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spection of God. By divine power the creatures were brought to Noah, and the fierce dispositions of the wild kind overruled and mollified, that they might live quietly and peaceably with one another, and with those of the tame sort, for the time appointed. Otherwise, instead of asking how they were taken care of and fed in the ark, it should first have been asked how they came into it, or stayed a single moment in it, before the flood began.- When “ the wolf thus dwelt - with “ the lamb, the lion might eat hay like the ox.” We should not recur to miracles upon every occasion; but if the event under consideration took place at all, it must, from the very nature of it, have been miraculous, and out of the common course, as it is said to have been. Some means of preserving the fish might therefore be provided by their Maker, notwithstanding the dilemma to which the learned and respectable writer above mentioned hath reduced us: “ The water at the
deluge,” says he,“ was either fresh, or salt: now " the sea-fish could not have lived in the for
mer, nor the river-fish in the latter."-Close and clever !
Page 9. It is argued in the eighth section, that according to the laws of reflection and refraction, established in the system of nature, the phenomenon of the rainbow must have been produced, as at present, in certain circumstances, from the beginning of the world; and therefore could not have been first set in the cloud, as a token of God's covenant with man, after the flood.
But do the words necessarily imply, that the rainbow had never appeared before? Rather, perhaps, the contrary. The following paraphrase of the passage is submitted, as a just and natural one. “When, “ in the common course of things, I bring a cloud
over the earth, under certain circumstances, I do “set my bow in it. That bow shall be from hence" forth a token of the covenant I now make with
you to drown the earth no more by a flood. Look
physical causes, in the cloud, and as long as it con“tinues to be thus formed, so certainly and so long “shall my covenant endure, standing fast for everés
more, as this faithful witness in heaven.” Jacob, we are told “, “ took a stone, and set it up for a
pillar, and said, This pillar be witness.” God, in like manner (if we may so express it), “took the rain
bow, and said, This bow be witness.” Neither the stone nor the rainbow were new created for the purpose.
When the Jews behold the rainbow, they bless God, who remembers his covenant, and is faithful to his promise. And the tradition of this its designation to proclaim comfort to mankind was strong among the heathen; for according to the mythology of the Greeks, the rainbow was the daughter of Wonder, “a sign to mortal men,” and regarded, upon its appearance, as the messenger of the celestial deities. Can we any where find a more striking in
a Gen, xxxi. 45, 52. Τερας μεροπων ανθρωπων. . Ном. .
stance of the sublime, than in the following short description of it? “ Look upon the rainbow, and
praise him who made it: very beautiful it is in the
brightness thereof: it compasseth the heaven "about with a glorious circle; and the hands of the “ Most High have bended it!"
Page 10. " What answer shall we give to those “ who are inclined to deny, that an all-powerful and just God could make use of the most unjustifiable
means to attain his great purpose of aggrandizing " the posterity of Abraham ?"
The answer, without doubt, must be, either that the means in question (all circumstances duly known and considered) were not unjustifiable; or, that they were used by man, and only permitted by God. For men often make use of means to attain their own purposes, by which they unwittingly becoine the instruments of carrying into execution the counsels of God; yet are they not hereby justified in the use of such means. All the actions of holy men of old, related in Scripture, are not to be deemed blameless, because related in Scripture, or because related of them; though there may often have been circumstances, imperfectly known at this distance of time, which rendered them less blameable than they now appear to be; and therefore they are not to be judged of without great caution and circumspection. These, perhaps, are in no instances more necessary, for that reason, to be observed, than in reviewing those parts of sacred story, which relate to the birthright and blessing of the ancient patriarchs.
Ibid. “ Could this benevolent and just Being approve of the ungenerous advantage which Jacob “ took over his faint and hungry brother?”
That the crime of Esau, in being so ready to part with his birthright, was of a more atrocious nature than at first sight it may seem to have been, is evident from the remark subjoined in the narrative; " thus Esau despised his birthright;" as also from his being stigmatized by St. Paul with an epithet denoting profaneness and impiety, qualities which were therefore manifested in the act of lightly and wantonly parting with the birthright, and those high and heavenly privileges annexed to it, I say, lightly and wantonly ; because, though he returned faint and hungry from the field, there could be no danger of his starving in his father's house. He parted with it, as men often do now, for the sake of gratifying a liquorish appetite towards that which was his brother's, “ for one morsel of meat,” one particular dish, which he vehemently affected. There was no reason why a privilege thus rejected should be again conferred. Like the Jews, in an instance somewhat similar, he “judged himself unworthy." He cast it froin him, and it became another's. With regard to the part borne by Jacob, in buying what Esau was thus ready to sell, there seems no necessity for pronouncing him faultless. The fact is related, like many others, without approbation or censure; and the designs of God were accomplished by the