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Again, as the woman had sinned through the crafty suggestions of the serpent, the words, "I will put enmity between thy feed and her feed, receive an additional degree of propriety in a passage, (wherein God pronounces sentence on the serpent, her great enemy; "it,' her seed, I shall bruise thy head,
Lastly, as Adam's carnal knowledge of his wife, and the consequent birth of Cain, are not related, till after their fall, and expulfion from the garden of Eden, it may be presumed, that Eve did not bear him before this event took place, and that Cain was her first child may be collected from her words on the occasion, I have gotten a man from the Lord. Admitting then this to be a certainty, which is only a pra. babiļity, the peculiar aptitude of the expreffion,' her feed,' in this paffage, cannot but ftřike us in every point of view, By the mode of expression, her seed; is plainly intimated the method ordained by God for a future multiplication of the human species, the seed of man brought forth from the womb of a woman, when perfected into ą. living child, and justly therefore emphatie cally stiled her feed.
The first man God had formed duft of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The first woman hệ had taken out of man,' The rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, 'made,' or, according to the Hebrew, builded, 'he a woman ;' but future men and women were to exist, as Paul expresses it, by the woman,' that is, by the instrumental concurrence of the woman, in producing from her womb the feed of man, ripened into a perfect, ļiving, human fætus. This divine arrangement uf human propagation seems to have been altogether unknown at the time of the fall, and was pertinently pree fignified by the expresfion, her seed,' which, in this fole properly qualified sense, is applyed to Eve's posterity, human kind in general, and consequently to her great descendent, the Messiah, in common with his fellow-men.
The preceding rational explication of the expression, her seed,' is, I think, warçanted by the positive testimony of prophecy.
which; being filent-concerning the mitä culous and merely maternal birth of Chrift, effected without the prevịous carnal interposition of an human father, directs us to understand, that the glorious Son of David, the Messiah, prefignified by Isaiah, as: '4 Man of Sorrows, was to be the joint offpring of a man and a woman, lawfully begotten by the one on the body of the other, Accordingly, this man and this woman are. sepresented as an husband and wife, by name Joseph and Mary; : He is, in express words, described to bę. of the house and lineage of David;' Luke ii, 4: so that their son Jesus was lineally descended from David, as well on the side of the father, as on that of the mother; and, if he were not the genuine son of Joseph, surely no true evangelist would have presumed to give him that denomination,
... 6. If any màn be fo adventurous as to assert, that the filence of the prophecies, in respect to the fupposed fupernatural birth of Christ, iş no proof against the reality of this extraordinary transaction, I anfwer, that he thereby gives encouragement to an endless multiplication of the monstrous
( 59 ) : figments of the human brain in every species of metaphysical abfurdity," and consequently, furnishes matter of triumph to scoffing unbelievers, who defervedly resent every gross imposition on their understandings; and, indeed, in respect to this incomparably abfurd dogma of the Christian Platonists, I am an infidel, and frankly acknowledge,
• Quodcunque oftendis mihi fic, incredulus odi."
**Correspondent to the passages, where Jesus is described to be the son of Joseph, are those of Luke ii. 41 and 48. In the first it is said, “his parents went to Jerusalem, &c. and in the last, as I observed before, his mother, Mary, in her tender expoftulation with him; makes use of this expression, thy father and I have fought thee fośrowing. By thy father is plainly. meant Joseph, and by. bis parents, Joseph and Mary; and if. Joseph were not his father, were not one of the parents of Jesus, I would freely interrogate the evangelists, Luke and John, if they were now alive, why they, dared to call him fo.... les
To the preceding passages of Christian Scripture, which effectually invalidate the abfurd hypothesis of the miraculous con, çeption of Christ Jesus, in the womb of a virgin, and which incontrovertibly establish his complete manhood, that is, represent him, in conformity to the only true idea we can form of a man, since the creation of the first human pair, as a man begotten by a man on the body of a woman, by the busband, Joseph, on that of his wife, Mary, I shall only add a reference to those texts, where, both by prophets and apostles, Jefus is expressly represented as the son of Da, vid, the seed of David,' and the fruit of his body.'
It is not in the power of language to devise expressions, which can more fuccefse fully militate against the miraculous conception than these ; for, if Jesus were of the feed of David, it is impossible that a man should not be his father. Ingenious as fystem-mongers are, in wresting the plain meaning of the evangelists to a coincidence with their own pre-conceived fanciful me. taphysical hypotheses, these fimple expreffions, 'the son of David, the seed of David;' 6.