Sivut kuvina

for a religious polity, when the people should be at some particular period settled in Canaan; of which settlement human forecast could not see the least probability. For what hopes could a leader entertain of possessing a country from which he withdrew himself, and persisted in receding for so many years? And, when at a time an attempt was made to obtain some footing, nothing ensued but repulse and disappointment. Did any lawgiver pen di rections about corn, wine, and oil in a country, that was a stranger to tillage and cultivation; or talk of tythes and first-fruits, where there was scarcely a blade of grass? It may be answered, that these ordinances were given with a view to Canaan. True. But Moses was not acquainted with Canaan; and if providence


V. 3. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord.

V. 4. And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?

V. 5. And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any

water to drink.

This is plain from the spies, which were sent, and the orders they received. Numbers xiii. 18, 19, 20. See the

were not his guide, there was little chance of his getting even a sight of it. He was in the midst of a wilderness, and so continued for near forty years. And in this place, and at this season, he gave directions about their towns and cities, and of the stranger within their gates; while they were in a state of solitude under tents, and so likely to continue. He mentions their vineyards and olives, before they had an inch of ground; and gives intimation about their future kings, when they were not constituted as a nation. These good things they did at length enjoy; and in process of time they were under regal government. But how


land what it is—whether it be good or bad—whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not. Moses had been told that it was proverbially a land flowing with milk and honey: but with the real nature of the soil he was not at all acquainted. Whoever framed those laws relating to the fruits, &c. could not be ignorant of the country. The laws therefore were not framed by Moses; but he had them from the person whose delegate he was, even from God himself. 'See Deut. viii. 8.


Concerning this circumstance so many centuries before it happened we have the following prophetic threat, which must affect every unprejudiced person-The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shall set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. Deut. xxviii. 36.


could Moses be apprised of it? Was it by inspiration? If so, he was under the direction of an higher power, and his mission by divine authority; which is granting the point in question. Add to the articles above mentioned the various ordinances about burnt-offerings, peace-offerings, and sin-offerings; also concerning offerings of atonement; and of general atonement to be made with blood by the highpriest for all the people; the redemption of the first-born, and the ransom which every man was to pay for his own soul. Nor must the feasts, or festivals, be omitted; the feast of the Sabbath, of Pentecost, of the Passover, the feast of Trumpets, and of the New Moon; and the feast of Expiation. Also the sabbatical year and year of Jubilee, the redemption of servants and the redemption of lands; and above all, the redemption of 3 souls. I omit many other


'Exodus xxxiv. 20. and Numb. xviii. 15, 16.


→ Exodus xxx. 12.

3 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it (the altar) once in a year, with the blood of the sin-offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations to make an atonement for your souls. Exodus xxx. 10, 15.


And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. Levit. xvi. 34. also ver. 11.

[ocr errors]

ordinances; to which we know of nothing similar in Egypt, nor in any other country, The heart of man could not have devised them. If then there was a particular meaning in these laws, and a secret allusion, and they were not merely rites of arbitrary institution, the secret purport must relate to events in the womb of time, with which Moses was not acquainted. Or if he were acquainted, then the same conclusion follows here as before; he must have had the intelligence by inspiration; and consequently, what he did was by Divine appointment. The internal evidence, we see, is wonderful, and not to be controverted. The only way to get rid of it is to set aside the external, and say that the whole is a forgery. But this is impossible; the law still exists, and must have had a beginning. It is kept up by people of the same race as those to whom it was first delivered, and from whom it has been uniformly transmitted without any interruption. This people have now lost their polity, and have been for ages in a state of dispersion. And as there are many things in the books of Moses said concerning both them and their forefathers, every thing which was predicted

has been literally fulfilled. They are probably as numerous now as they were of old, but widely dissipated; being in the midst of nations, yet separate from them; preserved by providence for especial purposes: and particularly to afford attestation to those divine ora▾ cles, in which they are so signally pointed out.

Farther Observations.

Let us make one or two inferences more before we conclude. If these laws were of human invention, and this history of the Israelites the contrivance of Moses, what could be his reason for introducing so many difficulties and delays? Why did he not describe the Israelites as advancing to immediate conquest, and fix them at once in the land of Canaan? If it had been in his power to invent the history, he would surely have done honour to his people. But no historian ever placed his nation in so unfavourable a light. Yet he had every thing, good and bad, at his option. His tablet was before him, ready to receive any tint. Why did he deal so much in gloom and shade, when he could have en

« EdellinenJatka »