« PreviousContinue »
12 which was
tiated himself into favour with the King of Egypt, he disturbed the peace of the whole nation, by predicting a seven years of famine ;11 a circumstance which could not possibly occur, without making God a liar : for he had formerly promised, that, while the earth remained, seed-time and harvest should not cease; impossible for him to have forgotten, because he set his bow in the cloud, to remind him of it!13 Again, observe the manner in which this Joseph sported with the feelings of his brethren and parent. 1 4 And, it is moreover, evident, that if they had not come to him, he would never have sent for them; although he had had the command of the whole land of Egypt, for seven years prior to their coming. Besides, what greater tyranny could ever be practised by the most execrable tyrant that ever existed, than by this monster; who, not satisfied with monopolizing all their money, their cattle, and their lands, must exact the fifth part of the future produce of their labour for ever ? 1 5
Verse. 3. “And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar."
If you suppose, that any person were ever inspired, by an “all wise," and "all powerful God," to communicate these words to men, would it not, necessarily, have followed, that the words, so communicated, would have been written in a language, understood by all mankind, if he willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth ? 16 Or should we admit, that the foolishness of God 17 once confounded the language of all men, 18 still it would be necessary that the words, so communicated, if required to be translated for the benefit and salvation of all men, should be attended by the same divine inspiration and teaching, in order to prevent any error or inaccuracy, which unavoidably happens, through the fallibility of men translating one language into another. Would it not be also requisite, and absolutely necessary, that every transcriber, and printer, with all their assistants, even the very devil,* should be divinely inspired, so
* Printer's Devil.
that there should be no need of altering, revising and correcting the words of this God, which are so essential to be made known and understood ? We read that he has done such things, when it was far less important or necessary than in the present case. Has he not Inspired men to cut and carve timber and stones, and to do all sorts of cunning workmanship, such as making of lamps, candlesticks, and snuffers ?19 Isaiah says, that he, moreover, condescended to instruct the ploughman and farmer.2 0 Yet this book, in which we are told to search for eternal life, 21 needs correcting in every page, and in almost every verse; besides, being full of contradictions, and of things incomprehensible to every human being. But I cannot discover wherein this book (the Bible) layeth claim to the title of being called the word of God. Neither does its matter require that it should be so denominated; as it contains the history, chronology, words, actions, and dreams of men, as well as the supposed messages from God; which, alone, would convince every reflecting being, that it could not have been written by divine inspiration. For why should God trouble himself to inform us that Paul had a cloak and some parchment, which he left at Troas, along with Carpus ? 2 2 We are none the better for his cloak: neither does it concern us, whether Samson slept upon the knees or breast of Delilah, while he was being shaved !28 So that when the nature of the book is so clearly seen, we can no longer hesitate in saying, that it was written, not by men inspired with any degree of superior wisdom, but by some of the most illiterate and depraved of the human species; whose design was to sport with the credulity of their fellow creatures, and subsist upon the fruits of their labour.
I grant that the mistake of a letter, in the name of a man, is not sufficient authority to warrant the condemnation of any book; but when we find it in almost every name, some having two, three, four, and more letters, omitted, inserted and transposed, no confidence can be placed in any name, place, or words of
more importance, which this book may contain. For instance; how can I be assured, but that the “Holy Ghost” means the “Holy Priest?” which is more consistent with our understanding than the other : for what do we know about ghosts or invisible things, if they cannot be seen ? What idea can we have of them? yet Paul says they are clearly seen !2 4
If they were, why should so many of the learned deny their exist
Now if you will take the trouble to look in Gen. xxxviii, 29, 30, you will find it written thus : Tamar, Zarah, and Pharez. But Mr. Matthew has taken the letter h out of Zarah, and put it into Tamar; besides exchanging the letter z for the letter s in Pharez: although we find, in Rev. xxii. 18, 19, that a severe punishment is denounced against any man, who shall attempt to add or diminish ought to or from that which is written in this book. And who were those aforesaid persons ? Why Tamar, we find, was daughter-in-law to Judas; who, after she had enveigled her father-in-law into an adulterous connexion with her, the Lord was graciously pleased to favour in an especial manner by ordaining (for all things were known to God from the beginning25) that the holy and immaculate Jesus should spring from the fruit of this incestuous amour!
This “Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram," Matthew says; but if we look into those scriptures, which you say were written by divine inspiration, we shall find it written, Hezron and Ram. 2 6
Verse 4, “ And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon.”
The same words are quoted by Luke, iii. 32, 33; but in Ruth, iv. 20. we find it written, Aminadab and Nahshon; and in 1 Chron. ii. 11. Salma. These errors, I grant, are but trifling, and very common in the writings of uninspired men; but in those divinely inspired every word should be perfect and consistent. However if we find none greater than those, we will pot dispute its divine authority; it being probable that God, not expecting his writings to be criticised in this
manner, grew weary of his job; he being oftentimes subject to weariness! Isaiah i. 14, and xliii. 24. Jer. xv. 6. Mal. ii. 17. &c.
Verse 5. “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse.”
This Rachab you acknowledge to have been her who is called Rachab the harlot ; who entertained two of God's chosen people at a brothel in Jericho.2 7 But you say she was not an harlot, only an innkeeper, who got her bread honestly, by keeping an house of entertainment for strangers ! Really, Doctor, if you take it upon yourself to pervert words, which are so plain and evident, you had far better make a fresh Bible altogether. For if the word "harlot” means an "innkeeper, perhaps the word sinner means a pot-boy! as we, oftentimes find the word sinners annexed to publicans. 2 8 you not think that both Paul and James knew what she was as well as you ? and they both say she was an barlot. 29 This woman, then, you
us, was ally married to Salmon, a Jewish prince.” And is it probable, you moreover ask, “that a prince of Judah would have taken her to wife, if she had been such a person, as our text represents ?” Why, Doctor, you would almost make one suppose, that you had never read the Bible thoroughly, or you could never have so far forgot yourself. In the first place, you have no anthority for asserting that Salmon was a prince of Judah. His son Boaz, is only described as being a man of wealth:30 and his great-grand-son, Jesse, the father of David, is represented as having been a plain man, a Bethlehemite. 31 Yet, admitting that he was a prince, was it uncommon for princes to take whores or concubines ? Witness Solomon, who had 300 !3 2 Neither was it impracticable for a prince to take to wife one who had been an harlot, when we find that David himself took to wife Bathsheba. It is, therefore, more probable that she was only a whore to Salmon, instead of his wife; because they were strictly forbidden to take to them wives from any of these nations.3 3
And who was Ruth? We find that she was a Moah
iteess, ' (one of the descendants of Lot's eldest daughter, when she got herself with child, by her own father !35) that lived in the time of the Judges in Israel ; when the Israelites, having a famine in their own land flowing with milk and honey, 36 were obliged to go and sojourn in the land of Moab. This Ruth, the Moabitess, who sprang from the incestuous intercourse of drunken Lot with his daughter, (that just and righteous man, whose soul was vexed from day to day with the unlawful deeds and filthy conversation of the wicked, 9 7) in imitation of her ingenious ancestor, Lot's daughter, coveted the embraces of a near kinsman. Therefore, she, also, as well as Rachab the harlot, was considered worthy of being the fore-mother to God's only son, Jesus !
Verse 6. “And Jesse begat David the King; and David begat Solomon of her, that had been the wife of Urias.”
This David, we are told,was a man of God ;3 9 after his own heart:40 that is, he was full of mercy and goodness; abounding therewith more than any of the chosen people of God. For if required, as a favour, to go and slay one hundred men, he would, to display the mercy and loving kindness of God, go and butcher two hundred !4) And, moreover, so very modest and obliging, that he would stoop to cut of all their foreskins, to make a present, perhaps, a necklace, for Micha), the daughter of Saul! Further, to convince us of the sure mercies of David, we have only to read the tender regard that he had for those creatures, whose souls were in the hand of the Lord, 4 ' when he caused them to pass through brick-kilns, and put them under harrows of iron, under saws, and axes of iron, 4 4 He not only possessed those exemplary virtues, but displayed a greatness of mind above all his countrymen : for he dare stand, boldly, before the Priest of God, and tell him a brazen lie to his face ;4 5 knowing, at the same time, 46 that not only the Priests of God, to the number of eighty five, would be all put to death in consequence thereof, but that all the men, women, children,