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dean of Canterbury, on the creation of man, the garden of Eden, the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge. It may appear, perhaps, that the Mosaic history is not necessarily so pregnant with absurdities as they are apt to suppose; but that a rational account may be given of man's primeval state, as there described, and of that trial to which he was subjected by his Maker.
In another part of the pamphlet, page 39, it is objected to us, “that Adam was threatened with death “ on the day of his transgression, but lived at least "eight hundred years afterwards."
The execution of the sentence, then, was respited, in consideration of his repentance, agreeably to the proceedings of God with his descendants, both individuals and communities, in numberless instances upon record. Transgression rendered him mortal, and his life from thenceforward was a gradual progress through labour, pain, and sorrow, towards death.
PAGE 3. “Is the account of the fall of man, in the “ book of Genesis, physical, or allegorical ?”
I apprehend it to be an historical narrative of what really passed in the garden of Eden. With regard to the parties concerned, there is no dispute concerning three of them, the Creator, the man, and the woman.
But there appears a fourth, whose nature and character it has been thought not so easy to ascertain. He is called THE SERPENT; but is throughout represented as an intelligent being, and treated as such. He proves himself also to be the TEMPTER. Can we doubt, for one moment, who this being is ? The SERPENT, the OLD SERPENT, the Dragon, are the appellations bestowed in the New Testament, upon the great adversary of mankind, the TEMPTER, the DECEIVER, the ACCUSER, the MURDERER. One question remains, whether, upon the occasion before us, he assumed the form of the natural serpent, or be only described under the name, and by imagery and expressions borrowed from the corresponding nature and qualities of that creature, and applied to him by analogy? Either way, it is beyond all controversy with us who believe the Scriptures, that he is the principal agent in the whole affair : he is all along intended, and addressed; on HIM was the weight and force of the tremendous sentence to light; between HIS seed and that of the woman was the enmity to subsist; and his head was to be finally crushed by victorious Messiah. However Christians may have differed in their interpretation of particular words and phrases, this is the substance of what always has been, and always must be maintained among them upon the subject. If all be confined to the natural serpent, or beast of the field, the account must then be, as Dr. Middleton contends, apologue or fable, with a moral couched under it. But the writers of the New Testament ever refer to it as true history, and invariably declare SATAN to have been the sERPENT, who “ through his subtlety “ deceived Eve." The account of man's redemption is no apologue, but true history, built upon and presupposing the truth and reality of his temptation and fall, effected by the wiles of his enemy; who, for that reason, was to be crushed, together with his works, by the power of the Redeemer. As to the change wrought in the natural serpent after the fall (a subject on which the infidels divert themselves more than they will divert any body else) no man can deny that a change might take place; and no man can precisely ascertain the nature of such change, unless he knew the form in which that species of creatures was originally made. Nor does the sentence (so far as it may relate to the natural serpent) imply, that he should choose dust for his food, or that it should be his only food. They who grovel in dust, must sometimes come in for a mouthful. The expression intimates to us the very lowest degree of prostration,
humiliation, and the most abject wretchedness, similar to that other of the prophet, “ His enemies shall “ lick the dust.” Let gentlemen take care, that they are not of the number. The history of man's fall is no fable, and will hereafter be found no jest.
Page 6.-“A tree of life, which God was obliged “ to guard by Cherubim and a flaming sword, lest,
man should eat of the fruit, and become immortal ?"
The passage here alluded to has long been a subject of ridicule among unbelievers. It may, perhaps, cease to be so, when the following particulars are duly weighed and considered :
1st. There is no reason in the world for supposing the Cherubim here mentioned to have been different from those described at large, as exhibited in vision to Ezekiel, figures of which were placed in the tabernacle and temple. Moses says, “ God placed “ Cherubim.” The people for whom he wrote were perfectly well acquainted with the nature, form, and design of them. The prophet, upon beholding them in vision, declares, “ I knew that they were the Cherubim."
2dly. The words rendered in our translation, "A flaming sword turning every way,” may, and, it is apprehended, ought to be rendered, “ A devouring “ fire turning or rolling upon itself;" as the Cherubim, which Ezekiel saw, are said to have stood in the midst of a fire “ catching, or infolding itself.” The expressions are equivalent, and correspond exactly
3dly. This body of fire, generally attended by and subsisting in a cloud, is styled “ the glory of the
“ Lord;" and always accompanied the appearance of the Cherubim.
4thly. The most ancient expositions left in the world, which are the two Jewish Targums, paraphrase the verse thus : “ And he thrust out the man, “ and caused the glory of his presence to dwell of “ old, at the east of the garden of Eden, above the two Cherubim.”
5thly. If such be the real import of the passage, and it relate only to the manifestation of the divine presence, by its well known symbol, above or between the Cherubim, may we not fairly and reasonably conclude, that the design of such manifestation, at the east of the garden of Eden, was the same as it was confessedly afterwards in the tabernacle and temple; namely, to reveal the will of God for the conduct of his people; to accept the sacrifices offered to him; and favourably to regard the prefigurative atonement made by “ the sprinkling of blood, with
out which there was (after the fall) no remission ?" And all this was done “ to KEEP,” or PRESERVE, “ the way to the tree of life,” immortality being now the object of a new covenant, with other conditions. There were good reasons why our first parent should not be suffered, in the state to which he had reduced hiinself, to “put forth his hand, and “take, and eat." The dispensation of Eden was at an end. Old sacraments were abolished, and new ones were to be instituted. In the spirit of repentance and faith the delinquents were to wait,“ till
one happier Man should regain the blissful seat, and " open the kingdom of heaven to all believers ;"