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CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICII MEN FIRST ACQUIRED
THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF
GOD AND RELIGION,
AND AS TO WHAT WERE THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCHES OF
ADAM AND NOAH,
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE LONG NIGHT OF IDOLATRY, WHICH
FOLLOWED AND DARKENED THE EARTH,
AND ALSO OF THE MEANS DESIGNED BY GOD FOR THE
RECOVERY AND EXTENSION OF HIS TRUTHS,
OF THEIR FINAL ACCOMPLISHMENT BY
THOMAS CLARKSON, M. A.
FORMERLY Of St. John's COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
SLAVE TRADE, &c., &c.
S. PIPER, IPSWICH.
I think it right, before I give this work to the Public, to say a few. Words concerning its origin and the manner of its progress, and also on the subjects it contains
Sitting one night in a meditating frame of mind a thought came across me “how the first men obtained a knowledge of God and Religion.” To this an answer seemed to be immediately ready; “ they obtained it from Revelation, from a Revelation made to them by God himself;" for at this moment the Decalogue came to my recollection. But it occurred to me immediately that this answer was not satisfactory; for this
knowledge of God and of his Laws had been given to the second race of men, who were the descendants of Noah, whereas the question related solely to the first, namely, to Adam and his immediate descendants. I was obliged therefore to think again, but after a considerable pause I could not bring to my memory any words represented by Moses as having been spoken by God either to Adam, Eve, or Cain, from which they could have inferred any other knowledge of him, than that he was their creator, as well as the creator of the world in which they lived, and that they found themselves under an obligation to obey him. This being the case I determined to read the Pentateuch of Moses from the beginning to the end not only carefully but critically, not doubting but that I should be able to collect from thence a satisfactory solution of the
Having at length finished my task I found that there were texts in these books, the full meaning of which on former perusals of them I had overlooked, and that these texts, if taken
from the several chapters where they lay scattered, and put together would throw considerable light upon the subject. I found in fact, that God, besides having given to Adam and Eve that knowledge of himself as their creator, which has been just mentioned, had given them also certain laws or precepts, consisting chiefly of prohibitions, which should serve them as rules for their own moral guidance and for that of their posterity, so that the great principles of morality or the distinction between right and wrong was made known to them soon after their creation. I found also that certain religious doctrines had been entertained in the earliest times, which could have come from no other source, and that God had added to these gifts the gift of a portion of his Holy Spirit, by which men might be warned and guarded against moral evil, led into the way of moral good, and taught spiritually to understand both the laws and the doctrines now mentioned. These laws and doctrines obtained, both of them, in the antediluvian, and were afterwards introduced by Noah into the new or