Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

On the Attorney-General having his hat stolen during the Trial of

the Queen, in the House of Lords.

Should you to justice, adroit thief, be led,
Swear, that you stole bis hat, who had no head ;
That plea alone, all davger shall remove,
Nor Judge, nor Jury, can the damage prove.

Or seeing the Duke of Wellington and the Marquis of Anglesea,

riding together near Charing Cross.

One murder made a villain, millions a hero."

Porteus, Bishop of London.

The mighty conqu'rors who aspire to fame,
And who by wide-spread ruin raise a name;
Who glory in the battles which they gain,
And ride exulting o'er th’ ensanguin'd plain;
Such men as these my heart can ne'er approve,
Terror they cause—but cannot win my love :
These by eternal justice were design'd
For righteous ends, the scourges of mankind.
My heart delights in those,-the truly wise,
Who, man to make most happy-civilize
The band illustrious—the benignant few
Who teach the boist'rous passion's to subdue,
Instruct mankind in every gen'rous art,
And by example humanize the heart,
Who, like the sun, their blessings widely spread,
Who comfort give to grief, to hunger bread;
Whose minds contracted by no narrow plan,
Own as a brother every virtuous man ;
Who science and morality improve,
And to all climes diffuse fraternal love;
These only, hero's in my eyes appear,

And such I more than honour--I revere.
Camberwell, Aug. 27.


VOL. IV. No, 3.




Having passed the death of Saul, and as there are two accounts in the Bible respecting the reign of David and his successors, which in many instances are strangely contradictory, it will be necessary to proceed with both together and contrast them. The one account begins with the second book of Samuel, the other with the tenth chapter of the first book of Chronicles. The first nine chapters of the first book of Chronicles are filled with various pretended genealogies from Adam, the supposed first man, down to the period of the Babylonishi captivity. In the last three verses of the fourth chapter we read of the destruction of another party of the Amalekites so late as the reign of Hezekiah, but a short time before the Jews are said to be carried captive into Babylon. Still we are told in the first book of Samuel, that Jehovah took away the kingdom from the family of Saul, because that he spared one of them; and this last of the Amalekites we were distinctly told was hewn in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal by Samuel *.

In the course of this commentary I have asserted that the Jews had no written history nor genealogies before they were led captive into Babylon, and that it does not appear, that before that captivity, they were a sufficiently civilized people to have acquired the use of letters. In the book of Chronicles now before us, I find one of my grounds for that assertion which I shall endeavour to explain.

The ninth chapter of the first book of Chronicles begins thus :—So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies ; and,

In one of Voltaire's Sacred Dramas, entitled Saul, and just published hy Mrs. Carlile, the characters of Samuel, Saul and David are most faith. fully and wittily delineated. It is astonishing how any thing like reverence can be felt for such characters as Samuel and David are represented to have been. Each of them seems to have been an epitome or compendium of the depravily of human nature, the one as a priest, the oiber as a king. The life of David in two parts, which I some time since pro. mised to publish, is now on sale, and finishes the second volume of the Deist, or may be bad distinci,

[ocr errors]

behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their

transgression. This I take to be a sufficient proof that those genealogies, and these books of Chronicles, were compiled either during or subsequent to the Babylonish captivity. The mention that the genealogies were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah is no contradiction to my assertion, for such books as we have under the title of the books of Kings have no genealogies in them. In the first chapter of the second book of Samuel, which is also called the second book of Kings, there is mention again made of the “ Book of Jasher," as containing an authenticated account of some tale there related. The verse which makes this mention is evidently an interpolation, it stands within a parenthesis, and has no connection with the surrounding matter. The Book of Jasher, I have before observed, is a ligurative fiction, and had no existence; it merely implied an assertion or voucher for the truth of what was related, in the same sense as we might now express ourselves by saying, “ I call God to witness the truth of what I have been saying or writing."

The Jew who wrote the two books of Chronicles meant in his own way to give the history of the world, or to abridge the former pretended history that we have passed over. The common object with them seems to have been to shew that the earth was created on purpose for their race, and that their God was more powerful than all other Gods. The christians, having made the Jewish fables a part of their religion, have been the means of so extensive a propagation of this folly and fraud. I think I shall be able to shew as I proceed, that all the different psalms, in short, all the Jewish poetry in the Bible was written during or subsequent to the Babylonish captivity. The genealogies I consider to be no proof of veracity in the Jewish history; it was a common custom in Asia to have such genealogies, and the Jews themselves make the line of Abraham to be the progenitors of all the tribes or nations of the East. Mahomet has traced back his origin in the same manner. The best proof of the whole being fiction, is, that wherever any altempt is made to lay down any thing like chronology or data, it will not bear a critical examination. The sciences of arithmetic and the mathematics, are alone sufficient to destroy the validity of Bible history.

The object of the books of Chronicles is evideniły to begin with the history of David, for it just mentions the defeat and death of Saul, and no more of his history. J proceed to con


trast the particulars of the death of Saul in the iwo accounts, by first inserting the tenth chapter of the first book of Chronicles.

“ Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistinęs slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers. Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through there with; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not ; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died. So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together. And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines roind abont, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people. And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon. And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines lad done to Saul, They arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak in Jabesh, and fasted seven days. So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to en quire of it; And enquired not of the Lord : therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.”

The conclusion of this chapter says, that Saul died for his transgression, which means, that he did not murder Agag in cold blood, and that he sought counsel from a familiar spirit and enquired not of the Lord. This is a contradiction to the story of the witch of Endor, for there we were told, that the cause of Saul's application to have Samuel raised was, because that Jehovah would not answer him or instruct him. Again, as to the death of Saul, the first chapter of the second book of Samuel gives a tale quite different to the above. I extract it as follows:

“ Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David bad abode two days iu Ziklag; It came even to pass on the third day, that,

behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes reut, and earth upon his head; and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. And David said unto him, From whence comest thou ? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from ihe battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? And the young man that told him, said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. And he said unto me, Who art thou ? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said wwto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon bim, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen; and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on bis arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord. Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel ; because they were fallen by the sword. And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou ? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed? And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord's anointed.

Now this tale about the Amalekite having slain Saul at his own request, is in direct contradiction to the last chapter of the first book of Samuel, and to the account extracted above from the book of Chronicles. It seems to have been introduced merely to display the assassin-like character of the man after Jehovah's own heart.

There is not the least uniformity between the two histories of David, the one has many circumstances related which the other has not, and those I shall pass over, or at least take but a brief notice of them. The book of Samuel relates a story how David was opposed in the kingdom by one of Saul's sons (Ishbosheth), and that Abner who was the general of Ishbosheth's forces, was rebuked by his master for taking one of his

VOL. IV. No. 3.

« PreviousContinue »