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lice and wickedness being so manifest and notorious.
This sentence passed upon the serpent hath a double aspect; it respects,
1. The creature which the devil made use of, that is, the serpent, -though it was an irrational creature,—to testify to Adam and Eve how much God was displeased with this sin. As when he made a law that if an ox killed a man, the ox should be stoned, (Exod. xxi. 28, 29,) to show how displeasing the sin of murder is to him,—so here.
Upon thy belly shalt thou go. Perhaps the serpent went upon his belly before ; but now it became a curse to him: as the rainbow was before the flood, but not till then a sign of the covenant.
Dust shalt thou eat. This intimates scarcity... He is not far from being famished, that is, brought to eat dust. Eating dust notes also a base condition. Micah vii. 17. The serpent is a fit emblem of a covetous man: he crawls upon the ground, minds earthly things, eats the dust, and lives upon it; forta what are gold and silver but yellow and white earth ?
I will put enmity between thee and the woman. The serpent and the woman had been just now talking together as familiarly as could be; but now'twas his otherwise. Friendships, whose foundation is laid in baza sin, do many times presently end in mortal feuds. and te
2. The devil, the principal agent in the matter where
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whose instrument the serpent was. The serpent is supposed to be principally aimed at in ver. 14, and the devil in ver. 15, such transitions being very frequent in sacred writ.
Those expressions in ver. 14, upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat, being applied to the devil, intimate to us that vile and base condition into which he is fallen. To lick the dust, is a scripture expression of ignominy and reproach. Ps. xliv. 25. lxxii. 9. Isa. xlix. 23. Lam. iii. 29. Mic. vii. 17. Pride is supposed to have been the first sin of the fallen angels, and here God lays them low enough.
Dust shalt thou eat. It is the meat and drink of the holy angels to do the will of God; they rejoice in the conversion of a sinner, which glorifies God; (Luke xv. 7;) but to the devil ’tis meat and drink to do mischief.
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Some will by all means have the woman, here, to mean the Virgin Mary; and read it, she shall bruise thy head; but these are triflers. The enmity here spoken of was to begin immediately; whereas the Virgin Mary was not born till some thousands of years after this. And I believe the Lord Jesus will give them no thanks for taking the crown off his head, though it be to put it on his mother's. By the woman, here, is plainly meant Eve. Not as if there were no enmity between Adam and the serpent: I dare say he hated the devil as much as Eve did, and there was no love lost between them. This enmity also descends in a sense to all the children of Eve; there is professed enmity between the devil and all mankind. The devil hates man, and thence he has his name,—Satan,-an adversary. He goes about seeking whom he may devour. 'Tis likewise natural to men to hate the devil. How great then is the folly of wicked men, who, notwithstanding this enmity, suffer themselves to be led by him.
By the seed of the serpent, the devil, are meant, (1.) All those unclean spirits which are the cursed inhabitants of the infernal pit; which are called the devil's angels, Matt. xxv. 41; attendants upon Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, and like him for malice and wickedness. (2.) All the reprobate. Wicked men are frequently, in scripture, called the devil's children. Acts xiii. 10. John viii. 44. 1 John iii. 10. Matt. xiii. 38. They are called by his name, they bear his image, they do his will, they submit to his appointments, they are like to receive their portion from him; and with him do they not then deserve to be called the seed of the serpent, -a generation of vipers? Matt. iii. 7.
1. By the seed of the woman is principally meant Jesus Christ. And this is a good proof against those that denied his human nature; (such there were in the first ages of Christianity;) for if he were not really and truly a man, how was he the seed of the woman? It is a matter of great comfort, that our Redeemer is near of kin to us,bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. Heb. i. 11, 14.
2. The saints are secondarily meant by the seed of the woman; for if the seed of the serpent be to be taken collectively for all wicked men, why may not the seed of the woman be so taken for all godly people, subordinate to Christ? Why may not the church, the spouse, be taken with Christ, the husband? (Can. v. 1. Ephes. v. 32;) the church, the body, with Christ, the head? (Col. i. 18 ;) the church, the army, with Christ, the Captain, (Heb. ii. 10,) in this enmity ?
Between these two parties the enmity was thus put in the beginring of the Bible, and we find it continuing to work in the close of the Bible,-viz. in Rev. xii. 7, where Michael and his angels,—that is, Christ and his saints, are said to have fought with the dragon and his angels,-that is, the devil and wicked men.
(1.) The enmity between the saints and the devil is clear. He has great wrath towards them, Rev. xii. 12; he accuses them, Rev. xii. 10; he seeks to devour them, 1 Pet. v.8. And their enmity against him is plain too. They wrestle with him, Ephes. vi. 12; they resist him, 1 Pet. v. 9; they pray against him, Matt. vi. 13; they overcome him, 1 John ii. 14.
(2.) The enmity between saints and wicked men is also clear. Did not David hate those that hate God? Ps. cxxxix. 21, 22. And on the other hand, did not Ahab hate good Micaiah? 1 Kings xxii. 8. Why then shall we wonder at the persecutions which wicked men (the devil's instruments) have raised in all ages, and do still raise, against the people of God ? Alas! they are the genuine products of the old enmity which God himself put between the serpent's and the woman's seed.
The fruits of this enmity are here recorded :
I. It shall bruise thy head; that is, the seed of the woman shall; Christ principally, and the saints subordinately under him,-for even they shall overcome the wicked one. This victory over Satan Christ obtains,
1. By his death and sufferings; a strange way of conquest, --but it is Christ's way. Heb. ii. 14. Col. ii. 15.
2. By the breath of his mouth, in the preaching