« AnteriorContinuar »
justice of chastising his chosen people, and suffering them to fall into the hands of their enemies when they rebelled against Him.
His mercies and judgments were multiplied to them through a long succession of ages; but when, notwithstanding all this, they became preeminent in wickedness, his rejection of them, and their final desiruction, became as necessary as their election. The type would not have been complete, without exhibiting what should befal apostatized members of the church of Christ; that the children of men, in all succeeding generations, might be deterred from hardening themselves against God, through presumption of an unceasing continuance of his favour. This is strikingly set forth, Rom. xi. 21, 22: “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed, lest he also spare not thee.-Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity! but towards thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
HAVING traced the nation of the Jews from its commencement to the advent of the Messiah, it is proper to show the confirmation which the sacred records derive from the oldest monuments of antiquity. Such is the tenour of sacred history, and of profane, that they wonderfully elucidate and assist each other.
The fragments to be collected from profane writers, are sufficiently numerous to evidence the fidelity and exactness of the sacred historians. And the discoveries which Europeans have lately made, put it in our power to give extracts from the sacred books of the Chinese, which, in point of antiquity, are supposed to have the precedence of others. We shall first appeal to the translations which are given us by the learned author of the Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion,” by whom we are informed, that the Chinese have five original, or canonical books, called King, vhich, in their language, signifies a sublime, sacred, immutable doctrine.
These books were looked upon of very remote antiquity in the time of Confucius, who lived about 600 years before the Christian era. The book written by Hoi-nang-wang, describing the first earth, states: “This delicious garden, refreshed with Zephyrs, and planted with odoriferous trees, was situate in the middle of the mountain which was the avenue to heaven. The waters that bedewed it, flowed from a source, called the fountain of immortality. He that drinks of it, never dies. From thence flowed four rivers,--a golden river betwixt the south and the east,-a red river betwixt the north and the east,
and a peaceful stream betwixt the south and the west,--and the river of the Lamb betwixt the north and the west. These magnificent floods, are the spiritual fountains of the sovereign Lord, by which he heals the nations, and fructifies all things.”
In their book Chi-King, it is said: “Heaven placed mankind upon a high mountain; but Taiwang made it fruitless by his fault. Wen-wang, or the king of peace, endeavoured to render to
the mountain its primitive beauty; but Tai-wang contradicted and opposed bis will. Why did Taiwang plunge us in so many miseries? Our misery has lasted these many ages. The world is lost; vice overflows all, as mortal poison. We possessed happy, fruitful fields; a woman robbed us of them.-All was subject to us; a woman threw us into slavery.--She hates innocence, and loves vice. The wise husband raised up a bulwark of walls; the woman by her ambitious desire of knowledge, demolished them. Our misery did not come from Heaven, but from woman. She lost human kind; she erred first, and then sinned.”
In the book Y-King, we have this account of the fall : “The rebellious and perverse dragon suffers by his pride. His ambition blinded him;
-he would mount up to heaven, but was thrown upon earth.-At first his abode was in the high places; but he forgot himself; he hurt himself, and lost eternal life.”
The book Chu-King informs us, that it was evident by the ancient tradition of our fathers, that “ T-chi-y-cou, or the beautiful, became deformed. This son of heaven was the first author of all revolt ; but his rebellion at length extended to all nations, and deluged the world in crimes.”
Chan-Kai-King says, that “Hoangti or the sovereign Lord, ordered a celestial spirit to precipitate T-Chi-y-cou into the black valley of misery.”
And Lopi adds, that T-Chi-y-cou“ having hatched rebellion, went out from the river of the Lamb."
And Kouel-Sang says, “ that he is the greatest impostor, or the inventor of all evil. He has the face of a man, the body of a serpent, and is all deceit and lies."
Martinius, in his history of China, relates that Confucius, the law-giver of that vast and extensive empire, had preserved some remains of the ancient belief in the doctrine of a promised Saviour; he asserts that a Chinese philosopher who had embraced Christianity, pointed out to him the last sentence of the book Chun-cieu, written by Confucius ; from which it appeared, that he had not only foreseen the incarnation of the Messiah, but had mentioned the very year, in the Chinese Cycle, when that event was to take place.
And the learned and pious Sir William Jones, has made it clearly appear, in the Asiatic Researches, that the Hindus had the tradition of the flood in the time of Noah. They also assert, that the evil being, Ahriman, got upon the earth