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BS490 .H52 1828 v.l 
Henry, Matthew, 1662-1714. 
Exposition of the Old and 
New 

Testament . 



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Old and 

, WBSKSIN 

EACH CHAPTER IS SUMMED UP IN ITS CONTENTS ; THE SACRED TEXT INSERTED 
AT LARGE, IN DISTINCT PARAGRAPHS ; EACH PARAGRAPH REDUCED 
TO ITS PROPER HEADS; THE SENSE GIVEN, 

AND LARGELY ILLUSTRATED ; 

WITH 

PRACTICAL REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS: 


BY MATTHEW 'hENRY. 


EDITED BY 

THE REV. GEOROE BURDER, AND THE REV. JOSEPH HUGHES, A. M., 

WITH THE 

LIFE OP THE AUTHOR, 

BY THE 

REV. SAMUEL PALMER. 

American 3STiit(oii: 

TO WHICH IS FBEFIZBD, 

A PREFACE, 

BY ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, D. D. 

PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE SEMINARY AT f^NOBTON, E. J. 


VOL. I. 


XPOSITION ( dAN101912 

New Testament: 


PHILADELPHIA: ' 

ED. BARRINGTON & GEO. D. HASWELL 

MARKET STREET. 


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Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to ueiX : 



BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the Eighth day of August, in the fifty-third year of the Inde- 
pendence of the United States of America, A, D. 1828, Towar & Hogan, of the said District, have 
deposited in this ofiice the Title of a Book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the words 
following, to wit: 


“ Preface to the First American Edition of Henry’s Exposition of the Old and New Testament. By Archibald 
Alexander, D. D. Professor of Theology in the Seminary at Princeton, N. J.” 


In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of Learn- 
ing, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the 
times therein mentioned”— And also to the act, entitled, “An act supplementary to an act, entitled, “An act for the 
a couragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such 
♦v 'f.es during the times therein mentioned,” and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and 
B'-A-uig historical and other prints.” 

D. CALDWELL, 

Clerk of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 


PREFACE 


TO THE 


FIRST AMERICAN EDITION 

OP 

HENRY’S EXPOSITION 

OP THE 


OliD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. 


BY ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, D. D. 

PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY /N* THE SEMINARY AT PRIXCETOJf, AT. J 


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PREFACE 


TO 

HENRY’S COHHENTARY. 


Commentaries on the Bible may be conveniently divided into two kinds, the 
CRITICAL and practical. The first, by a grammatical analysis of the words and 
phrases of the original text, endeavour to ascertain the literal meaning of each passage ; 
and to enable others to judge of the correctness of the interpretation, the whole critical 
process is spread before the reader. Helps of this sort are very important to the 
learned, for, in all cases, the literal sense must be determined before any proper use can 
be made of the text, or any other interpretation founded on it. The propriety, force, 
and meaning of a metaphor, or an allegory, can only be known by first understanding 
the literal meaning of the words employed ; and the same is true in regard to what 
may be called the mystical, or spiritual, meaning, of any passage of Scripture. But, 
however necessary this critical analysis may be, it can be useful to none but the learned. 
Commentaries of another kind, therefore, are required for common readers, who have 
as deep an interest involved in the truths of the Bible, as the critical scholar ; and who 
are as much bound in duty to search the Scriptures : for as every man must give 
account of himself, both of his faith and practice, he must have the right to 
judge for himself. The best helps ought, therefore, to be provided, to enable all 
classes of men to form correct opinions on the all important subject of religion. 
For this reason, many practical expositions, not only of detached passages and 
single books, but of the whole Bible, have been composed, and have been 
extensively useful in elucidating the Scriptures ; and in teaching how the truths of 
Revelation may be applied to regulate the hearts and direct the lives of men. In this 
class, Henry’s Exposition holds a distinguished place. This work has now been 
before the Christian community for more than a hundred years, and has, from its first 
publication, been so well received, and is so generally approved, that all recommenda^ 
tion of the work itself seems to be now superfluous. It has, indeed, become a standard 
work in theology ; not with the people of one denomination only, but with the friends 
of sound piety and evangelical religion, of every name. Many other valuable com- 
mentaries, it is true, have been given to the public since this work was first edited, and 
have deservedly gained for themselves a high estimation and extensive circulation. But 
it may be safely said, that Henry’s Exposition of the Bible has not been superseded 


IV 


PREFACE. 


by any of these publications ; and in those points in which its peculiar excellence con- 
sists, remains unrivalled. For some particular purposes, and in some particular 
respects, other Commentaries may be preferable ; but, taking it as a whole, and as 
adapted to every class of readers, this Commentary may be said to combine more 
excellencies than any work of the kind which was ever written, m any language. 
And this is not the opinion of one, or a few persons, but thousands of judicious theolo- 
gians have been of the same mind; and it may be predicted, that as long as the 
English language shall remain unchanged, Henry’s Exposition will be highly appre- 
ciated by the lovers of true religion. 

Our object in this Preface is, to endeavour to point out some of the more distinguish- 
ing characteristics of this great work, and to offer some motives to induce Christians 
of our country to study it. Before I proceed farther, however, I would remark, that 
the principal excellence of this Exposition does not consist in solving difficulties which 
may be found in Scripture. On this ground, complaint is sometimes heard from those 
who consult this Commentary, that they may obtain light on obscure and perplexed 
{)assages, of being disappointed in their expectations ; and that, while plain passages 
are largely expounded, those which are difficult are briefly touched, or passed over 
without notice. To this objection it may be answered, that to exhibit the use and 
application of those parts of Scripture which are not involved in difficulty, is far more 
important for practical purposes, than the elucidation of obscure passages. It is a 
general, and surely it is a comfortable fact, that those parts of Scripture which are 
most obscure are least important. But the same objection might be made, and indeed 
has been made, to all Commentaries, that they leave the difficult texts as obscure as 
they found them ; from which the only legitimate inference is, that, in regard to a large 
portion of texts of difficult interpretation, the learned and unlearned stand very much 
on the same level ; yet, doubtless, much light has been shed on many things in the 
Scriptures, by the labours of the learned. And although we do not claim for this 
Commentator the highest place among Biblical critics, yet we have a right to say, that 
Henry was a sound and ripe scholar; and especially, is said by his biographers to 
have been an excellent Hebrew scholar. We are not to suppose, because no parade 
of critical learning is exhibited in these volumes, that the Author did not critically 
examine every text. As the Orator is said to practise the art of eloquence most per- 
fectly, when all appearance of art is concealed ; so we may say, that he makes the best 
use of the critical art in the instruction of the people, who furnishes them with the 
results, without bringing at all into view the learned process by which they were 
arnved at. One fact is certain from internal evidence, that Mr. Henry wrote his 
Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, with the learned compilation of Pool, 
called Criticorum Synopsis, open before him; as, in all difficult passages, he has 
judiciously selected that opinion from the many presented in this work, which, upon 
the whole, seems to be most probable. 

But, while we contend that our Author is a sound and ingenious Expositor, as it 


PREFACE. 


V 


relates to the literal interpretation of Scripture; yet we do not found his claim to pre- 
eminence on his critical acumen, or profound erudition, but on qualities which shall 
now be distinctly brought into view. 

1. To begin, then, with the style of this work, 1 would remark, that two qualities, 
not often united, are here combined, perspicuity and conciseness. That the style is per- 
spicuous needs no other proof than the examination of any page of the Exposition. 
And when I attribute perspicuity to this composition, I use the word in direct reference 
to the capacity and apprehension of the unlearned reader. A style cliiefly formed of 
words of a foreign origin, may be as perspicuous to a learned man as any other ; but 
not so to the common reader, who is only familiar with that kind of language which is 
commonly used in conversation. F or the most part, Mr. Henry’s style is made up of 
pure old English words, and therefore it is plain to every class of people ; and is also 
familiar, because the words are the same as those all are accustomed to hear evei 7 day. 

But it will not be so readily granted that the style is concise. The number and size 
of the volumes seem to lead to a different conclusion. And, indeed, when we see six 
folio volumes, written by one hand, the presumption is very natural and strong, that he 
must be a diffuse writer. This, however, in regard to our Expositor, is not the fact. 
The>'e are few books, in the English language, written in a more concise, sententious 
style, than Henry’s Exposition. On examination, very few expletives will be found. 
Every word speaks, and every sentence is pregnant with meaning ; so that I do not 
know how the book could be abridged in any other way than by leaving out a 
part of its contents. And we must distinguish between a long discourse and one 
which is diffuse : a short work may be very diffuse, while one of great length may not 
have a superfluous word. 

2. Another quality of the style of this Commentaiy is vivacity. This word does not 
exactly express the idea which I wish to convey, but it comes as near it as any one 1 
can think of at present, I mean that pleasant turn of thought, in which we meet with 
unexpected associations of ideas, expressed in that concise and pointed form which, on 
other subjects, would be termed wit. Indeed, if I were permitted to invent a phrase 
to indicate the quality of which I am now speaking, I would call it spriritual wit. It 
has, by some, been called a cheerful style ; and certainly, the reading of this work has 
a tendency not only to keep the attention av»’ake, but to diffuse a cheerful emotion 
through the soul. He must be a very bad man who would become gloomy by the 
perusal of Henrv’s Commentary. Now, I need not say how important this quality is 
in a composition of such extent Without it, however excellent the matter, weariness 
would take hold of the reader a thousand times before he had finished the worx. This 
seems to have been the natural turn and complexion of the pious author’s thoughts, 
1 here is no affectation ; no unnatural comparisons, or strained antitheses. It is true 
there is an approach to what is called quaintness^ and a frequent play on words an<l 
phrases of similar sound, but different meaning ; but, although these things are not cor> 
fomiable to the standard of modem taste, yet they are very agreeable to the great 


VI 


PREFACE. 


of the people, and give such a zest in the perusal of the work, that we can scarcely 
allow ourselves to indulge a wish, that the style were in any respect different from 
what it is. 

3 . But a characteristic of .this Exposition of a more important kind than any that 
have been mentioned is, the fertility and variety of good sentiment, manifest through- 
out the work. The mind of the author seems not only to have been imbued with ex- 
cellent spiritual ideas, but to have teemed with them. It is comparable to a perennial 
fountain, which continually sends forth streams of living water. In deriving rich in- 
struction and consolation from the sacred oracles, adapted to all the various conditions 
and characters of men, the author displays a fecundity of thought, and an ingenuity in 
making the application of divine truth, which strikes us with admiration. The resour- 
ces of most men would have been exhausted m expounding a few books of the Bible : 
after which little more could have been expected, than common-place matter, or the 
continual recurrence of the same ideas ; but the riches of our Expositor’s mind seem to 
have been inexhaustible. He comes to every successive portion of the sacred Scrip- 
tures with a fulness and freshness of matter, and with a variety in his remarks, which 
while it instructs, at the same time refreshes us. Even in his exposition of those books 
which are very similar in their contents, as the gospels for example, we still find a pleas- 
ing variety in the notes of the commentator. It is difficult to conceive how one man 
should have been able to accomplish such a work, without any falling off in the style 
of execution. 

[t is true, indeed, that Mr. Henry did not live to put a finishing hand to the exposh 
lion. He had made ample preparations for the completion of the work, but while it 
was in the press, to the regret of all good men, he was called away from the field of 
labour. But the providence of God, though mysterious, is always wise. It should be 
matter of lively gratitude, that this eminent servant of God was permitted to remain 
so long in our world, and to accomplish so much for the edification of the church, not 
only in his own, but in all future ages. The commentary was completed by the author, 
as far as to the end of the Acts of the Apostles : the remaining books were ex- 
pounded by certain of his friends, who were eminent for their theological knowledge 
and piety ; and who, doubtless, availed themselves of the assistance of his papers, in 
executing the work, which they respectively undertook. Their names are prefixed to 
the books on which they severally wrote the commentary ; and although the reader 
will be sensible of the want of Mr. Henryk’s peculiar vivacity and happy turn of thought ; 
yet he will find the continuation of the Exposition executed in an able and judicious 
manner ; and with as ne^ an approximation to the author’s inimitable style, as could 
be expected from other hands. 

4. There is perhaps no one thing which gives a more distinctive character to this 
performance, than the weighty, pithy, pointed sayings, with which it abounds. Whe- 
ther these apothegms were, generally, the production ofithe author’s ingenuity, or were 


PREFACE. vii 

»>oIlected from the common stock of English proverbs, current in his day, their value is 
the same to us. 

The ancients appear to have understood, better than the moderns, the importance of 
the method of instruction by proverbs, or aphorisms. It was considered by them the 
highest effort of wisdom to invent proverbs, parables, or fables, which, in few words, 
convey much meaning. Several of those, called by way of eminence the wise men 
OF Greece, are celebrated for no other productions, but a few sayings which met with 
general approbation, and which passed into proverbs. The value of a stock of good 
proverbs to a nation cannot easily be too highly appreciated. These are kept in con- ; 
stant use and circulation, and are learned by all classes of people, without effort; and 
beconie, to the vulgar, the maxims by which life is regulated. Nothing is more com- 
mon, when a man’s judgment has been suspended for a while, than to come to a deci- 
sion, by the recollection of some proverb, ^r general maxim. Men are actually influ- 
enced by the knowledge which is present to their minds, at the moment when their 
purpose is formed, and this gives an advantage to apothegms over every other form in 
which useful knowledge is treasured up. While other learning is like treasure hoarded 
up, which cannot always be put into circulation at a moment’s warning, these are com- 
parable to the current coin of a nation, which is always ready, and always in circula- 
tion. Perhaps a man might often be as useful to his country by inventing and putting 
into general circulation, a few pithy, pointed, moral or prudential maxims, as by writing 
an elaborate work on moral science, or political economy. It is a fact worthy of notice, 
that the peasantry or common people in some places, carry on their conversation very 
much by recollecting and repeating appropriate proverbs ; and such people will gene- 
rally be found to be more than usually discerning and prudent. In the instruction of 
youth, this easy method of furnishing arid fortifying their minds, ought not to be ne- 
glected. A father who instils into his children a large stock of sound, practical, moral, 
and prudential aphorisms, really leaves them a richer inheritance, than if he provided 
for them as many jewels. We have, moreover, the highest authority for this mode of 
instruction* The Bible is replete with aphorisms of the most important kind ; and one 
whole book, written by the wisest of men, contains nothing else but proverbs. Be- 
sides, many of our Lord’s instructions were delivered in this form. 

One of the most useful and esteemed works of the celebrated Erasmus, is, a collec- 
tion of aphorisms, from all the writings of the Greek and Roman authors ; and he 
who should judiciously make a collection of useful English apothegms, would confer a 
favour on the public at large. But it has occurred to the writer, many years since, 
that an excellent and useful little volume of choice sayings, might be collected from 
Henry’s Commentary alone ; and if any reader of this work should take the pains to 
make such a collection for his own use and that of his children or friends, he would 
never have occasion to repent of his labour. The exuberance of our author’s mind in 
composing such apothegms ; or his diligence in collecting them, gives a peculiar stamp 

10 his work, which distinguishes it from all other expositions ; and ever will render it 
VoL. I. — 2 


vlii PREKACIj. 

valuable, as the repository of a most useful species of learning, not to be found in such 
abundance, any where else. 

5. The next characteristic of the following Exposition, is, the felicity and frequency 
with which the text, at any time under consideration, is elucidated by parallel passages 
I f there were no more than a frequent and copious reference to such similar texts, it 
would not deserve particular notice as forming a distinguishing trait of this perform- 
ance ; for other commentators have exceeded Mr. Henry in this respect ; and, indeed, 
a good concordance, with patient labour, is all that is requisite for the accomplishment 
of such a work. But in Mr. Heniy’s references, there is often an ingenuity which 
bori ows liglit from points where it was not perceived by others to exist. By an unex- 
pected association and comparison of different passages, while he instructs us in that 
knowledge of the Scriptures which is derived from comparing spiritual things with spi- 
rit7ial, he, at the same time, fills us with angagreeable surprise, at the unlooked for co- 
incidence of points apparently remote from each other. 

No one, I think, can read this commentary without being fully satisfied, that the word 
of God dwelt richly in the mind of its in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. 

Indeed, it would seem that the contents of the Bible were constantly present to his 
mind, not merely in the way of recollecting them, but by a deep knowledge of their 
meaning and various bearings ; so that he was able to survey each text by the aid of the 
c-oncentraled light of the whole Bible. 

I need not pause to recommend this mode of interpreting Scripture ; for it recom 
mends itself to every reflecting mind, and has the authority of apostolic precept. 1 
will only remark, that it affords a double satisfaction to the lover of truth ; for wliile he 
is thus enabled to understand a particular text more clearly, he, at the same time, dis- 
covers the harmony which subsists between all the parts of divine revelation. 

The only other thing which I shall mention, as characteristic of this work, is, its 
evangelical, spiritual, and practical cast. The truths of God are here presented sim- 
ply, without being complicated wdth human philosophy, or encumbered with the tecli- 
nical distinctions of scholastic theology, or obscured by the mists of unintelligible me- 
taphysics. Neither is the truth presented in a controversial form, but mostly, as if no 
controversy existed. No doubt controversy is necessary in its place, but the more it 
is excluded from the pulpit, and from books intended for the edification of the people at 
large, the more probability will there be, that the truth will produce its genuine effect 

It has been objected, that the author does not give sufficient prominence to some im- 
portant truths taught in the word of God ; — but, if he has given a sound exposition of 
those passages in w^hich these doctrines are contained, he has allowed them the same 
comparative length and breadth which they occupy in the Bible ; and has preserved 
that proportion between the different parts of divine revelation, which the Holy Ghost 
has established. Indeed, this course is made necessary to the expositor of the whole 
Bible, unless he would leave his exposition to discuss particular points of doctrine 


PREFACE. 


IX 


Besides, some truths, not more important than many others, occupy a large space in 
systems of polemic theology, because they have often been opposed or disputed. 

No man who has written so much, and expressed so many opinions, as Mr. Henry 
has done in this commentary, will be likely to have the concurrence of any one think- 
ing man, on every minute point ; but it would be extremely difficult to find a book of 
such extent, which unites so many minds in its approbation. Men, who seem to differ 
considerably in doctrinal views, read this work respectively, with pleasure and edifica- 
tion. It is no difficult matter, indeed, to ascertain the author’s theological opinions 
which are freely expressed, when the exposition of Scripture requires it ; but he is mo- 
derate, and cautious of giving offence to those who differ from him ; and by his unceas- 
ing effort to give a practical turn to every passage, he conciliates the pious reader’s 
mind, even while he delivers opinions which he cannot adopt. 

The end at which the author aimed, and of which he never lost sight in expounding 
a single text, was, to make men wise unto salvation ; and the whole tendency of the 
work is to produce spiritual wisdoni, an ardent love of holiness, and a conscientious and 
diligent regard to all the revealed will of God, in the performance of public and pri- 
vate duties.* 

It is an excellency, in this commentaiy, that the truths of Scripture are adapted, with 
great spiritual skill, to the various afflictions, conflicts, and temptations which are inci- 
dent to the Christian life. The erring will here find reproof and direction, the sluggish 
excitement, the timid encouragement, the mourner comfort, and the growing Christian, 
confirmation, and increase of knowledge and assurance. 

It may be more necessary for the unlearned to read such works as this, than for the 
learned ; yet I am persuaded, that there is no man living, however learned, but might 
derive much practical instruction from Henry’s Exposition of t!ie Bible : and if minis- 
ters of the gospel would spend much time in perusing this work, it would manifest itself 
by the richness and spirituality of their sermons and lectures. The celebrated George 
VVhitefield states, when speaking of his preparation for the work of the ministry, that 
he had read the whole of Henry’s Exposition of the Bible, on his knees. One princi- 
pal reason why young clergymen, who possess this w ork, derive less benefit from it than 
they might, is, that they are in the habit, probably, of merely consulting the w ork, oc- 
casionally, when they want some aid in composing a sermon, or preparing an exposi- 
toiy lecture for their people. But the full value of this commentary wall never be per- 
ceived by those who thus use it. It should be carefully read, in course^ and with a view 
to personal improvement. It is a melancholy fact, that our intellect may be vigorous- 
ly exercised in discovering and arranging truths of the most important and practical 
kind, without the least personal edification. This is one of (he many snares to which 
preachers of the gospel are liable, and from which it results, that their hearers often 
derive much more benefit from their studies, than they do themselves. It would be a 


See the author’s general 1‘retace, prefixed to the 1 st volume. 


X 


PREFACE. 


great point gained, if ministers could learn the art of studying their sermons with the 
heart as well as the head ; and 1 know of few things which would more effectuallj 
tend to bring this about, than a frequent and serious perusal of Henry’s Commentary , 
especially if fervent prayer were combined with the reading. 

But after all that I have said, with the view of exhibiting the characteristics of this 
work, I am sensible that such general description can, at best, afford but inadequate 
ideas of the spirit and style of an author, so peculiar in his manner. There is in good 
writing, as in the human countenance, an expression, which mere words cannot depict. 
There is a penetrating savour, — a diffusive spirit, which takes hold of the feelings of the 
reader, and for the time, assimilates his emotions and sentiments to those of the writer. 
To understand how this effect is produced by the tones of the living voice, accompani- 
ed with tlie animated expression of the countenance of a public speaker, is not so dif- 
ficult ; but to explain how the composition of one, long since dead, should still retain 
that penetrating, spirit-stirring energy, which we find in the writings of men, whose 
hearts were warm with holy affections, is not easy. The fact, however, is certain ; we 
experience the salutary effect, when we peruse their works. In reading for edification, 
therefore, it is of much greater utility to apply ourselves to the writings of men, who, 
while they wrote, felt the sacred flame of divine love glowing in their breasts, than to 
such as excel in mere intellectual vigour, or in elegance of style. 

My principal object in this preface is, to persuade those who may take the trouble to 
read it, to enter seriously and Resolutely on the perusal of the following work. What- 
ever other books of this kind may be possessed, still Henry’s Exposition will prove a 
treasure to any family, if it be diligently studied ; without which no book can be useful. 

Hitherto, this commentary has not been in general use in this country, because co- 
pies were not abundant ; and the price of the work placed it beyond the reach of 
many, who would have been much pleased to possess it : but now, when a cheap, 
handsome American edition is issuing from the press, there is the best reason to hope, 
that it will be widely circulated and extensively read. It is worthy of notice, also, 
that the work is now presented to the public, not only in a very clear type, but also in 
a portable and convenient form. Many persons, who have not much leisure for read- 
ing, are intimidated at the sight of folio volumes ; and to eveiy one their use is incon- 
venient. But I am still apprehensive, that the number and bulk of the volumes, will 
be a formidable obstacle to many. They will be apt to think, that they have neithei 
time nor patience to finish such a task, and therefore will be disposed to decline the un- 
dertaking. But such persons ought to reflect, that it will not be necessary to read the 
whole, to obtain the benefit of a part ; a single book perused with care, will not be 
without its advantage. There is no solid reason, however, for those persons, who sin- 
cerely wish to study the Scriptures, to be discouraged by the extent of the work : for, 
although viewed in mass, it may seem to be an almost endless labour to those who can 
devote but little time to reading ; yet, if any one would form a simple calculation, he 
would find, that the task can be accomplished with ease, in a very reasonable time 


PREFACE. 


XI 


Let us suppose, that only one half hour be appropriated to the perusal of this commen- 
tary in each of the days of the week, except the Lord’s day, on which two hours might 
be conveniently spent in this exercise ; and at this moderate rate of progress, the whole 
work would be finished in less than three years. 
iiBut although we have spoken of this undertaking as a “ labour” and “a task,” yet 
' we are' confident^ that to the reader who thirsts for an increase of divine knowledge, 
it would be founds on experiment, to be a veiy precious privilege. Such a person 
would experience so much pleasure in the contemplation of scriptural truth, as here 
exhibited, and would find his mind so enriched with spiritual thoughts, that, he would 
contract a lively relish for the exercise, and would be drawn to liis work, when the 
season of performing it occurred, with something of the same strength of appetite, as 
that which urges him to partake of his daily food ; and would feel the privation as sen- 
sibly when debarred from it, as when prevented from taking his usual bodily repast. 
Citizens, who have been long accustomed to spend an hour, in the morning, in reading 
the news of the day, when, by any circumstance, this gratification is abstracted from 
them, appear really to feel as much uneasiness, as if prevented from breaking their fast. 
And why may not a spiritual taste become as lively, as that which is expenenced for 
the contents of a newspaper ? Why may we not enjoy the contemplation of divine 
things with as strong a zest, as knowledge of another kind ? Surely nothing is want- 
ing to produce this effect, but a right disposition in ourselves. And the person who thus 
contracts a taste for the contents of these volumes, will find means for redeeming more ti me 
for reading than we have specified ; so that the work, for which we have allowed three 
years, would, by many, be completed in one. And this exposition is not a composition 
of that kind, which when once read, leaves no desire for a second perusal, but the spi- 
ritual reader will be led to mark many passages for a reperusal ; not because they were 
not undei-stood at first, but because they afforded him so much delight, or communica- 
ted such seasonable instruction, that he desires to come again and again to the fountain 
that he may be refreshed and strengthened. 

But while we wish to raise in the minds of our readers a high estimation of the value 
of Henry’s Commentary, we would not dismiss the subject without observing, that 
whatever lustre the work possesses, it is all borrowed. The light with which it shines 
is reflected light. The whole value of this or any other similar work, consists merely 
in holding up clearly and distinctly, the truth which is contained in the sacred records. 
And whatever of spiritual wisdom, or of the savour of piety, is found in these pages, 
was all derived from the influence of that Holy Spirit, who inspired the prophets and 
apostles to write the Scriptures, and who still bestows grace and spiritual endowments 
on his chosen servants, by which they are qualified, to preach and write, in such a 
manner, as to promote the edification of his church. In every age, God raises up men 
for the defence of the gospel, and also for the exposition of his word ; and some of these 
are honoured not only with usefulness while they live, but with more abundant and ex- 
tensive usefulness after their decease ; so tliat being dead they still speak. It is impos- 


PREFACE. ^ 


xii 

sible to calculate how much good has been, and will still be effected by the pii us labours 
of such men as Henry and Scott. Their works will be read in regions so i . -emote and 
obscure, that they never came to the knowledge of the pious writers. They will be 
read in the distant islands of the Pacific, and in the central re^ons of Africa, as well 
as 111 the most retired recesses of our own country. What an encouragement is this 
for men, who have the ability, to labour indefatigably in the communication and diffu- 
sion of divine truth ? Of books we have a superabundance, but of books of the pro- 
per kind, we have not half enough. Copies of works of undisputed excellence ought 
to be multiplied, until all who can read are supplied with the precious treasure. 

But let God have the glory of every invention, of every gilt, and of every work, by 
which the progress and diffusion of truth are promoted or facilitated ; and let all that 
is said in praise of men, be so spoken, as to redound to the honour and glory of the 
Triune God ! — Amen. 


' I 



MEMOIRS 


OF THE 


LIFE 


OF THE 


RET. MATTHEW HENRY. 


PURPOSELY WRITTEN FOR THE LONDON EDITION OF HIS W ORKS. 




BY S. PALMER, 

MINISTER OF THE CONGREGATION AT HACKNEY, OVER WHICH MR. HENRY 
IN HIS LAST YEARS PRESIDED. 


HE WAS A BURNING AND A SHINING LIGHT.’ 








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MEMOIRS 


OF THE 


REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


M ost readers of a work which has acquired any degree of celebrity, feel a desire to know something 
of the author; and that desire is increased, in proportion as they find themselves interested in the 
work itself. It may therefore be presumed, that the readers of Mr. Henry’s writings, which have long 
been in high repute in the religious world, will wish for some information concerning the character and 
life of that excellent man, whose pen produced so many admirable performances. This is not merely 
an innocent, but a laudable curiosity, which we are happy to have the present opportunity of gratifying, 
on the republication of his smaller pieces, as well as his larger work on the Bible; most of which pieces 
have long been out of print; and we are persuaded, that the more the author is known, the greater 
pleasure pious readers will feel in the perusal of his writings. 

A Life of Mr. Henry was published, shortly after his decease, by his intimate friend, the Rev. Mr. 
T'ong, but it is now become exceedingly scarce; and though it contains a just character and a faithful 
narrative, drawn from personal knowledge, as well as from private papers, the m'. nner in which it is 
drawn up is not the most pleasing, the writer being then far advanced in life; and it is rendered prolix, 
and even tedious, by the insertion of too many extracts from his diary, and too many articles relatii e to 
Mr. Henry’s acquaintance and his own, as well as various other particulars, which at this distance of 
time are become uninteresting. On these accounts it was judged advisable, instead of reprinting that 
work, to compose a new one. In this, however, all that appeared interesting in the former is retained, 
and whatever else could be collected, is inserted, particularly in relation to his settlement at Hackney, 
wliere some persons were living when the writer of this first came to that place, who had the happiness 
to be Mr. Henry’s hearers, and remembered him well. 

Mr. Matthew Henry was the second son of the eminently pious and excellent Mr. Philip Henry, 
^^’hose Life, published by him, is an admirable piece of biography, and who was ejected by the Act cf 
Unlfi rmity from his living in the parish of Worthcnliury, in Flintshire, A. D. 1662. This his son was 
l)arn October 28, in the same year, which also, he ob.serves with pleasure in his diary, gave birth to many 
other ministers of his acquaintance, to whom God had appointed more peaceful days than their prede- 
cessors, whom their brethren, who hated them, had cast out. His birthplace was Broad-Oak, in Iscoid, 
Flintshire, within the parish of Malpal, which is in Cheshire; a district signalized in the British annals 
for the f \mous monastery of Bangor. Hither his father removed but a fortnight before his birth, not 
being suffered any longer to continue in the place of his former ministry; and here he spent the remain- 
der of his days. Mr. Henry’s mother was Mrs. Katharine Matthews, the daughter and heiress of Mr. 
Daniel Matthews, a gentleman of an ancient family and a considerable estate, which, upon his death, 
came into the possession of Mr. Philip Henry, bv which he was enabled to live in comfort after his eject- 
ment, and not only preach the gospel gratis, as he had opportunity, but likewise to relieve several of his 
necessitous brethren. But his wife proved to him a greater treasure, as she was a woman equally emi- 
nent for piety and every other endowment. Her son has done ample justice to her character, in an 
excellent discourse, occasioned by her death, on Prov. xxxi. 28. Her children arise up, and call her 
blessed. It is subjoined to the Life of his father. 

The circumstances of Mr. Henry’s birth were rather remarkable. Besides its being premature, (as 
the writer of this has been credibly inforaied,) his mother’s labour was so sudden, that she was delivered 
before any assistance could be procured; and he was so weakly a child that no one expected him to live. 
He was therefore baptized the next day after he was bom, by Mr. Holland, the minister of the parish, 
liut without godfather or godmother; and his father desired the sign of the cross might not be used, but 
the minister said he durst not omit it. 

When he was about five years old, he had the measles, by which his brother, who was a year older 
than himself, was cut off; a circumstance which deeply affected him, and which he noticed with great 
seriousness, in a paper written on his birth day, when he had completed his thirteenth year, wherein 
he drew out a list of the mercies which he had received, with lively expressions of gratitude to the 
Author of them. He long continued weakly, subject to agues and other complaints; but he verj" early 
discovered a good mental capacity, and a tboughtful turn, so that it was remarked his childhood had 
less of vanity than that of most children, and that at an earlier period than is usual,he put away childish 
things. He was able to read a chapter in the Bible dis^nctly when he was but about three years old, 
and was used to make pertinent remarks on what he read. 

His first abiding convictions of relicrion, according to his own written accoimt, in the paper above 
referred to, were wrought when he was ten vears of age, in consequence of a seiTnon preached by his 
excellent father, on Psalm li. 17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite 
heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. “I think it was that,” says he, “that melted me: afterward I 
began to inquire after Christ.” He was earlv accustomed to make memorandums of the sermons which 
he heard, and of the effect they had upon his mind. From one of these papers, dated December 17, 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


i 

1673, it appears that he he ird a sermon on the si^s of true grace, which put him upon the strict exa 
mination of himself by the rules which had been laid down; and, after opening his mind to his father, he 
was encouraged to draw a f ivourable conclusion respecting his spiritual state. He particularly mentions 
his repentance for sin, according to the scripture account of it, in many passages which he tiyinscribes; 
his solemn dedication of himself to God, according to the tenor of the gospel covenant, and his love to 
God, as evidenced by his love to the people of God, Avhom he ch‘ se as his best companions; and his love 
to the word of God, concerning which he expresses himself thus: “I esteem it above all; I desire it as the 
food of my soul; I greatly delight both in reading and hearing it; and iny soul can witness subjection 
to it, in some measure; I think 1 love the word of God for the purity of it; I love the ministers and 
messengers of it; I rejoice in the good success of it; all which were given as marks of true love to the 
word, in a sermon I lately heard, on Psalm cxix. 140. Thy word is very fiure, therefore thy seri'cint 
loveth it.” 

In the same paper, which contains a catiilogue “of the mercies of God to him, both temporal and 
spiritual,” he mentions it as matter of peculiar thankfvdness that he was blessed with pious parents, 
who took so much pains in his education, and by whose means he was brought so early to devote him- 
self to God. After noticing with thankfulness his recovery from an ague which had hung long upon 
him, he mentions his first application to learning. It will be pleasing to the reader to see his own words. 

“ After this sickness, in the year 1669, I had health, and began to learn my grammar. Blessed be 
God that gave me an understanding! Mr. Turner entered me a little into the principles of grammar, 
and my father has carried me on in it; the Lord grant that he mav li\’e to perfect it!” As a proof of 
his affection to this his excellent father, as well as of his piety to God, the following addition is here sub- 
joined: “In March, 1669, my dear father had a sore fever; we thought he would have died; but our 
extremity was God’s opportunity, and he arose and helped us.” 

It was observed by all who knew him, that he was remarkaJjly quick in learning any thing, and that 
he possessed a strong memory to retain it. He was early addicted to close application to his studies, and 
remarkably provident of his time; so that his good mother, fearful lest he should injure his health, was 
sometimes obliged to call him down from his closet and advise him to take a walk in the fields. 

His whole conduct, in the happy family of which he w'as a member, was amialjle and exemplary. As 
he ever manifested the greatest duty and deference to both his pious parents, sc he exercised the utmost 
affection and kindness towards his sisters. They all lived together in the most delightful unity: and he 
m ;de it his business and his pleasure to promote their best interests, both by his admonitions and his 
pravers. His father recommended it to them to spend an hour together every Saturday afternoon, in 
religious exercises, with a view to their preparation for the sabbath; and he conducted them with great 
propriety, to their mutual advantage. 

He was always very regardful of his father’s instructions, and with uncommon diligence he attended 
to his preaching; with which he was sometinjes so deeply affected, that, as soon as the service was end- 
ed, he would retire to liis closet, to weep and pray (.'ver what he had been hearing, and would hardlv he 
prevailed upon to come flown to dinner, lest tlie memory and impression of it should be effaced. He 
sometimes took an opportunity, especially in walking with his father, to relate to him the impressions 
which his discourses made upon him, and to o])en to him freely any difficulties that occurred to his mind; 
which proved of excellent use for his further information and encouragement. 

It seems that Mr. Henry had an inclination to the ministry from liis childhood. This partly appeared 
in his fondness for imitating preaching, which he did with a great degree of propriety and gra^aty beyond 
his years; as also in his frequent attendance at the private meetings of good people, with whom he w'ould 
prav, and repeat sermons, and sometimes expound the scriptures, to the surprise of all present. One 
of them once expressed to his father some concern lest his son should be too forward, and fall into tlie 
snare of spiritual pride; to whom the good man replied, “ Let him go on; he fears God and designs well, 
and I hope God will keep him and bless him.” 

Mr. Philip Henry was used generall}' to have some young student in his house, previous to his en- 
trance on the ministry, who, rvhile he was a pupil to Mr. Plenry, acted as a tutor to his children. One 
of these was Mr. William Turner, who was born in that neighbourhood, and had studied at Edmund 
Hall, Oxford. He was afterward many years vicar of Walliurton, in Sussex, and was the author of 
a work in folio, on the History of remarkable Providences. He lived with Mr. Henry at the time his son 
entered on his grammar, and was the person referred to by him in the papers quoted above, as having 
initiated him into the Latin language; and it may be supposed, from his great pietv and studious tum, 
that he was in other respects useful to him. Mr. M. Henry remained uncler his father’s eye and tuition 
till he was about eighteen years of age, from which he enjoyed singular advantage for both literary and 
religious attainments, to qualify him for the ministerial effice; and he soon affcrcled amj)le proof that he 
had not enjoyed them in vain. As his constitution grew stronger with his growing years, his iTiind 
also improved in knowledge, grace, and holiness, so tl\at he was richly furnished betimes for the 
important office to which he had devoted his life,hind seemed not to need any further assistance than he 
had enjoyed, or might yet enjoy, under the tuition, and from tlie example, of such a father, who was not 
only an excellent scholar himself, but had an admirable method of communicating knowledge to others. 
He was desirous, however, that his son might enjoy some furtlier ad\ antagcs in his education at seme 
more public, seminary. 

Mr. P. Henry had Iieen partial to a University, having himself passed some years at Christ Chnrcli, 
Oxford. Rut the sad alteration w'hich had taken place in those sc its of learning, after the Restoratii n, 
greatly altered his opinion; so that, to pi-eser\ e his son from the snares and temptatiems to which lie might 
have been exposed from tlie want of pro])cr discipline, he determined upon sending him, in the ye.ir 
1680, to an academy which was then kept at Islington by the leamed and pious Mr. Thomas Dooi.itti.e, 
who trained up many yrung men for the ministry, who made a distinguished figure among'the Protestant 
dissenters. Here, among many other excellent young {icrsons, he enjoyed the society of Mr. Bur\-, who 
was from the same ncighbourh''iod, and afterward an eminent minister, who bore this honourable testi- 
mony to Mr. Henrv’s character during the course of his studies: “ I was never better pleased,” says he, 
“ when I was at Mr. Doolittle’s, than when I was in young Mr. Henrv’s company. He had such a savour 
of religion always upon his siiirit, was of such a cheerful tem]ier, so diffusive of ail knowledge, so ready 
in the scriptures, so pertinent in all his petitions, so full and clear in all liis performances, &c. that he was 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


b 


to me a most desirable friend, and I love heaven the better since he went thither.” Mr. Bury observes, 
however, that “he had an almost inconceivable quickness in his speech, but that he afterward hap])ilv 
corrected it, as well for his own sake, as for the benefit of others. ” 

Another of Mr. Henry’s fello>v-students was Mr. Henry Chandler, afterward an eminent minister 
at Bath, and father of the learned Ur. Chandler, of the Old Jury, London. In a letter to Mr. Tong, he 
speaks of Mr. Henry in the following respectful terms: “It is now thirty-five years since I had the hap- 
piness of being in the same h vise with him, so that it is im])ossil)le I should recollect the several [par- 
ticul u’sj th '.t fixed in me such an honourable idea f)f him, that nothing can efface while life and reason 
last. This I perfectly well remembciq that, for serious piety and the most obliging behaviour, he was 
universally beloved by all the house. ^Ve were near thirty pupils when Mr. Henry graced and enter- 
tained the family, and I remember n t that ever I heard one of the number speak a word to his dispa- 
ngement. I am sure it was the common ojnnicn, that he was as sweet tempered, courteous, and obliging 
a gentleman as could come into a house; his going from us was universally lamented.” 

How 1' ng he continued with Mr. Dodittle is not quite certain. Such ivas the persecuting temper of 
the times, that this good num was obliged to leave Islington, (upon which he removed to Battersea,) and 
soon after to disperse his pupils into prii ate families at Clapham, to which place it does net appear that 
Mr. Henry followed them. It is certain, however, that when he quitted this academy, he returned to 
his father’s house, where he pursued his studies with great assiduity. Among his papers is one dated 
Broad-Oak, 1682, (about which time it seems probable that he returned thither,) which is a memorial 
of the mercies which he had received from the hand of God from his birth to that time, which was his 
birthday: it consists of twenty six particulars, and discovers a lively spirit of devotion. 

Mr. Henry was now twenty j^ears of age, and had made great improvement in all the branches of 
science, which tended to fit him for appearing with great advantage under the ministerial character. 
But it does not appear that he had yet begun to exercise his talents in public. He was, howev er, fre- 
quently engaged in social exercises cf devotion among the good people of his father’s acquaintance, and 
who resorted to that house of prayer. His company was much coveted by them, and they were highly 
gratified by his visits, which he was ever ready to make to the meanest of them; when he was used to 
pray with them, and converse with groat freedom, affection, and judgment, on their spiritual concerns. 
Greatly delighted were they to see such a son treading so closely in the steps of such a father; and his 
memory was long precious in that neighbourhood, and in the adjacent country, where Mr. Philip Heniy 
used frequently to preach in the houses of those pious gentlemen who entertained the ejected ministers, 
though they generally attended the worship of the established church. 

As the times were dark, and the circumstances of dissenting ministers were very discouraging, Mr. 
Henry had no prospect of a pastoral settlement with a congregation; he therefore, with the advice of 
friends, directed his thoughts to amither and very different employment. He had formed an intimacy 
with Rowland Hunt, Esq. of Boreaton, who married the daughter of Lord Paget, and at whose house 
Mr._ P. Henry used to preach once a qiuuter, and administer the Lord’s supper. This worthy gentleman 
advised his father to enter him in one of the Inns of court, for the study of the law. His view in this 
was not to divert him from his design of pursuing the work of the ministry, but to find him some present 
employment of his time, as he was but young, which might hereafter be advantageous to him, not only 
in a temporal view, as he was heir to a handsome estate, but as it might be subservient to his usefulness 
as a minister. Accordingly, Mr. Henry went to Gray’s-Inn, about the end of April, 1685. 

Some of his friends discovered painful apprehensions lest this situation, and the connexions he might 
here form, should prove unfavourable to his religious interest, and, in the issue, divert him from the 
sacred office to which his former studies had been directed, and for which he discovered such peculiar 
qualifications. But their fears happily proved groundless; his heart was fully bent for God, and esta- 
blished with grace; so that he still maintained his steadfastness amidst all the temptations with which he 
was surrounded. He happily formed an acqiuuntance with several young gentlemen, then students of 
the law, who were exemplary for sobriety, diligence, and religion, who were ghid to receive him as an 
intimate associate, and with whom a mutual friendship continued to the last. Here his diligence in 
study, his quick apprehension, his rapid proficiency, his tenacious memory, and his ready utterance, 
induced some of the profession t > think that he would have been eminent in the practice of the law, had 
he applied himself to it as his business. But he felt himself under no temptation to relinquish the object 
of his first resolution, and he continually kept that in his view, habituating himself to those exercises 
which might further his preparation for it. He heard the most celebrated preachers in town; among 
whom he seemed to be best pleased with Dr. Stillingfleet, at St. Andrew’s, Holborn, for his serious, 
practical preaching; and with Dr. Tillotson, at Ijuwrence Jewry, for his admirable seraicns against 
po]iery. He accustomed himself to take iv tes of what he heard; and he constantly sent a short scheme 
of tiie sermons cu lus fcitiit r, Lovvii'im uegciitiauy wii Lc > v*».ck, <^ 1 , ic.g h.m .ui .tccoui.t of all 

remarkable occurrences with great judgment, yet with all the caution and prudence which the difficulties 
of the times required. 

During his residence inlirndon, Mr. Henry not only attended with constancy on the public worship 
of God, but he promoted social ])rayer and religious conference with his particular friends, and he some- 
times expounded the scripture to them. When he was about to leave them he delivered to them an 
excellent and affecting discourse, on 2 Thess. ii. 1. Bi/ the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our 
gathering together unto him; recommending to himself and them the hope of that blessed meeting, as 
their greatest comfort, now they were about to part. The letters which he wrote to his friends 
while he continued at Gray’s-Inn, discover the lively sense of divine things which he preserved upon 
his mind, of which an excellent one of great length is published by Tong, to his friend Mr. G. Illidge, 
of Nantwich, whose father’s Memoirs he afterward printed: from whence it appears how valua- 
ble a correspondent he was, and how much he aimed at usefulness, in his letters as well as in Ins 
conversation. 

But though his time was not unprofitably spent in London, he sometimes complained of the want 
which he felt of those opportunities which he had enjoyed in his father’s house: his “ Broad-Oak sab- 
baths, and the heavenly manna,” which he had tasted there; and expressed his earnest wishes to 
return. Accordingly in the month of June, 1686, he went dowa to Broad-Oak, and continued several 
months in the country'; when he made it appear that his residence in London, and his study of the law. 


6 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


had been no way prejudicial to his religious temper, or his ministerial qualificatlrns. He new began 
to preach frequently us a candidate for the ministry, and he every where met with great acceptance. 

About this time he went to visit his friend Mr. Illidge, at Nantwich, wlio had been in a remarkable 
manner brought to a sense of religion by the ministry of Mr. P. Henry, and who w^s ve?-)- zCcdous in 
promoting the spiritual benefit of his neighbours. Mr. M. Henry spent several days with him, and 
preaclied in his house every evening to a considerable number of people, of whom several dissclute per- 
sons a])peared to be deeply impressed with what they heard. One instance was very remarkable. The 
last evening, Mr. Henry preached on Job xxxvii. 22. 11 it/i God is terrible majesty. Mr. Illidge, observ- 
ing one man present whom he knew to be notoriously wicked, went the irext morning to his he use, to 
see what imjjression this alarming discourse had made upon him; when he found him in tears, under a 
deep conviction of sin, and the apprehension of misery. He found his wife also weeping with him, on 
account of her husband’s distress. Mr. Illidge gave him the best instruction he could, and prayed with 
him. He also made known his case at Broad-Oak, that he might have further help from thence. There 
soon ajipeared a great change in him. He manifested a deep and abiding concern about his eteinal state, 
and that of his wife, whom he taught to read. He set up prayer in his family, went often to the meeting 
at Broad-Oak, and at length was admitted to the Lord’s supper. He sometimes spoke of the joy he 
felt at the remembrance of what God had done for him, and he maintained a hopeful profession of reli- 
gion f r some years. His wife also gave proof of her conversion, and died, to all appearance, a good 
Christian. But he afterward relapsed into sin, to the great grief of his best friends, and the dishonour of 
religion. Whether he was effectually recovered does not appear. 

Mr. Henry’s great acceptance and success, at the commencement of his ministry, encouraged him to 
pr secute it with increasing ardour. Having occasion to take a journey to Chester, some good people 
there, who had heard of his fame, desired him to preach to them one evening in a private house; liberty 
for public wershi]) not being yet granted. He readily consented, and preached three evenings succes- 
sively at different houses in the city. The specimen which these good people had now received of his 
talents excited in them an earnest desire to have him settle with them; having about two years before, 
lost two aged and faithful ministers; and another in the city, Mr. Harvey, being far advanced in years, 
and preaching very privately. Being encouraged by a prevailing reiiort that goveiTiment was disposed 
t ’ gr >nt indulgence to dissenters, some cf them went abcut the latter end of the year to Broad-Oak, to 
express to him their wishes for his continued services. He was then in the twenty fifth year of his age. 
On consulting with his father, and thinking there was the voice of Providence in the affair, he gave them 
srme encouragement to hope for a compliance with their invitation, if liberty should be granted, provided 
Mr. Harvey consented, and they would wait till his return frem London, where he was going to reside 
s me months. They expressed their readiness to receive him upon his own terms, and in his own time. 

On the 24th of January, 1687, he set out for I.,ondon with the only son of his friend Mr. Hunt. At 
Coventrv he heard that there had been a fire at Gray’s-Inn, and at Hclborn’s-Court, where he had a 
chamber; upon which he wrote to his father, that he expected that the effects which he had left there 
were all lost; but on his arrival, he had the pleasure to find that, by the care of a chamber-fellow, most 
of them were saved. The first material news he heard in London, was that the king had granted indulg- 
ence to the dissenters, and had empowered certain gentlemen to give out licenses: the price of one for a 
single person was ten pounds; but if several joined, sixteen pounds; and eight persons might join in 
taking out one license. 

Not many dissenters took out these licenses; but the disposition of the court being sufficiently under- 
stood, manv began to meet publicly. About the end of February, Mr. Henry wrote to his father, that 
Mr. Faldo, a congregational minister, had preached, Ijoth morning and afternoon, to many hundi-ed 
Iieople, at Mr. Sclater’s meeting in Mom-fields. The people of Chester now reminded him of his 
engagements to them, the propriety of which he sometimes was ready to question, but he did not hesi- 
tate to fulfil them. The reverend and learned Mr. Woodcock came to him, and tcld him that he wished 
to engage him in a lecture which was set up chiefly for young persons; but thanking him for his respect, 
he modestly declined the offer, and said that his service was most wanted in the country, and might be 
most suitable there. 

Mr. Henry now began to think seriously on the business of ordination, and consulted some ministers 
about it, particularlv Mr. Tallents, of Salop, who had been some time in London, and Mr. James Owen, 
who was lately come up from Oswestry, both of whom had known him from his childhood, and they 
ga\ e him all possible encouragement in this design. He viewed the ministerial office in so awful a light, 
that he set himself to consider the engagement into which a person enters in his ordination to it, with 
the greatest senousness. He drew up, on this occasion, chiefly for his own use, a discourse on 1 Tim. 
i\ . 15. Give thyself wholly to them; in which he stated the nature and several parts of the ministerial 
work, and what it is for a man to be whollxj in them, fas it is in the Greek,) and then proceeded tho- 
roughlv to examine his own heart, with respect to his fitness for them. The paper is entitled, “Serious 
Self-examination before Ordination;” with this text prefixed: Search me, O God, and know my heart, 
Uc. “ It is worth while,” says he, “ for a man at such a time, deliberately to ask himself, and consci- 
entiouslv to answer, the six following questions: 1. What am I? 2. What have I donei* 3. From what 
principles do I act in this undertaking? 4. What are the ends I aim at in it? 5. What do I want? 6, 
What arc my purposes and resolutions for the future?” — To each of these questions he gives a distinct 
answer, in several particulars, at a very considerable length, which fill more than four large folio pages. 
The whole discovers the utmost seriousness, humility, and conscientious regard to truth and dutv. 

About this time a respectable person, whom he had considted about his ordination, intimated to him 
an apprehension that he might possibly obtain it fi'om one of the bishops, without those oaths and decla- 
rations to which the dissenters objected. This ])robably took its rise from the moderation which the 
clergy were now disposed to show towards the nonconformists, in consequence of the king’s declaration 
for liberty of conscience, which they knew originated in his intention to promote poper>'. Whether 
there was any solid ground for the apprehension or not, it appears that the intimation of his fi-iend induced 
Mr. Hciirv to investigate the question with the utmost care and impartiality, “Whether it be advisable 
for one that hath devoted himself to the service of God in the work of the ministrv, but is liy no means 
satisfied with the terms of conformity, to choose ordination by episcopal hands (if it may be had with- 
out any oaths and subscriptions) rather than ordination by presbyters. ” Having fairly stated, in wi-it- 


7 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


ing, (dated Ajiril 28, 1687,) the arguments which occurred to him on both sides, with earnest prayer for 
direction, he determined for the negative, and applied to those ministers in London to whom he was best 
known, for their assistance in the solemn service. 

On the 9th of May, these ministers met on the occasion, but where it was we have no account. The 
times were such as rendered a pri\ ate ordination most eligible, in the opinion of the ordainers, who were 
all cf the Presbyterian denomination, and who conducted the ser\ice in the manner which was common 
among the Presbyterians of that day, and long aftej*. We have no information respecting either a ser- 
mon or a charge delivered, as is usual on such occasions; but among Mr. Henry’s papers was found the 
Latin Thesis which he delivered on the question — An juntijicemur Hde abnaue o/ieribus Legk? Affir- 

matur. Mr. Tong has given an abstract of it, and has subjoined Mr. Henry s confession of faith, which 

perfectly agrees with the Assembly’s Catechism. 

For the same reason that the ordainers chose to have the service performed in private, they declined 
giving a certificate of the ordination in the usual form, (which seemed to be an excess of caution,) and 
only gave this brief testimonial: 


“We, whose names arc subscribed, 
of tlie gospel. 


‘A/fli/ 9, 1687.” 


are well assured that Mr. Matthew Henry is an ordained minister 

Sic Tester, W. Wickens, 

Fran. Tallents, 

Edw. Lawrence, 

Nath. Vincent 
James Owen, 

Rich. Steele.” 


Of so much importance was a regular certificate of Presbyterian ordination esteemed in those days, 
that Mr. Henyy, after he had been settled many years, and had many living e/iistles to witness for him, 
applied to the ordainers then living to give him a certificate in form; which had the signatures of Mr. 
Tallents and Mr. Owen, dated Dec. 17, 1702. It was remarkable, that cne of the above ministers who 
engaged in Mr. Matthew Henry’s ordination, was also employed in the ordination of his excellent father, 
Mr. Philip Henry, near thirty years before. This was Mr. Richard Steele, the author of that valu- 
able Treatise on Old Age. 

Mr. Henry, soon after his ordination, hastened down to Chester, to enter upon his pastoral charge. He 
left London the latter end of May, and went first to Broad-Oak, where he stayed but a short time. Se- 
veral persons of the congregation came to meet him there, and conducted him to Chester, where it is 
needless to say how joyfully he was received, especially on account of the liberty which was now granted 
to the dissenters, though the object of the king in granting it was sufficiently known. Worship had 
hitherto been kept up in the house ( f Mr. Henthorne, which was large and commodious, but only be- 
tween and after the hours of public sein ice at the established church, where most of the people attended 
to hear Dr. Fogg and Dr. Hancock, whose ministry they highly valued. Their numbers, however, so 
much increased, that it was found necessary to provide a larger place. With this Mr. Henthorne, who 
was zealous in the cause, soon accommodated them against the time of Mr. Henry’s coming; having a 
large out-building belonging to the Friary, which was in his possession. The work of fitting it up was 
begun on a Mondav, and it was in sufficient forwardness to be opened for worship the next Lord’s day. 
But Mr. Henry did not arrive till the Thursday following, which was the lecture-day, when he preached 
his first sermon, on 1 Cor. ii. 2. I determined net to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him 
crucified. Mr. Tong, who was present on the occasion, says, “ I am a witness that they received him 
as an angel of God. ” But before he would preach, such was his respect to the aged and worthy Mr. 
Harvey, that he made him a visit, in order to be satisfied that his coming to Chester was with his ap- 
probation; for without it, he assured him that he would return. The good old man soon satisfied him 
on this head, telling him that there was work cncugh in Chester for them both. They afterward lived 
in the most perfect hannony. Mr. Henry constantly attended his Tuesday lecture, and always behaved 
towards him as a son to a father. He also advised all his friends to show him all possible respect, as 
a faithful minister of Christ, who had many yeai s laboured there in the gospel, and had also been a suf- 
ferer for it. 

Mr. Henry’s situation at Chester proved highly agreeable to him, on account of the valuable society 
he met with there, and it was soon. rendered the more so, as three of his sisters were providentially 
brought to reside in that ])lace, in consequence of their being married to respectable and pious men, who 
belonged to his congregation, (Mr. Radford, Mr. Holtc'n, and Dr. Tilston,) to whom he conducted him- 
self with a truly fraternal affection. But a yet more agreeable and important circumstance was his en- 
trance into the conjugal state, with a ladv who was possessed of every qualification to render that state 
happy. This was Mrs. Katharine, daughter of Mr. John Hardware, of Moldsworth. On his first 
proposal, ^cme obstacles lay in the way, but they were so completely removed, that the match was as 
agreeable to her parents as it was to his, so that they came to reside at Chester, and they all lived to- 
gether. But this pleasing scene, like many earthly ones, was of very short continuance; for within a year 
and a half Mrs. Henry was seized, in childbed, with the smallpox, and died, 14, 1689, though the 
child was spared. Mr. Tong, who lived within eighteen miles, came to visit this house of mourning; who, 
having described the manner in which the tender mother was affected, says cf Mr. Henry, the first 
words he spoke to him, with man}^ tears were these: “ I know nothing could siqiport me under such a 
loss as this, but the good hope I have that she is gone to heac'cn, and that in a little time I shall fellow 
her thither.” 

It was no small alleviation of his grief, that the child was spared. His good_ father came to visit him 
on the occasion, when he baptized the child in public, and the scene was peculiarly solemn and affecting. 
Mr. Henry, on presenting his child in baptism, (whom he named after her mother,) professed his faith 
and renewed his covenant, in a most affecting manner, and then added, “Although my house be not so 
with God, yet he hath made wnth me an everlasting covenant, &c. I offer up this my child to the great 
God, a plant out of a dry ground, desiring it maybe implanted into Christ.” Every heart was full, and 
few dry eyes were seen. 


8 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


Under this severe affliction, God strengthened his heart and his hands, so that he pursued his work 
with his usual diligence and vivacity. At length a kind providence repaired his loss, and the mother of 
his deceased wife was the means of procuring him another. She recommended to him the daughter of 
Robert Warburton, Esq. of Grange, the son of Peter Warburton, Esq. serjeant at law, and one of 
the judges of the common pleas. He was a gentleman fond of retirement, who constantly had the Bible 
and Baxter’s “Saint’s Rest” on the table before him, and whose house was a sanctuaiy to the silenced 
ministers. Mr. Heniy’s marriage to this lady was consummated, July 8th, the same year, at Grange, 
when both his father and mother were present, who were greatly pleased ^vith the new relation, and 
blessed God who had thus filled up the breach. Mr. and Mrs. Hardware now left Chester, and retired 
to an estate which they had in Wirral, but their affection for Mr. Henry as a son continued. 

From this time he kept a regular diary of all material occurrences and transactions to the end of his 
life; a practice which he had lately recommended to his friends, in a discourse on Redeeming the time. 
From this diary of his the ^following part of his history is principally taken. — We shall now give some 
account of his family by this second marriage, and the manner in which he governed it. 

In the space of twenty two years he had nine children, eight of which were daughters. Three of 
them, namely, the first, second, and fourth, died in their infancy. The first of these children was bom, 
Afiril 12, 1691, on which occasion he made his will; but she died in about a year and a half. In his diarj- 
he makes many pious remarks on this event, and the night of her funeral he writes thus: “ I have been 
this day doing a work I never did before — burying a child. A sad day’s work ! But my good friend, Mr. 
Lawrence, preached very seasonably and excellently, from Psalm xxxix. 9. / %vas dumb, I ofiened not 
my mouth, because thou didst it.'’ 

On the birth of the fourth of these children, he writes, June 24, 1697, “ This child has come into a 
world of tears;” for his pious father, who had taken a pleasure in coming to baptize his grandchildren, 
(which he did in a peculiarly interesting manner,) was now dead, and he was particularly affected at 
the recollection of that event, as it happened the very same day of the month the preceding year. But 
says he, “ God has set the one over against the other, that I may sing of mercy and judgment. ” But this 
child was taken away in less than a year and a half; upon which occasion he writes, “ My desire is to^ 
be sensible of the affliction, and yet be patient under it. It is a smarting rod; God calls my sins to re-' 
membrance — the coldness of my love, my abuse of spiritual comforts.” But he adds, “ ’Tis a rod in the 
hand of mv Father. I desire to see a father’s authority, who may do what he will; and a father’s love, 
who will do what is best. We resign the soul of the child to Him who gave it. — I am in deaths often; 
Lord, teach me how to die daily,” &c. 

On May 3, 1700, God was pleased to give him a son. But his birth was attended with such uncom- 
mon danger both to the mother and the child, that he mentions it as a miracle of mercy that their lives 
were spared. This child Mr. Henry himself baptized on the lecture day, in the following week, by the 
name of Philip,* when he preached on the occasion from 2 Sam. vii. 14. 15. When this child was about 
a month old, he was so ill that there was but little hope of his life; and Mrs. Henry continued in such 
weakness, increased by her anxiety about her infant, that she, and all her friends, expected her speedy 
dissolution. But God mercifully interposed, and restored both her and her child. On this occasion Mr. 



diary affords ample proof how he acknowledged ' 
took in the concerns of all with whom he was connected. 

We shall now notice his conduct in his family, which was in a great measure regulated by the exam- 
ple of his pious father, of whose house those who had access to it were ready to say. This is no other than 
the house of God, and the gate of heaven. Mr. Hemy was constant in the worship of God in his family, 
morning and evening, which nothing was suffered to prevent. He called all the members of it together as 
early in the morning as circumstances would permit; and he did not delay it to a late hour in the evening, 
lest drowsiness should prevent devotion. He was never tedious, but always full and comprehensive, 
performing much in a little time, which seldom exceeded half an hour. He began with a short invocation 
tor assistance and acceptance. He then read a portion of scripture, (in the morning from the Old Testa- 
ment, and from the New in the evening,) giving a short exposition, in a plain and familiar manner, so as 
to render it both intelligible and pleasant, and added practical reflections. To engage the greater 
attention, he used to examine some of his family how they understood, and what they remembered of 
what they had heard. After this, some part of a psalm was constantly sung, from a collection which he 
himself made, entitled, “Family Hymns,” selected froin different -translations of the psalms; and every 
one had a book, to prevent the interruption occasioned by reading the lines. After singing, he prayed 
with great affection and propriety, noticing every particular case in his family, and not omitting the state 
oi the iiAiOii ctiid tiii.. i ai3 vaVi^-*.^ pi'c.’Ci..cd the ..v'l'.icc A. cm ccing t^diouc, aiid his v/hole 

family attended it with jileasure. When the whole was ended, the children came to him for his blessing, 
which he gave with solemnitv and affection. 

Beside his stated familv worship, he occasionally kept family fasts, as special circumstances required; 
when he sometimes called in the assistance of his friends, whose respective cases and trials were com- 
mitted to God with his own. 

On the Lord’s day he did not omit any part of his ordinary family worship, but rising earlier on that 
day, after his private devotion he began it somewhat sooner. On returning from the public morning 
service, after he had dined, he sung a psalm, offered a short prayer, and then retired till the time of the 
afternoon service. In the evening he usually repeated the substance of both his sermons, in his family, 
when many of his neighbours came in: this he followed with singing and pv iyer, and concluded with 
singing two verses more, previous to the benediction. Before siqiper, he catechised the jmungcr children: 
after supper, he sung the 136th Psalm, and catechised the elder children and servants ; examined them as 
to what they remembered of the sennons, and concluded the day with prayer. Having a happy consti- 
tution both of body and of mind, he went through all this service with constancy and comfort, beside all 


* It nppr>nr-j tlint h(t took tit" nnmt' of Warburton, upon Inbpritinc the potato of hit^mat 
a propriety in bis I' lintinisliiin: tiie namtt of Henry, as he h.id ilepai ted from the spirit of tiis pi 
i\ bo often tendpriy ni'-ntions liim in liis diary, did not live to wi'nesstho unliappy cliange. 


,..;prnal irandfathPr: and tbere was too P-' 
pious ancestors of that name. But his faih.e 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


9 


his ministerial work in public, which he performed without any assistance, and which we now proceed 
to notice. 

Mr. Heniy having chosen the Christian ministry as the grand business of Ids life, set himself to discharge 
the duties oi it, as soon as he obtained a settlement, w th indefatigable industry and with equal delight, 
being willing to spend and be sj)ent in the service of Christ, and for the good of souls. His stated public 
services in his own congregation, which were far from the whole of his labours, were such as few other 
persons could have gene through. His method of proceeding in them was as follow s: 

He began the public worship exactly at nine o’clock, with singing the 100th Psalm; then offered a short 
prayer, and next read some portion of the Old Testament in course, and expounded it in the same manner 
as appears in his printed Exposition. He went through the Bible twice while he was at Chester, and ( n 
his lectui’e-day he expounded all the Psalms not less than five times. After his jiublic exposition was 
ended, he sung a second time, and prayed for about half an hour. After which he preached about an 
hour, then prayed, and usually concluded with singing the 117th Psalm. He pursued the same plan in 
the afternoon, excepting that he then expounded the New I'estament, and at the close sung the I34th 
Psalm, or some verses of the 136th. In singing, he always made use of David’s Psalms, or other §cnpture 
hymns, which he preferred to such as are w'holly of human composition, the latter being generally liable 
to this exception: “ that the fancy is too high, and the matter too Ioav, and semetimes such as a w ise and 
good man may not be able, with entire satisfaction, to offer up as a sacrifice to God.”* In this work of 
praise he took great delight, as appeared from the manner in which he engaged in it. 

In PRAYER, Mr. Henry’s gifts and graces eminently appeared. He had a wonderful faculty of engaging 
the attention and raising the affections of the worshippers. Though in his seernd prayer he was ahvays 
copious, yet he was not tedious. It was always suited to the congregation, to the sermon, to the state of 
the nation, and to the church of God. His petitions for the afflicted w’ere very particular, pertinent, and 
affectionate. In regard to public affairs, he was never guilty of profaning the worship of God by intro- 
ducing any thing obnoxious to government, or offensive to persons of any party; nor, on the other hand, 
by giving flattering titles to any description of men. The state of the reformed churches abroad was 
much upon his heart, and he was a fervent intercessor for those of them that suffered persecution for 
righteousness’ sake. 

How great a talent he had in preaching, is sufficiently known, from the many sermons of his which 
are before the public. He was very happy in his choice of subjects, and of apposite texts, especially on 
particular occasions and occurrences, public or private, which he was always ready to improve. His 
method in his sermons was just and ea^'; his language plain, sententious, and scriptural; his elccu 
tion natural, and free from any odd or affected tone; his address was popular, earnest, and affectionate; 
both he himself and his auditory were often transported into tears. The strain of his preaching was 
spiritual, evangelical, and practical. He shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God. He delighted 
in preaching Christ and the doctrines of free grace; but with equal zeal he preached up holiness in all its 
branches, constantly affirming it to be a faithful saying. That they ivho beliex'e in God should be careful 
to maintain good works. He was indeed so practical a preacher, and semetimes used such a phraseology 
in treating on practical subjects, that some have censured him as being too legal; but he was no mere of 
a legalist than the apostle James, whom he knew well how to reconcile with the apostle Paul. 

It was a common custom with Mr. Henry to preach a series of sermons upon a particular subject, which 
sometimes took up several years. But he did not follow the practice of several old divines, who delivered 
a great number of discourses on the same text: his method was, to prevent the tedicusness of such a prac- 
tice, to fix upon different texts for all the different parts of the subject which he discussed. By thus 
treating upon the various branches of faith and practice in this connected view, as well as by his exposition 
of the Bible in course, his hearers had peculiar advantage for improving in scripture knowledge, above 
ttiose whose ministers only discourse upon short detached passages: accordingly it was remarked, that 
Mr. Henry’s people in general greatly excelled in judgment and spiritual understanding. 

Mr. Tong has given a list of the subjects which Mr. Henry thus discussed in their connexion, which 
would here occupy too much room. The following is a brief specimen. Soon after he settled at Chester, 
he delivered a set of sermons on the guilt and misery' of an unconverted state, from several texts: in 
another, he treated on conversions. After these, he preached a series of discourses on a well ordered 
conversation, beginning with one on Psalm 1. 23. Each sermon contained a distinct direction, grounded 
on a separate text. A brief sketch of these may be acceptable and useful. 1. Fix a right principle of 
grace in the heart, 2 Cor. i. 12. latter part. 2. Eye th^ospel of Christ as your great rule, Phil. i. 27. 
3. Set the Lord always before vou, Ps. xvi. 8. 4. Keep your hearts with all diligence, Prov. iv. 23. 

5. Abide under the fear of God, Prov. xxiii. 17. 6. Be not conformed to the world, Rom. xii. 2. 7. Live 
in constaih dependence upon Christ, Col. iii. 17. 8. Take off your affections from present things, 1 John 


15. 9. Peahv; 


'/ays 




:p a ccnscicncc \'cid of cffcncc. Acts xxiv. 16. 
11. Live by faith. Gal. ii. 20. 12. Commune much with your own hearts, Ps. iv. 4. 13. Watch the door 

of your lips, Ps. xxxix. 1. 14. Follow the steps of the Lord Jesus, 1 Pet. ii. 21. 15. Set before you the 

example of the saints, Heb. vi. 12. 16. Be very cautious of your company, Prov. xiii. 20. 17. Make 

conscience how you spend your time, Eph. v. 16. 18. Pray to God for holy wisdom, James v. 1. 19. 

Often think of death and judgment, 2 Pet. iii. 11. 20. Converse much with heaven, Phil. iii. 20. 

He next delivered a set of sermons for the consolation of God’s people, on the covenant of grace: e. g. 
God in the covenant; a Father — a Husband — a Shepherd — a King, &c. Christ in the covenant; our 
Righteousness — our Life — our Peace — our Hope: in all his offices; Redeemer, High Priest, Captain, 
Forerunner, and Friend. The Holy S/iirit in the covenant; a Teacher — a Comforter — a Spirit of 
adoption — an Earnest. Blessings in the covenant; pardon — ^peace — grace-access to God — ordinances — 
providences — creatures — death — ^heaven. These took him nearly a year and a half. He next treated 
on sanctification, in all its branches; which sermons were followed by another set, on divine worship, 
private and public, with various directions concerning each. After this, he delivered another series, on 
relative'duties in all their extent. These, with some others in connexion with them, brought him to the 
year 1698, when he began a body of divinity, which (with occasional discourses) occupied him till the 


• Mr. Henry’s judgment and practice in this matter deserve the serious consideration of those who perpetuary sing Hymns of mete ImmaB 
composition, .timost to the exclusion of David’s Psalms. 

VoL. L— B 


10 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


year 1712. Those who wish to see the whole plan, which is very extensive and methodical, are referred 
to Mr. Tong’s Life of the author; where may be seen a sketch of his lectures on a weekday, and his 
sacramental discourses. 

Another part of Mr. Henry’s constant work was catechising, in which he engaged with peculiar 
delight, from his affection to the young; for which he was eminently qualified, by his happy talent for 
adapting his instnictions to the weakest capacities. The time which he set apart for this service was the 
Saturday afternoon, when many besides the catechumens were used to attend, and esteemed it a profitable 
exercise. He usually spent about hour in it, and both began and ended with prayer, in which his 
expressions were very plain and affectionate. He used' the Assembly’s Catechism with the elder children: 
but did not content himself with hearing them repeat the answers, but divided them into several short 
propositions, and put a distinct question to each, explaining every part in a familiar manner, and sup- 
porting it by a suitable text of scripture. His method of catechising may be seen in the addition of the 
.Assembly’s' Catechism which he published, which is entitled, “A Scripture Catechism in the method of 
the Assembly’s;” a text of scripture being annexed to the answer to every subordinate question, grounded 
on the general answer in that system; by which means children had a large collection of scripture 
passages treasured up in their memories. 

But we are informed that an excellent and judicious friend of Mr. Henry, “Mr. Charlton of Man- 
chester, thinking even the Shorter Catechism of the Assembly too long for children, and some parts of 
it too abstruse, and quite above their capacity, desired and pressed _Mr. Henry to draw up a shorter and 
plainer catechism for children very young,” which accordingly he did; and in the collection of his works 
it is prefixed to the former. Its title is, “ A plain Catechism 'for Children.” To which is added, “An- 
other for the instiTiction of those who are to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper. ” 

In this work of catechising, Mr. Henry was remarkably blessed of God: for he had the desire of his soul, 
in seeing the good work of grace begam in many of his young people, in whom he afterward had much 
pleasure, as they proved honourable and useful members of his church; though some, of whom he had 
entertained good hopes, turned out loose and vain, to his unspeakable sorrow. 

The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper Mr. Henry was used constantly to administer on the first Lord’s 
day in every month, not merely as this was customary in most other churches, but in conformity to the 
practice of the Jews, who observed the beginnings of their months as holy, though he did not think their 
law about the new moons, &c. to be obligatory on Christians. In the manner of administering this ordi- 
nance he was particularly excellent, and is said herein to have excelled himself. On his lecture-days 
in the week before the sacrament, he had a series of subjects adapted to that institution. And he followed 
his father’s judgment and practice in encouraging young persons to come to the table of the Lord, to 
fulfil their baptismal covenant. Among his catechumens he marked those whom he looked upon as 
intelligent and serious, with this view; when he had a competent number of such in his eye, he appointed 
them separately to come to him, to converse with them about their spiritual state; and if he perceived 
good evidence of their real piety, he recommended it to them to give themselves up to the Lord and his 
church. For several Lofd’s days he catechised them publicly concerning this ordinance; and the week 
preceding the administration, he preached a sermon adapted to their circumstances, acconmanied with 
suitable prayers for them, and then they were all received into the church together. This MTr. P, Henry 
considered as the proper confirmation, or transition into a state of adult and complete church member- 
ship; and his son, in all that was material, adopted his method, in which he had much satisfaction, from 
observing the great utility of it. 

The other positive institution, that of baptism, he administered with equal solemnity, and he always 
desired to have it in public, unless there was some peculiar reason against it. Mr. Henry had_ as little 
of the spirit of a sectarian about him as any man, and he lived in great friendship and affection with 
many good men, who differed from him in regard to this controverted subject. But he was firm in his 
opinion about infant baptism, and thought it a matter of no small importance, though by no means one of 
the essentials of religion; as he considered it to be capable of being applied to very good purpose in a 
practical view, which was his grand object in his administration of it. 

Mr. Tong, in this part of Mr. Henry’s Life, says, “His thoughts (upon this subject) he has with great 
Judgment digested, in an excellent treatise, which well deserves to be made public, and I hope will be 
in a little time. The doctrinal, historical, and practical part of the ordinance are stated and discussed 
with great perspicuity, seriousness, and spirituality. ” The writer of this narrative can attest the justice 
of Mr. Tong’s account of the work, having had the pleasure of penising the manuscript. It may seem 
surprising tliat so elaborate a performance, by so eminent a writer, should have been suffered to lie so 
long in obscurity; especially as it is written not merely in a erntroversial manner, but for the most part 
practical, and very much in the spirit of his “Treatise on the Lord’s Supper.” One chief reason might 
probably be, its prolixity; and another, his laying on some things more stress than they will bear. These 
circumstances rendered' it highly desirable that the work should be abridged. This was accordingly 
undertaken, at the urgent desire of some judicious persons who were acquainted with the manuscript, 
by the Rev. Thomas Robins, when tutor of the academy at Daventry, who had been the pastor of 
some of the author’s descendants, at "Westbromwich; and he executed the work with such propriety, 
that the abridgment is better adapted to answer the worthy author’s end, as a useful family book, than 
the original, and well deserves to be republished. This treatise is particularly calculated to lead those 
who approve infant baptism, both parents and children, to m:ike the best practical use of the ordinance. 

Visiting the sick Mr. Henry considered as :m important part of ministerial duty, and he was diligent 
in the discharge of it. He never refused to attend the rich or the poor, when sent for, whether they 
were such as he knew, or strangers, whether resident in the town, or travellers, among whom were 
many passengers to or from Ireland; or whether they were persons of his own communion, or of the 
established church, among the latter of whom many desired his attendance in their illness. He often 
inquired of his friends whether they knew of any who were sick; and when bills were put up, desiring 
the prayers of the congregation, he requested that those who sent them would make themselves known, 
in order that he might properly attend to their cases. His prayers and conversation with sick persons 
were pertinent, affectionate, and useful. And if they recovered, he assisted them in their expressions 
of gratitude, reminded them of their .sickbed thoughts and promises, faithfully exhorting them to 
improve their renewed lives to the best pui-poses. 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


Ti 


Mr. Heniy was considered by his people as a wise and faithful counsellor; they therefore often sf;nt 
tor him, to consult with him on affairs of importance relating to themselves or their families, on which 
occasions he was always ready to interest himself in their concerns, and to give them his best advice, 
which he followed with his prayers for their direction and success. But it was not merely on special 
occasions that he visited his flock; he maintained habitual intercourse with them, and promoted christnm 
conference among them. So)iie of the more considerable and intelligent of his congregation had mect- 
m“-s at their own houses, to partake of a friendly entertainment, and enjoy rational and useful con\ ersa- 
ti(m. On these occasions, Mr. Henry was usually of the party, and he was one of the best companions 
in the world. His extensive knowledge, his good sense and ready wit, his cheerfulness of temper, his 
readiness to communicate what was entertaining and useful, together with his unaffected piety and humi- 
lity, rendered his conversation highly agreeable; and these interviews contributed greatly to promote 
knowledge, Christian friendship, and real religion; for they were always cl scd with prayer, and he had 
no relish for any visits without it. 

But besides these friendly meetings, he had others more stated, especially appointed for Christian con- 
ference and prayer, particularly with young persons of his congregation, in which he always presided. 
The subjects of "these conferences “ were not unprofitable questions, or matters of doubtful disputation, 
but points of faith and cases of conscience; and care was taken to prevent all vain jangling, and what- 
ever might tend to puff up the minds of young people, or make them despise [or envy] one another;” 
Avhich, as Mr. Tong observes, “ every one who has made the trial, has found to require much wisdom.” 
That wisdom Mr. Henry (as appears from his chary) was very desirous to obtain; and as his heart was 
much set upon this business, so he was very prudent and successful in it. 

He was also a great example of ministerial wisdom and fidelity in general. He carefully -watched 
over his flock, and attended with diligence to the respective cases of individuals in it. • When he heard 
an ill report of any, he would go to them, or send for them, and inquire impartially into the truth cl 
the case. If he found the persons guilty, he would deal plainly and faithfully with them in his admoni- 
tions, and urge a speedy repentance, in which he was in most instances hc^pily successful; and there 
were, comparatively, few whom he was obliged to cast out of his church. Wnen any such case occun-ed, 
his diary shows how much his soul was grieved, and what a discouragement it was to him in his minis- 
terial labours. But his sorrow for such awful instances of apostacy was abundantly overbalanced 
by the joy he felt on the success of the ministry with the far greater part of his people, whom he saw 
growing up in wisdom and holiness, adorning the doctrine of God their Saviour, and strengthening the 
hands of their pastor. 

One uncommon instance of his zeal, and his love to souls, was, the pains he took in visiting the pri- 
soners and malefactors in the jail of Chester castle; which, it is said, he was first led to do on the request 
of the jailer’s wife, who was a pious woman, and was much concerned at the remissness of these whose 
province it was to attend these unhappy objects, to whom she showed so much tenderness in other 
instances, that they yielded to her proposal to send for Mr. Henry to instinict and pray with them. This 
he did with constancy, and the most tender compassion, for the space cf twenty years. And sometimes 
he preached to them, especially to the condemned malefactors, not without some good appearance of 
success. The subjects on which he discoursed were admirably appropriate to their condition. At one 
time three women were under sentence of condemnation for the murder cf their bastard children, when 
he preached on James i. 5. Then ’ivhen lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is 
finished, bringeth forth death. The persons who attended on this occasion (as many were wont to do) 
were dissolved in tears, and the poor wretches themselves trembled exceedingly. He repeated his visits 
to them till the day of their execution, and they thsmked him for his compassion to their souls; as also 
many other prisoners did, who were acquitted or pardoned. The last time he performed this humane 
office, was in the year 1710, when he was sent for by one who was condemned to death, and by the desire 
of the other prisoners. He had consented to go in the morning, but the curate of St. Maiy’s, in order 
to prevent it, sent word that he would go and preach himself, which he accordingly did. However, Mr. 
Henry went in the evening, and preached respecting the thief upon the cross. Upon which the governo)- 
of the castle was pi’evailed with to interpose, and prevent any more preaching there, except by the pro- 
per chaplain; and thus Mr. Henry was discharged from the arduous service which he had so long per- 
formed, without any other recompense than the pleasure of doing good to the souls of these wretched 
creatures, who greatly lamented their loss — a loss which was never made up, for no man in like manner 
ever cared for their souls. 

Another useful service in which Mr. Hemy zealously engaged in Chester, (beside many occasional 
discourses on fast davs, and others relative to public affairs, in which he took great interest,) was, his 
concurrence with the clergy in forming a society for the reformation of manners, similar to that in I.,rii- 
don. This good work was promoted by the bishop and the dean, who had the interest of religion much 
at heart. A monthly lecture on a Friday was set up at St. Peter’s church, which Mr. Henry constantly 
attended. The good bishop preached the first sermon, which afforded him great satisfaction. Dr. Fogg, 
the dean, preached next, on which Mr. Henry writes, It was an excellent discourse, much to the 
purpose. I bless God for this sermon; and as I have from my heart forgiven, so will I endeavour to fn - 
get, all that the dean has at any time said against dissenters, and me in particular. Such preaching 
against sin, and such endeavours to suppi-ess it, will contribute, as much as any thing, to heal differences 
among those that fear God.” Mr. Henry, the same year, began a course of reformation sermons on his 
lecture-day; and the dissenting ministers in Chester settled a reformation lecture in several parts of the 
country, the first of which was at Macclesfield, when Mr. Henry preached on the sanctification of the 
sabbath. Though the monthly sermons were carried on for some time at St. Peter’s in Chester, the 
good work had many enemies, some of -whom began openly to deride it, and form parties against it. Mr. 
Henry Newcomb, of Manchester, (though a son of the eminent nonconformist,) in a sermon which he 
preached at that church, broke out into severe invectives against the dissenters; suggesting, that because 
they did not conform to the church, they hardened the profane, and disabled themselves to reform them. 
On which Mr. Henry writes, “The Lord be Judge between us: perhaps it will be found that the body 
of dissenters have been the strongest bulwark against profaneness in England. ” The bishop and dean 
much lamented such obstiaictions to the work of reformation, but met with such discouragements from 
the misconduct of those who should have been most active in promoting the design, that at length it was 


12 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 

resolved to adjourn this lecture sine die. This was matter of much grief to Mr. Henry , but it did not 
discourage him from proceeding in his own lecture, or uniting with his brethren in adjacent parts, in 
prosecuting this great object, though they laboured under great discouragement, for want of power to 
enforce the laws against profaneness. 

But Mr. Henry’s sphere of activity and attempts for usefulness were yet more extensive. Though his 
own flock was never neglected, he had a care for all the churches within his line, and readily lent his 
assistance to his brethren in all the adjacent. parts; sometimes taking a compass of thirty miles, preach- 
ing every day in the week, but always returning home at the end of it. The towns and villages which 
lav near Chtster enjoyed a large share of his labours, in several of which he had a monthly lecture. 
Beside attending stated meetings of ministers twice a year, he was frequently called upon to attend ordi- 
nations, to preach funeral sermons for his deceased brethren and other respectable persons at a distance: 
and he never refused complying with invitations to preach on any occasicn, when he was able to do it; 
the great strength of his constitution, and the vigour of his mind, rendering these uncommon exertions 
easy and pleasant to him. 

He was used to take a yearly journey to Nantwich, Newcastle, 8cc. preaching wherever he came; and 
another into Lancashire, to preach at’ Manchester, Chowbent, Warrington, &c. where he was highly 
valued; but he performed all within the week, choosing to be at any labour or expense rather than not 
to be with his own people on the Lord’s day, from whom he wa^ not absent on that day for ten years 
together; and never on the first sabbath in the month, but once, for twenty four years, and that was 
when he was in London, after a long absence from it: for though he had many connexions in the metro- 
polis, he rarely visited it, as he had no apprehension that his services were there needed so much as in 
the country, where they had been eminently useful in the revival cf religion all around him, both among 
ministers and people, but particularly in his own congregation, where he had the pleasure of seeing the 
Redeemer’s interest greatly to flourish, and many families rising up to call him blessed. 

In the year 1700, Mr. Henry’s congregation built a new meeting-house for him, which was decent, 
large, and commodious. On the first opening of it, August 8, he preached an appropriate and excellent 
sermon on Joshua xxii. 22, 23. The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knows, and Israel he 
shall know, if it be in rebellion, or if it be in transgression against the Lord, that we have built an altar. 
This sermon, which is entitled, “ Separation without Rebellion,” was not published by the author, 
though fairly transcribed; most probably by reason of his great solicitude to avoid giving offence to any 
members of the established church. It was printed in the year 1725, with a preface written by Dr. 
Watts, who bestows a high encomium upon the author, but hints at “some expressions in the ser- 
mon which may not gain the entire assent of some of his present readers;” referring, doubtless, to what 
relates to national establishments of religion, to which the w'orthy author was net averse. It is rather 
extraordinary that this discourse was not included in the folio edition of Mr. Henry’s separate publica- 
tions, which 'was printed in the year 1726, in the preface to which it is said, “that this volume 
contains them all.” In the year 1781, the writer of this naiTative published “ Select Sermons of Mr. 
Henry,” in a large octavo volume, in which this valuable discourse was inserted. 

After the building of this new meeting house, the congregation much increased, especially by the ac- 
cession of the greatest part of the people that had attended Mr. Harvky, who, in the year .1706, desisted 
from preaching in Chester, on account of the declining state of his health, and some difficulties about 
his place of woi-ship; so that Mr. Henry’s was now too strait for his hearers, and required a new gallery 
to be built. It was rather a singular circumstance, that Mr. Harvey’s congregation (according to the 
tradition still current at Chester) occupied this new gallery, and there continued by themselves. But it 
is presumed that those of them who had been church members, united with Mr. Henry’s church in the 
ordinance of the Lord’s supper; for it appears that his church had considerably increased, so that he had 
at this time above three hundred and fifty communicants: and he had much comfort in them, as there 
was great unanimitv among them, for which he expressed, great thankfulness to God. 

This being the case, it may appear matter of suriirise and lamentation that he should ever have quitted 
Chester, and accepted an invitation to a congregation in the vicinitv of London. Of this great change, 
the cause and tlie consequences of it, an account shall now be given. He had received repeated invitations 
from congregations in or near London, before that which separated him fi'cm his friends at Chester, upon 
which he put an absolute negative without hesitation. The first of these Avas soon after his visit to Lon- 
don, in the year 1698. In consequence of his preaching at several principal meetings in the city, for in- 
stance, Mr. Doolittle’s and Mr. Howe’s, he became better known than he had been before, and acquired 
a considerable degree of fame and reputation as a preacher. It was at this time that he preached the 
i-xcellent discourse, which was published, on “ Christianity not a Sect, yet every where spoken against.” 

The following vear a vacancy took place in the congregation at Hacknky, (where a great number of 
wealthv dissenters resided.) b\rthe deo+h of Or. Mrii.ii.*.!'! P.'.tes, a man cf distir.guishcd piety, learn- 
ing, and abilities, who had reftised a bishopric, and would have honoured the first episcopal see in the 
kingdom. The first person thought of to succeed him was Mr. Matthew Henry; and it was unanimously 
agreed to send him an invitation to become their pastor, though they had no ground to sxippose that he 
was at all dissatisfied with his present situation; and they desired Mr. ShoAver, an eminent minister at the 
Old Jewry, to give him a letter, in order to apprize him of their intention. Mr. ShoAver accordingly wrote; 
but Mr. Henry, bv the next post, sent a strong negatiA-e to the application, assigning, as a principal reason. 
Ins affection for the people at Chester, and theirs for him; and he desired that he might have no further 
elicitation to leave them. The congregation at Hackney, however, not satisfied Avith this perem])tory 
uiswer, Avrote to him themselves, and sent him a most pressing invitation to accept their jAroposal. 
Mr. Heniy, after taking a feAv days to deliberate upon the matter, Avrote them a very respectml letter, 

; .1 Avhich he gave them a decisive negative, which put an end, for the present, to the negociation. 

But after this, (so lightly have dissenters been Avont to view the evil of being robbers of churches,") there 
was not a considerable vacancy in anv London congregation, but Mr. Henry Avas thought of to fill it. 
Upon the death of Mr. Nathaniel Taylor, minister of Salters-hall, the people there had their 
eye upon Mr. Heniy, but Avere discouraged from applying to him, at first, by the negative which he put 
upon the invitation from Hackney. However, after being disappointed in their expectations from Mr. 
Chorley ( f Norwich, and being much divided about an application to another minister, they unanimously 
agreed to make a vigorous effort to obtain Mr. Henry. Accordingly, letters Avere Avritten to him by 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


13 


Mr. Howe, Mr. (afterward Dr.) Williams, and Dr. Hamilton, urging this among other arguments, 
that by coming to this place he would unite both sides, between whom there had been some contests. 
These letters occasioned him some serious and uneasy thoughts, as appears frc m his diary, in which he 
expresses himself willing to be determined by the will of God, if he did but know it, whatever it might 
be. He afterward takes notice that a dozen of his congregation had been with him to desire that he 
wdlild not leave them, to whom he answered, that he had once and again given a denial to this invitation, 
and that it was his present pui-pose not to leave them, though he could not tell what might happen here- 
after. 

In the review of this year, he takes particular notice of his in^•itation to Salters-hall, as what surprised 
him; and he adds as follows: “I begged of God to keep me from being lifted up with pride by it. I 
sought of God the right way. Had I consulted my own fency, which always had a kindness for Louden 
ever since I knew it, or the worldly advantage of my family, I had closed with it. And I was sometimes 
tempted to think it might open me a door of greater usefulness. I had also reason to think Mr. John 
Evans [then at Wrexham, afterward Dr. Evans o’f London, author of the ‘ Christian Temper’] might 
have beejj had here, and might have been more acceptable to some, and more useful than I. But I had 
not courage to break through the opposition of the affections of my friends here to me, and mine to them, 
nor to venture upon a new and unknown place and work, which I feared myself unfit for. I bless God, 
I am well satisfied in what I did in that matter. If it ever please God to call me from this place, I de- 
pend upon him to make my way clear. Lord, lead me in a plain path!” No candid person, after read- 
ing this, will be disposed to question Mr. Henry’s integrity in the future part of his conduct, in quitting 
Chester, especially considering other invitations from the great city. 

In the year 1704, Mr. Henry took another journey to London, accompanied by Mrs. Henry, to visit 
two of her sisters then in town, one of whom was dangerously ill. He takes notice of the pleasure he 
had in hearing Mr. Howe preach, on the morning of June 21. In the afternoon of the same day he preach- 
ed at Salters-hall, where Mr. Tong was then minister, who mentions his text, Prov. xvi. 16. After 
visiting many friends, and preaching many sermons, he returned home with great satisfaction, and 
thankhilly recorded some dangers which he had escaped in travelling, the roads being so bad, that in one 
place the coach was set fast; not apprehending or wishing for another call to the metropolis. 

He had hitherto enjoyed a great share of health, but this year he had a very dangerous illness. As lie 
was reading the scripture on Lord’s day morning, August 27, he suddenly fainted away, but soon rec( - 
vered so as to go on with his work. In the evening, however, feeling himself unwell, he writes, “A fever 
is coming upon me; let me be found ready whenever my Lord comes.” He had a very i-estless night; but, 
having an appointment at Nantwich the next day, he went and preached on Psalm cx. 3. “And then,” 
says he, “ I was well.” The day following, he went to Haslington Chapel, to preach the funeral ser- 
mon of Mr. Cope, an aged minister, who had spent some years there, and who had requested this of 
him. Mr. Egerton, the Rector, gave his consent. But this, Mr. Henry remarks, was likely to be the 
last sermon pi-eached there by adissenter; and it was like to have proved his last; for, on his return home, 
the fever came on with great violence, and confined him for more than three weeks. 

It was soon after his recovery from this severe illness, that he began his elaborate work on the Bible. 
A friend* has communicated the following passage, extracted fi-om his diary, which Mr. Tong had 
overlooked, but which will appear to most readers both curious and interesting. “Nov. 12, 1704. This 
night, after many thoughts oi heart, and many prayers concerning it, I began my Notes on the Old Tes- 
tament. ’Tis not likely I should live to finish it; or, if I should, that it should be of [much] public ser- 
vice, for I am not par negotiis. Yet, in the strength of God, and I hope with a single eye to his glory, I 
set about it, that I may be endeavouring something, and spend my time to some good purpose; and let 
the Lord make what hepleaseth of me. I go about it with fear and trembling, lest I exercise myself in 
things too high for me. The Lord help me to set about it with great humility. ” Many passages in his 
diary, written during the progress of this great work, would be pleasing afid edifying to the reader, but 
the proposed limits of these memoirs forbid the insertion of them. 

In the year 1709, Mr. Henry received a letter, dated Febiniaiy 18, informing him that the congregation in 
which Mr. Howe and Mr. Spademan had been joint pastors, in Silver-street, (both of them now deceas- 
ed,) had chosen him to succeed the latter, as co-pastor with Mr. Rosewell, and that some of them purposed 
to go down to Chester to treat with him on this business. He also received many letters from ministers and 
gentlemen, ]3ressing his acceptance of this call, with a view to his more extensive usefulness. Suffice it 
to say, he still remained immoveable, “ his affection for his people prevailing” (as he expressed it, in 
his letter to Mr. Rosewell,) “ above his judgment, interest, and inclination.” 

After this, we might naturally have expected to find that Mr. Henry would have ended his days at 
Chester, and that no society would have attempted to remove him. But the congregation at Hackney 
being again vacant, by the death of the worthy Mr. Billio, (who died of the smallpox, in the year 1710,) 
they determined upon renewing their application to Mr. Henry, which they did with increased importunitv ; 
and after a long negociation, ;md repeated denials, they at length prevailed. As the best justification of 
his conduct in yielding to their desires, and as a further illustration of his integrity and piety, as well as 
his regard to his* affectionate friends at Chester, the reader shall have the account of the transactic n in 
his own words, extracted from his diary. 

“About Midsummer, 1710, I had a letter from the congregation at Hackney, rignifying that they had 
unanimously chosen me to be their minister, and that I should find them as the importunate widow', that 
would have no nay. I several times denied them. At length thev wrote, that some of them would come 
down hither; to prevent which, (not being unwilling to take a London journey in the interval between 
my third and fourth volume,) I wrote them word I would come up to them, and did so. Then I laid my- 
self open to the temptation, by increasing my acquaintance in the city. They followed me, after I came do\vn 
again, with letters to me and the congregation. In October I wrote to them, that if they would stav fer 
me till next spring, (which I was in hopes they would not have done,) I would come up, and make a 
longer stay, for mutual trial. Thev wrote, they would wait till then. \nMay, 1711, I went to them, and 
staved till the end of July, and, before I parted with them, signified my acceptance of their invitation, 
;ind my purpose to come to them, God willing, the next spring. However, I [should have] denied them. 


* The Rev. Thomas Ste<]man, of St. Chads, Shrewsbury. 


14 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


but that Mr. Gunston, Mr. Smith, and some others, came to me from London, and begged me [not to 
refuse] for the sake of the public — which was the thing that turned the scales. By this determination I 
have brought upon myself more grief and care than I could have imagined, and have many a time wished 
it' undone; but, having opened my mouth, I could not go back. I did with the utmost impartiality (if 
I know any thing of rnyself) beg of God to incline my heart that way which would be most foi^is glory; 
and I trust I have a good conscience, willing to be found in the way of my duty. Wherein I have done 
amiss, the Lord forgive me for Jesus’ sake, and make this change concerning the congregation to work 
together for good to it!” 

Another paper, dated, Hackney, July 13, 1711, written after fen^ent prayer to God, contains the rea- 
sons which occurred to him why he should accept his invitation, which he wrote to be a satisfaction to 
Ivim afterward. The following is a brief epitome of them: “ 1. I am abundantly satisfied that it is lawful 
for ministers to remove, and in many cases expedient. 2. My invitation to Hackney is net only unani- 
mous, but pressing; and, upon many weeks’ trial, I do not perceive any thing discouraging, but every 
thing'that jiromises comfort and usefulness. 3. Thei’e seems an intimation of Providence in the many 
calls I have had that way before. 4. There is manifestly a wider door of opportunity to do good opened 
to me at London than at Chester, which is my main inducement. 5. In drawing up and publishing my 
Exposition, it will be a great convenience to be near the press — also to have books at hand to consult, and 
learned men to converse with, for my own improvement. 6. I have followed Providence in this affair, 
and referred myself to its disposal. 7. 1 have asked the advice of many ministers, and judicious Christians. 
8. I have some reason to hope that my poor endeavours may be more useful to those to whom they are 
new. 9. 1 have not been without my discouragements at Chester, which have tempted me to think my 
work there in a great measure done; many have left us, and few been [of late] added. 10. I am not able 
to ride long journies, as formerly, to preach, which last winter brought illness upon me, so that my ser- 
vices would be confined within the walls of Chester. 11. The congregation, though unwilling to part 
with me, have left the matter under their hands to my own conscience,” &c. 

It appears from Mr. Henry’s diary, that his journey to London at the time here referred to was very 
uncornfortable, by reason of the badness of the roads,’but especially by his great indisposition and pain, 
which much discouraged him. “I begged,” says he, “that these frequent returning illnesses might be 
sanctified to me. I see how easily God can break our measures, and disappoint us, and make that tedious 
which we hoped would be pleasant.” However, he amved safe. May 12; when he writes thus: “And 
now I look back upon the week with thankfulness for the mercies of God, and the rebukes I have been 
under; such as give me cause to be jealous of myself, whether I be in my way. Lord, show me where- 
fore thou cohtendest with me, and wherefore thou relievest me! — Lord’s day, 13. I had but a bad night, 
vet better in the moniing. Preached, 2 Pet. i. 4. Partake of a divine nature. Administered the 
Lord’s supper to the congregation at Hackney. Not a hundred communicants.* I was somewhat 
enlarged m preaching, but at the Lord’s supper very much straitened, and not as I used to be at 

Chester. 14. A very good night, and perfectly well, blessed be God. Mr. Tong and Mr. Evans came, 

and staid with me most of the day. 'We talked much to and fro of my coming hither, but brought it to 
no issue. The congregation seems very unanimous.” 

During this visit at Hackney, Mr. Henry preached frequently in the city, and several of his sermons at 
Salters-hall were published: viz. On Faith in Christ — On Forgiveness of Sin as a Debt — Hope and Fear 
balanced. Manv entertaining articles appear in his journal respecting the visits he made, and the occur- 
rences he met with, during his stay at Hackney, which must be passed over. On the whole, he seems to 
be better reconciled by it to the thoughts of rkuming. In one place he says, “ Blessed be God, I meet 
with a praying people, and that love prayer. ” His last entry is July 29. “Preached, 1 John ii. 25. This 
is the promise, i^c. Administered the Lord’s supper. "M^e had a “ very full congi-egation, which is some 
encouragement, at parting, to think of coming again.” This he did much sooner than he expected; for 
it appears from his MS. now.,before me, that, in the next January, he had a subpoena to be a witness in a 
cause to be tried in the Queen’s Bench, which greatly perplexed him. On this occasion he preached at 
Hackney, January 27, and again on the 30th, being the lecture-day ; when he writes, that he “ met some of 
the heads of the congregation, eamestly begging them, with tears, to release him from his promise,” who 
told him that “they could not in conscience do it, because they thought his coming was for the public 
good.” On Februar}' 4, he had a fit of the stone. On the 18th,’ he set off very willingly for Chester, and 
arrived in better health than when he set out. But he had frequent retums of that complaint soon 
afterward which however did not occasion him to spare his labours. 

The time now approached for him to fulfil his engagement with the people at Hackney, but the thought 
of leaving his friends at Chester proved a very severe trial to him, and pressed down his spirit beyond 
measure, as appears from many passages in his diary wi-itten about this time. On May 11, 1712, when 
he took his leave of his flock, he expounded the last chapter of Joshua nn the morning, and of Matthew 
in the afternoon, and preached on 1 Thess. iv. 17, 18. After this service he writes, “ A very sad day— I 
see I have been unkind to the congregation, who love me too well. — May 12. In much heaviness I set out 
in the coach for London, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. 15. Came to London — But 
Lord, am I in my way? I look back with sorrow for leaving Chester; I look forward with fear; but 
unto thee, O Lord ! do I look up. ” , ^ rr<, 

Mr. Henry commenced his pastoral work at Hackney on the Lord’s day. May 18. 1 he appearance 

of the meeting-house, which then stood on the o]i])osite side of the way to the present, where three houses 
now stand, was not veiy inviting, cither without or within. It was :m old irregular building, originally 
formed out of dwelling’-houses;"lnit it was large, and the congregation was in a flourishing state, both in 
point of numbers and of wealth ; ftr it is said, no less th'ui thii-ty gentlemen’s ca.rriages constantly attended 
the meeting, and that the annual collection for the Prcsl)yterian Fund for poor ministers was three 
hundred pounds. This being the case, it seems surpi'ising that in Mr. Henry’s time a better j)lace of 
worship should not h ive been erected. M’hat Ids salary was docs not appear, douljtlcss it was something 
considerable; but that was with him no object in his removal. His gnmd motive was usefulness to the 
church of God; and of this he had here a veiy encouraging prospect. 

♦ How murl) ihoy wore inrreasod afterward, does not appear; bnt it i'< probable that they were never ver>' numerous, ns many dissenters, 
tviio live in the villaees near London, keep up their conne.vion with the churches of which lliey had been members when lliey resided there. 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 


On his first appearance as the minister in this congregation, in the morning he expounded Genesis i. 
and in the afternoon Matthew i. thus beginning as it were, the world anew. He preached on Acts xvi. 9. 
Come over to Macedonia, and help. us. “ O that good,” says he, “ may be done to precious souls! But I 
am sad in spirit, lamenting my departure from my friends m Chester. And yet if they be well provided 
for, I shji^ be easy, whatever discouragements I may meet with here. ” 

Mr. Henry conducted his ministerial work at Hackney in much the same manner as he had done at 
Chester. He began the morning service on the Lord’s day, (as the writer has heard some of his hearers 
relate,) at nine o’clock. Though the people had not been accustomed to so early an hcur, they came 
into it without reluctance, and rnany of them were well pleased with it. The only difference in the order 
of service was, that he began with a short prayer, which it is supposed had been the custom, as it is to 
this day. In labours he was more abundant here even than he had been at Chester, excepting that he 
did not now take such frequent journeys, so that he soon made it appear that he did not remove with a 
view to his own ease and pleasure. Though his bodily stren^h was abated, and some disorders began to 
gi’ow upon him, his zeal and activity continued the same, in expounding, catechising, and preaching, 
both to his own congregation and in various other places. As he found here a larger &ld of service, his 
heart was equally enlarged- He sometimes preached the Lord’s day morning lecture at Little St 
Helen’s, at seven o’clock, and afterward went through the whole of his work at Hackney; and frequently, 
after both these services at home, he preached the evening lecture to the charity school at Mr. Lloyd’s 
meeting, in Shakspeare’s Walk, Wapping; and, at other times, he preached in the evening at Redriff; 
after which he performed the whole of his family worship as usual. Sometimes he was employed in 
preaching at one place or other every day in the week, and even twice or thrice on the same day. He 
showed himself ready to every good work, as if he had a secret impression that his time would be short; 
and the nearer he came to the end of his coui’se, the swifter was his progress in holiness and all useful 
services. Nor did he appear to labour in vain, for he had many pleasing proofs of success. He had 
great encouragement soon after his coming to Hackney, from the usefulness of some sermons which he 
preached, on Matth. xvi. 26 . What is a man profited, if c. ; many of his hearers were greatly affected, 
and some of them said they were resolved never to pursue the world so eagerly as they had before done. 
This was preaching to good purpose. 

So many were the calls which Mr. Henry had to preach in and about London, and so ready was he to 
comply with them, that he sometimes appears in his diary to think that he needed an apology, and to 
excuse it to himself, that he preached so often. After opening an evening lecture near Shadwell church, 
January 25 , 1712 , when his text was Psalm Ixxiii. 28 . he writes thus: “ 1 hope, through grace, I can say, 
the reason why I am so much in my work is, because the love of Christ constrains me, and I find, by 
experience, it is good for me to draw near to God. ” 

Beside catechising on Saturday at Hackney, which he began to do the second month after his coming 
thither, he had a catechetical lecture in London, which he undertook at the request of some serious Chris- 
tians in the city, but not without the approbation of several of his brethren. Such was his humility, and 
his respect for the ministers in London, that he declined giving an answer to the proposal till he had 
consulted them on the subject; when they all expressed their cordial approbation of the design, and several 
of them, of different denominations, sent their sons to attend his instinictions, and often attended them- 
selves. The place fixed upon for this service, was Mr. Wilcox’s meeting-house, in Monkwell-street, 
where his tutor, Mr. Doolittle, formerly preached, and had been used to catechise. The time was 
Tuesday evening, when considerable numbers, besides the catechumens, were used to attend; and there 
was great reason to believe that Mr. Henry’s labours on these occasions were verj’^ useful to numbers of 
both. It may not be amiss here to introduce an anecdote which he records of a robbery, after one of 
his evening lectures, for the sake of his pious reflections upon it. As he was coming home,* he was 
stopped by four men, within half a mile of Hackney, who took from him ten or eleven shillings; upon 
which he writes, “What reason have I to be thankful to God, that having travelled so much, I was 
never robbed before! What abundance of evil this love of money is the root of, that four men should 
venture their lives and souls for about half a crown apiece! See the vanity of worldly wealth, how 
soon we may be stript of it, how loose we ought to sit to it.” 

Mr. Henry’s tender concern for the best interests of young persons, made him verv desirous that they 
might enjoy all proper means for instruction in the knowledge of divine things. Math this view, he 
exerted himself to increase the number of charity schools, for the promoting of which he drew up the 
following paper: “ It is humbly proposed that some endeav'^^ours may be used to form and maintain charity 
schools among the dissenters, for the teaching of poor children to read and write, 8cc. to clothe them, and 
teach them the Assembly’s Catechism. It is thought advisable, and not impracticable. ” He then goes 
on to prove both, and produces a series of arguments at some considerable length, which it is unnecessary 
here to specify, and answers some objections which might be urged against his plan. 

While he was thus laying himself out for the good both of old and voung, in and about I.ondon, his mind 
was deeply affected with the state of his congregation at Chester, which was yet destitute of a settled 
minister; and the disappointment they had met with in their applications to several cost him many prayers 
and tears. When he took his leave of his old friends, he promised them that he would make them a visit 
every year, and spend some sabbaths with them. This his friends at Hackney not only consented to, but 
recommended. Accordingly, July 20 , 1713 , he set out on a journey to Chester in the coach, and in his diary 
he records the particulars of it, with many pious and benevolent remarks, and the sermons which he 
preached at the different places he visited. An extract may be acceptable, as it discovers his unabated 
zeal, and his unwearied diligence, in doing good wherever he went; in comparison with which, he says. 
The charge and the trouble of the journey shall be as nothing to me. “July 23 . Came to MOaitchurch: 
a wet day, but many friends met me there, to mv great reviving. In the afternoon, went to Broad-Oak, 
and preached from Rom. i. 11. T lon^ to see you, isfc. Next day went to Chester, where mv friends 
received me with much affection and respect. Lord’s day, preached from 1 Tim. vu. 12. Lay hold on 
eternal life. It was very pleasant for me to preach in the old place, where I have often met with God, 
and been owned by him. On Wednesday kept a congregational fast. The next Lord’s day preached 

• Mr. Tnna says, from catechising on Tuesday; but from his own MS. it appears tliat it was on a Lord’s day evening, after niching at 
Mr. Rusewell's. 


1C 


ME.MOIKS OK THE KE\ . MA'ITHEW HENKY. 


uul Mlminiitrrcd the Lord’s Mippcr to niy belo%'cd Aock: » great congre^Wn. Monday went to Middle* 
wich; prca(.'hcd fn>ni M^tth. xxiv. ^ InujuU^ahountU. The next £iy to KtMUfurd, to a i&ertiog o( 
iiiuiuttcrs: preached from Col. ii. 8. Though abtrnl in the Jlnh, yet firrtent m the efitm. Lord’s 
.luguti y, preached at Chester, Tit. iL 13. I/iokwr for the blrmed hofte. 1 took an aifrctknate (arestAk. 
of my friends; pravetl with many of them; the next d^y set out, with niuch ado, Uir Nantwich, j^ierc Mr. 
.Vlotiershcd ts wcfl settled: preai’hetl from Joa. L 3, 6. J v>u» vnth .i/oara, / vnJi be vuh^hee, iS^c, 
From them e, that night, went to Wrenlrur) -wood, and preached there from John L 48; from thence to 
DanI' >rd, and preached at \\'hitclmrch, lai 1 I’ct. v. 10; took lca\e of niy dear friends there, and went in 
the coach alone. C.ime to L'sidon the 13th, and found my tabcntaclc in peace.” 

'I'hc tollowing d.ty t>cing the sal>bath, he preached twice at Hackney, asuaual, and administered the 
l^aird's supper. But it apj>eared that his late great cxertkau in preaching and travelling were too much 
f'<r him; mc tlmt it was no wonder he shciuld, on the day following, have conipLained of great weariness, 
winch Was attended with drowsiness. Sir Kicliard Hlackmore, being sent for, perceived svmptoms of a 
diatx-les, w Inch obliged Iniii to c:infine himself to the house. 'I'he doctor abscdutely forbid his going out 
the next I,onl’»d;iy; upon which he writes — melancholy day: yet not without sonic communicai with 
Cicxl. I’erh tps I have been inordiiuitely desirous to be at my study and work again.” By tlie blessing 
of (iod, however, the uic.iiis presc rilK-d, his disorder was removed in a few clays after this, and the 
following s iblrath he went on in his ordinary work. ” Blessed be my Clod,” says he, " who carried me 
through it with c.ise and plea.sure. ” 

The next moiitli, .'■Je/ilrmber vO, he had a severe fit of the stone, and it happened to be cm the Lord’s 
city: hut it did not prevent Ins going through his public work. That cveming, and the day followinr, he 
voided several stones, and rather large caies. lie went, however, on the Tuesday, to catechise in Lem* 
don, and on W ednesday pleached his weekly lecture at H.icknev;cm 'I’hursday cveninj; a lecture in 
Spit.illiclds, and on Fric\ay joined in the service of a fa.st, at .Mr. Fleming’s .Meeting, at f oundcr’s-hall, 
where he iireachcd the sermon. This seemed to be trying his strength ocyond the rule of prudence or 
of duty. However on the S;itunlay he writes— “ 1 bless (jod, 1 have now mv health well again.” But 
the p.iinfiil dis-mler seveml times ix-tiimecL K irly on laird’s day morning, /December 13, he was seised 
with another fit, hut the pain wcnit (4f in about an hour, and, notwithstanding the fatigue it lusd occa- 
sioned, he ventured to London, to pre.ich the moming Icctui-e, Ix-f.'rc it w;is light, whem he tcxik that 
text, John xx. 1. The firtt day of the week early, vhile it vhu yet dark, Ue.; and, after this, he per- 
formed the whole service at Hacxney. Having related these circumst inccs, he s;iys — “ Blessed be LkxI 
for help from on high!” On the following Thursday he hadiui' thcr very violent fit of the stone, of which 
his own account is as follows— “'1 went to my study very early, but before seven o’clock 1 was seized 
with a fit of the stone, which held me :J1 day: pained iuid sick, I lay much cm tlie bed, but had comfort 
in lifting up my heart to GikI, lice:, .\bout five o’clock in the evening 1 had case, and about ten I voided 
a large stone. Though my (Icxl causcxl me gnef, yet he had compassi*m. December 18. Verv' well to 
clay, though ver)- ill yesterday. How is this life couiiterchaiigcd! .\nd yet 1 am Imt girding cm my har- 
ness; tlic Lord jirepcirc me for the next fit, and the Loi-d prepare me for the last!” 

That period was not now very distiuit, though none apprehended it to he so near as it proverd. Though 
his constitution was stnuig, his uncommon exertions must have tended to weaken it; and his close appli- 
cation in his study doubtfess cx;casioncd his nephritic c:oniplaint. It was also snkl, by tli<«c who luiew 
him at H.ickney, that after his settlement there, he yielded to ilic many invititkns he had to sup with 
his friends, wlicn he was under the temutation, though not to any uiitiecoming excess, yet to cal and 
drink wh.it was unrivourable to the he:dtn of so stuclicxis a man, and one who liacl Wen used to a more 
abstemious mode of life, and had grown coqiulent, us his portrait shows him to have been. It is not 
improliahlc tliat this circumstance tended to shorten his clays, 

.\t the beginning of this his last year (for so it proved to 6c) Mr. Henry ’s mind ;ipp<ars from his diary 
to h.ivc been fillecf with chirk apprehensions on account of public afTairs. The bill which had puoed for 
suppressing the schools of the clissentcrs he Icxikcd upon not only as a heavy grievance in it.self, but as a 
prelude to ftirther severities. On this occasion he preached on excellent discourse at Mr. Bush’s meet- 
ing, on 2 (!hron. xx. 12. .Veithrr know we what to do, but our eye* are ufi unto thee. 

Tlic following week he t(»k his journey to Chester, from w hence he never retumecL On May SO, 
he administered the L- rd’s supper, :is the herst w:iy of narting with his friends at Hackney. In the 
moming he expounded F.xcxlus xxxviii, in the aftenumn Luke vii, and preached cm Kcv. v. 9. For thou 
wait tlain, t^c. On the next day he took the coach for Chester. Mr. Tong, and seme other friemds going 
to Coventry, accompanied hini us fir as St. .\lbans, and there they p irted with him, never to see his 
face any more! Fmm a letter to Mrs. Henry, d ited June 7, it apjicared that he bore the journey well, 
and that his friends told him he I'xikccl Ix-tter th.in he did when they saw him the l;isl year. In the 
xamc letter he expressed much joy on account of his old congregation la*ing well settled with a minister, 
with whom he had c nimunicatcd at the Lord’s t:ib!c lhed,iy preceding, much to his sitisfartion. With 
pleasure he rem irk.s — “ They had a full comniuni' n: none of the congregation arc gone off: if none have 
left it while it w.is unsettled, 1 hope none will leave it now.” 

From a subsequent article in .Mr. Tong’s n irmtive, it npi>cars that Mr. flanliner wss not the sole 
minister of the congreg ition, but rii.it a Mr. VVithingti’ii was united with him. How long the church 
and congregiition continued in the nourishing stite in w hich Mr. Henry now lielield it, is uiiccrtmn; but 
it is well known that, whatever was the oiii-se, Mr. (lanlincr livcil to sec it greatly decline. This, how- 
ever, wa.s unjust reflection upon him: it h.is Ixen the common affliction of the best of ministers, especially 
when thev have been advanced in vean. Mr. Henry, however, was gene to a licttcr world lieforc the 
sad ch:injic tixik place, the knowledge of which would have occnakmed him inexpressible regret, on the 
recollection of his lieing at all accessjiry to it 

.\s he continued to interest himself in the welfare of that society to the ven last, so likew isc he did in 
whatever ccnccmcd the other congregations in that ncighlKnirhord, with which he had Ijcen so Jong con- 
nected; an 1 in this his last j nimey he visited several of them, to the great injury of his health: iiKlcvd he 
m iv be said to have 8;icrifice<l his life in their sen ice. On Tuesday. June 8, he went to Wrexham, 
and, having pn-ache.l there, returned to Chester that night; he says, “ not at all tired hut it seems he 
had some I'nprcheiision of a return of the dialK-tes, and drank sonic of il»c Bristol water, by way of pre 
vention. On the 14th, he went to visit his brt lher M'arburton, at Grange, and from thence to KnuU- 


17 


MEMOIRS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY. 

ford, whither Mr. Gardiner accompanied him, and where he met several of his brethren. From thence 
he rode, on the Tuesday evening, to Chowbent in Lancashire, and the next day returned to Chester. 
Though he did not perceive himself to be greatly fati^ed, some of his friends could not but fear that he 
must have injured his health by riding so many miles in so short a time, and by preaching at every place 
where he (pame, especially in so hot a summer. Indeed he himself, in a letter written at this time to 
Mrs. Henry, complains of the heat of the weather, wuich, he says, made him as faint and feeble as he 
was when he came up last from the country ; and, from a subsequent passage, it seems as if he found 
himself, after his late hasty tour, far from being well. “ If God bring me home in safety,” says he, “ I 
believe it will do well to use the means I did last year, unless the return of the cool weather should make 
it needless; for when I am in the air I am best.” He adds, “ Though I am here among my old friends, 
yet I find my new ones lie near my heart, among whom God has now cut out my work. ” 

In the last letter which Mrs. Henry received ft’om him, dated June 19, he informed her that he had 
taken the coach for Wednesday, the 23d, and that he was to get into it at Whitchurch, from whence he 
was pleased to think he should have the company of Mr. Yates of that place; and as the following Wed- 
nesday was the day for the quarterly fast at Hackney, he expressed his desire that due care might be 
taken to engage the assistance of some of his brethren. 

The next day after he wrote this letter was the s.abbath, which he spent at Chester; and it was the 
last he spent on earth: a remarkable circumstance, that Providence should so order it that his last labours 
should be bestowed where they were begun, and where the most of his days had been spent. It was 
also singular and pleasing that, on his two last sabbaths in the church below, he was directed to a subject 
so peculiarly adapted to the occasion, namely, that of the eternal sabbath in hea-\'en, on which he was 
so soon to enter; for on the preceding Lord’s day, he had preached twice on HeB. iv. 9. There remain- 
eth a rest for the fieofile of God; which he considered, agreeably to the original, under the idea of a 
sabbath, which he illustrated in a variety of particulars. On the Lord’s day following, he kept the same 
idea in view, while he treated on that solemn caution, for the improvement of the subject— Le/ us there- 
fore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of 
tt. The circumstances of Mr. Henry’s closing his ministry in this remarkable manner, induced Mr. 
Tong, in his Life, to give his readers the substances of both these discourses. 

The next day after delivering them he set off, in his journey homeward, without feeling any incon 
venience from the past day’s labours; indeed he thought he had found relief from his late indisposition, 
by his excursion to Knutsford and Lancashire; so that he was encouraged (not very prudently) to make 
an appointment for preaching at Nantwich that day, in his way to London. But all his friends observed 
that he appeared very heavy and dro%vsy; though, when asked how he did, he always answered, 
“Well.” An apothecary, however, Mr. Sudlow, a good friend of Mr. Henry, said, before he left 
Chester, they should never see him again. His friends therefore should have dissuaded him from this 
undertaking, especially on horseback. As he passed Dudden he drank a glass of the mineral water 
there. Before he came to Torporley, his horse stumbled in a hole, and threw him off. He was a little 
wet, but said he was not hurt, and felt no inconvenience from the fall. His companions pressed him to 
alight at Torporley, but he resolved to go on to Nantwich, and there he preached on Jer. xxxi. 18; 
but all his hearers noticed his want of his usual liveliness, and, after dinner, he Avas advised to lose a 
little blood. He consented to this, though he made no complaint of indisposition. After bleeding he fell 
asleep, and slept so long, that some of his friends thought it right to awaken him, at which he expressed 
himself rather displeased. 

His old intimate friend, Mr. Illidge, Avas present, who had been desired by Sir Thom.as Delves and 
his lady to invite him to their house, at Doddington, whither their steward Avas sent to conduct him. But 
he was not able to proceed any further, and went to bed at Mr. Mottershed’s house, where he felt him- 
self so ill that he said to his friends, “Pray for me, for noAV I cannot pray for myself.” While they 
were putting him to bed, he spoke of the excellence of spiritual comforts in a time of affliction, and 
blessed God that he enjoyed them. To his friend, Mr. Illidge, he addressed himself in these memora- 
ble words: “You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men — this is mine: That a life 
:spent in the service of God, and communion with him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that one 
can live in the present Avorld.” He had a restless night, and about fiA’e o’clock on Tuesday morning he 
was seized Avith a fit, which his medical attendants agreed to be an apoplexy. He lay speechless, with 
nis eyes fixed, till about eight o’clock, June 22, and then expired. 

A near relation of his wrote on this occasion, “ I belieAm it Avas most agreeable to him to haA^e so short 
a passage from his Avork to his reward. And why should we envy him.’ It is glorious to die in the service 
of so great and good a Master, who, we are sure, will not let any of his servants lose by him.” Yet it 
cannot but be regretted, that any of them should, by an inordinate zeal, shorten their days, and, by this 
means, prevent their more lasting usefulness. 

On i'hursday, before the coipse Avas removed from Nantwich, Mr. Reynolds, of Salop, preached an 
excellent sermon on the sad occasion, which Avas printed. Six ministers accompanied it to Chester, who 
Avere met bv eight of the clergy, ten coaches, and a great many persons on horseback. Many dissenting 
ministers folloAved the mourners, and a uniA-ersal respect was paid to the deceased by persons of distinc- 
tion of all denominations. He was buried in T rinity church, in Chester, where several dear relatives 
had been laid before him. Mr. Withington delivered a suitable discourse, for the improvement of the 
providence, at the Thursday lecture, and another on the Lord’s day morning after the funeral, as Mr. 
Gardiner also did in the afternoon, on 2 Kings ii. 12. Mv father, my father, b’c. Mr. Acton, the Bap- 
tist minister, took a respectful notice of the loss Avhich the church had sustained by this event. When 
the neAvs of his death reached London, it occasioned universal lamentation: there was scarcely a pulpit 
among the dissenters in which notice was not taken of the breach made in the church of God; almost 
every serm'^n was a funeral sermon for Mr. Henry; and many, who were no friends to the noncon 
rrmists, acknoAvledged that they had lost one Avho was a great support and honour to their interest. 
The sermon preached to his congregation at Hackney, July 11, 1714, was by his intimate friend, 
Mr. ^Villiam Tong", on John xiii. 36. Whither I go thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt 
fdlow me afterward. This discourse was published, and afterward subjoined to the folio edition of 
Mr. Henry’s Works. 

VoL. I. C 


IT"."" 

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THE 


PREFACE. 


rjlHOUGH it is most my concern, that I be able to give a good account to God and my own con- 
science, yet, perhaps, it will be expected, that I give the world also some account of this bold 
undertaking; which I shall endeavour to do with all plainness, and as one who believes, that if men 
must be reckoned with in the great day, for every vain and idle word they speak, mucl>' more for every 
vain and idle line they write. 

And it may be of use, in the first place, to lay down those great and sacred principles which I go upon, 
and am governed by, in this endeavour to explain and improve these portions of holy writ; which en- 
deavour 1 humbly offer to the service of those (and to those only I expect it will be acceptable) who 
agree with me in these six principles. 

I. That religion is the one thing needful; that to know, and love, and fear God our Maker, and in all 
the instances both of devout affection, and of a good conversation, to keep, his commandments,, (Eccles. 
12. 13. ) is, without doubt, the whole of man; it is all in all to him. This the wisest of men, after a close 
and copious argument in his Ecclesiastes, lays down as the conclusion of his whole matter (the Quod erat 
demonstrandum of his whole discourse); and therefore I may be allowed to lay it down as a postulatum, 
and the foundation of this whole matter. 

It is necessary to mankind in general, that there should be religion in the world, absolutely necessary 
for the preservation of the honour of the human nature, and no less so for the preservation of the order 
of human societies. It is necessary to each of us in particular, that we be religious; we cannot other- 
wise answer the end of our creation, obtain the favour of our Creator, make ourselves easy now, or 
happy for ever. A man that is endued with the powers of reason, by which he is capable of knowing, 
serving, glorifying, and enjoying his Maker, and yet lives without God in the world, is certainly the 
most despicable and the most miserable animal under the sun. 

II. That divine revelation is necessary to true religion, to the being and support of it. That faith 
without which it is impossible to please God, cannot come to any perfection by seeing the works of God, 
but it must come by hearing the word of God, Rom. 10. 17. The rational soul, since it received that 
fatal shock by the Fall, cannot have or maintain that just regard to the great Author of its being^ 
that observance of him, and expectation from him, which are both its duty and felicity, without some 
supernatural discovery made by himself of himself, and of his mind and will. Natural light, no doubt, 
is of excellent use, as far as it goes; but it is necessary that there be a divine revelation, to rectify its 
mistakes, and make up its deficiencies, to help us out there where the light of nature leaves us quite 
at a loss, especially in the way and method of man’s recovery from his lapsed state, and his restoration 
to his Maker’s favour; which he cannot but be conscious to himself of the loss of, finding, by sad ex- 
perience, his own present state to be sinful and miserable. Our own reason shows us the wound, but 
nothing short of a divine revelation can discover to us a remedy to be confided in. 

The case and character of those nations of the earth which had no other guide in their devotions 
than that of natural light, with some remsuns of the divine institution of sacrifices received by tradition 


II 


THE AUTHOR’S PREFACE. 


from their fathers, plainly show how necessary divine revelation is to the subsistence of religion; for 
those that had not the word of God, soon lost God himself, became vain in their imaginations concerning 
him, and prodigiously vile and absurd in their worships and divinations. It is true, the Jews, who had 
the benefit of divine revelation, lapsed sometimes into idolatry, and admitted very gross corrup- 
tions; yet, with the help of the law and the prophets, they recovered and reformed: whereas the 
best and most admired philosophy of the Heathen could never do any thing toward the cure of the 
vulgar idolatry, or so much as offei’ed to remove any of those barbarous and ridiculous rites of their 
religion, which were the scandal and reproach of the human nature. Let men therefore pretend what 
they will, deists are, or will be, atheists; and those that, under colour of admiring the oracles of reason, 
set aside as useless the oracles of God, undermine the foundations of all religion, and do what they 
can to cut off all communication between man and his Maker, and to set that noble creature on a level 
with the beasts that perish. 

III. That divine revelation is not now to be found orexfiected any where but in the scriptures of the 
Old and JVew Testament; and there it is. It is true, there were religion and divine revelation before 
there was any written word; but to argue from thence, that the scriptures are not now necessary, is as 
absurd as it would be to argue that the world might do well enough without the sun, because in the 
Creation the Avorld had light three days before the sun was made. 

Divine revelations, when first given, were confirmed by visions, miracles, and prophecy; but they 
were to be transmitted to distant regions and future ages, with their proofs and evidences, by writing, 
the surest way of conveyance, by which the knowledge of other memorable things is preserved 
and propagated. We have reason to think that even the Ten Commandments, though spoken 
with such solemnity at Mount Sinai, would have been, long before this, lost and forgotten, if they had 
been handed d nvn by tradition only, and never had been put in writing: it is that which is written, that 
remains. 

The scri )tu’‘e indeed is ii' t compiled as a methodical system f r b( dy of divinity, secundum artem — 
according to the rules of art, hut in several ways of writing, (histories, laws, prophecies, songs, epistles, 
and even proverbs,) at several times, and by several hands, as Infinite Wisdom saw fit. The end is 
effectually obtained; such things are plainly supposed and taken for granted, and such things are 
expressly revealed and made known, as, being all put together, sufficiently inform us of all the truths 
and laws of the holy religi)n we are to believe, and be governed by. 

That all scrip' ure is given by inspiration of God, (2 Tim. 3. 16.) and that holy men spake and 
wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, (2 Pet. 1. 21.) we are sure; but who dare pretend to 
describe that inspiration? None knows the way of the Spirit, nor how the thoughts were formed in the 
heart of him that was inspired, any more than we know the way of the soul into the body, or how the 
bones are formed in the womb of her that is with child, Eccles. 11. 5. But we may be sure that the 
blessed Spirit did not only habitually prepare and qualify the penmen of scripture for that service, and 
put it into their hearts to write, but did likewise assist their understandings and memories in recording 
those things which they themselves had the knowledge of, and effectually secure them from error and 
mistake; and what they could not know but by revelation, (as for instance, Gen. 1. and John 1.) the 
same blessed Spirit gave them clear and satisfactory information of. And, no doubt, as far as was 
necessary to the end designed, they were directed by the Spirit, even in the language and expression; 
for there were words which the Holy Ghost taught; (1 Cor. 2. 13.) and God saith to the prophet, Tho7i 
shalt speak with my words, Ezek. 3. 4. However, it is not material to us, who drew up the statute, nor 
what liberty he took in using his own words: when it is ratified, it is become the legislator’s act, and 
binds the subject to observe the true intent and meaning of it. 

The scripture proves its divine authority and original both to the wise and to the unwise; even to the 
unwise and least-thinking part of mankind, it is abundantly proved by the many incontestable miracles 
wrought by Moses and the prophets, Christ and his apostles, for the confirmation of its truths and 
laws: it would be an intolerable reproach to eternal Truth, to suppose this divine seal affixed to a lie. 
Beside this, to the more wise and thinking, to the more considerate and contemplative, it recommends 
itself by those innate excellencies which are self-ev ident characteristics of its divine original. If we 
look wistly, we shall soon be aware of God’s image and sfiperscription upon it. A mind rightly disjiosed 
by a humble sincere subjection to its Maker, will easily discover the image of God’s w’sdom in the 
iwful depth of its mysteries; the image of his sovereignty in the commanding majesty of its style; the 


THE AUTHOR’S PREFACE. 


HI 


image of his unity in the wonderful harmony and symmetry of all its parts; the image of his 
holiness in the unspotted purity of its precepts; and the image of his goodness in the manifest ten- 
dency of the whole to the welfare and happiness of mankind in both worlds; in short, it is a work that 
fathers itself. 

And as atheists, so deists, notwithstanding their vain-glorious pretensions to reason, as if wisdom 
must die with them, run themselves upon the grossest and most dishonourable absurdities imaginable; 
for if the scriptures be not the word of God, then there is no divine revelation now in the world, no 
discovery at all of God’s mind concerning our duty and happiness: so that let a man be ever so desirous 
and solicitous to do his Maker’s will, he must, without remedy, perish in the ignorance of it, since there 
is no book but this, that will undertake to tell him what it is; a consequence which can by no means be 
reconciled to the idea we have of the Divine goodness. And (which is no less an absurdity) if the 
scriptures be not really a divine revelation, they are certainly as great a cheat as ever was put upon the 
world: but we have no reason to think them so; for bad men would never write so good a book, nor 
would Satan have so little subtlety as to help to cast out Satan; and good men would never do so wicked 
a thing as to counterfeit the broad seal of Heaven, and to affix it to a patent of their own framing, though 
«n itself ever so just. No, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. 

IV. That the scrifitures of the Old and J\few Testament were fiurfiosely designed for our learning. 
They might have been a divine revelation to those into whose hands they were first put, and yet we, 
at this distance, have been no way concerned in them; but it is certain that they were intended to be 
of universal and perpetual use and.obligation to all persons, in all places, and all ages, that have the 
knowledge of them, even unto us ufion whom the ends of the world are come, Rom. 15. 4. Though we 
are not under the law as a covenant of innocency, for then, being guilty, we should unavoidably perish 
under its curse; yet it is not therefore an antiquated statute, but a standing declaration of the will of God 
concerning good and evil, sin and duty, and its obligation to obedience is in as full force and virtue as 
ever: and unto us is the gosfiel of the ceremonial law preached, as well as unto them to whom it was 
first delivered, and much more plainly, Heb. 4. 2. The histories of the Old Testament were writter 
for our admonition and direction, (1 Cor. 10. 11.) and not barely for the information and entertainment 
of the curious. The prophets, though long since dead, prophesy again by their writings, before peoples 
and nations; (Heb. 12. 5.) and Solomon’s exhortation speaketh unto us as unto sons. 

The subject of the holy scripture is universal and perpetual, and therefore of common concern. It is 
intended, 1. To rerive the universal and perpetual law of nature, the very remains of which (or ruins 
rather) in natural conscience, give us hints that we must look somewhere else for a fairer copy. 2. To 
reveal the universal and perpetual law of grace, which God’s common beneficence to the children 
of men, such as puts them into a better state than that of devils, gives us some ground to expect. The 
divine authority likewise, which in this book commands our belief and obedience, is universal and per- 
petual, and knows no limits, either of time or place; it follows, therefore, that every nation and every 
age, to which these sacred writings are transmitted, are bound to receive them with the same veneration 
and pious regard that they commanded at their first entrance. 

Though God hath, in these last days, spoken to tts by his Son, yet we are not therefore to think that 
what he spake at sundry times and in divers manners to the fathers, (Heb. 1. 1.) is of no use to us, or 
that the Old Testament is an almanack out of date; no, we are built upon the foundation of the pro- 
phets, as well as of the apostles, Christ himself being the Corner-stone, (Eph. 2. 20. ) in whom both these 
sides of this blessed building meet and are united: they were those ancient records of the Jewish 
church, which Christ and his apostles so oft referred to, so oft appealed to, and commanded us to search 
and to take heed to. The preachers of the gospel, like Jehoshaphat’s judges, wherever they went, had 
this book of the law with them, and found it a great advantage to them to speak to them that knew 
the law, Rom. 7. 1. That celebrated translation of the Old Testament in the Greek tongue by the 
Seventy, between two and three hundred years before the birth of Christ, was to the nations a happy 
preparative for the entertainment of the gospel, by spreading the knowledge of the law: for as the New 
Testament expounds and completes the Old, and thereby makes it more serriceable to us now than it 
was to the Jewish church; so the Old Testament confirms and illustrates the New, and shows us Jesus 
Christ, the same yesterday that he is to-day, and will be for ever. 

W That the holy scriptures were not only designed for our learning, but are the settled standing rule 
.f our faith and practice, by which we must be governed now and judged shortly: it is not only a book 


IV 


THE AUTHOR’S PREFACE. 


of general use, (so the writings of good and wise men may be,) but it is of sovereign and commanding 
authority; the statute-book of God’s kingdom, which our oath of allegiance to him, as our supreme 
Lord, binds us to the observance of. Whether nve ’will hear, or "whether nve ’will forbear, Ave must be 
told, that this is the oracle we are to consult, and to be determined by; the touchstone we are to 
appeal to, and try doctrines by; the rule we are to have an eye to, by which we must in every thing 
order our affections and conversations, and from which we must always take our measures. This is the 
testimony, this is the Iww which is bound up and sealed among the disciples, that word, according to 
which if we do not sfieak, it is because there is no light in us, Isa. 8. 16, 20. 

The making of the light •within, our rule, which by nature is darkness, and by grace is but a copy of, 
and confonnable to, the written word, is setting the judge above the law; and making the traditions 
of the church rivals with the scripture, is no better: it is making the clock, which every one concerned 
puts backward or forward at pleasure, to correct the sun, that faithful measurer of time and days. 
These are absurdities, which, being once granted, thousands follow, as we see by sad experience. 

VI. That therefore it is the duty of all Christians diligently to search the scrifitures, and it is the office 
of ministers to guide and assist them therein. How useful soever this book of books is in itself, it will be 
of no use to us, if we do not acquaint ourselves with it, by reading it daily, and meditating up)on it, that 
we may understand the mind of God in it, and may apply what we understand to ourselves for our 
direction, rebuke, and comfort, as there is occasion. It is the character of the holy and happy man, that 
his delight is in the la’w of the Lord; and, as an evidence thereof, he converses with it as his constant 
companion, and advises with it as his most wise and trasty counsellor, for in that la’w doth he meditate 
day and night, Ps. 1. 2. 

It concerns us to be ready in the scriptures, and to make ourselves so by constant reading and careful 
observation, and especially by earnest prayer to God, for the promised gift of the Holy Ghost, whose 
office it is to bring things to our remembrance which Christ hath said to us; (John 14. 26.) that thus we 
Hiay have some good word or other at hand for our use in our addresses to God, and in our converse with 
men; in our resistance of Satan, and in communing with our own hearts; and maybe able, Avith the good 
Householder, to bring out of this treasury things ne’w and old, for the entertainment and edification both 
of ourselves and others. If any thing will make a man of God perfect in this world, will complete both 
.1 Christian and a minister, and thoroughly furnish him for every good "work, it must be this. 2 Tim. 3. 17. 

It concerns us also to be mighty in the scriptures, as Apollos was, (Acts 18. 24.) that is, to be 
thoroughly acquainted with the true intent and meaning of them, that we may understand Avhat we read, 
and may not misinterpret or misapply it, but by the conduct of the blessed Spirit may be led into all 
truth, (John 16. 13.) and may hold it fast in faith and love, and put every part of scripture to that use 
for Avhich it was intended. The letter, either of law or gospel, profits little without the Spirit, 

The ministers of Christ are herein ministers to the Spirit for the good of the church; their business is 
to open and apply the scriptures; thence they may fetch their knowledge, thence thei;; doctrines, de- 
votions, directions, and admonitions, and thence their very language and expression. Expounding the 
scriptures Avas the most usual way of preaching in the first and purest ages of the church. What have 
the Levites to do but to teach Jacob the laAv; (Deut. 33. 10.) not only to read it, but to give the sense, and 
cause them to understand the reading? Neh. 8. 8. Ho’w shall they do this, except some man guide them? 
.\cts 8. 31. As ministers Avould hardly be believed without Bibles to back them, so Bibles would hardly 
be understood without ministers to explain them; but if, having both, we perish in ignorance and 
iinbelief, our blood will be upon our own head. 

Being fully persuaded therefore of these things, I conclude, that whatever help is offered to good 
Christians in searching the scriptures, is real service done to the glory of God, and to the interests of his 
Kingdom among men; and that is it which hath draAvn me into this undertaking, which I have gone 
about in weakness, and in fear, and much trembling, lest I should be found exercising myself in things 
'00 high for me, (1 Cor. 2. 3.) and so laudable an undertaking should suffer damage by an unskilful 
management. 

If any desire to know how so mean and obscure a persofi as I am, Avho in learning, judgment, felicity 
of expression, and all advantages for such a sendee, am less than the least of all my Master’s serA^ants, 
:ame to venture upon so great a work, I can give no other account of it than this: It has long been my 


THE AUTHOR’S PREFACE. 


V 


i;raclice, what little time I had to spare in my study, from my constant preparations for the pulpit, to 
spend it in drawing up expositions upon some parts of the New Testament, not so much for my own use, 
as purely for my own entertainment, because I knew not how to employ my thoughts and time more to 
my satisfaction. Trahit sua quemque volufitas — Every man that studies, hath some beloved study, 
which is his delight above any other; and this is mine. It is that learning which it was my happiness 
from a cliild to be trained up in, by my ever honoured father, whose memory must always be very dear 
and precious to me: he often reminded me that a good textuary is a good divine; and that I should read 
other books with this in my eye, that I might be the better able to understand and apply the scripture. 

While I was thus employing myself, came out Mr. Burkitt's Exposition, of the Gosfiels first, and 
afterward of the jicts and the Epistles, which met with very good acceptance among serious people, and 
no doubt, by £he blessing of God will continue to do great service to the church. Soon after he had 
finished that work, it pleased God to call him to his rest; upon which I was urged, by some of my 
friends, and was myself inclined, to attempt the like upon the Old Testament, in the strength of the 
grace of Christ. This upon the Pentateuch is humbly offered as a specimen: if it find favour, and 
be found any way useful, it is my present purpose, in dependence upon Divine aids, to go on, so long as 
God shall continue my life and health, and as my other work will permit. 

Many helps, I know, we have of this kind in our own language, which we have a great deal of reason 
to value, and to be very thankful to God for: but the scripture is a subject that can never be exhausted. 
Semper habet aliquid relegentibus — However frequently we read it, we shall always meet with something 
new. WTven David had amassed a vast treasure for the building of the temple, yet saith he to Solomon, 
Thou mayest add thereto, 1 Chron. 22. 14. Such a treasure is scripture-knowledge; it is still capable 
vf increase, till we all come to the perfect man. 

The scripture is a field or vineyard which finds work for variety of hands, and about which may be 
employed a great diversity of gifts and operations, but all from the same Spirit, (1 Cor. 12. 4, 6.) 
and for the glory of the same Lord. The learned in the languages and in ancient usages have been very 
serviceable to the church, (the blessed occupant of this field,) by their curious and elaborate searches 
into its various products, their anatomies of its plants, and the entertaining lectures they have read 
upon them. The philosophy of the critics hath been of much more advantage to religion, and lent 
more light to sacred truth, than the philosophy of the school-divines. The learned also in the arts 
of war have done great service in defending this garden of the Lord against the violent attacks of the 
powers of darkness, successfully pleading the cause of the sacred writings against the spiteful cavils 
of atheists, deists, and the profane scoffers of these later days. Such as these stand in the posts of ho- 
nour, and their praise is in all the churches; yet the labours of the vine-dressers and the husbandmen, 
(2 Kings 25. 12.) though they are the poor of the land who till this ground, and gather in the fruits of it, 
are no less necessary in their place, and beneficial to the household of God, that out of these pre- 
cious fruits every one may have his portion of meat in due season. These are the labours which, 
according to my ability, I have here set my hand unto. And as the plain and practical expositors would 
not, for a world, say of the learned critics. There is no need of them; so, it is hoped, those eyes and 
heads will not say to the hands and feet, There is no need of you; 1 Cor. 12. 21. 

The learned have of late received very great advantage in their searches into this part of holy writ, 
and the books that follow, (and still hope for more,) by the excellent and most valuable labours of that 
great and good man, bish op Patrick, whom, for vast reading, solid judgment, and a most happy appli- 
cation to these best of studies, even in his advanced years and honours, succeeding ages, no doubt, will 
’^nk among the first three of commentators, and bless God for him. 

Mr. Pool's English Annotations (which, having had so many impressions, we may suppose, got into 
most hands) are of admirable use, especially for the explaining of scripture-phrases, opening the sense, 
referring to parallel scriptures, and the clearing of difficulties that occur: I have therefore all along 
been brief upon that which is there most largely discussed, and have industriously declined, as much as 
I could, what is to be found there; for I would not actum agere — do what is done; nor (if I may be 
allowed to borrow the apostle’s words) boast of things made ready to our hand, 2 Cor. 10. 16. 

Those and other annotations which are referred to the particular words and clauses they are designed 
to explain, arc more easy to be consulted upon occasion; but the exposition which (like thisl is put into 
a continued discourse, digested under proper heads, is much more easy and ready to be read through for 
one’s own or ethers’ ioftruction. And, I think, the observing of the connexion of each chapter (if there 


THE AUTHOR’S PREFACE. 


oe occasion) with that which goes before, and the general scope of it, with the thread of the history oi 
discourse, and the collecting of the several parts of it, to be seen at one view, will contribute very' much 
to the understanding of it, and will give the mind abundant satisfaction in the general intention, though 
there may be here and there a difficult word or expression which the best critics cannot easily account for. 
This, therefore, I have here endeavoured. 

But we are concerned not only to understand what we read, but to improve it to some good purpose, 
and, in order thereunto, to be affected with it, and to receive the impressions of it. The word of God is 
designed to be not only a light to our eyes, the entertaining subject of our contemplation, but a light to 
our feet and a lamfi to our paths, (Ps. 119. 106.) to direct us in the way of our duty, and to prevent our 
turning aside into any by-way: we must therefore, in searching the scriptures, inquire, not only 
What is this? but. What is this to us? 'What use may we make of it? How may we accommodate it to 
some of the purposes of that divine and heavenly life which, by the grace of God, we are resolved to 
live? Inquiries of this kind I have here aimed to answer. 

When the stone is rolled from the well’s mouth by a critical explication of the text, still there are 
those who would both drink themselves, and water their flocks; but they complain that the nvell is deep, 
and they have nothing to draw; how then shall they come by this living water? Some such may, per- 
haps, find a bucket here, or water drawn to their hands; and pleased enough shall I be with this office 
of the Gibeonites, to draw water for the congregation of the Lord out of these wells of salvation. 

That which I aim at in the exposition, is, to give what I thought the genuine sense, and to make it as 
plain as I could to ordinary capacities, not troubling my reader with the different sentiments of exposi- 
tors: which would have been to transcribe Mr. Pool's Latin Synopsis, where this is done abundantly to 
our satisfaction and advantage. 

As to the practical observations, I have not obliged myself to raise, doctrines out of every verse or 
paragraph, but only have endeavoured to mix with the exposition such hints or remarks as I thought im- 
provable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, aiming in all to 
promote practical godliness, and carefully avoiding matters of doubtful disputation and strifes of words. 
It is only the prevalency of the power of religion in the hearts and lives of Christians, that will redress 
our grievances, and turn our wilderness into a fruitful field. 

And since our Lord Jesus Christ is the true Treasure hid in the field of the Old Testament, and was the 
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, I have been careful to observe what Moses wrote of him, 
to which he himself oft appealed. In the writings of the prophets we meet with more of the plain and 
express promises of the Messiah, and the grace of the gospel; but here, in the books of Moses, we find 
more of the types, both real and personal, figures of Him that was to come; shadows, of which the 
substance is Christ, Rom. 5. 14. Those to whom to live is Christ, will find in these that which is very 
instructive and affecting, and will give great assistance to their faith, and love, and holy joy. This, in a 
particular manner, we search the scriptures for— to find what they testify of Christ and eternal life: 
John 5. 39. 

Nor is it any objection against the application of the ceremonial institutions of Christ and his grace, 
that they to whom they were given, could not discern this sense, or use of them ; but it is rather a reason 
why we should be very thankful that the vail which was upon their minds in the reading of the Old 
Testament, is done away in Christ, 2 Cor. 3. 13, 14, 18. Though they then could not steadfastly look 
to the end cf that which is abolished, it does not therefore follow but that tve v.'ho arc happily furnished 
with a key to these mysteries, may in them, as in a glass, behold the glory of the Lord Jesus. And 
yet, perhaps, the pious Jews saw more of the gospel in their ritual, than we think they did; they had 
at least a general expectation of good things to come, by faith in the promises made to the fathers, as we 
have of the happiness of heaven, though they could not of that world to come, any more than we can 
of this, form any distinct or certain idea. Our conceptions of the future state, perhaps, are as dark and 
confused, as short of the truth, and as wide from it, as theirs then were of the kingdom of the Messiah: 
but God requires faith, only according to the revelation he gives. They then were accountable for no 
more light than they had; and we now are accountable for that greater light which we have in the 
gospel, by the help ot which we may find much more of Christ in the Old Testament than they could. 

If any think our observations sometimes take rise from that which to them seems too minute, let them 
remember that maxim of the Rabbins, JVon est in lege vel una litera a qua non pendent magni montes — 
The law contains not a letter but what bears the-weight of mountains We are sure there is not an idle 
word in the Bible. 


THE AUTHOR’S PREFACE. 


vu 


I would desire the reader not only to reaa the text entire, before he reads the exposition, but, as the 
several verses are referred to in the exposition, to cast his eye upon them again, and then he will the 
better understand what he reads. And if he have leisxire, he will find it of use to him to turn to the 
scriptures, which are sometimes only referred to for brevity’s sake, comparing spiritual things with 
spiritual. 

It is the declared purpose of the Eternal mind, in all the operations both of providence and grace, to 
and to make it honourable; (Isa. 42. 21.) nay, to magnify his nvold above all his name; 
(Ps. 138. 2.) so that when we pray. Father, glorify thy name, we mean this, among other things. 
Father, magnify the holy scriptures; and to that prayer, made in faith, we may be sure of that answer 
which was given to our blessed Saviour when he prayed it, with particular respect to the fulfilling the 
scriptures in his own sufferings, I have both glorified it, and I •will glorify it yet again, John 12. 28. To 
this great design I humbly desire to be some way serviceable, in the strength of that grace by which I 
am what I am, hoping that what may help to make the reading of the scriptures more easy, pleasant, 
and profitable, will be graciously accepted by Him that smiled on the widow’s two mites cast into the 
treasury, as an intention to magnify it, and make it honourable; and if I, can but gain that point, in any 
measure, with some, I shall think my endeavours abundantly recompensed, however, by others, I and 
my performances may be vilified and made contemptible. 

I have now nothing more to add, than to recommend myself to the prayers of my friends, and them 
to the grace of the Lord Jesus; and so rest an unworthy dependent upon that grace, and, through that, 
an expectant of the glory to be revealed. 


M. H. 


Chester, October 2, 1706. 






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AN 

EXPOSITION, 


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PRACTICAL, OBSERVATIONS, 




ON THE 


PBNTATEUOH 


FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES, 

NAMELY, 


GENESIS, 

EXODUS, 

LEVITICUS, 


NUMBERS, 

AND 

DEUTERONOMY. 





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AN' 


EXPOSITION, 

WITH 


PRACTICAI. OBSERVATIONS, 


OF THE FIRST BOO\’ OF MOSES, CALLED 


GENESIS, 


I. We have now before us the Holy Bible, or Book, for so Bible signifies. We call it the Book, by way ol 

eminency; for it is incon^arably the best book that ever was written, the Book of books, shining like the 
sun, in the firmament of leaniing; other valuable and useful books, like the moon and stars, borrowing 
their light from it. We call it the Holy Book; because it was written by holy men, and indited bv the 
Holy Ghost; it is perfectly pure from all falsehood and cornipt intention;’and the manifest tendency of 
It is to promote holiness among men. The gi’eat things of God’s Law and Gospel are here written to 
us, that they might be reduced to a greater certainty, might spread further, remain longer, and be 
transmitted to distant places and ages, more pui’e and entire than possibly they could be by report and 
tradition: and we shall have a great deal to ansAver for, if these things w/nch belong to our peace, being 
thus committed to us in black and white, be neglected by us as a strange and foreign thing, Hos. viii. 12 
The Scriptures, or Writings of the several inspired penmen, from Moses down to St. John, in Avhicl 
divine light, like that of the moniing, shone gradually, (the sacred Canon being now completed,) art 
all put together in this blessed Bible, which, thanks be to God, we have in our hands, and they mase as 
perfect a day as we are to expect on this side heaven. Every part was^ootf, but altogether vc 7 ~y good 
This is the light that shmes in a dark place, 2 Peter i. 19, and a dark place indeed the world would be” 
without the Bible. ’ 

II. We have before us that paiT of the Bible which we call the Old Testament, containing the acts and 

monuments of the church, from the creation almost to the coming of Christ in the flesh, which was about 
four thousand years, the truths then revealed, the laws then enacted, the devotions then paid, the pro- 
phecies then given, and the events Avhich concerned that distinguished body, so far as God saw ht to 
preserve to us the knowledge cf them. This is called a Testament, or Covenant, because 

It was a settled declaration of the will of God concerning man in a Federal way, and had its force from 
tlie designed death of the great Testator, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Rev. xiii. 8. 
It is called the Old Testament, witli relation to tlie A^cw, Avhich does not cancel and supersede it, but 
croAvn and perfect it, by the bringing in of that better liope Avhich was typified and foretold in it: the Old 
Testament still remains glorious, though the A'‘ew far exceeds in glory, 2 Cor. iii. 9. 

HI. We have before us that part of the Old Testament, which we call the Pentateuch, or five Books of 
Moses, that servant of the Lord who excelled all the other prophets, and typified the Great Prophet. 
In our Saviour’s distnbution of the liooks of the Old Testament into the Loot, the Prophets, and the 
Psalms, or Hagiographa, these are the Law, for thev contain not onlv the laws given to Israel, in the 
four last, but the laws given to Adam, to Noah, and to Abraham, in the first. These five books were, 
for ought we know, the first that e\ er were written; for we have net the least mention of anv writing 
in all the book of Genesis, nor till Cxod bid Moses write, Exod. xvii. 14. ; and some think Moses himself 
never learned to Avrite, till God set him his copy in the Avriting of the Ten Commandments upon the 
tables of stone. HoAvever, Ave are sure these boots are the most ancient Avritings noAv extant, and there- 
fore best able to give us a satisfactoiy account of the most ancient things. 

I\. We have before us the first and longest of those five books, Avhich we call Genesis; written, some 
think, Avhen Moses was in Midian, for the instniction and comfort of his suffering brethren in EgAmt. 

I rather think he wrote it in the AvildeiTiess, after he had been in the Mount Avith God, where, probably, 
he received full and particular instructions for the writing of it. And as he framed the tabernacle, so he 
did the more excellent and durable fabric of this book, exactly according to the pattern shoAved him in 
the mount; into which it, is better to resolve the certainty of the things herein contained, than into any 
tradition Avhich possibly might be handed doAvn from Adam to Methuselah, from him to Shem, from him 
to Abraham, and so to the family of Jacob. Genesis is a name boiTOAved from the Greek. It signifies 
the original, or generation: fitly is this book so cidled, for it \s a. history of originals — the creation of the 
world, the entrance of sin and death into it, the invention of arts, ^le rise of nations, and especially the 
plantingof thechurch, and the state of it in its early days. Itis a\?,oahistory of generations — the genera- 
tions of Adam, Noah, Abi'aham, &c. not endless, but useful genealogies. 1 ne beginning of the New 
Testament is called Genesis too, Matt. i. 1. yivGtte:. The Book of the Genesis,,or Generation, oi 
Jesus Christ. Blessed be God for that Book AA'hich shows us our remedy, as this opens our wound, 
Loi’d, open our eyes, that Ave may see the Avendrous things both of thy LaAv and Gospel' 


22 


GEiNESlS, 1. 


CHAP. 1. 

The foundation of all religion being laid in our relation to 
God as our Creator, it was fit that that book of divine 
revelations, which was intended to be the guide, support, 
and rule, of religion in thp world, should begin, as it does, 
with a plain and full account of the creation of the 
ivorld — in answer to that first inquiry of a good con- 
science, Where is Gnd my Maker? ioh 10. Concern- 
ing this, the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, 
and became vaiii in their imaginations; some asserting 
the world’s eternity and self-existence, others ascrib- 
ing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms : thus the 
world by wisdom knew not God, but took a great deal of 
pains to lose him. The holy scripture, therefore, design- 
ing by revealed religion to maintain and improve natural 
religion, to repair the decays of it, and supply the de- 
fects of it, since the fall, for the reviving of. the precepts 
of the law of nature ; lays down, at first, this principle 
of the unclouded light of nature. That this world was, 

' in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite 
wisdom and power, who was himself before all time, 
and all worlds. T/ie entrance into God’s word gives 
this tight, Ps. 119. 130. The first verse of the Bible 
gives us a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful 
knowledge of the origin of the universe, than all the vo- 
lumes of the philosophers. The lively faith of humble 
Christians understands this matter better than the ele- 
vated fancy of the greatest wits, Heb. 11. 3. 

IVe have three things in this chapter , 1 . A general idea 
given us of the work of creation, v. 1, 2. II. A par- 
ticular account of the several days’ work, registered, as 
in a journal, distinctly and in order. The creation of 
the light, the first day, v. 3 . . 6 ; of the firmament, the 
second day, v. 6 . . 8 ; of the sea, the earth, and its fruits, 
the third day, v. 9.. 13; of the lights of heaven, the 
fourth day, v. 14 . , 19 ; of the fish and fowl, the fifth day, 
V. 20 . . 33 ; of the beasts, v. 24, 25 ; of man, v. 26 . . 28 ; 
and of food for both, the sixth day, v. 29, 30. III. The 
review and approbation of the whole work, v. 31. 

i N the beginning God created the hea- 
ven and the earth. 2. And the earth 
u as without form, and void ; and darkness 
teas upon the face of the deep. And the 
Spirit of God moved upon the face of the 
waters. 

In this verse we have the work of creation in its 
ffiitome, and in its embryo. 

I. In its epitome, v. 1. where we find, to our com- 
fort, the first article of our creed, that God the Fa- 
ther Almighty is the Maker of heaven and earth, 
and as sucit we beliex'e in him. Observe, in this 
verse, four things. 

1. The effect produced; 

that is, the world, including the whole frame and 
furniture of the universe, the world and all things 
therein. Acts 17. 24. The world is a great house, 
consisting of upper and lower stories, the stnu'-ture 
stately and magnificent, uniform and convenient, 
and every room well and wisely furnished. It is 
the visible part of the creation that Moses here 
designs to account for; therefore, he mentions not 
the creation of angels: l)ut as the earth has not only 
its surface adorned with grass and flowers, ljut also 
Its bowels enriched with metals and precious stones, 
which partake more of its solid nature and are 
more valuable, though the creation of them is not 
mentioned here; so the heavens are not only beau- 
tified to our eye with glorious lamps which garnish 
its outside, of whose creation w'e here read, but 
they are within rejflenished with glorious beings, 
out of our sight, more celestial, and more sur])ass- 
ing them in worth and excellency, th:in the gold 
or sapphires do the lilies of the field. In the visi- 
ble world it is easy to observe, (1.) Great varieti/; 
several sorts of beings vastly differing in theii' na- 
ture and constitution from each other. Lord, how 
7tianifold are thy works, and all good! (2.) Great 
beauty; the azure sky and verdant earth are 


charming to the eye of the curious spectator, muc h 
more the ornaments of both, riow transcendent 
then must the beauty of the Creator be! (3.) 
Great exactness and accuracy; to tiiosc that, with 
the help of micro scopes, narrowly look into the 
works of nature, they appeal’ far more fine th,.n aiu 
of the works of ai’t. (4. ) Great power; it is not .i 
lump of dead and inactive matter, but theie is \ ir- 
tue more or less, in every creature; the'em’th itself 
has a magnetic power. (5.) Great order; a mutual 
dependence of being, an exact harmony of motions, 
and an admirable chain and connexion of causes. 
(6.) Great mystery; there arc phenomena in na- 
ture, which cannot be solved, secrets which cannot 
be fathomed or accounted for. But from w hat we 
see of heaven and earth, we may easily enough in - 
fer the eternal power and Godhead of the great 
Creator, and may furnish ourselves with abundant 
matter for his praises. And let our make and 
place, as men, remind us of our duty as Christians, 
which is, always to keep heaven in our eye, and the 
earth under our feet. 

2. The Author and Cause of this great work, 
GOD; the Hebrew word is Rlohim, which be 
speaks, (1.) The power of God the Creator. El 
signifies the strong God; and what less than an 
almighty strength could bring all things out of no- 
thing.^ (2.) The plurality of persons in the God- 
head, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This plural 
name of God, in Hebrew, which speaks of him as 
m-any, though he is one, was to the gentiles perhap.s 
a savour of death unto death, hardening them in 
their idolatry; but it is to us a savour of life unto 
life, confirming our faith in the doctrine of the 
Trinity, which, though but darkly intimated in the 
Old Testament, is clearly revealed in the New. 
The Son of God, the eternal Word and Wisdom 
of the Father, was with him, when he made the 
world, Prov. 8. 30. nay, we are often told that the 
world was made by him, and nothing made without 
him, John 1. 3, 10. Eph. 3. 9. Col. 1. 16. Heb. 1. 
2. O what high thoughts should this form, in our 
minds, of that great God whom we draw nigh to in 
religious worship, and that great Mediator in whose 
name we draw nigh ! 

3. The manner in which this work was effected; 
God created, that is, made it out of nothing; there 
was not any pre-existent matter out of which the 
world was produced. The fish and fowl were in- 
deed produced out of the waters, and the beasts 
and man out of the earth; but that earth and those 
waters were made out of nothing. By the ordinary 
power of nature, it is impossiWe that something 
should be made out of nothing; no artificer can 
work, unless he has something to work on. But by 
the almighty power of God, it is not only possible 
that something should be made of nothing, (the 
God of nature is not subject to the laws of nature,) 
but in the creation, it is impossible it should be 
otherwise, for nothing is more injurious to tlie ho- 
nour of the Eternal Mind than the supposition of 
eteiTial matter. Thus the excellency of the power 
is of God, and all the glory is to him. 

4. When this work was produced; In the begin- 
jting, that is, in the beginning of time, when that 
clock was first set a going: time began with the 
I)roduction of those beings that are measured by 
time. Before the beginning of time there was none 
but that Infinite Being that inhabits eternity. Shovild 
we ask why God made the world no sooner, we 
should but darken counsel by tvords without know- 
ledge; for how could there be sooner or later in eter 
nity.^ And he did make it in the beginning of time, 
according to his eternal counsels before all time. 
The Jewish Rabbins have a saying, that there were 
seven things which God created before the world, by 
which they only mean to express the excellency of 


GENESIS, 1 . 


these things — The Law; Repentance; Paradise; 
Hell; the throne of Glory; the House of the Sanc- 
tuary; and the Name cf the Messiah. But to us it 
)3 enough to say, In the beginning was the JVord, 
John 1. 1. 

Let us learn hence, (1.) That atheism is folly, 
and atheists are the greatest fools in nature; for they 
see there is a world that could nftt make itself, and 
yet they will not own there is a God that made it. 
Uoubtless, they are without excuse, but the god of 
this world has blinded their minds. (2.) That 
God is sovereign Lord of all, by an incontestible 
right. If he be the Creator, no doubt, he is the 
O wner and Possessor, of heaven and earth. (3.) 
'I'hat with God all things are possible, and therefore 
happy are the people that have him for their God, 
and whose help and hope stand in his name, Ps. 121. 
2. — 124. 8. (4. ) That the God we serve, is worthy 

of, and yet is exalted far above, ^dl blessing and 
praise, Neh. 9. 5, 6. If he made the world, he 
needs not our services, nor can be benefited by them, 
Acts 17. 24, 25, and yet he justly requires them, 
and deserves our praise. Rev. 4. 11. If all is of 
him, all must be to him. 

II. Here is the work of creation in its embryo, 
(x>. 2. ) where we have an account of its first matter, 
and the first Mover. 

1. A chaos was the first matter; it is here called 
tlie earth, (though the earth, properly -taken, was 
not made tdl the third day, v. 10. ) because it did 
most resemble that which afterward was called 
earth, mere earth, destitute of its ornaments, such 
a heavy unwieldy mass was it; it is also called the 
deefi, both for its vastness, and because the waters 
which were afterward separated from the earth, 
were now myced with it. This immense mass of 
matter was it, out of which all bodies, even the fir- 
mament and visible heavens themselves, were af- 
terward pi’oduced by the power of the Eternal 
Word. The Creator could have made his work 
perfect at first, but by this gradual proceeding he 
would show what is, ordinarily, the method of his 
providence and grace. Observe the description of 
this chaos. (1.) There was nothing in it desirable 
to be seen, for it was without form, and void. Tohu 
and Bohu, confusion and emptiness; so these words 
are rendered, Isa. 34. 11. It was shapeless, it was 
useless, it was without inhabitants, without orna- 
ments, the shadow or rough draught of things to 
come, and not the irnage of the things, Heb. 10. 1. 
The earth is almost reduced to the same condition 
again by the sin of man, under which the creation 
groans; See Jer. 4. 23; I beheld the earth, and, lo, it 
was without form, and void. To those who have 
their hearts in heaven, this lower world, in compa- 
rison with that upper, still appears to be nothing 
but confusion and emptiness. There is no tT*ue 
beauty to be seen, no satisfying fulness to be enjoy- 
ed, in this earth, but in God only. (2. ) If there had 
been any thing desirable to be seen, yet there was 
no light to see it by; for darkness, thick darkness, 
was upon the face of the deep. God did not create 
this darkness, (as he is said to create the darkness 
of affliction, Isa. 45. 7,) for it was only the want of 
light, which yet could not be said to be wanted, till 
something was made, that might be seen by it; nor 
needs the want of it be much complained of, when 
there was nothing to be seen but confusion and 
emptiness. If the work of grace in the soul is a new 
creation, this chaos represents the state of an unre- 
generate graceless soul : there is disorder, confusion, 
and every evil work; it is empty of all good, for it is 
without God; it is dark, it is darkness itself; this is 
our condition by nature, till almighty gi-ace effects 
a blessed change. 

2. The Spirit of God was the first ]\Iover; he 
mox'cd upon the face of the waters. When we con- 


sider the earth without form, and void, methinks, 
it is like the valley full of dead and dry bones. Can 
these live ? Can this confused mass of matter be 
formed into a beautiful world? Yes, if a spirit of life 
from God enter into it, Ezek. 37. 9. Now there is 
hope concerning this thing; for if the Spirit of God 
begins to work, and if he work, who or what shall 
hinder? God is said to make the world by his 
Spirit, Ps. 33. 6, Job. 26. 13, and by the same 
Mighty Worker the new creation is effected. He 
mo^■ed upon the face of the deep, as Elijah stretch- 
ed himself upon the dead child; as the hen gathers 
her chickens under her wings, and hovers over them, 
to warm and cherish them. Matt. 23, 37, as the ' 
eagle stirs up her nest, and flutters over her young, 
(it is the same word that is here used,) .Deut. 32, 

1 1. Learn hence. That God is not only the Author 
of all being, but the Fountain of life, and Spring c f 
motion. Dead matter would be for ever dead, if he 
did not quicken it. And this makes it credible to 
us, that God should raise the dead. That powei 
which brought such a world as this, out of confu- 
sion, emptiness, and darkness, at the beginning of 
time, can, at the end of time, bring our vile bodies 
out of the grave, though it be a land of darkness as 
darkness itself, and without any order. Job. 10. 22, 
and can make them glorious bodies. 

3 . And God said, Let there be light : and 
there was light. 4 , And God saw the light 
that it teas good : and God divided the light 
from the darkness. 5 . And God called the 
light Day, and the darkness he called Night 
And the evening and the morning were the 
first day. 

We have here a further account of the frst day’s 
work. In which observe, 

I. That the first of all visible beings which God 
created, evas light; not that by it he himself might 
see to work, (for the darkness and light are both 
alike to him,) but that by it we might see his 
works, and his glory in them, and might work our 
works while it is day. The works of Satan and his 
servants are works of darkness; but he that doeth 
tivith, and doeth good, cometh to the light, and 
coveteth it, that his deeds may^ be made manifest, 
John 3. 21. Light is the great beauty and blessing 
of the universe; like the first -bom, it does, of all vi- 
sible beings, most resemble its great Parent in pu- 
rity and power, brightness and beneficence; it is of 
great affinity with a spirit, and is next to it; though 
by it we see other things, and are sure that it is, 
yet we know not its nature, nor can describe what 
it is, or by what way the light is parted. Job 38. 19. 
24. By the sight of it let us be led to, and assisted 
in, the believing contemplation of Him who is Light, 
infinite and eternal Light, 1 John 1. 5, andtheAoK^er 
of Lights, James 1. 17, and who dwells in inaccessi 
ble light, 1 Tim. 6. 16. In the new creation, the 
first thing wrought in the soul, is light: the blessed 
Spirit captivates the will and affections by en- 
lightening the understanding, so coming into the 
heart by the door, like the good shepherd Avhose 
own it is, while sin and Satan, like thieves and rob- 
bers, climb up some other way. They that by sin 
w'ere darkness, by grace become light in the Lord. 

II. That the light was made by the word of God's 
power; he said. Let there be Jfight; he willed and 
appointed it, and it was done immediately; there 
was light, such a copy as exactly answered the ori- 
ginal idea in the Eternal Mind. 'O the power of the 
word of God! He spake, and it was done; done 
really, effectually, and for perpetuity, not in show 
only, and to serve a present turn, for he command- 
ed, and it stood fast: with him it was dictum, fac 


2'4 


GENESIS, J. 


turn — a nvord, and a world. The word of God, 
that is, his will and the good pleasure of it, is quick 
and powerful. Christ is the Word, the essential 
eternal Word, and by him the light was produced, 
for in him was li^fit, and he is the true Light, the 
Light of the world, 1 John 9. — 9. 5. The divine light 
which shines in sanctified souls is wrought by the 
power of God, the power of his word, and of the Spi- 
rit of wisdom and revelation, opening the understand- 
ing, scattering the mists of ignorance and mistake, 
and giving the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
face of Christ, as, at first, God commanded the 
light to shine out of darkness, 2 Cor. 4. 6. Dark- 
ness had been perpetually upon the face of fallen 
man, if the Son of God had not come, and given us 
an understanding, 1 John 5. 20. 

III. That the light which God willed, when it 
was produced, he approved of; God saw the light 
that it was good. It was exactly as he designed it, 
and it was fit to answer the end for which he design- 
ed it. It was useful and profitable; the world, which 
now is a palace, would have been a dungeon with- 
out it. It was amiable and pleasant; truly light is 
snveet, Eccles. 11. 7, itrejoiceth the heart, Prov. 15. 
30. What God commands he will approve and 
graciously accept of, and be well pleased with the 
work of his own hands. That is good indeed, which 
is so in the sight of God, for he sees not as man 
sees. If the light be good, how good is he that is 
the Fountain of light, from which we receive it, 
and to whom we owe all praise for it, and all the 
services we do by it ! 

IV. That God divided the light from the dark- 
ness, so put them asunder, as that they could never 
be joined together or reconciled; for what fellow- 
ehifi has light with darkness? 2 Cor. 6. 14. And 
'et he divided time between them, the day for 
ight, and the night for darkness, in a constant and 
regular succession to each other. Though the 
darkness was now scattered by the light, yet it was 
not condemned to a perpetual banishment, but 
takes its turn with the light, and has its place, 
because it has its use; for as the light of the morn- 
ing befriends the business of the day, so the sha- 
dows of the evening befriend the repose of the night, 
and draw the curtains about us, that we may sleep 
the better; See Job 7. 2. God has thus divided time 
between light and daiicness, because he would daily 
remind us that this is a world of mixtures and 
changes. In heaven there is perfect and perpetual 
light, and no darkness at all; in hell, utter dark- 
ness, and no gleam of light. In that world, between 
these two there is a great gulf fixed; but in this 
world, they are counterchanged, and we pass daily 
from one to another; that we may learn to e:^ect 
the like vicissitudes in the providence of God, 
peace and trouble, joy and sorrow, and may set the 
one over against the other, and accommodate our- 
selves to both, as we do to the light and darkness, 
bidding both welcome, and making the best of both. 

V. That God divided them from each other by 
distinguishing names; he called the light Day, and 
the darkness he called .Yight. He gave them names, 
as Lord of both; for the day is his, the night also is 
his, Ps. 74. 16. He is the Lord of time, and will be 
so, till dav and night shall come to an end, and the 
stream of time be swallowed up in the ocean of 
eternity. Let us acknowledge God in the constant 
succession of day and night, and consecrate both. to 
his honour, liy working for him every day, and rest- 
ing in him every night, and meditating in his law 
day and night. 

VI. That this was the first day’s work, and a 
good day’s work it was; the evening and the morn- 
ing were the frst day. The darkness of the eve- 
ning was liefore the light of the morning, that it 
might serve for a foil to it, to set it off, and make it 


shine the brighter. This was not only the first day 
of the world, but the first day of the week. I ob- 
serve it, to the honour of that day, because the new 
world began on the first day of the week likewise, in 
the resurrection of Christ, as the Light cf the 
world, early in the morning. In him, the duv- 
spring from on high has lisited the world; and 
happy are we, for ever hajipy, if that Day-star 
arise in our hearts. 

6. And God said, Let there be a firma- 
ment in the midst of the waters, and let it 
divide the waters from the waters. 7. And 
God made the firmament, and divided the 
I waters which were under the firmament, 

! from the waters which rcere above the 
firmament : and it \\ as so. 8. And God 
called the firmament Heaven. And the 
evening and the morning were the second 
day. 

We. have here an account of the second day’s 
work, the creation cf the firmament: in which ob- 
serve, 

I. The command of God concerning it; Let there 
be a firmament, and expansion, so the Hebrew 
word signifies, like a sheet spread, or a curtain 
drawn out. This includes all that is visible above 
the earth, between it, and the third heaven ; the air, 
its higher, middle, and lower regions; the celestial 
globe, and all the spheres and orbs cf light above- 
it reaches as high as the place where the stars are 
fixed, for that is called here the firmament of Hea- 
ven, V. 14, 15, and as low as the plac«e where the 
birds fly, for that also is called the firmament of 
Heaven, v. 20. When God had made the light, he 
appointed the. air to be the receptacle and vehicle 
of its beams, and to be as a medium of ccrmmmica- 
tion between the invisible and the visible world; for 
though between heaven and earth there is an incon- 
ceivable distance, yet there is not an impassable 
gulf, as there is between heaven and hell. This 
firmament is not a wall of partition, but a way of 
intercourse. See Job 26. 7. — 37. 18. Ps. 104. 3. 
Amos 9. 6. 

II. The creation of it. Lest it should seem as if 
God had only commanded it to be done, and some 
one else had done it, he adds. And God made the 
firmament. What God requires of us, he himself 
works in us, or it is not done. He that commands 
faith, holiness, and love, creates them by the power 
of his grace going along with his word, that he may 
have all the praise. Lord, give what thou com- 
maifdest, and then command what thou pleasest. 
The firmament is said to be the work of God’s 
fingers, Ps. 8. 3. Though the vastness of its extent 
declares it to be the work of his arm stretched cut, 
yet the admirable fineness of its constitution shows 
that it is a curious piece of art, the work of his 
fingers. 

III. The use and design of it; to divide the waters 
from the waters, that is, to distinguish between the 
waters that are wrapt up in the clouds, and those 
that cover the sea; the waters in the air, and those 
in the earth. See the difference between these two, 
carefully observed. Dent. 11. 10, 11, where Canaan 
is, upon this account, preferred to Eg)-pt, that 
Egypt was moistened, and made fruitful, with the 
waters that are under the firmament; but Canaan 
with waters from above, out of the firmament; even 
the dew of heaven, which tarrieth not for the sons 
of tnen, Mic. 5. 7. God has, in the firmament of his 
power, chambers, store-chamliers, whence he wa- 
tereth the earth, Ps. 104. 13. — 65. 9, 10. He has 
also treasures, or magazines, of snow and hai.. 


GENESIS, J 


which he hath reeerued against the day of battle and 
war. Job 38. 22, 23. O what a great God is lie, who 
has thus provided for the comfort of all that sen^e 
him, and the confusion of all that hate him! It is 
good having him our friend, and bad having him 
our enemy. 

IV. The naming of it; He called the firmament 
Heaven. Tt is the visible heaven, the pavement of 
the holy city; above the firmament God is said to 
nave his throne, Ezek. 1. 26, for he has prepared 
it in the heavens; the heavens therefore are said to 
rule, Dan. 4. 26. Is not God in the height of hea- 
ven? Job 22. 12. Yes, he is, and we should be led 
by the contemplation of the heavens that are in our 
^e, to consider Our Father which is in heaven. 
The height of the heavens should remind us of 
God’s supremacy, and the infinite distance that is 
between us and fiim; the brightness of the lieavens 
and their purity should remind us of his glory and 
majesty, and perfect holiness; the vastness of the 
heavens, their encompassing of the earth, and the 
influence they have upon it, should remind us of his 
immensity and universal providence. 

9. And God said, liOt the waters under 
the heaven be gathered together unto one 
place, and let the dry land appear : and it 
was so. 10. And God called the dry land 
Earth ; and the gathering together of the 
waters called he Seas : and God saw that 
it was good. 1 1 . And God said. Let the 
earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding 
seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after 
his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the 
earth : and it was so. 1 2. And the earth 
brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed 
after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, 
whose seed was in itself, after his kind : 
and God saw that it was good. 1 3. And 
the evening and the morning were the third 
day. 

The third day’s work is related in these verses; 
the forming of the sea and the dry land, and the 
making of the earth fi-uitful. Hitherto the power 
of the Creator had been exerted and employed 
about the upper part of the visible world; the light 
of heaven was kindled, and the firmament of heaven 
fixed; but now he descends to this lower world, the 
earth, which was designed for the children of men, 
designed both for their habitation, and for their 
maintenance; and here we ha\'e an account of the 
fitting of it for both, the building of their house, and 
the spreading of their table. Observe, 

I. How the earth was prepared to be a habitation 
for man; by the gathering of the waters together, 
and the making of the ary land to afifiear; thus, 
instead of that confusion which was, v. 2, when earth 
and water were mixed in one great mass, behold, 
now, there is order, by such a separation as ren- 
dered them both useful. God said, l.et it be so, and 
it was so; no sooner said than done. 1. The waters 
which had covered the earth, were ordered to 
retire, and to gather into one place, namely, those 
hollows which were fitted and appointed for their 
reception and rest: the waters, thus cleared, thus 
collected, and thus lodged in their proper place, he 
called Seas; for though they are many, in distant 
regions, and washing several shores, yet either 
above ground, or under ground, they have commu- 
nication with each other, and so they are one, and 
the common receptacle of waters, into which all 

VoL. 1. — D 


2 '< 

the rivers flow, Eccl. 1. T. \\'aters and seas often, 
in scripture, signify troubles and afflictions, Ps. 69. 
j 2, 14, 15. — 42. 7. God’s own people are not ex- 
! enipted from these in this world; but it is their com- 
fort, that they are only waters under the heaven, 
(there is none in heaven,) and that they are all in 
the place that God has appointed them, and within 
the Ijounds that he has set them. How the waters 
were gathered together, at first, and how thev are 
still bound and limiteil by the same Almighty Hand 
that first confined them, is elegantly described, Ps. 
104. 6... 9, and is there mentioned as matter of 
praise. They that go down to the sea in ships, ought 
to acknowledge dail)' the wisdom, power, and good- 
ness, of the Creator, in making the gi’eat waters 
serviceable to man for trade and commerce; and 
they that tarry at home, must own themselves 
indebted to him that keeps the sea with bars and 
doors in its decreed place, and stays its proud waves. 
Job 38. 10, 11. 2. The dry L.nd was made to ap- 

pear, and emerge, out of the waters, and was called 
Earth, and given to the children of men. The 
earth, it seems, was in being, before; but it was of 
nr) use, because it was under water: thus many of 
God’s gifts are received in vain, because they are 
buried; make them to appear, and they become 
serviceable. We who, to this day, enjoy the benefit 
of the diy land, (though, since this, it was once 
deluged, imd dried again,) must own ourselves 
tenants to,* and dependents upon, that God whose 
hands formed the dry land, Ps. 95. 5. Jonah 1. 9. 

II. How the earth was furnished foPthe mainte- 
nance and support of man, V. 11, 12. Present pro- 
vision was now made, by the immediate products of 
the upstart earth, which in obedience to God’s com- 
mand, was no sooner made, than it became fruitftil, 
and brought forth grass for the cattle, and herb for 
the service of man. Provision was likewise made 
for time to come, by the pei-petuating of the several 
kinds of vegetables, which are numerous, various, 
and all curious, and every one having its seed in 
itself after its kind, tliat, during the continuance of 
man upon the earth, food might be fetched out of 
the earth, for his use and benefit. Lord, what itr 
man, that he is thus visited and regarded — that suicli 
care should be taken, and such provision made„ for 
the support and preservation of those guilty and 
obnoxious lives which have been, a thousand times, 
foifeited I Observe here, 1. That not only the 
earth is the Lord’s, but the fulness thereof and lie 
is the rightful Owner and sovereign Disposer, not 
only of it, but of all its furaiture. The earth was 
emptiness, v. 2. butnow, by a, word’s speaking, it is; 
become full of God’s riches, and bis they are still; 
hii corn and his vhne, his wool and his fax, Hos. 

2. 9. Though the use of them is allowed to us, tive 
property "still remains in him, and to his service 
and honour they must be used. 2. That comihon 
providence is a continued creation, and in it, out 
Father worketh hitherto. The earth still remains, 
under the efficacy of this command, to bring forth 
grass, and herbs, and its annual products ; though, 
being accoixling to the common course of nature, 
they are not standing miracles, yet they are standing 
instances of the unwearied power, and unexhausted 
goodness, of the world’s gi-eat Maker and Master. 

3. That though God, ordinarily, makes use of the 
agency of second causes, according to -their nature, 
yet he neither needs them, nor is tied to them; for 
though the precious fruits of the earth are usually 
brought forth by the influences of the sun ana 
moon. Dent. 33. 14, yet here we find the earth 
bearing a great abundance of fruit, probably ripe 
fruit, before the sun and moon were made. 4. 
That it is good to provide things necessary, betore 
w^e have occasion to use them: before the beasts 
and m.an were made, here Avere grass and herb pre-' 


* GENESJS, 1 . 


2fi 

pared for them, God thus dealt wisely and gra- 
ciously with man; let not man then be foclisli and 
unw’ise for himself. 5. That God must have the 
glory of all the benefit we receive from the pro- 
ducts of the earth, either for food or i)hysic. It is 
he that hears the heavens, when they hear the earth, 
Hos. 2. 21, 22. And if we have, through grace, an 
interest in him who is the Fountain, when the 
streams are dried up, and the Jig-tree <foth not blos- 
som, we may rejoice in him. 

14. And God said, Let there be lights in 
the firmament of the heaven, to divide the 
day from the night; and let them be for 
signs, and for seasons, and for days, and 
years: 15. And let them be for lights in 
the firmament of the heaven, to give light 
upon the earth: and it ’was so. 16. And 
God made two great lights ; the greater light 
to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule 
the night : he made the stars also. 1 7. And 
God set them in the firmament of the heaven, 
to give light upon the earth, 18. And to 
rule over the day and over the night, and to 
divide the light from the darkness : and God 
saw that it was good. 1 9. And the evening 
and the morning were the fourth day. 

This is the history of the fourth day’s work, the 
creating of the sun, moon, and stars, which are here 
accounted for, not as they are in themselves, and in 
their own nature, to satisfy the curious, but as they 
are in relation to this earth, to which they serve as 
lights; and this is enough to furnish us with matter 
for praise and thanksgiving. Holy Job mentions 
this as an instance of the glorious power of God, 
that by his Sfiirit he hath garnished the heavens; 
Job 26. 13; and here we have an account of that 
garniture, which is not only so much the beau- 
ty of the upper world, but so much the blessing of 
this lower; for though heaven is high, yet it hath 
respect to this earth, and therefore should have re- 
spect from it. Of the creation of the lights of 
heaven we have an account. 

I. In general, v. 14, 15, where we have, 1. The 
command given concerning them; Let there be 
lights in the firmament of heaven. God had said, 
V. 3, Let there be light, and there was light: but 
that was, as it were, a chaos of light, scattered and 
confused; now it was collected and modelled, and 
made into several luminaries, and so rendered both 
more glorious, and more serviceable. God is the 
God of order, and not of confusion; and as he is 
Light, so he is the Father and Former of lights. 
Those lights were to be in the firmament of heaven, 
that vast expanse which encloses the earth, and is 
conspicuous to all; for no man, vjhen he hath lighted 
a candle, puts it under a bushel, but on a candle- 
stick; Luke 8. 16; and a stately golden candlestick 
the firmament of heaven is, from which these can- 
dles give light to all that are in the house. The 
firmament itself is spoken of as having a jrightness 
of its own, Dan. xii. 3, but that was not sufficient 
to give light to the earth; and perhaps, for that rea- 
son, it is not expressly said of the second day’s 
work, in which the firmament was made, that it 
was good, because, till it was adorned with these 
lights on the fourth day, it was not become ser- 
viceable to man. 2. I'lie Vise they were intended 
to be of to this earth. (1.) They must be for the 
distinction of times, of day and night, summer and 
winter, which are interchanged liy the motion of 
. the sun; whose rising makes day, his setting night; 


his approach towards our tropic makes summer, 
his recess to the other, winter: and thus, under the 
sun, there is a season to every fiurfiose, Eccl. 3. 1. 
(2.) They must be for the direction of actions. 
They are for signs of the change of weather, that 
the husbandman may order his affairs with discre- 
tion, foreseeing by the face of the sky, when second 
causes have begun to work, whether it will be fair 
or foul. Matt. 16. 2, 3. They do also give light 
ufion the earth, that we may walk, (John 11. 9,) 
and work, (John 9. 4A according as the duty of 
every day requires. The lights of heaven do not 
shine for themselves, nor for the world of spirits 
above, they need them not; but they shine for us, 
and for our pleasure and advantage. Lord, what is 
man, that he should be thus regarded ! Ps. 8. 3, 4. 
How ungx’ateful and inexcusable are we, if, when 
God has set up these lights for us to work by, we 
sleep, or play, or trifle away the time of business, 
and neglect the great work we were sent into the 
world about! The lights of heaven are made to 
serve us, and they do it faithfully, and shine, in 
their season, without fail: but we are set as lights 
in this world to serve God; and do we in like man- 
ner, answer the end of our creation.^ No, we do not; 
our light does not shine before God, as his lights 
shine before us, Matth. v. 14. We bum our Mas- 
ter’s candles; but do not mind our Master’s work. 

II. In/iarricu/ar, n. 16... 18. The lights of hea- 
ven are, the sun, moon, and stars; and these are all 
the work of God’s hands. 1. The sun is the great- 
est light of all, one hundred and sixty-six times 
greater than the earth, and the most glorious and 
useful of all the lamps of Heaven; a noble instance 
of the Creator’s wisdom, power, and goodness, and 
an invaluable blessing to the creatures of this lower 
world. Let us leam from Ps. 19. 1... 6. how to give 
unto God the glory due to his name, as the Maker 
of the sun. 2. The moon is a lesser light, and yet 
is here reckoned one of the greater lights, because, 
though, in regard of its magnitude and borrowed 
light, it is inferior to many of the stars, yet, by vir- 
tue of its office, as ruler of the night, and in respect 
of its usefulness to the earth, it is more excellent 
than they. Those are most valuable, that are 
most serviceable; and those are the greater lights, 
not that have the best gifts, but that humbly and 
faithfully do the most good with them. TVhosoever 
will be great among you, let him be your minister, 
Matt. 20. 26. 3. Ne made the stars also; which arc 

here spoken of, as they appear to vulgar eyes, with 
out distinguishing between the planets and the fixed 
rs, or accounting for their number, nature, place, 
n, gnitude, motions, or influences; for the scrip- 
tures were written, not to gratify our curiosity, and 
make us astronomers, but to lead us to God, and 
make us saints. Now these lights are said to rule, 
V. 16, 18, not that they have a supreme dominion, as 
God has, but they are deputy governors, rulers un- 
der him. Here the lesser light, the moon, is said to 
rule the night; but, Ps. 136. 9, the stars are men- 
tioned as sharers in that goveimment, the moon and 
stars to rule by night. No more is meant, than that 
they gh'e light, Jer. 31. 35. The best and most 
honourable way of ruling, is, by giving light, and 
doing good: those command , respect, that live a 
useful life, and so shine as lights. 

Leam from all this, (1.) The sin and folly of that 
ancient idolatry, the worshipping of the sun, moon, 
and stars, which, some think, took rise, or counte- 
nance at least, from some broken ttaditions in the 
patriarchal age, concerning the rule and dominion 
of the lights of heaven. But the account here given 
of them plainly shows that they are both God’s 
creatures, and man’s servants; and therefore it is 
both a great affront to God, luid a great reproach to 
ourseh es, to make deities of them, and give them 


27 


GENESIS, I. 


divine honours ; see Deut. 4. 19. (2. ) The duty 

and wisdom of daily worshipping that God who 
made all these things, and made them to be that to 
us, which they are. I'he revolutions of the day and 
night oblige us to the solemn sacrifice of pravers 
and praises, every morning and evening. 

20. And God said, Let the waters bring 
forth abundantly the moving creature that 
hath life, and fowl that may fly above the I 
earth in the open firmament of heaven. 
21. And God created gi-eat whales, and 
every living creature that moveth, which ; 
the waters brought forth abundantly, after ! 
their kind, and ever\' vvinged fowl after his 
kind : and God saw that it was good. 22. 
And God blessed them, saying. Be fruitful, 
and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, 
and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 . And 
the evening and the morning were the fifth 
day. 

Each day, hitherto, has produced very noble and j 
excellent beings, which we can never sufficiently 
idmire; but we do not read of the creation of any 
living creature, till the Jifth day, which these \ er- 
ses gives us an account of. The work of creation 
not only proceeded gradually from one thing to an- 
other, but rose and advanced gradually from that 
which was less excellent to that which was more 
so, teaching us to press toward ])erfection, and en- 
deavour that our last works may be our best works. 

It was on the fifth day that the fish and fowl were 
created, and both out of the waters ; though there 
is one kind of flesh, of fishes, and another, of birds, 
yet they were made together, <md both out of the 



causes. 


I. The making of the fish and fowl, at first, v. 

20, 21. God commanded them to be produced; he 
said. Let the ivaters bring forth abundantly; not 
as if the waters had any productive power of their 
OAvn, but, “Let them be brought into being, the 
fish in the waters, and the fowl out of them.” 
This command he himself executed; God created 
great whales, isf c. Insects, which perhaps, are as 
various and as numefous as any species of animals, 
and their stmeture as curious, were part of this 
day’s work, some of them being allied to the fish, 
ani others to the fowl. Mr. Boyle (I remember) 
says, he admires the Creator’s wisdom and power 
as much in ain ant as in an elephant. Notice is here 
taken of the various sorts of fish and fowl, each af- 
ter their kind ; and of the great numbers of both 
that were produced, for the waters brought forth 
abunuantly; and particular mention is made of 
great whales, the largest of fishes, whose bulk and j 
strength, exceeding that of any other animal, are j 
remarkable proofs of the power and greatness of ' 
the Creator. The express notice here taken of the I 
whale, above all the rest, seems sufficient to deter- | 
mine what animal is meant by the Leviathan, Job ; 
41. 1. Tlie curious formation of the bodies of ani- | 
mals, their different sizes, shapes, and natures, with : 
the admirable powers of the sensitive life with 
which they are endued, when duly considered, ’ 
serve, not only to silence and shame the objections j 
of atheists and infidels, but to raise high thoughts j 
and high praises of God in pious and devout souls, ' 
Ps. 104. 25, &c. I 

II. The blessing of them, in order to their con- | 
tinuance. Life is a wasting thing ; its strength is ' 


i[ not the strength’ of stones, it is a candle that will 
i burn out, if it be not first blown out ; and therefore 
the wise Creator not only made the individuals, but 
I provided for the propagating of the several kinds, 
:j u. 22. God blessed them, saying. Be fruitful, and 
I Jnultiply. God will bless his own works, and not 
[ forsake them ; and what he doeth it shall be for a 
perpetuity, Eccl. 3. 14. The power of God’s pro- 
\ idence preserves all things, as, at first, his creating 
power produced them. Fiaiitfulness is the eft’cct 
of God’s blessing, and must be ascribed to it ; the 
multiplying of the fish and fowl, from year to year, 
is still the fruit of this blessing. Well, let us give 
to God the glory of the continuance of these crea- 
tures to this day for the benefit of man. See Job 12. 
7 . . 9. It is pity that fishing and fowling, recrea- 
tions innocent in themselves, should be ever abused 
to divert any from God and their duty, while they 
are capable of being improved to lead us to the con- 
templation of the wisdom., power, and goodness of 
him that made all these things, and to engage us to 
stand in aAve of him, as the fish and fowl do of us. 

24 , And God said, Let the earth bring 
forth the living creature- after his kind, cat- 
tle, and creeping thing, and beast of the 
earth after his kind : and it was so. 25. 
And God made the beast of the earth after 
his kind, and cattle after their kind, and 
evei-y thing that creepeth upon the earth 
after his kind : and God saw that it was' 
good. 

We have here the first part of the sijcth day’s 
work. The sea was, the day before, replenished 
with its fish, and the air Avith its foAvl ; and, this 
day, Avere made the beast of the earth, cattle, and 
the creeping things that pertain to the earth. Here, 
as before, 1. The Lora gave the word; he said. 
Let the earth bring forth, not as if the earth had 
any such prolific virtue as to produce these animals, 
or as if God resigned his creating poAver to it ; but, 

“ Let these creatures now come into being upon the 
earth, and out of it, in their respective kinds, con- 
formable to the ideas of them in the divine counsels 
concerning their creation.” 2. He also did the 
work; he made them all after their kind, not only 
of divers shapes, but of divers natures, manners, 
food, and fashions ; some to be tame about the house, 
others to be Avild in the fields : some living upon 
grass and herbs, others upon flesh; some hai-mless, 
and others raA'enous ; some bold, and others timo- 
rous ; some for man’s senice, and not his suste- 
nance, as the horse ; others for his sustenance, and 
not his service, as the sheep; others for both, as 
the ox ; and some for neither, as the Avild beasts. 

In all Avhich appears the manifold Avisdom of the. 
Creator. 

26 . And God said, Let us make man in 
our image, after our likeness ; and let them 
liave dominion 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 creep- 
ing thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. 
So God created man in his oicn image, in 
the image of God created he him ; male and 
female created lie them. 28 . And God 
blessed them, and God said unto them. Be 
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the 
earth, and subdue it ; and have dominion 
over the fish of the sea, and over the foivl 


28 


GENESIS, 1. 


of the air, and over every living thing that 
moveth upon the earth. 

We have here the second part of the sixth day’s 
work, the creation of man, which we are, in a spe- 
cial manner, concerned to take notice of, that we 
may know ourselves. Observe, 

I. That man was made last of all the creatures, 
that it might not be suspected that he had been, any 
way, a helper to God in the creation of the world: 
that question must be for ever humbling and morti- 
tying to him, Where viast thou, or any of thy kind, 
%vhen I laid the foundations of the earth? Job 38. 
4. Yet it was both an honour and a favour to him, 
that he was made last; an hcnour, for the method 
of the creation was, to advance from that which 
was less perfect to that which was more so; and a 
favour, for it was not fit he should be lodged in the 
palace designed for him, till it was completely fitted 
lU) and furnished for his reception. Man, as soon 
as he was made, had the whole visible creation be- 
fore him, both to contemplate, and to take the com- 
fort of. Man was made the same day that the 
beasts were, because his body was made of the same 
earth with their’s; and while he is in the body, he 
inhabits the same earth with them: God forbid that 
by indulging the body and the desires of it, we 
siiould make ourselves like the beasts that perish ! 

II. That man’s creation was a more signal and 
immediate act of divine wisdom and power than 
that of the other creatures. The narrative of it is 
introduced with something of solemnity, and a 
’manifest distinction from the rest: hitherto, it had 
lieen said. Let there be light, and Let there he a 
firmament; or, “ Let the earth, or waters, bring 
forth such a thing;” but now the word of command 
is turned into a word of consultation, Let us make 
man, for whose sake the rest of the creatures were 
made: this is a work we must take into our own 
hands.” In the former, he speaks as one having 
jiutliority, in this as one having affection, for his 
delights were with the sons of men, Prov. 8. 31. It 
should seeifi as if this were the work which he 
longed to be at; as if he had said, “having at last 
settled the preliminaries, let us now apply ourselves 
to the business. Let us make man.” Man was to' 
be a creature different from all that had been hith- 
erto made. Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth, 
nuist be put together in him, and he must be allied 
to both worlds. And therefore God himself not only 
undertakes to make, but is pleased so to express 
liimself, as if he called a council to consider of the 
making of him; Let us make man. The three per- 
sons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
consult about it, and concur in it, because man, 
when he was made, was to be dedicated and devoted 
to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Into that Great 
Name we are, with good reason, b^tised, for to 
that Great Name we owe our being. Let them nde 
man, who said. Let us make man. 

III. That man was made in God’s image, and 
after his likeness; two words to express the same 
thing, and making each other the more expressive; 
image and likeness denote the likest image, the 
nearest resemblance of any of the visible creatures. 
Man was not made in the likeness of any creature 
that went before him, but in the likeness of his Cre- 
ator; yet still, between God and man there is an 
infinite distance. Christ only is the express image 
of God’s person, as the Son of his Father, having 
the same nature. It is only some of God’s honour, 
that is ])ut upon man, who is God’s image, only 
us the shadow in the glass, or the king’s impress 
upon the coin. God’s image upon man consists in 
these three things, 1. In his nature and constitu- 
tion, not* those of his body, (for God has not a body,) 
but those of his soul. This honour indeed God has 


I put upon the body of man, that the Word was made 
nesh, the Son of God was clothed with a body like 
unto our’s, and will shortly clothe our’s with a gloiy 
like unto his. And this we may safely say. That 
he by whom God made the worlds, not only the 
great world, but man the little world, formed the 
human body, at the first, according to the platfmin 
he designed for himself in the fulness of time. But 
it is the soul, the great soul, of man, that does espe- 
cially bear God’s image. The soul is a spirit, an 
intelligent, immortal spirit, an influencing active 
spirit, herein resembling God, the Father of Spir- 
its, and the Soul of the world. The spirit of man is 
the candle of the Lord. The soul of man, consi- 
dered in its three noble faculties, understanding, 
will, and active poAver, is perhaps the brightest 
clearest looking-glass in nature, wherein to see God. 
2. In his place and authority. Let us make man in 
our image, and let them have dominion. As he has 
the government of the inferior creatures, he is, as 
it were, God’s representative, or viceroy, upon 
earth; they ^re not capable of fearing and serving 
Gcd, therefore God has appointed them to fear and 
serve man. Yet his government of himself by the 
freedom of his will, has in it more of God’s image 
than his government of the creatures. 3. In his 
purity and rectitude. God’s image upon man con- 
sists in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, 
Eph. 4. 24. Col. 3. 10. He was upright, Eccl. 7. 
29. He had an habitual conformity of all his natural 
powers to the whole will of Gcd. His understand- 
ing saw divine things clearly and truly, and there 
were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge: his 
will complied readily and universally with the Avill 
of God, without reluctancy or resistance: his affec- 
; tions Avere all regular, and he had no inordinate ap- 
j petites or passions: his thoughts were easily brought, 
and fixed, to the best subjects, and there was no 
vanity or ungovemableness in them. All the inferior 
powers were subject to the dictates and directions 
of the superior, Avithout any mutiny or rebellion. 
Thus holy, thus happy, were our first parents, in 
having the image of God upon them. And this 
honour put upon man, at first, is a good reason why 
Ave should not speak ill one of another. Jam. 3. 9, 
nor do ill one to another, Gen. 9. 6, and a good rea 
son why Ave should not debase ourselves to the 
service of sin, and Avhy Ave should devote ourselves 
to God’s service. But hoAv art thou fallen, O son of 
the morning! Hoav is this image of God upon man 
defaced! How small are the remains of it, and how 
great the ruins of it ! The Lord renew it upon oui 
souls bv his sanctifying grace! 

IV. That man was made male and female, and 
blessed with the blessing of fimitfulness and increase. 
God said. Let us make man, and immediately it 
folloAvs, So God created man; he performed what 
he resolved. With us, saying and doing are two 
things; but thqy are not so Avith God. He cre- 
ated him male and female, Adam and Eve; Adam, 
first out of earth, and Eve out of his side. ch. 2. It 
should seem that of the rest of the creatures, God 
made many cotiples, but of man, did not he make 
one? (Mai. 2. 15.) though he had the residue of the 
Spirit: Avhence Christ gathers an argument against 
divorce, Matth. 19. 4, 5. Our first father, Adam, 
Avas confined to one Avife; and if he had put her 
aAvay, there Avas no other for him to marrjq Avhich 
plainly intimated that the bond of marriage was not 
to l)e dissolved at pleasure. Angels Avere not made 
male and female, for they Avere not to propagate 
their kind, (Luke 20. 34..,36. ) but man was made 
so, that the nature might be propagated, and the 
race continued. Fires and candles, the luminaries 
of this loAver Avcrld, because the)^ Avaste, and go out, 

I have a poAver to light more; but it is not so Avith the 
! lights of heaven, stars do not kindle stars. God 


29 


GENESIS, 1. 


made but one male and one female, that all the 
nations of men might know themselves to be made 
of one blood, descendants from one common stock, 
and might thereby be induced to love one another. 
God, having made them capable of transmitting the 
nature they had I’eceived, said to them. Be fruitful, 
and multifily, and replenish the earth. Here he 
gave them, 1. A lar^e inheritance; Refilenish the 
earth; that is it, that is bestowed upon the children 
of men. They were made to dwell ufion the face 
of all the earth. Acts 17. 26. That is the place 
in which God has set man to be the ser\rant of his 
providence, in the govemment of the inferior crea- 
tures, and, as it were, the intelligence of this orb; 
to be the receiver of God’s bounty, which other 
creatures live upon, but do not know it: to be like- 
wise the collector of his praises in this lower world, 
and to pay them into the exchequer above, Ps. 145. 
10, and (lastly) to be a probationer for a better state. 
2. A numerous, lasting family, to enjoy this inher- 
itance; pronouncing a blessing upon them, in the 
virtue of which their posterity should extend to the 
utmost comers oi the earth, and continue to the 
utmost period of time. Fmitfulness and increase 
depend upon the blessing of God: Obed-Edom had 
eight sons, for God blessed him, 1 Chron. 26. 5. It 
is owing to this blessing which God commanded ■’t 
first, that the race of mankind is still in being, 
and that as one generation fiasseth away, another 
cometh. 

V. That God gave to man, when he had made 
him, a dominion over the inferior creatures, over 
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the dir: 
though man provides for neither, he has power over 
both, much more over every living thing that mov- 
eth upon the earth, which are more under his care, 
and within his reach, God designed, hereby, to 
put an honour upon man, that he might find himself 
the more strongly obliged to bring honour to his 
Maker. This dominion is very much diminished 
and lost by the fall : yet God’s providence continues 
so much of it to the children of men, as is necessaiy 
to the safety and support of their lives, and God’s 
grace has given to the saints a new and better title 
to the creature than that which was forfeited by 
sin; for all is our’s, if we are Christ’s, 1 Cor. ?. 22. 

29. And God said, Behold, I have given 
you every herb bearing seed, which is upon 
the face of all the earth,, and every tree, 
in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding 
seed ; to you it shall be for meat. 30. And 
to every beast of the earth, and to every 
fowl of the air, and to evert'’ thing that 
crecpeth upon the earth, wherein there is 
life, I have ffiven every green herb for meat : 
and it was so. 

We have here the third part of the sixth day’s 
work which was, not any new creation, but a gi*a- 
cious provision of food for all flesh, Ps. 136. 25. He 
that made man and beast, thus took care to pre- 
serve both, Ps. 36. 6. Here is, 

I. Food provided for man, v. 29. Herbs and 
fi'uits must be his meat, including corn, and all the 
products of the earth; these were allowed him, but 
(it should seem) not flesh, till after the flood, ch. 
9. 3. And before the earth was deluged, much 
more, before it was cursed, for man’s sake, its fniits, 
no doubt, were more pleasing to his taste, and more 
strengthening and nomishing to the body, than mar- 
row and fatness, and all the portion of the king’s 
meat, are now. See here, 1. That which should 
make us humble. As we are made out of the earth, 
s<j we are maintained out of it. Once indeed, may 


I did eat angels’ food, bread from heaven; but they 
died, John 6. 49: it was to them but as food out 
of the earth, Ps. 104. 14. There is meat that 
endures to everlasting life; the Lord evermore give 
us that! 2. That which should make us thankfid. 
The Lord is for the body; from him we receive all 
the supports and comforts of this life, and to him we 
must give thanks. He gives us all things richly to 
enjoy, not only for necessitjq but plenty, dainties, 
iuid varieties, for ornament and delight. How mi.ch 
are we indebted! How careful should we be, as we 
live upon God’s Ijounty, to live to his glory ! 3. That 
which should make us temperate, and content with 
our lot. Though Adam had dominion given him 
over fish and fowl, yet God confined him, in his 
food, to herbs and fmits; and he never comjdained 
of it. Though afterwards he coveted forbidden 
fruit, for the sake of the wisdom and knowledge he 
promised himself from it, yet we never read that 
he coveted forbidden flesh. If God give us food 
for our lives, let us not, with murm””^ng Israel, 
ask food for our lusts, Ps. 78. 18. Set Dan. 1 15. 

II. Food provided for the beasts, v. 30. Doth 
God take care for oxen? Yes, certainly; he pro- 
vides food convenient for them, and not for oxen 
only, which were used in his sacrifices, and man’s 
service, but even the young lions and the young 
ravens are the care of his providence, they ask and 
have their meat from God. Let us give to God the 
glory of his bounty to the inferior creatures, that 
are all fed, as it were, at his table, every day. He 
is a great Housekeeper, a very' rich and bountifid 
one, that satisfies the desire of every living thing. 
Let this encourage God’s people to cast their care 
upon him, and not to be solicitous respecting what 
they shall eat, and what they shall drink. He thr.t 
provided for Adam without his care, and still pro- 
vides for all the creatures without their care, will 
not let those that trust him, want any good thing, 
Matth. 6. 26. He that feeds his birds, will not 
starve his babes. 

31. And God saw every thing that lie 
had made, and behold, it teas very good. 
And the evening and the morning were the 
sixth day. 

We have, here, the approbation and conclusion 
of the whole work of creation. As for God, his work 
is perfect; and if he begin, he will also make an 
end, in providence and gi-ace, as well as here in 
creation. Observe, 

I. The review God took of his work; he savj 
everything that he had made: so he dees still; all 
the works of his hands are under his eye. He that 
made all, sees all; he that made us, sees us, Ps. 
139. 1... 16. Omniscience cannot be separated fn m 
Omnipotence. Known unto God are all his works. 
Acts 15. 18. But this was the Eternal Mind’s solemn 
reflection upon the copies of its own wisdom, and 
the products of its own power. God has hereliv 
set us an example of reviewing our works. Hae ing 
given us a power of reflection, he expects we slirnld 
use that power, see our way, Jer. 2. 23, and think 
of it, Ps. 119. 59. Wlien we have finished a daifs 
work, and are entering upon the rest of the night, 
we should commune with our own hearts alxut 
what we have been doing that day; so likewise, 
when we have finished a week's work, and are 
entering upon the sabbath rest, we should thus pre- 
pare to meet our God; and when we are finishing 
our life's work, and are entering upen our rest in 
the grave, that is a time to bring to remembrance, 
that we may die repenting, and so take leave of it. 

IT. The complacency God took in his work. 
M'hen we come to review our works, we find, to 
our shame, that much has been very b^; but when 


30 


GENESIS, 11. 


God reviewed his, all was very good. He did not 
pronounce it good, till he had seen it so; to teach ! 
us, not to answer a matter before we hear it. The j 
work of creation was a veiy good work. All that 
God made, was well made, and there was no flaw ‘ 
or defect in it. 1. It was good. Good, for it is all 
agreeable to the mind of the Creator, just as he 
would have it to be; when the transcript came to I 
be compared with the great original, it was found 
to be exact, no errata in it; not one misplaced ; 
stroke. Good, for it answers the end of its creation, | 
and is fit for the purpose for which it was designed. \ 
Good, for it is serviceable to man, whom God had I 
appointed lord of the visible creation. Good, for it i 
is all for God’s glory; there is that in the whole | 
visible creation, which is a demonstration of God’s 
being and perfections, and which tends to beget, in 
the soul of man, a religious regard to him, and ven- 
eration of him. 3. It was very good. Of each day’s 
work, (except the second,) it was said that it was 
good, but now, it is very good. For, 1. Now, man 
was made, /ho was the chief of the ways of God, 
who was designed to be the visible image of the 
Creator’s glory, and the mouth of the creation in 
his praises. 2. Now, all was made; every part was 
good, but altogether, very good. The glory and 
goodness, the beauty and harmony, of God’s works, 
both of providence and grace, as this of creation, 
will best appear, when they are perfected. When 
the top stone is brought forth, we shall cry, Grace, 
grace, unto it, Zech. 4. 7. Therefore judge nothing 
before the time. 

III. The time when this work was concluded. 
The evening and the morning were the sixth day. 
So that in six days God made the world. We are 
not to think but that God could have made the world 
in an instant. He that said. Let there be light, and 
there was light, could have said, “Let there be a 
world,” and there would have been a world, in a 
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, as at the resur- 
rection. 1 Cor. 15. 52. But he did it in six days, 
that he might show himself a free-agent, doing his 
own work, both in his own way, and in his own time; 
that his wisdom, power^ and goodness, might appear 
to us, and be meditated upon by us, the more dis- 
tinctly; and that he might set us an example of 
working, six days, and resting, the seventh; it is 
therefore made the reason of the fourth command- 
ment. So much would the sabbath conduce to the 
keeping up of religion in the world, that God had an 
eye to it, in the timing of his creation. And now, as 
God reviewed his work, let us review our medita- 
tions upon it, and we shall find them very lame and 
defective, and our praises low and flat; let us there- 
fore stir up ourselves, and all that is within us, to 
worshifi him that made the heaven, earth, and sea, 
and the fountains of waters, according to the tenor 
of the everlasting Gospel which is preached to every 
nation, Rev. 14. 6, 7. All his works, in all places 
of his dominion, dobless him; and therefore, bless 
thou the Lord, 0 my soul. 

CHAP. II. 

This chapter is an appendix to the history of the creation, 
more particularly explaining, and enlarging upon, that 
part of the history, which relates immediately to man, 
the favourite of this lower world. We have in itj I. The 
institution and sanctification of the sabbath, which was 
made for man, to further his holiness and comfort, v. 1.. 
3. II. A more particular account of man’s creation, as 
the centre and summary of the whole work, v- 4.. 7. III. 
A description of the garden of Eden, and the placing of 
man in it under the obligations of a law and covenant, v. 
8. . 17. IV. The creation of the woman, her marriage to 
the man, and the institution of the ordinance of marriage, 
V. 18. . 25. 

1. r|nHUS the heavens and the earth were 
i finished, and all the host of them. 


2. And on the seventh day God ended his 
work which he had made ; and he rested on 
the seventh day from all his work which he 
liad made., 3. And God blessed the seventh 
day, and sanctified it ; because that in it he 
had rested from all his work, which God 
created and made. 

We have here, 

I. The settlement of the kingdom of nature, in 

God’s resting from the work of creation, v. 1, 2. 
\\ here observe, 1. That the creatures, made both 
in heaven and earth, are the hosts, or armies of them, 
which denotes them to be numerous, but marshalled, 
disciplined, and under command. How great is the 
sum of them ! And yet every one knows and keeps 
his place. God uses them as his hosts for the defence 
of his people, and the desti-uction of his enemies; 
for he is the Lord of hosts, of all these hosts, Dan. 4. 
35. 2. That the heavens and the earth are finished 

pieces, and so are all the creatures in them. So per- 
fect is God’s work, that nothing can be added to it, 
or taken from it, Eccl. 3. 14. God that began to 
build, showed himself well-able to finish. 3. That 
after the end of the first six days, God ceased from 
all works of creation. He has so ended his work, as 
\ .lat though, in his providence, he worketh hitherto, 
(John 5. 17.) preserving and governing all the crea- 
tures, and particularly forming the spirit of man 
within him, yet he does not make any new species 
of creatures. In miracles, he has controlled and 
over-ruled nature, but never changed its settled 
course, or r^ealed, or added to, any of its establish- 
ments. 4. That the eternal God, though infinitely 
happy in the enjoyment of himself, yet took a satis- 
faction in the work of his own hands. He did not rest, 
as one weary, but as one well-pleased with the in- 
stances of his own goodness, and the manifestations 
of his own glory. 

II. The commencement of the kingdom of grace, 
in the sanctification of the sabbath-day, v. 3. He 
rested on that day, and took a complacency in his 
creatures, and then sanctified it, and appointed us, 
on that day, to rest and take a complacency in the 
Creator; and his rest is, in the fourth commandment, 
made a reason for our’s, after six days’ labour. Ob- 
serve, 1. That the solemn observation of one day in 
seven, as a day of holy rest, and holy work, to God’s 
honour, is the indispensable duty of all those to 
whom God has revetued his holy sabbaths. 2. That 
the way of sabbath-sanctification, is the good old 
way, Jer. 6. 16. Sabbaths are as ancient as the 
world; and I see no reason to doubt that the sabbath, 
being now instituted in innocency, was religiously 
observed by the people of God throughout the pa- 
triarchal age. 3. That the sabbath of the Loi*d is 
truly honourable, and we have reason to honour it; 
honour it, ftir the^,sake of its antiquity, its great Au 
thor, the sanctification of the first sabbath by the holy 
God himself, and, in obedience to him, by our first 
parents in innocency. 4. That the sabbath-day is a 
blessed day, for God blessed it; and that which he 
lilcsscs is blessed indeed. God has put an honour 
upon it, has appointed us, on that day, to bless him, 
and has promised, on that day, to meet us and bless 
us. 5. That the sabbath-day is a holy day, for God 
has sanctified it. He has separated and distinguish 
cd it from the rest of the days of the week, and he 
has consecrated it, and set it apart to himself and 
his own service and honour. Though it is commonly 
taken for granted, that the Christian sabbath we ob- 
serve, reckoning from the creation, is not the se- 
venth but the first day of the week, yet being a 
seventh day, and we, in it, celebrating the rest of 
God the Son, and the finishing the work of our re- 
demption, we may and ought to act faith upon this 


31 


GENESIS, 11. 


original institution of the sabbath-day, and to com- 
memorate the work of creation, to the honour of the 
great Creator, who is therefore worthy to receive, 
on that day, blessing, and honour, and praise, from 
all religious assemblies. I 

4. These are the generations of the hea- 1 
yens and of the earth when they were 
created, in the day that the Lord God made 
the earth and the heavens. 5. And every 
plant of the field before it was in the earth, 
and every herb of the field before it grew: for 
the Lord God had not caused it to rain up- 
on the earth, and there was not a man to till 
the ground. 6. But there went up a mist 
from the earth, and watered the whole face 
of the ground. 7. And the Lord God form- 
ed man of the dust of the ground, and 
breathed into his nostrils the bi-eath of life; 
and man became a living soul. 

In these verses, 

I. Here is a name given to the Creator, which we 
have not yet met with, and that is Jehovah; the 
LORD in capital letters, which is constantly used, | 
in our English translation, to intimate that in the 
original it is Jehovah. All along, in the first chap- 
ter, he was called Elohim, a God of power, but now 
Jehovah Elohim, a God of power and perfection, a 
finishing God. As we find him known by his name 
Jehovah, when he appeared to perform what he had 

romised, Exod. 6. 3, so now we have him known 

y that name, when he had perfected what he had 
begun. Jehovah is that great and, incommunicable 
name of God, which denotes his having his being of 
himself, and his giving his being to all things; fitly 
therefore is he called by that name, now that hea- 
ven and earth are finished. 

II. Further notice taken of the production of plants 

and herbs, because they were made and appointed 
to be food for man, v. 5, 6, where observe, 1. The 
earth did not bring forth its fruits of itself, by any in- 
nate virtue of its own, but purely by the almighty 
power of God, which formed every plant and evei*)’^ 
herb, before it grew in the earth. Thus grace in 
the soul, that plant of renown, grows not of itself in 
nature’s soil, but is the work of God’s own hands. 
2. Rain also is the gift of God; it came not till the 
Lord God caused it to rain. If rain be wanted, it is 
God that withholds it; if rain come plentifully in its 
season, it is God that sends it; if it come in a distin- 
guishing way, it is God that causeth it to rain upon 
one city, and not upon another, Amos 4. 7. 3. 

Though God, ordinarily, works by means, yet he is 
not tied to them, but when he pleases, he c^ do his 
own work without them. As the plants were pro- 
duced before the sun was made, so they were before 
there was either rain to water the earth, or man to 
till it Therefore, though we must not tempt God 
in the neglect of means, yet we must tinst God in the 
want of means. 4. Some way or other, God will 
take care to water the plants that are of his own 
pi mting. Though, as yet, there was no rain, God 
made a mist equivalent to a shower, and with it 
watered the whole face of the ground. Thus he 
chose to fulfil his purpose by the weakest means, 
that the excellency of the power might be of God. 
Divine grace descends like a mist or silent dew, and 
waters the church without noise, Deut. 32. 2. 

III. A more particular account of the creation of 
man, v. 7. Man is a little world, consisting of hea- 
ven and earth, soul and body; now here Ve have an 
account of the original of both, and the putting of 
both together: let us seriously consider it, and say, 


to our Creator’s.p raise. We wctfearfully and won- 
derfully made, Ps. 139. 14. E,lihu, in the patri- 
archal age, refers to this history, when he says. Job 
33. 6, I also am formed out of the clay, and v. 4, 
The breath of the Almighty hath given me life, and 
ch. 32. 8, There is a spirit in man. Observe then, 

1. The mean original, and yet the curious stnic- 

ture, of the body of man. (1. ) The matter was des- 
picable. He was xn 2 L.(^e. f the dust of the ground, 
a very unlikely thing to make a man of; but the same 
Infinite Power that made the world of nothing, made 
man, its master-piece, of next to nothing. He was 
made of the dust, the small dust, such as is upon the 
surface of the earth. Probably, not diy dust, but 
dust moistened with the mist that went up, v. 6. 
He was not made of gold-dust, powder of pearl, or 
diamond dust, but common dust, dust of the ground. 
Hence he is said to be of the earth, y oiTH.-^usty, 
1 Cor. 15. A:7,. And we also are of the earth, for we 
are of his offspring, and of the same mould. So near 
an affinity is there betweeii the earth and our earthly 
parents, that our mother’s wombj out of which we 
were born, is called the earth; (Ps. 139. 15.) and 
the earth, in which we must be buried, is called our 
mother's womb. Job 1. 21. Our foundation is in the 
earth. Job 4. 19. Our fabric is earthly, and the 
fashioning of it -like that of an earthen vessel. Job 
,•10. 9. Our food is out of the earth. Job 28. 5. Oui 
'familiarity is with the earth. Job 17. 14. Our fa- 
thers are in the earth, and our own final tendency 
is to it; and what have we to be proud of then? Isa. 
51. 1. (2. ; Yet the Maker was gi’eat, and the make 

fine. The Lord God, the CTeat Fountain of being 
and power, formed man. Of the other creatures it 
is said, that they were created and made; but of 
man, that he was formed, which denotes a gradual 
process in the work with great accuracy and exact- 
ness. To express the creation of this new thing, he 
takes a new word; a word (some think) borrowed 
from the potter’s formin^is vessel upon the wheel , 
for we are the clay, and Cicd the Potter, Isa. 64. 8. 
The body of man is curiously wrought, Ps. 139. 15, 
16. Materiam superabat opus — The workmanship 
exceeded the materials. Let us present our bodies 
to God as living sacrifices, Rom. 12. 1; as living 
temples, 1 Cor. 6. 19; and then these vile bodies 
shall shortly be new-fonned like Christ’s glorious 
body, Phil. 3. 21. 

2. The high original, and yet the admirable ser- 
viceableness, of the soul of man. (1.) It takes its 
rise from the breath of heaven, and is produced by 
it. It was not made of the earth, as the body was; 
it is pity then that it should cleave to the earth, and 
mind earthly things. It came immediately from 
God, he gave it to be put into the body, (Eccl. 12. 
7. ) as, afterward, he gave the tables ox stone of his 
own Writing to be put into the ark, and the urim of 
his own iraming to be put into the breast-plate. 
Hence God is not only the Former, but the Father, 
of spirits. Let the soul which God ha^reathed 
into us, breathe after him; and let it be for him, 
since it is from him. Into his hands let us commit 
our spirits, for from his hands we had them. (2. ) 
It takes its lodging in a house of clay, and is the life 
and support ot it. It is by it, that man is a living 
soul, that is, a living man; for the soul is the man. 
The body would be a worthless, useless, loathsome 
carcase, if the soul did not animate it. To God that 
gave us these souls, we must shortly give an account 
of them, how wq have employed them, used them, 
proportioned them, and disposed of them: and if 
then it be found that we have lost them, though it 
were to gain the world, we are undone for ever 
Since the extraction of the soul is so noble, and its 
nature and faculties are so excellent, let us not be 
of those fools that despise their own souls, by pre- 
ferring their bodies before them, Prov. 15, 32 


32 


GENESIS, U. 


When our Lord Jesus anointed the blind man’s eyes 
\vith clay, perhaps he intimated that it was he who 
tirst formed the man out of the clay; and when he 
breathed on his disci/iles, saying. Receive ye the 
Holy Ghost, he intimated that it was he who first 
breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. He 
that made the soul, is alone able to new-make it. 

8. And the Lord God planted a garden 
eastward in Eden ; and there he put the man 
whom lie had formed. 9. And out of the 
ground made the Lord God to grow every 
tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good 
for food : the tree of life also in the midst of 
the garden, and the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil. 10. And a river went out of 
Eden to water the garden ; and from thence 
it was parted, and became into four heads. 

1 1. The name of the first is Pison : that is it 
which compasseth the whole land of Havi- 
lah, where there is gold. 1 2. And the gold of 
that land is good : there is bdellium and the 
onyx-stone. 1 3. And the name of the se- 
c(md river is Gihon : the same is it that com 
passeth the whole land of Ethiopia. 1 4. And3| 
the name of the third river is Hiddekel : that 
is it which goeth toward the east ol Assyria, 
And the fourth river is Euphrates. 1 5. And 
the L/ORD God took the man, and put him 
into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to 
keep it. 






Man consisting of body and soul, a body made out 
of the earth, and a rational immortal soul the breath 
of heaven, we have, in these verses, the provision 
that was made for the happiness of both; he that 
made him, tgok care to make him hap py, if he could 
but have kept himself so, and known when he was 
well off. That part of man by which he is allied to the 
world of sense, was made happy; for he was put in 
the paradise of God : that part by which he is allied to 
the world of spirits, was well provided for; for he 
was taken into covenant with God. Lord, what is 
man, that he should be thus dignified? Man that is 
a worm ! Here we have, 

I. A description of the garden of Eden, -which 
was intended for the mansion and demesne of this 
great lord, the palace of this prince. The inspired 
penman, in this history, writing for the Jews first, 
and calculating his narratives for the infant-state of 
the church, descriljes things by their outwai’d sensi- 
ble appearances, and leaves us, by further discove- 
ries of the divine light, to be led into the divine un- 
derstanding of the mysteries couched under them. 
Spiritual things were strong meat, which they could 
not yet bear; but he writes to them as unto carnal, 
1 Cor. 3. 1. Therefore lie does not so much insist uji- 
on the happiness of Adam’s mind, as upon that of his 
outward estate. The Mosaic history, as well as the 
Mosaic law, has rather the patterns of heavenly 
things, than the heavenly things themselves, Heb. 
^ 23. Oliserve, 

1. The place appointed for Ad im ’s' residence was 
a garden ; not an ivory house, or a palace overlaid 
with gold, but a ganlen furnished and adorned by 
nature, not by art. What little reason have men to 
be proud of stately and magnificent buildings, when 
it was the. happiness of man m iimocencv, that he 
needed none! As clothes came in with sin, so did 
houses. Tlie heaven was the roof of Adam’s house; 
uid never was any roof so curiously ceiled and paint- 


ed; the earth was his floor; and never was any floor 
so richly inlaid: the shadow of the trees was his i-e- 
tirement, under them were his dining-rooms, his 
lodging-rooms; and never were any rooms so finely 
hung as these; Solomon’s, in all their glory, were 
not arrayed like them. The better Ave can accom- 
modate ourselves to plain things, and the less ^ve 
indulge ourselves with those artificial delights which 
have been invented to gp-atify men’s pride and luxu- 
ry, the nearer we approach to a state of innocency. 
Nature is content with a little, and that which is 
most natural; grace with less; but lust with nothing. 

2. The contrivance and furniture of this garden 
Avere the immediate Avork of God’s wisdom and 
power. The Lord God planted this garden, that 
IS, he had planted it — ^upon the third day, when the 
fruits of the earth were made. We may Avell sup- 
pose it to have been the most accomplished place 
for pleasure and delight that^vm’ the sun saw; when 
the all-sufficient God himself designed it to be the 
present happiness of his beloved creature, man, in 
innocency, and a type and figure of the happiness 
of the chosen remnant in glory. N^o delights can 
be agreeable or satisfying to a soul, but those that 
God himself has provided and appointed for it; no 
true paradise, but of God’s planting; the light of 
our own fires, and the sparks of our OAvn kindling, 
will soon leave us in the dark,. Isa. 50. 11. The 
whole earth Avas now a paradise, compared with 
Avhat it is since the fall, and since the flood; the 
finest gardens in the world are a Avilderness, com- 
pared Avith what the whole face of the ground Avas 
before it was curse d for man’s sake: yet that Avas 
not enough; God planted a garden for Adam. God’s 
chosen ones shall have distinguishing favours shoAV- 
ed them. 

' 3. The situation of this garden Avas extremely 
sweet; it was Eden, winch signifie s del ight and 
filea sure. T he place is here particularly pointed 
out by such marks and bounds as Avere sufficient, (I 
suppose,) when Moses wrote, to specify the place 
to those Avho knew that country; but noAv, it seems, 
the curious cannot satisfy themselves concerning it. 
Let it be our care to make sure a place in the hea- 
venly paradise, and then Ave need not perplex our- 
selves with a search after the place of the earthly 
paradise. It is certain, wherever it Avas, it had all 
desirable conveniences, and (which never any house 
or garden on earth was) Avithout any inconvenience; 
beautiful for situation, the joy and glory of the whole 
earth was this garden : doubtless, it Avas earth in its 
highest perfection. 

- 4. The trees with which this garden was planted. 
(1.) It had all the best and choicest trees in com- 
mon Avith the rest of the ground. It Avas beautified 
and adorned with every tree that, for its height or 
breadth, its make or colour, its leaf or flower, Avas 
pleasant to the sight, and charmed the eye; it was 
replenished and enriched with even' tree that yield- 
ed fruit gi-ateful to the taste, and useful to the body, 
and so, good for food. God, as a tender Father, 
consulted not only Adam’s profit, but his pleasure; 
for there is a pleasure consistent Avith innocency, 
nay, there is a troe and trans cendent pleasure in in- 
nocency. God deligTits in the prosperity of his ser- 
vants, and Avould have them easy; it is owing to 
themselves, if they be uneasy. When Providence 
puts us into an Eden of p lenty and pleasure, Ave 
ought to serve him iinth joy fulness and gladness of 
heart, in the aliundance of the good things he gives 
us. But, (2. ) It had two extraordinary trees pecu- 
liar to itself; on earth there Avere not their like. [1.] 
There Avas the tree of life in the midst of the garden, 
Avhich Avas not so much a memorandum to him of 
the Founbuin and Author of his life, nor nerhaps 
any natural means to preserve or prolong life; but 
it was chiefly intended to be a sign and seal to Adam, 


GENESIS, 11. 


(isbiiring him of the continuance of life and hapj^i- ' 
nesj, even to immortality and everlasting bliss, 
TTii-ough the grace and favour of his Maker, upon 
condition of his perseverance in this state of inno- i 
ceiicy and obedience. Of this he might eat and 
li\ e. Chnst is now to us the T ree o f hfe^Rev. 2. 
7. — 22. 2,~and’the Hread' of Uft, John ' 5. 48. 53. 
[2.] There was the Tree of the knowledge of good ’ 
and evil, sq called, not because it had any virtue in 
it to beget or increase useful knowledge, surely then 
it would not have been forbidden; but, dirst. Be- 
cause there was an express positive res elation of | 
the will cf God concerning tliis tree, so that by it he ' 
might know moral good and evil. What is good.^ ■ 
h IS good not to eat of this tree. What is evil.^ It . 
is evil to eat of this tree. The distinctiim between ! 
all other moral good 'and evil was written in the i 
heart of man by nature; but this which resulted 
from a positive law, was written upon this tree. 
Secondly, Because, in the event, it proved to give 
Adam an experimental knowledge cf good by the 
loss of it, and of evil by the sense of it. As the 
covenant of grace has in it, not only. Believe and be 
saved, but also. Believe not, and be damned, Mark 
16. 16, s 1 the covenant of innocency had in it, not 
only “Do this and live,” which was sealed and 
conlirmed by the tree of life, but, “Fail and die,” 
which man was assured cf by this other tree; 
“Touch it at yourperil:” so that, in these two trees, 
Ciod setbef ire Adam good and evil, the blessing and 
the curse, Deut. SO. 19. I'hese two trees were as 
two sacraments. 

5. The rivers with which this garden was water- 
ed, V. 10. . . 14. These fmir rivers (or one river 
branched into four streams^ contributed much both 
to the jdeasantness an d th e fruit fulness of ti lls gar- 
de:i. The land of SoHcm li'saicT to be well-watered 
exu-ry xvhere as the garden of the Lord, ch. 13. 10. 
Observe, That which God plants, he will take care to 
keep watered. The trees of righteousness are set by 
the rivers, Ps. 1. 3. In the heavenly paradise there 
is a rii er infinitely surpassing these; for it is a river i 
of the water of life, not coming out of Eden, as this, j 
but proceeding out cf the throne cf God, and of the j 
Lamb, Rev. 22. 1. a river that makes glad the city < 
of our God, Ps. 46. 4. Hiddekel and Euphrates 
are rivers of Babylon, which we read of elsewhere; | 
by these the captive Jew's sat down and weft, when 
they remembered Zion, Ps. 137. 1. but methinks 
they had much more reason to w'ecp, (and so have 
we,) at the remembrance of Eden; Adam’s paradise 
V was their prison; such w'retchell work has sin made. 
Of the larfd of Havilah, it is said, v. 11, 12, that the 
(^old of that land was good, and that there was bdel- 
lium, and the onyje-stone: surely this is mentioned, 
that the wealth which the land or Havilah boasted of, 
might be as a foil to that which was the glory of the 
land of Eden. Havilah had gold, and spices, and 
precious stones; but Eden had that which was in- I 
finitely better, the tree of life, and communion with | 
God. So we may say of the Africans and Indians; 
“I'hey have the gold, but we have the gospel, 
"^['he gold of their land is good, but the riches of 
our’s arc infinitely better.” 

II. The placing of man in this paradise of delight, 

15, where observe, 

1. How God put him in possession of it. The 
Lord God took the xnan and' fut him into the gar- : 
den of Eden; so x<. 8, 15. Note here, (1.) That ; 
man was made out of paradise; for, after God had 
formed him, he put him into the garden: he was ' 
rnade of common clay, not of paradise-dust. Pie 1 
lived out oTEiden beTcre he IK'cd in it, that he might 
see that all the comforts of his paradise-state were ' 
owing to God’s free grace. He could not plead a i 
tenant righ.t to the garden, for he was not bom upon I 

VoL. I. — E 


the premises, nor had any thing but what he receiv 
ed; all boasting was hereby for ever excluded. (2. ) 
I'he same God that was the Author of his being, 
was the Aut hor of Ihslj^ 's: the same hand that 
made him a living soul, planted the tree of life fi-r 
him, and settled him by it; he that made us, is alcne 
able tom ke us happy; he that is the Former cf 
our bodies, imd the P alher cf cur spirits; he, ami 
none but he, can eficctually provide tor the felicity 
o f bi th. (3.) It adds nuich to the comfort of any 
conditicn, it we have plainly seen Gcd going before 
us, and putting us into it. If we have net forced 
proviclence, but followed it, and taken the hints of 
direction it has given us, we may hope to find a pa- 
radise there, where c therwise we could not have 
expected it; see Ps. 47. 4. 

2. How God appointed him business and employ- 
ment; he put him there, not like Leviathan into the 
waters, to play therein, but to dress the garden, and 
to keep it. Pju-adise itself was net a place of ex- 
emption from work. Note here, (1.) That we 
weTCTTone of us senrinto the world to be idle. He 
that made us these souls and bodies, has given us 
something to work with; and he that gave us this 
earth for our habitation, has made us something to 
w’ork on. If either a high extraction, or a great 
estate, cr a large dominion, or perfect innocency, or 
a genius for pure contemplaticn, or a small familv, 
could have given a man a w'rit of ease, Adam had 
not been set to work; but he that gave us being, has 
given us business, to serv e him and our generation, 
and to work out our salvation; if we do not mind 


/ 


our business, we are^ unworthy of our being and 
maintenance. (2.) 1 hat secular employments will 
very well consist with a state cf innocency, and a 
life of communion wdth God. The sons and heirs 
of heaven, while they are here in this world, have 
something to do about this earth, which must have 
its share of their time and thcuglits; and if they do 
it with an eye to God, they are as truly serving him 
in it, as when they are upon their knee’s. (3. ) "That 
the husbandman’s calling is an ancient and honour- 
able calling; it was needful even in paradise. The 
garden cf Eden, thrugh it needed not to be weeded, 

(for thorns and thistles were net yet a nuisance,) yet 
it must be dressed and kept. Nature, even in its \yZ 
pilmitiye state, left room for the improvements of 
mt and incTurtry. It w'as a gallin g fit for a state of 
innocency, making a proviSon for life, and not for 
lust; and giving nnm an opportunity of admiring the 
Creator, and acknowledging his providence; while 
his hands were about his trees, his heart might be 
with h;s God. (4.) T. here is a true pleasure in the 
busincp which Gcd calls us to, and em])loys us in; 
Adam’s work was so far from being an allay, that it 
was an addition, to the j)leasures of paradise; he 
could not have been hapjiy, if he had iDee'h idle: it 
is still a law. He that will'not work, has no rieht to 
eat, 2 I'hess. 3. 10. Prov. 27. 23. 


III. The command which Gcd gave to man in 
innocency, and the covenant he then took him into. 
Hitherto, we have seen God, man’s powerful Crea- 
tor, and his bountiful Benefactor; now he appears 
as his Ruler and Lawgiver. God put him into the 
garden of Eden, not to live there as he might list, 
but to be under government. As we are not al- 
lowed to be idle in this world, and to do nothing, so 
we are not allowed to be wilful, and do what we 
please. M'hcn God had given man a dominion ovei 
the creatures, he would let him know that still he 
himself was under the government of his Creator. 


16. And the Lord God commanded die 
man, saying, Of eveiy tiee of die garden 
thou mayest freely eat."^ 1 7. But of the tree 
of the knowledge of good and evil, thou 


GENESIS, IL 


iA 

shalt not eat of it: for in the clay that thou 
eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. 

Observe here, 

I. God’s authority over man, as a creature that 
had reason and freedom of will. The Lord God 
commanded the man, who stood now as a public 
person, the father and representative of all man kind, 
to receive law, as he had lately received a nature, 
for himself, and all his. God commanded all the 
creatures, according to their capacity; the settled 
course of nature is a law, Ps. 148. 6. — 104. 9. The 
brute-creatures have their respective instincts; but 
man was made capable of performing reasonable 
service, and therefore receives, not only the com- 
nand of a Creator, but the command of a Pnnce 
and Master. I'hough Adam was a very great man, 
a very good man, and a veiy happy man, yet the 
Lord God commanded him; and the command was 
no disparagement to his greatness, no reproach to 
his goodness, nor any diminution at all to his happi- 
ness. Let us acknowledge God’s right to rule us, 
and our own obligations to be lailed by him ; and 
never allow any will of our own, in contradiction to, 
or competition with, the holy will of God. 

II. The particular act of this authority, in pre- 
scribing to him what he should do, and upon what 
terms he should stand with his Creator. Here is, 

1. A confirmation of his present happiness to 
him^ in that grant. Of every tree in the garden thou 
mayest freely eat. This was not only an alloAvance 
of liberty to him, in taking the delicious fruits of 
paradise, as a recompense for his care and pains in 
dressing and keeping it, (1 Cor. 9. 7, 10.) but it 
was, withal, an assurance of life to him, immortal 
life, upon his obedience. For the tree of life being 
put in the midst of the garden, v. 9, as the heart and 
soul of it, doubtless, God had an eye to that, espe- 
cially in this grant; and therefore, when, upon his 
revolt, this grant is recalled, no notice is taken of 
any tree of the garden as prohibited to him, except 
the tree of life, ch. 3. 22, of which it is there said, 
he might have eaten and lived for ever, that is, 
never died, nor ever lost his h^piness. “Con- 
tinue holy as thou art, in conformity to thy Crea- 
tor’s will, and thou shalt contin ue hap py as thou 
art, in the enjoyment of thy Creator’sTavour, either 
in this paradise, or in a better. ” Thus, upon con- 
dition of perfect personal and perpetual obedience, 
Adam was sure of paradise to himself and his heirs 
for ever. 

2. A trial of his obedience, upon pain of the for- 
feiture of all his happiness; but of the otlier tree, 
which stood very near the tree of life, (for they 
are both said to be in the midst of the garden and 
which was called the tree of knowledge, in the day 
that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die; as if 
he had said, “Know, Adam, that thou art now u])cn 
thy good behaviour, thou art put into paradise upon 
trial; be observant, be obedient, and thou art made 
for ever; otherwise thou wilt be as miserable, as 
now thou art happy.” Here, (1.) Adam is threat- 
ened with death, in case of disobedience; dying thou 
shalt die, denoting a sure and dreadful sentence, as, 
in the former part of this covenant, eating thou shalt 
eat, denotes a free and full grant. Observe, [1.] 
That even Adam, in innocencv, was awed with a 
threatening; fear is one of the handles of the soul, 
by which it is taken hold of and held. If he then 
needed this hedge, much more do we now. [2.] 
The penalty threatened, is death. Thou shalt die, 
that is, “Thou shalt be debarred from the tree of 
life, and all the good that is signified bv it, all the 
happiness thou hast, either in possession or pros- 
pect; and thou shalt become liable to death, and all 
the miseries that preface it and attend it.” [3.] 
I’his was threatened as the immediate consequence 


of sin. In the day thou eatest, thou shalt die, that is, 
“Thou shalt become mortal and capable of dying, 
the grant of immortality shall be recalled, and that 
defence shall depart from thee. Thou shalt be 
come obnoxious to death, like a condemned male 
factor that is dead in law ;” (only because Adam 
wa^to be the root of mankind, he was reprieved;) 
“nay, the harbingers and forerunners of death shall 
immediately seize thee, and thy life, henceforward, 
shall be a dying life;” and this surely; it is a settled 
rule, the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (2.) Adam 
is tried with a positive law, not to eat of the fruit of 
the tree of knoirledge. Now it was very proper to- 
make trial of his obedience by such a command as 
this, [1.] Because the reason of it is fetched purely 
from the will of the Law-maker. Adam hacl in Ins 
nature an aversion to that which was evil in ilsell, 
and therefore he is tried in a thing Avhich was evil, 
only because it was forbidden; and being in a small 
thing, it was the more fit to prove his obedience b> 
[2.] Because the restraint of it is laid upon tlie de- 
sires of the flesh and of the mind, which, in the cor 
nipt nature of man, are the two great fountains of 
sin. This prohibition checked both his appetite 
towards sensitive delights and his ambition of curi- 
ous knowledge; that his body might be ruled by his 
soul, and his soul by his God. 

Thus easy, thus happy, jwas man in his state of 
innocency, having all that heart could wish to make 
him so. How good was God to him ! How mdiy 
favours did he load him with ! How easy were 
the laws he gave him ! Hoiv kind the covenant he 
made with him ! Yet man, being in honour, under- 
stood not his own interest, but soon became as the 
beast that perish. 

1 8. And the Lord God said, It is not good 
that the man should be alone ; I will make 
him an help meet for him. 1 9. And out of 
the ground the I..ord God formed every 
beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, 
and brought them unto Adam to see what 
he would call them : and whatsoever Adam 
called evei 7 living creature, that teas the 
name thereof. 20. And Adam gave names 
to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to 
every beast of the field ; but for Adam there 
was not found an help meet for him. 

Here we have, 

1. An instance of the Creator’s care of man, and 
his fatherly concern for his comfort, X'. 18. Though 
God had let him know that he was a subject, by 
giving him a command, v. 16, 17, yet here he lets 
him know also, for his encouragement in his obedi- 
ence, that he was a friend, and a favourite, and one 
whose satisfaction he was tender of. Observe, 

1. How God graciously pitied his solitude ; It is 
not good that man, this man, should be alone. 
Though there was an upper world of angels, and 
a lower world of bnites, and he between them, yet 
there being none of the same nature and I'ank of 
beings with himself, none that he could converse 
familiarly with, he might be tinily said to be alone. 
Now he that made him, knew both him, and what 
was good for him, better than he did himself, and 
he said, “ It is not good that he should continue thus 
alone.” (1.) It is not for his comfort ; for man is a 
sociable creature, it is a pleasure to him to exchange 
knowledge and afl'ection with those of his own kind, 
to inform and to be informed, to love and to be belov- 
ed. What God here says of the first man, Solo- 
mon says of all men, (Eccl. 4. 9, &c. ) that two are 
better than one, and woe to him that is alone. If 
there were but one man in the world, what a melon 


35 


GENESIS, 11. 


choly man must he needs bd Perfect solitude would 
turn a paradise into a desert, and a palace into a 
dungeon. Those therefore are foolish who are sel- 
hsh, and would be placed alone in the earth. (2. ) 
It is not for the increiise and continu nee of his 
kind; God could have made a world of men, at 
first, to replenish the earth, as he replenished hea- 
ven with a world of angeLs: but the place would 
have been too straight for the designed number of 
men to live together at once; therefore (iod saw it 
fit to make up that number bv a succession of ge- 
nerations, which, as God had formed man, must be 
from two, and those male and female; one will be 
ever one. 

2. How God graciously resolved to provide s' cie- 
ty for him. The result of this reasoning c-.-nceru- 
ing him, was, this kind resolution, / tjUI make a 
helfi meet for him-, a help him, (so some read 
it,) one of the same nature, and the same rank of 
beings; a help near him, (so others,) one to cohabit 
with him, and to be always at hand; a help before 
him, (so others,) one that he should look upon with 
pleasure and delight. Note hence, (1.) That in 
our best state in this world, we have need of one an- 
other’s help; for we are members one of another, 
and the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need 
of thee, 1 Cor. 12. 21. We must therefore be 
glad to receive help from others, and give help to 
others, as there is occasion. (2.) That it is God 
only who perfectly knows our wants, and is per- 
fectly able to supply them all, Phil. 4. 19. In him 
alone our help is, and from him are all our helpers. 
3.) That a suitable wife is a help meet, and is 
rom the Lord. The relation is then likely to be 
comfortable, when meetness directs and determines 
tlie choice, and mutual helpfulness is the constant care 
and endeavour, 1 Cor. 7. 33, 34. (4.) That family 

society, if that is agreeable, is a redress sufficient 
for the grievance of solitude. He that has a good 
God, a good heart, and a good wife, to converse 
with, and yet complains he wants conversation, 
would not have been easy and content in paradise; 
for Adam himself had no more: yet even before 
Eve was created, we do not find that he complain- 
ed of being alone, knowing that he was not alone, 
for the Father was with him. Those that are most 
satisfied in God and his favour, are in the best way, 
and in the best frame, to receive the good things of 
this life, and shall be sure of them, as far as Infinite 
Wisdom sees good. 

II. An instance of the creatures’ subjection to 
man, and his dominion over them, -v. 19, 20. Every 
beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, God 
brougnt to Adam; either by the ministry of angels, 
or by a special instinct, directing them to come to 
man as their master, teaching the ox betimes to 
know his owner. Thus God gave man li\ ery and 
seisin of the fair estate he had granted him, and put 
him in possession of his dominion over the crea- 
tures. God brought them to him, that he might 
name them, and so might give, 1. A proof of his 
knowledge, as a creature endued with the faculties 
both of reason and speech, and so, taught more | 
than the beasts of the earth, and made wiser than the \ 
fowls of heaven. Job. 35. 11. And 2. A proof of his 
power. It is an act of authority to impose names, 
H)an. 1. 7.) and of subjection to receive them. 
The inferior creatures did now, as it were, do ho- 
mage to their prince at his inauguration, and swear 
fealty and allegiance to him. If Adam had conti- 
nued faithful to his God, we may suppose the crea- 
tures themselves would so well have kno^vn and 
remembered the names Adam now gave them, as 
to have come at his call, at any time, and answered 
to their names. God gave names to the day and 
night, to the firmament, to the earth, and sea; and 
he calleth the stars by their names, to show that he 


is the supreme Loixl of these; but he gave Adam 
leave to name the beasts and fowls, as their subordi- 
nate lord; for, ha\ing made him in his own image, 
he thus puts some of his honour upon him. 

III. An instance of the creatures’ insufficiency to 
be a happiness for man: but among them all, for 
Adam there was not found a help meet for him. 

I Some make these to be the words of Adam him- 
j self; observing all the creatures come to him by 
I couples to be named, he thus intimates his desire 
\ to his Maker. “Lord, these h.ave all helps meet 
I icr them; but what shall I do.^ Never, never a one, 
for me.” It is rather God’s judgment upon the re 
I % iew. He l)rought them all together, to see if there 
j were ever a suitable match for Adam in any of the 
‘ numerous families of the inferior creatures; but 
there was none. Observe here, 1. The dignity and 
I excellency of the human nature; on earth there was 
I not its like, nor its peer to be found among all visi- 
I ble creatui-es; they were all looked over, but it 
! could not be matched among them all. 2. The va- 
I nity of this world and the things of it; put them all 
1 together, and they will not make an help meet for 
man. They will not suit the nature of the soul, nor 
supply its needs, nor satisfy its just desires, nor run 
parallel with its never-failing duration. God cre- 
ates a new thing to be an help meet for man — not so 
much tlie woman, as the Seed of the woman. 

21. And tWe Lord God caused a deep 
sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and 
he took one of his ribs, and closed up the 
1 flesh instead thereof. 22. And the rib 
which the Lord God had taken from man, 
made he a woman, and brought her unto the 
man. 23 . And Adam said. This is now 
i bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh : 
she shall be called Woman, because she 
was taken out of Man. 24 . Therefore 
I shall a man leave his father and his mother, 

I and shall cleave unto his wife : and they 
shall be one flesh. 25 . And they were both 
naked, the man and his wife, and were not 
ashamed. 

Here w e have, 

I. The making of the woman, to be an help meet 
for Adam. This was done upon the sixth day, as 
was also the placing of Adam in Paradise, though 
it is here mentioned after an account of the seventh 
day’s rest; but what was said in general, {ch. 1. 27.) 
that God made man male and female, is more dis- 
tinctlv related here. Obseiwe, 

1. That Adam was first formed, then Eve, (1 Tim. 
2. 13.) and she was made of the man, and for the 
man, (1 Cor. 11. 8, 9. ) all which are urged there as 
reasons for the humility, modesty, silence, and sub- 
missiveness, cf that sex in general, and particularly 
the subjection and reverence which wives owe to 
their own husbands. Yet man being made last of the 
creatures, as the best and most excellent of all. 
Eve’s being made after Adam, and out of him, puts 
an honour upon that sex, as the glory of the man, 

1 Cor. 11.7. If man is the head, she is the crown; a 
crown to her husband, the crown of the visible crea- 
tion. The man was dust refined, but the woman 
was dust double-refined, one remove further from 
the earth. 

2. That Adam slept while his wife W'as mak’ng, 
that no room might be left to imagine that he had 

directed the spirit of the Lord, orbeenhiacoun- 
sellor, Isa. 40. 13. He had been made sensible of his 
want of a help meet; but God having undertaken 
to provide him one, he does not afflict himself with 


36 


GENESIS, III. 


any care about it, but lies down and sleeps sweetiy, 
as one that had cast all his care on (lod, witii a 
cheei’ful resignation of himself and all his alhiirs, to 
nis Maker’s will and wisdom; Jehorah-jireh, let the 
Lord provide when and whom he pleases. Ir wc 
graciously rest in God, God will graciously work 
for us, and work all for good. 

3. 'Fhat God caused a slee/i to fall on yldani, and 
made it a deep sleep, that so the opening of his side 
might be no grievance to him; while he knows no 
sin, God will take care he shall feel no pain. W'hen 
God, by his providence, docs that to his people, 
which is grievous to flesh and blood, he not only 
consults their happiness in the issue, but, by his 
grace, he can so quiet and compose their spirits, as 
to make them easy under the sharpest operations. 

4. That the woman was made oj a rib out of fie 
side of Mam; not made out of his head to top him, 
not out of his feet to be trampled upon by hini, but 
out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm 
to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. 
Adam lost a rib, and without any diminution to his 
strength or comeliness; for doubtless, the flesh was 
closed without a scar, but, in lieu thereof, he had a 
help meet for him, which abundantly made up his 
loss: what God takes av/ayfr om his pe^'ple, he will, 
one way or other, restore with a.dvant'age. In this, 
(as in many other things,) Adam was a figure of him 
that was to come; for out of the side of Christ the 
second Adam, his spouse the church was formed, 
when he slept the sleep, the deep sleep, of death 
upon the cross; in order to which, his side was open- 
ed, and there came out blood and water, blood to 
purchase his church, and water to purify it to him- 
self. See Eph. 5. 25, 26. 

II. The marriage of the woman to Adam. Mar- 
riage is honourable, but this surely was the most 
honourable marriage that ever was, in which God 
himself had all along an immediate hand. Mar- 
riages (they say) are made in Heaven: we are sure 
this was; for the man, the woman, the match, were 
all God’s own work: he, by his power, made them 
both, and now, by his ordinance, made them one. 
This was a marriage made in perfect innocency, 
and so was never any marriage since. 

1. God , as her Father, b rought the woman to the 
man, as his second self, and an help meet for him; 
when he had made her, he did not leave her to her 
own disposal ; no, she was his child, and she must 
not marry without his consent. I hose are likely to 
settle to their comfort, who, by taith and prayer, 
and a humble dependence upon Providence, ])ut 
themselves under a divine conduct. 1 hat wife that 
is of God’s making by special grace, and of God’s 
bringing by special providence, is likely to prove a 
help meet for a man. 

2. From G od, as hji Fiyther, Adam received her, 

u. 23. “ This is nojv bone of my bone; Now I have 

what I wanted, and which all the creatures could 
not furnish me with, an help meet for me.” God’s 
gifts to us are to be received with a humble and 
thankfid acknowledgment of his wisdom in suiting 
them to us, and his favour in bestowing them on us. 
Probably, it was revealed to Adam in a vision, when 
he was asleep, that this lovely creature, now pre- 
sented to him, was a piece of himself, and was to be 
his companion, and the wife of his covenant. Hence 
some have fetched an argument to prove that glori- 
fied saints in the heavenly paradise shall know one 
another. Further, in token of his acceptance of 
her, he gave her a name, not ])ccuiiar to her, but 
common to her sex; she shall be called woman, 
Isha, a she-man, differing from man in sex only, 
not in nature; made of man, and joined to man. j 

III. The institution of the ordinance of marriage, i 
and the settling of the law of it, v. 24. The salj- | 
bath and marriage were two ordinances insftuted 


!| in innocency; the former for the preservation ol tlie 
j church, the latter, for the preservation of the wni Id 
! of in mkind. It appears I)y Matth. 19. 4, 5, thai it 
j was God himself who said here, “ A man must leave 
all his relations, to cleave to his wife;” but whetl\er 
he .spake it by Moses, the penman, or by Adam, 
who spake, v. 23. is uncertain; it should seem, tliey 
I are the words of Adam, in God’s name, laying 
I down this law to all his posterity. 1. See here how' 

' great the vn-tuc cf a divine ordinance is; the bonds 
. of il ire stronger e\ en than those of nature. To 
I whom can we be more firmly bound than to the 
fruthei’s that begat us, and the mothers that bare us I 
Yet the son must quit them, to be jolnefT tb his wife, 
and the daughter forget them, to cleave to her hus- 
band, Ps. 45. 10, 11. 2. See how necessary it is 

that children should take their parents’ consent 
along with them in their marriage; and how un- 
just they are to their parents, as well asundutiful, il 
they marry without it; for they rob them of thei»‘ 
right to them, and interest in them, and alienate it 
to another, fraudulently and unnaturally. 3. See 
what need there is both of prudence and prayer in 
the choice of this relation, which is so near and so 
lasting. That had need be well-done, wdiich is to 
be done for life. 4. See how firm the bond of mar- 
riage is, net to be divided and weakened by having 
I many wives, (Mai. 2. 15.) nor to be broken or cut 
off by divorce, for any cause, but fornication, or vo- 
luntary desertion. 5. See how dear the affection 
ought to be between husband and wife; such as 
there is to our own bodies, Eph. 5. 28. They two 
ai'e one flesh; let them then be one soul. 

IV. An evidence of the purity and innocency of 
that state wherein our first parents were createfl, v. 
25. They were both naked: they needed no clothes 
for defence against cold or heat, for neither could 
be injurious to them ; they needed none for orna- 
ment, Solomon i n all his glory was not arr ayed like 
one of these; nay, they needed none for cfecency, 
they were naked, and had no reason to be ashamed; 
They knesv not ’udiat shame svas, so the Chaldee 
reads it. Blushing is now the colour cf virtue, but 
it was not then the colour of innocency. They that 
had no sin in their conscience, might well have no 
shame in their faces, though they had no clothes to 
their backs. 


CHAP. in. 

The story of this chapter is perhaps as sad a story (all 
thinijs considered) as any we have in all the Bib'e. In 
the foregoing chapters, we have had the pleasant view 
of the holiness and happiness of our first parents, the 
grace and favour of God, and the peace and beauty of 
the whole creation, all good, very good : but here the 
scene is altered. We have here an account of the sin 
and misery of our first parents, the wrath and curse of 
God against them, the peace of the creation disturbed, 
and its beautv stained and sullied, all bad, ver)' bad. 
How is the gol'd become dim, and the most fine gold chang 
ed! O that our hearts were deeply aflccted with this 
record ! For we are all nearly concerned in it ; let it 
not be to us as a tale that is told. The general contents 
of this chapter wc have, Rom. 5. 12. By one man sin en 
teredinto the world, and death by sin ; and so death pass 
ed upon a’l men, for that all have sinned. More particu 
larlv, we have here, I. The innocent tempted, v. 1 . . o. 
II. The tempted transgressing, v. 6. . 8. III. The trans 
gressors arraigned, v. 9, 10. IV. Upon their arraign 
ment, convicted, v. 1 1 .. 13. V. Upon their conviction, 
sentenced, v. 14 . . 19. VI. Aflcr sentence, reprieved, v. 
20, 21. VII. Notwithstanding their reprieve, execution 
in part done, v. 22.. 24. And were it not for the gra 
cious intimations here given of redemption by the pro 
mised Seed, they, and'all their degenerate guilty race 
had been left in endless despair. 

tlie serpent was more subtle 
than any beast of the field which 


37 


GENESIS, III. 


tlie Lord God had made. And he said 
unto the woman, Yea, hath God said. Ye 
shall not eat of every tree of tlie garden I 2. 
And tlie woman said unto the serpent. We 
may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 
3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the 
midst of tlie garden, God hath said. Ye shall 
not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye 
die. 4. And the serpent said unto the wo- 
man, Ye shall not surely die : 5. For God 
i.loth know tliat in the day ye eat thereof, 
then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall 
be as gods, knowing good and evil. 

W’e have here an account of the temptation with 
which Satan assaults our first parents, to draw 
them to sin, and which proved fatal to them. And 
here observe, 

1. The tempter, and that was the Devil, in the 
shape and likeness of a serpent. 

]. It is certain it was the Devil that beguiled Eve, 
the Devil and Satan is the old serpent. Rev. 12. 9, 
a malignant spirit, by creation an angel of light, and 
an immediate attendant upon God’s throne; but by 
sin become an apostate from his first state, and a 
rebel against God’s crown and dignity. Multitudes 
of them fell; but this that att icked our first pa- 
rents, evas surely the prince of the devils, the 
ringleader in rebellion: no sooner was he a sinner 
th n he was a Satan, no sooner a traitor than a 
teini)ter, as one enraged against God and his glory, 
and envious of man and his happiness. He knew he 
could not destroy man, but by debauching him. 
Ikd uun cculd not curse Israel, but he cculd temjit 
Israel, Rev. 2. 14. The game therefore which Sa- 
tan had to play, was, to draw our first parents to 
sin, and so to separate between them and their Gcd. 
Thus the Devil was, from the beginning, a murder- 
er, and the great mischief-maker. The whole race 
of mankind had here, as it were, but one neck, and 
at that Satan struck. The adversary and enemt' is 
that wicked one. 

2. It was the Devil in the likeness of a serpent. 
M' licther it was only the visil)le shape and appear- 
ance of a serpent, as some think those were of which 
we read, Exed. 7. 12, or whether it Avas a real li\ - 
ing serpent, actuated and possessed by the Devil, is 
net certain; by God’s permission it might be either. 
The Devil chose to act his pail in a serpent, (1.) 
Because it is a specious creature, has a spotted dap- 
pled skin, and then went erect. Perhtips it was a 
flying serpent, Avhich seemed to come from on high 
as a messenger from the upper world, one of the Se- 
rafihhn; f r the fiery serpents were flying, Isa. 14. 
29. Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in 
gay fine colours that are but skin-deep, and seems 
to come from above ; for S .tan can seem an angel of 
light. And, (2.) Because it is a subtle creature; 
that is here taken notice of. Many instances are 
given of the subtlety of the serpent, both to do mis- 
chief, and to secure himself in it when it is done. 
We ai'e bid to be Avise as seiiients. But this ser- 
pent, as c.ctu ded liy the Devil, no doubt, was more 
subtle thiui any other; f r the Devil, though he' had 
1 -St the sanctity, retains 'the sagacity, of an angel, 
and is Avise to do eA'il. He kncAv of more advant ‘ge 
by making use of the serpent, than we are aAvare of. 
Gbseio e, There is net any thing by Avhich the Devil 
serves himself and his own interest more than bv 
unsanctified subtlety. What Eve thought of this 
seipcnt speaking to her, Ave arc not likely to tell, 
Avlien I believe she herself did not knoAV Avhat to 
think of it. At first, perhaps, she supposed it might 
be a good angel, and yet, aftex'Avard, might suspect 


something amiss. It is remarkable that the Gciaile 
idolaters did many cf them worship the Devil in the 
shape and form of a serpent; thereby avoAving their 
adherence to that apostate spirit, and Avearing his 
colours. 

II. The person tempted was the ivoman, noAv 
alone, and at a distance firm'her husband, but near 
the forbidden tree. It was the Devil’s subtlety, 1. 
To assault the Aveaker vessel with his temptations; 
though perfect in her kind, yet we may suppose hei 
inferior to Adam in knowledge, and strength, aiio 
presence of mind. Some think Eve received thi 
command, not immediately from Gcd, but at second 
hand by her husband, and therefore might the more 
easily be persuaded to discredit it. 2. It was his 
policy to enter into discourse with her, when she 
Avas alone. Had she kept close to the side out of 
which she Avas lately taken, she had not been so 
much exposed. There are many temjitaticns t<’ 
which solitude gives great advantage; but the com 
muiiion of saints contributes much to their strength 
and safety. 3. He took advantage by finding her 
near the forbidden tree, and, probably, gazing upon 
the fruit cf it, only to satisfy her curiosity. They 
that Avould not eat the forbidden fruit, must not come 
near the forbidden tree. Avoid it, pass not by it, 
Prov. 4. 15. 4. Satan tempted Eve, that by her he 

might tempt Adam; so he tempted Job by his wife, 
and Christ by Peter. It is his policy to send temp- 
tations by unsuspected hands, and their’s that have 
most interest in us and infl.uence upon us. 

HI. The temptation itself, and the artificial man- 
agement of it. W’e are often, in scripture, told cf 
our danger by the temptations of Satan; his devices, 
2 Cor. 2. 11; his depths, RcAa 2. 24; his ivilcs, Eph. 
6. 11. The greatest instances Ave have of them, 
Avere in his tempting of the two Adams, here, and 
Matth. 4. In this, he prevailed; but in that, he Avas 
baffled. What he spake to them of whom he had 
no hold by any corruption in them, he speaks in us 
by our own deceitful hearts and their carnal reason- 
ings, Avhich make his assaults on us less disceniible, 
but not less dangerous. That Avhich the Devil aim- 
ed at, AA-as to persuade Eve to eat forbidden fruit; 
and, to do this, he took the same method that he 
dees still. 1. He questions Avhether it Avere a sin or 
no, V. 1. 2. He denies that there Avas any danger in 

it, V. 4. 3. He suggests much advantage by it, v. 

5. And these are his common topics. 

1. Pie questions Avhether it Avere a sin or no, to 
eat of this tree, and Avhether really the fruit of it 
were forbidden. Yea; hath God said, Ye shall not 
eat? The first Avord intimated something said be- 
fore, introducing this, and Avith Avhich it is connect- 
ed; perhaps some discourse Eve had Avith herself, 
Avhich Satan took hold of, and grafted this question 
upon. In the chain of thoughts, one thing strangely 
brings in another, and perhaps something bad at last. 
Observe here, (1.) He does not discover his design 
at first, but puts a question Avhich seemed innocent; 
“I hear a piece of neAvs, pray, is it true; has God 
forbidden you to eat of this tree ?” Thus he would 
begin a discourse, and draAv her into a parley. 
Those tlr . t Avould be safe, have need to be suspicious, 
and shy of t ilking Avith the tempter. (2.) He quotes 
the command fallaciously, as if it Avere a prohibition, 
not only of that tree, but of all; God had said. Of 
evern/ tree ye way eat, except one. He, by aggra- 
vating the exception, endeavours to invalidate the 
conoessi^n; Hath C'odsaid, Ye shall not eat of eatery 
tree? The divine P.iav cannot be reproached, unless 
it be first misrepresented. (3.) He seems to speak 
it taunting! V, upbraiding the Aveman Avith her shy- 
ness of meddling Avith that tree; as if he had said, 
“ You are so nice and cauticus, and so very precise, 
because God has said. Ye shall not eat.” The De- 
vil, as he is a li ir, so he is a scoffer, from the begin 


GENESIS, 111. 


and the scoffers of the last days are his cliil- 
dren. (4.) That which he aimed at in the first 
onset, was, to take off her sense of the obligation of 
the command. “ Surely, you are mistaken, it can- 
not be tliat God should tie you out frona this tree; 
ne would not do so unreasonable a thing.” See 
tiere. That it is the subtlety of Satan to blemish the 
reputation of the divine law, as uncertain, or unrea- 
sonable, and so to draw people to sin; and that 
it is therefore our wisdom to keep up a firm belief 
of, and a high respect for, the command of God. 
Ha ^ God said, “Ye shall not lie, nor hike his name 
in ' ain, nor be drunk, &c. “ Yes, I am sure he 

hqs, and it is well said, and by his grace I will abide 
’ y it, whatever the tempter suggests to the con- 
•rarv.” 

Now, in answer to this question, the woman gives 
lim a plain and full account of the law they were 
under, v. 2, 3. Where observe, [1.] It was her 
•weakness to enter into discourse with the serpent: 
she might have perceived by his question, that he 
had no good design, and should therefore have 
smarted back with a Get thee behind me, Satan, thou 
a<t an offence to me. But her curiosity, and per- 
haps her suqDi-ise, to hear a serpent speak, led her 
into further talk with him. Note, It is a dangerous 
thing to treat with a temptation, which ought at 
first to be rejected with disdain and abhorrence. 
The garrison that sounds a parley, is not far from 
being surrendered. Those that would be kept from 
harm, must keep out of harm’s way. See Prov. 14. 
7. — 19. 27. [2.] It was her wisdom to take notice 

of the liberty God had granted them, in answer to 
his sly insinuation, as if God had put them into pa- 
radise, only to tantalize them with the sight of fair 
but forbidden fruits. “ Yea,” says she, “we may 
eat of the fruit of the trees, thanks to our Maker, 
we have plenty and variety enough allowed us.” 
Note, To prevent our being uneasy at the restraints 
of religion, it is good often to take a view of the 
liberties and comforts of it. [3. ] It was an instance 
of her resolution, that she adhered to the command, 
and faithfully repeated it, as of unquestionable cer- 
tainty, “ God hath said, I am confident he hath said 
it. Ye shall not eat of the fruit of this tree;” and that 
which she adds, N'either shall ye touch it, seerns to 
have been with a good intention, not (as some think) 
tacitly to reflect upon the command as too strict, 
f Touch not, taste not, handle not,) but to make a 
fence about it: “We must noteat, therefore we will 
not touch. It is forbidden in the highest degree, 
and the authority of the prohibition is sacred to us.” 
[4.] She seems a little to waver about the threaten- 
ing, and is not so particular and faithful in the repe- 
tition of that as of the precept. God had said. In 
the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely rf/o; all 
she makes of that is. Lest ye die. Note, Wavering 
faith, and wavering resolutions give great advantage 
to the tempter. 

2. He denies that there was any danger in it; 
though it might be the transgressing of a precept, 
yet it would not be the incurring of a penalty, v. 4. 
Ye shall not surely die. “Ye shall not dying die,'' 
so the word is, in direct contradiction to what God 
had said. Either, (1.) “It is not certain that ye 
shall die,” so some. “It is not so sure as ye are 
made to believe it is.” Thus Satan endeavours to 
shake that which he cannot overthrow, and invali- 
dates the force of divine threatenings by que.stioning 
the certainty of them ; and when once it is supposed 
possible that there may be falsehood or fallacy in 
anv word of God, a door is then opened to downright 
infidelity. Satan teaches men first to doubt, and 
then to deny; he makes scei)tics first, and so by de- 
grees make’s them atheists. Or, (2.) “ It is certain 
ye shall not die,” so others. He avers his contra- 
diction with tlie same phrase of assurance that God 


hath used in ratifying the threatening. He began 
to call the precept in question, v. 1, but finding that 
the woman adhered to that, he quitted that battery, 
and made his second onset upon the threatening, 
where he perceived her to waver; for he is quick to 
spy all advantages, and to attack the wall where it 
is v/eakest. Ye shall not surely die. This was a lie, 
a downright lie; for, [1.] It was contraiy to the 
v/ord of God, which we are sure is true; see 1 John 
2. 21, 27. It was such a lie as gave the lie to Gcq 
himself. [2.] It was contrary to his own know- 
ledge; when he told them there was no danger in 
disobedience and rebellion, he said that which he 
knew, by woeful experience, to be false. He had 
broken the law of his creation, and had found, to his 
cost, that he could not prosper in it; and yet he tells 
our first parents they shall not die. He conceals his 
own misery, that he might draw them into the like: 
thus he still deceives sinners into their own ruin. 
He tells them, though they sin they shall not die; 
and gains credit rather than God, who tells them. 
The wages of sin is death. Now hope of inqDunity 
is a great support to all iniquity, and impenitency in 
it: I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagi- 
nation of my heart, Deut. 29. 19. 

3. He promises them advantage by it, v. 5. Here 
he follows his blow, and it was a blow at the root, a 
fatal blow to the tree we are branches of. He not 
only would undertake they should be no losers by it, 
thus binding himself to save them fi'cm harm; but 
(if they would be such fools as to venture upon the 
security cf one that was himself become a bankrupt) 
he undertakes they shall be gainers by it, unspeaka- 
ble gainers. He could not have persuaded them to 
run the hazard of ruining themselves, if he had not 
suggested to them a great probability cf mending 
themselves. 

(1.) He insinuates to them the great improve- 
ments they would make by eating of this fruit. And 
he suits the temptation to the pure state they were 
now in, proposing to them, net anv carnal pleasures 
or gratifications, but intellectual delights and satisfac- 
tions. These were the baits with wdiich he cover- 
ed his hook. [1.] “ Your eyes shall be opened; you 
shall have much more of the pow'er and pleasure of 
contemplation than now vou have; you shall fetch a 
larger compass in your intellectual views, and see 
further into things than now you do.” He speaks 
as if now they were but dim-sighted, and short- 
sighted, in ccm])arison cf what they would be then. 
[2.] “ You shall he as gods, as Rlohim, mighty gods; 
not only omniscient, but omnipotent too:” or, “You 
shall be as God himself, equal to him, rivals with 
him; you shall be sovereigns, and no longer subjects; 
self-sufficient, and no longer depending.” A most 
absurd suggestiin! As if it were possible for crea- 
tures of yesterday to be like their Creator that w^as 
from eternity, [o. ] “ You shall know good and evil, 
that is, e\'ery thing that is desirable to be known . " 
To support this part of the temptation, he abuses 
the name given to this tree: it was intended to teach 
the firactical knowledge of good and evil, that is, of 
duty and disobedience; and it would ])rove the ex- 
perimental knowledge of good and e\ il, that is, of 
luq)piness and misery. In these senses, the name 
of the tree was a warning to them not to cat of it; 
l)ut he perverts the sense of it, and wrests it to their 
destruction, as if this tree would give them a specu- 
lative notional knowledge of the natures, kinds, and 
originals, of good and evil. And, [4.] All this pre- 
sently; “ In the day ye eat thereof, you will find a 
sudden and immediate change for the better. ” Now 
:in all these insinuations, he aims to beget in them. 
First, Discontent w'ith their present state, as if it 
were not so good as it might be, and should be 
Note, No condition will of itself bring contentment, 
unless the mind be brought to it. Adam was not 


39 


GENESIS, 111. 


ea£> , no notin paradise, nor the angels in their first 
stati;, Jude 6. Secondly, Ambition of preferment, 
as if they were fit to be gods. Satan had ruined 
himself by desiring to be like the Most High, Isa. 
14. 12.. 14, and therefore seek to infect our first pa- 
rents with the same desire, that he might ruin them 
too. 

(2. ) He insinuates to them that God had no good 
design upon them, in forbidding them this fruit. 
‘‘For God doth know how much it will advance 
)'ou; and therefore, in envy and ill-will to you, he 
hath forbidden it:” as if he durst not let them eat of 
that ti-ee, because then they would know their own 
strength, and would not continue in an inferior state, 
but be able to cope with him; or as if he begrudg- 
ed them the honour and htmpiness which their eat- 
ing of that tree would prefer them to. Now, [1.] 
This was a great affront to God, and the highest in- 
dignity that could be done him; a reproach to his 
power, as if he feared liis creatures; and much more 
a reproach to his goodness, as if he hated the work 
of his own hands, and would not have those whom 
he has made, to be made happy. Shall the best of 
men think it strange to be misrepresented and evil 
spoken of, when God himself is so I Satan, as he is 
the accuser of the brethren before God, so he ac- 
cuses God before the brethren; thus he sows discord, 
and is the father of them that do so. [2. ] It was a 
most dangerous snare to our first parents, as it tend- 
ed to alienate their affections from God, and so to 
withdraAV them from their allegiance to him. Thus 
still the Devil draws jieople into his interest by sug- 
gesting to them hard thoughts of God, and false 
hopes of benefit and advantage by sin. Let us there- 
fore, in opposition to him, always think well of God 
as the best good, and think ill’of sin as the worst 
of evils: thus let us resist the Devil, and he will flee 
from us. 

6. And when the woman saw that the 
tree was good for food, and that it loas plea- 
sant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to 
make wise, she took of the fruit thereof, 
and did eat, and gave also unto her hus- 
band with her, and he did eat. 7. And the 
eyes of them both were opened, and they 
knew that they were naked ; and they 
sewed fig-leaves together, and made them- 
selves aprons. 8. And they heard the voice 
of the Lord God walking in the garden in 
the cool of the day; and Adam and his 
wife hid themselves from the presence of 
the Lord God amongst the trees of the 
garden. 

Here we see wh it Eve’s parley with the tempter 
ended in; Satan, at length, gains his point, and the 
strong hold is taken by his wiles. God tried the 
obedience of cur first parents by forbidding them 
the tree of knov/lcdge, and Satan dees, as it were, 
join issue with God, and in that veiy thing under- 
fakes to seduce them into a transgressien ; and here 
we find how he prevailed, God permitting it for 
wise and Ivly ends. 

I. \Ve have here the inducements that moved 
them to transgress. The woman being deceived 
by the tempter’s artful management, was ringleader 
in the transgression, 1 Tim. 2. Id. She was first in 
the fault; and it was the result of her consideration, 
or rather, her inconsideration. 

1. She saw no harm in this tree, more than in 
any of the rest. It was said of all the rest of the 
fruit trees with which the garden of Eden was 
planted, that thej were pleasant to the sight, and 


good for food, ch. 2. 9. Now, in her eye, this was 
like all the rest; it seemed as good for food as .any 
of them, and she saw nothing in the colour of its 
fiaiit, that threatened death or danger; it was as 
pleasant to the sight as any of them, and therefore, 
“What hurt could it do to them.^ Why should 
this be forbidden them rather than any of the rest.^” 
Note, When there is thought to be no more harm 
in forbidden fruit than in other fruit, sin lies at the 
door, and Satan soon carries the day. Nay, per- 
haps, it seemed to her to be better for food, more 
grateful to the taste, and more nourishing to the 
body, than any of the rest, and to her eye it was 
more pleasant than any. We are often betrayed 
into snares by an inordinate desire to have our 
senses gratified. Or, if it had nothing in it more 
inviting than the rest, yet it was the more coveted, 
because it was prohibited. Whether it were so in 
her or not, we find that in us, that is, in our flesh, 
in our corrupt nature, there dwells a strange spirit 
of contradiction, Mitimur in vetitum — If e desire 
what is prohibited. 

2. She imagined more virtue in this tree than in 
any of the rest; that it was a tree not cnlv not to be 
dreaded, but to be desired to make one wise, and 
therein excelling all the rest of the trees. This she 
saw, that is, she perceived and understood it by 
what the Devil had said to her; and some think that 
she saw the serpent eat of that tree, and that he 
told her he thereby had gained the faculties of 
speech and reason, whence she inferred its power 
to make one wise, and was persuaded to think, “ If 
it made a brute creature rational, wlw might it not 
make a rational creature divine?” See here how 
the desire of unnecessary knowledge, under the 
mistaken notion of wisdom, proves hurtful and de- 
structive to many. Our first parents, who knew so 
much, did not know this, that they knew enough 
Christ is a Tree to be desired to make one wise, 
(Col. 2. 3. 1 Cor. 1. 30.) Let us. by faith, feed 
upon him, that we may be wise to salvation. In 
the heavenly paradise, the tree of knowledge will 
not be a forbidden tree; for there, we shall know as 
we are known; let us therefore long to be there, 
and, in the mean time, not exercise ourselves in 
things too high, or too deep for us, nor covet to be 
wise above wh.at is written. 

H. The steps of the transgression; no steps up- 
ward, but downward toward the pit — steps that 
took hold on hell. 

I. ^he saw: she should have turned away her 
eyes'from'beTTdldmg vahifj' ; but she enters into temp- 
tation, bv looking with pleasure on the forbidden 
fruit. Observe, A great deal of sin comes in at the 
eye. At those windows Satan throws in those fiery 
darts which pierce and poison the heart. The eye 
affects the heart with guilt as well as grief. Let us 
therefore, with holy Job, make a covenant with our 
eyes, not to look on that which we are in danger of 
lusting after, Prov. 23. 31. Matth. 5. 28. Let the 
fear of God be always to us for a covering of the 
eyes, ch. 20. 16. 

" 2. She took: it was her own act and deed. The 
Devil did not take it, and put it into her mouth, 
whether she would or no; but she herself took it. 
Satan may tempt, but he cannot force; may per- 
suade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast 
us down, Matth. 4. 6. Eve’s taking was stealing, 
like Achan’s taking the accursed thing, taking that 
which she had no right to. Surely, she took it with 
a trembling hand. 

3. She did eat: when she locked, perhaps she did 
not intend to take, of when she took, not to eat; but 
it ended in that Note, The way of sin is down- 
hill; a man cannot stop himself when he will: tfie 
beginning of it is as the breaking forth of water, f|> 
which it is hard to say, “ Hitheito thou shaft come 


GENESIS, IIJ. 


aiid no further:” Therefore it is our wisdom to sup- 
press the first motions o sin, and to leave it off, be- 
fore it be meddled with. Obuta /irind/iiis — 
mischief in the bud. 

4. She gave also to her husband nvith her: it is 
probable that ne was not with her when she was 
tempted; surely if he had, he would have interposed 
to prevent the sin; but he came to her when she 
had eaten, and was prevailed with by her to eat 
likewise; W it is easier to learn that which is bad, 
than to teach that which is good. She gave it to 
him, persuading him with the same arguments that 
the sei-pent had used with her, adding this to all 
the rest, that she herself had eaten of it, and found 
it so far from being deadly, that it was extremely 
pleasant and grateful: stolen waters are sweet. She 
gave it to him, under colour of kindness; she would 
not eat these delicious morsels alone; but re:dly it 
was the greatest unkindness she could do him. 
Or perhaps she gave it to him, that if it should'' 
prove hurtful, he might share with her in the mi- 
sery; which indeed looks strangely unkind, and yet 
may, without difficulty, be supposed to enter into 
the heart of one that had eaten forbidden fruit. 
Note, Those that have themselves done ill, are 
commonly willing to draw in others to do the same. 
As was the Devil, so was Eve, no sooner a sinner 
than a tempter. 

4. He did eat, overcome by his wife’s importu- 
nity. It is needless to ask, '“Wh.t would have 
been the consequence, if Jive only had transgress- 
ed.>” The wisdom of God, we are sure, would 
have decided the difficulty according to equity; bvit, 
alas, the case was not so; Adam also did eat. 
“ And what great harm if he did?” sav the cornipt 
and carnal reasonings of a vain mind. \Vhat harm? 
Why, there was in it disbelief of God’s word, to- 
gether with confidence in the Devil’s; discontent with 
his pi'csent state ; pride in his own merits; an ambition 
of the honour which comes not from God; envy at 
God’s perfections; and indulgence of the appetites of 
the body. In neglecting the tree of life which he was 
allowed to eat of, and eating of the tree of know- 
ledge which was forbidden, he jilainly showed a 
contempt of the favours which God had bestowed 
on him, and a preference given to those God did net 
see fit for him. He would be both his own carver, 
and his own master; would have what he pleased, 
and do what he pleased: his sin was, in one word, 
disobedience, Rom. 5. 19; disobedience to a plain, 
easy, and express command, which, probably, he 
knew to be a command of trial. He sins against 
great knowledge, against many mercies, against 
light and love, the clearest light, and the dearest 
love, that ever sinner 'sinned against. He had no 
corrupt nature within him to betray him; but had a 
freedom of will, not enslaved, and was in his full 
strength, not weakened or imjiaircd. He turned 
aside quickly. Some think he fell the very day on 
which he was m ide: though I see not how to recon- 
cile that with God’s pron. uncing all very good, in 
the close of that day : others sup])ose he fell on the 
sabbath-day; the better day, the worse deed: how- 
ever, it is certain that he ke])t his integrity but a 
very little while; lieing in honour, he continued n' t. 
But the greatest aggravation of his sin, was, that he 
involved all his postcritv in sin and ruin by it. God 
having told him that his race .should replenish the 
earth, surelv he could not but know that he stood 
as a pulfiic person, raid that his disobedience would 
be f.ital to all h's seed; and if so, it w. s cert only the 
greatest treacherv, as well as the gre; test cruelty, 
that ever was. The hviman nature being lodged 
entirely in our first p '.rents, from henceforward it 
could not bvit be transmitted from them under an 
attainder of guilt, a stain of dishonour, and an he- 
reditary disease of sin and corruption. And can we 


say, then, that Adam’s sin had but little harm in it? 

III. The immediate consequences of the transgres- 
sion. Shame and fear seized the criminals, ipso 
facto — in the fact itself; these came into the world 
along with sin, and still attend it. 

1. hhame seized them unseen, v. 7, where ob- 
serve, 

(1.) The strong convictions they fell under, in 
their own besoms; The eyes of them both were open- 
ed. It is not meant of the eyes of the body; tho.se 
^vere c pened before, as appears by this, that the 
sin came in at them; Jonathan’s eyes were enlight- 
ened by eating forbidden fruit, 1 Sam. 14. S7, that 
is, he was refreshed and revived by it; but their’.s 
were not so. Nor is it meant of any advances made 
hereby in true knowledge; but the eyes of their 
consciences were opened, their hearts smote them 
for what they had done. Now, when it was too 
^ate, they saw the folly of eating forbidden fruit. 
They saw the happiness they had fallen from, and 
the misery they were fallen into. They saw a loving 
God provoked, his grace and favour forfeited, his 
likeness and image lost, dominion over the creatun s 
gone. They saw their natures corrupted and dt:- 
praved, and felt a disorder in their own spirits 
which they had never before been conscious of. 
They saw a law in their members warring against 
the law of their minds, and captivating them both 
to sin and wrath. They saw, as Balaam, when hh- 
eyes were opened, (Numb. 22. 31.) the angel of the 
Lord standing in the way, and 'his sword drawn in 
his hand; and perhaps tliey saw the serpent that 
had abused them, insulting over them. The text 
tcdls us, they saw that they were naked, that is, [1.] 
,iThat they were stripped, deprived of all the hon- 
ours a.nd joys of their paradise state, and exposed 
to all the miseries that might justly be expected 
from an angry God; they were disarmed, their 
defence was departed from them. [2.] That they 
were shamed, for ever shamed, before God and 
angels; they saw themselves disrobed of all t’ueir 
ornaments and ensigns of honour, degraded frrni 
their dignity, and disgraced in the highest degre( , 
laid open to the contempt and reproach of he..ven, 
and earth, and their own consciences. Nov/, see 
here. First, what a dishonour and disquietment sin 
is; it makes mischief wherever it is admitted, sets 
men against themselves, disturbs their peace, imd 
destroys all their comforts: sooner or later, it will 
have shame, either the shame of true repentance 
which ends in glory, or that shame and everk.sting 
contem])t, to which the wicked shall rise at the 
great dav: sin is a reproach to any people. Se- 
condly, W'hat a deceiver Satan is; he told our first 
parents, when he tempted them, that their eyes 
should he opened; and so they were, but ne t as they 
understood iL they were opened, to their shame 
and grief, not to their h' nour or advantage. There- 
fore, when he speaks fair, believe him not. The 
most malicirus mischievous liars often excuse them- 
selves with this, that they are only equivocations; 
but God will not so excuse them. 

(2.) The sorry shift they made, to palliate these 
convictions, and to arm themselves against them; 
they sewed, or pdatted fig-leaves together; and, to 
cover, at least, jjai-t of their shame from one an- 
other, thev made themselves aprons. See here what 
is commonly the folly r.f those that have sinned. 
[1.] 'Fhat they are more solicitous to save their 
credit before men, than to obtain their pardon from 
God; they are backward to confess their sin, and 
very desirous to conceal it, ns much as may be; 1 
hax’e sinned, yet honour me. [2.] That the exc\ises 
men make, to cover and extenuate their sins, are 
vain and frivolous; like the aprons of fig-leaves, 
thev make the matter never the bettci-, but the 
worse; the shame, thus hid, becomes the mon* 


41 


GENESIS, 111. 


feliameful: yet thus we are all apt to cover our trans- 
ffressiom as Adam, Job 31. 33. 

2. Fear seized them immediately upon their eat- 
ing the forbidden fruit, v. 8. Observe here, 

(1.) What was the cause and occasion of their 
fear; they heard the voice of the Lord God walking 
in the garden in the cool of the day. It was the ap- 
proach of the Judge, that put them into a fright : 
and yet he came in such a manner, as made it for- 
midable only to guilty consciences. It is supposed 
that he came in a human shape, and that he who 
judged the world now, was the same that shall 
judge the world at the last day, even that man 
whom God has ordained: he appeared to them now, 
(it should seem,) in no other similitude than that 
in which they had seen him when he put them into 
paradise; for he came to convince and humble tliem, i 
not to amaze and terrify them. He came into the I 
garden, not descending immediately from Heaven ' 
in their view, as afterward on mount Sinai, (making 
either thick darkness his pavilion, or the flaming | 
fire his chariot,) but he came into the garden, as 
one that was still willing to be familiar with them. 
He came walking, not running, not riding upon the 
wings of the wind, but walking deliberately, as one 
slow to anger; teaching us, when we are ever so 
much provoked, not to be hot or hasty, but to speak 
and act considerately, and not rashly. He came in 
the cool of the day, not in the night, when all fears 
are doubly fearful, nor in the heat of the day, for he 
came not in the heat of his anger; Fury is not in 
him, Isa. 27. 4. Nor did he come suddenly upon 
them ; but they heard his voice at some dikance, 
giving them notice of his coming, and, probably, it 
was a still small voice, like that in which he came 
to inquire after Elijah. Some think they heard him 
discoursing with himself concerning the sin of 
Adam, and the judgment now to be passed upon 
him; perhaps, as he did conceniing Israel, Hcs. 11. 
8, 9. How shall I give thee ufi? Or rather, thev 
heard him calling fcr them, and coming toward 
them. 

(2.) ^\niat was the effect and evidence of their 
fear; they hid themselves from the f rescnce of the 
Lord God: a sad change! ' Before they had sinned, 
if they had heard the voice of the I.iOrd God coming 
toward them, they would have run to meet him, and 
with a humble joy welcomed his gracious visits; but 
now that it was otherwise, God was become a ter- 
ror to them, and then, no marvel that they were 
become a terror to themselves, and full of confu- 
sion; their own consciences accused them, and set 
their sin before them in its colours; their fig-leaves 
failed them, and would do them no service; God 
was come forth against them as an enemy, and the 
whole creation was at war with them ; and as vet, 
they knew not of any mediator between them and 
an angry God, so that nothing remained Imt a cer- 
tain fearful looking for rf judgment. In this fright, 
thev hid themselves among the bushes; having of- 
fended, they fled for the same. Knowing them- 
selves guilty, thev durst not stand a trial, but ab- 
sconded, and fled from justice. See here, 

[1. 1 The falsehood of the tempter, and tlie frauds 
and the fallacies of his temptations: he promised 
them they should be safe, but now they cannot so 
much as think themselves so; he said thev shovdd 
not die, and yet now they are forced to fly fcr their 
lives; he promised them they should be advanced, 
hut thev see themselves abased, never did thev 
seem so little as now; he promised them thev should 
be knowing, but they see themselves at a loss, and 
know not so much as where to hide themselves; he 
promised them they should be as gods, great, and 
bold, and daring, but they are as criminals disco- 
vered, trembling, pale, and anxious to escape: they 
would not be subjects, and so they are prisoners. 
VoL. r. — F 


[2.] The folly of sinners, to think it either possible, 
or desirable, to hide themselves fn.m God: can they 
conceal themselves from the Father of lights!* Ps. 
139. 7, &c. Jer. 23. 24. Will they withdraw them- 
selves from the F ountain of life, who alone can give 
help and happiness.^ Jon. 2. 8. [3.] The fears that 
attend sin; all that amazing fear of God’s appear- 
ances, the accusations of conscience, the approaches 
of trouble, the assaults of inferior creatures, and 
the arrests of death which is common among men, 
all these are the effect oi sin. Adam and Eve, who 
were partners in the sin, were sharers in the shame 
and fear that attended it; and though hand joined in 
hand, (hands so lately joined in marriage,) yet 
could tliey not animate or fortify one another: mi- 
serable comforters they were become to each ether! 

9. And the Lord God called unto Adam, 
and said unto him, Where art thou? 10. 
And h(‘, said, I heard thy voice in the gar- 
den, and 1 tras afraid, because I was naked ; 
and 1 hid myself. 

W e have here the arraignment of these desert- 
ers before the righteous judge of heaven and earth, 
who, though he is not tied to observe formalities, 
yet proceeds against them with all possible fairness, 
that he may be justified when he speaks. Observe 
here, 

1. The startling question with which God pur- 
sued Adam, and arrested him. Where art thou? 
Not as if God did not know where he was; 
but thus he would enter the process against him. 
“Come, where is this foolish man.^” Some nn ke 
it a bemoaning question, “Poor Adam, what is be- 
come of thee.'” “Alas for theeW (so seme read 
it,) “ How art thou fallen, Lucifer, son of the morn- 
ing! Thou that wast my friend and faveurite, 
whom I have done so much for, and would have 
done so much more for; hast thou now forsaken me, 
and ruined thyselt.' Is it come to this.'” It is rather 
an upbraiding question, in order to liis con\ ictk n 
and humiliation. Where art thou? Not, In wln.t 
filace, but. In v/hat condition? “Is this all tin u 
hast gotten by eating forbidden fruit.' Tlnu tlr t 
wouldest vie with me, cn>st thou new fly from me.'” 
Note, (1.) Those who by sin have gone astray from 
God, should seriously consider where they arc; 
they are afar oflT from all good, in the midst of their 
enemies, in bondage to Satan, and in the high road 
to utter min. This inquiry after Adam may be 
looked upon as a gracious 'pursuit in kindness to 
him, and in order to his recoveiy. If (iod had nrt 
called to him, to reclaim him, his ernditi n had been 
as desperate as tlv't of fallen angels; this lest sheep 
had wandered endlessly, if the good shepherd h' d 
not sought after him, to bring^'him back, and in 
order to that, reminded him where he was, where 
he should not be, and where he could not be, either 
h ippy or easy. Note, (2.) If sinr.ei’s wall but con- 
sider where they are, they will not rest till they re- 
turn to God. 

2. The trembling answ^er which Adam ga\-c to 
this question, v. 10, I heard thy voice in the garden, 
and I vans afraid: he does not own his guilt, and 
yet in effict confesses it, by owning his shame ; nd 
fear; but it is the comnn h fault and folly of those 
that h ive done an ill thing, when they are ques- 
tioned aljont it, to aokncwledge no more than what 
is so manifest that they cannot deny it. Adam was 
afraid, because he was naked; not only unarmed, 
and therefore afraid to contend with God, but un- 
clothed, and therefore afraid so much as to appear 
before him. W e have reason to be afraid of ap- 
proaching to God, if we be not clothed and fenced 
with the righteousness of Christ; for n thing but 
that, will be armour of proof, and cover tb.e shame 


42 


GENESIS, 11] 


of our nakedness. Let us therefore put on the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and then draw near with humble 
boldness. 

1 1. And he said, Who told thee that thou 
wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, 
whereof 1 commanded thee that thou 
shouldest not eat? 12. And the man said. 
The woman whom thou gavest to he witii 
me, she gave me of the tree, and 1 did eat. 
13. And the Lord God said unto the wo- 
man, What is this that thou liast done? 
And the woman said. The serpent beguiled 
me, and 1 did eat. 

We have here the offenders found guilty by their 
own confession, and yet endeavouring to excuse and 
extenuate their fault; they could not confess and 
justify what they had done, but they confess and 
palliate it. Observe, 

I. How their confession was extorted from them : 
God put it to the man, v. 11, Who told thee that 
thou loast naked? “How earnest thou to be sensi- 
ble of thy nakedness as thy shame?” Hast thou 
eaten of the forbidden tree? Note, Though God 
knows all our sins, yet he will know them fx'om us, 
and requires from us an ingenuous confession of 
them; not that he maybe informed, but that we 
may be humbled. In tliis examination, God reminds 
him of the command he had given him: “I com- 
manded thee not to eat of it, I thy Maker, I thy Mas- 
ter, I thy Benefactor; I commanded thee to the con- 
trary. ” Sin appeal’s most plain, and most sinful, in 
the glass of the commandment, therefore God here 
sets it before Adam ; and in it we should see our faces. 
The question put to the woman, was, v. 13, What 
is ) his that thou hast done? “Wilt thou also own 
thy fault, and make confession of it? And wilt 
thou see Avhat an evil thing it was?” Note, It con- 
cerns those Avho have eaten forbidden fruit them- 
selves, and especially those who have enticed others 
to it likewise, seriously to consider what they have 
done. In eating forbidden fruit, we have offended 
a great and gracious God, broken a just and righte- 
ous law, violated a sacred and most solemn co\’e- 
nant, and wronged our own precious souls by 
forfeiting God’s favour, and exposing ourselves to 
his wrath and curse: in enticing others to it, we do 
the Devil’s work, make ourselves guilty of other 
men’s sins, and accessary to their ruin. What is 
this that sve have done? 

II. How their crime was extenuated by them in 
their confession. It was to no purpose to plead not 
guilty; the show of their countenances testified 
against them, therefore they become their own ac- 
cusers. I did eat, says the man, “And so did!,” 
says the woman: for when God judges, he will over- 
come: but these do not look like penitent confes- 
sions; for instead of aggravating the sin, and taking 
shame to themselves, they excuse the sin, and lay 
the shame and blame on others. 

1. Adam lays all the blame upon his wife. “ She 
gave me of the tree, and jiressed me to eat it, which 
I did, only to oblige her;” a frivolous excuse. He 
ought to have taught her, not to have been taught [ 
by her; and it was no hard matter to determine 
which of the two he must be ruled by, his God or i 
his wife. Leam hence, never to lie brought to sin 
by that which will not bring us off in the judgment: 
let not that bear us uj) in the commission, which 
will not bear us out in the trial: let us therefore 
never be overcome by importunity to act against 
our consciences, nor ever displease God, to please 
the best friend we have in the world. But this is 
not the worst of it; he not only lays the blame upon 


I ii.s wife, but expresses it so as tacitly to reflect or 
: God himself: “ It is the woman which thou gai’est 
I me, and gavest to be with me as my companion, my 
; guide, and my acquaintance; she gave me of the tree, 
else I had not eaten of it. ” Thus he insinuates that 
, God was accessary to his sin: he gave him the wo- 
man, and she gave him the fruit; so that he seemed 
to have it but at one remo\ e from God’s own hand. 
Note, There is a strange proneness in those that are 
tempted, to say they are tempted of God ; as if our 
abusing of God’s gifts would excuse our violation of 
God’s laws. God gives us riches, honours, and re 
lations, that we may seri e him cheerfully in the 
enjoyment of them; but if we take occasion from 
them to sin against him, instead of blaming Provi- 
dence for putting us into such a condition, we must 
blame ourselves for perverting the gracious designs 
of Providence therein. 

2. Eve lays all the blame upon the serpent; The 
serpent beguiled me. Sin is a brat that nobody is 
willing to own; a sign that it is a scandalous thing. 
Those that are willing enough to take the pleasure 
and profit of sin, are backward enough to take the 
blame and shame of it. “The serpent, that subtle 
creature of thy making, which thou didst permit to 
come into paradise to us, he beguiled me,” or, made 
me to err; for our sins are our errors. Learn hence, 
(].) That Satan’s temptations are all beguilings, his 
arguments are all fallacies, his allurements are all 
cheats; when he speaks fair, believe him net. Sin 
deceives us, and, by deceiving, cheats us. It is by 
the deceitfulness of sin, that the hea7-t is hardened; 
see Horn. 7. 11. Heb. 3. 13. (2.) That though Sa- 

tan’s subtlety drew us into sin, yet it will not justify 
us in sin: though he is the tempter, we are the sin- 
ners; and indeed it is our own lust that draws us 
aside and entices us. Jam. 1. 14. Let it not there- 
fore lessen our sorrow and humiliation for sin, that 
we are beguiled into it; but rather let it increase 
our self-indignation, that we should suffer ourselves 
to be beguiled by a known cheat and a sworn ene- 
my. Well, this is ail the prisoners at the bar have 
to’say, why sentence should not be passed, and exe- 
cution awarded, according to law; and this all is 
next to nothing, in some respects, worse than no- 
thing. 

1 4. And the Lord God said unto the ser- 
pent, Because thou hast done this, thou art 
cursed above all cattle, and above every 
beast ol’ the field ; upon thy belly shalt thou 
SO, and dust shalt tliou eat, all the days of 
thy life. 15. And I will put enmity be 
tween thee and the woman, and between 
thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy 
head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

The prisoners being found guilty by their own 
confession, beside the personal and infallible 
knowledE:e of the Judge, and nothing material 
being offered in arrest of judgment, God imme- 
diately proceeds to pass sentence; and, in these 
verses, he begins (where the sin began) with the 
serpent. God did not examine the serpent, nor 
ask him what he had done, or why he did it; but 
immediately sentenced him, 1. Because he was al- 
ready convicted ('f rebellion against God, and his 
malice and wickedness were notoiious, not found 
by secret search, but openly avowed and declared 
as Sodom’x. 2. Because he was to be for ever ex- 
cluded from all hope of pardon; and why should 
any thing be said to convince and humble him, who 
was to find no jdace for repentance? His wound 
was not searched, because it was net to be cured. 
Some think the tondition of the fallen migels w:is 


GENESIS, III. 


not declared desperate and helpless, until now that 
they had seduced man into the rebellion. 

The sentence passed upon the tempter may be 
c-onsidei’ed, 

I. As lighting upon the serpent, the binite-crea- 
ture which Satan made use of, which was, as the 
lest, made for the service of man, but was now 
abused to his hurt; therefore, to testify a displeasure 
against sin, and a Jealousy for the injured honour of 
Adam and Eve, God fastens a curse and reproach 
upon the serpent, and makes it to groan, being 
burthened, 2 Cor. 5. 4. The Devil’s instruments 
must share in the Devil’s punishments; thus the 
bodies of the wicked, though only instniments of 
unrighteousness, shall partake ot everlasting tor- 
ments with the soul, the principal agent. Even the 
ox that killed a man, must be stoned, Exod. 21. 28, 
29. See here, how God hates sin, and especially 
how much displeased he is with those that entice 
others into sin: it is a perpetual brand upon Jerobo- 
am’s name, that he made Israel to sm. Now, 

1. The serpent is here laid under the curse of 
God; Thou art cursed above all cattle; even the 
creeping things, when God made them, were bless- 
ed of him, ch. 1. 22, but sin turned the blessing into 
a curse. The serpent was more subtle than any 
beast of the field, v, 1, and here, cursed above every 
beast in the field: unsanctified subtlety often proves 
a great curse to a man; and the more crafty men 
are to do evil, the more mischief they do, and, con- 
sequently, they shall receive the greater damna- 
tion. Suljtle tempters are the most accursed crea- 
tures under the sun. 

2. He is here laid under man’s reproach and en- 
mity. (1.) He is to be for ever looked upon as a 
vile and despicable creature, and a proper object of 
scorn and contempt; “ Ufon thy belly thou shalt go, 
no longer upon feet, or half erect, but thou shalt 
crawl along, thy belly cleaving to the earth;” an 
expression of a very abject miserable condition, 
Ps. 44. 25; “and thou shalt not avoid eating dust 
with thy meat. ” His crime was, that he tempted 
Eve to eat that which she should not; his punish- 
ment was, that he was necessitated to eat that 
which he would not. Dust thou shalt eat; denoting 
not only a base and despicable condition, but a mean 
and pitiful spirit: it is said of those whose courage 
is departed from them, that they lick the dust like a 
serjient, Mic. 7. 17. How sad it is, that the ser- 
pent’s curse should be the covetous worldling’s 
choice, whose character it is, that they fmnt after 
the dust of the earth! Amos 2. 7. These choose 
tlieir own delusions, and so shall their doom be. (2. ) 
He is to be for ever looked upon as a venomous 
noxious creature, and a proper object of hatred and 
detestation: I will fxut enmity between thee and the 
woman. The inferior creatures being made for 
m in, it was a curse upon any of them, to be turned 
against man, and man against them; and this is 
part of the serjjent’s curse. The serpent is hurtful 
to man, and often bruises his heel, because it can 
reach m higher; nay notice is taken of his biting 
the horses’ heels, ch. 49. 17. But man is victoi-i- 
ous over the serpent, and biaiises his head, that is, 
gives him a mortal wound, aiming to destroy the 
a holc gene) ation of vi])ers. It is the effect of this 
vurse upon the sei-pent, that though that creature 
s suljtle and very dangerous, yet it prevails not, (as 
it would if God gave it commission,) to the destruc- 
tion of m inkind; but this fear of serpents is much i 
reduced bv that promise of God to his people, Ps. i 
91. 13, Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the 
adder, and that of Christ to his disciples, Mark 16. [ 
18, They shall take up serpents; ovitness Paul, who | 
was unhurt by the viper that fastened upon his hand. ! 
Observe here, that the serpent and the woman had i 
lust now been very familiar and friendly in discourse 1 


I about the forbidden fruit, and a wonderful agree- 
I ment there was between them; but here they are 
i irreconcilably set at variance. Note, Sinful friend- 
slnps justly end in mortal feuds: those that unite in 
I wickedness, will not unite long. 

I II. This sentence may be considei’cd as levelled 
: at the Devil, who only made use of the serpent, as 
his vehicle in this appearance, but was himself the 
: principal agent. He that spoke through the ser- 
pent’s mouth, is here struck at through the ser- 
pent’s side, and is principally intended in the sen- 
tence, which, like the pillar of cloud and fire, has a 
j dark side toward the Devil, and a bright side 'to- 
ward our first parents and their seed. Great things 
are contained in these words. * 

1. A perpetual reproach is here fastened upon 
that great enemy both to God and man. Under 
the cover of the serpent, he is here sentenced to be, 
(1.) Degraded and accursed of God. It is sup- 
posed that pride was the sin that turned angels into 
: devils, which is h^e justly punished by a great v:i- 
; riety of mortifications couched under the mean cir- 
cumstances of a seiqient crawling on his belly, and 
licking the dust. How art thou fallen, O Lucifer! 
Pie that would be above God, and would head a re- 
bellion against him, is justly exposed here to con- 
tempt, and lies to be trodden on; a man’s pride will 
bring him low, and God will humble those that will 
not humble themselves. (2. ) Detested and abhorred 
of all mankind; even those that are really seduced 
into his interest, yet profess a hatred and abhor- 
rence of him; and all that are bom of God, make 
it their constant care to keep themselves, that that 
wicked one touch them net, 1 John 5. 18. He is 
here condemned to a state of war and irreconcilable 
enmity. (3. ) Destroyed and ruined, at last, by the 
great Redeemer, signified by the breaking cf his 
head; his subtle politics shall be all baffled, h's 
usuiqied power shall be entirelv crushed, and he 
shall be for ever a captive to the injured honour c f 
the divine sovereignty: by being told of this now, 
he was tormented before the time. 

2. A peiqietual quarrel is here commenced be- 
tween the kingdom ofUod, and the kingdom of the 
Devil among men; war is proclaimed between the 
Seed of the woman and the seed of the sement. 
That war in Heaven between Michael and the Dra- 
gon began now. Rev. 12. 7. It is the fmit of this 
I enmity, ( 1 .) That there is a continual conflict be- 
tween grace and cormption in the hearts of God’s 
people: Satan, by their cormptiens, assaults them, 
bufi'ets them, sifts them, and seeks to devour them; 
they, by the exercise of their graces, resist him, 
wrestle with him, quench his fiery darts, force him 
to flee from them. Heaven and hell can ne\ cr be 
reconciled, nor light and darkness; no more can Sa- 
tan and a sanctified soul, for these are contrarv the 
one to the other. (2.) That there is likewise a con- 
tinual struggle between the wicked and the godly in 
this world. They that love God, account those their 
enemies, that hate him, Ps. 139. 21, 22. And all the 
rage and malice of persecutors against the people 
of God, are the fniit of this enmity, which will con- 
tinue Avhile there is a godly man on this side heaven, 
and a wicked man on this side hell; Marvel not 
therefore, if the world hate you, 1 John 3. 13.* 

3. A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as 
the Deliverer of fallen man from the power of 
Satan; though it was expressed to the serpent, yet 
it was expressed in the hearing of our first parents, 
who, doubtless, took the hints of grace here given 
them, and saw a door of hope opened to them; else, 
the following sentence upon themselves would have 
overwhelmed them. Here was the dawning of the 
gospel-day: no sooner was the wound given, than 
the remedy was provided and revealed; here, in 
the head of the book, as the word is, (Heb. 10. 7.t 


44 


GENESIS, II]. 


in the beginning of the Bible, it is written of Christ, 
that he should do the ivill of God. By faith in this 
promise, we have reason to think, our first parents, : 
and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified ^ 
and saved; and to this promise, and the benefit cf j 
it, instantly serving God day and night, they hoped | 
to come. Kotice is here given them of three things ^ 
concerning Christ. 

(1.) His incarnation; that he should be the Seed 
of the woman, the Seed cf that woman; therefore 
bis genealogy, Luke 3, goes so high as to show him 
to be the son of Adam, but G-od does the woman 
the honour to call him rather hei' seed, Ijccause slie 
it was whom the De\ il had beguiled, and ( n wlirm 
.\dani had laid the blame; herein God magnifies 
his grace, in that though the woman was first in j 
the transgression, yet she shall be saved by child- 
bearing, (as some read it,) that is, by the premised 
Seed which shall descend from her, i Tini. 2. 15. 
He was likewise to Ite the seed of a woman only, a 
virgin; that he might not be tainted with the cor- 
ruption of our nature; he was sent forth, made of a 
woman, Gal. 4. 4, that this promise might be ful- 
filled. It speaks great encouragement to sinners, 
that their Saviour in the Seed of the woman, bone 
of our bone, Heb. 2. 11. 14. Man is therefore sin- 
ful and unclean, because he is born of a %voman. 
Job 25. 4.) and therefore hin days are full of trou- 
le. Job 14. 1. But the Seed of the woman was 
made sin and a curse for us, so saving us from both. 

(2. ) His sufferings and death; pointed at in Satan’s 
bruising' his heel, that is, his human nature. Satan 
tempted Christ in the wilderness, to draw him into 
sin; and some think it was Satan that terrified 
Christ in his agony, to have driven him to despair. 
It was the Devil that put it into the heart of Judas 
to betray Christ, of Peter to deny him, of tiie chief 
priests to prosecute him, of the false witnesses to 
accuse him, and of Pilate to condemn him; aiming 
in all this, by destroying the Saviour, to ruin the 
salvation; but, on the contrary, it was by death that 
Christ destroyed him that had the power of death, 
Heb. 2. 14. Christ’s heel was bruised, when his 
feet were iiierced and nailed to the cross, and 
Christ’s sufferings are continued in the sufferings 
of the saints for his name. The De\'il tempts them, 
casts them into prison, persecutes and slays them; 
and so bmises the heel of Christ, who is afflicted 
in their afflictions. But while the heel is loruised 
on earth, it is well that the Head is safe in heaven. 

(3.) His victory over Satan thereby. Satan had 
now trampled upon the wonuui, and insulted o\ er 
her; but the Seed ( f the woman should be raised up 
in the fulness of time to avenge her quarrel, and to 
trample upon him, to spoil him, to lead him cap- 
tive, and to trium/th ODer him. Col. 2. 15. He 
shall bruise his head, that is, he shall destroy all his 
politics and his powers, and gi\ e a total overthrow 
to his kingdom and interest. Christ baffled Satan’s 
temptations, rescued souls out of his hands, cast 
him out of the bodies of people, dispossessed the 
strong man armed, and diiided the spoil; liy his 
death, he ga\ e a fatal and incurable lilow to the 
Devil’s kingdom, a wound to the head of this 
beast, that can never be healed. As his gcsjiel gets 
ground, Satan falls, Luke 10. IS, and is bound. 
Rev. 20. 2. By his grace, he treads Satan under 
his people’s feet, Roni. 16. 20, and will shortly cast 
him into the lake of fire. Rev. 20. 10. And the 
Devil’s ])cr])etual o^•erthrow v/ill be the complete 
and everlasting joy and glory of the chosen rem- 
nant. 

16 . Unto llie woman he said, I will 
greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy con- 
e.eption; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth 


children ; and thy desire shall he to thy 
husband, and he shall rule over thee. 

We have here the sentence passed upon the wo- 
man for her sin: two things she is condemned to, a 
state of sorrow, and a state of subjection; ])rcper 
punishments of a sin in which she had gratified her 
pleasure and her pride. 

I. She is here put into a state of sorrow; one 
particular of which only is specified, that, in bring- 
ing forth children; but it includes all those impres- 
sions of grief and fear which the mind of that 
tender sex is mest apt to receive, and all the com- 
mon calamities which they are liable to. Note, Sin 
brought sorrow into the world; that was it that 
made the world a vale of tears, brought showers 
of trouble upen cur heads, and epened springs of 
sorrows in our hearts, and so deluged the world: 
had we known no guilt, we should have known no 
grief. The pains of child-bearing, which are gi'eat 
to a proverb, a scripture-proverb, are the effect of 
sin; every pang and every groan cf the travailing 
woman, speak aloud the fatal consequences cf sin: 
this comes of eating forbidden fruit. Observe, 1. 
'Fhe sorrows are here said to be multiplied, greatly 
multiplied ; all the sorrow's of this ])resent time are 
so; many are the calamities which human life is 
liable to, of various kinds, and often repeated, the 
clouds returning after the rain; no marvel that cur 
sorrows are multiplied, when cur sins are; both are 
innumerable evils. The sorrows of child-bearing 
are multiplied; for they include, not only the tra- 
vailing throes, but the indispositions before, (it is 
sorroAv from the conception,) and the musing toils 
and vexations after; and after all, if the children 
prove wicked and foolish, they are, more than ever, 
the heaviness of her that bare them. Thus are the 
sorrows multiplied; as one grief is over, another suc- 
ceeds in this world. 2. It is God that multiplies 
our sorrows; I will do it. God, as a righteous 
Judge, dees it, wdiich ought to silence us under all 
our sorrows; as many as they are, w'e have desein ed 
them all, and more; nay, God, as a tender Father, 
does it for our necessary correction, that we may be 
humbled for sin, and Aveaned from the Avorld by all 
our sorrows; and the good Ave.get by them, Avith the 
comfort Ave have under them, Avill abundantly lia- 
lance all cur sorrows, hoAv greatly sccA er they are 
m.ultiplied. 

II. She is here put into a state of subjection; the 
Avhole sex, Avhich, by creation, Avas equal Avith 
man, is, for sin, made inferior, and forbidden co 
usurp authority, 1 Tim. 2. 11, 12. The Avife par- 
ticularly is hereby put under the dominion of her 
husband, and is not sui juris — at her own disposal; 
of Avhich see an instance in that hiAv, Numb. 30. 6. . 
8, Avhere the husband is empoAvered, if he please, 
to disannul the vows made by the Avife. This sen- 
tence amounts only to that command, Jl'wes, be in 
subjection to your own husbands; but the entrance 
of sin has made that duty a jjunishment, Avhich 
otherAvise it would not have been. If man had not 
sinned, he Avoidd ahvaA's Iuia c ruled Avith Avisdom 
and loA e; and if tlve Avoman had not sinned, she 
AV( uld always have obeyed w’ith humility and meek- 
ness, and then the dominion had been no grievance: 
l)ut our OAvn sin and folly make our yoke hcavv. If 
lave had not’ eaten forbidden fruit herself, and 
tem])ted her husband to it, she had never com- 
]fiained of her subjection; therefore it ought never 
to be complained of, though harsh; but shi must l)e 
complained of, that made it so. Those AviA i s, Avho 
not only desjjise and disobey their husbands, but 
domineer over them, do not consider that thev not 
only violate a divine laAV, but tliAvart a divine sen- 
tence. 

Lastly, Observe here, hoAv mercy is mixed with 


45 


GENESIS, 111. 


*vTath in this sentence; the woman shall have sor- 
row, but it shall be in bringing forth children, and 
the sorrow shall be forgotten for joy that a child is 
born, John 16. 21. She shall be subject, but it 
shall be to her own husband that loves her, not 
to a stranger, or an enemy: the sentence was 
not a curse, to bring her to laiin, but a chastisc- 
nent, to bring her to repentance. It was well that 
enmity was not put between the man and the wo- 
man, as there was between the serpent and the 
woman. 

17. And unto Adam he said, Because 
thou hast hearkened unto t!ie voice of thy 
wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I 
commanded thee, saying. Thou slialt not 
eat of it : cursed is the ground for thy sake : 
in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the' days 
of thy life. 18. Thorns also and thistles 
shall it bring forth to thee ; and thou shalt 
eat the herb of the field. 19. In the sweat 
of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou 
return unto the ground ; for out cf it wast 
thou taken ; for dust thou art, and unto dust 
shalt thou return. 

We have here the sentence passed upon Adam, 
which is prefaced with a recital of his crime, i\ 
17, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice cf thy 
wife. He excused the fault, by laying it on his 
wife. She gave it me: but God does not admit the 
excuse; she could but tempt him, she could not 
force him; though it was her fault to persuade him 
to eat it, it was his fault to hearken to her. Thus 
men’s frivolous pleas will, in the day of God’s judg- 
ment, not only be over-ruled, but turned against 
them, and made the grounds of their sentence. Out 
of thine own mouth will I judge thee. God put 
marks of his displeasure on Adam in three instances. 

I. His ha.bitation is, by this sentence, cursed; 
Cursed is the ground for thy sake; and the effect 
of that curse is. Thorns and thistles shall it bring 
forth unto thee. It is here intimated that his habi- 
tation should be changed; he should no longer dwell 
in a distinguished, blessed, paradise, but should be 
removed to- common ground, and that, cursed. 
The ground, or earth, is here put for the whole 
visible creation, which, by the sin of man, is made 
subject to vanity, the se\ eral parts of it being not so 
serviceable to man’s comfort and happiness, as they 
were, designed to be when they were made, and 
woidd have been if he had not sinned. God gave 
the earth to the children of men, designing it to be 
a comfortable dwelling to them; but sin has altered 
the property of it, it is now cursed for man’s sin; 
that is, it is a dishonourable habitation, it bespeaks 
man mean, that his foundation is in the dust; it is a 
dry and barren habitation, its spontaneous produc- 
tions are now weeds and briars, something nauseous 
or noxious; what good fruits it produces, must be 
extorted from it by the ingenuity and industry of 
man. Finitfulness was its blessing, for man’s ser- 
vice, ch. 1. 11. 29; and now baiTenness was its 
curse, for man’s punishment. It is not what it was 
in the day it was created. Sin tumed a fruitful 
land into barrenness; and man, being become as the 
wild ass’s colt, has the wild ass’s lot. Job 39. 6; the I 
wilderness for his habitation, and the barren land 
his dwelling, Ps. 68. 6. Had not this curse been, in I 
part, removed, for aught I know, the earth had | 
been for ever barren, and had never produced any \ 
thing but thorns and thistles. The ground is ' 
cursed, that is, doomed to destruction, at the end ! 
of time, when the earth, and all the works that I 
are therein, shall be burnt-uji for the sin of man, 1 


the measure of whose iniquity will then be full, 
2 Pet. 3. 7, 10. But observe a mixture of mercy in 
this sentence; 1. Adam is not himself cursed, as'the 
serpent was, v. 14, but only the ground for his 
sake. God had blcs ings in him, even the holy 
seed; Destroy it not, for that blessing is in it, Isa. 
65. 8. And he had blessings in store for him; 
therefore he is not directly and immediately cursed, 
but, as it were, at secend hand. 2. He is yet above 
ground; the earth does net epen, and swallow him 
up, ( nly it is ne t what it was: as he continues alive, 
notwithstanding his degeneracy from his primitive 
purity and rect tude, so the earth continues to be his 
habitation, notwithstanding its degeneracy from its 
pi-imitive beauty and fruitfulness. 3. This curse 
upon the earth, which cut eff all expectations of a 
happiness in thii^gs below, might direct and quicken 
him to lock f r bliss and satisfaction only in things 
above. 

II. His employments and enjoyments are all im- 
bittered to him. 

1. His business shall from henceforth become a 
toil to him, and he shall go on with it in the sweat 
of his face, V. 19. His business, before he sinned, 
was a constant pleasure to him: the garden was 
then dressed without any uneasy labour, and kept 
without any uneasy care; but now, his labour shall 
be a weariness, and shall waste his body; his care 
shall be a torment, and shall afflict his mind. The 
curse upon the ground, which made it baiTen, and 
produce thorns and thistles, made his employment 
about it much more difficult and toilsome. If Adam 
had not sinned, he had not sweat. Observe here, 
(1.) That labour is our duty, which we must faith- 
fully perform : we^afe 'bound to' work, not as crea- 
tures only, but as criminals; it is part of our 
sentence, which idleness daringly defies. (2.) That 
uneasiness and weariness with labour are our just 
punishment, which we must patiently submit to, 
and not complain of, since they are less than our 
iniquity deserves. Let not us, by inordinate care 
and labour, make our punishment heavier than God 
has made it; but rather, study to lighten our bur- 
then, and wipe off our sweat, by observing Provi- 
dence in all, and expecting rest shortly. 

2. His food shall from henceforth’ become (in 
comparison with what it had been) unpleasant to 
him. (1.) The matter of his food is changed: he 
must now eat the herb of the field, and must no 
longer be feasted with the delicacies of the garden 
of Eden: having by sin made himself \\\:ethe beasts 
that fierish, he is justly turned to be a fellow-com- 
moner with them, and to eat grass as oxen, till he 
know that the heavens do rule. (2.) There is 
a change in the manner of his eating it; in sorrow, 
(xK 17.) and in the sweat of his face, (r'. 19. )he 
must cat of it. Adam could not but eat in sorrow all 
the days of his life, remembering the forbidden 
frtiit he had eaten, and the guilt and shame he had 
contracted by it. Observe [1.] That human life is 
exposed to many miseries and calamities, which 
very much imbitter the poor remains cf its pleasure 
and delights: some never eat with pleasure, (Job 
21. 25.) through sickness or melancholv; all, even 
the best, have cause to eat with sorrow for sin; and 
all, even the happiest in this world, have some 
allays to their joy: troops of diseases, disasters, and 
deaths, in various shapes, entered the world with 
sin, and still ravage it. [2.] That the righteous- 
ness of God is to be acknowledged in all the sad 
consequences of sin; therefore then should a living 
man complain? Yet, in this part of the sentence, 
there is also a mixture of mercy; he shall sweat, 
but his toil shall make his rest the more welcome 
when he returns to his earth, as to his bed; he shall 
grieve, but he shall not starve; he shall have sor- 

1 row, but in that soitow he shall e;.t oread, which 


40 


GENESIS, III. 


shall strengthen his heart under his sorrows. He 
is not sentenced to eat dust as the sei’pent, only to 
eat the herb of the field. 

3. His life also is but short; considering how full 
of trouble his days are, it is in favour to him, that 
they are few; yet’ death being dreadful to nature, 
(yea, though life be unpleasant,) that concludes the 
sentence. “Thou shalt to the ground out 

of which thou wast taken; thy body, that part of 
thee which was taken out of the ground, shall re- 
turn to it again: for dust thou art.” That points to, 
(1.) The first original of his body; it was made of 
the dust, nay, it was made dust, and was still so; so 
that there needed no more than to recall the grant 
of immortality, and to withdraw the power which 
was put forth to support it, and then he would, of 
course, return to dust. Or, (2.) To the present 
corruption and degeneracy of his mind; Dust thou 
cr^ that is, “Thy precious soul is now lost and 
buried in the dust of the body, and the mire of the 
flesh; it was made spiritual and heavenly, but it is 
become carnal and earthy. ” His doom is therefore 
read; “ To dust thou shalt return. Thy body shall 
be forsaken by thy soul, and become itself a lump 
of dust ; and then it shall be lodged in the grave, the 
proper place for it, and mingle itself with the dust 
of the earth,” our dust, Ps. 104. 29, Rarth to earth, 
dust to dust. Observe here, [1.] That man is a 
mean frail creature, little as dust, the small dust of 
the balance; light as dust, altogether lighter than 
vanity; weak as dust, and of no consistency, our 
strength not the strength of stones; he that made 
us, considers it, and remembers that we are dust, 
Ps. 103. 14. Man is indeed the chief fiart of the 
dust o f the world, Prov. 8. 26, but still he is dust. 
2.] That he is a mortal dying creature, and 
astening to the grave. Dust may be raised, for a 
time, into a little cloud, and may seem considerable 
while it is held up by the wind that raised it; but 
when the force of that is spent, it falls again, and 
returns to the earth out of which it was raised; such 
a thing is man; a great man is but a great mass of 
dust, and must return to his earth. [3.] That sin 
brought death into the world; if Adam had not sin- 
ned, he had not died, Rom. 5. 12. God intrusted 
Adam with a spark of immortality, which he, by a 
patient continuance in well-doing, might have blown 
up into an everlasting flame; but he foolishly blew 
it out by wilful sin: and now death is the wages of 
sin, and sin the sting of death. 

We must not go off from this sentence upon our 
first parents, wh4ch we are all so nearly concerned 
in, and feel from, to this day, till we have consider- 
ed two things. 

First, How fitly the sad consequences of sin upon 
the soul of Adam and his sensual race, were repre- 
sented and figured out by this sentence, and per- 
haps were more intended in it than we are aware 
of. Though that misery only is mentioned, which 
affected the body, yet that was a pattern of spiritual 
miseries, the curse that entered into the soul. 1. 
The pains of a woman in travail represent the ter- 
rors and pangs of a guilty conscience, awakened to 
a sense of sin; from the’ conception of lust, these 
sorrows are greatly multiplied, and, sooner or later, 
will come upon the sinner like pain upon a woman 
in travail, which cannot be avoided. 2. The state 
of subjection which the woman was reduced to, re- 
presents that loss of spiritual liberty and freedom 
of will, which is the effect of sin. The dominion 
of sin in the soul is compared to that of a husband, 
Rom. 7. 1. .5; the sinner’s desire is towards it, for 
he is fond of his slavery, and it iniles over him. 3. 
The curse of barrenness which was brought upon 
the earth, and its produce of briers and thoms, are 
a fit representation of the bairenness of a corrunt 
and sinful soul in that which is good, and its fruit- 


' fulness in evil. It is all grown over with thoms, 
j| and nettles cover the face of it; and therefore it is 
Ij nigh unto cursing, Heb. 6. 8. 4. The toil and 

' sweat bespeak the difficulty which, through the in- 
firmity of the flesh, man labours under, in the ser- 
vice of God, and the work of religion; so hard is it 
now become to enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
5. The imbittering of his food to him bespeaks the 
soul’s want of the comfort of God’s favour, which 
is life, and the bread of life. 6. The soul, like the 
I body, returns to the dust cf this world, its tendency 
is that way; it has an earthy taint, John 3. 31. 

Secondly, How admirably the satisfaction our 
Lord Jesus made by his death and sufferings, an- 
swered to the sentence here passed upon our first 
parents! 1. Did travailing pains come in with sin.^ 

, We read of the travail of Christ’s soul, Isa. 53, 11, 
and the pains of death he was held by, are called 
IShsLi, Acts, 2. 24, the fiains of a woman in travail. 

\ 2. Did subjection come in with sin? Christ was 
! made under the law. Gal. 4. 4. 3. Did the curse 

I come in with sin? Christ was made a curse for us, 

! died a cursed death. Gal. 3. 13. 4. Did thorns 
j come in with sin? He was crowned with thorns 
for us. 5. Did sweat come in with sin? He sweat 
for us, as it had been great drops of blood. 6. Did 
sorrow come in with sin? He was a man of sorrows, 
his soul was, in his agony, exceeding sorrowful. 7 
Did death come in with sin? He became obedient 
unto death. Thus is the plaster as wide as the 
wound; blessed be God for Jesus Christ! 

20. And Adam called his wife’s name 
Eve ; because she was the mother of all 
living. 

God having named the man, and called him 
Adam, which signifies red earth; Adam, in further 
token of dominion, named the woman, and called 
\itY Fve, that is, life. Adam bears the name of the 
dying body. Eve of the living soul. The reason of 
the name is here given, some think, by Moses the 
historian, others, by Adam himself, because she 
was, that is, was to be, the mother of all living. 
He had before called her Ishah, woman, as a wife.: 
here he calls her Evah, life, as a mother. Now, 1. 
If this was done by divine direction, it was an in- 
stance of God’s favour, and, like the new naming 
of Abraham and Sarah, it was a seal of the cove'^- 
nant, and an assurance to them, that, notwithstand- 
ing their sin and his displeasure against them for it, 
he had not reversed that blessing wherewith he had 
blessed tliem. Be fruitful and multiply; it was like- 
wise a confirmation of the promise now made, that 
the Seed of the woman, of this woman, should break 
j the serpent’s head. 2. If Adam did it of himself, 
it was an instance of his faith in the word of God: 
doubtless it was not done, as some have suspected, 

I in contempt or defiance of the curse, but rather in 
a humble confidence and dependence upon the 
blessing; (1.) The blessing of a reprieve, admiring 
j the patience of God, and that he should spare such 
I sinners to be the parents of all living, and that he 
j did not immediately shut up those fountains of the 
I human life and nature, because they could send 
j forth no other than polluted, poisoned, streams; 
i { 2 .) The blessing of a Redeemer, the promised 
heed, to whom Adam had an eye, in calling his 
I wife Five, life; for he should be the life of all the 
living, and in him all the families of the earth should 
be blessed, in hope of which he thus triumphs. 

21. Unto Adam also, and to his wife, did 
the Lord God make coats of skins, and 
clothed them. 

We have here a further instance of God’s ca’e 
concerning our first parents, notwithstanding thi i 


47 


GENESIS, in. 


sin. Though he correct his disobedient children, 
and put them under the marks of his displeasure, 
yet he does not disinherit them, but, like a tender 
father, provides the herb of the field for their food, 
Vand coats of skins for their clothing; thus the father 
pi’ovided for the returning prodigal, Luke 15. 22, 

23. If the Loi'd had been pleased to kill them, he 
would not have done this for them. Observe, 1. 

V That clothes came in with sin; we had had no oc- | 
casion for them, either for defence or decency, if 
sin had not made us naked, to our shame. Little 
reason therefore we have to be proud of our clothes, 
which are but the badges of our poverty and infa- 
my. 2. That when God made clothes for our first 
parents, he mado, them warm and strong, but coarse 
and very plain, not robes of scarlet, liut coats of 
skin. Their clothes were made, not of silk and 
satin, but plain skins, not trimmed, nor embroider- 
ed, none of the ornaments which the daughters of 
Zion afterwards invented, imd prided themselves 
in. Let the poor that are meanly clad, learn hence 
not to complain; having food and a covering, let 
them be content; they are as well done to, as Adam 
and Eve were: and let the rich that are finely clad, 
learn hence not to make the putting on of apparel 
their adorning, 1 Pet. 3. 3. 3. That God is to be 

acknowledged with thankfulness, not only in giving 
us food, but in giving us clothes also, ch. 28. 20. 
The loool and the flax are his, as well as the corn 
and the wine, Hos. 2. 9. 4. Those coats of skin 

had a significancy. The beasts whose skins they 
were, must be slain, slain before their eyes, to show 
them what death is, and (as it is Eccl. 3. 18.) that 
they may see that they themselves are beasts, mor- 
tal, and dying. It is supposed that they were slain, 
not for food, but for sacrifice, to typify the Great 
Sacrifice, which in the latter end of the world, 
should be offered once for all : thus the first thing 
that died, was a sacrifice, or Christ in a figure, who 
is therefore said to be the Lamb slain from the 
foundation of the world. These sacrifices were di- 
»dded between God and man, in token of reconcilia- 
, tfon; the flesh was offered to God, a whole burnt-of- 
' fering, the skins were given to man for clothing; sig- 
nifying that Jesus Christ having offered himself to 
God a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, we are to 
clothe ourselves with his righteousness as with a 
garment, that the shame of our nakedness may not 
appear. Adam and Eve made for themselves 
aprons of fig-leaves, a covering too narrow for them 
to wrap, themselves in. Is. 28. 20. Such are all the 
rags ojf our own righteousness. But God made them 
coats of skins, large, and strong, and durable, and 
fit for them ; such is the righteousness of Christ, 
''vfJherefore put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

22. And the Lord God said, Behold, the 
man is 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 : 23. Therefore the Lord God 
sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to 
till the ground from whence he was taken. 

24. So he drove out the man ; and he placed 
at the east of the garden of Eden, cheru- 
bims, and a flaming styord which turned 
every way, to keep the way of the tree of 
life. 

Sentence being passed upon the offenders, we 
have here execution, in part, done upon them im- 
mediately. Observe here, 

I. How they were justly disgraced and shamed 
lefore God and the holy angels, by that ironical 


upbraiding of them with the issue of their enter- 
prise, “ Behold, the man is become as one of us, to 
know good and evil. A goodly god he makes! 
Does he not? See what he has got, what prefer- 
ments, what advantages, by eating forbidden fruit!” 
This was said, to awaken and humble them, and to 
bring them to a sense of their sin and folly, and to 
repentance for it, that seeing themselves thus 
wretchedly deceived by following the Devil’s coun- 
sel, they miglit henceforth pursue the happiness 
God sliould offer, in the way he should prescribe. 
God thus Jills their faces with sha7ne, that they may 
seek his name, Ps. 83. 16. He puts them to this 
confusion, in order to their conversion. True peni- 
tents will thus upbraid themselves, “What fruit 
have I now by sin? Rom. 6. 21. Have I gained 
what 1 foolishly promised myself in a sinful way? 
No, no, it never proved wh^d it pretended to, but 
the contrary.” 

II. How they were justly discarded, and shut out 
of ])aradise, which was a part of the sentence im- 
plied in that. Thou shalt eat the herb of the field. 
Here we have, 

1. The reason God gave why he shut him out cf 
paradise; not only because he had put forth his hand, 
and taken of the tree of knowledge, which was his 
sin ; but lest he should again put forth his hand, and 
take also of the tree of life, (which is now forbid- 
den him by the law,) and should dare to eat of that 
tree, and so profane a divine sacrament, and defy a 
divine sentence, and yet flatter himself with a con- 
ceit that thereby he should live for ever. Obseiwe, 
(1.) There is a foolish proneness in those that have 
rendered themselves unwoithy of the substance of 
Christian privileges, to catch at the signs and sha- 
dows of them. Many that like not the terms of the 
covenant, yet, for their reputation’s sake, are fond 
of the seals of it. (2.) It is not only justice, but 
kindness, to such, to be denied them; for by usurp- 
ing that which they have no title to, the affront 
God, and make their sin the more heinous; and by 
building their hopes upon a wrong foundation, they 
render their conversion the more diflicult, and their 
ruin the more deplorable. 

2. The method God took, in giving him this bill 
of divorce, and expelling and excluding him from 
this garden of pleasure. He turned him out, and 
kept him out. 

(1.) He turned him out, from the garden to the 
common. This is twice mentioned, v. 23, he sent 
him forth, and then, v. 24, he drove him out. God 
bade him go out; told him that that was no place 
for him, he should no longer occupy and enjoy that 
garden: but he liked the place too well to be willing 
to part with it, and therefore God drove him out, 
made him go out, whether he would or no. This 
signified the exclusion of him, and all his guilty 
race, from that communion with God, which was 
the bliss and gloiy of paradise; the token of God’s 
favour to him, and his delight in the sons of men 
which he had in his innocent estate, were now sus- 
pended; the communications of his grace were 
withheld, and Adam became weak, and like other 
men, as Samson when the Spirit of the Lord was 
departed from him; his acquaintance with God was 
lessened and lost, and that correspondence which 
had been settled between man and his Maker, was 
inteiTupted and broken off. He was driven out, as 
one unworthy of this honour, and incapable of this 
service. Thus he and all mankind, by the fall, for 
feited and lost communion with God. 

But whither did he send him, when he turned 
him out of Eden? He might justly have chased 
him out of the world. Job 18. 18, but he only chased 
him out of the garden. He might justly have cast 
him do\vn to heU, as the angels that sinned were, 
when they Avere shut out from the heavenly para 


48 


GENESIS, IV. 


d:5>e, ‘2 Pet. 2. 4. But man was only sent to till the 
ground, out of which lie was taken. He v.'as sent 
to a place of toil, not to a jjlace of torment. He 
was sent to the gi’ound, not to tlie gra\ e; to the 
work-house, not to the dungeon, not to the prison- 
house; to hold the plough, not to drag the chain. 
His tilling of the ground would be recompensed by 
his eating of its fruits; and his converse with the 
e '.rth whence he was taken, was improveable to 
good purposes, to keep him humble, and to remind 
him of his latter end. Observe then, that though 
cur lirst parents were excluded from the privileges 
of their state of innocency, \ et they were not alian- 
doned to despair; God’s thoughts of love designing 
them for a second state of probation upon new terms. 

(2.) He kefit him out, and forbade him all hopes 
of a re-entry; for he filaced at the east of the garden 
of Eden a det ichment of cherubims. God’s hosts, 
armed with a dreadful and irresistible power, re- 
pi-esented by flaming swords which turned every 
way, on that side the garden which lay next to 
the place whither Adam was sent, to keep the way 
that led to the tree of life, so that he could not 
either steal or force an entry; for who can make a 
pass against an angel on his guard, or gain a pass 
made good l)v such a force? Now this intimated to 
Adam, [l.] '4’hat God was displeased wdth him; 
though he had mercy in store for him, yet, at pre- 
sent, he was angry with him, was turned to be his 
enemy, and fought against him, for here was 'a 
svjord drawn, Nuni. 22, 23, and he was to him a 
consuming lire, for it was a flaming sword. [2.] 
'I'hat the angels were at war with him ; no peace 
with the iieavenly hosts, while he was in rebellion 
against their Lord and our’s. [3. ] That the way 
to the tree of life was shut up, namely, that way 
which, at first, he was put into, the way of spotless 
innocency. It is not said that the cherubims were 
set to keep him and his for ever from the tree of 
life: (thanks be to God, there is a paradise set be- 
fore us, and a tree of life in the midst of it, which 
we rejoice in the hopes of;) but they were set to 
keep th it way of the tree of life, which hitherto 
they had been in, that is, it was henceforward in 
vain for him and his to expect righteousness, life, 
{'.nd happiness, by virtue of the first covenant, for it 
was irrejjarablv broken, and could never be pleaded, 
nor any benefit taken by it. The command of that 
covenant being broken, the curse' of it is in full 
force; it leaves no room for repentance, but we are 
all undone, if we be judged by that covenant. God 
revealed tb.is to Adam, not to drive him to despair, 
but to do him a service by quickening him to look 
for life and happiness in the promised Seed, by 
whom the flaming swmrd is removed. God and his 
angels are reconciled to us, and a new and living 
wav into the holiest is consecrated and laid open 
for us. 

CHAP. IV. 

In this chapter, we have both the uwrld and the church in 
a family, in a little family, in Adam’s family ; and a 
specimen given of the character and slate of both in 
after-acres, nay, in all ages to the end of time. As all 
mankind were represented in Adam, so that great dis- 
tinction of mankind into saints and sinners, godly and 
wicked, ttie childreti of God and the children of the 
wicked one, was here represented in Cain and Abel ; 
and an early instance is given of the enmity which was 
lately put between the seed of the woman and the seed 
of the serpen'. We have here, I. The birth, names, and 
callincrs, of Cain and .'\hel, v. I, 2. II. Their religion, 
and different success in it, v. 3, 4. and part of v. 6. III. 
Cain’s aiwer at God, and the reproof of him for that an- 
ger, V. 5.. 7. IV. Cain’s murder of his brother, and the 
process airainsi him for that murder. The murder com- 
mitted, v. 8. The proceedings against him. 1. Ilis ar- 
raig-nment, v. 9, former part. 2. Ilis plea, v. 9, latter 
part. 3. Ilis conviction, v. 10. 4. The sentence passed 
upon him, v. 11, 12. 5. Ilis complaint against the sen- 


temce, v. 13. 14. 6. The ratification of the sentence, v 

15. 7. 1 he e.xecution of the sentence, v. 15, 16. V 

The family and posterity of Cain, v. 17. .24. VI The 

birth of another son and grandson of Adam, v. 25, 26 

L A IS D \clam knew Eve his wife ; aiu! 

EIl she conceived, and bare Cain, and 
said, 1 have gotten a man from the LvORd. 
2. And she again bare liis brother Abe] : 
and Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain 
was a tiller of tlie ground. 

Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters, ch. 

5. 4. But Cain and Abel seem to ha\ e been the 
two eldest; and seme think they were twins, and. 
as Esau and Jacob, the elder hated, and the younger 
loved. Though God had cast them out of paradise, 
he did not write them childless; but to show that lie- 
had ether blessings in store for them, he preserved 
to them the benefit of that first blessing of increase. 
Though they were sinners, nay, though they felt 
the humiliation and sorrow rf penit-^nts, thev did 
not write themselves comfortless, having the ])rc- 
mise of a Saviour to support themselves with. We 
have here, 

I. The names of their two sons. 1. Cam signi- 
fies possession; for Eve, when she iiare him, said, 
with joy and thankfulness, and great exjiectaticn, 
/ have gotten a man from the Lord. Observe, 
Children are God’s gifts, and he must be acknow- 
ledged in the building up of cur families. It doubles 
anci sanctifies cur comfort in them, when we see 
them coming to us from the hand of God, who will 
not forsake the works and gifts of liis own hand. 
Though Eve bare him with the sorrows that were 
the consequence of sin, yet she did not lose the sense 
of the mercy in her pains. Comforts, though allay- 
ed, ai’e more than we deserve; and therefore our 
complaints must not drown our thanksgivings. Ma- 
ny suppose that Eve had a conceit that this son was 
the promised Seed, and that therefore she thus tri- 
umphed in him; it may indeed be read, I have got- 
ten a man, the Lord; God-man. If so, she was 
wretchedly mistaken, as Samuel, when he said. 
Surely the Lord’s anointed is before me, 1 Sam. 16. 

6. When children are born, who can foresee what 
thev will prove ^ He that was thought to be a man, 
the GoRT), or, at least, a man from the Lord, and 
for his service as priest of the family, became an 
enemy to the Lord. The less we exjiect from crea- 
tures, the more tolerable will disa])printments be. 
2. ./dbcl signifies vanity; when she thought she had 
obtained the promised Seed in Cain, she was so ta- 
ken up with that i)Ossession, that another son was as 
vanity to her. To those who have an interest in 
Christ, and make him their all, other things are as 
nothing at all. It intimates likewise, that the longer 
we live in this world, the more w'c may see of the 
vanity of it; what, at first, we are fi nd of, as a pos- 
session, afterward we see cause to be dead to, as a 
trifle. The name given to this son is put upon the 
whole race, Ps. 39. 5. Every man is at his best 
estate, Abel, vanity. Let us labour to see both our- 
selves and others so. Childhood and youth are 
vanity. 

II. The employments of Cain and Abel. , Oliscrve, 
1. They both had a calling. Though they were 
heirs apparent to the world, their birth noble, and 
their possessions large; yet they were not brought 
up in idleness. God gave their father a calling, even 
in innocenev, and he gave them one. Note, It is the 
will of God that we should everv one of us have 
something to do in this world. Parents ought tc 
bring up their children to business: Give them a Bi- 
ble, and a calling; good Mr. Dodd;) and God 
be with them. 2. Their employments were difrer 


49 


GENESIS, IV. 


«ut, that they might trade and exchange with one 
another, as there was occasion. The inen\bcrs of 
the body politic have need one of another; and mu- 
tual love is helped by mutual commerce. 3. Their 
employments belonged to the husbandman’s calling, 
their father’s profession; a needful calling, for the 
king himself is sein^ed of the field, but a laborious 
calling, which required constant care and attend- 
ance: it is now looked upon as a mean calling, the 
floor of the land serve for vine-dressers, and hus- 
bandmen, Jer. 52. 16. But the calling was fir from 
being a dishonour to them; rather, they might have 
been an honour to it. 4. It should seem, by the or- 
der of the story, that Abel, though the younger bro- 
ther, yet entered first into his calling, and, probably, 
his example drew in Cain. 5. Abel chose that em- 
ployment which most befriended contemplation and 
devotion, for, to these a pastoral life has been look- 
ed upon as being peculiarly favourable. Moses and 
David kept sheep, and in their solitudes conversed 
with God. Note, That calling and that condition 
of life are best for us, and to be chosen by us, which 
are best for our souls; that which least exposes us 
to sin, and gives us most opportunity of serving and 
enjoying God. 

3. And in process of time it came to pass, 
that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground 
an offering unto the Lord. 4. And Abel, 
he also brought of the firstlings of his flock 
and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had 
respect unto Abel and to his offering : 5. 
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not 
respect. And Cain was very wroth, and 
his countenance fell. 

Here is, 

1. The devotion of Cain and Abel. In process of 
time, when they had made some improvement in 
their respective callings, Heb. At the end of days, 
either at the end of the year, when they kept their 
feasts of in-gathering, or, perhaps, an annual fast 
in remembrance of the fall; or, at the end of the 
days of the week, the seventh day, which was the 
sabbath — at some set time, Cain and Abel brought 
to Adam, as the priest of the family, each of them 
an offering to the Lord; for the doing of which we 
have reason to think there was a divine appoint- 
ment given to Adam, as a token of God’s favour to 
him, and his thoughts of love toward him and his, 
notwithstanding their apostasy. God would thus 
try Adam’s faith in the promise, and his obedience 
to the remedial law; he would thus settle a corre- 
spondence again between heaven and earth, and give 
shadows of good things to come. Observe here, 1. 
That the religious worship of God is no novel inven- 
tion, but an ancient institution. It is that which was 
from the beginning, (1 John 1. 1.) it is the,yoorf old 
way,l&Y. 6. 16. The city of our God is indeed that 
joyous city whose antiquity is of ancient days, Isa. 
23. 7. Truth got the start of en-or, and piety of 
profaneness. 2. That it is a good thing for children 
to be well-taught when they are young, and trained 
up betimes in religious services, that when they be- 
come to be capable of acting for themselves, they 
may, of their own accord, bring an offering to God. 
In this of the jLorrf parents must bring up 

their children, Eph. 6. 4. ch. 18. 19. 3. That we 
should every one of us honour God with what we 
have, according as he has prospered us. According 
as their employments and possessions were, so they 
brought their offering. See 1 Cor. 16. 1, 2. Our 
merchandise and our hire, whatever it is, must be 
holiness to the Lord, "iio. 18. He must have his 
dues of it in works of piety and charity, the support 

VoL. I. — G 


of religion and the relief of the poor; thus we must 
now bi-ing our offering with an upright heart; and 
vjith such sacrifices L od is well-fileased. 4. That 
hypocrites and evil doers may be found going as far 
as the best of God’s people in the external services 
of religion. Cain brought an offering with Abel; 
nay, Cain’s offering is mentioned first, as if he were 
the more forward of the two. A hypocrite may, 
possibly, hear as many sermons, say as many {)ray- 
ers, and give as much alms, as a good Christian; and 
yet, for want of sincerity, come short of acceptance 
with God. The Pharisee and Publican went to the 
temple to pray, Luke 18. 10. 

II. The different success of their devotions. That 
which is to be aimed at in all acts of religion, is, 
God’s acceptance; we speed well if we attain that, 
I)ut in vain do we worship if we miss of that, 2 Cor. 
5. 9. Perhaps to a stander-by, the sacrifices of 
Cain and Abel would have seemed both alike good. 
Adam accepted them both, but God did not, who 
sees not as man secs. God had respect to Abel and 
to his offering, and showed his acceptance of it, pro- 
bably, by fire from heaven; but to Cain arid to his 
offering he had not respect. We are sure there was 
a good reason for this difference; the Governor of the 
world, though an absolute sovereign, does not act 
arbitrarily in dispensing his smiles and fi’owns. 

1. There was a difference in the characters of the 
persons offering. Cain was a wicked man, led a bad 
life, under the reigiiing power of the world and the 
flesh; and therefore his sacrifice was an cfiownwa/ioTi 
to the Lord, Prov. 15. 8, a vain oblation, Isa. 1. 13. 
God had no respect to Cain himself, and therefore 
no respect to his offering, as the manner of the ex- 
pression intimates. But Abel was a righteous man, 
he is called righteous Abel, Matth. 23. 35, his heart 
was upright, and his life was pious; he was one of 
those whom God's countenance, beholds, Ps. 11. 7. 
and whose prayer is therefore his delight, Prov. 15. 
8. God had respect to him as a holy man, and there- 
fore to his offering as a holy offering. The tree must 
be good, else the froit cannot be pleasing to the 
heart-searching God. 

2. There was a difference in the offerings they 
brought. It is expressly said, Heb. 11. 4, Abel’s 
was a more excellent sacrifice than Cain’s; either, 
(1. ) In the nature of it. Cain’s was only a sacrifice 
of acknowledgement offered to the Creator; the 
meat-offerings of the fruit of the ground were no 
more, and, for aught I know, might have been of- 
fered in innocency: but Abel brought a sacrifice of 
atonement, the blood whereof was shed in order to 
remission; thereby owning himself a sinner, depre- 
c'^ting God’s wrath, and imploring his favour in a 
Mediator; or, (2.) In the qualities of the offering. 
Cain brought of the fruit o f the ground, any thing 
that came next to hand, what he had not occasion 
for himself, or what was not marketable; but Abel 
was curious in the choice of his offering; not the 
lame, or the lean, or the refuse, but the firstlings 
of the flock, the best he had, and the fat thereof, the 
best of those best. Hence the Hebrew doctors give 
it for a general role, that every thing that is for the 
name of the good God, must be the goodliest and 
best. It is fit that he who is the first and best should 
ha\ e the first and best of our time, strength, and 
service. 

3. The great difference was this, that Abel offer- 
ed in faith, and Cain did not. There was a differ- 
ence in the pnnciple upon which they went. Abel 
offered with an eye to God’s will as his role, and 
God’s glorv as his end, and in dependence upon the 
promise of a Redeemer: but Cain did what he did, 
onlv for cempany’s sake, or to save his credit, not 
in faith, and so it turned into sin to him. Abel was 
a penitent believer, like the Publican that went away 
justified: Cain was unhumbled; his confidence was 


50 


GENESIS, IV 


within himself; he was like the Pharisee who glori- ; 
fled himself, but was not so much as justified before 
God. 

III. Cain’s displeasure at the difference God made i 
between his sacrifice and Abel’s. Cain was very , 
wroth, which presently appeared in his very looks, i 
for his countenance fell; which bespeaks, not so | 
much his grief and discontent, as his malice and rage, j 
His sullen churlish countenance, and a down-look, ; 
betrayed his passionate resentments: he carried ill- : 
nature in his face, and the show of his countenance \ 
witnessed against him. This anger bespeaks, 1. His 
enmity to God, and the indignation he had conceived 
against him for making such a difference between 
his offering and his brother’s. He should have been ! 
angry at himself for his own infidelity and hypocri- j 
sy, by which he had forfeited God’s acceptance; and ' 
his countenance should have fallen in repentance and ' 
holy shame, as the Publican’s, who would not lift u}i \ 
HO much as their eyes to heaven, Luke 18. 13. But j 
instead of that, he flies out against God, as if he j 
were partial and unfair in distributing his smiles and 
frowns, and as if he had done him a deal of wrong. 
Note, It is a certain sign of an unhumbled heart, to 
quarrel with those rebukes which we have, by our 
own sin, brought upon ourselves. The foolishness 
of man fierverteth his way, and then, to make bad 
worse, Im heart fretteth against the Lord, Prov. 19. 

3. 2. His envy of his brother who had the honour 

to be publicly owned. Though his brother had no 
thought of having any slur put upon him, nor did 
now insult over him to provoke him, yet he conceiv- 
ed a hatred of him as an enemy, or, which is equi- 
valent, a rival. Note, (1.) It is common for those 
who have rendered themselves unworthy of God’s 
favour by their presumptuous sins, to have indigna- ! 
tion against those who are dignified and distinguish- i 
edbyit. The Pharisees walked in this way of Gain, 
when they neither entered into the kingdom of God j 
themselves, nor suffered those that were entering, to j 
go in, Luke 11. 52. Their eye is evil, because their i 
master’s eye, and the eye of their fellow-servants, ^ 
are good. (2.) Envy is a sin that commonly carries , 
with it, both its own discovery in the paleness of the 
looks, and its own punishment in the rottenness of 
the bones. 


6. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why 
art thou wrotli ? And why is thy countenance 
fallen ? 7. If thou doest well, shalt thou not 

be accepted ? And if thou doest not well, sin 
lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his 
desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 


God is here reasoning with Cain, to convince him j 
of the sin and folly of his anger and discontent, and 
to bring him into a good temper again, that further ! 
mischief might be prevented. It is an instance of I 
God’s patience and condescending goodness, that he 
would deal thus tenderly with so bad a man, in so 
bad an affair. He is not willing that any should per- 
ish, hut that all should come to repentance. Thus 
the father of the prodigal argued the case with the 
elder son, Luke 15. 28, &c. And God with those 
Israelites, who said, The way of the l.ord w not equal, 
Ezek. 18. 25. God puts Cain himself upon inquir- 
ing into the cause of his discontent, and considering 
whether it were indeed a just cause. Why is thy 
countenance fallen? Observe, 


I. That God takes notice of all our sinful passions 
and discontents. There is not an angry look, an en- 
vious look, or a fretful look, that escapes his observ- 
ing eye. 

II. That most of our sinful heats and disquietudes 
V ould soon vanish before a strict and impartial in- 


quiry into the cause of them. “ Why am I wroth? 
Is there a real cause, a just cause, a proportionable 
cause for it.^ Why am I so soon angry? W' hy so very 
angry, and so implacable?” To reduce Cain to his 
riglit mind again, it is here made evident to him, 

1. That he had no reason to be angry at God, for 
that he had proceeded according to the settled and 
invariable rules ( f government, suited to a state cf 
probation. He sets before men life and death, the 
blessing and the curse; and then renders to them ac- 
cording to their works, and differences them accord- 
ing as they difference themselves — so shall their 
docin be. The rules are just, and therefore his ways, 
according to those rules, must needs be equal, and 
he will be justified when he speaks. 

(1. ) Gocl sets before Cain life and a blessing. “ If 
thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? No 
doubt, thou shalt, nay, thou knowest thou shalt;” 
either, [I. ] “ If thou hadst done well, as thy bn ther 
did, thou shouldest have been accepted, as he was.” 
Goef is no respecter of persons, hates nothing that 
he has made, denies his favour to none but those 
who have forfeited it, and is an enemy to none but 
those who, by sin, have made him their enemy: so 
that if we come short of acceptance with him, v e 
must thank ourselves, the fault is whcllv < ur own; 
if we had done our duty, we had not missed cf his 
mercy. This will justify God in the destruction ( f 
sinners, and will aggravate their ruin; there is net a 
damned sinner in hell, but, if he hacl dene well, as 
he might have done, had been a glorified saint in 
heaven. Every mouth will shortly'^ be st( pped with 
this. Or, [2.] “If woto thou do well, if thou re- 
pent of thy sin, reform thy heart and life, and bring 
thy sacrifice in a better manner, if thou net only do 
that w'hich is good, but do it well; thou shalt yet be 
accepted, thy sin shall be pardoned, thy comfort and 
honour restored, and all shall be well.” Eee here 
the effect cf a Mediator’s interposal between God 
and man; we do not stand upon the footing rf the 
first covenant, which left no room f( r repentance, 
but God is come upon new terms with us. Though 
we have offended, if we repent and return, we shall 
find mercy. See how early the gospel was preached, 
and the benefit of it here offered even to one of the 
chief of sinners. - 

(2. ) He sets before him death and a curse. “ But 
if not well,” that is, “Seeing thou didst not dc 
well, not offer in faith, and in a right manner; sin 
lies at the door,'’ that is, “sin was imputed to thee, 
and thou \vast frowned upon and rejected as a sinner. 
So high a charge had not been laid at thy door, ii 
thou hadst not brought it upon thyself, bv not doing 
well.” Or, as it is commonly taken, “If new thou 
dost not do w’ell, if thou persist in this wrath, and, 
instead of humbling thyself before God, harden 
thyself against him; sin lies at the door," that is, 

[ 1. ] Further sin. “Now that anger is in thy heart, 
murder is at the door.” The way of sin is down- 
hill, and men go from bad to worse. They who do 
not saorifioc vrell, but are careless and remiss in 
their devotion to God, expose themselves to the 
worst temptations; and perhaps the most scanda- 
lous sin lies at the door. They who do not keep 
God’s ordinances, are in danger of committing a.ll 
abominations. Lev. 18. 30. Or, [2.] 1 he punish- 
ment of sin. So near akin are sin and punishment, 
that the same word in Hebrew signifies both. If sin 
be harboured in the house, the curse waits at the 
door, like a bailiff, ready to arrest the sinner when 
ever he looks out. It lies as if it slept, but it lies at 
the door where it will scon be awaked, and then it 
will appear that the damnation slumberc 1 not. Sin 
will fnd thee out. Numb. 32. 23. Yet some choose 
to understand this also as an intimation of mercy. 
“If thou doest not well, sin, that is, the sin-ojfering, 
lies at the door, and thou mayest take the benefit 


51 


GENESIS, IV. 


of it.” The same word signifies sm, and a sacrifice 
f;r si?!. “ Though thou hast not done well, yet do 

net desj) tir; the remedy is at hand; the proposition 
is n t f ir to seek; lay hold on it, and the iniquity of 
the holy things shall be forgiven thee.” Christ, the 
great sin-oftering, is said to stand at the door. Rev. 
S. 20. And those well deserve to perish in their 
sins, that will not go to the door for an interest in the 
sin-otTering. All this considered, Cain had no rea- 
son to je angry at God, but at himself only. 

2. He shows him that he had no reason to be an- 
gry at his brother; “Unto thee shall be his desire, he 
shad continue his respect to thee as an elder bro- 
ther, and tliou, as the first-ljorn, shalt rule over him 
as much as ever.” God’s acceptance of Abel’s of- 
fering did not transfer the birthright to him, (which 
Cain was jealous of,) nor put upon him that excel- 
lency of dignity and excellency of power which are 
s lid to belong to it, ch. 49. 3. God did not so in- 
tend it; Abel did not so interpret it; there was no 
d inger of its being improved to Cain’s prejudice; 
why then sho uld he be so much exasperated ? Ob- 
serve here, (1.) That the difference which God’s 
grace m..kes, docs not alter the distinctions which 
God’s providence makes, but preserves them, and 
obliges us to do the duty which results from them: 
believing servants must be obedient to unbelieving 
m isters. Dominion is not founded in grace, nor will 
religion warrant disloyalty or disrespect in any re- 
Tti-n. (2.) Thatthe jealousies which civil powers 
h n e sometimes conceived of the true worshippers 
of God as dangerous to their government, enemies 
to Cxsar, and hurtful to kings and provinces, (on 
which suspicion persecutors have grounded their 
rage against them,) are very unjust and unreasona- 
ble. ^Vhatever may be the case with some who call 
themselves Christians, it is certain that Christians in- 
deed are the best subjects, and the quiet in the land; 
their desire is toward their governors, and they shall 
rule over them. 

8. And Cain talked with Abel his bro- 
ther : and it came to pass, when they were 
in the field, that Cain rose np against Abel 
his brother, and slew him. 

^^’'e have here the progress of Cain’s anger, and 
the issue of it in Abel’s murder; which may be con- 
sidered two ways. 

I. As Cain’s sin; and a scarlet, crimson sin it was, 
a sin of the first magnitude, a sin against the light 
and law of nature, and which the consciences even 
of bad men have startled at. See in it, 1. The sad 
effects of sin’s entrance into the world, and into the 
hearts of men. See w’hat a root of Ijitterness the 
corrupt nature is, which bears this gall and worm- 
w'ood. Adam’s eating for})idden fniit seemed but a 
little sin, but it opened the door to the greatest. 2. 
A fruit of the enmity which is in the seed of the ser- 
f.ent against the seed of the woman. As Abel leads 
the van in the noble army of martyrs, Matth. 23. 
35, so Cain stands in the fre ntof the ignoble army of 
persecutors, Jude 11. So early did he that was afttr 
the flesh, fiersecute him that was after the spirit ; and 
so it is now, more or less. Gal. 4. 29, and so it will be, 
till the war shall end in eternal salvation of all the 
saints, and the eternal perdition of all that hate 
them. 3. See also what comes of eni^y, hatred, 
malice, and all uncharitableness; if they be indulged 
and cherished in the soul, they are in danger of in- 
\ ol\-ing men in the horrid guilt of murder itself. 
Rash anger is heart-murder, Matth. 5. 21, 22. 
Much more is malice so; he that hates his brr ther, 
IS already a murderer before God: and if God leave 
him to himself, he wants nothing but an opportunity 
< >f being a murderer before the world. 

Many were the aggravations of Cain’s sin. (1.) It 


was his brother, his own brother, that he murdered; 
his own mother’s son, Ps. 50. 20, whom he ought to 
have loved; his younger brother, whom he ought to 
have protected. (2. ) He was a good brother; one 
who had never done him any wrong, nor given him 
the least provocation, in word or deed, but one 
whose desire had been always toward him, and who 
had been, in all inst.mces, dutiful and respectful to 
him. (3.) He had fair warning given him, before, 
of this; God himself had told him what would come 
of it, yet he persisted in his barbarous design. (4.) 
It should seem that he covered it with a show ot 
friendship and kindness. He talked with Abel his 
brother, treely and f.inuliarl}q lest he should suspect 
danger, and keep out of his reach. Thus Joab kiss- 
ed Abner, and then killed him. According to the 
Septuagint,* he said to Abel, Let us go into the 
field; if so, we are sure Aliel did not understand it 
(according to the modern sense) as a challenge, else 
he would not have accepted it, but as a brotherly 
invitation to go together to their work. The Chal- 
dee-Paraphrast adds, that Cain, when they were in 
discourse in the field, maintained that there was no 
judgment to come, no future state, no rewards an.l 
punishments in the other world; and that when Abel 
spake in defence of the truth, Cain took that occa- 
sion to fall upon him. However, (5. ) That which 
the scripture tells us was the reason for which he 
slew him, was a sufficient aggravation of the mur- 
der; it ve'AS>because his own works were evil, and his 
brother’s righteous, so that herein he showed him- 
self to be of that wicked one, 1 John 3. 12, a child of 
the devil, a.?, being an tnemy to all righteousness, 
even in his own brother; and, in this, employed im- 
mediately by the destroyer. Nay, (6.) In killing 
his brother, he directly struck at God himself; for 
God accepting of Abel was the provocation pretend- 
ed; and for that very reason he hated Abel, because 
God loved him. (7.) The murder of Abel was 
the more inhuman, because there were now so few 
men in the world to replenish it. I’he life of a man 
is precious at any time; but it was in a special man- 
ner precious now, and could ill be spared. 

II. As Abel’s suffering. Death reigned ever since 
Adam sinned, but w'e read not of any taken captive 
by him till now; and now, 1. The first that dies, is 
a saint, one that was accepted and beloved of God; 
to show that though the promised Seed was so far 
to destroy him that had the power of death, as to 
save believers from its sting, yet that still they 
should be exposed to its stroke. The first that went 
to the grave went to heaven; God would secure to 
himself the first fruits, the first-born to the dead, 
that first opened tlie womb into another world. Let 
this take off’ the terror of death, that it was betimes 
the let of God’s chosen, which alters the property 
of it. Nay, 2. The first that dies, is a martyr, and 
dies for his religion; and of such it may more tnily 
be said than of soldiers, that they die in the field of 
honour. Abel’s death has not only no curse in it, 
but it has a crown in it; so admirably well is the 
property of death altered, that it is not only be- 
come innocent and inofi'ensive to those that die in 
C.hrist, but honourable and glorious to those that die 
for him. Let us not think it strange concerning the 
fiery trial, nor shrink if we be called to resist unto 
blood; for we know there js a crown of life for all 
that are faithful unto death. 

9. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where 
?'s Abel thy brother ? And he said, I know 

* Ii mny boproppr to s'ate, for the iiiformation of some rcioJerg, 

! lliatihe LXX, or Sepoiairint, is the name of a G reek version of the 
i Old Tesiamenl, supposed to he the woik of seventy-two Jews who 
1 ae usually called in around number, the .Seventij, iwd who made this 
vorsioii, at the desire of Ptolemy Philadelphus, about 200 years bt. 

I fore Christ. Christ and his Apostles usually quote from this vet . 

I sion. Ed 


52 


GENESIS, IV. 


not \ Am \ my brother’s keeper ? 10. And 
he said, What hast thou done ? The voice 
of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from 
the ground. 11. And now art thou cursed 
horn the earth, wliich hath opened lier 
mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from 
thy hand. 12. When thou lillest the ground, 
it shall not henceforth yield unto tJiee her 
strength ; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt 
thou be in the earth. 

We have here a full account of the trial and con- 
demnation of the first murderer; civil courts of ju- 
dicature not being yet erected for this purpose, as 
they were afterward, ch. 9. 6. God himself sits 
Judge; for he is the God to whom vengeance be- 
longs, and who will be sure to make inquisition for 
blood, especially the blood of saints. 

Observe, 

I. The of Cain; The Lord said unto 

Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? Some think Cain 
was thus examined, the next sabbath after the mur- 
der was committed, when the sons of God came, as 
usual, to present themselves before the Lord, in a re- 
ligious assembly, and Abel was missing, whose 
place did not use to be empty ; for the God of heaven 
takes notice who is present at, and who is absent 
from, public ordinances. Cain is asked, not only 
because there was just cause to suspect him, he hav- 
ing discovered a malice against Abel, and having 
been last with him, but because God knew him to 
be guilty; yet he asks him, that he might draw from 
him a confession of the crime; for those who would 
be justified before God, must accuse themselves; 
and the penitent will do so. 

II. Cain’s plea; he pleads not guilty, and adds 
rebellion to his sin. For, 1. He endeavours to cover 
a deliberate murder with a deliberate We.-, I know 
not. He knew well enough what was become of 
Abel, and yet had the impudence to deny it. Tluis, 
in Cain, the Devil was both a murderer, and a liar, 
from the beginning. See how sinners’ minds are 
blinded, and their hearts hardened by the deceit- 
fulness of sin: those are strangely blind, that think 
it possible to conceal their sins from a God that sees 
all; and those are strangely hard, that think it desir- 
able to conceal them from a God who pardons those 
only that confess. 2. He impudently charges his 
Judge with folly and injustice, in putting this ques- 
tion to him. Am I my brother's keeper? He should 
have humbled himself, and have said. Am not I my 
brother's murderer ? But he flies in the face of God 
himself, as if he had asked him an impertinent ques- 
tion, which he was no way obliged to ^ive an an- 
swer to, “ Am I my brother's keeper ? Surely he is 
old enough to take care of himself, nor did I ever 
take any charge of him.” Some think he^ reflects 
on God and his providence, as if he had said, “Art 
not thou his keeper.^ If he be missing, on thee be 
the blame, and not on me, who never undertook to 
keep him.” Note, a charitable concern for our 
brethren, as their keepers, is a great duty, which is 
strictly required of us, but is generally neglected Ijy 
us. They who are unconcerned in the affairs of 
their brethren, and takqnocare, when they have 
opportunity, to prevent their hurt in their bodies, 
goods, or good name, especially in their sculs, do, 
in effect, speak Cain’s language. See Lev. 19. 17. 
Phil. 2. 4. 

III. The conviction of Cain, v. 10. God gave no 
direct answer to his question, but rejected his plea 
as false and frivolous; “ What hast thou done? 
Thou makest a light matter of it; but hast thou con- 
sidered what an evil thing it i^; how deep the stain, 
how heavy the burthen, of this guilt is? Thou 


thinkest to conceal it; but it is to no purpose, the 
evidence against thee is clear and incontestable, the 
voice of thy brother’s blood cries." He speaks as if 
the blood itself were both witness and prosecutor; 
because God’s own knowledge testified against him, 
and God’s own justice demanded satisfaction. Ob- 
serve here, 1. Murder is a crying sin, none more so. 
Blood calls for blood, the blood of the murdered for 
the blood of the murderer; it cries, in the dying 
words C)f Zechariah, 2 Chron. 24. 22. The Lord 
look upon it, and require it; or in those of the souls 
under the altar. Rev. 6. 10, How long. Lord, holy 
and true ? The patient sufferers cried for pci.rdcn. 
Luther, forgive them ; but their blood cries u r ven- 
geance. I'hough they hold their peace, their blood 
has a loud and constant cry, which the ear of the 
righteous God is always open to. 2. The blood is 
said to cry from the ground, the earth, which is 
said, V. 11, to open her mouth to receive his brother's 
blood from his hand. The earth did, as it were, 
blush to see her own face stained witli such blood, 
and, therefore, opened her mouth to hide that which 
she could not hinder. When the heaven revei.led 
his iniquity, the earth also rose up against h m, (Job 
20. 27.) and groaned for being thus made subject to 
vanity, Rom. 8. 20, 22. Cain, it is likely, buried 
the blood and the body, to conceal his crime; but 
murder will out. He did not bury them so deep ljut 
the cry of them reached heaven. 3. In the origi- 
nal, the word is plural, thy brother’s bloods, ne t only 
his blood, but the blood of all those that might ha\ e 
descended from him. Or, the blood of all the seed 
of the woman, who should, in like manner, seal the 
truth with their blood: Christ puts all on one score, 
Matth.23. 35. Or, because account was kept ct 
every drop of blood shed. How well is it for us, 
that the blood of Christ speaks better things than 
that of Abel ! Heb. 12. 24. Abel’s blood cried for 
vengeance, Christ’s blood cries for pardon. 

IV. The passed upon Cain, And now art 

thou cursed from the earth, v. 11. Observe here, 

1. He is cursed, separated to all evil, laid under 
the wrath of God, as it is revealed from heaven 
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, 
Rom. 1. 18. Who knows the extent and weight cf 
a divine curse, how far it reaches, how deep it pier- 
ces? God’s pronouncing a man cursed makes him 
so; for those whom he curses, are cursed indeed. 
The curse for Adam’s disobedience terminated on 
the ground. Cursed is the ground for thy sake ; but 
that for Cain’s rebellion fell immediately upon him- 
self, Thou art cursed ; for God had mercy in store 
for Adam, but none for Cain. We have all deserv- 
ed this curse, and it is only in Christ that believers 
are saved fn m it, and inherit the blessing. Gal. 3. 
10, 13. 

2. He is cursed from the earth. Thence the cry 
came up to God, thence the curse came upon Cain. 
God could have taken vengeance by an immediate 
stroke from heaven, by the sword of an angel, or by 
a thunderbolt; but he chose to make the earth the 
avenger cf blood; to continue him upon the earth, 
and not immediately to cut him off, and yet to make 
even that his curse. The earth is always near us. 
we canrn t fly from it; so that if that be the execu 
tioner of divine wrath, it is unavoidable; it is sm, 
that is, the punishment cf sin, lying at the dooi 
Cain found his punishment there, where he chose 
his portion, and set his heart. 

Two things we expect from the earth; and by this 
curse both are denied to Cain, and taken from him, 
sustenance settlement. (1.) Sustenance out of 
the earth is here withheld from him. _ It is a curse 
upon him in his enjoyments, and particularly in his 
calling; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not 
henceforth yield unto thee her strength. Note, 
Every creature is to us what God nuikes it; a c('m- 


53 


GENESIS, IV. 


fort or a cross; a blessing or a curse. If the earth 
ield not her strength to us, we must therein ac- 
nowledge God’s righteousness; for we have not 
yielded our strength to him. The ground was curs- 
ed before, to Adam, but it was now doubly cursed 
to Cain. That part of it which fell to his share, 
and which he had the occupation of, was made un- 
fruitful and uncomfortable to him by the blood of 
Abel. Note, The wickedness of the wicked brings 
a curse upon all they do, and all they have, Deut. 28. 
15, tfc. and that curse imbitters all they have, and 
disappoints them in all they do. (2. ) Settlement on 
the earth is here denied him. A fugitive and a va- 
gabond shalt thou be in the earth. By this he was 
condemned. [1 ] To perpetual disgrace and re- 
proach among men. It should be ever looked upon 
as a scandalous thing to harbour him, converse with 
him, or show him any countenance. And justly was 
a man that had divested himself of all humanity, ab- 
horred and abandoned by all mankind, and made 
infamous. [2.] To perpetual disquietude and hor- 
ror in his own mind. His own guilty conscience 
should haunt him wherever he went, and make him 
Afagor-missabib, a terror round about. What rest 
can those find, what settlement, that carry their 
own disturbance with them in their bosoms where- 
ever they go? they must needs be fugitives, that are 
thus tossed. There is not a more restless fugitive 
upon earth, than he that is continually pursued by 
his own guilt, nor a viler vagabond than he that is at 
the beck of his own lusts. 

This was the sentence passed upon Cain; and 
even in this there was mercy mixed, inasmuch, as 
he was not immediately cut off, but had space given 
him to repent; for God is long-suffering to us- ward, 
not willing that any should perish. 

13. And Cain said unto the Lord, My 
punishment is greater than 1 can bear. 1 4. 
Beliold, thou hast driven me out this day 
from the face of the earth ; and from thy 
face shall I be hid ; and I shall be a fugitive 
and a vagabond in the earth ; and it shall 
come to pass, that every one that findeth 
me, shall slay me. 15. And the Lord said 
unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth 
Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him se- 
ven-fold. And the Lord set a mark upon 
Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. 

We have here a further account of the proceed- 
ings against Cain. 

I. Here is Cain’s complaint of the sentence pass- 
ed upon him, as hard and severe. Some make him 
to speak the language of despair; and read it, Mine 
iniquity is greater than that it may be forgiven; and 
so what he says, is a reproach and affront to the 
mercy of God, which those only shall have the be- 
nefit of, that hope in it. There is forgiveness with 
‘.he God of pardons for the greatest sins and sinners; 
)ut they f 'I’feit it, who despair of it. Just before, 
Cain made nothing of his sin; but now, he is in the 
other extreme: Satan drives his vassals from pre- 
sumption to despair. \\’’e cannot think too ill of 
sin, ])r ivided we do not think it unpardonable. But 
( aain seems rather to speak the langaiage of indigiia- 
tion; M/ fiunishnient is greater than I can bear; 
and so, what lie s lys, is a reproach end affront to 
the justice of (iod, and a complaint, not of the 
greatness of his sin, but of the extremity of his pun- 
ishment, as if that were disproportionable to his 
.nerits. Instead of justifying God in the sentence, 
he condemns him; not accepting the punishment of 
liis iniquity, but quarrelling with it. Note, Impeni- 
y-\t unhumble hearts are therefore not reclaimed 


by God’s rebukes, because they think themselves 
wronged by them; and it is an evidence of great 
hardness to be more concerned about our sufferings 
than about our sins. Pharaoh’s care was concern- 
ing this death only, not this sin, Exod. 10. 17 ; so 
was Cain’s here. He is a living man, and yet com- 
plains of the punishment of his sin, Lam. 3. 39. He 
thinks himself rigorously dealt with, when really 
he is favourably treated; and he cries out of wrong, 
when he has more reason to wonder that he is out of 
hell. Woe unto him that thus strives with his Ma- 
ker, and enters into judgment with his judge! 

Now, to justify this complaint, obseiwe his des- 
cants upon the sentence. 1. He sees himself ex- 
cluded by it from the favour of God; and concludes 
that, being cursed, he was hid from God’s face; 
which is indeed the true nature of God’s curse; 
damned sinners find it so, to whom it is said. Depart 
from me, ye cursed. Those are cursed indeed, 
that are for ever shut out from God’s love and care, 
and from all hopes of his grace. 2. He sees him- 
self expelled from all the comforts of this life; and 
concludes that, being a fugitive, he was, in effect, 
driven out this day from the face of the earth. As 
good have no place on earth, as not have a settled 
place. Better rest in the grave, than not rest at all. 
3. He sees himself excommunicated by it, and cut 
off from the church, and forbidden to attend on pub- 
lic ordinances. His hands being full of blood, he 
must bring no more vain oblations, Isa. 1. 13, 15. 
Perhaps this he means, when he complains that he 
was driven out from the face of the earth, for, be- 
ing shut out of the church, which none had yet de- 
serted, he was hid from God's face, being not 
admitted to come with the sons of God to present 
himself before the Lord. 4. He sees himself ex- 
posed by it to the hatred and ill-will of all mankind. 
It shall come to pass, that every one that fnds me, 
shall slay me. Wherever he wanders, he goes in 
peril of his life, at least he thinks so; and like a 
man in debt, thinks every one he meets, a bailiff. 
There were none alive but his near relations; yet 
even of them he is justly afraid, who had himself 
been so barbarous to his brother. Some re.ad it. 
Whatsoever findifs me, shall slay me; not only, Who- 
soever among men, but Whatsoever among all the 
creatures: seeing himself thrown out of God’s pro- 
tection, he sees the whole creation armed against 
him. Note, Unpardoned guilt fills men with con- 
tinual terrors, Prov. 28. 1. Job 15. 20, 21. Ps. 53. 5. 
It is better to fear and not sin, than to sin and then 
fear. Dr. Lightfoot thinks this word of Cain should 
be read as a wish: Mow, therefore, let it be that any 
that finds me, may hill me. Being bitter in his 
soul, he longs for death, but it comes not. Job 3. 20 
...22. as those under spiritual torments do. Rev. 9. 
5, 6. 

II. Here is God’s confirmation of the sentence; 
for when he judyes, he will overcome, xk 15. Ob- 
serve, 1. How Cain is protected in wrath by this de- 
clan tion, notified, we may suppose, to all that little 
world which was then in being. Whosoever slaveth 
Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sex’en-fold ; 
because thereby the sentence he was under (that he 
should lie a fugitive and a vagabond) would be de- 
feated. Condemned prisoners are under the special 
protection of the I iw; they that are appointed sacri- 
fices to public justice, must not be sacrificed to pri- 
vate revenge. God having said, in Cain’s case. 
Vengeance is mine, I will repay, it had been a dar- 
ing usurpation for any man to take the sword out of 
G"d’s hand, a contempt put upon an express de- 
cl irati'^n of God’s mind, and therefore, avenged 
seven-fold. Note, God has wise and holy ends in 
protecting and pr'^longing the lives even of very 
wicked men. God deals with some, according to 
that prayer, Ps. 59. 11, Slay t.heen not, lest my 


54 


GENESIS, IV. 


fieofilt forget; scatter them by thy ponyer. Had 
Cain been slain immediately, he had been forgotten, 
Eccl. 8. 10; but now he In'es, a more fearful and 
lasting monument of God’s justice, hanged in chains, 
as it were. 2. How he is marked in wrath; 'I he 
Lord set a mark upon Cain, to distinguish him from 
the rest of mankind, and to notify that he was the 
man that murdered his brother, whom nobody must 
hurt, but every body must hoot at. God stigma- 
tized him, (as some malefactors are burnt in the 
cheek,) and put upon him such a visible and indeli- 
ble mark of infamy and disgrace, as would make 
all wise people shun him, so that he could not be 
otherwise than a fugitive and a vagabond, and the 
offsccuring of all things. 

16. And Cain went out from the pre- 
sence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land 
of Nod, on the east of Eden. 17. And 
Cain knew his wife ; and she conceived, 
and bare Enoch : and he builded a city, 
and called the name of the city, after the 
name of his son, Enoch. 18. And unto 
Enoch was born Irad : and Irad begat Me- 
hujael : and Mehujael begat Methusael : 
and Methusael begat Lamech. 

We have here a further account of Cain, and 
what became of him after he was rejected of God. 

I. He tamely submitted to that part of his sen- 
tence, by which he was hid from God’s face. For, 
(v. 16.) he went out from the presence of the Lord, 
that is, he willingly renounced God and religion, 
and was content to forego the privileges, so that he 
might not be under its precepts. He forsook Ad- 
am’s family and altar, and cast off all pretensions to 
the fear of God, and never came among good peo- 
ple, nor attended on God’s ordinances, any more. 
Note, Hypocritical professors, that have dissembled 
and trifled with God Almighty, are justly left to 
themselves, to do something that is grossly scan- 
dalous, and so throw off that form of godliness which 
they have been a reproach to, and under colour of 
which they have denied the power of it. Cain 
went out now from the presence of the Lord, and 
we never find that he came into it again, to his 
comfort. Hell is destruction from the presence of 
the Lord, 2Thes. 1. 9. It is a perpetual banishment 
from the fountain of all good. This is the choice 
of sinners; and so shall their doom be, to their eter- 
nal confusion. 

II. He endeavoured to confront that part of the 
sentence by which he was made a fugitive and a va- 
gabond, for, 

1. He chose his land. He went and dwelt on the 
east of Rden, somewhere distant from the place 
where Adam and his religious family resided, dis- 
tinguishing himself and his accursed generation 
from the holy seed, his camp from the camp of the 
saints and the beloved city. Rev. 20. 9. On the east 
of Eden, the cherubim were, with the flaming 
sword; ch. 3. 24. there he chose his lot, as if to defy 
the terrors of the Lv)rd. But his attempt to settle 
was in vain; for the land he dwelt in, was to him 
the land of Pfod, that is, shaking, or trembling, ])e- 
cause of the continual restlessness and uneasiness ('f 
his own spirit. Note, Those that depart from God, 
cannot find rest any where else. When Cain went 
out from the presence of the Lord, he never rested 
after. Those that shut themselves out of Heaven, 
abandon themselves to a perpetu il trembling; 
“ Return therefore to thy rest, O my soul, to thy 
rest in (iod; else thou art for ever restless.” 

2. He builded him a city for a habit ition, v. 17. 
He was building a city, so some read it, ever build- 


ing it, but, a curse being upon him and the work of 
his hands, he could not finish it. Or, as we read 
it, he builded a city, in token of a fixed separation 
from the church of God, to which he had no 
thoughts of ever returning. This city was to be the 
head quarters of the apostasy. Observe here, (1.) 
Cain’s defiance of the divine sentence. God said he 
should be a fugitive and a vagabond; had he re- 
pented and humbled himself, that curse might have 
turned into a blessing, as that of the tribe of Levi 
was, that they should be divided in Jacob, and scat- 
tered in Israel; but his.impenitent unhumbled heart 
walking contrary to God, and resolving to fix, in 
spite of heaven, that which might have been a 
l)lessing, turned into a curse. (2. ) See what was 
Cain’s choice, after he had forsaken God; he pitched 
mon a settlement in this world, as his rest for ever. 
They who looked for the heavenly city, on earth, 
chose to dwell in tabernacles; but Cain, as one that 
minded not that city, built him one on earth. They 
that are cursed of God, are apt to seek their settle- 
ment and satisfaction here below, Ps. 17. 14. (3.) 
See what method Cain took to defend himself against 
the terrors with which he was perpetually haunted. 
He undertook this building, to divert his thoughts 
from the consideration of his own misery, and to 
drown the clamours of a gnilrt conscience w'ith the 
noise of axes and hanmiers. Thus many baffle their 
convictions, by thrusting themselves into a hurry of 
worldly business. (4. ) See how wicked people often 
get the start of God’s people, and out-go them in 
outward prosperity. Cain and his cursed race dwell 
in a city, while Adam and his blessed family dwell 
in tents; we cannot judge of love or hatred by all 
that is before tis, Eccl. 9. 1, 2. 

3. His family was also built up. Here is an ac- 
count of his posteiity, at least, the heirs rf his 
family, for seven generations. His son Knoch; 
of the same name, but not of the same character, 
with that holy man that nvalked with God, c h. 5. 
22. Good men and bad may bear the same names; 
but God can distinguish betwe'en .lud: s l.'-cariot, and 
•Tildas not Iscariot, John 14. 22. The names of more 
of his posterity are mentioned, and but just men- 
tioned; not as those of the holy seed, ch. 5, where 
we have three verses concerning ea li, wdieieas 
here we have three or four in one verse. They are 
numbered in haste, as not valued or delighted in, in 
comparison with God’s chosen. 

19. And Lamech took unto him two 
wives : the name of the one teas Adah, and 
the name of the other Zillah. 20. And 
Adali bare Jahal : he was the father of such 
as dwell in tents, and of such os hove cattle. 
21. And his brother’s name teas Jubal : he 
was the father of all such as handle the 
harp and ore:an. 22. And Zillah, she also 
bare Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every 
artificer in brass and iron : and the sister 
of Tubal-Cain was Naamah. 

We hai e here seme particulars concerning La- 
mech, the seventh from Adam in the line cf Lain. 
Observe, 

I. His marrying of two wives. It was one of the 
degenerate race of Cain, who first transgressed that 
original law of marriage, that two only should be 
one flesh. Hitherto, one man had but one wife at 
a time; but Lamech took two. From the beginning 
it was jiot so,'^s/li\\. 2. 15. Matth. 19. 5. See hen, 
1. That these who desert God’s church and ordi 
nances, lay themselves open to all manner of temp 
tation. 2. That when a bad custom is begun by 
bad men, sometimes men of better characters arc. 


55 


GENESIS, IV 


through unwariness, drawn in to follow them. Ja- 
cob, David, and many others, who were otherwise ' 

E ood men, were afterward insnared in this sin which 
lamech had begun. I 

II. His happiness in his children, notwithstand- 
ing this. Though he sinned, in marrying two wives, 
yet he Was biessed with children by both, and those, 
such as lived to be famous in their generation; net 
for their piety, no mention is made of that, (for 
aught that appears, they were the heathen of that ! 
age,) but for their ingenuity. They were not only 
themselves men of business, but men that were 
serviceable to the world, and eminent for the in- 
vention, or, at least, the improvement, of some use- 
ful art. ; 

1. Jabal was a famous shepherd; he delighted , 
himself much in keeping cattle, and was so h..ppy j 
in devising methods of doing it to the best advan- ; 
tage, and instructing others in them, that the shep- ' 
herds of those times, nay, the shepherds of after- j 
limes, called him father; or. perhaps, his children ■ 
after him being brought up to the same employ- ' 
ment, the f miily was a family of shepherds. 

2. Jiibal was a famous musician, and particularly 
an organist, and the first that gave rules for that 
noble art or science of music. When Jabal had set ; 
them in a way to be rich, Jubal put them in a way 1 
to be merry. Those who spend their days in ; 
wealth, will not be without the timbrel and liarp. 
Job 21. 12, 13. From his name, Jubul, probably, 
the jubilee-trumpet was so called; for the best i 
music was that which proclaimed liberty and re- ' 
demption. Jabal was their Pan, and Jubal their 
Apollo. ' 

3. Tubal-Cain was a famous smith, who greatly i 
improved the art of working in brass and iron, for 
the service both of war and husbandry. He was ' 
their Vulcan. See here, i 

( 1. ) That worldly things are the only things that ' 
carnal wicked people set their hearts upon, and are ! 
most ingenious and industrious about. So it was ' 
with this impious race of cursed Cain. Here was a 
father of shepherds, and a father of musicians, but 
not a father of the f.'.ithful : here is one to teach in 
brass and iron, luit none to teach the good know- 
ledge of the Lord: here are devices how to be rich, 
and how to be mighty, and how to be merry: but 
nothing of God, or of his fear and service among 
them. Present things fill the hearts of most people. 
(2.) Tint even those who are destitute of the know- 
ledge and grace of God, may be endued with many 
excellent useful acromplishments, which may make 
them famous and serviceable in their generation. 
Common gif:s are given to bad men, while God 
chocses to himself the foolish things of the world. 

2 . 3 . And Lamech said unto his wives, 
Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice ; ye wives 
of Lamech, hearken unto my sj)eech ; for I 
have slain a man to my wounding, and a 
young man to my hurt : 24 . If Cain shall 

be avenged seven-fold, truly Lamech seven- 
ty and seven-fold. 

By this speech of Lamech, which is here record- 
ed, and, probably, was much talked of in those 
times, he further appears to have been a bad man, 
as Cain’s accursed race generally were. 

Observe, 

I. How haughtily and imperiously he speaks to 
his wives, as one that expected a mighty regard and 
observance. Hear my x'oice, ye ivives of Lamech. 
No marvel that he who had broken one law of 
marriage, by biking two wives, broke another, 
which obliged him to be kind and tender to those 
he had taken, and to gi\ e honour to the wife as to 


the weaker vessel. Those are not always the 
most careful to do their own duty, that are highest 
in their demands of respect from others, and most 
frequent in calling upon their relations to know 
their place, and do their duty. 

II. Hom' bloody and barbarcus he was to all 
alKAit him. 1 have slain, or, (as it is in the mar- 
gin,) I ’tvotild slay a man in 7ny own wound, and a 
young Tiian in my hurt. He owns himself a man 
rf a tierce and cruel disposition, that would lay 
aljout him without mercy, and kill all that stood in 
hiS way; be it a man, or a y'cung man, nay, though 
he himself were in danger'to be wounded’ and hurt 
in the conflict. S me think, because (x'. 24.) he 
compares himself with Cain, that he had murdered 
some of the holy seed, the true worshippers cf fiod, 
and that he acknowledges this to be the wounding 
cf his conscience, and the hurt of his soul; and yet 
that like Cain, he continued impenitent, trembling 
and yet unhumbled. Or, his wives, knowing what 
mcinner of spirit he was cf, how apt both to give 
and to resent jirovocation, were afraid lest seme- 
bedy or other wmuld be the death of him. “ Never 
fe.ir,” says he, “ 1 defy any man to set upen me; I 
will slay him, be he a man, or a young man.” 
Note, It is a common thing for fierce and bloody 
men to glory m their shame, (Philip. 3. 19.) as if 
it were Imth their safety and their honour, that they 
care not how many lives are sacrificed to their an- 
gry resentments, nor how much they are hated, 
provided they may be feared. Oderint, dum me- 
tuant — Let them hate, provided they fear. 

III. How impiously he presumes even upon God’s 
protection in his wicked way, v. 24. He had heard 
that Cain should be avenged seven-fold, v. 15; that 
is, that if any man should dare to kill Cain, he 
sliould be severely reckoned with, and punished, 
for so doing, though Cain deserved to die a thou- 
sand deaths for the murder of his brother; and 
hence he infers, that if any one should kill him for 
the murders he had committed, God would much 
more avenge his death. As if the special care God 
took to prolong and secure the life cf Cain, for spe- 
cial reasons peculiar to his case, and indeed for his 
sorer punishment, as the beings of the damned are 
continued — as if this care were designed for a pro- 
tection to all murderers. Thus I.,amech perversely 
argues, “If Gcd provided for the safety of Cain, 
much more for mine; Avho, though I have slain 
many, yet never slew my own brother, and upon no 
provocation, as he did.” Note, The reprieve of 
some sinners, and the patience God exercised to- 
ward them, are often abused to the hardening of 
others in the like sinful ways, Eccl. 8. 11. But 
though justice strike some slowly, others cannot 
therefore be sure liut that they mav be taken away 
with a swift destmetion. Or, if Gcd should bear 
long witli th; se who thus presume upon his for- 
bearance, they do hut hereby treasure up unto 
themselves wrath against the day of wrath. Now 
this is all we have ujion record in scripture concern- 
ing the family and posterity of cursed Cain, till we 
find them all cut on and perishing in the universal 
deluge. 

2.5. And Adam knew his wife again ; 
and she bare a son, and called his name 
Seth : For God, said she, hath appointed me 
another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain 
slew. 26. And to Seth, to liim also there 
was born a son ; and he called his name 
Enos; then began men to call upon the 
name of the Lord. 

This is the fii-st mention cf Adam in the story cf 
this chapter. No question, the murder of Abel, 


.56 


GENESIS, V. 


and the impenitence and apostasy of Cain, were a 
very great grief to him and Eve; and the more, be- ; 
cause their own wickedness did now correct thern, ! 
and their backslidings did reprove them. Their 
folly had given sin and death entrance into the 
world; and'now they smarted by it, being, by means 
thereof, dejirived of both their sons in one day, ch. 
27. 45. When parents are grie\'ed by their child- 
ren’s wickedness, they should take occasion thence 
to lament that corruption of nature which was deriv- 
ed from them, and which is the root of bitterness. 
But here we have that which was a relief to cur 
first parents in their affliction. 

I. God gave them to see the rebuilding of their 
family, which was sorely shaken and weakened by 
that sad event. For, 1. They saw their seed, an- 
other seed instead of Abel, v. 25. _ Observe God’s 
kindness and tenderness toward his people, in his 
providential dealings with them; when he takes 
away one comfort from them, he gives them an- 
other instead of it, which may pro\ e a greater bless- 
ing to them than that was, in which they thought 
their lives were bound up. This other seed was he 
in whom the church was to be built up and perpetu- 
ated; and he comes instead of Abel; for the suc- 
cession of professors is the revival of the martyrs, 
and as it were the resurrection ot God’s slain wit- 
nesses. Thus we are bafitized for the dead, 1 Cor. 
15. 29; that is, we are, by baptism, admitted into 
the church, for or instead of those who, by death, 
especially by martyrdom, are removed cut of it; 
and we fill up their room. They who slay God’s 
servants, hope thus to wear out the saints of the 
Most High; but they will be deceived. Christ shall 
still see his seed; God can out of stones raise up 
children for him, and make the blood of the martyrs 
the seed of the church, whose lands, we are sure, 
shall never be lost for want of heirs. This son, by 
•K prophetic spirit, they called Seth, that is, set, 
settled, or placed; because, in his seed, mankind 
should continue to the end of time, and from him 
the Messiah should descend. While Cain,_ the 
head of the apostasy, is made a wanderer, Seth, 
from whom the true church was to come, is one fix- 
ed. In Christ and his church is the only true set- 
tlement. 2. They saw their seerf’if 1 ’. 26. To 
Seth was born a son called Knos, that general name 
for all men, which bespeaks the weakness, frailty, 
and misery, of man’s state. The liest men are 
most sensible of these, both in themselves and their 
children. We are never so settled, but we must 
remind ourselves that we are frail. 

II. God gave them to see the reviving of religion 
in their family, v. 26, Then began men to call 
upon the name of the ford. It is small comfort to 
a good man to see his children’s children, if he do 
not, withal, see peace upon Israel, and those that 
come of him walking in the truth. Doubtless, 
God’s name was called upon before, but now, ]. 
The worshippers of God began to stir up them- 
selves to do more in religion than they had done; 
perhaps not more than had been done at first, but 
more than had been done of late, since the defec- 
tion of Cain. Now, men began to worship God, 
not only in their closets and families, but in public 
and solemn assemblies. Or, now, there was so 
great a reformation in religion, that it was as it were, 
a new beginning of it. Then may refer, not to the 
birth of Enos, but to the whole foregoing story; 
then, when men saw in Cain and I.iamech the sad 
effects of sin, by the workings of natural conscience; 
then, they were so much the more lively and reso- 
lute in religion. The worse others are, the better 
we should be, and the more zealous. 2. The wor- 
shippers of God began to distinguish themselves; 
the margin reads it. Then began men to be called by 
the name of the Lord, or, to call themselves by it. 


Now, that Cain and those who had deserted reli- 
gion, had built a city, and begun to declare fer im- 
piety and irreligion, and called themselves the Sons 
of men; those that adhered to God, began to de- 
clare for him and his worship, and called them- 
selves the Sons of God. Now began the distinction 
lietween professors and profane, which has been 
kept up ever since, and will be while the world 
stands. 

CHAP. V. 

j This chapter is the only authentic history extant of the 
first age of the world, from the creation to the flood, 
containing (according to the verity of the Hebrew text) 
1666 years, as may easily be computed by the ages of the 
Patriarchs, before they begat that son, through whom 
the line went down to Noah. This is none of those 
which the apostle calls endless genealogies, 1 Tim. 1. 4, 
for Christ who was the end of the Old Testament law, 
was also the end of the Old Testament genealogies; 
toward him they looked, and in him they centred. The 
genealogy here recorded, is inserted briefly in the pedi 
gree of our Saviour, Luke 3. 36. .38, and is of great use, 
to show that Christ was the Seed of the icoman, that 
was promised. We have here an account, I. Con- 
cerning Adam, v. 1. .5. II. Seth, v. 6. .8. III. Enos, v. 
9. .11. IV. Cainan, v. 12. .14. V. Mahalaleel, v. 15.. 
17. VI. Jared, v. 18. .20. VII. Enoch, v. 21. .24. VUI. 
Methuselah, v. 25. .27. IX. Lamech and his son Noah, 
V. 28. .32. All scripture, being given by inspiration of 
God, is profitable,- though not all alike profitable. 

\v I '^HIS is the book of the generations of 
1 Adam. In the day that God crea- 
ted man, in the likeness of God made he 
him : 2. Male and female created he them ; 
and blessed them, and called their name 
Adam, in the day when they were created : 

3. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty 
years, and begat a son in his own likeness, 
after his image ; and called his name Seth ; 

4. And the days of Adam after he had be- 

gotten Seth were eight hundred years : and 
he begat sons and daughters : 5. And all 

the days that Adam lived were nine hun- 
dred and thirty years : and he died. 

The first words of the chapter are the title or ar- 
gument of the whole chapter; it is the book of the 
generations of Adam, it is the list or catalogue ( f 
the posterity of Adam; not of all, but only ( i the 
holy seed which were the substance thereof, Isa. 6. 
13, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ 
came, Rom. 9. 5, the names, ages, and deaths, of 
those that were the successors of the first Adam in 
the custody of the promise, and the ancestors of the 
second Adam. The genealogy begins with Adam 
himself. 

Here is, 

I. His creation, v. 1, 2. Where we have a brief 
rehearsal of what was before at large related con- 
cerning the creation of man. This is what we have 
need frequently to hear of, and carefully to acquaint 
ourselves with. Observe here, 1. That God crea- 
ted man. Man is not his own maker, therefore bt 
must not be his own master; but the Author of his 
being must be the Director of his motions and the 
centre of them. 2. That there was a day in which 
God created man; he was not from eternity, l)\it of 
yesterday; he was not the first-born, but the junior 
of the creation. 3. That God made him in his own 
likeness, righteous and holy, and therefore, un- 
doubtedly, happy; man’s nature resembled the di- 
vine nature more than that of any of the creatures 
of this lower world. 4. That God created them 
male and female, {y. 2.) for their mutual comfort 
as well as for the preservation and increase of their 


57 


GENESIS, V. 


Kind. Adam and Eve were both made immediately 
by the hand of God, both made in God’s like' ess; 
and therefore between the sexes there is not that 
great distance and inequality which some imagine. 
5. That God blessed them. It is usual for parents 
to bless their children; so God, the common Father, 
blessed his: but earthly parents can only beg- a 
blessing, it is God’s prerogative to command it. It 
refers chiefly to the blessing of increase, not exclud- 
ing other blessings. 6. That he called their name 
Adam. Adam signifies earth, red earth. Now, 
(1.) God gave him this name. Adam had himself 
named the rest of the creatures, but he must not 
choose his own name, lest he should assume some 
glorious pompous title. But God gave him a name 
which would be a continual memorandum to him of 
the meanness of his original, and oblige him to look 
unto the rock whence he was hewn, and the hole of 
the flit whence he was digged, Isa. 51. 1. Those 
have little reason to be proud, who are so near akin 
to dust. (2.) He gave this name both to the man 
and to the woman. Being, at first, one by nature, 
and afterward, one by marriage, it was fit they 
should both have the same name, in token of their 
union. The woman is of the earth, earthy, as well 
as the man. 

II. The birth of his son Seth, v. 3. He was bom 
in the hundred and thirtieth year of Adam’s life; 
and, probably, the murder of Abel was not long be- 
fore. Many other sons and daughters were bom to 
Adam, besides Cain and Abel, before this; but no 
Tiotice is taken of them, because an honourable 
mention must be made of his name only, in whose 
loins Christ and the church were. But that which 
is most observable here concerning Seth, is, that 
Adam begat him in his own likeness, after his image. 
Adam was made in the image of God; but when he 
was fallen and corrupt, he begat a son in his own 
image, sinful and defiled, frail, mortal, and misera- 
ble, like himself; not only a man like himself, con- 
sisting cf l)cdy and soul, but a sinner like himself, 
guilty and obnoxious, degenerate and corrupt. 
Even the man after God’s own heart owns himself 
conceived and bom in sin, Ps. 51. 5. This was 
Adam’s own likeness, the reverse of that divine 
likeness in which Adam was made; but, having lost 
it himself, he could not convey it to his seed. Note, 
Grace does not run in the blood, but corruption 
does. A sinner begets a sinner, but a saint does not 
beget a saint. 

HI. His age and death. He lived, in all, nine 
hundred and thirty years; and then he died, accoi’d- 
!ng to the sentence passed upon him. To dust thou 
shalt return. Though he did not die in the day he 
ate forbidden fruit, yet in that very day he became 
mortal; then he began to die: his whole life after 
was but a reprieve, a forfeited, condemned, life; 
nay it was a wasting, dying, life: he was not only 
like a criminal sentenced, but as one already cruci- 
fied, that dies slowly, and by degrees. 

G. And Seth lived an Inindred and five 
years, andb^^at Enos: 7. And Seth lived 
after he begat Enos eight hundred and 
seven years, and begat sons and daughters : 
8. And all the days of Seth were nine hun- 
dred and twelve years: and he died. 9. 
And Enos lived ninety years, and begat 
Cainan: 10. And Enos lived after he be- 
gat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, 
and begat sons and daughters : 11. And 

all the days of Enos were nine hundred and 
five years : and he died. 1 2. And Cainan 
lived seventy vears, and begat Mahalaleel : 
VoL. L— H 


1 3. And Cainan lived after he begat Mahala - 
leel eight hundred and forty years, and begat 
sons and daughters: 14. And all the days 
of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years : 
and he died. 15. And Mahalaleel lived 
sixty and five years, and begat Jared : 16. 

And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared 
eight hundred and thirty years, and begat 
sons and daughters : 1 7. And all the days 

of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety 
and five years : and he died. 18. And Ja- 
red lived an hundred sixty and two years, 
and he begat Enoch: 19. And Jared lived 
after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, 
and begat sons and daughters: 20. And 
all the days of Jared were nine hundred 
sixty and two years : and he died. 

We have here all that the Holy Ghost thought 
fit to leave upon record concerning five of the pa- 
triarchs before the flood, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Ma- 
halaleel, and Jared. There is nothing observable 
concerning any of these particularly, though we 
have reason to think they were men of eminence, 
both for prudence and piety, in their day : but, in 
general, 

I. Observe how largely and expressly their gen- 
erations are recorded. This matter, one would 
think, might have been delivered in fewer words; 
but it is certain that there is not one idle word in 
God’s bocks, whatever there is in men’s. It is thus 
plainly set down, 1. To make it easy and intelligi- 
ble to the meanest capacity: when we are infcrnfccl 
how old they were when they begat such a sen, and 
how many years they lived after, a very little skill 
in arithmetic will enable a man to tell how long 
they lived in all; yet the Holy Ghost sets down the 
sum total, for the sake of those that ha\'e not even 
so much skill as that. 2. To show the pleasure 
God takes in the names rf his pecple: we fcun 1 
Cain’s generation numbered in haste, ch. A. 18, but 
this account of the holy seed is enlarged up( n, and 
given in words at length, and not in figures; we are 
told how long they lived, that lived in God’s fear, 
and when they died, that died in his favour; but a.s 
for others, it is no matter. The memory of the just 
is blessed, bu^ the name of the wicked shall rot. 

H. Their life is reckoned by days, v. 8, all the 
days of Seth, and so of the rest; which intimates 
the shortness of the life cf man, when it is at the 
longest, and the quick revolution cf our times ci\ 
earth. If they reckon by days, surely we must 
reckon by hours, or, rather make that cur frequent 
praver, (Ps. 90. 12.) Teach us to number our days. 

III. Concerning each of them, except Enoch, it 
is said, and he died. It is implied in the number- 
ing of the years cf their life, that their life, when 
those years w'ere numbered and finished, came to 
an end; and yet it is still repeated, and he died: to 
show that death passed upon all men without ex- 
ception, and that it is good for us particularly to 
observe and improve the deaths of others for our 
own edification. Such a one was a strong healthful 
man, but he died; such a one was a great and rich 
man, but he died: such a one was a wise politic man, 
but he died; such a one was a very good man, per- 
haps a very useful man, but he died, &c. 

IV. That which is especially observable, is, that 
they all lived very long; not one of them died till he 
had seen the revolutions of almost eight hundred 
years, and some of them lived much longer; a great 
while for an immortal soul to be imprisoned in a 
house of clay. The present life surely was not to 


58 


GENESIS, V. 


them such a burthen as, commonly, it is now, else 
they would have been weary of it; nor was the fu- 
ture life so clearly revealed then as it is now under 
the gospel, else they would have been impatient to 
remove to it: long life to the pious patriarchs was a 
blessing, and made them blessings. 1. Some natu- 
ral causes may be assigned for their long life in 
those first ages of the world. It is ^■ery probable 
that the earth v/as more fruitful, the productions of 
it more strengthening, the air more healthful, and 
the influences of the heavenly bodies moi’e benign, 
before the flood than they were after. I'hough 
man was driven out of paradise, yet the earth itself 
was then paradisiacal; a garden, in ccmparison with 
its present wilderness state: and some tliink that 
their great knowledge of the creatures, and cf their 
usefulness both for food and medicine, together with 
their sobriety and temperance, contributed much to 
it; yet we do not find that those who were intem- 

F )erate, as many were, Luke 17. 27, were as short- 
ived as intemperate men generally are now. 2. It 
must chiefly be resolved into the power and provi- 
dence of God; he prolonged their lives, both tor the 
mere speedy replenishing of the earth, and for the 
more effectual preservation of the knowledge of 
God and religion, then, when there was no written 
word, but ti’adition was the channel of its convey- 
ance All the patriarchs here, except Noah, were 
barn before Adam died; so that from him they 
might receive a full and satisfactory account of the 
creation, paradise, the fall, the jiromise, and those 
divine ])recepts which concerned religious worship 
and a religious life: and if any mistake arose, they 
might have recourse to him while he lived, as to an 
oracle, for the rectifying of it, and, after his death, 
to Methuselah, and others, that had conversed with 
him: so great was the cai*e of Almighty God to pre- 
serve in his church the knowledge of his will, and 
the purity of his worship. 

2 1 . And Enoch lived sixty and five years, 
and begat Methuselah : 22. And Enoch 

walked with God alter he begat Methuse- 
lah, three hundred years, and begat sons 
and daughters : 2 . 3 . And all the days of 

Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five 
years: 24 . And Enoch walked with God : 
and he teas not : for God took him. 

I'he accounts here run on for several generations 
•vithout any thing remarkaljle, or any variation but 
if the names and numbers; but, at length, there 
.ernes in one that must not be passed over so, of 
/horn special notice must be taken, and that is 
Enoch, the seventh from Adam: the rest, we may 
suijpose, did \'irtuously, but he excelled them all, 
and was the brightest star cf the patriarchal age. 
It is l:)ut little that is recorded concerning him; but 
that little is enough to make his name great, greater 
th' n the name of the other Enoch, who hacl a city 
called l)y his name. Here are two things concern- 
ing him: 

I. His gracious conversation in this world, which 
is twice spoken of, xi. 22, Enoch walked with (lod 
after he begat Mrthnselah; and again xa 24, F.noch 
walked with (lod. Observe, 

1. The nature of his religion, and the scope and 
tenor of his conversation; he walked with God, 
which denotes, (1.) True religion; what is godli- 
ness, but walking with God.^ The ungodly and pi’o- 
fane are without God in the world, they walk con- 
trary to him; but the godly walk with God, which 
presupposes reconciliation to God, for two cannot 
walk together, except they be agreed, Amos 3. 3, 
and includes all the parts arid instances of a godly, 
righteous, and sol)er, life: to walk with God, is to 


set God always before us, and to act as those that 
are always under his eye. It is to live a life of com 
municn with God, both in ordinances and provi 
dences; it is to make God’s word our rule, and his 
glory our end, in all our actions; it is to make it our 
constant care and endeavour in every thing to please 
God, and in nothing to oft'end him ; it is to comply 
with his will, to concur with his designs, and to be 
workers together with him: it is to be followers of 
him as dear children. (2.) Elminent religicn. He 
was entirely dead to this world, and did net onlv 
walk after Gcd, as all good men do, but he walked 
with God, as if he were in heaven already: he lived 
abo\'e the rate, not only of other men, but of other 
saints; not only good in bad times, but the best in 
good times. (3.) Aciixnty in premoting religicn 
among others: executing the priest’s office is called 
walking before God, 1 Sam. 2. 30, 35, and see 
Zech. 3. 7. Enoch, it should seem, was a priest of 
the most high God, and, as Noah, who is likewise 
said to walk with Gcd, he was a preacher cf right- 
eousness, and ])rophesied of Christ’s second coming, 
Jude 14, Behold, the Lord cometh with his holy my- 
riads. Now the Holy Spirit instead of saying, Enoch 
lived, says, Enoch walked with God; for it is the life 
of a good man to walk with God. This was, [1.] 
The business of Enoch’s life, his constant care and 
work; while others lived to themselves and the 
world, he lived to God. [2.] It was the joy and 
support cf his life; communion with God was to 
him better than life itself; To me to live is Christ, 
Phil. 1. 21. 

2. The date of his religion. It is said, xc 21, he 
lived sixty-five years, and begat Methuselah; but, 
V. 22, he walked with God after he begat Methu- 
selah; which intimates that he did not begin to be 
eminent for piety, till about that time; at first he 
walked but as other men. Great saints ai-rive at 
their eminence by degrees. 

3. The continuance of his religion; he walked 
with God three hundred years, as long as he con- 
tinued in this world: the hypocrite will not pray al- 
ways; but the real saint that acts from a principle, 
and makes religion his choice, will persevere to the 
end, and walk with God while he lives, as one that 
hopes to live for ever with him, Ps. 104. 33. 

II. His glorious removal to a A world : as he 
did not live like the rest, so he did not die like the 
rest, XI. 24, he was not, for God took him; that is, 
as it is explained, Heb. 11. 3, He was translated 
that he should not see death, and was not found be- 
cause God had translated him. Observe, 

1. When he was thus translated. (1.) What time 
of his life it was; when he had lived but three hun- 
dred and sixty-five ye:^rs, (a year of years,) which, 
as men’s ages went then, was in the midst of his 
days; for there was none of the patriarchs, before 
the flood, that did not more than double that age: 
but why did God take him so soon.^ Surely, be- 
cause the world, which was now grown corrupt, 
was not worthy of him; or, because he was so 
much above the world, and so weary of it, as to 
desire a speedy removal out of it; or, because his 
work was done, and done the sooner for his mind- 
ing it so closely. Note, God often takes them soon- 
est whom he loves best; and the time thev lose cn 
earth is gained in heaven, to their unspeakable ad- 
vantage. (2.) What time of the world; it was when 
all the patriarchs, mentioned in this chapter, were 
living, except Adam, who died 57 years before, 
and Noah, who was born 69 years after; they two 
had sensible confirmations to their faith other ways, 
but to all the rest, who were, or might have been 
witnesses of Enoch’s translation, that was a sensible 
encrtiragement to their faith and hope concerning 
a future state. 

2 How his removal is expressed. He was net 


59 


GENESIS, V. 


for God took hun. (1.) He was not any longer in 
this world; it was not the period of his being, but of 
his being here; he was not found, so the apostle ex- 
plains it from the LXX, not found by his friends, 
who sought him, as the sons of the prophets sought 
Elijah, 2 Kings 2. 17 ; not found by his enemies, 
who, some think, were in quest of him, to put him 
to death in their rage against him for his eminent 
piety ; it appears by his prophecy, that there were 
then many ungodly sinners, who spake hard speech- 
es, and, probably did hard things too, against God’s 
people, Jude 15, but God hid Enoch from them, not 
wnrfer heaven, but m heaven. (2.) God took him 
body and soul to himself in the heaA^enly paradise, 
bv the ministry of angels, as, afterward, he took 
Elijah. He was changed, as those saints shall be, 
that will be found alive at Christ’s second coming. 
Whenever a good man dies, God takes him, fetches 
him hence, and receives him to himself. The apos- 
tle adds concerning Enoch, that before his transla- 
tion, he had this testimony that he pleased God, and 
this was the good report he-obtained. Note, 

[1.] Walking with God, pieces God. [2.] We 
cannot Avalk with God, so as to please him, but by 
faith. [3.] God himself will put an honour upon 
those that by faith walk Avith him so as to please 
him. He Avill own them now, and Avitness for them 
before angels and men at the great day: they that 
have not this testimony before the translation, yet 
shall have it after. [4. ] Those whose conversation 
in the world is truly holy, shall find their removal 
out of it truly happy. Enoch’s translation Avas not 
only an evidence to faith of the reality of a future 
state, and of the possibility of the body’s existing in 
glory in that state; but it Avas an encouragement to 
the hope of all that Avalk with God, that they shall 
be for ever with him: signal piety shall be crowned 
with signal honours. 

25. And Methuselah lived an hundred 
eighty and seven years, and begat Lamecli : 
26. And Methuselah lived after he begat 
Lamech seven hundred eiglity and two 
years, and begat sons and daughters : 27. 

And all the days of Methuselah were nine 
hundred sixty and nine years : and he died. 

Concerning Methuselah observe, 1. The signifi- 
cation of his name, Avhich some think, AVas prophet- 
ical, his father Enoch being a prophet; Methuselah 
signifies, he dies, there is a dart, or, a sending forth, 
namely, of the deluge, Avhich came the very year 
that Methuselah died. If indeed his name was so 
intended, and so explained, it Avas fair warning to a 
careless world, a long time before the judgment 
came. However, this is observable, that the longest 
liver that ever was, carried death in his name, that 
he might be reminded of its coming surely, though 
it came sloAvly. 2. His age: he IWed nine hundred 
and sixty-nine years, the longest Ave read of, that 
ever any man lived to, on earth; and yet he died: 
the longest liver must die at last. Neither youth 
nor age Avill discharge from that war, for that is the 
end of all men: none can challenge life by long pre- 
scription, nor make that a plea against the arrests 
of death. It is commonly supposed that Methuse- 
lah died a little before the flood; the Jewish Avriters 
say, “ seven days before,” referring to ch. 7. 10, 
and that he Avas taken aAvay from the evil to come; 
Avhich goes upon this presumption Avhich is gene- 
nlly received, that all these patriarchs in this 
chapter were holy good men. I am loath to offer 
any surmise to the contrary; and yet >I see not that 
that can be anymore inferred from their enrolment 
here among the ancestors of C’nrist, than that all 
those kings of Judah were so, Avhose names are j 
recorded in his genealogy, many of whom, Ave are a 


sure, Avere much otherwise: and if this be ques- 
tioned, it may be suggested as probable, that Me- 
thuselah Avas himself drowned with the rest of the 
world; for it is certain that he died that year, 

28. And Lamech lived an hundred eighty 
and two years, and begat a son : 29. And 

he called his name Noah, saying. This 
mme shall comfort us concerning our work 
and toil of our hands, because of the ground 
which the Lord hath cursed: 30. And 
Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hun- 
dred ninety and five yeais, and begat sons 
and daughters : 31. And all the days of 

Lamech were seven hundred seventy and 
seven 3 ^ears : and he died : 32. And Noal 

was five hundred years old : and Noah be 
gat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 

Here Ave have the first mention of Noah, of Avhoir 
Ave shall read much in the following chapters. 
Here is, 

I. His name, Avith the reason of it: Pt''oah signifies 
rest; his parents gave him that name, Avith the 
prospect of his being a more than ordinary blessing 
to his generation. This sa?ne shall comfort us con- 
cerning our nuork and toil of our hands, because of 
the ground which the Lora hath cursed. Here is, 
1. His complaint of the calamitous state of human 
life; by the entrance of sin, and the entail of the 
curse fir sin, it is become very miserable: ourAvhole 
life is spent in labour, and our time filled up with 
continual toil. God having cursed the ground, it is 
as much as some can do, with the utmost care and 
pains, to fetch a hard livelihood out of it. He speaks 
as one fatigued with the business of this life, and 
grudging that so many of our thoughts and precious 
minutes, Avhich other Avise might have been much 
better employed, are unavoidably spent for the sup- 
port of the body. 2. His comfortable hopes of seme 
relief by the birth of this son : This same shall com- 
fort us; Avhich denotes not only the desire and ex- 
pectation Avhich parents generally have conceniing 
their children, that Avhen they groAv up, they Avill 
be comforts to them, and helpers in their business, 
though they often prove otherAvise; but it denotes 
also an apprehension and prospect of something 
more: very probal^ly, there Avere some prophecies 
that Avent before him, as a person that should be 
wonderfully serviceable to his generation, Avhich 
they so understood as to conclude that he Avas the 
promised Seed, the Messiah that should come: and 
then intimates that a covenant-interest in Christ as 
our’s, and the believing expectation of his coming, 
furnish us Avith the best and surest comforts, both 
in reference to the Avr.ith and curse of God Avhich 
we have deserved, and to the toils and troubles of 
this present time Avhich Ave are often complaining 
of. “ Is Christ our’s? Is heaven our’s? This samt 
shall comfort us. ” 

II. His children, Shem, Ham, and Japheth 
These Noah begat, (the eldest cf these,) when he 
was 500 A'ears old. It should seem that Japheth 
Avas the eldest, ch. 10. 21; but Shem is put first, be- 
cause on him the covenant Avas entailed, as appears 
ch. 9. 26, Avhere God is called the Lord God of 
I'hem; to him, it is probable, the birth-right Avas 
giA-^en, and from him, it is certain, both Christ the 
Head, and the church the body, Avere to descend; 
therefore he is called Shem, Avhich signifies a name, 
because in his posterity the name of God should al- 
Avays remain, till he should come out of his loins, 
whose name is above eA^ery name; so that in putting 
Shem first, Christ av, s in effect put first, Avho in afi 
things must have the pre-eminence. 


GO 


GENESIS, VI. 


CHAP. VI. 

The most remarkable thing we have upon record concern- 
ing the old world, is, the destruction of it by the univer- 
sal deluge, which this chapter begins the story of; 
wherein we have, I. The abounding iniquity ol that 
wicked world, v. 1..5. and v. 11, 12. II. The righteous 
God’s just resentment of that abounding iniquity, and 
his holy resolution to punish it, v. 6, 7. III. The spe- 
cial favour of God to his servant Noah. 1. In the cha- 
racter given of him, V. 8.. 10. 2. In the communication 

of Goa’s purpose to him, v. 13, 17. 3. In the directions 
he gave him to make an ark for his own safety, v. 14.. 16. 
4. In the employing of him for the preservation of the 
rest of the creatures, v. 18. .21. Lastly, Noah’s obedi- 
ence to the instructions given him, v. 22. And this con- 
cerning the old world is written for our admonition, 
upon whom the ends of the new world are come. 

1. 4 ND it came to pass, when men be- 

gan to multiply on the face of the 
earth, and daughters were born unto them : 

2. That the sons of God saw the daughters 
of men, that they ivere fair : and they took 
them wives of all w'hich they chose. 

For the glory of God’s justice, and for warning to 
a wicked world, before the history of the ruin of 
the old world, we have a full account of its degene- 
racy, its apostasy from God and rebellion against 
him. The destroying of it was an act, not of abso- 
lute sovereignty, but of necessary justice for the 
maintaining of the honour of God’s government. 
Now here we have an account of two things which 
occasioned the wickedness of the old world. 

1. The increase of mankind. Men began to 
multiply upon the face of the earth. This was the 
effect of the blessing, ch. 1. 23, and yet man’s cor- 
laiption so abused and perverted this blessing, that 
it turned into a curse. Thus sin takes occasion by 
the mercies of God to be the more exceeding sin- 
ful. Prov. 29. 16, When the wicked are multiplied, 
transgression increaseth. I'he more sinners, the 
more sin; and the multitude of offenders embolden 
men: infectious diseases are more destructive in 
populous cities; and sin is a spreading leprosy. 
Thus in the New Testament church, when the 
number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose 
a murmuring, .Acts 6. 1, and we read of a nation 
that was multiplied, not to the increase of their joy, 
Isa. 9. 3. Numerous families need to be well go- 
verned, lest they should become wicked families. 

2. Mixed marriages, v. 2. The sons of God, that 
is, the professors of religion, who were called by 
the name of the Lord, and called upon that name, 
married the daughters of men, that is, those that 
were profane, and strangers to God and godliness. 
The posterity of Seth did not keep by themselves, 
as they ought to have done, both for the preserva- 
tion of their own purity, and in detestation of the 
apostasy; they intermingled themselves with the 
excommunicated race of Cain; they took them wh>es 
of all that they chose. But what was amiss in these 
marriages? (1.) They chose only by the eye; Mey 
savj that they were fair, which was all they looked at. 
(2.) They followed the choice which their own cor- 
rupt affections made; they took all that they chose, 
without advice and consideration. But, (3. ) 'I'hat 
which proved of such Ijad consequence to them, 
was, that they married strange wives, were un- 
equally yoked with unbelievers, 2 Cor. 6. 14. This 
was forbidden to Isr ael, Dent. 7. 3, 4. It was the 
unhappy occasion of Solomon’s ajjostasy, 1 Kings 
11. 1..4. and was of bad consequence to the Jews 
after their return out of Bal)ylon, Kzra 9. 1, 2. 
Note, Professors of religion, in marrying both them- 
selves and their children, should make conscience 
of keeping within the bounds of profession. The 
oa^l will sooner debauch the good than the good re- 


I form the bad. Those that profess themselves the 
children of God, must not marry without his con - 
sent, which they have not, if they join in affinity 
with his enemies. 

3. And the Lord said, My Spirit shall 
nob alw^ays strive with man, for that he also 
is flesh ; yet his days shall be an hundreO 
and twenty years. 

This comes in here, 1. As a token of God’s dis 
pleasure at those who married strange wives; he 
threatens to withdraw his Spirit from them, whom 
they had grieved by such marriages, contrary to 
their convictions. Fleshly lusts are often punished 
with spiritual judgments, the sorest of all judg- 
ments. Or, 2. As another occasion of the great 
wickedness of the old world; the Spirit of the Lord, 
being provoked by their resistance of his motions, 
ceased to strive Avith them, and then all religion 
Avas soon I'^st among them. This he warns them 
of before, that they might not further vex his holy 
Spirit, but by their prayers might stay him with 
them. Observe in this verse, 

1. God’s resolution not always to strive Avith man 
by his Spirit. The Spirit then strove by Noah’s 
preaching, 1 Pet. 3. 19, 20, and by inward checks; 
but it was in vain with the most of men; therefore, 
says God, He shall not always strive. Note, (1.) 
The blessed Spirit strives with sinners, by the con- 
victions and admonitions of conscience, to tuni them 
from sin to God. (2.) If the Spirit be resisted, 
quenched, and striven against; though he strive 

I long, he Avill not strive ahvays, Hos. 4. 17. (3.) 

Those are ripening apace for ruin, Avhom the Spirit 
of grace has left off striving Avith. 

2. The reason of that resolution; For that he also 
is flesh, that is, incurably corrupt, and canial, and 
sensual, so that it is laliour lost to strive with him. 
Can the Ethiopian change his skin? He also, that 
is. All, one as well as another, they are all sunk 
into the mire of flesh. Note, (1.) It is the corru])t 
nature, and inclination of the soul tOAvard the flesh, 
that oi)pose the Spirit s strivings, and render them 
ineffectual. (2. ) When a sinner has long adhered 
to that interest, and sided with the flesh against the 
Spirit, the Spirit justly Avithdraws h s agency, and 
strives no more. None lose the Spirit’s strivings, 
but those that haA'e first forfeited them. 

3. A reprieve granted, notAvithstanding; yet his 
days shall be 120 years; so long I will defer the 
judgment they deseiwe, and give them space to 
prevent it by their repentance and reformation. 
Justice said. Cut them down; but mercy interceded. 
Lord, let them alone this year also; and so far mercy 
prevailed, that a reprieve was obtained for six-score 
years. Note, The time of God’s patience and for- 
bearance toAvard provoking sinners is sometimes 
long, but ahvaA's limited: reprieves are not par- 
dons; though God bear a great Avhile, he will not 
bear always. 

4. 'J'here wore e;mnts in the earth in those 
(lays; and also after that, when the sons of 
God eaine in unto the daughters of men, 
and tliey bare chtldrcii to them, the same 
became mighty men, tehieh icerc of old, men 
of renown: 5. And God saw that the 
wiekedness of man teas great in the eartli, 
and tliat every imagination of the thoughts 
of his heart was only evil continually. 

M’e have here a further account of the corrup 
tion of the old Avorld. When the sons of God had 
matched with the daughters of men, though it was 
very displeasing to God, yet he did not immediately 


61 


GENESIS, VI. 


ciit Them oft, but waited to see what the issue of i| 
these marriages w’ould be, and which side the chil- j 
dren would take after; and it proved, (as it usu- 
ally does,) that they took after the woi-st side. 
Here is, 

I. The temptation they were under to oppress i 
and do violence; they were g-iants, they were men 
of renoTjn; they became too hard for all about | 
them, and carried all before them, 1. W'ith their 
great bulky as the sons of Anak, Numb. 13. 33, and 
2. With their ejeat name, as the king of Assyria, ' 
Isa. 3r. 11. Tnese made them the terror oj" the ji 
mighty in the land of the Iwing; and thus armed, I 
they daringly insulted the rights of all their neigh- jj 
hours, aiul trampled upon all that is just and sacred. ' 
Note, Those that have so much power over othei-s li 
as to be able to oppress them, have seldom so much ■ 
power over themselves as not to oppress; great 
might is a very great snare to ma^'. This dege- 
nerate race slighted the honour their ancestors had 
obtained by virtue and religion, and made them- 
selves a ^reat name by that which was the per- 
petual ruin of their good name. 

II. The charge exhibited and proved against 
them, V. 5. The evidence produced was incontes- 
table; God saw it, and that is instead of a thousand 
witnesses. God sees all the wickedness that is 
among the children of men; it cannot be concealed 
from him now', and if it be not repented of, it shall 
not be concealed by him shortly. Now, what did 
God take notice of r 

1. He observed all the streams of sin that flowed 
along in men’s lives, and the breadth and depth of 
those streams; he saw that the wickedness of man was 
great in the earth. Obsen e the connection of this 
with what goes before; the oppressors were mighty 
men, and men of renown; and then God saw that I 
the wickedness of man vjas great. Note, The wick- 
edness of a people is great indeed, when the most 
notorious sinners are men of renown among them. 
Things are bad, when bad men are not only honour- 
ed notwit/Ktanding their wickedness, but honoured 
for their wickedness, and the vilest men exalted; I 
w'ickedness is then great, when great men are 
wicked. Their wickedness was great, that is, 
abundance of sin was committed in idl places, by all 
soils of people; and such sin as was in its own na- 
ture most gross, and lieinous, and provoking; and 
committed daringly, and with a defiimce of heaven; 
nor was any care taken by those who had power in 
their hands, to restrain and punish it. This God 
saw’. Note, All the sins of sinners are known to 
God the Judge: those that are most convei*siuit in 
the w’orld, though they see much wickedness in it, 
yet they see but little of that which is; but God 
sees all, and Judges aright concerning it, how ^-eat 
it is, nor can he be deceived in his judgment. 

2. He observed the fountain of sin that was in 

men’s hearts: any one might see that the wickedness 
of man was great, for tliey declared their sin as 1 
Sodom ; but God’s eye went further; he saw that 
ex'ery imagination of the thoughts of his heart was 
only ri'il continually. A sad sight, and ven* often- I 
sive to God’s holy eye! This was the bitter root, | 
the corrupt spring: all the violence and oppres- ! 
sion, all the luxurv and wantonness, that were in i 
the world, proceeded fi-om the correption of na- | 
ture; lust conceived them. Jam. 1. 15. See Matth. 
15. 19. (1.) The Arnrt was naught: that was de- 

ceitful and desperately wicked; the principles were 
corrupt, and the habits and dispositions evil. (2.) 
The thoughts of the heart were so; thought is some- 
times taken for the settled judgment or opinion, and 
that was bribed, and biassed, and misled; some- 
times for the w orkings of the fancy, and those 
were always either viiin or vile, either weaving the 
spider’s web, or hatching the cocatrice’s eggs. (3. ) 


The imagination of the thoughts of the heart was 
so, that is, their designs and devices were wick- 
ed. They did not do evil only through careless- 
iiess, as those that walk at all adventures, not heed 
ing what they do; but they did evil deliberatelv, and 
designedly, contrii ing how to do mischief. It was 
bad indeed; for it was only evil, continually evil, 
and ex'p'y imagination was so. There was no good 
to be found among them, no net at anytime: the 
stream of sin was lull, and strong, and constant; and 
Go<l saw it; see Ps. 14. 1..3. 

6. And it repented the Lord that he had 
made man on the earth, and it grieved him 
at his heart: 7. And the Lord said, J 
will destroy man whom I have created 
tVom the face of the earth ; both man, and 
beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls 
ol the air ; for it repenteth me that 1 have 
made them. 

Here is, 

I. God’s resentment of man’s wickedness; he did 
not see it as an unconcerned spectator, but as one 
injured and affronted by it; he saw it as a tender fa- 
ther sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious 
and disobedient child, which not only angers him, 
but grieves him, and makes him wish" he had been 
written childless. The expressions here used, are 
ven’ strange. It repented the Lord that he had 
made man upon the earth, that he had made a crea- 
ture of such noble powers and faculties, and had 
put him on this earth, which he built and furnished 
on purpose to be a convenient, comfortable habita- 
tion for him ; and it griex'ed him at his heart. These 
are expressions after the manner of men, and must 
be undei-stood so as not to reflect upon the honour 
of God’s immutability or felicitv. 

1. ^ It does not bespeak any passion or uneasiness 
in God; (nothing can create disturbance to the eter- 
nal mind;) but it bespeaks his just and holv displea- 
sure against sin and sinners; against sin as odious to 
his holiness, and against sin as obnoxious to his jus- 
tice. He is pressed bv the sins of his creatures, 
Amos 2. 13, wearied, Isa. 43. 24, broken, Ezek. 6. 
9, griei’ed, Ps. 95. 10, and here, griex’ed to the 
heart, as men are when they are wronged and 
abused by those thev have been verv kind to, and 
therefore repent of their kindness, and wish they 
had never fostered that snake in their bosom, which 
now hisses in their face, and stings them to the 
heart. Does God thus hate sin? And shall not we 
hate it? Has our sin gi-ieved him to the heart? 
And shall not we be grieved and pricked to the 
heart for it ? O that this consideration might humble 
us, and shame us, and that we mav look on him whom 
we have thus grieved, imd mourii! Zech. 12. 10. 

2. It does not bespeak any change in God’s mtnd; 
for he is in one mind, and who can turn him? ^^’ith 
him there is no variableness. But it bespeaks a 
clnmge of his way; when God had made man up- 
right, Ae rested and was refreshed, Exod. 31. ir, 
and his way toward him was such as showed ht 
w;\s pleased with the work of his own hands; but 
now that man was apostatized, he could not do 
otherwise than show himself displeased: so that the 
change was in man, not in God. God repented that 
he had made mim; but we never find him repenting 
that he redeemed man, though that was a work o^ 
much greater expense, because special and effec- 
tual grace is given to secure tlie great ends of re- 
demption; so that those gifts and callings are with- 
out repentance, Rom. 11. 29. 

II. God’s j’esolution to destrov man for his wick- 
edness, T’. 7. Obsene, 1. ^^’llen God repented 
that he had made man, he resolved to destroy man. 


62 


GENESIS, VI. 


Thus they that truly repent of sin, will resolve, in ] 
the strength of God’s grace, to mrrtify sin, and t.) ' 
destroy it, and so to undo what they liave done ' 
amiss; we do but mock God in saying that we are i 
sorry for our sin, and that it grie\ es us to the heart, , 
if we continue to indulge it. In vain do we pretend ! 
a change of our mind, if we do not evidence it by a j 
change of our ’tvay. 2. He resolves to destroy j 
man; the original word is very significant, I nvtll \ 
wi/ie off man from the earth, (so seme,) as dirt or [ 
filth is wiped off from a place which should be ! 
clean, and is thrown to the dunghill, the preper , 
place for it. See 2 Kings 21. 13. These that are i 
the spots of the places they live in, are justly wiped I 
away by the judgments of God. I %vill blot out 
man from the earth, (so others,) as those lines are 
blotted cut cf a book, which displease the author; 
or, as the name cf a citizen is blotted out of the 
rolls of the freemen, when he is dead, or disfran- 
chised. 3. He speaks of man as his own creature 
then, when he resolves upon his ruin, Man whom I 
have created; “Though I have created him, that 
shall not excuse him.” Isa. 27. 11, He that made 
him, will not save him; he that is our Creator, if he 
shall not be our Ruler, will be our Destroyer. Or, 

“ Because I have created him, and he has been so 
undutiful and so ungrateful to his Creator, therefore 
I will destroy him:” those forfeit their lives that do 
not answer the end of their living. 4. Even the 
bimte creatures were to be involved in this destme- 
tion. Beasts and creejiing things, and the fowl of the 
air. These were made for man, and therefore 
must be destroyed with rvrm-, for it follows. It re- 
fienteth me that I have made them; for the end cf 
their creation also was frustrated; they were made, 
that man might serve and honour God with them; 
and therefore were destroyed, because he had serv- 
ed his lusts with them, and made them subject to 
vanity. 5. God took up this resolution concerning 
men, after his Spirit had been long striving with 
them in vain. None are ruined by the justice of 
God but those that hate to be reformed by the grace 
of God. 

8. But Noah found grace in the eyes of 
the Lord. 9. These are the generations of 
Noah; Noah was a just man and perfect in 
his generations, and Noah walked with 
God. 10. And Noah begat three sons, 
Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 

We have here Noah distinguished from the rest 
of the world, and a peculiar mark of honour put up- 
on him. 

1. When God was displeased with the rest of the 
world, he favoured Noah, v. 8, But JVoah found 
grace in the eyes of the Lord. This vindicates God’s 
justice in his displeasure against the world, and 
shows that he had strictly examined the chai’acter 
of every person in it, before he pronounced it uni- 
versally corrupt; for, there being one good man, he 
found him out, and smiled upon him. It also mag- 
nifies his grace towards Noah, that he was made a 
vessel of God’s mercy, when all mankind besides 
were become the generation of his wrath; distin- 
guishing favours bring under peculiarly strong obli- 
gations. Probablv, Noah did not find favour in the 
eves of men ; tliey hated and persecuted him, because 
both by l\is life and ];rearhing he condemned the 
world: but he found grace in the eyes of the J.ord, 
and tiiat was honour and comfort enough. God made 
more account of Noali tlian of all the world besides; 
and tliis made him grec.ter and more tndy honoura- 
ble than 11 the gian.ts tliat were in those davs, who 
became miglity men, and men of renown. Let this 
be tlie top of your amliition, to find grace in theeijes 
of the Lord; herein let us labour, that, present or 


! absent, we may be accepted cf him, 2 Cor. 5. 9. 
These are highly favoured, wh^m God favours. 

2. When the rest of tlie world was corrupt and 
wicked, Noah kept his integrity, v. 9, Ihese are 
the generations of H'oah: this is the account we have 
to give of him; Hoah was a just man. This cha 
I racter of Noah comes in here either, (1.) As the 
\ reason ai God’s favour to him; his singular piety 
qualified him for singular tokens of God’s loving 
kindness. Those that would find grace in the eyes 
of the Lord, must be as Noah was, and do as Noah 
did : God loves those that love him : or (2. ) As the ef- 
fet of God’s favour to him: it was God’s good-will 
to him that produced this good work in h m ; he was 
a very good man, but he was no better than the 
grace ot God made him, 1 Cor. 15. 10. Now ob- 
serve his character; [1.] He was a just man, that 
is, justified before God by faith in the promised 
Seed; for he was an heir of the righteousoirss which 
is by faith, Heb. 11. 7. He was sanctified, and had 
right principles and dispositions implanted in him; 
and he was righteous in his conversation, one that 
made conscience of rendering to all their due, to God 
his due, and to men their’s. Note, None but a 
downright honest man, can find favour with God; 
that conversation which will be pleasing to God, 
must be governed by siinflicity and godly sincerity, 
not by fleshly wisdom, 2 Cor. 1. 12. God h ,s somL 
times chosen the foolish things of the world, but he 
never chose the koiavish things of it. [2.] He was 
perfect, not with a sinless perfection, but a perfec- 
tion of sincerity; and it is well for us, that by viilue 
of the covenant of grace, upon the score of Christ’s 
righteousness, sincerity is accepted ;;s cur gospel 
perfection. [3.] We walked w.th God, as Enoch 
had done before him; he was not only honest, but 
devout: he walked, that is, he acted with Gcd, as 
one always under his eye; he lived a life of commun- 
ion with God; it was his constant care to conform 
himself to the will of God, to please him, and to ap- 
prove himself to him. Note, God looks dorvn upon 
those with an eye of favour, w’ho sincerely look up 
to him with an eye of faith. But, [4.] That which 
crowns his character, is, that thus he was, and thus 
he did, in his generation, in that corrupt degenerate 
age, in which his lot was cast. It is easy to be reli- 
gious, when religion is in f.;shion; but it is an evi- 
dence of strong faith and resolution, to swim against 
a stream to heaven, and to appear for God, when no 
one else appears for him: so Noah did, and it is upon 
record, to his immortal honour. 

11. The earth also was corrupt before 
God, and the earth was filled with violence. 
12. And God looked upon the earth, and, 
behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had cor- 
rupted his way upon the earth. 

The wickedness of that generation is here again 
spoken of, 1. As a foil to Noah’s piety; he was just 
and perfect, when all the earth was 
As a further justification of God’s resolution to de- 
stroy the world, Avhich he was now about to com- 
municate to his servant Noah. 

1. All kind of sin was found among them, for V. 11, 
it is said that the earth was (1.) Corruft before God, 
that is, in the matters of God’s worship ; either they 
had other gods before him, or, they worshipped him 
l)y images, or, they were corrupt and wicked in de- 
spite and contempt of God, daring him and defying 
him to his face. (2.) The earth was also filled with 
violence, and injustice toward men; there was no or- 
der or regular government; no man was safe in the 
possession of that which he had the most clear and 
incontestable right to, no not tlie most innocent life, 
nothing but murders, rapes, and rapine. Note, 
Wickedness, as it is the shame of the human nature 


GENESIS, VI. 63 


S'' it IS the ruin of human society; it takes away con- 
science and the fear of God, and men become beasts 
. . d devils to one another, like the Jishes of the sea, 
V’hi re the greater devour the lesser. Sin fills the 
e.iith with violence, and so turns the world into a 
wddeniess, into a cock-pit. 

2. I'he proof and evidence of it were undeniable; 
for God looked ufion the earth, and w.is hunself an 
eye-witness of the c(.rruption t'.i.it w<is in it, of which 
before, v. 5. 'I'he rii^hteeus judge in all his judg- 
ments proceeds upon the infallible certainty of his 
own omniscience, Ps. 33. 13. 

3. That which most aggravated the matter, was 
the universal spreading of the contagion. All flesh 
had corrufited his way. It was not some particular 
nations or cities that were thus wickecl, but the 
whole world cf mankind were so: there was none 
that did good, no, not one, beside Noadi. Note, 
When wickedness is become general and universal, 
ruin is not far off; while there is a remnant of pray- 
ing people in a nation to empty the measui-e as it 
fills, judgments may be kept off a great while; but 
when all hands are at work to pull down the fences 
by sin, and none stand in the gap to make up the 
breach, what can be expected but an inundation of 
wrath? 

1 3 And God said unto Noah, The end 
of all flesh is come before me ; for the earth 
is filled with violence through them ; and, 
behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 
14. Make thee an ark of gopher-wood; 
rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shall 
pitch it within and without with pitch. 15. 
And this is the fashion which thou shalt make 
it of: The length of the ark shall he three 
hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, 
and the height of it thirty cubits. 16. A 
window shalt thou make to the ark, and in 
a cubit shalt thou finish it above ; and the 
door of the ark shalt thou set in the side 
thereof; with lower, second, and third, sto- 
ries shalt thou make it. 1 7. And, behold, 
r, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon 
the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein ?sthe 
breath of life from under heaven ; and eveiy 
thing that is in the earth, shall die. 18. But 
adth thee will 1 establish my covenant ; and 
diou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy 
sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with 
thee. 19. And of eveiy living thing of all 
flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into 
the ark, to keep them alive with thee ; they j 
shall be male and female. 20. Of fowls af- 
ter their kind, and of cattle after their kind, I 
of eveiy creeping thing of the earth after his I 
kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, 
to keep them alive. 21 . And take thou unto j 
thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt i 
gather it to thee ; and it shall be for food for j 
thee and for them. 

Here it appears indeed, that Noah found grace in 
the eyes o f the I.ord; God’s favour to him was plain- 
ly intimated in what he said to him, 'j'. 8. . 10, where 
his name is mentioned five times in five lines, when i 
once might have served to make the sense clear, as 
if the Holy Ghost took a pleasure in perpetuating 
his memory: but it appears much more in what he 


says to him in these verses — the informations an l 
instructions here given him. 

I. Gcd here makes Noah the man of his counsel; 
communicating to him his pui-pose to destroy this 
wicked world by water, as, afterwai’d, he told Abra- 
ham his resolution concerning Sodom, ch. 18. 17, 
Shall I hide from Abraham? So here. Shall I hide 
from Noah, the thing that I do, seeing that he shall 
become a great nation? Note, The secret of the Lord 
is with them that fear him, Ps. 25. 14; it was with 
his serx'ants the /irophets, Amos 3. 7, by a spirit of 
revcLhion, informing them particularly of his pur- 
poses ; it is with all believers, by a spirit of wisdom 
and faith, enabling to understand and apply the ge- 
nenil declarations of the wi'itten word, and the w arn- 
ings there given. 

Is'ow, 1. Gt;d told Noah, in general, that he w’ould 
destroy the world, v. 13, 77ie end of all flesh ii 
come before me; I will destroy them, that is. The 
ruin of this wicked world is decreed and determin- 
ed; it is come-, that is, it will come surely, and come 
quickly. Noah, it is likely, in preaching to his 
neighbours, had warned them, in general, of the 
wratli of God tliat they would bring upon themselves 
by their wickedness, and now God seconds it by a 
particular denunciation of wrath, that Noah might 
trj' if that would work upon them ; whence observe, 
(1.) That God confirmeth the words of his messen- 
gers, Isa. 44. 26. (2.) That fo him that has, 
what he has for the good of others, more shall be 
given, more full instructions. 2. He told him par- 
ticularly, that he would destroy the world by -eL flood 
of waters, v. 17, And behold, I, emen I, do bring a 
flood of waters upon the earth. God could have de- 
stroyed all mankind by the sword of an _angel, a 
flaming sword turning every way, as he destroyed 
all the first-born of the Egyptians, and the camp of 
the Assyrians ; and then there needed no more than 
to set a mark upon Noah and his family for their 
preservation ; but God chose to do it by a Rood of 
waters, which should drowm the world. The rea- 
sons, we may be sure, were wise and just, though to 
us unknown. God has many arrows in his quiver, 
and he may use which he pleases: as he chooses the 
rod with which he will correct his children, so he 
chooses the sword with which he will cut eff his 
enemies. 

Observe the manner of expression, J, emen I, do 
bring a flood; I that am infinite in power, and there- 
fore can do it, infinite in justice, and therefore will 
do it. (1.) It bespeaks the certainty of the judg- 
ment; I, even I, will do it; that cannot but be done 
effectually, which God himself undertakes the doing 
of; see Job 11. 10. (2.) It bespeaks the tendency of 
it to God’s glory, and the honour of his justice; thus 
he will be magnified and exalted in the earth, and 
all the world shall be made to know that he is the 
God to whom vengeance belongs: methinks the ex- 
pression here is somewhat like that, Isa. 1. 24, Ah, 
I will ease me of mine adversaries. 

II. God here makes Noah the man of his cove- 
nant, another Hebrew periphrasis of a friend, v. 18, 
But with thee will I establish my covenant. 1. The 
covenant of providence-, that the course of nature shall 
be continued to the end of time, notwithstanding the 
inten-uption which the flood would give to it; this 
promise was immediately made to Noah andliis sons, 
ch. 9. 8, &c. They were as trustees for all this part 
of the creation, and a gi'eat honour was thereljy put 
upon him and his. 2. The covenant qI grace; that 
God would be to him a God, and that out of his seed 
God would take to himself a people. Note, (1.) 
\A’^hen God makes a covenant, he establishes it, he 
makes it sure, he makes it good; his are everlasting 
covenants. (2. ) The covenant of gi’ace has in it the 
recompense rf singular services, and the fountain 
and foundation of all distinguishing favours; we need 


GENESIS, VI. 


desii e no more, either to make up our losses for 
God, or to make up a happiness for us in God, than 
to have his covenant established with us. 

III. God here makes Noah a monument of spar- 
ing mercy, by putting him in a way to secure himself 
in the approaching deluge, that he might not perish 
with the rest of the world. / will destroy them, 
says God, with the earth, v. 13. “But ma/ce thee 
an ark; I will take care to preserve thee alive. ” 
Note, Singular piety shall be recompensed with dis- 
tinguishing salvations, which arc in a special manner 
obliging. This will add much to the honour and 
happiness of glorified saints, that they shall be sav- 
ed, when the greatest part of the world is Iclt to 
perish. 

Now, 1. God directs Noah to make an ark, v. 14. 
16. This ark was like the hulk of a ship, fitted not 
to sail upon the waters, (there was no occasion for 
that, when there should be no shore to sail to, ) but 
to foat upon the waters, waiting for their fall. God 
could have secured Noah by the ministration of an- 
gels, without putting him to any care or pains or 
trouble, himself; but he chose to employ him in 
making that which was to be the means ot his pre- 
ser\'ation, both for the trial of his faith and obedi- 
ence, and to teach us that none shall be saved by 
Christ, but those only that work out their salvation; 
we cannot do it without God, and he will not with- 
out us: both the providence of God, and the grace 
of God, own and crown the endeavours of the obedi- 
ent and diligent. 

God gave him very particular instructions con- 
cerning this building, which could not but be admi- 
rably well-fitted for the purpose, when Infinite Wis- 
dom itself was the Architect. (1.1 It must be made 
of gopher w >od: Noah, doubtless knew what sort of 
wood that was, though now we do not, whether ce- 
dar, or cvpress, or what other. (2. ) He must make 
it three stories high within. (3. ) He must divide it 
into cabins, with partitions, places fitted for the se- 
veral sorts of creatures, so as to lose no room. (4. ) 
Exact dimensions are given him, that he might 
make it proportionable, and might have room 
enough in it to answer the intention, and no more. 
Note, [1.] Those that work for God, must take 
their measures from him, and carefully observe 
them. [2. ] It is fit that he who appoints us our ha- 
bitation, should fix the bounds and limits of it. (5. ) 
He must pitch it within and without; without, to 
shed off the rain, and to prevent the water from 
soaking in; nvithin, to take away the ill smell of the 
beasts, when kept cTse. Observe, God does not 
bid him paint it, but pitch it. If God give us habi- 
tations that are safe, and warm, and wholesome, we 
are bound to be thankful, though they are not mag- 
nificent or nice. (6.) He must make a little window 
toward the top, to let in light, and (some think) that 
through that window he might behold the desola- 
tions to be made in the earth. (7.) He must make 
a door in the side of it, by which to go in and out. 

2. God promises Noah, that he and his should be 
preserved alive in the ai’k, v. 18, Thou shall come 
into the ark. Note, What we do in obedience to 
God, we ourselves are likely to have the comfort 
and benefit of; If thou be wise, thou shaltbe wise for 
thyself Nor was he himself only saved in the ark, 
but his wife, and his sons, and his sons' wives. Olj- 
serve, (1. ) The care of good parents; they are soli- 
citous not only for their own salvation, but for the 
salvation of their families, and especially their chil- 
dren. (2. ) The happiness of those children that 
have godly parents; their parents’ piety often pro- 
cures them temporal salvation, as here; and it fur- 
thers them in the way to eternal salvation, if they 
improve the benefit of it. 

IV. God here makes Noah a great blessing to the 
world, and herein makes him an eminent type of 


the Messiah, though not the Messiah himsell, as 
his parents expected, ch. 5. 29. 

1. God made him a preacher to the men of that 
generation. As a watchman, he received the word 
i[rcm God’s mouth, that he might give them wait- 
ing, Ezek. 3. 17. Thus while the long-suffering 
of God waited, by his spirit in Noah, he preached 
to the old world, who, when St. Peter wrote, were 
spirits in prison, 1 Pet. 3. 18.. 20, and herein he 
was a type of Christ, who, in a land and age 
wherein all Jiesh had corrupted their way, went 
about preaching repentance, and waming men of a 
deluge of wrath coming. 

2. God made him a saviour to the inferior crea- 
tures, to keep the several kinds of them from 
T^rishing and being lost in the deluge, v. 19. . 21. 
This was a gi’eat honour put upon him, that not 
only' in him the race of mankind should be kept up, 
and thatfi’om him should proceed a new world, the 
church, the soul of that world, and Messiah, the 
Head of that church; but that he should be instru- 
mental to preserve the inferior creatures, and so 
mankind shoidd in him acquire a new title to them 
and their service. (1.) He was to provide 

for them, that they might not be drowned. T%vo of 
every sort, male and female, he must take with him 
into the ark; and lest he should make any difficulty' 
of gathering them together, and getting them in, 
God promises, v. 20, that they should of their own 
accord come to him. He that makes the ox to 
know his owner and his crib, then made him know 
his preserver and his ark. (2.) He was to provide 
sustenance for them, that they might not be starved, 

V. 21. He must victual his ship according to the 
number of his crew, that gi’eat family which he had 
now the charge of, and according to the time ap- 
pointed for his confinement. Herein also he was a 
type of Christ, to whom it is owing that the world 
stands, by whom all things consist, and ivho pre- 
serves mankind from being totally cut oiT and ruin- 
ed by sin; in him the holy seed is saved alive, and 
the creation rescued from the vanity under which it 
groans. Noah saved those whom he was to rule, 
so does Christ, Heb. 5. 9. 

22. Thus did Noah, according to all tha: 
God commanded him, so did he. 

Noah’s care and diligence in building the ark may 
be considered, 

1. As an effect of his faith in the word of God, 
God had told him he would shortly drown the 
world ; he believed it, feared the threatened deluge, 
and, in that fear, prepared the ark._ Note, We 
ought to mix faith with the revelation God has 
made of his wrath against all ungodliness and un- 
righteousness of men; the threatenings of the word 
are not false alarms. Much might have been ob- 
jected against the credibility of this warning given 
to Noah. “Who could believe that the wise God, 
who made the world, should so soon unmake it 
again; who had drawn the waters off the dry 
land, ch. 1. 9, 10, should cause them to cover it 
again? How would this be reconciled with the 
mercy of God, which is over all his works; especi- 
ally that the innocent creatures should die for man’s 
sin? Whence would water be had sufficient to 
deluge the world? And, if it must be so, why 
should notice be given of it to Noah only?” But 
Noah’s faith triumphed over all these coriupt rea 
sonings. 

2. As an act of obedience to the command of God; 
had he consulted with flesh and blood, many objec- 
tions would have been raised against it. To rear a 
building, such a one as he never saw, so large, and 
of such exact dimensions, would put him upon a 
great deal of care, and labour, and expense; it 
would be a work of time, the vision was for a great 


GENESIS, Vll. 65 


while to come; his neighboui*s would ridicule him 
for his credulity, and he would be the song of the 
drunkards; his building would be called JSToah's 
folly; if the worst came to the worst, as we say, 
each would fare as well as his neigivljours. But 
these, and a thousand such objections, Noah by 
faith got over; his obedience was ready and reso- ! 
lute. Thus did Noah willingly and cheerfully, 
without murmuring and disputing. God says, Do 
this, and he does it: it wa§lklso punctual and perse- i 
vering; he did all exactly according to the instruc- 
tions given him, and having begun to build, did not | 
give off till he had finished it: so did he, and so j 
must we do. [ 

3. As an instance of wisdom for himself, thus to 
provide for his own safety; he feared the deluge, ! 
and therefore prepared the ark. Note, When God ' 
gives warning of approaching judgments, it is our 
wisdom and duty to provide accordingly. See Exod. 
9. 20, 21. Ezek. 3. 18. We must prepare to meet 
the Lord in his judgments on earth, flee to his name 
as a strong tower. Prov. 18. 10, enter into our 
chambers, Isa. 26. 20, 21, especially prepare to 
meet him at death, and in the judgment of the great 
day, build upon Christ the Rock, Matth. 7. 24, go 
into Christ the Ark. 

4. As intended for warning to a careless world: 
and it was fair warning of the deluge coming; every 
blow of his axes and hammers was a call to repent- 
ance, a call to them to prepare arks too. But since 
by it he could not convince the world, by it he con- 
demned the world, Heb. 11. 7. 

CHAP. VII. 

Id this chapter, we have the performance of what was fore- 
told in the foregoing chapter, both concerning the de- 
struction of the old world, and the salvation of Noah; 
for we may be sure that no word of God shall fall to the 
ground. There we left Noah busy about his ark, and 
full of care to get it finished in time, while the rest of his 
neighbours were laughing at him for his pains. Now 
here we see what was the end thereof; the end of his care, 
and of their carelessness. And this famous period of the 
old world gives us some idea of the state of things, when 
the world that now is, shall be destroyed by fire, as that 
was by water. See 2 Pet. 3. 6, 7. We have, in this 
chapter, I. God’s gracious call to Noah to come into the 
ark, V. 1, and to bring the creatures that were to be pre- 
served alive, along with him, v. 2, 3, in consideration of 
the deluge at hand, v. 4. II. Noah’s obedience to this 
heavenly vision, v. 5. When he was six hundred years 
old, he came with his family into the ark, v. 6, 7, and 
brought the creatures along with him, v. 8, 9, an account 
of which is repeated, v. 13. .16. to which is added God’s 
tender care to shut him in. III. The coming of the 
threatened deluge, v. 10, the causes of it, v. 11, 12, the 
prevalency of it, v. 17. .20. IV. The dreadful desolations 
that were made by it in the death of every living creature 
upon earth, except those that were in the ark, v. 21. .23. 
V. The continuance of it in full sea, before it began to 
ebb, one hundred and fifty days, v. 24. 

1. A ND the Lord said unto Noah, Come 
1\. thou, and all thy house, into the ark ; 
for thee have I seen righteous before me in 
this generation. 2. Of eveiy clean beast 
thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male 
and his female : and of beasts that are not 
clean by two, the male and his female. 3. 
Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male 
and the female : to keep seed alive upon the 
face of all the earth. 4. For yet seven 
days, and I will cause it to rain upon the 
earth forty days and forty nights ; and every 
living substance that 1 have made will I 
destroy from off the face of the earth. 

Here is, 

I. A gracious invitation of Noah and his family 

VoL. I.~I 


into a place of safety, now that the flood of waters 
v/as comiiig on, v. 1. 

1. The call itself is very kind, like that of a ten- 
der father to his children, to come in doors, when 
he sees night or a storm coming; Come thou, ana 
all thy house, that small family that thou hast, into 
the ark. Observe, (l.)Noah did not go into the 
ark till God bade him; though he knew it was de- 
signed for his place of refuge, yet he waited for a 
renewed command, and had it. It is very comfort- 
able to follow the calls of Providence, and to see 
1 Grjd going before us in every step we take. (2. ) 
God does not bid him go into the ark, but come into 
it, implying that God would go with him, would 
lead him into it, accompany him in it, and in due 
time bring him safe out cf it. Note, Wherever we 
are, it is very desirable to have the presence of God 
with us, for that is all in all, to the comfort of every 
condition. This was it that made Noah’s ark, 
which was a prison, to be to him not only a refuge, 
but a palace. (3.) Noah had taken a great deal of 
pains to build the ark, and now he was himself pre- 
seiwed alive in it. Note, What we do in obedience 
to the command of God, and in faith, we ourselvei 
shall certainly have the comfort of, first or last 
(4.) Not he only, but his house also, his wife anu 
children, are called with him into the ark. Note, 
It is good to belong to the family of a godly man; it 
is safe and comfortable to dwell under such a sha- 
dow. One cf Noah’s sons was Ham, who proved 
afterward a bad man, vet he was saved in the ark; 
which intimates, [1.] That wicked children often 
fare the better for the sake of their godly parents. 
[2.] That there is a mixture of bad with good in 
the best societies on earth, and we are not to think 
it strange; in Noah’s family there was a Ham, and 
in Christ’s family there was a Judas: there is no 
perfect purity on this side heaven. (6.) This call 
to Noah was a type of the call which the gospel 
gives to poor sinners. Christ is an ark already pre- 
pared, in whom alone we can be safe, when death 
and judgment come; now the burthen of the song 

is, “Come, come;” the word says, “Come;” mi- 
nisters say, “Come;” the Spirit says, “Come, 
come into the ark.” 

2. The reason for this invitation is a very honoura- 
ble testimony to Noah’s integrity. For thee have 1 
seen righteous before me in this generation. Ob- 
serve, (1.) Those are righteous indeed, that are 
righteous before God, that have not only the form 
of godliness by which they appear righteous before 
men, who may easily be imposed upon, but the 
power of it, by which they approve themselves 
to God, who searches the heart, and cannot be de- 
ceived in men’s character. (2. ) God takes notice 
of, and is pleased with, those that are nghteous be- 
fore him; Thee have I seen. In a world of wicked 
people, God could see one righteous Noah; that 
single grain of wheat could not be lost, no not in so 
great a heap of chaff. The Lord knows them that 
are his. (3. ) God that is a Witness to, will shortly 
Ije a witness Vor, his people’s integrity; he that sees 

it, will proclaim it before angels and men, to their 
immortal honour. They that obtain mercy to be 
righteous shall obtain witness that they are righte- 
ous. (4. j God is, in a special manner, pleased with 
those that are good in bad times and places. Noah 
was therefore illustriously righteous, because he was 
so in that wicked and adulterous generation. (.5. ) 
Those that keep themselves pure in times of com- 
mon iniqu:ty, God will keep safe in times of com- 
mon calamity; those that partake not with others in 
their sins, shall not partake with them in their 
plagues; those that are better than others, are, e\'eii 
in this life, safer than others, and it is better with 
them. 


hCy GENESIS, VII. 


II. Here are necessary orders given conceniing 
the brute creatures that were to be preserved ali^ e 
with Noah in the ark, v. 2, 3. They were not ca- 
pable of receiving the warning and directions them- 
selves, as man was, who herein is taught more than 
the beasts of the earth, and made wiser than the 
fowls of heaxien — that he is endued with the power 
of foresight; therefore man is charged with the care 
of them : being under his dominion, they must be 
under his prc tection ; and though he could not secure 
every individual, yet he must carefully preserve 
every species, that no tribe, no not the least con- 
siderable, might entirely perish out of the creation. 
Observe in this, 1. God’s care for man, and for his 
comfort and benefit; we do not find that Noah was 
solicitous of himself about this matter; but God con- 
sults our happiness more thtm we do ourselves. 
Though God saw that the old world was very pro- 
voking, and foresaw that the new one would be lit- 
tle better; yet he would preserve the brute-crea- 
tures for man’s use: Doth God take care for oxen? 
1 Cor. 9. 9. Or was it not rather for man’s sake 
that this care was taken? 2. Even the unclean 
beasts (which were least valuable and profitable) 
were preserved alive in the ark; for God’s tender 
mercies are over all his works, and not only over 
those that are of the most eminence and use. 3. 
Yet more of the clean were preserved than of the 
unclean, (1. ) Because the clean were most for the 
service of man; and therefore, in favour to him, 
more of them were preserved, and are still propa- 
gated. Thanks be to God, that there are not herds 
of lions as there are of oxen, nor flocks of tigers as 
••here are of sheep. (2.) Because the clean were 
for sacrifice to God; and therefore in honour to 
him, more of them were preserved, three couple 
for breed, and the odd seventh for sacrifice, ch. 8. 
20. God gives us six for one in earthly things, as 
in the distribution of the days of the week, that in 
spiritual things we should be all for him. What is 
devoted to God’s honour, and used in his service, is 
particularly blessed and increased. 

III. Here is notice given of the now imminent 
approach of the flood, v. 4, Yet seven days, and I 
will cause it to rain. 1. “It shall be seven days yet, 
before I do it. ” After the 120 years were expired, 
God grants them a reprieve of seven days longer; 
both to show how slow he is to anger, and that 
punishing work is his strange work, and also to give 
them some further space for repentance; but all in 
vain; these seven days were trifled away, after all 
the rest; they continued secure aiul sensual until the 
day that the flood came. 2. “It shall be but seven 
days. ” While Noah told them of the judgment at a 
distance, they were tempted to put off their repent- 
ance, because the vision was for a great while to 
come; but now he is ordered to tell them that it is at 
the door, that they have but one week more to turn 
them in, but one sabbath more to improve; to see 
if that will now, at last, awaken them to consider 
the things that belonged to their peace, which 
otherwise would soon be hidden from their eyes. 
But it is common for those who have been careless 
of their souls during the years of their health, when 
they have looked upon death at a distance, to be as 
careless during the days, the seven days, of their 
sickness, when they see it approaching, their hearts 
being hardened by the deceitful ness of sin. 

5. i\nd Noah did accordine; unto all that 
the Lord commanded him. C. And Noah 
was six hundred years old when the flood 
of waters was upon the earth. 7. And 
Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, 
and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, 
because of the waters of the flood. 8. Of 


clean beasts, and of beasts that are not 
clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that 
creepeth upon the earth. 9. There went in 
t\\'o and two unto Noah into the ark, the 
I male and the female, as God had com- 
manded Noah. 10. And it came to pass 
after seven days, that the waters of the flood 
were upon the earth. 

Here is Ncah’s j’cady obedience to the commands 
that God'gave him. 

1. He went into the ark, upon notice that the 
flood wculd come after seven days, though, proba- 
bly, as yet there appeared no visible sign of its ap- 
preach, no cloud arising that threatened it, nothing 
done toward it, but all continued serene and clear; 
for as he prepared the ark by faith in the warning 
given, that the flood would come, so he went into it 
by faith in this waniing, that it ivculd come quickly, 
though he did not see that the second causes had yet 
begun to work. In every step he took, he walked 
by faith, and not by sense. During these seven 
days, it is likely, he was settling himself and his 
family in the ark, and distributing the creatures into 
their several apartments, which was the conclu- 
sion of that visible sermon which he had long been 
preaching to his careless neighbours, and which, 
one would think, might have awakened them; but, 
not obtaining that desired end, it left their blood 
upon their own heads. 

2. He took all his family along with him; his 
wife, to be his companion and comfort; (though it 
should seem that, after this, he had no children by 
her;) his sons, and his sons’ wives, that by them not 
only his family, but the world of mankind, might be 
built up. Observe, Though men were to be redu- 
ced to so small a number, and it wcxdd be very desi- 
rable to have the world speedily repeopled, yet 
Noah’s sons were to have each of them but cue wife, 
which strengthens the arguments against ha\ ing ma- 
ny wives; for from the beginning of this new world it 
was not so: as, at first, God made, so now he kept 
alive, but one woman for one man; see Matth. 19. 
4, 8. 

3. The brute-creatures readily went in with him: 
the same hand that at first brought them to Adam 
to be named, now brought them to Noah to be pre- 
served; the ox now knew his OAvner, and the ass his 
protector’s crib, nay, even the wildest creatures 
flocked to it; but man was become more brutish than 
the brutes themselves, and did not know, did not 
consider, Isa. 1. 3. 

11. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s 
life, in the second month, the seventeenth 
day of the month, the same day were all 
the fountains of the great deep broken up, 
and the windows of heaven were opened. 
12. And the rain was upon the earth forty 
days and forty nights. 

I. The date of this great event; this is carefully 
recorded, for the great certainty of the story. 

1. It was in the 600th year of Noah’s life, which, 
by computation, appears to be 1656 years from the 
creation. The years of the old world are reckoned, 
not by the reigns of the giants, but by the lives of 
the patriarchs; saints are of more account with God 
than princes: The righteous shall be had in ever- 
lasting remembrance. Noah was now a very old 
man, even as men’s yeai-s went then. Note, (1.) 
The longer we live in this world, the more we see 
of the miseries and calamities of it; it is therefore 
spoken of as the privilege of those that die y^ ung, 
that their eyes shall not see the evil which is coming. 


67 


GENESIS, VII. 


2 Ki'.i'^s22. 20. (2.) Sometimes God exercises his 

old :•> ji-vants with extraordinary ti’ials of obedient pa- 
tience. The oldest of Christ’s soldiers must not 
promise themselves a discharge from their waj’fare, 
till death discharge them. Still they must gird on 
their harness, and not boast as th aigh they had put 
it off. As the year of the deluge is recorded, so, 

2. We are told that it was in the second month, 
the s£-’’enteenth day of the inonth, which is reckoned 
to be about the lieginning of November; so that 
Noah had had a harvest just before, from which to 
I'ictual his ark. 

II. I'he second causes that concurred to this de- 
luge; in the self-same day that Noah was fixed in 
the ark, the inundation began. Note, 1. Desolating 
judgments come not, till God has provided for the 
security of his own people; see ch. 19. 22, I can do 
nothing till thou be come thither : and we find, Kev. 
7. 3, the winds are held till the servants of God are 
sealed. 2. When good men are removed. Judg- 
ments are not far off; for they are taken away from 
the evil to come, Isa. 57. 1. When they are called 
into the chambers, hidden in the grave, hidden in 
heaven, then God is coming out of his place to pu- 
nish, Isa. 26. 20, 21. 

Now see what was done on that day, that fatal day 
to the v/orld of the ungodly. 1. The fountains of 
the great deep were broken up. Perhaps there need- 
ed no new creation of waters; what were already 
made to be, in the common course of providence, 
blessings to the earth, were now by an extraordina- 
ry act of divine power, made the ruin of it. God 
has laid up the deep in storehouses, (Ps. 33. 7.) and 
now he broke up those stores. As our bodies have 
in themselves those humours, which, when God 
pleases, become the seeds and spri ngs of mortal dis- 
eases; so the earth had in its bowels those waters, 
which, at God’s command, sprang up, and flooded it. 
God had, in the creation, set bars and doors to the 
waters of the sea, that they might not return to cover 
the earth, (Ps. 104. 9. Job 38. 9.. 11.) and now he 
only removed those ancient landmarks, mounds, 
and fences; and the waters of the sea returned to cov- 
er the earth, as they had done at first, ch. 1. 9. 
Note, All the creatures are ready to fight against 
sinful man, and any of them is able to be the instru- 
ment of his ruin, if God do l)ut take off the restraints 
by which they are held in, during the day of God’s 
patience. 2. The windows of heaven were opened, 
and the waters vjhich were above the firmament 
were poured out upon the world; those treasures 
which God has reseiwed against the day of trouble, 
the day of battle and war. Job 38. 22, 23. The rain, 
which ordinarily descends in drops, tlien came down 
in streams, orsfiouts, as they call them in the Indies, 
where clouds have been often known to burst, as 
they express it there, when the rain descends in a 
much more violent torrent than we have ever seen 
in the greatest shower. We read. Job 26. 8, that 
God binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the 
cloud is not rent under them ; but now the boncf.was 
loosed, the cloud was rent, and such rauis descended 
as were never known before or since, in such abun- 
dance, and of such continuance: the thick cloud was 
not, as ordinarily it is, wearied with waterings, (Job 
37. 11,) that is, soon spent and exhausted; but still 
the clouds returned after the rain, and the divine 
power brought in fresh recruits. It rained, without 
intermission or abatement, forty days and fortit 
nights, (v. 12. ) and that, upon the whole ea'rth at 
once, not, as somctimes,'7//?or2 one city, and not upon 
another. God made the world in six days, but he 
was forty days in destroying it; for he is slow to an- 
ger; out though the destruction came slowly and 
gr.adu illy, yet it came effectually. 

Now learn from this, (1.) That all the creatures 
are at God’s disposal, and that he makes what use 


he pleases of them, whether for correction, or for 
his land, or for mercy, as Elihu speaks of the rain. 
Job 37. 12, 13. (2.) That God often makes that 

which should be fjr our welfare, to become a trap, 
Ps. 69. 22. That which usually is a comfort and 
lienefit to us, becomes, when God pleases, a scourge 
and a ])lague to us. Nothing is more needful or use- 
ful th in Waters, both the springs of the earth, and 
the showers of heaven; and yet now, nothing is more 
hurtful, nothing more destructive: every creature is 
to be what (iod m..kes it. (3.) That it is impossi- 
ble to escape the righteous judgments of God, when 
they come against sinners with commission; for God 
can arm both heaven and earth against them; see 
Job 20. 27. God can surround men with the mes- 
sengers of his wrath, so that if they look upward, it 
is with horror and am.izement; if they look to the 
behold, trouble and darkness, Isa. 8. 21, 22. 
Who then is able to stand before God, when he is 
angry .> ( Lastly,) In this destruction of the old 
world Ijy water, God gave a specimen of the final 
destniction of the world that now is, by fire; we 
I find the apostles setting the one of these over-against 
I the other, 2 Pet. 3. 6, 7. As there are waters un- 
! der the earth, so /Etna, Vesuvius, and other volca- 
J noes, proclaim to the world that there are subterra- 
ous jfres too; and fire often falls from heaven, many 
desolations are made by lightning; so that when the 
time predetermined comes, between these two fires 
the earth and all the works therein shall be burnt 
up; as the flood was brought upon the old world out 
of the fountains of the great deep, and through the 
windows of heaven. 

13. In the self-same day entered Noah, 
and Shem, and Ham, and.fapheth, the sons 
of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three 
wives of his sons with them, into the ark ; 
14. They and every beast after his kind, 
and all the cattle after their kind, and every 
creejjing thing tliat creepeth upon the earth 
after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, 
every bird of every sort. 15. And they 
went in unto Noah into the ark, two and 
two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of 
life. 16. And they that went in, went in 
male and female of all flesh, as God had 
commanded him : and the Lord shut him in. 

Here is repeated what was related before of No- 
ah’s entrance into the ark, with his family and thf 
creatures that were marked for preservation. 

I. It is thus re])eated, for the honour of Noah, 
whose faith and obedience herein shone so bright, 
by which he obtained a good report, and who here- 
in appeared so great a farmurite of Heaven, and so 
great a blessing to this earth. 

H. Notice is here taken of the beasts going in 
each after his kind, according to the phrase used in 
the history of the creation, ch. 1. 21.. 25, to inti- 
mate that just as many kinds as rvere created at 
first, were saved now, and no more; and that this 
preservation was as a new creation; a life remai’ka- 
bly protected, is, as it were, a new life. 

III. Though all enmities and hostilities between 
the creatures ceased, for the present, ai# ravenous 
creatures were not only so mild and manageable, as 
that the wolf and the lamb Ian down together, but 
so strangely altered, as that the Hon did eat straw 
like an o.r, Isa. 11. 6, 7, yet, when this present oc- 
casion was over, the restraint wa.s taken olT, and 
they were still of the same kind as ever; for the ark 
did not alter their constitution. H’-pocrites in the 
church, that externally conform to the laws of that 


genesis, vil 


ark, may yet be unchanged; and then it will appear, 
one time or other, what kind they are after. 

IV. It is added, (and the circumstance deserves 

our notice,) 7’Ae Lord shut him in, v. 16. As Noah 
continued his obedience to God, so God continued his 
care of Noah; and here it appeared to be a very dis- 
tinguishing care; for the shutting of his door set up 
a partition wall between him and all the world be- 
sides. God shut the door, 1. To secure him, and 
keep him safe in the ark. The door must be shut 
very close, lest the waters should break in, and sink 
the^ ark, and veiy fast, lest any without should 
break it down. Thus God made ufi A'ba/z, as he 
makes ufi his jewels, Mai. 3. 17. 2. To seclude all 

others, and keep them for ever out. Hitherto, the 
door of the ark stood open, and if any, even du- 
ring the last seven days, had repented and be- 
lieved, for aught I know, they might have been 
welcomed into the ark; but now, the door was shut, 
and they were cut off from all hopes of admittance: 
for Gol shutteth, and none can open. 

V. There is much of our Gospel-duty and privi- 
lege to be seen in Noah’s preservation in the ark. 
The apostle makes it a type of our baptism, that is, 
our Christianity, 1 Pet. 3. 20, 21. Observe then, 

1. It is our great duty, in obedience to the gospel- 
call, by a lively faith in Christ, to come into that 
way of salvation which God has provided for poor 
sinners. When Noah came into the ark, he quit- 
ted his own house and lands; so must we quit our own 
righteousness and our wci-ldly possessions, whenever 
they come into competition with Christ. Noah 
must, for a while, submit to the confinements and 
inconveniences of the ark, in order to his preserva- 
tion for a new world; so those that come into Christ 
to be saved by him, must denv themselves, both in 
sufferings and services. 2. Those that come into 
the ark themselves, should bring as many as they 
can in with them, by good instimctions, by persua- 
sions, and by a good example: What knoivest thou, 

O man, but thou mayest thus save thy wife, (1 Cor. 

7. 16.) as Noah did his. There is room enough in 
Christ for all comers. 3. Those that by faith come 
into Christ, the Ark, shall by the power of God be 
shut in, and kept as in a strong hold by the power of 
God, 1 Pet. 1. 5. God put Adam into paradise, but 
he did not shut him in, and so he threw himself out; 
but when he put Noah into the ark, he shut him in, 
and so when he brings a soul to Christ, he insures 
the salvation: it is not in our own keeping, but in the 
Mediator’s hand. 4. The door of mercy will short- 
ly be shut against those that now make light rf it. 
jVbw, knock, and it shall be opened ; but the time 
will come, when it shall not, Luke 13. 25. 

17. And the flood was forty days upon 
the earth ; and the waters increased, and 
bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the 
earth. 18. And the waters prevailed, and 
were increased greatly upon the earth ; and 
the ark went upon the face of the waters. 1 9. 
And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon 
the earth ; and all the high hills, that loere 
under the whole heaven, were covered. 20. 
Fifteen cubits upward did the waters pre- 
vail ', and the mountains were covered. 

We are.^ere told, 

1. How long the flood was increasing;ybrti/ r/ays, 
V. 17. The profane world which believed not that 
it would come, probably, when it came, flattered 
i bemselves with hopes that it would soon abate, 
;ind never come to extremity; but still it increased, 
it prevailed. Note, (1.) When God judges, he will 
overcome. If he begin, he will make an end; his 


way is perfect both in judgment and mercy. (2.) 
The gradual approaches and advances of God’s 
judgments, which are designed to bring sinners to 
repentance, are often abused to the hardening of 
them in their presumption. 

2. To what degree they increased; they rose so 
high, that not only the low flat countries were delu- 
ged, but, to make sure work, and that none might 
escape, the tops of the highest mountains were over- 
flowed, cubits, that is, seven yards and a half. 

So that m vain was salvation hoped for from hills or 
mountains, Jer. 3. 23. None of God’s creatures are 
so high, but his power can overtop them; and he 
will make them know that wherein they deal 
proudly, he is abo\ e them. Perhaps the tops of the 
mountains were washed down by the strength of 
the waters, which helped much toward the prevail- 
ing cf the waters above them; for it is said. Job 12. 
15, He sends out the waters, and they not only over- 
flow, but overturn, the earth. Thus the refuge cf 
lies was swept away, and the waters overflowed the 
hiding-place of those sinners, (Isa. 28. 17.) and in 
vain they fly to them for safety. Rev. 6. 16. Now 
the mountains departed, and the hills were removed, 
and nothing stood a man in stead but the covenant oj 
peace, Isa. 54. 10. There is no place on earth so 
high as to set men out of the reach of God’s judg- 
ments, Jer. 49. 16. Obad. 3. 4. God’s hand will 
find out all his enemies 21. 8. Observe how ex- 
actly they are fathomed, (fifteen cubits,) not by 
Noah’s plummet, but by his knowledge \i\\o weigh- 
eth the waters by measure. Job 28. 25. 

3. What became of Noah’s ark, when the waters 
thus increased; it was lift up above the earth, ( v. 
17.) and went upon the face of the waters, v. 18. 
When all other buildings were demolished by the 
waters, and buried under them, the ark alone sub- 
sisted. Observe, (1.) The waters which brake 
down every thing else, bare up the ai'k. That 
which to unbelievers is a savour of death unto death, 
is to the faithful a savour of life unto life. (2. ) The 
more the waters increased, the higher the ark Avas 
lifted up toward heaven. Thus sanctified afflictions 
are spiritual promotions; and as troubles abound, 
consolations much more abound. 

21. And all flesh died that moved upon 
the earth, both of fovtd, and of cattle, and 
of beast, and of every creeping thing that 
creepeth upon the earth, and every man : 
22. All in whose nostrils was the breath of 
life, of all that teas in the diy land, died. 23. 
And eveiy living substance was destroyed, 
which was upon the face of the ground, 
both man, and cattle, and the creeping 
things, and the fowl of the heaven ; and thev 
were destroyed from the earth : and Noah 
only remained alive, and tliey that tcere with 
him in the ark. 24. And the waters pre- 
vailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty 
days. 

Here is, 

I. The general destruction of all flesh by the wa- 
ters of the flood. Come and see the desolations 
which God makes in the earth, Psal. 46. 8, and hoAV 
he lays heaps upon heaps. Never did death tri- 
umph, from his first entrance unto this day, as it 
did then. Come, and see Death upon his pale 
horse, and hell folloAving with him. Rev. 6. 7, 8. 

1. All the cattle, fowl, and creeping things, died, 
except the few that were in the ark. Observ'^e how 
this is repeated. All fesh died, v. 21. All in whose 
nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was on the 


o9 


GENESIS, VIII. 


dru land, v. 22. Every living substance, v. 23. 
And why so? Man only had done wickedly, and 
justly is God’s hand against him; but these sheefi, ] 
what have they done? I answer, (1.) W e are sure j 
God did them no wrong; he is the sovereign Lord 
of all life, for he is the sole Fountain and Author ' 
of it. He that made them as he pleased, might un- 
make them when he pleased; and who shall say unto 
him, / Vhat doest thou? May he not do what he will 
With his own, which were created for his pleasure? 
(2. ) God did admirably serve the purposes of his 
own glory by their destraction, as well as by their 
creation. Herein his holiness and justice were 
greatly magnified; by this appears that he hates 
sin, and is highly displeased with sinners, when 
even the inferior creatures, because they are the 
servants of man, and part of his possession, and be- 
cause they have been abused to be the servants of 
sin, are destroyed with him. This makes the judg- 
ment the more remarkable, the more dreadful, and 
consequently, the more expressive of God’s wrath 
and \ engeance. The destruction of the creatures 
was their deliverance from the bondage of corrup- 
tion, which deliverance the whole creation now 
groans after, Rom. 8. 21, 22. It was likewise an 
instance of God’s wisdom. As the creatures were 
mj.de for man when he was made, so they were 
multiplied: and therefore, now that mankind was 
reduced to so small a number, it was fit that the 
beasts should proportionably be reduced, otherwise 
they would have had the dominion, and would have 
replenished the earth, and the remnant of mankind 
th.it was left would have been overpowered by 
them. See how God considered this in another 
case, Exod. 23. 29. Lest the beast of the field 
multijily against thee. 

2. All the men, women, and children, that were 
in the world, (except what were in the ark,) died. 
Every man, v. 21, and v. 23, and perhaps they 
were as many as are now upon the face of the earth, 
if not more. Now, 

(1.) We may easily imagine what terror and con- 
sternation seized on them when they saw them- 
selves surrounded. Our Saviour tells us, that till 
the very day that the flood came, they were eating 
and drinking, Luke 17. 26, 27, they were drowned 
in security and sensuality, before they were drown- 
ed in those waters; crying, Peace, fieace, to them- 
selves; deaf and blind to all divine warnings. In 
this posture death surprised them, as 1 Sam. 30. 16, 
17. But O what an amazement were they in then ! 
Now they see and feel that which they would not 
believe and fear, and are convinced of their folly 
when it is too late; now they find no place for re- 
pentance, though they seek it carefully with tears. 

(2.) We may suppose that they tried all ways 
and means possible for their preservation, but all in 
vain. Some climb to the tops of trees or mountains, 
and spin out their terrors there awhile. But the 
flood reaches them, at last, and they are forced to 
die with the more deliberation. Some, it is likely, 
cling to the ark, and now hope that that may be 
their safety, which they had so long made their sport. 
Perhaps some get to the top of the ark, and hope 
to shift for themselves there; but either they perish 
there for want of food, or, by a speedier despatch, 
a dash of rain washes them off" that deck. Others, 
it may be, hoped to prevail with Noah for admis- 
sion into the ark, and pleaded old acquaintance. 
Have we not eaten and drunk in thy presence? 
Hast thou not taught in our streets? “ Yes',” might 
Noah say, “I have, tnany a time, to little purjjcse. 
I called, but ye refused; ' ye set at naught all my 
counsel, Prov. 1. 24, 25, and now it is not in my 
j)Ower to help you: God has shut the door, and I 
cannot open it.’’ Thus it will be at the gi-eat day. 
Neither climbing high in an outward profession, 


nor claiming relation to good people, will bring men 
to heaven. Matt. 7. 22. — 25. 8, 9. Those that are 
not found in Christ, the Ark, are certainly undone, 
for ever; salvation itself cannot save them. See 
Isa. 10. 3. 

(3.) We may suppose that some of those who 
perished in the deluge, had themselves assisted 
Noah, or were employed by him, in the building of 
the ark, and yet were not so wise as by repentance 
to secure themselves a place in it. Thus wicked 
ministers, though they may have been instrumental 
to help others to heaven, will themselves be thrust 
down to hell. 

Let us now pause awhile, and consider this tre- 
mendous judgment! Let our hearts meditate ter- 
ror, the terror of this destruction: let us see, and 
say. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God; who can stand before him vjhen he 
j is atigry? Let us see, and say. It is an evil thing, 

I and a bitter, to depart from God. The sin of sin- 
ners will, without repentance, be their ruin, first or 
last; if God be true it will. Though hand join in 
hand, yet the wicked shall not go unpunished. The 
righteous God knows how to bring a flood upon the 
world of the ungodly, 2 Pet. 2. 5. Eliphaz ap- 
peals to this stoiy as a standing warning to a care- 
less world. Job. 22, 15, 16, Hast thou marked the 
old way, which wicked men have trodden, which 
were cut down out of time, and sent into eternity, 
whose foundation was overflown with the flood? 

II. The special preservation of Noah and his fa- 
mily, V. 23, Koah only remained alive, and they 
that were with him in the ark. Observe, 1. Noah 
lives; when all about him were monuments of jus- 
tice, thousands falling on his right hand, and ten 
thousands on his left, he was a monument of mei'cy ; 
only with his eyes might he behold and see the re- 
ward of the wicked, Ps. 91. 7, 8. In the Roods of 
great waters, they did not come nigh him, rs. 32. 6. 

! We have reason to think, that while the long-suf- 
I fering of God waited, Noah net only preached to, 
j but prayed for, that wicked world, and would have 
I turned away the wrath; but his prayers return into 
his own bosom, and are answered only in his own 
escape; which is plainly referred to, Ezek. 14. 14, 
JVouh, Daniel, and Job, shall but deliver their own 
souls. A mark of honour shall be set on intercessors. 
2. He but lives. Noah remains alive, and that is all; 
he is, in effect, buried alive; cooped up in a small 
place, alarmed with the terrors of the descending 
rain, the increasing flood, and the shrieks and out- 
cries of his perishing neighbours — his heart over- 
whelmed with melancholy thoughts of the desola- 
tions made: but he comforts himself with this, that 
he is in the way of duty, and in the way of deliver- 
ance. And we are taught, Jer. 45. 4, 5, that when 
desolating judgments are abroad, we must not seek 
great or pleasant things to ourselves, but reckon it 
an unspeakable favour, if we have our lives given 
us for a prey. 

CHAP. VIII. 

Ill the close of the foregoing chapter, we left the world in 
ruins, and the church in straits ; but in this chapter, w< 
have the repair of the one, and the enlargement of the 
other. Now the scene alters, and another state of things 
begins to be presented to us, and the brighter side of 
that cloud which there appeared so black and dark: for 
though God contend long, he will not contend for ever, 
nor be always wroth. We have here, I. The earth made 
anew, by the recess of the waters, and the appearing of 
the dry land, now a second time, and both gradual. I. 
The increase of the waters is stayed, v. 1, 2. 2. They 
begin sensibly to abate, v. 3. 3. After sixteen days’ 
ebbing, the ark rests, v. 4. 4. After sixty days’ ebbing, 
the tops of the mountains appeared above water, v. 5. 
5. After forty days’ ebbing, and twenty days before the 
mountains appeared, Noah began to send out his spies, 
a raven and a dove, to gain intelligence, v. 6.. 12. 6. Two 


70 


GENESIS, Vlll. 


months after the appearing of the tops of the mountains, 
the waters were gone, and the face of the earth was dry, 
V. 13, though not dried so as to be fit for man till almost 
two months after, v. 14. II. Man placed anew upon the 
earth. In which, 1. Noah’s discharge and departure out 
of the ark, v. 15.. 19. 2. His sacrifice of praise, which 
he offered to God upon his enlargement, v. 20. 3. God’s 

acceptance of his sacrifice, and the promise he made, 
thereupon, not to drown the world again, v. 21, 22. 
And thus, at length, mercy rejoices against judgment. 

1. A ND God remembered Noah, and 
/\ every living thing, and all the cattle 
that was with him in the ark : and God 
made a wind to pass over the earth, and the 
waters assuaged. 2. The fountains also ol 
the deep, and the windows of lieaven were 
stopped, and the rain from heaven was re- 
strained ; 3. And the waters returned from 

off the earth continually : and after the end 
of the hundred and fifty days, the waters 
■vere abated. 

Here is, 

I. An act of God’s grace. God remembered 
jYoa/i and every living thing. This is an expres- 
sion after the manner of men; for not any of his 
creatures, Luke 12. 6, much less any of his people, 
are forgotten of God, Isa. 49. 15, 16. But, 

1. The whole race of mankind, except Noah and 
his family, was now extinguished, and gone into 
the land of forgetfulness, to be remembered no 
more; so that God’s remembering Noah was the 
return of his mercy to mankind, of whom he would 
not make a full end. It is a strange expression, 
Ezek. 5. 13, When I have aecomplishid my fury 
in them, I will be comforttd. The demands of di- 
vine justice had been answered by the ruin of those 
sinners; he had eased him of his adversaries, Isa. 1. 
24, and now his spirit was quieted, Zech. 6. 8, and 
he remembered Jsfoah and every living thing. He 
remembered mercy in wrath, Hab. 3. 2, remem- 
bered the days of old, Isa. 63. 11, remembered the 
holy seed, and then rcmemliered Noah. 

2. Noah himself, though one that had found grace 
in the eyes of the Lord, yet seemed to 'be forgotten , 
in the ark, and perhaps began to think himself so; 
for we do not find that God had told him how 
long he should be confined, and when he shall be 
released. Very good men have sometimes been 
ready to conclude themselves forgotten of God, es- 
pecially when their afflictions have been unusually 
grievous and long. Perhaps Noah, though a great 
believer, yet when he found the flood continuing so 
long after it might reasonably be presumed to have 
done its work, was tempted to fear lest he that shut 
him in, would keep him in, and began to expostu- 
late, How long wilt thou forget me? But at length, 
God returned in mercy to him, and that is express- 
ed by remembering him. Note, Thf'se that re- 
member God, shall certainly be remembered by 
him, how desolate and disconsolate soevei’, their 
condition may be. He will appc'int them a set 
time, and remember them, Job 14. 13. 

3. With Noah, God remembered every living 
thing; for though his delight is especially in the sons 
of men, yet he rejoices in all his works, and hates 
nothing that he has made. He takes special care 
not only of his peojile’s iiersni.s, but of their posses- 
sions; of them and all that belongs to them. He 
considered the cattle of Nineveh, Jonah 4. 11. 

II. An act of God’s power over wind and water, 
neither of which is under man’s control, but both at 
hiH beck. Observe, 

1. He commanded the wind, and said to that, Go, 
and it went, in order to the carrying off of the flood. I 


God made a wind to pass over the earth. See here, 
(1.) What was God’s remembrance of Noah; it was 
his relieving of him. Note, those whom God re 
members, he remembers eflectually, for good; he 
remembers us to save us, that we may remember 
him to serve him. (2. ) VVhat a sovereign dominion 
God has over the winds! He has them ui his fist, 
Prov. 30. 4, and brings them out of his treasure, 

I Ps. 135. 7. He sends them when, and whither, 

I and Lr what purposes, he pleases. Even stormy 
j winds fulfil his word, Ps. 148. 8. It should seem', 
while the waters increased, there was no wind; for 
I that would have added to the toss of the ark; but 
i now God sent a wind, when it would not be trcuble- 
I some. Probably, it was a north wind, for that 
I drives away rain. However, it was a drying wind, 

I such a wind as God sent to divide the Red-sea be- 
I fore Israel, Exod. 14. 21. 

2. He remanded the waters, and said to them. 
Come, and they came. (1.) He took away the 
cause. He sealed up the springs of those waters, 
the fountains of the great deep, and the windows of 
heaven. Note, [1.] As God had a key to open, sc 
he has a key to shut up again, and to stay the pro- 
gress of judgments by stopping the causes of them: 
and the same hand that brings the desolation, must 
bring the deliverance; to that hand therefore cur 
eye must ever be. He that wounds is alone able 
to heal. See Job 12. 14, 15. [2.] When afflic- 

tions have done the work for which they are sent, 

1 whether killing work or curing work, they shall be 
! removed. God’s word shall not retuni void, Isa. 
j 55. If), 11. (2.) Then the eft'ect ceased; not all at 

1 once, but by degrees. The waters assuaged, v. 1, 
returned from off the earth continually, v. 3. Heb. 
they were going and returning ; which denotes a 
I gradual departure. The heat of the sun exhaled 
much, and perhaps the subteri'aneous caverns 
soaked in more. Note, As the earth was not drown- 
ed in a day, so it was not dried in a day. In the crea- 
tion, it was but one day’s work to clear the earth 
from the waters that co^ ered it, and to make it dry 
land; nay, it was but lialf a day’s work, ch. 1. 9, 10. 
But the work of creation being finished, this work 
of providence was eftected by the concurring influ- 
ence of second causes, yet thus enforced by the al- 
mighty power of God. God usually worKs' deliver- 
ance for his people gradually, that the day of small 
things may not be despised, nor the day of great 
things despaired of, Zech. 4. 10. See Prov. 4. 18. 

4. And the ark rested in the seventii 
month, on the seventeenth day of the month, 
upon the mountains of Ararat. 5. And the 
waters decreased continually until the tenth 
month: in the tenth month, on the first day 
of the month, were the tops of the moun- 
tains seen. 

Here we have the effects and evidences of the 
eljbings of the waters. 1. The ark rested. This 
was some satisfaction to Noah, to feel the house he 
was in, upon firm ground, and no longer moveable. 
It rested upon a mountain, whither it was directed, 
not by Noah’s prudence, (he did not steer it,) hut 
by the wise and gracious providence of God, that it 
might rest the sooner. Note, God has times and 
jilaces of rest for his people after their tossings; and 
manv a time he j)rovides for their seasonable and 
comfortable settlement without their cwn contri- 
vance, and quite beyond their own foresight. The 
ark of the church, though sometimes tossed with 
tempests, and not comfoi-ted, Isa. 54. 11, yet has 
its rests, Acts 9. 31. 2. The tops of the mountains 

were seen, like little islands, appearing above the 
water. We must suppose that they were seen l)y 


71 


GENESIS, VIII. 


Noah and his sons; for there were none besides to 
see them: it is probable that they had looked 
thi’ough the window of the ark every day, like the 
longing mariners, after a tedious voyage, to see if 
they could discover land, or as the prophet’s ser- 
vant, 1 Kings 18. 43, 44, and at length they spy 
ground, ajid enter the day of the discovery in their 
journal. They felt ground above forty days before 
they saw it, according to Dr. Lightfoot’s computa- 
tion, whence he infers that if the waters decreased 
prcportionably, the ark drew eleven cubits in water. 

6. And it came to pass at the end of forty 
days, that Noah opened the window of the 
ark which he had made : 7. And he sent 

foi lli a raven, tvliich went forth to and fro, 
until the waters were dried up from off the 
earth. 8. Also lie sent forth a dove from 
him, to see if the waters were abated from 
off the face of the ground ; 9. But the 

dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, 
and she returned unto him into the ark, lor 
the waters were on the face of the whole 
earth : then he put forth his hand, and took 
her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. 
10. And he stayed yet other seven days; 
and again he sent forth the dove out of the 
ark ; 11. And the dove came in to him in 

the evening ; and, lo, in her mouth was an 
olive-leaf pluckt off : so Noah knew that 
the waters were abated from off the earth. 
12. And he stayed yet other seven days; 
and sent forth the dove ; which returned not 
again unto him any more. 

Wc liave here an account of the spies which Noah 
sent forth to bring him intelligence from abroad, a 
raven and a dove. Observe here, 

I. That though God had told Noah particularly 
when the flood would come, even to a day, (c/i. 7. 
4. ) )’et he did not give him a particular account by 
revelation at what times, and by what steps it should 
go away. 1. Because the knowledge of the former 
was necessary to his preparing of the ark, and set- 
tling of himself in it; but the knowledge of the latter 
would serve only to gratify his curiosity, and the 
conceali!ig of it fi'om him would be the needful ex- 
ercise of his faith and patience. And, 2. He could 
n t foresee the flood, but by revelation; but he 
might, by ordinary means, discover the decrease of 
it, and therefore God was pleased to leave him to 
the use of them. 

II. That though Noah by faith expected his en- 
largement, and by patience waited for it, yet he was 
inquisitive concerning it, as one that thought it long 
to be thus confined. Note, Desires of release out 
of trouble, earnest expectations of it, and inquiries 
concerning its advances towards us, will very well ' 
consist whir the sincerity of faith and patience. He 
that believes does not make haste to nm before God, 
but he does make haste to go forth to meet him, Isa. 
28. 16. Particularly, 1. Noah sent forth a raven 
through the window of the ark, which went forth, 
as the Hebrew phrase is, going forth and return- 
ing, that is flying about, and feeding on the carcases 
that floated, but returning to the ark for rest; pro- 
bably, not in it, but ufionit. This gave Noah little 
satisfaction; therefore, 2. He sent forth a dox>e, 
v/hich retuiTied the first time with no good news, ! 
but, probably, wet and dirty; but, the second time, j 
she brought an olive-leaf in her bill, which appear- | 
ed to be first plucked off; a plain indication that i 


now the trees, the fruit-trees, began to appear 
above water. 

Note here, (1.) That Noah sent forth the dove 
the second time, seven days after the first time, and 
I the third time was after seven days too; and, proba- 
, bly, the first sending of her out was seven days after 
I the sending forth of the raven, which intimates that 
' it was done on the sabbath-day, which, it should 
j! seem, Noah religiously observed in the ark. Having 
!| kept the sabbath in a solemn assembly of his little 
' clmrch, he then expected special blessings from 
i heaven, and inquired concerning them. Having 
j directed his prayer, he looked up, Ps. 5. 3. (2.) 

! The dove is an emblem of a gracious soul, which 
I finding no rest for its foot, no solid peace or satisfac- 
i tion in this world, this deluged, defiling world, re- 
j turns to Christ as to its Ark, as to its Noah. The 
I carnal heart, like the raven, takes up with the 
world, and feeds on the carrions it finds there; but 
return thou to thy rest, O my soul, to thy A'oah, so 
the word is, Ps. 116. 7. O that I had wings like a 
dove, to flee to him ! Ps. 55. 6. And as ^roah put 
I forth his hand, and took the dove, and pulled her in 
to him, into the ark, so Christ will graciously pre- 
ser\ e, and help, and welccme, those that fly to him 
for rest. (3.) The olive-branch, which was an 
emblem of peace, was brought not by the raven, a 
bird of prey, nor by a gay and proud peacock, but 
by a mild, patient, humble, dove. It is a dove-like 
disposition that brings into the soul earnests of rest 
and joy. (4. ) Some make these things an allegory. 
The law was first sent forth like the raven, but 
brought no tidings of the assuaging of the waters of 
God’s wrath, with which the world of mankind was 
deluged; therefore, in the fulness of time, God sent 
forth his gospel, as the dove, in the likeness of 
which the Holy Spirit descended, and this presents 
us with an olive-branch, and brings in a better hope. 

1 3. And it came to pass in the six hun- 
dredth and first year, in the first month, the 
first dai/ of the month, the waters were 
dried up from off the earth : and Noah re- 
moved the covering of the ark, and looked 
and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. 
1 4. And in the second month, on the seven 
and twentieth day of the month, was the 
earth dried. 

Here is, 

1. The ground dry; (v. 14.) that is, all the water 
carried off it, which, upon the first day of the first 
month, (a joyful new-year’s-day it was,) Noah was 
himself an eye-witness of. He removed the cover- 
ing of the ark, not the whole covering, but so much 
as would suffice to give him a prospect of the earth 
about it; and a most comfortalile prospect he had. 
For behold, behold and wonder, the face of the 
ground was dry. Note, (1.) It is a great mercy tc 
see ground about us. Noah Avas more sensible of it 
than we are: for mercies restored are much more 
affecting than mercies continued. (2.) The divine 
power which now renewed the face of the earth, 
can renew the face of an afflicted troubled soul, and 
of a distressed persecuted church. He can make 
drv ground to appear there Avhere it seemed to have 
been lost and forgotten, Ps. 18. 16. 

2. The ground dried, (r. 14. ) so as to be a fit ha- 
bitation for Noah. Obsen-e, Though Noah saw the' 
ground dry the first day of the first month, yet God 
would not suffer him to go out of the ark till the 
twenty-seventh day of the second month. Perhaps 
Noah, being somewh it weary of his restraint, w’ould 
have quitted the ark at first, but God, in kindness 
to him, ordered him to stay so much longer. Note, 
God consults our benefit, rather than our desires; 


72 


GENESIS, VIII. 


for he knows what is good for us better than we do 
for ourselves, and how long it is fit our restraints 
should continue, and desired mercies should be de- 
layed. We would go out of the ark before the 
ground is dried; and perhaps, if the door be shut, 
are ready to remove the covering, and to climb up 
some other way; but we should be satisfied that 
God’s time of showing mercy is certainly the best 
time, when the mercy is ripe for us, and we are 
ready for it. 

15. And God spake unto Noah, saying, j 

16. Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, 
and th) sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 

17. Bring forth with thee every living thing 

that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, 
and of cattle, and of every creeping thing 
that creepeth upon the earth ; that they may 
breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruit- 
ful, and multiply upon the earth. 1 8. And 
Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, 
and his sons’ wives with him : 1 9. Every 

beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, 
and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, 
after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. 

Here is, 

I. Noah’s dismission out of the ark, v. 15... 17. 

Observe, 1. Noah did not stir till God bid him. As 
he had a command to go into the ark, (cA. 7. 1.) so, 
how tedious soever his confinement there was, he 
would wait for a command to go out of it again. 
Note, We must in all our ways acknowledge God, 
and set him before us in all our removes. Those 
only go under God’s protection, that follow God’s 
direction, and submit to his government. Those 
that steadily adhere to God’s word as their rule, 
and are guided by his grace as their principle, and 
take hints from his providence to assist them in 
their application of general directions to particular 
cases, may in faith see him guiding their motions in 
their march through this wilderness. 2. Though 
God detained him long, yet at last he gave him his 
discharge; for the vision w for an ajxfiointed time, 
and at the end it shall sfieak, it shall sfieak the truth, 
(Plab. 2. 3.) it shall not lie. 3. God had said, Come 
into the ark, which intimated that God went in with 
him; now he says, not. Come forth, but Go forth, 
which intimates that God, who went in with him, 
stood Avith him all the while, till he sent him out 
safe; for he has said, Invill not leave thee. 4. Some 
observe, that when they were ordered into the ark, 
the men and the women were mentioned separately, 
ch. 6. 18, Thou and thy sons, and thy wife and thy 
sons' wives; whence they infer that, during the time 
of mourning, they were apart, and their wives 
apart, Zech. 12, 12. But noAV God did as it were 
new marry them, sending out Noah and his wife { 
together, and his sons and their wives together, that 
they might be fruitful and multiply. 5. Noah is 
ordered to bring the creatures out with him; that 
having taken the care of feeding them so long, and j 
been at so much pains about them, he might have I 
the honour of leading them forth by their armies, j 
and receiving their homage. j 

II. Noah’s departure when he had his dismission. 
As he would not go out without leave, so he would 
not, out of fear or humour, stay in when he h id 
leave, but was in all ])oints observant of the hea- [ 
venly vision. Though he had been now a full year 
and ten days a prisoner in the ark, yet when he 
found himself preserved there, not only for a new 
life, but for a new world, he saw no reason to com- 
olain of his long confinement. Now observe, 1. ; 


Noah and his family came out alive, though one of 
them was a wicked Ham, whom, though he escaped 
the flood, God’s justice could have taken a^vay by 
some other stroke. But they are all alive. Note, 
When families have been long continued together, 
and no breaches made upon them, it must be looked 
upon as a distinguishing favour, and attributed to 
the Lord’s mercies. 2. Noah brought out all the 
creatures that went in with him, except the raven 
and the dove, Avho, probably, were ready to meet 
their mates at their coming out. Noah was able to 
give a very good account of his charge; for of all 
th'it were given him he had lost none, but was faith- 
ful to him that appointed him, firo hacvice — on this 
occasion, high steward of his household. 

20. And Noah budded an altar unto the 
Lord ; and took of every clean beast, and 
of every clean fowl, and offered burnt- 
offerings on the altar. 21. And the Lord 
smelled a sweet savour ; and the Lord said 
in his heart, I will not again curse the 
ground any more for man’s sake ; for the 
imagination of man’s heart is evil from his 
youth ; neither will I again smite any more 
every thing living, as I have done. 22. 
While the earth remaineth, seed-time and 
harvest, and cold and heat, and summer 
and winter, and day and night, shall not 
cease. 

Here is, 

I. Noah’s thankful acknowledgment of God’s. fa- 
vour to him, in completing the mercy of his deliver- 
ance, 7'. 20. 1. He budded an altar. Hitherto he 

had done nothing without particular instructions and 
commands from God. He had a particular call into 
the ark, and another out of it; but altars and sacri- 
fices being already of divine institution for religious 
worship, he did not stay for a particular command 
thus to express his thankfulness. Those that have 
received mercy from God, should be forward in re- 
turning thanks; and do it, not of constraint, but wil- 
lingly. God is pleased with free-will offerings, and 
praises that wait for him. Noah Avas noAv turned 
out into a cold and desolate world, where one Avould 
have thought his first care would have been to build 
a house for himself; but, behold, he begins with an 
altar for God: God, that is the first, must be first 
served; and he begins well that begins Avith God. 
2. He offered a sacrifice upon his altar, of evem 
cl-an beast, and of every clean fowl, one, the odd 
seventh that we read of, ch. 7. 2, 3. 

Here observe, (^1.) He offered only those that 
Avere clean; for it is not enough that Ave sacrifice, 
but we must sacrifice that Avhich God appoints, ac- 
cording to the laAv of sacrifice, and not a corrupt 
thing. (2. ) Though his stock of cattle Avas so small, 
and that rescued from ruin at so great an expense 
of care and pains, yet he did not gindge to give God 
his dues out of it. He might have said, “Have 1 
but seven sheep to begin the Avorld Avith, and must 
one of those seven be killed and burnt for sacrifice r 
Were it net lietter to defer it, till Ave have more 
plenty?” No, to prove the sincerity of his love and 
gratitude, he cheerfully gives the se\..nth to his 
God, as an acknowledgment that all Avas his, and 
owing to him. Serving God with our little, is the 
way to make it more; and Ave must never think that 
Avasted, Avith which God is honoured. (3.) See 
here the antiejuity of religion: the first thing Ave find 
done in the ncAV Avorld, Avas an act of worship, Jer. 
6. 16. We are noAv to express our thankfulness, 
not by burnt-offerings, but by the saci ifices of praise. 


73 


GENESIS. IX. 


and the sacrifices of righteousness, by pious devo- 
ti'^ns, and a pious conversation. 

II. God’s gracious acceptance of Noah’s thank- 
f dness. It was a settled rule in the patriarchal age, 
If thou doest well, shall thou not be accep.ted'1 Noah 
was so. For, 

1. God was well pleased with the performance, 
K. 21. He smelled a sweet savour, or a savour of rest, 
from it; as it is in the Hebrew. As when he had made 
the world at first on the seventh day, he rested and 
was refreshed, so now that he had new-made it, in 
the sacrifice of the seventh he rested. He was 
jdeused with Noah’s pious zeal, and these hopeful 
beginnings of the new world, as men are with fra- 
grant and agreeable smells: though his offering was 
sm ill, it was according to his ability, and God ac- 
cepted it. Having caused his anger to rest upon 
the world of sinners, he here caused his love to rest 
upon this little remnant of believers. 

2. Hereupon he took up a resolution never to 
drown the world again. Herein he had an eye, not 
so much to Noah’s sacrifice, as to Christ’s sacrifice 
of himself, which was typified and represented by 
it, and which was indeed an offering of a sweet- 
smelling savour, Eph. 5. 2. Good security is here 
given, and that which may be relied upon. 

(1. ) That this judgment should never be repeated. 
Noah might think, “To what purpose should the 
world be repaired, when, in all probability, for the 
wickedness of it, it will quickly be in like manner 
ruined again.^” “No,” says God, “it never shall.” 
It was said, ch. 6. 6, It refiented the I,ord that he 
had made man; now here it speaks as if it repented 
him that he had destroyed man; neither means a 
change of his mind, but both a change of his way. 
It repented him concerning his servants, Deut. 32. 
36. Two ways this resolve is expressed: [1.] I 
will not again curse the ground, Hebrew, I will not 
add to curse the ground any more. God had cursed 
the ground upon the first entrance of sin {ch. 3. 17.); 
when he had drowned it, he had added to that 
curse; but now he determines not to add to it any 
more. [2.] A'either will I again smite any more 
evf-ry living thing, that is, it was determined that 
whatever ruin God might bring upon particular 
persons, or families, or countries, he would never 
again destroy the whole world, till the day shall 
come when time shall be no more. But the reason 
of this resolve is very surprising, for it seems the 
same in effect with the reason given for the destruc- 
tGn of t'nis world, ch. 6. 5. Because the imagina- 
tion ( f man’s heart is evil from his youth. But 
there is this difference; there it is said. The imagi- 
nafion of man’s heart is evil continually, that is, 
“ H’s actual transgressions continually cry against 
hmi;” here it is said. It is evil from his youth or 
childhood. It is bred in the bone, he brought it into 
the world with him, he was shapen and conceived 
in it. Now, one would think, it should follow, 
“I'herefore that guilty race shall be wholly extin- 
gtiished, and I will mahe a full end.” No: “There- 
f 're I will no more take tlais severe method; for, 
''irsr. He is rather to be pitied, for it is all the ef- 
fjctrf sui dwelling in him; and it is but what might 
be expected from such a degenerate race: he is 
called a transgressor from the womb, and therefore 
it is n t strange that he deals so a ery treacherous- 
Iv',” Isa. 48. 8. Thus God remembers that he is 
flesh. Cl rrupt and sinful, Ps. 78. 39. Secondly, 
“ He will be utterly ruined; for if he be dealt with 
according to his deserts, one flood must succeed 
another till all be destroyed.” See here, 1. That 
outward judgments, though they may terrify and 
restr .in men, yet cannot, of themselves, sanctify 
and renew them; the grace of God must work with 
chose judgments. Man’s nature was as sinful after 
che deluge as it had been befoi’e. That Gcxi’s good- 
VoL. I.— K 


ness takes- occasion from man’s badness to magnify 
itself the more; his reasons of mercy are all drawn 
from himself, not from any thing in us. 

(2.) That the course of nature should never be 
discontinued, v. 22, While the earth remaineth, and 
man upon it, there shall be summer and winter, net 
all winter as had been this last year; ''■day and 
night,” not all night, as probably it was while the 
rain was descending. Here, [1.] It plainly inti- 
mated that this earth is not to remain always; it, 
and all the works in it, must shortly be burnt up; 
and we look for new heavens and a new earth, 
when all these things must be dissolved. But, [2.] 
As long as it does remain, God’s providence will 
carefully preserve the regular succession of times 
and seasons, and cause each to know its place. To 
this we owe it, that the world stands, and the wheel 
of nature keeps its track. See here how changea- 
ble the times are, and yet how unchangeable. Tirst, 
The course of nature always changing. As it is 
with the times, so it is with the events ot time, they 
are subject to vicissitudes, day and night, summer 
and winter, counterchanged. In heaven and hell 
it is not so, but on earth God hath set the one over 
against the other. Secondly, Yet never changed; 
it is constant in this inconstancy; these seasons have 
never ceased, nor shall cease, while the sun con- 
tinues such a steady measurer of time, and the 
moon such a faithful witness in heaven. This is 
God’s covenant of the day and of the night, the 
stability' of which is mentioned for the confirming 
of our faith in the covenant of grace, which is no 
less inviolable, Jer. 33. 20. We see God’s promises 
to the creatures made good, and thence may infer 
that his promises to all believers shall be so. 

CHAP. IX. 

Both the world and the church were now again redueed to 
a family, the family of Noah, of the affairs of which this 
chapter gives us an account, which we are the more con- 
cerned to lake cognizance of, because from this family 
we are all descendants. Here is, I. The covenant of 
providence settled with Noah and his sons, v. 1. .11. In 
this covenant, 1. God promises them to take care of their 
lives, so that (1.) They should replenish the earth, v. 1, 
7. (2.) They should be safe from the insults of the brute 
creatures, which should stand in awe of them, v. 2. (3.) 
They should be allowed to eat flesh for the support of 
their lives; only they must not eat blood, v. 3, 4. (4.) 

The world should never be drowned again, v. 8. .11. 2. 
God requires of them to take care of one another’s lives, 
and of their own, v. 5, 6. II. The seal of that covenant, 
namely, the rainbow, v. 12.. 17. III. A particular pas- 
sage of a story concerning Noah and his sons, which oc- 
casioned some prophecies that related to after-limes. 1. 
Noah’s sin and shame, v. 20, 21. 2. Ham’s impudence 

and impiety, v. 22. 3. The pious modesty of Shem and 

Japheth, v. 23. 4. The curse of Canaan, and the bless- 
ing of Shem and Japheth, v. 24.. 27. IV. The age and 
death of Noah, v. 28, 29. 

1. ND God blessed Noah and his sons, 
and said unto them, Be fruitful, and 
multiply, and replenish the earth. 2. And 
the fear of you and the dread of you shall 
be upon every beast of the earth, and upon 
every Ibwl of the air, upon all that moveth 
npon the earth, and upon all the fishes cf 
the sea ; into your hand are they delivered. 
3. Every moving thing that liveth, shall he 
meat for you ; even as the green herb have 
I given you all things : 4. But flesh witli 

the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, 
shall ye not eat. 5. And surely your blooti 
of your lives will I require ; at the hand of 
every beast will I require it, and at the 


GENESIS, IX. 


hand of man ; at the hand of every man’s 
brother will I require the life of man : 6. 

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall 
his blood be shed : for in the image of God 
made he man : 7. And you, be ye fruitful, 

and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the 
earth, and multi-ply therein. 

V^^e read, in the close of the foregoing chapter, 
the very kind things which the Lord said in his 
heart, concerning the remnant of mankind which 
was now left to be the seed of a new world. Now 
here we have those kind things spoken to them-, in 
general, God blessed JSi^oah and his sons, v. 1, that 
Is, he assured them of his good will to them, and his 
gr.xious intentions concerning them. This follows 
from what he said in his heart. Note, All God’s 
promises of good flow from his purposes of lo\ e, and 
the counsels of his own will. See Eph. 1. 11. — 3. 
11, and compare Jer. 29. 11, I know the thoughts 
that I think towards you. We read, ch. 8. 20, 
how Mah blessed God, by his altar and sacriflce. 
Now here we find God blessing Noah. Note, 1. 
God will graciously bless (that is, do well for) them 
who sincerely bless (that is, speak well of) him. 2. 
Those that are truly thankful for the niercies they 
have received, take the readiest way to have them 
confirmed and continued to them. 

Now here we have the Magna Charta — the 
Great Charter oi this new kingdom of nature which 
was now to be erected, and incorporated, the 
former charter having been forfeited and seized. 

I. The grants of this charter are kind and gra- 
ci us to men. Here is, 

1. A grant of lands of vast extent, and a promise 
{if a great iiicrease of men to occupy and enjoy 
them. The first blessing is here renewed, lie 
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, v. 
1, and repealed, v. 7, for the race of mankind was, 
as it were, to begin again. Now, (1.) God sets the 
whole e:irtla before them, tells them it is all their 
own, while it remains, to them and their heirs. 
Note, The earth God has gi\ en to the children of 
men, for a possession and habitation, Ps. 115. 16. 
Though it is not a paradise, but a wilderness rather, 
yet it is better than w'e deserve. Blessed be God, 
It is not hell. (2.) He gives them a blessing, by the 
iorce and \ irtue of which, mankind should be both 
multiplied and perpetuated upon earth; so that, in 
a little time, all the habitable parts of the earth 
should be more or less inhabited; and though one 
gener ition should p iss away, yet anotlier genera- 
tion should come, while the world stands, so that 
the stream of the human race should be supplied 
with a constant succession, and nin parallel with the 
current of time, till both be delivered up together 
into the ocean of eteniitv. Thougli death should 
still reign, and the Lord wo.uld still lie known by his 
judgments, yet the earth shoidd never agrdn be dis- 
peo])led as now it was, but still rcjjlenished. Acts 
17. 24., 26. 

2. A grant of pow'er over the inferior creatures, 
V. 2. He grants, (1.) A title to them. Into your 
hands they are delivered, for your use and benefit. 
(2 ) A doiuinion over them, without which the title 
would avail little. 77/e fear of you and the dread 
of you shall be upon everu hea.st. This revives a 
former gruit, ch. 1. 28, onlv with this diflerence, 
that man in innocence ruled bv love, fallen man 
rules by fear. Now this grant remains in force, 
and thus far we have still the benefit of it. [1.] 
That those creatures which arc anv way useful to 
us, are reclaimed, and we use them either for ser- 
vice, or food, or both, as they are capable. The 
norse and ox patiently submit to the bridle and 


yoke, and the sheep is dumb both before the shear- 
er, and before the butcher; for the fear and dread 
of man are upon them. [2.] Those creatures that 
are any way hurtful to us are restrained, so th.at 
though now and then man may be hurt by some of 
them, yet they do net combine together to rise up 
in rebellion against man, else God could by tlicse 
destroy the wcrld as eft'ectually as he did by a de 
luge; it is one of God’s sore judgments, Ezvk. 14 
21. \^''hat is it that keeps wolves out of our towns, 

and lions out of our streets, and confines tlicm tc 
the w'ilderness, but this fear and dread.^ Nay, s. mt 
have been tamed, James 3. 7. 

3. A grant of maintenance and subsistence, v. 3, 
Every moving thing that liveth, shall be meat for 
you. Hitherto, most think, man had been confined 
to feed only upon the products of the earth, fi uits, 
herbs, and roots, and all s^ rts of corn and milk; so 
was the first grant, ch. 1. 29. But the flood ha.viilg 
perhaps washed aw'ay much 1f>f the ^■iI tue of the 
earth, and so rendered its fruits less pleasing, and 
less nourishing; God now enlarged the grant, and 
allowed man to eat flesh, which perhaps man him- 
self never thought of, till now that Gc cl directed 
him to it, nor had any more desire to, than a sheep 
has to suck blood like a wolf. But now man is al- 
lowed to feed upon flesh, as freely and safely as 
upon the green herb. Now here see, (1.) That 
God is a good Master, and provides, net only that 
we may live, but that we may live comfcrtablv, in 
his service; not for necessity cnly, but fer delight.' 
(2.) That every creature of God is good, and 
nothing to be refused, 1 Tim. 4. 4. Afterward, 
some meats that were proper enough for feed, were 
prohibited by the ceremonial law; but trim the be- 
ginning, it seems, it was not so, and therefore it is 
not so under the gospel. 

II. The precepts and provisos of this charter are 
no less kind and gracious, and instances of God’s 
good-will to man. The Jewish doctors speak sc 
often of the seven precepts of Noah, or cf the sons 
of Noah, which, they say, were to be oljserved by 
all nations, that it may not be amiss to set them 
down. The first against the worship of idols. 'I'hc 
second against blay)hcmy, and requiring to bless 
the name of God. The third against murder. The 
fourth against incest and all uncleanness. The fifth 
against theft and rapine. The sixth requiring the 
administration of justice. 'Fhe seventh against 
eating of flesh with the life. These the Jews re- 
quired the observation of from the proselytes of the 
gate. But the precepts here given, all concern the 
life of man. 

1. Man must not prejudice his own life by eating 
that food which is unwholesome and prejudicial to 
his health, t'. 4, Elesh with the life thereof, which is 
the blood thereof, that is, “raw flesh, shall ye net 
eat, as the beasts of pi-ey do. ” It was neccssaiy to 
add this limitation to the grant of libertv to eat 
flesh, lest, instead of nourishing their Iv dies by it, 
they should destroy them. God would hereby 
show, (1.) That though they were lords of the 
creatures, yet they were subjects to the Creator, 
and under the restraint of his law. (2. ) I'hat they 
must not be greedy and hasty in taking their fi cd, 
but stay the jn-epa’ring of it; not like Saul’s sc Idiers, 
1 Sam. 14. 32, nor riotous eaters of flesh, Pro\'. 23. 
20. (3.) That they mu.st not be bart).irous and 

cruel totb.e infenor creatures; they must be Lords, 
but not Tynmts; they might kill theni for their 
jn-ofit, but not torment them for their pleasure; nor 
tear away the member of a creature while it was 
yet alive, and eat tluit. (4.) That during the con- 
tinuance of the law of sacrifices, in which the blood 
made atonement for the soul, L.ev. 17. 11, (signify- 
ing tint the life of the sacrifice was accepted for the 
life of the sinner,) blood must not be locked upon a** 


75 


GENESIS, IX. 


a common thing, but must be fioured out before the 
Lord, 2 Sam. 23. 16, either upon his altar, or upon 
his earth. But now that the great and true sacn- 
fice is offered, the obligation of the law ceases Avith 
the reason of it. 

2. Man must not take away his own life, v. 5, 
Your blood of your lives will t require. Our lives 
are not so our own, as that we may quit them at our 
own pleasure, but they are God’s, and we must re- 
sign them at his pleasure; if we any way hasten our 
own deaths, we are accountable to God for it. 

3. The beasts must not be suffered to hurt the 
life of man; at the. hand of every beast will I require 
it. To show how tender God was of the life of 
man, though he had lately made such destruction 
of lives, he Avill have the beast put to death, that kills 
a man. This was confirmed by the law of Moses, 
Exod. 21. 28, and I think it would not be unsafe to 
obsen^e it still. Thus God showed his hatred of tlie 
sin of murder, that men might hate it the more, and 
not only punish, but prevent it. And see Job 5. 23. 

4. Wilful murderej^ must be put to death. This 
is the sin which is here designed to be restrained by 
the terror of punishment. (1.) God will punish 
murderers. At the hand of emery man's brother 
will I require the life of man; that is, “I will avenge 
the blood of the murdered upon the murderer,” 2 
Chron. 24. 22. When God requires the life cf a 
man at the hand of him that took it away unjustly, 
the murderer cannot render that, and therefoi-e 
must render his own in lieu of it, Avhich is the only 
way left of making restitution. Note, The righteous 
God will certainly make inquisition fcr blood, 
though men cannot, or do not. One time or other, 
in this world or in the next, he will both discover 
concealed murders, which are hidden from man’s 
eye, and punish avowed and justified murders, 
which are too great for man’s hand. (2.) The 
magistrate must punish murderers, v. 6, IVhoso 
sheddeth ma?i’s blood, whether upon a sudden pro- 
vocation, or having premeditated it, (for rash anger 
is heart-murder as well as malice prepense. Matt. 

5. 21, 22.) by man shall his blood be shed, that is, 
by the magistrate, or whoever is appointed or al- 
lowed to be the avenger of blood. There are those 
who arc ministers of God for this purpose, to be a 
protection to the innocent, by being a terror to the 
malici''us and evil-doers, and they must not bear the 
s^uord in vain, Rom, 13. 14. Before the flood, as 
it shovild seem by the story of Cain, God took the 
punishment of murder into his own hands; but now 
he committed this judgment to men, to niasters of 
frimflies at first, and afterwards, to the heads of 
countries, who ought to be faithful to the trust re- 
posed in them. Note, Wilful murder ought alwavs 
to be punished with death. It is a sin which the 
Lord would not pardon in a Prince, 2 Kings, 24. 
3, 4, and which therefore a Prince should not par- 
don in a Subject. To this law there is a reason 
annexed; for in the image of God made he man at 
first: man is a creuture dear to his Creator, and 
thereTre ought to be so to us; God put honour upon 
him, let us not then put contempt upon him. Such 
remains of God’s image are still even upon f dlen 
man, as that he who unjustly kills a man, defaces 
the im sge of God, and does dishonour to him. 
When God allowed men to kill their beasts, yet he 
forbade them to kill their slaves; for these are of a 
much more noble and excellent nature, not onlv 
God’s creatures, but his image. Jam. 3. 9. All 
men have something of the image of God iqmn 
them; but magistrates have, besides, the image cf 
his power, and the saints the image of his holiness, 
and therefore those Avho shed the blood of princes 
or saints, incur a double guilt. 

8. And God spake unto Noah, and to his 
sons with him, saying, 9. And I, behold, I, 


establish iny covenant with you, and with 
your seed after you : 1 0. And with every 

living creature that with you, of the fowl, 
of the cattle, and of eveiy beast of the earth 
with you ; from all that go out of the ark, to 
every beast of the earth: 11. And I will 
I establish my covenant with you; neithei 
shall all flesh be cut oft any more by the 
waters of a flood ; neither shall there any 
more be a flood to destroy the earth. 

Here is, 

I. The general establishment of God’s covenant 
with tliis new wr rid, and the extent of that cove- 
nant, V. 9, 10. Where observe, 1. That God is 
graciously pleased to deal Avith man in the way of 
a covenant; wherein God greatly magnifies his con- 
descending favour, and greatly encourages man’s 
duty and obedience, as a reasonable and gainful ser- 
vice. 2. That all God’s covenants with man are 
of his own making, I, behold, I. It is thus ex- 
pressed, beth to raise our admiration, (“Behold, 
and Avonder, that though God be high, yet he has 
th's respect to man,”) and to confirm our assurances 
of the validity of the covenant. ‘ ‘ Behold, and see, 
1 make it; I that am faithful, and able to make it 
good.” 3. That God’s covenants are established 
firmer than the pillars of heaven, or the foundations 
ofthe earth, and cannot be disannulled. 4. ThatGod’s 
covenants are made Avith the covenanters and Avith 
their seed; the promise is to them and their chil- 
dren. 5. That those may be taken into covenant 
with God, and receive the benefits of it, who yot 
are not capable of restipulating, or giving their OAvn 
consent. For this coA'enant is made Avith every liv- 
ing creature, every beast of the earth. 

II. The particular intention of this covenant; it 
Avas designed to secure the world from another de- 
luge, V. 11, There shall not any more be a food. 
God had droAvned the Avorld once, and, still it is as 
filthy and provoking as eA er, and God foresaAV the 
wickedness of it, and yet promised he Avould never 
droAvn it any more; for he deals not Avith us accord- 
ing to cur sins. It is owing to God’s goodness and 
faithfulness, not to any reformatiom of the Avorld, 
that it has net often been deluged, and that it is not 
deluged now. As the old world was ruined, to be 
a monument of justice, so this Avorld remains to this 
dav, a monument of mercy, according to the oath 
of God, that the waters of JYoah should no mo7'e re- 
tnm to cover the earth, Isa. 54. 9. This promise 
of God keeps the sea and clouds in their decreed 
place, and sets them gates and bars; hitherto they 
shall come. Job 38. 10, 11. If the sea should floAv 
but for a few days, as it does tAvice every day for a 
fcAv hours, what desolation would it make! And 
hoAv destructiv'e Avould the clouds be, if such shoAv- 
ers as we have sometimes seen, Avere continued 
long! But God, by floAving seas, and sweeping 
rains, shoAvs what he could do in wrath ; and yet, by 
preserving the earth from being deluged betAveen 
both, shows what he can do in mercy, and will do in 
truth. Let us give him the glory of his mercy in 
promising, and truth in perfonuing. This prornise 
does not hinder, 1. But that God may bring other 
Avasting judgments upon mankind; for though he 
has here bound himself not to use this arroAv anv' 
more, yet he has other arroAvs in his quiver. 2. 
Not but that he may destroy particular places and 
countries by the inundations of the sea or rivers. 
3. Nor Avill the destruction of the Avoild at the last 

, day by fire, be any breach of his promise. Sin th- 1 
I drowned the old Avorld, Avill bum this. 

j 12. And God said, This is the token of 
I the covenant which I make between me and 


76 


GENESIS, IX. 


you and every living creature that is with 
you, for perpetual generations : 13.1 do set 
my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a 
token of a covenant between me and the 
earth. 14. And it shall come to pass, when 
1 bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow 
shall be seen in the cloud : 15. And 1 will 

remember my covenant, which i: between 
me and you and eveiy living creature of all 
flesh ; and the waters shall no more become 
a flood to destroy all flesh. 16. And the 
bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look 
upon it, that I may remember the everlasting 
covenant between God and every living 
creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 
17. And God said unto Noah, This is the 
token of the covenant, which 1 have esta- 
blished between me and all flesh that is up- 
on the earth. 

Articles of agreement among men are sealed, that 
the covenants may be the more solemn, and the 
performances of the covenants the more sure, to 
mutual satisfaction; God therefore being willing 
more abundantly to show to tlie heirs of promise the 
immutability of his councils, has confirmed his cove- 
nant by a seal, (Hel). 6. 17.) which makes the foun- 
dations we build on, stand sure, 2 Tim. 2. 19. The 
seal of this covenant of nature was natural enough; 
it was the rainbow, which, it is likely, was seen in 
the clouds before, when second causes concurred, 
but was never a seal of the covenant, till now that 
it was made so by a divine institution. Now con- 
cerning this seal of the covenant, Observe, 

1. This seal is affixed with repeated assurances 
of the truth of that promise whicli it was designed 
to be the ratification of. I set my bow in the cloud, 
(y. 13.) it shall be seen in the cloud, {y. 14.) that 
the eye may affect the heart, and confirm the faith; j, 
and it shall be the token of the covenant (xa 12, 13.); 
and I will remember my covenant, that the waters 
shall no more become a food, v. 15. Nay, as if the 
Eternal Mind needed a memorandum, 1 will look \ 
ufxon it, that I may remember the everlasting cove- j 
nant, v. 16. Thus here is line upon line, that we 
might have a sure and strong cfinsolation, who have 
laid hold on this hope. '2. The rainbow appears 
then when the clouds are most disposed to wet, and 
returns after the rain; then when we have most rea- 
son to fear the rain prevailing, God shows this seal 
of the promise that it shall not prevail. Thus God 
obviates our fears with such encouragements as are 
both suitable and seasonable. 3. The thicker the 
cloud, the brighter the bow in the cloud. Thus as 
threatening afflictions abound, encouraging conso- 
lations much more abound, 2 Cor. 1. 5. 4. The 

rainbow appeai-s when one part of the sky is clear, 
which intimates mercy remembered in the midst of 
wrath; and the clouds are hemmed as it were with 
the rainbow, that it may not overspread the heavens; 
for the bow is coloured rain, or the edges of a cloud 
gilded. 5. The rainbow is the reflection of the 
beams of the sun, which intimates that all the glory 
and significancy of the seals of the covenant are de- 
rived from Christ the Sun of righteousness, who is 
.also described with a rainbow about his throne 
(Rev. 4. 3.) and a rainbow ufion his head (Rev. 10. 
1.); which bespeaks not only his majesty, but his 
mediatorship. 6. 'I'he rainbow has fiery colours in 
ir, to signify, that though (iod will not again drown 
'he world, yet when the mystery of God shall be 
finished, the world shall be consumed by fire. 7. 


A bow bespeaks terror, but it has neither string nor 
arrow, as the bow ordained against the persecutors 
has; (Ps. 7. 12, 13.) and a bow alone will do little 
execution; it is a bow, but it is directed upward, not 
toward the eaith; for the seals of the covenant were 
intended for comfort, not to terrify. JLastly, As 
God looks upon the bow, that he may remember the 
covenant, so should we, that we also may be ever 
mindful of the covenant, witli faith and thankfulness. 

18. And the sons of Noah, that went forth 
of the ark, were Shein, and Ham, and Ja- 
pheth : and Ham is tlie father of Canaan. 

19. These are the three sons of Noah : and 
of them was the whole earth overspread. 

20. And Noah l)egan to he an husbandman, 
and he planted a vineyard: 21. And he 
drank of the v\ ine, and was drunken ; and 
he was uncovered within his tent. 22. And 
Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked- 
ness of his father, and told his two brethren 
without. 23 . And Shem and .Tapheth took 
a garment, and laid it upon both their shoul- 
ders, and went backward, and covered the 
nakedness of their father; and their faces 
were backward, and they saw not their fa- 
ther’s nakedness. 

Here is, 

I. Noah’s family and employment. The names 
of his sons are again mentioned, (x;. 18, 19.) as 
those from whom the wh('le earth was overspread. 
By which it appears that Noah, after the flood, had 
no more children: all the world came from these 
three. Note, God, when he pleases, can make a 
little one to become a thousand, and greatly increase 
the latter end of those wIk se beginning was s?nall. 
Such ai e the p^wer and efficacy of a divine blessing. 
The business Noah applied himself to, was that of 
a husbandman, Hebr. a man of the earth, th.;t is, a 
man dealing in the earth, that kept ground in his 
hand, and occupied it. We are all naturalh men 
of the earth, made of it, living on it, and hastening 
to it: many are sinfully so, addicted to earthly 
things. Noah was led by his calling to trade in the 
froits of the earth. He began to be a husbandman; 
that is, some time after his departure out of the ark, 
he returned to his old employment, from which he 
had been di\ erted by the building of the ark first, 
and, probably, afterward, by the building of a house 
on dry-land for himself and family. For this good 
while he had been a carpenter, but now he began 
again to be a husbandman. Observe, Though No- 
ah was a great man, and a good man, an old man. 
and a rich man, a man greatly favoured by Heaven, 
and honoured on earth, yet he would not live an idle 
life, nor think the husbandman’s calling below him. 
Note, Though God by his providence may take us 
off" from our callings for a time, vet when the occa- 
sion is over, we ought with humility and industry to 
apply ourselves to them again ; and in the calling 
wherein we are called, therein faithfully to abide 
with (loci, 1 Cor. 7. 24. 

II. Noah’s sin and shame. He planted a vine- 
yard; and when he had gathered his vintage pro- 
bably, he aiipointed a day of mirth and feasting in 
his nunily, and had his sons and their children tvith 
him, to rejoice with him in the increase of his house, 
as well as in the increase of his vineyard; and we 
may suppose he jirefaced his feast with a sacrifice 
to the honour of God. If that was omitted, at was 
just with God to leave him to himself, that he who 
did not begin with God, might end with the beasts; 


GENESIS, IX. 


but we charitably hope the case was different. And '| 
perhaps he appointed this feast, with a design, at ' 
the close of it, to bless his sons, as Imac, ch. 27. 3, 'j 
4, T/iat I ?nay eat, and that my soul may bless thee, j; 
At this feast, he drank of the wine; for who plunteth 'i 
a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit of it? But he | 
drank too liberally, more than his head at tins age | 
would bear; for he was drunken. We have reasiai ! 
to think he was never drunken before or after; ob- * 
serve how he came now to be overtaken in this fault, j 
It was his sin, and a great sin, so much the worse f r ! 
its being so soon after a great deli\'erance; but God j 
left him to himself, as he did Hezekiah, (2 Chron. 
32. 31.) and has left this miscarriage of his upon re- 
cord, to teach us, 1. That the fairest copy that ever 
mere man wrote since the fall, had its blots and false 
strokes. It was said of Noah, that he was /lerfcct 
in his generations {ch. 6. 9.); but this shows that it is 
meant of sincerity, not a sinless perfection. 2. That 
sometimes those, who, with watchfulness and reso- 
lution, have by the grace of God, kept their integri- 
ty in the midst of temptation, have, through secu- ! 
rity, and carelessness, and neglect of the grace of 
God, been suiprised into sin, when the hour of 
temptation has been over. Noah, who had kept sober 
in drunken company, is now drunken in sober com- 
pany. Let him that thinks he stands take heed. 3. 
That we ha^'e need to be very careful when we use 
God’s good creatures plentifully, lest we use them 
to excess. Chi’ist’s disciples must take heed, lest 
at any time their hearts be overcharged, Luke 21. 34. 

Now the conseqiience of Noah’s sin was shame. 
He was uncovered within his tent, made naked to 
his shame, as Adam when he had eaten forbidden 
fmit. Yet Adam sought concealment; Noah is so 
destitute of thought and reason, that he seeks no co- 
vering, This was a fruit of the vine, that Noah did 
not think of. Observe here the great e\ il of the sin 
of drunkenness. (1.) It discovers men; w’hat infir- 
mities they have, they betray when they are drunk- 
en, and what secrets they are intiiisted with, are 
then easily got out of them. Drunken porters keep 
open gales. (2.) It disgraces me}^, and exposes them 
to contempt. As it shows them, so it shames them. 
Men say and do that when dnmken, which, when 
they are sober, they would blush at the thoughts of, 
Hab. 2. 15, 16. 

III. Ham’s impudence and impiety: (r’. 22.) he 
saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two 
brethren. To see it accidentally and involuntarily, 
would not have been a crime; but, 1. He pleased 
himself with the sight, as the Edomites looked upon 
the day of their brother, (()l)ad. 12.) pleased and 
insulting. Perhaps Ham had sometimes been him- 
self drunken, and re])ro\ ed for it b\' his good father, 
whom he was therefore jdeased to see thus over- 
come. Note, It is common for those who walk in 
false ways themselves, to rejoice at the false steps 
which they sometimes see othei’smake. But chanty 
rejoices not in iniquity, nor can true penitents, that 
are sorry for their own sins, rejoice in the sins of 
others. 2. He told his two brethren without, ( in 
the street, as the rvord is,) in a sconiful deriding 
manner, that his father might seem vile unto them. 

It is very wrong, (1.) To make a jest of sin, (Prov. 
14. 9.) and to be puffed up with that for which we 
should rather mourn, 1 Cor, 5. 2. And (2.) To 
publish the faults of any, especially of parents, 
whom it is our duty to honour. Noah was not only 
a good Twan; but had been a good father to him; and 
this was a most base disingenuous requital to him for 
his tenderness. Ham is' here called the father of ! 
Canaan, which intimates that he who was himself 

a father, should have been more respectful to him 
that was his father. 

IV. The pious care of Shem and J^heth to cover 
their ])oor father’s shame, v. 23. They not only y 


would not see it themselves, but provided that no 
one else might see it; herein setting us an example 
of charity with reference to other men’s sin and 
shame; we must ii' t only not say, A confederacy, 
with these that proclaim it, but we must be careful 
to conceal it, or however to make the best of it, sc 
doing as we would be done by. 1. There is a man- 
tle of love to be thrown over the faults of all. 
1 Pet. 4. 8. Beside that, there is a robe of rever 
ence to be thrown over the faults of parents anO 
ether superiors. 

24 . And Noah awoke from his wine, and 
knew what his younger son had done unto 
him. 25 . And he said, Cursed he Canaan ; 
a servant of seiTants shall he be unto his 
brethren. 26 . And he said. Blessed be the 
Lord God of Shem ; and Canaan shall be 
his servant. 27 . God shall enlarge Japheth, 
and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and 
Canaan shall be his servant. 

Here, 

I. Noah comes to himself. He awoke from his 
wine: sleep cured him, and, we may suppose, so 
cured him, that he never relapsed into that sin af- 
terward. Those that sleep as Noah did, should 
aw ake as he did, and not as that dnankard, Prov. 23. 
35. who says when he awakes, I will seek it yet 
again. 

II. The spirit of prophecy comes upon him, and, 
like dying Jacob, he tells his sons w-hat should befai 
them, ch. 49. 1. t:. 25. 

1. He pronounces a curse on Canaan the son of 
Ham, in whom Ham is himself cursed; either, be- 
cause this son of his was now more guilty than the 
rest, or, because the posterity of this son was after- 
ward to !)e rooted cut of their land, to make room 
for Israel. And Moses here records it for the ani 
mating of Israel in the wars of Canaan; though the 
Canaanites were formidable people, yet they were 
of old an accursed people, and doomed’to ruin. The 
particular curse is, a serwant of servants, that is, 
the me inest and most despicable servant, shall he 
be, e\'en to his brethren. These who by birth were 
his equals, shall by conquest be his lords. Th’s cer- 
tainly points at the victories obtained bv Israel over 
the Canaanites, by which they were all either put 
to the sword, or put under tribute, (Josh. 9. 23. 
Judg. 1. 28, 30, 33, 35.) which happened not till 
about 800 years after this. Note, (1.) God often 
visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, 
especiallv when the children inherit their fathers’ 
wicked dispositions, and imitate the father’s wick- 
ed practices, and do nothing to cut off the entail of 
a curse. (2.) Disgrace is justly put upon those that 
put disgrace upon others, especially that dishonour 
and grieve their own parents. An undutiful child 
that mocks at his parents, is no more worthy to be 
called a son, but desen'es to be made as a hired ser- 
vant, nay as a servaiit of servants, among his bre 
thren. (3.) Though di^dne curses operate slowly, 
yet, first or last, they will take effect. The Ca 
naanites were under a curse of slavery, and yet, for 
a great while, had the dominion; for a family, a 
people, a person, may lie under the curse of God, 
and yet may long prosper in the world, till the mea- 
sure of their iniquity, like that of the Canaanites, be 
fiill. Many are marked for ruin, that are not yet 
ripe for min. Therefore, Let not thine heart envy 
sin? 2 ers. 

2. He entails a blessing upon Shem and Japheth. 

(1.) He blesses Shem, or, rather blesses God toi 

him, yet so that it entitles him to the greatest ho- 
nour and happiness imaginable, t'. 26. Obser\o, 


7a 


GENESIS, X. 


[1.] He Calls the Lord, the God of i'/icw ; and 
happy, thr.i^e ha/ijiy is that Jieo/ile vjhase God is the 
Lord, Ps. 144. 15. All blcssaigs are included in 
this. This was the blessing conferred on Abraham 
and his seed; the God of Heaven was not ashamed 
to be called their God, Heb. 11. 16. Shern is suffi- 
ciently recompensed for his respect to his father by 
this, that the I.,ord himself puts his honour upon 
him, to be his God, which is a sufficient recompense 
for all our sem ices and all our sufferings for his 
name. [2.] He gives to God the glory of that 
good work which Shem had done, and, instead of 
blessing and praising him that was the instrument, 
he blesses and praises God that was tlie Author. 
Note, I'he glory of all that is at any time well done 
I)y ourseh es or others, must be humbly and thank- 
fully transmitted to God, who works all our good 
works in us and for us. When we see men’s good 
works, we should glorify, not them, but our Father, 
Matt. 5. 16. Thus David, in effect, blessed Abigail, 
when he blessed God that sent her, 1 Sam. 25. 32, 
33, for it is an honour and favour to lie employed 
for God, and used by him in doing good. [3. ] He 
foresees and foretels, that God’s gracious dealings 
with Shem and his family, would be such as would 
evidence to all the world that he was the God of 
Shem, on which behalf thanksgivings would by ma- 
ny be rendered to him. Blessed be the Lord God of 
Shem. [4. ] It is intimated that the church should 
be built up and continued in thepcsterity of Shem; 
for of him came the Jews, who were, for a great 
while, the only professing people God had in the 
world. [5. ] Some think reference is here had to 
Christ, who was the Lord God that in his human 
nature, should descend from the loins of Shem ; for 
of him, as concerning the ffesh, Christ came. [6.] 
Canaan is particularly enslaved to him; He shall 
be his sn'vant. Note, Those that have the Lord 
for their God, shall have as much of the honour 
and power of this world as he sees good for them. 

(2.) He Iffesses Japheth, and, in him, the isles of 
the Gentiles, which were peopled !)y his seed, v. 27, 
God shall enlarge Jafiheth, and he will dwell in the 
tents of Shem. Now, 

[1. ] Some make this to belong wholly to Japheth, 
and to bespeak either. First, His outward jn-os- 
perity, that his seed should be so numerous, and so 
victorious, that they should be masters of the tents of 
Shem; which was fulfilled, when the jjeople of tlie 
Jews, the most eminent of Shem’srace, were tribu- 
taries to the Grecians first, and afterward to the 
Romans, both of Japheth’s seed._ Note, Outward 
prosperity is no infallible mark ot the true cluirch; 
the tents of Shem are not always the tents of tlie 
conqueror. Or, Secondly, It bespeaks the conver- 
sion of the Gentiles, and the bringing of them into the 
church; and then we would read it, God shall /ler- 
suade Jafiheth, (for so the word signifies,) and then, 
being so persuaded, he shall dwell in the tents of 
Shem, that is, Jews and Gentiles shall be united to- 
gether in the gospel-fold; after many ot the Gen- 
tiles shall have been proselyted to the Jewisli reli- 
gion, both shall be one in Christ, Kph. 2. 14, 
•15. And the Christian church, mostlv made up of 
the Gentiles, shall succeed the Jews in the privi- 
leges of church-membership; the latter h iving fii’st 
cast themselves ( ait by their unbelief, the Gentiles 
shall dwell in their tents, Rom. 11. 11, &c. Note, 

It is God only that can bring those again into the 
church, who have seji.irated themselves from it. It 
is the ])Ower of God that makes the gosjiel of Christ 
effectual to s Ivation, Rom. 1. 16. And again. Souls 
arc brought into the church, not by force, but by 
persuasion, Ps. 110. 3. They are drawn by the 
cords of :i man, and persuaded by reason to be re- 
ligicais. 

[ .] Others divide this between Japheth and 


Shem, Shem having not been directly blessed, v, 
26. Jirst, Japheth has the blessing of earth be- 
neath; God shall enlarge Jujiheth, enh.rge his seed, 
enlarge his border; Japheth’s posterity peopled all 
Europe, a great part of Asia, and perhaps America. 
Note, God IS to be acknowledged in ail our enlarge- 
ments. It is he that enlarges the coast, and enlarges 
the heart. And again. Many dwell in large tents, 
that do not dwell in God’s tents, as Japheth did. 
Seco?idly, Shem has the blessing of Heaven abot e: 
He shall, tiiat is, God shall, dwell in the tents oj 
Shem, that is, “ From his loins Christ shall come, 
and in his seed the church shall be continued.'^ The 
birth-right was now to be divided between Shem 
and Japheth, Ham being utterlv discarded; in the 
principality they equally share, Canaan shall be ser- 
vant to both; the double portion is given to Japheth, 
whom God shall enlarge; but the priesthood was 
given to Shem, for God shall dwell in the tents oj 
Shem : and certainly we are more happy, if we have 
God dwelling in our tents, than if we had there all 
the silver and gold in the world. It is better to 
dwell m tents with God than in palaces without 
him; in Salem, where is God’s tabernacle, there is 
more satisfaction than in all the is/r., of the Gentiles. 
Thirdly, They both have dominion over Canaan; 
Canaan shall be servant to them ; so some read it. 
When Japheth joins with Shem, Canaan falls before 
them both. M hen strangers become friends, ene- 
mies become servants. 

28. And Noah lived after tlie Hood tliree 
hundred and fifty years. 29. And all the 
days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty 
years : and he died. 

Here see, 1. How God prolonged the life of Noah; 
he lived 950 years; 20 more than Adam, and but 19 
less than Methuselah; this long life was a further 
reward of his signal piety, and a great blessing to the 
world, to which, no doubt, he continued a preacher 
of righteousness, with this advantage, that now all 
lie preached to, were his own children. 2. How God 
put a period to his life at last; though he lived long, 
yet he died, having, probably, first seen many that 
descended from him, dead before him. Noah lived 
to see two worlds, but being an heir of the righteous- 
ness which is by faith, when he died, he went to see 
a better than either. 

CHAP. X. 

This chapter shows more particularly what was said in 
general, eh. 9. 19, concerning the three sons of Noah, 
that oj them loas the lohole earth overspread ; and the fruit 
of that blessing, ch. 9. 1,7. replenish the earth. It is the 
only certain account extant of the original of nations; 
and yet perhaps there is no nation but that of the Jews, 
that can be confident from which of these 70 fountains 
(for so many there are here) it derives its streams. 
Through the want of early records, the mixtures of peo- 
ple, the revolutions of nations, and distance of time — the 
knowledge of the lineal descent of the present inhabitants 
of the earth is lost ; nor were any genealogies preserved 
but those of the Jews, for the sake of the Messiah ; only 
in this chapter, we have a brief account, I. Of the pos- 
terity of Japheth, v. 2 . - 5. II. The posterity of Ham, 

V. 6 . . 20. and in that particular notice taken of Nim- 
rod, v. 8 . . 10. III. The posterity of .Shem, v. 21 . . 31. 

1. these are tlie generations of the 

Jl_n sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and 
.Fapheth: and unto them were sons born af- 
ter the Hood. 2. The sons of .lapheth ; Go- 
mer, and Magog, and Madai, and .Tavan, 
and Tnbal, and Mesliceh, and Tiras. 3. 
And the sons of Gomer ; Ashkenaz, and 
Kipliath, and Togarmah. 4. And the sons 
of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, 


79 


gp:nesis, X. 


and Do lanim. 5. By these were the isles i 
of the Gentiles divided in their lands ; every 
one after his tongue, after tlieir families, in 
their nations. 

Moses begins with Japheth’s family; either be- 
cause he was the eldest, or, because his family lay 
remotest from Israel, and had least concern with ! 
them, at the time when Moses wrote; and therefore | 
he mentions that race very briefly; hastening to give | 
account of the posterity ot Ham, who were Israel’s ■ 
enemies, and of Shem, who were Israel’s ancestors: ! 
for it is the church that the scrijjture is designed to 
be the history of, and of the nations of the world, 
only as they were some way or other related to Is- 
rael, and interested in the aflhirs of Israel. Ob- 
serve, 1. Notice is t ken that the sons of Noah had 
sons born to them after the flood, to I'epair and re- 
build the world of mankind which the flood had j 
ruined. He that had killed, now makes alive. 2. 
The prosperity of Japheth were allotted to the isles 
ct the Gentiles, (ra 5. ) Avhich were, solemnly, by 
lot, after a survey, divided among them, and, pro- 
bably, this island cf our’s among the rest; all places 
beyond the sea from Judea, are called in/es, Jer. 25. 
22. and this directs us to understand that promise, 
Isa. 42. 4, the !>iies shall wait for his law, of the con- 
version of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ. 

6. And the sons of Ham ; Cush, and 
Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. 7. And 
the sons of Cush ; Sel:)a, and Havilah, and 
Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha : and 
the sons of Raamah ; ^hebah, and Dedan. | 
8. And Cush begat Ximrod : he began to 
be a mighty one in the earth. 9. He was a 
mighty hunter before the I jOUD : wherefore 
it is said. Even as Nimrod the miglity hun- 
ter before the Lord. 10. And the begin- 
ning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, 
and Accad, and Ca;neh,in the land of Shi- 
nar. 1 1 . Out of that land went forth 
Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city 
Rehoboth, and Calah, 12. And Resen be- 
tween Nineveh and Calah ; the same is a , 
great city. 13. And Mizraim begat Lu- . 
dim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and 
Naphtuhim, 14. And Pathrusim, and Cas- 
luhim, (out of wliom came Philistim,) and 
Caphlorim. 

That which is observable and improvalile in these 
verses, is, the account here gi\'en of A^imrod, v. 

8. .11. He is here represented as a great man in 
his day. He beifan to he a mighty one in the earth, 
that is, whereas those that went before him, were 
content to stamd upon the same level with their neigh- 
bours, and though every man bare rule in his otvn ' 
house, yet no man pretended any further; Nimrod’s 
aspiring mind could not rest here ; he was resolved 
to tower above his neighbours, and not only so, but 
to lord it over them. The same spirit that actuat- 
ed the giants befoi-ethe flood, (who became mighty 
men, and men of renown, eh. 6. 4.) now revived in ' 
him; so soon was that tremendous judgment tvhich 
the pride and tyranny of those mighty men brought i 
upon the Avorld, forgotten; Note, there are some, I 
in Avhom ambition and affectation of dominion seem I 
to be bred in the bone ; such there have been, and j 
will be, notwithstanding the wrath of God often re- 
A'ealed from heaven against them. Nothing on this 
side hell, will humble and break the proud spirits of I 


i| some men, in this, like Lucifer, Isa. 14. 14, 15. Now, 

1 1. Nimrod was a great hxniter ; this he began 

' Avith, and for this, became famous to a proA’erb. 
Ea ery great hunter is, in remembrance of him, call- 
ed a roc/. 1. Some think he did good Avith his 
hunting, ser\ ed his country by ridding it of the Avild 
be sts Avhich infested it, and so insinuated himself 
j into the affections of his neighbours, and got to be 
then- piince : those that exercise authority, either 
j are, or at least, Avou’.d be called, benefactors, Luke 
'■ 22. 25. 2. Othe’ s think that under pretence of 

; hunt ng, he g ti'.eied men under his command, in 
piusu t of anoth er game he had to play, Avhich Avas 
to ni ke hin:se’f m ster of the country, and to bring 
them into subjection. He Avas a mighty hunter, that 
is, He Av s a violent invader of his neighbour’s 
riglils i nd propert es, rmd a pei secutor of innocent 
men, c in y.ng all befoi e him, and endeavouring to 
uiakc all his OAvn by force and violence. He thought 
himself mighty prince, but before the Lord, that 

1. s in God’s account, he Avas but a mighty hunter. 
Note, Gre .t conquerors are but great hunters. 
Alex nder ; nd Cesar Avould not make such a figure 
:n scripture history as they do in common history; 
the formei’ is represented in prophecy but as a he- 
go t,push;ng, Dan. 8. 5. Nimrod was a mighty hun- 
ter a §-<7/?;sahe Lord, sotheLXX;thatis,(_l.) Heset 
up idolatry, as Jeroboam did, for tlie confirming of 
his usurped dominion: that he might set iip a neAV 
government, he set up a neAv religion upon the ruin 
of the primitive const tution of both: Babel was the 
mother of harlots. Or, (2.) He carried on his op- 
pression and violence, in defiance of God himself; 
d iring Heaven with his impieties, as if he and his 
huntsmen could outbrave the Almighty, and Avere a 
match for the Lord of Hosts and all his armies: As 
if it were a small thing to weary men, he thinks to 
weary my God also, Isa. 7. 13. 

II. Nimrod was a great ruler, v. 10, The begin- 
ning of his kingdom tvas Babel. Some way or 
other, by arts or arms, he got into poAver, either 
chosen to it, or forcing his way to it; and so laid the 
foundations of a monarchy, Avhich Avas afterAvard a 
head of gold, and the terror of the mighty, and bid 
fair to be universal. It does not appear that he had 
any right to rule by birth; but either his fitness for 
government recommended him, as some think, to 
an election; or, by poAver and policy, he adA-anced 
gradually, and perhaps insensibly, into the throne. 
See the antiquity of civil government, and particu- 
larly that form of it, Avhich lodges the so\ ereignty in 
a single person. If Nimrod and his neighbours be- 
gan, other nations soon learned, to incorpon te under 
one head for their common safety and Avelfare, 
which, hoAveverit began, proved so 'great a blessing 
to the Avorld, that things Avere reckoned to go ill in- 
deed Avhen there was no king in Israel. 

III. Nimrod Avas a great builder ; probably he 
Avas architect in the building of Babel, and there he 
began his kingdom; but Avhen his piT'ject to rule all 
the sons of Noah Avas baffled by the confusion of 
tongues, out of that land he went forth into Assyria 
(so the margin reads it, v. 11.) and built A^ineveh, 
See. that having built these cities, he might com- 
mand them, and rule over them. ObserA e in Nim- 
rod the nature of ambition: 1. It is boundless; 
much Avould haA e more, and still cries, Give, give. 

2. It is restless ; Nimrod, Avhen he had four cities un- 
der his command, could not be content till he had 
four more. 3. It is expensive ; Nimrod Avill rather 
be at the charge of rearing cities than not have the 
honour of rulmg them. The spirit of building is 
the common effect of a spirit of pride. 4. It is da- 
ring, and Avill stick at nothing; Nimrod’s name sig- 
nifies rebellion, -which, (if indeed he did abuse hispoAv- 
er to the oppression of his neighbours) teaches us 


80 


GENESIS, X. 


that tyrants to men are rebels to God, and their re- 
bellion is as the sin of witchcraft. 

15. And Canaan begat Sidon his first- 
born, and Heth, 16. And the Jebiisite, 
and the Amorite, and the Girgashite, 1 7. 
And the Hivite, and the Arkile, and the 
Sinite, 1 8. And the Arvadite, and the Ze- 
marite, and the Hamathite : and afterward 
v/ere the families of the Canaanites spread 
abroad. 1 9 And the border of the Canaan- 
ites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Ge- 
rar, unto Gaza ; as thou goest unto Sodom 
and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, 
and even unto Lasha. 20. These are the 
sons of Ham, after their families, after their 
tongues, in their countries, and in their nations. 

Observe here, 1. That the account of the pos- 
terity of Canaan, of the families and nations that 
descended from him, and of the land they possessed, 
is more particular than of any other in this chapter; 
because these were the nations that were to be sub- 
dued before Israel, and their land was, in process of 
time, to become the Ao/y land, Immanuel's land; 
and this God had an eye to, when, in the mean time 
he cast the lot of that accursed devoted race in that 
spot of ground which he had spied out for his own 
people; this Moses takes notice of, Deut. 32. 8, 
When the most hieh divided to the nations their in- 
heritance, he set the bounds of the peofile according 
to the number of the children of Israel. 2. That by 
this account it appears that the posterity of Canaan 
were both numerous and rich, and very pleasantly 
seated; and yet Canaan was under a curse, a divine 
curse, and not a curse causeless. Note, Those 
that are under the curse of God, may yet perhaps 
thrive and prosper greatly in this world; for we 
cannot know love or hatred, the blessing or the 
curse, by what is before us, but by what is within us, 
Eccl. 9. 1. The curse of God always works really, 
and always terribly: but perhaps it is a secret curse, 
a curse to the soul, and does not work visibly; or a 
slow curse, and does not work immediately ; but sin- 
ners are by it reserved for, and bound over to, a day 
of wrath. Canaan here has a better land than 
either Shem or Japheth, and yet they have a better 
lot, for they inherit the blessing. 

21. Unto Shem also, the father of all the 
children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the 
elder, even to him were children born. 22. 
The children of Shem ; Elam and Asshnr, 
and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. 23. 
And the children of Aram ; Uz, and Hul, 
and Gether, and Mash. 24. And Arphax- 
ad begat Salah ; and Salah begat Eber. 
25. And unto Eber were born two sons; 
the name of one was Peleg; for in his days 
was the earth divided; and his brother’s 
name was Joktan. 26. And .Toktan begat 
Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, 
and Jerah, 27. And Hadoram, and Uzal, 
and Diklah, 28. And Obal, and Abimael, 
and Sheba, 29. And Ophir, and Havilah, 
and Jobab : all these loere the sons of Jok- 
tan. 30. And their dwelling was from 
Mesha, as thou goest unto Sepher a mount 
of the east. 31. These are the sons of 


i Shem, after their families, after their tongues, 

I in their lands, after their nations. 32. These 
^ are the families of the sons of Noah, after 
their generations, in their nations : and by 
these were the nations divided in the earth 
after the flood. 

' Two things especially are observable in this ac- 
count of the posterity of Shem. 

I. The description of Shem, t». 21. We have 
not only his name, Shem, which signifies a name, 
but two’ titles to distinguish him by. 

1. He was the father of all the childreri of Eber: 
Eber was his great-grandson; but why should he be 

I called the father of all his children, rather than of 
I all Arphaxad’s, or Salah’s, isfe.? Probably, be- 
cause Abraham and his seed, God’s covenant-peo- 
I pie, not only descended from Heber, but from him 
! were called Hebrews, ch. 14. 13, Abram the He- 
brew. St. Paul looked upon it as his privilege, that 
he was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, Phil. 3. 5. Eber 
himself, we may suppose, was a man eminent for 
religion in a time of general apostasy, and a great 
example of piety to his family; and the holy tongue 
being commonly called from him the Hebrew, it is 
probable that he retained it in his family, in the con- 
fusion of Babel, as a special token of God’s favour to 
him; and from him the professors of religion were 
called the children of Eber; now, when the inspired 
penman would give them an honourable title, he 
calls him the father of the Hebrews; though, when 
Moses wrote this, they were a poor despised peo- 
ple, bond-slaves in Egypt, yet, being God’s people. 
It was an honour to a man to be akin to them. As 
Ham, though he had many sons, is disowned by 
being called the father of Canaan, on whose seed 
the curse was entailed, ch. 9. 22, so Shem, though 
he had many sons, is dignified with the title of the 
father of Eber, cn whose seed the blessing was en- 
tailed. Note, A family of saints is more truly 
honourable than a family of nobles; Shem’s holy 
seed than Ham’s royal seed, Jacob’s twelve patri- 
archs than Ishmael’s twelve princes, ch. 17. 20. 
Goodness is true greatness. 

2. He was the brother of Japheth the elder, h\ 
which it appears that though Shem is commonly 
put first, yet he was not Noah’s first-born, but 
Japheth was older. But why should this also be put 
as part of Shem’s title and description, that he was 
the brother of Japheth, since that had been, in 
effect, said often before? And was he not as much 
brother to Ham? Probably, this was intended to 
signify the union of the Gentiles with the Jews in 
the church. He had mentioned it as Shem’s 
honour, that he was the father of the Hebrews; but 
lest Japheth’s seed should therefore be looked upon 
as for ever shut out from the church, he here re- 

i minds us that he was the brother of Japheth, net in 
' birth only, but in blessing, for Japheth was to dwell 
‘ in the tents o f Shem. Note, (1.) Those are brethren 
i in the best manner, that are so bv grace, and that 
meet in the covenant of God, and in the communion 
[ of saints. (2.) God, in dispensing his grace, does 
' not go by seniority, but the younger sometimes gets 
the start of the elder in coming into the church; so 
the last shall be frst, and the first last. 

II. The reason of the name of Peleg, 25, be- 
cause in his days, (that is about the time of his 
birth, when his name was given him,) was the earth 
dtvidfd among the children of men that were to in- 
I habit it; either, when Noah divided it by an orderly 
distribution of it, as Joshua divided the land of Ca- 
naan by lot, or when, u])on their refusal to comply 
with that division, God, in justice, divided them by 
the confusion of tongues; whichsoever of these was 
the occasion, pious Heber saw cause to perpetuate 


81 


GENESIS, XI. 


the lemembrance of it in the name of his son; and | 
justly may our sons be called by the same name, for i 
in our days, in another sense, is the earth, the | 
church, most wretchedly divided. 

CHAP. XL 

The old distinction between the sons of God, and the sons 
of men, (professors and profane,) survived the flood, 
and now appeared again, when men began to nuilhplv : 
according to this distinction, we have, in this chapter, 1. 
The dispersion of the sons of men at Babel, v. 1..9, 
where we have, 1. Their presumptuous provoking design, 
which was, to build a city and a tower, v. 1. .4. 2. The 

righteous' judgment of God upon them in disappointing 
their design, oy confounding their language, and so 
scattering them, v. 5. .9. II. The pedigree of the sons 
of Gcd down to Abraham, v. 10. .26, with a general 
account of his family, and removal out of his native 
country, v. 27. .32. 

1. 4 ND the whole earth was of one lan- 
J\. guage, and of one speech. 2. And 
it came to pass, as they journeyed from the 
east, that they found a plain in the land of 
Shinar and they dwelt there. 3. And they 
said one to another, Go to, let us make 
brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they 
had brick for stone, and slime had they for 
mortar. 4. And they said. Go to, let us 
build us a city and a tower, whose top may 
reach unto heaven ; and let us make us a 
name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the 
face of the whole earth. 

The close of the foregoing chapter tells us, that 
by the sons of Noah, or, among the sons of Noah, 
the nations were divided in the earth after the flood, 
that is, were disting-uished into several tribes or 
colonies; and the places they had hitheiAo lived in 
together being grown too straight for them, it was 
either appointed by Noah, or agreed upon among 
his sons, which way each several tribe or colony 
should steer its course, beginning with the counti-ies 
that were next them, and designing to proceed 
further and further, and to remove to a greater 
distance from each other, as the increase of their 
several companies should require. Thus was the 
matter well settled, one hundred years after the 
flood, about the time of Peleg’s birth: but the sons 
of men, it should seem, were loath to scatter into 
distant places; they thought, the more the merrier, 
and the safer, and therefore they contrived to keep 
together, and were slack to go to possess the land 
which the Lord God of their fathers had gh'en 
them. Josh. 18. 3, thinking themselves wiser than 
either God or Noah. .Now here we have, 

I. The advantages which befriended their design 
of keeping together. 1. They were all of one 
language, v, 1. If there were any different lan- 
^lages before the flood, yet Noah’s only, which, it 
is likely, was the same with Adam’s, was preserved 
through the flood, and continued after it. Now, 
while they all understood one another, they would 
be the more likely to love one another, and the 
more capable of helping one another, and the less 
inclinable to separate one from another. 2. They 
found a very convenient commodious place to settle 
in, V. 2, a plain in the land of Shinar, a spacious 
plain, and able to contain them all, a fruitful plain, 
and able, according as their present numbers were, 
to support them all; though perhaps they had not 
considered what room there would be for them 
when their numbers should be increased. Note, 
Inviting accommodations, for the present, often 
prove too strong temptations to the neglect of both 
dutv and interest, as it respects futurity. 

VoL. I.— L 


II. The method they took to bind themselves to 
one an'ither, and to settle together in one body. 
Inste.id ct coveting to enlarge their l)orders by a 
peaceable departure under the divine protection, 
they contrived to fortify them, and as those that 
were resolved to wage war with heaven, they pu‘ 
themselves into a postui-e of defence. Their unani 
mi us ’’esolution is, let us build a citij and a tower. 
It is observable, that the fir.st buildei’s of cities, both 
in the ( Id world, ch. 4. \7, and in the new world 
here, were net men of the best character and repu- 
t Aion: tents served God’s subjects to dwell in, cities 
were first built by those that were rebels against 
him, and revolters from him. Observe here, 

1. How they excited and encouraged one another 
to set about this work. They said. Go t'^, let us 
make brick, v. 3, and again v. 4, Go to, let us build 
us a city; by mutual excitements they made one 
another more daring and resolute. Note, Great 
things may be brought to pass, when the under- 
takers are numerous and unanimous, and stir up 
one another to it. Let us learn to provoke one 
another to love and to good works, as sinners stir up 
and encourage one another to wicked works. See 
Ps. 122. 1. Isa. 2. 3, 5. Jer. 50. 5. 

2. W hat materials they used in their building. 
The country being plain, yielded neither stone nor 
mortar, yet that did not discourage them from them 
undertaking, but they made brick to sers'e instead 
of stone, and slime or pitch instead of mortar. See 
here, (1.) W hat shift these will make, that are 
resolute in their pur])oses; were we but thus zea 
lously affected in a good thing, we should not stop 
our work so often as we do, under pretence that we 
want conveniences for carrying it on. (2.) W’^hat 
a difference there is between men’s building and 
God’s; when men build their Babel, brick and 
slime are their best materials; but when God builds 
his Jerusalem, he lays even the foundations of it 
with sapphires, and all its borders with pleasant 
stones, Isa. 54, 11. 12. Rev. 21. 19. 

3. For what ends they built. Some think they 
intended hereby to secure themselves against the 
waters of another flood. God had told them indeed 
he w'ould not again drown the world; but they 
would trust to a tower of their own making, rather 
than to a promise of God’s making, or an ark of his 
appointing: if, however, they had had this in their 
eye, they would have chosen to build their tower 
upon a mountain, rather than upon a plain; but 
three things, it seems, they aimed at in building 
this tower. 

(1.) It seems designed for an affront to Gcd him- 
self; foi they would build a tower, whose top might 
reach to heaven, which bespeaks a defiance of God, 
or at least a rivalship with him; they will be like 
the Most High, or come as near him as they can, 
not in holiness, but in height. They forget their 
place, and, scorning to creep on the earth, resoh e 
to climb to heaven, net by the door, or ladder, but 
some other way. 

(2.) They hoped hereby to make them a name; 
they would do something to be talked of now, and 
to gi\ e posterity to know that thei-e had been such 
men as they in the world; rather than die and lea% e 
no memorandum behind them, they would leave 
this monument of their pride, and ambition, and 
folly. Note, [1.] Affectation of honour, and a 
name among men, inspires with a strange ardocr 
for great and difficult undertakings, and often be- 
travs to that which is e\ il, and offensive to God. 
[2.] It is just with God to bury those names in the 
dust, which are raised by sin. These Babel-build- 
ers put themselves to a great deal of foolish expense, 
to make them a name; but they could not gain even 
this point, for we do not find in any history the name 
of so much as one of these Babel-builders; Philo Ju 


GENESIS. XL 


d.cus says, They engraved eveiy one his name upon 
a brick, in fierpetuam rei mcmoriam — as a jier- 
(letual memorial; yet neither did that serve their ; 
purpose. I 

(3.) They did it to prevent their dispersion; lest 
we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. \ 
“It was done,” (says Josephus,) “in disobedience 
to that command, ch. 9. 1, Replenish the earth.” 
God orders them to scatter; “No,” say they, “we 
will not, we will li\ e and die together. ” In order 
hereunto, they engage themseh es, and one another, 
in this vast undertaking. That they might unite in 
one glorious empire, they resolve to build this city 
and tower, to be the metropolis of their kingdom, 
and the centre of their unity. It is probable that 
the hand of ambitious Nimrod was in all this: he 
could not content himself with the command of a 
particular colony, but aimed at universal monarchy; 
in order to which, under pretence of uniting for 
their common safety, he contrives to keep them in 
one body, that, having them all under his eye, he 
might not fail to have them under his power. See 
the daring presumption of these sinners: here is, 
[1.] A bold opposition to God; “You shall be scat- 
tered,” says God; “But we will not,” say they; 
Woe unto him that thus strives with his maker. [2. ] 
A bold competition with God. It is God’s preroga- 
tive to be universal Monarch, Lord of all, and King 
of kings; the man that aims at it, offers to step into 
the throne of God, who will not gi.e his glory to 
another. 

5. And the Lord came down to see the 
city and the tower which the children of 
men builded. 6. And the Lord said, Be- 
hold, the people u one, and they have all 
one language ; and this they begin to do : 
and now nothing will be restrained from 
them, which they have imagined to do. 7. 
Go to, let us go down, and there confound 
their language, that they may not under- 
stand one another’s speech. 8. So the 
Lord scattered them abroad from thence 
upon the face of all the earth: and they left 
off to build the city. 9. Therefore is the name 
of it called Babel ; because the Lord did 
there confound the language of all the 
earth : and from thence did the Lord scat- 
ter them abroad upon the face of all the 
earth. 

We have here the quashing of the project of the 
Babel-builders, and the turning of the ccunsel of 
those froward men headlong, that God’s counsel 
might stand, in spite of them. Here is, 

I. The cognizance that God took of the design 
that was on foot, v. 5, The Lord came down to see 
the city: it is an expression after the manner of men; 
he knew it as clearly and fully as men know that 
which they come to the place to v iew. Observe, 
1. Before he gave judgment upon their cause, he 
inquired into it; for God is incontestably just and 
fair in all his proceedings against sin and sinners, 
;ind condemns none unheard. 2. It is spoken of as 
an act of condescension in God, to take notice even 
of this building, which the undertakers were so 
proud of; for he humbles himself to behold the 
transactions, even the most considerable ones, of 
this lower world, Ps. 113. 6. 3. It is said to be the 

tower which the children of men built; which inti- 
mates, (1.) Their weakness and frailty as men : it 
v.is a very foolish thing for the children of men, 
worms cf the earth, to defy Heaven, and to provoke 


the Lord to jealousy: jire they stronger than he? 
(2.) Their sinfulness and obnoxiousness: they were 
the sons of Adam, so it is in the Hebrew; nay, of 
that Adam, that sinful disobedient Adam, whose 
children are by nature children of disobedience, 
children that are corrupters. (3. ) Their distinction 
fi’om the children of God, the professors of religion, 
from whom these daring builders had separated 
theinsel'. es, and built this tower to support and per- 
petuate the separation. Pious Eber is not found 
among this ungodly crew ; for he and his are called 
the children of God, and therefore their souls come 
not into the secret, nor unite themselves to the as- 
sembly, of these children of men. 

II. The counsels and resolves of the Eternal God 
concerning this matter; he did not come down mere- 
ly as a spectator, but as a Judge, as a Prince, to 
look upon these proud men, and abase them. Job 
40. 11... 14. 

Observe, 1. He suffered them to proceed a gocu 
way in their enterprise, before he put a stop to it; 
that they might have space to repent, and, if they 
had so much consideration left, might be ashamecl 
of it, and weary of it, themselves; and if not, that 
their disappointment might be the more shameful, 
and every one that passed by, might laugh at them, 
saying. These men began to build, and were not able 
to finish; that so the works of their hands, from 
which they promised themselves immortal honcur, 
might turn to their perpetual reproach. Note, God 
has wise and holy ends in permitting the enemies 
of his glory to carry on their impicus pn jects a 
great way, and to prosper long in their enterprises. 

2. When they had, with much care and toil, 
made some considerable progress in their building, 
then God determined to break their measures, and 
diverse them. 

Observe, (1.) The righteousness of Gcd, which 
appears in the considerations upon which he pro- 
ceeded in this resolution, v. 6. Two things he con- 
sidered, [1.] 'Th.eir oneness, as a reason why they 
must be scattered: “Behold, the people is one, and 
they have all one language; if they continue one, 
much of the earth will be left uninhabited; the pow- 
er of their prince will soon be exorbitant; wicked- 
ness and prcfaneness will be insufferably rampant, 
for they will strengthen one another’s hands in it; 
and, which is worst of all, they will be an overba- 
lance to the church, and these children of men, if 
thus incorporated, will swallow up the little rem- 
nant of God’s children.” Therefore it is decreed 
that they must not be one. Note, Unity is policy, 
but it is not the infallible mark of a true church ; yet, 
while the builders cf Babel, though of different fa- 
milies, dispositions, and interests, were thus unani- 
mous in opposing God, what a pity it is, and what 
a shame, that the builders of Zion, fliough united 
in one common Head and Spirit, should be divided, 
as they are, in serving God ! But marvel not at the 
matter; Christ came not to send peace. [2.] Their 
obstinacy; now nothing will be restrained from 
them; and this is a reason why they must be cross- 
ed and thwarted in their design: God had tried, by 
his commands and admonitions, to bring them off 
from this project, but in vain; thereff re he must 
take another course with them. Sec here, First, 
The sinfulness of sin, and the wilfulncss of sinners; 
ever since Adam would not be restrained from the 
forbidden tree, his unsanctified seed have been im- 
patient of restraint, and ready to rebel against it. 
Secondly, See the necessity of God’s judgments 
upon earth, to keep the world in some order, and 
to tie the hands of those that will not be checked 
by law. 

(2.) The wisdom and mercy of God in the me- 
thods that were taken for the defeating of this en- 
teiqinsc; (u 7.' Go to, let us go down, and there 


8 ? 


GENESIS, XL 


confound their language: this was not spoken to the 
angels, as if God needed either their advice, or their 
assistance, but God speaks it to himself, or the Father 
to the Son and Holy Ghost; they said. Go to, let us 
make brick; and Go to, let us build us a tower; ani- 
mating one another to the attempt; and now God 
s lys, Go ( 0 , let us confound their languages; f r if 
men stir up themsel > es to sin, God will stir up him- 
self to take \engeance, Isa. 59. 17, 18. Now ob- 
ser e here, [1.] The mercy ci (fod, in moderating 
the jienalty, and not making tliat proportionable to 
therffence; f; r he deals not with us according to 
our sins: he does not say, “ Let us go down now in 
thunder and lightning, and consume those rebels in 
a moment;” cr, “Let the earth open, and swallow 
up them and their building, and let them go down 
quick into hell, who are climbing to hea\ en the 
wreng way;” no, only, “ Let us go down, imd scat- 
ter them:” they deserved death, but are only ba- 
nished or transported; for the patience of God is 
very great towards a provoking world. Punish- 
ments are chiefly reserved fc r the future state; 
Cfod’s judgments on sinners in this life, compared 
with these, are little more than restraints. [2.] The 
wisdom of God, in pitching upon an effectual expe- 
dient to stay proceedings, which was the confound- 
ing of their language, that they might not under- 
stand one another’s speech, nor could they well join 
hands when their tongues were div ided; so that this 
would be a very proper method, both for taking 
them off from their building, (for if they could not 
understand one another, they could not help one 
another,) as also for disposing them to scatter; for 
when they could not understand one another, they 
could not emfiloy one another. Note, God has va- 
rious means, and effectual ones, to baffle and defeat 
the projects of proud men that set themselves 
hg.finst him, and particularly to divide them among 
th. mselves, either by dividing spirits, (Judges 
9. 23.) or by dividing their tongues, as David prays, 
Ps. 55. 9. 

III. The execution of these counsels of God, to 
the Ivlasting and defeating of the counsels of men, v. 
8, 9. God made them know whose word should 
stand, bis or them’s, as the expression is, Jer. 44. 28. 
Notwithstanding their oneness and obstinacy, Gcd 
was too hard fir them, and wherein thev dealt 
proudly, he was above them; for who ever hardened 
his heart against him and prospered? Three things 
were done; 

1. Their language was confounded. God, who, 
when he made man, taught him to speak, and put 
words into his mouth fit to express the conceptions 
of his mind by, now made those builders to forget 
Lheir former language, and to speak and understand 
a new one, which yet was the same to those of the 
s'.me tribe or family, but not to others; those of one 
colony could converse together, but not with those 
of another. Now, (1.) This was a great miracle, 
and a proof of the power which God has upon the 
minds and tongues of men, which he turns as the 
rivers of water. (2.) This was a great judgment 
upon those builders; for being thus deprived of the 
knowledge of the ancient and holy tongue, they 
were become incapable of communicating with the 
I rue church, in which it was retained; and, proba- 
bly, it contributed much to their loss of the know- 
ledge of the true God. (3.) We all suffer by it, to 
this day: in all the inconveniences we sustain by the 
iliversity of langi.iages, and all the pains and trouble 
we arc at to learn the languages we have occasion for, 
wesmart for the rebellion of cur ancestors at Babel. 
Nay, and those unhappy controversies, which arc 
strifes of words, and arise from our misunderstand- 
ing of one another’s language, for aught I know, arc 
owing to this confusion of tongues. (4.) The pro- 
ject of some to frame an universal character, in or- 


der to an universal language, how desirable scevei 
it may seem, is yet, I think, but a vain attempt; for 
it is to strive against a divine sentence, by which 
the languages cf the nations will be divided while 
the world stands. (5.) W'e may here lament the 
loss cf the universal use of the Hebrew tongue, 
which, from this time, was the vulgar language of 
the Hebrews t nly, and continued so till the capti- 
vity in Babylon, where, even among them, it was 
exchanged for the Syriac. (6.) As the confound- 
ing cf tongues divided the children of men, and 
scattered them abroad, so the gift cl tongues, be- 
stowed upon the apostles, (Acts 2.) contributed 
greatly to the gathering together of the children cf 
Gcd, which were scr.ttcred abroad, and the uniting 
of them in Christ, that with one mind imd mouth 
they might glorify G-cd, Rom. 15. 6. 

2. Their building was stopped; they left of to 
build the city. This was the effect of the confusion 
of their tongues; for it not only incapacitated them 
for helping one another, but, probably, struck such 
a damp upon their spirits, that they could not pro- 
ceed, since they saw, in this, the hand of the Lord 
gone out against them. Note, [1.] It is wisdom to 
leave off that which we see God fights against. 
[2.] God is able to blast and bring to naught all 
the devices and designs of Babel-builders. He sits 
in hea' en, and laughs at the counsels of the kings 
of the earth against Him and his Anointed; and 
will force them to confess that there is no wisd'^m 
norcfunsel against the Lord, Prov. 21. 30. Isa. 
8. 9, 10. 

3. The builders were scattered abroad frem 

thence upon the face of the whole earth, v. 8, 9. 
They departed in companies, after their families, 
and after their tongues, {ch. 10. 5, 20, 31.) to the 
several countries and places allotted to them in the 
division that had been made, which they knew be- 
fore, but would not go to take the possession of till 
now that they were forced to it. Oliserve here, 
[1.] That the veiw thing which they feared, came 
upon them ; they feared dispersion, they sought to 
evade it by an act of rebellion, and by that act they 
brought upon themselves the evil with all its hor- 
rors; fer we are most likely to fall into that trouble 
which we seek to evade by indirect and sinful me- 
thods. [2.] That it was God’s work; The Lord 
scattered them. Ged’s hand is to be acknowledged 
in all scattering providences; if the family be scat- 
tered, relations scattered, churches scattered, it is 
the Lord’s doing. [3.] That though they were as 
firmly in league with one another as could be, yet 
the Lord scattered them : for no man can keep to 
gether what Gcd will put asunder. [4. ] That thus 
God justly took vengeance on them for their one 
ness in that presumptuous attempt to build theii 
tower; shameful dispersions are the just punish 
ment of sinful unions; Simeon and Levi, who had 
been brethren in iniquity, were divided in Jacob, 
ch. 49. 5, 7. Ps. 83. 3... 13. [5.] That they left be- 

hind them a pei'petual memorandum of their re- 
proach, in the name given to the place; it was 
called Babel, confusion. They that aim at a great 
name, commonly come off with a bad name. [6.] 
The children of men were now finally scattered, 
and never did, nor ever will, come all together 
again, till the great day, when the Son cf man shall 
sit upon the throne of his gloT'V, and all nations 
shall be gathered before him, IVfatth. 25. 31, 32. 

10. These arc, the generations of Shem : 
Shem teat; ati hundred years old, and begat 
Aiphaxad, two years after the flood : 11. 

And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad, 
five hundred years, and begat sons and 
daughters. 12. And Arphaxad lived five 


84 


GENESIS, XL 


ami thirty years, and begat Salah : 1 3. And 
Aiphaxad lived after he begat Salah, four 
hundred and three years, and begat sons 
and daughters. 14. And Salah lived thirty 
years, and begat Eber : 15. And Salah lived 
after he begat Eber, four hundred and three 
years, and begat sons and daughters. 16. 
And Eber lived four and thirty 5’ears, and 
begat Peleg: 17. And Eber lived after he 
begat Peleg, four hundred and thirty years, 
and begat sons and daughters. 18. A nd 
Peleg lived thirty years, and begat lieu : 
19. And Peleg lived after he begat Reu, 
two hundred and nine years, and begat sons 
and daughters. 20. And lieu lived two 
and thirty years, and l)egat Serug : 21. 

And Reu lived after he begat Serug, two 
hundred and seven years, and begat sons 
and daughters. 22. And Serug lived thirty 
years, and begat Nahor: 23. And Serug 
lived after he begat Nahor, two hundred 
years, and begat sons and daughters. 24. 
And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, 
and begat Terah: 25. And Nahor lived 
after he begat Terali, an hundred and nine- 
teen years, and begat sons and daughters. 
26. And Terah lived seventy years, and 
begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. 

We have here a genealogy, not an endless gene- 
alogy; for here it ends in Abram, the friend of Rod, 
and leads further to Christ, the promised Seed, 
who was the Son of Aljram, and from Abram the 
genealogy of Christ is reckoned, (Matth. 1. 1, Scc.'i 
so that put ch. 5. ch. 11, and Matth. 1, together, 
and you have such an entire genealogy of Jesus 
Christ as cannot be produced, tor aught I know, 
concerning any person in the world, out of his line, 
and at such a distance from the fountain-head. And 
laying these three genealogies together, we shall 
find that twice ten, and thrice fourteen, generations 
or descents, passed between the first and second 
Adam, making it clear concerning Christ, not only 
that he was the Son of Abraham, but the Son of 
man, and the Seed of the woman. Observe here, 
1. That nothing is left upon record concerning 
those of this line, but their names and ages; the 
Holy Ghost seeming to hasten through them to 
the story of Abram. How litfle do we know of 
those that are gone before us in this world, even 
those that lived in the same places where we 
live, as we likewise know little 01 those that are oui 
contemporaries, in distant places; we have enough 
to do, to mind the work of our own day, and let God 
alone to require that ’ivhich is /last, Eccl. 3. 15. 2. 

That there was an obseiamble gradual decrease in 
the years of their lives; Shem reached to 600 years, 
which yet fell short of the age of the ])atriarchs 
before the flood; the three next came short ('f 500; 
the three next did not reach to 300; after them, we 
read not of any that attained to 200, but I'erah ; and, 
not many ages after this, Moses reckoned 70 or 80 
to be the utmost men ordinarily arrive at: when the 
earth began to be replenished, men’s lives began to 
shorten; so that the decrease is to be imputed to the 
wise disposal of providence, rather than to any de- 
cay of nature; for the elect’s sake, men’s days are 
shortened; and being evil, it is well they are few, 
and attain not to the years of the Itves of our fa- 


thers, cn, 47. 9. 3. That Eber, from whom the 

Hebrews were denominated, was the longest lived 
of any that were bom after the flood; which per- 
haps was the reward of his singular piety, and strict 
adherence to the ways of God. 

27. Now these are the generations of 
Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Ha- 
ran ; and Haran begat Lot. 28. And Haian 
died before his father Terah, in the land of 
his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29. 
And Abram and Nahor took them wives: 
the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai ; and 
the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the 
daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, 
and the father of Iscah. 30. But Saiai 
was barren; she had no child. 31. And 
I’erah took Abram his son, and Lot, the 
son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his 
daughter-in-law, liis son Abram’s wife ; and 
they went forth with thein from Ur of the 
Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan , 
and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 
32. And the days of Terah were two hun- 
dred and five years: and Terah died in 
Haran. 

Here begins the story of Abram, whose name is 
famous, henceforw..rd, in both Test aments; we h.ia 1 : 
here, 

I. His country; Ur of the Chaldees, that wfs the 
land of his nativity, an idolatrous country, where 
even the children of Eber themselves were degene- 
rated. Note, Those who are, through grace, he rs 
of the land of promise, ought to remember what 
Avas the land of their nativity; what was their cor- 
rupt and sinful state by nature; the rock out (f 
which they were hewn. 

II. His relations; mentioned for his sake, and be- 
cause of their interest in the following stoiy. 1. 
His father was Terah, of whom it is said, Jesh. 24. 
2, that he ser\ ed other gods, on the other side of 
the flood: so early did idolatry gain footing in the 
world, and so hard is it even for those that have 
some good principles, to swim against tlie stream. 
Though it is said, \k 26, that when Terah Avas 
seventy years old, he begat Abram, Nahor, and 
Haran, (which seems to tell us that Abram Avar, 
the eldest son of Terah, and bom in his 70th year,) 
yet, by comparing v. 32, which makes Terah to 

I die in his 205th year, Avith Acts 7. 4, (Avhere it is 
said that Abram remo\ ed from Haran, Avhen his 
father Avas dead,) and Avith ch. 12. 4, (Avhere it is 
said tliat he Avas but 75 yeai-s old Avhen he removed 
from Haran,) it appears that he Avas born in the 
130th year of Terah, and, probably, Avas his young- 
est son; for, in God’s choices, the last are often first, 
and tlie first last. We haA e, 2. Some account of 
his brethren. (1. ) jVahor, out of Avhose family both 
I Is lac and Jacob had their Avives. (2.) Haran, the 
f ather ef Lot, of Avhom it is here said, v. 28, that 
he died before his father Terah. Note, Children 
cannot be sure that they shall survive their p;. rents: 
for death does not go by seniority, t 'king the eldest 
first: the shadow of death is without any order, Job 
10. 22. It is likeAvise said that he died in Ur of the 
Chaldees, before the hapjjy removal of the faimily 
out of that idolatrous country. Note, It concerns 
us to hasten out of our natural state, lest death sair- 
prise ns in it. 3. His Avife Avas Sarai, Avho, some think, 
Avas the same with Iscah, the daughter of Haran. 
Abram himself says of her, that she Avas the daugh- 


GENESIS, XII. 


ter of his father, but not the daughter of his mother, 
ch. 20. 12. She was ten years younger than Abram. 

III. His departure out of Ur of the Chaldees, 
with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and the 
rest of his family, in obedien. e to the call of God, 
of which we shall read more, ch. 12. 1, tfc. This 
chapter leaves them in Haran, or Charran, a place 
about the midway between Ur and Canaan, where 
they dwelt till Terah’shead was laid, probably be- 
cause the old man was unable, through the infirmi- 
ties of age, to proceed in his journey. Many reach 
to Charran, and yet fall short of Canaan; they are 
not far from the kingdom of God, and yet never 
come thither. 


CHAP. XII. 

The pedigree and family of Abram we had an account of 
in the foregoing chapter ; here, the Holy Ghost enters 
upon his story ; henceforward, Abram and his seed are 
almost the only subject of the sacred history. In this 
chapter we have, I. God’s call of Abram to the land of 
Canaan, v. 1..3. II. Abram’s obedience to this call, v. 
4, 6. III. His welcome to the land of Canaan, v. 6, 7. 
IV. His journey to Egvpt, with an account of wnat hap- 
pened to him there. Abram’s flight and fault, v. 10.. 13. 
Sarai’s danger, and deliverance, v. 14.. 20. 

1 . the Lord had said unto Abram, 
JL^ Get thee out of thy country, and 

from thy kindred, and from thy father’s 
house, unto a land that I will show thee. 

2. And I will make of thee a great nation, 
and I will bless thee, and make thy name 
great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. 
And I will bless them that bless thee, and 
curse him that curseth thee : and in thee 
shall all families of the earth be blessed. 

We have here the call by which Abram was i-e- 
mo\ed out of the land of his nativity into the land 
of promise; which was designed both to tiy his 
fiith and obedience, and also to separate him, and 
set him apart, for God and for special ser\ ices and 
favours which were further designed. The cir- 
cumstances of this call we may be somewhat help- 
ed to the knowledge of, from Stephen’s speech, 
.Acts 7. 2, where we are told, 1. That the God of 
gloiy appeared to him, to give him this call; ap- 
peared in such displays of his glory, as left Abram 
no room to doubt the divine authority of this call. 
God spake to him afterward in divers manners; bat 
this first time, when the correspondence was to be 
settled, he appeared to him as (he God of glory, 
and spake to him. 2. That this call was given him 
in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran; there- 
fore we rightly read it. The Lord had said unto 
Abram, namely, in Ur of the Chddees; and, in 
obedience to this call, as Stephen farther relates 
the story, v. 4, he came out of the land of the Chal- 
deans, and dwelt in Charran, or Haran, about fi-ve 
years, and from thence, when his father was dead, 
by a fresh command, pursuant to the former, God 
removed him into the land of Canaan. Some think 
that Haran was in Chaldea, and so was still a part 
of Abram’s countty ; or that he, h:i\ ing staid there 
five yeai*s, began to call it his country, and to take 
root there, till God let him know that this was not I 
the place he was intended for. Note, If God lo\ es 
us, and has mercy in store for us, he will not suffer 
ns to take up our rest any where short of Canaan, 
l7ut will graciously repeat h s calls, till the good 
work beg m, be performed, and our souls repose in 
l^rod only. 

In the call itself, we have a precept and a promise. 
I. A trying precept, v. 1, Get thee out of thy 
t 'intry. Now, 


ij 1. By this precept he was tried whether he loved 
! God better than he loved his native soil and dear- 
jl est friends, and whether he could willingly leave all, 
ji to go along with God. His country was become 
idolatrous, his kindred and his father’s house were 
;! a constant temptation to him, and he could not con- 
Ij tinue with them without danger of being infected 
j by them; therefore. Get thee out, nS nS Vade tibi— 
il Get thee gone, with all speed, escafie for thy life, 
look not behind thee, ch. 19. 7. Note, Those that 
11 are in a sinful state are concerned to make all haste 
|l possible out of it. Get out for thyself, (so some 
j read it,) that is, for thine own good. Note, Those 
who leave their sins and turn to God, will them- 
! selves be unspeakable gainers Iw the change, Prov. 

I 9. 12. This command which God gave to Abram, 

I is much the same with the gospel-call by which all 
the spiritual seed of faithful Abram are brought into 
covenant with God. For, (1.) Natural affection 
must give way to divine grace: our country is dear 
to us, our kindred dearer, and our father’s hot : ■ 
dearest of all; and yet they must all be hated, Luke 
14. 26, that is, we must love them less than Christ, 
hate them in comparison with him, and, whenever 
any of these come in competition with him, they 
must be postponed, and the preference given to the 
will and honour of the Lord Jesus. (2. ) Sin and all 
the occasions of it, must be forsaken, and, particu- 
larly, bad company; we must abandon all the idols 
of iniquity which have been set up in our hearts, 
and get out of the way of temptation, plucking out 
even a right eye that leads us to sin, Matth. 5. 29, 
willingly parting with that which is dearest to us, 
when we cannot keep it without hazard of our in- 
tegrity. Tliose that resoh e to keep the command- 
ments of God, must quit the society of evil doers, 
Ps. 119. 115. Acts 2. 40. (3.) The world, and all 

our enjoyments in it, must be looked upon with a 
holy indifference and contempt; we must no longer 
look upon it as our country, or home, but as our inn, 
and must, accordingly, sit loose to it, and liv e abov e 
it, get out of it in affection. 

2. By this precept he was tried, whether he 
could trust God further than he saw him; for he 
must leave his own country, to go to a land that 
God would show him; he does not say, “It is aland 
that I will give thee,” but merely, “a land that I 
will thee.” Nor does he tell him what land 
it was, or what kind of land; but he must follow 
God with an implicit faith, and take God’s word 
for it, though he had no particular securities given 
him, that he should be no loser by lea\ ing his coun- 
try, to follow God. Note, Those that will deal 
with God, must deal upon trust; we must quit the 
things that are seen, for things that are not seen, 
and submit to the sufferings of this present time, in 
hopes of a glory' that is yet to be revealed, Rom. fi. 
18, for it doth not yet afifiear, what we shall be, 1 
John, 3. 2, any more than it did to Abram, when 
God called him to a land he would show him, so 
teaching him to li\ e in a continual dependence upon 
his direction, and with his eye ever toward him. 

II. Here is an encouraging promise, nav, it is a 
complication of promises, many, and exceeding 
great and precious. Note, .All God’s precepts are 
attended with promises to be obedient; when he 
makes himself known to us as a Commander, he 
makes himself known also as a Rewarder; if we 
obey the command, God will not fail to perform the 
promise. Here are six promises. 

1. I will make of thee a great nation; when (iod 
took him from his own people, he promised to make 
him the head of another; he cut him off from being 
the branch of a wild oli ve, to make him the root of 
a good olive. This p’'''mi.«e was, (1.) A great re- 
lief to Abram’s burtiien; for he haa now no child. 
Note, God knows how to suit his favours to the 


86 


GENESIS, XII. 


wants and necessities of his children. He that has 
a plaster for every sore, will pro\ ide one for that 
first, that is most painful. (2.) A great trial to 
Abram’s faith; for his wife had been long barren, 
so that if he believe, it must be against hope, and 
his faith must build purely upon that power whit h 
can out of stones raise u/i children unto Abraham, 
and make them a gre;;t nation. Note, [1.] God 
makes nations; by him they are born at once, Isa. 
66. 8, and he speaks to build and plant them, Jer. 
18. 9. And [2. J If a nation be made great in wealth 
and power, it is God that makes it great. [3.] 
God can raise great nations oat of dry ground, and 
can make a little one to be a thousand. 

2. I will bless thee; either particularly, with the 
blessing of fruitfulness and increase, as he had 
blessed Adam and Noah; or in general, “/ will 
bless thee with all manner of blessings, both of the 
upper and the nether springs: leave thy father’s 
house, and I will gi\ e thee a father’s blessing, bet- 
ter than that of thy progenitors.” Note, Obedient 
believers shall be sure to inherit the blessing. 

3. I will make thy name great; by deserting his 

country, he lost his name there: “Care not for 
that,” says God, “but trust me, and I will make 
thee a greater name than ever thou couldest hav e 
had there.” Having no child, he feared he should 
have no name; but God will make him a great na- 
tion, and so make him a great name. Note, (1.) 
God is the fountain of honour, and from him pro- 
motion comes, 1 Sam. 2, 8. (2.) The name of obe- 

dient believers shall certainly be celebrated, and 
made great: the best report is that which the elders 
obtained by faith, Heb. 11. 2. 

4. Thou shalt be a blessing; that is, (1.) “Thy 
happiness shall be a sample of happiness, so that 
those who would bless their friends, shall only pray 
that God would make them like Abram as Ruth 
4. 11. Note, God’s dealings with obedient believ- 
ers, are so kind and gracious, that we need not de- 
sire for ourseh es or our friends to be any better 
dealt with; that is blessedness enough. (2.) “Thy 
life shall be a blessing to the places where thou 
shalt sojourn. ” Note, Good men are the blessings 
of their countiy, and it is their unspeakable honour 
and happiness to be made so. 

5. I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him 
that curseth thee; this made it a kind of a league 
offensive and defensive, between God and Aljram. 
Abram heartily espoused God’s cause, and here 
God promises to interest himself in his; (1.) He 
promises to be a Friend to his friends, to take kind- 
nesses shown to him as done to himself, and to re- 
compense them accordingly. God will take care 
that none be losers, in the long urn, by any service 
done for his people; ev en a cup of cold water shall 
be rewarded. (2. ) He ])romises to appear against 
his enemies; there were those that h'ated and cursed 
even Abram himself; but while their causeless 
curses could not hurt Abram, God’s righteous curse 
would certainly overtake and ruin them. Numb. 2-!. 

9. This is a good reason why we should bless them 
that curse us, because it is enough that God will 
curse them, Ps. 38. 13.. 15. 

6. In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed; 
this was the premise that crowned all the rest; for 
it points at the Messiah, in whom all the promises 
are yea and amen. Note, (1.) Jesus Christ is the 
great Blessing of the world, the greatest tint e er 
the worlfl wa.s blessed with; he is a f imilv-blessing, 
by him s- Ivation is brought to the house, Luke 19. 

9. W'hen we rc kon up our familv blessings, let 
us put Christ in the imprimis — the first place, as the 
Blessing of blessings. But how are all the families 
of the earth blessed in Christ, when so many are 
strangers to him ? Atiswer, [1.] All that are bless- 
ed, are blessed in him. Acts 4. 12. [2.] All that II 


1 believe, of what family soever they are, shall be 
j blessed in him. [3.] Some of all the families of 
I the earth are blessed in him. [4. ] There are some 
I blessings which all the families of the earth are 
blessed with in Christ; for the gospel-salvation is a 
common salvation, Jude 3. (2.) It is a great honour 
to be related to Christ; this made Abram’s name 
great, that the Messiah was to descend from his 
loins, much more than that he should be the father 
j of many nations. It was Abram’s honour to be his 
father by nature; it will be our’s to be his brethren 
by grace. Matt. 12. 50. 

4. So Abram departed, as the Lord had 
spoken unto him ; and Lot went with him : 
and Abram tvas seventy and five years old 
when he departed out of Haran. 5. And 
Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his bro- 
j ther’s son, and all their substance that they 
had gathered, and the souls that they had 
gotten in Haran ; and they went forth .to go 
into the land of Canaan; and into the land 
of Canaan they came. 

Here is, 

I. Abram’s removal out of his country; out of Ur 
first, and afterward out of Haran, in compliance 
with the call of God; so Abram departed; he was 
not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but did as he 
was bidden, not conferring with flesh arid blood. 
Gal. 1. 15, 16. His obedience was speedy and 
without delay, submissiv e and without dispute; foi 
he went out, not knowing whither he went, Heb. 1 1 
8, but knowing whom he followed, and imder 
whose direction he went. Thus God called him to 
his foot, Isa. 41. 2. 

II. His age when he remov ed; he was seventy 
and Jive years old, an age when he should rather 
have had rest and settlement; but if God will ha\ e 
him to begin the world r.gain now in his old age, he 
will submit. Here is an instance of an old con\ ert. 

III. The company and cargo that he took with 
him. 

1. He took his wife, and his nephew Lot, with 
him ; not by force and against their wills, but by 
persuasion. Sarai, his wife, would be sure to go 
with him.; God had joined them together, and no- 
thing shoidd put them asunder. If Abram leave 
all to fellow God, Sarai will leave all to follow 
Abram; though neither ot them knew whither. 
Ancl it was a mercy to Abr.am to hav e such a com- 
panion in his travels, a help mfeet for him. Note, 
It is \ eiy comfortable when husband and wife agree 
to go together in the way to hea\ en. Lot also, his 
kinsman, was influent cd by Abram’s good example, 
who was perh:ips his guardian after the death of 
his father, and he was willing to go alcng with him 
too. Note, Those that go to Canaan, need not go 
alone; for thcu.gh few find the strait gate, blessed 
be Gcd, some do; and it is our wisdom to go with 
those with whom God is, Zech. 8. 23, wherever 
they go. 

2. They took all their cfFe' ts with them; all their 
substance and mo\ e:ible g( cds, that they had gather- 
ed. For, (1.) With themsehes they wo\dd give 
up their all, to l)c at God’s dispcsnl, would kee]) 
b '.fknopait of the price, but venture all in one 
bottom, knowing it was a good licttcm. (2.) I'hev 
would furnish thcmsel es with that which was re 
quisitc, both for the ser\ ice cf God, and the si pply 
of their f imily, in the country whither they wtn-’c 
going. To hav e thrown away his substance, be 
cause God had promised to bless him, had been to 
tempt God, not to trust him. (3.) They would ivit 
be under any temptation to return, therefore tla y 


87 


GENESIS, XII. 


leave not a hoof behind, lest that should make them 
mindful of the country from nohich they came out. 

3. They took with them the aouls that they had 
gotten, that is, (1.) The servants they had bought, 
which were part of their substance, but are called 
aouls, to remind masters that their poor servants 
have souls, /irecious souls, which they ought to take 
care of, and provide food con\ enient for. (2.) The 
proselytes they had made, and persuaded to attend 
the worship of the true (lod, mid to go with them 
to Canaan; the souls which (as cue of the Rabbins 
expresses it) they had gathered under the wings of i 
the Divine Majesty. Note, These who setae and j 
follow God themselves, should do all they can to 
bring others to serve and follow him too. Those 
souls they are said to h.,x\ c. gained ; we must re.kon 
ourseh es true gainers, if we can but win souls to 
Christ. 

IV. Here is their happy arrival at their journey’s 
end. They went forth to go into the land of Canaan, 
so they did before, {ch. 11. 31.) and then took up 
short;' but now they held on their way, and, by the 
good hand of their God upon them, to the land of 
Canaan they came; where, by a fresh revelation, 
they were told that this was the land God promised 
to show them. They were not discouraged by the 
difficulties they met with in their way, nor diverted 
bv the delights they met with; but pressed fomvard. j 
Note, 1. Those that set out for heaien, must perse- 1 
vere to the end, still reaching forth to those things 
that are before. 2. That wliich we undertake, in 
obedience to God’s command, and a humble atten- 
dance upon his providence, will certainly succeed, 
and end with comfort at last. 

6 Alul Abram passed through the land 
unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of | 
Moreh. And tlie Canaanite ims then in i 
the land. 7. And the Lord appeared unto j 
Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give 
this land : and there builded he an altar un- 
to the Lord, who appeared unto him. 8. 
And he removed from thence unto a moun- 
tain on tile east of Beth-el, and pitched his 
tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on 
the east : and there he builded an altar unto 
the Lord, and called upon the name of the 
Lord. 9. And Abram journeyed, going on 
still toward the south. 

One would have expected that .\bram hr.ving had 
such an extraordin iry call to Canaan, some great 
e'. ent should have followed upon his arri al there; 
that he should have been introduced with all possi- 
ble marks of honour and respect, and that the kings 
of Canaan should immediately ha\e surrendered 
their crowns to him, and done him homage: but, lo! 
he comes not with observation, little nrtice is taken 
of him; for still God will hav e him to li e by faith, 
and to look upon Canaan, even when he was in it, as 
a land of promise: therefore observe here, 

I. How little comfort he had in the land he came 
to; for, 1. hie had it not to himself; the Canaanite 
•was then in the land. He found the country peo 
pled and possessed by C .naanites, who were likely 
to be but bad neighbours, and worse landlords; and, 
tor aught that appears, he could not have ground to 
pitch his tent on, but by their permission: thus the 
accursed Canaanites seemed to be in better circum- 
stances than blessed Abram. Note, The children 
of this world have commonly more of it than God’s 
children. 2. He had not a settlement in it. He 
passed through the land, v. 6. He removed to a 


mountain, v. 8. H^oumeyed, going on still, v. 9. 
Observe here, (1.) That sometimes it is the lot of 
good men to be unsettled, and obliged often to re- 
move their habitation. Holy David had his wander- 
ings, his fiittings, Ps. 56. 8. (2.) Our removes in 

this world are often into various conditions. 

Abram sojourned, first, in a plain, v. 6, thi:n, in 
a mountain, v. 8. God h dset the one over against 
the other. (3.) All good people must look upon 
themselves as strangers and sojourners in this world, 
and liy faith sit loose to it as a strange country. So 
j Abram did, Hcb. 11. 8. . 14. (4.) While we are 

here in this present st .te, we must be journeying, 
and going on still from strength to strength, as hav- 
ing not vet attained. 

il. How much comfort he had in the God he fol- 
lowed; when he could have little satisfaction in con- 
verse with the Canaanites, whom he found there, 
he had abundance of pleasure in communion with 
that God who brought him thither, and did not leave 
him. Communion with God is kept up by the word 
and by prayer, and by these according to the me- 
thods of that dispensation, Abram’s communion 
with God was kept up in the hind of his pilgrimage. 

1. God appeared to Abram ; probably, in a vision, 
and spake to him good words, and comfortable 
words. Unto thy seed will I give this land. Note, 
j n.) No place or condition of life can shut us out 
[ from the comfort of God’s gracious visits. Abram 
is a sojourner, unsettled, among the Canaanites; and 
} yet here also he meets with him that lives and sees 
1 him. Enemies may part us and our tents, us and 
our altars, but not us and our God. Nay, (2.) With 
respect to those that faithfully follow God in a way 
of duty, though he lead them from their friends, he 
will himself make up that less by his gracious ap- 
j pearances to them. (3.) God’s pi'omises are sure 
i and satisfying to all those who conscientiously ob- 
I serve and obey his precepts: and those who, in com- 
pliance with God’s call, leave or lose any thing that 
I is dear to them, shall be sure of something else 
1 abundantly better in lieu of it. Abram had left the 
jj land of his nativity, “Well,” says God, “I will give 
thee this land,” Matth. 19. 29. (4.) God reveals 

himself and his favours to his people by degrees; be- 
I fore he had promised to show him this land, now, to 
1 give it him: as gi*ace is growing, so is comfort. (5.) 
j It is comfort ble to have land of God’s giving, not 
i by prov idence only, but by promise. (6.) Mercies 
to the children are mercies to the parents. “ I will 
!j give it, not to thee, but to thy seed;” it is a grant in 
j reversion, to his seed, which yet, it should seem, 
Abram understood also as a grant to himself of a bet- 
I ter land in reversion, of which this tfas a type; for 
I he looked for a heavenly country, Heb. 11. 16. 
j 2. Abrnm attended on God in his instituted ordi- 
' nances. He built an altar unto the Lord, who ap- 
peared to him, and called on the name of the Lord, 
|j v. 7, 8. Now consider this, (1.) As done upon a 
jl special occasion; when God appeared to him, then 
j| and there he built an altar, with an eye to the God 
i! who appeared to him. Thus he returned God’s 
j visit, and kept up his correspondence with Heaven, 

: as one that resolved it should not fail on his side; 
, thus he acknowledged with thankfulness, God’s 
: kindness to him in making him that gracious visit 
j and premise; and thus he testified his confidence in, 
j and dependence upen, the word which God had 
j spoken. Note, An active believer can heartily bless 
God for a promise which he does not yet see the 
' performance of, and build an altar to the honour of 
, God who appears to him, though he does not yet ap 
i pear /or him. (2.) As his constant practice, whith- 
I ersnever he removed. As soon as Abram was gr<t 
j to Canaan, though he was but a stranger and so- 
1 journer there, yet he set up, and kept up the wor- 
1 ship of God in his family; and wherever he had a 


8!5 


GENESIS, XIL 


tent, God had n alt ir, and that, an altar sanctified I 
Dy yrayer. for he lut ordy minded the ceremonial ! 
part oi religion, the (;d'cring of sacrifice; but he made : 
conscience of the natural duty of seeking tf) his God, j 
and calling on his name, that spiritual sacrifice with 
which God is well-pleased; he preached concerning 1 ; 
the name cf the Lord, that is, he instructed his fa- ' 
mily and neighbours in the knowledge of the true | 
G-od, and his holy religion. The souls he had got- \ 
ten n Haran, being discipled, must be further | 
taught. Note, Those that would appro\ e them- 
selves the children of faithful Abram, and would in- 
herit the blessing of Abram, must make conscience 
of keeping up the solemn worship of God, particu- 
larly in their families, according to the example of 
Abram : the way of family worship is a good old way, | 
is no novel invention, but the ancient usage of all the [ 
s ints. Abram was very rich, and had a numerous | 
family, was now unsettled, and in the midst of ene- i 
Uiies; and yet, wherever he pitched his tent, he i 
ljuilt an altar: wherever we go, let us not fail to take | 

( ur religion along with us. j 

1 0. And there was a famine in the land : ! 

and Abram went down into Egypt, to so - 1 
journ there ; for the famine was grievous in ' 
the land. 11. And it came to pass, when he 
was come near to enter into Egypt, that he 
said unto Sarai his wife. Behold now, I 
know that thou art a fair woman to look up- 
on : 12. Therefore it shall come to pass, 

tt'hen the Egyptians shall see thee, that they 
;hall say. This is his wife : and tliey will 
kill me, but they will save thee alive. 1.3. 
Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister ; that it 
may be well with me for thy sake : and my 
soul shall live because of thee. 

Here is, 

I. A famine in the land of Canaan, a grie-co us fa- 
mine; that fruitful land was turned into barrenness, 
nt't only to punish the iniquity of the Canaanites 
who dwelt therein, but to exercise the faith of j 
Abram who sojouracd therein; and a very sore trial 1 
t was: it tried what he would think, 1. Of God that 
brought him hither: whether he would not be ready 
to say, with his murmuring seed, that he w^’s 
brought forth to be killed nvith hunger, Exod. 16. 

3. Nothing short of a strong fnth could keep up 
good thoughts of God under such a providence. 2. 
Of the land of promise; whether he would think the 
pr mt of it worth the accepting, and a valuable con- 
sideration for the relinquishing of his owm country, ^ 
when, for aught that now appeared, it w: s a land 
that ate uji the inhabitants: now he w'as tried, 
whether he could preserve an unshaken confidence 
th it the God who brought him to Can an, would 
maintain him there, and whether he could rejoice in 
him as the God of his salvation, when the fig-tree 
did not blossom, Hab. 3. 17, 18. Note, (1.) Strong 
faith is commonly exercised with divers temptations, 
tliat it may be found to praise, and honour, and 
glori/, 1 Pet. 1. 6, 7. (2.) It pleases God some- 

times to try those with great afflictions, who are Init 
young beginners in religion. (3.) It is possible h r 
a man to l)e in the way of dutv, and in the way to 
Irappiness, and yet meet with great troubles and 
disap])ointments. 

11. Abram’s remove into Egvpt, upon occasion of 
this famine. Sec how wisely God provides that 
there should be plenty in one place when there was 
scarcity in another, that as member of t’^e great 
bod^', we may not say to one another. Ihnnr no nerd 


of you. God’s providence took care there should 
be a supply in Egypt, and Abram’s prudence made 
use of the opportunity; for we -empt God, and do 
not trust him, if, in the time of distress, we use not 
the means he has graciously provided for our pre- 
servation; we must not expect needless miracle.s. 
But that which is especially observable here, to the 
praise of Abram, is, that he did not offer to reuirii, 
upon this occasion, to the country f"om which he 
c..me out, nor so much as towards it. The land ol 
his nativity lay north-east from Canaan: and there 
fore, when he must, for a time, quit Canaan, h( 
chooses to go to Egypt which lay scuth-west, the 
contrary way, that he might not so much as seem to 
lookback; see Heb. 11. 15, 16. Further observe, 
when he went down into Egypt, it was to sojourn 
there, not to dwell there. Note, 1. Though Provi- 
dence, for a time, may cast us into bad places, yei 
we ought to tarry there no longer than needs must; 
we may sojourn there, where we may not settle. 
2. A good man, while he is on this side heaven, 
wherever he is, is but a sojourner. 

III. A great fault which Abram was guilty of, in 
denying his wife, and pretending that she was his 
sister. The scripture is impartial in relating the 
misdeeds of the most celebrated saints, which are 
recorded, not for our imitation, but for cur admoni- 
tion; that he who thinks he stands, may take heed 
lest he fall. 1. His fault was, dissembling his rela- 
tion to Sarai, equivocating concerning it, and teach- 
ing his wife, and, probably, all his attendants, to do 
so too. What he said, was, in a sense, time, {ch 
20. 12.) but with a purpose to deceive; he so con- 
cealed a further truth, as, in effect, to deny it, and 
to expose thereby both his wife and the Egy-ptians 
to sin. 2. That which was at the bottom of it, was 
a jealous timorous fancy he had, that some of the 
Egyptians would be so charmed Avith the beauty of 
SfTrai, (Egypt producing few such beauties,) that if 
they should know he was her husband, they would 
find some Avay or other to take him off, that they 
might marry her. He presumes they would rather 
be guilty of murder than adultery; such a heinous 
crime was it then accounted, and such a sacred re- 
gard was paid to the marriage-bond: hence he in- 
fers, without any good reason. They will kill me. 
Note, The fear of man brings a snare, and m ny arc 
driven to sin by the dread of death, Luke 12. A, 5. 
The grace Abram was most eminent for, was, faith; 
and yet he thus fell, through unbelief and distrust 
of the Divine Providence, even after God had ap- 
peared to him twice. Alas, what will become cf the 
willows, when the cedars are thus shaken.^ 

1 4. And it came to pass that when Abram 
was come into E^pt, the Egyptians behold 
the woman, that she was very fair. 1 5. 'The 
princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and com- 
mended her before Pharaoh ; and the woman 
v\ as taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16. And 
he entreated Abram well for her sake : 
and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asscs, 
and men-servants, and maid-servant.^, and 
she-asscs, and camels. 17. And the Lohd 
plaioued Pharaoh and his house with srent 
plagues, because of Sarai Abram’s wife. 
! 6. And Pharaoh calEd Abram, and said, 
i What is this that thou hast done unto me ? 
i Why didst thou not tell me that she teas thy 
I wife ? 19. Whv saidst thou. She is my sis- 

' ter ? So I might have taken her to me to 
i wife : now tlu;r(‘forc behold thv wife, take 


89 


GENESIS, XIII. 


^ler, and go thy way. 20. And Pharaoh 
commanded his men concerning him ; and 
they sent him away, and his wife, and all 
that he had. 

Here is, 

I. The dang v Sarai was in of having her chastity 
violated by the king of Egypt. And, without doubt, 
the peril of sin is the greatest peril we can be in. 
P/iarao/i’s princes (his pimps rather) saw her, and 
observing what a comely woman she was, they com- 
mended her before Pharaoh; not for that which was 
reallv her praise — her virtue and modesty, her faith 
and piety, (those were no excellencies in their eyes,) 
but for her beauty, which they thought too good for 
the embraces of a subject, and worthy the admira- 
tion of the king; and she was presently taken into 
Pharaoh’s house, as Esther into the seraglio of Aha- 
suerus, (Esth. 2. 8.) in order to her being taken into 
his bed. Now we must not look upon Sarai as 
standing fair for preferment, but as entering into 
temptation; and the occasions of it were, her own 
beauty, which is a snare to many, and Abram’s 
equivocation, which is a sin that commonly is an in- 
let to much sin. While Sarai was in this danger, 
Abram fared the better for her sake; Pharaoh gave 
him sheep, and oxen, &c. (x^. 16.) to gain his con- 
sent with her whom they supposed his sister. We 
cannot think that Abram expected this when he 
came down into Egypt, much less that he had an 
eye to it when he denied his wife; but God brought 
good out of evil. And thus the wealth of the sinner 
proves, some way or other, laid up for the just. 

II. The deliverance of Sarai from this danger. 
For if God did not deliver us, many a time, by pre- 
rogative, out of those straits and distresses which 
we bring ourselves into by our own sin and folly, and 
which therefore we could not expect any deliver- 
ance from by promise, we should soon be mined, 
nay, we had been ruined long before this. He deals 
not with us according to our deserts. 

1. God chastised Pharaoh, and so prevented the 
progress of his sin. Note, Those are happy chas- 
tisements, that hinder us in a sinful way, and effec- 
tually bring us to our duty, and particularly to 
the duty of restoring that which we have wrongfully 
taken and detained. Observe, Not Pharaoh only, 
but his house, was plagued; probably, those princes 
especially that had commended Sarai to Pharaoh. 
Note, Partners in sin are justly made partakers 
in the punishment. Those that serve others’ lusts, 
must expect to share in their plagues. We are 
not told particularly what these plagues were ; but, 
doubtless, there was something in the plagues them- 
selves, or some explication added to them, sufficient 
to con\ ince them that it was for Sarai’s sake that 
they were thus plagued. 

2. Pharaoh reproved Abram, and then dismissed 
him with respect. 

(1.) The reproof was calm, but very just; What 
is this that thou hast done? What an improper 
thing! How unbecoming a wise and good man! 
Note, If those that profess religion, do that which 
is unfair and disingenuous, especially if they sav 
!hat which borders upon a lie, they must expect to 
le^r of it, and have reason to thank those that will 
tell them of it. We find a prophet of the Lord 
justly reproved and upbraided by a heathen ship- 
master, Jon. 1. 6. Pharaoh reasons with ,him. 
Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 
Intimating, that if he had known that, he would not 
have taken her into his house. Note, It is a fault 
too common among good people, to entertain sus- 
picions of others beyond what there is cause for. 
We have often found more of virtue, honour, and 
conscience, in some people, than we thought they 

Voi. i — M 


possessed; and it ought to be a pleasure to us to be 
thus disappointed, as Abram was here, who found 
Pharaoh to be a better man than he expected. 
Charity teaches us to hope the best. 

(2.) The dismission was kind, and very generous. 
He returned him his wife without offering any inju- 
ry to her honour, v. 19, Behold thy wife, take her. 
Note, Those that would prevent sin, must lemove 
the temptation, or get out of the way of it. He also 
sent him away in peace, and was so far from any 
design to kill him, as he apprehended, that he took 
particular care of him. Note, We often perplex 
and insnare ourselves with fears which soon appear 
to have been altogether groundless. \\'e often fear, 
where no fear is. We fear the fury of the op- 
pressor, as though he were ready to destroy, when 
really there is no danger, Isa. 51. 13. It had been 
more for Abram’s credit and comfort, to have told 
the truth at first; for, after all, honesty is the best 
policy. Nay, it is said, v. 20, Pharaoh command- 
ed his meji concerning him; that is, [1.] He charged 
them net to injure him in any thing. Note, It is 
not enough for those in authority, that they do not 
hurt themselves, but they must restrain their ser- 
vants, and those about them, from doing hurt. Or, 
[2.] He appointed them, when Abram was disposed 
to return home, after the famine, to conduct him 
safe out of the country, as his convoy. Probably, he 
was alarmed by the plagues, v. 17, and inferred 
from tliem, that Abram was a particular favourite 
of Heaven, and therefore, through fear of their re- 
turn, took special care he should receive no injury 
in his country. 

Note, God has often raised up friends for his peo 
pie, by making men know that it is at their peril if 
they burt them. It is a dangerous thing to offend 
Christ’s little ones, Matth. 18. 6. To this passage, 
among others, the Psalmist refers, Ps. 105. 13. .15. 
He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch 
not mine anointed. Perhaps, if Pharaoh had not 
sent him away, he would have been tempted to stay 
in Egypt, and to forget the land of promise. N ite. 
Sometimes God makes use of the enemies of 1 is 
people, to convince them, and remind them, that 
this world is not their rest, but that they must think 
of departing. Lastly, Observe a resemblance be- 
tween this deliverance of Abram out of Egypt, and 
the deliverance of his seed thence : 430 years after 
Abram went into Egypt on occasion of a famine, 
they went thither, on occasion of a famine also; he 
was fetched out with great plagues on Pharaoh, so 
were they; as Abram was dismissed by Pharaoh, 
and enriched with the spoil of the E^^ptians, so 
were they. For God’s care of his people is the 
same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. 

CHAP. XIII. 

In this chapter, we have a further account concerning 
Abram. I. In general, of his condition and behaviour in 
the land of promise, which was now the land of his pil- 
grimage. 1. His removes, v. 1, 3, 4, 18. 2. His riches, 

V. 2, 3. His devotion, v. 4, 18. II. A particular ac- 
count of a quarrel that happened between him and Lot. 
1. The unhappy occasion of their strife, v. 5, 6. 2. The 

parties concerned in the strife, with the aggravation of 
it, v. 7. HI. The making up of the quarrel, by the pru- 
dence of Abram, v. 8, 9. IV. Lot’s departure fVom 
Abram to the plain of Sodom, v. 10. .12. V. God’s ap- 
pearance to .\bram, to confirm the promise of the la^ 
of Canaan to him, v. 14. .17. 

land Abram went up out of Ee:ypt, 
he, and his wife, and all that he nad, 
and Lot with him, into the south. 2. And 
Abram ims very rich in cattle, in silver, and 
in gold. 3. And he went on his journies 
from the south even to Beth-el, unto the 
place where his tent had been at the be- 


90 


GENESIS, Xlll. 


ginning, between Beth-el and Hai ; 4. 

Unto the place of the altar which he had 
made theie at the first : and diere Abram 
called on the name of the Lord. 

Here is, 

I. Abram’s return out of Egypt, t'. 1. He came 
himself, and brought all his. with him, back again to 
Canaan. Note, Though there may be occasion to 
go sometimes into places of temptation, yet we 
must hasten out of them as soon as possible. See 
Ruth 1. 6. 

II. His wealth, v. 2, He ivas very rich. He was 

very heavy, so the Hebrew word signifies. For 
riches are a burthen, and they that v'ill be rich, do 
but load themselves with thick clay, Hab. 2. 6. 
There is a burthen of care in getting them, fear 
in keeping them, temptation in using them, guilt in 
abusing tliem, sorrow in losing them, and a bur- 
then of account, at last, to be given up concerning 
them. Great possessions do but make men heavy 
and unwieldy. Abram was not only rich in faith 
and good works, and in the promises, l)ut he was 
rich in cattle, and in silver and gold. Note, 1. God 
m his providence, sometimes makes good men rich 
men, and teaches them how to abound, as well as 
now to suffer want. 2. The riches cf good men are 
the fruits of God’s blessing. God had said to 
Abram, I will bless thee; and that blessing made 
nim rich without sorrow. Prov. 10. 22. 3. True 

piety will very well consist with great prosperity. 
Though it is hard for a rich man to get to heaven, 
yet it is not impossible, Mark 10. 23, 24. Abram 
was ver)' rich, and yet very religious. Nay, as 
piety is a friend to outward prosperity, 1 Tim. 4. 
8, so outward prosperity, if well managed, is an or- 
nament to piety, and an opportunity of doing so 
much the more good. 

III. His removal to Beth-el, v. 3, 4. Thither he 
went, not only because there he had formerly had 
nis tent, and he was willing to go among his old ac- 
quaintance; but liecause there he had, formerly, had 
nis altar: and, though the altar was gone, (proba- 
bly, he himself having taken it down, when he left 
the place, lest it should be polluted by the idola- 
trous Canaanites,) yet he came to the place of the 
altar, either to revive the remembrance of the 
sweet communion he had had with God in that 
place, or, perhaps, to pay the vows he had there 
made to God when he undertook his journey into 
Egypt. Eong afterward, God sent Jacob to this 
same place, on that evrand,'“c/n 35. 1, Go tip to 
Beth-el, where, thou vowedst the vow. We have 
need to be reminded, and sliould take all occas’ons 
to remind ourselves, of our solemn vows; and per- 
haps the place Avhere they were made, may help to 
bring them fresh to mind, and it may therefore do 
us good, 

IV. Plis devotion there. His altar was gone, so 
that he could not offer s icrihee; but he called on the 
name o f the Lord, as he h ad done, ch. 12. 8. Note, 

1. All God’s pec.jjle are pian'ing ];eo])le. You may 
as soon find a li\ ing man without breath, as a living 
Christian without pr iver. 2. 'Fhose that would ap- 
prove theniselves iipright with their God, must l)e 
constant and persevering in the services of religion. 
Abram did lu t leave his religion behind him in 
Egypt, as m niv do in their travels. 3. When we 
cannot do nvhat we would, wc must make conscience 
of doing what we ran, in the acts of devotion. 
W’hen we want an altar, let us not be wanting in 
prayer, l)ut, wherever we are, call on the name of 
the Lord. 

5. Alul Lot also, which went with Abram, 
nacl flocks, and herds, and tents. 6. And 
.he land was not able to bear them, that 


they might dwell together: for their sub- 
stance w^as great, so that they could not 
dwell together. 7. And there was a striti 
between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle 
and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle : and llie 
Canaanite and the Perizzite dw'elled then 
in the land. 8. And Abram said unto 
Lot, Let there be no strife, 1 pray thee, be- 
tw'een me and thee, and between my herd- 
men and thy herdmen ; for we be brethren. 
9. Is not the whole land before thee ? Sepa- 
rate thyself, I pray thee, from me : if thou 
-wilt take the left-hand, then I will go to the 
right; or if thou de-part to the right-hand, 
then I will go to the left. 

We have here an unhappy falling-out between 
Abram and Lot, who had hitherto been inseparable 
companions; (see v. 1, and ch. 12. 4,) but now 
parted. 

I. The occasion of their quarrel was their riches. 

We read, v. 2, how rich Abram was; now here we 
are told, v. 5, that Lot which went with Mram, 
was rich too; God blessed him with riches, because 
he went wdth Abram. Note, 1. It is good being in 
good company, and going with those with whe m 
God is, Zech. 8. 23. 2. Those that are partners 

with God’s people in their obedience and sufferings, 
shall be sharers with them in their joys and Cf m- 
forts, Isa. 66. 10. Now, they both being very rich., 
the land was not able to bear them that they might 
dwell comfortably and peaceably together. So that 
their riches may be considered, (1.) As setting them 
at a distance one from another; because the place 
was too strait for them, and they had not room f r 
their stock, it was necessary they should li\e asun- 
der. Note, Every comfort in this world has its 
cross attending it. Business is a comfort: but it lias 
this inconvenience in it, that it allows us not the so- 
ciety of those we love, so often, nor so k^ng, as we 
could wish. (2.) As setting them at variance one 
with another. Note, Riches are often an ( cc;>si('n 
of strife and contention among relations and neii’li- 
bours. This is one of those foolish and hurtf I 
lusts, which they that will be rich, fall into, 1 Tim. 
6. 9. Riches not only afford matter for contentir n, 
and are the things most commonly striven ab(ut; 
but they also stir up a spirit of contention, iiy 
making people proud and covetous. Meum and 
tuum — Mine and Thine, are the gi-eat make-Iiatcs 
of the world. Poverty and travail, wants and wan- 
derings, could not separate between Abram and 
Lot; but riches did it. Friends are soon lost; l;ut 
God is a Friend from whose love neither the height 
of prosperity, nor the depth of adversity, shall sepa- 
rate us. 

II. The immediate instniments of the ciinncl 
were their servants. The strife began between the 
herdmen of Abram's cattle, and the herdmen cf 
Lot's cattle, v. 7. They strove, it is probable, 
which should have the better pasture, or the liettei- 
water; and both interested their masters in the 
cjuarrel. Note, Bad servants often m:ike a gre;it 
deal of mischief in families, by their pride and pas 
sion, their lying, slandering, and tale-bearing. It 
is a very wicked thing for servants to do ill offices 
between relations and neighbours, and to sow dis- 
cord; those that do so, are the Devil’s agents, and 
their masters’ worst enemies. 

III. The aggravation of the quarrel was, that the 
Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land, 
this made the quarrel, 1. Very (/a7/^c7-07/s; if Abram 
and Lot cannot agree to feed their flocks togethi r, 


91 


GENESIS, XIII. 


it is well if the common enemy do not come upon 
them, and plunder them both. Note, The division 
of families and churches often proves the min of 
them. 2. Very scandalous. No doubt, the eyes 
of all the neighbours were upon them, especially 
because of the singularity of their religion, and the 
extraordinary sanctity they professed; and notice 
would soon be taken of this quarrel, and improve- 
ment made of it, to their reproach, by the Canaan- 
ites and Perizzites. Note, The quarrels of pro- 
fessors are the reproach of profession, and give 
occasion, as much as any thing, to the enemies of 
the Lord to blaspheme. 

IV. The making up of this quarrel was very- 
happy. It is best to preserve the peace, that it be 
not broken ; but the next best is, if differences do 
happen, with all speed to accommodate them, and 
quench the fire that is broken out. 'I'he motion for 
staying this strife was made by Abram, though he 
was the senior and superior relation. 

1. His petition for peace was very affectionate. 
Let there be no strife, I firay thee. Abram here 
shows himself to be a man, (1.) Of a coo/ spirit, 
that had the command of his passion, and knew 
how to turn away wrath with a soft answer. Those 
that would keep the peace, must never render rail- 
ing for railing. (2.) Of a condescending spirit; lie 
was willing to beseech even his inferior to be at 
peace, and made the first overture of reconciliation. 
Conquerors reckon it their glory to give peace by- 
power; and it is no less so to give peace by the 
meekness of wisdom. Note,’The people of God 
should always approve themselves a peaceable peo- 
ple; whatever others are for, they' must be for 
peace. 

2. His plea for peace was very cogent. (1.) 

“Let there be no strife bet’a>een me and thee. Let 
the Canaaiiites and Perizzites contend about trifles; 
but let not me and thee fall out, who know better : 
things, and look for a bptter country. ” Note, Pro- j 
fessors of religion should, of all others, be careful to 
avoid contention. Ye shall not be so, Luke 22. 26. 
We have no such custom, 1 Cor. 11. 16. “Let j 
there be no strife between me and thee, who have 
lived together and loved one another, so long.” | 
Note, The remembrance of old friendships should 
(Quickly put an end to new quarrels which at any ‘ 
time happen. (2.) Let it be remembered that lyc 
are brethren, Heb. We are men brethren; a double 
argument. [1.] We are men; and, as men, we are , 
mortal creatures, we may die to-morrow, and are 
concerned to be found in peace; we are rational 
creatures, and should be ruled by reason. We are j 
men, and not brutes, men, and not children; we are ' 
sociable creatures, let us be so to the uttermost. ! 
[2.] We are brethren. Men of the same nature, j 
of the same kindred and family, of the same re- 
lig-ion; companions in oljedience, companions in ! 
patience. Note, The consideration of cur relation j 
to each other, as brethren, should ahvays prevail to 
moderate our p issions, and either to prevent, or put j 
an end to, our contentions. Brethren should love j 
as brethren. ■ 

3. His proposal for peace was very fair. Manv 
jvho profess to be for peace, yet will do nothing to- 
wards it; but Abram hereby approved himself a 
real friend to peace, that he proposed an unexcep- 
tionable expedient for the preserving of it, v. 9, 

Is not the whole land before thee? As if he had said, 
“Why should we quarrel for room, while there is 
room enough for us both?” (1.) He concludes that 
they must part, and is very desirous that they should 
part friends. Sefiarate thyself, I firay thee, from 
me. What could be expressed more affectionately ? 
He does not expel him, and force him away, but 
advises that he should sep '.rate himself. Nor dees j 
he charge him to depart, but humbly desires him to I 


|! withdraw'. Note, Those that have power to com- 
! man !, yet, sometimes, for love’s sake, and peace 
I sake, should rat her beseech, as Paul Philemon, v. 
8, 9. When the great God condescends to beseech 
us, we may wel 1 afford to beseech one another, to 
be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5. 20. (2.) He offers him a 

sufficient share )f the land they were in. Though 
God had prom sed Abram to give this land to his 
seed, cn. 12. 7, and it does not appear that ever any 
such pi amise was made to Let, which Abram might 
have insisted on, to the total exclusion of Lot; yet 
he allo^/s him to come in partner with him, ^d 
tenders an equal share to one that had not an equal 
Tight, and will noi make God’s promise to patronise 
his quarrel, nor under the protection of that, put 
any hardship upon his kinsman. (3.) He gives him 
his choice, and offers to take up with his leavings; 
If thou wilt rake the left hand, I will go to the 
right. 1‘here was all tlie reason in the world, that 
Abram should choose first; yet he recedes from his 
right. Note, It is a noble conquest, to be willing to 
yield for jieace sake; it is the conquest of ourselves, 
and our o\/n pride and passion, Matth. 5. 39, 40. It 
is not only the punctilios of honour, but even interest 
itself, that, in many cases, must be sacrificed to 
peace. 

1 0. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and be- 
held all the plain of Jordan, that it was well- 
watered evei'y where, before the Lord de- 
stroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, tvcii as the 
garden of the Lord, like the land of Egy'pt, 
as thou comest unto Z oar. 11. Then Lot 
chose him all the plain of Jordan ; and Lot 
journeyed east : and they separated them- 
selves the one from the other. 12. Abram 
dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot 
dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitch- 
ed his tent toward Sodom. 13. But the 
men'of Sodom icere wicked, and sinners be- 
•fore the Lord exceedingly. 

We have here the choice that Lot made when 
he parted fiom Abram; upon this occasion, one 
wou'd have expected, 1. That he should have ex- 
pressed an unwillingness to part from Abram, and 
that, at least, he should ha\ e done it with re’.uct .n- 
cy. 2. That he shoidd have been so civil as to ha\ e 
remitted the choice back again to Abram. But we 
find not any instance of deference or respect to his 
uncle, in the whole management. Abram having 
offered liim the choice, without compliment he ac- 
cepted it, and made his election. Passion and sel- 
fishne.ss make men nide. Now, in the choice which 
Lot made, we may observe, 

I. How much he had an eye to the goodness of 
the land. He behn'd all the plain of Jordan, the flat 
counti-y in which Sodom stood, that it was admira- 
biy well warrred ..very where, (and perhaps the 
strife had been about water, which made him par- 
ticularly fond cf the con\ enience,) and so Lot chose 
him all that plain, v. 10, 11. That vallev which 
w.is like the garden of Eden itself, now yielded him 
a nrost pleas mt prospect; it was, in his eye, beauti 
ful for situation, the joy of the whole eirth; and 
therefore he doubted not that it would yield him a 
comfortable settlement, and that in such a fruitful 
soil he should certainly thrive, and grow \ eiy rich; 
and this was all he looked at. But what came cf it? 
Why, the next news we hear of him, is, that he is 
in the briers among them, he and his carried cap- 
tive; while he lived among tliem, he vexed his 
righteous soul with their oonr ers 'tion, and nevei 
had a good day with them, till, at last, God fired the 


92 


GENESIS, Xlll. 


town over his head, and forced him to the mountain 
for safety, who chose the pLun for we dtli and plea- 
sure. Note, Sensu.d clioices ai-e sinful choices, and 
seldom speed well. Those who in choosing rela- 
tions, callings, dwellings, or settlements, are guided 
wid governed by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of 
the eye, or the pride of life, and consult not the in- 
'£rests of their souls and their religion, cannot ex- 
pect God’s presence with them, nor his blessing 
ipon them, but are commonly dis.ippointed even in 
.jiat which they piincipally aimed at, and miss of 
I’.iat which they promised themselves satisfaction in. 
In all our choices, this principle should over-rule us. 
That this is the best for us, which is best for our 
■iou's. 

II. How little he considered the badnesn of the 
mhabitants. But the men of Sodom nuere wicked, 
z>. 13. Note, 1. Though all are sinners, yet some 
ai'e greater sinners than others; the men of Sodom 
were sinners of the first magnitude, sinnem before 
die Lord, tluhis, impudent daring sinners; they were 
so, to a pros ei’b; hence we read of those that declare 
their sin as Sodom, they hide it not, Isa. 3. 9. 2. 

That some sinners are the worse for Us ing in a good 
land. So the Sodomites were; for this was the ini- 
quity of Sodom, firide, fullness of bread, and abun- 
dance of idleness ; and all these were supported by 
t le great plenty their country afforded, Ezek. 16. 
49. Thus the fii'&s/ierity of fools destroys them. 
3. That God often gives gre.'t plenty to great sin- 
ners. Filthy Sodomites dwell in a city, a fruitful 
plain, while faithful Abram and his pious family 
dwell in tents upon the barren mountains. 4. 
When wickedness is come to the height, ruin is not 
f ir off'. Abounding sins are sure presages of ap- 
proachingjudgments. Now Lot’s coming, to dwell 
among the Sodomites may be considered, (^1.) As 
a gve t mercy to them, and a likely means of bring- 
ing them to repentance; for now they had a pro- 
phet among them, and a preacher of righteousness; 
if they had he .rkened to him, they might have 
been reformed, and the ruin prevented. Note, God 
sends preachers, before he sends destroyers; for he 
is not willing that any should perish. (2.) Asa 
great affliction to Lot, who w s not on!y grieved to 
see their wickedness, (2 Pet. 2. 7, 8.) but rvas mo- 
lested and persecuted by them, because he would 
not do as they did. Note, It has often been the 
vexatious lot of good men,’ to live among wicked 
neighbours, to sojourn in Mesech, (Ps. 120. 5.) and 
it cannot but be the more grievous, if, as Lot here, 
tliey have brought it upon themselves by an unad- 
vised choice. 

14. And the Lord said unto Abram, af- 
ter that Lot was separated from him, Lift 
up now thine eyes, and look from the place 
where thou art, north-ward, and south-ward, 
and east-ward, and west-ward: 15. Eor 
all the land which thou seest, to thee will I 
f^ive it, and to thy seed for ever. 16. And I 
will make thy seed as tlie dust of the earth : 
so that if a man can number the dust of the 
earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 
17. Arise, walkthrough the land in the 
length of it and in the breadth of it ; for I 
will give it unto thee. 1 8. Then Abram re- 
moved his tent, and came and dwelt in the 
olain of Mature, which is in Hebron, and 
(milt there an altar unto the Lord. 

We have here an account of a gracious visit 
♦hich God made to Aliram, to confirm the promise 
*>, him and his. Observe, 


I I. When it was that God renewed and ratifiet* 
the promise; ayfer that Lot was separated from him 
tliat is, 1. After the quarrel was over; for those arf 
best prepared fer the vis'ts of divine grace, whost 
spirits are calm and sedate, and not ruffled with anj 
p..ssion. 2. After Abram’s humble self-denyint 
condescensions to Let for the preserving of peace; ' 
was then that God came to him with this token cf 
his fa\ our. Note, God will abundantly make up ir 
spiritual peace, what we lose for the preserving of 
neighbourly peace. When Abram had willingly 
offered Lot one half cf his right, God came, anc 
confirmed the whole to him. 3. After he had lost 
the comfortable society of his kinsman, by whose 
departure his hands were weakened, and his heai-i 
saddened; then God came to him with these good 
words, and comfortable words. Note, Communicr 
with God may, iJt any time, serve to make up the 
want of conversation with our friends; when our re- 
lations are separated from us, yet God is not. 4. 
After Lot had chosen that jileasant, fruitful vale, 
and was gone to take possession of it; lest Abram 
should be tempted to envy him, and to repent that 
he had given him the choice, God comes to him, 
and assures him that what he had, should remain to 
him and his heirs for ex<er ; so that though I.ot per- 
haps had the better land, yet Abram had the better 
title ; Lot had the paradise, such as it was, but 
Abram had the promise; and the event seen made 
it appear that, however it seen.ed now, Abram had 
really the better part. See Job 22. 20. Gcd own- 
ed Abram after h's strife with Lot, as the churches 
did Paul after his strife with Barnabas, Acts 15. 
39, 40. 

II. The promises themselves which Gcd new 
comforted and enriched Abram with. Two tilings 
he assures him of; a good land, and a numerous 
issue to enjoy' it. 

1. Here is the grant of a good land, aland fameus 
above all lands, for it was to be the holy land, and 
Immanuel’s land; this is the land here spoken cf. 
(1.) God here shows Abram the land, as he h..d 
promised, {ch. 12. 1.) and afterward he showed it 
to Moses from the top of Pisgah. Lot had lifted up 
his eyes, and beheld the plain of Jordan, (x'. It . j 
and he was gone to enjoy what he saw: “ Ceme,'’ 
says God to Abram, “now lift thou up thine eyes, 
and look, and see thine own.'" Note, That which 
God has to show us, is infinitely better and more de- 
sirable than any thing that the world has to offer to 
our view. The prospects of an eye of fahh are 
much more rich and beautiful than those of an eye 
of sense. Those for whom the heavenly Canaan is 
designed in the other world, have sometimes, by 
faith, a comfortable prospect of it in their piesent 
state; for we look at the things that are not seen, 
as real, though distant. (2.) He secures this land 
to him and his seed for ever ; {v. 15. ) To thee will I 
give it : and again (r. 17.) I will give it unto thee ; 
every repetition of the pi’omise is a I’atification cf .t. 
To thee and thy seed, not to Lot and his seed; they 
were not to have their inhei'itance in this land, and 
thei'efoie Pi'ovidence so order ed it, that he should 
be separated from Abram fir’st, arrd then the g^-ant 
should be confirmed to him and his seed; thus God 
often brings good out of evil, and makes men’s s'trs 
and follies subserwient to his owrr wise and holy cevtn- 
sels. To thee and thy seed ; to thee, to sojouni as a 
str-anger; to thy seed, to dwell and rarle in as pr eprie- 
tors. To thee] that is, to thy seed. The gi'arrt.ng 
it to him and his for ever*, intimates that it was 
typical of the heavenly Canaan, whiclr is given to 
the spiritual seed of Abi-am for ever-, Heb. 11. 14. 
(3.) He giv'es him livery arrd seisin of it, though it 
was a reversion, z>. 17, “ .drise, walk through the 
land. Enter and take possession, survey the par 
I cels, and it will appear better than upon a distarv; 


GENESIS, XIV. 9:J 


prospect.” Note, God is willing more abundantly' 
to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of | 
his covenant, and tbe inestimable w'oith of covenant- ' 
bless ngs. Go, vialk about Zion, Ps. 48. 12. i 

2. riere is the promise of a numerous issue to re- ' 

[ ilenish this good land, so that it should never be I 
ost for wiuit of heirs, v. 16, Iivill make thy seed as j 
the dust oj the earth, that is, “ They shall mcrease 
incredib’y* arid, take them altogether, they sh ill be i 
such a great multitude as no man can number.” j 
They were so in Sodom’s time, 1 Kings 4. 20. Ju- 
dah and Israel -were majiy as the sand which is by ■ 
the sea in multitude. This God here gives him the 
promise of. Note, The same God that provides the I 
inheritance, provides the heirs. He that has pre- | 
pared the holy land, prepares the holy seed; he that 
gives glory, gives grace to make meet for glory. i 
Lastly, We are told what Abram did, when God 1 
had thus confirmed the promise to him, t. 12. 1. 

He removed his tent. God bid him walk through 
the land, that is, “ Do not think of fixing in it, but 
expect to be always unsettled, and walking through 
it to a better Canaan:” in compliance with God’s 
will herein, he removes his tent, conforming himself 
to the condition of a pilgrim. 2. He budded there 
tn altar, in token of hi: thankfulness to God for the 
Kind visit he had made him. Note, When God 
meets us with gracious promises, he expects that we 
should attend with our humble praises. 

CHAP. XTV. 

We have four things in the story of this chapter. I. A war 
with the king of Sodom and his allies, v. 1 . .11. II. The 
captivity of Lot in that war, v. 12. III. Abram’s rescue 
of Lot from that captivity, with the victory he obtained j 
over the conquerors, v. 13.. 16. IV. Abram’s return | 
from that expedition, (v. 17.) with an account of what i 
passed, 1. Between him and the king of Salem, v. 18 . . 20. j 
2. Between him and the king of Sodom, v. 21 . . 24. So 
that here we have that promise to Abram, in part, fulfill- 
ed, that God would maize his name great. 

1. A ND it came to pass in the days of 
Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch 
king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, 
and Tidal king of nations ; 2. That these 
made war with Berah king of Sodom, and 
with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king 
of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, 
and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3. 
All these were joined together in the vale of 
Siddim, which is the salt-sea. 4. Twelve 
years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the 
thirteenth year they rebelled. 5. And in 
the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, 
and the kings that were, with him, and smote 
the Rephaims in Ashteroth-Karnaim, and 
the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in 
Shaveh-Kiriathaim, 6. And the Horites in 
I heir mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by 
ihe wilderness. 7. And they returned, and 
came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and 
smote all the country of the Amalekites, and 
also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon- 
tamar. 8. And there went out the king of 
Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the 
king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, 
auvl the king of Bela ; (the same is Zoar ;) 
and they joined battle with them in the vale 
)i Si l lim ; 9. Vith Chedorlaomer the king 


of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, 
and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch 
king of Ellasar; four kings with five. 10 
And the vale of Siddim teas full of slime- 
pits ; and the kings of Sodom and Gomor- 
rah fled, and fell there ; and they that re- 
mained fled to the mountain. 1 1. And they 
took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, 
and all their victuals, and went their Wciy. 
12. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s 
son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, 
and departed. 

We ha\ e here an account of the first war that 
ever we read of in scriptui e, which (though the 
wars of the nations make the greatest figui e in Irs- 
tory, we had not had the record of, if Abram and 
Lot had not been concerned in it. Now concerning 
this war, we may observe, 

I. The parties engaged in it. The invaders weie 
four kings; two of them no less than kings of Shinar 
and Elam, that is, Chaldea and Persia; yet, proba- 
bly, not the sovereign princes of those great king- 
doms in their own persons, but either officers under 
them, or rather the heads and leaders of some colo- 
nies which came out of those great nations, and set- 
tled themselves near Sodom, but retained the names 
of the countries from which they had their original. 
The in\ aded were the kings of five cities that lay 
near together in the plain of Jordan; Sodom; Go- 
morrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar. Four of them 
are named, but not the fifth, the king of Bela; either 
because he was much more mean and inconsidera- 
ble, or because he was much more wicked and in- 
glorious, than the rest, and worthy to be forgotten. 

II. The occasion of this war was, the revolt of 
the five kings from under the government of Che- 
dorlaomer. Twelve years they served him. Small 
joy had they of their fruitful land, while thus they 
were tributaries to a foreign power, and could not 
call what they had their own. Rich countries are 
a desirable prey, and idle luxurious countries are 
an easy prey, to growing greatness. The Sodom- 
ites were the posterity of Canaan whom Noah had 
pronounced a servant to Shem, from whom Elam 
descended; thus soon did that prophecy begin to be 
fulfilled. In the 13th year, beginning to be weary 
of their subjection, they rebelled, denied their tri- 
bute, and attempted to shake off the yoke, and re- 
trieve their ancient liberties. In the 14th year, after 
some pause and preparation, Chedorlaomer, in con- 
junction with his allies, set himself to chastise the 
rebels, to reduce the re\ olters; and, since he could 
not have it otherwise, to fetch his tribute from them 
upon the point of his sword. Note, Pride, covet- 
ousness, and ambition, are the lusts from which 
wars and fighting come. To those insatiable idols 
the blood of thousands has been sacrificed. 

III. The progress and success of the war. The 
four kings laid the neighbouring country waste, and 
enriched themselves with the spoil of them, v. 5... 
7, upon the alarm of which, it had been the wisdom 
of the king of Sodom to submit, and desire condi- 
tions of peace; for how could he grapple with an 
enemy thus flushed with victory? But he would 
rather venture the utmost extremity than yield, and 
it sped accordingly; Quos Deus destruet, eos de- 
mentat — Those whom God means to destroy, he de- 
livers up to infatuation. 

1. The forces of the king of Sodom and his allies 
were routed; and, it should seem, many of them 
perished in the slime-pits, who had escaped the 
sword, V. 10. In all places, we are surrounded 


94 


GENESIS, XIV 


with deaths of various kinds, especially in the field | 
of battle. 

2. The cities were plundered, v. 11. All the 
goods of Scxlom, and particularly their stores and 
pro.is onsof \ ;ct;ials, were carried off by the con- I 
querors. Note, When men abuse the gifts of a ; 
bo'.int'fal pro. idence to gluttony and excess, it is just 
vv th God, and his usual way, by some judgment or 
other, to strip them of that which they have so 
abused, Hcs. 2. 8, 9. 

3. Lot was carried captive, x'. 12. They took 

I..ot among the rest, and his goods. Now Lot may 
here be considered, (1.) As sharing with his neigh- 
bours in this common calamity. Though he was 
h mself a righteous man, and (which here is ex- 
pressly not ced) Abram’s brother’s son, vet he was 
m . olved with the rest in this trouble. Kote, [1.] j 

things comt alike to all, Eccl. 9. 2. The best 
of men cannot promise themselves to be exempted 
from the greatest troubles in this life; neither our 
own piety, nor our relation to those who are the fa- 
vourites of heaven, will be our security, when God’s 
judgments are abroad. [2.] Many an honest man 
t ires the Avorse for his wicked neighbours; it is 
therefore our wisdom to separate ourseh es, or, at 
least, to distinguish ourselves from them, 2 Cor. 6. 
17, and so deliver ourselves. Rev. 18. 4. (2.) As 

smart.ng for the foolish choice he made of a settle- 
ment here: this is plainly intimated here, when it is 
said. They took Abram's brother's son, who dwelt 
in Sodom. So near a relation of Abram should 
have been a companion and disciple of Abram, and 
should have abode by his tents; but if he choose to 
dwell in Sodom, he must thank himself, if he share 
in Sodom’s calamities. Note, When we go out of 
the Avay of our duty, we put ourselves from under 
God’s protection, and cannot expect that the choi- 
ces Avhich are made by our lusts, should issue to our 
comfort Particular mention is made of their taking 
Lot’s goods, those goods which had occasioned his 
contest with Abram, and his separation from him. 
Note, It is just Avith God to deprive us of those en- 
joyments by Avhich Ave haA e suffered ourselves to 
oe deprived of our enjoyment of him. 

13. And there came one that had es- 
caped, and told Abram the Hebrew ; for 
he dwelt in the plain of jMamre the A mo- 
rite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of 
.\ner : and these icere confederate with 
Abram. 14. And when Abram heard that 
his brother was taken captive, he armed 
his trained servants, born in his own house, 
three hundred and eighteen, and pursued 
them unto Dan. 15. And he divided him- 
self against them, he and his servants, by 
night, and smote them, and pursued lliem 
unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of 
Damascus. 16. And he brought back all 
t!ie goods, and also brought again his bro- 
ther Lot. and his goods, and the women 
also, and the people. 

h lA C bcrc an account of the only militan' ac- 
t'on Ave ever find Abram engaged in; and this he 
Avas pr impted to not by his avarice or ambition, 
ljut purely bv a j)rlnc'])le of charity; it was not to 
enrich h'mse’f, but to help his friend. Never Avas 
any military expedition undertaken, prosecuted, 
and finished, more honourably than this of Abram’s. 

Here is, 

I. The tidings brought him of his kinsman’s dis- 
tress Providence so ordered it, that he noAV so- 


journed not far off, that he might be a A’ery pre- 
sent help. 1. He is here called Abram the Hebrew, 
that is, the son and folloAver of Heber, in Avhose fa- 
mily the profession of the true rel gicn Avas kept up 
in that degenerate age. Abram herein acted like a 
HebrcAV — in a manner not unwoithy the name and 
character of a religious professor. 2. The tidings 
Avere brought by one that had escaped Avith his life 
for a prey. Probably, he Avas a Sodomite, and as 
bad as the Avorst of them; yet, knoAving Abram’s 
relation to Lot, and concern for him, he implores 
h.s help, and hopes to speed for Lot’s sake. Note, 
The Avorst of men, in the day of their trouble, Avil’ 
be glad to claim acquaintance Avith those that are 
Avise and good, and so get an interest in them. The 
rich man in hell, called Abram Father; and the 
foolish virgins make court to the Avise for a share 
of their oil. 

II. The preparations he made for this expedition. 
The cause Avas plainly good, his call to engage in it 
was clear; and therefore, Avith all speed, he armed 
his trained ser-aants, bom in his house, to the num- 
ber of three hundred and eighteen. A great family, 
but a small army, about as many as Gideon’s that 
routed the Midianites, Judg. 7. 7. He drew out his 
trained serA ants, or his catechised servants, not onl\ 
instructed in the art of war, wh’ch Avas then tar 
short of the perfection Avhich later and AA’orse ages 
have improved it to, but instructed in the principles 
of religion; for Abram commanded his household 
to keep the Avav of the Lord. This shoAvs that 
Abram Avas, 1. A great man, Avho had so many ser- 
A’ants depending upon him, and employed by him; 
Avhich Avas not only his strength and honour, but 
gave him a great opportunity of doing good, Avhich 
is idl that is truly valuable' and desTable in greal^ 
places and great estates. 2. A good man, Avho not 
only served God himself, but instructed all about 
him in the service of God. Note, Those that have 
great families, have not only many bodies, but many 
souls beside their OAvn, to take care of and provide 
for. 3'hose that Avould be found the followers of 
Abram, must see that their servants be catechised 
servants. 3. A wise man; for though he Avas a man 
of peace, yet he disciplined his serA ants for Avar, 
not knowing what occasion he might have, some 
time or other, so to employ them. Note, Though 
our holy religion teaches us to be for peace, yet it 
does not forbid us to provide for Avar. 

III. His allies and confederates in this expedi- 
tion. He preA'ailed Avith his neighbours, Auer, 
Eshcol, and Mamre, (Avith whom he kept up a fair 
correspondence,) to go along Avith him. It Avas his 
prudence thus to strengthen his own troops with 
their auxiliary forces; and, probably, they saAv 
themselves concemed, in interest, to act, as they 
could, agamst this formidable poAver, lest their own 
turn should be next. Note, 1. It is our Avisdom and 
duty to behave ourseh es so respectfully and obli- 
gingly tOAvards all men, as that, Avhenever there is 
occasion, they may be Avilling and readv to do us a 
kindness. 2. Those Avho depend on God’s help, 
yet, in times of distress, ought to make use of men’s 
help, as Providence offers it; else they tempt God. 

iV. His courage and conduct Avere a cry remark- 
able. 1. There Avas a great deal of brav ery in the 
enterprise itself, considering the disadA'antages he 
lay under. What could one family of husbandmen 
and shepherds do against the armies of four jirinces, 
Avho noAV came fresh from blood and A'ictory.^ It 
Avas not a vanquished, but a victorious army, that 
he Avas to pursue; nor was he constrained by neces- 
sity to this daring attempt, but moved to it by gene- 
rosity; so that, all things considered, it Avas, for 
aught I knoAV, as great an instance of true courag# 
as ever Alexander or Cxsar Avas celebrated foi 
Note, Religion tends to make men, not coAvaixb 


95 


GENESIS, XIV. 


}'ut truly valiant. The r ghteons is bold as a lion. H 
The trae chr stian is the true hero. 2. There was 
a great deal of pol.cy in the management of it. , 
Abram was no stranger to the stratagems of war; 'j 
he divided himself, as Gideon d d his little army, 
Judg. 7. 16, that he m ght come upon the enemy 
from several quarters at once, and so make h s few . 
seem a great many; he made his attack by night, : 
that he m ght surprise them. Note, Honest pol cy , 
is a good fr.end both to our safety, and to our use- ij 
fulness. The serpent’s head (provided it be nothing ; 
ak n to the old serpent) may well become a good i 
Christian’s body, especially if it have a dove’s eye j 
in it, Matt. 10. 16. | 

V. His success was very cons'derable, v. 15, 16. j 
He defeated his enemies, and rescued his friends; 
and we do not find that he sustained any less. Note, I 
Those that venture in a good cause, with a good 
heart, are under the special protection of a good 
God, and have reason to hope for a good issue. 
Again, It is alt one veith the Lord to sax^e by many 
or by fexv, 1 Sam. 14. 6. Observe, 

1. He rescued h's kinsman; twice here he is call- 
ed his brother Lot; the remembrance of the rela- 
tion that was between them, both by nature and 
grace, made h'm forget the 1 ttle quarrel that had ' 
been between them, m which Lot had by no means 
acted well towards Abram. Justly might Abram 
have upbraided Lot with his folly in quarrelling with 
him and removing from him, and have told h'm 
hat he was well enough served, he might have 
icnown when he was well oflf: but, in the charitable 
breast of pious Abram, it is all forgiv en and for- 
gotten; and he tixkes th's opportunity to give a real 
proof of the sincerity of his reconciliation. Note, I 
(1.) We ought to be ready, whenever it is in the ' 
power of our hands, to succour and relieve those ' 
that are in distress, especially our relations and j 
friends. A brother is born for adversity, Prov. 17. ! 
17. A friend in need is a fr'end indeed. (2. ) Though 
others have been wanting in their duty to us, yet ; 
we must not therefore deny our duty to them. 
Some have said that they can more easily forgive > 
their enemies than theu’ friends: but we shall see { 
ourselves obliged to forgive both, if -we consider, | 
not only that our God, when we were enemies, re- 
concileii us, but also that he fiasseth by the trarrs- | 
gression of the remnant of his heritage, Mic. 7. 18. I 

2. He rescued the rest of the captives, for Lot’s 
sake; though they were strangers to h'm, and such 
as he was under no obligation to at all; nay, though 
they were Sodom’tes, s’nners before the Lord ex- 
ceedingly, and though, probably, he m'ght have 
recovered Lot alone by ransom; yet he brought 
back all the women and the people, and their goods, 
v. 16. Note, As we have opportunity, we must do 
good to all men. Our charity must be extensive, 
as opport’inity offers itself. Wherever God gives 
life, we must not grudge the help we can give to 
support it. God does good to the just and unjust, 
and so must we. Matt. 5. 45. This victory which 
Abram obtained over the kings, the prophet seems 
to refer to, Isa. 41. 2, IVho raised tifi the righteous 
man from the east, and made him rule over kings? 
And some suggest that as before, he had a title to 
this land by grant, so now, by conquest. 

1 7. And the king of Sodom went out to 
meet him, after his return from the slaugh- 
ter of Chedorlaomer and of the kings-that 
were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, 
which is the king’s dale. 18. x\nd Mel- 
cliizedek, king of Salem, brought forth 
bread and wine : and he teas the priest of 
the most high God. 19. x\nd he blessed 


him, and said. Blessed he Abram of the most 
high God, Possessor of heaven and earth : 
20. And blessed he the most high God, 
which hath delivered thine enemies into 
thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all, 

Th s par graph beg'ns with the ment rn cf the 
respect which the k ng cf Sodom pa d to Abram, at 
h's return from the sla'.ghter of the k ngs; but be- 
fore a part e lar account is g.ven of that, the storv 
of Melchizedek is briefly related. Concern ng 
whom, obser\ e, 

I. Who he was. He w s king of Halem and firiesi 

of the most high God; and ether glorious th'ngs are 
said of h m, Heb. 7. 1, &c. 1. The rabbins, and 

most of our r bb nical wr.ters, conclude that Mel- 
chizedek was Shem the son of Noah, who was king 
and pr'est to those that descended from him, ac- 
cording to the patriarchal mcdel. But this is not 
at all probable; for why should his name be chang- 
ed? And how came he to settle in Canaan? 2. 
Many christ'an writers have thought that this was 
an appearance of the Son of God himself, our Lord 
Jesus, known to Abram, at this time, by this name, 
as, afterward, Hagar called him by another name, 
ch, 16. 13. He appeared to him as a righteous king, 
owning a righteous cause, and giving peace. It is 
hard to think that any mere man should be said to 
be xvithout father, without mother, and without 
descent, having neither be^nning of days, nor end 
of life, Heb. 7. 3. It is witnessed of Melchizedek, 
that he liveth, and that he abideth a jiriest continu- 
ally, V. 3, 8; nay, v. 13, 14, the apostle makes him 
of whom these things are spoken, to be our Lord 
who sprang out of Judah. It is likewise hard to 
think that any mere man should, at this time, be 
greater than Abram in the things of God, and that 
Christ should be a priest after the order of any mere 
man, and that any human priesthood should so far 
excel that of Aaron as it is certain that Melchize- 
dek ’s did. 3. The most received opinion is, that 
Melchizedek was a Canaanite prince, that reigned 
in Salem, and kept up the true religion there; but 
if so, why he should occur here only in all the 
story of Abram, why Abram should have altars of 
his own, and not attend the altai's of his neighbour 
Melchizedek who was greater than he, seems un- 
accountable. Mr. Gregory of Oxford tells us, that 
the Arabic Catena, which he builds much upon the 
authority of, gives this account of Melchizedek: 
That he was the son of Heraclim, the sen of Peleg, 
the son of Eber, and that his mother’s name was 
Salathiel, the daughter of Gomer, the son of Ja- 
pheth, the son of "Noah. 

II. Wliat he did. 1. He brought forth bread 
and wine, for the refreshment of Abram and his sol- 
diers, and in congratulation of their victory. This 
he did as a king, teaching us to do good and to com- 
municate, and to be given to hos]oitality, according 
to our ability; and representing the spiritual provi- 
sions of strength and comfort which Christ has laid 
up for us in the covenant of gi-are for our refresh- 
ment, when we are wearied with cur spiritual con- 
flicts. 2. As priest of the most high God, he blessed 
x\bram, which we may suppose a ‘greater refresh- 
ment to Abram than his bread and wine were. 
Thus God, having raised up his son Jesus, has sent 

j him to bless us, as one having authority; and those 
I whom he blesses, are blessed indeed. Christ went 
I to heaven when he was blessing his disciples, Luke 
j 24. 51, for that is it which he ever lives to do. 

I III. MTiat he said, xa 19, 20. Two things were 
said by him, 1. He blessed Abram from God, v. 19, 

' Blessed be Abram, blessed of the most high God. 
j Obser\’e the titles he here gives to God, which are 
I very glorious: (1.) The most high Goc?, which be 


9G GENESIS, XIV. 


speaks his absolute perfections in himself, and his 
sovereigji dominion over all the creatures; he is 
King of kings. Note, It will greatly help both our 
faith and our reverence in prayer, to eye God as 
the most high God, and to call him so. (2.) Pos- 
sf^ssoi' of heaven and earth, that is, rightful Ov/ner, 
and sovereign Lord, of all the creatures; because 
he made them. This bespeaks him a great God, 
and greatly to be praised, Ps. 24. 1, and tl\em a 
hap])y people who have an interest in his favour I 
and love. 2. He blessed God for Abram, v. 20, 
and blessed be the most high God. Note, (!•) 
all our prayers, we must praise God, and join Hal- 
lelujahs with all our Hosannbihs. These are the 
spiritual saci'ifices we must offer up daily, and upon 
particular occasions. (2.) God, as the most high 
God, must have the glory of all our \ ictories, Exod. 
17. 15. 1 Sam.. 7. 10, 12. Judg. 5. 1, 2. 2 Chron. 20. 
21. In them he shoAvs himself higher than our ene- 
mies, Exod. 18. 11, and higher than we; for without 
him we could do nothing. (3.) We ought to give 
thanks for others’ mercies as for our own; triumph- 
ing with them that triumph. (4. ) Jesus Christ, our 
gi-eat High-Priest, is the Mediator both of our 
rayers and praises, and not only offers up our’s, 
ut his own for us. See Luke 10. 21. 

IV. What was done to him. Abram gave hirn 
iithes of all, that is, of the spoils, Heb. 7. 4. This 
may be looked upon, 1. As a gratuity presented to 
Melchizedek, by way of return for his tokens of re- 
spect. Note, They that receive kindness, should 
show kindness. Gratitude is one of nature’s laws. 
2. As an offering vowed and dedicated to the most 
high God, and therefore put into the hands of Mel- 
chizedek his priest. Note, (1.) When we have re- 
ceived some signal mercy from God, it is very fit 
that we should express our thankfulness by some 
special act of pious charity. God must always have 
his dues out of our substance; especially when, by 
any particular providence, he has either preserved 
or increased it to us. (2. ) That the tenth of our in- 
crease is a very fit proportion to be set apart for the 
honour of God, and the service of his sanctuary. 
(3.) That Jesus Christ, our great Melchizedek, is 
to have homage done him, and to be humbly ac- 
knowledged by every one of us as our King and Priest ; 
and not only the tithe of all, but all we have, must 
be surrendered and given up to him. 

21. And the king of Sodom said unto 
Abram, Give me the persons, and take the 
goods to thyself. 22. And Abram said to 
the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand 
unto the Lord, the most high God, the pos- 
sessor of heaven and earth, 23 . That 1 will 
not take from a thread even to a shoe-latch- 
et, and that I will not take any thing that is 
thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made 
Abram rich : 24 . Save only that which the 
young men have eaten, and the portion of 
the men which went with me, Aner,Eshcol, 
and Mamre ; let them take their portion. 

We have here an account of what passed between 
Abram and the king of Sodom, who succeeded him 
that fell in the battle, v. 10, and thought himself 
obliged to do this honour to Abram, in return for 
the good services he had done him. 

Here is, 

I. The king of Sodom’s grateful offer to Abram, 
7>. 21, Give me the soul, and take thou the substance : 
so the Hebrew reads it. Here he fairly begs the 

g ersons, but as freely bestows the goods on Abram. 
Tote, 1. Where a right is dubious and divided, it 


is wisdom to compound the matter by mutual con 
cessions rather than to contend. The king of Sodon ■ 
had an original right both to the persons and to th 
goods, and it would bear a debate whether Abram’ 
acquired right by rescue would supersede his title, 
and extinguish it; but, to prevent all quarrels, the 
king of Sodom makes this fair proposal. 2. Grati- 
tude teaches us to recompense to the utmost of our 
power those that have undergone fatigues, run ha- 
zards, and been at expense, for our service and be- 
nefit. M ho goes a warfare ut his ovm charges? 1 
Cor. 9. 7. Soldiers purchase their pay dearer than 
any labourers, and are well worthy of it, because 
they expose their lives. 

II. Abram’s generous refusal of this offer. He 
not only resigned the persons to him, who, being 
delivered out of the hand of their enemies, ought to 
have served Abram, but he restored all the goods 
too. He would not take from a thread to a shoe- 
latchet, not the least thing that had ever belonged 
to the king of Sodom or any of his. Note, A lively 
faith enables a man to look upon the wealth of this 
world with a holy contempt, 1 John 5. 4. What are 
all the ornaments and delights of sense to on^ that 
has God and heaven ever in his eye? He resolves 
even to a thread and a shoe-latchet; for a tender 
conscience fears offending in a small matter. 

Now, 1. Abram ratifies this resolution with a so- 
lemn oath. I have lift up. mine hand to the Lord, 
that I will not take any thing, v. 22. Here observe, 
( 1. ) The titles he gives to God, Ihe most high God, 
the Possessor of heaven and earth, the same that 
Melchizedek had just now used, v. 19. Note, It 
is good to learn of others how to order our speech 
concerning God, and to imitate those who speak 
well in divine things. This improvement we are 
to make of the conversation of devout good men, Ave 
must learn to speak after them. (2.) The ceremo- 
ny used in this oath, I have lift up my hand. In re- 
ligious swearing we appeal to God’s knoAvledge of 
our truth and sincerity, and imprecate his Avrath if 
we swear falsely; the.' If ting tip of the hand is very 
significant and expressive of both. (3. ) The matter 
of the oath, namely, that he Avould not take any re- 
Avard from the king of Sodom, AvaslaAvful, but Avhat 
he was not antecedently obliged to. [1.] Probably, 
Abram vowed, before he Avent to the battle, that if 
God would give him success, he Avould, for the glory 
of God, and the credit of his profession, so far deny 
himself and his OAvn right, as to take nothing of the 
spoils to himself. Note, The voavs Ave have made 
when Ave are in pursuit of a mercy, must be care- 
fully and conscientiously kept Avhen Ave have ob- 
tained the mercy, though they Avere made against 
our interest. A citizen of Zion, if he has SAVorn, 
whether it be to God or man, though it prove to 
his own hurt, yet he changeth not, Ps. 15. 4. Or, 
[2. ] Perhaps Abram, now when he saAv cause to 
refuse the offer made him, at the same time con- 
firmed his refusal with this oath, to prevent further 
importunity. Note, First, There may be good rea- 
son sometimes why Ave should debar ourselves of 
that which is our undoubted right, as St. Paul, 1 
Cor. 8. 13. — 9. 12. Secondly, That strong resolu- 
tions are of good use to put by the force of tempta- 
tions. 

2. He backs his refusal with a good reason. Lest 
thou shouldest say , J have made Abram rich; Avhich 
would reflect reproach, (1.) Upon the promise and 
coA'cnant of God, as if they would not have enriched 
.'Ybram Avithout the spoils of Sodom. And, (2.) 
Upon the piety and charity of Abram, as if all he 
had in his eye, Avhen he undertook that hazardous 
expedition, Avas to enrich himself. Note, [1.] We 
must be very careful that avc give not occasion to 
others to say things which they ought not. [2. ] I'he 
people of God must, for their credit’s sake, take 


97 


GENESIS, XV. 


heed of doing any thing that looks mean or meixe- 
nary, or that savours of covetousness and self-seek- 
ing. Probably, Abram knew the king C)f Sodcm to 
be a proud and scornful mim, and one that would, 
though most unreasonably, be apt to turn such a 
thing as this to his reproach afterward; when we 
have to do with such men, we have neq^ to act with j 
particular caution. j 

3. He limits his refusal with a double proviso, v. I 
24. In making vows, we ought carefully to insert | 
the necessary exceptions, that we may not after- l 
ward say before the angel. It was an error, Eccl. ^ 
5. 6. Abram here excepts, (1.) The food of his 
soldiers; they were worthy of their meat while they 
trod out the corn. This would give no colour to the 
king of Sodom to say that he had enriched A’Dram. 
(2. ) The shares of his allies and confedei’ates. Let 
them take their fiortion. Note, Those who are strict 
in restraining their own libertj', yet ought not to im- 
pose those restraints upon the liberties of others, 
nor to judge of them accordingly; we must not make 
ourselves the standard to measure others by. A 
good man will deny himself that liberty which he 
will not deny another, contrary to the practice of 
the Pharisees, Matt. 23. 4. There was not the same 
reason why Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, should quit 
their right, that there was why Abram should. They 
did not make the profession that he made, nor were 
they, as he was, under the obligation of a vow; they 
had not the hopes that Abi’am had of a portion in 
the other world, and therefore, by all means, let 
them take their fiortion of this. 

CHAP. XV. 

n this chapter, we have a solemn treaty between God and 
Abram, concerning- a covenant that was to be established 
between them. In the former chapter, we had Abram in 
the field with kings, here in the mount with God; and 
though there he looked great, yet, methinks, here he looks 
much greater; that honour have the great men of the I 
world, but this honour have all the saints. The covenant 
to be settled between God and Abram, was a covenant of 
promises; accordingly, here is, I. A general assurance 
of God’s kindness and good-will to Abram, v. 1. II. A 
particular declaration of the purposes of his love con- 
cerning him, in two things: 1. That he would give him a 
numerous issue, v. 2. .6. 2. That he would give him Ca- 

naan for an inheritance, v. 7. ..21. Either an estate 
without an heir, or an heir without an estatm would but 
have been a half comfort to Abram. But God ensures 
both to him ; and that which made these two, the pro- 
mised seed, and the promised land, comforts indeed to 
this great believer, was, that they were both typical of 
those two invaluable blessings, Christ and heaven; and 
so, we have reason to think, Abram eyed them. 

1 . A FTER these things, the word of the 
J\. Lord came unto Abram in a \ision, 
saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield 
and thy exceeding great reward. 

Obsen^e here, 

I. The time when God had this treaty with 
Abram : After these things. 1. After that famous 
act of generous charity which Abram had done, in i 
rescuing his friends and neighbours out of distress, 
and that, not for firice nor reward; after that, God I 
made him this gi’acious visit. Note, Those that i 
show favour to men, shall find favour with God. 2. i 
After that victory which he had obtained over four ' 
kings: lest Abram should be too much elevated and 
pleased with that, God comes to him, to tell him he 
had better things in store for him. Note, A believ- 
ing converse with spiritual blessings is an excellent ' 
means to keep us from being too much taken up 
with tenipra-al enjoyments. The gifts of common 
providence are not comparable to those of covenant- 
love. 

II. The manner in which God conversed with 

VoL. I.— N 


; Abram; The word of the Lord came unto Abram, 
that is, God nicJiilested himself and his will to 
Abram in a vision; w’hich supposes Abram awake, 
and some \ isible appearance of the Shechinah, or 
some sensible token of the presence of the divine 
glory. Note, The methods of divine revelation are 
ad-.pted to our st.Ae in a world of sense. 

111. The gracious assurance God gave him of his 
favour to him. 1. He called him by name, Abram, 
which was a great honour to him, and made his 
name great, imd was also a great encouragement 
and assistance to his taith. Note, God’s gO( d word 
then does us good, wlien it is spoken bv his Spirit to 
us in particular, and brought to cur hearts. The 
word says. Ho, every one, isa. 55. 1 ; the Spirit says. 
Ho, such a one. 2. He cautioi.ed him against be- 
ing disquieted and confounded; l ear not, Abram. 
Auram might fear lest the four kings lie had routed, 
should rally again, and fall upon him to his ruin; 
“ No,” says (iod, “ Lear net. Fear not their re- 
venges, nor thy neighbours’ envy; I will take care 
of thee.” Note, (1.) Where there is great faith, 
yet there may be many fears, 2 Cor. 7. 5. (2.) God 
takes cognizance of his people’s fears though ever 
so secret, and /l-;zows their souls, Ps. 31. 7. (3.) It 
is the will of God that his people should not give 
way to prevailing fears, w'hatcver happens. Let 
the sinners in Zion be afndd, but fear not, Abram. 
3. He assured him cf safety and happiness; that he 
should for ever be, (1. ) As sate as God himself could 
keep him; 1 am thy Shield, or, somew'hat more em- 
phatically, lama 'Shield to thee, present with thee, 
actually caring for thee. See 1 Chron. 17. 24. Not 
only the God of Israel, but a God to Israel. Note, 
I'he consideration of this, that God himself is, 
and will be, a Shield to his people to secure them 
from all desti'uctive e^ils, and a Shield ready te 
them, and a Shield round about them, should be 
sufficient to silence all their perplexing toi-menting 
fears. (2.) As happy as God himself could maLe 
him ; I will be thy exceeding great Reward; not only 
thy Rewarder, but thy Rew-ard. Abram had ge- 
nerously refused the rewards which the king of So- 
dom offered him, and here God comes, and tells 
him he shall be no loser by it. Note, [1.] The re- 
wards of believing obedience and self-denial, are 
exceeding great, 1 Cor. 2. 9. [2. ] God himself is 
the chosen and promised felicity of holy souls; cho- 
■sen in this world, promised in a better. He is the 
portion of their inheritance, and their cup. 

2. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt 
thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the 
steward of my house is this Eliezer of Da- 
mascus ? 3. And Abram said, Behold, to 
me thou hast given no seed : and, lo, one 
born in my house is mine heir. 4. And, 
behold, the word of the Lord came unto 
him, sajing, This shall not be thine heir : but 
he that shall come forth out of thine own 
bowels, shall be thine heir. 5. And he 
brought him forth abroad, and said. Look 
now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if 
thou be able to number them. And he said 
unto liim. So shall thy seed be. 6. And he 
believed in the Lord ; and he counted it 
to him for righfeousness. 

"VCe have here the assurance given to Abram of 
a numerous offspring which should descend from 
him. In which, observe, 

I. Abram’s repeated complaint, v. 2, 3. This 
was that which ga\ e occasion to this promise. The 
great affliction that sat heavy upt n Abram, was the 


98 


GENESIS, XV. 


want of a child; and the complaint of this he here 
flours out before the Lord, and shows bifure him his 
trouble, Ps. 142. 2. Note, Though we must never 
complain of God, yet we have lea\ e to complain to 
him, and to be large and particular in the statement 
of our grievances; and it is some ease to a burthened 
spirit, to open its case to a faithful and compassion- 
ate friend; such a friend God is, whose ear is al- 
ways open. Now' his complaint is four-fold. 

1. That he had no child, v. 3, Behold, to me thou 
hast ^ven seed; not only no son, but no seed; if 
he had had a daughter, from her the promised Mes- 
siah might have come, who was to f)e the seed of 
the woman; but he had neither son nor daughter. 
He seems to lay an emphasis on that, to me. His 
neighbours were full of children, his servants had 
children born in his house; “But to me,” he com- 

lains, “thou hast given me none;” and yet God 
ad told him he should be a favourite above all. 
Note, (1.) Those that are written childless, must 
see God writing them so. (2. ) God often withholds 
those temporal comforts from his own children, 
which he gives plentifully to others that are stran- 
gers to him. 

2. That he was never likely to have any; intima- 
ted in that, I go, or “ lam going, childless, going 
into years, going down the hill apace; nay, I am 
going out of the world, going the wav of all the 
earth. I die childless.” So the LXX. “I leave 
the world, and leave no child behind me.” 

3. That his servants were, for the present, and 
were likely to be to him, instead of sons. While 
he lived, the steward of his house was Rliezer of 
Damascus; to him he committed the care of his 
family and estate, who might be faithful, but only 
as a servant, not as a son. \\4ien he died, one born 
in his house would be his heir, and would Ijear rule 
over all that for which he had laboured, Eccl. 2. 
18, 19, 21. God had already told him that he 
would make of him a great nation, ch. 12. 2, and 
his seed as the dust of the earth, ch. 13. 16, but he 
had left him in doubt whether it should be his seed 
begotten, or his seed adopted, by a son of his loins, 
or only a son of his house. “Now, Lord,” says 
Abram, “if it be only an adopted son, it must be 
one of my servants, -which will reflect disgrace upon 
the promised Seed, that is to descend from him. ” 
Note, While promised mercies are delayed, our 
unbelief and impatience are apt to conclude them 
denied. 

4. That the want of a son was so great a trouble 
to h m, that it took away the comfort of all his en- 
joyments. “ Lord what wilt thou give me? All is 
nothing to me, if I have net a son.” Now (1.) If 
we suppose that Abram looked no further than a 
temporal comfort, this comjjlaint was culpable. 
God had, by his firovidence, given him some good 
things, and more by his /iromise; and yet Abram 
makes no account of them, becaifse he has not a 
son. It did very ill iDecome the father of the faith- 
ful to say, IVhat wilt thou give me, seeing I go 
childless? immediately after God had said, I am thy 
'shield, and thy exceeding great reward. Note, 
Those do not rightly value the advantages of their 
covenant-relation tri God and interest in him, who 
do not think it sufficient to lialance the want of any 
creature-comfort whatever. But, (2.) If we sup- 
pose that Abram, herein, had an eye to the Pro- 
mised Seed, the imp- rtunity of his desire was very 
commendable; all was nothing to him if he had not 
the earnest of that great blessing, and an assurance of 
his relation to the Messiah, which God had already 
encouraged him to maintain the expectation. He has 
wealth, and victory, and honour; but, while he is 
kept in the dark about the main matter, it is all 
nothing to him. Note, Till we have some com- 
fortable evidence of our interest in Christ and the 


I new covenant, we should not rest satisfied with any 
thing else. “This, and the other, I have; but 
what will this avail me, if I go Christless.^” Yet 
thus far the complaint was culpable, that there was 
some diffidence of the promise at the bottom of it, 
and a weariness of waiting God’s time. Note, True 
believers sejmetimes find it hard to reconcile God’s 
premises and his providences, when they seem to 
I disagree. 

II. God’s gracious answer to this complaint. To 
I the fir«t part of the complaint, (y. 2. ) Cxod gave no 
i immediate answer, because there was something 

of fretfulness in it; but when he renewed his ad- 
dress somewhat more calmly, (t'. 3.) Gcd answer- 
ed him graciously. Note, If we continue instant in 
prayer, and yet pray with a humble submission to 
the divine will, we shall not seek in >ain. 1. God 
ga\ e him an express promise of a sen, v. 4. This 
that is born in thy house, shall not be thine heir, as 
thou fearest, but one that shall come forth out of 
thine own bowels shall be thine heir. Note, (1. ) 
God makes heirs; he says, “This shall not, and 
this shall;” whate\ er men dev ise and design, in set- 
tling their estates, God’s counsel shall stand. (2. ) 
God is often better to us than cur own fears, and 
gives the mercy we had long despaired of. 2. To 
affect him the more with surprise, he took him out, 
and showed him the stars, (this v ision being early 
in the morning before day,) and then tells him. So 
shall thy seed be, v. 5. (1.) So numerous; the stars 

seem innumerable to a common eye; Abram feared 
he should have no child at all, but Gcd tells him 
that the descendants from hi^ loins should be so 
many as not to be numbered. (2.) So illustrious, 
resembling the stars in splendour: for to them fier- 
tained the glory, Rom. 9. 4. Abram’s seed, ac- 
cording to his flesh, were like the dust (f the earth, 
{ch. 13. 16.) but his spiritual seed are like the 
stars of heaven, not only num.erous, but glorious, 
and ' ery precious. 

III. Abram’s firm belief of the promise God now 

made him, and God’s favourable acceptance of his 
faith, V. 6. 1. He beliex'ed in the Lord, that is, he 

j believed the truth of that promise which God had 
now made him, resting upon the irresistible power, 

! and the inviolable faithfulness, of him that made it; 
i Hath he sfioken, and shall he not make it good? 
Note, Those who would hav c the comfort of the 
! promises, must mix faith with the promises. See 
j how the apostle magnifies this faith of Abram, and 
1 makes it a standing example, Rom. 4. 19.. 21, He 
was not weak in faith; he staggered not at the fifo- 
mise; he was strong in faith; he was fully persuad- 
ed. The Lord work Such a faith in every one of 
us! Some think that his believing in the Lord, 
respected, not only the Lord promising, but the 
Lord promised, the Lord Jesus, the Mediator of 
I the new covenant. He believed in him, tliat is, re- 
ceived and embraced the divine revelation concern- 
ing him, and rejoiced to see his day, though at so 
great a distance, John 8. 56. 2. God counted it to 
him for righteousness; that is, upon the score of 
this, he was accepted of God, and, as the rest of the 
patriarchs, by faith he obtained the witness that he 
was ri^-hteous, Heb. 11. 4. This is urged in the 
New Testament, to prove that we arc justified by 
faith without the tvorks of the law; (Rom. 4. 3. 
Gal. 3. 6.) for Abram was so justified, while he 
was yet uncircumcised. If Abram that was so rich 
in good works, was not justified by them, but by his 
faith, much less can we, that are so ])oor in them. 
This faith, which was imputed to Abram for right- 
eousness, had lately struggled with unbelief, {v. 2 . ) 
and, coming off a conqueror, it was thus crowned, 
thus honoured. Note, A fiducial, practical, ac- 
ceptance of, and dependence upon, Gc-tl’s jmomise 
of grace and glory, in and through Christ, is that. 


99 


GENESIS, XV. 


which according to the tenor of the new covenant, 
gi\ es us a right to all the blessings contained in that 
promise. All believers are justified as Abram was, 
and it wtis his faith that was counted to him for 
righteousness. 

7. And he said unto him, I am the Lord 
that brought ihee out of Ur of the Chaldees, 
to give thee this land to inherit it. 8. And 
he said. Lord God, whereby shall 1 know 
that I shall inherit it I 9. And he said unto 
him. Take me an heifer of three years old, 
and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram 
of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a 
young pigeon. 10. And he took unto him 
all tliese, and divided them in the midst, and 
laid each piece one against another : but the 
birds divided he not. 11. And when the 
fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram 
drove them away. 

We ha\ e here the assurance giv en to Abram, of 
the land of Canaan for an inheritance. 

I.Tiod declares his purpose concerning it, v. 7. 
Observe here, Abram made no complaint in this 
matter, as he had done for the want of a child. 
Note, Those that are sure of an interest in the Pro- 
mised Seed, will see no reason to doubt of a title to 
the promised land. If Christ is our’s, heaven is 
our’s. Observe, again. When he believed the for- 
mer promise, (x>. 6. ) then God explained and rati- 
fied this to him. Note, To him that has (improves 
what he has) more shall be given. Three things 
God here reminds Abram of for his encouragement 
concerning the promise of this good land. 

1. What God is in himself: I am the Lord Jeho- 
vah; and therefore, (1.) “I may give it thee, for I 
am sovereign Lord ot all, and have a right to dis- 
pose of the whole earth. ” (2. ) “ I can give it thee, 
whatever opposition may be made, though by the 
sons of Anak. ” God never promises more than he 
is able to perform, as men often do. (3.) “Iwill 
make good my promise to thee;” Jehovah is not a 
meCn that he should lie. 

2. W’hat he had done for Abram : he had brought 

hin\ out of Ur of the Chaldees, out of the fire of the 
Chaldees, so some, that is, (1.) From their idola- 
tries: for the Chaldeans worshipped the fire: or, 
(2.) From their persecutions. I'he Jewish writers 
have a tradition that Abram was cast into the fiery 
funiace for refusing to worship idols, and was mi- 
raculouslv delivered. It is rather a place of that 
name. Thence God brought him by an effectual 
call; brought him with a gracious violence; snatch- 
ed him as a brand out of the burning. This was, 
[1.] A special mercy; “I brought thee, and left 
others, thousands, topei'ish there;” God called him 
alone, Isa. 51. 2 [2.] A spiritual mercy; a mercy 

to his soul, a delrverance from sin, and its fatal con- 
sequences. If God save our souls, we shall want 
nothing that is good for us. [3.] A fresh mercy; 
lately bestowed, and therefore should the mercy be 
affecting; as that in the preface to the command- 
ments, I am the Lord that brought thee out of 
F.gypt XoLtcAy. [4.] A foundation mercy; thebe- 
ginning of mercy, peculiar mercy to Abram, and 
therefore a pledge of further mercy, Isa. 66. 9. 
Observe how Gcd speaks of it as that which he 
gloried in, I am the Lord that brought thee out. 
He glones in it as an act both of power and grace; 
compare Isa. 29. 22, where he glories in it, long af- 
ttrw ird. Thus saith the Lord who redeemed 
Abram, redeemed him from sin. 

3. What he intended to do yet further for him; 


“ I brought thee hither, on purpose to gwe thee this 
land to inherit it, not only to possess it, but to pos- 
sess it as an inheritance, which is the sweetest and 
surest titL.” Note, (1.) The providence of God 
has secret but gracious designs in all its various dis- 
pensations tow..rd gocd people; we cannot conceive 
the prcjects of providence, till the event shows 
them in all their mercy and glory. (2.) I'he great 
thing God designs in all his dealings with his peo- 
ple, IS, to bring them safe to heaven. They are 
chosen 10 salvation, (2 'Fhess. 2. 13.) called to tin 
kingdom, (1 T, hess. 2. 12.) begotten to the inherit- 
ance, (1 Pet. 1. 3, 4.) and by all made meet for it. 
Col. 1. 12, 13. 2 Cor. 4. 17. 

II. Abram desires a sign, r. 8, Whereby shall J 
know that 1 shall inherit it? This did not proceed 
from distiaist ot God’s power, or promise, as that of 
.Ziecharias; but he desired this, 1. For the strength 
ening and confirming of his own faith; he believed, 
(x'. 6. ) but here he prays. Lord, help me against my 
unbeiu f. J\'‘o%v he believed, but he desired a sign 
to be treasured up against an hour of temptation, 
not knowing how his faith might, by some event or 
othec, be shocked and tried. Note, "We all need, 
and should desire, helps from heaven for the con- 
firniing ot cur faith, and should improve sacraments, 
which are instituted signs for that purpose. See 
Judg. 6. 36.. 40. 2 Kings 20. 8.. 10. Isa. 7. 11, 12. 

2. For the ratifying of the promise of his posterity, 
that they also might be brought to believe it. Note, 
Those that are satisfied themselves, should desire 
that others also might be satisfied, of the ti-uth of 
God’s promises. John sent his disciples to Christ, 
not so much for his own satisfaction as for their’s, 
Matt 11. 2. 3. Canaan was a type of heaven. 
Note, It is a very desirable thing to know that we 
shall inherit the heavejily Canaan, that is, to be con- 
firmed in our belie! of the timth of that happiness, 
and to have the e\ idences of our title to it more and 
more cleared up to us. 

III. God directs Abram to make preparations for 
a sacrifice, intending by that to gn e him a sign, 
and Abram makes preparation accordingly, v. 
9.. 11, lake me an heifer, Cfc. Perhaps Abram 
expected some extraordinary sign from heaven; but 
God gi\ es him a sign upon a’sacrifice. Note, Those 
that would receive the assurances of God’s favour, 
pid would have tlieir faith confirmed, must attend 
instituted oi’dinances, and expect to meet with God 
in them. Observe, 1. God appointed that each of the 
beasts used for this sen ice should be three years 
old, because then they were at their full growth and 
strength. God must be served with the best we 
have, for he is the best. 2. We do not read that 
God gave Abram particular directions how to ma- 
nage these beasts and fowls, knowing that he was 
so well \ ersed in the law and custom of sacrifices, 
that he needed not any particular directions; or, 
perhaps, instructions were given him, which he 
carefully observed, though they are not recorded: 
at least, it was intimated to hiiii, that they must be 
prepared for the solemnity of ratifying a covenant; 
and he well knew the manner of preparing them. 

3. Abrani took as God appointed him, though as 
yet he knew not how these things should become a 
sign to him. This was not the first instance of 
Abram’s implicit obedience. He divided the beasts 
in the midst, according to the ceremony used in con- 
firaiing covenants, (Jer. 34. 18, 19.) where it is 
said. They cut the calf in twain and passed between 
the parts. 4. Abram having prepared according to 
God’s appointment, now set liimself to wait for ‘the 
sign God might give him by these, like the prophet 
upon his watch-tower, Hab. 2. 1. ^^’hile God’s 
appearing to own his sacrifice, was defen-ed, Abram 
continued waiting, and his expectations were raised 
by those delays; when the fowls came down upon 


100 


GENESIS, XV. 


the carcases to prey upon them, as common and ne- 
glected things, Abram drove them away, (x;. 11.) 
believing that the vision would, at the end, speak, 
and not lie. Note, A very watchful eye must be 
kept upon our spiritual sacrifices, that nothing be 
suffered to prey upon them, and render them unfit 
for God’s acceptance. When vain thoughts, like 
these fowls, come down upon our sacrifices, we 
must dri\ e them away, and not suffer them to lodge 
witliin us, but attend on God without distraction. 

12. And when tlie sun was going down, 
a deep sleep fell upon Abrani ; and, lo, an 
hon or of great darkness fell upon him. 13. 
And he saitl unto Abrani, Know of a sure- 
ty that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land 
tJml is not their’s, and shall serve them ; and 
they shall afflict them lour hundred years ; 
14. And also that nation whom they shall 
serve, will I judge : and afterward shall 
they come out with great substance. 15. 
And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace ; 
thou shalt be buried in a good old age. IG. 
But in the fourth generation they shall come 
hither again : for the iniquity of the Amo- 
rites IS not yet full. 

We have here a full and particular discovery 
made to Abram of God’s purposes concerning his 
seed. Observe, 

I. The time when God came to him with this dis- 
covery; when the sun was going down, ov declining, 
about the time of the evening oblation, 1 Kings 18. 
36. Dan. 9. 21. Early in the morning, before day, 
while the stars were yet to be seen, God had given 
him orders concerning the sacrifices, {v. 5.) and we 
may suppose it was, at least his morning’s work to 
prei)are them and set them in order; when he had 
done this, he abode by them, praying and waiting 
till towards evening. Note, God often keeps his 
people long in expectation of the comforts he de- 
signs them, for the confirmation of their faith: but 
though the answers of prayer, and the performance 
of promises, come slowly, yet they come surely; at 
evening time it shall be light. 

II. The preparatives for this discovery; 1. A deep 

sleep fell upon Abram, not a common sleep through 
weariness or carelessness, but a di\ ine ecstasy, like 
that which the Lord God caused to fall upon Adam, 
{ch. 2. 21.) that being hereliy wholly taken off from 
the view of things sensible, he might be wholly 
taken up with the contemplation of things spiritual. 
The doors of the body were locked uj), that the soul 
might be private and i-etired, and might act the 
mere freely, and like itself. 2. With this sleep, a 
horror of great darkness fell upon him; a sudden 
change! But just before, we had him solacing 
himself in the comforts of God’s covenant, and in 
communion with him : and here a horror of great 
darkness falls upon him. Note, The children of 
light do not always walk in the light, but snmetinies 
clouds and darkness are round about them. This 
great darkness, which brought horror with it, was 
designed, (1.) To strike an awe upon the spirit of 
Abram, and to ])ossess him with a holy reverence, 
that the familiarity which God was pleased to ad- 
mit him to, might not breed contempt. Note, Holy 
f^ar prepares the soul for holy joy; the spirit of 
1: mdaTC makes way for the spirit of adoption. God 
■•■ounds first, and then heals; humbles first, and 
then lifts up, Isa. 6. 5, 6. (2.) To be a specimen 

of the methods of God’s deidings with his seed; they 
must first be in the horror and darkness of Egx'p- 
tian slavery, and then enter with joy into the good 


land; and therefore he must have the foretaste of 
their sufferings, beibre he had the foresight of their 
happiness. (3. ) To be an indication of the nature 
of that covenant of peculiarity which God was now 
about to make with Abram. The O.d Testament 
dispensation, which was founded on that covenant, 
was a dispensation, [1.] Of darkness and obscurity, 
2 Cor. 3. 13. [2.1 Of dread and horror, Heb. 12. 

18, &c. 

III. The prediction itself; several things are here 
foretold. 

1. The suffering state of Abram’s seed f r a long 
time, V. 13. Letm t Abram flatter himself with the 
hopes of nothing but honcur and jn'c sperity in his 
family: no, he must know cf a sui elv, tliat which h« 
was loath to believe, that the pn mised seed should 
be a persecuted seed. Note, (1.) (ird sends the 
worst first; we must first suffer . iid then reign. (2.) 
He lets us knov/ the worst before it cc mes, that when 
it comes, it may not be a surprise to us, Jolm 16. 
4. Now' we have here, [1.] 4'he particulars 
sufferings. First, Thev sha’l lie strangers; so they 
were, first in Canaan, Ps. lOo. 12, and afterward in 
Egypt: before they were lords of their own land, 
they were strangers in a strange land. The incon- 
veniencies of an unsettled state, make a hapjiy set- 
tlement the more welcome. Thus the heirs of hea- 
ven are, first, strangers on earth, a land that is not 
their’s. Secondly, 'riiev shall be servants; so they 
were to the Egyptians, Exod. 1. 13. See how that 
which was the (loom of the Canaanites, ch. 9. 25, 
proves the distress of Abram’s seed; they are made 
to serve, but with this difference, the Canaanites 
serve under a curs-e, the Hebrews under a blessing, 
and the upright shall have dominion in the moming, 
Ps. 49. 14. Thirdly, They shall be sufferers. 
Those whom they serve, shall afflict them; see 
Exod. r. 11. Note, Those that are blessed and be- 
loved of God, are often sorely afflicted by wicked 
men; and Gocl foresees it, and takes cognizance of it. 
[2.] The continuance of their sufferings; /bz/r hun- 
dred years. This persecution began with mocking, 
when Ishmael, the son of an Egyptian, persecuted 
Isaac, who was born after the spirit, ch. 21. 9. Gal. 
4. 29. \t continued m loathing; {or \t an abo- 
mination to the Egyptians to eat bread with the He- 
brews, ch. 43. 32, and it came, at last, to murder, 
the basest of murders, that of their new-born child- 
ren; so that more or less, it continued 400 ye rs, 
though in extremity, not so many. This was a long 
time, Imt a limited time. 

2. The judgment of the enemies of Abram’s seed, 

V. 14, That nation whom they shall serve, even the 
Eg\’ptians, will I judge. Th s points at the plagues 
of Egypt, by which God not only constrained the 
Eg\’ptians to release Israel, but ])unished them for 
all the hardships they had put upon them. Note, 
(1.) Though God may suffer persecutors and op- 
pressors t'O trample upon his people a great while, 
yet he will certainlv reckon with them at last ; for 
his c/ay is coming, Ps. 37. 12, 13. (2.) The punish- 

ment of persecutors is the judgment of them; it is a 
righteous thing with God, and a particular act of 
justice, to recompense tribulations to those that 
trouble his people. The judging of the church’s 
enemies, is Go(l’s work, /will judge: God can do 
it, for he is the Lord; he will do it, for he is his peo- 
ple’s God, and he has said, Vengeance is mine, I 
will repay. To him therefore we must leave it, to 
be done in his way and time. 

3. The deliverance of Abram’s seed out of Egypt; 
that great event is here foretold. Afterward, shall 
they come out with great substance. It is here pro- 
mised, (].) That they shall be enlarged; aftemvard, 
they shall come out, that is, either, after they have 
been afflicted 400 years, when the days of their ser- 
vitude are fulfilled, then they may expec* 'deliver. 


101 


GENESIS, XV. 


ance; or, after the Egj'ptians are judged and pla- 
gued. Note, The destruction of oppressors is the 
redemption of the oppressed; they will not let God’s 
people go, till they are forced to it. (2.) That they 
should be enriched; they shall come out with great 
substance this was fulfilled, Exod. 12. “IS, 36. 
(iod took care they should have, not onl}' a good 
land to go to, but a good stock to bring with them. 

4. Their happy settlement in Canaan, v. 16. 
'I'hey shall not only come out of Egypt, but they 
nhall come hither again, hither to the land of Ca- 
naan, wherein thou now art. The discontinuance 
of their possession shall be no defeasance of their 
right; we must not reckon those comforts lest for 
ever, that are intermitted for a time. The reason 
why they must not have the land of promise in pos- 
session till the fourth generation, is, because the ini- 
quity of the Amorites %vas not yet full. Isi’ael cannot 
be possessed cf C maun, till the Amorites be dispos- 
sessed; and they are not yet ripe for ruin. The 
righteous God has determined that they shall not 
be cut off, till they have persisted in sin so long, and 
arrived at such a pitch of wickedness, that there 
may appear some equitable proportion between 
their sin and their rain; and therefore till it come 
to that, the seed of Abram must be kept out of pos- 
session. Note, (1.) The measure of sin fills gradu- 
ally ; those that continue impenitent in wicked ways, 
are treasuring up unto themselves wrath. (2.) 

' Some people’s measure of sin fills slowly. The So- 
domites, who were sinners before the Lord exceed- 
ingly, soon filled their measure; so did the Jews, 
who were in profession near to God; but the iniqui- 
ty of the Amorites was long in the filling up. (3.) 
That this is the reason of the prosperity of wicked 
people; the measure of their sins is not yet full. 
The wicked live, become old, and are mighty in 
p07ver, while God is laying ufi their iniquity for 
their children. Job 21. 7, 19. See Matt. 23. 32. 
Deut. 32. 34. 

5. Abram’s peaceful quiet death and burial, before 

these things should come to pass, x>. 15. As he 
should not live to see that good land in the posses- 
sion of his family, but must die as he lived, a stran- 
ger in it; so, to balance that, he should not live to 
see the troubles that should come upon his seed, 
much less to share in them. This is promised to 
Josiah, 2 Kings 22. 23. Note, Good men are some- 
times greatly favoured by being takenaway from the 
evil to come, Isa. 57. 1. Let this satisfy Abram, 
that, for his part, (1.) He shall go to his fathers in 
pence. Note, [1.] Even the friends and favourites 
of Hea\ cn arc not exempt from the stroke of death; 
Are nve greater than our father Abram ’which is 
dead? John 8. 53. [2.] (iood men die willingly; 

they are not fetched, they are not forced, but they 
go; their soul is not required, as his, Luke 12. 20, 
but cheerfully resigned: they would not live always. 
[3.] At death we go to our fathers, to all our fa- 
thers that are gone before us to the state of the 
dead. Job 21. 32, 33, to our godly fathers that are 
gene before us to the state of the blessed, Heb. 12. 
23. The former thought helps to take off the terror 
of death, the latter puts comfort into it. [4. ] When- 
ever a godlv man dies, he dies in peace. If the way 
be piety, the end is peace, Ps. 37. 37. Outw'ard 
peace, to the last, is promised to Abram; peace and 
truth in his davs, whatever should come after, 2 
Kings 20. 19. Peace with God, and everlasting 
peace, are sure to all the seed. (2.) He shall be 
buried in a good old age. Perhaps mention is made 
of his burial here, where the land of Canaan is pro- 
mised him, because a burying place was the first 
possession he had in it. He shall not only die in 

{ )cace, but die in honour, die, and be buried dccenX.- 
y; not only die in peace, but die in season. Job 5. 25, 
26. Ncte, [1. ] Old age is a blessing; it is promised 


in the fifth commanament; it is pleasing to nature; 
and a great opportunity to use^ilness; [2. ] Espe- 
cialN if it be a good old age: their’s may be called a 
good old age, First, That are old and healthful, not 
loaded with such distempers as make them weary 
of life; Secondly, That are old and holy, old disci- 
ples, Acts 21. 16, whose hoary head is found in the 
ivay of righteousjiess, Prov. 16. 31. old and useful, 
old and exemplary for godliness; their’s is indeed a 
good old age. 

17. And it came to pass tliat when the snn 
went down, and it was dark, behold, a smok- 
ing furnace, and a burning lamp that passed 
between tliose pieces. 1 8. In the same day, 
the Lord made a covenant with Abram, 
saying. Unto thy seed have I given this land, 
from the river of Egypt unto the great river, 
the river Euphrates : 19. The Kenites, and 
the Kennizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20. 
And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the 
Rephaims, 21. And the Amorites, and the 
Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the 
Jebusites. 

Here is, 

I. The covenant ratified, v. 17; the sign which 
Abram desired, was given at length, when the sun 
was gone down, so that it was dark; for that was a 
dark dispensation. 

I. The smoking furnace signified the affliction of 
his seed in Egypt; they were there in the iron fur- 
nace, Deut. 4. 20, Xht. furnace of affliction, Isa. 48. 
10, labouring in the- very fire. They were there in 
the smoke, their eyes darkened, that they could not 
see to the end of their troubles, and they at a loss to 
conceive what God would do with them; clouds and 
darkness were round about them. 

% The burning lamp denotes comfort in this af- 
fliction: and this God showed Abram, at the same 
time that he showed him the s?no king furnace. (1.) 
Light denotes deliverance out of the furnace; their 
salvation was as a /a w/i that burneth,\%^.62.1. When 
God came down to deliver them, he appeared in a 
bush that burned, and was not consumed, Exod. 3. 

2. 12.) The lamp denotes direction in the smoke; 

God^s word was their lamp; this word to Abram was 
so, it was a light shining in a dark place; perhaps 
this burning lamp prefigured the pillar of cloud and 
fire, which led them out of Egypt, in which God 
was. (3.) The burning lamp denotes the destruc- 
tion of their enemies who l^t them so long in the 
furnace: see Zech. 12. 6. The same cloud that en- 
lightened the Israelites, troubled and burned the 
Egyptians. 

3. I'he passing of these bet’ween the pieces, was 
the confirming of the covenant God now made with 
him, fhat he might have strong consolation, being 
fully persuaded that what God promised, he would 
certainly perform. It is probable that this fumace 
and lamp, which passed between the pieces, bumed 
and consumed them, and so completed the sacrifice, 
and testified God’s acceptance of it, as of Gideon’s, 
Judg. 6. 21. Mnnoah’s, Judg. 13. 19, 20. and Solo- 
mon’s, 2Chrcn. 7. 1. soitintimates, (1.) That God’s 
covenants with man are made by sacrifice, Ps. 50. 5; 
by Christ, the great Sacrifice: no agreement without 
atonement. (2. ) God’s acceptance of our spiritual 
sacrifices, is a token for good, and an earnest of fur- 
ther favours: see Judg. 13. 23. And bv this we may 
know that he accepts cur sacrifices, if he kindle in 
our souls a holy fire of pious and devout affections 
in them. 

II. The covenant repealed and explained, v. 18, 
In that same day, that day never to be forgotten. 


GENESIS, XVI. 


the Lord made a covenant with Abram, that is, 
gave a promise to Abram, saying. Unto thy seed 
nave I given this land. Here is, 1. A rehearsal of 
the grant: he had said before, To thy seed will I give 
this land, ch. 12. 7.— 13. 15. But here he says, I 
have given it; that is, (1.) I have given the promise 
of it, the charter is sealed and delivered, and can- 
not be disannulled. Note, God’s promises are God’s 
gifts, and are so to be accounted of. (2.) The pcs- 
sessioii is as sure, in due time, as if it were now ac- 
tually delivered to them : what God has promised, 
is as sure as if it were already done; hence it is said, 
He that believes hath everlasting life, John 3. 36, for 
he shall as surely go to heaven as if he were there 
already. 2. A recital of the particulars granted, 
such as is usual in the grants of land. He specifies 
the boundaries of the land intended hereby to be 
granted, x*. 18. And then, for the greater certainty , 
as is usual in such cases, he mentions in whose ten- 
ure and occupation these lands now were. Then 
several nations or tribes, are here spoken of, v. 
19. . 21. that must be cast out, to make room for 
the seed of Abram. They were not possessed of all 
these countries, when God brought them into Ca- 
naan. The bounds are fixed much narrower, Num. 
34. 2, 3, &c. But, (1.) In David’s time and Solo- 
mon’s, their jurisdiction extended to the utmost of 
these limits, 2 Chron. 9. 26. (2. ) It was their own 

fault that they were not sooner and longer in pos- 
session of all these territories. They forfeited their 
right by their sins, and by their own sloth and cow- 
ardice kept themselves out of possession. 3. I'he 
land granted, is here described in its utmost extent, 
because it was to be a type of the heavenly inherit- 
ance, where there isToom enough: in our Father’s 
house are many mansions. I'he present occupants 
are named, because their number and strength, and 
long prescription, should be no hindrance to the ac- 
complishment of this promise in its season, and to 
magnify God’s love to Abram and his seed, in giv- 
ing to that one nation the possession of many nations: 
so precious were they in his sight, and so honoura- 
ble, Isa. 43. 4. 

CHAR XVI. 

Hag ar is the person mostly concerned in the story of this 
chapter, an obscure Egyptian woman, whose name and 
story we had never heard of, if Providence had not 
brought her into the family of Abram. Probably, she 
was one of those maid-servants, which the king of Egypt, 
among other gifts, bestowed upon Abram, ch. 12,16. Con- 
cerning her, we have four things in this chapter; 1. Her 
marriage to Abram her master, v. 1. . 3. II. Her misbe- 
haviour toward Sarai, her mistress, v. 4, 6. III. Her dis- 
course with an angel that met her in her flight, v. 7, .14. 
IV. Her deliverance of a son, v. 15, 16. 

l.lk^OW Sarai, Abram’s wife, bare him 
1-^ no children : and she had an hand- 
maid, an Ep:yptian, whose name tons Hagar. 
2. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, 
the Lord hath restrained me from bearing : 
1 pray thee, go in unto my maid ; it may be 
that I may obtain children by her. And 
Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. .3. 
And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her 
maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt 
ten years in the land of Canaan, and ga\ e 
her to her husband Abram to be his vt ife. 

We have here the m irriage of Abram to Plagar, 
who was his second iry wife; herein, though some 
excuse may be mude for him, he cannot be justified; 
for from the beginning it was not so; and when it 
was so, it seems to have proceeded from an irregu- 
lar desire to build up their f imilies for the speedier 
peopling of the woild and the church: it must not be 


so now. Christ has reduced this matter to the first 
institution, and makes the mai’riage union to be be- 
tween one man and one woman only. 

Now, 

1. The maker of this match (would one think it.^) 

! was Sarai herself: she said to Abram, I pray thee 

go in unto my maid, v. 2. Note, 1. It is the policy 
of Satan to tempt us by our nearest and dearest re- 
lations, or those friends that we have an opinion of 
and an affection for. The temptation is most dan- 
j gerous, when it is sent by a hand that is least ex- 
1 pected: it is our wisdom therefore to consider, not 
I so much who speaks, as what is spoken. 2. God’s 
I commands consult our comfort and honour, much 
j better than cur own contrivances do. It had been 
much more for Sarai’s interest, that Abram should 
have kept to the rule of God’s law, than that he 
I should have been guided by her foolish projects; but 
i we often do ill for ourselves. 

I II. The inducement to it was Sarai’s barrenness. 

; 1. Sarai bare Abram no children; she was xicrv 

' fair, ch. 12. 14; she was an agreeble dutiful wife, 
and a sharer with him in his large possessions; and 
yet written childless. Note, (1.) God dispenses his 
gifts variously, loading us with benefits, but not over- 
loading us: some cross or other is appointed to be an 
allay to great enjoyments. (2.) The mercy cf 
children is often given tc» the poor, and denied to the 
rich; given to the wicked, and denied to good peo- 
ple; though the rich have most to leave them, and 
good people would take most care of their education : 
God does herein as it has pleased him. 

2. She owned God’s providence in this affliction; 
the Lord hath restrained me from bearing. Note, 
(1.) As where children are, it is God that ^ves 
them, ch. 33. 5, so where they are wanted, it is he 
that withholds them, ch. 30. 2. This evil is of the 
Lord. (2.) It becomes us to acknowledge this, that 
we may bear it, and improve it, as an affliction of 
his ordering for wise and holy ends. 

3. She used this as an argument with Abram to mar- 
ry his maid ; and he was prevailed with by this argu- 
ment to do it. Note, (1.) When cur hearts are too 

j much set upon any creature-comfort, we are easih' 
put upon the use of indirect methods for the obtain- 
1 ingcf it: inordinate desires commonly produce irre- 
] gular endeavours: if our wishes be not kept in a sub- 
I mission to God’s providence, our pursuits will 
I scarcely be kept under the restraints of his pre- 
cepts. (2.) It is for want of a firm dependence up- 
on God’s promise, and a patient waiting for G; d’s 
j time, that we go out of the way of our duty to catch 
; at expected mercy; He that believes, does not make 
' haste. 

4. Abram’s compliance with Sarai’s proposal, we 
have reason to think, was from an earnest desire of 
the Promised Seed, on whom the covenant sheu’d 
be entailed. God had told him that his heir should 
be a son of his bodv, but had not yet told him that 
it should be a son by Sarai; therefore he thought, 
“Why not by Hagar: since S:.r i herself proposed 
it?” Note, (1.) Foul temptations may h ive very 
fair pretences, and be coloured with that which is 
very plausib’e. (2.) Fleshly wisdom, as it antici- 
I ])ates God’s time of mercy, so it puts usoutef God’s 
way. (3.) This would be haixpi'.y prevented, if we 
; wciVd ask counsel of God by the word and by pray- 
■ er, before we attempt that which is important and 
suspicious: herein Abram was wanting; he married 
without God’s censent. I'his persuasion came not 
of him that called him. 

4. And he went in nnto Hagar, and she 
conceived : and when she saw that slie had 
coticeived, her mistress was despised in her 
eyes. 5. And Sarai said unto Abram, My 


GENESIS, XVI. 


1C3 


wrong he upon thee : I have given my maid 
into thy bosom ; and when she saw that she 
had conceived, I was despised in her eyes : 
the Lord judge between me and thee. 6. 
But Abram said unto Sarai, Bebold, thy 
maid is in thy hand ; do to her as it pleaseth 
thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with 
her, slie fled from her face. 

We have here the immediate bad consequences 
of Abram’s unhappy man-iage to Hagar; a deal ct 
mischief it made quickly: wlien we do not well, 
both sin and trouble lie at the door; and we may 
thank ourselves for the guilt and grief that hHow 
us, when we go out of the way of our duty. See it 
in this story. 

I. Sarai is despised, and thereby provoked and 
put into a passion, xk 4. Hagar no sooner per- 
ceives herself with child by her master, than she 
looks scornfully upon her mistress, upbraids her 
perhaps with her barrenness, insults over her, to 
make her to fret, as 1 Sam. 1. 6, and boasts of the 
prospect she had of bringing an heir to Abram, to 
that good land and to the promise; now she thinks 
herself a better wo’ lan than Sarai, more favoured 
by Heaven, and likely to be better beloved by 
Abram; and therefore she will not take it as she has 
done. Note, 1. Mean and servile spirits, when fa- 
^•oured and advanced either by God or man, are apt 
to grow haughty and insolent, and to forget their 
place and original. See Prov. 29. 21. — 30. 21. .23. 
It is a hard thing to bear honoxir aright. 2. We 
justlv suffer by those whom we have sinfully in- 
dulged, and it is a righteous thing with God, to 
make those instruments of our trouble, whom we 
have made instruments of our sin, and to insnare us 
in our own evil counsels; this stone will return upon 
him that rolleth it. 

I I. Abram is clamoured upon, and cannot be easy 
while Sarai is out of humour; she accosts him vio- 
lently, and very unjustly charges him with the 
injury, {v. 5.) My wrong be upon thee; with a most 
unreasonable jealousy, suspecting that he counte- 
nanced Hagar’s insolence; and, as one not willing to 
hear what Abram had to say for the rectifying of 
the mistake, and the clearing of himself, she rashly 
appeals to God in the case. The Lord Judge be- 
tween me and. thee; as if Abram had refused to 
right her. Thus does Sarai, in her passion, speak 
(/s of the foolish women speaketh. Note, 1. It 
is an absurdity which passionate people are often 
guiltvof, to quarrel with others for that which they 
themselves must bear the blame of: Sarai could not 
but own that she had given her maid to Abram, and 
yet she cries out. Mu xvrong be upon thee, when she 
should have said. What a fool was I to do sol That 
is never said wisely, which pi’ide and anger have 
the inditing of; when passion is upon the thi’one, 
reason is out of doors, and is neither heard nor 
spoken 2. Those are not always in the right, who 
are most loud and forward in appealing to God; 
rash and bold imprecations are commrnly evidences 
of ?uilt and a bad cause. 

HI. Hagar is afflicted :md driven from the house, 
V 6. Observe, 

1. Abram’s meekness resigns the matter of the 
m-iid-scrvant to Sarai, whose proper province it 
wns to rule that part of the family; Thy maid is in 
thy hand: though she , was his wife, he would net 
countenance or protect her in any thing that was 
disrespectful to Sarai, for whom he still retained 
the same affection that ever he had. Note, Those 
who would keep up peace and love, must return 
soft answers to hard accusations; husbands and 
wives particularly should agree, and endeavour not 


I to be both angry together: yielding pacifies great 
I offences; see Prov. 15. 1. 

j 2. Sarai’s passion will be revenged upon Hagar; 
j she dealt hardly with her, not only confining her to 
her usual place and work, as a servant, but proba- 
I bly, making her toser.e v/ith rigour. Note, God 
I takes notice of, and is displeased with the hardships 
j which harsh masters unreasonvibly put upon their 
servants: they ought to forbear threatening, with 
Job’s thought. Did not he that 7nade me, make him? 
Job 31. 15. 

3. Hagar’s pride cannot bear it, her high spirit 
is become impatient of rebuke; Jied from her 
face; she not cnly avoided her wrath for the pre- 
sent, as Da\ id did Saul’s, but she totally deserted 
her service, and ran away from the house, for- 
getting, (1.) What wrong she hereby did to her 
mistress, whose serv. nt she was, and to her master, 
whe se wife she was. Note, Pride will hardly be 
restrained by any bonds of duty, no not by many. 
(2.) That she herself had first given the provoca- 
tion, by despising her mistress. Note, Those that 
suffer ff'r their faults, ought to bear it patiently, 1 
Pet. 2. 20. 

7. And t!ie angel of the Lord found her 
by a fountiiin ol' water in the wilderness, by 
the fountain in the way to Shur. 8. And 
he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence earn- 
est thou ? And whither wilt thou go ? 
And she said, I flee from the face of my 
mistress Sarai. 9. And the angel of the 
IjORD said unto her. Return to thy mistress, 
and submit thyself under her hands. 

Here is the first mention we have in scripture of 
I an angel’s appearance. Hagar was a type of the 
law, which was given by the disposition of angels; 
but the world to come is not put in subjection to 
them, Heb. 2. 5. Observe, 

I. How the angel arrested her in her flight, v. 7. 
It should seem, she was making toward her own 
country; for she was in the wav to Shur, which lay 
toward Egypt. It were well if our afflictions would 
make us think of cur home, the better country. 
But Hagar was now out of her place, and out of the 
way of her duty, and going further astray, when 
the angel found her. Note, 1. It is a great mercy 
to be stopped in a sinful w'ay, either by conscience 
or by providence. 2. God suffers those that are out 
of the way, to wander a while, that when they see 
their folly, and what a loss they have brought them- 
selves to, they may be the better disposed to re- 
turn. Hagar was not stopped till she was in the 
wdderness, and had sat down weary enough, and 
glad of clear water to refresh herself with: God 
I brings us into a wilderness, and there meets us, 

I Hos. 2. 14. 

i II. Plow he examined her, v. 8. He called her 
j Hagar, l-arai's maid, 1. As a check to her pride: 

^ though she was Abram’s wife, and, as such, was 
' obliged to return, yet he calls her Sarai’s maid, to 
humble her. Note, Though civility teaches us to 
call others by their highest titles, yet humility and 
wisdom teach us to call ourselves by the lowest. 2. 
As a rebuke to her flight: Sarai’s maid ought to be 
in Sarai’s tent, and not wandering in the wilderness, 
and sauntering by a fountain of water. Note, It is 
good for us often to call to mind what our place and 
relation are. See Eccl. 10. 4. 

Now, (1.) The questions the angel put to her, 
were proper and very pertinent. [1.] “ Whence 
earnest thou? Consider that thou art running away, 
both from the duty thou wast bound to, and the 
privileges thou wast blessed with, in Abram’s tent.’* 
Note, It is a great advantage to live in a religious 


104 


GENESIS, XVI. 


family, which those ought to consider, who have 
that advantage, yet upon every slight inducement, 
are forward to quit it. [2.] “ JV hither ’ivilt thou 
^ 0 ? Thou art running thyself into sin, in Egypt.” 

( f she return to that people, she will return to their 
gods,) “and into danger, in the wilderness” through 
which she must travel. Dent. 8. 15. Note, Those 
who are forsaking God and the r duty, would do 
well to remember not only whence they are fallen, 
Xml whither they arc fulling. See Jo 2.18. What 
hast thou to do (witli Hagar) in the way of Egypt? 
John 6. 68. 

(2.) Her answer was honest, and af .ir confession; 

/ flee from the face of my nmtress. In which [1.] 
She acknowledges her fault in fleeing from her mis- 
tress, and yet, [2.] excuses it, that it was from the 
face, or d'spleasure of her mistress. Note, Chil- 
dren and servants must be treated with mildness 
and gentleness, lest we provoke them to take any 
irregular courses, and so become accessary to their 
sin, which will condemn us, though it will not jus- 
tify them. 

(3.) How he sent her back, with suitable and 
compassionate counsel, "10 9, lletuini to thy mis- 
tress, and submit thyself under her hand. Go 
home, and humble thyself for what thou hast done 
amiss, and beg pardon, and resolve for the future, 
to behave thyself better.” He makes no question 
but she would be welcome, though it does not ap- 
pear that Abram sent after her. Note, Those, 
that are gone aavay from their place and duty, 
when they are convinced of their error, must hasten 
their retum and reformation, how mortifying soever 
it may be. 

10. And the an^el of the Lord said unto 
her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, 
that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 

11. And the angel of the Lord said unto 
her. Behold, thou art with child, and shalt 
bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael ; 
because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. 

1 2. And he will be a wild man ; his hand 
will be against every man, and every man’s 
hand against him ; and he shall dwell in the 
presence of all his brethren. 13. And she 
called the name of the Lord that spake 
unto her. Thou God seest me : for she said. 
Have I also here looked after him that 
seeth me? 14. Wherefore the well was 
called Beer-1 ahai-roi ; behold, it is between 
Kadesh and Be red. 

We may suppose that the ajigcl h iv'ng given Ha- 
gar that good counsel, (f. 9.) to return to her mis- 
tress, she immediately promised to do so, and was 
setting her face homeward; and then the angel went 
on to encour.ige hor with an assurance of the merev 
God had in .store f^rher and her seed: for G-od wdl 
meet those w'.th merev, that are returning to their 
duty: / said, I xvill confess, and thou foigavcst, 
Ps.'32. 5. 

Here is, 

I. .V prediction concerning her posterity, given 
her for her comfort in her present distress. Notice 
IS taken of her condition; Behold, thou art with 
child; and therefore this is not a tit place for thee to j 
be in. Note, It is a great comfort to women with I 
child to think th t they are unfler the particular j 
cognizance and care of the Divine Providence. | 
God graciously considers that case, and suits su])- [ 
ports to it. • 

Now, 1. The angel assures her of a safe delivery, I 


and that of a son, which Abram des'red. This 
fright and ramble of her’s might have destroyed her 
hope of an offspring; but God dealt not with her 
according to her folly; 7''hou shalt bear a son: she 
was saved in child-bearing, not only by providence, 
but bv prom'se. 

2. He names her child, which was an honour both 
to her and it; call him Ishmael, God will hear; and 
the reason ,s, because the Lord has heard; he has, 
and therefore he svill. Note, The exper ence we 
have had of God’s seasonable kindness to us in dis- 
tress, should encourage us to hope for the 1 ke helji 
in the like exigencies, Ps. 10. 17. He has heard 
thy affliction. Note, (1.) Even there where there 
is little cry of devotion, the God cf p'ty semet me? 
graciously hears the cry of affiiction: tears speak as 
well as prayers. This speaks comfort to the afH.ct- 
ed, that God not only sees what their afflict ons are, 
but hears what they sav. (2.) That seasonable 
succours, in the day of affl cticn, ought always to be 
remembered with thankfulness to Grd. Such a 
time, 11 such a strait, the Lord heard the voice of 
my affliction, and helfied me. See Deut. 26. 7. Ps. 
31. 22. 

3. He prom'ses her a numerous offspring, t’. 10, 
I will multifily thy seed exceedingly, Hebr. Multi- 
filying, I will multifly it, that is, multiply it n 
every age, so as to perpetuate it. It is supposed 
th t the Turks at th s day descend fiT,m Ishmael; 
and they are a great people. This was in ])ursu- 
ance ( f the promise made to Abram, ch. 13, 16, 1 
will make, thy seed as the dust of the earth. Note, 
Many that are children cf godly parents, have, 
for their sakes, a l ery large share of outward com- 
mon blessings, though, I ke Ishmael, they arc not 
taken into covenant: many^ are multiphed that ore 
not s anctified. 

4. He gives a character of the child she should 
bear, which, however it may seem to us, peril, :ps 
was not very disagreeable to her, v. 12, He will be a 
wild man; a wild ass of a maxi, so the word is; rude 
and bold, and fearing no man; untamed, untracta- 
ble, living at large, and impatient of service and 
restraint. Note, The children of the bondwoman, 
who are out of covenant with God, are, as they 
were born, like the wild ass’s colt; t is grace that 
reclaims men, civilizes them, and makes them 
wise, and good for something. It is foretold, (1.) 
I'hat he should live in strife, and in a state of war; 
his hand against every man, that is h's sm; and 
every man’s hand against him, that is his fiinish- 
ment. Note, Those that have turbulent spirits, 
haie commonly troublesome lives; thev that are 
provokmg, vexatious, and injurious to others, must 
expect to be repaid in their own coin. He that has 
Iiis hand and tongue agr.inst everv man, shall hai e 
every man’s tongue and hand against him; and he 
has no reason to complam of it. And yet, (2. ) That 

j he should live in safety, and hold h s own against 
all the world; he shall dwell in the fresence of all 
his brethren; though threatened and insulted liv all 
h s ne ghbours, yet he shall keep his ground, and, 
for Abram’s sake, more than his own, shall be able 
to make h's part good with them: accordingly we 
read, ch. 25. 18, that he died, as he lived, in the 
fresence of all his brethren. Note, Mar.v th.at are 
much exposed by their own im])rudence, vet arc 
strangely preserved by the Divine Pi-ovidence; so 
much better s God to them than they deserve, who 
not only forfeit their lives bv sin, but hazard them. 

II. Hagar’s pious reflection upon th's gracious 
a])pcarance of God to her, v. 15, 14. Observe in 
what she said, 

1. Her awful ador.it'on of God’s omn’sehmee and 
])rovidence, with a])])licatirn cf it to herself; she 
\ called the name of the Lord that .sOake unto her 
1 that is, thus she made confession of his name, this 


GENESIS, XVI 1. 


10/v 


she said to his praise, Thou God scest vie: this 
siiould be with her, his name for ever, and this his 
memorial, by which she will know him and remem- 
ber him while she lives. Thou God seest me. Note, 
(1.) The God with whom we have to do, is a seeing 
God, an all-seeing God. God is, (as the ancients 
expressed it) ci/e. (2.) We ought to acknow- 
ledge this With application to ourselves. He that 
sees all, sees me, as David, Ps. 139. 1, O God, 
thou hast searched me and knovm me. (3.) A be- 
lieving regard to God, as a God that sees us, will 
be of great use to us in our returns to him. It is a 
proper word for a penitent: [1.] “ Th. u seest my 
sin and folly:” I have sinned before thee, says the 
prodigal; in thy sight, says David. [2.] “Thou 
seest my sorrow and affliction;” that Hagar espe- 
ci-dly refers to: when we have brought ourselves 
into distress by our own follv, yet God has not for- 
saken us. [3.] “Thou seest the sincerity and se- 
r.ousness of my return and repentance. Thou seest 
iny secret mournings for sin, and secret motions 
toward thee.” [4.] “Thou seest me, if in any 
instance I depart from thee,” Ps. 44. 20, 21. This 
thought should always restrain us from sin, and ex- 
cite us to duty; Thou God seest me. 

2. Her humble admiration of (iod’s favour to her: 
'•'•Have I here also looked after him that seeth me? 
Ha^■e I here seen the back farts of him that seeth 
me?” S ) it might be read, for the word is much tfie 
s line with that, Exod. 33. 23. She saw net face to 
f.cc, but as through a glass darkly, 1 Cor. 13. 12. 
I'robably, she knew not who it was that talked witli 
her, till he was departing, as Judges 6. 21, 22. — 13. 
LI; ..nd then she looked after him, with a reflection 
l.ke that of the two disciples, Luke 24. 31, 32. Or, 
Have I seen him that secs me? Note, (1.) The 
communion which holy souls have with God, con- 
sists in their having an eye of faith toward him, as 
a God that has an eye of favour toward them. 
The intercourse is kept up by the eye. (2.) The 
privilege of our communion with God, is to be 

1 loked upon. with wonder and admiration, consider- 
ing nvhat ’ive are, who are admitted to this favour. 
“Have I? I that am so mean, I that am so vile?” 

2 Sam. 7. 18. This privilege is thus to be looked 
upon, considering the place where we are thus fa- 
voured; “■here also? Not only in Abram’s tent, 
and at his altar, but here also, in this wilderness? 
Here, where I never expected it, where I was out 
of the wat' of my duty? Lord, how is it?’' John 14. 
22. S.nne make the answer to this question to be 
negative, and so look upon it as a penitent reflec- 
tion: “ Have I here also, in mv distress and afflic- 
tion, looked after God? No, I was as careless and 
unmindful of him as ever I used to be; and yet he 
has thus visited and regarded me:” for God often 
prevents us with his favours, and is found of those 
that seek him not, Isa. 65. 1 . 

HI. The name which this gave to the place, v. 
14, Beer-lahai-roi, The well of him that lives and 
sees me. It is probable that Hagar put this name 
upon it; and it was retained long after, in per- 
petuam rei memoriarn — a lasting memorial of this 
event. This was the place, where the God of 
glory manifested the special cognizimce and car6 he 
took of a poor woman in distress. Note, 1. He 
that is all-seeing, is ever-living; he lives and sees 
us. 2. Those that are graciously admitted into 
communion with God, and receive seasonalfle com- 
forts from him, should tell others what he has, done 
for their souls, that they also may be encouraged to 
seek him, and trust in him. 3. God’s gracious ma- 
nifestations of himself to us are to be had in ever- 
lasting remembrance by us, and should never be 
forgdtten. 

1 5. Artd Hagar bare Abram a son : and 

Vo,. I _0 


Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar 
bare, Ishmael. 16. And Abram zcos fom- 
score and six years old, when Hagar bare 
Ishmael to Abi am. 

It is here taken for granted, though not expressly 
I’ecoi'ded, that Hagar did as the angel commiuided 
her, returned to her mistress, and submitted her- 
self; and then, in the fulness of time, she brought 
torth her son. Note, Those who obep divine pre- 
cepts, shall ha\e the comfort of divine promises. 
Tnis was the son of the bond-woman that was boim 
after the Jlesh, Gal. 4. 23, representing the unbe- 
lieving Jews, V. 25. Note, 1. Many who can call 
Abraham^a/'/icr, yet are bomi after the flesh. Matt. 
3. 9. 2. The carnal seed in the church are sooner 

brought forth than the spiritual. It is an easier 
thing to persuade men to assume the fonri of gcdli- 
ness, than to submit to the power of godliness. 

CHAP. XVII. 

This chapter contains articles of agreement covenanted 
and concluded upon between the great Jehovah, the Fa- 
ther of mercies, on the one part, and pious Abram, the 
Father of the faithful, on the other part. Abram is there- 
fore called the friend of God, not only because he was 
the man of his council, but because he was the man of 
his covenant; both these secrets were with him: mention 
was made of this covenant, ch. 15. 18, but here it is par- 
ticularly drawn up, and put into the form of a covenant, 
that .-t bram might have strong consolation. Here is, 1. 
The circumstances of the making of this covenant, the 
time and manner, v. 1, and the posture Abram was in, v. 
3. II. The covenant itself. In the general scope of it, 
V. 1. And afterward, in the particular instances. 1. 
That he should be the father of many nations, v. 4, 6. 
and, in token of that, his name was changed, v. 6. 2. 
That God would be a God to him and his seed, and 
would give them the land of Canaan, v. 7, 8. And the 
seal of this part of the covenant was circumcision, v. 9... 
14. 3. 'I'hat he should have a son by Sarai, and in to- 

ken of tlial, her name was changed, v. 15, 16. This pro- 
mise Abram received, v. 17. And his request for Ish- 
mael (\. 18.) was answered, abundantly to his satisfac- 
tion, V. 19. . 22. 111. The circumcision of Abram and 

his family, according to God’s appointment, v. 22. .27. 

1. 4 ND when Abram was ninety yearn 
AIl old and nine, the Lord appeared 
to Abram, and said unto him, I am tlie Al- 
mighty God ; walk before me, and be thou 
perfect. 2. And I w ill make my covenant 
between me and thee, and wall multiply 
thee exceedingly. .3. And Abram fell on 
his face : and God talked with him, saying. 
Here is, 

I. The time when God made Abram this gra- 
cious visit; when he was 99 years old, full 13 years 
after the birth of Ishmael. 1. So long, it should 
seem, God’s extraordinary appearances to Abram 
were intermitted; and all the communion he had 
with God, was only in the usual way of ordinances 
and providences. Note, There are some special 
comforts which are not the daily bread, no not of 
the best saints, but they are favoured with them 
now :md then. On this side heaven, they have con- 
venient food, but not a continual feast. ' 2. So long 
the promise of Isaac was deferred. (1.) Perhaps 
to correct Abram’s over-hasty marrying of Hagar. 
Note, The comforts we sinfully anticipate, are 
justly delayed. (2.) That Abram and Sarai being 
so far stricken in age, God’s power, in this matter, 
might be the more ma,gnified, and their faith the 
more tried. See Deut. 32. 36. John 11. 6, 15. (3.^ 
That a child so long wanted for, might be an Isaac, 
a son indeed, Isa. 54. 1. 

II. The way in which God made this covenant 
with him ; The Lord appeared to Abram, in the 


106 


GENESIS, XVII. 


Shechinah, some visible display of God’s immediate 
glorious pxesence with him. Is'ote, God .first makes 
himself known to us, and gives us a sight of him by 
faith, and then takes us into his covenant. 

TIL The posture Abram put himself into upon 
this occasion. He fell on his face while God talked 
with him, -v. h. Either, 1. As one overcome by the 
brightness of tne divine glory, and unable to bear 
the sight of it, tuough he had seen it several times 
before: Daniel and John did likewise, though they 
were also acquainted with the visions of the Al- 
mighty, Dan. 8. 17. — 10. 9, 15. Rev. 1. 17. Or, 
2. As one ashamed of himself, and blushing to think 
of the honours done to one so uuwoithv : he looks 
upon himself with humilitv, and upon (Jod with re- 
verence, and, in token of both, falls on his face, 
putting Itimself into a posture of adoration. Note, 
(1.) God graciously condescends to talk with th se 
whom he takes into nis covenant and communion 
with himself. He talks with them l)y his word, 
Prov. 6. 22. He talks with them by his l/iirit, 
John 14. 26. This, honour have all his saints. (2.) 
Those that are admitted into fellowship with God, 
are, and must be, very humble and very reverent 
in their approaches to him. If we say we have fel- 
lowship with him, and the familiarity breeds con- 
tempt, we deceive ourselves. (3.) Those that 
would receive comfort from God, must set them- 
selves to give glory to God, and to worship at his 
footstool. 

IV. The general scope and summary of the cove- 
nant, la.id down as the foundation on which all the 
rest was built; it is no other than the covenant of 
grace, still m tde with all believers in Jesus Christ, 
V. 1. Observe here, 

1. What we may expect to find God to us ; lam 
the Almighty God; by this name he chose to make 
himself known to Abram rather than by his name 
Jehovah, Exod. 6. 3. Housed it to Jacob, ch. 35. 
11. They called him by this name, ch. 28. 3. — 43. 
14. — 48. 3; It is the name of God that is mostly 
used throughout the book of Job, at least thirty 
times in the discourses of that book. After Moses, 
Jehovah is more frequently used, and this very 
rarely; I am El-shaddai; it bespeaks the almighty 
power of God, either, (1.) As an axtenger, from 

he laid waste, so some; and they think God 
took this title from the destruction of the old world. 
This is countenanced by Isa. 13. 6, and Joel 1. 15. 
Or, (2.) As a benefactor, o’ for ■^'.vHwho, and ’a 
sufficient. He is a God, that is enough ; or, as our 
old English translation reads it here very signifi- 
cantly, I am God all-sufficient. Note, The God 
with whom we have to do, is a God that is enough. 
[1.] He is enough in himself; he is self-s\ifficient; 
he has every thing, and he needs not any thing. 
[2.] He is enough to us, if we be in covenant with 
him: we have all in him, and we ha\e enough in 
him; enough to satisfy our most enlarged desires, 
enough to supply the defect of e\ cry thing else, and 
to secure to us a happiness for our immortal souls: 
see Ps. 16. 5, 6.-73. 25. 

2. Wh:it God requires that we lie to him; the 
covenant is mutu:il. Walk bfore me, and be thou 
perfect, that is, upright and sincere; fi'i- herein the 
covenant of grace is well-ordered, tliat sincerity is 
our gospel perfection. Observe, (1.) That to be 
religious, is to walk before God in our integrity; it 
is to set God always before us, and to think, and 
speak, and act, in every thing, as those that are 
always under his eye. It is to have a constant re- 
gard to his word as our rule, and to his glory as our 
end, in all our actions, and to be continually in his 
fear. It is to be inward with him, in all the duties 
of religious worshi]), for in them particularly we 
walk before God, 1 Sam. 2. 30, and to be entire for 
him, in all holy conversation. I know no religion 


but sincerity. (2.) That upright walking with 
God, is the condition of our interest in his all-suffi- 
ciency. If we neglect him, or dissemble with him, 
we forfeit the benefit and comfort of our relation to 
him. (3.) A continual regard to God’s all-suffi- 
ciency, will have a great influence upon our upright 
walking with him. 

4 . As for me, behold, my covenant is with 
thee, and thou shall Ik? a father of many 
nations. 5 . Neither shall thy name any 
more be called Abram; but thy name shall 
be Abraham ; lor a father of many nations 
have 1 made thee. G. And 1 will make 
thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make 
nations of thee, and kings shall come out ol 
thee. 

The promise here is introduced with solemnity : 

As for me,” s lys the gj'e it God, “ behold, behold 
and admire it, behold and l)e assured of it, my co- 
venant is with thee;” as before, v. 2, I will make 
my covenant. Note, The covenant of grace is a 
covenant of God’s own making; this he glories in, 
( as for me,) and so may wc. Now here, 

I. It is promised to Abram, that he should be a 
father of many nations: that is, 1. That his seed 
after the flesh, should lie v ery numerous, both in 
Isaac and Ishmael, and in the sons of Keturah; 
something extraordinary is doubtless included in 
this promise, and we may suppose that the e\ ent 
answered to it, and that there have been, and are, 
more of the children of men descended from Abra- 
ham, than from any one m ui at an equal distance 
with him from Noah, the common root. 2. That 
all believers, in every age, should be looked upon 
as his spiritual seed, and that he should be called, 
not only the friend of God, but the father of the 
faithful. In this sense, the Apostle directs us to 
understand this promise, Rom. 4. 16, 17. He is 
the father of those in every nation, that by faith en- 
ter into covenant with God, and (as the Jewish 
writers express it) are gathered under the wings of 
the divine Majesty. 

II. In token of this, his name was changed from 

Abram, a high father, to Abraham, the father of a 
multitude. This was, 1. To put an honour upon 
him: it is spoken of as the glory of the church, that 
she shall be called by a nevj name, which the mouth 
of the Lord shall name, Isa. 62. 2. Princes digni- 
fied their favourites, by conferring new titles upon 
them; thus was Abraham dignified by him thafis 
indeed the Fountain of honour: all believers have a 
new name. Rev. 2. 17. Some think it added to the 
honour of Abraham’s new name, that a letter of the 
name Jehovah was inserted into it, as it was a dis- 
grace to Jeconiah to have the first syllable cf his 
name cut off, because it was the same with the first 
syllable of that sacred name, Jer. 22. 28. Believers 
are named from Christ, I'-ph. 3. 15. 2. To encoi.- 

rage and confirm the f lith cf Abraham; while he 
was childless, perhaps even his own n-mie was 
sometimes an occasion ( f grief to him: why should 
he be called a high fathei-, who was not a father at 
all? But now that God had ])romiscd him a nume- 
rous issue, and had given him a name whi 'h signi- 
fied so much, that name was his joy. Nc'te, God 
calls things that are not, as though they were. It is 
the apostle’s ol)servation iqjon this very thing, Rom. 
4. 17; he called Abraham the father of a multitude, 
because he should ]3rove to. be so in due time, though 
as yet he had but one child. 

7 . And 1 will establish my rovonant be- 
tween me and thee, and thy seed after thee, 


107 


GENESIS, XVIL 


in their generations, for an everlasting cove- 
nant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy 
seed after thee. 8. And 1 will give unto 
thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land 
wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of 
Ganaan, for an everlasting possession ; and 
I will be their God. 9. And God said unto 
Abraham, Thou slialt keep my covenant 
therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee, in 
their generations. 1 0. This is my covenant, 
which ye shall keep, between me and you, 
and thy seed after thee ; eveiy man-child 
among you shall be circumcised. 1 1 . And 
ye shall circumcise the tlesli ot your fore- 
skin ; and it shall be a tolvcn of the cove- 
nant betwixt me and you. 1^. And he that 
is eight days old, shall be circumcised among 
ou, every man-child in your generations, 
e that is born in the house, or bought ^^uth 
money of any stranger, which is not of thy 
seed. 13. He that is born in thy house, 
and he that is bought with thy money, must 
needs be circumcised : and my covenant 
shall be in your flesli for an everlasting co- 
venant. 1 4. And the uncircumcised man- 
child, whose tlesh of his fore-skin is not cir- 
cumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his 
people ; he hath broken my covenant. 

Here is, 

I. The continuance of the covenant; intimated in 
three things. 1. It is established; not to be altered 
or revoked: it is fixed, it is ratified, it is made as 
firm as the divine power and tru^h can make it. 2. 
It is entailed; it is a covenant, not with Abraham 
only, (then it v/ould die with him,) but with his 
seed after him, not onlv his seed after the flesh, but 
his spiritual seed. 3. It is everlasting in the evan- 
gelical sense and meaning of it. The covenant of 
grace is everlasting; it is fro7n everlasting in the 
counsels of it, and to e erlasting in the consequen-'es 
of it; and the external administration of it is trans- 
mitted with the seal of it to the seed of believers, 
and the internal administration of it by the Spirit, 
to Christ’s seed in every age. 

II. The contents of the covenant; it is a co\ enant 
of promises, exceeding great and precious promises. 
Here are two, which, indeed, are all sufficient. 1. 
That God would be their God, t. 7, 8. Ail the 
privileges of the covenant, all its joys, and all its 
hopes, are summed up in this: a man needs desire 
no more than this, to make him happy. What God 
is himself, that he will be to his people; his wisdom 
their’s, to guide and counsel them; his power 
their’s, to protect and suppoit them ; his goodness 
their’s, to supply and cnmfi'rt them. What faith- 
ful worshippers can expe t from the God they 
serve, believers sh dl find in God as their’s. This 
is enough, yet not all. 2. That C maan should be 
their everlasting p''s'-'cssi''n, v. 8 . God had before 
prorriised this land to Abraham, and his seed, ch. 
15. 18. But here, wliere it is ]^r niised f r an ever- 
lasting possession, surely it must be looked upon as 
a type of heaven’s happiness, that e\ erlasting rest 
which remains for the people of God, Heb. 4. 9. 
7’his is that better country to wliirh Abraham had 
an eye, and the gr.mt of which was that which an- 
swered to the vast extent and compass of that pro- 
mise, that God would be to them a God; so that if 
•iod had not prepared and designed this, he would 


have been ashamed to be called their God, Heb. 
11. 16. As the land of Canaan was secured to 
the seed of Abraham, according to the flesh, so 
heaven is secured to all his spiritual seed, by a co- 
venant, and for a possession, truly everlasting. 
The offer of this eternal life is made in the word, 
and confirmed by the sacraments, to all that are 
under the external administration of the c( v enant ; 
and the earnest of it is given to all believers, Eph. 

I. 14. Canaan is here said to be the land wherein 
Abraham was a stranger; and heaven is a land to 
which we are strangers, for it dees not yet appear 
what we shall be. 

III. The token of the coven mt, : nd that is cir- 
cumcision, for the sake of which the covenant is 
itself called the covenant of circu7ncision. Acts 7. 
8. It is here said to be the covenant which Abra- 
ham and his seed must keep, as a copy or counter- 
part, V. 9, 10. It is called a sign and seal, Rom. 4. 

II, for it was, 1. A confirmation to Abraham and 

his seed, of those promises which were God’s part 
of the covenant, assuring them that they should be 
fulfilled; that in due time Canaan should' be their’s: 
and the continuance of this ordinance, after Canaan 
was their’s, intimates that that promise locked fur- 
ther, to another Canaan, which they must still be 
in expectation of: see Heb. 4, 8. 2. An obligation 

upon Abraham and his seed, to that duty which 
was their part of the covenant; not only to the duty 
of accepting the covenant and consenting to it, anci 
the putting away of the conniption of the flesh, 
(which were more immediately and primarily sig- 
nified by circumcision,) but, in general, to the ob- 
servation of all God’s commands, as they should at 
anv time hereafter be intimated and made known 
to them; for circumcision made men debtors to do 
the whole law, Gal. 5. 3. They who will h ive God 
to be to them a God, must consent and resolve to be 
to him a people. 

Now, (1.) Circumcision was a bloody ordinance; 
for all things by the law were purged with blood, 
Heb. 9. 22. See Exod. 24. 8. But the blood of 
Christ being shed, all bloody ordinances are now 
aliolished; circumcisio n therefore gives way to bap- 
tism. (2.) It was peculiar to the males; though 
the women also were included in the covenant, for 
the man is the head of the woman. In our king- 
dom, the oath of allegiance is required only from 
men: some think that the blood of the males only 
was shed in circumcision, because respect was had 
in it to Jesus Christ, and his blood. (3.) It was 
the flesh of the fore-skin that was to lie cut off, be- 
cause it is by ordinary generation that sin is propa- 
gated, and with an eye to the Promised Seed, who 
was to come from the loins of Abraham. Christ 
having not yet offered himself for us, God would 
have man to enter into covenant by the offering of 
some part of his own body, and no part could be 
better spared. It is a secret part of the body: for 
the true circumcision is that of the heart: this ho- 
nour God put upon an uncomely part, ] Cor. 12. 
23, 24. (4.) The ordinance was to be administered 
to children when they were eight days old, and not 
sooner: that they might gather some' strength to be 
able to undergo the pain rf it, and that at least me 
sibbath might pass ever them. (5.) The children 
rf the stranger, rf whom the master of the family 
was the tnie domestic owner, were to be circum- 
cised, f. 12, 13, which looked favrurctbly upon the 
gentiles, who shculd, in due time, be brought into 
the family ' f Abraham by faith: see Gal. 3. 14. 
(6. ) Tlie religious observance of this institution was 
required, under a very sev ere penalty, xk 14. The 
contempt of circumcision was a contempt of the co- 
venant; if the parents did nrt circumcise their chil- 
dren, it was at their peril, as in the case of Moses, 
Exod. 4. 24, 25. With respect to these that were 


[08 


GENESIS, XVll. 


not circumcised in their infancy, if, when they 
grew up, they did not themselves come under this 
ordinance, God would surely reckon with them. If 
they cut not off the flesh of their foi'c-skin, God 
would cut them off from their people. It is a dan- 
gerous thing to make 1 ght of divine institutions, and 
to live in the neglect of them. 

15. And God said unto Abraham, As for 
Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name 
Sarai, but Sarah shall her name he. 16. 
And I will bless her, and give thee a son 
also of her : yea, I will bless her, and she 
shall be a mother of nations ; kings of peo- 
ple shall be of her. 17. Then Abraham 
fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in 
his heart. Shall a child be born unto him 
that is an hundred years old? And shall Sa- 
rah, that is ninety years old, bear ? 18. And 
Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael 
might live before thee! 19. And God said, 
Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed ; 
and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I 
will establish my covenant with him for an 
everlasting covenant, and with his seed 
after him. 20. x\nd as for [shmael, I have 
heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and 
wall make him fruitful, and will multiply 
him exceedingly ; twelve princes shall he 
beget, and I will make him a great nation. 
21. But my covenant will I establish with 
Isaac, w'liich Sarali shall bear unto thee at 
this set time in the next year. 22. And he 
left off talking wdth him, and God went up 
from Abraham. 

Here is, 

I. The promise made to Abram of a sou by Sarai, 
that son in whom the promise, made to him, should 
be fulfilled, th .t he should be the father of many 
nations; fors/zc also shall he a mother of nations, and 
kings of fieofile shall be of her, v. 16. Note, 1. God 
reveals the purposes of his good-will to his people 
by degrees. God had told Abraham, long before, 
that he should have a son by Sarai. 2. The bless- 
ing of the Lord makes fruitful, and adds no sorrow 
with it, no such sorrow as was in Hagar’s case. “ I 
will bless her with the blessing of fruitfulness, and 
then thou shalt have a son of her.*’ 3. Civil go- 
vernment and order are a great blessing to the 
church. It is promised, not only that people, but 
kings of people, should be of her; not a headless 
rout, but a well-modelled, well-governed society. 

II. The ratification of this promise was the change 
of Sarai’s name into Sarah, v. 15, the same letter 
added to her name that was to Abraham’s, and for 
the same reasons. Sarai signifies mij princess, as 
if her honour were confined to one family only; Sa- 
rah signifies a princess, namely of multitudes; or, 
signifying that from her should come the Mes- 
siah, the Prince, even the Prince of the kings of 
the earth. 

III. Abraham’s joyful, thankful entertainment of 
this gracious promise, v. 17. U])on this occasion, 
he expressed, 1. Grca^ he fell on his face. 
Note, The more honours and favours God confers 
upon us, the lower we should be in our own eyes, 
and the more reverent and submissive before God. 
2. Great joy; he laughed, it was a laughter of de- 
light, not of distnist. Note, Even the jjromises of 
a. holy (iod, as well as his performances, are the 


II joys cf holy souls; there is the joy of faith, as well 
|! as the joy of fruition. Now it was that Abraham 
rejoiced to see Christ’s day; now he saw it, and was 
; glad, John 8. 56, for as he saw heaven in the promise 
of Canaan, so he saw Christ in the promise of Isaac. 

; 3. Great admiration; hhall a child be born to him 
[ that is an 100 years old? He does not here speak cf it 
as at all doubtful, (for we are sure that he stagger- 
I ed not at the promise, Rem. 4. 20.) but as very svon- 
derful, and that which could not be effected but by 
the almighty power of God, and as very kind, and 
a favour which was the more affecting and obliging 
for this, that it was extremely surprising, Ps. 12^ 
1 , 2 . 

IV. Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael, 18, O that 
Ishmael might Iwe before theel This he speaks, 
not as desiring that Ishmael might be preferred be- 
fore the son he should have by Sarah; but, dread- 
ing lest he should be abandoned and forsaken cf 
God, he puts up this petition on his behalf. Now 
that God is talking with him, he thinks he has a 
very fair opportunity to speak a good word for Ish- 
mael, and he will not let it slip. Note, 1. Though 
we ought not to prescribe to God, yet he gives us 
leave, in prayer, to be humbly free with him, and 
particular in m iking known our requests, Phil. 4. 6. 
Whatever is the matter of r ur care and fear, should 
be spread before God in prayer. 2. It is the duty 
of parents to pray for their children, for all their 
children, as Job, wdio offered burnt-offerings, ac- 

! cording to the number of them all. Job 1. 5. Abra- 
1 ham would not have it thought, when God promised 
him a son by Sarah, which he so much desired, 
that then his son by Ha gar was forgotten; no, still 
i he bears him upon his heart, and shows a conceiTi 
I f'l’ him. The prespeot of fiirther favours must not 
! niake us unmindful of former favours. 3. The great 
]*thing we should desire of God for our children, is, 

' that they may live liefore him, that is, that they 
I may be kept in covenant with him, and may have 
[ grace to walk before him in their uprightness; spi- 
ritual blessings are the best blessings, and which we 
should be most earnest with God for, both for our- 
selves, and ethers. Those live well, that live be- 
fore God. 

V. God’s answer to his prayer; and it is an an- 
swer cf peace; Abraham could not say that he 
sought God’s face in \'ain. 

1. Common blessings are secured to Ishmael, v. 
20, As for Ishmael, whom thou art in so much 
care about, I have heard thee; he shall find favour 
for thy sake; I have blessed him, that is, I have 
many blessings in store for him. (1.) His posterity 
shall be numerous; I mill multiply him exceedingly, 
more than h’s neighbours: this is the fniit of the 
blessing, as that, ch. 1. 28. (2.) They shall be con- 
siderable; twelve princes shcdl he beget: we may 
charitably hope that spiritual blessings also were 
bestowed upon him, though the visilfle church was 
not brought out of his loins, and the covenant w'as 
not lodged in his family. Note, Great plenty of 
outward good things is often given to those childrer. 
of godly parents, who are born after the flesh, for 
their parents’ sake. 

2. Cor>rno72?-blessings arc reserved for Isaac, and 

appropriated to him, t. 19, 21. If Abraham, m 
his prayer for Ishmael, meant that he would have 
the covenant made with him, and the Promised 
Seed to come from him; then, God did not answer 
him in the letter, but in that sense which was equi- 
valent, nay, which was every way better. (1.) God 
repeats to him the promise of a son by Sarah; she 
shall bear thee a son indeed. Note, [1.] Even true 
believers need to have God’s promises doubled and 
repeated to them, that thev may have strong con- 
solation, Heb. 6. 18. [2.1 Children of the promi.se 

are children indeed. (2.) He names that child, 


109 


GENESIS, XVIIl. 


cnlls him Isaac, Laughter; because Abraham re- 
joiced in spirit, when this son was promised him. 
Note, If God’s promises be our joy, his mercies pre- 
mised shall in due time be our exceeding joy. Christ 
will be to them that look for him; they 
that now rejoice in hope, shall shortly rejoice in 
having that which they hope for: this is laughter 
that is not mad. (3.) He entails the covenant open 
that child; I will establish my covenant with him. 
Note, God takes whom he pleases into covenaiit 
vith himself, according to the good pleasure of his 
will: see Rom. 9. 8, 18. Thus was the covenant 
settled between God and Abraham, with its se\ e- 
ral limitations and remainders, and then the co\ e- 
nant ended; God left off talking with him, and the 
vision disappeared, God went ufi from Abraham. 
Note, Our communion with God here is broken 
and interrupted ; in heaven it will be a continual and 
everlasting feast. 

23 . And Abraham took Ishmael his son, 
and all that were born in his house, and all 
that were bought with his money, ever}' 
male among the men of Abraham’s house ; 
and circumcised the flesh of their fore-skin 
in the self-same day, as God had said unto 
him. 24 . And Abraham ims ninety years 
old and nine, when he was circumcised in 
the flesh of his fore-skin. 25 . And Ishmael 
his son was thirteen years old when he was 
circumcised in the flesh of his fore-skin. 26 . 
In the self-same day was Abraham ^ irciim- 
cised, and Ishmael his son. 27 . And all 
the men of his house, born in the house, 
and bought with money of the stranger, were 
circumcised with him. 

We have here Abi'aham’s obedience to the law 
of circumcision; he himself, and all his family, were 
circumcised; so receiving the token of the covenant, 
and distinguishing themselves from other families 
that had no part nor lot in the matter. 1. It was 
an imfdicit obedience; he did as God said unto him, 
and did not ask why or wherefore. God’s will was 
not only a law to him, but a reason; he did it, be- 
cause God bid him. 2. It was a sfieedy obedience; 
in the self-same day, v. 23, 26. Sincere obedience 
is not dilatory, Ps. 119. 60. While the command 
is yet sounding in our ears, and the sense of duty is 
fresh, it is good to apply ourselves to it immediately, 
lest we deceive ourselves by putting it off to a more 
convenient season. 3. It was an universal obedi- 
ence; he did not circumcise his family, and excuse 
himself, but set them an example; nor did he take 
the comfort of the seal of the covenant to himself 
only, but desired that all might share with him in 
it: this is a good example to masters of families; 
they and their houses must serve the Lord. Though 
God’s covenant was not established with Ishmael, 
yet he was circumcised; for children of believing 
parents, as such, have a right to the privileges of 
the visible church, and the seals of the covenant, 
whatever they may prove afterward; Ishmael is 
Idessed, and therefore circumcised. 4. Abraham 
did this, though much might be oljjected against it: 
though circumcision was painful, though to grown 
men it was shameful; though, while they were s; re 
and unfit for action, their enemies might take ad- 
v uitage against them, as Simeon and Levi did 
ag linst the Shechemites; though Abraham was 99 
yc r.s old, and had been justified and accepted of 
G al long since; though so strange a thing done reli- 
giously, might be turned to his reproach by the Ca- 
••a.anite and the Perizzite that dwelt then in the 


land; yet God’s command was sufficient to answer 
these, and a thousand such objections; what God 
requires, we must do, not co7if erring with Jiesh and 
blood. 

CHAP. XVIIl. 

We have an account in this cliapter of another interview 
between God and Abraham, probably, within a few da vs 
after the former, as a reward ol' his cheerful obedience 
to the law of circumcision. Here is, I. The kind visit, 
which God made him, and the kind entertainment which 
he gave to that visit, v. 1 . . 8. II. The matters dis- 
coursed ol between them. I. The purposes of God’s love 
concerning Sarah, v. 9. . 15. 2. The purposes of God’s 

wrath concerning Sodom. (1.) The discovery God made 
to Abraham of his design to destroy Sodom, v. 16. .22. 
(2.) The intercession Abraham made for Sodom, v. 
23. . 33. 

1. A ND the Lord appeared unto him in 
J\. the plains of Mamie : and he sat in 
the tent-door in the heat of the day ; 2. And 
he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three 
men stood by him : and when he saw them., 
he ran to meet them fiom the tent-door, 
and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 . 
And said. My Lord, if now 1 have found 
favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray 
thee, from thy servant : 4 . Let a little wa- 

ter, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your 
feet, and rest yourselves under the tree : 5. 
And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and 
comfort ye your hearts ; after that, ye shall 
pass on : for therefore are ye come to your 
servant. And they said. So do, as thou 
liast said. 6. And Abraham hastened into 
the tent unto Sarah, and said. Make ready 
quickly three measures of fine meal, knead 
it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 . 
And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch- 
ed a calf tender and good, and gave it unto 
a young man ; and he hasted to dress it. 
8. And he took butter, and milk, and the 
calf which he had dressed, and set it before 
them ; and he stood by them under the tree, 
and they did eat. 

This appearance of God to Abraham seems to 
have had in it more of feedom and familiarity, and 
less of grandeur and majesty, than those we have 
hitherto read of; and therefore more resembles that 
gi-eat visit, which, in the fulness of time, the Son of 
God was to make to the world; when the Word 
would be made flesh, and appear as one of us. Ob- 
serve here, 

I. How Abraham expected strangers, and how 
richly his expectations were answered, 1 '. 1, He sat 
in the tent-door, in the heat of thedaxj ; not so much 
to repose or divert himself, as to seek an opportuni- 
ty of doing good, by giving entertainment to stran- 
gers and travellers, there being perhaps no inns to 
accommodate them. Note, 1. We are likely to 
have the most comfort of those good works thdt we 
arc most free and forward to. 2. God graciously 
vi.sits those in whom he has first raised the expecta- 
tion of him, and manifests liimself to those that wait 
for him. When Abraham was thus sitting, he saw 
three men coming toward him. These three men 
were three spiritual heavenly beings, now assuming 
human bodies, that they might be visible to Abra- 
ham, and conversable with him. Some think that 
they were all created angels, others, that one of 


no 


GENESIS, XVIII. 


them was the Son of God, the Angel of tlie cove- 
nant, whom Abraham distinguished from the rest, 
V. 3, and who is called Jehovah, v. 13. 1 he apos- 

tle improves this, for the encouragement ot hospi- 
t 3itv, Heb. 13. 2. Those that have been forward 
to entertain strangers, have enterta'.ned angels, to 
the.r unspeakable honour and satisfa<.tion. VV here, 
upo.i a prudent and impartial judgment, we see no 
c.oise to suspect ill, charity teaches us to hope well, 
an.i to show kindness accordingly; it is better to feeu 
five drones, or wasps, than to starve one bee. 

11. How Abraham entertained those strangers, 
and how kindly his entertainment was accepted. 
Tne Holy Gliost takes particular notice of the \ ery 
free and affectionate welcome which Abraham ga\«' 
to the strangers. 1. He was complaisant ana re- 
spectful to them; forgetting his age, he ra/i to meet 
them in the most obliging manner, and bowed him- 
self toward the ground, though as yet he knew no- 
thing of them, but that they appeared graceful le- 
spectable men. Note, Religion does not destroy, 
but improves good mannei s, and teaches us to hon- 
ou.- all men. Decent civility is a great ornament to 
p ety. 2. He was very earnest and importunate for 
their stay, and took it as a great favour, v. 3, 4. 
Note, (1. ) It becomes those whom God has blessed 
with plenty, to be liberal and open hearted in their 
ente’ tamnients, according to t.ieir ability, and (_not 
to compliment, but cordially) t bid their friends 
welcome: we should take a pleasure in showing 
kindness to any; for both flod and man love acheer- 
fu giver. Wwo wonXd eat the bread of him that has 
an evil eye? Prov. 2.3. ’6, 7. (2.) Those that would 
have coiTiiTuinion with God, must earnestly desire 
it, and pray for it. God is a Guest worth entreating. 
3. His entertainment, though it was very free, yet 
w IS plain and homely, and there was nothing m it 
of the gaiety and nireness of these times. H.s di- 
tiing-ro nn was an harbour under a tree; no ru h 
table-linen, iiO side-board set with plate; his feast 
was a joint or two of veal, and some cakes baked on 
the hearth, and b'^th hastily dressed up; liere were 
no dainties, no varieties, no forced-meats, no sweet- 
meats, but good plain wholesome food, though Abra- 
ham was \ ery rich, and his guests very honour do.e. 
Note, We ought not to be curious in our diet: let 
us be thankful for food convenient, though it be 
homely and common; and not be desirous of dainties, 
for they are deceitful meat to those that lo\e them 
and set their hearts upon them. 4. He and his wife 
were both of them \ ery attentive, and busy, in ac- 
commodating their guests with the best they had, 
S irih hersc.f is cook and baker; Abraham runs to 
fetch the calf, brings out the milk and butter, and 
thinks it not below liim to wait at table, that he 
might show how heartily welcome his guests were. 
Note, (1.) Those that have real merit, need not 
take St ite upon them. (2.) Hearty friendship wdl 
stoop to any thing but sin, Cltrist himself has taught 
us to wash one aitother’s feet, in humble love. Tliey 
that thus abase themseh es, shall be exalted. Here 
Abraham’s faith showed itself in good works; and 
so n\ust our’s, e’se it is dead. Jam. 2. 21, 26. The 
f dher of the f.dthful was famous for charity, and 
gene osity, and good house-keeping; and we must 
learn <4 him to do good, and communicate. Job did 
n t e ith s morsel alone, JcId 31. 17. 

1). And thry said uitto liiin, Where /s Sa- 
rah tiiy wifi', .' And lie said, Behold, in the 
lent. 10. .And he said, 1 will certainly re- 
turn unto thee according to tlie time of life ; 
and, lo, Sarah thy wife sliall have a son. 
And Sarah heard it in the tent-door, vvhicli 
beliind him. 11. Now Abraham and 


I Sarah were old and well-stricken in age ; and 
' it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner 
I of women. 1 2. Therefore Sarah laughed 
j within herself, saying, after 1 am waxed old 
1 shall 1 have pleasure, my loid being old also \ 

I 1.3. And tiie Lord said unto ^Vbraliam, 

I Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying. Shall I 
! of a surety bear a cliild, wiiicii am old ? 
1 4 Is any thing too liard for tlie Lord ? At 
the time appointed, 1 will return unto thee, 

I according to the time of life, and Saiah shall 
: have a son. 1 5. Then Sarah denied, say- 
I ing, I laughed not; for she was all aid. And 
he said, Nay ; but thou didst laugh. 

These heavenly guests, (being sent to conhnn the 
promise late’y made to Abraham, that he should 
h ive a son by Sarah,) while they are receiving 
Abiy.ham’s kind entertainment, thus I’eturn his 
kindness: he receives ange’s, and has angels’ reward; 
a gracious message from Heaven, Mutt. 10. 41. 

1. Care is taken that Sarah should be within hear 
ing. S .0 must conceix e by faith, and therefore the 
promise must be made to her, Heb. 11. 11. It was 
t!\e modest us ige of that time, that the women did 
not sit .,t meat with men, at least, not xvith strangers, 
but confined themselves to their own apartments; 
therefore Sarah is here out of sight; but she must 
not be out of hearing. The angels inquire, xn 9, 
I There is Sarah thy wife? By naming her, they 
ga\ e intimation enough to Abraham that though they 
seemed strangers, yet they very we 1 knew him and 
lus family; by inquiring after her, they showed a 
friend’y kind concern for the family and relations of 
one whom they found respectful to them. It is a 
piece of common civility, which ought to proceed 
trom a principle of Christian love, and then it is 
s metified. And by speaking of her, (she over-hear- 
ing it,) they drew her to listen to what was further 
to Ire said. JThere is Sot'ah thy xv fe ? sav the angels; 
Behold, in the tent, said Abraham. Where should 
she be else ? There she is in her place, as she used 
to be, and is now within call. Note, 1. The daugh- 
ters of Sarah must learn of her, to be chaste keepers 
at home, Titus 2. 5. There is ncth.ing got by gad- 
ding. 2. Those are most likely to receive comfort 
from God and his promises, that are in their place, 
i and in the way of their duty, Luke 2. 8. 
j II. The promise is then renewed and ratified, 
that she should have a son, x>. 10, I xvill certain- 
ly return unto thee, and visit thee next time, with 
tlife performance, as now I do, xvith the premise.” 
God will return to those that bid him welcome, that 
entertain his visits: “I will return thy kindness, Sa- 
rah thy wife shall have a son it is repeated again, 
x>. 14. Thus the promises of the Messiah were often 
repeated in the Old Testament, for the strengthen- 
ing ot the faith of (iod’s people. M'e are slow of 
heart to believe, and therefore have need of line 
upon line to the same purport. This is tlxat word of 
promise which the apostle quotes, Rom. 9. 9, as 
that, by the virtue of which Isaac wasbrrn. Note, 
1. The same blessings whicli ethers have from com- 
i mon i)rovidencc, believers have from the ]>romise, 

' which makesthem very sweet, and very sir. e. 2. The 
s]>iritual seed of Abraham owe their life, and joy, 

, and hope, and .all, to the jiromise. They are bom 
' liy the word of God, 1 Pet. 1. 23. 

111. Sarali thinks this too good news to be true, 
and therefore cannot as yet find in her heart to be- 
lieve it, V. 12, Sarah laughed wifhhi herself It 
I was not a pleasing laughter of faith, like Abraham’s, 

I ch. 17. 17, but it was a laughter of doubting and 


Ill 


GENESIS, XVIIl. 


mi ftrust Note, The same thing may be done 
from very different principles, which God oidy can 
judge cf, who knows the heart. Tire great objec- 
tion which Sarah could not get over, was her age. 
“ I am waxed old, and past child-bearing in tlie 
course of nature; especially having been hitherto 
biiren; and (which magnifies the difficulty) My 
lord m old alno.” Observe here, 1. Sarali calls 
Abraham her lord; it was the only good wr rd in 
tills saying, and the Holy Cihost takes ir ticc cf it 
to her honour, and reconimends it to the imitation of 
all christain wives, 1 Pet. 3. 6, Sarah obeyed Abra- 
ham, calling him lord, in token of respect and sub- 
jection. Thus must the wife reverence her hus- 
band, Eph. 5. 33. And thus must we be apt to take 
notice of what is spoken decently and well, to the 
honour of them that speak it, though it may be mix- 
ed with that which is amiss, over which we should 
cast a mantle of love. 2. Human improbability of- 
ten sets up in contradictim to the dix ine promise. 
The objections of sense are very apt to .stuinlile and 
puzzle the weak faith even of true believers. It is 
hard to cleave to the First Cause, when second 
causes frown. 3. Even there where istrue faith, yet 
there are often sore confli ts with unbelief; Sarah 
could say, I.ord, I believe, (Heb. 11. 11.) and yet 
must say, l.ord, helfi my unbelief. 

IV. The angel reproves the indecent expressions 
of her distrust, r;. 13, 14. Observe, 1. Though Sa- 
rah was most kindly and generously entertaining 
these angels, yet, when .she did amiss', they reprov- 
ed her for it, as Christ rejiroved Martha iii her own 
house, Luke 10. 40, 41. If our friends be kind to 
us, we must net therefore be so unkind to them as 
to suffer sin upon them. 2. God gave this reproof 
to Sarah by Abraham her husband; to him he said, 
IVhy did Sarah laugh? Perhaps, he had not told 
her of the promise that hud been given him some 
time before to this purport; if he had communicated 
it to her with its ratifications, she would hardly 
have been so suipriscd at it now. Or, Abraham xvas 
told of it, that he might tell her of it; mutual reproof, 
when there is occasion for it, is one of the duties 
of that relation. 3. The reproof itself is ])lain, and 
backed with a good reason. Wherefore did Sarah 
laugh? Note, (1.) It is good to inquire into the rea- 
son of our laughter, that it may not be the laughter 
of a fool, Eccl. 7. 6. “ W'herefore did I laugh 

(2.) Our unbelief and distnist are a great offence to 
the God of heaven. He justly takes it ill, to have 
the objections of sense set un in contradiction to his 
promise, as Luke 1. 18. Here is a question asked, 
which is enough to answer all the cavils of flesh 
and blood; Is any thing too hard for the Lord? 
Keb. too wonderful, that is, [1.1 Is anything so 
secret as to escape his cognizance? No, not Sarah’s 
laughing, though it was only within herself Or, 
[2.] Is any thing so difficult as to exceed liis pow- 
er? No, not the giving of a child to Sarah in her 

- old age. 

* V. Sarah foolishly endeavours to conceal her fault, 
u. 15, She denied, saying, I did not laugh; think- 
ing nobody could dis]5rove her: she told this lie, be- 
cause she was afraid; but it was in vain to attempt 
concealing it from an all-seeing eye; she was told, to 
her shame. Thou didst laugh. Now, 1. There 
seems to be in Sarah a retraction of her distrust. 
Now that she perceived, by laying circumstances 
together, that it was a divine promise which had 
been made ccnceiTiing her, she renounces all doubt- 
ing distrustful thoughts about it. But, 2. There was 
withal a sinful attempt to cover a sin with a lie. It 
IS a shame to do amiss, but a greater shame to deny 
it; for thereby we add iniquity to our iniquity. Fear 
of a rebuke often betrays us into this snare. See Isa. 
57. 11, Whom hast thou feared, that thou hast lied? 
But we deceive ourselves, if we think to impose up- 


I on God; he can and will, bring truth to light, to our 
i shame. He that covers his sin, cannot firosfier; for 
the day is coming, w hich will discover it. 

16. And the men rose up from thence, 
and look('d low ard Sodom : and Abraham 
went witli them to bring them on the 
way. 1 7. And the Lord said, Shall J 
hide from Abraham tliat thing which J do; 

18. S(?eing that Abraliarn shall surely be- 
come a great and mighty nation, and all the 
nations oj the earth shall be blessed in him? 

19. b'or I know him, that he will command 
his children and his household after him, 
and they shall keep the w^ay of the Lord, to 
do justice and judgment ; that the Lord 
may bring upon Abraham that which he 
hath spoken of him. 20. And the Lord 
said. Because the cry of Sodom and Gomor- 
rah is great, and because their sin is very 
grievous ; 21.1 will go dow n nows and see 
whether they have done altogether according 
to the cry of it, w Inch is to come unto me ; 
and if not, I will know. 22. And the men 
turned their faces from thence, and w^ent to- 
ward Sodom : but A braham stood yet be- 
fore the 1r4RD. 

The mes.sengers from heaven had now despatched 
one part of their business, which was an errand of 
grace to Abraham and Sarah, and which they de- 
livered first; but now they have before them work of 
another nature: Sodom is to be destroyed, and they 
must do it, ch. 19. 13. Note, As with the Lori 
there is mercy, so he is the God to whom vengeance 
belongs. Pursuant to their commission, we here 
find, 1. T\yeX they looked toward Sodom, V. 16, they 
set their faces against it in wrath: as God is said to 
look unto the host of the Egyptians, Exod. 14. 24. 
Note, Though God has long seemed to connive at 
sinners, from which they have inferred that the 
Lord does not see, does not regard; yet, when the 
day of his wrath comes, he will look towards them. 
2. That they toward Sodom, v. 22, and accor- 
dingly, we find two of them at Sodom, ch. 19. 1. 
Whether the third was the Lord, before whom 
Abraham yet stood, and to whom he drew near, v. 
23, as most think, or whether the third left them be- 
fore they came to Sodom, and the Lord before 
xvhom Abraham stood, was the Shechinah, or that 
appearance of the Divine Glory which Abraham 
had formerly seen and conversed with, is uncertain. 
However, we have here, (1.) The honour Abraham 
did to his guests; he went with them to bring them 
on the way, as one that was loath to part with such 
good company, and was desirous to pay his utmost 
respects to them. This is a piece of civility, proper 
to be showed to our friends; but it must be done as 
the apostle directs, (3 John 6.) after a godly sort. 
(2. ) The honour they did to him ; for those that hon- 
our God, he will honour; God cfimmunicated to 
Abraham his pui-pose to destroy Sodom, and not on- 
ly so, but entered into a free conference with him 
about it. Having taken him, more closely than be- 
fore, into covenant with himself, ch. 17, he here 
admits him into more intimate communion with him- 
self than ever, as the man of his counsel. Observe 
here, 

I. God’s friendly thoughts concerning Abraham, 
{y. 17. .19.) where we have his resolution to make 
known to Abraham his purpose conceming Sodom, 


112 GENESIS, XVJll. 


with the reasons of it. If Abraham had not 
brought them on their way, perhaps he had not 
been thus favoured; but he that loves to walk, with 
wise men, shall be wise, Prov. 13. 20. See how 
God is pleased to argue with himself; Shall I hide 
from Abraham (or, as some read it, Am I conceal- 
ing from Abraham) that thing which I do? “ Can 
I go about such a thing, and not tell Abraham?” 
Thus does God, in his counsels, express liimself, 
after the manner of men, with deliberation. But 
why must Abraham be of the cabinet council? The 
Jews suggest that because God had granted the land 
of Canaan to Abraham and his seed, therefore he 
would not destroy those cities which were a part of 
that land, without his knowledge and consent. But 
God here gives two other reasons. 

1. Abraham must know, for he is a friend and a 
favourite, and one that God has a particular kind- 
ness for, and great things in store for. He is to be- 
come a great nation; and not only so, but in the 
Messiah which is to come from his loins. All nations 
of the earth shall be blessed. Note, The secret of 
the Lord is with them that fear him, Ps. 25. 14. 
Prov. 3. 32. Those that by faith live a life of com- 
munion with God, cannot but know more of his 
mind than other people, though not with a pro- 
j)hetical, yet with a prudential, practical, know- 
ledge. They have a better insight than others into 
what is present, (Hos. 14. 9. P= 107. 43.) and a 
better foresight of what is to come, at least, so much 
as suffices for their conduct and for their comfyrt. 

2. Abraham must know, for he will teach his 
household, ik 19, I know .dbraham very well, that 
he will command his children and his household after 
him. 

Consider this, (1. ) Asa veiy bright part of Abra- 
ham’s character and example. He not only pray- 
ed with his family, but he taught them as a man of 
knowledge, nay, he commanded them as a man in 
authority, and was prophet and king, as well as 
priest, in his own house. Observe, [1.] God having 
made the covenant with him and his seed, and his 
household being circumcised, pursuant to that, he 
was very careful to teach and rule them well. 
Those that expect family-blessings, must make 
conscience of family-duty. If our children be the 
Lord’s, they must be nursed for him ; if they wear 
his livery, they must be trained up in his work. 
[2.] Abraham not only took care of his children, 
but of his household; his servants were catechised 
serv'ants. Masters of families should instinct, and 
inspect the manners of, all under their roof. The 

f ioorest servants have precious souls that must be 
ooked after. [3. ] Abraham made it his care and 
business to promote practical religion in his family. 
He did not fill their heads with matters of nice 
speculation, or doubtful disputation ; but he taught 
them to keep the way of the Lord, and to do judg- 
ment and justice, that is, to be serious and devout 
in the worship of God, and to be honest in their 
dealings with all men. [%.] Abraham, herein, had 
an eye to posterity, and was in care not only that 
his household with him, but that his household after 
him, should keep the way of the Lord; that religion 
might flourish in his f imily, when he was in his 
grave. [5. ] His doing this, was the fiilfilling of the 
conditions of the promises which God had made 
him. Those only can expect the liencfit of the 
promises, that make consc’ence of their duty. 

(2. ) We mav consider this as the reason why God 
would make known to him his pur])osc concerning 
Sodom, because he was communicative of his know- 
ledge, and improved it for the benefit of those that 
were under his charge. Note, To him that hath, 
shall be given, Matth. 13. 12. — 25. 29. Those that 
make a good use of their knowledge, shall know 
more. i 


II. God’s friendly talk with Abraham; in which 
he makes known to him his purpose conccii.iiig 
Sodom, and allows him a liberty of appfication lo 
him about that matter. 1. He tells him of the e\'i- 
dence thei’e was against Sedom, v. 20, 7'he cry oj 
Sodom is great. Note, Some sins, and the sins (f 
some sinners, ciy aloud to Heaven for vengeance. 
The iniquity of Sodom was crying iniquity, that is, 
it was so very provoking, that it even urged Gcd to 
punish. 2. The inquiry he would make upon this 
evidence, v. 21, I will go down nowand see. Not 
as if there were any thing concerning which Gcd is 
in doubt, or in the dark ; but he is pleased thus to 
express himself after the manner of men, (1.) To 
show the incontestable equity of all his judicial pro- 
ceedings. Men are apt to suggest that his way is 
not equal; but let them know that his judgments are 
the re.sult of an eternal council, and are never rash 
or sudden resolves. He never punishes upon re- 
port, or common fame, or the information of others, 
but upon his own certain and infallible knowledge. 
(2.) To give example to magistrates, and those in 
authority, with the utmost care ancl diligence to 
inquire into the merits of a cause, before they give 
judgment upon it. (3.) Perhaps the decree is here 
spoken of as not yet peremptory, that room and en- 
couragement might be given to Abraham to make 
intercession for them. Thus God looked if there 
were any to intercede, Isa. 59. 16. 

23. And Abraham drew near, and said, 
Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the 
wicked ? 24. Peradventure there be hfty 

righteous within the city : wilt thou also de- 
stroy and not spare the place for the fifty 
righteous that are therein ? 25. I’hat be far 

from thee to do after this manner, to slay 
the righteous with the wicked : and that the 
righteous should be as the wicked, that be 
far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all 
the earth do right ? 26. And the Lord 
said. If I find in Sodom fifty righteous 
within the city, then I will spare all the place 
for their sakes. 27. And Abraham answer- 
ed and said, Bch.old now, I have taken upon 
me to speak unto the Lord, which am hut 
dust and ashes : 28. Peradventure there 

shall lack five of the fifty righteous : wilt 
thou destroy all the city for lack of five ? 
And he said. If I find there forty and five, I 
will not destroy it. 29. And he spake unto 
him yet again, and said, Peradventure there 
shall be forty found there. And he said, I 
will not do it for forty’s sake. 30. And ho 
said unto him. Oh let not the Lord be 
angiy, and I will speak : Peradventure there 
shall be thirty found there. , And he said, I 
will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31. 
And he said. Behold now, I have taken 
upon me to speak unto the Lord: Perad- 
venture there shall be found twenty theiD. 
And ho said, I will not destroy it for twen- 
L’s sake. 32. And he said, Oh let not the 
Lord be angiy, and I ^^•ill speak yet but 
this once : PeradventuVe ten shall lie found 
there. And he said, 1 will not destroy it for 
ten's sake. 3?'. And tk.e Lord Vvcnt his 


GENESIS, XVITl. 


way, as soon as he had left communing with 
Abraham : and Abraham returned unto his 
place. 

Communion with God is kept up by the word and 
by prayer. In the word, God speaks to us; in 
prayer, we speak to him. God had spoken to 
Abraham his purposes concerning Sodom ; now from 
thence Abraham takes occasion to speak to God on 
Sodom’s behalf. Note, God’s word then does ns 
good, when it furnishes us with mutter for prayer, 
and excites us to it. When God has spoken to us, 
we must consider wliat we have to say to him upon 
t. 

Observe, 

I. The solemnity of Abraham’s address to God 
on this occasion, x’. 23, Abraham drew near. The 
expression intimates, 1. A holy concern; he engaged 
his heart to approach to God, Jer. 30. 21, “Shall 
Sodom be destroyed, and I not speak one good word I 
for it.^” 2. A holy confidence; he drew near with 
an assurance of faith, drew near as a prince. Job 
31. 37. Note, When we address ourselves to the 
duty of prayer, we ought to remember that we are 
drawing near to God, that we may be filled with a 
reverence of him. Lev. 10. 3. 

II The general scope of this prayer. It is the 
first solemn prayer we have upon record in the 
Bible: and it is a prayer for the sparing of Sodom. 
Abraham, no doubt, greatly abhorred the wicked- 
ness of Sodom, he would not have lived among 
them, as Lot did, if they would have given him the 
best estate in their country; and yet he prayed ear- 
nestly for them. Note, Though sin is to be hated, 
sinners are to be pitied and prayed for. God de- 
lights not in their death, nor should we desire, but 
deprecate, the woeful day. 1. He begins with a 
prayer, that the righteous among them might be 
spared, and not involved in the common calamity; 
having an eye particularly to just Lot, whose disin- 
genuous carriage toward him he had long since for- 
given and forgotten; witness his friendly zeal to 
rescue him before by his sword, and now by his 
prayers. 2. He improves this into a petition, that 
all might be spared for the sake of the righteous 
that were among them, God himself countenancing 
this request, and in effect putting him upon it by his 
answer to his first address, v. 26. Note, We must 
pray, not only for ourselves, but for others also; for 
we are members of the same body, at least, of the 
same body of mankind. All we are brethren. 

III. The particular graces eminent in this prayer. 

1. Here is great faith; and it is the prayer of 
faith that is the prevailing prayer. His faith pleads 
with God, orders the cause, and fills his mouth with 
arguments. He acts faith especially upon the 
righteousness of God, and is very confident, (1.) 
That God will not destroy the righteous with the 
wicked, v. 23. No, that be far from thee, v, 25. 
We must never entertain any thought that dero- 
gates from the honour of God’s righteousness. See 
Rom. 3. 5, 6. Note, [1.] The righteous are min- 
led with the wicked in this world. Among the 
est there are, commonly, some bad, and among 
the worst some good. Even in Sodom, one Lot. 
[2.] Though the righteous be among the wicked, ' 
yet the righteous God will not, certainly he will not 
destroy the righteoies with the wicked. Though in 1 
this world they may be involved in the same com- 1 
mon calamities, yet in the great day, a distinction I 
will be made. (2.) That the righteous shall not be s 
as the wicked, V. 25. Though they may suffer wiYA : 
them, yet they do not suffer like them. Common < 
calamities are quite another thing to the righteous, ] 
than what they are to the wicked, Isa. 27. 7. (3.) 

That the J udge of all the earth will do right; un- : 
doubtedly he will, because he is the Judge of all the i 
VoL. I.— P 


earth; it is the apostle’s argument, Rom. 3. 5, 6. 
Note, [1.] God is the Judge of all the earth; he 
gives charge to all, takes cognizance of all, and will 
pass sentence upon all. [2.] That God Almighty 
never did, nor ever will do, any wrong to any of the 
creatures, either by withhcJding that which is right, 
or by exacting more than is right. Job 34. 10, 11. 

2. Here is great humility. (1.) A deep sense cf 
his own unwoi’thincss, v. 27, liehold now, I hax'c 
taken upon me to s/k ak inito the Ijjrd, who am but 
dust and ashes; and again, xa 31, he speaks as one 
amazed at his own bcddness, and the liberty Goti 
graciously^ allowed him, considering God’s great- 
ness, — lie is the Lord; and his own meanness, — but 
dust and ashes. Note, [1.] The greatest of men, 
the most considerable and deserving, are but dust 
and ashes, mean and vile, before God; despicable, 
frail aJid dying. [2. ] \\ henever we draw near to 
I God, it becomes us reverently to acknowledge the 
I vast distance that there is between us and God. He 
is the Lord of glory, we are worms of the earth. 
[3.] The access we have to the throne of grace, 
and the freedom of speech allowed us, are just mat- 
ter of humble wonder, 2 Sam. 7. 18. (2.) An awful 
dread of God’s displeasure. 0 let not the Lord be 
angry, v. 30, and again, v. 32. Note, [1.] The 
importunity which believers use in their addresses 
to God, is such, that if they were dealing with a 
man like themselves, they could not but fear that 
he would be angry with them. But he with whom 
we have to do, is God and not man; and, however 
he may seem, is not really, angry with the prayers 
of the upright, (Ps. 80. 4.) fer they are his delight, 
(Prov. 15. 8.) and he is pleased when he is wrest- 
led with. [2. ] That even when we receive special 
tokens of the divine favour, we ought to be jealous 
over ourselves, lest we make ourselves obnoxious to 
the divine displeasure; and therefore we must bring 
the Mediator with us in the arms of our faith, to 
atone for the iniquity of our holy things. 

_ 3. Here is great charity. (1.) A charitable opi- 
nion of Sodom’s character: as bad as it was, he 
thought there were several good people in it. It 
becomes us to hope the best of the worst places. 
Of the two, it is better to err in that extreme. (2.) 
A charitable desire of Sodom’s welfare: he used all 
his interest at the throne of grace for mercy for 
them. We never find him thus earnest in pleading 
with God for himself and his family, as here for 
Sodom. 

4. Here are great boldness, and believing confi- 
dence. (1.) He took the liberty to pitch upon a 
certain number of righteous ones which he sup- 
posed might be in Sodom. Suppose there be fifty, 
V. 24. (2.) He drew upon God^ concessions, again 

and again. As God granted much, he still begged 
more, with the hope of gaining his point. (3. ) He 
brought the terms as low as he could for shame, 
(having prevailed for mercy if thei-e were but ten 
righteous ones in five cities,) and perhaps so low, 
that he concluded they would have been spared. 

IV. The success of the prayer. He that thus 
wrestled, prevailed wonderfully ; as a prince he had 
power with God: it was but to ask and have. 1. 
God’s general good-will ajjpears in this, that he 
consented to spare the wicked for the sake of the 
righteous. See how swift God is to show mercy; 
he even seeks a reason for it. See what great 
blessings good people are to any place, and how 
little those befriend themselves, that hate and per- 
secute them. 2. His particular favour to Abraham 
appeared in this, that he did not leave off granting, 
till Abraham left off asking. Such is the power rf 
prayer. \Wiy then did Abraham leave off asking, 
when he had prevailed so far as to get the place 
spared, if there were but ten righteous in it? Either, 
(1. ) Because he owned that they deserved to j)erish. 


i 14 


GENESIS, XIX. 


if there were not so many; an the dresser of the vine- ij 
y<rrd, %vho consented that the barren tree should be I 
cut down, if one year’s trial more did net make it j 
Wilful, Luke 13. 9. Or, (2.) Because Ged re- jj 
strained his spirit from asking any further. When i 
God has determined the ruin of a place, he forbids 
it to be praved for, Jer. 7. 16 . — 11. 14. — 14. 11. j 
Lastly, Here is the breaking up of the confer- j 
ence, v. 33. 1. 7'he Lord went his way. The ! 

visions of God must not be constant in this world, 
where it is by faith only that we are to set God be- j 
fore us. Go(l did not go away, till Abraham had ll 
said all he had to say; for he is never weary of hear- jj 
ing prayer, Isa. 59. 1. 2. Abraham returned unto jj 

his place, not puffed up with the honour done him, 'j 
nor by these extraordinary interviews taken off 
.from the ordinary course of duty; he returned to ' 
his place, to obsen e what the event would be; and ! 
it proved that his prayer was heard, and yet Sodom 
not spared, because there were not ten righteous in 
it. We cannot expect too little from man, nor too 
much from God. 

CHAP. XIX. 

The contents of this chapter we have, 2 Pet. 2. 6. .8, where 
we find that God, turning the cities of Sodom and Go- 
morrah into ashes, condemned them loith an overthrow, 
and delivered just Lot. It is the history of Sodom’s ruin, 
and Lot’s rescue from that ruin. We read, ch. 18, of 
God’s coming to take a view of the present state of 
Sodom ; what its wickedness was, and what righteous 
persons there were in it : now here we have the result 
of that inquiry. I. It was found, upon trial, that Lot 
was very good, v. 1. .3, and it did not appear that there 
was one more of the same character. 11. It was found 
that the Sodomites were very wicked, and vile, v. 4. .11. 
III. Special care was therefore taken for the securing of 
Lot and his family, in a place of safety, v. 12. .23. IV. 
Mercy having rejoiced therein, ju.stice shows itself in the 
ruin of Sodom, and the death of Lot’s wife, v. 24. .26. 
with a general repetition of the story, v. 27. .29. V. A 
foul sin that Lot was guilty of, in committing incest with 
his two daughters, v. 30. .38. 

I. A ND tliere came two angels to Sodom 

at even ; and Lot sat in the gate of 
Sodom : and Lot seeing them rose up to meet 
them ; and he bowed liimself with his face 
toward the ground ; 2, And he said, Be- 
hold now, my lords, turn in, 1 pray you, in- 
to your servant’s house, and tarry all night, 
and wash your feet; and ye shall rise up 
early, and go on your ways. And they said. 
Nay; but w’c wall abide in the street all 
night. 3. And lie jiressed upon them great- 
ly; and they turned in unto liim, and enter- 
ed into his house ; and he made them a 
feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and 
they did eat. 

These angels, it is likely, were two of the three 
that had just before been with Abraham ; the two 
created angels that were sent to execute God’s pur- 
pose concerning Sodom. Observe here, 

I. There was but one good man in Sodom, and 
these heavenly messengers soon found him out. 
Wherever we are, we should inquire out those of 
the place that live in the fear of God, and should 
choose to associate ourselves with them; Matth. 10. 

II, Inquire who is nvorthy, and there abide. Those 
of the same country, when they are in a foreign 
country, love to be together. 

II. I At sufficiently distinguished himself from the I 
rest of his neighbours, at this time, which ])lainly 
set a mark upon him. He that did not act like the 
rest, must not fare like the rest. 1. I.,ot sat in the 
gate of Sodom at even; when the rest, it is likely. 


were tippling and drinking, he sat alrne, waitiiig 
for an opportunity to do good. 2. He was ex - 
tremely respectful to men whose mien and aspect 
were sober and serious, though they did not come 
in state. He bowed himself to the ground, when 
he met them, as if, upon the first view, he discerned 
something di\ ine in them. 3 He was hospitable, 
and verj' free and generous in his invitations and 
entertainments. He courted these strangers to his 
house, and to the best accommodations he had, and 
gave them all the evidences that he could of his 
sincerity; for, (1. ) When the angels, to try whether 
he were hearty in the invitation, declined the ac- 
ceptance of it, at first, (which is the common usage 
of modesty, and no reproach at all to truth and 
honesty, ) their refusal did but make him more im- 
portunate ; for he pressed upon them greatly, v. 
3. Partly, because he would by no means have 
them to expose themselves to the inconveniences 
and perils of lodging in the street of Sodom; and 
partly, because he was desirous of their company 
and converse.. He had not seen two such honest 
faces in Sodom this great while. Note, Those that 
live in bad places, should know how to value the 
society of those that are wise and good, and ear- 
nestly desire it. (2. ) When the angels accepted 
his invitation, he treated them nobly; he made a 
feast for them, and thought it well-bestowed on 
such guests. Note, Good people should be (with 
prudence) generous people. 

4. But before they lay down, the men of 
tlie city, even the men of Sodom, compassed 
the house round, both old and young, all the 
people from every quarter: 5. And they 
called unto Lot, and said unto him. Where 
are the men which came in to thee this 
night ? Bring them out unto us, that we 
may know them. 6. And Lot went out at 
the door unto them, and shut the door after 
him. 7. And said, T pray you, brethren, do 
not so wickedly. 8. Behold now, T have 
two daughters which have not known man ; 
let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, 
and do ye to them as is good in your eyes : 
only unto these men do nothing ; for there- 
fore came they under the shadow of my 
roof. 9. And they said. Stand back. And 
they said again, This one felloio came in to 
sojourn, and he will needs be a judge : now 
will we deal worse with thee than with 
them. And they pressed sore upon the man, 
even Lot, and came near to break the door. 
10. But the men put forth their hand, and 
pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut 
to the door. 1 1 . And they smote the men 
that icere at the door of the house with blind- 
ness, both small and great: so that they 
wearied themselves to find the door. 

Now it appeared, beyond contradiction, that the 
cry of Sodom was no louder thtin there was cause 
for. This night’s work was enough to fill the mea- 
sure. For we find here, 

I. That they were all wicked, v. 4. Wicked- 
ness was gi'own universal, and they were unani- 
mous in any vile design. Here were old and young, 
and all from every quarter, engaged in this riot; the 
old were not past it, and the young were soon come up 
to it; either they had no magistrates to keep the 
peace, and protect the peaceable; or their magis- 


GENESIS, XIX. 


115 


tj .ites were themselves aiding and abetting. N ote, 
When the disease of sin is become epidemical, it is 
fatal to any place, Isa. 1. 5. . 7. 

II. That they were arrived at the highest pitch 
of wickedness; they were sinners before the Lord 
exceedingly, ch. 13. 13, for, 

1. It was the most unnatural and abominable 
wickedness that they were now set upon, a sin th it 
still bears their name, and is called Sodomy. They 
tvere carried headlong by those vile affections, 
(R im. 1. 26, 27.) which are worse than brutish, and 
the eternal reproach of the human nature, and 
wiiich cannot be thought of without horror, ^y those 
that have the least spark of virtue, and anv remains 
of natural light and conscience. Note, Those that 
allow themselves in unnatural uncleanness, are 
m irked for the vengeance of eternal fire. See 
Jude 7. 

2. They were not ashamed to own it, and to pro- 
secute their design by force and arms. The prac- 
tice had Ijeen bad enough, if it had been carried on 
by intrigue and wheedling; but they proclaim war 
with virtue, and bid open defiance to it. Hence 
daring sinners are said to declare their sin as Sodom, 
Isa. 3. 9. Note, Those that are become impudent 
in sin, generally prove impenitent in sin; and it will 
be their ruin. Those have hard hearts indeed, that 
sin with a high hand, Jer. 6. 15. 

3. When Lot interposed, with all the mildness 
imaginable, to check the rage and fury of their lust, 
they were most insolently rude and abusive to him. 
He ventured himself among them, 6. He spoke 
civilly to them, called them brethren, v. 7, and 
begged of them not to do so wickedly; and, being 
greatly disturbed at their vile attempt, unadvisedly 
and unjustifiably offered to prostitute his two daugh- 
ters to them, V. 8. It is true, of two evils we must 
choose the less ; but of two sins we must choose 
neither, nor ever do evil, that good may come of it. 

• He reasoned with them, pleaded the laws of hospi- 
tality, and the protection of his house which his 
guests were entitled to; but you had as good offer 
reason to a roaring lion and a raging bear, as to 
these headstrong sinners, who were governed only 
by lust and passion. Lot’s arguing with them, does 
but exasperate them ; and, to complete their wick- 
edness, and fill up the measure of it, they fall foul 
upon him. (1.) They ridicide him, charge him 
with the absurdity of pretending to be a magistrate, 
when he was not so much as a free-man of their 
city, V. 9. Note, It is common for reprovers to be 
unjustly upbraided as usurpers; and while offering 
the kindness of a friend, to be charged with assum- 
ing the authority of a judge: as if a man might not 
speak reason, without taking too much upon him. 
(2. ) They threaten him, and lay violent hands upon 
him; and the good man is in danger of being pulled 
in pieces bv this outrageous rabble. Note, [1.] 
Those that hate to be reformed, hate those that re- 
rove them, though with ever so much tenderness, 
resumptuous sinners do by their consciences as the 

Sodomites did by Lot, baffle their checks, stifle 
their accusations, press hard upon them, till they 
have seared them and quite stopped their mouths, 
and so made themselves ripe for ruin. [2.] Abuses 
offered to God’s messengers and to faithful re- 
provers, soon fill the measure of a people’s wicked- 
ness, and bring destruction without remedy. See 
Prov. 29. 1. and 2. Chron. 36. 16. If reproofs 
remedy not, there is no remedy. See 2 Chron. 
25. 16. 

III. That nothing less than the power of an an- 
gel could save a good man out of their wicked hands. 
It was now past dispute what Sodom’s character 
was, and what course njust be taken with it; and 
therefore the angels immediately give a specimen 
I f what they further intended. 


1. They rescue Lot, z>. 10. Note, (1.) He that 
watereth, shall be watered also himself.' Lot was 
solicitous to protect them, and now they take effec- 
tual care for his safety, in return for his kindness. 
(2. ) Angels are employed for the special preserva- 
tion of those that expose themselves to danger by 
well-doing. The saints, at death, are pulled like 
Lot into a house of perfect safety, and the door sliut 
for ever against those that pursue them. 

2. They chastise the insolence of the Sodomites, 

Lhey smote them with blindness. This was 
dpigned, (1.) To put an end to their attempt, and 
disable them to pursue it. Justly were they struck 
blind, wlio had been deaf to reason. Violent perse- 
cutors are often infatuated, so that they cannot push 
on their malicious designs against God’s messengers. 
Job. 5. 14, 15. Yet these Sodomites, after they 
were struck blind, continued seeking the door, to 
break it down, till they were tired. No judgments 
will, of themseh es, change the conmpt natures and 
purposes of wicked men. If their minds had not 
been blinded as well as their bodies, they would 
have said, as the magicians. This is the finger 
of God, and would have submitted. (2. ) It was to 
be an earnest of their utter ruin the next day. 
W' hen God, in a way of righteous judgment, blinds 
me^i, their condition is already desperate, Rom. 11. 

12. And the men said unto Lot, Hast 
thou iiere any besides ? Son in law, and 
thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever 
■ thou hast in the city, bring them out of tliis 
place : 1 3. For we will destroy this place, 

because the cry of them is waxen great be- 
fore the face of the Lord ; and the Lord 
hath sent us to destroy it. 1 4. And Lot went 
out, and spake unto liis sons in law, which 
married his daughters, and said. Up, get you 
out of this place ; for the Lord will destroy 
this city : but he seemed as one that mock- 
ed unto his sons in law. 

We ha^ e here the preparation for Lot’s deliver- 
ance. 

I. Notice is given him of the approach of Sodom’s 
ruin, V. 13, 11 e will destroy this place. Note, The 
holy angels are ministers of God’s wrath for the 
destruction of sinners, as well as of his mercy for 
the preser\ation and deliverance of his people. 
In this sense, the good angels become trail angels, 
Ps. 78. 49. 

II. He is directed to gi\ e notice to his friends and 
relations, that they, if they Avould, might be saved 
with him, tj. 12, “ Hast thou here any besides, that 
thou art concerned for? If thou hast, go tell them 
what is coming.” Now this implies, 1. The ccm- 
mand of a great duty, which was, to do all he could 
for the salvation of those about him, to snatch them 
as brands out of the fire. Note, Those who throi’gl; 
grace are themselves delivered out cf a sinful st. ti . 
should do what they can for the delix erance cf 
others, especially their relations. 2. The offer of 
great favour. They do not ask whether he knew 
any righteous ones in the city fit to be spared; no, 
they knew there were none; but they ask what re- 
lations he had there; that, whether righteous oi 
unrighteous, they might be saved with him. Note, 
Bad people often fare the better in this world for 
the sake of their good relations. It is good being 
akin to a godly man. 

III. He aimlies himself accordingly to his sons in 
law, V. 14. Observe, 1. The fair wai-ning that Lot 
gave them. Up, get you out of tlm place. The 
manner of expression is startling and quickening. 


•116 


GENESIS, XIX. 


It was no time to trifle, when the destruction was 
just at the door. They had not forty days to turn 
them in, as the Ninevites had. Now or never, 
they must make their escape. At midnight this 
cry was made. Such as this, is our call to the un- 
converted, to turn £md live. 2. The slight they | 
put upon this warning. He seemed to them as one 
that mocked. They thought, perhaps, that the as- 
sault which the Sodomites had just now made upon 
his house, had disturbed his head, and put liim into 
such a fright, that he knew not what he said; or 
they thought that he was not in earnest with them. 
They who lived a merr}" life, and made a jest of 
every thing, made a jest of that, and so they perish- 
ed in the overthrow. Thus many who are warned 
of the misery and danger they are in by sin, make 
a light matter of it, and think their ministers do but 
jest with them; such will perish with their blood 
upon their own heads. 

15, And wlien the morning arose, then 
the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, 
take thy wife, and thy two daughters, whicli 
are here; lest thou be consumed in the ini- 
quity of the city. 1 6. And while he linger- 
ed, the men laid hold upon his hand, and 
upon the hand of his wife, and upon the 
hand of his two daughters ; the Lord being 
merciful unto him : and they brought him 
forth, and set him without the city. 17. 
And it came to pass, when they had brought 
them forth abroad, that he said. Escape for 
thy life ; look not behind thee, neither stay 
thou in all the plain ; escape to the moun- 
tain, lest thou be consumed. 1 8. And Lot 
said unto them. Oh, not so, my Lord. 19. 
Behold now, thy servant hath found grace 
in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy 
mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in 
saving my life ; and I cannot escape to the 
mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die. 
20. Behold now, this city is near to flee un- 
to, and it is a little one : oh, let me escape 
thither, {is it not a little one ?) and my soul 
shall live. 21. And he said unto him. See, 

I have accepted thee, concerning this thing 
also, that I will not overthrow this city, for 
the which thou hast spoken. 22. Haste thee, 
escape thither ; for I cannot do any thing 
till thou be come thither. Therefore the 
uame of the city was called Zoar. 23. The 
sun was risen upon the earth when Lot en- 
tered into Zoar. 

Here is, 

I. The rescue of Lot out of Sodom. Though 
there were not ten righteous men in Sodom, for 
whose sakes it might be spared, yet that one righte- 
ous man that was among them, delivered his own 
soul, Ezek. 14. 14. Early in the morning, his own 
guests, in kindness to him, turned him out of doors, 
and his family with him, v. 15. His daughters that 
were married, perished with their unbelieving hus- 
bands; but those thatcontinued with him, werepre- 
■^erved with him. Observe, 

1. With what a gi’acious violence Lot was brought 
out of Sodom, V. 16. It seems, though he did not 
make a jest of the warning given, as his sons-in-law 
did, yet he lingered, he trifled, he did not make so 


much haste as the case required. Thus many that 
are under some convictions about the misery of their 
spiritual state, and the necessity of a change, yet 
defer that needful work, and foolishly linger. Lot 
did so, and it might have been fatal to him, if the 
angels had not laid hold on his hand and brought 
him forth, and saved him with fear, Jude 361 Here 
in it is said. The Lord ’ivas merciful to him; other 
wise he might have justly left him to perish, since 
he was so loth to depart. Note, (1.) The salvation 
of the most righteous men must be attributed to 
God’s mercy, not to their own merit. We are sav- 
ed by grace. (2. ) God’s power also must be a '- 
knowledged in the bringing of souls out of a sinful 
state. If God had not brought us forth, we had ne- 
ver come forth. (3.) If God had not been merciful 
to us, our lingering had been our min. 

2. With what a gracious vehemence he was urg- 
ed to make the best of his way, when he was brought 
forth, V. IT". (1.) He must still apprehend himself 
in danger of being consumed, and be quickened by 
the law of self-preservation to flee for his life. Note, 
A holy fear and trembling are found necessary to 
the working out of our salvation. (2.) He must 
therefore mind his business with the utmost care and 
diligence. He must not hanker after Sodom, Look 
not behind thee; he must not loiter by the way. 
Stay not in all the plain, for it would all be made 
one dead sea; he must not take up short of the place 
of refuge appointed him. Escape to the mountain. 
Such as these, are the commands given to those who 
through grace are delivered out of a sinful state and 
condition. [1.] Return not to sin and Satan, for 
that is looking back to Sodom. [2. ] Rest not in self 
and the world, for that is staying in the plain. And, 
[3.] Reach toward Christ and Heaven, for that is 
escaping to the mountain, short of which we must 
not take up. 

II. The fixing of a place of refuge for him. The . 
mountain was first appointed for him to flee to, but, 

1. He begged for a city of refuge, one of the five 
that lav together, called Bela, ch. 14. 2, 18. . 20. It 
was Lot’s weakness to think a city of his own choos- 
ing safer than the mountain of God’s appointing. 
And he argued against himself, when he pleaded. 
Thou hast magnified thy mercy in saving my life, 
and I cannot escape to the mountain; for could not 
he that had plucked him out of Sodom, when he 
lingered, carry him safe to the mountain, though he 
began to tire? Could not He that had saved him 
from greater evils, save him from the lesser? He 
insists much in his petition upon the smallness of the 
place. It is a little one, is it not? Therefore, it was 
to be hoped, not so bad as the rest. This gave a new 
name to the place; it was called 7oar, a little one. 
Intercessions for little ones are worthy to Ije re- 
membered. 

2. God granted him his request, though there was 
much infirmity in it, v. 21, 22. See what favour 
God showed a time saint, though weak. (1.) Zoar 
was spared, to gratifv him. Though his intercession 
for it was not, as Abraham’s for Sodom, from a prirj 
ci])le of generous charity, but merely from self- 
interest, yet God granted him his request, to show 
how much the feiwent prayer of a righteous man 
avails. (2.) Sodom’s ruin was suspended, till he 
was safe. I cannot do any thing till thou become 
thither. Note, The very presence of good men in 
a place helps to keep off judgments. See what care 
God takes for the preservation of his people. The 
winds are held, till God’s servants are sealed. Rev. 
7. 3. Ezek. 9. 4. 

Lastly, It is taken notice of, that the sun was 
risen when Lot entered into Zoar. For when a 
good man comes into a place, he brings light idong 
with him, or should do. 


117 


GENESIS, XIX. 


24. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom 
and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from 
the Lord out of heaven ; 25. And he over- 
threw those cities, and all the plain, and all 
the inhabitants of the cities, and that which 
grew upon the ground. 

Then, when Lot was got safe into Zoar, then this 
min came; for good men are taken away from the 
evil to come. Then, when the sun was risen bright 
and clear, promising a fair day, then this storm 
arose, to show that it was not from natural causes. 
Concerning this destmction, observe, 

1. That God was the immediate Author of it. It 
was destruction from the Almighty, The Lord rain- 
ed, — -from the Lord, v . 24, that is, God trom him- 
self, by his own immediate power, and not in the 
common course of nature. Or, God the Son ti’om 
God the Father; for the Father has committed all 
judgment to the Son. Note, He that is the Saviour, 
will be the Destroyer of those that reject the sal- 
vation. 

2. That it was a strange punishment. Job 31. 3. 
Never was the like before or since. Hell was rain- 
ed from Heaven upon them. Fire and brimstone, 
and a horrible temfiest, this was the fiortion of their 
cup, Ps. 11. 6; not 2 i flash of lightning, which is de- 
structive enough, when God gives it commission, 
l)ut a shovjer of lightning. Brimstone was scattered 
upon their habitation. Job. 18. 15, and then the fire 

fastened upon them. God could iiave drowned 
them, as he did the old world; but he would show 
ihat he has many arrows in his quivei', fire as well 
as water. 

3. That it was a judgment that laid all waste; it 
overthrew the cities, and destroyed all the inhabit- 
ants of them, the plain, and all that grew upon the 
groimd, V. 25. It was an utter ruin, and irrepara- 
ble; th it fruitful valley remains to this day a great 
lake, or dead sea; it is called the Suit Sea, Numb, 
o'l. 12. Travellers say that it is ab ait thirty miles 
Icng, and ten miles broad; it has no living creature 
iji ,t; it is not moved by the wind; the smell of it 
is offensive; things do not easily sink in it. The 
(ireeks call it Asphaltites, for a sort of jfitch wjnch 
it casts up. Jordan falls into it, and is lost there. 

4. That it was a punishment that answered to 
their sin. Burning lusts against nature were justly 
punished with this preternatural burning. They 
that went after strange fiesh, were destroyed by 
strange fire, Jude 7. They persecuted the angels 
with their rabble, and made Lot afraid; and now 
God persecuted them with his tempest, and made 
them afraid with his storm, Ps. 83. 15. 

5. That it was designed for a standing revelation 
r f the wrath of God against sin and sinners in all 
: gcs: it is, accordingly, often referred to in the scrip- 
ture, and made a pattern of the ruin of Israel, Deut. 
29. 23. ofBabvlnn, Isa. 13. 19. ritFdom, Jer. 49. 18. 
of Moab and Ammon, Zeph. 2. 9. Nay, it was 
tvpic il of the vengeance of eternal fire, Jude 7, and 
the ruin of all that live ungodli/. 2 Pet. 2. 6. espe- 
ci illv, that despise the gospel. Matt. 10. 15. It is 
in allusion to this destruction, that the place of the 
damned is < ften renresented by a lake that burns, 
PS Sodom did, with fire and brimstone. Let us 
learn from it, (1.) The evil of sin, and the hurtful 
nature of it. Iniquitv tends to ruin. (2.) The ter- 
rors of the Lord. See what a fearful thing it is to 
fall into the hands of the living God! 

26. But his wife looked back from be- 
hind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 

This also is written for our admonition; rur Sa- 
viour refers to it, Luke 17. 32, Remember Loot’s 
wife. As by the example of Sodom, the tvicked 


are warned to turn from their wickedness; so by the 
example of Lot’s wife, the righteous are warned not 
to turn from their righteousness. See Ezek. 3. .18, 
20. We have here, 

1. The sin of Lot’s wife: she looked back from be- 

hind him. This seemed a small thing, but we are 
sure, by the punishment of it, that it was a great sir, 
and exceeding sinful. (1.) She disobeyed an e.x- 
press command, and so sinned after the similitude 
of Adam’s transgression which ruined us all. (2. ) 
Unbelief was at the bottom of it; she questioned 
whether Sodom would be destroyed, and thought she 
still might have been safe in it. (3. ) She looked 
back upon her neighbours whom she had left behind, 
with more concern than was fit, now that their day 
of grace was over, arid Divine Justice was glorifying 
itself in their ruin. See Isa. 66. 24. (4. ) Probably, 

she hankered after her house and goods in Sodom, 

I and was loath to leave them. Christ intimates this 
to be her sin, Luke 17. 31, 32. she too much regard- 
ed her stuff. (5.) Her looking back bespoke an 
inclination to go back; and therefore our Saviour 
uses it as a warning against apostasy from our 
Christian profession. We have all renounced the 
world and the flesh, and have set our faces heaveji- 
ward; we are in the plain, upon our probation; and 
it is at our peril, if we return into the interests we 
profess to have abandoned. Drawing back is to 
perdition, and looking back is towards it. Let us 
therefore fear, Heb. 4. 1. 

2. The punishment of Lot’s wife for this sin. She 
was struck dead in the place; yet her body did net 
fall down, but stood fixed and erect like a pillar c r 
monument, not liable to waste or decay as human 
bodies exposed to the air are, but metamorphosed 
into a metallic substance which would last perpetu- 
ally. Come, behold the goodness and severity ef 
God, Rom. 11. 22; towai'd I^ot that went forward, 
goodness; toward his wife that looked back, se\ e- 
rity. Though she was nearly related to a righteous 
man, though better than her neighbours, and though 
a monument of distinguishing mercy in her delive:- 
ance out of Sodom, yet God did not connive at Iicr 
disobedience; for great privileges will not secure us 
from the wrath of Gou, if we do not carefully and 
faithfully improve them. This pillar of salt should 
season us. Since it is such a dangerous thing to look 
back, let us always press forward, Phil. 3. 13, 14. 

27. And Abraham gat up early in the 
morning to the place where he stood before 
the Lord : 28. And he looked toward So- 
i dom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land 
of the plain, and beheld, and lo, the smoke 
of the countiy went up as the smoke of a 
furnace. 29. And it came to pass, when 
God destroyed the cities of the plain, that 
God remembered Abraham, and sent 1 nt 
out of the midst of the overthrow, when he 
overthrew the cities in tlie which Lotdwe't. 

Our communion with God consists in our gi-acious 
regard to him, and his gracious regard to us; 
have here therefore the communion that was be- 
tween God and Abraham, in the ei'ent concerning 
Sodom, as before, in the consultation concerning it; 
for communion with (ind is to be kept up in pro\ i- 
denccs as well as in ordinances. 

1. Here is Abraham’s pious reg rd to God in this 
event, in two things; (1.) A careful expectation of 
the event, v. 27, He gat up early to look toward 
Sodom; and, to intimate that his design herein was 
to see what became of his prayers, he went to the 
veiy place where he had stood before the Lord, and 
set himself there, as upon his watch-tower, Hab. ? 


118 


GENESIS, XIX. 


1. Note, When we have prayed, we must look af- i 
ter our prayers, and observe the success of them; ' 
we must direct our prayer as a letter, and then look j 
up for an answer; direct our prayer as an arrow, 
and then look up to see whether it reach the mark, | 
Ps. 5. 3. Our inquiries after news must be in ex- 
pectation of an answer to our prayers. (2.) An aw- 
ful observation of it; he looked toward Sodom, (v. i 
2«. ) not as Lot’s wife did, tacitly reflecting upon the ; 
divine severity: but humbly adding it, and acqui- 
escing in it. Thus the saints, when they see the 
smoke of Babylon’s torment rising up for ever, (like 
Sodom’s here,} will say again and again. Alleluia, 
Rev. 19. 3. Those that have, in the day of grace, 
most earnestly interceded for sinners, will, in the 
day of judgment, be content to see them perish, and 
will glorify God in it. 

2. Here is God’s favourable regard to Abraham, 
V. 29. As before, when Abraham prayed for Ish- 
mael, God heard him for Isaac; so now, when he 
prayed for Sodom, he heard him for Lot. He re- 
membered Abraham, and, for his sake, sent Lot out 
of the overthrow. Note, (1.) God will certainly 
give an answer of peace to the prayer of faith, in 
his own way and time; though, for a while, it seem 
to be forgotten, yet, sooner or later, it will appear 
to be remembered. (2. ) The relations and friends of 
godly people fare the better for their interest in God, 
and intercessions with him ; it was out of respect to 
Abraham that Lot was rescued: perhaps this word 
encouraged Moses long afterward to pray, Exod. 
32. 13, Lord, remember Abraham; and see Isa. 
)3. 11. 

30 . And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt 
in the mountain, and his two daughters with 
him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar : and he 
dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 
31 . And the first-born said unto the younger, 
Our father is old, and there is not a man in 
the earth to come in unto us after the man- 
ner of all the earth. 32 . Come, let us make 
our father drink wine, and we will lie with 
him, that we may preserve seed of our fa- 
ther. 33 . And they made their father drink 
wine that night : and the first-born went in, 
and lay with her father; and he perceived 
not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 
34 . And it came to pass on the morrow, 
that the first-born said unto the younger. 
Behold, I lay yesternight with my father : 
let us make him drink wine this night also ; 
and go thou in, and lie with him, that we 
may preserve seed of our father. 35 . And 
they made their father drink wine that night 
also : and the younger arose, and lay with 
him ; and he perceived not when she lay 
down, nor when she arose. 36 . Thus were 
both the daughters of Lot with child by 
their father. 37 . And the first-born bare a 
son, and called his name Moab : the same 
is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 
38 . And the younger, she also bare a son, 
and called his name Ben-ammi : the same is 
the father of the children of Ammon unto 
this day. 

Here L, 

I. The great trouble and distress that Lot was 


brought into, after his deliverance, v. 30. 1. He 

was frightened out of Zoar, durst not dwell there ; 
either, because he was conscious to himself that it 
was a refuge of his own choosing, and that therein 
he had foolishly prescribed to God, and therefore 
he could not but distrust his safety in it; or, because 
he found it as wicked as Sodom, and therefore con- 
cluded it could not long survive it; or, perhaps, he 
obseiwed the rise and increase of those waters, 
which, after the conflagration, perhaps from Jordan, 
began to overflow the plain, and which, mixing with 
the ruins, by degrees made the Dead Sea; in those 
waters he concluded Zoar must needs perish 
(though it had escaped the fire,) because it stood 
upon the same flat. Note, Settlements and shelters 
ot our own chocsing, and in which we do not follow 
God, commonly prove uneasy to us. 2. He was 
forced to betake himself to the mountain, and to take 
up with a cave for his habitation there. Methinks, 
it was strange that he did not return to Abraham, 
and put himself under his protection, to whom he 
had once and again owed his safety: but the truth is, 
there are some good men, that are not wise enough 
to know what is best for themselves. Observe, (1.) 
He was now glad to go to the mountain, the place 
which God had appointed for his shelter. Note, It 
is well, if disappointment in our way drive us at last 
to God’s way. (2. ) He that, a while ago, could not 
find room enough for himself and his stock in the 
whole land, but must Justle with Abraham, and get 
as far from him as he could, is now confined to a 
hole in a hill, where he has scarcely room to turn 
him, and there he is solitai y and trembling. Note, 
It is just with God to reduce those to poverty and 
restraint, who have abused their liberty and plenty. 
See also in Lot what those bring themselves to, at 
last, that forsake the communion of saints for secu- 
lar advantages; they will be beaten with their own 
rod. 

H. The great sin that Lot and his daughters were 
guilty of, when they wei-e in this desolate place. It 
is a sad story: 

I. His d;uighters laid a very wicked plot to bring 

him to sin; and tlieir’s was, doubtless the greater 
guilt. They contrived, under pretext of cheering 
up the spirits of their f ther in his present condi- 
tion, to make him drunk, : nd then to lie with him, 
V. 31, 32. (1.) Some think that their pretence 

was plausible; their f ther had no sons, they had no 
husbands, nor knew they where to have any of the 
holy seed; or, if thev had children by others, their 
father’s name would not be preserved in them; 
some think that they h.d the Messiah in their eye, 
who they hoped, might descend from their father; 
for he came firm Terah’s elder son, w;.s separated 
from the rest of Shem’s posterity, as well as Abra- 
ham, and was now signally delivered cut of Sodom. 
Their mother, and the rest cf the family were gone, 
they might not marry with the cursed Canaanites; 
and therefore they sujrposed that the end they 
aimed at, and the extremity they were brought to, 
would excuse the irregularity. Thus the learned 
Monsieur Allix. Note, Good intentions arc often 
abused to patronise bad actions. But, (2.) What- 
ever their pretence was, it is certain that their 
project was verj' wicked and vile, and an impiident 
affront to the vervlightand law of nturc. Note, [1.] 
The sight of God’s most tremendous jv\dgment3 
upon sinners, will not, of itself, without the grace 
of God, restrain eril liearts from evil ])ractices: one 
would wonder how the fire of lust could possibly 
kindle upon them, who had so lately Ireen the eye- 
witnesses of Sodom’s flanies. [2.] Solitude has its 
temptations as well as company, and particularly 
to uncleanness. M’hen Joscj)h was alone with his 
mistress, he was in danger, ch. 39. 11. Relations 
that dwell together, especially if solitaiy, have 


GENESIS, XX. nu 


need carefully to watch against the least evil 
thought of this kind, lest Satan get an advantage. 

2. Lot himself, by his own folly and unwariness, 
was wretchedly overcome, and suffered himself so 
far to be imposed upon by his own children, as, two 
nights together, to be drunk, and to commit ' icest, 
V. 33, tS'c. Lord, what is man! ^^"hat are the best 
of men, when God leaves them to themselves! See 
here, (1.) The peril of security; Lot, who not only 
kept himself sober and chaste in Sodom, but was a 
constant mourner for the wickedness of the place, 
and a witness against it, is yet, in the mountain, 
where he was alone, and, as he thought, quite out 
of the way of temptation, thus shamefully overta- 
ken: let him therefore that thinks he stands, stands 
high, and stands firm, take heed lest he fall. No 
mountain, on this side the holy hill abo\ e, can set us 
out of the reach of Satan’s fiery darts. (2.) The 
peril of drunkenness; it is not only a great sin itself, 
but it is the inlet of many sins; it may prove the 
inlet of the worst and most unnatural " sins, which 
may be a perpetual wound and dishonour. Excel- 
lently does Mr. Herbert describe it, 

“ He that is drunken, may his Mother kill 
“ Big with his Sister.” 

A man may do that without reluctance, when he is 
drunken, which, when he is sober, he could not 
think of without horror. (3. ) The peril of tempta- 
tion from our dearest relations and friends, whom 
we love and esteem, and expect kindness from. 
Lot, whose temperance and ch astity were impreg- 
nable against the batteries of foreign force, was sur- 

f )rised into sin and shame by the base treachery of 
lis own daughters; we must dread a snare wherever 
w'e are, and be always upon our guard. 

In the close, we have an account of the birth of 
the two sons, or grandsons, (cad them which you 
will,) of Lot — Moab and Ammon, the fathers of 
two nations, neighbours to Israel, and which we 
often read of in the Old Testament; both together 
are called the children of Lot, Ps. 83. 8. Note, 
Though prosperous births may attend incestuous 
conceptions, yet they are so far from justifying 
tliem, that they rather pei-petuate the reproacli cf 
them, and entail infamy upon posterity; yet the 
tribe of Judah, of which our Lord sprang, descend- 
ed from such a birth, and Rvith, a Moabitess, has a 
name in his genealogy, Matth. 1. 3, 5. 

Lastly, Obseiwe that, after this, we never read 
any more of Lot, nor what became of him : no doubt 
he repented of his sin; and was pardoned; but from 
the silence of the scripture concerning him hence- 
forward, we may learn that drunkenness, as it 
makes men forgetful, so it makes them forgotten; 
and many a name, which otherwise might have 
been remembered with respect, is buried by it in 
contempt and oblivion. 

CHAP. XX. I 

We are here returning to the story of Abraham j yet that 
part of it which is here recorded, is not to his honour. 
The fairest marbles have their flaws, and while there are 
spots in the sun, we must not expect any thing spotless , 
under it. The scripture, it should be remarked, is im- j 
artial in relating the blemishes even of its most cele- i 
rated characters. We have here, I. Abraham’s sin in ! 
denying his wife, and Abimelech’s sin thereupon in i 
taking her, v. 1, 2. II. God’s discourse with Abimelech i 
in a dream, upon this occasion, wherein he shows him 
his error, v. 3^ accepts his plea, v. 4 . . 6, and directs him 
to make restitution, v. 7. III. Abimelech’s discourse 
with Abraham, wherein he chides him for the cheat he 
had put upon him, v. 8 . . 10, and Abraham excuses it as 
well as he can, v. 11 . . 13. IV. The good issue of the 
story, in which Abimelech restores Abraham his wife, v. 
14.. 16, and Abraham, by prayer, prevails with God for 
the removal of the judgment Abimelech was under, v. 
17, 18. 


1. A ND Abraham journeyed from thence 
toward the south country , and dwell 
between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned 
in Gerar. 2. And Abraham said of Sarah 
his wife, She is my sister : and Abimelech 
king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 

Here is, 

1. Abraham’s remove from Mamre, where he 
had lived near twenty ye.as, into the country of 

, the Philistines, v. 1, He sojourned in Gerar. W'e 

■ are not told upon what occasion he removed, whe- 
I ther terrified by the destinaction of Sodom; or, be- 
j cause the country round was, for the present, pre- 

■ Judiced by it; or as some of the Jewish writers say, 

I because he was gr eved at Lot’s incest with his 

■ daughters, and the reproach which the Canaanites 
cast upon him and his religion, for his kinsman’s 

1 sake: doubtless, there was some good cause for his 
removal. Note, (1.) In a world where we are 
I strangers and pilgiims, we cannot expect to be al- 
ways in the same place. (2. ) W'herever we are, 
we must look upon ourselves but as sojourners. 

2. His sin in denying his wife; as before, ch. 12, 

I 13, which was not only in itself such an equivoca- 
. tion as bordered upon a lie, and which, if admitted 
I as lawful, would be the ruin of human converse, and 
I an inlet to all falsehood; but was also an exposing of 
I the chastity and honour of his wife, which he ought 
I to have been the protector of. But beside this, it 
i had here a two-fold aggravation, (1.) That he h..d 
j been guilty of the same sin before, and had been re- 
I proved for it, and conv inced cf the folly of the sug- 
I gesticn which induced him to it; yet he returns to 

j it. Note, It is possible that a good man may not 
I only fall into sin, but relapse into the same sin, 
through the surprize and strength of temptation, 

! and the infirmity of the flesh. Let backsliders re- 
I fient then, but not despair, Jer. 3. 22. (2. ) That 

! Sarah, as it should seem, was now the child of the 
promi.sed seed, or, at least, in expectation of being 
j so quickly, according to the word of God; he ought 
j therefore to have taken particular care of her now, 
as Judg. 13. 4. 

! 3. The peril that Sarah was brought into by this 

: meims; The king of Gerar sent, and took her to his 
I house, in order to take her to his bed. Note, The 
j sin of one often occasions the sin of others; he that 
I breaks the hedge of God’s commandments, opens a 
i gap to he knows not how many; the beginning of 
j sin is as the letting forth of water. 

j 3. But God came to .\bimelech in a 
j dream by night, and said to him, Behold, 
thou art but a dead man, for the woman 
which thou hast taken ; for she is a man’s 
wife. 4. But Abimelech had not come near 
her : and he said. Lord, wilt thou slay also 
a righteous nation ? 5. Said he not unto 

me. She is my sister ? And she, even she 
herself, said. He is my brother : In the in- 
tegrity of my heart, and innocency of my 
hands, have I done this. 6. And God said 
unto him in a dream. Yea, I know that 
thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart ; 
for 1 also withheld thee from sinning against 
me : therefore suffered I thee not to touch 
her. 7. Now therefore restore the man his 
wife ; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray 
for thee, and thou-shalt live : and if thou re 


120 


genesis, XX. 


store her not, know thou that thou shalt 
surely die, thou, and all that are thine. 

It appears by this, that God revealed himself by 
dreams, (which evidenced themselves to be divine 
and supernatural,) not only to his servants, the pro- 
phets, but even to those who were out of the pale 
of the church and covenant; but then, usu-dly it was 
with some regard to God’s own people, as in Pha- 
raoh’s dream, to Joseph, in Nebuchadnezzar’s, to 
Daniel, and here in Abimelech’s, to Abraham and 
Sarah, for he reproved this king for the r sake, Ps. 
105. 14, 15. 

I. God gives him notice of his danger, {y. 3. ) his 
danger of sin; telling him that the woman was a 
man’s wife, so that if he take her, he wrongs her 
husband; his danger of death for this sin, Thou art 
a dead man; and God’s saying so of a man, makes 
him so. Note, Every wilful sinner ought to be told 
that he is a dead man. As the condemned male- 
factor, and the patient whose disease is mortal, are 
said to be so: If thou art a bad man, certainly thou 
art a dead man. 

II. He pleads ignorance, {y. 4, 5. ) that Abraham 
and Sarah had agreed to impose upon him, and not to 
let him know that they were any more than brother 
and sister. See what confidence a man may have 
toward God, when his heart condemns him not, 1 
John 3. 21. If our consciences witness to our integ- 
rity, and that, however we may have been cheated 
into a snare, we have not, knowingly and wittingly 
sinned against God, it will be our rejoicing in the 
day of evil. He pleads with God as Abraham had 
done, ch. 18. 23, Wilt thou slay a righteous nation? 
Not such a nation as Sodom, which was indeed 
justly destroyed, but a nation which, in this matter, 
was innocent. 

III. God gives a very full answer to what he had 
said. 

1. He allows his plea, and admits that what he 
did, he did in the integrity of his heart, t;. 6, Yea, I 
know it. Note, It is matter of comfort to those that 
are honest, that God knows their honesty, and will 
acknowledge it, though perhaps men that are pre- 
judiced against them, either cannot be convinced 
of it, or will not own that they are. 

2. He lets him know that he was kept from pro- 
ceeding in the sin, merely by the good hand of God 
upon him. I withheld thee from sinning against 
me. Abimelech was hereby kept from doing 
wrong, Abraham from suffering wrong, and Sarah 
from both. Note, (1.) There is a great deal of sin 
devised and designed, that is never executed. As 
bad as things are in the world, they are not so bad 
as the Devil and wicked men would have them. 
(2.) It is God that restrains men from doing the ill 
they would do; it is not from him that there is sin, 
but it is from him that there is not more sin, either 
by his influence upon men’s minds, checking their 
inclination to sin, or by his jirovidcnce, taking away 
the opportunity to sin. (3.) It is a great mercy to 
be hindered from committing sin; of this (iod must 
have the glory, whoever is the instrument, 1 Sam. 
25. 32, 33. 

3. He charges him to make restitution, v. 7, Mw 
therefore, now that thou art better informed, restore 
the man his wife. Note, Ignorance will excuse no 
longer than it continues; if we ignorantly did wrong, 
that will not excuse us, if we knowingly persist in 
it. Lev. 5. 3.. 5. The reasons why he must be just 
and kind to Abraham, are, (1.) Because is a pro- 
tihet; near and dear to God, for whom God does in 
a particular manner concern himself. God liighly 
resents tlie injuries done to his prophets, and takes 
them as done to himself. (2. ) Being a prophet, he 
<thall pray for thee; that is a projjhet’s reward, and 
a good reward it is. It is intimated that there ^vas 


great efficacy in the prayers of a prophet, and that 
good men should be ready to help those with their 
prayers, that stand in need of them, and should 
make, at least, this return for the kindnesses that 
are done them. Abiaham was accessary to Abime- 
lech’s trouble, and therefore was obliged in justice 
to pray for him. (3. ) It is at thy peril, if thou do 
not restore her; know thou that thou shalt surely 
die. Note, He that does wrong, whoever he is, 
prince or peasant, shall certainly receive for the 
wrong which he has done, unless he repent and 
make restitution. Col. 3. 25. No injustice can be 
made passable with God, no not by Caesar’s image 
stamped upon it. 

8. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the 
morning, and called all his servants, and 
told all these things in their ears: and the 
men were sore afraid. 9. Then Abimelech 
called Abraham, and said unto him. What 
hast thou done unto us ? And what have I 
offended thee, that thou hast brought on 
me, and on my kingdom, a great sin ? Thou 
hast done deeds unto me that ought not to 
be done. 10. And Abimelech said unto 
Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast 
done this thing? 11. And Abraham said. 
Because I thought. Surely the fear of God is 
not in this place ; and they will slay me for 
my wife’s sake. 12. And yet indeed sAe is 
my sister -, she is the daughter of my father, 
but not the daughter of my mother; and 
she became my wife. 13. And it came to 
pass, when God caused me to wander from 
my father’s house, that I said unto her. This 
is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto 
me : at every place whither we shall come, 
say of me. He is my brother. 

Abimelech, being thus warned of God in a dream, 
takes the warning, and, as one truly afraid of sin 
and its consequences, he rises early to pursue the 
directions given him. 

I. He has a caution for his servants; (i». 8.) Abra- 
ham himself could not be more careful than he was, 
to command his household in this matter. Note, 
Those whom God has con\ inced of sin and danger, 
ought to tell others what God has done for their 
souls, that thev also may be awakened, and brought 
to a like holy fear. 

II. He has a chiding for Abraham. Observe, 

1. The serious reproof which Abimelech gave to 
Abraham, v. 9, 10. His reasoning with Abraham 
uixin this occasion was stixing, and yet very milcL 
Nothing could be said better; he does not rcjiroach 
him, nor insult ever him; docs not say, “Is this 
your ])rofcssion? I see, though you will not swear, 
you will lie. If these be prophets, I will beg to Ix^ 
freed from the sight of them;” but he fairly repre- 
sents the injury Aln’aham had done him, and calmly 
signifies his resentment of it. (1.) He calls that 
sin which he now found that he had been in danger 
of, a great sin. Note, Even the light of nature 
teaches men that the sin of adultery is a veiy great 
sin: be it observed, to the shame of many who call 
themselves Christians, and yet make a light matter 
of it. (2.) He looks upon it, that both himself and 
his kingdom would have been exposed to the (vrath 
of God, if he had iieen guilty of that sin, though ig 
norantly. Note, The sms of kings olten prove the 
jilagues of kingdoms; rulers should therefore, for 
their people’s sake, dread sin. (3.) He charges 


121 


GENESIS, XXL 


Abraham with doing that which was not justifiable, 
in disowning his marriage; this he speaks of justly, 
and yet tenderly ; he does not call him a liar and 
cheat; but tells him he had done deeds that ought 
not to be done. Note, Equivocation and dissimula- 
tion, liowevcr they may be palliated, are very bad 
t’linvs, and l)y no means to be admitted in any case. 
(4.) He tal cs it as a very great injury to himself 
and his family, that Abraham had thus exposed 
them to sin; “ JVhut have I offended thee? If I had 
been thy worst enemy, thou couldest not have done 
me a worse turn, nor taken a more effectual course 
to !)e avenged on me.” Note, We ought to reckon 
that tliose do us the greatest unkindness in the 
world, that any ways tempt or expose us to sin, 
though they mav pretend friendship, and offer that 
whicli is grateful enough to the corrupt nature. 
(5.) He challenges him to assign a cause for his 
suspecting them as a dangerous people for an honest 
man t ' live among, 7’. 10, “ What sawest thou, that 
thou hast do7ie this thing? What reason hadst thou 
to think that if we had known her to be thy wife, 
thou wouldest have been exposed to any danger by 
it.^” Note, A suspicion of our goodness is justly 
i-eckoned a greater affront than a slight upon our 
greatness. 

2. The poor excuse that Abraham made for 
himself. 

(1.) He pleaded the bad opinion he had of the 
place, V. 11. He thought within himself, (though 
he could not give any good reason for his thinking 
so,) Surely the fear of God is not in this place, 
and then they will si ly me. ” [1.] Little good is to 
be ox])ectcd there, where no fear of God is: see 
Ps. 36. 1. [2.] There are many places and per- 

jons, that have more of the fear of God in them, 
than we think they have: perhaps they are not 
called bv our dividing name, they do not wear our 
b ulges, they do not tie themselves to that which we 
have an opinion of; and therefore we conclude they 
liave not the fear of God in their hearts, which is 
very injurious both to Christ and Christians, and 
makes us obnoxious to God’s judgment, Matt. 7. 1. 
[3.] Unch iritableness and censoriousness are sins 
duit are the cause of many other sins. M’hen men 
liuA e once persuaded themselves concerning such 
and such, that they have not the fear of God, they 
think that will justify them in the most unjust and 
iinchristian practices toward them. Men would not 
do ill, if they did not first think ill. 

(2.) He excused it from the guilt of a downright 
ie, by making it out, that, in a sense, she was his 
■iister, V. 12 . Some think she was own sister to Lot, 
who is called his brother hot, ch. 14. 16, the ugh he 
was his nep.htnv; .so Sarah is called his sistir. But 
they to whom he said. She is my sister, understood 
that she was so his sister, as not to be capable of 
I)cing his wife; so that it was an equivocation, with 
an intent to deceive. 

(3.) He clears himself from the imputation of an 
affront designed to Abimelech in it, by alleging that 
it had been his practice before, according to an 
agreement between him and his wife, when they 
first became sojourners, 7>. 13, “ When God caused 
me to wander from my father's house, then we set- 
tled this matter.” Note, [1.] God is to be acknow- 
ledged in all our wanderings. [2. ] Those that tra- 
vel abroad, and converse much with strangers, as 
thev have need of the wisdom of the serpent, so it 
is requisite that that wisdom be ever tempered with 
the innocence of the dove. It may, for aught I 
know, be suggested, that God denied to Abraham 
and Sarah the blessing of children so long, to punish 
them for this sinful compact which they had made, 
to deny one another; if they will not own their mar- 
riage, why should God own it? But we may sup- 
pose that, after this reproof which Abimelech gave 
VoL. I. — Q 


them, they agreed never to do so again, and then 
presently we read, ch. 21. 1, 2, that Sarah conceived. 

14 . And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, 
and men servants, and women servants, 
and g;ave them unto Abraliam, and restored 
him Sarah his wife. 15 . And Abimelech 
said. Behold, my land is before thee : dwell 
where it pleaseth thee. 16 . And unto Sa- 
rah he said. Behold, I have given thy bro- 
ther a thousand pieces of silver : behold, he 
is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all 
tliat are with thee, and with all other : thus 
she was reproved. 17. So Abraham pray- 
ed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, 
and his wife, and his maid servants ; and 
they bare children. 18. For the Lord had 
fast closed up all the wombs of the house of 
Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s 
wife. 

Here is, 

1. The kindness of a prince, which Al)imelech 
showed to Abraham. See how unjust Abraham’s 
jealousies were; he fancied that if they knew that 
Sarah was his wife, they would kill him; but, instead 
of that, when they did know, they were kind to 
him, frightened at least to be so, l)y the divine re- 
bukes they were under. (1.) He gives him his 
royal licence to dwell where he pleased in his ccun- 
trv; courting his stay, because he saw that God was 
with him, v. 15. (2.) He gives him his royal pifts, 
V. 14, sheep and o.xen, and v. 16, a thousand pieces 
of silver. This he gave when he restored Sarah, 
either, [1.] By way of satisfaction for the wr; ng he 
had offered to do, in taking her to his house; when 
the Philistines restored the Ai’k, being plagued ff r 
detaining it, they sent a present with it. The law 
appointed, that when restitution was made, some- 
thing should be added to it. Lev. 6. 5. Or, [2.] To 
engage Abraham’s ]7rayers for him; not as if ])ray- 
ers should be bought and sold; but those, whose 
spiritual things we reap of, we should endeavour to 
be kind to, 1 Cor. 9. 11. Note, It is our wisdom to 
get and keej) an interest with these that have an 
interest in heaven; and to make those our friends, 
who are the friends of God. (3.) He gives to Sa- 
rah good instruction, tells her that her husband (her 
brother, he calls him, to upbraid her with calling 
him so) must be to her for a covering of the eyes, 

; that is, she must look, at no ether, nor desire to be 
looked at by anv other. Note, Yokefellows must 
be to each other for a co\ crir:g of the eyes. The 
marriage-covenant is a covenant with the eyes, like 
: Job’s, eh. 31. 1. 

I 2. The kindness of a prophet, which Abraham 
showeol to Abimelech; he prayed for him, v. 17, 
18. This honour God would put upon Abraham, 
that though Abimelech had restored Sarah, yet the 
judgment he was under should be i-emoved ujoon 
the praA’or of Abraham, and not before. Thus God 
healed Miriam, when Moses, w’hom she had most 
affronted, ]iravcd for her. Numb. 12. 13, and was 
reconciled to Job’s friends, when Job, whom they 
i had grieved, prayed for them, (Job 44. 8. .10.) and 
i so did, as it were, give it under his hand, that he 
i Avas reconciled to them. Note, The prayers of 
j good men mav be a kindness to great men, and 
j ought to be valued. 

CHAP. XXI. 

In this chapter, we have, I. Isaac, the child of promise, 

born into Abraham’s family, v. 1 . . 8. II. Ishmael, the 


122 


GENESIS, XXI. 


son of the bond-woman, cast out of it, v. 9. . 21. III. 

Abraham’s league with his neighbour Abimelech, v. 22 

... 32. IV. His devotion to his God, v. 33, 34. 

1. A ND the Lord visited Sarah as he had 
said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as 
he had spoken. 2. For Sarah conceived, 
and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at 
the set time of which God had spoken to 
him. 3 . And Abraham called the name of his 
son that was born unto him, whom Sarah 
bare to him, Isaac. 4. And Abraham cir- 
cumcised his son Isaac being eight days 
old, as God had commanded him. 5 . And 
A braham was an hundred years old, when 
his son Isaac was born unto liim. 6. And 
Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so 
that all that hear will laugh with me. 7. 
And she said. Who would have said unto 
Abraham, that Sarah should have given 
chiltlren suck ? for I have born him a son 
in his old age. 8. And the child grew, 
and was weaned : and Abraham made a 
great feast the same day that Isaac was 
weaned. 

Long looked for comes at last. The vision con- 
cerning the promised seed is for an appointed time, 
and now at an end, it speaks, and does not lie; few 
under the Old Testament were brought into the 
world with such expect:ition as Isaac was; not for 
the sake of any great personal eminence at which 
he was to arrive, but because he was to be, in this 
very thing, a type of Christ, that Seed which the 
holy God so long promised, and holy men so long 
expected. In this account of the first days of Isaac, 
we may observe, 

I. The fulfilling of God’s promise in the concep- 
tion and birth of Isaac, v. 1, 2. Note, God’s pro- 
vidences look best and brightest, when they are 
compared with his word, and when we observe how 
God in them all, acts as he has said, as he has s/io- 
ken. 1. Isaac was born according to the promise. 
The Lord visited Sarah in mercy, as he had said. 
Note, No word of God shall fall to the ground; for 
he is faithful that has promised, and God’s faithful- 
ness is the stay and support of h's peoyile’s faith. 
He was bom at the set time nvhich God had spoken 
to him, V. 2 . Note, God is always punctual to his 
time; though his promised mercies come not at the 
time we set, they will certainly come at the time 
that He sets, and that is the best time. 2. He was 
born by virtue of the promise; Sarah by faith re- 
ceived strength to conceive, Heb. 11. 11. God 
therefore, by promise, gave that strength. It was 
not by the power of common providence, but by the 
power of a special promise, that Isaac was born. A 
sentence of death, as it were, passed upon the se- 
cond causes; Abraham was old, and Sarah old, and 
both as good as dead; and then the word of God 
took place. Note, True believers, by virtue of 
God’s promises, are enabled to do that which is 
above the power of human nature, for by them they 
partake-oj a divine nature, 2 Pet. 1. 4. 

II. Abraham’s obedience to God’s precept con- 
cerning Isaac. 1. He named him, as God com- 
manded him, V. 3. God directed him to name him 
for a memorial, Isaac, laughter; and Abraham, 
whose office it was, gave him that name, though he 
might have designed him some other name of a 
more pompous signification. Note, It is fit that the 
luxuriancy of human iin ention should always yield 


to the sovereignty and plainness of divine institution; 
yet there was good reason for the name. ( 1. ) When 
Abraham received the promise of him, he laughed 
for joy, ch. 17. 17. Note, When the sun of comfort 
is risen upon the soul, it is good to remember how 
welcome the dawning of the day was, and with what 
exultation we embraced the promise. (2. ) When 
Sarah received the promise, she laughed with dis- 
trust and diffidence. Note, When God gives us 
the mercies we began to despair of, we ought to 
remember with sorrow and shame our sinful dis- 
trusts of God’s power and premise, when we were 
in pursuit of them. (3.) Isaac was himself, after- 
ward, laughed at by Ishmacl, v. 9, and perhaps his 
name bid him expect it. Note, God’s favourites 
are of the world’s laughing-stocks. (4.) The pnv 
mise which he was, not only the son, but the heir 
of. was to be the joy of all the saints in all ages, and 
that which would fill their mouths with laughter. 
2. He circumcised him, v. 4. The covenant being 
established with him, the seal of the covenant was 
administered to him: and though a blocdy ordi- 
nance, and he a darling, yet it must not be omitted; 
no, nor deferred beyond the eighth day. God had 
kept time in performing the promise, and therefore 
Abraham must keep time in obeying the precept. 

III. The impressions which this mercy made 
upon Sarah. 

1. It filled her with joy, v. 6, “ God has ?nade 
me to laugh; he has given me both cause to rejc ice, 
and a heart to rejoice.” Thus the mother ( f cur 
Lord, Luke 1. 46, 47. Note, (1.) God bestows 
mercies upon his people to encourage their joy in 
his work and service: and whatever is the matter 
of our joy, God must be acknowledged as the Au- 
thor of it, unless it be the laughter of the fool. (2. ) 
When mercies have been long deterred, they aic 
the more welcome when they come. (3.) It adds 
to the comforts of any mercy, to have cur fnends 
rejoice with us in it. See Luke 1. 58. I'hey that 
hear us, will laugh with me: for laughing is catch- 
ing. Others would rejoice in this instance of God’s 
jower and goodness, and be encouraged to trust in 
tim. See Ps. 119. 74. 

2. It filled her with wonder, v. 7. Observe here, 

(1.) What it was she thought so wonderful, that 
Sarah should give children suck, that she should 
not only bear a child, but be so strong and heartv 
at that age, as to give it suck. Note, Mothers, if 
they be able, ought to be nurses to their own chil- 
dren. Sarah was a person of quality; was aged; 
nursing might be prejudicial either to herself, or to 
the child, or to bo-th; she had choice of inirses, tx) 
doubt, in her own family; and yet she would do her 
duty in this matter; anol her daughters the good 
wives are, while they thus do well, 1 Pet. 3. 5, 6. 
See Lam. 4. 3. (2.) How she expressed her won- 

der, “ JVho would have said it? The thing was so 
highly improbable, so near to impossible, that if 
any one but God had said it, we could not have be- 
lies ed it.” Note, God’s favours to his covenant 
people are such as surpass both their own and 
other’s thoughts and expectations; who could ima- 
gine that God should do so much for the se that de- 
serve so little, nay, for those that deserve so ill.'* 
See Eph. 3. 20. 2 Sam. 7. 18, 19. Who would 
has e said that God should send his Son to die for 
us, his Spirit to sanctify us, his angels to attend us.^ 
Who wculd have said that such great sins slioidd 
be pardoned, such mean services accepted, and such 
worthless worms taken into covenant and commu- 

1 ion with the great and holy God.^ 

IV. A short account of Isaac’s infancy, v. 8, The ' 
child grew, special notice is taken of this, though 

a thing of course, to intimate that the children f 
the promise are growing children: See Luke i. 80. 

2. 40. They that are bern of God, shall increase 


GENESIS, XXL 


more and more with the increase of God, Col. 2. 
12. He grew so as not always to 7ieed milk, but 
\ as able to bear strong meat, and then he ivas 
ivec ned: See Heb. 5. 13, 14. And then it was that 
Abraham 7nade a great feast for his friends and 
neighbours, in thankfulness to God for his mercy to 
Ii.m. He made this feast, not on the day that Isaac 
v. iis born, that would have been too great a distur- 
bance to Sarah; nor on the day that he was circum- 
ched, that would have been too great a diversion 
from the ordinance; but on the day that he was 
weaned, because God’s blessing upon the nursing 
of children, and the preservation of them through 
the perils of the infant-age, are signal instances of 
the care and tenderness of the Divine Providence, 
which ought to be acknowledged, to its praise : see 
Ps. 22. 9, 10. Hos. 11. 1, 2. 

9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the 
Egyptian, which she had born unto Abra- 
ham, mocking. 10. Wherefore she said 
unto Abraham, Cast out this bond-woman, 
and her son : for the son of this bond-wo- 
man shall not be heir with my son, even 
with Isaac. 11. And the thing was very 
grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his 
son. 12. And God said unto Abraham, 
Let it not be grievous in thy sight because 
of the lad, and because of thy bond-woman ; 
in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hear- 
ken unto her voice ; for in Isaac shall thy 
seed be called. 1 3. And also of the son of 
the bond-woman will I make a nation, be- 
cause he is thy seed. 

The casting out of Ishmael is here considered of, 
and resolved on. 

1. Ishmael himself gave the occasion, by some 
affronts he gave to Isaac his little brother; some 
think, on the day that Abraham made the feast, for 
joy that Isaac was safely weaned, which, the Jews 
say, was not till he was three years old; others say, 
five. Sarah herself was an eye-witness of the 
abuse; she saw the son of the Rgyfx fan, mocking, 
V. 9, mocking Isaac, no doubt, for it is said, with 
reference to this. Gal. 4. 29, that he that was bom 
after the flesh, persecuted him that was bom after 
the Spirit. Ishmael is here called the son of the 
Egyptian, because, as some think, the 400 years’ 
affliction of the seed of Abraham by the Egyptians 
began now, and was to be dated from hence, ch. 15. 
13. She saw him playing with Isaac, so the LXX. 
and, in play, mocking him. Ishmael was fourteen 
years older than Isaac; and when children are to- 

S ;ther, the elder should be careful and tender of 
e younger: but it argued a very base and sordid 
disposition in Ishmael, to be abusive to a child that 
was no way a match for him. Note, 1. God takes 
notice of what children say and do in their play: 
and will reckon with them, if they say or do amiss, 
though their parents do not. 2. Mocking is a great 
sin, and very provoking to God. 3. There is a 
rooted remaining enmity in the seed of the serpent 
against the Seed of the woman. The children of 
promise must expect to be mocked. This is perse- 
cution which they that live godly, must count upon. 

4. None are rejected and cast out from God, but 
those who have first deserved it; Ishmael is con- 
tinued in Abraham’s family, till he becomes a dis- 
turbance, grief, and scandal to it. 

II. Sarah made the motion, v. 10, Cast out this 
bond-woman. This seems to be spoken in some 
''eat, yet it is quoted. Gal. 4. 30, as if it had been 


123 

!! spoken by a spii-it of projihesy; and it is the sentence 
passed on all hypocrites and carnal pec];le, th u.i,h 
,j they have a place and name in the visible chare li; 

all that are bom after the flesh and not born ; gain, 
j that rest in the law and reject the gospel-premise, 

I shall certainly be cast out. It is made to point par- 
I ticularly at the rejection of the unbelieving Jews, 
j| who, though they were the seed of Abraham, vet 
I because they submitted not to the gospel-covenant, 
jiwere unchurched and disfranchised: and that 
which, above any thing, provoked God to cast them 
off, was, their mocking and persecuting of the ges- 
pel-church, God’s Isaac, in its infancy, 1 Thess. 2. 
16. Note, There are many who are familiarly 
conversant with the children of God in this world, 
and yet shall not partake with them in the inheri- 
tance ot sons. Ishmael might be Isaac’s play-fel- 
low and school-fellow, yet not his fellow-heir. 

III. Abraham was averse to it, v. 11, The thing 
was very grievous in Abraham's sight. 1. It griev- 
ed him that Ishmael had given such a provocation. 
Note, Children ought to consider that the more 
their parents love them, the more they are grieved 
at their misconduct, and particularly their quarrels 
among themselves. 2. It grieved him that Sarah 
insisted upon such a punishment. “Might it not 
suffice to correct him; would nothing less serve than 
to expel him?” Note, Even the needful extremities 
which must be used with wicked and incorrigible 
children, are very grievous to tender parents, who 
cannot thus afflict willingly. 

IV. God determined it, V. 12, 13. We may well 

suppose Abraham to be greatly agitated about this 
matter; loath to displease Sarah, and vet loath to 
expel Ishmael; in this difficulty, God tells him what 
his will was, and then he is satisfied. Note, A good 
man desires no more in doubtful cases tlian to know 
his duty, and what God would have him do; and 
\vhen he is clear in that, he is, or should be, easy. 
3 o make Abraham so, God sets this matter befoi'e 
him in a true light, and shows him, 1. That the cast- 
ing out of Ishmael was necessary to the establishment 
of Isaac in the rights and privileges of the covenant. 
In Isaac shall thy seed be called: both Christ and 
the church must descend from Abraham tlirough 
the loins of Isaac; this is the entail of the promise 
upon Isaac, and is quoted by the apostle, (Rom. 9. 
r.) to show that not all who came from Abraham’s 
loins, were the heirs of Abraham’s covenant, 
Isaac, the promised son, must be the father of the 
promised seed; therefore, “Away with Ishmael, 
send him f r enough, lest he corrupt the manners, 
or attempt to invade the rights of Isaac.” It will 
be his security to have hi's rival banished. The 
covenant-seed of Abraham must be a peculiar peo- 
ple, a people by themselves, from the very first 
distinguished, not mingled with those that were out 
of covenant, for this reason, Ishmael must be sepa- 
rated. Abraham was called alone, and so must 
Isaac be. See Isa. 51. 2. It is prob 'ble that Sarah 
little thought of this, (John 11. 51.) but God took 
what she said, and turned it into an oracle, as after- 
ward, ch. 27. 10. 2. That the casting out of Ish- 

mael should not be his ruin, v. 13, He shall be a 
nation, because he is thy seed. M’e are not sui-e 
that it was his eternal ruin; it is presumption to say 
that all those who are left out of the etenial dispen- 
sation of God’s covenant, are therefore excluded 
from all his mercies: those may be saved, who :ire 
not thus honoured. However, we are sure it was 
not his temporal laiin. Though he was chased out 
of the church, he w s not chased out of the world. 

I will make him a nation. Note, (l.)'Nations are 
of God’s making; he founds them, he forms them, 
he fixes them. (2.) Many are full of the bless- 
ings of God’s providence, that are stranerers to the 
blessings of his covenant. (3. ) The children of t his 


124 


GENESIS, XXL 


world often fare the better, as to outward things, j 
for their relation to the children of God. | 

14 . And Abraham rose up early in the 
morning, and took bread, and a bottle ol 
water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on 
her shoulder, and the child, and sent her 
away : and she departed, and wandered in 
the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 1 5. And the 
water was spent in the bottle, and she cast 
tlie child under one of the shrubs. 16. And 
she went, and sat her down over against 
hiiji a good way oft, as it were a bow-shot : 
for she said. Let me not see the death of the 
child. And she sat over against him, and 
lift up her voice, and wept. 1 7. And God 
heard the voice of the lad ; and the angel of 
God called to Hagar out of heaven, and 
said unto her. What aileth thee, Hagar ? 
Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of 
tlie lad where he is. 1 8. Arise, lift up the 
lad, and hold him in thine hand; for 1 will 
make him a great nation. 19. And God 
opened her eyes, and she saw a well of 
water; and slie went, and filled the bottle 
with water, and gave the lad drink. 20. 
And God was with the lad; and he grew, 
and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an 
archer. 21. And he dwelt in the wilderness 
of Paran : and his mother took him a wife 
out of the land of Egypt. 

ve is, 

I. 'i'he casting out of the bond-woman and her son 

from the family of Abraham, v. 14. Abraham’s 
obedience to the divine command in this matter was 
sfieedij; carlv in the morning', we may suppose im- 
mediately r.fter he had, in the. night’s \ isions, re- 
ceived orders to d' this. It was also it 

was contrary to his judgment, at least, to his own 
inclination, to do it; yet as soon as he perceives that 
it is the mind of God, he makes no objections, but 
silently does ns he is bidden, as one trained up to an 
implicit obedience. In sending them away without 
any attendants, on foot, and slenderly provided for, 
it is probable that he observed the directions given 
him. If Hagar and Ishmael had conducted them- 
selves well in Abraham’s family, they might have 
continued there; but they threw themselves out by 
their own pi'ide and insolence, which were thus 
justly chastised. Note, By abusing our privileges, 
we forfeit them. Those that know not when they 
are well off in such a desirable place as Abraham’s 
family, deserve to be cashiered, and to be made to 
know the worth of mercies by the want of them. 

II. Their wandering in the wilderness, missing 
their way to the place Abraham designed them for 
a settlement. 

1. They were reduced to great distress there; 
their provisions were spent, and Ishmael was sick; 
he that used to be full fed in Abraham’s house, 
where he waxed fat and kicked, now fainted and 
sunk, when he was brought to short allowance. 
Hagar is in tears, and sufficiently mortified; now 
she wishes for the crumbs she had wasted, and 
made light ''f, at her master’s table; like one under 
the power of the spirit of bondage, she despaivs of 
relief, counts upon nothing but the death of the 
child, (t. 15, 16.) though God had told her, before 
he was born, that he sliculd live to be a man, a 


great man. We are apt to forget former promises, 
when present providences seem to contradict them; 
for we live by sense. 

2. In this distress, God graciously appeared for 
their relief; he heard the voice of the lad, v. 17. 
We read not of a word he said; but his sighs, and 
greans, and calamitous state, cried loud in the ears 
of mercy. An angel was sent to comfort Hagar, 
and it was not the first time that she had met with 
God’s comforts in a wilderness; she had thankfully 
acknowledged the former kind visit which God 
made her in such a case, ch. 16. 13, and therefore 
God now visited her again with seasonable succours. 
(1.) The angel assures her of the cognizance God 
took of her distress; God has heard the voice of the 
lad where he is, though he is in a wilderness: for 
wherever we are, tliere is a way open heaven- 
ward; therefore lift u/i the lad, and hold him in thy 
hand, v. 18. Note, God’s readiness to help \is 
when we are in trouble., must not slacken, but 
quicken, our endeavours to help ourselves. (2.) 
He repeats the promise concerning her son, that he 
should be a great nation, as a reason why she 
should bestir herself to help him. Note, It should 
engage our care and pains about children and young 
people, to consider that we know not what God has 
designed them for, nor what great use Providence 
may make of them. (3. ) He directs her to a pre- 
sent supply, V. 19, he ojiened her eyes, which were 
swollen, and almost blinded, with weeping; and 
then she saw a well of water. Note, Many that 
have reason enough to be comforted, go mourning 
from day to day, because they do not see the reason 
they have for comfort. There is a well of water 
by them in the covenant of grace, but they are not 
aware of it; they ha^•e not the benefit of it, till the 
same God that opened their eyes to see their 
wound, opens them to see their remedv, John 16. 
6, 7. Now the apostle tells us, that those things 
concerning Hagar and Ishmael are 
Gal. 4. 24, they are to be allegorized; this then will 
serve to illustrate the follv of those, [1. ] Who like 
the unljelieving Jews, seek for righteousness bv the 
law and the carnal ordinances of it, and not bv the 
promise made in Christ, thereby running them- 
selves into a wilderness of want and despair. Their 
comforts are soon exhausted, and if God save them 
not by his special prerogative; and by a miracle of 
mercy open their eyes, and undeceive them, they 
are undone. [2.] Their folly also, who seek foi 
satisfaction and happiness in the world and the 
things of it. Those that forsake the comfi rts of 
the covenant and communion with God, and clioosc 
their portion in this earth, take up with a bottle of 
water, poor and slender proe ision, and that, soon 
spent; they wander endlessly in pursuit of satisfac- 
tion, and, at length, sit down short of it. 

III. The settlement of Ishmael, at last, in the wil- 
derness of Paran, t>. 20, 21, a wild place, fittest for 
a wild man; and such an one he was, ch. 16. 12. 
They that are born after the flesh, take ii]) with the 
wilderness of this world, while the children cf 
the promise aim at the heavenly Canaan, and can- 
not be at rest till they are there. Observe, 1. He 
had some tokens of God’s presence, God was with 
the lad; his outward prosperity wav owing to this. 
2. By trade he was an archer, which intimates that 
craft was hi« excellency, and spert Ins business; re- 
jected Esau was a cunning hunter. 3. He matched 
among his mother’s relations; she trrk him a wife 
out of Egvpt; as great an archer as he was, lie did 
not think he took his aim well in the business of 
marriage, if he proceeded without his mother’s 
advice and consent. 

22. And it came to pass at tliat time, that 
Abimelech, and Phichol the cdiief captain 


126 


GENESIS, XXL 


of his host, spake unto Abraham, saying, 
God is with thee in all that thou doest. 23. 
Now therefore swear unto me here by God, 
that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor 
with my son, nor with my son’s son : but ac- 
cording to the kindness that 1 have done unto 
thee, tlioii shalt do unto me, and to the land 
wherein thou hast sojourned. 24. And 
Abraham said, I will swear. 25. And 
Abraham reproved Abimelech, because of a 
well ol water, which Abimelech’s servants 
had violently taken away. 26. And Abi- 
melech said, 1 wot not who hath done this 
thing : neither didst thou tell me, neither yet 
heard I of it but to-day. 27. And Abra- 
ham took sheep and oxen, and gave tliem 
unto Abimelech : and both of them made a 
covenant. 28. And Abraham set seven 
ewe-lambs of the flock by themselves. 29, 
And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What 
mean these seven ewe-lambs, which thou 
hast set by themselves ? 30. And he said. 
For those seven ewe-lambs, shalt thou take 
of my hand, that they may be a witness unto 
me, that 1 have digged this well. 31. 
Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba : 
because there they sware both of them. 32. 
Thus they made a covenant at Beer-sheba : 
then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the 
chief captain of his host, and they returned 
into tlie land of the Philistines. 

We ha\"e here an account of the treaty between 
Abimelech and Abraham, in which appears the ac- 
complishment of that promise, c/i. 12. 2, that God 
would make his name great. His friendship is 
A'alued, is courted, though a stranger, though a 
tenant at will to the Canaanites and Perizzites. 

I. The league is proposed by Abimelech, and 
Phichol his prime-minister of state, and general of 
his army. 1. The inducement to it was God’s fa- 
vour to Abraham, v. 22, “ God is with thee in all 
thou doest, and we cannot but take notice of it. ” 
Note, (1.) God in his providence sometimes shows 
his people such tokens for good, that their neigh- 
bours cannot but take notice of it, Ps. 86. 17. Their 
affairs do so visibly prosper, and they ha\ e such re- 
markable success in their undeitakings, that a con- 
fession is extorted from all about them, of God’s 
presence with them. (2.) It is good being in favour 
with those that are in fa^■our with God, and hav ing 
an interest in them that have an interest in heaven, 
Zech. 8. 23, We will go with you, for we have 
heard that God is with you. We do well for our- 
selves, if we have fellowship with those that have 
fellowship with God, 1 John 1. 3. 2. The tenor of 

it was, in general, that there should be a firm and 
constant friendship between the two families, which 
should not upon any account be violated. This 
bond of friendship must be strengthened by the 
bond of an oath, in which the true God was ap- 
pealed to, both as a Witness of their sincerity, and 
an Avenger, in case either side were treacherous, 
V. 23. Observe, (1.) He desires the entail of this 
league upon his posterity, and the extent of it to his 
people. He would have his son, and his son’s son, 
and his land likewise, to ha\ e the benefit of it. 
Good men should secure an alliance and communion 
"■i'-h the f.ivcurites of heaven, not for themselves 


' only, but for their’s also. (2.) He reminds Abra- 
ham of the fair treatment he had found among 
j them, according to the kindness I have done unit 
thee. As those that have recei\ ed kindness, must 
return it, so those that have showed kindness, muv 
expect it. 

II. It is consented to by Abraham, with a particu- 
lar clause inserted about a well. In Abraham’s 
part of this transac tion, 1. He was ready to enter 
into this league with Abimelech, finding him to be 
a man of honour and conscience, and that had the 
fear of God before his eyes, v. 24, / will swear. 
Note, (1.) Religion does not make men morose and 
unconversable; I am sure it ought not; we must not, 
under colour of shunning bad companv, l)e sour to 
all company, and jealous of every body. (2. ) An 
honest mind does not startle at giving assurances; if 
Abraham saj- that he will be true to Abimelech, he 
is not afraid to swear it: an oath is for confii ma- 
tion. 2. He pi-udently settled the matter concern- 
ing a well, which Abimelech’s servants had quarrel- 
led with Abraham about. Wells cf water, it seems, 
were choice goods in that country : thanks be to God, 
that they are not so scarce in cur’s. (1.) Abraham 
mildly told Abimelech of it, v. 25. Note, If our 
brother trespass against us, \ve must, with the meek- 
ness of wisdom, tell him his fault, that the matter 
may be faiily accommodated, and an end made of it. 
Matt. 18. 15. (2.) He acquiesced in Abimelech’s 

justification of himself in this matter, v. 26, I wot 
not who has done this thing. Many are suspected 
of injustice and unkindness, that are perfectly inno- 
cent, which we ought to be glad to be convinced of: 
the faults cf servants must not be imputed to their 
masters, unless they know of them, and justify them; 
and no more can be expected from an honest man, 
than that he be ready to do right, as soon as he 
knows that he has done wrong. (3.) He took care 
to have his title to the well cleared and confirmed, 
to prevent any disputes or quarrels for the future, 
V. 30. Itis justice, as well as wisdom, to do thus, in 
fxerfietuam rei memoriam — that the circumstance 
may be fierfietually remembered. 3. He made a 
very handsome present to Abimelech, r. 27. It was 
not any thing curious or fine that he presented to 
him, but that which was valuable and useful, sheefi 
and oxen, in gratitude for Abimelech’s kindness to 
him, and in token of hearty friendship between 
them; the interchanging of kind offices is the im- 
proving of love; that which is mine, is my friend’s. 
4. He ratified the covenant by an oath, and register- 
ed it by giving a new name to the place, v. 31. 
Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, in remembrance cf 
the covenant they sware to, that they might be ever 
mindful of it; or, the well of sex<en, in remembrance 
of the seven lambs given to Abimelech, as a consi- 
deration for his confirming Abraham’ title to that 
well. Note, Bargains made, must be remembered, 
that we may make them good, and may not break 
our word through oversight. 

33. And Abraham planted a grove in 
Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of 
the Lord, the everlasting God 34. And 
.Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land 
many days. 

Obsen'e, 1. Abraham, being got into a good neigh 
bourhood, knew when he was well off, and continu- 
ed a great while there: there he planted a grove for 
a shade to his tent, or perhaps an orchard for fmit 
trees; and there, though we cannot say he settled, 
for God would have him, while he lived, to be a 
stranger and a pilgrim; yet he .9q;o7/r??e(/many days, 
as many as would consist with his character, as 
Abraham the Hebrew, or passenger. 


126 GENESIS, XXII. 


2. There he made not only a constant practice, I 
but an open profession of his religion. There he 
called on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God, 
probably, in the grove he planted, which was his 
oratory or house of pr yer. Christ prayed in a gar- 
den, on a mountain. (i.) Abraham kept up public 
worship, to which, probably, his neighbours resort- 
ed, that they might join with him. Note, Good 
men should not ouly retain their goodness wherever 
they go, but do ali they can to propagate it, and 
make others good. (2.) In calling on the Lord, we 
must eye him as everlasting Got/, the G’oc/ q/'j 
the ’luor'ld ; so some. Though God had made him- 
self known to Abraham as his God in particular, 
and in covenant with him, yet he forgets not to give 
glory to him as the Lord of all : the everlasting God, 
who was before all worlds, and will be when time 
and days shall be no more. See Isa. 40. 28. 

CHAR XXII. 

VVe have here that famous story of .\braham’s offering- up 
his son Isaac, that is, his offering to offer him, which is 
justly looked upon as one of the wonders of the cliurch. 
Here is, I. The strange command which God gave to 
Abraham concerning it, V. 1, 2. II. Abraham’s strange 
obedience to this command, v 3 . .10. 111. The strange is- 
sue of this trial. 1. The sacrificintr of Isaac was coun- 
termanded, v. 11, 12. 2. .\nother sacrifice was provided, 
V. 13, 14. 3. The covenant was renewed with Abraham, 
hereupon, v. 15.. 19- Lastly, An account of some of 
Abraham’s relations, v. 20 . . 24. 

1. 4 came to pass after these 

-a\. things, that God did tempt Abraham, 
and said unto him, Abraham. And he said. 
Behold here I ant. 2. And he said. Take 
now thy son, thine only son Isaac, \^'hom 
tlioLi Invest, and get thee into the land of 
Moriah ; and offer him there for a burnt-of- 
fering upon one of the mountains which I 
>'’ill tell thee of. 

Here is the trial of Abraham’s faith, whether it 
c< intinued so strong, so vigorous, so victorious, af- 
ter a long settlement in communion with God, as it 
was at first, when by it he left his country: then, it 
was made to appear that he loved God better than his 
father: now, that he loved him better than his son. 
Observe here, 

I. The time when Abraham was thus tried; (v. 
1.) after these things ; -dher aW the other exercises 
he had had, all the hardships and difficulties he had 
gone through : now, perhaps, he was beginning to 
think the storms were all blown over; but after all 
this encounter comes, which is sharper than any 
yet. Note, Many former trials will not supersede, 
or secure us from finther trials; we have not yet put 
off the harness, 1 Kings 20. 11. See Ps. 30. 6, 7. 

II. The Author of the trial; G'of/ tempted him, 
not to draw him to sin, so Satan tempts: if Abraham 
had sacrificed Isaac, he had not sinned; his orders 
would have justified him, and borne him out; God 
tempted him, to discover his graces, how strong 
they were, that they might be found to praise, and 
hotiour, and glory, 1 Pet. 1. 7. Thus God tempt- 
ed Job, that he might appear not only a good man, 
but a great man. God did tempt Abraham; he did 
lift ufi Abraham, so some read it; as a scholar that 
improves well, is lifted up when he is put into a high- 
er form. Note, Strong faith is often exercised with 
strong trials, and put upon hard services. 

III. The trial itself; God appeared to him as he 
had formerly done, called him by name, Abraham, 
that name which had been given him in ratification 
of the promise. Abraham, like a good servant, 
readily answered, '‘Here am I; what says my 
Lonl unto his servant ?” Probably, he expected 
som ■ renewed promise like those, ch. 15. 1, and ' 


I 17. 1. But, to his great amazement, that which 
God has to say to him, is, in short, Abraham, go, kill 
thy son ; and this commiuid is given him in such 
aggravating language, as makes the temptation abun- 
dantly more grievous. When God speaks, Abra- 
ham, no doubt, takes notice of every word, and lis- 
tens attentively to it; and eveiy word here is a sword 
in his bones; the trial is steeled with trying phrases. 

I Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that lie she uld 
I afflict? No, it is not; yet when Abraham’s faith is to 
! be tried, God seems to take pleasure in the aggrava- 
ticn of the trial, v. 2. Observe, 

‘ 1. The person to be offered; (1.) Take thy son, 

I net thy bullocks and thy lambs; how willingly would 
Abraham have parted with them by thousands to 
i redeem Isaac ! No, 1 will take no bullock out of thy 
house, Ps. 50. 9. “I must have thy son: not thy 
j servant, no, not the steward of thine house, that 
I shall not serve the tuni; I must have thy son.” 
Jeiihthah, in pursuance of a vow, offered a daugh- 
ter ; but Abraham must offer his son, in whom the 
I family was to be built up. “ Lord let it be an adopt- 
ed No, (2.) “ Thine otily son ; thine only son 
by Sarah." Ishmael was lately cast out to the grief 
of Abraham ; and now Is:iac only was left, and must 
he go too ? Yes, (3.) “ Take Isaac, him, by name, 
thy laughter, that son indeed," ch. 17. 19, not “ Send 
for Ishmael back, and ofler him; no, it must be 
Isaac:” “ But, Lord, I love Isaac, he is to me as my 
own soul; Ishmael is not, and wiltthcu take Isaac 
also? All this is against me:” Yes, (4. ) That son 
whom thou lovest. It was a trial of Abraham’s love 
to God, and therefore it must be in a beloved sen, 
and that string must be touched most upon: in the 
Hebrew it is expressed more emphatically, and, I 
think, might very well be read thus. Take now that 
son of thine, that only one of thine, whom thou 
lovest, that Isaac. God’s command must over-rule 
all these considerations. 

2. The place; in the land of il/oria/z, three days’ jour- 
ney off; so that he might have time to consider it, 
and, if he did it, might do it deliberately, that it 
might be a service the more reasonable, and the 
more honourable. 

3. The manner; /(/m for a burnt-offering ; 
he must not only kill his son, but kill him as a sacri- 
fice, kill him devoutly, kill him by rule, kill him 
with all that pomp and ceremony, with all that se- 
dateness and composure of min'd, with which he 
used to offer his burnt-offerings. 

3. And Abraham rose up early in Ihe 
morning, and saddled his ass, and took two 
of his young men with him, and Isaac his 
son ; and clave the wood for the burnt-offer- 
ing, and rose up, and went unto the place of 
which God had told him. 4. Then on the 
third day Abraham lift up his eyes, and saw 
the place afar off. 5. And Abraham said 
unto his young men. Abide ye here with the 
ass ; and 1 and the lad will go yonder and 
worship, and come again to you. 6. And 
Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offer- 
ing, and laid ?/ upon Isaac his son; and he 
took the fire in his hand, ant! a knife ; and 
1 they went both of them together. 7. And 
'Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and 
I said. My fatherland he said. Here am I, 

' my son. And he said. Behold, the fire and 
the w ood : but where wthc lamb for a burnt- 
j offering ? 8. And Abraham said, My son, 

I God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt- 


12 ’ 


GENESIS, XXII. 


ofTering ; so they went both of them togeth- 
er. 9. And tliey came to the place which 
God hadtol i him oi'; and Abraham built an 
;i tar there, and he laid the wood in order, 
;i:.d bound Isaac his son, and laid him on 
the ahar upon the wood. 10. And Abra- 
ham stretched forth his hand, and took a 
knife to slay his son. 

W'e have hei e Abraham’s obedience to this se- 
vere command; Bcin^ tried, he offered uji Isaac, 
Heb. 11. 17. Observe, 

I. 'I'he difficulties which he brake through in this 
act of obedience; much might have been objected j 
against it. As, ; 

1. It Seemed directly against an antecedent law j 
of God, tvhich forbids murder, under a severe pen- n 
aky, ch. 9. 5, 6. Now can the unchangeable God ij 
contradivt himself ^ He that hates robbery for burnt- ji 
c^ering, (Isa. 61. 8.) cannot delight in murder for it. n 

2. How would it consist with natural affection to j' 

his own son i It would be not only murder, but the i 
worst of murders. Cannot Abraham be obedient, jj 
but he must be unnatural ? If God insist upon ahu- ( 
man s icrifice, is there none but Isaac to be the offer- 
ing; and none but Abraham to be the offerer } Must ! 
the f .ther of the faithful be the monster cf all fa- !' 
thers ? || 

3. (iod gave him no reason for it. When Ishmael || 
was to be cast out, a just cause was assigned, which 
Satisfied Abraham; but here Isaac must die, and 
Abraham must kill him, and neither the one nor the 
other must know on what account. If Isaac had 
been to die a martyr for the truth, or his life had 
been the ransom of some other life more precious, 
it li ad been another matter; or if he had died as a 
ci'iminal, a rebel against God or his parents, as in 
the case of the idolater, (Deut. 13. 8, 9.) or thestub- 
boni son, (Deut. 21. 18, 19.) it might have passed 
as a sacrifice to justice; but the case is not so: he is a 
dutiful, obedient, hopeful, s' n; “ Lord, what profit 
is tliere in his blood r” 

4. How would tills consist with the promise ? 
W as it not said that in Isaac shall thy seed be called? 
But what comes of that seed, if this pregnant bud 
be broken off so soon ? 

5. How should he ever look Sarah in the face 
again ? M'ith what face can he return to her and 
his f unily, witii the blood cf Isaac sprinkled on his 
garments, a.nd staining all his raiment ? Surely a 
bloody husba?id hast thou been unto me, would Sa- 
rah say, as Exod. 4. 25, 26, and it would be likely to 
alienate her affections for ever both from him and 
from his God. 

6. \Vhat would the Egyptians say, and the Ca- 
naanites and Perizzites wliich dwelt then in the 
land? It would bean eternal reproach to Abraham, 
and to his altars. “Welcome nature, if this be 
grace. ” These, and m any the like objections, might 
h ive been made; but he was infallibly assured that 
it was indeed a command of God, and not a delusion; I 
and that was sufficient to answer them all. Note, 
God’s commands must not be disputed, but obeyed: 
we must not consult with flesh and blood about them, 
(Gal. 1. 15. 16. ) but with gracious obstinacy persist 
in our obedience to them. 

II. The see eral steps of this obedience; all which 
help to magnify it, and to show that he was guided 
by prudence, ajid governed by faith, in the whole 
transaction. 

1. He rises early, xk 3. Bi'obably, the command 
Avas given in the visions of the night, and early the 
next morning, he set himself about the execution of 
it, did not delay, did not demur, did not take time to 
deliberate; for the command was peremptoiy, and I 


would not admit a debate. Note, These that do 
the will of God heartily, will do it speedily: while 
we . elay, time is lost, and the heart liardened. 

2. He gets things ready for a sacrifice, and as il 
he himself had been a Gibeonite, it should seem, 
with his own hands he cleaves the wood for the 
bui-nt-oflering, that that might not be to seek, when 
the sacrifice was to be offered; spiritual sacrifices 
must be thus prepared for. 

3. It is \ ery probaljle that he said nothing cf it to 
Sar.di;this is a journey which she must know no- 

' thing of, lest she prevent it. There is so iimch in 
! our own hearts to hinder our progress in duty, that 
[ we haA e need, as much as may be, to keep cut of 
the wav ( f other hindrances. 

4. He carefully looked ab( ut him, to discover the 
place ajipointed for the sacrifice, which God had 
promised by some sign to direct him to. Pi’cbably 
the direction was given by an appearance of the Di- 
vine Glory in the place, some pillar cf fire reaching 
from heaven to earth, visible at a distance, and to 
which he pointed, when he said, {y. 5.) “ We will 
go yonder, w'here you see the light, and worship. ” 

5*. He left his ser\ ants at some distance off, (r. 
5. ) lest they should ha e interposed, and created 
him some disturbance in his strange oblation; for 
Isaac was, no doubt, the darling of the whole family. 
Thus, when Christ was entering upon his agony in 
the garden, he took only three of his disciples with 
him, and left the rest at the garden door. Note, It 
is our wisdom and duty, when we are going to wor- 
ship God, to lay aside all those thoughts and cares 
which may divert us from the service, leave them at 
the bottom of the hill, that we may attend on the 
Lord without distraction. 

6. He obliged Isaac to carry the wood, (both to 
try his obedience in a lesser matter, first, and that 
he might typify Christ, who carried his own cross, 
John 19. 17.) while he himself, though he knew 
what he did, with a steady and undaunted resolu- 
tion, carried the fatal knife and fire, x). 6. Note, 
Those that through grace arc resoh ed upon the 
substance of any service or suffering for God, must 
O' erlook the little circumstances which make it 
doubly difficult to flesh and blood. 

7. Without any ruffle or disorder, he talks it 
over with Isaac, as if it had been but a ccnimon 
sacrifice that he was going to offer, x'. 7, 8. (1. )It was 
a verv affecting question tluk Isaac asked him, as 
they were going together ; My father, said Isaac; 
it was a melting word, which, ( ne wruld think, 
should strike deeper in the brc:.st cf Alirahimi, 
than his knife could in the bre ;st of Isaac. He 
might have said, or thought at least, “ Call me not 
thy father, who am now to be thy murderer ; can a 
father be so barbarous, so perfectly lost to all the 
tenderness of a father?” Yet he keeps his temper, 
and keeps his countenance, to admiration; he calm- 
ly waits for his son’s question, and this is it. Behold, 
the fire and the xvood, but where is the lamb? See 
how expert Isaac was in the law and custom of sa- 
crifices: this it is to be well-catechised. This is, 
[1.] A trying question to Abraham. How could 
he endure to think that Isaac is himself the lamb? 
So it is, but Abraham, as yet, dares not tell him so; 
where God knows the faith to be armour of proof 
he will laugh at the trial of the innocent. Job. 9. 23. 
[2.] It is a teaching question to us all; that when 
we are going to worship God, we should seriously 
consider whether we have everv thing ready, espe- 
cially the Lamb for a bumt-offering; behold, the 
fire is ready, that is, the Spirit’s assistance, and 
God’s acceptance; the wood is readv, the instituted 
ordinances designed to kindle our affections, (which 
indeed, without the Spirit, are but like wood with- 
out fire, but the Spirit works by them,) all things 
are now ready; but where is the lamb? Where is 


GENESIS, XXII. 


the heart? Is that ready to be offered up to God, I 
to ascend to him as a burnt-offering? (2.) It was a 
very firudent answer which Abraham gave him, v, 

8, My son, God will provide himself a lamb. This | 
was the language, either [1.] Of his obedience; \ 
“ We must offer the lamb which God has appointed ' 
now to be offered;” thus giving him this general i 
rule of submission to the divine will, to prepare 
him for the application cf it to himself very quick- 
ly. Or, [2.] Ofhis/a/^A; whether he meant it so 
or not, this pro\ ed to be the meaning of it; a sacri- 
fi e was pro\ ided instead of Isaac. Thus, First, 
Christ, the great Sacrifice cf atonement, was of 
God’s providing; when none in heaven or earth 
could have found a lamb for that burnt-offering, 
God himself found the ransom, Ps. 89. 20. Second- 
ly, All our sacrifices of acknowledgment are of 
God’s pro\ iding too. It is he that prepares the 
heart, Ps. 10. 17. The broken and contrite spirit 
is a sacrifice of God, Ps. 51. 17, of his pros iding. 

8. With the same resolution and composedness 
of mind, after many thoughts of heart, he applies 
himself to the completing of the saci’ifice, v. 9, 10. 
He goes on with a holy wilfulness, after many a 
weary step, and with a heavy heart he arrives, at 
length, at the fatal place, builds the altar, an altar 
of earth, we may suppose, the saddest that ever he 
built, (and he had built many an one,) lays the wood 
in order for his Isaac’s funeral pile, and now tells 
him the amazing news; “ Isaac, thou art the lamb 
which God has provided. ” Isaac, for aught that 
appears, is as willing as Abraham ; we do not find 
that he made any objection against it, any petition 
for his life, that he attempted to make his escape, 
much less that he struggled with his aged father, 
or made any resistance: Abraham does it, God 
will have it done, and Isaac has learned to submit 
to both; Abraham, no doubt, comforting him with 
the same hopes, with which he himself hy faith was 
comforted. Yet it is necessary that a sacrifice be 
bound. The great Sacrifice, which, in the fulness 
of time, was to be offered up, must be bound, and 
therefore so must Isaac. But with what heart 
could tender Abraham tie those guiltless hands, 
that perhaps had often been liftad up to ask his 
blessing, and stretched out to embrace him, and 
were now the more straitly bound with the cords of 
love and duty ! Howe\'er, it must be done. Hav- 
ing bound him, he lays him upon the altar, and his 
hand upon the head of his sacrifice ; and now, we j 
may suppose, with floods of tears, he gives and 
takes, the final farewell of a parting kiss, perhaps 
he takes another for Sarah, from her dying son. 
This being done, he resolutely forgets the bowels 
of a father, and puts on the awful gravity of a sacri- 
ficer; with a fixed heart, and an eye lifted up to 
heaven, he takes the knife, and stretches out his 
hand to give the fatal cut to Isaac’s throat. Be as- 
tonished, O heavens, at this; and wonder, O earth! 
Here is an act of faith and ol^edieuce, which de- 
serves to be a spectacle to God, angels, and men. 
Abraham’s darling, Sarah’s laughter, the church’s 
hope, the heir of promise, lies ready to bleed and 
die by his own father’s hand, who never shrinks at 
the doing of it. Now this obedience of Abraham 
in offenng up Isaac, is a lively representation, (1.) 
Of the love of God to us, in delivering up his only- 
begotten Son to suffer and die for us, as a sa''rifice; 
it pleased the Lord himself to bruise him. See Isa. 
53. 10. Zech. 13. 7. Abraham was ol)liged, both 
in duty and gratitude, to part with Isaac, and parted 
with him to a friend ; but God was under no obliga- 
tions to us, for we were enemies. (2.) Of our duty 
to God, in retuim of that love; we must tread in the 
steps of this faith of Abraham. God, by his word, 
calls us to part with all for Christ; all our sins, 
though they have been as a right hand, or a right 


eye, or an Isaac; all those things that are competi* 
tors and rivals with Christ for the sovereignty of the 
heart; (Luke 14. 26.) and we must cheerfully let 
them all go. God, by his providence, which is 
truly the voice of God, calls us to pai-t with an Isaac 
sometimes, and we must do it with a cheerful re- 
signation and submission to his holy will, 1 Sam. 3. 
18. 

11. And the angel of tlie Lord called 
unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, 
Abraham : and he said. Here am I. 1 2. 
And he said. Lay not thine hand upon the 
lad, neither do thou any thing unto him : 
for now I know that thou fearest God, see- 
ing thou hast not with-held thy son, thine 
only son, from me. 1 3. And Abraham lift- 
ed up his eyes, and looked, and behold, be- 
hind him a ram caught in a thicket by liis 
horns: and Abraham went and took the 
ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering 
in the stead of his son. 14. And Abraham 
called the name of that place Jehovah- 
jireh : as it is said to this day. In the 
mount of the Lord it shall be seen. 

Hitherto this story has been very melancholy, 
and seems to hasten towards a most tragical period; 
but here the sky, of a sudden, clears up, the sun 
breaks out, a bright and pleasant scene opens ; the 
same hand that had wounded and cast down, here 
heals and lifts up; for though he cause grief, he 
will have compassion. The angel of the Lord, that 
is, God himself, the etenial Word, the Angel cf the 
co\ enant, who was to be the great Redeemer and 
Comforter, he interposed, and gave a happy issue 
to this trial. 

I. Isaac is rescued, v. 11, 12. The command to 
offer him was intended only for trial, and it appear- 
ing, upon trial, that Abrah vm did indeed lo\ e God 
better than he loved Isaac, the end of the command 
was answered; and therefore the order is counter- 
manded, without any reflection at all upon the un- 
changeableness of the divine councils; Lay not 
thine hand upon the lad. Note, 1. Our creature- 
comforts are then most likely to be continued to us, 
when we are most willing to resign them up tc 
God’s will. 2. God’s time to help and relieve his 
people, is, when they are brought to the; greatest 
extremity. The more imminent the danger is, and 
the nearer to be put into execution, the more won- 
derful, and the more welcome is the deliverance. 

II. Abraham is not only appro\ ed, but applaud- 
ed. He obtains an honourable testimony, that he is 
righteous. JVow I know that thou fearest God: 
God knew it before, but now, Abraham had given 
a most memorable e\ idence of it. He needed do 
no more; what he had done, was sufficient to prove 
the religious regard he had to God and his authori- 
ty. Note, 1. When God, by his providence, hin- 
ders the performance of our sincere intentions in 
his services, he graciously accepts the will for the 
deed, and the honest endeav our, though it come 
short of finishing. 2. The best evidence of our 
fearing God, is, our being willing to serve and ho- 
nour him with that which is dearest to us, and to 
part with all to him, ovfor him. 

III. Another sacrifice is provided instead of Isaac, 
an 13. Now that the altar was built, and the woool 
laid in order, it was necessary that something 
should be offered. For, 1. God must be acknow- 
ledged with thankfulness for the deliierance of 
Isaac; and the sooner the better, when here is an 
altar ready. 2. Abraham’s words must be made 


124 


GENESIS, XXI 1. 


good, God u-ill firovide himself a lamb. God will 
not disappoint those expectuticns of his people, 
which are of his own raising; but, according to their 
fiiith, it is to them. Thou slialt decree a thing, and 
it shall be establidhed. 3. Reference must be had 
to the promised Messiah, the blessed Seed. (1.) 
Christ was sacrificed in our stead, as this ram in- 
stead of Isaac, and his death was our discharge ; 

‘ Here am /, (said he) let these go their way." (2.) 
I'hough that blessed seed was lately promised, and 
now typified by Isaac, yet the offering of him up 
should be suspended till the latter end of the worlcl: 
and, in the mean time, the sacrifice of beasts should 
be accepted, as this ram was, as a pledge of that ex- 
piation which should one day be made by that great 
sacrifice. And it is obser\ able, that the temple, 
the place of sacrifice, was afterward built upon this 
mount Moriah, (2 Chron. 3. 1.) and mount Cah a- 
ry, where Christ was crucified, was not far off. 

IV. A new name Avas given to that place, to the 
honour of God, and for the encouragement of all 
believers to the end of the world, cheerfully to trust 
in God in the way of obedience; Jehovah-jireh, The 
Lord will proxnde, v. 14. probably alluding to 
what he had said, v. 8, God will provide himself a 
lamb. It was not OAving to any contrivance of 
Abraham, nor Avas it in ansAver to his prayer, 
though he was a distinguished intercessor; but it 
was purely the Lord’s doing. Let it be recorded 
for generations to come, 1. That the Lord will see; 
he will always have his eye upon his people, in 
their straits and distresses, that he may come in 
with seasonable succour in the critical juncture. 2. 
That he Avill be seen, be seen in the mount, in the 
gp’eatest perplexities of his people; he Avill not only 
manifest, but magnify, his Avisdom, poAver, and 
goodness in their deli\ erance; Avhere God sees and 
provides, he should be seen and praised: and, 
perhaps, it may refer to God manifest in the flesh. 

15. And the angel of the Lord called 
unto Abraham out of heaven the second 
time, 16. And said, By myself have I 
sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou j 
hast done this thing, and hast not with-held 
thy son, thine only son : 1 7. That in bless- 

ing 1 will bless thee, and in multiplying 1 
will multiply thy seed as the stars of the 
heaven, and as the sand which is upon tlie j 
sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the 
gate of his enemies ; 1 8. And in tiiy seed 

shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ; 
because thou hast obeyed my voice. 1 9. 1 
So Abraham returned unto his young men, ! 
and they rose up, and ^vent together to 
Beer-sheba ; and Abraham dwelt at Beer- 
sheba. 

Abraham’s obedience Avas graciously accepted, 
but that was not all; here Ave have it recompensed, 
abundantly recompensed, before he stirred from 
the place; probably, Avhile the ram he had sacri- 
ficed, was yet buniing, God sent him this gi’acious 
message, renewed and ratified his covenant Avith 
him. All coA^enants Avere made by sacrifice, so 
was this by the typical sacrifices of Isaac and the 
ram; Aery high expressions of God’s favour to 
Abraham are employed in this confii-mation of the 
covenant Avith him, expressions exceeding any he 
had yet been blessed Avith. Note, Extraoi-dinary 
services shall be croAvned Avith extraordinary ho- 
nours and comforts; and favours in the promise, 
though not yet performed, ought to be accounted 
real and A^aluable recompenses. 

VoL. I— R 


I. God is pleased to make mention of Abraham’s 
obedience as the consideration cf the covenant; and 
he speaks of it Avith an encomium, xk 1, Because 
thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy 
son, thy only son; he lays a strong emphasis upon 
that, and, v. 18, praises it as an act ot obedience; 
in it thou hast obeyed my voice, and to obey is bet- 
ter than sacrifice. Not that this was a proportion- 
able consideration; but God graciously put this 
honour upon that by Avhich Abraham had honoured 
God. 

II. God noAv confirmed the promise Avith an oath. 
It was said and sealed before; but xiow, it is SAvorn. 
By myself have I sworn; for he could SAvear by no 
greater, Heb. 6. 13. Thus he interposed himself 
by an oath, as the apostle expresses it there, v. 17; 
he did (to speak Avith reverence) e\ en paAvn his 
OAvn life and being upon it, As I live: that by all 
those immutable things, in Avhich it was impossible 
for God to lie, he and his might have strong conso- 
lation. Note, If Ave exercise faith, GodAvill encou- 
rage it. Improve the promises, and God will ratify 
them. 

III. The particular promise here rencAved, is 
that of a numerous effspring, v. 17, Multiplying, 
1 xvill multiply thee. Note, Those that are willing 
to part with any thing for God, shall have it made 
up to them Avith unspeakable advantage. Abraham 
has but one son, and is Avilling to part Avith that one, 
in obedience to God; “M’tdl,” said God, “thou 
shalt be recompensed Avith the usands and millions.” 
What a figure does the seed of Abraham make in 
histor)^! Hoav numerous, hoAv illustrious Avere his 
known descendants, who, to this day, triumph in 
this, that they haAe Abraham to their father! 
Thus he receives a thousand-fold in this life. Matt. 
19. 29. 

IV. The promise, doubtless, points to the Mes- 

siah, and the gi’ace of the gospel. This is the oath 
SAvom to our father Abraham, Avhich Zecharias re- 
fers to, Luke 1, 73, &c. And so here is a promise, 
1. Of the great blessing of the Spirit ; In blessing 
I will bless thee, namely, Avith that best of blessings, 
the gift of the holy Ghost; the promise of the Spi- 
rit was that blessing of Abraham, which was to 
come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, Gal. 
3. 14. 2. Of the increase of the church; that be- 

lievers, his spiritual seed, should be as many as the 
stars of heaven. 3. Of spiritual Aictories; Thy 
seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. Believers, 
by their faith, oa ercome the Avorld, and triumph 
OA'er all the poAvers cf darkness, and are more than 
conquerors. Probably, Zecharias refers to this part 
of the oath, Luke 1. 74, That we being delivered 
out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him 
without fear. But the croAvn of all, is, the last pro- 
mise, 4. Of the incarnation of Christ. In thy Seed, 
one particular person that shall descend from thee 
(for he speaks not of many, but of one, as the apos- 
tle obserA'es, Gal. 3. 16.) shall all the nations of the 
earth be blessed, or shall bless themselves, as the 
phrase is, Isa. 65. 16. In him all may be happy if 
they Avill, and all that belong fo him, shall be so, 
and shall think themseh es so. Christ is the great 
Blessing of the world. Abraham Avas ready to give 
up his son for a sacrifice to the honour of Ood, and 
on that occasion God promised to give his sou a sa- 
crifice for the salvation of man. 

20. And it came to pass after these things, 
that it was told Abraham, saving. Behold, 
Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy 
brother Nahor ; 21. Hnz his first-born, and 
Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of 
Aram, 22. And Chesed, and Hazo, and 
Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23 


GENESIS, XXIll. 


KiO 

vrul Bethuel begat Rebekah : these eight 
Milcah did hear to Nahor Abraham’s bro- 
ther. 24. And his concubine, whose name 
was Reumali, she bare also Tebah, and 
Galiam, and Thahash, and Maachah. 

This is recorded here, 1. To sliow that though 
Abraham saw his own family highly dig-nified with 
peculiar privileges, admitted into covenant, and 
blessed with the entail of the promise; yet he did 
not look with contempt and disdain upon his rela- 
tions, but was glad to hear of the increase and pros- 
perity of their families. 2. To make way for the 
following story of the marriage of Isaac to Rebe- 
kah, a daughter of this family. 

CHAP. XXIII. 

Here is, I. Abraham a mourner for the death of Sarah, v. 
1, 2. II. Abraham a purchaser of a burying-place for 
Sarah. 1. The purchase humbly proposed by Abraham, 
V. 3, 4. 2. Fairly treated of, and agreed to, with a great 
deal of mutual civility and respect, v. 5.. 15. The pur- 
chase-money paid, V. 16. 3. The premises conveyed and 
secured to Abraham, v. 17, 18, 20. 5. Sarah’s fune- 
ral, V. 19. 

1. A ND Sarah was an hundred and se- 
jlV ven and twenty years old: these laere 
the years of the life of Sarah. 2. And Sa- 
rah died in Kirjath-arba ; the same is He- 
bron in the land of Canaan : and .-Miraham 
came to mourn for Saraii, and to tveep for 
her. 

We h'lve here, 1. Sar.ih’s age, v. 1. Almost 40 
years before, she had called herself old, ch. 18. 12. 
Old people will die ne\ er the soone •, Itut may die 
the better, for reckoning themseb es old. 2. Her 
death, v. 2.