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• of other creatures, and as he made herbs and plants with seeds in them, to propagate their species.'
It is always supposed, that God made man in maturity of body and understanding. And some have been so curious as to inquire at what age : or what was the age he appeared to have. And in conformity to the great length of the lives of the antediluvians, they have supposed, he might have the appearance of a man of fifty or sixty years of age according to that time.
Ver. 28, “ And God blessed them, and God said unto them: Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The Jewish writers are generally disposed to understand that expression, “ be fruitful and multiply,” as implying a precept universally binding. But the coherence rather leads us to understand it of a blessing or power; the like to which was bestowed
upon the brute creatures, at ver. 22, which are not the subjects of a precept.
And bere the privilege of dominion over the creatures is again expressed, denoting it to be common to both sexes, and designed to appertain to their posterity.
“ Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
It follows in ver. 29, and 30, “ And God said : Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree, yielding seed. To you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth on the earth, wberein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat. And it was so.” Hence it is argued by many, that meat, or food of animal flesh, was not used before the flood. But that does not seem certain. It may be allowed, that for a good while, flesh was forborne. As animals were made by pairs only, it was not convenient that any should be slain till they were increased. It may be allowed also, that vegetables were very much the diet of those who lived before the flood; wben, probably, all things were in greater vigour and perfection than afterwards. But here is no prohibition of animal food. And it is observable, that Abel and Seth, and all who were of the family of God, were keepers of cattle. And, if they were not allowed to make use of them for food, it would be difficult to show, how keeping cattle, not fit for draught or burden, especially in any large number, could turn to a good account. If it be said, they might use their milk; I answer, that is more than is clearly expressed in the grant. Moreover, sacrifices of living creatures were in use very early. It is not reasonable to think, they were all whole burnt-offerings. It may be reckoned probable, that they who brought to God sacrifices and offerings of living creatures, did partake of their offerings; which, certainly, was the custom in after times,
The first chapter of Genesis concludes thus: “ 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.” Every thing was now formed according to the will, and purpose, and command, of God. And every part of each day's creation, man in particular, was good, and such as God approved and designed.
Thus we have surveyed the summary account of mau's creation, wbich is in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. At the beginning of the second chapter is introduced an account of the sabbath, and a description of Paradise, which I forbear to insist on; but I would observe what is farther said of the formation of the first pair.
Ch, ii. 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.” Man is made of the “ dust of the ground.” But thereby is supposed to be meant moist earth. And whereas it is said, “ God breathed into him the breath of life,” wbich is not said of any other animals; it is hence argued, that the soul of man is different from the body, and that it is a more excellent spirit than that of brute creatures.
Ver. 18, “ And the Lord God said: It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for bim.”. Here, I apprehend, we are led to the same observation that was mentioned before, upon occasion of those words, which represented God as consulting about the creation of inan. The design of those expressions was to intimate the great dignity, and superior excellence of man above brute creatures, whose creation was before related. In like manner, when God proceeds to the making of the woman, he is represented as consulting, and resolving what to do; that the man might be the more sensible of the goodness of the Creator in providing for him so suitable a belp.
Ver. 19, “ And out of the ground God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them to Adam, to see what he would call them. And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." Ver. 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.” This bringing the living creatures to Adam, and his giving them names, is a proof of his dominion over them.
This representation of things would lead us to suppose, that Eve was not formed on the sixth day, but some time after, because her formation is here related after the living creatures bad been shown to Adam. Nevertheless, as before hinted, that argument is not conclusive. Here we have only a more distinct account of what was before related in general. This may be strongly argued from the seventh verse of this chapter before taken notice of, concerning the formation of Adam, who, certainly, was created on the sixth day.
It follows at ver. 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." By this
sleep,” as is supposed, all pain was prevented. It is needless to multiply words here, or nicely to weigh objections. It seems most probable, that in the first formation there was somewhat superfluous in Adam. It has been supposed, that he had a superfluous rib on each side, and that God took away one pair, with the muscular parts adhering to them, and out of them made Eve.
Ver. 22, “ And the rib, which the Lord God bad taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
Ver. 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.”
It has been thought not improbable, that Adam had an ecstasy, during the time of his deep sleep, showing him what was done upon him : which enabled him to speak so properly, when Eve was brought to him.
Ver. 24, " Therefore shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they shall be one flesh.”
This is sometimes called Adam's prophecy. For certain, if these are the words of Adam, he must have been inspired. For he could not at this time, in an ordinary way, have distinct ideas of the relations of father and mother. But many good interpreters think, that these should rather be understood as words of Moses, who by divine direction here inserted this law.
Ver. 25, " And they were both naked, the man and his
wife. And they were not ashamed.” This, certainly, must have been the case in a state of innocence. And therefore was proper to be mentioned.
And thus concludes the account of the formation of the first pair.
2. The next point in order is the trial, upon which Adam was put in Paradise.
Ch. ii. 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.”
Of what kind, or for what use “ the tree of life” was, we cannot certainly say; though the name of it might lead us to think, it would have been of use upon occasion of eating any thing noxious, or for restoring decays, and preserving the vigour of life.
“ And the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” It is doubted, why this tree was so called : whether it received its denoinination from the event; or whether it was at first so called from the design for which it was made and instituted, that it might be a trial of man's virtue.
In the 8, 10–14 verses is the description of Paradise, which I pass over.
Ver. 15, “ And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it." Not that he was made out of Paradise, and then brought into it. But, when made, he was placed therein, to keep it in good order.
Ver. 16, “ And the Lord God commanded the man, saying; Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat.” Ver. 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.”
Adam, as a rational creature, was subject to the law and will of God. He was necessarily bound by all moral laws and rules, and thereby obliged to love, honour, worship his Creator, and to love every creature of the same species or kind with himself, and to be merciful and tender of inferior beings, in subjection to him. But God was pleased to try him also by a positive law. And this would be likewise a trial of bis virtue. For there can be no doubt but he was obliged to respect this law and restraint of his bountiful Maker. And if he should disobey this law, it must be owing to some defect or failure of virtue. There cannot be conceived any reason, why he should transgress this command, unless some wrong temper, or evil thought, or irregularity and exorbitance of desire, (which, certainly, is immoral and sinful,) first arose in bim.
“ In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Literally, in the original, “ dying thou shalt die.” 'Wbich our translators have well expressed, “ thou shalt surely die."
Hereby some expositors have understood death spiritual, natural, and eternal. But I do not see any good reason they bave for it. We seem rather to be justified in taking it in the sense of natural death only, or the dissolution of this frame, the separation of soul and body. We are led to this by the words of the sentence pronounced after the transgression : “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
“ In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." By which may be meant, that very day thou shalt become mortal, and be liable to pains and diseases, which will issue in death. Or, that very day thou shalt actually die. Which last sense may be as probable as the other.
That is the trial, upon which man was put in Paradise, and in his state of innocence.
3. The next point, the third in order, is the temptation which he met with; the account of which is at the beginning of the third chapter of the book of Genesis. How long it was after the creation of Adam and Eve, before this happened, is not said. But it is likely, that some days had passed. The serpent found Eve alone, and attempted her in the absence of the man. Nor would his insinuations have been received, we may suppose, if he had suggested disobedience to a command, that was but just then given.
Chap. iii. 1, “ Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, which God had made." It is generally allowed, that here was the contrivance and agency of Satan. But Moses speaks only of the outward appearance; and therein, as I apprehend, refers to, or intends the winding, insinuating motion of serpents. “ And he said unto the woman; Yea, bas God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden ?” This is somewhat abrupt, and, possibly, some other discourse had preceded. However, it is very artful; not denying what was most true and certain ; but insinuating, that it was very strange, if such a probibition had been delivered to them. And, possibly, Eve concluded, that she was now addressed by some angel, who wished them well.
Ver. 2, “ And the woman said unto the serpent; We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.” Ver. 3, “ But