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Garden. Sic vacat exiguis rebus adeffe Deis? How much eafier would it have been, to have turned a River round the Garden? which would as effectually have kept Alım and Eve out, who knew nothing of Navigation, as all this Brigade of Cherubim.

the Cheru

Cred. I fancy, Philologus, you have been lately at Bar- The Diff. tholomew-Fair, or at leaft you have been there fince you' culties of have vouchfafed to look into your Bible: For this Ar- bim and gument of yours feems moftly to be taken out of the fa- the flaming mous Puppet-Opera of the Creation of the World, which Sword reI have fome Remembrance of, ever fince I was a Boy. moved. For this great too-handed flaming Sword fmells more of the Booth than the Bible. For that which is commonly rendred flaming Sword, is only in the Original the Flame of Cutting, or Divifion, or a dividing Flame; for though the fame Word does fignify Sword, it does alfo fignify Divifion. And the Writers of the New Teftament do tranflate the fame Word both Ways. For, whereas, St. Matthew fays, our Saviour is come to fend à Sword, Matt. x. 34. St. Luke fays, he is come to fend Divifion, Luk, xii. 51. So that this dividing Flame, or fiery Divifion, is but anfwerable to the Wall of Fire fpoken of by the Prophet Zachary, chap. ii. 5. which the Lord promifed to make about Jerufalem. It was the Accenfion of fome inflammable Matter, round about the Garden, which excluded all Comers to it, till fuch Time as the Beauty of the Place was defaced. Now this Opinion must be more probable to them, who place Paradife in the eastern Parts of the World, efpecially about Babylon, where there is fuch an Abundance of Naphtha and Bitumen, according to the Relations of Pliny, Plutarch, Strabo, and Curtius; and where there are Fields, which even yet, at fome Times of the Year, feem all on Fire. But then you will be apt to fay, what have thefe Cherubim or Angels to do with this fiery Wall? I anfwer, it is the Cuftom of the Hebrews to exprefs all the extraordinary Works of God by Angels, as to call a Plague, Famine, &c. a destroying Angel; nay, farther, they being averfe from the Philo fophy of mechanick and material Principles ufed to ex

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plain

plain the common Phanomena of Nature by vital, pneu matick, or which is the fame, angelick Principles. So the Pfalmift explains the Motions of Winds, and the Burning of Fire, to be performed by the Miniftry and Energy of Angels: Who maketh his Angels Spirits or Winds, and his Minifters a flaming Fire, Pfal. civ. 4. So that, in fhort, by the Cherubim and flaming Divifion, here is understood only a fiery Wall or Circle, encompaffing the Garden, fupernaturally raised for the Defence of it. What have you to object next?

Phil. Why truly, Sir, I think I have tired you enough with Refolving the Doubts of a fcrupulous Confcience; and indeed you have done Mofes that Juftice, and me that Satisfaction which I did not expect; so that I have a much better Opinion of the Mofaical Writings, than what I came hither with. But altho' there may not be fo many Abfurdities in this Relation of his, as fome Men pretend; yet I do not think that a fufficient Reafon for a Man to embrace it. For it is but a very poor Argument for the Truth or Goodness of an Author, that he does not talk Nonfenfe, or contradict himfelf. There is many an Author, which you and I have little Value for, who does not talk of Garagantua's and Mazarillo's; and yet he may have ne'er a Word of Truth in him neither. And poflibly I may have the fame Opinion of this Mofaical Relation of the Fall; unless you can oblige me with fome Arguments to advance its Credibility; which I am afraid you will be at a Lofs for: unless you will take up with the allegorical Hypothefis, and make it only a divine Fable, which, by the Way, I take to be the best Way of fiecing Mofes from thofe Difficulties which vulgar Apprehenfions caft on him. Now I can be pretty well reconciled to this his Relation of the Fall, if you will allow it only to have an allegorical Meaning, and that the Prophet fpake only in a hidden Cabbala, and did not defign to be underflood literally. And if you go this Way to work, this Relation then will appear rational enough. For probably, the whole Hiftory of the Fall is but one Hieroglyphick put into writing; to reprefent the lessings, or Fall

of

of the Soul, when it was embodied in fome priftin State. Now I fuppofe the Hieroglyphick to be this, A Serpent with a Woman delivering an Apple to a Man: Which does most excellently fet forth fuch a Lapfe of the Soul; for I fuppofe the Soul, when ever it did fall, fell by immerfing it felf in fenfual Pleafures; and probably was incited to it, by the Infinuation of malicious Demons. Now by the Woman and the Apple are fitly reprefented all Kind of fenfual Pleasures, Wine, Venery, &c. the Serpent is the crafty Damon which did entice the Soul, and the Man the Soul fo enticed: And then there is fome Senfe in fuch an Hieroglyphick. But the Reafon why Mofes delivered this in Words at Length, and not in Figures, was to beat it into the Heads of the thick-fcull'd fews, who, it may be, had not Wit enough to understand a Picture; or, it may be, for fear they should improve it into Image-Worship, which he had fuch an Abhorrence to.

would

Stroy all

Cred. I do defign before we part, Philologus, to offer The Hiftory you fome Arguments to fhew the Excellence of the Mo- of the Fall not Allegofaick Relation of the Fall; but in the mean Time I will fpeak rical. a Word or two concerning the allegorical Senfe which you would put upon it. Now I think that an allegorical Senfe is inconfiftent with this Relation, and cannot fo much as be pretended without offering the greateft Violence imaginable to it. For, 1ft, This whole Book is hiftorical, and Such asup pofition this Relation of the Fall is deliver'd in the fame narratory deWay as the rest of the Book of Genefis is. Now nothing is more contrary to Hiftory than Allegory or Fa- History, ble; for one pretends prima facie, to deliver Truth undif guifed; the other to deliver Truth at the Bottom, under the Colour and Difguife of fpecious Fictions. But whereever fuch Kind of allegorifing Fable is allowed, it must, I fay, prima facie, appear to be Fable, or Parable; or other wife it would be a Lye, a Legend, or a Romance. So when Afop tells us the Story of the Dunghill-Cock, and our Saviour that of Dives and Lazarus, they do it in fuch Way as they cannot be understood in a literal Sense. But when Thucydides relates the Plague of Athens, or Liv the Battle at Canne, a Man would be mad that should go

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her.

to allegorife thofe Paffages. So here in the Book of Genefis, what more Reafon have Men to turn the Relation of the Fall into an Allegory or Fable, than they have to do the Hiftory of Abraham, and the other Patriarchs, or the Hiftory of Cain or Abel? All the Book befides is allow'd to be literal; and why fhould this Part of it be only a Piece of Agyptian Hieroglyphick? If we should allow, for folid Reafoning and Philofophifing, thefe fportive Rovings of a fanciful Brain, we should deftroy not only the Hiftory of Genefis, but all the History in the World befides. We might, by the fame Rule, make the Bondage of fofeph, or the Children of Ifrael, to be the platonick Incarceration of the Soul, their Defcent into Ægypt to be their foe, and oʊy; and their Deliverance from thence to be the mayornia; one may turn the Burial of Sarah into the philofophick on, or Sepulture of the Soul; and make Jacob and the twelve Patriarchs the Sun, and the twelve Signs in the Zodiack. But after this mad Way of Allegorifing, we should destroy the Credit of all Hiftory; it would make Men perfect Scepticks, as to the Actions of former Times, and make us believe no more of Alexander the great, or William the Conqueror, than we do of Atalantis and Utopia. 2. Mofes does every-where fhew himfelf a plain unaffected Writer, and does no-where feem to aim at that referved Sort of Abftrufenefs which they of the allegorical Way are pleafed with. He every-where relates fimple Truths, and thofe in the moft plain and familiar Expreffions; he induftriously avoids all hard Metaphors, and difficult Terms of Art, fuch as are to be found in Ariftotle and Piaro; he no-where affects to raise a Fame to himfelf by the Invention of new Notions, as thofe Philofophers did; but was fo far from it, as to deliver down to Pofterity his own Failures. 3. Mofes had not the fame Reafon to write Hieroglyphically or Allegorically, as other Writers might have: For to begin with the Agyptians, we know that their Priefts, who were the great Mafters of their Hieroglyphicks, which were called Hieroglyphicks or facred Sculptures from them. Now it was their Bufiness

Heathen

Business to amuse the People with these dark Riddles, to wrap up common and ordinary Truths in this myftick Drefs, that the People might the more admire them; which otherwise they would have defpifed, had they been delivered in the ufual Way, and fo the Priests have loft a great Part of their Veneration. But juft on the contrary, Mofes endeavoured to reveal all his Doctrines to the People; he ordered his Books to be read in the Ears of all the People, and commanded Parents to teach them to their Children; fo that 'tis plain he did not defign, by myftical Senfes, to keep them from the Commonalty, but by all imaginable Plainnefs to fuit them to their Capacities. Again, it was the Defign of the Heathen Philofophers, Had no Dewho affected Allegories moft, to impart their Notions only fign like the to their own Scholars, who were let into the Meaning of Philofothat philofophical Cant; by which Means they excluded phers to the Vulgar from understanding their Tenets, and kept ferve by an their Learning within the Bounds of their own School. Allegory. But Mofes had no fuch Defign; he was not afraid of any other Philofophers fetting up againft him, and running a way with his Notions; he had not a School, but a whole Nation to inftruct, for the greatest Part confifting of unlearned and ignorant People; and therefore he can never be fuppofed to make Ufe of fuch myftical Doctrines, which were impoffible to be understood by the illiterate Jews. And laftly, for the Allegorifing Fathers, they can- Nor the not be brought in to countenance this Opinion; for tho' fame Defign they Allegorife many hiftorical Parts of the Bible, yet with the they leave the literal Senfe entire ftill; they allow the Allegorical Matter of Fact was true, but they will have this Matter of Fact to have another allegorical Meaning, and to be a Type of fomething elfe. Now the ancient Fathers were the more inclined to this Way of interpreting Scripture, not only from the Practice of the Jews themselves, and the Writers of the New Teftament; but to fhew the pe culiar Excellence of the Chriftian Religion, against their Adverfaries the Jews; by making all the Hiftory of the Jewish Religion, to be only a Type of ours. Now Mos

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Fathers.

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