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purely a creative Being, and there is a regular process
of time allotted for the existence of every created being, which the God of Nature allows it to enjoy, if it does not destroy itself, or become subject to the destructive power of its fellow. If there be a God which forms the great creative power, and that there is such, is admitted by all men under different ideas, how can we degrade him so far as to make him meddle with the private and trifling affairs, not only of nations, but of individuals? Is it at all compatible with his creative powers, that he should side with this General and that King in their wars with their fellow-men? To me the idea is the grossest and most monstrous possible, that man should reduce the infinite God of Nature into the form of the human being, and enlist him, like a mercenary, into all his quarrels, whatever be the cause of them, or whoever is in the wrong. Still, such ideas have filled the minds of countless millions of the human race. Pagan has fought with Pagan, and each has invoked Jupiter for the destruction of the other. Jew has fought with Jew, and each invokes Jehovah, and the victor assigns to him alone the victory: Christian has fought with Christian--the Cross has been the banner of both, and each fancies that his Saviour Jesus is on his side, and ready to destroy the other. Thus has war been carried on among the human race :--millions have been its prey, and the misery and agony of millions its attendant :-yet all is done in the name of God, and each party 'acquits himself most religiously, by first praying for the destruction of the other, and then returning thanks to his God for the victory!
It is this false notion of the Deity, that detroys morality and civilization :it subverts not only our reason, but our nature, and reduces man to a more savage creature than the beast of prey. The beast of prey becomes tame when his stomach is satisfied with food, and attacks and destroys chiefly to procure that food; but man, more unnatural in character, destroys his fellow without remorse, and delights in the destruction of his own race, in preference even to the destruction of poxious animals--and will leave his food to witness or assist in the destruction of his fellows!
The seventh chapter prints Jehovah as angry with the 1sraelites, because, that one individual had secreted a portion of the spoil of Jericho, and to find out that individual, the whole people have to cast lots, first by tribes, then by families, and then by individuals, until they came to the right, who con
VOL. III. No. 18.
fesses secreting a garment and some silver and gold, for this he and his family are put to death, and all his property burnt, and this is called a purging of Israel, and a means to turn away the fierce anger of the Lord !
The eighth chapter describes the taking of Ai, and defeating its inhabitants by stratagem; and, although we were told in the last chapter that the Israelites were beat off in their first attempts upon Ai, in consequence of the above-mentioned act of an individual, still the cattle and all the spoil are here to be preserved. We ought to have some reason for this caprice. The conclusion of this chapter says, that Joshua built an altar of rough stones on Mount Ebal, and wrote thereupon the law of Moses as Moses had commanded him. If he wrote all the law which we have read as the law of Moses, and this too on rough stones, I think he had a tough job; for this writing must imply engraving. It would be the work of years for an individual now-a-day, and I am inclined to think that we have gravers as expert as Joshua was.
The story of Joshua is so very insignificant when compared with that of Mahomet, that even if we admit the truth of it, it is scarcely worthy of notice. In the book of Joshua we read of a great number of kings and cities being taken and destroyed, and if we knew nothing of the country in which those exploits were performed, we should naturally suppose that Joshua, like Alexander, marched over some thousands of miles, but no, Jerusalem and its king, Hebron and its king, Jarmuth and its king, Lachish and its king, Eglon and its king, did not occupy an extent of ground equal to the smallest county or shire in England, excepting of course those towns or cities which are counties within themselves. Some of those places were five miles distant from each other, and each had its king! Kings in those days were different creatures to what they are now. We should call such persons chiefs of banditti in the present day, and Joshua himself, if he ever existed, was nothing more than a chief of a powerful banditti, and not to be compared with some of the banditties that exist in the present day in Asia. We must not for a moment look at Jewish numbers they are gross exaggerations-rabbinical frauds.
In the ninth chapter, we read of an aliance formed between the Gibeonites and Israelites, and we are told that the Gibeonites represented themselves as people come from a far country to court the favour of Joshua and his followers: we are also told that the Gibeonites had four cities, and in the tenth chapter we are told, that Gibeon was a royal city and
very strong and powerful, more so than Ai, which Joshua destroyed : but geographers have not been able to find room to thrust in those four cities of the Gibeonites into a map, they must have been all comprised within a less space of ground than London covers by many miles. We also read of Joshua and the Israelites journeying three days from Gilgal and coming to those cities of the Gibeonites, when they discovered the fraud which had been practised upon them by the Gibeonites ; for instead of their being from a far country, they were actually within a few miles of Gilgal; 5 or 6 to the furthest, and not more ground than" such a number of the Israelites, as we read of, must have covered in an encampment ; however close they had been together. It is astonishing how men,
who have travelled over the land of Palestine, can encourage
the falsehoods which are stated in the Bible: they must know that a person might walk round its borders in three days, and go from one extremity to the other of it in a few hours with a good Arabian horse. Yet this is the promised land so much boasted of! It is a barren spot of the earth, but a little better than some part of the stony desart of Arabia; without rivers, brooks, or wells, to make its inhabitants comfortable. Egypt, or Italy, or Spain, is a paradise when compared with the land of Canaan ; yet the Israelites, we are told, were brought out of Egypt to possess a more fruitful country! It is sickening to think how this tale has been supporte t so long, when its falsehoods are so demonstrable.
It is a proof, that whatever fills the mind with a notion of divinity overpowers common sense and reason. Although we are told in the ninth chapter that the Israelites journeyed three days from Gilgal, yet in the tenth, they are represented as remaining on Gilgal, and the Gibeonites as coming to entreat their assistance as allies against the five kings, which had made war against the Gibeonites, because they had deserted the common cause : this forms a direct contradiction to the last chapter, and the contradiction is further corroborated, when we are told, that Joshua left Gilgal in the night and came upon them suddenly, a distance now performed in a few hours, which the last chapter represented as occupying three days. These are the five kings and their armies which Joshua discomfitted when he commanded the Sun to stand still upon Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Ajalon. This last circumstance attracts the notice of all commentators and all objectors to the Bible, but it is really deserving of nothing but a smile of contempt, or a laugh of humour, according to the disposition of the reader. I shall
say nothing about the power of Joshua to stay the revolutions of those planets, it would ill become me to make it a matter of objection even. In the first place it is false in the laws of astronomy, and it is evident, that the author of the fib, or rather the borrower, meant that the sun was just that useful ornament to the earth which is mentioned in the book of Genesis, and that it was a fixture in the firmarnent, and worked round the earth for no other purpose than to distinguish the day from the night. Again, the valley of Ajalon could not be more than 10 or 12 miles from Gibeon, and we are told that the moon shone on Ajalon, and the sun on Gibeon at the same time (which we know to be false) just as if they were vieing with each other in giving Joshua a light to destroy the inhabitants of five villages! And all this was not suificient without the assistance of Jehovah and his hailstones. Joshua is not the only favourite of the Gods who had stayed the course of the sun and moon ; in fact, the whole tale of Moses and Joshua is. borrowed from the tale of Bacchus, who is also represented as passing the Red-sea on dry ground, and stopping the course of the sun and moon in his journey to India! The reader will think I have said quite enough on this ribald tale, and although volumes have been written to support it as a fact, I should think a page wasted in attempting to disprove it. It is beneath contempt, and the wit of Voltaire could alone make it a subject worthy of notice. In the close of the tenth chapter the reader will observe that Joshua kills the king of Hebron twice, he first takes him out of the cave at Makkedah with four others and kills him, and kills him agaiņ when he comes to destroy the inhabitants of the city of Hebron.
The twelfth chapter enumerates a list of thirty-one kings, which the Israelites destroyed. Voltaire says that the extent of their several territories was four leagues in length and four leagues in breadth! There is nothing worthy of notice until the sixty-third verse of the fifteenth chapter which is as follows_. As for the Jebusiles the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the “children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebu
sites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto “this day.” Ilere the omnipotence of Jehovah is set at nought at once, and this too in the life-time of his famous general Joshua, and in direct contradiction to the eleventh chapter, which says-“ There was not a city that made peace “ with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the in“ habitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle." We have no mention, certaiuly, that the particular city
of. Jerusalem had been taken, yet there was a direct order thať the Jebusites should be utterly exterminated, but here in the fifteenth chapter it reads as if the Jebusitos had beld fast Jerusalem and made peace with the children of Israel. Again in the seventeenth chapter it is said, 'Yet the * children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities, but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. And again, Yet it came to pass when the children of Israel
were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; 'but diữ not utterly drive them out.' This by no means corresponds with the instructions of Moses as set down before, and consequently leaves poor Jehovah in rather a contemptible light; for the author of the book of Joshua says at the close of the twenty-first chapter, ' And the Lord gave unto Israel all
the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he gware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them;
the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. Now this is a direct contradiction to several foregoing parts: the Jebusites of Jerusalem, the Hivites of Gibeon, which defeated Joshua by stratagem, and the Canaanites mentioned in the sixteenth verse of the seventeenth chapter, as being too strong for the Israelites, because they had chariots of iron, and others mentioned as becoming tributary, are all contradictory of the above assertion, that all their enemies were destroyed as had been promised to them. Jehovah is rather negligent of Joshua for he does not even attend his funeral, and leaves this saviour to be buried in a common way.
There is nothing else worthy of notice in the book of Joshua, he dies without appointing any successor, as Moses had done before him ;' but not until he had cautioned the Israelites to put away their strange gods which were among them. This is singular, for we have not found the Israelites charged with swerving from Jehovah whilst under Joshua. Although Joshua intimates as much in his last dying speech, dying behaviour, and confession.' Whoever reads through the book of Joshua carefully, must be certain that the Israel ites had not been placed in the land of Canaan as they had been promised, and we shall find in the following book, that there was a sufficient force left on the side of their enemies, to reduce them to captivity soon after the death of Joshua. As to the book being written by ‘Joshua, it is all a farce, and the supporters of such a notion should shew us first on