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Philistines sporting with Samson-the power they have tried to confine has destroyed them. They have attempted to check the irrepressible, to limit the infinite, to make a cage for the lark-like soul to sing in, when God made it for the free, boundless air, to hail with its music the morning, in joy for the day.

How evident is the proof that it becomes the liberal church, in this age of revived interest in history, to be acquainted with the leading events, men, and opinions of the past of the church. We shall see by this how indestructible is the religious sentiment, what forms of power it puts on, and what are its best and noblest manifestations. How it is chained and smothered by the inventions and traditions of men-how its simplicity is hidden in monkish disguises and in imperial shows-how it is made an instrument of ambition, and the red flame of war takes the place of the dove as its symbol, will be shown us, to exalt our conception of the completeness of our freedom from the narrowness transmitted from a barbarous age. And with what thankfulness should we see that in the first three centuries of the church there was the most liberality of opinion, because the most freedom of inquiry and allowable latitude of speculation. And how significant is the fact that it is to Origen, who was the eloquent expounder of universal redemption, that we owe the spirit of liberty in the church for his own and the subsequent centuries. "The fame of this Father was great in the East," says Dr. Lamson, "and the influence of his name and writings secured the existence of freedom of thought and speculation in the church, long after it would otherwise have become extinct. With the decline of his school in the East, and the triumph of the Anastasians and Augustinians in the West, all liberty of opinion died out, and the world was reduced to a state of spiritual bondage, from which it is yet but partially emancipated."

Let us be willing and eager to see the arguments of history for being interested in helping on the completeness of this emancipation. Every plant, which our heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up; but while the roots of those plants still continue in the church, drinking life from the soul of man, we must be, more or less, affected by the poisonous fruit. A few seeds strown

on the soil of land far from us, may be productive of a growth of weeds which shall travel year by year nearer to us; and only by interest in that which is remote, can we prevent the evil from infecting our home. For any soul to labor in the uprooting of error is to be a fellow-worker with God. To this labor we are called. Happy those who are faithful to it, for thus it may be given them from many a soul to pluck the weeds of error, and to "plant the rose of Sharon' there."

H. B-N.

ART. XIX.

The First of Genesis.

THE book of Genesis seems naturally resolvable into three grand divisions. The first commences with the book, "In the beginning," and ends with the third verse of the second chapter, at the close of the seventh day. The second division begins with the fourth verse of the second chapter, "These are the generations," and embraces the remainder of that chapter and the whole of the third, ending with the expulsion from Eden. The third of these divisions, admitting of several subdivisions, begins with the fourth chapter, and extends thence onward quite through the book.

And

Unlike the modern divisions of the Bible, known as chapters and verses, and which seem for the most part, to have been inserted in an arbitrary manner, often as if by chance, the three divisions just described are obviously natural ones, there being at those points a manifest transi tion from one branch of the subject to an other. that these divisions were recognized by the writer himself, is apparent from the fact that exactly at these points he makes a manifestly intended change in the divine appellation. Thus, in the first division, the name of the Creator is always "God; " in the second it is mostly "the Lord

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God," but sometimes as in the first; in the third it is usually "the Lord," but occasionally as in the first or second.

I conceive that in general the first division of Genesis has not been fully understood by either the friends or the enemies of divine revelation. I take the ground that the account presented by Moses respecting the creation, the fashioning, the furnishing, and the peopling of the earth, ought to be urged in proof, rather than in disproof, that he was divinely inspired. The Mosaic account has been stigmatized as unnatural, unreasonable, unphilosophical, absurd, inconsistent, and, of course, incredible; yet I deem that it can be conclusively shown that, let the account have come from what source it may, it is perfectly natural, reasonable, philosophical, consistent with itself, in accordance with facts, and, of course, every way worthy of belief.

Moses professes to give a description of circumstances and events anterior to the creation of man; and Christians, as well as Jews, believe he received his information either directly or indirectly from the Creator himself. To such, it is an interesting question, by what method of instruction such information was imparted. And though from the nature of the case it may well be suspected that we can not now know with certainty what the true answer to this question actually is, I beg leave to suggest this as a highly probably theory: that in the first division of Genesis, with perhaps two or three exceptions, the first verse for example, what he narrates was shown to him in a vision, or in a series of visions; and that he describes things and events as they would have appeared to an observer on or near the surface of the earth at the several periods of which he speaks.

My design in this article is principally to sketch some of the outlines of an exposition of the first division of Genesis, as above described. That part therefore of the book, if the reader is not already quite familiar with it, he might perhaps profitably now peruse, as but a small part of the text will be herein given. It may also not be amiss for me to acknowledge here, that I am by no means "skilled in Hebrew."

(Chap. i. 1) In the beginning. This expression is

perfectly indefinite in respect to date, and was doubtless designed so to be. The revelation made to Moses seems not to have shown how long the heaven or even the earth had been in existence. It is plainly enough taught that the origin of both is to be ascribed to God, they having been created by Him in the beginning; but as to the exact time when the beginning was, we are not informed. God created. It is worthy of note here that Moses says not a word respecting what the heaven and the earth were created out of. Was, or was not, the world made of nothing? Is, or is not, matter eternal? Decide these questions as you may, the credibility of Moses's account will not be impeached thereby.

The heaven and the earth. The heaven is literally the space occupied by the heavenly bodies; but it is obvi ous that Moses's meaning here is not that God then created space; for he couples the heaven with the earth as though the two were in some respects specifically analogous to each other. Besides, it is at least questionable whether mere space is really an object of creation, its non-existence being not so easily conceived. I deem that "the heaven," as here used, is, by a metonymy, put for the orbs contained in the heaven-a figure of speech to be met with in all writings. These are described, in verse 16, to have been the sun, moon, and stars; and the creation of these, as well as of the earth, I suppose to be affirmed in Gen. i. 1. But to me, Moses does not affirm that the universe of worlds was created, all of them, at the particular time the earth was; his affirmation, as I understand it, amounts merely to this, that the universe of worlds had its origin in being created by God.

Until within a few years, both the friends and the enemies of the Bible have generally agreed that, according to Moses's account of the creation, the heavenly bodies were produced on the fourth day; hence that, according to the Scriptures, there were natural day and night upon the earth before sun, moon, and stars were created. I however affirm, that no one has really learned from the book of Genesis that these bodies were not in existence before the fourth day. What is actually taught, is, that they were not in the firmament till then. Thus we read, in verse 14 of this chapter, "And God said, Let there be

lights in the firmament of the heaven;" which firmament, at the first, as we learn from verses 6 and 7, had waters under it, and waters above it, that is to say, the ocean and the clouds. I know no good reason for supposing that Moses thought the sun was not then in the heaven; but it could not then have been in "the firmament of the heaven," unless it was actually below the clouds; for the firmament, or visible expanse over head, extended upward only to the clouds. Now suppose the clouds to have been removed from the atmosphere, would not the apparent concave above have so extended itself as to take in the heavenly bodies? And would they not then be in the firmament ?

The way it has happened that readers of the Biblehave so very generally supposed that according to it the sun, moon, and stars, were created on the fourth day, is doubtless thus: Moses, in the commencement of his account, uses "the heaven" for the orbs contained in the heaven, and delays specifying what the heaven contained, until he comes to speak of its contents as being in the firmament, that is, in sight. Our translators then make him say, "And God made two great lights," &c.; and his thus saying, in that place, has been taken for saying that He made them at that time. But may not this be rendered "Now God had made," &c.

(2.) And the earth was without form and void. That is to say, unformed, a shapeless mass, and empty or unfurnished, visibly destitute of inhabitants.

And darkness was upon the face of the deep,-or abyss; that is, upon the place or surface of the then unshapely and unfurnished earth. It is not probable that at this period the atmosphere was destitute of the property of transparency; but that it was so loaded with vapors that the light of the sun had never penetrated to the surface of the more solid parts of the earth; which surface, as we learn from what follows, was water, perhaps. in a heated state. The remark that darkness was upon the face of the deep, seems an intimation that somewhere else was light. If he had intended to be understood that darkness, at that time, shrouded the entire universe, would he have said that it rested upon a particular part thereof? Observe also, he is describing the condition, not of the heaven but of the earth.

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