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"So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”—GENESIS iii., 24.

HE day that man was banished from the home


of his innocency was full of unutterable sorrow. He had thrown away the favor of his God, and the happiness of himself and his race. He had begun to taste the bitterness of that cup which the tempter had put to his lips. The holiness, justice, and truth of God, in awful majesty, were asserting their claims upon him. But although distressed, he is not in despair, for mercy also is prominent in the manifestation of the Divine character, and another and a brighter light bursts upon the moral chaos into which sin had thrown the fairest creation of God. In the same breath which announced to the combined offenders their appropriate punishments, is revealed the surety of the new Covenant, and salvation in him: "He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This was the dawning of gospel light, the great first promise, the germ of boundless grace and endless glory to a multitude that no man can number. In beautiful analogy with that revelation is the symbol by which is

exhibited the hopelessness of man's condition by the first covenant, and his restoration to the favor and fellowship of his reconciled God by the second-the flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life, presenting, in most impressive form, the impossibility of attaining to the life promised in the first covenant, of which the tree of life was the seal, and the cherubim opening a door of hope, through the second, by exhibiting redeemed man in the attitude of an accepted worshiper, the ambassador of God to man, and the leader and representative of his people to God. Thus are embodied in striking emblem the disabilities and doom of the covenant of works, and the privileges and duties of the covenant of grace.

First. There is no salvation now by the first covenant.

Second. The cherubim embody the scheme of salvation through the surety of the New Covenant as administered by the officers of his church.

1. That the tree of life was a seal of the covenant of works made with Adam, the representative of our race, is evident from its mention in connection with that covenant, its name, the expectations of fallen man respecting it, and this prohibition of its use, now that the constitution to which it belonged is made void or broken, and its threatened penalty incurred. When by the entrance of sin, salvation became impossible by the work of the law, it became the Divine faithfulness and mercy

to forbid all fruitless and ruinous attempts to obtain it in that way. And the strong propensity of man, ever since, to seek to be justified by the works of the law, has abundantly shown that the prohibition was not without cause. It was a part of his moral constitution, as he came out of the hands of his Creator; and although now in ruins, it knows no other way, and is incapable of knowing it, until made new by the power of Almighty grace. For as it is an important truth, "by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight," that other is like unto it, "Ye must be born again."

The great Physician probes, that he may effect a thorough cure. He shows our wounds, that he may heal us. He makes us know our ruin, that we may greet with cordial welcome the remedy which, in his wisdom and mercy, he has provided in the Son of his love.

2. The principal subject to which attention is invited is the cherubim, the symbol of redeemed man in fellowship with his reconciled God, giving him the glory due unto his name, enjoying his favor and doing his will. The cherubim and seraphim are but different names for the same compound animal figures described by Isaiah, Ezekiel and John. It is the hieroglyphic for the ministry of reconciliation, under every dispensation of the covenant of grace, and therefore of that covenant itself, in its privileges and fruits, in the glorious communion of God with redeemed, regenerated,

saved man, to bless him with his love here, and fit him for his glory hereafter. The figure itself expresses the ministry; its office, fellowship with God. Who then are the cherubim? What their character, and what their office?

First. That the cherubim means the ministry of reconciliation appears from the context, and the uniform usage of sacred writ.*

From the connection of the text. It was evidently the Divine intention to call Adam to the duties of faith and hope, in the uttering of the first promise, that, while the pronouncing of the righteous sentence, which he had incurred by his sin, should cut off all hopes from anything in himself, this new promise might lead to trust in the righteousness of God. So, when the holy providence of God begins to accomplish his purposes, and man is expelled the happy abode of innocency, and his return forever debarred, it was fit that his sinking spirit should be sustained and comforted by a sign of the Divine forgiveness and salvation, in the way of his own devising. Such sign was given him in the cherubim. Besides, if the sword were only the instrument which the cherubim used, it would have read with instead of and. As it is, the signs are different

* Kerub, for Karob, is one near to God, his minister, one admitted to his presence. Seraphim—princes, nobles of the presence, admitted near to the great King—denote first the ministry, and then the whole church, made kings and priests unto God, chosen, and caused to approach unto him.

and distinct. And so are the things signified. Moreover, were the sword wielded by the cherubim, it would express a part of the duty of the ministry to drive men by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, from the ruinous attempt to obtain salvation by the deeds of the law. The dim outline of revelation given us in the first part of the book of God is afterwards more clearly defined and more distinctly filled up. The next place in which the cherubim are introduced is in the description of the ark of the covenant, Exodus xxv., 18, etc. These, in the tabernacle and afterwards in the temple, 1 Kings vi., 23, etc., were made by Divine appointment, and from the places which they occupied, the attitudes they were made to assume, and the presence of Jehovah in the cloud of glory in the midst of them, do represent in an impressive manner the communion which the God of Israel condescends to hold with his ministering servants and his worshiping people. To this there is allusion in the 8oth and 99th Psalms, "Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth"; and "He sitteth between the cherubim; let the earth be moved."

As the vehicle of the declarative glory of God, it is introduced, 2 Samuel xxii., 11: "He rode upon a cherub." And is not the church, and, by eminence, the ministry, to the moral, what the sun is to the natural world, the instrument, the vehicle of conveying the knowledge of the glory of God to the

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