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SECTION III. 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 Phoenicians, 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 'pren. tices on a Sunday, and directly pour down judgments upon poor Sabbatb-breakers !-for we never hear of terrible accidents befalling rich ones. Such, showever, is the self-restoring property of a free press, that even this garbage bas been leading the way to better reading among the more dependent portion of the population, and the result will be its own anpibilation.-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 five, 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
* See AMERICA,
chapter until they were twenty-five. One would think that it should first have been proposed to childhood, which receives everything without examination, rather than to youth, whose pride is to judge and to laugh On the other hand, the Jews of twenty-five years old, having their judgments prepared and strengthened, might be more fitted to receive this chapter than inexperienced minds.
We shall say nothing here of Adam's second wife, named Lillah, whom the ancient Rabbis have given him. It must be confessed that we know very few anecdotes of our family.
ADORATION Is it not a great fault in some modern languages, that the same word which is used in addressing the Supreme Being, is also used in addressing a mistress? We not unfrequently go from hearing a sermon, in which the preacher has talked of nothing but adoring God in spirit and in truth, to the Opera, where nothing is to be heard but the charming object of my adoration, &c.
The Greeks and Romans, at least, did not fall into this extravagant profanation. Horace does not say that he adures Lalage; Tibullus does not adore Delia; nor is even the term adoration to be found in Petronius.
If anything can excuse this indecency, it is the frequent mention which is made in our operas and songs of the Gods of ancient fable. Poets have said that their mistresses were inore adorable than these false divinities; for which no one can blame them. We have insensibly become familiarised with this mode of expression, until at last, without any perception of the folly, the God of the universe is addressed in the same terms as an opera-singer.
But to return to the important part of our subject.There is no civilized nation which does not rerder public adoration to God. It is true, that neither in Asia nor in Africa is any person forced to the mosque or temple of the place; each one goes of his own accord. - This custom of assembling together should tend to unite the minds of men, and render them more
gentle in society; yet have they been seen raging against each other, even in the consecrated abode of Peace. The Temple of Jerusalem was deluged with blood, by zealots who murdered their brethren; and our churches have more than once been defiled by carnage.
In the article China, it will be seen that the opero is the Chief Pontiff, and that the worship is august and simple. There are other countries in which it is simple without any magnificence, as among the reformers of Europe and in British America. In others, waxtapers must be lighted at noon, although in the primitive ages they were held in abomination. A convent of nuns, if deprived of their tapers, would cry out that the light of the faith was extinguished, and the world would shortly be at an end. The Church of England holds a middle course between the pompous ceremonies of the Church of Rome and the plainness of the Calvinists.
Throughout the East, songs, dances, and torches, formed part of the ceremonies essential in all sacred feasts. No sacerdotal institution existed among the Greeks without songs and dances. The Hebrews borrowed this custom from their neighbours; for David
sung and danced before the ark. St. Matthew speaks of a canticle sung by Jesus Christ himself, and by his apostles, after their Pass
This canticle, which is not admitted into the authorised books, is to be found in fragments in the 237th letter of St. Augustine to bishop Chretius ; and, whatever disputes there may have been about its authenticity, it is certain that singing was employed in all religious ceremonies. Mahomet found this a settled mode of worship among the Arabs; it is also established in India; but it does not appear to be in use among the lettered men of China. The ceremonies of all places have some resemblance and some difference; but God is worshipped throughout the earth. Woe, assuredly, unto them who do not adore him as we do! whether erring in their tenets or in their rites! They sit in the shadow of death: but the greater their misfortune, the more are they to be pitied and supported.
It is indeed a great consolation for us, that the Mahometans, the Indians, the Chinese, the Tartars, all adore one only God; for so far they are our kindred. Their fatal ignorance of our sacred mysteries can only inspire as with tender compassion for our wandering brethren. Far from us be all spirit of persecution, which would only serve to render them irreconcilable.
One only God being adored throughout the known world, shall those who acknowledge him as their father never cease to present to him the revolting spectacle of his children detesting, anathematising, persecuting, and massacring one another by way of argument?
It is hard to determine precisely what the Greeks and Romans understood by adoring, or whether they adored Fauns, Sylvans, Dryads, and Naïads, as they adored the twelve superior Gods. It is not likely that Adrian's minion, Antinous, was adored by the Egyptians of later times with the same worship which they paid to Serapis; and it is sufficiently proved that the ancient Egyptians did not adore onions and crocodiles as they did Isis and Osiris. Ambiguity abounds everywhere and confounds everything; we are obliged, at every word, to exclaim What do you mean? We must constantly repeat-Define your terms.
Is it quite true that Simon, called the Magician, was adored among the Romans? It is not more true that he was utterly unknown to them.
St. Justin, in his Apology, which was as little known at Rome as Simon was, tells us that this God had a statue erected on the Tyber, or rather near the Tyber, between the two bridges, with this inscription-Simoni deo sancto. St. Irenæus and Tertullian attest the same thing; but to whom do they attest it? To people who had never seen Rome-to Africans, to Allobroges, to Syrians, and to some of the inhabitants of Sichem. They had certainly not seen this statue, the real inscription on which was Semo sanco deo fidio, and not
# See ABUSE OF WORDS and ALEXANDER.