« PreviousContinue »
high prerogatives of moral existence, did human nature, in its first subject, rise up from the creating hand. The whole Scripture-narrative implies that this STATE of existence was one of correspondent activity and enjoyment. It plainly represents the DEITY himself as condescending to assume a human form and to employ human speech, in order to instruct and exercise the happy creatures whom (to borrow the just and beautiful language of the Apocryphal Wisdom') 'God created for incorruptibility, and made him an image of his own nature' (Wisd. Sol. ii. 23).
The noble and sublime idea that man thus had his Maker for his teacher and guide, precludes a thousand difficulties. It shows us the simple, direct, and effectual method by which the newly formed creature would have communicated to him all the intellectual knowledge, and all the practical arts and manipulations, which were needful and beneficial for him.
Religious knowledge and its appropriate habits also required an immediate infusion: and these are pre-eminently comprehended in the image of God.' On the one hand, it is not to be supposed that the newly created man and his female companion were inspired with a very ample share of the doctrinal knowledge which was communicated to their posterity by the successive and accumulating revolutions of more than four thousand years: and, on the other, we cannot imagine that they were left in gross ignorance upon the existence and excellencies of the Being who had made them, their obligations to him, and the way in which they might continue to receive the greatest blessings from him. It is self-evident that, to have attained such a kind and degree of knowledge, by spontaneous effort, under even the favourable circumstances of a state of negative innocence, would have been a long and arduous work. But the sacred narrative leaves no room for doubt upon this head. In the primitive style it tells of God as speaking to them, commanding, instructing, assigning their work, pointing out their danger, and showing how to avoid it. All this, reduced to the dry simplicity of detail, is equivalent to saying that the Creator, infinitely kind and condescending, by the use of forms and modes adapted to their capacity, fed their minds with truth, gave them a ready understanding of it and that delight in it which constituted holiness, taught them to hold intercourse with himself by direct addresses in both praise and prayer, and gave some disclosures of a future state of blessedness when they should have fulfilled the condition of their probation.
An especial instance of this instruction and infusion of practical habits is given to us in the narrative: Out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man, to see what he would call them' (Gen. ii. 19). This, taken out of the style of condescending anthropomorphism, amounts to such a statement as the following: the Creator had not only formed man with organs of speech, but he taught him the use of them, by an immediate communication of the practical faculty and its accompanying intelligence; and he guided the man, as yet the solitary one of his species, to this among the first applications of speech, the |
designating of the animals with which he was connected, by appellative words which would both be the help of his memory and assist his mental operations, and thus would be introductory and facilitating to more enlarged applica tions of thought and language. We are further warranted, by the recognised fact of the anecdotal and fragmentary structure of the Scripture history, to regard this as the selected instance for exhibiting a whole kind or class of operations or processes; implying that, in the same or similar manner, the first man was led to understand something of the qualities and relations of vegetables, earthy matters, the visible heavens, and the other external objects to which he had a relation.
The next important article in this primeval history is the creation of the human female. The narrative is given in the more summary manner in the former of the two documents:'Male and female created he them' (Gen. i. 27). It stands a little more at length in a third document, which begins the fifth chapter, and has the characteristic heading or title by which the Hebrews designated a separate work. This, the book of the generations of Adam. In the day God created Adam; he made him in the likeness of God, male and female he created them; and he blessed them, and he called their name Adam, in the day of their being created' (ver. 1, 2).
The second of the narratives is more circumstantial: And Jehovah God said, it is not good the man's being alone: I will make for him a help suitable for him.' Then follows the passage concerning the review and the naming of the inferior animals; and it continues- but for Adam he found not a help suitable for him. And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man [the Adam], and he slept: and he took one out of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place: and Jehovah God built up the rib which he had taken from the man into a woman, and he brought her to the man.'
The next particular into which the sacred history leads us, is one which we cannot approach without a painful sense of its difficulty and delicacy. It stands thus in the authorized version: And they were both naked, the man and his wife; and were not ashamed' (ii. 25). The common interpretation is, that, in this respect, the two human beings, the first and only existing ones, were precisely in the condition of the youngest infants, incapable of perceiving any incongruity in the total destitution of artificial clothing. But a little reflection will tell us, and the more carefully that reflection is pursued the more it will appear just, that this supposition is inconsistent with what we have established on solid grounds, the supernatural infusion into the minds of our first parents and into their nervous and muscular faculties, of the knowledge and practical habits which their descendants have had to acquire by the long process of instruction and example. We have seen the necessity that there must have been communicated to them, directly by the Creator, no inconsiderable measure of natural knowledge and the methods of applying it, or their lives could not have been secured; and of moral and spiritual knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness,' such a
measure as would belong to the sinless state, and would enable them to render an intelligent and perfect worship to the Glorious Deity. It seems impossible for that state of mind and habits to exist without a correct sensibility to proprieties and decencies which infant children cannot understand or feel; and the capacities and duties of their conjugal state are implied in the narrative. Further, it cannot be overlooked that, though we are entitled to ascribe to the locality of Eden the most bland atmosphere and delightful soil, yet the action of the sun's rays upon the naked skin, the range of temperature through the day and the night, the alternations of dryness and moisture, the various labour among trees and bushes, and exposure to insects, would render some protective clothing quite indispensable.
From these considerations we feel ourselves obliged to understand the word arom in that which is its most usual signification in the Hebrew language, as importing not an absolute, but a partial or comparative nudity, a stripping off of the upper garment, or of some other usual article of dress, when all the habiliments were not laid aside; and this is a more frequent signification than that of entire destitution. If it be asked, Whence did Adam and Eve derive this clothing? we reply, that, as a part of the divine instruction which we have established, they were taught to take off the inner bark of some trees, which would answer extremely well for this purpose. If an objection be drawn from Gen. iii. 7, 10, 11, we reply, that, in consequence of the transgression, the clothing was disgracefully injured. Another inquiry presents itself. How long did the state of paradisiac innocence and happiness continue? Some have regarded the period as very brief, not more even than a single day; but this manifestly falls very short of the time which a reasonable probability requires. The first man was brought into existence in the region called Eden; then he was introduced into a particular part of it, the garden, replenished with the richest productions of the Creator's bounty for the delight of the eye and the other senses; the most agreeable labour was required to dress and to keep it,' implying some arts of culture, preservation from injury, training flowers and fruits, and knowing the various uses and enjoyments of the produce; making observation upon the works of God, of which an investigation and designating of animals is expressly specified; nor can we suppose that there was no contemplation of the magnificent sky and the heavenly bodies: above all, the wondrous communion with the condescending Deity, and probably with created spirits of superior orders, by which the mind would be excited, its capacity enlarged, and its holy felicity continually increased. It is also to be remarked, that the narrative (Gen. ii. 19, 20) conveys the implication that some time was allowed to elapse, that Adam might discover and feel his want of a companion of his own species, a help correspondent to him.'
These considerations impress us with a sense of probability, amounting to a conviction, that a period not very short was requisite for the exercise of man's faculties, the disclosures of his happiness, and the service of adoration which he
Thus divinely honoured and happy were the progenitors of mankind in the state of their creation.
The next scene which the sacred history brings before us is a dark reverse. Another agent comes into the field and successfully employs his arts for seducing Eve, and by her means Adam, from their original state of rectitude, dignity, and happiness.
Among the provisions of divine wisdom and goodness were two vegetable productions of wondrous qualities and mysterious significancy: 'the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil' (Gen. ii. 9). It would add to the precision of the terms, and perhaps aid our understanding of them, if we were to adhere strictly to the Hebrew by retaining the definite prefix: and then we have 'the tree of the life' and the tree of the knowledge.' Thus would be indicated THE particular life of which the one was a symbol and instrument, and THE fatal knowledge springing from the abuse of the other. At the same time, we do not maintain that these appellations were given to them at the beginning. We rather suppose that they were applied afterwards, suggested by the events and connection, and so became the historical names.
We see no sufficient reason to understand, as some do, the tree of life,' collectively, as implying a species, and that there were many trees of that species. The figurative use of the expression in Rev. xxii. 2, where a plurality is plainly intended, involves no evidence of such a design in this literal narrative. The phraseology of the text best agrees with the idea of a single tree, designed for a special purpose, and not intended to perpetuate its kind. Though in the state of innocence, Adam and Eve might be liable to some corporal suffering from the changes of the season and the weather, or accidental circumstances; in any case of which occurring, this tree had been endowed by the bountiful Creator with a medicinal and restorative property, probably in the way of instantaneous miracle. We think also that it was designed for a sacramental or symbolical purpose, a representation and pledge of the life, emphatically so called, heavenly immortality when the term of probation should be happily completed. Yet we by no means suppose that this tree of the life' possessed any intrinsic property of communicating immortality. In the latter view, it was a sign and seal of the divine promise. But, with regard to the former intention, we see nothing to forbid the idea that it had most eflicacious medicinal properties in its fruit, leaves, and other parts. Such were called trees of life by the Hebrews (Prov. iii. 18; xi. 30; xiii. 12; xv. 4).
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil' might be any tree whatever; it might be of any
species even yet remaining, though, if it were so, object attracting and fascinating the first woman. we could not determine its species, for the plain Whether it spoke in an articulate voice, like the reason, that no name, description, or information human, or expressed the sentiments attributed to whatever is given that could possibly lead to the by a succession of remarkable and significant ascertainment. Yet we cannot but think the actions, may be a subject of reasonable question. more reasonable probability to be, that it was a The latter is possible, and it seems the prefertree having poisonous properties, stimulating, able hypothesis, as, without a miraculous interand intoxicating, such as are found in some exist-vention, the mouth and throat of no serpent ing species, especially in hot climates. On this could form a vocal utterance of words; and we ground, the prohibition to eat or even touch the cannot attribute to any wicked spirit the power tree was a beneficent provision against the of working miracles. danger of pain and death. But the revealed object of this tree of the knowledge of good and evil' was that which would require no particular properties beyond some degree of external beauty and fruit of an immediately pleasant taste. That object was to be a test of obedience. For such a purpose, it is evident that to select an indifferent act, to be the object prohibited, was necessary; as the obligation to refrain should be only that which arises simply, so far as the subject of the law can know, from the sacred will of the lawgiver. This does not, however, nullify what we have said upon the possibility, or even probability, that the tree in question had noxious qualities: for upon either the affirmative or the negative of the supposition, the subjects of this positive law, having upon all antecedent grounds the fullest conviction of the perfect rectitude and benevolence of their Creator, would see in it the simple character of a test, a means of proof, whether they would or would not implicitly confide in him. For so doing they had every possible reason; and against any thought or mental feeling tending to the violation of the precept, they were in possession of the most powerful motives. There was no difficulty in the observance. They were surrounded with a paradise of delights, and they had no reason to imagine that any good whatever would accrue to them from their seizing upon anything prohibited. If perplexity or doubt arose, they had ready access to their divine benefactor for obtaining information and direction. But they allowed the thought of disobedience to form itself into a disposition, and then a purpose.
Thus was the seal broken, the integrity of the heart was gone, the sin was generated, and the outward act was the consummation of the dire process. Eve, less informed, less cautious, less endowed with strength of mind, became the more ready victim." The woman, being deceived, was in the transgression; but Adam was not deceived' (1 Tim. ii. 14). He rushed knowingly and deliberately to ruin. The offence had grievous aggravations. It was the preferonce of a trifling gratification to the approbation of the Supreme Lord of the universe; it implied a denial of the wisdom, holiness, goodness, veracity, and power of God; it was marked with extreme ingratitude; and it involved a contemptuous disregard of consequences, awfully impious as it referred to their immediate connection with the moral government of God, and cruelly selfish as it respected their posterity.
The instrument of the temptation was a serpent; whether any one of the existing kinds it is evidently impossible for us to know. Of that numerous order many species are of brilliant colours and playful in their attitudes and manners, so that one may well conceive of such an
This part of the narrative begins with the words, And the serpent was crafty above every animal of the field' (Gen. iii. 1). It is to be observed that this is not said of the order of serpents, as if it were a general property of them, but of that particular serpent. Indeed, this cunning craftiness, lying in wait to deceive' (Eph. iv. 14), is the very character of that malignant creature of whose wily stratagems the reptile was a mere instrument. The existence of spirits, superior to man, and of whom some have become depraved, and are labouring to spread wickedness and misery to the utmost of their power, has been found to be the belief of all nations, ancient and modern, of whom we possess information. It has also been the general doctrine of both Jews and Christians, that one of those fallen spirits was the real agent in this first and successful temptation; and this doctrine receives strong confirmation from the declarations of our Lord and his apostles. See 2 Cor. ii. 11; xi. 3, 14; Rev. xii. 9; xx. 2; John viii. 44. The summary of these passages presents almost a history of the Fall-the tempter, his manifold arts, his serpentine disguises, his falsehood, his restless activity, his bloodthirsty cruelty, and his early success in that career of deception and destruction.
The condescending Deity, who had held gracious and instructive communion with the parents of mankind, assuming a human form and adapting all his proceedings to their capacity, visibly stood before them; by a searching interrogatory drew from them the confession of their guilt, which yet they aggravated by evasions and insinuations against God himself; and pronounced on them and their seducer the sentence due. On the woman he inflicted the pains of child-bearing, and a deeper and more humiliating dependence upon her husband. He doomed the man to hard and often fruitless toil, instead of easy and pleasant labour. On both, or rather on human nature universally, he pronounced the awful sentence of death. The denunciation of the serpent partakes more of a symbolical character, and so seems to carry a strong implication of the nature and the wickedness of the concealed agent. The human sufferings threatened are all, excepting the last, which will require a separate consideration, of a remedial and corrective kind.
Of a quite different character are the penal denunciations upon the serpent. If they be understood literally, and of course applied to the whole order of Ophidia, they will be found to be so flagrantly at variance with the most demonstrated facts in their physiology and economy, as to lead to inferences unfavourable to belief in revelation. Let us examine the particulars:'Because thou hast done this cursed art thou
above all cattle;' literally,' above every behe- | Scripture allusions, has said of the serpent, 'Now mah.' But the serpent tribe cannot be classed with that he creeps with his very mouth upon the that of the behemoth. The word is of very fre-earth, he must necessarily take his food out of quent occurrence in the Old Testament; and the dust, and so lick in some of the dust with it.' though, in a few instances, it seems to be put for But this is not the fact. Serpents habitually brevity so as to be inclusive of the flocks as well obtain their food among herbage or in water; as the herds, and in poetical diction it sometimes they seize their prey with the mouth, often elestands metonymically for animals generally (as vate the head, and are no more exposed to the Job xviii. 3; Ps. lxxiii. 22; Eccles. iii. 18, 19, necessity of swallowing adherent earth than arc 21); yet its proper and universal application is carnivorous birds or quadrupeds. At the same to the large animals (pachyderms and rumi- time, it may be understood figuratively. Eating nants), such as the elephant, camel, deer, horse, the dust is but another term for grovelling in the ox, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, &c. [BEHEMOTH]. dust; and this is equivalent to being reduced to a condition of meanness, shame, and contempt.See Micah vii. 17.'
As little will the declaration, cursed agree with natural truth. It may, indeed, be supposed to be verified in the shuddering which persons generally feel at the aspect of any one of the order of serpents; but this takes place also in many other cases. It springs from fear of the formidable weapons with which some species are armed, as few persons know beforehand which are venomous and which are harmless; and, after all, this is rather an advantage than a curse to the animal. It is an effectual defence without effort. Indeed, we may say that no tribe of animals is so secure from danger, or is so able to obtain its sustenance and all the enjoyments which its capacity and habits require, as the whole order of serpents. If, then, we decline to urge the objection from the word behomah, it is difficult to conceive that serpents have more causes of suffering than any other great division of animals, or even so much.
Further, going upon the belly' is to none of them a punishment. With some differences of mode, their progression is produced by the pushing of scales, shields, or rings against the ground, by muscular contractions and dilatations, elastic springings, by vertical undulations, or by horizontal wrigglings; but, in every variety, the entire organization-skeleton, muscles, nerves, integuments-is adapted to the mode of progression belonging to each species. That mode, The remaining part of the denunciation upo in every variety of it, is sufficiently easy and the false and cruel seducer sent a beam of light rapid (often very rapid) for all the purposes of into the agonized hearts of our guilty first pathe animal's life and the amplitude of its enjoy-rents: And enmity will I put between thee and ments. To imagine this mode of motion to be, the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: in any sense, a change from a prior attitude and he will attack thee [on] the head, and thou wilt habit of the erect kind, or being furnished with attack him [at] the heel.' Christian interpreters wings, indicates a perfect ignorance of the ana- generally regard this as the first gospel-promise, tomy of serpents. Yet it has been said by learned and we think with good reason. It was a maand eminent theological interpreters, that, before nifestation of mercy: it revealed a Deliverer, this crime was committed, the serpent probably who should be a human being, in a peculiar did not go upon his belly, but moved upon the sense the offspring of the female, who should hinder part of his body, with his head, breast, also, in some way not yet made known, counterand belly upright' (Clarke's Bible, p. 1690). act and remedy the injury inflicted, and who, This notion may have obtained credence from though partially suffering from the malignant the fact that some of the numerous serpent spe- power, should, in the end, completely conquer cies, when excited, raise the neck pretty high; it, and convert its very success into its own but the posture is to strike, and they cannot punishment' (J. Pye Smith, Scripture Testimony maintain it in creeping except for a very short to the Messiah, vol. i. p. 226). distance.
The awful threatening to man was, 'In the day that thou eatest of it, thou wilt die the death.' The infliction is Death in the most comprehensive sense, that which stands opposed to Life, the life of not only animal enjoyment, but holy happiness, the life which comported with the image of God. This was lost by the fall; and the sentence of physical death was pronounced, to be executed in due time. Divine mercy gave a long respite.
But these and other inconsistencies and difficulties (insuperable they do indeed appear to us are swept away when we consider the fact before stated, that the Hebrew, literally rendered, is THE serpent was, &c., and that it refers specifically and personally to a rational and accountable being, the spirit of lying and cruelty, the devil, the Satan, the old serpent. That God, the infinitely holy, good, and wise, should have permitted any one or more celestial spirits to apostatize from purity, and to be the successful seducers of mankind, is indeed an awful and overwhelming mystery. But it is not more so thai. the permitted existence of many among mankind, whose rare talents and extraordinary command of power and opportunity, combined with extreme depravity, have rendered them the plague and curse of the earth; and the whole merges into the awful and insolvable problem, Why has the All-perfect Deity permitted evil at all? We are firmly assured that He will bring forth, at last, the most triumphant evidence that byHe is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.' In the mean time, our happiness lies in the implicit confidence which we cannot but feel to be due to the Being of Infinite Perfection.
Neither do they eat dust.' All serpents are carnivorous; their food, according to the size and power of the species, is taken from the tribes of insects, worms, frogs, and toads, and newts, birds, mice, and other small quadrupeds, till the scale ascends to the pythons and boas, which can master and swallow very large animals. The excellent writer just cited, in his anxiety to do honour, as he deemed it, to the accuracy of
The same mercy was displayed in still more, tempering the terrors of justice. The garden of delights was not to be the abode of rebellious creatures. But before they were turned out into a bleak and dreary wilderness, God was pleased to direct them to make clothing suitable to their new and degraded condition, of the skins of animals. That those animals had been offered in sacrifice is a conjecture supported by so much probable evidence, that we may regard it as a well-established truth. Any attempt to force back the way, to gain anew the tree of life, and take violent or fraudulent possession, would have been equally impious and nugatory. The sacrifice (which all approximative argument obliges us to admit), united with the promise of a deliverer, and the promise of substantial clothing, contained much hope of pardon and grace. The terrible debarring by lightning flashes and their consequent thunder, and by visible supernatural agency (Gen. iii. 22-24), from a return to the bowers of bliss, are expressed in the characteristic patriarchal style of anthropopathy; but the meaning evidently is, that the fallen creature is unable by any efforts of his own to reinstate himself in the favour of God, and that whatever hope of restoration he may be allowed to cherish must spring solely from free benevolence. Thus, in laying the first stone of the temple, which shall be an immortal habitation of the Divine glory, it was manifested that 'Salvation is of the Lord,' and that ' grace reigneth through righteousness unto eternal life.'
From this time we have little recorded of the lives of Adam and Eve. Their three sons are mentioned with important circumstances in connection with each of them. See the articles CAIN, ABEL, and SETH. Cain was probably born in the year after the fall; Abel, possibly some years later; Seth, certainly one hundred and thirty years from the creation of his parents. After that, Adam lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters, doubtless by Eve, and then he died, nine hundred and thirty years old. In that prodigious period many events, and those of great importance, must have occurred; but the wise providence of God has not seen fit to preserve to us any memorial of them, and scarcely any vestiges or hints are afforded of the occupations and mode of life of men through the antediluvian period [ANTEDILUVIANS].
2. ADAM, a city at some distance east from the Jordan, to which, or beyond which, the overflow of the waters of that river extended when the course of the stream to the Dead Sea was stayed to afford the Israelites a passage across its channel.
AD'AMAH. [ADMAH.] ADAMANT. The word thus rendered is, in Hebrew, SHAMIR. It occurs in Jer. xvii. 1; Ezek. iii. 9; Zech. vii. 12. The Sept. in Jer. xvii. 1, and the Vulgate in all these passages, take it for the diamond. The signification of the word, a sharp point,' countenances this interpretation, the diamond being for its hardness used in perforating and cutting other minerals. Indeed, this use of the shamir is distinctly alluded to in Jer. xvii. 1, where the stylus pointed with it is distinguished from one of iron. The two other passages also favour this view by using it figuratively to express the hardness and
obduracy of the Israelites. Our Authorized Version has diamond' in Jer. xvii. 1, and adamant' in the other texts: but in the original the word is the same in all. Bochart, however, rejects the usual explanation, and conceives it to mean emery.' This is a calcined iron mixed with siliceous earth, occurring in livid scales of such hardness that in ancient times, as at present, it was used for polishing and engraving precious stones, diamonds excepted. Rosenmüller urges in favour of this notion that if the Hebrews had been acquainted with the diamond, and with the manner of working it, we should doubtless have found it among the stones of the high-priest's breastplate; and that, as the shamir was not one of the stones thus employed, therefore it was not the diamond. But to this it may be answered, that it was perhaps not used because it could not be engraved on, or was possibly not introduced until a later period.
A'DAR (Esth. iii. 7) is the sixth month of the civil and the twelfth of the ecclesiastical year of the Jews. The name was first introduced after the Captivity. The following are the chief days in it which are set apart for commemoration:-The 7th is a fast for the death of Moses (Deut. xxxiv. 5, 6). On the 9th there was a fast in memory of the contention or open rupture of the cele brated schools of Hillel and Shammai, which happened but a few years before the birth of Christ. The 13th is the so-called 'Fast of Esther.' Iken observes (Antiq. Hebr. p. 150) that this was not an actual fast, but merely a commemoration of Esther's fast of three days (Esth. iv. 16), and a preparation for the ensuing festival. Nevertheless, as Esther appears, from the date of Haman's edict, and from the course of the narrative, to have fasted in Nisan, Buxtorf adduces from the Rabbins the following account of the name of this fast, and of the foundation of its observance in Adar, that the Jews assembled together on the 13th, in the time of Esther, and that, after the example of Moses, who fasted when the Israelites were about to engage in battle with the Amalekites, they de voted that day to fasting and prayer, in preparation for the perilous trial which awaited them on the morrow. In this sense, this fast would stand in the most direct relation to the feast of Purim. The 13th was also, by a common decree,' appointed as a festival in memory of the death of Nicanor (2 Macc. xv. 36). The 14th and 15th were devoted to the feast of Purim (Esth. ix. 21). In case the year was an intercalary one, when the month of Adar occurred twice, this feast was first moderately observed in the intercalary Adar, and then celebrated with full splendour in the ensuing Adar. The former of these two celebrations was then called the lesser, and the latter the great Purim.
ADA'SA, or ADARSA, called also by Josephus ADAZER, ADACO, and ACODACO, a city in the tribe of Ephraim, said to have been four miles from Beth-horon, and not far from Gophna. It was the scene of some important transactions in the history of the Maccabees (1 Mac. vii. 40, 45; Joseph. Antiq. xii. 10.5; Bell. Jud. i. 1).
ADB'EEL, one of the twelve sons of Íshmael, and founder of an Arabian tribe (Gen. xxv. 13, 16).