And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:…
I. THE MOST RIGHTEOUS AMONGST THE SONS OF MEN, MUST AND NEEDS TO LIVE UNDER A LAW.
1. For direction, for man is unfit to chose his own way, being through his ignorance so apt to mistake evil for good: neither is any able to find out what is truly good but God alone, who is goodness itself; and His will the rule of goodness which none can find out or reveal but Himself (1 Corinthians 2:11).
2. It is needful that by conforming to the law given us by God, we may testify our obedience and subjection unto Him; withal acknowledging and witnessing to the world, that we account His will in all things to be most just, which we take unto ourselves as the rule of our actions.
II. THE WILL OF GOD IS THAT ONLY, WHICH MAN IS TO LOOK UPON AND TAKE FOR HIS RULE TO GUIDE HIMSELF BY IN ALL HIS WAYS.
1. That by that means we may acknowledge God's absolute sovereignty when all things are done upon no other ground but because God will have it so.
2. Because nothing is infallibly good or holy but His will, as Himself is good and righteous, and there is no iniquity in Him (Deuteronomy 32:4), seeing nothing is fit to be the rule of other things but that which is in itself certain and unchangeable.
III. GOD IS PLEASED NOT ONLY TO GIVE A LAW TO DIRECT US, BUT TO FURNISH US WITH ALL NEEDFUL MEANS TO FURTHER US IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES REQUIRED THEREIN. And this He doth, partly, to manifest the sincerity of His affection towards us, in desiring our salvation; and partly, to justify Himself in the condemnation of those that refuse so great salvation so many ways tendered unto them, and so obstinately refused. Let us, then, make use of such helps and means as God is pleased to offer unto us, as being assured that He really intends what He so many ways labours to draw us to embrace; and, secondly, as having need of such helps to support us; and, thirdly, being liable to the greater Condemnation, by despising and rejecting them.
IV. THE MATTERS IN WHICH GOD DELIGHTS TO TRY OUR OBEDIENCE ARE MANY TIMES IN THEMSELVES OF NO GREAT IMPORTANCE.
1. To manifest our total subjection unto Him, when we are limited even in the smallest things.
2. To show us that it is only obedience and conformity to His will that God respects, and not She matter or substance of the thing itself in which He requires it.
3. To make our yoke the more easy, that we might be the more encouraged to obedience.
V. OUR ABUNDANCE, AND DELIGHTS, AND PLEASURES MUST BE USED IN FEAR AND WITHIN THE LIMITS OF OBEDIENCE.
VI. DISOBEDIENCE IS A FEARFUL SIN IN GOD'S ACCOUNT. And that especially because it is directed against the majesty of God Himself, whose authority is slighted and despised, when His laws and commandments are disobeyed. And, secondly, it opens a gap to all manner of looseness and disorder; nature knows no stay when it hath once passed the bounds of obedience, no more than a violent stream doth, when it hath once broken over those banks that before kept it in.
VII. THE TERRORS OF THE LAW ARE USEFUL AND NEEDFUL, EVEN UNTO THE BEST AMONGST THE SONS OF MEN.
VIII. DEATH AND DESTRUCTION ARE IN GOD'S HAND, TO INFLICT THEM WHERE HE PLEASETH. The consideration hereof, cannot but revive the heart of God's servants, hated and persecuted by men of the world, when they know their life and breath is in God's hand, which therefore none can take away, but by His will and decree; and therefore —
1. Not while God hath any use of their service here.
2. Not if they be of the number of Christ's redeemed ones, for whom He hath conquered death, and taken away the sting of it (1 Corinthians 15:55-57), and delivered them from the power of it.
IX. ALL KINDS OF EVILS AND MISERIES, PRESENT OR FUTURE, OUTWARD OR INWARD, ARE THE WAGES OF SIN.
X. GOD'S JUDGMENTS ARE CERTAIN AND INFALLIBLE, AS WELL AS HIS PROMISES OF MERCY. Resting upon the same grounds which are in themselves infallible.
1. The holiness of His nature, by which He is constantly moved to take vengeance on sin, as well as to reward righteousness.
2. His unalterable truth, which is firmer than heaven or earth. (See Numbers 14:23-35).
3. His unresistible power (Deuteronomy 32:39). Secondly, directed to the same end which God aims at in all His ways and works, the filling of the earth with His glory (Numbers 14:21), advanced in the acts of His justice, as well as of His mercy.
XI. VENGEANCE AND JUDGMENT FOLLOW SIN AT THE HEELS.
(J. White, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: