« PreviousContinue »
curse which came by the disobedience of the first Adam, so shall it be renovated and pronounced " very good” by reason of the obedience of the second Adam. “ There shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him, they shall behold His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads; and the nations of those who are preserved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour into it.” Thus saith the LORD (of Judea); “ This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden,” &c.
Covetousness cannot be expressed by any symbol, it is a desire, a spiritual obliquity of the will. The eye is generally the medium through which this evil is communicated : hence it is called “the lust of the eye;" and as in some constitutions it makes its appeal to the passions of the heart, it is elsewhere denominated “the desires of the flesh and of the mind.”
“ Covetousness is idolatry," inasmuch as the object desired eclipses the first claims of our Creator from our heart and mind. It was this delusion which the father of lies tempted the weaker part of man to desire instead of revealed Truth.
Adam was created in the image of God; and in order that he might approve himself a son and subject of his Creator, a Law was given to be revered by man, his intelligent creature. Life was annexed to keeping the command, death was declared the penalty of turning aside from it. The Law revealed what was good, its light also pointed out and forbade that which was evil; there was perfect freedom in the enjoyment of the good, the restraint was only
The fallen angel, who “abode not in the Truth,” infused into the innocent mind of the woman a desire for that which the command forbade. He took advantage of the comment which she added to the precision of the Law, and upon this he grounded that misleading gloss with which he mystified the command itself. The comment 6 neither shall ye touch it,” at once discovered that where the inward principle was not recognised, outward regard to the Law would yield to temptation.
The Truth of God was now pledged that death should be the corisequence of setting aside His holy and righteous Law. Satan, the adversary and deceiver, well knew the misery into which transgression would plunge the human kind, but it was envy that induced him to plan their ruin. First he shakes the creature's confidence in the integrity of the Creator, by tampering with His Word. “ And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die; for God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and
ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” The poison here conveyed was that an independent discernment of what man is to chuse and refuse is a higher privilege than to be dependent on God's revealed mind and will, for this power of knowing good and evil. He beguiled her into the idea that to be as gods, to judge, was a more desirable condition than to be as sons doing the Father's ill. “ The woman saw that the tree seemed good for food, and inviting to the eye, and to be desired to make one wise, and she took of the fruit thereof." There was a knowledge now gained by erring from the way of Life, but it was the knowledge of evil. Their eyes were opened to behold their fallen, alienated, helpless condition. Conscious
guilt taught those who were wont to bask in the smile of their Father's countenance, to shun the condemnation of its Light. No simple term in any translation can fully express the
. The combined power of three English words are required to convey the idea of the old serpent, viz. charmer, deceiver, liar. Although the visible creature was addressed, the curse recognizes the characteristics rather than the perishing coil; the attributes of the serpent here denounced are not physical but intellectual; for when Adam designated all the creatures, his knowledge of their characters determined his application of their appropriate
The curse upon the deceiver illustrates this.
6 I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed. He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”
What was this enmity ? “ The keeping of His commandments.” “ In this the children of God are manifested, and the children of the devil." John iii. 10.
Obedience characterises “ the seed of the woman,” and shall yet identify “ the remnant of her seed who keep the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus.” Rev. xii. 17. It is to be remarked that the ground became involved in the curse of man's disobedience. Instead of spontaneously yielding all that was good for man, its natural produce was to be thorns and brambles; while man in removing these, and planting and cultivating the stubborn soil, was to eat the bread for which he toiled, by the sweat of his brow; and ultimately return to mingle his now mortal body with the dust from whence it was taken.
It was now become necessary that the transgressor should be thrust out of Eden, where Cherubim and a
flaming sword turned every way to guard the way of the Tree of Life. There is a deep import in these words, but it is only those that hunger and thirst after righteousness who shall drink into their spirit, and be filled with rejoicing in knowing them.
The close of revelation supplies a comment on them sufficient to prove that God has not lowered his standard of requirement, nor changed his character as a Father and King “ Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have a right to the Tree of Life, and enter in through the gates to the city, for without are,” &c. &c.
Achan, through covetousness, together with all that was his, was destroyed from the congregation of Israel. Jezebel and Ahab, the idolatrous king and queen of Israel, coveted the field of a neighbour, the dogs licked their blood, neither had they the honour of burial. The pharisees derided Christ, whose doctrine was obedience to God's Law, and denial of self, because they were covetous, desiring the praise of men rather than the praise of God, cleaving to temporal gain rather than the true riches. Testifying of the wickedness of the people, Micah says; “ They covet fields, and take them by violence.” David saith, “ The wicked blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord hateth.” The idea is, that although a nation has acquired all its resources and power by coveting and violently seizing territory, still if a form of religion is preserved, the nation may be blessed. Now Scripture expressly declares, that wealth or possessions so obtained have the curse at the core of their short-lived prosperity, which in due time shall devour the whole system ; while their taking the cloak of religion is only the more unpardonable in the sight of God. The disciple of Christ is enabled to say, “ I have coveted
no man's silver, or gold, or apparel ; yea, ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered to my neces sities, and to those who were with me, I have shewed you in all things, how that so labouring, ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, how he said, “It is more blessed to give, than to receive."
Such can also declare this truth, “ The covetous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” And again, “a Bishop must not be covetous.” By the spirit of prophecy, the disciples of Christ were well aware that this self-destroying lust of the flesh and mind would prevail exceedingly. Paul testifies, “In the last times men shall be covetous," and Peter with an eye to the same time says,
66 their heart they have habituated to covetous practices, cursed children, who have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the hire of unrighteousness. They are further in this striking picture represented as seducing others, as Satan beguiled Eve, “ While they promise them liberty (to think and act above God's law), they themselves are the servants of corruption; for the man is in bondage to that which has the dominion over him, for if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, they are again entangled therein, and overcome ; the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the
of righteousness, than after they had known it, to depart from the holy commandment delivered to them; but it has hap pened to them according to the true proverb, “ The dog turns to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”