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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

As the Mosaic narrative gives an account of things natural, upon which things spirotual were afterwards to be established in word and substance; the key to his testimony is found in what actually exists.

When, therefore, he tells us that the eyes of Adam and Eve were closed at first, in that he says they were opened by sin, we have to examine ourselves as natural beings for the meaning of his words.

Moses, indeed, informs us in what sense, or to what phenomena, their eyes were closed, in saying, "They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed".

If their eyes had been surreptitiously opened, they would have been ashamed of standing before the Lord Elohim in a state of nudity; and they would have had emotions towards one another, which would have been inconvenient.

But, in their unsinning ignorance of the latent possibilities of their nature, shame, which makes the subject of it feel as though he would hide himself in a nutshell, and be buried in the depths of the sea, found no place within them.

They were unabashed; and had they been created with their eyes open, they would have been equally so at all times.

But, seeing that their eyes were opened in connexion with, and as the consequence of doing what was forbidden, having "yielded their members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity"; and their superior faculties being constituted susceptible of the feeling, they were ashamed; and "the uncomely parts of the body" became "their shame"; and from that time have been esteemed dishonourable, and invariably "hid".

The inferior creatures have no such feeling as this, because they have never sinned: but the parents of Cain in their transgression, having served themselves of the members they afterwards concealed, were deeply affected both with shame and fear; and their posterity have ever since more or less partaken of it after the same form.

Having transgressed the divine law, and "solaced themselves with loves," "the eyes of them both were opened" as the consequence; and when opened, "they knew that they were naked" which they did not comprehend before.

"By the law is the knowledge of sin," and "sin is the transgression of the law"; so, having transgressed the law, "they knew they were naked" without lawful use of one another in His own time.

They were quite chagrined at the discovery they had made; and sought to mitigate it by a contrivance of their own: so "they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons".

Although thus corporeally defended from mutual observation, the nakedness of their minds was still exposed.

They heard the voice of the Elohim, which had now become terrible; and they hid themselves from His presence amongst the trees.

They had not yet learned, however, that the Lord was not only a God at hand, but a God also afar off; and that none can hide in secret places and He not see them; for He fills both the heaven and the earth.

Their concealment was ineffectual against the voice of the Lord, who called out to him, "Where art thou Adam,?

" And he answered, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself".

Adam's heart had condemned him, therefore he lost confidence before God.


The reader, by contemplating Adam and Eve in innocency, and afterwards in guilt, will perceive in the facts of their case the nature of a good conscience, and of an evil one.

When they rejoiced in "the answer of a good conscience," they were destitute of shame and fear.

They could stand naked in God's presence unabashed; and instead of trembling at His voice, they rejoiced to hear it as the harbinger of good things.

They were then pure and undefiled, being devoid of all conscience of sin.

They were then of the truth, living in obedience to it as expressed in the law; and therefore their hearts were assured before Him.