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the more practically important matter of presenting his main ideas in such a tangible and attractive form as to have them readily grasped and mentally retained. This view of the subject, whatever may be thought of its correctness, removes the otherwise valid objections arising from the developments of scientific research.
My paramount design in the preparation of this lecture, has been already more than accomplished; for it was my principal wish merely to set before you, in its true light, by the aid of such reliable historic information as might be gathered, the nature of the supposed authoritative claims of the first five books of the Old Testament. If the endeavor to effect this object has been successful, which I leave for the audience to decide, the necessity for philological criticism and expository labor is in a measure superseded, as far as their bearings upon the great interests of philanthropy are concerned: for unreasonable enemies of man are all they who maintain a pertinacious adherence to a law, a custom, or a sentiment in any way practically enforced, which stands uncompromisingly opposed to the advancement of human good, when they have become convinced that its origin is utterly obscure, and that its alleged divine sanction is, at best, but a conjectural assumption.
The description of the garden of Eden, in which Adam and Eve, our reputed progenitors, are said to have been placed; the forbidden fruit of which they partook ; the serpent who tempted them, and many other particulars
mentioned in the second and third chapters of the book of Genesis, are now generally interpreted as forming an allegory: or, to say the least, they are so regarded by all who are truly spiritual-minded, whatever their sectarian predilections. The garden is considered as an emblem of the human heart; the serpent, a type of sinful thoughts and suggestions; and “the voice of the Lord God," which the first pair are said to have heard "in the garden in the cool of the day,” is thought to have been intended as a figurative representation of the mild reproof of conscience, the voice of God in the human soul, heard in the hour of calm reflection, which time is beautifully compared with “the cool of the day.”
Many other subjects embraced within the Pentateuchal scriptures, would furnish us with interesting themes for consideration. But to do them justice, in their several minor details, would require a discourse occupying many hours in the delivery. In the concluding lecture, I may take occasion to remark upon the principles which some of them involve. Among them may be mentioned the story of the Deluge; the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. Respecting these and other remarkable narrations,-in which may be found abundant materials for discussion, in the light of reason and philosophy,-each individual can best form his own opinion. Whatever that opinion may chance to be, it need not-nay, it cannot, of itself alone-injuriously affect an understanding belief in any of the fundamental realities of true Religion. They
who confound the disbelief of any of these, or of similar wonderful relations recorded elsewhere, with a denial of any true principle of Religion or Morals, are either a little dishonest or rather superficial.
Though, at the present day, we may sometimes incur the risk of becoming what is termed unpopular, by the expression of our honest sentiments in relation to such topics as we have herein treated, we may well rejoice that the arm of cruel, unrelenting Persecution, which has seized and bound to the stake some of the best of our race, merely for daring to speak their thoughts, is now palsied, and cannot reach us. Here, in New England, we sit under the spreading branches of our republican fig-tree, and regale ourselves with the delicious grapes which grow in such thick clusters
upon ning vine of free thought,
-moistened and flavored as they are by the nectar of universal philanthropy.
HISTORICAL, POETIC, AND PROVERBIAL BOOKS, FROM JOSHUA TO THE SONG OF SOLOMON; WITH A BRIEF NOTICE OF THE APOCRYPHA.
The books we shall notice principally, in this lecture, are eighteen in number; and we will briefly examine each separately, in the regular succession in which they are arranged in our common English version of the Bible, with one exception---the book of Lamentations---which, though placed among the prophecies, I do not consider prophetic in its character, (as that term is commonly understood) but, strictly speaking, poetical. The titles of the several books, and the order in which they appear, are as follows :-Joshua; Judges; Ruth ; Samuel, First and Second Books; Kings, First and Second Books ; Chronicles, First and Second Books; Ezra ; Nehemiah ; Esther; Job ; Psalms; Proverbs ; Ecclesiastes; The Song of Solomon,-which follow each other seriatim,--and the Lamentations of Jeremiah, which are placed immediately after the book of prophecy bearing his name.
Prior to the commencement of our remarks upon
the first of the writings just enumerated, we will bestow a momentary observation upon the subject of the lost