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Reafon and Free-Will. Now if fuch an angelical Guard, as you would have had to keep them from Sinning, had been fo continually about them, as to hinder the Devil from propofing any Temptation, or our first Parents from hearkning to any; if they had fupernaturally over-ruled the Organs of their Bodies, or the Inclinations of their Minds, upon the leaft Tendency to Evil; God then would not have dealt with them as with Men, but as with Brutes. Befides, God had then put them upon a State of Probation; but to have over-ruled their Actions, and determined them only on one Side, would have been to have run counter to his own Defign; it would have been to have put them upon a Trial, and at the fame Time to have rendred them impoffible to be tried. So that let the Miscarriage be of ever fo great Confequence, we cannot fuppofe, that God fhould act contrary to his Wifdom and eternal Reafon, for the Prevention of it.

Affiftances

2dly, There is no Reafon, God fhould have interpofed Man had his Omnipotence to have hindered this Sin, because they Sufficient had Power of their own fuperabundantly fufficient to avoid it. We, alas! in this lapfed Condition of ours, find a great deal of Difficulty to encounter with our Temptations; we feel a great Blindness in our Understandings, and a Crookednefs in our Wills; we experience often an Inclination to do Evil, even before the Temptation comes. But our first Parents in their primitive Rectitude of Nature ftood poffeffed of every Thing as advantageous the other Way; they had an Understanding naturally large and capacious, and fully illuminated by the divine Spirit; their Will was naturally inclined to the fupreme Good, and could not, without Violence to its Nature, make Choice of any other. Now when God had made fuch ample Provifion for Mankind, to fecure them from Sin; we can never fuppofe it neceffary, for God to employ his Almighty Power befides; for this would be in a Manner actum agere, to do that for them again which he had fufficiently done for them before. But if notwithstanding all thefe mighty Advantages towards a State of Impeccancy, they would refolutely break through them all, their un

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parallel'd Stubbornnefs and Difobedience is to be blamed, and not the Infufficiency of God's Grace, or the Defect of his Almighty Affiftance.

This Mif3dly, What God did not by his abfolute Power hinder carriage before, he did by his Mercy fufficiently repair afterwards. was repairea by God's For prefently after the Fall, God the Father agreed to the Mercy af- Mediatorship propounded by God the Son; and then terwards. eternal Life, through the Blood of our Saviour, was given

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(upon our fincere, tho' not unfinning Obedience) after Death, as it was without Death before. And by this wonderful Mercy, after fo great a Provocation, the Goodnefs of God is more abundantly manifested, than by hindring the Sin at firft; as Men are more fenfibly affected, with a Pardon gracioufly offered after the Conviction of a Difobedience,. than they are by a Difpenfation for it, or

a Connivence at it.

be

Phil. As for this Matter, Credentius, of the Mediatorfhip, we fhall talk more hereafter; but let us go through the Garden firft. And the firft Thing, we meet withal, is the two Trees, of fingular Qualities indeed; fuch as filence all the ftrange Relations, in the Plinies and Theophraftus's: I mean the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. Now what tolerable Senfe can put upon the Relation of thefe two Trees? The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil! Why, can ever any one think, that Morality grew upon Trees? This, I'll warrant you, is fuch a Kind of an Ethical Tree, as Porphyry's in Logick. It is very ftrange, Credentius, that we thould take fo much Pains for a little Science, when our first Parents could get to be fo knowing only by eating of Apples. And I am as much perplexed too, about your other Tree, the Tree of Life. Now I can never beat it into my dull Brains, how Eternity should O.R. p. 42. grow upon the Tops of Trees; for my Part, I fhould as foon believe that Lobfters and Red-Herrings grew there. Now if it be afferted, that this Tree was to make Men long-lived, that were to eat of it, and for this Reafon was called the Tree of Life: I do not fee, how this one Tree had been fufficient for all the Progeny of Adam, in cafe they

they had not finned; or however, it would have been very inconvenient for Men to have come from America to Eden for these vivifical Apples. All this looks very furprifing, Credentius, and is too much like a Piece of the old poetical Divinity.

two Trees

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Cred. It is true, Things look very strange and odd that The Relaare unusual; which makes us we can hardly forbear laugh- tion of the ing at an old Fashion, after fome Time of Difufe; tho' not ridicu we liked it well enough, when it was common. Now lous. the State of Innocence, and the lapfed State of Mankind, being fo very different; we muft fuppofe, that there were fome Things confonant to the first State very difagreeable to our prefent one; and this is but reasonable to imagine. Now of a great Number of thefe, Mofes has reckoned but a few, amongst which are thefe Trees. As for the Tree of Life, I cannot imagine any Thing more agreeable to fuch a State of Innocence. Now a State of Innocence fuppofes Immortality, for Death came by Sin; and fomething was requifite to make Men immortal, when their Bodies naturally were not fo. Indeed God might have done this, by his immediate Almighty Power; but he generally co-operates with fecond Caufes. Now what fitter Means can we fuppofe, for the continual Renovation of Men's Bodies, without any Manner of Decay, than the Fruit of fuch a Tree? If fome Food of an extraordinary Quality be requifite, why not the Fruit of a Tree, as well as the Flesh of an Animal; as well as an Herb, a Root, or any Thing elfe? When God had defigned, that Men's Bodies fhould never yield to Decay or Death; methinks it was very reasonable, for him to direct them to the Eating a certain Fruit of a Tree, whofe Juice was of that fpirituous Nature, as to impreg nate their Blood with an indefectible Vigour, and to keep them in a conftant Youth, without Pain, or Difeafe, or Imbecillity, 'till fuch Time as he fhould tranflate them to a better World. And this I take to be the Use of the Tree of Life. It is uncertain, whether or no this Tree was but one fingle one, and always to be continued in Eden, if there had been no Lapfe; it is most probable,

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many of them would have been transplanted to other Parts of the World, as the innocent Off-fpring had increased: But when Mankind had finned, it is probable that God deftroyed this Species out of the World, as being now grown ufelefs, and inconfiftent with the Curfe and Punishment of Man. And this the Heathens feem to have fome traditional Notion of, when they speak of the Nectar and Ambrofia, which maintained the Immortality of their Gods, and Moly, which was the great Panacea, celebrated by the Heathen Poets. As for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it was, I fuppofe, called fo, not because it had a Virtue to confer any fuch Knowledge; but becaufe the Devil pretended in his Temptation of the Woman it had, it receiving its Name from that unfortunate Deception. And tho' God calls it the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, before the Fall, yet that is related by Mofes by Way of Anticipation; as if I fhould fay the Romans encamped in Effex, or Middlefex, tho' neither of thofe Places were then known by that Name. And as for that other Place, v. 22. Behold the Man is be corne as one of us to know Good and Evil: I look upon that to be only a bitter Irony, to upbraid Man with his foolish Difobedience and Difappointment.

Phil. I fuppofe you will hardly be able to get off fo well with your four Rivers, as you have done with your two Trees. I find here, that your infpired Author was as bad at Geography, as the Turks are at Chronology: They have both a good Will to their Caufe, and therefore will garnish it out with all the fine Things they ever heard of. Thus the Turks, when they would make King Solomon as brave a Man as they can, make Alexander the great the Mafter of his Horfe, and twenty other great Men Lacqueys and Foot-Boys to him: And thus Mofes, when he would defcribe a curious Garden, makes four of the greatest Rivers in the World, to be in lieu of Canals in it. He does not matter the great Diftance of O.R. p. 35, Place, and the different Sources of the Rivers; but jumbles together all Afia, and Africk, to make a pretty little Garden for Adam to drefs. Here is Tigris, and Euphrates,

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and

and Nilus, and Ganges, as the Interpreters explain them, which have their Origin in this Spot of Ground; fo that it must reach at leaft, from the Fountain of Nile, (i. e.) from the Midland of Africa, to India. All this is very ftrange, Credentius.

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Eden re

moved.

Cred. To this we anfwer, Philologus, 1, It is not cer- Dificulties tain from the Mofaical Relation, of what Extent this Gan about the Eden, or Paradife was. It might be, for ought we know, a very confiderable Part of the habitable Earth; which the Ante-diluvians were kept out of, or at leaft were fo for a confiderable Time. Now, if Eden was of fo large a Circumference, it might afford an Origin to feveral very diftant Rivers: So that Adam might only cultivate that Part of it, which he was firft placed in. 2dly, It is likewife very uncertain, what Rivers are meant by thefe Hebrew Names. As for the Interpreters, they are fo various in their Conjectures, that it would be tedious to recount them. It seems most probable to me, that these Rivers are only fome Branches of the River Euphrates, if fo be the Chanel of the River had a Being before the Flood. 3dly, It can never be exactly known where thefe Rivers were, because of the great Alteration made in the World by the Deluge, which has mightily altered, or it may be obliterated their Courfe. For I believe, that at the Flood, the mighty Confluence of Waters over the Face of the Earth, and the breaking open the Deep or fubterraneous Waters, turned the Earth into fomething like its Chaotick 'Ixus, or that Mud it was at the firft Creation; fo that the Courfe of Rivers must be altered, by the washing away their Banks, and the choaking up their Chanels. And therefore it is in vain, to feek for thefe Ante-diluvian Rivers, in thofe Courfes of Waters, that trickle over the Earth now. And therefore you do very ill, to cenfure the Mofaical Writings, becaufe you cannot find thofe Rivers now a-days, which he speaks of before

the Flood.

Phil. But by the Way, Sir, if Mofes defcribes thefe Rivers as they were before the Flood, which you fuppofe to be different from what they are now; this will render

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