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and the sons of Jacob; the verification and confirmation of which depended on circumstances, that had neither taken place nor could have happened at the time when the history was written in which they are recorded : but which circumstances, we know, did take place exactly as they were foretold, and which may be said, even now, to have an actual accomplishment before our eyes. A third conjecture has been offered by some Jewish writers, after rabbi Moses Ben Nachman, who suppose that God dictated to Moses all the contents of this book, during the first forty days that he was permitted to hold a communica i tion with the Almighty on Mount Sinai, and that on his descent he committed the whole to writing. This hypothesis they found on Exodus xxiv. 12. where Jehovah says unto Moses - Come up to me in the mount, and be thou there, and I will give thee the tables of stone, and the law, and the precepts, which I have written, to teach them : understanding, by the tables, the decalogue ; by the precepts, all the ceremonial and judicial ordinances; and by the law, all the other writings of Moses, whether historical or doctrinal. “It is, however," as a pious writer has well remarked, “ as impossible, as it is of little consequence, to determine which of these opinions is best founded and it is sufficient for us to know, that Moses was assisted by the spirit of infallible truth in the composition of this sacred work, which he deemed a proper introduction to the laws and judgments delivered in the subsequent books."

III. The book of Genesis comprises the history of about 2369 years according to the vulgar computation of time, or of 3619 years according to the larger computation of Dr. Hales. Besides the history of the creation, it contains an account of the original innocence and fall of man ; the propagation of mankind; the rise of religion ; the general defection and corruption of the world; the deluge; the restoration of the world ; the division and peopling of the earth ; the call of Abraham, and the divine covenant with him ; together with the

l first patriarchs, to the death of Joseph. Several of these patriarchs were illustrious types of the Messiah, as Adam (Rom. v. 14. 1 Cor. xv. 45.); Abel (Heb. xii. 24.); Enoch; Melchizedek (Psal. cx. Heb. vii.) ; Abraham and Isaac (Heb. xi. 18, 19.); Jacob and Joseph. This book also comprises some important prophecies respecting the Messiah. See üi. 15. xi. 3. xviii. 18. xxi. 18. xxvi. 4. xxvii. 14. and xlix. 10. 18. IV. The

scope of the book of Genesis may be considered as twofold :- 1. To record the history of the world from the commencement of time; and, 2. To relate the origin of the church. The design of Moses in this book will be better understood, if we consider the state of the world when the Pentateuch was written. Mankind was absorbed in the grossest idolatry, which for the most part had originated in the neglect, the perversion, or the misapprehension of certain truths, that had once been universally known. Moses therefore com- . inences his narrative by relating in simple language the truths thus disguised or perverted. In pursuance of this plan, he relates, in the

1 Pareus, Proleg. in Genesin, pp. 9, 10. Francofurti, 1647.

book of Genesis, the true origin and history of all created things, in opposition to the erroneous notions entertained by the heathen nations, especially by the Egyptians; the origin of sin, and of all moral and physical evil; the establishment of the knowledge and worship of the only true God among mankind; their declension into idolatry; the promise of the Messiah ; together with the origin of the church, and

; her progress and condition for many ages. Further, it makes known to the Israelites the providential history of their ancestors, and the divine promises made to them; and shows them the reason why the Almighty chose Abraham and his posterity to be a peculiar people to the exclusion of all other nations, viz. that from them should spring the Messiah. This circumstance must be kept in view throughout the reading of this book, as it will illustrate many otherwise unaccountable circumstances there related. It was this hope that led Eve to exclaim, - I have gotten a man, the Lord. (Gen. iv. 1. Heb.) The

I a polygamy of Lamech may be accounted for by the hope that the Messiah would be born of some of his posterity, as also the incest of Lot's daughters (Gen. xix. 31–38.) Sarah's impatience of her barrenness (Gen. xvi.), the polygamy of Jacob (Gen. xxix.), the consequent jealousies between Leah and Rachel (Gen. xxx.), the jealousies between Ishmael and Isaac, and especially Rebekah's preference of Jacob to Esau. It was these jealousies, and these pretensions to the promise of the Messiah, that gave rise to the custom of calling God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and not the God of Lot, Ishmael, and Esau, the promise having been particularly made and repeated to those three patriarchs.

V. The Jews divide the book of Genesis into twelve paraschæ or larger sections, and forty-three siderim or smaller sections ; in our bibles it consists of fifty chapters, the general contents and leading divisions of which are exhibited in the following synopsis :: Part I. The origin of the world. (ch. i. ii.) Part II. The history of the former world. (ii.-vii.

Sect. 1. The fall of man and his expulsion from Paradise. (iii.) Sect. 2. The history of Adam and his descendants to Noah. (iv. v.) Sect. 3. The increase of wickedness in the world, and its de

struction by the deluge. (vi. vii.) Part III. The general history of mankind after the deluge. (vii.

Sect. 1. The restoration of the world. (viii.)
Sect. 2. The intoxication of Noah. (ix.)
Sect. 3. The peopling of the world by his descendants. (x.)

Sect. 4. The confusion of tongues and dispersion of mankind. (xi.)
Part IV. The particular history of the patriarchs. (xii.-1.).
Sect. 1. History of Abraham and his family, (xi.—xx.) the birth

of Isaac, (xxi.) trial of Abraham, (xxii.) the death of Sarah,

(xxiii.) marriage of Isaac, (xxiv.) and death of Abraham. (xxv.) Sect. 2. The history of the church under the patriarch Isaac.

(xxv.-xxvi.) 1 Alix's Reflections upon Genesis (Bishop Watson's Collection of Tracts, vol. i pp. 247-259.)

Secr. 3. The history of the church under the patriarch Jacob.

(xxvii.—xxxvi.) Sect. 4. The history of the church under the patriarch Joseph.

(xxxvii.-1.) V i. The afflictions of Jacob and Joseph : -- Joseph sold into Egypt, (xxxvii.) the

incest of Judah, (xxxvii.) the imprisonment of Joseph by Potiphar, (xxxix. xl.) ii. The deliverance and prosperity of Joseph :-- his promotion in the court of Pharaoh, (xli.) the journeys of his brethren into Egypt to purchase corn, (xlii.-xlv.) the descent of Jacob into that country, and settlement there with his family, (xlvi.- xlviii.) his prophetic benedictions of his children, (xlix.) the burial of Jacob, and the death and burial of Joseph (1.)

For a summary of the religious doctrines and moral precepts of the patriarchal times, as exhibited in the book of Genesis, see volume I. pp. 383, 384.

VI. From an imaginary difficulty in explaining the literal sense of the first three chapters of Genesis, (a difficulty however which exists not with the devout reader of the sacred volume) me learned men, who admit the Pentateuch to have been written by Moses, have contended that the narrative of the creation and fall is not a recital of real events, but an ingenious philosophical mythos, or fable, invented by Moses, after the example of antient Greek writers, to give the greater weight to his legislative enactments ! and designed to account for the origin of human evil, and also as an introduction to a history, great part of which they consider to be a mere poetic fiction. But the inventors of this fiction (for such only can we term it) have assumed that as proved which never had any existence : for the earliest Grecian cosmogony extant, namely, that of Hesiod, was not composed until at least five hundred and forty-five years after the death of Moses ! Further, the style of these chapters, as indeed of the whole book of Genesis, is strictly historical, and betrays no vestige whatever of allegorical or figurative description : this is so evident to any one that reads with attention, as to need no proof. And since this history was adapted to the comprehension of the commonest capacity, Moses speaks according to optical, not physical truth : that is, he describes the effects of creation optically, or as they would have appeared to the eye, and without any assignment of physical causes. In doing which he has not merely accommodated his narrative to the apprehension of mankind in an infant state of society, and employed a method of recital best suited to a vulgar capacity; but he thereby also satisfies an important requisition of experimental philosophy, viz. to describe effects accurately and faithfully, according to their sensible appearances : by which means the mind is enabled to receive a clear and distinct impression of those appearances, and thus to reduce them to their proper causes, and to draw from them such conclusions as they are qualified to yield : for the determination of causes must follow an acquaintance with their effects. “Besides, if it be granted that Moses was an inspired lawgiver, it becomes impossible to suppose that he wrote a fabulous account of the creation and fall of man, and delivered it as a divine revelation, because that would have been little, if at all, short of blasphemy; we must therefore believe this account to be true, or that it was declared and understood by the people, to whom it was addressed, to be allegorical. No such declaration was ever made; nor is there any mention of such an opinion being generally prevalent among the Jews in any early writing. The Rabbis indeed, of later times, built a heap of absurd doctrines upon this history; but this proves, if it proves any thing, that their ancestors ever understood it as a literal and true account : and, in fact, the truth of every part of the narrative contained in the book of Genesis is positively confirmed by the constant testimony of a people, who preserved a certain unmixed genealogy from father to son, through a long succession of ages : and by these people we are assured, that their ancestors ever did believe that this account, as far as it fell within human cognizance, had the authority of uninterrupted tradition from their first parent Adam, till it was written by the inspired pen of Moses.'2

1 This notion is current among the divines of Germany, and the Unitarians (as they term themselves) in this country: it is particularly enlarged upon by Bauer, (Herm. Sacr. pp. 351–365.); is inserted by Rosenmüller, jun. as if it were an indisputable fact, (Scholia in Vet. Test. tom. i. p. 11.) and is adopted by Dr. Geddes in his Translation of the Bible, (vol. i.) and also in his Critical Remarks, of which the reader will find a masterly refutation from the pen of the late eminently learned Bishop Horsley, in the British Critic, (0. S. vol. xix. pp. 6–13. The absurdity of this mythical interpretation is also well exposed by Professor Pareau, in his Institutio Interpretis Veteris Testamenti, pp. 361__403.

Further, in addition to the collateral testimony, already adduced," to the credibility and reality of the facts related in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis, that there are numerous incidental references, in the Old and New Testament, to the creation, temptation, and fall of our first parents, which clearly prove that they were considered as acknowledged Facts, not requiring proof, and handed down from primitive tradition. Of these we select the following instances, out of very many which might have been cited :

1. Allusions to the creation. - Psal. xxxiii. 9. He SPAKE, and it was done ; he coMMANDED, and it stood fast. This is manifestly an allusion to Gen. i. 3. et seq.

- Psal. xxiv. 2. He (Jehovah) hath founded it (the earth) upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

2 Pet. iii. 5. By the word of the Lord the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. In these two passages, the sacred writers allude to Gen. i. 6. 9. - 2 Cor. iv. 6, God, who COMMANDED LIGHT to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face (rather person) of Jesus Christ. Here St. Paul alludes to Gen. i. 3. in so specific a manner, that it is impossible not to perceive the designed reference. From Eccl. vii. 29. and Eph. iv. 24. compared with Col. iii. 10. and James iii. 9. we learn, that the divine image in which man is said to have been created is the moral image of God, viz. uprightness or righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge. And the creation of our first parents related as a fact in Gen. i. 27, 28., is explicitly mentioned as a real fact by our Lord, in Matt. xix. 4. and Mark x. 6., as also by the apostle Paul. Compare 1 Cor. xi. 9.

1 Penn's Comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaical Geologies, p. 140. In pp. 142—243. there is an elaborate examination and vindication of the literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis.

Bishop Tomline's Elements of Christ. Theol. vol. i. p. 64. 3 See Vol. I. pp. 161-166.

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2. Allusions to the temptation and fall of our first parents, which are related in Gen. ii.- Job xxxi. 33. If I covered my transgressions like Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom. Matt. xxv. 44. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. John viii. 44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the works of your father ye will [rather, wish to] do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it. - 1 Tim. ii. 14. Adam was first formed, then Eve : and Adam was not deceived: but the woman having been deceived, was in the transgression. - 1 Cor. xi. 3. The serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty.- 1 John ii. 8. that committeth sin is of the devil : for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The reality of the facts recorded in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis, was acknowledged by the Jews who lived previously to the time of Christ. Vestiges of this belief are to be found in the apocryphal books of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus. — God created man to be immortal, and made him an image of his own eternity. Ne vertheless, through envy of the devil, came death into the world, and they that hold of his side do find it. (Wisd. i. 23, 24.) Wisdom, (that is, the eternal Son of God) preserved the first formed father of the world, who was created alone ; and brought him out of his fall (hy the promised seed of the woman), and gave him power to rule all things. (x. 1, 2.) – Of the woman came the beginning of sin; and through her we all die. (Ecclus. xxv. 24.)

If words have any meaning, surely the separate and independent testimonies, here collected together, prove that the Mosaic narrative is a relation of real facts. To consider the whole of that narrative as an allegory “is not only to throw over it the veil of inexplicable confusion, and involve the whole Pentateuch in doubt and obscurity, but to shake to its very basis Christianity, which commences in the promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent.' In reality, if we take the history of the fall in any other sense than the obvious literal sense, we plunge into greater perplexities than ever. Some well-meaning pious commentators have indeed endeavoured to reconcile all difficulties, by considering some parts of the Mosaic history in an allegorical, and other parts in a literal sense ; but this is to act in a manner utterly inconsistent with the tenor and spirit of that history, and with the views of a writer, the distinguishing characteristics of whose production are simplicity, purity, and truth. There is no medium nor palliation ; the whole is allegorical, or the whole is literal."

In short, the book of Genesis, understood in its plain, obvious, and literal sense, furnishes a key to many difficulties in philosophy, which would otherwise be inexplicable. Thus it has been reckoned a great difficulty to account for the introduction of fossil shells into the bowels of the earth : but the scriptural account of the deluge explains



1 Maurice's History of Hindostan, vol. i. p. 803.

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