Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][ocr errors]



In the first page of ancient writ we scan
The varying traits which mark the life of man.
In vain we look for blifs, compleat and fure:
Not Eden's blissful bow'rs could that secure.

HE moft fingular inftance on record, of


the mutability incident to the sublunary ftate of man, is to be found, according to the Mofaical fyftem, in the first pair of human beings that were placed on our globe; as if defigned to be at once a fuperlative, as well as the premier specimen of it.

After God had created the heavens and the earth;-had divided the light from the darkness, and the dry land from the sea ;—had caused the plants, herbs, and trees, to fpring

Genefis, chap. i, ii, iii. Jofephus's Antiq. of the Jews, Book i. chap. 1. Milton's Paradife Loft, Book iv. and xii.

[blocks in formation]

out of the earth;-had adorned the heavens with the fun, moon, and ftars, and appointed them their various motions and courses; had created the living creatures of every species, male and female, after their kind; he then formed man from the duft of the ground, and inferted into him a spirit and a foul.

To this first-created human being was given, by its Divine Fabricator, the name of ADAM, which in the Hebrew tongue fignifies one that is red, he being formed out of red earth; for of that colour is virgin or pure earth: and it may be fuppofed, that as God formed this his mafter-work after his own image, he created him as perfect as the nature of fuch a being would permit :---a creature, not prone and brutal as other creatures, but erect in ftature, with front ferene, in whose looks divine the image of his glorious Maker fhone, and endowed with fanctity of reason fuited to govern all the inferior orders.

God having created Adam, he prefented to him the animals he had before formed, and gave to them thofe names by which they are ftill distinguished. A mute attention


marked the behaviour of Adam during this prefentation; but when he obferved that he alone was created without a female companion, a gleam of furprise glanced across his expreffive countenance; which was no fooner perceived by the Almighty, than he laid him afleep, and taking from his fide one of his ribs, formed of it a woman, to whom he gave the name of EVE, which fignifies the Mother of all Things.


This pair, lovely in form, and pure in mind, God placed in a paradise adapted to their perfections ;-a garden wherein grew every tree that was pleasant to the fight, or grateful to the tafte; and through which flowed a river, that, after having ferved to water it, divided itself into four branches, and spread over a great part of the globe. Here for a time did the primogenitors of mankind lead a life of perfect bliss; but an uninterrupted continuance of happiness being incompatible with a refidence in this revolving planet, they at length experienced a fad reverse.

In the midst of their delightful abode, God had planted two trees endowed with fuperB 2 natural

natural powers ;---one, The Tree of Life, the fruit whereof conferred immortality; the other, The Tree of Knowledge, from eating the fruit of which a perception of the difference between good and evil was to be acquired. And as the firft trial of their obedience to his commands, after giving them permiffion to eat of the produce of all the other trees and plants, he enjoined them not to tafte of the tree of knowledge, affuring them that it would prove their destruction if they did.

Eve, however, being one day employed in the nurture of fome flowers and plants at a diftance from her husband, (a first and fatal separation!), the serpent, a creature furpaffing every other in fubtlety, and endowed at that time with the faculty of fpeech, perfuaded her, through the inftigation of the Prince of Deception, to tafte of the forbidden fruit; telling her, that the knowledge they would acquire thereby would enable them to lead a much happier life than they did at prefent--a life little inferior to that of Gods.

Overcome by these perfuafions, Eve plucked of the fruit, and ate; and being pleased with



« AnteriorContinuar »