THE SCIENCE OF CORRESPONDENCES
<< CHAPTER XXIX >>
TABLES OF STONES FOR THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
The Two Tables in General
(1.) Ex. xxiv. 12. And Jehovah 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.
(2.) Ex. xxxi. 18. And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
(3.) Ex. xxxii. 15, 16, 19. And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand : and the tables were written on both their sides ; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God graven upon the tables. And it came to pass as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing ; (for in the absence of Moses, Aaron and the people had made a golden calf, and were dancing before it:} and Moses anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
(4.) Ex. xxxiv. 1, 4, 28. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first : and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first ; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. And He (Jehovah) wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
Similar things are repeated in Deut. iv. 13 ; ix. 9-17 ; x. 1-5. The ten commandments inscribed upon two tables of stone, as is well known, were the first-fruits of the Word, and contain an epitome of the whole duty of man. They are called the ten words, because the number ten signifies and involves all ; and words or commandments denote truths which have respect to doctrine, and goods which have respect to life. The reason why they were written upon tables of stone was, because, as we have already seen, stone signifies truth, properly external truth such as constitutes the literal sense of the Word. These tables were two in number, to represent thereby the conjunction of the Lord with the church, and by the church with the human race. Hence they are called the tables of the covenant, Deut. ix. 9, 11, 15 ;and the words inscribed upon them are called the word of the covenant, Ex. xxxiv. 27, 28 : for a covenant implies the agreement or conjunction of two. On this account the tables, though perfectly distinct, were yet so adjusted to each other, that being placed together, and by application conjoined into one, the writing was continued in straight lines from one table to the other, in all respects as if they were only one table. And it is probable, as well from the circumstance of Moses carrying both the tables in his hands, as from their being laid together in the ark, that their dimensions and bulk must have been very moderate, perhaps considerably less than what have been usually assigned them.
It appears from Ex. xxxii. 15, that " the tables were written on both their sides ; on the one side and on the other were they writ ten : " from which passage it might with some plausibility be inferred, that the writing was upon each side or surface of each stone, that is, upon both their fronts and backs. If this conjecture be admitted, then the dimensions of the two tables may have been proportionally diminished : while the writing upon the fronts and backs might still denote the internal and the external sense of the Word, as in Ezek. ii. 9, 10 ; and Apoc. v. 1. But as it is more probable that the two sides, or rather, in strict conformity with the original, the two transits, had respect merely to the two distinct tables which were placed one against the other, the expression seems plainly to imply that both in writing and in reading each of the commandments, a transition was made from one table to the other, in the manner already described.
The common opinion is, that so many entire precepts were written upon one table, and so many upon another, as exhibited in almost all Christian churches : which idea has been thought to receive confirmation from its being usually said, that one table is for the Lord, and the other for man. This latter sentiment is indeed true in one respect, that is, representatively, as arising from the number of the tables spiritually considered, as well as from the twofold duty which man is bound to perform, viz., first to the Lord, and secondly to his neighbor. And hence we may also see the reason why the Lord in the Gospel comprises the whole of the decalogue in two commandments only, saying, that love to the Lord constitutes the first, and love to our neighbor the second, Matt. xxii. 37-39 : when nevertheless it is most evident that his words are not to be taken literally, strictly, or formally, because the second commandment as written upon the tables, equally with the first, respects our duty to our God, and not so much our duty to our neighbor. Whenever, therefore, mention is made in a general way, that one table belongs to the Lord and the other to man, this language is to be understood spiritually, as we shall now explain, and not in such a sense as to imply either that a certain number of the precepts was written upon one table, and a certain number on the other, or that one part only of the divine law is for man, because written on one of the tables as his part of the covenant, and the remainder for the Lord to perform on his part, because written on the other.
The spiritual interpretation alluded to, which has no respect to number as such, but to the thing signified by number, is to the follow ing effect : Every precept contains a duty for man to perform, and in each he is required to act apparently by his own power : yet, as in reality he is of himself utterly incapable either of shunning evil or of doing good, it therefore becomes necessary that the Lord should accompany him, and be perpetually present with him, to give him both the inclination and the ability to observe every one, or any one, of his divine laws. In other words, man s part in the covenant consists in his shunning the evil that is forbidden, and in doing the good that is enjoined, apparently of himself, yet in reality from the Lord: and the Lord's part in the same covenant consists in his actually supplying man with all the purity of motive, all the integrity of purpose, and all the power of action, necessary for the occasion ; the result of which will be, that, while man thus obeys the divine command, he will yet at the same time ascribe all the merit to the Lord alone. And hence the true reason may be seen, why the words and matter of each com mandment were continued from one table to the other, as already described, and not written in the way commonly supposed, with a certain number of commandments on one table and a certain number on the other. By each commandment being inscribed on both tables, the true idea of a covenant or of spiritual conjunction with the Lord, is more fully set forth than it could be by any other means : and we are thereby clearly instructed that while the Lord is in man, man ought also at the same time to be in the Lord. This agrees with his own words in the Gospel :" He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit : for without me ye can do nothing," John xv. 5
That the view which we have here taken of the ten commandments written on two tables of stone, yet in such a manner as to exhibit the true conjunction of the Lord and man, is a just one, may be further confirmed by other examples to be found in the Word. When Abram was desirous of some sign to assure him that he and his posterity should inherit the promised land, he was ordered to take a heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old ; and he divided these in the midst, and laid each piece one against the other, Gen. xv. 8-10. This division of each animal into two parts or pieces, and the position of these one over against the other, represented the same thing as the division of the laws into two tables, and the application of both together, viz., the conjunction of the Lord and man : and therefore it is written immediately afterwards in ver. 18, that " in the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram." We find also, that in ancient times it was usual even for transgressors and idolaters to divide the animals which they offered in sacrifice to their false gods, and to pass between the pieces, as in Jer. xxxiv. 18 : whereby was represented the conjunction of hell with man, or, what is the same thing, the conjunction of evil and of falsity in the human mind.
In general, by the various sacrifices whereof part was burnt upon the altar and part was given to the people to eat : also by the blood, half of which was sprinkled upon the altar and half upon the people, Ex. xxiv. 6, 8, was represented the conjunction of the Lord and man by means of divine good and divine truth. The same is likewise denoted by the bread which Jesus brake, or divided, when He fed the multitude, and when He instituted the holy supper. From all which we learn that the great object continually held up to view, both in the writings of Moses called the law, and of the Evangelists called the gospel, is the conjunction of the Lord with man, and thereby is eternal salvation.
The first Pair of Tables which were broken by Moses, and represented the Ancient Word, with Remarks on some of the Apocryphal books, the Fables of the Ancients, and other ancient Writings.
Of the first pair of tables it is said that they were the work of God, and that the writing was the writing of God graven upon the tables, being written with the finger of God. But of the second pair of tables which were like unto the first, we read that Moses hewed and prepared them for the writing ; and that afterwards Jehovah himselj wrote on the tables the words that were in the first tables. With a view to explain these extraordinary circumstances, the following observations are submitted : The two tables containing the divine law in a concise and comprehensive form, and being a kind of first-fruits or harbinger of the succeeding revelation, represented the whole Word. But the first pair in particular, which were broken at the foot of the mountain, represented the Ancient Word, or that code of divine revelation which existed prior to the Word given by Moses and the prophets. This Ancient Word being no longer accommodated to the degenerate state of man, was therefore by the divine providence of the Lord, removed in order to make way for the Word which we now have, as better suited to the temper and genius of the Israelitish people, and indeed of mankind in general.
That such an Ancient Word did really exist prior to our Word, is evident from this circumstance, that it is expressly quoted by Moses in Num. xxi. 14, 15, who transcribes a passage from one of the historical or rather prophetical books belonging to it, called the book of the Wars of Jehovah ; alluding in the first place to the wars of the Israelites with their different enemies, and in the next place to the future acts of Jehovah in the Humanity, when He accomplished the great work of redemption by fighting against and overcoming all the powers of hell. Moses in the same chapter, ver. 27-30, gives an other quotation from another book of the Ancient Word called Proverbs, or rather Enunciations, as it appears to have consisted of prophetic declarations. Joshua likewise, when he bade the sun and moon stand still, refers to a third book of the Ancient Word, saying, "Is not this written in the book of Jasher " (i. e. the book of Rectitude or Equity ?) chap. x. 12, 13; again alluding to the wars of the Israelites, and to the victories over man s spiritual enemies, which the Lord obtained while in the flesh. The same book is appealed to as a book of high authority, by the author of the book of Samuel, on the occasion of David s lamentation over Saul and Jonathan : see 2 Sam. i. 17, 18.
But besides the evidence arising from these references and direct quotations from different books of the Ancient Word, other proofs are to be found in our Word, that there existed a church prior to the Israelitish church, and consequently a revelation prior to that received by Moses, or even by Abraham. Balaam, an inhabitant of Syria, and a prophet belonging to a very different people from the Israelites, yet prophesied from the mouth of Jehovah the true God, Num. xxii. 8-18: and in chap, xxiii. and xxiv. throughout, on his surveying the dwellings of Israel in tents and tabernacles, according to their tribes, the spirit of God came upon him, and he openly an nounced the future greatness of that people, and foretold the coming of the Lord into the world.
It appears also from Gen. xiv. 18-20 that Melchizedek, who was priest of the most high God as well as king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine to Abram and blessed him : whereupon Abram gave him tithes of all, as an acknowledgment that Melchizedek represented some higher or more interior principle of celestial life than Abraham at that time did. This circumstance clearly proves that a church existed prior to that instituted among the posterity of Abraham ; that in it the offices of priesthood and royalty were exercised by one and the same person, who thus represented the union of divine good and divine truth in the person of the Lord ; that the symbols of that church, bread and wine, were similar to those appointed in the Christian Church by our Lord himself; and therefore that there must have been in those early ages of the world a revelation or Sa cred Scripture suited to the then existing states of mankind, which in process of time has given place to the Word written by Moses, the prophets and the Evangelists.
Moses himself who broke the two former tables and hewed out new ones, also represented the Word, or the divine law in general, ( specially the legal and historical part of it : and as the new Word was in the external sense to treat much of the Israelitish people, it therefore became necessary to change the external language or expression of the Word, while its internal sense and divinity still remained the same. This change of a former external sense of the Word, for a new external sense better adapted to the state of the Jewish nation, by describing their history, manners and institutions, is clearly pointed out, not only by the fact of Moses breaking the first tables, and afterwards hewing out fresh ones, but also by the occasion which impelled Mm to do it, namely, the total departure of the Israelites, with Aaron at their head, from the worship of Jehovah to the worship of the golden calf, in the formation of which they had all unanimously concurred. And it appears at the same time no less evident, that the same divinity, the same sanctity, and the same internal sense, which had inspired the former Word, are still preserved and continued in that which we now possess. The same words, i. e. the same great truths, which were inscribed on the former tables, were equally written by the same divine hand on the new tables.
The Apocryphal books which are frequently annexed to the Old Testament, and reputed by Christians of doubtful authority, are not to be considered as forming any part of the Ancient Word here spoken of. Some of them are supposed to have been written in the way of mere allegory. For example, Grotius states his opinion concerning the book of Judith to be that it is entirely a parabolic fiction, written in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, when he came into Judea to raise a persecution against the Jewish church ; and that the design of it was to confirm the Jews under that persecution in the hope that God would send them a deliverance. He attempts also an explanation, saying, " that by Judith is meant Judea ; by Bethulia the temple, or house of God ; and by the sword which went out from thence, the prayers of the saints ; That Nebuchodonosor denotes the devil ; and the kingdom of Assyria the devil's kingdom, pride : That by Holofernes is meant the instrument or agent of the devil in that persecution, Antiochus Epiphanes who made himself master of Judea, that fair widow, so called, because destitute of relief: That Eliakim signifies God, who would arise in her defence, and at length cut off that instrument of the devil, who would have corrupted her." Grotius and others also think, that the book, called Baruch, in the Apocrypha, is a mere fiction, or allegorical relation, written by some Hellenistic Jew, and containing nothing of a real history. See Prideaux s Connection, vol. i., p. 52.
The same observations will in a great measure apply to many other writings which have been brought down to our times, particularly those of the ancient mythologists, of which the celebrated Lord Bacon says, " It may pass for a further indication of a concealed and secret meaning, that some of these fables are so absurd and idle in their narration, as to proclaim an allegory even afar off. A fable that carries probability with it, may be supposed invented for pleasure or in imitation of history : but what could never be conceived or related in this way, must surely have a different use. For example ; what a monstrous fiction is this, That Jupiter should take Metis to wife ; and as soon as he found her pregnant, eat her up ; whereby he also conceived, and out of his head brought forth Pallas armed ! Certainly no mortal could, but for the sake of the moral it couches, invent such an absurd dream as this, so much out of the road of thought."
He further observes," The argument of most weight with me is : That many of these fables appear not to have been invented by the persons who relate and divulge them, whether Homer, Hesiod, or others ; for if I were assured they first flowed from those later times and authors, I should never expect anything singularly great and noble from such an origin. But whoever attentively considers the things, will find that these fables are delivered down by those writers, not as matters then first invented, but as received and embraced in earlier ages. And this principally raises my esteem of those fables; which I receive, not as the product of the age, or invention of the poets, but as sacred relics, gentle whispers, and the breath of better times, that, from the traditions of more ancient nations, came at length into the flutes and trumpets of the Greeks." The explanations of these things, which have been attempted by learned men of the present age, by no means reach that sublimity of conception, or that superlative degree of wisdom, which there is reason to believe distinguished the sages of ancient times. And yet they are sufficient to produce a conviction in the mind, that when ever our ancestors of most remote antiquity would describe the operations of either spiritual, moral, civil or physical causes, they did it in such terms and under such forms and emblems as we find more or less characterize all their writings. Mr. William Jones, in his Figurative Language of Holy Scripture, (p. 318,) states what he supposes to have been signified by the idols of the ancients, the heavenly constellations, etc., etc. "All idols (says he) were originally emblematical figures, expressive of the lights of heaven, and the powers of nature. Apollo was the sun ; Diana was the moon ; both represented with arrows, because both shot forth rays of light.
" The forms of worship were symbolical. They danced in circles, to show the revolutions of the heavenly bodies. " In the constellations, the Bears possess the arctic or northern regions. The Ram, Bull, and Lion, all sacred to the solar light and fire, are accommodated to the degrees of the sun s power, as it increases in the summer months. The Crab, which walks sideways and backwards, is placed where the sun moves paralled to the equator, and begins in that sign to recede towards the south. The Scales are placed at the autumnal equinox, where the light and darkness are equally balanced. The Capricorn, or wild Mountain- Goat, is placed at the tropical point, from whence the sun begins to climb upward towards the north. The ear of corn in the hand of Virgo marks the season of the harvest. The precession of the equinoctial points has now removed the figures and the stars they belong to out of their proper places ; but such was their meaning when they were in them."
Royalty and government were formerly distinguished by symbolical insignia. A kingdom was supposed to be attended with poiver and glory. The glory was signified by a crown with points resembling rays of light, and adorned with orbs as the heaven is studded with stars. Sometimes it was signified by horns, which are a natural crown to animals, as we see in the figure of Alexander upon some ancient coins. The power of empire was denoted by a rod or sceptre.
A rod was given to Moses for the exercise of a miraculous power ; whence was derived the magical wand of enchanters : and he is figured with horns, to denote the glory which attended him, when he came down from the presence of God. In Homer s Iliad, the priest of Apollo is distinguished by a sceptre in his hand and a crown on his head, to show that he derived his powrer from the Deity whom he represented. So long as monarchy prevailed, the sceptre of kings was a single rod : but when Brutus first formed a republic at Home, he changed the regal sceptre into a bundle of rods, or fagot of sticks, with an axe in the middle, to signify in this case that the power was not derived from heaven, but from the multitude of the people, who were accordingly flattered from that time forward with Majesty.
" Time was represented with wings at his feet, a razor or a scythe in bis right hand, a lock of hair on his forehead, and his head bald behind ; Justice, with her sword and scales ; Fortune, with her feet upon a rolling sphere and her eyes hoodwinked; Vengeance, with her whip; Pleasure, with her enchanted cup; Hope, with her anchor; Death, with his dart and hour-glass; and many others of the same class, all representing in visible forms the ideas contemplated by the mind. "
Pythagoras points out, by the letter Y, the road of life branching out into two ways, the one of virtue, the other of vice. He advises not to keep animals with crooked claws; i. e. not to make companions of persons who are fierce and cruel : not to stop upon a journey to cut wood ; i. e. not to turn aside to things foreign to the main purpose of life : Never to make a libation to the Gods from a vine which has not been pruned ; i. e. not to offer worship but from the fruits of a severe and well-ordered life : Not to wipe away sweat with a sword ; i. e. not to take away by force and violence what another has earned by his labor. It was customary with the ancients to use a flat instrument, like the blade of a knife, to wipe away sweat from the skin, and to clear it of the water after the use of the bath. Another saying of Pythagoras was, that it is a foolish action to read a poem to a beast ; i. e. to communicate what is excellent to a stupid, ignorant person : which is similar to that prohibition in the Gospel, not to give a holy thing to a dog, nor to cast pearls before swine"
In addition to the observations above made concerning the writings of antiquity, it may be remarked, that the Apostle Peter in his second Epistle, (chap, ii.,) and Jude in his General Epistle, both appear to have copied from one and the same ancient book which was extant in their day, but is since lost to the world. How otherwise can it be accounted for, that the very same ideas, the very same kind of language, and the very same order of delivery, which we find in the one writer, are so punctually followed by the other ? Let the reader only compare the passages here referred to, and he will find no room for a doubt on the subject.
Peter, 2d Epistle. Jude, General Epistle.
Compare chap, ii., ver. 1, with . . Ver. 4.
4 . 6.
6 . 7.
10 . 8.
11 . 9.
Compare chap, ii., ver. 13 to 15, with . Ver. 11, 12.
1, 7 . 12, 13.
18,19 . 16.
chap, iii., ver. 2 . 17.
3 . 18.
Peter goes on in the succeeding verses of chap. iii. to speak of the former heavens and former earth ; of the heavens and earth which then were ; of these latter being reserved for destruction by fire as the former had been by water ; and lastly of new heavens and a new earth, wherein should dwell righteousness : all which particulars were no doubt transcribed by him from some ancient writing, not perhaps of absolutely divine authority, like the genuine books of the Ancient Word, but the production of some enlightened man who treated of the succession of different churches in the style and manner of the literal sense of our Word. Jude also, in his Epistle, ver. 14, 15, makes express mention of a prophetical book written by Enoch, the seventh from Adam, and quotes from it a passage which foretells the coming of the Lord to execute judgment upon the wicked. And it is not improbable but several of the references made by the Evangelists to the sayings of prophets not to be found in the Old Testament, may have been intended as appeals to, or citations from, that Ancient Word which, as already observed, was represented by the two tables of stone broken by Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai. Or possibly they may have been contained in some other prophetic books, or written sayings now lost, of which mention is so frequently made in the books of Kings and Chronicles ; such as the book of the Chronicles of King David ; the book of the Acts of Solomon ; the book of Samuel the Seer ; the book of Nathan the prophet ; the book of Gad the seer ; the Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite ; the Visions of Iddo the seer ; the book of Shemaiah the prophet ; the book of Jehu, the son of Hanani ; the Writing of Elijah the prophet ; and the written Sayings of the Seers. See 1 Kings xi. 41 ; 1 Chron. xxvii. 24 ; xxix. 29 ; 2 Chron. ix. 29 ; xii. 15 ; xiii. 22 ; xx. 34 ; xxi. 12 ; xxxiii. 19.
The second Pair of Tables, which were substituted for the former
and represented the Word given by Moses and the Prophets.
The two tables which were substituted in the place of the former,represented the Word given by Moses and the Prophets, or that which we now possess. For as the prior revelation was written in a style and manner similar indeed in some respects to our Word, yet by correspondences more remote, and more difficult of solution than those contained in the history of the Israelitish people ; and as in consequence of this circumstance, and at the same time of the gross degeneracy of mankind in general, as before observed, it became necessary to give them a new Word better adapted to instruct, reclaim and amend them, than the former was ; on these accounts Moses was commanded to hew or prepare two fresh tables of stone, and to take them up into the mountain to Jehovah, that He might write upon them according to the former writing : whereas the first tables, together with the writing upon them, are said to have been wholly the work of God. By Moses being ordered to prepare the new tables, is therefore meant that he was to be engaged in writing the literal and historical sense of the new Word, which should treat of the Jewish or Israelitish people, over whom he was constituted the head ; and by Jehovah's writing upon those tables, is understood that nevertheless that history should be dictated by divine inspiration, and contain within its bosom an internal, heavenly, and even a divine sense.
The distinction which is made between the tables themselves and the writing upon them, is intended to point out the distinction between the literal sense of the Word and its spiritual sense : the former being like a ground, plane or table on which the latter is inscribed, and from which it cannot properly be separated because it is everywhere within it.
The Word being thus distinguishable into an internal and external sense, it appears to be not inconsistent with divine order, or the immutable nature of divine truth, that its external should be changed according to the circumstances of mankind, its internal remaining ever the same. But in what manner or respect this change of the external actually took place, which was chiefly on account of the Israelitish people, cannot be better described than in the words of Swedenborg, who in his Arcana Coelestia, n. 10,603, says : "For the sake of that nation altars, burnt-offerings, sacrifices, meat-offerings and libations were commanded, and on this account, both in the historical and prophetical Word, those things are mentioned as the most holy things of worship, when yet they were allowed, because they were first instituted by Eber, and were altogether unknown in the ancient representative Church. For the sake of that nation also it came to pass that divine worship was performed in Jerusalem alone, and that on this account that city was esteemed holy, and was also called holy, both in the historical and prophetical Word. The reason was, that that nation was in heart idolatrous ; and therefore, unless they had all met together at that city on each festival, every one in his own place would have worshipped some god of the gentiles, or a graven and molten image. For the sake of that nation, also, it was forbidden to celebrate holy worship on mountains and in groves, as the ancients did ; the reason of which prohibition was, lest they should set idols there, and should worship the very trees. For the sake of that nation also it was permitted to marry several wives, which was a thing altogether unknown in ancient times ; and like wise to put away their wives for various causes : hence laws were enacted concerning such marriages and divorces, which otherwise would not have entered the external of the Word ; on which account this external is called by the Lord the external of Moses, and is said to be granted for the hardness of their hearts, Matt. xix. 8. For the sake of that nation mention is so often made of Jacob, and likewise of the twelve sons of Israel as being the only elect and heirs, as in Apoc. vii. 4-8, and in other places, although they were such as they are described in the song of Moses, Deut. xxxii. 15-43, and also in the prophets throughout, and by the Lord himself: not to mention other things which form the external of the Word for the sake ol that nation. This external is what is signified by the two tables hewed by Moses. That still in that external there is a divine internal not changed, is signified by Jehovah writing on these tables the same words which were on the former tables."
The first tables, then, are said to have been the work of God, and the writing upon them the writing of God, because the Ancient Word represented by those tables, was dictated by God both as to its exterior and its interior contents, without any respect to mere historical facts, except only apparently or factitiously in the letter, after the manner of the first ten chapters of Genesis. And the second tables are said to be the work of Moses, and the writing upon them to be the writing of Jehovah, because a great part of the new Word is indeed as to its external or historical sense written by the pen of Moses, and treats of the people of Israel over whom he presided ; while its internal and divine sense is solely from the Lord, and treats of Him and his kingdom alone.
Thus we see that though the wickedness of the Israelites, in departing from the worship of Jehovah to that of a golden calf, was the immediate occasion of the first tables being broken, still new tables were substituted in their place, whose contents were equally holy and divine with the former. And that we may never lose sight of the real Author of the Word, especially as to its spiritual, celestial and divine senses, but may perpetually venerate the whole of its contents as the true medium of conjunction between heaven and earth, as the best gift of the Creator to the creature, and as the very habitation of the Lord with the human race, we are most solemnly assured that every word of the Sacred Writing was impressed upon the tables by Jehovah himself. Deut. x. 2, 4.
We learn, therefore, from a due consideration of the circumstances recorded, particularly in relation to our Word or Sacred Scripture, represented by the two tables of stone last given, that its interior con tents are derived solely from the Lord ; and that its exterior contents, though written by the hand of Moses and the Prophets, and though adapted to the state of the Israelites whose history was thus made the vehicle of divine wisdom to mankind, when every former dispensation was found unavailable to their reformation and regeneration, were yet suggested and indited by the same merciful Lord who in all ages of the world has never ceased to bless his creatures with a revelation of himself, and of those divine laws, the observance of which can alone prepare man for a happy immortality in the life to come.