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THE CURSE AND THE PROMISE.
GENESIS iii. 14-24. And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field : upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception : in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children ; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field ;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for
Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a faming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
When Adam and Eve fell in Paradise, the serpent, who had deceived them, was the first to receive sentence of condemnation. The curse, pronounced upon him by God, was very dreadful. Because Satan had done this cruel thing, bringing sin and death into the world, therefore no mercy was shown to him. The wrath of God is upon the devil and his angels eternally. In pronouncing this curse, God mingled with it a remarkable promise of redemption to man. Let us consider these particulars.
When we consider the condemnation of that old serpent, the devil, we shall find, from Scripture, that his condemnation is dreadful, beyond all that we can conceive: he is condemned to the lowest hell. Our Saviour speaks of “ everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
When St. Jude, in his Epistle, speaks of “ the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation," (that is to say, the devil and his angels, who fell from heaven,) he adds, that God hath “ reserved them in everlasting chains, , under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” And St. John describes the manner in which
an angel came down from heaven, having the key. of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand;" and how he “ laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan,” and bound him in hell.
But when God pronounced this curse upon Satan, he declared that he would put enmity between Satan and his seed on the one side, and the
woman and her seed on the other side. Here is a great doctrine. It signifies, that Satan and all the children of disobedience, who are children of the devil, will always be fighting against Jesus Christ : for Christ, the Son of the Virgin Mary, is “ the seed of the woman” here meant. And not only against him will they make war, but also against all true disciples of Christ. But then it is also declared, that Christ will gain the victory. We will give several examples of this.
Cain, the first-born of Adam and Eve, was of that wicked one, the devil. The devil was a murderer from the beginning; and he stirred up the heart of Cain to murder his brother Abel.
66 And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." Here was the first instance of Satan's enmity against the children of God. But Abel was exalted to heaven, and is had in everlasting remembrance. Thus was Satan's enmity overcome; while Cain was driven out as a vagabond, with a mark set upon him. .
Just before the Flood, the world had fallen into a most dreadful state.
66 The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Violence is one of the ways in which Satan endeavours to destroy mankind. Still, the race of man was not lost; though it depended on one man's family. Noah and his family were saved in the ark: and this ark was also intended to show forth the Church of Christ; which will always be safe, even when the world comes to the worst,
There are many more things, which we will say another time, on this subject. But let me now ask you one or two questions. Have you ever felt anger and hatred dwelling in your heart? I fear that all of us have sometimes fallen into sinful tempers. But what a dreadful thing this is ! It is like carrying a serpent in our bosom. Nay, it is really having the devil in our hearts. Have
you sometimes been violent, or cruel? Have you fallen to blows and curses ? What a mercy it is, that, in our angry moments, we have not gone so far as murder ! But, remember, “ he that hateth his brother is a murderer.” And he that says, “ Thou fool,” is in danger of hell fire. And what a dreadful thing it is, when a whole neighbourhood is filled with noise and violence, so that there is scarce one righteous family among them! It is like the devil broke loose on earth.
The good Lord forgive us all those sins in which we have been so much like the devil; and may he make us like his own dear Son, whose soul was gentle as a lamb !
O most holy God! who can tell what an evil and bitter thing it is to depart from thee; and how dreadful is the portion of those, who are banished from thy presence for ever? Wonderful is thy mercy, that we have not long since been shut up hell! But since thou hast spared us, oh, let us now make haste to seek and to obtain thy offered mercy ! Take away from us all hardness of heart, all our
enmity against thee, and all envy, malice and uncharitableness towards men. Unite us, by a living faith, to Jesus our Saviour. Write upon our hearts the law of love, that we may seek thy face with joy, and delight to do thy holy will, and be continually given to works of kindness and pity. And grant, that having faithfully served thee in thy church here below, we may dwell before thee for ever in thy church above, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE CURSE AND THE PROMISE. (Continued.)
GENESIS iji. 14—24. (See page 13.) The Bible is full of histories, showing how Satan tries to enslave and ruin every man living. But Christ is able to overcome him: and he certainly will overcome at the last. Perhaps you would like I should point to you some of the ways in which Satan has tried for the mastery, and how God overcame him.
Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was a cruel oppressor of the Children of Israel. Satan had possession of his heart. He even went so far, as to command that all the male children of the Israelites should be thrown into the river, and drowned. This was, indeed, like a true child of the devil. But God visited the land with dreadful plagues, to punish him and his people. And on the night of the Passover (which we will read about another time) the