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last and most interesting branch of the subject, because we shall have to recur to it in the next chapter; we therefore simply observe, that while we are indebted entirely to divine revelation for any knowledge of these subjects, we are equally dependent on the same source for the maintenance among men of a correct acquaintance with these important truths. In fact, that which had been revealed in the beginning became corrupted, and was rendered unmeaning, by the admixture of human speculation and superstitious error; and this motley compound, to which each of the great heathen nations of antiquity contributed its quota, was handed down to succeeding generations, invested, as far as was practicable, with the attributes of genuine history, and assuming the garb of true religion. To such a deteriorating extent was this carried, that a comparison of these traditional legends with primitive truth, even at this advanced age of the world's history, forms an employment as useful as it is curious and interesting.
THE PRIMITIVE CONDITION OF MAN, HIS FALL, AND THE PRO
MISE OF A REDEEMER.
Substantial agreement between sacred and profane history. Man's PRIMITIVE
Condition-Scripture corroborated by other ancient testimony-Maimonides - Mohammedan traditions - Hindoos — Zendavesta - Trismegistus — Hesiod Ovid Man's Fall-Historical Corroboration—Custom of worshiping in grovesGarden at Cadiz-At Epiris-In Campania_Of the Hesperides—Sacred Persons of Heathen Mythology-Apollo-Chrishna-Hercules— Orpheus-Thor-Bacchus - Heathen Traditions-Plato—Dicæarchus—Hindoos—Persians-Worship of the Serpent-Its universality-Chaldca—Persia-India-China-Syria—PheniciaEgypt-Greece and Rome–Druids-American Indians--Conclusion from the above facts-Geographical position of Paradise—Tree of life and cherubimReview of man's primitive condition and fall-Consequences of the Fall-Loss of moral purity-Of intercourse with God-Of inward and outward happiness. PROMISE OF A REDEEMER—Meaning which Adam and Eve attached to it.
We have already observed the peculiar prominence which Holy Scripture gives to the creation of man. It is worthy of attention, that, although greatly disfigured by fable, most of the profane histories refer to this fact in a manner extremely similar.
The Chaldean Berosus, for instance, having spoken of the creation of the various animal tribes, describes the creation of man in the following language : “Belus took off his head, while the other gods mingled his blood as it gushed out with the earth, and from thence were formed men.” It is scarcely possible to conceive of a more significant mode of expression than this: the ordinary operations of Deity are represented as being unequal to the creation of a being so elevated in character as man; for this purpose it was necessary that there should be some direct communication from Divinity. And hence, instead of the simple and sublime language of Moses, “And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul,” Gen. ii, 7; we are told that the blood of the god is poured out, and, being mixed with the earth, a man is formed. But the heathen account is manifestly deficient in philosophical accuracy, when compared with the Mosaic narrative. Berosus represents the life-blood of Divinity as having been incorporated into the body of the first human being; while the Scripture account supposes the human body to have been first formed, and then the divine energy to
have been directly communicated to the soul. It is, however, evident that the Chaldean record was intended to convey a similar meaning; for, having described this peculiar mode of the creation of mankind, it says, “On this account it is that they are rational, and partake of divine knowledge.”
The Hindoo version is to the same effect. It ascribes the creation of man and woman to the divine nature:
The god, having divided his own substance, his mighty power, became half male and half female."
The Scandinavian mythology, although it gives a very different account, bears similar evidence to the rich and divinely appointed endowments of the human mind. The first man and woman having been formed, the gods of northern mythology united their powers to raise them above every other part of creation. One gave them life and soul; a second, reason and motion; and a third, hearing, sight, speech, garments, and a name.
The language of Ovid is of similar import :
"A creature of a more exalted kind
Metamorphoses, book i. Dryden's translation.
This writer seems to refer to each of the preceding testimonies, recognizing, at the same time, and asserting the high character and destiny of man, though uncertain as to the precise means by which such an exalted creature was brought into existence.
This being the distinguished origin of man, we proceed to consider his primitive condition.
The passages of Holy Scripture referring to this subject may be briefly given : “So God created man in his own image, in the
image of God created he him.” Gen. i, 27. “ And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Gen. ii, 7-9. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from Man made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." Verses 21-25. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Gen. i, 28. “Thou hast made him a little lower than God,* and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things under his feet.” Psalm viii, 5, 6. “There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Job xxxii, 8. “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? and that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?” Job vii, 17, 18.
This language certainly conveys a very strong idea of the primitive dignity and purity of man. “In his creation and primeval condition, the kindness and love of God eminently appeared. He was made a rational and immortal spirit, with no limits to the constant enlargement of his powers; for, from all the evidence that our own consciousness, even in our fallen state, affords us, it appears possible to the human soul to be eternally approaching the Infinite in intellectual strength and attainment He was made holy and happy; he was admitted to intercourse with God. He was not left alone, but had the pleasure of society.
* This is the literal rendering of the Hebrew.
He was placed in a world of grandeur, beauty, and utility; it was canopied with other distant worlds, to exhibit to his very sense a manifestation of the extent of space and the vastness of the varied universe; and to call his reason, his fancy, and his devotion, into their most vigorous and salutary exercise. He was placed in a paradise, where probably all that was sublime and gentle in the scenery of the whole earth was exhibited in pattern; and all that could delight the innocent sense, and excite the curious inquiries of the mind, was spread before him. He had labor to employ his attention without wearying him; and time for his highest pursuits, of knowing God, his will, and his works. All was a manifestation of universal love, of which he was the chief visible object; and the felicity and glory of his condition must, by his and their obedience in succession, have descended to his posterity for ever. Such was our world, and its rational inhabitants, the first pair ; and thus did its creation manifest not only the power and wisdom, but the benevolence, of Deity. He made them like himself, and he made them capable of a happiness like his own.”-Watson's Institutes, vol. ii, p. 18.
Such was man as he came from the hand of his Maker. With a body perfect in form, full of vigor as of life, he had an intellectual power that grasped all created objects, and ranged the loftiest heights of sublime inquiry and research; while his conscience was untainted, and his holy soul held deep and hallowed communion with God: “a little lower than God, crowned with glory and honor.”
How strongly do these views of the subject contrast with those which the wisdom of this world has so often exhibited! According to them, man is represented as commencing his existence in barbarism, and gradually and slowly advancing to that enlarged enjoyment which distinguishes the nations that have attained to high degrees of civilization and mental culture. We shall not notice the mass of absurdities which this hypothesis involves, but shall cite some testimonies from ancient history which will serve to corroborate the Scripture account.
As the ancient Jews may be supposed to have preserved among them tolerably correct views of this subject, we will first give the sentiments of Maimonides.
“Let us make man in our own IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS;' meaning that he (man) should be possessed of that quality which is able to know and to comprehend those intelligences that have