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that God would difnherit him of his birth-right, and make him of all men in the world the only tenant in common with his children? Observations,
$.36. The prejudices of our own ill-grounded opinions, however by uscalled probable, cannot authorise us to understand scripture contrary to the direct and plain meaning of the words. I grant, it is not probable, that Adam's private dominion was here abrogated : because it is more than improbable, (for it will never be proved) that ever Adam had any fuch private dominion : and since parallel places of scripture are most probable to make us know how they may be bes understood, there needs but the comparing this blessing here to Noah and his sons after the food, with that to Adam after the creation, i. Gen. 28. to assure any one that God
Adam no such private dominion. It is probable, I confess, that Noah should have the same title, the same property and dominion after the flood, that Adam had before it : but since private dominion cannot confist with the blessing and grant gave to him and his sons in common, it is a sufficient reason to conclude, that Adam had none, especially since in the donation made to him, there are no words that express it, or do in the least favour it ; and then let
reader judge whether it may beft be understood, when in the one place there is not one word for it, not to say what has been above proved, that
the text itself proves the contrary; and in the other, the words and sense are directly against it.
§. 37. But our author says, Noah was the Sole beir of the world ; why should it be thought that God would difinherit him of bis birth-right? Heir, indeed, in England, signifies the eldest fon, who is by the law of England to have all his father's land; but where God ever appointed any such beir of the world, our author would have done well to have thewed us ; and how God disinherited him of his birth-right, or what harm was done him if God gave his sons a right to make use of a part of the earth for the support of themselves and families, when the whole was not only more than Noab himself, but infinitely more than they all could make use of, and the possessions of one could not at all prejudice, or, as to any use, streighten that of the other.
. 38. Our author probably foreseeing he might not be very successful in persuading people out of their fenses, and, fay what he could, men would be apt to believe the plain words of scripture, and think, as they saw, that the grant was spoken to Noah and his fons jointly; he endeavours to infinuate, as if this grant to Noab conveyed no: property, no dominion ; because, fubduing the earth and dominion over the creatures are therein omitted, nor the earth once na. med. And therefore, says he, there is a con
Jiderable difference between these two texts ; the first blessing gave Adam a dominion over the earth and all creatures; the latter allows Noah liberty to use the living creatures for food : bere is no alteration or diminishing of his title to a property of all things, but an enlargement only of bis commons, Observations, 211. So that in our author's fenfe, all that was said here to Noab and his fons, gave them no dominion, no property, but only enlarged the commons; their commons, I should say, since God says, to you are they given, though our author says his; for as for Noah's sons, they, it seems, by Sir Robert's appointment, during their father's life-time, were to keep fasting days.
§. 39. Any one but our author would be mightily fuspected to be blinded with prejudice, that in all this blessing to Noah and his fons, could see nothing but only an enlargement of commons : for as to dominion, which our author thinks omitted, the fear of you, and the dread of you, says God, shall be upon every beaft, which I suppose expresses the dominion, or fuperiority was designed man over the living creatures, as fully as may be ; for in that fear and dread seems chiefly to consift what was given to Adam over the inferior animals; who, as absolute a monarch as he was, could not make bold with a lark or rabbet to satisfy his hunger, and had the herbs but in common with the beasts, as is plain from i Gen. 2, 9, and
next place, it is manifest that in this blefring to Noah and his fons, property is not only given in clear words, but in a larger extent than it was to Adam. Into your hands they are given, says God to Noah and his fons; which words, if they give not property, nay, property in poffeffion, it will be hard to find words that can ; since there is not a way to express a man's being possessed of any thing more natural, nor more certain, than to say, it is delivered into his hands. And ver. 3. to Thew, that they had then given them the utmost property man is capable of, which is to have a right to destroy any thing by using it; Every moving thing that liveth, faith God, shall be meat for you ; which was not allowed to Adam in his charter. This our author calls, a liberty of using them for food, and only an enlargement of commons, but no alteration of property, Observations, 211. Whatother property man can have in the creatures, but the liberty of using them, is hard to be understood : so that if the first blefling, as our author says, gave Adam dominion over the creatures, and the blessing to Noah and his sons, gave them such a liberty to use them, as Adam had not ; it must needs give them something that Adam with all his sovereignty wanted, something that one would be apt to take for a greater property; for certainly he has no absolute dominion over even the brutal part pf the creatures ; and the property he has in
them is very narrow and scanty, who cannot make that use of them, which is permitted to another. Should any one who is abfolute lord of a country, have bidden our author fubdue the earth, and given him dominion over the creatures in it, but not have permitted him to have taken a kid or a lamb out of the flock, to satisfy his hunger, I guess, he would scarce have thought himself lord or proprietor of that land, or the cattle on it ; but would have found the difference between having dominion, which a Thepherd may have, and having full property as an owner. So that, had it been his own case, Sir Robert, I believe, would have thought here was an alteration, nay, an enlarging of property ; and that Noah and his children had by this grant, not only property given them, but such a property given them in the creatures, as Adam had not : For however, in sespect of one another, men may be allowed to have propriety in their distinct portions of the creatures ; yet in respect of God the maker of heaven and earth, who is fole lord and proprietor of the whole world, man's propriety in the creatures is nothing but that liberty to use them, which God has permitted; and so man's property may be altered and enlarged, as we see it was here, after the flood, when other uses of them are allowed, which before were not. From all which I suppose it is clear, that neither Adam, nor