So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way…
Behold man exiled from Eden! Behold the most heart-rending banishment that was ever denounced against any of the human race! We understand your grief and your tears, O unhappy beings, whom an inexorable arrest of the law snatches from all the endearments of a beloved land, where the hours of childhood have been spent, from all the joys of a family and friends tenderly beloved, from all the indescribable charms of the place where you learned to feel and to love, and removes you to some inhospitable clime, where the severest privations are the least of your evils, and where you languish, rather than love. But what are your afflictions, compared with those of our first father, when he went out of Eden at the voice of his Judge, to wander with his unhappy companion in the desert countries of an accursed earth! O delights of Eden, life of innocence and love, blissful retreats where the Lord revealed Himself to the soul, where everything was ravishing beauty without, and harmony and peace within, favours of Gods happiness of His love and of His presence; you are lost forever! Bitter regret! profound misery! Oh, could Adam find again the way to Eden! Oh that the flaming sword of eternal justice no longer glittered! But no, it is not so, my brethren; Adam can no longer even desire the abode in Eden; and this is the completion of his misery! To fallen man, Eden has no more attractions, no more glory, no more happiness. What avail the beauties of man's first abode? his heart, deprived of innocence and peace, could no longer enjoy them. What does it avail that the glorious majesty of the Lord still shines forth in all His works? man is despoiled and ashamed. What does it avail that he still beholds over his head the azure firmament of heaven, and the brightness with which it sparkles, while darkness reigns in his soul, and gloomy clouds hide from him the glory of the Most High? What does it avail that all created beings unite to send up on high one melodious hymn of praise? there is nothing now in the heart of man but discord, anguish, and grief. What does it avail what riches and abundance replenish Eden? man is poor, miserable, and naked. What avails the tree of knowledge? man sees in it an accusing witness of his crime. What avails the tree of life? man reads in it the sentence of death against himself. What avails even the presence of God! man now only sees in Him a Judge; he feels in His presence only the fear of a slave, the shame of a criminal, the terror of a condemned malefactor. He has fled at the voice of God; he has gone to hide his disgrace among the trees of Eden. Flee, Adam, flee far from thy God, far from Eden, which sin has made an abode of misery to thee; flee, and let the gates of Eden be closed upon thy footsteps, let the flaming sword forever guard its entrance against thee! O my beloved brethren! how hateful is sin in the sight of God! how bitter are its fruits! how disastrous its effects! Let the expulsion of Adam explain to us the incomprehensible mystery of a world sunk in evil, a world whose sufferings seem to fling an accusation against Providence; a world full of sin, crimes, injustice, animosities, war, and murders. Let this fact explain to us the contradictions, the continual afflictions of a life whose sources sin has poisoned, and whose relations with God it has destroyed! Let this fact explain the grief which has invaded the whole human race, and the numberless sufferings which result from man's want of harmony with himself and with his God! Let this fact explain to us disease and death — death, that mystery inscrutable to human wisdom, that abyss which has yawned beneath the feet of man, ever since he was banished from Eden! Ah! my brethren, deny it not, we also have been banished from Eden, or rather, we are born in this land of exile; Adam's lot has become ours; he has bequeathed unto us this sad heritage of sin, corruption, misery, and death!
Parallel VersesKJV: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.