Page images

fenng and sorrow; but at the same time, and as if to prevent the consequences of despair, as holding forth to her a peculiar hope.

We have here a lesson which ought, in my opinion, to be inculcated on every female heart. If properly applied, it would teach the woman who repines at want of power, and who boldly assumes it as her right, to be humbled by the remembrance of her sex's weakness. It would at the same time prevent any from sinking under a painful sense of inferiority. Let her who, thinking meanly of her sex, relinquishes all hope all desire of improvement, let her remember, that when the first pair stood before the tribunal of an offended God, though the weakness of the woman was not accepted as an apology for her guilt, yet, that to her was granted the promise of salvation, and that she was expressly told by the voice of Omnipotence, that it was the "seed of the woman which should "bruise the serpent's heel."


Would it ever have entered into the imagination of uninspired man, to have represented the Almighty as speaking thus? No. Had this history been compiled by human wis'dom, and preserved by human power, we should doubtless have had a very different account of this awful and important sentence, in which justice and mercy are so conspicuously mingled. We should have seen the woman represented as- seducing and seduced: the first accounted for by her charms; the latter by her weakness. We should have seen her represented as the cause of ruin; but we should never have heard of her being declared the medium of restoration to the human race,


The traditional account which descended to the Eastern nations of the primaeval state of man, and of the events which preceded and which immediately followed the deluge, are thought by many learned persons to form the basis of almost all the mythological fables of antiquity; and it may hereafter afford an agreeable exercise to your ingenuity to trace the'resemblance. We may be convinced that some memorial of the facts was thus preserved, but being entrusted to human care, it was soon overwhelmed by the loads of absurd fiction with which it had been decorated by human imagination.

Whatever knowledge might have been obtained by tradition of the , facts, it is in the Bible alone that a satisfactory account is given of the designs of Providence in relation to them. It was ordained by God, that such an account of them should be preserved to us, as, while it afforded little gratification to a vain curiosity, and offered but a slender basis for the theories of fancy, should, to the latest ages of the world, be a pillar of faith.


All that we find in the Bible, relative to the earlier ages, is accordingly confined to a mere outline, respecting such events as are not intimately connected with the grand object of revelation, viz. the birth, the office, and character of the Messiah.

In all that remains to us of the history of the antideluvian world, we still observe the same sublime conceptionsof the divine attributes,which are peculiar to holy writ. We there behold the Almighty revealing himself to Noah as the avenger of sin, the abhorrer of iniquity. We see him holding forth promises of grace to the penitent, and denouncing severe judgment upon the disobedient; and, after the terms of mercy had been rejected, ordaining the execution of the threatened vengeance.


From the brief account that is preserved to us of these important though remote transactions, it appears that temporal rewards and temporal punishments were all that God had as yet seen fit to reveal. It is sufficient for our instruction, that the punishment inflicted was such as God had foretold it would be. Sin had brought death into the world. From this universal doom, Noah and his family were not to be exempted: but while they were only to be made subject to the general law, which, from its being general, is called the law of nature, the others were made subject to that particular and extraordinary operation of divine power,

tot. ii. D Whiebi

« PreviousContinue »