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The only story of this kind which is not pretty caly to be explained by this hypothesis, is that in which a legion of demons is said to have gone out of two men into a herd of fwine, Matt viii. 28. Mark V. J. Luke viji. 26. But if the swine only happened to be drowned about the same time that the two men were cured, it might have been sufficient to give rise to the story; which, it is to be observed, is not related by any person who was present at the transaction; Matthew not being called to follow Christ till after his return from this excurfion beyond the sea of Galilee; so that there was fufficient room for exaggeration and mistake. Or, which I think most probable, the madness of these men might be transferred to the swine.
Much mistake, with respect to this subject, feems to have been occafioned by the ambiguity in the meaning of the words fatan, angel*, and devil, which signify respectively, adversary, messenger, and accafer. Thus the angels that finned, 2 Peter ii. 4. and Jude 6. may mean the messengers who were sent from the wilderness to spy out the land of Canaan, as the author of the scripture meaning of the word Satan has ingeniously conjectured, or it may refer to his hif
* It is not unusual with the sacred writers to call even the un. conscious instruments of God's pleasure, such as natural causes, &c. angels, Ps. civ. 4. “ Who maketh the wind his angels, and " flaming fire his ministers." For so it may with mof propriety be rendered.
tory of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, who, for their rebellion against Mofes, were destroyed by the earth opening and swallowing them up. Indeed, the common interpretation of these passages is not agreeable to the constant tenor of the scriptures, in which no more than one devil, or Satan, is ever mentioned.
When the devil is said “ to go about like a roar!! ing lion, seeking whom he may devour,” 1 Pet. v. 8. the best interpreters suppose that Nero, or some other known adversary, or accuser, is intended. Also, when St. Paul says, that “ he desired " to do” a certain thing “ again and again, but 66 that fatan hindered him," , Thefl. ii. 10. he might mean any human adversary, or some of his friends, infuenced by worldly confiderations.
These are only a few general hints upon the subject, nor do I know that any of them are peculiar to myself; but they appear to me to throw considerable light upon the subject, and to remove some difficulties from the scheme of revelation, which, I hope, will recommend them to others as well as to myself.
Of abstinence from blood.
HE question concerning the lawfulness of
eating blood, ought to have been considered under the head of precepts that are not of a moral nature; but, as it is a subject of much less impor, tance than the rest, and of a more doubtful nature, I have thought proper to reserve the discuffion of it to this Appendix, in which I shall endeavour to do justice to the arguments on both sides.
The prohibition to eat blood, given to Noah, seems to be obligatory on all his pofterity; and as it accompanied the first express grant of animal food, it seems to be reserved, by way of acknowledgment to God, as the giver of life, and of the food which supports it. Also this respect paid to blood, which is shed when animals are killed for food, and which is the most apparent vehicle of life, may be intended to inculcate a respect for life, as the most valuable gift of God, and to warn us not to deprive any animal of it, and much less man, without nenessity.
It is observable, that the awful denunciation of the judgment of God against murder, immediately
Gen. ix. 3.
follows the prohibition to eat blood, as if it had been understood that they had some connection.
Every moving thing that liveth " shall be meat for you; even as the green herb r have I given you all things; but flesh with the “ life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall
you “ not eat. And surely your blood of your lives “ will I require : at the hand of every beast will I « require it, and at the hand of man, at the hand “ of every man's brother will I require the life of
Whofo sheddeth man's blood, by man “ fhall his blood be shed; for in the image of God " made he man."
It may likewise be added, as an additional argument for abftaining from blood, that it is far from being a wholesome aliment, especially in hot countries, promoting leprous and scorbutic disorders*.
Some have argued, that the precept given to Noah was only intended to prohibit the eating of the flesh of animals raw, or cut off without killing the animal; but the antient Jews understood it dif
• What Dr. Lardner says upon this subject is pretty remarkable, “ Blood appears to me to be very unwholesome. Indeed, I “ esteem it filthy, and highly disagreeable. So that I cannot bear " the thought of eating it. If ever it comes to me in food, it is
more than I know. And I suppose it is never brought; either “ alone, or mixed with other things, to the table of polite people,” Remarks on Ward's Dissertation, p. 132.
ferently; and when Moses repeats the injun&ion to the Jews in particular (where it cannot but be ac. knowledged, that he intended to express a prohibi. tion of the use of blood itself) he gives precisely the same reason for it as in this case. Lev. xvii. 14. « Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh : « for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof." It is most probable, therefore, that the two commands differ only in terms, and that they have both the very same meaning,
It might have been imagined that, by christianity, the Gentiles, at least, had been exempted from the observance of this precept; but among other things which were before held innocent or indifferent by them, but which were proper to be observed after their conversion to christianity, the apostles expressly included this, when they were folemnly assembled in council, in order to write to the dic sciples at Antioch, who had applied to them about their obligation to observe the laws of Moses. And though it is not expressly said, that they were particularly directed by God to decide in this manner, yet it seems to be implied, when they say, that it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, as well as to themfelves, Acts xv. 28. “ It seemed good to the “ Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no “ greater burden than these necessary things; that ye
abstain from meats offered to idols, and from « blood, and from things strangled, and from for