Page images
[ocr errors]

But whatever weight there may be in the present wild condition, habits, and wide geographical distribution of the Argali as to its claims to be regarded the original parent of the innumerable varieties of domesticated sheep, there are structural peculiarities about it which are fatal to these. Both male and female have horns, “which in the female are smaller, and at their base set longitudinally on the skull (not with the broader surface transverse, as is usual in the sheep); in the male they are particularly thick and large.” They are covered with rough long hair, having at its roots an undergrowth of spiral-shaped wool. The well-marked difference in the shape of the horns thus Fig. 67.

make it unlikely that the Argali was the original parent of domestic sheep.

The other species, held by many to be the parent of domesticated sheep, is the well-kuown Corsican Mouflon (the Ovis muscimon of Linnæus and Pallas). It is found among the domestic animals of the islands of the Mediterranean, especially in Corsica, Sardinia, and Cyprus,

and is to be met with in Mouflon (Ovis muscimon).

the same condition in the hills of Asia Minor, and on the plains of Persia. It occurs in a wild state in the Himalaya range of mountains. The Corsican Mouflon interbreeds with varieties of the common sheep (Ovis aries).

In verse 24 another reference is made to the East. The expression, “The Lord God sent him forth from the garden” (ver. 23) is repeated in a much more emphatic form—“So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” In chapter ii. we have Eden and the garden in the east of it; now we have the garden, and the cherubim, and flaming sword on the east of it. The geographical references in those early times are of the most scanty kind: but looking at this intimation in the light of our sketch of the supposed land of Eden, it would appear that the peopling of the antediluvian earth must have been in the directions first occupied afterwards by the

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



sons of Noah. Would they find helps to progress in civilization, in industrial pursuits, and in art and science, in the remains of the works of those whose wickedness had become so great that “the Lord repented he had made man on the earth ?” Most likely; for if the flood did not uproot the olive bushes, and did not obliterate the courses in which the rivers of Eden had hastened on their way to the seas, is it probable that all the great material undertakings of "the giants, the mighty men which were of old men of renown" (vi. 4), would be so dealt with as not to leave a trace

Fig. 68. behind them? If there be any weight in this query, those who have given themselves to the study of Egyptian archæology are bound to

Head of Phacops caudatus. take it into account when they make such demands on us, as they do, to recognize much more protracted periods for the development of art, than those assigned to it in Scripture, as lying between the date of the flood and the historical times of the land of the Pharaohs.

This statement regarding the cherubim and the sword of flame is full of varied interest. It forms a link between the religious history of two periods of the church of the living God on the earth. It turns up claiming the notice of the student of the Bible, even as the remains of former phases of life embedded in the rocks claim the study of the geologist, affording a key not to their own character only, but to the climatology and even the physical features of the earth, at the time they spent life's brief span. By comparing the scanty materials left for a history of those primeval worlds with each other,

Fig. 69. much more light can be obtained on it than at first sight might seem possible. The whole contour of those Silurian graptolites as distinctly tells of the existence of deep seas, as the Virgularia of to-day does. The facetted eye of the Trilobite (Phacops caudatus, see page 15), with its beautiful optical Compound Eye of Phacops adaptations to its sphere of life, leads us to conditions of light and atmosphere and ocean in ages, before the idea of which even imagination cowers, corresponding to those amidst which the crustaceans of our own time live and breathe.

So here; if we take this discovery of God's presence, and compare it with the manifestations of his holiness and grace made in after ages to the church, we may come to the conclusion, that the materials for the history of the divine provision for man's spiritual wants is not so


Compound Eye of Phacops

caudatus magnified.

scanty as we before imagined. Have not many taken their impressions of this verse from the illustrations in the Bibles with which in childhood and youth they were familiar, rather than from the Bible itself? Most will remember during their whole life, the somewhat unartistic pictures of giant winged ones standing on massive walls, by great gates which guarded a place of beauty and brightness, gazing into a wilderness darkened by thunder-clouds out of whose gloomy bosoms the forked lightnings darted, or brandishing burning swords greater than Goliath's spear over the cowering pair first expelled from Eden. And thus a picture, above many suggestive of grace and fatherly love to the fallen ones, is turned into a hideous demonstration of wrath-wrath only. But if these coats of skin tell us anything at all when they are spoken of as made by God for man, they tell us the simple but blessed story that “God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.”

It would be out of place here to discuss any questions touching the nature of the cherubim. We take them as being the same as those represented in aftertimes above the mercy seat, and introduced to us in other portions of Scripture in connection with the ministrations of grace. True, they here guard the tree of life—they intimate to man that eternal life is no longer his in virtue of his own right and in a natural way—but they are also the symbols of a present God. The sword described was not in their hands. It was with them, and if looked at in the literal acceptation of the original word, it will suggest to us a brilliant sword-like light, darting out and returning on itself, as does the aurora seen in the northern skies in the bright nights of winter. In the words of Bishop Horne, “A devouring fire, turning, or rolling upon itself; as the cherubim, which Ezekiel saw, are said to have stood in the midst of a fire 'catching or infolding itself.' The expressions are equivalent, and correspond exactly. This body of fire (generally attended by, and subsisted in, a cloud) is styled the glory of God;' and always accompanied the appearance of the cherubim. The most ancient expositions left in the world, which are the two Jewish Targums, paraphrase the verse thus:-! And he thrust out the man, and caused the glory of his presence to dwell of old, at the east of the garden of Eden, above the two cherubim.' If such be the real import of the passage, and it relate only to the manifestation of the divine presence, by its well known symbol, above or between the cherubim, may we not fairly and reasonably conclude, that the design of such manifestation at the east of the garden of Eden, was the same as it was confessedly afterwards in the tabernacle and temple,

« PreviousContinue »