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an insurmountable argument in favour of those writings, concerning which he made this declaration.
4.-Although the latter arguments are applicable only to the Old Testament; yet the first relates to both; and it is presumed that none, but Jews, who acknowledge the Inspiration of the Old Testament, will deny it to the New. The exception which the apostle Paul makes in an instance or two, to his writing by commandment, is a proof of his writings at least being Divinely Inspired.
After giving these reasons, I shall proceed to consider the principal objections to this Inspiration, which I apprehend to be :
1.- That some of the matters related, are of too trivial a nature to be the subjects of Divine Inspiration.
2.—That some others appear so inconsistent with the nature of the Divine Being, as to render it altogether improbable, that He ever warranted what is there expressed.
With respect to the first objection, I believe we are by no means competent judges. The Old Testament, to which this objection may be principally made, was not primarily
observed, that Robert Barclay originally wrote and published his Apology in Latin, and I believe generally quoted the texts of Scripture from the Latin Vulgate, of which this is a translation. Even supposing him to have preferred this rendering, yet, if we may judge from what he has written on the Scriptures, there is no reason to believe he doubted the Inspiration of any part of them. He begins his Thesis on the Scriptures thus : “ From these revelations of the Spirit of God to the saints, have proceeded the Scriptures of Truth ;" and this he applies to the historical, as well as the prophetical, doctrinal, and exhortatory parts of the Old and New Testaments.
It is hoped that the importance of the subject of this note, will excuse its length. To have incorporated it into the body of the work, would not have been so suitable for many readers.
written for us of the present day ; but for a people, who had many peculiar customs and ceremonies, and to whom many things might be important, that to us may appear of a trifling nature. Nor is it improbable, that much of what these objectors consider as trifling, may, to others of their contemporaries, be both important and instructive. The pious and humble mind will often derive instruction from many of the works of Divine Providence, which may be overlooked by the vain and fastidious, as not worthy of their notice.
The second objection, it is apprehended, is meant principally to apply to those passages in the Old Testament, where the Almighty is represented as authorizing the destruction of man by man. This is an objection not only to the Inspiration, but to the truth of the Scriptures; and though it appears to be the strong hold of the enemies of the Bible, it is by no means impregnable. It has, indeed, been often attacked and reduced ; but such is their fondness for it, that they are continually rebuilding it, and resorting to it.
In replying to this objection, it may be proper, first, to consider the command of God to Abraham, to offer up his son Isaac, which has been much insisted on, as favouring human sacrifices, and as an argument against the Scriptures. It stands recorded as a trial of Abraham's faith; and as, after his full resignation, his hand was stayed from the performance of the act, I am at a loss to conceive what inference can be drawn from this circumstance, derogatory to the character of the Divine Being, or of those writings which represent Him as putting the righteous patriarch's love and obedience to this great trial. Had the sacrifice been actually made, the objection to it might have had more appearance of validity ; but as the case is represented, and no doubt rightly represented, it appears to afford an argument against, rather than for, human sacrifices. The conduct of Abraham is mentioned, in both the Old and New Testaments, with the most marked approbation : and it has obtained for the obedient patriarch, the distinguished character of the Friend of God."*
The command given to the Israelites, to make war on the Canaanites, and to destroy them, is an objection, which it is difficult to conceive can be seriously urged, by those who consider war to be lawful, even under the Christian Dispensation. War is generally allowed to be one of those judgments, by which Divine Providence hath often afflicted a guilty nation ; and, in the instances on which the objection is founded, this appears to have been remarkably the case. They were indeed judgments which had been mercifully protracted. Thus we read that the possession of the promised land by Abraham or his posterity, was deferred for several generations, because “ the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full;" + although there is reason to believe from this expression, as well as from other circumstances, that their sins were then very great.
This is further elucidated by the command given to the Israelites, to abstain from many evil practices, (some of them of the grossest kind,) of which the nations whom they were to expel were guilty. These Moses plainly mentions as the cause of their expulsion ; warning the Israelites at the same time against similar conduct, which would produce similar judgments : “ Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out before you. And the land is defiled; therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it; and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; that the land spue not you out also,
* James ii. 23.
+ Gen. xv. 16.
when yé defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you."*
This subject is also placed in a clear and forcible point of view by the remonstrance of Moses, as related in the ninth chapter of Deuteronomy; where, after cautioning the people against any presumptuous conceits of their own merits, he expressly says to them : “ Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thy heart, dost thou go to possess their land; but for the wickedness of these nations, the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”+
The case of Agag has also been brought forward to support the objection, which we have now under consideration ; but in this instance, we have again a cause assigned for the judgment executed : “ As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women.”|| From this expression there is reason to suppose, that Agag had been remarkable for his violence and cruelty, which justly brought this judgment upon him.
It has been alleged, that these pretensions to Divine commands were only a cloak for ambition and cruelty. But this cannot reasonably be supposed to be the case, when it is considered that these judgments were not confined to the heathen nations; but that similar ones were also threatened and executed upon the Israelites themselves. Although they were a people distinguished by many peculiar favours ; yet, when they departed from the law and commandment of their God, and degenerated into idolatry and wickedness, they became the subjects of Divine retribution. Thus the prophet Isaiah expostulates with them : “ Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers ? Did not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned ? For they would not
* Lev. xviii, 24-26, 28.
+ Deut. ix. 5.
Sam, xv. 33.
walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law; therefore He hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle."* Even Moses, their leader in these supposed schemes of ambition, denounced, in the most ample manner, the judgments, which would be the consequence of their disobedience to the law of their God.-See Lev. xxvi. 14, &c. Deut. xxviii. 15, &c.
When we consider the peculiar humility and disinterestedness of Moses, in refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; in the great reluctance with which he accepted the government of the Israelites; in preferring their forgiveness and preservation to his own aggrandizement, or that of his family; and in the singular liberality which he manifested, when Eldad and Medad were complained of for prophesying in the camp: when these circumstances are considered, there seems no ground whatever to suspect Moses of either ambition or cruelty. We perceive, on the contrary, the propriety of the distinguished character given of him, most probably by some pious transcriber of the Pentateuch : “ Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which lived on the face of the earth.” +
In considering the various circumstances connected with this subject, there appears to be abundant cause to acknowledge that the Lord's ways are equal; and that those judgments upon the Canaanites were not the exercise of a capricious severity; but were administered under circumstances, which perfectly reconcile them to those principles of justice and mercy, which we consider among the most distinguished attributes of the Deity. And though, in many instances, the innocent may seem to suffer equally with the guilty; yet this is no more than is generally the case in other public calamities. Even in those most remarkable ones, the
* Isaiah xlii. 24, 25.
+ Numbers xii. 3,