No. 1301, Genesis 3:9

Jacob Cushing
Congregational; Waltham, Massachusetts 1770-09-14, 1770-09-16
bms 488, Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School

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And the Lord called unto Adam, & said unto him, where art thou (Genesis 3:9) ?

That we may, in some good Degree, have our Hearts affected with redeeming Love, & the Salvation brought us by the second Adam, it may not be improper to take a View of our Misery by the first, for which I have chosen these words—

We have here the Voice of Man's Creator and Judge, making Inquisition after his Creature now lost & by his early Disobedience fallen from him.

God made Man upright, after his own Image; but being in Honor, thro' forgetting his Maker, he continued not, but fell from his Obedience & Glory, into a Vileness like that of the Beasts that perish.

Our first parents hearkening to the Temptation of the Devil & braking thro' the divine Law by eating of the forbidden fruit, soon experienced a sad Change in themselves. And as soon as they discovered it, like guilty Criminals, they attempted to fly from Justice.

Their great Creator coming into paradise after the apostasy, & finding his Creatures fled, avoiding his presence & hiding themselves among the Trees, he calls to one of them in these words of the Text, "Adam, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9) which words may be considered—

1. As an Expression of Admiration, i.e. How great & sudden a Change! Where! whither is

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The Creature gone, which I so lately made & dearly loved; with whom I was so well pleased, & took so much delight; who lately above all Things desired my Company, & rejoiced in it, placing his Life in my favor & Love? What a strange Turn is made? & from whence can it proceed? Is man afraid of his God that he thus runs from him? Is he impatient of my presence, weary of my Converse, unwilling of further Acquaintance with me, that he now retires at my Approach & seems to hide? He was not wont do do so. "Adam, where art thou" (Genesis 3:9) ?

2. As a Question put to Adam for Conviction, to bring him to a closer Consideration & deeper Sense of his Sin. "Adam, where art thou" (Genesis 3:9) ? i.e. my Son & offspring, whom I made in a very peculiar Manner made after my own Image, & for my Glory, the chief of my Works in this lower [symbol: world], & to be prince over them all. Thou, whom I have so greatly obliged, & done so much for, & had such just Expectations from, & such great Concern about. "Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9) hast thou forsaken me, who gave thee Life, & Breath, & Being? Me who raised thee out of nothing, & took thee into that nearest Relation to myself; & to whom I have subjected the Works of my hands, & brought into a furnished [symbol: sphere], & placed in a paradise of mine own planting, therein giving thee all things necessary to thy felicity on Earth? & I would not have accounted this to have been enough for thee, & thy all, if thou hadst continued obedient, but after a while, would have given thee even glory in Heaven with myself

"Adam, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9) thou who was lately in Covenant with Me, & then was mine; acknowledging me thy owner, & sovereign Lord, whom thou wouldst love & serve, & live devoted to obey, in whatever was Known to thee to by my Will; why then dost

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thou decline my presence, & seek to withdraw from it? What place can be desirable where I am not? And what provocation have I given, or what Iniquity Hast thou found in me, that should incline thee now to affect a distance from me? What more could I have done, or promised, to engage a Creature's affection? And is it not an Instance of thy perverseness that thou runnest from me, & art loth to be seen?

"Where art thou" (Genesis 3:9) , whom I made the Head of all thy kind, & upon whose faithfulness or disobedience, your Happiness or Misery, depends?

3. God may thus speak, "Adam, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9) by way of Taunt or Reproach, to lay open Man's folly in hearkening to the tempter of his Temptation. What Acquisition hast thou made by adventuring to sin, against all the Barriers I put in thy way? Has it proved a successful attempt, to strain to become like God by casting away his fear & Image? Or is Rebellion & Disobedience the way to glory? Are the Tempter's promises fulfilled, & thy vain Conceits answered of bettering thy State, & rising higher, by contradicting thy Maker's Will in eating of the forbidden fruit? Is Knowledge of good from the Loss of it, & the Experience of the contrary, so great an Attainment? And what fruit is there in Sin, that is not just Matter of Shame?

Some suppose those Words of the twenty-second Verse may be understood in an ironical Sense, "behold the Man is become as one of us" (Genesis 3:22) ; i.e. behold how near he is arrived to an Equality with his Maker! He lately arrived to that Eminence that he was so loth so be seen & advanced higher in Wisdom, that he sought to hide himself among the Trees, from him who filleth heaven & Earth; as if he that made the Eye could Not see or any thing could [screen] from his View. Behold how happy the Man has made himself by his Apostasy! But

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4. It is the Language of Divine Compassion, intimating the real Sadness of Adam's State. God early saw & pitied the lapsed Creature, & thus, as it were, lamented over him; "Adam, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9) i.e. how low art thou sunk? how vile art thou become? what Happiness has thou forsaken & cast away? What Misery hast thou chosen, & beginnest to to feel, which puts thee upon flight? but where can he find, a Refuge that runs from God? How precious a Soul hast thou defiled, destroyed, & undone?

From the whole, the Observation I shall make is this. Man by his early transgressing the Law of his Creator, fell from his original Happiness, into a most wretched & deplorable State. From his not continuing in his primitive Innocence & Honor, the Glory is departed. "The Crown is fallen from our heads wo unto us that we have sinned—" (Lamentations 5:16) ; In speaking to this, I shall,

I. Give some Account of this primitive Apostasy; that the Blame may appear to lie on the Sinner himself.

II. Consider the Misery consequent hereupon—&

III. Clear the Wisdom, Goodness & Righteousness of God in his proceedings with Man with Reference to it—

I. Concerning the primitive Apostasy, how it came to pass that Man being in Honor, fell from it—

1. Tis evident from the Event, that Man, tho' created perfectly holy, was yet in a Mutable State. He wanted nothing necessary to his standing; but yet might fall, & lose the purity & felicity wherewith he was crowned. His Rectitude, tho' natural, was not inseparable from his Being, nor his Happiness impossible to be forfeited by Sin. He was made little lower than the Angels, & capable of the everlasting Blessedness with them; but yet, in the way to it, by turning aside or going back, he might come short of the Glory of God. As a rational

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Creature, God governed him according to his Nature, by a law fully acquainting him with his Will, as the Rule of his Duty, & Expectations; & then held him upon Trial, to see how he would carry it; that so he might be rewarded, or punished according to his Choice.

Thus God dealt with the Angels themselves, who being at first left in a state of probation, such of them as fell were cast out of Heaven; while the rest, those of them that abode constant, were confirmed in their Blessedness for ever; as Man should have been, had he retained his Integrity during the Time of his Trial. How long that should have lasted, is not signified; his desertion following so close upon his Creation.

2. The occasion of this Apostasy of Man was Satan's Temptation. From implacable Hatred of God & his Image, he set upon our first Parents to draw them to sin, & sadly prevailed. He is called "the wicked one"—as being most full of sin, & restless in his Endeavors to propagate it to others. The Devil was a Murderer from the Beginning, & still goes about "as a roaring Lion seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8) . Even paradise itself was not free from his Assaults, nor did innocent Adam, when tempted by him, long keep his standing therein. But,

3. Man's fall was voluntary, & his sin is to be charged upon himself. God gave him Grace Sufficient for his standing, in the Use of which he might have been safe. The Devil could not force his Will to comply with his Temptation to commit Sin. He only tempted by the proposal of the forbidden fruit, which with what Advantage soever set off, had no constraining Influence. The Disguise might have been seen thro', & the Bait rejected with the same

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Ease as it was made. Grace & Reason might, & ought to have guarded the Senses, restrained the lower faculties, abhorred the Motion, & resolutely denied Compliance; upon which a pleasing Victory had ensued; but by the astonishing Neglect of these, Man suffered himself to be drawn away with the Lure of enjoying sensual pleasure, & attaining to strange perfection in Knowledge; & he having the determining of his own Will, falls into the most heinous Transgression, & so makes a voluntary departure from God. This brings me,

II. To consider the Misery consequent hereupon; which we may do under these two Heads—viz. —What Man lost—& what he became subject to.

As to what he lost—,—He lost his original Righteousness, & divine qualities making up the Image of God that adorned his Soul. This was the necessary consequent of Sin, & flowed from it upon a legal, & upon a natural Account. Twas the express determination of the Law, that if Man did sin, he must die, in which the spiritual death was included, the retiring of the Holy Ghost from him; upon which Grace expires & vanishes out of the Soul, as necessarily as light out of the Air upon the withdrawing of the Sun.—The Son was the principle of all that holy light, life & Love,—wherewith the human Nature in Innocency was crowned; of the heavenly frame & Temper whereby Man resembled God & was inclined towards him. This by the first Transgression Man forfeited, & according to the threatening of the Law, is justly deprived of. The provoked Son returned to Heaven, & carried with him his abused Grace; leaving the Soul all dark and deformed, & as a ruined Temple in which he would no longer dwell.

And as Sin meritoriously procured this, as

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being a Breach of the Law of God; so it had a natural Influence hereunto, being as opposite to Grace & Holiness, as darkness to Light, & swaying to as much different an End. Innocent Adam had the Glory of God for his End, his Will for his Rule, to which all his Powers were dispose’d to yield a ready Compliance; to honor & please his Maker was his Business & delight, & the Enjoyment of his presence & favor, his highest felicity. This was the Rectitude of the Soul as it came out of God's Hand. But in adventuring to Sin, Man renounced all this, forsook God as his sovereign Ruler, & set up his Will against his; & turned to the Creature as his chief Good, in which he would place & seek his felicity & Rest.

And now you may behold the Man with his Back upon Heaven, estranged from God, & having his Heart as well as his feet upon the Earth; his time & strength laid out for it, his Thoughts, Aims, desires, Hopes, & all his affections centering in it. This is the Tendency of Sin, & this was its dreadful Effect upon our first parents, even the quenching & expelling of all Grace. And that it does not do so still even with respect to the regenerate; as well as others, is not for want of malignity in it; but because they stand upon a different foundation, being united to God their vital Head; and being under a better Government, one assuring “that because he lives, they shall live also.” 1 But the first Adam had no such Security; & so for want of it, by the first Transgression, was despoiled of his original Righteousness.

Consequent hereupon, he also lost Communion with God, grew strange to him, & was rejected by

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him. As he cast off his Maker’s Image, so he is cast out of his favor. Sin separates between Man & his God, interrupts the blessed Converse that was before between them, so as no more to be enjoyed till the Sinner’s enmity is subdued, & his Nature & state changed, & he is washed, & justified, & sanctified in the Name of the Lord God, & by the Spirit of God1 Cor. 6:11 (1 Corinthians 6:11) for what Communion hath light with Darkness, Righteousness with Unrighteousness, the pure God with polluted Sinners? Only such as are again created after the Image of God can truly say, our fellowship is with the father, & with his Son, Jesus Christ. Again,

As when God goes, all that is valuable goes with him, Man also lost his inward peace by Means of his Transgression. Whilst he pleased his Maker, he reaped that Satisfaction which is the fruit of Innocence; but all was lost by his willful Rebellion. Sin that banishes Holiness, drives peace too from the Soul, & makes a Wound in the Son that none can bear. Having violated the Law of his Creator, Adam now conceives him armed with Vengeance against him, and ready to execute the terrible Sentence. He trembles at the Thought of God, & dreads his presence. I heard, saith he, “thy Voice in the Garden, & was afraid” (Genesis 3:10) . And well he might, having made the Almighty his Enemy, & who knoweth the power of his Anger? according to his fear, so is his Wrath.

Moreover, He loses his Hope of heaven, & puts himself out of the way to it. By sinning he comes short of the Glory of God. And having nothing to expect as to a better [symbol: world], how little Satisfaction should he have in this, when he was condemned already, & out of which he was, ere long, to die? But this leads us to consider

2. What Man further became subject to.— He was universally depraved, & became a Slave to

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Sin. Original Righteousness being lost, a deep Corruption succeeded & overspread the whole Man in Soul & Body no part was left unstained or free. And as Sin defiles, so it also enslaves. It reigns in the mortal Body, & debases the Soul; employing the faculties of the one, & Members of the other, as Instruments of Unrighteousness; & Man yields himself a Servant thereto; to fulfill it in the Lusts thereof. His corrupt Nature renders him averse to good, inclined to Evil, & so fixed in it, as to be unwilling to be set free.

As a Consequent of this he fell under the Tyranny of Satan. The Devil having overcome and drawn Man to sin, takes him captive at his Will, & rules over him in order to his Ruin. Hence such as are in their natural State, are said “to walk according to the prince of the power of the Air, & Spirit that worketh in the Children of Disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2) .

He was moreover exposed to the Wrath of God. He that was the favorite of Heaven now fell under his maker’s frown, & had Justice armed against him, ready to inflict the deserved punishment—& had nowhere to fly from it, no power to resist it. How can dried stubble contend with the devouring flame? Again,

An awakened accusing Conscience sharpened his sorrow, as what he madly procured to himself. The Sinner not only loses his inward peace, but is filled with horror. The arrows of the Almighty stick in him; his own Thoughts are set loose upon him; of the Multitude of which, what could have abated, & at last removed, the pain, had not the promise of a Redeemer been made?

Further, The Curse of the Law cleaves to him, embittering all the Comforts of Life, & filling it with all Manner of Miseries and Distresses—

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He is also liable to Death with all the pains that lead to it. This is expressed in the Sentence, “Dust thou art & unto Dust shalt thou return," (Genesis 3:19) . The Soul & Body, how close soever united, must undergo a Dissolution. “As by one Man Sin entered into the [symbol: world], & Death by Sin, & so Death passed upon all Men, for that all have sinned—” (Romans 5:12) ; Nor is this all; for,

Lastly, the Sinner stands condemned to Hell: To be banished from the presence of God, where there is fullness of Joy, & cast into the place of Torment, to suffer the Vengeance of eternal fire. This being so dreadful, I go on,

III. To vindicate the Wisdom, Goodness & Righteousness of God in his Dealings with Man; which is necessary considering the Difficulties that seem to lie against the permission of the fall, & what followed thereupon, & how far its Effects extend, & to whom; at the Thoughts of which, carnal Reason is apt to plead thus;

1. How strange is it, that Man should not be confirmed in his holy & happy State, immediately, upon his production, if we consider with how much Counsel and Design he is made!

Man in a very peculiar Manner was formed by the Finger of God, & in the nearest Resemblance to him. The sacred Trinity seem to have entered on the work with special Care & Consultation, “Let us make Man in our own Image” (Genesis 1:26) . Man was designed to be the chief of all God's Creatures in this lower [symbol: world]; & therefore made last, & brought into Being, when all things were made ready for his Reception; that he might be ready immediately to contemplate & adorn his Creator's perfections shining forth in them all, & give him the praises that were his due. Besides, for his Sake God seems to review his Works with an additional Satisfaction, pronouncing them all very good, & taking a special Delight in them.

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How is it then, that so finished a Piece should be made in a possibility of falling, & so be left no without danger of being dashed in pieces soon after it was made? Why was not the Image of God so strongly & eminently drawn upon the Soul, as would have effectually secured it beyond all fear of being effaced; that so God might always have beheld with Delight the Works of his Hands, & never had his Glory in danger of being darkened in this lower World?

2. Why was the Tempter permitted to set upon the first parents, & that so early, & in so subtle a Manner, hiding himself in the Body of a Serpent, the better to conceal his Design, & work their Ruin?

3. At least, why would God suffer this when he foreknew Man would yield, be seduced, ensnared, fall a prey to the Prince of Darkness, & the Enemy of his Glory, as well as of Man’s felicity; who would hereupon boast, that he had ruined that Creature God had made for himself, & by whose free Obedience he expected to be most honored; & would take occasion rejoicingly to say, that God had made Man in vain?

4. And how easily could God have hindered this, by superadding such further Measures of Grace, as should have rendered Man certainly victorious against all the Assaults of Satan wherewith he could be tried?

And it may increase our Wonder that he did not, considering how hateful Sin is to him, that for which he spared not the Angels, but for ever banished them his presence, as no longer to be endured in Heaven; why then would he suffer that abominable thing to be spread any further, and to defile & disturb his Rest upon Earth?—

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And moreover how is it consistent with those divine perfections, Mercy & Goodness, to inflict so severe a punishment for the first Offense & one which seems so small a Matter; & not to confine this punishment neither, to our first parents, but to inflict it upon all their Offspring so largely here on Earth, even to the World’s End? For answer,

1. Let it be laid as a firm Ground, “God is righteous, in all his Ways, & holy in all his Works” (Psalms 145:17) His absolute Dominion over us, & propriety in us, that we are made by him, & for him, should dispose us humbly, to adore, & not to entertain the least rising Thought against any of his Dispensations.

2. Tis plain, that Man when made at first, as well as when new made, must say, “by the Grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 5:10) . Twas the Bounty of his Creator that gave him his Being & he denied him nothing that was due, tho’ he did not fix him in his Blessedness.

3. Man being a rational Creature, capable of being ruled by a Law, & of serving God by Love & Choice; for the discovery of these, it was not fit that in one & the same Instant he should be brought out of nothing into a confirmed State of Holiness, but held for a Time upon Trial & probation; that he might have Title to the Reward promised, or fall justly under the threatened punishment, as he obeyed or transgressed the Law given him for the Rule of his Actions.—

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4. He was furnished at his Creation with power sufficient to stand, & laid under the strongest Obligations to stand. What could be expected that God should have done more for him in order hereto, than he had done? he made him after his own Image, in Knowledge, Righteousness & true Holiness; gave him an excellent Being, and an Happiness suitable to it. He instructed him in his Law, requiring the most reasonable Service, & urging to this by the most terrible Threatening, to warn & deter Man from Disobedience, whereby his Hatred of it was evidenced. And God made Man the most alluring promise to encourage his Obedience, & to shew how much he desired his felicity, & his real Unwillingness of his Revolt & Ruin.

No Means were wanting, or Strength denied, sufficient to Man’s Safety, had he been faithful in using them, as he might & ought. And how little strange need it seem, that a Creature so amply furnished, so strongly obliged to stand, should be put upon some Trial, in order to fit him for his after State of full perfection and Rewards?

5. The Temptation wherewith he was assaulted might have been easily repelled. The Devil did not set upon our first Parents with external Violence, as on Job; & to whatever Advantage he represented the forbidden fruit, Man might soon have seen thro’ the Disguise, considered the Danger, & with abhorrence rejected the Bait.

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And had he done so, the stronger the Temptation, the more signal Proof had he given of his steady Obedience, to his Maker’s praise. And tho’ God knew, that Man, if tempted, would certainly, & did not hinder it; so neither was he bound to do it. Moreover,

God knew also the great Ends he would serve in permitting this fall. He knew that this would give him Occasion to magnify the Riches of his Grace towards perishing Sinners; to make a better Covenant after the Violation of the first; to send his Son to seek & to save that which was lost; to deliver us from the Wrath to come, repair the divine Image on the Soul, & raise us from an earthly to a celestial paradise; & God designed thus to advance his own Glory, on the dark Ground of Man’s Sin & Misery.

Lastly, Whatever Punishment is denounced or inflicted upon Man’s Disobedience, none that either consider the Evil of Sin in general, or takes a just View of the first Transgression in particular, can think it exceeds the Offense.

That Man, who was just brought out of nothing, should presently go into Rebellion against his God that gave him Life & Breath; that Man should renounce his Author, & affect to be equal with him; that Man should despise his goodness, trample on his Law, deny his Truth, & believe in, & obey the Devil before God, to the destroying himself & all his Offspring; that Man should do this,

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who was lately made after the Image of God, & had no Corruption within to incline him to sin, nor any Temptation without but what he might easily resist; that Man should do this, in such a place as paradise, in the presence of God, & where he had lately been taken into Covenant with him, & had had so many Things to put him in Mind of that Covenant, to keep him faithful to it; that he, against so plain a Command, & so large a promise, & terrible a threatening, & while he had sufficient Power to persevere in Obedience; notwithstanding all this, should forsake his God, & come short of his Glory; O what aggravated Guilt doth it lay him under! & with what Horror should it be thought of, that Man thus sinned, & so most deservedly died! Let me close briefly with


1. How mutable is the best Creature, if left to itself! how prone to change! Man holy & happy as he came out of God's Hand, soon loses all that is valuable, & lays himself open to whatever is dreadful. Who after such a Turn as this, will not learn, that if ever we are safe, it must be in a dependence upon him with whom there is no Variableness, nor Shadow of turning?

2. How different a Thing is Sin in reality, from what it appears, & the Sinner apprehends when he ventures upon it? How soon is it found true in Experience, what God declares in his Word, “he that sinneth against me,

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wrongeth his own Soul, & all they that hate me love Death” (Proverbs 8:36) .

3. Was Man in Innocence so soon betrayed, what reason have we to watch & pray, that we enter not into Temptation? Let not a Day pass wherein you don’t send up your earnest Request to Heaven, Lord, preserve Me. Suffer me not to fall a prey to the roaring Lion, that goeth about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) .

Lastly, Is the Misery so great into which Man fell by Sin, how dear should be the Name of a Savior? how desirable an Interest in him? seeing Help for us is laid on one mighty to save? how restless should you be to obtain this Help, & have it cleaved up to you, that you have obtained it?

Now unto him that can do abundantly more than you can ask or think—“To the only wise God, & our Savior, be Glory and Majesty, Dominion & power, both now & forever” (Jude 1:25) . Amen.


September 16, 1770 At Waltham.


1. John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament, Vol. 3 (London: 1748), 309.