Genesis 2


The seventh day is consecrated for a sabbath,

and the reasons assigned, 1-3.

A recapitulation of the six days' work of creation, 4-7.

the garden of Eden planted, 8.

Its trees, 9.

Its rivers, and the countries watered by them, 10-14.

Adam placed in the garden, and the command given not

to eat of the tree of knowledge on pain of death, 15-17.

God purposes to form a companion for the man, 18.

The different animals brought to Adam that he might

assign them their names, 19, 20.

The creation of the woman, 21, 22.

The institution of marriage, 23, 24.

The purity and innocence of our first parents, 25.


Verse 1. And all the host of them]. The word host signifies

literally an army, composed of a number of companies of soldiers

under their respective leaders; and seems here elegantly applied

to the various celestial bodies in our system, placed by the

Divine wisdom under the influence of the sun. From the original

word tsaba, a host, some suppose the Sabeans had their name,

because of their paying Divine honours to the heavenly bodies.

From the Septuagint version of this place, παςοκοσμοςαυτων, all

their ornaments, we learn the true meaning of the word κοσμος,

commonly translated world, which signifies a decorated or adorned

whole or system. And this refers to the beautiful order, harmony,

and regularity which subsist among the various parts of creation.

This translation must impress the reader with a very favourable

opinion of these ancient Greek translators; had they not examined

the works of God with a philosophic eye, they never could have

given this turn to the original.

Verse 2. On the SEVENTH day God ended, &c.] It is the general

voice of Scripture that God finished the whole of the creation in

six days, and rested the seventh! giving us an example that we

might labour six days, and rest the seventh from all manual

exercises. It is worthy of notice that the Septuagint, the

Syriac, and the Samaritan, read the sixth day instead of the

seventh; and this should be considered the genuine reading,

which appears from these versions to have been originally that of

the Hebrew text. How the word sixth became changed into seventh

may be easily conceived from this circumstance. It is very likely

that in ancient times all the numerals were signified by letters,

and not by words at full length. This is the case in the most

ancient Greek and Latin MSS., and in almost all the rabbinical

writings. When these numeral letters became changed for words at

full length, two letters nearly similar might be mistaken for each

other; vau stands for six, zain for seven; how

easy to mistake these letters for each other when writing the

words at full length, and so give birth to the reading in


Verse 3. And God blessed the seventh day] The original word

barach, which is generally rendered to bless, has a very

extensive meaning. It is frequently used in Scripture in the sense

of speaking good of or to a person; and hence literally and

properly rendered by the Septuagint ευλογησεν, from ευ, good or

well, and λεγω, I speak. So God has spoken well of the Sabbath,

and good to them who conscientiously observe it. Blessing is

applied both to God and man: when God is said to bless, we

generally understand by the expression that he communicates some

good; but when man is said to bless God, we surely cannot imagine

that he bestows any gifts or confers any benefit on his Maker.

When God is said to bless, either in the Old or New Testament, it

signifies his speaking good TO man; and this comprises the whole

of his exceeding great and precious promises. And when man is

said to bless God, it ever implies that he speaks good OF him,

for the giving and fulfilment of his promises. This observation

will be of general use in considering the various places where the

word occurs in the sacred writings. Reader, God blesses thee when

by his promises he speaks good TO thee; and thou dost bless him

when, from a consciousness of his kindness to thy body and soul,

thou art thankful to him, and speakest good OF his name.

Because that in it he had rested] shabath, he rested;

hence Sabbath, the name of the seventh day, signifying a day of

rest-rest to the body from labour and toil, and rest to the soul

from all worldly care and anxieties. He who labours with his mind

by worldly schemes and plans on the Sabbath day is as culpable as

he who labours with his hands in his accustomed calling. It is by

the authority of God that the Sabbath is set apart for rest and

religious purposes, as the six days of the week are appointed for

labour. How wise is this provision! It is essentially necessary,

not only to the body of man, but to all the animals employed in

his service: take this away and the labour is too great, both man

and beast would fail under it. Without this consecrated day

religion itself would fail, and the human mind, becoming

sensualized, would soon forget its origin and end. Even as a

political regulation, it is one of the wisest and most

beneficent in its effects of any ever instituted. Those who

habitually disregard its moral obligation are, to a man, not only

good for nothing, but are wretched in themselves, a curse to

society, and often end their lives miserably.

See Clarke on Ex 20:8; "Ex 23:12"; "Ex 24:16"; and

See Clarke on Ex 31:13;

to which the reader is particularly desired to refer.

As God formed both the mind and body of man on principles of

activity, so he assigned him proper employment; and it is his

decree that the mind shall improve by exercise, and the body find

increase of vigour and health in honest labour. He who idles away

his time in the six days is equally culpable in the sight of God

as he who works on the seventh. The idle person is ordinarily

clothed with rags, and the Sabbath-breakers frequently come to an

ignominions death. Reader, beware.

Verse 4. In the day that the Lord God made, &c.] The word

Yehovah is for the first time mentioned here. What it signifies

see on Ex 34:5,6. Wherever this word occurs in the sacred

writings we translate it LORD, which word is, through respect and

reverence, always printed in capitals. Though our English term

Lord does not give the particular meaning of the original word,

yet it conveys a strong and noble sense. Lord is a contraction of

the Anglo-Saxon [A.S.], Hlaford, afterwards written [A.S.] Loverd,

and lastly Lord, from [A.S.] bread; hence our word loaf, and

[A.S.] ford, to supply, to give out. The word, therefore, implies

the giver of bread, i.e., he who deals out all the necessaries of

life. Our ancient English noblemen were accustomed to keep a

continual open house, where all their vassals, and all strangers,

had full liberty to enter and eat as much as they would; and hence

those noblemen had the honourable name of lords, i.e., the

dispensers of bread. There are about three of the ancient nobility

who still keep up this honourable custom, from which the very name

of their nobility is derived. We have already seen, Ge 1:1,

with what judgment our Saxon ancestors expressed Deus, the Supreme

Being, by the term God; and we see the same judgment consulted by

their use of the term Lord to express the word Dominus, by which

terms the Vulgate version, which they used, expresses Elohim and

Jehovah, which we translate LORD GOD. GOD is the good Being,

and LORD is the dispenser of bread, the giver of every good and

perfect gift, who liberally affords the bread that perisheth to

every man, and has amply provided the bread that endures unto

eternal life for every human soul. With what propriety then does

this word apply to the Lord Jesus, who is emphatically called the

bread of life; the bread of God which cometh down from heaven, and

which is given for the life of the world! Joh 6:33, 48, 51. What

a pity that this most impressive and instructive meaning of a word

in such general use were not more extensively known, and more

particularly regarded! See the postscript to the general preface.

I know that Mr. H. Tooke has endeavoured to render this

derivation contemptible; but this has little weight with me. I

have traced it through the most accredited writers in Saxony and

on Saxon affairs, and I am satisfied that this and this only, is

its proper etymology and derivation.

Verse 5. Every plant of the field before it was in the earth] It

appears that God created every thing, not only perfect as it

respects its nature, but also in a state of maturity, so that

every vegetable production appeared at once in full growth; and

this was necessary that man, when he came into being, might find

every thing ready for his use.

Verse 6. There went up a mist] This passage appears to have

greatly embarrassed many commentators. The plain meaning seems to

be this, that the aqueous vapours, ascending from the earth, and

becoming condensed in the colder regions of the atmosphere, fell

back upon the earth in the form of dews, and by this means an

equal portion of moisture was distributed to the roots of plants,

&c. As Moses had said, Ge 2:5, that

the Lord had not caused it to rain upon the earth, he probably

designed to teach us, in Ge 2:6,

how rain is produced, viz., by the condensation of the aqueous

vapours, which are generally through the heat of the sun and other

causes raised to a considerable height in the atmosphere, where,

meeting with cold air, the watery particles which were before so

small and light that they could float in the air, becoming

condensed, i.e., many drops being driven into one, become too

heavy to be any longer suspended, and then, through their own

gravity, fall down in the form which we term rain.

Verse 7. God formed man of the dust] In the most distinct

manner God shows us that man is a compound being, having a body

and soul distinctly, and separately created; the body out of the

dust of the earth, the soul immediately breathed from God himself.

Does not this strongly mark that the soul and body are not the

same thing? The body derives its origin from the earth, or as

aphar implies, the dust; hence because it is earthly it is

decomposable and perishable. Of the soul it is said, God breathed

into his nostrils the breath of life; nishmath chaiyim,

the breath of LIVES, i.e., animal and intellectual. While this

breath of God expanded the lungs and set them in play, his

inspiration gave both spirit and understanding.

Verse 8. A garden eastward in Eden] Though the word Eden

signifies pleasure or delight, it is certainly the name of a

place. See Ge 4:16 2Ki 19:12 Isa 37:12 Eze 27:23 Am 1:5.

And such places probably received their name from their

fertility, pleasant situation, &c. In this light the Septuagint

have viewed it, as they render the passage thus: εφυτευσενοθεος

παραδεισονενεδεν, God planted a paradise in Eden. Hence the

word paradise has been introduced into the New Testament, and is

generally used to signify a place of exquisite pleasure and

delight. From this the ancient heathens borrowed their ideas of

the gardens of the Hesperides, where the trees bore golden fruit;

the gardens of Adonis, a word which is evidently derived from the

Hebrew Eden; and hence the origin of sacred gardens or

enclosures dedicated to purposes of devotion, some comparatively

innocent, others impure. The word paradise is not Greek; in

Arabic and Persian it signifies a garden, a vineyard, and also

the place of the blessed. The Mohammedans say that God created

the [Arabic] Jennet al Ferdoos, the garden of paradise, from

light, and the prophets and wise men ascend thither. Wilmet

places it after the root [Arabic] farada, to separate, especially

a person or place, for the purposes of devotion, but supposes it

to be originally a Persian word, vox originis Persicae quam in sua

lingua conservarunt Armeni. As it is a word of doubtful origin,

its etymology is uncertain.

Verse 9. Every tree that is pleasant to the sight, &c.] If we

take up these expressions literally, they may bear the following

interpretation: the tree pleasant to the sight may mean every

beautiful tree or plant which for shape, colour, or fragrance,

delights the senses, such as flowering shrubs, &c.

And good for food] All fruit-bearing trees, whether of the

pulpy fruits, as apples, &c., or of the kernel or nut kind, such

as dates, and nuts of different sorts, together with all esculent


The tree of life] chaiyim; of lives, or life-giving

tree, every medicinal tree, herb, and plant, whose healing virtues

are of great consequence to man in his present state, when through

sin diseases of various kinds have seized on the human frame, and

have commenced that process of dissolution which is to reduce the

body to its primitive dust. Yet by the use of these trees of

life-those different vegetable medicines, the health of the body

may be preserved for a time, and death kept at a distance. Though

the exposition given here may be a general meaning for these

general terms, yet it is likely that this tree of life which was

placed in the midst of the garden was intended as an emblem of

that life which man should ever live, provided he continued in

obedience to his Maker. And probably the use of this tree was

intended as the means of preserving the body of man in a state of

continual vital energy, and an antidote against death. This seems

strongly indicated from Ge 3:22.

And the tree of knowledge of good and evil.] Considering this

also in a merely literal point of view, it may mean any tree or

plant which possessed the property of increasing the knowledge of

what was in nature, as the esculent vegetables had of increasing

bodily vigour; and that there are some ailments which from their

physical influence have a tendency to strengthen the understanding

and invigorate the rational faculty more than others, has been

supposed by the wisest and best of men; yet here much more seems

intended, but what is very difficult to be ascertained. Some very

eminent men have contended that the passage should be understood

allegorically! and that the tree of the knowledge of good and

evil means simply that prudence, which is a mixture of knowledge,

care, caution, and judgment, which was prescribed to regulate the

whole of man's conduct. And it is certain that to know good and

evil, in different parts of Scripture, means such knowledge and

discretion as leads a man to understand what is fit and unfit,

what is not proper to be done and what should be performed. But

how could the acquisition of such a faculty be a sin? Or can we

suppose that such a faculty could be wanting when man was in a

state of perfection? To this it may be answered: The prohibition

was intended to exercise this faculty in man that it should

constantly teach him this moral lesson, that there were some

things fit and others unfit to be done, and that in reference to

this point the tree itself should be both a constant teacher and

monitor. The eating of its fruit would not have increased this

moral faculty, but the prohibition was intended to exercise the

faculty he already possessed. There is certainly nothing

unreasonable in this explanation, and viewed in this light the

passage loses much of its obscurity. Vitringa, in his

dissertation De arbore prudentiae in Paradiso, ejusque mysterio,

strongly contends for this interpretation. See Clarke on Ge 3:6.

Verse 10. A river went out of Eden, &c.] It would astonish an

ordinary reader, who should be obliged to consult different

commentators and critics on the situation of the terrestrial

Paradise, to see the vast variety of opinions by which they are

divided. Some place it in the third heaven, others in the fourth;

some within the orbit of the moon, others in the moon itself; some

in the middle regions of the air, or beyond the earth's

attraction; some on the earth, others under the earth, and others

within the earth; some have fixed it at the north pole, others at

the south; some in Tartary, some in China; some on the borders of

the Ganges, some in the island of Ceylon; some in Armenia, others

in Africa, under the equator; some in Mesopotamia, others in

Syria, Persia, Arabia, Babylon, Assyria, and in Palestine; some

have condescended to place it in Europe, and others have contended

it either exists not, or is invisible, or is merely of a spiritual

nature, and that the whole account is to be spiritually

understood! That there was such a place once there is no reason to

doubt; the description given by Moses is too particular and

circumstantial to be capable of being understood in any

spiritual or allegorical way. As well might we contend that the

persons of Adam and Eve were allegorical, as that the place of

their residence was such.

The most probable account of its situation is that given by

Hadrian Reland. He supposes it to have been in Armenia, near the

sources of the great rivers Euphrates, Tigris, Phasis, and Araxes.

He thinks Pison was the Phasis, a river of Colchis, emptying

itself into the Euxine Sea, where there is a city called Chabala,

the pronunciation of which is nearly the same with that of

Havilah, or Chavilah, according to the Hebrew, the vau

being changed in Greek to beta β. This country was famous for

gold, whence the fable of the Golden Fleece, attempted to be

carried away from that country by the heroes of Greece. The Gihon

he thinks to be the Araxes, which runs into the Caspian Sea, both

the words having the same signification, viz., a rapid motion. The

land of Cush, washed by the river, he supposes to be the country

of the Cussaei of the ancients. The Hiddekel all agree to be the

Tigris, and the other river Phrat, or Perath, to be the

Euphrates. All these rivers rise in the same tract of

mountainous country, though they do not arise from one head.

Verse 12. There is bdellium ( bedolach) and the onyx

stone, eben hashshoham.] Bochart thinks that the

bedolach or bdellium means the pearl-oyster; and shoham is

generally understood to mean the onyx, or species of agate, a

precious stone which has its name from ονυξ a man's nail, to the

colour of which it nearly approaches. It is impossible to say

what is the precise meaning of the original words; and at this

distance of time and place it is of little consequence.

Verse 15. Put him into the garden-to dress it, and to keep it.]

Horticulture, or gardening, is the first kind of employment on

record, and that in which man was engaged while in a state of

perfection and innocence. Though the garden may be supposed to

produce all things spontaneously, as the whole vegetable surface

of the earth certainly did at the creation, yet dressing and

tilling were afterwards necessary to maintain the different kinds

of plants and vegetables in their perfection, and to repress

luxuriance. Even in a state of innocence we cannot conceive it

possible that man could have been happy if inactive. God gave him

work to do, and his employment contributed to his happiness; for

the structure of his body, as well as of his mind, plainly proves

that he was never intended for a merely contemplative life.

Verse 17. Of the tree of the knowledge-thou shalt not eat] This

is the first positive precept God gave to man; and it was given as

a test of obedience, and a proof of his being in a dependent,

probationary state. It was necessary that, while constituted

lord of this lower world, he should know that he was only God's

vicegerent, and must be accountable to him for the use of his

mental and corporeal powers, and for the use he made of the

different creatures put under his care. The man from whose mind

the strong impression of this dependence and responsibility is

erased, necessarily loses sight of his origin and end, and is

capable of any species of wickedness. As God is sovereign, he has

a right to give to his creatures what commands he thinks proper.

An intelligent creature, without a law to regulate his conduct, is

an absurdity; this would destroy at once the idea of his

dependency and accountableness. Man must ever feel God as his

sovereign, and act under his authority, which he cannot do unless

he have a rule of conduct. This rule God gives: and it is no

matter of what kind it is, as long as obedience to it is not

beyond the powers of the creature who is to obey. God says: There

is a certain fruit-bearing tree; thou shalt not eat of its fruit;

but of all the other fruits, and they are all that are necessary,

for thee, thou mayest freely, liberally eat. Had he not an

absolute right to say so? And was not man bound to obey?

Thou shalt surely die.] moth tamuth; Literally, a

death thou shalt die; or, dying thou shalt die. Thou shalt not

only die spiritually, by losing the life of God, but from that

moment thou shalt become mortal, and shalt continue in a dying

state till thou die. This we find literally accomplished; every

moment of man's life may be considered as an act of dying, till

soul and body are separated. Other meanings have been given of

this passage, but they are in general either fanciful or


Verse 18. It is not good that the man should be alone]

lebaddo; only himself. I will make him a help meet for him;

ezer kenegdo, a help, a counterpart of himself, one formed

from him, and a perfect resemblance of his person. If the word be

rendered scrupulously literally, it signifies one like, or as

himself, standing opposite to or before him. And this implies

that the woman was to be a perfect resemblance of the man,

possessing neither inferiority nor superiority, but being in all

things like and equal to himself. As man was made a social

creature, it was not proper that he should be alone; for to be

alone, i.e. without a matrimonial companion, was not good. Hence

we find that celibacy in general is a thing that is not good,

whether it be on the side of the man or of the woman. Men may, in

opposition to the declaration of God, call this a state of

excellence and a state of perfection; but let them remember that

the word of God says the reverse.

Verse 19. Out of the ground, &c.] Concerning the formation of

the different kinds of animals, see the preceding chapter.

Verse 20. And Adam gave names to all cattle] Two things God

appears to have had in view by causing man to name all the cattle,

&c. 1. To show him with what comprehensive powers of mind his

Maker had endued him; and 2. To show him that no creature yet

formed could make him a suitable companion. And that this twofold

purpose was answered we shall shortly see; for,

1. Adam gave names; but how? From an intimate knowledge of the

nature and properties of each creature. Here we see the

perfection of his knowledge; for it is well known that the names

affixed to the different animals in Scripture always express some

prominent feature and essential characteristic of the creatures to

which they are applied. Had he not possessed an intuitive

knowledge of the grand and distinguishing properties of those

animals, he never could have given them such names. This one

circumstance is a strong proof of the original perfection and

excellence of man, while in a state of innocence; nor need we

wonder at the account. Adam was the work of an infinitely wise and

perfect Being, and the effect must resemble the cause that

produced it.

2. Adam was convinced that none of these creatures could be a

suitable companion for him, and that therefore he must continue in

the state that was not good, or be a farther debtor to the bounty

of his Maker; for among all the animals which he had named there

was not found a help meet for him. Hence we read,

.... v.21

Verse 21. The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,

&c.] This was neither swoon nor ecstasy, but what our translation

very properly terms a deep sleep.

And he took one of his ribs] It is immaterial whether we render

tsela a rib, or a part of his side, for it may mean either:

some part of man was to be used on the occasion, whether bone or

flesh it matters not; though it is likely, from verse Ge 2:23, that

a part of both was taken; for Adam, knowing how the woman was

formed, said, This is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone.

God could have formed the woman out of the dust of the earth, as

he had formed the man; but had he done so, she must have appeared

in his eyes as a distinct being, to whom he had no natural

relation. But as God formed her out of a part of the man himself,

he saw she was of the same nature, the same identical flesh and

blood, and of the same constitution in all respects, and

consequently having equal powers, faculties, and rights. This at

once ensured his affection, and excited his esteem.

Verse 23. Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, &c.] There is

a very delicate and expressive meaning in the original which does

not appear in our version. When the different genera of creatures

were brought to Adam, that he might assign them their proper

names, it is probable that they passed in pairs before him, and as

they passed received their names. To this circumstance the words

in this place seem to refer. Instead of this now is zoth

happaam, we should render more literally this turn, this creature,

which now passes or appears before me, is flesh of my flesh, &c.

The creatures that had passed already before him were not suitable

to him, and therefore it was said, For Adam there was not a help

meet found, Ge 2:20; but when the woman came, formed out of

himself, he felt all that attraction which consanguinity could

produce, and at the same time saw that she was in her person and

in her mind every way suitable to be his companion. See

Parkhurst, sub voce.

She shall be called Woman] A literal version of the Hebrew

would appear strange, and yet a literal version is the only proper

one. ish signifies man, and the word used to express what

we term woman is the same with a feminine termination,

ishshah, and literally means she-man. Most of the ancient

versions have felt the force of the term, and have endeavoured to

express it as literally as possible. The intelligent reader will

not regret to see some of them here. The Vulgate Latin renders

the Hebrew virago, which is a feminine form of vir, a man.

Symmachus uses ανδρις, andris, a female form of ανηρ, aner,

a man. Our own term is equally proper when understood. Woman has

been defined by many as compounded of wo and man, as if called

man's wo because she tempted him to eat the forbidden fruit; but

this is no meaning of the original word, nor could it be intended,

as the transgression was not then committed. The truth is, our

term is a proper and literal translation of the original, and we

may thank the discernment of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors for giving

it. [A.S.], of which woman is a contraction, means the man with

the womb. A very appropriate version of the Hebrew ishshah,

rendered by terms which signify she-man, in the versions already

specified. Hence we see the propriety of Adam's observation: This

creature is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bones; therefore

shall she be called WOMB-MAN, or female man, because she was taken

out of man. See Verstegan. Others derive it from [A.S.] or

[A.S.], man's wife or she-man. Either may be proper, the first

seems the most likely.

Verse 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother]

There shall be, by the order of God, a more intimate connection

formed between the man and woman, than can subsist even between

parents and children.

And they shall be one flesh.] These words may be understood in a

twofold sense. 1. These two shall be one flesh, shall be

considered as one body, having no separate or independent rights,

privileges, cares, concerns, &c., each being equally interested in

all things that concern the marriage state. 2. These two shall be

for the production of one flesh; from their union a posterity

shall spring, as exactly resembling themselves as they do each

other. Our Lord quotes these words, Mt 19:5, with some variation

from this text: They TWAIN shall be one flesh. So in Mr 10:8.

St. Paul quotes in the same way, 1Co 6:16, and in Eph 5:31. The

Vulgate Latin, the Septuagint, the Syriac, the Arabic, and the

Samaritan, all read the word TWO. That this is the genuine

reading I have no doubt. The word sheneyhem, they two or

both of them, was, I suppose, omitted at first from the Hebrew

text, by mistake, because it occurs three words after in the

following verse, or more probably it originally occurred in

Ge 2:24, and not in Ge 2:25; and a copyist having found that he

had written it twice, in correcting his copy, struck out the word

in Ge 2:24 instead of Ge 2:25. But of what consequence is it?

In the controversy concerning polygamy, it has been made of very

great consequence. Without the word, some have contended a man

may have as many wives as he chooses, as the terms are indefinite,

THEY shall be, &c., but with the word, marriage is restricted. A

man can have in legal wedlock but ONE wife at the same time.

We have here the first institution of marriage, and we see in it

several particulars worthy of our most serious regard. 1. God

pronounces the state of celibacy to be a bad state, or, if the

reader please, not a good one; and the Lord God said, It is not

good for man to be alone. This is GOD'S judgment. Councils, and

fathers, and doctors, and synods, have given a different judgment;

but on such a subject they are worthy of no attention. The word

of God abideth for ever. 2. God made the woman for the man, and

thus he has shown us that every son of Adam should be united to a

daughter of Eve to the end of the world. See Clarke on 1Co 7:3. God

made the woman out of the man, to intimate that the closest union,

and the most affectionate attachment, should subsist in the

matrimonial connection, so that the man should ever consider and

treat the woman as a part of himself: and as no one ever hated his

own flesh, but nourishes and supports it, so should a man deal

with his wife; and on the other hand the woman should consider

that the man was not made for her, but that she was made for the

man, and derived, under God, her being from him; therefore the

wife should see that she reverence her husband, Eph 5:33.

Ge 2:23, 24 contain the

very words of the marriage ceremony: This is flesh of my flesh,

and bone of my bone, therefore shall a man leave his father and

his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be

one flesh. How happy must such a state be where God's institution

is properly regarded, where the parties are married, as the

apostle expresses it, in the Lord; where each, by acts of the

tenderest kindness, lives only to prevent the wishes and

contribute in every possible way to the comfort and happiness of

the other! Marriage might still be what it was in its original

institution, pure and suitable; and in its first exercise,

affectionate and happy; but how few such marriages are there to be

found! Passion, turbulent and irregular, not religion; custom,

founded by these irregularities, not reason; worldly prospects,

originating and ending in selfishness and earthly affections, not

in spiritual ends, are the grand producing causes of the great

majority of matrimonial alliances. How then can such turbid and

bitter fountains send forth pure and sweet waters? See the

ancient allegory of Cupid and Psyche, by which marriage is so

happily illustrated, explained in the notes on Mt 19:4-6.

Verse 25. They were both naked, &c.] The weather was perfectly

temperate, and therefore they had no need of clothing, the

circumambient air being of the same temperature with their bodies.

And as sin had not yet entered into the world, and no part of the

human body had been put to any improper use, therefore there was

no shame, for shame can only arise from a consciousness of sinful

or irregular conduct.

EVEN in a state of innocence, when all was perfection and

excellence, when God was clearly discovered in all his works,

every place being his temple, every moment a time of worship,

and every object an incitement to religious reverence and

adoration-even then, God chose to consecrate a seventh part of

time to his more especial worship, and to hallow it unto his own

service by a perpetual decree. Who then shall dare to reverse

this order of God? Had the religious observance of the Sabbath

been never proclaimed till the proclamation of the law on Mount

Sinai, then it might have been conjectured that this, like several

other ordinances, was a shadow which must pass away with that

dispensation; neither extending to future ages, nor binding on any

other people. But this was not so. God gave the Sabbath, his

first ordinance, to man, (see the first precept, Ge 2:17,) while

all the nations of the world were seminally included in him, and

while he stood the father and representative of the whole human

race; therefore the Sabbath is not for one nation, for one time,

or for one place. It is the fair type of heaven's eternal day-of

the state of endless blessedness and glory, where human souls,

having fully regained the Divine image, and become united to the

Centre and Source of all perfection and excellence, shall rest

in God, unutterably happy through the immeasurable progress of

duration! Of this consummation every returning Sabbath should at

once be a type, a remembrancer, and a foretaste, to every pious

mind; and these it must be to all who are taught of God.

Of this rest, the garden of Eden, that paradise of God formed

for man, appears also to have been a type and pledge; and the

institution of marriage, the cause, bond, and cement of the social

state, was probably designed to prefigure that harmony, order, and

blessedness which must reign in the kingdom of God, of which the

condition of our first parents in the garden of paradise is justly

supposed to have been an expressive emblem. What a pity that this

heavenly institution should have ever been perverted! that,

instead of becoming a sovereign help to all, it is now, through

its prostitution to animal and secular purposes, become the

destroyer of millions! Reader, every connection thou formest in

life will have a strong and sovereign influence on thy future

destiny. Beware! an unholy cause, which from its peculiar nature

must be ceaselessly active in every muscle, nerve, and passion,

cannot fail to produce incessant effects of sin, misery, death,

and perdition. Remember that thy earthly connections, no matter

of what kind, are not formed merely for time, whatsoever thou

mayest intend, but also for eternity. With what caution there

fore shouldst thou take every step in the path of life! On this

ground, the observations made in the preceding notes are seriously

recommended to thy consideration.

Copyright information for Clarke