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habitants. We cannot reasonably expect that authentic pagan history (the very beginning of which is of far later date,) should confirm such an event; but some traces of it are supposed to be discoverable in Herodotus : and the fable of Phæton 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 inquire, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord ?
or who hath been his counsellor?"
This book was probably compiled from the records of the times by Samuel, or under his inspection. The writer expressly asserts that Jerusalem had been taken by Judah, before Adoni-bezek was brought thither:l and Mr. P. as expressly contradicts him ! It appears however, from several
passages, that the men of Judah had taken and burned Jerusalem; but that the Jebusites
"Judg. i. 4-8.
* P. ii. p. 22, 23.
kept possession of some part of it, probably the hill of Zion ; and that they were not expelled till the time of David.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 fabulous state of the Bible,' does not appear to men of common capacity. It would be easy to shew that the events recorded in it are referred to, as certain facts, in almost all the subsequent parts of the scriptures.3 Though“ ano
nymous," therefore, it is not without authority.'
Mr. P. thinks this book a bungling story; but very good judges have thought otherwise. It is a direct and inexcusable calumny to call Ruth' a
strolling girl ;' and a slander invented for the express purpose of calumniating the word of God. She had been married and acted very honourably for nearly ten years ; and had been long approved as a virtuous widow. It is very unfair to judge the conduct of persons, who lived so long ago, by modern usages ; especially as an occasion of tra
· Josh. xv. 63. Judg. i. 148.21. 2 Sam. v.
3 See 1 Sam. xii. 11; 2 Sam. xi; 21; Psal. Ixxxii. 9-11; Isa. x. 26; Hog, x. 9; Heb. xi. 32
ducing 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 Boaz and his reapers are worthy of admiration and imitation. 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 SAMUEL.
Mr. P.'s argument, by which he proves that the whole of these books was not written by Samuel, 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, were called by his name. The titles given to the books of scripture are not supposed to be of divine authority : so that perhaps these were improperly called the books of Samuel, and the
name given them in the Septuagint and Vulgate, of the first and second book of Kings, is more suitable. Probably Nathan and Gad, or other prophets in the days of David and Solomon, compiled them from the original records. The history contained in them has every mark of authenticity; they coincide with many of the Psalms, and with other parts of scripture, which refer to them; and they are replete with most important instruction.
Saul and his servant indeed cannot be justified as to the manner in which they purposed to consult Samuel : but surely the Bible is not chargeable with the faults which it records without approbation. The verse relative to the word seer was doubtless added afterwards as an explanatory note.2~Mr. P. says, ' many senseless and broken
passages are found in the Bible ;3 for instance, ““ Saul reigned one year; and, when he had reign
ed two years, he chose him two thousand men."'4 This, however, may fairly mean that Saul reigned one year before any thing remarkable happened ; but after he had reigned two years, or in the second year of his reign, according to the Hebrew idiom, the -subsequent events took place. Such remarks can only be made in order to prejudice superficial readers against the scriptures.
Saul had executed the command of God, by Samuel, in slaying even the women and children of Amalek : but, probably from respect to royalty, he had spared Agag, whose “sword had made women
“childless.” In this single instance, Samuel, who had long acted as chief magistrate of Israel, exercised apparent severity; "he hewed Agag in pieces “ before the Lord :” and here hatred to prophets renders Mr. P. so humane a friend to kings, and even to tyrants, that he reprobates Samuel's conduct in the most virulent language.
Mr. P. endeavours to prove that the writer of these books contradicts himself, because Saul did not recollect David when he returned from slaying Goliath. But David was very young when he stood as a musician before Saul. He indeed became Saul's armour-bearer, but it does not appear that he entered on actual service; nor is it said that Abner had any acquaintance with him. Saul's mind was disordered, and his affairs in much confusion. Kings, especially such kings as Saul, are approached and served by so many fresh faces, that they are apt literally to forget their old acquaintance. Some years seem to have elapsed, from the time when David left court, to his appearance in a shepherd's dress before Saul in the army. Young persons alter greatly in a little time: yet Saul spake as if he had some confused knowledge of him; so that the charge is hardly plausible.
Mr. P.'s eloquent harangue, against the callous 'indifference and stubbornness of priests,' contains no argument against the divine authority of the scriptures. The true minister of Christ will not wish to escape reviling from the man who calls
· P. ii. p. 60–63. 1 Sam. xv.
Note, P. ii. p. 51. 1 Sam. xvi. xvii.
3 P. ii. p, 25, 26.