Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

shape was fitter for this enterprise, it being more than probable she would be amazed to hear a serpent speak; some

of hidden truths to his indefatigable diligence and learned labors, seldome taxed for fabulous assertions, why may we not think that itt was this kinde of serpent, whose shape Satan assumed when he spake to Eve.* For since Moses tels us that God permitted the serpent to deceive our grandmother by faigning the voyce of man, wee may reasonably acquit St. Basil of error, or offring violence to trueth, that hee tooke it as granted by a paritye of like reason, that the serpent would rather assume such a face and appearance of humane forme as might sute with a humane voyce, at least would frame a humane visage as well as a human tounge, which is but a parte in the head of man, for which the head (rather then for any other sense) seemes to have been made by God, that the spirits of men (which till they discover themselves by language cannot bee understood) might by the benefit of this admirable instrument, have mutual commerce and intelligence, and conveighe their inwarde conceptions each to other. Surely yf every such a strange serpent as this whi Scaliger describes were scene in the world, we must perforce grant that they are some of that kinde which God at first created soe, and that Satan subtily choose to enter into that kinde which before the curse naturally went upright (as they say the basiliske now does) and could soe easily, soe nearly represent the appearance and show of man not only in gate but in voyce as the Scripture speakes. That they have no feete makes soe much the more for the conjecture, and that however itt seemes this kinde of serpent (which Satan used as an instrument of his fraud) did originally goe upwright, and can yet frame himselfe into that posture, yet by God's just doome is now forced to creep on his belly in the duste; where though they strike at our heele, they are liable to have their heade bruised and trampled on by the foote of man.-Wr.

In one of the illustrations to Cadmon's Paraphrase, mentioned p. 14, I find the serpent standing "bolt upright," receiving his sentence, and another figure of him lying on the ground, do indicate his condemnation to subsequent reptility. Some critics have complained of the painters for representing him without feet in his interview with Eve, whereas, say they, his creeping on his belly was inflicted on him as a punishment. Had those critics been acquainted with Professor Mayer's assertion, that rudimental feet are found in almost all the serpent tribe, they would doubtless have regarded it as a confirmation of their opinion, and would have contended that these imperfect and unserviceable rudiments of feet were all the traces left to them of those locomotive powers which this, as well as other vertebrated animals, had originally enjoyed.

Dr. Adam Clarke gives a very long and elaborate article on the temptation of Eve. His opinion is that the tempter was an ape; he builds

* See what I noted long since on Gen. iii. 14, to this purpose in the

Geneva Bible.

conceive she might not yet be certain that only man was privileged with speech, and being in the novity of the creation, and inexperience of all things, might not be affrighted to hear a serpent speak. Besides, she might be ignorant of their natures, who was not versed in their names, as being not present at the general survey of animals when Adam assigned unto every one a name concordant unto its nature.

his hypothesis on the fact that the Hebrew word (nachash, Gen. iii. 1) is nearly the same with an Arabic word, signifying an ape and THE DEVIL ! He thus sums up : In this account we find, 1. That whatever this nachash was, he stood at the head of all inferior animals for wisdom and understanding. 2. That he walked erect, for this is necessarily implied in his punishment on thy belly (i. e. on all fours) shalt thou go. 3. That he was endued with the gift of speech, for a conversation is here related between him and the woman. 4. That he was also endued with the gift of reason, for we find him reasoning and disputing with Eve. 5. That these things were common to this creature, the woman no doubt having often seen him walk erect, talk, and reason, and therefore she testifies no kind of surprise when he accosts her in the language related in the text." Granting, for a moment, the Doctor's five positions, I would ask, does he mean that the ape is a creature which now answers the description? Most certainly it does not, any more than the serpent. If on the other hand he means that the creature, through whom Satan tempted Eve, had previously possessed those advantages, but lost them as a punishment of that offence, then why not suppose it to have been a serpent, or any other creature, as well as the ape? The theory itself stultifies any attempt to discover the tempter among creatures now in existence, because we are required to suppose their nature and habits to have totally changed. The serpent certainly has one claim, which the ape has not, namely, that its present mode of going is (in accordance with the Scriptural description) on its belly; which, with deference to the learned Doctor, "going on all fours" is not, unless he can justify what he in fact says, that quadrupeds and reptiles move alike! Moreover, his selection is specially unfortunate in this very respect, that of all animals the ape now approaches most nearly to the human mode of walking, and exhibits therefore the most incomplete example of the fulfilment of the curse-" on thy belly shalt thou go."

Hadrian Beverland, in his Peccatum Originale, 12mo. 1676, has published his strange speculations as to the NATURE of the temptation, to which our mother yielded. But after all, neither as one point nor another, which has not been clearly revealed, shall we be likely either to obtain or communicate any useful information. The indulgence of a prurient and speculative imagination on points which, not having been disclosed, cannot be discovered, and the knowledge of which would serve no good purpose, were far better restrained. We know, alas, that what constituted sin originally, has ever been and ever will be its heinous feature in the sight of the Great Lawgiver-viz., disobedience to his known and understood commands.

Nor is this only my opinion, but the determination of Lombard and Tostatus, and also the reply of Cyril unto the objection of Julian, who compared this story unto the fables of the Greeks.

CHAPTER V.

Of the Picture of Adam and Eve with Navels.

ANOTHER mistake there may be in the picture of our first parents, who after the manner of their posterity are both delineated with a navel; and this is observable not only in ordinary and stained pieces, but in the authentic draughts of Urbin, Angelo, and others. Which notwithstanding cannot be allowed, except we impute that unto the first cause, which we impose not on the second, or what we deny unto Nature, we impute unto naturity itself, that is, that in the first and most accomplished piece, the Creator affected superfluities, or ordained parts without use or office.2

66

1 and others.] It is observable in the rude figures of Adam and Eve, among the illuminations of Cadmon's Metrical Paraphrase of Scripture History, engraved in the 24th vol. of the Archæologia. But worse mistakes have been committed in depicting our first parents." In the gallery of the convent of Jesuits, at Lisbon, there is a fine picture of Adam in paradise, dressed (qu. after the fall?) in blue breeches with silver buckles, and Eve with a striped petticoat. In the distance appears a procession of capuchins bearing the cross.

Which notwithstanding, &c.] It seems to have been the intention of our author, in this somewhat obscure sentence, to object, that, in supposing Adam to have been formed with a navel, we suppose a superfluity in that which was produced by nature (naturity), while in nature herself we affirm there is nothing superfluous, or useless. It is, however, somewhat hazardous to pronounce that useless whose office may not be very obvious to us. Who will venture to point out the office of the mamma in the male sex? or to say wherefore some of the serpent tribes are provided with the rudiments of feet which can scarcely, if at all, be of any use to them ?—a fact which has been asserted recently by a German naturalist of distinction, Dr. Mayer, as the result of long and very extensive anatomical examination of the principal families of the serpents. He thereon proposes a new division of the order,-into PHÆNOPTERA, those snakes whose rudimental feet are externally visible, and comprising Boa, Python, Eryx, Clothonia, and Tortrix; CRYPTOPODA, in which the bony rudiments are entirely concealed beneath the skin, containing Anguis, Typhlops, and Amphisbæna; and CHONDROPODA and

For the use of the navel is to continue the infant unto the mother, and by the vessels thereof to convey its aliment and sustentation. The vessels whereof it consisteth, are the umbilical vein, which is a branch of the porta, and implanted in the liver of the infant; two arteries likewise arising from the iliacal branches, by which the infant receiveth the purer portion of blood and spirits from the mother; and lastly, the urachos or ligamental passage derived from the bottom of the bladder, whereby it dischargeth the waterish and urinary part of its aliment. Now upon the birth, when the infant forsaketh the womb, although it dilacerate, and break the involving membranes, yet do these vessels hold, and by the mediation thereof the infant is connected unto the womb, not only before, but awhile also after the birth. These therefore the midwife cutteth off, contriving them into a knot close unto the body of the infant; from whence ensueth that tortuosity or complicated nodosity we usually call the navel; occasioned by the colligation of vessels before mentioned. Now the navel being a part, not precedent, but subsequent unto generation, nativity, or parturition, it cannot be well imagined at the creation or extraordinary formation of Adam, who immediately issued from the artifice of God; nor also that of Eve, who was not solemnly begotten, but suddenly framed, and anomalously proceeded from Adam.

And if we be led into conclusions that Adam had also this

APODA, in which the rudiments are scarcely, or not at all, observable.Nova Acta Acad. Cæsar. Naturæ Curiosorum, tom. xii. p. 2.

Respecting the singular subject of discussion in this chapter; it appears to me that not only Adam and Eve, but all species, both of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, were created at once in their perfect state, and therefore all exhibiting such remaining traces of a less perfect state, as those species, in their maturity, retain. If So, Adam was created with the marks of an earlier stage of existence, though he had never passed through that stage.

Sir Thomas's opinion is cited and adopted by Dr. John Bulwer, in his most curious work, entitled Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transformed or the Artificial Changling, Historically Presented, &c. 4to. 1653, p. 401. In the same work (p. 492), Dr. B. also discusses at some length Sir Thomas's chapter on pigmies (c. xi. book IV.). - See Rel. Med., where Adam called "the man without a navel." Ross deems the part in question to have been intended by the Creator merely for ornament; in support of which opinion he cites Canticles vii. 2 !!

part, because we behold the same in ourselves, the inference is not reasonable; for if we conceive the way of his formation, or of the first animals, did carry in all points a strict conformity unto succeeding productions, we might fall into imaginations that Adam was made without teeth; or that he ran through those notable alterations in the vessels of the heart, which the infant suffereth after birth: we need not dispute whether the egg or bird were first; and might conceive that dogs were created blind, because we observe they are littered so with us. Which to affirm, is to confound, at least to regulate creation unto generation, the first acts of God, unto the second of nature; which were determined in that general indulgence, increase and multiply, produce or propagate each other; that is, not answerably in all points, but in a prolonged method according to seminal progression. For the formation of things at first was different from their generation after; and although it had nothing to precede it, was aptly contrived for that which should succeed it. And therefore though Adam were framed without this part, as having no other womb than that of his proper principles, yet was not his posterity without the same; for the seminality of his fabrick contained the power thereof; and was endued with the science of those parts whose predestinations upon succession it did accomplish.

All the navel, therefore, and conjunctive part we can suppose in Adam, was his dependency on his Maker, and the connexion he must needs have unto heaven, who was the Son of God. For, holding no dependence on any preceding efficient but God, in the act of his production there may be conceived some connexion, and Adam to have been in a momental navel with his Maker.3 And although from his carnality and corporal existence, the conjunction seemeth no nearer than of causality and effect; yet in his immortal and diviner part he seemed to hold a nearer coherence, and an umbilicality even with God himself. And so indeed although the propriety of this part be found but in some animals, and many species there are which have no navel at all; yet is there one link and common connexion, one general ligament, and

3 in a momental navel with his Maker.] Momental; important. "Substantially (or in an important sense), in a state of connexion with his Maker."

« PredošláPokračovať »