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by way of eminence, similar to the Arabic ulc KORAN, is ap
plied to the books of Moses, Neh. viii. 8. : by the Rabbins its application is extended to the whole collection of the Old Testament. So also the name guinn, arin, ò vouos the law, (by which word the Orientals also express religion itself.) and that of vinn na0 the book of the law or of religion, in the books of the Old Testament designate the books of Moses alone ; but by the more recent Jews they are transferred to all the sacred books, as appears not only from John x. 34. xii. 34. xv. 25. I Cor. xiv. 21., but also from the Talmud, Sanhedrim, p. 91. col. 2. compare Wetstenii Nov. Test. P. I. p. 913.
- The names and, anon, o ypaon the scripture, as rapas the scriptures, ypapai áyrar the holy scriptures, and lega y ganjara the sacred letters, are often used to express the books of the Old Testament by Flavius Josephus, Philo the Jew, and the Rabbins, and also by the writers of the New Testament; (II Peter i. 20. Matt. xxii. 29. Rom. i. 2. II Tim. iii. 15. &c.) We, however, apply them collectively to the books of both the Old and New Testaments. Jerome substituted for these expressions that of SANCTA BIBLIOTHECA the Sacred Library, which, although it is well adapted to express its object, has yet not been so readily adopted as the name 616na, the small books, by way of eminence; which Chrysostom was accustomed to use.-Concerning the other names of the books of the Old Testament ; -the Law and the Prophets ; the Law, the Prophets, and the other books ; the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (which are the most eminent among the other books ;) -all which arise from the division of the books: see below § 103, and Ecclus. Prologue, I. 1, 2. Matt. v. 17. vii. 12. xi. 13. xxii. 40. Luke xvi. 16:[c]
[a) Comp. Eichhorns Einleitung in das A. T. viert. Aus. Goett. 1823, Th. I. 4 6. Tr.]
[0) On this use of the word diaoran see Priti Introd. in N. T. c. ii. p. 8. s. ed. Hoffm., and ROSENMUELLER de vocabuli duanan in libris N. T. vario usu, in KUINOEL, RUPERTI, AND VELTAVESEN Commentat. Theol. Vol. II. Tr.]
[c) On the subject of this section see LARDNER, History of the Apostles c. i. Vol. I. pp. 1-18. ; MICHAELIS Diss. quâ nomina, numerus, divisio et ordo librorum V. T. sistuntur, Halae. 1743.; SUICERI Thesaur, in vocibuss βλια, γραφη, et διαθηκη. Τr.]
§ 2. Importance of the books of the Old Testament. I. Jesus has not only approved of these books as of the greatest utility and credibility, and made them the foundation of his doctrine, but also very frequently cites them in express terms, as testimony of the highest authority, as in Mat. vii. 12. xi. 13—15. xxii. 37--43. Lu. xvi. 16. s., 29. s. Jo. v. 39. s., 46. x. 35., and in other places, but especially Mat. v. 17, 18, where he says. he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, i. e. the books of the Old Testament, but to complète or make them perfect: comp. 732 and sopa in BUXTORFII Lex. Chald. Talm. Rab. col. 450. 452.-Wherever he speaks of his own exalted dignity, he establishes it upon these books, as Mat. xi. 13. compare Lu. i. 31-33. xxiv. 25–27, 44—47. John v. 39., but especially Mat. xxvi. 63. s. where, being adjured by the judge, he affirms upon oath, that he is the person who in these sacred writings was promised to come as the Messiah. This declaration he confirmed by shedding his blood upon the cross, so that it can by no means be supposed to have been a mere accommodation to the opinions of the Jews; since no accommodation can be conceived less suited to its purpose than that which not only alienated from the speaker the people to whom it is supposed to have been adapted, but also accelerated his death.[a]
II. T'he Apostles and Evangelists constantly cite these books in proof of their doctrine ; e.g. Acts iii. 18—21. xxviii. 25. I Pet. i. 11. II Pet. i. 19. ü. 21. I Cor. x. 6. Rom. xv. 4. They also delivered them to the churches which they founded, as a sacred treasure of religious instruction, and ordered them to be read in public worship. Paul, by no means a partizan of the Mosaic rites, says, II Tim. iii. 15.s., that these books are able to make Christians wise unto salvation, and thoroughly to instruct the ministers of the church in her doctrine. No one would write in this manner, were his object merely to accommodate himself to the erroneous opinions or manner of speaking of the people.[b]
III. The primitive church, under the teaching of the apostles and their disciples, or but little removed from them, constantly maintained the same opinion, and separated the Gnostics, the Marcionites, and the Manichees from her communion, because they contemptuously
rejected these sacred books, in defence of which several of the earliost fathers wrote against their opponents.
IV. These books recommend themselves, not only by their great antiquity, going back to sixteen centuries before the Christian æra [c] but also by their contents ; of which it will be necessary to treat more at length.
(a) See GESSNER'S Jesus der verheissene Messias, Zurich, 1798; and STURR, über den Geist des Christenthums, in Flatt's Magazin für Chr. Dogm, und Mor. I. St. S. 111–169.]
[6) See KLEUKER Tractat. de nexu qualis constet inter utrumque divinæ constitutionis fædus prophetico. Helmstadt, 1792.]
[c) The most ancient of them are between six and seven hundred years older than Homer, the oldest Greek poet, who lived in the 9th century before Christ; and about eleven hundred years older than Herodotus, the earliest Grecian historian, who wrote in the 5th century before Christ, and near the time when Malachi and Nehemiah composed the last of the Hebrew scriptures. This great antiquity must render these writings in the highest degree attractive and full of instruction, even though the Yajur Veda of the Hindoos should be yet older, as Sir William Jones, in his preface to the Institutions of Menu, asserts, but has not proved. His arguments rest upon uncertain genealogies, upon conjectures, and upon rash conclusions, and after all only tend to show that the Veda was composed in the year 1580, B. C., which, according to the most accurate computation, was the 24th year of the journeying of the Hebrews in Arabia Petræa, consequently, exactly the age in which Moses wrote his books.]
$ 3. Contents of the books of the Old Testament. The principal points in the contents, in respect of which these books excel all others, are the following.–1) The maintenance of the doctrine concerning the true God in those ancient times when all the world worshipped creatures and vain devices.[a]—2) The doctrine of the dignity of man, and of his relation to God as the creator and governor of the world, and the benefactor and judge of men : also a system of morality, such as may in vain be sought for among other ancient nations.-3) Miracles and prophecies entirely unexampled. Many, it is true, have written and do still write against these miracles and prophecies ; yet none can deny that they far exeel all those of which the heathens boast. They are not only free from all superstition, and of a nature and magnitude worthy of the
Deity, but moreover they all tend to one object, the giving evidence that certain men were sent by the omnipotent and omniscient God, the ruler of the world, to the end that by their instructions the knowledge of God and true religion might be preserved and handed down to a remote posterity, by whom it should be propagated to other nations; and, in reality, was at length so propagated.—4) A history, commencing with the creation and the existence of the first man, and carried down to a period but little anterior to Christ; containing many points of doctrine and many salutary precepts, and showing, among other things the perils which the knowledge of God underwent among the Israelites themselves and the measures which were taken by the Deity for its preservation among men.(c)--5) Lastly, a design of the most extraordinary kind; which, after having been proposed in the most ancient writings and declared with gradually increasing clearness in those that followed. was at last, in the New Covenant carried into effect in a most wonderful manner. The nature of this design is such, that men left to themselves could neither have at first invented such an one, nor have carried on in such a manner its progressive developement, nor at last have thus produced its full accomplishment. For not only were all its greater events predicted, and every prediction exactly fulfilled; but even in the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (Gen. xii. 1—4. xv. xvii. 4—14. xviï. 16–22. xxii. 18. xxvi. 1-4. xxviii. 12–18.) twenty-two centuries before Christ, when polytheism and idolatry were predominating throughout the world, a prospect was afforded of those latter times, in which, by means of the posterity of those patriarchs, a saving knowledge of God should be propagated among all nations. At length, sixteen centuries before Christ, when the posterity of Jacob themselves had become contaminated with idolatrous superstition in Egypt, a theocracy, or government by which God became the civil ruler of the people, was established by the agency of Moses, in that nation which had been chosen for the preservation and propagation of the true religion. This was afterwards preserved throughout all the numerous vicissitudes which the nation underwent, notwithstanding the frequent and strong endeavours of the people, and, in course of time, of the kings with all their regal power, to abolish and destroy it. When at last the nation, having become idolatrous,
was carried away into heathen lands, partly by the Assyrians and partly by the Chaldeans, and nothing else could be expected than that, surrounded by idolaters, it should become wholly idolatrous; on the contrary, warned by their adversity, the Hebrews became sincere worshippers of God, and were brought back as Moses and after him many of the prophets had predicted from the foreign lands in which they had been dispersed, to Palestine, more than ever confirmed in their own religion. From that time they could no more be seduced from their religion by contempt and ignominy nor even by bitter persecutions and torturing deaths until the time when the early promises, which had been continually confirmed, enlarged, and variously represented by the prophets, were fulfilled, and the knowledge of God was spread among the various nations of the earth.[d]
[a) The whole ancient world was devoted to superstitious rites, and the adoration of an innumerable multitude of gods and goddesses. In somewhat later times, the philosophers themselves partly founded systems, either Atheistical or leading to Atheism ; partly taught Pantheism, or at any rate by their doctrine of emanations brought the Creator of the world almost to a level with the world itself. In their clearest views they acknowledged only an architect of the universe, but no creator ; and had no correct potions of his attributes or relations to mankind. They did not worship him, as St Paul remarks, but always, as we find from their writings, supported and recommended the worship of the gods. At this very time, when the true knowledge of God existed nowhere else, we find throughout the sacred books of the Hebrews a correct doctrine concerning the true God; who is there represented as the creator and governor of the world, and as the benefactor and judge of men. In the most ancient times, it is true, this doctrine was accommodated to the childhood and the narrow comprehensions of men, who as yet had attained but a slight degree of cultivation, and was accordingly brief, adapted to the perception of the senses, and figurative: nevertheless, in the fundamental ideas it was always accurate and true. As the world advanced in cultivation, this doctrine was continually developed, applied, and more accurately expressed ; so that, as in the laws of Moses, in the book of Job, and in the Psalms, all the attributes of God, and his relations to the world and to men, are plainly exhibited, without any admixture of the doctrines of Pantheism, of emanations, of the eternity of matter, or of subordinate deities : rocks upon which the most sharpsighted sages of antiquity have split, in their researches on this subject. The providence of God in particular, of which so little was known with