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tory contained in them.* Ere we conclude thi^ brief notice of the exscriptural evidence for the Old Testament, we would advise those -readers who might wish to attain a complete view of this department, to make themselves acquainted with the express written testimonies of the Christian fathers—who, in innumerable instances, depone to the canonical authority of separate books; and sometimes present us with catalogues of the whole. Of these, one of the most full and distinct is the catalogue by Melito, bishop of Sardis, who
• Were a Lardnerian collection made from the Apocrypha in favour of the Old Testament, the following articles would find a place in it among many others of the same character:—
2 Esdras, c. i. 39, 40, "Unto whom I will give for leaders, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Oseas, Amos, and Micheas, Joel, Abdias, and Jonas, Nahum, and Abacuc, Sophonias, Aggeus, Zachary, and Malachy, which is called also an angel of the Lord." The twelve last named, associated with the three ancestral patriarchs of the Jewish people include all the minor prophets, whose books were bound up in one volume. It is difficult to imagine that the author of Esdras should have derived these names from any other quarter than from this volume, or that his collection should have quadrated so accurately with the biblical one, but on the hypothesis of its anterior and separate existence —confirming therefore our other evidence for the ancient existence of these books—while, associated as these authors are with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it proves at least the degree of veneration in which they were held by the author of this Apocryphal writing.
Tobit ii. 6. "Remembering that prophecy of Amos, as he said, 'Your feasts shall be turned into mourning, and all your mirth into lamentation.' "—An express quotation from Amos viii. 10. And like quotations may be had from the Apocrypha, of Jeremiah, Maluchi, Joshua, Judges, Samuel—besides a large body of evidence scarcely less effective for most of the other books of the Old Testament.
We may add, that most invaluable confirmations are to be found in the book of Ecclesiasticus—of which I shall only instance the attestations of its author, in favour of Ezekiel and Nehemiah. Eccles. c. xlix.
flourished a little after the middle of the second century. He travelled into Palestine on purpose to learn the number of the books of the Old Testament. Eusebius says of Aiis catalogue that it contains those scriptures of the Old Testament which are universally acknowledged. The only difference in it from our present Old Testament, is that he does not mention the book of Esther. The difference, however, it is probable, is only apparent. The likelihood is that Esther was appended to some other book, as Ruth was to the book of Judges; and that neither could be named therefore in those catalogues which observed that particular kind of distinction. At all events, the book of Esther has abundance of other evidence to rest upon.
4. But without dwelling any further on the exscriptural evidence which there is for the canon of the Old Testament, let us now attend to the evidence which might be found on this subject, in both the Old Testament and the New—which, instead of scripture speaking for itself, is one part of scripture composed perhaps by a different author and in a different age speaking for another part of it. We behold a succession of authors in the Old Testament, and a large contemporaneous group of authors in the New; and who, on every principle by which we estimate the credit and the confidence due to written testimonies, is each of them ten-fold more valuable, than if, instead of being ranked as a sacred, he had been ranked as an Apocryphal or profane writer. The circumstance of his being reckoned worthy of such a distinction in ancient times, is the very reason why in modern times we should place all the firmei reliance on him. The Bible is not one book, but an aggregate of many; and if, viewing it as such, we were to compute aright the force of that argument which lies in the concurrence of distinct and independent witnesses—we should find, not only for the facts of scripture history, but for the deference and respect in which the various writers particularly of the Old Testament were held, a stronger chain of testimony, and on the whole, a brighter galaxy of light and evidence, than can be exhibited in any collection or credibility which might be framed of the best extracts from all other authors.
5. But before considering in detail, the scriptural evidence for each particular book of the Old Testament—there is a certain general evidence, of this very species too, that is applicable to them all 5 and which attaches to these Hebrew writings such proofs of genuineness and authority, as are quite unexampled of any other documents that have been transmitted to us from ancient times.
6. First—there can be no doubt in respect to the Jewish nation, that one of their most resolute and characteristic principles, in every family where principle had the ascendancy, was a respect for their law; and, by consequence, for the books which contained that law, as well as for all other books received by their nation as of divine authority. We cannot imagine a greater security for the faithful transmission of these books, than the obligation under which every conscientious Hebrew felt himself to lie, of diligently instructing his children both in the observances and history of his own people. For this being the general habit of the well-principled among them, we have the concurrent evidence of many different writers, not the less distinct from, and therefore not the less corroborative of each other, that they happen to be placed side by side within the limits of one volume. They were placed there, because of the respect held for them in former ages; and they should not therefore suffer on this account, in the estimation of later ages. Even so early as the days of Abraham, the father and prototype of the Jewish nation, we find this religious training of his own family singled out as the habit that most recommended him to the favour of God. "For I know him that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."* It is solemnly enjoined that the words of God, not as handed from one to another by oral tradition, but as committed to writing and so forming the words of the book of a law,f should be taught by parents to their families. "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and.when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."* "And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law."f This habit of transmission from father to son was not confined to the statutes and books of the nation; but it extended to their monuments, and the remarkable passages of their history. The stones of Gilgal may be quoted as a distinct example of this. "And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land."J "As for me and my house," says Joshua, "we will serve the Lord."§ The stress laid on household or family tuition among the Jews, may be traced downward through the succeeding books of the Old Testament; and in passages greatly too frequent for the exhibition of them all. The tremendous destruction that came upon Eli's house is represented, in the first book of Samuel, to have been the consequence of his neglect of this duty. "And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against El i all things which I have spoken concerning his