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disapprobation. In this, however, he is completely answered by *Witsius: and with respect to the circumstance of resemblance between the Jewish religion and those of the ancient heathen nations, on which the reasoning of this author through the entire of his voluminous work is founded, Shuckford asserts, that so far is it from justifying the inference which he has drawn, namely, that God had instituted the one in imitation of the other, that the direct contrary is the legitimate conclusion: inasmuch as "no one ceremony can be produced, common to the religion of Abraham or Moses, and to that of the heathen nations, but that it may be proved, that
it was used by Abraham or Moses, or by some of the true worshippers of God, earlier than by
even of the ceremonial of the oblation was left to the free choice of the offerer. Nor can it easily be believed, that the author could have been ignorant, that in above seventy pas. sages of the Old Testament the word dwga is used by the LXX for the Hebrew ; in every one of which passages nearly, the oblation under the prescription of the Levitical ritual is intended to be conveyed; and indeed the word is the most general name for the sacrifices under the Mosaic law. See what is said on this word in Number LXII.-The true and obvious reason, why the writer to the Hebrews uses the term daga, is, because it is the very term employed by the Seventy in describing the offerings of both Cain and Abel in Gen. iv. 4, 5. The author of the Epistle treating of the same subject, naturally uses the same language.
*Misc. Sac. lib. ii. diss. ii. §. 2-7. See also Heideg. Hist. Patriarch. Exercit. iii. §. 52. tom. i.
any of the heathen nations." (Connection, &c. vol. i. p. 317.)
It is to be remarked, that to those, who have been already named, as supporting the hypothesis of the human invention of sacrifice, are to be added, in general, the writers of the popish church; who, in order to justify their willworship, or appointment of religious rites without divine institution, allege the example of the Patriarchs in the case of sacrifices, and the approbation bestowed by God upon these acts of worship, though destitute of the sanctions of his command.
One writer of that church (a writer, however, whom she will not be very ambitious to claim) has indeed carried this point yet farther: inasmuch as he contends not only for the human invention of sacrifice, but for its mere human adoption into the Jewish ritual without any divine sanction or authority whatever. The words of this writer, which, I confess, I think worth quoting, merely for the same reason for which the Spartan father exhibited his drunken Helot, are these." That the Supreme Being would imperiously require of mankind bloody victims, and even point out the particular animals that were to be immolated upon his altar, it is, to me, highly incredible; but that superstition, the child of ignorance and fear, should think of offering such sacrifices, it is not at all wonderful:
nor need we think it strange, that Moses, although a wise legislator, in this indulged the humour of so gross and carnal a people as were the Israelites. All the nations around them offered similar victims, from the banks of the Euphrates to the banks of the Nile. The Egyptians in particular, among whom they had so long sojourned, not only sacrificed animals to their gods, but selected the best of their kind. Indeed, I have ever been convinced, since I was capable of reflexion, that the whole sacrificial and ceremonial laws of Moses were chiefly borrowed from the priests of Egypt, but prudently accommodated by the Hebrew legislator to the relative situation of his own people, divested of prophane licentiousness and barefaced idolatry, and restrained to the worship of one supreme God, who created the heavens and the earth, and whom HE WAS PLEASED TO CALL IEUE, Iao, OR JEHOVAH”!!!*
* Geddes's Critical Remarks on the Hebrew Scriptures, p. 309. The observations which this extraordinary writer, who wishes to be distinguished by the title of a CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN, subjoins to the passage above referred to, will serve still farther to shew the true nature of his claims to that denomination." This name, (he says, alluding to the name Jehovah) I think, he (Moses) must have learnt in Midian: that he could not learn it in Egypt, is clear from this, that the name was not known there before he announced it as the name of the God of the Hebrews; and Jehovah himself is made to say, on mount Sinai, that he had never till the
And again this same enlightened expositor of holy writ unfolds, much to the credit of the Jewish legislator, the great advantages attend
manifested himself by that name: but that the name before that was known in Midian, nay, that it was the name of the Deity whom Jethro principally, or perhaps exclusively, worshipped, to me appears very probable from several circumstances." Having enumerated these circumstances, which enable him to pronounce that Moses had put a gross falsehood into the mouth of Jehovah upon this subject, he con. cludes thus; "From all this I think it probable, that the name Jehovah was known in Midian, Moab, and Syria, before the mission of Moses; and that Moses may have borrowed it thence.-Those who literally believe what is related in the third chapter of Exodus, will sneer at this remark; and they are welcome so to do: I will never be angry with any one for believing either too much or too little,"
Now if we follow this writer to his Remarks upon the third chapter of Exodus, we shall learn what it is that he considers as believing just enough. Moses, in that chapter, informs us of "the angel of the Lord, appearing to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush ;"—and of the divine mission then expressly conveyed to him by God himself speaking out of the burning bush, and describing himself as "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."Now what says Dr, Geddes on this? "That in his apprehension, there might, in this particular apparition, be no other angel or messenger, than an uncommon luminous appearance in a bush of briars; which attracted the attention of Moses, and might be considered by him as a divine call to return to Egypt for the purpose of delivering his brethren from their iron bondage." Then having proved the propriety of calling this luminous appearance in the bush of briars, the angel of the Lord and even God himself, from the passage
ing his imposition of Egyptian ceremonies as matter of divine ordinance upon his people. "This concession must have been extremely
in the Psalmist, "The Lord maketh the winds his messen. gers, and flames of fire his ministers ;" and recollecting the necessity of explaining how this luminous appearance, or flaming angel, was enabled to hold in the name of the Most High a long and distinct conversation with Moses, he boldly faces about and meets the difficulty at once." But ca it be believed, that the whole dialogue, contained in this and the following chapters, is founded upon the single phenomenon of a fiery meteor or luminous appearance in a bush of briars ? What may appear credible or incredible to others, I know not: but I know, that I can believe this, sooner than believe that God and Moses verbally conversed together in the manner here related, on the bare authority of a Jewish historian, who lived no one can well tell when or where: and who seems to have been as fond of the marvellous as any Jew of any age. But let every one judge for himself, as he has an undoubted right to do; and believe as much, or as little, as pleaseth him. My belief is my own.”
Such is Dr. Geddes's enlightened view of this part of Scripture, on which the claim of the Jewish legislator to a divine mission is founded. He states indeed, with a modesty truly becoming, that his belief upon the subject is purely his own. So I will venture to add for him, it will ever remain. For although some may be found, whose reach of philosophical reflexion may just serve to enable them with Dr. Geddes to reject the narrative of Moses as a fabrication, and his pre tensions to a divine mission as an imposture; yet, that nice discriminating taste in miracles that could catch the flavour of a nearer approach to credibility in the case of a burning bush of briars carrying on a long conversation in the name of the Almighty, than in the case of that great Being directly