« AnteriorContinuar »
which custom could proceed from no other cause, than from the fear of the Egyptians lest the same plague and mortality should come upon them, which was inflicted upon their forefathers, and from the hope of preventing it, by the use of a talisman, somewhat resembling the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb on the doors of the Israelites, which was the method prescribed to Moses, for the deliverance of his people from that great plague”.” Lastly, These miracles were confirmed by succeeding ones equally important, and equally authenticated. Among others—the pillar of fire and cloud, which preceded the Israelites, and which was so serviceable to them, and so injurious to Pharaoh, during their passage through the Red Sea, is mentioned by Euskbius, who says, “that the remembrance of it was preserved, to his time, at Memphis.”—Diodorus Siculus also, when he is recording the history of the Troglodytes, mentions a tradition, among the native inhabitants of the spot, of the division of the Red Seat. Such was the slavery and the deliverance of Israel, according to Moses: such are the reasons upon which we present this account to you as strictly true; and such are the testimonies which we have been able to select from other ancient historians; and we think we may venture to affirm, that God has not left his word without a witness. It is easy for infidelity to imagine, that such and such things are impositions now: the question is, how were they imposed upon mankind at the time? And by what means, supposing they were impositions, did they obtain credit in the world? Why have they not been detected and overthrown, with other impositions? How is it that these fables have survived the attacks of time, when so many authentic histories have sunk under them? In short, it is much easier for skepticism to raise objections against revelation, than to remove the difficulties which clog its own system. When you consider the distant period in which these events took place: the darkness and idolatry of the heathen world: the separation of the Jews from all other nations: the difficulties of a language no longer in use: the mere fragments of heathen historians which have come down to us-the wonder is not, that obscurity should rest upon the evidences of the Mosaic account of things so remote, but that such decisive and numerous testimonies of other writers should remain. It becomes skepticism to urge its objections against the Bible with caution, and to oppose it with decency. The testimonies which we have produced deserve, at least, some small regard, and are not to be overthrown by ridicule, by witticisms, by the sneer which distorts the countenance, the contempt which swells upon the lip, or the scorn which looks from the eye, of a deist. We feel no apprehensions in submitting this volume to the attacks of infidelity. These writings have stood too many ages, to excite any alarm in our bosom, from assaults such as those which are levelled against them in the present day. Let its adversaries produce a better system: let them invent something more consolatory to the heart, and more adapted to human feelings, and human expectations,
* This work was composed by P. Allix, a French refugee: it was published in London in 1688; this extract is in chap. iii. on the four last books of Moses: the general arguments used above will be found in this work, which is preserved in Bishop Watson's Theological Tracts, vol. i. p, 295.
f Diod. Sic. lib. iii. p. 122. This tradition is noticed also in Bruce's Travels, Vol. II. p. 136, 137, new 8vo. edition. For the original passage, see note 4, of this Lecture at the end of the volume.
living and dying: let them overturn the evidences which have resisted the devastations of so many centuries: let them prove it useless and injurious: and then shall our hearts begin “to tremble for the ark of God.”—Till then, we adhere, with perfect cheerfulness, to a just and acknowledged principle, and calmly abide all its consequences: “If this counsel, or this work, be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it!”
THE JOURNEY OF ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS: THEIR ESTABLISHMENT IN CANAAN; AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING THESE EVENTS.
Joshua xxiv, 2–13. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the fatherof Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other Gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac, Jacob and Esau; and I gave unto Esau Mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red Sea. And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt; and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possesstheir land; and Idestroyed them from before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: So I delivered you out of his hand. And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho and the men of Joricho brought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and 1 delivered them into gour hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. And I have given you a land for which ye did not labor, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and olives. yards which ye planted not, do ye eat!
WE are indebted to God himself, for all the information which we possess, in relation to either his nature or his operations. He furnishes the medium through which he is seen in the visible creation, in the arrangements of Providence, in the scheme of redemption: and all that we are able to comprehend of “life and immortality,” is “brought to light by the gospel.” The human mind requires a medium through which it may discern God, as the eye requires a medium through which it may see. As that medium to the eye is light, so is the medium of the spirit, illumination. It is in vain that creation subsists around me, except I have an organ of vision. To the blind man it is annihilated. The works of God exist, but not to him: he is insensible of their beauties, he never was permitted to admire their symmetry. And it is in