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" unto thy seed will I give this land; and there builded he an "altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.' And he re« moved from thence up to a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on “the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and “ called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed, "going on still towards the south.” This is the commencoment of the promise, or pretended promise, that the seed of Abraham should inherit the land of Canaan; but their inheritance was for a very short season; for it subsequently appears, that in addition to their own natural vices, they inhe. rited also, all the abominations of the people whom they had driven out of this land. I am firmly of opinion that the first historian of Abraham and his family lived in the time of the prosperity of the Israelites, and that those proinises and appearances of the Jewish Deity to Abram, are no more than fictious embellishments to the history and origin of the Jews or Israelites.
." And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went “ down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was
grievous in the landi. And it came to pass when he was come near to entering Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his
wife, behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to, “ look upon: therefore it shall come to pass, when the .
Egyptians shall see thee, they shall say, this is his wife, and “they will kill me, but they will save thee alive: Say, I
pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me “ for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.” This is a piece of horrid immorality: Abraham is willing to prostitute his wife to the Egyptians to save his own life. Mark the sequel: “ And it came to pass, that when Abram was
come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and
commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken “into Pharaoh's house. And he entreated Abram well for “ her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and
asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, “ and camels. And the Lord plagued Pharoah and his house
with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. And. “ Pharaoh called Abram, and said, what is this that thou hast “ done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy “ wife ? why said'st thou, she is thy sister ? so I might have “ taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, “take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his
mon concerning him : and they sent him away, and his wife, "and all that he had." It is singular, that the house of Pharaoh should have been inflicted with plagues, in consoquence of the falsehood of Abraham, this making the innocent suffer for the guilty. Pharaoh's conduct towards Abraham is replete with generous hospitality. The conduct of Abraham towards Pharaoh is that of a false and abject coward. He cannot be called a virtuous man, nor she a virtuous woman, that would sacrifice virtue to the preservation of life. The contrary is beyond all other things a proof of virtue.
I proceed to quote the thirteenth chapter, in which I shall find but very little worthy of comment. 66 And Abram went
up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and “Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich " in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his
journey from the south even to. Bethel, unto the place " where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel “ and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made
there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of “the Lord. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had “ flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to “ bear them, that they might dwell together: for their sub“stance was great, so that they could not dwell together. " And there was a strise between the herdmen of Abram's 6 cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle; and the Canaanite 66 and Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abramı said “ unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me “and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen, for
we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee ? sepa“ rate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left 6 hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the - right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his
eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well “ watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and «Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of
Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all " the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east; and they sepa
rated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled “ in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the « plain, and pitched his tent towards Sodom. But the men 66 of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceed
ingly. And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was “ separated from him, lift up thine eyes, and look from the “ place where thou art northward, and southward, and east
award, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to " thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth ; 60 that if a man can
number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be “ numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of “it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
Then Abram 'removed his tent, and came and dwelt in tha, «
plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar. "unto the Lord." There are two things worthy of notice in this chapter, the first is the singularity of Abraham and Lot being able to move their flocks and herds to what spot they pleased during their residence in a foreign nation, which we are informed the land of Canaan was to Abraham. In the early part of the chapter, we are told the land was not able to bear them, because their substance was so great, and in a succeeding verse, that strife was the cause of the separation of Abraham and Lot. The second object I would notice, is the number of Abraham's seed, as promised by the Jewish Lord, who were to be as numerous as the dust of the earth. If that had been the case, the seed of Abraham would have swallowed up every other living thing, and then like the maggots produced in putrid matter they would have swallowed one another. But the extent of ground that this innumerable host were to occupy would be about sixty square miles, even if Abraham had stood on a high hill or mountain and looked about him. This is the exient of the promise to Abraham, for we find that he was to take possession of it by walking over it. The smallest of the English counties contains more land than this innumerable host of Abraham's seed were to occupy. In fact, travellers have asserted, that the land of Judea, of which we read 80 much in the Bible, is but contemptible in its extent, and that instead of its being a land flowing with milk and honey, it is 'one of the most barren on the face of the earth. The boasted river Jordan, is no more than a puddling brook, which might be crossed without wetting a garment, and fordable in every part of it. The brook Kidron, and the pool of Silvam and Bethesda, are exceeded in hundreds of our country villages and towns by the gutters which run through’them.
I now proceed with the fourteenth chapter: “And it came “ to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch “king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king “ of nations ; That these made war with Bera king of Sodom,
and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, "and Shemeber king of Zcbo:im, and the king of Bela, which
" is Zvar. All these were joined together in the vale of Sid
dim, which is the salt sea. Twelve years they served Che“dorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 66. in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings " that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth “ Karnaim, and the Zusims in Ham, and the Emims in
Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mountains, unto “ El-paran, which is by the wilderness. And they returned, ~ and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the “ country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt “in Hazezon-tamar. And there went out the king of Sodom " and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the “king of Zebojim, and the king of Bela the same is Zoar; " and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim j
with Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king " of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch kiny “ of Elasar; four kings with five. And the vale of Siddim “ was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Go“ morrah fled, and fled there.; and they that remained fled to " the mountains. And they took all the goods of Sodom and « Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And “they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, “and his goods, and departed. And there came one that had “ escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew ; for he dwelt in the “plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eschol, and bro“ther of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. " And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, “ he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three "hundred and eighteen, and pursued them into Dan. And “he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by 'CS
night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, " which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought “ back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, " and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And “ the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return “from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that “ were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's “ dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread “and wine, and he was the priest of the most high God. " And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the ( most high God, possessor of heaven and carth, and blessed be " the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into “ thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. And the king of “ Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the "goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Solom, 1
es have lift up mine land unto the Lord, the most high Gol, the
possessor of heaven and earth; that I will not take from thee 5 a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any " thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made “ Abram rich: save only that which the young men have
eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, “Arer, Eschol, and Mamre ; let them take their portion." This is the first introduction of the subject of kings in the Bible, and here we find them in that very character in which they have continued to this day, leading their subjects to fri. volous, unjust and unnecessary wars. But what could those very victorious kings be? or what the number of those who followed them when Abraham, an unwarlike person, with a few hundred followers could totally put them to the rout, and recover all they had previously taken? In the tenth verse we were told that the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and “the kings of Sodam and Gomorrah fled, and fell there, and “they that remained fled to the mountain.” I had always understood that falling in battle, implied, being killed by the enemy, but in the latter part of the chapter, we find the king of Sodom alive again, and coming out to meet Abraham, and congratulating him on his victory.
It has puzzled our priests, and commentators on the Bible, to say, who or what “ Melchizedek the king of Salem and high priest of the most high God,” was or whence he came. Some have asserted, that he was an earthly prince, who worshipped the true God, others, that he was an heavenly messenger sent to meet and congratulate Abraham on his slaughter of the kings and their followers, and others again, that he was the real, or a type of the real Messiah. The cloven foot of the priest is distinctly visible, when it says, that after Abraham had been blessed by Melchizedek he gave him tithes of all the spoils. This is also the first notice of tithes in the Biblo, and the origin of priestcraft as well as of kingcraft is displayed in the same chapter. It is singular, that this meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek, and the name of the latter, should not be noticed again throughout the books which compose the Bible, until we come to Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews. Paul makes mention of Melchizedek in a very singular manner, as the Bible stands at present, for I should notice, that strong objections have been urged, that the epistie to the llebrews is not the writing of Paul, but as the English Parliament have determined that it must be received as such, I am willing to receive it. The quotations I am about to make from it prongly indicate, that it was wrillen after a regular priest