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unanimous testimony concerning the authorship its proper weight.
Nor is this view of the materials which Moses may have used a novel opinion. Dr. Colenso expresses some amazement at finding Mr. Rawlinson advocating this opinion, “so differing from the ordinary view.”! But wider knowledge would have mitigated his surprise. This view, in substance, is as old as Vitringa, was adopted by Le Cene, Calmet, Bishop Gleig,3 advocated by Rosenmüller,4 received by Jahn, Turner, Bush, Stuart, apparently by Prof. Barrows, and Prof. Lewis,lo as well as by Mr. Rawlinson, and others. But whether this mode of view be accepted or not, it remains true that no showing of diverse elements employed in the composition invalidates the position that Moses is responsible for the book, as such, unless it be shown that some of those constituent portions were certainly later than his time, or for other reasons could not have passed under his hand.
Here we must rest our argument for the authorship of the Pentateuch, without allowing ourselves space for a closing review of the discussion. It will be seen that the systematic policy of the objectors has been to hurl all manner of missiles, taken at random, in the hope that some of them may reach the mark. It will also be seen that out of that whole mass of materials, scarcely more than half a dozen passages, lying on the surface of the narrative, could fairly suggest the thought of a later hand; and that these can be accounted, on intrinsic probabilities, general testimony, and special indications, as superficial glosses, without for a moment disturbing the coneurrent testimony of all antiquity that Moses was the responsible author of the Pentateuch.
· Colenso. Part II. pp. 120, 121.
4 Scholia on Genesis, p. 44. 6 Jahn's Introduction, $ 15.
6 Turner on Genesis, p. 16. ? Bush on Genesis, Vol. I., Introduction, p. xxxiii. 8 Stuart on the Canon of the Old Testament, p. 54. 9 Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. XIV. p. 85. 10 Lewis's Divine-Human, p. 224.
11 Aids to Faith, p. 288.
PALESTINE AND THE DESERT, PAST AND PRESENT.
BY REV. LYMAN COLEMAN, D.D., EASTON, PENN.
Tue leader of Israel was commissioned by the God of Abraham to lead his people out of Egypt into a land of the most exuberant fertility,“unto a good land and a large, a land flowing with milk and honey” – the familiar Hebrew expression to denote the exceeding fertility of the land of promise. The delegation whom Moses sent to spy out the land—“whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not” – brought back a “cluster of grapes of Eshcol, with pomegranates and figs,” in evidence that "it is a good land, and surely floweth with milk and honey.” It is “a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards” — “of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of oil-olives, and honey, a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it." It is “a pleasant land,” “as the garden of Eden,” “ the glory of all lands," "a field which the Lord hath blessed.” “God hath given it of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine." It is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven, a land which the Lord thy God careth for. The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of tire year unto the end of the year."
These representations of exuberant fertility require us to ascribe to ancient Palestine every element in soil and climate that can enrich the land, and evoke, sustain, and mature its rich and varied productions. It implies the existence of hills and mountains covered with woodland and forests,vast primeval forests crowning the misty mountain-tops
with verdure, and scattering broadcast over the land their vegetable deposits, to feed the luxuriance of hill and plain and valley on every side. It implies a boundless evaporation not only from river, lake, and sea, but from the leaves of the forest, the grass of the field, and the teeming earth, all giving off their vapors to be condensed in the clouds, and returned in showers that water the earth anew and drop down fatness on every field. It implies the benignant vicis. situdes of sunshine and showers, as well as of the former and the latter rain in their season, with the genial influences of the heavens above and of the earth beneath combined to bless the labors of the husbandman.
All that is said by the sacred writers, of groves and thickets, forests and woods, of vapors and clouds and rain and showers that water the earth; of hail, hoarfrost, snow, and ice, --- all that pertains to the meteorology of the land, its climate and changes of tempetature, seems to be descriptive of a country, climate, and seasons resembling those of our own land rather than anything now known in Syria.
The Hebrew language, again, has a wonderful copiousness of expression for rivers, brooks, and springs. For these three words of our own language it has, we are told, not less than eight or ten, each of which conveyed its proper distinctive sense to the Hebrew ear. The English language, with eighty or a hundred thousand words, exhausts its vocabulary,“ in this watery department,” with fifty or sixty words; while the Hebrew, comprising only six or seven thousand words, has as many as fifty of this same class; nor is it to be doubted
1 It is worthy of special notice that the New Testament is equally barren of the same class of words. Even the terms "river” and “fountain,” whether singular or plural, occur but seldom; and these, we believo, exhaust its vocabulary on this subject. This singular fact, were other evidence wanting, would
far to prove that a great change had taken place in this respect between the periods when the Old Testament and the New were respectively composed. Both have the same air of country life. The writers of both are eminently in sympathy with the scenes of nature. The absence, therefore, or infrcquent allusions to “woods," " forests,” and “groves"; to "springs," "fountains," " brooks,"
," "streamye" and "rivers ”; “clouds," "showers,” “rain,” “hail,” etc. indicate conclusively a corresponding change in the country and tho climate. Vol. XXI. No. 84.
that the colloquial language of the common people had many more words of the same character.
All these peculiarities in the language of the Hebrews, all the imagery of their poets and their prophets, the whole tenor of the teachings of their historians, betoken a country, climate, and condition in striking contrast with the present aspect of this Land of Promise. The mountains in that land now rear aloft their summits, bald, barren, bleak, and desolate. Upon the plains below they send down nothing to fertilize the soil, but much to spread a wider desolation around their bases. The face of the country is a cheerless waste, where the flocks, instead of reposing on verdant pastures, roam in restless search of a scanty subsistence. The fountains, few and far between, sink at once into the dry and thirsty land, or sweep on in channels deeply worn, sustaining no verdure beyond the thick and thorny jungle which lines their rocky bed.
The springing of the year is cut short by the untimely drought of summer. Through all those dreary months of a Syrian summer no cloud intervenes to mitigate the burning heat. No rain descends, no dew distils; but every green thing withers and expires under the protracted, intolerable drought that fills up the gloomy interval between the former and the latter rain. The vine, the fig tree, the olive, the apricot, and the citron linger still upon some of the hillsides; wheat, barley, and lentils still spring in some of the valleys and plains, sad memorials of the primitive luxuriance which has passed away, never to return. The Palestine of the present day is not the Palestine of the time of Moses, of Solomon, or even of our Lord. It has undergone a great change. Its forests have utterly disappeared, its fountains have dried up; climate, soil, and productions have changed; and the whole country appears desolate, withered, parched,
- the very opposite of a land of invitation and of abundant blessings like the Promised Land.
“ In Palestine the grass grows only so long as the ground that is adapted for it is moistened by the winter rains. The
traveller who passes through these tracts in the spring is ravished with the luxuriant vegetation and the multitude of flowers; but scarcely have the latter rains ceased, and the storms of the vernal equinox subsided, than an almost vertical sun withers up the grass and flowers, the scorching south winds come up from the wilderness; and the traveller who to-day has passed over a verdant and variegated carpet of herbage and flowers, will, three weeks after, at the same place, not meet with a blade of grass. All vegetatiou he will then find scorched to death; and if, during that interval, the sirocco has been more than usually powerful in its blast, then the grass, after being shrivelled into hay will have been swept off, and the surface of the ground will have assumed a dingy, yellowish, copper hue”!
6. There is no doubt that the climate has, along with the entire physical condition of the country, undergone a very sensible change for the worse since the times when the judgments of desolation spoken of in scripture ? reached their accomplishment. The destruction of trees in many places exposed the face of the land to the parching rays of the sun. Elsewhere fountains have been choked up; and the atmosphere, being thus deprived of its ordinary supply of moisture eminating from the soil, has, as the first natural consequence, not been able to return it in the shape of rain. The early and the latter rain have indeed not ceased to come down from heaven, but their amount is now comparatively small.”3
The forests which crown the mountains and cover the hillsides and rocky districts of a country unsuited to tillage, are, in the economy of nature, at once the refrigerators of the climate and fertilizers of the soil. By their immense evaporation they supply the needful moisture to the atmosphere, the first requisite of vegetable life, and indispensable element of fertility. Year by year they overspread the earth with a vast amount of vegetable matter to enrich the
1 Van de Velde, Vol. III. p. 81.
? Matth. xxiv. 15. 8 The greatest quantity of rain in one year, observed by Dr. McGowan at Jerusalem, is one hundred and eight inches. Van de Velde's Memoir, p. 29.