« PreviousContinue »
For, had tradition perfectly preserved the memory of these important facts, it could hardly be fupposed, that it had grossly corrupted doctrines. Infidels, in this case, instead of being convinced, that divine revelation was necessary, might argue, from the integrity of tradition concerning facts, with far greater plausibility than they do as matters ftand, not only that the writers of Scripture had borrowed from heathen tradition, but that the doctrines of heathenism could not be fo corrupted as the friends of revelation affert, while its history was admitted to be so entire. ..
PROVING, THAT THE BOOKS ASCRIBED TO MOSES
WERE ACTUALLY WRITTEN BY HIM, AND THAT HE WROTE THEM BY DIVINE INSPIRATION...
I Now proceed to thew, that Moses actually 1 wrote the five books which bear his name, and that he wrote them by divine inspiration. It has been already proved, that they could not have been received as genuine by the Israelites, in any later period than that to which they have been generally assigned ; that the truth of the great events recorded concerning themselves as a nation, muft have been certainly known to them at the time they received these books; „and that they muft have been pretty well acquainted with the principal facts regarding the history of the patriarchs, and of mankind in general. Here I might leave the argument; as it necessarily fola lows, that the Jewish religion had a divine original, having been attefted by the greatest miracles. But, as it has not been denied by infidels only, that the Pentateuch was written by Moses; as not a few, who have professed Chriftianity, have injured truth, and perhaps unwittingly weakened the evidence of revelation, by admitting, that the
books books of the law, as we have them, were not written by Moses, but compiled by others; it seems necessary to shew the falfity of this doctrine.
I. It appears from these books themfelves, that they were written by Moses. After he had “ told " the people all the words of the LORD, and all “ the judgments,” he “ wrote all the words of 4 the LORD.” Afterwards, “ he took the book 6 of the covenant, and read in the audience of " the people : and they said, All that the LORD " hath said will we do, and be obedient a." When he thus wrote “ the book of the covenant," he did so according to the express command of God, and therefore under his infallible direction. “The Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these < words: for after the tenor of these words, I “ have made a covenant with thee and with Il“ rael b."
He also wrote the account of the discomfiture of Amalek. For after the history of this event, it is declared, that “ the Lord said unto Moses, “ Write this for a memorial in a book, and re“ hearse it in the ears of Joshua ; for I will ut
terly put out the remembrance of Amalek from 6 under heaven.". Is it at all probable, that Moses should write the history of this war with Amalek, and use no means for recording other transactions of no less importance ? Or that he Thould be expressly commanded to write this account, and receive no such command in other in
stances ; * Exod. xxiv. 3. 4. 5. 6 Exod. xxxiv. 27. c Exod. xvii. 14.
stances; although it might not seem necessary to mention the circumstance on every occasion ? The very narrative of this victory bears internal evidence, that it was written in connexion with the preceding part of Exodus. Joshua, Aaron, and Hur, are here introduced, without a single hint. with respect to the offices or stations of these perfons. This undoubtedly supposes, that, in the apprehension of the writer, they were already well known to the reader, as being particularly described in the preceding part of the book. " The rod of God” is also mentioned, without any reason being assigned for the designation ; which Moses would scarcely have done, had he not already given a particular account of it a.
He also wrote the journeys of the Israelites, “ by " the commandment of the LORD b.?! After this
is mentioned, there immediately follows a com· pendious view of these. But it is unnatural to * fuppose, that nothing more is meant than that he wrote this summary. These journeys had already been particularly described, in connexion with the rest of their history, in the book of Exodus, and in the preceding part of Numbers. Thus when it is said, “Mofes wrote their goings out. :“ according to their journeys,” it seems most na
tural to conclude, that he speaks of what he had already done; and that he afterwards proceeds. to give a short itinerary, compiled from the larger account already written, and blended with the rest of the history. The propriety of giving
such • Exod. xvü. 9. 10.
bNumb. xxxiii. 2,
such an abstract here, appears from this consider. ation, that their journeys in the wilderness were
now terminated ; they were encamped in the · plain of Jordan ; and had only to cross this .ri. ver in order to obtain possession of the promised land a.
Near the end of Deuteronomy, it is said, “ Mo. . “ ses wrote the law, and delivered it to the priests, .. “the sons of Levi, which báre the ark of the co“ venant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of “ Ifrael. And Mofes commanded them, saying, " At the end of every seven years, in the folem“ nity of the year of release, in the feast of ta“ bernacles, when all Israel is come to appear s before the LORD thy God, in the place which “ he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before “ all Ifrael, in their hearing.--And it came to o pass, when Mofes had made an end of writing “ the words of this law in a book, until they " were finished ; that Moses commanded the Le“ vites which bare the ark of the covenant of “ the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, " and put it in the side of the ark of the cove6 nant of the LORD your God, that it may be “ there for a witness against thee. -Gather unto " 'me all the elders of your tribes, and your of“ficers, that I may speak these words in their
ears, and call heaven and earth to record against “ them.--And Moses fpake in the ears of all the " congregation of Israel, the words of this song, until they were ended b."..
From 2 Numb. xxxiii. 49. comp. with Deut, i. 1. 5. 6 Deut, xxxi. 9.-11. 24.-30.