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The First Temptation and Transgression of Man.

The First Temptation and Transgression of Man.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ALEXANDER WATSON, M.A.
BY ALEXANDER WATSON, M.A.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 28, 2013
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08/28/2013

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THE FIRST TEMPTATIO AD TRASGRESSIO OF MA.BY ALEXADER WATSO, M.A.The very end of man's existence was^to give him the happi^ness of holding a direct communication with, and enjoying aholy, pure, and grateful love of, and rendering a willing ser-vice to, his Creator, a& the source and author of that hi^pi-ness — annexed toi, and consistent with which, was^the addi«-tional delight of multiplying, and havmg an unalloyed, so*cial and innocent intercourse with his species, in an univer-sal and reciprocal good-will lor and toward each other, ac-cordant with holiness of disposition and the spiritual and filialaffection which would naturally flow from such a state, to-ward the divine Author of his being. Upon these principleshe was placed in his earthly paradise, both for his spiritualand temporal felicity, and as a trial of his sensibility of, andfidelity and gratitude for, the divine goodness. When oneman bestows a gratuitous jEavour upon another, he is gene-rally impressed so far with a favourable opinion of him, asVOL. I. H58 FIRST TEMPTATIOto consider him at least as neither undeserving thereof norunthankful in his disposition. The reverse is fiur, indeed,however, from being unfirequent, especially where there is noftirther prospect of benefit, and even that prospect is notsometimes sufiicient to check the evil spirit of ingratitudewhich reigns in the heart of corruption* Had man so muchof the faculty of Omniscience as to see into the hearts of hisfellows, few indeed would be the acts of his kindness, com-paratively, at least in the ^irit of a supposed reciprocalityof, though often a much mistaken^ friendship, in which casecharitaUe benevolences would, in many respects, severely
 
sufier even among Christians. But Providence, who ordersall things aright, has wisely deprived man of a fiu;ulty, whichwould have robbed him of the greatest portion of his tempo-ral happiness*^ Many, indeed, are the instances of ingrati-tude which occur amofag mankind toward each other, intheir intercourse and fiimiliar communications, the discoverywhereof can ooty be made tqcwn trial and esqperience; andalmost universal is the complaint of the prevalence of lUsungracious evil, a^^ravated <^n with circumstances, too, of no small atrocity. If jnan complains, and certainly he hasreason, in many cases, most bitterly to complain, of such anetum from his llellew, how shall we vindicate die conqiki-nants themselves, in respect of their own most ofiensivdyungrateful conduct to God, not merely for his i^irituid, butfbr his gratuitous and altogether umneriled tempcmil^ bles-sings^ even lavished upon them, during a life's course of themost insuffisrable provocations. The dispositi<Mi of man tohis fellow, is not merely accompanied too ofien, if not gene-rally, with an insensibility of those fevours which have beenheaped upon him by his bene&ctor, but most ungratefullyheightened toward him by a return of actions and oondnctthe most grossly outrageous, and resentful, when unreason-AD THAKSORESSIO. 59Mj expected further hvours are irithheliL Such being thetemper of man to his neighbour, upon what principle of ra^tionality, while he yields to this temper, can he make sup^plications to heaven for the pardon of his own transgressionsagainst the laws of Omnipotence, every moment of his li£s^consciously committed with the most obdurate insolence, aswell as insensibility of the indulgent continuance^ of his be-neficence ? How seldom does the man that thus finds fault,and we admit with perfect justice too, with his neighbour'sbaseness of conduct to himself at all consider, that, in spirit,he is one with the offender, though his own more &vourablecircumstances in life may perhaps check and keep down theflagrancy of its operation ? In a more refined state of life
 
and independency of condition, he frequently may not soopenly manifest the internal effects of this spirit within him,neither perhaps does he stand so exposed to its influences ;but that he is of the same clay and constitutional tempera-ment of disposition, is sufficiently demonstrated, if not byactual deeds of ingratitude to his fellow, at least by a cold*ness of reserve, which, when disappointed in his views, tooobiaously marks the interested affections of his heart in allits operations, as well as a base unthankfiilness to God, andirreverence to his laws. The heart that is insensible of thegoodness of heaven, cannot possibly be actuated by any ge»nuine firiendship, benevolence, or gratitude to man; andpractical experience proves this to be as inherent and con-genial to the disposition of fiillen man, as grass is a naturalproduct of and covering to the earth. Even a state of inno-cence did not secure man's fideli^ to his Creator — ^far lessthen can a pure and thankfiil sensibility of heart operate up*on him under his subjection to sin and the influence of cor-ruption, either toward God or the beings of his own spe-cies.h860 FIRST TEMPTATIOHaving thus briefly premised the froward and ungenerousdisposition of mankind to each other, as well as their unna-tural and ungrateful feelings and conduct to the Author of their existence, the benevolent dispenser of their earthlyblessings, and the restorer of peace and happiness to theirsouls ; and in the preceeding Essay shown^ the reasonable-ness and propriety of putting man upon trial in, and leav'inghim subject to fall from, his original state of innocence andfelicity ; we now proceed to touch upon the result of thattrial, — his actual £ei11, through his ingratitude and unfaithful-ness in that state, even in the ei^oyment of the utmost rangeof earthly fiivour, accompanied with an immediate intercourseand communication with God himself.

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