Page images
PDF
EPUB

degenerating. Nations and individuals fail and die, and make room for higher forms. The intellectual horizon of the world widens as the centuries pass. Ideals grow grander and purer; the difference between justice and mercy becomes less and less; liberty enlarges, and love intensifies as the years sweep on. The ages of force and fear, of cruelty and wrong, are behind us and the real Eden is beyond. It is said that a desire for knowledge lost us the Eden of the past; but whether that is true or not, it will certainly give us the Eden of the future.

XVII.

THE FALL.

W

E are told that the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, that he had a conversation with Eve, in which he gave his opinion. about the effect of eating certain fruit; that he assured her it was good to eat, that it was pleasant to the eye, that it would make her wise; that she was induced to take some; that she persuaded her husband to try it; that God found it out, that he then cursed the snake; condemning it to crawl and eat the dust; that he multiplied the sorrows of Eve, cursed the ground for Adam's sake, started thistles and thorns, condemned man to eat the herb of the field in the sweat of his face, pronounced the curse of death, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," made coats of skins for Adam and Eve, and drove them out of Eden.

Who, and what was this serpent? Dr. Adam Clark says:-"The serpent must have walked erect,

for this is necessarily implied in his punishment. That he was endued with the gift of speech, also with reason. That these things were given to this creature. The woman no doubt having often seen him walking erect, and talking and reasoning, therefore she testifies no sort of surprise when he accosts her in the language related in the text. It therefore appears to me that a creature of the ape or orangoutang kind is here intended, and that satan made use of this creature as the most proper instrument for the accomplishment of his murderous purposes against the life of the soul of man. Under this creature he lay hid, and by this creature he seduced our first parents. Such a creature answers to every part of the description in the text. It is evident from the structure of its limbs and its muscles that it might have been originally designed to walk erect, and that nothing else than the sovereign controlling power could induce it to put down hands—in every respect formed like those of man—and walk like. those creatures whose claw-armed parts prove them to have been designed to walk on all fours. The stealthy cunning, and endless variety of the pranks and tricks of these creatures show them even now to be wiser and more intelligent than any other creature.

man alone excepted. Being obliged to walk on all fours and gather their food from the ground, they are literally obliged to eat the dust; and though exceeding cunning, and careful in a variety of instances to separate that part which is wholesome and proper for food from that which is not so, in the article of cleanliness they are lost to all sense of propriety. Add to this their utter aversion to walk upright; it requires the utmost discipline to bring them to it, and scarcely anything offends or irritates them more than to be obliged to do it. observation of these animals enables me to state these facts. For earnest, attentive watching, and for chattering and babbling they (the ape) have no fellows in the animal world. Indeed, the ability and propensity to chatter, is all they have left of their original gift of speech, of which they appear to have been deprived at the fall as a part of their punishment."

Long

Here then is the "connecting link" between man and the lower creation. The serpent was simply an orang-outang that spoke Hebrew with the greatest ease, and had the outward appearance of a perfect gentleman, seductive in manner, plausible, polite, and most admirably calculated to deceive.

It never did seem reasonable to me that a long, cold and disgusting snake with an apple in his mouth, could deceive anybody; and I am glad, even at this late date to know that the something that persuaded Eve to taste the forbidden fruit was, at least, in the shape of a man.

Dr. Henry does not agree with the zoological explanation of Mr. Clark, but insists that "it is certain that the devil that beguiled Eve is the old serpent, a malignant by creation, an angel of light, an immediate attendant upon God's throne, but by sin an apostate from his first state, and a rebel against God's crown and dignity. He who attacked our first parents was surely the prince of devils, the ring leader in rebellion. The devil chose to act his part in a serpent, because it is a specious creature, has a spotted, dappled skin, and then, went erect. Perhaps it was a flying serpent which seemed to come from on high, as a messenger from the upper world, one of the seraphim; because the serpent is a subtile creature. What Eve thought of this serpent speaking to her, we are not likely to tell, and, I believe, she herself did not know what to think of it. At first, perhaps, she supposed it might be a good angel, and yet afterwards might suspect something

« FyrriHalda įfram »