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a city in those parts might be so called, because some person was stationed there to administer justice. Admitting however that Laish was meant; must we thence infer that Moses did not write the book of Genesis? Some transcriber, in after times, knowing that Laish was then commonly called Dan, might insert this name, as a note in a parenthesis, to render the history more intelligible: and this note might afterwards be continued instead of the text; either by mistake, or with the same intent for which it was inserted. Arguments must be very scarce with infidels; when this single word is brought forward with great parade and confidence, as if it contained a full demonstration, that the books of Moses were anonymous impostures!
It may perhaps be proper to inform some readers, that the Bible, and the Bible-chronology are entirely distinct: we contend that the former is the infallible word of God; we allow the latter to be the fallible calculations of learned men.*
No doubt some parts of the thirty-sixth chapter of Genesis were inserted long after the death of Moses, f The compiler of the books of Chronicles abridged several genealogies from Genesis; and he continued the fist of names far beyond the times of Moses, in the latter part of the first chapter. In consequence, probably, some transcriber put these additions, to the genealogies in the thirty-sixth of Genesis, where they have stood to this day. Studious men have always been aware of the difficulty, and have attempted to
obviate it: and the Age of Reason has not shewn that any new solution is wanted.
The assiduity of infidels may perhaps hereafter discover a few more instances of the same kind: but instead of wondering, that such trivial variations have taken place in these ancient records; we may be astonished, they have been so well preserved, that the most acute criticks can discover no alteration of any importance to our faith and practice.
As king Zedekiah is spoken of in the second book of Chronicles, Mr. P. (taking it for granted that these books were written before the book of Genesis because the verses above mentioned were taken from the first book,) concludes that Genesis was not extant till after the captivity; and that the first book in the Bible was written three hundred years after Homer's Iliad.* He must mean the first book in order, not the most ancient book: for he allows David and Solomon to have written some part of the works ascribed to them.
But will any man seriously contend, on such slight grounds, that the books of Moses were penned after the captivity: when the whole religious system and civil polity of the Jews, for nearly one thousand years before, had been rested on those books; and all their other writers perpetually referred to them; as it is manifest from all the histories, Psalms, and prophecies of the Old Testament?
In fact, the line of David is in these books brought
down four generations lower than the time of Zcrubbabeh* and if this too were written before the books of Moses; the Jews had not a written law till within about four hundred years before Christ! But at that time, the whole nation, by some unaccountable infatuation, was led to receive the works of an anonymous impostor as sacred books, which they and their fathers had always possessed, read, and obeyed, for above one thousand years; or at least, to allow that they had always suffered severe punishment, whenever they disregarded or disobeyed them!
Mr. P. does not seem to have made up his mind, as to the period, when he should allow the Jews to have been in actual possession of the books of Moses, f Such an explicit declaration would indeed subvert his cause: for it would be far easier to meet a direct charge, than vague and varying insinuations on the subject.
Moses lived till the Israelites had got possession of the countries, which had been governed by Sihon and Og, and he died on the borders of Canaan. Surely then he might write, that " the children of Israel did "eat manna till they came to a land inhabited;—they "did eat manna till they came to the borders of "Canaan. "J
The historian remarks, that "the man Moses was "meek above all men which were upon the face of "the earth." ' Therefore,' says Mr. P. ' Moses could 4 not be the writer; for to boast of meekness is the re'verse of humility, and a lie in sentiment.'—But
* 1 Chron. iii> f P. ii p. 32, 33. i Numb. xii.
meekness in this connexion is opposed to an irascible disposition; and the meekness of Moses is mentioned as an aggravation of the offence committed by Aaroa and Miriam, and as a reason of the Lord's interposition to plead his cause against them.* To speak truth of ourselves is not always vain-glorious boasting; nay, there are occasions, on which a man may mention his own meekness and gentleness iu consistency with the deepest humility. Our Lord himself said " I am meek "and lowly in heart:" and, though infidels, who seem to think themselves exclusively warranted to proclaim their own virtues, may despise this remark; yet christians will reverence the example, and not wonder that Moses, having impartially recorded his own faults, should be led by the Holy Spirit to mention this excellency of his character.—Some indeed tfiink, that a hlameable lenity was intended, and others seem to admit that the words were inserted by another hand: but I see not the least occasion to have recourse to such suppositions; for the readiness with which Moses forgave the offenders, and the earnestness with which he prayed for Miriam, illustrate the account given of his unassuming and gentle disposition.
-Mr. P. seems to think it self-evident, that all accounts of giants must be fabulous; and consequently t/iat the Bible is a fable, f But men are now sometimes seen considerably above eight feet high, and proportionably large; authenrick histories mention those of a still greater size: and a well-attested relation, «f men ten or twelve feet high, would not be incredible; for none of our reasoning can shew this to be impossible.—-A bedstead, fifteen or sixteen feet long, must have been needlessly long, and the disproportion must be ascribed to the ostentation of the king of Bashau.*—Even if Rabbah were never taken till the days of David, which cannot be proved: yet Moses might know, that the Ammonites had seized upon the bedstead of Og, or bought it of the Israelites, and reserved it as a curiosity in their capital city. But suppose the passage in question were added as a note many years afterwards; how does this invalidate the authenticity of the books of Moses?
* Exod. xri. 35. f P- ii. p. 17.
The fourth commandment, as it stands in the fifth of Deuteronomy, varies from the original law written in the twentieth of Exodus: hence it is inferred that the writer of these books received his materials from tradition, or invented them himself.f But impostor* do not admit such apparent inconsistencies, which may at all times be avoided with very little trouble: so that they are rather proofs of the writer's conscious integrity. In fact, Moses, when delivering a most impressive and pathetick exhortation, did not confine himself to the words which he had recorded as an historian. The people very well knew the original ground for hallowing the sabbath, in honour of the Creator: and he thought himself at liberty, to remind them of their obligations to Jehovah their Redeemer from Egyptian bondage, and of the humanity due to their