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THE FIRST PROMISE.pdf

THE FIRST PROMISE.pdf

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. " — Genesis hi. 15.
BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. " — Genesis hi. 15.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 01, 2013
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THE FIRST PROMISE.BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOTAnd I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thyseedand her seed. " — Genesis hi. 15.THE feeble beginning of a great thing inspiresyou with reverence, if you know as you look upon it the greatness of its issue. When atraveller has at length reached the source of the Nile,and gazes upon the well's eye among the central moun-tains of Africa where the mighty river has its birth, he isfilled with wonder and awe. His emotion, however, isnot due to the sight which then and there he looks upon :it is the greatness of the full-grown river that imparts somuch interest to the infant spring. A native who seesthat spring every day, looks upon it lightly, because hehas never seen the infant in its manhood — knows notthat the infant has a mighty manhood far away.Here, in this verse, first springs a river which flowsright through the broad wilderness of Time, refreshingevery generation as they pass ; and will yet, beyond theboundary, make glad for ever the city of our God. InTHE FIRST PROMISE. 69this verse the gospel of grace takes its rise. If we sawonly the tiny spring, we should not be able fully to esti-mate its importance. It is our knowledge of the king-dom in its present dimensions and its future prospectsthat invests with so much grandeur this first, short mes-sage, of mercy from God to man. We know the import
 
of that message better than they who heard it first.And yet, as the negro native on the mountains near thesources of the Nile can drink and satisfy his thirst fromthe tiny rill that constitutes the embryo river, while hewho sails on its broad bosom near the sea can do nomore ; so those who lived in the earliest days of gracemight satisfy their souls at the narrow stream then flow-ing, as well as those who shall be found dwelling on theearth at the dawn of the millennial day. From the feeblestream that burst through the stony ground near theclosed gate of Paradise righteous Abel freely drank thewater of life : the same, and no more, shall they do whoshall see the knowledge of the Lord covering the earthin the latter day. God opened a spring in the desert assoon as there were thirsty souls sojourning there.Here, as we have said, the Gospel springs. But this isnot the beginning of mercy. Its date is more ancient ;its fountain-head is higher. " God is love : " there, if youwill trace mercy to its ultimate source — there Redemptionsprings, thence Redemption flows. From that upperspring it came ; and having found its way through secretchannels, it burst forth here, in the form of the primevalpromise, at the feet of the fallen race. " From the Father70 THE FIRST PROMISE.of lights Cometh down every good and perfect gift."From him, first and last, the gift unspeakable has come.Thus sprang that common water in Jacob's well, of which although the thirsty drink, he shall thirst again.If it had not fallen first from heaven, it would not haveboiled up through rifts in the rock. Such also is the lawwhich the living water obeys. It springs in the wilder-ness, and follows the pilgrim's path, because it has firstdropped in showers from heaven. Love to the lostsprings in the first page of the Bible, at the beginning of 
 
time, because it dwelt in God without limit from eter-nity.At present I propose to deal only with the first clauseof the verse — the promise that enmity shall be generatedbetween the serpent and the woman — between his seedand hers. But even on this limited field I must make aselection. Many things must be assumed ; for to pauseand expound each preliminary idea would detain us allour allotted time in the vestibule ; so that we could not,on this occasion at least, penetrate into the temple wherethe mercy-seat is shining, illumined by its own light.One or two things of an introductory character mustbe at least stated, inasmuch as they are essential to thecomprehension of the main lesson. And the first of these is the existence and agency of an evil spirit, theenemy of man. On this subject it is easy to raise formi-dable difficulties. If we should launch into speculationregarding what is possible in this sphere, or what is con-sistent with the power and the goodness of God, weTHE FIRST PROMISE. 71,should very soon lose our way. I confine myself to theregion of facts. Moral evil exists, and spreads like aflood over the world. This no sober man can deny, or,without Scripture, explain. The Bible, with wonderfulexplicitness, and with as wonderful reserve, proclaimsand denounces the author and introducer of sin. " Didstthou not sow good seed in thy ground ?" said the sur-prised and grieved servants to their Master ; " whence,then, hath it tares .'^" "An enemy hath done this," saidthe Lord. To make sure that no reader should fail tolay open the folds of the figure, and gather the kernel of revealed truth which lay beneath them, he afterwardsexplained without a parable : " The enemy that sowedthem is the Devil." Here let the speculations of Chris-

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