« السابقةمتابعة »
event is a commentary on this: For that very day he did eat thereof, he was a dead man in law; but the execution was stopped, because of his posterity then in his loins; and another covenant was prepared: However, that day his body got its death's-wound, and became mortal. Death also seized his soul: He lost his original righteousness and the favour of God; witness the gripes and throes of conscience, which made him hide himself from God. And he became liable to eternal death, which would have actually followed of course, if a Mediator had not been provided, who found him bound with the cords of death, as a malefactor ready to be led to execution. Thus you have a short description of the covenant, into which the Lord brought man, in the state of innocence.
And seemeth it a small thing unto you, that earth was thus confederate with heaven? This could have been done to none but him, whom the King of heaven delighted to honour. It was an act of grace worthy of the gracious God whose favourite he was; for there was grace and free favour in the first covenant, though the exceeding riches of grace (as the apostle calls it, Eph. ii. 7.) was reserved for the second. It was certainly an act of grace, favour, and admirable condescension in God, to enter into a covenant; and such a covenant with his own creature. Man was not at his own, but at God's disposal. Nor had he any thing to work with, but what he had received from God. There was no proportion betwixt the work and the promised reward. Before that covenant, man was bound to perfect obedience, in virtue of his natural dependence on God; and death was naturally the wages of sin; which the justice of God could and would have required, though there had never been any covenant betwixt God and man: But God was free; man could never have required eternal life as the reward of his work, if there had not been such a covenant. God was free to have disposed of his creatures as he saw meet; and if he had stood in his integrity as long as the world should stand, and there had been no covenant promising eternal life to him upon his obedience; God might have withdrawn his supporting hand at last, and so made him creep back into the womb of nothing, whence almighty power had drawn him out. And what wrong could there have been in this, while God should have ta
ken back what he freely gave? But now the covenant being made, God becomes debtor to his own faithfulness: If man will work, he may crave the reward on the ground of the covenant. Well might the angels then, upon his being raised to his dignity, have given him that salutation, "Hail thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee."
Thirdly, God made him lord of the world, prince of the inferior creatures, universal lord and emperor of the whole earth. His Creator gave him dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, over all the earth, yea, and every living thing that liveth upon the earth: He "put all things under his feet," Psal. viii. 6, 7, 8. He gave him a power soberly to use and dispose of the creatures in the earth, sea, and air. Thus man was God's depute-governor in the lower world; and this his dominion was an image of God's sovereignty. This was common to the man and the woman; but the man had one thing peculiar to him, viz. that he had dominion over the woman also, 1 Cor. xi. 7. Behold how the creatures came to him, to own their subjection, and to do him homage as their lord; and quietly stood before him, till he put names on them as his own, Gen. ii. 19. Man's face struck an awe upon them; the stoutest creatures stood astonished, tamely and quietly adoring him as their lord and ruler. Thus was man "crowned with glory and honour," Psal. viii. 5. The Lord dealt most liberally and bountifully with him, put all things under his feet: only he kept one thing, one tree in the garden, out of his hands, even the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
But, you may say, And did he grudge him this? I answer, Nay; but when he had made him thus holy and happy, he graciously gave him this restriction, which was in its own nature a prop and stay to keep him from falling. And this I say, upon these three grounds: (1.) As it was most proper for the honour of God, who had made man lord of the lower world, to assert his sovereign dominion over all, by some particular visible sign; so it was most proper for man's safety. Man being set down in a beautiful Paradise, it was an act of infinite wisdom, and of grace too, to keep from him one single tree, as a visible testimony that he must hold all of his Creator, as his great
Landlord; that so while he saw himself lord of the creatures, he might not forget that he was still God's subject. (2.) This was a memorial of his mutable state given in to him from heaven, to be laid up by him, for his great caution. For man was created with a free will to good, which the tree of life was an evidence of: But his will was also free to evil, and the forbidden tree was to him a memorial thereof. It was in a manner a continual watch-word to him against evil; a beacon set up before him, to bid him beware of dashing himself to pieces, on the rock of sin. (3.) God made man upright, directed towards God, as the chief end. He set him, like Moses, on the top of the hill, holding up his hands to heaven; and as Aaron and Hur stayed up Moses' hand, (Exod. xvii. 10, 11, 12.) so God gave man an erect figure of body, and forbid him the eating of this tree, to keep him in that posture of uprightness wherein he was created. God made the beasts looking down towards the earth, to shew that their satisfaction might be brought from thence; and accordingly, it does afford them what is commensurable to their appetite : But the erect figure of man's body, which looketh upward, shewed him, that his happiness lay above him, in God; and that he was to expect it from heaven, and not from earth. Now this fair tree, of which he was forbidden to eat, taught him the same lesson; that his happiness lay not in enjoyment of the creatures, for there was a want even in Paradise: So that the forbidden tree was, in effect, the hand of all the creatures, pointing man away from themselves to God for happiness. It was a sign of emptiness hung before the door of the creation, with that inscription, This is not your rest.
Fourthly, As he had a perfect tranquillity within his own breast, so he had a perfect calm without. His heart had nothing to reproach him with; conscience then had nothing to do, but to direct, approve, and feast him: And without, there was nothing to annoy him. The happy pair lived in perfect amity; and though their knowledge was vast, true, and clear, they knew no shame. Though they were naked, there were no blushes in their faces; for sin, the seed of shame, was not yet sown, (Gen. ii. 25.) and their beautiful bodies were not capable of injuries from the air; so they had no need of clothes, which are origi
nally the badges of our shame. They were liable to no diseases, nor pains: And though they were not to live idle, yet toil, weariness, and sweat of the brows, were not known in this state.
Fifthly, Man had a life of pure delight, and undreggy pleasure inthis state. Rivers of pure pleasures run through it. The earth, with the product thereof, was now in its glory; nothing had yet come in, to mar the beauty of the creatures. God set him down, not in a common place of the earth, but in Eden: a place eminent for pleasantness, as the name of it imports: Nay, not only in Eden, but in the garden of Eden: the most pleasant spot of that pleasant place; a garden planted by God himself, to be the mansion house of this his favourite. As, when God made the other living creatures, he said, "Let the water bring forth the moving creature," Gen. i. 20. And, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature," ver. 24. But, when man was to be made, he said, "Let us make man,' ver. 26. So, when the rest of the earth was to be furnished with herbs and trees, God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass and the fruit tree," &c. Gen. i. 11. But of Paradise it is said, God planted it, chap. ii. 8. which cannot but denote a singular excellency in that garden, beyond all other parts of the then beautiful earth. There he wanted neither for necessity nor delight: For there was 66 every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food," ver. 9. He knew not these delights which luxury has invented for the gratifying of lusts: But his delights were such as came out of the hand of God: without passing through sinful hands, which readily leave marks of impurity on what they touch, So his delights were pure, his pleasures refined. And yet may I shew you a more excellent way, Wisdom had entered into his heart: Surely then knowledge was pleasant unto his soul! What delight do some find in their discoveries of the works of nature, by the scraps of knowledge they have gathered! But how much more exquisite pleasure had Adam, while his piercing eyes read the book of God's works; which God laid before him, to the end he might glorify him in the same ! And therefore he had surely fitted him for the work. But above all, his knowledge of God, and that as his God! And the communion he had with him, could not but afford
him the most refined and exquisite pleasure in the innermost recesses of his heart. Great is that delight which the saints find in these views of the glory of God, that their souls are sometimes let into, while they are compassed about with many infirmities! But much more may well be allowed to sinless Adam! No doubt he relished these pleasures at another rate.
Lastly, He was immortal. He would never have died, if he had not sinned; it was in case of sin that death was threatened, Gen. ii. 17. Which shews it to be the consequent of sin, and not of the sinless human nature. The perfect constitution of his body, which came out of God's hand very good; and the righteousness and holiness of his soul, removed all inward causes of death; nothing being prepared for the grave's devouring mouth, but the vile body, Philip. iii. 21. and those who have sinned, Job xxiv. 19. And God's special care of his innocent creature secured him against outward violence. The apostle's testimony is express, Rom. v. 12. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." Behold the door by which death came in! Satan wrought with his lies till he got it opened, and so death entered; and therefore is he said to have been "a murderer from the beginning," John viii. 44.
Thus have I shewn you the holiness and happiness of man in this state. If any say, What's all this to us, who never tasted of that holy and happy state? They must know it nearly concerns us, in so far as Adam was the root of all mankind, our common head and representative; who received from God our inheritance and stock to keep it for himself and his children, and convey it to them. The Lord put all mankind's stock (as it were) in one ship: And, as we ourselves should have done, he made our common father the pilot. He put a blessing in the root, to have been, if rightly managed, diffused into all the branches. According to our text, making Adam upright, he made man upright; and all mankind had that uprightness in him; for, if the root be holy, so are the branches. But more of this afterwards. Had Adam stood, none would have quarrelled the representation.
USE I. For information. This shews us, (1.) That not God, but man himself, was the cause of his ruin. God