תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Thus, my friend, have I given you my views of the revelation of mercy made to the progenitors of our race-a revelation which may be considered as the root with which all subsequent manifestations have been connected. In my next Letter I shall consider the intelligence on this subject which was discovered by our father Adam; and the commencement of that series of typical illustration which by Divine institution kept the promise in remembrance until it was fulfilled.

But before I conclude my present letter, long as it is, I must observe, that I think both the exuberance of Divine goodness, and the capacity of Adam to comprehend the revelation of it, have been degraded by some of those who have written on the subject. God has been represented as doling out the communication of his mercy as if he grudged to his fallen creature the consolation which his state required; and Adam as little better than a savage, and incapable of reasoning on the great truths revealed to him. But, short as the memoir of Moses is, it contains enough to confute such unworthy statements. God, no doubt, furnished his penitent creature with a ground of hope sufficiently explicit for all the purposes of faith and practice; and I conclude that the mental faculties of our progenitor, though degraded by sin, were far superior to those of his descendants. Though by his fall he lost his purity, he did not thereby lose his reasoning powers: and what these were, we may infer from the wisdom he showed in assigning appropriate names to all the animals which were brought to him in order to be characterized according to their forms or instincts.* The subject of redemption must have interested all his soul; and it

may be concluded that, situated as he was, and possessed of a mind penetrating and logical, he would eagerly catch at every hint, and infer from the gracious intimations afforded him, those consequences which were so essential to his own peace of mind and to “a good hope towards God."

I am, my dear friend,

Your's truly,

* See Stillingfleet's Orig. Sacr. B. i. cap. 1. Sect. 3. Bochart's Hieroz. p. 1. l. i. cap. 9.

LETTER XIV.

THE CREED OF ADAM, THE INSTITUTION

OF SACRIFICE, &c.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

The probable conclusion to which I led you, at the close of my last letter, respecting the intelligibility of the revelation of mercy afforded to our first father Adam, his capability of understanding it, and the use he made of it, is raised from probability to certainty by the anecdote in the record which follows the account of the several sentences passed, respectively, on the serpent, on the woman, and on him. The notice is concise, but it is sufficient to show that the mind of Adam, enlightened by the Holy Spirit to understand what had been communicated to him, embraced, at one comprehensive grasp, the whole range of the Divine plan, and entered fully into the purpose of God respecting himself and his posterity. Indeed, it is not easy to conceive how his mind, distressed as it must have been by reviewing what was past, and by anticipating what was future, in relation both to himself and his descendants, could have been 6 My

pacified without an explicit knowledge of the scheme of redemption. The verse to which I refer may be considered as the creed of Adam, exhibiting a confession of his faith and hope. It may be compared with that of Thomas at a far distant period, when he exclaimed, in an expression of wonder, love, and praise, Lord and my God;" or with that of St. Paul, " I know whom I have believed.” It would be difficult to discover a more natural, or a more satisfactory mode by which he could have testified the extent of his knowledge, the vigour of his faith, and the ardour of his gratitude; or by which he could have conveyed to posterity a basis for their faith and hope.

The historian proceeds to record this significative act of Adam by saying, that “ Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the (appointed) mother of all living." An inquiry into the meaning of the name, and the reason of its assignment, will justify the view which I have taken of the act.

The proper name of Eve signifies the manifester.* It was given to her by Adam in the spirit of prophecy; for it related, literally and spiritually, to what was future, and indeed to what is still future. It describes a chain of events reaching from the time of its utterance to the consummation of all things. The mind of the first prophet (for such was Adam) was enlightened by Divine influence, explaining, as in all other cases, the word of revelation. Without this objective light furnished by the revelation he had received, and subjective light, aiding and sanctifying his mental faculties, Adam could have known nothing of the secret purposes of the Divine will.* literally, arose out of the universal maternity of the first woman. But, if this be all that was intended by it, no reason can be assigned for the position in which Moses has recorded the anecdote, nor for the time when, according to that position, Adam assigned this name to his wife. Immediately after his creation he was informed, by the blessing pronounced on him, “ Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth,” that all future generations were to spring from his marriage with the woman whom God formed to be an help-meet for him. On this subject he derived no additional light or certainty from his inter

*“711 To declare, discover, show. Job xxxii. 6, 10. Ps. xix. 3. From this root, Eve, as we pronounce her name, was called min i. e. The Manifester, Gen. iii. 10. because she was, or was to be, the mother in sy of all that live, i. e. to God spiritually, as being the mother of Christ, the seed already promised, ver. 15, who is the life of believers. See John i. 4. xi. The name,

25. Col. iii. 4, but especially 1 John i. 2.; where, in the expression, The life was manifested, the Apostle plainly alludes to the very name given to Eve, and the reason of it."Parkhurst.

* See Magee on the Atonement. p. 300. 1st Edit.

« הקודםהמשך »