« PreviousContinue »
now, and if the serpent on account of its subtilty is a proper figure to express it, at what date shall we fix the commencement of its deceit, and the use of this figure, if my view of this subject is controverted ?
4th. The view given of Eve's deception by the serpent, or her own lust, accords with every man's own experience. We all, like her, have appetites and desires, nor is it sinful to have them, or even to gratify them in the way, or to the extent God allows us. But I ask, where is the man to be found, who has not felt the conceivings of lust within him after some forbidden object? And can any man deny the subtile, deceitful influence, which lust or desire has had over his reason and understanding ? Yea, I appeal to every man, if something of a similar dialogue has not taken place with him and his own lust, as I have said took place between Eve and hers. Our consciences, if well informed, will reason and remonstrate against our desires, and in favor of obedience to the commandment. And can the man be found, who will affirm, that his lusts have never flattered him into disobedience? In the very best of men, the flesh has lusted against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and made them exclaim“wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death."
5th. The view I have given of Eve's deception, accords with what is stated in the subsequent part of the chapter. We shall merely glance at this. The first thing stated is—“ the eyes of them both were opened," as the serpent or lust had suggested to Eve, verse 5. They came to know evil as well as good by disobedience, but it did not add to their happiness and comfort as was expected. Does not every man find this, who yields to the flattery of his lusts, and transgresses the commandments of God? But what deserves our notice is, the account to which the offend.
ers are called. Adam is first called up, and asked 6 What is this that thou hast done?” He answers "the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat."
The woman is next interrogated—“what is this that thou hast done ?” She answers" the serpent beguiled me and I did eat.” What serpent beguiled her? I have said her own lust taking occasion by the commandment beguiled her. Let us see how this view accords with the sentence pronounced on the serpent ? God does not say to Eve's lust or the serpent 66 what is this that thou hast done?” But 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 tly life.” The sentence is in accordance with the figurative use of the term serpent. It would have destroyed the congruity of the account to have done otherwise. Well, let us see how this sentence agrees to men's bodily appetites and desires, as figuratively expressed by the term serpent. We have said that man was created with bodily appetites, passions and desires. These were given him to be in subjection to God's will, and not gratified beyond the limits which he had prescribed. Eve listening to them beyond this limit transgressed. In her and all who have followed her example, when gratified beyond this they become degraded and groveling even below every beast of the field. The real bodily wants of man are few, and their supply easily obtained. But to his artificial, sinful desires, no boundaries can hardly be prescribed. These often are so low, and filthy, that no beast of the field is ever found given to similar indulgencies. Men's lusts and passions66 are cursed above all cattle and above every beast of the field.” Like the natural serpent, dust or earthly gratifications are their enjoyment, until the person
is created anew in Christ Jesus, and is led to place his affection on things which are above. What shall I eat, and what shall I drink, are the questions in which our bodily desires centre, and to have goods laid up for many years, to eat, drink and be merry, are their happiness. But the account proceeds " And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head and thou shall bruise his heel.” The seed of the woman here is generally understood to refer to Christ. Well, what is the seed of the serpent ? I answer sin, for “ when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin." This agrees precisely to what Christ was manifested to do. "He was manifested to take away our sins." This will be fully shown in Section 6.
The Jews, who were of their father the devil, bruised Christ, in crucifying him, but he by his death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil. The enmity between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent, is beautifully illustrated by such texts as the following. “They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. Walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." &c. To bruise a serpent's head is to kill it. And Christ before he delivers up the kingdom is to accomplish the entire destruction of this devil and all his works. See 1 Cor. xv. 24, &c. Feb. ii. 14, 15. with many other texts.
I shall only add, that to represent Eve as holding a dialogue with her own lust or desire can create no difficulty to persons familiar with their Bible. The beasts of the field, and trees of the wood, are in the figurative language of Scripture represented as holding conversation together. Nor is the Bible wanting
in examples of persons holding dialogues with themselves. But I must suppress many additional remarks, which I intended to make on the three first chapters of Genesis, as the remarks already made, exceed the limits assigned to this part of the subject.
ALL THE TEXTS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, WHERE THE ORI
GINAL WORD SHAITAN, OR SATAN OCCURS, CONSIDERED.
The passages where the term satan occurs in the Old Testament, are now to be brought forward, and we urge it on the reader to observe, if satan is a fallen angel, and the serpent which deceived Eve, as is very generally asserted. We shall take up the passages, in the order they occur in the common version. Tay. lor, Parkhurst, and other writers all declare, that the word satan signifies, “ an adversary." In this sense it was understood by our translators, for this is their usual rendering of it, as we shall see immediately. It occurs then first as a noun feminine.
Gen. xxvi. 21. “And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it sitnah." If the term satan be the name of a fallen angel, it is strange, that the sacred writers should first apply it to a well. Had the existence of such a being been previously announced, it might be supposed that he was the cause of the strife about this well, and on account of which it received this name. But nothing like this is to be found. The well is called sitnah, or
satan in the text, and we have hatred in the margin as its explanation. Hatred, is the act of an adversary, and the context sufficiently shows why it received this name.
The satan here then, is hatred, or men's evil passions, a sense which we shall see it has also in other passages.
Numb. xxii. 22, 32. “ And God's anger was kindled, because he (Baalam) went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him.And the angel of the Lord said unto him, wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times ? Behold I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.” The word satan in the original of these two verses occurs twice, and is here rendered by the words adversary, and, to withstand thee. In the margin of the last verse we have,“ to be an adversary unto thee." It is obvious, that the adversary who withstood Baalam, instead of being á fallen angel, was the angel of Jehovah. It is then a remarkable fact, that the first time the term satan is applied to any being in the Bible, it is to a good being. But this is concealed from the reader by rendering the word satan, adversary. It may be observed here, and the remark applies to other texts, that had the original word been always retained in the text, or had it been uniformly rendered adversary, we would have been less liable to mistaken views on this subject. Had the first been done, we must have recurred to the context and scope of the writer to ascertain what he meant by satan, and if a being, what being was referred to. It would have been easily perceived, that some human adversary was referred to, or the angel of Jehovah as in the passage before us.
But the word satan being sometimes retained in the text and sometimes rendered adversary the common Scripture usage of this word is not perceived. Besides, people from education and habit, have attached the idea