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ter wound his way. We will not detain you by fruits less attempts at answering the many idle questions that have been started on this subject. How did the fiend get there? Why did God permit it? Was it literally a serpent that was abused to this fell purpose? We know nothing of spirit except as we gather it from attending to our own minds; we know nothing of the laws by which spirit and matter may be so intimately combined. We know not the principle upon which the dictates of the will or swift combinations of the thoughts are uttered by the tongue. We who are daily doing it cannot explain our own proces dure. How then should I tell you how this cunning fiend got possession of the serpent and framed his organs to a devilish use!-Why did God permit it? Why did he permit sin? Why did he permit misery to scathe the glories of creation and engulph its new-born joys? Tell me this; it is a fact spread before your eyes, a fact written on all records, graven on all hearts-tell me why God permitted sin and misery, and I will resolve your question, why he did not arrest the process by which the floodgates were hoisted to let this deluge in. But was it really a serpent that the seducer used? or did he merely himself assume the form of a serpent the better to impose on Eve? Was it really a serpent, or was it some other animal, an individu: al, for instance, of the monkey tribe, that was abused to this foul purpose, as some modern commentators, very learned and fanciful, are forward to persuade us? Yes, it was a serpent, really a serpent, and not the semblance worn. For we find afterwards that judgment was denounced upon the tribe; their appetites were changed, so that dust should be their meat; and from a posture more erect, as many im. agine deprived of the use of wings, they were degraded like reptiles to crawl upon the ground. This mark of disgrace upon beings merely abused to promote the purpose of the tempter, never could have been inflicted had he merely
assumed their form. Nor is spirit susceptible of any corE poreal form. We apprehend that the distinction between
subsistences, corporeal and spiritual, is wider and more immutable than is generally supposed. We suspect that spirit never can be known to sense, except as it is įnvelop ed in some corporeal tegument; and that the assumption of such tegument being above the laws of nature, no creature can change at will the manner of its existence, but
must do so as by miracle, at the immediate commandment E of the Lord of creation, and by the direct intervention of
his Almighty power. We believe it was the body of a ser. pent that was occupied, and not a being of the monkey tribe. The assumptions on which this new nption rests are
perfectly gratuitous, and directly contrary to every expressision of the scripture. Of them it is not true, as it is of serpent 1 tribes, that dust is made their food, because, from the prop
gress of appetites formerly, no doubt, delicate, and from the prostration of their frames, they gather off the ground, they eat among the dust the food that sustains their being,
dust becomes naturally mingled with their aliment-dust * is made their food. This is not true of the other tribe sup i posed. Nor have monkeys been degraded to crawl upon in the ground. For though it were admited that they once
moved erect, and now were prone to walk like four-footed - beasts, yet a horse thus walks, an elephant thus walks, and
would it not sound strange, would it not in fact be falsehood to say of either of them that they moved in the manDer here expressed in judgment on the serpent—"Upon hy belly shalt thou go. It is the manner of serpents
of the other it is not. But why call it a serpent, if it was as nother animal? The word is just as definite as our English term; and if a dispute could exist about the ancient Hebrew, because we have but the one book written in that language, and of course slender means of fixing the real mean ing; yet why in modern times the same idea kept up? Why in the Greek testament is Satan called the serpent in ob vious reference to this old occurrence? In that language there can be no dispute about the meaning of the term; it would be just as reasonable to insist that our English word serpent designates a monkey, and not the reptile to which plain people apply it. In truth this faney, só shallow and 80 useless, scarce deserves a moment's notice. Nor would we have noticed it at all, but that we might take occasion to admonish you how easily men suffer their understandings to be imposed on by the sound of learned names; how rea. dily human vanity pursues its gratification in the adoption of singularities, no matter how unreasonable, in the annun. ciation of novelties, no matter how preposterous, merely because they are notions out of the common road. We to believe that the bible, like all the works of God, is suscepti. ble of farther and farther development; we wish to see no shackles imposed on freedom of inquiry into the meaning of all the word of God. We will honor that industry which elicits new discoveries of things useful and instructive, nor will we reject the decisions of independent criticism merely because they are new. But then let it be manly and independent criticism. The Deity is the being of first rate intelligence, and his word is common sense. The public should frown on these impudent attempts to sport with their crudulity. They should repel with unmingled and unremiting indignation these puerile suggestions, the
stoffspring, most unquestionably,of vanity or weakness, which in take a liberty with the language and meaning of the scriptri tures, such as no man could presume to take with the wrile ting of a man; and thus distorting their obvious meaning
to fit the mould of fancy, distort all their history, annul their precepts, and insult the majesty and the memory of Him with whose book such monstrous liberties are taken. Yes, it was a serpent, 'more subtile,' says the scripture, 'than all the beasts of the field,' and its subtility is to this hour proverbial among the nations.
Satan united himself with it, by what process etherial spirits can tell, because its known qualities would best conceal the disguise and lull those suspicions which if once awakened must have been fatal to his hopes. It was in the absence of our first father he chose his opportunity; and very probably at an early moment after our first parents were settled in their home. Habit had not yet confirmed them in allegiance: experience had not endeared to them the possession of felicity: reflection had not matured the sentiments which sprang from feeling. All around them was novelty, all was surprise, all within them was the tumult of pleasurable feeling. Nor is it presumable that Eve was endued supernaturally with that exteusive knowledge which adorned the mind of Adam. It was enough that he was so gifted. The gradual communication of his knowledge to his loved partner would itself be an employment of no mean delight; a delight which Divine benificence might very well allot them to fill up many an hour of their comparative loneliness.
To Eve then the address of the serpent would not be 50 surprising. All nature was new to her; she knew not igre first limits that distinguish its various tribes. But she was an intelligent being: she knew well the commandment touch not the tree of knowledge; she was a being formed in the image of her Maker; conscience testified the baseness of violating his prohibitions.
Hath God told thee, said the serpent, that thou shalt Dot pluck that fruit. Nay, thou shalt not surely die. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil.” It was an appeal to one of the strongest prin: ciples of her nature. Less prone to enter upon thoughts abstruse;" less prone to prize those discriminating powers that form the greatest riches of immortal mind; less apt to be guided by that spirit of calculation, cold and slow and Cautious, which governs the decisions and shapes the conduct of mankind at large, and which in mankind fallen often locks the better feeling in eternal frost; woman acts more from the impulse of her feeling. Exquisitely fine and exquisitely flexible, those feelings become the instinctive prompters of her thoughts. Perception with her, is almost intuition; in decision she is rapid, in expedient she
is fruitful; her decision is made, her expedients are tried, • her object is accomplished, while saturnine man, perplexed and calculating; lingers tạrdily behind; less apt perhaps to form erroneous judgments, but more tardy to execute where the judgment is decided.
These principles result in two features of female character strikingly prominent. The love of novelty is a com mon principle of our nature; in man it is more a principle of abstract speculation; in woman it is a feeling active and impetuous. Her active eye discerns ten thousand objects that prompt investigation, which man,more contem. plative; would readily overlook, and her warm feelings seek