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the earth, this finished work of his hands, with the beauty and glory of the whole fystem of nature, all to the fiery flame? Thus difarming his enemy of his otherwife almighty power-feizing and binding him with his own acquired forces-and turning upon him the terrors of his own dominion, even the keys of hell and of death-yea, kindled into a quenchlefs flame, turning that very power upon him by which he thought to have reigned for ever, as a chain of eternal vengeance.
Section 2. Cherubim and flaming Sword.
An establishment being made in our world, by the blood of the everlasting covenant, means must be provided and used to protect it, and carry on the work of redemption; and fo, to raise up the building of grace, upon this new foundation.
It is evident, from the nature of the purpofe of God in view, that man, now, must not eat of the natural tree of life-this would militate directly against the work of graceit is apparent that should he continue to eat of that tree, and his body thus be rendered indiffoluble, his falvation would be impossible.
Wherefore, the Lord God faid, Behold, the man is become as God, to know good and evil, i. e. having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he has thrown off his covenant fubjection to the word of God; and,
as God himself, has fet up for independence. Man, therefore, may not be trusted upon the ground of his regard to the authority of God's word or commandment, merely, not to eat of the tree of life; but, for fafety, he must be put under guard. Here commences the whole wonderful fcene of redemptiondiscipline.
Jefus Chrift, knowing the will of the Father, laid down his life of himself; but mere man could never do this-his life must be taken from him; though, finally, under the irresistible sword of the fpirit, being reduced, as it were, to the last gafp, by the power of fovereign grace, he is brought to a cheerful fubmiffion to the divine will. So he drove out the man: and he placed at the eaft of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming fword which turned every way, to keep the of the tree of life. In this folemn, determined, and fure manner, by the power of the elect establishment, we fee the all-wife, and infinitely gracious fentence of natural diffolution, carrying into execution.
All this being on the common ground, and belonging to the higheft intereft of the elect world, the mighty angels, cherubim, are here brought forward and employed as the grand guards; and they appear arrayed upon the ftand, in this miniftry to the heirs of falvation.
But behold that flaming fword, united to the cherubim, as their glory and firength!This evidently was not their agent, but their principle, or the ftrength of their eftablishIt was indeed united to them, and it
food with them, but they did not wield ititself turned every way. Here, doubtless, we may contemplate the dreadful form, in which Chrift united himself to the angelic world; and in which he girded them, and commiffioned them as his miniftering fpirits; and made them, for his Ifrael, chariots of fire and horfes of fire.
Section 3. Sacrifice.
The new establishment in view, it will be perceived, is founded in its nature in the intitution of facrifice; by facrifice I mean the fhedding of blood. Yet Cain, faithlefs Cain, in the view of acceptance with God, chofe ftill to act upon the natural principle. And he brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. But Abel, his brother, brought an offering of the firftiings of his flock, and of the fat thereof.
And the Lord had refpect unto Abel, and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and entered into a controversy with his Brother Abel, upon the ground of this distinction; and, therefore, he entered into a controversy with the Lord himself.
Yet, being full of compaffion, the Lord condescended to come to an explanation with Cain, and reasoning with him in the most convincing manner, he held out to him the ineftimable provifion of his infinite grace, faying,
Why art thou wroth? and Why is thy counte nance fallen? If thou dost well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doft not well, a fin-offering lieth at the door: and unto thee fhall be his defire, and thou shalt be his head.
But Cain ftill turned the deaf ear to the revelation of falvation by grace; and, finally, took the woful refolution to stand it out, and decide the controverfy by strength of arms; and going out, treading under foot that facrifice which couched down before his door, even the blood of the everlasting covenant, he gallantly invited Abel his brother into the field; and there Cain rofe up against Abel his brother, and flew him. Woe unto them who go in the way of Cain!
Section 4. The Blood of Abel.
Cain, having taken the refolution to con tend with his brother by force of arms, proclaims the war. According to the Septua gint Bible, he gave Abel an exprefs challenge; the words are thefe, And Cain faid to Abel his brother, Let us go into THE FIELD.* But Abel did not accept the challenge. The word, it came to pass, fuppofes that fome time had elapfed after Cain had discovered his intention, and the other word, he rose up, feems to fignify that, finally, Cain lay in wait for Abel.
Το πεδιον, the field for feet: not τον αγρον, the field for til»
The first murderer was the first challenger; the scene of murder opened in our world in the fashionable style of the duellift, and Cain has the honor of being the father of these gentlemen of honor. And, perhaps, if offenfive war was ever excufable, and a caufe exifted which could warrant a challenge, Cain might be excufed; for Abel was his rival in the most tender point of his honor and feeling; and he appeared to be rifing up to eclipfe him in his ftanding of fuperiority, and to interfere in an interest where all his feelings were alive, and, to which, upon natural principles, Cain, as being the elder brother, had the most indisputable claim.
It appears clearly, from this cafe, that the difpute between the feed of the woman and the feed of the ferpent relates to a matter of state, and that the long and bloody ftruggle is at iffue in this question, Who fhall hold the government? Who fhall have the rule?
Cain conceived that this was a caufe in which his honor, and, therefore, his all was at flake; and the Lord, in his addrefs to him, confiders the subject in this view, and offers him, if he would renounce his natural principles, and take the fide of the kingdom of grace, which prefented the only ground upon which it was poffible either for him or his brother to enjoy the divine favor, or to have any well-being or valuable intereft whatever; that, as the elder brother, he fhould have the priority, and that Abel, as the younger, should be fubject unto him.
This propofal was infinitely reasonable,