Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

our debts; And lead us not into temptation, &c. Nay, Satan will be most apt to bait the pardoned sinner, Acts xiii. 8.

II. Let us consider the petition itself, in which we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.' It consists of two parts.

I. The first is for preventing grace, Lead us not into temptation.

II. The second is for assisting grace, But deliver us from evil.

The FIRST is for preventing grace, Lead us not into temp

tation.

Here I am to shew,

1. What is meant by temptation.

2. What by leading us into temptation.

3. What is the import of this part of the petition. FIRST, What is meant by temptation? In general, it is a trial made on a man to see what is in bim, and what he will do; and so the matter it is designed to bring forth may be good as well as evil. Thus God did tempt Abraham *,*

6

*The author, in his manufcript treatife on Genefis, of which feveral extracts have been already given, thus renders and comments on these words: The God himself; he tried, Abraham;' i. e. the true God, and no other, the God who had made him the promise of Isaac, and fulfilled it, who had promifed to establish the covenant with him, and had declared, that in him only, Abraham fhould be called a feed; even he tried Abraham, and tried him exquifitely, by calling him to facrifice, that his son, thereby discovering him, and, as it were, opening him out like a banner difplayed to public view, whereby his moft firm faith in God, and abfolute refignation unto him, were laid open to the view of all, to whofe knowledge this his trial might at any time come. The word by which the trial is expreffed, doth never, fo far as I have observed, fignify to entice unto fin. Neither was the thing fin which Abraham was by the trial carried to the very point of accomplishing of; fince he had thereto the call of God, who was abfolute Lord of the life of Ifaac, as of all other men; and might veft whom he would with authority to take it away, as he has vested magiftrates in other cafes. But the matter was fo fufpicious like, that the infinitely holy Author of the trial is, by the facred penman indicated in the strongest terms, for to cut off all fufpicion of delufion in the cafe. He tells us, it was the GOD, i. e. the true God; and that word is in effect doubled, q. d. the true God, even the true God. And after all there is au emphatical ftop after it, the GOD; he, &c. So that, with good reason, the force of that term is, with Junius and Tremellius, thus expreffed, God himself, to the exclufion of all other. Moreover, that term looks backward, q. d. the fame who had made fo great promifes with reference to Ifaac; all which

Gen. xxii. 1. But ordinarily it is taken in an evil sense; and so it is here meant of temptation to sin, which is the plying of a man with some engine or other to draw him into sin. So in temptation four things are to be considered.

1. The party tempted or liable to temptation.

2. The parties tempting, the black instruments of temptation.

3. The bait wherewith the hook of temptation is busked. 4. The mischievous design.

First, The party tempted, or liable to temptation, viz. ourselves and others, who live in this world of pits and snares, Cant. iv. 8. Those who are in the upper house are beyond the reach of temptation; no hissing serpent is there; they are not within bow-shot of Satan. But here he rangeth up and down, 1 Pet. v. 8. here he has the length of his chain. Adam in paradise was tempted *, and the second Adam too;

were hereby threatened to be quite overthrown and buried in oblivion. The word, he tried, is also emphatically pointed to fhew it to have been a moft exquifite trial, far furpaffing all that Abraham had met with before. Niffah, he tried. It is of the form Phiel, and doth not clearly appear to be used in Kal at all. It notes an attempt, or effay, as David had not tried, viz. to go with Saul's armour, 1 Sam. xvii. 39. whether more full, as God tried Ifrael, Jud. iii. 1. and the queen of Sheba did Solomon, 1 Kings x. 1. or more flight, as the delicate woman had not tried the fole of her foot, to fet it on the earth, Deut. xxviii. 56. made by fome means, as by the nations, Jud. iii. 1. by hard questions, 1 Kings x. i. for dif covering and laying open the object to view, as God tried the people, whether they would go in his law or not, Exod. xvi, 4. and Hezekiah, for to know all in his heart, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. even as a banner displayed is fet forth to view, for it is akin to Nafa; to lift up, and to Nafas, whence Nes, a banner or ftandard. It differs from Bahhan, to prove, as an action incomplete from itself as completed: Niffah, importing only the difcover. ing or laying open of the object; Bahhan, not only that, but also the judgment formed upon the discovery made. Hence, Pfal. xcv. 9. Your fathers tried me: they proved me, &c. From all which, the formal notion of Niflah appears to be to try."

* The temptation and feduction of our first parents is justly confider. ed as the devil's mafter piece, and a moft glaring demonftration of that infernal fpirit's implacable malice and defperate hatred against God and his innocent creatures. It was at the fame time attended with the most interefting confequences to the guilty pair, and their defcendants. It may not therefore be improper to give here feveral particulars relating to this remarkable event, felected from the author's notes on part of the fecond and third chapters of Genefis. As the effay on this book was written pofterior to this illustration, and as these remarks contain many ftriking and important things concerning the grand temptation, and the effects thereof,

the one able to have stood, the other one who could not fall. What wonder then that he attack us, in whom he has bosom friends!

Secondly, The parties tempting, the black instruments of temptation.

it was judged expedient to infert them here, though not the most proper place, rather than omit them altogether, as they were not adverted to when the discourses on the fall of our firft parents, and on the first fin in particular, vol. i. were printing. And it is prefumed, their getting a place in this work will not only be a valuable addition to it, but of no fmall advantage to the reader, as the extracts undoubtedly contain feveral obfervations new and uncommon, and which appear to have escaped the notice of former commentators, all tending to fhew the evil and horrid nature of fin, and the riches of fovereign grace in the salvation of ruined man, discovered to him immediately after his fatal tranfgreffion; as well as they afford no mean fpecimen of the author's learning and skill in facred criticism.

"Gen. ii. 25. Now they two were naked. Here begins the hiftory of the fall of man; and this fhould have been the beginning of the third chapter. Though the divifion into verfes is of divine authority, the divifion into chapters is not fo.The man, and his wife. They were naked, not only in presence of one another, but feparately wherever they were.But they would not have been afhamed of themfelves, notwithstanding of their nakedness. The manner of expreffion bears, that fo it was during the happy flate they were in, but that it latted not, that was foon over, and now is gone. The diftin&tive in thefe words is emphatical, q. d. But they would not, have, &c. i. e. they would not at all, in the least, have been, &c. Bosch is to be ashamed. If therefore, it were used in Pih. i. would be to shame, act, as the root in Kal is neuter. Here it is in Hithp. the relative of Pih. and therefore fignifies formally to fhame one's self. It is no where else used in this form, which is here purposely chosen, not only to intimate that our fhame arifeth from a certain fecret motion within our own breafts, but also, and chiefly, in opposition to Satan's endeavouring to fhame them, on the account of their nakedness, which will appear by the sequel.

Gen. iii. 1.." And the ferpent, was subtil, from every wild beast of the field; which Jehovah God had made, i. e. And the old ferpent the devil, was fubtil, nicely obferving, and artfully improving, what might make for his mischievous design against mankind; and in his attack be argued fubtilly, from the ftate and cafe of the wild beafts; every one of which he obferved to have been made covered, none of them naked, though not of an erect posture, as man was; and withal that they were left to range up and down in the field, at their pleasure. So Satan pitching upon the cafe of the wild beafts, as the great engine for the ruin of mankind, to be made effectual for that purpose, by a comparison inftituted, with hellish fubtilty, between it and the cafe of our firft parents, found in it a double topic, which he improved to the actual ruining of them, and of all their pofterity in their loins. The firft of thefe was the nakednefs of our first parents, while the wild beafts were all covered and created fo. 'Their nakedness, hé would perfuade them, was shameful and indécent ;' and that the wild beafts

1. The grand tempter is the devil, Matth. iv. 3. He was an angel of light, but is now turned to a tempting devil. An apostate from God, for whom there is no hope; and being God's irreconcileable enemy, goes about withdrawing men from their allegiance to their sovereign Lord. He is an ex

"

were in that refpect, in better cafe than they. This was the firft temptation, as Mofes fhews us in these words, making up the firft hemiftich of this verfe. And this is the plain literal fenfe of the words, as thus pointed. Compare Job xxxv. 11. Teaching us, from beafts of earth: and from flying thing of the heavens, &c'; with which compare chap. xii. 7. Come now afk thou beafts, and it (i, e. every one of them) will teach thee: and flying thing of the heavens; and it will tell to thee.? Accordingly the context doth not obfcurely intimate the nakedness of our firft parents to have been the firft topic Satan made ufe of in his attack on them. God himself asks Adam, ver. 11. Who told him of his nakedness? which is no obscure indication, that the devil told them of it. Mofes takes notice, ver. 7. that after eating of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked, really needing clothes to hide their fhame, which Satan would have perfuaded them they were in need of before, and which they could not fee while they ftood in their integrity, there being really no fuch thing as the tempter alleged. Thus the connection is natural: The two were naked. And the ferpent, was fubtil from the wild beasts of the field, to improve their case against the naked pair. This is confirmed from the words ufed by the infpired penman. He tells us, chap. ii. ult. They two were Gnarummim (naked), and here the ferpent was Gnarum (fubtil), Thus alfo, the laft claufe, which Jehovah God had made affords a more efficacious fenfe than otherwise, viz. being understood, not of God's making them fimply, but of making them covered. And hereunto fitly agrees the Lord's clothing the finful naked pair, with the skins of beafts; which was a humbling memorial to them of the spring of their ruin. Nahhafch the ferpent. Whether it is from the verb Nahhafch or the verb is from it, is all a cafe in this point. But the verb does import, fubtil obfervation, learning by obfervation: particularly it is ufed of obferving of omens, chap. xxx. 27. & xliv. 45. 2 Kings xxi. 6. And lince Nahhafch is not the only name of the ferpent in Hebrew, it would feem that primarily and originally it was the name of the devil, the old ferpent, given him from this fatal event, and communicated to that animal, as having been the inftrument of the devil in this mischief. Gnarum, subtil; for the word is indifferent, either to good, as Prov. xii. 16. 23. or evil, as Job. v. 12. Now, it is true the Hebrew forms its comparative phrafes, by the prepofition from, which in that cafe may be rendered above, as Judg. xi. 25. Good, good, [art] thou; from (i. e above) Balak, i. e. [Art] thou better, better; than Balak? So Prov. viii. 11. Hag. i 9. Eccl. iv. 9. & vii. 1, 2, 3.5 8. If. liv. 1. Pfal. cxviii. 8, 9. Prov. xxv. 7. But the compa rative sense cannot be admitted here. For, (1.) The reading offered is the primary and literal one, therefore not without neceflity to give place to another. (2.) The comparative phrafe is eliptical. And no ellipfis is to be admitted without neceffity neither. (3.) The word from all, doth not immediately relate to the adjective fubtil, but to the fubftan 3 P

VOL. III.

pert tempter; and has now had the experience of several thousand years in the hellish trade. He has his devices for entrapping of poor mortals, and knows how to suit his temptations, as they may best take.

2. Men are tempters to one another. Satan so prevails with

tive verb was, as the principal word of the part referred to: fo the con Atruction is not, The ferpent was fubtil; [fubtil] from, &c. but, The ferpent, was fubtil; [he was fo] from, &c. If the comparative phrase had been defigned, I conceive the adjective would have been fet before the fubftantive-verb; that so it might have related immediately to the word from-all: thus, The ferpent, fubtil was; from, &c. i. e. subtil from, that is more fubtil than. And in all the above cited texts, bearing the comparative phrase, the adjective is fo pofted; being either the only, or the first, word of the claufe, or part of the clause, in which it is found: by which fituation it plainly relates to the word that hath the propofition. And he faid unto the woman, then, how hath God faid, Ye shall not eat of all, tree of the garden? The phrase not all is used for not any. Thus the woman understood it, as appears from the following verfe. And fo Satan was a liar, in the ftricteft fenfe from the beginning. Here is the fecond topic Satan made ufe of, viz. the reftraint our first parents were laid under in refpect of their food, while the wild beats were at liberty in that point. In what words he propofed this second temptation, is here recorded ; though his fpeech on the firft is not, But that he did speak on this mifchievous defign, and unto the woman too, before he uttered the words here recorded, the text itself doth plainly intimate. The words Then how 9. d. More than that, in the next place, fhew that there was a fore going fpeech he had to her. Accordingly the text faith, He said unto the woman, b. d. unto the woman unto the woman; i. e. he said unto the woman words agreeable to the narration foregoing, and he said unto the woman the words following. Accordingly the word He-faid is by the dif tinctive fitted to be constructed after this manuer. Comp 2 Sam. xi. 8. And said David, to Uriah; Go down to thy houfe. And it is generally owned, that Aph ki, the first words of the devil which are here recorded, is never put in the beginning of a fpeech; and that fome words of the tempter did go before these. I conceive, then, the holy text itself intimates to us, that the devil in the ferpent spoke to the woman to this purpose: 'What can be the defign of God in this! How is it, that when every wild beast of the field hath a covering put upon it by his own hand, though they do withal look downward; yet ye are naked, and that in an erect pofture, in the which there is a fhameful indecency, that ye would manifeftly fee if your eyes were opened: Then, in the next place, How is it, that, whereas they are at full liberty, in the open fields, ranging up and down at their pleasure, eating freely whatever is before them, ye are under a notable reftraint as to your food, that ye may not eat of any tree of the garden?' Thus food and raiment were early fùares to mankind.

Ver. 2. And the woman faid, unto the ferpent: of the fruit of trees of the garden, we may eat.' Thus the repels this temptation, dire&ly contradicting what Satan advanced concerning the restraint laid on them as to their

« FöregåendeFortsätt »