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presented to the woman, beside the addition of her offer of it. Which, as it seems, was no small inducement to compliance, and to do as she had done, and whatever should be the event to share as she did.
Ver. 7. “ And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked : and they sewed (or twisted] fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons." Upon reflection, their eyes were opened in a different sense from what the serpent had said, and they were filled with shame, not knowing what to think of themselves, or how to act. But they soon contrived a slight garment as for a covering.
Ver. 8. “ And they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden, in the cool of the day.” They perceived a brisk motion of the air coming towards them, with an increasing sound, that was awful to them. Or, in the words of Bishop Patrick : • They heard the sound of the • majestic presence, or the glory of the Lord, approaching nearer and nearer to the place where : they were.' " And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” They who before had had converse with God, which was delightful, now retire into the closest, and most shady coverts, to avoid the Divine appearance.
Ver. 9. “ And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where art thou ?" God summoned Adam to appear before him, and to attend to what he should say. Ver. 10. " And he said, I heard thy voice in the midst of the garden. And I was afraid, because I was naked. And I hid myself.” Ver. 11. “ And he said : Who told thee that thou wast naked ? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat ? Intimating, that doubtless that was the occasion of all this confusion and disorder of mind, and of his shy. ness of the Divine presence.
Ver. 12. “ And the man said, The woman, whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” He cannot deny his guilt ; but he puts it off
, as much as he can, upon the woman. And the more to excuse himself to God, he says, “ the woman, whom thou gavest to be with me"
Ver. 13. “ And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” She too endeavours to cast the blame upon another.
another. And though it was not a full vindication (far from it,) yet it was an alleviation of the fault. It would have been much worse, if she had eaten of her own accord, without a tempter.
Ver. 14. “ And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. Upon thy belly shalt thou dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” Ver. 15. “ And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
It is an observation of an ancient Christian writer, in Patrick upon ver. 14. • That though • God inflicted punishments upon Adam and Eve, yet he did not curse them, as he did the ser. • pent, tl:ey standing fair for a restitution to his favour.' Undoubtedly, it must have been comfortable to Adam and Eve, to see the displeasure of God against the serpent that had seduced them. Nor were they presently cut off, as the threatening, annexed to disobedience, seemed to import. Yea God speaks of the woman's seed. Therefore they were not to die immediately, but were to have a posterity: meaning by her seed men in general, or the Messiah, and good men, who should prevail against the tempter and adversary, though they would suffer some injuries through his means: and calling it the “woman's seed,” as some expositors think, to mol. lify Adam, and prevent his displeasure against her, who had led him into wrong conduct.
Ver. 16. “ Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception : in sorrow shalt thou bring forth thy children:” that is, I will add to the pain and sorrow of child-bearing. “. And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Thy will shall be subject to thy husband's. So it was before: but now his authority might be more rigorous and severe than otherwise it would have been. The punishment inflicted on Eve is suitable to the condition of her sex.
Ver. 17. “ Unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife where we see what was his chief temptation, and what was the nearest and most immediate inducement to him to transgress :) and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed is the ground for thy sake. In sorrow shalt thou eat of
it all the days of thy life.” Ver. 18. “ Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field.” Ver. 19. “ In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
This part of the sentence,“ returning to the dust,” or dying, must be supposed common to both the inan and the woman. And so far the first sentence takes place. They did not die immediately. But an irreversible sentence of death passes upon them, which would take place in a term of years, when God saw fit.
The rest of the sentence or punishment inflicted on Adam, is suitable to the condition of his sex, as the woman's was to her's, whose province, as the apostle excellently describes it, 1 Tim. v. 14. is to “ bear children, and guide the house :” whilst the man has the charge of providing for himself and the family by his care, labour and industry. The punishment there. fore laid upon Adam is, that his care, and toil, and labour, should now for the future be increased beyond what it would have been otherwise.
But here arise objections, relating to the execution of the several sentences pronounced upon the serpent, the tempter, and the two transgressors. The sentence upon the serpent was, “ Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field: upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.”
This is thought a difficulty. And it is asked : Did not serpents go upon the belly before ? Was not that their ordinary motion always ? How else should they be serpents, if they wanted that which is their proper nature? With regard then to this, and the two other sentences of punishment pronounced upon Eve, and upon Adam, I would observe. It seems to me probable, that God foresaw the event; and that though Adam was made innocent and upright, yet he would fall. This being foreseen, there were dispositions made in the original formation of things, which would be suitable to what happened. Therefore the alterations to be made upon the transgression of the first pair, were not very great and extraordinary. That is, there needed not any great alteration in the form of serpents, nor in the woman's make and constitution, nor in the temper of the ground to accomplish what is mentioned as a punishment upon each. Serpents there were before the fall
, as is manifest. And their winding, insinuating motion is referred to. Nor did God now, after the fall, create any new species of plants, as " thorns and thistles,” to exercise Adam's patience. There were already formed plants and herbs, that were not immediately useful for food, and would occasion an increase of labour and toil. And doubtless there were also lions, and tigers, and other like creatures : all originally made within the coinpass of the six day's creation, and all good and wisely designed, as a restraint upon man, according as his temper and circumstances should prove : to humble him, and to render him sensible of his weakness in himself, and his dependence upon God: and to make him thankful for all his distinctions, that he might be induced to give the praise of all his prerogatives and pre-eminences to him from whom they came : who had made him to differ, with advantage, from the rest of the living creatures of this earth: but had also shown, in a proper measure, his wisdom and power in them, as well as in him, and indeed, is wise and holy, great and admirable in all his works.
Nor does it appear that the whole earth though fitted for great fertility, was made paradisaical. For, according to Moses, paradise was a garden, a spot of ground which God planted, a certain district or territory, designed for the accommodation of man, and the living creatures with him, in a state of innocence. When Adam therefore was turned out of paradise, he would find a difference.
It follows at ver. 20. “ And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living
When this was done, is not absolutely certain. Moses does not say when. · And as he seems not always to keep the order of time, it may be questioned whether this was done very soon after the sentence had been pronounced upon them ; or not till after the woman had brought forth, and was the mother of a living child.
Ver. 21. “ Unto Adam also, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
It is very likely that this is not mentioned in the order of time. For it precedes the account of expelling Adam and Eve out of paradise: whereas it cannot be easily supposed that it was. done so soon. It must be reckoned probable, that immediately after the transgression of our, first parents, and pronouncing sentence upon them, they were driven out of paradise. But coats of skins could not be had till some time after the fall : for as all the brute creatures were made by pairs, some time must have been allowed for their increase, before any could be slain in the way of sacrifice, or otherwise.
Some of the Jewish writers indeed have understood this literally : “ that unto Adam and his wife God did make coats of skins and clothed them:” that is, he created for them such garments. Then there would be no occasion to take from any of the beasts; but the more likely meaning is, that by Divine instruction and direction they made to themselves coats of skins : and it may be supposed; that they were but rough and unpolished.
L’nderstand these words, as we generally do, that by Divine instruction, and with the Divine approbation, Adam and Eve clothed themselves with the skins of slain beasts, of sheep, or goats, or other living creatures : I should be much inclined to think that Moses inserted this particular, as evidence that God himself approved of clothing the body with proper and sufficient covering, as a ground and foundation of that decency, which is necessary to be observed by so sociable a creature as man, and in his present circumstances. And if the rough skins of beasts were used then, a more agreeable and more ornamental clothing would not be unlawful or sinful hereafter: when farther improvements in arțs and sciences should be made by the wit and industry of man: provided it were but suitable to the ability and condition of persons. And, for certain, a great variety of circumstances was very likely to arise in a numerous race of beings.
I say, if this be the meaning of the words, as they are generally understood, I should be much disposed to think, that Moses inserted this particular, to prevent all scruples upon this head: for though a thing be in itself reasonable, and highly expedient; yet there is nothing that so effectually puts objections to silence, as a divine precept or precedent.
However, there is a very learned and diligent expositor of scripture, who explains this text in a different manner. He does not deny, that the original word is used for coat or clothing: but yet he thinks the word rendered coats, signifies tents or tabernacles: which would be more needful than clothing in that warm climate near paradise. Nor would the first pair, he thinks, need there so thick and heavy a clothing as that of the skins of beasts. Nevertheless, I do but just mention this sense: for that of our translation is generally approved of both by Jewish and Christian interpreters.
Ver. 22. “ And the Lord God said: Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."
Calvin's remark upon this verse is exactly to this purpose: · Whereas, says he, many Chris• tians from this place draw the doctrine of a trinity of persons in the Deity, I fear the argument • is not solid.' So that great man. And indeed, though Moses gives no particular account of the creation of angels, yet their existence is supposed in several parts of this history: and what reason could there be for saying, upon this occasion, that man was become like one of the Divine persons ? It may therefore be reckoned very likely that here is a reference to the angelical order of beings, supposed to be more perfect and more knowing than man.
Still ver. 22. “ And now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and live for ever."
The expression is elliptical. Somewhat is to be supplied, and to this effect. Now care • must be had, that he take not of the tree of life, and live for ever.' This seems to imply, what was formerly hinted, that the tree of life was salutary and healing, and might be useful in case of hurts, and injuries, and decays. But man having transgressed in eating of the fruit forbidden him, and having incurred the threatened sentence; (which too had been pronounced upon him :) it was by no means fit he should eat of the tree of life: the fruit of which might have rendered him immortal, or however prolonged his days to a period that was not suited to the circumstances into which he had brought himself by wilful transgression. There is an allusion to this design, or this virtue of the tree of life in Rev. xxii. 2. “ And in the midst of the street of it, and on either side the river was there the tree of life And the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations.'
Ver. 23, 24. “ Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the á Vid. J. Cleric. Comm. in Gen. iii. 7, et 21. • Quod autem eliciunt ex hoc loco Christiani doctrinam de tribus
in Deo personis, vereor ne satis firmum sit argumentum. Comm. in Gen. iii. 22.
ground, from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man. And he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
The design of all which seems to be to intimate, that the sentence of death, pronounced upon man, was peremptory and irreversible. He was by no means to attain to immortality in this world, but suffer the change of death, or the dissolution of soul and body, and return to the dust, out of which he was taken.
The text speaks expressly of “ man” only. But all allow that the “woman" is included, and must be understood. And are we not also to conclude, that the living creatures were all to follow Adam, and leave paradise. There was no need to mention them. They accompanied him who had dominion over them.
Man is sent forth “to till the ground,” in doing which he would have more labour than he would have had in paradise. His employment is described by tilling the ground. For that would be his main work, as his diet, for some while at least, would be chiefly vegetable. At the entrance into Eden, by which Adam was driven out, were placed cherubim, or angels, with a bright appearance, more than ordinary, which rendered it awful.
It would be too curious, I apprehend, to inquire what became of that delightful garden, or spot of ground, in which Adam and Eve were first placed by their bountiful Maker. If it subsisted for a while, it may be supposed to have been destroyed by the flood, and possibly before.
I have now surveyed the account of the creation and fall of man. And though I have not made use of the notion of its being allegorical, which usually leaves too much room for fancy, and for a variety of imaginations, many of which, if not all, would be conjectural: yet, possibly, all is not exact history, nor every thing put in order of time.
One instance of this, I think, we have plainly seen in the latter part of this chapter: where God's making coats for Adam and Eve is mentioned before their expulsion froin paradise : whereas it is very probable it was after it.
Another thing seems to be transposed in the Mosaic account. The living creatures are represented to be brought to Adam, to see how he would call them, before Eve was made. But it is not easy to conceive how that should be done on the very sixth day of the creation, when Eve was made. It might be rather done some time after it. But Moses places that transaction as he has done, the more to show the importance of the woman's creation, though it might in time succeed it.
And there might be some other things instanced in, which need not to be literally taken, as here related in the utmost strictness of interpretation.
In this account of Moses we have the origin of things. It is what speculative minds, in all ages, and in almost all parts of the world, have been employed about. God is good; but how to account, then, for evil, is a difficulty which has greatly engaged and perplexed mankind.
In this relation of Moses is set before us the origin of moral and penal evil of sin, and diseases, and death, of the uncommon pains of child-bearing women, and of the great pains and labour which man takes for the providing the necessaries of life.
And though, as has been owned, the Mosaic account is not free from difficulties, there never was a better given by any. And consider Moses only as a philosopher, or law-giver separate from the character of an inspired writer, his account of the creation, and of the primitive state of man, and his fall, is worthy of respect. And we have reason to be thankful for it.
I shall now mention some observations in the way of corollary,
I. All things were originally as they came out of the hand of God, good, and were made by him in great wisdom.
After the history of the six days' creation, and of man in particular, it is added by Moses, at the end of the first chapter of this book : “ And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”. And Solomon, having with great diligence employed his active and capacious mind in surveying the affairs of this world, and having observed many instances of vanity and vexation therein, and particularly the great degeneracy of mankind, says: “ This have I found,” of this I see reason to be fully satisfied, “ that God made man upright: but they have sought out many inven. tions," Ecc. vii. 29.
II. We are here led to observe the dignity of the human nature, which is so sét before us, that it might not be overlooked, but might be regarded, and taken notice of by every one.
Gen. i. 26. “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Every word shows the dignity of the human nature. God is represented as proceeding to the formation of man with deliberation and consultation. He makes him himself. He does not say: “ Let the earth now bring forth man." "But, “ Let us make man.” And still farther : " m our image, after our likeness.” His dignity is also signified in what follows. " And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.” This thought, of man's having dominion over all things in this earth, and being lord of all the creatures therein, seldom occurs
, as I apprehend, in heathen writings, but it is a great and just notion, and is a privilege which man still enjoys in great measure.
This notion of the dignity of the human nature leads us to two reflections: first, man, who has been made so excellent, and has dominion over other creatures, should act according to his dignity, as reasonable, and superior to other creatures on this earth, and should scorn every thing that is mean, base, impure, and cruel.
Another thought, which the dignity of the human nature leads us to, is this : that we can thence argue with great probability, if not with absolute certainty, that God will not lose this creature man, or suffer him to be for ever and totally lost. If man perish and be lost, to what purpose was this earth formed ? And of what use are all things therein, if man, to whom dominion over them was given, be taken away? and if he live not to take pleasure in, admire, use, and improve, the rich and costly furniture with which this earth is adorned ? It is moreover highly probable, that his time on this earth is not the whole period of his existence. So we may argue from the consideration of the superior dignity of the human nature. And we may see hereafter, that the argument is not inconclusive but rightly framed.
III. All mankind have proceeded from one pair.
Of this we could not be now absolutely sure, without some good authority, or well attested tradition ; but it is the account of Moses, the greatest law-giver that ever was, and an inspired prophet of God. The great resemblance of mankind in the several parts of the world might be some ground of this supposition ; but it would not be full proof. For many pairs, resembling each other, might have been formed by God, the Creator, at once, in several,, and remote countries, that the earth might be soon peopled thereby. But the account of Moses, I suppose, may be relied upon. Nor ought difference of complexion, and some other lesser things, io be reckoned a valid objection : for difference of climates, with the varieties of air, earth, water, and the lesser or greater degrees of the sun's heat, will make sensible alterations and differences in one and the same species. St. Paul observes to the Athenians, that “God had made of one blood, all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth,” Acts xvii. 26. And though, as before said, the great resemblance of the human frame and powers in the several parts of the world may not be a demonstrative argument to us, that all came from one pair: yet this account of Moses is much confirmed by the great agreement between the several nations of the earth in bodily frame, and intellectual powers, like desires, and passions, and diseases, and in universal liableness to death.
This leads us to two reflections. One is, the remarkable effect of the Divine blessing, bestowing such fruitfulness, that by one pair the vast circumference of this earth should be gradually peopled, manured, and improved.
The second is, that all men ought to love one another as brethren, for they are all descended from the same parents, and cannot but have like powers, and weaknesses, and wants. Solomon says, Prov. xxvii. 19. “ As in water,” or any other mirror, “ face answers to face, so the heart of man to man.” By considering ourselves we may know others : what they want, how we may relieve and comfort them. And this thought should abate exorbitant pride; for, notwithstanding some differences of outward condition, we have all the same nature, and are brethren.
IV. The Mosaic account teaches the only right order of marriage, that is, of one man, and one woman.
When the pharisees came to our Lord with a question about divorce, they being then accustomed to polygamy, and to frequent and easy divorces, he immediately answers them, and puts them to silence, by referring them to the Mosaic account of the creation of the first pair, and the Divine institution of marriage. Careful observations upon the increase of mankind have