Genesis 2:8
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where He placed the man He had formed.
Adam in EdenT. Kelly.Genesis 2:8-14
Adam in EdenJ. C. Gray.Genesis 2:8-14
Fine GoldH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.Genesis 2:8-14
Genesis of EdenG. D. Boardman.Genesis 2:8-14
Good GoldF. E. Paget, M. A.Genesis 2:8-14
Legends of Paradise Among Ancient NationsM. M. Kalisch.Genesis 2:8-14
Love of Flowers a Relic of Life in EdenDr. J. Hamilton.Genesis 2:8-14
Man's Life in EdenJ. B. Brown, B. A.Genesis 2:8-14
Man's Life in ParadiseC. P. Eden, M. A.Genesis 2:8-14
Man's ResidenceJ. White.Genesis 2:8-14
ObservationsJ. White, M. A.Genesis 2:8-14
Of the Sacraments of the Covenant of WorksH. Witsius, D. D.Genesis 2:8-14
Paradise Held; Or, Man's InnocencyW. S. Smith, B. D.Genesis 2:8-14
Significance of TreesG. D. Boardman.Genesis 2:8-14
The Chains of a RiverJ. Parker, D.D.Genesis 2:8-14
The Eden of the SoulG. D. Boardman.Genesis 2:8-14
The First GardenJ. C. Gray.Genesis 2:8-14
The Garden of EdenJ. S. Exell, M. A.Genesis 2:8-14
The Garden of EdenAnon.Genesis 2:8-14
The Garden of EdenBishop Horne.Genesis 2:8-14
The Knowledge of Right and WrongA. Ainger, D. D.Genesis 2:8-14
The Promise of Life in the First CovenantJ. Colquhoun, D. D.Genesis 2:8-14
The Tree of KnowledgeBishop Horne.Genesis 2:8-14
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and EvilM. W. Jacobus.Genesis 2:8-14
The Tree of the Knowledge of EvilH. Witsius, D. D.Genesis 2:8-14
The Two ParadisesPulpit AnalystGenesis 2:8-14
The Two ParadisesAndrew Gray.Genesis 2:8-14
The Two TreesH. Bonar, D. D.Genesis 2:8-14
The Wonderful GoldR. Newton, D. D.Genesis 2:8-14
WorkJ. White, M. A.Genesis 2:8-14
Man's First Dwelling-PlaceR.A. Redford Genesis 2:8-17
The description of Eden commences an entirely new stage in the record. We are now entering upon the history of humanity as such.

I. The first fact in that history is a state of "PLEASANTNESS." The garden is planted by God. The trees are adapted to human life, to support it, to gratify it; and in the midst of the garden the two trees which represent the two most important facts with which revelation is about to deal, viz., immortality and sin.

II. OUTSPREAD BLESSING. The RIVER breaks into four fountains, whose description carries us over enormous regions of the world. It is the river which went out of Eden to water the garden; so that the conception before us is that of an abode of man specially prepared of God, not identical with Eden in extent, but in character; and the picture is carried out, as it were, by the channels of the outflowing streams, which bear the Eden life with them over the surface of the earth, so that the general effect of the whole is a prophecy of blessing. Eden-like beauty, and pleasantness, over the whole extent of the world.

III. THE PREPARED GARDEN WAITED FOR ITS INHABITANT. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden" (literally, made him to rest in the garden) "to dress it and to keep it." Perhaps the simplest view of these words is the most significant. Man is led into a life of pleasantness, with only such demands upon him as it will be no burden to meet; and in that life of pure happiness and free activity he is made conscious, not of mere dependence upon his Creator for existence, not of laws hanging over him like threatening swords, but of a Divine commandment which at once gave liberty and restrained it, which surrounded the one tree of knowledge of good and evil with its circle of prohibition, not as an arbitrary test of obedience, but as a Divine proclamation of eternal righteousness. "Evil is death." "Thou shalt not eat of it," for this reason, that "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." It is not a subjection of a new-made creature to a test. It would be a harsh demand to make of Adam, unless he understood that it was founded on the nature of things.

IV. THE TREE OF LIFE AND THE TREE OF DEATH STAND TOGETHER in the midst of the garden. They hold the same position still in every sphere of human existence. But the book of Divine grace, as it teaches us how the sin-stricken, dying world is restored to a paradise of Divine blessedness, reveals at the last, in the vision of the Christian seer, only the tree of life beside the water of life; the evil cast out, and the death which it brought with it, and the new-made inhabitants "taking freely of the pleasures which are forevermore." - R.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden.

1. The garden was beautiful.

2. The garden was fruitful.

3. The garden was well watered.


1. Work is the law of man's being.

(1)Man's work should be practical.

(2)Man's work should be healthful.

(3)Man's work should be taken as from God. This will dignify work, and inspire the worker. A man who lets God put him to his trade, is likely to be successful.

2. Work is the benediction of man's being. Work makes men happy. Indolence is misery. Work is the truest blessing we have. It occupies our time. It keeps from mischief. It supplies our temporal wants. It enriches society. It wins the approval of God.


1. God gave man a command to obey.

2. God annexed a penalty in the ease of disobedience.

(1)The penalty was clearly made known.

(2)It was certain in its infliction.

(3)It was terrible in its result.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Pulpit Analyst.
I. Compare the PLACES. The second is superior to the first.

1. In respect to its elements. What was dust in the first paradise was gold in the second.

2. Of its extent. The first paradise was the corner of a small planet; the second is a universe of glory in which nations dwell, and whose limits angels know not.

3. Of its beauty.

II. Compare the INHABITANTS of the two paradises. The inhabitants of the second are superior to those of the first.

1. In physical nature.

2. In employment. The employment of heaven will relate to beings rather than to things. The sphere of activity will be more amongst souls than flowers. Will call into exercise loftier faculties; will tend more to the glory of God.

3. In rank.

4. In freedom.

5. In security. Adam was liable to temptation and evil. In the second paradise is immunity from peril. 6, In vision of God. In the first paradise God walked amid the trees of the garden. Adam realizes the overshadowing Presence. The inhabitants of the second paradise shall enjoy that Presence more perfectly.

(1)Vision brighter.


(Pulpit Analyst.)

I. Our first parents are discovered in a state of innocence, beauty, and blessedness, which is broken up utterly by the transgression of the Divine command.(1) To Eden, as the first condition of human existence, all hearts bear witness. Two hymns are babbled by the echoes of the ages — "the good days of old," "the good days to come." They are the work songs of humanity; the memory of a better, and the hope of a better, nerve and cheer mankind. That memory, Genesis explains; that hope, the Apocalypse assures.(2) We shall err greatly if we treat Adam's history in Eden as nothing more than a fabled picture of the experience of man; rather is it the root out of which your experience and mine has grown, and in virtue of which they ace other than they would have been had they come fresh from the hand of God. We recognize the law of headship which God has established in humanity, whereby Adam, by his own act, has placed his race in new and sadder relations to Nature and to the Lord.(3) The origin of evil may still remain a mystery, but this history of Eden stands between it and God. Eden is God's work, the image of His thought; and man's spirit joyfully accepts the history, and uses it as a weapon against haunting doubts about the origin of evil.(4) The sin of Adam is substantially the history of every attempt of self-will to counterwork the will of God. Every sin is a seeking for a good outside the region which, in the light of God, we know to be given us as our own.

II. This narrative presents to us the Father seeking the sinful child with blended righteousness and tenderness, assuring him of help to bear the burden which righteousness had imposed on transgression, and of redemption out of the spiritual death, which was the fruit of sin.

III. God not only, father like, made wise disposition for the correction of His child, but He east in with His child's lot of toil and suffering His own sympathy and hope; He made Himself a partaker in man's new experience of pain, and, that He might destroy sin, linked the sufferer by a great promise to Himself.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)






1. Man in his original condition was immortal.

2. Man's immortality was suspended on his personal obedience.

3. Adam acted in the garden as a public person, or as the representative of the race.


The text teaches several things concerning God.


1. Physical. The might involved in the creation and maintenance of the universe. As much power displayed in preservation of universe as in its creation.

2. Intellectual. The thought and intelligence involved in the works of nature; the unity of design, harmony of motion, and proportion of parts visible everywhere, from the majesty of revolving worlds to the structure and polish of an insect's wing, all attest the work and power of a boundless intelligence.


1. We see God's wisdom here in the order of events.(1) He planted a garden.(2) There He put the man. Every man has his own God-appointed work.

2. In providing so bountifully for the wants of man, both present and future.(1) Present. In causing all manner of fruits and vegetables to spring out of the earth, and in stocking the earth, air, and water with creatures for man's food and happiness.(2) Future. In filling the bowels of the earth with those priceless treasures which He saw he would be required, in order to man's highest civilization and wellbeing.


1. In providing a home for man.

2. God's goodness is also seen in the size of Adam's home. "A garden." Why not something larger? God's idea of human vocation is not distribution, but concentration. Not farming a township, but tilling a garden. No man can be a gardener, a doctor, a lawyer, a banker, and a preacher, and succeed in either.

3. In putting him in possession of his new home. "There He put the man." I am pleased to find this statement, especially as Adam got into trouble so soon afterwards. If the Lord had only pointed out the garden, and left Adam to find it, he might have doubted, after the Fall, whether he had not gotten into the wrong place, and whether such a calamity could have befallen him in a God-selected residence. Learn, here, that however clearly we may be able to trace the Divine hand in bringing us into any position or calling, we may there yield to the tempter, and fall. That God can build no Eden this side the gates of glory which man cannot curse and wither, by listening to the suggestions of the devil.

4. In providing a wife for Adam. "Brought her unto him." The composition of the first divinely ordained home was husband and wife.

(T. Kelly.)

I. THE TOPOGRAPHICAL PROBLEM. All that we can determine at present is this: Eden lay to the east of the venerable witness of creation's panorama, somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Tigris and the Euphrates. And history strikingly confirms the chronicle of the hoary witness. Those confessedly competent to discuss such questions agree that the cradle of mankind is to be looked for somewhere in the country of the Euphrates. Civilization has generally, with comparatively unimportant exceptions, moved from east to west. Who knows but that we, the latest born of the nations, with the Continental railways and Pacific steamships in our grasp, are God's chosen instruments in carrying the glad tidings ever and ever westward, till, having crossed China, we reach again the cradle of humanity, and reinaugurate the lost paradise on the very spot where our inspired Seer caught glimpse of the tree of life? The truth, however, is, the exact site of Eden will probably never be discovered — at least, till the day when the voice of Him who was wont to walk in the garden in the evening breeze (Genesis 3:8) is again heard on earth.

II. And now let us attend to some of THE LESSONS OF THE STORY.

1. And, first, the birth of industry. Jehovah God took the man He had formed, and put him in the Garden of Eden, to till it, and to keep it.

(1)Work is man's normal condition. Man must work for

(a)the soul's sake;

(b)his own sake;

(c)God's sake.

(2)Pursue your calling with enthusiasm.

2. The birth of language.

(1)Wonderfulness of language.

(2)The first words nouns.

(3)Our words are judges.

3. The birth of immortality. "The tree of life."

4. The birth of probation.

5. The Eden of the soul.

6. The heavenly Eden.

(G. D. Boardman.)

I. ADAM'S HOME. A pleasant, fruitful garden. Beautiful flowers; green meadows; rivers and brooks; woods and coppices.

II. ADAM'S WORK. Two fold; to till and to keep the garden — work and watchfulness. Something to call out vigilance as well as diligence.

III. ADAM'S WIFE. Loving companionship and mutual help. How glad Adam must have been! LESSONS: The teacher can point out how this picture of the first man and woman reminds us of —(1) God's providential rule (He places us where we are; He orders our circumstances. City or country; this land or that. He gives us a position to occupy).(2) God's moral law (i.e., our duty of obedience to God).(3) Man's family and social position on earth (i.e., our relative duties, one to another — for the relation of husband and wife leads to that of parent and child, brother and sister, and so on. Only sin brings in discord and division).

(W. S. Smith, B. D.)

Waking up to conscious existence in the midst of a garden, it would seem as if man had not entirely forgotten the wonderful vision on which his eyes then opened. At least, there is no passion more general than the admiration of beautiful flowers. They kindle the rapture of infancy, and it is touching to see how over the first kingcups or daisies its tiny hand closes more eagerly than hereafter it will grasp silver coins or golden. The solitary blossom lights a lamp of quiet gladness in the poor man's chamber, and in the palace of the prince, the marble of Canova and the canvas of Raffaelle are dimmed by the lordly exotic with its calyx of flame or its petals of snow. With these companions of our departed innocence we plait the bridal wreath, and, scattered on the coffin, or planted on the grave, there seems a hope of resurrection in their smile, a sympathy in their gentle decay. And whilst to the dullest gaze they speak a lively oracle, in their empyrean bloom and unearthly fragrance the pensive fancy recognizes some mysterious memory, and asks, —Have we been all at fault? Are we the sons
Of pilgrim sires who left their lovelier land?
And do we call inhospitable climes
By names they brought from home?

(Dr. J. Hamilton.)

A river has special charms for me — always arriving, always departing; softening the landscape, and completing the circle of the firmament; rich with manifold reflections, and eloquent with the sad yet soothing minor in which all Nature speaks in her gentlest moods. I love to tarry by the riverside, to look, to listen, to wonder, and to feel the pleasant unrest of constant expectation. Standing by a river, one seems to be on the edge of another world — life, motion, music — signs that tell of speed, gliding and darting, that look as if activity had solved the mystery of industrious repose; breaking bubbles that hint at something of incompleteness and disappointment; occasional floodings and rushings that tell of power under control, — all are seen in that flowing world.

(J. Parker, D.D.)

I. THE FIRST INSTITUTION FOR PARADISE AND FOR MAN IN PARADISE, WAS A SABBATH DAY. Man, not yet fallen, needed the Sabbath to keep him to God — and all too little, as the event showed. Better to wait in Paradise with God and the Sabbath, than go to find a lower happiness elsewhere.

II. GOD, WHO TOLD MAN HOW TO SPEND THE SEVENTH DAY, TOLD HIM HOW TO SPEND THE OTHER SIX ALSO. One of the happinesses of paradise was employment — not idleness. And God Himself chose for Adam his occupation. He has clone so also for each of us. In the garden where God puts you He will find you work; some flowers to rear and cultivate; some human minds to which you may do good; some plantations of Divine grace which you may dress and water, and so be fellow worker with Him who gives the increase.

III. GOD PLACED MAN UNDER A LAW IN PARADISE. For our own sake, for our own true happiness, God would have us keep Him in our thoughts. The yielding up our own will to His has greater sweetness to the taste than pleasing ourselves ever had.

IV. GOD, THE AUTHOR OF ALL OUR HAPPINESS, IS THE IMMEDIATE FOUNDER OF DOMESTIC LIFE. Observe what exceeding honour He has put on the institution of marriage, making it one of the two original appointments which came immediately from Himself when He made our race. CONCLUSION: All these fair features are types or emblems of heavenly things. The Sabbath is a type of the heavenly rest; the employments, of the employments of heaven, and its peaceful industry; the law, of the law which the angels keep, happy in that their every thought and act is according to the motions of God's good Spirit: and the marriage tie, of the spiritual union betwixt Christ and His Church. The picture of Paradise shall be reproduced in perfectness — in heaven. It should be seen, even here and now, in Christian families.

(C. P. Eden, M. A.)

1. The Lord of it, God Himself, who planted it with His own hand.

2. The nature or kind of it; it was a garden.

3. The situation of it; it lay eastward.

4. The furniture or store of the garden.

(1)In general; it was furnished with all sorts of plants both for use and delights.

(2)In particular; it had in it two trees appointed to a spiritual use.

5. The commodious situation of the garden, both for fruitfulness and delight, by the benefit of the liver that issued out of it.

6. The assigning over of the garden to the man.

(1)Of the place, for them to dwell in.

(2)Of the fruits, to feed on.

(J. White.)

We read of two paradises — one is described to us at the beginning of the Bible, and the other at the end of it (Revelation 22:1-5). The descriptions cannot be perused without leading the thoughts into a comparison and contrast of the one paradise with the other.

I. THE RIVERS. A river is a beautiful object. A river of clear water winding through a garden, meandering among flowers and trees, presents to the eye a lovely scene. And then, besides the beauty of a river or stream in itself, which may be called its direct contribution of beauty — much of the remaining attractions of the garden through which it passes is to be ascribed to it. The flowers and the trees are quickened and refreshed by it. Through its aid the flowers assume their fair and gorgeous array, and the trees spread out their noble arms, and are covered with foliage and fruit. There was a river in the paradise of Eden. The benignant Creator did not leave the primeval home of man without the advantage and the ornament of a river. In the future paradise there is also a river. It is not behind the paradise of the past in this respect. Two things are to be noted concerning this river — the water of it, and the source of it. The water is pronounced to be "water of life, clear as crystal." We cannot be at a loss, with the Bible in our hands, for the interpretation of this. "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God" (Psalm 46:4). What can that be but Jehovah's love and faithfulness, which are always the consolation of the Church in times of trial and danger? "He leadeth me beside the still waters" (Psalm 23:2). "Thou shalt make them drink of the rivers of Thy pleasures" (Psalm 36:8). "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3). The water of life is no other than the joys, and privileges, and blessings of that life eternal, which is the appointed portion of the redeemed. It corresponds to the new wine which Christ and His people drink together in the kingdom of God. And it is a river of water of life, because, as the flow of a river goes on continually, so shall there never be an end of the celestial happiness. The river, also, is pure, and clear as crystal, because the future state will be a state of unmixed felicity, and a state of glory without a cloud. The river proceeds "out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." In the throne of God and of the Lamb it has its source. The throne of God and of the Lamb. A single throne is meant, which is occupied by God and the Lamb. The lesson is, that the joys and blessings of the future paradise are to be traced, in the first place, to the sovereign love of God; and, in the second place, to the redeeming work of Christ. The river proceeds out of the Father's throne. The whole life, and grace, and glory, which the Church ever arrives at, must be traced back through the far-reaching depths of eternity, and are connected with, and spring out of, that which was done in the beginning, when God, in the greatness, the freeness, and the sovereignty of His love, pronounced the decree of salvation. The throne of the Lamb alone could not have originated this river. The Lamb's throne, by itself, originates nothing. The spring and first fountain of all our blessings, and of that river which shall gladden the paradise of God, is in the Father's throne. But the throne, whence it comes, is not to be viewed as the Father's throne merely. It is the throne of God and of the Lamb. Without that work of the Son, which the name of the Lamb suggests, and on account of which the Lamb has a seat on the Father's throne — without what is done by Him as the second Man, the Servant of the Father, and our covenant head, neither grace nor glory could be ours. His death has made openings for its egress; and from His hands, and His feet, and His side, come the joyful waters that flow in the river of paradise.

II. THE TREES. The paradise of Eden was adorned and enriched with trees — "every tree," we are told, "that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food." The beautiful trees and the noble stream together must have made an exquisite scene. And two trees there were, that stood in the midst of the garden (Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:3), and excelled all the rest. They were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These were sacramental trees, as their names denote. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a sign and seal of the condition of God's covenant, and the tree of life was a sign and seal of its reward. The first paradise was remarkable for its trees. It had wonderful trees. The new paradise is not behind. It has many stately and fruitful trees. There are trees of righteousness without number, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And there is, besides, one matchless tree, that is in the midst of that paradise of God (Revelation 2:7). There is the tree of life, which bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. With its river of the water of life, and its tree of life, the paradise, on which the Church's hope is fixed, is, indeed, a paradise of life. We need not say that the tree of life is Christ. He is the goodly tree in the midst of the garden. His Word, His gospel, His ordinances, are the means which the Holy Spirit employs on earth for quickening, regenerating, and sanctifying the people; and the enjoyment of Him is the chief ingredient, and the very essence, of the heavenly felicity.

III. THE CURSE. Of the second paradise, it is emphatically said, "There shall be no more curse." The words, no doubt, have reference, in the way of contrast, to the state of things here and now, and are designed to intimate that the curse, which lies on the present creation, shall not be prolonged and carried onward from thin state to that. "There shall be no more curse." The curse is here, but it shall not be there. There was curse in the first paradise. There was curse in it the moment its peaceful and happy bowers were invaded by the devil. The being on whom God's curse alights is himself, in a sense, a curse. For this reason, even Christ, when He bore the curse as our substitute, is said to have been made a curse. There was curse in the garden of Eden, for there was sin in it. Not, indeed, at first. Man was blameless and holy for a season. But sin there was at last, and probably soon. And sin came not alone. Sin, by necessary consequence, brought the curse. There was curse in the garden of Eden; for there was shame, and there was slavish fear. When the privileged pair fell, they must have fig leaves to cover them; and they must hide among the trees from the presence of the Lord. There was curse in the garden of Eden; for there was death in it. "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." And die that day they did. The life of God went out of them. And there was curse in the garden of Eden: there was a curse which was spoken by the mouth of the Lord. The garden had been the scene where words of blessing and grace were wont to be uttered by the Creator, and where the holy affections of those whom He had made in His image found vent in glad songs of adoration and praise, accompanied, it may be, by a chorus of angels. But sin changed it all. It is gone — that paradise — gone forever. Let us not, however, despair. There is another paradise. He who planted the first has planted a second. He has planted a second, which is better than the first; and concerning which He has declared, that "there shall be no more curse." "There shall be no more curse." This implies that there shall be no more devil — no more Satanic intrusions. "There shall be no more curse." The words imply that, in the second paradise, there shall be no more sin. As the heirs of glory appear within its precincts, they are found, one and all, to be perfectly sanctified. And they will never fall again. The crown of righteousness will never drop from their heads. Never again will they break God's law, transgress His holy covenant, or be guilty of an act of distrust or rebellion. "There shall be no more curse." The declaration implies that God shall no more pronounce any curse. It has been impossible for Him, hitherto, as the moral ruler of a sinful world, to dispense with the use of the curse. "There shall be no more curse"; and so there shall not be another expulsion from paradise.


1. The state of man was, in the old paradise, and will be in the new, a state of honourable service.

2. The state of man, in the garden of Eden, was a state of enjoyment and privilege. But the second paradise, also, will have enjoyment and privilege. It will have such enjoyment and privilege as to afford no occasion of regret for what has been lost. The old men, who had seen the temple of Solomon, wept when they thought how inferior must be the temple that was to succeed it. The contrast between the first and the second paradise will draw no such tears from our original progenitors. They shall have the richest social delights. They shall dwell together, the incorporated members of a family, having God the Father as their Father, God the Son as their Brother, and the Spirit of love resting on them all. They shall see God.

3. The pristine state of man was a state of power and glory. He was a king. The earth was His kingdom; the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air, and every living thing that moveth upon the earth, were His subjects. Believers will be kings. They are kings already by right. They are kings, who are not yet of age, and who must wait a little for the actual commencement of their reign. A kingdom is prepared for them. They shall be greater kings than Adam was, and have a wider and more illustrious dominion. Their kingdom shall be immoveable and undecaying. They shall be enthroned with Christ. They shall be crowned with righteousness and glory. And "they shall reign forever and ever."

(Andrew Gray.)

When we think of paradise, we think of it as the seat of delight. The name Eden authorizes us so to do. It signifies pleasure: and the idea of pleasure is inseparable from that of a garden, where man still seeks after lost happiness, and where, perhaps, a good man finds the nearest resemblance of it, which this world affords. The culture of a garden, as it was the first employment of man, so it is that to which the most eminent persons in different ages have retired, from the camp and the cabinet, to pass the interval between a life of action and a removal hence. When old Diocletian was invited from his retreat, to resume the purple which he had laid down some years before — "Ah," said he, "could you but see those fruits and herbs of mine own raising at Salona, you would never talk to me of empire!" An accomplished statesman of our own country, who spent the latter part of his life in this manner, hath so well described the advantages of it, that it would be injustice to communicate his ideas in any other words but his own. "No other sort of abode," says he, "seems to contribute so much, both to the tranquillity of mind and indolence of body. The sweetness of the air, the pleasantness of the smell, the verdure of the plants, the cleanness and lightness of food, the exercise of working or walking; but, above all, the exemption from care and solicitude, seem equally to favour and improve both contemplation and health, the enjoyment of sense and imagination, and thereby the quiet and ease both Of body and mind. h garden has been the inclination of kings, and the choice of philosophers; the common favourite of public and private men; the pleasure of the greatest, and the care of the meanest; an employment and a possession, for which no man is too high, nor too low. If we believe the Scriptures," concludes he, "we must allow that God Almighty esteemed the life of man in a garden the happiest He could give him, or else He would not have placed Adam in that of Eden. The garden of Eden had, doubtless, all the perfection it could receive from the hands of Him who ordained it to be the mansion of His favourite creature. We may reasonably presume it to have been the earth in miniature, and to have contained specimens of all natural productions, as they appeared, without blemish, in an unfallen world; and these disposed in admirable order, for the purposes intended. And it may be observed, that when, in after times, the penmen of the Scriptures have occasion to describe any remarkable degree of fertility and beauty, of grandeur and magnificence, they refer us to the garden of Eden (see Genesis 13:10; Joel 2:3; Ezekiel 31:3, etc.). Traditions and traces of this original garden seem to have gone forth into all the earth, though, as an elegant writer justly observes, "they must be expected to have grown fainter and fainter in every transfusion from one people to another. The Romans probably derived their notion of it, expressed in the gardens of Flora, from the Greeks, among whom this idea seems to have been shadowed out under the stories of the gardens of Alcinous. In Africa they had the gardens of the Hesperides, and in the East those of Adonis. The term of Horti Adonides was used by the ancients to signify gardens of pleasure, which answers strangely to the very name of paradise, or the garden of Eden." In the writings of the poets, who have lavished all the powers of genius and the charms of verse upon the subject, these and the like counterfeit or secondary paradises, the copies of the true, will live and bloom, so long as the world itself shall endure. It hath been already suggested, that a garden is calculated no less for the improvement of the mind, than for the exercise of the body; and we cannot doubt but that peculiar care would be taken of that most important end in the disposition of the garden of Eden. Our first father differed from his descendants in this particular, that he was not to attain the use of his understanding by a gradual process from infancy, but came into being in full stature and vigour, of mind as well as body. He found creation likewise in its prime. It was morning with man and the world. As man was made for the contemplation of God here, and for the enjoyment of him hereafter, we cannot imagine that his knowledge would terminate on earth, though it took its rise there. Like the patriarch's ladder, its foot was on earth, but its top, doubtless, reached to heaven. By it the mind ascended from the creatures to the Creator, and descended from the Creator to the creatures. It was the golden chain which connected matter and spirit, preserving a communication between the two worlds. That God had revealed and made Himself known to Adam, appears from the circumstances related, namely, that He took him, and put him into the garden of Eden; that He conversed with him, and communicated a law, to be by him observed; that He caused the creatures to come before him, and brought Eve to him. If there was, at the beginning, this familiar intercourse between Jehovah and Adam, and He vouchsafed to converse with him, as He afterward did with Moses, "as a man converseth with his friend," there can be no reasonable doubt but that He instructed him, as far as was necessary, in the knowledge of his Maker, of his own spiritual and immortal part, of the adversary he had to encounter, of the consequences to which disobedience would subject him, and of those invisible glories, a participation of which was to be the reward of his obedience. Whenever the garden of Eden is mentioned in the Scriptures, it is called "the garden of God," or "the garden of the Lord" — expressions which denote some peculiar designation of it to sacred purposes, some appropriation to God and His service, as is confessedly the case with many similar phrases; such as "house of God, altar of God, man of God," and the like; all implying, that the persons and things spoken of were consecrated to Him, and set apart for a religious use. When it is said, "The Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it," the words undoubtedly direct us to conceive of it as a place for the exercise of the body. The powers of the body and the faculties of the mind might be set to work at the same time, by the same objects. And it is well known that the words here used do as frequently denote mental as corporeal operations; and, under the idea of dressing and keeping the sacred garden, may fairly imply the cultivation and observation of such religious truths, as were pointed out by the external signs and sacraments, which paradise contained. When the prophets have occasion to foretell the great and marvellous change to be effected in the moral world, under the evangelical dispensation, they frequently borrow their ideas and expressions from the history of that garden, in which innocence and felicity once dwelt together, and which they represent as again springing up and blooming in the wilderness (see Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 41:17; Isaiah 35:1). At the time appointed, these predictions received their accomplishment. Men "saw the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God." By the death and resurrection of the Redeemer, lost paradise was regained; and its inestimable blessings, wisdom, righteousness, and holiness, are now to be found and enjoyed in the Christian Church. But as men are still men, and not angels, those blessings are still represented and conveyed by sacramental symbols, analogous to the original ones in Eden. From the sacred font flows the water of life, to purify, to refresh, to comfort; "a river goes out of Eden, to water the garden," and to "baptize all nations"; while the eucharist answers to the fruit of the tree of life: at the holy table, we may now "put forth our hands, and take, and eat, and live forever." Let us go one step farther, and consider the state of things in the heavenly kingdom of our Lord. There, it is true, all figures and shadows, symbols and sacraments, shall be no more; because faith will there be lost in vision, and we shall "know even as we are known."

(Bishop Horne.)

Paradise is no exclusive feature of the earliest history of the Hebrews; most of the ancient nations have similar narratives about a happy abode, which care does not approach, and which reechoes with the sounds of the purest bliss. The Greeks believed, that at an immense distance, beyond the pillars of Hercules, on the borders of the earth, were the islands of the blessed, the elysium, abounding in every charm of life, and the garden of the Hesperides, with their golden apples, guarded by an ever-watchful serpent (Laden). But still more analogous is the legend of the Hindoos, that in the sacred mountain Meru, which is perpetually clothed in the golden rays of the sun, and whose lofty summit reaches into heaven, no sinful man can exist; that it is guarded by dreadful dragons; that it is adorned with many celestial plants and trees, and is watered by four rivers, which thence separate, and flow to the four chief directions. Equally striking is the resemblance to the belief of the Persians, who suppose, that a region of bliss and delight, the town Eriene Vedsho or Heden, more beautiful than the whole rest of the world, traversed by a mighty river, was the original abode of the first men before they were tempted by Ahriman, in the shape of a serpent, to partake of the wonderful fruit of the forbidden tree Hem. And the books of the Chinese describe a garden near the gate of heaven where a perpetual zephyr breathes; it is irrigated by abundant springs, the noblest of which is the "fountain of life"; and abounds in delightful trees, one of which bears fruits which have the power of preserving and prolonging the existence of man.

(M. M. Kalisch.)

To every human being, not less than to Adam, God has given a garden to till and to keep: it is the garden within him. Alas! this garden of the soul is no longer an Eden. An enemy hath come and sown tares (Matthew 13:25). Instead of the fir tree has come up the thorn, and instead of the myrtle tree has come up the brier (Isaiah 55:13). Nevertheless, the capacity of paradise still lies latent within us all. Like seeds which have for ages lain buried beneath the soil of our primeval forests, there lie deep down in the subsoil of our moral natures the germs of giant spirit powers and experiences. Fallen as we are, we are capable of being redeemed, reinstated in the range of conscious sonship to the everlasting Father. In fact, this capacity for redemption is, on its human side, the basis of the possibility of Christ's salvation. The Son of God came not to crush, but to save; not to destroy, but to restore; not to annihilate, but to transfigure. And when we let Him have His way in our hearts; when we let Him drive the ploughshare of His Spirit's conviction, uprooting tares and thorns and all baleful weeds; when we let Him sow the good seed of the kingdom, which is the Word of God; when we let Him quicken it with the warmth of His breath, and water it with the dews of His grace, and hue it with the sunshine of His beauty: then does paradise lost become paradise found; then is brought to pass — oh, how gloriously! — the saying of the poet-prophet (Isaiah 35:1).

(G. D. Boardman.)

1. Situation of paradise that man lost, unknown. Landmarks obliterated by the Deluge. It may be sought, and found in every part of the world. "Thy presence makes my paradise," etc.

2. God planted the first garden; our flowers are lineal descendants of Eden's bright blossoms, as we are of the "grand old gardener" — Adam. Let the colours and perfumes of summer call that garden to mind.

3. Cultivate flowers of holiness, and fruits of godliness; possess the Rose of Sharon and the true Vine, and paradise will be regained.

(J. C. Gray.)

I. THE FIRST MAN. Adam. "Of the earth, earthy." His happiness (Genesis 1:28). His moral dignity, likeness of God (Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). His mental greatness; named the animals, etc. (Genesis 2:20). His regal position (Genesis 1:28). His relation to other created intelligences (Hebrews 2:7, 8). His great age; lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5). During 243 years a contemporary of Methuselah, who for 600 years was contemporary of his grandson Noah.

II. THE FIRST STEWARDSHIP. To dress and keep a garden. Lowly, healthful; needing diligence, forethought, etc. Mere office, however lofty, does not dignify; nor however humble, degrade. The great ancestor of the race, a gardener.

III. THE FIRST COMMAND. A command to remind man of his subordinate relation, his duty, etc. Only one, very simple and easy. In common life the breach of one often makes many injunctions needful.

(J. C. Gray.)




(J. White, M. A.)

Not only did Adam work before the Fall; but also nature and nature's God. From the particle of dust at our feet to man, the last stroke of God's handiwork, all bear the impress of the law of labour. 'The earth, as has been said, is one vast laboratory, where decomposition and reformation are constantly going on. The blast of nature's furnace never ceases, and its fires never burn low. The lichen of the rock, and the oak of the forest, each works out the problem of its own existence. The earth, the air, and the water teem with busy life. The poet tells us that the joyous song of labour sounds out from the million-voiced earth, and the rolling spheres join the universal chorus! Therefore, labour is not, as Tapper expresses it, the curse on the sons of men in all their ways. Observations: —




1. Let us then tender unto God, after the measure that we receive from Him, the most acceptable presents of our cheerful services, which that variety and abundance which we receive from His hand should provoke us unto (Deuteronomy 28:47). Serving Him with enlarged hearts, and delighting to run the way of His commandments with the holy prophet (Psalm 119:32).

2. It may warrant us the honest and moderate use of God's blessings, even for delight: so we use them —

(1)Seasonably, when God gives us an occasion of rejoicing, and

(2)within bounds of moderation, as we are advised (Proverbs 23:2), and

(3)directed to those holy ends proposed by God to His own people (Deuteronomy 26:11).



(1)So needful to ourselves.

(2)Commanded by God Himself.

(3)Effectual by His blessing upon the conscionable use of them.Considering that the best of us know but in part (1 Corinthians 13:9), are subject to so many temptations, laden with a body of sin (Romans 7:24). By which we are continually assaulted, often foiled, and continually retarded in our coarse of obedience.

VI. SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS DUTIES OUGHT TO BE REMEMBERED IN THE MIDST OF THE USE OF OUR EMPLOYMENTS ABOUT THE THINGS OF THIS LIFE. VII. GOD'S COMMANDMENTS OUGHT TO BE STILL IN THE VIEW AND BEFORE THE FACE OF HIS CHILDREN. VIII. IT IS USUAL WITH GOD TO TEACH HIS CHILDREN BY THINGS OF ORDINARY AND COMMON USE. And this He cloth —(1) In compassion of our weakness, stooping low unto us, because we cannot ascend up unto Him, nor easily raise up our earthly minds, to comprehend and behold spiritual things in their own nature, unless they be shadowed unto us by things that are earthly.(2) That by resembling those spiritual things by earthly, He might acquaint us with the right use of those things which are subject to sense, which is to raise up our hearts to the contemplation of things that are above sense.(3) That we might have monitors and teachers in every place, in every object of sense, in every employment that we take in hand.(4) To affect us the more with spiritual things, by representing them unto us by the objects of sense, which are most apt to work upon our affections.





(J. White, M. A.)

I. We behold here the goodness and grace of God to man. Though the first covenant was a covenant of works there was, not withstanding, much grace displayed in it. Could that obedience of the first Adam which was perfect, have, strictly speaking, merited nothing for him, at the hand of God? What ignorance, then, what folly, what pride, does it argue in a sinner, to pretend that his performances, notwithstanding their acknowledged imperfections, merit for him not something merely, but eternal happiness!

2. If Adam in innocence was not to depend for happiness immediately on the goodness of God's nature but on the promise of His covenant, how evidently does that sinner expose himself to woful disappointment who trusts to general, to uncovenanted mercy! Finally, was the first Adam's state of innocence his state of trial? Then a state trial or probation is not, properly speaking, the state of man since his fall. But now, since he has failed in his obedience, and broken the covenant, his state of trial has issued in a state of condemnation.

(J. Colquhoun, D. D.)

The tree of knowledge of good and evil.

I. THE TREE OF LIFE. This was a real tree, as real as any of the rest, and evidently placed there for like purposes with the rest. The only difference was, that it had peculiar virtues which the others had not. It was a life-giving or life-sustaining tree — a tree of which, so long as man should continue to eat, he should never die. Not that one eating of it could confer immortality; but the continuous use of it was intended for this. The link between soul and body was to be maintained by this tree. So long as he partook of this, that tie could not be broken.

II. THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. Why may we not take this in the same literality of meaning as the former? Why may it not mean a tree, the fruit of which was fitted to nourish man's intellectual and moral nature? How it did this I do not attempt to say. But we know so little of the actings of the body or the soul, that we cannot affirm it impossible. Nay, we see so much of the effects of the body upon the soul, both in sharpening and blunting the edge alike of intellect and conscience, that we may pronounce it not at all unlikely. We are only beginning to be aware of the exceeding delicacy of our mental and moral mechanism, and how easily that mechanism is injured or improved by the things which affect the body. A healthy body tends greatly to produce not only a healthy intellect, but a healthy conscience. I know that only one thing can really pacify the conscience — the all-cleansing Blood; but this I also know, that a diseased or enfeebled body operates oftentimes so sadly on the conscience as to prevent the healthy realization by it of that wondrous blood, thereby beclouding the whole soul; and there is nothing which Satan seems so completely to get hold of, and by means of it to rule the inner man, as a nervously diseased body. Cowper's expression, "A mind well lodged, and masculine of course," has in it more meaning than we have commonly attached to it.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

I. It hath pleased the blessed and Almighty God, in every economy of His covenants, to confirm, by some sacred symbols, the certainty of His promises, and, at the same time, to remind man in covenant with Him of his duty: to these symbols ecclesiastical practice has long since given the name of sacraments: this was certainly appointed with an excellent design by the all-wise God. For —

1. What God has made known concerning His covenant, is, by this means, proposed to man's more accurate consideration; since he is not only once and again instructed in the will of God by a heavenly oracle, but frequently and almost daily beholds with his eyes those things which by heaven are granted him as pleasures of the greatest blessings: what believers see with their eyes, usually sink deeper into the soul, and leave deeper impressions of themselves, than those only which they hear with their ears. Elegantly to this purpose says Herodotus, "men usually give less credit to the ears than to the eyes."

2. These symbols also tend to confirm our faith. For, though nothing can be thought of that deserves more credit than the Word of God, yet, where God adds signs and seals to His infallible promises, He gives a two-fold foundation to our faith (Hebrews 6:17, 18).

3. By means of this institution, a holy man does, by the sight, touch, and taste of the sacred symbols, attain to some sense of eternal blessings, and accustoms himself under the symbols, to a contemplation and foretaste of these things, to the plenary and immediate fruition of which he will, one time or other, be admitted without any outward signs.

4. The man has in these something continually to remind him of his duty: and as, from time to time, they present to his thoughts, and give a foretaste of his Creator, so at the same time they put him in mind of those very strong obligations, by which he is bound to his Covenant-God. And thus, they are both a bridle to restrain him from sin and a spur to quicken him cheerfully to run that holy race which he has so happily entered upon.

(H. Witsius, D. D.)

There was here a very plain memorial of duty. For this tree taught —

1. That man was sincerely to contemplate and desire the chief good, but not to endeavour after it, but only in the manner and way prescribed by Heaven; nor here to give in to his own reasonings, how plausible soever they might appear.

2. That man's happiness was not to be placed in things pleasing to the senses of the body. There is another and a quite different beatifying good which satiates the soul and of itself suffices to the consummation of happiness.

3. That God was the most absolute Lord of man, whose sole will, expressed by His law, should be the supreme rule and directory of all the appetites of the soul and of all the motions of the body.

4. That there is no attaining to a life of happiness but by perfect obedience.

5. That even man in innocence was to behave with a certain religious awe when conversing with his God, lest he should fall into sin.

(H. Witsius, D. D.)

I. We call the Scriptures a revelation; in other words, an unveiling. The Bible records were given to us to take away the veil which hung between heaven and earth, between man and God. Their purpose is to reveal God. The actual revelation which has been made to us is of God in His relation to the soul of man. We are not to demand, we are not to expect, any further revelation. Of the secrets of God's power and origin we are told not a word. Such knowledge is not for us. The self-declared object of the Scriptures is that men should know God and know themselves.

II. But the condition on which such an object may be accomplished is this: that the Book of God should appeal to men in a form not dependent for its appreciation upon any knowledge which they may have obtained — independent, that is, of the science of any particular age or country.

III. Here, so early in the sacred books, is revealed the fact of the two opposing forces of right and wrong. Take away the reality of this distinction, and the Bible and all religion falls forever. Make its reality and importance felt in the soul of man, and you have at once whereon to build. Righteousness is the word of words throughout all Scripture. The righteousness which the Scriptures reveal is the knowledge of a communion with God. When our earth has played its part in the economy of the universe, and is seen by the few spheres which are within its ken to pass away as a wandering fire, right and wrong will not have lost their primeval significance, and the souls which have yearned and laboured for rest in the home of spirits will find that rest in Him who was and is and is to be.

(A. Ainger, D. D.)

The trial of Adam, like that of every other man, was whether he would so fat" believe in God as to look for happiness in obedience to the Divine command; or would seek that happiness elsewhere, and apply for it to some forbidden object, of which the tree must have been an emblematical representation. You will ask what that object was? And what information, as to the knowledge of good and evil, Adam could receive from the prohibition? By answering the last question, a way may, in some measure, perhaps, be opened for an answer to the first. A due contemplation of the prohibition might naturally suggest to the mind of our first parent the following important truths; especially if we consider (as we must and ought to consider) that to him, under the tuition of his Maker, all things necessary were explained and made clear, how obscure soever they may appear to us, forming a judgment of them from a very concise narrative, couched in figurative language, at this distance of time. Looking upon the tree of knowledge then, and recollecting the precept of which it was the subject, Adam might learn, that God was the sovereign Lord of all things: that the dominion vested in man over the creatures was by no means a dominion absolute and independent: that without, and beside God, there was no true and real good: that to desire anything without and beside Him was evil; that no temporal worldly good, however fair and tempting its appearance, was to be fixed upon by man as the source of his felicity: that the sole rule for shunning, or desiring things sensible, should be the will and word of God; and that good and evil should be judged of by that standard alone: that the obedience, which God would accept, must be paid with all the powers and affections of the mind, showing itself careful and prompt in even the least instance: that man was not yet placed in a state of consummate and established bliss; but that such state was by him to be earnestly expected, and incessantly desired: and that he must take the way to it, marked and pointed out by God Himself. These particulars seem to flow from the prohibition in an easy and natural train. And they lead us to answer the other question; namely — What was the object represented by the tree of knowledge? It was that object, on which man is prone to set his affections, instead of placing them on a better; it was that object, which, in every age, has been the great rival of the Almighty in the human heart; it was that object, which, in one way or other, has always been "worshipped and served rather than the Creator"; it was the creature, the world; and the grand trial was, as it ever hath been, and ever will be, till the world shall cease to exist, whether things visible, or things invisible, should obtain the preference; whether man should walk "by sight, or by faith." To know this, was the knowledge of good and evil; and this knowledge came by the law of God, which said, "Thou shalt not covet." Man's wisdom consisted in the observance of that law; but an enemy persuaded him to seek wisdom by transgressing it. He did so, and had nothing left but to repent of his folly; a case that happens, among his descendants, every day, and every hour. Let us, therefore, consider the tree of knowledge, in this light, with respect to its nature, situation, design, qualities, effects, and the knowledge conferred by it. The fruit of this tree was, to appearance, fair and pleasant; but, when tasted, it became, by the Divine appointment, the cause of death. Now, what is it, which, in the eyes of all mankind, seems equally pleasing and alluring, but the end thereof, when coveted in opposition to the Divine command, proves to be death? It is the world, with its pleasures and its glories, desired by its votaries, per fas atque nefas, to the denial of God, and to their own destruction. The tree of knowledge was situated in the midst of the garden, as was the tree of life. They stood near together, but they stood in opposition. The Divine dispensations are always best illustrated by each other. Under the gospel Jesus Christ is the tree of life. What is it that opposes Him, and, notwithstanding all that He has done, and suffered, and commanded, and promised, and threatened, is continually, by its solicitations, being ever present and at hand, seducing men into the path of death? Scripture and experience again join in assuring us that it is the world. The tree of knowledge was designed to be the test of Adam's obedience, the subject matter of his trial. The world, with its desirable objects, is the test of our obedience, the subject matter of our trial, whether we will make it our chief good, or prefer the promise of God to it. The apparent qualities of the forbidden tree are represented to have been these. It seemed "good for food, and fair to the sight, and a tree to be desired to make one wise." It is remarkable that St. John, laying before us an inventory of the world, and all that is in it, employs a division entirely similar. "Love not the world," says he, "neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the desire thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." Here is a picture of the fatal tree, full blown, with all its temptations about it, drawn, by the pencil of truth, in its original and proper colours. The expressions tally, to the minutest degree of exactness The "desire of the flesh" answers to "good for food"; the "desire of the eyes" is parallel with "fair to the sight"; and the "pride of life" corresponds with "a tree to be desired to make one wise." The opposition between this tree and the other is strongly marked. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." And, we are informed, that one leads to death, the other to life. "The world passeth away, and the desire thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." Precisely conformable, in every circumstance, was the threefold temptation of the second Adam. He was tempted to convert stones into bread for food, to satisfy "the desire of the flesh." Thus, whether we consider the tree of knowledge as to its nature, its situation, its design, or its qualities, it seems to have been a very apt and significant emblem of the creature, or the world, with its delights and its glories, the objects opposed, in every age, to God and His Word. To reject the allurements of the former, and obey the dictates of the latter, is the knowledge of good and evil, and the true wisdom of man. So that the forbidden tree in paradise, when the Divine intentions concerning it are explained from other parts of Scripture, teaches the important lesson more than once inculcated by Solomon, and which was likewise the result of holy Job's inquiries; "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."

(Bishop Horne.)

The tree of knowledge of good and evil was so called not merely as a test for proving man, and showing whether he would choose the good or the evil — nor, merely because by eating it he would come to know both good and evil, and the evil so that he would know the good in the new light of contrast with the evil. Both these were involved. But it was set also as a symbol of the Divine knowledge to which man should not aspire, but to which he should submit his own judgment and knowledge. The positive prohibition was to be a standing discipline of the human reason, and a standing symbol of the limitation of religious thought. Man was to have life, not by following out his own opinions and counsels, but by faith and the unqualified submission of his intellect and will to God, No reason is here given for this, except in the name of the tree, and the nature of the penalty. God would not have him know evil. Sin was already an invader of His universe in the fallen angels. Evil was, therefore, a reality. Man was interdicted from that kind of knowledge which is evil, or, which includes evil — because of itself in its own nature, it leads him to death. Thus this is, therefore, not a mere arbitrary appointment. It has grounds in the evident nature of things. Nor was the penalty denounced against the transgression arbitrary. The disobedience was itself necessarily death. The curse could not have been less than it was. The act itself was a disruption of the tie which bound man to his Maker, and by which alone he could live. The knowledge of evil, sadly enough, lay in the partaking of that tree. Man already had the knowledge of good, and a moral sense of the eternal distinction between right and wrong. But good and evil, in all their mutual bearings, he could not presume to know by contact and experience as he aspired and claimed to know them under the promise of Satan. We hear no more of this tree. It served its purpose in the garden. We hear of the tree of life. The act of partaking was an encroachment upon the Divine prerogative. This tree was set to be to man the occasion of the highest Divine knowledge, in the training of his thoughts to subjection, and in the contemplation of God's prerogatives of knowledge. The highest reason accords to God this claim — and renders the profoundest submission of the human mind and will to God — to His plan of Providence and grace. So the renewed man cries out, "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." Christ crucified is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, unto salvation. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Man was prohibited from laying hold of this fruit that was held to be under the Divine prerogative. And it is just at this point that Satan has always plied his most artful and powerful temptation. And just here, in taking what is forbidden — and in refusing all subjection and limitation of religious thought, man has always fallen under the curse. "Professing themselves to be wise they became fools." This is the spirit of our fallen race, that in every age, keeps man out of paradise. And this is the mark of Anti-Christ "sitting in the temple of God, showing (exhibiting) himself that he is God," (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Hence, also, cherubim — the angels of knowledge — are set with the "flaming sword to keep (guard) the way of the tree of life" (chap. Genesis 3:24). This tree was also, as Luther says, a sign for man's worship dud reverent obedience of God, and so it would represent the homage due to God's word, as the revelation of God's truth — of His mind and will to men.

(M. W. Jacobus.)

To the thoughtful observer, perhaps, there is no more profound object in nature than a tree. Its graceful figure, its wavy outlines, its emerald hue, its variety of branches and twigs and leaves — illustrating diversity in unity — its tinted and fragrant blossoms, its luscious fruit, its exhibition of many of the wonderful phenomena of human life, such as birth, growth, respiration, absorption, circulation, sleep, sexuality, decay, death, reproduction: these are some of the particulars which make a tree the living parable of man and of society, and, as such, perhaps the most interesting object in the natural world. No wonder, then, that among all nations and in all ages trees have had a peculiar fascination, and even sacredness for the devoutly inclined. Witness the groves of the Hebrews, the symbol tree of the Assyrian sculptures, the Dryads of Greece, the Druids of Britain, the Igdrasil of the Norsemen. We need not be surprised, then, that on going back to nature's Eden we learn that paradise, rich in every element of beauty, was especially rich in trees. Jehovah God caused to spring up in the Garden of Eden every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. But amid all this variety of trees two stood forth in memorable conspicuousness, their very names having come down to us through the oblivion of millenniums: one was the tree of life in the midst of the garden; the other the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

(G. D. Boardman.)

The gold of that land is good.

I. If men so willed, GOLD MIGHT BE WON AND NO SOUL LOST. And therefore we must take care to distinguish between gold and the thirst for gold. Gold is like the rest of God's gifts, a good thing or a bad thing, according to the use made of it. And so it is no wonder that Scripture has recorded that near to paradise was a land of gold. The land of Havilah may exist still; the fine gold and the bdellium and the onyx stone may now lie buried deep beneath its surface, or perhaps may yet be lying disregarded, like the treasures of California or Australia not many years ago.

II. Be this as it may, THERE IS ANOTHER LAND WHOSE GOLD IS GOOD, a land farther off than the far West and the islands of the sea, and yet ever close at hand, approachable by all, attainable by all, where no rust corrupts and no thieves break through and steal. The gold of that other land is good, simply because, though the words sound like a contradiction, it is not gold. It has been changed. In the world above, that which stands for gold is more precious than gold itself, for even gold cannot purchase it, though gold may serve it.

III. THE TREASURE OF HEAVEN IS LOVE. Love is the true gold. All else will tarnish and canker and eat into the souls of them that covet it; but Love never. It is bright and precious here in this world; fraud cannot despoil us of it; force cannot rob us of it; it is our only safe happiness here, and it is the only possession we can carry with us into the world beyond the grave.

(F. E. Paget, M. A.)

Money and money making are the most frequent and familiar subjects of talk and thought. I remember once seeing an old merchant, at whose house I was visiting, sitting by himself against the wall. The room was filled with guests; music and dancing and merry laughter were all around; but there sat the old man, taking no heed, with his head against the wall. Fearing he was ill, I asked his son about him, and he answered — "He is only thinking about money; he is always like that."

I. Now, understand me at the beginning, there is no sin in having money, if it be honestly come by and rightly used. What I want to do is to show you THE SIN AND FOLLY OF THINKING TOO MUCH OF EARTHLY TREASURE, and too little of heavenly. An emigrant ship was once wrecked on a desert island. The people were saved, but they had few provisions, and it was necessary to make haste to clear and till the ground and sow seed. Before this could be done they discovered gold on the island, and everyone gave himself up to the search for wealth. Meantime, the season slipped by, the fields were left untilled, and the people found themselves starving in the midst of useless treasure. There are people now who starve their soul and conscience that they may acquire a little more gold and silver.

1. One reason why we are wrong in thinking too highly of earthly wealth is, that the obtaining it is a very uncertain and difficult thing. Where one man grows rich, hundreds are ruined.

2. Another reason for not thinking too highly of earthly wealth is, that it is soon gone.

3. We should not overvalue earthly wealth, because it does not make people happy. A golden crown will not cure the headache, or a velvet slipper give ease from the gout. Sometimes, indeed, wealth has made people altogether miserable. There was a miser, worth thousands of pounds annually, who firmly believed that he must die in the workhouse, and actually worked daily in a garden and made one of his own servants pay him wages.

4. Excessive love of money is to be avoided, because it often keeps us back from God.

II. I pass on to speak of BETTER RICHES THAN THIS WORLD CAN GIVE, riches which all may have if they will, which will make the poorest wealthy. "The gold of that land is good." Earthly gold is often alloyed with base metal, but the gold of God is pure. Earthly gold is only for the few; the gold of God is for all who desire it. Earthly gold soon passes away; the gold of God lasts forever. Earthly gold must be left at the grave; the gold of God becomes even more precious after death than before. Earthly gold cannot satisfy; the gold of God brings perfect peace and satisfaction.

1. Tim love of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2. The precious promises of the gospel.

(1)That God will never leave or forsake us.

(2)That the righteous shall want no good thing.

(3)That God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.

(4)Rest for the weary and heavy laden.

(5)Pardon for the penitent.

(6)The resurrection of the body.

(7)The life everlasting.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

Everyone knows what gold is. The land here spoken of was called "the land of Havilah." This was a country far away in Asia, near the garden of Eden, in which God put our first parents when they were created. What a blessed, happy place it must have been! Who would not like to have lived there? And there was gold, too, in Eden; yes, and "the gold of that land was good." Now, we never can enter that garden. But there is a better one than that, which we may enter. The garden in which Adam first lived, and which we call Eden, or Paradise, was the figure or image of heaven. And many of the very same things will be found in this heavenly paradise which were in the earthly paradise. The gold of heaven means the grace of God. And, if anybody wants me to prove this, it is easy enough to do so. Jesus Himself speaks of His grace as gold, when He says, "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich" (Revelation 3:18). "Gold tried in the fire" here means the grace of God. And so, if we take "the land of Havilah" spoken of in our text as representing heaven, and if we take the gold of heaven as representing the grace of God, then we may very well point up to heaven and say, "The gold of that land is good." There are three things about this gold which show that it is wonderful. And these three things are all connected with the word getting.

I. THE WAY OF GETTING this gold is wonderful.

1. People sometimes have to go a great distance in order to get earthly gold. When the gold mines in California were first discovered, there was a great rush of people from all parts of this country, who wanted to go out there and get gold. Some went by sea, all the way round Cape Horn. That was a long, cold, stormy, disagreeable, and dangerous voyage to take. But they were going for gold, and they cared nothing for the length of the journey they had to take ill getting it. Other people went in waggers, or on foot, across the country. Some had more than two thousand miles' distance to go. What a long way that is to travel! But they were going for gold, and that made them willing. But the wonderful thing about the heavenly gold is, that no long journey is necessary in order to get it. It is not stored up, like earthly gold, in mines which can only be found in particular places. It is to be found in all countries. It may be had in all places. The church is a good place in which to seek it. So is the Sunday school. So is the room in which you sleep at night.

2. But, besides going a great distance, men often have to meet great dangers before they can get the earthly gold they are seeking. Some of those people who went round by sea to California to get gold met with terrible storms. Some of them were shipwrecked, and lost their lives on the way. And those who went by land met with great dangers too. Some of them lost their way in the desert plains which they had to travel over. Some got out of provisions and suffered dreadfully from hunger and thirst. Some were robbed by the Indians. But there is no exposure to danger in seeking the heavenly gold. At home, among those who love you best, you may seek it and find it. And no one can hinder or hurt you in doing this.

3. In getting earthly gold men not only have to go a great distance, and meet great dangers, but often they have to pay a great price to get it. Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, lost his situation with that good master; he lost his health too, and became a miserable leper all his days, whom no one could cure, in order to get a little gold. That was a great price to pay for it. Judas Iscariot sold his Master for a little money. Oh, what a tremendous price that was to pay for it! Benedict Arnold sold his country for a poor, paltry sum of gold. Some men are willing to pay any price for earthly gold. Look at the whalers. They are willing to go from home for two or three years at a time. They will sail up into the cold and stormy North Sea, or Frozen Ocean. They will run the risk of being crushed to death between jarring icebergs; or of being frozen up in the north all winter; they will meet with all sorts of trials and hardships in order to get a little gold. This is the great price they are willing to pay for it. But nothing of this kind is necessary in order to get the heavenly gold. Jesus counsels us to buy this gold of Him. He is the only one from whom it can be had. But the way in which Jesus sells this gold is very wonderful. He tells us to "come, and buy wine and milk, without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1). The "wine and milk" spoken of in one of these passages, and the "gold" spoken of in the other, all mean the same thing. They refer to the grace of God. Jesus sells this "without money and without price." This means that He lets poor sinners, such as we are, have it free.

II. The second thing that is wonderful about it is THE DESIRE OF GETTING IT. The desire to get earthly gold often has a wonderfully bad effect; but the desire to get the heavenly gold has a wonderfully good effect. Let us see now what a bad effect the desire to get earthly gold often has on people. St. Paul calls this desire "the love of money"; and he says it is "the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10). The desire to get this gold has led men to cheat, and to lie, and to steal, and to murder, and to commit all kinds of wickedness. Some time ago, as many will remember, there was a horrible murder committed just outside Philadelphia. A poor, wretched German, whose name was Probst, enticed a whole family into the barn, and murdered them one by one, even down to the innocent little babe in the cradle. He was not angry with them. He had no quarrel with them. The only thing that led him on to do that dreadful deed was the desire for gold — "the love of money." And most of the horrible murders committed in the world are caused by this same desire. When the Spaniards discovered the country of Mexico, in South America, they sent an army, under a general, whose name was Cortez, to conquer the country. The principal motive of those Spanish soldiers, in trying to conquer the country, was a desire to get gold. They expected to find gold so plentiful in the city of Mexico, that there would be more than they would want, or more than they could carry away. The Mexicans defended their city as long as they could, like brave men. When they found that it was impossible to defend it any longer, they took the great treasures of gold that were in their city, and threw them into the lake on which the city stood. They knew that gold was the chief thing the Spaniards desired, and they wanted to leave as little for them to get as possible. The Spaniards took the city, but were sorely disappointed to find so little gold there. They knew that the Mexicans had put it away somewhere. They tried to persuade them to tell where they had hid their treasures. But the Mexicans would not toll. Then the Spaniards tortured them in order to make them tell. The Emperor of Mexico then was a truly brave and noble man. The miserable Cortez became very angry with him, because he would not tell where the treasure was. So he ordered a huge gridiron to be made. He had this brave emperor fastened to it with a chain. Then he had a fire kindled under it, and roasted him alive in the most cruel and lingering manner. How horrible to think of! There you see the bad effect of the desire of earthly gold. But very different results follow from the desire to get the heavenly gold of which we are speaking. Wonderful good results from this, as wonderful evil results from the other. The love of earthly gold is the root of all evil. The love of heavenly gold is the root of all good. It corrects everything that is wrong, and leads to everything that is right. It makes the heart new, and the thoughts new, and the feelings new, and the tempers new; and everything about it makes holy and good.

III. The third thing about this gold that is wonderful is THE RESULT OF GETTING IT. The result of getting earthly gold is wonderfully bad; but the result of getting the heavenly gold is wonderfully good. When St. Paul would show us the bad result that often follows to people from getting earthly gold, he says, it "drowns men in destruction and perdition" (1 Timothy 6:9). Some years ago there was a person, in a village in England, who was a collector for a Bible Society. He had a list of the names of a number of persons in the village who were subscribers to the Bible cause, and once a year he used to go round and collect their subscriptions. Among these names was that of a poor widow woman, who supported herself by washing. She was about the poorest person whose name he had on his list, and yet she was one of the most liberal, For a long time she had been in the habit of giving a guinea a year to the Bible Society. But one year a rich relation of this poor washer woman died, and left a large fortune to her. She still lived in the same village; but her humble little cottage had been exchanged for one of the largest and finest houses in the village. After a while the time came for the Bible collector to go round and gather up his subscriptions. He knew about the change which had taken place in the circumstances of her whom he had long known as the poor washer woman. And as he went to call on her at her new house he said to himself, "I shall get a fine largo subscription from this good woman. For if, when she was a poor washer woman, and had to work hard for her living, she could give a guinea a year, how much more will she be sure to give now, when she lives in so large a house, and is so well off?" So he rang the bell; and was ushered into the handsome parlour, where he met his old friend and subscriber. He said he was glad to hear of the pleasant change which had taken place in her circumstances, and then stated that he came once more for her subscription to that best of all books — the Bible. She opened her purse and handed him a shilling! He looked at it with astonishment. Then he said, "My good friend, what does this mean? I can't understand it. When you were a poor woman and lived on your own labour, you always gave a guinea a year to the Bible Society; and now, when you are so well off, can it be possible that you intend to give only a shilling?" "Yes," she said, "that's all I am willing to give now. I feel very differently about these things from what I used to do. When I was really a poor woman I gladly gave away whatever money I could spare, for I never felt afraid of being poorer than I then was. But now the fear of being poor haunts me like a ghost, and makes me all the time unwilling to spend any money, or give it away. The truth is," she continued, "when I only had the shilling means, I had the guinea heart; but now, when I have the guinea means, I find that I only have the shilling heart." Here we see the evil that resulted to this person from getting gold. It froze all her kind feelings, and shrunk up her large and liberal heart into a tiny little selfish one. She was a rich woman when she was very poor, but a poor woman when she became very rich. But the heavenly gold is very different from this. It is wonderful gold, because of the good it always does to those who get it.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

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