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into which they have fallen. It is quite certain that these two trees are to be understood figuratively; if so, why not the other trees of the Garden, and the Garden itself, and the rivers by which it was watered?

378. Again; there never was such a serpent as the one alluded to in the account before us. Did serpents talk in those days? and did they interest themselves in moral subjects, the obedience and disobedience of men? Did they know, and how, that our first parents would be as gods, knowing good and evil, if they ate of the tree? Did they walk upright, making it a punishment to crawl on the ground, as they now do, and as they are fitted to do, by their configuration? And what interpretation can we attach to the promise, literally understood, that the seed of the woman should 'bruise the serpent's head,' which, in that case, would be nothing more than the simple announcement, that Eve's descendants would kill snakes. If it be said that the serpent was only an instrument in the hands of an invisible tempter, we would reply 1st, that no such idea is inculcated by the sacred writer; and 2d, if it were so, that would not militate against a moral application.

379. Another thing, equally difficult, as literally interpreted, is, that the partaking of the fruit of the forbidden tree, should induce such consequences as described in the account. How could Adam and Eve now know that they were naked, rather than before they partook of the fruit? How could such fruit make them know good and evil, or become as gods? Nearly allied to this objection, is, the consequences that followed disobedience. What connection between the penalty inflicted on the woman, and the fruit she ate; or the punishment the man was made to suffer, and the sin for which it was inflicted? All this is unnatural and unphilosophical, when interpreted literally; and yet it admits of a consistent and beautiful application when viewed allegorically.

380. Another thing is worthy of notice in this connection. That Adam and Eve should be put into a literal garden, to keep it and cultivate it, and to confine their labors to that; when they had before received from the Creator the dominion of the whole earth, and were com

manded to replenish and subdue it; in other words, that they should be cast out of the garden, and made to do as a punishment for sin, what they had been instructed to do at first, and before sin entered into the world — is a theory that introduces difficulty and contradiction into the record, without any just occasion for so doing. But that, having given us an account of man's creation andhis physical relations, the writer should then, by the ancient and symbolic method, instruct us in regard to his moral conditlon. is a rational and natural supposition.

381. We understand the Garden of Eden as an allegory; and with this understanding, it reveals to us a sound philosophy, in respect to man's moral state; and the fitness of the several parts of the allegory, to represent temptation to sin, the act of transgression, and the consequences thereof will justify the interpretation.

It should be borne in mind that the most ancient form of writing was by hieroglyphics or pictures. The meaning of the picture depended, like any word or phrase in any other form of writing, not only on itself, its form and arrangement, but on other pictures that were associated with it. It is very easy to see how the innocence of our first parents in their primitive state, their subsequent temptation and fall, and the painful consequences of their sin, could be set forth in this way. In this way, in our judgment, it was set forth.

382. The first picture is that of a beautiful and wellwatered garden, having every tree that is good for food and pleasant to the eye. In the midst of the garden are two trees that attract special attention. They are very unlike. Their respective names could be afterwards inferred from their results. In this garden are our first parents, with the evident intention that they shall culti vate it and enjoy its fruits. This is the picture. The meaning is not difficult. The Garden denotes a state of innocence. What could be more appropriate? The trees are human actions. One tree only denotes wrong doing. It is man's duty to cultivate his moral nature, and enjoy the fruits of well-doing.

383. The next picture is the same as the first, with the addition of a serpent, extending to Eve the fruit of

the forbidden tree (which, from this eircumstance, becomes known as the forbidden tree,) and Adam standing near by, ready to receive it at her hand. Nothing could more aptly represent temptation than this picture The serpent is the most subtile of all the beasts of the field, and is therefore better fitted to set forth the seductive power of sin than any other animal. The conversation of the serpent with the woman, is sufficiently indicated by the picture itself, without any other expedient to denote it. Besides, it is the language of human experiSin looks attractive, and it promises much good; and it suggests that the punishment it may deserve, is quite uncertain. It mixes up truth and error in its promises, and by that means, the more effectually leads us astray.


384. The next picture contains the same general features as the former ones, except that it shows our first parents as conscious of guilt, and seeking to hide themselves among the trees of the garden. That the serpent has been successful is obvious; that Adam, as well as Eve, has sinned, is indicated by his appearance. That they were tried and condemned by their lawful Sovereign, was a legitimate inference, and is fully confirmed by the next and last picture.

385. Finally; the Garden no longer appears, or if it does, our first parents are no longer its inmates. The woman is represented in a condition of great pain and distress, teaching us that great physical suffering is requisite to adequately represent the consequences of sin to her tender nature. The man is toiling in the midst of briars and thorns that torture and goad him on every hand, teaching him plainly that the way of the transgressor is hard. A flaming sword and cherubim are marked on this picture as standing between the offenders and the tree of life, lest they should partake of that, and not suffer the penalty that had been announced as the result of transgression. The serpent is no longer coiled about the tree of knowledge, from which he had reached out the fruit to Eve; but he lies prostrate in the dust, from which he is to derive his sustenance; and some mark indicates (or it is a reasonable inference) that

he shall ultimately be destroyed by a descendant of the woman whom he had seduced from duty.

386. This is briefly the meaning of this beautiful allegory. The most important lessons are here taught. The representation gives us the experience of our first parents, and not less the experience of their descendants. It shows the responsibility of man, the process of temptation and disobedience, and the consequences of sin. We know the truth of what is here taught from our own experience; for we, as much as Adam and Eve, have been in the Garden of Eden, have had the same unfortunate interview with the serpent, have sinned and fallen as they did, and found the consequences to be what they experienced.

387. The theology of the church has not been satisfied with these simple and beautiful lessons. It has therefore added many things to the divine word, and has thus marred the beauty of the sacred record, and brought it into disrepute with many men, who take the common view as the true one, and have too much good sense to accept it.

We will enumerate briefly the errors that have been engrafted upon the Bible representation, and give a few of the reasons why they ought not to be regarded as any part of the divine teaching. First, men have made the sin of our first parents to have produced a change in the Deity, loving and blessing them before they sinned, and hating and cursing them afterwards. Next, they have believed and taught that human nature was wholly changed by the first sin. It was before immortal and immaculate; it was afterwards subject to dissolution and totally corrupt. Some have carried the idea of change, so far, that they have represented the animals, as well as men, as having undergone a similar transformation. They became cruel and voracious, while before, they had no such peculiarities.

When again we are told that Adam's sin affected all his posterity, as it affected himself; giving them a nature wholly corrupt, and subjecting them to the wrath and curse of God. And in harmony with these doctrines, "all the miseries of this life, death itself, and the pains

of hell forever," are made the penalty of transgression. All these evils are attributed to a malignant spirit, who concealed himself in the body of a serpent, and thereby deceived our mother Eve.

388. That these doctrines have been engrafted upon the divine record, without authority, and are no part of the record itself, will be evident, in part from what is said to the contrary, and in part from the entire absence of any thing to sustain them.

From what can we infer that God was angry with our first parents after they had sinned? The gentle voice of the Almighty, on that occasion does not seem to be prompted by wrath. No curse is spoken against Adam and Eve or their posterity. Man is changed, sadly changed, but it is not his nature that is changed. He is the same man, now, in all the essential attributes of his being, that he was before the transgression. His posterity are like their original progenitor. They sin as he sinned and they suffer as he suffered.

The beasts were not changed. Many of them were intended at first, for destroying and feeding upon other animals. Their configuration shows this; and they had this configuration before the fall, as their fossil remains clearly indicate. Men formed their theology without a knowledge of Geological facts; and now as they become acquainted with these facts, they are compelled to make corresponding changes in their religious systems. That eternal death was threatened to Adam, is wholly assumed. It was not eternal death, but s..nply death that was announced. Nor this only; it was a death that was to be suffered, and was suffered, in the day of transgression. If all the miseries of this life" are the result of sin, it is certain that they are not the result of Adam's sin. "Death itself," referring to natural death, is not attributed to Adam's sin, in the record, but to the fact that he was of earth, and must therefore return to the earth again. "The pains of hell forever" are not mentioned. That an evil spirit was concerned in the transgression, is an assumption, unfounded and absurd.

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