The Irrationalism of Infidelity: Section f.

Being a reply to "Phases of Faith"*

J. N. Darby.

{*London: 1853.}

<06001-129E> File Section f.


The statement as to "Elohistic and Jehovistic"* sources of the Mosaic history (words which I hope my readers have never heard before, and very worthy of their German infidel source, and which they are happy if they never hear again) is without any other foundation than ignorance and the low German habits of criticism. I say, low habits.** There is (at least in what I have seen) a plodding diligence, no doubt, to find out something which has the character of human learning, no matter what, but something which will make a book (which somebody else has not made); but then it has all a downward tendency, and never rises above a grovelling pre-occupation with the external means of truth, or the spinning out their ideas of what ought to be. Take even Michaelis, a learned man and attractive by his modesty. When he comes to touch the interpretation of scripture, it is puerile to the last degree. A child who reads the scriptures with a little simple intelligence would smile at the wonders he finds out by Syriac and Hebrew (and, if Marsh is right, often a very slovenly use of them), and the working of his own mind. It is such naïf nonsense, and brought out with such good faith, that it produces the kindly feeling one has for the foolish questions of a child which betray his innocence. The mind of God in the passage never seems to occur to him, though he believes scripture to be inspired. Now Jehovah and Elohim are always used each in its own proper sense: the latter as the Creator God, God in His own being as such; the former as made known to Israel, a personal name in which He dealt with Israel, and even with the world though they did not own Him. The appropriateness of each is always sensible to him who seizes the bearing of the passage in which it is used. When the relationship or work of God known in relationship to Israel is expressed, we have "Jehovah." When the account is simply historical, God (Elohim) is used. In some cases either would give, if not so perfect sense, yet very little different; since Jehovah is the true Elohim, and Elohim is Jehovah; and the use of Jehovah in these latter cases amounts to the writer having God as known to himself in his mind.

{*"For some time back I had paid special attention to the book of Genesis; and I had got aid in the analysis of it from a German volume. That it was based on at least two different documents, technically called the Elohistic and Jehovistic, soon became clear to me." (Phases, p. 133.)}

{**Even Stuart, I judge, on the canon of scripture, does not escape this. For if we do not read with God, but simply as men, we are already on this low ground. Thus, judging as he and others do of the scriptural importance or authenticity of a book, by the enquiry if it has an ethical tendency for me: — what a thoroughly narrow-minded way of looking at it, instead of seeing it as part of an immense and divine conception and communication of the whole history of men, and God's ways with them. Thus, for instance, Esther. Is the providential care of Israel even during its rejection not a principle of immense importance in God's dealings with men and His people? It is of the very last importance. Is such a knowledge of God not ethical for me? He could not reveal Himself, or it would not be the time of their rejection. All the style of reasoning I am commenting on, I must be forgiven for calling by the well known term of "pettifogging." But I anticipate.}

181 The Psalms notably shew the different use of the two terms, as does the Book of Jonah. I will take a special example from the Psalms to shew this — Psalms 14 and 53. These are very nearly the same; but in one Jehovah is used, in the other Elohim. In Psalm 14 Jehovah is used. Hence it says, "They were in great fear, for [Elohim — God Himself] GOD is in the generation of the righteous." The relationship, the consequence of this name Jehovah, is expressed in the presence of Elohim with the righteous in verse 6. "Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because Jehovah is his refuge." Now in Psalm 53 Elohim is used; it is the historical fact of what they were in the sight of Elohim. Hence we have, "There were they in great fear, where no fear was; for Elohim hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee; thou hast put them to shame, because Elohim hath despised them." These psalms convey the same truths; but the thought of relationship prevails where Jehovah is used; whereas, where Elohim is used, we have the general result as regards the enemy.*

{*It may be interesting to those who do study scripture with spiritual understanding, however feeble, to draw their attention to the circumstance, that all the psalms in the first Book (i.e., to the end of Psalm 41) are addressed to Jehovah, except Psalm 16, in which, as cited by Paul in proof of Christ's partaking of human nature, and by Peter as proof of His resurrection, Christ's taking His place with man is most clearly brought out. "Preserve me, O Elohim, for in thee [in what God was as such, He having become man] do I put my trust. Thou hast said to Jehovah, Thou art my Adon [Lord]; my goodness extendeth not to thee." (He takes the place of subjection, and that in Israel, not as equal with the Father. "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but God.") "[Thou hast said] to the saints that are in the earth, and the excellent, All my delight is in them." He takes His place now along with the saints, not with Jehovah: as to Him, He takes the place of a servant. How deep and admirable are the instructions of the word! Now all these psalms of Book 1. suppose relationship existing (as, however deserving rejection and not a people, was the case in Israel when Jesus was amongst them). But in Psalm 53 (i.e., Book 2) it will be seen that they are cast out from God's sight — can no more frequent His temple and worship. Hence we at once find not Jehovah, but Elohim addressed. And so it is through this Book; though, of course, He is owned to be Jehovah, and Jehovah as the only true Elohim. I have no doubt that, prophetically, Book 1 refers to the Jews in the latter day, returned to Jerusalem, and enjoying outwardly their hoped-for advantages there; and that Book 2 has its application when they are driven out in the time of the great tribulation mentioned in Matthew 24. It will be seen that Book 3 (beginning with Psalm 73) refers to all Israel (i.e., the ten tribes as well as the two) as such, and not specially the Jews, but only to the clean in heart, however, among them. They are still driven out — the temple pillaged and defaced — and Elohim is addressed, until the last confederacy in Psalm 83, where the judgment prophetically spoken of introduces Jehovah, known as Most High over all the earth. Then in Psalm 84 they address Jehovah, and turn and mount up to the tabernacles of Jehovah Sabaoth and His courts, finding that man blessed whose trust is in Jehovah. Thence onward is praise to Jehovah, with contrition and exercise of heart, mercy celebrated in the true, gracious, or holy One (Chasidika), Christ, the true David, which closes the Book. I may just add, that Book 4 celebrates in all its bearings, but in special connection with Israel, the introduction of the first-begotten into the world (Psalm go giving Jehovah's interest in Israel; Psalm 91, Christ's taking Jehovah the God of Israel as the true Elion Shaddai — the names by which Melchizedek blessed Abraham), then celebrates Him in this character and develops the coming of the Lord to reign, and that in detail from the cry of the needy till He is fully again seated between the cherubim. In Book 5 from Psalm 101 we have the general bearings of it all, and the praises and hallelujahs which result from it — a kind of historical comment upon all God's dealings with the world, Israel, the Messiah, and His place while all was going on. Already, in the last psalms of Book 4, Christ's government (that, while utterly brought low even to death, He was Jehovah) is brought out in the most astonishing way. The healing of the paralytic in Luke is a distinct allusion to Jehovah's name in Psalm 103:3. But I must not go farther here on this subject.}

182 Again, look at Jonah, where there is not and cannot be the smallest pretence of two accounts. The intercourse between Jonah and God is under the name Jehovah. When the seamen learn who his God is that he is running away from, they fear Jehovah, and call upon Jehovah. Where it is a general testimony of repentance in strangers (Jonah 3:5 to the end), it is Elohim. And when we have the general supreme dealings of God with Jonah, to make Him shew what He was with man as God, it is again Elohim. Now in Jonah this has peculiar force, because the relationship of Israel with Gentiles, and of Gentiles with Jehovah, is in question. It is the last public direct testimony of God to Gentiles before Christ. And this goodness of God to Gentiles is really what Jonah dreaded, as discrediting his message of judgment, which Jewish pride might like to see executed. (See Jonah 4:2.) Hence on one side we have Gentiles brought, in the moment of judgment on the Israelite, to confess Jehovah; and on the other, God, as such, shewing Himself good, the faithful Creator, who thought of those who could not distinguish between their right hand and their left, and even of the cattle. At the same time the proper relationship of Jehovah to His prophet, as such, is also fully maintained, and the word Jehovah, his God, more than once repeated.

Now here we have the elements of Jehovah's grace, and Elohim's true character and supremacy; what, in the nauseous systematizing of ignorance, is reduced to some imaginary* documents, which none of them know anything about, but suppose. We have, I say, these two titles brought out in the clearest and most instructive way, as unfolding divine relationships for those who have the heart to delight in them, and justify that wisdom which is the joy of her children. The infidel must imagine and suppose some external cause, because he knows nothing of the real divine force of these things. And I would remark, that I am not here bringing an external proof of the truth of the Jewish system; but that, supposing its existence, the reason for the distinctive use of the words Jehovah and Elohim is fully given within the system itself — is consistent and appropriate. This the infidel ought to have seen or at least examined; because it is a part of the system he pretends to judge (and there are adequate proofs of its consistency within itself, which make his arguments perfectly futile): for what he finds imaginary reasons for is accounted for on the plainest principles of the system he is judging. For everyone can see that Jehovah was a proper name of God to Israel, and declared positively to be such, though the name of the one true supreme God. Now for the believer the use of the names of God carries blessed divine instruction with it, for all His names have a meaning: Almighty, Jehovah, Father, all have a sense to his soul. But it is not even rational to seek for a reason in imaginary causes, when the real reason lies within the system and makes a clearly stated and characteristic part of it. Now such is the difference between Jehovah and Elohim.

{*I would just add here, that it is perfectly indifferent to me if Moses used five hundred documents, provided what he in result gives me expresses exactly, perfectly, and completely, what God meant to communicate to me. I have taken the case of Jonah, because we have the use of Jehovah and Elohim where there is no pretence for this flimsy notion of documents. I may add, that I never found a case in which the use of either of these words did not seem to me precisely appropriate; and this distinctive use is eminently instructive. In the Psalms this is peculiarly the case. This internal evidence of suitableness to relationship is the strongest possible kind of proof of the genuineness and (the subject being moral and divine) of the divine character of the record, in which this suitableness is uniformly found. Thus, not to speak of the Psalms, where it is shewn more in detail (see preceding note), the Book of Jonah touches on the relationship of Israel to Gentiles, of the peculiar God of Israel with Gentiles, of God as such with the latter, with creation, so as to put everything in its place — without an idea of proving anything about it according to the whole history of the Bible from Genesis to the end of Chronicles. It shews the feeling of a Jew on one side, and God's way of looking at it on the other. The proper place of Jehovah, in His character of God of Israel, is always preserved; and yet it is shewn that this very Jehovah was the supreme God of goodness to men, let them be in the height of their pride, if there was room for repentance a character which He would not relinquish even towards cattle. Nothing can be more important as a key to the whole question of God being Jehovah, and the peculiar God of Israel, and yet the one supreme and universal God (a thought so easily lost, at any rate as to goodness, if not as to power, by Jewish pride). It corrects all that a Jew could draw falsely from his peculiar position.}


As to these alleged "difficult narratives" Mr. N. is very obscure. One might suppose that the double accounts he alleges to exist are in every case distinguished by the use of Jehovah and Elohim. This is not the case. But I suppose he uses the fact of these names being employed to establish, at least, the existence of two documents, and their use by the author of the book of Genesis, from which they are drawn. But even this is untenable ground; because, if the two documents were distinctively characterized by these two names of God, an account alleged to be drawn from one of the distinct documents would not, as it often does, employ both of these names; nor two accounts, alleged to exist because the writer copied two distinct documents, employ, both of them, only one and the same name. Such accounts cannot be referred to two distinct documents characterized by the distinct employment of each.* Mr. N. slips over all this with a convenient looseness habitual with infidel objectors.

{*The reader has only to read Genesis 6:7, to convince himself of the intermingling of the words God and Lord (i.e., Jehovah), though never without reason, to see the futility of the system. I shall cite some examples farther on; but it is easily seen by reading these chapters.}

However, none of his objections on this ground (rather a favourite one with German discoverers) has the least validity. It was important, in a book addressed to Israel, to shew that Jehovah, their God, was the one true supreme Elohim, the Creator, in contrast with the demon gods of the heathen. Hence, in Genesis, where creation and the ante-Israelitish history is given, we have these two names brought in together (the force of which is much lost in our English translation), or so used, as to make it clear that Jehovah is Elohim and Elohim is Jehovah, though this last was taken as a name of relationship only at the Exodus, on which we will say a few words farther on. The very creed, as I may call it, of Israel marks clearly the use of these words:"Hear, O Israel, Jehovah, our God, is one Jehovah." "And what nation is there that hath Elohim," says Moses, "so nigh to them as Jehovah, our Elohim, is in all things that we call upon him for?" Deut. 4:7 "Did ever people hear the voice of Elohim speaking out of the midst of the fire?" "Or hath Elohim assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, etc., as Jehovah, your Elohim, did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that Jehovah, he is Elohim; there is none else beside him." Deut. 4:33-34 So the people, when Elijah brought down fire from heaven, cry out, "Jehovah, he is Elohim; Jehovah, he is Elohim." 1 Kings 18:39.

185 Having thus the undoubted importance of these words, let us apply this clear principle to that part of the history in which it was necessary to shew that Elohim was Jehovah, the Creator, Israel's God.

I have already alluded to the creation. We have there, first, as a general history, Elohim (God) creating everything in succession; and Elohim rests. (Gen. 1; 2:1-3.) Then we have Jehovah Elohim, and the particular condition of things under Him, this kind of repetition being universal in scripture history, when subjects are considered in a new light (as, if I give Benjamin's progeny as such, and Saul's royal one for example as such). I am not exactly aware of three accounts, as Mr. N. alleges,* of man's creation. We have, besides Adam, a special account of Eve's creation. In this second chapter we have a detailed account of the condition and circumstances of man — the peculiar position he was placed in as lord of the creation — his wife's to him — out of what he was formed — how he became a living soul: details as essential all of them, when his relationship with Jehovah Elohim was unfolded, as the historical account of Elohim's creating all things in general (among which man had his place) was in its place too.

{*"The creation of man is three times told." (Phases, p. 133.)}

In this there is only a perfect communication of divine truth, each thing being perfectly in its place.


Let us turn to Noah and the flood.*

{*"The account of the flood is made up out of two discrepant originals, marked by the names Elohim and Jehovah; of which one makes Noah take into the ark seven pairs of clean, and single [or double]? pairs of unclean, beasts; while the other gives him two and two of all kinds without distinguishing the clean." (Phases, p. 134.)}

We have the sons of Elohim. (Gen. 6:2.) As to them, and in connection with His peculiar dealings with man, Jehovah said (ver. 3), "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." We have "sons of Elohim" (ver. 4), because here the expression is characteristic. "Elohim saw" (ver. 5), because here it was God in His own nature and character looking at man as such. "Jehovah repented" (ver. 6), because here it is His special thoughts and dealings about man as His — His feelings in connection with this relationship. Again (ver. 7) Jehovah, and Jehovah in relationship with Noah. Noah (ver. 9) "walked with God:" here it was morally characteristic, not his relationship to Jehovah under that name.

186 "The earth was corrupt before Elohim" — again it refers to God's abstract nature and character. (Ver. 11, 12.) So (ver. 13) Elohim takes up His creation to declare its end to Noah. He had the Creator's title to destroy His creation. Elohim Himself commanded Noah what to do in this case. In Genesis 7 we enter into the full relationship of God with Noah as a deliverer; and it is Jehovah, just as we saw with Adam. There Elohim created. Jehovah had to do with Adam in a special way in the garden. Here Elohim is going to destroy His creation, and Jehovah has special relationship with Noah in the ark, as we have seen in Genesis 6:3, 6-8, the peculiar relative feelings of Jehovah, not the simple character and supremacy of Elohim.

Yet, fully to identify the two accounts and connect them, we have in Genesis 7:16, "And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as Elohim had commanded him,* and Jehovah shut him in." Now here we have the general command of Elohim given in the preceding chapter about His creatures to preserve them as Creator; and then Jehovah shut him (Noah) in — that is, in the same verse, the special name of relationship in case of the faithful and chosen patriarch. Mr. N. says, "The two documents may indeed in this narrative be almost rediscovered by mechanical separation." (Ib.) Certainly it would not be more than mechanical; for German theology nothing more, indeed, would be wanting.

{*The connection of the two names here makes the double-document system absurd.}

Again, in Genesis 8, in preserving mercy we have Elohim's care of His preserved creation, and its deliverance to subsist on the recovered earth again. Then Noah builds an altar (ver. 20), and Jehovah's name immediately appears again, because it was important to shew that it was indeed Israel's God that was thus worshipped — God in relationship with man from the beginning. Elohim then (Gen. 9) begins the world, so to speak, again; but the moment it is a question of relationship (ver. 26), we have Jehovah the God of Shem.

187 I need not pursue this farther. One point only remains to be noticed — the twos and sevens of the animals. In the accounts of Elohim's directions for saving the different races of creatures, they are directed to be taken two of every sort, the male and female, to keep them alive. Nothing can be more simple than the meaning of this. When Jehovah is stating His thoughts as to Noah, and giving His directions in respect to His relationship with man and the earth, He directs Noah to take of clean beasts by sevens, still two and two, male and female; and they all go in two and two, as Elohim had commanded: thus identifying, in the text itself, the two names in a way which would make the dissevering them difficult, even on the mechanical process. The reason for distinguishing the clean beasts (still two and two, male and female) is too obvious to make the smallest difficulty. The twos refer, moreover, to male and female on a general principle. One must be very hard run up for a difficulty, or for a discovery, to find a contradiction here. The fowls of the air, which went in by sevens, are meant evidently clean ones too, as may be seen in Genesis 8:20.


The cases of Pharaoh and Abimelech* only confirm the remarks we have made. Moreover, in the parallel part of the passage, Jehovah is used in both cases. Jehovah plagued Pharaoh with great plagues. Jehovah had fast closed up the wombs of the house of Abimelech. Only there is added in Abimelech's case, God having known Abimelech's integrity in the matter, that He (Elohim) warned Abimelech in a dream. Now here Jehovah the God of Israel would have been quite out of place; for Abimelech was a Philistine, and Abraham already distinctively called. Yet, as a gracious God in nature and character, Elohim could chastise Abimelech temporarily for his error, and warn him, though He would preserve the integrity of the family He had chosen.

{*"And here, also, the two which concern Abraham are contrasted as Jehovistic and Elohistic." (Phases, p. 134.)}

Here let me remark, that undoubtedly Abraham was to blame. In the day when God judges the secrets of men's hearts, all this will have its place between God and Abraham; but in His government of the world, all having fallen into idolatry, God was shewing His special care over one called out in grace to bear His name, and walk under His protection. Hence that special care of him and his descendants, till there was no remedy, because they respected the name of Jehovah less than a heathen, as was shewn in Zedekiah's conduct with Nebuchadnezzar. He that touched them Jehovah's called ones, touched Jehovah Himself, who declared He would protect them as El-Shaddaï, the Almighty, such a one touched the apple of His own eye. Jehovah's power as Almighty had to be made good against the apostate and guilty heathen, for the sustaining the faith of His called ones, and the knowledge that there was a God of the earth.

188 But the statement, that these names are contrasted in Abraham's case with Pharaoh and Abimelech, is unfounded. There is no divine warning to Pharaoh; and Jehovah's care of Abraham, in judging each, is related under the same title — Jehovah.


I do not know what Mr. N. means by a double account of the origin of circumcision;* I know of but one, that in Genesis 17. It is referred to Elohim, but He is called, as appearing to Abraham, Jehovah, and yet gives His name as El-Shaddaï. It was a command connected with the character and nature of God. They were to be a separate people to Him, and the flesh be mortified This "was not of Moses," who brought in specially the name Jehovah as the ground of relationship, "but of the fathers," antecedent to the special relationship of the Jews with Him, and connected with the name "God Almighty," that Abraham might be a father of many nations.

{*"A similar double account is given of the origin of circumcision, of the names Isaac, Israel, Bethel, Beersheba." (Phases, p. 134.)}


There are no two reasons for the name of Isaac. God directs his name to be called Isaac — "laughter" — as a term of joy and gladness at this peculiar blessing to Abraham. Sarah takes up the name when he is born, and says, "God hath made me to laugh;" but this is no double account of his name.


God confirms the name of Israel to Jacob; but there is no double account of its origin. On the first occasion God had a controversy with Jacob, but blesses him, strengthens him to prevail in the conflict, and gives him the name of Israel — "a prince who prevailed with God;" yet chastises him, and does not reveal Himself to him. Gen. 32:28. Jacob after this goes up to the place where his real meeting with God in blessing was to be, and puts away idols out of his house, knowing he is going to meet Him. Then God begins by revealing freely His name, and confirms to Jacob the title He had given him before. Here there is no kind of pretence for making two accounts — one using the word Jehovah, the other "Elohim." Jehovah is used in neither. In the case of Bethel, God appeared to him when he left the land of Canaan, and he called the name of the place "Bethel." God tells him, on returning, to go up there, calling it already Bethel; and then appears a second time there to Jacob, and Jacob thereupon confirms to it the name of "Bethel." He had a double reason; but it is called in the second part of the history Bethel already before he gets there; so that the case is very simple and very clear? and there is no pretence of a reason to speak of it as two distinct independent accounts which are referred to. Gen. 28:19, Gen. 35:15.


The name of "Beersheba" was confirmed by Isaac when he also established by oath his boundaries there with Abimelech, as Abraham had done. These circumstances both gave occasion to this name. Being the boundary-wall, the engagement was repeated; and both engagements contributed to give it this name. But here there is not the smallest ground whatever for supposing that it was inattention to some other document, for it is stated (Gen. 26:18), "And Isaac digged again the wells of water which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham. And he called their names after the names by which his father had called them;" and then it goes on to give an additional personal reason why the last had the same name.


As regards God's saying, "But by my name Jehovah was I not known to them,"* the meaning is as simple as possible. The words are — "And Elohim spake unto Moses" (in the previous verses it is "Jehovah," shewing how unfounded is the supposition of their belonging to distinct documents), "and said unto him, I am Jehovah: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them." Now here we have Elohim, Jehovah El-Shaddaï, all spoken of the one supreme God as different names, and then the Lord declares, exactly according to Genesis, that to the patriarchs He had revealed Himself as El-Shaddaï. (See Gen. 17; Gen. 35:11.) This was the name the power of which He was specially to make good in their favour, in protecting them in their wanderings, "what time they went from one nation to another people."

{*"Still more was I struck by the positive declaration in Exodus 6:3 — that God was NOT known to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob by the name of Jehovah." (Phases, p. 134.)}

Now that He was calling His people, He reveals Himself to them by another name, as the ground of relationship and of the expectation of faith on their part, as the existing One "who was, and is, and is to come," though still the Almighty. He who now promised would live ever to perform, unchanged and unchangeable. Jehovah was God's proper and peculiar name with His redeemed people. He had never taken this name as the ground of His dealings with Abraham, nor laid it as the basis on which his faith was to act.

In the New Testament, God takes yet another — that of Father. Hence He says, "I will be a Father, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." That is, God (Elohim), who had the two former names, Jehovah or "Lord," and Shaddaï, "Almighty," now took this special one of Father with the saints From the first calling out of the world to be separate from it God Almighty, Jehovah, Father, characterized successively the position which God assumed for faith. Nothing can be plainer. I believe He is now God Almighty; but it is not the name by which He is known to me: He is known to me by the name of Father "To us there is one God, the Father." If this be all German discoveries are worth, they deserve to be designated by a name which I shall not, however, permit myself to give them. I am sure they are not distinguished by any intelligence of the bearing of the work they are exercising their wits upon, nor the force of the expressions contained in it.


The twofold miracle of the quails* is, in each case, perfectly in its place, and distinctly dated, and has its own proper moral character. Mr. N. is pleased to say, one shews unacquaintedness with the other. This kind of assertion is very worthy of the boldness of an infidel, but of no one else. An attack upon such a history as the scripture, taken second-hand from flippant German assertions (for such, I must say, they are), without really investigating the grounds of them, does not, I confess, shine, morally speaking, to my eyes. God has permitted, though they have done the best they can, that they should find difficulties (and they are obliged to rest in what is apparent — beneath the surface the conscience would be set at work); as to which the answer is certain and complete in the text (proving that they are superficial, and have not given themselves the trouble to examine the book they judge.) The dates of these two sendings of quails can be accurately ascertained, almost to a day. The only reason Mr. N. has for saying, that one shews unacquaintance with the other, is that the circumstances of one are different from the other, proving they are not the same.

{*"Indeed, a fuller examination shewed, in Exodus and Numbers, a twofold miracle of the quails, of which the latter is so told as to indicate entire unacquaintance with the former." (Phases, p. 134)}

Quails were given before the giving of the law (Ex. 16), immediately after leaving Elim, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving Egypt. They stayed a year at Sinai, for the giving of the law, and constructing the tabernacle, &c. And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up … and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran" (Num. 10:11) after three days' journey. (See ver. 33.) Then came the complaints, the judgment on which gave the name "Taberah" to the place; and immediately after, they stopped and pitched their tents at a place called, from the judgment that fell on them, Kibroth-hattaavah, "the graves of lust." This was their first station after leaving Sinai. We have thus clearly ascertained that a year and eight days, and possibly one or two more, elapsed from one of these events to the other. Their moral character is perfectly in keeping with the epoch at which they happened. If the reader examines the history, he will find that, from the Red Sea to Sinai, all is pure grace. They murmur — and it is said, they shall see the Lord's glory; and they get manna and quails without a reproach. They murmur — the rock is smitten, and they get water without a reproof. Conflict arises — they are made to feel their dependence; but the blessing is maintained, and the Lord is their banner — their conflicts are His.

192 At Sinai they undertake to obey, and to receive the blessing under the condition of their own obedience. They put themselves under law — fruit of that pride of heart which pretends to be able to satisfy God's requirements, and hence is willing to make its blessing depend on its own powers.

The proof is soon given of what the result must be. Before the law is brought down written, they have cast off God altogether. It is broken by them, and Moses breaks the tables.

Mediation comes in; so that they are yet borne with, put again under law, only that they are governed by patient goodness; and chastening and judicial government comes in — a principle which characterized their history up to the Babylonish captivity. Hence when they murmur again, despising the gracious provision of manna (of which the description is thereon again incidentally given*), and insist on meat, and persevere in eating it (though divine power, which they doubted, was shewn in sending it, so that they ought to have been ashamed of their request), while thus gratifying their lust without shame, wrath comes upon them. That is, we see in the most distinct way, the difference of that grace shewn in redemption and exercised towards the redeemed in their need, and the effects of proudly putting oneself under law, and finding, not the fruit of obedience, but the just consequence of those lusts which hinder our walking according to it.

{*"There is a double description of the names." (Phases, p. 134.)}

Nothing can be more deeply instructive than the double giving of quails. Neither, without the other, would have given the instruction which the different events afford.


Take again the water.* If the reader reads from Numbers 10, he will see grace condescending to lead them; the ark, which by right ought to have been in the middle of the host, goes before for three days' journey, to seek a place for them to rest in — as Jesus goes before His own sheep. This was grace. The Lord serves them as guide, above and beyond the legal relationship. From Numbers 11 onwards we see Israel's rebellion, and the working of the flesh developed in its different forms: Taberah — Kibroth Hattaavah — Miriam and Aaron despising Moses — despising the pleasant land after sending the spies — the open rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, against Aaron and Moses, priest and king in Jeshurun. How are the people to be led through? Destruction may be just, but cannot lead us to the end of our journey. Here then is given a sign of the principle. Aaron's (that is, the priest's rod) is to guide and govern them, and that not in judgment, as the use of Moses' had been, but in life-giving resurrection power — the dry stick blossoms and bears fruit — the sign of priesthood with divine power of life. Grace in this way can alone lead us through — Moses' rod of law and judgment cannot. With this, consequently, is given what might seem otherwise out of place — the means of cleansing unintentional defilements unwittingly incurred (Num. 19, the red heifer), the connection of which with our subject is evident. Murmurs come in again for water, and Moses is told to take the rod and speak to the rock, and it should "give forth his water." There is no need to smite it with the rod of judgment now. But Moses does not rise to the height of divine grace, but, occupied with himself, talks of himself and Aaron, and smites the rock with his rod instead of glorifying God. God rises above the unbelief even of Moses, and gives the water, glorifying Himself; but shews that on the legal principle it is impossible to reach the land. Moses is shut out of it. The first time the rock had to be smitten ("and that rock was Christ") to have the spiritual stream to drink of; but afterwards it was not so: it was only to be spoken to, and it would give its water. That is, under the grace of priesthood, which we need not for redemption, which is already accomplished, but for the weakness of the wilderness, it has only to be asked for and obtained. Thus we have sovereign grace giving freely and gratuitously; then legal condition, and failure and judgment; then priestly care and living grace affording, in spite of failure, the needed supply as the means of carrying the people through the wilderness to the promised land, after every form of the unbelief of the heart had been brought out. I may add, to complete the instruction, that quite at the close the question arises, Can these failing ones enter? The full justifying grace, and blessing too, is brought out, and in presence of the enemy it is declared as the full answer, "He hath not seen iniquity in Jacob, nor beheld perverseness in Israel."

{*"Water is twice brought out of rock by the rod of Moses, whose faith is perfect the first time, and fails the second time." (Phases, p. 134.)}

194 Am I going out of scriptural principles to indulge my own fancy in these things? No; "they happened unto them for ensamples (τύποι types — forms of truth), and are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come." And in these admirably instructive accounts, whose doubling gives them their peculiar character and force, infidelity sees, that is, imagines, two documents. And what more? Nothing? Yes, UNDENIABLE* error. There may have been fifty documents, for aught I know; only, if there were, God has marvellously used the contents for our instruction. Meribah means "strife," and the two cases of striving were called strife.** That is very surprising. As to a second appointment of elders,*** I may have easily, it is true, forgotten something; but I know of none. There were rulers of tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands probably, appointed by the advice of Jethro; but that is quite another thing.

{*"That there was error on a great scale in all this was undeniable." (Phases, p. 135.) We have yet some cases of it to examine.}

{**"The name of Meribah is twice bestowed." (Phases, p. 134.)}

{***"A needless second appointment of elders of the congregation." (Phases, p. 134.)}


There is not a double consecration of Aaron and his sons.* There is the full detail of all the tabernacle, and along with it the ordinances for the consecration of the priests; and there is the historical account of its being done elsewhere, but there is nothing extraordinary in that. And so perfectly in its place is the account of what was to be done when first given, that in Exodus 28 the ordinances for the consecration of Aaron come in between those articles of the tabernacle which were the display of God, or connected with the people, and those which the priests particularly used in drawing near as such. These last are described after the priests' clothing, and the ordinances for their consecration. Articles in the same part of the tabernacle are thus separated from one another, and connected with that part of the service to which they belong. To a careless observer the order seems disorder. The moment you perceive there are the two parts (God's dealing with the people, or displaying Himself in any way; and men, i.e., priests, approaching Him) the distinction and order is as clear as possible, and the introduction of the priests' garments and consecration has peculiar appropriateness, and gives a force to all that it could not have without — just as the sacrifice for passing defilements did in the midst of Israel's failings in Numbers. That the consecration should be historically given is most natural; the whole order of Israel depended on it, and circumstances** are mentioned there of the very last importance and largest import.

{*"A double consecration of Aaron and his sons." (Phases, p. 134.)}

{**It was there the consuming of the sacrifice by God Himself proved His acceptance of the whole order instituted, and led all the people at once to adore. And the acts of Aaron and Moses shew the peculiar position of the priesthood by itself, and the priesthood and royalty united, in a point of view which is of the largest interest in reference to Christ.}


The statement (Phases, p. 134) that "there is a double promise of a guardian angel" can have weight only with those who do not give themselves the trouble to read the passages. In Exodus 23 the Lord says, "Behold, I send an Angel before thee to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him and obey his voice; provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him." God goes before them by angelic power, by what He calls (ver. 23) "mine Angel." That is, an intervention of God in that way which was really Himself, only in the way of angelic power. Thus Jacob says (Gen. 48), "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." So where God, as I AM, manifested Himself in a flame of fire in the bush, He is called "the Angel" in the bush. Where Jacob declares at Peniel (i.e., the face of God) that he had seen God face to face, and lived, Hosea says "he had power over the angel and prevailed." So in the case of Manoah it is said "the angel of Jehovah did wondrously," and Manoah says "we have seen God," and the words are received as Jehovah's, telling them such and such things. He is called all through the passage the Angel Jehovah, as many translate it. Subsequently to what is spoken of in Exodus 23 Israel made the golden calf, and the Lord would have refused to go with them, as, if present, He must consume them, and declared He would send an angel with Moses. Moses intercedes, and the Lord says His presence shall go with him. To make of this general promise and the special dealing in reference to their guilt and God's prolonged mercy a double promise, is mere trifling.


As regards the difficulty arising from the passage in Deuteronomy* regarding Aaron's death, it is one of those passages which are the strongest possible proofs of not only the authenticity but the personal knowledge of the author, because there is apparent contradiction, which is immediately solved when you examine all the details — a proof that it is written by one who knew them, and, having the consciousness of the links which united the parts, was not sensible of the necessity of making it hang together as a fabricated story.

{*"Comprising Deuteronomy within my view, I met two utterly incompatible accounts of Aaron's death." (Phases, p. 135.)}

It is quite true that, in appearance, Deuteronomy 10 makes Aaron die before reaching Meribah-kadesh, where, according to Numbers, he sinned and incurred the penalty of death. Mr. N.'s proof is Numbers 33:31-38. Moseroth being mentioned in verse 31 before Kadesh, where Moses sinned; Mosera, in Deuteronomy 10 as the place of Aaron's death, which would be thus before coming to Meribah, where he sinned; for in Deuteronomy 10 it is said he died at Mosera, consequently at Moseroth (Num. 33:31); but in this list of Numbers this Moseroth is before he came to Kadesh-barnea, where the sin was committed for which he was condemned to die in the wilderness. In one word, Mosera, where he died, Deuteronomy 10, is in Numbers 33:31 before Kadesh, where he sinned.

Now, if we look at these accounts superficially (Mr. N. must forgive me if I employ the word he has consecrated to this use), this objection may seem plausible enough. But it is perfectly certain that Israel went from Moseroth to Ezion-gaber, back to Moseroth, and again back to Ezion-gaber, then to go round Edom. This circumstance, which clears up the whole matter, shews that the knowledge of the facts was of that personal kind which is not aware of the difficulty of one who is a stranger to them, because personal consciousness of the whole is a continual explanation of them. If the reader pays attention, the first two places mentioned in Deuteronomy are in inverse order to that in which they are named in Numbers. I may first remark that they continued in this neighbourhood thirty-seven years; so that many journeys might have been made; but there is something more precise than that. In Numbers 33 they go from Moseroth by Bene-jaakan, Hor-hagidgad, to Ezion-gaber. From Ezion-gaber they go back to Hor. (Num. 21) After Aaron's death they go from Mount Hor back to the Red Sea — that is, to Ezion-gaber — to compass the I and of Edom, and go up the other side of the mountain district. That is, we have one journey from Moseroth to Ezion-gaber, another back to Mount Hor, where Aaron died; and, as Numbers 21 shews, a journey from Mount Hor back to Ezion-gaber. At the end of the second of these journeys Aaron dies; that is, when they had gone back to Mount Hor.

197 That the last journey from Mount Hor to Ezion-gaber was after the death of Aaron is certain from Numbers 21, because we have the attack of Arad the Canaanite there, and also in Numbers 33:40. So that after the last verse we have a journey from Mount Hor to the Red Sea (as in chap. 21); but in chapter 33 we had one already from Moseroth to Ezion-gaber through a district called Hor-hagidgad. Hence they must have gone back from Ezion-gaber to the place Aaron died at, still on the west side of Edom; for it is only on the last journey they turned round to go up on the east side.

The first journey from Moseroth to Ezion-gaber was by Bene-jaakan or "the sons of Jaakan," Hor-hagidgad, and Jotbathah. The second journey was back from Ezion-gaber to the place where Aaron died. Now the journey in Deuteronomy is from the wells of the children of Jaakan to Mosera (that is, part of a journey back along the road they had come, at the end of which, in Mosera, Aaron dies); exactly as, in Numbers, we have seen them go back from Ezion-gaber to Hor where Aaron died, and thence set out again for Ezion-gaber.

But this is not all. We have in Deuteronomy some stations after Aaron's death in Mosera, whither they had returned from Ezion-gaber, as in Numbers we have seen they did. They go thence to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah (that is, the road back again to Ezion-gaber, which is exactly the route spoken of in Numbers 21 and 33). In a word, Numbers gives us a journey from Moseroth to Ezion-gaber — one back to Hor — and thence back to Ezion-gaber, or the Red Sea, finally to leave the district. At the end of the one back to Hor Aaron dies.*

{*It may be well to refer to the passages together. Numbers 33:31-35, Moseroth to Ezion-gaber; 36-48, by Kadesh, from Ezion-gaber, to Hor, back on the west of the mountainous district, compassing mount Seir many days. Then, having compassed this mountain long enough (Deut. 2:1-3), Numbers 21:4, they go back again to the Red sea, and then turn up to the other side of Edom. Deuteronomy 10:6-7, from Bene-jaakan to Moseroth, and back from Moseroth to Jotbathah see Numbers 33:31, and then 32, 33; 31 is in the opposite direction to Deuteronomy 10:6; 32, 33 is the same: Moseroth or Mosera being the turning point, and Bene-jaakan omitted in Deuteronomy 10:7.}

198 Deuteronomy gives us the last two stations on the second journey, or the one back. Then Aaron dies; and then, after his death, we have two stations on the road, which, from Numbers 33:32-33, we know was the road back to Ezion-gaber — exactly the one we know, from Numbers 21:4, the Israelites took on leaving Mount Hor. That is, there is the most perfect exactitude in the account; yet so given as to shew it must have flowed from personal acquaintance with facts, or it never could have come out in the order it does. Deuteronomy 10 gives us demonstrably the end of the second journey (i.e., the one back from Ezion-gaber, and the beginning of the third — Aaron dying at the end of the second, exactly as in Numbers). The only additional circumstance in Numbers is, that Aaron went up Mount Hor to die. Deuteronomy names only the station, which must, by the order of the journey, have been in the district of the Hor range. All the details confirm this order of march.

Thus, instead of being incompatible, they are the fullest confirmation that nobody could have written these accounts but one personally acquainted with the facts. I may add that their passage by Kadesh is omitted in Deuteronomy; but this is no way surprising, as it only gives us the last two stations — Bene-jaakan and Moseroth.


Next, as regards the miracle of the sun and moon being arrested in Joshua 10, Mr. N. says, "It has long been felt as too violent a derangement of the whole globe, to be used by the Most High as a means of discomfiting an army."* Long felt by whom? It is a very stale objection of infidels, like most, for they generally copy one another, so that, in the sense of its repetition usque ad nauseam, it has been long felt. But the object was not simply a means of discomfiting the army; it was a public testimony before the world that God interfered for His people, and would answer and put honour upon Joshua. And the sacred writer speaks of it in this way; "The like was never known," he says, "that the Lord hearkened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel." The miracle is as plainly stated as physically true. But Mr. N., who always shuts God out of everything, forgets that it was as easy for Him who created the world to stop it as to make it go — to hold it in equipoise for a moment in its place, as to create the laws which kept it in its course. Joshua thought much more of God and His power; Mr. N. (as if there were neither) much more of the earth and its ordinary course, because it went naturally on. It seems to me that Joshua's was a higher, truer, nobler thought than that of Mr. N. The thought that counted on God's goodness to His people and His almighty power was nobler and truer than that which excludes Him out of His own creation, and forgets that, if God did make these admirable general laws, He must sustain their power every moment, and can never abrogate His own rights for a mass of earth. The earth was stopped turning round, and the sun and moon are spoken of just as we do, and as Joshua must have done. We know well it is the earth which turns round, and yet we say, the sun rises, sets, &c.

{*Phases, p. 135.}

199 As to Jasher's being a poet,{*it is a mere copying another's notions without any proof. There is not the remotest semblance of proof that Jasher was a person at all. All this is taken for granted by Mr. N.; yet his whole argument depends upon it. There is no proof of Jasher's being a poet, nor of the word meaning a person. Mr. N.'s prosaic commentator speaks of the moon** as well as the supposed poet. If one stopped, the other must too. But in afterwards stating the effect, the historian speaks of the sun, because it was of course the sun which gave its continuous light for the task which Israel had to accomplish. It is Joshua, not Jasher, which gives the order to the sun and moon to stop; and it is the plain prosaic fact recorded by the commentator, as Mr. N. calls him, which is said to be found in the book of Jasher. It is not said of the elevated poetical appeal. In every particular, what Mr. N. says is totally unfounded. Moreover, it can hardly be doubted, that Joshua was ignorant of the rotation of the earth; and it is remarkable that he should have claimed not the stopping of the sun, but of sun and moon, the necessary effect of that which 'was wholly unknown to him, and yet he asks for that which, unless indeed God had disturbed the whole creation by unnecessary miracle, must have been the effect of the intervention of His power. Untaught by God, Joshua would have said, Sun, stand still. Taught of God, he asks for sun and moon to do so, which is just what God's power acting in the simplest way would do. He could not have answered precisely as to a man fully taught of God, if Joshua had asked for the sun to stop and not the moon, without a very extraordinary derangement of the celestial system. To make the moon go on in its just apparent course, when the earth was stopped, would have put the moon really out of its place. To have stopped the moon, unasked, as well as the sun, would not have been the same testimony to Joshua, though a wonder. But Joshua is taught to ask both. The rotation of the earth is arrested, and all is done at his word, though Joshua never knew the earth turned round, and that sun and moon would thus stop together.

{*"I for the first time observed that the narrative rests on the authority of a poetical book which bears the name of Jasher." And in a note, "This poet celebrated also the deeds of David. He who composed 'Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon,' like other poets, called on the sun and moon to stand, and look on Joshua's deeds; but he could not anticipate that his words would be hardened into fact by a prosaic interpreter." (Phases, p. 135.) If the reader looks at the beginning of Joshua 10:13, he will see that there is no ground for taking the apostrophe to the sun and moon (ver. 12) as a part of the book of Jasher. The beginning of verse 13 is clearly a part of the narrative, and it is only the fact which is written in the Book of Jasher, not the poetical summons.}

{**"The commentator could not tell what the moon had to do with it, yet he has quoted honestly" (i.e., the poet "who composed" the end of verse 12, attributed to Joshua by the narrator).}


As regards Exodus 15,* Mr. N.'s statements are without the smallest foundation. He would again persuade us that the historical account is merely drawn from the poetry of chapter 15. But the historical account is one continuous narrative, out of which it is impossible to take this bit without destroying it all. It is referred to in other books too, continually. Mr. N. says, "This song of Moses implies no miracle at all." The song states the miracle as simply as the history which had previously related the facts — "With the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright as a heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea." (See Ex. 14:21-22.)

{*"As for Exodus 15, it appeared to me (in that stage, and after so abundant proof of error) almost certain that Moses's song is the primitive authority out of which the prose narrative of the passage of the Red Sea has been elaborated … The song of Moses implies no miracle at all." (Phases, p. 136.)}


As regards Numbers 21* one of the alleged fragments of poetry is a song of Israel at the well. Nothing very extraordinary historically: a very interesting figure of the refreshing springs found when the wilderness is passed and Jordan approached. The other two are perfectly apposite and important. They are well known records, cited to prove that the country in question was in the hands of the Amorites, and not of Moab, when Israel took possession. This was of the utmost importance, because Israel was forbidden to touch Moab, whereas the country of the Amorites was given up to them. Now Israel's statements, of whatever authority for themselves, would have been no record against their enemies. Hence, to maintain the title of Israel to these lands, well known popular memorials of the previous conquest of Moab by the Amorites, and the acquisition of this territory by the latter, are given, and of the border as it then was. And this is so truly the case, that the children of Ammon claimed precisely this territory in the time of Jephthah (Judges 11), and Jephthah goes over all this very ground as that which justified Israel in maintaining possession of the country. It was not Ammon's nor Moab's either. Nor did Balak, king of Moab, pretend to it then. The Amorites, he says, were in possession, and Israel dispossessed them. The common records of the country preserved in their popular songs, and the well known account of the books of the wars of the Lord, were the important point here, and these are preserved in Numbers.

{*"This presently led me to observe other marks that the narrative had been made up, at least in put, out of old poetry. Of these the most important are in Exodus 15, and Numbers 21, in the latter of which three different poetical fragments are quoted." (Phases, p. 136.)}


The next point maintained by Mr. N., namely, that the book of the law was not found in Josiah's reign, but "evidently then first compiled, or, at least, then first produced and made authoritative to the nation" (Phases, p. 137), is too monstrous, I may say, audacious, a disregard of all evidence to bear the light for a moment. All history, all existing testimony, concurs in authenticating these books. They were held in honour as sacred books, watched with jealous care. But this is not all. We have prophecies undoubtedly of the reign of Hezekiah.*

{*Mr. N. calls them "Hezekiah's prophets." (Phases, p. 196.) There were, indeed, earlier ones, as Joel, and Amos. I shall touch on this hereafter.

202 Now I have no pretension to be anything of a Hebraist; but if we may trust those certainly the best informed in the language, the character of the Hebrew of the Pentateuch leaves no doubt as to its being of far greater antiquity than the prophetic writings. Even usages of grammar are different. The use of Hu, as being a common gender for the feminine Hi, is popularly known as marking the antiquity of the Pentateuch, as is the same grammatical peculiarity as to Nahar, a young person.*

{*I may be allowed to extract from Eichhorn, a celebrated German rationalist, his judgment of this part of the argument. He wrote in the early part of this century, and does not believe in inspiration. I quote the translation given by Mr. Stuart.

1. "They do not arise from the forgery of any one individual. Whoever is endowed with adequate knowledge and investigates with impartiality the question — whether the writings of the Old Testament are genuine — must surely answer it in the affirmative. No one deceiver can have forged them all. This every page of the Old Testament proclaims. What a variety in language and expression! Isaiah does not write like Moses; nor Jeremiah like Ezekiel; and between these and every one of the minor prophets a great gulf is fixed. The grammatical edifice of language in Moses has much that is peculiar; in the book of Judges occur provincialisms and barbarisms. Isaiah pours forth words already formed in a new shape; Jeremiah and Ezekiel are full of Chaldaisms. In a word, when one proceeds from writers who are to be assigned to early periods of time to those who are later, he finds in the language a gradual decline, until at last it sinks down into mere Chaldaic terms of expression.

"Then come next the discrepancies in the circle of ideas and of images. The stringed instruments sound aloud when touched by Moses and Isaiah; soft is the tone when David handles them. Solomon's must shines forth in all the splendour of a most luxurious court; but her sister, in simple attire, wanders, with David, by the brooks and the river-banks, in the fields and among the herds. One poet is original, like Isaiah, Joel, Habakkuk; another copies, like Ezekiel. One roams in the untrodden path of genius; another glides along the way which his predecessors have trodden. From one issue rays of learning, whilst his neighbour has not been caught by one spark of literature. In the oldest writers strong Egyptian colours glimmer through and through; in their successors they become fainter and fainter, until at last they disappear.

"Finally, there is, in manners and customs, the finest gradation. At first all is simple and natural, like to what one sees in Homer, and among the Bedouin Arabs even at the present time; but this noble simplicity gradually loses itself in luxury and effeminacy, and vanishes at last in the splendid court of Solomon.

"Nowhere is there a sudden leap; everywhere the progress is gradual. None but ignorant and thoughtless doubters can suppose the Old Testament to have been forged by one deceiver.

2. "They are not the forgery of many deceivers.

" But, perhaps, some one may reply, 'Perhaps many forgers have made common cause, and, at the same time, in some later period, have got up the books in question.' But how could they forge in a way so entirely conformed to the progress of the human understanding? And was it possible, in later times, to create the language of Moses? This surpasses all human powers. Finally, one writer supposes the existence of another. They could not then all have arisen at the same time; they must have existed successively.

"' Perhaps, then,' it may be further said, 'such forgers arose at different times, who continued onward, in the introduction of suppositious writings, from the place where their deceitful predecessors had stopped. In this way may all the references to preceding writers be explained; in this way may we explain the striking gradation that exists in all its parts.'

"But, first, how was it possible that no one should have discovered the trick, exposed it, and put a brand upon the deceiver, in order that posterity might be secured against injury? How could a whole nation be often deceived, and at different periods? Secondly, what design could such a deceiver have had in view? Did he aim at eulogizing the Hebrew nation? Then are his eulogies the severest satires; for, according to the Old Testament, the Hebrew nation have acted a very degrading part. Or did he mean to degrade them? In this case, how could he force his books upon the very people whom they defamed, and the story of whose being trodden under foot by foreign nations is told in plain blunt words?"}

203 This has led Gesenius (rationalist enough not to be anxious to maintain any theory as to the Old Testament, and hence a better witness here) to say, "The point of time at which we should date the commencement of this period, and of Hebrew literature in general, is certainly as early as Moses, even if the Pentateuch did not proceed from him in its present form." And then he refers to different forms in the Pentateuch as proving it.


Further, the acceptation of the Pentateuch by the Samaritans, even supposing it was in the time of Sanballat, helps to shew the absurdity of this invention (a notion which, though quite modern, is, I understand, fast hastening to the tomb of all the Capulets, like other ideas of the "learned Germans," few of which subsist beyond a moth's life; and, indeed, it is well for them they can prove nothing really, for it would entirely spoil the next discovery; whereas, by dying off thus, each leaves a fair field for the next inventor, while it serves just as well to create doubts for the moment; and if the doubt dies out with the objection, a new one has but the better chance). Besides, the whole Jewish polity was founded on the Pentateuch — the Prophets referred to it: not a sacrifice was offered, not an institution maintained, which was not there recorded. And was ever such an absurdity as supposing that Josiah or Huldah could persuade a whole people, and in the presence of watchful Samaritan enemies — not to embrace a certain system, others have done that — but that they and their ancestors had always carried on this system, though it was then produced for the first time? The temple was there; and, however they might have neglected its order and their duty, there was not a vessel, not a pot, nor a flesh-hook, nor a laver, nor a candlestick, which did not bear witness to the previous existence of what the book said did so exist. And note this, there is a regular history of the Jews uninterruptedly from Moses to Josiah — that of other nations too in connection with them. All had to be invented, as well as the style of the epoch, then unknown; and we are to be persuaded this fabulous account of what they were living in, and their fathers before them, and which connected itself with all this history, only now invented in a book, was palmed on them as their own true history, for the book, it is alleged, was now compiled! Was the account of the temple compiled, which it is impossible to separate from it? These were institutions which bore witness to its authenticity.


The reproaches of "Hezekiah's prophets" all suppose this history. Their reproaches to the people have to a great extent no meaning if the whole Jewish history be not true. Persuading a people, some fine day, that a detailed voluminous history is their own, demands a credulity to be found only in an infidel, particularly when no proof whatever is alleged of it. Its ground is simply probability. But, it will be said, it was only the book had to be invented to flatter the people with the notion of the antiquity of their neglected worship. But then it did not do so. There was enough to prove the history all true; but the Pentateuch gave the tabernacle, not the temple — one candlestick, not ten; an ark with two cherubim looking towards it, and no cherubim stretching their wings to either side of the house. To invent something different to please the people by its antiquity, was absurd; and if they took the account in Samuel of the temple of Solomon, they found the oxen gone from under the laver, and they found, moreover, the authenticity of the books confirmed, for, in that case, Samuel's book was an authentic account. But, indeed, to suppose a history invented when every existing monument, changed, mutilated, or perfect, proved the whole history true from beginning to end, and its comparative dates at the same time; and that, confirmed by well-known public history,* is an absurdity fit only for the credulity of an infidel, who will believe anything provided it be not the truth, for that is from God.

{*All ancient heathen writers, and infidel opposers of Christianity, recognize Moses as unquestionably the legislator of the Jews, and their first great leader.}

205 The fact of the introduction of "there it is to this day" is the simplest thing possible. Ezra necessarily re-edited the Old Testament on the return from Babylon.* And nothing could be more natural, if I were editing an ancient history, when the origin of ancient monuments is referred to, than to add, as confirming the history, "and there it is still." This is the allusion to subsequent times which is found in Old Testament history.

{*If it be asked on what authority any such book or chapter could be received as inspired, the answer is, "On the authority of the prophets." Hence the canon closes in the time of Malachi, the last inspired prophet — his prophecy, and Esther, being the last books. And this answer is as old as Josephus, who gives this reason for the closing of the canon, saying, there were records of what was done since, but that they had not the authority of the others. The feast of Purim, ever observed by the Jews, is an irrefragable proof of the history of the book of Esther, which the Jews value as they do the Pentateuch, saying these two will subsist when all the other books pass away in the days of the Messiah.}


The reason why Dean Graves* (Phases, pp. 138, 139) and others take the Pentateuch as ancient, is incomparably stronger than that on which Homer and Hesiod or Caesar are received. They have been handed down for ages as such, translated two or three centuries before Christ, being then counted as the undoubted sacred books of the Hebrews. They are connected successively with the whole history of Israel, which is confirmed throughout by every kind of collateral proof. The whole history of the world is founded on the statements contained in it. The Jews, who detest Christians, preserve them as authentic books just as we have them: the son of Sirach, Josephus, Philo did the same. The style confirms the dates ascribed to them:** every institution of the Jews is inseparably connected with their truth. The alleged inconsistency is accounted for by a well known fact recorded in the book itself. Is it unreasonable to accept these books, historically speaking, as genuine, and answer objections if they are made? The use of the article ὁ in Greek, as a pronoun, proves Homer ancient. The use of the article Hu and Nahar is a perfectly analogous proof in the Pentateuch.

{*"Dean Graves, for instance, always takes for granted, that until the contrary shall be demonstrated, it is to be fully believed that the Pentateuch is from the pen of Moses." (Phases, p. 137.)}

{**Some question, founded on style, is raised as to the date of one or two books, but not so as to affect in any way the general history or truth of the entire. Nor do I believe it, in the least, to be a well-founded doubt.}


Where is "sham science"* (Phases, p. 138) really found in this case? As regards the difficulty of supposing that the law had been so neglected that the king's attention had not been turned to it, it is really none at all. Sixty-seven years had elapsed, during fifty-seven of which all fear of Jehovah had been wholly cast off — a captivity had taken place, and all was confusion and ruin — the house of God neglected, and out of repair. Persecution had raged; the images of idolatrous groves had been brought into the temple itself, and idolatry and neglect of Jehovah filled the land. That the scriptures were neglected, and not known to the young king, is not surprising. He may have known there was such a thing generally, yet never have examined it so as to see the condition Israel was in.

{*"Oh, sham science! Oh, false-named theology!
O mihi tam longa maneat pars ultima vitae
Spiritus et quantum sat erit tua dicere facta." (Phases, p. 138.)}


I have looked into the history of the Hebrew monarchy by Mr. N., and examined particularly what relates to this point; but I have found, besides some examination of collateral history and dates, nothing but an imitation of the absurd German self-confidence and theories, whose authors, provided they can invent something which nobody else has thought of, are very indifferent as to its credibility. *

{*There is one happy result of this, that one infidel theory destroys another, and all are shewn to be merely theories without any proof, and far more incredible than the plain history we have. Mr. N.'s book, setting aside of course inspiration, seeks for probable causes and motives for what the scripture history makes as plain as possible. Another characteristic of his history is this, that, as he entirely sets aside God, he reduces everything to secondary causes and motives, many of which may very probably have acted on the minds of the persons concerned, the object being, as always, to sink everything to the level of that, and shut out God as far as possible. But in doing this the history has to be set aside, and this is done by the most incredible theories, which are really, by their irrationalism, offensive to any upright sober mind.}

Mr. N. places the prophecy of Joel about 840 years before Christ, Isaiah in Hezekiah's reign, and recognizes (for this suits his purpose) the destruction of the brazen serpent, the existence of the priesthood and temple. Now the allusions in Joel are all based on the Levitical law, even to the peculiar use of the silver trumpets. Isaiah refers to it in terms, saying, if they spake not according to it, there was no light in them. The deliverance out of Egypt is also spoken of several times; in one case, as affected by the rod of Moses being lifted up over the sea. Again, Micah refers to the ordinances of the law as to sacrifices, in express terms; he refers to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, to Balak and Balaam, and the details given as to them in Numbers. Mr. N. puts Micah in 723 before Christ; Josiah he puts in 651. Yet, in spite of this, he declares that the law was promulgated in Josiah's reign, when, it is pretended, it was found. This being too grossly absurd, he tells us that the first four books of the Pentateuch are to be regarded as a growth, not as a composition. Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers did not now begin to exist, but now received their final shape, and their public recognition in that shape. That is, that the code of religious laws and ceremonies was never made up till the nation, which had certainly subsisted for centuries, and had established an immense system according to the code, was just on the eve of dissolution!* And mark, the code establishes, as I have already observed, an order of things quite different from what subsisted. It recounts the forming of the tabernacle by divine direction, according to the pattern made in the mount, the authority for the change being given in books written, according to Mr. N., too late to be of any avail for the priestly objects to which he attributes the compiling of the Pentateuch; so that the priests invented a divinely ordered ritual and instruments of worship, which left their own existing one quite unauthorized! There is nothing like the excessive absurdities of infidels to shew what people are reduced to, when their "antagonistic will" rejects the plain revelation of God.

{*And had been formed just during the period in which they were practically abandoning it. Further, if it had been so formed, all Mr. N.'s arguments against its previous existence, because of its being found then in the temple, fall to the ground, as much as if it had been complete Since the time of Moses.}

208 I regret to be obliged to add, that the reader must never trust the statements made by infidels as to books, or passages of scripture, without reading the passages themselves. It is not that there is always an intention to deceive, but a loose general view suits a theory; and when this loose general view is examined, it very often turns out to be wholly unfounded.


Deuteronomy, we are told, favours the Levites rather than the priests: "In the whole book there is not a line whereby it could be learnt that a Levite was not equal to an Aaronite for all purposes of sacrifices." Now it is the people in Deuteronomy who are put into a peculiar place, such as they are in no other book — their relationship with God being made much more immediate. But the priest is definitely distinguished much more than the Levite. The subject is not sacrifice, in any way; but where they are alluded to, the priest's part is definitely distinguished. Levi is looked at as the head of the whole tribe, as we know he was. Hence in the blessing in the close all is attributed to him, as the Urim and Thummim, which the high priest alone wore. Mr. N. contrasts the prophecy of Jacob and Moses as to him as contradictory. It is, on the contrary, remarkable how both were fulfilled. Jacob threatens him, for his sin, with dispersion in Israel for his cruelty at Shechem; and he is dispersed, as Deuteronomy recognizes, and has no inheritance as a tribe in Israel. Moses declares that, for his faithfulness under Sinai, the priesthood should be in his family; and so it was.

Mr. N.'s statements as to the contents of the first four books are inexact. He speaks of "the scattering of Israel by piracy and invasion, into many distant lands," but says there is "nothing at all clear which needs to be referred to later times." Now this is not at all exact. Leviticus 26 speaks of very much more than scattering by piracy and invasion; it speaks of the total desolation of the land, so that it should enjoy its sabbaths, and of its possession by enemies, of the sanctuaries being ruined, and the people pining away in captivity, and promises restoration on repentance. This was not the case in Josiah's reign. He repaired the temple, governed Judea, and, it may be almost said, reigned over the whole land. The Assyrian holds a place in all prophecy? which the Chaldees do not, because the Assyrian attacked Judah when owned of God; the Chaldees held them in captivity when they were not.

209 Mr. N. says, "the book [the Pentateuch] is familiar with the tribes of Israel, and their distribution." Now Deuteronomy is put aside by Mr. N. as a distinct work from the rest of the Pentateuch; and to Genesis the expression of the distribution of the tribes has no intelligible application. The only one whose locality is spoken of certainly, never had the one there given him before Josiah's time. Now it is perfectly incredible that, if a person was arranging the book with the historical facts before him, he should have invented a prophecy which those facts contradict. If we take in Deuteronomy, the same observation applies. Naphtali is said to possess the west and the south, and, in general, no distribution is given which can in any possible way connect it with Josiah's time. All there is on this point proves it could not possibly have been written then from the knowledge of historical facts preceding that epoch. Indeed, if we embrace Deuteronomy, the whole argument is absurd; because we get in that book, especially in Deuteronomy 32, prophecies which have no kind of reference to anything yet fully accomplished, and which, so far as they are partially, have no reference to anything connected with the history of Israel before Christ's time, and yet are positive and absolute assertions.

On the whole, a saint may gather, if he be following God's will, good out of everything, may turn it to use; but, otherwise, Mr. N.'s book on the Hebrew monarchy, considered as an examination of scriptural history, is not deserving of any serious attention; unless theories without proof, idle speculations which lower everything they touch, assertions as to the records inquired into which shew they have never been really or fairly examined, and statements which destroy all rational grounds of historical proof of anything, be worthy of a sober man's attention and respect. It betrays, also, what we soon find on going farther, the earnest wish to get rid of scripture.


Why was Luther's having repudiated the Apocalypse an interesting fact, but that Mr. N. wished it? If I am not an infidel, or if I am even indifferent, such a fact is not thus caught at as interesting. I regret it, or I examine it, as affording no proof of anything.

210 As regards the Apocalypse, I leave the question of style, which flows evidently from its being the representation of visions, and many peculiarities of which have been shewn to be similar to those of John's gospel. I leave it, because Mr. N. does not insist on it, though for a reason of very little force, and adopted with a view to govern the interpretation by the date. Mr. N. gives no other reason for judging it spurious but that he doubted about it, and had his doubts confirmed by Neander.

He then gives his view of Revelation 17 in a passage which is just an example of the excessively careless and superficial manner in which he treats every subject. "Chapter 17," he says, "appears to be a political speculation, suggested by the civil war of Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian, and erroneously opines that the eighth emperor of Rome is to be the last, and is to be one of the preceding emperors restored — probably Nero, who was believed to have escaped to the kings of the east." (Phases, p. 140.) Now I would only beg my reader, learned or unlearned, to read the chapter (it is always the truest way of judging of scripture), and say if he can find the slightest ground whatever for this interpretation, or for one of the thoughts contained in it, save that Rome, and its empire, was in question, and that an eighth head was a restored one, and even then with symbols that shewed that it was shadowed out in ages long beyond John's time — correctly or not I do not now say. Where is there a word of civil wars, or three heads at once? And, further, Mr. N. certainly ought to have more classical lore a great deal than I have: still I do not understand how he can reconcile his statement with universally known history.

This is the succession of emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian.

Now, according to the system adopted in Mr. N.'s book, John wrote in the reign of Galba, for, he says, five are fallen, one is, and Galba is the sixth, Otho the seventh, Vitellius the eighth, and Vespasian the ninth — a very curious reason for judging that the eighth emperor was to be the last. If the civil war between Otho and Vitellius is said to be a reason for considering these two as one, then it must be from historically knowing that the two emperors were, or had been, on the scene — a strange reason for saying that the sixth, Galba, who in that case had already disappeared, was then, and the seventh not yet come. In a word, the pretence that this prophecy is taken from subsisting events, is, I must be forgiven for saying, mere nonsense.* And here I beg the reader to remark, that all relation to the ten horns is unnoticed by Mr. N., yet these were kings which had received no kingdom as yet. Let any one notice, not only the majesty of the statements, but the connection of the beast spoken of with the whole of the latter part of the prophecy, and judge whether the civil wars from Galba to Vespasian in any way meet the announcements of the prophecy. If the prophecy were not even an inspired book referring to future events, nothing which had then happened can be received as giving rise to its statements. A year's fighting between these three chiefs, and the subsequent accession of Vespasian, do not correspond in any way to what the author professes to unfold in his book.

{*It is borrowed from the Germans as usual.}

211 Galba was murdered after a very brief period (about seven months, January 15, A.D. 69), and Otho succeeded him. Otho, beaten by the lieutenants of Vitellius, killed himself, April 16th; Vitellius, his army having been overthrown by Antonius Primus, was deposed, or, rather, abdicated, Dec. 20th, A.D. 69, and soon after was ignominiously killed. The only value of a decision come to against the Apocalypse, on such ground as this, is to shew the value to be attached to the judgment of the objector on such a subject.


Mr. Newman settles, with equal facility, the authority, or rather, the question who is the author, of the epistle to the Hebrews.* Now, the enquiry, whether a particular book belongs to scripture, is quite another thing than denying the word of God. It is merely a question whether that particular book makes part of it. Guessing as to it is folly, on such a subject. I have no doubt that the epistle to the Hebrews is Paul's. The omission of his name has raised a question on it from early days. The Roman Church did not receive it for a long time, but I am satisfied it did at the first. I judge that Clement's epistle, addressed as it is in the name of the whole Roman Church, is a plain proof of it. The desire to get rid of passages in Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10 which seem to favour a peculiar rigidity of discipline, led that church to cast a doubt upon it, on account of the controversies it was engaged in on the subject (the epistle's being addressed, as it evidently is, to Jews connected with Jerusalem and Palestine, making it less known than those addressed to Gentile churches). Its inspiration, I hesitate not to say, stands far above all question. It is different in style from St. Paul's familiar epistles addressed in intimacy, if we except that to the Romans, to particular congregations he knew. In this last, also, we find a long course of elaborate argument, and the use of Jewish scriptures. Still it is addressed to them in a character which extended to those he had never seen. The epistle to the Hebrews is a treatise elaborately composed as a last warning to the Jews, whose polity was just going to be put an end to, and urging them to have done with it as ready to vanish away, and to go out without the camp. The contrary conduct had been borne with hitherto. Now this was urgent. Who so fit for this as Paul? It was at the close of his career; for he refers to Timothy being set at liberty, and himself as free, and to the saints in Italy.

{*"As to the epistle to the Hebrews, I now saw quite a different genius in it from that of Paul, as more artificial, and savouring of rhetorical culture. As to this the learned Germans are probably unanimous." (Phases, p. 140.)}

212 The neglect of his counsel produced the bastard Christianity, if Christianity it can be called, of Nazarenes, and the still worse sect of Ebionites, whose hatred to Paul, consequently, was most violent. They rejected indeed all his writings. The subject of the epistle to the Hebrews is of the highest and most elevated character. It affords instruction, which no other part of scripture does, on the personal glory of Christ, yet it confirms and is confirmed by all. It treats these subjects with a method and reasoning drawn from the depths of divine relationships, and yet possessing perfect clearness — a union which flows from divine inspiration alone characterizes it. Passages of scripture (the connection of which with the whole scope of the divine mind, as revealed in the word, is brought out when Christ is applied as a key to them) are here quoted in a connection which, when the link of thought is given in Him, has a beauty and evidence which leaves no doubt of the divine hand that has been at work — a connection which shews, when given, that that alone could be their full bearing, and yet, without that blessed key, they remained locked up to the human mind, the connection when thus made plain affording a complete testimony to Christ, and, at the same time, by Him, not only establishing inspiration, but giving a divine fulness to the word itself, and such a combination of it as proves the unity of mind in the whole book, and that mind to be God's, who alone could conceive or unfold such a plan.

213 Now the Hebrews furnish, in a very remarkable manner, such an unlocking and connection of scripture, and with a power of reasoning and unity of scope and purpose, pursued with an energy of mind and thought which peculiarly characterizes St. Paul. The blessed apostle is specially occupied with the counsels of God, the divine plan of dispensation, as John with the manifestation and communication of divine life; Peter, with the pilgrim character of it here, connected with the hope of a suffering and rejected Saviour, the Son of the living God, whom he had known, and knew to be risen and gone up, and hoped for again.

With this dispensational character of Paul's writings the epistle to the Hebrews clearly classes itself. It has a more finished style as being an essay. It is, in its contents and reasonings, suited to Jews, because addressed to them. Perfectly satisfied that it is scripture, and a part of it whose loss would be irreparable, having the stamp of the divine gift upon it, I do not in the least doubt it is St. Paul's, from its character and the details alluded to in it. The reader is aware, that in 2 Peter it is expressly stated Paul did write to the Jews. The omission of his name is perfectly according to God. He was not apostle of the circumcision, he was a doctor; for all that he could teach in the Church of God. In the form of the epistle he was in his only we divinely given place in thus writing. The effect of this is seen, and so it ought to be, in the style.

As to the unanimity of the "learned Germans" to whom Mr. N. alludes, it is very possible. Every one admits, without being a "learned German,"* the difference of style; it is natural that the style of an elaborately drawn up essay should be different from that of familiar epistles addressed to those immediately within the exercise of Paul's apostolic office. The question is, What conclusion is to be drawn from it in connection with other far stronger and more important points, which affect the authorship of the epistle? The doubt of its divine inspiration, whatever Rome may have thought for its own reasons for two centuries, would only excite pity in my mind. There are proofs of inspiration which have a character that infidelity does not touch, being connected with the development of divine counsels and wisdom in the word, of which the infidel does not possess the elements, and cannot, because he is an infidel. I admit that these are intellectual proofs to the believer; but they do astonishingly secure and confirm the faith of him who has some acquaintance with these counsels-just as, in the case of a perfect tally, or a broken piece of metal, he who has only one piece has no proof as to the other; but he who has both has not a doubt as to the connection of one with the other. And divine things are yet more certain; for man could imitate in material things, in some cases, though, in most, doubt would be irrational — in divine, he cannot. The connection is unknown till discovered.

{*It was remarked and reasoned on very early indeed by the fathers.}

214 Difficulties, we have seen, have arisen as to the Epistle to the Hebrews, from Paul's not naming himself as an apostle. Besides what I have said as to his not being apostle of the circumcision, there is another point I would notice here. It connects itself with another objection to his being the author — his saying that it was confirmed unto them by those who heard him.

Now, if we examine the manner of presenting things in this epistle, if St. Paul be the author, he could not have introduced himself as an apostle, writing to them as such.

He is addressing the Hebrews, who had already faith in the scriptures, and basing all his arguments on them, in unfolding the person and offices of the Lord Jesus Himself. It was not apostolic announcement of doctrine in the way of revelation with authority, but application of admitted scriptures to Christ, to shew that He ought to be such, and be on high according to them; and to shew the necessary coming in of the new covenant. Old Testament scriptures were necessarily his authority here — the whole matter he had in hand, to which his apostolical authority added nothing. Nay, their authority was what he had to insist on, using the word of wisdom in applying them.

Now this he does in a manner which entirely shuts out all possibility of introducing his own apostolic authority. He brings in God speaking Himself in the Old Testament — an acknowledged truth with the Jews. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past … by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken to us in [the] Son [or, more nearly, as Son, that is, in the person of the Son]." Heb. 1:1. Now this took a ground which left no room for beginning — Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ. God Himself, who had spoken of old by the prophets, had now spoken in the Son Himself. Hence we have that which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord. That is, it was the great Prophet Himself, nay, the Lord Himself, who had spoken to the Jews. And hence, as referring to what He had said when on the earth, the personal address of Jesus, he speaks of those who had heard Him; God bearing them witness by signs, etc. Now that was exactly the way in which God had dealt with the Jews; and the Christian testimony itself was thus appropriately and peculiarly brought before them; it was by that the nation had been made responsible, and not by Paul's teaching. But it was, in writing to them, just his place to refer to it; and peculiarly his to unfold the whole glorious position of Christ as mounted on high; as indeed it was given to him only to declare; and to show how He put Jews in immediate connection with heaven in this way; and thus to pave the way for the passing away of all connected with the old covenant, and exhort them to go outside the camp, as being no longer of God. The great sacrifice of atonement was offered; the high priest was gone within with the blood; the body was burnt without; the middle holy place of Judaism, suited to its day, was now nought. In spirit we were within the veil; in suffering in the flesh, without the camp, bearing the blessed Victim's reproach.

215 Now the unfolding this was just Paul's place, not Peter's. Yet it was just his place too to refer to that very testimony which made the Jews responsible to do so; which was not his own, but that which he derives down from God speaking by the prophets; and then as in the person of the Son (ἐν υιῳ), thus making it God's direct testimony to them (i.e., the Jews, with whom he joins himself, as a Jew, in the most beautiful and gracious way, as he had said the fathers, not your fathers) and only bringing in even apostles themselves as confirming it. He does not associate these with God's testimony, or with the Lord's; only they come in to assure it to others; and even then he brings in God bearing them witness; and then proceeds to exalt and glorify Christ's person. In a word, he addresses himself perfectly to Jews as such, yet to bring them out of their Judaism. Had he not been thus above the Jewish position, he could not have given it the place he does in the character of the testimony given to it. It was taking them high enough up to the source of the testimony to lift them above the system formed beside it. Indeed prophecy was the link of God with Israel when in the way of righteousness under ordinances He could have nothing to say to them. He interfered by a prophet to bring them out of bondage or back to Himself. "By a prophet he brought them out of Egypt; by a prophet were they saved." It was God's sovereign way when there was no other. God's great Prophet had now appeared to lead them out for a better salvation; He was the Apostle of their profession. Peter could not lead them out of a Jewish position. He had ministered to them still in and under it. Paul's ministry as an apostle was directed elsewhere. He graciously makes Christ their Apostle, while owning in its place that of all the apostles among them, yet as hearers of the Lord.


I have no remark to make on what Mr. N. says of the Song of Solomon (Phases, p. 140) than that it is just an example of what I have said of the whole system — a bringing down everything to the low level of the writer's mind.


As regards Ruth and Esther,* the first was of the utmost importance, as introducing David's line on which all hung, in a most touching and instructive narrative; and that in connection with the all-important fact of a poor Moabitess coming by grace "under the wings of the God of Israel," and being mother of Messiah Himself. The names bear, in a most evident way, a mystic signification, on which I cannot enlarge here, allying themselves immediately with the subject. Naomi ("my pleasant one") loses her husband Elimelech ("God is King" or "my King"), loses her sons, and becomes Mara ("bitterness"). Devotedness of heart to her in this state brings Ruth (a poor lost one and a stranger) by grace, to raise up the family of the deceased, through the redeemer ("in whom is strength") Boaz, the Goel; and the child is born to sorrowing Naomi, the widow — though in fact Ruth's.

{*As to them Mr. N. says, "The so-called canon of the Jews could not guarantee to us the value of the writings. Consequently, such books as Ruth and Esther (the latter indeed not containing one religious sentiment) stood forth at once in their natural insignificance." (Phases, p. 141.) All this class of remarks are a resume of German infidelity. I do not pretend to be well acquainted with German infidelity, but I have picked up enough of it to know that Mr. N.'s objections have nothing original in them but their audacity, and neglect of all attempt at proof, and of all consideration of answers given to the objections he retails from the great German manufactory. There is considerable skill in the form of Mr. N.'s book in this respect; because, being a history of the course of his own mind, he can say, I gave up this; I gave up that; I was convinced of this, and clear about that: as if it were something satisfactorily proved, without the trouble of telling us how he came to this conclusion. It was convincing — that is certain; so that we are to receive it (for receiving a doubt is abandoning faith): but why we cannot tell. He will allow me to remind him of a point I shall touch on just now, that "an ambitious and unscrupulous Church … may say, 'Only believe, and all is right. The end being gained … we do not care about your reasons' … to a divine teacher [and surely to a human] we should peculiarly look for aid in getting clear views of the ground of faith." (Phases, p. 146.) Yet, certainly, in Mr. N.'s book, while giving many objections to promote unbelief "at second-hand," in general "stat pro ratione voluntas."}

217 The importance of Esther is most evident, besides typical instruction. Nothing could be more so in its place. It is the providential care of Israel scattered among the heathen, when God could not own them at all outwardly or publicly. Hence He does not appear in the book. It is His unseen hand that does it in a providential way.


Mr. Newman speaks then in general of the Old Testament losing its authority. Nothing can exceed the narrow mindedness and want of enlarged scope of view in all these remarks. There is no perception of a whole;* no idea of the unfolding of dispensation, of the ways of God, of various parts of His ways, each brought out in its place, by which He was known. If there is not something which is the expression of the petty mind of man, which may suit Mr. N., then it is "insignificant.'' A star is insignificant to an ignorant person. It is part of an immense system to an enlightened astronomer, which, as a whole, confounds by its stupendous character. The significance of a thing sometimes depends on the intelligence of him who is occupied with it. The Arundel marbles made beautiful lime for the masons of the Earl's house. To them that was all they signified.

{*I must say that this is also true of such books as Stuart's on the Canon. I have read it since I wrote these sheets, and have been able to extract useful matter here and there: but though it once or twice alludes to the Bible as a whole, yet the ground of his answer (besides details as to particular objections) is present personal edification as it is. Now no man can get fully the real evidence for the Bible, unless he views it as a whole given of God. That is its value; and if God gives me His whole view of man from the creation to the eternal state, is that not instructive, the most instructive possible of all knowledge? And thus, like a dissected map, its completeness, the place of each part, the perfectness of each part in its place, is self-demonstrated for him who knows what the map is. Mr. Stuart might as well complain of the piece that contained Russia because it was not the map of Andover in Massachusetts, as reason as to the suitableness of Esther because it was not moral instruction for a Christian, or did not help a preacher to make a sermon.}


We get a famous sample of Mr. N.'s reasoning in this part of his book. He says, "That faith in the book was no part of Paul's gospel is manifest from his giving no list of sacred books to his Gentile converts." (Phases, p. 141.) I do not know how Mr. N. knows this. Infidels, it is true, do get their knowledge at wonderful little cost; and the advantage of this is so great that one can never get them to acquaint us with the sources from which they procure it. Still, it is always "manifest." But there are some difficulties in the way of slower minds in admitting the force of this. First, the list was already universally and fully known: half the first converts were Jews, of whom not one had a question as to what they were; and then the apostles, addressing Jews and Gentiles together, appeal to these very books over and over again, as of unquestionable authority. A list by Paul would have been a very foolish thing, because he appealed to them as of already recognized authority. No doubt this was adding his to them; but, besides this, it was drawing the authority of what he himself said from them, which was much more important, and a very much more solemn way of owning their authority. If faith in a book be not proved by Paul's writings, what would prove it? A list would have been ridiculous: the whole book was perfectly well known. He calls it "the scriptures."

And here I must beg leave to say, that Mr. N. most grossly misrepresents what the apostle says to Timothy. He makes him say, "Although now you have the Spirit to teach you, yet that does not make the older writers useless; for 'every divinely inspired writing is also profitable for instruction,"' etc. (Phases, p. 142.) Now Paul says nothing of the kind. There is no contrast of the Spirit with the scriptures, but something totally different. The apostle is shewing what is the especial safeguard of the Christian in the perilous times of the last days, and, besides his own instructions, he refers Timothy in a particular manner to the scriptures (did he want a list?), to the written word of God, as able to make men wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. The apostle is so far from contrasting it with the Spirit's teaching us, that though speaking of the Spirit, as announcing these perilous times, he refers especially to the scriptures, without naming the Holy Ghost, as competent to make the man of God perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. I am satisfied no one can profit by the scriptures without the Holy Ghost; but here the apostle had occasion to bring in a safeguard for the Church, exterior to her or any man's pretensions.

219 Mr. N. gives us the beginning of the phrase — which he is very careful not to finish — in a translation of his own, without noticing in any way that of the authorized version. It would not, indeed, at all have suited him. Quoted as it is there, in English, it would have utterly overthrown his statement. Now although I admit people may raise a question on it, I beg leave to say, that I am thoroughly convinced the English translation is right, and that the passage (though I know some have so taken it) will not really* bear the sense here put upon it. But Mr. N. might have spared himself the trouble of reasoning thus on the Old Testament — Christ certainly declares, in what amounts to a list, its authority. He, indeed, could give it such. Hence, when Mr. N. did not admit it as having such, as so quoted by Jesus in all its parts, he had given up Christ's authority altogether even as a prophet. He might have saved himself the trouble of commenting on any further details; he was completely an infidel already. All the rest was totally illogical. He did not know what he was about, or he was indulging his "antagonist will" in the hope of troubling others who yet cling to the blessed authority of the life-giving word of God. No doubt the scriptures are "a means" — but what a means — of knowing God's mind is His own communicating it! He who loves Him who gives it will love the communication. He who knows his own weakness and ignorance will rejoice in that which gives him certain, divinely sent knowledge of God and of all His ways. "The Bible was made for man."** No doubt — God be thanked. But by whom was it made? But to set man up in self-importance, and to put God aside, is the natural desire of an infidel — the uniform practice of Mr. N.

{*"He," says Bishop Middleton (alluding to Mr. N.'s way of translating it), "who can produce such an instance, will do much towards establishing the plausibility of a translation, which otherwise must appear, to say the least of it, to be forced and improbable."}

{**"In Paul's religion, respect for the scriptures was a means, not an end. The Bible was made for man, not man for the Bible." (Phases, p. 142.)}