« PreviousContinue »
MICHAEL for nobler Sights remov'd the Film from the Eyes of ADAM, which that false Fruit had occafion'd, that had promis’d to give them clearer Sight; then the Angel purged the visual Nerve with Eyebright and Rue, (for he had much to see) and dropt three Drops of Water into his Eyes from the Well of Life. So great Power these Ingredients had over ADAM; that they pierc'd even to the utmost Seat of his Mind; and he, not being longer able to refrain from closing his Eyes, sunk down, and all his Spirits became entranc’d; but the Angel soon rais’d him up gently by the Hand, and thus recall’d his Attention:
ADAM! now open thy Eyes; and first behold the Effects, which thy Original Sin hath wrought on some, who are to spring from thee; who never touch'd the forbidden Fruit, nor conspir'd with the Serpent; nor committed Sin; yet from that Crime of thine deriv'd Corruption, to bring forth more violent Deeds.
ADAM open'd his Eyes, and beheld a Field, Part arable, and that had been tillid, whereon there lay Sheaves of Corn newly reapd; the other Part of the Field was Sheep-Walks and Sheep-Folds, and in the Midst there stood a plain Altar of green Turf, which was as a Land-mark between : Thither, after a while, a sweaty Reaper brought from his Tillage first Fruits ; the green Ear, and the yellow Sheaf, unchofen, as they came to Hand: Next came a Shepherd, with, meeker Looks, bringing the Firstlings (k) of his
Armour, and other Utenfils, a Chimera, and the Philosopher's
Flock, the choicest and the best; then facrificing, laid the Entrails and the Fat of the Lambs, strewd with Incense, upon Wood that he had hewn, and perform'd all due Rites: His Offering was soon consumed by Fire from Heaven; but the Offering of the former not, for his was not sincere: Whereat he inwardly raged, and as they talk'd, he rose up against him and New him; striking him into the Midriff with a Stone: He fell down, and growing deadly pale, he groand out his Soul with an Effusion of gushing Blood. AD
ADAM, much dismay'd in his Heart at the Sight, in Hafte cry'd out to the Angel:
O TEACHER! some great Mischief hath happen'd to that meek Man, who had facrific'd with a pure Heart: Is Piety and true Devotion rewarded after this Manner?
To whom MICHAEL answer'd thus: (he being himself also mov'd) These, AD AM, are two Brethren, and are to descend immediately from thee: The ủnjuft hath for Envy Nain the just, because his Brother's Offering found Acceptance from Heaven, and his not; but the bloody Deed will be aveng'd, though here thou hast seen him die, rowling in Dust and Blood.
To which our first Father made Answer: Alas! both for the Deed, and that which is the Cause of it! But, is this that I have now seen DEATH? Is this the way that I must return again to my native Duft?
cvery Thing the Earth and the Flocks yielded, which were offered to God, as a Sacrifice of Thankfulness. This Custom was handed down among all Nations by Tradition. It was made a Law in Ifrael, 2000 Years after this, that none might
eat young Lambs, Corn, Bread, or any Fruits, 'till they brought an Offering to God firf,
Levit. 23. 14. And such Laws were made long after that, among the Greeks, Latins, and other Nations.
O Sight of Terror! foul and ugly only to fee, horrid to think of; then alas, how horrible must it be to feel?
To whom MICHAEL reply'd: Thou hast seen Death in his first Shape, exerting his Power over MAN: But there are many ways of Dying, and entring into that dark State: All of them are very dilmal; and yet to the Senses are more terrible at the Entrance, than they are within. Some (as thou hast just now seen) shall die by the Stroke of Violence; and some by Fire, Flood, or Famine; but more by Intemperance in Meats and Drinks, which shall bring dire Diseases upon the Earth: Of which there shall appear a monstrous Crew before thee; that thou may'st know what Misery the Eating of the forbidden Fruit shall bring on MEN.
IMMEDIATELY there appear'd a Place before his Eyes, sad, noisome, and dark; it seem'd a LazarHouse, wherein were laid Numbers of People, sick of all Manner of Diseases: All Maladies of ghastly CRAMPs and DistORTIONS, FAINT SICKNESS, AGONY AT HEART; all Kinds of FeveRS, CONVULSIONS, FALLING-SICKNESS, CATARRHS, THE STONE, ULCERS, CHOLIC-PANGS, RAVING-MADNESS, MOAPING-MELANCHOLY, LUNACY, PINING-CONSUMPTION, HECTICKS, PESTILENCE, DROPSIES, and ASTHMAS, and RHEUMATISMS. It was very dreadful, to see the Sick tossing and throwing themselves about! and to hear their deep Groans! every Bed or Couch having one on it, despairing of Life and DEATH seem'd to be ready at Hand to fri-umph over them; but yet delay'd his Stroke, though so often call'd upon as their chiefest Good, and last and only Hope. Who, unless his Heart were as hard as Stone, could behold with dry Eyes a Sight so full of Sorrow and Deformity? ADAM was not able, but wept, though he was not born of Woman: Com
passion overcame all the Strength of his Nature as a MAN, and he wept a considerable Space of Time; 'till Consideration and firmer Thought put a Restraint upon the Excess of his Tears, and scarcely able to utter his Words for Sorrow, he renew'd his Complaint:
O MISERABLE MANKIND! to what a Fall degraded! and to what a wretched State reserv'd! it were better to end here, and never be born! Why is Life given, to be snatch'd in this Manner from us? Rather, why is it forc'd thus upon us ? Who, if we knew what we were to receive, would either not accept
Life when offer'd us; or having once accepted of it, beg to lay it down, and be glad to be fo dismiss'd in Peace? Can the Image of God in Man (created once so goodly and so erect, though since fallen into Guilt) thus be debas'd to such unsightly Sufferings, under such inhuman Pains? Why should not MAN, who still in Part retains the Likeness and Image of God, be free and exempt from such Deformities, in Consideration that his MAKER's Image is stamp'd
THEIR MAKER's Image forfook them, anfwe, red the Arch-Angel, then, when they funk, and leffen'd themselves so, that they broke his Command to serve ungovern'd Appetite, and took upon them his Image, whom they then serv'd; following the Vice of a Brute, in eating the Fruit of the forbidden Tree; for by the Serpent's eating, Eve was induced to sin. Therefore their Punishment by Diftemper, is as abject; not disfiguring God's Likeness, but their's: Or, if it be the Likeness of God, it is defac'd by themselves, while they pervert the pure healthful Rules of NATURE to loathsome Sicknefs; and it is juft it should have this Effect, since they did not reverence the Image of God in themselves.
I GRANT, said AD AM, that all this is just, and I submit: But is there not yet another Way, besides these painful Passages, how we may suffer De AT H, and mix with the Earth out of which we were made?
There is, reply'd MICHAEL, another Way not painful, if thou observe the Rule well, of taking nothing to Excess; but be careful to observe Temperance in eating and drinking; seeking from thence, not to satisfy a gluttonous Desire, but only due Nourishment: So may'st thou live, 'till many Years pass over thy Head; 'till thou drop like ripe Fruit, down to thy Mother Earth; or being quite ripened for Death, be gather'd with Ease, and not pluck'd harshly. This is old Age; but then thou must outlive thy Youth, and all thy Strength and Beauty; all which will change, and thou be wither'd, weak, and grey-hair'd: Thy Senses then will become unactive, nor have any Relish of Pleasure, like what thou haft now; and, for the Air of Youth, (chearful and full of Hope and Joy), a melancholy Damp of Coldness will reign in thy Blood, oppress and weigh down thy Spirits; and lastly, consume the Balm, and extinguish the Lamp of Life.
To whom our first Ancestor replied: Henceforward, I will not fly from DEATH, nor would I much prolong Life; but rather be glad to know, how I might best and easiest get rid of this Load which I must keep, 'till the Day appointed for me to render it up, and attend with Patience the Time of
Dit solution !
To this MICHAEL replied: Neither love nor hate Life'; but all the Time thou livest, live well; whether for few or many Days, leave that to the Will