And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed together fig leaves and made coverings for themselves.
2 Thessalonians 2:11) by which the tempter continually seeks to draw men away (2 Corinthians 11:3). Eve's temptation is in substance our temptation; Eve's fall illustrates our danger, and gives us matter whereby to try ourselves and mark how far we "walk by faith." The SUBSTANCE OF THE TEMPTATION was suggesting doubts -
(1) As to God's love.
(2) As to God's truth.
The former led to self-willed desire; the latter gave force to the temptation by removing the restraining power. We are tempted by the same suggestions. The will and unbelief act and react upon each other. Where the will turns away from God's will doubt more easily finds an entrance, and having entered, it strengthens self-will (Romans 1:28). Unbelief is often a refuge to escape from the voice of conscience. But mark - the suggestion was not, "God has not said," but, It will not be so; You have misunderstood him; There will be some way of avoiding the danger. Excuses are easy to find: human infirmity, peculiar circumstances, strength of temptation, promises not to do so again. And a man may live, knowing God's word, habitually breaking it, yet persuading himself that all is well. Note two chief lines in which this temptation assails: -
1. As to the necessity for Christian earnestness. We are warned (1 John 2:15; 1 John 5:12; Romans 8:6-13). What is the life thus spoken of? Nothing strange. A life of seeking the world's prizes, gains, pleasures. A life whose guide is what others do; in which the example of Christ and guidance of the Holy Spirit are not regarded; in which religion is kept apart, and confined to certain times and services. Of this God says it is living death (cf. 1 Timothy 5:6); life's work neglected; Christ's banner deserted. Yet the tempter persuades - times have changed, the Bible must not be taken literally, ye shall not die.
2. As to acceptance of the gift of salvation. God's word is (Mark 16:15; Luke 14:21; John 4:10) the record to be believed (Isaiah 53:5, 6; 1 John 5:11). Yet speak to men of the free gift, tell them of present salvation; the tempter persuades - true; but you must do something, or feel something, before it can be safe to believe; - God has said; but it will not be so. In conclusion, mark how the way of salvation just reverses the process of the fall. Man fell away from God, from peace, from holiness through doubting God's love and truth. We are restored to peace through believing these (John 3:16; 1 John 1:9), and it is this belief which binds us to God in loving service (2 Corinthians 5:14). - M.
I. MAN CAN DISCERN NOTHING BUT WHAT AND WHEN, AND HOW FAR GOD IS PLEASED TO DISCOVER IT UNTO HIM.
I. They suffered together. The immediate effects of their act of disobedience were of a sense of shame — "the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked" (ver. 7); and a dread of judgment — "Adam and his wife hid themselves," through fear, as Adam afterwards admits — "I was afraid" (ver. 8, 10). They were ashamed, then, and they were afraid. This was the fulfilment of the threatening — "Thou shalt surely die — dying, thou shalt die." There was present death felt, and future death feared. And as shame and fear drive them away from God, so, when they are brought into His presence, the same feelings still prevail, and prompt the last desperate expedient, of deceit or guile, which marks the extent of their subjection to bondage, the bondage of corruption. They do not deny, but they palliate, and extenuate, their sin. The attempt to excuse their sin only proves how helplessly they are debased by it, as the slaves of a hard master, who, having them now at a disadvantage, through their forfeiture of the free favour of God, presses unrelentingly upon them, and compels them to be as false and as unscrupulous as himself. Shame, therefore, fear, and falsehood, are the bitter fruits of sin. Guilt is felt; death is dreaded; guile is practised. The consciousness of crime begets terror; for "the wicked flee when no one pursueth." How degrading is the bondage of sin! How entirely does it destroy all truth in the inward parts! The sinner, once yielding to the tempter, is at his mercy, and having lost his hold of the truth of God, he is but too glad, for his relief from despair, to believe and to plead the lies of the devil.
The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.
Homilist.I. A CONSCIOUS LOSS OF RECTITUDE. Moral nudity (Revelation 3:17).
1. They deeply felt it.
2. They sought to conceal it.
II. AN ALARMING DREAD OF GOD.
1. This was unnatural.
3. Fruitless. God found Adam out.
III. A MISERABLE SUBTERFUGE FOR SIN. The transferring of our own blame to others has ever marked the history of sin. Some plead circumstance, some their organization, and some the conduct of others.
II. God, however, has a better way. He has thoughts of love towards the guilty parents of our race. For the sentence which He goes on to pronounce, when He has called them before Him, is not such as they might have expected. It is not retributive, but remedial, and in all its parts it is fitted exactly to meet their case.
1. In the first place, their complaint against the serpent is instantly attended to. He is judged and condemned.
2. Having disposed of the serpent, the sentence proceeds, secondly, to deal with his victims more directly, and announces both to the woman and to the man a period of forbearance and long suffering on the part of God. Their fear is, in so far, postponed. The woman is still to bear children, the man is still to find food. But there are these four tokens of the doom they feared still abiding on them:
(1) (2) (3) (4) III. And now, Satan being put aside, who, as the father of lies, prompted guile, and death being postponed, so as to give hope instead of fear, the sentence goes on to provide for the removal of the shame which sin had caused: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (ver. 21). (R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
(2) (3) (4) III. And now, Satan being put aside, who, as the father of lies, prompted guile, and death being postponed, so as to give hope instead of fear, the sentence goes on to provide for the removal of the shame which sin had caused: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (ver. 21). (R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
(3) (4) III. And now, Satan being put aside, who, as the father of lies, prompted guile, and death being postponed, so as to give hope instead of fear, the sentence goes on to provide for the removal of the shame which sin had caused: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (ver. 21). (R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
II. IT IS A GREAT FOLLY IN MEN NOT TO FORESEE EVIL BEFORE IT BE TOO LATE TO HELP IT. Wise men beforehand see a plague and prevent it (Proverbs 22:3), and hearken for time to come (Isaiah 42:23), and indeed for this special end was wisdom given, that men having their eyes in their head (Ecclesiastes it. 14) they might foresee both good and evil to come, that they might lay hold on the one while it may be had, and avoid and prevent the other before it comes. As for after-wisdom, it is of no use but to increase our misery, by looking back upon our misery when it is too late to help it.
III. SATAN NEVER DISCOVERS ANYTHING UNTO US, BUT TO DO MISCHIEF. Thus he shows us the baits of sin to allure us; as he did to our Saviour Christ the glory of all the kingdoms of the earth, to entice Him to fall down and worship him (Matthew 4:8). Thus he discovers the means of affecting what our inordinate lusts move us unto, to encourage us to sin, as by Jonadab he showed Ammon the means how he might satisfy his lust upon his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:5), and by Jezebel to Ahab the means of getting Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:7), and if he shows the foulness of sin, after it is acted, it is to drive men, if possibly he can, into despair, when the case is desperate.
IV. EVEN THOSE WHICH DISCOVER NOT BEFOREHAND THE EVILS WHICH THE ERRORS OF THEIR WAYS LEAD THEM INTO, YET THEY SHALL SEE IN THE END, AND FEEL TOO THE MISERY INTO WHICH THEY BRING THEM.
V. SIN IS ABLE TO MAKE THE MOST EXCELLENT AND GLORIOUS OF GOD'S CREATURES VILE AND SHAMEFUL.
3. It disorders all the faculties of the soul, and parts of the body, and consequently all the motions and actions that flow from them, and subjects us to our own base lusts and vile affections, to do things that are not comely (Romans 1:4, 26, 28).
VI. MEN ARE MORE APT TO BE SENSIBLE OF, AND TO BE MORE AFFECTED WITH THE OUTWARD EVILS THAT SIN BRINGS UPON THEM, THAN WITH THE SIN THAT CAUSETH THEM.
VII. GARMENTS ARE BUT THE COVERS OF OUR SHAME.
1. The first occasion of the use of clothing was to cover our shame.
2. The materials of it are things much baser than ourselves, in just estimation.
3. The apparel at the least doth but grace the body, but adorns not the soul at all, which is the only part wherein man is truly honourable.
4. And the outward person they commend also, only to men of vain minds, but to no wise or sober man.
5. And withal, do more discover the vanity of our minds than they cover the shame of our bodies.
VIII. MOST OF OUR NECESSITIES ARE BROUGHT UPON US BY SIN.
IX. WHEN MEN ARE ONCE FALLEN OFF FROM GOD, THEIR NATURE THEREBY CORRUPTED, CARRIES THEM STRONGLY FORWARDS TO SEEK HELP FROM THE CREATURE.
1. They Ere wholly carnal and sensual in their dispositions, and therefore easily carried after sensual and carnal things.
2. They cannot but be enemies to God, from whom they are driven away by the guiltiness of their own consciences, as having no cause to depend on Him whose yoke they have cast off, and therefore have ground to expect no help from Him, to whom they resolve to do no service.
3. And they are by the just judgment of God delivered over to abase themselves to vile things far below them.. selves, because they have not advanced God, nor glorified Him as God, as they ought.
X. SIN BESETS MEN AND MAKES THEM FOOLS.
XI. ALL THE CARE THAT MEN TAKE, IS USUALLY RATHER TO HIDE THEIR SIN THAN TO TAKE IT AWAY.
XII. ALL SATAN'S FAIR PROMISE, PROVE IN THE EVENT NOTHING ELSE BUT LIES AND MERE DELUSIONS.
(J. White, M. A.)
(J. Slade, M. A.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)I. The effects of the Fall may be arranged under three divisions: the loss of God's special gifts; the corruption of man's own nature; and his new position of guiltiness in the sight of God. And for our present purpose it will be most convenient to consider these now under two heads — the internal, which will cover the first and second; and the external, which corresponds to the third.
1. Viewed internally then, the effects of the Fall must be regarded as two fold. The one was negative — the immediate loss of that original righteousness which we have learnt to connect immediately with God's supernatural gift of grace. The other was positive — the wound, which struck instantly to the very heart of man's nature, carried poison along with it, which tainted all that nature with immediate corruption. The will had rebelled, therefore the channel of God's grace was closed. So much was negative. But within that cast off and isolated will there lurked a prolific power of fatal mischief, which immediately burst forth into positive evil. Hence sprung at once that "concupiscence and lust" which "hath of itself the nature of sin"; hence "the flesh" learnt immediately to lust against "the spirit"; hence came "the sin" that reigns in our mortal bodies; hence that other "law in our members," which wars against the law of our minds.
2. But all this evil was man's own work. It was man himself who closed the door of grace. It was man himself who severed his will from his only safeguard, by withdrawing it from dependence upon God. It was man himself who thus introduced rebellion into his nature, who caused this outburst of trouble and confusion in his heart. We must look to another quarter for the penalty which God imposed. And this is the external aspect, which, as I have said, demands a separate consideration. Man no sooner fell than he recognized the immediate certainty of punishment, and fruitlessly strove to conceal himself from the vengeance of his offended Creator. So weak and worthless was his new-found knowledge. It told him how he might hide his shame on earth; it could not aid him when he wished to escape the wrath of God. God's sentence may be briefly said to involve three different judgments; the first to toil and sorrow; the second to exile; and the third, which completes them, to death.
II. Let us pass then to that closing portion of our subject — the extension of the sin of Adam to ourselves, in connection with the doctrine of the Atonement of our Lord.
(Archdeacon Hannah.)1. Yielding to Satan and suffering in evil are the twins of the same day.
2. Man and woman are equal in vengeance as well as sin.
3. Sin blinds to good, but opens mind and sight to experience evil.
4. Sin makes men very knowing in misery; wise to see their fall from heaven to hell.
5. Sin strips stark naked of spiritual and bodily good, and makes sensible of nothing but shame.
6. Sin is ashamed of itself, and seeks a covering.
7. Sin is very foolish in patching a veil or covering to hide from God — Leaves (ver. 7).
8. The voice of God pursueth sinners after guilt; sometimes inward and outward.
9. God hath His fit time to visit sinners.
10. God walks sometimes in wind and storms to find out the guilty.
11. Conscience hears and trembles at God's voice pursuing.
12. The face of the Lord God, which is life to His, is terrible to the guilty.
13. Sin persuades souls as if it were possible to hide from God.
14. All carnal shifts will sin make to shun God's sight; if leaves do not, then trees must closet them (ver. 8).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)Romans 5): "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned"; "therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." The "Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil."
(T. R. Redwar.)
(I. Williams, B. D.)
1. The disease was a moral disease. This grand disease of sin combines all the evil qualities of bodily distempers in a figurative yet real form — the continual fretting heat of fever, the loathsomeness of smallpox, the fierce torments of inflammation, and the lingering decay of consumption, and infects with something akin to these diseases, not the material, but the immaterial part, and turns not the body but the soul into such a mass of malady that from the "crown of the head to the sole of the foot there is no soundness in us; nothing but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores."
2. Again, the disease introduced by the sin of Adam is universal in its ravages. It has infected not only all Adam's sons and daughters, but all of them in almost every moment of their existence. Their very dreams are infected with this distemper. The boa constrictor binds only the outer part of the body of its victim, although he binds it all; but the serpent of sin has seized on and knitted together individual man — body, soul, and spirit — and even collective man, into a knot of selfish, malignant, mortal distemperatures. The entire being is encrusted with this leprosy.
3. Again, the disease introduced by man's first disobedience is deep seated in its roots. It is in the very centre of the system, and infects all the springs of life. It makes us cold, and dead, and languid, in the pursuit of the things that are good. It, in fine, pollutes the fountain of the heart, and turns it into a "cistern for foul toads," instead of being a sweet and salubrious source of living waters.
4. Again, this disease is a hereditary disease. It is within us as early as existence; it descends from parent to child more faithfully than the family features, or disposition, or intellect. As the tree in the seed, so lies the future iniquity of the man in the child, and in this sense "the boy is father of the man." And even as letters are sometimes traced in milk on white paper, and are only legible when placed before the fire, so the evil principles in man's heart are often not disclosed till they are exposed to the flame of temptation, and then they come forth in black prominency and terrible distinctness.
5. Again, this is a disease which assumes various forms and aspects. Its varieties are as numerous as the varieties of man and of sinner. Each particular sin is a new species of this disorder. It has one aspect in the ambitious man who sacrifices millions in his thirst for renown. It has another in the petty tyrant of a village or factory. It has one aspect in the openly profane, and another in the hypocrite and secret sinner.
6. Again, this is a disease which defies all human means of cure. Many attempts, indeed, have been made to check its ravages and abate its power. Empires innumerable have stood up, each with his several nostrum in his hand as an infallible remedy for the evil; all differing from each other as to the nature of the grand specific, but all agreeing in this, that they offer a cure apart from the help of God. When we think of the enormous number of remedies which have been proposed, and are still being proposed, to effect the cure of the world, we seem standing in an immense laboratory, where, however, there are more labels than medicines; where even the medicines are, in general, exploded or powerless, and where we miss the true and sovereign remedy, the "Balm of Gilead." Yes, that bloody Balm, and balmy Blood, as it was in the beginning, two thousand years ago, is still the one thing that can effectually mitigate the evil of the disease of sin, as well as the only remedy that has the authoritative stamp of God.
7. We remark, again, that this disease, if not cured, will terminate in everlasting death and destruction from the presence of the Lord. And what a termination this must be! If men are at all moved by regarding this world as a vast bed of disease, they must surely be moved immensely more when they look to the next as a vast bed of death.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)Ezra 9:6). Hence also Jeremiah describes the stout-hearted Jews, "They were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush" (Jeremiah 6:15). Hence Solomon's reference to the "impudent face" of the strange woman (Proverbs 7:13), and Jeremiah's description of Israel, "Thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusest to be ashamed" (Jeremiah 3:3). It was the shame of our sin that Christ bore upon the cross; and therefore it is said of Him that He "despised the shame." It was laid upon Him, and He shrank not from it. He felt it, yet He hid not His face from it. He was the well-beloved of the Father, yet He hung upon the tree as one unfit for God to look upon; fit only to be cast out from His presence. He took our place of shame that we might be permitted to take His place of honour. In giving credit to God's record concerning Him we are identified with Him as our representative; our shame passes over to Him, and His glory becomes ours forever. It was this sense of shame that led Adam and Eve to have recourse to fig leaves for a covering. What is it but this same consciousness of shame that leads men to resort to ornaments? These are intended by them to compensate for the shame or the deformity under which men are lying. They feel that shame belongs to them; nay, confusion of face. They feel that they are not now "perfect in beauty," as once they were. Hence they resort to ornament in order to make up for this. They deck themselves with jewels that their deformity may be turned into beauty. But there is danger here — danger against which the apostle warns us, specially the female sex (1 Peter 3:3, 4). There is nothing, indeed, innately sinful in the gold, or the silver, or the gems which have been wrought by the skill of men into such forms of brightness. But in our present state they do not suit us. They are unmeet for sinners. They speak of pride, and they also minister to pride. They are for the kingdom, not for the desert. They are for the city of the glorified, not for the tent of the stranger. They will come in due time, and they will be brilliant enough to compensate for the shame of earth. But we cannot be trusted with them now.
(H. Bonar, D. D.)
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