Elohim placed his mouth to the nostrils of the as yet clay-cold man-soul prostrate before him, and so breathed into them. Be this as it may; of this, however, we are without doubt, that God breathes into every man at his birth the breath of lives to this day; and I see no Scriptural reason why we should deny that He breathed it into Adam as He hath done into the nostrils of His posterity, namely, by the operation of the natural, or pneumatic laws. Hitherto, man, though a soul formed from the ground, had been inanimate; but, as soon as he began to respire, like the embryo passing from fetal to infant life, he "became a living soul," not an everliving, but simply nephesh chayiah a living breathing frame, or body of life.
MAN IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF THE ELOHIM.
"Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels."
Men and beasts, say the Scriptures, "have all one ruach or spirit, so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast." The reason assigned for this equality is the oneness of their spirit, which is proved by the fact of their common destiny; as it is written, "for all are vanity:" that is, "all go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." Yet this one spirit manifests its tendencies differently in men and other creatures. In the former, it is aspiring and God-defying, rejoicing in its own works, and devoted to the vanity of the passing hour; while in the latter, its disposition is grovelling to the earth in all things. Thus, the heart of man being "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know or fathom it" -- Solomon was led to exclaim, "who knoweth the spirit of the sons of Adam, ruach beni headam, which exalts itself to the highest, and the spirit of a beast which inclines to the earth?" (Eccles. 3:19-21). We may answer, "none, but God only; "He knoweth what is in man, and needs not that any should testify of Him" (John 2:25).
But, from this testimony some one might infer that, as man was made only "a little lower than the angels," and yet has "no pre-eminence over a beast," the beast also is but a little lower than the angels. This, however, would be a very erroneous conclusion. The equality of men and other animals consists in the kind of life they possess in common with each other. Vanity, or mortality, is all that pertains to any kind of living flesh. The whole animal world has been made subject to it; and as it affects all living souls alike, bringing them back to the dust again, no one species can claim pre-eminence over the other; for "one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other."
Man, however, differs from other creatures in having been modelled after a divine type, or pattern. In form and capacity he was made like to the angels, though in nature inferior to them. This appears from the testimony that he was made "in their image, after their likeness," and "a little lower than the angels" (Psalm 13:5), or Elohim. I say, he was made in the image of the angels, as the interpretation of the co-operative, "let us make them in our image, after our likeness." The work of the six days, though elaborated by the power of Him "who dwelleth in the light," was executed by "His angels, that excel in strength, and do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word" (Psalm 103:20). These are styled Elohim, or "gods," in numerous passages. David says, "worship Him all ye gods;" (Psalm 92:7) which Paul applies to Jesus, saying, "let all the angels of God worship Him" (Heb. 1:6). Man, then, was made after the image and likeness of Elohim, but for a while inferior in nature. But the race will not always be inferior in this respect. It is destined to advance to a higher nature; not all the individuals of it; but those of the race "who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age (aiwn mellwn the future age) and the resurrection from among the dead (eknekrwn) . . . who can die no more: for they are equal to the angels (isaggeloi); and are the sons of God, being the sons of resurrection" (Luke 20:35-36).
The import of the phrase "in the image, after the likeness" is suggested by the testimony, that "Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth" (Gen. 5:3). In this respect, Seth stands related to Adam, as Adam did to the Elohim; but differing in this, that the nature of Adam and Seth were identical; whereas that of Adam and the Elohim were dissimilar. Would any one be at a loss to know the meaning of Seth's being in the image of his father? The very same thing is meant by Adam being in the image of the Elohim. An image is the representation of some form or shape; metaphorically, it may signify the exact resemblance of one character to another. But, in the case before us, the parties had no characters at the time of their birth. They were simply innocent of actual transgression; no scope having been afforded them to develope character. The Elohim, however, were personages of dignity, and holiness, as well as of incorruptible, or spiritual nature. The resemblance, therefore, of Adam to the Elohim as their image was of bodily form not of intellectual and moral attainment; and this I apprehend to be the reason why the Elohim are styled "men" when
their visits to the sons of Adam are recorded in the Scriptures of truth. In shape, Seth was like Adam, Adam like the Elohim, and the Elohim, the image of the invisible Increate; the great and glorious archetype of the intelligent universe.
Seth was also "in Adam's own likeness." While image, then, hath reference to form or shape, "likeness" hath regard to mental constitution, or capacity. From the shape of his head as compared with other creatures, it is evident, that man has a mental capacity which distinguishes him above them all. Their likeness to him is faint. They can think; but their thoughts are only sensual. They have no moral sentiments, or high intellectual aspirations; but are grovelling in all their instincts, which incline only to the earth. In proportion as their heads assume the human form in the same ratio do they excel each other in sagacity; and, as in the monkey tribe, display a greater likeness to man. But, let the case be reversed; let the human head degenerate from the godlike perfection of the Elohim, the standard, of beauty in shape and feature; let it diverge to the image of an ape's, and the human animal no longer presents the image and likeness of the Elohim; but rather, the chattering imbecility of the creature most resembling it in form. Adam's mental capacity enabled him to comprehend and receive spiritual ideas, which moved him to veneration, hope, and conscientiousness, the expression of his views, affections, and so forth. Seth was capable of the like display of intellectual and moral phenomena; and of an assimilation of character to that of his father. He was therefore in the likeness as well as in the image of Adam; and, in the same sense, they were both "after the likeness of the Elohim."
But, though Adam was "made in the image and after the likeness" of the "Holy Ones," the similitude has been so greatly marred, that his posterity present but a faint representation of either. The almost uncontrolled and continuous operation of "the law of sin and death" (Rom. 7:23), styled by philosophers "the law of nature," which is an indwelling and inseparable constituent of our present economy, has exceedingly deformed the image, and effaced the likeness of God, which man originally presented. It required, therefore, the appearance of a New Man, in whom the image and likeness should re-appear, as in the beginning. This was "the man Christ Jesus," whom Paul styles as the last Adam." He is "the Image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15) (eikwn pou qeou the effulgent mirror of the glory, and exact likeness of His person" (Heb. 1:3) (apaugasma thV doxhv, kai carakthr
thv upovasews autou). Hence, in another place, Paul says, He was "in the form of God" (Phil. 2:6,7,8), (en morjh qeou) and also "made in the likeness of men, and in the form of a man." Being thus the image and likeness of the invisible God, as well as of man, who was created in the image and likeness of the Elohim, He made Himself equal with God in claiming God for his father (John 5:18), though born of "sinful flesh." Though thus highly related in paternity, image, and character, He was yet "made a little lower than the angels;" for He appeared not in the higher nature of Elohim, but in the inferior nature of the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16). This was the first stage of His manifestation, as the present is of the saints who are His brethren. But He is the appointed "Heir of all things, on account of whom" (di on), "the dispensations were re-arranged (kathrtisqai tonV aiwnas) by the word of God, to the end that the things seen exist not from things apparent" (Heb. 1:2; 11:3). But, says the apostle, "we do not yet see all things put under Him: but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that by the grace of God he should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:8-9). Having been thus laid low, and for this gracious purpose, He is no longer "lower than the angels." He is equal to them in body; and made so much superior to them in rank, dignity, honour, and glory," as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Heb. 1:4).
In Jesus, then, raised from the dead, incorruptible, and clothed with brightness as when He was transfigured upon the Holy Mount (Matt. 17:2), we behold the image and likeness of the God. When we contemplate Him by faith, as we shall hereafter by sight, we see A MIRROR from which the glory of Jehovah [Yahweh] is reflected in intellectual, moral, and physical grandeur. He that would know God must behold Him in Christ. If he be acquainted with Him as He is pourtrayed in the prophets and apostles, he will understand the character of God, whom no man hath seen, nor can see; who chargeth His angels with folly, and before whom the heavens are not clean. Jesus was the true light shining in the darkness of Judea, whose inhabitants "comprehended it not." Through Him, God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shone into the hearts of as many as received Him, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; that so they might receive power to become the sons of God, believing on His name (2 Cor. 3:18,
4:6; John 1:5-12).
How consoling and cheering is it, then, amid all the evils of the present state, that God hath found a ransom, who is willing and able to deliver us from the power of the grave; and not only so, but that "at the manifestation of the sons of God " (Rom. 8:17-25), when He shall appear in power and great glory, "we shall be like Him: because we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2). Then will the saints be "changed into the same image from glory," now only a matter of hope, "into glory," as seen and actually possessed, "even as the Lord " Himself was changed, when He became "the spirit giving life," or "a quickening spirit."
THE SPIRITUAL BODY.
"There is a spiritual body."
The subject of this section is the second member of the apostle's proposition, that "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." It is contained in his reply to some of the Corinthian disciples, who, to their shame, had not the knowledge of God, and therefore foolishly inquired, "How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" He showed them that the animal body had a similar relation to the spiritual body that naked grain has to the plant produced from it according to the law of its reproduction. He explained, that before a plant could be reproduced from a seed, the seed must be put into the soil, and die, or decay away. By the time the plant is established, all vestige of the seed is gone from the root; yet, the identity of the seed with the plant is not lost, inasmuch as the same kind of seed re-appears in the fruit of the plant. The plant is the secondary body of the seed-body, which is the first. There are different kinds of vegetable seed-bodies; and also of animal seed-bodies. These classes of seeds are terrestrial bodies, and have their glory in the bodies produced from them. But there are also celestial bodies, whose glory is of a different character. It is light blazing and sparkling in the vault of heaven, as may be seen by every eye. Such is the apostle's illustration of the resurrection of the dead; or, of how they are raised, and for what kind of body they spring forth. "So also," says he, "is the resurrection of the dead." We are in this state as the naked grain. We die and are buried, and go to corruption; leaving only our characters behind us written in the book of God. When decayed, a little dust alone remains, as the nucleus of our future selves. When the time comes for the righteous dead to rise, then "He that raised up Christ from the dead will
also make alive their mortal bodies by His spirit," operating through Jesus upon their dust, and fashioning it into the image of the Lord from heaven (Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 4:14). Thus, as the Elohim made man out of the dust in their own image and likeness; so, the Lord Jesus, by the same spirit, will also re-fashion from the dust, the righteous of the posterity of the first Adam, into His own image and likeness. This is wonderful, that by a man should come the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:21). Truly may He be called the "Wonderful" (Isaiah 9:6). Once a Babe fondled at the breast, and hereafter the Creator of myriads, now only dust and ashes, but then equal to the angels of God; and "sons of the resurrection," of which He is Himself "the First Fruits."
Having shown "how," or upon what principles, the righteous dead are raised, the apostle gives us to understand, that their "glory" will consist in brightness; for He cites the splendour of the celestial bodies as illustrative of theirs. This reminds us of the testimony in Daniel, that "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3). This is repeated by the Lord Jesus, who says, "then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father" (Matt. 13:43); which assurance Paul also revives in his letter to the saints at Philippi, saying, "our commonwealth (hmwn to politeuma) has a beginning (Dan. 2:44: Luke 19:12-15) (uparcei) in the heavens (en ouranoiv) out of which also we wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who will transfigure the body of our humiliation, that it may become of like form with the body of His glory, by the power of that which enables Him even to subdue all things to Himself" (Phil. 3:20,21).
When we die we are buried, or "sown," like so many seeds in the earth. We are sown, says the apostle, "in corruption," "in dishonour," "in weakness," and with an animal nature; but, when we are raised to inherit the kingdom, we become incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and possessed of a Spiritual nature, such as Jesus and the Elohim rejoice in. Now, a Spiritual body is as material, or substantial and tangible, a body as that which we now possess. It is a body purified from "the law of sin and death." Hence it is termed "holy," and "spiritual," because it is born of the Spirit from the dust, is incorruptible, and sustained by the ruach, or spirit, independently of the neshemeh, or "atmospheric air." "That which is born of the flesh," in the ordinary
way, "is flesh," or an animal body: and that which is born of the Spirit, "by a resurrection to life, "is spirit," or a Spiritual body (John 3:6). Hence, in speaking of Jesus, Paul says, "born of David's seed according to the flesh; and constituted the Son of God in power, by the spirit of holiness, through a resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:3,4). Thus, He was born of the spirit, and therefore became "a Spirit;" and, because highly exalted, and possessing a name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9-11), He is styled "the Lord the Spirit."
That the Spiritual body is independent of atmospheric air for its support, is clear from the ascension of the Lord Jesus. An animal body can only exist in water, or in atmospheric air, and at a comparatively low altitude above the surface of the earth. Now, the air does not extend beyond forty-five miles; consequently beyond that limit, if they could even attain to it, creatures supported by breath in the nostrils, could no more live than fish in the air. Beyond our atmosphere is the ether; through which they only can pass, who, like the Lord Jesus and the angels, possess a nature adapted to it. This is the case with the Spiritual nature. Jesus was changed eiV pneuma, into a Spirit, and was therefore enabled to pass through it to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. Enoch, Elijah, and Moses, are also cases to the point.
The Spiritual body is constituted of flesh and bones vitalized by the Spirit. This appears from the testimony concerning Jesus. On a certain occasion, He unexpectedly stood in the midst of His disciples, at which they were exceedingly alarmed, supposing they beheld a spirit, or phantasm, as at a former time. But, that they might be assured that it was really He Himself, He invited them to handle Him, and examine His hands and feet: "for," said He, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have." Incredulous for joy, He gave them further proof by eating a piece of broiled fish and of a honeycomb (Luke 24:36-43). Thomas thrust his hand into His side, and was convinced that He was the same who had been crucified (John 20:27). What stronger proof can we need of the substantial and tangible nature of the Spiritual body? It is the animal body purified, not evaporated into gas, or vapour. It is a bloodless body; for in the case of Jesus He had poured out His blood upon the cross. The life of the animal body is in the blood; but not so that of the Spiritual body: the life of this resides in that mighty power which suspends "the earth upon nothing," and is diffused through the immensity of space.
When the Lord Jesus said, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have," He did not mean to say that a spiritual body had not; but a Spirit such as they thought they saw. "They supposed they had seen a spirit." In the received reading the same word, pneuma, is used here as in the text which speaks of Jesus as "the Lord the Spirit;" but, evidently, not in the same sense. Indeed, the reading in Griesbach's edition of the original text is clearly the correct one. The word rendered spirit is properly fantasma, a phantom or mere optical illusion; and not pneuma, spirit. When Jesus walked upon the sea both Matthew (Matt. 14:26) and Mark (Mark 6:49) make use of the same phrase as Luke, and say that the disciples when they saw Him, "supposed they had seen a spirit, and they cried out for fear." In both these places the word is phantasma, and not pneuma.
Having affirmed that man stands related to two kinds of body, the apostle gives us to understand, that in the arrangements of God the spiritual system of things is elaborated out of the animal, and not the animal out of the spiritual. The natural world is the raw material, as it were of the spiritual; the bricks and mortar, so to speak, of the mansion which is to endure for ever. In relation to human nature, two men are presented as its types in the two phases it is to assume. These Paul styles "the First Adam," and "the Last Adam," or "the first man," and "the second man." The former, he terms "earthly;" because he came from the ground, and goes thither again, and, the latter, "the Lord from heaven;" because, being "known no more after the flesh," He is expected from heaven as the place of His final manifestation in "the body of His glory." Then, says John, we shall be like Him." If, therefore, we have been successful in depicting the Lord as He is now, while seated at the right hand of God; namely, an incorruptible, honourable, powerful, living person, substantial and tangible, shining as the sun, and able to eat and drink, and to display all mental and other phenomena in perfection: if the reader be able, to comprehend such an "Image of the invisible God," he can understand what they are to be, who are accounted worthy to inherit His kingdom. Therefore, says Paul, "as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:49), or, Lord from heaven.
This corporeal change of those, who have first been morally "renewed by knowledge after the image of Him that hath created them" (Col. 3:10) -- from "sinful flesh" into spirit, is an absolute
necessity, before they can inherit the kingdom of God. When we come to understand the nature of this kingdom, which has to be exhibited in these pages, we shall see, that it is a necessity which cannot be dispensed with. "That which is corruptible cannot inherit incorruptibility," says the apostle. This is the reason why animal men must die, or be transformed. Our animal nature is corruptible; but the kingdom of God is indestructible, as the prophet testifies, saying, "it shall never be destroyed, nor left to other people; but shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2:44). Because, therefore, of the nature of this kingdom, "flesh and blood can not inherit it;" and hence the necessity of a man being "born of the spirit," or "he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 15:50). He must be "changed into spirit," put on incorruptibility and immortality of body, or he will be physically incapable of retaining the honour, glory, and power of the kingdom for ever, or even for a thousand years.
But, before the apostle concludes his interesting exposition of "the kind of body for which the dead come," he makes known a secret which was previously concealed from the disciples at Corinth. It would probably have occurred to them, that, if flesh and blood could not inherit the kingdom of God, then those who were living at the epoch of its establishment, being men in the flesh, could have no part in it. But to remove this difficulty, the apostle wrote, saying, "Behold, I tell you a secret (musthrion). We shall not all sleep, (koimhqhsomeqa met, to die, be dead), but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for it (the seventh trumpet Rev. 11:15, 18; 15:8; 20:4) shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible (isaggeloi equal to the angels, Luke 20:36), and we shall be changed (eivpneuma, into spirit, 1 Cor. 15:45). For this corruptible (body) must put on incorruptibility (afqarsian), and this mortal (body) must put on immortality (aqanasian). Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory" (Isaiah 25:78). But, that the saints might not misapprehend the matter, especially those of them who may be contemporary with the seventh trumpet-period, he gave further particulars of the secret in another letter. The disciples of Thessalonica were deeply sorrowing for the loss of some of their body who had fallen asleep in death; probably victims, to persecution. The apostle wrote to comfort them, and exhorted them "not to sorrow as the others (aqanasian ie., the unbelievers), who have no hope. For if we (the disciples) believe that Jesus
died and rose again;" and be not like those, who, by saying, "there is no resurrection of the dead," in effect deny it; "even so," as He rose, "them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring forth (axei, lead out, or produce), by Him" (1 Thess. 4:14). He then proceeds to show the "order" (1 Cor. 15:23) in which the saints are changed into spirit, or immortalized, by the Son of Man (John 5:21, 25, 26, 28, 29). "For," says he, "this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living, who remain at the Lord's coming, shall not anticipate them who are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise FIRST: after that we, the living, who remain, shall be snatched away at the same time with them in clouds to a meeting of the Lord in the air: and thus we shall be with the Lord at all times. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1Thess. 4:13-18).
It will be seen from this, that survivors of the dead were not consoled in the first age of Christianity for the loss of their friends, as they are now by those who "improve the death" of the influential among them. In "funeral sermons," the "immortal souls" of the deceased are transported "on angels' wings to heaven," and the living are consoled with the assurance, that they are singing the praises of God around the throne, feasting with Abraham, and the prophets, with the saints and martyrs, and with Jesus and His apostles in the kingdom of God; and they are themselves persuaded that the souls of their relations, now become angels, are watching over them, and praying for them; and that when they die their own souls will be re-united with them in the realms of bliss. Need I say to the man enlightened in the word, that there is no such comfort, or consolation, as this in the law and the testimony of God? Such traditions are purely mythological; and come of the Nicolaitan dogma of saved ghosts; and goblins damn'd, "which has cancerously extirpated the truth as it is in Jesus." No, the apostles did not point men to the day of their death, and its immediate consequents for comfort; nor did they administer the consolations of the gospel to any who had not obeyed it. They offered comfort only to the disciples; for they only are the heirs with Jesus of the kingdom of God. They taught these to look to the coming of Christ, and to the resurrection, as the time of a re-union with their brethren in the faith. At death, they should "rest from their labours, and their works should follow them;" and "to them that look for
Him shall He appear the second time without a sin-offering unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28). Such were the practical and intelligible "words," with which the apostles comforted their brethren; but words which have become scaled and cabalistic, both to the unlearned and "the wise."
In conclusion, then, as far as power is concerned, God could have created all things upon a spiritual or incorruptible basis at once. The globe could have been filled with men and women, equal to the angels in nature, power, and intellect, on the sixth day; but the world would have been without a history, and its population characterless. This, however, would not have been according to the plan. The animal must precede the spiritual as the acorn goes before the oak. This will explain many difficulties which are created by systems; and which will for ever remain inexplicable upon the hypotheses they invent. The Bible has to do with things, not imaginations; with bodies, not phantasmata; with "living souls" of every species; with corporeal beings of other worlds; and with incorruptible and undying men: but it is mute as death, and silent as the grave, having nothing at all to say about such "souls" as men pretend to "cure;" except to repudiate them as a part of that "philosophy and vain deceit" (Col. 2:8.) "which some professing have erred concerning the faith" (1 Tim. 6:21).
THE FORMATION OF WOMAN.
"The woman was of the man."
Adam, having been formed in the image, after the likeness of the Elohim on the sixth day, remained for a short time alone in the midst of the earthborns of the field. He had no companion who could reciprocate his intelligence; none who could minister to his wants, or rejoice with him in the delights of creation; and reflect the glory of his nature. The Elohim are a society, rejoicing in the love and attachment of one another; and Adam, being like them, though of inferior nature, required an object, which should be calculated to evoke the latent resemblances of his similitude to theirs. It was no better for man to be alone than for them. Formed in their image, he had social feelings as well as intellectual and moral faculties, which required scope for their practical and harmonious exercise. A purely intellectual and abstractly moral society, unattempered by domesticism, is an imperfect state. It may be very enlightened, very dignified and immaculate; but it would also be very formal, and frigid as the poles. A being might know all things, and he might scrupulously
observe the divine law from a sense of duty; but something more is requisite to make him amiable, and beloved by either God or His fellows. This amiability and social feelings enable him to develope; which, however, if unfurnished with a proper object, or wholesome excitation, re-act upon him unfavourably, and make him disagreeable. Well aware of this, the Jehovah [Yahweh] Elohim said, "it is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a help fit for him" (Gen. 2:18).
But previous to the formation of this help, God caused "every living soul " (kol nephesh chayiah) to pass in review before Adam, that he might name them. He saw that each one had its mate; "but for him there was not found a suitable companion." It was necessary, therefore, to form one, the last and fairest of His handyworks. The Lord had created man in His own "image and glory;" but He had yet to sub-divide him into two; a negative and a positive division; an active and a passive half; male and female, yet one flesh. The negatives, or females, of all other species of animals, were formed out of the ground (verse 19); and not out of the sides of their positive mates: so that the lion could not say of the lioness, "this is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; therefore shall a lion leave his sire and dam, and cleave unto the same lioness for ever." The inferior creatures are under no such law as this; as primaries, indeed, the earth is their common mother, and the Lord, the "God of all their spirits." They have no second selves; the sexes in the beginning were from the ground direct; the female was not of the male, though the male is by her: therefore, there is no natural basis for a social, or domestic, law to them.
But, in the formation of a companion for the first man, the Lord Elohim created her upon a different principle. She was to be a dependent creature; and a sympathy was to be established between them, by which they should be attached inseparably. It would not have been fit, therefore, to have given her an independent origin from the dust of the ground. Had this been the case, there would have been about the same kind of attachment between men and women as subsists among the creatures below them. The woman's companionship was designed to be intellectually and morally sympathetic with "the image and glory, of God," whom she was to revere as her superior. The sympathy of the mutually independent earthborns of the field, is purely sensual; and in proportion as generations of mankind lose their intellectual and moral likeness to the Elohim, and fall under the
dominion of sensuality; so the sympathy between men and women evaporates into mere animalism. But, I say, such a degenerate result as this, was not the end of her formation. She, was not simply to be "the mother of all living;" but to reflect the glory of man as he reflected the glory of God.
To give being to such a creature, it was necessary she should be formed out of man. This necessity is found in the law which pervades the flesh. If the feeblest member of the body suffer, all the other members suffer with it; that is, pain even in the little finger will produce distress throughout the system. Bone sympathizes with bone, and flesh with flesh, in all pleasurable, healthful, and painful feelings. Hence, to separate a portion of Adam's living substance, and from it to build a woman, would be to transfer to her the sympathies of Adam's nature; and though by her organization, able to maintain an independent existence, she would never lose from her nature a sympathy with his, in all its intellectual, moral, and physical manifestations. According to this natural law, then, the Lord Elohim made woman in the likeness of the man, out of his substance. He might have formed her from his body before he became a living soul; but this would have defeated the law of sympathy; for, in inanimate matter there is no mental sympathy. She must, therefore, be formed from the living bone and flesh of the man. To do this was to inflict pain; for to cut out a portion of flesh would have created the same sensations in Adam as in any of his posterity. To avoid such an infliction, "the Lord God caused a deep sleep to, fall upon Adam, and he slept." While thus unconscious of what was doing, and perfectly insensible to all corporeal impressions, the Lord "took out one of his ribs, and then closed up the flesh in its place." This was a delicate operation; and consisted in separating the rib from the breast bone and spine. But nothing is too difficult for God. The most wonderful part of the work had yet to be performed. The, quivering rib, with its nerves and vessels, had to be increased in magnitude, and formed into a human figure, capable of reflecting the glory of the man. This was soon accomplished; for, on the sixth day, "male and female created He them:" and "the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, He made a woman, and brought her unto the man." And "God blessed them, and said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill again), the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth."
Believing this portion of the testimony of God, need our faith be staggered at the resurrection of the body from the little dust that remains after its entire reduction? Surely, the Lord Jesus Christ by the same power that formed woman from a rib, and that increased a few loaves and fishes to twelve baskets of fragments after five thousand were fed and satisfied, can create multitudes of immortal men from a few proportions of their former selves: and as capable of resuming their individual identity, as was Adam's rib of reflecting his mental and physical similitude. It is blind unbelief alone that requires the continuance of some sort of existence to preserve the identity of the resurrected man with his former self. Faith confides in the ability of God to do what He has promised, although the believer has not the knowledge of how He is to accomplish it. Believing the wonders of the past, "he staggers not at the promise of God through unbelief; but is strong in faith, giving glory to God" (Rom. 4:20).
The testimony of Moses in regards to the formation of woman, brings to light a very interesting phenomenon, which has since been amply proved to be the result of a natural law. It is, that man may be made insensible to pain by being placed in a deep sleep. The Lord Elohim availed Himself of this law, and subjected the man He had made to its operation; and man, because he is in His likeness, is also able to influence his fellow-man in the same way. The art of applying the law is called by various names, and may be practised variously. The name does not alter the thing. A man's rib might be extracted now with as little inconvenience as Adam experienced, by throwing him into a deep sleep, which in numerous cases may be easily effected; but there our imitative ability ceases. We could not build up a woman from the rib. Greater wonders, however, than this will man do here after; for by "the Man Christ Jesus" will his Bride be created from the dust, in His own image after His own likeness, "to the glory of God throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
When the Lord God presented the newly formed creature to her parent flesh, Adam said, "this is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Ishah (or Outman), because she was taken out of Ish, or man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:21-24). Thus, Adam pronounced upon himself the sentence that was to bind them together for weal or woe, until death should dissolve the union, and set them free for ever. This was marriage. It was based upon the great
fact of her formation out of man; and consisted in Adam taking her to himself with her unconstrained consent. There was no religious ceremonial to sanctify the institution; for the Lord Himself even abstained from pronouncing the union. No human ceremony can make marriage more holy than it is in the nature of things. Superstition has made it "a sacrament," and, inconsistently enough, denied it, though "a holy sacrament," to the very priests she has appointed to administer it. But priests and superstition have no right to meddle with the matter; they only disturb the harmony, and destroy the beauty, of God's arrangements. A declaration in the presence of the Lord Elohim, and the consent of the woman, before religion was instituted, is the only ceremonial recorded in the case. This, I believe, is the order of things among "the friends," or nearly so; and, if all their peculiarities were as Scriptural as this, there would be but little cause of complaint against them.
"Man," says the apostle, "is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man; " and the reason he assigns is, because "the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man" (1 Cor. 11:7-9). She was not formed in the image of man, though she may have been in the image of some of the Elohim. "Man" is generic of both sexes. When, therefore, Elohim said "let us make man in our image;" and it is added, "male and female created he them;" it would seem that both the man and the woman were created in the image and likeness of Elohim. In this case, some of the Elohim are represented by Adam's form, and some by Eve's. I see no reason why it should not be so. When mankind rises from the dead, they will doubtless rise as immortal men and women; and then, says Jesus, "they are equal to the angels;" on an equality with them in every respect. Adam only was in the image of Him that created him; but then, the Elohim that do the commandments of the invisible God, are the virile portion of their community: Eve was not in their image. Their's was restricted to Adam; nevertheless, she was after the image and likeness of some of those comprehended in the pronoun "our." Be this as it may, though not in the image, she was in the likeness of Adam; and both "very good according to the subangelic nature they possessed.
A GREAT MYSTERY.
"We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones."
In writing to the disciples at Ephesus, the apostle illustrates
the submission due from wives to their husbands by the obedience rendered to Christ by the community of the faithful in his day. "As the church [ecclesia] is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." This was an injunction of absolute submission to their Christian husbands as unto the Lord Himself; because "the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church [ecclesia]." But, while he enjoins this unqualified obedience, he exhorts their husbands to return them due benevolence, not to treat them with bitterness, but to love them "even as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for it." If their wives, however, were disobedient and perverse, and chose to depart, "let them; a brother is not under bondage in such cases" (1 Cor. 7:15). They are like those who will not submit to Christ. The love which should subsist between Christian brethren and sisters in the married state, is such as Christ manifested for the church by anticipation. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us," says the apostle (Rom. 5:6-8). This is the greatest love a man can possibly show, that He should die for His enemies; and this is the kind of love which Paul (who by the bye was never tried by a termagant wife) commends to the attention of the Ephesians; though always on the supposition, that the wives "adorn the hidden man of the heart with that which is incorruptible, even a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling Him Lord: whose daughters such women are, as long as they do well, and are not dismayed at any threat" (1 Peter 3:3-6).
As He had introduced the subject of matrimonial love and obedience, and had adduced the love of Christ for them all as His Church, by way of illustration; He proceeds to show the object for which He loved them even unto death; the relationship which was consequently established between them; and the sacrifice which they ought cheerfully to make for Him, who had loved them so devotedly. His object in giving Himself for the church before it was formed, was that those who should afterwards compose it "might be sanctified and cleansed in the laver of the water (tw loutrw tou udatov) By the word (en rhmati) that," at the resurrection, "He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but holy and without blemish." "Ye are clean," said Jesus to His disciples," through
the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). This word, which is defined to be "the law and the testimony" (Isaiah 8:20), is the great instrument of holiness and purification. It changes men's minds, loosens their attachment to earthly things; causes them to place their affection on things above; creates a new and right spirit within them; diffuses the love of God abroad in their hearts; separates them from sinners; leads them into Christ; and, developes in their lives, fruit characteristic of that repentance which needs not to be repented of. The Lord Jesus styles it, "the word of the kingdom" (Matt. 13:19); and Peter, the incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23); and Paul, "the word of the truth of the gospel" (Col. 1:5); and John, "God's seed" (1 John 3:9); and by James it is termed, "the word of truth" (James 1:18), with which the invariable and unvacillating Father of lights begets His children, that they should be "a kind of first fruits of His creatures." It is by this word that an individual is renewed or renovated so as, in an intellectual and moral sense, to become a "new man" as appears from what the apostle says to the brethren at Colosse; "Ye have put on the new man, which is renewed by knowledge (Col. 3:10) after the image of Him that created him." This renewing affects the spirit of the mind (Eph. 4:23-24), which may be known to be renovated, by a man having turned from his natural subserviency to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," to "righteousness and true holiness." When the mental disposition, called "the heart," is renewed, it becomes a mirror, as it were, in which one skilled in the word of the kingdom, can discern the spirit, or behold a reflection of the Divine Nature. This image of God in a man's character can only be created by the word of the truth of the gospel of the kingdom. A man may be very "pious" according to the standard of piety set up and approved by his fellow-men; but, if he be ignorant of the renewing elements, -- if he neither know nor understand, and consequently, and necessarily, be faithless of the law and testimony of God, "there is no light in him." He is walking in a vain show; "in the vanity of his mind, having his understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in him, because of the blindness of his heart" (verse 18). The law and the testimony are styled by Peter, "God's knowledge whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that BY THESE," i.e., by the understanding and belief of these, "ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world
through lust (2 Peter 1:2-4). Now, the "testimony of God" came by the Holy Spirit, by which God testified in His prophets (Neh. 9:30); and in the last days, spoke through His Son (Heb. 1:1, 2; John 3:34; 5:47; 6:63; 7:16; 12:48, 49) and the apostles (Matt. 10:19,20). Hence, the effects of the word believed are attributed to the spirit and because the word sets men to breathing in God's moral atmosphere, it is termed "spirit and life." These remarks will explain the saying of the apostle to Titus, "according to His mercy God saved us through the laver of regeneration, and renewal of the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3:5). This is parallel to the saying, "sanctified and cleansed in the laver of the water by the word;" for the reader must not suppose, that any man, woman, or child, can be regenerated, or born again, by being plunged into a bath, who is ignorant of the word. The Holy Spirit does not renew the heart of man as He re the mortal body, when through Jesus He raises it from the dead. In this case, the power is purely physical. But, when the heart is subject of renewal, it is by the knowledge of the written testimony of God, or the word. "God," says Peter, speaking of the gentile believers, "purified their hearts by faith" (Acts xv. 9); and Paul prays, "that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith" (Eph. 3:17). Now, faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17); in other words, it is the belief of God's testimony concerning things to come, which are not seen (Heb. 11:1); and without which, it is impossible to please Him (verse 6). When a man is renewed by the truth, he is renewed by the spirit, and not before. There is no such thing in the Scriptures as a renewed ignorant man. Ignorance of the testimony of God, and regeneration, are utterly incompatible. The truth is the purifier to those only who understand and obey it (1 Peter 1:22) and there is no moral purity, or sanctification of spirit before God, without it. It is only believers of the truth, then, who can be the subjects of a regeneration by being submerged "in the laver of the water." When they come out of this, they have been "washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus by the spirit of God" (1 Cor. 6:11).
The truth to be believed is the gospel of the kingdom and name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12). When this is understood, and heartily received, it produces a disposition of mind, such as was in Abraham and Jesus, and which is called repentance. Believers, so disposed, are the begotten of God, and have become as little children. They believe "the exceeding great and precious
promises," together with the things testified concerning the sufferings and resurrection of Jesus. He fell into a deep sleep; and, while thus unconscious and insensible, His side was opened by a spear, and forthwith rushed blood and water (John 19:33-34). Being awoke out of His sleep, He was built up a spiritual body, flesh and bones; and, by His ascension, presented to the Father as the federal representative of His church. This is the aggregate of those, who, believing these things, have been introduced into Christ through the laver of the water; according to the saying of the Scriptures, "ye are all the children of God in Christ Jesus through the faith. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have entered into Christ," (enedusasqe). * * * ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and HEIRS according to the promise" (Gal. 3:26-29). A community of such individuals as these constitutes the mystical body of Christ. By faith, its elements are "members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." Hence, they are "bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh;" and, therefore, the beloved Eve of the last Adam, the Lord who is to come from heaven, and make her of the same spiritual nature as His own. Thus, the church is figuratively taken out of the side of her Lord; for every member of it believes in the remission of sins through His shed blood; and they all believe in the real resurrection of His flesh and bones, for their justification unto life by a similar revival from the dead. "Your bodies are the members," or flesh and bones, "of Christ and he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:15-17). "I have espoused you to one husband," says Paul, "that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2). It will be perceived, then, that the church as defined, is in the present state the espoused of Christ, but not actually married. She is in the formative state, being moulded under the hand of God. When she shall be completed, God will then present her to the Man from heaven, "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" (Rev. 19:7-8). This is she of whom the poet sings, "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for He is thy Lord and worship thou Him. The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto Thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought they shall enter into the King's palace"
(Psalm 45:10-15). The presentation of Eve to the first Adam was the signal of rejoicing to the Morning Stars; and we perceive that the manifestation of Messiah's Queen will be attended with the "Alleluia" of a great multitude, sounding like the roaring of many waters, and the echoes of mighty thunderings, saying, "let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to the Lord God omnipotent: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His betrothed hath made herself ready."
Such is the relationship and destiny of the true church, styled by Paul, "the One Body." It is forming by the word; or, taking it as formed in the apostolic age, but not presented, the apprehension of the apostle has been sadly realized. "I fear," says he, "lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." The tempter has seduced the betrothed. The simplicity in Christ is no longer characteristic of a community. It is corrupted on every side; and the ruin of the transgression alone prevails. Nevertheless, although there be no hope for the professing world, seeing that it is too "wise in its own conceit;" too self-satisfied with its supposed illumination; glorifying itself, and saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knows not," and will not be persuaded, "that it is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" (Rev. 3:17) -- seeing, I say, that this is the irremediable condition of the religious public, yet there remains scope for the deliverance of those who are disposed to obey God rather than men. If they would become bone of Christ's bone, and flesh of His flesh, they, must "leave father and mother, and be joined unto the wife." They find themselves now, perhaps, members of denominations as they happen to be led. These are their parentage according to the fleshly mind. They must be forsaken, and men must become "one flesh" and "one spirit " in the Lord, if they would inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 10:37). "This is a great mystery," says Paul, "but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (Eph. 5:22-32). This mystery, I have endeavored to elucidate in these remarks, though necessarily in a very brief, and therefore imperfect manner. When I shall have finished the work before me, it will have been more minutely unfolded, and, I trust, convincingly explained.
"When Moses penned the words "in Eden" (Gen. 2:8), he
was westward in "the wilderness of the land of Egypt." From the expression, then, we are to understand, that there was a country styled Eden in his day, which lay to the westward of his position. Adam and Eve were its aborigines. It was "the East" of the Egyptians, as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are "the West" of the Atlantic American States. It was quite an extensive range of country, and in after times became the seat of powerful dominions. It appears to have been well watered by the branches, or tributaries, of "a river that went," or flowed, "out of it" (verse 10). These were four principal streams, whose names, as given by Moses, are the Pison, "which compasseth the who land of Havilah;" the Gihon, "the same is it which compasseth the whole land of Khush," or Khushistan; the third, the Hiddekel, or Tigris; "that is it which goeth eastward to Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates" (verses 11-14), frequently styled in the Scriptures, "the Great River" (Gen. 15:18). On the map before me, there are four rivers which flow together, and at length form a river which falls into the Persian Gulph. This indicates the country called Eden, namely, that which is watered by these rivers; so that we may reasonably conclude, that in early times it comprehended the land east of the Jordan, Syria, Assyria, part of Persia, Khushistan, and the original settlements of Ishmael (Gen. 25:18.)
This country, in after ages, came to be denominated "the Garden of the Lord;" and the kings who reigned in it, "the Trees of Eden." It was no doubt termed the Lord's garden as a whole, from the fact of His having, in the beginning, planted a garden in it where He put the man; so that the name of a small part of Eden, came to be applied by his family in the time of Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, and Moses, to the whole region; more especially as the future paradise is to occupy a considerable portion of its ancient limits.
The plain of Jordan appears to have been part of Eden from the following texts. "Lot beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere as the garden of the Lord. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan and Lot journeyed east; and dwelled in the cities of the plain (Gen. 13:10-12); that is, in the East, or Eden.
There is a prophecy in Ezekiel, predicting the overthrow of the Egyptian Pharoah by the king of Babylon, "the mighty one of the heathen." In setting forth the certainty of his overthrow, God recapitulates the power and dominion of the Ninevite
dynasty of Assyria: which, however, was not able to withstand the king of Babylon, and therefore there was no hope for Egypt of a successful resistance. In the recapitulation, the Ninevite Assyrian is styled, "a cedar in Lebanon;" that is, his dominion extended over the land of the ten tribes of Israel, in which are the cedar-crowned mountains of Lebanon. After describing the greatness of his power by the magnitude of the cedar, the Lord says, "the cedars in the garden of God could not hide him; nor was any tree in the garden of God like unto him in his beauty. I made him fair by the multitude of his branches; so that all the trees of Eden, in the garden of God, envied him" (Ezek. 31:3, 8, 9). These trees (Dan. 4:20-22) are representative of the royalties of Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel, &c., which the kings of Assyria had abolished (Isaiah 37:12-13); and which "could not hide him," or prevent him getting the ascendancy over them. It is clear, then, from the terms of this beautiful allegory, that the countries I have indicated are comprehended in Eden; that as a whole it is styled the garden of the Lord; and that the trees are the royalties of the land.
That Eden extended to the Mediterranean, or "Great Sea," appears from Ezekiel's prophecy against Tyre. Addressing the Tyrian royalty, he says, "thou hast been in Eden, the garden of the Lord. Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee. Therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God. Thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more" (Ezek. 28:13, 16, 19). The meaning of this is obvious to one acquainted with the history of the kingdom of Tyre. It was a royalty of Palestine in Upper Galilee, whose king, Hiram, was in intimate alliance with Solomon. He appears to have been a proselyte worshipper of the God of Israel; whom his successors some time afterwards forsook; and therefore God suppressed the kingdom of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar for seventy years; and finally by the Greeks.
Eden has been a field of blood from the beginning of the contest between the "Seed of the Woman," and the "Seed of the Serpent," until now; and will yet continue to be until the serpent power be broken upon the mountains of Israel. It was in Eden that Abel died by the hand of Cain. There also Abel's antitype was wounded in the heel, when put to death upon the accursed tree; and lastly, to fill up the measure of the iniquity of the blood defiled land, the serpents of Israel slew the son of Barachus between
the temple and altar. But the blood of God's saints shed in Eden, did not cry to Him for vengeance without effect; for as the Lord Jesus declared, so it came to pass. "Behold," said He to the vipers of His day, "I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye will kill and crucify; and some of them ye will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the land, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zecharias, son of Barachus, whom ye shall slay between the temple and the altar" (Matt. 23:35).
Eden is emphatically the Lord's land, or garden; and from the creation till the breaking off of Israel's olive branch, the principal and almost only, theatre upon which He exhibited His wonders to the nations in the days of old. Egypt and its wilderness may be excepted for forty years. Beyond its limits was outer darkness. Eden only was favored with light, until the gospel found its way among the nations of the west; and, although darkness covers the land, and gross darkness the people; yet the Lord, its light, will arise upon it and His glory shall be seen there (Isaiah 60:1-2).
THE GARDEN OF EDEN.
"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden."
While Eden was "the East" eastward of the wilderness, the garden of Eden was eastward in Eden. "Eden the garden of the Lord," and "the garden of Eden," are quite different ideas. The former designates the whole of Eden as the Lord's garden; the latter, as merely a plantation in some part of it. To plant a garden is to fence in a certain piece of land, and to adorn it with fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs. If unenclosed, and consequently, unguarded, it is not a garden. The name of the plantation implies, that its surface was protected from the invasion of the animals, whose habits made them unfit tenants of a garden. The place, then, was an inclosure, planted with "every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food." Its situation, Moses says, was "eastward," having a river flowing through it to water it. I suspect from this, that it laid somewhere between the Gulph of Persia, and the junction of the Euphrates and the Tigris. The text reads, "and a river went out of Eden to water the garden and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads: which I should interpret thus: -- a river flowing out of Eden was caused to water the garden on its way to the sea; and from the garden northward, the river diverged into its tributaries, which
terminated at four several heads. The heads were not in the garden, but at remote distances from it. The garden of Eden was watered by only one, and not by four rivers; as it is written, "a river went out to water it;" which certainly excludes the four from its inclosure.
In the septuagint of this text, the word garden is expressed by paradeisoV which is transferred into our language without translation. Paradise is a Persian word adopted into the Greek, and expressed in Hebrew by parades or pardes. It signifies a park, a forest, or preserve; a garden of trees of various kinds, a delightful grove, &c. It is found in these texts: -- "I made me gardens (paradises) and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits" (Eccles. 2:5); and, "a garden enclosed (a paradise) is my sister spouse, &c.; thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, &c." (Cant. 4:12-13). The latter text is part of a description of Solomon's vineyard, representative of that part of Eden over which he reigned; and metaphorical of its beauty, fertility, and glory, when the Heir of the vineyard, the "greater than Solomon," shall come to Zion, and "marry the land" of Eden, as defined in the everlasting covenant made with Abraham (Gen. 15:18). For so it is written, "thy land, O Zion, shall no more be termed desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, (i.e., my beloved is in her), and thy land Beulah, (ie., married): for Jehovah [Yahweh] delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee" (Isaiah 62:4-5).
When the marriage, or union, takes place between the sons of Zion, and their King, with the Land of Promise in Eden, it will again become the garden of the Lord, or Paradise, which His own right hand hath planted. For "the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody " (Isaiah 51:3). "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off " (Isaiah 55:13). At that time, "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle tree, and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box together: that they (Israel) may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it " (Isaiah 41:17-20).
These testimonies reveal a future state in regard to Eden, of which its primitive garden is a beautiful and appropriate representation. Once the seat of a paradise on a small scale, it is destined to be transformed from its desolation into "the Paradise of God." The country of the four rivers, even to the west from sea to sea, is predetermined to shine forth as "the glory of all lands." Paradise hath no other locality. Other orbs may have their paradises; but as far as man is concerned, the Paradise of God will be by Him planted in Eden according to "the promise." "In that day, shall Israel be the third with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land;" that is, of Eden: "whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt, My people, and Assyria, the work of My hands, and Israel, Mine inheritance" (Isaiah xix. 24-25).
In the letter to the congregation at Ephesus, the Spirit says, "to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7). The simple import of this is as follows. The saints of God are termed in Scripture, "Trees of Righteousness," which bring forth good fruit; and the King of Saints, the Tree of Life. This, then, is the symbol of Christ as the giver of life. "As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me," says Christ, "even he shall live by Me" (John 6:57). Hence, to give a man to eat of the Tree of Life, is for the Lord Jesus to raise a true believer from among the dead to incorruptible life. He will then eat, or partake, of that life, which He is ordained to bestow, who said of Himself, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." But, none of the believers, or heirs of life, can partake of the life-giving tree, until it is manifested in the Paradise of God; that is, until the Lord appears in His kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1, 8; 1 Peter 1:7-13). We shall see in the second part of this work the particulars concerning this kingdom. I shall therefore content myself with remarking here, that when it is manifested, it will be established in the Lord's land, that is, in Eden. Hence, the promise, interpreted into plain English, is -- "To the believer that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4), will I, the Lord, who am the Life, give glory, honor, and immortality, when I come to stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4), and to re-establish the
kingdom and throne of David, as in the days of old" (Amos 9:11). There is no immortality, nor Paradise until then; neither can any attain to them unless they "overcome the world;" for the promise is only "to him that overcometh."
But, to this doctrine sceptics object, that Paradise must have a present existence somewhere; seeing that, on the day of His crucifixion, Jesus told the thief that he should be with Him in Paradise on that day; as it is written, "I say to thee, to-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise " (Luke 23:43). I admit, that it is so written in English; but, I find there are various readings and punctuations in the Greek. In the first place, the thief's petition is differently worded in some manuscripts. In the common version it reads, "remember me, Lord, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom, en th basileia sou: but in others, it is various, though in sense the same -- as, "remember me when Thou comest in the day of Thy coming, en th hmera thV eleusewV sou. Now the Lord "comes in His kingdom" "in the day of His coming;" therefore, I say, the two phrases are in sense the same, only the latter more plainly suggests to "the unskilful in the word of righteousness" (Heb. 5:13), the import of the term "to-day, " in the answer to the petition.
In the next place, Jesus did not evade the thief's prayer, but gave him a direct and intelligible reply. He told him, in effect, that what he requested should be granted; in other words, that when He was Himself in His kingdom he should be there too. But, does the reader imagine, that Jesus told him the time when, seeing that He was not even Himself acquainted with the time when the Jewish State, as constituted by the Mosaic code, should be abolished? And, till this was set aside, He could not come in His kingdom; for then He is to sit and rule, and be a Priest upon His throne (Zech. 6:12, 13, 15); which He could not be co-existent with the law; because the law of Moses would permit no one to officiate as a priest, who was not of the tribe of Levi; and Jesus was descended from Judah (Heb. 7:12-14). "Heaven and earth," or the Mosaic constitution of things in Eden, "shall pass away," said Jesus: "but of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:31,32).
Furthermore, does the reader suppose, that the Lord informed the thief of the time when He would come in His kingdom; or, that it could possibly be, that He came in His kingdom on the day of His suffering; seeing that on the forty-third day afterwards He
refused to tell even the apostles, the times and the seasons when He would "restore AGAIN the kingdom of Israel?" "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power" (Acts 1:3, 6, 7). This was His language to the apostles. The kingdom could not be restored again to Israel under the Mosaic code. This had "decayed, and waxed old, and was ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13). It was to be "cast down to the ground," the daily sacrifice was to be taken away, and the temple and city to be demolished, by the Little Horn of the Goat, or Roman power" (Dan. 8:9, 12, 24 ; 9:26). To tell them of the times and the seasons of the kingdom, would have been to have informed them of this national catastrophy; of which they were kept in ignorance, that they might not fall asleep, but be continually on the watch.
But, though Jesus did not then know the times and the seasons of the kingdom, He knows them now; for, about thirty years after the destruction of Jerusalem, "God gave Him a revelation of the things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1); and in this apocalypse, the times and seasons are set forth in order. But, to return to the case of the thief. In saying, "to-day," Jesus did not, and could not, tell him the precise time when he should be with Him in Paradise. In some Greek manuscripts, there is a various, and no doubt the correct punctuation. The comma, instead of being after "thee," is placed after "to-day;" as, "I say unto thee to-day, thou shalt be with Me in the Paradise, en ty paradeisy:" that is, "at this time, or, I now say to thee, thou shalt be with Me in My kingdom in the day of My coming."
But, if the objector insist upon an interpretation of the passage as it stands in the common version, then let it be so; his position will be by no means less easy to carry. His instantaneous translation of souls to Paradise at death, as far as it is fortified by this passage, hangs upon a thread, like the sword of the Syracusan tyrant; and that is, the word "to-day." This is the Scripture term, and must be explained by the Scripture use of it. In the second writings, then, the term is used to express a period of over two thousand years. This use of it occurs in David, as it is written, "To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, lest ye enter not into My rest " (Psalm 95:7-11). The apostle, commenting upon this passage about one thousand years after it was written, says, "exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day; " and, "labor, to enter into the rest that remaineth
for the people of God" (Heb. 3:13; 4:9-11). Thus, it was called "to-day," when David wrote; and "to-day," when Paul commented upon it. This was a long day; but one, however, which is not yet finished; and will continue unclosed until the manifestation of the rest in the Paradise of God. If it be admitted, that we are still in "the day of salvation," then it must be received as true, that we are living "while it is called to-day " -- that "to-day" is now; and this "now" will be present until the Lord Jesus enters into His rest (Psalm 132:13-18), which He cannot do until He has finished the work God has given Him to do (Isaiah 49:5, 6, 8; xl. 10). "Behold, now is the time of acceptance; behold, now is the day," or the "to-day," "of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2), -- a period of time from Joshua to the future glorious manifestation of Christ in the kingdom, to say nothing of "the accepted time" to the patriarchs, before the typical rest of Israel in the promised land.
This "to-day," however, is limited both to Jew and Gentile; and in defining this limitation, Paul tells us, that "to-day" means, "after so long a time." "God limiteth a certain day," says he, "saying in David, to-day, after so long a time: as it is said, to day if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts" (Heb. 4:7). When this time has elapsed, it will no longer be "to-day;" but to-morrow, or the seventh day of the millennial week. If then we substitute the apostle's definition for the word "to-day" in Christ's reply to the thief, it will read thus: -- "Verily, I say to thee, after so long a time thou shalt be with Me in the Paradise;" but, how many years it would be before that time terminated, He gave the petitioner not the slightest intimation of.
Lastly, is it not the very climax of absurdity to talk of Jesus being "in His kingdom," or "in the Paradise," which were synonymous, while He was lying dead in the tomb? Is His kingdom among the dead? He told the Pharisees it was among the living. "Oh, but," says one, "He descended into hell; " "true," says another, "and while He was there He preached the gospel to the dead, and proclaimed repentance to the spirits in prison. He and the thief, that is to say, their souls, were there together as soon as death released them. This was Paradise." "Not exactly so," adds a third. "That savors too much of purgatory. They were in an intermediate state of blessedness before the throne of God, in the kingdoms beyond the skies." "How can that be," says a fourth; "is the blessedness in God's presence only intermediate? They went straight to the fulness of joy for evermore."
Why, then, was Jesus raised that He might go to the Father (John 16:16) if He were with the Father before; and, where did He leave the thief, for he was not raised; and if not raised but left behind, how can he be with the Lord in Paradise? When this question is answered, it will be time enough to glance at the traditions extant upon this subject -- dogmatisms, however, which none who understand the gospel of the kingdom can possibly entertain.
Let them have dominion."
The garden being prepared in Eden, the Lord placed the man there whom He had formed. It was there the "deep sleep" came over him, and he first beheld his bride. They were now settled in Paradise; and, protected by its inclosure from the intrusion of the inferior creatures, they passed their days in blissful tranquillity, innocent of transgression, and in peaceful harmony with God and the creatures He had made. Adam dressed the garden and kept it. This was his occupation. Though as yet sinless, it was no part of his enjoyments to be idle. To eat bread in the sweat of the face is sorrowful; but to work without toil is an element of health, and cheerfulness, and is doubtless the rule of life to all the intelligences of the universe of God.
But, he was not simply an inhabitant of the Paradise, placed there "to dress and keep it." The work before him was to begin the replenishment, and subjugation of the earth. For in the blessing pronounced upon them, God said, "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." The material was all before him. The earth was to be peopled; and the culture of the garden, as the model of improvement, to be extended as his posterity spread themselves over its surface.
This command to "replenish the earth," strengthens my previous conclusion, that the earth had been inhabited, at some period anterior to the creation of the six days; and that its population had been all swept away by a catastrophe similar to the Noachic flood. That "replenish" means to fill the earth again, is manifest from the use of the word in the blessing pronounced upon Noah. As it is written, "and God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, 'be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.'" There is no room for dispute here. Every one must admit that it signifies to fill again; for, having been filled by Adam, all his posterity, except eight persons, were swept away by the deluge, and Noah and his sons were to supply their place,
or refill it, as at this day. I see, therefore, no good reason why the same word should not be similarly interpreted in both cases; which I have concluded to do.
Man's conquests in a sinless state were to be over rocks, mountains, seas, and rivers, by which he might subdue them to his own convenience and enjoyment; and, perhaps, had he continued innocent of transgression until his mission was accomplished; that is, until by his fruitfulness he had filled the earth again with people, and had subdued it from its natural wildness to a paradisaic state -- his nature would have been exalted to an equality with the Elohim, and the earth, without any violent changes, have become his dwelling place for ever. But, the Creator foreseeing that man would transgress, laid the foundation of the earth upon such principles as would afterwards accommodate it to his altered circumstances. Had He foreseen a result different from what has actually come to pass, He would, doubtless, have framed or constituted it, with reference to that result. But, while He did not necessitate man's transgression, His plan was to constitute a natural world with reference to it as its basis; and then, on the other hand, without necessitating man's obedience, to constitute a spiritual, or incorruptible, order of things upon the earth, having an intelligent and voluntary conformity to His precepts as the foundation upon which it should be built. This, then, is the present order of things. Man is replenishing the earth and subduing it. He is reducing it from its natural wildness. Subduing land and sea to the convenience of nations; and subjugating likewise, the wild creatures of his own species to law and order and exterminating the untameable; -- he is preparing the world for an advance to a more exalted, yet not perfect state, which the Man from heaven shall introduce, and establish; not, however, upon the destruction of nature and society, but upon the improvement of the first, and the regeneration of the last; which shall continue for a thousand years, as the intermediate state between the present purely animal and natural, and the final purely spiritual, or incorruptible, and unchangeable constitution of the globe.
In carrying his mission into effect, it was necessary the animal man should have dominion. He was too feeble to execute it without assistance; and there was no source from which he could receive voluntary aid. It was needful, therefore, that he should receive power by which he could compel the co-operation he required. For this reason, as well as for his own defence against
the inconvenient familiarity of the inferior creatures with their lord, God gave him dominion over them all. "Have dominion," said He, "over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." This was the charter of man's sovereignty over flesh and blood -- himself the king, and all living creatures the subjects of his dominion. As to his own species, however, he was permitted to be neither a law to himself, nor to His fellows.
The right of man to exercise lordship over his fellow man beyond the circle of his own family, was not granted to him "by the grace of God." God's grace only conferred upon him what I have already stated. Even his domestic sovereignty was to cease, when the time came for one to leave father and mother. After this separation, all paternal rule ended, and the only bondage which continued was the yoke of affection. Man rules in his family by the grace of God, which says, "children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with a promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long in the land." This obedience is founded on the fitness of things; but even this is not enjoined absolutely. It is only "parents in the Lord," who have a divine right to expect unqualified obedience from the Christian children of their household. If parents not in the Lord, require their children to do contrary to, or to abstain from doing, His will, obedience should be firmly but affectionately refused. This would probably produce trouble and division in the family, if the parent were an uncultivated man of the flesh, or a bigot. In that case, he would behave like a tyrant, and endeavour to coerce them to obey him, rather than their conviction of the truth; whose nature it is to divide between flesh and spirit, sinners and saints, and to create a man's foes out of the members of his own household (Matt. 10:35,36). But such children should remember that "it is better to obey God than man" (Acts 4:19; 5:29); and that he that loves parents more than Jesus, is not worthy of Him. Better leave the paternal roof as an outcast, than to dishonor Him by preferring their laws to His.
If man's domestic sovereignty be thus qualified and limited by the grace of God, shall we say that He conferred on man "a divine right " to govern his species in its spiritual and civil concerns, to found kingdoms and empires, and to invent religions as a means of imparting durability to their thrones? What God
permits and regulates is one thing; and what He appoints is another. He permits thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, to exist; He regulates them, setting over them the basest of men (Dan. 4:17), if such answer His intentions best, prevents them circumventing His purposes, and commands His saints to "be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but it is under God (upo qeou marginal reading:) the powers that be are set under God -- upo tou qeou tetagmenai eisin. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the regulation of God -- tou qeou diatagh: and they that resist shall receive to themselves punishment. For the magistrates are not a terror to good deeds, but to the evil. * * * Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is a servant of God unto that which is good for thee" (Rom. 13:1-5).
God did not commission man to set up these powers. All He required of him was to obey whatsoever He chose to appoint. But, when man became a rebel, his rebellious spirit was transmitted to his posterity; and, refusing to be governed by the grace of God, they founded dominions of their own, upon principles which were utterly subversive of the government of God upon the earth. He could as easily have quashed their treasonable proceedings as He stopped the building of Babel; but in His wisdom He chose rather to give them scope, and to subject their usurpations to such regulations as would in the end, promote His own glory and their confusion. Therefore it is that Paul says, "every power is under God; and the powers that be are placed under Him." This is matter of great consolation and rejoicing to His saints; for, though the tyrants may propose, it is God only that disposes events. The saints who understand the word will keep aloof from politics. None are more interested in them than they; but they will mix themselves up neither with one party nor another; for God regulates them all: therefore to be found in any such strife, would be to contend in some way or other against Him. The servant of the Lord must not strive, except "for the faith once delivered to the saints." For this He is commanded to "contend earnestly " (Jude 3); because such a contention is to "fight the good fight of faith," and to "lay hold on eternal life."
In the beginning, then, God reserved to Himself the right of dominion over the human race. He gave it not to Adam, nor to his posterity, but claimed the undivided sovereignty over all man's concerns for Himself by right of creation; and for him whom He might ordain as His representative upon earth. All the kingdoms
that have, or do exist, with the exception of the Commonwealth of Israel, are based upon the usurpation of the rights of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ; nor is there a king or queen, pope or emperor, among the Gentiles, who reigns "by the grace of God." They reign by the same grace, or favor, by which sin reigns over the nations. They have no favor in the eyes of God. He bears with them for a time; and makes use of them as His sword to maintain order among the lawless, until His gracious purposes in favor of His saints shall be manifested, according to the arrangement of the times He has disposed. Then, "will His saints be joyful in glory; and the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand: to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints. Praise ye the Lord " (Psalm 149:5-9).
TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL.
"Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil."
These are the most remarkable trees that have ever appeared in the vegetable kingdom. They were "pleasant to the sight, and good for food." This, however, is all that is said about their nature and appearance. They would seem to have been the only trees of their kind; for, if they had been common, Eve's desire to taste the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and their inclination to eat of that of the Tree of Life, could have been gratified by eating of other similar trees. What the fruits were we cannot tell; nor is it important to know. Supposition says, that the Tree of Knowledge was an apple tree; but testimony makes no deposition on the subject; therefore we can believe nothing in the case.
These trees, however, are interesting to us, not on account of their natural characteristics, but because of the interdict which rested upon them. Adam and Eve were permitted to take freely of all the other trees in the garden, "but of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil," said the Lord God, "thou shalt not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it; for in the day that thou eatest there of thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17; 3:3). Naturally, it was as good for food as any other tree; but, as soon as the Lord God laid His interdict upon it, its fruit became death to the eater; not instant death, however, for their eyes were to be opened (Gen. 3:5-7), and they were to become as the gods, or Elohim, being acquainted with good and evil even as they (Gen. 3:22). The
final consequence of eating of this tree being death, it may be styled the Tree of Death in contradistinction to the Tree of Life. Decay of body, and consequent termination of life, ending in corruption, or mortality, was the attribute which this fatal tree was prepared to bestow upon the individual who should presume to touch it.
In the sentence "thou shalt surely die," death is mentioned in the Bible for the first time. But Adam lived several centuries after he had eaten of the tree, which has proved a difficulty in the definition of the death their indicated, hitherto insuperable upon the principles of the creeds. Creed theology paraphrases the sentence thus -- "in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die figuratively, thine immortal soul becoming liable to the pains of hell for ever; and thy body shalt die literally afterwards." But, it is very evident to one unspoiled by the philosophy of the creeds, that this interpretation is not contained in the text. The obscurity which creates the difficulty, does not lie in the words spoken, but in the English version of them. The phrase "in the day" is supposed to mean that on the very day itself upon which Adam transgressed, he was to die in some sense. But this is not the use of the phrase even in the English of the same chapter. For in the fourth verse of the second chapter, it is written, "in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew." This, we know, was the work of six days; so that "in the day" is expressive of that period. But in the next before us, the same phrase represents a much longer period, for Adam did not die until he was 930 years old; therefore, the day in which he died did not terminate till then.
But it may be objected, that the day in the text must be limited to the day of the eating; because it says, "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die:" and as he was not eating of it 930, years, but only partook of it once on a certain natural day, it cannot mean that long period. But I am not prepared to admit that the physical action of eating is the only eating indicated in the text. Adam fed upon the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge all the time from his eating of the natural fruit until he died. The natural fruit in its effect was figurative of the fruit of transgressing the interdict, which said, "thou shalt not eat of it." The figurative fruit was of a mixed character. It was "good," or pleasant to the flesh; but "evil" in its consequences. "By the law," says the apostle, "is the knowledge of sin;" for "sin is the
transgression of law " (Rom. 3:20 ; 1 John 3:4). Sin is pleasant to the flesh; because the deeds forbidden are natural to it. It is that "good" fruit which the animal man delights to eat. The flesh, the eyes, and life, have all their desires, or lusts, which, when gratified constitute the chiefest good that men under their dominion seek after. But, God has forbidden indulgence in these lusts. He says, "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world " (1 John 2:15-16). And again, "the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4): and, "if ye live after the flesh ye shall die" (Rom. 8:13). This language is unmistakeable. To indulge then in the lawless pleasures which "sinful flesh" terms "good," is to "bring forth sin" (James 1:15), or to bear fruit unto death; because "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:21-23). "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal.6:7-8). All "the ills that flesh is heir to" make up the "evil," which has come upon man as the result of transgressing the law of God, which said to Adam, "thou shalt not eat thereof." The fruit of his eating was the gratification of his flesh in the lusts thereof, and the subjection of himself and posterity to the "evil" of eating of the cursed ground in sorrow all the days of their lives (Gen. 3:17-19).
All the posterity of Adam, when they attain the age of puberty, and their eyes are in the opening crisis, begin to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. Previous to that natural change, they are in their innocency. But, thenceforth, the world, as a serpent-entwined fruit tree, stands before the mind, enticing it to take and eat, and enjoy the good things it affords. To speculate upon the lawfulness of compliance is partly to give consent. There must be no reasoning upon the harmlessness of conforming to the world. Its enticements without, and the sympathizing instincts of the flesh within, must be instantly suppressed; for, to hold a parley with its lusts, is dangerous. When one is seduced by "the deceitfulness of sin," "he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14,15); in other words, he plucks the forbidden fruit, and dies, if not forgiven.
Furthermore, the sentence " thou shalt surely die," is proof that the phrase "in the day" relates to a longer period than the day of the natural eating. This was not a sentence to be consummated in a moment, as when a man is shot or guillotined. It required time; for the death threatened was the result, or finishing, of a certain process; which is very clearly indicated in the original Hebrew. In this language the phrase is muth temuth, which literally rendered is, DYING THOU SHALT DIE. The sentence, then, as a whole reads thus -- "In the day of thy eating from it dying thou shalt die." From this reading, it is evident, that Adam was to be subjected to a process, but not to an endless process; but to one which should commence with the transgression, and end with his extinction. The process is expressed by muth dying; and the last stage of the process by temuth, thou SHALT DIE.
This view is fully sustained by the paraphrase found in the following words: -- "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread TILL thou return into the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return" (Gen. 3:18). The context of this informs us that Adam, having transgressed, had been summoned to trial and judgment for the offence. The Lord God interrogated him, saying, "hast thou eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" Adam confessed his guilt, which was sufficiently manifest before by his timidity, and shame at his nakedness. The offence being proved, the judge then proceeded to pass sentence upon the transgressors. This He did in the order of transgression; first upon the serpent; then upon Eve; and lastly upon Adam, in the words of the text. In these, the ground is cursed, and the man sentenced to a life of sorrowful labor, and to a resolution into his original and parent dust. The terms in which the last particular of His sentence is expressed, are explanatory of the penalty annexed to the law. "Thou shalt return into the ground," and, "unto dust shalt thou return," are phrases equivalent to "dying thou shalt die." Hence, the divine interpretation of the sentence, "in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," is, "in the day of thy eating, all the days of thy life and sorrow, returning thou shalt return into the dust of the ground whence thou wast taken." Thus, "dying," in the meaning of the text, is to be the subject of a sorrowful, painful, and laborious existence, which wears a man out, and brings him down
to the brink of the grave; and, by "die," is signified, the end, or last stage, of corporeal existence, which is marked by a ceasing to breathe, and decomposition unto dust. Thus, man's life from the Womb to the grave is a dying existence; and, so long as he retains his form, as in the case of Jesus in the sepulchre, he is existent in death; for what is termed being, is corporeal existence in life and death. The end of our being is the end of that process by which we are resolved into dust -- we cease to be. This was Adam's state, if we may so speak, before he was created. He had no being. And at this non-existence he arrived after a lapse of 930 years from his formation; and thus, were practically illustrated the penalty of the law, and the sentence of the Judge. For from the day of his transgression, he began his pilgrimage to the grave, at which he surely arrived. He made his couch in the dust, and saw corruption; and with its mother earth commingled all that was known as Adam, the federal head, and chief father of mankind.
TREE OF LIFE.
"Eat and live forever."
This was planted "in the midst of the garden." It was also a fruit-bearing tree. It would seem to have been as accessible as the Tree of Knowledge; for after the man had eaten of this, he was driven out of the garden that he might not touch that likewise. Its fruit, however, was of a quality entirely opposite to that of which they had eaten. Both trees bore good fruit; but that of the Tree of Life had the quality of perpetuating the living existence of the eater for ever. This appears from the testimony of Moses, who reports, that after the transgressors had received judgment, "the Lord God said, behold the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat and live for ever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground whence he was taken" (Gen. 3:22, 23). From this, we learn, that the Lord God had instituted this tree to give life, and that Adam was aware of what would result from eating of its fruit. It is probable that, had he been obedient to the law of the Tree of Knowledge, he would have been permitted to eat of the Tree of Life, after he had fulfilled his destiny as an animal man; and, instead of dying away into dust, have been "changed in the twinkling of an eye," as Enoch was; and as they are to be, who shall be ready for the Lord at His coming. But of this we can say nothing certain, because nothing is testified on the sub-
ject; and beyond the testimony our faith cannot go, though opinion and credulity may.
If, then, Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life, he would have been changed from a living soul into a soul capable of living for ever: and not only capable, but it would seem, that being immortal, the Lord God would have permitted him to remain so. For, we are not to suppose that, if a thing become capable of undecaying existence, therefore its Creator cannot destroy it; consequently, if Adam as a sinner had eaten of the Tree of Life, his immortality would have been only permitted, and not necessitated contrary to the power of the Lord God.
To have permitted Adam and Eve to become deathless and to remain so, in a state of good and evil such as the world experiences, would have been a disproportionate and unmerciful punishment. It would have been to populate the earth with deathless sinners; and to convert it into the abode of deathless giants in crime; in other words, the earth would have become, what creed theologists describe "hell" to be in their imagination. The good work of the sixth day would then have proved a terrible mishap, instead of the nucleus of a glorious manifestation of divine wisdom and power. But, a world of undying sinners in a state of good and evil, was not according to the divine plan. This required first the sanctification of sinners; then their probation; and afterwards, their exaltation, or humiliation, according to their works. Therefore, lest Adam should invert this order, and "put on immortality " before he should be morally renewed, or purified from sin, and the moral likeness of God be formed in him again; the Lord God expelled him from the dangerous vicinity of the Tree of Life. He drove him forth that he should not then become incorruptible and deathless.
The first intimation of immortality for man is contained in the text before us. But, in this instance it eluded his grasp. He was expelled "lest he should eat, and live for ever." It was because immortality belonged to this tree; or rather, was communicable by or through it to the eater, that it was styled otz hachayim, that is, the Tree of the Lives; for that is its name when literally rendered. The phrase "of the lives" is particularly appropriate; for it was the tree of endless life both to Adam and Eve, if permitted to eat of it. If the world enticing to sin, be fitly represented by the serpent-entwined tree, imparting death to its victim, Christ, who "has overcome the world " (John 16:33), as the giver of life to His people, is well set forth by the other
tree in the midst of the garden; which was a beautiful emblem of incarnated power and wisdom (Prov. 3:13-18; 1 Cor. 1:24) of the Deity, planted as the Tree of Life in the future Paradise of God (Rev. 22:2).
MAN IN HIS NOVITIATE.
"God made man upright."
When the work of the six days was completed, the Lord God reviewed all that He had made, and pronounced it "very good." This quality pertained to every thing terrestrial. The, beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, reptiles, and man, were all "very good and all made up a natural system of things, or world, as perfect as the nature of things required. Its excellency, however, had relation solely to its physical quality. Man, though "very good," was so only as a piece of divine workmanship. He was made different from what he afterwards became. Being made in the image, after the likeness of the Elohim, he was "made upright." He had no conscience of evil; for he did not know what it was. He was neither virtuous, nor vicious; holy, nor unholy; but in his beginning simply innocent of good or evil deeds. Being without a history, he was without character. This had to be developed, and could only be formed for good or evil, by his own independent action under the divine law. In short, when Adam and Eve came forth from the hand of their potter, they were morally in a similar condition to a new-born babe; excepting that a babe is born under the constitution of sin, and involuntarily subjected to "vanity" (Rom. 3:20); while they first beheld the light in a state of things where evil had as yet no place. They were created in the stature of a perfect man and woman; but with their sexual feelings undeveloped; in ignorance, and without experience.
The interval between their formation and the transgression was the period of their novitiate. The Spirit of God had made them; and during this time, "the inspiration of the Almighty was giving them understanding" (Job 33:4; 32:8). In this way knowledge was imparted to them. It became power, and enabled them to meet all the demands of their situation. Thus, they were "taught of God," and became the depositories of those arts and sciences, in which they afterwards instructed their sons and daughters, to enable them to till the ground, tend the flocks and herds, provide the conveniences of life, and subdue the earth.
Guided by the precepts of the Lord God, his conscience continued good, and his heart courageous. "They were naked,
both the man and his wife, and were not ashamed " (Gen. 2:25). They were no more abashed than children in their nudity; for though adults in stature, yet, being in the infancy of nature, they stood before the Elohim and in the face of one another, without embarrassment. This fact was accidentally recorded. As we shall see hereafter, it is a clue, as it were, given to enable us to understand the nature of the transgression.
While in the state of good unmixed with evil, were Adam and Eve mortal or immortal? This is a question which presents itself to many who study the Mosaic account of the origin of things. It is an interesting question, and worthy of all attention. Some hastily reply, they were mortal; that is, if they had not sinned they would nevertheless have died. It is probable they would, after a long time, if no further change had been operated upon their nature. But the Tree of Life seems to have been provided, for the purpose of this change being effected, through the eating of its fruit, if they had proved themselves worthy of the favor. The animal nature will sooner or later dissolve. It was not constituted so as to continue in life for ever, independent of any further modification. We may admit, therefore, the corruptibility, and consequent mortality, of their nature, without saying that they were mortal. The inherent tendency of their nature to death would have been arrested; and they would have been changed as Enoch and Elijah were; and as they of whom Paul says, "we shall not all die." The "we" here indicated possess an animal, and therefore corruptible nature; and, if not "changed," would surely die: but inasmuch as they are to "be changed in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet," though corruptible, they are not mortal. In this sense, therefore, I say, that in their novitiate, Adam and his betrothed had a nature capable of corruption, but were not subject to death, or mortal. The penalty was "dying thou shalt die;" that is, "you shall not be permitted to eat of the Tree of Life in arrest of dissolution; but the inherent tendency of your animal nature shall take its course, and return you to the dust whence you originally came." Mortality was in disobedience as the wages of sin, and not a necessity.
But, if they were not mortal in their novitiate, it is also true that they were not immortal. To say that immortals were expelled from the garden of Eden, that they might not live for ever by eating of the tree, is absurd. The truth is in few words, man was created with a nature endued with certain susceptibilities. He was capable of death; and capable of endless life; but,
whether he should merge into mortality; or, by a physical change be clothed with immortality, was predicated on his choosing to do good or evil. Capacity must not be confounded with impletion. A vessel may be capable of holding a pint of fluid; but it does not therefore follow that there is a pint in it, or any at all. In the Paradise of Eden, mortality and immortality were set before the man and his companion. They were external to them. They were to avoid the former, and seek after the latter, by obedience to the law of God. They were capable of being filled with either; but with which depended upon their actions: for immortality is the end of holiness (Rom. 6:22), without which no man can see the Lord.
We meet with no traces in the Mosaic history of ceremonial observances, or religious worship, pertaining to the novitiate. To rest one day in seven; believe that the Lord God would perform His word if they transgressed; and to abstain from touching the Tree of Knowledge, was all their Gracious Benefactor required. There was no "religion" in the garden of Eden -- no sacrifices, or offerings, for sin was as yet a stranger there. Their tenure of the Paradise was predicated upon their abstinence from sin: so that it could be forfeited only by transgression of the law of the Lord.