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Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, there he buried Leah,” and in the same grave his beloved son deposited his body! But to human grief there must be boundaries. The imperious claims of public, of domestic, and of private duty, called upon him to dry his tears—and he obeyed them. He continued to serve Pharaoh with fidelity—to lead up his family in the fear of God—to speak kindly to his brethren—and to nourish their little ones. And this appears to have been his unremitting employment, through the space of fifty-four years: at the close of which time, and at the age of an hundred and ten, he followed his father down into the grave; and left his bones to the charge of his brethren, to be deposited, when the providence of God should see fit, by those of his deceased family. In concluding this interesting and pathetic history, we arrive at the close of the book of Genesis; the following remarks may not be deemed unnecessary, before this portion of the sacred writings is entirely dismissed. 1. The facts which it relates, are such as it concerns us to know, and such as an inspired communication must necessarily contain: for they are such, for the most part, as could be obtained through no other channel than revelation. Who, for instance, but a man divinely instructed, could give us an account of the creation of all things, and of the destination of man? And yet these are the first subjects after which we naturally inquire; and we expect satisfaction from a volume professedly inspired. 2. It appears that Moses is the true and sole author of this book—and for these several reasons: He is allowed to be, on the testimony of the heathens, the most ancient, lawgiver: the Jews, who are governed
by these laws, acknowledge no other legislator; and when we are informed that Solon gave laws to Athens, and Lycurgus to Lacedaemon, we credit the assertion, because it is made by the nations themselves, through the medium of their historians, and all gener. ations have, in succession, admitted their testimony; and we have the same evidence in favor of Moses. Neither, even admitting a book of this desccription could be forged, could it be imposed upon a whole people, without detection, by any impostor of later date than Moses himself. 3. The connexion between Genesis, and the succeeding books, is such that if this be removed, those which remain are unintelligible; and preserving it, everything is connected and luminous: so that the book which we have just finished, must be admitted into the canon of scripture, and among the writings of Moses, or the whole of the five books expunged; and then have you wiped out the first record which Reason expects of Revelation—an account of things which necessarily extend beyond our own province, and as necessarily fall within that of Revelation. Besides which, the harmony of the whole volume is broken: for it proceeds throughout upon principles contained in this first book; and the authority of the scriptures, from first to last, is destroyed: for an appeal is made in every successive part of the Bible, to events which are recorded, and to facts which are stated, in Genesis. 4. The historian writes like a man convinced of the truth of that which he advances. He appeals to things at that time well known, which are now lost; and it is easy to conceive how the several facts which he relates were transmitted to him. Admitting that he could impose upon us, and upon succeeding generations, who will be still more removed from the era of
his facts, and the scene of transactions which he has stated, he could not have imposed upon those with whom he lived, and who were themselves by tradition well acquainted with the facts which he relates. Should any man be disposed, after all that has been said, to determine that the whole is a fable, before he finally draws his conclusions, we intreat him once more to read over the history of Joseph, in all its native simplicity, as recorded in the Bible, and we would be satisfied to rest our argument upon this alone: we think that no one could for a moment imagine that it is a fiction: we would even venture to appeal to skepticism itself to determine, whether any thing could so affect the heart, short of truth and nature. 5. The difference of style between the book of Genesis, and those which succeed, which some have alleged as an evidence that they had not the same author, may be accounted for on this principle: that in this he records things which took place before he was born; in those, he relates the transactions of his own day, to which he was an eye-witness. Those who have supposed, that if Moses had been the author of this part of the Bible, he would not have spoken of himself in the third person, appear to us to have pointed out one of his principal beauties, and to have confirmed his general character: for egotism would have ill become “the meekest of men” —But it is time that we retire to our respective habitations, for meditation and prayer. * *
A SCRIPTURAI, REPRESENTATION OF THE NA. TURE AND DESTINATION OF MAN.
GEN. II, 7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
WHY does my heartbeat with pulsations of rapture, when my eye measures yonder heavens, or glides over hills and vallies along the surface of this beautiful world? When the dew sparkles upon the ground, a kindred tear glitters upon my countenance: but it is not the tear of sorrow; it springs from a well of unspeakable pleasure which I feel flowing within my bosom! Is it merely the softness, or the grandeur, of the scenery by which I am surrounded, that affects me? No! but my spirit meets a Parent walking invisibly on the globe that he formed, and working manifestly on my right hand and on my left. All these lovely objects are the productions of his skill, the result of his wisdom, the tokens of his benevolence, the imperfect images of his greatness. Every thing demonstrates the being and perfections of Deity. I see him empurpling the east before the sun in the morning, and
wheeling the orb on which I live round upon its axis. I behold him throwing the mantle of darkness over me in the evening, and kindling the skies into radiance by unveiling suns and worlds without number and without end. I gather a flower, and am revived by its fragrance; I see shade melting into shade infinitely above any combination of colors, which art can produce. To aid the organ of vision, I inspect through the microscope, an insect: I see it painted into a thousand brilliances, and displaying a thousand beauties, imperceptible to the naked eye. I stand convinced that no mortal pencil could delineate the loveliness of its form. I perceive a grain of corn peeping above the earth. It scarcely rears its light green head over the ground. I visit it day after day, and month after month. It gradually increases. It is an inch— it is a foot in height. Now it assumes a new shape. It vegetates afresh. The ear begins to form—to expand—to fill. Now it has attained its growth—it ripens—it is matured. I have narrowly watched the progress of vegetation; and have seen its advancement. I beheld every day adding something to its height, and to its perfection: but the hand which raised it from “the blade to the ear, and to the full corn in the ear,” escaped my researches. I find a crysalis, and watch the secret movements of nature. The insect is shrouded in a living tomb. It begins to stir–it increases in strength— and the butterfly breaks from its confinement. Meeting with ten thousand such wonderful productions every day—I recognzie in them the great Spirit that animates all created nature, and I am compelled to acknowledge, “O Lord our Governor how excellent is thy name in all the earth; and thou hast set thy glory
above the heavens.”