Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

as many of God's laws, which are also commanded in Scripture, evidently are: and these are binding to men of all nations, and in every age. The ancient patriarchs, so far as they were not taught by revelation, and other persons before

the law of Moses was delivered, and the Rom. ii. Gentiles to whom it was not given, were

a law unto themselves: the law was legible in their hearts; and according as they observed or transgressed it, their own conscience acquitted or condemned them.

14.

Take for an example the first sin, of which we have any account, after the fall, committed by the very first man born into the world, and no less a sin than the murder of his brother. How quick is the progress man is able to make in evil! mature in the infancy of the world, and advanced to the utmost pitch of guilt in his very first efforts! Not, however, without some sentiments of fname, and an inward natural sense of

the

the authority of the law, though it was
not yet either pronounced, or written.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

To Adam indeed it was said, Of the tree Gen.ii.37.
of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
not eat of it. The prohibition was plain';
and if the criminals endeavoured to hide
themselves among the trees, their igno-
rance may be wondered at, but their con-
fufion was natural.

Murder was not forbidden, till after it
had been committed. God had never
said to Cain, as far as we know, Thou
Shalt not kill: Yet was he very sensible,
he had done wrong; and he prevaricates,
diffembles, and denies it, with a mixture
of meanness and infolence, the natural
attendants of conscious guilt. Where is Gen.iv.9,
Abel thy brother? I know not: am I my
bro:her's keeper?

!

There seems to have been another murder committed, before there was a

law

law against it. And in that instance also, the criminal was sen Gible he had done amiss; and appears to feel and suffer the very stroke which he had given. Hear 712y voice, ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my Speech; for I have fain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.

[merged small][ocr errors]

1.

Immediately after the flood, the law against murder was delivered expressly, with the penalty of death annexed to it. And the sixth of the ten commandments is but a repetition, or rather an epitome of that original law, which was given to

Noah and his sons; and in them to all the Gen.ix.6. world. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by

man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man.

John iv. God is a spirit; and a spirit hath not flesh 24.

and bones. So far we have the words of Luke xxiv. 39. our Lord for our guide. Hence we

learn, that this image of God which is in man, doth not consist in the form of his

body,

[ocr errors]

15, 16.

body, nor any property of bones and flesh.
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, Deut. iv.
for ye saw no manner of fimilitude on the
day that the Lord Spake unto you; left ye.
corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven
image, the fimilitude of any figurè, the like-
ness of male or female.

Neither can this image of God in man, consist in any original, but now no longe er existing qualities of mind, which Adam might poffefs before the fall, and lose with his innocence; fince we find it is still, even after the flood, assigned as a reason against murder, or an argument of the great guilt of it. Surely your Gen. ix.se

6. blood of your lives will I require : at the hond of every man's brother will I require the life of man.

Whofo sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man. If this image, whatever it be, were extinct and lost, it could no longer be defaced; and consequently could not now be brought

in

in to constitute, or aggravate the guilt of murder.

Yet it appears to be something, which is not in other creatures. Of all the animals upon earth, it is in man alone. This may be gathered from the manner in which this expression is introduced, both

in the history of the creation, and after Gen.i.25, the food. And God made the beast of the 26.

earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind : And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and

over the cattle, and over all the earth. Gen.ix.1, And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said; &c.

The fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth, and fowl of the air; into your hand are they delivered: every moving thing that liveth, Mall be meat for you. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will

]

« ForrigeFortsett »