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The answers to all the objections which have from the earliest Christian ages been advanced against the genuineness . and authenticity of the sacred Scriptures, will be found in the course of the New Translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew, the first and second parts of which are now published; but as a work of such magnitude will require much time before it be completed, and as the objeca tions, with considerable additions, are now circulating in every part of the kingdom, it was thought advisable to lay the following hasty remarks before the public, that those who may not have an opportunity of being sufficiently acquainted with the fallacy of such objections, may be prepared to refute them.
It is not only in this kingdom, but in France, that the acutest writers are now busy, in circulating their opinions to discredit the Bible ; and which are now publishing in this country, with a design to circulate them throughout the British empire. Therefore the necessity of laying the answers to the objections before the public, will appear evident to all ranks of professing Christians. ,
At a time when, by the efforts of the British public, the. Bible is sent forth into all nations, when the true worship of God, and the blessings which are consequent on the reception of the sacred doctrines promulgated by the Messiah, are published by faithful laborers in almost every part of the habitable world; it is not surprising to see, from another description of men, publications sent forth of a direct contrary tendency, attacking the genuineness and authenticity of the Bible, and defying all ranks of professing Christians, to defend the moral characters of the sacred writers, or to prove that the circumstances, transactions, and things therein related, were true..
The publications to which I particularly allude, have appeared under the titles of, The Deist, THE AGE OF REASON, and a work published by Mr. Volney, recently translated into English, which he calls, New RESEARCHES ON ANCIENT KINGDOMS ; in which the writers have selected a number of passages from the received translation, in order to show, that "the Bible cannot be the word of God, but that it is the work of crafty and designing men.”
The greater part of these objections have been advanced by deistical writers from the earliest ages of the Christian church, and in all nations have, as we see reason to believe, been resorted to from motives of vanity or interest. It is therefore my intention in these pages, to show as briefly as possible, that these writers have no authority for a single objection which they have advanced.
The writers of the Deist begin their enquiries by stating what they call, “The doubts of infidels,” and ask, “How can the attributes of God be vindicated, in having performed so great a number of miracles, for a long succession of very distant ages, and so few in latter times? If they were performed for the instruction of those times, are they not equally necessary now ?” .
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ANSWER. : It is not necessary for miracles to be perfornied, in order to vindicate the attributes of God; neither were miracles ever performed to give instruction. A miracle may force conviction, or show that it must be done by a supernatural power; but no miracle, however great, will change the heart, or convert a wicked man to a life of uprightness.
This was known of old,' miracles were performed before the Egyptians, but notwithstanding they continued in the sensualities of their idolatrous worship.
“ Miracles," says the Deist, “must have been very common in Egypt, since there was a body of people whose trade it was to work them. When Aaron's rod was turned into a serpent, Pharaoh, instead of being surprised at it, as an unusual phenomenon, sends for his magicians, who immediately perform the like with their rods."
ANSWER. But it is not said that the magicians did any miracle : it is indeed said - the magicians DID so with their enchantments ; not that they turned their rods into serpents, but that they operated in like manner with their deceptious burnings, that is, not really, but in appearance only, by
certain operations in their burnings, according to the custom of the idolators, they produced an appearance of serpents.
OBJECTION. The Deist remarks, that “ Aaron turned the waters of Egypt into blood, their streams, their rivers, their ponds, and their pools, together with all the water throughout all the land of Egypt, and that the magicians of Egypt did so likewise with their enchantments. That objectors enquire whether the magicians formed water to practise their art upon, since Aaron had already turned it into blood ?".
ANSWER. It is not said that all the water in the land of Egypt was turned into blood, but that there should be blood in all the land of Egypt. And when this miracle was done, it is. said, that he smote the water which was in the river in the sight of Pharaoh,
OBJECTION. The Deist proceeds, “ Pharaoh still continuing inflexible, his cattle, namely, the horses, the asses, the camels, the oxen, and the sheep, were afflicted with a grievous murrain, and all the cattle of Egypt died. This producing no good effect with Pharaoh, Moses was therefore sent early in the morning; to advise Pharaoh to send for his cattle, and all that he had in the field, and shelter them against a terrible hail storm, the approach of which he predicted. It must be very difficult by the force of mere human reason to persuade mankind in general, that Pharaoh's cattle were in any great danger from the hail storm, since they were all previously dead by the murrain : or how the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord, could make their cattle flee into houses, when they were all previously dead by the murrain, and thus in. capable of fleeing.”
· This statement is not true, according to the original
Hebrew. The words, vayamath kol mikneh Mitsrayin, which are here translated, and all the cattle of Egypt died, truly read, there died of all the cattle of Egypt. That is, among all the cattle of Egypt, the murrain was so severe, that many of the cattle died in all the land of Egypt. There can be no doubt but that the passage is not quite correctly translated in the common version. Therefore the objection, that, “ it must be very difficult by the force of human reason to persuade mankind in general, that Pharaoh's cattle were in any great danger from the hail storm, since they were all previously dead by the inurrain,” falls to the ground. Many died by the murrain, and many died by the hail storm. So that there is no difficulty in conceiving, that those which remained were, by the people who believed the word of the Lord, caused to flee into places of safety, and were thus preserved.
OBJECTION. “Some are in doubts whether so mean, so ungenerous, , and so dishonest an act, as borrowing the Jewels of the Egyptians without any intention of returning them, did not rather originate in that disposition which characterizes the Jews to this day, than in the command of the just God, who certainly could need no such tricks to accomplish his intentions."
ANSWER. • The reader will do well to remember, that this statement of the Deist, only applies to the present version, as now .commonly received ; there is no such thing stated in the original Hebrew. The passage is in Exodus iii. 22. < But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and ye shall put them upon your sons and upon your daughters.” Objectors have concluded, that the Hebrews lived among the Egyptians, and that the Egyptians sojourned in the houses of the Hebrews : but this is an error. The Jews lived in a part of the country separate from the Egyptians, in the land of Goshen, and they were to borrow only of their own people, who lived
with them, not jewels of silver, or jewels of gold, but money--silver and gold to pay the expences of the poor on the journey. There is no authority for the word jewels. . It certainly is highly condemnable in the writer, or writers of the publication called the Deist, to attempt to calumniate the modern Hebrews, by saying, “ did not so dishonest an act, as borrowing the jewels from the Egyptians without any intention of returning them, rather originate in that disposition which characterises the Jews to this day?" This is an idle charge on that people, and manifests a degree of prejudice unworthy of any writer in this enlightened age. It is universally allowed that the Jews, as a body, are a respectable people, and that those who are worthy of the name of a Jew, are as much to be depended on in the fulfilment of their engagements, as any other description of people. And it is observable, that in every nation where they have not been oppressed, that nation has risen in power and prosperity. Witness Russia, where they amount to millions; and let the reader look at Spain, where they once were numerous, before they were persecuted. The marked displeasure of God seems always to have been shown on such occasions. Bigotry, and intolerance have materially affected the population of the country. · The reflections which have been cast on the Jews, to the dishonor of God, the discredit of the Scriptures, and the injury of that people, have arisen from the improper translation of the last clause of the verse under consideration, which reads thus in the cominon versions, And ye shall spoil the Egyptians; for as above, they did not dwell among them, therefore this passage is not only improperly applied, but also improperly translated. The word nitsaltem, which is in the common version rendered and ye shall spoil the Egyptians, truly reads, ye shall be delivered from Egypt.
OBJECTION. I nn.. .:: “God came to Balaam at night and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up and go with them.' Balaam accordingly rose up, saddled his ass, and went