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repository of the most remote antiquities, religion, polity, and liter rature of the Jewish nation; to which, in all their posterior writers, there is a constant reference or allusion. To them the righteous judge, the reforming prince, the admonishing priest, the menacing prophet, perpetually and uniformly appealed: on them the historiographer, the orator, the poet, and the philosopher, endeavoured to forin their respective styles : and to rival the language of the Pentateuch was, even in the most felicitous periods of their state, considered as the highest effort of Hebrew genius :'
- And, after briefly afligning reasons why these books, whether considered as a compendium of history, or as a digest of laws, or as a system of theology, or as models of good writing, are in some respects unequalled, in none overmatched, by the best productions of ancient times;' the doctor proceeds to annex fome remarks on the character of Mofes, in his historic and legislative capacity.
• It has been usual with the annalists of most nations, to begin their histories with some account of the origin of the world: so does the author of the Pentateuch. His cosmogony is a brief one, it is true; being comprised in one short chapter; but that shiort chapter exhibits a grand and fingular scene. The writer does not amuse or tire his reader with long metaphysical discussions, about the nature of the universe, the generation of matter, cause and effect, time and eternity, and other such subtile and insolvable questions; but, with the greatest simplicity, and the most imposing air of conviction, tells us, that an ALMIGHTY Being made those heavens which we behold, and this earth which we inhabit. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, Gen. i. 1. This is the general proposition. But, whether it refer to a prior primordial creation, or merely to one particular link in the great chain of mundane revolutions, we can only guess from circumstances; and are free to form our conjectures, agreeably to the motives of credibility that present themíelves to an attentive unprejudiced mind. To me it appears highly probable, from the context, and from other pallages of Hebrew fcripture, that the proposition is truly proleptical; and that by the creation of the heavens and of the earth is meant no more than producing those appearances in the former, and that change in the latter, which then gradually took place, and which are so beautifully related in the subsequent paragraphs. Those who deem it more probable that the words relate to a primitive and ab. folute creation, and translate, In the beginning (or originally) God had created the heavens and the earth, must still grant that the earth was, at the period of the fix days creation, in a desolate uninhabitable state: and, accordingly, they render the next verse, But the earth had become a defolate waste, &c. It is, therefore, of little moment whichever of these two hypotheses be admitted; although
the latter seems to be less natural, less confiftent, and less analo.
"Be that as it may, certain it is, that, according to the Hebrew cosmologist, the Earth was, before the fix days creation, a desolate walte. Observe, he does not say that the Heavens were a defolate waffe; he restricts this condition folely to the Earth. The creation, then, of the heavens and of the earth, must, in the sense of our author, be understood of the alteration that took place in the latter, when it was fashione into its present form, and made ft to receive its prefent inhabitants. The great folar and starry systems are here not concerned, but in as far as they became eventually relative to this ne:v creation. I mean not an abíolute creation out of nothing; but the relcue or relioration of a pre-existent mass of matter from a state of darkness and efolatioa, to make it a fit and con. fortable abode, for i'ie beingo intended to be placed therein.'
Some brief remarks follow, to show that the term $93 does not imply absolute creation *, thoush the full disculion of the subject is reserved for the Critical Remarks. · The progressive order of things is then descanted on, and the doctor goes on to observe:
"The creation, whatever it were, being thus completed in the space of fix days, God is said to have rested on the seventh day from his labour: and, hence, says the historian, he hath blejjed the seventh day, and made it holy, because on it he ceased from all his works which he had then ordained to do. That this inserence of the historian refers to the institution of the Jewish Sabbath, appears to me extremely probable; and I have shewn it to be the cpinion of the most learned Jews: but whether the Hebrew cofinogony itself were adapted to the fabbatical institution, or the litter arcse from a prior belief of such a cosmogony-whether the fix days creation were, literally, a real event, or only an ingenious piece of ancient mythology-I know not any certain principle on whir'i to ground a decision. Those, indeed, who think that every word of the Pentateuch is divinely inspired, will be at no lofs to determine the question; but there are many fincere friends to religion; who are not of that opinion; and I freely confess myself to be one of them.'
An illustrative detail here follows on the formation of man; whence Dr. Geddes proceeds with an account of the Fall, and adds :
• Tom Bradbury of orthodox fame, was a frenuous afferter of the cone trary opinion, and evidently in allusion to it, when a certain lord wag advanced to the peerage, observing that the term creating was, on such oce cafions, mof happily used; since it implied the making something out of noching.
"This • This history has very much puzzled both Jewish and Christian interpreters. It seems to have been the common opinion of the Jews, in the time of Josephus and Philo, that the serpent was a speaking animal, and walked upright: and, indeed, if we stick to the letter of the text, we can hardly suppose the contrary. But Philo, though he allows that this was the vulgar notion, confiders the whole account as a mere allegory. The garden of Eden is, with him, not a real garden, planted by the hand of God with real trees; for that (says he) were an impiety to imagine: but a portion of his own divine wisdom, or a disposition to virtue implanted on the hu.. man soul. It is said to be planted in Eden; that is, in delight; for nothing is so delightful as genuine virtue. The trees of this paradife are the various particular virtues, called Offices or duties of life. The four Streams flowing out of Eden are the four cardinal virtues, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Ji! ftice. Man is desired to eat of the fruit of all the trees of Paradise, because he must practise all the virtues. He is forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because he must not abandon himself to vice, the evil of which is only known by its opposition to virtue. The death threatened, in case of disobedience, is that of the soul. Adam is the intellectual part of man; Heva the sensual part: the ferpent is unlawful pleasure; which, by first winning over the sensual part, drags the intellectual after it. Hence it is declared by God to be execrable ; and more execrable than all benfis ; that is, all the effections of the mind; as being the source from which they spring, and without which, perhaps, they would not exist. Crawling on the belly, is vrallowing in sensuality: eating the dull, is feeding the mind with terrestrial objects: and the enmity between the serpent and the woman, is the incompatability of vicious voluptuousness even with genuine sensual pleasure. The forrows of conception and childbirth, denounced to the woman, are the stings of unlawful gratification; and her subordination to her husband is a subjection of the sensual part to the intellectual part. But when this intellectual husband, deviating from reason, liftens too easily to the voice of his sensual wife, and eats of the forbidden fruits which she presents to him ; that is, confents to the evil fuxgeited by her; the earth, that is, all his carnal a Etions, are reprehensible and accursed; and produce nothing but the thorns and thiftics of furgent remorse and troublesome uneasineís, all the days of his life.
· This allegorical mode of explaining the fall (and indeed the whole cosmogony) by the most ancient, profcrted interpreter whose works have come don to us, appeared fo ingenious and satisfactory to the more early Chrittian fathers, that, with some little variat ons, they ger.erally adopted it. It was adopted, if we may credit Anaftafius Sinaita, by Pipias, Pontanus, Irenarus, Clement of Alexandria; and we are cer am it iras adopted and improved upon by Origen. From Orgen it was borrowed by the Gregcries of Nyila and Nazi8
anzen; and, among the Latins, by St. Ambrose. There were not, however, wanting writers who contended for a literal meaning, and who charged the Origenists with in piety and heresy: particularly, the credulous Epiphanius, and the acrimonious Jerome. The more moderate Austin contented himself with saying that, among the various opinions which had been held on this subject, there were three prevailing ones, in his dars: the frit, that of those who believed the literal sense only; the fecond, that of those who stood up for a purely spiritual meaning; and the third, that of thofe who admitted both: to which he willingly gives his allent; and which his authority contributed not a little to establith almost exclusively among the western churches.
But although it was now generally agreed, that the garden of Eden was a real material garden, its trees real trees, and their fruit real fruit; there was not so perfect an accord about the nature of the serpent, the dialogue between him and the woman, and the confequences of his persuading her to eat the forbidden fruit..-Was the serpent, then, a real serpent? Was he endowed with reason and speech? How could a real serpent, without reason or speech, know, or suspect, that God had forbidden the man and the woman to eat of the fruit of a certain tree? How conid the woman be induced to enter into conversation with a vile reptile, and give credit to his deceitful words? Thefe and such like questions were not easily an(wered : and, in fact, the answers which Cyrill gives to Julian are rather smart retorts than satisfactory solutions.--The grand reply to all objections is, that it was not a serpent, but the devil in the form of a serpent, that deceived the woman; or, if it be a real ferpent, it was a serpent organized and inspired by the devil.
• Though this be, evidently, rather cutting than untying the master-knot of the ditficulty; and though it still leave other less ones to be disentangled; it is surprising how smoothly it has glided down the stream of time, from commentator to commentator; as a moit orthodox and rational interpretation.-But, let any ore, of but common sense and sagacity, turn to Poole's Synoffis; and, either there, or in the authors whom he quotes, read carefully all the va. rious arguments that have been deviled to make the story of the Fall in this hypothesis coherent; and, when he has done this, let him lay his hand on his heart, and say, if he feel any thing like conviction. In his doubts, he may, indeed, have recourse to the authority of a supposed infallible guide, or to wlrat is called the analogy of faith; and if he deem trefe fufficient props, he may rely upon them : but, I think, he will hardly affimi, that he leans upon the pillar of reason. The allegories of Philo and Origen may be reveries ; but they are pleasant ones, and far preferable to literal inconsistencies.
More plausible is the exposition of Abarbanel, a ceisbrated Tew of the fifteenth century; which was followed by Simeon de Muis, Hebrew proícitor in the Royal College at Paris, about the middle
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of the last century; and has been more recently adopted and improved by an anonymous writer in Eichhorn's Biblical Repertory, supposed to be Eichhorn himself. According to this hypothefis the ferpent was a real ferpent, such as he still is, neither endowed with speech nor organized by the devil; nor had he any conversation with the woman. What then. The woman observed him eating of that very fruit which had been forbidden to her, without his receiving any injury from it: thence the inferred that it could not be deadly: on the other hand, it was beautiful to look at ; knowledge was a defireable thing: all these considerations induced her to make a trial : the issue is known.
• But is not this explication contrary to the scriptures of the New Covenant? By no means, favs Eichhorn. The texts alleged are, 1 Cor. xi. 3. Joha vii. 44. and Rev. xii. 9. But, in the firit of these, there is not a word of the devil. In the second, the devil is faid to have been a murderer from the beginning; but there is no word of a serpent; and the passage is explained by John himself, in his first Epistle, iii. 12. In the Revelation, it is true, that the devil is called a ferpent, and a dragon also, according to a mode of thinking and speaking at that time usual among the Jews : but this cannot fairly be brought to explain the text of Genesis.
6 Another objection-If the ferpent were a inere ferpent, and only the innocent cause of the woman's transgression, how comes he to be cursed and punished? He is neither punislied nor cursed, replies this writer. The words said to be addretied to him by God are not any part of a penalty, but a description of the animal; expreiling, in bold metaphorical terins, the natural antipathy that seems to subfist between reptiles and all of her creatures, especially those of the human kind.—But in this case, say the objectors, the pallage will contain no promise of a Redeemer. True, it is answered: but what proof is there that it was ever meant to contain such a promise? Did the Redeemer himself, or any of his apoitles, ever appeal to it? St. Paul frequently mentions the fall of man, and his redemption; but no where quotes this passage as even allusive to the latter, although hc often deals deeply in allegory. In short, if either the devil or a Redeemer be here admitted, the parallelism of the text will be des stroyed, and its members put at variance one with another.
• Equally ingenious is the rest of Eichhorn's exposition of the Fall. The voice of God resounding in the garden, is a form of thunder: the colloquy of God with Adam and Heva, is the remorse of their own consciences for having disobeyed the divine command: the thunder continuing, they leave Paradile in a fright; dare not return; find it necessary to toil for their bread on the common earth : the woman feels the forrows of breeding, and the pangs of childbearing; both are liable to missortune, maladies, and death :-And all this is turned, by the author of the Pentateuch, into a beautiful prosopopecia.