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the Bible - a blasphemous fraud.? Doubtless numbers will find their minds 'tranquillized' by Mr. P.'s labours ; for they will help sinners to shake off the fears of wrath, to indulge a haughty selfimportant spirit, and to vindicate their impiety and rebellion against God. They will in all respects operate as the insinuation of the serpent, “ Ye shall not surely die," did on the mind of Eve: but, should such persons at last find themselves fatally deceived, they will not very agreeably own their obligations to this humane deist, at the day of judgment and in the eternal world.
KINGS AND CHRONICLES.
Mr. P. says, “ The Jewish kings were in general a parcel of rascals. I suppose he meant to include the kings of Israel: but they were not Jewish kings. The kings of Israel were indeed universally apostates from the law and instituted worship of God; and no one of them receives a good character from the sacred historian: and therefore I have no objection to this language being applied to them. The tyranny and persecution of the house of Ahab had been so detestable, that if a Brutus had stabbed any of them, or a modern convention had doomed them to the scaffold, the patriotism of the deed would have been applauded by men of Mr. P.'s principles : but, when God employs Jehu to execute vengeance on them it becomes murder and assassination !!
Mr. P. considers the seventy descendents of
Ahab as “ smiling infants :' but they were in general grown men; and they were slain by the elders of Jezreel, who had been the instruments of Jezebel's tyranny in the murder of Naboth and his sons. We have, however, no more occasion to vindicate Jehu's character, in order to justify the conduct of the Lord, who employed him to punish the family of Ahab, and gave him a temporal recompense, than we have to insist on the virtue of the executioner in order to justify the punishment of a murderer. The Bible is no more answerable for the cruelties recorded in it with marked disapprobation, than Mr. P. is for the cruelty of that party in the French convention whose conduct he justly execrates. The severities inflicted by the Israelites on the inhabitants of Canaan, many centuries before, cannot be proved to have been the source of those wars which were carried on between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah: for the relative situation of these kingdoms might account for them; and such bloody contests have continually taken place in other countries, in similar circumstances, though they never read or heard of the Bible.
Mr. P. finds but seventeen kings and one queen in Judah, from the death of Solomon to the captivity : I suppose he omits Jehoahaz and Jeconiah. Of the remaining seventeen three were slain in battle, and three were murdered by their own servants, none of whom succeeded to the throne: all the rest died natural deaths.2 Athaliah, one of
' 2 Kings x. 29–31. Hos. i. 4.
? See 2 Kings ix. 27 ; xxiii. 29. 2 Chron. xxiv. 25; xxv. 27 ; xxxii. 24, 25.
the most detestable of usurpers and murderers, was put to death by Jehoiada.--From the accession of David to the captivity, the kingdom of Judah was continued in one family, by lineal descent from father to son, except as the sons of Josiah reigned in succession. This was a space of almost five hundred years, in which there was not a single revolution or civil war, and only one short interruption. Perhaps it would be difficult to find any thing, in universal history, equal to this permament order and regularity. How many revolutions, usurpations, murders of reigning kings by rivals and subjects, changes in the succession, and civil wars carried on with savage cruelty, are found in the history of England, within the last five hundred years? Yet who thinks this a sufficient reason for reviling the English nation? The reigns of David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah, amount together to three hundred and thirteen years; to which we may add the former part of Joash's reign, during the life of Jehoiada:" and the greatest part of this time was evidently passed either in profound peace, or in remarkable prosperity. Let then any impartial man compare the state of Judah, from the accession of David to the death of Josiah, with the same term of years in the history of Greece or Rome; and he will be constrained to admit that the condition of Judah was unspeakably the most desirable. The nation of Israel acted inconsistently with their peculiar advantages as the chosen people of God; and their crimes are assigned in scripture
2 Kings xiii.
as the reason of their numerous calamities. Indeed they were neither chosen for their merit, nor on their own account exclusively; but from the wise and holy love and mercy of God, and for the purposes of his own glory in the benefit of other ages and nations, especially in introducing the gospel and kingdom of his beloved Son. The wickedness of this favoured people, in direct opposition to the precepts of their law, decisively proves the depravity of human nature: and he, who impartially compares the history of Israel with that of other nations, will find that they were not more wicked nor indeed so wicked by far as many have been and are at this day. But the crimes of idolaters are concealed or excused; while those of God's worshippers are painted in the most horrid colours that ingenuity and eloquence can furnish, and aggravated by many palpable and shameful misrepresentations, in order to expose the scriptures to obloquy and contempt.
Mr. P. asserts that the genealogy from Adam to Saul takes up the first nine chapters in Chronicles :' when in fact the descendents of David to four generations after Zerubbabel are found in the third chapter; and the succession of the high priests till the captivity in the sixth chapter, besides other matters of the same kind! This would be unworthy of notice, did it not shew that the author is not so competent to his undertaking as many readers may suppose him. He considers the books of Chronicles as a repetition of the books of Kings : and others speak of them in the same manner. But an attentive examination of them must convince any man that this is erroneous : for
the second book of Chronicles contains the history of Judah only, and of the kings that succeeded David till the captivity; and it gives a more copious and methodical account of them than is found in the books of Kings. The latter, from the division of the nation into two kingdoms, resemble a history of England and Scotland carried on together, with continual transitions from one to the other. The former is like the history of England apart, in which the affairs of Scotland are only mentioned when connected with those of England.
What then shall we think of a man who charges two historians with being impostors and liars, because they do not exactly relate the same events ? Had they written the history of the same kingdom, they might surely have had the liberty to select, according to their different views, the peculiar facts which they would record : for no historian can record every thing that happens. But their histories relate to distinct subjects, and the writer of Chronicles had nothing immediately to do with the affairs of Israel. He who undertakes to write the annals of England is not bound to relate the extraordinary measures and edicts of the French convention : and, should some author in future times on this ground assert that the his*torians of England and France did not believe,
one another, they knew each other too well ;' the observation would not greatly recommend either his candour or his penetration.
The history of Jeroboam and his altar belonged to the affairs of Israel :1 but, had the historian of
'1 Kings xiii.