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    ADAM’S TEMPTATION

    Many people murmur and complain about Adam’s Temptation; they seem at a loss to know which to blame most, Adam or his Maker. They might as well complain that we had not all been left to grovel in the region of the animal appetites, with no capacity for higher and God-like attainments. I have already shown that to develop moral qualities, or to bring out holiness - which is but another word for self-government - there must be trial of some sort. God adapted the trial to Adam’s weakness and IGNORANCE - He gave him the least possible trial that could have been used to develop a moral character at all, or to test man as to his capacity of self-government. If he could not govern himself, he could not govern the creation at the head of which his Maker designed to place him, in dominion. I say, the prohibition out of which the trial was to grow, and which proved the occasion of his temptation, was the very least it could be. Look at it - Man’s intellectual nature was not yet developed. His Maker therefore adapted his enjoyments to his present capacity - or animal nature - by causing “every tree to grow out of the ground that is pleasant to the sight and good for food,” etc. In the delightful garden in Eden he placed man, with full and unrestrained liberty to regale and enjoy himself to the utmost extent of his present capacity, with but one solitary restriction. How very trifling this. There was no want of means for enjoyment. The restriction was designed for his advantage, by leading him to develop and form a moral character, and learn self-government, which would open up a new, more noble, and God-like source of happiness and enjoyment. In this view the restriction was one of love and good will. If man’s capacity for a moral nature could be developed, and a character of holiness established by this easy test or trial, God determined it should be; but if that failed to bring out a holy moral character He determined to place the race under a course of discipline more severe, i.e., one of labor in sorrow, and death: and at the same time, to the favor already bestowed upon man, to add a “much more abundant” supply of aid to attain unto holiness, through the blessings to be bestowed in another dispensation, to be immediately opened for Adam’s posterity if man failed in the present trial. “Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” and also of his goodness and love to man!SSII 146.1

    Here I stop to ask - How is it possible that character can be known or developed without trial in some form? For example - How can it be known that a man is a temperance man, and able to govern himself in reference to inebriating drink, if he has never had a trial? To try him, would you put that drink under bars and bolts that it was impossible for him to break? If such a course could be called a trial, you might try him fifty years, and both he and yourself would be just as ignorant at the end of that period as at its commencement as to his capacity for self-government; and he, on that point, would not be a particle more holy than the first day of that period. To bring out and fix a moral character, in that respect, he must have access to the liquor; but you, as a benevolent man, if he was ignorant of the fact, would warn him that if he did indulge his taste to any extent, intoxication and shame would follow. Thus situated, denying himself, or practising self-government, would be a virtue, and he would, by every victory over the temptation, have a new consciousness that he was capable of governing himself, and a renewed evidence of the exalted character of manhood, and thus be led to a higher and more holy estimate of the excellency and glory of that Being who had created him with such powers, or capacities. If in the supposed case the person should fail of self-government, and partake the inebriating liquor, the intoxication and consequent shame that follows his failure are a mercy; because calculated to arouse him to an effort to gain a temperance character, the importance of which he may now see more than before.SSII 147.1

    Apply this illustration to the case of Adam. A moral character, holiness, or self-government could not have existed, in fact, without trial; and that would have been no trial which had placed it out of his power to act wrong. The least trial that could be employed was first used, with the information beforehandSSII 148.1

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