« AnteriorContinuar »
rently consecutive history, it is one of its most remarkable features. We might bring numerous proofs, especially from the early books. Take for example the following, which we select because it happens to occur near the opening of the very next book of Holy Writ, and is from the pen of the same inspired writer; so that as far as we may safely speak of individual style in a volume all the facts of which were indited by one omniscient mind, it points out the characteristic style of Moses, the inspired historian both of the creation and of Exodus. We read thus, Exodus ii. 1, 2 :— 'And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bare a son (Moses), and when she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.' Now suppose this were all that is related respecting Moses and his family, but that Professor Sedgwick, following the steps of Belzoni or the researches of Champollion, had discovered, by digging up certain antique Egyptian monuments, that Moses must have had an elder brother, and also a sister nearly ten years older than himself, and had set out from Cambridge some fine June morning to relate his discovery to Mr. Cole in London. With what a burst of indignation would he have been met!' What! interpose two children where the sacred text indubitably consecutive passes over all mention of such an event, and clearly speaks of Moses as the first born, and apparently as having been born within a short time after the marriage of his parents! Who in his senses would dare to put such a construction on the passage V Why no person, certainly, if it stood alone and bore upon nothing else. But if the supposed monuments were as clear in their indications as Professor Sedgwick considers are those of geology, the reply would be that though this is not the obvious prima facie construction, yet there is nothing in it absolutely opposed to the text; and that if we do not admit it, the veracity of the narrative may seem to come into question; but since that is indubitable, and the monumental discoveries are irresistible, this appears to be a fair and consistent mode of reconciling the alleged but not real discrepancy."—Christian Observer, 1834, p. 381.
It seems to us to indicate a condition of extreme difficulty to resort to such an expedient to justify the imagined omission in Genesis. In the first place there is not an omission, as this writer indeed admits, in the narrative of Exodus of the fact that Moses had a sister older than himself. The verses he quotes are immediately followed by the statement that when Moses was placed in the ark of rushes, among the flags at the river's bank, his sister was stationed near by to see what befell him, and that on his being taken by Pharaoh's daughter, she ran and called her mother to become his nurse.
Next: But apart from this error, the supposed omission presents no parallel with that which it is employed to exemplify. We have specific evidence from Moses himself, Ex. ii. 4, 7, 8, iv. 1-14, Num. xxxvi. 59, that he had an elder brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam. But we have no such testimony from him, or any other writer in the Scriptures, that a vast series of ages intervened betwixt the epoch of the creation of the heavens and earth recorded in the first verse, and the creation of light narrated in the third; that the plants and animals that are entombed in the strata of the earth had their life in that remote period; and that at its close the earth was reduced to a "wreck," and light annihilated. To make the cases parallel, proofs of those events must be produced from the Scriptures, as direct and positive as they are which they present that Aaron and Miriam were children of the same family, and of an earlier birth than Moses. To assume, because an event mentioned in one passage is omitted in another that relates to the same family, that therefore events of the most momentous nature that are not mentioned at all, and of the occurrence of which no evidence exists, may be held to have actually taken place, though omitted from the narrative of the creation, and then make that assumption the basis of a train of such stupendous deductions, is truly an extraordinary procedure in men who claim, in a measure, a monopoly of knowledge on the subject, and announce—HitchcocKs Geology and. Revelation, p. 30—that "geology is no longer a bundle of crude speculations and airy hypotheses, but a collection of most striking facts, with inferences legitimately drawn according to the strictest rules of the Baconian philosophy.'-'
Thirdly. But there is a still more formidable objection to this imagined illustration. The event omitted in the narrative (Exodus ii. 1-8), presents no contradiction either to the fact, that Aaron was an older son of the parents of Moses, or to the statements made of that fact in other passages; nor does it involve any inconsistency with his or their nature, or any of the events of their history. But the supposition of such an interval betwixt the creation of the heavens and earth narrated in the first verse, and the creation of light recorded in the third, is in direct contradiction to the declaration, that the darkness which preceded that creation of light, and the season of light that followed till evening, were the first day, or first period of a complete revolution of the earth on its axis; and to the declaration by God himself in the institution of the law, that in "six days he made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is," Exodus xx. 11; while the supposition of a wreck of the world and extinction of light after the existence of vegetables and animals, is in flagrant antagonism not only with the sacred narrative, but with the principles of geology, and in every respect infinitely incredible. These instances, therefore, instead of a parallel, are of such extreme dissimilarity, that no one except by the most unfortunate ir.consideration, could possibly confound them. What a splendid exemplification of the exclusive competence which some of these writers claim to discuss the subject 1
The suggestions they present of the modes in which the extinction of light may have taken place, are equally inconsistent with the sacred narrative, and with the principles of geology. Thus Dr. Buckland advances the supposition that it was occasioned by an accumulation of dense vapors.
"If we suppose all the heavenly bodies and the earth to have been created at the indefinitely distant time designated by the word beginning, and that the darkness described on the evening of the first day was a temporary darkness, produced by an accumulation of dense vapors 'upon the face of the deep,' an incipient dispersion of these vapors may have readmitted light to the earth upon the first day whilst the exciting cause of light was still obscured."—Bridgewater Treatise, pp. 29, 30.
But this supposition is-in contravention of the narrative which exhibits the light as called into existence by a creative act. Though the word translated created is not used in the third verse, but a word equivalent to our verb let be, the sense is shown to be the same by the whole narrative, and by the express exhibition (Gen. ii. 4, 5) of the whole work of the six days, as a creation. "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth in their creation, in the day the Lord God made the earth and the heavens and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew." Here the