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Jewish books; and the Veidam itself is a newer law given to the Brahmins, fifteen hundred years after their first law, called Shasta or Shasta-bad.
Such, or nearly such, are the answers which the Brahmins of the present day have often made to the chaplains of merchant vessels who have talked to them of Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, when the traders of Europe have gone, with arms in their hands, to buy their spices and lay waste their country.
The Phoenician Sanchoniathon, who certainly lived before the period at which we place Moses, and who is quoted by Eusebius as an authentic author, gives ten generations to the human race, as does Moses down to the time of Noah; but, in these ten generations, he mentions neither Adam nor Eve, nor any of their descendants, not even Noah himself. The names, according to the Greek translation by Philo of Biblos, are on, Genos, Phox, Liban, Usou, Halieus, Chrisor, Tecnites, Agrove, Amine; these are the first ten generations.
We do not see the name of Noah or of Adam in any of the ancient dynasties of Egypt; they are not to be found among the Chaldeans; in a word, the whole earth has been silent respecting them.
It must be owned that such a silence is unparalleled. Every people has attributed to itself some imaginary origin, yet none has approached the true one. We cannot comprehend how the father of all nations has so
*What causes many of the learned to think that Sanchoniathon was anterior to Moses is, that he does not mention Moses. He wrote at Beytus, a town situated near the country in which the Jews established themselves. Had Sanchoniathon been cotemporary with or posterior to Moses, he would not have omitted to mention the terrible scourges with which the latter visited Egypt; and he would assuredly have related that the Jewish people had ravaged his country with fire and sword. Eusebius, Julius Africanus, St. Ephrain, and all the Greek and Syriac books, would have cited a profane author who had borne testimony to the Hebrew legislator. Eusebius, in particular, who acknowledges the authenticity of Sanchoniathon, and translated fragments of him, would have quoted all which related to Moses,
long been unknown, while, in the natural course of things, his name should have been carried from mouth to mouth to the farthest corners of the earth.
Let us humble ourselves to the decrees of that Providence which has permitted so astonishing an oblivion. All was mysterious and concealed in the nation guided by God himself, which prepared the way for Christianity, and was the wild olive on which the fruitful one has been grafted. That the names of the authors of mankind should be unknown to mankind, is a mystery of the highest order.
I will venture to affirm, that it has required a miracle thus to shut the eyes and ears of all nations-to destroy every monument, every memorial of their first father. What would Cæsar, Anthony, Crassus, Pompey, Cicero, Marcellus, or Metellus have thought, if a poor Jew, while selling them balm, had said, "We all descend from one father, named Adam." All the Roman senate would have cried, "Show us our genealogical tree." Then the Jew would have displayed his ten generations, down to the time of Noah, and the secret of the universal deluge. The senate would have asked him, how many persons there were in the Ark, to feed all the animals for ten whole months, and during the following year, in which no food would be produced? The pedlar would have said, "We were eight-Noah and his wife, their three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, and their wives. All this family descended in a right line from Adam.”
Cicero would, doubtless, have enquired for the great monuments, the indisputable testimonies which Noah and his children had left of our common father. After the deluge, he would have said, the whole earth would have resounded with the names of Adam and Noah, one the father, the other the restorer of These names would have been in every every race. mouth as soon as men could speak, on every parchment as soon as they could write, on the door of every house as soon as they could build, on every temple, on every statue, and have you known so great a secret, yet concealed it from us! The Jew would have an
swered It is because we are pure and you are im pure. The Roman senate would have laughed, and the Jew would have been whipped: so much are men attached to their prejudices!
The pious Madame de Bourignon* was sure that Adam was an hermaphrodite, like the first men of the divine Plato. God had revealed a great secret to her; but as I have not had the same revelation, I shall say nothing of the matter. The Jewish Rabbis have read Adam's books, and know the names of his preceptor and his second wife; but as I have not read our first parent's books, I shall remain silent. Some acute and very learned persons are quite astonished when they read the Veidam of the ancient Brahmins, to find that the first man was created in India, and called Adimo, which signifies the begetter, and his wife Procriti, signifying life. They say that the sect of the Brahmins is incontestably more ancient than that of the Jews; that it was not until a late period that the Jews could write in the Canaanitish language, since it was not until late that they established themselves in the little country of Canaan. They say that the Indians were always inventors, and the Jews always imitators; the Indians always ingenious, and the Jews always rude. They say it is very hard to believe that Adam, who was fair and had hair on his head, was father to the Negroes, who are entirely black, and have black wool. What, indeed, do they not say? As for me, I say nothing; I leave these researches to the reverend Father Berruyer, of the Society of Jesus. He is the most perfect Innocent I have ever known; the book has been burned, as that of a man who wished to turn the Bible into ridicule; but I am quite sure he had no such wicked end in view.t
A female fanatic of the 17th century.-T.
We have a great many English Innocents, like Father Berrayer, whose object might seem to be the defamation of the deity whom they affect to adore. What a God is the God of the
The age for enquiring seriously whether or not knowledge was infused into Adam, has passed by; those who so long agitated the question, had no knowledge either infused or acquired.
It is as difficult to know at what time the Book of Genesis, which speaks of Adam, was written, as it is know the date of the Veidam, of the Shanscrit, or any other of the ancient Asiatic books. It is important to remark, that the Jews were not permitted to read the first chapter of Genesis before they were twenty-five years old. Many rabbis have regarded the formation of Adam and Eve and their adventure as an allegory. Every celebrated nation of antiquity has imagined some similar one; and, by a singular concurrence, which marks the weakness of our nature, all have endeavoured to explain the origin of moral and physical evil, by ideas nearly alike. The Chaldeans, the Indians, the Persians, and the Egyptians, have accounted, in similar ways, for that mixture of good and evil which seems to be a necessary appendage to our globe. The Jews who went out of Egypt, rude as they were, had yet heard of the allegorical philosophy of the Egyptians. With the little knowledge thus acquired, they afterwards mixed that which they received from the Phonicians, and from the Babylonians during their long slavery. But as it is natural and very common for a rude nation to imitate rudely the conceptions of a polished people, it is not surprising that the Jews imagined a woman formed from the side of a man, the spirit of life breathed from the mouth of God on the face of Adam-the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Nile, and the Oxus, having all the same source in a
Religious Tract Society, who is made to specially drown 'prentices on a Sunday, and directly pour down judgments upon poor Sabbath-breakers!-for we never hear of terrible accidents befalling rich ones. Such, however, is the self-restoring property of a free press, that even this garbage has been leading the way to better reading among the more dependent portion of the population, and the result will be its own annihilation.-T.
garden, and the forbidden fruit, which brought death into the world, as well as physical and moral evil, Full of the idea which prevailed among the ancients, that the serpent was a very cunning animal, they had no great difficulty in endowing it with understanding and speech.
This people, who then inhabited only a small corner of the earth, which they believed to be long, narrow, and flat, could easily believe that all men came from Adam. They did not even know that the Negroes, with a conformation different from their own, inhabited immense regions; still less could they have any idea of America.*
It is, however, very strange that the Jewish people were permitted to read the books of Exodus, where there are so many miracles which shock reason, yet were not allowed to read, before the age of twentyfive, the first chapter of Genesis, in which all is necessarily miracle, since the creation is the subject. Perhaps it was, because God, after creating the man and woman in the first chapter, makes them again in another, and it was thought expedient to keep this appearance of contradiction from the eyes of youth. Perhaps it was, because it is said, that God made man in his own image, and this expression gave the Jews too corporeal an idea of God. Perhaps it was, because it is said, that God took a rib from Adam's side to form the woman; and the young and inconsiderate, feeling their sides, and finding the right number of ribs, might have suspected the author of some infidelity. Perhaps it was, because God, who always took a walk at noon in the garden of Eden, laughed at Adam after his fall, and this tone of ridicule might tend to give youth too great a taste for pleasantry. In short, every line of this chapter furnishes very plausible reasons for interdicting the reading of it; but such being the case, one cannot very clearly see how it was that the other chapters were permitted. It is, besides, surprising that the Jews were not to read this