Exodus, chap. iii. ver. 4. "And when the Lord saw that he (Moses) turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, here am I." This is a pretty play at bo-peep.
Ib. ver. 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 unto you."
Divines hold this passage to be a great instance of sublimity!!!
Ib. ver. 21. "And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, and it shall come to pass, that when ye go away, ye shall not go empty, but every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and your daughters, and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."
Here the Jews made God after their own image; and the dealings of that nation in silver, gold, and clothes, at this day, show that they have not forgotten their God. It is not easy for divines to reconcile this with God's other precept in the eighth commandment.
Ib. chap. iv. ver. 24. "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, (by the way, were there inns then in Egypt?) that the Lord met him (Moses) and sought to kill him!!! Then Zepporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet."
This business of the circumcision is brought in rather by the head and the shoulders, and the cause of it is not quite clear; but it is very evident that the Lord could not kill Moses.
Ib. chap. xxxii. ver. 27. "And he (Moses learning that the Jews had made a golden calf), said unto them, (the sons of Levi, i.e. the priests,) thus saith the Lord God of Israel, put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour; and the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and there fell of the people that day about three thousand."
Ib. chap. xxxiii. ver. 9. "And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord (who was in the pillar) talked with Moses."
In this manner modern goddesses stop their carriages at shop-keepers'
doors at this day.
Ib. ver. 90. "And he (God) said, thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and live." God must here have forgotten his dialogue with Adam and Eve, his wrestling with Jacob, and conversations with Moses. In Numbers, chap. xii. ver. 6 and 8, he says, "Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I, the Lord, will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream," but, "with thee (Moses) will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of the Lord shall you behold."
Ib. chap. xxi. ver..5. "And the people spoke against God, and against Moses, wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness, for there is no bread, neither is there any water, and our soul loatheth this light bread." No wonder the Jews tired of living upon manna without water, but the Lord taught them not to grumble. "And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and much people of Israel died." When God was tired of making his serpents bite the poor devils, he said unto Moses, "Make thee, a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole, and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten when he looketh upon it shall live." This is below all the tricks of necromancers.
Ib. chap. xxv. "And the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. And the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges, slay every one of these men who were joined unto Baal-peor. And behold one of the children of Israel came, and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman, in the sight of Moses, &c. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly, so the plague was stopped from the children of Israel, and these that died in the plague were 24,000." As a reward for this, the Lord gave Phinehas the everlasting priesthood, "because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel."
Ib. chap. xxvi. Dathan, Korah, and Abirim strove against Moses and Aaron, and the earth swallowed them up, and the fire devoured 250 men.
lb. chap. xxxi. ver. 16, there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord, on account of the tres pass against the Lord, when he ordered thus, "Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him; but all the women children that hath not known man by lying with him, keep for yourselves." For the observation on this passage, I refer my reader to Bishop Watson, and the former part of this work.
The following ought to be the fate of all idolatrous people, and has been happily practised in the discoveries made by most European nations. Deuteronomy chap. xiii. ver. 13. "Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword."
Joshua, chap. vi. v. 21. "And they utterly de-, stroyed all that was in the city, (Jericho), both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass, and of iron, they put it into the treasury of the house of the Lord."
Chap. x. Joshua being attacked by five kings, and they having taken shelter in a cave, he caused great stones to be rolled to the mouth of the cave, till he followed and destroyed the people, then he ordered the five kings to be brought out from the cave, "And it came to pass, that when they brought out those five kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men in Israel, and said unto the men of war, come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings, and they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. And afterwards Joshua smote them, and slew them, Joshua took Makdekah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain." And so he did in all to 31 kings, as related in this and the following chapters, and all this by the express command of God, who made the sun and the moon both stand still to witness these unprovoked atrocities. But this was just; God having given that country to his chosen people the Jews, as in latter times his vicegerent the Pope gave America to the Portuguese and Spaniards, who, Joshua-like, exterminated the kings and people, because they were not Christians. This, as you say, serves the general scheme of God's benevolence towards mankind.
Judges, chap.i. ver. 4. And the Lord having delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into the hands of Judah, "They slew of them in Bezek 1000 men. But Adonibezek fled, and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs, and his great toes." lb. ver. 19- "And the Lord was with Judah, and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain, but _could not_ drive out the inhabitants of the valley!" Why? "Because they had chariots of iron." Chap. iv. recounts the manner in which Deborah and Barak delivered Israel from Jabin and Si-aera. Ver. 21. Then Jael, Hebber's wife, (to whose tent Sisera had fled), "took a nail of the tent, and a hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground, (_a goodly nail_), for he was fast asleep and weary, so he died." Chap. 5, contains the _beautiful_ song of Deborah and Barak, which I particularly request my reader to peruse, as a finished piece of scripture praise of good words.
Chap. xxi. relates, that the Israelites having sworn not to give their daughters to the Benjamites, and the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead not having come up to Minzeh, "the congregation sent 19,000 men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children: utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man;" but, having found 400 young virgins that had known no man by lying with any male," they gave them to the sons of Benjamin, "and yet so they sufficed them not." So as they had sworn not to give them wives of their own daughters, "therefore, they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, go and lie in wait in the vineyards, and see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloch come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife."
First Samuel, chap. vi. The ark of the Lord having been among the Philistines seven months, they, unwilling to send it back empty, asked the priests and diviners, what they should send in it as a trespass offering? "they answered, five golden emerods, and five golden mice,---and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel,--and make a new cart, and take two milch kine, and take the ark of the Lord and lay it on the cart;" and they did so, "and they of Beth-shemesh lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it,--and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the Lord,--and he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men." Gracious God! Blessed Jews!
Second Samuel, chap. xxiv. ver. 1. "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, go number Israel and Judah." (In first Chronicles, chap. xxi. ver. 1, it stated, "and Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.") And having thus instigated David to do what is good policy in a king, God, of his infinite mercy, said unto David by his prophet Grad, David's seer, (an officer of the household in those days), "I offer thee three things: shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land, or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, or that there be three days pestilence in thy land?" And David having chosen the latter, "the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, and there died of the people 70,000 men but the Lord is ever merciful, for, "when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord _repented_ him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, it is enough, stay thou thine hand," _Delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi_.
1 Kings, chap. ii. David being upon his death-bed, having made peace with God, and purified his heart, called Solomon to him and gave him his last charge. As to Joab, the son of Zeruiah, he said, "do according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace,--and behold thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, which cursed me, but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death by the sword; now, therefore, (_proceeds the man after God's own heart_), hold him not guiltless; for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him, but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood."
Solomon having succeeded his father, the first act of his reign was to put to death his brother Adonijah.
1 Kings, chap. xi. ver. 4, "Solomon's heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father, for it came to pass, that, when he was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods." But why go through such barbarous details? All along we find imprecations against those who despise the prophets, and praises lavished upon murderers, traitors, and assassins. This is the people "selected by the wisdom of God, that they might witness to the whole world in successive ages his existence and attributes, that they might be an instrument of subverting idolatry, of declaring the name of the God of Israel throughout the whole earth a people, who are to us witnesses of the existence, and of the moral government of God."--This is the Old Testament, which you presume to say afforded matter for the laws of Solon, and a foundation for the philosophy of Plato,--which has been admired and venerated for its piety, its sublimity, its veracity, by all who _are able to read and understand it!!!_ This is the God who maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, who is all perfection, all wise, and all powerful, and whose mercy is above all his other attributes."