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to answer; but fuch is that natural gy that innate affection of parental love, that he will not intentionally mislead his children, neither will he fill their inquifitive minds with vain, uninteresting fables inftead of truth but he will endeavour, according to his ability, and the extent of his information, to cultivate their understandings with such found inftruction as they are capable of receiving, and fuch as may prove conducive to their happiness, and confequently to the good of fociety. He will not therefore, as our Bleffed Saviour expreffes it, when his fon asketh bread,

of man's original formation according to the mofaic account, and not at the fame time be strongly convinced, that as man was formed in a state of maturity, he was alfo endowed with a maturity of wisdom, with an understanding already furnished with perfect ideas fuited to his fituation. He was not to be taught either knowledge or language by tedious and laborious fteps, for having a familiar intercourfe with the Deity, the Deity was his immediate preceptor, who endowed him with fuch powers of reason, as never could be equalled by the greatest philofophers. But how is this to be proved, and how to be exemplified? We have no writings of Adam handed down to pofterity, as monuments of his great abilities; but we have to this day thousands of monuments to atteft the truth of the affertion. This feeming paradox becomes evident, when we confider that in giving names to all the variety of creatures which were brought before him, even fuch names as were in a great manner explanatory of their nature, was difplayed a wisdom unaccountable on any other grounds than the inftruction of God himfelf. Even Plato, the nobleft of all heathen philofophers, fays, c'μaι Mev εyw, &c. &c. I think the beft reason that can be affigned for this matter is, that whatever power firft adapted. mames to things must have been more than human.

However

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bread, give him a stone, nor when he asketh
fish, give him, intentionally,
intentionally, what might
prove as baneful as a ferpent.

We may well conceive, tho' not with adequate ideas, with what unremitting attention, and painful folicitude, Adam endeavoured to inftruct his children, in order to counteract those evil tendencies and depraved difpofitions, with which human nature became invested, and which had been induced by the means of his first tranfgreffion: and as he lived nine hundred and thirty years, the doctrines of the unity and attributes of God, of genuine piety and religion, of pure moB 2 rality,

However impertinently the fall of man may have been treated by fceptical men, however they might turn into ridicule the primary test of man's obedience, the forbidden fruit; yet, upon calm reflection, let it be pointed out what other fort of test could have been better fuited to the occafion. Man was newly created, and had converfed with his maker, therefore required not the first commandment of the decalogue; no idolatry had any existence, and therefore the fecond commandment was unneceffary; intimacy with God would have made it impoffible for him to take his name in vain; his gratitude would have naturally led him to commemorate the era of creation by an obfervance of the fabbath-day; he had no parents to obey; the world was his own, and he had no neighbours to injure, by fraud, violence, or covetousness. If, therefore, any precept were neceffary, it must have been fimilar to what Mofes has recorded. Man being placed in a garden of Paradife, furnished with all the delights that new-formed nature in her primitive luxuriance and perfection could difplay, was only prohibited from the participating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

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rality, together with fuch an account of the création, as might raife in their minds the moft awful veneration of almighty power, wifdom, and goodnefs, was by him perfonally communicated to each fucceffive generation, until the days of Lamech, the father of Noah. Shem, the fon of Noah, lived to the time of Abraham: from the time of the fettling of Jacob's family in Egypt, to Mofes, was but one hundred and thirty five years; fo that we may eafily conceive, that traditional knowledge could have fcarcely been interrupted from Adam to Moses. And hence alfo appears the error of Rabbi Elias, who faid, that previous to the written law, men were deftitute of any certain rule to guide them. It is true, indeed, to the cleareft demonftration, according to the expreffion of our bleffed Lord, that the Jews have made void the law through their vain traditions. For by the written law, tradition was annulled, and rendered unneceffary; yet it must be acknowledged, that from this fource, all the nations of the world, at firft, received the information they had, and altho' it became enveloped in fable, by means of poetic fiction and enthusiasm, yet the dim light it afforded, even in this ftate, was held in the higheft veneration by many heathen

philofophers;

philofophers: wherefore Plato thus expreffes his religious respect for tradition as being the acknowledged fource of inftruction. "It is juft, that both I who difcourfe, and you that judge, fhould remember that we are but men, and receiving the probable mythologic tradition of our fathers, it is but meet that we inquire no further into it."

And indeed, unless this be allowed, it will be impoffible to account for a variety of circumftances recorded in the scattered fragments of antiquity; which, like the ruins and monuments of ancient buildings, ftill are fufficient to indicate the ingenuity of their original founders.

Traditional knowledge was undoubtedly fufficient to answer all the purposes of religion, in the antediluvian world. When the ages of men were protracted to fuch amazing lengths, if any difficulty had then arisen to be folved, relative to religious fentiments, an immediate appeal might have been made to an indisputable authority, to the Protogenitor himself, who would have most readily interpofed, to the mutual fatisfaction of the parties. But befides fuch information, God himself vouchfafed to confirm, and establish the doctrines thus received, by holding familiar converfe with his faithful fervants. There

Therefore, until the idolatry of Nachor, we read of no difference in religious fentiments, and even then, but little, and that arifing probably from the fancies and whims of fpeculating men; for, about that time probably, began the ftudy of aftronomy, which gave rife to idolatry in Egypt, Chaldæ, and Arabia.

9E85

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και

εγενετο, και την ιεραν

Another cause of the corruption of primæval religion, might have originated from the pretenfions of innovating impoftors to the fame familiar intercourfe with God, that Abraham and the Patriarchs undoubtedly enjoyed: which will help to explain a difcult paffage in ancient history. "Porrò Rex Suphis. de xar περιόπης εις orygae Biov. Moreover this (King Suphis) was a contemplator of the Gods, and wrote the facred book. The word egg is understood to mean a very familiar intercourse with the Gods, in the fame manner that it is faid that Amenophis affected Ev yerda dearn to be a vifionary contemplator of the Gods. Pretenfions of this, nature having been common among the nations, hence the words of Cicero: Præfentiam fæpe divi fuam declarant, fæpe vifæ formæ deorum. Sir John Marsham has called the Age in which he has treated

on

See Warfham.

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