« PreviousContinue »
I suppose this
on this drawing' something more than assertion is requisite, in laying and strengthening his foundation. The subdrawings (p. 65. 1. 27.) of the prophets contain some further intimations; but very far from what is here ascribed to them: they only contain detached extracts, so to speak, out of the volume of God's secret decrees.
P. 65. 1. 34. 'Abridgment of the law and of the prophets.'—P. 66. I. 8.
Six is a complete 'number.'—Some think seven is a complete number: and it must be allowed that the number seven is so often, and so emphatically, specified in scripture, as to imply something peculiar in it:
be taken from the six days of creation, and the seventh of rest. Yet nothing, in a way of argument, can thence be deduced.
P. 66. 1. 20. His name was called Adam,' &c. -The name Adam, as every smatterer in Hebrew knows, is the name of the human species, as well as of the first man; and seems to have been taken merely from Tys, the material from which his body was formed. i The scripture indeed assigns special significations to several names, and the reasons for which they were given ; as Eve, Abraham, Ishmael, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, &c:2 but not a hint is given, that there was any mystery in the name Adam: all advanced therefore on this ground is mere assertion or imagination.
P. 66. 1. 28. So long, or near it,' &c. The words,' or near it,' are very conveniently introduced : for Mr. C.'s computation must be made
"Gen. ij. 7.
2 Gen. iii. 20. xvi. 11. xvii. 5, 15, 19. xxi. 3--6. xxv, 26. xxvii. 36. xxxii. 28. Exod. ii. 10.
to fit his hypothesis. This resembles the bed of Procrustes, who seized on travellers and measured them by his bed: if they were too long he cut them shorter, but if too short be stretched them longer.
P. 66. 1. 26. “In the year of the creation,' &c. According to the most approved chronologists, the computation being made from the Hebrew Bible, David was born A. M. 2919; and the present is computed to be about A. M. 5818. Exactness is not the object. The Septuagint makes it much more, but I believe few well-informed persons make it much less. Yet this entirely subverts the whole of Mr. C.'s hypothesis : for 2919 years to David's birth, require 2919 subsequent to it, before the coming of the Messiah ; which would lead us to A. M. 5838, instead of A. M. 5708, and so prolong the term of his expected coming 130 years longer, than Mr. C. calculates.—But perhaps our chronology may answer his purpose as well, when fairly considered; for, according to our computation, the present year is A. M. 5819 : and this leaves only 19 years to A. M. 5838, when the date of David's birth will be doubled. This would be more convenient for his scheme than 137 years yet to come : it would also save him the trouble of shortening the term ; and be more consistent with his calculations in another place. (p. 88.)
P. 67. 1. 12. “The end of any thing may be shortened.'—It seems it may also be lengthened : for, from the time of Jesus, false Messiahs have appeared, almost in every century; and have for a while been welcomed by many of the Jews, and
then disappeared. Thus every disappointment has reduced them to the necessity of lengthening the termination of the intervening period, one hundred years after another, to the present day : and, when the present dream has proved a delusion, (as it most assuredly will,) some other will be dreamed, to find a pretence for still lengthening the period; till “ the Spirit of grace and supplica“ tions” be poured out, and they “shall look” with penitent faith" on him whom they have “ pierced,” and crucified to themselves afresh," from age to age.
But there is no grappling with a phantom, or grasping smoke: like the shade of Anchises, it eludes the hand of him who would seize on it, Par levibus ventis, volucrique simillima somno. А serious argumentative answer cannot be expected, and the subject is too momentous for any other. The passage may, however, remind the reader of the prophet's words : “They hatch cockatrice eggs, “ and weave the spider's web :"-" their webs shall “ not become garments.” 2
P. 67. 1. 14. 'We know that Christ was born • 910 years after David.'- The Jews have a tra* dition, that in the last year of Darius (Hystaspes) • died the prophets Haggai Zechariah, and Malachi. * And from the same tradition they tell us, that
the kingdom of the Persians ceased also the same year. For they will have it, that this was the • Darius whom Alexander conquered, and that the ( whole continuance of the Persian empire was only
fifty-two years. This shews how ill they were
i Zech, xii. 10-14
? Is. lix. 4-6.
'acquainted with the affairs of the Persian empire. * And their countryman Josephus, in the account • which he gives us of those times, seems to have * been very little better informed concerning ' them.' (Prideaux.) They confound Darius Hystaspes with Darius Codomannus; though Xerxes, Artaxerxes Longimanus, Darius Nothus, and Artaxerxes Mnemon reigned between them. The Persian empire, from the accession of Darius the Mede, to the death of Darius Codomannus, continued for about 207 years. This occasions the great difference in chronology between Jewish and Christian writers, as to the times between the captivity and the coming of our Lord. But Mr. C. varies even from this, and is repeatedly inconsistent with himself. It is generally computed that David died 1015 years before Christ, and consequently was born 1085 before him ; but this is of little consequence.
P. 67. 1. 30. "The placing of Adam in the garden of Eden.' As far as this passage agrees with the narrative of Moses, it is entitled to firm credence: (p. 67, 68 :) but it is 'intermixed with
a few traditions' (p. 69. 1. 3.) I do not indeed believe these traditions, yet they are not of sufficient importance to require any remarks. But the familiar, colloquial manner, in which the events recorded in the word of God, and inseparably connected with the present and eternal interests of the human species, are mentioned, cannot satisfy any serious mind, Christian, Jewish, or gentile.
P. 67. I. 33. 'No angel could,' &c. This the scripture does not say.--' And God taught Adam
the names even all of them. Then he proposed them to the angels, and said, Declare unto 'me the names of these things, if ye be true.
They answered : Praise is thine ; we have not ' knowledge, except as much as thou hast taught
us. Truly thou art knowing and 'wise. And * God said, O Adam, Declare to them the names
of these things. And, when he had declared to * them their names ; he (God) said, Did not I say ' to you that I know the secret of the heavens and * the earth ; and I know what ye do openly and what ye conceal ? And, when we said to the angels, Adore Adam ; they even adored : but · Eblis (the devil) refused, and was lifted up in pride. “And Satan caused them to fall from paradise, and we said, Go down, the one an
enemy to the other.' (Koran, 2d chap.) Probably Mohammed derived his information from Jewish tradition; and he has added absurdity to it: but the coincidence is remarkable.
P. 68. 1. 33. Overcame Satan.' It is well that Satan, the grand enemy of all, is at all mentioned as to be overcome by man: but is this victory to be obtained by the power of Adam, or any of his fallen and sinful posterity ? or by that of “the " Seed of the woman, who shall bruise the ser“ pent's head?” “ The second Adam is the Lord “ from heaven." · P. 69. 1. 9. "THE LAW OF Noah.' It may be proper here to make a few remarks on this supposed law of Noah: because many writers, Christians as well as Jews, have mentioned it, as an existing rule of duty : but where it is to be found in scripture they do not state. In fact, it belongs