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then for a sign, to prove that to Moses which he must bave known without a sign? Again, does a man who is inspired need any proof that he is so? And is not inspiration of the first degree more convincing than a mere acecidental contingency? And although it may be said with some colour of plausibility, that the fulfilment of the prediction of a prophecy is a proof of the inspiration of the propbet ; even allowing this to be correct, it can only be a proof to others that the prophet who foretold the fulfilment was inspired. But to himself it is no proof at all; for, as before said, his internal evidence of inspiration must exclude all minor proofs by contingencies : and if Moses needed a sign to prove to him that God sent bim, in the present instance, the sign should have been present also. I say it is surprising that such questions do not present themselves to ......ians. Somehow or other, a something, or a certain set of ideas have got possession of the minds of ......ians, or the minds of ......ians have got possessed of a certain set of ideas, excluding all fair criticism on religion or scripture. They complain of the blindness and stubbornness of the Jews, the while they are, unfortunately for themselves, and for the world, so utterly blinded and infatuated with the spirit of deep sleep, as not to be able to form a correct judgment in the plainest and most obvious parts of scripture. I know it is from the LORD : still the ......jan is my brother; and although, perhaps, personally abused by him, I cannot but lament his hard, his unhappy, his miserable state and situation : and with fervour repeat, as I have been taught by Moses, in the words of the song, “Oh that they were wise! Oh that they understood this! Oh that they would consider their latter end !" Since, however, lamentation is useless, I will essay to explain the design, purpose, meaning, and intention, of the sign.
Moses stood in the presence of God, commissioned as a prophet to Israel, and ambassador to Pharaoh. “Go now, and I will send thee to Pharaoh. And thou shalt bring my people, the children of Israel from Egypt.” Erod. iii. 10. His commission was there fore double : first, to Pharaoh ; second to the children of Israel. Pharaoh was what all tyrannic persecutors of God's people have since been, a cruel, wicked, and overbearing, proud man. The children of Israel may be supposed to have then been, what they since have been, and are now, an oppressed, abused, persecuted, cautious, wary, reasoning people. Considering the different characters of the parties Moses would have to deal with, far different methods would be, or rather were necessary to be taken with each. As to Pharaoh, nothing but mere force, the heavy hand or power of God, and that well laid on, would be sufficient with him to oblige, to force him by coercion, to let the people go : and the plague sent him was sufficient, and the fittest mean, and answered the end intended. But with the children of Israel it was otherwise ; for the end intended was different: no less was intended than to convince them of the truth of revealed religion. As a man of talents, as a prudent, an able commander, they might have been willing enough to place themselves under his command, on his obliging Pharaoh to free them from bondage. They might also, through gratitude for so signal a service, have been willing to acknowledge him as their king : and this authority once attained might have been maintained. But this was not the purpose designed : with them the purpose was no other than to convince their minds of God's truth, of the verity of revealed religion ; and nothing short of immediate inspiration to themselves was adjudged sufficient, in the first instance, to bring about a thorough conviction of that truth on their minds. The case being thus situated, Moses is permitted to plead, “Who am I, that I shall go to Pharaoh ; and that I shall bring forth the children of Israel from Egypt.” v. 11. Such different talents are requisite to bring about this compound mission, which I do not possess, Who am I to do this? My own abilities are not sufficient for so difficult a task. God now informs him in the words of our text. “And he said I will be with thee, and this shall be the sign that I have sent thee : when thou hast brought the people from Egypt, ye shall worship God on this mountain.” As far as concerns Pharaoh, I will be with thee; my might, my strength, my power will be with you to assist you against the tyrant. But as to the convincing my people, you will put them off till they come out of Egypt : when they shall worship me on this mountain, I will convince them : and therefore the sign is future ; because, as regarded the belief of the inspiration of Moses, the proof that GOD had sent him did not take place in their minds and understandings : they were not convinced thereof till themselves were inspired at Mount Sinai. Let us consider the language they used on that memorable occasion, that glorious contingency. “This day have we seen that God doth speak with man, and he doth live.” Deut. v. 24. We are now convinced of the truth of revelation, having been ourselves inspired. This was the only sign that could convince them : and after that they could no longer say, “ The Lord has not appeared to you." Exod. iv. 1. This was the sign, and the conviction followed immediately. But the sign was not intended to convince Moses that God had sent him ; for he was certain of it at the time ; only for Moses to give the people. When we shall worship God at Mount Sinai, then you will be convinced that God has sent me. Consequently this sign was not to prove, in the present instance to Moses, but to prove to the people after, that God had sent Moses—that revealed religion was correct and true—“That God doth speak with man :" it became a sign, after they worshipped, and not before.
They being, or having been inspired, was a sure sign that revealed religion was true,—and that God did send Moses,—that he was truly inspired. The sign, therefore, was not future, and the thing to be proved by it past. The thing to be brought to proof followed after the sign : convincing the minds of the children of Israel.* But CHARLES will have it that“ the worship of God upon Mount Horeb, which did not take place till some time after the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, is here specified as a token whereby Moseś might be certified that God would be with him, and had sent him upon the difficult and dangerous errand to Pharaob :" whereas it really does not at all concern his mission to Pharaoh,--and was only to prove to the children of Israel, that God inspired Moses : to convince them of the truth of revelation, that it was not a mere pretence,-and which did not take effect till after they had worshipped God at Horeb. But be this as it may or as you please, CHARLES, the case is not in point ; for the sign Emanuel was to have been living at the time of the fulfilment of the prediction, before shown : “ before the child shall know," &c. He must have been born, but very young. You are, as it were, bound down by the prophet, and cannot get loose.
“Lastly, your correspondent supposes the name of Immanuel to have been given
* When Moses asked of God what name he should call him to the children of Israel, he was ordered to call him 77/78; and this the bible translators have rendered I AM. But wherefore they have taken this unwarrantable liberty, I cannot divine; for I am bold to say, any Hebraist will tell you the word is I WILL BE. And although Moses receives the information that his name is THE LORD, the Hebrew of which signifies past, present, and future-Essential Existence-still, the name given for the children of Israel was only future, I WILL BE has sent me to you; mean. ing thereby, at present I cannot convince you of the truth of revelation, but when you shall have gone three days journey in the wilderness, you then will be convinced.
merely as an evidence of God's truth, and that God would still be with his people, notwithstanding their infidelity and backsliding.' He intimates its application to the son of Isaiah, with whom his betrothed and virgin wife was then pregnant. But this cannot be true, unless that child had two names; for in the third verse of the following chapter, the child whom the prophetess bare is called, not Immanuel, but Mahershalalhashbaz. The reason of this name is added, "For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, my father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Camaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.' (Ver. 4.) This child, therefore, was called by a name significant of the speedy ruin of Samaria and Damascus; for Mahershalalhashbaz means • haste to the spoil.' And this appellation seems to confirm the opinion of the Rev. G. Hamilton, whose paper called forth the animadversions of your Jewish correspondent.
May the discussion of this important prophecy be conducive to the eternal welfare of that son of Abraham ; and may He, who is the fountain of wisdom, enlighten the minds both of Jews and Christians to inderstand his sacred word, so that, laying aside all vain and erroneous prejudices and opinions, they may unite in believing in the Messiah, through whom alone pardon of sin and admission into heaven can be obtained, and together exclaim, Behold, God is our salvation; we will trust, and not be afraid : for the Lord Jehovah is our strength and our song ; he also is become our salvation.'”
Not having seen either “ The Lover of Truth," or the paper of the Rev. G. Hamilton, I can say nothing about them : my business is properly with CHARLES, only, as far as bis communication might be supposed to bear on my own explanation of the text in No. 2. As such, I have no business with the manner of expression, “virgin wife.” The objection against two names is frivolous : nothing is more common. Solomon was also called Jedediah-Jethro was called Rehuel-Joseph was called Saphnath Paneach-Jacob was also called Israel-Abraham was also called Abram-Benjamin was also called Bononi ; and a vast many others are mentioned in scripture, with two or even more names. Nothing was more common : and in the present instance, I have shown, in No. 2, to which I refer the reader, how the child came to be called by two names. Indeed it is not a very uncommon thing, even at this very day, amongst us Jews, for a child after being called by one name for some time, to receive a second, at the pleasure of the parent. And it will be noticed, that both names were significant of one and the same event, as I have shown in No. 2.
And now, gentlemen of the Society for Ameliorating the condition of the Jews, is this all that you can either say or show in favour of Matthew's, or the Bible translation of Isaiah vii. 14 ? Thus publicly in the face of the world do I again call on you:
(Continued from p. 95.)
There was not one sect but complained of interpolations and additions made to the Gospels; nay, some sects or parties went so far as to reject some one or other of the Gospels, now received as canonical; and others the whole of the New Testament.* Eusebius states the story of the woman taken in adultery to be only in the Gospel according to the Hebrews; and consequently must have been inserted after his time into the Gospel of St. John. Saint Jerom declares, that in his time the story was only to be found in some copies. Both St. Jerom and St. Austin complain of the great variety of the Latin copies of Evangelists, and how widely they differed from each other.† And they likewise declare the same difference in the Greek copies. St. Ambrose says of the Greek copies that they were so different as to give rise to many controversies among them : (and those different copies must necessarily occasion different opinions and doctrines.) St. Jerom asserts that be found as many different versions as books. And as there could not be any possibility of distinguishing the true copy or version, (had there been one) so every one followed that, which either suited with his interest or opinions; and to this end, every one added, omitted, or altered whatever he thought most conducive to his ends.
Origen says, “ We found great difference in the copies, and made use of what was convenient out of the Old Testament, making use of our judgment in such things, as out of the seventy seemed doubtful, and were not to be found in the Hebrew : and in other things, inserting and making up the deficiency from the Hebrew." Thus did every one insert whatever they thought necessary, or agreeable to their opinions: and every one made use of that copy which suited his notions. Thus Grotius declares he made use of the Vulgate; because the author delivers no opinions contrary to the faith. Now if liberty has been taken of correcting, interpolating and altering the New Testament, who will assert and prove that they are the genuine writings of those persons whose names
* Ecles. Hist. lib. iii. c. 39.
# Vide ibid. on the word Vulgate.