Billeder på siden


THE foregoing retrospect does, we think, clearly prove that the rites and ceremonies of the figurative religion were as exactly solemnized previous to the deluge, and after that event, by the descendants of Noah, (probably for many ages,) as they subsequently were by the Israelites, as prescribed to them by Moses. For Josephus asserts"That mankind lived for seven generations honouring one God, the Lord of all things, and having always a respect for virtue. But afterwards, in process of time, they degenerated from the ancient institutions of their forefathers; neither observing humane laws, nor continuing their accustomed service of God; and they that before industriously exercised themselves in virtue, afterward, with twice as zealous study followed wickedness, and grew at last to that height of impiety, that they provoked God's heavy displeasure against them."*

*We are next informed that Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. Then his wife bare him a son, that he called his name Enoch, that he builded a city and called the name of the city after the name of

Josephus also tells us, that it would be too long for him to speak of all Adam's children, and that he would only touch that which concerneth Seth. By the exclamation of his mother, (for God said, She hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel whom Cain slew,) she appears to have been consoled by the God of consolation for the loss of holy Abel, by a prophetic promise that Seth would supply his place in holiness and virtue; which supposition is quite corroborated by the account of the Jewish historian, who informs us, "that Seth being nourished and trained by his father to the years of discretion, studied virtue, and left his descendants heirs and follow

his son Enoch. Man therefore, at this early era, was endued with mechanical and architectural knowledge, either by instruction, exercise of genius, or the aid of God himself; (and there is reason to suspect, that in the year of the world 1790, before the Christian era, when the presumptuous plan of erecting the tower of Babel was projected, that man had attained a skill in the art of building, which has never since been equalled by man. For we find the prosecution of this monstrous undertaking attended with such success, as to occasion the miraculous interference of Deity to baffle its completion. "And the Lord came down to see the city and tower which the children of men builded; and the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they have all one language, and this they begin to do and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do. Go to; let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth, and they left off to build the city." In the lapse of five more generations fromthe build. ing the city of Enoch man became scientific. Jubal was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ; and his brother, Jubal Cain, was an instructor of every artificer of brass and iron.


ers of his sanctity; who being all of them well born, remained in the world free from all contention, and lived happily; so that it never hap pened that any of them in any sort did injury to any man. To these we owe the science of astronomy, and all that which concerneth the beauty and order of the heavens; and to the end that their inventions might not wear out of the memories of men, or perish before they were perfectly known, (insomuch as Adam had foretold them of the general destruction of all things after two sorts, the one by the force of fire, and the other by the violence and abundance of waters,) they made two pillars; the one of brick, and the other of stone; and engraved on each of them such things as they had invented, to the end if that of brick should be abolished by the overflowing and rage of waters, that the other of stone might remain, and declare unto men that which was imprinted thereon for their instruction. That of brick was destroyed by the deluge, but the other of stone is to be seen in the country of Tyna even to this present day."

In this relation we perceive that the art of engraving upon stone was known at this early period, and find Adam described both as a prophet and an astronomer. That he was the first we are entirely disposed to credit, and to be the last was indeed indispensably essential to the right understanding of a religion, whose temple for public worship was ordained to exhibit a pattern of the heavens, and whose types and rites had all a reference and allusion to things in the heavens. It

is further recorded, that unto Seth was born a son, and that he called his name Enos; then began men to call upon the name of the Lord. By this communication we apprehend is meant, that at this juncture men first began to unite in social public worship; private adoration must have been coëval with the creation of man. Whether the former was solemnized in a temple erected for that purpose, and Adam comforted by viewing the symbols of those cherubims who turned every way to keep the tree of life, now circling in glory the blest shekinah on the mercy-seat;* or whether the sight of the glory of the Lord, like to devouring fire, had been visibly manifested in some other place, it might be on mount Sinai-(which David in spirit denominates God's sanctuary; for he records that God led on his people safely, so that they feared not, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies; and he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain which his right hand had purchased, clearly meaning mount Sinai, Psalm 1xxviii. 55,)—are inquiries which we shall conclude, as we began this incidental one, by acknowledging to be questions more of curiosity than importance. The only purpose deducible from it is, that should the tradition of God inhabiting mount Sinai have originated in any extraordinary appearance of Deity

* Our readers will keep in mind the observation of the author of the book "Cozri," (inserted in note p. 154 of this volume,) who justly saith, "that the ark, with the mercy-seat and cherubins, were the foundation, root, heart, and marrow of the whole temple, and all the Levitical worship therein performed."

on that sacred mount previous to the deluge, or on any other solemn occasion previous to his ultimate manifestation thereon to Moses, it cannot but enhance our veneration for that awful, hallowed mountain.*

But quitting conjecture, and proceeding with certainty, we must here notice how continually heaven is described in Scripture by the imagery of hills, mounts, and mountains: "Thou shalt bring thy people in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance;" (Exod. xv. 17;) "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints;" (Deut. xxxiii. 2;) "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill;" (Psalm ii. 6;)" God is greatly to be praised in the mountain of his holiness ;" (Psalm lxviii. 1 ;) “ The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan ;" (Psalm xlviii. 15 ;) "Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place;" (Psalm lxviii. 16, 17;) clearly depicting mount Sinai as representative of heaven. And it is worthy observation, that the first instance of these


*It is just worthy of remark, that the mountain Ararat, on which the ark rested on the cessation of the waters, was situated in Persia, the country adjoining Arabia, wherein Mount Sinai stands; consequently, that renewed population most probably took place at no very remote distance from this celebrated mountain, or in or about the same region from whence it originally sprung. (See p. 332 of this volume.)

« ForrigeFortsæt »