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that virtuc should be depressed, whilst vice is triumphant and pros. perous. Instances of the former case are of less frequent occurrence; yet either might justly appal us, but for the conviction that the author of the law to which such inequalities are owing holds the recompense in his own hands. In the divine view, to which the eternity awaiting the sufferers under any general calamity, in all its completeness and perfection, is no less present than their immediate misery, that misery is but a point in an interminable line; and appears what it will soon appear, retrospectively, to the sufferers themselves, in comparison with the great and unbounded'
prospect lying before thein.
Vindex adds, p. 103, “ There is also a difference, I humbly think, with respect to the means employed. The unconscious elements, obeying the primordial laws which God gave to nature, sometimes desolate whole cities, and lay waste whole districts. We find that men, that moral agents, were employed to destroy the Canaavites. As moral agents, the Israelites ought not to have been cruel, unjust, rapacious. As moral agents, they ought to have believed that God cannot delight in rapine, bloodshed, and robbery, &c. At first sight, this is plausible. But what was the situation of the Israelites? It appears on the face of their history, that at the period in question they were living under a theocracy: under the immediate superintendence of the Supreme Being, to whom they owed and paid, not only the worship due to the Creator, but the allegiance due to a temporal sovereign. Their moral duty therefore, in the present case, was simply obedience. It was not their business, though it is thought to be ours, to doubt the justice or canvass the reasons of a judicial determination, of which they were the executive ministers. Where, again, are the Israelites to learn' that God delights in robbery and bloodshed?' In the judgment which so positively assured them, that he delights not in idolatry and wickedness? When they were thus individually employed to wield the sword of divine justice against a guilty nation, and to succeed to the forfeited possessions, they would see in the dispensation the fulfilment, not the violation of moral justice; and the lesson they would imbibe, would be an awful conviction of the severity with which the Moral Governor of the world, who is uniformly represented in their law as just as well as merciful, treats wickedness and punishes idolatry. It was a practical example of the destiny impending over themselves, if they yielded to the guilty actions which they had been specifically enjoined to avenge in others.
There is one, and only one more cavil, of which we cannot be content to leave Vindex in undisturbed possession. Mr. D'Oyly had juştly argued, that ' amongst the Jews thus deplorably mista
ken, in supposing that they were reading the history of their ancestors, when they were merely reading astronomical allegories, must be included those who lived immediately subsequent to the date of their supposed histories.
' Upon this Vindex takes occasion to inquire, · Was the Pentateuch certainly written by Moses, and was the book named from Joshua written by him?'
• It cannot be denied,' he continues,' that there are many interpolations in the books mentioned above, if they be, indeed, the same that were written by Moses and Joshua. I conceive it to be needless to point them out. They are sufficiently known. But it may be doubted by some, whether these be interpolations, or not, because it does not seem necessary to consider them as such, unless it be a matter of previous determination, that we shall ascribe the books to Moses and Joshua.
who think it suficient for the purposes of faith to believe that these books were written by some inspired person, without insisting on their being composed by Moses and Joshua;--especially as there is no scriptural injunction, which makes this a necessary article of belief. In a book of the Scriptures, now indeed excluded from the canon, it was distinctly stated, that the books, which might have been really written by Moses and Joshua, had been lost, and that the deficiency had been supplied by the inspired Ezra. There can be no doubt that several of the most distinguished Fathers of the Church have fallen into this error, if an error it certainly be. For my own part I pretend not to make any decision. I only wish to urge, that I see nothing either absurd, or impious, in considering it as a question, upon which every one may be at liberty to think for himself.:-pp. 27, 28.
We shall not be withheld by the delicacy which is so laudable in Vindex, from reminding our readers that the interpolations which he thinks sufficiently known,' consist in the substitution of the modern for the obsolete name of two or three towns mentioned in the Pentateuch; and in an allusion which we find in Deuteronomy to the kings of Israel, and which evidently implies a writer subsequent to the establishment of the monarchy. The former instance we naturally ascribe to an honest but misjudging copyist, who was more anxious that the sacred text should be immediately understood by his readers, than to preserve it entire; the latter was undou btedly introduced into the text from a remark originally appended to the margin. The known effect of similar errors, which are found in every ancient writer, is to furnish strong presumption against the authenticity of the passage in which they occur; but who would pardon the critic that should question the reputation of the work in which they are found, on gromds so sligiit and so easy of solution, even if it had no other evidence in its favour than the general testimony of antiquity:*
Whoever wishes to see the principal arguments for the genuineness and antiquity of the Pentateuch brought together within the compass of balf an hour's reading, will do
In what follows, we must observe that the exclusion of what is commonly called, the second book of Esdras, from the canon, is not the consequence of banishment, as Vindex leaves us to suppose, but of illegitimacy; and that the book is said to be now indeed excluded from the canon,' with the same propriety as a man might be spoken of as now dead, who had never been born: inasmuch as it never had an existence in any canon, Jewish, Roman, Catholic, or Protestant. With respect to the alleged loss of the writings of Moses and Joshua, and the supply of their deficiency by the inspired Ezra,' if this account were founded on any credible authority, it must really prove what the writer professes to have received, immediate inspiration; for this alone could transport Ezra from his own natural style, in which the return from Babylon is related, to the authoritative manner and lofty tone which characterize the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. But as it must be totally vain to address internal evidence to a person who can read what is commonly called the second book of Esdras, without perceiving it to be the composition of a writer conversant with the Christian Scriptures, and in particular with the epistles of St. Paul: we will take other ground, and briefly ask of Vindex, how he intends to account for the agreement between the Samaritan and Jewish Pentateuch? The ancestors of the Samaritans, it is well known, seceded from their brethren soon after the death of Solomon. Allowing, therefore, the authority of the uncanonical Esdras, the coincidence between their copy, and the Hebrew, can only be ascribed to one of the three following causes : either he adopted the books from the Samaritans, which had been preserved by them as sacred and authentic during their separation; or he persuaded the bitter enemies and rivals of the tribe of Judah, to credit his imposture, and accept his forgery; or his own account must be believed to the letter, and the agreement of the copies must be referred to miraculous inspiration. Here is unquestionably a plenomenon which can only be explained by one of these solutions, and we readily leave objectors to Moses, and believers in Esdras, to take their choice among them.
It is curious, in a philosophical point of view, to observe the anomalous state of the reasoning powers exhibited by acknowledged sceptics. Their peculiarity seems to consist in a promptitude to receive any thing as true, provided it be not confirmed by revelation. They cannot think it credible, that God should declare to man the purpose of bis being. They cannot believe, that in order to prepare the way for a more general promulgation of his counwell to consult a pamphlet by Dr. Marsh, entitled • The Authenticity of the Five Books of Moses vindicated,' in which the objections here alluded to are retuted with all the acuteness and perspicuity which so eminently characterise the learned professor.
sels, he preserved among a particular people the records of the creation, that he testitied his existence, and bore witness to his design, by rescuing that people from bondage through miraculous inter positions of power:--that he assigned them a particular country, and prescribed to their observance peculiar ceremonies, as a memorial of the miraculous evidence by which he had proclaimed them the chosen depositaries of the records entrusted to them :-that, finally, he forbade them, under pain of grievous national misfortunes, from adhering or apostatising to the senseless idolatry of the neighbouring nations, but enjoined them to worship one God, as the creator of the world, who had given them sensible evidence of his existence and power. This, it seems, a deist cannot reconcile to bis ideas, of credibility ; notwithstanding its apparent agreement with reason, and the general situation of mankind; notwithstanding the phenomena which are solved by its truth, and the difficulties which embarrass its rejection; notwithstanding the evidence of a long series of writings by which it is supported, and the historical testimony by which it is confirmed. But the stubbormess of the sceptics' incredulity in some cases, bears no proportion to the avidity of their belief in others. They can believe that God created man, and left him ignorant of the circumstances of his origin : that he gave him a mind capable of receiving ideas, yet did not enable him to express those ideas in language. They can believe that a nation existed, venerating certain monuments, and sacredly observing certain institutions, in memory of certain events, which events never took place :-a nation annually celebrating a very particular ceremony, and habitually consecrating all their first-born male children, in memory of a deliverance, which never occurred--a nation possessing laws expressly founded on facts of which the records are interwoven with them, and which appeal to the knowledge of the facts professed by the first receivers of the law, when the facts themselves never happened. They can believe, that the Jewish people received thenselves, and entailed upon their posterity, without any assignable cause, statutes expressly forbidding them to intermix with other nations, though they were anxiously desirous of that seemingly innocent intercourse; statutes binding them to abstain, ou certain appointed seasons, from business and amusement; to leave their land uncultivated one year in seven, and to desert their abodes and go up to their capital annually,--and all this on pain of certain imaginary vengeance to be inflicted by they knew not whom. Lastly, they can believe, that the people, in gratitude for these burthensome edicts, held their law in such veneration as to read parts of it publicly once in seven days, and the whole of it every seventh year; not allowing the lapse of time, or change of ciro YOL. IX. NO. XVIII.
cumstances to justify the wilful alteration of a single letter of the original; and were so zealous in defence of this voluntary burthen, as to sacrifice their lives in vindication of it-for no stronger reason, or more cogent obligation, thau because it had been promulgated by one of their fallible ancestors. Surely, these symptoms of infidel credulity betray strong proofs of a diseased state of the intellectual organs. At all events, they may satisfy us that believers are not alone subject to the charge of undervaluing the laws of evidence ; of overlooking difficulties and embracing inconsistencies, or of subscribing to the strong language of the ancient father, Credo, quia impossibile est.
Art. V. Vagaries Vindicated; or, Hypocritic Hypercritics.
A Poem addressed to the Reviewers. By George Colman the Younger. London. 1819. THE first virtue of a Reviewer, and that for which, in gene
ral, he gets the least credit, is patience. To read, to quote, to dissect dulness and absurdity, are tolerable, or perhaps we should say, intolerable trials of temper: but to abstain from answering our answerers, is (and of this we may be permitted to judge) the greatest exertion of critical self-denial. Our angry antagonists are so sure to be in the wrong, and to prove us in the right, to flicker about the light which we hold out to them till they burn their wings, that it is with the utmost difficulty we refrain from saying in a succeeding Number, that our observations on and have been enforced and elucidated with laudable accuracy, but rather too much of satiric severity, by and themselves, in their admirable “ Answers to the unfounded Aspersions, &c. &c.”?
But-laud we the Gods! here is an answer' which we may, nay, which we must notice. It professes to be not merely an answer, but, in one sense, an original work, and not an original work only, but a poem,-a regular poem, of eight hundred or a thousand heroic lines!--magniticently printed in quarto,
appropriate mottos in Latin and English, an Advertisement abounding withi fury and pleasantry, and notes amounting almost to the dignity of a perpetual commentary.
Our senior-junior, ' George Colman the Younger,' has printed (we dare not say published) this exquisite poem to prove two things, First, That the dulness and obscenity of his former work are perfectly justifiable, and that our reprehension of these laudable characteristics was perfectly unjustifiable ; Secondly, That he despises our reprehensions aforesaid, and treats them with silent sonttempt and utter indifference. And we must in candour confess,