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would not the consequence of such interpretations be most dangerous to the cause of truth? The verse in question with its context thus runs, "And the Lord God said unto the serpent; because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above* all cattle and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." Do not the phrases "thou art cursed above all cattle" and "above every beast of the field," shew clearly that the serpent thus addressed was really no spirit in borrowed form, but the animal so denominated? Does not the circumstance of the serpent being condemned to move upon its belly and to eat dust all the days of its life, evidently imply that the serpent thus cursed was of the same class that we now see subject to that very malediction to the present day? The sins of fathers are declared in the scriptures to have been visited by God on their posterity; would it not be therefore more consistent with scriptural authorities to attribute the misery of serpents to the heinous conduct of their first origin, than to Satan, of whom no
כל and מן Composed of two words מכל *
i. e. out of all.
mention is made throughout the chapter in question?
But in fact has the power of Satan over the seed of the woman been destroyed? The consequences of the sin which Our first parents committed by the ill advice of the reptile, and which they implanted in the nature of their posterity, have been that women bring forth children in sorrow, and are ruled by their husbands, and that the earth brings forth thorns also, and thistles to men who eat the herb of the field with labour and return at last to dust (Genesis III. 16-19). If Jesus actually atoned for sin and delivered men from its consequences; how can those men and women who believe in his atonement be still, equally with others, liable to the evil effects of the sins already remitted by the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus?
If notwithstanding all the above stated facts and arguments the Editor still insists that Satan should be understood by the reptile mentioned in the verse, and Jesus by the seed of the woman, yet his interpretation can not apply in the least to the doctrine of the atonement. It would imply only that as Satan opposed the power of Jesus to procure salvation for all men as he
intended, so Jesus diminished his power, and disappointed him by leading many to salvation through his divine precepts.
I know not how
to answer the question of the Editor
what individual serpent did the seed of the woman break the head so as for it to bruise his heel?" unless by referring him to the reciprocal injuries which man and serpents inflict
on each other.
The Editor refers to the circumstance of the sacrifice offered by Abel and approved of God in preference to his brother Cain's, (Genesis IV. 4) esteeming it as an illustration of the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus for the remission of sin(page 518). But I am unable to find out what relation there could exist between the acceptance of the offering of Abel by Jehovah, and the death of Jesus, whether sacrificial or not. The Editor, however, founds his assertion that Abel having looked forward to the atonement of Jesus, his offerings were accepted by God, upon the circumstance of Abraham's seeing the day of Christ by prophetic anticipation (John VIII. 56); and of Moses having esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the trea
sures in Egypt, (Heb. XI. *26) they all having been "of the same catalogue." I therefore should hope to be informed whether there be any authority justifiying this inference. On
the contrary we find verse fourth of the same chapter of Genesis points out that Abel having been accustomed to do well in obedience to the will of God, contrary to the practice of his brother, righteous Jehovah accepted his offering and rejected that of Cain: to which Paul thus alludes, "By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain"(Hebrew XI.4.); without leaving us doubtful as to the sense in which that apostle used the word "faith" in the above
"By faith Abel offered unto God &c." By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death &c." 66 "But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him." Here St. Paul gives us to understand that the
* (Improved version of the new Testament) Gr. "the reproach of Christ," or," of the anointed." The Israelites are called Christs, or anointed, i. e. a chosen and favoured people, Psalm CV. 15. Heb. III 13. "The meaning is," says Dr. Sykes in loc., "that Moses looked upon the contempt and indignity which he underwent on account of his profess ing himself a Jew, as much preferable to all the riches and honours of Egypt." See also Whitby in loc. Dr. Newcome's version is, “such reproach as Christ endured," which is also the interpretation of Photius, Crellius, and Mr. Lindsey, Sequel, page 278.
"faith" which procured for Abel, Enoch, Noah, and all the other Patriarchs, the grace of God, was their belief in the existence of God and in his being their rewarder, and not in any sacrifice personal or vicarious. What could prophetic anticipation by Abraham of the divine commission of Jesus have to do with Abel's conduct in rendering his sacrifices acceptable to God, that any one can esteem the one as the necessary consequence of the other? Moses having called himself a Jew gave preference to the term “anointed” or “ Israelite”, a term of reproach among the Egyptians in those days, over all the riches and honour of Egypt which he might have obtained by declaring himself an Egyptian instead of a Jew; or Moses esteemed (according to the English version) in his prophetic power the reproach to which Christ would be made liable by the Jews in the fulfilment of his divine commission, greater riches than all the grandeur of Egyptian unbelievers. But neither explanation can support the idea that Abel, or any other Patriarch, had in view the sacrificial death of Jesus in rendering their offering acceptable to God.
It is true as the Editor observes that sacrifices are divine institutions as a manifestation of obedience to God through the oblation of