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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

In short, we should expect that, if the faculty of speech were bestowed upon it, it would make just such a use of it, as Moses narrates of the serpent in the garden of Eden.

Its mind was purely and emphatically a "Carnal Mind," of a more shrewd description than that of any of the inferior creatures.

It was "very good"; but, when he undertook to converse upon things too high for him; to speak of what he had seen and heard; and to comment upon the law of the Lord, he lost himself in his dialogisms, and became the inventor of a lie.

Thus prepared, he commenced a conversation with the woman.

"Yea," said he, as though he were familiar with the saying, "hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

" In this manner he spoke, as if he had been pondering over the matter to find out the meaning of things; but, not being able to make anything of it, he invited her attention inquiringly.

She replied, "We may eat of the fruit of the tress of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die".

This was enunciating "the law of the spirit of life," or the truth; for "the law of God is the truth" Had she adhered to the letter of this, she would have been safe.

But the serpent began to intellectualize; and, in so doing "abode not in the truth; because there was no truth in him".

When he may be speaking the falsehood ( otan lalh to qeudov ) he speaks out of his own reasonings ( ek twn idiwn lalei ) He could not comprehend the moral obligation necessitating obedience to the divine law; for there was nothing in him that responded to it.

Hence, says Jesus, "there was no truth in him".

This, however, was not the case with Eve.

There was truth in her; but she also began to intellectualize at the suggestion of the Serpent; and from his reasonings to doubt, and finally to conclude, that the Lord God did not mean exactly what He said.

This was an error of which all the world is guilty to this day.

It admits that God has spoken; that He has promulgated laws; that He has made promises; and that He has said, "He that believeth the gospel, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned".

All this professors admit in theory; while, as in the case of Eve, in practice they deny it.

They say He is too kind, too loving, too merciful, to act according to a rigid construction of the word: for if He did, multitudes of the good and pious, and excellent of the earth, would be condemned.

This is doubtless true.

Sceptics, however of this class should remember that they only are "the salt of the earth" who delight in the law of the Lord, and do it.

Every sect has its "good and pious" ones, who are thought little or nothing of by adverse denominations.

The law of God is the only true standard of goodness and piety; and men may depend upon it, attested by the examples in Scripture, that they who treat Him as not meaning exactly what He says in His word, "make God a liar," and are anything but good and pious in His esteem.

Eve having repeated the law in the hearing of the Serpent, he remarked that they should not surely die: "for" said he, "God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil".

The falsehood of this assertion consisted in the declaration, "Ye shall not surely die," when God had said, "Dying ye shall die".