Genesis 3:9
So the LORD God called out to the man, "Where are you?"
Sermons
God Willing that All Men Should be SavedAndrew Lee et al Genesis 3:9
The Searching QuestionJ.F. Montgomery Genesis 3:9
A Tardy and Reluctant ConfessionA. Fuller.Genesis 3:9-12
Adam's Admission, not ConfessionH. Bonar, D. D.Genesis 3:9-12
Adam's Vain Excuse for His SinA. Farindon, D. D.Genesis 3:9-12
Afraid of GodJ. Parker, D. D.Genesis 3:9-12
An Important QuestionJ. Vaughan, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
ConscienceA. Mursell.Genesis 3:9-12
Divine VisionW. Adamson.Genesis 3:9-12
ExcusesE. J. Hardy, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
False Excuses for SinJ. Slade, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
God's First Words to the First SinnerSpurgeon, Charles HaddonGenesis 3:9-12
God's QuestionDean Vaughan.Genesis 3:9-12
God's QuestionL. Bonnet.Genesis 3:9-12
Hiding After SinCanon Liddon.Genesis 3:9-12
Hiding from GodPlain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the TimesGenesis 3:9-12
Hiding PlacesW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
HidingsA. Raleigh, D. D.Genesis 3:9-12
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 3:9-12
Man's Readiness to Invent Excuse for SinSpurgeon, Charles HaddonGenesis 3:9-12
ObservationJ. White, M. A., C. Kingsley, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
ObservationsJ. White, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
ObservationsJ. White, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
ObservationsJ. White, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
Sad Results of DisobedienceJames Stewart.Genesis 3:9-12
Terrors of Conscience, and RemediesW. Jones, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
The Dawn of GuiltHomilistGenesis 3:9-12
The First Question in the BibleA. McAuslane, D. D.Genesis 3:9-12
The Moral SenseJ. E. C. Welldon, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
The Position of Man as a SinnerHomilistGenesis 3:9-12
The Resistance of TemptationBishop Armstrong.Genesis 3:9-12
The Sad Effects of Yielding to TemptationJ. S. Exell, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
The Unconscious ConfessionA. J. Morris.Genesis 3:9-12
The Voice of GodJ. H. Evans, M. A.Genesis 3:9-12
The Wanderer from GodW. Wythe.Genesis 3:9-12
Two Kinds of RetreatsA. Raleigh, D. D.Genesis 3:9-12
Where Art ThouW. B. Sprague, D. D.Genesis 3:9-12
The Word of God in the Moral ChaosR.A. Redford Genesis 3:9-24
We can picture the dread of this question. Have you considered its love - that it is really the first word of the gospel? Already the Shepherd goes forth to seek the lost sheep. The Bible shows us-

1. The original state of man; what God intended his lot to be.

2. The entry of sin, and fall from happiness.

3. The announcement and carrying out God's plan of restoration.

THE GOSPEL BEGINS not with the promise of a Savior, but WITH SHOWING MAN HIS NEED. Thus (John 4:15-18) our Savior's answer to "Give me this water" was to convince of sin: "Go, call thy husband." That first loving call has never ceased. Men are still straying, still must come to themselves (Luke 15:17). We hear it in the Baptist's teaching; in the preaching of St. Peter at Pentecost; and daily in his life-giving work the Holy Spirit's first step is to convince of sin. And not merely in conversion, but at every stage he repeats, "Where art thou?" To welcome God's gift we must feel our own need; and the inexhaustible treasures in Christ are discerned as we mark daily the defects of our service, and how far we are from the goal of our striving (Philippians 3:13, 14). Hence, even in a Christian congregation, it is needful to press "Where art thou?" to lead men nearer to Christ. We want to stir up easy-going disciples, to make Christians consider their calling, to rouse to higher life and work. Our Savior's call is, "Follow me." How are you doing this? You are pledged to be his soldiers; what reality is there in your fighting? How many are content merely to do as others do! What do ye for Christ? You have your Bible; is it studied, prayed over? What do ye to spread its truth? Ye think not how much harm is done by apathy, how much silent teaching of unbelief there is in the want of open confession of Christ. Many are zealous for their own views. Where is the self-denying mind of Christ, the spirit of love? Many count themselves spiritual, consider that they have turned to the Lord, and are certainly in his fold. Where is St. Paul's spirit of watchfulness? (1 Corinthians 9:26, 27). "Where art thou?" May the answer of each be, Not shut up in myself, not following the multitude, but "looking unto Jesus." - M.







Where art thou?
I. The speaker is God; the person spoken to is the representative of us all.

II. The call is —

1. Individual.

2. Universal.

III. God calls in three ways.

1. In conscience.

2. In providence.

3. In revelation.

IV. His call is —

1. To attention.

2. To recognition of God's being.

3. To reflection on our own place and position.

V. It is a call which each must answer for himself, and. which each ought to answer without delay.

(Dean Vaughan.)

Here God asks an important question: "Where art thou?"

1. Where are you? — are you in God's family or out of it? When you are baptized, you are put into God's family upon certain conditions — that you will do certain things; and it depends upon you how you live, because if you do not love God you cannot be God's child.

2. Supposing you are one of God's children, "Where art thou?" — near to thy Father or far from Him? — because some children are nearer to their fathers than others. Mary and Martha were sisters, and they were both Christians, but one was much nearer to Christ than the other. Mary sat at Jesus' feet, Martha was "troubled about many things." If we delight to tell Jesus everything, than we shall be near God.

3. Are you in the sunshine or the shade? If you follow Christ you will always be in the sunshine, because He is the Sun.

4. Are you in the path of duty? Are you where you ought to be? The path of duty is a narrow path sometimes a steep path. God could say to many of us, as He said to Elijah, "What doest thou here?" — thou art out of the path of duty.

5. How have you progressed? The surest way to know that we get on is to be very humble. When the wheat is ripe it hangs down; the full ears hang the lowest.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

This is the first question in the Bible. It was addressed by God to the first man, and likewise to you.

I. THAT GOD THINKS ABOUT YOU. A watchmaker sells the watches which he has made, and thinks no more of them. The same with a ship builder and his ships, a shepherd and his sheep. Some say that as these men have acted, so does God. He has made you, but He never thinks about you. This is an error. The text proves that He thought of Adam, and there are many things which show that He thinks of you. A mother thinks of her children, and causes the gas to be lighted for them when the shadows of the evening have come. For the same reason God sends forth the sun every morning. As He thinks about you, so you ought to think about Him; in the morning when you awake, often during the day, and always before you sleep.

II. THAT GOD SPEAKS TO YOU. He spoke to Adam. In what manner? Not like the severe slave holder, the stern master, the passionate father; but like a loving mother to her children. He addresses you also, though not exactly in the same way. Men have many methods by which they communicate their thoughts to one another. The telegraph; letters; signs; the living voice. As it is with men in this respect so with the Lord. He speaks to you in nature, in events great and small. By conscience, parents, teachers, ministers. Sometimes thoughts come into your minds directly from God. Think of the honour thus put on you. The Queen speaking to that little boy. This is nothing when compared with the great God speaking to the same boy.

III. THAT GOD KNOWS WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN YOUR RIGHT PLACE. More than all, Calvary. The Divine Father is there to meet you and save you. Have you never been there?

IV. THAT GOD WISHES YOU TO TELL HIM WHY YOU ARE NOT IN YOUR RIGHT PLACE. As He dealt with Adam, so He deals with you. To Him you are responsible for all your actions as well as your words.

(A. McAuslane, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. A CHANGE IN MAN'S MORAL POSITION.

1. His one sin brought guilt upon his conscience, and anarchy into his heart.

2. This developed itself in a dread of God.

(1)This dread of God accounts for all malignant theologies.

(2)For atheistic speculations.

(3)For the prevalence of depravity.

(4)For the absence of a hearty enjoyment of life.

(5)For the little religious interest men feel in the works of nature.

II. A DIVINE INTEREST IN MAN, NOTWITHSTANDING HIS ALTERED POSITION.

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF MAN FEELING HIS MORAL POSITION.

(Homilist.)

? —

1. The Christian ought always to be at his proper and assigned work. God fails not to mark every dereliction, to note every hour, every gift and power not given to the work of salvation.

2. The Christian ought ever to be in his proper place. He has his own place in the family circle, in the Church of Christ, in every sphere of Christian duty and enterprise, and in the world of guilt, misery, and ignorance around him.

3. The Christian ought ever to be in a state of mind to seek the Divine blessing. Sin cherished, Or duty neglected, not only loses us the favour of God, but what is, if possible, worse still, robs us of the disposition to desire or seek it.

4. The Christian ought ever to be where he can meet God in judgment without fear.

I. THE SINNER.

1. In his sins.

2. In the pathway of eternal ruin.

3. In a state of awful condemnation.

4. In a land of darkness and gloom.

5. Ever under God's immediate eye.

6. In the hands of an angry God.

(W. B. Sprague, D. D.)

I. THE VOICE HERE WAS DOUBTLESS AN AUDIBLE VOICE. And God has yet His voice. He can speak by awful providences; He can speak by terrific judgments; or He can speak by the "still, small voice" of love.

II. THE VOICE OF GOD IS ALWAYS A TERRIFIC VOICE TO THE SOUL THAT IS OUT OF CHRIST. The voice of God is the voice of a holy God — the voice of a just God — the voice of a faithful God. And how can an unpardoned, unjustified, and unsanctified soul hear that voice and not tremble?

III. HOW IS IT, THEN, THAT THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST JESUS CAN LISTEN TO THOSE WORDS, "WHERE ART THOU?" AND CAN HEAR THEM IN PEACE? What answer does he give? "Where art thou?" — In Christ. In Christ? Then "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

I. TERRORS MAY PREPARE A MAN'S HEART, BUT IT IS ONLY THE WORD OF GOD THAT INFORMS AND SUBDUES IT.

1. That this is God's ordinance, wherein He hath both discovered His will unto us, and annexed unto it the power of His Spirit, to subdue every thought in us to the obedience of Jesus Christ.

2. That it is the only means to bring unto God His due honour, by bearing witness to His truth in His promises, and to His righteousness in His laws, and to His authority in submitting to His directions.

II. THE WAY TO GET OUR HEARTS AFFECTED WITH WHAT WE HEAR, IS TO APPREHEND OURSELVES TO BE SPOKEN UNTO IN PARTICULAR.

1. Because self-love is so rooted in us, that we slight and make little account of those things in which ourselves have not a peculiar interest.

2. Because it much advanceth God's honour (1 Corinthians 14:25), when by such particular discoveries and directions it is made manifest unto us that God oversees all our ways, and takes care of our estates in particular, which cannot but work in us both fear, and care, and confidence,

III. THOSE WHO ENDEAVOUR TO FLY FROM GOD, YET CAN BY NO MEANS SHIFT THEMSELVES OUT OF HIS PRESENCE. Let it then be every man's care and wisdom to take hold of God's strength, to make peace with Him, as Himself adviseth us (Isaiah 27:5), seeing He cannot be —

1. Resisted (Isaiah 27:4).

2. Nor escaped (Jeremiah 25:35).

3. Nor entreated (1 Samuel 2:25).

4. Nor endured (Isaiah 33:14).

IV. GOD LOVES A FREE AND VOLUNTARY ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SIN FROM HIS CHILDREN, WHEN THEY HAVE TRESPASSED AGAINST HIM.

1. Because it brings God most honour, when we clear Him, and take the blame unto ourselves (See Joshua 7:19), whereby every mouth is stopped, and His ways acknowledged, and His judgments to be just, in visiting men's transgressions upon them; and His mercies infinite, in sparing men upon their repentance.

2. It most justifies ourselves, when we condemn our own ways and actions (2 Corinthians 7:11), and are grieved in our own hearts, and ashamed of our folly, in the errors of our ways.

V. GOD IS FULL OF MILDNESS AND GENTLENESS IN HIS DEALING WITH OFFENDERS, EVEN IN THEIR GREATEST TRANSGRESSIONS.

1. To clear Himself, that the whole world may acknowledge, that He afflicts not willingly (Lamentations 3:33)..

2. Because the sin itself is burthen some and bitter enough to a tender conscience, so that there needs no mixture with it of gall and wormwood.

VI. THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONSIDERATION OF ONE'S ILL CONDITION IS AN EFFECTUAL MEANS TO BRING HIM ON TO TRUE REPENTANCE. VII. ALL THOSE THAT DESIRE TO GET OUT OF THEIR MISERY MUST SERIOUSLY CONSIDER WITH THEMSELVES WHAT WAS THE MEANS THAT BROUGHT THEM INTO IT.

1. There can be no means of removing evil but by taking away the cause of it, neither is there any means to take that away till it be known.

2. Besides, God can no way gain so much honour, as when men, by searching out the cause of the evils that befall them, find and acknowledge that their destruction is from themselves (Hosea 13:9). Hence it is that the Lord oftentimes makes the judgment which He inflicts to point it out, either by the kind of the judgment, or by some circumstance of the time, place, instrument, or the like, by the observation whereof the evil itself that brought that judgment on us may be made manifest, especially if we take with us for the discovery thereof the light of God's Word.

(J. White, M. A.)

1. Jehovah may suffer sinners to abuse His goodness, but He will call them to judgment.

2. The eternal God only, who is the cause of every creature, who hath made, and knows man, He will be Judge.

3. Adam and all his sons shall be made to judge themselves by the Lord.

4. God is not ignorant of the lurking places of sinners (Psalm 139).

5. God's inquiries are invincible criminations on sinners.

6. He that hides, cannot hide, and he that flieth, cannot fly from God.

7. Foolish sinners think themselves safe in hiding and flying from God, but God teacheth it must be by coming to Him.

8. Sin deals falsely in its speaking to the inquisition of God.

9. It is sin alone that makes God's voice so terrible, which sinners would conceal.

10. Sinners pretend their fear rather than their guilt to drive them from God.

11. Sinners pretend their punishment, rather than their crime, to cause them hide.

12. Sin makes souls naked, and yet souls cover sin.

13. How hard it is to bring a soul to the true acknowledgment of sin!

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

1. Mark the alienation of heart which sin causes in the sinner. Adam ought to have sought out his Maker. He should have gone through the garden crying for his God, "My God, my God, I have sinned against Thee. Where art Thou?" But instead thereof, Adam flies from God. The sinner comes not to God; God comes to him. It is not "My God, where art Thou?" but the first cry is the voice of grace, "Sinner, where art thou?" God comes to man; man seeks not his God.

2. And while the text manifestly teaches us the alienation of the human heart from God, so that man shuns his Maker and does not desire fellowship with Him, it reveals also the folly which sin has caused. How we repeat the folly of our first parent every day when we seek to hide sin from conscience, and then think it is hidden from God; when we are more afraid of the gaze of man than of the searchings of the Eternal One, when because the sin is secret, and has not entrenched upon the laws and customs of society, we make no conscience of it, but go to our beds with the black mark still upon us, being satisfied because man does not see it, that therefore God does not perceive it.

3. But now, the Lord Himself comes forth to Adam, and note how He comes. He comes walking. He was in no haste to smite the offender, not flying upon wings of wind, not hurrying with His fiery sword unsheathed, but walking in the garden. "In the cool of the day" — not in the dead of night, when the natural gloom of darkness might have increased the terrors of the criminal; not in the heat of the day, lest he should imagine that God came in the heat of passion; not in the early morning, as if in haste to slay, but at the close of the day, for God is long suffering, slow to anger, and of great mercy; but in the cool of the evening, when the sun was setting upon Eden's last day of glory, when the dews began to weep for man's misery, when the gentle winds with breath of mercy breathed upon the hot cheek of fear; when earth was silent that man might meditate, and when heaven was lighting her evening lamps, that man might have hope in darkness; then, and not till then, forth came the offended Father.

I. We believe that the inquiry of God was intended in an AROUSING SENSE — "Adam, where art thou?" Sin stultifies the conscience, it drugs the mind, so that after sin man is not so capable of understanding his danger as he would have been without it. One of the first works of grace in a man is to put aside this sleep, to startle him from his lethargy, to make him open his eyes and discover his danger. "Adam, where art thou?" Lost, lost to thy God, lost to happiness, lost to peace, lost in time, lost in eternity. Sinner, "Where art thou?" Shall I tell thee? Thou art in a condition in which thy very conscience condemns thee. How many there are of you who have never repented of sin, have never believed in Christ? I ask you, is your conscience easy? — is it always easy? Are there not some times when the thunderer will be heard? Thy conscience telleth thee thou art wrong — O how wrong, then, must thou be! But man, dost thou not know thou art a stranger from thy God? You eat, you drink, you are satisfied; the world is enough for you: its transient pleasures satisfy your spirit. If you saw God here, you would flee from Him; you are an enemy to Him. Oh! is this the right case for a creature to be in? Let the question come to thee — "Where art thou?:" Must not that creature be in a very pitiable position who is afraid of his Creator? You are in the position of the courtier at the feast of Dionysius, with the sword over your head suspended by a single hair. Condemned already! "God is angry with the wicked every day." "If he turn not, He will whet His sword: He hath bent His bow and made it ready." "Where art thou?" Thy life is frail; nothing can be more weak. A spider's line is a cable compared with the thread of thy life. Dreams are substantial masonry compared with the bubble structure of thy being. Thou art here and thou art gone. Thou sittest here today; ere another week is past thou mayest be howling in another world. Oh, where art thou, man? Unpardoned, and yet a dying man! Condemned yet going carelessly towards destruction! Covered with sin, yet speeding to thy Judge's dread tribunal!

II. Now, secondly, the question was meant to CONVINCE OF SIN, and so to lead to a confession. Had Adam's heart been in a right state, he would have made a full confession of his sinfulness. "Where art thou?" Let us hear the voice of God saying that to us, if today we are out of God and out of Christ.

III. We may regard this text as the VOICE OF GOD BEMOANING MAN'S LOST ESTATE.

IV. But now I must turn to a fourth way in which no doubt this verse was intended. It is an arousing voice, a convincing voice, a bemoaning voice; but, in the fourth place, it is a SEEKING VOICE. "Adam, where art thou?" I am come to find thee, wherever thou mayest be. I will look for thee, till the eyes of My pity see thee, I will follow thee till the hand of My mercy reaches thee; and I will still hold thee till I bring thee back to myself, and reconcile thee to My heart.

V. And now, lastly, we feel sure that this text may be used, and must be used, in another sense. To those who reject the text, as a voice of arousing and conviction, to those who despise it as the voice of mercy bemoaning them, or as the voice of goodness seeking them, it comes in another way; it is the voice of JUSTICE SUMMONING THEM. Adam had fled, but God must have him come to His bar. "Where art thou, Adam? Come hither, man, come hither; I must judge thee, sin cannot go unpunished."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.

I. THAT A YIELDING TO TEMPTATION IS GENERALLY FOLLOWED BY A SAD CONSCIOUSNESS OF PHYSICAL DESTITUTION.

II. THAT A YIELDING TO TEMPTATION IS GENERALLY FOLLOWED BY A GRIEVOUS WANDERING FROM GOD.

1. After yielding to temptation, men often wander from God by neglecting

(1)Prayer.

(2)God's Word.

2. By increasing profanity of life.

III. THAT A YIELDING TO TEMPTATION IS GENERALLY FOLLOWED BY SELF-VINDICATION.

1. We endeavour to vindicate ourselves by blaming others. This course of conduct is

(1)ungrateful;

(2)ungenerous;

(3)unavailing.

2. By blaming our circumstances.

IV. THAT IN YIELDING TO TEMPTATION WE NEVER REALIZE THE ALLURING PROMISES OF THE DEVIL.

1. Satan promised that Adam and Eve should become wise, whereas they became naked.

2. Satan promised that Adam and Eve should become gods, whereas they fled from God.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. WHERE IS MAN?

1. Distant from God.

2. In terror of God.

3. In delusion about God.

4. In danger from God.

II. GOD'S CONCERN FOR HIM.

1. His condition involves evil — God is holy.

2. His condition involves suffering — God is love.

III. GOD'S DEALINGS WITH HIM.

1. In the aggregate — "Adam," the genius.

2. Personally. "Where art thou?"

(W. Wythe.)

Homilist.
I. A CONSCIOUS LOSS OF RECTITUDE. They were "naked." It is moral nudity — nudity of soul — of which they are conscious. The sinful soul is represented as naked (Revelation 3:17). Righteousness is spoken of as a garment (Isaiah 61:3). The redeemed are clothed with white raiment. There are two things concerning the loss of rectitude worthy of notice.

1. They deeply felt it. Some are destitute of moral righteousness, and do not feel it.

2. They sought to conceal it. Men seek to hide their sins — in religious professions, ceremonies, and the display of outward morality.

II. AN ALARMING DREAD OF GOD. They endeavour, like Jonah, to flee from the presence of the Lord.

1. This was unnatural. The soul was made to live in close communion with God. All its aspirations and faculties show this.

2. This was irrational. There is no way of fleeing from omnipresence. Sin blinds the reason of men.

3. This was fruitless. God found Adam out. God's voice will reach the sinner into whatever depths of solitude he may pass.

III. A MISERABLE SUBTERFUGE FOR SIN. "The woman," etc. And the woman said, "The serpent beguiled me," etc. What prevarication you have here! Each transferred the sinful act to the wrong cause. It is the essential characteristic of moral mind that it is the cause of its own actions. Each must have felt that the act was the act of self.

(Homilist.)

I. THE SENSE OF GUILT BY WHICH THEY WERE OPPRESSED.

1. There were circumstances which aggravated their guilt — they knew God — His fellowship — were perfectly holy — happy — knew the obligations — knew the consequences of life and death.

2. They felt their guilt aggravated by these circumstances. Their consciences were not hardened. Their present feelings and condition were a contrast with the past. In these circumstances they fled. They knew of no redemption, and could make no atonement.

II. THE MELANCHOLY CHANGE OF CHARACTER WHICH HAD RESULTED FROM THEIR FALL.

1. Our moral attainments are indicated by our views of God — progressive. The pure in heart see God. Our first parents fell in their conceptions of God — omnipresence. "Whither shall I go?" etc. This ignorance of God increased in the world with the increase of sin (Romans 1:21-32). This ignorance of God is still exemplified. "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." He may worship outwardly; and there are gradations of the foolish — some shut God within religious ordinances — some exclude Him.

III. THAT THEY HAD LOST THEIR COMMUNION WITH GOD.

1. One barrier interposed was guilt.

2. Another barrier was moral pollution.

(James Stewart.)

I. ADAM REPRESENTS THE AVERAGE SINNER. A man may do worse than Adam — hide from God after outraging Him by sin. Sense of God's presence, awfulness, greatness, still intact in soul.

II. THEY HID THEMSELVES. An instinct; not the result of a consultation. Two motives:

1. Fear.

2. Shame. The greatness of God was the measure of Adam's fear; his own lost greatness was the measure of his shame.

III. AMONGST THE TREES OF THE GARDEN.

1. Pleasure.

2. Occupation.

3. Moral rationalism.

IV. ADAM'S CONDUCT WAS FOOLISH AND IRRATIONAL.

1. Attempting the impossible.

2. Flying from the one hope and opening for restoration and safety.

(Canon Liddon.)

Plain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the Times.
As the account of Eve's temptation and fall truly represents the course of corruption and sin, so the behaviour of our first parents afterwards answers exactly to the feelings and conduct of those who have forfeited their innocence and permitted the devil to seduce them into actual sin.

I. Any one sin, wilfully indulged, leads to profaneness and unbelief, and tends to blot the very thought of God out of our hearts.

II. Much in the same way are backsliding Christians led to invent or accept notions of God and His judgment, as though He in His mercy permitted them to be hidden and covered, when in truth they cannot be so.

III. The same temper naturally leads us to be more or less false towards men also, trying to seem better than we are; delighting to be praised, though we know how little we deserve it. Among particular sins it would seem that two especially dispose the heart towards this kind of falsehood;

(1)sensuality;

(2)dishonesty.

IV. When any Christian person has fallen into sin and seeks to hide himself from the presence of the Lord, God is generally so merciful that He will not suffer that man to be at ease and forget Him. He calls him out of his hiding place, as He called Adam from among the trees. No man is more busy in ruining himself, and hiding from the face of his Maker, than He, our gracious Saviour, is watchful to awaken and save him.

(Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times. ")

I. THE SINNER'S RETREAT.

1. Complete thoughtlessness.

2. The occupations of life.

3. The moralities of life.

4. The forms and observances of religion.

II. THE SAINT'S RETREAT. "I flee unto Thee to hide me" —

(1)from the terrors of the law;

(2)from the hostility and hatred of men;

(3)from the trials and calamities of life;

(4)from the fear and tyranny of death.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

I. Note here the anticipative sentence of the human conscience pronouncing doom on itself. The guilty rebel hides from the Divine Presence.

II. The inexorable call which brings him immediately into the Divine Presence.

III. The bringing to light of the hidden things of darkness. The soul has many hiding places. There are —

(1)The hiding place of self-complacent propriety;

(2)the hiding place of the reasoner;

(3)the hiding place of theological dogmas. But the true hiding place for the soul is Jesus.

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

I. ADAM'S HASTE TO MAKE EXCUSE WAY A PROOF OF HIS GUILT. The consciousness of evil leads to self-condemnation.

II. ADAM'S CONFESSION OF FEAR PROVED HIS GUILT. If a child dreads its parent, either the child or the parent must be wrong.

III. ADAM'S MORBID MORAL SENSITIVENESS PROVED HIS GUILT. The worst kind of indelicacy is in being shocked at what is natural and proper. Conclusion:

1. Sin cannot escape from God.

2. Sin cannot stand before God.

3. Sin may find compassion from God.

(A. J. Morris.)

I. ALL MEN MUST APPEAR BEFORE GOD, AND ANSWER ALL THAT THEY ARE CHARGED WITHAL, WHEN HE COMES TO JUDGMENT.

1. That God by His power can enforce and draw all men before Him, and to confess Him too, no man can deny (Romans 14:11).

2. Besides, it is fit that God should do it, for the clearing of His justice, both in rewarding His own and punishing the wicked and ungodly, when every man's work is manifest, and it appears that every man receives according to his deeds (Romans 2:8). Of this truth there can be no clearer evidence than the observation of that judgment which passeth upon every man in the private consistory of his own conscience, from which none can fly nor silence his own thoughts, bearing witness for him, or against him, no, not those which have no knowledge of God or His law (Romans 2:15).

II. ALL MEN BY NATURE ARE APT TO COLOUR AND CONCEAL ALL THAT THEY CAN AND THAT EVEN FROM GOD HIMSELF.

1. Because all men desire to justify themselves, and are by nature liars (Romans 3:4), and therefore easily fall into that evil to which their nature inclines them.

2. The want of the full apprehension of God's Providence.

III. ONE SIN COMMONLY DRAWS ON ANOTHER.

1. Any sin committed weakens the heart, and consequently leaves it the more unable to withstand a second assault — as a castle is the more easily taken when the breach is once made.

2. And sins are usually fastened one to another, like the links of a chain; so that he who takes hold of one of them necessarily draws on all the rest.

3. And God in justice may punish one sin with another, and to that end both withdraw His restraining grace from wicked men, that being delivered over to the lusts of their own hearts they may run on to all excess of riot, that they may fill up the measure of their sin, that God's wrath may come upon them to the uttermost, and many times for a while withholds the power of His sanctifying grace from His own children.

IV. GOD'S WORD IS TERRIBLE TO A GUILTY CONSCIENCE.

V. IT IS A HARD MATTER TO BRING MEN TO CONFESS ANY MORE THAN IS EVIDENT IN ITSELF.

VI. MEN MAY BE BROUGHT MORE EASILY TO ACKNOWLEDGE ANYTHING THAN THEIR SIN.

VII. NO MEANS CAN WORK ANY FARTHER THAN THEY ARE ACTED AND CARRIED ON BY GOD HIMSELF.

(J. White, M. A.)

I. In briefly adverting then to the fact THAT IT IS THE VOICE OF THE LORD WHICH AWAKENS CONVICTION, LET US ATTEMPT TO ASCERTAIN EXACTLY WHAT IS INTENDED BY SUCH AN EXPRESSION. In the case of Adam it was, of course, the direct and audible voice of the Lord whereby he was aroused. There is no doubt that that voice had struck home to his conscience long before it fell upon his ear — as is prevent by his sense of nakedness, which he pleaded as an excuse for his concealment; but that conviction of sin which drove him to the shade of the foliage immediately after he had eaten the fruit, and before the Lord called him from his hiding place, was but the echo of the Almighty's previous warning, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." If it was the voice of God which awakened conviction in Adam, how does He make that voice heard by us? Is there not a steady monitor within us, and which at times the most hardened of us cannot stifle — which is constantly telling us, "thou shalt surely die" — which is ever reminding us that God's law requires perfection, absolute and unblemished purity, without which we cannot enter into His rest — which also shows us our own hearts, and forces us to bear them to the standard of God's law (a light in which we see in every part of ourselves the elements of eternal perdition and utter ruin) — which proclaims death to us at every step — which haunts our rest, disturbs our thoughts, distracts our minds, and terrifies our souls with the unceasing warning, "thou shalt surely die"?

II. THE EFFECT PRODUCED BY THE VOICE — FEAR. "I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid." There are two kinds of fear — the one generally termed reverence, or, as it is scripturally called, "godly fear," — the other dread, or terror, induced by fear of punishment The former always results from a suitable attitude before God in the contemplation of His majesty and power, and forms one of the most indispensable and becoming attributes in the character of the true disciple of God. The latter is an infallible indication of the absence of the Spirit from the heart, and of the consciousness of guilt without the wish for, or hope of, a remedy. It was this fear which engendered the slavish obedience of the Israelites, and induced that dogged and sullen compliance with the law's demands which characterized the spirit in which their services were rendered. A fear which urges nothing more than a bare fulfilment of a demand from a sense of coercion and compulsion, cannot fail to beget a spirit of enmity against its object. Hence it is that our churches are filled with unwilling worshippers, and the altar of Jehovah is insulted with constrained oblations.

III. The next consideration suggested by the text was, THE MISERABLE AND HUMILIATING SENSE AWAKENED BY THE CONVICTION OF SIN — NAKEDNESS. It is a feeling which manifests itself under three aspects — bringing with it a sense of ignorance, of a want of righteousness, and of impurity. We may be extensively versed in what this world calls knowledge — may be widely acquainted with the works of philosophers and poets, and may even be deeply read in the Oracles of God; able to descant with subtilty and power upon the doctrines of revealed truth; but no sooner does the abiding conviction of sin break in upon us, than these attributes, upon which we once rested a hope of preference before our less favoured brethren, become only as so many scorpions to sting us with the reproach of baying abused them, and leave us under a sense of ignorance even in the possession of the gifts of knowledge. But it is not only upon such as these that the sense of ignorance accompanies the voice of conviction. It creeps over those who, without worldly as well as spiritual knowledge of any kind, have never felt their ignorance before. There are many who, while they are of the night and know nothing, think there is nothing which their own strength is not sufficient to perform, and that there is no degree of excellence to which they cannot of their own power attain. When conscience speaks to such as these, the helplessness which they feel partakes largely of this sense of ignorance. They look back upon that career of self-sufficiency during which they have been arrested, like awakened sleepers upon the visions of a dream; and yet, amidst the realities to which they have been aroused, they feel a need; but know not where to turn for help. Our helplessness under conviction of sin is increased by a feeling of our want of righteousness being super-added to this sense of ignorance. Self-dependence is the invariable accompaniment of an ungodly life. Ungodliness itself consists chiefly, if not entirely, in a want of faith in Christ; and if this want of faith in Him exists, our trust must be reposed elsewhere; we either consider ourselves too pure to need a Saviour, or else we trust in future virtue to redeem past transgression. When the floods of conviction all at once break down the sandy barriers of self-trust behind which we have sought to screen ourselves, one of the principal elements in the sense of helplessness resulting from it is a void within ourselves which we find widening more and more as conviction becomes the stronger. It brings with it, too, in an equal degree, a feeling of impurity. Before conviction has firmly fastened hold upon the mind; when, as it were, its first strivings for audience are all that can be experienced, it is apt to be checked by the trite expedient of comparing our own godliness with that of others. But such specious delusions are all overthrown when conscience has us completely in its chains. It leads us to measure ourselves, not by a relative standard, or by the contrast we present to our brethren around us; but by the contrast we present to the requirements of that law which demands perfect purity; a purity to which we feel we can never attain, and a law whereby we know we shall be ultimately judged. We look within, and see ourselves stained with every sin which that law condemns, and we feel that the very lightest of our transgressions is sufficient to crush us beneath its curse. It is in vain that we make future resolves. But, terrible as the situation of a mind thus disturbed may seem, it is in a far more enviable condition than that which is reposing in the lap of sin, and saying, "Peace, peace, when God has not spoken peace."

IV. But it will be necessary now to glance at the next head of discourse, namely, THE VAIN EXPEDIENT FOR ESCAPE MENTIONED IN THE TEXT. "I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." This attempt at personal concealment on the part of our first parents, furnishes a striking example of the deceitfulness of sin. The supposition that the mere shade of the leaves could conceal them from the eye of God would have appeared to their reason, while unwarped by sin and shame, as preposterous and absurd; but now that the taint of guilt was on their souls they were ready to believe in the efficacy of any miserable subterfuge to cheat the omniscience of the Almighty. In like manner does sin lead its victims now from one degree of dissimulation to another, commending the mask of hypocrisy in its most attractive forms, and deluding the sinner into every species of sophistry, from which the purer mind would instinctively recoil. A more rigid observance of Divine ordinances is often resolved upon as a means of propitiating the monitions of the conscience. A mare serious and attentive demeanour is likewise assumed. A closer vigil kept upon the words and actions. And determinations are made to conform more literally to the demands of the Divine law. Such resolves in themselves are admirable, and, inasmuch as they evidence a dissatisfaction with present godliness, are highly commendable. But in what spirit and for what reason are these reforms undertaken? Is it a glowing desire for the promotion of the glory of God; a zeal for the advancement of His kingdom; and an anxiety for the spread of His cause which animates us? Are these high resolves prompted by an indignant sense of our ingratitude to a merciful and beneficent Creator, and a childlike desire to return to Him from whom we have departed? No, my friends. It is from no contrition for past unthankfulness towards the giver of every good and perfect gift that these resolves are made; but their fulfilment is set about from a sullen and constrained sense of compulsion to satisfy the exorbitant demands of a hard taskmaster whose laws we hate, and whose sway we would fain be freed from; they are undertaken in our own strength, and prompted by a slavish fear of death. We have before seen that this servile dread, though productive of great apparent submission and obedience, generates enmity instead of love in the heart. It is only the light of revelation which can dispel that enmity, and shed abroad that love in the soul.

(A. Mursell.)

I. Let us contemplate THE SINNER "HIDING HIMSELF." For is not this flight and concealment of Adam among the trees of the garden like a symbolical representation of what sinners have been doing ever since? — have they not all been endeavouring to escape from God, and to lead a separated and independent life? They have been fleeing from Divine Presence, and hiding themselves amid any trees that would keep that Presence far enough away.

1. One of the most common retreats of the sinner is that of complete thoughtlessness. What countless thousands of human beings have fled to this retreat; and how easily and naturally does a man take part and place with "all the nations that forget God!" We have said complete thoughtlessness; but it is not complete. If it were, there would be no conscious hiding, no more flight; the forest would then be so deep and dense that no Divine voice would be heard at all, and no Divine visitation of any kind felt or feared. But it is not so. Now and again a gleam of light will come piercing through. Now and again a voice from the Unseen Presence will summon the fugitive back.

2. The occupations of life furnish another retreat for man when fleeing from God. Man works that he may be hidden. He works hard that he may hide himself deep. The city is a great forest, in which are innumerable fugitives from God, and sometimes the busiest are fleeing the fastest; the most conspicuous to us may be the farthest away from Him. Work is right — the allotment of God, the best discipline for man. Trade is right — the dispenser of comforts and conveniences, the instrument of progress and civilization; and from these things actual benefits unnumbered do unceasingly flow; and yet there can be little doubt that the case is as we say. These right things are used at least for this wrong end — as a screen, a subterfuge, a deep retreat from the voice and the presence of the Lord.

3. The moralities of life form another retreat for souls hiding from God. Some men are deeply hidden there, and it is hard to find them; harder still to dislodge them. This does not appear to be an ignominious retreat; a man seems to retire (if, indeed, he may be said to retire at all) with honour. Speak to him of spiritual deficiency, he will answer with unfeigned wonder, "In what?" And if you say again, "In the keeping of the commandments," he will give you the answer that has been given thousands and thousands of times since the young man gave it to Jesus, "All these things have I kept from my youth up. Not perfectly, not as an angel keeps them, but as well as they are usually kept among men; and what lack I yet?" So fair is the house in which the man takes shelter. So green is the leafage of the trees amid which he hides. He does not profess to be even "afraid," as Adam was. He hears the Voice, and does not tremble. Why, then, should it be said that he is hiding? Because in deep truth he is. He is attending to rules, but not adopting soul principles of life. He is yielding an outward and mechanical compliance to laws, but be has not the spirit of them in his heart.

4. The forms and observances of religion constitute sometimes a hiding place for souls. Men come to God's house to hide from Him. They put on "the form of godliness, but deny its power." They have a name to live, but continue dead. They seem to draw near, but in reality "are yet a great way off." They figure to themselves an imaginary God, who will be propitiated and pleased by an outward and mechanical service — by the exterior decencies of the Christian life — when all the while they are escaping from the true God, whose continual demand is, "My son, give Me thine heart." Ah, the deceitfulness of the human heart! that men should come to God to flee from Him! Yet so it is, and therefore let a man examine himself, whether he be in the faith or merely in the form; whether he have a good hope through grace, or a hope that will make him ashamed, whether he be in the very Presence reconciled, trustful, and loving, or yet estranged, deceiving himself, and fleeing from the only true Shelter. For we may depend upon it that in all these ways men do fly from God. And God seeks them, for He knows they are lost. He pursues them, not in wrath, but in mercy; not to drive them away into distance, condemnation, despair; but to bring them out from every false refuge and home to Himself, the everlasting and unchanging shelter of all the good.

II. And many do turn and flee to Him to hide them. Adam is the type of the flying sinner. David is the type of THE FLEEING SAINT (Psalm 143:9). Here we have the very heart and soul of conversion, "I flee unto Thee." The man who says this has been turned, or he is turning.

1. "I flee unto Thee to hide me" from the terrors of the law. He alone can hide us from these terrors. But He can. In His presence we are lifted, as it were, above the thunders of the mountain; we see its lightnings play beneath our feet. He who finds his hiding place with God in Christ does not flee from justice; he goes to meet it. In God, the saint's refuge justice also has eternal home; and purity, over which no shadow can ever pass; and law — everlasting, unchanging law — so that the trusting soul goes to meet all these and to be in alliance with all these.

2. "I flee unto Thee to hide me" from the hostility and the hatred of men. This was a flight that David often took, and, in fact, this is the fleeing mentioned in the text. "Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies. I flee unto Thee to bide me." Believer, if you have David's faith you have David's Refuge. The Name of the Lord is an high tower, into which all the righteous run and are safe.

3. "I flee unto Thee to hide me" from the trials and calamities of life. A storm comes to a ship in mid-voyage. She is driven far out of her course, and is glad at last to find shelter in some friendly port. But there would soon have been shipwreck in the fair weather. The sunken rock, the unknown current, the treacherous sand, were just before the ship. The storm was her salvation. It carried her roughly but safely to the harbour. And such is affliction to many a soul. It comes to quench the sunshine, to pour the pitiless rain, to raise the stormy wind and drive the soul away to port and refuge, away to harbour and home within the circle of Divine tranquillity — in the deep calm of the everlasting Presence.

4. "I flee unto Thee to hide me" from the fear and from the tyranny of death. This is the very last flight of the godly soul. It has surmounted or gone through every evil now but one: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death."

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

There is no cure for the terrors of conscience but from God.

1. Because these fears are seated in the soul, and are awakened there by the voice of God. "I heard Thy voice," said Adam. It is the voice of God in the mind that makes it so terrified: no created being can strike fear or convey comfort into the conscience.

2. The fears of the mind, being supernatural and spiritual, can admit only of a spiritual remedy. All outward applications will never cure inward distempers: the sickness of the mind can only be cured by Him who seeth into it. Jesus only can raise and comfort those whom the terrors of the Almighty have cast down and dejected. His peculiar work and office it is to release us from the terrors of conscience. He is entitled to the merit of doing it; He was made acquainted with fear, with trouble, with amazement, with agony of mind, that He might merit comfort for us under our fears. Christ is the end of the law for comfort, by conferring pardon; which pardon He is more fitted to give by reason of that compassion which is in Him; that pity and tenderness with which He is moved toward all that are under any kind of want, or sorrow, or misery. Another way to lessen our fears is to maintain our peace with God by such a regard to His law as will not suffer us to persevere in any known sin. For the conscience can never be at rest so long as wilful sin remains in the heart. The man who is at peace with God "fears no evil tidings," his "heart is fixed." I add this further rule: acquaint thyself much with God, and then thou wilt be less afraid when He visits Thee. If He be new and strange to thee, every appearance of Him will be fearful; but if thou art acquainted with Him, thou mayest then be confident. Next to this, nourish a voluntary religious fear of God in the heart, and that will prevent those other violent and enforced Years which bring torment. Feared He will be; all knees must bow to Him, all hearts must yield to Him; therefore a devout fear is the best way to prevent a slavish dread. The humble spirit that bows itself shall not be broken. Above all, take care to be of the number of those to whom His promises are made — that is, the Church. To them it is said, "they shall dwell safely," and none shall make them afraid.

1. In much pity and tenderness, like as a father catches up a child that is fallen, yea, "like as a father pitieth his own children, so is the Lord merciful to them that fear Him." He "taketh pleasure in the prosperity of His servants," and loves to see them in a comfortable condition. "For a small moment," saith He, "have I forsaken thee, but witch great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer."

2. They are assured also of His care over them, lest they should be swallowed up and overwhelmed with grief and fear. Hear His words: "For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wrath; for the spirit should fail before Me and the souls which I have made. I will restore comforts to him and to his mourners." God brings His servants seasonably out of their distresses; because in them they are unfit and unable for any service. I have now only to observe that all these things are contrariwise with the wicked. No relief in their extremity, but fear and anguish.

(W. Jones, M. A.)

Adam forgot that God could see him anywhere. Dr. Nettleton used to tell a little anecdote, beautifully illustrating that the same truth which overwhelms the sinner's heart with fear, may fill the renewed soul with joy. A mother instructing her little girl, about four years of age, succeeded, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, in fastening upon her mind this truth, "Thou God seest me!" She now felt that she "had to do" with that Being "unto whose eyes all things are naked," and she shrank in terror. For days she was in deep distress; she wept and sobbed, and would not be comforted. "God sees me, God sees me!" was her constant wail. At length one day, after spending some time in prayer, she bounded into her mother's room, and with a heavenly smile lighting up her tears, exclaimed, "Oh, mother, God sees me, God sees me!" Her ecstasy was now as great as her anguish had been. For days her soul had groaned under the thought, "God sees me; He sees my wicked heart, my sinful life, my hatred to Him and to His holy law": and the fear of a judgment to come would fill her soul with agony. But now a pardoning God had been revealed to her, and her soul exclaimed exultingly, "God sees me, takes pity on me, will guide and guard me."

(W. Adamson.)

So there is a consistency in sin: they who hid themselves from one another hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. Sin is the only separating power. Goodness loves the light. Innocence is as a bird that follows the bidding of the sun. When your little child runs away from you, either you are an unlovely parent or the child has been doing wrong. Adam was afraid of the Lord (ver. 10). Afraid of Him who had made the beautiful garden, the majestic river, the sun, and the moon and the stars! How unnatural! Instead of running to the Lord, and crying mightily to Him in pain and agony of soul, he shrunk away into shady places, and trembled in fear and shame. We do the same thing today. We flee from God. Having done some deed of wrong, we do not throw ourselves in utter humiliation before the Lord, crying for His mercy, and promising better life; we stand behind a tree, thinking He will pass by without seeing us. This sin makes a fool of a man as well as a criminal — it makes him ridiculous as well as guilty. It makes its own judgment day.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Who told thee that thou wast naked?

What is significant, as I think, in the Bible narrative, is that the moment when man hears the voice of God in the garden is the moment when he feels himself estranged from Him; he is not happy in the presence of his Maker; he shrinks from Him, and seeks any covering, however feeble, to hide him from his God. And he who looks across the page of history, and seeks to read the secret of the human soul, will find everywhere, I think, this same contrariety between man's duty and his desire, the same consciousness that he has not performed the work God has given him to do. For what can be told as a truer truth of the human story, than that man has high desires and cannot attain to them; that he is living between two worlds, and is often false to what he knows to be most Divine in himself; or, in a word, that he has tasted of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and yet that between him and the tree of life stands a flaming sword which turns every way?

I. THE HUMAN CONFESSION. It is not a little strange, upon the face of it, that man, who is the lord of the physical world, or counts himself so, should be visited by a haunting sense of failure. Why should he be ashamed of himself? Why conceive a Power needing propitiation? Why waste his time in penitence for sin? What is sacrifice — that venerable institution — but an expression of the discordance between man and his environment? We know we are sinners; we cannot escape the chiding of conscience.

II. THE DIVINE INTERROGATION. Whence comes, then, this sense of sin, this longing for holiness? It is a testimony to the Divinity of our human nature. If the prisoner sighs for liberty and flight in the prison, the reason is that the prison is not his home. If the exile gazes with yearning eyes upon the waste of waters which parts him from his native land, the reason is that his heart is there beyond the seas. And if the human heart here in the body sighs and yearns for a perfectness of love and a joy Divine, the reason is, it is the heir of immortality.

(J. E. C. Welldon, M. A.)

"Who told thee that thou wast naked?" or how is it that this nakedness is now a cause of shame to thee? Wast thou not clothed with innocence, with light, and with glory? Didst thou not bear the image of thy God, in whom thou gloriedst? Didst thou not rejoice in all the faculties which He had given thee? Why, then, art thou despoiled, covered with shame, and miserable? Hast thou sullied the garment of innocence and purity which I bestowed upon thee? Hast thou lost the crown with which I adorned thy brow? Who, then, hath reduced thee to this state? "Who told thee that thou wast naked?" Adam is confounded and speechless before his Judge. It is necessary, then, to deepen the conviction which he feels in his troubled conscience. It is necessary to give him a nearer view of the evil which he has committed, by putting to him a still more home question. It is necessary to set full before his eyes the mirror of the Divine law. "Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" My brethren, what instructive lessons does this simple question contain! Let us pause here for a moment, and direct our thoughts to this important subject. And, first, remark that God, in order that "He might be justified even when He condemned," with a condescension which was intended to redound to His own glory, pronounces no curse, nor even a sentence of condemnation upon man, until He has first convicted him in his own conscience. But this condescension of the Lord towards man was also intended to subserve the happiness of the creature, by leading him to repentance, and, through repentance, unto salvation. The Lord, by the question which He puts to Adam, confronts him with His holy law. Man, the sinner, will then no longer be able to withhold the confession of his guilt, under the plea of ignorance. "I commanded thee," saith his Judge, "thou knewest thy duty, the full extent of thy responsibility, even the tremendous sanction of the law and the penalty of its violation." If, then, Adam perish, it is his own fault. But the Almighty, in reminding man in so solemn a manner of the command which He had given him, designed not merely to lead him to confess that he had sinned knowingly and willingly, and that he had made no account of his awful responsibility, but also to show him the real nature of his sin. "Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" I gave thee a command, hast thou violated it? This is sin — the violation of the law of God, disobedience, rebellion. That sin would have been the same, in point of nature, whatever had been the object of the command. For us, as well as for Adam, for every responsible being, sin is simply that which is opposed to the Divine law.

(L. Bonnet.)

Hast thou eaten of the tree?

I. MAN'S FROWARDNESS CANNOT OVERCOME GOD'S LOVE AND PATIENCE.

II. GOD CAN EASILY, WITHOUT ANY OTHER EVIDENCE, CONVINCE MEN BY THEMSELVES.

III. GOD SEES US EVEN WHEN WE SEE NOT HIM, AND TAKES NOTICE OF ALL OUR WAYS, AND OBSERVES THEM. Let all men walk as in God's presence, always beholding Him that is invisible (Hebrews 11:27), as sitting in His throne of majesty and power, and observing the ways of men with those eyes which are purer then to behold evil. This is indeed the only way —

1. To give unto God the honour due to His glorious attributes.

2. To keep our hearts low that we may walk humbly with our God, as we are required (Micah 6:8).

3. To make us watchful in all our ways, that we may do nothing that may provoke the eyes of His glory (see Exodus 23:21).

4. To encourage us in well-doing, when we know we walk in the sight of our Master, who both approves us, and will reward us, when our ways please Him (Psalm 18:24), and takes notice of a cup of cold water bestowed in His name upon any of His children (Matthew 10:42), or the least faithful service performed by a servant to his Master (Ephesians 6:6), and will defend and stand by us while we do Him service (Exodus 23:22, 23).

IV. GOD ACCEPTS OF NO CONFESSION TILL MEN SEE AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE SIN OF THEIR ACTIONS, AND THAT TOO AS IT IS SIN.

1. Because without such a confession, God hath neither the honour of His justice in punishing sin (wherefore Joshua requires Achan to confess his sin, that he might give glory to God, Joshua 7:19), as David doth (Psalm 51:4), nor of His mercy in pardoning it.

2. We cannot otherwise be in any state of security after we have sinned, but by suing out our pardon; which if He should grant, without our condemning and abhorring of our own evil ways, it would neither further our own reformation, nor justify God in pardoning such sins, as we have neither acknowledged, nor grieved for at all.

V. MEN MUST BE DEALT WITHAL IN PLAIN TERMS BEFORE THEY WILL BE BROUGHT TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND BE MADE SENSIBLE OF THEIR SINS.

1. Because the heart is never affected with sin till it be represented unto them in full proportion, but it may appear shameful and odious.

2. Because all men being by nature lovers of themselves, do all that they may to maintain their own innocency, and therefore endeavour what they can to hide sin from their own eyes, as well as from other men, as being unwilling to look upon their own shame.

VI. WHOSOEVER WILL CONVINCE A MAN OF SIN MUST CHARGE HIM PARTICULARLY WITH THE VERY ACT IN WHICH HE HATH SINNED. VII. IN SINFUL ACTS OUR HEARTS OUGHT ONLY TO BE FIXED UPON OUR OWN ACTIONS, AND NOT UPON OTHER MEN'S SOLICITATIONS AND PROVOCATIONS THEREUNTO.

1. Because of the proneness of our own hearts to shift off the evil of our actions from ourselves, if possibly we can.

2. And while we do this, we harden our own hearts, and make them insensible of our sins, which affect us not, when we think the evil proceeds not from ourselves, but charge it upon other men that provoke us.

3. Other men's provocations cannot excuse us, seeing it is the consent of our own hearts and nothing else that makes it a sin.

VIII. THE BREACH OF GOD'S COMMANDMENT IS THAT WHICH MAKES ANY ACT OF OURS A SIN.

1. Disobedience is not only an injury to God, but an injury to Him in the highest degree, wherein His authority is rejected, His wisdom slighted, His holiness despised, and His providence, and power, and justice, both in rewarding and punishing not regarded.

2. Disobedience knows no bounds, no more than waters do that have broken down their banks.

(J. White, M. A.)

She gave me of the tree and I did eat. — Adam's mean excuse: —

1. Adam, we find, was not content to be in the image of God. He and his wife wanted to be as gods, knowing good and evil. He wanted to be independent, and show that he knew what was good for him: he ate the fruit which he was forbidden to eat, partly because it was fair and well-tasted, but still more to show his own independence. When he heard the voice of the Lord, when he was called out, and forced to answer for himself, he began to make pitiful excuses. He had not a word to say for himself. He threw the blame on his wife. It was all the woman's fault — indeed, it was God's fault. "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."

2. What Adam did once we have done a hundred times, and the mean excuse which Adam made but once we make again and again. But the Lord has patience with us, as He had with Adam, and does not take us at our word. He knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust. He sends us out into the world, as He sent Adam, to learn experience by hard lessons, to eat our bread in the sweat of our brow till we have found out our own weakness and ignorance, and have learned that we cannot stand alone, that pride and self-dependence will only lead us to guilt and misery and shame and meanness; that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved from them, but only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(C. Kingsley, M. A.)

Here is, it is true, a confession of his sin. It comes out at last, I did eat; but with what a circuitous, extenuating preamble, a preamble which makes bad worse. The first word is, "the woman," aye the woman; it was not my fault, but hers. The woman whom "Thou gavest to be with me" — It was not me; it was Thou Thyself! If thou had'st not given me this woman to be with me, I should have continued obedient. Nay, and as if he suspected that the Almighty did not notice his plea sufficiently, he repeats it emphatically: "She gave me, and I did eat!" Such a confession was infinitely worse than none. Yet such is the spirit of fallen man to this day. It was not me...it was my wife, or my husband, or my acquaintance, that persuaded me; or it was my situation in life, in which Thou didst place me! Thus "the foolishness of man perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth against the Lord." It is worthy of notice, that God makes no answer to these perverse excuses. They were unworthy of an answer. The Lord proceeds, like an aggrieved friend who would not multiply words: "I see how it is; stand aside!"

(A. Fuller.)

I. NO MAN CAN BEAR OUT SIN BEFORE GOD, HOWSOEVER HE MAY FOR AWHILE OUT-FACE IT BEFORE MEN.

II. WHEN MEN'S SINS ARE SO MANIFEST THAT THEY CANNOT DENY THEM, THEY WILL YET LABOUR BY EXCUSES, TO EXTENUATE THEM WHAT THEY MAY.

III. A MAN, IN THIS STATE OF CORRUPTION, RESPECTS NONE BUT HIMSELF, AND CARES NOT ON WHOM HE LAYS THE BURTHEN, SO HE MAY EASE HIMSELF.

IV. SEDUCERS ARE JUSTLY CHARGEABLE WITH ALL THE SINS COMMITTED BY THOSE THAT ARE SEDUCED BY THEM. Beware, then, of that dangerous employment, to become a solicitor, or factor in sin, and tremble at the very motion of it, and avoid carefully the society of such agents —

1. Who carry the mark and character of Satan, who is styled by the name of the tempter, and is the father of all that walk in that waver seducing.

2. Show themselves much more dangerous enemies to mankind than murderers, who destroy only the body, whereas these lay wait for the soul (Proverbs 22:25).

3. Proclaim war against God, whom they fight against, not only by their own sins, but much more, by making a party against Him, by drawing as many as they can procure, to be companions with them in their evils.

4. And therefore are above others, children of wrath, reserved unto them by the just judgment of God, in a double proportion, according to the measure of their sins acted by themselves, and furthered in other men by their procurement.

V. IT IS USUAL WITH MEN, WHEN THEMSELVES HAVE COMMITTED THE SIN, TO LAY THE BLAME OF IT IN PART EVEN UPON GOD HIMSELF.

VI. IT IS A USUAL PRACTICE WITH MANY MEN TO CAST GOD'S BLESSINGS IN HIS TEETH WITH DISCONTENT.

1. Because, many times, common blessings suit not with men's private ends and desires, so that we judge many things, which are blessings in themselves, to be crosses unto us.

2. Because our unthankful hearts, being not satisfied in all that they inordinately desire, scorn that which they have as a trifle, because it answers not to the full of what is desired.

VII. MEN MAY EASILY BY THEIR OWN FOLLY TURN THE MEANS ORDAINED BY GOD FOR THEIR GOOD INTO SNARES FOR THEIR DESTRUCTION. Let it warn every one of us to use all the helps and blessings which we receive from God with fear and trembling.

1. Purging our own hearts carefully, for to those which are defiled nothing is pure (Titus 1:15).

2. Sanctifying unto ourselves the blessings themselves, by the word and prayer (1 Timothy 4:5).

3. Using all things according to the rule laid down to us in the Word, and referring them to the end for which He gives them, His own glory, and the furthering of our sanctification, that He may bless us in those things, the fruit whereof returns unto Himself at last.

VIII. IT IS VERY DANGEROUS TO EMBRACE ANY MOTION PRESENTED UNTO US WITHOUT EXAMINING THE WARRANT AND GROUND OF IT.

(J. White, M. A.)

He makes no direct and honest answer to God in freely confessing that he had eaten; yet he cannot deny the deed, and therefore, in the very act of admitting (not confessing), he casts the blame upon the woman — nay, upon God, for giving him such a tempter. Here let us mark such truths as these.

1. The difference between admitting sin and confessing it. Adam admits it — slowly and sullenly — but he does not confess it. He is confronted with a Being in whose presence it would be vain to deny what he had done; but he will go no father than he can help. He will tacitly concede when concession is extorted from him, but he will make no frank acknowledgment. It is so with the sinner still. He does precisely what Adam did; no more, till the Holy Spirit lays His hand upon his conscience and touches all the springs of his being. Up till that time he may utter extorted and reluctant concessions, but he will not confess sin. He will not deal frankly with God.

2. The artfulness of an unhumbled sinner. Even while admitting sin, he shakes himself free from blame; nay, he thrusts forward the name of another, even before the admission comes forth, as if to neutralize it before it is made. How artful! yet how common still! Ah! where do we find honest, unreserved acknowledgment of sin? Nowhere, save in connection with pardon.

3. The self-justifying pride of the sinner. He admits as much of his guilt as cannot be denied, and then takes credit to himself for what he has done. He is resolved to take no more blame than he can help. Even in the blame that he takes, he finds not only an extenuation, but a virtue, a merit; for he fled because it was not seemly for him to stand before God naked! Nay, even in so much of the blame as he takes, he must divide it with another, thus leaving on himself but little guilt and some considerable degree of merit. Had it not been for another, he would not have had to admit even the small measure of blame that he does!

4. The hardened selfishness of the sinner. He accuses others to screen himself. He does not hesitate to inculpate the dearest; he spares not the wife of his bosom. Rather than bear the blame, he will fling it anywhere, whoever may suffer. And all this in a moment! How instantaneous are the results of sin!

5. The sinner's blasphemy and ingratitude to God. "The woman whom Thou gavest me," said Adam. God's love in giving him a helpmeet is overlooked, and the gift itself is mocked at.

6. The sinner's attempt to smooth over his deed. "The woman gave me the fruit, and I ate of it; that was all. Giving, receiving, and eating a little fruit; that was all! What more simple, natural, innocent? How could I do otherwise?" Thus he glosses over the sin.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

"Say not thou," says the son of Sirach, "it is through the Lord that I fell away; for thou oughtest not to do the things that He hateth. Say not thou, He hath caused me to err." This is just what Adam and Eve did say. When accused of disobedience they retorted, and dared to blame God for their sin. "If only Thou hadst given me a wife proof against temptation," says Adam. "If only the serpent had never been created," says Eve. Very similar are most of the excuses we make. We blame the gifts that God gives us rather than ourselves, and turn that free will which would make us only a little lower than the angels if rightly used into a "heritage of woe." A man has a bad temper, is careless about his home, and is led to eat the forbidden fruit of unlawful pleasures. When his conscience asks him, "Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" he answers, "It's all my wife's fault. She provokes my temper by her extravagance, carelessness, and fondness for staying away from home. She does not make my home home-like, so I am driven to solace myself with unlawful pleasures." "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." And wives are not less ready to make the conduct of husbands an excuse for a low tone of thought and religion. They ask how it is possible for them to retain their youthful desire of serving Christ when their husbands make home wretched and sneer at everything high and holy. "Easy it is for others to be good, but for myself I find that a wife cannot be better than her husband will allow her to be." How often is ill health pleaded as an excuse for bad temper and selfishness! If we are rich, we allow ourselves to be idle and luxurious. If poor, we think that while it is easy to be good on ten thousand a year, it is impossible for us to resist the temptations of poverty. Is a man without self-restraint and self-control? He thinks it enough to say that his passions are very strong. In the time of joy and prosperity we are careless and thoughtless. When sorrow comes to us, we become hard and unbelieving, and we think that the joy and the sorrow should quite excuse us. Again, evil-doers say that no man could do otherwise were he in their position, that there is no living at their trade honestly, that their health requires this and that indulgence, that nobody could be religious in the house in which they live, and so on. If God wanted us to fight the good fight of faith in other places and under other circumstances, He would move us; but He wishes us to begin the battle where we are, and not elsewhere. There subdue everything that stands in conflict with the law of conscience, and the law of love, and the law of purity, and the law of truth. Begin the fight wherever God sounds the trumpet, and He will give you grace, that as your day is, so your strength shall be. As long as people say, "I cannot help it," they will not help it; but if they will only try their best they will be able to say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." On comparing the excuses which we modern sinners make with those attributed in the text to the first sinners, Adam and Eve, we find one circumstance characterizing them both. We, as well as they, virtually say, that only for difficulty and temptation we would be very good. And yet how absurd it would be to give a Victoria Cross for bravery in the absence of the enemy. We would all laugh if we heard a man greatly praised for being honest and sober when in prison, because we would know that it was impossible for him to be anything else. It is just because the Christian life is not an easy thing that at our baptism we are signed with the sign of the Cross, in token that we shall have to fight manfully under His banner against sin, the world, and the devil.

(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)

We have here the antiquity of apologies: we find them almost as ancient as the world itself. For no sooner had Adam sinned, but he runneth behind the bush.

I. First, we will anatomize and dissect this excuse of Adam's.

II. Next we will look into ourselves; take some notice of our own hearts, and of those excuses which we commonly frame.

III. And then, to make an exact anatomy lecture, we will lay open the danger of the disease, that we may learn to avoid what was fatal to our parents,, and, though we sin with Adam, yet not with Adam to excuse our sin. Of these in their order.

I. "And the man said, The woman," etc. I told you this was no answer, but an excuse; for indeed an excuse is no answer. An answer must be fitted to the question which is asked; but this is quite beside it. The question here is, "Hast thou eaten of the forbidden tree?" The answer is wide from the purpose, an accusation of the woman, yea, of God Himself: "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." "I have eaten," by itself, had been a wise answer; but it is, "I did eat," but "the woman gave it," a confession with an extenuation; and such a confession is far worse than a flat denial. His apology upbraideth him, and he condemneth himself with his excuse.

1. For, first, Mulier dedit, "The woman gave it me," weigh it as we please, is an aggravation of his sin. We may measure sin by the temptation: it is always the greatest when the temptation is least. A great sin it would have been to have eaten of the forbidden fruit though an angel had given it: what is it, then, when it is the woman that giveth it? What a shame do we count it for a man of perfect limbs to be beaten by a cripple! for a son of Anak to be chased by a grasshopper! (Numbers 13:33); for Xerxes' army, which drank up the sea, to be beaten out of Greece by three hundred Spartans! Certainly he deserveth not power who betrayeth it to weakness. "The woman gave it me," then, was a deep aggravation of the man's transgression.

2. Again: It is but, "The woman gave it." And a gift, as we commonly say, may be either taken or refused; and so it is in our power whether it shall be a gift or no. Had the man been unwilling to have received, the woman could have given him nothing. "The gods themselves have not strength enough to strive against necessity"; but he is weaker than a man who yieldeth where there is no necessity. "The woman gave it me," then, is but a weak apology.

3. Further yet: What was the gift? Was it of so rich a value as to countervail the loss of paradise? No; it was "the fruit of the tree." We call it "an apple": some would have it to be an Indian fig. The Holy Ghost vouchsafeth not once to name it, or to tell us what it was. Whatever it was, it was but fruit, and of that tree of which man was forbidden to eat upon penalty of death (Genesis 2:17). "An evil bargain is an eyesore, because it always upbraideth him with folly who made it." And such a bargain here had our first father made. He had bought gravel for bread, wind for treasure, "hope for a certainty," a lie for truth, an apple for paradise. The woman, the gift, the gift of an apple — these are brought in for an excuse, but are indeed a libel.

4. Further still: To aggrandize Adam's fault, consider how the reason of his excuse doth render it most unreasonable. Why doth he make so busy a defence? Why doth he shift all the blame from himself upon the woman? Here was no just detestation of the offence, but only fear of punishment.

5. In the last place: That which maketh his apology worse than a lie, and rendereth his excuse inexcusable, is, that he removeth the fault from the woman on God Himself. Not the woman alone is brought in, but "The woman whom Thou gavest me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Which indeed is a plain sophism: that is made "a cause which is not a cause," but an occasion only. It is a common axiom, "That which produceth the cause, produceth also the effect of that cause"; and it is true in causes and effects essentially co-ordinate. But here it is not so. God, indeed, gave Adam the woman; but He gave him not the woman to give him the apple. "He gave her for a companion, not for a tempter"; and He gave her not to do that which He had so plainly forbidden.

II. And now I wish that the leaves of those trees among which Adam hid himself had cast their shadow only upon him. But we may say, as St. doth of the story of Naboth and Ahab, "This history of Adam is as ancient as the world; but is fresh in practice, and still revived by the sons of Adam." We may therefore be as bold to discover our own nakedness as we have been to pluck our first father from behind the bush. We have all sinned "after the similitude of Adam's transgression," and we are as ready to excuse sin as to commit it. Do we only excuse our sin? No; many times we defend it by the gospel, and even sanctify it by the doctrine of Christ Himself. Superstition we commend for reverence, profaneness for Christian liberty, indiscretion for zeal, will worship for obedience. To come close home therefore, we will stay a little, and draw the parallel, and show the similitude that is betwixt Adam and his sons. We shall still find a Mulier dedit to be our plea as well as his. Some "woman," something weaker than ourselves, overthroweth us, and then is taken in for an excuse. "We all favour ourselves, and our vices too; and what we do willingly we account as done out of necessity of nature." If we taste the forbidden fruit, we are ready to say, "The woman gave it us." Again: it is some gift, some proffer, that prevaileth with it, something "pleasant to the eye," something that flattereth the body and tickleth the fancy, something that insinuateth itself through our senses, and so by degrees worketh upward, and at last gaineth power over that which should "command" — our reason and understanding. Whatsoever it is, it is but a gift, and may be refused. Further: As it is something presented in the manner of a gift which overcometh us, so commonly it is but an apple; something that cannot make us better, but may make us worse; something offered to our hope, which we should fear; something that cannot be a gift till we have sold ourselves, nor be dear to us till we are vile and base to ourselves; at the best but a gilded temptation; an apple with an inscription, with an Eritis sicut dii, upon it; with some promise, some show, and but a show and glimpse, of some great blessing; but earthy and fading, yet varnished with some resemblance of heaven and eternity. Lastly. The Tu dedisti will come in too. For, be it the world, God created it; be it wealth, He openeth His hand and giveth it; be it honour, He raiseth the poor out of the dust; be it our flesh, He fashioneth it; be it our soul, He breathed it into us; be it our understanding, it is a spark of His Divinity; be it our will, He gave it us; be it our affections, they are the impressions of His hand. But, be it our infirmities, we are too ready to say that that is a woman too of God's making. But God never gave it. For, suppose the flesh be weak, yet the spirit is strong. "If the spirit be stronger than the flesh," saith , "it is our fault if the weaker side prevail." And therefore let us not flatter ourselves, saith he, because we read in Scripture that "the flesh is weak"; for we read also that "the spirit is ready" (Matthew 26:41); "that we might know that we are to obey, not the flesh, but the spirit."

III. And thus ye see what a near resemblance and likeness there is between Adam and his posterity; that we are so like him in this art of apologizing that we cannot easily tell whether had most skill to paint sin with an excuse, the father or the children. Adam behind the bush, Adam with a Mulier dedit, is a fair picture of every sinner; but it is not easy to say that it doth fully express him. But now, to draw towards a conclusion, that we may learn "to cast off the old man," and to avoid that danger that was fatal to him, we must remember that we are not only of the first Adam, but also of the second; not only "of the earth, earthy," but also of "the Lord from heaven: and as we have borne the image of the earthy, so we must also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Corinthians 15:47-49). We must remember that we are born with Christ, that we are baptized and buried with Christ, and that we must rise with Christ; that the woman was given to be in subjection, the flesh to be subdued by us, and the world to be trodden under our feet; that we must not count these as enforcements and allurements before sin, lest we take them up as excuses after sin; that we must not yield to them as stronger than ourselves, that we may not need to run and shelter ourselves under them in time of trouble.

1. To conclude: my advice shall be — First, that of Arsenius the hermit: "Command Eve, and beware of the serpent, and thou shalt be safe; but, if thou wilt be out of the reach of danger, do not so much as look towards the forbidden tree."

2. But, if thou hast sinned, if thou hast tasted of the forbidden fruit, if thou hast meddled with the accursed thing, then, as Joshua speaketh to Achan, "My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto Him" (Joshua 7:19). Run not behind the bush, study not apologies; make not the woman, who should help thee to stand, an excuse of thy fall; nor think that paint nor curtains can hide thy sin from Him whose "eyes are ten thousand times brighter than the sun" (Ecclesiasticus 23:19), and in whose bosom thou art, even when thou runnest into the thicket of excuses. No; "Give glory to God," that God may seal a pardon to thee. Open thy sin by confession to God, and the mercy of God will hide it: condemn it, and judge thyself for it; and thy excuse is made, thou shalt never be judged for it by the Lord: lay it open before the Lord, and He will blot it out forever.

(A. Farindon, D. D.)

You will observe how in this expression Adam directs attention to Eve as the more guilty of the two; as, if it had not been for her, had she not pressed and persuaded him to eat, that awful and fatal fruit would have remained untouched; as if she, the first to disobey, had urged him on, she leading, and he only following; she daring to pluck, to eat, and to give, and he only consenting to receive what she had taken. And no doubt he stated the case as it really was; the guilt did not begin with him; Eve led the way; her foot first crossed the forbidden line. But the question for us to consider is this: Did this defence, strictly true as it was, and in some sort placing with justice the greater blame on her, free him from condemnation in God's sight? Nay, however it was that he came to sin, sin was condemned in him; the sentence was passed, in all its awfulness, that he should die; there was no lesser death, no milder punishment decreed against him. When Eve enticed, it was his part to have withstood, to have resisted all the beguiling words; it was his to have refused the fruit, to have held back his hand, to have kept his hold of the commandments of God; concession to her was sin; and whether or not the greater blame was his, there was blame enough to bring down upon himself the awful vengeance of the Lord, and the awful decree of death. And should we not dwell upon this point, and see how, when Adam pleaded his wife's first step in sin as the cause and excuse for his, God's wrath fell upon him as well as her? For in this, as in all former times, men often weave the same flimsy web of self-defence, and think to screen themselves behind others who have led them into sin, to lighten their load of iniquity, and to blunt the sharper edge of the sword of punishment. The young, when pursuing youthful sins, point to the young already before them on the same sinful course, saying, "See you not that it was always so, that I am but as the young have ever been, that I am only doing what has been done by those before me?" The middle-aged, busied with the world, and in their worldly dealings showing a sharp, a grasping, an unscrupulous spirit, wanting in all that is generous, simple, and high-minded, point to what they call "the ways of the world," shelter themselves behind the customs of the age, the habits of other men, the examples that are around them, saying that others gave them of this low standard of morals, these sharp ways of dealing, these lax principles, and they did eat; that they did not of themselves begin thus to deal, thus to push their way; that they even wish things were different, but that they found the world a pushing world, and that they only followed in the train, doing what others did, and following in the lead. But what is the use of such defences of ourselves? How will this bear the light? How do we clear ourselves by such means as this? If it be sin to tempt, it is also sin to yield; if it be sin to give of forbidden fruit, it is also sin to take; if it be sin to Suggest evil counsel, it is also sin to follow it. It is this very point that the ease of Adam urges on us all. It may be our part to hear evil counsel, to have evil friends, to live in an atmosphere of evil principles, to be offered in some form other forbidden fruit, to see others eating of it themselves; but are we at once to be led by the evil friend, to act on the evil advice, to imbibe the evil principles, to yield to the evil ways which others tread? Nay, we are called to the very opposite course; we are called to resist evil, to quit ourselves like men, to endure temptation, to drive off tempters, to bear witness to our Saviour, to confess Him in the world by opposing the spirit of the world. Yes, this often is our part, and to this we are called by God, to bear witness to the truth, to be surrounded by tempters and temptations, wrong views, wrong ways of going on, wrong habits, unchristian conduct, unchristian patterns, and, amid all this darkness of the world, to see by faith the true and narrow way, not to be beguiled, but to steer our vessel straight. We each, in one sense, stand alone. Every man has his own appointed course, to which the Spirit leads him on; from which, if he would be saved, he must not swerve to the right hand or to the left, whatever influences may be at work on either side.

(Bishop Armstrong.)

The first thing which strikes us, on the perusal of this passage, is the extreme readiness and proneness of man to urge an excuse for sin, and to shift the blame from himself upon some other person or thing. One of the commonest grounds on which men rest their apology for irreligion and laxity is a defective education. They were not trained in youth to the way wherein they should go; parents did not teach it, did not walk in the way before them. Others, again, are thinking to throw the fault of their disobedience or their sinful habits upon the circumstances in which they are placed, upon their profession or trade, upon the maxims and habits of society, upon the companions with whom they must associate. And it is undeniable that many strong temptations are thus presented. But this can by no means justify a yielding to sin. Not a few there are who account for the frequency of their offences from an untowardness of disposition and temper, from the violence of passion, or from bodily infirmities; and there are allowances to be made on these grounds; but no free pardon, no license hereby for sin.

(J. Slade, M. A.)

A traveller in Venezuela illustrators the readiness of men to lay their faults on the locality, or on anything rather than on themselves, by the story of a hard drinker who came home one night in such a condition that he could not for some time find his hammock. When this feat was accomplished, he tried in vain to get off his big riding boots. After many fruitless efforts, he lay down in his hammock, and soliloquized aloud, "Well, I have travelled all the world over; I lived five years in Cuba, four in Jamaica, five in Brazil; I have travelled through Spain and Portugal, and been in Africa, but I never yet was in such an abominable country as this, where a man is obliged to go to bed with his boots on." Commonly enough are we told by evil-doers in excuse for their sins that no man could do otherwise were he in their position; that there is no living at their trade honestly; that in such a street shops must be open on a Sunday; that their health required an excursion to Brighton on the Sabbath because their labours were so severe; and so on, all to the same effect, and about as truthful as the soliloquy of the drunkard of Venezuela.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

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