Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Notable Quotes 10

Some think that Adam was not deceived, and did not believe what the serpent had persuaded the woman to, but rather fell, out of love to his wife, whom he was unwilling to grieve; and therefore, though he was conscious of a divine command, and not exposed to the wiles of Satan, yet that he might not abandon her in this condition, be tasted the fruit she offered; probably believing, that this instance of his affection for the spouse whom God had given him, if in any measure faulty, might be easily excused. To this they refer the apostle’s words, 1 Tim. ii. 14. "For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression." But this carries us off from the simplicity of the divine oracles; the design of the apostle is plainly to shew, that the woman ought not to exercise any dominion over her husband, for two reasons which he urges: 
1st. Because Adam was first created as the head, and then Eve, as a help meet for him. 
2dly. Because the woman shewed she was more easily deceived, for being deceived first, she was the cause of deceiving her husband, who was likewise deceived (though not first) but by her means: for we commonly find in scripture, that some things seem to be absolutely denied, which we are to understand only as denied in a restrictive sense: John vi. 27. and Phil. ii. 4. are instances of this. Nor can we conceive how Adam, when he believed that what he did was forbidden by God, and that if he did it he should forfeit the promised happiness, nay, incur most certain death, (for all this he must know and believe, if he still remained uncorrupted by the wiles of Satan,) would have taken part in the crime only to please his wife. Certainly if he believed that the transgression of the divine command, the contempt of the promised felicity, and his rash exposing himself to the danger of eternal death, could be excused only by his affection for his wife, he no less shamefully erred, nor was less deceived, if not more, than his consort herself. Nor can it be concluded from his answer to God, in which he throws the blame, not on the serpent’s deceit, but on the woman whom God had given him, that the man fell into this sin, not so much by an error in the understanding, as giving way to his affection; for this subverts the whole order of the faculties of their soul, since every error in the affection, supposes some error in the understanding. This was doubtless an error, and indeed one of the greatest, to believe that a higher regard was to be paid to his affection for his wife, than to the divine command. It was a considerable error to think that it was an instance of love to become an accomplice in sin; because it is the duty of love to convince the sinner, and as far as may be restore him to the favour of God, which certainly Adam would have done, had he been entirely without error. In whatever light therefore we view this point, we are obliged to own that he was deceived: the only apology Adam would make, seems to be, that his beloved consort had, by her insinuations which she had learned from the serpent, persuaded him also, and that he was not the first in that sin, nor readily suspected any error or deception by her, who was given him as an help by God. 

Herman Witsius, Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man I.VIII.IX

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