Page images
PDF
EPUB

A, M. 1. A. C. 4004; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, 5411. GEN. CH. 1. AND PART OF CH. 2 and multiply,' that is, giving them, at their first creation, that man was created, and introduced into the world in a prolific virtue, and a natural instinct for generation, a manner and solemnity not unbecoming the lord and whereby they might not only preserve their species, but governor of it. To this purpose we may observe, that multiply their individuals, and this was the work of the God makes a manifest distinction between him and other fifth day.

creatures, and seems to undertake the creation, even of Thus every thing being put in order; the earth covered his body, with a kind of mature deliberation, if not conwith plants; the waters restored with fish; the air re- sultation with the other persons of the ever-blessed plenished with fowl; and the sun placed at a proper Trinity; 6. Let us make man.'' distance, to give a convenient warmth and nourishment However this be, it is certain that the force and to all; in order to make this sublunary world a still energy of the expression denotes thus much—that the more comfortable place of abode, in the beginning of the production of mankind at first was so immediately the sixth and last day, God made the terrestrial animals, work of Almighty God, that the power of no subordinate which the sacred historian distributes into three kinds : intelligence could be capable of it: that the curious 1. Beasts, by which we understand all wild and savage creatures, such as lions, bears, wolves, &c. 2. Cattle, all tame and domestic creatures, designed for the benefit

6 Gen, i. 26. The Jewish doctors are of opinion, that the and use of men, such as oxen, sheep, horses, &c. And, God might employ in the work of man's creation; and they teli

consultation was real, and held with such angelical beings as 3. Creeping things, such as serpents, worms, and other a story upon this occasion which seems a little fictitious,' viz., kinds of insects,

that as Moses was writing his book by God's appointment, and Thus, when all things which could be subservient to these words came to be dictated, he refused to set them down, man's felicity were perfected; when the light had, for crying out, O Lord! wouldst thou then plunge men in error, and

make them doubt of the doctrine of the unity? Whereupon it some time, been penetrating into, and clarifying the was answered by God, 'I command thee to write, and if any dark and thick atmosphere ; when the air was freed from will err, let them err. Several modern expositors account it its noisome vapours, and become pure and clear, and fit only a majestic form of speech, as nothing is more common than for his respiration; when the waters were so disposed, especially when they are giving out any important order or

for kings and sovereign princes to speak in the plural number, as to minister to his necessities by mists and dews from command. It has been observed, however, that as there were heaven, and by springs and rivers from the earth; when no men, and consequently no great men, when this was spoken ; the surface of the earth was become dry and solid for

so there was no such manner of speech in use among men of his support, and covered over with grass and flowers, was

, in all their public instruments and letters (the better to

that rank for many ages after Moses. Their common custom with plants and herbs, and trees of all kinds, for his enhance the notion of sovereignty) to speak in the first person, pleasure and sustenance; when the glorious firmament as it was in our nation not long ago, and is in the kingdom of of heaven, and the beautiful system of the sun, moon, Spain to this very day; and therefore, upon the authority of and stars, were laid open for his contemplation, and, by almost all the fathers of the church: "For, from the very times their powerful influences, appointed to distinguish the that God the Father spake these words to the Son and Holy

of the apostles, they all nearly coincide in faithfully declaring seasons, and make the world a fruitful and delicious Ghost, or at least to the Son." Whitby's Connexions of habitation for him; when, lastly, all sorts of animals in Fathers. Others have thought that this language of Moses rethe sea, in the air, and on the earth, were so ordered presents God speaking, as he is, that is, in a plurality of persons. and disposed, as to contribute, in their several capaci- man, in conjunction, it should seem, with other persons con

c“God is represented to have concerted the formation of ties, to his benefit and delight: when all these things, I sulting in secret counsel.” This circumstance has been justly say, were, by the care and providence of God, prepared received as furnishing evidence in favour of the doctrine of the for the entertainment of this principal guest, it was then Trinity. It is generally admitted also, that the manifestations

of the Divine Nature, which were made to the Patriarchs, to

Moses, to Joshua, and others, were made in the person of a In the 24th verse of this chapter it is said, that God com- Christ," the Angel or “Messenger of the Covenant.” Thus, manded the earth to produce such and such animals; “Let the when the Lord appeared to Abraham, in the plains of Mamre, earth bring forth the living creature after his kind;' and yet, in it is said, that three men stood by him, yet the Patriarch adthe very next verse, it follows, that God made the beast of the dressed them as he would have accosted one Being, or directed earth, and every thing that moveth after his kind:' but this himself to one as superior—“Nay, my Lord, pass not away," seeming contradiction is easily reconciled by putting together Gen. xviii. When Jacob wrestled with the man who appeared the proper meaning of both these passages, which must certainly to him, he called the name of the place Peniel, "for I have be this—that God himself effectually formed these terrestrial seen God face to face, and my life is preserved;" and when he animals, and made use of the earth only as to the matter whereof blessed the sons of Joseph, he expressed the hope that “the he constituted their parts. Some indeed have made it a ques- angel which redeemed him from all evil would bless the lads," tion, whether these several creatures were at first produced in Gen. xlviii. 16. The angel which appeared to Moses at the bush, their full state and perfection, or God only created the seeds of said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Isaac, and the all animals, (i. e. the animals themselves in miniature,) and God of Jacob, Ex. iji. 6. When Manoah inquired the name of dispersed them over the face of the earth, giving power to that the angel who appeared unto him, the angel answered, “Why element, assisted by the genial heat of the sun, to hatch and askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?”–Using the bring them forth; but for this there is no manner of occasion, same Hebrew word which is applied to Christ by Isaiah, when since it is much more rational to suppose, that God did not in his ninth chapter and sixth verse, he styles him “ Wonderful.” commit the formation of things to any intermediate causes, but We are told that Manoah, when he knew that he was an angel himself created the first set of animals in the full proportion and of the Lord, said unto his wife, “We shall surely die because we perfection of their specific natures, and gave to each species a have seen God," Judges xiii. 18. power afterwards, by generation, to propagate their kind; for It was the object of the Jewish dispensation to preserve men that even now, and in the present situation of things any perfect from idolatrous propensities, and from following after strange species cannot, either naturally or accidentally, he produced by gods. Moses and the prophets therefore insist principally on the any preparation of matter, or by any influence of the heavens, unity of God, though when led to refer to the offices of the other without the interposition of an almighty power, physical expe- persons of the Trinity, they could not but impart some notices riments do demonstrate.- Patrick's Commentary; and Bentley's of a doctrine which was afterwards distinctly to be revealed.”Sermons at Boyle's Lecture.

Gray's Connexion, &c., pp. 121, 123.-Ev.

9

A. M. 1. A. C. 4004; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, 5:11. GEN. CH. 1. AND PART OF CH. 2. structure of man's body, the accommodation of it to answer his desires in this particular likewise, "God faculties, and the furnishing it with faculties that are caused a deep sleep to fall upon him,' which was inaccommodated to it, (even as to its animal life,) im-tended, not only as an expedient for the performance of ports a wisdom and efficacy far above the power of any the wonderful operation upon him without sense of pain, created nature to effect. And this may possibly suggest a but as a trance or ecstasy likewise, wherein was rethe reason, why, in the formation of his body, God made presented to his imagination, both what was done to choice of the dust of the ground,' viz., that from the him, and what was the mystical meaning of it, and incongruity of the matter we might judge of the difficulty, whereby he was prepared for the reception of that divine and learn to attribute the glory of the performance to oracle concerning the sacred institution of marriage, him alone. And if the creation of the body of our great which presently, upon his awaking, he uttered. progenitor was a work of so much divine wisdom and While Adam continued in this sleep, God, who, with power, we cannot but expect, that the spiritual and im- the same facility wherewith he made him, could have material nature, the immortal condition, active powers, formed the woman out of the dust of the earth,' (being md free and rational operations, which, in resemblance willing to signify that equality and partnership, that love of the Divine Being, the soul of man was to participate, and union, and tenderness of endearment, which ought should require some peculiar and extraordinary conduct to interfere between husband and wife,) took part of the in its production at first, and union with matter after- substance of the man's body, e near his side, and closing ward; all which is expressed by God's ' breathing into up the orifice again, out of that substance he s formed the man's nostrils the breath of life,' that is, doing the body of Eve, and then “breathing into her the breath something analogous to breathing, (for God has no body of life,' made her, in like manner, become a living to breathe with,) whereby he infused a rational and im- soul.' mortal spirit (for we must not suppose that God gave This was the 8 conclusive act of the whole creation: any part of his own essence) into the man's head, as the principal seat thereof; and b man became a living

1 Gen. ii. 21.

Gen. ii. 23. soul.'

d In like manner, he makes this sleep which fell upon Adam As soon as Adam found himself alive, and began to to have been a kind of trance or ecstasy, (for so the Seventy cast his eyes about him, he could not but perceive that translate it,) and thus he relates the occasion and nature of it. he was in no small danger as being surrounded with a He ended, and I heard no more; for now

My earthly by his heavenly overpower'd, multitude of savage creatures, all gazing on him, and

Which it had long stood under, strain'd to th' height (for any thing he knew) ready and disposed to fall upon In that celestial colloquy sublime, and devour him. And therefore, to satisfy his mind in

(As with an object that excels the sense,

Dazzled and spent,) sunk down, and sought relief this particular, God took care to inform him, that all the

Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called creatures upon earth were submitted to his authority;

By nature as in aid, and clos'd my eyes.

Mine eyes he clos'd, but open left the cell that on them he had impressed an awe and dread of

Of fancy, my internal sight; by which kim; bad invested him with an absolute power and do

(Abstract as in a traace) methought I saw,

Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape minion over them; and, to convince him of the full pos

Still glorious, before whom awake I stood — session of that power, he immediately appointed every Under his forming hands a creature grew creature to appear before him, which they accordingly

Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair,

That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now did, and by their lowly carriage, and gestures of Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain 'd, respect suitable to their several species, evidenced their

And in her looks, which from that time infus'd

Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before; submission; and as they passed along, such knowledge

And into all things from her air inspir'd had Adam then of their several properties and destina

The spirit of love, and amorous delight. tions, that he assigned them their names, which a small e As the original word does not strictly signify a rib, and is all skill in the Hebrew tongue will convince us, were very along rendered by the Seventy pleura, a side, so I thought it not proper, and significant of their natures.

improper to give it that construction, thereby to cut off from This survey of the several creatures might possibly about the redundant or defective rib of Adam.

infidels an occasion for raillery, and to spare them all their wit oceasion some uneasy reflections in Adam, to see every f The original word signifies building or framing any thing one provided with its mate, but himself left destitute of with a singular care, contrivance, and proportion; and hence any companion of a similar nature; and therefore, to our bodies are in Scripture frequently called houses, Job iv. 19.;

2 Cor. v. 1.; and sometimes temples, John ii, 15.; 1 Cor. iii, 16.

g It is not very necessary to determine at what season of the • The original word, which our translators render nostrils, year the world was made ; yet it seems most probable, that it signifies more properly the face or head. It is not to be doubted, but that Eve, the mother of all liv

was about the autumnal equinox, and that not only because the

trees were laden then with fruit, as the history tells us our first ing, was created by Almighty God, and inspired with a rational parents did eat of them; but because the Jews did then begin and immortal soul, the same day with her husband; for so it is their civil year (viz. in the month Tisri, which answers to part said, that in the sixth day, male and female created he them,' of our September and October) from whence their sabbatical and ser. 27; and therefore the historian only re-assumes the argu- jubilee years did likewise commence, Exod. xxiii. 16. xxxiv, mezut in the second chapter, to give us a more full and particular 22; Lev. xxv. 9. The month Abib (which answers to part of account of the woman's origin, which was but briefly delivered,

our March and April) had indeed the honour afterwards to be or rather indeed but hinted at in the first.

reckoned among the Jews the beginning of their year in eccle© Milton has expressed himself, upon this occasion, in the siastical matters, because the children of Israel, on that month, following manner:

came out of the land of Egypt; but from the very creation, the As thas he spake, each bird, and beast, behold

month Tisri was always counted the first of their civil year, Approaching, two and two; these cow'ring low

because it was the general opinion of the ancients, that the With blandishment; each bird stoop'd on his wing.

world was created at the time of the autumnal equinox; and for I nam'd them, as they pass, and understood Their nature; with such knowledge God endu'd

this reason, the Jews do still, in the era of the creation, as well My sadden apprehension.

as in that of contracts, and other instruments, compute the he

A. M. 1. A. C. 4004; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, 5411. GEN. CH. 1. AND PART OF CH. 2. and upon a general survey of such harmony risen from because he foresaw, that such procedure would be a principles so jarring and repugnant, and so beautiful a means conducive to the better instruction both of variety and composition of things from a mere mass of men and angels. Angels (as we hinted before) were confusion and disorder, God was pleased with the work very probably created, when the supreme heavens were of his hands; and having pronounced it good, or pro- made, at least some considerable time before the properly adapted to the uses for which it was intended, 'he duction of this visible world. Now, though they be rested from all his work,' that is, he ceased to produce great and glorious beings, yet still they are of a tinite any more creatures, as having accomplished his design, nature, and unable to comprehend the wonderful works and answered his original idea; and thereupon he of God. There are some things (as a the apostle tells a sanctified, and set apart the next ensuing day, (which us) that these celestial creatures desire to look into;' was the seventh from the beginning of the creation, and and the more they are let into the knowledge and wisdom the first of Adam's life,) as a time of solemn rest and of God, the more they are incited to praise him. That rejoicing for ever after, to be observed and expended in therefore they might not want sufficient matter for this acts of praise and religious worship, and in commemora- heavenly exercise, the whole scene of the creation, action of the infinite wisdom, power, and goodness of cording to the several degrees and natures of things, God, in the world's creation.

seems to have been laid open in order before them, that thereby they might have a more full and comprehensive view of the divine attributes therein exhibited, than they

could have had, in case the world had started forth in CHAP. III.-The Objection.

an instant, or jumped (as it were) into this beautiful

frame and order all at once; just as he who sees the 15 WHERE wast thou, when I laid the foundations of the whole texture and contrivance of any curious piece of earth? Declare if thou hast understanding. Where-art, values and admires the artist more, than he who beupon are the foundations thereof fastened, and who laid holds it in the gross only. the corner stone thereof?' is a question very proper to God was therefore pleased to display his glory before be put to those who demand a reason for the actions of the angels, and by several steps and degrees, excite God: for, if they cannot comprehend the works them their praise, and love, and admiration, which moved them selves, they are certainly very culpable in inquiring too to songs and shouts of joy. By this means, his glory, busily into the time and manner of his doing them. But and their happiness were advanced, far beyond what it (to gratify the inquisitive for once) though we do not would have been, had all things been created, and ranged deny, that all things are equally easy to Almighty in their proper order in a moment. By this means they power, yet it pleased the divine Architect to employ the had time to look into the first principles and seeds of space of six days in the gradual formation of the world, all creatures, both animate and inanimate; and every

day presented them with a glorious spectacle of new "Job xxxviii. 4, 6.

wonders; so that the more they saw, the more they knew, ginning of their year from the first day of Tisri. Herein, how- and the more they know of the works of God, the more ever, the Jews differ from us; that whereas they make the world only 3760, most of the Christian chronologers will have they for ever love and adore him. But this is not all. it to be much about 4000 years older than Christ; so that by By this successive and gradual creation of things, in them 5732 years, or thereabouts, are thought a moderate com- the space of six days, the glory of God is likewise more putation of the world's antiquity. See Usher's Annals; Bed- manifest to man, than it would have been, bad they been ford's Chronology; and Shuckford's Connection.

a Whether the institution of the Sabbath was from the begin- made by a sudden and instantaneous production. The ning of the world, and one day in seven always observed by the heavens, and all the host of them,' we may suppose, patriarchs, before the promulgation of the law; or whether the were made in an instant, because there were then persanctification of the seventh day is related only by way of antici- haps no other creatures to whom God might display the pation, as an ordinance not to take place until the introduction of the Jewish economy, is a matter of some debate among the glory of his works; but as they were made in an instant, learned; but I think with little or no reason, for when we con- we have little or no perception of the manner wherein sider, that as soon as the sacred penman had said, 'God ended they were made : but now, in this leisurely procedure his work, and rested," he adds immediately, in the words of the of the earth’s formation, we see, as it were, every thing same tense, he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it;' when we compare this passage in Genesis' with the twentieth arising out of the primordial mass, first the simple ele. chapter of Exodus, wherein Moses speaks of God's blessing and ments, and then the compounded and more curious sanctifying the Sabbath' not as an act then first done, but as creatures, and are led, step by step, full of wonder and what he had formerly done upon the creation of the world; when admiration, until we see the whole completed. So that, we remember, that all the patriarchs from Adam to Moses had in condescension to our capacity, it was, that God set times for their solemn assemblies, and that these times were weekly, and of divine institution; that upon the return of these divided the creation into stated periods, and prolonged weekly Sabbaths, very probably, it was that Cain and Abel the succession of what he could have done in six mooffered their respective sacrifices to God; and that Noah, the monts, to the term of six days, that we might have clearer only righteous person among the Antediluvians, Abraham, the notions of his eternal power and godhead, and every most faithful servant of God after the flood, and Job, that perfect and upright man, who feared God, and eschewed evil, are particular day of the week, new and particular works, all supposed to have observed it; we cannot but think, that the for which we are to praise him. And this, by the bye, day whereupon the work of the creation was concluded, from the suggests another argument, founded on the institution of very beginning of time, was every week (until men had cor- the Sabbath day: For if, 'in six days, the Lord made rupted their ways) kept holy as being the birthday of the world, (as Philo on the Creation of the World styles it,) and the univer- heaven and earth, and, resting on the seventh day, did sal festiral of mankind. Bedford's Scr pture Chronology, and Pairick's Commentary.

I Pit. i. 12. : Jenkins's Reasonableness of the C. Religion,

A. M. I, A. C. 4004; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, 5411. GEN. CH. 1, AND PART OF CH. 2. bless and sanctify it,' this seems to imply, that God (nor can there be more or less of pains, where all things obliged himself to continue the work of the creation for are equally easy. But, in the mean time, how does it six days, that showing himself (if I may su say) a appear, that even, in human conception, the work of the divine example of weekly labour, and sabbatical rest, third day, which consisted in draining the earth, and he might more effectually signify to mankind, what tri- stocking it with plants; or even of the fourth day, bute of duty he would require of them, viz., that one day wherein the sun and moon, and other planets were made, in seven, abstaining from business and worldly labour, was more difficult, than that of the first, which is acthey should devote and consecrate it to his honour, and counted the simple production of light? religious worship.

The compass of the chaos (as we supposed) took up There is therefore no necessity of departing from the the whole solar system, or that space, which Saturn cirliteral sense of the Scripture in this particular. The cumscribes in his circulation round the sun: and if so, reiterated acts, and the different operations mentioned what a prodigious thing was it, to give motion to this by Moses, ought indeed to be explained in such a man- vast unwieldy mass, and to direct that motion in some ner, as is consistent with the infinite power, and perfect sort of regularity; in the general struggle and combussimplicity of the acts of God, and in such a manner, as tion, to unite things that were no ways akin, and to sort may exclude all notions of weakness, weariness, or im- the promiscuous elements into their proper species; to perfection in him; but all this may be done without give the properties of rest and gravitation to one kind, receding from a successive creation, which redounds so and of ascension and elasticity to another : to make much to the glory of God, and affords the whole intelli- some parts subside and settle themselves, not in one gent creation so fair a field for contemplation, continued solid, but in several different centres, at pro

Some of the Jewish doctors are of opinion, that in the per distances from each other, and so lay the foundation first day, when God created light, at the same time, he for the planets; to make others aspire and mount on formed and compacted it into a sun; and that the sun is high, and having obtained their liberty by hard conflict, mentioned again on the fourth day, merely by way of join together, as it were, by compact, and make up repetition; while others maintain, that this light was a one body, which, by the tenuity of its parts, and rapicertain luminous body (not unlike that which conducted the dity of its motion, might produce light and heat, and so children of Israel in the wilderness) that moved round lay the foundation for the sun; to place this luminous the world, until the day wherein the sun was created. body in a situation proper to influence the upper parts But there is no occasion for such conjectures as these: of the chaos, and to be the instrument of rarefaction, every one knows, that darkness has, in all ages, been separation, and all the rest of the operations to ensue; the chief idea which men have bad of a chaos. Both to cause it, when thus placed, either to circulate round poets and philosophers have made Nox, and Erebus, the whole planetary system, or to make the planetary and Tartarus, the principal parts and ingredients of its globes to turn round it, in order to produce the vicissidescription; and therefore it seems very agreeable to tudes of day and night, to do all this, and more than the reason of mankind, that the first remove from the this, I say, as it is included in the single article of chaos should be a tendency to light. But then by light creating light, is enough to make the first day, wherein (as it was produced the first day,) we must not under nature was utterly impotent, (as having motion then first stand the darting of rays from a luminous body, such as impressed upon her,) a day of more labour and curious do now proceed from the sun, but those particles of contrivance than any subsequent one could be, when matter only, which we call fire, (whose properties we nature was become more awake and active, and some know are light and heat,) which the Almighty produced, assistance might possibly be expected from the instruas a proper instrument for the preparation, and digestion mentality of second causes. of all other matter. For fire, being naturally a strong To excavate some parts of the earth, and raise others, and restless element, when once it was disentangled and in order to make the waters subside into proper chanset free, would not cease to move, and agitate from top nels, is thought a work not so comporting with the digto bottom, the whole heavy and confused mass, until the nity and majesty of God; and therefore a some have parrer and more shining parts of it being separted from thought that it possibly might have been effected by the the grosser, and so uniting together, (as things of the same causes that occasion earthquakes, that is, by subsame species naturally do,) did constitute that light, terraneous fires and Aatuses. What incredible effects which, on the fourth day, was more compressed and the ascension of gunpowder has, we may see every day: consolidated, and so became the body of the sun. how it rends rocks, and blows up the most ponderous

The author of the Book of Wisdom tells us indeed, and solid walls, towers, and edifices, so that its force is that "God ordered all things in measure, and number, almost irresistible. And why then might not such a and weight;' but we cannot from hence infer, that in the proportionable quantity of the like materials, set on fire six days, he was so nice and curious, as to weigh out together, raise up the mountains, (how great and weighty to himself in gold scales (as it were) his daily work by soever,) and the whole superficies of the earth above the grains and scruples. We indeed, who are finite crea- waters, and so make receptacles for them to run into. tures, may talk of the heat and burden of the day,' and, * Thus we have a channel for the sea, even by the interin a weekly task, are forced to proportion the labour of each day to the present condition of our strength; but

• Ps. civ. 6, 7, 8. this is the case of human infirmity, and no way compati- a This we may conceive to have been effected by some partible to God. To omnipotence nothing can be laborious, cles of fire still left in the bowels of the earth, whereby such

nitrosulphurous vapours were kindled, as made an earthquake, "Patrick's Commentary on the passage.

which both lifted up the earth, and also made receptacles for the Nicholls' Conference, v. l.

3 Wis. xi, 20. waters to run into. Patrick's Commentary.

B

man

be

A. M. 1. A. C. 4004 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, 5411. GEN. CH. 1. AND PART OF CH. 2. vention of second causes: nor are we destitute of good Creator's wisdom in contriving, and mercy in preserving authority to patronize this notion; for, after that the all his works ! Psalmist had said, “the waters stood above the moun- St Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, makes all mar tains,' immediately he subjoins, “at thy rebuke they fled, kind (as certainly our first parent literally was) clay in at the voice of thy thunder (an earthquake, we know, is the hands of the potter, and thereupon he asks this ques. but a subterraneous thunder) they hasted away, and tion; 4 Nay but, 0 man, who art thou, that repliest went down to the valley beneath, even unto the place against God ? Shall the thing formed say to him that which thou hadst appointed to them.'

formed it, why hast thou formed me thus ? Hath not the However this be, it is probable, and (if our hypothesis potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make I be right) it is certain, that on the fourth day, the sun, one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour ?' It moon, and planets, were pretty well advanced in their but badly becomes us therefore to inquire into the reason formation. The luminous matter extracted from the that might induce God to make the man and the wonian chaos on the first day, being a little more condensed, at different times, and of different materials; and it is and put into a proper orb, became the sun, and the an impertinent, as well as impious banter, to pretend to planets had all along been working oft, in the same de- be so frugal of his pains. What if God, willing to show grees of progression with the earth; so that the labour a pleasing variety in his works, condescended to have of this day could not be so disproportionably great as is the matter, whereof the woman was formed, pass twice imagined. It is true indeed, the Scripture tells us, that through bis hands, in order to soften the temper, and God on this day, ' not only made the sun and the moon, meliorate the composition? Some peculiar qualities, but that he made the stars also;' and, considering the remarkable in the female sex, might perhaps justify this almost infinite number of these heavenly bodies, (which supposition: but the true reason, as I take it, is couched we may discern with our eyes, and much more with in these words of Adam, 5 - This is now bone of my bone, glasses,) we cannot but say, that a computation of this and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called < woman, kind would swell the work of the fourth day to a prodi- cause she was taken out of man: therefore shall a man gious disproportion: but then we are to observe, that leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, our English translation has interpolated the words, ‘he and they shall be one flesh.' made,' which are not in the original; for the simple Since God was determined, then, to form the woman version of the Hebrew is this—and ?«God made two out of some part of the man's body, and might probably great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the have a mystical meaning in so doing; to have taken her lesser light to rule the night and the stars;' which last (like the poet's Minerva) out of the head, might have words and the stars' are not to be referred to the word entitled her to a superiority which he never intended for

made' in the beginning of the verse, but to the word her; to have made her of any inferior, or more dishon“ rule,' which immediately goes before them; and so this ourable part, would not have agreed with that equality sentence, the lesser light to rule the night, and the to which she was appointed; and therefore he took her stars:' will only denote the peculiar usefulness and pre- out of the man's side, to denote the obligations to the dominancy of the moon above all other stars or planets, strictest friendship and society: to beget the strongest in respect of this earth of ours ; in which sense it may love and sympathy between him and her, as parts of the not improperly be styled (as a some of the most polite same whole; and to recommend marriage to all manauthors are known to call it) the ruler of the night,' kind, as founded in nature, and as the re-union of man and a queen,' or 'goddess,' as it were, among the stars. and woman. With regard to us, therefore, who are the inhabitants of It is an easy matter to be sceptical; but small reason, the earth, the moon, though certainly an opaque body, I think, there is to wonder, why no mention is made in may not be improperly called ' a great light;' since, by this place of the inspiration of the woman's soul. What reason of its proximity, it communicates more light, (not of its own indeed, but what it borrows from the sun,)

* Rom. ix, 20, 21. * Gen. ii, 23, 24. and is of more use and benefit to us than all the other

6 Milton has given us a very curious description of Eve's planets put together. Nor must we forget (what indeed qualifications, both in body and mind. deserves a peculiar observation) that the moon, å by its

Though well I understand, in the prime end constant deviations towards the poles, affords a stronger

of nature, her th' inferior in the mind,

And inward faculties, which most excel; and more lasting light to the inhabitants of those forlorn

In outward also her resembling less regions, whose long and tedious nights are of some

His image, who made both, and less expressing days’, nay, of some months' continuance, than if its mo

The character of that dominion giv'n

O'er other creatures; yet when I approach tion were truly circular, and the rays it reflects conse

Her loveliness, so absolute she seems, quently more oblique. A mighty comfort and refresh

So in herself complete, so well to know

Her own, that what she wills to do, or say, ment this to them, and a singular instance of the great

Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.
All higher knowledge in her presence falls

Degraded, wisdom in discourse with her 'Ray's Wisdom of God in the Creation. * Gen, i. 16.

Loses discountenanc'd, and like folly shows. * Derham's Astro-theology, ch. 4.

Authority and reason on her wait. a Gleaming glory of the Firmament. Crested queen of the

As one intended first, but after made Constellations, Horace. Ornament of the Stars, Virgil. Bright

Occasionally; and, to consummate all, goddess of the shaded earth, Seneca. Cinthia, mistress of the

Greatness of mind, and pobleness their seat

Build in her loveliest, and create an awe stilly hour, Statius' Thebais.

About her, as a guard angelic plac'd.
Phæbu borrowing still her brother's light,

c Arius Montanus, renders the Hebrew word virago, in the And reigning Empress o'er the realms of night.

Manilius. margin virissa, that is, she-man,

« PreviousContinue »