Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

And in Deut. x.2:-"And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest; and thou shalt put them in the ark :" (verse 4:) " and he wrote on the tables according to the first writing, the ten commandments which the Lord spake unto you in the mount, out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself, and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark, which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me."

It appears, therefore, that the words which Moses had written in the commandments, both in Exodus and in Deuteronomy, were the exact words which were spoken; and that the very same words were written, both on the first and second tables of stone; both upon those which he broke, and on those which he put into the ark. And for the accuracy of those words, he appeals to the very tables themselves which were then lying in the ark before them. Can evidence be stronger to prove that the words which we now have, are the precise words spoken on Sinai?

The summing up of the whole is, that the words in Gen. ii. 3, were actually spoken at the time of the creation, and that God did actually, on the seventh day after the creation, bless and sanctify that day. His Grace, in page 12, says, that "even granting the expression of the Lord's sanctifying the sabbath were to be referred to the time of the creation, yet the command to Adam is only supposed, for none is recorded." This expression surprises me.

But how did he bless and sanctify it? He did not bless and sanctify it by conferring upon it any natural superiority or pre-eminence. As to its appearance, it was not distinguishable from other days. There was only one possible way, which we can conceive, by which he blessed and hallowed it, and that was by a command to man, and

through him to his posterity, to keep it holy, as a day blessed by the Creator. I have proved that it was really blessed and sanctified at the time of the creation. And until his Grace can show any other possible way in which it could have been done, we must conclude that a commandment to that effect was immediately issued to man after his creation.

The mode of getting rid of that embarrassing sentence of Gen. ii. 3, used in his Grace's pamphlet, is copied from Heylyn, and was invented by Tostatus; and has been called a prolepsis, or anticipation, by which a fact is said to have taken place at one time which really took place at another.

His Grace must know that the best mode of expounding scripture, is by making one part an interpreter of another. A passage or a word in one part, where it is doubtful or obscure, may be explained by the same or a similar one elsewhere, where it is clear and certain. And doubtless so able an expounder of scripture as his Grace would have given us an example of such a prolepsis from scripture, if he could have found one within the whole compass of the Bible, and he would thus have avoided the hard necessity of being driven to invent the fanciful example he has given us about the Annunciation. Such an example, however, he must have found in Heylyn, from whom he borrowed his argument. But perhaps he felt the ground to be untenable, as he neglected to take possession of it. But having been used by so great a man, to whose authority his Grace most particularly directs his readers, we cannot leave it standing.

The following is the example quoted by Heylyn to prove such a prolepsis or anticipation. Gen. i. 27. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

And yet he asserts that the woman was not created then, nor until after the work of creation was finished: indeed, he drives his argument so far, as to say that she was created on the seventh day, and, therefore, that God did not rest!

The word used for "man," in the account of the creation, has the same meaning as "homo" in Latin, and signifies both male and female. It is true, that the particular manner of woman's creation is not mentioned until after the mention of the rest of the seventh day; and from hence Heylyn supposes that she was not made until then. But this mode of expression is usual in the Bible, and in all authors. A simple fact is stated briefly, not to interrupt the narrative, and then the author returns to it, to give the particulars; and this is the way in which any reader of ordinary capacity would have understood the above passage, compared with that which gives a particular account of the formation of woman, Gen. ii. verses 21, &c. We have sufficient proof that woman was not formed after the conclusion of the creation; for it is said, (Gen. ii. 2,) " And on the seventh day God ended + his work which he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made." Therefore nothing was made after the sixth day.

But let us follow Heylyn's argument out, and see to what conclusions it would lead. On his principle, I am justifiable in founding the following argument. • The par

* See a similar instance in Gen. vii. 13, where the entrance of Noah and his family into the ark, and also of beasts and cattle, and creeping things, fowl and birds, is mentioned after the flood had been forty days on the earth. According to Heylyn's mode of argument, this would have been the real time of their entrance; and the preceding mention, in verse 7, and seq., only a prolepsis. + Or had ended. There is no pluperfect tense in Hebrew.

ticular account of the formation of woman is not given until after the conclusion of the creation, and after the rest, and therefore she was not made until after. In like manner, the particular account of the making of man is not given until afterwards. Gen. ii. 7: "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." Therefore man was not formed until after the seventh day. And in like manner, Gen. ii. 5,—“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew." Therefore trees, herbs, and plants, were not made until after the seventh day. And again, Gen. ii. 19, "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air." Therefore beasts and birds were not made until after the seventh day. And so nothing living was formed within the six days, but creeping things and fishes. Man and woman, and beasts and birds, and plants and herbs, were all prolepsis, and anticipation!' The absurdity of these conclusions shows the absurdity of his argument and instance. His Grace acted wisely in not borrowing Heylyn's example along with his argument. Much better to make one.

The first chapter of Genesis merely states the outline of the facts of creation-gives a catalogue of the things created, and the order of time of their formation. Particulars, and mode, and manner, are reserved for subsequent detail. The mode of formation of human creatures-of man and woman-most particularly concerned those for whom the account was written; and therefore is most circumstantially related. The male is informed that his body was made of the dust of the ground, of the vilest material, to keep him humble. He is told that his soul was formed by the breathing into him the breath of the spirit of the Almighty, that he should remember the high

and pure origin of his spiritual nature. He is informed that woman was not formed immediately from the dust, but from the body of man,-of purified, rectified, and refined dust, of the finest clay,―of the body of man, of the part nearest his heart, that he might admire the delicacy and refinement of her nature, and love her, even as his own flesh.

Heylyn, to whom his Grace particularly refers as authority, as well as Bramhall and Barrow, deny that there was any sabbath known in patriarchal times; and, as proof, they affirm, that no notice is taken in the Mosaic history of any such observance. But it seems to me that they very much mistake the nature of biblical history, if history it may be called. Scripture is a revelation of God's will, and of God's laws, of motives to obedience, and of dissuasives from sin. Its purposes are to be "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Its object is, "to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." It is not a continued history of facts, and a repository of manners and customs: these are occasionally mentioned, and we have detached portions of history, so far as they may conduce to the grand objects in view. It is true that his will is sometimes revealed by his expressed approbation and disapprobation of human actions; but where a positive command is solemnly and authoritatively given, the fainter modes of communicating his will are not exhibited. Moses wrote shortly after the giving out of the law. It was unnecessary while their imagination and remembrance yet glowed with the splendour and effulgence of Sinai, the trumpet waxing louder and louder, the thunder shaking the wilderness, the devouring fire burning on the mountain, and the voice of God commanding the observance of the sabbath; it was unnecessary to point to the glow-worm motive of patriarchal practice.

« AnteriorContinua »