Monday, February 20, 2012

John Lightfoot on Adam's Fall

Below is a section from a sermon on the Sabbath, by Dr. John Lightfoot of the Westminster Assembly.  In this particular portion, Lightfoot argues that Adam fell in the same day he was created.

"That Adam fell on the very day that he was created, needs not so much dispute about, for it is easy to be proved, - as it needs sorrow and wonder: wonder, that he, placed in so incomparable happiness, and having perfect power to continue in it, should set so light by that happiness, as to pass it off for an apple; and that he should lose that happiness on his first day, when he was able to have kept it all his days; and sorrow that the noblest of natures that God had created, should be so soon overthrown, and overthrown so sorely.  For proof of this, we may have recourse to Scripture, to reason and to the correspondence, that was betwixt the fall and the redemption.


1. To prove it by Scripture: First, observe that Psalm 49:12 "Nevertheless, man, being in honour, abideth not, but is like the beasts that perish."  The Psalmist in the verse before, shows the carnal confidence of worldly men: "their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations," etc.  And in this verse he shows how vain such confidences are.  For that man hath no abiding here in his "house," or "honour," but he must away.  And he lays it down, not only as a thin undoubted in itself, in the words that you have before you in your English bibles; but, in the original he includes the most proof of it, that could be produced.  For, in the original, the words speak literally, thus - "Adam in honour lodged not all night," but was fitted out of his honour before his first night came.  And if it were so with him in his great honour, and in his great ability, to have stood and remained in his honour - it is much more so with man, that is become sinful, mortal, and nothing but fading.  I say, the words in the original, bear also this sense, that "Adam in honour lodged not all night."  And so they speak and prove the thing we are upon, that he fell and faded on the very day he was created; and lost his honour and happiness before night came.


2. Second.  Observe that - John. 8:44.  "He was a murderer from the beginning."  The Syriac renders it, "From in the beginning;" the common phrase, whereby the Jewish nation expressed the "days of creation." So is it their common expression, whereby they denote the works of the creation, to call them [hebrew text] "the works in the beginning."  And the Jews that stood by, and heard Christ speak these words - "He was a murderer from the beginning" - could not otherwise understand it, than that he was a murderer even from the days of the creation - that he murdered Adam on the very day that he was created.  And so Christ meant in the words, as speaking according to the common and familiar language of the nation."

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