« AnteriorContinuar »
I Would not be understood as coinciding in sentiment with Mr. Davison in all that he has written, On the contrary, I cannot but consider his attempt to set aside the more commonly received opinion of the divine institution of primitive sacrifice, to be a signal failure. He argues chiefly from the silence of the scripture history, as to any direct appointment of sacrifice in the patriarchal age: contrasting this silence with the very express command upon the subject, given in connexion with the Mosaic ritual: (see page 31 of this Inquiry, &c.;) and he expresses himself with some severity against Kennicott, Witsins, &c; and also against Archbishop Magee, because they recognize, in Gen. iii. 21. an intimation of the divine appointment of sacrifice. He calls their comments "remote and hazardous, not to say most arbitrary," and charges them with a complicated ingenuity involving a petitio principii as to the main question at issue." (pp. 24—26, and note.)
Yet in support of his own opinion, that primitive sacrifice is to be traced to the invention of man, and not the appointment of God, he says, "Superstition, by an easy corruption of mind, might soon come to think, that the animal victim was not merely the representation of a deserved punishment, in which use it was rational; but the real equivalent for it, in which sense it was tnost unreasonable; and thus resort to sacrifice for pardon, as well as confession." (p. 144.) What should be said of this hypothesis? We know, by Pet. i. 19, 20, that sacrifice for sin was the purpose of God before the foundation of the world. To say, then, that fallen man, by the uninfluenced exercise of his reason, aided by the unreasonable and superstitious corruptions of his mind, should have adopted a practice which happened to be in perfect unison with the mind of God, is perhaps to ascribe too much to a fortuitous coincidence. And, on the other hand, to admit that God secretly influenced man to the adoption of the practice, without any revealed commandment to that effect, is to yield what, after all, is the main question of the inquiry; since inspiration and revelation are alike divine.
Mr. Davison has offered no explanation of Gen. vii. 2. It is the first express mention of the distinction between clean and unclean animals; yet it takes for granted, that Noah was already perfectly acquainted with this distinction; for, if ignorant of it, he could have made no attempt at obedience to the divine commandment, to take with him into the ark, clean beasts by sevens, and unclean by pairs. If, therefore, it be rigidly denied that any revelation was given, but what is expressly contained in the letter of the record, the advocates of that opinion are bound to shew from what source Noah could have derived the information, which it is manifest he possessed. Noah was previously acquainted with the distinction between clean and unclean animals; but the Scripture history, previous to the time of Noah, contains no mention of such distinction; does it therefore follow, that the distinction was an invention of men? It would, I think, be difficult to shew by what easy corruption of mind, superstition might have contrived to separate between the roebuck and the hare, the goat and the camel, the dove and the raven; pronouncing on the one side clean, and on the other side unclean. If then it be conceded, that these and similar distinctions, were too delicate and detailed for human invention, the conclusion is inevitable. They were of divine institution; but the Scripture history is silent upon the subject, until the long subsequent age of Moses; and consequently, the silence of the early Scripture history, in the letter of it, is not conclusive against the fact of divine appointment; although that silence stands in remarkable contrast with subsequent express revelation upon the subject in question. If this reasoning be correct, the very foundation of his system is withdrawn from Mr. Davison; and the censures which he has so freely passed upon several distinguished divines, might have been spared.
It does not belong to my present purpose, to pursue this argument further; and I would not have adverted to the subject at all, but that, feeling much indebted to Mr. Davison, for his work on Prophecy, and having expressed myself in general terms of sincere commendation, I considered it my duty to accompany such expressions with this necessary reservation and protest.
THE TEN LOST TRIBES.
The following paragraph, which lately appeared in a German paper, under the head of Leipsic, is calculated* to lead to some interesting inquiries:—
"After having seen, for some years past, merchants from Tiflis, Persia, and Armenia, among the visitors at our fair, we have had, for the first time, two traders from Bucharia with shawls, which are there manufactured of the finest wool of the goats of Tibet and Cashmere, By The Jewish Families, who form a third part of the population. In Bucharia (formerly the capital of Sogdiana) the Jews have been very numerous ever since the Babylonian captivity, and are there as remarkable for their industry and manufactures as they are in England for their money transactions. It was not till last year, that the Russian government succeeded in extending its diplomatic missions far into Bucharia. The above traders exchanged their shawls for coarse and fine woollen cloths, of such colours as are most esteemed in the East."
Much interest has been excited by the information which this paragraph conveys, and which is equally novel and important. In none of the geographical works which we have consulted, do we find the least hint as to the existence, in Bucharia, of such a body of Jews as that here mentioned, amounting to onethird of the whole population; but as the fact can no longer be doubted, the next point of inquiry which presents itself, is, Whence have they proceeded, and how have they come to establish themselves in a region so remote from their original country. This question, we think, can only be answered by supposing, that these persons are the descendants 6f the long-lost Ten Tribes, concerning the fate of which, theologians, historians, and antiquaries, have been alike puzzled; and, however wild this hypothesis may at first sight appear, there are not wanting circumstances to render it far from being improbable. In the 17th chapter of the second books of Kings, it is said, "In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away unto