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of the fruit of the tree, wbich is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it; neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." By which we perceive that the woman was well apprized of the command, and the strictness of it. And, probably, she was by when it was delivered; though Adam only be particularly mentioned.
Ver. 4, “ And the serpent said unto the woman : Ye shall not surely die.” Ver. 5, “ For God does know, that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”' Which last words may be thought to imply, that Eve was not without an apprehension of other intelligent beings, distinct from God the Creator and inan, and of an intermediate order between both.
In this discourse the serpent insinuates a wrong and disadvantageous opinion of the Deity, as envious of the high happiness and dignity which they might attain to. And Eve was much to blame, for admitting suspicions of the benevolence of him that made them.
4. I proceed immediately to our first parents' transgression, the accounts of that and the temptation being closely connected.
Ver. 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 to her husband with her, and he did eat.” This is indeed strange. But from the serpent's insinuations she had admitted a dishonourable and disrespectful thought of the Deity, and then soon lost a just regard to the coinmand he had given. She views this dangerous and deadly fruit with complacence. She looked upon this prohibited fruit, till she had an appetite to it, conceived of it as good food, and was taken with its beautiful colour, and possessed with a persuasion, that her curiosity would be gratified with an increase of knowledge. And according to the Mosaic account, which is concise, wben Adam came up, and Eve presented hini with some of the same forbidden fruit, he took it at her hand, and did eat of it. The account, I say, is concise. But it was needless to be more particular, after the clear account before given of the strict probibition. Which sets Adam's fault in a conspicuous view. Possibly, the woman gave Adam an account of what the serpent bad said to her, and represented it to him, with tokens of her approbation. He could bave no temptation beyond what had been represented 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 bad 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 bid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." They who before 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 shyness 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
And the more to excuse bimself to God, he says, “ the woman, whom thou gavest to be
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. 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 go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” Ver. 13, “ 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 intlicted punish'ments upon Adam and Eve, yet he did not curse them, as • he did the serpent, they standing fair for a restitution to his · favour.' Undoubtedly, it inust 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 mollify 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 thee 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 be 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 iminediate inducement to bim to transgress :) and bast 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,
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 man and the woman. And so far the first sentence ta es 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 hers, 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 therefore 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 be 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 inake 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 compass 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 bim, and to render bim sensible of his weakness in himself, and bis 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 bim 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 bis 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 bis wife's name Eve, because she was the inother 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 Adamn 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 casily 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 bave understood this literally : “ that unto Adam and bis 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