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George Smith Drew.

Bishop Colenso's examination of the Pentateuch examined ; with an appendix online

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BISHOP COLENSO'S

EXAMINATION OF THE PENTATEUCH

EXAMINED.



BISHOP COLENSO'S

EXAMINATION OF THE PENTATEUCH

EXAMINED.



WITH

AN APPENDIX.



G. S. DREW, M.A.

AUTHOK OF "SCRIPTUEE LANDS, IN CONNEXION WITH THKTR HISTOK^,
"REASONS OF FAITH," &C.



"If ye believe not his (Moses') writings, how can ye believe
my words ? "



LONDON:

BELL AND DALDY, 186 FLEET STREET.

CAMBRIDGE : DEIGHTON, BELL, AND CO.

1863.



This history "is evidently written . . . with such particularity
of time, and place, and person, and circumstance, as none but an eye-
witness can be reasonably supposed to have preserved ; and with such
strict impartiality as leaves no room to doubt that it delivers every
circumstance without any attempt to disguise or alter it. The relation
may therefore be depended on, as faithfully drawn up by some eye-
witness. . . . Also it carries internal evidence, that this eye-witness
was NO OTHER THAN MosES HIMSELF, and that it was written with
the strongest regard to truth . . . this discovering itself in coin-
cidences so minute, so latent, so indirect, and evidently undesigned,
that nothing could have produced them but reality and truth, in-
fluencing the mind, and directing the pen of the legislator." — Graves.



PREFACE.



It is not any love of controversy which has in-
duced me to publish the following "Extracts
from Correspondence," on the subjects brought
forward by Dr. Colenso in his recent volume.
I have taken this course under the influence of
entirely different motives, to some of which I
must here, for a few moments, ask for the atten-
tion of my readers.

In the first place, the history of the Exodus
and of the Wanderings has occupied my attention
for many years ; and some aspects and details
of it I have examined on the spot, with helps
and appliances rarely granted even to those
who have enjoyed that advantage. In another
work I have already given the results of these in-
vestigations. But, as one of the parochial clergy
to whom Dr. Colenso (pp. vi, xiv) has specially
alluded, I felt bound again to bring them for-
a 2



VI PREFACE.

ward in this manner, thinking that I might thus
render acceptable help to my brethren in the
ministry, as well as to some in the congregations
unto the service of which we have been appointed
as " watchmen and stewards of the Lord." If,
indeed, it be true, as Dr. Colenso suggests, that
we are as neghgent of the studious investigation
of Scripture, as he tells us (p. vi.) he was when
in our position, then, indeed, we are all ill
prepared for trials which he has made more
distressing, if not more dangerous. The number
of persons still "professing godliness," to whom
such a book as his is peculiarly welcome, we
well know is large in our parishes, and even in
our congregations. And the damage wrought by
the ignorant flippancy, which is echoed by them,
— from the reviews and the newspapers, which
are the only sources of their information — in their
hasty conversations "by the way," is not so
concealed from us, as Dr. Colenso and some of
his admirers imagine. We have long mourned
over this evil influence in deepest sorrow and
anxiety, and we are at this time struggling
against it. But little could we have thought
that our distress in the hard strife we are thus
maintaining, would be aggravated as it has



PREFACE. Vll

been by seeing one of our bishops go over
to share in these counsels of the ungodly, and to
take his seat amongst those scorners of God's
word.

Feeling thus deeply in sympathy with my
brethren in the ministry, and knowing that
every one should do what he can in showing the
value of this new " help to unbelief," I have
employed, in the work, hours which could only be
found in the intervals of more urgent occupa-
tion. In carrying out my purpose, I have de-
voted som.e preliminary pages to the careful
definition of the ground on wJiicJi alone the
questions raised by Dr. Colenso can be logically
argued. This I had already defined at greater
length, and with more fulness, in my Reasons
of Faith, And if I have made larger extracts
than may appear seemly from this volume, and
from my Scrvpture Lands, in connexion with
their History, — my apology is, not only that
I thought these pages might fall into the hands
of some who have not seen these books, but
that the passages here brought forward from
them furnish the most direct reply to many
of Dr. Colenso's arguments. Even if I had
foreseen the line he has taken, I could not have



Vm PREFACE.

written anything more expressly suited to en-
counter it.

As for the manner in which I have spoken
of him and of his volume, I have not forgotten,
in adopting it, the position he still, professedly
and outwardly, holds in our communion. I
say " professedly and outwardly," because every
thinking man must see that he has virtually
denied the very existence of the Church, in
dealing as he has done with the foundations on
which it rests ; and has, therefore, in fact ab-
dicated his episcopal position, however long he
may yet nominally hold it. It is not, then, in
angry resentment because he has brought con-
tempt on the character of his order by his un-
faithfulness, and on its attainments by his ignor-
ance, that I have written as I have done; but
because I regard him as having stripped off his
vestments, and descended from his throne, and
as having taken his place amongst those of
whom the servant of God must speak with
severity, if he speaks with faithfulness.

If, however, in any instance, I have spoken
in a manner unwarranted even by these con-
siderations, I must plead in excuse the necessary
disadvantages as regards time and circumstance.



PREFACE. IX

under which my work lias been carried forward.
And for the same reason I must ask forgiveness
for any error or ungracefalness of expression
which eyes experienced in criticism may detect
in these pages. May they, by the Divine
blessing, be made serviceable to the cause in
the service of which they have been written,

London, December 2^th, 1862«



CONTENTS.



PREFACE
INTRODUCTION



OF THE GROUND ON WHICH SUCH AN EXAMINATION SHOULD
BE CARRIED FORWARD

CLASSIFICATION OF THE SUBJECTS EXAMINED

I. THE MIGRATION OF JACOb's FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD
INTO EGTPT, AND DIFFICULTIES THEREWITH CON-
NECTED

(1.) OF HEZRON AND HAMUL ....

(2.) OF THE NUMBERS IN THE MIGRATION

CONDITION OF THE HEBREWS IN EGYPT .

U. THE EXODUS AND THE JOURNEYINGS IN THE WILDER
NESS



(1.) OF THE ISRAELITES GOING OUT " ARMED "

(2.) OF THEIR KEEPING THE PASSOVER

(3.) OF THEIR " BORROWING JEWELS, &C."

(4.) OF THE HASTE OF THEIR DEPARTURE

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE EXODUS

THE JOURNEYINGS IN THE WILDERNESS ; EXTRACTS
FROM " SCRIPTURE LANDS," &C.

REVIEW OF THE NARRATIVE

(1 .) OF THE MEANS OF SUSTENANCE FOR THE PEOPLE
AND THEIR CATTLE IN THE " DESERT "



PAGE
V



7
19

20
24
29
32

35

38
40
42
43
45



48
62

64



XU CONTENTS.



PAGE

OF DR. COLENSO's ANSWERS TO STANLEY AND KALISCH 68

(2.) OF THE NUMBERS OF THE PEOPLE ... 71

CONSEQUENCES FOLLOWING DR. COLENSo's STATE-
MENT ON THIS POINT ...... 75

SOLUTIONS or HIS DIFFICULTY .... 78

(3.) OF " THE DANITES AND LEVITES AT THE TIME

OF THE exodus" 88

(4.) OF " MOSES AND JOSHUA ADDRESSING ALL

ISRAEL" 89

(5.) OF " THE DAILY NECESSITIES OF THE PEOPLE " 91

(6.) OF " THE priest's DUTIES " . . . .92

(7.) OF THE OBSERVANCE OF THE MOSAIC POLITY

IN THE WILDERNESS 93

III. DIFFICULTIES IN CONNEXION WITH THE MOSAIC POLITY,

AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CONQUEST . ib,

(1.) OF THE TRIVIAL NATURE OF SOME OF THE

DETAILS IN THIS PART OF THE HISTORY . . 94

(2.) OF THE LAWS CONCERNING SLAVES . . 95

(3.) OF THE CONQUEST OF THE MIDIANITES . . 99

IV. OF STATEMENTS IN THE BIBLE WHICH ARE RELATED

TO GEOLOGY, &C. 101

NATURE OF THE AGREEMENT TO BE LOOKED FOR
BETWEEN SCRIPTURE AND SCIENCE, AND ILLUS-
TRATIONS OF IT . . . . . .103

CONCLUSION 106

APPENDIX 109



COLENSO'S

EXAimATION OE THE PENTATEUCH
EXAMINED.



You are right in supposing that I have carefully-
looked into this new " Examination of the Pentateuch/''
the value of which, as you remark, I am able to
estimate under circumstances of some advantage. And
I need hardly say that the opinion I have thus formed
of the book agrees perfectly with your own, which,
indeed, is that of every well-informed and thought-
ful man whose judgment I have heard respecting it.
I do not, however, sympathise with you in your
anxiety as to the mischievousness of its influence.
My own belief is that, in this instance, we shall witness
a remarkable manifestation of that law of God^s moral
government whereby He employs unworthy agencies
for the purification of His Church. You remember
that wonderful illustration of the law I am refer-
ring to, which is given by Isaiah, as he repeats the
Divine announcement, "I will send him (the Assyrian

B



2

king) against an hypocritical nation, and against the
people of my wrath will I give him charge ....
Howheit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think
so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off
nations not a few." So will this book, and with it will
all the " offences which must needs come ^^ in this im-
perfect state, be overruled ; and the knowledge of this
fact will enable us to regard not only patiently, but even
hopefully, many things that would otherwise occasion
anxiety, as well as resentment and indignation. We
may well be tolerant, if not complacent, in our feelings
towards such agencies, when we think of the ends for
which they may be used.

More, however, than such acquiescence is needed,
or this temper is liable to degenerate into an apathy and
indolence that may even become culpable. We our-
selves must work in furthering the process which we
believe is going forward; and so, while we are doing
that which devolves upon us, in strenuous conflict with
the assailant evil, our individual purification, and the
advancement of the truth of God, and of His cause,
will be accomplished. I think this duty is laid upon
some of us at the present time. That this long-
announced, and now widely-circulated, volume is
narrow and feeble, and that it has been written by
one who is absurdly incompetent to the task he has
undertaken, is the judgment which has been passed
upon it by all whose judgment is worthy of regard.
Men^s feelings, on first reading it, have strangely



THE PENTATEUCH EXAMINED. 3

blended wonder with indignation, at seeing such un-
worthiness obtruded in such an office upon our notice.
When we see one of our fathers in God defacing
our family records, one of the rulers of the Church
tearing into fragments the very charter of the kingdom
in which his throne is set, — the sight may well awaken
our impatience : godly anger and indignation are natu-
rally aroused by it. Yet, in remembrance of the law
to which I just adverted, we must suppress these feel-
ings; as, again, we must also ask if it does not now
summon us to work with Him Who is ever present
to cleanse and defend His Church, in accomplishing
the ends for which He has permitted this afflic-
tive and humiliating visitation.

In this view I will ask you to join with me in
regarding this volume, and to give me your attention
while, in the course of a detailed examination of its state-
ments, I show you some of the uses which I think may
be made of its " new " investigation into the Mosaic
history. Indeed, apart from this purpose, I should
have no motive for adding to the labours of days
already sufficiently laborious, the task of writing out
these pages of our correspondence. It has been already
shown in scores of reviews of the book, that there is
nothing which is either new or true in one of the argu-
ments put forth in it. Here, however, in taking some
methods of my own to make this fact apparent, I have a
further purpose ; for I hope to make it clear to any one
who will read these pages to the end, that although.



alas ! unwittingly, our examiner of the Pentateucli lias
not only failed in his intended purpose, but has further
helped to do the work unto which, by a two-fold voW;,
both as priest and bishop, he pledged himself, in '^with-
standing and convincing gainsayers,^^ and in " driving
away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to
God^s word.''

Considering the greatness of the enterprise its author
meditates by means of it, and the weight of his pre-
diction, that it will have the effect, in " five years
hence," of preventing " the more hopeful and intelligent
of our young men from entering the ministry of the
Church of England, with clear consciences," — one can
hardly help expressing, at the outset, some wonder at
its stripling aspect as it fronts the mighty hosts whose
overthrow, through its agency, is so imminent, and
is to be so complete. Ranged and arrayed before the
holy mountain, as far upwards as the ancient temple
that crowns its summit, are the innumerable and mighty
defenders of the faith against whom this lightly-clad
adventurer presents himself. In their van, and now
immediately in view, we look on the heavy-armed
leaders of German and English erudition. Their
massive volumes, filled with the exhaustive thought, and
hived wisdom of long, studious years, are there be-
fore us, and — what are our feelings when we see this
slender, this newly-conceived, as well as newly-born,
octavo, threatening them with such atter defeat and
demolition ! Yet it is true, indeed, that overcoming



THE PENTATEUCH EXAMINED. O

mlglit may compact itself within the smallest frames :
deadly fumes and essences that are potent enough for
the destruction of hosts may be condensed into a vase
that can be carried by a child ; and, remembering this,
we feel that even the mighty challenge of this neat
brochure of one hundred and ninety pages must not
be despised. Thus meditating, then, we open our new
" Critical Examination of the Pentateuch and the Book
of Joshua.'* And the hastiest glance, while we are
cutting its pages, is enough to explain the bold, de-
fiant steps of the assailant who is advancing so con-
fidently on his great enterprise.

May I again recur to my figure, and say that the
holy mountain, and the venerable sanctuary that crowns
it, and that vast array of armed defenders, are evidently
not in the view of our assailant ! Though in his thin
accoutrement he is in fact stepping forth against them,
most plainly they are not seen by him. In other
words, our first glance over his " examination " shows
that Dr. Colenso has taken up the Pentateuch, and
has searched into and measured it, in the same mood
wherein he might have examined any chance volume
of history that has been written by an English pen
within the last eighteen months — which, you know, is
the time he has devoted to his investigations, and to the
labour of giving their results to the clergy, and espe-
cially to the lay members of the Church to whom he
so solemnly (p. xxxvi) commends them. Had the book
'' critically examined '' by him given an account sent



home last year, by '' our own correspondent," of some
Mormon emigration, lie could not have "examined^' it
with more entire unconsciousness of any special associa-
tions investing it, or anything marked and serious in
the claims alleged on its behalf. No other book that
has ever floated by any chance into Br. Colenso's
hands, can have fastened his attention more exclusively
upon the things contained within it, apart from any
regard to the peculiarity of the character in which it is
put forward. While, as for his acquaintance with the
now immensely-accumulated learning which has shed
such marvellous light both on the external relations of
the book, and its internal coherences, he himself tells
us that it was not till last year, " when he wrote to a
friend in England, and requested him to send some
of the best books for entering on such a coui'se of
study," that he had any knowledge of even the com-
monest works that have been written on the subject.

In short, it is quite plain that, as might be suspected
on our first glance at the slight attire in which our
challenger presents himself, he has stepped forward
upon ground of the nature of which he is either oblivious
or ignorant. And our part, before listening in detail
to his arguments, and reckoning with them indi-
vidually, as I propose to do, must be to ascertain and
define the terms on which such an investigation should
be conducted. You know that, in saying this, I am
not providing for myself any shelter from the closest
grappling with our assailant on every one of the points



THE PENTATEUCH EXAMINED. 7

which he has chosen. Thus I propose to meet him ;
hut, before doing so^ we must take some preliminary steps
in obedience to a logical necessity that is inexorable.

Here, then, let me recall the words in which I just
now spoke of these Mosaic writings as the records of a
family, and the charter of a kingdom. This language
accurately describes them, and it is essential that we
should here fasten our attention steadfastly on the sig-
nificance of the description. It implies, what is on all
hands an acknowledged fact, that, instead of these
documents having come into our hands by some for-
tuitous transmission, we have received them from
an existing and recognised Society, in whose custody
they have been deposited, and which has ever presented
them for the interpretation of its purposes, and for the
witness of its authority. Through its living voices
this Society, the Church, announces that it has been
established here, in this world, and among men, for
certain ends. And if we demand from it an explan-
ation of these ends, it presents The Bible to us. as its
answer. Its historical existence and its antiquity —
which is greater than that of any portion of this
volume — being, as they must be, acknowledged, it stands
before us so connected with these writings, that they
cannot be thought of apart from its existence, even
if we will not acknowledge its authority.

In other words, it is for the explanation of facts, as
unquestionable as its own existence, that the Bible must
be looked into and investigated ; and, before we examine



COLENSO S EXAMINATION OF

any portion of it, there is what, for want of another word,

1 am obliged to call a presumption in its favour. For
"those demands on our respectful deference, which
you must acknowledge the Church has on every one
approaching it, decisively forbid any light supercilious
contempt of the solemn testimony with which it claims
attention. You may turn away from an individual or
a sect which thus addresses you, but you cannot, with-
out blame, neglect this demand from an institution
which is, at all events, older and more widely extended
than any other in existence. Voices uttered by this
Society in past ages, which are deepening as the years
roll on, and are echoed by the best men around us,
demand, with most weighty emphasis, that we give heed
to the Book which it has solemnly delivered over to
us. 'Examine these writings with diligence, search
them carefully,^ they say, ' and you will therein find
the statements, and the vouchers, of our Divine claim
on your allegiance.' Now, this language must, at all
events, be heeded : we have no alternative but to em-
ploy the most attentive and reverential care in our
examination of the volume which has been so solemnly,
and by so great an authority, placed in our hands ....

Without question this must be conceded; and, for
the present, I only ask for this admission, when we
now open our document, and look at first discursively
throughout its contents. We glance over its pages from
Genesis to Revelation ; and, while thus looking through
it, we have in view the character in which we have



THE PENTATEUCH EXAMINED. 9

received it, viz. as an Exposition of what the Churcli
is, and of what she holds. So regarding it, then, we
perceive that, mainly and prominently, it is a record :
instinctively, and, as soon as we open it, we say this
book contains a history. There are, indeed, as we also
see, many other things in it besides history : prayers,
and hymns, and contemplations ; the wisest pre-
cepts, the profoundest reasoning, the most earnest ex-
hortations — are contained in it; but chiefly we see it
is concerned with facts, which begin from the most
remote period, and run on for more than forty centuries.
It is an historical narrative, around and about which the
materials of the volume have been cast and shaped ....
"Moreover, we shall also see, and even on this first
discursive view of it, that most of its historical state-
ments are closely implicated and intertwined with facts
in past times, about which independent testimony
makes us as infallibly assured as we can be concerning
any facts now immediately around us. Familiar names
of places and events, and of men, continually meet the
eye even of him who reads most superficially, so that I
may say there is hardly one of its writers who does
not mention well-known persons or circumstances with
which, and with whom, our historical consciousness —
by which I mean our sense as well as knowledge of the
past — has made us perfectly familiar. And thus we
already see that, so far, one of the statements with
which the Book was commended to us is justified :
its contents obviously agree with that account which



10



described it as containing historical notices of the
origin, as well as an authorised description of the pur-
pose, of this ancient Society, the Church, whose for-
tunes have, in fact, been implicated with the most
momentous occurrences in history.

" Moreover, as the first impression it makes on us
is, in this view, so different from what this would have
been if its contents were of a purely meditative or
abstract character, let me next ask you to observe how
they suggest, and even invite and court, inquiries
through which the general trustworthiness, at all
events, of the volume may be ascertained. . . . Where
the history is fullest and most detailed, there it takes
its course most freely amongst — it is most intimately,
nay, even intricately, involved with — events that are
not only written down in books, but are, besides,
recorded, and are now vividly picturing themselves
before the eye — on sculptures, and coins, and monu-
ments ; in the opened ruins, in the tombs, and palaces,
and temples, with which our modern researches, whereof
the most important are most recent, have made us
accurately familiar.

" Here, then, we are in possession of means for
testing the general veracity, the accuracy and faith-
fulness, of these historians. Instead of shrinking away
from, they invite, in almost every page they have writ-
ten, an inquiry into their trustworthiness. We might
carry it forward with respect to any one of them . . .
But the especial purpose now in view requires us to



THE PENTATEUCH EXAMINED. 11

look first into the New Testament for those points of
the connexion of Scripture with facts that are otherwise
well known; for those indubitable signs of its oneness
with historical realities, whereby we may assure our-
selves that this Record has its roots and fibres, and the
channels of its vitality, amongst the most certain facts
of our existence." ^

What the results of the inquiry which is so con-
ducted are, is well known. It may be supposed that
Dr. Colenso will not object to acknowledge that, at all
events, the main occurrences related by the Evangelists
have been authenticated. Any admission more exact
and comprehensive on his part can hardly be assumed,
after reading his suggestion as to the '^ way in which
the interpretation of the New Testament" may be
afi*ected by what he has proved as to the " unhistorical
character of the Pentateuch" (p. xxix). Still, even
this admission will be sufficient for our purpose, which
is, at present, nothing more than to indicate some of the
considerations that need to be taken account of while
any portion of this book is being examined, as well as
the spirit in which our examination should be con-
ducted. For, observe, the acknowledgment that the
Evangelists were, in the main, true historians, carries
us upon firm ground into the presence of Jesus Christ.
Whatever deference we are prepared to render unto
Him, even if it be only a little more than might be
due to any other " educated and devout Jew of that
^ Ueasons of Faith, Introd. and Chap. i.


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Online LibraryGeorge Smith DrewBishop Colenso's examination of the Pentateuch examined ; with an appendix → online text (page 1 of 12)