Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Lecture III. — Jeremiah's Share in it

page 27

Lecture III.

Jeremiah's Share in it.

"The Ages of Faith "—how sweetly sounds the phrase amid the wordy warfare of the years in which we live. And if things were always what they seem, and a superficial glance always saw correctly, and poetry were prose, and fiction fact, who would not, at least for a time, gladly exchange our boasted "Age of Reason," with its surprises, and wrangling, and general unsettlement, for the happy carelessness of the past, when men's brains were less active than now because Dr. Hunter had not yet made the blood to circulate, and the right of private judgment had never been heard of, and the Sun went round the Earth, and the marine fossils in the rocks were a sure proof of Noah's Deluge, and there was only one Church, and nobody was troubled with doubts because nobody could read, and would have found reading a useless accomplishment if they could. In those blessed days the universe took care of itself, and got along fairly well, too, although Sir I. Newton had not yet invented the principle of gravitation. Now, alas, we have to look after the universe ourselves, and Sir W. Thompson is making the earth revolve more slowly every day, and we are all, getting very anxious as to what will happen some billions of years hence, when the retardation has become apparent to the senses, and Dr. Maudsley is anticipating the time when degeneration shall have taken the place of evolution, and the whole human race shall at last be represented by just a few families of stunted, shivering men and women living in snow-huts in the neighbourhood of the Equator. Aud, in view of these puzzles, there are not a few gentle, anxious souls amongst us, even in the highest walks of culture, who find the burden of the nineteenth century too much for them, who sigh for the return of the Ages of Faith, and who even attempt to realize what they sigh for by retirement within the fold of the Ancient Infallible Church. Only thus can we explain the perversion of distinguished men, such as this generation has witnessed again and again—men of imperial reputation, like the Earl of Ripon and others—who, to the pain and regret of their countrymen, have sought repose by mental suicide. Sympathising with their spiritual conflict, we make excuses for them even whilst we blame them.

There is, however, another and much more popular method of keeping a quiet soul in one's bosom and doing all one's thinking by deputy than by joining the Church of Rome, and that is by page 28 accepting en bloc the opinions of some distinguished man, such as Canon Liddon, or Professor Drummond, or even Mr Gladstone. This saves time and trouble, and leaves all the energies of the mind free for the real business of life—for money-making and social pleasures. But, perhaps, a slight modification of this method is even still more popular—I mean the plan of arranging in your mind all the famous names known to be favorable to any given opinion, and, again, all those whose owners have expressed themselves as opposed to the view in question, and then taking your own decision from the majority. This is thought to be an infallible method of arriving at truth, and can be strongly recommended as particularly suitable to this nineteenth century—a century in which an infallible church is not considered quite fashionable.

Still it must be acknowledged there are one or two objections even to this method, Learned men are unfortunately very much like unlearned men, liable to be influenced by early training, by prejudice, by self-interest, and, above all, by the tone of public opinion in the church or association to which they belong; the consequence being that authorities are about equally balanced on most questions, or, at all events, that a large number of great names may be urged on either side of almost any question, so that it is difficult to determine to which view the majority inclines. And a still further objection to any truthseeker adopting this method for furnishing himself with a set of opinions ready-made is this, that truth has always shown a settled dislike for majorities, and is almost invariably found consorting at first with minorities, for instance with the twelve fishermen in the upper chamber at Jerusalem about 1800 years ago. Whilst a crowning objection to it in the eyes of all brave souls is its thoroughly un-Protestant character, undermining, as it does, the Protestant principle of the right of private judgment.

I have been led to make these remarks in justification of the somewhat argumentative, or rather pragmatical discourse I have to address to you this morning in continuing my remarks on the Pentateuch. A literary controversy is not a theme particularly well suited to a popular audience on Sunday morning, and seems almost to call for an apology under the circumstances. But, unfortunately, the authorship of the Pentateuch is a question which, by the irony of events, has come to lie at the foundation of the prevalent religious beliefs of the present day. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that we should know the truth about it, and, as I have just shown, there is nothing for it but for each man to weigh the arguments for himself. The divine gift of reason which we enjoy lays this obligation upon us. But now to our subject.

We showed, you will remember, last Sunday morning that the Pentateuch is not only of post-Mosaic date, but is before all page 29 things a composite work, consisting of several distinct narratives incorporated together; the oldest of these, the Jehovistic document, we affirmed had been traced to its origin in the last years of the existence of the Northern Kingdom of the Ten Tribes; a second factor, the Elohistic document, we have yet to provide with a parentage; but before doing so it is necessary to consider a third section of the work, a section the individuality of which has always stood out in bold relief from the rest of the Pentateuch, as if itself challenging the traditional view of its authorship; I mean the Book of Deuteronomy. Even the most superficial student notices the Book of Deuteronomy is complete in itself, and seems to be independent of the rest of the Pentateuch. Who then was the Deuteronomist, and when did he live? These are some of the most interesting questions connected with the discussion of our subject. It must be remarked, too, that Rationalistic critics have long been agreed on the answers to be given to them; so that, startling as these answers are, they are not, properly speaking, any part of the new discovery made in Pentateuch criticism. A discussion of them, however, is quite indispensable to our purpose at the point at which we have now arrived.

You are, doubtless, aware that ancient historians frequently introduce into histories the public orations made by famous men of antiquity at critical periods of their lives or of the national history. These speeches are often very long, and profess to give the identical words used by the orator. Now, when you come to reflect upon it, this is a very wonderful circumstance. For, in those days, there were no shorthand reporters to take down the speeches, many of which are represented as given under circumstances, such as immediately before an impending battle, when the speaker would be thinking of anything rather than making memoranda of what he had said, or even of making a fine speech at all. And, more wonderful still, there is a remarkable similarity of style in all the speeches that occur in the works of the same historian, and that always happens to be the style of the historian himself. In other words these long speeches were elaborated, not by the speaker, but by the historian, who put into them what he thought the orator ought to have said on the occasion in question; and his countrymen, when they read his bonk, knew perfectly well that the speeches were fictitious, as far as historical reality went. In this way the historian, Thucydides, puts a grand speech into the mouth of the great statesman, Pericles; and the Latin author, Livy, makes the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, utter some fine Roman sentiments to his soldiers in the Second Punic War, which occurred at least two centuries before Livy wrote. This was thought the correct thing for a historian to do in ancient times.

If now you turn to the Book of Deuteronomy you will find page 30 it consists for the most part of three long addresses which Moses makes to the children of Israel gathered in the plains of Moab, east of the Jordan, just before his death. If we are to suppose that the statements of the Pentateuch are actual history Moses must have had a rather large audience on this occasion, and a remarkably strong voice. The audience must have consisted of something like 600,000 men, and, if the women and children were allowed to be present at the meeting, the number of those who listened to the speeches could not have been less than two or three millions. In order that you may see that I am not misrepresenting the document I will quote the first verse of the first chapter:—"These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel beyond Jordan in the wilderness." And, again, the first verse of the fifth chapter says, "And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, hear, O Israel, the statutes and the judgments which I speak in your ears this day." Well, then, I suppose it is pretty plain that the occasion of the speeches was a mythical one, as mythical, indeed, as the long speeches themselves must be, and the writer of them must have lived sufficiently long after the time of Moses to be able to speak of him and his doings in this mythical way without seeming to say anything extraordinary, just as Lord Tennyson can now make King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table do and say without impropriety some very wonderful things. Moreover you will notice that the preceding Book of Numbers in its last verse seems to conclude the story of Moses and his connection with the children of Israel. "These are the commandments and the judgments which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan, at Jericho." That appears to end the story, but instead of that the Book of Deuteronomy immediately follows on in a fresh style, thus—"These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel beyond Jordan in the wilderness." And the book then proceeds in this series of long speeches to give again a history of the wanderings of the Israelites in the Wilderness, and also a second edition of the Ten Commandments, the Covenants, and the Ordinances, similar to those already given in the preceding books. Now anybody who will shake off the prepossessions he has received from childhood will see at once that it is unreasonable to suppose that the same man will give us two accounts of the same series of events, and evidently we have here a separate document, by a different hand, of an unhistorical character and very late date. Well, then, who was this Deuteronomist who had so much to say to his countrymen, and thought it well to make Moses say it all, and, having made him say it, gives an account of his death?

Of all the significant passages in the Bible, perhaps the most significant to the intelligent and impartial critic is the 22nd chapter of the Second Book of Kings. A young man was on the page 31 throne of Judah, Josiah by name, of amiable and religious disposition, but credulous and superstitious, as we shall see presently. One day in the 18th year of his reign all Jerusalem was thrown into a state of great excitement by the news that Hilkiah, the High Priest, had found a book in the Temple, that the book had been brought to the King and read to him, and that the King had become greatly agitated on hearing its contents. The book appeared to be some sacred record containing Divine injunctions to the nation, with terrible threats of calamity and ruin to the Kingdom if the injunctions were disregarded. Moreover, the book, although called the Book of the Law, was new to the King and everybody else, no one apparently had ever seen or heard of it before, and the young King's fears were greatly excited lest the nation had already unwittingly incurred the penalties threatened. I said just now he was of a superstitious turn of mind, and you will see now that I did not wrong him by saying so, for, in his fright and terror, he sends and consults Huldah, the wise woman, who, of course, is quite equal to the occasion, and has a message from God ready for him. As usual, with people of her stamp, it is a message of wrath, confirming the King's worst fears that "Jerusalem and its inhabitants should become a desolation and a curse" (v. 19). Thereupon the young King determines to work a complete Reformation in the land, and to destroy the idolatry that had hitherto existed in it, viz., the worship of the Phoenician gods, Baal and Ashtoreth, that had actually been going on in the very Temple at Jerusalem, the worship of the fierce Syrian deity Molech, and that of Chemosh, the national deity of the Moabites. In addition, he takes this very significant action, he breaks down and pollutes all the high places and altars throughout the country where worship had hitherto been celebrated, so that only one shrine was left at which men could offer sacrifice, viz., the Temple at Jerusalem. Now, all this was done to comply with the book of the law, which Hilkiah, the High Priest, said he had discovered in the Temple. It was evidently a law directed especially against idolatry, and a law of the most stringent character; a law also that plainly required everyone to render religious worship in one place only.

What, then, was this Book of the Law which now saw the light for the first time? Plainly it must either have been the Pentateuch or a part of the Pentateuch. But, before we attempt to identify it exactly, let me call your attention to this astounding fact, that whether it was the complete Pentateuch as we have it now, or only a portion of that voluminous work, this 22nd chapter of the Second Book of Kings shows to demonstration that, so far from Moses having written it, the book, in whole or in part, had never been so much as heard of in Jerusalem up to the date of King Josiah's reign, i.e., up till a century after the Northern Kingdom of Israel had ceased to exist. What do you think of page 32 that? We need not be more royalist than the King, we need not be more orthodox than the Bible, and the Bible says that neither the whole Pentateuch nor any part of it had ever been heard of in Jerusalem till you come to the generation that was actually carried away captive to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzer.

But now what, after all, was this book of the law which Hilkiah, the high priest, said he had just lighted upon in the Temple?

Of course it is quite conceivable that it might have been the Jehovistic document, which we know had been in existence now in the northern kingdom for a century or more, but we will at once show from its contents that it could not have been that. The Jehovistic document knows nothing of the necessity of worshipping at one shrine only. Thus in Exodus, xx., 24, a passage from the Jehovist, we read: "In all places," observe, not in one place, but in all places, "where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." In fact, as long as the Hebrews inhabited the whole of Canaan they could not possibly all worship at one shrine only; and we know they did not. For instance, when Joshua had completed the conquest of Canaan (Joshua, xxiv) he gathered all the tribes of Israel, not to Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was, but to Shechem, "and they presented themselves before God" (1st verse). "And Joshua took a great stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord" (26th verse). You see there is evidently a sanctuary of the Lord at Shechem as well as at Shiloh, where the tabernacle was; and plainly the Jews in these earlier times were not restricted to one place of worship. Hence the newly-discovered book of the law could not be the Jehovistic document. But there is a portion of the Pentateuch that imposes the obligation of worshipping in one spot only; a portion, therefore, that must have been of late date—after the Northern Kingdom of the Ten Tribes had ceased to exist, and the territory of the one small tribe of Judah was all that was left of the Hebrew nation. Compare now the Jehovist and the Deuteronomist. In Exodus, xxiii., 17, of course a Jehovistic passage, we have the command: "Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord God." That is all: you must go to church, but it does not say you must go to the metropolitan cathedral. But in Deuteronomy, xvi., 16, this reads: "Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose"; there is only one place now. Or, if you are still doubtful, here is a passage still more explicit, taken from the twelfth chapter and thirteenth verse of the same book of Deuteronomy: "Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest, but in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt-offerings." page 33 And as this apparently trivial point is really a very important one in the argument, I may mention that this injunction to worship at one place only is repeated no less than seventeen times by the Deuteronomic writer—no less than seventeen times does he iterate the phrase "in the place"—the one place—"which the Lord shall choose to put his name there."

But again. At the first institution of the Feast of the Passover, as given by the Jehovist in Exodus, xii., that feast is evidently meant to be a private domestic festival; every family is to eat it at home, each in his own house separately. "And none of you," says the Jehovist, "shall go out of the door of his house until the morning" (verse twenty-two). But the Deuteronomist alters the character of the festival entirely, and requires that it shall be celebrated by the whole nation collectively in one place. "And thou shalt sacrifice the Passover in the place which the Lord shall choose to cause his name to dwell there" (Deuteronomy, xvi., 2). . . . "Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth; thee, but at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to cause his name to dwell in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover" verses 5 and 6). So that you see under this Deuteronomic law the private family feast had become a great national festival at Jerusalem, to be conducted on a stupendous scale, and likely to make a great impression on the minds of men. Well, now compare with that the account we have in the twenty-third chapter of the second book of Kings, of the way in which King Josiah caused the nation to celebrate the Passover, after the newly-discovered book of the law had been read to him. "Surely there was not kept such a Passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah, but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah was this Passover kept to the Lord in Jerusalem" (xxiii., 22, 23). And now we begin to see what was the book of the law which Hilkiah, the high priest, told Shaphan, the scribe, he had just found in the Temple. It was a book that taught men to worship God in one place only, and to keep the Passover in an entirely different way from what they had ever done before. Well, then, it must have been the Book of Deuteronomy; that is getting pretty clear.

But I think we can make this conclusion still more certain. The expressions used by the King do not throw much light on the contents of the book, save that terrible curses were denounced in it on the nation if it should fail in obedience to the injunctions of the book, whatever they were. Judging, however, by the action which the King immediately took we should infer that the tenor of the book was a denunciation of idolatry, that it consisted of repeated and strict injunctions to the Hebrews to worship Jehovah alone, and to abstain at the peril of their national page 34 existence from every form of idolatry. And that this was really the character of the contents appears very plainly from the echoes of them put into the mouth of Huldah, the wise woman. National punishment was to be inflicted, she said, because "they have forsaken me, i.e., Jehovah, and have burnt incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and it shall not be quenched." (Verse 17.) Hence we see that the crime denounced in the book was idolatry, and the punishment threatened was national destruction. Now, does that correspond with the general character of the Book of Deuteronomy? It marks out the book with absolute precision, Those three long speeches put into the mouth of Moses are full of magnificent exhortations to the children of Israel to serve the unseen Jehovah, and to abstain from the degradations and immoralities of heathenism; and the exhortations and injunctions are driven home by promises and threatenings vital to the nation, The constant refrain of the orator may be summed up in the words of the eloquent Greek of far later date, "Disobey at your peril as a nation for Philip is at the gates." "Obey," says the Deuteronomist, "and live; disobey, and into captivity you go." And we do not wonder that the writer spoke so plainly of captivity, especially if he was the man we suspect he was, for his quick ear had caught the thud of the Chaldean horseman in the desert. A vision of Nebuchadnezzar's advance had passed before the mind of the prophet Jeremiah; Jeremiah was the Deuteronomist.

But we are anticipating. Where are those curses that made the young Josiah tremble? Well they may be found in more than one place in the Book of Deuteronomy, but after you have read the last fifty verses of the 28th chapter I think you will feel pretty certain you have got hold of the passage that harrowed up the feelings of the King. I don't propose, you may be sure, to inflict the whole fifty upon you; we will only take a specimen here and there. But it shalt come to pass if thou wilt not hearken unto the Lord, thy God, to observe, to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee and shall overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, the increase of thy kine and the young of thy flock. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out," and so on. Here, too, the ominous word "captivity" comes in:—"The Lord shall bring thee and thy king whom thou shalt set over thee unto a nation which thou hast not (known, thou nor thy fathers; and thou shalt there serve other gods, wood and stone. . . Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but they page 35 shall not be thine, for they shall go into captivity." And a little further on the cruel Assyrian is described almost to the life:—"The Lord shall bring a nation from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand (and they would say so when they saw the cuneiform inscriptions); a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young." And then come the horrors of the siege:—"And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters which the Lord, thy God, hath given thee; in the siege and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall straiten thee. The man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children whom he hath remaining; so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left. The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter . . . and toward her children which she shall bear, for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly; in the siege and in the straitness wherewith thine enemy shall straiten thee in thy gates." No wonder the young Josiah was driven nearly frantic with fear, for I suppose there is not one of my audience now that does not feel sure that we have got hold of the very passage which Shaphan, the scribe, read to the king that day, in the eighteenth year of his reign, in the palace at Jerusalem. We can see it all as plainly now as if we had been present at the reading.

These, then, were the circumstances under which the work of the Deuteronomist first saw the light; but many scholars think that they know, not simply the date of publication, but the very author of the book; they hold that the Deuteronomist was, as I said just now, the prophet Jeremiah. And there is much to be said in favour of this hypothesis. We know that Jeremiah was living at the time, and had been prophesying in Jerusalem, or its neighbourhood, for the last five years. We know, too, that his father's name was Hilkiah, a priest, and that this new book was found somewhere in the Temple at Jerusalem by Hilkiah, the High Priest; so that, unless there were two priests living at this time of the same name, this Hilkiah, the High Priest, who found the book, was Jeremiah's father. These particulars you may glean by comparing the chapter in the Second Book of Kings with the first verses of the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. "The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, King page 36 of Judah, in the 18th year of his reign." And that is not all. You will remember that King Josiah, frightened at the threatenings contained in the book, sent his officers to consult the wise woman of the town, Huldah, called the prophetess. Now, who was this Huldah, who so promptly confirmed the words of the book and the King's worst fears? Let us see. The Book of Kings says she was the wife of Shallum, and by turning to the seventh verse of the 32nd chapter of the Prophecies of Jeremiah you will find this strange coincidence, that Jeremiah had an uncle whose name was Shallum, if you please, so that it is not at all unlikely that the wise woman was Jeremiah's aunt. You see it's all in the family. But that is not all. For there is no getting over this fact that the Book of Deuteronomy is not only written in the same spirit as Jeremiah's prophecies, but contains their characteristic words and phrases—that is acknowledged by all critics, orthodox and otherwise—and that brings the authorship very close home to Jeremiah, because the Deuteronomist could not have copied from the prophecies, seeing that most of them were not uttered till some time after the discovery of the book in the Temple, so that either Jeremiah in his prophecies copied from the Book of Deuteronomy or he wrote both books. And once again. Many critics, both orthodox and heterodox, are strongly of opinion, that independently of Deuteronomy, Jeremiah wrote more than the prophecies that go by his name. You know that most of the historical books of the Old Testament are avowedly anonymous, we can only guess at their authorship, a fact, one would think, that would make the inspiration of those books rather difficult to prove, were it not that nothing is impossible to faith. There is very little doubt, however, from the tone of the two books of Kings that they were written by a priest; they were certainly written after the fall of Jerusalem, and they trace all the evils that befel the nation to its disregard of the law of Jehovah. These and many other circumstances have led scholars to think that they can trace the spirit and handwriting of Jeremiah in the Books of Kings, that he in fact is the author of those two books as well; so that this very pretty story of the discovery of the Book of the Law in the Temple is itself also the handiwork of Master Jeremiah. Take such a phrase as this for example: "I brought thee forth out of Egypt, out of Eqypt that furnace of iron." Well, this remarkable phrase is found in Jeremiah xi., 4, in Deuteronomy iv., 20, and in 1. Kings viii., 51. Is it so very difficult to believe after that that, as Jeremiah certainly wrote one of those books, he wrote the other two also? And this conclusion that Jeremiah wrote the Books of Kings will be less startling to those who remember that the century of the Captivity was certainly the most productive age, the Golden Age, of Hebrew literature. And this thought again affords an additional proof of the late authorship of the Book of page 37 Deuteronomy; for that book, whoever wrote it, is a noble work, and breathes noble sentiments; it is a book full of genius, eloquence, and passionate patriotism, that could only have been produced or appreciated in an age of some literary culture, in an age of sufficient knowledge and mental development to enable men to rise up to the grand ideas of Monotheism, ideas which, as we have already said, the orthodox churches of to-day have not risen up to yet. But in the years of the Captivity the Jewish nation got beyond this Christian stage, their contact with other nations seems to have quickened them mentally and morally, to have taught them that God must be infinitely higher and grander than they had hitherto conceived him; in contact with their conquerors they learnt spiritual ideas, and such of them as returned to the land of their fathers returned wiser and better men.

Now, I think it is not to be doubted that some few nobler spirits of the nation had reached this elevation of thought and feeling even before the Captivity, and strove hard to educate their countrymen up to their own level. That amongst these, and probably the foremost of these—perhaps, indeed, the only one of these—was the Prophet Jeremiah, and that his prophetic soul mourned over the moral degradation of his idolatrous countrymen, whose consciences he sought to quicken, if so be he might yet rouse them by his exhortations and warnings to discipline themselves for the great struggle with the Chaldeans and Assyrians, which he saw was impending. Under the impulse of these feelings, it may be, he determined to write the life and work of their first great national deliverer, Moses; to give them his idea, by means of the speeches he would put into the mouth of his hero—his idea of their first great prophet, and of the charge, which, as he believed, Moses had laid upon the nation. It was a kind of work which the times demanded—the trumpet-call of a pious patriot to a corrupt generation—a call that failed of its effect, but remains to this day one of the choicest contributions which a most gifted race has made to the sacred literature of the world.

The Book of Deuteronomy then was found where, of course, it had been "planted," the finder being in all probability the father of the man who wrote it, his aunt also being privy to the little ruse. So it would seem; but whether Jeremiah wrote the book or not, there is no gainsaying the assertion that if he was not himself the author, it was a contemporary of his who wrote it, and that this Book of Deuteronomy was undoubtedly the book that frightened King Josiah and all his court. In view of these facts one loses all patience with the obtuseness of orthodox people who point to the prophecies of the Babylonish Captivity contained in this book, and then, assuming the Mosaic authorship of it, argue from this to the miraculous inspiration of the page 38 Deuteronomist. The explanation of this reference to the Captivity is simple enough, now that our eyes have been opened by criticism. In the time of Jeremiah and King Josiah there needed no ghost to tell the Jews that the fate which had already overtaken their brethren of the Ten Tribes threatened them also—as I said before Philip was already thundering at their gates. The late origin of the book is evidently implied in all the the phenomena it presents, and hence only an illogical and un-philosophical mind will venture to reject that theory.

decorative feature