Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said…
I. MEN'S WORDS AND SPEECHES ARE USUALLY PROPORTIONED ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF THE AFFECTIONS OF THE HEART.
1. First, because words being ordained to be the means of representing the thoughts of the heart within, it is agreeable to all reason that they should express them in their full proportion, as the glass doth the face.
2. Secondly, because although the understanding be, or at least should, hold the reins of the tongue, yet the affections add the spurs unto it, as indeed they do many times give the measure to our actions themselves, as we run according to our fear, fight according to our anger, and wake according to our hope and desire; and so in many other of our actions.
II. WHEN WE REMEMBER ANY LAW OF GOD, WE OUGHT WITHAL TO SET BEFORE US THE SANCTION ANNEXED THEREUNTO.
1. Together with God's name is represented unto us His authority, and withal both His wisdom and goodness, which will be an effectual means to stay and silence all carnal reasonings, which otherwise will very hardly be answered, considering how hard a matter it is for the wisdom of the flesh to submit to the law (Romans 8:7). But against God Himself, who dare dispute with the apostle (Romans 9:20).
2. By the same means we are quickened to obedience with cheerfulness, when we consider that they are the commandments of that God who gave us our being and in whom we subsist, to whom we owe ourselves and all we have, and from whom we expect glory and immortality and eternal life. See David's answer to his scoffing wife (2 Samuel 6:21).
3. Only this looking upon God in all His commandments makes our services duties of obedience when they are performed at the command and in submission to the will of Him whose we are, whereby we acknowledge both His authority and besides His will to be the rule of righteousness. Lastly, it wonderfully stirs us up to watchfulness, diligence, and sincerity in all our carriage, when we behold the presence, majesty, and holiness of Him to whom we perform our duties, serving Him with reverence and fear and with a single heart, as being the God who sees in secret, and whose eyes are purer than to behold evil.
III. WHEN WE LAY THE LAW OF GOD BEFORE US, WE MUST WITHAL FIX OUR THOUGHTS UPON HIM THAT GIVES IT.
1. For God's honour, that all our obedience may be tendered to Him, both in faith and fear.
2. For our own necessity, whose dead hearts need such effectual means to quicken us.
IV. IT IS A HARD MATTER TO BRING MAN'S HEART TO SUBMIT UNTO AND BEAR WITH PATIENCE AND CHEERFULNESS ANY YOKE OF RESTRAINT.
V. WHOSOEVER WILL NOT BE ENTANGLED BY ALLUREMENTS TO SIN, MUST NOT COME NEAR THEM. We may not stand in the council of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1), nor come near their paths, as Solomon adviseth (Proverbs 4:14); and we are commanded to hate the very garment spotted with the flesh (Jude 1:23). And this we must do —
1. Out of the conscience of the weakness of our corrupt nature, which as easily takes fire by the least allurement to sin as gunpowder doth by any spark that falls into it, or rather of itself draws towards it, as iron doth towards an adamant: now we know that he that will not be burnt must carry no coals in his bosom (Proverbs 6:27).
2. That we may manifest our perfect detestation of evil, which every man that will approve himself to be a lover of God must hate (Psalm 97:10).
VI. THE SLIGHTING OF THE CURSE OF THE LAW MAKES WAY TO THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.
(J. White, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?