W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso



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[8] walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him, and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God” (1 K 15),—and mentions only that “there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam” (v. 7);—but the Chronicler, writing centuries afterwards, says not a word about Abijah’s wickedness, but makes him lead out a host of “400,000 chosen men” against 800,000 chosen men of Jeroboam, mighty men of valour.” Abijah is then described (by the Chronicler,) as addressing this immense host of 800,000 men in most pious language, declaring that in Judah the Law was strictly obeyed;—and calling on them not to fight against God. However, they did fight, and in this one battle, we are told, Abijah’s 400,000 warriors slew of Jeroboam’s 800,000,— “five hundred thousand chosen men.” (2 Chron. xiii,)

Now let me here call your attention (1) to the actual size of these two petty kingdoms, which, together, formed what is called the Holy Land. (As many, I know, have not yet considered this.) Those two kingdoms together, were not so large as the small tract of country extending from Napier to Cape Palliser, and from the Ruahine mountain range to the sea. While that of Judah, alone could be comprised between Napier and Takapau. (2) The total loss of the Allied army in the great and memorable battle of Waterloo, including “British, Germans, Hanoverians, Brunswickers, Prussians, and Belgians,” was 4,172 men. (From Alison.)

Thus, once more, the Chronicler tells us, (1 ch. xxiii.) that when David was old the Levites were numbered, 38,000,—of whom 24,000 were to set forward the work of the House of Jehovah, 6,000 were officers and judges, 4,000 were gatekeepers, 4,000 choristers;—that is, he reckons 24,000 ministering Levites, 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 choristers, for a small tent, probably not so large as one of our own Napier churches, just exactly half the size of the Temple of Solomon, and might hold, if crowded, perhaps, 300 people! He also tells us of one Levite family, in which there were “2700 chief fathers and 1,700 officers”—altogether 4,400 rulers.—out of one single family of the tribe of Levi! Possibly the key to all this (and much more of the same kind) is, that he was a Levite himself:—there is a great deal in Chronicles in support of this.

But I forbear. I have brought forward all this (long known to me), to show you how the truth stands in respect to the Books of Chronicles; and you will find much more of the same kind for yourselves, if you will only thoughtfully read the narrative and compare it with what is written in other places.

In the after times however of the history of Israel, we find the later prophets—Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the later Isaiah— laying great stress upon the observance of the Sabbath as the sign of Jehovah’s covenant with Israel; and so, too, in the Book of Nehemiah, written after the return from the Captivity, we find mention made of Jehovah having “made known unto them his holy Sabbath,” and of strenuous efforts being made to prevent the desecration of the Sabbath by labor and traffic. (N. ix., xiii.)

[Here I must remind my readers that this “later Isaiah,” (or the unknown prophet, whoever he was that wrote the last 27 chapters of the present Book of Isaiah,) must not be confounded with the older and former Isaiah, who wrote the earlier portion of the Book which goes by his name; the former was contemporary with Hezekiah (B.C. 710): the later Isaiah lived some 200 years after,—afler the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar; (as a proof, see Is. 64, 10, 11: 63, 18 :) and it is from him that we have some of the most beautiful utterances in the Old Testament.]

That very ancient Book of the Jews, the Talmud, (in general use long before the birth of Jesus,) contains, as might be expected, several excellent remarks concerning the Sabbath, together with many rules for its observance. The learned and unprejudiced modern Jew Commentator Dr. Kalisch, says,— “The Talmud distinguishes 39 chief labours which are forbidden on the Sabbath; but in cases of illness, and in any, oven the remotest, danger, a deviation from the rigorous precepts is permitted; and in general [9] were those principles followed,— ‘The Sabbath is delivered into your hand, not you into the hand of the Sabbath:’ and, ‘The least danger of life invalidates the Sabbath.’” (Talmud, Mishna Joma.) Further, Dr. Kalisch says, “that the Sabbath was a day of holy assembly; but it was also a day of recreation of joy and of convivial meetings.” (Pointing out Luke 14. 1, 12.) “Fasting was expressly forbidden.”

Having mentioned the Talmud, and given the foregoing striking quotation from it, (which will serve to remind my readers of Mark ii. 27, 28,) and as the Book itself is so very little known among us, I am tempted to make a few more quotations, which may also serve a similar purpose.—

The Talmud denounces swearing, or oath-taking, and recommends “a simple Yes Yes, or No.”

“Do not to others what you would not have others do to you.”

“A single light answers as well for a hundred men as for one.”

“The place honours not the man, ‘tis the man who gives honour to the place.”

“Deem nothing impossible.”

“Man sees the mote in his neighbour’s eye, but knows not of the beam in his own.”

“First learn, and then teach.”

“Charity is greater than all,—is more than sacrifices.”

“Who gives charity (alms) in secret is greater than Moses.”

“The Bible was given us to establish peace.”

“He who raises his hand against his fellow in a passion is a sinner.”

“God allows the poor to be with us ever, that the opportunities for doing good may never fail.”

“When our ancestors in the wilderness were saved from death by gazing upon the brazen serpent, it was not the serpent which killed or preserved. it was the trustful appeal to the Father in heaven.”

“The men of Nineveh believed in God’s mercy, and though the decree had been pronounced against them, yet they repented; therefore, neither sack-cloth nor fasting will gain forgiveness, but repentance of the heart and good deeds.”

There are also numerous parables, and similar stories, strongly reminding one of those later ones of the New Testament.

In these later times, then, of the history of Israel, the Sabbath was kept with great strictness, by some devout men, as Nehemiah, and by others who, like the Pharisees, made a great profession of religion, but substituted too often outward observances like this for the inward service of the heart which God delights in. But in earlier days we find no trace of this spirit,—no sign that the Sabbath was put on a higher level than the New Moon. And this fact is accounted for, when we find that the first copy of the Decalogue, as well as the second, dates from a late age in the history of Judah,—that it was never really binding on the Jews, as the traditionary view supposes, as having been uttered by the Divine Voice, under a tremendous sanction, from the top of Sinai. Let us now consider what Nature also teaches us as to the duty or the wisdom of setting apart one day in seven.— And here I will first quote the words of that eminent Jewish scholar upon this point (Dr Kalisch, already mentioned, in his Commentary on Genesis):— “The simple and obvious explanation of the holiness of the number seven is, that the Ancient Israelites, as most of the Eastern nations, counted originally their months after the course of the Moon, which renews itself in four quarters of seven days each, and after this time assumes a new phase These periodical and extraordinary changes of the Moon produced a powerful impression upon the susceptible minds of the ancient nations: they excited them to reflections on this wonderful phenomenon, and every thing connected with it assumed in their eyes a peculiar significance. Hence the day of the New Moon was generally celebrated with some distinguishing solemnity, which, like all festivals, is regulated and fixed in the Mosaic Law; and the New Moon is, in the Old Testament, frequently [10] mentioned with the Sabbath.... But the division of the week into seven days was known and adopted by the most different nations, as the Assyrians, Arabs, Indians, Peruvians, (hut not the Persians,) and many African and American tribes, which never came into intercourse with the Israelites, and later by the Greeks and Romans, who followed the Egyptians. We must therefore recognise therein, not an exclusively theocratical, but a general astronomical arrangement, which offered itself to the simplest planetary observation of every people.”

And Similarly, the ancient Talmud:—“In ancient times the men called ‘wise’ placed their faith and dependence upon the planets They divided these into seven, apportioning one to each day of the week. Some nations selected for their greatest god the sun, other nations the moon, and so on, and prayed to them, and worshipped them. They knew not that the planets moved and changed according to the course of nature, established by the Most High, a course which he might change according to His will, and into their ignorant ideas many of the Israelites had entered. Therefore, as they considered the planets as seven, God made many other things depending on that number, to show that as he made them, so had He made the planets. The seventh day of the week he made the Sabbath.”

In this way, then, the seven days’ week appears to have originated, among so many different nations in all parts of the Earth; by their common observation of the time, which it takes for the moon to pass from one of her chief phases to another, which interval is to all appearance seven days, though in reality a fraction more. In this way originating the seven-days’ week may justly be said to be an institution of the Law of Nature, and therefore one of Divine appointment. We no longer suppose that the Creation of the work took place in six days, with successive outward Divine utterances, as described in the first chapter of Genesis. Yet for all this, and notwithstanding that the Hebrew writer may have held mistaken notions about the time, manner, order, of the creation,—about the nature, magnitude, and distances of the Sun, Moon, and Stars,—he discerned the eternal underlying truth when he wrote, “And God said,”—“said,” not with outward audible utterance, on the fourth day of the Creation, hut said in the depth of the Divine Mind, conceived in eternity as a Divine Idea, and expressed in time by that Divine Word, “by which all things were made,”— “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth and it was so.” The day, then, is given to us by Nature, and therefore by Nature’s God, for labour, and the night for rest. And so is it with regard to the week and the weekly rest.

Further: it is true the lunar month, in which the Moon goes through her different phases, consists really of 29 days, so that from one chief phase to another would be a fraction more than seven days. Still with rude nations this difference would not be noticed. And, “that the seven days’ week really originated among as many different nations in all parts of the earth from watching the phases of the Moon, is indicated by the fact that the Peruvians not only divide the lunar month into halves and quarters by the Moon’s phases, but they have also a period of nine days, the approximate third part of a lunation, thus showing the common origin of both, and so the Romans had the ninth day of the month, which was a holiday even for slaves, and the Greek lunar month, consisting alternately of 29 and 30 days, was divided into sets of ten days. (Prof. Baden Powell, Christianity without Judaism.)

So, also, Dr. Hessey in his Bampton Lectures delivered before the University of Oxford; he says:— “To what, it may be asked, is the division of time by weeks of seven days to be traced? I answer, without hesitation, to man’s observation of those ‘lights in the firmament of heaven,’ which God placed there to divide the day from the night,’ and of which He said further, [11] ‘Let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.’ It required no special revelation to direct men to these, as convenient indicators of time. The course of the Moon, and especially the appearance of the New Moon, would suggest a division, roughly stated, of months of twenty eight days. This, perhaps, would be the first and most prevalent division. It certainly was all but a universal one; for it is found even where weeks were alone unknown, and where they are still unknown,—among the aborigines of the New World.— — — — Our purpose is merely to show that a septenary division of time might have suggested itself to man’s reason, acting upon the luminaries, which we find God’s Providence intended for his guidance in such matters; without any special revelation, much less any hint of the Sabbath being necessarily implied in the existence of such a division.”

Another able writer observes, on this point:— “The phases of the Moon supply a familiar mark of time to the simplest and rudest nations,—the phenomena of the new and full Moon, especially, being such that men cannot fail to notice and employ them as the natural rule of their calendar. And, If a two-fold division of the month is thus a matter of necessity to ordinary observation, a four-fold division also is at least inevitably suggested by the Moon’s intermediate phase.—Thus we have the week of seven days. It is almost impossible, then, to avoid the conclusion to which we are pointing, when once we have discarded (as the majority of thoughtful men have consented to discard) the notion of an actual six-day’s period of creation. So long as that notion was maintained indeed, and was considered as a necessary part of religious belief, we could respect and even sympathise with the fixed determination to see nothing in the facts we have referred to beyond a singular coincidence. But now that we perceive ourselves both permitted and compelled to regard the seven Mosaic days as a figure of speech, an accommodation to some previously existing mode of thought, we are prepared to listen in a totally different attitude of mind to what reason and history have to say.” (Quoted in Cox’s Literature of the Sabbath Question, i. p.290.)

Yes:—no doubt that is true. That “the week of seven days,” was really the object of the weekly Sabbath among the Hebrews is still more plain from the fact that the New Moon was—at least in the olden times—regarded by them as a more important day than the ordinary Sabbath, and accordingly, in addition to the usual daily sacrifice, the Levitical Law provides a “burnt-offering” on the New Moon of “two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs,” with a kid for a sin-offering,—whereas on the Sabbath the additional sacrifice was only a burnt-offering of “two lambs.” (N. 28, 9. 11.) The New Moon, in short, was the first Sabbath of the month, which was specially announced by trumpet sounds, and gave the law, as it were, for the rest, the first, eighth, fifteenth, and twenty-second days of every month being kept as days of rest, and the next Sabbath being the first of the following month; though, as the lunar changes are completed—not in 28, but—in 29½ days, it would seem that the last week of the month must have contained sometimes eight and sometimes nine days, and probably lasted until the New Moon was seen. Hence the New Moon is always named first in connection with the Sabbath by the prophets before the Captivity,—as I have already shewn. It was only about the time of the Captivity that greater stress was laid upon the observance of the Sabbath. And here, I would observe, that it must be clearly understood that with the Hebrews (as with other Oriental nations), the terms month and moon were alike: they having 13 months, or moons, in their year, and not like the moderns 12.

Before, however, I leave this part of my subject on which so much depends, I would call attention to two wonderful modern discoveries, bearing on the matter before us,—which have justly created such a sensation among thoughtful and intelligent men, viz. (1) the finding of the engraved Moabite Stone; and (2) the decyphering of the cuneiform writing, or inscriptions, [12] engraved on the Assyrian tablets of burnt clay. Truly we have “sermons in stones, and good in everything,” to a degree that Shakespeare never dreamt of! I can, however, only just refer to them here; each, to do it justice, would take much time and writing. From those wonderfully preserved Assyrian tablets, (dug out of the ruins of the palace-library of the ancient Kings of Assyria, and written several thousand years ago! and only lately decyphered,) we learn very many things of the first consequence in Biblical Criticism, the same being highly elucidatory of the Old Testament narrations, and of their sources. But, what I would particularly notice now is, those tablets which contain the great astrological and astronomical work of the ancient Babylonians,— “composed for Babylonian Kings before the 16th century b.c.,”—or, more than a 100 years before the Jews left their slavery in Egypt. These are full of statements about the moon and the other planets and the stars, and their conjunctions and eclipses; and how they were predicted and watched for, and regularly noted down at their observatories, and sent in punctually to the Royal Court. The Babylonian Year was divided into 12 months of 30 days each, with an intercalary (or additional) month every 6 years. (Thus: Ancient Babylonia, 12 x 30 = 360 x 6 = 2160 ÷ 30 = 2190: Modern European, 365 x 6 = 2190.) How astonishingly accurate! being quite correct!! and that, too, without the aid of the telescopes and the hundred other helps of modern discovery invention and science. Further: with them “according to the lunar division, the 7th., 14th., 19th., 21st., and 28th., were days of rest” (Sabbaths), “on which certain works were forbidden.” So that, we see, what with our scholars and reasonable men a few years ago was but a belief, a conjecture, a possibility,—bascd, however, on a direct logical conclusion,—now passes into a certainty. The Assyrian names of the months also closely agree with the Hebrew, beginning also with Nisan (Nisannu, Assyrian).

Very much more may be reasonably expected and looked for from those interesting remains ; at which many highly-skilled scholars from all countries are now hard at work, which will tend more and more to throw light on our Bible,—both the Old Testament and the New. This saying may seem strange to some, viz., that those very ancient Babylonian and Assyrian records can throw any light on the New Testament, whatever they may do on the Old one; therefore, I will just give an nistance. There is “the holiness of the number seven;” with “the song of the seven evil spirits (or demons) which haunt or enter into a man at once,”—with the proper demoniacal “exorcism, &c., for driving them out.” One tablet has it,—

“The Song of the Seven Spirits.”

They are seven! they are seven!

In the depths of ocean they are seven!

In the heights of heaven they are seven!

In the ocean stream in a palace they were born.

Male they are not: female they are not!

Wives they have not! Children are not born to them!

Rule they have not! Government they know not!

Prayers they hear not!

They are seven, and they are seven!
Twice over they are seven!

“This wild chant touches one of the deepest chords of their religious feeling. They held that seven evil spirits at once might enter into a man: there are frequent allusions to them, and to their expulsion, on the tablets. One runs thus:—

“The god (. . . .) shall stand by his bedside:

Those seven evil spirits he shall root out, and shall expel them from his body.

And those seven shall never return to the sick man again.”—

Compare this with what is said of Mary Magdalene, (Mark 16. 9: Luke 8. 2,) and of the last state of an unfortunate man), (Mat. 12. 45: Luke 11. 26,)—also of the number seven in many other passages.—Here I would remark, that it is very noticeable, that this peculiar demoniacal lore, or at least the beginning of it, the Jews appear to have brought back with them when they returned from Babylon: [13] for never read of any reference to the existence of a devil in any of those parts of the Bible, which were written before the Babylonish Captivity,—Thus, the moving of David to number Israel (2 Sam. 24.), is, in the older book ascribed to Jehovah, but in the later book of Chronicles (1 Ch. 21.) is ascribed to Satan. And so in the time of Jesus (as is seen, for example, constantly in Josephus) the belief in the possession of men by demons, was thoroughly established among all the Jews, with the exception of the Sadducees alone. —

The Moabite Stone was lately found among the ruins of Dibon in the land of Moab, on the E. side of the Dead Sea. It had engraved in really good old Hebrew (or, more properly speaking, Phenician) characters, a most interesting record of 3 series of events in the reign of Mesha King of Moab. For nearly 3000 years that stone had lain there exposed to all the elements uncared for! and now it was found with all its inscriptions most beautifully preserved. Among other things we find the following, which may be here very briefly noticed.—(1) It was erected about the year 890 B.C., (only 75 years after Solomon’s time,) by Mesha King of Moab, as “a stone of salvation and thanks to their god Chemosh, for enabling Mesha to see his desire upon his enemies, and to deliver his people from their enemies the Israelites,” to whom they had been tributary. (Just as Samuel is said, 230 years before, to have erected a similar stone, “Ebenezer,” for the Israelites, on their defeating the Philistimes (1 S. 7. 12.) (2) In the Moabites beating the Israelites, they took away from them, some towns and country and many people, and also their golden vessels from Nebo, one of their high places, which the Israelites had dedicated to their national god Jehovah,—and these the Moabites now dedicated to the services of their god Chemosh, (3) The whole is given in very plain language, nothing high-flown or stilted; almost remarkable, in this respect, for an Oriental production ; occupying altogether 34 lines of inscription. (4) But its plain statement varies astonishingly from the wonderful account of the same transaction—the same war—as given us in the Book of Kings (2 K. 3). (5) And then comes the question.—Which of the two is the correct statement? One thing is certain,— they cannot both be true.

Now with the many, among “religious” people,—including, I fear, not a few Ministers and Sunday School Teachers,—the “Bible” statement must be true.

Notwithstanding, two or three wee things, I may, perhaps, be allowed to call their attention to.—

1. The Moabite Stone was engraved and erected at the time, to commemorate that particular deliverance; it was a public thing open to all, all could see it, all might read it in their own tongue. But the Jewish story was written (as I have already shewn) some 450 years after,—after, too, the return of the remnant of the Jews from their long Captivity; and its writing was altogether more of a private character.

2. The Moabites never again became tributary to the Israelites, although living so very close to them; so that one might reasonably infer the Jews had had enough of it on that occasion. Besides the Israelites were bound, by their Levitical laws (Deut. 23. 3), never to be neighbourly with them; which old spite, it appears, they also endeavored to renew after their return from the Captivity (Neh. 13. 1), although their most famous king, David, was descended from Ruth the Moabitess! who was his great grandmother; and, to the care of the King of Moab, David had also sent his parents for protection, when in great trouble from Saul. (1 Sam. 22. 3. 4.)

3. The yearly tribute which Mesha the King of Moab had to pay to Israel according to the story in the Bible (2 Kings, 3.), was “100,000 lambs, and 100,000 rams, with their woo1.” Now this petty kingdom of Moab only comprised a small tract of country, about 40 miles long by 10 broad, (just like a narrow slip extending from .NapIer to Waipawa,—but nothing like it, in its grass, or water, or in its general fertility,)—and most of my readers here in New Zealand can better



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