Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

to for the truth of the facts recorded in it; which sufficiently proves that such memorials e'xisted and were well known, when it was published.*—The Jews have in every age considered it as an arcrtheritlck part of tfieir Scriptures, and preserved it with most scrupulous care. Joshua is repeatedly mentioned With approbation in the New Testament: and the book is Quoted in a manner which both authenticates the history, awl honours it as the word of God:* and thus it is proved to be authentiek and divine, by all the" evidence which establishes the NeW Testament.

-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 Atlantlck: yet the book of Joshua must be rejected as spurious, because the writer speaking Of Joshua says, that "his fame was noised through all "that country!" The Only reason of 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 direct

[ocr errors]

ed, according to the customs of those times, "to "loose his shoe from off his foot," as Moses bad done when Jehovah appeared to him in the busb; and he obeyed.—' And what then?' says Mr. P. 'Nothing; here ends the story and the chapter too.'*— Here ends the chapter, it is 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 Captain 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.f The appearance of Jehovah in human form is not particular to this place: J 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 diurnat 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 inhabitants. We cannot reasonably expect that authentick pagan history should confirm such an event; but some traces of it are supposed discoverable in Herodotus: and the fable of Phaeton, for one day driving the chariot of the sun, with the confusion which he occasioned, seems a plain intimation, that one day had occurred, unlike all that had preceded or followed it. The suspension of the earth's diurnal motion-must make the moon also appear to stand still, if visible as it often is in the day-time: and if Joshua had been introduced, speaking in the language of the Newtonian philosophy, the argument against the antiquity of the book would have been far more plausible, than it now is. Should any deny that God could work such a miracle; it is sufficient to answer, "Ye do err, not knowing—the power of God." If any say, that he would not on such an occasion, I enquire, " Who hath known the mind of the Lord? "or who hath been his counsellor"?" Testament also prove, that though anonymous it is not without authority. Probably it was compiled from the records of the times, by Samuel, or under his inspection.—The writer of this book expressly asserts that Jerusalem had been taken by Judah, before Adonibezek was brought thither:* and Mr. P. as expressly contradicts him!f It appears however from several passages, that the men of Judah had taken and burned Jerusalem: but that the Jebusites kept possession of some part of it, probably the hill of Zion; and that they were not expelled till the time of David. J Mr. P. supposes the book of Judges to have been written soon after that time: and should this be granted him, how does it invalidate the authenticity of the history contained in it? There is allowedly some difficulty in the chronology of the Judges; yet learned men have been able to settle that matter with tolerable clearness. But how a difficulty of this kind, in a single book of such high antiquity, can 'prove the uncertain and fa4 bulous state of the Bible,' does not appear to men of common capacity. ||

* Note, Part ii. p. 34, 35. j Josh. r. 13—15. *i.

$ Gen. xvlii. xxxi. xxxij. 24—30. Hos. xii. 3—5. John i. 1.8.

JUDGES.

This, book is repeatedly referred to in the New Testament, as a part of the Jewish Scriptures:* so that the proofs of the divine inspiration of the New

[merged small][ocr errors]

RtrrH.

Mr. P. thinks this a bungling story;-but very good judges have thought otherwise. Ruth was not a strolling girl; but a woman who had been married nearly ten years, and had been long approved as a vir

[ocr errors]

tuous widow. It is very unfair to judge the conduct of persons, who lived so long ago, by modern usages; especially as an occasion of traducing the Bible. In fact Ruth's conduct was approved by all concerned in the transactions, and her character was declared to be unexceptionable. The unaffected simplicity and piety of 3oaz and his reapers arc worthy of admiration and imiiation. The Book is replete with important instruction; and it contains the genealogy of David and of Christ, which is referred to in the New Testament.

THE BOOKS OF SAMUtL.

Mr. P.'s argument, by which he proves that the whole of these books was not written by Samuef, is absolutely conclusive: for the greatest part of the events recorded in them happened after his death. But it will by no means follow that they are destitute of authority; for this circumstance is altogether insufficient to preponderate against the testimony of the Jewish nation for above two thousand years at least; together with that of Christ and his apostles in the New Testament, and with the internal evidence of their authenticity and divine inspiration.

When Samuel was raised up to be the judge of Israel, a new epoch commenced: and the history of the two kings, whom he anointed, forms a crisis as it were, between the government by judges and the full establishment of hereditary monarchy. For this reason perhaps these books, as containing an account of the revolution in which Samuel had so great a share.

« IndietroContinua »