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course on these and the other marvels of creation; no one with whom Adam could interchange his thoughts of wonder, love, and praise. Then it was that "the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam," and during the sleep "took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman." Well may we trust God to take from us what He pleases, seeing He knows how to make us ample amends. Truly did Adam say, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;" and justly did the apostle hereupon conclude, that as no man ever yet hated his own flesh, so ought every one to love his wife even as himself. See Eph. 5. 28, 29. And most profitably does he hence direct our attention to that spiritual marriage and union, which is betwixt Christ and his church, whereof marriage between man and woman is a type or figure. Taken as it were out of the side of Jesus, in the sleep of his most precious death, his beloved saints are dear to Him as Himself. For their sakes He left the glory of the Father, that He might be one with them, and they one with Him. And though they know that all things are naked before Him with whom they have to do, yet such is his innocency, such the purity they derive from their union with Him, that they appear without shame in the presence of God, nay, dwell therein with joy for
Adam discerned, or was enlightened to understand, that the woman was of his own flesh and bones. God joined them together in marriage, saying, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh." For our Lord tells us, that these words were spoken by Him "which made them at the beginning." Matt. 19. 4. This then was the institution of marriage. And it was by these means that God contrived to make of one blood all the nations upon earth. See Acts 17. 26. Let us remember that all men are of the same family with ourselves; that we are all children of the first man, Adam, all brethren of the second Adam, which is Christ. From the one we inherit shame. Through the other we have boldness even in the day of judgment. See 1 John 4. 17. The shame of nakedness we may conceal by covering. The shame of sin is what no skill can hide, no force suppress; no force, no skill, of ours; but only the might and wisdom, the righteousness, and love, and death, of Christ. Therefore ought we to love neither father nor mother more than Him. Therefore ought we to leave father, and mother, if it be needful, in order for us to cleave to Him.
Lord, grant that we may be one with Thee, and be Thou one with us! Lord, it is not good for us to be alone. Oh let us dwell with Thee, where Thou art, for ever.
The fall of man.
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 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.
7 And the eyes of them both
were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked ; and I hid myself.
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?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
How we must behave when convinced of sin.
From the book of Revelation we learn what serpent is here meant, "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan." Rev. 12. 9. And in the Epistle to the Corinthians, we are taught how great is our risk, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so our minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. See 2 Cor. 11. 3. Here we see what are the means which our adversary uses, what are the arts against which we have need to be on our guard. He first entices the woman into conversation, expressing a doubt, as to whether God had forbidden them to eat the fruit of any one tree in the garden. To such a question Eve ought to have refused to Let us never parley with sin. Let us have ready our Lord's words of firm refusal, "Get thee behind me, Satan."
Luke 4. 8. Next he states a direct falsehood, "Ye shall not surely die." Whensoever it is whispered to us that our sin will not find us out, see Numb. 32. 23, that we may sin safely, that God is too merciful to punish, and the death of Christ too powerful to admit of our perishing for ever; let us be assured that Satan is suggesting this fatal security, let us remember that he is, as our Lord calls him, "a liar, and the father of it." John 8. 44. Next, he ventures openly to find fault with God Himself, as if He were jealous of the wisdom and happiness of his creatures. Whenever we find hard thoughts of God occur to us, whenever we feel inclined to murmur at his dealings, or to count his commandments grievous, let us beware, it is Satan standing at our right hand; let us resist, and he will flee; or if we yield, we are lost for ever. Eve was tempted by the sense, seeing "the tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes." Eve was told by Satan that it was "a tree to be desired to make one wise." Eve had allowed herself to listen to imputations against the lovingkindness of the Lord her God. And she "took of the fruit." Oh amazing hardihood of the gentler sex, to be the first that dared to disobey her Maker! Eve took of the fruit, and "did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Oh miserable fall of both our parents, for one to entice the other to transgress the will of God! This single circumstance makes every sin enormous. Whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do opposite to what we know to be the will of God, we deserve no less at God's hands than death and hell.
With sin came shame, and fear, and selfishness; shame of nakedness, fear of God's judgments, and selfishness prompting one party to lay the blame on the other. When under the con
sciousness of our sins we feel the shame of our nakedness in the sight of God, let us take counsel of the faithful and true. Witness, and buy "without price," Is. 55. 1, what He offers, "white raiment," "the righteousness of saints." Rev. 3. 18. 19. 8. When arrested in our career of hardened or heedless disobedience, by the voice of God demanding of us, "Where art thou?" let us not in the spirit of fear endeavour to cover our transgressions as Adam, by hiding our iniquity in our bosom. See Job 31. 33. But remembering that the darkness is no darkness with Him, let us come forward with faith through Christ to make full and free confession, not doubting of God's free and full forgiveness. And least of all let us lay the blame on one another. Least of all let us add this to our other sin, unkind imputations on our brethren. Each has enough to do to bear his own burden. Let us help to lighten, rather than to aggravate, our neighbour's load. Let us help each other by prayer and by admonition, by kind counsel and earnest intercession, let us help to convert each other from the ways of death, and so to hide not in ourselves, but in our brethren, the multitude of sins. See James 5. 20.
O. T. VOL. I. PART I.
God sentenceth the serpent, the woman, and the man.
14 And the LORD God said and thou shalt eat the herb of 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 go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
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.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, 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;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for. out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 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 judgments of God tempered with mercy. After sin comes the sentence of condemnation. Even the serpent, by whose means Satan tempted man to his fall, must not go unpunished. The whole creation has indeed suffered by our fault; every creature groaning and travailing in pain together. See Rom. 8. 22. But the serpent is cursed "above all cattle, and above every beast of the field." The meanness of its appearance, of its movements, and of its food, the natural abhorrence in which it is held by all mankind, these are instances and proofs of God's aversion against iniquity. Whilst its venom spent on man shews forth to us the malice of our adversary the devil, especially, as it is directed against our Saviour Christ. And the perseverance and success with which men labour to destroy the whole race of noxious reptiles, these remind us of the battle which has been fought for us by Christ, how He has bruised the head of our
spiritual enemy, and secured for us peace and assurance for ever. Never may we faint, or flag, or fail, in carrying on our share of the battle! Never may we be friends with the devil, or with his seed; lest at the same time we become enemies of God!
The sentence pronounced upon the serpent, contained, and conveyed to our first parents, a promise of forthcoming deliverance, which might better enable them to bear their own burden. Great must be the pains of the woman in giving birth to children; but great also would be her consolation in the hope of giving birth to a Redeemer. Severe must be henceforth the labour of the man, in obtaining food from the ground now cursed for his sake, and fearful must be his apprehension of returning unto the dust from which he was taken. Yet in the promise of a seed to the woman, who should bruise the serpent's head, he had reason to hope for victory over sin and death, to which that serpent's guile had made him subject. And therefore it was, probably, that he called his wife by a name signifying life, as the mother of all living, because she was to be the mother of a Saviour who could give life to all mankind. It is also probable that the coats of skins here mentioned, imply that the sacrifice of animals was immediately ordained, to signify beforehand the sacrifice of Christ, and to support the faith of fallen man in a Redeemer. So sweetly does God temper judgment with mercy! So graciously does He consider the necessities of the sinner, at the very time when He is making manifest his wrath against sin! Oh that we may be clothed out of that one only and sufficient sacrifice which Christ once offered for all men! Oh that whilst we labour in that state of life to which it has pleased God to call us, we may set our affections on that better life in heaven to which He has by Christ invited us!
Man fallen was shut out from paradise on earth, lest he should "eat, and live." We cannot both transgress God's commands, and also enjoy those good things which God has prepared for them that love Him. See 1 Cor. 2. 9. We cannot, however resolutely we try, at once serve mammon, and receive our wages of God. The attempt is sure to fail. We may knock and say, Lord, Lord. But He will answer "I know Matt. 25. 11, 12. We may put forth our hands with confidence. But lo cherubims, and a flaming sword which is turning every way, "to keep the way of the tree of life!" Meanwhile, there is a tree whose leaves are "for the healing of the nations." Rev. 22. 2. Thither the repentant sinner may repair; and thence he may be abundantly refreshed. Faith in a Redeemer, love for Him that redeemed us, faith working by love, these admit us once more within the gates of Eden, there to be filled with all the fulness of God.
Lord, evermore give us this food! Lord, feed us, and we want no more!