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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,' receiye an additional degree of propriety in a passage, [wherein God pronounces sentence on the serpents her great enemy $' it,' her feed, shall bruise thy head,'
Lastly, a$ Adam's carnal knowledge of his wife, and the consequent birth of Cain, are not related, till after their fall, and expulsion from the garden os Eden, it may be presumed, tha^ Eve did not bear blm before this event took place $ and $frat Caii* was her' first child may be collected from her words on the occasion, i I have gotten, a man frp,m the Lord,.' Admitting then, $his to be a certainty, which isionly a probability, the peculiar aptitude of the expression, * her feed,' in this passage, cannot but strike us in every point of view. By the mode of expression, * her feed',' is plainly ptimated the method ordained by God for a future multiplication of the^human species, the feed of man brought forth from the womb of 9, woman, when perfected., into * in-..-- d.- living. living child, and justly therefore emphatic cally stiled 'her seed/
The first man God had * formed dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.' The first woman he had 'taken out of man,' The rib, which the Lord God had taken from man,* made/ or, according to the Hebrew, builded, 'he a woman / but future men and women were to exist, as Paul expresses it, 'by the woman/ that is, hy the instrumental concurrence of the woman, in producing from her womb the feed of man* ripened into a perfect, living, human fœtus. This divine arrangemenf"OF human propagation seems to have been altogether unknown at the time of the fall, and was pertinently pre» signified by the expression, 'her feed/ which, in this sole properly qualified fense, is applyed to Eve's posterity, human kind in general, and consequently to her great descendent, the Messiah, in common with bis fellow-men.
The preceding rational explicatioft of th$ expression,, * her feed,' is, I think, warranted by the positive testimony of prophecy* E 4 which, wrncnptemg' filent'-coflceVning' the mlfi^ pulous and merely maternal birth of Christ;
effected without the previous carnal irtter
:...l> L'?t:-s. . —~p '- :i 5^ i
position.-of' an human father, directs us to
understand, that the glorious Son of David, the Messiah, .^signified, by Isaiah, , as - 'a^ Man of Sorrows,' was to be the joint offpring of a man and a woman, lawfully begotten by the pne, on the-body of the other. Accordingly,.-this man. and this woman are . represented as an husband and wife, by name; Joseph and.Mary f He is, in.express words, described to hp * 9s the house and lineage of DavidLuke ii, 4. so that their son Jesus, wa,s ljn,eally. descended from David, as well pn, 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, A, *~
any rhan'be so adventurous as to assert, Vhat tWMenCe'of the prophecies, in respect to the supposed supernatural birth of Christ, is no proof against the reality of this extraordinary transaction, I 'answer, that he'tlie'reby gives encouragement to an ehdJelV''multiplication of the intfrfstrous "lu * " figments
figments ofc thtgfiuman brain in every species of mc^phy.sical absurdity, and consequently, furnishes matter :of' "triumph to scoffing unbelievers, who deservedly resent every gross imposition on their understandings; and, indeed, in respect to this incomparably absurd dogma of the Christian Platonists, I am an infidel, and frankly acknowledge,
* ^iiodcunque ojlendis mihifc, incredulus o'di*
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,' 65c. and in the last, as I observed before, hjs~mother, Mary, in her tender ex-? postulation.with himi makes use of this expression, 'thy father and I have sought thfie. sorrowing.'- ByfJyy father is plainly, meant Joseph,. and by his parents, Joseph and; Mary; arid 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 ?Uye>. why'vthey, dared.,to e,all him so.,
To the preceding passages of Christian Scripture, which effectually invalidate the absurd hypothesis of the miraculous con-? option of Christ Jesus, in the womb of a virgin, and wh ich j neon trover tibly establish his complete manhood, that is, represent $um, 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 husband, Joseph, on that of his wife, Mary, I shall only add a reference to those texts, where, both by prophets and apostles, Jesus is expressly represented as'the son of Da* vid, the feed of David,' and f the fruit of his body.'
It is not in the power of language to devise expressions, which can more. successfully militate against the miraculous conception than these; for, if Jesus were of the feed of David, it is impossible that a mans should not be his father. Ingenious as system-mongers are, in wresting the plain meaning of the evangelists to acoinciden.ee with their own pre-conceived fanciful metaphysical hypotheses, these simple expressions, 'the son of David, the seed of David,'