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THE FALL

THE FALL

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


GEN iii. 15.

And I wiU put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy
§eed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shdU brvMe
his heel.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.


GEN iii. 15.

And I wiU put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy
§eed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shdU brvMe
his heel.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 04, 2013
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THE FALLBY THOMAS AROLD, D.D.GE iii. 15.And I wiU put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy§eed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shdU brvMehis heel.These words are a part of the sentence passed after theFall upon the three parties most concerned in it : thewoman, the man, and the serpent. I have said before,that there is much in these early chapters of Genesis whichwe do not imderstand, and which it is any thing but wiseto dwell on and argue from minutely, just as if we didunderstand them. But amidst passages of this sort thereare others not only clear, but to be numbered with themost instructive of the whole Scripture^ for the large andmost profitable view which they afford of the condition of mankind. Of this kind are those verses of which thetext is one ; the judgment passed upon mankind and ontheir tempter. These venes offer much to call for ourattention, and suggest two ways in particular of consider-ing them ; one which I may call the moral view of them,taking them as they show the most important points inour actual condition ; the other relating especially to theverse which I have chosen for my text, and showing forthby this earliest example that general character of Scrip-ture prophecy which runs through the whole Bible.First, then, let us consider the whole passage from the10 THE FALL.
 
fourteenth verse to the nineteenth, as leading us toobserve some most important points in the actual condi-tion of mankind. ow it will be clear, I think, on amoment's consideration, that the points here dwelt on areprecisely those which render it impossible for the himianrace, taken as a body, to enjoy upon earth either phjsicalhappiness or intellectual; in other words, to be eitherperfectly easy and comfortable in their outward condition,or perfectly able to gratify that desire of knowledge whichthe strong and cultivated understanding feels so earnestly.That is, in other words yet again, God has so ordered thecourse of nature in this world now become sinful, thatmankind shall be unable to find happiness in those thingsin which alone their corrupted nature would seek it, thepleasures of the body or of the understanding. It cannotbe doubted that the corruption of our nature consists in thisvery thing, that we are careless of God, and seek our hap-piness from His creatures, either from ourselves or others.But He has ordered things so, that this search can nevergenerally succeed ; if mankind will not seek their happi-ness from God, there is a law of their condition whichdeclares that they shall not find it elsewhere.ow the enjoyment of this happiness in worldly thingsis mainly hindered, as we can all see, by the necessity of labour and of death. The diflBculty of providing for ourbodily wants obliges us to labour ; we can neither be fednor clothed without exertion ; without such a degree of exertion as exceeds the limits of natural and agreeableexercise. This necessity bearing alike upon both sexes,although in a diflferent way, — imposing upon the one,labour and anxiety abroad, on the other, labour and an-xiety at home in the care of the family, manifestly has atendency not only to abridge what are commonly called thecomforts and enjoyments of life, but also, by denying usleisure, interferes no less certainly with the gratificationTHE FALL. 11
 
of our understanding by the pursuit of knowledge. Wesee that the great bulk of mankind have no leisure to im-prove themselves to any high degree intellectually.But again, when man was sentenced to death, it impliedthat his body and all his faculties should have a naturaltendency to decay and wear out after a certain time.Adam may have lived many years after the Fall, yet it isno less true, that the work of death began in him from thevery moment when the sentence was uttered that heshould die. And so in us all, though we may live out ourfull term of four-score years, yet death is working in us,in some measure, from the very hour that we are bom. Itis true, that when we compare one part of our life withanother, it may be said, as I observed not long since,that life is working in the young in comparison with theold ; there is in youth imdoubtedly so much of growth andvigour. Yet even in youth there are signs of death'sworking ; the disorders which befall infancy and childhood,even the occasional pains, sickness, weaknesses, to whichthe healthiest body is liable, all show that this wonderfulmachine of our earthly frames is not designed to last forever ; that it has tendencies to decay and disorder whichcannot even be delayed for four-score years without muchself-restraint and care. ow this construction of ourbodies necessarily limits our power of enjoyment, no lessin mind than in body. Even had we leisure to followafter knowledge to our hearts' desire, yet the very imper-fections of our bodily frames oblige us to moderate ourpursuit of it, or else often cut us oflF in the midst of it.Thus the span of human wisdom is necessarily limited ; forif we so redouble our efforts as to anticipate in middle lifethe full wisdom and knowledge of age, yet these veryefforts are in themselves exhausting, and only bring onearlier the period of decay. I may also mention that mostpainful consciousness which must beset us all, that at that

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