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should become heads of tribes, it pointed out the particular tribe from which the Messiah should come, not either of Jacob's favourite sons Joseph or Benjamin, but Judah, (xlix. 10.), and he the fourth in descent. (see 2 Pet. i. 21.)

The typical nature of the Old Testament history may also be noticed. xiv.: Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedec. By this St. Paul shows that the Mosaic dispensation was intended to be subservient to that of the Gospel (Heb. vii.) St. Paul also shews (Rom. ix. 11, &c.) that the preference given to Isaac before Ishmael, and Jacob before Esau, prefigured the rejection of the Jews and the call of the Gentiles: thus, as Lowth remarks, shewing that the eminent persons of foregoing ages, and the remarkable passages of their lives, did bear some resemblance or representation of Him that was to come.

In the selection of facts the same subject is kept in view, Thus Cain and his descendants, Ishmael and his descendants, are very soon unnoticed. or When a man leaves God and his people, the sacred historian leaves him.”

Temptation. Temptation is an enticement to transgress the law of God from some supposed advantage to be obtained or evil avoided. Observe the nature of those enticements which prevailed with Eve (Gen. iii. 6.); the advantage she expected ; how her fears were removed (verse 4.) Abraham (Gen. xii. 12); the evil he feared. Eve was tempted by the devil, Adam by his wife, Sarah by her husband (xii. 13), Jacob by his mother (Gen. xxvii.)

The Liability of Men to sin. This may be illustrated by the failings of God's people, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, &c. Noah, after such a display of his faith in building the ark, &c. Abraham, after leaving his country, &c.; and twice offending in the same way. Isaac, after his surrender of himself as a sacrifice, (Gen. xxii.) committing the very sin which brought shame on his father (Gen. xxvi. 7). Jacob, after his vow at Bethel, needing, many years after, to be reminded of that vow (Gen. xxxv. 1); and in the decline of a life so distinguished by God's care, saying, “ All these things are against me” (Gen. xlii. 36), at the very moment when Joseph was in fact the governor of Egypt.

The Folly and Deceit of Sin. The folly in Adam, Eve, and Cain, imagining they could hide themselves or their conduct from God! (Gen. iii. iv.)

What advantage did Adam and Eve, Cain, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph's brethren, gain by their deceit? Were they not deceived ? particularly Jacob by Laban and his own children. Compare xxvii. 9., kid, &c. with xxxvii. 31., kid.

The devil in tempting Eve, the builders of Babel, and Joseph's brethren, thought to defeat God's purpose; but did they?

The Progress of Sin May be noticed in Cain (Gen. iv. 8); what his anger ended in.

The resentment of Esau soon kindled into the intention to murder (Gen. xxvii. 41, with Rom. iii. 15, “ their feet are swift to shed,” &c.) Also the envy of Joseph's brethren ; first shewn in not speaking peaceably to him ; ending in the determination to murder him (Gen. xxxvii. 4. 18).

Cruelty to their brother needed a lie to hide it from their father; and no doubt Jacob went much further in lying than he intended, when he first yielded to his mother's entreaty to deceive his father (xxvii. 20).

Chap. xxxiv. shews how one sin leads to another, and, like flames of fire, spread desolation in every direction. Dissipation leads to seduction, seduction produces wrath, wrath thirsts for revenge, the thirst of revenge has recourse to treachery, treachery issues in murder, and murder is followed by lawless depredation." (Fuller on Genesis.)

The Evil of Sin. Observe not only the suffering which sin brings on those who first commit it, but the suffering and sin in which they involve others by it.

Abraham's equivocation ; involving his wife in sin, bringing plagues on Pharaoh and Abimelech, exposing Pharaoh and Abimelech to temptation.

The strife between the servants of Abraham and Lot

(Gen. xiii.) occasioned the separation of their masters ; and from that time Lot went wrong.

Lot's sin in living at Sodom involved his family in those strong temptations by which they were corrupted, and perished. (Gen. xiii. 10.) Jacob's sin provoked his brother to sin. (Gen. xxvii.)

These illustrations from Genesis may be compared with illustrations taken from other parts of Scripture. Thus, the sin of the Amalekites (Exod. xvii. 8, 14.) brought destruction


them more than 400 years after. (1 Sam. xv.) “ His blood be on us and our children," said the Jews at the crucifixion of Christ; and now for more than 1700 years has that blood been required at their hands.

But the most awful fact illustrative of the evil of sin is, that Adam's sin, the first sin of the first man, depraved mankind and brought them under condemnation to eternal wrath. (Rom. v.; Eph. ii.)

As illustrating what was said (p. 16), that the great evil of sin is, that it dishonours God, “ it is observable that the reason given (Gen. ix. 6) for the punishment of the murderer with death, is taken from the affront which he offers to God, not from the injury he does to man.”

In the same light the sin of Adam is to be viewed. The act might in itself seem trifling, but by breaking one command he violated the authority on which all rest (James ii. 10). “How awful the thought, that the same God who condemned Adam for one transgression, regards every sin of which we are guilty with the same abhorrence, and that our iniquities are more in number than the hairs of our head!”

It was said (p. 35) that one purpose for which God gave us the Bible was to shew us the necessity of an atonement for sin. If such be the evil of sin, what but the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin ? who but the Holy Spirit can deliver from its power?

Riches, Beauty, Reputation, &c. As all our estimates of right and wrong, good and evil, must be derived from the word of God, we may prove by the word of God the value of things highly esteemed among men.

For instance : The riches of Abraham and Lot occasioned their separa


tion (xii. 7); Isaac's wells, strife (xxvi. 20); Sodom's wealth, the occasion of her corruption and destruction (xix.; see Mark x. 23).

The beauty of the descendants of Cain was the occasion of the corruption of the church, and the ruin of mankind (vi.); Sarah's beauty, was Abraham's snare (xii.); Rebekah's was Isaac's (xxvi. 7). Rachel was beautiful, but envious, and hence unhappy, and rendering all around her


Genesis contains a sketch of the history of mankind for 2369 years; but what was most in repute among them ? sin, deeds of violence, licentiousness, idolatry, &c. The people of God are few in number, and little thought of.

Was it so in the time of Moses, the Prophets, and in the time of our Lord? Is it then safe to adopt the law of fashion, the opinions and rules by which the world govern themselves, and to judge of right and wrong by their praise or censure ? (1 John ii. 15.)

The value of God's favour. Let the attention be constantly directed to this subject, and to the means by which it may

be attained. It was the favour of God which constituted the happiness of Paradise, delivered Enoch from death, Noah from the flood, Lot from the fiery tempest. It was Abraham's shield and reward ; it gave Isaac peace and honour in the presence of his enemies ; delivered Jacob from all evil ; comforted Joseph in slavery and in prison, and raised him above the greater trials of worldly prosperity, endured through a period of eighty years (1. 24—26).

The favour of God is but little thought of; men take very little pains to obtain it; but on a review of the history of the world, what has survived the wreck of time, but the Bible and the Church, God's word and God's people?

The nature of Human Life. The young enter into life expecting great things from the world. Observe, then, (iv. 1) Eve's

expectation from Cain, how disappointed ; she thought she had gotten a man, the Lord, the promised Messiah, and he proved a murderer. Isaac's anxiety for a family, and the little comfort he had even from his favourite son (xxvi. 35). See Rachel's


wish (xxx. 1), and Rachel's death (xxxv. 16). And let it check inordinate desires.

Chap. xxxvii. 13 and 28, also shews how little we know what a day may bring forth : xxxvii. 31, the coat of many colours dipped in blood.

Attend to Jacob's testimony (xlvii. 9), “Few and evil,” &c., and let us thank God, that, as we through our sins have made our days evil, He has in mercy made them few. It is well for us that a life of sin and sorrow is not immortal.” (See Heb. xi. 16.)

Affliction. We naturally shun affliction. But, now that man is a sinner, a life of labour and sorrow has become a restraint on sin, converting the curse into a blessing. The Patriarchs (particularly Jacob and Joseph's brethren,) were greatly benefited by affliction, and Joseph fitted for greater usefulness ! Affliction is the school of wisdom; and the Book of Genesis thus presents it to us ; restraining men's passions, exercising their graces, weaning them from the world, and wonderfully displaying the glory of God's providence.

Counterfeit Virtues. Every virtue has its counterfeit. It is desirable to be wise, but not as Eve sought wisdom (Gen. iii.). Husbands should love their wives, but not as Adam did, in hearkening to Eve urging him to sin. Wives should obey their husbands, but not as Sarah did Abraham, in consenting to tell a lie (Gen. xii.) Servants should take great care of their masters' property, but not as Abraham and Lot's herdsmen, to quarrel about it (Gen. xiii.) Children should obey their parents (Col. iii. 20), but not as Jacob did Rebekah (Gen. xxvii.) Parents should desire to bless their children, but not as Isaac sought to bless Esau. We should desire to forward the accomplishment of God's declared will, but not as Rebekah did. Not to provide for those of our own household, is to deny the faith and be worse than an infidel, but we are not so to provide for them as Lot did for his, making wealth the object of our chief pursuit.

We ought to worship God, but not as Cain did, disregarding God's appointed way. Self-righteous Cain felt no need of a Saviour. He feared God, but it was not from right

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