Dr. Colman's DISSERTATION On the three first Chapters of GENESIS.


A Brief Dissertation ON THE Three first Chapters OF GENESIS. Giving some of the Evident Signatures Of the INSPIRATION of GOD in those First Pages of the Holy Oracles. Being the Substance of Some SERMONS Lately Preached By Dr. Colman.

Joh. ix. 29.

We know that GOD spake unto Moses.

BOSTON: Printed by S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN, for J.EDWARDS and H.FOSTER, at their Shops in Corn-hill. 1735.


THE learned Reader is desir'd not to expect any thing Critical or Philosophical in the following Essay; but a studied Plainess and Simplicity of Method, Style and Rea­soning; adapted to Readers of a lower Form, to inform affect and confirm such, and yet at the same time to gratify Those of a higher Class.

This being the Author's Aim and Endeavour, he accordingly commends it to the Blessing of GOD for General Use and Service.

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The Evident Signatures of Divine Inspiration, in the first Pages of the HOLY ORACLES. In a brief Dissertation on the Three first Chapters of GENESIS.

MANY excellent Pens, in our Nation, have of late Years appeared in De­fence of Divine Revelation; which has been boldly attack'd, openly insulted, and sometimes profanely ridicul'd, by the Deists and Infidels of the present Day; with a Pre­tence to superior Understanding and Judgment, and Freedom of Thinking; as if all beside Themselves were hoodwink'd and shackled by Prejudices of E­ducation, or corrupted and restrained by Worldly [Page 2]Interests; and They alone were the Men of free Tho't, Sincerity and Courage, and Wisdom were to die with them.

Great has been the Provocation to answer some of the more licentious and scurrilous Advocates for Infidelity according to their Folly, lest they be wise in their own Conceit: But great has been the Guard and Caution on the part of the noble and serious Defenders of the Divine Authority of the Bible, to write with Decency and Justice, Re­verence and Gravity, Reason and Argument, on a Subject of so great Importance to the Honour of God and the Salvation of Souls. They have ne­vertheless contended earnestly for the Faith, while they have given the Reason of it with Meekness of Wisdom; and Eno' has been said to convince Gain­sayers, to stop the Mouths of unruly and vain Talkers, and to confirm the Souls of the Disciples.

I am my Self in a particular manner obliged to mention, with great Acknowledgment, the Pleasure and Benefit I found in reading Dr. Thomas Burnet's Demonstration of true Religion in a Chain of Scrip­ture Consequences; and a later Author of Revela­tion examin'd with Candour; to which the follow­ing Dissertation owes its Rise. It pretends not to any like Elaborateness, but is written for People of a lower Rank, who cannot rise to the Price of the fore-named Books. We write for the Places where we live, and for the People to whom we belong; and at the Request of Those to whom the follow­ing Pages were acceptable and profitable from the Pulpit under another Form, I now publish them in this of a Dissertation on the first Chapters of the BIBLE.

If these first Pages in the Book of God do not appear worthy of his Inspiration, we may even give up the Rest of the Bible. If God has not [Page 3]spoken to us by Moses, neither has He by the fol­lowing Prophets; no, nor by JESUS and his A­postles. But if it be Evident that Moses wrote by Inspiration of God, it is a sure and strong Foun­dation for, and Argument of the Credibility of the whole Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testa­ment; which we find bearing a strict Reference unto, Agreement with, and to be the Fulfilment of what Moses has written.

The whole of Revealed Religion, the whole Doctrine of Christianity, stands on this Foot. The Prophets and Apostles all bear Witness to the Wri­tings of Moses. The Old Testament ends with this, "Remember the Law of Moses my Servant! and the New begins and ends with the like Testimony to Him as Inspired of God, and sent by Him. It begins with leading us back to Moses, Joh. v. 39, 45, &c. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life, and These are they that testify of Me: Do not think that I will accuse you unto the Father; there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust: For had ye believed Moses ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me; But if ye believe not his Writings, how shall ye believe my Words? — And if we look to the Close of our Bi­ble, we find it ending with "the Song of Moses and the Lamb.

I will not go into the Honours of Moses, as they are deliver'd to us in the Sacred Pages, lest it should seem a begging the Question before us; but let us only open our Bibles and read the short Narrative given of the Creation of the Earth and of Man upon it, his Sin and Judgment, and see whether it be not most worthy of the Majesty, Holiness and Grace of the MOST HIGH; the most fit and proper Beginning of a Revelation of God to Man.

[Page 4] The first Book of Moses is Historical. And it is the grand Honour of History that the Revelations of God begin thus. And if we weigh the Thing well we must needs judge that the Inspired Oracles must so begin. Lapsed and ignorant Mankind by Moses Time needed a History of their own Begin­ning, their first State and the Origine of Evil. And this must be a Doctrinal History, concerning GOD and Themselves; how God made Them and all Things very good; what He made 'em for, and what He required of them; how they came into their present State of Sin and Misery, and what Way there is for their Recovery out of it. This is the Argument and Substance of the Book of Genesis, and more especially of the first three Chapters of it.

GOD there informs us first concerning HIMSELF, his Own ETERNAL BEING AND GODHEAD, and then concerning his Works, the Origine of the World, and the Manner and End of our own Formation. In what other, or better Manner, can we think that a Revelation from God should begin? The first Verse of the Bible shows it to be the Book of God: "In the Beginning God created the Hea­vens and the Earth. What, but this, should be the first Line of Scripture? The DIVINE MAJESTY here speaks of Himself as the First Cause of all Things; That of Him and to Him are all Things, and for His Pleasure they are and were created. The one only true Foundation of all Science and of all Religion. It was not possible for Man to know any thing aright concerning Himself, or the Visible Works of God, till he knew this. This is the I­mage and Superscription of God upon the Bible in the first Line of it. God being to write His Book, for the Use of the Sons of Men, thro' all Genera­tions, put his Name before it in these Words, In the Beginning GOD created the Heavens and the Earth.

[Page 5] GOD is here represented as Self-Exisient, and in his own Times, as the blessed and only Potentate, giving unto all Things their Existence and Being, visible and invisible; by an Act of his Will, and a Word of his Power. How well does this first Line of Moses agree to the Psalm which bears his Name? Psal. xc. 2, 4. Before the Mountains were bro't forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the Earth and the World, from Everlasting to Everlasting Thou art God: For a thousand Years in thy Sight are but as Yesterday when it is past, and as a Watch in the Night. The Eternal God speaks by Moses of His own Eternity, how He was before all Things; and the Infinite God speaks of his own Infinity, his infinite Power which by a Word bro't the visible Heavens and Earth into their Being and Order; first command­ed the Matter into Being, sufficient for the form­ing the Universe, and then spake it into that Beauty and comely Proportion which our Eyes behold.— What, but This, ought the first Line of sacred Scripture to contain? He that does not see or read God in it is blind; and he that does not hear God speaking in it of Himself, has no Understanding of what he hears. The God of infinite Wisdom, Power and Goodness speaks of these his immense Perfections, in these few Words, as plainly and copiously as if Volumes were writ of them.

In the Beginning, soil, of the Universe; when the Worlds came into Being, the upper and the lower; it was meerly by the Sovereign Will and Word of the LORD GOD; at what Time and in what Order. These Worlds had their Beginning, but GOD had none. God gave Them their Existence, when, where and how it pleased Him; and made all most good and perfect, for His Own Praise and Glory. There was no other Will, Wisdom, Good­ness or Power to do this, but His who is THE ETER­NAL; [Page 6] Who was, and is, and is to come; the same Yesterday, to Day and for Ever.

This is but a just Paraphrase on the first Line of Scripture, which is Immense in Sense. The Fulness of the Eternal GODHEAD is in it, and all Things that God has made are in it too.—One might dwell and expatiate on this first Word of Moses for Ever, and never be able to think or say any thing on it adequate to the Fulness of Sense and Spirit in it.— In what other Words could the Book of God begin? O the Height and Depth, the Length and Breadth of this one Line! It is Light, without any Darkness at all! GOD dwells and shines in it! It is Light unapprochable and full of Glory! Here is the Be­ginning and Finishing of the Creation of God in a Single Line! And then the DIVINE SPIRIT descends to that Part and Point of the Creation that belongs to Man, our Earth, and proceeds to speak of it.

Ver. 2. And the Earth was without Form and void, and Darkness was upon the Face of the Deep. This we must suppose, unless we should rather think it becoming the Glory of God to give every Globe in the Universe its perfect Form at once. He could indeed as easily have done this, but I think the Glory of Divine Wisdom and Goodness more dis­played in the gradual Process related by Moses. God had first created the Heavens and Hosts of glorious Angels, a World of bright Intelligences to behold the lower Worlds, take their Place, Form and Motion. And as these were finishing from Day to Day, one Part after another, and every Part more and more perfective of the Whole, those blessed Spectators sang together and shouted forth the Praises of that infinite Perfection, which they saw with Wonder in every step: As we read Job xxxviii. 7.

The most perfect Idea that the Mind of Man can now frame concerning the Formation of our Earth, and so of the other Planets within our [Page 7] Circle, is this, "That they were first a Chaos, or confus'd Particles of watry, oily, earthly, aery, and fiery Matter, blended together, without any distinct Order, Form or Beauty, a darksome Mass and Deep, which we should have been ready to think could never be bro't into any Order, Come­liness and Use. We read that THE SPIRIT OF GOD moved on this Face of Disorder and vast Confusion: And who else should reveal to us what a void and formless thing the first Materials, or Collection of Matter, for such a World as this, must needs be?

And now, what would a considering Angel think should be the first Thing produced, or call'd forth in­to some Appearance, out of this Darkness and Dis­order? What should it be but LIGHT? And Moses tells us this was it, Ver. 3. And GOD said, Let there be Light, and there was Light.

Did Moses conceive this? wise as he was and penetrating, even as an Angel of God, and learn­ed in all the Phylosophy of Egypt? No, it was be­yond the Ken of any humane Mind or Wisdom. How is it spoken like a GOD! and how God-like is the Account of the Production of one Thing and another? "GOD said, Let there be this and that! and let it be thus and thus! The Perfection of Wis­dom saw at once how it should be, and the Perfec­tion of Will said, Let it be so. He spake and it was done, He commanded and it immediately existed, and was established. Here is perfect Ease in the Production of every Thing; and in the Projection of it, if that Word be lawful. Moses could not have spoken thus of God and of His Work, if God had not spoken of Himself to him. And yet we cannot now possibly conceive of any other Man­ner of Working worthy of the great GOD! and therefore we know that God spake by Moses.

Of all visible, material Things, which should be first in Order of Time, and which is first in Order [Page 8]of Nature, Use, Influence and Dignity, but LIGHT? By this all Things are seen, pervaded and enliven­ed. For Heat accompanies Light, and it is (under the Will and Power of GOD) vital to all Things that live, grow and move, or act upon Earth.

That first Light was pleasant to the surrounding Hosts of Angels, how far soever it was below That of their Celestial Regions. From their high World of Light and Glory they came to see a new World of Material Beauties and Splendors rising from a Chaos. They heard the Voice from the Heavenly Glory say, Let Light be here below! and they saw it to be very good.

GOD is Light. So He represents Himself unto us, because Light is the first-born of the Visible Creation. How does it excel Darkness! how did it spring forth out of Darkness, and shine in the Eyes of admiring Angels! Hail, Holy Light! they cried: Our Milton learn'd it of Them in his Dark­ness. And so our late Angel of a Man, Mr. Henry in his Exposition: Light says he, which of all Things seen does most resemble it's great Parent in Beauty and Blessings, in Purity Brightness and Beneficence, in Spirituality Immensity and Immutability.’

GOD is the Father of Light, from Whom every good and perfect Gift comes down; and with Him there is no Variableness, nor Shadow of Change. So in the New Creation Light is the first Thing formed. GOD gives the Light of the Knowledge of his more Spiritual Glory, in the Face of JESUS CHRIST.

The Order of the Creation is admirable and per­fect as it is related by Moses; yet it could not have enter'd into the Heart of Man to have conceived of it, if God had not revealed it to Him. As soon as the Light shone out of Darkness, God stretched out a Firmament, He made an Atmosphere about [Page 9]the Earth, an Expansion of Air, the higher and lower Region of it, of various Use and vast Bene­fit, and of the last Necessity for the Growth of eve­ry Vegetable, and for the Life and Motion of every Animal. The Mass of Water and Earth was here­by left a distinct Body by it self. In this Firmament of Heaven the Vapours ascend from the Ends of the Earth, the Winds blow, the Clouds roll, and God rides on them, & plays his dreadful Artillery, the Lightning and Thunder, which purifies the Air for us, while it makes us tremble. It [...]ndly deceives our Sight, and makes Things seem near to us at inconceivable Distances, and our Eyes receive Objects thro' an immeasurable Space, the Sun and Stars, with Ease and Pleasure. Hereby the Light and Heat and Rains descend on us, in fit Proportions to make the Earth fruitful; the Grass grows for the Cattle, Herbs and Corn and Fruits for the Service of Man; the glorious Works of God are seen and contem­plated by us, and vital Heat is convey'd to our Hearts, and preserv'd in our Blood. — Such is the Firmament which God has spread over us, the Pavement of his Feet, but the Breath of our Nostrils. Moses has told of it, as the wondrous Work of God, accompanying the Light, which how should it glare, or be at all visible, but thro' a Vehicle of Air? In this, under God, whose Visitation pre­serves our Spirits, we live and move and have our Being.

And now God gather'd the Mass of lower Waters into one Place, into one vast Body, or Collection of it, and the dry Land appeared. The Sea is His for he made it; & his Hands formed the dry Ground: In his Hands are the deep Places of the Earth, & the Strength of the Hills is his also. GOD formed it a Terra­queous Globe, Land and Water; both alike necessa­ry and beauteous in their Kind and Place. He [Page 10]bad the Earth to bring forth the Grass and Herb and Trees, even before there was a Sun in the Fir­mament of Heaven, say some; but others chuse on­ly to say, before its Heat and Light broke thro' the exhaled Vapours, drank up the dark Waters and scatter'd the thick Clouds of the Sky. The Moon and Stars then appeared in their Courses, and Day and Night commenced, Months and Years. The same Circle and System of Planets and fix'd Stars, which are beheld by us at this Day, but can never be eno' admir'd by the Sons of Men, shone out at once on this Terraqueous Globe of ours.

But as yet no Eye was formed to behold and view them; no not so much as the Eye of a Fish in the Waters of an Animal on the Land, or of an Insect in the Air. Now therefore it pleased God to command the Waters to bring forth the moving Creatures in them, great and small; and the Fowl to fly in the open Firmament. He fill'd the Sea with Fish, and things creeping innumerable; and the Air with feather'd Fowl, of every Wing and Size. Angels beheld with vast Delight the Life, the Beauties and Motion of them all. — Who could have led Moses down into and thro' these Depths of the Sea, and up into all these Heights of the Air, to trace out the Original of the Inhabi­tants of both; but only GOD the Former of them all, and the Fountain of Life unto all? For there is not the most inferior Life in Air or Water, but what loudly tells us of the living JEHOVAH, the GOD of Moses, Who only hath Life in Himself, and giveth unto all Life and Breath and all things.

God made 'em to propagate their Life; to in­crease, multiply in, and replenish the Sea, the Air and Earth. He added his Blessing on Them for this End, which is effectual to this Day, and with­out which every living Thing had been barren and [Page 11]fruitless for Ever.—O the Riches, and Profusion of Bounty, in the Living Creatures that communi­cate the Life-which they receive, thro' all Ages of the World, as long as Man and Sun and Moon shall endure.

This Power and Goodness inexhaustible flowed on, and rose higher and higher, till the dry Land was also stor'd with Beasts, and Cattle and every creeping Thing after their Kind; and then MAN was last of all formed, with a Solemnity and Plea­sure peculiar to the Superior Creature on Earth; designed to be the Lord of all the Creatures in Air, on Earth and in the Seas, and to bear the Image and Likeness of the CREATOR of all. Gen. i. 26, 27. —ii. 7. And God said, Let us make Man in our I­mage, after our Likeness: 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, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the Earth. So 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 said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it; and have Dominion &c:— The Lord God formed Man of the Dust of the Ground and breathed into his Nostrils the Breath of Life, and Man became a Living Soul.

What should be the Image of the LIVING GOD, in Heaven or on Earth, but living Spirits? intelli­gent and immortal Creatures, made after the Power of an endless Life. Who but These should be made for Dominion in one World or the other? God is the Father of Spirits and the Fountain of Life. The Life of Angels and of Souls is of Him and to Him. The living Beings in every World must worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their Crowns before His Throne; for they are all crown­ed with Glory and Honour, in His Image on them.

[Page 12] GOD is the BEING of Beings: I AM THAT I AM is his Name. JEHOVAH is but the same Name. Eter­nity, Immensity and Immutability go into the full Meaning of it. And all these also go into every moral Perfection of the Divine Nature. God is therefore a ‘SPIRIT infinite, eternal, unchange­able in his Being, Wisdom, Power, Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth.’

Man in his Immortality may be said to bear some Image of the Everlasting Life of God. But the Moral Perfections of God must necessarily be com­municated to Reasonable Creatures, in a Degree and Measure suitable to their Place in the Creation of God, in order to their Acting wisely, holily, justly; with Goodness and Truth. The Apostle tells us that this was the Image and Likeness of God, wherein Man was created, and to which He is in part restored in his Sanctification. Eph. iv. 24. Renewed in the Spirit of your Mind, and after God created in Righteousness and true Holiness. Col. iii. 10. Renewed in Knowledge, after the Image of Him that created him.

MAN is a living Soul, not only in respect of Im­mortality, but as he is an Intelligent, Self-conscious Creature, made a Law to Himself, and for Self-Government; an Agent by Counsel, accountable to God, to his own Conscience, and to the Societies to which he belongs. He feels and shows the Work of the Law written in his Heart, his Conscience bearing him Witness, and his Thoughts excusing or accusing, and binding him over to the Eternal Judgment of God, Rom. ii. 15, 16.

Sense, Reason and Experience do all testify to us that the other Animals on Earth are not such Living Souls, as these which we feel within our Selves. As they have no Conscience of Right and Wrong, so no Knowledge or Fear of a holy Maker and Judge. They are not capable of contemplat­ing [Page 13]God in his Works, nor of giving Glory to him in Acts of Worship and Obedience. But the Soul of Man is as evidently made for those Exercises of Religion, to glorify God with his Body and Spirit; having the Presages of a future and everlasting State in present Hopes and Fears.

Now Moses is the first who told the Sons and Daughters of Men in Writing of their being cre­ated these living Souls, for these superior and holy Ends. And this is the first Thing he tells them concerning Themselves, which highly becomes a Revelation from God, to let us know our Selves to be the Offspring of God; that He has taught us more than the Beasts of the Earth, and made us Wiser than the Fowls of Heaven, and expects more from us. This stands excellently well in the Account given us of our Creation. God knows the Soul which he has made, and tells it what it is, & leads it to Himself, by showing it his own Image in it self.

No Writer before Moses has told Mankind how they came into Being, in what a Glory they were created, in what Rectitude and Perfection. And surely a Revelation from God to Man should be­gin with such an Account of his Original and first State; "Who made him, how he was made, what he was made for; that God made him very good, and for Himself; for Glory to Himself from Man, and for Blessedness in Himself unto him.

Thus Moses writes of GOD who was before the World, and of His making it in such a Manner as becomes the Wisdom, Goodness, Holiness and E­ternal Power of God. Moses could never have undertaken and perform'd This, but under the In­spiration of God. Known to HIM, and to Him alone, are all his Works from the Beginning to the End. Had Moses, or any One else, presum'd to have told the Manner and Order of the Creation [Page 14]of their own Head, they had justly incurr'd the fearful Words of the ALMIGHTY out of the Whirl­wind, Job xxxviii. 2,—6. Who is this that darkneth Counsel by Words without Knowledge? Gird up now thy Loyns like a Man; for I will demand of thee and answer thou Me. Where wast thou when I laid the Foundation of the Earth? declare if thou hast Understanding. Who laid the Measures thereof; if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the Line up in it? Whereupon are the Foundations thereof fastned? or who laid the Corner-stone thereof? Or who shut up the Sea with Doors, &c.

Moses was the boldest Man that ever wrote, the most daring and insolent, if not inspired from on High. Yet what can be more Reverend and Aw­ful before God, than all his Words concerning Him and his Works! — What a Presumption had it been to have pretended to tell, Who the first Parents of Mankind were, how they came into Being, what God said to them, where he put 'em, and how they behav'd; if it were not from cer­tain Tradition from the Mouth of Adam, or by im­mediate Inspiration from Heaven? This Man Mo­ses, the wisest and meekest upon Earth, had shown himself the vainest and proudest, to write as he did at the End of two Thousand Years, without a cer­tain Record left him to copy after, or the certain Impulse and Dictate of the SPIRIT OF GOD. But if God spake to him, and by him of his own Work, then the meeker he was the more sutable for God to speak by; for He resisteth the proud and giveth Grace unto the lowly.

It looks indeed as if God spake to Moses in that he tells us that Man was created last of all the Works of God upon Earth. The Earth and the Creatures on it were made for Man, by Moses his Account; no doubt therefore but they were made before him. Man being the Top, the Crown, and [Page 15] Lord of the lower Creation, it was finished and perfected in his Formation. It agrees to the Wis­dom, Goodness and Bounty of the Great CREATOR, that it was so. Thro' the whole Creation the less perfect was created first. The Advance is gra­dual, by Moses's Account; from Earth to Grass, from Grass and Trees to Cattle & creeping Things, and then to Man in the Image of God.

Man had no more any Hand in his own Com­ing into Being, than any of the Inferiour Creatures. ‘It was an Honour and Favour to Him to be made last. God built and furnish'd him a Palace for his Reception, being design'd to be the Prince and Vicercy here below.’ He did not come into an empty naked World, but found it richly stor'd with every Beauty and Bounty for Soul and Body. He had the Glories of the whole finished Creation for his Mind to contemplate, and all the Stores of Nature to regale his Appetite. Here was every Thing for Delight as well as Need; all that his Soul could wish for: Eno' to entertain his Wonder and raise his Gratitude, and fill him with Adorati­ons. This was as became the Work of God.

Again that Man should be created with more So­lemnity, Pause and Pleasure, than the other Crea­tures, as Moses relates, is a Circumstance as credi­ble as it is agreable. God had said, Let the Wa­ters bring forth the moving Creature, and let the Earth bring forth the living Creature; but when the Formation of Man comes on the Style alters; and Reason good, on the Account of GOD, in whose Image Man was to be made. The words of God therefore were, Let Us make Man in Our Image, after Our Likeness, and let Them have Do­minion. It was meet for the High GOD to put this Honour on His Own Image, in the Creature form'd for Dominion, and his own Worship. Ho­nour and Majesty is put upon Him in his Superior [Page 16]Nature, and therefore also in his Coming into Be­ing. Psal. viii. 5, 6, 7. Thou hast made him a lit­tle lower than the Angels, and crowned him with Glory and Honour; Thou madest him to have Domi­nion over the Works of thy Hands, and hast put all things under his Feet. God pleased to distinguish this his crowning Work before he made Him, and in making him, and afterward. He spake of Him, as he made him, as having a special Delight in the Sons of Men; "Let Us make Man, Our own Image upon Earth, a living Spirit, a rational & immortal Soul. This is said for Man's sake, as if he call'd a Council about forming him; that Man might reverence Himself, and love and praise his Maker. q. d. Let Us form this Creature for Our Self, in Knowledge and Sanctity, and for Immortality; to worship and obey Us, and be blessed in the High Enjoyment of our Favour for Evermore.

Man is sacred and dedicated to that Glorious TRINITY or GODHEAD, Who thus spake of him in the Day of his Creation. His reverend and duti­ful Answer must be, GOD that made us this Soul! The SPIRIT of God hath made me, and the Inspiration of the ALMIGHTY giveth me Understanding: For the Spirit of Man is the Candle of the LORD. Moses his ac­count of Man's Formation highly becomes a Crea­ture so Endowed from on High. The whole Ac­count is worthy of GOD and of his Work. Less should not be said of it, and more ought not.

To go on: That Man should be created Male and Female, and but one Man and Woman, highly agrees to the Wisdom and Purity of God. That it was so, none but God could tell; unless the Tra­dition might be had from Adam and his immediate [Page 17]Sons. That it should be so is in all respects desira­ble; Even that all Mankind, thro'out all Ages, might be of one Blood, one Family, the Children of one Father and Mother, and love accordingly: And that according to the Original Pattern, only one Man and one Woman should joyn themselves in Marriage thro' all Generations; to preserve a chaste, a godly, a robust and healthy, and so a happy Seed. This is the Reasoning of the HOLY GHOST upon this Subject, toward the End of the Old Testament: Mal. ii. 15. Did He not make One? yet had He the Residue of the Spirit: And wherefore One? that He might seek a godly Seed. Wherefore take Heed to your Spirit, that none deal treacherously with the Wife of his Youth. The plain Meaning of the Prophet is this, God made but one Adam and Eve at first, as Moses tells us. He could have made ten or twenty Females for the speedy Propa­gation of Mankind, and to replenish the Earth, fast with Inhabitants. And if ever there could be Reason to think that God would allow more than one Woman to a Man, it had been to Adam, when the whole Earth was without another Inhabitant, and it could be peopled but very slowly from one Pair. Yet even in this Case God made but one Eve, and instituted the Purity of the Marriage Bed therein; that no one in any Case, or on any Pretence, should ever take more Wives than one at a Time, or break the Marriage Covenant by lusting after any other Woman. — And now, how worthy this Account of Adam and Eve, alone in the World, is of God their Maker, let the Experience of all the World speak, from the manifest and manifold Confusions to Persons and Families, to Body Soul and Estate, from having more Wives than one, or from the impure Mixtures of Fornication and Adultery. How necessary and honourable is Chastity and holy Matrimony to Mankind, whether we consider our [Page 18]selves as reasonable, or as religious social Creatures? The bodily Health is consulted by the Law of Marriage, and the Health of the Soul more: It was meet therefore for the Father and Preserver of Men to make This one of his first Laws and Insti­tutions, as Moses tells us He did.

As One says, ‘Since Adam was confined to one Wife, it is a sufficient Intimation that his Sons should be so; and that the Bond of Marriage is not to be dissolved at Pleasure.’ So our Lord JESUS has taught us to reason; Mat. xix. 3,—8. The Pharisees came unto Him, tempting him and say­ing, "Is it lawful for a Man to put away his Wife for every Cause? And he answered and said unto them, "Have ye not read, that He which made them at the Beginning, made them Male and Female? and said, For this Cause shall a Man leave Father and Mother, and shall cleave unto his Wife; and they twain shall be one Flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one Flesh. What therefore God hath joyned together, let not Man put asunder. They soy unto Him, Why did Moses then command to give a Writing of Divorcement, and put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the Hardness of your Hearts suffered you to put away your Wives; but from the Beginning it was not so. No Permission or In­dulgence to any in Times past, no not to Abraham or Jacob themselves, or to any of their Posterity, may be pleaded for an Exemption from this Ori­ginal Intention and Constitution in Man's Creation; but this must determine Us, — Adam had but one Wife, "Eve had but one Husband.

In the next place, Moses tells us that as soon as God had form'd this lovely happy Pair, and brought them together, He blessed them. A Particular truly becoming the Father of their Spirits; the For­mer of their Bodies, and the Lover of his Own Image in them. He had made 'em holy, wise, per­fect; [Page 19]for Happiness in one another, and for Bles­sedness in Himself and in a better Life; and no wonder that He blessed 'em, rejoycing in his own Work. He blessed the Fish and the Fowl as they came into Being, and so the other Living Creatures that were made to propagate and multiply; for his Work was all Honourable and Glorious; but the Blessing of Man far excecded that on the inferior Creatures; as He was made greater and better than they. — Let the Sons and Daughters of Men know, that God most High is as ready to bless 'em all as to make 'em; and to bless 'em particularly in their Marriage and Family Relation: And that as he has fill'd this World with Variety of Blessings for them, so he gives them with a Blessing, and has greater Blessings than these in Store for them, if they will know and love and fear their MAKER; even all Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly Places in CHRIST JESUS.

Moses certainly wrote as an Historian from GOD, in telling us with what Pleasure God looked on Man, and on the inferior Creatures also, in the Day he made 'em; and how he bestow'd his Blessing on them. It belongs to a Father to bless his Offspring, from the Love he bears to 'em. And could it be possible that God should make Adam and Eve in his own Likeness, and put them together, without a solemn Benediction?

By this Blessing God join'd them together in Holy Marriage, — And O what a Wedding was it! God gave the Bride, and bless'd the Match of his own making.— This Institution of Marriage, upon the Formation of Man male and female, is a pure and evident Token that God spake by Moses. It agrees to the whole after Current of Scripture, thro' both Testaments; to the Seventh Commandment in particu­lar, and that every One possess himself in Sanctification and [...].

[Page 20] To go on. By Moses Account of the first State of Man, it appears that Adam and Eve were cre­ated with Understanding and Speech, and with the Powers of Reason in Perfection: Also with a Knowledge of the Brute Creatures necessary for their Dominion over them: And moreover, that in Things necessary for them to know, but above the Reach of Humane Understanding, they were favoured with Supernatural Revelations, or Inspiration from on High. And certainly this is as became Him whose Work is perfect, who be­held it and lo it was all very good. It was necessary for Adam and Eve to be endowed with Knowledge and Speech, and not to have These to acquire; for then had the lower Creation been without a Head or Ruler, and the Work of God had herein been greatly defective. — Moses tells us therefore that as soon as our first Parents were created, God spake to them, and They to one another. God made Man a Soul and Mouth, and inspired him with a Knowledge of Himself and of his MAKER. The Man and his Wife upon the first Sight of each other had a perfect Apprehension of their Relation and mutual Obligations; and knew Themselves to be designed Parents of a numerous Posterity, to people the Earth. — They knew also, by Moses Account, all the Beasts of the Earth; had an Un­derstanding given them of the Nature of the brute Creatures; who were therefore bro't to Adam to receive their Names from him; which was his first act of Dominion over 'em, and a wondrous Proof of their Subjection to him, and a much more won­derful Evidence of that natural Wisdom and Saga­city with which he was endued: That at the first Sight of any of the Creatures he could look into them, see their different Natures, and name them agreably.

[Page 21] It was a mysterious Dominion that Adam enjoy­ed, incircled by the various inferior Creatures, the Lion and the Bear together with the Sheep and Doves, to know what he wou'd call 'em. Gen. ii. 19, 20. Out of the Ground the Lord God formed every Beast of the Field, and every Fowl of the Air, and bro't them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living Creature, that was the Name thereof. Methinks the Angels ministred with Pleasure on this Occasion, & heard the Man give every Creature its proper Name. Or rather as One says, God by a special Instinct di­rected 'em to come to Man as their Master and Owner. God gave him Livery and Seisin of them all, as the fair and great Estate he had en­dowed him with, and put him in Possession of it all. The Creatures, as it were, did Homage to Him as their Sovereign. And they would have remain'd obedient to him, if he had been so unto his God. But when he lost the Image of his God, the Creatures lost also their Awe and Fear of him. All this now is worthy of God, and honorary to Man in his first State.

See again what a mighty Knowledge Adam was inspired with on his first Sight of Eve. Read how he received Her from the Hand of God, into his own Arms. Words worthy to be written with a Pen of Gold, and graven with a Diamond on the Heart of all his Offspring. Gen. ii. 22, — 25. And the Rib which the LORD GOD had taken from Man made He a Woman, and bro't her to the Man. And Adam said, "This is now Bone of my Bone, and Flesh of my Flesh! She shall be called Woman, be­cause she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a Man leave his Father and his Mother, and shall cleave unto his Wife; and They shall be one Flesh. And they were both naked, the Man and his Wife, and were not ashamed.

[Page 22] He knew her to be a Rib of Himself, his own Flesh and Blood, taken from his very Heart, as soon as he saw her. So Christ loves his Church, for out of his own Side it was formed. Who, but GOD only, could inspire Adam, in a Moment, at first Sight of Eve, to cry out,—Bone of my Bone! a Piece of my self! taken out of me, to be again Joyned with me, and be One with me for Ever! Therefore shall a Man leave his Father and Mother and cleave to his Wife! What a Prophecy was this! fulfilled thro' the Earth, however degene­rate it is become, unto this Day! How should Adam in an Instant know any thing of being a Father & Mother and of having Children! and what the Temper and Manner of these Children should be, in this grand Article of Life, thro' all Genera­tions! What a Flight and Compass of Thoughts was this! beyond the Ken of Angels, who look'd on and saw this Interview, and heard the Saluta­tion, and understood not one half of it. — This was the first Time, that by the Mouth of Man was made known to the Angels, the manifold Was­dom of God.

"That Adam (says a late most Ingenious Au­thor ) should have a perfect Idea of Father and Mother before there was any such thing, and of the Affection and Endearment arising from that Ralation; and at the same time see clearly a Se­cond Affection arise from the Marriage of a Stranger, and getting the better of the Ties between Parent and Child; is a Problem that must puzzel all the Infidels in the World to explain. No Penetration of the Humane Mind, nothing but express Reve­lation from God to Adam, can account for this Prediction. — What Idea's were here in Adam's [Page 23]Mind before there were any Objects for them! the Idea of Parent and Child, of the paternal & filial Affection, and of a Love succeeding these and surmounting them, that should be Universal thro' all the Generations of Men upon the Earth! These are Perceptions, most agreable for Adam to have on the Sight of Eve, and yet utterly impossible for him to have in any natural Way."

Nor is it conceivable that Moses should imagine, and feign these Tho'ts for the Head and Mouth of Adam: But if Moses wrote them from God, then all is plain and easie. The Revealer was the same both to Adam and Moses, and what was Prophecy in One, was History in the Other.

And thus we see how worthy an Account we have from Moses of the first State of Man, with respect unto that Perfection of Knowledge and Wisdom in which he was created. Nothing could be more to the Glory of the CREATOR, nor be more honour­able to the Creature, than this Account. Certainly the Wisdom of Moses could never have gone into all the Particulars before cited, but it is GOD has spoken to Him and by him. GOD who inspired Adam to speak and act, revealed it to Moses; or it had never enter'd into his Heart.

I pass on to another Point, which Moses could never have tho't of, and that is the Institution of a SABBATH to Man, from the Day in which he was created; together with the Reason for God's Sanc­tifying the seventh Part of Time. Gen. ii. 1, 2, 3. Thus the Heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the Host of them; and on the seventh Day God ended his Work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh Day from all his Work which he had made: And God blessed the Seventh Day and sanctified it; [Page 24]because that in it He had rested from all his Work, which God had created and made.

It is highly agreable to Reason, and seems to me a plain Dictate of the Religion of Nature, that some Portion of Time be statedly Holy to God, and for the Reverend Worship of Mankind, as Social Creatures. What that Part of Time is, seems to me beyond the Power of Man's Reason to determine, whether a third, a fifth, a seventh, or a tenth. God must therefore reveal his Mind to Man in this Point. And He must do it early, as Moses tells us he did, even as soon as the Creation was finished. God let our Parents know immediately, that the Seventh Part of Time should be for ever holy to Himself, and for Exercises of Worship unto Mankind, Solitary and Social, to all Generations.

How well did this become the Proprietor and Lord of Man, Lord of his Life and Time, and of all his Powers, of Soul and Body! How did it be­come his own Glory, and his Creatures Duty and Happiness! that Man should render to Him a per­petual publick Acknowledgment as his Creator, and herein enjoy a stated blessed Communion with Him! growing in his Likeness and Love all his Days upon the Earth. God's Regards to Himself and us are manifest in a Sabbath. And it is meet to be his first Ordination to his Creature Man, his first Injuncti­on, Commandment and Law to him; that Man's [Page 25] first Day should be a holy Sabbath unto God.—What else should it be? Thou art worthy, O Lord, to re­ceive Glory and Honour and Power! for thou hast created all things, and for thy Pleasure they were and are created, Rev. iv. ult.

Surely reveal'd Religion must begin with the In­stitution of a Sabbath, and it can subsist by nothing less than the Observation of it. The Considera­tion of this is a shining Ray on the Face of Moses. The first Thing God provided for, was to be wor­shipped by his Creature for ever, in the most open and solemn Manner: the Salvation of his Creature depended on it, and His own Glory from him. And none but Moses ever gave the Reason why the Seventh Part of Time is sacred to the Worship of God, namely, because God had finished his Work in the Space of six Days.

Here is a sufficient Reason why this is the Part of Time declared to be morally Holy, and therefore to be put into the Moral Law, when given from Heaven; as Exod. xx. 11. It is a Reason becom­ing the MAKER of Man, his Lawgiver and Judge! meet to be given to Adam in Paradise, and meet to be given from Sinai to the Church.

The Sabbath was made for Man; as Christ has told us: Therefore as soon as Man was made the Sabbath was given to him. It is a good Day for Man, for Soul and Body both; for our Families especially, our Sons and Daughters, our Men and Maid Servants. These therefore are named in the Commandment, and even the labouring Cattle at our Doors. Rest is good, under the Curse of Toil and Sweat which Sin has bro't upon us. But holy Work is better, the Exercise and even Labour of the Mind Heart and Affections, in Contemplation Prayer and Praise, in holy Communications, in reading preaching and hearing the Word of God. This is the true Rest of a Soul devoted to God, [Page 26]and under the Attractions of Heaven, at the re­turning Seasons of God's own sanctifying. See Psalms xcii. 1,—5.cxi. 1,—4.

Justly have the Books of Moses been always read in the worshiping Assemblies, both of Jews and Christians, every Sabbath Day; He being the first Man that has written of a weekly Sabbath for Man, from the Beginning of the World unto the End of it. The number Seven seems accordingly honoured in the Course of Nature, more than any other, by the Moon in its constant Changes.

Seven has been the Ancient and honour'd Num­ber among the Nations of the Earth. They have measur'd their Time by Weeks from the Beginning. The Original of this was the Sabbath of God, as Moses has given the Reason of it in his Writings. No wonder then that this Number is honour'd thro' the Book of God. Noah waited Seven days, and sent out the Dove again. Balaam seems to have a superstitious Regard to this Number; "Build me seven Altars, and prepare me seven Oxen. At se­ven Years End was the Sabbatical Year, and the Ju­bilee to the Children of Israel at the End of seven times seven.

Seventy Weeks (of Years) were determined upon the Holy City, in the Prophecies of Daniel, for the Coming of the Messiah, the Anointing of the most Holy. And if we look into the Revelations of John, the last Book of Scripture, the Sevens multiply upon us; the seven golden Candlesticks, seven Stars, seven Horns, seven Eyes, seven Angels, seven Spirits of God, seven Thunders, seven Vials, the seven last Plagues. There seems something very particular in the HOLY GHOST's fixing so much upon this Number: And what should be the Key to it? but the Beginning of the Writings of Moses, the first Pages in the Book of God? his finishing his glorious Work in Six Days, and con­secrating [Page 27]the Seventh to be a Holy Sabbath to Him­self.— The Number Seven is made Honourable to us, both in the Works of God and also in his Word. His Word agrees with his Works herein, and it is a Testimony for Moses that God spake by him.

It should endear and make Venerable the Name of Moses to us, that we are thus let into the Rea­son of a Sabbath to the Church and People of God thro' all Times. It was meet that the wise and good God should fix it thus, and reveal it thus, from the Beginning. Mankind have never been with­out a Sabbath, nor ever will be.— We thus triumph in the Sabbath day, and in Moses by whom God made it known to us. We sing the Song of Moses and celebrate our Sabbaths. We remember that the first Thing he speaks of to us from God is the Sabbath. We remember how awfully he charges us to observe and keep it. Exod. xxxi. 12, 13, 14. The Name of Moses was venerable to Nehemiah on this Account. Nehem. ix. 13, 14.

Let us keep the Holy Day with Joy, in Memory of the World's Nativity, in Remembrance of God our MAKER. Let us wish to keep our Sabbaths al­ways, as our first Parents did their first Day unto God. God sanctify us on the Sabbath Day, as He has sanctified that to us. Let us every Lord's day remember the Law of Moses, God's Servant. Let Moses the Servant, lead us to CHRIST, the SON, in his own House. JESUS honoured the Sabbath, and did it greater Glory than Moses. Moses wrote of it, and JESUS wrought his Miracles of Grace on it. JESUS preach'd on it, so as never Man spake. The Jewish Sabbath was buried in the Grave of JESUS; the Christian Sabbath rose with Him on the first Day of the Week. Then he rested from his more glorious Work of our Redemption, made his Visits and sent down the HOLY SPIRIT thereon. We yet sanctify the Seventh Part of Time, to the [Page 28]Honour of GOD our Maker, Redeemer & Sanctifier, To the ONE GOD, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be Glory in the Churches of his Saints, while Sun and Moon, Day and Night endure! ‘Glory be to the FATHER, to the SON, & to the HOLY GHOST; as it was in the Beginning, is and ever shall be; World without End. Amen.’

I have insisted the more upon this great Point, (the very first by Moses Account after the Creation of Man, and of the last Importance to his Felicity and the CREATOR's Glory) because I find it wholly omitted by a most Ingenious Writer, while he selects three other Things from Moses Writings, which he well observes did require a Revelation in the State of Purity; namely, Food, Marriage and Language. But certainly the Sabbath stands as plain in Moses Account, and equally call'd for a Revelation from God; even that Part of Time which should be for ever sacred from Man, to the solemn public Wor­ship of God. For as Man was made for Worship, and also for worldly Works, so there must be a Sab­bath, or holy Rest, made for Man: That is to say, a Portion of Man's Time sacred to God. Of this Man's Reason and Conscience would easily tell him in his perfect State, but could not (I con­ceive) discover what that just Proportion was, Moses lets us know that this call'd for a Revela­tion from God to Adam, and accordingly the LORD GOD separated and blessed the seventh Day. That it must be a Seventh, and the Reason why a Se­venth, could be known only by Revelation. And this I take to be a grand Instance and Argument of the Credibility of Moses History; that whereas some Time must be Holy to God from Man, the Proportion is given by Him, and by none before him, with the most secret and illustrious Reason of it.

[Page 29] This Proportion of Man's Time is found by Ex­perience so convenient and sufficient, that none can be fix'd on by the Wit of Man alike sutable and fitting. And This is so great a Thing in the Histo­ry of Moses, in the Religion of Man, and in the Worship of God, and is so plain a Thing in the sa­cred Story, that I could by no Means omit it, nay could not but inlarge on it as a chief Strength and Beauty in the Argument before me. I wish that all Christians were duly sensible how great a Thing the Sabbath is in true Religion, according to the Scriptures of God, from the Beginning to the End of the World.

The only Exception to what I have advanced from this early Mention of the Institution of a Sabbath in the Writings of Moses, that I have met with, is this: ‘That we don't find the least Hint of the Observation of a Sabbath in all the Patri­archal State from the Days of Adam to that of Moses; and therefore it is probable that Moses mention'd it in his Account of the Work of Creation only by Way of Anticipation, after he had received the Decalogue at Sinai; where finding it given as a Reason for the fourth Com­mandment, That in six Days the Lord made Heaven and Earth, the Seas and all that in them is, and rested the seventh Day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it; he from thence took Occasion in the Beginning of his History to mention God's resting from all his Work, and blessing the Seventh Day.

If this manner of Arguing had come from the Mouth of an Infidel, I should have overlook'd the Weakness of it from his Prejudice against Revelation from God; but from the Pen of a Believer and a Christian Doctor, I can impute it to nothing but his low Esteem of the Sabbath, from an unhappy Edu­cation in that too common Prejudice prevailing in [Page 30]some Christian Schools, to the unknown Injury of true Religion and vital Piety. The Verity of Moses is indeed impeached, as well as one eminent Sig­nature of his Inspiration from Heaven thrown up, by this lame Concession, from the Silence of Scrip­ture concerning the Observation of a Sabbath be­fore the Flood. Whereas the whole Current of Scripture from the Days of Moses, thro' the Writ­ings of the Prophets, Evangelists and Apostles, is strong for a Weekly Sabbath, as a most necessary and important Means of Religion in the Church of God.— ‘Is it not then by far most probable, that the most Ancient Patriarchs did according to this early Appointment, recorded by Moses, observe it as a Day of Rest from Labour, and for the Worship of God their Creator? And that one Day in Seven, as divinely appointed, has run thro' all Dispensations, both before and after Moses, and must remain to the End of the World?’

The Thing next related by Moses is that a Para­dise was prepared for our first Parents, in their State of Innocence and Rectitude. The Earth was it self indeed a Paradise, but some One of the finest and richest Spots in it was singled out for Man's first Resi­dence & Dwelling. Gen. ii. 8, 15. And the Lord God planted a Garden Eastward in Eden, and there He put the Man whom he had formed; to dress it and keep it; where He had made to grow every Tree that is pleasant to the Sight and good for Food.

As the Sabbath had been given for the Soul, the better Part of Man, so was this Garden prepared for him as an imbodied Spirit; to gratify his Sight, [Page 31]Smell, Taste and Hearing; by every Sense, and Bounty of God, to draw forth his Heart to Him, his magnificent and munificent CREATOR.

Here Adam and Eve walk'd together, contem­plated and discoursed, eat and worship'd. The Birds sang in the Branches, the Trees were laden with painted Fruit, the Plants were covered with Flowers of the sweetest Odour, and Streams of pure Water ran by the green shady Walks. A Scene meet to typify and represent the Heavenly Felicity, which is therefore call'd by the Name of Paradise, and figur'd out to us by the Garden of God with the Tree of Life in it. Rev. xxii. Man's first State continued in, had been as like to Heaven for Hap­piness, as could be on Earth.

We read of the Trees of Eden in the Garden of God: Ezek. xxxi. 9. Eden signifies Pleasure. That must needs be a Place of Delights, which is meet to be called the Garden of God. — What a Garden was this? of God's own forming and laying out? of his own settling and planting? of his own prepar­ing for the Creature of his peculiar Delight, made in his Image and Likeness? There was doubtless a Collection of every Thing pleasant and fair for Delight, and all ranged in the most beauteous Or­der.—Souls know no higher Comparison whereby to express their Delights in GOD their Maker, Sa­viour and Sanctifier; nor His in Them; in and with whom He still walks as He did with Adam and Eve in Eden: Cant. iv12,—16.

The Scituation of the Earthly Paradise seems to me a vain Enquiry. After Sin had blasted it, it might become one of the most barren and waste Places, even before the Flood; as the Garden of Israel became after their Iniquity and Punishment was full. The Flood tore the Surface of the Earth in pieces, and the Spot where Paradise was may be now a Lake of Water, or a craggy Rock. Moses, [Page 32]I think, only pointed to the Place where about it was, by the new and present Rivers that are since the Disruption of the Earth. We must no more think of any Paradise here below, there is no such thing to be found. If there had ever been ano­ther, it had been in the Gardens of Solomon, but Vanity and Folly and Death soon convinc'd the Mo­narch that no Labour or Expence of Man can re­cover any Earthly Paradise.

And indeed the first Paradise had been nothing, without Purity, Rectitude and Immortality in it. As soon as Sin entered, and Death by Sin, Man found no more any Paradise in Eden, but fled, hid and was driven out of it. And so 'tis as to all our Imaginary Paradises regain'd here, in a State of Sin and Death. After all the Fatigue in the Experi­ment, or Attempt for them, we must write on 'em the Words of Solomon, which in Effect call 'em a Fools Paradise, Eccl. ii. 4,—11.

The Air without, and Wisdom within, was such in the Paradisaic State, that our Parents needed no Covering. The Man and his Wife were naked, and were not ashamed. This is admirably well said of a State of Innocence and moral Perfection. The Purity and Wisdom of God dwelt in them, and they could have nothing to blush at. This was the better, the Superior Part of Paradise; far more than all its delicious Fruits to the Eye or Palate, or than the perfum'd serene Air to their Nostrils. Their Paradise was within Themselves, and so is every wise and good Man's in the Grace of God within him. The obedient Animals about them were nothing to their own Obedience to God; His Spirit in 'em and Image on them. This made their Heart glad, their Face to shine, the Air calm, and the Fruits delicious. "By the Fall we have lost, as One well observes, the true Notion of Honour and Shame". There is nothing shameful but Sin, [Page 33]but every thing is good and great that belongs to Virtue and Sanctity. It is more than Chains to the Neck, Bracelets to the Arms, or a Crown for the Head. There is no Paradise regain'd, but in that Regeneration which CHRIST preach'd to Nico­demus, and which his Gospel produces in his Elect and Sanctified. We must be created anew after God, in Righteousness and true Holiness, and be made New Creatures. This is the Shadow of the Paradise past, and the Earnest of that to come.

Let our Meditation of the One end in nothing short of the Other. The Bible begins there and ends here. Rev. xxii. Surely it is as the Revela­tion of God should begin and end. God meant Man two Paradises, the one in the Way to the o­ther. By Adam's losing the first, the other also is lost to most of his miserable Children. If the first Paradise had been kept, dress'd and improved, we had not fail'd of the second. But O the Shame and Misery to Mankind, when we reflect — how soon the Enjoyments of a Paradise were all forfeit­ed and lost! all vilely thrown away as a Thing of nought!

How ungrateful to God, and unnatural to Them­selves, was this Sin of our first Parents! We are driven from the Joys of Paradise, into the sorrow­ful Consideration of the Crime and Guilt of Man's Apostacy. From a Garden of highest Peace and Pleasure, we pass into an Hospital of Diseases, Sores, Pains, Anguishes both of Soul and Body! into the Agonies of Death, the Putrefaction of the Grave, and the Torments of Hell for Evermore.

O dismal Change of State and Place! from the Paradise of GOD, to the Pit of Devils. Legions of Angels had fell from the Heights of Heavenly Glory before this; had left their first State, and were cast down into Hell. They are in Chains of Darkness reserved unto Judgment, a Pet. ii. 4. Jude [Page 34]v. 6. Lucifer, (the Prince of these fallen Angels, the Devil and Satan, that Son of Pride and Malice) could not bear to see a Spirit in Flesh in the Image and Favour of God, in a Paradise on Earth, while he was sunk down to Hell, accursed. He there­fore in Spite to God and to his happy Creature Man, in his accursed Hatred of the Image of God in One so much his Inferior in the Order of Crea­tures, meditated (and alas accomplish'd) Man's Loss of his Original Holiness, his Ejection from his earthly Paradise, his Forfeiture of the Heavenly, and Condemnation after him to a Hell of everlast­ing Burnings. And now let us see by what Means he effected this his devilish Design.

Only the Writings of Moses let us into the Ori­ginal of Evil. That GOD is good, and that He must needs make all things good, and Man so in a singular manner, is agreed on all Hands. But whence then should Evil come? This is a Difficulty that has puzzled all Men, who have not seen or us'd the Key of Scripture. That only opens to us the Gates of the Shadow of Death, and shows us the Goodness and Holiness of God, without the least Imputation from all the Misery and Ruin, that Man by the Instigation of the Devil has bro't upon himself.

The greatest Wonder is, how Sin could enter into any of the Angels of God, in their Superior State of Knowledge and Wisdom, Goodness and Holiness. And the Guesses of learned & pious Men are very vain, I fear, in this Point, if they venture further than the SPIRIT OF GOD has led 'em, in the few Hints given of this tremendous Matter in the written Word. There we read of the Condemna­tion of the Devil, that it was for Pride: 1 Tim. iii. 6. The most probable Account that can be of the Sin of Angels: that there was some Discontent, Emu­lation [Page 35]or Envying among them, or some Aspiring to be as the MOST HIGH; to which Sin he prompted our Parents also, and prevailed.

This was the Original of Sin and Misery; pro­bably long before our Earth was created and Man upon it. And when Angels saw the Delights of God in the Sons of Men and shouted for Joy, the Devils were filled with Madness and Vexation at it, and set themselves to destroy this pleasing Workmanship of God.

We are greatly obliged to Moses, in the Hand of GOD, for this Discovery to us of the Cause the Way and Means of our Ruin. We are deliver'd from the vain and absurd Imagination which others have gone into of an Evil God, as well as a Good One. A most impious Principle, and pleasing eno' to the Devil; to make a God of him, and give him a Throne like the Most High. A very grateful Return to Him for all the Mischief he has done us!

The Persians went into this ridiculous Notion, which was the Reason of the Prophet's Words to Cyrus, the Anointed while yet unborn, in the Name of the LORD: Isai. xlv. 5, 6, 7. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is none beside Me; I girded thee, tho' thou hast not known Me: That they may know from the Rising of the Sun and from the West, that there is none beside Me: I am the LORD and there is none else: I form the Light and create Darkness, I make Peace & create Evil; I the LORD do all these things. You may be ready to think, this would mislead the People of Cyrus into an ill Tho't of the Good God, as if he were the Author of Evil. But the plain Meaning is, that there can­not possibly be two Gods, the one good and the o­ther evil; Opposites and Rivals to each Other; and that such an Imagination ought never to have enter'd into their foolish blinded Hearts. For GOD is necessarily One only, and most Good; and [Page 36]at first made all Things good, and forbad Evil to the uttermost. But intelligent Creatures sinn'd a­gainst their own Light, abus'd their Freedom, and bro't the Evil upon Themselves. And now this Evil is under the wise and righteous Government of the Good God, is the Punishment of a wicked World, and over ruled by God to the most wise, good and holy Ends. Therefore there is but One Providence and Dominion over all, which is alto­gether good and perfect, and in the Hand of the GOD of Israel, the one living and true God.

Into all this Train of Truth and Religion to the One Eternal supream GOD, Moses leads us by his Account of the Origine of Evil; telling us how God made Man very good and happy, and how soon he made himself sinful and miserable.

But the Wonder then must be about the Way and Means of Man's bringing himself under Sin and Misery. And this is the Particular which Moses (under the Inspiration of God) has revealed to us. A Matter of the last Importance to the Honour of God, and for our Recovery to Him. And when we have considered Moses his Account, we cannot conceive of any other, or like Way, for the Original of all the Evils, of Body and Soul, that we find our Selves under, from our Birth into the World, to our going out of it.

Moses therefore lets us know, in the first place; That God having made Man's Body to subsist and live by Food, growing out of the Earth; He im­mediately gave Direction to Man about his proper Food. Gen. i. 29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every Herb bearing Seed, which is upon the Face of all the Earth; and every Tree yielding Fruit; to you it shall be for Meat. Moses goes on in the next Chapter and tells us, ‘That the LORD GOD having planted the Garden in Eden for his Crea­ture [Page 37] Man, He fill'd it with every Tree pleasant to the Eye and good for Food; and in the Midst of the Garden he plac'd the Tree of Life, and also a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: And that the LORD GOD commanded the Man, saying, Of every Tree of the Garden thou mayest freely eat, out of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the Day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Now what could be more good than all this? con­sulting the Honour of God and Man's Happiness, in God's Government and Man's Obedience! and other Way for Either there could be none. What could the wise and holy ONE do more, or what less, to prevent the very Being and Knowledge of Evil? He forbid it on Pain of Death, he told our Parents the certain Consequent of their Disobedience to Him, in this or any other Particular; that it would be ALL EVIL to them, Death and Damnation to Body and Soul.

It was in the Power and Will of Man now to have obey'd and continued happy; but to be sure you would have tho't that he could never dare to offend in this particular Point, by Eating of the forbidden Tree, which carried the Knowledge of Evil in its Name. But God saw Man's Danger was here, in his Appetite, which it was fit to restrain and direct as to every thing that would be hurtful to the Life of the Body, and therein also to the Powers of the Soul; and whatsoever was not so, Man might be sure his bountiful Maker would not prohibit to him.

It seems very reasonable to think, That Man in the Perfection of his Understanding needed the Direction of God, as Moses tells us he had it, in respect of his proper F [...]d. He was not created with a natural Instinct like the brute Creatures, which is to them a more infallible Direction than [Page 38] Reason could be in the matter of Food. The Crea­tures were made to be govern'd only by Sense, and a Sense they have very perfect what to eat & drink, and what not; even as if they knew and could say to themselves, ‘This is good for me, and that would do me hurt; I chuse this therefore as I shun that.’Reason in Man was not prima­rily intended for these inferior Things, and there­fore was never meant to serve as Instinct does in the brute Kind the Purposes of Universal Sense and Antipathy, which is necessary to their Preser­vation. Reason being given us for higher Uses, Man seems to need a Revelation from God about his inferior Good, his Food. It is by Observation and Experience that Mankind get the Knowledge of Things noxious to Them, among the Herbs or Fruits of the Earth. And there being, let us sup­pose, one Tree in the Midst of the Garden of a poisonous Nature to the Humane Body, God forbad it to Man, and made it the Trial of his Obedience; assuring him it would be deadly to him if he eat of it.

I own, that it is not necessary for us to suppose this Poison in the forbidden Tree. It is eno' that God forbad it, were it never so good in it self. ‘It was certainly intended to prove our first Pa­rents whether they would continue good, or lapse into known Evil.’ They knew it would be good in them to abstain and obey, and would cer­tainly be very evil in them, and bring Evil on 'em to disobey and eat. They could not think that God would have denied 'em this Tree, if it were not Evil for them in it self, for any other End but the Trial of their Obedience, whether they would continue good.— Yet on the other Hand, there might be (for ought we know) a natural Evil to the Body of Man in this forbidden Tree. As we are told by Bishop Patrick that many of the Fa­thers [Page 39]suppos'd there ‘was a Virtue in the Tree of Life to preserve and maintain the Animal Spi­rits, and the bodily Organs, in that equal Tem­per and State in which they were created.—’ But as to This we may think differently, and yet not differ upon it. It comes to the same Thing, if with other Divines we judge the Tree of Life to have been only ‘a Sign and Seal of the Conti­nuance of Life and Happiness to Adam, even unto Immortality and everlasting Blessedness, thro' the Grace and Favour of his Maker, up­on Condition of his Perseverance in his State of Innocence and Obedience.’ In like manner the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was at least this, "A Sign and warning to Adam of the Loss of Life and Happiness, and of the sad Expe­riment of Evil in Soul and Body; and as such it was forbidden him. — So that here were Life and Death, Blessing and Cursing, set before our first Parents, as in two Sacramental Signs & Seals annex­ed to the Covenant of Works.

In short, Moses lets us know that Man's Depra­vation both in Soul and Body was from his Sinning against God, and that the Sin of Man was his in­dulging an irregular Appetite, in an Instance positively forbidden him, with a most plain Threatning of the mortal Effects of it| He tells us also the Temptation Man was under to com­mit the Sin, namely, to attain a higher Degree of Knowledge than he was made in. God had made him very knowing and happy in all Respects, and he ought to have been not only contented with, but very thankful for his Endowments and Enjoyments both intellectual and sensitive. God had made him to use his Knowledge, and to govern his Ap­petites, [Page 40]in a reverential Obedience to Him his LORD. To disobey was necessarily to defile him­self both as to Soul and Body, and that presump­tnously in Defiance to the Warning given him of the fatal Effect on both, Death bodily and spiri­tual. Here was a Complication of Infidelity, In­gratitude, Discontent, Prophaness, Sensuality, Pride and Arrogance, with unnatural Cruelty a­gainst his own Life, and that of his Offspring.

This Account of the Original of Sin and Misery wonderfully agrees with the Progress and Propaga­tion of it from Age to Age. As one excellently observes and argues, ‘We see it still in our Selves to be the Establishment of God, in the Nature and Constitution of Things, that all irregular Indulgence of bodily Appetite, of one Kind or other, is atttended with Evil: And so also every inordinate Affection and Passion of Soul, and in particular all vain Pursuits of superiour Wisdom, Affectation and Pride of Knowledge, naturally tend to impair the Powers of the Mind and make it vain. And as this is matter of Fact, so what can be more worthy of the Wisdom, Goodness and Perfection of God's Government, than that the Abuse of Reason should impair the Powers of it, and Indulgence of Appetite make it more irregular.’ And if every Disor­der of Mind and Flesh in Man is still attended with Evil, how agreable to Reason must this Ac­count of the Original of Evil be, which Moses gives us; soil, That God acquainted Adam and Eve, as soon as he had made 'em, with this certain and invariable Constitution of Humane Nature; and therefore vehemently prohibited every inordi­nate Desire and Appetite, because of the Evil that would onsue upon it, to Themselves first and also to their Posterity after them; which in the Course [Page 41]of Nature is unavoidable, ‘The Infections of Parents affecting their Children while yet in their Loins.

And this again was a very great Aggravation of the first Transgression, that it must be in the Course of Nature the Inlet and Entail of Sin and Misery upon the Offspring. If the first Parents corrupted themselves, their Issue must come depraved into the World both in Soul and Body: For who can bring a clean Thing out of an unclean? That which is born of the Flesh is Flesh. People that are vici­ous and lustful corrupt their own Seed, more or less by their Indulgences, and often entail Diseases, Dolours and evil Inclinations upon their Offspring; which is one Way of God's visiting the Iniquity of Parents on their Children to the third and fourth Ge­neration. — And that the first Corruption of Man­kind should be by their first Parents eating of a Fruit forbidden to them, because Evil for them to eat of, by a good God, can't seem at all strange to us who know that there are several sorts of Fruits growing at this Day about us, the eating whereof would poison our Bodies and be deadly to us, some presently, some more leisurely. And those that do in the most slow manner affect the bodily Life, do at the same Periods of Time and in the same Degrees affect the Soul and hurt the Powers of the Mind. The Experiment and Knowledge of Evil comes on Mankind after this Manner unto this Day. No wonder then if it first came in at this Door. Nay it may be we should find, if we could but attain a perfect Knowledge of the Effects of e­very forbidden Indulgence of bodily Appetite, and the Passions of our Souls, that there is not the least of either Kind we can be guilty of, but it does in some Degree impair the Health and Life of the Body, as well as the Virtue and Purity of the Soul. Our Soul and Body in their present [Page 42]Union suffer together, by every Intemperance and Lusting of Flesh or Spirit, bring on their own Dis­solution, and treasure up Evil against the World to come; where God has told us we must suffer in both, if Sin is died in; if it is not repented of, subdued and forsaken here in the Body: Which is the only way to recover something of a Para­disaic State for Souls here, and of Life everlasting for Soul and Body hereafter.

Let the Wit of Man show if it can a more eredible, a like natural Account of the Original and Propagation of Sin and Misery. And if the Free­thinkers, the Deists and Unbelievers of the present Age cannot give us a more likely Account; more worthy of a wise and good God, and more agre­able to the Nature of Man; let them receive Con­viction and confess that GOD was in Moses of a Truth, or at least let them cease their Cavilling and Snarling at the Holy Scriptures, and from blasphem­ing the Writings of Moses.

For my own part, If I know what free thinking is in this our degenerate State, wherein we find the Powers of Mind and Body infeebled and depraved to a great Degree; If I know what it is to reason clearly and impartially, it is on the Side of Moses, and by Faith given to what he has written as a Revelation from God unto us. But it is no great wonder to see the Men of Licence and vicious Life at Defiance to the Writings of Moses, which would convince them of Sin and lead 'em to the Original of it, and thereby condemn to Death all their lov'd criminal Indulgences both of Flesh and Spirit. For if they own Moses his Account to be true, Death must be for ever staring 'em in the Face in all the Excesses of their bodily Appetites, in all their in­ordinate Passions, and more especially in their dar­ling imperious Assuming of Knowledge to them­selves, [Page 43]as if none had tasted of that Tree beside 'em, but they were the Gods knowing Good & Evil.

And it is too true that this is their Guilt and Aspiration, in Similitude of Adam's Transgression, while they ridicule the Imputation of it and the Derivation of it. So has the Serpent beguiled 'em thro' his Subtlety, and like their first Parents they transgress daily, but do not see themselves naked. While they laugh at the Account of Adam's Sin, and banter Moses for it, they are but feeding on the Tree of Death without Fear.

I say again, The Origine of Evil had remain'd unknown to us to this Day, if God had not reveal'd it to us in his Word. The World by Wisdom could not know it. Neither the Grecian or Roman Schools could imagine which way Mankind had become so vicious, foolish and miserable. The most pro­bable Solution of the Matter was the Opinion of a pre-existent State wherein Souls had sinned, and were sent into these Bodies as into Prisons in Way of Punishment. Others went into the before na­med ridiculous Notion of two opposite and contrary Principles or Causes, the One of all the Good in the World, the other of all the Evil in it. What Confusion was there in this Imagination of an Evil God? how were their foolish Hearts darkned? What a Mercy is it to be delivered out of this Maze and Labyrinth of Evil! Truth is easie, but Error is endless. How plain is the Matter now Moses has told it to us? in the Quest whereof we should have wandered in vain without his Clue.

Evil is from the Creature and not from God. Far be it from the ALMIGHTY who cannot be tempted with Evil, neither tempteth he any Man. Angels and Men were drawn away of their own Lust and enticed. God inclined both the One and Other strongly to Good, commanded it, and forbad the [Page 44]Knowledge of Evil. Angels were high in the Creation of God, but aspiring to be higher they fell by Pride. Fallen they swell'd with Rage and Envy and Hatred of God, and of every happy Being, the Objects of his Love and Favour. Man being of this blessed Number, the Prince of Devils had him in his spiteful Eye, and presently devised Means how to spoil God of his Glory from Man, and Man of his Blessedness in the Favour of God. He knew there was but one Way in which to com­pass this dire Event, and that was to entice Man into Sin, the abominable Thing which God hates. To compass this he considered the Nature of Man both as to Soul and Body, the Appetite of the one to Food, and the Thirst of the other after Knowledge: And there being in the Garden one Tree of good­ly Fruit to look on forbidden to the Man, he pro­posed if he could by any Means to bring him to lust after it and eat of it, and he fix'd on that by which he and his Angels had fallen; scil, Discon­tent in his State, and by aspiring after more Know­ledge; a Temptation to which he would draw from the very Name of the forbidden Tree, the Tree of Knowledge; a Tree (he would feign) to be desir­ed for an Increase of Knowledge and Wisdom.

In this Way, as Moses tells us, Man was seduced, thro' the Subtlety of Satan, the Prince of Devils, to disobey God, and bring Ruine on Himself and on his Posterity, both as to Soul and Body. And what can be more probable than such a Way and Inlet to all the Evil we find our Selves subject to here in this Life, and to Death the End of it? What but Disobedience to God our Maker, and Re­bellion against his Will made known to us for our Good? even for our Preservation in Holiness and Happiness. What can be more honorary and glo­rious to God than this Account of the Original of Evil? and what more like our Selves, our own [Page 45]Consciences being Witnesses? For to be sure we find our Selves fallen into Sin, and most prone to it by Nature from our Birth; and what more like­ly Account can there be of our coming into such a State, than by the Instigation of some Devil or other, in such an Instance as Moses has related? Nor can we wonder at the Consequence of so much Evil, bodily and spiritual; upon the Supposition of such Sin and Transgression.

Let us therefore seriously peruse and weigh the whole Process of the Temptation and Seduction of our first Parents, as it is given by Moses, and see if it be not the most likely, and only probable Account of the Origine of Evil that has been offered.

That Evil could not come from the Good GOD, as His Act, Will or Pleasure, is most certain: The Nature of God must abhor from it, and so does Moses his Account.— That Evil is of two Sorts is evident, moral and penal; the Evil of Sin and Pu­nishment for Sin: Moses reveals it, and we are conscious to it within our Selves; we have Sense of Sorrow and Pain, and we have the Conscience of Sin.— That bodily and Soul Sorrows or Suffer­ings, and that Dissolution of Soul and Body which they work, should be the Fruit of our Sinning a­gainst God, is the most easy, natural and only rea­sonable and worthy Account of the Matter, that the Wit of Man can give.— That Evils beset us from the Womb, and pursue us thro' all our Life here in the Flesh, wear out our Bodies and Spirits, and bring down our green or gray Heads to the Grave, is a thing not to be denied. — That these are under the Providence and Government of a most wise, good and holy GOD, is as certain as the very Being of One.—That they must come upon us for Correction and Judgment, and in a Way of Pu­nishment, [Page 46]is sensible to Flesh and Blood, and evi­dent to Reason: We groan, weep, cry out and beg for Mercy, Compassion and Respite, under our bodily Maladies & Pressures. — What GOD should punish us for, but for Sin against Him, some cri­minal Disorder of our Appetites and Affections, in Contradiction to the Law of our Nature, his Will made known to us for our Good and his Glory from us, is not to be imagined. — That this Sin is of our Selves, or by the Instigation of some evil Be­ing who had himself fallen from God, is as evi­dent to our Understandings as that God is good, and can be the Author only of what is good, pure and perfect.— That this good God should do all that is fit and proper to prevent his happy Creature from falling into Evil, is every way agreable to our Reason, as Moses has told us that he did. — That He should hainously resent his Creatures pre­sumptuous Sinning, is most agreable to all our Ideas of his Wisdom, Holiness, Dominion and Govern­ment.— That He is very just and righteous in the Infliction of Evil upon the Sinner, is as undenia­ble as his necessary Relation to us of a Law­giver and a Judge. — The only Doubt or Question then is, Whether Moses his Account of Adam's Sin, by a criminal Indulgence of his Appetite, in a par­ticular forbidden Instance, at the Sollicitation of a fallen Angel, that was before become an Enemy to GOD and Goodness; be not a very rational Account of the Introduction of Evil, into this Part of the Creation of God which we inhabit? — If the Infidels, who are ready to ridicule Moses his Account, can give a better, let them do it: But this they do not attempt.— Yet they say that the Account of Moses is incredible, because of the Agency of the Serpent, his Part in seducing Eve, and God's Curse upon him for it.—But let us deli­berately read over, and examine, what Moses has [Page 47]written of this Matter, in the third Chapter of Genesis; and if we cannot vindicate it as worthy of the blessed GOD, and the most likely Way of Man's first Sin and the Evil consequent thereon, then let 'em mock on.— Or I would rather say, Altho' we cannot answer for every Difficulty in the Account given of Man's Fall, yet we may see Eno' in it of GOD, his Wisdom, Goodness, Holiness and Justice, to still the Enemy and the Avenger, and to fill us with Admiration of and Thankfulness for the Writings of Moses.

The Matter then lies thus,

  • 1. There was a Tree of Evil in the Garden where Adam and Eve were plac'd by God.
  • 2. The Nature of this Tree was such, or the Constitution of God respecting it was such, that if Man eat of it 'twould bring Evil on him.
  • 3. God immediately inform'd our first Pa­rents hereof, and positively forbad 'em to eat of it, because of the Evil it would bring upon them if they dar'd to touch it.
  • 4. He therefore call'd it in their Hearing by the Name of the Tree of Know­ledge of Good and Evil; which was to say, where­by they would experience within themselves what Evil is, and how it differs from the Good which they were in the full Enjoyment of.
  • 5. He let them know therefore, that this Tree was placed there for the Trial of their Obedience; whether in the midst of all the other Fruits of Paradise, of all which they might freely and safely eat, they would regard his Will and Pleasure in this one Prohibition, which was also for their Preservation.
  • 6. He therefore also set a Tree of Life in the Midst of the Garden, as a Sacramental Sign or natural Means of Immortality, for him to eat of; while the Tree forbidden to him would only bring certain Death on him. — Upon all we must remember the Perfection of Understanding wherein our first Parents [Page 48]were created; that they perfectly understood the Mind and Will of God in all this Prohibition, with the Reason and Equity of their Re­straint in this Particular, which plainly appears from Eve's Answer to the Serpent, Gen. iii. 2, 3, And the Woman said to the Serpent, We may cat of the Fruit of the Trees of the Garden; but of that Tree which is in the Midst of the Garden God hath said, "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it lest ye die.

And now

  • 1. Let us suppose with Moses a World of accursed fallen Spirits, with Satan at their Head, who in their Pride and Rebellion against God had left their first Seat, and were full of En­mity to God, full of all subtlety and Mischief, Ene­mies of all Righteousness, as contrary to God and all Goodness as Darkness is to Light.
  • 2. We may reasonably grant that these wicked diabolical Spi­rits, in their Spite against God, and Enmity to his Image in Man, and Envy of his Delight in him, would desire to seduce Mankind into Sin and Misery after themselves.
  • 3. There is nothing in Reason and Justice to forbid God's permitting the Tempter to try the Obedience of his happy Creature, endu­ed with Knowledge, Holiness and Strength for yielding him a constant and resolute Obedience.
  • 4. It is not unlikely, that God having placed a Tree in the Garden which he had forbidden Man to touch, the Tempter would fix on that particu­lar Test, and try if he could not prevail over our Parents in this matter of bodily Appetite.
  • 5. Fix­ing on this Way of Temptation, he lays his Train on what Motive to induce Man to transgress.


  • 1. Remembring well how he fell himself by Pride, aspiring after a higher State in the Creation than that God had given him, he naturally tho't this as likely a Way whereby to prevail over Man, a [Page 49]like Intelligent Spirit with himself, but in a Body of Flesh.
  • 2. If therefore he can prevail on Adam or Eve to lust after greater Knowledge and Wisdom, he knew that they would fall after him, into his own Condemnation.
  • 3. To compass this he re­solves to improve the Name of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and to recommend the Tree to Man as a Tree to be desired to make them wiser than God had made 'em; yea to make 'em as Gods, as Angels, like GOD Himself, for Understanding and Wisdom.
  • 4. To this End he craftily proposed to enter into some brute Creature, or to assume the Form of one, and watching an Opportunity he would in the Sight of Eve or Adam, or both, eat of the Fruit of the forbidden Tree, and then speak to them with a Man's Voice, and with the Reason and Understanding of a Man; to let 'em see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, the Power and Virtue of that Fruit, to change a brute Crea­ture into Rational; and from thence to perswade 'em that if they would eat of the same Fruit their Souls would by a Parity of Reason be raifed into Angels.

This seems evidently to be the Scheme which the Devil laid, according to Moses Account; and a more subtle one could not be laid: It was a Depth of Satan. In Pursuance of it,

  • 1. He consider'd which among the brute Creatures had the most na­tural Subtlety and Beauty, and might therefore be the most taking in Man's Eye: And pitch'd upon the Serpent; which did not go upon its Belly, or crawl in the Dust and feed on it as after the Curse; but was as much more beauteous and charming a Creature to the Eye of Man, as it is now base, ab­ject and hateful.
  • 2. He watch'd his Opportunity to find Eve alone, near to the forbidden Tree, to speak to her as out of the Mouth of the Serpent.
  • [Page 50] 3. We may will suppose she was exceedingly sur­prised to hear a brute and dumb Creature speak with humane Voice and Understanding, and that she might be ready to express her Surprise thereat. And
  • 4. We may as reasonably suppose that the Devil in the Serpent's Form, like himself, a false and lying Spirit, told her that he came by his Know­ledge and Understanding, and by the Power of Speech, by hapning to eat of the excellent Fruit of that Tree: That whereas till now he had been indeed a brute Creature and destitute of Know­ledge, immediately his Eyes were open, and a Man's Heart was given him, and this Light and Understanding came into him, which she now saw and heard.
  • 5. We may well imagine that the pretended Serpent told her this with a great Appea­rance of Joy and Transport, as one must needs have that was at once transform'd from the Spirit of a Beast to that of a humane Intelligence.
  • 6. We may as well think that hereupon Eve spake her Admiration of this Event, and let the Serpent know how that God had forbidden them to taste of this Tree; which she could not but the more muse upon and wonder at, upon what she now saw and heard.
  • 7. To which the Serpent also answers with a Shew of Wonder, and asks (as Moses tells us) "Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every Tree in the Garden? q. d. Can it be so? and what can this mean? can the good God lay any such Re­straint upon you? and forbid you this Tree in parti­cular?
  • 8. Eve naturally, and truly replied, Yes, We may eat of the Fruit of the Trees of the Garden, but of this Tree God hath said, "Ye shall not eat of it; neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

It is plain there had been some previous Confe­rence between the Serpent and Eve, before the Ser­pent's Words, "Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat? It seems to be a Return to somewhat said [Page 51]before. The Temptation had been else too abrupt, and the Devil had betray'd himself to be endued with more than humane Knowledge; even to know what God had said to Adam and Eve while he was yet a Brute and without Understanding.— Or if you would chuse to think, that the Serpent would have Eve imagine, that he had indeed attain'd to the Intelligence of Angels by eating of the forbid­den Fruit, it will but carry the Deception yet higher, and make the Temptation so much the stronger.—But it is more likely that he appear'd to take this Information from her own Lips, and leads her into Wonder and Inquisitiveness after the Reason of such a Prohibition to them; while she saw (as was pretended) the happy wondrous Effect that the Fruit had on him, the Serpent, that was before an ignorant and dumb Beast.—And when the Devil had by this Wile shook her Mind, rais'd in her a Suspense and doubtful Admiration, and too much a Regard to her Senses, in a Contradiction to the Word of God; then the Tempter boldly shot his fiery Dart, and as a Creature of superior Light said to the Woman, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the Day you eat your Eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God's, knowing Good and Evil.

This bold Satanical Reasoning had its cursed Effect upon the Mind and Heart of Eve! She took in the Poison of Pride, and the Lust after more Knowledge conceived within her, and she fell after the Example of Satan. She look'd upon the Fruit with Desire, believing all that the Serpent had said of it. It look'd good for food; nay the Serpent had found it so: It was pleasant to her Eye, but more to her aspiring Mind: She consi­dered it as desirable to make her wise, wise as the Angels of God who know good and evil: She gree­dily took therefore of the Fruit and eat, and gave [Page 52]also to her Husband with her, and he did eat. That is to say, She went away to Adam, with some of the Fruit in her Hand, and told him of all that she had seen and heard of the Serpent's eating and speaking, with Understanding equal if not superior to their own; and that he had told her to what Angelical and Godlike Heights of Knowledge the Fruit will raise them upon their eating of it: To all which Adam hearkened, and from a like Lust after for­bidden Knowledge, he suddenly, rashly and fatally took from his Wifes Hand and eat.

It seems to me, that our First Parents not tak­ing Time to deliberate on the Matter, did not see into the real Devilism of the Serpent's Words; that it was a giving God the Lye, |and to tax him with want of Goodness and Bounty to his Creatures, or with grudging to 'em and denying them the Know­ledge that was proper for 'em. Or if we may think that the sagacious Minds of Adam and Eve could not fail of these Reflections upon the Devil's Words, then was their Crime and Guilt so much the more like unto the very Devils who deceived them.

And now I may appeal unto the Heart of every impartial Reader, if Moses has not given us the most likely Account we can imagine, of the Seduction and Fall of our first Parents? How the Serpent be­guiled Eve thro' his Subtlety! how by one Man Sin has enter'd into the World, and Death by Sin, and has passed upon all! how by one Man's Disobedience all are made Sinners.

I go on now to the Consequents upon the Fall of Adam, as they are related by Moses: And for my own part I cannot but think the Account given by him to be so rational and natural, that I cannot imagine how it could be otherwise. That is to say,

[Page 53] First, That as soon as our First Parents had sinned they saw themselves naked: i. e. found themselves under some shameful Disorder both of Mind and Body: A Cloud came upon their Minds, Guilt stung 'em, Fear seiz'd 'em, and they saw each other's Face chang'd for the worse: The Joys of Inno­cence left their Eyes, the Poison of the Fruit work'd in their Veins, sick Qualms and cold Sweats came upon them, and their Minds were full of Confusion and Consternation at their Disappoint­ment: They felt the forbidden Knowledge of Evil, and were ready to run and hide themselves any where.

Secondly, It is most reasonable to think that God would now appear, arraign and condemn them to die, according to his Threatning in Case they disobey'd Him. Whereupon it is natural to think the Sinners would fly from his Presence, as Moses says they did, as soon as they heard his Voice.—It is also altoge­ther worthy of GOD to call them forth with the Voice of an offended Father and Judge, Adam, where art thou? — The Answer of Adam must needs be just as Moses relates it; scil, a plain Con­fession of his Crime; for there was no hiding it. "And he said, I heard thy Voice in the Garden and was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid my self. Shame naturally hides it self, and Fear flies.— This was Confession eno' of the Fact to God, and therefore the Reply is just which Moses gives us from the Mouth of God, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? hast thou eaten of the Tree whereof I com­manded thee, that thou shouldst not eat? q. d. No­thing but the Loss of thy Innocence, and Guilt of Sin, could strike thee with this Fear, and cover thee with this Shame: Where is the Love and Joy with which you were won't to welcome my Presence? — And now what could Adam say for himself, but those words which Moses relates, lay­ing [Page 54]the Blame on his Wife, who was first in the Transgression? And what should Eve answer, but as Moses has it, "The Serpent beguiled me. — And upon this their Confession what should follow, but God's passing Sentence and Judgment? — And where should the Judgment begin, but on the Ser­pent? i. e. Satan the Contriver and Author of all this Sin and Mischief.— And first the Curse falls upon the Instrument which the Devil us'd, the Ser­pent; and our Parents saw the Creature chang'd from that beauteous Form wherein it was before, into a crawling hissing Snake, viler than every Beast about them, to slide upon his Belly in the Dust, and feed upon it. No doubt, this Change upon the Serpent struck Adam and Eve with new Re­morse and Terror; as a Criminal that is to die for Beastiality sees with Horror the poor Beast slain before his Eyes, as the dire Prologue to his own Execution. — Then under the Shadow of the En­mity that should for ever be between the Sons and Daughters of Eve and every Kind of Serpents, which we all know to be universal and invincible; (These being ever ready at the Heels of Men to bite 'em, and They being ever as ready to bruise the Heads of Serpents and destroy them) I say, under the Image of this, the Devil is told of and threatned with a glorious SEED of this poor miserable Woman that should break his Head, while he should be only able to bruise his Heel. — This was a deadly Word to the Old Serpent, the Devil and Satan; and no doubt the Fiend was struck with Torments by it, which no Humane Soul can think of. And fit it was the Judgment should begin with him who was the guilty Cause and Beginning of all this Tra­gedy.— At the same Time, It was a most merciful Revelation of a SAVIOUR, and of a Suffering RE­DEEMER, to be born of Eve, born of a Woman without the Concurrence of a Son of Adam; who [Page 55]should conquer Satan and destroy his Work and abolish Death, by recovering Souls from Sin & Hell. All which has been fulfilled, we know, in the Per­son, Temptations, Ministry, Miracles, Obedience, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection, Ascention and Reign of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Second A­dam; Who will come again in Glory to judge An­gels, and cast Death and Hell into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone.—The Devil heard this his Judg­ment, and trembled, tho' he understood it not at the Time. Our Parents also heard it, and were enlightned to conceive of some most glorious Deli­verer, a Son of Eve, in God's Time; and it was Life from the Dead to them; while it was Death and Damnation in the worst Form that could be to the proud Serpent, to be overcome, destroyed, judged and damned by a mortal Son of that weak Woman, whom he had just deceiv'd into Sin and Ruin.— Say now, if this was not worthy of the Infinite Wisdom and Foreknowledge of God, his Sovereignty and Dominion, his Justice Mercy and Grace! This is the LORD'S Doing and wonderful in our Eyes.

Then GOD, the Judge, proceeded and told the Woman, that he would multiply her Sorrows in bear­ing Children, for alluring her Husband into Sin; and that henceforth She and her Daughters should be in such a suffering sort of Subjection to the Mens disordered Passions, as they would never at all have known, if She had not been an Instru­ment in his Sin and Fall. — The Man also was told that the Ground was cursed for his sake, that in Sorrow he should eat of it all the Days of his Life, till he return'd into it: Which Words were a plain and express Reprieve granted to Adam and Eve from deserved instant Death; but as plain and positive a Declaration of Death working in them, from that Day forward, and bringing them down [Page 56] slowly to the Grave. — All Mankind have been from that Day a Comment on this righteous and terrible Judgment of God; having the full Expe­riment of it in Themselves. All sadly know the Truth of it. It has been, is and will be to the End of the World, as Moses has written. Adam's Sin is the Original, Cause and Means, of all the dolorous Diseases of Body and Griefs of Mind, which bring on that Death, to which every Son and Daughter of Adam are inevitably doom'd by the righteous Sentence of God.

And now say, Have we not Reason to think that Moses has writ from the Mouth of God, in all this Account of Adam's Fall and Punishment, and of Satan's Agency therein and Judgment therefor? It agrees to all the present known State of Man­kind, our dying Condition, the Sorrows of our Life, our Proness and Temptations to Sin, our Lusts and Corruptions, and our fearful Apprehen­sions of the Eternal Judgment of God, a Hell of Devils.

These Things might be easily enlarg'd on, but the bare simple Mention of them carries, I think, a Light and Conviction to every sober consider­ing Mind. A more reasonable Account of the Origine of Sin on Earth, and of the Sorrows and Death the Demerit thereof, and of a final Delive­rance therefrom by the Man CHRIST JESUS, cannot enter into the Heart of Man to conceive of. A better Foundation for Christianity could not have been contrived by Moses, had he liv'd and wrote after the Manifestation of CHRIST in the Flesh, and after his Resurrection from the Dead.

But alas! the Sons of Eve are born with the Seed and Poison of Infidelity in their Veins! that [Page 57] Poison which the Serpent infus'd into her before she eat of the forbidden Fruit. And the Agency of the Devil is the same in all his Temptations to In­fidelity at this Day.— In vain has God told us how Satan seduced our first Mother; for we are still willingly beguiled by him; disbelieve and eat and die. The Devil is in Men in all their Unbelief, as much as he was in the Serpent that deceived Eve: the HOLY GHOST tells us so, and deplores the Misery of an unbelieving World: Psal. lviii. 3, 4, 5. The wicked are estranged from the Womb; they go astray as soon as they are born speaking Lies: Their Poison is like the Poison of a Serpent, they are like the deaf Adder that stoppeth her Ear; which will not hearken to the Voice of Charmers, charming never so wisely. Our LORD JESUS repeats the dreadful Words, and I will close my Argument with his just Reprehension and Rebuke of the Infidels in his Day: John viii. 43, 44, 45. For I proceeded and came forth from God, neither came I of my self, but He sent me: Why do ye not understand my Speech? even because ye cannot hear my Word. Ye are of your Fa­ther the DEVIL, and the Lusts of your Father ye will do; He was a MURDERER from the Beginning, and abode not in the TRUTH because there is no Truth in him: When he speaketh a LYI he speaketh of his own; for he is a Liar and the Father of it: And because I tell you the TRUTH, ye believe me not.

Let us be deeply affected with, and greatly be­wail our Selves under, all the Sin and Evil that the Transgression of our First Parents has bro't up­on us: Original Sin without us, (as One speaks) and also within us Are not the Ruins of Hu­man Nature, in our Selves and Others, vast [Page 58]and hideous! Let us feel every one the Plague of his own Heart, look to the Rock whence we were hewn, and justify God in his Judgment. Let us admire the Grace and Mercy of God in the Way of our Recovery by the SECOND ADAM, who is our Publick Head in the Covenant of Grace,’ the LORD from Heaven, a quickning Spirit! Who in our Nature has abolished Death, has finished Transgression, and made an End of Sin, and has bro't in an Everlasting Righteousness for the Justifi­cation of Sinners. Read the Glory of the Second Adam, as it is set by the Apostle over against the criminal Transgression of the First, and his righte­ous Punishment: Rom. V.17,—21.

From the Whole it appears, that GOD is most Good and We evil. As Moses finishes his Account of the Works of GOD with the best and most snitable Word that could be spoken; And God saw every Thing that he had made, and behold it was very good! So give me Leave to close this Contem­plation of GOD OUR MALER with an Adoring Ac­knowledgment of His Goodness, and the most abasing Confession of our own Vileness and Sinsulness. Now let our Eyes see HIM, and let us abber our Selves, repenting in Dust and Ashes. This only have we found by our Enquiry after the Work of God, (and Solomon with all his Wisdom, giving his Heart to see and search, found only this at last) Eccl. vii. 29. That GOD made Man upright, but They have sought out many Inventions. ‘As our first Parents, so all their Posterity after them, by the Instigation of Satan, have sought and are seeking out new Ways of making Themselves more wise and happy .’ But O how much in vain, and to their [Page 59]own Hurt! to the vast Increase of Folly & Guilt, Vanity and Misery! for like Men (like Adam) they full transgress: The Word of God is disregarded, and the Lies of Satan are listned to.—Let us not cover our Transgression as Adam: It is written as with a Pen of Iron and with the Point of a Diamond. The open Infidelity of the Age proclaims it; the Lives, the Tongues and Pens of the modern Infi­dels. —Let us desire to sanctify the LORD GOD in our Hearts and Lives, whether we speak or write; and he ready always to give an Answer to every Man, that asks us a Reason of the Hope that is in us, with Meckness and Fear. I hope I have here done it in the Fear of GOD, and if I have fail'd of doing it with the Meckness of Moses, I ask HIS Forgiveness the Zeal of Whose Word should eat us up.


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