Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

the persecutions, supports and victories of the church, in every age of the world. Further: has not the prophecy of Noah, concerning the descendents of Canaan, received a most wonderful accomplishment in the history of mankind, through every succeeding age to the present day? Has not God made “the name of Abraham great," almost above every other name of antiquity? Has not the condition of Ishmael, Edom, and Israel, in every age, fulfilled the words of Moses respecting them? Have not the descendents of Jacob's sons been illustrious or obscure according to the dying predictions of Jacob concerning them? Especially has not Judah been the most illustrious, from whom

dents of Joseph, of his son Ephraim in particular, been next in eminence, as was expressly foretold ? Have not even Balaam's prophecies, recorded in these books been wonderfully fulfilled, especially in the dominion of the Greeks and Romans over the countries once possessed by the Assyrians and Hebrews ?? And can any thing 'be more completely fulfilled than the prediction that “ Israel should “ dwell alone, and should not be reckoned among “ the nations ?”3 And the state of the Jews for almost eighteen hundred years since the destruction of Jerusalem is predicted in the most explicit and circumstantial manner. 44“ Thus it was writ“ ten and thus it must be ; for the scripture can“ not be broken.”

[ocr errors][merged small]

6. Finally, the testimony of our Lord and his apostles, who always refer to these books as written by Moses, and as “the scriptures,” “the oracles “ of God," “ the law of God,” fully confirms them, both as genuine and as divinely inspired, with all those who duly reverence the testimony of Christ. So that every evidence, that proves the truth of Christianity, confirms also the divine authority of the Old Testament in general, and of the books of Moses in particular.

What now are all Mr. P.'s boasted demonstrations that these books are spurious, compared with this body of evidence, compendiously as it is here stated, that they are genuine and divine? If his cause had not more to recommend it to the hearts. of ungodly men, than to the understandings of sober diligent inquirers, no believer need trouble himself to answer him: but all those (alas, how numerous are they !) who are not willing to part with their sins, and lead a godly life, wish to disbelieve the scriptures, either wholly or in part ; and I do not think that any man ever thoroughly desired to part with all his sins, and at the same time to get rid of the Bible.

CHAPTER II.

THE HISTORICAL BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

JOSHUA.

In prefacing a commentary on this book some years since I observed, “It is named from Joshua,

either as the author, or as the principal subject of it: and it is probable that the substance of it was written by him. The writer speaks of himself, as a person concerned in the transactions which he relates ;2 and the mention of Rahab, as

still living in Israel, implies that he was a con• temporary. But some passages doubtless were

added afterwards, perhaps by Phinehas, or rather * by a subsequent prophet.' It does not appear that any thing further is needful to obviate Mr.P.'s objections to the book of Joshua on this ground. It is certainly a very ancient record : and it attests that the written law of Moses was extant, when it was compiled. The whole of the subsequent history of Israel stands inseparably connected with it, as recording the division of the land among their tribes and families : and it is referred to in the New Testament as authentic history,6 and quoted in a manner which honours both it and the whole word of God.? . xxiv. 26

3 vi. 25. * xix. 47. xxiv. 29–33.

xxiii. 6. xxiv. 26. . . Acts xiii. 19. Heb. iv. 8.' ? Jos, i. 5. Heb. xiii. 5.

“ The book of Jasher,” which is appealed to in confirmation of the facts recorded, seems to have been a collection of records and poems, made at the time when the events happened : and it would have been absurd in the extreme for the historian to refer to it, had it not been then known, and considered as authentic.

Horace, a man of great genius and good sense, published an ode in which he gloried that his fame, would be celebrated to the end of the world : and Mr. P. repeatedly speaks of his own fame as celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic: yet the book of Joshua it seems must be rejected as spurious, because the writer speaking of Joshua says, that “ his fame was noised through all that coun“ try!"I The only reason for this conclusion seems to be, that Joshua referred all the glory to the Lord God of Israel.

Joshua, as commander of Israel, meditated an attack on Jericho; when one in human form, with a drawn sword in his hand, accosted him, declaring himself to be “Captain of the Lord's host.” Joshua could not but know who this was; for he knew whom he served as the leader of the armies of Israel : he therefore fell on his face and worshipped him, as one who waited to receive his orders. He was then directed, according to the customs of those times, “to loose his shoe from off his foot,” as Moses had done when Jehovah appeared to him in the bush; and he obeyed. “And what then?' says Mr. P. 'Nothing: here ends the story and 'the chapter too.”—Here ends the chapter, it is

ivi. 27.

? Note, Part ii. p. 34, 35.

[ocr errors]

true, and the division of the chapters is here peculiarly injudicious; but who does not know that the division of the Bible into chapters and verses is comparatively a modern arrangement? The story however proceeds ; and the reader is first informed of the situation of Jericho: then “the cap“ tain of the Lord's host," now called Jehovah, promises to deliver Jericho into Joshua's hands, and gives him directions in what manner to conduct the assault: and Joshua, following those directions, is completely successful. The appearance of Jehovah in human form is not peculiar to this place :2 and Mr. P. is not mistaken in condemning as idolatry the honour on this occasion paid to him who appeared as man, if he were not also God. I shall, however, leave the Socinians to answer this on their principles : for such passages create no difficulties to those who believe the doctrines of the Trinity, and of Christ's eternal Deity. : It might have been expected that this champion of infidelity would ridicule the miracle of the sun standing still at the command of Joshua : but wit and humour are not arguments; and a descant on

the sublime and the ridiculous' does not prove the thing impossible. The actual suspension of the earth's diurnal motion would be infinitely easier to omnipotence, than stopping a ship under sail would be to the mariners: and if done gradually it would occasion no more difference to the in

Josh. v. 13—15. vi.

Gen. xviii. xxxi. xxxii. 24–30. xlviii. 15, 16. Hos. xii. 3-5. John i. 8.

« PoprzedniaDalej »