« السابقةمتابعة »
could not have been known that that day was ordained for a day of holy rest, which before was none.'
Bramhall also says, The first sabbath that we find in holy scripture to have been ever observed by the Israelites, was in the wilderness, upon the seventh day after the first falling of manna, which was the two-and-twentieth day of the second month; but it is evident that the fifteenth day of the same month, which ought to have been their sabbath or day of rest, if they had constantly observed any sabbath, or weekly day of rest, before that time, was not observed as a sabbath or day of rest at all, but spent in journeying and in murmuring. Exod. xvi. l. From whence one of two things must necessarily follow ; either that the Israelites in the wilderness (when they were at their own disposition) did observe no weekly sabbath before that time; or that they observed it not upon the same day of the week that they did afterwards. Whethersoever of these they admit, either the one or the other, their pretended necessity of the universal observation of the seventh day from the first creation by virtue of a positive law of God, given to all mankind, doth fall flat to the ground.'
It may seem hopeless to struggle, when laid “flat on the ground' under the horns of such a dilemma; but I trust to the truth to set me free,' and enable me to cut off both those horns assuming so irresistible a front, or, in plain English, to show that they are both altogether erroneous.
We are all agreed that the Israelites came to the Wilderness of Sin on the fifteenth day of the second month, exactly a month after their departure from Egypt; but we agree no farther. The common error of these three great men is the supposition, that quails were sent that evening of the fifteenth, and the manna next morning, and so on for six days, and that the sabbath was on the twenty-second. All this I expect to show to be erroneous by incontrovertible proof. And by the same kind of proof, I expect to establish the following to have been the real particulars and circumstances of the transaction. “I speak as unto wise men: judge ye what I say.” They came to the Wilderness of Sin late in the evening of the fifteenth, the day of their journey from Elim. They continued murmuring a great part of the night, in the course of which the quails and manna were promised through Moses, and at the same time he announced that the glory of the Lord, the symbol of the divine presence, should appear neat morning, that is, on the sixteenth, at which time it did appear, and then they were told by God himself that the quails should come in the following evening, and manna the next morning; that is, on the evening and morning of the seventeenth. That day on which these promises were given from the divine presence, was the sixteenth, and the seventh before the manna sabbath (if I may so call it). And on that day they did rest, because it was the sabbath ; a divine communication was granted, because it was the sabbath, and the granting of the quails and manna was suspended until the day was over, (notwithstanding their urgent necessity,) because it was the sabbath. So soon as that day was over, viz. at even, at six o'clock, which with them was the commencement of the next or first day of the week, or seventeenth of the month, the quails came; and in the following morning of the same day, the manna was sent: and so on for six days, and the seventh was the manna sabbath, which was the twenty-third day of the month, and not the twentysecond, as our authors suppose. If I establish these points, all their arguments fall flat to the ground, and the proof will be all in our favour. And I expect, moreover, to find in this chapter, on close inspection, several intimations and proofs, that the sabbath was not then instituted for the first time, but previously known,—the institution known and remembered, but the precise day, perhaps, forgotten during their captivity.
It is agreed on all hands that their journey on the fifteenth was very long. Shaw travelled the same road from Elim. It took his company nine hours from Elim ON CAMELS to come to and cross the desert of Sin. The Israelites, however, did not go quite across ity--they stopped in it; but their company consisted of a mixed multitude of men, women, and children, all on foot. Therefore, at soonest, they could not have arrived before evening, or six o'clock. Now, let us suppose ourselves present, and watching the time which the various transactions required. Six hundred thousand men, and a proportional number of women and children, arrive at evening. They first pitch their camp; they then examine their stores of provisions; they find them deficient. Then must there have been the working up of a conspiracy, and a communication to and fro among that vast multitude; then the communication from the assembled body to Moses, and from Moses to God; from God to Moses, and from Moses and Aaron to the people. Now, what time did all this process require ? Most certainly not less than twelve hours. In truth, it must have lasted all night. It was then the full of the moon, and any one residing in Ireland knows how favourable moonlight is for works of rebellion. But what time, think you, gentle reader, do Heylyn and Bramhall allow for these transactions ? Why truly no time at all! The Israelites, according to them, come to the wilderness at even, at six o'clock; and at six o'clock on the same evening, after all these transactions, the quails are sent, and next morning the manna. So that, to make their account possible, time must have stood still during all those transactions.
But what time, think you, gentle reader, was there for
all these transactions on Mede's hypothesis ? Why, truly, much iess than no time. He says, that they did not arrive until night. Suppose at nine o'clock; and yet quails came at even, at six o'clock of the same evening. So that to make good his argument, time must not only have stood still, to allow space for those multiplied transactions, but it must have actually gone backwards some hours to get at the even for the coming of the quails. Where now are Bramhall's horns, and where is Mede's certainty ?
But I have still stronger proof. During the progress of the murmuring-take it as early as you please, annihilate time, and place it at even—Moses tells them that in the morning they “shall see the glory of God.”* And when the glory of the Lord did appear in the morning, the Lord said, “ At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread,” ver. xvi. 12. “ And it came to . pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay round about the host." Now, if the glory which Moses told them they should see in the morning was the glory of the Lord which they really did see in the cloud, the quails were not sent until the evening closing the day after their arrival, nor the manna given until the following morning. Indeed, I should consider it rather an insult on my reader's understanding, and puerile trifling, to suppose it necessary to prove that the glory foretold by Moses was to be understood of the glory which appeared so soon after, if some commentator
* In the daytime the usual appearance of the pillar was that of a cloud. When a divine communication was made it assumed the appearance of fire. At night it always assumed the appearance of fire; therefore at that time there could not have been a sign of a divine communication, as during the daylight: this probably was one of the reasons for deferring the communication until morning.
(I forget who) prizing interpretations as the Romans did their luxuries, (the farther fetched the better,) had not stated the doubt that the glory to be seen in the morning might mean the miracle of the manna! But why the manna in the morning should be called a glory more than the quails in the evening, this commentator has not informed us; but the existence of a doubt obliges me to prove that the same thing is intended in both passages. The translators of the Bible considered them one and the same, for in the marginal note on the seventh verse, they refer to the tenth, and in that on the tenth, they refer to the seventh. In fact, the very same word is used in the Hebrew in both places. There are, moreover, other connecting circumstances mentioned, which clearly identify the one with the other. Verse 7, “ And in the morning ye shall see the glory of THE LORD, for that he heareth your murmurings against the Lord.” And when Moses summoned them before the divine presence, he repeats the very same words, verse 9, “Come now before THE LORD, for he hath heard your murmurings.” And in the tenth verse, when “the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud, the Lord spake to Moses out of the glory, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel." Is it possible, then, to doubt whether the same thing be meant in the three verses, when precisely the same words are used; and the same word used in the Hebrew for the glory of the Lord, in the different passages ?* It seems to me, as I trust it will to my
· * The pillar always accompanied the Israelites, or rather led them. It directed their journeyings and their encampments. When it rose, they prepared for a march; when it rested they halted. They had a tabernacle before the order for making one was given on Sinai. On this tabernacle the pillar rested, or rather the tabernacle was pitched where the pillar rested. This place was always without the camp, (Ex. xxix. 43 ; xxxii. 7.) This