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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84

The Fall of Man

page 51

The Fall of Man.

To make this matter clear we shall advance some queries:—(1.) Did our first parents eat of the forbidden fruit because they were hungry ? If they felt in want there was abundance of provision provided for them in the garden. (2.) Did they eat of the fruit with intent to disobey God's command? That does not appear to have been the case either, looking at the protest of Eve against the persuasion of the serpent (Gen. iii. 2, 3). (3.) Why, then, did they eat of the fruit ? Because of their being carried captive by "lust:"—"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food," that is, the lust of the flesh, "and that it was pleasant to the eyes," the lust of the eyes, "and a tree to be desired to make one wise," the pride of life, she took, &c. (verse 6). (4.) And whose production was that "lust ?" It was of the father of lust and lies, the Devil, (John viii. 44,) who by his subtle lies and deceit had bewitched them : "And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat" (verse 13).

Here, then, was the turning point for the worse, and the apparent victory of the devil, in which he and his host gloried, little thinking that their imaginary victory was their ruin. By believing the devil, in the serpent, our first parents indeed declared God to be a liar and deceiver. At the moment Eve inclined her ear to the persuasion of that old serpent, her heart turned from God, and of which that groat dragon, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan (Rev. xii. 9) took possession, and thus our first parents became the subjects of the kingdom of darkness, of which he is the prince and ruler, and thus they became subject to his law of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; or as St. Paul calls it, in Romans vii. 21, 23, 25, "The law of sin and death," as well as the whole of their offspring. Thus the devil holds the whole human race as his subjects by right of conquest, upon the attack made upon our first parents. The devil, by his unclean "lust," acting like the poison of a serpent, forced our first parents to obey him contrary to God's command. "Lust," therefore, was and is the essence of sin; and, by the eating of the fruit, sin became manifest as the fruit or outcome of sin.

Further, we know from Scripture, as well as from personal experience, that a soul apart from God is dead—that is to say, it is without Godly life and spiritual support, as God predicted to Adam (Gen. ii. 17) would be the case, though the soul remains physically in nature and substance the same as God gave it. When our first parents had changed their Government so also was their provision changed. Instead of the bread of life and the water of life, supplied by God's presence in their heart and soul, they were now led under the delusion of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John ii. 16); in which the nourishment of their soul was as one eating and drinking in a dream, as we ourselves found when in our natural state and condition, until we awoke to find ourselves empty and miserable. It was then God stepped in and proclaimed the covenant of grace; for the covenant of works Adam had broken.