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ence. It also appeared in the method he took to deceive Eve; which discovered peculiar penetration, foresight and sagacity; for nothing could be more fitly calculated to attain his diabolical end. It also appeared, in bis daring attempt on the Lord of life and glory: by which, he thought at one stroke to conquer heaven and earth; and destroy both. It appears farther manifest, in the variety of his temptations, by which he lieth in wait to deceive, not only sinners, but saints: none of whom are wholly free from his fiery darts, and cunning devices; and over whom he would gain his infernal aims, did not God in infinite wisdom, love and grace, circunvent his malicious designs. All which, demonstrate his intellectual powers, (though now debased to diabolical purposes,) to be of the superior degree. Consequently,
3. He was honored as such by those around him. This it seems natural to suppose; and there is no doubt, but he was esteemed and exalted by them in proportion to his high state, and intellectual accomplishments, and which gradually arose to a kind of a devotion and to a degree of honor and worship, incompatable with his state as a creature. Thus, perhaps, they became tempters to each other.
4. Ile could not be insensible of his exalted and superior abilities. The higher his dignity, and the more capacious his powers, the more clearly he could discern the difference between himself and those beneath. This consciousness of superiority, and the respect paid him, by the surrounding intelligences, generating high thoughts of his own worth, self-love, and selfcomplacency, and, in the end, self-admiration took place; all which engendered pride: pride darkened his mind, both to the past and the future; he forgot the rock that begat him, and that now upheld himn and all his power became absorbed in self. Pride thus generated, became exceedingly prolific, and the now fallen spirit, conveyed the dreadful bane through ten thousand minds.
This is as probable an account of the introduction of sin, as perhaps can be supposed. In which it appears that the immediate cause, or occasion of sin, was Satan's exaltation, superior intellectual powers, and the consequent esteem and honor paid by those around him. In all whicli
, where can the fault or blame be fixed, but on the guilty subject? This cause, instead of extenuating his guilt, aggravates it to the highest degree: for the more elevated his station, the greater his obligation to his sovreign; the more capacious his powers, the more able was he to glorify his Creator; and the more exalted his obedience and worship ought to have been; therefore his rebellion sunk him into proportionable guilt, and rendered his base revolt absolutely inexcusable.
Errata. On page 248 (May No.) read 3996 for 4000 ; 4000 for 4004; 4029 for 4036 ; and 1829 for 1837: also 33 in the 5th line from the top, and 29 in the 9th line, for 37.
That period in the history of the Jewish nation which passed under the Judges is replete with interest and instruction. In many respects it is obscure, and requires more than ordinary attention to understand it. For this, two special reasons may be assigned. First, it is difficult for us, at this distance of time and in widely different circumstances to enter into the peculiar situation of that people during the period to which this book relates. And secondly, the account is exceedingly com. pressed. The Book itself is but a few fragments, the whole of which is shorter than a single message of the President of the United States usually is. Suppose our Republic should continue 300 years from the declaration of Independence, and then that its whole bistory should be comprised in twenty or twenty-one short chapters; then suppose that 3000 or 4000 years hence, a people on another continent, speaking a language bearing no resemblance to ours, with manners, customs and habits as different from ours, as the manhood of the world is different from its infancy, and it is easy to see that they could not understand such a brief history of our nation, civil and religious, without care and study. Let any one sit down, and as he reads over the book of Judges, carefully note only such parts as are obscure, and he will at once feel that if he can answer many questions which arise, there are more which he cannot answer.
The period embraced in the book of Judges, dating from the settlement of Canaan at the death of Joshua is 300 years. The whole period during which the nation was under this form of VOL. VI-NO. XI.
government, from Joshua to Saul wis 450 years. As this is the history of men in entirely new circumstances, it probably throws stronger light upon the human character, than the same number of pages either in sacred or profane history.
1. The first question naturally arising is, who wrote the Book of Judges?
A few words of explanation seem necessary before coming to the answer.
There seems ever to have been in the Jewish nation, an officer of a peculiar character. We have no word which exactly expresses the nature of the office. Perhaps Genealogist will come the nearest to it of any single word. In our translation of the Bible it is usually if not always translated by the general term officer. While the Hebrews were in bondage in Egypt, these genealogists, or as the original word is. Shoterim, kept an account of the families; and under the taskmasters, saw that the proper quantity of brick was made and delivered. The Septuagint calls thein scribes, ypauuatevs. Vide Gen. 5; 14, 15. Under Joshua these Shoterim or registers delivered the orders of the General to the army, and kept an accurate account of all the families, and of their ability to furnish soldiers. Vide Josh. 1: 10, 11. After the settlement of the land these. Shoterim were placed in all the principal cities. la keeping these rolls of families, they sometimes inserted short and curious memoranda, and notices of remarkable incidents. See a remarkable example of this in 1 Chron. 4: 10, 21, 22, 23. Similar memoranda occur as they give the list of families who were reared in Egypt. They were undoubtedly inserted by these Shoterim.
These Shoterim seem always to have been peculiarly active whenever an enrolment for war took place. They were elected from the first citizens, and were men of sound integrity. Now it is highly probable that the Shoterim wrote the history, each of his own times, or of the particular war in which he was engaged. Thus the Book of Judges, which was most evidently composed by more than one pen, was probably the composition of several of these Shoterim, each writing the history of his own times during the 300 years.
But the book seems not to have been collected, or put together as a whole, till the days of Saul, the first king. In several places the compiler throws in the remark, “in those days there was no king in Israel," plainly implying that there was a king then ; i. e. after the crowning of Saul. The compiler also says that the Jebusites held Jerusalem at that time, (ch 1:21) but we know that David expelled the Jebusites, and ever after held the city : consequently the book must have been w.itten
or compiled somewhere between the crowning of Saul and the reign of David. And we next infer that as Samuel lived just at that time and held the pen of a ready writer and was clothed with the spirit of prophecy, he was the compiler of the book. What greatly strengthens this supposition is, that several parts of the book were composed long before Saul. We know that the
song of Deborah was, as it was committed to memory by the army of Barak; so undoubtedly were other parts, especially the dialogues which are minutely related, and which must have been spoken at least 250 years before Samuel. This supposition does not in the least affect the proof of the inspiration of the book. It may be just as really and as fully inspired as if every word had been suggested to the compiler at the time of writing it. The several little histories were probably before him, and the Holy Spirit directed him to write such a book, what things to insert and what to leave out.
2. What was the real situation of the Israelites during the reign of the Judges.
A question much easier to ask than to answer. I must be allowed here just to glance back and look at the causes which would naturally tend to form their national character. The generation who, led by the angel of the covenant, came out of Egypt, were, as a whole, exceedingly unpromising. They had been bound and broken in slavery ;--so completely, that more than once they would have exchanged all their prospects of freedom, for the bondage of Egypt, if they might again have their leeks and onions. Add to this, ihey were educated in Egypt, the very hot-bed of idolatry, from which, seed spread over almost the whole of the world. As to soldiership, they were about as unpromising as the slaves of the West Indies would now be, and not much better prepared for the pure worship of God than the most degraded idolaters would be. Thus when led through the Red Sea, and on the borders of the promised land, they were commanded to go up and conquer and possess it. Their army at that time was at least 600.000 fighting men, and their whole population nearly 3,000,000. They sent twelve of their most respectable and courageous men to spy out the land ; but these, partaking of the spirit of their generation, spread dismay through the whole camp; and although God was visibly with them, and although they had a number and a strength nearly or quite as great as that of this country when we threw off the yoke of Great Britian, yet their heart sunk at the very idea of fighting. Such was their cowardice that they not only openly talked of rebelling, but of stoning their leaders, till God interfered and punished them
That generation was then sentenced to die in the wilderness, and the land to remain unconquered and unpossessed, till a more warlike generation could be raised up. This sentence equally dissatisfied them, and they then felt eager to fight, and actually made the attempt to go out and conquer. It was the fainthearted attack of cowardice. They were smitten and obliged to return, and gladly acquiesced in the sentence. This repulse seemed to convince them, that whatever else they might have, they had but very few of the fighting qualities. They had rather wander and die in the wilderness than to fight.
But God had another object in thus leading them so long a journey over the deserts of Arabia. He designed to organize a church, and to have one spot on earth not polluted by idolatry. No nation then existed not sunk in the most debasing idolatry.
And here is the place to remark that idolatry is the prevailing desire of man.
It matters not how enlightened and refined a people may be,-how much learning and skill they may have, if the direct revelation of heaven and the ordinances of God are wanting, they rush into all the abominations of idolatry. And why ? Surely there must be some resistless cause for such a propensity. And a little reflection will show us there is such a cause--a cause as universal as the depraved desires of man. No system of idolatry could be maintained, if it consisted in nothing more than merely paying homage to a block, a stone, or an image of silver or gold. Idolatry meets the unholy desires of man in a different way. It is always attended by impure rights, by lascivious songs, and by practices still more impure and abominable. The very vices of man, which need all the laws of God and of man to restrain them, are thus consecrated by the worship of idols. They are made a part of worship. The fact that at Corinth, just at the time when the Gospel was introduced into that city, there were one thousand abandoned females consecrated to one temple, and the fact, that in the days of the Judges, the whole tribe of Benjamin were so madly bent on protecting the city of Gibeah in their awful treatment of the wife of the travelling Levite—so madly indeed that they would fight the other eleven tribes, and nearly lose their own existence, shows how and why idolatry makes and retains its votaries. Even while Sinai was shaking at the presence of God, the people had their calf of gold; and what is still more astonishing, during all that long march in the wilderness, with the cloud and the pillar of fire and the miracles before them, they were not cured. Idolatry broke out once in a manner so dreadful, that it cost the lives of 24,000 to check it; and never did