I. What was the sin of our first parents?

The fall, or first sin of man, was the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise; or the eating of the forbidden fruit: "Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:16, 17.) Man, by the instigation of the devil, violated this command of God; and from this, has proceeded our depravity and misery.

But is the plucking of an apple such a great and heinous offence? It is indeed a most aggravated offence; because there are many horrid sins connected with it. such as:

1. Pride, ambition, and an admiration of self. Man, not satisfied with his own dignity, and with the condition in which he was placed, desired to be equal with God. This, God charged upon him, when he said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." (Gen. 3:22.)

2. Unbelief; for he charged a lie upon God, who had said, "Thou shalt surely die." The devil denied this, by saying, "Ye shall not surely die ;" and accused God of envy, saying, "But 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." (Gen. 3 :5.) Adam believed the devil rather than God, and ate of the forbidden fruit; nor did he believe that any punishment would overtake him. But not to believe God, and to believe the devil, is to regard God as though he were no God—yea, it is to substitute the devil in the place of God. This was a sin that was horrible beyond measure.

3. Contempt and disobedience to God; which appears in the fact that he ate of the fruit contrary to the command of God.

4. ingratitude for benefits received. He was created in the image of God, and for the enjoyment of eternal life; for which benefit he made this return, that he harkened to the devil more than to God.

5. Unnaturalness, and the want of love to posterity. Miserable man that he was! He did not think that as he had received these gifts for himself and his posterity, so he would also, by sinning, lose them for himself and his posterity.

6. Apostacy, or a manifest falling away from God to the devil, whom he believed and obeyed, rather than God; and whom he set up in the place of God, separating himself from God. He did not ask of God those things which he was to receive; but, by the advice of the devil, he wished to obtain equality with God. The fall of man, therefore, was no trifling, nor single offence; but it was a sin manifold and horrible in its nature, on account of which God justly rejected him, with all of his posterity.

Hence, we may easily return an answer to the objection: No just judge inflicts a great punishment on account of a small offence. God is a just judge. Therefore, he ought not to have punished so severely, in our first parents, the eating of an apple.

Ans. It was not, however, a small offence as we have already shown; hut a most aggravated sin--comprehending pride, ingratitude, apostacy, &c. Hence, God justly inflicted a severe punishment, on account of this act of disobedience. And if it be still further objected, that God ought to have spared the posterity of Adam, in as much as he himself has declared, "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father ;" (Ez. 18:20.) we would reply, that this is true only where the son is not a partaker of the wickedness of the father; but we are all partakers of the sin of Adam.