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18, 19, 20, 21, which authorizes parents, the
father and the mother, to bring their own children to have them stoned
to death for what it pleased them to call stubbornness.--But priests
have always been fond of preaching up Deuteronomy, for Deuteronomy
preaches up tythes; and it is from this book, xxv. 4, they have taken
the phrase, and applied it to tything, that "thou shalt not muzzle
the ox when he treadeth Out the corn:" and that this might not escape
observation, they have noted it in the table of contents at the head of
the chapter, though it is only a single verse of less than two lines. O
priests! priests! ye are willing to be compared to an ox, for the sake
of tythes. [An elegant pocket edition of Paine's Theological Works
(London. R. Carlile, 1822) has in its title a picture of Paine, as a
Moses in evening dress, unfolding the two tables of his "Age of Reason"
to a farmer from whom the Bishop of Llandaff (who replied to this work)
has taken a sheaf and a lamb which he is carrying to a church at the
summit of a well stocked hill.--Editor.]--Though it is impossible for
us to know identically who the writer of Deuteronomy was, it is not
difficult to discover him professionally, that he was some Jewish
priest, who lived, as I shall shew in the course of this work, at least
three hundred and fifty years after the time of Moses.

I come now to speak of the historical and chronological evidence. The
chronology that I shall use is the Bible chronology; for I mean not to
go out of the Bible for evidence of any thing, but to make the Bible
itself prove historically and chronologically that Moses is not the
author of the books ascribed to him. It is therefore proper that I
inform the readers (such an one at least as may not have the opportunity
of knowing it) that in the larger Bibles, and also in some smaller ones,
there is a series of chronology printed in the margin of every page for
the purpose of showing how long the historical matters stated in each
page happened, or are supposed to have happened, before Christ, and
consequently the distance of time between one historical circumstance
and another.

I begin with the book of Genesis.--In Genesis xiv., the writer gives an
account of Lot being taken prisoner in a battle between the four kings
against five, and carried off; and that when the account of Lot being
taken came to Abraham, that he armed all his household and marched to
rescue Lot from the captors; and that he pursued them unto Dan. (ver.
14.)

To shew in what manner this expression of Pursuing them unto Dan applies
to the case in question, I will refer to two circumstances, the one in
America, the other in France. The city now called New York, in America,
was originally New Amsterdam; and the town in France, lately called
Havre Marat, was before called Havre-de-Grace. New Amsterdam was changed
to New York in the year 1664; Havre-de-Grace to Havre Marat in the year
1793. Should, therefore, any writing be found, though without date,
in which the name of New-York should be mentioned, it would be certain
evidence that such a writing could not have been written before, and
must have been written after New Amsterdam was changed to New York, and
consequently not till after the year 1664, or at least during the course
of that year. And in like manner, any dateless writing, with the name
of Havre Marat, would be certain evidence that such a writing must have
been written after Havre-de-Grace became Havre Marat, and consequently
not till after the year 1793, or at least during the course of that
year.

I now come to the application of those cases, and to show that there
was no such place as Dan till many years after the death of Moses; and
consequently, that Moses could not be the writer of the book of Genesis,
where this account of pursuing them unto Dan is given.

The place that is called Dan in the Bible was originally a town of the
Gentiles, called Laish; and when the tribe of Dan seized upon this
town, they changed its name to Dan, in commemoration of Dan, who was the
father of that tribe, and the great grandson of Abraham.

To establish this in proof, it is necessary to refer from Genesis to
chapter xviii. of the book called the Book of judges. It is there said
(ver. 27) that "they (the Danites) came unto Laish to a people that were
quiet and secure, and they smote them with the edge of the sword [the
Bible is filled with murder] and burned the city with fire; and they
built a city, (ver. 28,) and dwelt therein, and [ver. 29,] they called
the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan, their father; howbeit
the name of the city was Laish at the first."

This account of the Danites taking possession of Laish and changing it
to Dan, is placed in the book of Judges immediately after the death of
Samson. The death of Samson is said to have happened B.C. 1120 and
that of Moses B.C. 1451; and, therefore, according to the historical
arrangement, the place was not called Dan till 331 years after the death
of Moses.

There is a striking confusion between the historical and the
chronological arrangement in the book of judges. The last five chapters,
as they stand in the book, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, are put chronologically
before all the preceding chapters; they are made to be 28 years before
the 16th chapter, 266 before the 15th, 245 before the 13th, 195 before
the 9th, go before the 4th, and 15 years before the 1st chapter. This
shews the uncertain and fabulous state of the Bible. According to the
chronological arrangement, the taking of Laish, and giving it the name
of Dan, is made to be twenty years after the death of Joshua, who was
the successor of Moses; and by the historical order, as it stands in
the book, it is made to be 306 years after the death of Joshua, and 331
after that of Moses; but they both exclude Moses from being the writer
of Genesis, because, according to either of the statements, no such a
place as Dan existed in the time of Moses; and therefore the writer of
Genesis must have been some person who lived after the town of Laish had
the name of Dan; and who that person was nobody knows, and consequently
the book of Genesis is anonymous, and without authority.

I come now to state another point of historical and chronological
evidence, and to show therefrom, as in the preceding case, that Moses is
not the author of the book of Genesis.

In Genesis xxxvi. there is given a genealogy of the sons and descendants
of Esau, who are called Edomites, and also a list by name of the kings
of Edom; in enumerating of which, it is said, verse 31, "And these are
the kings that reigned in Edom, before there reigned any king over the
children of Israel."

Now, were any dateless writing to be found, in which, speaking of any
past events, the writer should say, these things happened before there
was any Congress in America, or before there was any Convention in
France, it would be evidence that such writing could not have been
written before, and could only be written after there was a Congress
in America or a Convention in France, as the case might be; and,
consequently, that it could not be written by any person who died before
there was a Congress in the one country, or a Convention in the other.

Nothing is more frequent, as well in history as in conversation, than
to refer to a fact in the room of a date: it is most natural so to do,
because a fact fixes itself in the memory better than a date; secondly,
because the fact includes the date, and serves to give two ideas at
once; and this manner of speaking by circumstances implies as positively
that the fact alluded to is past, as if it was so expressed. When a
person in speaking upon any matter, says, it was before I was married,
or before my son was born, or before I went to America, or before I went
to France, it is absolutely understood, and intended to be understood,
that he has been married, that he has had a son, that he has been in
America, or been in France. Language does not admit of using this mode
of expression in any other sense; and whenever such an expression is
found anywhere, it can only be understood in the sense in which only it
could have been used.

The passage, therefore, that I have quoted--that "these are the kings
that reigned in Edom, before there reigned any king over the children
of Israel," could only have been written after the first king began to
reign over them; and consequently that the book of Genesis, so far from
having been written by Moses, could not have been written till the time
of Saul at least. This is the positive sense of the passage; but the
expression, any king, implies more kings than one, at least it implies
two, and this will carry it to the time of David; and, if taken in
a general sense, it carries itself through all times of the Jewish
monarchy.

Had we met with this verse in any part of the Bible that professed to
have been written after kings began to reign in Israel, it would have
been impossible not to have seen the application of it. It happens then
that this is the case; the two books of Chronicles, which give a history
of all the kings of Israel, are professedly, as well as in fact, written
after the Jewish monarchy began; and this verse that I have quoted,
and all the remaining verses of Genesis xxxvi. are, word for word, In 1
Chronicles i., beginning at the 43d verse.

It was with consistency that the writer of the Chronicles could say as
he has said, 1 Chron. i. 43, "These are the kings that reigned in Edom,
before there reigned any king ever the children of Israel," because he
was going to give, and has given, a list of the kings that had reigned
in Israel; but as it is impossible that the same expression could have
been used before that period, it is as certain as any thing can be
proved from historical language, that this part of Genesis is taken from
Chronicles, and that Genesis is not so old as Chronicles, and probably
not so old as the book of Homer, or as AEsop's Fables; admitting Homer
to have been, as the tables of chronology state, contemporary with
David or Solomon, and AEsop to have lived about the end of the Jewish
monarchy.

Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the author, on which
only the strange belief that it is the word of God has stood, and there
remains nothing of Genesis but an anonymous book of stories, fables, and
traditionary or invented absurdities, or of downright lies.



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