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fame day in which he was made, have no fufficient ground for their opinion. The many things which are crouded together in the former chapter, fuch as the formation of Adam's wife, his giving names to the beafts, and his being put into the garden which GOD had planted, I think require a longer fpace of time than a day to be tranfacted in. However, all agree in this, "man ftood not long." How long, or how fhort a while, I will not take upon me to determine. It more concerns us to enquire, how he came to fall from his fted fastnefs, and what was the rife and progrefs of the temptation which prevailed over him. The account given us in this chapter concerning it, is very full; and it may do us much fervice, under GOD, to make fome remarks upon it. "Now the serpent (fays the facred hiftorian) was more fubtile than any beaft of the field which the LORD GOD had made; and he faid unto the woman, Yea, hath God faid, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
Though this was a real ferpent, yet he that spoke was no other than the devil; from hence, perhaps, called the old ferpent, because he took poffeffion of the ferpent when he came to beguile our first parents. The devil envied the happiness of man, who was made, as some think, to fupply the place of the fallen angels. GOD made man upright, and with full power to ftand if he would: He was juft, therefore, in fuffering him to be tempted. If he fell, he had no one to blame except himself. But how must fatan effect his fall? He cannot do it by his power, he attempts it therefore by policy he takes poffeffion of a ferpent, which was more fubtile than all the beafts of the field, which the LORD GOD had made; fo that men who are full of fubtilty, but have no piety, are only machines for the devil to work upon, just as he pleases.
"And he faid unto the woman." Here is an inftance of his fubtilty. He fays unto the woman, the weaker veffel, and when she was alone from her husband, and therefore was more liable to be overcome; "Yea, hath GOD faid, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Thefe words are certainly spoken in anfwer to fomething which the devil either faw or heard. In all probability, the woman was now near the tree of knowledge of good and evil; (for we fhall find her,
her, by and by, plucking an apple from it) perhaps fhe might be looking at, and wondering what there was in that tree more than the others, that he and her husband should be forbidden to tafte of it. Satan feeing this, and coveting to draw her into a parley with him, (for if the devil can perfuade us not to refift, but to commune with him, he hath gained a great point) he says, “ Yea, hath GOD said, ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?" The first thing he does is to persuade her, if poffible, to entertain hard thoughts of GOD; this is his general way of dealing with God's children: "Yea, hath GOD faid, ye fhall not eat of every tree of the "garden? What! hath GOD planted a garden, and placed in the midst of it, only to teaze and perplex you? hath "he planted a garden, and yet forbid you making use of any "of the fruits of it at all?" It was impoffible for him to ask a more infnaring question, in order to gain his end: For Eve was here feemingly obliged to answer, and vindicate God's goodness. And therefore,
Verse 2, 3. The woman faid unto the serpent," We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midft of the garden, GOD hath faid, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, left ye die."
The former part of the answer was good, "We may eat ❝of the fruit of the trees of the garden, GOD has not forbid "us eating of every tree of the garden. No; we may eat "of the fruit of the trees in the garden (and, it should seem, “even of the tree of life, which was as a facrament to man "in a state of innocence) there is only one tree in the midst "of the garden, of which God hath said, ye shall not eat of "it, neither shall ye touch it, left ye die." Here she begins to warp, and fin begins to conceive in her heart. Already fhe has contracted fome of the ferpent's poifon, by talking with him, which fhe ought not to have done at all. For fhe might easily suppose, that it could be no good being, that could put fuch a question unto her, and infinuate such dishonourable thoughts of GOD. She should therefore have fled from him, and not stood to have parleyed with him at all. Immediately the ill effects of it appear, fhe begins to soften the divine threatning. GOD had faid, "the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt furely die;" or, dying thou shalt die. But
Eve fays, "Ye fhall not eat of it, neither fhall ye touch it, left ye die." We may be affured we are fallen into, and begin to fall by temptation, when we begin to think God will not be as good as his word, in respect to the execution of his threatnings denounced against fin. Satan knew this, and therefore artfully
"Said unto the woman, (ver. 4.) Ye shall not surely die," in an infinuating manner, " Ye shall not furely die. Surely, "GOD will not be fo cruel as to damn you only for eating “an apple, it cannot be." Alas! how many does Satan lead captive at his will, by flattering them, that they shall not furely die; that hell- torments will not be eternal; that God is all mercy; that he therefore will not punish a few years fin with an eternity of mifery? But Eve found GOD as good as his word; and fo will all they who go on in fin, under a falfe hope that they fhall not furely die..
We may also understand the words fpoken pofitively, and this is agreeable to what follows; You fhall not furely die; "It is all a delufion, a mere bugbear, to keep you in a fervile "fubjection."
For (ver. 5.) "GOD doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then shall your eyes be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
What child of God can expect to escape flander, when GOD himself was thus flandered even in paradife? Surely the understanding of Eve must have been, in fome measure, blinded, or fhe would not have fuffered the tempter to speak fuch perverse things. In what odious colours is GOD here represented!"God doth know, that in the day ye eat there"of, ye shall be as gods," (equal with GOD.) So that the grand temptation was, that they should be hereafter under no controul, equal, if not fuperior, to GOD that made them, knowing good and evil. Eve could not tell what Satan meant by this; but, to be fure, the understood it of fome great privilege which they were to enjoy. And thus Satan now points out a way which feems right to finners, but does not tell them the end of that way is death.
To give strength and force to this temptation, in all probability, Satan, or the ferpent, at this time plucked an apple from the tree, and ate it before Eve; by which Eve might
be induced to think, that the fagacity and power of speech, which the ferpen: had above the other beafts, must be owing, in a great measure, to his eating that fruit; and, therefore, if he received fo much improvement, the might also expect a like benefit from it. All this, I think, is clear; for, otherwife, I do not fee with what propriety it could be faid, "When the woman faw that it was good for food." How could she know it was good for food, unless she had seen the ferpent feed upon it?
Satan now begins to get ground apace. Luft had conceived in Eve's heart; shortly it will bring forth fin. Sin being conceived, brings forth death. Verfe 6. " And when the woman faw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleafant to the eyes, and a tree to be defired to make one wife, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband, and he did eat."
Our fenfes are the landing ports of our fpiritual enemies. How needful is that refolution of holy Job, "I have made a covenant with mine eyes!" When Eve began to gaze on the forbidden fruit with her eyes, fhe foon began to long after it with her heart. When the faw that it was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, (here was the luft of the flesh, and luft of the eye) but, above all, a tree to be defired to make one wife, wifer than GOD would have her be, nay, as wife as GOD himself; fhe took of the fruit thereof, and gave alfo unto her husband with her, and he did eat. As foon as ever the finned herself, fhe turned tempter to her hufband. It is dreadful, when thofe, who fhould be help-meets for each other in the great work of their falvation, are only promoters of each other's damnation: but thus it is. If we ourselves are good, we fhall excite others to goodness; if we do evil, we fhall entice others to do evil alfo. There is a clofe connection between doing and teaching. How needful then is it for us all to take heed that we do not fin any way ourselves, left we should become factors for the devil, and infnare, perhaps, our nearest and dearest relatives?" he gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat."
Alas! what a complication of crimes was there in this one fingle act of fin! Here is an utter difbelief of God's threatning; the utmoft ingratitude to their Maker, who had fo
lately planted this garden, and placed them in it, with fuch a glorious and comprehenfive charter. And, the utmost neglect of their posterity, who they knew were to ftand or fall with them. Here was the utmost pride of heart: they wanted to be equal with GOD. Here's the utmost contempt put upon his threatning and his law: the devil is credited and obeyed before him, and all this only to fatisfy their fenfual appetite. Never was a crime of fuch a complicated nature committed by any here below: Nothing but the devil's apoftafy and rebellion could equal it.
And what are the confequences of their difobedience? Are their eyes opened? Yes, their eyes are opened; but, alas! it is only to fee their own nakedness. For we are told (ver. 7.) "That the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked." Naked of GOD, naked of every thing that was holy and good, and deftitute of the divine image, which they before enjoyed. They might rightly now be termed Ichabod; for the glory of the LORD departed from them. O how low did thefe fons of the morning then fall! out of GOD, into themselves; from being partakers of the divine nature, into the nature of the devil and the beast. Well, therefore, might they know that they were naked, not only in body, but in foul.
And how do they behave now they are naked? Do they flee to God for pardon? Do they feek to GOD for a robe to cover their nakednefs? No, they were now dead to GOD, and became earthly, fenfual, devilifh: therefore, instead of applying to GOD for mercy," they fewed or platted figleaves together, and made themselves aprons," or things to gird about them. This is a lively representation of all natural men: we fee that we are naked: we, in fome measure, confess it; but, inftead of looking up to GOD for fuccour, we patch up a righteoufnefs of our own (as our first-parents platted fig-leaves together) hoping to cover our nakedness by that. But our righteoufnefs will not ftand the severity of GOD's judgment: it will do us no more fervice than the figleaves did Adam and Eve, that is, none at all.
For (ver. 8.) "They heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the trees of the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife (notwithstanding their fig-leaves)