Abbildungen der Seite

before it, that Tirhaka is advancing through Egypt, of course with a vast army, as it appears to be his intention to join battle with the Assyrian conqueror. We cannot easily suppose that Tirhaka would be able to assemble a vast Ethiopian army and be on his way to meet Sennacherib from the remote Meroe earlier than the following year, the fourth of Sennacherib.

10. With regard, then, to the miraculous discomfiture of the Assyrians, we appear to have three testimonies more or less direct to its reality.

a. The Chaldean historian Berosus, as quoted by Josephus, positively asserts that 185,000 Assyrians perished in one night in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

b. The Egyptian legend of Sennacherib's miraculous discomfiture near Pelusium seems to be nothing else than a deliberate forgery on the part of the Egyptian priests to secure the glory of the miracle to their own idol.

c. The fact that the transactions of Sennacherib's fourth year, as recorded by himself or his courtiers, “are confined to a few meagre lines,' would seem, under all the circumstances of the case, to amount to a tacit confession of a humiliating discomfiture in Palestine during that year. 5th September.



Sir,—In the 7th Number of the Journal of Sacred Literature,' new Series, there is a very interesting article on “Slavery and the Old Testament,' in which the writer expresses his intention of considering in another number, Slavery as connected with the New Testament. We trust, however, that the following brief remarks on the Epistle to Philemon, will not hinder but assist this learned and accomplished contributor, in his investigations and researches on a '

most suggestive, but neglected subject.

In Aunt Phillis' Cabin,' by Mrs. M. H. Eastman, we find it maintained that slavery is -- Authorised by God, permitted by Jesus Christ, sanctioned by the Apostles, maintained by good men of all ages.' The same views are held by a writer in the Westminster Review' (No. V. Jan. 1853), who says, “Clearly Paul would have voted for the Fugitive Slave Bill' (p. 299). Now, such erroneous statements as these are evidently maintained because the assertors were unable otherwise to solve the following problem, which occurs in the life of St. Paul; and believing that it has generally been passed over by the majority (if not all) of the writers on this subject, as unworthy of notice, we think it but right that a solution should be given, and it is our opinion that we have succeeded in doing so. The problem then is :-If slavery is contrary to Christianity; if Christianity condemns it; why did not Paul take advantage of the fine opportunity he had of declaring that such was the case in his celebrated Epistle to Philemon ?

The question is fairly enunciated, and we think ought to be asked by every inquirer on the subject who is determined to think for himself. A satisfactory answer can, we think, be obtained, if we consider the two following facts :-1. The Epistle to Philemon was not a public letter to a body of Christians, but a private epistle never intended for public perusal, and consequently, there was no necessity to show the antiChristian spirit of slavery. 2. We have a similar case mentioned in Matt. xviii. 25. The reader here can also ask; Why did not Christ take advantage of the fine opportunity he had of declaring the horrible practice of selling debtors, to be a practice contrary to Christianity? Just because it was a civil and not a moral evil. In all human societies evil must exist, in some countries it is of a mild nature, and in others it is of a most heinous kind, e.g. the Slave Trade in America ; and the only way we can escape the contamination, to refrain as much as possible from being guilty of this civil evil, which is inseparable from a community of fallible creatures (e.g. the States in America where slavery is unlawful). It was Christianity that stopped the selling of debtors; and so, in God's own time, we have reason to believe it will also put an end for ever to the slave trade. But it is against the present constitution of things to expect that there ever will exist a community free froin civil evil, and, therefore, it is wrong for us to find fault with Paul (or to imagine that he favours slavery) for not giving his testimony against slavery ; for if he had done so in the case of one civil evil, he must have done so in a thousand, and thus we would have nothing but a list of ancient civil evils forbidden by the Apostle, now long since eradicated by the progress of Christianity. Jesus Christ and the Apostles evidently knew that this would in time be the case, therefore, they took no notice of the civil evils existing during their sojourn here; but the sinful and immoral practices arising out of these civil evils were noticed and animadverted upon by them. Dr. Hinds, the present Bishop of Norwich, in his remarks on slavery (* History of the Christian Church,' p. 155), has expressed himself strongly in favour of this view of the subject, and as his reasoning is clear and convincing, we cannot refrain from quoting a small portion : ‘But surely, whatever be the magnitude of the evil, and great it doubtless is, it is a political, not a moral evil; and as such, we may as well expect to find arguments in the New Testament for or against the Christian character of absolute monarchy or republicanism, as against slavery. Immoral and unchristian practices there are, doubtless, which arise out of this political or social evil as well as out of tyranny; and these are consistently stigmatised in the New Testament. The à vopamodiorai, the menstealers, are enumerated by St. Paul himself in a catalogue which embraces the vilest of mankind (1 Tim. i. 10); but with the question of slavery the Apostle had no more concern officially, than with the universal usurpation of Rome. As in the case of all other institutions, customs, and forms of society not religious, Christianity took no cognizance of this ; Christ's was not a kingdom of this world, and interfered with nothing in the forms of any society. The whole paragraph headed · St. Paul and Onesimus, from which this quotation is taken,

VOL. V.-NO. X.

2 L

ought to receive due consideration from all those who take an interest in the subject, as they certainly are the most original that have yet appeared on a well nigh exhausted topic.

P. S. Partick, near Glasgow, N.B., Nov. 3, 1853.

INSPIRED CHARACTER OF THE FOUR GOSPELS. SIR-I beg leave, as the writer of the article in your last number on the Inspired Character of the four Gospels,' to point out the bearing on my argument of a phrase which has led a reviewer of the Journal in the Church of England Magazine' for November, to accompany a very favourable notice of the paper itself, with an assertion that the writer ‘ sometimes' does not understand' the meaning of words. The reviewer wonders that a Cambridge man should have called seven' a multiple. As far as I can see it is consistent with strict mathematical accuracy as well as with etymology, to apply that term to the sevenfold unit. I spoke of the mystical import of that sacred multiple, considered as a multiple, or in the sense of sevenfold; and I connected with the term a note (a p. 67), in which the sacred multiple as such, was shown from Scripture to denote plenitude.

The bearing of the term on the argument is therefore obvious. I had pointed out the typical relation of the seventh day of creation, to the rest in Canaan after the bondage of Egypt, and to that eternal rest, from the bondage of sin, which follows the deliverance completed by Christ's resurrection. I had argued from analogy the relation of the six weeks of generations from Abraham to Christ to the first six days of creation ; Christ being the Father of the age' or generation to which the seventh day of creation had an undoubted relation. It seems, therefore, to be "agreeably to the mystical import of that sacred multiple,' the sevenfold unit, tható seven-times-six generations would appear to have been analogously chosen to measure the “ FULNESS of time” during which the divine purposes in respect to the new creation of humanity in Christ were gradually developed by means of the divine economy,' &c. (p. 68.)

C. G. Magdalene College, Cambridge.





DEAR Sır,--Having lately read M. de Saulcy's Journey round the Dead Sea,' in which I was somewhat surprised to find the views he has brought forward respecting the destruction of the cities of the plain, the elevation of the Dead Sea, and the non-submersion of those cities by the waters of that sea ; having also perused J. W. C.'s review of that book in the September number of the · Dublin University Magazine,'

and having likewise read the Rev. G. S. Faber's very interesting communication On the Site of the Destroyed Cities of the Plain; published in the October number of the same periodical, I take the liberty of sending to you-as the subjects are highly important—extracts from a short work of mine, in which I have made some remarks on the volcanic phenomena visible about the Dead Sea, or Sea of the Plain, and on the supposed former course of the river Jordan into the eastern branch of the Red Sea, formerly known as the Ælanitic Gulf, and now the gulf . of Akaba.

You will perceive that they have previously taken partly the same view as that which the venerable and learned Mr. Faber has more ably advocated; but that they also further mention a second cause at this day existing, which likewise prevents the waters of the Jordan from now flowing into the gulf of Akaba, and which, as it has not been alluded to either by M. de Saulcy, or by the reviewer J. W. C., or by Mr. Faber, I conclude has entirely escaped their memories.

In the first place, I must be allowed to observe that I differ from the opinion which J. W. C. seems to maintain in following that of M. de Saulcy, of the position of the four destroyed Biblical cities-the fifth, or Zoar, was not destroyed — having actually been on the sides or margins of the former beautifully fertile plain of the Jordan; but that I concur with Mr. Faber in regarding the plain itself, or the greatest portion of it, upon which they originally stood, as being now covered by the waters of the Dead or Salt Sea.

On reading the French savant's work, it is plain that his supposition of the non-submersion of the destroyed cities is chiefly derived from Josephus, or rather that it is much the same as the following, which I here give from p. 365 of the Physical Geography of the Holy Land,' by Dr. John Kitto, published in 1848 :- It is clear that the Jewish historian did not consider that the cities were submerged in the Asphaltic lake, but lay upon its borders. There is nothing in his more formal account of the lake, or in his historical notice of the destruction of Sodom, to suggest that he supposed the lake was at that time first formed. He rather states that it previously existed, but that its nature and that of its shores was so changed, as to be no longer beautiful and rich as of old. In short, he manifestly conceives that Sodom and the other cities stood upon the borders of the lake in like manner as Tiberias, Capernaum, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and other towns stood upon the lake of Gennesareth.'

I must confess to me it appears that the expression in Gen. xiii. 12, and Gen. xix. 29, of the cities of the plain,' i.e. of the plain of Jordan,' Gen. xiii. 11, must in common language, and in ordinary acceptation, be the cities in the plain, and not the cities on the sides, borders, or margins of the plain, as Josephus and others have supposed. And such also seems to be the proper meaning of the previous verse, 25, in Genesis, chapter xix.

Holy Scripture, however, seems to me expressly to record that the plain upon which the cities originally were built was submerged, or covered by the subsequent waters of the Dead or Asphaltic Sea, for I


conclude that 'the vale of Siddim' was identical with the plain of Jordan,' or at all events with a portion of it; and we learn from verse 3, chap. xiv. of Genesis, tható the vale of Siddim' was afterwards the Salt Sea ;' and again, from verse 16, chap. iii. of Joshua, that 'the Salt Sea’ was also called the Sea of the Plain,' that is to say, of the plain of Siddim, or Jordan. Indeed I find that the Vatican and Alexandrine versions of the Septuagint both translate the vale of Siddim' (Gen. xiv. 3) into the Salt Vale,' any pápayya tùy å unny. The original word in the Hebrew text is D'TH Śdim, or ‘Siddim,' as our English translation properly renders it; and I also notice that the Latin interpretation of the Syriac version, as given in Walton's • Biblia Sacra Polyglotta’ (vol. i. p. 52, Lond. 1657), of the 3rd verse of Gen. xiv. is this: omnes isti convenerunt in vallem Sodomitarum: hoc est mare Salsum. Here the vale of Siddim,' or 'the Salt Vale,' is expressly termed the vale of the inhabitants of Sodom ;' surely and without doubt signifying the plain, or vale of Sodom itself, and which, after the destruction of Sodom, became the Salt Sea.' Since I am not at all acquainted with the Syriac dialect, I cannot say whether or not the original words in the Syriac text correspond to the Latin 'vallem Sodomitarum,' but most likely they do. This plain, or vale, was evidently so denominated, from Sodom having been the chief city of the plain.

Consequently I must think that M. de Saulcy's views are incorrect, and that doubtless the waters of the Dead or · Salt Sea' covered the sites of all (or most, Zoar excepted) of the cities of the plain after they had been destroyed by fire, or volcanic agency.

On the contrary, the reviewer J. W. Č. writes, in his article entitled 'Late important Discoveries in Syria and the Holy Land,' and published in the Dublin University Magazine' for September, p. 367:'Why, in the face of direct assertion to the contrary, it should ever have been supposed that these cities were submerged under the sea, which there and then was elevated for the purpose, it seems difficult to understand; but the fallacy once started established itself by degrees, and has been perpetuated by hereditary descent. Upon this I will merely remark by asking, where does the Bible narrative directly assert that the destroyed cities of the plain were not submerged under the sea of the plain, or the Salt Sea ? Commentators and interpreters of the Bible in different languages, as well as several eminent and careful geographers, have held and believed that these cities, situated originally in the plain of the Jordan, were, after their destruction by fire, covered by the waters of that river, which then formed, and still do form, the Salt or Dead Sea, or Sea of the Plain. Such an old and accurate view cannot be properly termed a 'fallacy;' and of the opinions of the latter, or ancient geographers, I will only refer to two.

Stephanus Byzantinus, in his work. On Cities,' at the word Códoua, expressly records that “Sodom was the metropolis of those cities which were engulphed, or overthrown, in the Asphaltic Lake'- bdwv tūv év Aopalritide Nipvn kuraorpamalowv. (De Urbibus,' edit. Berkelius, Lugd. Bat. 1694, p. 677.) 'And the learned and well-known Cellarius

« ZurückWeiter »