The Samaritans

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Further, the acceptation of the Pentateuch by the Samaritans, even supposing it was in the time of Sanballat, helps to show the absurdity of this invention (a notion which, though quite modern, is, I understand, fast hastening to the tomb of all the Capulets, like other ideas of the "learned Germans," few of which subsist beyond a moth's life; and, indeed, it is well for them they can prove nothing really, for it would entirely spoil the next discovery; whereas, by dying off thus, each leaves a fair field for the next inventor, while it serves just as well to create doubts for the moment; and if the doubt dies out with the objection, a new one has but the better chance). Besides, the whole Jewish polity was founded on the Pentateuch-the Prophets referred to it: not a sacrifice was offered, not an institution maintained, which was not there recorded. And was ever such an absurdity as supposing that Josiah or Huldah could persuade a whole people, and in the presence of watchful Samaritan enemies-not to embrace a certain system, others have done that-but that they and their ancestors had always carried on this system, though it was then produced for the first time? The temple was there; and, however they might have neglected its order and their duty, there was not a vessel, not a pot, nor a flesh-hook, nor a layer, nor a candlestick, which did not bear witness to the previous existence of what the book said did so exist. And note this, there is a regular history of the Jews uninterruptedly from Moses to Josiah-that of other nations too in connection with them. All had to be invented, as well as the style of the epoch, then unknown; and we are to be persuaded this fabulous account of what they were living in, and their fathers before them, and which connected itself with all this history, only now invented in a book, was palmed on them as their own true history, for the book, it is alleged, was now compiled! Was the account of the temple compiled, which it is impossible to separate from it? These were institutions which bore witness to its authenticity.