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chanical arts: one thing is certain, that the account of Moses does not hint at any difficulty arising on these grounds.
On one point we have information. Finding their need of clothing, they entwined together large leaves, or the branches of the fig-tree, for a covering. This mode was superseded by the special intervention of God, who “made coats of skins, and clothed them.” Gen. iii, 21. The observations of Calmet (Dict., art. Adam) on this particular are worthy of notice: “They had eno deavored to cover themselves with trees; but the intertwining, the plaiting of a leaf or leaves, of boughs or branches, recalled no image of death; it shed no blood, it expressed nothing that included the idea of substitution or atonement; and therefore it was rejected. The skin of a beast, however, was not to be procured without first taking away the life of that beast; and the life of the beast could not be taken away, without reminding Adam of the penalty threatened,--death! What a subject does this offer to the imagination !" So that not only their clothing itself, but more especially the materials of which it was composed, served constantly to keep under the eye of mankind their sin, their danger, and their way of deliverance.
We now proceed to The Second Generation. Here the Scripture narrative gives the tragic story of Cain and Abel. But as we shall have to describe the leading features of that account in considering the religion of this period, we avoid going into detail for the present, and simply call attention to the fact, that even in the first family there was a regular division of labor.
Abel was. a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground." Gen. iv, 2. There existed also a distinct recognition of the rights of personal property. Cain brought for an offering the fruits of ground, and Abel “the firstlings of his flock.” Verses 3, 4. “ And Cain builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch." Verse 17.
The Phenician annals afford but little information. They say that the descendants of the first pair in this generation were Genus and Genea; names which identify the entire narrative with the line of Cain.
The Hindoo account is interesting. In the elder line the name of the patriarch is Priyavrata, who is said to have married the daughter of Visvacarma, the chief engineer of the gods. In the other branch of the family, the son of the first man is called Uttanapada. “He had two wives, Suruti and Seruchi. By the
first he had Dhruva, and by the second Uttama. Uttanapada
It is worthy of observation, that all the accounts referred to agree in one important particular,--they all describe a state of cultivated society. Here is no barbarism, no lack of knowledge ; everything required by the circumstances of mankind is effected without difficulty. And it is singular that, in the Indian records, one grandson of the first man is eminently pious, and another is killed. Here is a partial agreement, although the discrepancy is sufficient to prevent the suspicion that one narration was copied from the other.
The Third Generation. This does not exhibit much that is interesting: the Scripture account is confined to the names of Cain and of Seth.
The Phenician annals say, “ Afterward, by Genus, the son of Protogonus and Æon, were begotten mortal children, whose names were Phốs, Phôr, and Phlox” (or “light, fire, and flame.") “These found out the way of producing fire by rubbing pieces of wood against each other, and taught men the use thereof."
The account given from the Puranas for the last generation also includes this, as Uttama and Dhruva are of this generation. We have in those traditions the earliest intimations of the exist ence of kingdoms, and the practice of war.
The Fourth Generation.--Here Moses simply gives the names
of the patriarchs Irad in the line of Cain, and Cainan in the family of Seth. Sanchoniatho says, that "the men of this generation were of vast bulk and height, whose names were conferred upon the mountains which they occupied : thus from them Cassius, and Libanus, and Antilibanus, and Brathu, received their names." These had indiscriminate intercourse with women, without regard even to the nearest relationships of life.
The Puranas here afford us no information, except the names of the persons. It will be observed that we have in this generation the first reference to a general dissoluteness of manners. The Scripture account, without specifying any particular period, says, “It came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Gen. vi, 1, 2. Commentators generally have supposed that by “the sons of God” we are to understand the children of Seth; and by " the daughters of men,” the female descendants of Cain. We can see no reason for this opinion. We find nothing analogous to this refined theological sense of the terms in the account which Moses gives
of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. None of these, · however eminent for piety, are called "sons of God.” Besides,
Adam had other children than Cain and Seth: how would their descendants have been designated on this principle? Other writers, aware of the doubtfulness of this interpretation, have entertained the absurd idea that holy or fallen angels are here spoken of, as having had intercourse with women. (See Ancient Universal History, vol. i, p. 41.) Let us see if another and more consistent sense of the passage cannot be found.
Before we enter on a critical examination of this text, we notice a passage in a preceding chapter, referring to the time of Enos :—“ Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” Gen. iv, 26. Now it will be seen at once, that the words in which this passage is rendered in our version, cannot be taken in their strict and proper signification, or they do not correctly set forth the meaning of Scripture ; for in an absolute sense they are not true: Adam and Abel had certainly worshiped God, and “called upon his name," and therefore men did not now begin to do so.
From this difficulty we turn to the marginal translation, which reads, "to call themselves by the name of the Lord." This version of the passage has led many learned men to suppose,
that at this time the pious descendants of Seth formed themselves into a distinct society or body, which they called after the name of the Lord. But this opinion appears to have no sanction in any of the preserved remains of antiquity. We find no allusion to this society, by this or any other name, in any of the subsequent writings of Moses; nor can we discover anything in the facts recorded to support this interpretation. We cannot, for instance, see any reason why the children of good men and wicked women should, more than others, become mighty men, men of renown. There is, however, another rendering of the text which some of the best scholars contend is not only allowable, but required by the original words. They say that the word which we render “began" should be translated, “ began profanely;" and that we are therefore led to the belief, that the Holy Spirit marks out, in this Scripture, the beginning of that awful profanation by which proud and wicked men had arrogated to themselves, and to each other, the names, titles, and attributes of Deity. “Then men profanely began to call themselves by the name of the Lord.” If this be the true sense of this passage, we can easily offer a consistent interpretation of the text to which our attention was first directed. If proud, and powerful, and wicked men, were called after the name of God, then by " the sons of God” we should understand the sons of those mighty and profane men. These, we are told, “saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them for wives” (the word means “to ravish, to take by violence”) “ of all which they chose.” Inflamed by passion, their desires were unchecked by the dictates of reason, the claims of right, or the principles of religion. They were given up to unbridled licentiousness. The latter part of the passage states, that the issue of this connection were “mighty men, men of renown.”
In favor of this sense, it may be urged that it accords with the conduct of those powerful but wicked men who in later ages acted in exact conformity with the letter of the text, according to this last rendering; it affords important information respecting those vices of government and society which soon after filled the world with violence; and it presents a consistent account of the origin of those mighty men whom the Scriptures call "giants."
These reasons appear to us deserving of attention : but we should not have thought them sufficient to justify an emendation
of the passages which have been brought under consideration, had we not other and ample authority for the alteration.
The learned author of the “Essay for a New Translation" defends at large the interpretation we have given. He says: " It was easy to have observed that the word Elohim often sig. nifies no more than a judge or a sovereign, or a person invested with authority, as the best interpreters do acknowledge; and that, as the Hebrew does express the inferior sort of people by *the sons of men,' so “the daughters of men' signify no more than the daughters of the inferior sort. It must have been observed further, that the verb Labach not only signifies 'to take,' here, and in several other places, but to take by force,' or surprise, or “to ravish.' So that the words should be rendered, * That the sons of the sovereigns, seeing that the daughters of the inferior sort were fair, they took them by force, and ravished them at their pleasures,' as some versions* and interpreters have expressed them."-Part i, p. 104.
To the same effect is the paraphrase which Dr. Wall has given of this passage: "When men began to multiply in the earth, the chief men took wives of all the handsome poor women they chose. There were tyrants in the earth in those days: and also, after the antediluvian days, powerful men had unlawful connections with the inferior women; and the children which sprang from this illicit commerce were the celebrated heroes of antiquity, of whom the heathens made their gods."
The editor of a recent amended version of the Holy Bible gives the following as a translation of those texts: “Then began men to be called by the name of the Lord.” “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of the chiefs saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful; and they took them wives of all whom they chose. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of the chiefs came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became men of renown, the mighty men of old.”
To these testimonies we add one from the Jewish authorities. “They suppose that, by the sons of God' in this place, are meant the princes, great men, and magistrates of those times, who, in
* This is the reading of the Alexandrine copy of the Septuagint.