Billeder på siden

however authentic, but that it was rather his purpose to give a history of the creation, arranged according to a plan of his own, and that the best plan.

And now, in regard to what may at first sight appear a mere repetition of the fact of the creation of heaven and earth, and of the plants and herbs of the field; we shall perceive in verses four and five something more than unmeaning tautology, if we bear in mind that man's unbelieving heart is ever prone to satisfy itself with a reference to second causes, and to infer practically that the things which are seen were made from other things of a like kind; also, that the operations of nature were always such as we behold them, or in other words, although the words are not spoken, existed as we now see them from eternity. In opposition therefore to this atheism of the fallen heart, Moses repeats his testimony in regard to the fact of there having been a time when plants and herbs were not produced from seed as is now the case, but immediately by God himself; and he would also intimate to us that these productions of the vegetable world, are not necessarily indebted for their growth to the tillage of the husbandman, and to the benign influence of rain, as there was a period when no rain fell upon the earth, and when the ground yielded her increase spontaneously, without the aid of man, and without the intervention of those second causes, to which we now with propriety ascribe her fertility.

We now ask, what may be the meaning of the information in verse six, in regard to the mist which is there said to have gone up from the earth, watering the whole face of the ground? It is evident from the context that the mist supplied the place of rain, “for

the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth." But how long did this peculiar state of things exist, and how long did vegetation proceed without the instrumentality of rain? No period is specified by Moses, but surely it was a lengthened one, or why does he proclaim it as a remarkable fact? Why draw our notice so signally to this circumstance, unless it is an important one, unless he would intimate that in "the old world" a dewy moisture supplied the place of rain, and that constantly, even from the period of the creation of the world, up to the deluge, when "the flood-gates of heaven were opened," and rain for the first time descended on the earth, not to make it fruitful but to destroy it! And we can well imagine how abundantly the first earth would yield her increase, under the benign influence of an equable mist or dew, at regularly recurring intervals watering her surface; and how preferable such a mode of irrigation must have been to the one which has since taken place in "the earth that now is." For although the rain which appeared first upon the earth, as an instrument of the wrath of God, has been since that time converted by the God of providence into an instrument of blessing to man, and of fruitfulness to the earth; must we not add, that its operation is not always equally benign, and that if on the one hand, the husbandman gratefully receives the falling showers, which he hopes are to make fruitful the arid soil; so on the other, he as often complains of the unfriendly torrents which saturate the earth with a moisture altogether disastrous to vegetation. But under the equal moisture of that first dewy mist, how admirably would the process of vegetation proceed! With a soil never unduly

heated, never parched by want of rain, and never unduly moistened by superfluous showers, how would the earth clothe herself with a perpetual verdure! It may be believed that there was then the ever-enduring spring, recorded, not fabled, by the poets.

[IN reference to the opinion of those same learned men, who have so daringly speculated concerning the alleged change of style, &c., as noticed above, we have a word or two to say. Moses was one of those "holy men of old," who "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" and Moses had no more to do in framing or arranging the matter of the Pentateuch than had we who pen these lines. He obeyed the divine impulse; he did all things, wrote all things, as God commanded him to do. If we relinquish that vital point, the verbal inspiration of Holy Scripture, we open the door for every cavil that infidelity can desire to introduce. The learning of such men only serves to elucidate the Apostle's meaning, when he says, "Is any wise among you? let him become a fool that he may be wise."-ED.]


[ocr errors]

SINCE our last number went to press, we have seen a pamphlet, the Address of the Rev. J. W. Brooks, to the clerical friends of the Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews,' assembled at Bath, delivered last April, and published by Nisbet; in which we were surprised to find some very severe animadversions on the Christian Lady's Magazine. Had Mr. Brooks, for whom, though personally unknown to us, we entertain the utmost respect and regard, addressed a private admonition or remonstrance to us, every attention would have been paid to the communication; but being publicly censured, we, not liking our good to be evil spoken of, must publicly explain the matter. The following is the passage referred to:

"And, allow me to add, that there is now also arising an undiscriminating religious benevolence toward the Jews, which, in its zeal for Israel, seems to overlook the awful errors which they still maintain. Not long since I read, in a popular religious magazine, a warm panegyric of the Kohl Yacob, (or "Voice of Jacob," a newspaper recently published in London by the Jews themselves,) and a recommendation of that paper to the readers of the magazine; -a panegyric of which the editor of the Kohl Yacob has not failed adroitly to avail himself. I cannot, however, myself, conceive a more dangerous publica

tion to be put into the hands of any who are not previously well "stablished, strengthened, and settled" in the faith; and well read likewise on the points in controversy between Jews and Christians, especially those which are affected by Hebrew criticism. We should hesitate to panegyrize, merely because they were written with an air of liberality, still more to recommend for perusal to our people, downright Socinian publications, or decided Papistical works: yet the Kohl Yacob combines and exhibits the principles both of the Socinian and the Papist. In its extracts, given from their ablest writers, they endeavour to shew that the Messiah could not be a divine person, nor born of a virgin, nor subject to affliction; they deny the atonement, and the necessity for any satisfaction for sin; and they attempt to refute the passages of Scripture alleged by Christians in support of these points, by the most specious arguments, aided by a subtle Biblical hypercriticism. So, in regard to Popery, they are constantly inculcating that Holy Scripture is not of itself a sufficient guide, and cannot be understood without the traditions contained in the Talmud; and exhorting also to a slavish prostration of the human mind to ecclesiastical authority: both which dogmas are of the quintessence of Popery, as exhibited on the one hand by the Pharisees of old, and on the other hand by the Tractarians of modern times. I humbly suggest, therefore, that, in our zeal to do them good, we ought to bear in recollection that they do hold awful errors; and not let it be supposed that those errors lose their pernicious character, or dwindle into insignificance, when they are held by Jews."

Now, in answer to this, we beg to remind our

« ForrigeFortsæt »