The Garden of Eden, or,
Paradise Lost and Found
I take up this book and call your attention to it. You perhaps will say, “Oh, that is the old Bible, worn threadbare long ago. We do not wish to be fed with its dry husks. We want living food and drink.” Well, that is what I am going to give you.
Yes! it is an old book, a very old book. There are very few books extant that can compare with it, on the score of age, at least. Some parts of it were written over three thousand years ago; and all of it more than eighteen hundred years ago. Yes! an old book. And yet everybody seems to have one about the house. What is the matter with the old book? Why do people cling to it with such tenacity? Can any of those who have, laid it, on the shelf as worthless answer these questions? Why do they not burn it, so that it shall no longer cumber the house? This was a mystery to me for many years; but it is so no longer. I know the reason for its hold upon the people. It contains that, though clad in mystery, which acts upon the soul like a potent spell; like a magnet, which it is indeed. Had it no value, or had its value been wholly extracted; were there no truth in it unrevealed, it had long since ceased to exert any influence whatever over anybody. Books that are exhausted of their truth by its being transferred to the minds of the people, lose their force and die. And this is the reason that, Task you to search its hidden mystery with me; to cast aside preconceived ideas of its meaning; to commence to read it as if it were for the first time.
Religion and science admit there was an original cause which set up in matter the motion that ultimated in man. The latter examines into the various works that preceded his appearance, and discovers that he came is a result of them all; indeed, that, except, they had first, existed, he could never have lived; that the omission of a single progressive step in the creative plan would have defeated the work. But science goes further than this. It not only asserts that man was the last link in a long chain of development, but it also maintains that, when the creation once began, there was no power residing anywhere that could have interposed its edicts to stay the progress, or defeat the final production of man; that he was a necessary product of creation, as fruit is of the tree, and that all the designs and purposes of the moving power were contained in and exhausted by his creation; that is, that as a fruit of the creative plan, man was the highest possibility of the universe.
Religious theory, in inquiring into the creation of man, has pursued the method precisely the reverse of this. Having found man on the earth, it assumes that be was a special creation; that is, that God, having purposed in Himself That He would create man, set Himself about to prepare a place in which he was to live; the earth, formed according to the account in Genesis, being that place. I say that this is the theory of religionists; but it is by no means certain that their account of the creation justifies any such conclusion. The biblical account of the creation is an allegorical picture of it, which, in detail, is strikingly in harmony with the real truth. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void.” There were light and darkness — day and night. There were the divisions into water and land; the vegetation, fish, fowl, beast, and man; and next, the rest from labour. In so few words, who could make a clearer statement of what we know about the creation of the earth than this?
We must remember that the Bible does not pretend to be a scientific book at all. It deals altogether with the inspirational or spirit side of the universe. St. Paul informs us that the God of the Bible “is a spirit.” At least the translators have made him state it thus; but it is not exactly as he wrote it, although in the end it has the same significance, since if God is a spirit, a spirit is also God. The original Greek of ibis, which is what Paul meant to say, and did say, and which is the truth, religiously and scientifically also, is Pneuma Theos — Pneuma, meaning spirit, and Theos God. According to St. Paul, then, spirit is God, and according to science, the life that is in the world is its creative cause; so both agree in their fundamental propositions, however much the priestcraft of the world may have attempted to twist St. Paul into accordance with their ideas of the personal character of God, and in placing God first in the declaration, instead of making spirit the predominant idea. The biblical Creator, then, as defined by the Apostle, is spirit: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis i. 2), which was the beginning of creation. The fact, stated scientifically, would be: And the power (or the spirit) resident in matter, caused it to move, and by this motion the earth began to assume form and to be an independent existence, revolving upon its own axis as a planet, and around the sun as its centre.
But I do not purpose to enter into a detailed discussion of the relations which the Bible creation bears to the demonstrations of geology and astronomy. I desire to show merely that the Bible Creator, God, is not at all incompatible with the power which science is compelled to admit as having been the creative cause, of all things.
If we take the Darwinian theory and endeavour to find where and how man came, we are led necessarily to a time when there was nothing existing higher than that type of animal by which man is connected with the brute creation, and through which be came to be man. Man is an animal; but he is something more as well. He knows good and evil, and this is to be more than an animal. There was a time, however, when man did not know good and evil. It was then that the form — the human man was in existence; and it is easy to conceive that the whole face of the earth may have been occupied by human beings who were nothing more than animals, as it is now occupied by them being more than animals. These were the male and female whom God created according to the first chapter of Genesis. It does not mean at all that they were a single male and female. They were not Adam and Eve then. They were simply male and female man, or Adam; for in chapter v. verse 2, we are told, “Male and female created he them and called their name Adam;” that is, the human animals that inhabited the earth were called Adam.
Now, this is precisely the condition in which science informs us that man, at one time, must have been. He was not created at one and the same time, physically, mentally, and morally; he may have lived for ages in this animal condition. Of this, Moses tells us nothing in his history of the creation. But as there were immense periods of time — days — between the various epochs of the creation of which he tells us nothing, we must remember that with God there are no divisions of time, for all time is eternity. But there came a point in time when male and female man had developed to the condition in which the gleams of reason began to light up the horizon of the intellect, as the first rays of the morning sun lights the tallest mountains which reflect them into the valleys below.
It was at this time that the Lord God “planted a garden eastward in Eden,” in which he put the man whom he had formed “to dress it and to keep it.” It is sufficient here to say that it consisted of the ground that was cursed by reason of the sin that Adam and Eve committed. Nor is it essential to the argument, at this time, to consider whether this ground — this garden — was a single one, or whether there was more than one, scattered here and there among male and female men.
The probability is, however, that these names refer to conditions and not to individuals. Indeed, it may as well be said now, as later, that the Bible is not a history of individuals and nations at all, but rather the condition and development of universal man, sometimes, perhaps often, using historical facts by which to typify them, but for all that, intended to refer to the interior instead of the exterior progress of man; that is, the Bible relates to the building and progress of God’s holy temple.
It is upon the consequences of the fall of man, which is therein set forth, that the necessity for a plan of redemption rests. Take away the first three chapters of Genesis and the superstructure of orthodox religion would topple and fall. So, then, it becomes necessary, since Christians have made them vital, to inquire into what these chapters mean — to inquire what was the Garden of Eden, there so graphically set forth— whether a spot of ground situated somewhere on the surface of the earth, or something altogether different —something, perhaps, that it may seldom or never have been suspected of being, and yet something that the language of these chapters plainly states it to have been; or, as may prove to be the exact truth, something other than which it is impossible to derive from the language in which the description is clothed. For instance, if the various parts of a thing be described as parts, when the parts are put together, that which they form must be the real thing which was in the mind of its relator. Therefore, if when we shall take the several things described by Moses and put them together, they shall be found to constitute something widely different from a spot of ground on the surface of the earth, why then we shall be forced to conclude that it was not such a spot that Moses had in view when he wrote the second chapter of Genesis; and therefore, also, that the Garden of Eden must be sought elsewhere than in a geographical location.
Indeed, I do not hesitate to say here at the outset, knowing full well the responsibility of the assertion, that I can demonstrate to you — to any minister or number of ministers — to all the theologians everywhere — that there is not a shadow of reason contained in the language used for concluding that the Garden of Eden ever was a geographical locality; but, on the contrary, without resorting to anything outside of the Bible — without any words of my own — I can show, beyond the possibility of cavil, and to the satisfaction of all who will give me their attention, that the Garden of Eden is something altogether different from a vegetable patch, or a fruit or flower garden; aye, more definite than this still — that I can demonstrate, so that there can be no manner of question about it, just what this garden was, and what it still is, with its cherubim and flaming sword defending the approach to its sacred precincts. Nor, as I said, will I go outside of the Bible to do all this, so that, when it shall be done, none can say that I have cited any irrelevant matter or any questionable authority.
The Bible has seldom, if ever — certainly never by professing Christians — been searched with the view to discover any new truth that might not be in harmony with their preconceived ideas as to what the truth ought to be; that is to say, it has never been searched fearlessly of what the truth might prove to be. The seal of mystery that is visible all over the face of the Bible, and that is clearly set forth in words within itself, has never been broken, nor the veil penetrated which hides its real significance from the minds of the people; while the attempts that have been made to interpret this significance have had their origin in a desire to verify some already entertained idea.
To want the truth for the sake of the truth— to want the truth, let it be what it may and lead where it may — has had, so far, no conspicuous following in the world, or at least so few that, practically, it may be said that there has never been any desire for the truth for its own sake. When the truth has appeared to be in antagonism with the cherished conceits of the people, they have shut their eyes and closed their hearts against it, and blocked up all avenues for its approach to them. One of the best evidences that the full truth is soon to dawn upon the world, lies in the fact that there are now a few persons who want the truth for its own sake, and who will follow it wherever it may lead them.
For one I want the truth, the whole truth; and I will proclaim it, no matter if it be opposed to every vestige of organization extant — political, social, religious! No matter if it be revolutionary to every time-honoured institution in existence! Let creeds fall if they will; let churches topple if they must; let anarchy even reign temporarily if it cannot be avoided, but let us for once in the world have the simple, plain truth; and let us welcome it because it is the truth, and not because it may or may not be in accord with popular notions and opinions.
But now to the Garden of Eden: In the second chapter of Genesis, beginning at the 8th verse, and, for the present, ending with the 14th verse, we read thus: —
8 “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
10 “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 “And the name of the first river is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
12 “And the gold of that land is good.
13 “And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 “And the name of the third river is Hiddekel; that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.”
These six verses comprise the physical description of the garden, and it is upon them that the structure, now to be taken in pieces and examined, rests. For a moment let us look at the language in its literal sense and see whether in this way it appears as if it were probable even that it may be true. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden.” Bible geographers and commentators say that the locality of the garden is lost, and they do not pretend to tell where Eden is, or was, to say nothing about a particular spot in Eden where the garden was planted. It is supposed that E den was somewhere in Asia; in fact, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, the holy city. If they who say so knew how nearly they have hit upon the truth without knowing what the truth is, the ministers would indeed be astonished. But where is eastward in Eden? Since the best informed Christian geographers can give no help to aid us in the search which we propose to make for this famous garden, we might as well conclude that it is anywhere else in the world as to conclude that it is in Asia.
But an astute person suggests that it must have been in Western Asia, because the rivers named as being in the garden are there. Yes! There were some rivers, and there were some countries in which they were situated, and yet we are coolly informed that the garden is lost, as if it were a matter of only the slightest moment. But will Christians assert, with the expectation that it will be believed, that the location of the four rivers and of the countries in which they were located, are lost with the garden. To say that, the garden is lost is virtually to say just that. The four rivers are enumerated specifically, to wit: the Pison, the Gihon, the Hiddekel, and the Euphrates. Are these rivers lost and also the countries Havilah, Ethiopia, and Assyria — all well known geographical terms? If they are not, how does it happen that the garden can be lost? There seems to be something very strange about all this.
And as the allegory continues, when the Lord God had expelled Adam from the garden, we are informed that he “placed at the east of the garden Cherubims [the Cherubims, the eyes; and the flaming sword, the tongue], and a flaming. sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.” Is it not proper also to inquire after these sentries of the Lord God? What, has become of them, and the tree of life that they were set to guard? If the were set “at the east of the garden,” and the garden was in Western Asia, why are they not to be found somewhere now? If I were anxious about the consistency of my theology, I should send off a Livingstone at once to hunt up this garden, fearing lest my religion might go to keep company with the garden upon which it is founded. I will venture the opinion that anyone who should start upon that journey, would have a more difficult task than discovering the sources of the Nile, or the North Pole, has proved to be.
But what about that tree of life which was in the midst of the garden? What has become of that? Is that lost also? Is that perished? and if so, are there any more in the world? The Lord God expelled Adam from the garden “lest he should put forth his hand and take of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever.” It seems that this kind of tree was not very common then, at least in that part of the world. If they are common in any part, I have never heard of them. If there were any in existence, it is my opinion that two cherubims and one flaming sword would afford them but poor protection against the ravages of a people who cling to life with the tenacity with which most of the people exhibit, not excepting that portion which believes itself safe from the uncomfortable regions of the other world, and who should most desire to die.
Thousands of the wisest men of Oriental nations have searched Asia over and over, and have failed to find a single tree of life anywhere. Has the logic of this fact ever had its legitimate weight in the consideration of this matter? I think not. The generality of people have never thought upon this subject at all, or about anything else connected with their religion.
In the second chapter of Genesis we are told all about the countries in which the garden was located, and the rivers that bounded it. From what I have already said, however, it is understood that I do not believe in this garden as commonly understood; nor do I believe that so important a spot as this garden is claimed to be, should be summarily given up as lost. The most important clue is the course of one of the rivers of this garden. Let us follow it to its source; for, in the tenth verse, it says, “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads;” that is to say, it gave off four branches. Let us see which of the four rivers we shall select as the basis of operations, and on which to make the ascent to find the place where it divides from the main river. The first river, as we have seen, is called Pison. As we can find no geographical mention of this river, we shall be obliged to omit Pison. The next in order is the Gihon. We are told (2 Chronicles xxxii. 30) that King Hezekiah turned the upper water-course of Gihon so that it should run by the City of David. That ought to be definite; but we fear, if we were to go to the City of David to-day, we should find the river in the same condition as the garden itself which it once watered — that its location is lost. So we must also pass the Gihon, and turn to the next, which is Hiddekel.
Though both Moses and Daniel said that this river was in Assyria, we can find no geographical mention made of its locality anywhere; therefore we shall be obliged to dismiss this with the others, and have recourse to the last one, which is the Euphrates. We all know where the Euphrates river is located, and if we can reach its banks, and follow up its course, we must, as a matter of necessity, find its source; and in finding it, find also the greater river Pison, from which it divides. Having done this, all the other rivers also will be discovered. There can be no mistaking the place, since it was at that point where the great river divided into four heads. When we arrive at this place, we shall be, at least, near the garden.
Bat, alas for our hopes! We wander along the banks of the beautiful Euphrates, from its mouth to its source, and find no place where it divides from another river; but, on the contrary, discover a number flowing into its ever-increasing stream. And now we cross to the opposite shore, and again from the Persian Gulf to the mountains of Armenia, seek the desired spot, but still are doomed to disappointment. If this be the river Moses describes, then his description is not true. The Euphrates river does not divide from any other river, but has its own source, as other rivers have their sources. So our last hope from the rivers is gone. We must dismiss the Euphrates as well as the Pison, the Gihon, and the Hiddekel.
Let us not, however, be altogether discouraged by our repeated failures with the rivers. The object in view is too important to be hastily abandoned. We have not yet exhausted our means of discovery. So, with heavy hearts, we will turn our backs upon the rivers, and seek elsewhere, hoping for better success. Since we cannot find the garden through the medium of its rivers, perhaps, if we reverse the process, we may be able to hunt up the rivers by seeking for them in the countries in which Moses said they were located. The river Pison, so he informs us, is the name of the first of the four rivers into which the great river divides, and “that it compasseth the whole land of Havilah.”
Now, certainly, we ought to be able to find the river Pison, for Havilah is a district of country on the Red Sea, in Arabia, south-east of Sanaa. Referring to the map of this portion of the earth, we readily find the land called Havilah. But what is this? It is not an island at all. Moses said that it was compassed — that is, encircled — by the river Pison, and that should make it an island. But there is no river that runs about this Havilah. Indeed, there is not any river in this land that is laid down on the maps. Moreover, we find from the conformation of this land that it is a physical impossibility for a stream of water to compass it. The western part of Havilah rests upon the Red Sea, where no river could ever have run. So it cannot be said that there might have been a river there in the time of Moses, which has since disappeared. He must have been very much mistaken, or else the land of Havilah, to which he referred, is something quite apart from geographical land; and yet Moses is most explicit, since be says that the ground of this land was cursed.
Having failed with Havilah, we will go on to the next. “And the name of the second river is Gihon,” says Moses, “the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.” Now, Ethiopia, is a large country — a very large country — and Moses says that the whole land was compassed by this river Gihon; a river that should encircle the whole of this land of Ethiopia must be no less than three thousand miles in length. It were impossible to lose such a river as this; hence, if it ever had an existence anywhere, it must be now in existence somewhere. Besides it must have been a still larger river even than this from which so large a one could have been given off. But what is this that we find? Ethiopia is a vast domain, situated in the very heart of Africa, with mountains on the north, mountains on the east, mountains everywhere. If the second chapter of Genesis is geography, Moses must have meant to have said there were mountains instead of a river compassing the whole land of Ethiopia, or else his Ethiopia was some country other than the one which we have under consideration, and one of which there is nothing known in our day save what Moses tells us.
We will now re-cross the Red Sea into Asia, and go through the land of Assyria, looking for the river Hiddekel, which Moses says is there. Turning again to the maps, we also again fail to find such a river as Hiddekel there set down, and we run through the, geographies fruitlessly. As far as our investigations have been pushed, we, can find two places only in all the books where this river is mentioned, and these occur in the text, and in Daniel x. 4. This is the river on the banks of which Daniel had the most remarkable vision recorded in the Old Testament; and it rises into the greatest significance by reason of the character of that vision. Where should this river be? Bible geographers endeavour to account for the discrepancies between the Bible and the geographies by saying that it is supposed that this river Hiddekel was the one now known as the Tigris. To be sure the Tigris runs with a swift current as did the Hiddekel; but it is not in the right place, nor does it run in the right direction. The maps show that the river Tigris instead of running “to the east of Assyria,” runs southward into the Persian Gulf. Nor do the maps discover any river running to the east of Assyria which may be taken for the river Hiddekel of the Bible. So we shall have to abandon the search for the Garden of Eden. We have exhausted the rivers, and the countries also, in which Moses set it down as being located.
Although we have not discovered the garden, we have found all the countries named by Moses. If the Garden of Eden really consisted of all of these countries, and for some reason, now unknown, their rivers cannot be discovered, it must have been a very large garden — almost as large as the half of North America. But we have stumbled upon one rather singular fact that needs to be explained: We know that the river Euphrates is in Turkey in Asia. Then how does it happen that another river, which has its source in the same river from which it is said to divide, is in Ethiopia, in Africa — which is separated from both Assyria and Havilah by the Red Sea? How does the river Gihon find its way across the Red Sea into Ethiopia to compass the whole of that land? Failing to explain this, however, an attempt perhaps will be made to clear it away upon the well-known hypothesis, that with God all things are possible; and consequently, that it was possible for Him to construct a river that could run under the Red Sea to get into Ethiopia; and a garden made up of large countries, widely separated each from the other, and still be altogether in one place, with a single tree in its midst; to watch and guard which, cherubims and a flaming sword were set at the east of the garden, a distance of not less than three thousand miles from its western limits.
But why dwell longer upon this mass, geographically considered, of physical impossibilities and absurdities. Any school boy of twelve years of age who should read the description of this garden and not discover that it has no geographical significance whatever, ought to be reprimanded for his stupidity. Nevertheless, learned Divines have written and preached for ages over this mythical garden just as if it ever had a geographical existence, and never suspected that what they were writing and talking about was all a fable, simply incredible.
Geography must have been interdicted in the schools where they were educated; or else the theological spectacles must have been so highly coloured by authority that they could not perceive that the geography of the Bible and that of the face of the earth ought to agree somewhat, which in this case it does not at all.
Do you not begin to see how preposterous and impossible, how contradictory and absurd, it is even to pretend to think that the Garden of Eden is a geographical locality? I challenge any clergyman — all clergymen — to impeach the truth, force, or application which I shall make of a single one of the rivers and countries of this famous garden. And I call upon them, failing to do it, to lay this whole fable open to their people as I have laid it open to you. Will they do so? If they care more for their theology than they do for the truth, No! But if they love the truth better than they do their theology, Yes!
But was there not a Garden of Eden! I think some will query in their minds. Or is this thing a bare-faced fraud upon the credulity of a simple people? Oh, yes! — There was a Garden of Eden. It is not at all a fraud. The fraud has been in the preachers, who would not look into the Bible with sufficient reason to discover a most palpable absurdity. There is where the fraud lies, and there it will, sooner or later, come to rest. I do not say that they have done this intentionally. I say only that they have done it; and the responsibility for having misled the people, year after year for centuries, rests with them. They have been the blind leading the blind; and they have both fallen into the ditch of deception.
It was necessary, before there could be a successful search to find. the Garden of Eden, to clear away the last vestige of possibility upon which to conceive that it might have been a geographical locality. Have I not made it clear to you all that it was not? If I have, then we are ready to look without bias or prejudice in other directions to find it — for there was a Garden of Eden.
As introductory to this part of my subject, it is proper to say that the general misunderstanding of the real meaning of the Bible can be easily explained. The proper names have been translated from the original languages, arbitrarily, and mingled with the common usage of the new languages, in such a way as to deprive them of their original significance, unless we are familiar with the meaning of the words from which they were translated. The term Eden is a good example. If we are ignorant of the meaning of Eden, in the original language, its use signifies to us that there was a garden which bore this name simply for a designation. But if we were to use the meaning of the word, in the place of the word itself, then we should get at the meaning of the one who gave this designation to the garden. The failure to translate the Bible after this rule is one reason for its still being veiled in mystery; and this fact will become still more evident when it is remembered that, in early times, names were given to persons and things, not merely that they might have a name, but to embody their chief characteristics.
So, then, the first step to be taken is to inquire into the significance of the names that the rivers and countries of the Garden of Eden bear. I cannot explain better what I mean by this than by quoting St. Paul on this very subject. In his letter to the Galatians, beginning at the 22nd verse of the 4th chapter, he says: —
“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he who was of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which is Agar. For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem, which is now in bondage with her children.”
Now, suppose that Paul had. not entered into any explanation about this story regarding Abraham. Of course we should have been left to suppose, conjecturing after the manner of the suppositions about the Garden of Eden, that Abraham really had these two children as described; and so he did. But Paul says it is an allegory; meaning that they represented all children born under both covenants; those of the first being children of bondage — that is, born in sin — and those of the latter being free-born, or born free from sin. This is still more evident when the last verse quoted is interpreted. Jerusalem always means woman, and to get the meaning of the verse it should be read thus: For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to “woman,” who is in bondage with her children. The succeeding verse demonstrates this clearly, since it reads: “But Jerusalem [woman, remember], which is above, is free, which is the mother of as all.” The interpretation of the meaning of the words used in the description of the Garden of Eden will make equally as wonderful transformations of the apparent meaning as are made by Paul in this allegorical story about Abraham.
It is now generally admitted that the account of the creation contained in the first chapter of Genesis is wholly allegorical. Having admitted so much, it would be preposterous to not also conclude that the allegory extends into the second chapter, and includes the Garden of Eden. If the first chapter refers to the creation of the physical universe, it is not too much to say that it is a wonderfully correct picture of the manner in which the world was evolved. If we apply the same statement to the second chapter, then we are ready to inquire what the subject is which this allegorical picture represents.
First in the allegory is the name of the garden, then its rivers, and lastly the countries through which they run. Passing, for the time, the name of the garden, we will begin by inquiring into the rivers. The name of the first is Pison; that of the second is Gihon; and that of the third is Hiddekel; and that of the fourth is Euphrates. These were the names of all the rivers mentioned as being in the garden. Turning to Cruden’s Concordance, quarto edition, there will be found what is called “An alphabetical table of the proper names in the Old and New Testaments, together with their meaning or signification in the original languages.” That is what we want. And the study of it will convince everybody of what and where the Garden of Eden is, and make it clear why its locality has been lost, as superficial students of the Bible say it has.
In that learned work we read thus: “Pison — changing or doubling, or extension of the mouth.”
“Gihon — The Valley of Grace, or breast, or impetuous.” In other authorities this word is held to mean “Bursting forth as from a fountain, or from the womb.”
“Hiddekel — a sharp voice or sound;” other authorities say, “Swift, which refers to the swiftness of the current.”
“Euphrates — that makes fruitful or grows.” Now we may inquire into the meaning of the names of the countries in which these rivers were situated.
“Havilah — that suffers pain, that brings forth.”
“Ethiopia — Blackness — [Darkness] — heat, burning.”
Assyria is the country of, and signifies Ashur, “One that is happy,” which would make the meaning of Assyria to be, the land of the happy; or the land. in which the happy dwell.
And the whole of these rivers and countries combined form the Garden of Eden, which, as we learn, means: “Pleasure or delight.” So, the Garden of Eden into which the Lord God put the man whom be had formed, “to dress it and to keep it,” was the garden situated in the land of pleasure or delight. Remember that these words are not mine, but that I quote them from that acknowledged authority, Cruden’s Concordance.
It will be necessary to give the meaning of one more word before entering upon the application of the meaning of these words, and that is “East.” The direction of east is always to the light, let the light be of whatsoever kind — physical, mental, or moral. Toward the west means going, following, or looking after the receding light. These are astrologic terms, and were taken from the ancient magi, who derived them from the sun. When the light of the sun is looked for as coming, it is toward the east that the eye is turned, because it always comes from that direction; but when we look toward the west to observe it, it is to see the departing light which precedes darkness. So, east, in our investigations, means toward or into the light. We look, allegorically, to the east when we seek a new light or a new truth. The Star in the East, which stood over the place where “the young child lay,” was the new spiritual light that came by Him into the world. The same meaning attaches to the word east wherever it appears in the Bible.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” The signification of these words would make the text read thus: “And the Lord God planted a garden in pleasure or delight, the fruit of which was to be, or was, a new revelation in, or a new light to, the world.”
“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted and became into four heads. The name of the first river was Pison; that is, it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.” If this language be transposed into the signification of its words it would read thus: “And a river went out of the garden in which there is pleasure or delight, which river watered, fed, and drained the garden; and to water, feed, and drain the garden it was divided into four channels. The first of these new rivers, and the main one in which all the others found their sources, was the extension of the mouth; and as this river ran onward in its course, compassing or encircling that which suffers pain and brings forth fruit, the character of its waters was constantly changing by reason of its giving food and receiving refuse from the land through which it ran; and in this land there were things of great value, besides the bdellium and the onyx-stone.”
This is the full meaning of the 10th, 11th, and 12th verses of the second chapter. The 13th verse reads thus: “And the name of the second river is Gihon; the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.” This, transposed into its signification, would read thus: “And the second river of the garden bursts forth as a fountain, or from the womb, from the valley of grace, in which valley it flows in darkness and in heat.”
The first clause of the 14th verse reads thus And the name of the third river is Hiddekel; that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria.” The translation of this, into its signification, would be as follows: “The third river of the garden runs with a swift current and a sharp sound into the light. Furthermore, this river, being in that part of the land known as Mesopotamia, which, interpreted, means ‘in the midst of the rivers,’ is surrounded by the other rivers of the garden, and is, therefore, situated in their midst.”
The last sentence of the 14th verse is: “And the fourth river is Euphrates.” The rendering of this, according to the significance of this word, would be this: “And the fourth river is that one which makes the garden fruitful; that is, in which the garden yields its fruit.”
Summing up the signification of the several rivers and countries, we have, first, the river that is the extension of the mouth, which, changing the character of its waters as it flows, encircles the whole of that which suffers pain and brings forth; second, a river that bursts forth from the valley of grace, which is in darkness, and where there is heat; third, a river that runs with a swift current and a sharp sound to the light, in front of the happy land; and fourth, a river that makes the garden fruitful.
The meaning of this summary is too evident to be escaped. The signification of these rivers is descriptive of the functions and of the various physical facts and capacities of the garden; they inform as how that garden is fed with new, and how drained of refuse or old and worn-out matter; they set forth the method by which the garden is made productive. Can there be anything more added to point the application with greater directness and force, save to designate the garden by the name by which it is now commonly known?
This Garden of Eden is a very much despised place; and if I were not to prepare the way, and guard every word I utter about it with the most scrupulous care, some of you might be so very innocent (by innocence, you must know, I mean that kind which comes of ignorance), or so modest (by modesty, you must know, I mean that kind which is born of conscious corruption, and which blushes at everything, and thus unwittingly proclaims its own shame) — I repeat that, if I were to approach the culmination too abruptly, such innocence and such modesty as that of which I speak, should there happen to be any present, might be too severely shocked.
At the outset, I must ask you to remember that it is out of the most despised spots of the earth that the greatest blessings spring; that it is out of the most obnoxious truths that the forces are developed which move the people heavenward fastest. It is the same old question, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” It should also be remembered that Jesus was conceived at the most despised of all the places of Galilee. The Jews could not believe that a Saviour of any kind could come from such a source. The promulgators of the new truths have ever been, and probably ever will be, Nazarenes; that is, will be the despised people of the world — though the meaning of that term in the original language is, “consecrated or set apart.” It was in this sense that Jesus was a Nazarene. It was in this sense that the prophets were able to foretell that he would be a Nazarene. They knew that he would be set apart to do the greatest work of the ages, and therefore that, at first, he would be despised by the great of this world. Therefore, when we shall find the Garden of Eden, we may expect that it will be among the most despised, ignored, and ostracized of all the despised things of the world.
Lo, here — or, Lo, there — is Christ! is the cry of the world, which is always looking in the wrong direction for Him. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” Suppose we find that the Garden of Eden is also within you? If the human body be a place worthy to be, and indeed is, the Kingdom of God, it cannot be sacrilegious to say that it is also worthy to be, or to contain, the Garden of Eden. There cannot be a more holy place than the Kingdom of God; although I am well aware that too many of us have made our bodies most unholy places. Paul said, “Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God; and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the Temple of God, him will God destroy.” Then, the human body is not only the Kingdom of God, it is the Temple of God. Suppose, I say again, it should, after all, turn out that the long-lost Garden of Eden is the human body; that these three, the Kingdom of God, the Temple of God, and the Garden of Eden, are synonymous terms and mean the same thing — are the human body? Suppose this, I say. What then? Would not the people be likely to regard it with a little more reverence than they do now? — and to treat it with a little more care? Would they not modify their pretences that, in their natural condition, any of the parts of the body can be vulgar and impure, and unfit to be discussed either in the public press or the public rostrum? Is it not fair to conclude that, with a higher conception of the body, this ought to be the result? Certainly it would be, unless the doctrine of total depravity is true, in its literal sense.
I am well aware that there must be a great change in the present thoughts and ideas about the body before it can be expected that there will be any considerable difference in its general treatment. But a great change has to come, and will come. Certain parts of the body — indeed, its most important parts — are held to be so vulgar and indecent that they have been made the subject of penal laws. Nobody can speak about them without somebody imagining himself or herself to be shocked. Now, all this is very absurd, foolish, and ridiculous, since, do you not know, that this vulgarity and obscenity are not in the body, but in the associated idea in the minds of the people who make the pretence; especially in those who urge the making of, and who make these laws, and who act so foolishly as to discover their own vulgarity and obscenity to the world in this way. How long will it be before the people will begin to comprehend that Paul spoke the truth when be said, “To the pure all things are pure.” He ought to be good authority to most of you, who profess him so loudly. But I must confess that I have yet to find the first professing Christian who believes a single word of that most truthful saying. I fear that the hearts of such Christians are still far away from Jesus. But give heed to the truths to which I shall call your attention, and they will help to bring you all nearer to Him both in lip and in heart.
The despised parts of the body are to become what Jesus was, the Saviour conceived at Nazareth. The despised body, and not the honoured soul, must be the stone cut out of the mountain that shall be the head of the corner, though now rejected by the builders. There can be no undefiled or unpolluted temple of God that is not built upon this corner-stone, perfectly. And until the temple shall be perfect there can be no perfect exercise by the in-dwelling spirit. “The stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.” — 1 Peter ii. 7. Christians have been thinking of taking care of the soul by sending it to heaven, while the body has been left to take care of itself and sink to hell, dragging its tenant with it.
“That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”— Heb. ii. 14.
“And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” — Heb. ii. 15.
“God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen.” — 1 Cor. i. 27, 28.
“And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon them we bestow more abundant honour.” — 1 Cor. xii. 23.
The last two chapters of the Revelation refer to the human body saved, and as being the dwelling place of God. The first two chapters of Genesis refer to the body, cursed by the acts of primitive man (male and female), through which acts they became ashamed and covered themselves, because they had done evil to the parts that they desired to hide. Remember, that to the pure all things are pure; and do not deceive yourselves by believing that anything which can be said about the natural functions and organs of the body can be otherwise than pure. From Genesis to the Revelation the human body is the chief subject that is considered — is the temple of God, which through long ages He has been creating to become, finally, His abiding place, when men and women shall come to love Him as He has commanded that they should; and this important thing is the basis of all revelation and all prophecy.
The objection that will be raised against accepting the evident meaning of the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Genesis will be that the things of which they really treat could never have been the subject of scriptural consideration. The degradation of the human race, following the transgression of Adam and Eve., through which purity was veiled from their own lustful gaze, and virtue shut out of the human heart, can never be removed until the world can bear to have that veil lifted, and to look upon and talk in purity about the whole body alike. It was not because they ought to have been ashamed of the nakedness they desired to hide, but because their thoughts were not pure and holy, and because their eyes could not endure the sight without engendering lust within them. So it is now. Only those are ashamed of any parts of the body whose secret thoughts are impure, and whose acts represent their thoughts whenever opportunities present themselves, or can be made.
People talk of purity without the least conception of the real meaning of the term. The people who do no evil because they have no desire to do it, are infinitely more virtuous than are they who refrain because there is a legal or any other kind of penalty attached thereto. So it is with the relations of the sexes. They are the really pure who need no law to compel them to do the right. I do not say that the law has not been useful, nor that it is not useful still. It is better to be restrained by law from doing wrong, than not to be restrained at all; but it is those who need restraint who ought to be ashamed, and not those who have grown beyond the need of law and wish for freedom from its force. In one sense, as Paul said it was, “the law was our schoolmaster;” but those who have graduated from the school, no longer need a master. Shall they, however, be compelled to have one, merely because all others have not yet graduated? Shall everybody be compelled to stay at school till everybody else has left? Think of these questions with but a grain of common sense, and you will see that they who urge the repeal of law are the best entitled to be considered pure at heart, as well as pure in act.
Jesus said, that “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Judged by this standard of purity, who are not adulterers? I will tell you who, and who only. Only those are not who can stand the test of natural virtue; and this test is never to do an act for which, under any circumstances, there is cause to be ashamed. Adam and Eve were not ashamed until they had eaten the forbidden fruit — the fruit of the tree which stood in “the midst of the garden,” “whose seed is within itself;” but the moment they had done what they knew to be a wrong, when they had learned of good by knowing evil as its contrast, by reason of having done the evil, then they were ashamed and made covers for themselves. They are sexually pure and virtuous who enter into the most sacred and intimate relations of life just as they would go before their God, and by being drawn to them by the Spirit of God, which is ever present in His temple.
This is to have natural virtue. This is to have natural, in place of artificial purity. People who are pure and virtuous may be brought into intimate relations, and never have a lustful thought come into their souls. Now, this is the kind of virtue, purity, and morality that I would have established; it is the kind I advocate as the highest condition to which the race can rise. Suppose that the world were in the condition in which I speak, do you not know that it would be a thousand times more pure than it is? But do you say that all this is too far in the future to be of any use now? This plea is often made — that it ought not to be given to the people till they are ready to receive it and live it. I cannot have a more complete endorsement than to have it said that the people are not yet good enough to live the doctrines that I teach. But if they really do imagine this, I can assure them that they do not give the people credit enough for goodness. Bad as they are, they are not half so bad as some would make them out to be. Place men and women on their honour. Yon are all familiar with this principle, but you never think of applying it to the social relations, while it is really more applicable to them than it is to almost anything else. But, if the people are not good enough to live under the law of individual honour, then it is quite time that some one should have the courage to go before the world and begin to advocate the things that are needed to make them so.
Before leaving this part of my subject, I wish again to impress it upon you that when there is purity in the heart, it cannot be obscene to consider the natural functions of any part of the body, whether male or female. I am aware that this is a terrible truth to tell to the world, but it is a truth that the world needs to be told; one which it must fully realize before the people will give that care and attention to their creative functions which must precede the building up of a perfected humanity. Who shall dare say that the noblest work — nay, this holy temple — the kingdom of God — is obscene? Perish the vulgarity that makes such thoughts possible.
Where should the Garden of Eden be found if not within the human body? Is there any other place or thing in the universe more worthy to be called an “Eden”? Then let who may, esteeming himself a better judge than myself, condemn this garden as impure. If the gravity and grandeur of this subject were once realized you would never think meanly of, or desecrate your own body, but instead, yon would do what Paul commanded (1 Corinthians vi. 20): “Glorify God in your body.”
Anyone who will read the second. chapter of Genesis, divorced from the idea that it relates to a spot of ground anywhere on the face of the earth, must, it seems to me, come to, or near, the truth. I have shown, conclusively, that it is not a garden in the common acceptance of that term: indeed, that the Garden of Eden, according to Moses, is a physical absurdity, if it be interpreted to mean what it is held to mean by the Christian world.
The Garden of Eden is the human body; the second chapter of Genesis was written by Moses to mean the body; it cannot, mean anything else. Furthermore, Moses chose the language used because it describes the functions and uses of the body better than any other that he could choose without using the plain terms. Could there have been a more poetic statement of what really does occur? What more complete idea could there be formed of Paradise than a perfect human body — such as there must have been before there had been corruption and degradation in the relation of the sexes? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” — (1 Cor. iii. ver. 16, 17.) “What! Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you? Therefore glorify God in your body.” — (1 Cor. vi. ver. 19, 20.)
But now let us go on with the application of our former inquiries into this garden: “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted, and became into four beads. The name of the first river is Pison, as we have seen. It will be remembered that this term signifies changing and extension of the month. Now, apply this rendering to the body and see if we cannot find the river Pison in this Havilah, which we failed. to find in the Arabian land. How is the body watered and fed? Is it not by a stream which is the extension of the month, and that changes constantly as it encircles the system? Does not the support of the body enter it by the month, and by the river which is the extension of the mouth run to the stomach? “And from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” Now this is precisely what is going on in the body all the time. From the stomach, or rather from the small intestines, where the separating process in the chyle, which is the digested contents of the stomach, begins, this river Pison has four principal heads; that is, it divides and becomes into four heads, giving off three branches, while the main current continues on its course to compass the whole land of Havilah. This current — this river Pison — empties itself into the heart, and then into the lungs, where it is de-carbonized and oxygenized, and returned to the heart to be distributed over the entire system by the arterial circulation. In its course toward the extremities it gives to the various parts through which it passes their necessary supplies. This constant giving-off changes the character of the current as constantly, until the circumference of the body is reached. From thence it is returned to the heart through the venous circulation, gathering up the worn-out matter to expel it from the body. This is the process by which the river Pison compasseth the whole land of Havilah, which is the land “that suffers pain and brings forth,” and in which there are precious things, besides the bdellium, and the onyx stone. This land that suffers pain and brings forth is the land of Havilah, which is compassed by the river Pison. Can anyone conceive a more graphic description of the process by which the body is nourished and fed? A river, to water the land of pleasure or delight, enters by the mouth, and extending by the way of the stomach, intestines, heart, lungs, arteries, and veins, waters the whole land that suffers pain and brings forth. What is there in the world to which this description of the river Pison and the land of Havilah could be applied, save to the body? It cannot be found. I challenge the world to find it. It would be absurd, simply, to say that the district south-east of Sanaa, in Arabia, which is called Havilah, suffers pain in bringing forth. Nevertheless, this is the conventionally accepted land of Havilah.
“And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.” The first branch that divides from the main river of the body is that which drains the body by way of the intestines. This is the river Gihon, which is the valley of grace. Could there be a more appropriate name than that of “grace” for the process by which the refuse from the river Pison is discharged from the body? or than the valley of grace for the operations that are performed within the abdomen for the elimination from the body of the refuse that is gathered there. Is not this a process of grace? — a process of natural and involuntary purification? If it were not for this purpose of grace we should be lost through the débris of which the system is relieved by this bursting forth of the river Gihon from this valley of grace.
And this is the river that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia — the land of blackness (darkness), and where there is heat (see Psalm cxxxix. 12). That is to say, the intestines occupy the abdominal cavity, which is the land of darkness in Eden. All the movements that are made therein are made in darkness, and therein also is the heat which signifies the warmth that gives and maintains life; that maintains the old and that produces the new; that sustains the temperature of the body, and that gives it the power to reproduce. Physiologically this is absolutely true, just as are all the other descriptions and allegories that are given by Moses of the garden.
“And the name of the third river is Hiddekel, that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria.” Next in importance to the maintenance of the human economy is the river that drains the system of another class of impurities, running by the way of the kidneys, uterus, bladder, and urethra. This is the river Hiddekel; or the stream that runs with a “swift current” and a “sharp sound.” Search the language through and through for a more appropriate description for the elimination of the waste matter, by the means of the urinary organs than this one given by Moses. And this river of Eden runs toward the east of Assyria, which is the “land of the garden,” in the midst of which is the tree of life. That this may be still more evident, it is proper to remark here, that it is the female human body which is referred to by Moses, because it is her body that suffers pain in bringing forth; and it was the producing part of the garden — the reproductive female power — that was the land which was cursed in Eden by the transgressions, by eating of the fruit of the tree of life improperly. It was by this curse that woman’s “sorrows and conceptions were multiplied,” as stated by Moses. So the Garden of Eden is the producing land of the human family into which the Lord God put the man whom he had formed, “to keep it and to dress it,” so that it might be fruitful. Do you not see how perfect the allegorical statement is, which Moses made?
“And the fourth river is Euphrates.” The last river of the Garden of Eden is that one which renders it fruitful; that makes it yield its fruit, and that flows through the reproductive system. Euphrates means fruitfulness, and this river, the last one in the order of physiological sequence, is the fruit or the result of the perfected action of all the others combined. This river was in its natural, healthful, primitive state of purity, from which physical purity primitive man and woman fell by the improper use of the functions of the garden, which were committed to their care, the same as people continue to do, and are cursed — die in Adam.
At the time when knowledge began to find root in the brain of man, it is pretty evident that the human animal, man, was pure and perfect physically; that is, that they were like the other animals, and that they are to be judged of as we judge of animals now. Considered in this light, what are the differences between man and the animals? This is a question of the most vital importance, since, if there was a fall of man from the original state of purity, it is necessary that we know of what that fall consisted before we can provide intelligently for an escape therefrom. It was not a moral fall certainly, since morality is not an attribute of animals, unless physical purity is morality. This view of ethics is not legitimate, since morals are the last development in the growth of man, are an outgrowth of, or a building upon, intellect. Nor could that fall have been intellectual, since as there had then been no knowledge of good and evil, there was no intellect; there had been no power of comparison in the human brain. We are obliged to conclude, therefore, that that sin committed by man was a physical sin.
Now what was this sin? Well, go to the animal world and compare its physical habits with our own, and it will not be difficult to discover differences sufficient to account for all that has occurred to mankind; indeed, we shall find such a disparity that we shall be left only to wonder that a second deluge has been so long deferred. What is the central point towards which all these differences gravitate? It is clearly the relations between the male and female. Undoubtedly, before the fall of man, if we accept the Biblical story, these relations between the sexes were the same then, as they are now, between the animals; that is, they were solely for propagation, and in this respect the female was and is supreme mistress.
But what has been the result of this desecration of woman? Look again to the female animals and learn; for here woman stands in lurid contrast to her sex in that domain! Where is, the animal that wastes her very life at every changing moon? There are no such, except among the monkeys, and the fact exists there for the same reason that it exists among women.
Menstruation is an hæmorrhage or exfoliation of the mucous membrane of the uterus. Some of the higher mammals have something similar at the period of æstus or heat, but monkeys are the only mammals which menstruate like women. Monkeys are the only mammals which copulate for other purposes than reproduction.
Apes were kept ‘n. confinement thousands of years before King Solomon’s ships brought home from Tarshish “ivory, apes and peacocks” (2 Chron. ix., 21). A monkey (kaf) appears under the chair of a person who lived in the reign of Cheops, 4th dynasty, proving that the word is much older than the Sanskrit form (Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, vol. iii., p. 269: See also vol.. ii., 1). 190). Aristotle, who wrote upon the resemblance of man to the monkey, takes no note of this fact; “some animals unite in their natures the characteristics of man and. quadrupeds, as apes, monkeys, &c.”
Pliny in his “Natural History” speaks of human beings and of monkeys, but of the things wherein they are alike no mention was made. Was Pliny ignorant of this fact? Monkeys and women are the only animals which menstruate. They are the only mammals which copulate promiscuously and at every season. Monkeys are still monkeys in spite of this fact; they have not evolved to something higher, so neither menstruation nor the increased excitation of’ the generative organs could have been the cause of subsequent development.
Pflüger has said “that menstruation is the result of the growing follicle action, as an irritant to the terminations of the nerve fibres embedded in the stromas of the ovary. This irritation finally brings about congestion of the genital organs by an afflux of blood to these organs. Other animals besides monkeys and women. have ovaries and yet the pressure of the growing follicles does not cause congestion of the genital organs out of season. Moreover, if menstruation were analogous to the æstus of animals, this only appears at certain periods. The sum of the irritations of the growing Graafian follicles is not the same, evidently, as in monkeys and women. But I might ask why should the sum of these irritations become so great at periodic intervals causing the periodic congestion of the genital organs? When the ovaries become atrophied and menstruation ceases the woman is no longer capable of producing life; hence the expression, turn of life. Upon the maturity of the Graafian follicle menstruation commences, and it indicates that the female is able to produce life. Menstruation itself is not essential to life as animals who never menstruate produce life, and girls have become pregnant who have never menstruated. The essential principle of life is seated in the ovaries, and it is the excitation out of proper seasons which has brought on menstruation in the female organism. We say we cannot re-pot or transfer plants if it is not the proper season, we must not disturb the roots while the sap is running. If the ovaries are cut out of a girl before she has menstruated she never does so. Thousands of years ago the ancients must have arrived at some idea of the truth when they caused the ovaries to become atrophied by puncturing with needles which had been dipped in chemicals. Did this custom have its origin in some attempt to solve the phenomena of life?
The ovaries are not only essential for the function of menstruation, but they are also essential for the development of the female generative organs. If the ovaries are degenerate, atrophied, or arrested in their growth, the pelvis remains narrow, the uterus, the breasts, &c., are undeveloped. In diseased ovaries menstruation is intermittent or ceases; in diseased ovaries the secondary sexual characters are apt to reproduce themselves. The ovaries are responsible then for menstruation, its cessation, and the development of the generative organs. Tilt in his book on Ovarian and Uterine Inflammation, says, “when there is no ovary the uterus, should it exist, does not menstruate. It is the ovary which calls the uterus into action, imparting to it a stimulus which is either healthy or morbid, periodical or continuous. . . Menstruation is a species of parturition. The reproductive organs are indeed the only organs of the body whose function is painful even when healthily performed.” . . . Dr. Tyler Smith sought to prove that the bulk of diseases of women originate in the hyper-secretion of the mucous glands of the neck of the womb. . . . Dr. Ashwell says, Of all the organs of the human body scarcely any seem so prone either to functional or organic disuse as the ovaries; for I can with truth say that I have rarely when examining these important organs after death found them entirely healthy. . . . In Germany, Neumann did not scruple to remark that, of all the organs of the human frame, none are so often affected by disease as the ovaries. . . . If menstruation does not take place when the ovaries are absent, it follows that menstruation had its origin in something which affected or related to the ovaries. As no mammal menstruates where coition takes place for reproduction only, it was the copulation for other purposes than the perpetuation of the species which brought on menstruation — the undue excitation of the ovaries. The fact that menstruation ceases when the fertilized ovum becomes attached to the uterus would seem to prove that menstruation is the hereditary result of the excitation of the ovaries for other purposes than for propagation, for if there are no ovaries there is no menstruation.
It may be asked, what stimulated monkeys to copulate for other purposes than propagation? When the transition took place from the attitude of the quadruped to that of the biped, the pelvic viscera, by impact, were pressed down towards the pelvic outlet. Undue secretion of the mucous glands of the vagina corresponding to the æstus or rut of animals may have been the result. This may have incited the males to rape the females.
This truth was realized by the most ancient religious sects. They found it necessary to check the superior brute force of the male from desecrating the female by promulgating such religious laws as these. “The birth of a child is a defilement to its parents, especially to its mother who is declared impure for as many days as have elapsed months since her conception, and her purification shall be accomplished as after her natural seasons.” (Manou in the Vedas.) In Leviticus we read that “her purification shall require sixty days.” In the Veda — “the husband should respect his wife in her natural seasons as we respect the blossom of the banana which announces fecundity and future harvest.” If we study different religions we find it has been necessary to make religious laws to protect woman from violation. There stands the fact, ye women of the world, and there is where ye differ from the animals; and in this fact all the results of the original sin have had their source. Let any female brute lose the control of her procreative functions, as woman has been deprived of hers, and let her be subjected to the unbridled passion of the male, and she will soon begin to menstruate.
No animal menstruates which copulates for reproduction only. Some scientists have suggested to me that this may have been the cause of the subsequent intellectual development of the human race. I see no scientific truth in this theory.
Idiots have their generative organs abnormally developed. There is a great scientific truth in this which I am investigating for a future work. Except in morbid pathological conditions, the cerebral soul developes in degree as it overcomes the abdominal soul. The licentious monkeys and savages with their thick protruding lips, indicating great sensuality and small mental capacity would negative this hypothesis were there no other refutation. But if it needed any further refutation I have only to give an example from history.
History is a great teacher — it enables us to learn by the experience of others. The Spartans were taught self-control, simplicity in their way of living, that their actions must be directed by Reason, and that the vital law manifested through their beings was not to be made the instruments of beasts but the creator of gods. Here licence was not accorded, but restraint was enforced. What was the result? The Spartans were known as the Invincibles, powerful both in body and mind. History teaches us another lesson. At Rome in the days of Juvenal when there was no such thing as self-control; Reason was a myth, civilization a mockery, and purity a jest. Energy directed too much in one direction must be at the expense of some other part. There must be an equivalence. We cut back the leaves of a plant when we want abundant bloom and pick off the bloom when we desire foliage.
An athlete who expends his energy in muscular exertion has not that energy left to expend in the artistic perception and muscular work of the eyes, or the musician of his cars. There is in either case mechanical work done and energy expended, but one is at the expense of the other. The energy of the human body is limited. If we use up our energy in diseased appetites, we have not that energy left for noble thought and artistic pursuits. The brain has developed by the exercise of the reasoning faculties, more exact or cumulative methods of observation. Every new scientific discovery is the means of adding to our knowledge. We have an example of what education and training can do with the youthful mind in the great disparity between men and women in this regard — the systematic collegiate education of boys and the makeshift education which has been in vogue heretofore with regard to girls.
We still further see the result of this sin in all those false ideas which are being, disseminated with regard to preventive checks or means to prevent conception, for the cure for bad population. We are told that the amative impulse may be allowed fall scope, so long as children be not produced, save as and when desired. Science is cited as the instrument which enables us to have many domestic comforts — that the aid of science is called where it would be injurious to the mother to have a child — why not under other circumstances? These books are criminal in their ignorance of natural laws.
Menstruation being the hereditary result of the undue excitation of the ovaries, there could be no greater condemnation for those who advocate preventive checks.
Morbid menstruation or excessive excitation of the ovaries induced by sexual excitement is the cause of ovarian and uterine inflammation, of uterine tumours, of ovarian cysts, of ovarian dropsy, of cancer of the cervix uteri, and various other pathological conditions of the generative organs. And this pathological condition is by no means confined to the individual life. It may be handed clown from generation to generation for diseased ovaries are found in mere children; cases are on record where ovariotomy has been performed on young girls, one only eight years of age, for ovarian tumour. Cysts are found in the ovaries of new-born children, showing that these pathological conditions are hereditary. And yet these ovaries influence the whole body, often rendering existence one lifelong martyrdom. Poor mortals doomed to a living death! Degenerate organs of reproduction produce monsters of every description. The enormous percentage of women who die from these causes can only be realized by reading medical books on diseases of women. Constant irritation of the ovaries reacts upon the nervous centres, producing all kinds of morbid effects, headaches, lassitude, irritability, nervous chills, hysteria, hypochondria, melancholia, epilepsy, paralysis, hyperexcitability, lethargy, catalepsy, somnambulism, strange alienation, and various degrees of insanity. It is not the frequent child-bearing which is so disastrous to the mother, but the constant drain upon her available energy by too frequent sexual excitement and consequent exhaustion.
Why is it that when the testes are extirpated in the male the secondary sexual characters do not produce themselves? And when the ovaries are extirpated in the female, the secondary sexual characters do produce themselves? This would show that the testes react upon the body of the male to cause increased vital activity. It is just the opposite with the female, though with savages and in some parts of the East where ovariotomy is performed for certain purposes, it is said that the women develop unusual strength. In the female the ovaries drain to themselves and store up energy for the future embryo, and when the ovaries become atrophied or are extirpated, the energy not being needed for the ova reacts upon the whole organism.
Ovarian activity therefore always means a loss to the female, a drain upon her available energy. The female organism being called upon to produce aborted life in the form of the monthly or frequent maturation of the Graafian follicle, the false corpus luteus of menstruation is a drain upon and waste to the maternal organs and no benefit to the race. Woman, as she is to-day, can be said to be undergoing perpetual childbearing, her generative organs are never at rest, except before puberty, and after she has ceased to be fruitful. The hypothesis has been advanced, that longevity or length of life is the adaptation to the needs of the offspring, that where animals deposit a large number of eggs, there is more likelihood of some surviving, therefore the maternal organism dies young, in some instances death follows immediately. In those cases where there are a small number of offspring, or the number is limited, there is a tendency for the life of the maternal organism to be prolonged to secure the perpetuation of the species.
If this hypothesis is true, the frequent maturation of the Graafian follicle is so much loss of vitality to the human race. In those races where puberty of the female is retarded she retains her youth longer, and the average duration of the life of the race is the longest. And in those countries where the sexual sentiments have been worked by the custom of early marriages, the hereditary result has been early menstruation, shorter life, and deterioration of the race. The vital principle is developed and determined by the female and is followed by the male. Even the greater developed mental capacity of the male is largely dependent upon the mother who bore him.
In repeated pregnancies the weight of the child and the bulk of its head are increased. Schroeder, in his “Manual of Midwifery,” says: “The weight of the child increases with the age and especially with the number of the previous labours of the woman. . . . The heads of male children are larger than those of female, and the most important diameter of the head— and the biparietal — increases quite out of proportion to the number of labours and the age of the mother, so that the broadest skull may be expected in a male fœtus of a pluripartæ somewhat advanced in age . . . . consequently not to expect very large heads in young primiparæ, whilst in an older woman who has often borne children, a head of a considerable size may be looked for. This proves that the function of gestating is developed in successive pregnancies, that the fœtus is better nourished, and has had the advantages of the more fully developed maternal organs. But our civilization would provide means to avoid conception when the mother has had one or two children, so that those children, who would be more developed physically and mentally, should not be born, or if born in spite of preventive checks should have the injurious effects resulting to contend against.
Sir Spencer Wells, in his book on “Ovarian and Uterine Tumours,” published in 1882, gives a brief sketch of the history of Ovariotomy, and quotes the following: —
“A paper was laid before a late meeting of the Anthropological Society of Berlin for publication in their Transactions which reports that the aborigines of Australia and New Zealand performed ovariotomy on young girls (the age is not mentioned) by incision in both inguinal regions. They do this for two purposes: first to prevent the propagation of hereditary diseases and deformities, and other disabilities. The writer met a woman born deaf and dumb who had been spayed to hinder her from bearing deaf and dumb children. . . . For the same reason of personal defect men are made impotent.”
The preceding indicates that certain savages have at least some regard for the future members of their community. It is to be hoped, however, that when the responsibilities of parentage become more fully recognized that neither method — preventives nor spaying, will be necessary; the force of educated public opinion will deter the unfit from propagating their kind: but if human beings have not sufficiently evolved to realize that the function of their generative organs is reproduction, I would recommend the remedy of the ancient Greeks.
Scientific propagation is not a new idea which has originated with our nineteenth century civilization.
Menstruation is the result of the excitation of the ovaries, and the function of the ovaries is to develop and bring to maturity the Graafian follicle; and, as function has always preceded structure, we must seek the cause of the deviation of structure in the pathological condition of the ovaries — inflammation, cystic degeneration, dropsy, &c. The same may be said of the changes which the fertilized ovum may undergo in the uterus, or why is the purity of an animal’s blood lost when it has once been crossed? It cannot be that the developing fœtus can affect a future ovum which is not yet mature. It is because the function of gestation is affected, and, if so, what effects uterine inflammation, tumours, cancer, &c., must have! What functional derangements may not be given to the developing fœtus? This negatives the hypothesis that differentiation of species is the result of the segmenting female and male pronucleus, and that only. When the generative organs are diseased they react upon the nerves governing nutrition, and this is of vital importance to the pregnant woman, for how can she impart to her child energy and rich blood when there is hyperæsthesia or anæsthesia of the nervous centres affecting these organs? And if psychical processes are to be traced back to physical processes the mother moulds the character of her child.
If we sought for the cause of nine-tenths of the insanity which is the curse of the nineteenth century, I think we should find it in sexual debauchery; that those insane had inherited weakened nervous systems through the sexual debauchery of their ancestors, or abuse in childhood of their own generative organs, or debauchery in maturity. Only the doctrine that under no circumstances ought humanity to propagate unless healthy both in body and mind, will perfect the human race. The loss of the prerogative of becoming creators when they sin against the God who gave them the right to be, would be an incentive to our sons and daughters to study such laws of life as will produce physical and psychical perfection by appealing to one of the most powerful instincts.
The maternal and paternal instincts to propagate are natural instincts; but these instincts have become diseased, and this disease is known by the term lust.
Is it not to be wondered rather that the human race enjoys anything that can be called health? Aye, still more, is it not astonishing that it even lives at all — that it has not long since been swept from the face of the earth, as it soon will be if it do not repent of this sin?
All this is feminine, since it is from the waters of the river Euphrates that the fruit of the tree of life (whose seed, as Moses said, is within itself) is developed and perfected. But this stream of life was turned to blood by the transgressions of primitive man, and has been entirely wasted to the race save that small portion which is utilized during gestation. The supposition that this river is something of which the female system ought to be relieved — that it is lifeless and corrupt — is false and wrong.
If it had no physiological value, why does menstruation cease during the period of gestation? Nature does not deem this blood corrupt and valueless then. From the Veda of ancient India is the following: “The blood is the life, it is the divine fluid that waters and fecundates the matter of which is formed the body. It is through the blood that the pure essence emanating from the Great Whole, and which is the soul, unites itself to the body.”
But this river of life has been left to waste away the health and strength — the vigour and vitality — of the race, and no efforts have been made to remedy the destruction which it threatens, a disaster involving the fruitfulness of the garden itself, and the consequent wiping out of the race. This wasteful process is considered to be a natural function, and necessary to health and life, and so indeed it is, in the unnatural conditions in which we live, and in which the world has lived since this river was turned to waste, as described by Moses, allegorically, in the 4th and 7th chapters of Exodus. This wasting away of the life of the race is the vicarious atonement by which death is averted for the time. The fulness of time is not yet; the race, for a time, must rush madly onward toward destruction and extinction; but when the New Jerusalem (which is the purified woman) shall come in the new heaven and the new earth, as seen by St. John on Patmos, then this river of waste will return again to be “a pure river of water of life proceeding, out of the throne of God” — proceeding out of His highest creative place, the Garden of Eden, through which flows the fruitful river Euphrates.
The Garden of Eden then is the human body, and its four rivers, which have their source in the extension of the month, are the Pison, the blood; the Gihon, the bowels; the Hiddekel, the urinary organs; and the Euphrates, the reproductive functions. By these four rivers the whole garden is watered and fed or nourished and supported, drained of refuse matter, and its fruit produced. It was in this garden that mankind was planted by the Lord God after the same manner in which He performs all His other works — through the agency of law and order, as exemplified in evolution. It was the ground of this garden that was cursed, so that in sorrow man should “eat of it all the days of his life,” and that it should bring forth “thorns and thistles,” as Moses said it should, instead of the pleasant and agreeable fruit of perfect and beautiful children. Has not this allegorical picture been literally verified? Paul said he had only “the first fruits of the spirit;” that is to say, having the intellectual comprehension of the means for redemption of his body only.
“If any man defile the temple, him shall God destroy.” Does He not do this? Does not death follow the defilement of the temple? In the temples that man has erected, and into which be enters on every seventh day to worship God, He does not dwell. These are the figures or the images only, as Paul said, of the true temple. Neither in this mountain nor at Jerusalem shall man worship; but in spirit and in truth, said Jesus. The fact that there are so many temples made with hands, into which all the professedly Christian world feels it to be necessary to enter and worship, is a certain evidence that their temples, not made with hands, are not yet the abode of God. Not having consciously the kingdom of heaven within them, where God comes and dwells with them, they still go after Him; and they are so blind that they do not see their own condemnation in the act. If a person has God dwelling in him, he need mot go to church to worship Him, nor by so doing to make it evident to others that he is one of God’s people, to whom He has come, and with whom He has taken up His abode. Those who have to make a profession of faith to make it appear that they have God, only expose their own hypocrisy, for God’s presence in any human being is self-evident proof of the fact.
Consider for a moment what would be the result if the people could come to recognize that their bodies are God’s holy temples, and that their sexual organs, being the means by which His crowning work is created, ought never to be defiled by an unholy touch or thought, or ever made the instruments of selfish gratification merely. If the people should enter into these sacred relations only as if they were communing with God-with the same spirit in which really earnest and honest Christians enter into the temples made with hands, which they have falsely thought to be God’s temples — and not with unbridled passion, what would become of the debauchery that now runs riot in the world? No; let the sexual act become the holiest act of life, and then the world will begin to be regenerated, and not before. Suppose that those who read the Scriptures, and pray regularly before eating, should go through the same ceremony before entering into the relations which should be the holiest of all relations, how long would the beastliness that now holds high carnival under cover of the law continue? If praying people believe the Bible — believe that their bodies are God’s temple — why should they make such hot haste to defile them by their selfish lust and inordinate lasciviousness? Let these people become consistent at least, and in the most important act of life ask God’s blessing to rest upon it.
But John saw that these fruits were to be fully realized in the new heaven and the new earth, meaning the new man and the new woman.
“Adorned as a bride prepared for her husband.” Can there be any mistaking the significance of this figure? Can it mean anything save the perfected union of the sexes; and in the understanding that this perfection is coming to the world?
Why has God permitted His people to live in darkness and death (all die in Adam) so long, the Christian will ask; and if there is any truth in the Bible as being God’s truth, why did He not make it so clear that none could misunderstand it and be lost thereby, the scientist will retort. Now, here is precisely where the reconciliation between religionists and scientists will come. The very thing that the Bible declares to be a gift of God, which is to be revealed when the mystery shall be solved, is the very thing after which all science seeks — the perfect life. The ultimate fact after which both religion and science bend their energies is the self-same thing. The Spirit — God — tells what this is inspirationally in the Bible; men delve for it among the laws of nature scientifically. At the same time that it shall be discovered to the world of what this mystery of God consists: it will be demonstrated by actual life in individuals. Inspiration and evolution mean the self-same thing, spoken from the opposite extremes of the development by which it shall come — the former being the spiritual comprehension of the truth before it is “made flesh and dwells among us,” and evolution being its actualization in experience.
Interpret the arbitrary commands of the Bible by the language of natural law, by which alone God works, and the reconciliation between God and nature, between religion and science, between inspiration and evolution, is completed. Inspiration is the language of men who were permeated with Divine essence, but knew nothing about the law of cause and effect. They attributed the destruction of a city by fire or by an earthquake, in short, every visitation of painful effects upon men, as a direct and arbitrary command of God as punishment for sin; while by the light of science they are only the natural effects of immutable laws, occurring because they must occur, in the evolution of the universe. All the sins and punishments of which man has been made the subject are of the same order. It was impossible that man, being an animal, should be made a son of God, save by the very process through which he has had to pass.
That the law of evolution which makes growth the method by which intellectual altitude is reached, is also the law by which physical development goes forward; the perfected creation of man and his consequent salvation from death being physical and not moral, as has been falsely taught by almost the whole of Christendom. With a perfect physical body — man reconciled to God — all other perfections follow as its fruit, necessarily. The opposite proposition to this is the stumbling-block over which all Christians have fallen; they have given all their attention to saving the soul hereafter, when this salvation depends entirely upon saving the body here and now.
Is it not palpable how the acceptance of this fact, and the adoption of its logic as a rule of human action, would harmonize the relations of man? With this view, everything that occurs is a part, and a necessary part, of the evolution or the growth of man. Suppose criminals were to be treated by this principle, what a reform might be inaugurated in this regard! Suppose this precept were to be made a rule of life, the world could be at once transformed into a brotherhood. But this must also be a result of growth.
“And out of the ground (female-male) the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air.” The two sexes must have been comprised in each species, evidently a rib was not taken out of each male to make a corresponding female.
In the first dawn of the life-principle there was no such thing as sex. Life was a unit, that is, a homogeneous mass, gradually becoming heterogeneous until two sexes were evolved. The Biblical allegory of Adam and Eve, that the two sexes were evolved from one, accords with science. Had this a deeper meaning than even Moses comprehended? Still more curious was the supposition that the male animal was the first distinct sex, before the male animal, it was the two sexes in one of the female-male animal. And the male organs of the latter becoming gradually degenerated or suppressed the distinct female animal was evolved to correspond with the male animal.
Here we have the ideal marriage. The two unite to become as one from which the human family had its birth. Onward from the family next were formed the roving tribes which had a chosen head, who ruled the whole with arbitrary will in all respects. Next cities sprang into existence, and reaching over provinces united into nations, making their kings or queens, their rulers absolute. From this, the concentrated form of power, the sway began to re-dispose itself among the people. Through monarchs limited in rule to constitutions and republics has the power descended and now it is about to be assumed again by each and all individuals who have become a law unto themselves, into whose hearts Almighty God has put His law of love. From individuals such as these a brotherhood of man can form and live, but not from any other kind. And from a brotherhood wherein the good of each becomes the good of all, the higher and the holier family will spring into existence, whose King and Queen and Lord and Prince shall be the living God who from creation’s dawn through long experience, sometimes dark but often bright, hath brought us kindly on our way to this exalted place as His abode.
Source: The Garden of Eden; or The Paradise Lost & Found, Victoria Clafflin Woodhull, 1889.