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GARDEN OF EDEN-LAND OF NOD-CITY OF ENOCH.
A DESIRE to ascertain the site of the Terrestrial Paradise, is both natural and laudable. Planned by the infinite wisdom, and furnished by the exuberant goodness, of Jehovah, it was the first special proof of his kindness to man after his creation; and though no longer existing, every well disposed mind must feel the impulse of a pious curiosity to discover the favoured spot that was chosen as the birthplace of the world's inhabitants. The investigation is undoubtedly attended with many difficulties; but these, it is hoped, are not insurmountable, and by consequence, they only stimulate the mind to active exertion, and hold out a more ample reward to the successful inquirer.
The universal deluge certainly made a deep impression on the surface of our globe; but it could not materially change the great features of nature. That mighty agent might dissolve and level some hills and mountains of softer consistency,--might swallow up the waters of some minor streams, or give them a different direction,-might bury some extensive tracts of country, with all their habitations and improvements, in the bottom of the sea, and compensate for their destruction, by elevating submarine districts of equal extent into dry land; but the more solid parts of our earth
must have remained as before that awful catastrophe. It is unreasonable to suppose, that the waters of the deluge, in the short space of one hundred and fifty days, could wash down such stupendous ranges as those of the Armenian or Gordiæan mountains, or give them a different position on the surface of the globe. In all probability, the great fea
ures of those mountains were unchanged by the deluge; so that the torrents which, before that calamity, descended from their sides to swell the magnificent streams of the Euphrates and the Tigris, must have resumed their ancient course, and poured their tributary waters into the same capacious channels. The language which the sacred writer employs when he speaks of the Euphrates, seems to confirm this remark. In his description of Paradise, he observes, The fourth river is Euphrates;' and in the 15th chapter of the same book he mentions it again, but without any notice that it was a different stream, or that it had changed its course; on the contrary, he now uses the definite article, which he could not have done with propriety if it were not the same river. In the 18th verse he speaks of it again, in the very manner in which we commonly mention a thing already known; and in every other part of his writings where he mentions the Euphrates, he continues to use the same mode of speech. But it could not be his design to deceive the reader even in a point of minor importance; and if the antediluvian Euphrates was not the same with that great river the river Euphrates,' which he informs us watered the rich fields of Babylonia, he could not be ignorant of the fact. From this statement we think it is evident, that the surface of our globe has suffered by the deluge no change which ought to discourage us from attempting to ascertain the real situation of the terrestrial Paradise. *
The sacred historian has favoured us with only a few brief hints, in relation to the seat of primeval happi
* Shuckford's Connect. I. 1,
A more particular description, after the fall of man, would have been attended with no real advantage; while the concise view which he has given, is well calculated to instruct mankind-in the folly of seeking a place of rest or happiness on earth, in the propriety of regarding this world as a place of exile, and in the imperious necessity of turning from the evanescent enjoyments of time, to the pure and imperishable pleasures of the heavenly Paradise.
The Garden of Eden was contrived by the wisdom, and planted by the hand of God himself, for the residence of the first pair. The munificence of the Creator stored it with every plant, and flower, and tree, that was pleasant to the eye, grateful to the smell, and adapted to the sustenance of sinless man. A river went out of Eden to water it, whose ample and refreshing streams, so necessary to the very existence of an oriental garden, visiting every part of the sacred inclosure, diffused a perpetual verdure, and imparted to every plant beauty, vigour, and fertility, perhaps unknown in any other district of that delightful region.
But though no doubt can be entertained of its being richly furnished with every pleasure suited to the intended abode of innocence and
have no direct information as to the quarter of the world where it was placed. The precise situation of Paradise continues to be involved in much obscurity; and, perhaps, all we can hope to obtain from the most careful and well-directed investigation is, an approximation to the truth.
The Hebrew word Eden signifies pleasure or delight ;* * The original Greek word garden napadeloos is suppose I to be derived from the Persian Ferdoos, and signifies a pleasant place, -a place full of delights; hence our own word paradise. It is used sometimes for a rich and spacious inclosure, where beasts range; in which sense it is used by Nehemiah, when he solicited letters from Artaxerxes to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest and paradise; at other times for a garden abounding with every variety of fragrant flowers, plants, and fruit-bearing trees, as in Song iv. 13, where mention is made of an orchard, literally, a paradise of pomegranates; and in Ecclesiastes ii. 5, where the royal preacher says he
and certainly intimates the superior beauty of the region which was known by that name.
For the same reason it was, in succeeding ages, imposed as a proper name on several other places remarkable for the pleasantness of their situation, and the diversified richness of the scenery with which they were adorned.
To one of those fertile spots which, in the progress of time, and in allusion to the garden of God, obtained the name of Eden, the prophet Amos directs our notice in these words :- I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitants from the plain of Aven, * and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden.'f The place which, in the time of the prophet, bore this name, is supposed to be a deep valley situated between the mountains Libanus and Antilibanus, not far from Damascus, the metropolis of Syria. I In this romantic and sequestered vale, the credulous natives still believe the terrestrial Paradise was placed ; and proud of occupying the interesting spot where dwelt the father of the human family before the entrance of sin, they conduct the traveller to the place where Adam was created, to that where Cain murdered his brother, and to the tomb where the bones of Abel repose. On the banks of the river Barrady, which
made himself gardens, literally, paradises. Hence, says Rosenmuller, some would translate“ a garden in Eden,” “ a garden in a pleasant country.”. But that Eden is here the proper name of a certain tract of land, is evident from its being said, Gen. iv. 16, that Nod lay to the east of Eden. The same word also occurs, 2 Kings xix. 12, Isaiah xxxvii. 12, as the name of a district of Mesopotamia or Assyria.- Bib. Geog - Editor. * i.e. the valley of Baalbec.
# Or Beth-Eden, Amos i. 5. # Hence it was called Colo-Syria, i. e. Hollow Syria, situated in a deep valley, inclosed on both sides by the mountains of Libanus and Antilibanus.- Editor.
§ The tradition that thegarden of Eden once stood here originated in the extreme loveliness of the site. The salubrity of the climate during the greater part of the year, is a strong recommendation to this region. Eden is the Bagneres of Lebanon. Were it as near and easy of access as the Pyrenees, what multitudes of the invalid and curious would cover its romantic fields !--Carne's Views in Syria.Editor.
runs along the bottom of the valley, between two steep rocky mountains, the kings of Syria had a magnificent palace, which they dignified with the name of Beth-Eden, or the house of pleasure. Several tall pillars were still standing when Mr Maundrell* visited the place ; who found them, on a nearer view, to have been part of the front of some ancient and very magnificent edifice, but of what kind he was unable to conjecture. These were probably the remains of the once sumptuous palace of Beth-Eden, whither the kings of Damascus often escaped from the restraints of a court, and the cares of state, to enjoy the pleasures of retirement and recreation. If these conjectures be well founded, the ruin of the Syrian king is, with great elegance and propriety, expressed by God's cutting off him that holdeth the sceptre from Beth-Eden.
Besides this Eden mentioned by the prophet, ancient geographers take notice of a village called Eden, near Tripoli in Syria, where some have placed the terrestrial Paradise.t
Moreover, several towns mentioned in Greek and Latin authors, bore the names of Adana, or Adena, which has been indisputably derived from the Hebrew term Eden. The town of Adena, in Cilicia, has been greatly celebrated for its charming situation, and the extraordinary fruitfulness of the surrounding country. In Arabia, we find a port at the entrance of the Red Sea, on the coast of Yemen or Arabia Felix, named Aden (a manifest abridgment of Adena), because it comprehended in it all the beauties of that region. The Arabians boasted of another town in the middle of the country, which also received the name of Aden for the same reason; and from these proper names, the belief arose in after ages that Paradise was situated in Arabia Felix.
* Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 133.