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Elevations On The Temptation And Fall Of Man: 5, The temptation and the fall of Adam. Reflections of Saint Paul.

This is one in a series from Jaques-Benigne Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, and specifically the Fifth Day.  There is more here on the Bossuet Project.

Eve took the fruit and ate it, and gave it to her husband who ate it. Adam’s temptation and fall pass in a few words. The first and most beautiful commentary we have on this matter is this one from St. Paul: Adam was not seduced, and Eve was seduced in her prevarication. It must be understood in two senses that Adam was not seduced. He was not seduced, first of all, because it was not to him that the seducer first attacked; secondly, he was not seduced, because at first, as the holy doctors interpret it, he yielded rather to Eve by complacency rather than be convinced by his reasons. The holy interpreters, and, among others, St. Augustine, expressly say that he did not wish to grieve this one and dear companion, conjugali necessitudini paruisse, nor to leave in his domestic and in the future mother of all his children an eternal obstacle. In the end, however, he gave into seduction; forewarned by his complacency, he himself began to taste the reasons of the snake and conceived the same hopes as his wife, since it was only through him that they had to pass to all his children, where they made all the ravages that we still see among us.

Adam believed that he would know good and evil, and that his curiosity would be satisfied. Adam believed that he would be like a God, author by his free will of the false happiness which he affected, which satisfied his pride; from where he fell into the revolt of the senses, he sought to flatter them in the exquisite taste of the forbidden fruit. Who knows if then, already corrupt, Eve did not start to sound too pleasant? Woe to the man who can please himself in something other than God! All pleasures besiege him, and, either in turn or all together, they make it law. Be that as it may, the sequel will make it appear that the two spouses became a trap one to the other; and their union, which ought to have been always honest had they persevered in their innocence, had something of which modesty and honesty were both offended.


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