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I do not find, that man, thus framed, found the want of a helper. His fruition of God gave him fulness of contentment; the sweetness which he found in the contemplation of this new workmanship, and the glory of the author, did so take him up, that he had neither leisure nor cause of complaint. If man had craved a helper, he had grudged at the condition of his creation, and had questioned that which he had; perfection of being. But he, that gave him his being, and knew him better than himself, thinks of giving him comfort in the creature, whilst he sought none but in his Maker: he sees our wants, and forecasts our relief, when we think our selves too happy to complain: how ready will he be to help our necessities, that thus provides for our perfection!
God gives the nature to his creatures : man must give the name; be that might see they were made for him, they shall be to him what he will. Instead of their first homage, they are presented to their new lord, and must see of whom they hold, He that was so careful of man's sovereignty in his innocency, how can he be careless of his safety in his renovation! If God had given them their names, it had not been so great a praise of Adam's memory to recal them, as it was now of his judgment, at first sight, to impose them: he saw the inside of all the creatures at first; (his posterity sees but their skins ever since;) and by his knowledge he fitted their names to their dispositions.
All that he saw were fit to be his servants, none to be his companions. The same God, that finds the want, supplies it. Rather than man's innocency shall want an outward comfort, God will begin a new creation : not out of the earth, which was the matter of man; not out of the inferior creatures, which were the servants of man; but out of himself, for dearness, for equality. Doubtless such was man's power of obedience, that if God had bidden him yield up his rib, waking, for his use, he had done it cheerfully : but the bounty of God was so absolute, that he would not so much as consult with man's will; to make him happy. As man knew not while he was made, so shall he not know while his other self is made out of him : that the comfort might be greater, which was seen before it was expected. · If the woman should have been made, not without the pain, or will of the man, she might have been upbraided with her depend ance and obligation. Now she owes nothing but to her creator : the rib of Adam'sleeping, can challenge no more of her, than the ; earth can of him. It was a happy change to Adam, of a rib, for a helper. What help did that bone give to his side? God had not made it, if it had been superfluous: and yet if man could not have been perfect without it, it had not been taken out. Many things are useful and convenient, which are not necessary: and if God had seen man might not want it, how easy had it been for him, which made the woman of that bone, to turn the flesh into another bone! But he saw man could not complain of the want of that bone, which he had so multiplied, sò animated,
- O God, we can never be losers by thy changes, we have nothing but what is thine: take from us thine own, when thou wilt, we are sure thou canst not but give us better...
. i Gen, ii...
- OF PARADISE. Dr.' MAN could no sooner see, than he saw himself happy: his eye. sight and reason were both perfect at once, and the objects of both were able to make him as happy as he would. When he first opened his eyes, he saw heaven above him, earth under him, the creatures about him, God before him; he knew what all these things meant, as if he had been long acquainted with them all: he saw the heavens glorious, but far off: his Maker thought it requisite to fit him with a paradise nearer home. If God had appointed him immediately to heaven, his body had been superfluous; it was fit his body should be answered with an earthen image of that heaven, which was for his soul : had man been made only for contemplation, it would have served as well to have been placed in some vast desert; on the top of some barren mountain ; but the same power, which gave him a heart to meditate, gave him hands to work, and work fit for his hands. ; Neither was it the purpose of the Creator, that man should but live: pleasure may stand with innocence; he, that rejoiced to see all he had made to be good, rejoiceth to see all that he had made to be well. God loves to see his creatures happy; our lawful delight is his: they know not God that think to please him with making themselves miserable. The idolaters thought it a fit ser. vice for Baal, to cut and lanċe themselves; never any holy man looked for thanks from the true God, by wronging himself.”
Every earth was not fit for Adam, but a garden; a paradise. What excellent pleasures, and rare varieties, have men found in gardens planted by the hands of men! And yet all the world of men cannot make one twig, or leaf, or spire of grass. When he, that made the matter, undertakes the fashion, how must it needs be, beyond our capacity, excellent! No herb, no flower, no tree, was wanting there, that might be for ornament or use ; whether for sight, or for seent, or for taste. The bounty of God wrought further than to necessity, even to comfort and recreation. Why are we niggardly to ourselves, when God is liberal? But, for all this, if God had not there conversed with man, no abundance could have made him blessed. · Yet behold: that which was man's storehouse was also his workhouse; his pleasure was his task : paradise served not only to feed his senses, but to exercise his hands. If happiness had consisted in doing nothing, man had not been employed; all his delights could not have made him happy in an idle life. Man, therefore, is Do sooner made, than he is set to work : neither greatness nor per fection can privilege a folded hand; he must, labour, because he was happy; how much more, we, that we may be! This first law bour of his was, as without necessity, so without pains, without
weariness; how much more cheerfully we go about our businesses, so much nearer we come to our paradise. ,
Neither did these trees afford him only action for his hands, but instruction to his heart: for here he saw God's sacraments grow before him; all other trees had a natural use; these two in the midst of the garden, a spiritual. Life is the act of the soul, knowledge the life of the soul; the tree of knowledge, and the tree of life, then, were ordained as earthly helps of the spiritual part: perhaps he, which ordained the end, immortality of life, did appoint this fruit as the means of that life. It is not for us to enquire after the life we had ; and the means we should have had. I am sure it served to nourish the soul by a lively representation of that living tree, whose fruit is eternal life, and whose leaves serve to heal the nations.
O infinite mercy! Man saw his Saviour before him, ere he had need of a Saviour; he saw in whom he should recover a heavenly life, ere he lost the earthly : but after he had tasted of the tree of knowledge, he might not taste of the tree of life; that immor. tal food was not for a mortal stomach: yet then did he most. savour that invisible tree of life, when he was most restrained from the other. () Saviour, none but a sinner can relish thee: my taste hath been enough seasoned with the forbidden fruit, to make it capable of thy sweetness; sharpen thou as well the stomach of my soul by repenting, by believing: so shall I eat, and in despite of Adam live for ever.
The one tree was for confirmation; the other for trial: one shewed him what life he should have; the other what knowledge he should not desire to have. Alas! he, that knew all other things, knew not this one thing, that he knew enough. How divine a thing is knowledge, whereof even innocency itself is ambitious! Satan knew what he did : if this bait had been gold, or honour, or pleasure, man had contemned it: who can hope to avoid error, when even man's perfection is mistaken! He looked for speculative knowledge, he should have looked for experimental : he thought it had been good to know evil: good was large enough to have perfected his knowledge, and therein his blessedness. ,
All that God made was good, and the Maker of them much more good; they good in their kinds, he good in himself. It would not content him to know God, and his creatures; his curiosity affected to know that which God never made, evil of sin, and evil of death, which indeed himself made by desiring to know them ; now we know well evil enough, and smart with knowing it. How dear hath this lesson cost us, That in some cases it is better to be igno. rant; and yet do the sons of Eve inherit this, saucy appetite of their grandmother: How many thousand souls, miscarry with the presumptuous affectation of forbidden knowledge! O God, thou hast revealed more than we can know, enough to make us happy: teach me a sober knowledge, and a contented ignorance.
Paradise was made for man, yet there I see the serpent. What marvel is it if my corruption find the serpent in my closet, in my table, in my bed, when our holy parents found him in the midst of paradise! No sooner he is entered, but he tempteth: he can no more be idle, than harmless. I do not see him at any other tree; he knew there was no danger in the rest; I see him at the tree forbidden. How true a serpent is he in every point! in his insinuation to the place, in his choiee of the tree, in his assault of the woman, in his plausibleness of speech to avoid terror, in his question to move doubt, in his reply to work distrust, in his protestation of safety, in his suggestion to envy and discontent, in his promise of gain!
And if he were so cunning at the first, what shall we think of him now, after so many thousand years' experience! Only thou, O God, and those angels that see thy face, are wiser than he. í do not ask why, when he left his goodness, thou didst not bereave him of his skill. Still thou wouldst have him an angel, though an evil one: and thou knowest how to ordain his craft to thine own glory. I do not desire thee to abate of his subtlety, but to make me wise; let me beg it without presumption, make me wiser than Adam: even thine image, which he bore, made him not, through his own weakness, wise enough to obey thee; thou offeredst him all fruits, and restrainedst but one; Satan offered him but one, and restrained not the rest : when he chose rather to be at Satan's feeding than thine, it was just with thee to turn him out of thy gates with a curse; why shouldst thou feed a rebel at thine own board?
And yet we transgress daily, and thou shuttest not heaven against us: how is it that we find more mercy than our forefather? His strength is worthy of severity, our weakness finds pity. That God, from whose face he fled in the garden, now makes him with shame to fly out of the garden : those angels, that should have kept him, now keep the gates of paradise against him; it is not so easy to recover happiness, as to keep it, or lose it : yea, the same cause that drove man from paradise, hath also withdrawn paradise from the world. - That fiery sword did not defend it against those waters, wherewith the sins of men drowned the glory of that place: neither now do I care to seek where that paradise was, which we lost : I know where that paradise is, which we must care to seek and hope to find. As man was the image of God, so was that earthly paradise an image of heaven; both the images are defaced, both the first patterns are eternal : Adam was in the first, and staid not: in the second, is the second Adam which said, This day shalt thou be with me in paradise. There was that chosen vessel, and heard and saw what could not be expressed: by how much the third heaven exceeds the richest earth; so much doth that paradise, whereto we aspire, exceed that which we have lost.
OF CAIN AND ABEL.
Look now, O my soul, upon the two first brethren, perhaps twins and wonder at their contrary dispositions and estates: if the pri. vileges of nature had been worth any thing, the first-born child should not have been a reprobate. Now, that we may ascribe all to free grace, the elder is a murderer, the younger a saint; though goodness may be repaired in ourselves, yet it cannot be propagated to others. Now might Adam see the image of himself in Cain; for after his own image begot be him; Adam slew his posterity, Cain his brother: we are too like one another in that wherein we are unlike to God: even the clearest grain sends forth that chaff, from which it was fanned ere the sowing. Yet is this Cain a possession; the same Eve, that mistook the fruit of the garden, mistook also the fruit of her own body, trer hope deceived her in both; so, many good names are ill bestowed, and our comfortable expectations in earthly things do not seldom disappoint us.
Doubtless, their education was holy; for Adam, though in paradise he could not be innocent, yet was a good man out of paradise ; his sin and fall now made him circumspect, and since he saw that his act had bereaved them of that image of God, which he once had for them, he could not but labour by all holy endeavours to repair it in them, that so his care might make amends for his trespass. How plain is it, that even good breeding cannot alter destiny!
That which is crooked can none make straight; who would think that brethren, and but two brethren, should not love each other? Dispersed love grows weak, and fewness of objects useth to unite affections: if but two brothers be left alive of many, they think that the love of all the rest should survive in them; and now the beams of their affection are so much the hotter, because they reflect mutually in a right line upon each other : yet, behold, here are but two brothers in a world, and one is the butcher of the other. Who can wonder at dissensions amongst thousands of brethren, when he sees so deadly opposition betwist two, the first roots of brotherhood ? Who can hope to live plausibly, and securely, amongst so many Cains, when he sees one Cain the death of one Abel?
The same devil, that set enmity betwixt man and God, sets en. mity betwixt man and man; and yet God said, I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed. Our hatred of the serpent and his seed is from God: their hatred of the holy seed is from the serpent. Behold here at once in one person, the seed of the woman and of the serpent: Cain's natural parts are of the woman; hiş vicious qualities of the serpent: the woman gave him to be a bro.. ther, the serpent to be a man-slayer; all uncharitableness, all quarrels, are of one author: we cannot entertain wrath, and not give place to the devil. Certainly, so deadly an act must needs be deeply grounded.
What then was the occasion of this capital malice? Abel's sacrifice is accepted; what was thịs to Cain? Cain's is rejected; what