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The creation finished. The seventh day sanctified.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God
made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Further assurance that the universe is the work of God. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." "Thus," that is to say, by the command of God, by the determination of his will, for the manifestation of the glory of the one only God, through the harmonious agency of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Thus they were finished, made out of nothing, made complete at once; so made, as that when God saw all," behold, it was very good." Chap. 1. 31. This is the true account of our own existence. This is the true history of the creation of all the things we see around us. God spake the word and they were made; He commanded and they were created. See Ps. 148. 5. Let us then stand in awe of this great God. Let us not dare to disobey his will. Let us rejoice to think that He enables us to do Him service, and to give Him praise. He who created can destroy. How dare we venture to provoke his displeasure? He who can destroy is much more willing to preserve, had much rather we should repent and be saved. How can we hold out against power so great, combined with love so gracious?
In six days God created the heavens and the earth and all things therein. On the seventh day, when his work was ended, He rested. Not that God was weary. Not that He so works as to need refreshment, or so wakes as to need slumber and sleep. We indeed cannot easily conceive of rest without first supposing something like fatigue. And our sabbath is made so much the more welcome unto us, by the weariness of our six days' work. But not such was the rest of God, nor such was the sabbath
He ordained for man in Eden, nor such is the rest which "remaineth" in a better country, "for the people of God!" Heb. 5. 9. No; it is for our sakes that this is written concerning God, and it is accommodated to our understandings. God's rest was only ceasing to create. For creation cannot weary Him who is almighty. He ceased to create. He never ceases to uphold and govern all things. And they, who when his work was ended "shouted for joy," Job 38. 7, still "rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." Rev. 4. 8. This is the sabbath they keep in heaven, God enjoying infinite glory, angels singing endless praise. Like to this, as nigh as earth can be to heaven, like to this ought to be our sabbaths here, that we may become meet to partake of the eternal sabbath there. Let us hallow them as days of prayer and praise. Let us be never weary of well doing; yea, let it be our rest to work the works of God. Let us refrain as far as possible from worldly work, that we may have more time, and strength, and spirits, for the worship of God, and for the edification of each other.
By way of confirming our faith in God as the Creator of the universe, it is repeated, that "these are the generations of the heavens and the earth," these which have been now set down. They were the workmanship of the Lord God. They were not, as some have fancied, from everlasting. Nor did the plants and shrubs of the field grow, as some have imagined, of their own power, springing up under the influence of genial rains, or formed as well as cultured by the tillage of mankind. No, they were made before they grew, before the Lord had caused it to rain upon the earth, before there was a man to till the ground, before the mist had gone up from the earth, and returned, in the form of dew or rain, to water the face of the ground. They were made by the word of the Lord. We may rest assured that in every one of them we see the work and proof of his power, wisdom, and goodness. And the like is the case with men themselves, of whom some have foolishly pretended that their race has had no beginning, and others that they grew spontaneously out of the earth. To put to silence all such foolishness, and that we might never forget the Lord that made us, we have here renewed assurance that we are his handiwork. "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." We are indeed made of earth. Let this humble us. Let it teach us to keep under our earthly bodies, and bring them into subjection. We have also in us the breath of life; and we are living souls. Let this teach us to live to the Spirit, that we may enjoy eternal life. Both our bodies and our souls are the work of God. Let this teach us to live unto the Lord, to devote body and soul to do our Maker's will, to the praise of the glory of his name.
God placeth man in Eden, and giveth him a commandment.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon, the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 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.
Some particulars of the state of man in paradise.
Man is no sooner created than he holds intercourse with God; or rather, God vouchsafes to hold intercourse with man. This is the most marked of all distinctions between man and the rest of God's creatures upon earth, we, and we alone, are privileged to understand his will by communication from Himself. thus we may further explain how we are made in God's image, namely, we have faculties so far corresponding, as that when He speaks we can listen, when He commands we can comprehend, when He threatens we can fear, when He promises we can hope. Precious were the promises, and fearful the threatenings, plain the commandments, and encouraging the words first spoken, as here recorded, by God to man. Gracious were the first dealings of the Almighty with these his reasonable creatures, easy the conditions proposed to them, happy the state of life prepared for them. To dwell in a garden which was planted by God for their convenience, which was furnished with every tree pleasant to the sight and good for food; which was watered by the springs of a river that went forth in several directions throughout the surrounding country, to have for work to dress the garden and to keep it, to have the flowers and the fruits, for the refreshment of the body, and the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, for the perpe
tual health of the body, and another tree for a test and exercise of devout obedience in the soul; this was the condition of our first parents this was the provision for their well being upon earth, this together with the enjoyment of God's presence, help, and counsel, might have made earth almost like to heaven.
The names of the rivers mentioned, and the description of the countries through which they flowed, make it probable that this spot of earth, thus first inhabited, was not far from the very place, on which the race of man began once more after the flood to multiply and replenish the earth. And this would be likely to be a subject of great interest, at the time when Moses wrote, and amongst a people who were to dwell not far from that neighbourhood. To us it matters little where that Eden was, compared with the deep concern we ought to feel, in ascertaining the state of life in which Adam was there placed. For this must be the state for which God originally designed us, the state to which our nature was at first best adapted, and the state to which in our renewed nature we do well to approach continually.
It was evidently a state of happiness. God would have man take pleasure in all the works of his Maker. God furnished man with senses to enjoy pleasure, and He supplied man's home with pleasurable objects. A garden, a river, trees pleasant to the sight and good for food, gold, good gold, and precious stones so abundant, as to be washed down into the neighbouring land of Havilah, these things, mentioned in connexion with the garden in Eden, shew us that God made them for our enjoyment, as well as for his own glory. Again, the state in which Adam was established was evidently not a state of idleness, but of pleasurable employment. He had work to do, though not such as to produce weariness. His work was to dress a garden and to keep it, before the ground had been cursed, and bidden to bring forth thorns and thistles. See ch. 3. 17, 18. It is then good also for us to be always well employed. It is good to work diligently, as well as to enjoy thankfully. The tree of life in the midst of the garden was probably a provision against decay and death; so that man as first created might have lived for ever. See ch. 3. 22.
And whether this were the case or not, we learn from the other tree here mentioned, that his state was also a state of trial, or rather a state of willing subjection to the will of God. He whose will rules over all, thought fit to impart to man a will of his own. And for the perpetual subjection of that will to the will of his Maker, the fruit of one tree was forbidden food, and the eating of it was certain death. It is then good for us to be subject unto God. It is better to be bound to obey Him, than free to please ourselves. May He incline us ever to subject our will to his; nay rather, to have his will for our own!
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,
and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
The spiritual marriage and union between Christ and his saints.
Here let us observe the further provision made by God for the happiness of man on earth. How little can they know of God and his designs, who suppose that He is pleased to see men miserable, or that He wishes them to inflict misery on themselves or others! How much light is thrown on the happiness here provided for mankind, by considering the misery which ensues, where men hold that a single life is in itself meritorious, and bind themselves by vows to abstain from marriage! Discontent with their lot, dissatisfaction with themselves, envy of their neighbours' liberty, ill temper, sadness, selfishness, these besides other nameless enormities usually attend on the prevalence of this much abused doctrine. And no doubt it was owing to the risk of evils like to these, that God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him." Society instead of solitude, and the tenderness of conjugal affections, these promote our happiness, by softening our hearts.
And the want of such meet help must have been more felt by the man himself, after that survey of the several creatures subject to his dominion, which took place under the direction of the Almighty. Then it was that Adam exercised the gift of speech, probably communicated to him by God, in giving names to the beasts of the earth, and to the fowls of the air. But when the names were given, there was no one with whom to hold dis