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hid themselves from the prefence of the LORD GOD, among the trees of the garden."
They heard the voice of the LORD GOD, or the Word of the LORD GOD, even the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who is "the word that was with GOD, and the word that was GOD." They heard him walking in the trees of the garden, in the cool of the day. A feason, perhaps, when Adam and Eve ufed to go, in an especial manner, and offer up an evening-facrifice of praise and thanksgiving. The cool of the day. Perhaps the fin was committed early in the morning, or at noon; but God would not come upon them immediately, he flaid till the cool of the day. And if we would effectually reprove others, we fhould not do it when they are warmed with paffion, but wait till the cool of the day.
But what an alteration is here! Inftead of rejoicing at the voice of their beloved, inftead of meeting him with open arms and inlarged hearts, as before, they now hide themselves in the trees of the garden. Alas, what a foolish attempt was this? Surely they must be naked, otherwife how could they. think of hiding themselves from GOD? Whither could they flee from his prefence? But, by their fall, they had contracted an enmity against GoD: they now hated, and were afraid to converfe with GOD their Maker. And is not this our cafe by nature? Affuredly it is. We labour to cover our nakednefs with the fig-leaves of our own righteousness: We hide ourfelves from GoD as long as we can, and will not come, and never fhould come, did not the Father prevent, draw, and fweetly constrain us by his grace, as he here prevented Adam.
Verfe 9. "And the LORD GOD called unto Adam, and faid unto him, Adam, where art thou ?"
"The LORD GOD called unto Adam," (for otherwise Adam would never have called unto the LORD GOD) and faid, "Adam, where art thou? How is it that thou comest "not to pay thy devotions as ufual?" Chriftians, remember the LORD keeps an account when you fail coming to worship. Whenever therefore you are tempted to withhold your attendance, let each of you fancy you heard the LORD GOD calling unto you, and faying, "O man, O woman, where art thou? It may be understood in another and better fenfe;
"Adam, where art thou?" What a condition is thy poor foul in? This is the first thing the LORD afks and convinces a finner of; when he prevents and calls him effectually by his grace; he also calls him by name; for unless God fpeaks to us in particular, and we know where we are, how poor, how miferable, how blind, how naked, we fhall never value the redemption wrought out for us by the death and obedience of the dear LORD JESUS. "Adam, where art thou?"
Verse 10. "And he faid, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid." See what cowards fin makes us. If we knew no fin, we fhould know no fear. "Because I was naked, and I hid myself." Ver. II. "And he faid, who told thee that thou waft naked? Haft thou eaten of the tree, whereof I (thy Maker and Law-giver) commanded thee, that thou fhouldft not eat?"
GOD knew very well that Adam was naked, and that he had eaten of the forbidden fruit. But GOD would know it from Adam's own mouth. Thus God knows all our necef
fities before we ask, but yet infifts upon our asking for his grace, and confeffing our fins. For, by fuch acts, we acknowledge our dependence upon GOD, take shame to ourselves, and thereby give glory to his great name.
Verse 12. "And the man faid, the woman which thou gaveft to be with me, fhe gave me of the tree, and I did
Never was nature more lively delineated. See what pride Adam contracted by the fall! How unwilling he is to lay the blame upon, or take fhame to himself. This answer is full of infolence towards Gop, enmity against his wife, and difingenuity in respect to himself. For herein he tacitly reflects upon GOD. "The woman that thou gavest to be with me." As much as to fay, if thou hadst not given me that woman, I had not eaten the forbidden fruit. Thus, when men fin, they lay the fault upon their paffions; then blame and reflect upon GOD for giving them thofe paffions. Their language is, "the appetites that thou gavest us, they deceived us; and "therefore we finned against thee." But, as GOD, notwithftanding, punished Adam for hearkning to the voice of his wife, fo he will punish thofe who hearken to the dictates of their corrupt inclinations: For GoD compels no man to fin.
Adam might have withstood the folicitations of his wife, if he would. And fo, if we look up to GOD, we fhould find grace to help in the time of need. The devil and our own hearts tempt, but they cannot force us to confent, without the concurrence of our own wills. So that our damnation is of ourfelves, as it will evidently appear at the great day, notwith ftanding all mens prefent impudent replies against GOD. As Adam fpeaks infolently in respect to GOD, so he speaks with enmity against his wife; the woman, or this woman, she gave me. He lays all the fault upon her, and speaks of her with much contempt. He does not fay, my wife, my dear wife; but, this woman. Sin difunites the most united hearts:
it is the bane of holy fellowship. Those who have been companions in fin here, if they die without repentance, will both hate and condemn one another hereafter. All damned fouls are accufers of their brethren. Thus it is, in fome degree, on this fide the grave. "The woman whom thou gaveft to be with me, fhe gave me of the tree, and I did eat." What a difingenuous fpeech was here! He makes use of no lefs than fifteen words to excufe himself, and but one or two (in the original) to confefs his fault, if it may be called a confeffion at all. "The woman which thou gavest to be with me, he gave me of the tree;" here are fifteen words; "and I did eat." With what reluctance do these last words come out? How foon are they uttered? "And I did eat.” But thus it is with an unhumbled, unregenerate heart: It will be laying the fault upon the dearest friend in the world, nay, upon GOD himself, rather than take fhame to itself. This pride we are all fubject to by the fall; and, till our hearts are broken, and made contrite by the spirit of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, we fhall be always charging GoD foolishly. "Against thee, and thee only, have I finned, that thou mightest be juftified in thy faying, and clear when thou art judged," is the language of none but thofe, who, like David, are willing to confefs their faults, and are truly forry for their fins. This was not the cafe of Adam: his heart was not broken; and therefore he lays the fault of his difobedience upon his wife and GOD, and not upon himfelf; "The woman which thou gavest to be with me, he gave me of the tree, and I did eat.".
Verfe 13. "And the LORD GOD faid, What is this that thou haft done?" What a wonderful concern does GOD exprefs in this expoftulation!" What a deluge of misery hast "thou brought upon thyfelf, thy husband, and thy pofterity? "What is this that thou haft done? Difobeyed thy God, obeyed the devil, and ruined thy husband, for whom I "made thee to be an help-meet! What is this that thou haft "done?" GOD would here awaken her to a fenfe of her crime and danger, and therefore, as it were, thunders in her ears for the law must be preached to felf-righteous finners. We must take care of healing before we see finners wounded, left we should fay, Peace, peace, where there is no peace. Secure finners must hear the thunderings of mount Sinai, before we bring them to mount Sion. They who never preach up the law, it is to be feared, are unskilful in delivering the glad tidings of the gospel. Every minifter fhould be a Boanerges, a fon of thunder, as well as a Barnabas, a fon of confolation. There was an earthquake and a whirlwind, before the small still voice came to Elijah: We must first shew people they are condemned, and then fhew them how they must be faved. But how and when to preach the law, and when to apply the promises of the gofpel, wifdom is profitable to direct. "And the LORD GOD faid unto the woman, What is this that thou haft done?"
"And the woman faid, The ferpent beguiled me, and I did eat." She does not make use of fo many words to excufe herself, as her husband; but her heart is as unhumbled as his. What is this, fays GOD, that thou haft done? GOD here charges her with doing it. She dares not deny the fact, or fay, I have not done it; but he takes all the blame off herself, and lays it upon the serpent; "The ferpent beguiled me, and I did eat." She does not say, "LORD, I was to "blame for talking with the ferpent; LORD, I did wrong, "in not haftening to my husband, when he put the first ques"tion to me; LORD, I plead guilty, I only am to blame, O "let not my poor husband fufter for my wickedness!" This would have been the language of her heart, had the now been a true penitent. But both were now alike proud; therefore neither will lay the blame upon themfelves: "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. The woman which thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
I have been the more particular in remarking this part of their behaviour, because it tends fo much to the magnifying of Free-grace, and plainly fhews us, that falvation cometh only from the LORD. Let us take a short view of the miferable circumstances our first parents were now in: They were legally and fpiritually dead, children of wrath, and heirs of hell. They had eaten the fruit, of which God had commanded them, that they should not eat; and when arraigned before GOD, notwithstanding their crime was so complicated, they could not be brought to confess it. What reason can be given, why fentence of death fhould not be pronounced against the prifoners at the bar? All muft own they are worthy to die. Nay, how can GOD, confiftently with his juftice, poffibly forgive them? He had threatened, that the day wherein they eat of the forbidden fruit, they fhould "furely die;" and, if he did not execute this threatening, the devil might then flander the Almighty indeed. And yet mercy cries, spare thefe finners, fpare the work of thine own hands. Behold, then, wifdom contrives a fcheme how GOD may be juft, and yet be merciful; be faithful to his threatening, punish the offence, and at the fame time fpare the offender. An amazing scene of divine love here opens to our view, which had been from all eternity hid in the heart of GOD! Notwithstanding Adam and Eve were thus unhumbled, and did not fo much as pu. up one fingle petition for pardon, GOD immediately paffes fentence upon the ferpent, and reveals to them a Saviour.
Verse 14. "And the LORD GOD faid unto the ferpent, because thou haft done this, thou art accurfed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly fhalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;" i. e. he should be in fubjection, and his power should always be limited and reftrained. "His enemies fhall lick the very duft," fays the Pfalmift. (Ver. 15.) (Ver. 15.) "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy feed and her feed: it shall bruife thy head, and thou fhalt bruife his heel."
Before I proceed to the explanation of this verfe, I cannot but take notice of one great mistake which the author of the Whole Duty of Man is guilty of, in making this verse contain a covenant between Gob and Adam, as though God now perfonally treated with Adam, as before the fall. For, talking