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were opened before his, and she knew the effect of it, before he tasted of it, we leave it unto the moralist. Whether the whole relation be not allegorical, that is, whether the temptation of the man by the woman be not the seduction of the rational and higher parts by the inferior and feminine faculties; or whether the tree in the midst of the garden, were not that part in the centre of the body, in which was afterward the appointment of circumcision in males, we leave it unto the thalmudist. Whether there were any policy in the devil to tempt them before the conjunction, or whether the issue, before tentation, might in justice have suffered with those after, we leave it unto the lawyer. Whether Adam foreknew the advent of Christ, or the reparation of his error by his Saviour; how the execution of the curse should have been ordered, if, after Eve had eaten, Adam had yet refused; whether, if they had tasted the tree of life, before that of good and evil, they had yet suffered the curse of mortality; or whether the efficacy of the one had not overpowered the penalty of the other, we leave it unto God. For he alone can truly determine these, and all things else; who, as he hath proposed the world unto our disputation, so hath he reserved many things unto his own resolution ; whose determination we cannot hope from flesh, but must with reverence suspend unto that great day, whose justice shall either condemn our curiosities, or resolve our disquisitions.
Lastly, man was not only deceivable in his integrity, but the angels of light in all their clarity,Ô He that said, he would be like the highest, did err, if in some way he conceived not himself so already : but in attempting so high an effect from himself, he misunderstood the nature of God, and held a false apprehension of his own; whereby vainly attempting not only insolencies, but impossibilities, he deceived himself as low as hell. In brief, there is nothing infallible but God, who cannot possibly err. For things are really true, as they correspond unto His conception ;? and have so much verity, as they hold of conformity unto that intellect, in whose idea they had their first determinations. And, therefore, being the rule, he cannot be irregular; nor, being truth itself, conceivably admit the impossible society of error.
5 whether the tree, &c.] See the that period of his life which he passed Count de Gabalis, p. 54, Lond. 1714. in England, may be found in the British This is the theory of Hadrian Beverland's Museum.-J. C. celebrated work, De Peccato originali, 6 Man was not only deceivable, &c.] 1679, 8vo. It may be observed by the More correctly, “not only was man deway, as a fact not generally known, that ceivable in his integrity, but the angels many curious papers and MSS. of this of light in all their clarity.” singular writer, throwing great light on
A further Illustration of the same.
Being thus deluded before the fall, it is no wonder if their conceptions were deceitful, and could scarce speak without an error after. For, what is very remarkable (and no man that I know hath yet observed) in the relations of Scripture before the flood, there is but one speech delivered by man, wherein there is not an erroneous conception ;8 and, strictly examined, most heinously injurious unto truth. The pen of Moses is brief in the account before the flood, and the speeches recorded are but six. The first is that of Adam, when, upon the expostulation of God, he replied, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and, because I was naked, I hid myself.” In which reply there was included a very gross mistake, and, if with pertinacity maintained, a high and capital error. For, thinking by this retirement to obscure bimself from God, he infringed the omnisciency and essential ubiquity of his maker: who, as he created all things, so is he beyond and in them all; not only in power, as under his subjection, or in his presence, as being in his cognition; but in his very essence, as being the soul of their causalities, and the essential cause of their existencies. Certainly, his posterity at this distance, and after so perpetuated an impair
? For things are really true as they eth the moral relations thereunto belongcorrespond, 8c.) But not arbitrarily.-- ing according to eternal rectitude, which They conform to his conception, because is his nature. -Capel Loft. they are true; and he seeth all things as 8 There is but one speech, fc.) Adthey are; and maketh their physical verting probably to the speech of Lamech constitution to be what it is: and know- at the birth of Noah.
ment, cannot but condemn the poverty of his conception, that thought to obscure himself from his Creator in the shade of the garden, who had beheld him before in the darkness of his chaos, and the great obscurity of nothing; that thought to fly from God, which could not fly himself; or imagined that one tree should conceal his nakedness from God's eye, as another had revealed it unto his own. Those tormented spirits that wish the mountains to cover them, have fallen upon desires of minor absurdity, and chosen ways of less improbable concealment. Though this
Though this be also as ridiculous unto reason, as fruitless unto their desires; for he that laid the foundations of the earth cannot be excluded the secrecy of the mountains; nor can there any thing escape the perspicacity of those eyes which were before light, and in whose optics there is no opacity. This is the consolation of all good men, unto whom his ubiquity affordeth continual comfort and security: and this is the infliction of hell, unto whom it affordeth despair and remediless calamity. For those restless spirits that fly the face of the Almighty, being deprived the fruition of his eye, would also avoid the extent of his hand; which, being impossible, their sufferings are desperate, and their afflictions without evasion; until they can get out of Trismegistus his circle, that is, to extend their wings above the universe, and pitch beyond ubiquity.
The second is that speech of Adam unto God, “The woman whom thou gavest me to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” This indeed was an unsatisfactory reply, and therein was involved a very impious error, as implying God the author of sin, and accusing his maker of his transgression. As if he had said, “If thou hadst not given me a woman, I had not been deceived; thou promisedst to make her a help, but she hath proved destruction unto me: had I remained alone, I had not sinned; but thou gavest me a consort, and so I became seduced.” This was a bold and open accusation of God, making the fountain of good the contriver of evil; and the forbidder of the crime, an abettor of the fact prohibited. Surely, his mercy was great, that did not revenge the impeachment of his justice; and his goodness to be admired, that it refuted not his argument in the punishment of his excusation, and only pursued the first transgression, without a penalty of this the second.
The third was that of Eve, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” In which reply there was not only a very feeble excuse, but an erroneous translating her own offence upon another; extenuating her sin from that which was an aggravation, that is, to excuse the fact at all, much more upon the suggestion of a beast, which was before, in the strictest terms, prohibited by her God. For although we now do hope the mercies of God will consider our degenerated integrities unto some minoration of our offences; yet had not the sincerity of our first parents so colourable expectations, unto whom the commandment was but single, and their integrities best able to resist the motions of its transgression.
And therefore so heinous conceptions have risen hereof, that some have seemed more angry therewith than God himself: being so exasperated with the offence, as to call in question their salvation, and to dispute the eternal punishment of their maker. Assuredly with better reason may posterity accuse them, than they the serpent, or one another; and the displeasure of the Pelagians must needs be irreconcilable, who, peremptorily maintaining they can fulfil the whole law, will insatisfactorily? condemn the non-observation of one.
The fourth was that speech of Cain, upon the demand of God, “Where is thy brother?" and he said, “I know not." In which negation, beside the open impudence, there was implyed a notable error; for, returning a lie unto his maker, and presuming in this manner to put off the searcher of hearts, he denied the omnisciency of God, whereunto there is nothing concealable. The answer of Satan, in the case of Job, had more of truth, wisdom, and reverence than this: “Whence comest thou, Satan?” and he said, “From compassing the earth.” For, though an enemy of God, and hater of all truth, his wisdom will hardly permit him to falsifie with
9 his goodness to be admired, &c.] their maker.) To dispute his justice in Meaning that God's goodness withheld inflicting for the offence of our first pahim from proving himself just, by pun- rents, eternal punishment on their posishing Adam for his implied charge of terity. injustice.
insatisfactorily.) i. e. unappeasably. to dispute the eternal punishment of --II'r.
the Almighty. For, well understanding the omniscience of his nature, he is not so ready to deceive himself as to falsifie unto him, whose cognition is no way deludable. And, therefore, when in the tentation of Christ he played upon the fallacy, and thought to deceive the author of truth, the method of this proceeding arose from the uncertainty of his divinity; whereof had he remained assured, he had continued silent, nor would his discretion attempt so unsucceedable a temptation. And so again at the last day, when our offences shall be drawn into accompt, the subtilty of that inquisitor shall not present unto God a bundle of calumnies or confutable accusations, but will discreetly offer up unto his omnisciency a true and undenyable list of our transgressions.3
The fifth is another reply of Cain, upon the denouncement of his curse : “My iniquity is greater than can be forgiven;" for so it is expressed in some translations. The assertion was not only desperate, but the conceit erroneous, overthrowing that glorious attribute of God, his mercy, and conceiving the sin of murder unpardonable. Which, how great soever, is not above the repentance of man, but far below the mercies of God, and was (as some conceive) expiated in that punishment he suffered temporally for it. There are but two examples of this error* in Holy Scripture, and they both for murder, and both as it were of the same person; for Christ was mystically slain in Abel, and, therefore, Cain had some influence on his death, as well as Judas; but the sin had a different effect on Cain from that it had on Judas; and most that since have fallen into it. For they, like Judas, desire death, and not unfrequently pursue it. Cain on the contrary, grew afraid thereof, and obtained a securement from it. Assuredly, if his despair continued, there was punishment enough in life, and justice sufficient in the mercy of his protection. For the life of the desperate equalls
And so again at the last day, fc.] at the judgment day as the accuser of all Here is an evident allusion to that singu- men. On the contrary, we are expressly lar passage in which Satan is spoken of told that men will then be judged, as the accuser of the brethren, which ac- cording to those things wł ich were write cused them before God day and night. ten in the books." But surely it would be incorrect to con
* this error.]
Namely, despair of clude from thence, that he will stand up God's inercy.