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• If any
present evil world is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Wid all stand now, as Adam stood then. Christ himself
says, man eat of my flesh, he shall live for ever.' Thus is he now our tree of life. Whosoever liveth and believeth on me, shall never die.' John xi. 26. Adam, through unbelief of God's word, sought a life in the tree of knowledge, which brought ruin on him, and he was cast out of paradise. Just so now, if the life which we now live * in the flesh, is not by the faith of the Son of God,' we shall perish ; we shall lose our part in the tree of life, and in the paradise of God The garden of Eden represents the church of the living God; and the trees there, which are pleasant to behold, are trees of righteousness which the Lord hath planted. The river, which waters this garden and refreshes the trees of the Lord's planting, which is also to be found in the heavenly paradise, is the gospel of the grace of God, which waters his vineyard continually. It is said to divide into four beads after leaving the garden; and the attentive reader will be pleased to observe, that the course of these different heads, plainly trace out the channels in which the gospel ran abroad upon the earth.
In the conclusion of this chapter we have a most interesting account of the formation of Eve from Adam's rib, during his deep sleep, which Paul expressly warrants us to consider as the great mystery of Christ and his church.
Adam represents the second Adam; his deep sleep, the sufferings and death of our Lord; then it was that from his pierced side that church was formed, of which
we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his • bones. Eph. v. 29-32.
Chap. III. We are now called to enter upon' these most interest. ing of all subjects, the entrance of sin, and the deliverance from the curse. Those who are so averse to admit the figurative language of scripture, are puzzled extremely to account for the vehicle of Satan's first temptation, a serpent. Let such writers and readers as feel so disposed, amuse themselves with answering the cavils of cri. tics, and the sneers of fools on this subject; it shall be our province to attempt a plain and scriptural investigation of it. We have al, ready stated, that it appears the situation of Adam in paradise corYesponds with our situation now: he lived by a commandment, as we do; for • this is his commandment, that we should believe on the .name of the only begotten Son of God, who is the true tree of life. In like manner we observe, that there is nothing uncommon, nothing contrary to what is daily experienced in the first temptation; other, wise Paul was wrong to say,
• Bor I fear, lest by any means, as ths serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, sa your minds should be • corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Cor. xi. 3. A's the
serpent is characteristic of guile, subtilty, and deceit, so his form was assumed by Satan, as his character daily is by the tempter, cor, jupting the truth of the gospel. God had placed our first parents in paradise, setting before them, life from the tree of life, and death from the tree of knowledge. There are no proofs mentioned as adduced, of the life giving power of the one, or the mortal quality of
the other; but simply the divine word, as to these trees. Satan, by the serpent, reasoned their minds out of the belief of the simple truth God had set before them; and he gradually persuaded them, not only that they should not die from eating the tree of knowledge, buc that the highest happiness and most perfect attainments would infallibly ensue. So is it at this hour; the gospel sets the tree of life before us, as connected with present and future bliss: the tempter sets this world, and assures us, that every thing gratifying to man is to be found in it, while certain death is by no means the penalty. In every age and nation, Satan's temptation tias had the same object, we had almost said the same language. Believing this father of liars, as we are all most prone to do, --persuading herself that every gratia' fication would follow,-Eve ate and gave her husband, who partook in her transgression, and became subjected to the same penalty, Their conduct under the impressions of guilt, was the same as in all future ages: their eyes were opened; they found themselves naked and exposed to shame and everlasting disgrace; they therefore bewok themselves to the only frail covering they could devise, figleaves.
In the 8th verse we are told, ' And they heard the voice of the • Lord God walking in the cool of the day. It has been often remarked that it should be read, “And they heard the voice, Jehovah •God, walking in the wind of day.' Here three things are remarkable: 1. That the voice here has distinct personality ascribed, when it is said to walk. 2. That the Voice, or Word, wko was in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, and who was made flesh in the latter days, is JEHOVAH God. 3. That he appear. ed to our first parents in the same emblem of the divine presence, which he often afterwards assumed, viz. wind, or whirlwind; so Job saw him, Job xxxviii. 1. See also Ezek. i. 4, &c. The effect of conscience, and the fear of wrath, are admirably expressed in the conduct of Adam.
The denunciation of the curse, and annunciation of the gospel, must particularly attract attention in what follows. The curse is first pronounced on the serpent, as the instrument of sin ; a curse which we see literally executed on all the serpent race to this day; on their belly they go, and dust they eat. It is probable, however, thaç even the serpent's curse has a farther aspect, than what appears executed on the bodies of these reptiles; for it is one of the promises that shall be fulfilled in the new heaven: and new earth, that dust shall • be the serpent's meat.' Isaiah lxv. 25. Before offended justice proceeds to pronounce sentence on guilty man, mercy interposes, and the gospel is preached before the curse is pronounced; nay, more, the gospel of mercy to man, is introduced as part of the curse on the serpent. In ver. 15, we have this astonishing display of the kinde ness and love of God our Saviour, which, though only in promis”, supported the hearts of God's elect for four thousand years. Remarks able is every word in the blessed promise: I will put enmity between tkee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy bead, and thou shalt bruise his heel. I will, reminds us of the
divine omnipotence of the speaker ; and that however awful the effects of this enmity has appeared on many occasions, it results from his uncontrollable I WILL. The enmity is between two seeds, viz. the seed of the woman, strictly so called, not merely because the Mes. siah was to appear in the likeness of sinful flesh, but as he should be properly the woman's seed, being born of a virgin who had not known man ; and connected with him all that spiritual seed, those children, whom he is not ashamed to call brethren. On the other party appears all the seed of that serpent, who was a liar at the be. ginning, and of whom Jesus said, “Ye are of your father, the devil, and his works ye will do.' Between these seeds, an enmity commenced in Eden, and has subsisted in all ages, and will subsist till the last enemy shall be destroyed. It was this enmity that bruised the heel of the Son of God, who bruised the head of Satan, triumphing over him in his cross. This promise included a blessed hope, in which all the Old Testament saints died, and which we have now the fullest evidence has been fulfilled. Jesus Christ, who was born of the vir. gin, by bruising the head of the serpent, where all his prison lay, extracted the curse and all its consequences; he finished transgression made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness.
Although the curse, as far as it extended to man's spirit, or the eternal part
of it, is thus done away by the seed of the woman, the ten poral part of it remains; and the whole race of Adam are subi jected to it. The woman must undergo her sorrow in conception and birth : she must be subject to her husband, because she was first in the transgression. Yet although she bears a remarkable portion of the curse, that very sorrow in which she brings forth children, is an carnest to her of salvation through child-bearing, if she continue in the faith, Man now experiences sorrow and trouble: the very ground is cursed for his sake: it produces him thorns and thistles; and in sorrow he eats of it, till he returns to the dust from whence he was taken. Long and anxiously has man sought to find a blessa ing in this earth, which the Lord hath cursed; but all in vain. The curse is entwisted with every earthly enjoyment; and all men muse struggle out their appointed time, seeking rest and finding none, till they lie down in quietness in the grave. There the weary are at rest.
Adam, believing in the divine promise concerning the blessed seed to be born of the woman, called her name Eve, (living), because all the living were to spring from her. God also made them coats of skins, generally understood to be the skins of animals slain in sacrifice, which it is reasonable to suppose were now instituted. The covering of these skins forms a proper contrast to the fig.leaves
The 22d verse has occasioned much preplexity to the learned ; we shall only remark that it appears to us something in this way • hold, the man has now literally become what the serpent promised, • as Gods, knowing good and evil. Lest he therefore should now seek life in this earthly paradise to which he has forfeited his title, the
Lord God drave him out of Eden, and placed cherubim and a Aaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life.' The natural
idea arising from these words, as they stand in our translation, is, that God, after driving man from Eden, erected cherubim and a flaming' sword to prevent his attempting to return. Many ingenious expositors and critics form a very different idea of this
passage. not attempt to enter particularly into the different views given of the subject; only in general, that cherubim and flaming swords are con. sidered as representing the mystery of godliness, and attendants on divine worship, which God instituted to be observed at the east of Eden, in order to point out the way to Jesus Christ, the true tree of life. He who was worshipped dwelling between the chreubim in the tabernacle and temple, was worshipped at the east of Eden, between the cherubim also, and that accompanied by the visible emblem, the Schęchinah, or flame of fire.
Chap. IV.„-According to the divine commandment, increase and multiply,' Adap knew his wife, and she bare a son, and called þis name Cain (acquired, or procured); for, she said, • I have gotten the man, Jehovah.' Filled with the promise concerning the seed to be born of her, she thought the promise now fulfilled. Again con. ceiving, and probably satisfied of her mistake, as to Cain being the seed of promise, she called his name Abel, (vanity.)
It will be interesting to the reader to attend particularly to the concise history of Cain and Abel, as unfolding the nature of primeval worship. They both sacrificed or offered to God. Their offerings appear both to bę by divine authority; for the very same kind of of. ferings, viz. lamb, or firsiling of the flock, and the fruit of the ground, are sanctioned by the Levitical law, Exod. xiii. 11, 12. Lev. ii. 12. xxiii. 9. Indeed we must be satisfied, they were conducted by divine revelation in what they did Divine foreknowledge of the first born of the virgin, could only direct Abel to bring the firstling of his flick. The very time was appointed, viz. in process of time;" the Hebrew reads • at the end of days, viz the seventh day, the day sanctified for the worship of God. In like manner, the place; they brought it to the Lord.' How could they bring their offerings to the Lord, unless an instituted place of worship, by his residence, had been known: and this was, between the cherubim and fire at the çast of Eden.
We are next told, that God had respect to Abel and his offering, but not to Cain's. This must have been visibly manifested, other. wise Cain would not have known it... The usual manner of God shewing respect to an offering, was by fire; hence Elijah said, • The . God that answereth by fire, he is God.' See Lev. ix. 24. Judg. vi. 21. 1 Kings xvii. 38, &c, If it be asked, why God had respect to Abel's offering, and not to Cain's; we answer, because the former was offered by faith, Heb. xi. 4 The remonstrance that took place between the Almighty and Cain, discovers the nature of reve. lation at this period, by immediate commiuncation with Jesus Christ himself. It would also appear that Cain and Abel, in this transacțion, had an eye to the birth-right, from the Lord's words, . If thou doost well, the exellency is thine. Bishop Wilson reads the latter clause thus : And if thou doest not well, the sin-offering is at the place of access or worship.' The consequence of Cain's unbelief was hatred to the truth ; and he slew his brother, the first martyr for Jesus Christ. Here the first fruits of the enmity put between the seeds was manifested, and the two very opposite principles which have appeared dividing the whole human race ever since.
We have, in the sentence upon Cain, the first instance of excom. munication, or separation from the church of God. From thy • Face,' says Cain, shall I be hid,' verse 14. Again, in verse 16, it is said, that he went out from the Presence, Jehovah.' Were there no other proof, these passages are so expressed in the original, as to leave no doubt, that there was an established place of worship at the east of Eden, where God's face and presence were established, We may add, that it is by no means clear, that there ever was a place called Nod; the text seems merely to imply, that when Cain went out from the established place of God's worship, he continued a vagabond or wanderer from the east of Eden These passages, by adopting the very terms afterwards applied to the tabernacle and temple, evidently point out, that there was a symbolical appearance at the east of Eden, corresponding to what was afterwards called the face of God, or his presence. From many passages, this was evidently the Schecbinah, or typical glory, which had its station on the mercy-seat, between the cherubim, above upon the ark; and this confirms us in the conclusion, that the cherubim and faming sword were the symbolical glory between the cherubim. Now, as the great design of these visible displays of the object of worship, was to point forth to the worshippers, that the Word should in due time be made flesh, and, dwelling among us, shew forth his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, it plainly follows, that the object, ground, and nature of worship, was the same iken as now, Jesus the Son of God, and atonement by his blood, shed for many for the re, mission of sins.
It may be expected, that we should take some notice of the mark set on Cain, and of the sevenfold vengeance of Lamech; but these have been so long subjects of disputation, and diversity of opinion, that we shall only observe: 1. It appears obvious, that as the life of Cain was justly forfeited, as a shedder of blood, it pleased God to preserve him for the fulfilment of his office, as the father of that seed, which sprong from him, who was not only a liar, but a murderer. from the beginning. 2. That Cain, and his descendant Lamech, with their posterity, were evidently the antichristian seed of that age: in her has always been found the blood of prophets; and sevenfold, yea, seventy times sevenfold vengeance shall be taken on her posterity, when they get their · blood to drink,? Cain built a city, where he and his descendants remained distinct from the sons of God, of whom we shall take some notice presently.
We have next an account of Cain and his descendants. We find them very ingenious in worldly inventions, but we have no account of their worship of God. Cain's family appears to have been very like the Jews, who, after embruing their hands in the blood of their riges