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some of your readers to state what appears to be the true solution, which is given by Dr. Warburton, but not so fully opened by him nor so generally known as it deserves: and I send it you the rather because the omission of those thirty-nine verses in the Vatican copy of th Seventy* is urged as an authority for supposing them originally wanting in the Hebrew; whereas I apprehend, when some passages are restored to their proper place, they all form a very necessary and interesting portion of the history of David, and will be found to possess internal proofs of genuineness.
Our account of David, which begins in the sixteenth chapter of 1 Sam. with the relation of his being anointed by Samuel, has, I apprehend, suffered a transposition at the fourteenth verse, which verse, and those that follow to the end of the chapter, should be placed after the ninth verse of the eighteenth chapter. This restores unity to the narrative, and at once frees it from the difficulties with which it is manifestly embarrassed as it now lies in our Bible. It is strange that so ready a solution should be so overlooked, especially as the cause of the confusion may so easily be traced in the transcriber of a very early copy of the original mis. placing one of his sheets through an error in numbering them; and the mistake not being immediately detected would be soon propagated: this I think more natural than Dr. Warburton's idea of a designed anticipation. I proceed to notice some objections he has omitted, or but slightly touched, two of which upon examination appear to me to have arisen (as might naturally be expected), from the translators supposing they had the story in perfect order before them. The first objection that occurs (but which is not of this description,) is from chap. xvii. 15. “ But David went, and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep,” which Dr. Warburton observes, “ does not mean he lest Saul's court where he resided, but that he left Saul's camp to which he had been summoned on the sudden invasion of the Philistines, together with the rest of his brethren, of whom the three eldest were chosen and the rest sent back.” It is not improbable that Eliab's unkind words (ver. 28,) may have some reference to David's desire of accompanying his brothers to the battle: they appear to have eyed him, as Joseph's brethren did him, with envy; for Samuel's choice of David, “ whom he anointed in the midst of his brethren,"
* The verses omitted in that copy are from the eleventh to the thirtysecond verse of the seventeenth chapter and the fiftieth verse; from the , fifty-fourth of the seventeenth chapter to the sixth of the eighteenth chapter, and the ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twenty-sixth verses of the eighteenth chapter: In all thirty-nine.
must have been considered by them as significative of some honourable distinction, though certainly at the time not clearly understood by them. In this order of the story we are not surprised to find, that neither Saul nor Abner knew David when he returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, which, as it now stands, is very unaccountable; and though our translation of ver. two, chap. eighteen, says, “ Saul would let him go no more home,” the Hebrew, having no such reduplication, should be simply rendered would not permit him to return, but the translators evidently thought he had returned from Saul's court before. When David offered himself to accept the challenge of Goliath, Saul must have accounted him sent of God for the deliverance of Israel, or it would have been inexcusable rashness to have hazarded the fate of the nation on the courage of a youth; but Saul knew that under the theocracy, God had often delivered his people by persons apparently inadequate to the service, and though the nation had revolted from God in desiring a king, yet Samuel had promised the continuance of divine protection upon their repentance and future obedience. (chap. xii.) Saul's admiration of David was, however, soon changed to envy and suspicion by the burden of the songs of triumph which greeted their return. Our version reads, chap. xviii. 9. “ Saul eyed David from that day and forward,” the word translated eyed should, as Mr. Julius Bate remarks (Critica Hebræa), be rendered humbled, kept him down: in consequence of which it appears, that Saul either sent him back, or David prudently withdrew himself, and it is observable he made no claim to the fulfilment of the royal promise so solemnly given, chap. xvii. 25. This conduct was suited to appease the wrath of Saul, especially as David withdrew to a life of obscurity; for, doubtless, the ground of Saul's displeasure was the apprehension of his being the man whom Samuel had told him God had chosen in his stead, and who was better than him, chap. xv. 28. Hence this displeasure of Saul's was a real opposition to the divine will as declared by the prophet, and it is no wonder that a chastisement from God followed it; for we then immediately read (according to the connexion proposed,) and not till then, that “ the spirit of God departed from Saul, and an evil spirit terrified him.” It had been said before, chap. xviii. 5, that David was accepted in the sight of Saul's servants; it is, therefore, no wonder that they endeavoured again to introduce him, which they do very warily, by the proposal of music as a cure for Saul's malady, and when they had gained his approbation of the measure, David is described (whilst his name is skilfully, omitted) “ as a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters," fitted to attend the king both in court and camp. Now how can it be supposed that Saul's servants should have this knowledge of David previous to his combat with Goliath? Saul, whose anger was subsided, agrees to their proposal, and sends for David, whose skill in music and humble deportment so won upon the king, that he loved him greatly, and desired that he might abide with him. There only remains to be considered the junction of the close of chapter sixteen with the tenth verse of the eighteenth chapter, “ And it came to pass on the morrow,” which seems abrupt to the English reader; but the objection disappears on considering the word we render to-morrow, to be the same which occurs, Exod. xii. 14. Josh. xxii. 24. and Deut. vi. 20. in all which places the sense requires an indefinite future time; and then it only implies, that though David's music was, through the favour of God, a means of relief to Saul, yet, that after a time, his jealousy returned, and he gave himself up to the deliberate purpose of taking the life of that man whom he fully believed God had chosen to fill the throne of Israel, (see chap. xx. 30, 31, where he calls Jonathan's attachment to David perverse rebellion, which would produce his own exclusion from the succession). It is no wonder that this impiety of Saul led him into the evils, and brought down upon himself and his house the calamities* recorded, which ended in the utter extirpation of his family except the line of Jonathan, which was preserved by David in Mephibosheth.
ANECDOTE. After the signal victory off Trafalgar, one of the Spanish ships was taken possession of by the British; on board of which the Spanish captain addressed the Priest as follows: “ Father, there has been a serious loss on our part: it appears that God fights for the Protestants!" To whom the Priest gravely replied, “ Yes, he has fought for them indeed! and by this battle, it should seem that God himself is a Protestant!"
* By evils as distinguished from calamities I mean those great sins, the destruction of the priests, consequent neglect of God's worship, and, at length, seeking to devils for direction, into which Saul fell, and which awfully terminated in suicide: in the outline of his history (as David was a type of the Messiah,) Saul seems to have resembled Judas, both in his election and apostacy.
A letter from the Directors of the Nether. blished missionary society in London land Missionary Society.
was brought to us, and awoke, in the first To the Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green, chairman place, the learned and pious Mr. I. F. of the standing committee of missions of Vanderkemp, who, upon particular inforthe General Assembly of the Presb terian mation that it was to be sent throughout church in the United States of America. Christendom, was seized with an ardent REV. SIR,
desire to go and proclaim the tidings of Your very acceptable letter dated Phi. salvation to the heathen; he made a ladelphia, 28th April, 1804, came safe to voyage to London, to visit the English our hands, and we acknowledge our obli- brethren; upon his return, he was stigation for the opening you have made formulated by his zeal, to form a small so. a brotherly correspondence with you. We ciety here, in Rotterdam, and in other have learned with pleasure, from the parts of our country, from which our soworthy brethren at New York, with whom ciety originated. Then he went again to we have corresponded since the year England, taking with him the pious young 1800, that the missionary spirit increases teacher, Mr. 7. Kicherer, which brein all parts of your country; we trust it thren, in the year 1798, made the first has been excited by the same spirit which voyage to Africa, on account of the Lonin these last days has, amidst all the don society, and some societies with us. commotions of the world, enkindled so Brother Vanderkempwas ordained a teachmuch christian zeal for the conversion of er in England. the heathen, and for the instruction of 3. What are your leading religious destitute christians, especially of those principles ? on vour own borders, who, in such a A. Our society have wished to estabmultitude, call for help.
lish themselves, simply, upon the Gospel We thank you particularly for your of Grace for sinners, according to the inminute statement of the furtherance with structions of the Saviour and his apostles, which this important undertaking has as will be explained to you in a small been blessed; and we perceive also with pamphlet which accompanies this. gratitude the communion with our glori. 4. What obstacles or difficulties have fied Head, which is the only sure band you had to surmount? that can produce brotherly co-operation; A. After the first mission to Africa on and that he has graciously pleased that account of the English brethren, we also so many different christians should here. engaged some other missionaries, and in, with one heart and one soul, wish to sent them to those parts, to serve withinbe the evidence that he will openly ap- land: therein we had no great difficulty; prore all who truly engage in this work and throughout the whole we have met for the enlargement of his kingdom. This with more encouragement and assistance also strengthens the hands of all here in than obstruction, both from the pious here Europe, of different religious societies, and in that country. and of different ranks, who have united 5. Have any opposed you by writing, in this weighty undertaking; and it gives or by governmental influence ? us boldness to request your help in mutual A. Some small pamphlets were publishlove and labour, and by your prayers. ed, containing reflections on our under
You have the goodness to ask from us taking; but none expressly in opposition some particulars respecting our society to it: nevertheless, the government has about which you have had only some im- always been friendly and helpful to us, perfect reports: we shall satisfactorily an- although it was not necessary for them swer your questions, but it will not be ne. to countenance it by public authority, cessary to be very particular, as we must which indeed we never asked. Both the especially refer to the printed pamphlets English and Dutch governments at the sent herewith, which we request you to Cape of Good Hope have been very faaccept in love.
vourable to the brethren. You ask is,
6. What are your funds? 1. How long has your societv existed? A. Voluntary contributions, and gifts
Answer. Since the month of December, from devout people, have not been incon. 1797.
siderable, and have hitherto been suffi. 2. What were the circumstances and cient. motives which led to its institution?
7. What is the number of your mis4. A report from a then lately esta. sionaries? Vol. II.
A. You will see by the pamphlets sent stand from the little printed account sent herewith that the number of the Dutch herewith. missionaries is not vet very great; but Brother Kicherer, with his friends, when we join, from time to time, in the went upon a new missionary voyage in same work with the English brethren, un- October, 1804 : we hope soon to receive dertakings can be set forward, for which information of his arrival at the Cape of there is great encouragement. We have Good Hope. These brethren have receiv. now also in our employ Dutch brethren ed new instructions for Africa, with the from a religious missionary seminary at approbation of the English brethren. Berlin.
13. What are your hopes and prospects 8. Are they all men of education, or not? for the future?
A. But few besides Dr. Van lerkemp A. Our hope is, that our Lord Jesus and Mr. Kicherer have had an academi. Christ, who was so evidently with our cal education; but we require good na. missionaries, will establish a true church tural understanding, and an aptness for both in Africa and elsewhere, whereby the missionary work which they under the poor and ignorant natives may em. take; and, above all, a hearty love to brace the truth, and their lives be there. the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the souls of by truly reformed, and his honour estabtheir fellow-men.
lished. We can say but little as to our 9. What instructions do you give your future prospects: could we once have a missionaries?
general peace and open navigation, we A. We instruct them to qualify them- should have prospects from our Asiatic selves beforehand as much as possible settlements; but this is uncertain. We with all the requisites for christian mis- have reason to stand astonished that, by sionaries, as well with respect to their the blessing of the Lord, so much has preaching, as to the conduct of the mis. been done in so few years; and we wish, sion; (such instructions have hitherto moreover, to see what other ways will be been carefully given by our brethren ap- opened. pointed for that purpose at Rotterdam;) '14. What advice can you give to us! and also relating to the common doctrine A. Far be it from us to presume to of salvation by the knowledge of the gos. give any advice to your superior know. pel, and its necessary fruits, without be ledge, and greater experience, especially ing restricted by the peculiar system of respecting the places and circumstances any particular church.
of your extensive missions, which differ 10. What are the places to which you so much from ours. Praver, and the con. have already sent missionaries?
tinual committing our society to the poin. A. For our own part, we have sent er and mercy of the Lord, is our princi. missionaries only to Africa, where the pal mean. Our society has spread itself extent of the country, and the prospect of through all our provinces, and many take a blessing, afford great encouragement. part in it in each city and village, where
11. And what other places do you con- the members meet on the first Monday template for them?
in every month: as in England they hold A. If it please God to bless us, we meeting for prayer, communicate infor: think of Madagascar, or Ce lon; formation relating to the spreading of the which last island also a Holland sister, gospel, and keep alive and strengtien married to the Dutch brother Palm, is religious impressions. We send you now on a voyage, in the employ of the herewith the Report for 1804. English company.
We pray you to receive this little par. 12. What has been your success hi. cel in love, and the rather because it will therto?
confirm the foregoing letter. We request A. Besides the blessing which has at an answer, and also some accounts ir tended our undertaking here in this you of your proceedings, or concerning country, in many awakenings of the pic religious revirals in your country: such ous, and in instructing many of our igno. will very much oblige us. rant countrymen, the favourable reports We earnestly entreat a remembrance of of our missionaries give us great reason our society in your addresses to the throne for a thankful acknowledgment of the di. of grace; as we also shall not forget yours: vine goodness; particularly in the year being with great esteen and love, past, a visit was paid to Europe by the
The Directors of the Netherland worthy Kicherer, with three converted
Missionary Society. Africans, which were here, as well as in In the name of the whole, England, a very acceptable fruit of the
B. LEDEBOER, Secretary labour of this brother, as you will under Rotterdam, May 20, 1805.