CHAP. VII. - Of the First Sabbath.
I. WE said, that the first Sabbath was the fourth sacrament of the covenant of works. In order to treat somewhat more fully on this, it will not be improper to make it the subject of a whole chapter: Moses gives us the history of it, Gen. ii. 2, 3. in these words: “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, because that in it he had rested from all his work, which God created and made.” The more fully to understand these words, and from them to answer our design, we shall distinctly discuss these three things: 1st. Enquire whether what is here said about sanctifying and blessing the seventh day, ought to be applied to that first day, which immediately followed upon the six days of the creation, and which was the first that shone on the works of God when completed; or whether it be necessary to have recourse to a prolepsis, or anticipation, by which we may look upon those things as spoken of the day on which many ages after the manna was given in the wilderness. 2dly. We shall explain the nature of that first Sabbath. 3dly. and lastly, Point out in what respect it was a Sacrament.
II. There is no occasion to mention, that the first of these points has been matter of great dispute among divines, without coming to any determination to this day; nor do I choose to repeat what they have said; I shall only observe, that perhaps the parties might easily agree, did we know what we are to understand by sanctifying and blessing the seventh day, mentioned by Moses, and which we shall presently consider. But if we suppose in general, that God rested on the seventh day from his work, that is, not only desisted from creating new species of creatures, but acquiesced and took complacency in the work which he had now finished, especially in man, who was formed after his image, and furnished with those faculties, by which he was enabled to acknowledge, and celebrate the perfections of God, shining forth in his works; and that he set this his resting before man as a pattern, by which he should be taught to acquiesce in nothing but in God, for whom he was created, please himself in nothing but in glorifying God, which is the end of his creation; moreover, that he sanctified this day, of which we are speaking, by commanding it to be employed by man for that sacred work, adding a promise, that all that time, thus employed by man, should be highly blessed to him: if I say, we thus in general suppose, as all these things are evidently truth, there is good hope, that all equitable judges will allow that we adhere to the simplicity of the letter, and interpret this history of Moses as the narrative of a thing done at that time, which the holy Prophet was then describing.
III. I am glad to find the celebrated Cocceius assents to this. His words are these, on Gen. ii. § 6. “Some imagine, that this verse (namely 3.) is put by way of anticipation.—But it is not probable that Moses, in recording this blessing and sanctification, did by no means speak concerning the original Sabbath, but only concerning the Jewish Sabbath. This is plainly doing violence to the text, if one day be understood, which God blessed and sanctified, and another on which he rested from his work.” And the very eloquent Burman, though inclining to an anticipation, yet owns, that “the words of Moses may be understood of that perpetual Sabbath, the seventh day after the creation, which first saw the works of God perfected, and most auspiciously shone on the world; whence it is said to be peculiarly blessed by God, and afterwards to be celebrated and sanctified by man, for all ages to come.” Synops. Theol. lib. 2. c. 5. § 11. See the same author; de śconomia fśderum Dei, § 208, 209. We shall say no more on this, as we could rather wish to see the orthodox agreeing among themselves, than contending with one another. And indeed this must be acknowledged, if we would properly explain, in what manner this Sabbath was a sacrament of the covenant of works.
IV. The best Hebrew authors, on whose authority those of the opposite opinion are wont to build upon, agree with us in this dispute. For in the Talmud they enquire, “why man was created on the evening of the Sabbath,” and of the three reasons they give, this is the last; “that he might immediately enter on performing the command.” The famous Ludovicus de Dieu, mentioning these words, on Gen. i. 27. adds by way of explication; “for, since the Sabbath immediately succeeded the creation of man, he immediately entered on the command of sanctifying the Sabbath.” Baal Hatturim, after various interpretations of this passage, also subjoins this other; “in the hour, that he created the world, he blessed the Sabbath and the world.” Jarchi also mentions this opinion, though himself was otherwise minded; “what would the world have been without rest; on the coming of the Sabbath came rest, and thus at length the work was finished and completed.” By which he intimates, that the institution of the Sabbath was joined to the completing of the works of God. There are also some Jews, who will have Psal. xcii. whose title is, “a Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day,” to have been composed by Adam. For thus the Chaldee paraphrases: “a Hymn and Song, which the first man said of the Sabbath.” And R. Levi in Bereschit Rabba, sect. 22. at the end: “the first man spoke this Psalm, and from his time it was buried in oblivion, but Moses came and renewed it.” Now I bring these testimonies to shew that they speak too confidently who assert that it is running counter to the unanimous opinion of the Jews, for any to insist that the precept of the Sabbath was enjoined on the first man. Whoever wants more to this purpose, may consult Selden de jure nature, &c. lib. 3. c. 13.
V. These things supposed, we are further to enquire in what the nature of the first Sabbath did consist. Here again the learned run into very different opinions. I now take it to be my province, to lay down such propositions, to which it is to be hoped that the orthodox, who are lovers of truth, will without difficulty give their assent.
VI. We are to distinguish first between the rest of God, and the rest of man, which God enjoined upon him, and recommended by his own example: in this manner also, Paul distinguishes, Heb. iv. 10. “he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”
VII. The rest of God consisted, not only in his ceasing from the work of any new creation, but also in that sweet satisfaction and delight he had in the demonstration of his attributes and perfections, which were gloriously displayed in the work he had now finished, especially after he had added a lustre to this inferior world, by bestowing upon it a most excellent inhabitant, who was to be a careful spectator, and the herald and proclaimer of the perfections of his Creator, and in whom God himself beheld ou mikron thv doxhv aotou apaugasma, no small effulgence to his own glory. Wherefore it is said, Exod. xxxi. 17. “and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed;” not as if he was fatigued, but as rejoicing in his work so happily completed, and in which he beheld what was worthy of his labour.
VIII. God having rested on the seventh day, sanctified it, as well by example as by precept. By example, in as much as he brought man, whom he had newly formed to the contemplation of his works, and revealed to him both himself and his perfections, that he might love, thank, praise, and glorify him. And indeed, because God rested on the seventh day from all other works, and was only intent upon this, we may conclude, that he sanctified it in a most extraordinary manner. He likewise sanctified it by precept, enjoining man to employ it in glorifying his Creator. “To sanctify, (as Martyr, whom several commend, says well,) is to set apart something for the worship of God,” as it is also taken here. And it was very justly observed by Calvin, that it was the will of God, his own example should be a perpetual rule to us. Rabbenu Nissim, quoted by Abarbanel, on the explication of the law, fol. 21. col. 3. is of the same opinion: “and this is the sanctification of the Sabbath, that on that day, the soul of man be employed on nothing profane, but wholly on things sacred.
IX. God’s blessing the seventh day may be also taken in a twofold sense: First, for his declaring it to be blessed and happy, as that in which he had peculiar pleasure to enjoy, by observing all his works in such order as to be, not only to himself, but to angels as well as men, a most beautiful scene, displaying the glory of his perfections. This is what David says, Psal. civ. 13. “the glory of the Lord shall endure for ever, the Lord shall rejoice in his works.” Thus, God himself rejoiced on that day, and consequently blessed it. For, as to curse a day is to abhor and detest it, as unfortunate and unhappy, as afflictive and miserable, Job ii. 14. Jer. xx. 14. so, by the rule of contraries, to bless a day is to rejoice in it, as delightful and prosperous. And indeed, what day more joyful, more happy, than that which saw the works of God perfected, and yet not stained by any sin either of angels or probably of men? There has been none like it since that time, certainly not since the entrance of sin. Secondly, It was also a part of the blessing of this day, that God adjudged to man, if he religiously imitated the pattern of his own rest, the most ample blessings, and likewise in that very rest, the earnest of a most happy rest in heaven; of which more fully presently. Elegantly said the ancient Hebrew doctors that the “blessing and sanctifying the Sabbath redound to the observers thereof, that they may be blessed and holy themselves.”
X. The rest here enjoined and recommended to man, comprises chiefly these things: in general, that he shall abstain from every sin, through the whole course of his life, that giving nothing but uneasiness, both to himself and his God. As the Lord complains, Isa. xliii. 22. “thou hast been weary of me, O Israel,” and ver. 24. “thou hast wearied me with thine iniquites.” By sinning, we dreadfully transgress against the rest of God, who cannot delight in a sinner, of whom and his work he says, Isa. i. 14. “they are a burthen to me, I am weary to bear them.” But more especially, it is likewise man’s duty, that as he is the concluding part of the works of God, and the last of all the creatures, that came out of the hands of his Creator, not so to harass and fatigue himself about the creatures, as to seek his happiness and good in them, but rather, by a holy elevation of mind, ascend to the Creator himself; and acquiesce in nothing short of the enjoyment of his unbounded goodness, of the imitation of the purest holiness, and of the expectation of the fullest rest, and intimate union with his God. This indeed is the true and spiritual rest, always to be meditated upon, sought after, and to be observed by man.
XI. Moreover, as man, even in the state of innocence, was to perform solemn acts of piety, together with his consort and children, and to be their mouth in prayer, thanksgiving, and praises; it was necessary, at that time, that laying aside all other occupations, and all cares about what related to the support of natural life, and ordering those about him to rest, he might, without any hindrance from the body, religiously apply himself to this one thing: which I hope none of my brethren will refuse. At least the celebrated Cocceius readily allows it. Whose words are these, Sum. Theol. c. 21. § 10. “It is right in itself, and a part of the image of God, that man should, as often as possible, employ himself in the worship of God, (that is, laying aside the things pertaining to the body and its conveniencies, be wholly taken up in those duties which become a soul delighting in God, glorifying him and celebrating his praise,) and that too in the public assembly, for the common joy and edification of all.
XII. After man had sinned, the remembrance of God’s resting and sanctifying the seventh day, ought to rouse him from his slowness and dulness, in the worship of God, in order to spend every seventh day therein, laying aside, for a while, all other employment. But it will be better to explain this in Calvin’s words: “God therefore first rested, and then he blessed that rest, that it might be ever afterwards holy among men: or, he set apart each seventh day for rest, that his own example might be a standing rule.” Martyr speaks to the same purpose: “Hence men are put in mind that, if the church enjoins them to set apart a certain day in the week for the worship of God, this is not altogether a human device, nor belongs only to the law of Moses, but likewise had its rise from hence, and is an imitation of God.” All this is also approved of by Cocceius, whose excellent words we will subjoin from the place just quoted, § 12. “The consequence of these things in the sinner is,—that if encompassed with the infirmities of the flesh, and exposed to the troubles of life, he may at least each seventh day recollect, and give himself up to far preferable thoughts, and then cheerfully, on account of that part of the worship of God which cannot be performed without disengaging from business, abstain from the work of his hands, and from seeking, preparing, and gathering the fruits of the earth.” And as this celebrated expositor approves of this, I know not why he should disapprove the elegant observation of Chrysostom, Not, at Heb. § 13. That “hence, as by certain preludes, God hath enigmatically taught us to consecrate and set apart for spiritual employment each seventh day in the week.” If we all agree, as I hope we may, in these positions, which seem not unhappily to explain the nature of the first Sabbath; I truly reckon, that a way is paved, and a great deal done, to compose those unhappy disputes about the Sabbath of the decalogue, which for some years past have made such noise in the Dutch universities and churches.
XIII. Having thus explained the nature of the first Sabbath, we proceed to enquire into its spiritual and mystical signification; from whence it will be easy to conclude, that we have not improperly called it a sacrament; or, which is the same, a sacred sign or seal (for, why should we wrangle about a word, not scriptural, when we agree about the thing?) of the promises of salvation made by God to Adam. We have Paul’s authority to assert, that the Sabbath had some mystical meaning, and respected an eternal and happy rest, Heb. iv. 4, 10. And this is justly supposed by the apostle, as a thing well known to the Hebrews, and which is a cornerstone or fundamental point with their doctors. It was a common proverb, quoted by Buxtorf, in Florilegio Hebrćo, 299. “The Sabbath is not given but to be a type of the life to come.” To the same purpose is that which we have in Zohar, on Gen. fol. 5. chap. xv. “What is the Sabbath day? A type of the land of the living, which is the world to come, the world of souls, the world of consolations.” These things indeed, are not improper to be said in general; but as you will not readily find any where, [or in other authors] the analogy between the Sabbath and eternal rest specially assigned; can it be thought improper, it by distinguishing between the rest of God, the rest of man, and the seventh day, on which both rested, we should distinctly propose the mystical meaning of each.
XIV. The rest of God from the work of the creation, was a type of a far more glorious rest of God from the work of the glorification of the whole universe. When God had created the first world, so as to be a commodious habitation for man during his probation, and an illustrious theatre of the perfections of the Creator; he took pleasure in this his work, and rested with delight. For he bestowed upon it all the perfection which was requisite to complete that state. But he had resolved, one day, to produce a far more perfect universe, and by dissolving the elements by fire, to raise a new heaven and a new earth, as it were out of the ashes of the old; which new world, being blessed with his immutable happiness, was to be a far more august habitation for his glorified creatures; in which, as in the last display of his perfections, he was for ever to rest with the greatest complacency. And besides, as God according to his infinite wisdom, so very wisely connects all his actions, that the preceding have a certain respect to the following; in like manner, since that rest of God after the creation was less complete than that other, when God shall have concluded the whole, and which is to be followed by no other labour or toil; it is proper to consider that first rest of God as a type, and a kind of prelude of that other, which is more perfect. In fine, because it tends to man’s greatest happiness, that the whole universe be thus glorified, and himself in the universe, that God may altogether rest in him as having now obtained his last degree of perfection, he is said “to enter into the rest of God,” Heb. iv. 10.
XV. This rest of God was after the creation, immediately succeeded by the rest of man. For, when he had formed man on the sixth day, (as possibly may be gathered from the simplicity of Moses’ narrative,) he had brought him into Paradise on the seventh, and put him, or, as others think the words may be translated, “he made him rest in the garden of Eden,” Gen. ii. 15. Was not this a most delightful symbol or sign to Adam, that after having finished his course of labour on this earth, he should be translated from thence into a place far more pleasant, and to a rest far more delightful than that which he enjoyed in Paradise? And when at certain times he ceased from tilling the ground in Paradise, and gave himself wholly up to the religious worship of God, with a soul delighting in God: was not this a certain earnest and a prelibation to him of that time, in which, exempted from all care about this animal life, he should immediately delight himself in the intimate communion of God, in being joined with the choirs of angels, and in doing the works of angels.
XVI. May not this rest both of God and man, falling upon the seventh day, after the six of creation, properly denote, that the rest of the glory of God is then to be expected, after the week of this world is elapsed? And that man is not to enter into rest, till he has finished his course of probation, and God upon strictly examining it by the rule of his law, finds it complete and in every respect perfect? And are we to reject the learned observation of Peter Martyr; that “this seventh day is said to have neither morning nor evening, because this is a perpetual rest to those who are truly the Sons of God?”
XVII. It is indeed true, that upon Adam’s sin, and violation of the covenant of works, the whole face of things was changed: but all these things [we have been speaking of] were such, as might have been signified and sealed by this Sabbath to Adam, even in the state of innocence, and why might it not really have been so? For the apostle expressly declares, that “God’s resting from his works, from the foundation of the world,” Heb. iv. 3. had a mystical signification. It is therefore our business to find out the agreement between the sign and the thing signified; for the greater analogy we observe between them, we shall the more clearly and with joy discover the infinite wisdom and goodness of God, various ways manifesting themselves. It cannot but tend to the praise of the divine architect, if we can observe many excellent resemblances between the picture given us by himself, and the copy. Indeed I deny not, that Paul, when discoursing of the Sabbath, leads us to that rest purchased for believers by the sufferings of Christ. But it cannot thence be inferred, that after the entrance of sin, God’s Sabbath borrowed all its mystical signification from the covenant of grace. For, as to the substance of the thing, the glorious rest promised by the covenant of works, and now to be obtained by the covenant of grace, is one and the same, consisting in a blessed acquiescence or rest of the soul in God. As this was sealed to Man in innocence by the Sabbath, under the covenant of works; so likewise it is sealed by the Sabbath under the covenant of grace, though under another relation, and under other circumstances, For God having perfect knowledge, that man would not continue in the first covenant, had from all eternity decreed to set on foot a quite different order of things, and bring his elect by a new covenant of grace to the most peaceful rest. Accordingly he settled in his unsearchable wisdom, whatever preceded the fall, in such a manner, that man viewing them after the fall with the enlightened eyes of faith, might discover still greater mysteries in them, which regarded Christ and the glory to be obtained by him. But we are not to speak of this here. Whoever desires a learned explanation of those mysteries, may consult Mestresat’s sermons on the fourth chapter of the Hebrews.
XVIII. This Sabbath also put man in mind of various duties to be performed by him, which having pointed out above, § X, XI. I think needless to repeat now. And thus we have executed what we promised concerning the sacraments of the covenant of works.
XIX. And here I might conclude, did not a very learned man come in my way, whose thoughts on the first Sabbath being widely different from the commonly received notions, I intend, with his permission, calmly to examine. He therefore maintains, that Adam, on the very day of his creation, being seduced by the devil, had involved himself and the whole world in the most wretched bondage of corruption: but that God on the seventh day restored all things thus corrupted by the devil and by man, by his gracious promise of the Messiah: upon this restoration he rested on that very day: and that rest, upon the reparation of the world, being peculiar to the seventh day, may be the foundation of the Sabbath. Doubtless, “on the sixth day, the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them,” Gen. ii. 1. And God beholding the works of his creation so perfect, pleasantly rested in them. This was the rest of the sixth day. But, on the same day, Satan corrupted all; for, upon losing heaven, of whose host he was one, and which he greatly diminished by associating many other angels to himself, and so far rendered that habitation a desert; and on earth, by means of a calumnious lie, he rendered man, the prince of the terrestrial host, a subject to himself, a rebel to God, and destitute of life. This was the corruption of the earth. And thus heaven and earth so beautifully finished by God on the sixth day, were on the same basely defiled by Satan and by man. This occasioned God to be engaged in a new work on the seventh, even to restore what had been thus defiled and corrupted, and to complete them anew. Which he did on the seventh day, when the Mediator, God-man, was revealed by the Gospel, whom, in the promise, he appointed to triumph over Satan the corruptor of all, and so to restore all things; both of the earth, where he began the restoration, by delivering the elect of mankind from the bondage of corruption; and of heaven, by bringing the same chosen people into the heavenly habitation, in order to its being again re-peopled with that colony of new inhabitants: in this manner he will complete the restoration. Which completion Moses intimates, verse 2. “and on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made.” This finishing of the restoration, signified, verse 3. by the word made, is very distinct from the finishing of the creation, mentioned verse 1. When God had done all this, upon giving his Son to men for a Mediator and Redeemer, he himself rested in this his last work, as this is “the man of his delight,” Isa. xlii. 1. And this rest was the only foundation for instituting the Sabbath. This institution consists of a twofold act: the first is of blessing, by which God blessed that very day, by a most distinguishing privilege, to be the day devoted to the Messiah, who was revealed in it by the Gospel. For this is the honour of the Sabbath, that it is “the delight, on account of the holy of the Lord being glorified,” Isa. lviii. 13. The other act is that of sanctification, by which he set it apart for a sign and memorial of that benefit, because through and for the holy of the Lord; he chooses to sanctify the elect. This is the sum of that opinion. Let us now consider whether it be solid, and can be proved by scripture.
XX. The whole foundation of this opinion is, that Adam fell on the very day in which he was created: which the scripture no where says. I know that some Jewish doctors, with boldness, as is their way, assert this; and, as if they were perfectly acquainted with what God was about every hour, declare, that man was created the third hour of the day, fell the eleventh, and was expelled Paradise the twelfth. But this rashness is to be treated with indignation. The learned person deems it his glory to be wise from the scriptures alone, and justly, for thus it becomes a divine. But what portion of scripture determines any thing about the first sin? We have here scarce any more than bare conjectures, which at best are too sandy a foundation, on which any wise architect will ever presume to build so grand an edifice.
XXI. Nay, there are many things from which we rather incline to think that man’s sin happened not on the sixth day. For it was after God had on that day created the beasts; after he had formed Adam of the dust of the earth; after he had prescribed him the law concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil; after he had presented to him the beasts in Paradise, that, upon enquiring into the nature of each (which also he performed with great accuracy, as the great Bochart has very learnedly shewn, Hierozoic. lib. i. c. 9.) he might call each by their proper names; after Adam had found there was not among them any help meet for him, for the purposes and convenience of marriage; and after God had cast Adam into a deep sleep, and then at last formed Eve from one of his ribs. All these things are not of a nature to be performed like the other works of the preceding days, in the shortest space of time possible, and as it were, in a moment; but succeeded one another in distinct periods, and during these, several things must have been done by Adam himself. Nay, there are divines of no small note, who insist that these things were not all done in one day, and others postpone the creation of Eve to one of the days of the following week: but we do not now engage in these disputes. After all these things the world was yet innocent, and free from all guilt, at least on the part of man. And God contemplating his works, and concluding his day, approved of all as very good and beautiful. He had yet no new labour for restoring the fallen world, which would have been no ways inferior to the work of the creation. But what probability is there, that in those very few hours which remained, if yet a single hour remained, Adam should have parted from Eve, who had been just created, exposed his most beloved consort to an insidious serpent, and that both of them, just from the hands of the Creator, should so suddenly have given ear to the deceiver? Unless one is prepossessed in favour of the contrary opinion, what reason could he have, notwithstanding so many probabilities to the contrary, prematurely thus to hurry on Adam’s sin? Since therefore the whole of this foundation is so very weak, what solid superstructure can we imagine it is capable of?
XXII. Let us now, take a nearer view of the superstructure itself, and examine whether its construction be sufficiently firm and compact. The very learned person imagines he sees a new labour, or work on the seventh day, and a new rest succeeding that labour, which is the foundation of the Sabbath. The labour was a promise of the Messiah, by which the world, miserably polluted with sin, was to be restored; and that Moses treats on this, chap. ii. 2. “and on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made.” The rest was the satisfaction and delight he had in that promise, and in the Messiah promised. But let us offer the following considerations in opposition to this sentiment: 1st. If God, on the seventh day, performed the immense work of recovering the world from the fall, a work, which if not greater, yet certainly is not less than the creation of the world out of nothing, and he was again to rest when he had finished it, certainly then, the seventh day was as much a day of work to God, and no more a Sabbath, or day of rest, than any of the preceding days. For God having finished the work of each day, rested for a while and delighted in it. 2dly. Moses in the second verse makes use of the same word by which he had expressed the finishing of the world in the first. But the finishing in the first verse, as the learned person himself owns, relates to the finishing of the creation; what necessity then can there be for giving such different senses to one and the same word, in the same context, when there is not the least mark of distinction. 3dly. Hitherto Moses has not given the least imaginable hint of the fall of our first parents: is it then probable that he would so abruptly mention the restitution of the world from the fall; and that in the very same words which he had just used, and was afterwards to use for explaining the first creation? What can oblige, or who can suffer us to confound the neatness of Moses’ method, and the perspicuity of his words, by this feigned irregularity, and ambiguity? 4thly. It may be doubted, whether we can properly say, that by the promise of the Messiah all things were perfected and finished; since God, if we follow the thread of Moses’ narrative, did, after this promise, punish the world with a deserved curse: and the apostle still says of the world, that “the creature was made subject to vanity, and groans under the bondage of corruption,” Rom. viii. 20, 21. It is indeed true that the promise of the Messiah, which could not be frustrated, was the foundation of the comfort of the fathers; but the scripture no where declares, that by this promise, as immediately made after the fall, all things were finished, nay, even this promise pointed out that person, who after many ages, and by various acts, not of one and the same office, was to effect the true consummation.
XXIII. Our learned author urges the following reasons why those two finishings are not to be looked upon as the same: 1st. It would he a tautology, if not an inexcusable battology, or idle repetition, in such a compendious narrative; and either the first verse, or the beginning of the second, would be superfluous. 2dly. The finishing or ending of verse 2. is annexed to the seventh day, by a double article in the same manner as the rest is. “And on the very seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and he rested on the very seventh day from all his work which he had made.” So that if the former verb lkyw be rendered by the preterpluperfect, and he had ended, the latter tbsyw must be rendered so too, and he had rested; but this is incongruous. Nay, since on the other days we reject the preterpluperfect sense, lest the works of the following day should be referred to those of the preceding, contrary to historical truth; it ought not then here to be admitted on the seventh day. 3dly. When the third verse shews the cause of this rest, it speaks of distinct finishings, the latter of which is that of the seventh day, “and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, be cause that in it he had rested from all his work, which God created and made.” By two verbs he describes two actions; arb denotes to create, and hve, to adorn, to polish: these words are frequently of the same import, yet when joined together they are to be distinguished, as is owned not only by Christian, but by Jewish interpreters. (Thus it is, Isa. xliii. 7. where another word is added, ruy, to form, and, as to all the three, arb certainly signifies, the creation of the soul, but ruy, the formation of the body, and hve reformation by grace.) But these two actions are so described, that hyve making, immediately precedes resting, and was the work of the seventh day; but hayrb, creation, the work of the six preceding days. 4thly. To the same purpose is the recapitulation of verse 4. which repeats and confirms the distinction just now mentioned: “these are the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were created; in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” Thins he recites the generations both of the first six days, (in which the heavens and the earth, with their respective hosts, were created) and of the beginning of that one day, namely, the seventh, which is that of operation, in which he made and polished, inverting the order; first the earth, then the heavens. Thus far our very learned author.
XXIV. But we cannot assent to these things, and therefore we answer each in order. To the first, I would earnestly entreat our brother, both to think and speak more reverently of the style of the Holy Ghost; nor charge those simple and artless repetitions of one and the same thing, even in a concise narrative, with an inexcusable tautology, if not a battology, or vain and useless repetitions. It does not become us, the humble disciples of the Divine Spirit, to criticise on the most learned language, and the most pure style of our adorable master, it is very frequent, in the sacred writings, more than once to repeat the same thing, in almost the same words, at no great distance asunder. This very second chapter of Genesis, of which we now treat, gives us various examples of this. The reason of the sanctification of the seventh day, namely, the rest of God upon that day, is proposed in nearly the same words, in the second and third verses. This learned person himself calls the fourth verse a recapitulation of what was just said. And what is the whole of the second chapter, but a fuller explication of the formation of man, which indeed we have plainly, but more briefly related in the first chapter, or the whole of the second, is in a great measure, superfluous? Or, shall we dare to charge God with tautologies, if not with inexcusable battologies? Is it not more becoming to tremble with awe at his words, and rather return him thanks, that on account of the dulness of our apprehension he has vouchsafed to propose two or three times the same truths, either in the same, or in a variety of words, having all the same meaning? For my own part I would act in this manner without any doubt of acting as becomes.
XXV. To the second, I would answer. 1st. The words of Moses may be taken in this sense; namely, that God finished the work of the sixth day, and consequently of all the six days, in the very moment in which the seventh began. Thus the ancient Hebrews, and after them, R. Solomon, explains this manner of speaking; as thereby to intimate that God, in the very moment in which he entered on the Sabbath, finished his work; for God alone knows the moments and least parts of time in another manner than men do. 2d1y. Nor is it an improper observation of Aben Ezra, that the finishing of the work is not the work itself, but only means the ceasing from work, and that the text explains itself thus; and he finished, that is, and he rested; having finished his work, he worked no longer. 3dly. But we need not insist on this: Drusius speaks to excellent purpose on this place: “The preterperfect Hebrew may be as well rendered by the preterpluperfect as otherwise. It is really so: the Hebrews have only one preterperfect, which they use for every kind of past time; and therefore according to the connection, it may be rendered sometimes by the preterperfect, and at other times by the preterpluperfect.” Let it therefore be rendered here by the preterpluperfect, and he had finished, as the Dutch translation has also done, and all the difficulty will disappear. Our learned author may insist, that if this be granted, then the following tbsyw must be also rendered by the preterpluperfect. But it does not follow; for we are to consider the nature of the subject and the different circumstances. The learned person insists, that the word finishing, is used in a different sense in the first, from what it is in the second verse; and shall we not be allowed to interpret a preterperlect, which, by the genius of the language is indeterminate, sometimes by the preterperfect, and at other times by the preterpluperfect, as the subject shall require? And if elsewhere we justly reject the preterpluperfect sense, it is not because the genius of the Hebrew tongue does not admit of it, but because, as the learned person himself observes, such an interpretation is contrary to the truth of the history. Which not being the case here, such a reason cannot be urged. I will only add, if Moses wanted to say, what we imagine he has said, et consummaverat die septima, &c. et cessavit. &c. and on the seventh, God had finished, &c. and rested, &c. could he possibly have expressed in other words, or more aptly, according to the genius of the language, this sense? Was the learned person himself to render into Hebrew, word for word, these Latin words, he would certainly have rendered them in the same tense and mood, as Moses has done.
XXVI. To the third reason, I reply, 1st. The word hve, is very general, and signifies, to do a thing any how, well or ill. It is said of penal or physical evil, Amos iv. 13. who maketh the morning darkness; and Ezek. xxxv. 6. I will prepare (make) thee unto blood. And of moral evil, Mic. ii. 1. when the morning is light they practise it; we shall give more instances presently. Hence it appears, that the learned person too much restricts the meaning of this word, when he explains it by the words, to adorn, or polish: especially, if he would precisely confine it to the reformation by grace. 2dly. The same word is often expressive of the six days work; as Gen. i. 31. and God saw all that he had made; and Exod. xx. 11. in six days the Lord made heaven and earth: likewise Ezek. xlvi. 1. the six working days are opposed to the Sabbath. Neither does the learned person deny, that the words arb and hve are often equivalent. And why not here also? I there any necessity, or probable reason, for taking hyve for the work of the seventh day, and hayrb for the work of the six preceding days? 3dly. I think he goes a little too far, when he asserts that both Christian and Jewish interpreters admit that these words, when joined together, have distinct significations. Truly for my own part, of the several interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, whom I have consulted, I never found one, who distinguishes the meaning of these words, as this learned author has done. (See Fagius on Gen. i. 1. Manasseh-Ben-Israel, de Creat. Probl. 4. Cocceius Disput. select. p. 70. sect. 72.) Let us in this case hear the learned De Dieu, who thus comments on this passage: “It appears to be an usual hebraism, whereby the infinitive, added to a verb, including a like action, is generally redundant;” such as Judges xiii. 19. and acting, he acted wonderously, that is, he acted wonderously. I Kings xiv. 9. and doing, thou hast done evil, that is, thou hast done evil. 2 Kings xxi. 6. and working, he multiplied wickedness, that is simply, he multiplied wickedness, or he wrought much wickedness. 2 Chron. xx. 35. he doing, did wickedly, he doing is redundant. Psal. cxxvi. 2. the Lord doing, has done great things for them, doing is again redundant. Eccl. ii. 11. on the labour, that doing I had laboured, that is simply, I had laboured. Which last passage is entirely parallel with this in Genesis, for, whether you say, twvel lwbe he doing, laboured, or tgvel arb he making, created, you say the same thing: unless that alb signifies to produce something new, without any precedent or pattern, and which had no existence before;” therefore, he making, created, is no other than, he made something new. These things neither could, nor ought to be unknown to this learned person, considering his great skill in Hebrew learning. 4thly. He ought not to have made such a distinction barely and without any proof between the words arb, rey, and tve, which are used by Isaiah, xliii. 7. as if the first intends the creation of the soul; the second, the formation of the body, and the third, the reformation by grace: there not being the least foundation for it in scripture. For, 1. arb sometimes signifies reformation by grace, as Psalm. li. 10. Create in me a clean heart. 2. rey is sometimes applied to the soul, Zech. xii. ver. 1. and formeth the spirit of man within him: and Psalm xxxiii. ver. 15. and fashioneth their hearts alike; sometimes too it denotes formation by grace; as Isa. xliii. 21. this people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise. 3. tve is more than once used for the first formation of man; as Gen. i. 26. Let us make man: and Gen. ii. 18. I will make him an help meet for him; Jer. xxxviii. 16. that made us this soul, says king Zedekiah to Jeremiah, without having any thoughts of a reformation by grace. As therefore all these words are so promiscuously used in scripture, ought we not to look upon him, who distinguishes them in such a magisterial manner, as one who gives too much scope to his own fancy? And what if one should invert the order of our author, and positively assert, that here denotes, reformation by grace, as Psalm li. 10.: the production of the soul, as Ezek. xii. 1. and the formation of the body, as Gen. ii. 8. What reply could the learned person make? But these are weak arguments. It is more natural to take these words in Isaiah, as meant of the new creation and reformation by grace. And this accumulation or multiplying of words, is very proper to denote the exceeding greatness of the power of God, and his effectual working in the sanctification of the elect. There is a parallel place, Eph. ii. 10. for we are his, Heb. (workmanship), Heb. created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them: as Isa. xxii. 11. fashioned it long ago, which properly prohtoimase he hath before ordained. From all this it appears, that this passage in Isaiah can be of no service to our learned author. 5thly. But if we must distinguish between and to arb and to tve, nothing, I think, is more to the purpose than the interpretation of Ben Nachman. “He rested from all his works which he created, by producing something out of nothing, to make of it all the works mentioned in the six days: and lo! he says, he rested from creating and from working; from creating, as having created in the first day, and from working, as having completed his working in the remaining days.”
XXVII. The fourth reason coincides with the foregoing, only that it is still more cabbalistical. 1st. It is a strange interpretation to say, that by the generations of heaven and earth, we are to understand not only their first creation, but their restoration by the promise of the Messiah; for it is quite foreign to the subject, to tell us, that by the sin of the angels, a state of corruption was introduced into the heaven of heavens, and thereby the throne of the divine majesty was basely defiled; for though by the angelic apostacy, corruption had been introduced into heaven, yet by their ejection, whereby they were hurled into hell, the heavens were purged from that corruption. Nor was there any new heaven made by the promise of the Messiah, that was given on the sixth day; for that promise made no alteration there, but only foretold, that after many years some elect souls were to be received into that holy and blessed habitation. 2dly. As to the order in which the earth is put before the heavens, it is well known that the scripture does not always relate things in the same order; nor from the mere order of the narrative, which is an arbitrary thing, can any arguments be formed: However, Junius’ observation is not to be rejected: “Earth and heaven are mentioned in an inverted order, because the formation of the earth preceded that of the heavens; for the earth was perfected on the third day of the creation, heaven on the fourth.” 3dly. It is doing manifest violence to the text, if we understand the formation of the earth and heavens, of their reformation by grace, in virtue of the promise of the Messiah, made on the seventh day; because Moses treats of that formation of earth and heaven, which was prior to that of plants and herbs, as appears from the connexion of ver. 3. with ver. 4. For thus the words run: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and heavens, and every plant of the field, before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field,” &c. Or, as the learned De Dieu shews, they may otherwise be very properly rendered, “in the day that the Lord made the heavens and the earth, there was yet no plant of the field created,” &c. So that this formation of the earth and heavens was prior to man’s own creation, much more to the fall, and to the restitution from the fall. And this verse wholly overturns the distinction which this learned person has invented.
XXVIII. And as we have thus shewn, that the words of Moses neither mention nor intimate any work by which God restored all things from the fall on the seventh day; so neither of any rest from the work of restoration, which is the foundation of the rest of the Sabbath. For, 1st. It is irrational to suppose, that when God promised the Messiah, he then rested from the work of the gracious reformation of the universe; because that promise was a prophecy of the sufferings, conflicts, and at the last of the death of Christ, by which that reformation was to be brought about and accomplished. 2dly. How can it be said that God rested, immediately after having made that promise, from all his work, when directly upon it he pronounced, and executed sentence upon Adam, Eve, and the earth that was cursed for their crime, and expelled them paradise? which work (to speak after the manner of men, compare Isa. xxviii. 21.) was truly a greater labour to God than the very creation of the world. And thus, instead of a Sabbath which Moses describes, this day is made one of the most laborious to God. 3dly. The Sabbath day after the publication of the first gospel promise, was doubtless sacred to the Messiah, and to be celebrated to his honour by the saints with a holy exultation of soul. Nor shall I be much against the learned person, should he choose to translate, Isa. lviii. 13. that the Sabbath may be called, “a delight, on account of the holy of the Lord being glorified;” but it cannot with any probability be inferred from this, that the promise of the Messiah was the foundation of the first Sabbath, since the Sabbath, as well as other things, did not acquire that relation till after the fall. 4thly. The scriptures in express terms declare, that the rest of God from the work of the first creation which was completed in six days, was the foundation of the Sabbath. “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it,” Exod. xx. 11. Which being plain, it sufficiently, if I mistake not, appears, that it is much safer to go in the old and beaten path, which is the king’s high way, than in that other new trodden and rough one, which the learned person, whose opinion we have been examining, has chosen to tread in. And so much for this subject.
CHAP. VIII. - Of the Violation of the Covenant of Works on the part of Man.
I. AS the scripture does not declare, how long this covenant, thus ratified and confirmed, continued unbroken, we are satisfied to remain in the dark. And we would have a holy dread of presuming rashly to fix the limits of a time which is really uncertain. It is however evident, that man, wickedly presuming to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, incurred the guilt of violating the covenant. Nor ought that to be deemed a small sin, (as the apostle, Rom. v. calls it, the offence, disobedience, and transgression) because it may seem to have been committed about a thing of no great importance: For the meaner the thing is, from which God commanded to abstain, and for which man despised the promise of the covenant, makes his transgression of it the more heinous; as may be illustrated by the profaneness of Esau, which was so much the greater, as the mess was of so little value, for which he sold his birth-right, Heb. xii. 16. In that sin, as divines generally observe, there was, as it were, a kind of complication of many crimes. But it is our chief purpose to shew, that this was the violation of the whole covenant: for not only that tree, as we proved above, was a sacrament of the covenant, the abuse of which ought to be looked upon as a violence done to the whole; not only the precept concerning that tree, which was the trial of universal obedience; but likewise the covenant in its whole constitution, was violated by that transgression; the law of the covenant was trampled upon, when man, as if he had been his own lord and master in all things, did, in defiance of his Lord, lay hold on what was not his property, and throw off the yoke of obedience that was due to God: the promises of the covenant were set less by than a transitory gust of pleasure, and the empty promises of the seducer; and that dreadful death which the author of the covenant threatened the transgressor with, not considered and thought of in all its dreadful effects, but he presumed to act in opposition to it. And thus Adam transgressed the covenant, Hos. vi. 7.
II. Though Eve had the first hand in this crime, yet it is usually in scripture ascribed to Adam: by one man sin entered into the world, according to Paul, Rom. v. 12 whom ver. 14. he declares to be Adam: For Adam was the head of the covenant, with whom, even before the creation of Eve, God seems to have transacted. Adam was the root of all mankind, and even of Eve herself, who was formed out of one of his ribs; neither is it customary to deduce a genealogy from a woman: nor was the covenant judged to be entirely broken, till Adam also added his own crime to that of his wife’s. Then it was that the Creator, first acting in the character of a judge, summoned to his bar the inconsiderate pair, already condemned by their own conscience. But we are not to think that this inheritance of sin was so derived from our father Adam, as to excuse our mother Eve from that guilt: for as by marriage they were made one flesh, so far they may be considered as one man. Nay, Adam is not considered as the head and root of mankind, but in conjunction with his wife. To this purpose is what Malachi (ch. ii. 15.) says, that God, seeking a godly seed, made one: one pair, two into one flesh.
III. It was doubtless a wicked spirit who seduced man to this apostasy, and who, tormented with the horrors of his guilty conscience, envied man his happiness in God, and God the pleasure he had in man, and sought to have the wretched consolation of making one a partaker of his misery. And, the more easily to insinuate himself into man’s favour by his ensnaring discourse he concealed himself in the serpent, the most subtle of all animals, and at that time not less acceptable to man, than the rest of the obsequious creatures. The great du Moulin, disput. iii. de Angelis, § 44. conjectures this serpent was of a conspicuous form, with fiery eyes, decked with gold, and marked with shining spots, so as to draw the eyes of Eve to it, and that he had before that time more than once insinuated himself by his soothing sounds, into Eve’s favour, in order that having preconceived a good opinion of him, she might be brought the more readily to yield to him. In fine, he was such, that what Moses says of the subtlety of the serpent must be applied to him only, and not to the whole species. To this conjecture it is also added, that Eve, perhaps such was her simplicity, did not know whether God had bestowed the use of speech on any other animals besides man. Laurentius Camirez in his Pentecontarch, c. i. (quoted by Bochart, Hierozoic, lib. i. c. iv. p. 30.) goes a step farther, and feigns that Eve was wont to play with the serpent, and adorn her bosom, neck, and arms with it; and hence at this day the ornaments for those parts have the resemblance of serpents, and are called ofeiv, serpents, by the Greeks.
IV. But all this is apocryphal. We are not to advance such romantic things without any scripture authority. Whether this was the first, or the only apparition of the serpent, as having the use of speech, I shall neither boldly affirm, nor obstinately deny. But what we are told as probable of some extraordinary serpent so curiously spotted and set off; and now made familiar to Eve, by an intercourse repeated several times, are the pleasing amusements of a curious mind. The subtlety of serpents is every where so well known, that among many nations they are proposed as the distinguishing character and hieroglyphic of prudence. Bochart in his Hierozoic. lib. i. c. 4. has collected many things relating to this from several authors. To this purpose is what our Saviour says, Matt. x. 16. Be ye wise as serpents. It is also injurious and reproachful to our mother Eve, to represent her so weak, and at so small a remove from the brutal creation, as not to be able to distinguish between a brute and a man, and to be ignorant that the use of speech was the peculiar privilege of rational creatures. Such stupid ignorance is inconsistent with the happy state of our first parents, and with the image of God, which shone so illustriously also in Eve. We are rather to believe, that the devil assumed this organ, the more easily to recommend himself to man as a prudent spirit, especially as this looked like a miracle, or a prodigy at least, that the serpent should speak with human voice. Here was some degree of probability, that some spirit lay concealed in this animal, and that too extraordinarily sent by God, who should instruct man more fully about the will of God, and whose words this very miracle as it were seemed to confirm: for that serpents have a tongue unadapted to utter articulate sounds, is the observation of Aristotle, de Part. anim. lib. ii. c. 17. See Vossius de Idol. lib. iv. c. 54.
V. As this temptation of the devil is somewhat like to all his following ones, we judge it not improbable, that Satan exerted all his cunning, and transformed himself, as he usually does, into an angel of light, and addressed himself to Eve, as if he had been an extraordinary teacher of some important truth, not yet fully understood. And therefore does not openly contradict the command of God, but first proposes it as a doubt, whether Adam understood well the meaning of the divine prohibition; whether he faithfully related it to Eve; whether she herself too, did not mistake the sense of it; and whether at least that command, taken literally, was not so improbable, as to render it unnecessary to think of a more mysterious meaning. And thus he teaches to raise reasonings and murmurings against the words of God, which are the destruction of faith.
VI. Next, he undermines the threatening annexed to the command; Ye shall not surely die, says he; God never meant by death what you in your simplicity are apt to suspect. Could death be supposed to hang on so pleasant and agreeable a tree? or do you imagine God so envious as to forbid you who are his familiars and friends to eat the fruit of this delicious tree, under the dreadful penalty of death this is inconsistent with his infinite goodness, which you so largely experience, and with the beauty of this specious tree and its fruit; and therefore there must be another meaning of this expression which you do not understand. And thus he instilled that heresy into the unwary woman, the first heard of in the world, that there is a sin which does not deserve death, or, which is the same thing, a venial sin. The false prophet, the attendant on Antichrist, who hath horns like a lamb, and speaketh as a dragon, Rev. xiii. 11. does at this very day maintain this capital heresy in the church of Rome, and nothing is still more usual with Satan, than by hope of impunity, to persuade men to sin.
VII. He adds the promise of a greater happiness; your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. He presupposes what in itself was true and harmless, that man had a desire after some more perfect happiness; which he made to consist in his being made like to God, which John affirms to be, as it were, the principal mark of salvation, that we shall be like God, 1 John iii. 2. He says farther, that this likeness was to be joined with the opening of their eyes, and a greater measure of knowledge. Now this is not unlike the doctrines of the scripture, which affirm that we shall see God, and that as he is, and shall know him, even as we ourselves are known. And thus far indeed it might appear, that Satan spoke not amiss, blending many truths, and those evident to the conscience, with his own lies, the more easily to deceive under the appearance of a true teacher. But herein the fraud lies concealed: 1st. That he teaches them not to wait for God’s appointed time, but unadvisedly and precipitately lay hold on the promised felicity. Man cannot indeed too much love and desire perfection, if he does it by preparation, and earnest expectation; preparing himself in a course of holy patience and subjection to the will of God, desiring not to anticipate, even for a moment, the good pleasure of God. 2dly. That he points out a false way, as if the eating of that tree was either a natural, or, more probably, a moral mean to attain the promised bliss; and as if God had appointed this as a necessary requisite, without which there was no possibility of coming to a more intimate communion with God, and a more perfect degree of wisdom; nor, in fine, of obtaining that state, in which, knowing equally good and evil, they would be no longer in danger of any degree of deception. And it is most likely he perverted the meaning of the name of the tree. But all these were mere delusions.
VIII. At last this disguised teacher appeals to the knowledge of God himself; God doth know. Most interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, ancient and modern, interpret these words, as if Satan would charge God with open malignity and envy, as if he forbade this tree, lest he should be obliged to admit man into a partnership in his glory. And indeed there is no blasphemy so horrid that Satan is ashamed of. But we are here to consider whether such bare-faced blasphemy would not have rather struck with horror, man, who had not yet entertained any bad thoughts of God, than recommended itself by any appearance of probability. For why? is it credible, that a man in his right senses could be persuaded that the acquisition of wisdom, and a likeness to God, depended on a tree, so that he should obtain both these by eating of it, whether God would or not? and then, that God, whom man must know to be infinitely great and good, was liable to the passion of envy, a plain indication of malignity and weakness; in fine, that there was such a virtue in that tree, that, on tasting it, God could not deprive man of life: for all these particulars are to be believed by him who can imagine, that out of envy God had forbid him the use of that tree. It does not seem consistent with the subtlety of Satan to judge it advisable to propose to man things so absurd, and so repugnant to common notions, and the innate knowledge which he must have had of God. May it not be made more proper, to take that expression for a form of an oath? as Paul himself says, 2 Cor. xi. 11. God knoweth. And thus the perjured impostor appealed to God as witness of what he advanced.
IX. Some think that Adam was not deceived, and did not believe what the serpent had persuaded the woman to, but rather fell, out of love to his wife, whom he was unwilling to grieve; and therefore, though he was conscious of a divine command, and not exposed to the wiles of Satan, yet that he might not abandon her in this condition, be tasted the fruit she offered; probably believing, that this instance of his affection for the spouse whom God had given him, if in any measure faulty, might be easily excused. To this they refer the apostle’s words, 1 Tim. ii. 14. “For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression.” But this carries us off from the simplicity of the divine oracles; the design of the apostle is plainly to shew, that the woman ought not to exercise any dominion over her husband, for two reasons which he urges: 1st. Because Adam was first created as the head, and then Eve, as a help meet for him. 2dly. Because the woman shewed she was more easily deceived, for being deceived first, she was the cause of deceiving her husband, who was likewise deceived (though not first) but by her means: for we commonly find in scripture, that some things seem to be absolutely denied, which we are to understand only as denied in a restrictive sense: John vi. 27. and Phil. ii. 4. are instances of this. Nor can we conceive how Adam, when he believed that what he did was forbidden by God, and that if he did it he should forfeit the promised happiness, nay, incur most certain death, (for all this he must know and believe, if he still remained uncorrupted by the wiles of Satan,) would have taken part in the crime only to please his wife. Certainly if he believed that the transgression of the divine command, the contempt of the promised felicity, and his rash exposing himself to the danger of eternal death, could be excused only by his affection for his wife, he no less shamefully erred, nor was less deceived, if not more, than his consort herself. Nor can it be concluded from his answer to God, in which he throws the blame, not on the serpent’s deceit, but on the woman whom God had given him, that the man fell into this sin, not so much by an error in the understanding, as giving way to his affection; for this subverts the whole order of the faculties of their soul, since every error in the affection, supposes some error in the understanding. This was doubtless an error, and indeed one of the greatest, to believe that a higher regard was to be paid to his affection for his wife, than to the divine command. It was a considerable error to think that it was an instance of love to become an accomplice in sin; because it is the duty of love to convince the sinner, and as far as may be restore him to the favour of God, which certainly Adam would have done, had he been entirely without error. In whatever light therefore we view this point, we are obliged to own that he was deceived: the only apology Adam would make, seems to be, that his beloved consort had, by her insinuations which she had learned from the serpent, persuaded him also, and that he was not the first in that sin, nor readily suspected any error or deception by her, who was given him as an help by God.
X. It cannot be doubted, that providence was concerned about this fall of our first parents. It is certain that it was foreknown from eternity; none can deny this, but he who sacrilegiously dares to venture to deny the omniscience of God. Nay, as God by his eternal decree laid the plan of the whole economy of our salvation, and preconceived succession of the most important things, presupposes the sin of man, it could not therefore happen unforeseen by God. And this is the more evident, because, according to Peter, “He (Christ) was foreordained before the foundation of the world,” and that as the Lamb whose blood was to be shed, 1 Pet. i. 19, 20. which invincible argument Socinus knew not how otherwise to elude, but by this ridiculous assertion, that “after men had sinned, Christ indeed came to abolish their sins, but that he would have come, notwithstanding, though they had never sinned.” But as this idle assertion is unscriptural, nay, anti-scriptural, so it is not apposite to this place; for the order of Peter’s words obliges us to interpret them, concerning Christ’s being foreknown as a Lamb to be slain, and to shed his blood to be the price of our redemption. And he likewise speaks, Acts ii. 3. of this determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, according to which Christ was delivered into the hands of wicked men. Since therefore Christ was foreknown from eternity, as one to be slain for the sins of men, man’s sin was also necessarily foreknown.
XI. And if foreknown, it was also predetermined; thus Peter, in the place just quoted, joins together the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Nor can God’s prescience of future things be conceived, but in connection with his decree concerning them.
XII. From all this may be inferred by a plain consequence, that man could not but fall on account of the infallibility of the divine prescience, and of that necessity which they call a necessity of consequence; for it is inconsistent with the divine perfection, that any decree of God should be rendered void, or that the event should not be answerable to it. It is the prerogative of Jehovah to say, “My counsel shall stand,” Isa. xlvi. 10. “His counsels of old are faithfulness and truth,” Isa. xxv. 1. God himself has ratified the stability of his purposes by an oath, the more certainly to declare the immutability of his counsel, Heb. vi. 17. “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,” Isa. xiv. 24.
XIII. The infallibility of the event, as to man’s sin, may be proved by another argument; if we only attend to that subordination, by which all creatures depend on God, in their operations. For, it is not possible that God shall by his almighty concurrence, influence any creature to act, and yet that creature suspend its acting. And if God shall not influence to the moral goodness of that natural action, the creature cannot, without that influx, perform that action morally good. This is evident from the nature of God and the creature; as he cannot ineffectually influence his creatures to act, so they cannot but act, when under his influence. These things being supposed, as they are evident to any person of attention, it is impossible that man can abstain from reasoning, willing, and eating, where God influences to these acts by his almighty concurrence. Nor is it any more possible that man can reason, will, and eat in a holy manner, if God by his almighty concurrence does not influence the holiness of it. Supposing therefore, that God had afforded his influence to the natural act of reasoning, willing, and eating, as he actually did, but not the moral goodness of those acts, as he did not; it could not otherwise be, but that man should act at that time, and perform his action wrong. All this holds true, not only of this first sin of man, but of all other sins. I see not, therefore, why we may not boldly maintain these things, as they are most evidently true, and more especially as they tend to the glory of God, and to demonstrate his supereminence, and the absolute dependence of the creatures upon him, as much in their operations as in their existence. Should those of the contrary Pelagian sentiments pervert these truths, it will be at their peril. Nor ought we so much to regard that, as on their account to conceal the truth.
XIV. However, it will not be amiss to insist a little longer on this subject, that all the apparent harshness of this doctrine may be entirely removed by an evident demonstration of the truth, which we think we shall be able to effect, by beginning with the more evident truths in one continued chain of arguments, flowing from each other, in such a manner as to gain the assent even of the most obstinate.
XV. And first, I think it will be readily granted, that there is but one first cause; that all other causes so depend upon that, both in existing and acting, as without it to be able neither to exist nor to act. Paul inculcated this upon the Athenians, Acts xvii. 28. “in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Nor indeed can the most powerful monarch in the world, such as the Assyrian was, in the time of Isaiah, any more move without God, than “the axe without him that heweth therewith, or the saw without him that shaketh it,” Isa. x. 15.
XVI. Reason in this concurs with scripture. For if there was any cause besides God, which could act independently of him, it would follow, there were more first principles than one; as Thomas Aquinas reasons well in his Secundo sentent. distinct. xxxvii. qućst. 2. art. 2. whose reasoning, as it is both solid, and very much to the purpose, we shall not scruple to give in his own words: “It is, says he, essential to the first principle, that it can act without the assistance and influence of a prior agent; so that if the human will could produce any action, of which God was not author, the human will would have the nature of a first principle.”
XVII. Though they endeavour to solve this, by saying, that notwithstanding the will be of itself capable of producing an action, without the influence of a prior agent, yet it has not its being from itself, but from another; whereas the nature of a first principle is to be self-existent. But it seems inconsistent to say that what has not its being of itself, can yet act of itself; for, what is not of itself, cannot continue of itself. For, all the power of acting arises from the essence, and the operation from the power. Consequently, what has its essence from another, must also have its power and operation from that other. Moreover, though this reply denies that it is simply the first; yet, we cannot but see, that it is the first agent, if its acting cannot be referred to some prior agent as the cause. Thus far Thomas Aquinas.
XVIII. Nor does God only concur with the actions of second causes when they act, but also influences the causes themselves to act. Because the beginning of actions depends if not more, at least not less on God, than their progress. This opinion is not unhappily expressed in the Roman Catechism, published by the decree of the council of Trent, at the command of Pope Pius V., part I. on the first article of the Creed, No. 2. to this purpose; “But God, not only by his providence, preserves and governs all things that exist; but he likewise, by a secret energy, so influences those that move and act, to motion and action, that though he hinders not the efficiency of second causes, yet he prevents or goes before it; seeing his most secret power extends to each in particular; and, as the wise man testifies, reaches powerfully from one end to the other, and disposes all things sweetly. Wherefore it was said by the apostle, when declaring to the Athenians the God, whom they ignorantly worshipped; he is not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.”
XIX. Moreover, as a second cause cannot act, unless acted upon and previously moved to act, by the preventing and predetermining influence of the first cause: so, in like manner, that influence of the first cause is so efficacious, as that supposing it, the second cause cannot but act. For, it is unworthy of God to imagine any concurrence of his to be so indifferent, as at last only to be determined by the co-operation of second causes: as if the rod should shake him who lifts it up; or, as if the staff should lift up what is not wood, Isa. x. 15. for so the words properly run. And the meaning is, that it is highly absurd to ascribe to an instrument of wood, the raising and managing of what is of a more excellent nature, namely spirit. By this allegory is intimated the absurdity of that opinion, which makes God to be determined in his actions by the creature.
XX. Didacus Alvarez, de Auxiliis divinć gratić lib. iii. disput. 21. p. 163. makes use of the following argument against this: namely, the manner of concurring by a will, of itself indifferent to produce this or the other effect, or its opposite, is very imperfect; because, in its efficacy, it depends on the concurrence of a second cause; and every dependence imports in the thing which depends, some imperfection and inferiority, in respect of him on whom it depends; and therefore, such a manner of concurrence cannot be ascribed to God, or agree with his will, which is an infinite and most perfect cause.
XXI. And then this insolvable difficulty likewise remains; if the second cause determines the concurrence of God, in itself indifferent; in that act of determination, it will be independent of God; and so become the first cause. And if in one action it can act independently of God, why not in a second? If in the beginning of the action, why not also in the progress? Since the transition from non-acting to acting is greater than the continuing an action once begun.
XXII. As these things are universally true, they may be applied to those free actions of rational creatures, in which there is a moral evil inherent: namely, that creatures may be determined to those actions by the efficacious influence of God, so far as they are actions, according to their physical entity. Elegantly to this purpose Thomas Aquinas, in the place just quoted. Since the act of sin is a kind of being, not only as negations and privations are said to be beings; but also as things, which in general exist, are beings because even these actions in general are ranked in that order, and if the actions of sin [as actions] are not from God, it would follow that there would be some being, which had not its essence from God: and thus God would not be the universal cause of all beings. Which is contrary to the perfection of the first being.
XXIII. Neither does God only excite and predetermine the will of men to vicious actions, so far as they are actions; but he likewise so excites it, that it is not possible, but, thus acted upon, it shall act. For, if upon supposition of that divine influx, it was possible for the created will not to act, these two absurdities would follow: 1st. That the human will could baffle the providence of God, and either give to, or take from the divine influx, all its efficacy. 2dly. That there could be some act in the creature, of such weight as to resist the divine influence, and be independent of God. Nor do I imagine, they will say, that God concurs to the production of that action, whereby his influx is resisted. But we have already refuted any concurrence as in itself indifferent, to be determined by the free will of the creatures.
XXIV. Further, the free will of man excited to actions cannot, according to its physical essence, give them a moral and spiritual goodness, without the divine providence influencing and concurring to that goodness. This is evident from what has been said. For, as moral goodness is a superior and more perfect degree of entity, than a physical entity alone, and man in the physical entity of his actions depends on God; so it is necessary he should much more depend on God, in producing the moral goodness of his actions, that the glory thereof ought to be rendered to God as the first cause.
XXV. If all these truths thus demonstrated be joined and linked together, they will produce that conclusion which we laid down § XIII. For if all creatures depend on God in acting; if he not only concurs with them, when they act, but also excites them to act; if that excitation be so powerful, as that upon supposing it, the effect cannot but follow; if God, with that same efficacy influences vicious actions, so far as they are physical; if the creature cannot give its actions their due moral goodness without God; it infallibly follows, that Adam, God himself moving him to understand, will, and eat, could not but understand, will, and eat; and God not giving goodness to those actions, man could not understand and will in a right manner. Which was to be proved.
XXVI. But it does not follow, that man was obliged to what was simply impossible. For, it is only a consequential and eventual infallibility and necessity, which we have established. God bestowed sufficient powers on man, even such as were proper for a creature, by which he could have overcome the temptation. But then he could not proceed to action without presupposing the divine concurrence. Who shall deny, that man has a locomotive faculty, so sufficient in its kind, that he requires no more? For, will any affirm, that man, by that locomotive faculty, can actually move independently of God, as the first cause, without discovering his ignorance both of the supremacy of God, and the subordination of man? In like manner, we affirm, that, though God granted man such sufficient abilities to fulfil all righteousness, that he had no need of any further habitual grace, as it is called; yet, all this ability was given him in such a manner that he should act only dependently of the Creator, and his influence, as we hinted, chap. ii. § XIII.
XXVII. Much less should it be said, that man, by the above-mentioned acts of divine providence, was forced to sin. For, he sinned with judgment and will; to which faculties, liberty, as it is opposed to compulsion, is so peculiar, nay essential, as to be neither judgment nor will without it. And when we affirm, that God foreordained and infallibly foreknew, that man should sin freely, the sinner could not but sin freely; unless we would have the event not answer to the preordination and prescience of God. And it is so far from the decree of God, in the least to diminish the liberty of man in his acting, that, on the contrary, this liberty has not a more solid foundation than that infallible decree of God.
XXVIII. To make God the author of sin, is such dreadful blasphemy, that the thought cannot, without horror, be entertained by any Christian. God, indeed created man mutably good, infallibly foresaw his sin, foreordained the permission of that sin, really gave man sufficient powers to avoid it, but which could not act without his influx; and though he influenced his faculties to natural or physical actions, without influencing the moral goodness of those actions, all which appear from the event; yet God neither is, nor in any respect can be, the author of sin. And though it be difficult, nay impossible for us, to reconcile these truths with each other; yet we ought not to deny what is manifest, on account of that which is hard to be understood We will religiously profess both truths, because they are truths, and worthy of God; nor can the one overturn the other; though in this our state of blindness and ignorance of God, we cannot thoroughly see the amicable harmony between them. This is not the alone, nor single difficulty, whose solution the sober divine will ever reserve for the world to come.
XXIX. This is certain, that by this permission of sin, God had an opportunity of displaying his manifold perfections. There is a fine passage to this purpose in Clemens, Strom. lib. i. which with pleasure we here insert. “It is the greatest work of divine providence, not to suffer the evil arising from a voluntary apostasy, to remain unuseful, or in every respect to become noxious. For it is peculiar to divine wisdom and power not only to do good (that being, to speak so, as much the nature of God, as it is the nature of fire to warm, or of light to shine) but much more, to make the evil devised by others, to answer a good and valuable end, and manage those things which appear to be evil to the greatest advantage."
XXX. It remains now lastly, to consider how, as Adam, in this covenant, was the head of mankind; upon his fall, all his posterity may be deemed to have fallen with him, and broken the covenant of God. The apostle expressly asserts this, Rom. v. 12. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
XXXI. To illustrate the apostle’s meaning, we must observe these things: 1st. It is very clear to any not under the power of prejudice, that when the apostle affirms that all have sinned, he speaks of an act of sinning, or of an actual sin; the very term, to sin, denoting an action. It is one thing to sin, an other to be sinful, if I may so speak. 2dly. When he affirms all to have sinned; he under that universality likewise includes those who have no actual, proper, and personal sin, and who, as he himself says, have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, verse 14. Consequently these are also guilty of some actual sin, as appears from their death; but that not being their own proper and personal sin, must be the sin of Adam, imputed to them by the just judgment of God. 3dly. By these words ef w pantev hmarton for that all have sinned, he gives the reason why he had asserted that by the sin of one man death passed upon all. This, says he, ought not to astonish us, for all have sinned. If we must understand this of some personal sin of each, either actual or habitual, the reasoning would not have been just and worthy of the apostle, but mere trifling. For, his argument would be thus, that by the one sin of one all were become guilty of death, because each in particular had, besides that one and first sin, his own personal sin: which is inconsequential. 4thly. The scope of the apostle is to illustrate the doctrine of justification he had before treated of. The substance of which consisted in this, that Christ, in virtue of the covenant of grace, accomplished all righteousness for his chosen covenant people, so that the obedience of Christ is placed to their charge, and they, on account thereof, are no less absolved from the guilt and dominion of sin, than if they themselves had done and suffered in their own person, what Christ did and suffered for them. He declares that in this respect, Adam was the type of Christ, namely, as answering to him. It is therefore necessary, that the sin of Adam, in virtue of the covenant of works, be so laid to the charge of his posterity, who were comprised with him in the same covenant that, on account of the demerit of his sin, they are born destitute of original righteousness, and obnoxious to every kind of death, as much as if they themselves, in their own persons, had done what Adam did. Unless we suppose this to be Paul’s doctrine, his words are no thing but mere empty sound.
XXXII. The last words of this verse, ef w pantev hmarton, are differently explained by divines, because the Greek phraseology admits of various significations. The principal explanations are three: 1st. Some render them, in so far, or, because all have sinned. For, it is allowed, that ef w frequently admits this sense; and thus it seems to be taken, 2 Cor. v. 4. ef w ou yelomen ekdusasyai, “not for that we would be unclothed;” as if written, as Frobenius prints it, epeidh, though Beza here greatly differs. 2dly. Others observe, it may be explained, with whom, i.e. who sinning, all have sinned.. For epi in a similar construction denotes a time, in which something was done. Thus we say in Greek, ep emoi meirakiw touto gegone, when I was a boy this happened, and epi kuni, in the dog days; and the apostle Heb. ix. 15. epi th prwth diayhkh, under the first testament. And then the meaning would be, that upon Adam’s sinning, all are judged to have sinned. 3dly. Augustine, and most of the Orthodox have explained it, in whom. Which Erasmus in vain opposes, saying, that epi when signifying upon, or, in, is joined to the genitive case; as epi oikou kai epi thv cwrav; also when denoting time, as epi kiasarov Oktabiou. In all this he is strangely mistaken. For, not to say any thing now of time, it is certain, that epi when joined to the dative denotes in: as Matt. xiv. 8. epi pinaki, in a charger; and in this very context of Paul, verse 14. epi tw omoiwmati, in the similitude. And which is more, to ef w, cannot sometimes be otherwise explained, than by in which, [or in whom]: as Mark ii. 4. ef w o paralutikov katekeito, wherein the sick of the palsy lay, and Luke v. 25. arav ef w katekeito, took up that whereon he lay. Nor is it taken in this light, in the sacred writings only, but he might learn from Budćus, Commentar. lingf. Grćc. p. 506. that Aristotle used this phraseology in the same sense, ef w men h yhleia, epi yaterw de o a rhn epwazei, on the one the female, on the other the male broods. However, we reckon none of those explanations to be impertinent as they are almost to the same purpose; yet, we give the preference to the last, because most emphatical and very applicable to the apostle’s scope; it is a bad way of interpreting scripture to represent it as declaring what is the least thing intended. For, the words are to be taken in their full import, where there is nothing in the context to hinder it.
XXXIII. Grotius really prevaricates, when he thus comments on the passage before us. It is a common metonymy in the Hebrew, to use the word sin, instead of punishment; and to sin, instead of to undergo punishment, whence extending this figure, they are said, by a metalepsis, ajx to sin, who suffer any evil, even though they are innocent, as Gen. xxxi. 36. and Job vi. 24. Where ajx is rendered by dusprage in to be unhappy, Ef w here denotes through whom, as epi with the dative is taken, Luke v. 5. Acts iii. 36. 1 Cor. viii. 11. Heb. ix. 17. Chrysostom on this place says, On his fall, they who did not eat of the tree, are from him all become mortal.
XXXIV. This illustrious person seems to have wrote with out attention, as the whole is very impertinent. 1st. Though we allow, that sin does sometimes metonymically denote the punishment of sin, yet we deny it to be usual in Scripture, that he who undergoes punishment, even while innocent may be said to sin. Grotius says, it is frequent but he neither does nor can prove it by any one example; which is certainly bold and rash. Crellius confuting his book on the satisfaction of Christ, brings in the saying of Bathsheba to David, 1 Kings i. 21. I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders; that is, says he, we shall be treated as offenders, or, be ruined. But a sinner, or even sin and to sin are different things. The former is said of Christ, 2 Cor. v. 21.: but not the latter on any account. Moreover, to be a sinner, does not signify, in the passage alleged, to undergo punishment, without any regard to a fault or demerit, but to be guilty of aiming at the kingdom, and of high treason, and as such to be punished. The testimonies advanced by Grotius are so foreign, that they seem not to have been examined by that great man. For, neither in the Hebrew do we find ajx to sin, nor in the Greek version, duspragein; nor do the circumstances admit, that what is there said of sin, or mistake, can be explained of punishment. it is necessary therefore to suppose, that either Grotius had something else in his view, or that here is a typographical error. 2dly. Though we should grant, which yet we do not in the least, that to sin sometimes denotes to undergo punishment, yet it cannot signify this here; because, the apostle in this place immediately distinguishes between death, as the punishment, and sin, as the meritorious cause, and death by sin. And by this interpretation of Grotius, the apostle’s discourse, which we have already shewn is solid, would be an insipid tautology. For, where is the sense to say, “So death passed upon all, through whom all die.” 3dly. Grotius discovers but little judgment in his attempt to prove, that ef w signifies through whom: certainly Luke v. 5. epi pw rhmati sou, does not signify through thy word, but at thy word, or as Beza translates, at thy command. And Heb. ix. 17. epi nekroiv does not signify through the dead, but when dead, and rather denotes a circumstance of time, Acts iii. 16. is alleged with a little more judgment; and 1 Cor. viii. 11. not improperly. But it might be insisted, that ep emoi esi signifies, it is owing to me, that the meaning shall be, “to whom it was owing that all sinned.” Which interpretation is not altogether to be rejected. Thus the sholiast ef w Adam, di on. And if there was nothing else couched under this, I would easily grant Grotius this explanation of that phraseology. 4thly. it cannot be explained consistent with divine justice, how without a crime death should have passed upon Adam’s posterity. Prosper reasoned solidly and elegantly against Collator, c. xx. “Unless, perhaps, it can be said, that the punishment, and not the guilt passed on the posterity of Adam, but to say this is in every respect false; for it is too impious to judge so of the justice of God; as if he would, contrary to his own law, condemn the innocent with the guilty. The guilt therefore is evident where the punishment is so, and a partaking in punishment shews a partaking in guilt; that human misery is not the appointment of the Creator, but the retribution of the judge.” If therefore through Adam all are obnoxious to punishment, all too must have sinned in Adam. 5thly. Chrysostom also is here improperly brought in, as if from Adam he derived only the punishment of death, without partaking in the guilt; for the homily from which the words are quoted begins thus: “When the Jew shall say, How is the world saved by the obedience of one, namely, Christ? you may reply, How was the world condemned by one disobedient Adam?” Where it is to be observed, 1st. That he supposes the miseries of mankind to proceed from God as a judge, who can not justly condemn but for sin. 2dly. That he compares the condemnation of the world by Adam’s disobedience, with its salvation by Christ’s obedience. But this last is imputed to believers, and deemed to be theirs, and therefore Adam’s sin is in like manner imputed to all. As also Gregory of Naziansen, quoted by Vossius, Hist. Pelag. lib. ii. P. ii. p. 163. said, that Adam’s guilt was his. “Alas! my weakness,” says he, “for I derive my weakness from the first parent.”
XXXV. But we only understand this of Adam’s first sin. We no wise agree with those who absurdly tell us, that Adam’s other sins were also imputed to us; for Paul, when treating on this subject, Rom. v. every where mentions transgression in the singular number; nay, expressly verse 18. one transgression, by which guilt passed upon all; and the reason is manifest, for Adam ceased to be a federal head when the covenant was once broken, and whatever sin he was afterwards guilty of, was his own personal sin, and not chargeable on his posterity, unless in so far as God is sometimes pleased to visit the sins of the fathers on the children. In which Adam has now nothing peculiar above other men. So much for the violation by the covenant of man.
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