The "Higher Criticism" which has undertaken to reconstruct all ancient records, which re-wrote the History of Rome for the first five centuries, pronounced Troy a myth, and has sought to invalidate or correct the Bible history, frequently makes such blunders and mistakes that all but the critics themselves will soon doubt its infallibility. The Troy of Priam, that they decided had never existed, has been unearthed by Schliemann, with its Scaean gates and Pergamos. At Mykenae he has found probably the very bones of Agamemnon, and the golden masks in which he and his friends were buried. The libraries of old Assyrian and Babylonian kings have also been brought to light by recent discoveries, and found to be rich in confirmations of the Bible story. They contain accounts of the confusion of tongues at Babel and of the flood, as well as many other illustrations of the sacred history. To two of these we invite the attention of our readers.
The prophet Isaiah (chapter 20:1) names an Assyrian king called Sargon. He was, as far as we know, mentioned by no other historian. Berosus and Herodotus were silent concerning him. Not another voice out of all the history of the past was raised to tell that he had ever lived. The critics did not hesitate to declare that this silence proved that he never had an existence. They held that it convicted Isaiah of a mistake and a want of inspired guidance. For twenty-five centuries the only intimation the world had that Sargon had ever lived was found in this passage of the Hebrew prophet.
But the Bible was right and the critics were wrong. The Assyrian discoveries have given us his full history. We are even permitted to study the royal archives of his reign. He was a founder of a dynasty, the father of Sennacherib, and one of the greatest monarchs that ever occupied the Assyrian throne.
Another example. The Bible makes the Hittites a great people in the earliest ages. They are contemporaries of Abraham, Moses and Joshua. A recent writer says: "We see their serried lines of chariots opposing Joshua on his entrance into the Promised Land, and in the decisive battle by Lake Merom. We see their soldiers of fortune leading the hosts of David and Solomon, and their women in the harems of the same powerful monarchs; and finally we see the Syrian army flying in panic from the siege of Samaria for fear of the kings of the Hittites." The Scriptural writers make them a great and powerful people. But no trace of the Hittites has been found in classical history. In fact, of all known records, the Bible excepted, not one had one word in regard to this people. So the destructive critics on the Continent and their imitators in England, with various degrees of emphasis, asserted that these Scriptural recognitions of the Hittites had no foundation in fact, that no such people had existed during Old Testament times; that this part of the Jewish history was indisputably not true, and that this want of accuracy destroyed the theory of inspiration as well as credibility of the record.
For a long time no answer could be given that would silence objections. Not a line had been preserved elsewhere concerning this people in all the history of the ancient world. It was held to be impossible that a race of such prominence could have lived, flourished and passed away without leaving traces elsewhere. "The critical method had proved the Bible to be wrong." So the critics said.
But the march of modern discovery has proved that it was the critics who were wrong. In 1872 there were found at Hamath, not far from Damascus, inscriptions that were of Hittite origin. Soon after additional testimony came from Egypt. As the monuments there are more carefully examined, and as the work of deciphering inscriptions proceeded, behold the Hittites appear as one of the enemies most feared by the [R819 : page 2] Egyptians, as a great people, occupying a vast territory, and as one of the chief of then existing peoples. Nor was this all; the Assyrian tablets and cylinders added their testimony, and carried the history of the Hittites back to nineteen hundred years before Christ, declaring that at that remote period they were a mighty people. Their remains have been found from the borders of Egypt to the Euphrates and northward to Asia Minor, proving that they occupied a large part of Western Asia and were a mighty race.
Thus are the critics put to shame. So will it always be. We may sometimes have to wait for further light in order to silence them, but in due time it will come. "We have not followed cunningly-devised fables," but the word of eternal truth. The storms of error may beat upon it and seem for a time to prevail, but it will stand, for "it is founded upon a rock."Evangelist.