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C Ο Ν Τ Ε Ν Τ S.
SK ET CVII.
S Κ Ε Τ C
OF PRIMÆVAL TRADITION.
The firft inquiry of the human mind, when it begins to expand, and is capable of Reflection, is concerning the origin of sensible Objects. The ears of the wisest
parent are repeatedly faluted with such Interrogatories from his child, as he finds himself unable
Such is the natural thirst of man after knowledge, that with avidity he recurs to antiquity, being unable to pry into futurity, he delights particularly to enquire into the beginning of those kingdoms and families wherein he finds himself interested : nay, into the origin of the world, and the æra of human existence. The fabulous accounts of profane writers yield him no satisfaction, being enveloped in thick darkness, save only in those vestiges which still retain the evident marks of an origin derived from revelation.
That Adam was capable of giving such instruction is easily deduced from this reason: We cannot form an idea
to answer ; but such is that natural rogamo that innate affection of parental love, that he will not intentionally mislead his children, neither will he fill their inquisitive minds with vain, uninteresting fables instead of truth but he will endeavour, according to his ability, and the extent of his information, to cultivate their understandings with such sound instruction as they are capable of receiving, and such as may prove conducive to their happiness, and consequently to the good of fociety. He will not therefore, as our Blessed Saviour expresses it, when his son asketh
of man's original formation according to the mosaic account, and not at the same time be strongly convinced, that as man was formed in a state of maturity, he was also endowed with a maturity of wisdom, with an understanding already furnished with perfect ideas suited to his situation. He was not to be taught either knowledge or language by tedious and laborious steps, for having a familiar intercourse with the Deity, the Deity was his immediate preceptor, who endowed him with such powers of reason, as never could be equalled by the greatest philosophers. But how is this to be proved, and how to be exemplified? We have no writings of Adam handed down to posterity, as monuments of his great abilities; but we have to this day thousands of monuments to attest the truth of the affertion. This seeming paradox becomes evident, when we consider 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 displayed a wisdom unaccountable on any other grounds than the instruction of God himself. Even Plato, the noblest of all heathen philosophers, says, Copas MeV eyw, &c. &c. I think the beft reason that can be assigned for this matter is, that whatever power first adapted names to things must have been more than human.
bread, give him a stone, nor when he asketh fish, give him, intentionally, what might prove as baneful as a serpent.
may well conceive, tho' not with adequate ideas, with what unremitting attention, and painful solicitude, Adam endeavoured to instruct his children, in order to counteract those evil tendencies and depraved dispositions, with which human nature became invested, and which had been induced by the means of his first transgression : 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 mo
However impertinently the fall of man may have been treated by sceptical 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 sort of test could have been better suited to the occasion. Man was newly created, and had conversed with his maker, therefore required not the first commandment of the decalogue ; no idolatry had any existence, and therefore the second commandment was unnecessary ; intimacy with God would have made it impofsible for him to take his name in vain ; his gratitude would have naturally led him to commemorate the æra of creation by an observance 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 necessary, it must have been fimilar to what Mofes bas recorded. Man being placed in a garden of Paradise, furnished with all the delights that new-formed nature in her primitive luxuriance and perfection could display, was only prohibited from the participating of the tree of the koowledge of good and evil.