« PreviousContinue »
habit, for the rareness of the discovery. And by this time, I hope it is evident, that he that gave "dominion over every living thing that moveth on the earth, gave Adam no monarchical power over those of his own species, which will yet appear more fully in the next thing I am to show.
$ 29. 2. Whatever God gave by the words of this grant, Gen. i. 28, it was not to Adam in particular, exclusive of all other men: whatever dominion he had thereby, it was not a private dominion, but a dominion in common with the rest of mankind. That this donation was not made in particular to Adam, appears evidently from the words of the text, it being made to more than one; for it was spoken in the plural number, God blessed them, and said unto them, have dominion. God says unto Adam and Eve, have dominion; thereby, says our author, “ Adam was monarch of the world" but the grant being to them, i. e. spoken to Eve also, as many interpreters think with reason, that these words were not spoken till Adam had his wife, must not she thereby be lady, as well as he lord of the world ? If it be said that Eve was subjected to Adam, it seems she was not so subjected to him as to hinder her dominion over the creatures, or property in them: for shall we say that God ever made a joint grant to two, and one only was to have the benefit of it ?
$ 30. But perhaps it will be said Eve was not made till afterward: grant it so, what advantage will our author get by it? The text will be only the
more directly against him, and show that God, in this donation, gave the world to mankind in common, and not to Adam in particular. The word them in the text must include the species of man, for it is certain them can by no means signify Adam alone. In the 26th verse, where God declares his intention to give this dominion, it is plain he meant that he would make a species of creatures that should have dominion over the other species of this terrestrial globe. The words are, “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish,” &c. They then were to have dominion. Who? even those who were to have the image of God, the individuals of that species of man that he was going to make; for that them should signify Adam singly, exclusive of the rest that should be in the world with him, is against both Scripture and all reason: and it cannot possibly be made sense, if man in the former part of the verse do not signify the same with them in the latter; only man there, as is usual, is taken for the species, and them the individuals of that species: and we have a reason in the very text. God makes him “ in his own image, after his own likeness ; makes him an intellectual creature, and so capable of dominion :" for whereinsoever else the image of God consisted, the intellectual nature was certainly a part of it, and belonged to the whole species, and enabled them to have dominion over the inferior creatures; and therefore David says, in the 8th Psalm above cited, “Thou hast made him little lower than the angels; thou hast made him to have dominion." It is not of Adam king David speaks here; for, verse 4, it is plain it is of man, and the son of man, of the species of mankind.
$ 31. And that this grant spoken to Adam was made to him, and the whole species of man, is clear from our author's own proof out of the Psalmist. “ The earth, saith the Psalmist, hath he given to the children of men, which shows the title comes from fatherhood." These are sir Robert's words in the preface before cited, and a strange inference it is he makes: “ God hath given the earth to the children of men, ergo the title comes from fatherhood.” It is pity the propriety of the Hebrew tongue had not used fathers of men, 'instead of children of men, to express mankind :. then indeed our author might have had the countenance of the sounds of the words to have placed the title in the fatherhood. But to conclude, that the fatherhood had the right to the earth, because God gave it to the children of men, is a way of arguing peculiar to our author: and a man must have a great mind to go contrary to the sound as well as sense of the words before he could light on it. But the sense is yet harder, and more remote from our author's purpose: for as it stands in his preface it is to prove Adam's being mon
arch, and his reasoning is thus, “ God gave the earth to the children of men, ergo Adam was monarch of the world.” I defy any man to make a more pleasant conclusion than this, which cannot be excused from the most obvious absurdity, till it can be shown that by children of men, he who had no father, Adam alone is signified; but whatever our author does, the Scripture speaks not nonsense.
$ 32. To maintain this property and private domia nion of Adam, our author labours in the following page to destroy the community granted to Noah and his sons, in that parallel place, Gen. ix. 1, 2, 3; and he endeayours to do it two ways.
1. Sir Robert would persuade us, against the express words of the Scripture, that what was here granted to Noah, was not granted to his sons in common with him. His words are, “ As for the general community between Noah and his sons, which Mr. Selden will have to be granted to them, Gen. ix. 2, the text doth not warrant it.” What warrant our author would have, when the plain express words of Scripture, not capable of another meaning, will not satisfy him, who pretends to build wholly on Scripture, is not easy to imagine. The text says, “ God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, i. e. as our author would have it, unto him : for, saith he, although the sons are there mentioned with Noah in the blessing, yet it may best be understood, with a subordination or benediction in succession," 0. 211. That indeed is best for our author to be understood, which best serves to his purpose; but that truly may best be understood by any body else, which best agrees with the plain construction of the words, and arises from the obvious meaning of the place; and then with subordination and in succession will not be best understood in a grant of God, where he himself put them not, nor mentions any such limitation. But yet our author has reasons why it may best be understood so. “ The blessing, says he in the following words, might truly be fulfilled, if the sons, either under or after their father, enjoyed a private dominion," 0. 211; which is to say, that a grant,
whose express words give a joint title in présent (for the text says, into your hands they are delivered) may best be understood with a subordination or in succession; because it is possible that in subordination, or in succession, it may be enjoyed. Which is all one as to say, , that a grant of any thing in present possession may best be understood of reversion; because it is possible one may live to enjoy it in reversion. If the grant be indeed to a father and to his sons after him, who is so kind as to let his children enjoy it presently in common with him, one may truly say, as to the event one will be as good as the other; but it can never be true that what the express words grant in possession, and in common, may best be understood to be in reversion. The sum of all his reasoning amounts to this: God did not give to the sons of Noah the world in common with their father, because it was possible they might enjoy it under or after him. A very good sort of argument against an express text of Scripture: but God must not be believed, though he speaks it himself, when he says he does any thing which will not consist with sir Robert's hypothesis.
$ 33. For it is plain, however he would exclude them, that part of this benediction, as he would have it in succession, must needs be meant to the sons, and not to Noah himself at all: “ Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,” says God in this blessing. This part of the benediction, as appears by the sequel, concerned not Noah himself at all: for we read not of any children he had after the flood; and in the following chapter, where his posterity is reckoned up, there is no mention of any; and so this benediction in succession was not to take place till 350 years after : and to save our author's imaginary monarchy, the peopling of the world must be deferred 350 years; for this part of the benediction cannot be understood with subordination, unless our author will say that they must ask leave of their father Noah to lie with their wives. But in this one point our author is constant to himself in all his discourses; he takes care there should be monarchs in theworld, but very little that there should be people;
and indeed his way of government is not the way to people the world : for how much absolute monarchy helps to fulfil this great and primary blessing of God Almighty, “ Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,” which contains in it the improvement too of arts and sciences, and the conveniencies of life ; may be seen in those large and rich countries which are happy under the Turkish government, where are not now to be found one-third, nay in many, if not most parts of them, one-thirtieth, perhaps I might say not one-hundredth of the people, that were formerly, as will easily appear to any one, who will compare the accounts we have of it at this time with ancient history. But this by the by.
$ 34. The other parts of this benediction or grant are so expressed, that they must needs be understood to belong equally to them all; as much to Noah's sons as to Noah himself, and not to his sons with a subordination, or in succession. “ The fear of you, and the dread of you, says God, shall be upon every beast,” &c. Will any body but our author say that the creatures feared and stood in awe of Noah only, and not of his sons without his leave, or till after his death ? And the following words, “ into your hands they are delivered," are they to be understood as our author says, if your father please, or they shall be delivered into your hands hereafter? If this be to argue from Scripture, I know not what may not be proved by it; and I can scarce see how much this differs from that fiction and fancy, or how much a surer foundation it will prove than the opinions of philosophers and poets, which our author so much condemns in his preface.
$35. But our author goes on to prove, that " it may best be understood with a subordination, or a benediction in succession ; for, says he, it is not probable that the private dominion which God gave to Adam, and by his donation, assignation, or cession to his children, was abrogated, and a community of all things instituted between Noah and his sons--Noah was left the sole heir of the world; why should it be thought