Page images
PDF
EPUB

sovereignty. Our author tells us in the words of Mr. Selden, that “ Adam by donation from God, Gen. i. 28, was made the general lord of all things, not without such a private dominion to himself, as without his grant did exclude his children. This determination of Mr. Selden, says our author, is consonant to the history of the Bible, and natural reason,” Obs. 210. And in his Pref. to his Observations on Aristotle, he says thus,“ The first government in the world was monarchical in the father of all flesh, Adam being commanded to multiply and people the earth, and to subdue it, and having dominion given him over all creatures, was thereby the monarch of the whole world. None of his posterity had any right to possess any thing, but by his grant or permission, or by succession from him. The earth, saith the Psalmist, hath he given to the children of men, which shows the title comes from fatherhood."

$ 22. Before I examine this argument, and the text on which it is founded, it is necessary to desire the reader to observe, that our author, according to his usual method, begins in one sense, and concludes in another; he begins here with Adam's propriety, or private dominion, by donation; and his conclusion is, “ which shows the title comes from fatherhood."

$ 23. But let us see the argument. The words of the text are these : “ And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the carth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth,” Gen. i. 28; from whence our author concludes, “ that Adam, having here dominion given him over all creatures, was thereby the monarch of the whole world :" whereby must be meant, that either this grant of God gave Adam property, or, as our author calls it, private dominion over the earth, and all inferior or irrational creatures, and so consequently that he was thereby monarch; or, 2dly, that it gave him rule and

[ocr errors]

dominion over all earthly creatures whatsoever, and thereby over his children; and so he was monarch: for, as Mr. Selden has properly worded it, “ Adam was made general lord of all things,” one may very clearly understand him, that he means nothing to be granted to Adam here but property, and therefore he says not one word of Adam's monarchy. But our author says,

Adam was hereby monarch of the world,” which, properly speaking, signifies sovereign ruler of all the men in the world; and so Adam, by this grant, must be constituted such a ruler. If our author means otherwise, he might with much clearness have said, that “ Adam was hereby proprietor of the whole world.” But he begs your pardon in that point: clear distinct speaking not serving every where to his purpose, you must not expect it in him, as in Mr. Selden, or other such writers.

$ 24. In opposition, therefore, to our author's doctrine, that “ Adam was monarch of the whole world,” founded on this place, I shall show,

1. That by this grant, Gen. i. 28, God gave no immediate power to Adam over men, over his children, over those of his own species; and so he was not made ruler, or monarch, by this charter.

2. That by this grant God gave him not private dominion over the inferior creatures, but right in common with all mankind; so neither was he monarch

upon the account of the property here given him.

$ 25. 1. That this donation, Gen. i. 28, gave Adam no power over men, will appear if we consider the words of it: for since all positive grants convey no more than the express words they are made in will carry, let us see which of them here will comprehend mankind, or Adam's posterity; and those I imagine, if any, must be these, “every living thing that moveth :" the words in Hebrew are now , i. e. bestiam reptantem, of which words the Scripture itself is the best interpreter: God having created the fishes and fowls the 5th day, the beginning of the 6th, he creates the irrational inhabitants of the dry land, which, ver. 24, are described in these words, “ Let the earth bring forth the

living creature after his kind; cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, after his kind; and ver. 2, and God made the beasts of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after his kind :" here, in the creation of the brute inhabitants of the earth, he first speaks of them all under one general name, of living creatures, and then afterwards divides them into three ranks, 1. Cattle, or such creatures as were or might be tame, and so be the private possession of particular men; 2. Tin which, ver. 24, 25, in our Bible, is translated beasts, and by the Septuagint Impia, wild beasts, and is the same word, that here in our text, ver. 28, where we have this great charter to Adam, is translated living thing, and is also the same word used, Gen. ix. 2, where this grant is renewed to Noah, and there likewise translated beast. 3. The third rank were the creeping animals, which, ver. 24, 25, are comprised under the word, nooon, the same that is used here, ver. 28, and is translated moving, but in the former verses creeping, and by the Septuagint in all these places, éptetd, or reptiles ; from whence it appears, that the words which we translate here in God's donation, ver. 28, “ living creatures moving,” are the same, which in the history of the creation, ver. 24, 25, signify two ranks of terrestrial creatures, viz. wild beasts and reptiles, and are so understood by the Septuagint.

§ 26. When God had made the irrational animals of the world, divided into three kinds, from the places of their habitation, viz. fishes of the sea, fowls of the air, and living creatures of the earth, and these again into cattle, wild beasts, and reptiles; he considers of making man, and the dominion he should have over the terrestrial world, ver. 26, and then he reckons up the inhabitants of these three kingdoms, but in the terrestrial leaves out the second rank 77 or wild beasts: but here, ver. 28, where he actually exercises this design, and gives him this dominion, the text mentions the fishes of the sea, and fowls of the air, and the terrestrial creatures in the words that signify the wild beasts and reptiles, though translated living thing that moveth, ,

leaving out cattle. In both which places, though the word that signifies wild beasts be omitted in one, and that which signifies cattle in the other, yet, since God certainly executed in one place, what he declares he designed in the other, we cannot but understand the same in both places, and have here only an account how the terrestrial irrational animals, which were already created and reckoned up at their creation, in three distinct ranks of cattle, wild beasts, and reptiles, were here, ver. 28, actually put under the dominion of man, as they were designed, ver. 26; nor do these words contain in them the least appearance of any thing that can be wrested to signify God's giving to one man dominion over another, to Adam over his posterity.

§ 27. And this further appears from Gen. ix. 2, where God renewing this charter to Noah and his sons, he gives them dominion over the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and the terrestrial creatures, expressed by 7071 WATT wild beasts and reptiles, the same words that in the text before us, Gen. i. 28, are translated every moving thing that moveth on the earth, which by no means can comprehend man, the grant being made to Noah and his sons, all the men then living, and not to one part of men over another; which is yet more evident from the very next words, ver. 3, where God gives every won “ every moving thing,” the very words used ch. i. 28, to them for food. By all which it is plain that God's donation to Adam, ch. i. 28, and his designation, ver. 26, and his grant again to Noah and his sons; refer to, and contain in them, neither more nor less than the works of the creation the fifth day, and the beginning of the sixth, as they are set down from the 20th to 26th ver. inclusively of the 1st ch. and so comprehend all the species of irrational animals of the terraqueous globe; though all the words, whereby they are expressed in the history of their creation, are nowhere used in any of the following grants, but some of them omitted in one, and some in another. From whence I think it is past all doubt that man cannot be comprehended in this grant, nor any dominion

over those of his own species be conveyed to Adam. All the terrestrial irrational creatures are enumerated at their creation, ver. 25, under the names, “ beasts of the earth, cattle, and creeping things;" but man, being not then created, was not contained under any of those names; and therefore, whether we understand the Hebrew words right or no, they cannot be supposed to comprehend man, in the very same history, and the very next verses following, especially since that Hebrew word won which, if any in this donation to Adam, ch. i. 28, must comprehend man, is so plainly used in contradistinction to him, as Gen. vi. 20. vii. 14, 21, 23. Gen. viii. 17, 19. And if God made all mankind slaves to Adam and his heirs, by giving Adam dominion over

every living thing that moveth on the earth,” ch. i. 28, as our author would have it; methinks sir Robert should have carried his monarchical power one step higher, and satisfied the world that princes might eat their subjects too, since God gave as full power to Noah and his heirs, ch. ix. 2, to eat “every living thing that moveth,” as he did to Adam to have dominion over them; the Hebrew word in both places being the

same.

$ 28. David, who might be supposed to understand the donation of God in this text, and the right of kings too, as well as our author, in his comment on this place, as the learned and judicious Ainsworth calls it, in the 8th Psalm, finds here no such charter of monarchical power: his words are, « Thou hast made him, i. e. man, the son of man, a little lower than the angels; thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and the beasts of the field, and fowls of the air, and fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea.” In which words, if any one can find out, that there is meant any monarchical power of one man over another, but only the dominion of the whole species of mankind over the inferior species of creatures, he may, for aught I know, deserve to be one of sir Robert's monarchs in

« PreviousContinue »