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according to the law which God originally impressed on both the earth and the sun, the annual and diurnal motions of the earth must continue; and that no power, but the unlimited power of God, can alter this influence, change, or suspend, the operation of this law; but that He is such an infinitely FREE AGENT,
when his unerring wisdom sees good, alter, suspend, or even annihilate all secondary causes and their effects; for it would be degrading to the perfections of his nature to suppose, that he had so bound himself by the laws which he has given for the preservation and direction of universal nature, that he could not change them, alter their effects, or suspend their operations, when greater and better effects, in a certain time or place, might be produced by such temporary change or suspension.
" That no evil was done by this miraculous interference, nor any law or property of nature ultimately changed: on the contrary, a most important good was produced, which probably, to this people, could not have been brought about any other way; and that, therefore, the miracle wrought on this occasion, was highly worthy of the wisdom and power of God. I consider, that the terms in the text employed to describe this miracle, are not, when rightly understood, contrary to the well established notions of the true system of the universe. I have already assumed, as a thoroughly demonstrated truth, that the sun is in the centre of the system, moving only round his own axis, and the common centre of the gravity of the planetary system, while all the planets revolve round him, that his influence is the cause of the diurnal and annual revolutions of the earth; nor can I see what other purpose his revolution round his own axis can possibly answer.
“I consider, that the original word in the text, refers
to the withholding or restraining this influence, so that the cessation of the earth's motion might immediately take place. The desire of Joshua was, that the sun might not sink below the horizon; but, as it appeared now to be over Gibeon, and the moon to be over the valley of Ajalon, he prayed that they might continue in these positions till the battle should be ended; or, in other words, that the day should be miraculously lengthened out.
“He certainly spoke as if he had known that the solar influence was the cause of the earth's rotation, and, therefore, with the strictest philosophic propriety, he requested that that influence might be for a time restrained, that the diurnal motion of the earth might be arrested, through which alone the sun could be kept above the horizon, and day be prolonged. His mode of expression evidently considers the sun as the great ruler or master in the system; and all the planets, (or at least the earth,) moving in their respective orbits, at his command. He, therefore, desires him, (in the name, and by the authority of his Creator,) to suspend his mandate with respect to the earth's motion, and that of its satellite, the moon. Had he said, earth, stand thou still—the cessation of whose diurnal motion was the effect of his command, it could not have obeyed him; as it is not even the secondary cause, either of its annual motion round the sun, or its diurnal motion round its own axis. Instead of doing so, he speaks to the sun, the cause (under God) of all these motions, as his great archetype did, when in the storm on the sea of Tiberias, he rebuked the wind first, and then said to the waves, PEACE! be still ! as it is in the original, be SILENT! be DUMB! Mark iv. 39; and the effect of this command was, a cessation of the agitation in the sea, because the wind ceased to command it, that is, to exert its influence upon the waters.
The terms in this command are worthy of particular note: Joshua does not
say to the sun, stand still, as if he had conceived him to be running his race round the earth; but, be silent, or inactive, that is, as I understand it, restrain thy influence; no longer act upon the earth, to cause it to revolve round its axis; a mode of speech which is certainly consistent with the strictest astronomical knowledge: and the writer of the account, whether Joshua himself, or the author of the book of Jasher, in relating the consequence of this command, is equally accurate, using a word widely different, when he speaks of the effect the retention of the solar influence had on the moon: in the first case, the sun was silent, or inactive, in the latter, the moon stood still. The standing still of the moon, or its continuance above the horizon, would be the natural effect of the cessation of the solar influence, which obliged the earth to discontinue her diurnal rotation, which of course would arrest the moon, and thus both it and the sun were kept above the horizon, probably for the space of a whole day. As to the address to the moon, it is not conceived in the same terms as that to the sun, and for the most obvious philosophical reasons: all that is said is simply, and the moon on the vale of Ajalon, which may be thus understood: • Let the sun restrain his influence, or be inactive, as he appears now upon Gibeon, that the moon may continue as she appears now over the vale of Ajalon.' It is worthy of remark, that every word in this poetic address is apparently selected with the greatest caution and precision."
SWINE. Although the Jews were prohibited from eating swine's flesh, yet there was no law against their keeping, or trading in them: and when it is recollected that Judea was a mere Roman province when Christ was on earth; and, no doubt, at that time full of Gentile traders, there is nothing astonishing in the Jews keeping large quantities of swine. They had, in fact, every inducement so to do; their country being subject to Gentiles; the Romans, who were constantly at war with the world, and almost always keeping up a large standing army, presented to them a large. m and a constant demand for swine, which they (the Jews) themselves were not allowed to eat. As to the Lord's sending the evil spirits into the swine, he merely complied with their earnest request; THEY BESOUGHT HIM,' &c. Matt. viii. 31. There cannot be entertained a doubt, that evil spirits were, during the days of the Lord Jesus, permitted to inhabit the bodies of some men; for what could possibly have induced the Sacred writers to state such things, if they had not occurred? They wrote, be it remembered, in the very country, and in the very same era of the world, in which these things occurred. What would have been more easy, than for the people all around them to say, with one voice, these things never happened! Unless, therefore, we can suppose that while the writers wished to deceive mankind, they were studiously endeavouring to convict themselves, by stating things which, as every one could contradict them, would inevitably expose their imposition, and convict them of being impostors, we must credit their veracity. Can we imagine the occurrence of such a downright absurdity? yet we must, if we doubt that evil spirits, in those days, inhabited the bodies of men.
If it be lawful to broach an opinion on the reason why, at that time, (never before, and never since, evil spirits were allowed in that remarkable way to manifest themselves, I would venture to say, that as the Deity in his mercy sent his representative (Emmanuel) on this earth, clothed in human nature, so he permitted Satan, (whose pride and ambition ever actuated him to be as God,) to send his spirits on earth, clothed in human nature, at that time; and thus openly subject him (Satan) to a signal defeat, before the eyes of men,
and compel them (his spirits) to cry out, “ We know thee, who thou art, Christ, the son of God! art thou come hither to torment us before our time?” Luke, iv. 41. See Devil.
TABERNACLE. See Ark.
TALMUD. The Talmuds are two in number, the Babylonish and Jerusalem. They consist of two parts, the Mishna or text, and the Gemara or commentary. They contain a mass of Jewish records, traditions, laws, and precepts. The Babylonian Talmud was commenced in Babylon, 311 years before Christ, by Rab. Ase; and after his death was continued by Rab. Maremar, and finally finished A. D. 500, by Rab. Avina; Rab. Abraham, Ben David. Fol. xxxiv. 1.
The little said in these Jewish records respecting Christ, has been a matter of astonishment amongst the learned, and could only be accounted for on the ground, that the Jews, not knowing what excuse to make for not receiving their Messiah, deemed to say little or nothing on the subject, the wisest policy. However, they did not pass over, in total silence, the history of Christ, but absurdly ascribed his power of performing miracles, (which they freely admitted to his having clandestinely acquired the right pronunciation of the SHEMMAPHORESH, or the ineffable name of God, which they say, he stole out of the Temple! Hence we find, that neither Jew nor Heathen, denied for the first four centuries, the