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“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.”—Gen. iii. 4.


Is the second chapter of Genesis, we read, any agency in the seduction of the first hu(v. 15, 16, 17.) that the Lord God took the man pair ? He has made not the least menman, and put him unto the garden of Eden, tion of such a being; nor has he given the to dress it, and to keep it. And the Lord God most distant hint or allusion from which we commanded the man, saying, of every tree of could infer his belief in the monster. If the garden, thou mayest freely eat; but of the there were such a being, who had stirred up tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou rebellion in heaven, suffered a memorable shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest defeat, and been thence thrust down to hell, thereof, thou shalt surely die.' And in the com- but who had afterwards managed matters so mencement of the succeeding chapter it is said, adroitly as to enter into the serpent, and unNow, the serpent was more subtle than any der this mask to wreak his spite on the unbeast of the field, which the Lord God had suspecting parents of mankind, is it not very made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, strange that Moses should pass over the hath God said, ye shalt not eat of every tree whole affair in profound silence ? If such in the garden? And the woman said unto the things had been, as is commonly supposed, serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of he must have been as well acquainted with the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is them, as mankind are at the present day; in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye , and since there is no roason why he should shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, have industriously kept them secret, we relest ye die. And the serpent said unto the wo- gard his silence concerning them as proof that man, ye shall not surely die.'

he had no knowledge of such incredible It must be confessed that this account has events. been made the occasion of some of the wildest In our apprehension, there never was a and most extravagant fancies that the human clearer case than this. It certainly becomes imagination ever conceived. We do not those who are in the habit of palming these mean that the sacred historian taught extrava- extravagant fancies on the credulity of the gant fancies in his narrative; but that man- public, to pause and consider the injury they kind have so distorted and perverted his facts, are likely to inflict on the cause of Christianas to turn them into the greatest imaginable ity, by continuing the practice. A reasonable

In the first place, it should be re- man cannot believe representations which collected, they have infinitely exaggerated oppose the common sense that God has given the threatening in which God announced the him. For various motives, he may not openly penalty attached to the law, under which he disavow belief in the chimeras; but we may placed our original parents. Have they not depend upon it, that he will cherish his un perseveringly asserted that the threatened belief in secret, and extend it probably to punishment was death temporal, spiritual and the Bible, in which, he is told, the absurdities eternal ?. If the reader is at all acquainted originate. The nonsense of the popular syswith the creeds, or preaching, or religious tems of divinity, has done more to inconversation of the popular class of profess- crease the ranks of infidelity, than all the ors, he knows that such is their constant, not writings of the professed enemies of our reto say obstinate, declaration. But on a sub-ligion. Universalists have done, and are still ject of so much importance, we trust we may doing, more to rescue Christianity from the be allowed to demand the authority for our attacks of unbelievers, than any class of those being required to believe that Adam was who maintain the prevailing doctrines of the threatened with eternal misery. One thing day. This may be called egotism ; but it is we know: that in the account which Moses matter of fact and sober experience. has given of the first transgression, there is As we have no faith in the existence of a not a particle of evidence that such a penal- fallen angel, and as the common opinion is, ty was annexed to the violation of the law. that such a being was the principal, indeed Without meaning to treat with contempt or the sole, agent in the temptation of our first with hostility, we defy, in direct terms, any parents, it may, perhaps, be demanded what man to point out, there, even a shadow of in- we understand by the serpent which Moses timation to that purport. All that Moses re- mentions. We answer with all readiness, cords of the threatening, is simply this : 'in that it appears to be, in this instance, a metathe day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt phorical term, by which the inspired historian surely die.' Why, then, should webe required would signify to us, the carnal or vicious to believe ina punishment, which our heaven- propensities in human nature. These conly Father has not announced to his creatures? stitute, in our judgment, what may be proper

But, in the second place, there is another ly and emphatically denominated the tempter. opinion which has widely prevailed, in rela- Our authority for this explanation, is not onlv tion to this passage of scripture, and which the testimony of the universal experience we regard as equally visionary and equally mankind, but the language also of the false, with that just examined. Who would tures. In the first chapter of St. Jar: have thought, from what Moses has said in tle, we read, 'Let no man say, this connexion, that a mighty fallen angel had I tempted. I am tempted of God; fo

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not be tempted with evil; neither tempteth he better emblem, could temptation have been any man. But every man is tempted, when represented. It is indeed a serpent. To purhe is drawn away of his own lust, and en- sue the metaphor,-he coils himself around ticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it the unsuspecting sinner with the utmost caubringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finish- tion, till in a favourable moment, he fixes his ed, bringeth forth death.' (v. 13, 14, 15.) The fangs in the infatuated victim. The deed is same doctrine, substantially, is taught in the done; and the poison is left to effect the work fourth chapter of this epistle : From whence of death. The history of þis operations with came wars and fightings among you ? come Eve, is the faithful record of his success with they not hence, even of your lusts that war her numerous sons and daughters. He be. in your members ?' (v. 1.) Why did he notgan by suggesting doubts respecting the pros attribute all this to the suggestions and in- priety of the divine prohibition; and finding fluence of a fallen angel? Again: in the se- her disposed to listen to these insinuations, venth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, he proceeded boldly to deny the consequence St. Paul says, “We know that the law is spir- which Deity had declared should result from itual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For the transgression of his law. “Ye shall not that which I do, I allow not ; for what I would, surely die,' said he. But let it be remembered that I do not; but what I hate, that do I. . If -let it never be forgotten that this old serthen I do that which I would not, I consent pent has always been a deceiver. He estaunto the law that it is good. Now, then, it is blished this character in Eden; and he reno more I that do it, but sin, that dwelleth in tains it still. Our first paren!s soon discover

For I know that in me, (that is, in ed his delusion; for on the very day of their my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing; for to will transgression, they actually experienced the is present with me, but how to perform that death which the unerring word of Jehovah had which is good, I find not. For the good that threatened. Had they escaped, had the pune I would, I do not; but the evil which I would ishment been either remitted or delayed, then not, that I do. Now, if I do that I would not, indeed the declaration of the serpent would it is no more I that do it, but sin, that dwell have been verified, and the denunciation of eth in me. I find, then, a law, that when I the true and living God proved false, would do good, evil is present with me. For In our opinion, every man, from the first I delight in the law of God, after the inward to the last, comes into the world under moral man; but I see another law in my members, circumstances precisely the same. We are warring against the law of my mind, and ushered into being in the state of perfect inbringing me into captivity to the law of sin nocency, with no guilt or vice, whatsoever; which is in my members. O wretched man and from all that we can learn, this was the that I am! Who shall deliver me from the condition of the parents of our race, when body of this death?' (v. 14–24.) Here, St. they came from the forming hands of their Paul appears to describe the reflections of a Creator. We know it is often said that Adam man who is striving against the current of was created perfectly holy, as well as innosinful inclinations; and we perceive that he cent: but the absurdity of this proposition places the whole force of temptation in the will be manifest, when we consider, that ho. vicious propensities of human nature, which liness is the result of correct moral action, and he calls a law in the members warring against that Adam could not have begun to perform the law of the mind. Let it now be remem- such actions, till after he was created. He bered that St. James teaches that this is the was innocent, until he yielded to the solicitaground on which every man is tempted. So tions of his deceived partner, and ate of the that, if there were, indeed, such a mighty fal- forbidden fruit. Then, bis innocence forlen angel as is commonly imagined, his in- sook him, and he felt in his soul the bitterness fluence and services would be altogether su- of spiritual death. St. Paul, says, 'to be carperseded by the irregular and turbulent pas- nally minded is death;' and this death has sions of mankind. He would be an utterly passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' useless piece of machinery in the conduct of In conclusion, we would remark, that there human life. Those who properly govern their never was a more groundless charge urged appelites and passions, he could not, of course, against any class of men, than that which is lead astray; and those who neglect this pre- so often repeated against the advocates of caution, would wander without his assistance. Universalism, viz. that they are propagating

Having thus stated our views of what is the doctrine which the serpent taught in the signified by the serpent which beguiled Eve, garden of Eden. And who, we ask, are they and shown that it must have been the carnal that fondly deal in this slander ? Why, those mind, which, according to St. Paul, is enmity that tell us with great vehemence, that if they against God-is not subject to his law, nei- believed God would save all mankind, they ther indeed can be,--we come next to in- would throw off every moral restraint, and sin quire, why this tempter is represented as ut- with a high hand and an outstretched arm. tering the declaration, Ye shall not surely Perhaps they are not aware that in betraying die. In eastern countries, even to this day, such sentiments, they lay themselves open to abstract principles and passions are frequent- a suspicion of being, themselves, somewhat ly personified ; and in accordance with this enamoured of the serpent's doctrine. If they style of writing, the principle of evil, or that did not think that sin is, in itself, to be desirwhich has the power to entice men from the ed,' and that it would contribute to their hapway of rectitude, is here described under the piness in the day' they indulged therein, figure of a serpent: the most odious of rep- they would have no wish to practice it, tiles, and yet the most fascinating. By no 'whether Universalism were true or false.




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"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation, and kindred,

and tongue and people.”-Rev. xiv. 6.



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There may possibly need something by loose principles from hence, that on this supray of apology, for putting out a book of this position he gave up the cause. And thus we kind, especially in an age so profligate; and may see how, with relation to mankind, if it may by some be looked upon as a design to God were truly represented in the infinity of promote libertinism, and concur with the aim his grace and goodness, and the au:hurity of and end of too many writers of these times, those other schemes which give his justice so under pretence of religion to undermine it at great a prevalency over his mercy, were the root : but I doubt not but the seriousness rebated or taken off, many that can stand the and solidity with which this subject is man- shock or terrors of the common preaching of aged, the zeal for the glory of God, the vindi. eternal wrath and damnation, or a hell-fire cation of his most glorious attributes, and the without end, might yet be reclaimed by the earnest endeavours for promoting the love of manifestation of the goodness of God when God and charity to all mankind, which all they should come to see, or understand it as along appear so conspicuous in this work, it is. For love is strongest, and in its own will soon convince the reader that there is a nature most powerful to attract and to per. design of the utmost service to religion at the suade. And therefore when it is objected, bottom; and that rather hy a new topic of this doctrine ought not to be broached in a persuasion to bring in proselytes to the king- licentious age, apt to take hold of all occadom of grace, than to drive any from it. sions of encouragement: we must turn back

With relation to God, it cannot but be an the argument upon the objectors, and tell acceptable service to represent him in his them, therefore there is need of greater most amiable excellencies, and vindicate the strength and argument for persuasion ; that supereminence of his love, whic is his na- the best wine at last should be drawn out, ture, and the full latitude of his mercy and and the full strength of the love in its turn goodness towards his creatures, which has had and season should be superadded to the a cloud or veil of darkness drawn over it in strength of justice and judgment for influence the minds of the generality of mankind; so upon the minds of men. that it has shown out less amiably, and less It may be yet said, “Supposing this doctrine powerfully convincing and commanding the to be true, that in the opinion of several that hearts and affections of men, and giving oc- have held it, it ought to be kept as a secret, casion to many that have been strong in the among such as may be fit to receive it, and faculty of reasoning, and have taken their not publicly exposed ?" To this I answer, notions of God rather from thence than from 1.' 'Tis true, 'Origen himself says so: but the Scriptures, as translated and glossed upon, this is not to be understood of writing upon and represented according to the schemes the subject, for that he did himself most freeand systems of these latter ages, by reason of ly; but rather for the general conduct of our the many inconsistencies therein, to throw off conversation, not to expose the mysteries of all revealed religion, and own only a God in religion to such as could not receive them. such manner as can be proved by human But, reason; and others that have less considera 2. There is a time for all things. There is tion and use of that talent, through their im- a time when all secrets are to be revealed mersion into sense, have hence had too great and proclaimed upon the house tops. And encouragement and too great arguments for this is in the latter day, in which WISDOM atheism and libertinism itself. And those that is to manifest herself, and knowledge to inwould convince them upon the common hy- crease as the waters that cover the sea : Isa. potheses have wanted also their greatest ix. 11. See also Dan. ult. iv. 10. Yea, this arguments to prevail upon them. One in very secret has its proper time to be revealed; stance I shall give, which I have been well as i Tim. ii. 6. i. e. “ 'To be testified in due informed of, and that is in the late Earl of lime."--And when is it, that this pouring ont Rochester; in the midst of all his extravagan- of knowledge is expected to he, and the manicies, hoth of opinion and practice: he was festations of the hidden wisdom of God, but once in company with the author of this in the preparation or entrances of the blessed treatise, who discoursing with him about times of refreshment from the presence of the religion and the Being of a God, took the Lord, in his next or latter day advent, i. e. to opportunity to display the goodness of God his millennial kingdom; of which we hear in its full latitude, according to the scheme the alarms at this very dav, from all quarters laid down in this his present work; upon and all parties ; from such as have been stuwhich the earl returned him for answer, dents of the prophetic writers, or heedful * That he could approve of and like such a observers of the signs of the times. As then God as he had represented.” So far was he in this very age, we have found many run

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