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    “God is Love.” He is the same from everlasting to everlasting. With him is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17. Many have made the serious mistake of supposing that God has changed with the changes of man’s relations to his government. If they do not directly speak it in words, the thought often discovers itself in their reasonings, that God is different, either in purpose or disposition, in the fall of man, or in the changes of dispensations, from what he was in the remotest ages of his eternity. Many show that they look upon him as only a cool deliberator in the work of creation, having no deep, earnest, intense feelings of sympathy and love for the work of his hands; that he was but a rigid lawgiver in the Levitical dispensation, and that be manifested himself as love only in the present or gospel dispensation. In nothing that we can conceive could there be a greater misrepresentation of the divine character than in such a view as that. He has uttered a strong reproof to those who think he is such a one as themselves. Psalm 50:21. And in nothing is this error more manifest than in representing him as changeable in character and in purpose.AERS 351.1

    God is love, and he always was love. All his works have been and are done in love. It was not a blind, unreasoning emotion that caused all the sons of God to shout for joy when the great Creator laid the foundations of the earth. A glorious system was presented to their enraptured view, and they well understood that it was to the pleasure and glory of the Creator that it was brought into existence. Revelation 4:11. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered. Psalm 111:4. And the creatures of his power did not alone rejoice in that day. On the seventh day God rested from all his work, “and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:17. This can only mean that he took delight in the work which he had made. And his pleasure in, and the importance of, his work are shown in this: that he always revealed himself, in contrast with the idols of the nations, as the God that made the heavens and the earth. Jeremiah 10:3-16; Acts 17:23, 24; Revelation 10:5, 6; 14:6, 7. Truly, “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1), and therefore all men are without excuse before him, because his eternal power and Godhead are “understood by the things that are made.” Romans 1:20. To all these high purposes his work was pronounced “very good.’AERS 351.2

    Again, they all rejoiced because there was opened to their wondering sight an avenue for the immeasurable happiness of vast multitudes of the creatures of the Most High. Among that joyous, shouting throng there was no selfishness. They found their joy in that which brought joy to others. The creation of man presented to their minds vast possibilities, which would all redound to the glory of God and to the happiness of the race.AERS 352.1

    They looked forward to the time when the purpose of the Creator would be accomplished; when the earth should be subdued and filled with inhabitants, all happy as they were, who would share in the eternity and in the favor of God, and forever sing praises to his grace.AERS 353.1

    Of the happiness which was stored up for man in his creation, we, in our fallen state, with the effects of the curse on every hand and in ourselves, can have but a faint conception. Placed in a lovely garden, with the privilege of extending its loveliness over all the earth, in which was every tree that was good for food and pleasant to the sight, he need not labor hard to procure his food, or to minister to his sense of delight. Nature presented an inexhaustible fountain of intellectual pleasure. The botanist, who spends his time in the study of vegetation, can alone realize the enjoyment which may be found in holding converse with the flowers. He who trains the lower animals—who, by his association with them, learns somewhat of their intelligence, of their affection for and faithfulness to their friends and benefactors, can realize to a small degree the pleasure which their presence might have afforded to man if death and the curse had not fallen upon all races. The astronomer can best appreciate the words of inspiration, “that the heavens declare the glory of God.” To him who enters into the secrets of nature, every twinkling star, every opening bud, every falling leaf, every stone in the mountain, every animal and insect, every combination of the elements, presents an open page, interesting and instructing, all leading the beholder to praise and adore the wisdom and goodness of the Creator.AERS 353.2

    Had Adam lived unto the present day, and all remained pure and peaceful, what treasures of knowledge he might now possess! What deep delight he could find in the dominion over which his loving Maker had placed him! And, compared to his immortal existence, these would be but his childhood days; compared to what his ever expanding mind might grasp in eternity, he would yet be in the rudiments of his studies of the wonderful works of God. Who can measure the intellectual enjoyment which God prepared for man in the creation of the heavens and the earth? Who can measure the love of God manifested in creating man with such capacities, and placing him in the midst of such surroundings?AERS 354.1

    But intellectual enjoyment was not the highest, the dearest, which was prepared for man. Association with the lower races, the study of creation, pleasant as these would have been, could not have satisfied all his nature. The most pleasing employment, the most beautiful scenes, may all become wearisome without companionship. God, in his infinite wisdom and kindness, saw that it was not good for man to be alone. He made a “help meet” for him. 1This term, “help meet,” is a tame translation. It is, perhaps, difficult to give a literal translation which would be appreciated. The literal rendering is: “a help as before him,” or in his presence. But Gesenius gives to this form of the word the following definition: “Things corresponding to or like each other, counterparts, hence, Genesis 2:18, I will make for him a helper corresponding to him, his counterpart.” This is generally accepted; if taken most literally, it might represent one “as in his presence,” a part of himself, to behold whom, or of whose companionship, he would never weary. In our fallen condition, with our sensibilities blunted by continual contact with sin; with all our powers impaired, and especially our moral natures weakened, we can have but a faint conception of the love which animated the breasts of Adam and Eve; of the happiness for him, and for his race, which was stored in the marriage institution. Heaven smiled upon them, and angels rejoiced with them in their fullness of joy.AERS 354.2

    But there was one who was jealous of their joy; jealous of the glory which the new-made earth brought to its Creator. And he stirred up others to share in his jealousy, and to join him in his work of evil. He determined, if possible, to mar the work so that it might become a scene of misery to its inhabitants, and bring reproach upon its Maker. He would tempt the woman—the weaker of the noble pair—to distrust the loving-kindness of God, and to regard her Creator as an arbitrary ruler. He would stir up feelings of selfishness and self-will in her heart, and cause her to transmit these baneful qualities to her posterity. He would work the ruin, the destruction of man, and turn the rejoicings of the angels into weeping over the desolations which he would work in the earth. And, alas, too well he succeeded. Choosing one of the brightest and wisest of the creatures of earth as his instrument, he approached the woman (who, presuming on her strength to stand alone, had left the side of her husband, as many of her daughters have since done), and, with insinuating manner, thus he suggestively addressed her:—AERS 355.1

    “Hath God even denied you the privilege of eating of all the trees of the garden? And especially of this, the most desirable of all the trees to make one wise? God knows that if you eat thereof your eyes will be opened, and you will be godlike. It is for this reason he would deprive you of its benefits. He is jealous of your happiness; jealous for his own exaltation, lest you should rise to be more nearly like himself. For this he deprives you of the greatest benefit the garden possesses. And as for the threatening of death—you shall not die; you cannot die. Your body at best is only of the dust. Look beyond this to the development of your higher nature. You have an immortal part, over which death can have no control. Do not suffer your high immortal nature to be thus dwarfed, but assert your liberty—your right to the joys of that knowledge which this tree alone can impart.”AERS 355.2

    “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” 1The words here ascribed to the tempter are not altogether “a fancy sketch,” as the reader might consider them. Genesis 3:16, here quoted, shows that the woman was deceived to that extent. In this manner, by the strength of the deception, she “saw” that the tree was good, and greatly to be desired; she saw what did not actually exist. For the same manner of speaking, see 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “showing himself that he is God.” That is, he so deceives his followers that he appears to possess the powers and attributes of God.AERS 356.1

    In the transgression Adam was not deceived. 1 Timothy 2:14. He full well understood the consequences of his action. But to be separated from her who was a part of his being, and dearer to him than his life,—to lose her by death, and remain to walk the earth alone,—this was more than he could bear. Had he never known her, life might have been pleasant without her. But to be deprived of her after having known her and being associated with her, life was not endurable. Through what a struggle he must have passed to come to this conclusion! He had enjoyed the presence and conversation of his Maker; he had associated with the angels; he had seen the glory of God—a glory of which we have no conception; his mind grasped the loveliness of the garden and the beauty of the earth as it would be, when subdued by the hands of himself and his children; eternal beauties, eternal blessings, and the eternal favor of God, stood revealed before him; and he sacrificed all to perish with his beloved wife. He fell because he, too, distrusted God. He could not believe that God could provide any blessing which could atone for the loss of this.AERS 356.2

    But when he sinned, the scene changed—all was changed. All his noble powers fell in his fall. His love for his wife degenerated. Before his fall he chose to sacrifice life, unspeakable joys, the favor of God, everything, for love of her. But now, he who was not deceived, who sinned by choice, was willing to throw the blame upon his wife, and indirectly upon his Maker, who, in the depth of love, had provided for him a counterpart. “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” And thus it has been from that day to this. The purity and unselfishness of man’s first love has been lost. Man has continued to excuse himself, and to throw the blame of his actions upon another. He abuses the best gifts of Heaven, and blames the Giver because they do not well answer their intended purpose when thus perverted. But every evasion of responsibility, every excuse which is offered, is proof of a fallen, selfish, perverse nature. Poor fallen man! He chose his own destiny; and the sentence went forth that he must die, and return unto the ground from which he was taken.AERS 357.1

    But God’s mercy did not fail; he still loved his fallen creatures. It was necessary that man, intelligent and well-instructed, should form his own character, and be held responsible for his actions. The work of the Creator was marred, but his counsel cannot be overthrown. Justice demands that man must die, but love pleads that a way may be opened for his recovery. The purpose of God in creating the earth must be vindicated. “He created it not in vain; he formed it to be inhabited.” Isaiah 45:18. 1These words of the Lord do not leave us to conjecture whether the countless orbs in the heavens, immensely larger than the earth, are inhabited. If not inhabited this earth would be made in vain. We may not admit that all the other worlds were made in vain; they must be inhabited. If sin is found only in this world, as we are led to believe by the Son of God coming here to suffer and die, what an aggregate of happiness has God conferred upon the universe which he as framed! What an infinite number of intelligences are the recipients of his love. Satan triumphed over man, but the triumph of evil is not forever. God’s love for man is deeper than that of a mother for her infant child. Isaiah 49:15. It was the same love which prompted the creation of man, which prompted the institution of means for his redemption. The gospel brings to man that which was embraced in God’s original purpose. And his honor and glory are concerned in the success of this plan; in the salvation of man, and in the restitution of his dominion. The universe shall not be robbed of this jewel in the crown of its Creator’s glory.AERS 358.1

    As by man himself came the curse, so by man must come the recovery. “Since by man came death,” it was ordained that by man shall also come the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:21. As the woman was led into temptation by the serpent, it was determined that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. Another Adam (see 1 Corinthians 15:45) must appear to take away the reproach of the first; to do that which the first failed to do, and to undo what he did amiss. And from the time of the giving of the promise, the Father multiplied instruction to lead the fallen race into the knowledge of the great plan which he had devised to destroy the enemy and his works. 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14.AERS 359.1

    And when the nations were multiplied, and all had chosen their own way,—“they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,”—his love still followed them. He separated Abraham and his seed from the nations, to make them the special depositories of his truth, missionaries to the world, the people among whom his knowledge might be perpetuated, and among whom the Lord’s Christ should be revealed. And thence-forth the promise was kept ever before them by signs and symbols, by types and figures, of the coming of the hope of the world, the Anointed One. The alter, the prophet, the priest, and the king, all announced, and all likewise represented, the promised Messiah. With much anxiety this “chosen people” looked forward to the time when the Deliverer should appear. All their service took character from this hope: “Messiah shall come;” the “Lord’s Anointed” shall be revealed. This was the watchword of Israel through the ages.AERS 359.2

    But with the passing of centuries they grew weary of waiting. Many times they turned to their own way, and God left them to the power of their foes. Many calamities befell them. And when the “nation of fierce countenance” (Deuteronomy 28:50) overflowed the land, they, as the nations around them, made an alliance with the conquering power, in hope of finding that peace and security for which they had not faith and patience to wait in the fulfillment of God’s all-wise plan. God had purposed that Israel should “not be reckoned among the nations.” Numbers 23:9. And so it was that the tie unto which they had consented became irksome. That to which they looked for relief became a burden. In their sorrow they longed exceedingly for deliverance, and came at length to make freedom from the Roman yoke the chief end of Messiah’s coming—the object of their hopes and the burden of their prayers. As their hope degenerated to a worldly object, they became worldly in their religion. They longed for the restoration of the kingdom, but it must be by methods of their own choosing, or in a way to gratify their ambitious desires. The Roman yoke was heavy upon them; but the bondage of sin, the corruptions of a fallen nature and the carnal heart, they did not feel.AERS 360.1

    But God did not leave himself without witnesses. He gave abundant evidence of the time, and the nature of the work to be accomplished by the coming of his Son. Born in obscurity, not as the kings of the earth, not in the manner to meet the minds of the ambitious and the worldly, Jesus has yet a heavenly host to herald his advent, and to sing, “Glory to God in the highest,” over his despised birth-place. Holy, waiting ones were inspired to announce that the infant Jesus was the hope of Israel, and a great prophet. John the Baptist was specially commissioned to formally present him to the people, and to declare that in his day the axe was laid at the root of the tree, and that the fruit of righteousness was required in order to find acceptance with the Lord and his Anointed.AERS 360.2

    In due time Messiah appeared. But instead of seeking the display and pomp of power, he was meek and lowly, and announced that the kingdom of Heaven was for the poor in spirit; that exalted positions in the church, a desire to be counted scrupulously pious, already have their reward in the praise of men, which they are seeking, and that they could not believe in him while they received honor one of another, and sought not that honor which comes from God.AERS 361.1

    To us in this day it looks marvelous that, with the prophecies plainly pointing to his coming; with inspired ones then living who declared he was the salvation of God, the hope of Israel; with the testimony of John (in whose light they for a time rejoiced) that Jesus was the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world; with the witness of the Spirit, which rested visibly upon him at his baptism; with the testimony of the Father speaking from Heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son; with the evidence of his own miracles, which seem to put all doubt out of question,—we say it looks marvelous that Israel, the church of God, his own chosen people, should shut their eyes against all these evidences, and even demand his shameful death. It shows the great danger of perverting or neglecting the words of the prophets, and of lowering our religion so that it shall embrace exalted position in this world.AERS 361.2

    And it may be questioned why God reveals his plans and purposes thus gradually and by types and symbols; why he suffers evil influences, and trials, and unfavorable surroundings to blind the minds of the people, and to impede the progress of those who would fain escape from the snares of the enemy. It is not only just, but necessary, that God should be honored right where he was dishonored. Man fell by giving way to temptation; he must rise by overcoming temptation. He fell by suffering himself to be tempted to distrust God; he must rise, if he rises at all, by a-work of faith. The first step in the fall was the harboring of a desire to rise above the position which a loving Father had assigned to him; the first step in their recovery is by self-renunciation, by humility, by cross-bearing. The descendants of Abraham lost sight of the faith of Abraham, by means of which “he was called the friend of God,” and walked in the way of their first representative, Adam, and rebelled against the word of their Creator. A Saviour from sin—a Messiah in lowliness of mind—they could not accept. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”AERS 362.1

    We cannot say that God is moved by more love at one time than at another, but we can say it is so manifested as to be appreciated by us more at one time, or in one event, than in another. Of all that the God of love and grace has done for man, nothing so manifests his love for us—nothing so appeals to our hearts—as the gift of his Son to die for our redemption. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “Not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God by his own Son made the worlds. Hebrews 1:1, 2. And the Son of God, without whom was not anything made that was made, died for his own creatures who were in open rebellion against him; who were his avowed enemies. If we cannot conceive the joy, the happiness, that was stored up for man in his creation, in the surroundings and privileges conferred upon him, and in the institutions which the Lord ordained for his benefit, much less can we conceive the love which devised and conferred these things; and less, far less, can we conceive the love by which the Maker of all laid down his life—not for his friends and followers, but—for his bitter foes! The love of the Father, the incarnation of his Son, “the mystery of godliness,” can never be understood by finite minds. Through all the ages to come we shall learn more of “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” and day by day will all eternity increase the joy with which we shall praise the glory of his grace.AERS 363.1

    By wicked hands he was crucified and slain. In the bitterness of their disappointment even his disciples, despised of men and fearing for their own lives, forgot the words of the prophets, and the instruction they had received from their beloved Teacher. Their hope was gone. He whom they had trusted should redeem Israel, lay in the grave.AERS 364.1

    “But God raised him from the dead.” Acts 13:30. With a revival of their joy in his presence, their hope was revived in the immediate restoration of the kingdom of Israel. Acts 1:6. But they were told that they must wait; that they must be his witnesses to all nations to gather out a people to the glory of his name. And he was parted from them, and returned to his Father in Heaven. Then was renewed by heavenly messengers the promise which he had made to them, that, after he has prepared mansions for them in his Father’s house, he will come again and receive them unto himself. From that time his second advent was, to his longing people, “the blessed hope.” Titus 2:13. It was their hope of salvation. Hebrews 9:28. They looked forward to it as the time when they shall appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4. When they shall be like him, and see him as he is. 1 John 2:4. When they shall receive a crown of life. 1 Peter 5:4. When they shall put on immortality and triumph over death and the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55. When they shall be restored to the sweet companionship of their loved ones who had fallen asleep. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. And to “love his appearing” was made an assurance of receiving a “crown of righteousness.” 2 Timothy 4:8. All hope, all joy, all glory, clustered around the promise of his “second advent.”AERS 364.2

    It was only on the day of atonement—once every year—that the high priest went into the most holy place to blot out the sins of the people. On this day, the chief of their solemnities, all Israel was commanded to afflict their souls under penalty of being cut off. Special orders were given to insure the successful performance of the work of the priest. How anxiously did the people wait around the sanctuary, praying that their sins might be removed; that the sanctuary might be cleansed from the defilement of their iniquities. They understood that it was the judgment, the great assize for the determination of their cases, which were then pending before the throne of God. 1We once inquired of a Jewish Rabbi in what light he regarded the day of atonement. He said to the Jews it was the day of Judgment. In that day the glory of God appeared over the mercy-seat. It was upon the mercy-seat that the blood was sprinkled which blotted out their sins.AERS 365.1

    What a solemn moment for Israel! How anxiously they marked each step as the priest approached the second vail which separated between the holy—the place of ordinary or continual service—and the most holy, the place of service for this day only. Now the vail is removed, and he passes into that place of most awful sacredness! The cloud of incense rises before him to shield his eyes from the fullness of that glory upon which a mortal cannot look and live. All breathless the people wait. The stillness and solemnity of death rest upon the congregation. The blood has been sprinkled upon the mercy-seat; the offering is accepted; the high priest returns to the holy to perform the last rites there. He moves from the golden altar toward the outer door. With shouts of rapturous triumph they cry, He is coming! he is coming! The singers raise their voices; all hearts anticipate the joyful moment when their high priest shall appear to pronounce upon them the divine benediction, to assure them of their acquittal, and that the blessing of Heaven was theirs.AERS 365.2

    This service in the most holy place, this finishing work of the priest, and his coming out to bless the people, typified the second advent of the Messiah, our great High Priest, and not his first. His first advent was in humility, as a pattern of suffering and of patience; his second will be in glory, and for the redemption of his people. As Israel watched and prayed, and afflicted their souls, so must the “little flock” watch for the return of their Lord. As Israel rejoiced when they marked the closing of his work, and the nearness of his coming to bless them, so should the saints look up and rejoice when they see their redemption drawing nigh. Luke 21:28. Thus the word of God marks the parallel. But as the first house of Israel overlooked the humiliation of the Messiah, and desired that he should come only as a king, so the second Israel now rejects the prophecy of his second coming, and can see but one advent—that of humiliation and suffering. Each rejects the truth given for its own time.AERS 366.1

    To the early Christian Church, who prayed earnestly that the beloved Saviour would come again, and “come quickly,” it was a strange revelation that his professed followers should cease to “love his appearing.” But it is even so; the great apostasy has done its work; the love of many has waxed cold. From saying, “My Lord delayeth his coming,”—from putting it off indefinitely, they have come to question, “Where is the promise of his coming?”—their eyes are closed to the evidence of the blessed hope.AERS 367.1

    But the mercies of God are unfailing. His word of truth is as steadfast as his eternal throne. Though all men should deny him, he cannot deny himself. He is long-suffering, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9, R. V. He has never done any great work for or among his people “but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7. He has never sent sore judgments upon the earth without sending a warning, and giving the inhabitants a chance to escape. It was so in the time of the flood, so in the case of Egypt, so with Nineveh, so with the nation of Israel, whom he would gladly have saved from ruin, and so it will be in the last days He has commanded that an alarm shall be sounded before the great day of the Lord shall come. Joel 2:1. Messiah gave signs which should precede his second coming, whereby we may know when it is near, even at the doors. Matthew 24. He has revealed to his people that although the wicked will not understand, and that day shall come as a thief upon the world and a world-loving church, even as the flood came unawares to those who did not accept the warning, yet the wise shall understand; his watching ones shall not be in darkness that that day should come upon them as a thief. Daniel 12:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4.AERS 367.2

    Yes, he will come, and the weary shall find rest. 2 Thessalonians 1:6, 7. He will glorify his ransomed ones. He will redeem the earth from the curse. He will vindicate the counsel of the Most High, and all creatures shall rejoice together in the works of his hands. All things shall be made new; sorrow and sighing shall be no more. And as countless ages roll over the redeemed millions who people the earth; as they forever magnify the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood, which has “restored all things;” as they rejoice before the “tabernacle of God” with joy unspeakable and full of glory, they fully understand that the eternal purpose of God is now accomplished. Here, and here only, do they realize the love of God in creation!AERS 368.1

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