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perfect. Thus the three first days were employed in calling into existence what was most essential-light, heaven, and earth. But each of these three creations was to be made more complete, and each therefore engaged again God's care and wisdom. For on the fourth day, He produced the light-giving bodies, the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars; on the fifth, the Birds of the air that rise to the expanse of heaven, and the Fish that teem in the seas; while on the sixth day, He peopled the earth with Beasts, great and small, with cattle and reptiles—animating with joyous life, plain, and hill, and forest.

But when the earth was beautiful in its fresh garb of verdure, when the bright sun beamed down from the blue heavens, and the cool waters girt the land like a broad belt, when air, sea, and earth were filled with happy and peaceful denizens; God, in His wisdom, saw fit to call forth a being able and worthy to enjoy all this beauty, and to rule over all this wealth ; and He created Man in His own image, giving him a mind capable, if not of understanding, at least of adoring Him. Man, gifted with reason and an immortal soul, was entrusted with the dominion over the earth and all that is upon it, over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

The great work of creation was finished on the sixth day. On the seventh, God rested ; and we are told, He *blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.' Thus it became the type of the Sabbath, which men should enjoy after six busy days of labour, and which was to be a blessing to the weary, and a sanctification to all.

2. PARADISE AND THE FALL.

[GENES. II. 4.-III. 24.)

The earth stood radiant in beauty ; God had adorned it with luxuriant vegetation, with lovely flowers, and stately trees, and delicious fruits. The man, Adam, whom He had created, was placed by Him in a spot which well deserved its name as a "garden of delight' or Eden. was situated in the vicinity of that extremely fertile and beautiful region, where the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris meet, and where, besides, they are joined by two other streams, which the Bible calls Pison and Gihon. It must, therefore, be looked for in or around the district of the present province of Iran, though it is impossible for us to define its position with exactness. More perfect in its loveliness than any garden we have ever seen, blooming with every plant that is pleasant to look upon, filled with every fruit that is good to the taste, and watered by the four rivers which, separating in the garden towards all directions, flowed forth to fertilize the land such was the exquisite abode of our first ancestor. But he was to enjoy it only in proportion to the labour and care which he would bestow upon its cultivation. Therefore God commanded him to watch and tend it with eager zeal.

Among all the trees that abounded in Eden, there were two more wonderful than the rest—the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. And God commanded Adam : • Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for when thou eatest thereof thou must surely die.'

But the creation was not complete. Man was not yet perfectly happy. Animal life, so material for his enjoy

ment, indeed surrounded him on all sides. The numberless birds and the vast variety of beasts, which God brought to him to name, pleased and interested him. But he was without a real companion able to inspire him with deeper sympathy. He still felt alone. God determined upon another act of mercy. Adam fell into a profound sleep, and when he returned to awakening consciousness, it was to see before him a wondrous being, who was both the last and the most beautiful of God's creations. Man called this being Woman, and exclaimed with delight, “ This time it is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh;' and later he named her Eve, because she was to become the mother of all living. Man and woman were designed by the Almighty to spend in the garden of Eden an eternal life of happiness and innocence.

But this beautiful existence did not continue long. The serpent tempted the woman, to make her disobedient to the only command imposed by God upon the first man. That most subtle of all beasts cunningly asked Eve, ‘Has indeed God said, You shall not eat of any tree of the garden ?? To which the woman answered, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden God has said, you shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' Then the serpent, craftily pursuing its object, and relying for success upon human weakness, assured the woman that she would certainly not die, but that by eating of the forbidden fruit her eyes would be opened, and she would, like God, be able to distinguish good from evil. The woman, so tempted, and moreover allured by the beautiful appearance of the tree, yielded, gathered of the fruit, and ate, and gave to her husband, who also tasted of it. Shame followed

upon

sin. Man and woman, hearing the voice of the Lord God in the garden, hid themselves, and were afraid. But God asked Adam

sternly, · Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee thou shouldst not eat ?' to which man answered with a cowardly trembling, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.' The woman, in her turn, timidly threw the guilt upon the serpent who had beguiled her.

Severe retribution attended this first sin of disobedience. God caused the serpent to be the most despised among all the animals of creation, to crawl upon its belly, and to eat dust for ever, while it should live in deadly hatred with mankind. “I will put enmity,' said God, “between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.' Then God proclaimed the punishment of man and woman. They were expelled from the garden of Eden, which could be the abode of the innocent alone; they were thenceforth to eat their bread in the sweat of their brow; for the earth would be cursed on account of their sin, and would bring forth thorns and thistles, and scanty harvests ; so they would have to toil and to struggle till death released them; for they were taken from dust, and to dust must they return.—Thus man forfeited for ever eternal life and ease on earth, or as it is symbolically expressed in the Bible-narrative, “God placed before the garden of Eden Cherubim, with the flame of the revolving sword, to keep the way of the tree of life.'

:. THE GENERATIONS BETWEEN ADAM AND

NOAH.

(Genes. IV. V.]

Adam and Eve, expelled from their happy abode, were sent abroad to recommence a new and sterner life. But an existence of honest labour, ennobled by the guiding

light of reason, could not be without dignity and happiness. They saw the reluctant earth yield up its hidden treasures ; and before their eyes, barren tracts were changed into fields of waving corn. But an additional blessing was granted to them; they became the parents of two sons, Cain and Abel. Pride was mingled with their delight when they looked upon their children, who were destined to grow into reasonable beings, endowed like themselves with a knowledge of good and evil. Under their care and fondness, the childhood of Cain and Abel passed away. In course of time, Cain became a husbandman and Abel a shepherd. The brothers, unlike in their occupations, were no less unlike in their disposi

Cain had to carry on a perpetual struggle with a stubborn and ungrateful soil; it was he who especially felt the curse pronounced against his parents, for he had to work in the sweat of his brow; while Abel had the gentler and easier task of leading his sheep into pleasant green meadows, of watering them at fresh springs, and of reclining near them in the shade of spreading trees. Both brothers, however, saw their work succeed, and gratitude impelled them to bring an offering to God. Cain naturally presented the firstfruits of the field, and Abel the firstlings of the flock. They could hardly express more appropriately their humble conviction that all they possessed belonged to their Creator, as they owed it to His mercy. But though Cain was filled with a proper sense of dependence on the will of God, he could not master his evil passions, when he compared his own hard life with the easy'existence of his younger brother. Envy rankled and took root in his breast. An offering presented with such feelings could not be acceptable to God, who looks upon the piety of the worshipper rather than upon the value of the gift. While, therefore, his oblation was rejected, Abel's sacrifice was graced with Divine

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