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by Dr. John Thomas
In the Paradise of Eden, mortality and immortality were set before the man and his companion.
They were external to them.
They were to avoid the former, and seek after the latter, by obedience to the law of God.
They were capable of being filled with either; but with which depended upon their actions; for immortality is the end of holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.
We meet with no traces in the Mosaic history of ceremonial observances, or religious worship, pertaining to the novitiate.
To rest one day in seven; believe that the Lord God would perform His word if they transgressed; and to abstain from touching the Tree of knowledge, was all their gracious benefactor required.
There was no "religion" in the garden of Eden -- no sacrifices, or offerings; for sin was as yet a stranger there.
The tenure of the Paradise was predicated upon their abstinence from sin; so that it could be forfeited only by transgression of the law of the Lord.
GOD'S LAW, AND HOW SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD.
Probation before exaltation, the law of the moral universe of God -- The temptation of the Lord Jesus by Satan the trial of his faith by the Father -- The Temptation explained -- God's foreknowledge does not necessitate; nor does He justify, or condemn, by anticipation -- The Serpent an intellectual animal, but not a moral agent, nor inspired -- He deceives the woman -- The nature of the transgression -- Eve becomes the tempter to Adam -- The transgression consummated in the conception of Cain -- A good conscience, and an evil conscience, defined -- Man cannot cover his own sin -- The carnal mind illustrated by the reasoning of the Serpent -- It is metaphorically the serpent in the flesh -- God's truth the only rule of right and wrong -- The Serpent in the flesh is manifested in the wickedness of individuals; and in the spiritual and temporal institutions of the world -- Serpent-sin in the flesh identified with "the Wicked One" -- The Prince of the World -- The Kingdom of Satan and the World identical -- The Wiles of the Devil -- The "Prince" shown to be sin, working and reigning in all sinners -- How he was "cast out" by Jesus -- "The works of the Devil" -- "Bound of Satan"; delivering to Satan -- The Great Dragon -- The Devil and Satan -- The Man of Sin.
Man in the first estate is "a little lower than the angels"; but, in the second, or higher, estate, he is to be "crowned with glory and honour"; and to take his stand in the universe upon an equality with them in nature and renown.
Man's first estate is the natural and animal; his second, the spiritual, or incorruptible.
To be exalted from the present to the future state and inheritance, he must be subjected to trial.
From the examples recorded in the scriptures, it is evident, that God has established it as the rule of His grace; that is, the principle upon which He bestows His honours and rewards to prove men before He exalts them.
Probation, then, is the indispensable ordeal, to which every man is subjected in the providence of God, before he is accepted as "fit for the Master's use".
By these examples, also, it appears, that man's probation is made to bear upon the trial of his faith by testing his obedience.
An untried faith is worth nothing; but a faith that stands the test of trial, "is much more precious than gold which perisheth, though it be tried with fire"; because the sustained trial will be "found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearance of Jesus Christ".
An untried faith is a dead faith, being alone.
Faith without trial finds no scope for demonstration, or evidence of its existence.
Thus, it is written, "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?