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their present form, is a question that has never yet been satisfactorily determined. It has been a matter of controversy, among the most profound scholars, for more than a thousand years.

Let us inquire seriously, What evidence have we that Moses was actually the writer of the several books referred to ? The books themselves indicate the opposite : they furnish internal, presumptive proof that they are the workmanship of another hand-at least, in the present arrangement of their materials, and the structure of their language. Such proof will be rendered the most distinctly manifest by the citation of a few prominent instances, in which language is employed that is radically inconsistent with original and direct autobiography. Moses is almost invariably spoken of in the third per

In most cases, the language referring to the mes. sages received by him from the Deity, is not—"The Lord said unto me;" but-The Lord said unto Moses.' In Deuteronomy, however, there is found what some may regard as a deviation from this general rule. There, in several instances, we meet with the sentence, “The Lord said unto me,” &c.; but this, be it observed, was evidently not written by Moses, but, so to speak, put into his mouth by the historian, who merely represents him as addressing the people publicly, while assembled in a large throng: for the 1st chapter of the book of Deuteronomy commences in the following manner:“These be the words which Moses [not I] spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan;" and in the third verse,


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the language is—"And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel,” &c. In the course of several following chapters the name Moses and the corresponding pronoun, are in the first person: but this does not of necessity evince that Moses was the writer; for it is no uncommon thing when speaking of an individual, and in quoting what he has expressed, to give his language, as near as possible, in the direct form.

The continuity of the regular historic narrative is sometimes suddenly broken off, and another subject (having no legitimate connection with the prior train of remark, and of which no previous intimation has been given) is then introduced. This is particularly the case in Genesis, iv. 23, where the writer speaks of Lamech as addressing his two wives, saying, "Hearken unto my speech; for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.” Of this homicide we find no mention in any preceding chapter; nor are we informed what par

it was, whose death is bewailed. Interruptions of this kind, occurring in the midst of an otherwise connected series of historical or biographical incidents, would naturally lead almost any one to conclude, that either some preceding particulars had been excluded from the records, intentionally or by accident; or that the hands of more than one person were employed in the work of composition. This latter supposition would account satisfactorily for those discrepant interpolations, which are otherwise perplexing.

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The character of Moses is described in the most eulogistic terms—in language highly immodest and at war with common propriety, for any one to adopt in regard to himself. As an instance, take the following assertion, which occurs in Numbers, xii. 3: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”

But perhaps the most weighty consideration-the one which militates the most seriously against the posi. tion that Moses was the veritable author of the five books, in their present condition-is the fact that the concluding one (Deuteronomy) contains an account of his death, with a particular mention of some of the circumstances connected with it. If you consult, at your leisure, the last chapter of the book, you will find the account, commencing with the first verse and terminating with the eighth, in language as follows:

“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab, unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho: and the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manassah, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, unto Zoar. And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed; I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there, in the land of

Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended."

Shortly before I commenced preaching, while residing in the family of a clergyman,-at a time when I did not perceive the general bearing and diversified relations of Theological matters, so clearly as I humbly believe I now see them,--my mind was exercised somewhat upon this apparent scriptural incongruity; or rather this statement of an utter impossibility: for such it is, humanly speaking, if we proceed upon the ground that Moses was the writer of the whole of the Pentateuch, in the form in which it appears in our version of the Rible. I recollect that when I inquired for some method of obviating the difficulty, I was referred, for a solution of it, to Dr. Adam Clarke's comment on the passage, in which that ingenious writer contends that the last chapter of Deuteronomony (which contains the account of Moses' death and burial) should properly be reckoned as the first chapter of the book of Joshua. This attempted explication appeared satisfactory to me at the time; but from mature reflection I feel convinced that it is but an adroit conjecture; and although it may be correct, yet it is no more reliable than some other equally plausi

ble mode of explanation which, perhaps, any of us might devise.

CALMET, a celebrated French monk, who died about the middle of the last century, in one of his large works on the Bible, (which has been edited and republished in this country by Prof. Robinson, under the auspices of the Andover Theological Seminary) says“it is not very unlikely that Aaron may have "assisted his brother in writing some parts of the books which now bear the name of Moses :" and he adds, “If this be admissible, then we account at once for such difference of style as appears in these books, and for such smaller variations in different places, as would naturally arise from two persons recording the same facts......It accounts, also, for the third person being used when speaking of Moses : perhaps, too, for some of the praise and commendation of Moses, which is most remarkable where Aaron is most in fault."* This supposition, however, does not account for the record of the death and burial of Moses; which could not have been written by Aaron, because he died sometime before Moses did! And Moses attended him during his last moments, according to the account. In Numbers, xx. 27--29, it is stated that they both "went up into mount Hor, in the sight of all the congregation. And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them

upon Eleazer his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazer came down from the mount. And when all the congregation

* See article AARON, Calmet's Dictionary.

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