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Genesis 2:2. Rested] “Kept sabbath,” i.e. “observed a sacred, festive quiet.” A good worker does his work well, and leaves off when he has done. The very crown of his work is the pleasure he takes in it when complete. Such is God’s rest; and hence He graciously seeks for intelligent companionship therein: Hebrews 3-4.
Genesis 2:3. Created and made] “Made creatively, i.e., perh. by making it anew out of chaos” (Dav.).
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Genesis 2:1-3
THE DIVINE SABBATH
The Divine Artificer with intelligence and delight completes his work. In the calm majesty of His repose He contemplates it. What a scene must have spread before his eye! The created minds who could comprehend but a part, would be overwhelmed at the splendour, variety, and order. How perfect must it have shone forth before the Divine eye that saw all arrangements, and knew the relations of the universe! As none but He could paint such a picture, so He must have been alone in his delight. This was God’s Sabbath. See in it:—
I. The Divine completion of His creative work. “The heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them.” The Bible teaches that creation ended with the sixth day’s work. As it was itself a series of separate, distinct acts, so in itself the series was complete. According to this cosmogony there were no further creations. Individuals may be born and die. According to the laws impressed upon the vegetable and the animal worlds there may be the development of the individual from the parent, but it will be after the parent’s kind. Races and species may die, become extinct; but, if so, they go to a grave whence there is no resurrection. Whatever may be the truth underlying the words of the ancient record, it certainly is not development of species, either by natural or any other selection. Science and Bible are not opposed, but the peculiar form of the present day’s theory is not that of the Scriptures. This fact is in harmony with:—
1. The disclosures of science in its history of the earth’s crust. The evidence, as yet, is beyond comparison in favour of no resurrection of an extinct species, nor post-Adamic creation of a new species.
2. The history of the world as the record of moral and religious special acts on the part of God. Human history is not that of a physical world. Events since the creation have ethical meaning. The theatre for the great drama of human life was completed in creation. Since that God’s action has been the working out of the successive scenes.
3. The brief references in the other sacred writings to the physical activity of the Creator. He is not represented as creative, but as destroying, and purifying by fire. Thus we find corroborative evidence that Divine interference in the physical world is not in the form of creation.
II. The Divine contemplation of His creative work. At the close of His work all things pass before the eye of God. Everything was now complete. Everything was in subordination. Everything was ready for the higher and more glorious exercise of the divine activity in providence and grace. All was prepared for the kingdom of probation, by which the last created of the world was to be tried, disciplined, and perfected. We may learn here:—
1. Evil has no natural place in the universe.
2. Matter is not necessarily hostile to God. The Bible, in this picture of Divine contemplation, cuts away the ground from certain forms of false religion and philosophy. Divine life is not the destruction of matter, nor the rising out of the region of the sensuous; but so restoring the harmony, that God may again look upon the world, and say it is “very good.”
3. The present condition of things, so changed from that which God first looked upon, must be the result of some catastrophe.
III. The Divine Rest after His Creative Work. The rest began when the work was done. The contemplation was a part of the Sabbatic blessedness. The Sabbath:
1. It was a season of rest. It does not imply that there was weariness, but cessation from creative activity.
2. The rest was blessed by God. As He saw His work good, so He saw His rest good.
3. There was an appointment of a similar blessed rest for His creatures. “He sanctified the seventh day.” It is not for us to discuss the relations of God to labour and repose. The fact may be beyond our comprehension. It has lessons for us:—
1. There is a place and time for rest.
2. The condition on which rest may be claimed is that men work.
3. This rest should be happy. Much of the modern idea of a Sabbath is not that which God would say was blessed. The Sabbath is not a time of gloom.
4. This rest should be religious.
5. This rest is unlimited to any particular portion of the race. (Homilist.)
SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES
Genesis 2:1-3. The Sabbath:—
1. A day of rest.
2. A day for contemplation.
3. A day of peculiar sanctity.
4. A day Divinely set apart for the moral good of man.
1. Its antiquity.
2. Its utility.
3. Its prophecy.
The finished Creation:—
1. Should attract our attention.
2. Should excite our admiration.
3. Should evoke our praise.
4. Should lead us to God.
The “host” of them:—
1. As an army Creation is large.
2. It is orderly.
3. It is independent.
4. It is triumphant.
5. It is well commanded.
6. Let no man be found in conflict with its laws.
1. The work of God is progressive.
3. Productive of result.
5. Learn to finish the good works we commence, to bring them to perfection.
1. Just in its command.
2. Beneficial in its results.
3. Imperative in its delegation.
Though God ceased from His works of creation, He ceaseth not from His work of Providence.
The worship of God ought to be man’s first care.
God desires His Sabbath to be sanctified:—
1. By secret communion.
2. By study of the Scriptures.
3. By public worship.
The law of the Sabbath:—
1. Not indolence.
2. Not culpable.
3. It should be contemplative.
4. It should be sacred.
5. It is Divinely warranted.
Absolute and perfect is the frame of heaven and earth, as it cometh out of the hand of God.
Jehovah hath His hosts in heaven and earth, many and mighty.
God’s hosts should keep order in every part, and be subject to their Lord.
The seventh day bringeth God’s perfect work to the well-being of creation.
The seventh day is God’s creature.
God rested from creation of kinds, not from propagation and providence.
Reasons for the Sabbath:—
1. God’s rest.
2. God’s blessing.
3. God’s contemplation.
4. God’s sanctification.
REV. WM. ADAMSON
Six Days! Genesis 2:1. Conceive of six separate pictures, in which this great work is represented in each successive stage of its progress towards completion. As the performance of the painter, though it must have natural truth for its foundation, must not be considered or judged of as a delineation of mathematical or scientific accuracy; so neither must this pictorial representation of the creation be regarded as literally and exactly true. As these few verses are but a synopsis or conspectus of Gen I., so the pictures in that chapter are but a brief description under the symbol of days of a work stretching over thousands of years
While earth throughout her farthest climes imbibed
The influence of heaven.
Sabbath! Genesis 2:2. Six days had now elapsed since the work of creation was commenced, but the dawn of Sabbath was the first which had shone upon the earth as finished, and occupied by man. This completes the pictures of the young world. God hangs this on the palace walls of truth as the seventh painting; and on its imperishable canvas, traced with indelible hues, one sees man keeping a Sabbath in Paradise. What an image of blessed tranquility and rest! This was the great day of the earth’s dedication to the service of God. The earth became holy ground, and must not be polluted by any profane act. And thus paradise and the Sabbath are coeval. They stand together on the same page of the Bible. They are seen shining like twin stars in the morning sky of the world—blending their lights in one like those binary stars in the material heavens.
There is no day so glad as that,
God’s holy day of rest.
There is no day so sad as that,
Unhallowed and unblest.
Sabbath! Genesis 2:2. Some one has said that a world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile—like a summer without flowers—like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week. And yet, if there is to be the Sabbath joy in the day, there must be the Sabbath spirit in the heart. It is the heart at rest which makes the Sabbath a joy; and there can only be a true Sabbath gladness in those hearts
Where Gospel light is glowing
With pure and radiant beams,
And living waters flowing,
With soul-refreshing streams.—Wordsworth.
Sabbath! Genesis 2:2. On the sides of an English coal mine, limestone is in constant process of formation, caused by the trickling of water through the rocks. This water contains a great many particles of lime, which are deposited in the mine, and, as the water passes off, these become hard, and form the limestone. This stone would always be white, like white marble, were it not that men are working in the mine, and as the black dust rises from the coal it mixes with the soft lime, and in that way a black stone is formed. Now, in the night, when there is no coal-dust rising, the stone is white; then again, the next day, when the miners are at work, another black layer is formed, and so on alternately black and white through the week until Sabbath comes. Then if the miners keep holy the Sabbath, a much larger layer of white stone will be formed than before. There will be the white stone of Saturday night, and the whole day and night of the Sabbath, so that every seventh day the white layer will be about three times as thick as any of the others. But if the men work on the Sabbath they see it marked against them in the stone. Hence the miners call it “the Sunday stone.” How they need to be very careful to observe this holy day, when they would see their violation of God’s command thus written down in stone—an image of the indelible record in heaven!
Heaven here: man on those hills of myrrh and flowers;
A gleam of glory after six days’ showers.—Vaughan.
Sabbath-symbol! Genesis 2:3. It is, writes Chalmers, a favourite speculation of mine, that—if spared to sixty—we then enter upon the seventh decade of human life; and that this, if possible, should be turned into the Sabbath of our earthly pilgrimage, and spent sabbatically, as if on the shores of an eternal world, or in the outer court (as it were) of the temple that is above—the tabernacle in heaven. For
“Sabbaths are threefold, as St. Austin says,
The first of time, or Sabbath here of days;
The second is a conscience trespass free;
The last the SABBATH of ETERNITY.”—Herrick.
Sabbath-rest! Genesis 2:3. Like the pilgrim, the Christian sits down by this well in the desert—for what to him is the Sabbath, but a fountain in a land of drought, a palm-tree in the midst of the great wilderness—and as he drinks of the refreshing waters of this palm-shaded fountain, he is reminded of that rest which remaineth for the people of God. When, as Cumming says, that last Sabbath comes—the Sabbath of all creation—the heart, wearied with tumultuous beatings, shall have rest; and the soul, fevered with its anxieties, shall have peace. The sun of that Sabbath will never set, nor hide his splendours in a cloud. Our earthly Sabbaths are but dim reflections of the heavenly Sabbath, cast upon the earth, dimmed by the transit of their rays from so great a height and so distant a world. They are but
“The preludes of a feast that cannot cloy,
And the bright out-courts of immortal glory!”—Barton.
Genesis 2:4. Generations] Heb. “births” = “birth-facts,” “birth-stages” = “genesis:” Sept., “This is the book of the genesis,” &c. Lord God] Heb. Jehovah Elohim. The correct pronunciation of J. is prob. Yahweh; formed of the 3 sing. mas. imperf. Hiphil, of hawah, “to be,” or rather “to become,” “to come to pass;” and therefore meaning, “He causes to become,” “He brings to pass;” “The Fulfiller.” This explanation
(1.) altogether removes the difficulty from Exodus 6:0, since God was known to Ab., Is., and Ja. rather as PROMISER than as FULFILLER;
(2.) puts a most pertinent force into the name as Israel’s encouragement to leave Eg. for Canaan, Exodus 3:0;
(3.) invests innumerable passages with a most striking beauty, e.g., Psalms 23:1, “J.—the Fulfiller—is my Shepherd: I shall not want;”
(4.) provides for the occasional application of the name to the Messiah, as in Isaiah 40:10-11; Isaiah 40:10-11, cf. John 10:0, Is. 6 cf. John 12:41; and
(5.) by bringing out the gracious covenant power of this name, furnishes some clue to the reason (or feeling) leading to its omission in some cases (as in ch. Genesis 3:1-5; Job 31:37; Psalms 19:1-6; Psalms 119:15) and its insertion in others (Genesis 2:0 and fol., Job 1-2, 38-42; Psalms 19:7-14). To dwell for a moment on the opening of Gen., how natural that in the first sec. (Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3) the name Elohim should suffice, but that when man is to stand out in his moral relation to his Creator, in sec. second (Genesis 2:4, etc.), Jehovah Elohim should be employed. And surely it speaks a volume that neither the serpent, nor the woman under the shadow of entertained temptation, should care to utter a name so replete with grace and love. The name J. occurs about 7,500 times in O. T.
Genesis 2:7. Breath] Heb. neshamah, nearly = ruach, spirit (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:7), occurs only in ch. Genesis 7:22; Deuteronomy 20:16; Joshua 10:40; Joshua 11:11; Joshua 11:14; 2 Samuel 22:16; 1 Kings 15:29; 1 Kings 17:17; Job 4:9; Job 26:4; Job 27:3; Job 32:8; Job 33:4; Job 34:14; Job 37:10; Psalms 18:15; Psalms 150:6; Isaiah 2:22; Isaiah 2:22; Isaiah 30:33; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 57:16; Daniel 10:17. The study of these will richly repay. Life] Heb. chayyim, prop. “lives,” or still better, “living ones,” hence, by abstraction “the condition peculiar to living ones” = “LIFE.” Cf. on Elohim ch. Genesis 1:1. The use of the Heb. pl. as an abstract has received too little notice. (Ges. Gr. § 108,
2. a.; Ewald, Gr. § 179). Living Soul] That is, soul became the characteristic of his being. Hence he is denominated from that why is prominent in him; as the glorified Christ is called “a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45), without making him all spirit or destroying the distinction between body and spirit. Soul lives, spirit makes alive: this is the teaching of Scripture. Our present body is a psychical body, our future b. will be a pneumatical b. Little by little we may hope to build up a “biblical psychology;” i.e., if we are willing both to learn and to unlearn just as truth may demand. Cf. C. N. on ch. Genesis 1:20.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Genesis 2:4-7
THE WORLD WITHOUT A MAN
The text suggests three thoughts:—
I. The world’s independency of man. The terraqueous globe, embosomed in those wonderful heavens, and filled with every species of vegetable and animal life, existed before man appeared.
1. The world can do without him. The heavens would be as bright, the earth as beautiful, the waves of the ocean as sublime, the song of the birds as sweet; were man no more.
2. He cannot do without the world. He needs its bright skies, and flowing rivers, and productive soil, &c. He is the most dependent of all creatures. The text suggests:—
II. The world’s incompleteness without man. Without man the world would be a school without a pupil, a theatre without a spectator, a mansion without a resident, a temple without a worshipper. Learn from this subject:—
1. The lesson of adoring gratitude to the Creator. Adore Him for the fact, the capabilities, and the sphere of your existence.
2. The lesson of profound humility. The world can do without thee, my brother; has done without thee; and will do without thee. The text suggests:—
III. The world’s claims upon man. “The earth He hath given to the children of men.” The nature of this gift proclaims the obligation of the receiver.
1. The world is filled with material treasures; develop and use them.
2. The world is fertile with moral lessons; interpret and apply them.
3. The world is filled with the presence of God; walk reverently [Homilist].
SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES
Genesis 2:4-6. Not only the mercies of God in general, but each particular gift must be recognized as from Him. There can be no rain on the earth unless God send it. It is by rain from Heaven that all the herbs and plants grow and are nourished.
Though God be pleased to make use of man’s labour in producing the fruits of the earth; yet He can increase and preserve them without it. This should make man:—
1. Thankful, as it gives him employment.
2. Humble, as it gives him to feel his dependence.
3. Hopeful, as fruit will reward his diligence.
The labour of man:—
1. Should be obedient to God’s command.
2. Dependent upon God’s blessing.
3. Productive of general good.
God has a variety of means to accomplish His will:—
1. The rain.
2. The mist.
3. He is rich in resources.
The world without a man:—
1. To admire its beauty.
2. To praise its Creator.
3. To cultivate its produce.
4. To complete its design.
God can preserve His creatures without ordinary means.
Genesis 2:7. THE HUMILITY AND DIGNITY OF MAN
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.”
I. Then man ought not to indulge a spirit of pride. Man’s body was formed out of the dust of the earth. A remembrance of this fact ought to inspire a feeling of genuine humility within the heart of the race. It should keep men from pride in reference to their renowned ancestry, their apparel, or their wealth.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.”
II. Then man ought not to indulge a spirit of hostility to God.
1. Because they are the workmanship of His hands. God has made us; we are His workmanship. Shall we then contend with our Maker, the finite with the Infinite? Rather it will be our wisdom to cultivate a loving, prayerful spirit, than to provoke Him by impenitence and sin. We are of the dust of the earth, and are therefore unequal to contend with that Being who has all the armies of heaven at His command.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.”
III. Then man should remember His mortality. As man was taken from the dust, so certainly will he return to it before long. Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return, will be spoken at the grave of the world. Our bodies are daily sinking into their original elements. Teach me the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. This should be our constant prayer. Here, then, we have presented one aspect of the being of man; take another:—
“And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
I. Then man is something more than physical organization. Man is not merely dust, not merely body; he is also a living soul. His bodily organization is not the seat of thought, emotion, volition, and immortality; these are evoked by the inspiration of the Almighty. From this text we learn that the soul of man was not generated with, but that it was subsequently inbreathed by God into, his body. We cannot admit the teaching of some, that the soul of man is a part of God; this is little better than blasphemy. It is only a Divine gift. The gift is priceless. It is responsible.
“And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
II. Then man should cultivate a moral character, pursue employments, and anticipate a destiny commensurate with this Divine inspiration. Men gifted with immortal souls should endeavour to bring them into harmony with their Author and Giver, to make them pure as He is pure, and benevolent as He is benevolent; they should never be degraded by sin. Our souls ought to live in communion with God. They ought to be employed in the grandest pursuits of the universe. They ought to anticipate a heavenly destiny, where their powers will be unfettered, their happiness complete, and their devotion eternal.
However base the matter of man’s body, God hath formed it into an excellent piece of work:—
1. Let us praise God for our bodies.
2. Let us use them to His glory.
3. Let us not defile them by sin.
4. Let us await their transformation.
The soul of man, by which he lives, comes immediately from God.
1. A gift Divine.
The life of man consisting in the union of the soul with the body hath but a weak foundation.
1. Rich in its source.
2. Weak in its channel.
3. Eminent in its degree.
4. Noble in its capabilities.
5. Immortal in its continuance.
REV. WM. ADAMSON
Vapour! Genesis 2:4. It interposes as a friendly shield between the sun and the earth, to check excessive evaporation from the one, and to ward off the rays of the other. This mist was drawn from the earth by the sun, and hovered over it. Probably for man’s creation, a change took place. Clouds rose higher; and from them descended the fertilizing rains. The life of many is like the foul vapour which hangs all day over the mouth of a pit, or over the ceaseless wheels of some dingy manufactory. It is a low earthborn thing—ever brooding over worldly business. Whereas nowhere is the cloud so beautiful as when—suspended by unseen forces—it hangs high in the serene sky. Never is man’s life so beautiful as when—spiritually-minded, heavenly-minded—it is lifted up above the selfishness and sordidness of a world lying in wickedness of the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. It becomes brighter and grander as it nears the gate of the west. It makes the world fairer by its presence while it lasts. It makes the twilight horizon of death ablaze with its splendour when it vanishes into the eternal world:—
“For when he comes nearer to finish his race,
Like a fine setting sun he looks richer in grace,
And gives a sure hope, at the end of his days,
Of rising in brighter array.”—Watts.
Human Origin! Genesis 2:5. M. Boudon, says Percy, was one day sent for by Cardinal de Bois—the Prime Minister of France—to perform a very serious surgical operation upon him. The cardinal on seeing him enter the room, said: “Remember that you are not to treat me in the same rough manner you would treat the poor miserable wretches at your hospital.” To this the eminent surgeon responded with great dignity that every one of those miserable wretches was a prime minister in his eyes. What a rebuke to pride! We are all the same flesh and blood; for
“Man is one;
And he hath one great heart. It is thus we feel,
With a gigantic throb athwart the sea,
Each other’s rights and wrongs; thus are we men.”—Bailey.
Immortality! Genesis 2:6. Professors Tyndal and Huxley say that man is nothing more than a combination of molecular atoms held together by certain forces which they call “organisms.” If so, what becomes of personal identity? And when they dissolved, did they get rid at once and for all by death of their identity, responsibilities, hopes and fears? These men will not answer such inquiries. Till they do, the Bible view of the future life is infinitely preferable to Tyndal’s vague and hazy “infinite azure of the past”—even on the low ground that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, or, as the Arabic, a thousand cranes in the air are not worth one sparrow in the hand. These men had no right to lead us to the edge of an abyss, and, bidding us look down in the deep dark chasm, tell us never to mind, but do our duty. Do our duty, indeed! How could a combination of molecular atoms do its duty—any more than a magnet? According to their view, man had no duty to discharge; at least, he had no responsibility by the non-discharge of it. But we view man otherwise than that.
“Trust me, ’tis a clay above your scorning,
With God’s image stamped upon it, and God’s kindling breath within.”—Browning.
Living Soul! Genesis 2:7. About forty-five years ago a funeral was passing through the streets of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It was the burial procession of John Hall Mason, the son of the eminent Dr. Mason, President of Dickinson College, one of the most powerful and eloquent preachers in America. The son was distinguished for his piety and talents, and his death had cast a gloom over many hearts. Many gathered to the funeral, from far and near, and especially young men. After the services at the house had been performed, and the pall-bearers had taken up the bier, a great concourse obstructed the entrance, and great confusion and noise ensued. The bereaved Doctor, observing the difficulty, and following closely the pall-bearers, exclaimed in solemn sepulchral tones: “Tread lightly, young men! tread lightly! You bear the temple of the Holy Ghost.” These sentiments, as though indited by the Holy Spirit, acted like an electric shock; the crowd fell back and made the passage way clear. Through the influence of these words a most powerful revival of religion sprung up, and swept through the college, and extended over the town.
“Since then, my God, thou hast
So brave a temple built; O dwell in it,
That it may dwell with Thee at last.”—Herbert.
Human Mind! Genesis 2:7. Adam’s understanding was like a golden lamp kindled at the great fountain of light. It was subject to no dimness or eclipse. Over it there never passed the shadow of darkness; and all around, over the whole region of duty, it shed a cloudless light; so that man was in no danger of losing his path, or of mistaking the limits which His Maker had set. Thus his understanding was perfect. A child may be perfect although it has not reached the stature of a man; and so Adam’s mind was perfect—with a blissful tendency to enlarge, and daily to open up new sources of wonder and delight to itself.
On! said God unto his soul,
As to the earth, for ever. And on it went,
A rejoicing native of the infinite—
As a bird of air—an orb of heaven.”—Anon.
Genesis 2:14. East of Assyria] So Ges. and Dav. Lit., “before A.” wh. to a writer in Pal. is = west (Fürst).
Genesis 2:17. Surely die] Heb. “die, die shalt thou;” as in Genesis 2:16 “eat, eat shalt thou,” Genesis 3:16, “increase, increase will I:”—“a frequent and quite peculiar idiom for the indication of emphasis” (Ewald). Dying thou shalt die” is misleading, has in fact misled many into groundless subtleties.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Genesis 2:8-17
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
There has been much speculation as to the situation of the Garden of Eden; but in vain, it is utterly impossible to ascertain its site. All vestage of it was probably swept away by the deluge. This, however, is of little moment, in comparison with the higher and more solemn moral truths with which this garden stands connected. In these the world is interested, in them it finds its most difficult problems, and the only explanation of its present condition.
I. In this garden provision was made for the happiness of man. This is evident from the description of the garden found in these verses.
1. The garden was beautiful. There was planted in it “every tree that is pleasant to the sight.” Beautiful scenery does much to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of man: in order to gaze upon it men will travel to the ends of the earth. By all that was lovely and inspiring in material nature, Adam was daily surrounded.
2. The garden was fruitful. “And good for food.” Hence with the beautiful in nature, there was blended all that would be needful to supply the temporal requirements of man. The material beauty by which he was surrounded was only indicative of the plenty that everywhere presented itself for his service.
3. The garden was well watered, “and a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” Thus we cannot wonder at the beauty and fertility of this garden. The teaching of this garden is, that God intended man to enjoy a happy life. He did not design that man should be shut up in a cloister, but that he should wander amid the beautiful scenes of nature; He did not design that man should lead a melancholy and sad life, but that he should be jubilant, and that his joy should be inspired by all that was beautiful and morally good. In this happy picture of primeval life we have God’s ideal of life, a pattern for our own.
II. In this garden provision was made for the daily occupation of man. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
1. Work is the law of man’s being. Work is a divine ordination. God put Adam to it. He was the first Employer of labour. Man’s ideal of life is to have nothing to do, to be “independent” as it is called. Work is compatible with the most ideal existence. It is a token of dignity; a willingness to perform it, is a vestige of the former splendour of our being. People tell us that work is the result of the fall. This is not true. Man worked before he fell, but free from fatigue or pain. The element of pain which has been infused into work, that is the result of the fall. Man must work. He is prompted to it by natural instincts. He is cheered in it by happy results. He is rewarded after it by an approving conscience.
(1) Man’s work should be practical. Adam was to dress the garden. It is man’s work to develop, and make God’s universe as productive as possible. Some men spend their lives in speculation; it would be far better if they would employ them in digging. Aim to be practical in your toil. The world needs practical workers. The world is full of men who want to be great workers, and they would be, if they would only undertake little tasks.
(2) Man’s work should be healthful. There is no employment more healthy than that of husbandry. It enables a man to get plenty of fresh air. It will make him stalwart. It would be much better for the health of the world if less men were engaged in offices, and more in the broad fields.
(3) Man’s work should be taken as from God. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden.” This will dignify work. It will inspire the worker. It will attain the full meaning of service. A man who lets God put him to his trade, is likely to be successful.
2. Work is the benediction of man’s being. Work makes men happy. Indolence is misery. If all the artizans of our country were freed from their employment to-morrow, it would not increase their joy; to what would they turn their attention? Work is the truest blessing we have. It occupies our time. It keeps from mischief. It supplies our temporal wants. It enriches society. It wins the approval of God.
III. In this garden provision was made for the spiritual obedience of man.
1. God gave man a command to obey. Adam was not entirely to do as he liked in this garden, one restriction was made known to him. He was to be none the less happy. He was to be none the less free. He was to be the more obedient to that Being who had so kindly ordered his circumstances. Man is not to do as he likes in this world. God places him under moral restrictions, which are for his welfare, but which he has the ability to set aside. There are certain trees in the world, of whose fruit we are not to eat. But these restrictions are not irksome or unreasonable, they refer only to one tree in all the great garden of life. Let us attend to the regulation which the gospel puts upon our use of the creatures by which we are every day surrounded.
2. God annexed a penalty in the case of disobedience.
(1) The penalty was clearly made known.
(2) It was certain in its infliction.
(3) It was terrible in its result.
SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES
THE TWO PARADISES.—Genesis 22:8; Revelation 2:2
I. Compare the Places. The second is superior to the first.
1. In respect to its elements. What was dust in the first paradise was gold in the second.
2. Of its extent. The first paradise was the corner of a small planet; the second is a universe of glory in which nations dwell, and whose limits angels know not.
3. Of its beauty.
II. Compare the Inhabitants. of the two paradises. The inhabitants of the second are superior to those of the first.
1. In physical nature.
2. In employment. The employment of heaven will relate to beings rather than to things. The sphere of activity will be more amongst souls than flowers. Will call into exercise loftier faculties; will tend more to the glory of God.
3. In rank.
4. In freedom.
5. In security. Adam was liable to temptation and evil. In the second paradise is immunity from peril.
6. In vision of God. In the first paradise God walked amid the trees of the garden. Adam realizes the overshadowing Presence. The inhabitants of the second paradise shall enjoy that Presence more perfectly.
(1.) Vision brighter.
(2.) Constant. [Pulpit Analyst.]
1. Its plantation.
2. Its situation.
3. Its occupation.
Genesis 2:9. As God gives us all things freely, so He takes special notice of all that He bestows upon us.
Every plant grows where, and in what manner God appoints it.
God’s bounty abounds unto men, not only to the supply of their want, but also for their delight.
It is usual with God to mix delight and pleasure with usefulness and profit in all his blessings.
God’s commandments ought to be full in view of His people.
It is usual with God to teach His children by things of common use.
Genesis 2:10-15. God’s blessings are in every way complete and perfect.
Springs and rivers of waters are not amongst the least of God’s blessings.
Every son of Adam is bound to some employment:—
1. Necessary to mutual subsistence.
2. The creatures of the world are not serviceable without toil.
3. To occupy time.
4. To employ our faculties.
Our daily calling—
1. Undertaken by a Divine warrant.
2. Pursued with cheerfulness and fidelity.
3. Guided by God’s word.
4. Seeking the good of the community.
5. Abiding there till God shall discharge us.
Duty and not gain should be the ground of our daily calling.
Man’s employment ought to be in those places where it is most needed.
Very rich in earthly treasure was the habitation of innocency.
Genesis 2:16-17.—Eden: or God’s voice to man on entering his earthly sphere of life.
I. That man’s earthly sphere of life is furnished with vast and varied blessings. “Of every tree.” There are many trees of pleasure for man in this life.
1. There is the sensational tree. Material nature with its million branches is a tree all thickly clustered with fruit.
2. There is the intellectual tree. Life is crowded with ideas, every form of life embodies them, every event starts them.
3. There is the social tree.
4. There is the religious tree. This gives it beauty and worth to all. What a rich garden is our earthly life.
II. That these vast and varied blessings are to be used under certain Divine regulations. “But of the tree.”
1. His regulations are proper.
2. His regulations are liberal.
3. His regulations are needful.
III. That the violation of these Divine regulations will entail the utmost ruin. “Thou shalt surely die.” To disobey God is sin, and the wages of sin is death. Disobedience to God will produce death.—[Homilist.]
REV. WM. ADAMSON
Breath of Life! (Genesis 2:8.) God breathed into man at the first creation the breath of life, and he became a living creature. Christ breathed upon His disciples the breath of eternal life, and said: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. We have all the breath of the first creation; but this breath will not save us from the vanity and perishableness of our natural life. Christ must breathe into our souls the Holy Spirit, Who alone can make us immortal souls. To hew a block of marble from the quarry, and carve it into a noble statue—to break up a waste wilderness, and turn it into a garden of flowers—to melt a lump of iron-stone, and forge it into watch springs; all these are mighty changes. Yet they all come short of the change which every child of Adam requires—for they are merely the same thing in a new form. But man must become a new creature. He must be born again—born from above—born of God. God must breathe into him the breath of life. So that the natural birth is not a whit more necessary to the life of the body than is the spiritual birth to the life of the soul.—Ryle.
Eden! Genesis 2:8. Sir Henry Rawlinson, to whom we owe so much in Assyrian decipherment, long ago identified Eden with the Kardunias or Gan-dunias of the inscriptions. Kardunias is one of the names of Babylonia—perhaps properly belonging to some particular part of the country, and it is said to be watered by four rivers just like Eden in Genesis. But Dr. Wylie and others lean towards another view of the locale of Eden. “Paradise” is said to be a garden eastward in Eden. As these words were penned by Moses in the wilderness south of Judea, it is self-evident that Eden must be considerably east of Palestine. Some have thought of the noble plain around Damascus, which is well-watered, luxuriant, and rich. Others have found it in that district known as Arabia Felix, so called on account of the eminent richness of its pastures. While others have seen it in that region somewhere between Bagdad and Bussorah at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. Here the soil is fertile, the climate delicious, and the noble stream which waters it diffuses a delightful freshness and verdure throughout the great plain along which it flows. Here the skies are serene; and the earth might wear everlastingly a robe of vernal beauty were it not for the neglect and barbarity of man. It is now occupied by ignorant and barbarous tribes under the nominal sceptre of the Shah of Persia. Beyond this we can make no nearer approach to the seat of primæval innocence
A paradise, for never earth has worn
Such close similitude to heaven as there.”—Bickersteth.
Man! Genesis 2:8. He was to be the High Priest of creation, the mysterious yet glorious link between the material and spiritual. On him God placed his Eden robes that he might officiate on the first sabbath as a holy Levite before the Lord. Paradise was the temple prepared for him by his Creator, in which to worship the Holy and Eternal One. It was the glory of man that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and made him a living soul, in order that he might stand as the annointed priest in the midst of the great congregation of creation, to give a tongue to all around him, that, through him, the loud anthem of universal adoration might rise too. And though man is no longer nature’s minister before the Lord, and no longer resembles a walking orange tree swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air, yet
“That day God’s church doth still confess,
At once creation and redemption’s feast,
Sign of a world called forth, a world forgiven.”—Mant.
Work! Genesis 2:8. Not only did Adam work before the Fall; but also nature and nature’s God. From the particle of dust at our feet to man, the last stroke of God’s handiwork, all bear the impress of the law of labour. The earth, as has been said, is one vast laboratory, where decomposition and re-formation are constantly going on. The blast of nature’s furnace never ceases, and its fires never burn low. The lichen of the rock, and the oak of the forest, each works out the problem of its own existence. The earth, the air and the water teem with busy life. The poet tells us that the joyous song of labour sounds out from the million-voiced earth, and the rolling spheres join the universal chorus! Therefore, labour is not, as Tupper expresses it, the curse on the sons of men in all their ways. Rather—
“In the master’s vineyard.
Go and work to-day;
Be no useless sluggard
Standing in the way.”—Bonas.
Healthy Work! Genesis 2:8. It is not, says one, work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Motion is all nature’s law. Action is man’s salvation, both physical and mental. Rest is ruin; therefore he only is wise, who lays himself out to work till life’s latest hour; and that is the man who will live the longest, and live to the most purpose. Work gives a feeling of strength, and in this our highest pleasure consists. It is vigour; for an angel’s wing would droop if long at rest. As an Oriental couplet expresses the idea in quaint guise:—
Better a dog who works
Than a lion who shirks.
Tree! Genesis 2:11. A tree, called the man-chaneel, grows in the West Indies. Its appearance is very attractive, and the wood of it peculiarly beautiful. It bears a kind of fruit resembling the golden pippin. This fruit looks very tempting, and smells very fragrant—
“Not balm new bleeding from the wounded tree,
Nor bless’d Arabia with her spicy grove,
Such fragrance yields.”
But to eat of it is instant death. Its sap is so poisonous that, if a few drops of it fall on the skin, it raises blisters and occasions great pain. The Indians dip their arrows in the juice, that they may poison their enemies when they wound them.
Paradise! Genesis 2:12. To dream of a paradise on earth is to dream of what never can be realised. There is, however, another paradise into which we may enter—a paradise whose gates stand open day and night—at whose doors are ministers of grace to invite us to enter—within whose precincts are the Tree of Life and the Water of Life. It is the garden of His Church. Yet are the beauties of the Gospel paradise nought compared with the unfading charms of the Heavenly Eden. A traveller in the east was once invited to see the glory of a prince’s garden. It was the night-blooming cereus; glorious indeed, with its creamy waxen buds and full bloom of exquisite form—the leaves of the carolla of a pale golden hue, and the petals intensely white. He saw it just as the short twilight of the tropics was deepening into night, and the beauteous flowers were beginning to exhale their wondrous perfume. But this sweet burst of glory he considered as nothing when, at the midnight hour, he saw the plant in all its queenlike radiance at perfect maturity, as the full glory of a royal garden revealed to his eye. So, beautiful as was the natural paradise, and beautiful as is the spiritual paradise, their beauty will be nothing to that of the upper paradise.
“O there are gardens of the immortal kind,
That crown the Heavenly Eden’s rising hills
With beauty and with sweets;
The branches bend laden with life and bliss.”—Watts.
Eden and Gethsemane! Genesis 2:13. We compare the earthly with the heavenly paradise, but do we contrast Eden with Gethsemane? The earthly Eden was man’s Gethsemane—his garden of woe and sweat. The Gethsemane is man’s spiritual Eden, where crimson flowers bloom brilliant as the sunset rays, and emit an odour sweeter far than the spicy perfumes wafted from eastern gardens. It has been very quaintly put thus:
“Sweet Eden was the arbour of delight,
Yet in its honey flowers our poison blew;
Sad Gethsemane, the bower of baleful night,
Where Christ a health of poison for us drew,
Yet all our honey in that poison grew.”—Fletcher.
Tree of Life! Genesis 2:9. In Eastern poetry they tell of a wondrous tree, on which grew golden apples and silver bells; and every time the breeze went by and tossed the fragrant branches, a shower of those golden apples fell, and the living bells chimed and tinkled forth their airy ravishment. On the gospel tree there grow melodious blossoms; sweeter bells than those which mingled with the pomegranates on Aaron’s vest; holy feelings, heaven-taught joys; and when the wind blowing where he listeth, the south wind waking, when the Holy Spirit breathes upon that soul, there is the shaking down of mellow fruits, and the flow of healthy odours all around, and the gush of sweet music, where gentle tones and joyful echoings are wafted through the recesses of the soul. Not easily explained to others, and too ethereal to define, these joys are on that account but the more delightful. The sweet sense of forgiveness; the conscious exercise of all the devout affections, and grateful and adoring emotions God-ward; the lull of sinful passions, itself ecstatic music; an exulting sense of the security of the well-ordered covenant; the gladness of surety righteousness, and the kindly spirit of adoption, encouraging to say, “Abba, Father,” all the delightful feelings which the Spirit of God increases or creates, and which are summed up in that comprehensive word, “Joy in the Holy Ghost.”—Hamilton.
Blessings! Genesis 2:16. Holmes remarks that a man may look long enough in search of particles of iron, which he was told were in a dish of sand, and fail to detect them. But let another come, and sweep a magnet through the sand, and soon the invisible particles would be discerned by the mere power of attraction! The thankless heart is like the finger, it cannot see the innumerable—the vast and varied blessings. The magnet is that truly grateful spirit, which, sweeping through the earth, discovers many a rich earthly treasure.
In the nine heavens are eight paradises,
Where is the ninth one? In the human heart.
Given to thee are those eight paradises,
When thou the ninth one hast within thy heart.—Oriental.
Genesis 2:18. Help meet] Prob. “according to his front” (Dav.) or “corresponding to him” (Ges., Fürst, Dav.).
Genesis 2:19. To see what He would call them] Or: “that he [Adam] might see what he should call them.” Either rendering is valid.
Genesis 2:21. Deep sleep] Sept. extasis = “trance.”
Genesis 2:23. This] An exclamation of joyful satisfaction. Prob. no Eng. trans. can give out the striking threefold repetition of the feminine pronoun zoth: “THIS (fem.)—NOW—is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: THIS (fem.) shall be called Woman; because out of Man was she taken—this (fem.)” Woman] Heb., ishah, fem. of ish. Man] Heb., ish: perh. a prim. word (Ges. Dav.); but more probably = strong (Fürst, Dav.):—to be distinguished from, âdhâm (“Adam,” “man”) as Lat. vir from homo, and Gr. anêr from anthropos. This distinction, with the idioms growing out of it, will be found worth constant attention.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Genesis 2:18-25
THE CREATION OF WOMAN
I. Woman was brought to man in order that she might relieve his solitude by intelligent companionship.—“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.” When we thus state that man was lonely we do not mean to imply that the world in which he lived was a desolate waste, but simply that it was destitute of proper companionship for him. The beasts of the field were created, and were divinely presented to Adam that he might recognize them, that he might name them, that they might awaken his intellectual energies, and that their departure might awaken within him the thought of loneliness. But the brutes are not companions for man, they cannot enter into the high enjoyments of his intellectual life, nor can they join him in his devotional moods. He is separated from them by a wide abyss; he is their lord, they are unknowingly his servants. Then if man could not find a companion in the earth beneath, could he not in the heaven above? Was not God his companion and friend. God was his frequent visitant, but nothing more. The finite mind of Adam could not have found the rest it needed in the infinite problem and presence of God. As in the case of the brutes, Adam was too much their superior to find in them companionship. So the Divine Being was too much superior to Adam for the terrestrial companionship he needed. In order to true and happy companionship there must be a fair equality of intellectual power, of moral sympathy, and a real community of daily life, existing between the parties. Hence there was a deep necessity, in order to relieve the loneliness of Adam, that another human being should be created to keep him constant company. Man to-day can have no idea of the loneliness of Adam, as he first stepped out into life. He was the first man. He stood in a great silence. There were none to whom he could express the deep feeling of his heart. Things are altered now. The world is crowded. Instead of solitude, there are crowds. Instead of silence, there is uproar. Instead of loneliness, there are far too many companionships inviting the truant attention of man. And this condition of the world is more adapted to the number and strength of man’s mental capacities and moral energies. It is more likely to develop both. It is more conducive to his happiness. It may be likewise more conducive to temptation. Companionship may be a curse, as it often is a blessing.
II. Woman was brought to man that she might be his helpmeet in the struggles of life. “I will make him a help-meet for him.” Adam needed a help-meet:—
1. To develop his intellectual thinkings. When Adam was created he would have but few ideas, which would be very crude, more characterized by wonder than by settled conviction. His mind would need development. Eve would encourage this development; instigated by curiosity, and by a desire to know the meaning of the things around, they would together pursue the study of the material universe. Thus their minds would expand, and with this expansion they would attain mental sympathy, through being unitedly employed in the same research. They would have common themes of thought and conversation. Wives should aid and encourage the mental development of their husbands, together they should inquire into the mysteries of the universe, and they would find glad employment in so doing, healthful exercise as well as definite result.
2. To culture his moral sympathies. Adam was strong in manhood, and it is not often that strength combines pathos. Hence there was need that one of loving heart, and tender disposition should subdue by unspoken influence the lord of creation, and by awakening within his soul feelings of gentleness, should strengthen the sceptre which God had put into his hand. The influence of woman should make men sympathetic, should give them a heart to feel the world’s pain and enable them to manifest to those who need it, a patient love.
3. To aid him in the daily needs of life. Even in Eden man had certain physical wants, and though we never read of Eve as engaged in the very necessary pursuits of ordinary female life, yet no doubt they were not forgotten by her. In harmony with the early times she no doubt provided for the daily wants of her husband. Wives show their true womanhood by so doing. A wife who will neglect the temporal wants of her family and home, is unworthy the name.
4. To join him in his worship of God. We can imagine that the souls of Adam and Eve would be full of devotion and praise. They had been immediately created by God. They were the sole proprietors of the soil. They were to be the progenitors of humanity. Their lives were full of spiritual joy. Their souls were pure. God came to them in glorious vision. Together they would worship him. Let husbands and wives throughout the world join together in their prayers and praises. Thus woman is man’s help-meet, to rejoice in his joy, to share his sorrow, to minister to his comfort, and to aid his religious life and worship.
III. Woman was brought to man that she might receive his love, protection, and care. Eve was taken from the side of Adam, that she might be equal with him; from near his heart that she might be loved by him; from under his arm that she might be protected by him. Woman was not intended to be man’s slave. In many heathen nations this is the case, but wherever the Bible is taken, it teaches the moral elevation of woman. How intimate is the marriage relationship. The two become one flesh. They forsake all other relationship, comparatively, for the new one assumed. A man never shows more respect for himself than when he manifests love and respect for his wife. It is a great sin to violate this holy relationship, either by brutality or neglect. LESSONS:—
1. The Divine compassion for a lonely man.
2. That marriage is to furnish man with true companionship of soul.
3. That marriage is to aid man in all the exigencies of life.
SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES
Genesis 2:18. This complete loneliness, marking an imperfect life, was thoroughly unique. Whatever exileship or bereavement may effect, whatever selfishness, or misanthropy, or great grief for the dead may make you feel for the time, you can never have reproduced in you Adam’s loneliness. The world around teems with human life that wants your blessing; and there are in the biographies of men, in your memories of the departed, in the presence still on earth of the good and the noble, helpers to the heart and mind such as Adam could not know in his solitude. Even the “last man” will have interwoven with his very being memories of human companions, and have upon him uneffaceable impressions of them such as were impossible to the first man [Homilist].
The creation of woman:—
1. The occasion.
2. The resolution.
3. The preparation.
4. The presentation.
Loneliness is not good:—
1. For intellectual development.
2. For moral culture.
3. For true enjoyment.
4. A rebuke to monks.
Loneliness not good:—
1. For man’s comfort.
2. For man’s employment.
3. For posterity.
The woman a help:—
1. For assistance in family government.
2. For the comfort of society.
3. For the continuance of the race.
God knows all the wants of man and graciously makes arrangements to supply them:—
1. The sabbath for rest.
2. The garden for pleasure and work.
3. The wife for companionship.
A wife is not good, till it be not good to be without a wife.
A man may, and it is God’s will that he should, be the better for his wife:—
1. She builds up the House (Proverbs 14:1).
2. She profits him in his estate (Proverbs 31:12).
3. She easeth him of his cares in looking to the ways of her family (Proverbs 31:27).
4. She adviseth him by her counsels (Genesis 21:10).
5. She comforts him in his sorrows.
6. She helps to foresee and prevent danger (1 Samuel 25:18; 1 Samuel 25:33).
7. She furthers him in piety, by seasonable encouragements, reverent admonitions, and by joining with him in holy prayers.
Only the wife brought by God is likely to be good.
A wife the helper of her husband:—
1. Not his guide.
2. Not his ruler.
3. Not his slave.
4. But his counsellor.
A wife cannot be a good wife unless she be a meet and fit wife:—
1. In parentage.
2. In estate.
3. In education.
4. In disposition.
5. In religion.
Jehovah Elohim, man’s Creator, knows what in every kind is good for man.
The judgment of the great God is, that it is in no way good for man, in respect of natural, civil, or spiritual relations, to abide alone.
Man was not made for a solitary, but for a sociable life, and to commune with God.
God in goodness makes that good for man which he stands in need of.
The woman is God’s workmanship as well as the man.
The woman created last:—
1. The ground of her inferiority.
2. The reason of her subjection.
3. Her plea for protection.
The woman a help to man:—
1. God given.
Genesis 2:19. If man had been formed out of the ground, the ground could not give him a companion.
God brought the beasts to Adam before he created Eve, in order that the unserviceableness of other things should enhance the worth of the truly good.
God can order the creature to do what he wishes:—
1. The ravens to feed Elijah.
2. The she bears to destroy the scoffing children.
3. The lion to meet the prophet.
4. The sparrows. God is pleased to honour man so far, to employ them in many things which of right belong unto Himself:—
1. To encourage men to His service.
2. To unite men in love.
3. To increase their reward and talents.
Jehovah is maker, and will have Adam be the namer of all the creatures in the earth:—
1. A token of sovereignty.
2. A token of ownership.
3. A token of power.
“To see what he would call them.” If he had been permitted to name himself, it should have been, probably, the Son of God, as he is called by St. Luke (Chapter Luke 3:38) in regard of his creation. But God, to humble him, calls him first, Adam, and after the fall, Enosh, that is, frail, sorry man. [Trapp.]
Genesis 2:20. As the beasts were no companion for man, we observe that no creature ought to be applied to any other use than God at first designed for it:—
1. God hath made all his works in Wisdom
2. That God’s sovereignty may be acknowledged.
3. That confusion may be avoided.
Brutes no companions for man:—
1. They have not common speech.
2. They have not common employments.
3. Their lives are not guided by common rules.
4. They do not live for common ends.
Genesis 2:21. “A deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” Whether it was a sleep or a trance cannot be gathered from the text. It was such a sleep, questionless, that took from Adam the power of observation till the work was ended. Some conceive that he was cast into this sleep:—
1. To take from him the sense of pain, which the taking out of his rib would involve.
2. That the work might be wholly of God.
3. That the Divine Providence might be the more apparent in providing a helpmeet for him when he was asleep.
4. To hide the operation from man.
The rib was probably taken for its situation in the body:—
1. Not from the head or foot, to manifest that the place of the wife was to be neither above nor far below her husband.
2. That it was taken from a place near the heart, to indicate the true affection with which man must regard his wife.
3. Because this part of the body is covered with the arms, it denotes the protection the wife should receive. Perhaps the rib was taken because it could be the best spared from the body of man without deforming it. The bone was also taken, not so much to indicate the moral stiffness of woman as her firmness in help and need.
God does not shew men how He works, He only manifests the product of his toil.
God takes care of us, and provides for our good even while we are asleep.
God takes nothing from us but He takes care to recompense it to us again.
He that marrieth in the Lord, marrieth also with the Lord; and he cannot be absent from his own marriage. A good wife was one of the first real and royal gifts bestowed upon Adam; and God consults not with him to make him happy. As he was ignorant while himself was made, so shall he not know while a second self is made out of him; both that the comfort might be greater than was expected, as also that he might not upbraid his wife with any great dependence or obligation; he neither willing the work, nor suffering any pain to have it done. The rib cannot challenge no more of her than the earth can of him” [Trapp].
The woman was only made of one bone lest she should be stiff and stubborn [B. King].
Genesis 2:22. Man’s first sight of woman:—
1. One of admiration.
2. One of gratitude.
3. One of love.
God hath allowed but one wife to one man.
Every child of God must desire to receive his wife from God’s hand:—
1. That God, who looks at the heart, is only able rightly to direct their choice.
2. It implies an obligation to make a right use of marriage.
3. It sweetens all the crosses of life.
Genesis 2:23. True marriage:—
1. Of God’s making.
2. Of woman’s consenting.
3. Of man’s reception.
Man and wife are one flesh and bone.
The woman’s flesh was from man, not her soul.
Marriage is an emblem of spiritual union between Christ and his church.
Marriage is of God’s institution.
The happiest marriage is between souls stamped with God’s image.
Genesis 2:24. God hath not only instituted marriage, but given law also to rule it.
The union between parents and children is less than between man and wife, and therefore must give place.
God’s law warrants the children’s desertion of their fathers to contract marriage in a lawful way. No honour due is to be denied to parents.
Cleaving in mutual love to each other is the great conjugal law:—
1. Such cleaving must be sincere.
2. Such cleaving must be reciprocal.
3. Such cleaving must be without end.
REV. WM. ADAMSON
Helpmeet! Genesis 2:18. “For Adam was not found an helpmeet.” This was an anomalous position. All the beings with whom hitherto he had come in contact were either above him or below him. No one was his equal—he was alone. Around him were innumerable servants; but the wide circle of his empire did not contain one with whom he could reciprocate affection—with whom he could in all points sympathise. To supply this blank a new creation had to take place—a fairer form was to enrich the earth than any which it yet contained.
For there’s that sweetness in a female mind,
Which in a man, we cannot hope to find.—Pomfret.
Home Duties! Genesis 2:18. The duties of domestic life—exercised as they must be in retirement, and calling forth all the sensibilities of the female—are perhaps as necessary to the full development of her charms as the shades and shadows are to the rose; confirming its beauty, and increasing its fragrance:—
For nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study household good,
And good works in her husband to promote.—Milton.
Feminine Solace! Genesis 2:18. Washington Irving likens such a woman to the vine. As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about the oak, and been lifted by it in sunshine, will, when the hardy plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs; so it is beautifully ordered by Providence that woman should be man’s stay and solace when smitten with sudden calamity—binding up the broken heart.
“’Tis woman’s to bind up the broken heart,
And soften the bending spirit’s smart;
And to light in this world of sin and pain,
The lamp of love, and of joy again.”—Anon.
Wife-help! Genesis 2:19. Guelph, the Duke of Bavaria, was besieged in his castle, and compelled to capitulate to the Emperor Conrad. His lady demanded for herself and the other ladies safe conduct to a place of safety, with whatever they could carry. This was granted; and to the astonishment of all, the ladies appeared, carrying their husbands on their backs. Thus wives aided their husbands: and never in the gayest moods in tournament or court did those fair dames look more lovely.
“Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud;
’Tis virtue that doth make them most admired.”—Shakespeare.
Woman! Genesis 2:19. Hargrave says that women are the poetry of the world in the same sense as the stars are the poetry of heaven. Clear, light-giving harmonies, women are the terrestrial planets that rule the destinies of mankind.
“Ye are stars of the night, ye are gems of the morn,
Ye are dewdrops, whose lustrue illumines the thorn.”—Moore.
Adam’s Sleep! Genesis 2:21. When we look at Adam cast into a deep sleep, we take courage in the prospect of that change which all of us must undergo; for is not the first man’s trance or slumber an emblem of death? And may not God enable the believer to yield up his spirit at last, as easily as Adam did his rib? It was Jehovah who cast him into a deep sleep, and it is Jehovah Jesus who leads the saint down into the valley of the shadow of death for a little while. Of Stephen we read that he fell asleep. The execrations of his enemies were yet ringing in his ears, when God caused a deep and tranquil repose to fall upon him.
“Softly within that resting-place
We lay their wearied limbs, and bid the clay
Press lightly on them till the night be past,
And the far east give note of coming DAY.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Genesis 2". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany