Mr. Newman's Hebrew Monarchy

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I have looked into the history of the Hebrew monarchy by Mr. Ν., and examined particularly what relates to this point; but I have found, besides some examination of collateral history and dates, Nothing but an imitation of the absurd German self confidence and theories, whose authors, provided they can invent something which nobody else has thought of, are very indifferent as to its credibility.1
Mr. N. places the prophecy of Joel about 840 years before Christ, Isaiah in Hezekiah's reign, and recognizes (for 'tis suits his purpose) the destruction of the brazen serpent, the existence of the priesthood and temple. Now the allusions in Joel are all based on the Levitical law, even to the peculiar use of the silver trumpets. Isaiah refers to it in terms, saying, if they spake not according to it, there was no light in them. The deliverance out of Egypt is also spoken of several times; in one case, as affected by the rod of Moses being lifted up over the sea. Again, Micah refers to the ordinances of the law as to sacrifices, in express terms; he refers to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, to Balak and Balsam, and the details given as to them in Numbers. Mr. N. puts Micah in 723 before Christ; Josiah he puts in 651. Yet, in spite of this, he declares that the law was promulgated in Josiah's reign, when, it is pretended, it was found. This being too grossly absurd, he tells us that the first four books of the Pentateuch are to be regarded as a growth, not as a composition. Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers did not now begin to exist, but now received their final shape, and their public recognition in that shape. That is, that the code of religious laws and ceremonies was never made up till the nation, which had certainly subsisted for centuries, and had established an immense system according to the code, was just on the eve of dissolution!2 And mark, the code establishes, as I have already observed, an order of things quite different from what subsisted. It recounts the forming of the tabernacle by divine direction, according to the pattern made in the mount, the authority for the change being given in books written, according to Mr. N., too late to be of any avail for the priestly objects to which he attributes the compiling of the Pentateuch; so that the priests invented a divinely ordered ritual and instruments of worship, which left their own existing one quite unauthorized!
There is nothing like the excessive absurdities of infidels to show what people are reduced to, when their "antagonistic will" rejects the plain revelation of God.
I regret to be obliged to add, that the reader must never trust the statements made by infidels as to books, or passages of scripture, without reading the passages themselves. It is not that there is always an intention to deceive, but a loose general view suits a theory; and when this loose general view is examined, it very often turns out to be wholly unfounded.
1. There is one happy result of this, that one infidel theory destroys another, and all are shown to be merely theories without any proof, and far more incredible than the plain history we have. Mr. N.'s book, setting aside of course inspiration, seeks for probable causes and motives for what the scripture history makes as plain as possible. Another characteristic of his history is this, that, as he entirely sets aside God, he reduces everything to secondary causes and motives, many of which may very probably have acted on the minds of the persons concerned, the object being, as always, to sink everything to the level of that, and shut out God as far as possible. But in doing this the history has to be set aside, and this is done by the most incredible theories, which are really, by their irrationalism, offensive to any upright sober mind.
2. And had been formed just during the period in which they were practically abandoning it. Further, if it had been so formed, all Mr. N's arguments against its previous existence, because of its being found then in the temple, fall to the ground, as much as if it had been complete since the time of Moses.