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But again, if we want to know the causes of wars, of bloodshed, of cruelty, of malice-the Bible tells us they come from the “lusts that war in our members, for we lust, and have not; we kill, and desire to have, but cannot obtain; we fight and war, that we may consume it on our lusts, yet we have not." (James iv. 1-2-3.) That the fruits of our corrupted flesh manifestly are, “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” (Gal. v. 19-20-21.)
Where can you find, in the book of nature, such an explanation of the causes of these evils? Can you find any explanation of them whatsoever in this book of nature? I unhesitatingly say no! Therefore, without the information the Bible gives us on this subject, we would, so far as the boasted book of nature is concerned, be under the necessity of attributing them either to the cruelty of the Creator, or to imperfection in His works, or we must plunge into the abyss of that greatest of all absurdities, viz: the denial of the existence of a Creator, and consequently believe that all things were made by chance—that blind chance produces order, beauty, contrivance, &c., and not only produces them, but supports and keeps up this order, &c. On the contrary, with the Bible, difficulties vanish, and the more a man studies the Bible, and the more he is acquainted with the laws of life, the more he is enabled most satisfactorily, to explain all those, otherwise inscrutable, phænomena, which are perpetually occurring in the world.
Another circumstance, which deceives too many, is, judging the whole by a part. Now nothing is more fallacious and unwise: for oftentimes a part of a transaction appears very bad, or a part of an apparatus very ugly, unseemly, useless, and destructive, when, upon becoming acquainted with the whole of the machine or apparatus, so far from either of them appearing bad or useless, they appear perfectly correct and most useful.
I will now proceed to illustrate this argument. Suppose a rough piece of metal. You know not to what it belongs, what it is. I ask you is it not very smooth, very beautiful, very even, very useful? You reply, instead of being very smooth, it is very rough; instead of being very beautiful, it appears very ugly; and instead of its being useful, it appears rather calculated for destruction, than for utility! Why do you form these opinions of this piece of metal? Simply because it is an insulated or detached part of a whole. For, when I inform you, that it belongs to a steam-engine--that it is an essential part of that complicated yet valuable apparatus, by means of which we are now enabled to traverse both sea and land, with incredible velocity, and our merchandize is transported from east to west, north to south; and when I take you to visit it, in its proper place, constituting an essential part of the whole, you then readily exclaim, what a beautiful, useful piece of metal this is! Just so it is with respect to many transactions, recorded in the Bible. You look at them apart; you see them insulated; you judge of them in this insulated state, and not, as you ought to do, in their connection in the vast domain of nature-in the unlimited government of Omnipotence.
There is a vast difference between a man searching the Bible, honestly, to find out whether or not, it be worthy of credit, and a man searching the Bible to find out what things he can discover in it, by which he will be able to prop up his darling or favourite theory or views. The former takes into consideration, that the Bible does not profess to develop the whole government, or ultimate
design of the Creator; nor to state those acts, which alone are good, and to pass over, in silence, those which are bad; but that it (the Bible) professes to relate those things, and those only, which it appeared to Divine wisdom, would be beneficial to mankind; and honestly to relate the bad, as well as the good actions of both friends and foes. Finally, he takes it up as he would any other record, and judges of its claims for truth and honesty, not by the opinions of men, but by its own internal evidences.
The latter (that is the infidel) having, prior to examination, formed his own opinion of what God ought to do -of what God has (in his opinion) done of what a revelation from the Creator ought to be---and, anxious to detect sufficient grounds in the Bible, for justifying him in despising it, for gratifying his pride, that his opinion is right, and that the opinion of all, the greatest, the best, and the most scientific, on this subject, is wrong, he opens his Bible, and, to suit his purpose, even divides not only sentences, but verses, into two, three, or more parts, and thus by torturing the Scriptures, he fancies he has discovered sufficient evidence to justify his conduct. And although, his objections have been again and again, even ten thousand times answered, and refuted, yet he dresses them up in new garments, and presents them to the public, as original objections. Thus, such men act upon that very principle, which 1 have already demonstrated to be most fallacious, viz: judging the whole by a part. But as the principle, according to which they act, and condemn the Sacred Scriptures, is erroneous, their conclusion must be absurd; for every argument, built upon a fallacious principle, necessarily ends in an absurd conclusion. In this way, have infidel writers condemned the conduct of Jehovah, for ordering the Jews to destroy
the Canaanites; and they constantly urge it, as a specimen of unparalleled cruelty and barbarity, and utterly inconsistent with the character of an all-wise, just, and good God.
But why this conclusion? Do they know all the circumstances of the case ? If not, is it correct to condemn, without first ascertaining all the circumstances connected with it? Infidels look only at one side of the case ! Would not an honest man, a wise man, before he comes to any conclusion, first ask the question, what was the character of the Canaanites? Were those Heathen nations deserving of punishment? If they were not, then there might be some plausibility in the argument: but if they were deserving of punishment, then the whole argument falls to the ground, for it was built upon the supposition, that those nations were undeservedly punished; and being built upon that which was not true, the arguments are not only demonstrated to be fallacious, but the objectors themselves are convicted of unjustly slandering the God of Heaven
Now, I am prepared to prove both from the Bible itself, as well as from Heathen authors that those nations, not only deserved punishment, but to such a degree of depravity and iniquity, had they sunk, that the good of the rest of mankind required their total extermination; and God's having thought proper to make the Jews the instruments of chastising those nations, was well calculated to make an indelible impression upon the Jews, and to deter them, from committing such abominations.
That this was actually the reason, why God thought proper to make the Jews his instruments on this occasion, rather than the physical elements, or famine, pestilence, earthquakes, or storms, as He has done, and often
does at the present day, must be evident from the very' nature of the directions and warnings, which He gave the Jews on those occasions, and which are as follows:
In the ninth chapter of Deuteronomy, from the first to the sixth verse. “ Hear, O Israel, Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great, and fenced up to heaven; a people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest and of whom thou hast heard say, who can stand before the children of Anak? Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee. Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land, but for the wickedness of these nations, the Lord doth drive them out from before thee. · Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations, the Lord thy God 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.”
Again, in the 18th chapter of Leviticus, the Lord, after mentioning the following heinous crimes, incest, (even between father and daughter, son and mother, brother and sister, &c.) adultery; the abominations of Moloch; beastiality, &c. says (v. 24, &c.) “ Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are de