<< Genesis 2: The Garden of Eden - Its Trees and Fountain >>
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 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.10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. Genesis II: 8-10.
The outer creation is a sublime symbol of the inner one. Matter is the outbirth and covering of spirit, and therefore corresponds to it. The universe on a grand scale is in all respects similar to he smaller world in man. These truths we have endeavoured to illustrate in the Discourse on the Days of Creation, and trust it has been seen that they afford the key to solve the difficulties in the Mosaic account of creation, which under any other view have hitherto been found so stubborn. Nothing can be conceived grander than this rule. All things of nature are the words of its dictionary. The rules of its grammar are the laws of the universe. All the scenery of our beautiful world, and all the movements which give endless variety to the grand theatre of life, are its illustrations. The sun, the moon, the stars, the air, the clouds, the vineyards, gardens, fields, and wilds of our green carpeted earth, are the letters in this wonderful book. Through these, God's Divine Wisdom is ever teaching the wise who know how to read His lessons. And the fact which we hope to demonstrate, as we proceed to open the Divine Word by this law, that the Bible and nature are unfolded by the same rule, leads the thoughtful mind gently, but firmly and irresistibly, to the conviction that the Bible and nature are equally divine, being the work of the same Divine Hand.
We have already observed that the relation of things seen things unseen. was well understood by the men of early times. They lived closer to God than we, and they delighted in nature chiefly as an index of things divine. Hence arose those beautiful myths, fables, and parables, in which all ancient histories lose themselves, as we trace them to their sources. The men among whom these originated understood them well. And so may we, if we apply the laws of symbols to their interpretation. Swedenborg has again brought those laws to the notice of men. And, his having done so, affords us the means of reading lessons of divinest wisdom in nature, of unfolding the dark places of the Word of God, and the mythological literature of the ancients.
It is the proof and the justification of his mission.
It will be remarked by the student of the earliest literature of the ancient world, that the remotest records all describe the primeval people as having been introduced into a magnificent garden. The Greeks speak of their paradise of the Hesperides, having trees with golden apples. In the Chinese ancient books they speak of a garden on the summit of the mountain Kouan-lun, near the gate of heaven. There is the fountain of immortality, which divides itself into four rivers. These four rivers,
are the fountains of the Lord the Spirit. There is also the tree of life. In the Persian sacred books, we have also a place of delights spoken of, more beautiful than the entire world besides, watered by a river, which was however destroyed by a great serpent which was placed in it, and became the mother of winter. They speak also of Hom, the tree of life, near the fountain Ardouisor, the juice of which gives immortality.
The Hindoo books mention the holy Meroo, a fair and stately mountain, a most exalted mass of glory. It is not to be encompassed by sinful man. Many celestial medicinal plants adorn its sides, and it stands piercing the heavens with its aspiring summit, a mighty hill, inaccessible to the human mind. The Rig Veda specks of the sweet fruit of the tree, to which the spirits which love goodness come, and which is a mystery to them who do not understand the Father of the world. Even Northern Mythology tells that “under the roots of the great ash-tree, whose boughs extend through the world and reach to heaven, is the well Mimis, in which wisdom is hidden."
Every reflecting mind will readily perceive that these descriptions taken from the sacred books of the oldest nations of the earth, are allegorical, not to be understood of natural productions or scenes. They indicate the belief of nations widely distant from each other; of a state of the highest goodness, wisdom, and happiness, to which, in the early ages of our race, God had introduced, prepared and unperverted man. This too is taught in our text, by the garden of Eden.
That this garden, its trees, and fountain with four streams, were never intended to be otherwise than allegorically understood, the very names themselves undoubtedly imply. What is a Tree of Life ? The book of Proverbs answers. Wisdom is a Tree of Life. And may we not ask the firmest adherent of the letter of the Scriptures only, did you ever find life growing on any earthly tree ? Has life more than one source, and do we not regard this to be Him who is the Life ? Do we not find this same tree declared in the book of Revelations to be in the midst of heaven ? " To him that overcometh," it is said, " I will give to eat of the tree of life that is in the midst of the paradise of God.'' — Rev. ii. 7. But can any rational mind suppose that an earthly tree has been transplanted to a spiritual and heavenly world? The idea is obviously unworthy of being rationally entertained. Again, we find the tree of life in the midst of the New Jerusalem, and on both sides of the river. " In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." — Rev. xxii. 2. Is this at all compatible with the idea of a literal tree. Assuredly not. But when on the other hand we reflect that from the one source of life, the LORD, there descend two grand influences — Love and Wisdom — in the most intimate union; and these form the inmost powers of light and blessing to the regenerated soul — the soul in a state of paradise, then we recognize the tree of two lives in the ancient garden of Eden. We say the tree of two lives, for the word rendered life, hachayim, is in the dual, not in the singular, nor in the general plural, in the account of this tree in our text. The holy influence of the Lord, in its twofold character of love and light within, is the tree of lives. This is in the midst of the garden of the soul. This is the source of the joys of the angels. This is the centre, and pervades all the principles of the New Church called the New Jerusalem. The virtues it inspires in all the varying states of man's regeneration — as his faith waxes and wanes, and thus his spiritual months go on — are the twelve manner of fruits it bears. On its holy branches grow acts of patience for seasons of affliction, of gratitude for those of prosperity, of trust and fortitude in the storms of life, of benevolence, charity, and justice in our daily walk, and of hope, ever speaking of better things, like an inward gem glittering in all the golden fruit of this divine tree. Its leaves are the truths, which are for the healing of the nations.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil, is equally indicative of a spiritual existence, not of a natural plant. For on what tree does knowledge grow, save on the human mind? The idle fancy that this tree was an apple tree, cannot he called a thought, it is a fancy having no rational ground. Can knowledge be cut from an apple, or squeezed from a fig? We find knowledge grows only as we exercise the desire to know. The knowledge of external things may well be called the knowledge of good and evil, for it is the knowledge of the results of order and disorder, of fitness and unfitness, of truths and appearances. It is an acquaintance with the outsides of things. This knowledge is useful for earthly purposes, but is not the real truth. It is a tree that has its uses in the garden, but its fruit is not to be eaten. Our own sensations give us a knowledge of ourselves, but that knowledge is full of fallacy, and needs the constant correction of a higher wisdom. We feel as if our life were our own. We are conscious of no origin of life out of ourselves. We feel that we exist, but we do not feel the stream of life from which our existence is momentarily maintained. Judging from our own sensations, we are self-existent. This, however, is an appearance, which we must beware of confirming. Let the tree grow for its own purposes, but do not eat the fruit. It is essential to our self-consciousness, and all our individual enjoyment of life and sensation, that we should seem to live as if of ourselves. Without that, we should have no sense of responsibility, no choice, no self-cultivation, no moral defined being, no individual delight or progression. Divine Love has given us this sensation of distinct consciousness of life, that we may taste the sweetness of all our blessings, as if they were entirely our own. " Verily, He is a God that hides Himself." But the more we feel as if the life and the blessings we enjoy are our own, the more should we learn from revelation, and the more should we adoringly confess that "every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights." Our own knowledge is good to know and to use, but not to eat, or to confirm, and make part of ourselves. The perceptions of heavenly wisdom are the other trees of the garden; and of these we may finely eat — they are in accordance with eternal truth. But, of the tree of our own self-perceived knowledge, we may not eat, for in the day, or state, in which we eat of it, we enter upon the path of error, of self-will, of carnal-mindedness, of spiritual death: " For to be carnally minded is death ; to be spiritually minded is life and peace." — Rom. viii. 6.
Our knowledge of others, is a knowledge of appearances. We see their bodies, and their outward mode of life. And this is necessary, that we may hold intercourse with them, sympathize with them, help them, rejoice with them, sorrow with them. Without it, the daily and hourly dealings of common life could not go on. To this outward perception, the body seems to be the man; its growth, is the man's growth, its decay, the man's decay, its death, the man's termination. The knowledge which we thus acquire, is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil — most useful in itself, but not absolute truth. Revelation teaches us that the body is but the covering of the man. Within the outward form, there are principles, and states, and grandeurs of which the outside view gives us but little acquaintance. To know man really, we must know his immortal capabilities. This comes only from revelation, and from the Lord, but all its lessons are real truth, of them we may freely eat.
On all subjects, there is the knowledge of appearances which we may use, but not confirm, and the acknowledgment of true wisdom which we should confirm. A familiar instance is afforded every day by the progress of the great bodies which mark time. The sun appears to rise in the east in the morning; to come to the zenith at noon to set in the west, in the evening. The earth all the time appears to be a vast stationary plain. All the conveniences of life are regulated upon this supposition, yet it is death to all true philosophy to confirm it. Real truth teaches our reason that the very reverse of this is correct. The earth is in an inconceivably rapid motion; the sun is almost still. For outside life, we must act according to the appearance; for inside life, we must adopt the real truth. Both trees can be rightly admitted into our garden, but each must have its proper place, and each its proper value assigned: the tree of lives must be in the midst of the garden; the tree of knowledge of good and of evil, at the circumference.
That a garden, and especially the garden of Eden, is regarded in the Sacred Scripture as symbolic of a regenerated, cultivated state of the soul, is manifest in the declarations of the prophets. “When Balaam saw Israel encamped, and was in an inspired state, having his spiritual eyes open: he said. How goodly are thy tents, Jacob, and thy tabernacles, Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river'sside, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.”---Numb. Xxiv. 6. Here the states of orderly and happy Israel were described to the spirit's eye in vision, as gardens by the river's side.
The prophet Isaiah said: “The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." — lviii. 11. Jeremiah adopts the same language of correspondence: “ Therefore, they shall come and sing in the heights of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.'' — xxxi. 12. Our blessed Lord spoke according to the same rule: “Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like ? and whereunto shall I resemble it ? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it." — Luke xiii. 18, 19. In all these cases, a garden is undoubtedly intended to represent a state of the soul, when the trees of righteousness, whose fruits are every holy work ; the flowers of lovely spiritual ideas, for “truth has its pleasure grounds," and the tones of encouragement, beauty, and blessing that charm him, as the songs of heavenly birds, fill the mind with a foretaste of heaven, and make it a paradise in miniature.
That the garden of Eden means no part of outward earth, but a state of delight resulting from the possession of heavenly graces, its name implies; the word Eden in Hebrew signifies delight; and Dr. Hirsch, the Jewish Rabbi of Luxembourg, renders it, in his Jewish catechism, the garden of joy; and evidently perceives, and admits, its symbolical character.
True joy, however, which the Lord who planted this garden prepares for man, is only to be obtained in a high and holy state of the soul, and is not dependent upon places. “The kingdom
of God is not meat and drink ; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." — Rom. xiv. 17.
This circumstance gives us the reason why the site of Eden has never been found. Persons who have had no higher idea of the Divine Word than the literal one, have sought every where to discover a land watered by four rivers flowing from one fountain; one of the rivers being the Euphrates. No satisfactory discovery has ever been made. To find it, they have explored regions the most distant in Asia. Africa has also been well searched, but in vain. Some of the so-called Fathers have supposed it would be found under the earth. It has been like the search of children for the house Beautiful, mentioned by Banyan. Butler, in his Hudibras, describes the futility of such labour in vain, when he says of his hero : —
“ He knew the seat of Paradise,
Could tell in what degree it lies ;
And as he was disposed, could prove it.
Below the moon, or else above it.”
To account for the geographical failure, some have suggested that the flood had destroyed the boundaries of Eden. But all have admitted that the exact site could not be found. And yet, according to the prophet, the king of Tyre had found it, and been in it, many hundreds of years after the flood, if it also was a natural event. “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him. Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was created in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." — Ezek. xxviii. 12 — 14.
If the garden of Eden means a cultivated, enlightened, and happy state of mind, this language is not difficult to be understood. The precious stones represent precious truths ; the stones of fixe, truths glowing with love. The tabrets and pipes are descriptive of the music of the soul when joyfully acknowledging the goodness of the Divine Creator. The mountain of God means the exalted love of the soul when it adores Him above all things. In a state of this kind the king of Tyre might have been, but it is quite impossible that he could have been in any literal Eden, which must have been destroyed centuries before he was born.
Another mention of the trees of Eden is made by the same prophet in chapter thirty-one, where the language of the whole chapter is unquestionably allegorical. “Behold," it is said, “the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of a high stature ; and his top was among the thick boughs." — ver. 3. Of the Assyrian thus represented by a majestic cedar, the prophet proceeds to say : “The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches ; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches : so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him” — ver. 8, 9. Again : "I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell, with them that descend into the pit : and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth," — ver. 16. Here, it is manifest, no natural trees can be meant. These could not envy the Assyrian, or strive to hide him. These could not be comforted, when they went down to the pit, with them that are slain. From every consideration, therefore, it is clear, that in the Divine Word, Eden and its trees are the types of a mental and spiritual paradise, not of a natural garden.
The river which watered the garden, with its four heads of subordinate streams, though nowhere found in nature, is easily found in spirit. It is that Divine Truth, which is called the "river of the water of life " (Rev. xxii. 1), which is meant by the river of God, which is full of waters ; and that holy stream which the prophet saw, and which "made every thing live where it went." — Ezek. xlvii. 9. Divine Truth as it descends from the Lord comes as one river, but as it is received by man it is parted into four great divisions, faith, and knowledge, reason, and science, and these illustrate the different departments of the mind, which are like so many countries into which they flow.
The first river, Pison, or abounding as the Hebrew word signifies, the full broad stream of intelligence which flows into the soul when we are in faith inspired by love. The gold of that land, the celestial love, which makes us rich in the divine sight (Rev. iii. 18) is good. There is the bdellium, or pearl, and the onyx, or ruby. The two stones, the white and the red, represent the precious gems of thought possessed by persons in this state on all subjects, both of the intellect and of the heart.
The second river, Gihon, or the valley of grace is representative of truth as imparted under the form of knowledge. It is more limited, and external than the former. It compasseth the land. Such knowledge as compared with the light of interior faith, is as the letter compared to the spirit of the Divine Word. But yet Divine Truth in the letter is a valley of grace. It is a covering, a defence, and an introduction to the inner glories of religion.
The third river, Hiddekel, or sharp-flowing, is expressive of the keen light of reason. It is said, to go eastward to Assyria, because Assyria is the land which is ever used in the Divine Word as the symbol of those whose chief delight is to see every subject submitted to them, rationally. It is said to go eastward, for the direction towards the sun-rising, in spiritual language, signifies towards that state of love to the Lord in which He as the Sun of Righteousness can arise upon the soul, with healing in his wings. This river goes eastward, in all cases when our reasoning is all Godward; in favour of righteousness, holiness, and heaven.
The fourth river, Euphrates, that which grows, the stream that bordered Assyria, is the representative of science. This is the lowest form in which truth is obtained by the soul ; but with observation, it constantly grows and serves to illustrate all that the mind interiorly sees. Happy is it with man when all these streams are received and harmonize together. His state is then an Eden indeed ; a paradise of light, and love, and joy.
We must now notice two particulars which are somewhat striking in themselves, and have served to confirm theories entirely incompatible with the authority of this portion of the Divine Word, as a revelation from Infinite Wisdom. The first is, that notwithstanding in the preceding chapter it is said, that ''God made man, male and female, on the sixth day,'' yet in the present chapter (ver. 5) it is said, after the seventh day, “there was not a man to till the ground." It has been suggested that the creation of Adam, as recorded in the second chapter, is a detailed account of what is briefly stated in the first ; but no ingenuity can make it probable that all the proceedings related to have taken place, from the creation of Adam to the formation of Eve from his rib during his sleep, could be the work of one day only. He is said to have named all the animals in the time, and to have discovered that it was not good for man to be alone. Can it be supposed that all which is implied in these operations could be the work of twelve, or even twenty-four hours? Impossible. We must seek for a higher reason ; and happily this is afforded. We observed in our first discourse that, in the first chapter of Genesis, the regeneration of man is the theme, up to that state in which truth becomes his only law and guide. He is then a true man, and a free man, in the image of his God. His religion is not constrained now, as it is in all the states meant by the days preceding the sixth. Hence, at the conclusion of that day, all things are pronounced by the Divine Being to be very good. Man is in that state a truly spiritual man ; he conquers in every trial to which he is subjected. But there is a state better still ; it is that in which LOVE is the supreme law— in which man is more than conqueror: he is no longer the subject of temptation. There is no labour in his states ; all is rest, not the rest of inactivity, but a rest from struggle— a state of interior peace — a sabbath of the soul. This is truly a celestial state. The former chapter traced man's mental creation, — his spiritual progress, up to the stage of his becoming fully spiritual ; but this chapter is taking the description forward until he becomes celestial. Up to the period described in this verse there was no man to till this ground, to cultivate the celestial state.
We shall perhaps be able to see the interesting subjects of thought to which the spiritual sense here invites us more clearly, if we notice three remarkable features of distinction between the first chapter and the second, both of them apparently treating of the origin of things, and of man. In the first chapter water occupies the leading place ; in the second chapter ground is the most important. God broods over the face of the water on the first day; He divides between the waters, on the second ; he distinguishes between land and water, on the third ; he made living animals and fowls, from the water, on the fifth day. In the operations of the days in the first chapter water has undoubtedly the pre-eminence, and this will readily be understood and its bearing be seen by the spiritually-minded student who knows that water, in its varied forms, is the symbol of truth — that living, purifying power which is called the water of life (Rev. xxi. 1; John iv. 10, 14). Water in the sea, is representative of truth in the memory ; general, external, undiscriminated, capable of being tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Water, as gentle rain, is representative of truth as it descends from the intelligent mind of a loving teacher, or from the Lord the Divine Teacher ; hence Moses said, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the rain upon the tender herb, as the showers upon the grass." — Deut. xxxii. 2. Water, as a river, is representative of truth when it has become elevated to the inmost affections of the soul, and thence flows down again into the whole mind and life, purifying, directing, fructifying, and blessing the whole man. This is the river of God, which is full of waters (Ps. lxv. 9 ; xlvi. 4). In the second chapter, the only water mentioned, is the river which flowed out of Eden, and which was divided into four heads : a river which has never been found on earth. It is a symbol of truth flowing from the heart, when man is in a celestial state.
In the second chapter ground has the leading position. Mist comes upon the whole face of the ground; man is made of the dust of the ground; out of the ground grow all trees, pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of lives and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; out of the ground fowls are formed (ver. 19), though in the first chapter they are formed from the water (ver. 20). Ground is the symbol of goodness; for this is the ground into which the seeds of truth should be received. The good ground is an honest and good heart, said the Lord Jesus (Luke viii. 15). Those states are properly spiritual, in which the spirit of truth is the principle from which man acts as the guiding rule of his life. Those states are properly celestial, in which love or goodness is the leading characteristic. When a man is in spiritual states he is rigidly right, aims at constant correctness in the path of duty, is perhaps brilliant, and delights in pursuing the truth, but is comparatively cold. When a man is in the celestial state, he is gentle, loving, kind, merciful, easy entreated, long-suffering, ever regarding goodness as the chief object of his care, and in all his religious duties, warm. The spiritual man regards the water of heaven or truth mainly ; the celestial man, the ground of heaven, or goodness, mainly. Hence the first feature of distinction which the discriminating mind will notice between the two chapters.
The next distinctive feature between them, is in the different name employed to express the Deity. In the first chapter, everything is done by God, Elohim; in the second, by the Lord God, Jehovah Elohim. This circumstance has led some to conjecture that the two are merely separate traditions of the creation collated by Moses, and giving only the speculations of the writers respecting the origin of men and of all things. But this idea, in order to explain the difficulty of finding the Creator designated by different names, leads us to the unspeakably greater difficulty, of a denial of revelation. For, if we deny this portion of the Divine Word to be anything more than unauthorized traditions of unknown writers, we by implication deny the whole Bible to be a divine revelation, for the whole proceeds upon the basis of this early part being divinely true. And what a result is this! To think that our Heavenly Father has left his immortal children without a guide ! that He who provides bounteously its food for the humblest insect has left man's spiritual demands unsatisfied! Oh no! we cannot admit so terrible a result. Man, already an angel in embryo, asks for angel's food, and He who has provided for all his other wants, must have provided for this. "Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." “ Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." That which seems an an imperfection in the divine revelation only appears so, because the spiritual character of that revelation was not seen. " The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” — Ps. xix ; and when its application to the soul is seen, its divine beauty and excellence at once are made manifest.
But when we ascertain the spiritual sense of the names God and Lord, we shall find that their diversity is an example of the divine excellence and perfection of the Holy Word, as well as an illustration of the truth of our principle of unfolding it. The appellation God (or powers) is expressive of the divine truths, which manifest the powers of God, and which, under the name of the divine laws, really effect all which God does in the entire universe. The appellation, Jehovah, (He who is) designates the inmost existence of Deity, the Divine Love. God is love. The two grand essentials of Deity, Infinite Love, the source of all the goodness of the Lord, and Infinite Wisdom, the source of all the truth from the Lord, are constantly referred to in the Old Testament, and discriminated from each other by these two names Jehovah, or Lord, and God. ''I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me," means that we appeal to the Divine Truth, but Divine Love really saves us. " Yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation," directs our attention to both divine, principles as sources of interior joy. By noticing the use of these two appellations, and bearing the signification in mind, a beauty and force will be found in the Holy Word which was before unsuspected, but is eminently interesting and important.
While man is in the spiritual states of his regeneration, truth is the spring of his conduct — his guiding star, his impelling power. He follows it, he bows to it ; it rules him, fights for him, recreates and renews him. Hence God does all for him in these states. Although Divine Love is really within the Divine Truth at all times, man is not consciously aware of this. He abides by the language of the poet,
" For troth alone, where'er my lot be cast,
In scenes of plenty, or the pining waste.
Shall be my chosen theme— my glory to the last.”
When, however, man has entered into a celestial state, and, in all he does, goodness has the lead, a great change is gradually effected in his mode of thinking. He does not value truth less, but he esteems Christian love and goodness, more. He is no longer prone to dispute about truth, but is only careful to practise it. The law is written upon his heart ; it is no longer the object of reasoning. He sees it by light from within ; he says, Yea, yea, to what he inwardly perceives to be right, or Nay, nay, to the reverse. He is now at peace, and has but to cultivate and preserve the virtues Divine Love and Wisdom have unfolded within him. He is in Eden, and has only to dress, and to keep it. In all the divine dealings with him now, he sees the Divine Love as manifest as the Divine Wisdom. He discerns not only the right of Providence in all things, but its mercy. It is no longer God only, but Jehovah God who leads him. It is the Deity as his Father that he rejoices to hear. He feels His love around him, and within him, and he is happy. He lives in his Father's house ; his Father's commands are no hard laws to him, but delightful directions. He loves the law, and has great peace, (Ps. cxix. 165). This, therefore, is the sufficient reason for the name of the Lord being Jehovah God in the second chapter, and simply God in the first.
The third distinctive peculiarity is, that man is described in the first chapter as being created male and female, on the sixth day. In the second, after the seventh day is described, he is created as Adam, alone, and not until many proceedings are narrated which cannot be supposed as having taken place in twelve or twenty-four hours, it is found not to be good for man to dwell alone, and during Adam's sleep. Eve is formed. We do not mean it to be inferred that we think man's physical creation is related in either the first or the second chapter. An enquiry into that, is the proper subject of natural science, not of divine revelation. God's Word has to do with souls, churches, and man's spiritual career, not with earthly questions which scientific lore is quite adequate to solve. There are sufficient indications of the existence of other inhabitants of the world in the time of Adam and Eve, to shew that their history is not the account of the single solitary family of human beings, then inhabiting the globe. Cain went into the land of Nod, and there he took a wife (chap. iv. 17). Whence came this wife, if there were no other people yet existing than his own father and mother? When he slew his brother Abel, and was convicted by Jehovah, he complained that when he was cast out from His presence, every one that met him would kill him, and Jehovah set a mark upon him for his protection. Of whom could he be afraid, if there were no one on earth, but his father and mother ? He built a city, it is said, and called it after the name of his son Enoch (ver. 17). Whence did they get the building materials ? Surely a city implies more than one family.
In thinking, therefore, of Adam, we must dismiss from our minds the idea of the natural creation of man, as the subject of our divine narrative at all. Doubtless God created the physical universe, and man upon it ; but that is not the subject now, nor of that Revelation whose grand purpose everywhere is not natural history, nor external events, except as the medium of conveying heavenly and divine instruction (Isa, lv. 8).
Adam is the generic name for all human beings ; in Hebrew it is equivalent to Man. Hence it is said in the fifth chapter of the book before us (ver. 2), “God created them male and female, and called their name Adam in the day," &c. This single appellation, Man, was expressive, among the wise ones of old, of human beings in a regenerated state; and as these, when presented together in the divine sight, compose one body (Cor. xii. 12), the Church, however numerous they may be, they are called by this one name, MAN or Adam.
This is expressed very strikingly in the Hebrew of Ezek. xxxiv. 31 : " And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are Adam, and I am your God, saith the Lord Jehovah."
Let us resume then the enquiry for the spiritual reason why man is spoken of in the first chapter, as having been created male and female, and in the second as Adam, alone.
In the spiritual states of man, which we have seen to be described in the first chapter, and in which truth in the intellect is the sovereign ruler, the two grand faculties of the mind are distinctly presented, as male and female. The intellect is male, for intellect predominates in the properly developed manly character; the will, the seat of the affections, is female, for the heart is the predominating characteristic of the true womanly character. Both these grand faculties are, however, found in each mind, so that, in a certain sense, each mind is male and female, and when both the heart and the understanding are combined in the reception of true religion, in that mind there is a marriage, an interior union of the truth which is understood, with the goodness which is loved : their land is married (Isa. Lxii. 4), they know the truth, and they are happy because they do it.
Now, while man is in spiritual states, and has first to learn the truth by slow investigation and reasoning, and afterwards to bring his heart by further effort, to adopt the truth, and do it, he perceives these two faculties of his soul very distinctly, as though they were separate. He feels that he is male and female. But when he has entered into the celestial state, so that love from the heart rules every lower faculty and power, this divided consciousness disappears. He feels as one embodiment of love, from first to last. Heavenly love in him adores, love believes, love bears, love speaks, love acts. He becomes a form of holy love. That principle glistens in his eye, pervades his language, and if the spirit could be visibly presented to the sight, it would be a beautiful form of celestial affections embodied. Because this state, the celestial one, is the subject of the second chapter, Adam is presented up to the time when something not good is discovered, and of which we shall speak in our next discourse, as dwelling in Eden alone.
We have a parallel presented in Deut. xxxiii. 28 : " Israel then shall dwell in safety, alone : the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of com and wine ; also, his heavens shall drop down dew." Here, Israel is treated as one person, and dwelling alone, when there was nothing foreign, or adverse there. The loneliness is not that of solitariness, but of unity. So is it in the celestial state of man, or of the Church. The ruling love, being heavenly, glows like a celestial fire in the highest region of the soul, wisdom, like a flame from that fire, illuminates the whole mind with a calm and holy light, all things below, have been moulded to delightful and ready obedience, and happy order rules in every principle of the character and life. Then, man dwells in Eden, in safety, alone.
Such, then, are some of the lessons which are presented for our consideration, in the divine account of man in Eden, spiritually understood.
In this view of it, we have no longer a subject of doubt, perplexity, and profitless mystery. It is a lesson of the mode by which happiness was attained and enjoyed by the most ancient men ; it is also a description of the only mode in which happiness can be attained now.
We must return to the Eden state, or we can never attain the joys of Paradise. The Lord will sow the good seed of the Word in our souls, if we will permit Him. He will give us power to cultivate our minds, and make our souls like a watered garden. We must have His love and wisdom like a tree of lives in the centre of our garden, and of its fruits we may eat and live. This is the only way of securing paradise. The kingdom of God must be formed within (Luke xvii. 21). It is indeed not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. xiv. 17). How vain is the dream of those, who fancy that to find happiness, they must seek it in distant lands — some in Jerusalem, some in Mecca, some in America. Heaven and happiness are as near in our beloved land as on any spot of God's earth, and by them who seek faithfuUy, by help from our blessed Saviour, the Lord Jesus, to subdue the sources of misery in themselves; in their vices, their passions, and their follies, whether they dwell id a palace or in a cottage, in our island, or in distant lands, the divine promise will to them be realized. “The Lord shall comfort Zion : he will comfort all her waste places ; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord ; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.'' — Isa. li. 3.
Have we, then, felt our hearts at times like a desert, cheerless, cold, and bare, our minds tossed about in the world's wide wilderness, and tormented with doubts and fancies as wild as those around us ? — let us look to Him who said, " I am the vine, and My Father is the husbandman." Let Him purify our affections and rule our thoughts. Let us perseveringly co-operate with our Divine Saviour, and in due time beauty and blessing will diffuse themselves over the spirit, and peace and joy will reign for ever there. " The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them ; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom like the rose." — Isa. xxxv. 1.
Author: JONATHAN BAYLEY --From The Divine Word Opened (1887)