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So in promises made to Abraham, God directed his speech to him, and spake in the second person singular, from time to time, but meant chiefly his posterity : To thee will I give this land. In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed, &c. &c. And in what is said of Ishmael, as of his person, but meant chiefly of his posterity, Gen. xvi. 12. and xvii. 20. Thus in what Isaac said to Esau and Jacob in his blessing he spake to them in the second person singular ; but meant chiefly their posterity. And so for the most part in the promises made to Isaac and Jacob; and in Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, and his twelve sons.
But I shall take notice of one or two things further, shew. ing that Adam's posterity were included in God's establishment with him, and the threatening denounced for his sin ; and that the calamities which come upon them in consequence of his sin, are brought on them as punishments.
This is evident from the curse on the ground ; which if it be any curse at all, comes equally on Adam's posterity with himself. And it it be a curse, then against whomsoever it is designed, and on whomsoever it terminates, it comes as a punishment, and not as a blessing, so far as it comes in consequence of that sentence.
Dr. T. (p. 19.) says, “ A curse is pronounced upon the ground, but no curse upon the woman and the man." 45, 46. S.) he insists, that the ground only was cursed, and not the man : as though a curse could terminate on lifeless senseless earth! To understand this curse otherwise than as terminating upon man through the ground, would be as senseless as to suppose the meaning to be, The ground shall be punished and shall be miserable for thy sake. Our author interprets the curse on the ground, of its being incumbered with noxious weeds : But would these weeds have been any curse on the ground if there had been no inhabitants, or if the inhabitants had been of such a nature, that these weeds should not have been noxious, but useful to them? It is said, Deut. xxviii. 17. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store; And would he not be thought to talk very ridiculously, who should say, 'Here is a curse upon
the basket; but not a word of any curse upon the owner : And therefore we have no reason at all to look upon it as any punishment upon him, or any testimony of God's displeasure towards him.' How plain is it, that when lifeless things not capable either of benefit or suffering, are said to be cursed or blessed with regard to sensible beings-- who use or possess these things, or have connection with them—the meaning must be, that these sensible beings are cursed or blessed in the other, or with respect to them! In Exod. xxii. 25. it is said, He shall bless thy bread and thy water. And I suppose never any body yet proceeded to such a degree of subtility in distin
guishing, as to say, 'Here is a blessing on the bread and the water, wbich went into the possessor's mouth, but no blessing on him.' To make such a distinction with regard to the curse God pronounced on the ground, would in some respects be more unreasonable; because God is express in explaining the matter, declaring that it was for man's sake, expressly referring this curse to him, as being for the sake of his guilt; and as consisting in the sorrow and suffering he should have from it. In sorrow shalt thou eat of it.—Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth TO THEE. So that God's own words tell us where the curse terminates. The words are parallel with those in Deut. xxviii, 16. but only more plain and explicit, Cursed shalt thou be in the field, or in the ground.
If this part of the sentence was pronounced under no notion of any curse or punishment at all upon mankind, but, on the contrary, as making an alteration for the better, as to themthat instead of the sweet, but tempting, pernicious fruit of paradise, it might produce wholesome fruits, more for the health of the soul; that it might bring forth thorns and thistles, as excellent medicines, to prevent or cure moral distempers, diseases which would issue in eternal death—then it was a blessing on the ground, and not a curse; and it might more properly have been said, BLESSED shall the ground be for thy sake I will make a happy change in it, that it may be a habitation more fit for a creature so infirm, and so apt to be overcome with tempt ation, as thou art.'
The event makes it evident, that in pronouncing this curse, God had as much respect to Adam's posterity, as to himself. And so it was understood by his pious posterity before the flood; as appears by what Lamech, the father of Noah, says, Gen. v. 29. And he called his name Noah ; saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work, and the toil of our hands, BECAUSE OF THE GROUND WHICH THE LORD HATH CURSED.
Another thing which argues that Adam's posterity were included in the threatening of death--and that our first parents understood, when fallen, that the tempter, in persuading them to eat the forbidden fruit, had aimed at the punishment and ruin of both them and their posterity, and had procured it-is Adam immediately giving his wife that new name, Eve or Life, on the promise or intimation of the disappointment and overthrow of the tempter in that matter, by her seed. This Adam understood to be by his procuring LIFE ; not only for themselves, but for many of their posterity, and thereby delivering them from that death and ruin which the serpent had brought upon them. Those that should be thus delivered, and obtain life, Adam calls the living. And because he observed by what God had said, that deliverance, or life, was to be by the seed of the woman, he therefore remarks VOL II.
that she is the mother of all living, and thereupon gives her a new name, nin LIFE, Gen iii, 20.
There is a great deal of evidence that this is the occasion of Adam giving his wife her new name. This was her new honour, and the greatest honour, at least in her present state, that the Redeemer was to be of her seed. New names were wont to be given for something that was the person's peculiar honour. So it was with regard to the new names of Abraham, Sarah, and Israel. Dr. T. himself observes,* that they who are saved by Christ, are called, (& Lwures 2 Cor. iv. 11.) the living or they that live. Thus we find in the Old Testament, the righteous are called by the name of the living, Psal. Ixix. 28. Let them be blotted out of the book of the LIVING, and not be written with the righteous. If what Adam meant by her being the mother of all living, was only her being the mother of mankind; and gave her the name life upon that account ; it were much the most likely that he would have given her this name at first; when God first united them, under that blessing, be fruitful and multiply, and when he had a prospect of her being the mother of mankind in a state of immortality, living indeed, living and never dying. But that Adam should at that time give her only the name of (new) Isha, and then immediately on that melancholy change, by their coming under the sentence of death, with all their posterity-having now a new awful prospect of her being the mother of nothing but a dying race, all from generation to generation turning to dust, through her folly—he should change her name into life, calling her now the mother of all living, is (on that supposition) perfectly unaccountable. Besides it is manifest, that it was not her being the mother of all mankind-or her relation as a mother to her posterity—but the quality of those of whom she was to be the mother, Adam had in view, in giving his wife this new name ; as appears by the name itself, which signifies life. And if it had been only a natural and mortal life he had in view, this was nothing to distinguish her posterity from the brutes; for the very same name of living ones, or living things, is given from time to time to them.
ne to them. Besides, if by life the quality of her posterity was not meant, there was nothing in it to distinguish her from Adam ; for thus she was no more the mother of all living, than he was the father of all living ; and she could no more properly be called by the name of life on any such account, than he : But names are given for distinction. Doubtless Adam took notice of something distinguishing concerning her, that occasioned his giving her this new name. And I
* Note annexed to $ 287.
† As in Gen. i. 21, 24, 28. Chap. ii. 19. Chap. vi. 19. vij. 23. and vi. 1 3rd many other places in the bible
think it is exceeding natural to suppose, that as Adam had given her the first name from the manner of her creation, so he gave her the new name from redemption, and as it were new creation, through a Redeemer of her seed. And it is equally probable that he should give her this name from that which comforted him, with respect to the curse that God had pronounced on him and the earth, as Lamech named Noah, Gen. v. 29. Saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work, and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. Accordingly he gave her this new name, not at her first creation, but immediately after the promise of a Redeemer. (See Gen. iii. 15—20.)
Now as to the consequence which I infer from Adam giving his wife this name, on the intimation which God had given—that Satan should by her seed be overthrown and disappointed, as to his malicious design in tempting the womanit is, that great numbers of mankind should be saved, whom he calls the living ; they should be saved from the effects of this malicious design of the old serpent, and from that ruin which he had brought upon them by tempting their first parents to sin ; and so the serpent would be, with
respect to them, disappointed and overthrown in his design. But how is any death, or indeed any calamity at all, brought upon their posterity by Satan's malice in that temptation, if instead of that, all the consequent death and sorrow was the fruit of God's fatherly love? an instance of his free and sovereign favour? And if multitudes of Eve's posterity are saved from either spiritual or temporal death by a Redeemer, one of her seed, how is that any disappointment of Satan's design in tempting our first parents? How came he to have any such thing in view as the death of Adam's and Eve's posterity, by tempting them to sin, or any expectation that their death would be the consequence, unless he knew that they were included in the THREATENING.
Some have objected against his posterity being included in the threatening delivered to Adam, that the threatening itself was inconsistent with his having any posterity : It being that he should die on the day that he sinned. To this I answer, that the threatening was not inconsistent with his having posterity, on two accounts:
I. Those words, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, according to the use of such like expressions among the Hebrews, do not signify immediate death, or that the execution shall be within twenty-four hours from the commission of the fact; nor did God by those words limit himself as to the time of executing the threatened punishment; but that was still left to God's pleasure. Such a phrase, accord.
ing to the idiom of the Hebrew tongue, signifies no more than these two things :
1. A real connection between the sin and the punishment. So Ezek. xxxiii. 12, 13. The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him IN THE DAY of his transgression. As for the wickedness of the wicked he shall not fall thereby IN THE Day that he turneth from his wickedness. Neither shall the righteous be able to live IN THE DAY THAT HE SINNETH: But for his iniquity that he hath committed, he SHALL DIE for it. Here it is said, that in the day he sinneth, he shall not be able to live, but he shall die ; not signifying the time when death shall be executed upon him, but the connection between his sin and death; such a connection as in our present common use of language is signified by the adverb of time, when; as if one should say, “ According to the laws of our nation, so long as a man behaves himself as a good subject, he may live; but when he turns rebel, he must die:” Not signifying the hour, day, or month in which he must be executed, but only the connection between his crime and death.
2. Another thing which seems to be signified by such an expression, is, that Adam should be exposed to death by one transgression, without waiting to try him the second time. If he eat of that tree, he should immediately fall under condemnation, though afterwards he might abstain ever so strictly: In this respect the words are much of the same force with those words of Solomon to Shimei; 1 Kings, ii. 37. For it shall be that ON THE DAY that thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shall know for CERTAIN, THAT THOU
Not meaning, that he should certainly be executed on that day, but that he should be assuredly liable to death for the first offence, and that he should not have another trial to see whether he would go over the brook Kidron a sccond time.-Besides,
II. If the words had implied that Adam should die that very day (within twenty four or twelve hours) or that moment in which he transgressed, yet it will by no means follow, that God obliged himself to execute the punishment in its utmost extent on that day. The sentence was in great part executed. immediately; he then died spiritually; he lost his innocence and original righteousness, and the favour of God; a dismal alteration was made in his soul, by the loss of that holy divine principle which was in the highest sense the life of the soul. In this he was truly ruined and undone that very day ; becoming corrupt, miserable, and helpless. And I think it has been shewn that such a spiritual death was one great thing implied in the threatening. And the alteration then made in his body and external state was the beginning of temporal death. Grievous external calamity is called by the name of
SHALT SURELY DIE.