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fo big, that Birds could not fly in a thousand Years from one Ear to the other: That this great Pen is a Journey of five hundred Years long, and one of eighty Years broad: That the Stars are Firebrands, thrown againft the Devils, that would invade Heaven: That the Heaven is propped up by the Mountain Kaff, which is made all of Emerald: That the Moon is as big as the Sun, only the Angel Gabriel laps his Wing over a Part of it: That the Earth ftands upon the Tip of a great Cow's Horn, that this Cow ftands upon a white Stone, and that Stone upon a Mountain, and that Mountain upon God knows what: That it is a Journey of a thousand Years from one Horn of this Cow to the other; with a deal more of this Stuff. Now if you could find fuch Farce as this is in the Mofaical Account, you might very well expofe it; but I am fure you have little Reafon to do it, when the whole Tenour of it is fo reasonable and judi

cious.

I should feem too long, and it may be too ludicrous, if I fhould pick out all the fimple Tales, from the Books of Travels into feveral Parts of the World, of the first Origin of Things. It fhall content me only to inftance in two great and different Parts of it, and that is in the Americans, and the Chinese.

The Americans (efpecially the Harons) make all Things The Ames • proceed from a Spirit called Cudovangi, who fhot feveral rican, Arrows into the Ground, which grew to be Men; that this God begot a very good Son, but had a very wicked Mother, that fpoiled all the Good her Son and Grandfon did; with a deal of this miferable Banter. And as for the Chinese, that knowing Nation, which you Theifts are wont to cry up for the Standard of primitive Learn ing, and genuine Antiquity, let us fee how they mend the Matter in their Account. And they tell us, that one Tayn, who lived in Heaven, famous for his Wifdom, difpofed the Parts of the World into the Order we find them: That he created out of Nothing the first Man Panfon, and his Wife Panfone: That Panfon, by a delegated Power from Tayn, created another Man called Tan

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bom, who was a great Naturalift and Physician, and understanding the Nature of Things, gave Names to them; and this Tanhom had thirteen Brethren fo created, and fo the World was peopled at firft; then after a while the Sky fell down upon the Earth, and deftroyed them; and then the wife Tayn created another Man called Lotzizam, who had two Horns, and a Body of an odoriferous Smell; from him proceeded many Men and Women, who stocked the World with its present Inhabitants; who when he had left Breed enough, difappeared and went I know not where. Now certainly, when we compare the Mofaick Hiftory of the Origination of Things with thefe lame and filly Accounts, we must be fo far from expofing, that we muft highly admire the Wisdom and Judgment of this excellent Writer; or rather conclude him to be divinely infpired, who alone of all Legiflators and Philofophers, has given us fo wife and rational an Account of his Creation.

Of the Fall of Mankind,

Phil. We are now come to another Clafs of Difficulties, Credentius, which feem to arise from Mofes's Account of the Fall of Man; and indeed there is nothing here but what looks wild and ftaring: For I can hardly be ferious when I fee what a Number of odd Things are here jumbled together. Here is God and the Woman, the Man and the Snake, Trees and Rivers, and Angels and flaming Swords, Here is a Farce of-----

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Cred. I am forced to interrupt you, Philologus, now you are running upon this Strain; and I am afhamed at the Difingenuity of the Gentlemen of your Way; you firft dress up the Scripture in a monftrous Shape, and then bait it when you have done. You may make any Thing ridiculous by an odd Management of it, if you please. One may make a Fool's Cap out of an Altar-Cloth, and turn the Words of an Act of Parliament into a Droll: For there is nothing fo grave and ferious but a witty Man may make ridiculous, by an odd Management of it;

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by

by clapping together ftrange and incoherent Ideas; by expreffing facred Things in vulgar Terms; by laughing at that, which other People admire; by a bold Treatment of thofe Things which other Men approach with Reverence; by making Ufe of Words and Metaphors, which are generally used in a ludicrous Sense. Now these Things being unufual, and confequently furprising, they tickle a Sort of Levity which is in human Nature; they make moft People laugh at them, and Fools to admire them. They are a kind of Ignes fatui, collufive Glympfes of Wit, which blind People's Understandings at first Sight, make them take that for Wit, which is nothing but Boldness; and make them admire that for a fine Say ing, which is only an unufual one; for Men, that talk after this Manner, do not fpeak what other Men cannot fay, but what they dare not. Now wife Men presently difcern this falfe Light, and the little Arts which are used in the Management of it, and confequently do not fuffer themselves to be deceived by it; they confider thefe holy Things as they are, and not as they are wantonly reprefented: All the Mifchief that this Difcourfe is like to do, is among your little unthinking Things, that fet up for Wit without common Senfe, and cry up every Thing for extraordinary Reafon, which has nothing in it, but Clinch and Jingle, I defire, therefore, the Favour of you, Sir, that you would make Ufe of Argument inftead of Raillery, whilft we are difputing of these facred Truths, that you would propofe your Objections with all the Strength you can; that you would conceal no Difficulty you can efpy in this divine Relation; but I can never endure you should rack and tenter the Paffages of it, clap one Part of it incongruoufly and ridiculously with another, only to make Sport and Banter with it. For I am fure, Philologus, you can find nothing ridiculous in the whole Relation, but what you make fo. Nor do I reprimand you for the only Man, that are delinquent this Way; but it is the general Fault of all the Gentlemen of your Perfuafion; who are wont especially to mufter up all their Raillery and Malice too, to expofe the Relation

of this unfortunate Miscarriage of our first Parents, and to ridicule the Belief of it out of the World. Here I find lies the Mafter-piece of your Irreligion; and a Man muft not pretend to fet up for Theifm, without Variety of Blafphemy upon this Subject.

Phil. I perceive, dear Credentius, that this is touching you in a tender Place; and therefore I fhall forbear all Reflections, which are not neceffary to my Argument. But I must needs tell you, that there are a great many Things in this Relation of the Fall which you call diffi cult, and we call ridiculous; but let them be what they will, they are fuch, that will keep a thinking Man from heartily believing your Religion, till he fees them handfomely cleared up. And the first of these is the Temptation of Eve by the Serpent. Now is it not a little odd, Credentius, that fuch an ugly Beaft as a Serpent, fhould venture to accoft fuch a fine Lady, in all her fupralapfarian* Beauty? I pray what Kind of Language did Serpents then fpeak? for we find they have no other than that of hiffing now. Methinks Eve fhould have run a way from fuch a fpeaking Beaft, fafter than from an Apparition, and never have entred into a Conference with it. Why fhould a Serpent, I pray, of all the Beafts of the Field, have all this Reafon and Elocution bestowed upon it? Methinks a Lion, or a Bull, would have made a good full-mouthed Orator; but for a pitiful Snake to have fuch mighty Talents of Rhetorick and Perfuafion, is really very furprising. But fuppofing you fay, that the Devil poffeffing the Organs of this Serpent, tempted the Woman: I anfwer, I think he made as filly a Choice of a Body, as ever Devil did, to perform this Temptation in. To have feen fuch an odd Kind of ftupid Beast on a fudden turned rational, to hear that speak which was dumb before, would probably have scared the poor Woman out of her Wits: She would quickly, I fuppofe, have left the Devil and the Apple together, and have betook her felf to her Heels, and her Husband to

*Oracles of Reafon, p. 39, 40, &c.

fecure

fecure her. Befides, here is not a Word of the Devil's poffeffing the Body of the Serpent in the Relation of Mofes; for he imputes the Woman's being circumvented wholly to the Subtilty of the Serpent; this is only a Shift of your Divines to bring in the Devil, as the Poets ufed to do the Gods, to help them out at a dead Lift. Come, Credentius, what do you fay to all this?

Not unrea

fonable

Cred. Say! Sir, the beft Thing I can fay, is to fay my Prayers for you to God, to deliver you from this thattheDehardned Infidelity. But, in the mean Time, I will an- vil should fwer this terrible Argument of yours, as fatisfactorily as

I can.

1. Therefore, I affert, that the Tempter which de ceived our first Parents, was the Devil, fome wicked malicious Spirit that envied the good of Mankind, and thofe extraordinary Favours, which God had fo plentifully bestowed on our first Parents; which enclined him to tempt them to Difobedience, thereby to bring them into the fame forlorn Condition with himfelf, and the other fallen Angels. That the Serpent is only mentioned, whofe Body the Devil made ufe of, is owing to a Metonymy common in the Hebrew Tongue, which uses the inftrumental for the efficient Caufe, and the efficient for the inftrumental; of which Multitude of Inftances may be given out of the Scripture. Thus the Angels, which God employed about the Destruction of Sodom and Go morrha, are called by the Name of the Lord, Gen. xix. and what they fay and do, is faid to be done by the Lord. So on the other Side, the divine Predictions of God Almighty are faid to be the Words of the Prophets, which he employed as Inftruments to speak them. Thus, Amos i. r. The Words of Amos, who was among the Herdf men of Tekoa, &c. So, Fer. i. what is called, ver. z. The Word of the Lord, is called, ver. 1. The Words of Jeremiah, the Son of Hilkiah. So by the Word, by Faith, and by the Sacraments, we are faid to be faved; whereas these are only the Inftruments God makes use of in our Salvation. So the Minifters of the Gofpel are faid to bind and to loofe; whereas 'tis God only which

does

tempt Man

kind in the Form of a

Serpent.

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