William Nicholls.

A Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) online

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Trees, fuch as were to make Booths, or Bovvers., Neh.viii. 1 5 i
So that to adapts or fit Branches^ which we render fiw Leaves
together; is only to twift or plat the flexible Branches of
the Fig^Tree round about their Waftes, in the Manner of
a Roman Crown i fo that when the broad Leaves of that
Tree hung down, it reprefented the Falliicn of a Pair of
green Breeches*

K % tdlyi You

15^ A Conference

idlj^ You fuppofe, that Gcd, or feme Angel, muil:
make'them their Coats of Skin ,• which I think is by no
Means neceCry. For it is a known Obfervation in the
Hehreiv Tongue, that it is ufed to attribute many Things
to God, v/hich are not done by his immediate A6i, but
fometimes by his Direcfiion, and fometimes by the Per-
mifficn of his ordinary Providence. So here the Coats
are faid to be made by Gcd, whereas *tis probable they
only received Tnftruclion how to make them ; or only,
perhaps, becaufe they were the Gift of God, as all other
Bleffings ; as Gcd is faid to give a Man Health, or
Wealth, or Strength.

■^dlj^ You fuppofe that God could not provide for
them thefe Coats, v/ithout deftroying a whole Species,
which is a veiy bold Aifertion. For it is not certain,
what Number of Animals of a Sort were created, and
therefore the Suppof ticn is weak. Neither is it known
hov/ long after the Creation thefe Coats w^ere made : In
all Probability it was not till the Winter following ; and
by that time Hares, Conies, O^c, had Time fufBcient to
multiply ccnfiderably.

PhiL But next, for the Clofe of all this fine Relation,
there is a Story, v/hich out-docs all the Hiflories of in-
chanicd Iflands and Caftles, that ever were feen ; and
that is the Story of the Angels with their flaming Sword,
ovhich turned every Waj^ to keep the Way ef the Tree of
Life \ That is, a Guard of Cherubim are placed at the
Entrance of the Garden, with a great two-handed fla^
ming Sv\'ord, that continually waved about the fame,
for fear, leaft by open Force, or by Steakh, Adam and
Eve fliould have i-epcfTrilcd thcmfelves again of thofe
happy Manfions. Nov/ is not this very pleafant, to have
Angels like Centinels, with drawn Swords before the
Doors oi: the Garden, for I know not how miany A^tSy
as Dj-agons are fti;[^ned l>y tlie Poets to have guarded the
Apples of the Ilcfperidci? Bur, I pray, liow long did
this angelical Guaid laO: I To the Flood, I fuppofe, if
not longer. So that you here fuppofe the Angels, to
fa ve been for above 1300 Years employed in keeping a


^duith ^Theist. 133

Garden. Sic vacat exiguis rebni adcjfe Deis ? How much
eafier would it have been, to have turned a River round
the Garden? which would as efFedunlly have kept Adam
and Eve out, who knew nothing of Navigation, as all
this Brigade of Cherubim.

Cred, I fancy, Philologmy you have been lately at Bar- Toe d'^- \
tholomew-Fair, or at leafl: you have been there fince you ^'f^^-^^ ^f
have vouchfafed to look into your Bible : For this Ar- ^"^^ '^^j'
gument of yours feems moflly to be taken out of the f^- thejisinung
mous Puppet-Opera Q^ the Creation of the World, which Sworjrc-
I have fome Remembrance o£ ever fince I was a Boy. ''^'^'"^^^'
For this great too-handed flaming Sword fmells more of
the Booth than the Bible, For that which is commonly
rendred flaming Sword^ is only in the Original the FLtftie
of Cuttings or Divijion^ or a dividing FLrme ; for thouj^h
the fame Word does fignify Sword, it does alfo fienify
Divifion. And the Writers of the New Teflament do
tranflate the fame Word both Ways. For, Vv'hereas St.
Matthew fays, our Saviour is come to fend a Sword^ Matr.
X. 34. St. Z/^/%fays, he is come to fend Divifion-, Luk,
xii. 51. So that this dividing Flame ^ or fiery Divifion^ is
but anfwerable to the Wall of Fire fpoken of by the Pro-
phet Zachary-, chap. ii. 5. which the Lord prom: i fed to
make about Jerufialein, It was the Accenfion of fome
inflammable Matter, round about the Garden, which ex-
cluded all Comers to it, till fach Time as the Beauty of
the Place was defaced. Nov/ this Opinion mufl: be more
probable to them, Vv^ho place Paradife in the eaflern Parts
of the World, efpecially about Babjlon, where there is
fuch an Abundance o^ Naphtha and Bitwrten^ according to
the Relations of P//';^, Plutarch^ Strabo^ ^nd Cur tins ; and
where there are Fields, which even yet, at fome Times of
the Year, feem all on Fire. But then you will be apt to
fay, what have thefe Cherubim or Angels to do with
l\m fiery Wall? I anfwer, it is the Cuftom of the Z/^-
hrews to exprefs all the extraoidinary Works of God by
Angels, as to call a Plague, Famine, c!rc, a deftroying
Angel I nay, firther, they being avei fe from the Philo-
fophy of mechanick and material Principles ufed to ex-

K 5 plain


plain the ccmmon Vhmomena of Nature by vital, pneu-
matick, or which is the Iflime, angelick Principles, So
the rfilmfi explains the Motions of Winds, and the Burn-
ing of Fire, to be performed by the Miniftry and Energy
of Angels : Who mak^th his Angels Spirits or Winds, and
his Adiniftcrs a flaming Fire, PfaL civ. 4. So that, in fhort,
• by the Cherubim and flaming Bivifion^ here is underflood
only a fiery Wall or Circle, encompading the Garden,
lupcrnaturally raiied for the Defence of it. What have
you to objed: next \

Phil, Why truly, Sir, I think I have tired you enough
with Refolving the Doubts of a fcrupulous Confcience ,*
and indeed you have done Mofls that Juftice, and me that
Satisfadion which I did not exped ; fo that I have a
much better Opinion of the yl/

Online LibraryWilliam NichollsA Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 13 of 47)