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"Lord ?"1 There is not the least ground in scripture, for supposing any such regular allotment of the countries to the several families descended from Noah. The greatest part of the earth was to them terra incognita, an unknown country. A succession of most stupendous miracles must have occurred, even in many respects far greater than that of Israel's deliverance from Egypt and settlement in Canaan, in making known to each of these families the distant, unknown, and uncultivated country allotted to it; in prevailing on them to leave the rest of mankind, and all the cultivated parts of the world, to go in quest of this unknown land; and in conducting them, some to one region, and some to another ; several of them to the most remote districts of the four continents; and also to the islands of the sea, before, as far as we know, ships were in use.—To raise such an hypothesis as this, from the two verses in the eleventh of Genesis on this subject, may prove ingenuity; but it must fall, and,
'Like the baseless fabric of a vision,
God was pleased to scatter mankind: he knew where each tribe or family would eventually settle; and he left matters to their course, according to the usual methods of his providence. This sufficed, as far as the intended inheritance of Israel was concerned : 2 and we have no further information of his purposes.
P. 50. 1. 10. 'Abraham was forty-eight years
• Jer. xxiii, 25—29. 'Dan. xxxii. 8.
'old'—when the earth was divided. We find in Genesis, that "unto Eber were born two sons: "the name of the one was Peleg; for in his days "was the earth divided."' The word Peleg signifies division. According to the chronology of the fifth and the eleventh of Genesis, Peleg was born about A. M. 1757. Terah, the father of Abraham, descended from Peleg by Reu, Serug, and Nahor, was born about A. M. 1878. Terah died at the age of 205 years, and his son Abraham was then seventy-five years old :2 so that he was born when Terah was 130, about A. M. 2008; or 251 years after Peleg was born: but Peleg lived in all, no more than 239 years.3 He died A. M. 1996. Abraham, according to Moses, was born A. M. 2008.—This suffices to shew, that general assertions from tradition, when compared with the scripture, are often proved to be false, and are always uncertain.—Probably Peleg's name was given him, about the time of his birth, which occurred 251 years before that of Abraham.
P. 50.1. 14. 'He cursed them,' &c. The Psalm, from which Mr. C. adduces the words of Abraham's curse, "Destroy, O Lord, and divide their "tongues," is expressly ascribed to David in the Hebrew Bible, after the manner of the other Psalms written by him.4 It is generally allowed to have been composed during Absalom's rebellion, and to relate to Ahithophel.5
P. 50. 1. 34. 'The lot of God,' &c. (1. 19.)— God, then, did not choose Abraham and his pos1 Gen. x. 25. * Gen. xi. 32. xii. 4. 'Gen. xi. 18, 19. 4 Ps. Iv. Title. 'Ps.lv. 9—15.
terity to be his portion;1 but the heavenly Sanhedrin settled it by lot. (p. 49. 1. 28—32.)— But what is the lot ?" The lot is cast into the "lap, but the whole disposing of it is of the Lord." 2 The heart revolts and shudders at the narration of the great dispensations of the infinite God, delivered in such language as hardly suits even the more important concerns of puny mortals.—As I cannot understand, so I do not stay to inquire, in what sense 'the lot of God was in number as 'much as that of the seventy angels.'
P. 51.1. 5. 'One good family:' 'a right to 'his oracles :' (1. 14.) 'an act of justice.' (1. 19.) I only note these expressions that they may not escape the readers attention. At present, I desire him to recollect, if he can, any thing of similar language on the subject in the scripture; and I quote a passage or two, suited to convey other ideas of the transaction. "Speak not in thine "heart, . . .For my righteousness the Lord hath "brought me in to possess this land. Not for thy "righteousness, nor for the uprightness of thy "heart, dost thou go in to possess this land, but for "the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth "drive them out from before thee; and that he may "perform the word, which the Lord sware unto thy "fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.. .Understand, "therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not "this good land to possess it for thy righteousness, "for thou art a stiff-necked people." "Ye have been "rebellious against the Lord, from the day that I "knew you." 3 "In the day when I chose Israel,
1 Deut. vii. 6,7. Neh. ix. 7. Isa. xli. 8, 9. xliv. 1. * Prov. xvi. 33. 'Deut. ix. 4—7, 24.
"and lifted up my hand unto the seed of the "house of Jacob, and made myself known to them "in the land of Egypt, .. .1 said unto them, Cast "ye away every man the abominations of his "eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of "Egypt: I am the Lord your God. But they "rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto "me; they did not cast away every man the abom"ination of their eyes, neither did they forsake "the idols of Egypt. Then I said, I will pour out "my fury, to accomplish mine anger in the midst "of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my "name's sake." '—" Ye shall remember your ways, "and all your doings, wherein ye have been "defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your "own sight, for all your evils that ye have com"mitted. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, "when I have wrought with you for my name's "sake; not according to your wicked ways, nor "according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of "Israel, saith the Lord God."2—The man, who claims of God what is justly due to him, shall have it, "without mercy." But God confers his favours on those, who allow that they do not deserve them. P. 52.1. 4. 'They are called and invited by 'the word of the Lord,' &c.—Does this mean, that without circumcision, or being proselyted to the observance. of the ritual law, men may share the benefits of Israel? If it does, it is a concession which I did not expect to meet with: but the words, No law, no promise, (p. 53.1. 18.) seem to confine it to those who are fully proselyted.
1 Ez. xx. 5—9. * Ez. xx. 43,44.
P. 52.1. 25. ' For he who will be a sharer,' &c. This hint should be carefully observed; as it seems to be in great measure overlooked in the following parts of the publication. Perhaps, however, it is exclusively meant of proselytes from the gentiles, and not of Israelites by birth.
P. 53.1. 14. 'Here is the calling,' &c—Are then no more gentiles to share these blessings, than can dwell among the Jews in the land of promise? This, I fear, will in great measure disannul the former concession; for the land of Canaan can hold a very small part of the gentiles, that is, of the inhabitants of the globe, along with Israel.
IS THE KINGDOM OF THE MESSIAH SPIRITUAL, OR 'ABSOLUTELY EARTHLY?'
Mr. C. asserts, p. 53. 1. 19. * The Messiah's
'KINGDOM IS NOT SPIRITUAL, BUT ABSOLUTELY
'Earthly.' I convert his assertion into a question, which I purpose to discuss.
P. 53. 1. 20. 'In the last chapter of Ezekiel,' &c. It would be easy to shew, that the strictly literal interpretation of Ezekiel's vision, including the last nine chapters, is attended by very great, if not absolutely insurmountable, difficulties. It is generally allowed to be one of the most obscure portions in the whole scripture; I apprehend, the most obscure of all. Various opinions have been formed respecting the times and events to which it relates: but the order in which it follows the predictions of' the restoration of Israel,' and the slaughter of those powerful opposers, predicted under the names of Gog and Magog; its coinci