Richard Graves.

Lectures on the four last books of the Pentateuch : designed to show the divine origin of the Jewish religion delivered in the chapel of Trinity college, Dublin, at the lecture established under the will of Mrs. Anne Donnellan online

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Online LibraryRichard GravesLectures on the four last books of the Pentateuch : designed to show the divine origin of the Jewish religion delivered in the chapel of Trinity college, Dublin, at the lecture established under the will of Mrs. Anne Donnellan → online text (page 1 of 58)
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REV. RICHARD Graves, d.d. m.r.i.a.






" Wliereas a Legacy of One thousand two hundred and forty-
three Pounds, has been bequeathed to the College of Dublin, by
Mrs Anne Donnellan, for the encouragement of Religion,
Learning, and good Manners ; the particular mode of application
being intrusted to the Provost and Senior Fellows : —

" Resolved,
" I. That a Divinity Lecture, to which shall be annexed a
Salary arising from the interest of One thousand two hundred
Pounds, shall be established for ever, to be called Donnellan's

" IL That the Lecturer shall be forthwith elected from among
the Fellows of said College, and hereafter annually on the 20th
of November.

" III. That the subject or subjects of the Lectures shall be
determined at the time of election by the Board, to be treated
of in six Sermons, which shall be delivered in the College Cha-
pel, after morning service, on certain Sundays, to be appointed
on the 20th of November next, after the election of the Lecturer,
and within a year from said appointment.

" IV. That one moiety of the interest of the said ^£"1,200
shall be paid to the Lecturer, as soon as he shall have delivered
the whole number of Lectures ; and the other moiety as soon as
he shall have published four of the said Lectures — one copy to
be deposited in the Library of the College, one in the Library
of Armagh, one in the Library of St Sepulchre, one to be given
to the Chancellor of the University, and one to the Provost of
the College."


When the Friends of Irreligion and Anarchy in this country,
Bome years ago, disseminated with a malignant industry the
First Part of Mr Paine's " Age of Reason," containing a bold
and virulent attack on the Scriptures of the Old Testament,
the Heads of the University of Dublin judged that it might be
expedient to direct the attention of the Students to the clear
and convincing evidence by which this part of Revelation is
sustained. On that occasion, the Subject of the following Lec-
tures was selected for the ensuing year, when it was my duty
to deliver them. But before that period arrived, so many able
and satisfactory answers* appeared to Mr Paine's pamphlet ;
and the extreme ignorance of its author, the futility of his rea-
sonings, and the grossness of his misrepresentations, were so
clearly exposed; that I judged it unnecessary to conduct my
researches or form my arguments with any particular reference
to the objections urged in that tract ; and determined on taking
a wider range, and entering into a more radical discussion of
the divine original of the Jewish Scheme, than I had at first

* Amongst these, the excellent Apology of Bishop Watson undouUedly ranks the
first. Ic this country, th* Rev. Mr Hincks, of Cork, produced a very useful compila-
tion on the same subject; and Dr Stokes, of Trinity College, Dublin, published a briel
but able answer to Mr Paine, which \vas circulated with excellent effect amongst the


designed. For that purpose I resolved to examine the four last
books of the Pentateuch with all the attention in my power,
and discover how far they carried internal evidence of their
genuineness and truth, in the detail both of the common and
the miraculous events. The following Work is the effect of that

The Friends of Religion will, I trust, receive this attempt to
explain and defend a part of Revelation most frequently assailed
by infidels,* with candour and indulgence. I am deeply sensi-
ble of the importance of the subject, and would not have pre-
sumed to enter upon it, had I found it already pre-occupied by
any writer of established reputation. But it appeared to me, that
all, or very nearly all the distinguished authors, whose labours
have been employed in illustrating the Old Testament in parti-
cular, or stating the proofs of Revelation in general, have been
in some degree led away from bestowing on this subject that
continued attention which its importance deserved, and combin-
ing the various characters of truth incidentally dispersed through
the writings of the great Jewish Legislator, in one distinct vieu\
in which each would communicate new lustre to the rest. Such
authors as have illustrated the Scriptures with continued com-
mentaries, were, by the very nature of their undertaking, pre-
vented from uniting in one view the many important observa-
tions and proofs which the separate parts of the sacred text sug-
gested. Those who were employed in refuting the objections of
any one particular antagonist, were almost inevitably led to mag-
nify these objections beyond their relative importance in any
general consideration of the subject. The same writers also were

* That infidels or sceptics still direct their chief attacks against the Old Testament,
is daily experienced. The reader will see some very recent instances, in the publica-
tions of the late Rev. Dr Geddes, and of Mr De Welti', noticed in the ArpENDix


frequently induced to employ their attention almost exclusively
on such passages, as seemed obscure or objectionable ; and pass
with less distinct notice the clear and direct arguments and
proofs, which were to be derived from those parts of the sacred
history which scepticism itself could scarcely venture to attack :
— thus suffering the adversary of revealed truth to lead its advo-
cate from the strongest to the weakest ground ; and to prevent
liim from employing those topics which would operate most
powerfully on every candid and unprejudiced mind. Works con-
structed entirely on this plan, have sometimes a most pernicious
effect on the young, the uninformed, and the wavering. They
lead them to consider Revelation as consisting chiefly of obscu-
rities, and founded chiefly on questionable facts. While on the
contrary, the great truths it establishes are as clear and intel-
ligible as they are important : and the series of proofs on which
it rests, when viewed in their natural order, are so firmly con-
nected and plainly conclusive, that, if considered with attention
and candour, they carry with them the fullest conviction. And
when contrasted with the improbabilities which must be credited
without proof, and the wild conjectures which must be admitted
as certain, by those who reject all supernatural interposition in
the history of religion, they render it evident that hlind credvr
lity* is much more imputable to those who believe the sacred his-
tory to be false, than those who admit it to be true : and that
sound reason and philosophy, far from being opposed to religious
faith, do in reality coalesce with and support it.

In what I have now said, I beg that I may not be misunder-
stood ; as if I undervalued the labours of those Writers, who
have stepped forward with such manly and pious zeal, to repel

* Vide for some instances of this, the Appeniiix, Sect. II. in the review of the man*
Tier in wliich Dr Geddes attempts tn account for the Mosaic Miracles.


the assailants of Revelation. No, their exertions have been
most praiseworthy and useful. They have shown, that the most
obscure parts of Scripture admit a fair and natural explanation,
and that the most plausible objections to it are founded on mis-
conception and mistake. They have exposed in the strongest
colours, the disingenuousness and the unreasonableness of infidel
writers : and in various important particulars, have illustrated
many truths of Revelation with great clearness, and strength-
ened its evidence by new proofs. I only mean to say ; that
works entirely or chiefly controversial, are not the best calculated
for impressing conviction on the yet wavering mind of youth,
or conveying that information which is most necessary to the
uninstructed. They rather prepare the way for, and facilitate
the labours of, the direct and general advocate for the truth of
Revelation, than pre-occupy his office or supersede the necessity
of his exertions.

It was on this view I undertook, and with these feelings I
composed, the following Treatise. In that part of it, which is
entitled a Review of the chief Effects of Judaism^ as connected
with and preparatory to Christianity^ I hope it will be found, that
I have endeavoured to attend to the principles I have now stated;
and to combine the answer to each objection with the statement
of the positive evidence for the truth of the facts, or the rea-
sonableness of the principles, objected to ; in such a manner, as
may prevent this Work from having any tendency to perplex
the minds, or unsettle the faith of that class of Students, to
whom the different parts of it were separately addressed ; and to
whom it is my most ardent wish and humble prayer that it may
now be useful.

If it be asked, why I have separated the evidences of Judaism
from those of Christianity ? I answer, not only because the


admirable works of many eminent writers, particularly of Arch-
deacon Paley,* had already exhibited the distinct evidence of
the Gospel history in the clearest view ; but because I conceive
the combination of these two subjects in most preceding works,
in which the divine original of the Jewish Law has been defend-
ed, has in some measure prevented the distinct evidence for this
part of Revelation from being as fully and clearly stated as it
ought to be. Where the Law and the Gospel are at once in a
writer's contemplation, the immediate and as it were practical
importance of the latter must appear so much greater than that
of the former, that it is natural this should engross almost the
whole of his attention. Besides, the proofs and principles of the
Mosaic Law are so distinct from those of the Gospel, and the
period of human history with which they are connected so dif-
ferent, that it is not easy to combine them in one system of rea-
soning with clearness and effect. At the same time, I am fully
sensible of the inseparable connexion between these two grand
parts of the divine economy of grace ; and that to represent
either as independent of the other, would be to misrepresent and
undermine it. I hope it will be found that this principle has
not been neglected in the following Work.-f*

If it be asked why I have exhibited the internal evidence of
the Mosaic Law separate from the external? I answer, because
I conceive it a completely distinct topic of argument, to which
the external evidence is properly a supplement, which may be
resorted to with much more advantage and effect when the in-
ternal has been first distinctly considered. Besides, the external
testimonies for the truth of the Mosaic history have been latel}!

* In his Evidences of Christianity, and his Horn Paulina ; which last I consider
as one of the most original, most convincing, and most important illustrations of the
U-iith of the Gospel History, ever published.

t Vide Part III. Led. V. & VI.


examined and exhibited by many learned and able writers (par-
ticularly by Mr Faber, in liis Horre Mosaicse) so fully, that it
would be as unnecessary as it would be arrogant to attempt to
supersede their labours, when I can do my reader so much more
service by simply referring to them.*

* As this Work may come into the hands of some theological Students desirous to
acquaint themselves with the external evidences for the truth of the Old Testament, I
annex the following references to some of the chief authors who have treated of them.

JosEPHUS, in his first book against Apion, quotes many testimonies to the antiquity
of the Jewish nation; the circumstances attending their emigration from Egypt, and
the later periods of their history, from a number of authors then extant, and whom he
appeals to as perfectly known, though only fragments of a few of their works now re-
main. He appeals also to the public records of the Tyrians, " which (says he) are
" kept with great exactness, and include accounts of the facts done among them, and
" such as concern their transactions with other nations also." These records state the
ouilding of the temple of Solomon, and the time it took place, and various circum-
stances connected with it. — Josephus also quotes Manactho, Dius the historian of Phoe-
nicia, and Menander of Ephesus, to the same purpose. He also quotes Berosus the
Chaldean, " well known (says he) by the learned, on account of his publication of the
" Chaldean books of astronomy, and philosophy among the Gieeks. This Berosus
" therefore, following the most ancient records of that nation, gives us a History of
" the Deluge of JVaters that then happened, and of the destruction of mankind thereby.
" and agrees with Moses's narrative thereof ; he also gives an account of the Ark
" wherein Noah the origin of our race was preserved, when it was brought down to the
" highest part of the Armenian mountains; after which he gives a catalogue of the pos-
" terity of Noah, and adds the years of their chronology, and at length comes down to
" Nabolassar (or Nabopollassar) who was king of Babylon." — I earnestly recommend
the entire Book to the perusal of the Student.

The concurrence of the Sacred Records with those of Pagan history, and the pro-
bable derivation of much of the ancient philosophy from tlie Scripture, is confirmed by
Edsebios in his Praparatio Evangelica, much more fully than by Josephus — a work
of such signal importance that it may be useful to give an Abstiact of its Contents, to
excite the attention of the Student. In his first book, Eusebius exhibits a view of the
Theology of the Ancients, particularly of the Phoenicians and Egyptians, and of the
progress of idolatry, and the ancient opinions on the origin of the universe; in his
second book he carries on his view to the Theology of the Greeks and Romans, the
fables of the heroic age, and the Arcana of the mysteries; and also introduces a brief
exposition of the absurdities of this theology, and these superstitions. In his third,
fourth, and fifth books, he exposes at large the absurdities of the fables and superstitions
attending idolatry, especially the fallacy of its divinations and oracles ; and though he
intermixes opinions of his own in accounting for facts, of which a more enlightened
philosophy will not approve, yet the facts themselves, and the original authorities ou
which they are supported, are most highly important. In his sixth book, he exposes
the pagan system of fate, &c. In his seventh and eighth books, he illustrates tiie
superiority of the Jewish religion, in its theology, its moral principles, and its eflijcts.
But in his ninth, he adduces what is most directly connected with the object of our


Some Friends, whose judgment I most highly respect, have
Biated to me, that I ought to have included the book of Genesis
in my plan ; and that even now I ought to prefix some prelimi-
nary Lectures on this important part of Sacred History, before

present enquiry, an accumulation of testimonies from works then extant, but very
many of which are now lost, to confirm the sacred history. He here produces the
strongest testimonies of Grecian writers to the excellence of the Hebrew principles of
theology and morals,* to the vain attempts of the Egyptian magicians in opposition to
Moses, f Abydenus's tradition of the deluge, $ and Tower of Babel, § Eupolemus's testi-
mony to the history of Abraham, || and various other confirmations of the Jewish history
preserved by Alexander Polyhistor — from Theodotus, to the history of Jacob; from
Artapanes, to that of Joseph and of Moses, and a long and accurate testimony to the
plagues of Egypt and the passage of the Red Sea;1I from the tragic poet Ezekiel, to the
same facts; and Demetrius, to the same, in an abstract evidently taken from the sacred
writings as unquestioned and certain records. I omit the testimonies to later facts in
the Jewish history — the entire book is peculiarly worth the Student's attention. In the
tenth book, he adduces many facts and arguments to prove the philosophy of the Greeks
was borrowed from the Barbarians, and illustrates the superiority of the Jewish theo-
logy. In his eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth books, Eusebius considers the system of
Plato, and proves its agreement in a variety of particulars with that of the Jews, and
its having been probably derived from that source; while at the same time he points
out the degrading turpitude of Plato's moral theory in his Republic, and strongly < on-
trasts it with the purity of the Mosaic code. The fourteenth and fifteenth books contain
a view of the chief systems of philosophy among the Greeks, comparing them with the
Jewish Law, and decidedly establishing the superiority of the latter. In a word, this
great Work, though not entirely free from the prejudices and the errors prevalent at
the period when its Author lived, yet exhibits a most important monument of the
necessity and advantages both of the Jewish and Christian Revelations, the confirma-
tion of the Sacred History by various records and authors extant at that period, though
now in a great measure lost, and the probability that the Grecian philosophy derived its
only just views, whether in theology or morals, from the lights of Revelation, though
broken and obscured by the gross and impure mediums through which they were con-

Amongst modem writers, Stillincfleet, in his Origines Sacra, has with gi-eat
learning and acuteness " proved the reconcileableness of the account of times in Scrip-
" ture with that of the learned and ancient heathen nations — the consistency of the
" belief of the Scriptures with the principles of reason — and that no clear account can
" be given of the origin of things, from the principles of philosophy without Scripture.'"'
In liis sixth book, this learned Author has proved the uncertainty of ancient history, as
opposed to the Scripture accounts: — in Book iii. chap, 4. he has confirmed the Scrip-
Iwe accounts of the Creation, the Deluge, and the peopling of the world, by the testi-
naenies of Heathen traditions and Heathen history: and in Book v. he has traced the
origin of Heathen mythology to the corruption of the Scripture accounts.

* In the first seven Clmiitera, \ Cap. viii. i Cap. xii.

f Cap. XV. !|Cap. xTii. ^ Cap. xxviL


I submit this Work to the Public. To them I answer, that the
history of the four last books of the Pentateuch forms one subject
perfectly distinct from the history of the book of Genesis, except
BO far as it is connected Avith the account of the fall of man in

Gale, in his Court of the Gentiles, has traced the original of human literature, both
philologic and philosophic, from the Scriptures and the Jewish Church, with a great
variety of argument, and a great extent of erudition. Vide his First Part, as to the
traduction ot the Pagan literature and mythology from the Jews ; and his second, as to
the original of philosophy. In this work, the zeal for carrying his system to a great
extent has perhaps led this learned Author too far, but unquestionably he has collected
a body of most important evidence, which establishes the truth of the Scripture His-

Bochart's Phaleg, tracing the dispersion of mankind; and Bryant's Analysis of
Ancient Mythology; confirm this coincidence. But the Works of Bochart and Bryant
are perhaps too voluminous and learned for the generality of students. They will find
the testimonies of antiquity to the truth of the Scriptures clearly but briefly exhibited,
«y Grotius, in his Truth of the Christain Religion, with Le Clerc's valuable notes —
Dy Allix, in his Reflections on Genesis xix. and xx., and on the Historical and Pro-
phetical Books, Chap, ii., a work included in Watson's Tracts — by the Bishop of Lin-
coln, in his Elements of Christain Theology, Part I. chap, i.— and especially by the
learned Mr Fabek, in his Horce Mosatcte, Book I. Sect. 1. to whose work I refer, as
superseding the necessity of my entering any further into this subject.

It may not be inexpedient to observe here, that another topic from which the autho-
rity and credibility of the Pentateuch, and indeed of the entire Old Testament, derives
great confirmation, is the agreement of the manners and customs of the East, as they
incidentally appear in the Sacred Records, with the manners and customs which history
proves prevailed in the East at the period when the events related in Scripture took
place; and from the great illustration which the Scriptures have received, by comparing
them with the observations of modern travellers, on the productions, the manners, and
the feelings prevalent in the East at this day; where, from the peculiar stability of
established manners and customs, clear vestiges still remain of that state of society
which the Scriptures describe. On this subject, I refer to Harmer's Observations on
Scripture which have been judiciously added to, improved and applied, by Mr Bubder,
in his Oriental Customs applied to illustrate the Scriptures.

I will conclude this already too long, but I hope not useless note, by referring the
Student desirous at once of extending his knowledge, and confirming his faith to the
Rev. Mr Maurice's History of Hindostan, and to the accomplished Sir William
Jones's Researches into the History and Antiquities of Asia, and those of his learned
Colleagues; where he will find multiplied confirmations of the truth of the Scripture
history, derived from the most unsuspected sources, and delivered with the greatest
clearness and candour.

To limit his search, I would direct the student particularly to consult Mr Maurica's
History, Vol. I. chap. i. where he points out the striking circumstances of similairty
between the Hindoo, the Hebraic, the Phoenician, the Egyptian, and the Grecian
systems of cosmogony! as in their account of the incumbent wind or spirit agitating' the
abyss — of water> being tlie primseval element. &.c. I would also refer to his second


the grand economy of grace. The evidence of the divine original
of the Mosaic Law may therefore be clearly exhibited without
including the consideration of the facts recorded in the book of
Genesis. I add, that in the natural order of reasoning, the

chapter, which shows that the Indian claims to antiquity are fallacious and cannot be
opposed to the Mosaic history and the Hebrew chronology: to his tenth chapter, in
which he conckides his learned and laborious investigation into the history of astronomy,
and proves that the result of the whole survey, so far from subverting, gives a decided
support to the Mosaic records. In the eleventh chapter, we find the Mosaic history of
j4dam and the /aZZ confirmed by the ladian records and traditions — in the twelfth, the
Mosaic account of the antedeluvians receives similar illustration; and in the thirteenth,
the history of the deluge receives the most full, and I had almost said, irresistible con-
firmation. In Vol. II. Book ii. chap. ii. the Student will find many solid arguments
to prove that ancient Sanscreet writings corroborate the Mosaic records; and in Book
iv. he will find it, I think, irrefutably established, that "immemorial traditions difiiised
over all the East, and derived from a patriarchal source, concerning the fall of man, the
original promise, and a future Mediator, had taught the whole gentile world to expect
the appearance of a sacred and illustrious personage about the time of Christ's advent."
Here also the opinions I have ventured to advance concerning Zoroaster and tha
Magi,* are illustrated and confirmed; and the similitude between the life and con-
duct of the Messiah and of Creeshna, the great Indian preserver, described and ac-

Online LibraryRichard GravesLectures on the four last books of the Pentateuch : designed to show the divine origin of the Jewish religion delivered in the chapel of Trinity college, Dublin, at the lecture established under the will of Mrs. Anne Donnellan → online text (page 1 of 58)