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Genesis ii. 8, 9.
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden ; and
there he put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food ; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
We will now look to man in this his condition of original happiness. He was placed in the garden of Eden, or Paradise, as it has been also named. There was in this seat of blessedness every thing which he could desire, whatever was pleasant to the sight, and good for food : “ And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Man's food, even in Paradise, sprang from the ground; and, likewise, as the words would intimate, the trees of life and of knowledge. A more peculiar care was had in the planting and arranging of this garden. Designed for the special habitation of the man, it was a type, and a figure, and a representative, and a promise, of the future and better Paradise, to which we must believe it was the divine purpose at some time thereafter to call him, should he have established his claim to it by obedience in his probation. Here was he fixed as on his throne of dominion: here did he stand, lord of the whole lower creation. Formed elsewhere, on his formation, so soon as the breath of life had been breathed into him by his Creator, he was set in this happy spot. He was not, I say, formed in Paradise, or taken in his bodily members from the ground of it, since the sacred historian tells us that “in the garden of Eden” the Lord “put the man whom He had formed,” and that He “ took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it;" and he, also, acquaints us, that, after the Fall, “the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."
Writers, both of ancient and of later times, have had much to say concerning the manner in which they have supposed man to have been taken and put into Paradise; and the subject has led them into considerable discussion as to the form of the divine presence when God made his appearance to Adam. It is undoubted, that, in the earlier times of the world, the Divine Presence was of frequent and more personal manifestation. It was manifested to the patriarchs, and afterwards to the Israelites; and it may be presumed that it was manifested in more glorious manner to Adam before the fall, when he was better able to endure the brightness of God's countenance, than at any subsequent time, to any of those others. God spoke with Enoch: He spoke with Abraham: He appeared in a flame of fire in a bush unto Moses : He was manifested on divers occasions during the progress of the Israelites from Egypt, and in their wanderings in the wilderness ; and, when they had become settled in the land that He gave them, He vouchsafed, by visible glory, many tokens of his special and personal abiding among his people. With all these instances before us, and with the account of the conferences He held with our first parents, on their transgression, as related in the third chapter of Genesis, when He passed on them his sentence of expulsion from Paradise, and of labour and death, granting at the same time his promise of redemption, we may receive it as an assured fact, that, when God is said to have taken the man, and to have put him into the Garden of Eden, He himself carried him there in special manner,-in such manner, that Adam knew it was God by whom he was placed in it as his abode; but if we endeavour to describe the form of God's appearance, or to determine how Adam was carried into Paradise, as has been attempted of some, whether he was led by the hand by his Creator, or by whatever other means, we shall be catching at a vain conceit. It is, and ought to be considered, enough for us to know that God himself placed him there; that we do know; and, as
that is all which God has revealed to us, it is all that is intended we should know.
Man was not made in this place, as has been already seen, but in another part of the newly formed earth; from which circumstance we are to learn, that the station he had in Paradise was of grace and not of right. The only right he had, so to speak, was to the ground from which he had been taken,-a consideration that should teach us still more of the equitable doing of God, who, in expelling him from Paradise, expelled him from a place and an appointment to which, in the probation assigned, he was to have earned a right of continuance,-to have earned it by fulfilling his part of the covenant between them, and in which he did not earn it. He was put into the garden,”
“ to dress it and to keep it.” God put him into it for two purposes ; the one—as a place of happiness to himself, and the other—as a place wherein he should perform duties towards Him, his Creator and Benefactor. He was “ to dress and to keep” the garden; the particular meaning of which words we can in no wise understand; but, as God had put him into it, for a purpose of his own, and which purpose was declared to him, it is evident that man was bound to seek to it, and to do it. God's supremacy was by this very act made known to him; his dominion was recognised under it; and man must have understood that he had possession of his happiness and his station only as he answered God's purpose, that is, as he performed God's will. There was, we may hence see, a more holy character belonging to Paradise, than to any other portion of the visible world; it was appropriate to man while in innocence, but it ceased to be appropriate to him, when he lost his innocence. Here, then, he was free from care, from sorrow, from sickness, from all apprehension of death. Every thing was in his possession which could give satisfaction and delight; and but one prohibition was laid on him; there was but one object in the whole range of the garden from which he was commanded to refrain; all else was his; that alone was forbidden, and it was forbidden, because to take it would be misery and death: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” If he disobeyed this command, and violated this prohibition, his nature would suffer change and deterioration; and it would so, because there was that in the tree of knowledge, which, if abused, would be the necessary conductor to a state whose end must be death; and because God was pleased, and had appointed to try him by means of it; and, if he failed in the trial, had ordained that death should ensue upon the failure. This I conceive to be the true circumstance of