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That of the prophetess was called Maher-shalalhash-baz, and
that of Mary was called Jesus.--Author.]

But to show the imposition and falsehood of Isaiah we have only to
attend to the sequel of this story; which, though it is passed over in
silence in the book of Isaiah, is related in 2 Chronicles, xxviii;
and which is, that instead of these two kings failing in their attempt
against Ahaz, king of Judah, as Isaiah had pretended to foretel in the
name of the Lord, they succeeded: Ahaz was defeated and destroyed; an
hundred and twenty thousand of his people were slaughtered; Jerusalem
was plundered, and two hundred thousand women and sons and daughters
carried into captivity. Thus much for this lying prophet and imposter
Isaiah, and the book of falsehoods that bears his name. I pass on to the
book of Jeremiah. This prophet, as he is called, lived in the time that
Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, in the reign of Zedekiah, the last
king of Judah; and the suspicion was strong against him that he was
a traitor in the interest of Nebuchadnezzar. Every thing relating to
Jeremiah shows him to have been a man of an equivocal character: in
his metaphor of the potter and the clay, (ch. xviii.) he guards his
prognostications in such a crafty manner as always to leave himself a
door to escape by, in case the event should be contrary to what he had
predicted. In the 7th and 8th verses he makes the Almighty to say,
"At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a
kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and destroy it, if that nation,
against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent me
of the evil that I thought to do unto them." Here was a proviso against
one side of the case: now for the other side. Verses 9 and 10, "At what
instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to
build and to plant it, if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not
my voice, then I will repent me of the good wherewith I said I would
benefit them." Here is a proviso against the other side; and, according
to this plan of prophesying, a prophet could never be wrong, however
mistaken the Almighty might be. This sort of absurd subterfuge, and
this manner of speaking of the Almighty, as one would speak of a man, is
consistent with nothing but the stupidity of the Bible.

As to the authenticity of the book, it is only necessary to read it in
order to decide positively that, though some passages recorded therein
may have been spoken by Jeremiah, he is not the author of the book. The
historical parts, if they can be called by that name, are in the most
confused condition; the same events are several times repeated, and that
in a manner different, and sometimes in contradiction to each other;
and this disorder runs even to the last chapter, where the history, upon
which the greater part of the book has been employed, begins anew, and
ends abruptly. The book has all the appearance of being a medley of
unconnected anecdotes respecting persons and things of that time,
collected together in the same rude manner as if the various and
contradictory accounts that are to be found in a bundle of newspapers,
respecting persons and things of the present day, were put together
without date, order, or explanation. I will give two or three examples
of this kind.

It appears, from the account of chapter xxxvii. that the army of
Nebuchadnezzer, which is called the army of the Chaldeans, had besieged
Jerusalem some time; and on their hearing that the army of Pharaoh of
Egypt was marching against them, they raised the siege and retreated for
a time. It may here be proper to mention, in order to understand this
confused history, that Nebuchadnezzar had besieged and taken Jerusalem
during the reign of Jehoakim, the redecessor of Zedekiah; and that it
was Nebuchadnezzar who had make Zedekiah king, or rather viceroy; and
that this second siege, of which the book of Jeremiah treats, was in
consequence of the revolt of Zedekiah against Nebuchadnezzar. This
will in some measure account for the suspicion that affixes
itself to Jeremiah of being a traitor, and in the interest of
Nebuchadnezzar,--whom Jeremiah calls, xliii. 10, the servant of God.

Chapter xxxvii. 11-13, says, "And it came to pass, that, when the army
of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem, for fear of Pharaoh's
army, that Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem, to go (as this account
states) into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the
midst of the people; and when he was in the gate of Benjamin a captain
of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah... and he took Jeremiah the
prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans; then Jeremiah said,
It is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans." Jeremiah being thus
stopt and accused, was, after being examined, committed to prison, on
suspicion of being a traitor, where he remained, as is stated in the
last verse of this chapter.

But the next chapter gives an account of the imprisonment of Jeremiah,
which has no connection with this account, but ascribes his imprisonment
to another circumstance, and for which we must go back to chapter
xxi. It is there stated, ver. 1, that Zedekiah sent Pashur the son of
Malchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, to Jeremiah,
to enquire of him concerning Nebuchadnezzar, whose army was then before
Jerusalem; and Jeremiah said to them, ver. 8, "Thus saith the Lord,
Behold I set before you the way of life, and the way of death; he that
abideth in this city shall die by the sword and by the famine, and by
the pestilence; but he that goeth out and falleth to the Chaldeans that
besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey."

This interview and conference breaks off abruptly at the end of the 10th
verse of chapter xxi.; and such is the disorder of this book that we
have to pass over sixteen chapters upon various subjects, in order to
come at the continuation and event of this conference; and this brings
us to the first verse of chapter xxxviii., as I have just mentioned. The
chapter opens with saying, "Then Shaphatiah, the son of Mattan, Gedaliah
the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur the son of
Malchiah, (here are more persons mentioned than in chapter xxi.) heard
the words that Jeremiah spoke unto all the people, saying, Thus saith
the Lord, He that remaineth in this city, shall die by the sword, by
famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans
shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live";
[which are the words of the conference;] therefore, (say they to
Zedekiah,) "We beseech thee, let this man be put to death, for thus he
weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the
hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them; for this man
seeketh not the welfare of the people, but the hurt:" and at the 6th
verse it is said, "Then they took Jeremiah, and put him into the dungeon
of Malchiah."

These two accounts are different and contradictory. The one ascribes his
imprisonment to his attempt to escape out of the city; the other to his
preaching and prophesying in the city; the one to his being seized by
the guard at the gate; the other to his being accused before Zedekiah
by the conferees. [I observed two chapters in I Samuel (xvi. and xvii.)
that contradict each other with respect to David, and the manner he
became acquainted with Saul; as Jeremiah xxxvii. and xxxviii. contradict
each other with respect to the cause of Jeremiah's imprisonment.

In 1 Samuel, xvi., it is said, that an evil spirit of God troubled Saul,
and that his servants advised him (as a remedy) "to seek out a man who
was a cunning player upon the harp." And Saul said, ver. 17, "Provide me
now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one
of his servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse, the
Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty man, and a man of
war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with
him; wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David,
thy son. And (verse 21) David came to Saul, and stood before him, and
he loved him greatly, and he became his armour-bearer; and when the
evil spirit from God was upon Saul, (verse 23) David took his harp, and
played with his hand, and Saul was refreshed, and was well."

But the next chapter (xvii.) gives an account, all different to this, of
the manner that Saul and David became acquainted. Here it is ascribed
to David's encounter with Goliah, when David was sent by his father to
carry provision to his brethren in the camp. In the 55th verse of
this chapter it is said, "And when Saul saw David go forth against the
Philistine (Goliah) he said to Abner, the captain of the host, Abner,
whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, 0 king, I
cannot tell. And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is.
And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took
him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his
hand; and Saul said unto him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And
David answered, I am the son of thy servant, Jesse, the Betblehemite,"
These two accounts belie each other, because each of them supposes Saul
and David not to have known each other before. This book, the Bible, is
too ridiculous for criticism.--Author.]

In the next chapter (Jer. xxxix.) we have another instance of the
disordered state of this book; for notwithstanding the siege of the
city by Nebuchadnezzar has been the subject of several of the preceding
chapters, particularly xxxvii. and xxxviii., chapter xxxix. begins as
if not a word had been said upon the subject, and as if the reader was
still to be informed of every particular respecting it; for it begins
with saying, ver. 1, "In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in
the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army,
against Jerusalem, and besieged it," etc.

But the instance in the last chapter (lii.) is still more glaring; for
though the story has been told over and over again, this chapter still
supposes the reader not to know anything of it, for it begins by saying,
ver.



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