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on the one hand, it was glorious to its Author_it was, on the other, perfectly suited to the character of him for whom it was prepared. Dwight.
BEAUTIES OF PARADISE.
BLISSFUL Paradise Of God the garden was, by him in the east Of Eden planted : in this pleasant soil His far more pleasant garden God ordain’d: Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; And all amid them stood the tree of life, High, eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit Of vegetable gold; and next to life, Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by; Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill. Southward through Eden went a river large, Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, With mazy error, under pendant shades, Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice art In beds and curious knots, but nature boon Poured forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, Both where the morning sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierced shade Imbrown'd the noontide bowers : thus was this place A happy rural seat of various view; Groves, whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm; Others, whose fruit, burnish'd with golden rind, Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, If true, here only, and of delicious taste: Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store, Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose; Another side umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
ADAM AND EVE IN PARADISE. Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, Godlike erect, with native honour clad, In naked majesty seem'd lords of all : And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shone, Truth, wisdom, sanctitude, severe and pure, (Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,) Whence true authority in men; though both Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd;
For contemplation he and valour form’d;
So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight
FALL OF OUR FIRST PARENTS. The first human pair, lovely in form, and pure in mind, God placed in a paradise adapted to their perfections—a garden, wherein grew every tree that was pleasant to the sight, or grateful to the taste. Here, for a time, did the primogenitors of mankind lead a life of perfect bliss.
In the midst of their delightful abode, God had planted two trees endowed with supernatural powers—one The Tree of Life, the fruit whereof conferred immortality; the other The Tree of Knowledge, from eating the fruit of which a perception of the difference between good and evil was to be acquired. And, as the first trial of their obedience to his commands, after giving them permission to eat of the produce of all the other trees and plants, he enjoined them not to taste of the tree of
knowledge, assuring them that it would prove their destruction if they did.
Eve, however, being one day employed in the nurture of some flowers and plants at a distance from her husband, (a first and fatal separation!) the serpent, a creature surpassing every other in subtlety, and endowed at that time with the faculty of speech, persuaded her, through the instigation of the Prince of Deception, to taste of the forbidden fruit; telling her that the knowledge they would acquire thereby would enable them to lead a much happier life than they did at present-a life little inferior to that of gods.
Overcome by these persuasions, Eve plucked of the fruit and ate; and being pleased with the flavour, entreated her husband to do the same. Adam, suspicious of some fraud, hesitated for a while; but being impelled, by an excess of affection, to share the fate of her he loved, be the consequences what they might, he at length reluctantly consented. Thus, by disobeying the commands of their Creator, did this first and nearly perfect pair bring “Death into the world, and all our woe.”
REBELLION OF MAN. Was not this rebellion against the highest authority ? “If thou doest this," said God, “I will do it," said the creature. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” said God _“I will eat of it, though I should die,” said the creature. Was not this a glaring act of rebellion?
Was there not, also, the most criminal ambition ? The aspiring of a proud heart to a rank and to attainments above the laws of creation ! Oh, with what distress has the world been filled by the working of this very principle! It is not a slight evil in the eye of Him who searcheth the heart.
Was it not a display of the basest and vilest ingratitude? Oh, what a rich display of the goodness of God was there in the profusion of the garden of Eden! And how very slight the prohibition! Yet all this kindness seemed to be overlooked, and he aimed only at the violation of the command!
Was it not a sin against his own soul, and against all his posterity? Have we not reason to believe that he was apprized of the constitution of things by which he was the representative and federal head of the whole race of man, so that their condition was interwoven with his own? Could there be a more powerful motive to restrain him? Remember, too, that he was in the full vigour of intellect—that he had received an express command from God. If he had consulted only his own peace, he should have refrained; how much more, when he knew that he was the head of a future posterity! No individual could have had stronger intellect, more power to distinguish between right and wrong, or greater motives than Adam had. Who, therefore, would presume that his own happiness is more secure, if he confides in himself, than Adam's was, when he stood as the representative of his whole race. It is true this subject has its obscurities, and all our powers will seek to dispel them in vain. But oh, let us bring our minds to the persuasion, that God will educe good out of evil, and order out of confusion; and that he will, one day, make such a display of his goodness, and wisdom, and power,