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danger, commended it to the will, and, and that resolved to embrace it. Now, it is plain and undeniable, that the action which resulted from the direction of the mind, and the choice of the will, was absolutely free, Besides, as the regret that is mixed with an action is a certain character that the person is under restraint; so the delight that attends it is a clear evidence that he is free. When the appetite is drawn by the lure of pleasure, the more violent, the more voluntary is its motion. Now, the representation of the forbidden fruit was under the notion of pleasure: The woman saw that the fruit was good for food, (that is, pleasurable to the pa. late), pleasant to the eye, and to be desired to make one wise, that is, to increase knowledge, which is the pleasure of the mind; and these allectives drew her into the snare. Man was under no necessity to sin. Force and co-action are inconsistent with the nature of the will, and entirely destroys it. Adam might have continued in his obedience if he had pleased. The devil had no power over him to disturb his felicity. He prevailed against him by a simple suasion.
Thirdly, The devil tempted our first parents to sin. The devil in the serpent set on man while he stood. Where ob serve,
1. It was a true serpent which the devil appeared in. What sort of a serpent it was, is not determined: but it seems to have been a beautiful creature of a shining colour: for in Deut. viii. 15. there are serpents spoken of that are in the Hebrew called Seraphim, the very name given to an. gels, which were wont to appear in a splendid form, it may be like these seraphim; and so Eve might take the serpent for one of these good angels. But Moses' plain historical narrative leaves no room to doubt that it was a real serpent, representing it to be more subțile than any beast of the field, and as cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field, after the transgression, when it was condemned to go upon its belly, and to eat dust all the days of its life, Gen. ji. 1, 14. And it is known that the Egyptians, by the de vil's instigation, worshipped serpents. And in the old Greek mysteries they used to carry about a serpent, and cry Evah: A sign of the extraordinary service it had done to the devil.
2. Though Moses makes no mention of the devil in this affair, yet surely he was the prime instrument in this fatal seduction. For seeing serpents cannot speak, and far less
reason, we may easily conclude it was the devil, who therefore is called the old serpent, and a liar and murderer from the beginning,' John viii
. 44. See Gen. iii. 15. Compare Heb. ii. 14. The devil then, one, perhaps the chief, of those rebellious spirits, who by a furious ambition had raised a war in heaven, and were fallen from their obedience and glorious state, designing to corrupt man, and make him a companion with them in their revolt, set about this work, urged by two strong and powerful passions, hatred and envy.
(1.) The devil was prompted to this action by an implacable hatred against God. For being fallen under a final and irrevocable doom, he looked upon God as an irreconcileable enemy; and not being able to injure his essence, he struck at his image; as the fury of some beast discharges itself at the picture of a man. He singled out Adam as the mark of his malice, that, by seducing him from his duty, he might defeat God's design, which was to be honoured by man's free and cheerful obedience; and so to eclipse the lustre of - his excellencies as though he had made man in vain.
(2.) He was solicited by envy, the first native of hell. For having lost the friendship and favour of God, and being cast out of heaven, the happy region of blessedness and joy, the sight of Adam's felicity highly exasperated and accented his grief, that man, who by the condition of his nature was inferior to him, should be prince of the world, and the special friend and favourite of heaven, whilst he himself was a miserable prisoner, under those fatal chains which restrained and tormented him, the power and the wrath of God. This made his state and condition more intolerable. His torment was incapable of any allay, but by rendering man as miserable as himself. And as hatred excited his envy, so envy infamed his hatred, and both joined together in mischief. And being thus pushed on, his subtilty, being equal to his malice, he contrives a temptation which might be most taking and dangerous to man in his raised and happy state. As soon as Adam was invested with all his glory, the devil, as it were, would dethrone him on the day of his coronation, and bring both him and all his posterity under a curse. Here I shall consider the temptation which was the occasion of man's fall
, and the devil's subtility in managing it. 1. As to the temptation itself, it was very suitable and promising. The devil attempted to seduce him by art, in his
propounding the lure of knowledge and pleasure,' to inveigle the spiritual and sensitive appetites at once. There were three things in which the desirableness of this fruit was represented, which sets forth the great art and sagacity of Satan.
(1.) Its agreeableness to the palate. It is said, The woman saw the fruit that it was good for food. Satan told her that it was of a most sweet and delicious taste, and would highly gratify her sensual appetite.
(2.) It was pleasant to the eye ; a charming and beautiful fruit, which had an inviting aspect.
(3.) There was a desirableness in it to the rational appetite, It was a tree to be desired to make one wise. And the serpent told her, ver. 5. thai, upon eating it, their eyes should be opened, and they should be as gods, knowing good and evil
. He made Eve believe, that, upon her eating the fruit of that tree, she would be raised and elevated from the human to a kind of divine nature and condition. This was the temptation with which the devil assaulted our first
paradise, and prevailed against them.
2. I shall take notice of Satan's subtilty in managing this temptation. We read of his wiles in scripture ; and indeed they are worse than his darts.
(1.) That he might the better succeed in his hellish design, he addressed himself to the woman, the weakest person, and most liable to seduction. He reckoned, and that justly enough, that his attempt would be most successful here, and that she was less able to resist him. He broke over the hedge where it was weakest. He knew very well that he could more easily insinuate and wind himself into her by a temptation. An old experienced soldier, when he is to storm and enter a castle, observes carefully where there is a breach, or how he may enter with most facility: so did Satan here when he assaulted Eve, the weaker vessel. And he tempted the woman first, because he knew, if once he could prevail with her, she would easily entice and draw on her husband. Satan knew very well, that a temptation coming to Adam from Eve, his wife, in this the infancy of their married state, would be more prevailing and less suspected. Sometimes near relations prove strong temptations. A wife may be a snare, when she dissuades her husband from his duty, or entices him to sin. It is said of Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 25. that
• there was none like' unto him, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.' She blew the coals, and made his sin flame out with the greater violence. Satan discovered his great subtilty in tempting Adam by his wife ; for he with complacency received the temptation, and, by the enticement of this old serpent, committed adultery with the creature, from whence the cursed race of sin and all miseries proceed.
(2.) He assaulted her when alone, in the absence of her husband, and so did the more easily prevail
. For two are better than one;' and, as Solomon observes, 'a threefold cord is not easily broken. Had Adam been present at this fatal congress, it is like the attempt had not been so easily successful.
(3.) The devil's subtilty may be seen here in hiding himself in the body of a serpent, which, before sin entered into the world was not terrible to Eve. Satan crept into a serpent, and spake in it, as the angel did afterwards in Balaam's ass. She was not afraid of this apparition; for she knew no guilt, and therefore was not subject to any fear. She might look
upon this as one of the angels or blessed spirits, which, as they used after this to appear in the shape of men, why might not one of them appear now, and converse with her in the shape of a beautiful serpent; why might not she freely discourse with this, which she reckoned one of those good angels, to whose care and tuition both she and her husband were committed ? For we may suppose the fall of the angels was not yet revealed to her, and she thought this to be a a good spirit, otherwise she would certainly have declined all conversation with an apostate angel. Some have supposed, and that not very improbably, that more discourse passed between the serpent and Eve than is recorded, Gen. iii. and represent the matter thus: The serpent, catching the opportunity of the woman's being at a distance from her husband, makes his address to her with a short speech, saluting her as empress of the world, and giving her a great many encomiums and dignifying titles: She wonders, and inquires what this meant? and whether he was not a brute creature? and how he came to be endowed with understanding and speech? The serpent replies, that he was nobler than a brute, and did indeed once want both these gifts; but by eating a certain fruit in this garden, he had got both. She imme.
diately asks what fruit and tree that was which had such a surprising influence and virtue. Which when he had shew.
: ed her, she replied, This no doubt is an excellent fruit, but God hath strictly forbidden us the use of it. To which the serpent presently replies, as in the close of ver. 1. “ Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?. The way how tliese words are introduced plainly shews that something had passed previous thereto. And some suppose; that the serpent, to confirm the truth of his assertion, pulled off some of the fruits of the tree; ate one in her presence, and presented another to Eve, who, beforë eating it, had the discourse with the serpent recorded in the subsequent verses.
(4.) The devil's subtilty appears in accosting our first parents so early, before they were confirmed in their course of obedience. The holy angels in heaven are fully confirmed in righteousness and holiness; they are called morning stars; Job xxxviii. 7. and are all fixed, not wandering stars. But our first parents were not confirmed in their obedience, they were not yet fixed in their orb of holiness. Though they had a possibility of standing, yet they had not an impossibility of falling. They were holy but mutable.
It was pos. sible for them to change their state. Now, Satan's subtilty was eminently manifested here.
(5.) He first allures with the hopes of impunity, and then he promises an universal knowledge of good and evil
. (1.) He persuades Eve, that though she did eat of the forbidden tree. yet she should not die, ver. 4. Ye shall not șurely die.'
God indeed did say so for your terror, to keep you in awe. But do not entertain such hard and unworthy thoughts of that God who is infinitely good and gracious. Do not think that; for such a trifle as the eating of a little fruit, he will undo you and all your posterity for ever, and so suddenly destroy the most excellent piece of his own workmanship, wherein his image shines in a most resplendent manner.'
(2.) He promiseth them an universal knowledge, as the effect of eating this fruit, ver. 5. · For God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be open- ; ed: and ye shall be as god's, knowing good and evil? God's design in that prohibition is only this: He knows that you shall be so far from dying, that thereby you shall certainly be entered into a new and more noble and excellent