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us further proceed to point out a few of the evidences of this faith, and to give a reason of the hope that is in us.
No sooner do we enter on the subject of revelation, than unbelievers assail us with objections as to the genuineness of the books of scripture. We will proceed to make here a few remarks on such objections. If, say they, “it be found that the books ascribed to Moses, Joshua, and Samuel, were not written by these persons, every part of the authority and authenticity of these books is gone at once.' Dr. Watson, in his reply to • Paine's Age of Reason,' notices this objection, and exposes the weakness of the argument, by showing, that a book may be authentic and not: genuine, or genuine yet not authentic. For instance, a genuine book is one which is really the production of the person whose name it bears, though its contents may be merely the offspring of the author's imagination; as the tales of Mrs. Opie, or the works of Sir Walter Scott. In these cases the works are genuine, as being the productions of the reputed authors, but they want authenticity, as being fabulous and untrue.
An authentic book is one which relates matters of fact, although it may bave been published either anonymously or under a feigned name. Anson's voyage, which was ascribed to one individual as its author, while it was, in fact, the production of another, has been mentioned as an exam
So that a book may be authentic, that is,
* See Dr. Watson's Reply to Paine's Age of Reason.
may contain a true history of events, although it may not have been written by the person whose name it bears. Provided, therefore, the unbeliever could even make good his assertion, that Moses, and Joshua, and Samuel were not the write ers of the books to which their names are prefixed, still it would be of but little avail to the cause of infidelity, since they may contain, notwithstanding, true histories of past events. In preferring the charge of spuriousness against the Mosaical books, the unbeliever adduces the following passage as one of his proofs. Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.' Numb. xii. c, 3 v. This specimen of auto-biography appears to the unbeliever to exhibit too much vanity and selfconceit' to have been penned by any modest man writing of himself. "If Moses did write the passage,' says the objector, · his testimony is unworthy of credit; and if he did not write it, then the books are not authentic histories.'
Without attempting to decide, whether or not the penning of such a passage, relating to himself, would authorize us to doubt the testimony of the historian: I would ask, is it fair to put the worst construction upon the passage with which a cavilling spirit could furnish us? Is it honourable, to charge a man with puerile vanity and self-conceit, who sacrificed the ease and the voluptuousness of Pharaoh's court, and chose the toils and privations of the desert ? _ refusing, as the Apostle, in aftertimes, emphatically said, "to be
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called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.' Would it not be more reasonable and just to at tribute the passage to some individual of aftertimes, who stated in a marginal note, what, in subsequent transcribings, found its way into the main body of the history? With respect to the second clause of this assertion, it will be sufficient to observe, that, we have already shown, a book may be authentic, and, therefore, deserving of out regard, although it may not have been written by the person whose name it bears, but by some one acquainted with the circumstances therein related.
Again: the authenticity of the Mosaical history has been called in question, because certain passages, found therein, anticipate events, and record circumstances, which must have happened many years after the alleged time of writing the book in which the account of these circumstances is rerecorded. 'One of the most remarkable instances of this kind is the account of the Kings of Edom, occurring in the xxxvi. c. Gen. In the 36 v. the writer says, ' And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.' Now, says the unbeliever, this passage was written at least four hundred years after the time of Moses : for that space of time had elapsed after the death of Moses, before the Israelites were governed by a king: and since this passage is found in a history ascribed
to Moses, but which was, in fact, written so many years after his death, the book Genesis, which contains it, cannot be the work of Moses. The passage. in question, again occurs in the 1st Chron. i. 43.
The consideration then is, whether the difficulty here pointed out, is of such a nature as to affect the authenticity of the Mosaical books? I think not. Would it not be more ingenuous, more just, to suppose, that some subsequent writer did, in collecting and comparing the several scriptures, make such marginal remarks, and such additions, as might appear to him necessary for the illustration and completion of particular narrations; and that, in the course of time, these notes, like those we have already mentioned, found their way into the body of the history? Is not this a reasonable supposition? Would not such a mode of reconciling the difficulty be more becoming, than that too commonly resorted to, of irreverently calum. niating a book, which has been deemed genuine, and holy, and true, by the brightest characters of both the ancient and modern world? I offer these as specimens of the objections against the alleged errors of the ancient scriptures. I shall not now stop to notice the objections against many of the scriptural narratives and commands, arising from their supposed immorality and evil tendency; because, these do not, so directly, affect, the au. thenticity of the history. Leaving these objections, therefore, unnoticed for the present, let us proceed to inquire, why we should ascribe the several
books of the ancient scriptures to their reputed authors? Ft And here, it cannot but be acknowledged, that considerable difficulty attends any attempt at ascertaining the genuineness of books of such high Santiquity Not, indeed, that the difficulties are of such a nature as to warrant the indecent attacks of the unbeliever; because, independently of any internal evidence of their truth, they stand upon -the same foundation as other ancient writing's. The remote antiquity, however, into which they convey us back, is separated from the epochs whence common history takes its rise, by a border region, as it were, of mists and shadows, wherein we seem, at times, to lose all ordinary means of judgment and tests of truth. But this is an evil which, from the nature of the subject, it is impossible totally to escape; and it obliges us to attend to that strong probability which, in all similar cases, is reasonable ground for belief, where direct proof is, from the nature of the case, denied us. No man can justify his opposition to scripture testimony, iwhen the evidence preponderates in its favour, when the denial of the circumstances which the scriptures relate, would involve him in - greater difficulties, than the admission of them as facts. And to this state, as it seems to me, will he be reduced, by denying the truth of the Jewish scriptures. In fact, if we refuse to receive them as true relations of past events, we strike at the foundation of all ancient history. What evidence have we that the writings of Homer, the most an