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We infer him to have been possessed of the former of these blessings from the very nature of his condition, and because such an enjoyment must have been a great and sensible addition to his happiness.
From the fact that angels frequently appeared to the patriarchs and prophets of old, and such appearances are introduced in such a manner as allows us to suppose that they were not the only ones that occurred. If angels appeared to fallen man, there is no reason to suppose that intercourse with them was denied to Adam; every presumption is on the other side.
We cite the words of the tempter as proof of the thing. He said to Eve, "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Now compare this with Psalm xcvii, 7, "Worship him all ye gods;" collate this latter pas sage and its context with Heb. i. 6, "And let all the angels of God worship him." From all these passages we infer that Satan meant by gods, angels. He must be understood to have had that meaning, but how could he have been so understood if Eve had never seen an angel, or had never conversed with one? We found our belief in the fact that Adam enjoyed the visionperhaps, the converse of God-upon the passage, Gen. iii, 8, "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden."
Here the fact of an appearance is mentioned, and the purpose and the particulars of it are recited. And from the manner of the passage, I think it may be gathered that this appearance was neither the only one, nor yet the first. If they had not seen God, why think of hiding themselves, or imagine concealment was possible. Moses and Abraham talked with God,
and he revealed himself unto them under a veil: and the probability is that Adam saw God face to face, and eye to eye-he saw and lived.
We may imagine to ourselves that much felicity must have resulted from such exalted privileges; but the amount and the nature of it who can tell?
Such is a faint outline of man's happy state, taken under all the disadvantage of few materials and a distance of five millenniums and eight centuries.
Happy, thrice happy pair, ignorant of nothing but evil! possessed of every excellence, of all that is desirable! We should look back with regret, if we could not look forward with hope: but there are joys in prospect, there are glories in reversion, brighter and higher than those with which Adam was familiar: but on these subjects we shall be led to speak in detail when we come in the next lecture to treat of the fall of man from his high estate.*
This subject serves: 1. To rebut the doubts which infidelity would raise from the present condition of man as to the goodness of his Creator.
2. To magnify the grace and love of God in making man such a glorious and happy being as he was when he came from the hands of Jehovah-"a little lower than the angels, crowned also with glory and honour."
3. By comparison of that dispensation with every succeeding one, it explains to us "that he hath loved us with an everlasting love."
* These lectures, and some others, probably were not written out by the author, as they are omitted in these "Remains."
"And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city," Gen. xix, 15.
Lor was, in many respects, very unlike his great kinsman, Abraham. He was by no means a generous or heroic man. His were not the piety and the faith of his uncle. And yet there were some amiable circumstances in his conduct; such, for instance, as his following the patriarch into Canaan; and his kind reception of the two strangers, when he dwelt in Sodom. But by far the greater part of his conduct bespoke a selfish and a covetous mind: and one thing, above every other, is remarkable throughout all the notices we have of his life, namely, that he was of a weak and irresolute temper of mind, susceptible of any and every impression, without long retaining the traces of the most powerful.
If we keep this leading remark in view, that irresolution and inconstancy (the one as the cause, the other as the effect) were the principal infirmities in his character, we shall then be able to account for several of his actions which, otherwise, would appear enigmatical. Smitten with the noble qualities of his kinsman, and overcome by his generous condescension, his heart overflowed with gratitude and admiration; so much so, that having learned that Abraham meditated a removal into some distant land, in consequence of a divine admonition to that effect, he volunteered his services to follow in his train; as though, like Abigail, when David
sent for her, he had counted it an honour to wash the feet of the servants of his Lord. His uncle did not decline his offer; and they accordingly went together; Lot partaking of all the fatigues and all the vicissitudes of Abraham's life and journey. Upon their return from Egypt into Canaan, Lot was now grown rich, having greatly increased in flocks; and, being advised by Abraham, in a most generous manner, to leave him, he meanly determined to desert the man whose existence he had formerly identified with his own; the man to whom he had looked up with that awe and veneration, most painfully felt by a little mind; the man to whom, under God, he owed every thing he had, and every thing he knew. May I venture a conjecture? Perhaps, one reason for his leaving Abraham was, that he felt himself hurt by the comparison; and even his own servants must have seen the difference between the kinsmen. A weak mind, in the presence of a great one, is often depressed, as fire is extinguished by the light of the sun. By a weak, I do not mean an uninformed mind. Many a man of inferior attainments is truly amiable, and has the essentials of genuine greatness. It were frivolous to object that Lot could not do otherwise. Might he not have requested Abraham to exercise such a degree of authority over both their husbandmen as to restore the general tranquillity? and that too without any unmanly concession on his part, for Abraham had been a father unto Lot. Surely his conduct, on this occasion, is enough to provoke the suspicion, that he only accompanied the patriarch into Canaan that he might share his temporal blessings.
But the most. grievous part of his offence is yet to be told. When his uncle gave him his choice of pasture
ground, he saw there was a great difference between the fertile plains of Jordan and the less fruitful valley in which they then were. He felt a warfare in his soul. On one hand, gratitude and reverence told him that he should cede the better share to Abraham; and, on the other hand, avarice and selfishness whispered delightfully the charms of the abundant plain. Now, he would relinquish the mean idea of choosing the latter, and congratulate himself on his internal conquest. In the next moment, he would abandon the generous emotion, until, at length, covetousness having got full possession of his soul, he took the plain fair as the garden of Eden. O! how he would feel the stings of remorse, as, step by step, he withdrew from Abraham! His sin would appear exceedingly sinful; but his emotions were only transient.
Of the circumstances that followed the battle of the kings, as Lot was rather passive than active, we need not take any notice. Were we, indeed, desirous of amusement, the subject would admit of description and decoration. But our end is moral instruction.
The description given us of Sodom and Gomorrah proves the exceeding beauty and fertility of that region. The soil was very rich and the vegetation luxuriant and abundant. It had the advantage of a serene sky, and an almost vertical sun. And its streams were so abundant and numerous as to entitle the land to be called a "well-watered garden." The entailed curse, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," was scarcely felt there; for very little culture was required by the land. Surely then the inhabitants were as exempt from moral stain as the land was from the entailed curse! Surely this would be the golden age of comparative innocence and justice! Surely the lingering traces of