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time, now make Himself experimentally known, in all his covenant-characters and relations, to the soul of my beloved friend, and to him who is

Your's most truly,

LETTER XVI.

THE CHERUBIM AT THE EAST OF THE

GARDEN OF EDEN.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

The importance of the subject to which I solicited

your
attention in

my last letter, is fully established by its frequent introduction into the sacred pages

of the Scriptures, and by the manner in which it is there introduced. And the importance which is thus ascribed to it, seems to afford a strong confirmation of that view of the subject which I have proposed to your consideration, and for the admission of which I have briefly assigned my reasons. The CHERUBIM are first noticed in the account which Moses has given us of the provision made by Divine compassion for the restoration of man to the forfeited favour of his justly offended Lord. They constituted a part, and (if the Jewish tradition deserve any credit) an essential part, of the symbolical apparatus with which the Jewish sanctuary. was furnished; all of which was directed, in its minutest particulars, by a pattern, or model, exhibited to Moses in the mount; and to which an exact conformity was secured by the special inspiration of the artists who were intrusted with the execution of the work. It should seem also, that, when the Temple was about to be reared, fresh instructions were given to David and Solomon about it. And when that magnificent structure had been demolished, and a second was to be erected at the termination of the captivity, THE CHERUBIM were more particularly described by the pen of the prophet Ezekiel, than they had before been. And lastly, they are introduced into the mystic scenery of the Apocalypse, the images of which are borrowed from the Temple, its furniture and services, with a degree of prominence which marks their high importance in that allegorical prophecy.

An attempt to decipher the import of these figures meets no objection in the enigmatical nature of the subject; for, if the enigmas of Scripture were not intended to be deciphered, why were they originally constructed, and description of them afterwards recorded ? It is, I conceive, our duty and privilege, with all humility of mind indeed, but with earnest diligence of inquiry, to compare the symbols of the Old Testament with the clew to their interpretation in the New.

The account given of the CHERUBIM in Genesis, is one of the shortest and least particular we have to examine. But the reason of this is easily explained. For if, as is generally supposed, and I believe on good grounds, Moses wrote this history after his residence of forty days on Mount Sinai; he was fully aware when he wrote it, that, in his other books, he should have to give a more particular description of them, and would therefore consider it unnecessary to enter into detail on their being first mentioned. Besides this, if there was a ceremonial code from the beginning, similar to that which was renewed by the Sinaitic revelation, as I may perhaps hereafter endeavour to show you; and if the institutions of the revelation made to Adam were transmitted, though perhaps with a gradual depravation of their purity and import, in the believing line of Seth to the days of Moses ; the Israelites for whose benefit his history was primarily written, must have had some general notions of the CHERUBIM and their design as set up after the fall. And, indeed, the manner in which they are mentioned in Genesis, is such as proves that Moses considered himself to be writing of what was before well understood, as will appear when we come to review the words which he has used, a minute examination of which will be necessary to our purpose. Before, however, you accompany me in this investigation, I must request you again to notice the postulates of my last letter, and especially the third; viz. “ that the CHERUBIC images symbolize one and the same thing in all the different parts of Scripture in which the mention of them occurs.

The general view, I believe, which is taken of The CHERUBIM on the east of the garden of Eden, is this—that there were two angels stationed there, armed with a Divine commission and with flaming swords, to prevent our first parents, now cast out of Paradise, from returning thither to pluck the fruit of the Tree of Life.* For, as this was a sacrament peculiar to the covenant of works, and to the way of salvation therein prescribed, it was now, in consequence of the fall, become unfit to afford them any comfort ; but, on the contrary, would, if now gathered, be deadly to them, as the act of eating it would imply unconsciousness of guilt, and self-righteous confidence. This, I believe, is the usual interpretation of the design of the CHERUBIC exhibition. But is this a just representation of the case + In contemplating this view of the subject I would ask, will this solution of the enigma apply to all the circumstances under which we find THE CHERUBIM introduced? Will it not assign the same name to the symbols, composed of wood overspread with gold, described in Kings and Chro

* This notion appears to have originated from the Jewish Cabbala.

+ See the preceding Letter.

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