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There was no need to mention them. They accompanied him who had dominion over them.
Man is sent forth " to till the ground," in doing which he would have more labour than he would have had in paradise. His employment is described by tilling the ground. For that would be his main work, as his diet, for some while at least, would be chiefly vegetable. At the entrance into Eden, by which Adam was driven out, were placed cherubim or angels, with a bright appearance, more than ordinary, which rendered it awful.
It would be too curious, I apprehend, to inquire what became of that delightful garden, or spot of ground, in which Adam and Eve were first placed by their bountiful Maker. If it subsisted for a while, it may be supposed to have been destroyed by the flood, and possibly before.
I have now surveyed the account of the creation and fall of man. And though I have not made use of the notion of its being allegorical, which usually leaves too much room for fancy, and for a variety of imaginations, many of which, if not all, would be conjectural; yet, possibly, all is not exact history, nor every thing put in the order of time.
One instance of this, I think, we have plainly seen in the latter part of this chapter: where God's making coats for Adam and Eve is mentioned before their expulsion from paradise; whereas it is very probable it was after it.
Another thing seems to be transposed in the Mosaic account. The living creatures are represented to be brought to Adam, to see how he would call them, before Eve was made. But it is not easy to conceive how that should be done on the very sixth day of the creation, when Eve was made. It might be rather done some time after it. But Moses places that transaction as he has done, the more to show the importance of the woman's creation, though it might in time succeed it.
And there might be some other things instanced in, which need not to be literally taken, as here related in the utmost strictness of interpretation.
In this account of Moses we have the origin of things. It is what speculative minds, in all ages, and in almost all parts of the world, have been employed about. God is good; but how to account, then, for evil, is a difficulty which has greatly engaged and perplexed mankind.
In this relation of Moses is set before us the origin of moral and penal evil of sin, and diseases, and death, of the uncommon pains of child-bearing women, and of the great
pains and labour which man takes for the providing the necessaries of life.
And though, as has been owned, the Mosaic account is not free from difficulties, there never was a better given by any. And consider Moses only as a philosopher, or lawgiver separate from the character of an inspired writer, his account of the creation, and of the primitive state of man, and his fall, is worthy of respect. And we have reason to be thankful for it.
I shall now mention some observations in the way of corollary.
I. All things were originally as they came out of the hand of God, good, and were made by him in great wisdom.
After the history of the six days' creation, and of man in particular, it is added by Moses, at the end of the first chapter of this book: "And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." And Solomon, having with great diligence employed his active and capacious mind in surveying the affairs of this world, and having observed many instances of vanity and vexation therein, and particularly the great degeneracy of mankind, says: "This have I found," of this I see reason to be fully satisfied, "that God made man upright: but they have sought out many inventions," Ecc. vii. 29.
II. We are here led to observe the dignity of the human nature, which is so set before us, that it might not be overlooked, but might be regarded, and taken notice of by every
Gen. i. 26, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Every word shows the dignity of the human nature. God is represented as proceeding to the formation of man with deliberation and consultation. He makes him himself. He does not say: "Let the earth now bring forth man." But, "Let us make man." And still farther: " in our image, after our likeness." His dignity is also signified in what follows: "And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth." This thought, of man's having dominion over all things in this earth, and being lord of all the creatures therein, seldom occurs, as I apprehend, in heathen writings, but it is a great and just notion, and is a privilege, which man still enjoys in great measure.
This notion of the dignity of the human nature leads us to two reflections: first, man, who has been made so excel
lent, and has dominion over other creatures, should act according to his dignity, as reasonable, and superior to other creatures on this earth, and should scorn every thing that is mean, base, impure, and cruel.
Another thought, which the dignity of the human nature leads us to, is this; that we can thence argue with great probability, if not with absolute certainty, that God will not lose this creature man, or suffer him to be for ever and totally lost. If man perish and be lost, to what purpose was this earth formed? And of what use are all things therein, if man, to whom dominion over them was given, be taken away? and if he live not to take pleasure in, admire, use, and improve, the rich and costly furniture with which this earth is adorned? It is moreover highly probable, that his time on this earth is not the whole period of his existence. So we may argue from the consideration of the superior dignity of the human nature. And we may see hereafter, that the argument is not inconclusive, but rightly framed.
III. All mankind have proceeded from one pair.
Of this we could not be now absolutely sure, without some good authority, or well attested tradition; but it is the account of Moses, the greatest law-giver that ever was, and an inspired prophet of God. The great resemblance of mankind in the several parts of the world might be some ground of this supposition: but it would not be full proof. For many pairs, resembling each other, might have been formed by God, the Creator, at once, in several, and remote countries, that the earth might be soon peopled thereby. But the account of Moses, I suppose, may be relied upon. Nor ought difference of complexion, and some other lesser things, to be reckoned a valid objection; for difference of climates, with the varieties of air, earth, water, and the lesser or greater degrees of the sun's heat, will make sensible alterations and differences in one and the same species. St. Paul observes to the Athenians, that "God had made of one blood, all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth," Acts xvii. 26. And though, as before said, the great resemblance of the human frame and powers in the several parts of the world may not be a demonstrative argument to us, that all came from one pair; yet this account of Moses is much confirmed by the great agreement between the several nations of the earth in bodily frame, and intellectual powers, like desires, and passions, and diseases, and in universal liableness to death.
This leads us to two reflections. One is, the remarkable effect of the Divine blessing, bestowing such fruitfulness,
that by one pair the vast circumference of this earth should be gradually peopled, manured, and improved.
The second is, that all men ought to love one another as brethren, for they are all descended from the same parents, and cannot but have like powers, and weaknesses, and wants. Solomon says, Prov. xxvii. 19, "As in water," or any other mirror, " face answers to face, so the heart of man to man." By considering ourselves we may know others; what they want, how we may relieve and comfort them. And this thought should abate exorbitant pride: for, notwithstanding some differences of outward condition, we have all the same nature, and are brethren.
IV. The Mosaic account teaches the only right order of marriage, that is, of one man, and one woman.
When the pharisees came to our Lord with a question about divorce, they being then accustomed to polygamy, and to frequent and easy divorces, he immediately answers them, and puts them to silence, by referring them to the Mosaic account of the creation of the first pair, and the Divine institution of marriage. Careful observations upon the increase of mankind have shown us, that the number of males and females born into the world is near equal. Consequently, great inconveniences would ensue from a perversion of the right order of marriage. Nevertheless, nothing can be so effectual, to put and keep things in a right course, as Divine authority, like that in the Mosaic account of the
V. Another thing taught in this account of the origin of things, is the lawfulness, purity, and innocence, of the mar
For God made man male and female, and marriage was instituted in the primitive state of innocence. Chap. i. 27, 28, "And God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them; Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." Not now to recite again the farther account of the formation of the woman in the second chapter. Doubtless this account of Moses has been of great service in all ages, to remove or prevent scruples, and to restrain those, who from mistaken notions, or wrong views, have been disposed to prohibit, or to discourage marriage.
But though all are at liberty to marry, if they please, yet our Saviour, as well as St. Paul, seems to intimate the commendableness of the single life in some, if they are
c Matt. xix.
d 1 Cor. vii.
masters of their own purpose, and if they prefer it, that they may serve God with less distraction, and greater freedom from the cares of this life; if they choose to deny themselves, and to give themselves wholly up to the service of others in spreading the principles of religion, or promoting the interest of civil society, in any cases of emergency; provided also, that they herein act without ostentation, and do not overvalue themselves on this account, nor at all despise others; then there may be some commendableness in the single life. Nevertheless, after all, it may be reckoned probable, that there are not, and cannot be, many instances of the single life with all the above-mentioned qualifications.
VI. The Mosaic account of the origin of things teaches the duty of the sexes to each other in the married state.
This account teaches this, and is designed so to do. The design is so apparent, that it may possibly lead some to question, whether there is not some studied contrivance in the narration. And if all is history, and things were so performed in the order here related, it may be esteemed unquestionable, that things were so done, particularly, that God created the man and the woman in this manner, and in this order, on purpose to convey these instructions. So therefore argues St. Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 7-9, " For the man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man." And in another place, 1 Tim. ii. 12-14," But I suffer not woman to teach, or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve." Here he adds also: "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
Indeed all nations by their own reason and observation have discerned the same, and have allotted to men the cabinet of princes, the senate, and courts of judicature, as well as the command of navies and armies. But there are two ways of teaching one and the same thing. One is by reason, the other is by facts related in a certain order, and clothed with certain circumstances. And this latter method may be least offensive, and as effectual as the other. For comparisons between equals, or nearly so, are odious and disagreeable. Few or none can bear to insist upon majesty of countenance, bulk and strength of body, compass of knowledge, and solidity of judgment, as grounds of superiority and pre-eminence: when too there may be on the other side advantages of a different kind, that will bring the balance