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wife or children in the deeps of sorrow, to mourn alone! Let this serve as a warning to the living, not to put their trust in uncertain riches, but to remember that the world with all which it contains, is rapidly passing away.
At Londonderry, July 30, Miss ELIZABETH T. HOLMAN, daughter of widow Charlotte Holman, in the 20th year of her age. "The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry ? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field."-Isai. xl. 6.
WOODSTOCK, OCTOBER, 1827.
SERMON, NO. XXXVII.
[This Sermon is from the pen of Rev. Lewis C. Todd, of New York. For the sake of the ingenuity which our Brother has displayed, we give it an insertion in the Repository.]
GEN. iii. 4.—“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die."
This subject is but the counterpart of a former discourse on the declaration of the Most High, which the serpent contradicts in the words of our text. Our design now is to consider the general features of this false doctrine preached by the "Father of lies ;" and it is natural that we should notice
J. What is meant by the serpent.
II. The doctrine he taught; and
III. The various schemes and artifices which he did, and ever has used to propagate his doctrine among our
I. The serpent of our text I consider a metaphor, which denotes the carnal propensities of human nature. "The carnal mind which is enmity against God, and not subject to his law." And no emblem could be better chosen to personify the enmity of the human heart. How odious is this reptile to human judgment-how detestable to the sight-his food is dust-his coil, his motion are abhorrent. His long voluble shape, his tongue, and eyes bespeak the venom and poison of his nature. So he well compares with the carnal propensities of our nature. They grovel in earthly pursuits, and seek their food and pleasures in low and sensual indulgences. They never aspire after the pure pleasures of virtue, nor taste the elevated bliss of devotion. They have no communion with God, or joys in the triumphs of truth. But Vol. 8.
they cherish lust, avarice and revenge, and all the baleful elements of misery and mischief; and they seek the shades of duplicity to hide their deformity, and lead the unguarded mind by the lure of false charms and delusive fascinations, into their toils, when the enchantment breaks, and the captive soul awakes to horror.
It is this carnal mindedness which is represented in the scriptures under various names and figures as the common enemy of mankind. Fancy has given it a literal form, parts and shape; credulity has magnified his proportions, added talons, horns and tail; and superstition has arrayed him in her awful terors; enthroned him upon the dark surges of hell, to arouse its fury, direct its storms, blow abroad its cataracts, spout its red waves athwart the vast domain, and with hideous shrieks and demoniac yells, mock the cries and groans of the damned!!
But this fabled monster has no reality but in the propensities of man. In the human heart he has his only habitation where he engenders falsehood, slander, treachery, violence, murder, and all the crimes which have stained humanity, and rendered this world a region of absurdity and infatuation.
II. We will now proceed to notice the doctrine which this old serpent preached in Paradise, and still preaches
to our race.
In the words of our text he says, "Ye shall not surely die;" that is, ye shall not really suffer the wages of sin, which is death. God declared to them that in the day they transgressed, they should surely die. The serpent charged Deity with falsehood, and taught them, they should not surely die.
The same God has declared, that "he will by no means clear the guilty." The serpent says, he will clear the elected guilty; and teaches every one to hope he is of
that number. God says, 'Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil. The serpent says, 'If you are elected, which you doubtless are, or if you repent, which you can do at leisure, you shall escape all the wrath of God,' his word to the contrary notwithstanding. God says, "He will bring into judgment every work, and every secret thought, whether it be good or evil," that "He will render to every man according to his deeds. He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong he hath done," and that "there is no peace to the wicked." But this old serpent dares confront Omnipotence, and boldly contradict him.
The Legislator of the world has impressed his law upon the understanding of every rational being. He preaches its penalty to man by the illuminations of his spirit; by the ministry of Jesus; by the unfolding tokens of his justice; and by the judgments and retributions of his providence. But this arch adversary to our peace, coiling himself in the secret recesses of the mind, pours his envenomed breath upon the affections of the heart, chills the sympathies of nature, stupifies the conscience, blinds the understanding; and with death dropping from his tongue, whispers to the soul, "Ye shall not surely die; there is pleasure in sin, and peace to the wicked.” Thus he persuades the knave, that happiness is to be counted by dollars and cents; the thief, that it is to be stolen; and the murderer, that it is to be bought with blood.
III. We now come to the most important part of our subject, which is to notice the arts and deceptions, which he uses to propagate his doctrine.
1. As mankind have become more enlightened since the days of Eden, he finds it necessary to use more of the serpent's guile now, than at that time. Were he to come out openly and contradict Deity, most people are now too
sensible to regard his word; therefore, he now pretends to be a great friend to God, and to believe much in his threatening; and by this stratagem he gains the confi dence of the simple, while he expounds and metamorphoses the whole threatening into a something, far off, mysterious, and easily escaped, notwithstanding the highest crimes: and this duplicity has succeeded so well that the world has eat little else besides forbidden fruit, and been ever full of crimes and blood, under the very eye of Heaven, and in full view of his threatenings.
2. You recollect in his first attempt to deceive our race he artfully addressed the woman instead of the man. So women and children and effeminate men, have ever been mostly the subjects of his duplicity, in theological matters. (I trust our female friends will take no offence at this insinuation: for I mean to allow many exceptions. If they generally had equal literary advantages with the other sex, they would be no more easily allured by the serpent's cunning and craft.) And in order to effect his purpose more abundantly, he has spread out a "golden lure" before the people, and thus enlisted a great number of the lovers of ease in his service. These he has disciplined, and rendered them very pliable in his Divinity schools; from whence they come, well instructed in the mysteries of iniquity, and begin with assuming a grave manner, a disfigured face, and much studied sanctity. They go like the serpent to women and children; and with an awful solemnity in their voice and countenance, begin to interrogate them on the state of their minds: they tell them they are great sinners; in a damnable state; that God's sword of infinite wrath has been drawn over them from the very moment of their birth; that a dreadful hell rolls beneath theman incensed God levelling his thunders at their heads; and a burning devil ready to chain them to his throne: