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"Scriptures," or by some similar designation. Such references prove the existence of the Bible, back as far as the Christian era. But the New Testament contains many references to sacred writings, still more ancient. It speaks of them as the "Law and the Prophets," or the "Law, Prophets and Psalms," or by some other equivalent name. The Law is usually associated with the name of Moses; and the Prophets are sometimes called by name; and when they are not thus designated, they are still clearly identified by passages quoted from them, corresponding with such as we now find in the prophetical writings. Other writers, who lived near the time of Christ, furnish us with similar references. Philo and Josephus, both Jewish writers of repute, often refer to the Scriptures. Josephus gives us a particular account of the books held sacred by the Jews; and these correspond with the books we now have in the Old Testament collection. Besides, in giving us his History of the Jews, he quotes largely from the sacred writings; and it is certain that the Bible he refers to, and quotes from, is the same book we now designate by that name.
3. Nearly three hundred years farther back than the time of these writers, and soon after the last of the Old Testament books was written, we find a translation of the Jewish Bible into the Greek language, (though some portions of this translation may have a later date,) which was generally adopted and used by that people, in Egypt, Palestine, and other countries.
4. Thus the Bible is proved to have been in existence nearly as far back as the date of the last book of the collection; and this remark applies to the Old Testament, as well as the New. But how do we know that some of these books date still further back? And if this fact can be ascertained, how are we to determine the particular date of each book? To these questions satisfactory answers can be given, from several considerations; for, though the exact date of
each book may not be ascertained, a sufficient approximation to that result can be arrived at.
5. The later books of the Old Testament refer to earlier books, sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly. The book of Moses (for what are now five books, was originally one book) is referred to by Ezra, one of the latest of the prophets. He speaks of the people gathering themselves, and offering sacri fices, as required in the "Law of Moses, the man of God." He speaks of "the Priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses." Nehemiah, cotemporary with Ezra, also speaks of certain things "written in the Law; and they are things found in the Law of Moses now in our hands. He mentions "God's Law which was given by Moses, the servant of God;" and he desig nates a number of the laws and institutions of Moses. The earlier Prophets make freqnent references to the same book, or Law of Moses; and they thereby confirm the alleged antiquity of that portion of the Bible. We find such references in Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Micah, Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos. There are numerous references of a similar character in the Psalms; also in the Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, Judges, and Ruth. The author of the books of Kings, speaks of the "Law of Moses," and the "Book of the Law of Moses," and of things written therein, corresponding with what we now find there; and the author of Chronicles refers to the "Book of Moses," and to the "Book of the Law of the Lord." In Joshua, too, we read of the "Book of the Law," and the "Book of the Law of Moses;" and it is said to have been a guide to that hero in the conquest of Canaan.
6. The following references, showing the truth of the foregoing statements, may be passed over by the reader, if he desires, and consulted by such only as wish to study the subject. See Ezra iii. 2; vi. 18;
Neh. x. 34, 36, 29; 1 Kings ii. 3; ix. 9; xii. 28; 2 Kings xiv. 6; xxi. 4-7; 1 Chron. xvi. 14-18; 2 Chron. xvii. 9; xxiii. 18; 1 Sam. iv. 8; x. 18; xii. 8; 2 Sam. vii. 23; Ruth iv. 11, 12; Judges vi. 7-13. Compare Ezek. xx. 10-28 with Ex. xiii. 3; xiv. 11; Lev. x. 10, 11; xviii. 5; Num. xiv. 11. Compare Jer. xi. 1-8, with Deut. iv. 20; xi. 13, 14; xxvii. 26. Compare Micah vi. 4, 5, with Deut. iv. 20; Num. xxii. 1-3. Compare Isa. i. 9, with Gen. xix. 24, 25. Compare Hosea xii. 12, 13, with Gen. xxix. 18; xxvii. 43—45; Hosea xii. 3-5, with Gen. xxv. 26; xxviii. 12; xxxii. 24; Hosea xi. 8, with Gen. xix. 25. Compare Amos ii. 9, with Num. xiii. 33. Consult Psl. lxxviii., and compare with it, Deut. iv. 9; Ex. xxxii. 9; xiv. 21; xiii. 21; xvii. 6. Consult also Psl. lxxxiii. and Psls. ciii., cvi., and cxxxvi. See 1 Sam. iv. 8; x. 18; xii. 8; 2 Sam. vii. 23; Ruth iv. 11, 12; Judges vi. 7-13; Josh. i. 8; viii. 31, 34; xi. 12; xxiii. 6, 10. And, aside from direct references in these books, the transactions they record, are based on the truth of the previous records. They have the same localities, customs, institutions, &c., with such variations only as the progress of affairs would necessarily require.
7. Thus, all through the Old Testament Writings, back to the time of Moses, we find references to the books we now have that pass under his name. And we may safely affirm that there is no book of ancient times, in which such references could be expected, where they are not found. And as to Genesis, there can be no doubt as to its being the first of the five books, since its contents are such as to give it that place; and so far as we know, it has always occupied that position.
8. We may add to the above, several other facts, that will tend to confirm our position, as to the antiquity of the books we now call the Pentateuch. One is, that the Jews and the Samaritans, both have these books; and the hostility that has always existed be
tween these two branches of the family of Israel, makes it obvious that the one did not obtain them from the other, and that, therefore, both must have been in possession of them, at the time the separation took place; (B. C. 975;) and whatever views we may have of the record, as true or false, we must allow considerable time to have elapsed before a book of such claims and of so much importance, could have come into existence, and have gained the universal acceptance of the people; and this allowance being made, we shall be compelled to place the book in the age to which it is generally referred, and to which its records apply.
9. Another fact is important. There are some variations between the copy in the hands of the Jews, and the one possessed by the Samaritans, resulting obviously from the many transcriptions through which they have respectively passed. This circumstance is favorable to the antiquity of the book, for the variations here referred to, could not have arisen, except through the lapse of many centuries. Another circumstance may be mentioned in this connection. It not unfrequently occurs that some later author has added to the earlier records, occasional explanatory remarks, with a view generally to connect the monuments of former days, with his own times. Such remarks, which are themselves very ancient, presuppose a considerable period, during which the book must have been in existence, to require any explanation to be added, or to furnish a reason for such additions.
10. The difference of style between the modern, and more ancient books of the Bible, has been noticed by some writers, and is indeed an important consideration. "It is an undeniable fact that Hebrew ceased to be the language of the Jews, during the Babylonish captivity; and that the Jewish productions after that period, were in general either Chaldee or Greek. It necessarily follows, therefore, that every book that
is written in pure Hebrew, was composed, either before or about the time of the Babylonish captivity. This being admitted, we may advance a step farther, and contend that the period which elapsed between the most ancient and most modern book of the Old Testament, was very considerable; or in other words, that the most ancient books of the Old Testament were written a length of ages prior to the Babylonish captivity. No language continues during many centuries in the same state of cultivation; and the Hebrew, like other tongues, passed through the several stages of infancy, youth, manhood, and old age. If, therefore, on comparison, the several parts of the Hebrew Bible are found to differ, not only in regard to style, but also in regard to character and cultiva tion of language; if the one discovers the golden, another the silver, a third the brazen, a fourth the iron age, we have strong internal marks of their having been composed at different and distant periods. No classical scholar, independent of Grecian history, would believe that the poems ascribed to Homer were written in the age of Demosthenes, or the orations of Demosthenes in the time of Origen. For the very same reason, it is certain that the five books ascribed to Moses, were not written in the time of David, the Psalms of David in the age of Isaiah, nor the Prophecies of Isaiah in the time of Malachi. But it appears from what was said above in regard to the extinction of the Hebrew language, that the book of Malachi could not have been written much later than the Babylonish captivity: before that period, therefore, were written the Prophecies of Isaiah, still earlier the Psalms of David, and much earlier than these, the books which are ascribed to Moses."- Horne's Introduction, vol. ii. p. 18.
11. This argument is strengthened by the fact that the language of the Hebrews, like their social customs, underwent changes very slowly; and that slight