Chapter 9 - Of Man, and the Estate of InnocenceThe Order of Salvation and Damnation by William Perkins (1558-1602)
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Election is God’s decree “whereby on his own free will, he hath ordained certain men to salvation, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Reprobation is “that part of predestination, whereby God, according to the most free and just purpose of his will, hath determined to reject certain men unto eternal destruction, and misery, and that to the praise of his justice.”
Man, after he was created of God, was set in an excellent estate of innocencey. In this estate seven things are chiefly to be regarded.
1) The place. The garden of Eden, that most pleasant garden. Gen. 2:15, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
2) The integrity of man’s nature. Which was, Eph. 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This integrity hath two parts. The first is wisdom, which is a true and perfect knowledge of God, and of His will, in as much as it is to be performed of man, yea, and the counsel of God in all His creatures. Col. 3:10, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Gen. 2:19, “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
The second is justice, which is a conformity of the will, affections and powers of the body to do the will of God.
3) Man’s dignity, consisting of four parts. First, his communion with God, by which, as God rejoiced in His own image, so likewise man did fervently love God: this is apparent by God’s familiar conference with Adam, Gen. 1:29, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Secondly, his dominion over all the creatures of the earth, Gen. 2:19. Psalm 8:6, “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Thirdly, the decency, and dignity of the body, in which, though naked, as nothing was unseemly, so was there in it imprinted a princely majesty. Psalm 8:5, “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” 1 Cor. 12:23, “And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.” Fourthly, labor of the body without pain or grief, Gen. 3:17, 19, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
4) Subjection to God, whereby man was bound to perform obedience to the commandments of God: which are two. The one was concerning the two trees: the other the observation of the Sabbath.
God’s commandment concerning the trees, was ordained to be a proof and trial of man’s obedience. It consisteth of two parts: the first is the giving of the tree of life, that as a sign, it might confirm to man his perpetual abode in the garden of Eden, if still he persisted in his obedience, Rev. 2:7, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Prov. 3:18, “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” The second, is the prohibition to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, together with a communication of temporal and eternal death, if he transgressed this commandment. Gen. 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” This was a sign of death, and had his name of the event, because the observation thereof would have brought perpetual happiness, as the violation gave experience of evil, that is, of all misery, namely of punishment, and of guiltiness of sin.
God’s commandment concerning the observation of the Sabbath, is that by which God ordained the sanctification of the Sabbath. Gen. 2:3, “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
5) His calling, which is the service of God, in the observation of His commencements, and the dressing of the garden of Eden. Prov. 16:4, “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Gen. 2:15, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
6) His diet was the herbs of the earth, and fruit of every tree, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen. 1:29, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” And chapter 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
7) His free choice, both to will, and perform the commandment concerning the two trees, and also to neglect and violate the same. Whereby we see that our first parents were indeed created perfect, but mutable; for so it pleased God to prepare a way to the execution of His decree.