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"the people."* "And it came to pass, mat when "Moses had made an end of writing the words of "this law in a book, until tkey vrere finished,—He "commanded the Levites, saying, take this book of "the law, and put it in the sides of the ark, that it may "be a witness against thee."f—Reference to the law, written by Moses, is continually made in the subsequent books of Scripture. The testimony of all antiquity, Jews and pagans; with that of the whole christian church, and their avowed enemies the modem Jews, concur in ascribing these books to Moses; and even this testimony, from time immemorial, requires something more forcible to invalidate it, than a few stale objections which have been repeatedly answered. How could such- an unanimous opinion have prevailed in the world, if there had been no foundation for it! If it did not originate with the publication of these books, at what time could it have been introduced? Is it possible that the whole nation of Israel shook! have been persuaded by an anonymous impostor, that they had for ages past been governed by laws, and conversant in histories, which they had never before seen? If the rulers and a large majority, from selfish motives had attempted such a barefaced imposition, would not some opponents have risen up, and two partic s been formed?—However the minority had for a time been run down at home, would not other ages have heard of it? And if some received these books as genuine, would not others have rejected them as
spurious? Indeed it is too late for a man to attempt disproving any books having been written by the person whose name they have certainly born for above two thousand years, with almost the unanimous consent of all mankind.
The history contained in these books is confirmed by the most ancient records of the pagan world, and even by the fables of the poets, and has every mark of authenticity. The view given in them of the perfections, works, and government of God, is in all respects most rational and sublime; and as much excels all that pagans have written on those subjects, as the sun outshines a taper. The moral law, the sum of which is, "love God with all thy heart;" and love ".thy neighbour as thyself," is perfectly " holy, just, "and good;" but no Gentile ever gave such a delineation of man's duty. The judicial laws will be found wise, equitable, and beneficial, in proportion as they are considered attentively, and arc Well understood. The ceremonial institutions were not only ordinances of divine worship, and barriers against idolatry, but evident types and shadows of good things to come; and as such, a kind of prophecy, the exact accomplishment of which is a full proof of their divine original.
The miracles wrought by Moses were of such a nature, that they could not be counterfeited: millions, both of friends and enemies, were appealed to as eye witnesses: and if they had not been actually perforated, by the person who wrote the books in which they are recorded; when and how could it have been possible'to persuade the whole nation of Israel, that they and their forefathers had always believed them? Atid if they were wrought by Moses, they prove both the authenticity and divine inspiration of his writings: for he continually declares that he spake, wrote, and acted by divine authority.
The prophecies contained in these books, which have been exacdy fulfilled, evince the same truth. Regardless of ridicule, I still venture to maintain, that the first promise, of the seed of the woman, is a most astonishing prediction; not only of the crucifixion and triumphs of Christ, but of the persecutions, supports, and victories of the church, in every age of the .world. The prophecy of Noah, concerning the descendants of Canaan, has received a most wonderful accomplishment in the history of mankind to this present day. The blessings pronounced by Jacob on his sons were evident predictions, verified by the event; especially that of the sceptre not departing from Judah till Shiloh came. Balaam's predictions have been wonderfully fulfilled, especially in the dominion ot the Macedonians and Romans over the countries once possessed by the Assyrians and Hebrews. And the state of the Jews to this day is prophetically described in two remarkable passages.*
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.
* Lev. Mvi. Dent, xxviik
And now, what are all Mr. P. 's boasted demonstrations, that these books are spurious; compared with this body of evidence, thus compendiously 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 enquirers; 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 to get rid of the Bible at the same time.
T/fo Historical Books of the Old Testament.
JN prefacing this book some years since, I observed, that, 'It is not certain who was the penman:^—but.it 'is probable that the substance of it Mas written by 'Joshua: thougli several passages appear to have been * added after Jus decease; perhaps by Phinehas, or 'some other person, who was employed in connect.* ing the memorials that he left behind him.'* Tihe book qfJasher contained or constituted a part, of these memorials: for it seems to have been a collection of records and poems, made at the time when the events happened.
No doubt part of the book of Joshua was written after his death, and that of the elders who oudived him: and if Samuel, or some later prophet, compiled the whole of it in its present form from the records of Israel, how does this deduct from its authenticity, or invalidate its divine authority?—It is certainly very ancient: and the person who compiled it, testifies that Joshua wrote some part of it in the book of the law of God, and also attests that the •written law was extant in his days.f The book of Jasher was appealed
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* Family-Bible. t Josh, xxiii. 6. xxiv. 26.