horse or a goat. They had spirits which would never die, which must always live somewhere. Could heaven be their spirits' home? The holy God had said, the unholy shall not live with me in heaven; they must be shut out, and be miserable in hell for ever with wicked Satan.
Adam and Eve have been disobedient; they are unholy. Can God break his word? Can he pass over this disobedience and take no notice of it, and let them live in heaven with him ? Although Adam and Eve are so changed, God is not changed, he loves them very much; though he hates their sins, he desires not to punish them, but he must keep his word, and he must show to all the angels, and to every one that lives, how he hates sin. Is there no way then for Adam and Eve to be forgiven ? Will God never smile on them again? Is there no way to open the gates of heaven for their spirits to enter ? There seems nothing before them
but a wretched life with Satan, for ever, in that place. where there is no love, no pity, no kindness. But in the next address I will speak of a wonderful plan, of which no one but God would ever have thought.
FROM THE FRENCH.
UNDER the shade of a great tree, men, women, and children had met one morning to listen to the words of a stranger who had come among them. His speech was plain and earnest. He invited the people to walk in a path to which he would lead them. He did not seek to persuade them by promises of a safe and pleasant journey, but he told them of the trials of the road they had to tread, of troubles to be met with, and dangers to be avoided. Yet, after all, he said, there was a safe and happy end to the road, and an abiding home, which he would share with them.
The crowd listened with silence; and when the stranger ceased to speak, some almost made up their minds to follow, and waited a little while, but afterwards turned away. Others left with looks of scorn and bitter words. One by one all went away, and the stranger was alone, No, he was not quite alone, one little girl stood near him. She heard all he said about the journey being a painful one, but his gentle voice and loving manner won her attention, and she wished always to remain with him.
She stood in fear and trembling; but when he
turned to go away, her eyes met his, and she arose and followed him.
At first the path seemed easy. She kept close behind her guide, and was pleased to tread in his footsteps. But as time passed on she felt weary, and was ready to ask if she might not stop and rest. “I am so young and weak !" she said. “How can I keep on if I have not a little time to rest ?" Just then the stranger turned, and took her by the hand.
She felt grateful for this kindness, and for some time afterwards the pleasure she felt made her forget how tired she was, and the thorns which had wounded her feet. But at length the way was so rough, that she fell on the ground, and was ready to give up the journey.
The little girl even suffered herself to fall asleep. A long time she slept, aud, on awakening, found the daylight was gone. She then stretched forth her hands in search of her guide, but in vain. She thought of all his former kindness, and cried, with tears, “ Oh! if I find him again, I will never leave him.” Not long afterwards she heard his voice, and again he stood beside her. And so day after day, night after night they went on their journey. Often, indeed, did the child linger on the road, but never again did she regret that she had set out.
Once, in a long dark night, she felt unable to go forward, when suddenly she heard these words : “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life.” She felt a hope that she was one of the lambs of the good shepherd, and would soon reach a safe fold above.