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    November 11, 1886

    “The Ten Kingdoms in the Dark Ages. Visigoths and Suevi. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times 12, 43, p. 676.



    “THE accidental, or artificial, prodigies which adorned the expedition of Clovis, were accepted by a superstitious age, as the manifest declaration of the divine favor. He marched from Paris [A.D. 507]; and as he proceeded with decent reverence through the holy diocese of Tours, his anxiety tempted him to consult the shrine of St. Martin, the sanctuary and the oracle of Gaul. His messengers were instructed to remark the words of the Psalm which should happen to be chanted at the precise moment when they entered the church. Those words most fortunately expressed the valor and victory of the champions of Heaven, and the application was easily transferred to the new Joshua, the new Gideon, who went forth to battle against the enemies of the Lord. Orleans secured to the Franks a bridge on the Loire; but, at the distance of forty miles from Poitiers, their progress was intercepted by an extraordinary swell of the River Vigenna or Vienne; and the opposite banks were covered by the encampment of the Visigoths.SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.1

    “Delay must be always dangerous to barbarians, who consume the country through which they march; and had Clovis possessed leisure and materials, it might have been impracticable to construct a bridge, or to force a passage, in the face of a superior enemy. But the affectionate peasants who were impatient to welcome their deliverer, could easily betray some unknown or unguarded ford: the merit of the discovery was enhanced by the useful interposition of fraud or fiction; and a white hart, of singular size and beauty, appeared to guide and animate the march of the Catholic army. The counsels of the Visigoths were irresolute and distracted. A crowd of impatient warriors, presumptuous in their strength, and disdaining to fly before the robbers of Germany, excited Alaric to assert in arms the name and blood of the conquerors of Rome. The advice of the graver chieftains pressed him to elude the first ardor of the Franks; and to expect, in the southern provinces of Gaul, the veteran and victorious Ostrogoths, whom the king of Italy had already sent to his assistance. The decisive moments were wasted in idle deliberation the Goths too hastily abandoned, perhaps, an advantageous post; and the opportunity of a secure retreat was lost by their slow and disorderly motions.SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.2

    “After Clovis had passed the ford, as it is still named, of the Hart, he advanced with bold and hasty steps to prevent the escape of the enemy. His nocturnal march was directed by a flaming meteor, suspended in the air above the cathedral of Poitiers; and this signal, which might be previously concerted with the orthodox successor of St. Hilary, was compared to the column of fire that guided the Israelites in the desert. At the third hour of the day, about ten miles beyond Poitiers, Clovis overtook, and instantly attacked, the Gothic army; whose defeat was already prepared by terror and confusion. Yet they rallied in their extreme distress, and the martial youths, who had clamorously demanded the battle, refused to survive the ignominy of flight. The two kings encountered each other in single combat. Alaric fell by the hand of his rival; and the victorious Frank was saved by the goodness of his cuirass, and the vigor of his horse, from the spears of two desperate Goths, who furiously rode against him to revenge the death of their sovereign. The vague expression of a mountain of the slain, serves to indicate a cruel though indefinite slaughter; but Gregory has carefully observed, that his valiant countryman Apollinaris, the son of Sidonius, lost his life at the head of the nobles of Auvergne.....SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.3

    “The decisive battle of Poitiers was followed by the conquest of Aquitain. Alaric had left behind him an infant son, a bastard competitor, factious nobles, and a disloyal people; and the remaining forces of the Goths were oppressed by the general consternation, or opposed to each other in civil discord. The victorious king of the Franks proceeded without delay to the siege of Angoulême. At the sound of his trumpets the walls of the city imitated the example of Jericho, and instantly fell to the ground; a splendid miracle, which may be reduced to the supposition, that some clerical engineers had secretly undermined the foundations of the rampart. At Bordeaux, which had submitted without resistance, Clovis established his winter quarters; and his prudent economy transported from Thoulouse the royal treasures, which were deposited in the capital of the monarchy.SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.4

    “The conqueror penetrated as far as the confines of Spain; restored the honors of the Catholic church; fixed in Aquitain a colony of Franks; and delegated to his lieutenants the easy task of subduing, or extirpating, the nation of the Visigoths. But the Visigoths were protected by the wise and powerful monarch of Italy. While the balance was still equal, Theodoric had perhaps delayed the march of the Ostrogoths; but their strenuous efforts successfully resisted the ambition of Clovis; and the army of the Franks, and their Burgundian allies, was compelled to raise the siege of Arles, with the loss, as it is said, of thirty thousand men. These vicissitudes inclined the fierce spirit of Clovis to acquiesce in an advantageous treaty of peace. The Visigoths were suffered to retain the possession of Septimania, a narrow tract of sea-coast, from the Rhone to the Pyrenees; but the ample province of Aquitain, from those mountains to the Loire, was indissolubly united to the kingdom of France.SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.5

    “The Visigoths had resigned to Clovis the greatest part of their Gallic possessions; but their loss was amply compensated by the easy conquest, and secure enjoyment, of the provinces of Spain. From the monarchy of the Goths, which soon involved the Suevic kingdom of Gallicia, the modern Spaniards still derive some national vanity.”—Dec. and Fall, chap. 38, par. 12, 13, 29.SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.6

    As from this time (about A.D. 508) onward, the Visigothic kingdom occupied Spain; and the Suevi occupied a “part of the peninsula which now forms Portugal,” the future history of these two nations is the history of Spain and Portugal, and it cannot be expected that we should follow the history of these two great nations throughout. Besides this it is only our purpose upon the best authorities to fix under the modern names of Western Europe the descent of the barbarian nations which founded their kingdoms upon the ruins of Western Rome. Therefore by the following quotation we shall take our leave of the Visigoths and the Suevi:—SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.7

    “In Spain the Goth supplies an important element in the modern nation. And that element has been neither forgotten nor despised. Part of the unconquered region of northern Spain the land of Asturia, kept for a while the name of Gothia, as did the Gothic possessions in Gaul and Crim. The name of the people who played as great a part in all souther Europe, and who actually ruled over so large a portion, has now wholly passed away; but it is in Spain that its historical impress is to be looked for.”—Encyclopedia Britannica, art. Goths, par. 18.SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.8


    In keeping the connection in the story of the Visigoths, we have been obliged to anticipate the important movements in the earlier history of Clovis. There was a small portion of Gaul, embracing the cities of Rheims, Troyes, Beauvais, Amiens, and the city and diocese of Soisons, which was still fairly Roman, and was ruled by Syagrius, a Roman, under the title of Patrician, or, as some give it, king of the Romans. “The first exploit of Clovis was the defeat of Syagius,” in A.D. 486, and the reduction of the country which had acknowledged his authority. By this victory all the country of Gaul below the Moselle, clear to the Seine, was possessed by the Franks. Up to this point the Franks and the Alemanni had made almost an equal progress in Gaul, and had made their conquests in that province, apparently in perfect national friendliness. But now both nations had become so powerful it was impossible that two such fierce and warlike nations should subsist side by side without an appeal to arms for the decision of the question as to which should have the supremacy. Here also the scale turned in favor of the Franks, as likewise it did soon afterward in the contest with the Burgundians, and still later with the Lombards. But though the Franks defeated, and established their supremacy over, all these, yet they all were allowed to still maintain their own national existence, and were governed according to their own manners and institutions, only acknowledging the overlordship of their more powerful rivals. The defeat of the Alemanni was by Clovis in A.D. 496, and is related by Gibbon as follows:—SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.9

    “From the source of the Rhine to its conflux with the Mein and the Moselle, the formidable swarms of the Alemanni commanded either side of the river, by the right of ancient possession, or recent victory. They had spread themselves into Gaul, over the modern provinces of Alsace and Lorraine; and their bold invasion of the kingdom of Cologne summoned the Salic prince to the defence of his Ripuarian allies. Clovis encountered the invaders of Gaul in the plain of Tolbiac, about twenty-four miles from Cologne; and the two fiercest nations of Germany were mutually animated by the memory of past exploits, and the prospect of future greatness. The Franks, after an obstinate struggle, gave way; and the Alemanni, raising a shout of victory, impetuously pressed their retreat. But the battle was restored by the valor, and the conduct, and perhaps by the piety, of Clovis; and the event of the bloody day decided forever the alternative of empire or servitude. The last king of the Alemanni was slain in the field, and his people were slaughtered or pursued, till they threw down their arms, and yielded to the mercy of the conqueror. Without discipline it was impossible for them to rally: they had contemptuously demolished the walls and fortifications which might have protected their distress; and they were followed into the heart of their forests by an enemy not less active, or intrepid, than themselves. The great Theodoric congratulated the victory of Clovis, whose sister Albofleda the king of Italy had lately married; but he mildly interceded with his brother in favor of the suppliants and fugitives, who had implored his protection. The Gallic territories, which were possessed by the Alemanni, became the prize of their conqueror; and the haughty nation, invincible, or rebellious, to the arms of Rome, acknowledged the sovereignty of the Merovingian kings, who graciously permitted them to enjoy their peculiar manners and institutions, under the government of official, and, at length, of hereditary, dukes.”—Chap. 38, par. 5.SITI November 11, 1886, page 676.10


    (To be continued.)

    “Bible Answers to Bible Questions Concerning Man” The Signs of the Times 12, 43, pp. 678, 679.

    IN the thoughts of man there are a great many questions which arise concerning himself. Some of these are highly important. So important indeed are they that the word of God itself has recorded them. Nor is that all. This word has not only recorded the questions, but it has also recorded the answers to the questions. And when the word of God asks a question and answers it, then in the answer we have the absolute truth on that question, and there is an end of all dispute, there is no room for controversy. For “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” Isaiah 48:17. Therefore whatever the Lord teaches is profitable teaching. Whether we believe it, or whether we like it or not, makes no difference so far as the teaching is concerned. The teaching is profitable, and everything that conflicts with it is unprofitable. The way the Lord leads is the way that we should go, and to follow any other lead is to go in the way that we should not.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.1

    In the eighth psalm and the fourth verse is this question, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” Of course there are more ways than one in which this question can be referred to man, but the thing about man upon which we wish now to bring it to bear is that of immortality. “What is man?” is he mortal or immortal? We have not far to go for an answer. “Shall mortal man be more just than God?” Job 4:17. “O Lord, thou art our God; let not mortal man prevail against thee.” 2 Chronicles 14:11, margin. Thus we find in answer to the question that the word of God calls man mortal, and everything that the Bible says directly about immortality is consistent with this answer.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.2

    Says this word in 1 Timothy, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Chap. 1:17. Here it is shown that immortality is an attribute of God, equally with eternity, wisdom, honor, glory, etc. None of these belong to man as he is.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.3

    Again, speaking of the appearing of Jesus Christ, the word says, “In his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, the Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.4

    Christ has brought this immortality to light. Says the word, the purpose and grace of God “is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10. What the gospel is, in a few words, is shown by 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you.... for I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, ad that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Thus, then, in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is summed up the gospel; and “through the gospel” it is said Christ “brought life and immortality to light.” Certainly it was not by dying nor being buried that either life or immortality was brought to light, for both these things were familiar to all men; but to rise again from the dead and bring with him a multitude of the dead, who also appeared unto many (Matthew 27:52, 53) that was to bring to light something that had never been seen before; that was to bring life and immortality to light indeed. Therefore it is through the resurrection that Christ has brought immortality to light.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.5

    Again, the Scripture says that God will render eternal life “to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality.” Romans 2:6, 7. Now as immortality is to be sought for, and as God is the only one who has it, and as Christ is the only one who brought it to light, it follows that immortality must be sought of God, through Christ. Even so says the Scritpure, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Romans 6:23; 1 John 5:11, 12.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.6

    Having then sought and found immortality in Christ, when is it bestowed upon us as our own? “Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.... But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-57.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.7

    Thus the story which the word of God tells about immortality is this: Man, being mortal, has it not; God has it; Christ has brought it to light through the gospel; man is to seek for it of God, through Christ, and will obtain it at the resurrection of the dead; for then it is that this mortal puts on immortality; then it is that death is swallowed up in victory. This comes “at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,” and the living shall be changed. But when is it that the last trumps ounds? It is when the Lord Jesus comes in his glory. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.SITI November 11, 1886, page 678.8

    Immortality is obtained of God, through Christ, at the resurrection of the dead. It is the sound of the last trump that awakes the dead. That trump is sounded at the coming of the Lord. Therefore without the second coming of the Lord Jesus we shall never receive immortality. For this reason we long for his glorious appearing. We watch, we wait for him, who shall change our “vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,” for “we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.1


    “Why Will They Do It?” The Signs of the Times 12, 43, p. 679.

    LAST week we made the inquiry that if the first day be the Sabbath why then is not the commandment printed so? We believe that every one will agree with us in the answer which we gave, that to print the fourth commandment so that it would read first day instead of seventh day as God wrote it would be wrong. Now we ask in all seriousness, for it is a serious thing, If it would be wrong to print the commandment so as to read first day instead of “seventh day,” then how can it be right to teach the commandment as though it read, first day?SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.1

    With but two exceptions, all professed Christian churches throughout the world teach that the first day of the week is the Sabbath according to the fourth commandment. This too in the very face of the commandment as God wrote it, and as it stands printed in the Bible. In the Sunday-schools, everywhere, and in the Bands of Hope, the fourth commandment is given to the children as a task to be learned. The children are told that that is the word of God; that God wrote it himself, and that it is sin to do contrary to it. The children learn the commandment as God wrote it, and as they find it printed, and that is, “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God;” they recite it so in their classes, very often in concert; and then when any of them innocently ask, as they often do, “Why do we not keep the seventh day,” immediately they are told by their teacher that the seventh day is not the Sabbath. We personally know of a Sunday-school concert wherein a part of the exercise was, that the whole school should in concert repeat the fourth commandment. They did it, and did it correctly. Then the minister, a presiding elder he was too, by the way, asked some questions on the commandment, one of which was this: “Which day is the Sabbath?” And in the very words of the Lord and of the commandment, the young voices in concert rang out loud and clear the answer, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” Then the minister said to them, “O no! the first day is the Sabbath.” Now we say that such is not fair dealing with the children nor with the word of God. First the children are required to learn that the seventh day is the Sabbath, and then they are required immediately to unlearn it. First they are required to learn that the words of the commandment are the words of God, and then they are required immediately to put away the words of the Lord and accept the words of man instead.SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.2

    If the seventh day is not the Sabbath of the Lord, then why are the children required both to learn and to unlearn that it is? If the first day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord, then, to learn it, why are the children sent to the commandment that says the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord? Why not teach them at once and directly, that the first day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord? Why not at once point them to the scripture that says, “The first day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not do any work,” and have them learn that? Oh, every one will say, There is no such scripture. True enough. Then why are the poor innocent children taught it, as though it were scripture? It is true that there is no such scripture. It is true that such is not the word of God. It is equally true that such is the word of man; then why not have the children learn it as such? “Oh,” it is said, “it would never do to teach the children to accept the word of man instead of the word of God.” But that is precisely what is done now. To require them to learn the word of God in the fourth commandment, “The seventh day is the Sabbath,” and then require them immediately to put that away and accept the word of man that the first day is the Sabbath, is nothing else than to teach them to accept the word of man instead of the word of God. It is nothing else than to teach them to disobey the commandment of God as he spoke it with his own voice and wrote it with his own hand, and to follow the word of man. And by the inculcation of the idea that the Lord says one thing and means another, the way is opened wide for the introduction of any scheme that the mind of man can invent, and the effect is to destroy the word of God as of authority. To those who are sure that the first day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord—the rest day of God—again we say, Why do you not print the fourth commandment so that it shall read so? But they and everybody else will say that they dare not do it. Then how dare they teach what they shall not print?SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.3


    “Dr. Clarke and the First Written Document” The Signs of the Times 12, 43, pp. 679, 680.

    ED. SIGNS: I find that Dr. Clarke teaches that the law of ten commandments is the first instrument in writing ever seen by man. Is this true in the light of revelation and history?SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.1


    It is too often the case that, in exalting the merit of some person or thing which they greatly admire, and which they want others to admire, and which is really admirable in itself, men overdo the matter and really belittle the subject of their admiration. An instance of this which we recall, occurred in relation to General Grant about the time of his death. In illustrating the General’s evenness of temper, and his gentleness under great provocation, an instance was cited which should really be no provocation to any person, and which, if it had worked as this person supposed it naturally should in General Grant’s case, would simply show him to have been little and spiteful and mean. And the narrator instead of by his narrative illustrating General Grant’s greatness, only exposed his own lack of capacity to appreciate greatness.SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.2

    Another notable instance is that wherein ministers and others in portraying the merit of the Saviour, quote Napoleon’s estimate of him. We have known one preacher in particular who apparently never lost an opportunity to parade Napoleon’s opinion of Christ. As though the approval, or even the admiration of such a character as Napoleon, would be a recommendation of anybody, much less of the perfect goodness of the divine Saviour. For our part we should rather by a vast degree have Christ’s opinion of Napoleon, than to have Napoleon’s opinion of Christ.SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.3

    But the most singular instance of this overdoing the thing that we have ever seen is the one referred to by our correspondent. We know not by whom it was originated, but the idea is sanctioned, as our correspondent says, even by Dr. Adam Clarke, that the decalogue was the first written document on earth! It is singular that so eminent a scholar as was Dr. Clarke,—a biblical scholar too,—should be led to indorse such an idea. And that the idea still passes current as though it were a piece of astonishingly exceptional wisdom, is a singular instance of the facility with which a thing passes on from generation to generation by sheer “reiteration and no examination.” Dr. Clarke, in his comment on Exodus 31:18, “tables of stone, written with the finger of God,” attributes the idea to Dr. Winder, saying:SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.4

    “Dr. Winder, in his ‘History of Knowledge,’ thinks it probable that this was the first writing in alphabetical characters ever exhibited to the world.”SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.5

    But in his “Key to the Bible,” Dr. Clarke himself gives it the weight of his own authority. In speaking of the Scriptures, he says:—SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.6

    “They contain the most ancient writings in the world, the decalogue, or ten commandments, a part of the book of Exodus, being probably the first regular production in alphabetical characters ever seen by man.”SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.7

    That might look very well as a theory, but there are a multitude of facts which go to show that it is but a figment of the imagination. It cannot be expected that we should attempt to give all the facts, for that would require that we should write a book. But we shall give a few which we hope may be useful on this point.SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.8

    Here is the English of part of a document that was written at Babylon nearly fifty years before the tables of stone were seen by man. It was written by Khammu-rabi, king of Chaldea, or his scribe, whose reign was about B.C.1546 to 1520. He says:SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.9

    “I have caused to be dug the canal of Khammu-rabi, a blessing to the men of Babylonia. I have directed the waters of its branches over the desert plains; I have caused them to run in their channels, and thus given unfailing waters to the people. I have distributed the inhabitants of the land of Shumir and Accad [Genesis 10:10] among distant cities. I have changed desert plains into well-watered lands. I have given them fertility and abundance, and made them the abode of happiness.—Lunnemand’s, “Ancient History of the East,” Book IV, chap. 1, sec. 67; Rawlinson’s Monarchies, First Mon., chap. 8, par. 29, 30.SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.10

    But there was writing away beyond that. The great Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who invaded Palestine B.C. 713, began to reign about B.C. 716. About the tenth year of his reign (cir. B.C. 707), he set up a monument with an inscription stating that he had recovered from Babylon certain images of gods which had been carried there by a king of Babylon, who took them from Tiglath-Pileser I., king of Assyria, 118 years before. This carries us back, 707+418=1125 years before Christ. Now this same Tiglath-Pileser wrote a long account of his wars, his conquests, his buildings, etc., and this document is in the British Museum. In it Tiglath-Pileser says that he rebuilt a temple in Assyria which had been torn down sixty years before, after it had stood 641 years from its foundation by Shamas-Val, son of Ismi-Dagon. He rebuilt this temple at the beginning of his reign, which was about ten years before his war with the king of Babylon in which he lost his gods. This would give, 1125+10=1135 years B.C. But the temple had then been in ruins sixty years, after standing 641, which would give, 1135+60+641=B.C. 1836 for the foundation of the temple by Shamas-Vul. But he says Shamas-Vul was the son of Ismi-Dagon, which would demand at least thirty years more for the reign of Ismi-Dagon, which would give, without a single missing link, B.C. 1866 for the beginning of the reign of Ismi-Dagon, which was 375 years before the tables of stone were “ever seen by man.”SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.11

    And Ismi-Dagon, or his scribe, could write. And he did write, he and his two sons, Gurguna, who succeeded him as king in Ur of the Chaldees whence Abraham came, and Shamas-Vul, who reigned as viceroy in Assyria. And their writings are now in the British Museum and are known and read of all Assyriologists. But these are not exceptions in the matter of writing. Writing was a familiar thing in the countries of Chaldea and Assyria, even a long while beyond the day of Ismi-Dagon. There were Arioch of Genesis 14:1, king of Ellasar, and Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, who invaded the borders of Palestine in the days of Abraham. Both are mentioned on the monuments, and this very Arioch is written, “King of Ellasar,” and we are told that his father’s name was Chedormabug, and that his grandfather’s name was Simtisilhak. Writing that was written not only in the days of Abraham, but even before that, is now familiar, to oriental scholars. Writing was a familiar thing in Chaldea 450 years before the tables of stone were seen by Israel.SITI November 11, 1886, page 679.12

    The same is true of Egypt. The following is the English of a document written by a discontented warrior, who was an officer in the army of the king “which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8), or in the army of that king’s father:—SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.1

    “When you receive the verses I have written may you find the work of the scribe agreeable.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.2

    “I wish to depict to you the numberless troubles of an unfortunate officer of infantry.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.3

    “While still a youth he is entirely shut up in a barrack, a tight suit of armor encases his body, the peak of his helmet comes over his eyes;SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.4

    “The visor is over his eyebrows; so that his head is protected from wounds.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.5

    “He is wrapped up like a papyrus roll, and can hardly move his limbs in fight.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.6

    “Shall I tell you of his expeditions into Syria, his marches in far distant lands?SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.7

    “He is obliged to carry water on his shoulder as an ass bears its burned;SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.8

    “His back is bent like that of a beast of burden, his backbone is bowed.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.9

    “When he has quenched his thirst with a drink of bad water, he is obliged to mount guard for the night.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.10

    “If he meets the enemy he is like a bird in a net, his limbs have no strength left.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.11

    “When he returns to Egypt, he is like a piece of worm-eaten wood.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.12

    “If he is too ill to stand, they put him on the back of an ass;SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.13

    “His baggage is plundered by robbers, and his servant deserts him.”—Lenormant, Id., Book III, chap. 5, sec. 6.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.14

    But it may be said that these writings were all Egyptian, Assyrian, or Babylonian, while the ten commandments were written in Hebrew, and that this was the first written document in that kind of characters. Very well, of this kind of writing, Dr. Wm. Hayes Ward says:—SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.15

    “It was not many years ago that it was stoutly asserted that Moses could not have written a book of the law, or the ten commandments, because writing was not then invented.... But within the past twenty years the history of Phemeian writing used by the Hebrews has been carefully studied; and it is now the general conclusion of the best scholars that it originated during the time of the conquest of Egypt by the Shepherd Kings four or five centuries before Moses. The last student of the subject, Mr. Isaac Taylor, thus sums up the result of long and careful investigation: ‘The possible date of the origin of the alphabet ... lies between the twenty-third and seventeenth centuries; and there seems to be no reason why we should not provisionally accept the approximate date which has been proposed by De Rouge, and place it in or about the nineteenth century B.C.’”—The Bible and the Monuments, in Sunday School Times, Volume 25, Number 42, pp. 659, 660.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.16

    If, however, these evidences should be questioned or should not be considered sufficient to show that the decalogue was not the “first writing in alphabetical characters ever seen by man,” we have the evidence of the Bible itself.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.17

    1. According to the best evidence and authorities, Job lived more than 500 years before the children of Israel left Egypt, and he exclaims, “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed [graven, carved] in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever.” Here we have the plain words “written,” “book,” and “pen.” We cannot conceive how Job could have talked about his words being written if writing was not know. And if there was no writing there could have been neither book nor pen. Under Dr. Clarke’s supposition, the words of Job are not only utterly meaningless, but it is impossible to conceive how he could have so named things that had no existence. This is not the only instance of it. In Job 31:35, he says, “My desire is, that ... mine adversary had written a book.” The only reasonable conclusion is that in the days of Job pens and writing were familiar things and to such an extent that books were written.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.18

    .2. In Exodus 17:14 we read: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” This was after the battle with Amalek at Rephidim, and before Israel came to Sinai. Now if the decalogue was the first written document ever seen by man, Moses at this time could not have known what it was to write, much less could he have known what such a thing as a book was; and so the Lord had commanded him to do what was simply a physical, moral, and intellectual impossibility. But this is not all.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.19

    .3. We know that Moses could write, and that he did write in a book, before either he or anybody else on earth ever saw the tables of stone. In Exodus 24:4, 7, we read: “And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill.” “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people; and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” Now it was not till after that that the Lord told Moses to come up and get the tables of the decalogue; for in verse 12 it is said: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” And Moses was there in the mount “forty days and forty nights,” before he came down with the tables of stone. Therefore the word of God shows positively that here was a “regular production in alphabetical characters,” a “written document” written and seen and read by men before ever the tables of stone were seen by Moses, and more than forty days before they were ever seen by any man besides Moses. The idea of the ten commandments being the first written document on earth is a myth.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.20

    Lest there should be any who may have so rested upon this statement of Dr. Clarke as being of authority that they might think its destruction would weaken the claims of the law of God, we would say that even though the statement were true it would not strengthen the claims of the law a particle. The ten commandments are the law of God. They were written with the finger of God, on the tables of stone, and whether they were the first writing, or the last, that man ever saw, neither adds to them, nor diminishes from them, a single element of force. And if the statement in question is not true, then it could not add any to the strength of the decalogue anyhow; for the truth can never be helped by that which is not the truth; its sole tendency would be to weaken the truth, and the sooner it was destroyed the better. There is, however, a principle involved here that justifies the question of our correspondent, and the exposure of this error. It is this: If it were true that writing was not then known on the earth, that of itself would be a sufficient reason why the Lord himself must write the law. For if man was to have the written law at all, the Lord would have to write it, because man couldn’t; which we say would imply that that was the reason why the Lord did write it. But when we allow the truth to stand as it is, that writing, both on stone and in books, was a familiar thing to men and nations, then it shows that there was that about the giving and the writing of the law, which God regarded as of too much importance to be intrusted to the hand of man.SITI November 11, 1886, page 680.21


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