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lost, it may inspire into us due sentiments of gratitude and love towards that blessed Person who hath recovered it for us. And thus every consideration which enhances the value of the possession, will proportionably magnify the goodness of our great Benefactor.
For these reasons, we sometimes, perhaps, find ourselves disposed to lament the conciseness and obscurity of that account which Moses hath left us of man's primeval estate in Paradise. But when we recollect, that to this account we owe all the information we have upon so important a point, it will become us to be thankful that we have been told so much, rather than to murmur because we have been told no more; and, instead of lamenting the obscurity of the Mosaic account, to try whether, by diligence and attention, that obscurity may not be, in part, dispelled. For though Moses hath only given us a compendious relation of facts (and facts of the utmost importance may be related in very few words), that relation is ratified and confirmed in the Scriptures of both Testaments, in which are found many references and allusions to it. By bringing these forth to view, and comparing them together, we may possibly be led to some agreeable speculations concerning the situation of Adam in the garden of Eden, the nature of his employment, and the felicity he there experienced.
On a subject so remote, and confessedly difficult, demonstration will not be expected. Much of what is advanced, must be advanced rather as probable than certain; and where there is little positive in
formation, the candour so often experienced will accept of such notices as can be obtained by inference and deduction.
When we think of Paradise, we think of it as the seat of delight. The name EDEN authorizes us so to do. It signifies PLEASURE; and the idea of pleasure is inseparable from that of a garden, where man still seeks after lost happiness, and where, perhaps, a good man finds the nearest resemblance of it which this world affords. "What is requisite," exclaims a great and original genius, "to make a wise and a happy man, but reflection and peace? And both are the natural growth of a garden. A garden to "the virtuous, is a Paradise still extant; a Paradise "unlost." The culture of a garden, as it was the first employment of man, so it is that to which the most eminent persons in different ages have retired, from the camp and the cabinet, to pass the interval between a life of action and a removal hence. When old Dioclesian was invited from his retreat to resume the purple which he had laid down some years before, "Ah," said he, "could you but see those fruits "and herbs of mine own raising at Salona, you "would never talk to me of empire!" An accomplished statesman of our own country, who spent the latter part of his life in this manner, hath so well described the advantages of it, that it would be injustice to communicate his ideas in any words but his "No other sort of abode," says he, "seems "to contribute so much both to the tranquillity of
* Dr. Young-Centaur not Fabulous, p. 61.
"mind and indolence of body. The sweetness of "the air, the pleasantness of the smell, the verdure "of plants, the cleanness and lightness of food, the "exercise of working or walking; but, above all, the "exemption from care and solicitude, seem equally "to favour and improve both contemplation and health, the enjoyment of sense and imagination, "and thereby the quiet and ease both of body and "mind. A garden has been the inclination of kings, "and the choice of philosophers; the common fa"vourite of public and private men; the pleasure of "the greatest, and the care of the meanest; an employment and a possession, for which no man is "too high nor too low. If we believe the Scrip"( tures," concludes he, "we must allow that God Almighty esteemed the life of man in a garden, the happiest he could give him; or else he would not "have placed Adam in that of Eden."
The garden of Eden had, doubtless, all the perfection it could receive from the hands of Him, who ordained it to be the mansion of his favourite creature. We may reasonably presume it to have been the earth in miniature, and to have contained specimens of all natural productions, as they appeared, without blemish, in an unfallen world; and these disposed in admirable order, for the purposes intended. And it may be observed, that when, in after times, the penmen of the Scriptures have occasion to describe any remarkable degree of fertility and beauty, of grandeur and magnificence, they refer
Sir William Temple-Garden of Epicurus.
us to the garden of Eden. "He beheld all the plain "well watered as the garden of the Lord"." "The "land was as the garden of Eden before them, but "behind them a desolate wilderness"." The prophet Ezekiel, at the command of God, for an admonition to Pharaoh, thus portrays the pride of the Assyrian empire, under the splendid and majestic imagery afforded by vegetation in its most flourishing state : "The Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon, with fair
branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an "high stature, and his top was among the thick boughs. The waters made him great, the deep set "him up on high, with her rivers running round "about his plants, and sent out her little rivers to all "the trees in the field. Therefore his height was "exalted above all the trees of the field, and his "boughs were multiplied, and his branches became (6 long, because of the multitude of waters when he "shot forth. Thus was he fair in his greatness, and "in the length of his branches; for his root was by "C great waters. The cedars in the garden of God "could not hide him, nor was any tree in the garden "of God like unto him in his beauty. I have made "him fair by the multitude of his branches; so that "all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of "God, envied him." After having related the fall of this towering and extensive empire, the prophet makes the application to the king of Egypt: "To "whom art thou thús like, in glory and greatness, among the trees of Eden? Yet shalt thou be
e Gen. xiii. 10.
d Joel, ii. 3.
e Ezek. xxxi. 3, &c.
"brought down, with the trees of Eden, to the lower (6 parts of the earth.” In another place we find the following ironical address to the king of Tyre, as having attempted to rival the true God, and the glories of his Paradise: "Thou sealest up the sum "full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast “been in Eden, in the garden of God: every pre"cious stone was thy covering-thou wast upon the "holy mountain of God-thou wast perfect in thy (6 ways, from the day that thou wast created, until "iniquity was found in thee. Thine heart was lifted
up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy "wisdom, by reason of thy brightness: I will cast "thee to the ground; I will lay thee before kings, "that they may behold thee."
Traditions and traces of this original garden seem to have gone forth into all the earth; though, as anelegant writer justly observes, "they must be ex
pected to have grown fainter and fainter in every "transfusion from one people to another. The
Romans probably derived their notion of it, ex"pressed in the gardens of Flora, from the Greeks, among whom this idea seems to have been sha"dowed out under the stories of the gardens of "Alcinous. In Africa they had the gardens of the Hesperides, and in the east those of Adonis. The "term of horti Adonidis was used by the ancients to 'signify gardens of pleasure, which answers strangely "to the very name of Paradise, or the garden of "Eden3." In the writings of the poets, who have
f Ezek. xxviii. 12, &c.
Spence's Polymetis, cited in Letters on Mythology, p. 126.