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work as the reformation of a national religion) and the violent measures of Josiah, were little likely to obtain any permanent veneration for a book introduced by his authority. It was still less likely that, acting on Jewish principles, he would feel any anxiety for the instruction and orthodoxy of the heathen colonists of Assyria, and it is least likely of all that his authority or his severities can have extended over the garrisons of that conqueror to whom he was himself a tributary. There is, surely, then, abundant reason to conclude that the Samaritans received their sacred volume from the missionary employed by their own monarch Shalmanezer, to instruct the worshippers of Nergal and Ashima, in the service of the God of the land in which they were planted.
But this missionary was himself a schismatic, a priest of the high-placeș, a subject of the kingdom founded by Jeroboam, brought up in hereditary enmity against the house of David, and the priests of the Lord at Jerusalem. From them we may well believe such a person would adopt no novelties, and we have therefore the best reason to conclude that the Mosaic volume, as we now possess it, was known and reverenced by the ten tribes of the house of Israel, as well as the two of Judah, and must therefore have been received before the
separation of the monarchy, and while all the twelve tribes were under a common form of worship and government.
And, having thus far traced the entire Pentateuch
towards the age of its reputed author, I will ask whether any moment can be named, between the age of Solomon and that of Moses, in which (had such a volume then first appeared, or had the law received that species of historical interpolation which the hypothesis that I am now examining supposes) an occurrence so important to the religious opinions of the Israelites would not have been noticed by some of their religious or historical writers; I will go farther, and will venture to assert that the mutual jealousy of the tribes, so apparent throughout the whole history of the Judges, of Saul and David, the scattered residence and alternate duties of the priesthood, destroying all unity of purpose, and obviously and admirably calculated to operate against innovation of every kind, I will say that these circumstances opposed a barrier, in the commonwealth of Israel, to forgery or interpolation little less than that which, in modern Christendom, preserves the purity of the New Testament inviolate. Nor shall I do more than barely notice the strong internal evidence afforded by the books of Moses of their having been written in the desert south-east of Palestine by one who was intimately acquainted with the different productions and peculiarities both of Arabia and Egypt, and who himself bore a principal part in the journey which he describes; circumstances both of character and situation which will suit few other persons than Moses, and which no Israelite of a later age was likely to have possessed or successfully counterfeited.
But enough has, I trust, been said to establish the antiquity of the Pentateuch; what further grounds there are for belief in its veracity and inspiration, may be examined in a future sermon. In the mean time, and long as I have already trespassed on your patience, I may yet, I trust, be pardoned if I earnestly recal your attention to that solemn connexion which should subsist between the Christian's head and his heart; between the evidences, the feelings, and the habitual practice of our religion! It is not as a subject of antiquarian curiosity; it is not as the earliest record of that picturesque and characteristic style of manners for which the east is still renowned, of which the singularity arrests our attention, and the simplicity appears to denote the youth and freshness of society: it is not for their interesting pathos, or the glowing strains of their poetry, that the Christian is enjoined to give a portion of his day to the records of an earlier revelation. It is there that we should trace the wrath of God made manifest against a guilty world; yet arrested, yet disarmed, yet absolutely turned into blessing by the efficacy of the foreseen atonement. It is there that we should learn to appreciate the strength of human passions, and the weakness of human virtue, displayed in the melancholy story of the most favoured race of mankind, informed though they were by an unbroken line of prophets, and chastised or supported by a long succession of wonders and miracles. It is there that we should accustom ourselves to prize as they deserve our own advantages
in Christ Jesus, when we compare the Israelite's hope of a contingent with our confidence in a complete redemption; and his erudition, through symbols and shadows, with our almost plenary admission into the mysteries of the kingdom of God!
But if our elevation be great, let us recollect that it may be also dangerous; that of him to whom much is given, our Master is accustomed to expect the more; and that the more illustrious our insight into the great and connected scheme of God's wisdom, and justice, and mercy, the greater should be our care that our knowledge may ripen into faith, and our faith may bring forth fruits of daily and hourly holiness. It should be ours to excel the ancient Israelites in our virtues as well as in our privileges, and it should be ours (as sensible from whence our virtues as well as our privileges are derived,) having done our all, to refer that all to the grace, the merits, and the redeeming mercy of Him whom Abraham was glad to behold from afar, for whose kingdom the code of Mount Sinai was given but to prepare the way; and who was adored, in His day of fleshly humility, by the glorified spirits of Elias and of Moses !
CHARACTER OF MOSES.
[Preached at Lincoln's Inn, Nov. 17, 1822.]
Exodus iii. 14.
And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am, and He said, Thus
shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me
In my discourse of last Sunday I endeavoured to establish the great antiquity of the Pentateuch, and the consequent credibility of the statement which it contains as to the situation, the character, and the personal history of Moses. I proved that the book in question was reverenced by the nations both of Judah and of Israel, from the time of their division into separate and hostile monarchies; that before this division, it was quoted by Solomon and by David, and alluded to in the almost contemporary history of Joshua; insomuch that no reasonable doubt can exist that the work which is now read in our churches is, in all essential points, the same with that which was a light to David's path, and which