Imatges de pÓgina

these forty-eight cities that he refutes Abbadie, and even has the cruelty to treat him with the aversion and contempt of a lord of the upper chamber, or a minister of state towards a petty foreign priest who would be so impertinent as to reason with him.

I will take the liberty of representing to viscount Bolingbroke and to all those who think with him, not only that the Jewish nation has always believed in the existence of Moses, and in that of his books, but that even Jesus Christ has acknowledged him. The four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, recognise him. St. Matthew says expressly, that Moses and Elias appeared to Jesus Christ on the mountain during the night of the transfiguration, and St. Luke says the


Jesus Christ declares in St. Matthew, that he is not come to abolish this law, but to accomplish it. In the New Testament we are often referred to the law of Moses, and to the prophets. The whole church has always believed the Pentateuch written by Moses; and further, of five hundred different societies, which have been so long established in Christendom, none have ever doubted of the existence of this great prophet. We must therefore submit our reason, as so many men have done before us.

I know very well that I shall gain nothing in the mind of the viscount, or of those of his opinion. They are too well persuaded that the Jewish books were not written until very late, and during the captivity of the two tribes which remained. But we shall possess the consolation of having the church with us.


If you would be instructed and amused with antiquity, read the Life of Moses in the article APOCRYPHA. In vain have several scholars believed that the Pentateuch could not have been written by Moses.* They

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Is it true that there was a Moses? If a man who commanded entire nature existed among the Egyptians, would not such prodigious events have constituted the principal part of the history of Egypt? Sanchoniathon, Manethon, Megasthenes, and

say that it is affirmed even by the scripture, that the first known copy was found in the time of king Josiah, and that this single copy was brought to the king by the secretary Shaphan. Now, between the time of Moses and this adventure of the secretary Shaphan, there were one thousand one hundred and sixty-seven years, by the Hebrew computation. For God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, in the year of the world 2213, and the secretary Shaphan published the book of the law in the year of the world 3380. This book found under Josiah, was unknown until the return from the Babylonish captivity; and it is said that it was Esdras, inspired by God, who brought the holy scriptures to light.

But whether it was Esdras or another who digested this book, is absolutely indifferent, since it is inspired. It is not said in the Pentateuch, that Moses was the author, we might therefore be permitted to attribute it to the declaration of some other divine mind, if the church had not decided that the book is by Moses.

Herodotus, would they not have spoken of them? Josephus the historian has collected all possible evidences in favour of the Jews. He dares not say that any of the authors which he quotes have said a single word of the miracles of Moses. What! could the Nile have been changed into blood ?-an angel have slain the. first born of Egypt?-the sea have been opened, and its waters piled up on the right and on the left, and no author speak of it! Great nations have forgotten these prodigies, and it is only a little nation of barbarous slaves who has told us these histories thousands of years after the events.

Who then is this Moses, unknown to the whole world until the time in which it is said a Ptolemy had the curiosity to cause the Jewish writings to be translated into Greek? A great many ages back, the Oriental fables attributed to Bacchus all that the Jews have said of Moses. Bacchus passed the Red Sea dry-footed; Bac hus changed the waters into blood; Bacchus daily worked miracles with his rod, all these facts were sung in the orgies of Bacchus before they had the least commerce with the Jews, before they even knew if these poor people had books. Is it not most likely that this people so new, so long time wandering, so lately known, and so recently settled in Palestine, with the Phenician language took the Phenician fables, on which they improved, and thus they became great imitators? A people so poor, so ignorant, so foreign to all the arts, could they do otherwise than copy their neigh bours? Know we not that the names Adonai, Jehovah, Eloi, or Eloa, which signified God among the Jews, were all Phenician?

Some opposers add, that no prophet has quoted the books of the Pentateuch, that there is no mention of it either in the Psalms or in the books attributed to Solomon, in Jeremiah or Isaiah, or in short, in any canonical book of the Jews. Words answering to those of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy are not found in any other language recognised by them as authentic.

Others, still more bold, have put the following questions:

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1st. In what language could Moses have written in a savage desert? It could only be in Egyptian; for by this same book we are told, that Moses and all his people were born in Egypt. It is therefore probable that they spoke no other language. The Egyptians had yet made no use of papyrus; they engraved hieroglyphics on tables of wood or marble. It is even said, that the tables of the commandments were engraved on polished stones, which required prodigious time and labour.

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2nd. Is it likely, that in a desert where the Jewish people had neither shoe-maker nor tailor-in which the God of the universe was obliged to work a continual miracle to preserve the old dresses and shoes of the Jews, men could be found clever enough to engrave the five books of the Pentateuch on marble or wood? You will say, that they found labourers who made a golden calf in one night, and who afterwards reduced the gold into powder-an operation impracticable to common chemistry, which was not yet discovered? Who constructed the tabernacle? Who ornamented thirty columns of brass with capitals of silver? Who wove and embroidered veils of linen with hyacinth, purple, and scarlet? An account that supports the opinion of the contradictors. They answer, that it was not possible that in a desert, where they were in want of everything, for them to perform works so intricate; that they must have began by making shoes and tunics; that those who wanted necessaries could not indulge in luxuries; and that it is an evident contradiction to say,

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that they had founders, engravers, and embroiderers, when they had neither clothes nor bread.

3rd. If Moses had written the first chapter of Genesis would all young people have been forbidden to read the first chapter? Would so little respect have been paid to the legislator? If it was Moses who said that God punished the iniquity of the fathers to the fourth generation, would Ezekiel have dared to say the contrary?

4th. If Moses wrote Leviticus could he have contradicted it in Deuteronomy? Leviticus forbids a woman to marry her brother, Deuteronomy commands it.

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5th. Could Moses have spoken of towns which existed not in his time? Would he have said that towns which, in regard to him, were on the east of the Jordan were on the west?

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6th. Would he have assigned forty-eight cities to the Levites, in a country in which there were never ten, and in a desert in which he had always wandered without habitation?


7th. Would he have prescribed rules for the Jewish kings, when not only there were no kings among this people but they were held in horror, and it was not probable they ever would have any?-What! would Moses have given precepts for the conduct of kings who came not until five hundred years after him, and have said nothing in relation to the judges and priests who succeeded him? Does not this religion lead us to believe that the Pentateuch was composed in the time of kings, and that the ceremonies instituted by Moses were only traditional.

8th. Suppose he had said to the Jews,-I have made you depart to the number of six hundred thousand combatants from the land of Egypt under the protection of your God? The Jews, would they not have answered him,-You must have been very timid not to lead us against Pharoah of Egypt; he could not have opposed to us an army of two hundred thousand men.' There never was such an army on foot in Egypt; we' should have conquered them easily; we should have been the masters of their country.-What! has the



God, who talks to you, to please us slain all the firstborn of Egypt, which, if there were in this country three hundred thousand families, makes three hundred thousand men destroyed in one night, simply to revenge us, and yet you have not seconded your God and given us that fertile country which nothing could withhold from us. On the contrary, you have made us depart from Egypt as thieves and cowards, to perish in deserts between mountains and precipices. You might at least, have conducted us by the direct road to this land of Canaan, to which we have no right, but which you have promised us, and on which we have not yet been able to


It was natural that from the land of Goshen we should march towards Tyre and Sidon, along the Mediterranean, but you made us entirely pass the Isthmus of Suez and re-enter Egypt, proceed as far as Memphis, when we find ourselves at Beel-Sephor on the borders of the Red Sea, turning our backs on the land of Canaan, having journeyed eighty leagues in this Egypt which we wished to avoid, so as at last to nearly perish between the sea and the army of Pharaoh!

If you had wished to deliver us to our enemies, you could not have taken a different route and other measures. God has saved us by a miracle, you say; the sea opened to let us pass; but after such a favour should he let us die of hunger and fatigue in the horrible deserts of Kadesh-barnea, Mara, Elim, Horeb, and Sinai? All our fathers perished in these frightful solitudes; and you tell us at the end of forty years, that God took particular care of them.

This is what these murmuring Jews, these unjust children of the vagabonds who died in the desert, might have said to Moses, if he had read Exodus and Genesis to them. And what might they not have said and done on the article of the golden calf? What! you dare to tell us that your brother made a calf for our fathers, when you were with God on the mountain? You, who sometimes tell us that you have spoken to God face to face, and sometimes that you could only see his back! But no matter, you were with this God, and your bro

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