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of the Tree of Life, became unable to resist the ordinary causes of dissolution, although the long lives of the antediluvians are a witness to the perfection of his physical constitution as first created.
But, again, in proportion as man is separated from God, so is God separated from him, and man loses His love and special care and protection. Although, then, man was, in a degree, physically self-existent, because requiring no further special interference on the part of God to support his life, yet indirectly that life was still dependent on God. The air he breathed, the food he ate, the sun which gave him light and warmth, the uniform alternation of the seasons, and every material element and natural law, depended for their order and perfect adaptability to the wants of man on the Eternal Energy, in whom all things live and move and have their being, and were that energy withdrawn, or even partially withheld, some degree of confusion, disorder, and imperfection might be expected to ensue.
That such was the case when man fell seems to be implied in the words, “Cursed be the ground for thy sake.' Man had fallen in part under the dominion of Satan, and lost in proportion the protection of God, and all things related to man suffered from the loss.
If it is argued that God, had He so chosen, could have prevented this result, we may reply, True, but could He have so chosen ? Would it not have been immoral, and contrary to the eternal principles of righteousness for God to have manifested the same love and protection to the creature who had become separated and alienated from Him as to creatures who were in perfect union with Him? If there are essential and eternal moral laws which constitute the very essence of God's nature, such as that which makes faith and dependence the most powerful bond of union between power and weakness, then the absence of that faith must produce the contrary effect, which it would be as impossible for God to oppose as to do evil. What should we think of a man who treated a faithless wife as if she were faithful ? Would it not argue a defect in, and a callousness of his moral nature, such as that which characterizes the lower animals ? So we may conclude that it would be contrary to the righteousness of God for Him to treat the fallen creature as the unfallen.
But besides this, we can certainly perceive that the indulgence of the selfish passions, or lusts of the flesh, have a most powerful influence on the health and life, both in their direct effects on the individual, and indirectly, by the suffering and want which result from their unbridled gratification. We may therefore be certain that these causes were sufficient to introduce the first principles of decay and death, which, transmitted from father to son, continually increased, gradually shortening, as we know was the case, the term of human life.
There is, however, another side to the question. The previous fall of the great archangel had established a power in the creation of God directly opposed to God. Satan was the enemy of God, and the direct contrary of all that God was. As God was perfect love, so the essential characteristic of Satan was that selfishness which seeks its own satisfaction at the expense of the sufferings of others, and the manifestation of which is pride and hatred. Therefore, as God in Christ was 'the saviour' (Gr. Jesus), so was Satan'the destroyer' (Gr. Apollyon), and like the tiger, or those still more ruthless and mighty saurians whose remains are evidence of a perished world, and to whom destruction was probably the highest gratification, so we may conceive that destruction and the production of misery was the sole gratification of him, the law of whose being was pure selfishness.
But when man fell and became separated from God and His protection, so would he become subject to Satan and his influence, and just as the beneficent control of God was withdrawn from the world, so would it fall under the dominion of Satan, and the greater the wickedness of man and the further his separation from God, the more complete would be the withdrawal of God's beneficence, and the greater the control of Satan over the powers of nature. That such is actually the case now that the greater proportion of mankind, occupying every portion of the earth's surface, are ignorant of, and alienated from God, is not obscurely hinted at. Satan is called “the God of this world,''the prince of the power of the air,' that air upon which the life of all living things depends, and which is at the same time the medium of those elemental tempests which carry death and destruction, and which, laden with fever and pestilence, desolate whole countries. While yet more expressly is Satan's control over the world implied by the claim that he made to Christ (and which was not denied), when he showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said, 'All these things are committed unto Me, and I give them unto whomsoever I will’ (Luke iv. 6).
What, then? God may interfere ; He may still retain such control over the world and the powers of nature as to limit the malignant influence of Satan, and may specially preserve those who believe in Him (1 Tim. iv. 10). Nothing, indeed, can happen without His permission; but if, in consequence of the sin of man, His protection is even partially withdrawn, the power of the destroyer will be proportionately manifest, causing destruction and misery throughout the bounds of his dominion, and introducing the seeds of decay and death in beings separated from the preserving control of the Creator; and just as he was the agent in separating men from God, and thus introducing spiritual death, which also he continually seeks to complete, so he is also the agent in inflicting physical death and all its attendant miseries; and thus in every sense Satan is ' him that hath the power of death' (Heb. ii. 14).
In all this, however, we perceive no arbitrary infliction of death by God; but recognise that death, both spiritual and physical, is the result of essential and necessary laws.
With regard to that physical shame, or sense of nakedness, which we are told followed the fall of man, little can be said that would appear to be of practical importance. That it springs from moral causes seems probable, inasmuch as in those most morally degraded, as in the case of savage nations, this form of shame is very weak, while the animals, who are wanting altogether in moral faculties, do not possess it at all. What its essential nature may be, however, is difficult to understand; but we may perhaps learn this: that if those whose moral perceptions are most developed, are most ashamed of their nakedness, it is because the bodies they possess are bodies of sin, the habitation and manifestation of a corrupt spirit, the thoughts and imaginations of which are evil continually; and their conscious shame and nakedness are, therefore, an acknowledgment of sin—the evidence that 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither can corruption inherit incorruption' (1 Cor. xv. 50).
ITS DEVELOPMENT. It is a difficulty with many, and it often causes doubt either of the justice and beneficence of the Creator, or else of the truth of revelation, that the sin of Adam should have been visited on his descendants. It is asked, Why should the innocent suffer because of the guilt of another ? Adam was tempted, and fell; but why should those who as yet know not their right hand from their left be accounted, as the Apostle states them to be, children of wrath?
By the doctrine of what is termed original sin' it is assumed that the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to those who as yet have not sinned wilfully, and therefore that the comparatively innocent are regarded as sinful. But if this is the explanation of the Apostle's statement, then most certainly it is difficult to perceive the justice of such a decree. It is, moreover, contrary to the general teaching of Scripture, which declares that every man shall bear his own sin; and the prophet, speaking in the name of God, expressly states that the children shall not suffer for the sins of the fathers. But the words of the Apostle, which he couples with the expression children of wrath '—viz., 'born in sin’ -point to a very different solution of this difficulty. If David declares that he was shaped in iniquity, and in sin conceived by his mother, it implies—not the arbitrary imputation of guilt to the innocent,