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man, and equally sharing with him the benediction of Elohim and the possession of the earth.
The Jehovist knows nothing of Humanity fashioned in the image of a God. Adam is simply vitalised dust, and Eve a mere after-thought devised for his comfort and convenience. There can be no affinity with the gods in the mental and moral blindness which sees no difference between good and evil, and is therefore unconscious of responsibility in thought or action.
Let us imagine the sudden awaking of primeval man to startled consciousness of the external world, confused by sensation, alarmed by sound, dazzled by light, absorbed in the mysterious sympathy of sex, and yet unconsciously entrusted, in this condition of mental imbecility, with the future destinies of Humanity, staked on his unintelligent obedience to an arbitrary command, sustained by a death-penalty conveying no meaning to his infantine ignorance.
At this supreme crisis, Jehovah retires from the scene; and a mysterious serpent, detected by later theologians as Satan in masquerade, tempts poor simpleminded Eve with an apple from the tree of knowledge; unless, therefore, divine assistance is at hand, the Fall of man is a foregone conclusion. A sudden inspiration, a voice from heaven, an angel's visit, may defeat ophidian or Satanic design, and snatch mankind from mortality or perdition ; but, alas ! no miraculous portent arrests the hand of Eve, the fatal fruit is gathered, tasted, held to the lips of Adam, and the simplicity, which knows no difference between the command of a God and the advice of a serpent, yields inevitable victory to the wiles of snake or demon.
The heat of the day is past ; Jehovah walks through the garden of Eden in the cool of the evening ; discovers man's disobedience; curses the serpent with the bodily motion evolved by ages; condemns Adam to the labour by which prehistoric man had existed for countless generations ; decrees the degradation of Humanity through the domestic bondage of woman, henceforth dependent for her social position on the prejudice, caprice, and passion of her lord and master; and finally pronounces the sentence of death, in apparent unconsciousness that mortality had reigned supreme on earth throughout ages remote from the chronology of Eden.
· And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us to know good and evil, and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever.'1 These are the words of Jehovah. If, therefore, Eve had chanced to pluck an apple from that other tree, Adam, contrary to the design of his Creator, would have been enrolled among the gods, and this diminutive earth would have long since failed to hold the countless multitude of his immortal descendants.
Modern research, however, redeems us from bondage to this superstition. As the evidence of the rocks records the remote antiquity of the earth, so also the evidence of the fossils proclaims the countless generations of man; and as we trace his footsteps to prehistoric ages, and discern his gradual ascent from lower to higher conditions of life, we necessarily assign the legend of Eden its legitimate place among the myths of antiquity.
i Gen, üïi. 22.
Let us briefly review some further legends from the pen of the Jehovist.
A tradition prevailed among the nations of antiquity, depicting their ancestors as men of gigantic stature, towering above the diminutive proportions of their degenerate descendants. The credulous Jehovist compromises revelation by this grotesque legend, full details of which are found in the book of Enoch.2
Two hundred sons of heaven or angels descended upon Ardis, the top of Mount Armon, under the leadership of Samyaza, and selected wives among the most beautiful daughters of men, who became the mothers of monstrous giants, of appetites so destructive that they not only devoured birds, beasts, reptiles, and fishes, but even lived, as cannibals, on human flesh.
This appalling reign of violence and cruelty on earth at length aroused Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and other loyal members of the heavenly Host; and, on their appeal for retribution to the throne of God, the giant offspring of the apostate angels were supernaturally excited to destroy each other; and Samyaza, with his companions in crime, was hurled in fetters beneath the earth, to await in darkness the day of judgment, in which they shall be taken away in the lowest depths of the fire in torments, and in confinement shall they be shut up for ever.' 3
The credibility of this legend is attested by apostles. In the second Epistle of Peter we read : 4 . For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to
i Gen. vi. 1-4.
2 Enoch vii.-3.
be reserved unto judgment. And again in Jude: * And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting darkness unto the judgment of the great day.' Who can doubt that the authors of these epistles were familiar with, and accepted, the Book of Enoch as inspired Scripture, more especially as Jude forthwith names Enoch as a prophet ?
The tragical episode of Cain and Abel is also from the pen of the Jehovist, who, by abruptly introducing the rite of sacrifice without one word of reference to its origin, unconsciously discloses an unrecorded past in man's career, remote from the fiction of recent creation.
Malediction holds so important a place in religion that Anathema Maranatha is the appropriate motto of theology. This sacred institution, originating in Paradise and transmitted through Judaism to Christianity, still holds its ground in Athanasian curses and Papal imprecations. Sacerdotal denunciation of theological opponents may cause us no surprise, but we learn with amazement that the divinely ratified curse of Noah inflicted the appalling calamity of slavery on an important branch of the human family.3
The Elohist records the Deluge; and awakens hope, as Noah and his family go forth from the ark with the blessing of Elohim, that man may now be permitted to do his best on earth, in freedom from the depressing influence of malediction; but the Jehovist forth with interferes with a legend which destroys this cheerful forecast of futurity. Noah drinks too freely of the
i Jude 6.
2 Gen. iv.
3 Gen, ix. 20-27.
newly discovered luxury of wine. His youngest son Ham is less thoughtfully respectful than his brothers, Shem and Japhet, who cloak, with filial piety, their father's vinous indiscretion, and Noah wakes up to reward their considerate delicacy with an emphatic benediction, and curse the irreverent Ham through the predestined slavery of his doomed descendants.
Such are scriptural views of the origin of slavery: an alcoholised brain susceptible of rash conclusions, an angry man disposed to malediction, a capricious Deity annulling the divine blessing in response to a human curse—fatal causes of deplorable results, the degradation of Humanity in human bondage! Well may the traditional descendants of Ham interrupt the Word of God,' as it flows from the lips of some zealous missionary, with the startling question—Is this the God of the Christians who condemned the negro race to bondage? Let us therefore rather rely on some friendly fetich than on this hostile God.'
The Jehovist, in negation of the ever-shifting forms of words, affirms that, nearly two thousand years from the creation, mankind spoke but one language, and were deprived of this great social boon by a miraculous confusion of tongues. * And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.' If this design, as popularly assumed, meant a daring attempt to scale the heavens, it might well have been dealt with by the natural law of gravitation; but the Jehovist depicts the Deity aroused to jealousy of man's ambition, and hastening to interfere, rather as some