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THE FIRST BOOK OF MOSES,
The original Hebrew distinguishes this Book merely by the first word of it, viz. nex or In the beginning: but the Greek translation, called the Septuagint, names it GENESIS, The Beginning, or Original; that is of the world.—The sacred historian first records the creation of the heaven and the earth, the formation of Adam and Eve after the image of God, and the institution of marriage. He then relates how "sin entered into the world, and death by sin;" and how the first promise of a Redeemer was given to our fallen progenitors.--He next illustrates the effects of the fall; which were manifested in the conduct of Cain, who murdered righteous Abel his brother, and in the general and almost universal prevalence of wickedness; and he likewise illustrates the power of divine grace in the examples of Abel, Enoch, and Noah.—A few hints are dropt concerning some of Cain's descendants, and their inventions and actions; but a genealogy of the descendants of Seth to Noah, with the age to which each person lived who is mentioned in the genealogy, is carefully given.-At length, at the end of 1656 years, the Lord, provoked by man's wickedness, desolated the earth by a flood of waters, preserving his servant Noah and his wife, with his three sons and their wives, in the ark; of which extraordinary catastrophe all nations retain some traditions and vestiges. The repeopling of the earth by the descendants of Noah's sons is next recorded: and the genealogy is continued from Shem, in the line of Abraham, to Jacob and his sons.-Indeed, this narrative, though very compendious, throws more light on the original of nations and on many coincident subjects, than can be obtained from all other records of antiquity taken together: and its agreement with such as have the greatest claim to authenticity, conclusively proves that it gives a true account of those ancient times, which the pagan historians had only heard of by obscure tradition, and which they mutilated, or blended with most absurd fables; while the interspersed prophecies, fulfilling through all succeeding generations even to the present day, fully attest its divine inspiration. (Notes, 12:1–3. 48: 49:) Many particulars indeed, in this part of the history, must be beyond the investigation of the unlearned: but the founding of Nineveh and Babylon, two of the greatest cities the world ever saw; the source of the vast variety of languages, which has in all ages interrupted the intercourse of mankind; and the original of the two most remarkable people which have ever appeared on earth, namely, the Jews and the Ishmaelites, are clearly and satisfactorily shewn. Important information is also given concerning the Moabites, Ammonites, Midianites, Edomites or Idumeans, all descended from Abraham. The most ancient war known to genuine history is here recorded; and the awful destruction of Sodom and the neighboring cities, as producing the Dead Sea, the peculiarities of which have always excited the attention of travellers. The mass of interesting historical materials contained in this wonderful Book, concerning those remote ages of which we have no other even plausible records, must ever render it an invaluable treasure of ancient erudition to the sober scholar. But the copiousness with which the history of Abraham, “the father of the faithful,” the repository of the promises, and the ancestor of Christ, is given, with that of Isaac and Jacob the heirs of the same promises, shews what is deemed most important by him, whose judgment is according to truth:” and the story of Joseph exceeds applause, being inimitably written, and unparalleled in the annals of the world.-The impartiality also of the sacred historian, in recording the imperfections of the most approved characters, though his own ancestors; and the strong expressions of abhorrence, with which he marks the crime of his immediate progenitor Levi, are worthy of an inspired writer, and hitherto almost entirely peculiar to the Scriptures. The narrative is thus continued to the death of Joseph, about 713 years after the deluge, or 2369 from the creation. And the important religious instruction contained in this book, concerning God our Creator, our fallen condition, the promise of a Savior, and the redeemed sinner's walk with God, must more endear it to the pious Christian, than all its immense and invaluable literary treasures can possibly recommend it to the learned antiquary or historian.-Without this history the world would be in total darkness, not knowing whence 'it came or whither it goeth. In the first page of this sacred book, a child may learn more in one "hour, than all the philosophers in the world learned without it in thousands of years.' Fuller.
B. C. 4004.
B. C. 4004. 11 TN - the beginning God created the 11 heaven and the earth.
firmament, 2–8; separates the dry land from the waters, and
146:6. 148:4,5. Is. 40:28. pronounces the whole "very good," 26-31.
44:24. 51:13. Jer. 32:17. 287
51:15. Zech. 12:1. Acts
“2 And the earth was without form, ll good: and God divided the light from and void, and darkness was upon the face the darkness.. of the deep: d and the Spirit of God moved | 5 And God called the light h Day, upon the face of the waters.
ll and the darkness he called Night. And 3 | And God said, 'Let there be the evening and the morning were the light: and there was light.
first day. 4 And God saw the light, 8 that it was 6 T And God said, Let there be a
1 * Heb. Between the light and and the morning was. 8,13,19, d Job 28:13. Ps. 33:6. 104:30. f 2 Cor. 4:6. Eph. 5:14. • Ps. 33:9. Matt. 8:3. John 11:
Heb. And the evening was, | 38:22-26. Jer 10:13.
23,31. i 14,20. 7:11,12. Job 37:11 -18.
the Christian system, on these intimations; yet CAAP. I. V. 1. It is natural and unavoidable | this should not be rejected as a mere verbal for us, who are but of yesterday, to inquire about criticism.--God created the heaven and the those things wbich have been before us, and to earth, or the whole universe, visible and invisiform conjectures even about the original of all ) ble. The word heaven is sometimes used in things: but our reason is evidently incompetent Scripture for that place, where the divine glory to inquiries of this kind; and uncertainty, con- is especially displayed, and where angels and trariety, and absurdity, always bewildered the happy spirits have their residence; at other wisest of the heathens on this subject. However, times for the boundless expanse, in which the rational it is to conclude, that all things were sun, moon, and stars are placed; and at others at first created by the eternal, self-existent, for the circumambient air, even to the very and almighty God; yet man has in every age|| surface of the earth; it must therefore be interlamentably failed of drawing this conclusion: preted as the context requires. This general and after all, it is “by faith we understand that account warrants no conclusions respecting the worlds were framed by the word of God; so the angels, or the inhabitants of other systems, that things, which are seen, were not made of except that they are all the creatures of God. things which do appear;" Heb. 11:3. Reason But this visible world was formed in six days.is indeed capable of approving, appropriating, The chaotic mass seems to have been first inand applying, the information conveyed to us stantaneously created out of nothing, and then by the word of God, but not of anticipating it. gradually reduced to order and beauty. The knowledge imparted by revelation is useful I y. 2. The matter, from which this earth, and necessary: but nothing is mentioned about and the solar system connected with it, were 'eternity a parte ante,' (a past eternity,) that created, was at first a confused mass of comabyss which swallows up all our thought, and ponent elements, without form; and void, empty, involves all our reflections and discourse in in-ll or destitute of plants, trees, or animals; and it extricable perplexity; for this could only have was covered with thick darkness resting on the gratified curiosity, and increased our stock of abyss, or the unformed chaos, till dispersed by barren notions. The Scriptures, in perfect har- | the agency of “the Spirit of God;" to which mony with the conclusions of our reason when the subsequent effects are ascribed, by a resoberly exercised, declare that God is “from markable word, taken from the manner in everlasting to everlasting.” (M. R. Note, Ex. | which the fowls brood on and hatch their eggs. 3:14.) All else had a beginning. With this Thus, at the very first opening of the Sacred the inspired historian opens his narration, and, || Volume, we have an intimation of that divine in most sublime abruptness, breaks forth, “In Spirit, whose influence and operations form so the beginning:” as if he had said, This, O man, conspicuous and distinguishing a part of Reve‘is enough for thee to know; here stop thy pre- || lation: for, as the efficient cause of the creation, 'sumptuous inquiry; call back thy intruding | “He moved upon the surface of the waters.”thoughts from things too high for thee, and Let the impartial reader here turn his atten. "learn to adore thy Creator.' -The Scriptures | tion to those texts of the New Testanient, which are especially intended to teach us the knowl-\| expressly ascribe all creation to Jesus Christ, edge of God;" which is done, in the manner the Son and Word of God: and, comparing best suited to inform and affect us, by record- |them with this account of the agency of the ing his works. From the creation of the world, | Spirit in creation, and with those Scriptures we learn “his eternal power and Godhead;" which declare that God created all things; he and discern, in the things which he hath made, I must allow, that, from the beginning of the bis infinite wisdom and goodness: while the Bible, there is a real foundation for the doc. simplicity and harmony, subsisting in the midst | trine of three divine Persons in the unity of of the richest variety, lead the mind in the the Godhead. easiest manner, to conceive of the Creator, as V. 3–5. The sublimity of the language, “the ONE LIVING and TRUE God.”—It is well here used, has been universally admired by known that the original word, commonly trans- men of learning and taste; and indeed the simlated God, is plural, in a language which has plicity of the whole narrative is unspeakably three numbers; and that when thus used it is join more majestic, than those studied ornaments ed to singular verbs. The Hebrew seems to have which are generally employed and admired. been at least a dialect of the original language; | Before the formation of the sun, moon, and and it is evident that the Lord made choice of stars, there was, in some way which we cannot it, for the first written revelation of himself to explain or understand, a regular succession of man: so that this grammatical anomaly, at the light and darkness on the chaotic mass, which very opening of the Scriptures, seems intended thus measured out “the first day.” “God saw to give us some intimation concerning that the light that it was good;" good in itself, and mystery, which is afterwards more fully re-l admirably adapted to the benefit of his creavealed; namely, the Plurality in the Unity of|tures.-How wonderful and inexplicable is the Godhead. It would indeed be improper to light! How indispensably necessary to all the rest a doctrine, which is of such importance in || purposes of human life!
* firmament in the midst of the waters, and and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed let it divide the waters from the waters. I was in itself, after his kind: and God saw
7 And God made the firmament, and that it was good. * divided the waters which were under the 13 And the evening and the morning firmament, from the waters which were were the third day. above the firmament: mand it was so. | 14 | And God said, Let there be
8 And = God called the firmament | lights in the firmament of the heaven, lo Heaven: ° And the evening and the morn-divide #the day from the night: Y and let ing were the second day.
them be for signs, and for seasons, and for 9 | And God said, P Let the waters | days, and years. under the heaven be gathered together 15 And let them be for lights in the unto one place, and let the dry-land ap-| firmament of the heaven, to give light upon pear: and it was so.
|| the earth: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry-land Earth, 16 And God made two great lights; the and the gathering together of the waters greater light to ? rule the day, and the called he Seas: 9 and God saw that it was lesser light to rule the night: he made the good.
1 stars also. 11 And God said, 'Let the earth bring 17 And God a set them in the firmaforth + grass, the herb yielding seed, and ment of the heaven, to give light upon the the fruit-tree yielding & fruit after his kind, earth; whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and 18 And to rule over the day, and over it was so.
the night, and to divide the light from the 12 And the earth brought forth grass, | darkness; and God saw that it was good. and u herb yielding seed after his kind, 19 And the evening and the morning
were the fourth day.
V. 6–8. The word, translated firmament, by brooks and rivers, enrich and beautify the and expension, (Marg.) is used for the whole | adjacent countries, and confer manifold benespace wbich surrounds' the earth, even to the fits upon mankind through the whole of their fixed stars, which are "set in the firmament of course. heaven;" as "the fowls” are said to fly in the V. 10. It is observable that God himselt open firmament of heaven;" and "he called the gave names to those creatures, over which firmament, heaven.”-It must therefore be un- || Adam could not exercise dominion; but left him derstood according to the context: but it is to give names to the rest.-Without doubt, the generally in this place interpreted to mean the original names were expressive of the nature atmosphere, or air, in which the clouds are sus- l of the creatures. pended, and from which they water the earth. 1. v. 11, 12. Hitherto the whole was inert and
V. 9. The waters, being separated from the lifeless: but the vegetable system was next prodry ground, which they had hitherto over- || duced, in all its varied and numerous tribes, for spread, or been mixed with, were divided into the use of man and beast: and each was creatthose wunder the firmament,” which are de- ed with the surprising power of propagating, posited in the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, brooks, and multiplying almost infinitely, its peculiar fountains, and subterraneous receptacles; and species, by seeds, often very minute, and scarcethose "above the firmament," which are sus ly discernible from each other; and yet never pended in the air, form the clouds, and descend failing to produce plants of the same species as in rains and dews.-Instead of attempting all those from which they sprang, each after his further explanation of the terms here used, I kind! "God has secured the seeds of all plants would rather call the reader's attention to the with singular care; some of them being depower, wisdom, and goodness of God, displayed 'fended by a double, nay, a triple inclosure.' in this part of creation. In the vast reservoir | Bp. Patrick. Thus creation is still carried on of the oceans and seas, the waters are treasured from yeat to year; and, in an incomprehensiup, being preserved from putridity by their || ble manner, the earth is filled with the riches saltness and incessant motion. These facilitate and liberality of the Lord! commerce and friendly intercourse betwixt| V. 14–19. By the word of the omnipotent distant nations, supply immense quantities of Creator the light was, as it were, treasured up wholesome provisions, and are in many ways in the heavenly orbs, (as water is in the seas;) serviceable to mankind. From them originally, and with it warmth and fertility have ever since by various modes of conveyance, the whole been conveyed to the different regions of the earth is supplied with water, which is rendered globe; while, by the regular circuits of the ce. fresh and fit for use, and communicated in the || lestial bodies, time is measured out for our congentlest method. With this all living crea- | venience in various respects. By times are tures "quench their thirst;" by this the surface meant the spring, summer, autumn, and winter; of the earth is thus rendered fertile, and all the 'and by consequence, the seasons for plowing, purposes of cleanliness are answered: and the ‘sowing, planting, pruning, reaping, vintage, same waters, continually returning to the sea, ll 'sailing; and by a swift motion round in twenty
20 | And God said, “Let the waters || bring forth the living creature after his bring forth abundantly the * moving crea- | kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast ture that hath + life, and + fowl that may of the earth after his kind: and it was fly above the earth in the open firma- || so. ment of heaven.
25 And God made the beast of the 21 And God created great whales, | earth after his kind: and cattle after their and every living creature that moveth, | kind, and every thing that creepeth upon which the waters brought forth abun- || the earth after his kind: and God saw that dantly after their kind, and every winged || it was good. fowl after his kind: € and God saw that it | 26 | And God said, 'Let us make man was good.
l in our image, after our likeness: and let 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be them have dominion over the fish of the fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the the cattle, and over all the earth, and earth.
over every creeping thing that creepeth 23 And the evening and the morning upon the earth. were the fifth day.
27 So God created man in his own 24 | And God said, 6 Let the earth image; in the image of God created he b 22. 2:19. 8:17. Ps. 104:24,25. | 32:2. Jon. 1:17. 2:10. Matt. 12: him; “male and female created he them. 148:10. Acts 17:26.
| h 2:19,20. Job 12:8—10. 26:13. |19:2,3. Job 5:23. Ps. 8:4—8. Or, creeping. 1 Kings 4:33. d 8:17. 9:7. Ex. 1:7. 8:3. Heb. a living soul. 30 Ec. 3: e 18,25,31.
i 3:22. 11:7. John 6:17. 14:23. 104:20–24. Jer. 27:6. Heb.
k 5:1. 9:6. Ec. 7:29. Acts 17:28, f 28. 8:17. 9:1. 30:27,30. 35:11.
29. 1 Cor. 11:7. 2 Cor. 3:18. 4: m 2:21-25. 5:2. Mal. 2:15. Heb. face of the firmament g 6:20. 7:14. 8:19. Job 38:39,40. | 4. Eph. 4:24. Col. 1:15. 3:10. Matt. 19:4. Mark 10:6. 1 Cor. 39:1,5,9,19. 40:15. Ps. 50:9,10. Jam. 3:9.
11:8,9. c Job 7: 12. 26.5. Ps. 104:26. Ez. 104:18-23. 148:10.
of heaven. 7,14.
four hours, to make a day; and by a longer || the nature of life itself, and its production, 'to make years, and the grateful variety of sea continuance, and propagation, in every distinct 'sons.' Bp. Patrick.-The moon is undoubtedly species, forms a very proper subject for our specan opaque body, much smaller than the primary | ulations; if we would be convinced how incomplanets; and it is with great probability sup- || prehensible the works of God are, and how posed, that the fixed stars are lights themselves, ignorant man is.—The great Creator had no immensely large: yet the moon is here called occasion minutely to enumerate his works, in a great light in distinction from the stars; which order to display his glory; though we may propproves that the sacred writers were not inspired erly descend to the minute investigation of to speak of natural things with philosophical them. There is therefore no particular menexactness; but were left to use popular Jan tion here made of many things, which are to us guage, and to discourse of them according to of the greatest importance. The air, which their appearance. As a light to us, with refer modern experiments have evinced to be of ab. ence to whom the sacred writer speaks, the solute necessity to animal and vegetable life, moon is greater than the stars: and indeed a || and in which surprising traces of divine wisdom modern Astronomer, when not purposely ex- | and goodness are discovered, is not particularly pressing himself scientifically, would use simi- | mentioned; though doubtless it is implied in the lar language. Ignorance or error in these general term expansion. (6. Marg.) 'While the respects is not fatal, and the most exact knowl- | surface of the earth is constantly replenished edge is comparatively of small value: “Unto | with vegetable riches, and inhabited by useful man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that animals; underneath it most valuable treasures is wisdom; and to depart from evil, is under. are stored up, placed thus out of our way, but standing.” Job 28:28.
not out of our reach. “O LORD, how manifold V. 20–25. The earth, reduced to order and are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them beauty, replenished with vegetable treasures, || all: the earth is full of thy riches." and lighted up with unspeakable splendor, had ||
I V. 26, 27. The language, here used, is that yet remained destitute of inhabitants: but in of consultation, and not of deliberation only; and these verses we have a concise account of the it intimates far more than the superior excelformation of the various species of animals, || lency and dignity of the creature about to be which inhabit the waters, the air, and the dry formed. It is not to be conceived, that the land. The similarity between fishes and birds, || infinite God, by speaking in the plural number, in the general manner of producing their young, || should employ a language assumed by many and moving in their respective elements, is princes; which is indeed, as thus used, more supposed to mark the common original of both ostentatious than dignified. But it is still more from the waters. (2:19.) The word rendered | intolerable to suppose, that the eternal God whales may include all the large inhabitants of | addressed any of his own creatures, as fellowseas and rivers.—A very superficial acquaint-|| workers with him in the creation of man. Yet ance with the numerous tribes of animals, of these seem the only expedients for interpreting different sizes, immensely large, or invisibly | this language, which can be adopted, by those minute; their distinct modes of existence, in who allow the divine inspiration of the whole different elements and on different sustenance; Scripture, and still refuse their assent to the the surprising exactness and kind contrivance, | doctrine of the Trinity: whereas, admit this with which the organized body in every species || doctrine to be scriptural, and the expressions is formed; and the various ways in which they are suitable, natural, and need little explana subserve the use and pleasure of man; may sul- tion. The three Persons in the sacred Trinity fice to shew us that we have abundant reason | at first concurred, in counsel and operation, in to admire and adore the great Creator: while ll the creation of man, as afterwards in his re
28 And God blessed them, and Godss and replenish the earth, and subdue it: said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply,ll and have dominion over the fish of the n 22. 9:1,7. 17:16,20. 22:17,19. 24:60. 26:3,4,24. 13:5. 49:26. Lev 26:9. i Chr. 26:6. Ps. 127:3-5. 128:3,4. I Tim. 4:3.
covery from the fall. And let it not be said, the Christian's character, which, being renew that, in avoiding one difficulty, we run our. led in knowledge," "righteousness, and true selves into another and a greater; for it can holiness," exemplifies, the image of God. And never be shewn impossible, that the same infi the expression renewed, implies that it is the nite Being should be Three in one respect, and same image which sin had defaced. (M. R.) One in another. We know, and it is absurd to From these sources of information satisfactory deny it, that the soul and body are distinct sub- conclusions may be deduced. God alone can stances; yet they form one man, who is two in | have perfect, infallible, immutable knowledge: one respect, and one in another: but who can | but Adam was created after the divine image, comprehend the bond of union betwixt his own both in the capacity of receiving, and in the soul and body, or explain how they mutually disposition of heart to entertain, true knowl. operate on each other? And if we are incom- | edge; and he actually possessed, from the gift prehensible to ourselves, how should it be pos- | of God, a right understanding and a compesible for us to comprehend our great Creator? || tent knowledge of his Creator, of himsell, of This indeed seems the limitation of human his own situation, his duty, his interests, bis knowledge: by experiments the natural phi- l obligations to obedience, and the odious nature losopher discovers, that things are so, and have and evil consequences of disobedience.-In such and such properties and powers; but how these and similar concerns, we may be assured, and why they are so and operate as they do, re- l) that he knew and judged according to the mains still an impenetrable secret. The pro- | knowledge and judgment of his Maker; though cess of nature in vegetation, from a grain of not infallibly or immutably.--Resulting from corn being cast in the earth until the gathering this state of his understanding and judgment, of harvest, is no more comprehensible by us he doubtless possessed a disposition to value or than the doctrine of the Trinity; and he who contemn, to approve or disapprove, to love or will believe no more than he can comprehend, detest, every object which presented itself must, to be consistent, question his own exis to his mind, according to its real excellency, tence. The authenticated testimony of God is worthlessness, or hatefulness.-In such a state surely as sufficient to establish the doctrine, as of the heart, that is, of the judgment, will, and to its truth and certainty, in matters of revela- || affections, the divine image evidently must contion; as experiments are to establish the fact in sist: and we may thence certainly infer, that philosophy: and the manner how is no more in these things Adam resembled his Maker. matter of faith in the one case, than of science Knowledge in a creature must be limited; error in the other; nor are the difficulties greater, I may follow, and thence a change of judgment except as infinity exceeds the grasp of our and heart may be induced; that is, a holy creafinite capacities.
ture may fall, and become unholy: but imperThe great Creator said, “Let us make man, infection in the original disposition of the heart, our image, after our likeness." The expression is supposes the creature to be formed unholy, and doubled and varied, that it may the more engage is inconsistent with its being created after the our attention, and ensure our belief. This im- l image of God.-We determine then, that the age and likeness of God cannot be in the body; image of God, in which Adam was created, for God is a Spirit, which no bodily shape can inconsisted in an understanding prepared to imany respect resemble. We must therefore look bibe true knowledge, a judgment free from for it in the rational soul. Even in the present corrupt bias, a will disposed to obedience, and state of human nature, the soul of man bears l affections regulated according to reason and some faint resemblance to its Maker: the un- truth: nor can we conceive that it could conderstanding, memory, and imagination, in their sist in any thing else. From such a state of several operations, exhibit a faint shadow of mind, godliness, in all its internal exercises and the divine wisdom and knowledge; the will, as | external expressions, righteousness, truth, beexciting and directing our activity in all re- || nevolence, purity, and an exact regulation and spects, bears a similitude to the almighty effects | government of every appetite and passion, must of the divine volitions, and shews that mind necessarily result, and every duty to God and can act on matter in some inexplicable manner; || man be constantly and delightfully performed. nay, conscience, in the exercise of her dicta- | The same disposition would ensure belief of torial and judicial functions, gives a feeble re-every truth which God should afterwards reflection of the justice and holiness of the Judge veal, obedience to every precept which he of all: whilst the derived and dependent im- should enjoin, a cordial acceptance of every mortality of the human soul reminds us of Him | proposal which he should make, and admiration who is self-existent and eternal. But fallen of every discovery of the divine glory at any angels, who possess these powers in a higher time vouchsafed: and could it have been possidegree, are never said to bear the image of ble for man to sin, without losing the divine God; and few places in Scripture can be fairly | image, it would have disposed him to repent; interpreted of fallen man's being like his Ma- and, with faith, love, and joy, to receive the ker, till renewed by divine grace. There must Mediator in whom believers trust; and to ex. then be a nobler sense, in which Adam was ercise all those graces, and practise all those formed in the image and likeness of God.-No | duties, which spring from the character of a adequate conception indeed can be formed of redeemed sinner.-Man, thus created in the man's primæval state and powers, from the || divine image, was constituted ruler over the brief account given of him in Scripture. Butll other creatures. This dominion has been frewe may also avail ourselves of the revelation quently termed a part of the divine image: but given us, concerning the moral attributes of it seems more natural, to consider the capaci God; we may contemplate the character ofty for exercising dominion as the result of that Jesus Christ, who in human nature displayed image; and that the actual grant of dominion the divine image in full perfection; we may || was made to man, in consequence of that ca examine the moral law which describes, and I pacity, and as shadowing forth the sovereignty