« PreviousContinue »
work which he had made ;* he ceasedfrom the work of creai tion, but not of providence, to teach us to rest from our work on 3 that day. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it ;t set it apart as sacred in memory of the creation of the world; as a day in which he is to be blessed and praised, and in which he communicates blessings to his pious worshippers ; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made, or brought to perfection.
I A natures. Attend to these words, Let us make man. God gives notice to those about him of the great business he was going to do; it was something worthy of their highest regard ; the last and best of his creating work here below. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. All the parts of our body are an amazing instance of his power and skill ; but the breath of life, the living soul, the intelligent and immortal spirit, by which we are capable of understanding and reasoning, looking backward to past ages, and forward to eternity ; by which we are able fb in^ quire after God our maker, and pay him a reasonable service; this is the crown of all; herein he hath made us wiser than the teasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven, and but a little lower than the angels, It is when man is taken in comparison with ether things, with all the lower creation, that his dignity and excellency appear. Let us love that God who hath raised this curious frame ; who is the father of our spirits, and hath crowned us with such glory and honour. Let us be thankful for any remains ef His image which we still bear; and act as becometh those who 'were made for God, and like him.
2. Let us depend on God to begin and perfect the new creation. Thanks be to him, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, that he hath shined upon us in the face of his dear Son, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He, who is the author of nature, is the God of all grace; and the day is approaching, when he wiir make all things new. The same power that produced nature at first, must change our corrupt hearts and sinful inclinations, and create us anew in Christ Jesus to good works. Let us maintain a humble dependence upon him, to begin and carry on his new and nobler creation in our own souls and the souls of others. His hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor is his ear heavy that it cannot hear: if he speak the word, it shall be done. Let «s rely upon his almighty power to make our souls perfect in ho* Iiness; to complete our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies, that we may be fit for the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwcileth righteousness.
• He ce ascd to create, he proceeded no further. Restmg implies bodily fatigue 0* dreariness; but the Creator of the tnils of the faith fainteth not, neither is be weary.
t As Adam and Eve were created at the clo? e of the sixth day, this wptild be th> first
Chole day of thrir life, the first ot their week, and God appointed it to be a sab!>arh &c >ly day; and there is no doubt hut they and their descendants ctscrved it a& such. Eiiu
3. Let us bless God for the institution of the sabbath, which is so well calculated to begin and carry on this good work in our souls, and maintain a sense of God and his goodness in the world. Let us be thankful if we have found the advantage of it, as thousands in all ages have done. If God thought fit to enjoin it on man in a state of innocence, that he might converse with God in holy du.. ties and exercises, much more fit is it for us in our corrupt state; when we have so many hindrances in religion, so many difficulties to grapple with, temptations to overcome, and duties to perform. Let us call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honourable. On that day let us rest from all our common works, and remember to keep it holy; employing it in devout meditations on the wisdom, power, and goodness of God in creation, and the still brighter and nobler scenes which the glorious gospel of the blessed God opens upon us.
formation of Adam and Eve; the forbidden fruit j and the institution of marriage.
4 ' I 'HESE things already related [are] a true account of the
JL generations, or origin, of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day or time that the Lor» God, or JEHOVAH,* made the earth and the heaven*.
5 And we have here also an account of the formation of every plant of the field, before it was produced by any virtue in the earth, and of every herb of the field before it grew: every plant and herb being created in a state of maturity: for the Lord God had not as yet caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground. So that th^ origin of these things must be ascribed to God's power alone.,
6 seeing there was no natural cause to produce them. But after the earth was stored with vegetables, there went up a mist
_ from the earth, and this, falling down upon it again, watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord God with exquisite art formed the body of man [of] the dust of the ground,t and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; infused into his lifeless body a Irving soul, -jjhich quickened it, and discovered itself by the breath in his nostrils.\ And man became a living soul, a more excellent being than any other creature here below.
* Her* the name JEHOVAH is first used: it signifies, He that was, and is, and is come; the necesrary self.fxistent Being. It is commonly rendered Lord in our Bible, an* is distmginshed by capital letters; but the word Lad by no means expresses the force of the origmal, whkh should have been retained.
t Whence Adam is called the earthv man, l dr. xv. 47. to which agrees the Hebrew word here rendered firmed, which is different from that used with reference to the other creatures. It refers to potters who make vessels of clay; and seems to denote the peculiar care and skill of the Almighty in the formation of the human body.
I It is observable, that man's body and soul were made distinct, (which they were not. m othsi creatures,,; to show that his soul is of a different origin*} from (he body.
8 And the Lord God, having thus made a rational creature, does not turn him out into a barren world, but provides comfortably both for the support of his body, and the entertainment of his mind; and therefore he ivad planted a garden eastward of Jadea, in the country of Eden ; and there he put the man
9 whom he had formed. And out of the ground of that garden. made the Lord God to grow every kind of tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life so called, because it was a natural means of preserving man's life, end a pledge of its continuance; he had also planted in they midst of the garden, and there he had likewise planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the eating of which (being forbidden) would give him experimentally to know the difference between moral good and evil.
10 And a river went out of the land of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four
11 heads, or principal streams." The name of the first [is] Pison : that [is] it which compasseth, or winds along, the whole
12 land of Havilah, where [there is] gold in great plenty; And the gold of that land [is] remarkably good: there [is] also
\Z bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river [is] Gihon : the same [is] it that compasseth or winds
14 along, the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river [is] Hiddekel, or Tygris: that [is] it which goeth toward the east of, or before^ Assyria. And the fourth river [is] Euphrates itself,
.15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it for his health and picas
16 ure. And the Lord God commanded the man, including the
IT woman also, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat: but with this single limitation, that of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for
f ia the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, become liable to all sorts of evils, both hi this world and the other, which shall immediately begin to seize upon thee.
15 And the Lord God said, [It is] not good that the man, who is a social being, should be alone; I will therefore make him an. help meet for him ; suitable to his nature, acceptable to hft Jiersoii, and useful upon all occasions. Arow the manner of her creation was as different from that of the other creatures as the
19 end for which she was made. And out of the ground and waters the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and e1very fowl of the air; and he brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof by which it was
20 known to posterity. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field, according
* The situation of Paradise, answering to thU description, is what geographers are divided about. Most probably as Calvin and others suppose, it was in Chaldea. at the •influence of the Tyzris and the Enpl>mtei. These two rivers were above, with respect to the course of the waters ; and the other two below, vijc, the Pism ml the ClAm* which namr« tavc tag been disused.
to their respective natures ; but for Adam there #as not found among all the tribes of creatures, one that was an help meet for 'him ; so that it was necessary that one should be created cn purpose.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept : and during his state of insensibility he took one
22 of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he into a woman, and brought her unto the man, who now awoke, and he gave her to him as his wife; acquainting him with the
23 manner of her creation. And Adam, receiving her with grat' itude and joy, said, This [is] now a fit companion for me, being bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. And God acquainted Adam with the great law of matrimony now insti.
24 tuted, saying, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife : and they two* shall be one flesh; most inseparably united during life, and have as intimate communion as if they were but one person. This condemns
25 both polygamy and divorce. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and continued so as long as they were innocent ; and by reason of their innocence they were not ashamed; as there was neither deformity in their bodies, nor guilt, the cause of shame, in their souls.
V V origin of the soul ; it did not spring from the dust, it was not formed by our parents, but is the breath of God. There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding. Let us highly prize these precious and immortal souls; study their improvement in knowledge and holiness; and never debase them by any low or mean pursuits: but let them daily aspire toward the world from which they came, and the God by whom they were infused.
2. Let us admire the plentiful provision God hath made for jnan, and the equity of that covenant under which he was placed. How wisely and kindly hath God contrived for the delight of his creatures! He is to be owned and honoured in all. It is a remarkable expression inf. 5, the Lord God, that is, Jenovan, had not yet caused it to rain on the earth. It is God alone that giveth rain from heaven, and maketh the earth fruitful; he greatly enrichtth it with the river of God, which is full of water: he giveth us all things richly to enjoy. God saw good to lay on man a small restraint, to let him know he was a servant and a dependent, not an absolute proprietor. If any should ask, why this, should be made the test of obedience, rather than a moral precept ; the reason is plain ; he could not be guilty of many vices,
he had no tAiptatron to others; so that his virtue was to be tried by his having a proper temptation to transgress. The demand of abstinence from one tree, was very reasonable, when God had given him all things else.
3. Let us be very thankful for the happiness of social life; that God hath given us social natures, and fitted us for social pleasures and entertainments: that he hath formed us capable of those tender affections, which are an honour instead of a disgrace to human nature, and the source of that endearing friendship which but one relation will admit of. The wisdom and goodness ot God are to be adored in providing so suitable and agreeable a companion for his new formed creature, to enliven even paradise itself; for continuing in the breasts of his descendants of both sexes their mutual tenderness for each other; and for appointing and instituting the conjugal relation, as what he saw would be for the comfort and advantage of his creatures, as well as necessary for the regular and orderly continuance of them.
4. Let the circumstances attending the production of the woman, be a lesson to both sexes how to behave one to another. Adam, says the Apostle, was first formed, then Eve; which he urges as an argument for the cheerful subjection of the woman. 1 Tim.n. 13. and in another place he observes, the woman was made for the man, and out of Ihe man; which he urges to the same purpose. AVe learn from hence, the duty of men to love their wives, v. 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall ее oneßesk. This is a strong argument against having more wives than one ; and also against divorces, which are so shamefully common in the present day. In this view it is urged by our Lord, Matt. xix. 5. God had, as the prophet Malachi observes, the residue of the spirit, and could have created more women than one, but he did not. The circumstance of the woman's creation out of the man, was no doubt intended to be a moral lesson that men should love their wives, since they arc bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh, and are designed for their comfort, and to be helps meet for them. In a word, marriage is honourable in all ;. it is the wise and gracipus appointment of God; and it should be the concern of all who are entered, or may enter into that relation, to behave to each other with that forbearance and kindness, that respect and concera for each other's welfare, which alone can make their state comfortable here, and will, if they are truly religious, lay a foundation for a purer, more lasting, yea, an eternal friendship, in the other world.