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Title: Companion to the Bible
Author: Barrows, E. P. (Elijah Porter), 1807-1888
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Companion to the Bible" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.







The design of the present work, as its title indicates, is to assist in
the study of God's word. The author has had special reference to
teachers of Bible classes and Sabbath-schools; ministers of the gospel
who wish to have ready at hand the results of biblical investigation in
a convenient and condensed form; and, in general, the large body of
intelligent laymen and women in our land who desire to pursue the study
of Scripture in a thorough and systematic way.

The First Part contains a concise view of the Evidences of Revealed
Religion. Here, since Christianity rests on a basis of historic facts,
special prominence has been given to the historic side of these
evidences; those, namely, which relate to the genuineness, integrity,
authenticity, and inspiration of the several books of the Bible. A brief
view is added of the evidences which are of an internal and experimental

In the Introductions to the Old and New Testament which follow in the
Second and Third Parts, the general facts are first given; then an
account of the several divisions of each, with their office and mutual
relations, and such a notice of each particular book as will prepare the
reader to study it intelligently and profitably.

The Fourth Part is devoted to the Principles of Biblical Interpretation.
Here the plan is to consider the Scriptures, first, on the human side,
as addressed to men in human language and according to human modes of
thinking and speaking; then, on the divine side, as containing a true
revelation from God, and differing in this respect from all other
writings. To this twofold view the author attaches great importance. To
the human side belong the ordinary principles of interpretation, which
apply alike to all writings; to the divine side, the question of the
unity of revelation, and the interpretation of types and prophecies.

In each of the abovenamed divisions the author has endeavored to keep
prominently in view the unity of revelation and the inseparable
connection of all its parts. It is only when we thus contemplate it as a
glorious whole, having beginning, progress, and consummation, that we
can truly understand it. Most of the popular objections to the Old
Testament have their foundation in an isolated and fragmentary way of
viewing its facts and doctrines; and they can be fairly met only by
showing the relation which these hold to the entire plan of redemption.

The plan of the present work required brevity and condensation. The
constant endeavor has been to state the several facts and principles as
concisely as could be done consistently with a true presentation of them
in an intelligible form. It may be objected that some topics, those
particularly which relate to the Pentateuch, are handled in too cursory
a way. The author feels the difficulty; but to go into details on this
subject would require a volume. He has endeavored to do the best that
was consistent with the general plan of the work. The point of primary
importance to be maintained is the divine authority and inspiration of
the Pentateuch--the whole Pentateuch as it existed in our Saviour's day
and exists now. There are difficult questions connected with both its
form and the interpretation of certain parts of it in respect to which
devout believers may honestly differ. For the discussion of these the
reader must be referred to the works professedly devoted to the subject.

The present volume is complete in itself; yet it does not exhaust the
circle of topics immediately connected with the study of the Bible. It
is the author's purpose to add another volume on Biblical Geography and
Antiquities, with a brief survey of the historic relations of the
covenant people to the Gentile world.





INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 1. Christianity rests on a Basis of Historic Facts
inseparably connected from First to Last--2. This Basis to be maintained
against Unbelievers--3. General Plan of Inquiry--Christ's Advent the
Central Point--From this We look forward and backward to the
Beginning--4. Importance of viewing Revelation as a Whole--5.
Fragmentary Method of Objectors--Particular Order of the Parts in this


GENUINENESS OF THE GOSPEL NARRATIVES. 1. Terms defined--Necessity of
knowing the Authors of the Gospels--2. Remarks on their Origin--They
were not written immediately, but successively at Intervals--Earlier
Documents noticed by Luke--3. Manner of Quotation by the Early Church
Fathers--4. _External Evidences_ traced upward from the Close of the
Second Century--Testimony of Irenæus--Of Tertullian--Of Clement of
Alexandria--Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne--5.
Comprehensiveness and Force of these Testimonies--Freedom of Judgment in
the Primitive Churches--This shown by the History of the Disputed
Books--6. Public Character and Use of the Gospels--7. Earlier
Testimonies--Justin Martyr--His Designation of the Gospels--They are Our
Canonical Gospels--Explanation of his Variations and Additions--His
References to the Gospel of John--8. Testimony of Papias--9. Epistle to
Diognetus--10. The Apostolic Fathers--Clement of Rome--Ignatius
Polycarp--The So-called Epistle of Barnabas--11. The Ancient Versions
and Muratorian Canon--Syriac Peshito--Old Latin--12. Testimony of the
Heretical Sects--Marcion--Valentinus--Tatian--13. Conclusiveness of the
above External Testimony--14. _Internal Evidences_--Relation of the
First Three Gospels to the Last--They differ in Time--The First Three
written before the Destruction of Jerusalem; the Fourth after that
Event--They differ in Character and Contents--Yet were all alike
received by the Churches--15. Relation of the First Three Gospels to
Each Other--They have Remarkable Agreements and Differences--These and
their General Reception explained by their Genuineness--16. The Gospels
contain no Trace of Later Events--17. Or Later Modes of Thought. 18.
From the Character of the Language


Uncorrupt Text--2. Ancient Materials for Writing--Palimpsests--Uncial
and Cursive Manuscripts--3. The Apostolic Autographs have perished, but
We have their Contents--This shown from the Agreement of
Manuscripts--From the Quotations of the Fathers--From Ancient
Versions--Character of the "Various Readings"--They do not affect the
Substance of the Gospel--4. The Ancient Versions made from a Pure
Text--This shown from the Public Reading of the Gospels from the
Beginning--From the Multiplication of Copies--From the High Value
attached to the Gospels--From the Want of Time for Essential
Corruptions--From the Absence of all Proof of such Corruptions--5. The
Above Remarks apply essentially to the other New Testament Books


Remarks--2. Their Authors Sincere and Truthful--3. Competent as Men--4.
And as Witnesses--5. Character of the Works which they record--
Supernatural Character of our Lord's Miracles--They were very
Numerous and Diversified, and performed openly--6. And in the Presence
of His Enemies--7. The Resurrection of Jesus--Its Vital Importance--8.
The Character of Jesus proves the Truth of the Record--Its Originality
and Symmetry--It unites Tranquillity with Fervor--Wisdom with Freedom
from Guile--Prudence with Boldness--Tenderness with Severity--Humility
with the Loftiest Claims--He is Heavenly-minded without Asceticism--His
Perfect Purity--His Virtues Imitable for All alike--Our Lord's Character
as a Teacher--His Freedom from the Errors of His Age and Nation--His
Religion One for All Men and Ages--This explained by its Divine
Origin--Our Lord's Manner of Teaching--His Divine Mission--Divinity of
His Person--Originality of its Manifestations--God His Father in a
Peculiar Sense--He is the Source of Light and Life--He has Inward
Dominion over the Soul--He dwells in Believers, and they in Him--The
Inference--His Power over the Human Heart--Supernatural Character of the
Gospel--A Word on Objections


Natural Sequel to the Gospels--2. _The Acts of the Apostles_--External
Testimonies--3. Internal Evidence--4. Credibility--5. Date of
Composition--6. _The Acknowledged Epistles_--Distinction of Acknowledged
and Disputed Books--7. First Group of Pauline Epistles--Second Group, or
the Pastoral Epistles--Their Date--Their Peculiar Character--8. First
Epistles of Peter and First of John--9. Mutual Relation between the
Gospels and Later Books--10. Argument from Undesigned Coincidences


THE DISPUTED BOOKS. 1. The Question here simply concerning the Extent of
the Canon--2. The Primitive Age One of Free Inquiry--3. Its Diversity of
Judgment no Decisive Argument against a Given Book--4. The Caution of
the Early Churches gives Weight to their Judgment--This Judgment
Negative as well as Positive


INSPIRATION AND THE CANON. General Remarks--1. Rule of Judgment
determined--It is the Writer's Relation to Christ--2. Christ Himself
Infallible--3. _The Apostles_--They held the nearest Relation to
Him--Their Infallibility as Teachers shown--From the Necessity of the
Case--From Christ's Express Promises--From their Own Declarations--
Summary of the Argument in Respect to the Apostles--4. Inspiration of
the _Apostolic Men_--5. Argument from the Character of the Books of
the New Testament--6. The Inspiration of the Sacred Writers Plenary--
7. Principles on which the Canon is formed


Remarks--1. Previous Revelations implied in Christ's Advent--2. In the
Character of the Jewish People--3. Proved from the New Testament--
Christ's Explicit Declarations--4. The New Testament based on the Facts
of the Old--The Fall of Man--The Abrahamic Covenant, which was
conditioned on Faith alone, and fulfilled in Christ--Christ the End of
the Mosaic Economy--In its Prophetical Order--In its Kingly Office--In
its Priestly Office--5. The New Testament Writers the Interpreters of
the Old


AUTHORSHIP OF THE PENTATEUCH. Meaning of the Term--1. It existed in its
Present Form from Ezra's Day--2. "The Law" ascribed to Moses in the New
Testament--How Much is included in this Term--3. Force of the New
Testament Testimony--4. The Law of Moses at the Restoration--5. Jewish
Tradition that Ezra settled the Canon of the Old Testament--He left the
Pentateuch essentially as he found it--References to the Law in the
Books of Kings and Chronicles--6. The Book of Deuteronomy--Its Mosaic
Authorship Certain--7. The Inference Certain that he wrote the Preceding
Laws--8. This corroborated by their Form--9. By References in the New
Testament--And the Old also--10. Relation of Deuteronomy to the Earlier
Precepts--In Respect to Time--And Design--Change in Moses' Personal
Relation to the People--Peculiarities of Deuteronomy explained from the
Above Considerations--Meaning of "the Words of this Law" in
Deuteronomy--11. Mosaic Authorship of Genesis shown--From Antecedent
Probability--From its Connection with the Following Books--Objections
considered--Supposed Marks of a Later Age--And of Different Authors--12.
Unity of the Pentateuch


assumed in the New Testament--This shown by Examples--2. It was the
Foundation of the Whole Jewish Polity--And could not have been imposed
upon the People by Fraud--Contrast between Mohammed and Moses--3.
Scientific Difficulties connected with the Pentateuch--4. Alleged Moral
Difficulties--Exclusiveness of the Mosaic Economy--Its Restrictions on
Intercourse with Other Nations--5. Its Numerous Ordinances--The Mosaic
Laws required Spiritual Obedience--6. Objections from the Toleration of
Certain Usages--7. Extirpation of the Canaanites--8. The Mosaic Economy
a Blessing to the Whole World


Testament assumes their Divine Authority--Historical Books--3. Books not
strictly Historical or Prophetical--4. Prophetical Books--Argument from
Prophecy for the Divine Origin of the Old Testament--5. Christ the
Fulfilment of Prophecy--In his Office as a Prophet--as a King--as a
Priest--6. The Jewish Institutions and History a Perpetual Adumbration
of Christ preparatory to His Advent--7. Remarks on the Canon of the Old
Testament--8. Principle of its Formation--9. Inspiration of the Old


but not Indispensable to True Faith--2. Internal Evidences--View which
the Bible gives of God's Character--3. Code of Morals in the Bible--It
is Spiritual, Reasonable, and Comprehensive--Obedience to It the Sum of
all Goodness--4. All Parts of the Bible in Harmony with Each Other--5.
Power of the Bible over the Conscience--6. Argument from Personal
Experience--7. From the Character of Jesus--8. From General
Experience--The Love of Jesus the Mightiest Principle of
Action--Persecution first winnows, then strengthens the Church--The
Church corrupted and weakened by Worldly Alliances--9. The Gospel gives
an Inward Victory over Sin--It purifies and elevates Society--10. Its
Self-purifying Power--11. The Argument summed up

       *       *       *      *      *





the Word Bible--Jewish Designations of the Old Testament--2. Origin of
the Terms Old and New Testament--Earlier Latin Term--2. The
Unity--Scripture has its Ground in Divine Inspiration--Its Great
Diversity in Respect to Human Composition--4. Classification and
Arrangement of the Old Testament Books--Classification of the Hebrew: of
the Greek Version of the Seventy; of the Latin Vulgate--No One of these
follows entirely the Order of Time--5. Original Mode of Writing called
Continuous--6. Ancient Sections--Open and Closed; Larger Sections called
Parshiyoth and Haphtaroth--7. Chapters and Verses--Caution in Respect to
our Modern Chapters


THE ORIGINAL TEXT AND ITS HISTORY. 1. Chaldee Passages in the Hebrew
Scriptures--Divisions of the Hebrew and Cognate Languages--2. The
Assyrian or Square Character not Primitive--Jewish Tradition respecting
its Origin--3. The Hebrew Alphabet and its Character--4. Change in the
Language of the Hebrew Nation--5. Introduction of the Vowel-Points and
Accents--The Question of their Antiquity--6. Jewish Rules for the
Guidance of Copyists--Their Deep Reverence for the Sacred Text--Its
Uncorrupt Transmission to Us--7. Age and Character of Hebrew
Manuscripts--8. Form of Hebrew Manuscripts--the Public in Rolls, the
Private in the Book Form, Poetical Passages, Columns, Pen and Ink
Accompaniments--9. The Samaritan Pentateuch


"Canon"--Gradual Formation of the Hebrew Canon--Its Main Divisions--1.
_The Pentateuch_--2. General Remark on its Hebrew Name--3. The
Pentateuch forms the Nucleus of the Old Testament Canon--It was given by
Divine Authority, committed to the Charge of the Priests, kept by the
Side of the Ark, and to be publicly read at Stated Times--II. _The
Historical Books_--4. The Authors and Exact Date of Many of them
Unknown--Important Historical Documents were deposited in the
Sanctuary--5. The Authors of the Books of Joshua and Judges made Use of
such Documents--6. The Author of the Books of Samuel also--7. Original
Sources for the Books of Kings and Chronicles--8. These Two Works refer
not to Each Other, but to a Larger Collection of Original Documents--9.
Character of these Documents--They were written, in Part at Least, by
Prophets, and they all come to us with the Stamp of Prophetic
Authority.--10. The Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther--III. _The
Prophetical Books_--11. The Books enumerated--Paucity of Prophets before
Samuel--Schools of the Prophets established by him--The Prophets a
Distinct Order of Men in the Theocracy from his Day onward--12. The Era
of Written Prophecy--IV. _The Poetical Books_--13. Their General
Character--The Book of Job--14. The Book of Psalms--15. Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes, and Canticles--_Completion of the Canon_--16. Preservation
of the Sacred Books to the Time of Ezra--The Law; the Prophetical Books;
the Psalms and other Canonical Writings--17. The Completion of the Canon
ascribed by the Jews to Ezra and his Coadjutors--This Tradition True for
Substance.--No Psalms written in the Maccabean Age--18. Contents of the
Hebrew Canon--as given by Jesus the Son of Sirach, by Josephus, by
Origen and Eusebius, by Jerome--19. The Apocryphal Books


Septuagint_--1. Its Antiquity; its Great Influence on the Language of
the New Testament--2. Jewish Account of its Origin--3. Judgment of
Biblical Scholars on this Account--4. Time occupied in the Completion of
the Work--5. Inequalities of this Version--Its Importance to the
Biblical Student--6. Its Close Connection with the New Testament--
Quotations from it by New Testament Writers--Their Manner and Spirit--
7. Hebrew Text from which this Version was made--II. _Other Greek
Versions_--8. The Septuagint originally in High Esteem among the
Jews--Change in their Feelings in Regard to it, and Rise of New
Versions--9. Aquila's Version--10. Theodotion--11. Symniachus--12.
Origen's Labors on the Text of the Septuagint--the Tetrapla and
Hexapla--III. _The Chaldee Targums_--13. General Remarks on these--14.
The Targum of Onkelos--Its General Fidelity and Excellence--Its
Peculiarities--Jewish Tradition respecting Onkelos--15. The Targum of
Jonathan Ben Uzziel--16. Of Pseudo-Jonathan and Jerusalem--17. Other
Targums--The Samaritan Version of the Samaritan Pentateuch--IV. 18. _The
Syriac Peshito_--Its Age and Character


CRITICISM OF THE SACRED TEXT. 1. The Object to ascertain its Primitive
Form--2. Means at Our Disposal--Ancient Hebrew Manuscripts--Remarks on
their Quality and Age--3. Ancient Versions--4. Primary Printed
Editions--5. Parallel Passages--6. Quotations from the Old Testament in
the New--7. Quotations in the Talmud and by Rabbinical Writers--8.
Critical Conjecture



Introduction--The Necessity of Understanding the Unity of Divine
Revelation--2. Relation of the Old Testament as a Whole to the System of
Revelation--It is a Preparatory, Introductory to a Final Revelation, of
which the Gospel everywhere avails itself--the Unity of God; Vicarious
Sacrifice; General Principles; Well-developed State of Civilization--
Connection of the Hebrews with the Great World Powers--Their Dispersion
through the Nations at our Lord's Advent--Relation of the Gospel to
Civilization--3. A Knowledge of the Preparatory Character of the Old
Testament Revelations enables us to judge correctly concerning them--
Severity of the Mosaic Laws; Their Burdensome Multiplicity; Objection
from their Exclusive Character answered--4. Office of each Division of
the Old Testament Revelations--the Pentateuch; the Historical Books;
the Prophetical Books--Character and Officers of the Hebrew Prophets--
Era of Written Prophecy--The Poetical Books--5. Each Particular Book
has its Office--6. The Old Testament was a Revelation for the Men of
its Own Age, as well as for those of Future Ages--the Promise made to
Abraham; the Deliverance from Egypt; the Mosaic Law; the Words of the
Prophets; the Psalms of David: the Wisdom of Solomon--7. Value of the
Old Testament Revelations to us--the System of Divine Revelation can
be understood only as a Whole; Constant Reference of the New Testament
to the Old; the Old Testament a Record of God's Dealings with Men;
the Principles embodied in the Theocracy Eternal; the Manifold Wisdom
of God seen only when the Whole System of Revelation is studied


THE PENTATEUCH. I. Its Unity--Its Fivefold Division--1. _Genesis_--2.
Its Hebrew Name--Its Greek Name--3. Its Office--It is the Introductory
Book of the Pentateuch--Its Connection with the Following Books--4.
Divisions of the Book of Genesis--First Part and its Contents; Second
Part and its Contents--5. Its Mosaic Authorship--Supposed Traces of a
Later Hand--6. Difficulties connected with the Pentateuch--Scientific
Difficulties: the Six Days of Creation; the Age of the Antediluvian
Patriarchs; the Unity of the Human Race; the Deluge--Historical
Difficulties: the Two Accounts of the Creation; Cain's Wife--
Chronological Difficulties: Discrepancies between the Masoretic
Hebrew, the Samaritan Hebrew, and the Septuagint, in Respect to (1) the
Antediluvian Genealogy; (2) the Genealogy from Noah to Abraham--Remarks
on these Discrepancies--II. _Exodus_--7. Hebrew Name of this Book--Its
Unity--Its Two Chief Divisions--Contents of the First Division; of the
Second Division--8. Time of the Sojourn in Egypt--Sojourn in the
Wilderness--III. _Leviticus_--9. Its Character and Contents--10. The
Priestly Office and Sacrifices the Central Part of the Mosaic Law--IV.
_Numbers_--11. Office and Contents of this Book--The Three Epochs of its
History: the Departure from Sinai, the Rebellion of the People upon the
Report of the Twelve Spies, the Second Arrival of Israel at Kadesh with
the Events that followed--V. _Deuteronomy_--12. Its Peculiar Character,
Divisions, and Contents--13. It brings the Whole Pentateuch to a
Suitable Close


THE HISTORICAL BOOKS. 1 and 2. Their Office to Unfold the History of
God's Dealings with the Covenant People--General Remarks on the
Character of this History--I. _Joshua_--3. Contents of this Book. Its
Immediate Connection with the Pentateuch--Its Two Divisions with their
Contents--4. Its Authorship--5. Its Authenticity and Credibility--The
Miracle of the Arrest of the Sun and Moon in their Course--II. _Judges
and Ruth_--6. Name of this Book--Office of the Judges whose History it
records--Condition of the Hebrew Nation during the Administration of the
Judges--Office of this Book in the General Plan of Redemption--7.
Arrangement of its Materials--its Twofold Introduction; the Body of its
History; its Two Appendixes--8. Its Date and Authorship--9. Uncertainty
of its Chronology--10. The Book of Ruth. Its Place in the History of
Redemption--III. _The Books of Samuel_--11. The Two Books of Samuel
originally One Work--Their Name--12. Their Office in the History of
Redemption--Eventful Character of the Period whose History they
record--Change to the Kingly Form of Government--God's Design in
this--The Kingly Office Typical of Christ--13. Contents of the Books of
Samuel--Introductory Division; Second Division; Third Division--14.
Authorship and Date of their Composition--IV. _The Books of Kings_--15.
They Originally constituted a Single Book--Their Names and Office--Their
Manner of Execution--Their Main Divisions--16. The First Period--17. The
Second Period--18. The Third Period--19. Chronology of the Books of
Kings. Their Date and Authorship--V. _The Books of Chronicles_--20. They
originally constituted One Work--Their Various Names--They constitute an
Independent Work--Their Office different from that of the Books of
Kings--Peculiarities which distinguish them from these Books--Particular
Attention to the Matter of Genealogy; Fullness of Detail in Respect to
the Temple Service; Omission of the History of the Kingdom of Israel;
other Omissions--21. Position of the Chronicles in the Hebrew
Canon--Their Authorship and Date--Their Relation to the Books of
Kings--22. Difficulties connected with these Books--VI. _Ezra and
Nehemiah_--23. General Remarks on these Books--Change in the Relation of
the Hebrews to the Gentile Nations--Gradual Withdrawal of Supernatural
Manifestations--24. While the Theocracy went steadily forward to the
Accomplishment of its End--The Jews reclaimed from Idolatry in
Connection with the Captivity--Establishment of the Synagogue Service
and its Great Influence--25. The Book of Ezra--Its Authorship--Parts
written in Chaldee--Persian Monarchs mentioned by Ezra and Nehemiah--26.
The Book of Nehemiah--Its Contents and Divisions--First Division; Second
Division; Third Division--27. Authorship and Date of the Book--VII.
_Esther_--28. Contents of this Book--Feast of Purim--29. The Ahasuerus
of this Book--Remarks on its History


reckoned as Poetical by the Hebrews--Hebrew System of Accentuation--A.
_Characteristics of Hebrew Poetry_--_Its Spirit_--Harmony with the
Spirit of the Theocracy; Vivid Consciousness of God's Presence;
Originality; Freshness and Simplicity of Thought; Variety--Job and
Isaiah. David, Solomon; Diversity of Themes; Oriental Imagery;
Theocratic Imagery--_Form of Hebrew Poetry_--3. Its Rhythm that of
Clauses--Antithetic Parallelism; Synonymous Parallelism; Synthetic
Parallelism--Combinations of the above Forms--Freedom of Hebrew
Poetry--Peculiarities of Diction--_Office of Hebrew Poetry_--4. The
Celebration of God's Interpositions in Behalf of the Covenant People;
Song for the Sanctuary Service; Didactic Poetry; Prophetic Poetry--B.
_The Several Poetical Books_--I. _Job_--1. Survey of its Plan--6. Its
Design to Show the Nature of God's Providential Government over Men--7.
Age to which Job belonged--Age and Authorship of the Book--8. Its
Historic Character--II. _The Book of Psalms_--9. Its Office--Authors of
the Psalms--Date of their Composition--10. External Division of the
Psalms into five Books--First Book; Second Book; Third Book; Fourth
Book; Fifth Book--Subscription appended to the Second Book--Principle of
Arrangement--Attempted Classification of the Psalms--Frequent Quotation
of the Psalms in the New Testament--11. Titles of the Psalms--the
Dedicatory Title; Titles relating to the Character of the Composition to
the Musical Instruments, or the Mode of Musical Performance--These
Titles very Ancient, but not in all Cases Original--III. _The Proverbs
of Solomon_--12. Place of this Book in the System of Divine
Revelation--13. Its Outward Form--First Part; Second Part; Third Part;
Fourth Part--14. Arrangement of the Book in its Present Form--IV.
_Ecclesiastes_--15. Authorship of this Book and its View of Life--16.
Summary of its Contents--V. _The Song of Solomon_--17. Meaning of the
Title. Ancient Jewish and Christian View of this Song--18. It is not a
Drama, but a Series of Descripture Pictures--Its Great Theme--Caution in
Respect to the Spiritual Interpretation of it


The Greater Prophets. 1. General Remarks on the Prophetical Writings--2.
Different Offices of the Prophets under the Theocracy--Their Office as
Reprovers--3. As Expounders of the Mosaic Law in its Spirituality--4.
And of its End, which was Salvation through the Future Redeemer--They
wrote in the Decline of the Theocracy--Their Promises fulfilled only in
Christ--I. _Isaiah_--5. He is the First in Order, but not the Earliest
of the Prophets--His Private History almost wholly Unknown--Jewish
Tradition Concerning him--Period of his Prophetic Activity--6. Two Great
Divisions of his Prophecies--Plans for Classifying the Contents of the
First Part--Analysis of these Contents--General Character of the Second
Part, and View of its Contents--7. Objections to the Genuineness of the
Last Part of Isaiah and Certain Other Parts--General Principle on which
these Objections are to be met--Previous Preparation for the Revelations
contained in this Part--True Significance of the Promises which it
contains--Form of these Promises--Mention of Cyrus by Name--Objection
from the Character of the Style considered--8. Direct Arguments for the
Genuineness of this Part--External Testimony; Internal Evidences--9.
Genuineness of the Disputed Passages of the First Part--II.
_Jeremiah_--10. Contrast between Isaiah and Jeremiah in Personal
Character and Circumstances--Our Full Knowledge of his Outward Personal
History and Inward Conflicts--11. His Priestly Descent--His Native
Place--Period of his Prophetic Activity--Degeneracy of the
Age--Persecutions to which his Fidelity subjected him--He is more
occupied than Isaiah with the Present--His Mission is emphatically to
unfold the Connection between National Profligacy and National Ruin; yet
he sometimes describes the Glory of the Latter Days--12. The
Chronological Order not always followed in his Prophecies--General
Divisions of them--First Division; Second Division; Appendix--Attempts
to disprove the Genuineness of Certain Parts of Jeremiah--_The Book of
Lamentations_--13. Its Hebrew Name--Its Authorship and the Time of its
Composition--14. Structure of its Poetry--III. _Ezekiel_--15. His
Priestly Descent and Residence--Notices of his Personal History--Period
of his Prophetic Activity--16. Peculiarities of his Style--17. His
Allegoric and Symbolic Representations--General Remarks on the Nature of
Allegories and Symbols--18. The Two Divisions of the Book--Contents of
the First Part; of the Second Part--Prophecies against Foreign
Nations--Promises relating to the Glory of the Latter Days--Ezekiel's
Vision of a New Jerusalem with its Temple--Meaning of this Vision and
Principles according to which it is to be interpreted--IV. _Daniel_--19.
Its Place in the Hebrew Canon--Notices of Daniel's Personal History--20.
Arrangement and Contents of the Book--First Series of Prophecies; Second
Series--Intimate Connection between the Book of Daniel and the
Apocalypse--21. Assaults made upon the Book of Daniel in Respect to its
Genuineness and Credibility--Grounds on which it is received as a Part
of the Sacred Canon--Its Unity; Uniform Tradition of the Jews and its
Reliability; Testimony of Josephus; of the Saviour; Language and Style;
Intimate Acquaintance with the Historical Relations and Manners and
Customs of the Age--22. Insufficiency of the Various Objections urged
against the Book--Chronological and Historical Difficulties;
Difficulties connected with the Identification of Belshazzar and Darius
the Mede; Silence of Jesus the Son of Sirach respecting Daniel; Alleged
Linguistic Difficulties; Commendations bestowed upon Daniel--The Real
Objection to the Book on the Part of its Opponents lies in the
Supernatural Character of the Events which it records--Remarks on this


THE TWELVE MINOR PROPHETS--1. Jewish Arrangement of these Books--Their
Order in the Masoretic Text and in the Alexandrine Version--2. General
Remarks on their Character I. _Hosea_--3. Period of his Prophecying and
its Character--4. Peculiarly of his Style--Contents of the Book II.
_Joel_--5. Place and Date of his Prophecies--6. Character and Contents
of his Book--III. _Amos_--7. Date of his Prophecies--Notices of his
Person--He was a Jew, not trained in any Prophetical School, and sent to
prophesy against Israel--Character and Contents of his Writings--IV.
_Obadiah_--8. Date and Contents of his Prophecy--V. _Jonah_--9. His
Age--10. Remarks on the History of the Book--11. Authorship and Historic
Truth of the Book--VI. _Micah_--12. His Residence and the Time of his
Prophetic Activity--His Prophecies directed against both Israel and
Judah--13. Divisions of the Book with the Contents of Each--Passages
Common to Micah and Isaiah--General Agreement between the Two
Prophets--VII. _Nahum_--14. His Prophecy directed against Nineveh--Its
Probable Date--15. Contents of the Book--VIII. _Habakkuk_--16. Date of
the Book and its Contents--Remarks on the Ode contained in the Third
Chapter--IX. _Zephaniah_--17. Date and Contents of his Book--X.
_Haggai_--18. Date and Scope of the Book--19. Its Different
Messages--XI. _Zechariah_--20. His Priestly Descent--Date of his
Prophecies--21. The Three Divisions of the Book--First Division; Second
Division; Third Division--22. Remarks on the Character of Zechariah's
Prophecies--XII. _Malachi_--23. Name of this Prophet--Date of his
Prophecies, and Condition of the Jewish People--24 Contents of the Book


its Origin--2. Remarks on the Date of the Apocryphal Books--Their
Reception by the Alexandrine Jews--3. History of these Books in the
Christian Church--4. Their Uses--I. _The Two Books of Esdras_--5. Name
of this Book--Its Contents--Its Date--6. The Second Book of Esdras found
only in Versions--Remarks on these Versions--7. Its Contents and
Date--II. _Tobit_--8. Accounts of the Contents of this Book--9. Various
Texts in which this Book is Extant--Its General Scope--III.
_Judith_--10. Contents of the Book--11. Remarks on its Character, Date,
and Design--IV. _Additions to the Book of Esther_--12. Account of
these--V. _The Wisdom of Solomon_--13. Its Divisions and their
Contents--14. Authorship of the Book--Its Merits and Defects--VI.
_Ecclesiasticus_--15. Its Titles and Contents--16. Date of the Book and
of its Translation--VII. _Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah_--17.
Character and Contents of the Book of Baruch--18. Second, or Syriac Book
of Baruch--19. So-called Epistle of Jeremiah--VIII. _Additions to the
Book of Daniel_--20. Enumeration of these--Their Authorship and
Date--IX. _The Prayer of Manasses_--21. Remarks on this Composition--X.
_The Books of the Maccabees_--22. Number of these Books--Remarks on
their Historic Order--Origin of the Name Maccabee--23. First Book--Its
Genuineness and Credibility--Its Authorship and Date--Original
Language--24. Second Book--Its Character and Contents--25. Third
Book--Its Contents and Character--Fourth Book--Its Stoical
Character--Its Contents--Fifth Book--Its Original Language and Contents

       *       *       *       *       *





Language of the New Testament--1. God's Providence as seen in the
Languages of the Old and New Testaments--Fitness of the Hebrew for its
Office in History, Poetry, and Prophecy--2. Adaptation of the Greek to
the Wants of the New Testament Writers--3. Providential Preparation for
a Change in the Language of the Inspired Writings--Cessation of the
Hebrew as the Vernacular of the Jews, and Withdrawal of the Spirit of
Prophecy Contemporaneous--4. Introduction of the Greek Language into
Asia and Egypt--Its Use among the Jews, especially in Egypt--Its General
Use in our Lord's Day--5. Character of the New Testament Greek--Its
Basis the Common Hellenic Dialect, with an Hebraic Coloring received
from the Septuagint, and an Aramaic Tinge also--The Writers of the New
Testament Jews using the Language of Greece for the Expression of
Christian Ideas--Technical Terms in the New Testament--6. Adaptation of
the New Testament Greek to its Office


External Form of the New Testament--1. The Three Main Divisions of the
New Testament Writings: Historical, Epistolary, Prophetical--2. Natural
Order of these Divisions--3. Subdivisions--In the Historic Part--In the
Epistolary Part--Diversity of Arrangement in Manuscripts--4. Arrangement
of the New Testament Writings not Chronological--Importance of Knowing
this--5. Continuous Writing of the Ancient Uncial Manuscripts--
Stichometrical Mode of Writing--This led gradually to the Present
System of Interpunction Cursive Manuscripts--7. Ancient Divisions in
the Contents of the Sacred Text--Ammonian Sections and Eusebian Canons--
8. Divisions called Titles--9. Divisions of the Other New Testament
Books--10. Chapters and Verses--Church Lessons--11. Remarks on the above
Divisions--Paragraph Bibles--12. Titles and Subscriptions


2. General Remarks--3. Origin of Various Readings and their
Classification--Substitutions, Insertions, Omissions--Arising from
Inadvertence, or Unskilful Criticism--Wilful Falsifications cannot be
imputed to the Copyists--4. Materials for Textual Criticism--General
Results--5. Notice of some Manuscripts--The Vatican, Sinai, Alexandrine,
Ephraem, Palimpsest, Dublin Palimpsest, Beza or Cambridge (Bilingual),
Purple. Cursive Manuscripts--II. _The Printed Text_--6. Primary Editions
and their Sources--Complutensian Polyglott, Erasmian, Stephens', Beza's,
Elzevir Editions--7. Remarks on the Received Text--III. _Principles of
Textual Criticism_--8. Its End--Sources of Evidence--Greek
Manuscripts--Their varying Value--9. Ancient Versions and their
Value--10. Citations of the Church Fathers--11. Canons of Criticism


Different Periods to be noticed--3. Apostolic Age--4. Age of the
Apostolic Fathers--Remarks on their Quotations--5. Age of
Transition--Events of this Age which awakened the Christian Church to a
Full Consciousness of the Divine Authority of the Apostolic
Writings--Execution of Versions--6. Age of the Early Church
Fathers--They recognized a Canon, though not yet Complete--Canon of the
Syriac Peshito, Muratorian Canon--Canon of the Councils of Laodicea and
Carthage--7. Closing Remarks


attaching to these Versions--2. The Ante-Hieronymian or Old Latin
Version--3. Its Canon--Remarks on its Text--Manuscripts containing
it--4. Jerome's Revision of the Old Latin Version--5. Jerome's New
Version of the Old Testament--Books left untranslated--The Vulgate and
its Diversified Character--Remarks on the History of the Vulgate--II.
_Syriac Versions_--6. The Peshito--It comprises the Old and New
Testaments--Its Date--Its Name--7. Character of the Peshito--The
Curetonian Syriac--Its Relation to the Peshito--Its high Critical
Value--8. The Philoxenian Syriac--Its extremely Literal
Character--Hexaplar Syriac--Remarks on these Versions--Jerusalem Syriac
Lectionary--III. _Egyptian and Ethiopic Versions_--Memphitic Version,
Thebaic, Bashmuric--10. Ethiopic Version--IV. _Gothic and other
Versions_--11. Gothic Version of Ulphilas--12. Palimpsest Manuscripts of
this Version--13. Ancient Armenian Version



THE HISTORICAL BOOKS--1. The New Testament a Necessary Sequel to the
Old--The Two Testaments interpret Each Other, and can be truly
understood only as an Organic Whole--2. Remarks on the Use Made of the
Old Testament by the Writers of the New--Fundamental Character of the
Gospel Narratives--I. _The Gospel as a Whole_--3. Signification of the
Word "Gospel"--Its Primary and Secondary Application--4. General Remarks
on the Relation of the Gospels to Each Other--5. Agreements of the
Synoptic Gospels--6. Differences--7. Theories of the Origin of these
Three Gospels: That of Mutual Dependence; That of Original Documents;
That of Oral Apostolic Tradition--Remarks on this Tradition--Its
Distinction from Tradition in the Modern Sense--8. No One of the Gospels
gives the Entire History of our Lord, nor always observes the Strict
Chronological Order of Events--Remarks on our Lord's Life before his
Baptism--9. Remarks on the Peculiar Character of the Fourth Gospel--This
and the other Three mutually Supplementary to Each Other--10. Harmonies
of the Gospels--Relative Size of the Gospels--II. _Matthew_--11.
Personal Notices of Matthew--12. Original Language of his Gospel--The
Problem stated--13. Testimony of the Ancients on this Point--14. Various
Hypotheses considered--15. Primary Design of this Gospel to show that
Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised Messiah--16. He is also exhibited as
the Saviour of the World--17. Fulness of Matthew's Record in Respect to
our Lord's Discourses--18. He does not always follow the Exact Order of
Time--19. Place and Date--20. Integrity--Genuineness of the First Two
Chapters--III. _Mark_--21. Personal Notices of Mark--Intimate Relation
of Mark to Peter and Paul--22. Place--Date--Language--23. Design of this
Gospel to exhibit Jesus as the Son of God--He makes the Works of Jesus
more Prominent than his Discourses--24. Characteristics of Mark as a
Historian--25. Closing Passage in Mark's Gospel--IV. _Luke_--26. Notices
of Luke in the New Testament--27. Sources of his Gospel--His Relation to
Paul--28. Date and Place of Writing--29. Universal Aspect of Luke's
Gospel--30. Its Character and Plan--Comparison of the Gospels in Respect
to Peculiar Matter and Concordances--31. Integrity of Luke's Gospel--The
Two Genealogies of Matthew and Luke--V. _John_--32. John's Manner of
indicating himself--33. Personal Notices of him--34. Late Composition of
his Gospel and Place of Writing--35. Peculiarity of this Gospel in
Respect to Subject-Matter--Its Relation to the First Three Gospels--36.
General Design of this Gospel--It is peculiarly the Gospel of Christ's
Person--VI. _Acts of the Apostles_--37. Author of this Book--38. Plan of
the Book--Its First Division; Second Division--Notices of Antioch--39.
Office of this Book--Portraiture of the Apostolic Age of Christianity;
Cursory View of the Inauguration of the Christian Church; Various Steps
by which the Abolition of the Middle Wall of Partition between Jews and
Gentiles was effected--40. Concluding Remarks


THE EPISTLES OF PAUL--1. General Remarks on the Epistles--2. Paul's
Epistles all written in the Prosecution of his Work as the Apostle to
the Gentiles--Nature of this Work--3. Paul's Peculiar Qualifications for
this Work--His Mode of Procedure--Union in him of Firmness and
Flexibility--4. Character of the Apostle's Style--5. Points to be
noticed in the Separate Epistles--Notices of Paul's Labors in the Acts
of the Apostles--6. Present Arrangement of Paul's Epistles and of the
Epistles generally--Chronological Order of Paul's Epistles--Four Groups
of these Epistles--I. _Epistle to the Romans_--7. Date and Place of this
Epistle--8. Composition of the Roman Church--9. Occasion and Design of
the Epistle--Its General Outlines--10. Special Office of this
Epistle--II. _Epistles to the Corinthians_--_First Epistle_--11. Place
and Time of its Composition--12. Notices of the Corinthian
Church--Occasion of the Apostle's Writing--13. General Tone of the
Epistle as contrasted with that to the Galatians--_Second Epistle_--14.
Place and Time of its Composition--15. Its Occasion--Prominence of the
Apostle's Personality in this Epistle and its Ground--Peculiarities of
its Diction--Its Office in the Economy of Revelation--III. _Epistle to
the Galatians_--16. Historical Notice of Galatia--Missionary Visits of
the Apostle to that Province--Date of the Present Epistle and Place of
Composition--17. Occasion and Design--18. Outlines of the Epistle--The
Historic Part, the Argumentative, the Practical--IV. _Epistles to the
Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon_--19. Contemporaneousness of these
Epistles--20. Place and Date--21. Chronological Order of the First
Two--_Epistle to the Colossians_--22. Notices of Colosse and the Church
there--Occasion of this Epistle--Character of the False Teachers at
Colosse--23. Outlines of the Epistle--Its Argumentative Part, its
Practical--The Epistle from Laodicca--_Epistle to the Ephesians_--24.
Notices of Ephesus--Labors of Paul at Ephesus--Occasion of the Present
Epistle--Its General Character--Various Hypotheses respecting it--25.
Its Outlines--Its Argumentative Part, its Practical--_Epistle to
Philemon_--26. Its Occasion and Design--V. _Epistle to the
Philippians_--27. Notices of Philippi and the Formation of the Church
there--28. Occasion of this Epistle--Place and Date of its
Composition--29. Its Character--General View of its Contents--VI.
_Epistles to the Thessalonians_--30. Notices of Thessalonica and the
Apostle's Labors there--_First Epistle to the Thessalonians_--31. Date
and Place of its Composition--32. Its Occasion and Design--Outlines of
the Epistle--_Second Epistle_--33. Place of Writing and Date--Its
Design--Its General Outlines--34. Comparison between the Epistles to the
Thessalonians and that to the Philippians--VII. _The Pastoral
Epistles_--35. The Date of these Epistles and Related Questions--36.
Character of the False Teachers referred to in these Epistles--37.
Genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles--38. Their Office--_First Epistle
to Timothy_--39. Its Date and Place of Composition--Its Occasion and
Design--Its Contents--Scriptural Notices of Timothy--_Epistle to
Titus_--40. Its Agreement with the Preceding Epistle--The Cretan Church
and Titus--_Second Epistle, to Timothy_--41. Its Occasion and Character
in Contrast with the Two Preceding Epistles--Its Office--_Epistle to the
Hebrews_--42. Question of its Authorship--How it was regarded in the
Eastern Church--How in the Western--General Remark--43. Persons
addressed in this Epistle--Time and Place of its Composition--Manner of
Reference to the Levitical Priesthood and Temple Services--44. Central
Theme of this Epistle--Dignity of Christ's Person in Contrast with the
Ancient Prophets, with Angels, and with Moses--Divine Efficacy of his
Priesthood in Contrast with that of the Sons of Aaron--Design of the
Epistle--Its Office in the System of Revelation


THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES--1. Origin of the Name "Catholic"--1. _Epistle of
James_--2. Question respecting the Person of James--3. Place of Writing
this Epistle--Persons addressed--4. Question of its Date--5. Its
Genuineness and Canonical Authority--6. Its Practical Character--Alleged
Disagreement between Paul and James without Foundation--II. _Epistles of
Peter_--_First Epistle_--7. Its Canonical Authority always
acknowledged--8. Persons addressed--9. Place of its Composition--Its
Occasion and Date--Traditions respecting Peter--10. Outline of the
Epistle--_Second Epistle_--11. Persons addressed--Time of Writing--12.
Question respecting the Genuineness of this Epistle--External
Testimonies--Internal Evidence--General Result--13. Object of the
Present Epistle--Peculiar Character of the Second Chapter--Its Agreement
with the Epistle of Jude--III. _Epistles of John_--_First Epistle of
John_--14. Its Acknowledged Canonicity--Time and Place of its
Composition--Persons addressed--15. General View of its
Contents--_Second and Third Epistles_--16. Their Common
Authorship--Their Genuineness--17. The Occasion and Office of Each--IV.
_Epistle of Jude_--18. Question respecting Jude's Person--Time of the
Epistle, and Persons addressed--19. Its Canonical Authority--Its Design


THE APOCALYPSE--1. Meaning of the Word "Apocalypse"--Abundance of
External Testimonies to this Book--2. Internal Arguments considered--Use
of the Apostle's Name, Devotional Views, Spirit of the Writer, Style and
Diction--Here must be taken into Account the Difference between this
Book and John's other Writings in Subject-Matter, in the Mode of Divine
Revelation, in the Writer's Mental State and Circumstances; also its
Poetic Diction--General Results--3. Date of the Apocalypse and Place of
Writing--4. Different Schemes of Interpretation--The Generic--The
Historic--5. Symbolic Import of the Numbers in this Book--The number
Seven, Half of Seven, Six; The Number Four, a Third and Fourth Part; the
Number Twelve; the Number Ten--6. Office of the Apocalypse in the System
of Revelation


NEW TESTAMENT WRITINGS--1. The Writings of the Apostolic Fathers
distinguished from the Proper New Testament Apocrypha--Some Remarks on
the Character of these Writings

I. _Writings of Clement of Rome_--2. His Epistle to the Romans--Its
Genuineness Character, and Age--3. Its Occasion, with a Notice of its
Contents--4. The so-called Second Epistle of Clement to the
Corinthians--Its Genuineness not admitted--Vague and General Character
of its Contents--5. Notice of some Other Writings falsely ascribed to
Clement--Recognitions of Clement, and the Clementines, with their Plan
and Contents; Constitutions of Clement, and their Contents; Apostolic

II. _Epistles of Ignatius_--6. Notices of Ignatius--The Seven Genuine
Epistles that bear his Name--Unsatisfactory State of the Text--Syriac
and Armenian Versions--Enumeration of these Epistles--Their
Character--Strong Ecclesiastical Spirit that pervades them--His Letter
to the Romans--The Undue Desire of Martyrdom which it manifests--His
Letter to Polycarp--7. Spurious Epistles ascribed to Ignatius, and their

III. _Epistle of Polycarp_--8. Notices of Polycarp--His Epistle to the
Philippians--Its Character and Contents--Time and Occasion of its

IV. _Writings of Barnabas and Hermas_--9. Their Doubtful Authority--10.
The So-called Epistle of Barnabas--Tischendorf's Discovery of the
Original Greek Text--The Author and Date of the Work--Notice of its
Contents--Its Fanciful Method of Interpretation--11. The Shepherd of
Hernias--Outward Form of the Work--Its Internal Character--Its Author
and Age

V. _The Apostle's Creed_--12. In what Sense it belongs to the Apostolic
Fathers--Apostolic Character of its Contents

VI. _Apocryphal Gospels and Acts--13._ Their Number--Their Worthless
Character in Contrast with that of the Canonical Gospels and Acts

       *       *       *       *       *




INTRODUCTORY REMARKS--1. Definition of Certain Terms--Hermeneutics,
Exegesis, Epexegesis--2. The Expositor's Office--Parallel between his
Work and that of the Textual Critic--3. Qualifications of the Biblical
Interpreter--A Supreme Regard for Truth--4. A Sound Judgment with the
Power of Vivid Conception--Office of Each of these Qualities and their
Relation to Each Other--5. Sympathy with Divine Truth--6. Extensive and
Varied Acquirements--The Original Languages of the Bible; Sacred
Geography and Natural History; Biblical Antiquities; Ancient History and
Chronology--7. General Remarks on the above Qualifications--8. The Human
and Divine Side to Biblical Interpretation--The Importance of observing



employed how ascertained, with some Superadded Remarks--2. On
Ascertaining the Sense of Scripture--3. The Scope General and
Special--Its Supreme Importance illustrated--How the Scope is to be
ascertained--The Author's Statements; Inferential Remarks; Historical
Circumstances--Important Help derived from the Repeated and Careful
Perusal of a Work--4. The Context defined and distinguished from the
Scope--Indispensable Necessity of attending to it--This illustrated by
Examples--Question respecting the Limits of the Context--In some Cases
no Context exists--On the Use of Biblical Texts as Mottoes--Various
Applications of the Principle contained in a Given Passage a Legitimate
Mode of Exposition--5. Parallelisms Verbal and Real--Help derived from
the Former--Subdivision of Real Parallelisms into Doctrinal and
Historic--Importance of Doctrinal Parallelisms with Illustrations--Value
of Historic Parallelisms illustrated--Difficulties arising from them,
and the Principle of their Adjustment--Illustration--6. External
Acquirements--Various Illustrations of the Importance of these--7. Sound
Judgment--Office of this Quality illustrated--Inept Interpretations:
Interpretations Contrary to the Nature of the Subject; Necessary
Limitations of an Author's Meaning; Reconciliation of Apparent
Contradictions; Forced and Unnatural Explanations and the Rejection of
Well-established Facts--8. Remarks on the Proper Office of Reason in


FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE OF SCRIPTURE--1. Figurative Language defined and
illustrated--General Remarks respecting it--2. Rules for the
Ascertaining of Figurative Language--Nature of the Subject; Scope,
Context, and Analogy of Scripture--Error of understanding Literal
Language figuratively--Remark on the Interpretation of Prophecy--3.
Different Kinds of Figures--The Trope in its Varieties of Metonymy,
Synecdoche, and Metaphor--Remarks on Comparisons--The Allegory--Its
Definition and Distinction from the Metaphor--Distinction between True
Allegory and the Allegorical Interpretation of History--The Parable--How
distinguished from the Allegory--The Fable--The Symbol--Its Various
Forms--The Proverb--It always embodies a General Truth--Its Various
Forms--Signification of the Word "Myth"--It does not come within the
Sphere of Scriptural Interpretation--4. General Remarks on the
Interpretation of the Figurative Language of Scripture--5. Its Certainty
and Truthfulness--6. Key to the Interpretation of the Allegory--
Examples: The Vine Transplanted from Egypt, Psa. 80; the two Eagles
and the Cedar Bough, Ezek. 17:3-10; The Song of Solomon; the Two
Allegories of Ezekiel, chaps., 16 and 23-7. The Interpretation of the
Parable--How it differs from that of the Allegory--Point of Primary
Importance--How far the Details are significant--Examples: The Sower,
Matt. 13:3-8, 19-23; the Tares in the Field Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43; the
Ten Virgins, Matt, 25:1-13--Remark respecting the Personages introduced
in Parables with Illustrations--The Unforgiving Servant, Matt. 18:
23-35; the Importunate Friend, Luke 11:5-8; the Unjust Judge, Luke
18:1-8; the Unfaithful Steward, Luke 16:1-9--8. Scriptural Symbols-How
to determine whether they are Real or Seen in Prophetic
Vision--Principles on which they are to be interpreted--Examples--9.
Remarks on the Interpretation of Numerical Symbols



UNITY OF REVELATION--1. Essential Unity between the Old and the New
Testament--2. This Unity one that coexists with Great Diversity--
Illustrations from the Analogy of God's Works--3. Unity in
Diversity in Respect to the Form of God's Kingdom--4. The Forms of
Public Worship--5. Forms of Religious Labor--6. Spirit of Revelation--7.
Way of Salvation--8. Sternness of the Mosaic Dispensation explained from
its Preparatory Character--9. Inferences from the Unity of
Revelation--9. Each Particular Revelation Perfect in its Measure--10.
The Later Revelations the Exponents of the Earlier; Christ and his
Apostles in a Special Sense the Expositors of the New Testament--11. The
Extent of Meaning in a Given Revelation that which the Holy Spirit
intended--12. The Obscure Declarations of Scripture to be interpreted
from the Clear, with Illustrations--13. Remarks on the Analogy of
Faith--The Term Defined--Rules for its Use


SCRIPTURAL TYPES--1. Types distinguished from Analogy--2. And from the
Foreshadowing of Future Events by the Present--3. The Type defined in
its Three Essential Characters

I. _Historical Types_--4. In Respect to these Two Extremes to be
avoided--Typical History has a Proper Significance of its Own--This
illustrated by Examples: The Kingly Office; the Prophetical Office;
Typical Transactions--Remarks on the Inadequacy of All Types

II. _Ritual Types_--5. The Sacrifices the Essential Part of the Mosaic
Ritual--What is implied in them--The Sanctuary God's Visible
Dwelling-place where alone they could be offered--6. The Mosaic
Tabernacle described--7. Its General Typical Import--8. Significance of
its Different Parts and Appointments--Preciousness of the Materials;
Gradation in this Respect--9. The Inner Sanctuary with its
Appointments--10. The Outer Sanctuary with its Appointments--11. The
Brazen Altar with its Laver--The Levitical Priests typified Christ--12.
The Levitical Sacrifices typified Christ's Offering of Himself for the
Sins of the World--This shown from Scripture--General Remark respecting
Christ's Propitiatory Sacrifice--13. Characteristics of the Types
Themselves--The Levitical Priests had a Common Human Nature with those
for whom they officiated; were appointed to their Office by God; were
Mediators between God and the People; and Mediators through Propitiatory
Sacrifices--Points of Dissimilarity between the Type and the
Antitype--Remarks on the Central Idea of Priesthood--14. Scriptural Idea
of Sacrifice the Offering of One Life in Behalf of Another--
Classification of the Levitical Sacrifices with the Ideas
belonging to Each: Sin and Trespass Offerings; Burnt Offerings;
Peace-Offerings--Sacrificial Nature of the Passover--Other Sacrifices of
a Special Character--All Sacrificial Victims to be without Blemish--The
Unbloody Offerings and their Signification--15. Typical Transactions
connected with the Sacrifices and Oblations: The Laying of the Offerer's
Hands on the Head of the Victim; the Waving and Heaving of Offerings;
the Sprinkling of the Victim's Blood; the Burning of the Offering--16.
Typical Meaning of the Tabernacle as a Whole--The Several Points of
Adumbration considered: Adumbration of God's Presence with Men;
Impossibility of approaching God without a Mediator; Adumbration of
Christ's Expiatory Sacrifice and Heavenly Intercession on the Great Day
of Atonement; Burning of the Victim without the Camp--17. Distinctions
between Clean and Unclean--Levitical View of Bodily Infirmities



I. _Prophecies relating to the Near Future_--2. Their Specific

II. _Prophecies relating to the Last Days_--3. Meaning of the Term "Last
Days," and its Equivalents--General Character of this Class of
Prophecies--4. Prophecies in which the Order of Events is
indicated--Daniel's Fourth Monarchy; the Great Red Dragon of Revelation,
the Two Beasts that succeeded to his Power, and the Woman riding a
Scarlet-Colored Beast--5. Prophecies which give General Views of the
Future--Examples--6. The Prophets give an Inward View of the Vital
Forces which sustain and extend God's Kingdom--Unity of the Plan of
Redemption; its Continual Progress; Indications of the End towards which
it is tending; the End Itself the Chief Object of Interest--Great Crisis
in the Church's History--Spirit that should actuate the Interpreter of

III. _Question of Double Sense_--7. The Term defined--8. Examples of
Literal and Typical Sense--Melchizedek's Priesthood; the Rest of
Canaan--9. The Messianic Psalms--Different Principles on which they are
interpreted: Exclusive Application to Christ; Reference to an Ideal
Personage; Christ the Head and his Body the Church; Typical View--10.
The Principle of Progressive Fulfilment

IV. _Question of Literal and Figurative Meaning_--11. General
Remarks--12. Representative Use in Prophecy of Past Events--13. Of the
Institutions of the Mosaic Economy--14. The Principle of Figurative
Interpretation not to be pressed as Exclusive--15. Question of the
Literal Restoration of the Jews to the Land of Canaan--16. Question of
our Lord's Personal Reign on Earth during the Millennium


Authority of the New Testament Writers--2. Outward Form of their
Quotations--Its very Free Spirit--This illustrated by Example--3.
Contents of the New Testament Quotations--The So-called Principle of
Accommodation; in what Sense True, and in what Sense to be rejected--4.
Quotations by Way of Argument--5. Quotations as Prophecies of Christ and
his Kingdom--Remarks on the Formula: "That it might be fulfilled"--6.
Prophecies referring immediately to Christ--7. Prophecies referring to
Christ under a Type--Closing Remark




Many thousands of persons have a full and joyous conviction of the truth
of Christianity from their own experience, who yet feel a reasonable
desire to examine the _historic evidence_ by which it is confirmed, if
not for the strengthening of their own faith, yet for the purpose of
silencing gainsayers, and guarding the young against the cavils of
infidelity. It is our duty to give to those who ask us a reason of the
hope that is in us; and although our own personal experience may be to
ourselves a satisfactory ground of assurance, we cannot ask others to
take the gospel on our testimony alone. It is highly desirable that we
understand and be able to set forth with clearness and convincing power
the proofs that this plan of salvation has God for its author.

Then there is a class of earnest inquirers who find themselves perplexed
with the difficulties which they hear urged against the gospel, and
which they find themselves unable to solve in a satisfactory way. It is
of the highest importance that such persons be met in a candid spirit;
that the immense mass of evidence by which the Christian religion is
sustained be clearly set before them; and that they understand that a
religion thus supported is not to be rejected on the ground that there
are difficulties connected with it which have not yet been
solved--perhaps never can be solved here below.

Are you, reader, such an earnest inquirer after truth? We present to you
in the following pages a brief summary of the historic evidence by which
the Bible, with the plan of salvation which it reveals, is shown to be
the word of God; and we wish, here at the outset, to suggest to you some
cautions respecting the state of mind with which this great inquiry is
to be pursued.

First of all, we remind you that, whatever else may be uncertain, you
know that you must soon die, and try for yourself the realities of the
unseen world. The question now before you is, Whether God has spoken
from heaven, and made any revelations concerning that world. If so, they
are more precious than gold; for in the decisive hour of death you will
wish to know not what man, the sinner, has reasoned and conjectured
concerning a future judgment, forgiveness of sin, and the life to come;
but what God, the Judge, has declared. Now the Bible claims to contain
such a message from God. If its claims are valid, it will not flatter
you and speak to you smooth things, but will tell you the truth. And you
must be prepared to receive the truth, though it condemn you. Sooner or
later you must meet the truth face to face: be ready to do so now; you
have no interest in error; falsehood and delusion cannot help you, but
will destroy you.

Do not come to the examination of this great question with the idea that
you must clear away all mysteries connected with the gospel before you
believe it. The world in which you live is full of mysteries. One would
think that if any thing could be fully comprehended, it must be the acts
of which we are ourselves the authors. By a volition you raise your hand
to your head; but _how_ is the act performed? True, there is in your
body an apparatus of nerves, muscles, joints, and the like; but in what
way does the human will have power over this apparatus? No man can
answer this question: it is wrapped in deep mystery. Why be offended,
then, because the way of salvation revealed in the Bible has like
mysteries--mysteries concerning not your duty, but God's secret and
inscrutable methods of acting?

And since the question now before you is not one of mere speculation,
but one that concerns your immediate duty, be on your guard against the
seductive influence of sinful passion and sinful habit. There is a deep
and solemn meaning in the words of Jesus: "Every one that doeth evil
hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be
reproved." Corrupt feeling in the heart and corrupt practice in the life
have a terrible power to blind the mind. The man who comes to the
examination of the Bible with a determination to persist in doing what
he knows to be wrong, or in omitting what he knows to be right, will
certainly err from the truth; for he is not in a proper state of mind to
love it and welcome it to his soul.

Remember also that it is not the grosser passions and forms of vice
alone that darken the understanding and alienate the heart from the
truth. Pride, vanity, ambition, avarice--in a word, the spirit of
self-seeking and self-exaltation in every form--will effectually hinder
the man in whose bosom they bear sway from coming to the knowledge of
the truth; for they will incline him to seek a religion which flatters
him and promises him impunity in sin, and will fatally prejudice him
against a system of doctrines and duties so holy and humbling as that
contained in the Bible. Take, as a comprehensive rule for the
investigation of this weighty question, the words of the Saviour: "If
any man will do his will"--the will of God--"he shall know of the
doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." So far as
you already know the will of God, do it; do it sincerely, earnestly, and
prayerfully, and God will give you more light. He loves the truth, and
sympathizes with all earnest and sincere inquirers after it. He never
leaves to fatal error and delusion any but those who love falsehood
rather than truth, because they have pleasure in unrighteousness. Open
your heart to the light of heaven, and God will shine into it from
above; so that, in the beautiful words of our Saviour, "the whole shall
be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee


      *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *



I. The Christian religion is not a mere system of ideas, like the
philosophy of Plato or Aristotle. It rests on a _basis of historic
facts_. The great central fact of the gospel is thus expressed by Jesus
himself: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life," John 3:16; and by the apostle Paul thus: "This is a faithful
saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the
world to save sinners." 1 Tim. 1:15. With the appearance of God's Son in
human nature were connected a series of mighty works, a body of divine
teachings, the appointment of apostles and the establishment of the
visible Christian church; all which are matters of historic record.

Nor is this all. It is the constant doctrine of Christ and his apostles
that he came in accordance with the scriptures of the Old Testament, and
that his religion is the fulfilment of the types and prophecies therein
contained: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the
prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matt. 5:17. "All
things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in
the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me." Luke 24:44. The facts of
the New Testament connect themselves, therefore, immediately with those
of the Old, so that the whole series constitutes an indivisible whole.
The Bible is, from beginning to end, the record of a supernatural
revelation made by God to men. As such, it embraces not only
supernatural teachings, but supernatural facts also; and the teachings
rest on the facts in such a way that both must stand or fall together.

II. This basis of supernatural facts, then, must be firmly maintained
against unbelievers whose grand aim is to _destroy the historic
foundation_ of the gospel, at least so far as it contains supernatural
manifestations of God to men. Thus they would rob it of its divine
authority, and reduce it to a mere system of human doctrines, like the
teachings of Socrates or Confucius, which men are at liberty to receive
or reject as they think best. Could they accomplish this, they would be
very willing to eulogize the character of Jesus, and extol the purity
and excellence of his precepts. Indeed, it is the fashion of modern
unbelievers, after doing what lies in their power to make the gospel a
mass of "cunningly-devised fables" of human origin, to expatiate on the
majesty and beauty of the Saviour's character, the excellence of his
moral precepts, and the benign influence of his religion. But the
transcendent glory of our Lord's character is inseparable from his being
what he claimed to be--the Son of God, coming from God to men with
supreme authority; and all the power of his gospel lies in its being
received as a message from God. To make the gospel human, is to
annihilate it, and with it the hope of the world.

III. When the inquiry is concerning a long series of events intimately
connected together so as to constitute one inseparable whole, two
methods of investigation are open to us. We may look at the train of
events in the order of time from beginning to end; or we may select some
one great event of especial prominence and importance as the _central
point_ of inquiry, and from that position look forward and backward. The
latter of these two methods has some peculiar advantages, and will be
followed in the present brief treatise. We begin with the great central
fact of revelation already referred to, that "the Father sent the Son to
be the Saviour of the world." 1 John 4:14. When this is shown to rest on
a foundation that cannot be shaken, the remainder of the work is
comparatively easy. From the supernatural appearance and works of the
Son of God, as recorded in the four gospels, the supernatural endowment
and works of his apostles, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, and
their authoritative teachings, as contained in their epistles, follow as
a natural and even necessary sequel. Since, moreover, the universal rule
of God's government and works is, "first the blade, then the ear, after
that the full corn in the ear," (Mark 4:28,) it is most reasonable to
suppose that such a full and perfect revelation as that which God has
made to us by his Son, which is certainly "the full corn in the ear,"
must have been preceded by exactly such preparatory revelations as we
find recorded in the Old Testament. Now Jesus of Nazareth appeared among
the Jews, the very people that had the scriptures of the Old Testament,
and had been prepared for his advent by the events recorded in them as
no other nation was prepared. He came, too, as he and his apostles ever
taught, to carry out the plan of redemption begun in them. From the
position, then, of Christ's advent, as the grand central fact of
redemption, we look backward and forward with great advantage upon the
whole line of revelation.

IV. We cannot too earnestly inculcate upon the youthful inquirer the
necessity of thus looking at _revelation as a whole_. Strong as are the
evidences for the truth of the gospel narratives considered separately,
they gain new strength, on the one side, from the mighty revelations
that preceded them and prepared the way for the advent of the Son of
God; and on the other, from the mighty events that followed his advent
in the apostolic age, and have been following ever since in the history
of the Christian church. The divine origin of the Mosaic institutions
can be shown on solid grounds, independently of the New Testament; but
on how much broader and deeper a foundation are they seen to rest, when
we find (as will be shown hereafter, chap. 8) that they were preparatory
to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. As in a burning mass, the heat and
flame of each separate piece of fuel are increased by the surrounding
fire, so in the plan of redemption, each separate revelation receives
new light and glory from the revelations which precede and follow it. It
is only when we view the revelations of the Bible as thus progressing
"from glory to glory," that we can estimate aright the proofs of their
divine origin. If it were even possible to impose upon men as miraculous
a particular event, as, for example, the giving of the Mosaic law on
Sinai, or the stones of the day of Pentecost, the idea that there could
have been imposed on the world a series of such events, extending
through many ages, and yet so connected together as to constitute a
harmonious and consistent whole, is a simple absurdity. There is no
explanation of the unity that pervades the supernatural facts of
revelation, but that of their divine origin.

V. In strong contrast with this rational way of viewing the facts of
revelation as a grand whole, is the fragmentary method of objectors. A
doubt here, a cavil there, an insinuation yonder; a difficulty with this
statement, an objection to that, a discrepancy here--this is their
favorite way of assailing the gospel. If one chooses to treat the Bible
in this narrow and uncandid way, he will soon plunge himself into the
mire of unbelief. Difficulties and objections should be candidly
considered, and allowed their due weight; but they must not be suffered
to override irrefragable proof, else we shall soon land in universal
skepticism: for difficulties, and some of them too insoluble, can be
urged against the great facts of nature and natural religion, as well as
of revelation. To reject a series of events supported by an overwhelming
weight of evidence, on the ground of unexplained difficulties connected
with them, involves the absurdity of running into a hundred difficulties
for the sake of avoiding five. If we are willing to examine the claims
of revelation as a whole, its divine origin will shine forth upon us
like the sun in the firmament. Our difficulties we can then calmly
reserve for further investigation here, or for solution in the world to

VI. When we institute an examination concerning the facts of revelation,
the first question is that of the genuineness and uncorrupt preservation
of the books in which they are recorded; the next, that of their
authenticity and credibility. We may then conveniently consider the
question of their inspiration. In accordance with the plan marked out
above, (No. III.,) the gospel narratives will be considered first of
all; then the remaining books of the New Testament. After this will be
shown the inseparable connection between the facts of revelation
recorded in the Old Testament and those of the New; and finally, the
genuineness of the books which constitute the canon of the Old
Testament, with their authenticity and inspiration. The whole treatise
will be closed by a brief view of the internal and experimental
evidences which commend the Bible to the human understanding and
conscience as the word of God.



I. _Preliminary Remarks._ 1. A book is _genuine_ if written by the man
whose name it bears, or to whom it is ascribed; or when, as in the case
of several books of the Old Testament, the author is unknown, it is
genuine if written in the age and country to which it is ascribed. A
book is _authentic_ which is a record of facts as opposed to what is
false or fictitious; and we call it _credible_ when the record of facts
which it professes to give is worthy of belief. Authenticity and
credibility are, therefore, only different views of the same quality.

    In the case of a book that deals mainly with _principles_, the
    question of authorship is of subordinate importance. Thus the
    book of Job, with the exception of the brief narratives with
    which it opens and closes, and which may belong to any one of
    several centuries, is occupied with the question of Divine
    providence. It is not necessary that we know what particular man
    was its author, or at what precise period he wrote. We only need
    reasonable evidence (as will be shown hereafter) that he was a
    prophetical man, writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
    But the case of the gospel narratives is wholly different. They
    contain a record of the supernatural appearance and works of the
    Son of God, on the truth of which rests our faith in the gospel.
    So the apostle Paul reasons: "If Christ be not risen, then is
    our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." 1 Cor. 15:14.
    It is, then, of vital importance that we know the relation which
    the authors of these narratives held to Christ. If they were not
    _apostles_ or _apostolic men_, that is, associates of the
    apostles, laboring with them, enjoying their full confidence,
    and in circumstances to obtain their information directly from
    them--but, instead of this, wrote after the apostolic age--their
    testimony is not worthy of the unlimited faith which the church
    in all ages has reposed in it. The question, then, of the
    genuineness of the gospel narratives and that of their
    authenticity and credibility must stand or fall together.

2. In respect to the _origin_ of the gospels, as also of the other books
of the New Testament, the following things should be carefully

_First._ There was a period, extending, perhaps, through some years from
the day of Pentecost, when there were no written gospels, their place
being supplied by the living presence and teachings of the apostles and
other disciples of our Lord.

_Secondly._ When the need of written documents began to be felt, they
were produced, one after another, as occasion suggested them. Thus the
composition of the books of the New Testament extended through a
considerable period of years.

_Thirdly._ Besides the gospels universally received by the churches,
other narratives of our Lord's life were attempted, as we learn from the
evangelist Luke (1:1); but those never obtained general currency. The
churches everywhere received the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John, because of the clear evidence which they had of their
apostolic origin and trustworthiness; and because, also, these gospels,
though not professing to give a complete account of our Lord's life and
teachings, were nevertheless sufficiently full to answer the end for
which they were composed, being not fragmentary sketches, but orderly
narratives, each of them extending over the whole course of our Lord's
ministry. The other narratives meanwhile gradually passed into oblivion.
The general reception of these four gospels did not, however, come from
any formal concert of action on the part of the churches, (as, for
example, from the authoritative decision of a general council, since no
such thing as a general council of the churches was known till long
after this period;) but simply from the common perception everywhere of
the unimpeachable evidence by which their apostolic authority was

    The narratives referred to by Luke were earlier than his gospel.
    They were not spurious, nor, so far as we know, unauthentic; but
    rather imperfect. They must not be confounded with the
    apocryphal gospels of a later age.

3. In respect to the quotations of Scripture by the early fathers of the
church, it is important to notice their habit of quoting anonymously,
and often in a loose and general way. They frequently cite from memory,
blending together the words of different authors, and sometimes
intermingling with them their own words. In citing the prophecies of the
Old Testament in an argumentative way, they are, as might have been
expected, more exact, particularly when addressing Jews; yet even here
they often content themselves with the scope of the passages referred
to, without being particular as to the exact words.

With the above preliminary remarks, we proceed to consider the
evidences, external and internal, for the genuineness of the gospel

II. _External Evidences._ 4. Here we need not begin at a later date than
the last quarter of the second century. This is the age of Irenæus in
Gaul, of Tertullian in North Africa, of Clement of Alexandria in Egypt,
and of some other writers. Their testimony to the apostolic origin and
universal reception of our four canonical gospels is as full as can be
desired. They give the names of the authors, two of them--Matthew and
John--apostles, and the other two--Mark and Luke--companions of apostles
and fellow-laborers with them, always associating Mark with Peter, and
Luke with Paul; they affirm the universal and undisputed reception of
these four gospels from the beginning by all the churches; and deny the
apostolic authority of other pretended gospels. In all this, they give
not their individual opinions, but the common belief of the churches. It
is conceded on all hands that in their day these four gospels were
universally received by the churches as genuine and authoritative
records of our Lord's life and works, to the exclusion of all others.

    _Irenæus_ was a native of Asia Minor, of Greek descent; but the
    seat of his labors was Lyons and Vienne in Gaul, of the former
    of which places he became bishop after the martyrdom of
    Pothinus, about A.D. 177. He was born about A.D. 140, and
    suffered martyrdom under Septimius Severus A.D. 202. In his
    youth he was a disciple of Polycarp, who was in turn a disciple
    of the apostle John. In a letter to one Florinus, which Eusebius
    has preserved, (Hist. Eccl., 5. 20,) he gives, in glowing
    language, his recollections of the person and teachings of
    Polycarp, and tells with what interest he listened as this man
    related his intercourse with the apostle John and the others who
    had seen the Lord, "how he recounted their words, and the things
    which he had heard from them concerning the Lord, and concerning
    his miracles and teaching." And he adds that these things which
    Polycarp had received from eye-witnesses he related "all in
    agreement with the Scriptures;" that is, obviously, with the
    gospel narratives. Pothinus, the predecessor of Irenæus at
    Lyons, was ninety years old at the time of his martyrdom, and
    must have been acquainted with many who belonged to the latter
    part of the apostolic age. Under such circumstances, it is
    inconceivable that Irenæus, who knew the Christian traditions of
    both the East and the West, should not have known the truth
    respecting the reception of the gospels by the churches, and the
    grounds on which this reception rested, more especially in the
    case of the gospel of John. Tischendorf, after mentioning the
    relation of Irenæus to Polycarp the disciple of John, asks, with
    reason: "Are we, nevertheless, to cherish the supposition that
    Irenæus never heard a word from Polycarp respecting the gospel
    of John, and yet gave it his unconditional confidence--this man
    Irenæus, who in his controversies with heretics, the men of
    falsification and apocryphal works, employs against them, before
    all other things, the pure Scripture as a holy weapon?" (Essay,
    When were Our Gospels Written, p. 8.) The testimony of Irenæus
    is justly regarded as of the most weighty character. The fact
    that he gives several fanciful reasons why there should be only
    four gospels, (Against Heresies, 3. 11,) does not invalidate his
    statement of the fact that the churches had always received
    four, and no more. We always distinguish between men's testimony
    to facts of which they are competent witnesses, and their
    philosophical explanations of these facts.

    _Tertullian_ was born in Carthage about A.D. 160, and died
    between A.D. 220 and 240. About A.D. 202 he joined the sect of
    the Montanists; but this does not affect his testimony
    respecting the origin and universal reception of the four
    canonical gospels. His works are very numerous, and in them all
    he insists with great earnestness that the gospel narratives, as
    also the other apostolic writings, have been received without
    corruption, as a sacred inheritance, from the apostolic
    churches. His work against Marcion, whom he accuses of employing
    a mutilated gospel of Luke, is particularly instructive as
    showing how deep and settled was the conviction of the early
    Christians that nothing could be a gospel which did not proceed
    from apostles or apostolic men; and how watchful they were
    against all attempts to mutilate or corrupt the primitive
    apostolic records. In defending the true gospel of Luke against
    the mutilated form of it employed by Marcion, he says: "I affirm
    that not in the apostolic churches alone, but in all which are
    joined with them in the bond of fellowship, that gospel of Luke
    which we most firmly maintain, has been valid from its first
    publication; but Marcion's gospel is unknown to most of them,
    and known to none, except to be condemned." This testimony of
    Tertullian is very important, as showing his full conviction
    that Marcion could not deny the universal reception, from the
    beginning, of the genuine gospel of Luke. And a little
    afterwards he adds: "The same authority of the apostolic
    churches will defend the other gospels also, which we have in
    like manner through them, and according to them," (Against
    Marcion, 4. 5.) Many more quotations of like purport might be

    _Clement of Alexandria_ was a pupil of Pantænus, and his
    successor as head of the catechetical school at Alexandria in
    Egypt. He was of heathen origin, born probably about the middle
    of the second century, and died about A.D. 220. He had a
    philosophical turn of mind, and after his conversion to
    Christianity made extensive researches under various teachers,
    as he himself tells us, in Greece, in Italy, in Palestine, and
    other parts of the East. At last he met with Pantænus in Egypt,
    whom he preferred to all his other guides, and in whose
    instructions he rested. The testimony of Clement to the
    universal and undisputed reception by the churches of the four
    canonical gospels as the writings of apostles or apostolic men,
    agrees with that of Tertullian. And it has the more weight, not
    only on account of his wide investigations, but because, also,
    it virtually contains the testimony of his several teachers,
    some of whom must have known, if not the apostles themselves,
    those who had listened to their teachings.

    In connection with the testimony of the above-named writers, we
    may consider that of the _churches of Lyons and Vienne_ in Gaul,
    in a letter addressed by them to "the churches of Asia and
    Phrygia," which Eusebius has preserved for us, (Hist. Eccl., 5.
    1,) and which describes a severe persecution through which they
    passed in the reign of Antoninus Verus, about A.D. 177. In this
    they say: "So was fulfilled that which was spoken by our Lord,
    'The time shall come in which whosoever killeth you shall think
    that he doeth God service.'" In speaking again of a certain
    youthful martyr, they first compare him to Zacharias, the father
    of John the Baptist, affirming, in the very words of Luke, that
    he "had walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the
    Lord blameless," (Luke 1:6;) and then go on to describe him as
    "having the Comforter in himself, the Spirit, more abundantly
    than Zacharias," where they apply to the Holy Spirit a term
    peculiar to the apostle John. Here, then, we have indubitable
    testimony to the fact that the gospel of John, as well as of
    Luke, was known to the churches of Gaul in the west and Asia
    Minor in the east in the days of Pothinus, bishop of these
    churches, who suffered martyrdom in this persecution. But
    Pothinus was ninety years old, so that his knowledge of these
    gospels must have reached back to the first quarter of the
    second century, when many who had known the apostles were yet

5. These testimonies, let it be carefully remembered, apply not to one
part of Christendom alone, but to all its different and distant
divisions; and that, too, long before there was any attempt to bring the
judgment of the churches into harmony by means of general councils. The
orthodox churches planted in the different provinces of the Roman
empire, though in substantial harmony with each other, had nevertheless
their minor differences, which were sometimes discussed with much
warmth. In their relation to each other, they were jealous of their
freedom and independence. The history of the so-called _Antilegomena_
(Disputed Books of the New Testament, chap. 6) shows that the reception
of a writing as apostolic in one division of Christendom, did not insure
its reception elsewhere. Had it been possible that a spurious book
should be imposed as genuine on the churches of one region, it would
certainly have met with opposition in other regions; but our four
canonical gospels were everywhere received without dispute as the
writings of apostles or apostolic men. This fact admits of but one
explanation: the churches had from their first appearance indubitable
evidence of their genuineness.

6. Let it be further remembered that this testimony relates not to books
of a private character, that might have lain for years hidden in some
corner; but to the _public writings_ of the churches, on which their
faith was founded, of which they all had copies, and which it was the
custom, from the apostolic age, to read in their assemblies along with
the law and the prophets. (Justin Martyr Apol., 1. 67.) Earnestness and
sincerity are traits which will not be denied to the primitive
Christians, and they were certainly not wanting in common discernment.
Let any man show, if he can, how a spurious gospel, suddenly appearing
somewhere after the apostolic days, could have been imposed upon the
churches as genuine, not only where it originated, but everywhere else
in Christendom. The difficulty with which some of the genuine books of
the New Testament gained universal currency sufficiently refutes such an
absurd supposition.

7. We are now prepared to consider the testimonies of an earlier period.
Here _Justin Martyr_ is a very weighty witness, since he lived so near
the apostolic age, and had every facility for investigating the history
of the gospel narratives. He was born near the beginning of the second
century, and his extant works date from about the middle of the same
century. Before his conversion to Christianity he was a heathen
philosopher earnestly seeking for the truth among the different systems
of the age. Of his undoubtedly genuine works, there remain to us two
Apologies (defences of Christianity) and a Dialogue with Trypho a Jew,
designed to defend the Christian religion against its Jewish opponents.
In these he quotes the gospel of Matthew very abundantly; next in number
are his quotations from Luke. His references to Mark and John are much
fewer, but enough to show his acquaintance with them. He never quotes
the evangelists by name, but designates their writings as "The Memoirs
of the Apostles;" and more fully, "The memoirs which I affirm to have
been composed by his"--our Lord's--"apostles and their followers,"
Dialog., ch. 103, "which," he elsewhere says, "are called gospels,"
Apol. 1. 66, and in a collective sense, "the gospel," Dialog., ch. 10.
It should be carefully noticed that he speaks in the plural number both
of the apostles who composed the gospels and their followers. This
description applies exactly to our canonical gospels--two written by
apostles, and two by their followers.

    The attempt has been made in modern times to set aside Justin's
    testimony, on the alleged ground that he quotes not from our
    canonical gospels, but from some other writings. The
    groundlessness of this supposition is manifest at first sight.
    Justin had visited the three principal churches of Rome,
    Alexandria, and Ephesus. It is certain that he knew what gospels
    were received by them in his day as authentic, and that these
    are the very gospels which he quotes, affirming that they were
    the writings of apostles and their followers. Now, that the
    gospels which Justin used should have been wholly supplanted by
    others in the days of Irenæus, who was of full age at the time
    of Justin's death, is incredible. But Irenæus, in common with
    Clement, Tertullian, and others, quotes our four canonical
    gospels as alone possessing apostolic authority, and as having
    been always received by the churches. It follows that the
    "Memoirs" of Justin must be the same gospels. We cannot conceive
    that in this brief period an entire change of gospels should
    have been made throughout all the different and distant
    provinces of the Roman empire, at a time when concerted action
    through general councils was unknown; and that, too, in so
    silent a manner that no record of it remains in the history of
    the church. The supposition that the gospels known to Justin
    were different from those received by Irenæus ought not to be
    entertained without irrefragable proof. But no such proof
    exists. "An accurate examination in detail of his citations,"
    says Semisch, Life of Justin Martyr, 4. 1, "has led to the
    result that this title"--the Memoirs of the
    Apostles--"designates the canonical gospels--a result in no way
    less certain because again called in question in modern days."

    The agreement of his quotations with our present gospels is of
    such a character and extent as can be explained only from his
    use of them. The variations are mainly due to his habit of
    quoting loosely from memory. "Many of these citations," says
    Kirchhofer, "agree, word for word, with the gospels; others with
    the substance, but with alterations and additions of words, with
    transpositions and omissions; others give the thought only in a
    general way; others still condense together the contents of
    several passages and different sayings, in which case the
    historic quotations are yet more free, and blend together, in
    part, the accounts of Matthew and Luke. But some quotations are
    not found at all in our canonical gospels," (see immediately
    below;) "some, on the contrary, occur twice or thrice."
    Quellensammlung, p. 89. note. Two or three more important
    variations are, perhaps, due to the readings in the manuscripts
    employed by Justin, since the later church fathers, who, as we
    know, employed the canonical gospels, give the same variations.
    Finally, Justin gives a few incidents and sayings not recorded
    in our present gospels. As he lived so near the apostolic times
    he may well have received these from tradition; but if in any
    case he took them from written documents, there is no proof that
    he ascribed to such documents apostolic authority. In one
    passage, he accurately distinguishes between what he gives from
    tradition or other written sources, and what from the apostolic
    records. "When Jesus came," he says, "to the river Jordan, where
    John was baptizing, as he descended to the water, both was a
    fire kindled in the Jordan, and as he ascended from the water,
    the apostles of this very Christ of ours have written that the
    Holy Spirit as a dove lighted upon him." Dial., ch. 88.

    It has been doubted whether certain references to the _gospel of
    John_ can be found in Justin's writings; but it seems plain that
    the following is a free quotation from chapter 3:3-5: "For
    Christ said, Except ye be born again, ye shall by no means enter
    into the kingdom of heaven. But that it is impossible that they
    who have once been born should enter into the wombs of those who
    bare them is manifest to all." Apol. 1. 61. To affirm that a
    passage so peculiar as this was borrowed by both the evangelist
    John and Justin from a common tradition, is to substitute a very
    improbable for a very natural explanation. Besides, Justin uses
    phraseology peculiar to John, repeatedly calling our Saviour
    "the Word of God," and "the Word made flesh;" affirming that he
    "was in a peculiar sense begotten the only Son of God," "an only
    begotten One to the Father of all things, being in a peculiar
    sense begotten of him as Word and Power, and afterwards made man
    through the Virgin;" and calling him "the good Rock that sends
    forth (literally, causes to _bubble forth_--compare John 4:14)
    living waters into the hearts of those who through him have
    loved the Father of all things, and that gives to all who will
    the water of life to drink." These and other references to John
    may be seen in Kirchhofer's Quellensammlung, pp. 146, 147.

8. Another early witness is _Papias_, who was bishop of Hierapolis, in
Phrygia, in the first half of the second century. He wrote "An
Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord," in five books. This work has
perished; but fragments of it, with notices of its contents, are
preserved to us by Eusebius and other writers. As Papias, according to
his own express testimony, gathered his materials, if not from apostles
themselves, yet from their immediate disciples, his statements are
invested with great interest. Of Matthew he says, Eusebius Hist. Eccl.,
5. 39, that he "wrote the oracles in the Hebrew dialect, and every one
interpreted them as he could." He speaks of this interpretation by each
one as he could as something past, implying that in his day our present
Greek gospel of Matthew (of the apostolic authority of which there was
never any doubt in the early churches) was in circulation, whether it
was or was not originally composed in Hebrew, a question on which
learned men are not agreed. Of Mark he affirms that, "having become
Peter's interpreter, he wrote down accurately as many things as he
remembered; not recording in order the things that were said or done by
Christ, since he was not a hearer or follower of the Lord, but
afterwards"--after our Lord's ascension--"of Peter, who imparted his
teachings as occasion required, but not as making an orderly narrative
of the Lord's discourses." Hist. Eccl., 3. 39. The fact that Eusebius
gives no statement of Papias respecting the other two gospels is of
little account, since his notices of the authors to whom he refers, and
of their works, are confessedly imperfect.

    Eusebius notices, for example, Hist. Eccl. 4. 14, the fact that
    Polycarp, in his letter to the Philippians, "has used certain
    testimonies from the First Epistle of Peter;" but says nothing
    of his many references, in the same letter, to the epistles of
    Paul, in some of which he quotes the apostle by name. We have,
    nevertheless, through Eusebius, an indirect but valid testimony
    from Papias to the authorship of the fourth gospel, resting upon
    the admitted identity of the author of this gospel with the
    author of the first of the epistles ascribed to John. Speaking
    of Papias, Eusebius says: "But the same man used testimonies
    from the First Epistle of John." Hist. Eccl., 3. 39, end. The
    ascription to John of this epistle, is virtually the ascription
    to him of the fourth gospel also. Eusebius speaks of Papias as a
    man "of very small mind." The correctness of this judgment is
    manifest from the specimens which he gives of his writings; but
    it cannot invalidate the evidence we have from the above
    passages of the existence, in Papias' day, of the gospels to
    which he refers. As to the question whether these were our
    present canonical gospels of Matthew and Mark, it is sufficient
    to say that neither Eusebius nor any of the church fathers
    understood them differently.

9. A very interesting relic of antiquity is the _Epistle to Diognetus_,
of which the authorship is uncertain. Its date cannot be later than the
age of Justin Martyr, to whom it is ascribed by some. It is,
notwithstanding some erroneous views, a noble defence of Christianity,
in which the author shows his acquaintance with the gospel of John by
the use of terms and phrases peculiar to him. Thus he calls Christ "the
Word," and "the only begotten Son," whom God sent to men. In the words,
"not to take thought about raiment and food," section 9, there is an
apparent reference to Matt. 6:25, 31.

In addition to the above testimonies might be adduced some fragments of
early Christian writers which have been preserved to us by those of a
later day; but for brevity's sake they are omitted.

10. Following up the stream of testimony, we come now to that of the
so-called _apostolic fathers_; that is, of men who were disciples of
apostles, and wrote in the age next following them. Holding, as they do,
such a near relation to the apostles, and familiar with the oral
traditions of the apostolic age, we cannot expect to find in them such
frequent and formal references to the books of the New Testament as
characterize the works of later writers. They quote, for the most part,
anonymously, interweaving with their own words those of the sacred

    One of the earliest among the apostolic fathers is _Clement of
    Rome_, who died about A.D. 100. Of the numerous writings
    anciently ascribed to him, his First Epistle to the Corinthians
    is admitted, upon good evidence, to be genuine. In this we find
    words which imply a knowledge of the first three gospels. Citing
    evidently from memory, in a loose way, he says: "For thus
    he"--the Lord Jesus--"spake, 'Be merciful, that ye may obtain
    mercy; forgive, that ye may be forgiven; as ye do, so shall it
    be done to you; as ye give, so shall it be given to you; as ye
    judge, so shall ye receive judgment; as ye are kind, so shall ye
    receive kindness; with what measure ye measure, with that it
    shall be measured to you.'" And again: "For he said, 'Woe unto
    that man; it were better for him that he had not been born, than
    that he should offend one of my elect.'"

    _Ignatius_ was bishop of the church at Antioch, and suffered
    martyrdom A.D. 107, or according to some accounts, 116. In his
    epistles, which are received as genuine, are manifest quotations
    from the gospel of Matthew, and some apparent though not
    entirely certain allusions to the gospel of John.

    _Polycarp_, bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of the apostle
    John. He suffered martyrdom about the year 166. Of his writings,
    only one short epistle, addressed to the Philippians, remains to
    us; but this abounds in references to the books of the New
    Testament, especially the epistles of Paul. Of quotations from
    the gospel of Matthew, the following are examples: "Judge not,
    that ye be not judged; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; be
    merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete,
    it shall be measured to you again." "Blessed are the poor in
    spirit, and those that suffer persecution for righteousness'
    sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "The spirit indeed
    is willing, but the flesh is weak." For the gospel of John,
    Polycarp's testimony, though indirect, is decisive. In his
    letter to the Philippians, he quotes from the First Epistle of
    John, "For every one who does not confess that Jesus Christ has
    come in the flesh, is antichrist." 1 John 4:3. But that the
    gospel of John and this first epistle both proceeded from the
    same author, is a conceded fact.

    The recently discovered Sinai Codex, the oldest known codex in
    the world, contains the entire _Epistle of Barnabas_ in the
    original Greek. In this we find, among other references to the
    first three gospels, one to the _written_ gospel of Matthew of
    the most decisive character: "Let us be mindful, therefore, lest
    perchance we be found as it is written, 'Many are called, but
    few are chosen.'" Matt. 20:16; 22:14. The form of quotation, "as
    it is written," is employed by the writers of the New Testament
    only of citations from Scripture. In these words the writer
    places the gospel of Matthew in the same rank as the Scriptures
    of the Old Testament. That he was the Barnabas mentioned in the
    New Testament as the companion of Paul cannot be maintained; but
    the composition of the epistle is assigned, with probability, to
    the beginning of the second century, though some place it as
    late as its close.

    The testimony of other apocryphal writings of early date might
    be adduced, but for the sake of brevity it is here omitted. It
    may be seen in the essay of Tischendorf, already referred to.

11. A different class of witnesses will next be considered--the ancient
Syriac version, the old Latin version, and the Muratorian fragment on
the canon of the New Testament--all of which bear testimony to our
canonical gospels.

    The ancient _Syriac_ version, commonly called the
    Peshito--_simple_, that is, expressing simply the meaning of the
    original, without allegorical additions and explanations, after
    the manner of the Jewish Targums--is admitted by all to be of
    very high antiquity. Learned men are agreed that this version
    cannot well be referred to a later date than the close of the
    second century, and some assign it to the middle of the second
    century, at which time the Syrian churches were in a very
    flourishing condition, and cannot well be supposed to have been
    without a version of the Holy Scriptures. The Peshito contains
    all the books of the New Testament, except the Second Epistle of
    Peter, the Second and Third Epistles of John, the Epistle of
    Jude, and the Apocalypse. It testifies to the existence of our
    four gospels, not only when it was made, but at an earlier date;
    since we must, in all probability, assume that some considerable
    time elapsed after the composition, one by one, of the books of
    the New Testament, before they were collected into a volume, as
    in this Syriac version.

    Respecting the _Old Latin_ version, (in distinction from
    Jerome's revision, commonly called the _Vulgate_, which belongs
    to the fourth century,) various opinions have been maintained.
    Some have assumed the existence of several independent Latin
    versions of the New Testament, or of some of its books; but the
    preferable opinion is that there were various recensions, all
    having for their foundation a single version, namely, the Old
    Latin; which, says Westcott, Canon of the New Testament, ch. 3,
    "can be traced back as far as the earliest records of Latin
    Christianity. Every circumstance connected with it indicates the
    most remote antiquity." It was current in north Africa, at least
    soon after the middle of the second century. Though it has not
    come down to us in a perfect form, it contains, along with most
    of the other books of the New Testament, our four canonical
    gospels; and its testimony is of the greatest weight.

    The _Muratorian_ Fragment on the _Canon_ is the name given to a
    Latin fragment discovered by the Italian scholar, Muratori, in
    the Ambrosian Library at Milan, in a manuscript bearing the
    marks of great antiquity. Its date is determined by its
    reference to the shepherd of Hermas, which, says the Fragment,
    Hermas "wrote very recently in our times, while the bishop Pius,
    his brother, occupied the chair of the church at Rome." The
    later of the two dates given for the death of Pius is A.D. 157.
    The composition of the Fragment must have followed soon
    afterwards. Though mutilated at the beginning, as well as the
    end, its testimony to the existence of the _four_ canonical
    gospels is decisive. In its present form, it opens with the end
    of a sentence, the beginning of which is lost. It then goes on
    to say, "_The third gospel according to Luke_." After mentioning
    various particulars concerning Luke, as that he was a physician
    whom Paul had taken with him, that he did not himself see the
    Lord in the flesh, etc., it adds, "_The fourth of the gospels,
    that of John, of the number of the disciples_," to which it
    appends a traditional account of the circumstances of its
    composition. With the truth or falsehood of this account we have
    at present no concern; the important fact is that this very
    ancient canon recognizes the existence of our four canonical

12. The heretical sects of the second century furnish testimony to the
genuineness of our canonical gospels which is of the most weighty and
decisive character. Though some of them rejected certain books of the
New Testament and mutilated others, it was on doctrinal, not on critical
grounds. Had they attempted to disprove on historic grounds the
genuineness of the rejected portions of Scripture, it is certain that
the church fathers, who wrote against them at such length, would have
noticed their arguments. The fact that they did not, is conclusive proof
that no such attempt was made; but from the position which the leaders
of these heretical sects occupied, it is certain that, could the
genuineness of the canonical gospels, or any one of them, have been
denied on historic grounds, the denial would have been made.

    _Marcion_, one of the most distinguished leaders of those who
    separated themselves from the orthodox church, came to Rome in
    the second quarter of the second century. He separated
    Christianity from all connection with Judaism, making the
    Jehovah of the Old Testament a different being from the God of
    the New Testament. His gospel, called by the ancients the gospel
    of Marcion, is admitted to have been a mutilated copy of Luke's
    gospel. Of course it became necessary that he should reject the
    first two chapters of this gospel, (which alone he received,)
    since they contain our Lord's genealogy in the line of Abraham
    and David, and should otherwise alter it to suit his views. On
    the same grounds, he altered the epistles of Paul also. That
    Marcion was not ignorant of the other three gospels, but
    rejected them, is plain from the words of Tertullian, who
    accuses him, Against Marcion, 4. 3, of attempting "to destroy
    the credit of those gospels which are properly such, and are
    published under the name of apostles, or also of apostolic men;
    that he may invest his own gospel with the confidence which he
    withdraws from them." His real ground for rejecting some books
    of the New Testament and mutilating others was that _he_ could
    judge better of the truth than the writers themselves, whom he
    represented to have been misled by the influences of Jewish
    prejudices. Accordingly Irenæus well says of the liberties taken
    by Marcion, Against Heresies, 1. 27: "He persuaded his disciples
    that he was himself more trustworthy than the apostles who have
    delivered to us the gospel; while he gave to them not the
    gospel, but a fragment of the gospel."

    A distinguished leader of the Gnostics was _Valentinus_, who
    came to Rome about A.D. 140, and continued there till the time
    of Anicetus. His testimony and that of his followers is, if
    possible, more weighty than even that of Marcion. His method,
    according to the testimony of Tertullian, was not to reject and
    mutilate the Scriptures, but to pervert their meaning by false
    interpretations. Tertullian says, Against Heretics, ch. 38: "For
    though Valentinus seems to use the entire instrument, he has
    done violence to the truth with a more artful mind than
    Marcion." "The entire instrument"--Latin, _integro
    instrumento_--includes our four canonical gospels. Clement of
    Alexandria and Hippolytus have preserved quotations from
    Valentinus in which he refers to the gospels of Matthew, Luke,
    and John. See Westcott, Canon of the New Testament, 4. 5.
    Respecting the gospel of John in particular, Irenæus says,
    Against Heresies, 3. 11, that "the Valentinians make the most
    abundant use of it." Heracleon, whom Origen represents as having
    been a familiar friend of Valentinus, wrote a commentary on
    John, from which Origen frequently quotes; but if Valentinus and
    his followers, in the second quarter of the second century, used
    "the entire instrument," they must have found its apostolic
    authority established upon a firm foundation before their day.
    This carries us back to the age immediately succeeding that of
    the apostles, when Polycarp and others who had known them
    personally were yet living. The testimony of the Valentinians,
    then, is of the most decisive character.

    Another prominent man among the heretical writers was _Tatian_,
    a contemporary and pupil of Justin Martyr, who, according to the
    testimony of Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Theodoret, composed a
    _Diatessaron_, that is, a _four-fold gospel_; which can be
    understood only as a harmony of the four gospels which, as has
    been shown, were used by Justin; or of such parts of these
    gospels as suited his purpose; for Tatian, like Marcion, omitted
    all that relates to our Lord's human descent. With this
    Diatessaron, Theodoret was well acquainted; for he found among
    his churches more than two hundred copies, which he caused to be
    removed, and their places supplied by the four canonical

    As to other gospels of the second century, which are
    occasionally mentioned by later writers, as "The Gospel of
    Truth," "The Gospel of Basilides," etc., there is no evidence
    that they professed to be connected histories of our Lord's life
    and teachings. They were rather, as Norton has shown,
    Genuineness of the Gospels, vol. 3, chap. 4, doctrinal works
    embodying the views of the sectaries that used them.

13. We have seen how full and satisfactory is the external evidence for
our four canonical gospels. Considering how scanty are the remains of
Christian writings that have come down to us from the first half of the
same century, we have all the external evidence for that period also
that could be reasonably demanded, and it is met by no rebutting
testimony that rests on historic grounds. The authorship of no ancient
classical work is sustained by a mass of evidence so great and varied,
and the candid mind can rest in it with entire satisfaction.

III. _Internal Evidences._ 14. Here we may begin with considering the
relation of the first three gospels to the last, in respect to both time
of composition and character.

And first, with respect to _time_. The first three gospels--frequently
called the _synoptical_ gospels, or the _synoptics_, because from the
general similarity of their plan and materials their contents are
capable of being summed up in a synopsis--record our Lord's prophecy of
the overthrow of Jerusalem. The three records of this prediction wear
throughout the costume of a true prophecy, not of a prophecy written
after the event. They are occupied, almost exclusively, with the various
_signs_ by which the approach of that great catastrophe might be known,
and with admonitions to the disciples to hold themselves in readiness
for it. Matthew, for example, devotes fifty verses to the account of the
prophecy and the admonitions connected with it. Of these, only four,
chap. 24:19-22, describe the calamities of the scene, and that in the
most general terms. Now, upon the supposition that the evangelist wrote
before the event, all this is natural. Our Lord's design in uttering the
prophecy was not to gratify the idle curiosity of the disciples, but to
warn them beforehand in such a way that they might escape the horrors of
the impending catastrophe. He dwelt, therefore, mainly on the signs of
its approach; and with these, as having a chief interest for the
readers, the record of the prediction is mostly occupied. It is
impossible, on the other hand, to conceive that one who wrote years
after the destruction of the city and temple should not have dwelt in
more detail on the bloody scenes connected with their overthrow, and
have given in other ways also a historic coloring to his account. We may
safely say that to write a prophecy after the event in such a form as
that which we have in either of the first three gospels, transcends the
power of any uninspired man; and as to inspired narratives, the
objectors with whom we are now dealing deny them altogether.

But there are, in the record of this prophecy, some special indications
of the time when the evangelists wrote. According to Matthew, the
disciples asked, ver. 3: "When shall these things"--the destruction of
the buildings of the temple--"be? and what shall be the sign of thy
coming and of the end of the world?" These questions our Lord proceeded
to answer in such a way that the impression on the minds of the hearers
(to be rectified only by the course of future events) must have been
that the overthrow of the temple and city would be connected with his
second coming and the end of the world. "Immediately after the
tribulation of those days," says Matthew, "shall the sun be darkened,"
etc. The probable explanation of this peculiar form of the prophecy is
that it does actually include all three events; the fulfilment which it
had in the destruction of the city and temple by the Romans being only
an earnest of a higher fulfilment hereafter. But however this may be, it
is important to notice that the evangelists, in their record of the
prophecy, are evidently unconscious of any discrepancy, real or
apparent, that needs explanation; which could not have been the case had
they written years after the event predicted. "It may be safely held,"
says Professor Fisher, Supernatural Origin of Christianity, p. 172,
"that had the evangelist been writing at a later time, some explanation
would have been thrown in to remove the _seeming_ discrepancy between
prophecy and fulfilment."

It should be further noticed that the evangelists Matthew and Mark, in
reference to "the abomination of desolation" standing in the holy place,
throw in the admonitory words, "Let him that readeth understand." These
are not the Saviour's words, but those of the narrators calling the
attention of believers to a most important sign requiring their
immediate flight to the mountains. Before the overthrow of the city
these words had a weighty office; after its overthrow they would have
been utterly superfluous. Their presence in such a connection is proof
that the record was written before the event to which it refers.

Admitting the genuineness and authenticity of the book of Acts, (which
will be considered hereafter,) we have a special proof of the early
composition of the gospel according to Luke. The book of Acts ends
abruptly with Paul's two years residence at Rome, which brings us down
to A.D. 65, five years before the destruction of Jerusalem. The only
natural explanation of this fact is that here the composition of the
book of Acts was brought to a close. The date of the gospel which
preceded, Acts 1:1, must therefore be placed still earlier.

If, now, we examine the gospel of John, we find its internal character
agreeing with the ancient tradition that it was written at Ephesus late
in the apostle's life. That it was composed at a distance from Judea, in
a Gentile region, is manifest from his careful explanation of Jewish
terms and usages, which among his countrymen would have needed no
explanation. No man writing in Judea, or among the Galileans who
habitually attended the national feasts at Jerusalem, would have said,
"And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh," 6:4; "Now the Jews'
feast of tabernacles was at hand," 7:2, etc. The absence of all
reference to the overthrow of the Jewish polity, civil and
ecclesiastical, may be naturally explained upon the supposition that the
apostle wrote some years after that event, when his mind had now become
familiar with the great truth that the Mosaic institutions had forever
passed away to make room for the universal dispensation of Christianity;
and that he wrote, too, among Gentiles for whom the abolition of these
institutions had no special interest. In general style and spirit,
moreover, the gospel of John is closely allied to his first epistle, and
cannot well be separated from it by a great interval of time; but the
epistle undoubtedly belongs to a later period of the apostle's life.

    From the language of John, chap. 5:2, "Now there _is_ at
    Jerusalem, by the sheep-gate, a pool, which is called in the
    Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, _having_ five porches,"--it has been
    argued that, when John wrote, the city must have been still
    standing. But Eusebius speaks of the pool as remaining in his
    day, and why may not the porches, as useful to the Roman
    conquerors, have been preserved, at least for a season?

We have seen the relation of John's gospel to the other three in respect
to time. It must have been written several years later than the last of
them; perhaps not less than fifteen years. If, now, we look to its
relation in regard to _character_, we must say that it differs from them
as widely as it well could while presenting to our view the same divine
and loving Saviour. Its general plan is different. For reasons not known
to us, the synoptical gospels are mainly occupied with our Lord's
ministry in Galilee. They record only his last journey to Jerusalem, and
the momentous incidents connected with it. John, on the contrary,
notices his visits to Jerusalem year by year. Hence his materials are,
to a great extent, different from theirs; and even where he records the
same events--as, for example, the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and
the last supper--he connects with them long discourses, which the other
evangelists have omitted. Particularly noticeable are our Lord's
oft-repeated discussions with the unbelieving Jews respecting his
Messiahship, and his confidential intercourse with his disciples, in
both of which we have such treasures of divine truth and love. How
strikingly this gospel differs from the others in its general style and
manner every reader feels at once. It bears throughout the impress of
John's individuality, and by this it is immediately connected with the
epistles that bear his name. It should be added that in respect to the
time when our Lord ate the passover with his disciples there is an
apparent disagreement with the other three gospels, which the harmonists
have explained in various ways.

The essential point of the above comparison is this: Notwithstanding the
striking difference between the later fourth gospel and the earlier
three, it was at once received by all the churches as of apostolic
authority. Now upon the supposition of its genuineness, both its
peculiar character and its undisputed reception everywhere are easily
explained. John, the bosom disciple of our Lord, wrote with the full
consciousness of his apostolic authority and his competency as a witness
of what he had himself seen and heard. He therefore gave his testimony
in his own independent and original way. How far he may have been
influenced in his selection of materials by a purpose to supply what was
wanting in the earlier gospels, according to an old tradition, it is not
necessary here to inquire; it is sufficient to say that, under the
illumination of the Holy Spirit, he marked out that particular plan
which we have in his gospel, and carried it out in his own peculiar
manner, thus opening to the churches new mines, so to speak, of the
inexhaustible fulness of truth and love contained in him in whom
"dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily." And when this original
gospel, so different in its general plan and style from those that
preceded, made its appearance, the apostolic authority of its author
secured its immediate and universal reception by the churches. All this
is very plain and intelligible.

But upon the supposition that the gospel of John is a spurious
production of the age succeeding that of the apostles, let any one
explain, if he can, how it could have obtained universal and
unquestioned apostolic authority. Its very difference from the earlier
gospels must have provoked inquiry and examination, and these must have
led to its rejection, especially at a time when some who had known the
apostle yet survived; and no one now pretends to assign to it a later

15. We will next consider the relation of the first three gospels to
each other. Here we have remarkable agreements with remarkable
differences. The general plan of all three is the same. It is manifest
also, at first sight, that there lies at the foundation of each a basis
of common matter--common not in substance alone, but to a great extent
in form also. Equally manifest is it that the three evangelists write
independently of each other. Matthew, for example, did not draw his
materials from Luke; for there is his genealogy of our Lord, and his
full account of the sermon on the mount, not to mention other
particulars. Nor did Luke take his materials from Matthew; for there is
his genealogy also, with large sections of matter peculiar to himself.
Mark has but little matter that is absolutely new; but where he and the
other two evangelists record the same events, if one compares his
narratives with theirs, he finds numerous little incidents peculiar to
this gospel woven into them in a very vivid and graphic manner. They
come in also in the most natural and artless way, as might be expected
from one who, if not himself an eye-witness, received his information
immediately from eye-witnesses. The three writers, moreover, do not
always agree as to the order in which they record events; yet,
notwithstanding the diversities which they exhibit, they were all
received from the first as of equal authority.

The natural explanation of this is that all three wrote in the apostolic
age, and consequently had access, each of them independently of the
other two, to the most authentic sources of information. These sources
(so far as the evangelists were not themselves eye-witnesses) lay
partly, perhaps, in written documents like those referred to by Luke,
1:1, partly in the unwritten traditions current in the apostolic
churches, and partly in personal inquiry from eye-witnesses, especially,
in the case of Mark and Luke, from apostles themselves. From these
materials each selected as suited his purposes, and the churches
everywhere unhesitatingly received each of the three gospels,
notwithstanding the above-named variations between them, because they
had undoubted evidence of their apostolic authority. We cannot suppose
that after the apostolic age three gospels, bearing to each other the
relation which these do, could have been imposed upon the churches as
all of them equally authentic. We know from the history of Marcion's
gospel how fully alive they were to the character of their sacred
records. On apostolic authority they could receive--to mention a single
example--both Matthew's and Luke's account of our Lord's genealogy; but
it is certain that they would not have received the two on the authority
of men who lived after the apostolic age.

16. In the gospel narratives are numerous incidental allusions to
passing events without the proper sphere of our Lord's labors, to social
customs, and to the present posture of public affairs, civil and
ecclesiastical. In all these the severest scrutiny has been able to
detect _no trace of a later age_. This is a weighty testimony to the
apostolic origin of the gospels. Had their authors lived in a later age,
the fact must have manifested itself in some of these references. The
most artless writer can allude in a natural and truthful way to present
events, usages, and circumstances; but it transcends the power of the
most skilful author to multiply incidental and minute references to a
past age without betraying the fact that he does not belong to it.

17. Every age has, also, its peculiar impress of thought and reasoning
in religious, not less than in secular matters. Although the gospel
itself remains always the same, and those who sincerely embrace it have
also substantially the same character from age to age, there is,
nevertheless, continual progress and change in men's apprehension of the
gospel and its institutions, and consequently in their manner of
reasoning concerning them. No man, for example, could write a treatise
on Christianity at the present day without making it manifest that he
did not belong to the first quarter of the present century. The
primitive age of Christianity is no exception to this universal law.
Under the auspices of the apostles it began to move forward, and it
continued to move after their decease. The pastoral epistles of Paul
bear internal marks of having been written in the later period of his
life, because they are adapted to the state of the Christian church and
its institutions that belonged to that, and not to an earlier period.
If, now, we examine the writings of the so-called apostolic
fathers--disciples of the apostles, who wrote after their death--we find
in them circles of thought and reasoning not belonging to the canonical
writings of the New Testament, least of all to the canonical gospels,
though they are evidently derived from hints contained in these
writings, whether rightly or wrongly apprehended. In this respect, the
works of the apostolic fathers are distinguished in a very marked way
from those which bear the names of the apostles themselves or their

18. Another decisive argument lies in the _character of the Greek_
employed by the evangelists, in common with the other writers of the New
Testament. It is the Greek language employed by Jews, (or, in the case
of Luke, if his Jewish origin be doubted--see Col. 4:11, 16--by one who
had received a Jewish training under the influence of the Greek version
of the Old Testament,) and therefore pervaded and colored by Hebrew
idioms. This peculiar form of the Greek language belongs to the
apostolic age, when the teachers and writers of the church were Jews.
After the overthrow of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jewish nation,
and the death of the apostles and their associates, it rapidly
disappeared. Thenceforward the writers of the church were of Gentile
origin and training, in accordance with the Saviour's memorable words:
"The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation
bringing forth the fruits thereof."

These internal proofs, coinciding as they do with a mass of external
evidences so great and varied, place the genuineness of the four
canonical gospels on a foundation that cannot be shaken.



1. It is necessary, first of all, to define what is meant in the present
connection by the uncorrupt preservation of the gospel narratives. When
a man, whose business it is to examine and compare manuscripts or
editions of a work, speaks of a given text as corrupt, he means one
thing; in a question concerning the truth of the Christian system as
given in the writings of the New Testament, a corrupt text means
something very different. The collator of manuscripts understands by a
corrupt text one that has been marred by the carelessness or bad
judgment of transcribers, whence have arisen so many "various readings,"
though these do not change, or essentially obscure the facts and
doctrines of Christianity, as has been most conclusively shown by the
results of modern textual criticism; but in an inquiry whether we have
in our canonical gospels the account of our Lord's life and teachings as
it was originally written by the evangelists in all essential
particulars, we have to do with the question, not of various readings,
such as are incident to all manuscripts, but of essential additions,
alterations, or mutilations--like those, for example, which Marcion
attempted--by which the facts and doctrines themselves are changed or
obscured. It is against the charge of such essential corruptions that we
maintain the integrity of the text in the gospels, as in the other books
of the New Testament.

2. The most important materials for writing in ancient times were the
paper made of the Egyptian _papyrus_ plant--whence the word _paper_--and
_parchment_, prepared from the skins of animals, the finer kinds of
which are called _vellum_. Both are of high antiquity. The use of the
above-mentioned paper was very common in the apostolic age; and from an
incidental notice in the New Testament, (2 John 12 compared with 3 John
13,) it appears to have been the material employed by the apostles
themselves. But the use of parchment became more common in the following
centuries, while that of papyrus-paper gradually ceased. To this
circumstance we owe, in a great measure, the preservation of our oldest
manuscripts; for the papyrus-paper was of a very perishable nature, and
the manuscripts written upon it that have come down to us from high
antiquity have been kept in specially favorable circumstances, as, for
example, in the ancient Egyptian tombs. With the disuse of papyrus-paper
ceased also the ancient form of the roll. All manuscripts written on
parchment are in the form of books with leaves. From about the eleventh
century, paper made from cotton or linen came into common use.

The costliness of writing materials gave rise to a peculiar usage. From
the leaves of an ancient work the original writing was erased, more or
less perfectly. They were then employed as the material for another
work, the latter being written over the former. Such manuscripts are
called _palimpsests_--_written again_ after erasure. The original
writing, which is very often the sacred text, can in general be
deciphered, especially by the aid of certain chemical applications. Some
of our most precious manuscripts are of this character.

The existing manuscripts of the New Testament are of two kinds. _First_,
the _uncial_, that is, those written in capital letters. Here belong all
the most ancient and valuable. The writing is generally in columns, from
two to four to a page; sometimes in a single column. There is no
division of the text into words; the marks of interpunction are few and
simple; and till the seventh century there were no accents, and
breathings only in special cases. _Secondly_, the _cursive_, or those
written in running-hand, with division of the text into words, capitals
only for initial letters, accents, breathings, etc., and often with many
contractions. This is the common form of manuscripts after the tenth
century, the uncial being retained for some ages afterwards only in
books designed for use in the church service. In both the uncial and the
cursive manuscripts, each century has its peculiar style of writing.
From this, as well as from the quality of the materials, expert judges
can determine the age of a given manuscript with a good degree of

    The details pertaining to the form of ancient manuscripts, their
    number, character, etc., belong to the department of textual
    criticism. The above brief notices are given to prepare the way
    for a statement of the evidence that we have the gospel
    narratives, as also the other books of the New Testament,
    without corruption in the form in which they were originally
    written. _See the PLATES at the beginning of this book._

3. Of the autograph manuscripts proceeding immediately from the inspired
authors we find no trace after the apostolic age. Here, as elsewhere,
the wisdom of God has carefully guarded the church against a
superstitious veneration for the merely outward instruments of
redemption. We do not need the wood of the true cross that we may have
redemption through the blood of Christ; nor do we need the identical
manuscripts that proceeded from the apostles and their companions, since
we have the contents of these manuscripts handed down to us without
corruption in any essential particular. This appears from various

_First._ Several hundred manuscripts of the gospels, or of portions of
them, (to confine our attention at present to these,) have been
examined, two of them belonging to the fourth century and two, with some
fragments, to the fifth. All these, though written in different
centuries and coming from widely different regions, contain essentially
the same text. In them, not one of the great facts or doctrines of the
gospel history is mutilated or obscured.

_Secondly._ The quotations of the church fathers from the last part of
the second to the end of the fourth century are so copious, that from
them almost the entire text of our present gospels could be
reconstructed. These quotations agree substantially with each other and
with the text of our existing manuscripts; only that the earlier
fathers, as already noticed, chap. 2. 3, often quote loosely from
memory, blend together different narratives, and interweave with the
words of Scripture their own explanatory remarks.

_Thirdly._ We have two _versions_ of the New Testament--the Old Latin or
Italic, and the Syriac called Peshito--which learned men are agreed in
placing somewhere in the last half of the second century. The testimony
of these witnesses to the uncorrupt preservation of the sacred text,
from the time when they first appeared to the present, is decisive; for
they also agree essentially with the Greek text of the gospel as we now
possess it. Nor is this all. Davidson affirms of the Old Latin version,
that "the more ancient the Greek manuscripts, the closer is their
agreement with it." And Tischendorf says of the oldest known manuscript
of the Bible--the Greek Sinai Codex, brought by him from the convent of
St. Catharine, Mount Sinai, in 1859--that its agreement, in the New
Testament portion, with the Old Latin version, is remarkable. Through
the joint testimony, then, on the one hand, of the most ancient Greek
manuscripts, especially the Sinai Codex, which is the oldest of them
all; and on the other, of the Old Latin version which belongs to the
last half of the second century, we are carried back to a very ancient
and pure form of the Greek text prevalent before the execution of this
version, that is, about the middle of the second century. Tischendorf
adds arguments to show that the Syriac Peshito version, the text of
which has not come down to us in so pure a state, had for its basis
substantially the same form of text as the Old Latin and the Sinai

    The substantial identity of the sacred text, as we now have it,
    with that which has existed since about the middle of the second
    century, is thus shown to be a matter not of probable
    conjecture, but of certain knowledge. Here, then, we have a sure
    criterion by which to measure and interpret the complaints which
    textual critics, ancient or modern, have made, sometimes in very
    strong language, concerning the corruptions that have found
    their way into the text of the New Testament. These writers have
    reference to what are called "various readings," not to
    mutilations and alterations, such as those charged by the
    ancients upon Marcion, by which he sought to change the facts
    and doctrines of the gospel. That this must be their meaning we
    know; for there are the manuscripts by hundreds as witnesses,
    all of which, the most corrupt as textual critics would call
    them, as well as the purest, give in the gospel narratives the
    same facts and doctrines without essential variation.

    Let not the inexperienced inquirer be misled into any wrong
    conclusion by the number of "various readings," amounting to
    many thousands, which textual criticism has brought to light.
    The greater the number of manuscripts collated, the greater will
    be the number of these readings; while, at the same time, we are
    continually making a nearer approach to the purity of the
    primitive text. As a general rule these variations relate to
    trifling particulars; as, for example, whether the conjunction
    _and_ shall be inserted or omitted; whether _but_ or _for_ is
    the true reading; whether this or that order of words giving the
    same sense shall have the preference, etc. A few of the
    variations are of a more important character. Thus, in John
    1:18, some manuscripts and fathers instead of _only begotten
    Son_, read _only begotten God_. But even here we may decide
    either way without changing or obscuring the great truths of the
    gospel narratives; for these are not dependent on particular
    words or phrases, but pervade and vivify the New Testament, as
    the vital blood does the body. The same may be said of certain
    passages which, on purely critical grounds--that is, the
    authority of ancient manuscripts--some have thought doubtful;
    as, for example, John 5:4, and the narrative recorded in the
    beginning of the eighth chapter of the same gospel. The
    insertion or omission of the passages concerning which any
    reasonable doubts can be entertained on critical grounds, will
    not affect in the least the great truths of the gospel

4. But it may be asked, Was the text from which the Old Latin version
was made, and with which, as we have seen, the oldest manuscripts have a
close agreement, substantially the same as that which proceeded from the
inspired authors? Here we must discard all groundless suppositions, and
adhere strictly to the known facts in the premises.

The first fact to be noticed is the public reading of the gospels in the
Christian churches, a custom which prevailed from the earliest times.
Justin Martyr, writing before the middle of the second century, says of
the memoirs written by the apostles or their followers and called
gospels (which have been shown to be our canonical gospels, chap. 2:7)
that either these or the writings of the Jewish prophets were read in
the Christian churches on the first day of every week. This is a fact of
the highest importance; for it shows that the witnesses and guardians of
the sacred text were not a few individuals, but the great body of
believers, and that no systematic corruption of their contents could
have taken place without their knowledge and consent, which would never
have been given.

Intimately connected with the above is a second fact, that of the great
multiplication of copies of the books of the New Testament, especially
of the gospel narratives, since these contain the great facts that lie
at the foundation of the Christian system. Every church would, as a
matter of course, be anxious to possess a copy, and Christians who
possessed the requisite means would furnish themselves with additional
copies for their own private use. If, now, we suppose one or more of
these copies to have been essentially changed, the corruption would not,
as in the case of a printed work, extend to many hundreds of copies. It
would be confined to the manuscript or manuscripts into which it had
been introduced and the copies made therefrom, while the numerous
uncorrupt copies would remain as witnesses of the fraud; for the
supposition of a very early corruption during the apostolic age, before
copies of the gospels had been to any considerable extent multiplied, is
utterly absurd.

A third fact is the high value attached by the primitive churches to the
gospel narratives, and their consequent zeal for their uncorrupt
preservation. No one will deny to them the qualities of earnestness and
sincerity. To them the gospels were the record of their redemption
through the blood of Christ. For the truths contained in them they
steadfastly endured persecution in every form, and death itself. Could
we even suppose, contrary to evidence, that private transcribers altered
at pleasure their copies of the gospels, it is certain that the churches
would never have allowed their public copies to be tampered with. The
resistance which Marcion met with in his attempt to alter the sacred
text, shows how watchful was their jealousy for its uncorrupt

A still further fact is the want of time for essential corruptions, like
those now under consideration. That such corruptions could have taken
place during the apostolic age, no one will maintain. Equally certain is
it that they could not have happened during the age next succeeding,
while many presbyters and private Christians yet survived who had
listened to the apostles, and knew the history of the gospels written by
them or their companions. But this brings us down into the first part of
the second century.

Leaving out of view the apostle John, who probably died near the close
of the first century, and assuming the martyrdom of Peter and Paul to
have taken place somewhere between A.D. 64 and 67, we may place the
beginning of the age now under consideration at A.D. 65. Of the numerous
Christians who were then thirty years or less of age many must have
survived till A.D. 110, and even later. Polycarp, a disciple of John,
suffered martyrdom A.D. 167, and doubtless many others of his hearers
survived till the middle of the second century. The time, then, during
which such a corruption as that now under consideration can be supposed
to have taken place is so narrowed down that it amounts to well-nigh
nothing; and it is, moreover, the very time during which Justin Martyr
wrote his Apologies, and Marcion made his unsuccessful attempt to
mutilate the gospel history.

Finally, no evidence exists that the text of the gospel narratives has
been essentially corrupted. Of Marcion's abortive attempt we have
abundant notices in the writings of the early fathers. Their silence in
respect to other like attempts is conclusive proof that they were never
made. Had we the autographs of the evangelists, we should, with reason,
attach to them a high value; but there is no ground for supposing that
their text would differ in any essential particular from that which we
now possess. They would present to our view the same Saviour and the
same gospel.

5. What has been said respecting the uncorrupt preservation of the
gospel narratives applies essentially to the other books of the New
Testament; so that in the consideration of them the above arguments will
not need to be repeated.



1. The genuineness and uncorrupt preservation of our four canonical
gospels having been established, the presumption in favor of their
authenticity and credibility is exceedingly strong. In truth, few can be
found who, admitting their apostolic origin in essentially their present
form, will venture to deny that they contain an authentic and reliable
record of facts. We may dismiss at once the modern theory which converts
the gospels into myths--pure ideas embodied in allegorical narratives
which have no historic foundation. Myths do not turn the world upside
down, as did the preaching of Christ and his apostles. Myths do not
inspire the souls of men and women by thousands and tens of thousands
with heroic zeal and courage, enabling them steadfastly to endure
persecution and death for the truth's sake. It was love towards a
crucified and risen Saviour in deed and in truth, not towards the
mythical idea of such a Saviour, that made the primitive Christians
victorious alike over inward sinful affection and outward persecution.
To every one who reads the gospel narratives in the exercise of his
sober judgment, it is manifest that they are intended to be plain
unvarnished statements of facts. The question is, Are these statements
reliable? Here new arguments can hardly be expected; the old are
abundantly sufficient. Reserving for another place those general
arguments which apply to the gospel system as a whole, let us here
briefly consider the character of the authors and their records; of the
events which they record with the surrounding circumstances; and
especially of Jesus, their great theme.

2. It is natural to ask, in the first place, Were these men _sincere and
truthful_? Here we need not long delay. Their sincerity, with that of
their contemporaries who received their narratives as true, shines forth
like the sun in the firmament. With reference to them, the Saviour's
argument applies in all its force: "How can Satan cast out Satan?" "If
Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath
an end." The life-long work of the evangelists and their associates was
to cast out of the world all fraud and falsehood. If now they attempted
to do this by the perpetration of a most astounding fraud, we have the
case of Satan casting out Satan. But we need not argue the matter at
length. By what they did and suffered in behalf of their doctrines, as
well as by the artless simplicity of their narratives, they give full
proof of their sincerity and truthfulness.

3. We next inquire: Were they _competent as men_? that is, were they men
of sober judgment, able correctly to see and record the facts that came
under their observation, and not visionary enthusiasts who mistook
dreams for realities? This question admits of a short and satisfactory
answer. No proof whatever exists that they were visionary men, but
abundant proof to the contrary. Their narratives are calm,
unimpassioned, and straightforward, without expatiation on the greatness
of Christ's character and works and the wickedness of his enemies, as is
the way of all excited enthusiasts. What Paul said to Festus applies in
its full force to them and their writings: "I am not mad, most noble
Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness." If any one
will condemn them as visionary, it must be on the sole ground that all
belief in the supernatural is visionary--a position that will be noticed

4. A further inquiry is, Were these men _competent as witnesses_? that
is, had they the requisite means of knowing the facts which they record?
With regard to the apostles Matthew and John, this matter need not be
argued. With regard to the other two, Luke states very fairly the
position which they occupied: "It seemed good to me also, having had
perfect understanding of all things," ("having accurately traced out all
things," as the original signifies,) "from the very beginning, to write
to thee, in order," etc. Luke had in abundance the means of accurately
tracing out all things relating to our Lord's life and works, for he was
the companion of apostles and others who "from the beginning were
eye-witnesses and ministers of the word;" and from them, according to
his own statement, he drew his information. The same is true of Mark

5. We come now to consider the _character of the works_ which they
record, and the circumstances in which they were performed. Here it may
be remarked in the outset that it is not necessary to examine in detail
all the miracles recorded in the gospel history. Though they all
proceeded alike from the direct agency of God, they are not all alike
open to human inspection. If upon examination we find the supernatural
origin of many of them raised above all possibility of doubt, it is a
legitimate inference that the rest of them had the same divine origin.
Not to insist then upon the miracles ascribed to our Lord within the
sphere of inanimate nature, such as the conversion of water into wine,
the feeding of many thousands with a few loaves and fishes, and walking
upon the sea, all of which were done in such circumstances that there is
no room for questioning their reality, let us examine some that were
performed upon the persons of men. Palsy, dropsy, withered limbs,
blindness, the want of hearing and speech, leprosy, confirmed
lunacy--all these were as well known in their outward symptoms eighteen
hundred years ago as they are to-day. Persons could not be afflicted
with such maladies in a corner. The neighbors must have known then, as
they do now, the particulars of such cases, and have been
unexceptionable witnesses to their reality. Persons may feign blindness
and other infirmities among strangers, but no man can pass himself off
as palsied, deaf and dumb, blind, (especially blind from birth,) halt,
withered, in his own community. The reality of the maladies then is
beyond all question; and so is also the reality of their instantaneous
removal by the immediate power of the Saviour. Here we must not fail to
take into account the immense number of our Lord's miracles, their
diversified character, and the fact that they were performed everywhere,
as well without as with previous notice, and in the most open and public
manner. Modern pretenders to miraculous power have a select circle of
marvellous feats, the exhibition of which is restricted to particular
places. No one of them would venture to undertake the cure of a man born
blind, or that had a withered limb, or that had been a paralytic for
thirty-eight years. But Jesus of Nazareth went about the cities and
villages of Judea for the space of three years, healing all manner of
disease. With him there was no distinction of easy and difficult, since
to Divine power nothing is hard. With the same word he rebuked a raging
fever, cleansed from leprosy, gave strength to the paralytic, healed the
withered limb, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech
to the dumb, and raised the dead to life. The same voice that said to
the man at Bethesda, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk," said also to
Lazarus, who had lain four days in the grave, "Come forth."

6. It is with reason that we lay special stress upon the fact that
Christ performed many of his greatest miracles in the presence of his
enemies, who had both the means and the will to institute a searching
investigation concerning them, and who would have denied their reality
had it been in their power to do so. Sad indeed is the record of the
perverse opposition and calumny which our Lord encountered on the part
of the Jewish rulers. But even this has a bright side. It shows us that
the Saviour's miracles could endure the severest scrutiny--that after
every means which power and wealth and patronage and official influence
could command had been used for their disparagement, their divine origin
still shone forth like the unclouded sun at noon-day. If any one doubts
this, let him read attentively the ninth chapter of John's gospel, which
records the investigation instituted by the Jewish rulers respecting the
miracle of healing a man blind from his birth. In no modern court of
justice was a question of fact ever subjected to a severer scrutiny. And
the result was that they could not deny the miracle, but said in their
blind hatred of the Redeemer, "Give God the praise: we know that this
man is a sinner." So when they could not deny that Jesus cast out
devils, they alleged that he did it by the help of Satan; when it was
manifest that he had by a word healed a man that had lain
thirty-and-eight years a helpless paralytic, they blamed him for working
on the Sabbath-day; when Lazarus had been called out of his grave in the
presence of all the people, they said, "What do we? for this man doeth
many miracles." And then they consulted not to disprove these miracles,
but to put both him and Lazarus to death. Thus, in the good providence
of God, we have for the reality of our Lord's miracles the testimony of
his enemies and persecutors.

7. The _resurrection_ of Jesus is the miracle of miracles, of which we
may say with truth that it comprehends in itself all the other mighty
works recorded in the gospel history. We cannot but notice the
condescending care with which our Lord himself certified to his
disciples its reality. When he had suddenly appeared in the midst of
them, "they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had
seen a spirit." To convince them of the reality of his bodily presence,
he said, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me
and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And
when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet," that
they might see in them the prints of the nails. Finding them still
incredulous, "believing not for joy and wondering," he added another
conclusive proof that he was not a spirit, but a true man: he asked for
meat; "and they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb;
and he took it, and did eat before them." Luke 24:36-43. To the
unbelieving Thomas he offered the further proof which he had demanded:
"Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy
hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing."
The certainty of this great event the evangelist Luke sets forth in his
introduction to the Acts of the Apostles: "To whom also," (to the
apostles,) "he showed himself alive after his passion, by many
infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the
things pertaining to the kingdom of God." The apostle Peter, in his
address to Cornelius and his friends, says: "Him God raised up the third
day, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses
chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after
he rose from the dead." Acts 10:40, 41. The apostle Paul, in his
enumeration of our Lord's appearances to his disciples after his
resurrection, 1 Cor. 5-8, mentions that on one occasion "he was seen of
above five hundred brethren at once; of whom," he says, "the greater
part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep."

It was not the greatness of the miracle, considered simply by itself,
but its relation to the gospel, that made our Lord's resurrection from
the dead the central fact of the apostles' testimony. It was, so to
speak, the hinge on which the whole work of redemption turned. Our
Lord's expiatory death for the sins of the world and his resurrection
from the dead were both alike parts of one indivisible whole. It was not
his claim to be the promised Messiah alone that was involved in the fact
of his resurrection. His completion, as the Messiah, of the work of
man's redemption was also dependent on that great event. "If Christ be
not risen," says the apostle, "then is our preaching vain, and your
faith is also vain;" and again, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is
vain; ye are yet in your sins." 1 Cor. 15:14, 17. We need not wonder
then that the apostles, in their testimony to the people, insisted so
earnestly on this one great fact in our Lord's history; for by it God
sealed him as the Prince of life.

8. The _character of Jesus_ of Nazareth, as drawn by the four
evangelists, is the highest possible proof of the authenticity and
credibility of the gospel narratives. Of this it has been justly said,
"The character is possible to be conceived, because it was actualized in
a living example." (Nature and the Supernatural, p. 324.) The
inapproachable excellence of Christ's character places it high above all
human praise. The reverent mind shrinks instinctively from the idea of
attempting to eulogize it, as from something profane and presumptuous.
We do not eulogize the sun shining in his strength, but we put a screen
over our eyes when we would look at him, lest we should be blinded by
the brightness of his beams. So must every man look at Jesus of Nazareth
with reverence and awe, who has any true sense of what is great and
excellent. What is now to be said of this character is not eulogy. It is
part of an argument for the reality of the events recorded in the gospel
history. Here it is important to notice not only the character itself,
but the manner of the portraiture, and its power over the human heart.

The character of Jesus is perfectly _original_. Nothing like it was ever
conceived of by the loftiest minds of antiquity. Nothing like it has
appeared since his day, in actual life, or even in the conceptions of
the most gifted writers. As there is one sun in the firmament, so there
is one Jesus Christ in the history of the world. His character has a
_human_ and a _divine_ element; and these two interpenetrate each other,
so as to constitute together one indivisible and glorious whole. Jesus
could not be, even in idea, what he is as man, unless he were God also.
And what he is as God, he is as God made flesh, and dwelling as man
among men. It is the _God-man_ which the gospel narratives present to
us. If we consider the qualities which belong to our Saviour as man, we
notice the union in full measure and just proportion of all those
qualities which belong to perfect humanity. In the case of mere men, the
abundant possession of one quality implies almost of necessity
deficiency elsewhere, and consequently one-sidedness of character. Not
so in the case of Jesus. He has all the attributes of a perfect man in
perfect fulness and in perfect harmony with each other. Let us
reverently look at some particulars.

His character unites the deepest _tranquillity_ with the deepest
_fervor_ of spirit. Our Lord's tranquillity shines forth through the
whole course of his ministry, and manifests itself alike in great things
and small. It is evident to all who read the narratives of the
evangelists that he performed his mighty works as one conscious that
divine power belonged to him of right, and that the exercise of it, even
in its highest forms, was nothing new nor strange. In connection with
his greatest miracles he calmly gave directions, as if they had been
ordinary occurrences. When he had fed many thousands with a few loaves
and fishes, he said, "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing
be lost." When he had raised from the dead the daughter of Jairus, "he
commanded that something should be given her to eat." When he had called
out of the grave one who had lain there four days, he directed, "Loose
him and let him go." Even in Gethsemane, when oppressed with agony too
great for human endurance, his self-possession remained as perfect as
his submission to his Father's will. That his serenity never left him
for a moment during the process of his arrest, trial, sentence, and
lingering death on the cross, is a truth which shines forth from the
sacred narrative as his own raiment did on the mount of transfiguration,
"white and glistering." Any attempt to describe it would be but mockery.
And yet this deep composure of spirit is not that of indifference or of
a cold temperament. It is the composure of one in whose bosom burns a
steady and intense flame of zeal for the glory of God and good will
towards men, by which he is borne forward with untiring energy in the
work committed to him from above. It is the composure of a spirit whose
depth of emotion none can measure.

We notice again the union in our Lord of perfect _wisdom_ with perfect
_freedom from guile_ and double dealing. That his wisdom was never at
fault all must admit. He was surrounded by crafty adversaries, who
contrived all manner of plans to entangle him in his talk. Yet in the
twinkling of an eye he turned their wiles against themselves, and they
found themselves taken in their own net. Meanwhile he always pursued the
straightforward course of sincerity and truth. Not the slightest trace
of deceit or cunning artifice appeared in his ministry from first to

Closely allied to the above-named qualities are _prudence_ and
_boldness_, both of which met in full measure in our Lord's character.
That he feared no man and shrank from no peril when it was his duty to
encounter it, is too obvious to be insisted on. Yet he never needlessly
encountered opposition and danger. He was never bold for the purpose of
making a show of boldness. When the Jews sought to kill him, he "walked
in Galilee" to avoid their enmity. When his brethren went up to the
feast in Jerusalem, he would not go up with them, but afterwards went
up, "not openly, but as it were in secret." When, at a later day, after
the resurrection of Lazarus, the Jews sought his life, he "walked no
more openly among the Jews; but went thence into a country near to the
wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his
disciples." Not until the time had come that he should die for the sins
of the world did he expose himself to the rage of his enemies; and then
he went boldly into Jerusalem at the head of his disciples. His own
precept, "Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves," he perfectly
exemplified throughout his ministry.

We cannot but notice once more the union in our Lord's character of the
greatest _tenderness_ with unbending _severity_ whenever the cause of
truth demanded severity. He opened his ministry at Nazareth by reading
from the prophet Isaiah a portraiture of his own character: "The Spirit
of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the
gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to
preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year
of the Lord." Isa. 61:1, 2. The execution of this mission required a
tender and forbearing spirit, that would not break the bruised reed or
quench the smoking flax; and such was the spirit of his whole ministry.
For the penitent, though publicans and sinners, he had only words of
kindness. Towards the infirmities and mistakes of his sincere disciples
he was wonderfully forbearing. When a strife had arisen among the
apostles which of them should be the greatest, instead of denouncing in
severe terms their foolish ambition, he called to himself a little child
and set him in the midst, and from him gave them a lesson on the duty of
humility. Yet this tender and compassionate Jesus of Nazareth, who took
little children in his arms and blessed them, who stood and cried, "Come
unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you
rest," and who wept at the grave of Lazarus--this same Jesus could say
to Peter when he would deter Him from the path of duty, "Get thee behind
me, Satan!" and could denounce in the presence of all the people the
scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses' seat. In truth, the most severe
denunciations of hypocrisy and wickedness contained in the New Testament
and the most awful descriptions of the future punishment of the
impenitent fell from our Saviour's lips. In his tenderness there was no
element of weakness.

Our Lord's perfect _meekness and humility_ need no human comment. They
shine forth with serene brightness through all his words and actions. He
described himself as "meek and lowly in heart," and his life was a
perpetual illustration of these qualities. "When he was reviled, he
reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed
himself to him that judgeth righteously." But the point to be
particularly noticed is the wonderful harmony of this meek and lowly
mind with _claims_ more _lofty_ than were ever conceived of by any man
before him--claims everywhere boldly asserted, and which, as we shall
see hereafter, implied the possession of a divine nature. It is not that
he claimed and exercised power over nature or outward power over men,
even power to raise the dead, that fills us with awe and amazement; but
that he went within the spirit, and offered inward life, light,
strength, peace--in a word, life eternal--to all who would come to him;
and that he asserted, in a way as decisive as it was calm, his absolute
control over the everlasting destinies of all men. When we read the
account of these superhuman claims, we have no feeling that they were
incongruous or extravagant. On the contrary, they seem to us altogether
legitimate and proper. And yet, as has been often remarked, were any
other person to advance a tithe of these pretensions, he would be justly
regarded as a madman. The only possible explanation is, that this meek
and lowly Jesus made good his claim to be the Son of God by what he was
and by what he did.

Another quality very conspicuous in our Lord's character is his perfect
_elevation above this world_. "Ye are from beneath," said he to the
Jews; "I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."
It was not in his origin alone, but in his spirit also that he was from
above. As he was from heaven, so was he heavenly in all his affections.
His own precept to his disciples, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures
upon earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven," was the law
of his own life. He had no treasures here below but the souls of men;
and these are not earthly, but heavenly treasures. Satan plied him in
vain with the offer of "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of
them." In him "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life" could find no place for a single moment. He kept the
world always and perfectly under his feet. Yet this perfect elevation
above the world had in it no tinge of _stoicism_ or _asceticism_. He
made no war upon the genuine passions and affections of human nature,
but simply subjected them all to his higher spiritual nature; in other
words to the law of God. Except temporarily for meditation and prayer,
he never withdrew himself, nor encouraged his disciples to withdraw
themselves from the cares and temptations of an active life, under the
false idea of thus rising to a state of superhuman communion with God.
He did not fast himself systematically, nor enjoin upon his disciples
systematic fastings, but left fastings for special emergencies. In a
word, he ate and drank like other men. His heavenly mind lay not in the
renunciation of God's gifts, but in maintaining his affections
constantly raised above the gifts themselves to the divine Giver. It
took on a human, and therefore an imitable form.

And what shall we say of our Lord's spotless _purity_ of heart and life?
We cannot eulogize it, for it is above all human praise. But we can
refresh the eyes of our understanding by gazing upon it, as upon a
glorious sun, until we feel its vivifying and transforming power in our
own souls.

In contemplating the above qualities, it is of the highest importance to
notice that, though they exist in such fulness and perfection, they are
yet human, and therefore imitable. They are not the virtues of an angel
in heaven, or of a king on the throne, or of a philosopher in his
school, or of a monk in his cell; but of a man moving among men in the
sphere of common life, and filling out common life with all the duties
appropriate to it. His example then is available for the imitation of
the lowest not less than the highest. It offers itself to all classes of
men as a model of all that is good in human nature. We may boldly affirm
that such a character as this could never have been conceived of, if it
had not actually existed.

       *       *       *       *       *

If now we look at our Lord's _character as a teacher_, we find it
equally original and wonderful. Writers on the gospel history have with
reason laid great stress on the fact that he stood high above the errors
and prejudices, not only of his own age and nation, but of all ages and
nations. He saw intuitively and perfectly what God is, what man is, and
what are man's relations to God and to his fellow-men; and was therefore
able to establish a religion for men, as men, that needs no change for
any age, or nation, or condition of life. He has sometimes been called a
"Galilean peasant." The phrase sounds unpleasantly in the ears of those
who adore him as their divine Lord and Master. Nevertheless it is in an
important sense true. He was educated among the common people of
Galilee, and had no special human training. It was an age of narrowness
and formalism. The scribes and Pharisees, who sat in Moses' seat, had
covered up the true meaning and spirit of the Old Testament beneath a
mass of human traditions that substituted "mint, and anise, and cummin"
for "the weightier matters of the law." Yet in such an age Jesus came
forth a perfect teacher of divine truth. He swept away at once the
glosses of the Jewish doctors, unfolded to the people the true meaning
of the law and the prophets as preparatory to his coming, and gave to
the world a religion that meets the wants of all classes and conditions
of men in all ages and nations. Considered as the good leaven which
Christ cast into the lump of humanity, the gospel has continual
progress. But considered as the plan of salvation which he revealed, it
cannot have progress, for it is perfect. It needs no amendment or
change, that it may be adapted to our age or any other age. As air and
water and light meet the wants of all men in all ages, so the gospel,
when freed from human additions and received in its original purity, is
all that fallen humanity needs. Here is a great fact to be explained.
The only reasonable explanation is that given by the Saviour himself.
When the Jews marvelled at his teaching, saying, "How knoweth this man
letters, having never learned?" he answered, "My doctrine is not mine,
but his that sent me." Such a religion as that described in the gospels
could not have been conceived of unless it had actually existed; and it
could not have existed without God for its author. Gifted men may be in
advance of their own age; that is, they may see before others what is
the next thing indicated by the present progress of society. But mere
men do not rise at once above all the errors and prejudices by which
they are surrounded into the region of pure light and truth. All the
work that men do is imperfect, and needs emendation by those who come
after them. A religion that remains from age to age as perfectly adapted
to the wants of all men as it was at the beginning, must be from God,
not from man.

Our Saviour's _manner of teaching_ was also as original as the teaching
itself. He saw through the world of nature and mind at a glance, and it
stood always ready at hand to furnish him with arguments and
illustrations--arguments and illustrations as simple and natural as they
were profound, and by means of which he unfolded the deepest truths in
the plainest and most intelligible forms. Take, for example, the
parables of the mustard-seed and the leaven. They contain within
themselves the whole history of Christ's kingdom in its inward
principle. They unfold views of its steady progress from age to age, as
a growth from an inward vital force, on which the most philosophical
minds especially love to dwell; and yet they are perfectly intelligible
to the most unlettered man. To teach by parables, without any false
analogies, and in a way that interested and instructed alike the learned
and the ignorant, this was a wonderful characteristic of our Lord's
ministry. In this respect no one of his apostles, not even the bosom
disciple, attempted to imitate him. Yet in the great fact that his
teaching was not for a select few, but for the masses of mankind, so
that "the common people heard him gladly," all his servants can and
ought to imitate him.

Thus far we have considered mainly the human side of our Lord's
character, though through it all his divinity shines forth. Let us now
look more particularly at _his divine mission and character_. On the
fact that his mission was from God we need not dwell. Nicodemus
expressed the judgment of every candid mind when he said, "Rabbi, we
know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these
miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." If there is one truth
which our Lord asserted more frequently than any other, it is that he
came from God: "The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the
same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me."
"If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and
came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me."

But Jesus had not only a divine mission, but a _divine person_ also; and
the manner in which he manifested his divinity is, if possible, more
original than any thing else in his history, and bears in itself the
impress of reality. A company of men who should attempt to give a
portraiture of a divine being simply from their own conceptions would
doubtless put into his lips many direct assertions of his deity, and
make his life abound in stupendous miracles. But it is not in any such
crude way that our Saviour's divinity manifests itself in the gospel
narratives. It is true indeed that in the manner of his miracles he
everywhere makes the impression that he performs them by virtue of a
power residing in himself; that while the _commission_ to do them comes
from the Father, the _power_ to do them belongs to his own person. In
this respect the contrast is very sharp between his manner and that of
the prophets before him and the apostles after him. In their case the
power, as well as the commission, was wholly from God, as they were
careful to teach the people: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
rise up and walk." "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own
power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" "His name, through
faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know."
"Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole." But not to dwell on this, let
us look at some very remarkable ways in which our Saviour manifested his
divine nature.

He called _God his Father_ in a peculiar and incommunicable sense. He
never said, "Our Father," by which he would have classed himself with
other men, but always, "My Father," showing that thus he stood alone in
his relation to God. As the son has the same nature with the father, and
when acting under his authority, the same prerogatives also; so Jesus,
as the Son of God, claimed the power and right to do whatever his Father
did, and to receive the same honor as his Father: "My Father worketh
hitherto, and I work." This the Jews rightly understood to be an
assertion of equality with the Father; for they "sought the more to kill
him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God
was his own Father, (so the original reads,) making himself equal with
God." To this the Saviour answered: "The Son can do nothing of
himself"--acting in his own name, and without the concurrence of the
Father's will--"but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever
he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the
Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him
greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth
up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he
will. For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment
unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the
Father. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father which hath
sent him." John 5:17-23. Here the Son, though acting under the Father's
commission, claims equality with the Father; for without this he could
neither share all the Father's counsels, nor do all the Father's works,
nor receive from the Father authority to judge all men--an office which
plainly implies omniscience--nor be entitled to the same honor as the
Father. The point to be especially noticed in the present connection is
the originality of the way in which our Lord here asserts his divine
nature. We cannot for a moment suppose that such a way would have
occurred to one who was writing from his own invention. The only
possible explanation of the existence of such a passage in the gospel of
John, (and the same is true of many other passages,) is that it is a
true record of what actually took place in our Lord's history.

Again: our Lord represents himself as the source of _light and life_ to
all mankind. To the Jews he said: "I am the light of the world: he that
followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of
life." John 8:12. In comparison with what he here claims for himself,
the outward work of opening men's bodily eyes dwindles into nothing.
That was only the seal of his divine mission. But in these and other
like words, he does, as it were, draw aside the veil of his humanity,
and give us a glimpse of the glory of the Godhead that dwells within. So
too he says, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any
man eat of this bread he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will
give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John
6:51. The resurrection of Lazarus, stupendous as that miracle was, does
not fill us with such awe and amazement as the mighty words which he
uttered to Martha: "I am the resurrection and the life: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever
liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die," John 11:25, 26; for in
these words he represents himself as being to the whole human family the
author of all life, natural, spiritual, and eternal. He connects the
particular act of giving life which he is about to perform with the
final resurrection, "when all that are in the graves shall hear his
voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the
resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the
resurrection of damnation." John 5:28, 29. These utterances, so calm, so
lofty, so original, do not sound like the inventions of man. They wear a
heavenly costume. When we read them, we feel that the only explanation
of their existence in the gospel narrative is the fact that they were
actually uttered by our Lord.

And the same is true of another kindred class of passages, in which the
Saviour asserts his _inward dominion over the human spirit_. Hear him,
as he stands and proclaims: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28. "Peace I leave with
you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto
you." John 14:27. The world gives peace at best outwardly, and often
only in empty words; but Jesus has direct access to the inmost fountains
of feeling. He gives peace inwardly and efficaciously. When he turned
into songs of joy the tears of the widow of Nain by raising her son to
life, that was a wonderful instance of his giving peace; but far greater
and more glorious is the work when, by his inward presence in the soul,
he makes it victorious over all "the sufferings of this present time."
This is what he meant when he said to his disciples: "These things have
I spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall
have tribulations; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."
John 16:33. In his name, apostles raised the dead to life; but no
apostle--no mere man--would have ventured to say, "In me ye shall have

These last words naturally lead to the consideration of another very
peculiar form of speech first introduced by our Lord, and passing from
him to the church; that of the _mutual indwelling_ of himself and his
disciples: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit
of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide
in me." John 15:1-7. It is a vital union of the believer's soul with
Jesus, through which he receives from Jesus life and fruitfulness, as
the branch from its union with the vine. Here is an assertion of deity.
The Jews regarded Moses with the highest reverence; but no one of them
ever spoke of abiding in Moses, or having Moses abiding in himself. Had
any Christian disciple represented himself as dwelling in Peter or Paul,
the apostle would have rent his clothes at the blasphemy of the words.

Other peculiar ways in which our Lord manifested his deity could be
specified, but the above will suffice as examples. Let any candid man
consider all these examples in their connection, each of them so
original and so majestic, so simple and natural, and yet so far removed
from anything that could have occurred to one sitting down to draw from
his own imagination the picture of a divine person; and he will be
convinced that such a record as that contained in our four canonical
gospels was possible only because it is a simple and truthful history of
what Jesus of Nazareth was and did. Plain men can give a straightforward
account of what they have seen or learned from eye-witnesses; but it
transcends the genius of any man to invent such narratives of such a
character. The gospel narratives are marked throughout by artless
simplicity. Each of the writers goes straightforward with his story,
never thinking for a moment of what his own genius is to accomplish, but
intent only on exhibiting his Lord and Master as the Saviour of the
world. The apostle John, in giving the design of his own gospel, gives
that also of the other evangelists: "And many other signs truly did
Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this
book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through
his name." John 20:30, 31.

And because this glorious and divine person is a living reality, he
possesses from age to age an undying power over the human heart. Love
towards him is the mightiest principle on earth, both for doing and for
suffering. It makes the soul of which it has taken full possession
invincible. When Jesus of Nazareth is enthroned in the castle of the
human heart, not all the powers of earth and hell can overcome it. See
farther, chap. 12:8.

9. Since, as we have seen, the gospel narratives are an authentic record
of facts, it follows that in the person and life of Jesus of Nazareth we
have a _supernatural revelation_ from God in the fullest sense of the
words. That his origin was both superhuman and supernatural, the gospels
teach us in the most explicit terms. He says of himself: "I came forth
from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world,
and go unto the Father." John 16:28. "And now, O Father, glorify thou me
with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the
world was." John 17:5. That the appearance on earth of One who dwelt
with the Father in glory before the world was, and after the fulfilment
of his mission returned to the Father again, was supernatural, is
self-evident. His person was, as has been shown, divine. He was God
manifest in the flesh; and wherever he went, his supernatural power
displayed itself. The miraculous element is so interwoven into the very
substance of the gospel history, that there is no possibility of setting
it aside, except by rejecting the history itself. It is the fashion with
a certain class of writers, after denying our Lord's divine nature and
explaining away his supernatural works, to be profuse in their eulogies
of his character. If they can first rid themselves of the obligation to
believe on him and obey him as their divine Lord, they are willing to
bestow upon him, as a man like themselves, the highest commendations.
But the attempt is hopeless. What will they do with the fact of his
resurrection from the dead--the most certain as well as the greatest
miracle in his history, and which includes in itself all the rest? Had
Jesus not risen from the dead, as he so often affirmed that he should,
then he would have been what the Jewish rulers called him--a deceiver,
and no Saviour; but since the miracle of his resurrection must be
admitted by all who do not reject the whole gospel history as a fable,
why deny the lesser miracles connected with his history? The assumption
that miracles are impossible can only go with the denial of God's
personality; and this, by whatever name it is called, is atheism. If
there is a personal God, who is before nature, above nature, and the
author of nature in its inmost essence, he can manifest himself within
the sphere of nature in a supernatural way, whenever he chooses to do
so. If God who made us cares for us, and is indeed our Father in heaven,
it is reasonable to suppose that he may reveal himself to us in
supernatural forms, when the end is our deliverance from the bondage of
sin, and our preparation for an eternity of holiness and happiness. To
deny this, would be to make nature the highest end of God--to put the
world of God's intelligent creatures under nature, instead of making
nature their servant and minister.

10. The objections that have been urged against the gospel history are
of two kinds. The first class relates to its doctrines, as, for example,
that of demoniacal possessions, that of eternal punishment, etc. To
enlarge on this subject would be out of place here. It is sufficient to
say that the only reasonable rule is to argue from the certainty of the
record to the truth of the doctrines in question. He who first assumes
that a certain doctrine cannot be true, and then, on the ground of this
assumption, sets aside a history sustained by overwhelming evidence,
exalts his own finite understanding to be the supreme rule of faith; and
to him an authoritative revelation becomes an impossibility. The second
class of objections relates to alleged contradictions and
inconsistencies between the different writers. The explanation and
reconciliation of these is the work of the harmonist. We need not wait,
however, for the result of his labors, that we may rest confidently on
the truth of the record. These apparent disagreements do not affect a
single doctrine or duty of Christianity. They all relate to incidental
matters, such as the time and order of the events recorded, the
accompanying circumstances, etc. Had we all the missing links of the
evangelical history, we might reconcile all these differences; but
without them, it is not in all cases possible. Nor is it necessary;
since, where different writers record the same transactions, substantial
agreement, with diversity in respect to the details, is everywhere the
characteristic of authentic history.



1. The genuineness, uncorrupt preservation, and credibility of the
gospel narratives having been shown to rest on a firm foundation, the
principal part of our work is accomplished, so far as the New Testament
is concerned. We are prepared beforehand to expect some record of the
labors of the apostles, like that contained in the Acts of the Apostles;
and also discussions and instructions relating to the doctrines and
duties of Christianity, such as we find in the apostolic epistles. Our
Saviour established his church only in its fundamental principles and
ordinances. The work of publishing his gospel and organizing churches
among Jews and Gentiles he committed to his apostles. Before his
crucifixion he taught them that the Holy Ghost could not come (that is,
in his special and full influences as the administrator of the new
covenant) till after his departure to the Father: "It is expedient for
you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come
unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you." John 16:7. "When
the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even
the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify
of me. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from
the beginning." John 15:26, 27. Now we have, in the Acts of the
Apostles, first an account of the fulfilment by the Saviour of his
promise that he would send the Holy Ghost; then a record how the
apostles, thus qualified, obeyed the Saviour's command to preach the
gospel to Jews and Gentiles--a record not, indeed, complete, but
sufficient to show the manner and spirit in which the work was
performed. Some truths, moreover, of the highest importance the Saviour
gave only in outline, because the time for their full revelation had not
yet come. John 16:12, 13. Such were especially the doctrine of his
atoning sacrifice on Calvary with the connected doctrine of
justification by faith; and the divine purpose to abolish the Mosaic
economy, and with it the distinction between Jews and Gentiles. We have,
partly in the Acts and partly in the epistles, an account of the
unfolding of these great truths by the apostles under the guidance of
the Holy Spirit, and of the commotions and contentions that naturally
accompanied this work. The practical application of the gospel to the
manifold relations of life, domestic, social, and civil, with the
solution of various difficult questions arising therefrom, was another
work necessarily devolved on the apostles, and performed by them with
divine wisdom for the instruction of all coming ages. The book of Acts
and the epistles ascribed to the apostles being such a natural sequel to
the Redeemer's work, as recorded by the four evangelists, a briefer
statement of the evidence for their genuineness and authenticity will be

I. _The Acts of the Apostles._ 2. According to Chrysostom, First Homily
on Acts, this book was not so abundantly read by the early Christians as
the gospels. The explanation of this comparative neglect is found in the
fact that it is occupied with the doings of the apostles, not of the
Lord himself. Passing by some uncertain allusions to the work in the
writings of the apostolic fathers, the first explicit quotation from it
is contained in the letter heretofore noticed, chap. 2:4, from the
churches of Vienne and Lyons in Gaul, written about A.D. 177, in which
they say: "Moreover they prayed, after the example of Stephen the
perfect martyr, for those who inflicted upon them cruel torments, 'Lord,
lay not this sin to their charge.'" Irenæus, in the last part of the
second century, Tertullian in the last part of the same century and the
beginning of the third, Clement of Alexandria about the end of the
second century and onwards--all these bear explicit testimony to the
book of Acts, ascribing it to Luke as its author; and from their day
onward the notices of the work are abundant. We may add the concurrent
testimony of the Muratorian canon and the Syriac version, called the
Peshito, which belong to the last quarter of the second century, and the
still earlier testimony of the Old Latin version. In a word, the book is
placed by Eusebius among those that were universally acknowledged by the

    The rejection of the book by certain heretical sects, as the
    Ebionites, Marcionites, Manichæans, etc., is of no weight, as
    their objections rested not on historical, but on doctrinal
    grounds. As to the statement of Photius that "some call Clement
    of Rome the author, some Barnabas, and some Luke the
    evangelist," it is to be remarked that he is giving not his own
    judgment, for he expressly ascribes it to Luke, but the
    arbitrary opinions of certain persons; and these are
    contradicted by the obvious fact that the third gospel, which
    proceeded from the same hand as the Acts of the Apostles, was
    never ascribed to any other person than Luke.

3. The _internal testimony_ to Luke's authorship is decisive. The writer
himself, in dedicating it to the same Theophilus, expressly identifies
himself with the author of the third gospel: "The former treatise have I
made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach."
Acts 1:1. Then there is a remarkable agreement in style and diction
between the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, as any one may
learn who peruses them both together in the original Greek. Davidson,
Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 2, p. 8, has collected
forty-seven examples of "terms that occur in both, but nowhere else in
the New Testament." Luke, moreover, as the travelling companion of Paul,
had all needed facilities for composing such a work. With regard to the
latter portion of the book, this is denied by none. His use of the first
person plural, "we endeavored," "the Lord had called us," "we came,"
etc.--which first appears, chap. 16:10, and continues, with certain
interruptions, through the remainder of the book--admits of but one
natural and reasonable explanation, namely, that when he thus joins
himself with the apostle he was actually in his company. As it respects
the first part of the book, we notice that he visited Cæsarea with
Paul's company, and "tarried there many days," chap. 21:8-10; afterwards
he went up with him to Jerusalem, chap. 21:15. We find him again with
Paul at Cæsarea when he sets out for Rome. Chap. 27:1. Now at such
centres as Jerusalem and Cæsarea he must have had abundant opportunities
to learn all the facts recorded in the present book which could not be
gathered from Paul's own lips.

4. For the _credibility_ of this book we have, in general, the same
arguments which apply to the gospel narratives, especially to the gospel
of Luke. Its author is evidently a sincere and earnest man, who goes
straight forward with his narrative; and where he does not write as an
eye-witness, he had, as we have seen, abundant means of ascertaining the
truth concerning the facts which he records. His narrative is, moreover,
corroborated in a very special way, as will be shown hereafter--No. 8,
below--by its many undesigned coincidences with the events alluded to in
the epistle of Paul. To admit the credibility of the gospel of Luke and
to deny that of this work would be altogether inconsistent. In truth,
there is no ground for doubting the credibility of the Acts of the
Apostles other than that which lies in the assumption that no record of
miraculous events can be credible, and this is no ground at all.

    To some modern writers the narrative of the gift of tongues on
    the day of Pentecost has seemed to present an insuperable
    difficulty. Undoubtedly it is above our comprehension how a man
    should suddenly become possessed of the ability to speak in a
    language before unknown to him; but why should we doubt God's
    power to bestow such a gift? Can any one suppose for a moment
    that when our Saviour met with a person deaf and dumb from
    birth, he had, for the first time, a case beyond his healing
    power? The gospel narrative plainly indicates the contrary. Mark
    7:32-37, upon which passage see Meyer and Alford.

    The account of the sudden death of Ananias and Sapphira, chap.
    5:1-11, is not contrary to the spirit of the gospel. They died
    by the immediate act of God. His wisdom judged such an example
    of severity to be necessary in the beginning of the gospel, as a
    solemn warning against hypocrisy and falsehood in his service.
    Though the gospel is a system of mercy, it takes, as all admit,
    a severe attitude towards those who reject it; why not, then,
    towards those who make a hypocritical profession of it? As Nadab
    and Abihu were consumed by fire from heaven at the beginning of
    the Mosaic economy, so the death of Ananias and his wife came
    early in the dispensation of the Holy Ghost, as a testimony to
    all future ages of Christ's abhorrence of hypocrisy, and
    consequently of the doom which hypocrites will receive from him
    at the last day. Matt. 7:21-23.

    The fact that Luke has omitted some events in the history of
    Paul, as, for example, his journey into Arabia, which occurred
    during the three years that intervened between his conversion
    and his first visit to Jerusalem, Acts 9:22-26 compared with
    Gal. 1:15-18, is no argument against the credibility of his
    narrative. Difficulties that arise simply from a writer's
    brevity must not be allowed to set aside satisfactory evidence
    of his competency and truthfulness. The historical difficulties
    connected with Stephen's address do not concern Luke's
    credibility as a historian, and the discussion of them belongs
    to the commentator.

5. The book of Acts closes with a notice that "Paul dwelt two whole
years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern
the Lord Jesus, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." As it adds
no notice of the issue of his imprisonment, or of what afterwards befell
him, we naturally infer that the book was written at Rome about this
time, that is, about A.D. 63.

II. _The Acknowledged Epistles_, 6. It is well known that doubts
existed, to a greater or less extent, in the primitive churches before
the fourth century, respecting the apostolic origin and authority of
certain books which now constitute a part of the New Testament canon.
Hence the distinction made by Eusebius between the _acknowledged_ books,
(_homologoumena_) that is, those that were universally received from the
first, and the _disputed_ books, (_antilegomena_,) books respecting
which some entertained doubts. The _acknowledged_ books are, the four
gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the thirteen epistles of Paul which
bear his name at the beginning, the first epistle of Peter, and the
first epistle of John; twenty in all. The _disputed_ books are, the
epistle to the Hebrews, the epistle of James, the second epistle of
Peter, the second and third epistles of John, the epistle of Jude, and
the book of Revelation; seven in all. The gospels and the Acts have been
already considered, and the disputed books are reserved for the
following chapter. Some remarks will here be made on the fifteen
acknowledged epistles.

7. The epistles of Paul may be conveniently distributed into two groups,
of which the second or smaller contains the three pastoral epistles, and
the former or larger, the remaining ten. Of the apostolic origin of the
larger group little needs to be said. They bear throughout the impress
of genuineness and authenticity. No doubts were ever entertained
concerning them in the ancient churches. There is, indeed, some ground
for suspecting that a few ancient copies of the epistle to the Ephesians
omitted the words _at Ephesus_--more literally _in Ephesus_--chap. 1:1.
But the genuineness of these words is sustained by an overwhelming
weight of evidence, and that Paul was the author of the epistle was
never once doubted by the ancient churches. The arguments of some modern
writers against its apostolic origin have no real weight, as will be
shown hereafter in the introduction to the epistle.

Respecting the apostolic authorship of the three pastoral epistles, two
to Timothy and one to Titus, there was never any doubt in the ancient
churches. They are supported by the testimony of the Peshito-Syriac
version, of the Muratorian canon, also, (as appears from Jerome's letter
to Marcella and the quotations of the church fathers before him,) of the
Old Latin version; of Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and a
multitude of later writers. There are also some allusions to these
epistles in the apostolic fathers, which seem to be decisive.

    Such are the following: "Let us therefore approach to him in
    holiness of soul, _lifting up_ to him _holy_ and unpolluted
    _hands_." Clement of Rome, First Epistle to the Corinthians,
    chap. 29. "But the beginning of all mischief is the love of
    money. Knowing, therefore, that _we brought nothing into the
    world neither have power to carry any thing out_, let us arm
    ourselves with the armor of righteousness." Polycarp, Epistle to
    the Philippians, chap. 4. The student may see other supposed
    allusions in Kirchhofer, Quellensammlung; Lardner, 2:39;
    Davidson's Introduction, 3, p. 101 seq.; Alford's New Testament,
    Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles, etc.

Respecting the _date_ of the pastoral epistles very different opinions
are held. The whole discussion turns on the question whether they were
written _before_ or _after_ Paul's imprisonment at Rome, which is
recorded in the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles; and this again
is connected with the further question whether he underwent a second
imprisonment at Rome, concerning which learned men are not agreed. The
full discussion of this matter belongs to the introduction to the
pastoral epistles. It may be simply remarked, however, that the internal
arguments in favor of a late date are very strong, and that its
assumption accounts for the development of such a state of things at
Ephesus as appears in the two pastoral epistles to Timothy--a state very
different from that which existed when the epistle to the Ephesians was
written, between A.D. 60 and 64, and which makes it necessary to
separate the first epistle to Timothy from that to the Ephesians by a
considerable interval of time.

The _theme_ of the pastoral epistles is _peculiar_. It is the
affectionate counsel of an aged apostle to two young preachers and
rulers in the church respecting the duties of their office. From the
peculiarity of the subject-matter naturally arises, to some extent, a
peculiarity in the diction of these epistles; yet the style and costume
is throughout that of the apostle Paul.

8. The testimony of the ancient church to the first epistle of Peter and
the first of John is very ample. Besides that of the Peshito-Syriac
version, and of the church fathers Irenæus, Tertullian, and Clement of
Alexandria, they have in addition that of Papias and the apostolic
father Polycarp. The first epistle of John is also included in the
Muratorian canon. It scarcely needs, however, any external testimony.
The identity of its author with that of the fourth gospel is so manifest
from its whole tone and style, that it has been always conceded that if
one of these writings came from the pen of the apostle John, the other
did also.

    The testimony of Papias to these two epistles, though indirect,
    is conclusive. Eusebius says, Hist. Eccl. 3. 39, "The same
    Papias has employed testimonies from the first epistle of John,
    and in like manner of Peter." Polycarp says, Epistle to the
    Philippians, ch. 7, "For every one who confesseth not that Jesus
    Christ is come in the flesh, is anti-Christ," with evident
    reference to 1 John 4:3. Eusebius says also, Hist. Eccl. 4. 14,
    that in the same epistle to the Philippians Polycarp "has
    employed certain testimonies from the first epistle of Peter;"
    and when we examine the epistle we find several certain
    references to it, among which are the following: "In whom,
    though ye see him not, ye believe; and believing, ye rejoice
    with joy unspeakable, and full of glory." Chap. 1 compared with
    1 Pet. 1:8. "Believing in him who raised up our Lord Jesus
    Christ from the dead, and gave him glory, and a seat at his
    right hand." Chap. 2 compared with 1 Pet. 1:21.

9. The relation of the gospel history to the writings now under
consideration--the book of Acts and the apostolic epistles--is of the
most intimate and weighty character. The truth of the earlier narratives
contained in the gospels implies the truth of these later works; for, as
already remarked, they are the natural sequel of the events there
recorded. On the other hand, the truth of these later writings implies
the truth of the gospel history; for in that history they find their
full explanation, and without it they are, and must ever remain,
inexplicable. All the parts of the New Testament constitute one
inseparable whole, and they all shed light upon each other. Like a chain
of fortresses in war, they mutually command each other. Unless the whole
can be overthrown, no one part can be successfully assailed. But to
overthrow the whole is beyond the power of man; for God has guarded it
on every side by impregnable bulwarks of evidence.

10. A special argument for the truth of the Scripture history of the
apostle Paul may be drawn from the numerous _undesigned coincidences_
between the events recorded in the book of Acts and those referred to in
the epistles. This work has been accomplished with great ability and
skill by Paley in his Horæ Paulinæ, to which the reader is referred. The
argument is very conclusive; for when we consider the "particularity of
St. Paul's epistles, the perpetual recurrence of names of persons and
places, the frequent allusions to the incidents of his private life, and
the circumstances of his condition and history, and the connection and
parallelism of these with the same circumstances in the Acts of the
Apostles, so as to enable us, for the most part, to confront them one
with another," we must be satisfied that the truth of the history can
alone explain such a multitude of coincidences, many of them of a minute
character, and all of them manifestly undesigned.



The grounds on which each of the disputed books--Antilegomena, chap. 5,
No. 6--is received into the canon of the New Testament, will be
considered in the introduction to these books. In the present chapter
some general suggestions will be made which apply to them as a whole.

1. This is not a question concerning the _truth of Christianity_, but
concerning the _extent of the canon_; a distinction which is of the
highest importance. Some persons, when they learn that doubts existed in
the early churches, to a greater or less extent, respecting certain
books of the New Testament, are troubled in mind, as if a shade of
uncertainty were thereby cast over the whole collection of books. But
this is a very erroneous view of the matter. The books of the New
Testament, like those of the Old, were written one after another, as
occasion required; and the churches received each of them separately on
the evidence they had of its apostolic origin and authority. At length
collections of these books, that is, _canons_, began to be formed. Such
collections translators would of necessity make, unless they found them
ready at hand. The earliest canons of which we have any knowledge are
contained in the old Latin version, the Syriac version called Peshito,
and the Muratorian canon; each of which represented the prevailing
judgment of the churches in the region where it was formed. As this
judgment differed in the different provinces of Christendom in respect
to the books in question, so also do these canons. The Peshito contains
the epistle to the Hebrews and that of James, but omits the other five
books. The Muratorian canon omits the epistle to the Hebrews, the
epistle of James, and the second epistle of Peter; but contains the
epistle of Jude, the book of Revelation, and apparently also the second
and third of John, though in respect to them its language is obscure and
of doubtful interpretation. The old Latin version, so far as we can
judge from the quotations of the church fathers, agreed in general with
the Muratorian canon. It contained, however, the epistle of James,
(Codex Corbeiensis, _ff_,) and that to the Hebrews; and if, as has been
supposed, this latter was a later addition, it was yet earlier than the
time of Tertullian. See Westcott on the Canon, pp. 282, 283. Now this
diversity of judgment with regard to particular books does not affect in
the least the remaining books of the New Testament, which are sustained
by the authority of all the above-named witnesses, as well as by the
undivided testimony of the ancient churches. Did the New Testament claim
to be the work of _a single author_, the case would be different. We
should then have but _one_ witness; and if certain parts of his
testimony could be successfully assailed, this would throw a measure of
suspicion on the whole. But now we have in the separate books of the New
Testament a _large number_ of witnesses, most of whom are entirely
independent of each other. Doubts respecting the testimony of one do not
affect that of another. We receive the seven books in question as a part
of God's revelation on grounds which we judge adequate, as will be shown
in the introductions to the several books. But if any one feels under
the necessity of suspending his judgment with respect to one or more of
these books, let him follow the teachings of the other books, which are
above all doubt. He will find in them all the truth essential to the
salvation of his soul; and he will then be in a position calmly to
investigate the evidence for the canonical authority of the so-called
disputed books.

2. The diversity of judgment which prevailed in the early churches in
respect to certain books of the New Testament, is in harmony with all
that we know of their character and spirit. It was an age of free
inquiry. General councils were not then known, nor was there any central
power to impose its decisions on all the churches. In the essential
doctrines of the gospel there was everywhere an agreement, especially in
receiving the writings acknowledged to be apostolic, as the supreme rule
of faith and practice. But this did not exclude differences on minor
points in the different provinces of Christendom; and with respect to
these the churches of each particular region were tenacious then, as
they have been in all ages since, of their peculiar opinions and
practices. It is well known, for example, that the churches of Asia
Minor differed from those of Rome in the last half of the second century
respecting the day on which the Christian festival of the Passover, with
the communion service connected with it, should be celebrated; the
former placing it on the fourteenth of the month Nisan, the latter on
the anniversary of the resurrection Sunday. Nor could the conference
between Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor, and Anicetus, bishop
of Rome, about A.D. 162, avail to change the usage of either party,
though it did not at that time break the bond of brotherhood between
them. We need not be surprised therefore to find a like diversity in
different regions respecting certain books of the New Testament. The
unanimous belief of the Eastern and Alexandrine churches ascribed to
Paul the authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews; but in the Western
churches its Pauline authorship was not generally admitted till the
fourth century. The Apocalypse, on the contrary, found most favor with
the Western or Latin churches. It has in its favor the testimony of the
Muratorian canon, which is of Latin origin, and also--as appears from
the citations contained in the commentaries of Primasius--that of the
old Latin version. Other examples see above, No. 1.

3. Although we cannot account for the universal and undisputed reception
of the acknowledged books by all the churches, except on the assumption
of their genuineness, the non-reception of a given book by some of the
early churches is no conclusive argument against its apostolic origin.
From the influence of circumstances unknown to us, it may have remained
for a considerable period of time in comparative obscurity. We have good
ground for believing that some apostolic writings are utterly lost. To
deny the possibility of this would be to prejudge the wisdom of God. As
the apostles delivered many inspired discourses which it did not please
the Holy Ghost to have recorded, so they may have written letters which
he did not judge needful to make the sacred volume complete. The
question is one of fact, not of theory. The most obvious interpretation
of 1 Cor. 5:9 and Col. 4:16 is that Paul refers in each case to an
epistle which has not come down to us. And if an inspired epistle might
be lost, much more might the knowledge and use of it be restricted for a
time to a narrow circle of churches. When such an epistle--for example,
the second of Peter--began to be more extensively known, the general
reception and use of it would be a slow process, not only from the
difficulty of communication in ancient as compared with modern times,
but also from the slowness with which the churches of one region
received any thing new from those of other regions.

Then again, if a book were known, there might be in some regions
hesitancy in respect to receiving it, from doubts in regard to its
author, as in the case of the epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse;
or from the peculiarity of its contents also, as in the case of the
latter book. In the influence of causes like the above named, we find a
reasonable explanation of the fact that some books, which the mature
judgment of the churches received into the canon of the New Testament,
did not find at first a universal reception.

4. In the caution and hesitation of the early churches with respect to
the books in question, we have satisfactory evidence that, in settling
the canon of the New Testament, they acted with great deliberation and
conscientiousness, their rule being that no book should be received
whose apostolic origin could not be established on solid grounds. Did
the early history of the Christian church present no such phenomenon as
that of the distinction between acknowledged and disputed books, we
might naturally infer that all books that professed to have emanated
from the apostles, or to have had their sanction, were received without
discrimination. But now the mature and final judgment of the churches is
entitled to great consideration. This judgment, let it be remembered,
was not affirmative only, but also _negative_. While it admitted to the
canon the seven books now under consideration, it excluded others which
were highly valued and publicly read in many of the churches. On this
ground it is entitled to still higher regard. It is not, however, of
binding authority, for it is not the decision of inspired men. We have a
right to go behind it, and to examine the facts on which it is based, so
far as they can be ascertained from existing documents. But this work
belongs to the introduction to the several books.

    Three books alone "obtained a partial ecclesiastical currency,
    through which they were not clearly separated at first from the
    disputed writings of the New Testament." Westcott on the Canon,
    Appendix B, p. 550. This was on the ground that they were
    written, or supposed to be written, by the immediate successors
    of the apostles. The oldest known codex of the Bible is the
    _Sinaitic_, discovered at mount Sinai by Tischendorf in 1859,
    and which belongs to the fourth century. This contains the whole
    of the epistle of Barnabas, and the first part of the work
    called the Shepherd of Hermas. The Alexandrine codex, belonging
    to the fifth century, has appended to it the first epistle of
    Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, the genuineness of which is
    admitted, and also a portion of the second or apocryphal
    epistle, the remainder of it being lost. The explanation is,
    that these three books were read in some at least of the
    churches when these codices were formed. But they never obtained
    any permanent authority as canonical writings, and were excluded
    from the New Testament "by every council of the churches,
    catholic or schismatic." Tertullian, as quoted by Westcott, p.



By the word _inspiration_, when used in a theological sense, we
understand such an illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit as
raises a speaker or writer above error, and thus gives to his teachings
a divine authority. If we attempt to investigate the interior nature of
this superhuman influence, its different degrees and modes of operation,
and the relation which the human mind holds to the divine in the case of
those who receive it, we find ourselves involved in many difficulties,
some of which at least are to our finite minds insuperable. But if we
look at it from a practical point of view, restricting our inquiries to
the _end_ proposed by God in inspiration, which is to furnish his church
with an infallible and sufficient rule of faith and practice, we find no
difficulty in understanding the subject so far as our duty and welfare
are concerned. From such a practical position the question of
inspiration will now be discussed; and the inquiry will be, at present,
restricted to the writings of the New Testament. In connection with this
discussion will also be considered the subject of the _canon_, not in
its particular extent, but in the _principle_ upon which it is formed.

1. It is necessary, first of all, to find a sure _rule_ by which we can
try the claims of a given book to be inspired, and consequently to be
admitted into the canon of the New Testament. It cannot be simply the
writer's own declaration. It will be shown hereafter that, in connection
with other evidence, his testimony concerning himself is of the highest
importance. But the point now is, that no man's inspiration is to be
acknowledged simply on his own word. Nor can we decide simply from the
contents of the book. Very important indeed is the question concerning
the contents of any book which claims to be a revelation from God. Yet
we cannot take the naked ground that a given book is inspired because
its contents are of a given character. This would be virtually to set up
our own reason as the supreme arbiter of divine truth, which is the very
position of rationalism. Nor can we receive a book as inspired on the
so-called authority of the church, whether this mean the authority of a
man who claims to be its infallible head, or the authority of a general
council of the churches. Admitting for a moment the Romish doctrine of
the infallibility of the church, we could know this infallibility not
from the declaration of any man or body of men in the church, but from
Scripture alone. But this is assuming at the outset the infallibility of
Scripture, and therefore its inspiration, which is the very point at
issue. Looking at the question on all sides, we shall find for a given
book of the New Testament no valid test of the writer's inspiration
except _his relation to the Lord Jesus Christ_. This presupposes our
Lord's divine mission and character, and his supreme authority in the
church. It is necessary therefore to begin with the great central fact
of the gospel, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, and that
through him God has made to men a revelation of his own character and
will for their salvation. This fact is to be first established according
to the ordinary rules of human evidence, as has been attempted in the
preceding chapters. After that we come naturally to the inspiration of
the record, and can establish it also on a sure foundation.

2. The great fundamental truth that Jesus is the Son of God, who dwelt
from eternity with the Father, knew all his counsels, and was sent by
him to this fallen world on a mission of love and mercy, being
established on an immovable foundation, we have a sure point of
departure from which to proceed in our inquiries respecting inspiration.
It becomes at once a self-evident proposition--the great axiom of
Christianity, we may call it--that the teaching of Jesus Christ, when he
was on earth, was truth unmixed with error. This he himself asserted in
the most explicit terms: "The Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all
things that himself doeth." John 5:20. "I am the light of the world: he
that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light
of life." John 8:12. "He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world
those things which I have heard of him." John 8:26. "I have not spoken
of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what
I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment
is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father
said unto me, so I speak." John 12:49, 50. Proceeding then from the
position of our Lord's infallibility, let us inquire whether any of his
disciples, and if so, who among them, were divinely qualified to teach,
and consequently to record, without error, the facts and doctrines of
his gospel. There are but two grades of relationship to Christ with
which we can connect such a high endowment: that of _apostles_, and that
of their _companions_ and fellow-laborers. Let us consider each of these
in order.

3. Early in our Lord's ministry he chose _twelve apostles_, "that they
should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to
have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils." Mark 3:14, 15.
In this brief notice we have all the distinguishing marks of an apostle.
He was chosen that he might be with Christ from the beginning, and thus
be to the people an eye-witness of his whole public life. When an
apostle was to be chosen in the place of Judas, Peter laid particular
stress on this qualification: "Wherefore of these men which have
companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among
us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was
taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his
resurrection." Acts 1:21, 22. In the case of Paul alone was this
condition of apostleship wanting; and this want was made up to him by
the special revelation of Jesus Christ. Gal. 1:11, 12. An apostle,
again, was one who received his commission to preach immediately from
the Saviour, a qualification which Paul strenuously asserted in his own
behalf: "Paul an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus
Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead." Gal. 1:1. An
apostle, once more, was one who received directly from Christ the power
of working miracles. This was the _seal_ of his apostleship before the
world. In the three particulars that have been named the apostles held
to Christ the nearest possible relation, and were by this relation
distinguished from all other men. Have we evidence that they were
divinely qualified, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to preach
and record the facts and doctrines of the gospel without error?

That they must have been thus qualified, we have, in the _first_ place,
a strong presumption from _the necessity of the case_. Though our Lord
finished the work which the Father gave him to do on earth, he did not
finish the revelation of his gospel. On the contrary, he said to his
disciples just before his crucifixion, "I have yet many things to say
unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of
truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." John 16:12, 13. Let us
look at some of these things which were reserved for future revelation.
The purely spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom was not understood by
the apostles till after the day of Pentecost, for we find them asking,
just before his ascension, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the
kingdom to Israel?" a question which he did not answer, but referred
them to the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:6-8. Another of the
things which they could not bear was the abolition, through Christ's
propitiatory sacrifice, of the Mosaic law, and with it, of the middle
wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles. This great truth was
reserved to be revealed practically in the progress of the gospel, as
recorded in the book of Acts, and doctrinally in the epistles of Paul.
Then what a rich unfolding we have in the apostolic epistles of the
meaning of our Lord's death on Calvary, and in connection with this, of
the doctrine of justification by faith--faith not simply in Christ, but
in _Christ crucified_. Faith in Christ's person the disciples had before
his death; but faith in him as crucified for the sins of the world they
could not have till after his resurrection and exaltation to the right
hand of God. The abovenamed truths--not to specify others, as, for
example, what Paul says of the resurrection, 1 Cor., ch. 15; 1. Thess.
4:13-18--enter into the very substance of the gospel. They are, in fact,
integral parts of it. Can we suppose that our Lord began the revelation
of his gospel by his own infallible wisdom, and then left it to be
completed by the fallible wisdom of men? If Augustine and Jerome in the
latter period of the Roman empire, if Anselm and Bernard in the middle
ages, if Luther and Calvin at the era of the Reformation, if Wesley and
Edwards in later days, commit errors, the mischief is comparatively
small; for, upon the supposition that the apostles were qualified by the
Holy Ghost to teach and write without error, we have in their writings
an infallible standard by which to try the doctrines of later uninspired
men. But if the apostles whom Christ himself appointed to finish the
revelation which he had begun, and whom he endowed with miraculous
powers, as the seal of their commission, had been left without a sure
guarantee against error, then there would be no standard of truth to
which the church in later ages could appeal. No man who believes that
Jesus is the Son of God, and that he came into the world to make to men
a perfect revelation of the way of life, can admit such an absurd

In the _second_ place, we have _Christ's express promises_ to his
apostles that they should be divinely qualified for their work through
the gift of the Holy Ghost: "But when they deliver you up, take no
thought"--be not solicitous, as the original signifies--"how or what ye
shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall
speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which
speaketh in you." Matt. 10:19, 20. "But when they shall lead you, and
deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither
do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that
speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." Mark 13:11.
"And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and
powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye
shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye
ought to say." Luke 12:11, 12. "Settle it therefore in your hearts not
to meditate before what ye shall answer: for I will give you a mouth and
wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor
resist." Luke 21:14, 15. The above promises are perfectly explicit; and
although they refer primarily to a particular emergency, in which the
apostles would especially feel their need of divine guidance, they
cover, in their spirit, all other emergencies. We cannot read them
without the conviction that they contain the promise to the apostles of
all needed help and guidance in the work committed to them. If they were
divinely qualified to defend the gospel before their adversaries without
error--"I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries
shall not be able to gainsay nor resist"--so were they also to _record
the facts_ of the gospel, and to unfold in their epistles its doctrines.

The promises recorded in the gospel of John are more general and
comprehensive in their character. It will be sufficient to adduce two of
them: "These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in
my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:25, 26. "I have
yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit
when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that
shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify
me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things
that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I that he shall take of
mine, and shall show it unto you." John 16:12-15. In the former of these
passages the special promise is that the Holy Spirit shall bring to the
remembrance of the apostles and unfold to their understanding all
Christ's personal teachings; so that they shall thus have a fuller
apprehension of their meaning than they could while he was yet with
them. The second promise is introduced with the declaration that the
Saviour has yet many things to say to his apostles which they cannot now
bear. Of course these things are reserved for the ministration of the
Spirit, as he immediately proceeds to show: "When he, the Spirit of
truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." The Spirit shall
glorify Christ; for he shall take of the things which are Christ's, and
reveal them to the apostles. And what are the things which are Christ's?
"All that the Father hath;" for the Father has given all things into the
hands of the Son. John 13:3. Among these "all things" are included all
the Father's counsels pertaining to the way of salvation through the
Son. These are given to the Son; and the Holy Ghost shall take of them
and reveal to the church, through the apostles, as much as it is needful
for the church to know. In these remarkable words we have at once a
proof of our Lord's deity, and a sure guarantee to the apostles of
supernatural illumination and guidance in the work committed to
them--all the illumination and guidance which they needed, that they
might be qualified to finish without error the revelation of the gospel
which Christ had begun.

    The question is often asked: Were these promises given to the
    apostles alone, or through them to the church at large? The
    answer is at hand. They were given _primarily_ and in a _special
    sense_ to the apostles; for they had reference to a special work
    committed to them, which required for its performance special
    divine illumination and guidance. They were also given, in an
    important sense, to the church at large; since all believers
    enjoy, through the teaching of the apostles, the benefit of
    these revelations of the Holy Spirit. They are not, however,
    made to all believers personally; but were given, once for all,
    through the apostles to the church. The gift of the Holy Spirit
    is indeed made to all believers personally: through his
    enlightening and sanctifying power they have all needed help and
    guidance. But they are not called, as were the apostles, to lay
    the foundations of the Christian faith, and have therefore no
    promise of new revelations from the Spirit or of elevation above
    all error, any more than they have of miraculous gifts.

We are now prepared to consider, in the _third_ place, the _claims_
which the apostles themselves made to speak and write with divine
authority. Although their simple word as men could avail nothing, yet
this same word, taken in connection with their known relation to Christ,
with the work committed to them, and with the promises made to them, is
of the most weighty import. It was not indeed their custom to assert
gratuitously their superhuman guidance and authority. Yet when occasions
arose, from the nature of the subject under discussion, or from the
opposition of false teachers, they did so in unambiguous terms. Thus the
apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, "Now we have received
not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we
might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things
also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which
the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual," 1
Cor. 2:12, 13: and writing to the Thessalonians concerning the
resurrection, "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we
which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent
them which are asleep," etc. 1 Thess. 4:15. And again, in writing to the
Galatians, among whom his apostolic standing had been called in question
by certain Judaizing teachers, he says, "I certify you, brethren, that
the gospel which was preached of me is not after man: for I neither
received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of
Jesus Christ." Gal. 1:11, 12. This language is explicit enough. It could
have been used only by one who was conscious of having been divinely
qualified to teach the gospel without error. Accordingly, in the same
epistle, he opposes his apostolic authority to these false teachers:
"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised Christ shall
profit you nothing." Gal. 5:2. In the memorable letter of the apostles
and elders to the Gentile churches, Acts 15:23-29, they say, "It seemed
good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than
these necessary things." "To the Holy Ghost and to us" can mean only, to
us under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Besides such explicit
assertions as the above, there is a tone of authority running through
the apostolic writings which can be explained only from their claim to
speak with divine authority. They assert the weightiest truths and make
the weightiest revelations concerning the future, as men who know that
they have a right to be implicitly believed and obeyed. What majesty of
authority, for example, shines through Paul's discussion of the doctrine
of the resurrection, 1 Cor., ch. 15, where he announces truths that lie
wholly beyond the ken of human reason. "Behold," says he, "I show you a
mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed," as one
who has perfect assurance that he speaks from God. The same tone of
certainty runs through all the remarks which the apostle John
interweaves into his gospel, as well as through his epistles, and
through the other apostolic writings.

To sum up in a single sentence what has been said respecting the
apostles: When we consider the strong presumption, arising from the
necessity of the case, that they must have been divinely qualified to
teach and write without error, the explicit promises of Christ that they
should be thus qualified, and their explicit claims under these
promises, we have full evidence that they wrote, as well as spoke, under
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and consequently that their writings
are of divine authority.

4. In the second grade of relationship to Christ stand men who, like
Mark and Luke, were not themselves apostles, but were the _companions of
apostles_, and their associates in the work of preaching the gospel. We
are not authorized to place them in the same rank with the apostles. Yet
they had the gift of the Holy Spirit, which was always given in
connection with ordination at the hands of the apostles. If, in addition
to this, their connection with some of the apostles was of such an
intimate nature that we cannot suppose them to have written without
their knowledge and approbation, we have for their writings all the
apostolic authority that is needed. The intimate relation of Luke to the
apostle Paul has been already sufficiently shown. We have good ground
for believing that he was with him when he wrote both the gospel and the
book of Acts. The intimate connection of Mark with the apostle Peter is
shown by the unanimous testimony of the primitive churches, and is
confirmed, moreover, by an examination of the peculiarities of his
gospel. In entire harmony with the position of these two evangelists is
the character of their writings. They never assume the office of
independent teachers, but restrict themselves to a careful record of the
works and words of Christ and his apostles.

5. A final argument for the inspiration of the books of the New
Testament, whether written by apostles or their companions, may be drawn
from their general character, as contrasted with that of the writings
which remain to us from the age next succeeding that of the apostles.
The more one studies the two classes of writings in connection, the
deeper will be his conviction of the distance by which they are
separated from each other. The descent from the majesty and power of the
apostolic writings to the best of those which belong to the following
age is sudden and very great. Only by a slow process did Christian
literature afterwards rise to a higher position through the leavening
influence of the gospel upon Christian society, and especially upon
Christian education. The contrast now under consideration is
particularly important in our judgment of those books which, like the
second epistle of Peter, are sustained by a less amount of external
evidence. Though we cannot decide on the inspiration of a book simply
from the character of its contents, we may be helped in our judgment by
comparing these, on the one hand, with writings acknowledged to be
apostolic, and on the other, with writings which we know to be of the
following age.

6. The inspiration of the sacred writers was _plenary_ in the sense that
they received from the Holy Spirit all the illumination and guidance
which they needed to preserve them from error in the work committed to
them. With regard to the degree and mode of this influence in the case
of different books, it is not necessary to raise any abstract questions.
That Paul might make to the Galatians a statement of his visits to
Jerusalem and the discussions connected with them, Galatians, chaps. 1,
2, or might give an account of his conversion before king Agrippa, Acts,
ch. 26, it was not necessary that he should receive the same kind and
measure of divine help as when he unfolded to the Corinthians the
doctrine of the resurrection, 1 Cor., ch. 15. And so in regard to the
other inspired penmen. Whatever assistance each of them needed, he
received. If his judgment needed divine illumination for the selection
of his materials, it was given him. If he needed to be raised above
narrowness and prejudice, or to have the Saviour's instructions unfolded
to his understanding, or to receive new revelations concerning the way
of salvation or the future history of Christ's kingdom--whatever divine
aid was necessary in all these cases, was granted. Thus the books of the
New Testament, being written under the guidance of the Holy Ghost,
become to the Christian church an infallible rule of faith and practice.

    If there be any limitation connected with the inspiration of the
    sacred writers, it is one of which the Holy Spirit is himself
    the author, and which cannot therefore injuriously affect their
    testimony. It did not please God, for example, that the exact
    order of time should always be kept in the gospel narratives;
    nor that the identical forms of expression employed by the
    Saviour on given occasions should always be preserved; nor that
    the accompanying circumstances should in all cases be fully
    stated; for in all these respects the evangelists frequently
    differ among themselves. Had the wisdom of God judged it best,
    minute accuracy in these particulars might have been secured.
    But the result would probably have been injurious, by leading
    men to exalt the letter above the spirit of the gospel. We
    should be glad to know with certainty which, if any, of the
    different ways that have been proposed for reconciling John's
    narrative with those of the other evangelists in respect to the
    day of the month on which our Lord ate his last passover with
    his disciples, is the true one. It would give us pleasure were
    we able to arrange all the incidents connected with our Lord's
    resurrection, as recorded by the four evangelists, in the exact
    order of their occurrence. Had we a full record of all the
    circumstances pertaining to these two transactions, this might
    be accomplished. But it would not make any essential addition to
    our knowledge of the gospel. We should have, in every jot and
    tittle, the same way of salvation that we have now, and the same
    duties in respect to it. To all who, on grounds like these, find
    difficulty with the doctrine of plenary inspiration, we may say,
    in the words of the apostle, "Brethren, be not children in
    understanding; howbeit, in malice be ye children, but in
    understanding be men."

7. The _extent of the canon_ is determined by the _extent of
inspiration_. The question to be settled respecting each book of the New
Testament is, Was it written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? or,
which amounts to the same thing, Has it apostolic authority? If it has,
it is to be received; if not, it is to be rejected. There is no middle
ground--no division of the canon into books of primary and of secondary



Although the great central truth of redemption, that "the Father sent
the Son to be the Saviour of the world," and that we have in the New
Testament a true record of this mission, rests, as has been shown, upon
an immovable foundation, we have as yet seen the argument in only half
its strength. Not until we consider the advent of Christ in connection
with the bright train of revelations that preceded and prepared the way
for his coming, do we see it in its full glory, or comprehend the amount
of divine testimony by which it is certified to us. We have already
seen, chap. 5. 1, how the events recorded in the Acts of the Apostles
follow, as a natural sequel, from the truth of the gospel history; how,
if we admit the former, we ought, for very consistency, to admit the
latter also, since the two cling together as inseparable parts of one
great plan. It is now proposed to look backward from the Saviour's
advent to the preceding series of revelations, and show how naturally in
the plan of God they preceded that great event, and how inseparably they
were connected with it as parts of one great whole.

1. The supernatural mission of Christ furnishes, in and of itself, a
very strong presumption in favor of _previous_ supernatural revelations.
That such a mighty event as this should have burst upon the world
abruptly, without any previous preparation, is contrary to the whole
order of providence as well as of nature, which is, "first the blade,
then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." And since the advent
of Christ was miraculous in the fullest sense of the term, why should
not the way for it have been prepared by miraculous revelations as well
as by providential movements? The natural sun does not emerge suddenly
from the darkness of night: his approach is preceded by the day-star and
the dawn. So were the revelations which God made to men from Adam to
Malachi, with the mighty movements of his providence that accompanied
them, the day-star and the dawn that ushered in upon the world the
glorious sun of righteousness.

2. We have the great fact that the Jewish people, among whom our Lord
appeared, and from among whom he chose the primitive preachers of the
gospel, possessed a firm and deeply-rooted belief in the unity of God
and his infinite perfections. That such a belief was a necessary
foundation for the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, all of which are
underlaid by that of trinity in unity, is self-evident. Now, this belief
was peculiar to the Jews, as contrasted with other nations; and it was
held, moreover, not simply by a few philosophers and learned men among
them, but by the mass of the people. No other example of a whole nation
receiving and holding firmly this fundamental doctrine of religion
existed then, or had ever existed; and no adequate explanation of this
great fact has ever been given, except that contained in the revelation
of God to this people recorded in the Old Testament. It was not by
chance, but in accordance with the eternal plan of redemption, that the
Messiah appeared where as well as when he did; not in Egypt in the days
of Pharaoh, nor in Nineveh, or Babylon, or Greece, or Rome; but among
the Jewish people, when now "the fulness of time was come."

3. The impossibility of any attempt to dissever the revelations of the
Old Testament from those of the New appears most clearly when we
consider the _explicit declarations_ of our Saviour, and after him the
apostles, on this point. If we know any thing whatever concerning the
doctrines of our Lord Jesus, we know that he constantly taught his
disciples that he had come in accordance with the prophecies of the Old
Testament. If there were found in his discourses only one or two remote
allusions to these prophecies, there would be more show of reason in the
favorite hypothesis of rationalists, that the disciples misapprehended
their Lord's meaning. But his teachings are so numerous and explicit on
this point that, even aside from the inspiration of the writers, such an
explanation is not to be thought of for a moment. It was with two of
them a matter of personal knowledge that "beginning at Moses and all the
prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things
concerning himself," Luke 24:27; and with all of them that he said,
after his resurrection, in reference to his past teachings: "These are
the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all
things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in
the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me." Luke 24:44. That in
Christ were fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament, appears in
every variety of form in the gospel narratives. It constituted, so to
speak, the warp into which the Saviour wove his web of daily
instruction. Now if a single thread, unlike all the rest in substance
and color, had found its way into this warp, we might, perhaps, regard
it as foreign and accidental; but to dissever from our Lord's words all
his references to the prophecies concerning himself in the Old
Testament, would be to take out of the web all the threads of the warp,
and then the web itself would be gone. No unbiased reader ever did, or
ever could gain from the words of Christ and his apostles any other idea
than that Jesus of Nazareth came in accordance with a bright train of
supernatural revelations going before and preparing the way for his
advent. This idea is so incorporated into the very substance of the New
Testament that it must stand or fall with it.

4. Having contemplated the indivisible nature of revelation from the
position of the New Testament, we are now prepared to go back and look
at it from the platform of the Old Testament. We shall find this thickly
sown with those great principles which underlie the plan of redemption,
and bind it together as one glorious whole.

_First_ of all, we have in the narrative of Adam's fall and the
consequences thence proceeding to the race, the substratum, so to speak,
on which the plan of redemption is built. From this we learn that
alienation from God and wickedness is not the original condition of the
race. Man was made upright and placed in communion with God. From that
condition he fell, in the manner recorded in the Old Testament; and to
restore him, through Christ, to his primitive state is the work which
the gospel proposes to accomplish. The great historic event of
redemption is that "the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy
the works of the devil;" and these are the very works described in the
narrative now under consideration, namely, the seduction of man from his
allegiance to God, with the misery and death that followed. The
primitive history of man's apostacy contains, then, the very key to the
plan of redemption. So it is plainly regarded by the apostle Paul. He
builds upon it arguments relating not to the outworks of redemption, but
to its inward nature. He makes the universality of man's fallen
condition through the sin of Adam the platform on which is built the
universality of the provisions of salvation through Christ. "As by the
offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by
the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto
justification. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Rom. 5:18, 19.
"Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1
Cor. 15:21, 22. How could the original transaction of the fall, through
the wiles of the devil, and the manifestation of God's Son to destroy
the works of the devil, be more indissolubly bound together as parts of
one great whole than in these words of an inspired apostle?

_Secondly_, the Abrahamic covenant connects itself immediately with the
mission and work of Christ. It was made with Abraham, not for himself
and his posterity alone, but for all mankind: "In thy seed shall all the
nations of the earth be blessed." Gen. 22:18. And if the Abrahamic
covenant had respect to the whole human family, the same must be true of
the Mosaic economy in its _ultimate_ design; since this did not abrogate
the covenant made with Abraham, as the apostle Paul expressly shows,
Gal. 3:17, but rather came in as subordinate to it, and with a view of
preparing the way for the accomplishment of its rich provisions of mercy
for "all families of the earth." The Mosaic economy was then a partial
subservient to a universal dispensation.

The Abrahamic covenant was also purely spiritual in its character, the
condition of its blessings being nothing else than faith. The apostle
Paul urges the fact that this covenant was made with Abraham before his
circumcision, lest any should say that it was conditioned wholly or in
part upon a carnal ordinance: "He received the sign of circumcision, a
seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being
uncircumcised." Rom. 4:11. The seal of circumcision, then, did not make
the covenant valid, for the covenant existed many years before the rite
of circumcision was instituted. Faith was the only condition of
Abraham's justification. "He believed in the Lord, and he counted it to
him for righteousness." Gen. 15:6.

And if we look at the promise contained in the Abrahamic covenant, "In
thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed," we find it to be
the very substance of the gospel, as the apostle Paul says: "The
Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,
preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all
nations be blessed." Gal. 3:8. The incarnation and work of Christ are,
according to the uniform representation of the New Testament, nothing
else but the carrying out of the covenant made with Abraham, for this
covenant was made for all mankind, was purely spiritual, being
conditioned on faith alone, and its substance is Christ, in whom all
nations are blessed.

And while God has thus indissolubly linked to the incarnation of his Son
this high transaction with Abraham, we see how he has at the same time
connected it with the first promise made in Eden, and thus with the fall
of man through the subtilty of Satan. The promise in Eden is that the
seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. The promise to
Abraham is that in his seed, which is also the seed of the woman, all
the families of the earth shall be blessed. Now it is by the bruising of
the serpent's head, or, in New Testament language, by destroying the
works of the devil, that Abraham's seed blesses all the families of the
earth. The two promises, then, are in their inmost nature one and the
same, and their fulfilment constitutes the work of Christ.

_Thirdly_, the end of the Mosaic economy is Christ. Its general scope is
thus briefly summed up by Paul: "The law was our schoolmaster to bring
us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Gal. 3:25. But not
to insist on this, let us contemplate its three great institutions--the
prophetic, the kingly, and the priestly order.

The mode of communication which God employed on Sinai the people could
not endure, and they besought him, through Moses, that it might be
discontinued: "Speak them with us," they said, "and we will hear: but
let not God speak with us, lest we die." Ex. 20:19. Of this request God
approved, and promised: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their
brethren like unto thee." Deut. 18:18. The point of special emphasis is,
that the great Prophet here promised, who is Christ, should be _one of
their brethren_, as Moses was. His personal advent was for many ages
delayed; but in the meantime his office was foreshadowed by the
prophetical order in Israel, consisting of men sent by God to address
their brethren. Thus the old dispensation and the new are linked
together by the great fundamental principle--that God should address man
through man--which runs through both. The whole series of Old Testament
prophecies, moreover, point to Christ as their end and fulfilment; "for
the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev. 19:10.

The kingly office of the Old Testament connects itself with that of
Christ in a special way. Not only did the headship given to David and
his successors over the covenant people of God adumbrate the higher
headship of Christ, but David had from God the promise: "Thine house and
thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall
be established for ever." 2 Sam. 7:16. This promise is fulfilled in
Jesus of Nazareth, "the seed of David according to the flesh," according
to the express declaration of the New Testament: "The Lord God shall
give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over
the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Luke 1:32, 33.

The priestly office, with the blood of the sacrifices connected with it,
prefigured Christ, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
world." By the stream of sacrificial blood that flowed for so many ages
was set forth that great fundamental truth of redemption, that "without
shedding of blood is no remission." Heb. 9:22. The sacrifices of the
Mosaic law were continually repeated, because "it is not possible that
the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." Heb. 10:4. But
when Christ had offered his own blood on Calvary for the sins of the
world, the typical sacrifices of the law ceased for ever, having been
fulfilled in the great Antitype, "in whom we have redemption through his
blood, the forgiveness of sins." Ephes. 1:7.

5. Since the Old Testament and the New are thus inseparably connected as
parts of one grand system of revelation, of which the end is Christ, it
follows that the later revelations of the New Testament are the true
interpreters of the earlier, which are contained in the Old. This is
only saying that the Holy Ghost is the true and proper expositor of his
own communications to man. From the interpretations of Christ and his
apostles, fairly ascertained, there is no appeal. And they are fairly
ascertained when we have learned in what sense they must have been
understood by their hearers. All expositions of the Old Testament that
set aside, either openly or in a covert way, the supreme authority of
Christ and his apostles, are false, and only lead men away from the
truth as it is in Jesus.



The term _Pentateuch_ is composed of the two Greek words, _pente_,
_five_, and _teuchos_, which in later Alexandrine usage signified
_book_. It denotes, therefore, the collection of five books; or, the
five books of the law considered as a whole.

1. In our inquiries respecting the authorship of the Pentateuch, we
begin with the undisputed fact that it existed in its present form in
the days of Christ and his apostles, and had so existed from the time of
Ezra. When the translators of the Greek version, called the Septuagint,
began their work, about 280 B.C., they found the Pentateuch as we now
have it, and no one pretends that it had undergone any change between
their day and that of Ezra, about 460 B.C. It was universally ascribed
to Moses as its author, and was called in common usage _the law_, or the
_law of Moses_.

2. That the authorship of the law in its written form is ascribed to
Moses in the New Testament every one knows. "The law was given by
Moses;" "Did not Moses give you the law?" "Had ye believed Moses, ye
would have believed me; for he wrote of me;" "For the hardness of your
heart he," Moses, "wrote you this precept;" "Master, Moses wrote unto
us;" "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" etc. Since now the
whole collection of books was familiarly known to the people as _the
law_, or _the law of Moses_, it is reasonable to infer that our Saviour
and his apostles use these terms in the same comprehensive sense, unless
there is a limitation given in the context. Such a limitation the
apostle Paul makes when he opposes to the Mosaic law the previous
promise to Abraham: "The covenant that was confirmed before of God in
Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot
disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." Gal. 3:17,
and compare the following verses. But in the following chapter Paul
manifestly employs the words _the law_ of the whole Pentateuch, to every
part of which he, in common with the Jewish people, ascribed equal and
divine authority: "Tell me, ye that desire to be under _law_"--under a
system of law, the article being wanting in the original--"do ye not
hear _the law_? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons; the one by
a bond-maid, the other by a free woman," etc., Gal. 4:21, seq., where
the reference is to the narrative recorded in Genesis, as a part of the
law. So also in the following passage: "Moses of old time hath in every
city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every
sabbath-day," Acts 15:21; the term Moses necessarily means the law of
Moses, as comprehending the whole Pentateuch, for it was that which was
read in the synagogues. Compare the words of Luke: "After the reading of
the law and the prophets," Acts 13:15. And in general, when Christ and
his apostles speak of Moses or the law, without any limitation arising
from the context, thus, "The law was given by Moses;" "They have Moses
and the prophets," etc., we are to understand them as referring to the
Pentateuch as a whole, for such was the common usage of the Jewish
people, and such must have been their apprehension of the meaning of the

3. But it may be said, Christ and his apostles did not speak as critics,
but only in a popular way. That they did not speak of the Pentateuch as
critics, is certain. They had no occasion for doing so, since no Jew
doubted either its divine authority or its Mosaic authorship. But when
we consider, on the one side, with what unsparing severity our Lord set
aside the traditions of the Pharisees as "the commandments of men," and
on the other, how he and his apostles ascribed equal divine authority to
every part of the Pentateuch, as will be shown in the next chapter, and
how unequivocally they sanctioned the universal belief that Moses was
its author, we must acknowledge that we have the entire authority of the
New Testament for its Mosaic authorship in every essential respect. This
is entirely consistent with the belief that inspired men, like Ezra, and
perhaps also prophetical men of an earlier age, in setting forth revised
copies of the Pentateuch, that is, copies which aimed to give the true
text with as much accuracy as possible, may have added here and there
explanatory clauses for the benefit of the readers of their day. Such
incidental clauses, added by men of God under the guidance of his
Spirit, would not affect in the least the substance of the Pentateuch.
It would still remain in every practical sense the work of Moses, and be
so regarded in the New Testament.

    Whether there are, or are not, in the Pentateuch, such clauses
    added by a later hand, and not affecting either its essential
    contents or its Mosaic authorship, is an open question to be
    determined by impartial criticism. At the present day editors
    carefully indicate their explanatory notes; but this was not the
    usage of high antiquity. At the close of the book of
    Deuteronomy, for example, there is immediately added, without
    any explanatory remark, a notice of Moses' death. We are at
    liberty to assume, if we have cogent reasons for so doing, that
    brief explanatory clauses were sometimes interwoven into the
    Mosaic text; as, for example, the remark in Gen. 36:31, which is
    repeated in 1 Chron. 1:43, a book ascribed to Ezra; Exod. 16:35,
    36, etc.

4. Going back now to the days of the _Restoration_ under Zerubbabel and
his associates, about 536 B.C., we find that the very first act of the
restored captives was to set up "the altar of the God of Israel, to
offer burnt-offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the
man of God." The narrative goes on to specify that "they offered
burnt-offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt-offerings morning and
evening. They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and
offered the daily burnt-offerings by number, according to the custom, as
the duty of every day required; and afterwards offered the continual
burnt-offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the
Lord that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a
free-will offering unto the Lord." Ezra 3:1-5. About ninety years
afterwards, upon the completion of the walls of Jerusalem under
Nehemiah, about 445 B.C., we find Ezra the priest--"a ready scribe in
the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given," Ezra 7:6--on
the occasion of the feast of tabernacles bringing forth "the book of the
law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel," and reading in it
"from the morning unto midday, before the men and the women, and those
that could understand." In this work he was assisted by a body of men,
who "caused the people to understand the law;" and the reading was
continued through the seven days of the feast: "day by day, from the
first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God."
Neh. ch. 8. It was not the book of Deuteronomy alone that they read. We
might infer this from the extent of the reading, which was sufficient
for all the preceptive parts of the Pentateuch. But here we are not left
to mere inference. On the second day "they found written in the law
which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel
should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month;" and that they
should "fetch olive-branches, and pine-branches, and myrtle-branches,
and palm-branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is
written." Neh. 8:13-17. The precept concerning booths with boughs of
trees occurs in Lev. 23:40-43, a passage which they might naturally
enough reach on the second day.

    Ezra's assistants gave the sense not by labored expositions, but
    by interpreting the Hebrew in the Chaldee vernacular of the
    people. This would about double the time devoted to a given
    section. All that pertained to the structure of the tabernacle
    was superseded by the first temple, which served the returned
    captives as their model in the erection of the second. We may
    well suppose that this was omitted. There would then remain only
    four or five chapters in the book of Exodus. Thus the passage in
    question would naturally fall on the second day.

5. Jewish tradition ascribes to Ezra the work of settling the canon of
the Old Testament, and setting forth a corrected edition of the same.
Though some things included in this tradition are fabulous, the part of
it now under consideration is corroborated by all the scriptural
statements concerning him, nor is there any reasonable ground for
doubting its correctness. Be this as it may, it is admitted that from
Ezra's day onward the Pentateuch existed in its present form. We are
sure, therefore, that "the book of the law of Moses," out of which he
read to the people, was the book as we now have it--the whole
Pentateuch, written, according to uniform Jewish usage, on a single
roll. Ezra belonged to the priestly order that had in charge the keeping
of the sacred books, Deut. 31:25, 26, compared with 2 Kings 22:8, and
was moreover "a ready scribe in the law of Moses." His zeal for the
reëstablishment of the Mosaic law in its purity shines forth in his
whole history. In his competency and fidelity we have satisfactory
evidence that the law of Moses which he set forth was the very law which
had been handed down from ancient times, and of which we have frequent
notices in the books of Kings and Chronicles.

    It is generally supposed that Ezra himself wrote the books of
    Chronicles. They were certainly composed about his time. To
    admit, as all do, that in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah the law
    of Moses means the Pentateuch as a whole, and to deny that it
    has the same meaning in the books of Chronicles, is very
    inconsistent. Certainly the book which Ezra set forth was the
    book which he found ready at hand, and therefore the book
    referred to in the Chronicles, and the Kings also. Any
    explanatory additions which he may have made did not affect its
    substance. It remains for the objector to show why it was not,
    in all essential respects, the book which Hilkiah found in the
    temple, 2 Chron. 34:14, and to which David referred in his dying
    charge to Solomon, 1 Kings 2:3.

6. Passing by, for the present, the notices of the law of Moses
contained in the book of Joshua, we come to the testimony of the book of
Deuteronomy. We have seen that the Mosaic authorship of the book, as a
part of the Pentateuch, is everywhere assumed by the writers of the New
Testament. But, in addition to this, they make quotations from it under
the forms, "Moses wrote," "Moses truly said unto the fathers," etc. Mark
10:3-5; Acts 3:22; Rom. 10:19. If we examine the book itself, its own
testimony is equally explicit. In chap. 17:24 Moses directs that when
the Israelites shall appoint a king, "he shall write him a copy of this
law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites." In
the opinion of some, this language refers to the whole law of Moses,
while others would restrict it to the book of Deuteronomy; but all are
agreed that it includes the whole of the latter work, with the exception
of the closing sections. By a comparison of this passage with chaps.
28:58; 31:9, 24-26, the evidence is complete that Moses wrote this law,
and delivered it to the priests, to be laid up by the side of the ark in
the tabernacle. If this testimony needed any corroboration, we should
have it in the character of the work itself. It is the solemn farewell
of the aged lawgiver to the people whose leader he had been for the
space of forty years. In perfect harmony with this are the grandeur and
dignity of its style, its hortatory character, and the exquisite
tenderness and pathos that pervade every part of it. It is every way
worthy of Moses; nor can we conceive of any other Hebrew who was in a
position to write such a book.

7. The book of Deuteronomy contains a renewal of the covenant which God
made with the children of Israel at Sinai. Chap. 29:10-15. Moses himself
distinguishes between the former and the latter covenant. "These are the
words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the
children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he
made with them in Horeb." Chap. 29:1. With each covenant was connected a
series of laws; those belonging to the latter being mainly, but not
entirely, a repetition of laws given with the first covenant. We have
seen that Moses wrote the second covenant, and all the laws connected
with it. From Exodus, ch. 24, we learn that he wrote also the book of
the first covenant containing, we may reasonably suppose, all of God's
legislation up to that time. The inference is irresistible that he wrote
also the laws that followed in connection with the first covenant. It is
an undeniable fact that these laws underlie the whole constitution of
the Israelitish nation, religious, civil, and social. They cannot, then,
have been the invention of a later age; for no such fraud can be
imposed, or was ever imposed upon a whole people. They are their own
witness also that they were given by the hand of Moses, for they are all
prefaced by the words, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying." When we
consider their fundamental character, their extent, and the number and
minuteness of their details, we cannot for a moment suppose that they
were left unwritten by such a man as Moses, who had all the
qualifications for writing them. Why should not the man who received
them from the Lord have also recorded them--this man educated at the
court of Egypt, and learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, who had
already written "the book of the covenant," and afterwards wrote the
journeyings of the Israelites, Numb. ch. 23, and the book of
Deuteronomy? An express statement from Moses himself is not needed. The
fact is to be understood from the nature of the case, and to call it in
question is gratuitous skepticism.

8. The form of the Mosaic laws that precede the book of Deuteronomy is
in perfect harmony with the assumption that Moses himself not only
received them, but wrote them. They bear the impress of having been
recorded not continuously, but from time to time, as they were
communicated to him. In this way the historical notices which are woven
into them--the matter of the golden calf, Exodus, ch. 32, the death of
Nadab and Abihu, Leviticus, ch. 10, the blasphemy of Shelomith's son,
Leviticus, ch. 24, and the numerous incidents recorded in the book of
Numbers--all these narratives find a perfectly natural explanation. Some
of these incidents--as, for example, the blasphemy of Shelomith's
son--come in abruptly, without any connection in the context; and their
position can be accounted for only upon the assumption that they were
recorded as they happened. In this peculiar feature of the Mosaic code
before Deuteronomy, we have at once a proof that Moses was the writer,
and that the historical notices connected with it were also recorded by
him. The result at which we arrive is that the whole record from God's
appearance to Moses and his mission to Pharaoh has Moses himself for its
author. The authorship of the preceding part of the Pentateuch will be
considered separately.

9. The above result in reference to that part of the law which precedes
Deuteronomy, is confirmed by the _testimony of the New Testament_. In
disputing with the Sadducees, our Lord appealed to the writings of
Moses, which they acknowledged: "Now that the dead are raised, even
Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham,
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Luke 20:37. It was by
recording the words of God, as given in Exodus 3:6, that Moses called
the Lord the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The apostle Paul, again,
referring to Lev. 18:5, says: "Moses describeth"--literally,
_writeth_--"the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which
doeth those things shall live by them." Rom. 10:5. Here also belong
certain passages that speak of precepts in "the law of Moses," as Luke
2:22-24, where the reference is to various precepts in Exodus,
Leviticus, and Numbers--Exod. 13:2; 22:29; 34:19; Lev. 12:2, seq.; Numb.
3:13; 8:17; 18:15--John 7:22, 23, where the reference is to Lev. 12:2;
for with the New Testament writers "the law of Moses" means the law
written by Moses. In like manner we find references in the Old Testament
to the books of the law of Moses that precede Deuteronomy--2 Chron.
23:18 compared with Numb. 28:2, seq.; 2 Chron. 24:6 compared with Exod.
30:12, seq.; Ezra 3:2-5 compared with Numb. 28:2, seq., and 29:12, seq.;
Neh. 8:15 compared with Lev. 23:40.

10. The relation of the book of Deuteronomy to the earlier portions of
the law deserves a careful consideration. And, first, in regard to
_time_. All that portion of the law which precedes the sixteenth chapter
of the book of Numbers was given in the first and second years after the
exodus; consequently thirty-eight years before the composition of the
book of Deuteronomy. The four chapters of Numbers that follow, chaps.
16-19, are generally dated about twenty years later--that is, about
eighteen years before the composition of Deuteronomy. Only the last
seventeen chapters of Numbers, which are mostly occupied with historical
notices, were written in the preceding year.

Then, as it respects general _design_. At Horeb the entire constitution
of the theocracy was to be established. This part of the law is,
therefore, more formal and circumstantial. It gives minute directions
for the celebration of the passover; for the construction of the
tabernacle and its furniture; for the dress, consecration, duties, and
perquisites of the priesthood and Levitical order; for the entire system
of sacrifices; for the distinction between clean and unclean animals;
for all those duties that were especially of a priestly character, as
judgment in the case of leprosy, and purification from ceremonial
uncleanness; for the order of journeying and encamping in the
wilderness, etc. In a word, it gives more prominence to the forms of the
law, and the duties of those to whom its administration was committed.
Not so on the plains of Moab. The theocracy had then been long in
operation. The details of its service were well understood, and there
was no need of formal and circumstantial repetition. The work of Moses
now was not to give a new law, but to enforce the law of Horeb, with
such subordinate modifications and additions as were required by the new
circumstances of the people, now about to take possession of the
promised land and change their wandering life for fixed abodes. He had
to do, therefore, more prominently not with the administrators of law,
but with the people; and accordingly his precepts assume a hortatory
character, and his style becomes more diffuse and flowing.

The _personal relation_ of Moses to the people was also greatly changed.
At Horeb he had the great work of his life before him, but now it is
behind him. He is about to leave his beloved Israel, whom he has borne
on his heart and guided by his counsels for forty years. Hence the
inimitable tenderness and pathos that pervade the book of Deuteronomy.

When now we take into account all these altered circumstances, we have a
full explanation of the peculiarities which mark the book of Deuteronomy
as compared with the preceding books. Were these peculiarities wanting,
we should miss a main proof of its genuineness. Nevertheless the book is
thoroughly Mosaic in its style, and the scholar who reads it in the
original Hebrew can detect peculiar forms of expression belonging only
to the Pentateuch. As to alleged disagreements between some of its
statements and those of the earlier books, it is sufficient to remark
that upon a candid examination they mostly disappear; and even where we
cannot fully explain them, this furnishes no valid ground for denying
the genuineness of either portion of the law. Such seeming discrepancies
are not uncommon when a writer of acknowledged credibility repeats what
he has before written. Compare, for example, the three narratives of the
apostle Paul's conversion which are recorded in the book of Acts.

The question as to the extent of meaning which should be given in
Deuteronomy to the expressions, "a copy of this law," "the words of this
law," "this book of the law," is one upon which expositors are not
agreed, nor is it essential; since, as we have seen, the Mosaic
authorship of the former part of the law rests upon broader grounds.

    In Deut. 27:3, 8, it seems necessary to understand the
    expression, "all the words of this law," which were to be
    written upon tables of stone set up on mount Ebal, of the
    blessings and curses--ver. 12, 13--contained in this and the
    following chapter. But elsewhere, chs. 17:18; 31:9, 24-26, we
    must certainly include at least the whole of Deuteronomy. If we
    suppose that it was Moses' custom to write out the precepts of
    the law with the historical notices pertaining to them in a
    continuous roll, which was enlarged from time to time, and that
    he added to this roll the book of Deuteronomy, then the words in
    question must be understood of the entire body of precepts from
    the beginning. But if, as seems to be intimated in Deut. 31:24,
    he wrote Deuteronomy in a separate book, ("_in a book_," without
    the article,) the words naturally refer to Deuteronomy alone.
    This work, as containing a summary of the law--_a second law_,
    as the word _Deuteronomy_ signifies--might well be spoken of as
    "this law," without any denial of an earlier law; just as the
    covenant made with the people at this time is called "this
    covenant," ch. 29:14, without any denial of an earlier covenant.
    The reverent scholar will be careful not to be wise above what
    is written. It might gratify our curiosity to know exactly in
    what outward form Moses left the Law with the historical notices
    woven into it; whether in one continuous roll, or in several
    rolls which were afterwards arranged by some prophet, perhaps
    with connecting and explanatory clauses; but it could add
    nothing to our knowledge of the way of salvation. In either case
    it would be alike the law of Moses and the law which Moses
    wrote, invested with full divine authority.

11. It being established that Moses wrote the whole law with the
historical notices appertaining to it, we naturally infer that he must
have written the book of Genesis also, which is introductory to the law.
For this work he had every qualification, and we know of no other man
that had the like qualifications. On this ground alone the Mosaic
authorship of the book might be reasonably assumed, unless decided
proofs to the contrary could be adduced. But we find, upon examination,
that the book of Genesis is so _connected with the following books_ that
without the knowledge of its contents they cannot be rightly understood.
The very first appearance of God to Moses is introduced by the remark
that he "remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with
Jacob." In addressing Moses he calls the children of Israel "my people,"
Exod. 3:6-10; and sends Moses to Pharaoh with the message, "Let my
people go." All this implies a knowledge of the covenant which God made
with Abraham and his seed after him, by virtue of which the Israelites
became his peculiar people. It is not simply as an oppressed people that
God undertakes to deliver them and give them possession of the land of
Canaan, but as _his_ people. Again and again does Moses describe the
promised land as "the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after
them." With the book of Genesis these declarations are plain; but
without it they are unintelligible. The Abrahamic covenant, which is
recorded in the book of Genesis, is not a subordinate, but an essential
part of the history of the Israelites. It underlies the whole plan of
redemption, and upon it the Mosaic economy, as a part of that plan, is
erected. Why should any one suppose that Moses, who recorded the
establishment of this economy with all its details, omitted to record
the great transactions with the patriarchs which lie at its foundation?
There are other references to the book of Genesis in the law of Moses.
The institution of the Sabbath is expressly based on the order of
creation recorded in the first two chapters; and when the people leave
Egypt they carry with them the bones of Joseph, in accordance with the
oath which he had exacted of them. Gen. 50:25, compared with Exod.

To the Mosaic authorship of Genesis it has been objected, that it
contains marks of a _later age_. But these marks, so far as they have
any real existence, belong not to the substance of the book. They are
restricted to a few explanatory notices, which may well have been added
by Ezra or some prophetical man before him, in setting forth a revised
copy of the law. See No. 3, above. The passages which can, with any show
of probability, be referred to a later age, are, taken all together,
very inconsiderable, and they refer only to incidental matters, while
the book, as a whole, bears all the marks of high antiquity.

To the Mosaic authorship of this book it has been objected again, that
it contains the writings of _different authors_. This is especially
argued from the diversity of usage in respect to the divine name, some
passages employing the word _Elohim_, _God_, others the word _Jehovah_,
or a combination of the two terms. Whatever force there may be in this
argument, the validity of which is denied by many who think that the
inspired writer designedly varied his usage between the general term
_God_ and the special covenant name _Jehovah_, it goes only to show that
Moses may have made use of previously existing documents; a supposition
which we need not hesitate to admit, provided we have cogent reasons for
so doing. Whatever may have been the origin of these documents, they
received through Moses the seal of God's authority, and thus became a
part of his inspired word.

    Several writers have attempted to distinguish throughout the
    book of Genesis the parts which they would assign to different
    authors; but beyond the first chapters they are not able to
    agree among themselves. All attempts to carry the distinction of
    different authors into the later books rest on fanciful grounds.

12. That the Pentateuch, as a whole, proceeded from a single author, is
shown by the unity of plan that pervades the whole work. The book of
Genesis constitutes, as has been shown, a general introduction to the
account which follows of the establishment of the theocracy; and it is
indispensable to the true understanding of it. In the first part of the
book of Exodus we have a special introduction to the giving of the law;
for it records the deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt,
and their journey to Sinai. The Mosaic institutions presuppose a
sanctuary as their visible material centre. The last part of Exodus,
after the promulgation of the ten commandments and the precepts
connected with them, is accordingly occupied with the construction of
the tabernacle and its furniture, and the dress and consecration of the
priests who ministered there. In Leviticus, the central book of the
Pentateuch, we have the central institution of the Mosaic economy,
namely, the system of sacrifices belonging to the priesthood, and also,
in general, the body of ordinances intrusted to their administration.
The theocracy having been founded at Sinai, it was necessary that
arrangements should be made for the orderly march of the people to the
land of Canaan. With these the book of Numbers opens, and then proceeds
to narrate the various incidents that befell the people in the
wilderness, with a record of their encampments, and also the addition
from time to time of new ordinances. The book of Deuteronomy contains
the grand farewell address of Moses to the Israelites, into which is
woven a summary of the precepts already given which concerned
particularly the people at large, with various modifications and
additions suited to their new circumstances and the new duties about to
be devolved upon them. We see then that the Pentateuch constitutes a
consistent whole. Unity of design, harmony of parts, continual progress
from beginning to end--these are its grand characteristics; and they
prove that it is not a heterogeneous collection of writings put together
without order, but the work of a single master-spirit, writing under
God's immediate direction, according to the uniform testimony of the New



1. The historic truth of the Pentateuch is everywhere assumed by the
writers of the New Testament in the most absolute and unqualified
manner. They do not simply allude to it and make quotations from it, as
one might do in the case of Homer's poems, but they build upon the facts
which it records arguments of the weightiest character, and pertaining
to the essential doctrines and duties of religion. This is alike true of
the Mosaic _laws_ and of the _narratives_ that precede them or are
interwoven with them. In truth, the writers of the New Testament know no
distinction, as it respects divine authority, between one part of the
Pentateuch and another. They receive the whole as an authentic and
inspired record of God's dealings with men. A few examples, taken mostly
from the book of Genesis, will set this in a clear light.

In reasoning with the Pharisees on the question of divorce, our Lord
appeals to the primitive record: "Have ye not read that he which made
them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this
cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:
and they twain shall be one flesh? wherefore they are no more twain, but
one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
asunder." And when, upon this, the Pharisees ask, "Why did Moses then
command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?" Deut.
24:1, he answers in such a way as to recognize both the authority of the
Mosaic legislation and the validity of the ante-Mosaic record: "Moses,
because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your
wives: but from the beginning it was not so." He then proceeds to
enforce the marriage covenant as it was "from the beginning." Matt.
19:3-9, compared with Gen. 2:23, 24. In like manner the apostle Paul
establishes the headship of the man over the woman: "He is the image and
glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not
of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for
the woman, but the woman for the man." 1 Cor. 11:7-9, compared with Gen.
2:18-22. And again: "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp
authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed,
then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in
the transgression." 1 Tim. 2:12-14, compared with Gen. 2:18-22; 3:l-6,
13. So also he argues from the primitive record that, as by one man sin
and death came upon the whole human race, so by Christ Jesus life and
immortality are procured for all. Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22,
compared with Gen. 2:17; 3:19, 22. The story of Cain and Abel, Gen.
4:3-12, is repeatedly referred to by the Saviour and his apostles as a
historic truth: Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51; Heb. 11:4; 12:24; 1 John 3:12;
Jude 11. So also the narrative of the deluge: Gen. chs. 6-8, compared
with Matt. 14:37-39; Luke 17:26, 27; Heb. 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter
2:5; and of the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen. ch. 19, compared
with Luke 17:28, 29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7. It is useless to adduce
further quotations. No man can read the New Testament without the
profound conviction that the authenticity and credibility of the
Pentateuch are attested in every conceivable way by the Saviour and his
apostles. To reject the authority of the former is to deny that of the
latter also.

2. For the authenticity and credibility of the Pentateuch we have an
independent argument in the fact that it lay at the foundation of the
whole Jewish polity, civil, religious, and social. From the time of
Moses and onward, the Israelitish nation unanimously acknowledged its
divine authority, even when, through the force of sinful passion, they
disobeyed its commands. The whole life of the people was moulded and
shaped by its institutions; so that they became, in a good sense, a
peculiar people, with "laws diverse from all people." They alone, of all
the nations of the earth, held the doctrine of God's unity and
personality, in opposition to all forms of polytheism and pantheism; and
thus they alone were prepared to receive and propagate the peculiar
doctrines of Christianity. Chap. 8, No. 2. If now we admit the truth of
the Mosaic record, all this becomes perfectly plain and intelligible;
but if we deny it, we involve ourselves at once in the grossest
absurdities. How could the Jewish people have been induced to accept
with undoubting faith such a body of laws as that contained in the
Pentateuch--so burdensome in their multiplicity, so opposed to all the
beliefs and practices of the surrounding nations, and imposing such
severe restraints upon their corrupt passions--except upon the clearest
evidence of their divine authority? Such evidence they had in the
stupendous miracles connected with their deliverance from Egypt and the
giving of the law on Sinai. The fact that Moses constantly appeals to
these miracles, as well known to the whole body of the people, is
irrefragable proof of their reality. None but a madman would thus appeal
to miracles which had no existence; and if he did, his appeal would be
met only by derision. Mohammed needed not the help of miracles, for his
appeal was to the sword and to the corrupt passions of the human heart;
and he never attempted to rest his pretended divine mission on the
evidence of miracles. He knew that to do so would be to overthrow at
once his authority as the prophet of God. But the Mosaic economy needed
and received the seal of miracles, to which Moses continually appeals as
to undeniable realities. But if the miracles recorded in the Pentateuch
are real, then it contains a revelation from God, and is entitled to our
unwavering faith. Then too we can explain how, in the providence of God,
the Mosaic institutions prepared the way for the advent of "Him of whom
Moses in the law and the prophets did write." Thus we connect the old
dispensation with the new, and see both together as one whole.

Other arguments might be adduced; but upon these two great pillars--the
authority, on the one side, of the New Testament, and, on the other, the
fact that the Pentateuch contains the entire body of laws by which the
Jewish nation was moulded and formed, and that its character and history
can be explained only upon the assumption of its truth--on these two
great pillars the authenticity and credibility of the Pentateuch rest,
as upon an immovable basis.

3. The _difficulties_ connected with the Pentateuch, so far as its
contents are concerned, rest mainly on two grounds, _scientific_ and
_historical_, or _moral_. The nature of the scientific difficulties
forbids their discussion within the restricted limits of the present
work. It may be said, however, generally, that so far as they are real,
they relate not so much to the truth of the Mosaic record, as to the
manner in which certain parts of it should be understood.

    How long, for example, that state of things continued which is
    described in Gen. 1:2, or what particular results were produced
    by the operation of the divine Spirit there recorded, we do not
    know. What extent of meaning should be assigned to the six days
    of creation--whether they should be understood literally or in a
    symbolical way, like the prophetical days of Daniel and
    Revelation--Dan. 7:25; 9:24-27; Rev. 9:15; 11:3, etc.--is a
    question on which devout believers have differed ever since the
    days of Augustine. See Prof. Tayler Lewis' Six Days of Creation,
    ch. 14. But all who receive the Bible as containing a revelation
    from God agree in holding the truth of the narrative. So also in
    regard to the Deluge and other events involving scientific
    questions which are recorded in the book of Genesis. Some of
    these questions may perhaps be satisfactorily solved by further
    inquiry. Others will probably remain shrouded in mystery till
    the consummation of all things. To the class of historical
    difficulties belong several chronological questions, as, for
    example, that of the duration of the Israelitish residence in
    Egypt. It is sufficient to say that however these shall be
    settled--if settled at all--they cannot with any reasonable man
    affect the divine authority of the Pentateuch which is certified
    to us by so many sure proofs.

4. The difficulties which are urged against the Pentateuch on moral
grounds rest partly on misapprehension, and are partly of such a
character that, when rightly considered, they turn against the objectors
themselves. This will be illustrated by a few examples.

A common objection to the Mosaic economy is drawn from its
_exclusiveness_. It contains, it is alleged, a religion not for all
mankind, but for a single nation. The answer is at hand. That this
economy may be rightly understood, it must be considered not separately
and independently, but as one part of a great plan. It was, as we have
seen, subordinate to the covenant made with Abraham, which had respect
to "all the families of the earth." Chap. 8, No. 4. It came in
temporarily to prepare the way for the advent of Christ, through whom
the Abrahamic covenant was to be carried into effect. It was a
_partial_, preparatory to a _universal_ dispensation, and looked,
therefore, ultimately to the salvation of the entire race. So far then
as the benevolent design of God is concerned, the objection drawn from
the exclusiveness of the Mosaic economy falls to the ground. It remains
for the objector to show how a universal dispensation, like
Christianity, could have been wisely introduced, without a previous work
of preparation, or how any better plan of preparation could have been
adopted than that contained in the Mosaic economy.

If the laws of Moses interposed, as they certainly did, many obstacles
to the intercourse of the Israelites with other nations, the design was
not to encourage in them a spirit of national pride and contempt of
other nations, but to preserve them from the contagious influence of the
heathen practices by which they were surrounded. On this ground the
Mosaic laws everywhere rest the restrictions which they impose upon the
Israelites: "Thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his
daughter shalt thou take to thy son. For they will turn away thy son
from following me, that they may serve other gods." Deut. 7:3, 4. How
necessary were these restrictions was made manifest by the whole
subsequent history of the people. So far was the Mosaic law from
countenancing hatred towards the _persons_ of foreigners, that it
expressly enjoined kindness: "If a stranger sojourn with thee in your
land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you
shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as
thyself: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." Lev. 19:34.

5. Another ground of objection to the Mosaic law has been the number and
minuteness of its ordinances. That this feature of the theocracy was,
absolutely considered, an imperfection, is boldly asserted in the New
Testament. The apostle Peter calls it "a yoke which neither we nor our
fathers were able to bear." Acts 15:10. Nevertheless the wisdom of God
judged it necessary in the infancy of the nation, that it might thus be
trained, and through it the world, for the future inheritance of the
gospel. It is in this very aspect that the apostle Paul says: "The law
was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified
by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a
schoolmaster." Gal. 3:24, 25. The divine plan was to prescribe minutely
all the institutions of the Mosaic economy, leaving nothing to human
discretion, apparently to prevent the intermixture with them of
heathenish rites and usages; perhaps also that in this body of outward
forms the faith of the Israelites might have a needful resting-place,
until the way should be prepared for the introduction of a simpler and
more spiritual system.

We must be careful, however, that we do not fall into the error of
supposing that the Mosaic law prescribed a religion of mere outward
forms. On the contrary, it was pervaded throughout by an evangelical
principle. It knew nothing of heartless forms in which the religion of
the heart is wanting. The observance of all its numerous ordinances it
enjoined on the spiritual ground of love, gratitude, and humility. If
any one would understand in what a variety of forms these inward graces
of the soul, which constitute the essence of religion, are inculcated in
the Pentateuch, he has but to read the book of Deuteronomy; there he
will see how the law of Moses aimed to make men religious not in the
letter, but in the spirit; how, in a word, it rested the observance of
the letter on the good foundation of inward devotion to God. The summary
which our Saviour gave of the Mosaic law, and in it of all religion, he
expressed in the very words of the law: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength," Deut. 6:4, 5; "this is the first and great
commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself." Lev. 19:18. Nor is this love towards our neighbor
restricted to a narrow circle; for it is said of the stranger also
sojourning in Israel, "Thou shalt love him as thyself." Lev. 19:34.

6. Of one usage which the Mosaic law tolerated, our Saviour himself
gives the true explanation when he says: "Moses, because of the hardness
of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives; but from the
beginning it was not so." Matt. 19:8. This general principle applies
also to polygamy and the modified form of servitude which prevailed
among the Hebrew people. That the Mosaic economy suffered, for the time
being, certain usages not good in themselves, is no valid objection to
it, but rather a proof of the divine wisdom of its author. Though it was
his purpose to root out of human society every organic evil, he would
not attempt it by premature legislation, any more than he would send his
Son into the world until the way was prepared for his advent.

7. The extirpation of the Canaanitish nations by the sword of the
Israelites was contemplated by the Mosaic economy. The names of these
nations were carefully specified, and they were peremptorily forbidden
to molest other nations; as, for example, the Edomites, Moabites, and
Ammonites. Deut. 2:4, 5, 8, 9, 18, 19. The whole transaction is to be
regarded as a sovereign act of Jehovah, which had in view the
manifestation of his infinite perfections for the advancement of the
cause of truth and righteousness in this fallen world. Though we may not
presume to fathom all the divine counsels, we can yet see how God, by
the manner in which he gave Israel possession of the promised land,
displayed his awful holiness, his almighty power, and his absolute
supremacy over the nations of the earth, not only to the covenant
people, but also to the surrounding heathen world. Had the Canaanites
perished by famine, pestilence, earthquake, or fire from heaven, it
might have remained doubtful to the heathen by whose anger their
destruction had been effected, that of the Canaanitish gods, or of the
God of Israel. But now that God went forth with his people, dividing the
Jordan before them, overthrowing the walls of Jericho, arresting the sun
and the moon in their course, and raining down upon their enemies great
hailstones from heaven, it was manifest to all that the God of Israel
was the supreme Lord of heaven and earth, and that the gods of the
gentile nations were vanity. This was one of the great lessons which the
Theocracy was destined to teach the human family. At the same time the
Israelites, who executed God's vengeance on the Canaanites, were
carefully instructed that it was for their sins that the land spewed out
its inhabitants, and that if they imitated them in their abominations,
they should in like manner perish.

8. The Mosaic economy was but the scaffolding of the gospel. God took it
down ages ago by the hand of the Romans. It perished amid fire and sword
and blood, but not till it had accomplished the great work for which it
was established. It bequeathed to Christianity, and through Christianity
to "all the families of the earth," a glorious body of truth, which
makes an inseparable part of the plan of redemption, and has thus
blessed the world ever since, and shall continue to bless it to the end
of time.



1. The divine authority of the Pentateuch having been established, it is
not necessary to dwell at length on the historical books which follow.
The events which they record are a natural and necessary sequel to the
establishment of the theocracy, as given in the five books of Moses. The
Pentateuch is occupied mainly with the founding of the theocracy; the
following historical books describe the settlement of the Israelitish
nation under this theocracy in the promised land, and its practical
operation there for the space of a thousand years. There is no history
in the world so full of God's presence and providence. It sets forth
with divine clearness and power, on the one side, God's faithfulness in
the fulfilment of the promises and threatenings contained in the Mosaic
law; and on the other, the perverseness and rebellion of the people, and
their perpetual relapses into idolatry, with the mighty conflict thus
inaugurated between the pure monotheism of the theocracy, and the
polytheism and image-worship of the surrounding heathen nations--a
conflict which lasted through many ages, which enlisted on both sides
the great and mighty men of the world, and which resulted in the
complete triumph of the Mosaic law, at least so far as its outward form
was concerned, thus preparing the way for the advent of that great
Prophet in whom the theocracy had its end and its fulfilment.

2. How fully the divine authority of these books is recognized by Christ
and his apostles, every reader of the New Testament understands. It is
not necessary to establish this point by the quotation of particular
passages. Though the writers of the _historical_ books which follow the
Pentateuch are for the most part unknown, the books themselves are put
in the New Testament on the same basis as the Pentateuch. To those who
deny Christ, the Mosaic economy, with the history that follows, is a
mystery; for when they read it "the veil is upon their heart." But to
those who receive Christ as the Son of God, and the New Testament as
containing a true record of his heavenly mission, Moses and the
historical books that follow are luminous with divine wisdom and glory,
for they contain the record of the way in which God prepared the world
for the manifestation of his Son Jesus Christ.

3. The Old Testament contains a body of writings which are not
historical; neither are they prophetical, in the restricted sense of the
term, although some of them contain prophecy. The enumeration of these
books, prominent among which are Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, with an
account of their contents and the place which each of them holds in the
plan of revelation, belongs to the Introduction to the Old Testament. It
is sufficient to say here, that they are precious offshoots of the
Mosaic economy, that they contain rich and varied treasures of divine
truth for the instruction and encouragement of God's people in all ages,
and that they are, as a whole, recognized in the New Testament as part
of God's revelation to men. The book of Psalms, in particular, is
perpetually quoted by the writers of the New Testament as containing
prophecies which had their fulfilment in Jesus of Nazareth.

4. The prophetical books--according to our classification, the Jews
having a different arrangement--are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel,
and the twelve minor prophets. The vast body of prophecies contained in
these books--the prophetical portions of the other books being also
included--may be contemplated in different points of view.

Many of these prophecies, considered independently of the New Testament,
afford conclusive proof that the Old Testament is the word of God, for
they bear on their front the signet of their divine origin. They contain
predictions of the distant future which lie altogether beyond the range
of human sagacity and foresight. Such is the wonderful prophecy of Moses
respecting the history of the Israelitish people through all coming
ages, Lev. ch. 26; Deut. ch. 28, a prophecy which defies the assaults of
skepticism, and which, taken in connection with our Lord's solemn
declaration, "They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led
away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of
the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," Luke 21:24,
marks both the Old Testament and the New as given by the same omniscient
God, who declares the end from the beginning. Such also are the
predictions of the utter and perpetual desolation of Babylon, uttered
ages beforehand, and which presuppose a divine foresight of the course
of human affairs to the end of time: "Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,
the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew
Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be
dwelt in from generation to generation." "I will also make it a
possession for the bittern and pools of water: and I will sweep it with
the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts." Isa. 13:19, 20;
14:23. See also the prophecy of the overthrow of Nineveh, Nahum, chs. 2,
3, and of Tyre: "I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like
the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the
midst of the sea." "I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt
be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more." Ezek.
26:4, 5, 14. On all the above prophecies, and many more that might be
quoted, the descriptions of modern travellers furnish a perfect comment.

5. But it is preëminently in Christ that the prophecies of the Old
Testament have their fulfilment. As the rays of the sun in a
burning-glass all converge to one bright focus, so all the different
lines of prophecy in the Old Testament centre in the person of Jesus of
Nazareth. Separated from him they have neither unity nor harmony; but
are, like the primitive chaos, "without form and void." But in him
predictions, apparently contradictory to each other, meet with divine
unity and harmony.

He is a great _Prophet_, like Moses; the Mediator, therefore, of the new
economy, as Moses was of the old, and revealing to the people the whole
will of God. As a Prophet, the Spirit of the Lord rests upon him, "the
spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the
spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." Isa. 11:2. As a Prophet,
he receives from God the tongue of the learned, that he should know how
to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Isa. 50:4. As a Prophet,
"the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been
told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they
consider." Isaiah 52:15.

He is also a mighty _King_, to whom God has given the heathen for his
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. He
breaks the nations with a rod of iron; he dashes them in pieces as a
potter's vessel, Psa. 2:8, 9; and yet "he shall not cry, nor lift up,
nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he
not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring
forth judgment unto truth." Isa. 42:2, 3. "All kings shall fall down
before him: all nations shall serve him," Psa. 72:11; and yet "he is
despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
grief:" "he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before
her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." Isa. 53:3, 7. Many
other like contrasts could be added.

With the kingly he unites the _priestly_ office. Sitting as a king "upon
the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish
it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever," Isa.
9:7, he is yet "a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Nor
is his priestly office any thing of subordinate importance, for he is
inducted into it by the solemn oath of Jehovah: "The Lord hath sworn,
and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of
Melchizedek." Psa. 110:4. As a priest he offers up himself "an offering
for sin:" "he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his
stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have
turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the
iniquity of us all." Isa., ch. 53. When we find a key that opens all the
intricate wards of a lock, we know that the key and the lock have one
and the same author, and are parts of one whole. The history of Jesus of
Nazareth is the key which unlocks all the wards of Old Testament
prophecy. With this key Moses and the prophets open to the plainest
reader; without it, they remain closed and hidden from human
apprehension. We know, therefore, that he who sent his Son Jesus Christ
to be the Saviour of the world, sent also his prophets to testify
beforehand of his coming, and of the offices which he bears for our

6. To sum up all in a word, we take the deepest, and therefore the most
scriptural view of the Jewish institutions and history, when we consider
the whole as a perpetual adumbration of Christ--not Christ in his simple
personality, but Christ in his body the church. It is not meant by this
that the Mosaic economy was nothing but type. Apart from all reference
to the salvation of the gospel, it was to the Israelitish people before
the Saviour's advent a present reality meeting a present want. The
deliverance of the people from the bondage of Egypt, their passage
through the Red sea, the cloud which guided them, the manna which fed
them, the water out of the rock which they drank--all these things were
to them a true manifestation of God's presence and favor, aside from
their typical import, the apprehension of which indeed was reserved for
future ages. So also the Mosaic institutions were to them a true body of
laws for the regulation of their commonwealth, and in their judges,
kings, and prophets they had true rulers and teachers.

But while all this is important to be remembered, it is also true that
the Mosaic economy was thickly sown by God's own hand with the seeds of
higher principles--those very principles which Christ and his apostles
_unfolded out of the law and the prophets_. Thus it constituted a divine
training by which the people were prepared for that spiritual kingdom of
heaven which "in the fulness of time" the Saviour established. "All the
prophets and the law prophesied until John"--not the prophets and the
law in certain separate passages alone, but the prophets and the law as
a whole. They prophesied of Christ, and in Christ their prophecy has its

7. The consideration of the _extent of the canon_ of the Old Testament
does not properly belong here. It is sufficient to say that we have no
valid reason for doubting the truth of the Jewish tradition, which
assigns to Ezra and "the great synagogue" the work of setting forth the
Hebrew canon as we now have it. That this tradition is embellished with
fictions must be conceded; but we ought not, on such a ground, to deny
its substantial truth, confirmed as it is by all the scriptural notices
of Ezra's qualifications and labors. It is certain that the canon of the
Jews in Palestine was the same in our Lord's day that it is now. The
Greek version of the Septuagint contains indeed certain apocryphal books
not extant in the Hebrew. These seem to have been in use, more or less,
among the Alexandrine Jews; but there is no evidence that any canonical
authority was ascribed to them, and it is certain that the Jews of
Palestine adhered strictly to the Hebrew canon, which is identical with
our own.

8. The _principle_ upon which the canon of the Old Testament was formed
is not doubtful. No books were admitted into it but those written by
prophets or prophetical men. As under the New Testament the reception or
rejection of a book as canonical was determined by the writer's relation
to Christ, so was it under the Old by his relation to the theocracy. The
highest relation was held by Moses, its mediator. He accordingly had the
prophetical spirit in the fullest measure: "If there be a prophet among
you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will
speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful
in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even
apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord
shall he behold." Numb. 12:6-8. The next place was held by prophets
expressly called and commissioned by God, some of whom also, as Samuel,
administered the affairs of the theocracy. Finally, there were the pious
rulers whom God placed at the head of the covenant people, and endowed
with the spirit of prophecy, such as David, Solomon, and Ezra. To no
class of men besides those just mentioned do the Jewish rabbins ascribe
the authorship of any book of the Old Testament, and in this respect
their judgment is undoubtedly right.

9. The _inspiration_ of the books of the Old Testament is everywhere
assumed by our Lord and his apostles; for they argue from them as
possessing divine authority. "What is written in the law?" "What saith
the scripture?" "All things must be fulfilled which were written in the
law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me;"
"This scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost
spake before concerning Judas;" "The scripture cannot be broken"--all
these and other similar forms of expression contain the full testimony
of our Lord and his apostles to the truth elsewhere expressly affirmed
of the Old Testament, that "all scripture is given by inspiration of
God," 2 Tim. 3:16, and that "the prophecy came not in the old time by
the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21. When the Saviour asks the Pharisees in
reference to Psalm 110, "How then doth David in spirit call him Lord?"
he manifestly does not mean that this particular psalm alone was written
"in spirit," that is, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; but he
ascribes to it the character which belongs to the entire book, in common
with the rest of Scripture, in accordance with the express testimony of
David: "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my
tongue." 2 Sam. 23:2.



1. The external evidences of revealed religion are, in their proper
place and sphere, of the highest importance. Christianity rests not upon
theory, but upon historical facts sustained by an overwhelming mass of
testimony. It is desirable that every Christian, so far as he has
opportunity, should make himself acquainted with this testimony for the
strengthening of his own faith and the refutation of gainsayers.
Nevertheless, many thousands of Christians are fully established in the
faith of the gospel who have but a very limited knowledge of the
historical proofs by which its divine origin is supported. To them the
Bible commends itself as the word of God by its internal character, and
the gospel as God's plan of salvation by their inward experience of its
divine power, and their outward observation of its power over the hearts
and lives of all who truly receive it. This is in accordance with the
general analogy of God's works. We might be assured beforehand that a
system of religion having God for its author, would shine by its own
light, and thus commend itself at once to the human understanding and
conscience, irrespective of all outward testimony to its truth. Although
the internal evidences of Christianity have already been considered to
some extent in connection with those that are outward and historical, it
is desirable in the present closing chapter to offer some suggestions
pertaining to the internal character of the Bible as a whole, and also
to the testimony of Christian experience, individual and general.

2. To every unperverted mind the Bible commends itself at once as the
word of God by the wonderful view which it gives of his character and
providence. It exhibits one personal God who made and governs the world,
without the least trace of polytheism on the one hand, or pantheism on
the other--the two rocks of error upon which every other system of
religion in the world has made shipwreck. And this great Spirit,
"infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power,
holiness, justice, goodness, and truth," is not removed to a distance
from us, but is ever nigh to each one of his creatures. He is our Father
in heaven, who cares for us and can hear and answer our prayers. His
providence extends to all things, great and small. He directs alike the
sparrow's flight, and the rise and fall of empires. To the perfect view
of God's character and government which the pages of the Bible unfold,
no man can add anything, and whoever takes any thing away only mars and
mutilates it. How now shall we explain the great fact that the Hebrew
people, some thousands of years ago, had this true knowledge of God and
his providence, while it was hidden from all other nations? The Bible
gives the only reasonable answer: God himself revealed it to them.

    The superficial view which accounts for the pure monotheism of
    the Hebrews from their peculiar national character, is
    sufficiently refuted by their history. Notwithstanding the
    severe penalties with which the Mosaic code of laws visited
    idolatrous practices in every form, the people were perpetually
    relapsing into the idolatry of the surrounding nations, and
    could be cured of this propensity only by the oft-repeated
    judgments of their covenant God.

3. Next we have the wonderful code of morals contained in the Bible. Of
its perfection, we in Christian lands have but a dim apprehension,
because it is the only system of morals with which we are familiar; but
the moment we compare it with any code outside of Christendom, its
supreme excellence at once appears.

It is a _spiritual_ code, made for the heart. It proposes to regulate
the inward affections of the soul, and through them the outward life.
Thus it lays the axe at the root of all sin.

It is a _reasonable_ code, giving to God the first place in the human
heart, and to man only a subordinate place. Its first and great
commandment is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart;"
its second, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Thus it lays
broad and deep the foundations of a righteous character. If any moral
proposition is self-evident, it is that such a code as this, which
exalts God to the throne of the human soul and humbles man beneath his
feet, is not the offspring of human self-love. If any one would know the
difference between the Bible and a human code of morals, let him read
Cicero's treatise _on Duties_, perhaps the best system of ethics which
pure heathenism ever produced, but from which man's relation to deity is
virtually left out.

It is a _comprehensive_ code, not insisting upon one or two favorite
virtues, but upon all virtues. Just as the light of the sun is white and
glistering because it contains in itself, in due proportion, all the
different sorts of rays, so the morality of the Bible shines forth, like
the sun, with a pure and dazzling brightness, because it unites in
itself, in just proportion, all the duties which men owe to God and each

Many who outwardly profess Christianity do not make the precepts of the
Bible their rule of life, or they do so only in a very imperfect way,
and thus scandal is brought upon the name of Christ, whose servants they
profess to be. But it is self-evident that he who _obeys_ the Bible in
sincerity and truth is thus made a thoroughly good man; good in his
inward principles and feelings, and good in his outward life; good in
his relations to God and man; good in prosperity and adversity, in honor
and dishonor, in life and death; a good husband and father, a good
neighbor, a good citizen. If there is ever to be a perfect state of
society on earth, it must come from simple obedience to the precepts of
the Bible, obedience full and universal. No man can conceive of any
thing more glorious and excellent than this. We may boldly challenge the
unbeliever to name a corrupt passion in the heart or a vicious practice
in the life that could remain. Let every man love God with all his heart
and his neighbor as himself, and bolts and bars, prisons and
penitentiaries, would be unnecessary. One might safely journey around
the world unarmed and unattended, for every man would be a friend and
brother. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will
towards men," would reign from pole to pole. The whole earth would be at
rest and be quiet: it would break forth into singing. That such a
glorious result would certainly come from simple obedience to the
precepts of the Bible is undeniable. And can any man persuade himself
that this perfect code of morals comes not from heaven, but from sinful

4. We have, once more, the wonderful _harmony between the different
parts of the Bible_, written as it was in different and distant ages,
and by men who differed widely from each other in natural character and
education, and lived in very different states of society. In outward
form and institutions the manifestation of God has indeed undergone
great changes; for it has existed successively under the patriarchal,
the Mosaic, and the Christian dispensations. But if we look beneath the
surface to the substance of religion in these different dispensations,
we shall find it always the same. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
the God of Moses, Samuel, and David, is also the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ. While he changes from time to time the outward ordinances of his
people, he remains himself "the same yesterday and to-day and for ever."
Under the Old Testament, not less than under the New, he is "the Lord,
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in
goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity,
transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty."
Exod. 34:6, 7, etc. Under the New Testament, not less than under the
Old, he is to all the despisers of his grace "a consuming fire," Heb.
12:29; and his Son Jesus Christ, whom he sent to save the world, will be
revealed hereafter "in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know
not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1
Thess. 1:7, 8. If the New Testament insists on the obedience of the
heart, and not of the outward letter alone, the Old Testament teaches
the same doctrine: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to
hearken than the fat of rams." 1 Sam. 15:22. "Thou desirest not
sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite
heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Psa. 51:16, 17. "I will praise the
name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This
also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns
and hoofs." Psa. 69:30, 31. "Take thou away from me the noise of thy
songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run
down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." Amos 5:23, 24. If
the Old Testament insists on obedience to all God's commandments as an
indispensable condition of salvation, so does the New: "Whosoever shall
keep the whole law, and offend in one point, he is guilty of all," James
2:10; "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from
thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should
perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." Matt.
5:29, etc. The Old Testament, as well as the New, teaches the doctrine
of regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Ghost: "Create in me a
clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me," Psa. 51:10.
"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from
all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new
heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and
I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you
a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to
walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them." Ezek.
36:25-27. The Old Testament, as well as the New, denounces
self-righteousness in every form, and teaches men that they are saved
not for the merit of their good works, but through God's free mercy:
"Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thy heart dost
thou go in to possess their land," Deut. 9:5; "Not for your sakes do I
this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and
confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel." Ezekiel 36:32. When
the holy men of the Old Testament so often beseech God to hear and
answer their prayers _for his name's sake_, they renounce all claim to
be heard on the ground of their own merit. Faith that works by love and
purifies the heart from sin--this is the substance of the religion
taught in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This wonderful unity of
doctrine and spirit that pervades the books of the Bible from first to
last, finds its natural explanation in the fact that they were all
written "by inspiration of God."

5. The Bible is distinguished from all other books by its _power over
the human conscience_. The apostle says: "The word of God is quick and
powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," Heb. 4:12; and
this declaration is confirmed by the experience of every thoughtful
reader. Whoever studies the pages of the Bible in an earnest spirit,
feels that in them One speaks who has a perfect understanding of his
heart in its inmost workings; one who knows not only what he is, but
also what he ought to be, and who therefore speaks to him with
authority. The young are sometimes advised to study certain authors,
that they may thus gain "a knowledge of men." It cannot be denied that,
within the sphere of this world, the knowledge of men which some of
these writers possess is admirable. But the Bible contains not only all
this knowledge in its most complete and practical form, but also, what
is wanting in the authors referred to, a perfect knowledge of men in
their higher relation to God. With wonderful accuracy does the Bible
describe men's character and conduct as citizens of this world. But here
it does not stop. It regards them as subjects of God's everlasting
government, and thus as citizens of eternity also; and it portrays in
vivid and truthful colors the way in which they harden their hearts,
blind their minds, and stupefy their consciences by their continued
wilful resistance of God's claim to their supreme love and obedience. In
a word, it describes men in their relation to God as well as to their
fellow-men; and every man who reads the description, hears within his
soul the still small voice of conscience saying, "Thou art the man."
Whence this all-comprehensive knowledge of man contained in the Bible?
The answer is: He who made man has described man in his own word with
infallible accuracy; "because he knew all men, and needed not that any
should testify of man; for he knew what was in man."

6. We come now to the argument from _personal experience_. To receive
Christ in sincerity and truth, is to know that his salvation is from
God. Many thousands have thus a full and joyous conviction of the truth
of Christianity. They were oppressed with a deep consciousness of guilt,
which no tears of sorrow or supposed good works could remove. But they
read in the Holy Scriptures that Jesus is "the Lamb of God which taketh
away the sin of the world." They put their trust in his atoning
sacrifice, and thus obtained peace of conscience, and joyous access in
prayer to God as their Father in heaven. They were earthly in their
affections, and able therefore to render to God's holy and spiritual law
only an obedience of the letter, which they knew would not be
acceptable. But through faith in Christ they have been lifted up to a
holy and blessed communion with God, and thus enabled to render to God's
law an obedience of love "in the spirit and not in the letter." They
were oppressed with a painful sense of the empty and unsatisfying nature
of every thing earthly; but they have found in Christ and his glorious
service an all-sufficient portion. In a word, they are assured that the
gospel is from God, because it meets all their wants as sinners. They
have the same evidence that God made the gospel for the immortal soul,
as that he made bread for the stomach, air for the lungs, and light for
the eyes. The sincere believer has in himself the witness that the
gospel is from heaven, for he is daily experiencing its healing,
strengthening, and purifying power. To tell him that the Bible is a
cunningly devised fable, is like telling a man who daily feeds on "the
finest of the wheat," and is nourished and strengthened by it, that the
field of golden grain which waves before his door is only wormwood and
gall; or that the pure water from the bosom of the earth which daily
quenches his thirst is a deadly poison; or that the blessed air of
heaven which fans his lungs is a pestilential vapor. Not until error
becomes the nutriment of the soul and truth its destruction, can this
argument from personal experience be set aside or gainsaid.

7. The argument from the _character of Jesus_ has already been
considered at length in chap, 4, No. 8. It is sufficient to repeat here
that the very description of such a character, so gloriously perfect, so
far above all that the greatest minds of antiquity ever conceived, is
itself a proof of its reality. Very plain men may describe what they
have actually seen and heard. But that any man left to himself--and God
would not help in a work of error and delusion--should have conceived of
such a character as that of Jesus of Nazareth, without the reality
before him, is impossible; how much more that four unlettered men should
have consistently carried out the conception in such a life as that
recorded by the four evangelists.

8. Passing now from individual to _general experience_, we find another
proof of the divine origin of the Bible in the power of the
gospel--which includes in itself the whole word of God--over the human
heart. This is closely connected with the preceding head, since the
Christian's religion takes the shape of personal love towards the
Saviour--love which is awakened in the sinner's soul, as the New
Testament teaches, by the Holy Spirit revealing to him his lost
condition and the character and offices of the Redeemer, whereby he is
drawn into an inward spiritual union with him. This love of Jesus is the
_mightiest principle on earth_ for both doing and suffering. The man of
whose soul it has taken full possession is invincible, not in his own
strength, but in the strength of Him to whom he has given his supreme
confidence and affection. No hardships, privations, or dangers can deter
him from Christ's service; no persecutions can drive him from it. In the
early days of Christianity, at the period of the Reformation, in many
missionary fields in our own time, not only strong men, but tender women
and children, have steadfastly endured shame and suffering in every
form--banishment and the spoiling of their goods, imprisonment, torture,
and death--for Christ's sake. In times of worldly peace and prosperity,
the power of this principle is dimly seen; but were the Christians of
this day required, under penalty of imprisonment, confiscation, and
death, to deny Christ, it would at once manifest itself. Many would
apostatize, because they are believers only in name; but true believers
would remain steadfast, as in the days of old. It is a fact worthy of
special notice, that persecution not only fails to conquer those who
love Jesus, but it fails also to hinder others from embracing his
religion. It has first a winnowing power. It separates from the body of
the faithful those who are Christians only in name. Then the
manifestation of Christian faith and patience by those who remain
steadfast, draws men from the world without to Christ. Hence the maxim,
as true as trite, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."
The Christian religion at the beginning had no worldly advantages, and
it was opposed by all the power of imperial Rome in alliance with the
heathen priesthood. Had it been possible that any combination of men
should crush it, it must have perished at the outset; but it only grew
stronger in the midst of its fierce and powerful enemies. It went
through ten bloody persecutions, "conquering and to conquer," until it
overthrew paganism, and became the established religion of the Roman
empire. Then it was not strengthened by its alliance with the state, but
only corrupted and shorn of its true power. And so it has been ever
since. The gospel has always shown itself mightiest to subdue men to
Christ, when it has been compelled to rely most exclusively on its own
divinely furnished strength. What the apostle said of himself
personally, the gospel which he preached can say with equal truth: "When
I am weak, then am I strong." How shall we account for this fact? The
only reasonable explanation is, that God is the author of the gospel,
and his power is in it, so that it is able to overcome the world without
any help from without. Were it the invention of man, we might reasonably
expect that it would be greatly strengthened by an alliance with the
kings and rulers of the world, instead of being thereby corrupted and
weakened, as we find to be the invariable result. Because God made the
gospel, and not men, when it is left free to work according to his
appointment, it is mighty in its power over the human heart; but the
moment worldly men take it under their patronage, that they may make it
subservient to their worldly ends, they bind it in fetters, and would
kill it, had it not a divine and indestructible life.

9. We notice, further, that the same love of Jesus which makes men
invincible to the world without, also enables them to _conquer their own
corrupt passions_, and this is the greater victory of the two. It is
easy to declaim on the sins and inconsistencies of visible Christians.
The church of Christ, like every thing administered by men, is
imperfect. Unworthy men find their way into it, making it, as the great
Master foretold, a field in which wheat and tares grow together.
Nevertheless, wherever the gospel is preached in its purity, bright
examples are found of its power to reclaim the vicious, to make the
proud humble, and the earthly-minded heavenly. It draws all who truly
receive it, by a gradual but certain process, into a likeness to Christ,
which is the sum of all goodness. In proportion also as the principles
of the gospel gain ground in any community, they ennoble it, purify it,
and inspire it with the spirit of truth and justice. Very imperfectly is
our country pervaded by this good leaven. Yet it is this, small as is
its measure, which makes the difference between the state of society
here at home and in India or China. Many thousands who do not personally
receive the gospel thus experience its elevating power. They receive at
its hand innumerable precious gifts without understanding or
acknowledging the source from which they come.

10. As a final argument, may be named the power of the Christian
religion to _purify itself_ from the corruptions introduced into it by
men. It is not alone from the world without that Christ's church has
been assailed. Corrupt men have arisen within her pale who have set
themselves to deny or explain away her essential doctrines, to change
her holy practice, or to crush and overlay her with a load of
superstitious observances. But the gospel cannot be destroyed by inward
any more than by outward enemies. From time to time it asserts its
divine origin and invincible power, by bursting the bands imposed on it
by men, and throwing off their human additions, thus reappearing in its
native purity and strength. So it did on a broad scale at the era of the
Reformation, and so it has often done since in narrower fields.

10. Let now the candid inquirer ask himself whether a book which gives
such gloriously perfect views of God's character and government; whose
code of morals is so spotlessly pure that simple obedience to it is the
sum of all goodness, and would, if full and universal, make this world a
moral paradise; all whose parts, though written in different and distant
ages by men of such diversified character and training, are in perfect
harmony with each other; which displays such a wonderful knowledge of
man in all his relations to God and his fellow-men, and therefore speaks
with such authority and power to his conscience; which reveals a
religion that satisfies all the wants of those who embrace it, that
makes them victorious alike over outward persecution and inward sinful
passion, and that asserts its invincible power by throwing off from
itself the corrupt additions of men--whether such a book can possibly
have man for its author. Assuredly in character it resembles not sinful
man, but the holy God. It must be from heaven, for it is heavenly in all
its features.


       *       *       *       *       *





       *       *       *       *       *

To consider at length all the questions which the spirit of modern
inquiry has raised concerning the books of the Old Testament--their
genuineness, integrity, date, chronology, and credibility; their
relation to science, to profane history, to each other, and to the New
Testament--would far exceed the limits allowed by the plan of the
present work. To the Pentateuch alone, or even a single book of it, as
Genesis or Deuteronomy; to the books of Chronicles; to Isaiah or Daniel,
a whole volume might be devoted without exhausting the subject. In the
present Introduction to the books of the Old Testament, the aim has been
to give the results of biblical research, ancient and modern, with a
concise statement of the lines of argument employed, wherever this could
be done without involving discussions intelligible only to those who are
familiar with the original languages of Scripture and the ancient
versions. For such discussions the biblical student is referred to the
more extended Introductions which abound at the present day. The author
has endeavored, first of all, to direct the reader's attention to the
_unity of Scripture_. "Known unto God are all his works from the
beginning of the world." The plan of Redemption is the very highest of
these works, and it constitutes a gloriously perfect whole, gradually
unfolding itself from age to age. The earliest revelations have
reference to all that follow. The later revelations shed light on the
earlier, and receive light from them in return. It is only when the
Scriptures are thus studied as a whole, that any one part of them can be
truly comprehended. The effort has accordingly been made to show the
relation of the Old Testament, considered as a whole, to the New; then,
the relation of the several great divisions of the Old Testament--the
law, the historical books, the prophets, the poetical books--to each
other, and the place which each holds in the system of revelation; and
finally, the office of each particular book, with such notices of its
authorship, date, general plan, and contents, as will prepare the reader
to study it intelligently and profitably. To all who would have a
thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the _New_ Testament, the
diligent study of the preparatory revelation contained in the _Old_, is
earnestly commended. The present Introduction will be followed by one to
the New Testament on the same general plan. It is hardly necessary to
add that for much of the materials employed, in these two parts,
particularly what relates to ancient manuscripts, the author is
dependent on the statements of those who have had the opportunity of
making original investigations.







1. The word _Bible_ comes to us from the Greek (_ta biblia, the books_;
that is, emphatically, the sacred canonical books) through the Latin and
Norman French. In the ancient Greek and Latin churches, its use, as a
plural noun applied to the whole collection of sacred books of the Old
and New Testaments, can be traced as far back as the fifth century. In
the English, as in all the modern languages of Europe, it has become a
singular noun, and thus signifies THE BOOK--the one book containing in
itself all the particular books of the sacred canon.

In very ancient usage, the word _Law_ (Heb. _Torah_) was applied to the
five books of Moses; but there was no general term to denote the whole
collection of inspired writings till after the completion of the canon
of the Old Testament, when they were known in Jewish usage as: _The
Law_, _the Prophets_, and the _Writings_ (see below, No. 5). In
accordance with the same usage, the writers of the New Testament speak
of the "law and the prophets," and more fully, "the law of Moses, and
the prophets, and the psalms," Luke 24:44. And they apply to the
collected writings of the Old Testament, as well as to particular
passages, the term _the Scripture_, that is, _the writings_, thus: "The
Scripture saith," John 7:38, etc. Or they employ the plural number: "Ye
do err, not knowing the Scriptures," Matt. 22:29, etc. Once the epithet
_holy_ is added, 2 Tim. 3:15.

    In 2 Pet. 3:16, the term _Scriptures_ is applied to at least the
    epistles of Paul; apparently also to the other canonical
    writings of the New Testament then extant. In the usage of
    Christian writers, the application of this term to the books of
    the New Testament soon became well established; but the above is
    the only example of such an application that occurs in the New
    Testament itself.

2. The terms _Old_ and _New Testament_ arose in the following way: God's
dealings with the Israelitish people, under both the patriarchs and
Moses, took the form of a _covenant_; that is, not a mutual agreement as
between two equal parties, but an _arrangement_ or _dispensation_, in
which God himself, as the sovereign Lord, propounded to the chosen
people certain terms, and bound himself, upon condition of the
fulfilment of these terms, to bestow upon them blessings temporal and
spiritual. Now the Greek word _diatheke_, by which the Septuagint
renders the Hebrew word for _covenant_, signifies both _covenant_, in
the general sense above given, and _testament_, as being the final
disposition which a man makes of his worldly estate. The new covenant
introduced by Christ is, in a sense, a _testament_, as being ratified by
his bloody death. Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20. So it is
expressly called in the epistle to the Hebrews, 9:15-17, where the new
covenant, considered in the light of a testament, is contrasted with the
old. It was probably in connection with this view that the _Old Latin_
version of the Bible (made in the Old Testament not from the original
Hebrew, but from the Greek Septuagint) everywhere rendered the Greek
word _diatheke_ by the Latin _testamentum_. When Jerome undertook the
work of correcting this version, he did not everywhere pursue the same
plan. The books of the Old Testament he rendered in general from the
Hebrew; and here he employed for the Hebrew word denoting _covenant_ the
appropriate Latin words _foedus_ and _pactum_. But in the Psalms, and
the whole New Testament, from deference to established usage, he gave
simply a revision of the Old Latin, leaving the word _testamentum_, by
which that version had rendered the word _diatheke_, _covenant_,
untouched. Hence in Latin usage we have in the New Testament the two
covenants, the old and the new, expressed by the terms _old testament_
(_vetus testamentum_, _prius_ or _primum testamentum_) and _new
testament_ (_novum testamentum_), and sometimes in immediate contrast
with each other, as in 2 Cor. 3:6, 14; Heb. 9:15-18. The transfer of
these terms from the covenants themselves to the writings which give an
account of them was easy, and soon became established in general usage.
Hence the terms _Old_ and _New Testament_ for the two great divisions of
the Bible.

    Another Latin term for the two great divisions of the Bible was
    _instrumentum_, _instrument_, _document_; a term applied to the
    documents or body of records relating to the Roman empire, and
    very appropriate, therefore, to the records of God's dealings
    with men. But as early as the time of Tertullian, about the
    close of the second century, the word _testamentum_,
    _testament_, was more in use. See Tertullian against Marcion, 4.
    1. A striking example of the superior accuracy of Jerome's
    independent version above his simple revision of the old Latin
    is the passage Jer. 31:31-33 as compared with the quotation of
    the same, Heb. 8:8-10. In the former, where the translation is
    made immediately from the Hebrew, we read: "Behold the days
    shall come, saith the Lord, that I will make for the house of
    Israel and the house of Judah a new _covenant_ (_foedus_): not
    according to the _covenant_ (_pactum_) which I made with their
    fathers," etc. In the same passage, as quoted in the epistle to
    the Hebrews, where we have only a revision of the old Latin, we
    read: "Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, that I will
    accomplish for the house of Israel and for the house of Judah a
    new _testament_ (_testamentum_): not according to the
    _testament_ (_testamentum_) which I made for their fathers,"

3. The _unity_ of the Bible has its ground only in divine inspiration.
So far as human composition is concerned, both parts of it have a great
variety of authors. The writers of the Old Testament, especially, lived
in different, and some of them in very distant ages. They were widely
separated from each other in native character and endowments, in
education, and in their outward circumstances and position in life. It
is of the highest importance that the student of Scripture not only know
these facts, but ponder them long and carefully, till he fully
understands their deep significance. He has been accustomed from
childhood to see all the books of the Bible comprised within the covers
of a single volume. He can hardly divest himself of the idea that their
authors, if not exactly contemporary, must yet somehow have understood
each other's views and plans, and acted in mutual concert. It is only by
long contemplation that he is able to apprehend the true position which
these writers held to each other, separated from each other, as they
often were, by centuries of time, during which great changes took place
in the social and political condition of the Hebrew people. Then, for
the first time, he begins to discern, in the wonderful harmony that
pervades the writings of the Old Testament, taken as a whole, the clear
proofs of a superintending divine Spirit; and learns to refer this
harmony to its true ground, that "holy men of God spake as they were
moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21.

    According to the received chronology, Moses wrote the book of
    Deuteronomy about 1451 B.C, and Malachi, the last of the
    prophets, wrote about 397 B.C. The difference, then, between the
    time of these two authors is 1054 years; or say, in round
    numbers, about 1000 years. From Moses to the anointing of David
    is, according to the shorter chronology, 388 years; and from
    Moses to the composition of the books of Kings, nearly nine
    centuries. From Joel to Malachi we must assume a period of about
    400 years, within which space our present prophetical books were
    composed. The earlier of the psalms written by David differ in
    time from those composed at the close of the captivity by about
    530 years. Let the reader who has been in the habit of passing
    from one book of the Bible to another, as if both belonged to
    the same age, ponder well the meaning of these figures. They
    confirm the arguments already adduced (ch. 12, No. 4) that the
    unity of Scripture has its ground not in human concert, but in
    the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

4. The books of the Old Testament have been differently classified and
arranged. But in no system of distribution has the chronological order
been strictly observed.

(A.) _The Jewish classification and arrangement_ is as follows. They
first distribute the books of the Old Testament into three great
classes, the _Law_, the _Prophets_, and the _Writings_; that is, the
canonical writings not included in the other two divisions--the
_Hagiographa_ (_holy writings_), as they are commonly designated at the
present day.

The _Law_ is then subdivided into five books, as we now have them; for
the names of which see the introduction to the Pentateuch. Chap. 19, No.

With reference to this five-fold division of the Law, the Rabbins call
it _the five-fifths of the Law_, each book being reckoned as one-fifth.
This term answers to the word _Pentateuch_, that is, _the five-fold
book_. Chap. 9, beginning.

The _second_ great class consists of the so-called _Prophets_. These are
first divided into the _former_ and the _latter_ Prophets. The former
Prophets consist of the historical books: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and
Kings, in the order named. The latter comprise the prophetical books in
the stricter sense of the word, with the exception of Daniel; and these
are subdivided into the _greater_ and the _less_. The greater Prophets
are Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The less are the twelve Minor
Prophets from Hosea to Malachi, in the same order as that followed in
our English version.

The remaining books of the Old Testament constitute the _third_ great
class, under the name of _Writings_, _Hagiographa_; and they are
commonly arranged in the following order: Psalms, Proverbs, Job,
Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra,
Nehemiah, Chronicles. These books naturally fall into three groups.
_First_, devotional and didactic--the three so-called poetical books of
Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, which have in Hebrew a stricter rhythm;
_secondly_, the five rolls--Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes,
Esther; so called because written on five separate rolls for use in the
synagogue service on the occasion of special festivals; _thirdly_, books
that are chiefly of an historical character--Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and

    The Talmud arranges the Greater Prophets thus: Jeremiah,
    Ezekiel, Isaiah. Of the Hagiographa, various other arrangements,
    Masoretic and Talmudic, are given, which it is not necessary
    here to specify.

    That the writing of sacred history belonged to the prophetical
    office is clear from various scriptural notices. Compare 1
    Chron. 29:29; 2 Chron, 9:29; 12:15; 20:34; 26:22; 32:32, 33:19.
    The narrative concerning Sennacherib inserted in the second book
    of Kings (18:13-19:37) is manifestly from the pen of Isaiah. The
    Rabbins rightly ascribed the composition of the historical as
    well as the other books which compose, according to their
    division, the _Prophets_, to prophetical men. But the grounds
    upon which they separated from these certain books, as, for
    example, Daniel, and placed them among the Hagiographa, are not
    clear. Some of the rabbins made the distinction to lie in the
    _degree of inspiration_, Moses enjoying it in the fullest
    measure (Numb. 12:6-8), the authors of the books which are
    classed among the prophets having _the Spirit of prophecy_, and
    those of the books belonging to the Hagiographa simply _the Holy
    Spirit_ (the Holy Spirit, but not in the degree necessary for
    prophetic revelation). But this distinction is untenable. Who
    had the spirit of prophecy if not Daniel? In the opinion of some
    modern scholars, they reckoned to the Prophets only books
    written by men who were prophets in the stricter sense of the
    term; that is, men trained to the prophetical office, and
    exercising it as their profession; while the writings of men
    like David, Solomon, and Daniel, who though they had the Spirit
    of prophecy, were yet in their office not prophets, but rulers
    and statesmen, were assigned to the Hagiographa. But this is
    inconsistent with the fact that the book of Ruth (which in
    respect to authorship must go with that of Judges) and also the
    book of Lamentations are in the Hagiographa. Others, with more
    probability, find the main ground of classification in the
    character of the writings themselves--the _Law_, as the
    foundation of the Theocracy; the _Prophets_, that record the
    history of the Theocracy and make prophetic revelations
    concerning it; the sacred _Writings_, occupied with the personal
    appropriation of the truths of revelation, and as such
    exhibiting the religious life of the covenant people in its
    inward and outward form. But even here we do not find perfect

(B.) _Classification of the Greek Version of the Seventy._ The ancient
Greek version of the Old Testament, called the _Septuagint_ (Latin
_Septuaginta_, _seventy_), because, according to Jewish tradition, it
was the work of seventy men, interweaves the _apocryphal_ with the
_canonical_ books. Its arrangement is as follows, the apocryphal books
and parts of books being indicated by italic letters. We follow the
edition of Van Ess from the Vatican manuscript, which omits the
apocryphal Prayer of Manasseh:

1.  Genesis.
2.  Exodus.
3.  Leviticus.
4.  Numbers.
5.  Deuteronomy.
6.  Joshua.
7.  Judges.
8.  Ruth.
9.  1 Kings (our 1 Samuel).
10. 2 Kings (our 2 Samuel).
11. 3 Kings (our 1 Kings).
12. 4 Kings (our 2 Kings).
13. 1 Chronicles.
14. 2 Chronicles.
15. 1 _Esdras_.
16. 2 Esdras (our Ezra).
17. Nehemiah.
18. _Tobit_.
19. _Judith_.
20. Esther, _with apocryphal additions_.
21. Job.
22. Psalms.
23. Proverbs.
24. Ecclesiastes.
25. Canticles.
26. _Wisdom of Solomon_.
27. _Ecclesiasticus_.
28. Hosea.
29. Amos.
30. Micah.
31. Joel.
32. Obadiah.
33. Jonah.
34. Nahum.
35. Habakkuk.
36. Zephaniah.
37. Haggai.
38. Zechariah.
39. Malachi.
40. Isaiah.
41. Jeremiah.
42. _Baruch_.
43. Lamentations.
44. _Epistle of Jeremiah_.
45. Ezekiel.
46. Daniel, _with apocryphal additions_--_Song of the Three Children in
the Furnace, History of Susannah, Story of Bel and the Dragon_.
47. 1 _Maccabees_.
48. 2 _Maccabees_.
49. 3 _Maccabees_.

The arrangement of books in the Latin _Vulgate_ agrees with that of the
Septuagint with the following exceptions: the two canonical books of
Ezra and Nehemiah appear together, as in the Septuagint, but under the
titles of 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras. Next follow the two apocryphal books of
Esdras (the latter wanting in the Septuagint), under the titles of 3
Esdras and 4 Esdras. The Greater Prophets, with Lamentations after
Jeremiah and Daniel after Ezekiel, are inserted before the twelve Minor
Prophets, which last stand in the order followed in our version.
Throwing out of account, therefore, the apocryphal books, the order of
the Vulgate is that followed by our English Bible.

    From the above it is manifest that in neither the Hebrew, the
    Greek, nor the Latin arrangement is the _order of time_ strictly
    followed. The Hebrew, for example, to say nothing of the Psalms,
    which were written in different ages, throws into the
    Hagiographa Ruth, Job, Proverbs, etc., which are older than any
    of the so-called latter prophets. The Hebrew places the books of
    Kings, and the Greek and Latin not only these, but also the
    books of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, before all the
    proper prophetical books, though it is well known that several
    of these were much earlier. In the Hebrew arrangement, the three
    Greater Prophets precede all the Minor Prophets, though several
    of the latter were earlier than Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and even
    Isaiah. In the Greek, on the contrary, Isaiah and Jeremiah, as
    well as Ezekiel, are placed after even the prophets of the
    Restoration. The biblical student should carefully remember
    these facts. He must not hastily assume that the books of the
    Old Testament stand in the order in which they were written, but
    must determine the age of each for itself, according to the best
    light that he can obtain. See further in the introductions to
    the several books.

5. In high antiquity, the _continuous mode of writing_, (_scriptio
continua_,) without divisions between the words, was common. We cannot
indeed infer, from the continuous writing of the oldest manuscripts of
the New Testament, that the same method prevailed in the ancient Hebrew
writing; for in very ancient inscriptions and manuscripts, belonging to
different languages, the words are distinguished from each other more or
less completely by points. Yet the neglect of these is common. In most
Greek and Phoenician inscriptions there is no division of words. The
translators of the Septuagint may be reasonably supposed to have
employed the best manuscripts at their command. Yet their version shows
that in these the words were either not separated at all, or only
partially. The complete separation of words by intervening spaces did
not take place till after the introduction of the _Assyrian_, or
_square_ character. Ch. 14, No. 2. With the separation is connected the
use of the so-called _final_ letters, that is, forms of certain letters
employed exclusively at the ends of words.

6. A very _ancient Jewish division_ of the sacred text is into _open_
and _closed_ sections. The former, which are the larger of the two, are
so named because in the Hebrew manuscripts, and in some printed
editions, the remainder of the line at their close is left _open_, the
next section beginning with a new line. The _closed_ sections, on the
contrary, are separated from each other only by a space in the middle of
a line--_shut in_ on either hand. The origin of these sections is
obscure. They answer in a general way to our sections and paragraphs,
and are older than the Talmud, which contains several references to
them, belonging at least to the earliest time when the sacred books were
read in public. Davidson, Biblical Criticism, vol. 1, ch. 5.

Different from these, and later in their origin, are the _larger
sections of the Law_, called _Parshiyoth_ (from the singular _Parashah_,
_section_), which have exclusive reference to the reading of the Law in
the synagogue service. These are fifty-four in number, one for each
Sabbath of the Jewish intercalary year, while on common years two of the
smaller sections are united. Corresponding to these sections of the Law
are sections from the _Prophets_, (the former and latter, according to
the Jewish classification,) called _Haphtaroth_, embracing, however,
only selections from the prophets, and not the whole, as do the sections
of the Law. The Jewish tradition is that this custom was first
introduced during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, (about 167
B.C.,) because the reading of the Law had been prohibited by him. But
this account of the matter is doubted by many.

    In the Pentateuch, the smaller sections called open and closed
    are indicated, the former by the Hebrew letter [Hebrew: P], that
    is, P, the initial letter of the word _pethuhah_, _open_; the
    latter by the Hebrew letter [Hebrew: S]=S, the first letter of
    the word _sethumah_, _closed_. The larger sections, arranged for
    the reading of the Law in the synagogues, are indicated by three
    [Hebrew: P]'s or three [Hebrew: S]'s, according as they coincide
    at their beginning with an open or closed section. In the other
    portions of the sacred text these divisions are simply indicated
    by the appropriate spaces. But some printed editions do not
    observe the distinction between the two in respect to space, so
    that the open and closed sections are confounded with each

7. _Chapters and Verses._ The division of the _poetical_ books and
passages of the Old Testament into separate _lines_, Hebrew, _pesukim_,
(answering in general to our half-verses, sometimes to the third of a
verse,) is very ancient, if not primitive. It is found in the poetical
passages of the Law and the historical books, (Exod., ch. 15; Deut., ch.
32; Judges, ch. 5; 2 Sam. ch. 22,) and belonged originally to the three
books of Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, which alone the Hebrews reckon as
poetical. See below, Ch. 21, No. 1. The division of the whole Old
Testament into _verses_, (likewise called by the Hebrews _pesukim_,) is
also the work of Jewish scholars. It existed in its completeness in the
ninth century, and must have had its origin much earlier in the
necessity that grew out of the public reading and interpretation of the
sacred books in the synagogue service.

In the Hebrew text the verses are distinguished by two points called
_soph-pasuk_ (:), except in the synagogue rolls, where, according to
ancient usage, this mark of distinction is omitted.

The present division into _chapters_ is much later, and is the work of
Christian scholars. By some it is ascribed to Stephen Langton,
archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1227; by others to Cardinal Hugo
de St. Cher of the same century. The Jews transferred it from the Latin
Vulgate to the Hebrew text. There are, however, some discrepancies
between the chapters of the Hebrew text and those of the Vulgate and our
English version.

The division of the sacred text into chapters and verses is
indispensable for convenience of reference. But the student should
remember that these distinctions are wholly of human origin, and
sometimes separate passages closely connected in meaning. The first
verse, for example, of Isaiah, ch. 4, is immediately connected in sense
with the threatenings against "the daughters of Zion" contained in the
close of the preceding chapter In the beginning of ch. 11 of the same
book, the words: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of
Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots," contrast the Branch of
the Messiah with the Assyrian bough, the lopping off of which has just
been foretold; chap. 10:33, 34. The last three verses, again, of Isaiah,
ch. 52, evidently belong to the following chapter. The connections of
the sacred text, therefore, must be determined independently of these
human distinctions.



1. The original language of the Old Testament is _Hebrew_, with the
exception of certain portions of Ezra and Daniel and a single verse of
Jeremiah, (Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Dan. 2:4, from the middle of the
verse to end of chap. 7; Jer. 10:11,) which are written in the cognate
_Chaldee_ language. The Hebrew belongs to a stock of related languages
commonly called _Shemitic_, because spoken mainly by the descendants of
Shem. Its main divisions are: (1,) the _Arabic_, having its original
seat in the southeastern part of the Shemitic territory, and of which
the Æthiopic is a branch; (2,) the _Aramæan_ in the north and northeast,
comprising the eastern Aramæan or _Chaldee_, and the western or
_Syriac_; (3,) the _Hebrew_, occupying a middle place between the two.
The _Samaritan_ is essentially Aramæan, but with an intermixture of
Hebrew forms; the _Phoenician_, or _Punic_, on the other hand, is most
closely allied to the Hebrew. All these languages, with the exception of
the Æthiopic, are written from right to left, and exhibit many
peculiarities of orthography and grammatical forms and structure.

2. The Hebrew characters in present use, called the _Assyrian_, or
_square writing_, are not those originally employed. The earlier form is
undoubtedly represented by the inscriptions on the coins struck by the
Maccabees, of which the letters bear a strong resemblance to the
Samaritan and Phoenician characters. The Jewish tradition is that the
present square character was introduced by Ezra, and that it was of
Assyrian origin. The question of the correctness of this tradition has
been much discussed. Some wholly reject it, and hold that the present
square writing came by a gradual process of change from a more ancient
type. See Davidson's Bib. Crit., vol. I, ch. 3.

That the present square writing existed in our Saviour's day has been
argued with much force from Matth. 5:18, where the Saviour says: "Till
heaven and earth pass, one jot (_iota_) or one tittle (_keraia_) shall
in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." The _iota_ (Hebrew
_yod_) is the letter _i_ or _y_, which in the square writing is the
smallest in the alphabet ([Hebrew: y]), but not in the ancient Hebrew,
Ph[oe]nician, or Samaritan. The _keraia_, _little turn_, is that which
distinguishes one letter from another; as [Hebrew: d], _d_, from
[Hebrew: r], _r_; or [Hebrew: b], _b_, from [Hebrew: k], _k_. See Alford
on Matth. 5:18. (The recent discovery in the Crimea of inscriptions on
the tombs of Caraite Jews, some of them dating back, it is alleged, to
the first century, proves that the Assyrian or square character was then
in use. In these inscriptions the _Yod_ (iota) is represented by a
simple point. See Alexander's Kitto, vol. 3, p. 1173.)

The _Rabbinic_ is a modification of the Assyrian or square writing, for
the purpose of giving it a more cursive character.

3. The _Hebrew alphabet_, like all the other Shemitic alphabets--with
the exception of the Æthiopic, which is _syllabic_, the vowels being
indicated by certain modifications in the forms of the consonants--was
originally a skeleton alphabet, an alphabet of consonants, in which,
however, certain letters, called vowel-letters, performed in a measure
the office of vowels. The Shemite did not separate the vowels from the
consonants, and express them, as we do, by separate signs. He rather
conceived of the vowels as inhering in the consonants--as modifications
in the utterance of the consonants, which the reader could make for
himself. Various particulars in respect to the pronunciation of certain
consonants were, in like manner, left to the reader's own knowledge. For
example, the three Hebrew letters, [Hebrew: sh], _sh_; [Hebrew: m], _m_;
[Hebrew: r], _r_, ([Hebrew: shmr], to be read from right to left,) might
be pronounced, _shamar_, _he kept_; _shemor_, _keep thou_; _shomer_,
_keeping_--the reader determining from the connection which of these
forms should be used, just as we decide in English between the different
pronunciations of the word _bow_. As long as the Hebrew remained a
living language, that is, the language of the masses of the people, this
outline alphabet was sufficient for all practical purposes. The modern
Arabs read without difficulty their ordinary books, which omit, in like
manner, the signs for the vowels. The regularity of structure which
belongs to the Shemitic languages generally, makes this omission less
inconvenient for them than a like omission would be for us in our
western tongues.

4. During the long Babylonish captivity the mass of the Jewish people,
who were born and educated in Babylon and the adjacent regions, adopted
of necessity the language of the country; that is, the Aramæan or
Chaldee language. After the exile, the Hebrew was indeed spoken and
written by the prophets and learned men, but not by the people at large.
In Nehemiah 8:8 we are told that "they read in the book in the law of
God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the
reading." This has been explained by some as meaning simply that they
expounded to them the sense. But the more natural meaning is that they
_interpreted_ to the people the words read from the law. We find, soon
after the captivity at least, the old Hebrew supplanted as a living
language among the people at large by the Aramæan or Chaldee. Why not
date the change from the latter part of the captivity itself?

It was natural that the prophets and historians, all of whom wrote soon
after the exile, should employ the sacred language of their fathers.
This fact cannot be adduced as a valid argument that the body of the
people continued to speak Hebrew. The incorporation, on the other hand,
of long passages in Chaldee into the books of Daniel and Ezra implies at
least that this language was known to the people at large. As to the
children spoken of in Neh. 13:24, who "could not speak in the Jews'
language, but according to the language of each people"--the people, to
wit, to which their mothers belonged--"the Jews' language" here is
probably the language used by the Jews, as distinguished from that used
by the people of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Keil, Introduction to Old
Testament, § 18.

5. After the Hebrew had ceased to be the language of the common people,
its traditional pronunciation was carefully preserved for many
successive centuries in the synagogue-reading. It was not till several
centuries after Christ (somewhere between the sixth and the tenth
centuries) that the vowel-signs and other marks of distinction were
added in order to perpetuate, with all possible accuracy, the solemn
traditional pronunciation of the synagogue. This work is ascribed to
learned Jews of Tiberias, called _Masoretes_, from _Masora_,
_tradition_; and the Hebrew text thus furnished by them is called the
_Masoretic_, in distinction from the _unpointed_ text, which latter is,
according to Jewish usage, retained in the synagogue-rolls. From
reverence to the word of God, the _punctuators_ (as these men are also
called) left the primitive text in all cases undisturbed, simply
superadding to it their marks of distinction. After giving with great
minuteness the different _vowel-signs_ and marks (commonly called
_diacritical_) for the varying pronunciation of the consonants, they
superadded a complicated system of _accents_. These serve the threefold
office of guides in _cantillating_ the sacred text (according to ancient
usage in the synagogue-reading); of indicating the _connection in
meaning_ among the words and clauses; and of marking, though with
certain exceptions, the _tone-syllables_ of words. In addition to all
the above, they added a mass of _notes_, partly of a critical and partly
of a grammatical character, relating to various readings, grammatical
forms and connections, modes of orthography, and the like. These are
called collectively the _Masorah_, of which there is a fuller Masorah
called the _greater_ (found only in Rabbinical Bibles), and a briefer,
called the _less_, the main part of which is found in common editions of
the Hebrew Bible. To illustrate the _Masoretic_ as contrasted with the
_unpointed_ text, we give the first verse of Genesis, _first_, in its
simple unpointed form; _secondly_, with the vowel-signs and diacritical
marks for the consonants; _thirdly_, with both these and the accents,
the last being the complete Masoretic text.

[Hebrew: br'shit br' 'lhim et hshmym vet h'rts]

[Hebrew: bere'shit bara' 'elohim et hashamayim veet ha'arets]

[Hebrew: o bere'shit bara' 'elohim et hashamayim veet ha'arets]

_ha-arets. ve-eth hasshamayim eth elohim bara Bereshith

the-earth. and-it the heavens them God created In-the-beginning_

The round circle above the initial letter in the third line refers to a
marginal _note of the Masorah_ indicating that it is to be written

Respecting the origin and antiquity of the Hebrew points a warm
controversy existed in former times. Some maintained that they were
coeval with the language itself; others that they were first introduced
by Ezra after the Babylonish captivity. But their later
origin--somewhere between the sixth and tenth centuries--is now
generally conceded. It is further agreed that their inventors were able
scholars, thoroughly acquainted as well with the genius and structure of
the language as with the traditional pronunciation of the synagogue; and
that they have given a faithful representation of this pronunciation, as
it existed in their day. Their judgment, therefore, though not invested
with any divine authority, is very valuable. "It represents a tradition,
it is true; but a tradition of the oldest and most important character."
Horne's Introduction, vol. 2, p. 15, edition of 1860.

6. The deep reverence of the Jews for their sacred books manifests
itself in their numerous rules for the guidance of copyists in the
transcription of the rolls designed for use in the synagogue service.
They extend to every minute particular--the quality of the ink and the
parchment (which latter must always be prepared by a Jew from the skin
of a clean animal, and fastened by strings made from the skins of clean
animals); the number, length, and breadth of the columns; the number of
lines in each column, and the number of words in each line. No word must
be written till the copyist has first inspected it in the example before
him, and pronounced it aloud; before writing the name of God he must
wash his pen; all redundance or defect of letters must be carefully
avoided: prose must not be written as verse, or verse as prose; and when
the copy has been completed, it must be examined for approval or
rejection within thirty days. Superstitious, and even ridiculous, as
these rules are, we have in them a satisfactory assurance of the
fidelity with which the sacred text has been perpetuated. Though their
date may be posterior to the age of the Talmudists (between 200 and 500
after Christ), the spirit of reverence for the divine word which they
manifest goes far back beyond this age. We see it, free from these later
superstitious observances, in the transactions recorded in the eighth
chapter of Nehemiah, when Ezra opened the book of the law in the sight
of all the people, "and when he opened it, all the people stood up." The
early history of the sacred text is confessedly involved in great
obscurity; but in the profound reverence with which the Jews have ever
regarded it since the captivity, we have satisfactory proof that it has
come down to us, in all essential particulars, as Ezra left it. Of the
primitive text before the days of Ezra and his associates we have but a
few brief notices in the historical books. But in the fidelity and skill
of Ezra, who was "a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God
of Israel had given," as well as in the intelligence and deep
earnestness of the men associated with him, we have a reasonable ground
of assurance that the sacred books which have come down to us through
their hands contain, in all essential particulars, the primitive text in
a pure and uncorrupt form.

7. As to the _age_ of Hebrew manuscripts, it is to be noticed that not
many have come down to us from an earlier century than the twelfth. In
this respect there is a striking difference between them and the Greek
and Latin manuscripts of the New Testament, a few of which are as old as
the fourth and fifth centuries, and quite a number anterior to the
tenth. The oldest known Hebrew manuscript, on the contrary, is a
Pentateuch roll on leather, now at Odessa, which, if the subscription
stating that it was _corrected_ in the year 580 can be relied on,
belongs to the sixth century. One of De Rossi's manuscripts is supposed
to belong to the eighth century, and there are a few of the ninth and
tenth, and several of the eleventh. Bishop Walton supposes that after
the Masoretic text was fully settled, the Jewish rulers condemned, as
profane and illegitimate, all the older manuscripts not conformed to
this: whence, after a few ages, the rejected copies mostly perished. The
existing Hebrew manuscripts give the Masoretic text with but little
variation from each other.

Earnest effort has been made to find a reliable ante-Masoretic text, but
to no purpose. The search in China has thus far been fruitless. When Dr.
Buchanan in 1806 brought from India a synagogue-roll which he found
among the Jews of Malabar, high expectations were raised. But it is now
conceded to be a Masoretic roll, probably of European origin. Respecting
the manuscripts of the _Samaritan_ Pentateuch, see below, No. 9.

(A synagogue-roll has recently been discovered in the Crimea of the date
answering to A.D. 489. See Alexander's Kitto, vol. 3, pp. 1172-5.)

8. In respect to _form_, Hebrew manuscripts fall into two great
divisions, _public_ and _private_. The public manuscripts consist of
_synagogue-rolls_ carefully written out on parchment, as already
described, without vowel-points or divisions of verses. The Law is
written on a single roll; the sections from the prophets (Haphtaroth,
ch. 12. 6) and the Five Rolls--Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations,
Ecclesiastes, Esther (ch. 12. 4)--each on separate rolls. The private
manuscripts are written _with leaves_ in book form--folio, quarto,
octavo, and duodecimo; mostly on parchment, but some of the later on
paper. The poetical passages are generally arranged in hemistichs; the
rest is in columns which vary according to the size of the page. The
text and points were always written separately; the former with a
heavier, the latter with a lighter pen, and generally with different
ink. The square or Assyrian character is employed as a rule, but a few
are written in the rabbinic character. The Chaldee paraphrase (less
frequently some other version) may be added. The margin contains more or
less of the Masorah; sometimes prayers, psalms, rabbinical commentaries,

9. There is also a _Samaritan Pentateuch_; that is, a Hebrew Pentateuch
written in the ancient Samaritan characters, and first brought to light
in 1616, respecting the origin of which very different opinions are
held. Some suppose that the Samaritans received it as an inheritance
from the ten tribes; others that it was introduced at the time of the
founding of the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim; others that it was
brought by the Israelitish priest sent to instruct the Samaritans in the
knowledge of God, 2 Kings 17:27, 28. It is agreed among biblical
scholars that its text has been subjected to many alterations which
greatly impair its critical authority. These, however, are not
sufficient to account for its remarkable agreement with the Septuagint
version against the Masoretic text, in numerous readings, some of them
of importance. The explanation of this phenomenon must be the agreement
of the original Samaritan codex with the manuscripts from which the
Alexandrine version was executed. Probably both were of Egyptian origin.
See Alexander's Kitto, art. Samaritan Pentateuch.

In a brief compend, like the present work, it is not thought necessary
to notice particularly the _printed_ editions of the Hebrew Bible. The
reader will find an account of them in the "Bibliographical List"
appended to the fourth volume of Horne's Introduction, edition of 1860.
The text of Van der Hooght's Hebrew Bible, (Amsterdam and Utrecht,
1705,) which was chiefly based on the earlier text of Athias,
(Amsterdam, 1667,) is generally followed at the present day, and may be
regarded as the received text of the Hebrew Scriptures.



1. The Greek word _canon_ (originally a _straight rod or pole_,
_measuring-rod_, then _rule_) denotes that collection of books which the
churches receive as given by inspiration of God, and therefore as
constituting for them a divine rule of faith and practice. To the books
included in it the term _canonical_ is applied. The Canon of the Old
Testament, considered in reference to its constituent parts, was formed
gradually; formed under divine superintendence by a process of growth
extending through many centuries. The history of its formation may be
conveniently considered under the following divisions: (1,) the
_Pentateuch_; (2,) the _historical_ books; (3,) the _prophetical_ books
in the stricter sense of the term; (4,) a somewhat miscellaneous
collection of books which may be designated in a general way as


2. In the name applied to the Pentateuch--"the book of the law," and
more fully, "the book of the law of Moses," "the book of the law of
Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel"--we have from the
beginning the general idea of the canon. A canonical writing is one that
contains a communication from God to men, and has therefore the impress
of divine authority. In its outward form it may be preceptive,
historical, or meditative. But in all these different modes it still
reveals to men God's character, and the duties which he requires of
them. The Hebrews never admitted to the number of their sacred books a
writing that was secular in its character. Even those who deny the
canonical authority of certain parts of the Old Testament acknowledge
that the Jews received these parts because they believed them to be of a
sacred character.

3. In Deut. 31:9-13, 24-26; 17:18, 19, we read: "And Moses wrote this
law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the
ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. And
Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the
solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all
Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he
shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their
hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and
thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they
may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words
of this law: and that their children which have not known anything, may
hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the
land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it:" "and it came to pass,
when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book,
until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare
the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law,
and put it in the side" (that is, not _within_, but _by the side_.
Compare Josh. 12:9; Ruth 2:14; 1 Sam. 20:25; Psa. 91:7; where the same
word is used in the original) "of the ark of the covenant of the Lord
your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee;" "and it
shall be when he"--the king whom the Israelites in some future age shall
set over themselves--"sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he
shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before
the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read
therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his
God, to keep all the words of this law and the statutes, to do them."
These passages are of the weightiest import; for they teach us how the
_nucleus_ of the canon of the Old Testament was formed, and give us all
the particulars that enter into the idea of a canonical writing. It is
given by God as an authoritative rule of faith and practice; it is
committed to the custody of his people through their recognized
officers, and that for all future time; it is to be published to the
people at large, and diligently studied by the rulers, that they and the
people together may know and do the will of God. It is not necessary to
decide the question how much is included in the words "this book of the
law," Deut. 31:26, whether the whole Pentateuch, or only the book of
Deuteronomy. The arguments to show that the four preceding books came,
in all essential respects, from the pen of Moses have been already given
(Ch. 9, Nos. 7-9), and need not be here repeated. We only add that even
if the reference is to Deuteronomy alone, as some suppose, the rule for
this book would naturally be the rule for all the previous writings.
They also would be laid up by the side of the ark; for it is plain that
the priests and Levites, who had charge of the sanctuary, were made the
keepers of the sacred writings generally.

As a matter of simple convenience the book of Deuteronomy was written on
a separate roll ("in a book," Deut. 31:24). But if this book, when
finished, was laid up with the earlier portions of the law at the side
of the ark, so as to constitute with them a single collection, and if,
as we may reasonably suppose, Moses, in writing the book of Deuteronomy,
contemplated such a collection of all the parts of the law into one
whole; then, when the law is mentioned, whether in Deuteronomy or in the
later books, we are to understand the whole law, unless there be
something in the context to limit its meaning, as there is, for example,
in Joshua 8:32 compared with Deut. 27:1-8. The command to "read this law
before all Israel in their hearing," "at the end of every seven years,
in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,"
was understood in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah of the whole law, and
not of Deuteronomy alone (Ch. 9, No. 4); and so Josephus plainly
understood it: "But when the multitude is assembled in the holy city at
the septennial sacrifices on the occasion of the feast of tabernacles,
let the high priest, standing on a lofty stage whence he can be plainly
heard, read the laws to all." Antiq. 4.8, 12. "The laws," in the usage
of Josephus, naturally mean the whole collection of laws.


4. The history of these is involved in obscurity. In respect to most of
them we know not the authors, nor the exact date of their composition.
There are, however, two notices that shed much light on the general
history of the earlier historical books. In the last chapter of the book
of Joshua, after an account of the renewal of the covenant at Shechem,
it is added: "And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of
God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak that was
by the sanctuary of the Lord." Josh. 24:26. Again, upon the occasion of
the establishment of the kingdom under Saul, we are told that "Samuel
told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and
laid it up before the Lord." 1 Sam. 10:25. From the first of these
passages we learn that a theocratic man after Moses, who had the spirit
of prophecy, connected his writings (or at least one portion of them)
with the law. This addition by Joshua, though never formally regarded as
a part of the law, virtually belonged to it, since it contained a
renewal of the covenant between God and his people. From the second
passage we learn that the place for other important documents pertaining
to the theocracy was "before the Lord," where the law was deposited.
Hence we infer with much probability that, besides the addition made to
"the book of the law of God," important historical writings, proceeding
from prophetical men, like Joshua and Samuel, were in process of
collection at the sanctuary all the time from Moses to Samuel.

5. If now we examine the books of Joshua and Judges, we must be
satisfied that the men who compiled them made use of such materials. In
the book of Joshua is recorded, with much detail, the allotment of the
land of Canaan among the several tribes. A document of this nature must
have been written at the time, and by Joshua himself, or under his
immediate direction. The same may be reasonably supposed of other
portions of the book. If then it was put into its present form after the
death of Joshua, as some suppose, the materials must still have been
furnished by him to a great extent. The book of Judges covers a period
of more than three centuries. Who composed it we do not know, but the
materials employed by him must have existed, in part at least, in a
written form. The book of Ruth may be regarded as an appendix to that of
the Judges.

6. The two books of Samuel (which originally constituted one whole)
bring down the history of the Theocracy from the birth of Samuel to the
close of David's reign--a period of about a century and a half. The
author, therefore, can have been, upon any supposition, only in part
contemporary with the events which he records. Yet if we examine the
biographical sketches of Saul, Samuel, and David contained in these
books, the conviction forces itself upon us that they must have been
written by contemporaries. Their freshness, minute accuracy of detail,
and graphic vividness of style mark them as coming from eye-witnesses,
or from writers who had received their accounts from eye-witnesses. Who
were authors of these original documents we cannot determine. It is
certain that Samuel was one of them. 1 Chron. 29:29. Who composed the
books, again, is a question that we are unable to answer. It was
probably a prophet living not very long after the separation of the
kingdoms of Israel and Judah. From the days of Samuel and onward there
was a flourishing school of the prophets at hand which could furnish,
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, both the writers of the
original materials and the author of the books in their present form.

The attempt has been made to set aside the evidence that the writer of
the books of Samuel made use of earlier documents, from the example of
such men as Swift and Defoe, who composed works of fiction with all the
simplicity and circumstantial detail of those who write authentic
history as eye-witnesses. But, unless the design be to class the books
of Samuel with "Gulliver's Travels" and "Robinson Crusoe," the argument
is wholly irrelevant. With Swift and Defoe simplicity and minuteness of
detail were a matter of conscious effort--_a work of art_, for which
they naturally chose the region of fiction; and here they, and other men
of genius, have been eminently successful. Shakespeare has portrayed
_ideal_ scenes in the life of Julius Cæsar with more vividness and
circumstantiality than any authentic historian of Cæsar's age. But _real
history_, written simply in the interest of truth, never has the graphic
character, artless simplicity, and circumstantiality of detail which
belong to these inimitable narratives, unless the writer be either an
eye-witness, or draw his materials from eye-witnesses.

7. We come next to the books of Kings and Chronicles, the writers of
which confessedly employed previously existing materials. In the two
books of Kings (which, like the two of Samuel and of Chronicles,
originally constituted one work) reference is made to the following
sources: For the reign of Solomon, "the book of the acts of Solomon" (1
Kings 11:41); for the kingdom of Judah after the revolt of the twelve
tribes from Rehoboam to Jehoiakim, "the book of the chronicles of the
kings of Judah;" for the kingdom of Israel, "the book of the chronicles
of the kings of Israel." In the books of Chronicles we have: For the
reign of David, "the book" (history) "of Samuel the seer, the book of
Nathan the prophet, and the book of Gad the seer" (1 Chron. 29:29); for
the reign of Solomon, "the book of Nathan the prophet, the prophecy of
Ahijah the Shilonite," and "the vision of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam
the son of Nebat" (2 Chron. 9:29); for the reign of Rehoboam, "the book
of Shemaiah the prophet," and "of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies,"
that is, in the manner of a genealogical record (2 Chron. 12:15); for
the reign of Abijah, "the story" (commentary) "of the prophet Iddo" (2
Chron. 13:22); for the reign of Jehoshaphat, "the book of Jehu the son
of Hanani," who is mentioned (rather, _who is inserted_, i.e., as an
author) in the book of the kings of Israel (2 Chron. 20:34); for the
reign of Uzziah, "the prophet Isaiah" (2 Chron. 26:22); for the reign of
Hezekiah in part, "the vision of Isaiah the prophet" (2 Chron. 32:32);
for the reign of Manasseh in part, "the sayings of the seers," or, as
many prefer to render, "the words of Hosai" (2 Chron. 33:18). Besides
the above, reference is made to "the book of the kings of Judah and
Israel," "the book of the kings of Israel and Judah," "the story of the
book of the kings;" "the book of the kings of Israel." These last are
probably only different titles of the same collection of annals,
embracing in its contents the history of _both_ kingdoms; since the
references to the book of the kings of Israel are for the affairs of the
kingdom of Judah (2 Chron. 20:34; 33:18).

8. With regard to the above _original sources_, it should be carefully
noticed that the references in the books of Kings are not to our present
books of Chronicles, which did not exist when the books of Kings were
written. Chap. 20, No. 21. Neither can the allusions in the books of
Chronicles be restricted to our present books of Kings; for (1) they
refer to matters not recorded in those books--for example, to the wars
of Jotham, 2 Chron. 27:7; (2) they refer to the book of the kings of
Judah and Israel for a _full_ account of the acts of a given monarch
"first and last," while the history of the same monarch in our present
books of Kings refers for _further_ information to the book of the
Chronicles of the kings of Judah. It is plain that both writers had
access to a _larger collection of original documents_, which were in
great part the same. The chief difference in outward form is that, when
the books of Chronicles were written, the annals of the two kingdoms of
Judah and Israel seem to have constituted a single collection, whereas
in the books of Kings they are always mentioned as two separate works.
In making his selections from these annals, each writer proceeded
independently. Hence the remarkable agreements, where both used the same
materials; and the remarkable differences, where one employed documents,
or parts of documents, which the other omitted to use.

9. As to the _character_ of these original documents, it is plain that a
portion of them were written by prophets. By some the books of the kings
of Israel and Judah so often referred to, have been regarded as simply
the public annals of the two kingdoms written by the official annalists,
the "scribes" or "recorders" so often spoken of. No doubt such annals
existed, and entered largely into the documents in question. But the
right interpretation of 2 Chron. 20:34, shows that, in some cases at
least, the writings of prophets were incorporated into these annals. The
extended history of Elijah and Elisha cannot have been the work of the
public scribes of the kingdom of Israel, but of prophets, writing from
the prophetic point of view. The question, however, is not one of
practical importance, since, whatever may have been the source or
character of the materials employed, the writers of the books now under
consideration, used them at their discretion under the guidance of the
Spirit of God. To us, therefore, they come with the weight of prophetic
authority. The further consideration of the relation between the books
of Kings and Chronicles is reserved for the special introductions to
these books. It may be added here that the probable date of the former
is the first half of the Babylonish captivity; of the latter, the time
of Ezra under the Persian rule.

10. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah constitute a continuation of the
books of Chronicles, and need not be particularly noticed in the present
connection. For their authorship and date, as also for the book of
Esther, see the particular introductions to these books.


11. Under the _prophetical books_, in the stricter sense of the word,
may be included the three Greater prophets--Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel--Daniel (though largely historical), and the twelve Minor
prophets. These will all come up hereafter for separate consideration.
At present we view them simply with reference to the growth of the Old
Testament Canon. From the settlement of the Israelities in the land of
Canaan to the time of Samuel, a period of several centuries (according
to the chronology followed by the apostle Paul, Acts 13:20, four hundred
and fifty years), we read of several appearances of the "angel of the
Lord." Judges 2:1; 6:11; 13:3. The notices of prophets during the same
period are only three in number. Judges 4:4; 6:8; 1 Sam. 2:27. But with
Samuel began a new era. He was himself one of the greatest of the
prophets, and he established a school of the prophets over which he
himself presided. 1 Sam. 10:5, 10; 19:20. From his day onward such
schools seem to have flourished as a theocratic institution throughout
the whole period of the kings, though more vigorously at certain times.
1 Kings 18:4; 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3, 5; 4:1, 38, 43; 5:22; 6:1; 9:1. So far
as we have notices of these schools, they were under the instruction of
eminent prophets; and "the sons of the prophets" assembled in them
received such a training as fitted them, so far as human instrumentality
is concerned, for the exercise of the prophetical office, as well as for
being, in a more general sense, the religious instructors of the people.
From these schools came, apparently, most of those whom God called to be
his messengers to the rulers and people, though with exceptions
according to his sovereign wisdom. Amos 1:1; 7:14. We find, accordingly,
that from the days of Samuel and onward the prophets were recognized as
a _distinct order of men_ in the Jewish theocracy, who derived their
authority immediately from God, and spoke by direct inspiration of his
Spirit, as they themselves indicate by the standing formula: "Thus saith
the Lord."

12. It is a remarkable fact, however, that from Samuel to about the
reign of Uzziah, a period of some three centuries, we have no _books of
prophecy_ written by these men, if we except, perhaps, the book of
Jonah. Their writings seem to have been mainly historical (like the
historical notices incorporated into the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Ezekiel, and Daniel); and what remains to us of them is preserved in the
historical books of the Old Testament. See above, Nos. 6 and 7. But
about the time of Uzziah begins a new era, that of _written_ prophecy.
During his reign appeared Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and probably Jonah, Joel,
and Obadiah. Micah followed immediately afterwards, being contemporary
in part with Isaiah; and then, in succession, the rest of the prophets
whose writings have come down to us. When the theocracy was now on its
decline, waxing old and destined to pass away for ever, they felt
themselves called to _put on record_, for the instruction of all coming
ages, their words of warning and encouragement. Thus arose gradually our
present collection of prophetical books; that of Lamentations included,
which is but an appendix to the writings of Jeremiah.


13. These are a precious outgrowth of the theocratic spirit, in which
the elements of _meditation and reflection_ predominate. Concerning the
date and authorship of the book of Job, which stands first in order in
our arrangement, we have no certain information. Learned men vary
between the ante-Mosaic age and that of Solomon. Its theme is divine
providence, as viewed from the position of the Old Testament. See
further in the introduction to this book.

14. With the call of David to the throne of Israel began a new and
glorious era in the history of public worship, that of "the service of
song in the house of the Lord." 1 Chron. 6:31. As when Moses smote the
rock in the wilderness the water gushed forth in refreshing streams, so
the soul of David, touched by the spirit of inspiration, poured forth a
rich and copious flood of divine song, which has in all ages refreshed
and strengthened God's people in their journey heavenward "through this
dark vale of tears." Nor was the fountain of sacred poetry confined to
him alone. God opened it also in the souls of such men as Asaph, Ethan,
Heman, and the sons of Korah; nor did its flow wholly cease till after
the captivity. The Psalms of David and his coadjutors were from the
first dedicated to the service of the sanctuary; and thus arose our
canonical book of Psalms, although (as will be hereafter shown) it did
not receive its present form and arrangement till the time of Ezra and

15. After David came Solomon in the sphere of practical wisdom. This,
according to the divine record, he received as a special endowment from
God, though doubtless he had in a peculiar measure a natural capacity
for such an endowment. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to him in a dream by
night, and said: "Ask what I shall give thee." Passing by wealth, long
life, and the death of his enemies, the youthful monarch besought God to
give him "an understanding heart," that he might be qualified to judge
the great people committed to his care. The answer was: "Behold, I have
done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an
understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee,
neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." 1 Kings 3:5-12. Thus
divinely qualified, he embodied, in a vast collection of proverbs, his
observations on human life, and the course of human affairs. Our
canonical book of Proverbs is a selection from these, with some
additions at the end from other sources. For notices respecting the
arrangement of these proverbs in their present form, as well as
respecting the books of Ecclesiastes and Canticles, which are also
ascribed to Solomon, the reader may consult the introductions to these


The subject thus far before us has been _the growth of the materials_
which constitute our canonical books. The question of their preservation
and final embodiment in their present form remains to be considered.

16. Respecting the _preservation_ of the sacred books till the time of
Ezra and Nehemiah, our information is very scanty. Each king was
required to have at hand for his own personal use a transcript of the
law of Moses (Deut. 17:18), the original writing being carefully laid up
in the inner sanctuary, where Hilkiah, the high priest, found it in the
reign of Josiah. 2 Kings 22:8. We cannot doubt that such kings as David,
Solomon, Asa, and Hezekiah complied with this law: though after the
disorders connected with the reign of Manasseh and his captivity, the
good king Josiah neglected it. Jehoshaphat, we are expressly told, sent
men to teach in the cities of Judah, who had "the book of the law of the
Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and
taught the people." 2 Chron. 17:7-9. Of course it was a copy, and not
the original autograph, which might not be removed from the sanctuary.
It is a natural supposition that other transcripts of the law were made
under the direction of the high priest, for the use of pious men,
especially pious prophets, princes, and Levites, who needed its
directions for the right discharge of their official duties, though on
this point we can affirm nothing positively. As to the prophetical
books, we know that Jeremiah had access to the writings of Isaiah, for
in repeated instances he borrowed his language. We know again that
Daniel had at hand the prophecies of Jeremiah; for he understood "by
books" (literally "by the books," which may be well understood to mean
that collection of sacred books of which the prophecies of Jeremiah
formed a part) "the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord
came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in
the desolations of Jerusalem." Dan. 9:2. The consecration of the Psalms
of David and his coadjutors to the public service of the sanctuary must
have insured their careful preservation by the Levites who had charge of
the temple music; and, in general, the deep reverence of the Jews for
their sacred writings is to us a reasonable evidence that they preserved
them from loss and mutilation to the captivity, and through that
calamitous period.

17. To Ezra and his coadjutors, the men of the Great Synagogue, the Jews
ascribe the _completion of the canon_ of the Old Testament. Their
traditions concerning him are embellished with extravagant fictions; yet
we cannot reasonably deny that they are underlaid by a basis of truth.
All the scriptural notices of Ezra attest both his zeal and his ability
as "a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his
statutes to Israel," a man who "had prepared his heart to seek the law
of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and
judgments." Ezra 7:10, 11. The work in which he and his associates were
engaged was the reëstablishment of the Theocracy on its old foundation,
the law of Moses, with the ordinances pertaining to the
sanctuary-service afterwards added by David; and that too in the vivid
consciousness of the fact that disobedience to the divine law had
brought upon the nation the calamities of the captivity. In such
circumstances their first solicitude must have been that the people
might have the inspired oracles given to their fathers, and be
thoroughly instructed in them. The work, therefore, which Jewish
tradition ascribes to Ezra and the men of the Great Synagogue was
altogether appropriate to their situation, nor do we know of any man or
body of men afterwards so well qualified for its performance, or upon
whom it would so naturally have devolved.

That they arranged the inspired volume in substantially its present
form, we have no good reason for doubting. But we should not, perhaps,
be warranted in saying that they brought the canon of the Old Testament
absolutely and formally to a close. Josephus (against Apion 1. 8)
affirms that no book belongs to the sacred writings of his nation "which
are justly believed to be divine," that had its origin after the reign
of Artaxerxes, Xerxes' son (Artaxerxes Longimanus, under whom Ezra led
forth his colony, Ezra, chap. 7); and that on the ground that from this
time onward "the exact succession of the prophets" was wanting. This
declaration of the Jewish historian is in all essential respects worthy
of full credence. We cannot, however, affirm with confidence that all
the later historical books were put by Ezra and his contemporaries into
the exact form in which we now have them. The book of Nehemiah, for
example, contains some genealogical notices (chap. 12:11, 22) which,
according to any fair interpretation, are of a later date. We are at
liberty to suppose that these were afterwards added officially and in
good faith, as matters of public interest; or, as some think, that the
book itself is an arrangement by a later hand of writings left by
Nehemiah, perhaps also by Ezra; so that while its contents belong, in
every essential respect, to them, it received its present form after
their death. Respecting the question when the canon of the Old Testament
received its finishing stroke, a question which the wisdom of God has
left in obscurity, we must speak with diffidence. We know with certainty
that our present Hebrew canon is identical with that collection of
sacred writings to which our Saviour and his apostles constantly
appealed as invested throughout with divine authority, and this is a
firm basis for our faith.

    The attempt has been made, but without success, to show that a
    portion of the Psalms belongs to the Maccabean age. The words of
    the Psalmist (Psa. 74:8) rendered in our version: "They have
    burned up all the synagogues of God in the land," have no
    reference to the synagogues of a later age, as is now generally
    admitted. The Hebrew word denotes _places of assembly_, and was
    never applied by the later Jews to their synagogues. The
    Psalmist wrote, moreover, in immediate connection with the
    burning of the temple--"they have cast fire into thy sanctuary,
    they have defiled by casting down the dwelling-place of thy name
    to the ground"--and this fixes the date of the Psalm to the
    Chaldean invasion (2 Kings 25:9); for the temple was not burned,
    but only profaned, in the days of the Maccabees. By "the
    assemblies of God," we are probably to understand the ancient
    sacred places, such as Ramah, Bethel, and Gilgal, where the
    people were accustomed to meet, though in a somewhat irregular
    way, for the worship of God. But whether this interpretation be
    correct or not, the words have no reference to the buildings of
    a later age called synagogues.

    Some of the apocryphal writings, as, for example, the book of
    Wisdom, the book of Ecclesiasticus, the first book of Maccabees,
    were highly valued by the ancient Jews. But they were never
    received into the Hebrew canon, because their authors lived
    _after_ "the exact succession of the prophets," which ended with
    Malachi. They knew how to make the just distinction between
    books of human wisdom and books written "by inspiration of God."

18. The earliest notice of the _contents of the Hebrew Canon_ is that
contained in the prologue to the Greek translation of Ecclesiasticus,
where it is described as "the law, the prophets, and the other national
books," "the law, and the prophecies, and the rest of the books,"
according to the three-fold division already considered. Chap. 18, No.
4. Josephus, in the passage already referred to (against Apion, 1. 8),
says: "We have not among us innumerable books discordant and contrary to
each other, but only two-and-twenty, containing the history of all time,
which are justly believed to be divine. And of these five belong to
Moses, which contain the laws and the transmission of human genealogy to
the time of his death. This period of time wants but little of three
thousand years" (the longer chronology followed by him). "But from the
death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes, who was king of the Persians
after Xerxes, the prophets after Moses wrote the history of their times
in thirteen books. The remaining four contain hymns to God and precepts
for human life. From Artaxerxes to our time various books have been
written; but they have not been esteemed worthy of credence like that
given to the books before them, because the exact succession of the
prophets has been wanting." In this list the books of the Old Testament
are artificially arranged to agree with the number _two-and-twenty_,
that of the Hebrew alphabet. The four that contain "hymns to God and
precepts for human life" are, in all probability: Psalms, Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes, Canticles; and the thirteen prophetical books (see below)
are: (1) Joshua, (2) Judges and Ruth, (3) the two books of Samuel, (4)
the two books of Kings, (5) the two books of Chronicles, (6) Ezra and
Nehemiah, (7) Esther, (8) Isaiah, (9) Jeremiah and Lamentations, (10)
Ezekiel, (11) Daniel, (12) the book of the twelve Minor Prophets, (13)
Job. See Oehler in Hertzog's Encyclopædia, Art. Canon of the Old
Testament. Origen, as quoted by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 6.25), and Jerome
(both of whom drew their information concerning the Hebrew Canon
immediately from Jewish scholars, and may, therefore, be regarded as in
a certain sense the expositors of the above list of Josephus) make
mention of the same number, twenty-two. Origen's list unites Ruth with
Judges, puts together the first and second of Samuel, the first and
second of Kings, the first and second of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah
(under the names of the first and second of Ezra), and Jeremiah and
Lamentations (with the addition of the apocryphal Epistle of
Jeremiah--an inconsistency, or rather oversight, to be explained from
his constant habit of using the Septuagint version). In the present text
of Eusebius, the book of the twelve Minor Prophets is wanting. But this
is simply an old error of the scribe, since it is necessary to complete
the number of twenty-two. Jerome's list (Prologus galeatus) is the same,
only that he gives the contents of the Law, the Prophets, and the
Hagiographa in accordance with the Hebrew arrangement, placing Daniel in
the last class, and adding that whatever is without the number of these
must be placed among the Apocryphal writings. Smith's Dict. of the
Bible, Art. Canon. The catalogue of these two distinguished Christian
scholars--Origen of the Eastern church, and Jerome of the Western, both
of whom drew their information immediately from Hebrew scholars--is
decisive, and we need add nothing further.

19. The _Apocryphal books_ of the Old Testament were incorporated into
the Alexandrine version called the Septuagint; but they were never
received by the Jews of Palestine as a part of the sacred volume.
Concerning them and their history, see further in the Appendix to this



In the present chapter only those versions of the Old Testament are
noticed which were made independently of the New. Versions of the whole
Bible, made in the interest of Christianity, are considered in the
following part.


1. This is worthy of special notice as the oldest existing version of
the holy Scriptures, or any part of them, in any language; and also as
the version which exerted a very large influence on the language and
style of the New Testament; for it was extensively used in our Lord's
day not only in Egypt, where it originated, and in the Roman provinces
generally, but also in Palestine; and the quotations in the New
Testament are made more commonly from it than from the Hebrew.

2. The Jewish account of its origin, first noticed briefly by
Aristobulus, a Jew (as quoted by Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius),
then given at great length in a letter which professes to have been
written by one Aristeas, a heathen and a special friend of Ptolemy
Philadelphus, king of Egypt, and the main part of which Josephus has
copied (Antiq. 12. 2), is for substance as follows: Ptolemy Philadelphus
(who reigned from B.C. 285 to 247), at the suggestion of his librarian
Demetrius Phalereus, after having first liberated all the Jewish
captives found in his kingdom, sent an embassy with costly gifts to
Eleazar the high priest at Jerusalem, requesting that he would send him
chosen men, six from each of the twelve tribes, with a copy of the
Jewish law, that it might be interpreted from the Hebrew into the Greek
and laid up in the royal library at Alexandria. Eleazar accordingly sent
the seventy-two elders with a copy of the laws written on parchments in
letters of gold, who were received by the king with high honors,
sumptuously feasted, and afterwards lodged in a palace on an island
(apparently Pharos in the harbor of Alexandria), where they completed
their work in seventy-two days, and were then sent home with munificent
gifts. The story that they were shut up in seventy-two separate cells
(according to another legend two by two in thirty-six cells), where they
had no communication with each other and yet produced as many versions
agreeing with each other word for word, was a later embellishment
designed (as indeed were all the legends respecting the origin of this
version) to exalt its character in the apprehension of the people, and
to gain for it an authority equal to that of the inspired original.

3. The letter ascribed to Aristeas is now generally admitted to be
spurious. It purports to have been written by a heathen scholar, yet it
bears throughout marks of a Jewish origin. It represents the translators
as Jewish elders sent by the high priest from Jerusalem. Yet the version
is acknowledged to be in the Alexandrine Greek dialect. For these and
other reasons learned men ascribe its authorship to a Jew whose object
was to exalt the merits of the Alexandrine version in the estimation of
his nation. But we are not, for this reason, warranted to pronounce the
whole account a pure fable, as many have done. We may well believe that
the work was executed under the auspices of Ptolemy, and for the purpose
of enriching his library. But we must believe that it was executed by
Jews born in Egypt to whom the Greek language was vernacular, and
probably from manuscripts of Egyptian origin. Thus much is manifest from
the face of the version, that it was made by different men, and with
different degrees of ability and fidelity.

    The name _Septuagint_ (Latin, _Septuaginta_), _seventy_, a round
    number for the more exact _seventy-two_, probably arose from
    this tradition of the execution of the work by seventy-two
    elders in seventy-two days. The story of the parchments sent
    from Jerusalem for the use of the translators (with the request
    that they might be returned with them) has been rejected on the
    ground that the text used by them differs too widely from the
    Palestinian text. See further on this subject in No. 5, below.
    It has been further affirmed that Demetrius Phalereus did not
    belong to the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, but to that of his
    father Ptolemy Soter, the son having banished him from court in
    the beginning of his reign. For this reason some have proposed
    to assign the founding of the Alexandrian library to the father
    and not the son. But whatever be our judgment in respect to
    Demetrius and his relation to the two Ptolemies, the voice of
    history is decisive in favor of the son and not the father, as
    the patron of learning.

4. It has been a question whether the Hebrew Scriptures were translated
at one time, or in successive portions. The tradition above considered
speaks only of _the law_, or, in the plural, _the laws_. These might,
perhaps, be understood as comprehensive terms for the whole Old
Testament, but they probably mean the Pentateuch alone, in which both
the Egyptian king and the Jews of his realm would feel a special
interest. It is probable that the Pentateuch--the _Law_ in the proper
sense of the term--was first translated, and afterwards the remaining
books. But how long a period of time was thus occupied cannot be
determined. Respecting the incorporation into this version of the
apocryphal book, see in the appendix to this Part, No. 2.

    When the translator of the Wisdom of Jesus, son of Sirach
    (Ecclesiasticus), says in his prologue, in immediate connection
    with his residence and labors in Egypt, that "the law itself and
    the prophets, and the rest of the books have no small difference
    [as to force] when read in their own tongue," he plainly refers
    to the Septuagint version as complete in his day. He visited
    Egypt "under Euergetes." But to which of the two monarchs who
    bore that title he refers is uncertain. If to the former, it was
    between 246-221 B.C.; if to the latter, between 145-116 B.C.

5. The version varies so much in its different parts that it is not easy
to give its character as a whole. It is agreed among biblical scholars
that the translators of the Pentateuch excelled in ability and fidelity,
according to the well-known judgment of Jerome--"which [the books of
Moses] we also acknowledge to agree more than the others with the
Hebrew." Among the historical books the translations of Samuel and Kings
are the most faulty. Those of the prophets are in general poor,
especially that of Isaiah. That of Daniel was so faulty that the
Christians in later times substituted for it the translation of
Theodotion. See below, No. 10. Among the poetical books that of Proverbs
is the best. As a whole the Septuagint version cannot for a moment enter
into competition with the Hebrew original. Yet, as the most ancient of
versions and one which also represents a text much older than the
Masoretic, its use is indispensable to every scholar who would study the
Old Testament in the original language.

6. Independently of its critical value, the Septuagint must be regarded
with deep interest from its close connection with the New Testament. In
the days of Christ and his apostles it was known and read throughout the
whole Roman empire by the Hellenists; that is, by those Jews and Jewish
proselytes who had the Greek civilization and spoke the Greek language.
As the Alexandrine Greek, in which this version was made, was itself
pervaded throughout with the Hebrew spirit, and to a great extent also
with Hebrew idioms and forms of thought, so was the language of the New
Testament, in turn, moulded and shaped by the dialect of the Septuagint,
nor can the former be successfully studied except in connection with the
latter. Then again the greatest number of quotations in the New
Testament from the Old is made from the Septuagint. According to Mr.
Greenfield (quoted in Smith's Bible Dict., art. Septuagint) "the number
of direct quotations from the Old Testament in the Gospels, Acts, and
Epistles, may be estimated at three hundred and fifty, of which not more
than fifty materially differ from the seventy. But the indirect verbal
allusions would swell the number to a far greater amount." The
discussion of the principles upon which the writers of the New Testament
quote from the Old belongs to another part of this work. It may be
briefly remarked here that they quote in a free spirit, not in that of
servile adherence to the letter, aiming to give the substance of the
sacred writers' thoughts, rather than an exactly literal rendering of
the original word for word.

    The prophecy of Isaiah, for example (6:9, 10), is six times
    quoted in the New Testament, wholly or in part, with very free
    variations of language. Matt. 13:14, 15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10;
    John 12:40; Acts 28: 26, 27; Rom. 11:8. From neither of these
    quotations, nor from all of them combined, could we draw a
    _critical_ argument respecting either the Hebrew or Greek text
    of the passage quoted. Neither can we argue from the exact
    agreement of a quotation in the New Testament with the
    Septuagint where that differs from the Hebrew, that the Hebrew
    text has been corrupted. The New Testament writers are occupied
    with the spirit of the passages to which they refer, rather than
    with the letter.

7. The Hebrew _text_ from which the Septuagint version was executed was
unpointed and much older than the Masoretic text. Were the version more
literal and faithful, and had its text come down to us in a purer form
(see below, Chap. 17, No. 2), it would be of great service in settling
the exact text of the original Hebrew. With its present character, and
in the present condition of its text, it is of but comparatively small
value in this respect. Yet its striking agreement with the text of the
Samaritan Pentateuch (Ch. 13, No. 8) is a phenomenon worthy of special
notice. Biblical scholars affirm that the two agree in more than a
thousand places where they differ from the Hebrew. For the probable
explanation of this see above, Ch. 14, No. 9.

    The reader must be on his guard against the error of supposing
    that these more than a thousand variations from the Hebrew text
    are of such a nature as to affect seriously the system of
    doctrines and duties taught in the Pentateuch. They are rather
    of a critical and grammatical character, changes which leave the
    substance of revelation untouched. See on this point Ch. 3.
    There is one striking agreement between the Samaritan text and
    that of the Septuagint in which many biblical scholars think
    that the true ancient reading has been preserved. It is that of
    Gen. 4:8: "And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go out into
    the field. And it came to pass when they were in the field."


8. In the beginning of Christianity the Septuagint enjoyed, as we have
seen, a high reputation among the Jews; and as a natural consequence,
among the Jewish converts also, as well as the Gentile Christians. To
the great body of Gentile believers it was for the Old Testament the
only source of knowledge, as they were ignorant of the Hebrew original.
They studied it diligently, and used it efficiently against the
unbelieving Jews. Hence there naturally arose in the minds of the latter
a feeling of opposition to this version which became very bitter. They
began to disparage its authority, and to accuse it of misrepresenting
the Hebrew. The next step was to oppose to it another version made by
_Aquila_, which was soon followed by two others, those of _Theodotion_
and _Symmachus_.

9. _Aquila_ is represented to have been a Jewish proselyte of Pontus,
and to have lived in the second century. His version was slavishly
literal, following the Hebrew idiom even where it is contrary to that of
the Greek. For this very reason, not withstanding all the barbarisms
thus introduced, the Jews highly valued it, calling it _the Hebrew
verity_. All that remains of it to us is contained in the fragments of
Origen's Hexapla. See below, No. 12. Had we the whole work, its
extremely literal character would give it great value in a critical
point of view, as it would shed much light on the state of the Hebrew
text when it was executed.

10. _Theodotion_ was, according to Irenæus, an Ephesian. Jerome calls
him and Symmachus Ebionites, Judaizing heretics, and semi-Christians. He
is supposed to have made his version in the last half of the second
century. According to the testimony of the ancients, it had a close
resemblance in character to the Septuagint. He seems to have had this
version before him, and to have made a free use of it. Of the three
later versions, that of Theodotion was most esteemed by the Christians,
and they substituted his translation of the book of Daniel for that of
the Seventy.

11. _Symmachus_, called by the church fathers an Ebionite, but by some a
Samaritan, seems to have flourished not far from the close of the second
century. His version was free, aiming to give the sense rather than the
words. His idiom was Hellenistic, and in this respect resembled the
Septuagint, from the author's familiarity with which, indeed, it
probably took its complexion.

Of other ancient Greek versions discovered by Origen in his Eastern
travels and made by unknown authors it is not necessary to speak.

12. The text of the Septuagint was never preserved so carefully as that
of the Hebrew, and in the days of Origen it had fallen into great
confusion. To meet the objections of the Jews, as well as to help
believers in their study of the Old Testament, Origen undertook first
the work called the _Tetrapla_ (Greek, _fourfold_), which was followed
by the _Hexapla_ (Greek, _sixfold_). To prepare himself he spent
twenty-eight years, travelling extensively and collecting materials. In
the Tetrapla, the text of the Septuagint (corrected by manuscripts of
itself), and those of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus were arranged
side by side in _four_ parallel columns. In the Hexapla there were _six_
columns--(1) the Hebrew in Hebrew characters; (2) the Hebrew expressed
in Greek letters; (3) Aquila; (4) Symmachus; (5) the Septuagint; (6)
Theodotion. See Davidson's Bib. Crit., 1, p. 203; Smith's Bib. Diet., 2,
p. 1202. In some books he used two other Greek versions, and
occasionally even a third, giving in the first case _eight_, in the
second, _nine_ columns.

    "The great work," says Davidson, "consisting of nearly fifty
    volumes; on which he had spent the best years of his life, does
    not seem to have been transcribed--probably in consequence of
    its magnitude and the great expense necessarily attending a
    transcript. It lay unused as a whole fifty years after it was
    finished, till Eusebius and Pamphilus drew it forth from its
    concealment in Tyre, and placed it in the library of the latter
    in Cæsarea. It is thought to have perished there when Cæsarea
    was taken and plundered by the Saracens, A.D. 653." Bib.
    Criticism, 1, p. 206. Well did Origen merit by his vast
    researches and labors the epithet _Adamantinus_ [_Adamantine_]
    bestowed on him by the ancients. Fragments of the Hexapla,
    consisting of extracts made from it by the ancients, have been
    collected and published in two folio volumes by Montfauçon,
    Paris, 1713, and reprinted by Bahrdt in two volumes octavo,
    Leipzig and Lubeck, 1769, 1770. It is the hope of biblical
    scholars that these may be enriched from the Nitrian
    manuscripts. See further, Chap. 28, No. 8.

For the four "Standard Text Editions" of the Septuagint Greek version,
with the principal editions founded on them, the reader may consult the
Bibliographical List appended to the fourth volume of Home's
Introduction, edition of 1860.


13. The Chaldee word _Targum_ means _interpretation_, and is applied to
the translations or paraphrases of the Old Testament in the Chaldee
language. When, after the captivity, the Chaldee had supplanted the
Hebrew as the language of common life, it was natural that the Jews
should desire to have their sacred writings in the language which was to
them vernacular. Thus we account, in a natural way, for the origin of
these Targums, of which there is a considerable number now extant
differing widely in age as well as character. No one of them extends to
the whole Old Testament.

    The question has been raised whether the Targums have for their
    authors single individuals, or are the embodiment of traditional
    interpretations collected and revised by one or more persons.
    Many biblical scholars of the present day incline strongly to
    the latter view, which is not in itself improbable. But the
    decision of the question, in the case of each Targum, rests not
    on theory, but on the character of its contents, as ascertained
    by careful examination.

14. The first place in worth, and probably in time also, belongs to the
_Targum on the Pentateuch_ which bears the name of _Onkelos_. It is a
literal and, upon the whole, an able and faithful version (not
paraphrase) of the Hebrew text, written in good Aramæan, and approaching
in style to the Chaldee parts of Daniel and Ezra. In those passages
which describe God in language borrowed from human attributes
(_anthropomorphic_, _describing God in human forms_, as having eyes,
hands, etc.; _anthropopathic_, _ascribing to God human affections_, as
repenting, grieving, etc.), the author is inclined to use paraphrases;
thus: "And Jehovah smelled a sweet savor" (Gen. 8:21) becomes in this
Targum: "And Jehovah received the sacrifice with favor;" and "Jehovah
went down to see" (Gen. 11:5), "Jehovah revealed himself." So also
strong expressions discreditable to the ancient patriarchs are softened,
as: "Rachel _took_" instead of "Rachel _stole_." Gen. 31:19. In the
poetical passages, moreover, the Targum allows itself more liberty, and
is consequently less satisfactory.

    According to a Jewish tradition, Onkelos was a proselyte and
    nephew of the emperor Titus, so that he must have flourished
    about the time of the destruction of the second temple. But all
    the notices we have of his person are very uncertain. There is
    even ground for the suspicion that the above tradition
    respecting _Onkelos_ relates, by a confusion of persons, to
    _Aquila_ (Chaldee _Akilas_), the author of the Greek version
    already considered. In this case the real author of the Targum
    is unknown, and we can only say that it should not probably be
    assigned to a later date than the close of the second century.

15. Next in age and value is the _Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel_ on the
_Prophets_; that is, according to the Jewish classification (Chap. 13,
No. 4), Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and
the twelve Minor Prophets. In the historical books, this Targum is in
the main literal; but in the prophets (in the stricter sense of the
term) paraphrastic and allegorical.

    The Jewish tradition represents that Jonathan wrote the
    paraphrase of the prophets from the mouth of Haggai, Zechariah,
    and Malachi; a mere fable. Who was the real author cannot be
    determined with certainty, only that he lived after the
    so-called Onkelos.

16. There are two other Targums on the Pentateuch, one of them commonly
known as the _Targum of the Pseudo-Jonathan_ (because falsely ascribed
to the author of the preceding Targum) and the _Jerusalem Targum_. The
latter is of a fragmentary character; and its agreement with the
corresponding passages of the former is so remarkable that it is
generally considered as consisting of extracts taken from it with free
variations. But according to Davidson (in Alexander's Kitto): "The
Jerusalem Targum formed the basis of that of Jonathan; and its own basis
was that of Onkelos. Jonathan used both his predecessors' paraphrases;
the author of the Jerusalem Targum that of Onkelos alone." The style of
Pseudo-Jonathan is barbarous, abounding in foreign words, with the
introduction of many legends, fables, and ideas of a later age. He is
assigned to the seventh century. Keil, Introduc. to Old Testament, §

17. The Targums on the Hagiographa are all of late date. There is one on
_Psalms_, _Job_, and _Proverbs_, the last tolerably accurate and free
from legendary and paraphrastic additions; one on the _five
rolls_--Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Canticles; which is
not a translation, but rather a commentary in the Talmudic style; two on
_Esther_, one on _Chronicles_.

In the present connection, though not belonging properly to the Targums,
may be named the _Samaritan version of the Samaritan Pentateuch_,
printed with the originals in the Paris and London Polyglotts. It is a
literal translation executed in the spirit of the Targum of Onkelos, and
admitting the same class of variations from the letter of the original.


18. This is the oldest version made by Christians from the original
Hebrew. The word _Peshito_ signifies _simple_, indicating that it gives
the simple meaning of the original, without paraphrastic and allegorical
additions. It is upon the whole an able and faithful version. It often
exhibits a resemblance to the Alexandrine version. We may readily
suppose that the translator, though rendering from the original Hebrew,
was familiar with the Septuagint, and that this exerted upon his work a
certain degree of influence. The Peshito was the standard version for
the Syriac Christians, being used alike by all parties; a fact which is
naturally explained by its high antiquity. If it be of the same date as
the New Testament Peshito, it may be placed not far from the close of
the second century.

The _Old Latin_, and in connection with this, the _Vulgate_ of Jerome,
with some other ancient versions of the Old Testament, will be
considered in connection with the New Testament.



1. The only _legitimate criticism_ of the sacred text is that which has
for its object to restore it, as far as possible, to its primitive form.
Had we the autograph of Moses in the exact form in which he deposited it
in the sanctuary (Deut. 31:26), this would be a perfect text; and so of
any other book of the Old Testament. In the absence of the autographs,
which have all perished, we are still able to establish the form of
their text with a reasonable degree of certainty for all purposes of
faith and practice. The means of accomplishing this are now to be

2. Here _ancient manuscripts_ hold the first place. It is obvious,
however, that in settling the true reading of a given passage we cannot
look simply to the number of manuscript testimonies. The _quality_ of
the manuscripts must also be taken into account. Here age is of primary
importance. Other things being equal, the oldest are the most worthy of
credence, as being nearest to the original sources. But, in estimating
the testimony of a manuscript, there are other qualities besides age
that must be carefully considered--the care of the transcriber; its
freedom from interpolations by later hands (which can, however, as a
general rule, be easily detected); and especially its independence, that
is, its independence as compared with other manuscripts. We may have a
group of manuscripts whose peculiar readings mark them as having come
from a single source. Properly speaking, their testimony is valid only
for the text of their source. The authority of a single independent
manuscript may be equal in weight to their combined testimony. Then,
again, the character of the different readings must be considered. The
easiest reading--that which most naturally suggests itself to the
scribe--has less presumption in its favor than a more difficult reading;
and that on the simple ground that it is more likely that an easy should
have been substituted for a difficult reading than the reverse. There
are many other points which would need discussion in a work designed for
biblical critics; but for the purposes of this work the above brief
hints are sufficient.

    The Masoretic manuscripts have a great degree of uniformity, and
    are all comparatively recent. Chap. 14, No. 7. We have reason to
    believe that the Hebrew text which they exhibit has a good
    degree of purity. But we cannot consider these manuscripts as so
    many independent witnesses. The text of the Samaritan Pentateuch
    is independent of the Masoretic text. Could we believe that we
    possess it in a tolerably pure form, its critical value would be
    very great. But, according to the judgment of the best biblical
    scholars, it has been subjected to so many alterations, that its
    critical authority is of small account.

3. Next in order come _ancient versions_, the value of which for
critical purposes depends on their character as literal or free, and
also upon the state of their text as we possess it. Other things being
equal, the authority of a version is manifestly inferior to that of a
manuscript of the original. But a version may have been made from a more
ancient form of the original text than any which we have in existing
manuscripts; and thus it may be indirectly a witness of great value. The
extremely literal version of Aquila (Chap. 16, No. 9) was made in the
second century. Could we recover it, its testimony to the Hebrew text,
as it then existed, would be of great value. The Septuagint version was
made (at least begun) in the third century before Christ. But its free
character diminishes, and the impure state of its text greatly injures
its critical authority. Of the Targums, those of Onkelos and Jonathan
alone are capable of rendering any service in the line of sacred
criticism, and this is not of much account.

4. We have also _primary-printed editions_ of the Hebrew Bible--those
printed from Hebrew manuscripts, which the reader may see noticed in
Horne's Bibliographical List, Appendix to vol. 4. The critical authority
of these depends on that of the manuscripts used, which were all of the
Masoretic recension.

5. _Parallel passages_--parallel in a _critical_ and not simply in a
_historical_ respect--are passages which profess not merely to give an
account of the same transaction, but to repeat the same text. Well known
examples are: the song of David recorded in the twenty-second chapter of
the second book of Samuel, and repeated as the eighteenth psalm; the
fourteenth and fifty-third psalms, etc. Such repetitions possess for
every biblical student a high interest. But in the _critical_ use of
them great caution is necessary. It must be ascertained, first of all,
whether they proceed from the same, or from a different writer. In the
latter case they are only historical imitations. If, as in the case of
the above-named passages, they manifestly have the same author, the
inquiry still remains _how_ the differences arose. They may be different
recensions of the same writer (in this case, of David himself), or of
another inspired writer, who thus sought to adapt them more
perfectly--the fifty-third psalm, for example--to the circumstances of
his own day. The gift of inspiration made the later writer, in this
respect, coördinate in authority with the earlier.

    _Historical_ parallelism, such as those in the books of
    Chronicles, as compared with the earlier historical books, do
    not properly belong here. Yet these also sometimes furnish
    critical help, especially in respect to names and dates.

6. The _quotations_ from the Old Testament _in the New_ have for every
believer the highest authority; more, however, in a _hermeneutical_ than
a _critical_ respect. For, as already remarked (Chap. 16, No. 6), the
New Testament writers quote mostly from the Septuagint, and in a very
free way. The whole subject of these quotations will come up hereafter
under the head of Biblical Interpretation.

7. _Quotations_ from the Old Testament in the _Talmud_ and _later
rabbinical writers_ are another source of sacred criticism. The Talmud,
embodying the ecclesiastical and civil law of the Jews according to
their traditions, consists of two parts, the _Mishna_, or text,
generally referred to the last half of the second century, and the
_Gemara_, or _commentary_ on the Mishna. The Mishna is one; but
connected with this are two Gemaras of later origin; the more copious
_Babylonian_, and the briefer _Jerusalem_ Gemara; whence the distinction
of the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud. Whether because the Hebrew text
was rigidly settled in its present form in the days of the Talmudists,
or because their quotations have been made to agree with the Masorah, an
examination of the Talmud furnishes few various readings that are of any
importance. Most of them relate to trifling particulars. The quotations
of later rabbinical writers are of small account in a critical respect.

8. It remains to speak of _critical conjecture_. Of this a wise and
reverent scholar will make a very cautious use. He will content himself
with offering to the public his suggestions, without venturing to
incorporate them into the text itself. The recklessness of some modern
critics, who make an abundance of conjectural emendations, and then
embody them in their versions, with only a brief note, deserves severe
condemnation. Had the ancient critics generally adopted this uncritical
method, the sacred text would long ago have fallen into irretrievable

    We add an example where critical conjecture is in place, though
    it may not venture to alter the established reading. In Psalm
    42, the last clause of verse 6 and the beginning of verse 7,
    written continuously without a division of words (Chap. 13, No.
    5), would read thus:

    [Hebrew: ky'od'odnu'sho'tpnyu'lhy'lynpshytshtvhh]

    With the present division of words:

    [Hebrew: ky 'od 'odnu 'sho't pnyu 'lhy 'ly npshy tshtvhh]

    the clauses are to be translated, as in our version:

    _For I shall yet praise him_ [for] _the salvation of his
    countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me_.

    Divided as follows (by the transfer of a single letter to the
    following word).

    [Hebrew: ky 'od 'odnu 'sho't pny u'lhy 'ly npshy tshtvhh]

    the rendering would be:

    _For I shall yet praise him_, [who is] _the salvation of my
    countenance and my God. My soul is cast down within me_.

    Thus the refrain would agree exactly with the two that follow
    (ver. 11 and 43:5). Yet this conjecture, however plausible, is
    uncertain, since we do not know that the sacred writer sought
    exact uniformity in the three refrains.

9. _General remark_ on the various readings of the sacred text. As a
general rule, the various readings with which textual criticism is
occupied have respect to minor points--for the most part points of a
trivial nature; and even where the variations are of more importance,
they are not of such a character as to obscure, much less change, the
truths of revelation in any essential respect. Biblical critics tell us,
for example, that the Samaritan Pentateuch agrees with the Septuagint
version in more than a thousand places where they differ from the
Masoretic Hebrew text. Chap. 16, No. 7. Yet these three texts all
exhibit the same God, and the same system of doctrines and duties.
Revelation does not lie in letters and syllables and grammatical forms,
but in the deep and pure and strong and broad current of truth "given by
inspiration of God." Reverence for the inspired word makes us anxious to
possess the sacred text in all possible purity. Yet if we cannot attain
to absolute perfection in this respect, we have reasonable assurance
that God, who gave the revelation contained in the Old Testament, has
preserved it to us unchanged in any essential particular. The point on
which most obscurity and uncertainty rests is that of scriptural
chronology; and this is not one that affects Christian faith or




1. The province of _Particular Introduction_ is to consider the books of
the Bible separately, in respect to their authorship, date, contents,
and the place which each of them holds in the system of divine truth.
Here it is above all things important that we begin with the idea of the
_unity of divine revelation_--that all the parts of the Bible constitute
a gloriously perfect whole, of which God and not man is the author. No
amount of study devoted to a given book or section of the Old Testament,
with all the help that modern scholarship can furnish, will give a true
comprehension of it, until we understand it in its relations to the rest
of Scripture, We cannot, for example, understand the book of Genesis out
of connection with the four books that follow, nor the book of
Deuteronomy separated from the four that precede. Nor can we fully
understand the Pentateuch as a whole except in the light of the
historical and prophetical books which follow; for these unfold the
divine purpose in the establishment of the Theocracy as recorded in the
Pentateuch. The Pentateuch itself gives us only the _constitution_ of
the Theocracy. The books that follow, taken in connection with, the New
Testament, reveal its _office_ in the plan of redemption; and not till
we know this can we be said to have an intelligent comprehension of the
theocratic system. The same is true of every other part of revelation.

    The words of the apostle: "Ever learning, and never able to come
    to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7), apply to many
    learned commentaries. Their authors have brought to them much
    accurate scholarship and research; but they have not seen the
    unity of divine truth. They have written mainly in an
    antiquarian spirit and interest, regarding the work under
    consideration simply as an ancient and venerable record. They
    have diligently sought for connections in philology, in
    antiquities, and in history. In these respects they have thrown
    much light on the sacred text. But they have never once thought
    of inquiring what place the book which they have undertaken to
    interpret holds in the divine system of revelation--perhaps have
    had no faith in such a system. Consequently they cannot unfold
    to others that which they do not themselves apprehend. On a
    hundred particulars they may give valuable information, but that
    which constitutes the very life and substance of the book
    remains hidden from their view.

2. It is necessary that we understand, first of all, the relation of the
Old Testament as a whole to the system of revealed truth. It is a
_preparatory_ revelation introductory to one that is _final_. This the
New Testament teaches in explicit terms. "When the fulness of the time
was come, God sent forth his Son." Gal. 4:4. Christ could not have come
in the days of Enoch before the flood, nor of Abraham after the flood,
because "the fulness of the time" had not yet arrived. Nor was the way
for his advent prepared in the age of Moses, or David, or Isaiah, or
Ezra. The gospel everywhere assumes that when the Saviour appeared, men
had attained to a state of comparative maturity in respect to both the
knowledge of God and the progress of human society. The attentive reader
of the New Testament cannot fail to notice how fully its writers avail
themselves of all the revelations which God had made in the Old
Testament of himself, of the course of his providence, and of his
purposes towards the human family. The _unity of God_, especially, is
assumed as a truth so firmly established in the national faith of the
Jews, that the doctrine of our Lord's deity, and that of the Holy
Spirit, can be taught without the danger of its being misunderstood in a
polytheistic sense--as if the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were
three gods. It is certain that this could not have been done any time
before the Babylonish captivity. The idea of _vicarious sacrifice_,
moreover--that great fundamental idea of the gospel that "without
shedding of blood there is no remission"--the writers of the New
Testament found ready at hand, and in its light they interpreted the
mission of Christ. Upon his very first appearance, John the Baptist, his
forerunner, exclaimed to the assembled multitudes: "Behold the Lamb of
God, which taketh away the sin of the world." To the Jew, with his
training under the Mosaic system of sacrifices, how significant were
these words! Without such a previous training, how meaningless to him
and to the world for which Christ died! Then again the gospel, in strong
contrast with the Mosaic law, deals in _general principles_. Herein it
assumes a comparative maturity of human thought--a capacity to include
many particulars under one general idea. A beautiful illustration of
this is our Lord's summary of social duties; "Therefore all things
whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:
for this is the law and the prophets." Matt. 7:12. We may add (what is
indeed implied in the preceding remark) that the gospel required for its
introduction a _well-developed state of civilization_ and culture, as
contrasted with one of rude barbarism. Now the Hebrews were introduced,
in the beginning of their national existence, to the civilization of
Egypt; which, with all its defects, was perhaps as good a type as then
existed in the world. Afterwards they were brought successively into
intimate connection with Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman
civilization; particularly with the last two. This was, moreover, at a
time when their national training under the Mosaic institutions had
given them such maturity of religious character that they were not in
danger of being seduced into the idolatrous worship of these nations.
Dispersed throughout all the provinces of the Roman empire, they still
maintained firmly the religion of their fathers; and their synagogues
everywhere constituted central points for the introduction of the
gospel, and its diffusion through the Gentile world. Such are some of
the many ways in which the world was prepared for the Redeemer's advent.
This is a vast theme, on which volumes could be written. The plan of the
present work will only admit of the above brief hints.

    Our Lord's command is: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the
    gospel to every creature." The history of missions shows that
    the gospel can be preached with success to the most degraded
    tribes--to the Hottentots of South Africa and the cannibals of
    the South sea islands, and that this is the only remedy for
    their barbarism. But the gospel did not _begin_ among savages,
    nor does it have its centres of power and influence among them.
    Christ came at the culminating point of ancient civilization and
    culture; not that he might conform his gospel to existing
    institutions and ideas, but that he might through his gospel
    infuse into them (as far as they contained elements of truth)
    the purifying and transforming leaven of divine truth. As the
    gospel began in the midst of civilization, so does its
    introduction among barbarous tribes always bring civilization in
    its train.

3. When we have learned to regard the revelation of which we have a
record in the Old Testament as preparatory to the gospel, we see it in
its true light. This view furnishes both the key to its character and
the answer to the objections commonly urged against it. It is not a
revelation of abstract truths. These would neither have excited the
interest of the people, nor have been apprehended by them. God made
known to the covenant people his character and the duties which he
required of them by a series of _mighty acts_ and a system of _positive
laws_. The Old Testament, is, therefore, in an eminent degree
_documentary_--a record not simply of opinions, but rather of actions
and institutions. Of these actions and institutions we are to judge from
the character of the people and the age in connection with the great end
proposed by God. This end was not the material prosperity of Israel, but
the preparation of the nation for its high office as the medium through
which the gospel should afterwards be given to the world. The people
were rebellious and stiff-necked, and surrounded by polytheism and
idolatry. Their training required severity, and all the severity
employed by God brought forth at last its appropriate fruits. The laws
imposed upon them were stern and burdensome from their multiplicity. But
no one can show that in either of these respects they could have been
wisely modified; for the nation was then in its childhood and pupilage
(Gal. 4:1-3), and needed to be treated accordingly.

An objection much insisted on by some is the _exclusive_ character of
the Mosaic institutions--a religion, it is alleged, for only one nation,
while all the other nations were left in ignorance. To this a summary
answer can be given. In selecting Israel as his covenant people, God had
in view the salvation of the whole world: "In thee shall all families of
the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3)--such was the tenor of the covenant
from the beginning. His plan was to bring one nation into special
relation to himself, establish in it the true religion, prepare it for
the advent of Christ, and then propagate the gospel from it as a centre
throughout all nations. If men are to be dealt with in a moral way, as
free, responsible subjects of law (and this is the only way in which God
deals with men under a system of either natural or revealed religion),
can the objector propose any better way? He might as well object to the
procedure of a military commander that, instead of spreading his army
over a whole province, he concentrates it on one strong point. Let him
wait patiently, and he will find that in gaining this point the
commander gains the whole country.

4. Having seen the relation of the Old Testament as a whole to the
system of divine revelation, we are now prepared to consider the place
occupied by its _several divisions_.

(1.) To prepare the way for our Lord's advent, one nation was to be
selected and trained up under a system of divine laws and
ordinances--the _theocracy_ established under Moses. The _Pentateuch_
records _the establishment of the theocracy_, with the previous steps
that led to it, and the historical events immediately connected with.
it. Hence the five books of Moses are called emphatically _the Law_; and
as such, their province in the Old Testament is clear and well defined.

(2.) The end of the Mosaic law being the preparation of the Israelitish
people, and through them the world, for Christ's advent, it was not the
purpose of God that it should be hidden as a dead letter beside the ark
in the inner sanctuary. It was a code for practice, not for theory. It
contained the constitution of the state, civil as well as religious; and
God's almighty power and faithfulness were pledged that it should
accomplish in a thorough way the office assigned to it. The theocracy
must therefore have a _history_; and with the record of this the
_historical books_ are occupied.

(3.) God did not leave the development of this history to itself. He
watched over it from the beginning, and directed its course, interposing
from time to time, not only in a providential way, but also by direct
revelation. Sometimes, for specific ends, he revealed himself
immediately _to_ particular individuals, as to Gideon, and Manoah and
his wife. But more commonly his revelations were made to the rulers or
people at large _through_ persons selected as the organs of his Spirit;
that is, through _prophets_. The prophet held his commission immediately
from God. Since God is the author, not of confusion, but of order, he
came to the people _under_ the Law, not above it; and his messages were
to be tried by the Law. Deut. 13:1-5. No prophet after Moses enjoyed the
same fulness of access to God which was vouchsafed to him, or received
the same extent of revelation. Numb. 12:6-8; Deut. 34:10-12.
Nevertheless, the prophet came to rulers and people, like Moses, with an
authority derived immediately from God, introducing his messages with
the words: "Thus saith the Lord." In God's name he rebuked the people
for their sins; explained to them the true cause of the calamities that
befell them; recalled them to God's service as ordained in the Law,
unfolding to them at the same time its true nature as consisting in the
spirit, and not in the letter only--1 Sam. 15:22; Isa. 1:11-20; 57:15;
66:2; Jer. 4:4; Ezek. 18:31; Hosea 10:12; 14:2; Joel 2:12, 13; Amos 5:
21-24; Micah 6: 6-8--denounced upon them the awful judgments of God as
the punishment of continued disobedience; and promised them the
restoration of his favor upon condition of hearty repentance. In the
decline of the Theocracy, it was the special province of the prophets to
comfort the pious remnant of God's people by unfolding to them the
future glory of Zion--the true "Israel of God," and her dominion over
all the earth. From about the reign of Uzziah and onward, as already
remarked (ch. 15. 12), the prophets began, under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit, to reduce their prophecies to writing, and thus arose the
series of _prophetical books_ that form a prominent part of the Old
Testament canon. Their office is at once recognized by every reader as
distinct from that of either the Pentateuch or the historical books;
although these latter were, as a general rule, written by prophets also.

(4.) There is a class, more miscellaneous in character, that may be
described in general terms as the _poetical books_, in which the
elements of meditation and reflection predominate. It includes the book
of Job, which has for its theme divine providence, as viewed from the
position of the Old Testament; the book of Psalms, that wonderful
treasury of holy thought and feeling embodied in sacred song for the use
of God's people in all ages; the book of Proverbs, with its
inexhaustible treasures of practical wisdom; the book of Ecclesiastes,
having for its theme the vanity of this world when sought as a
satisfying good; and the book of Canticles, which the church has always
regarded as a mystical song having for its ground-idea, under the Old
Testament, that God is the husband of Zion, and under the New, that the
church is the bride of Christ. How high a place this division of the
canon holds in the system of divine revelation every pious heart feels
instinctively. Without it, the revelation of the Old Testament could not
have been complete for the work assigned to it.

5. We have seen the relation of the Old Testament as a whole to the
entire system of revelation, and also the place occupied by its several
divisions. It will further appear, as we proceed, that each particular
book in these divisions contributes its share to the perfection of the

6. Although the revelation contained in the Old Testament was
preparatory to the fuller revelation of the New, we must guard against
the error of supposing that it had not a proper significance and use for
the men of its own time. "Unto us," says the apostle, "was the gospel
preached, _as well as unto them_." Heb. 4:2. And again: "These all died
in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar
off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that
they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." "And these all, having
obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God
having provided some better tiling for us, _that they without us should
not be made perfect_." Heb. 11:13, 39, 40. They had a part of the truth,
but not its fulness; and the measure of revelation vouchsafed to them
was given for their personal salvation, as well as to prepare the way
for further revelations. The promise made to Abraham--"In thy seed shall
all the nations of the earth be blessed"--was fulfilled in Christ. In
this respect Abraham "received not the promise." Nevertheless, it was a
promise made for his benefit, as well as for that of future ages. Into
the bosom of the patriarch it brought light and joy and salvation. "Your
father Abraham," said Jesus, "rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and
was glad." John 8:56. "He believed in the Lord," says the inspired
record, "and he counted it to him for righteousness." Gen. 15:6. The
deliverance of Israel from Egypt typified the redemption of Christ; and
it was, moreover, one of the grand movements that prepared the way for
his advent. But it was neither all type nor all preparation. To the
covenant people of that day it was a true deliverance; and to the
believing portion of them, a deliverance of soul as well as of body.
"The law," says Paul, "was our school-master to bring us unto Christ,
that we might be justified by faith." Gal. 3:24. But while it had this
preparatory office, it was to the Israelitish nation a true rule of
life; and under it many, through faith, anticipated its end. The
prophets prophesied for the men of their own age, as well as for distant
generations. The sweet psalmist of Israel, while he foreshadowed the
Messiah's reign, sung for the comfort and edification of himself and his
contemporaries; and Solomon gave rules of practical wisdom as valid for
his day as for ours. The revelation of the Old Testament was not
complete, like that which we now possess; but it was sufficient for the
salvation of every sincere inquirer after truth. When the rich man in
hell besought Abraham that Lazarus might be sent to warn his five
brethren on the ground that, if one went to them from the dead they
would repent, Abraham answered: "If they hear not Moses and the
prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead."

7. There is another practical error against which Christians of the
present day need to be warned. It is the idea that the full revelation
of the New Testament supersedes in a great measure the necessity of
studying the previous revelation contained in the Old Testament. Few
will openly avow this, but too many inwardly cherish the delusion in a
vague and undefined form; and it exerts a pernicious influence upon
them, leading them to undervalue and neglect the Old Testament
Scriptures. Even if the idea under consideration were in accordance with
truth, it would still be to every earnest Christian a matter of deep
historical interest to study the way by which God prepared the world for
the full light of the gospel. But it is not true. It rests on a
foundation of error and delusion. For, (1.) The system of divine
revelation constitutes a _whole_, all the parts of which are connected,
from beginning to end, so that no single part can be truly understood
without a knowledge of all the rest. The impenetrable darkness that
rests on some portions of Scripture has its ground in the fact that the
plan of redemption is not yet completed. The mighty disclosures of the
future can alone dissipate this darkness.

  "God is his own interpreter,
  And he will make it plain."

(2.) We know that the writers of the New Testament constantly refer to
the Old for arguments and illustrations. A knowledge of the Old
Testament is necessary, therefore, for a full comprehension of their
meaning. How can the reader, for example, understand the epistles to the
Romans and Galatians, or that to the Hebrews, without a thorough
acquaintance with "Moses and the prophets," to which these epistles have
such constant reference? (3.) The Old Testament is occupied with the
record of God's dealings with men. Such a record must be a perpetual
revelation of God's infinite attributes, and of human character also,
and the course of human society, every part of which is luminous with
instruction. (4.) Although the old theocracy, with its particular laws
and forms of worship, has passed away, yet the _principles_ on which it
rested, which interpenetrated it in every part, and which shone forth
with a clear light throughout its whole history--these principles are
eternal verities, as valid for us as for the ancient patriarchs. Some of
these principles--for example, God's unity, personality, and infinite
perfections; his universal providence; his supremacy over all nations;
the tendency of nations to degeneracy, and the stern judgments employed
by God to reclaim them--are so fully unfolded in the Old Testament that
they needed no repetition in the New. There they became _axioms_ rather
than doctrines. (5.) "The manifold wisdom of God" in adapting his
dealings with men to the different stages of human progress cannot be
seen without a diligent study of the Old Testament as well as the New.
Whoever neglects the former, will want breadth and comprehensiveness of
Christian culture. All profound Christian writers have been well versed
in "the whole instrument of each Testament," as Tertullian calls the two
parts of revelation. Chap. 13, No. 2.

Modern skepticism begins with disparaging the Old Testament, and ends
with denying the divine authority of both the Old and the New. In this
work it often unites a vast amount of learning in regard to particulars
with principles that are superficial and false.



1. The _unity of the Pentateuch_ has already been considered (Ch. 9, No.
12), and will appear more fully as we proceed with the examination of
the separate books included in it. Even if we leave out of view the
authority of the New Testament, this unity is too deep and fundamental
to allow of the idea that it is a patchwork of later ages. Under divine
guidance the writer goes steadily forward from beginning to end, and his
work when finished is a symmetrical whole. Even its apparent
incongruities, like the interweaving of historical notices with the
laws, are marks of its genuineness; for they prove that, in those parts
at least, events were recorded as they transpired. Such a blending of
history with revelation does not impair the unity of the work; for it is
a unity which has its ground not in severe logical arrangement and
classification, but in a divine plan historically developed. Whether the
division of the Pentateuch into five books (whence its Greek name
_Pentateuchos_, _fivefold book_) was original, proceeding from the
author himself, or the work of a later age, is a question on which
biblical scholars are not agreed. It is admitted by all that the
division is natural and appropriate. The Hebrew titles of the several
books are taken from prominent words standing at or near the beginning
of each. The Greek names are expressive of their prominent contents; and
these are followed in the Latin Vulgate and in our English version, only
that the name of the fourth book is translated.


2. The Hebrews _name_ this book _Bereshith_, _in the beginning_, from
the first word. Its Greek name _Genesis_ signifies _generation_,
_genealogy_. As the genealogical records with which the book abounds
contain historical notices, and are, in truth, the earliest form of
history, the word is applied to the history of the creation, and of the
ancient patriarchs, as well as to the genealogical lists of their
families. Gen. 2:4; 25:19; 37:2 etc. In the same wide sense is it
applied to the book itself.

3. Genesis is the _introductory book_ to the Pentateuch, without which
our understanding of the following books would be incomplete. Let us
suppose for a moment that we had not this book. We open the book of
Exodus and read of "the children of Israel which came into Egypt;" that
"Joseph was in Egypt already," and that "there arose up a new king over
Egypt, which knew not Joseph." Who were these children of Israel? we at
once ask; and how did they come to be in Egypt? Who was Joseph? and what
is the meaning of the notice that the new king knew not Joseph? All
these particulars are explained in the book of Genesis, and without them
we must remain in darkness. But the connection of this book with the
following is not simply explanatory; it is _organic_ also, entering into
the very substance of the Pentateuch. We are told (Ex. 2:24, 25) that
God heard the groaning of his people in Egypt, and "God remembered his
covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; and God looked upon
the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them." The remembrance
of his covenant with their fathers is specified as the ground of his
interposition. Now the covenant made with Abraham, and afterwards
renewed to Isaac and Jacob, was not a mere incidental event in the
history of the patriarchs and their posterity. It constituted the very
essence of God's peculiar relation to Israel; and, as such, it was the
platform on which the whole theocracy was afterwards erected. The nation
received the law at Sinai _in pursuance_ of the original covenant made
with their fathers; and unless we understand the nature of this
covenant, we fail to understand the meaning and end of the law itself.
The very information which we need is contained in Genesis; for from the
twelfth chapter onward this book is occupied with an account of this
covenant, and of God's dealings with the patriarchs in connection with
it. The story of Joseph, which unites such perfect simplicity with such
deep pathos, is not thrown in as a pleasing episode. Its end is to show
how God accomplished his purpose, long before announced to Abraham (ch.
15:13), that the Israelites should be "a stranger in a land not theirs."

But the Abrahamic covenant itself finds its explanation in the previous
history. For two thousand years God had administered the government of
the world without a visible church. And what was the result? Before the
flood the degeneracy of the human family was universal. God, therefore,
swept them all away, and began anew with Noah and his family. But the
terrible judgment of the deluge was not efficacious to prevent the new
world from following the example of the old. In the days of Abraham the
worship of God had been corrupted through polytheism and idolatry, and
ignorance and wickedness were again universal. The time had manifestly
come for the adoption of a new economy, in which God should, for the
time being, concentrate his special labors upon a single nation but with
ultimate reference to the salvation of the whole world. Thus we have in
the book of Genesis in a certain measure (for we may not presume to
speak of God's counsels as fully apprehended by us) an explanation of
the Abrahamic covenant, and, in this, of the Mosaic economy also.

4. In accordance with the above view, the book of Genesis falls into two
unequal, but natural divisions. The _first_ part extends through eleven
chapters, and is occupied with the history of _the human family as a
whole_. It is the oldest record in existence, and its contents are
perfectly unique. It describes in brief terms: the order of creation;
the institution of the Sabbath and marriage; the probation to which man
was subjected, with its disastrous result in his fall and expulsion from
Eden; the murder of Abel by Cain, and, in connection with this, the
division of mankind into two families; man's universal degeneracy; the
deluge; the covenant made by God with the earth through Noah, and the
law of murder; the confusion of tongues at Babel, and the consequent
dispersion of the different families of men, a particular account of
which is given by way of anticipation in the tenth chapter. In addition
to these notices there are two genealogical tables; the first from Adam
to Noah (ch. 5), the second from Shem to Abraham (ch. 11).

The _second_ part comprises the remainder of the book. In this we have
no longer a history of the whole race, but of Abraham's family, with
only incidental notices of the nations into connection with whom Abraham
and his posterity were brought. It opens with an account of the call of
Abraham and the covenant made with him; notices the repeated renewal of
this covenant to Abraham, with the institution of the rite of
circumcision; its subsequent renewal to Isaac and Jacob; and the
exclusion, first of Ishmael and afterwards of Esau, from a share in its
privileges. In immediate connection with the covenant relation into
which God took Abraham and his family, we have the history of the
patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, sometimes with much detail, but
always with reference to the peculiar prerogative conferred upon them.
The book closes with an account of the wonderful train of providences by
which Israel was brought into Egypt.

    Though Ishmael and Esau were excluded from the covenant, yet,
    apparently in consequence of their near relation to the
    patriarchs, genealogical tables are devoted to them; to Ishmael,
    ch. 25:12-18; to Esau, the whole of ch. 36.

5. The _Mosaic authorship_ of Genesis has already been considered; and,
in connection with this, the question whether the Pentateuch, and
especially Genesis, contains any clauses of a later date, Ch. 9, No. 11.
Some, as Hengstenberg and his followers, deny the existence of such
clauses; but others think that a few must be admitted, which were
afterwards added, as needful explanations, by prophetical men. We are at
liberty to decide either way concerning them according to the evidence
before us. On the question whether Moses made use of earlier written
documents, see Ch. 9, No. 11.

    The clauses for which a later date can with any show of reason
    be claimed are few in number, and none of them enter essentially
    into the texture of the book. They are just such extraneous
    remarks as the necessities of a later age required; for example,
    Gen. 36:31; Ex. 16:35. On the last of these, Graves, who
    considers it "_plainly a passage inserted by a later hand_,"
    says: "I contend that the insertion of such notes rather
    confirms than impeaches the integrity of the original narrative.
    If this were a compilation long subsequent to the events it
    records" (according to the false assumption of some respecting
    the origin of the Pentateuch), "such additions would not have
    been plainly distinguishable, as they now are, from the main
    substance of the original." On the Pentateuch, Appendix, sec. 1,
    No. 13.

6. The contents of the first part of this book are peculiar. It is not
strange, therefore, that we should encounter _difficulties_ in the
attempt to interpret them. To consider these difficulties in detail
would be to write a commentary on the first eleven chapters. Only some
general remarks can here be offered. Some difficulties are imaginary,
the inventions of special pleading. In these the commentaries of modern
rationalists abound. They are to be set aside by fair interpretation.
But other difficulties are real, and should not be denied or ignored by
the honest expositor. If he can give a valid explanation of them, well
and good; but if not, let him reverently wait for more light, in the
calm assurance that the divine authority of the Pentateuch rests on a
foundation that cannot be shaken. To deny a well-authenticated narrative
of facts on the ground of unexplained difficulties connected with it is
to build on a foundation of error.

    (A.) Of the difficulties connected with the first part of
    Genesis some are _scientific_. Such is the narrative of the
    creation of the world in six days. Respecting this it has
    already been remarked (Ch. 10, No. 3) that with all who believe
    in the reality of divine revelation the question is not
    respecting the truth of this narrative, but respecting the
    interpretation of it. As long ago as the time of Augustine the
    question was raised whether these days are to be understood
    literally, or symbolically of long periods of time. The latter
    was his view, and it is strengthened by the analogy of the
    prophetic days of prophecy.

    Another difficulty relates to the age of the antediluvian
    patriarchs, which was about tenfold the present term of life for
    robust and healthful men. According to the laws of physiology we
    must suppose that the period of childhood and youth was
    protracted in a corresponding manner; since in man, as in all
    the higher animals, the time of physical growth--physical growth
    in the widest sense, the process of arriving at physical
    maturity--has a fixed relation to the whole term of existence.
    After the deluge, in some way not understood by us, the whole
    course of human life began to be gradually quickened--to run its
    round in a shorter time--till the age of man was at last reduced
    to its present measure. All that we can say here is that we do
    not know how God accomplished this result. He accomplished it in
    a secret and invisible way, as he does so many other of his
    operations in nature. On the discrepancy between the Masoretic
    Hebrew text, the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and that of
    the Septuagint, in respect to the genealogical tables in
    Genesis, see below.

    The _unity of the human race_ is everywhere assumed in
    Scripture. Some modern scientific men have denied this, but
    their arguments for a diversity of origin do not amount to
    positive proof. They are theoretic rather than demonstrative,
    and the weight of evidence is against them. We must remember,
    moreover, that man lives under a supernatural dispensation. The
    narrative in the eleventh chapter of Genesis seems to imply that
    God interposed miraculously to confound human speech, in
    accordance with his plan to scatter men "abroad upon the face of
    all the earth." In like manner he may have interposed in a
    secret way to intensify the diversity in the different races of
    men. It does not appear certain, however, on physiological
    grounds, that any miraculous interposition was needed; and we
    may leave the question of the manner in which the present
    diversity among the children of Adam was produced among the
    secret things of which it is not necessary that we should have
    an explanation.

    The question of the _universality of the deluge_ is with
    believers in revelation one of words only, on which it is hardly
    necessary to waste time. The _end_ of the deluge was the
    complete destruction of the human race, all but Noah and his
    family. This it accomplished, and why need we raise any further
    inquiries; as, for example, whether the polar lands, where no
    man has ever trod, were submerged also? "All the high hills
    under the whole heaven" doubtless included all the high hills
    where man lived, and which, therefore, were known to man.

    (B.) Another class of difficulties is _historical_, consisting
    in alleged inconsistencies and disagreements between different
    parts of the narrative. For the details of these, the reader
    must be referred to the commentaries. One or two only can be
    noticed as specimens of the whole. It is said that the second
    account of the creation (Gen. 2:4-25) is inconsistent with the
    first; the order of creation in the first being animals, then
    man; in the second, man, then animals. But the answer is
    obvious. In the first account, the order of succession in the
    several parts of creation is one of the main features. It
    distinctly announces that, _after_ God had finished the rest of
    his works, he made man in his own image. The second account, on
    the other hand, which is introductory to the narrative of man's
    sin and expulsion from Eden, takes no notice of the order of
    creation in its several parts. In this, man is the _central_
    object, and other things are mentioned incidentally in their
    relation to man. The writer has no occasion to speak of trees
    good for food till a _home_ is sought for Adam; nor of beasts
    and birds till a _companion_ is needed for him. Then each of
    these things is mentioned in connection with him. No candid
    interpreter can infer from this that the second account means to
    give, as the veritable order of creation--man, the garden of
    Eden, beasts and birds!

    A difficulty has been alleged, also, in regard to _Cain's wife_.
    But this grows simply out of the brevity of the sacred
    narrative. The children of Adam must have intermarried, brothers
    and sisters. The fact that no daughter is mentioned as born to
    Adam before Seth, is no evidence against the birth of daughters
    long before. In the fourth chapter no individuals are mentioned
    except for special reasons--Cain and Abel, with a genealogical
    list of Cain's family to Lamech, because he was the head of one
    branch of the human race before the deluge. In the fifth chapter
    none are named but _sons in the line of Noah_, with the standing
    formula of "sons and daughters" born afterwards. We are not to
    infer from this that no sons or daughters were born before;
    otherwise we should exclude Cain and Abel themselves. At the
    time of the murder of Abel, the two brothers were adult men.
    What was their age we cannot tell. It may have been a hundred
    years or more; for our first parents were created not infants,
    but in the maturity of their powers, and Adam was one hundred
    and thirty years old when the next son after Abel's murder was
    born. Gen. 4:25. At all events, the interval between Abel's
    birth and death must have been long, and we cannot reasonably
    suppose that during this period no daughters were born to Adam.

    (C.) The _chronology_ of the book of Genesis involves, as is
    well known, some difficult questions. In the genealogical tables
    contained in the fifth and eleventh chapters, the texts of the
    Masoretic Hebrew (which is followed in our version),
    Hebrew-Samaritan, and Septuagint, differ in a remarkable manner.

    (1.) _Antediluvian Genealogy._ According to the Septuagint, no
    patriarch has a son before the age of one hundred years. It adds
    to the age of each of the five patriarchs that preceded Jared,
    and also to the age of Enoch, one hundred years before the birth
    of his son, deducting the same from his life afterwards. To the
    age of Lamech it adds six years before the birth of Noah,
    deducting thirty years afterwards. In respect to the age of
    Methuselah when Lamech was born, there is a difference of twenty
    years between the Vatican and the Alexandrine manuscripts. The
    latter agrees with the Masoretic text: the former gives one
    hundred and sixty-seven instead of one hundred and eighty-seven.
    Thus the Septuagint makes the period from the creation to the
    deluge 2262 years (according to the Vatican manuscript 2242
    years) against the 1656 of our Masoretic text.

    The Samaritan-Hebrew text agrees with the Masoretic for the
    first five patriarchs and for Enoch. From the age of Jared it
    deducts one hundred years; from that of Methuselah one hundred
    and twenty (one hundred according to the Vatican manuscript of
    the Septuagint); and from that of Lamech, one hundred and
    twenty-nine--three hundred and forty-nine years in all--before
    the birth of their respective sons. This places the deluge in
    the year of the world 1307.

    (2.) _Genealogy from Noah to Abraham._ Chap. 11. Here the
    Samaritan-Hebrew and the Septuagint (which Josephus follows with
    some variations) give a much longer period than the Masoretic
    text. They both add to the age of each of the six patriarchs
    after Shem one hundred years before the birth of his son. To the
    age of Nahor the Samaritan-Hebrew adds fifty, and the Septuagint
    one hundred and fifty years. The latter also inserts after
    Arphaxad a _Cainan_ who was one hundred and thirty years old at
    the birth of Salah.

    In respect to the variations in these two genealogical tables
    (chaps. 5 and 11) it is to be remarked: (1) that the authority
    of the Masoretic text is, on general grounds, higher than that
    of the Septuagint or Samaritan Pentateuch; (2) that in the
    present case there is reason to suspect systematic change in
    these two latter texts; strong external corroboration alone
    could warrant us in adopting the longer chronology of the
    Septuagint; (3) that any uncertainty which may rest on the
    details of numbers in the Pentateuch ought not to affect our
    confidence in the Mosaic record as a whole, for here, as it is
    well known, there is a peculiar liability to variations. With
    these brief remarks we must dismiss this subject. The reader
    will find the question of scriptural chronology discussed at
    large in the treatises devoted to the subject. For more
    compendious views, see in Alexander's Kitto and Smith's
    Dictionary of the Bible the articles entitled Chronology.


7. The Hebrew name of this book is: _Ve-elle shemoth_, _Now these_ [are]
_the names_; or more briefly: _Shemoth_, _names_. The word _Exodus_
(Greek _Exodos_, whence the Latin _Exodus_) signifies _going forth_,
_departure_, namely, of Israel from Egypt. With the book of Exodus
begins the history of Israel _as a nation_. It has perfect unity of plan
and steady progress from beginning to end. The narrative of the golden
calf is no exception; for this records in its true order an interruption
of the divine legislation. The book consists of two parts essentially
connected with each other. The contents of the _first_ part (chaps.
1-18) are briefly the _deliverance_ of the Israelites from Egypt and
their _journey to Sinai_, as preparatory to their national covenant with
God there. More particularly this part contains: (1) an account of the
multiplication of the people in Egypt; their oppression by the
Egyptians; the birth and education of Moses, his abortive attempt to
interpose in behalf of his people, his flight to Midian, and his
residence there forty years (chaps. 1, 2); (2) God's miraculous
appearance to Moses at Horeb under the name JEHOVAH; his mission to
Pharaoh for the release of Israel, in which Aaron his brother was
associated with him; the execution of this mission, in the progress of
which the Egyptians were visited with a succession of plagues, ending in
the death of all the first-born of man and beast in Egypt; the final
expulsion of the people, and in connection with this the establishment
of the feast of the passover and the law respecting the first-born of
man and beast (chaps. 3-13); (3) the journey of the Israelites to the
Red sea under the guidance of a cloudy pillar; their passage through it,
with the overthrow of Pharaoh's host; the miraculous supply of manna and
of water; the fight with Amalek, and Jethro's visit to Moses.

The _second_ part contains _the establishment of the Mosaic economy with
its tabernacle and priesthood_. At Sinai God enters into a national
covenant with the people, grounded on the preceding Abrahamic covenant;
promulgates in awful majesty the ten commandments, which he afterwards
writes on two tables of stone, and adds a code of civil regulations.
Chaps. 19-23. The covenant is then written and solemnly ratified by the
blood of sacrifices. Chap. 24. After this follows a direction which
contains in itself the whole idea of the sanctuary: "_Let them make me a
sanctuary; that I may dwell among them_." Chap. 25:8. The remainder of
the book is mainly occupied with the structure of the tabernacle and its
furniture, and the establishment of the Levitical priesthood. Directions
are given for the priestly garments, and the mode of inauguration is
prescribed; but the inauguration itself belongs to the following book.
The narrative is interrupted by the sin of the people in the matter of
the golden calf, with the various incidents and precepts connected with
it (chaps. 32-34), and a repetition of the law of the Sabbath is added.
Chap. 31:12-17. The office, then, which the book of Exodus holds in the
Pentateuch is definite and clear.

8. With regard to the _time of the sojourn_ in Egypt, two opinions are
held among biblical scholars. The words of God to Abraham: "Know of a
surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,
and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years,"
"but in the fourth generation they shall come hither again" (Gen. 15:13,
16); and also the statement of Moses: "Now the sojourning of the
children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty
years" (Exod. 12:40), seem to imply that they spent four hundred and
thirty years _in Egypt_ (a round number being put in the former passage
for the more exact specification of the latter). It has been thought,
also, that the vast increase of the people in Egypt--to six hundred
thousand men (Exod. 12:37), which shows that the whole number of souls
was over two millions--required a sojourn of this length. On the other
hand, the apostle Paul speaks of the law as given "four hundred and
thirty years _after_" _the promise to Abraham_. Gal. 3:17. In this he
follows the Jewish chronology, which is also that of the Septuagint and
Samaritan Pentateuch, for they read in Exod. 12:40: "who dwelt in Egypt
and in the land of Canaan." The words, "in the land of Canaan," are
undoubtedly an added gloss; but the question still remains whether they
are not a correct gloss. The genealogy of Levi's family (Exod. 6:16-20)
decidedly favors the interpretation, which divides the period of four
hundred and thirty years between Egypt and the land of Canaan. To make
this table consistent with a sojourn of four hundred and thirty years in
Egypt, it would be necessary to assume, with some, that it is an
_epitome_, not a full list, which does not seem probable.

    Before we can draw any certain argument from the increase of the
    people in Egypt, we must know the _basis of calculation_. It
    certainly includes not only the seventy male members of Jacob's
    family, with their wives and children, but also the families of
    their male-servants (circumcised according to the law, Gen.
    17:12, 13, and therefore incorporated with the covenant people).
    From the notices contained in Genesis, we learn that the
    families of the patriarchs were very numerous. Gen. 14:14;
    26:14; 32:10; 36:6, 7. If Abraham was able to arm three hundred
    and eighteen "trained servants born in his own house," how large
    an aggregate may we reasonably assume for the servants connected
    with Jacob's family, now increased to seventy male souls? We
    must not think of Jacob going into Egypt as a humble personage.
    He was a rich and prosperous _emir_, with his children and
    grandchildren, and a great train of servants. With the special
    blessing of God upon his children and all connected with them,
    we need find no insuperable difficulty in their increase to the
    number mentioned at the exodus.

    Provision was made in a miraculous way for the sustenance of the
    Israelites in the wilderness. The question has been raised: How
    were their flocks and herds provided for? In answer to this, the
    following remarks are in point: (1.) We are not to understand
    the word "wilderness" of an absolutely desolate region. It
    affords pasturage in patches. Robinson describes Wady Feiran,
    northwest of Sinai, as well watered, with gardens of fruit and
    palm trees; and he was assured by the Arabs that in rainy
    seasons grass springs up over the whole face of the desert. The
    whole northeastern part of the wilderness, where the Israelites
    seem to have dwelt much of the thirty-eight years, is capable of
    cultivation, and is still cultivated by the Arabs in patches.
    (2.) The Israelites undoubtedly marched not in a direct line,
    but from pasture to pasture, as the modern Arabs do, and
    spreading themselves out over the adjacent region. When Moses
    besought his father-in-law not to leave him, but to go with him
    that he might be to the people instead of eyes (Numb. 10:31), we
    may well suppose that he had in view Hobab's knowledge of the
    places where water and pasturage were to be found. (3.) There is
    decisive evidence that this region was once better watered than
    it is now, and more fruitful. The planks of acacia-wood, the
    shittim-wood, which were employed in the construction of the
    tabernacle, were a cubit and a half in width; that is, in
    English measure, something more than two and a half feet. No
    acacia-trees of this size are now found in that region. The
    cutting away of the primitive forests seems to have been
    followed, as elsewhere, by a decrease in the amount of rain.
    But, however this may be, we know that, for some reason, this
    part of Arabia was once more fertile and populous. In its
    northeastern part are extensive ruins of former habitations, and
    enclosed fields. The same is true of the region around Beersheba
    and south of it. Here Robinson found ruins of former cities, as
    Eboda and Elusa. Of the latter place he says: "Once, as we
    judged upon the spot, this must have been a city of not less
    than twelve or fifteen thousand inhabitants. Now, it is a
    perfect field of ruins, a scene of unutterable desolation;
    across which the passing stranger can with difficulty find his
    way." Vol. 1, p. 197. And of Eboda, farther south: "The large
    church marks a numerous Christian population." "But the desert
    has resumed its rights; the intrusive hand of cultivation has
    been driven back; the race that dwelt here have perished; and
    their works now look abroad in loneliness and silence over the
    mighty waste." Vol. 1, p. 194. Ritter, the most accomplished of
    modern geographers, affirms that from the present number of the
    thin and negligent population, we can draw no certain conclusion
    respecting the former condition of the country. Erdkunde, vol.
    14, p. 927.

    Of the numerous objections urged by Colenso against the
    Pentateuch, and the book of Exodus in particular, many are
    imaginary, and vanish upon the fair interpretation of the
    passages in question. Others, again, rest on false assumptions
    in regard to facts. For the details, the reader is referred to
    the works written in reply.


9. The Hebrews call this book _Vayyikra_, _and_ [God] _called_. Later
Jewish designations are, _the law of priests_, and _the law of
offerings_. The Latin name _Leviticus_ (from the Greek _Leuitikon_,
_Levitical, pertaining to the Levites_) indicates that its contents
relate to the duties of the Levites, in which body are included all the
priests. The book of Leviticus is immediately connected with that which
precedes, and follows in the most natural order. The tabernacle having
been reared up and its furniture arranged, _the services pertaining to
it_ are next ordained, and in connection with these, various
regulations, most of which come within the sphere of the priestly
office. Hence we have (1) the law for the various offerings, followed by
an account of the anointing of the tabernacle, and the consecration of
Aaron and his sons to the priestly office, with the death of Nadab and
Abihu for offering strange fire before the Lord (chaps. 1-10); (2)
precepts concerning clean and unclean beasts, and cleanness and
uncleanness in men from whatever source, followed by directions for the
annual hallowing of the sanctuary on the great day of atonement, and
also in respect to the place where animals must be slain, and the
disposition to be made of their blood (chaps. 11-17); (3) laws against
sundry crimes, which admitted, in general, of no expiation, but must be
visited with the penalty of the law (chaps. 18-20); (4) various
ordinances pertaining to the purity of the priestly office, the
character of the sacrifices, the yearly festivals, the arrangements for
the sanctuary, etc., with the law for the sabbatical year and the year
of jubilee (chaps. 22-26:2); (5) a wonderful prophetic chapter,
announcing for all coming ages the blessings that should follow
obedience, and the curses which disobedience should bring upon the
people (chap. 26:3-46). There is added, as a sort of appendix, a chapter
concerning vows and tithes. Chap. 27.

10. The priestly office, with its sacrifices, was the central part of
the Mosaic economy, for it prefigured Christ our great High Priest, with
his all-perfect sacrifice on Calvary for the sins of the world. On this
great theme much remains to be said in another place. It is sufficient
to remark here that the book of Leviticus gives the divine view of
expiation. If the expiations of the Levitical law were typical, the
types were true figures of the great Antitype, which is Jesus Christ,
"the Lamb of God. which taketh away the sin of the world." No view of
his death can be true which makes these types empty and unmeaning.


11. _Bemidhbar_, _in the wilderness_, is the Hebrew name of this book,
taken from the fifth word in the original. It is also called from the
first word _Vayyedhabber_, _and_ [God] _spake_. The English version,
after the example of the Latin, translates the Greek name _Arithmoi_,
_numbers_, a title derived from the numbering of the people at Sinai,
with which the book opens, and which is repeated on the plains of Moab.
Chap. 26. This book records _the journeyings of the Israelites from
Sinai to the borders of the promised land_, and their sojourn in the
wilderness of Arabia, with the _various incidents_ that befell them, and
the _new ordinances_ that were from time to time added, as occasion
required. It embraces a period of thirty-eight years, and its contents
are necessarily of a very miscellaneous character. The unity of the book
is _chronological_, history and legislation alternating with each other
in the order of time. A full enumeration of the numerous incidents which
it records, and of the new ordinances from time to time enacted, is not
necessary. In the history of these thirty-eight years we notice three
salient points or epochs. _The first_ is that of the _departure from
Sinai_. Of the preparations for this, with the order of the march and
whatever pertained to it, a full account is given. Then follow the
incidents of the journey to the wilderness of Paran, with some
additional laws. Chaps. 1-12. The _second_ epoch is that of the
rebellion of the people upon the report of the twelve spies whom Moses
had sent to search out the land, for which sin the whole generation that
came out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, was rejected and
doomed to perish in the wilderness. Chaps. 13, 14. This was in the
second year of the exodus. Of the events that followed to the
thirty-eighth year of the exodus, we have only a brief notice. With the
exception of the punishment of the Sabbath-breaker, Korah's rebellion
and the history connected with it, and also a few laws (chaps. 15-19),
this period is passed by in silence. The nation was under the divine
rebuke, and could fulfil its part in the plan of God only by dying for
its sins with an unrecorded history. The _third_ epoch begins with the
second arrival of Israel at Kadesh, and this is crowded with great
events--the death of Miriam, the exclusion of Moses and Aaron from the
promised land, with the death of the latter at Mount Hor, the refusal of
Edom to allow a passage through his territory, the wearisome journey of
the people "to compass the land of Edom," with their sins and
sufferings, the conquest of Arad, Sihon, and Og, and thus the arrival of
the people at the plains of Moab opposite Jericho. Chaps. 20-22:1. Then
follows the history of Balaam and his prophecies, the idolatry and
punishment of the people, a second numbering of the people, the
appointment of Joshua as the leader of the people, the conquest of the
Midianites, the division of the region beyond Jordan to the tribes of
Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and a review of the
journeyings of the people. With all this are intermingled various
additional ordinances.


12. The Jewish name of this book is _Elle haddebharim_, _these are the
words_. The Greek name _Deuteronomion_, whence the Latin _Deuteronomium_
and the English _Deuteronomy_, signifies _second_ law, or _repetition of
the law_, as it is also called by the later Jews. The book consists of
discourses delivered by Moses to Israel in the plains of Moab over
against Jericho, in the eleventh month of the fortieth year of the
exodus. Deut. 1:1, 3. The peculiar character of this book and its
relation to the preceding books have been already considered in the
first part of the present work (Chap. 9, No. 10), to which the reader is
referred. It is generally divided into three parts. The _first_ is
mainly a recapitulation of the past history of Israel under Moses, with
appropriate warnings and exhortations, followed by a notice of the
appointment of three cities of refuge on the east side of Jordan. Chaps.
1-4. The second discourse begins with a restatement of the law given on
Sinai. Exhortations to hearty obedience follow, which are full of
fatherly love and tenderness. Various precepts of the law are then
added, with some modifications and additions, such as the altered
circumstances of the people required. Chaps. 5-26. In the _third_ part
the blessings and the curses of the law are prominently set forth as
motives to obedience. Chaps. 27-30. The remainder of the book is
occupied with Moses' charge to Joshua, his direction for depositing the
law in the sanctuary by the side of the ark, his song written by divine
direction, his blessing upon the twelve tribes, and the account of his
death and burial on mount Nebo.

13. As the book of Genesis constitutes a suitable _introduction_ to the
Pentateuch, without which its very existence, as a part of the divine
plan, would be unintelligible, so does the book of Deuteronomy bring it
to a sublime close. From the goodness and faithfulness of God, from his
special favor bestowed upon Israel, from the excellence of his service,
from the glorious rewards of obedience and the terrible penalties of
disobedience, it draws motives for a deep and evangelical obedience--an
obedience of the spirit and not of the letter only. Thus it adds the
corner-stone to the whole system of legislation, completing it on the
side of the motives by which it challenges obedience, and investing it
with radiant glory. The Pentateuch, then, is a whole. The first book is
inseparable from it as an _introduction_; the last as a _close_. The
three intermediate books contain the legislation itself, and in this
each of them has its appropriate province.



1. In the Pentateuch we have the establishment of the Theocracy, with
the preparatory and accompanying history pertaining to it. The province
of the historical books is to _unfold its practiced working_, and to
show how, under the divine superintendence and guidance, it accomplished
the end for which it was given. They contain, therefore, primarily, a
history of God's dealings with the covenant people under the economy
which he had imposed upon them. They look at the course of human events
on the divine rather than the human side, and in this respect they
differ widely from all other historical writings. Human histories abound
with the endless details of court intrigues, of alliances and wars, of
material civilization and progress, and whatever else pertains to the
welfare of men considered simply as the inhabitants of this world. But
the historical books of the Old Testament, written by prophetical men
illumined by the Holy Spirit, unfold with wonderful clearness the mighty
movements of God's providence, by which the divine plan proposed in the
Mosaic economy was steadily carried forward, alike through outward
prosperity and adversity, towards the fulfilment of its high office.
After a long series of bloody struggles, the Theocracy attained to its
zenith of outward power and splendor under David and Solomon. From that
time onward the power of the Israelitish people declined, till they were
at last deprived of their national independence, and subjected to the
yoke of foreign conquerors. But in both the growth of the national power
under the Theocracy, and its decline, the presence of God and his
supremacy, as well over the covenant people as over the surrounding
nations, were gloriously manifested, and their training for the future
advent of the Messiah was steadily carried forward. Thus we have in
these historical books a wonderful diversity of divine manifestations,
which alike charm and instruct the pious mind.

2. It has already been shown (Chap. 15, No. 7) that the books of Kings
and Chronicles contain only _selections_ from a large mass of materials.
The same is probably true of the books of Judges and Samuel. The sacred
writers did not propose to give a detailed account of all the events
belonging to the periods over which their histories extended, but only
of those which were specially adapted to manifest God's presence and
guidance in the affairs of the covenant people. The history of some
persons is given very fully; of others with extreme brevity. But we may
say, in general, that this divine history, extending over a period of a
thousand years, is the most condensed in the world, as well as the most
luminous with the divine glory. The student rises from the perusal of it
with such clear views of God's presence and supremacy in the course of
human affairs, as cannot be gained from all the ponderous tomes of
secular history. Each book, moreover, presents some special phase of
God's providential movements, and contains, therefore, its special
lessons of instruction. With few exceptions, the _authors_ of the
historical books are unknown. We only know that they were prophetical
men, who wrote under the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit.


3. This book records the _conquest of the land of Canaan_ by the
Israelites under Joshua, and its _distribution by lot_ among the tribes
that received their inheritance on the west side of the Jordan. It
connects itself, therefore, immediately with the Pentateuch; for it
shows how God fulfilled his promise to Abraham that he would give to his
posterity the land of Canaan for an inheritance (Gen. 17:8), a promise
often repeated afterwards, and kept constantly in view in the whole
series of Mosaic legislation. The book naturally falls into two parts.
The _first_ twelve chapters contain the history of the conquest itself,
with the movements preparatory thereto. Joshua, who had been previously
designated as the leader of the people (Numb. 27:15-23), receives a
solemn charge to pass over the Jordan and take possession of the
promised land; the people prepare themselves accordingly; two spies are
sent out to take a survey of Jericho; the Israelites pass over the
Jordan dry-shod, its waters having been miraculously divided; they
encamp at Gilgal, and are there subjected to the rite of circumcision.
Chaps. 1-5. Then follows an account of the overthrow of Jericho, the
trespass of Achan with the calamity which it brought upon the people,
the conquest of Ai, the ratification of the law at mount Ebal with the
erection of the stones on which the law was written, the artifice of the
Gibeonites by which they saved their lives, the overthrow of the
combined kings of the Canaanites at Gibeon, and the conquest, first of
the southern and afterwards of the northern kings of Canaan. Chaps.

The _second_ part gives an account of the division of the land by lot
among the several tribes. This work was begun as is described in
chapters 13-17, and after an interruption through the dilatoriness of
the people, for which Joshua rebuked them, was continued and completed
at Shiloh. Chaps. 18, 19. Six cities of refuge were then appointed,
three on each side of the Jordan; forty-eight cities were assigned by
lot to the Levites; and the two and a half tribes that had received
their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan (Numb., chap. 32) were
sent home. Chaps. 20-22. The twenty-third chapter contains Joshua's
charge to the elders of Israel, and the twenty-fourth his final charge
at Shechem to the assembled tribes, on which occasion there was a solemn
renewal of the national covenant. The whole book is brought to a close
by a brief notice of the death of Joshua and Eleazar, and the interment
of the bones of Joseph in Shechem. This brief survey of the contents of
the book reveals at once its unity, its orderly plan, and the place
which it holds in the history of the Theocracy.

4. The _authorship_ of the book cannot be determined from the title
alone, any more than that of the two books which bear the name of
Samuel. Jewish tradition ascribes it to Joshua himself, except the last
five verses. But it records some transactions which, according to the
most obvious interpretation of them, occurred after Joshua's death.
Among these are the conquest of Hebron (chap. 15:16-19, compared with
Judges 1:12-15), and especially the excursion of the Danites (chap.
19:47), which must be regarded as identical with that described in the
eighteenth chapter of the book of Judges. Unless we assume that this
notice of the Danites is an addition made by a later hand, we must
suppose that the book was written by some unknown prophetical man after
Joshua's death. He may well have been one of the elders who overlived
Joshua, since at the time of his writing Rahab was yet living among the
Israelites. Chap. 6:25.

    The eighteenth chapter of the book of Judges, which records the
    invasion of the Danites, is evidently an _appendix_, introduced
    by the words: "In those days there was no king in Israel;" and
    that this invasion took place not long after the settlement of
    the people in Canaan, is manifest from the object proposed by
    it. Judges 18:1. At the time of the conquest, Rahab was a young
    woman, and may well have survived that event forty years or
    more. The only apparent indication of a still later composition
    of the book is that found in the reference to the book of
    _Jasher_, chap. 10:13. From 2 Sam. 1:18, we learn (according to
    the most approved interpretation of the passage) that David's
    elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan was written in the book
    of Jasher. But we are not warranted in affirming that this title
    was applied to a book of definitely determined contents. It may
    have been a collection of national songs, enlarged from age to

    Though Joshua does not appear to have been the author of the
    book in its present form, we may well suppose that the writer
    employed, in part at least, materials that came from Joshua's
    pen. When the land was divided by lot among the several tribes,
    the boundaries of each inheritance, with the cities pertaining
    to it, must have been carefully described in writing by Joshua
    himself, or by persons acting under his direction. It is
    probable that these descriptions were copied by the author of
    the book of Joshua; and this is sufficient to account for any
    diversity of diction that may exist in this part of the book as
    compared with the purely historic parts. Nothing in the style
    and diction of this book, or in that of the two following books
    of Judges and Ruth, indicates that they belong to a later age of
    Hebrew literature. Certain peculiarities of expression which
    occasionally appear in them may be naturally explained as
    provincialisms, or as belonging to the language of conversation
    and common life.

5. The book of Joshua bears every internal mark of _authentícity_ and
_credibility_. The main transaction which it records--the extirpation of
the Canaanites by the immediate help of Jehovah, and the gift of their
country to the Israelites--was contemplated from the very first by the
Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 13:14, 15; 15:18-21; 17:8, etc.), and also by
the entire body of the Mosaic laws. Why God chose to accomplish this by
the sword of his covenant people, has been already sufficiently
considered. Chap. 10, No. 7. The stupendous miracles recorded in the
book of Joshua are in harmony with the entire plan of redemption, the
great and decisive movements of which have been especially marked by
signal manifestations of God's presence and power. The man who denies
the credibility of this book on the ground of these miracles, must, for
consistency's sake, go much farther, and deny altogether the
supernatural manifestations of God recorded in the Bible, including the
mission, miraculous works, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus
Christ himself.

    In chap. 10:12-14 we read that, at the word of Joshua, the sun
    stood still and the moon stayed in the midst of heaven about a
    whole day, so that "there was no day like that before it or
    after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man." Some
    have sought to explain the whole passage as a quotation from
    "the book of Jasher" expressed in the language of poetic
    hyperbole; and they have compared with it such poetic
    amplifications as those contained in Psa. 18:7-16; Hab., chap.
    3, etc. But this interpretation is forced and unnatural; and
    besides this, there remains the analogous event of which we have
    a double record in 2 Kings 20:8-11; Isa. 38: 7, 8, and which is
    expressly ascribed to divine power: "Behold, I will bring again
    the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun-dial of
    Ahaz, ten degrees backward." Here it is manifest that to human
    vision the sun, and with it the shadow, went backward ten
    degrees. _How_ this was accomplished we need not attempt to
    determine. We are not shut up to the supposition that the earth
    was turned back on her axis ten degrees, nor that the rays of
    the sun were miraculously deflected ten degrees (which would
    change his apparent position in the heavens ten degrees), nor to
    any other particular hypothesis. If God chose that the sun
    should to human vision go backward ten degrees, he could
    accomplish it by means inscrutable to us; and so also if he
    chose that it should stand still in the midst of heaven about a
    whole day.


6. The book of Judges is so called because it is occupied with the
history of the Israelites during the period when they were under the
general administration of _Judges_. These men are not to be confounded
with the ordinary judges under the Theocracy, of the appointment of
which we have an account in Exodus, chap. 18. They were men specially
raised up by God and endowed by him with extraordinary qualifications
for their office, which was general and political rather than municipal.
Many of them were military leaders, called to their work in times of
national calamity. In times of peace they stood at the head of public
affairs, although with regard to some of them it is generally thought
that their jurisdiction extended to only a part of the Israelitish
people. Thus Jephthah and the three succeeding judges seem to have
exercised their office in northeastern Israel, while the scene of
Samson's exploits was southwestern Israel, and he was, in the opinion of
many, contemporary with Eli, who judged Israel at Shiloh. The condition
of the nation during the period of the Judges is described as one in
which "there was no king in Israel." Chap. 18:1; 19:1. There was no
regularly organized central power which could give unity to the
movements of the people. The tribes seem to have acted in a great
measure independently of each other, as in the expedition of the
Danites. Chap. 18. It was only on special occasions, like that of the
sin and punishment of the Benjamites (chaps. 19-21), that there was a
general concert among them. This state of affairs was not favorable to
the development of the military power of the nation, but it was well
suited to the high moral and religious ends which the Theocracy had in
view; for it compelled the people to feel their constant dependence on
God's presence and help for defence against their enemies. Sin, and
oppression by the surrounding nations; repentance, and deliverance by
God's immediate interposition--this is the oft-repeated story of the
book of Judges. All this was in accordance with the promises and
threatenings of the Law, and it illustrated alike the perverseness of
the nation and God's faithfulness in the fulfilment of his covenant. The
incidents recorded in this book are of a peculiarly checkered character,
and many of them are full of romantic interest. In the history of
redemption, the book of Judges has a well-defined place. It unfolds to
our view the operation of the Theocracy in the first stage of the
nation's existence, and under its first outward form of government.

7. As it respects the _arrangement of materials_, the book of Judges
opens with a two-fold _introduction_, giving, first, a brief notice of
the wars carried on against the Canaanites by certain tribes after
Joshua's death, of the failure of the people to effect a complete
extirpation of the Canaanites, and of the reproof administered to them
by an angel of the Lord (chap. 1-2:5); secondly, a survey of the course
of events during the time of the judges, with especial reference to
God's faithfulness in the fulfilment of his promises and threatenings.
Chap. 2:6-3:6. Then follows the _body of the work_, giving an account of
the _seven servitudes_ to which the people were subjected for their
sins, and of the judges raised up by God for their deliverance, with
some incidental notices, as the history of Abimelech, (chap. 9) and the
quarrel of the men of Ephraim with Jephthah. Chap. 12:1-6. The book
closes with a two-fold _appendix_, recording, first, the conquest of
Laish by the Danites, and in connection with this the story of Micah and
his idolatrous establishment (chaps. 17, 18); secondly, the punishment
of the Benjamites for espousing the cause of the wicked men of Gibeah
(chaps. 19-21). These events are not to be conceived of as subsequent to
those recorded in the body of the book, but as contemporaneous with

8. The remark: "In those days there was no king in Israel" (chaps. 18:1;
19:1) plainly implies that the _date_ of the book of Judges must be
assigned to a period after the establishment of the kingdom. The
statement, on the other hand, that the children of Benjamin did not
drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem, "but the Jebusites dwell with
the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day" (chap. 1:21),
limits the time of its composition to the period before David's conquest
of the city. 2 Sam. 5:6-9. The author of the book is unknown. Jewish
tradition ascribes it to Samuel. It may well have been written during
his life, and possibly under his supervision, though on this point we
can affirm nothing positively. The writer must have availed himself of
earlier written documents. See Chap. 15, No. 5.

9. The _chronology_ of the book of Judges is a matter of debate among
biblical scholars. Some contend for a longer period, in accordance with
the reckoning of the apostle Paul, who says that after God had divided
to the people the land of Canaan by lot, "he gave unto them judges about
the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet."
Acts 13:20. Others seek to reduce the period so as to bring it into
harmony with the statement in 1 Kings 6:1, that Solomon began to build
the temple "in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of
Israel were come out of the land of Egypt."

    If we suppose that the oppression of the Israelites by the
    Philistines, described in the beginning of the first book of
    Samuel, is the same as the forty years' oppression mentioned in
    the book of Judges, and that the judgeship of Samson falls
    within the same period (Judges 15:20), it is easy to make out
    the four hundred and fifty years of the apostle's reckoning.
    From the beginning of the first servitude under
    Cushan-rishathaim to the close of the last under the
    Philistines, we have, reckoning the years of servitude and rest
    in succession, and allowing three years for the reign of
    Abimelech, three hundred and ninety years. For the remaining
    sixty years we have (1) the time from the division of the land
    by lot to the death of the elders who overlived Joshua; (2) the
    time from the close of the last servitude to the establishment
    of the kingdom; and possibly (3) a further period for Shamgar's
    judgeship, though it is more probable that this falls within the
    eighty years of rest after the oppression of the Moabites. Those
    who adopt a shorter chronology, assume that the forty years'
    dominion of the Philistines was contemporaneous with the
    oppression of the northeastern tribes by the Ammonites and the
    period during which Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon judged
    Israel; their jurisdiction being, as they suppose, restricted to
    the northeastern part of the land. For both the longer and
    shorter chronology, there are several variously modified
    schemes, the details of which the student can find in works
    devoted to the subject of biblical chronology.

10. The incidents of the _book of Ruth_ belong to the period of the
Judges, so that it may be regarded as in some sort an appendix to the
book of Judges, though probably not written by the same author. It
contains a beautiful sketch of domestic life in the early period of the
Theocracy, written with charming simplicity and graphic vividness. Yet
it is not on this ground alone or chiefly that it has a place in the
sacred canon. It records also the sublime faith of Ruth the Moabitess,
which led her to forsake her own country and kindred to trust under the
wings of the Lord God of Israel (ch. 2:12), and which was rewarded by
her being made the ancestress of David and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus the book connects itself immediately with "the house and lineage of
David," and may be regarded as supplementary to the history of his
family. It was evidently written after David was established on the
throne. Further than this we have no certain knowledge respecting its
date; nor can its author be determined.


11. The two books of Samuel constituted originally one work. The
division was made by the Greek translators as a matter of convenience,
so as to close the first book with the death of Saul, and begin the
second with David's accession to the throne. This division was followed
by the Vulgate, and was introduced by Daniel Bomberg into the printed
Hebrew text. To the original whole work the name of Samuel was
appropriately given; for he is not only the central personage in the
history which it records to the establishment of the kingdom, but it was
also through him, as the acknowledged prophet of the Theocracy, that
both Saul and David were designated and anointed for the kingly office.
The Greek Septuagint designates these books from their contents, _First
and Second_ of _the Kingdoms_, and the Vulgate, _First and Second of

12. In the history of the plan of redemption these two books have a
well-defined province. They are occupied with _the establishment_, under
God's direction and guidance, _of the kingly form of government_ in the
Theocracy. All the events recorded before the inauguration of Saul were
preparatory to that event and explanatory of it. Since, moreover, Saul
was afterwards rejected with his family on account of his disobedience,
and David and his family were chosen in his stead, it was in the person
of David that the kingdom was first fully established, and with the
close of his reign the work accordingly ends. The period included in
this history, though comparatively brief, was most eventful. Samuel,
himself one of the greatest of the prophets, established a school of the
prophets, and from his day onward the prophetical order assumed an
importance and permanency in the Theocracy that was before unknown. See
above, Ch. 15, No. 11. The change to the kingly form of government
constituted a new era in the Hebrew commonwealth. Although the motives
which led the people to desire a king were low and unworthy, being
grounded in worldliness and unbelief, yet God, for the accomplishment of
his own purposes, was pleased to grant their request. The adumbration in
the Theocracy of the kingly office of the future Messiah, not less than
of his priestly and prophetical office, was originally contemplated in
its establishment; and now the full time for this had come. While David
and his successors on the throne were true civil and military leaders in
a secular and earthly sense, their headship over God's people also
shadowed forth the higher headship of the long promised Redeemer, the
great Antitype in whom all the types contained in the Mosaic economy
find at once their explanation and their fulfilment. Under David the
Hebrew commonwealth was rescued from the oppression of the surrounding
nations, and speedily attained to its zenith of outward power and

13. The _contents_ of the books of Samuel naturally fall under three
main divisions. The _introductory_ part takes up the history of the
commonwealth under Eli and continues it to the time when the people
demanded of Samuel a king. 1 Sam. chaps. 1-7. This period properly
belongs to that of the judges, but its history is given here because of
its intimate connection with the events that follow. It describes the
birth and education of Samuel; the disorders that prevailed under Eli's
administration, for which God denounced upon his family severe
judgments; the invasion of the land by the Philistines, with the capture
and restoration of the ark; Samuel's administration, and the deliverance
of the people under him from the oppression of the Philistines. The
_second_ part, extending through the remainder of the first book, opens
with an account of the abuses which led the people to desire a king, and
then gives an account of the selection, anointing, and inauguration of
Saul as king of Israel, with a notice of his exploit in delivering the
people of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites. Chaps 8-12. It then gives an
account of his first sin at Gilgal, for which Samuel threatened him with
the loss of his kingdom, and of his victory over the Philistines, with a
general summary of the events of his reign. Chaps. 13, 14. For his
second sin in the matter of the Amalekites Saul is rejected, and David
is anointed by Samuel as his successor; the Spirit of the Lord forsakes
Saul, and an evil spirit from God troubles him; David becomes his
minstrel, is in high favor with him, slays Goliath in the presence of
the two armies of Israel and the Philistines, returns in triumph to the
camp of Saul, marries Michal his daughter, but becomes an object of his
jealousy and hatred because he has supplanted him in the affections of
the people. Chaps. 15-18:9. The remainder of the first book is mainly
occupied with an account of the persecutions to which David was
subjected on the part of Saul, and of the wonderful way in which God
delivered him. It closes with an account of Saul's distress through the
invasion of the Philistines, of his resort in trouble to a woman that
had a familiar spirit, of the terrible message that he received at the
lips of the risen Samuel, of the defeat of the armies of Israel by the
Philistines, and of the death of Saul and his three sons on Mount
Gilboa. The _third_ part occupies the whole of the second book. It
records the reign of David, first at Hebron over the tribe of Judah,
with the accompanying war between the house of Saul and the house of
David, and then, after Ishbosheth's death, over all Israel at Jerusalem.
With the fidelity of truth the sacred historian describes not only
David's many victories over the enemies of Israel, but also his grievous
sin in the matter of Uriah, with the terrible chastisements that it
brought upon him and his kingdom--Amnon's incest, the murder of Amnon by
Absalom, Absalom's rebellion, pollution of his father's concubines, and
death in battle. The closing years of David's reign were saddened also
by David's sin in numbering the people, for which there fell in
pestilence seventy thousand of his subjects.

14. For the evidence that the author of these books availed himself of
the writings of the prophets contemporary with the events described, see
above, Chap. 15, No. 6. In 1 Chron. 29:29 we read: "Now the acts of
David the king, first and last, behold they are written in the book of
Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book
of Gad the seer." If, as some think, our present books of Samuel were
composed shortly after David's death, the author may well have been one
of the last two of the above-named prophets; but there are some
indications that he lived after the division of the Israelitish people
into the two kingdoms of _Judah_ and _Israel_.

    In 1 Sam. 27:6 we read that Achish gave Ziklag to David;
    "wheretofore," adds the sacred historian, "Ziklag pertaineth
    unto the kings of Judah unto this day." The only natural
    interpretation of these words is that the kings of Judah--not
    any particular king of Judah, but the kings of Judah as a
    line--are named in contrast with the kings of Israel. In several
    other passages, where he is speaking of events that occurred
    _before_ the separation of the two kingdoms, he puts Judah and
    Israel together. 1 Sam. 11:8; 17:52; 18:16; 2 Sam. 3:10; 24:1.
    But this can, perhaps, be explained from the fact that during
    the seven years of David's reign at Hebron there was an actual
    separation of Judah from the other tribes. It is a remarkable
    fact that while the full term of David's reign is given (2 Sam.
    5:4, 5), which implies that the writer lived after its close, no
    notice is taken of his death. The reason of this omission cannot
    be known. As the first book of Kings opens with an account of
    David's last days and death, some have conjectured that it was
    designedly omitted from the books of Samuel as superfluous, when
    the historical books were arranged in the sacred canon.


15. These two books, like the two of Samuel, originally constituted a
single work. The division was first made by the Greek translators, was
followed by the Vulgate, and was finally admitted by Daniel Bomberg into
the printed Hebrew text. The Greek version of the Seventy and the Latin
version, having called the books of Samuel, the former, First and Second
of the Kingdoms, the latter, First and Second of the Kings, designate
these books as Third and Fourth of the Kingdoms or Kings. Each of the
historical books presents the covenant people under a new aspect, and
imparts new lessons of instruction. In the book of Joshua we see them
taking triumphant possession of the promised land through the mighty
assistance of Jehovah; the book of Judges describes the course of
affairs in the Hebrew commonwealth before the existence of a central
kingly government; in the books of Samuel we learn how such a central
government was established, and how under the reign of David the nation
was raised from the deep degradation of servitude to the summit of
worldly power. But the Theocracy was only a preparatory, and therefore a
temporary form of God's visible earthly kingdom. From the days of David
and Solomon it began to decline in outward power and splendor, and it is
with the history of this decline that the books of Kings are occupied.
In the view which they present of the divine plan they are in perfect
harmony with the preceding books of Samuel; but in respect to the manner
of execution they differ widely. The books of Samuel give the history of
Samuel, Saul, and David, with great fulness of detail, and never refer
the reader to other sources of information. The books of Kings, on the
contrary, give professedly only certain portions of the history of the
people under the successive kings, always adding, at the close of each
monarch's reign after Solomon, that the rest of his acts may be found,
for the kings of Judah, in "the book of the Chronicles of the kings of
Judah;" and, for the kings of Israel, in "the book of the Chronicles of
the kings of Israel." The Chronicles referred to are not our present
books of Chronicles, as has been already shown, Chap. 15, No. 8, but a
larger collection of writings, from which the authors both of the books
of Kings and Chronicles drew materials, in part at least, for their
respective works. The history contained in the books of Kings may be
conveniently divided into three periods--(1) the reign of Solomon over
all Israel; (2) the history of the coexisting kingdoms of Judah and
Israel; (3) the history of the kingdom of Judah after the extinction of
the kingdom of Israel.

16. The history of the _first_ period opens with the reign of Solomon,
which excelled that of David in outward magnificence, as it did that of
every succeeding king. 1 Kings 3:13. The great event of his reign,
constituting an epoch in the history of the Theocracy, was the _erection
of the temple_ on Mount Moriah, which took the place of the ancient
tabernacle constructed by divine direction in the wilderness. Thus
Solomon added to the public services of the sanctuary an outward
splendor and dignity corresponding with the increased wealth and glory
of the nation. But in the case of his kingdom, as often elsewhere, the
zenith of magnificence came after the zenith of true power. Had his
profuse expenditures ceased with the erection of the temple and his own
house, it would have been well; but the maintenance of such a household
as his, embracing "seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred
concubines," corrupted his religion and that of the nation, burdened the
people with heavy taxes, and thus prepared the way for the division of
his kingdom that followed immediately after his death, as recorded in 1
Kings 12.

17. With the division of Solomon's kingdom under his son Rehoboam into
two hostile nations begins the _second_ period of the history. This
division was brought about by God's appointment as a chastisement for
Solomon's sins, and in it the national power received a blow from which
it never recovered. The religious effect also was unspeakably calamitous
so far as the kingdom of the ten tribes was concerned; for Jeroboam, the
first king of Israel, established idolatry _as a matter of state
policy_, thus corrupting the religion of his whole kingdom with a view
to the establishment of his own power, a sin in which he was followed by
every one of his successors. The sacred historian carries forward the
history of these two kingdoms together with wonderful brevity and power.
Sometimes, as in the days of Elijah and Elisha, the history of the ten
tribes assumes the greater prominence, because it furnishes the fuller
illustrations of God's presence and power; but as a general fact it is
kept in subordination to that of Judah. It is a sad record of wicked
dynasties, each established in blood and ending in blood, until the
overthrow of the kingdom by the Assyrians about two hundred and
fifty-four years after its establishment. Meanwhile there was in Judah
an alternation of pious with idolatrous kings, and a corresponding
struggle between the true religion and the idolatry of the surrounding
nations, which the sacred writer also describes briefly but vividly.

18. It was during the reign of the good king Hezekiah that the
extinction of the kingdom of Israel took place, and the _third_ period
of the history began. Hezekiah's efforts for the restoration of the true
religion were vigorous and for the time successful. But after his death
the nation relapsed again into idolatry and wickedness. The efforts of
Josiah, the only pious monarch that occupied the throne after Hezekiah,
could not avail to stay the progress of national degeneracy, and the
kingdom of Judah was, in its turn, overthrown by the Chaldeans, and the
people carried captive to Babylon.

19. The _chronology_ of certain parts of the history embraced in the
books of Kings is perplexed and uncertain. But the beginning of the
Babylonish captivity is generally placed B.C. 588, three hundred and
eighty-seven years after the beginning of Rehoboam's reign, and one
hundred and thirty-three years after the extinction of the kingdom of
Israel. Reckoning in the forty years of Solomon's reign, we have for the
period included in the books of Kings to the beginning of the captivity
four hundred and twenty-seven years. To this must be added twenty-six
more years for the thirty-seventh year of Jehoiachin's captivity (2
Kings 25:27), the last date given by the sacred historian. The _author_
of the books of Kings is unknown. Jewish tradition ascribes them to
Jeremiah, perhaps on the ground that the last chapter of Jeremiah is
mostly a repetition of 2 Kings from chap. 24:18 to the end of the book.
But Jeremiah and the author of these books may both have made use of
common documents. We only know that the writer lived after the accession
of Evil-merodach to the throne of Babylon (2 Kings 25:27), and during
the full pressure of the Babylonish captivity, since he nowhere gives
any intimation of its approaching close.


20. These books, which originally constituted a single work, are called
by the Hebrews: _Words of the Days_; that is, _History of the Events of
the Times_, or _Chronicles_, as they were first called by Jerome. The
Greek name _Paraleipomena_, _things omitted_, has its ground in the
false supposition that they were designed to be supplementary to the
books of Kings, whereas they constitute an independent work having its
own plan and end. The author of the books of Kings doubtless looked
forward to the future restoration of his nation; but the time for that
joyous event was yet distant, and he could have no immediate reference
to the wants of the returning exiles. His aim was simply to set forth
the course of events under the Theocracy from Solomon to the captivity
as an illustration of God's faithfulness in the fulfilment of both his
promises and his threatenings. But the author of the books of Chronicles
wrote, as all agree, during the process of the restoration. In addition
to the common aim of all the historical writers, he had a particular
object in view, which was to furnish the restored captives with such
information as would be especially interesting and important to them,
engaged as they were in the reëstablishment of the commonwealth. Hence
we may naturally explain the peculiarities of these books as compared
with the books of Kings.

(1.) The writer gives _particular attention to the matter of genealogy_.
The first nine chapters are occupied with genealogical tables
interspersed with short historical notices, which the author took, for
the most part at least, from documents that have long since perished. To
the returning exiles the lineage of their ancestors must have been a
matter of general interest. A knowledge of the descent of the families
of the different tribes would greatly facilitate the people in regaining
their former inheritances. To the priests and Levites, especially, it
was of the highest importance that they should be able to show their
lineage, since upon this depended their right to minister in holy
things. Ezra 2:61-63.

(2.) The books of Chronicles are very _full on all that pertains to the
temple service_. The writer devotes, for example, eight chapters to an
account of David's preparations for the erection of the temple, and of
his elaborate arrangements for all the different parts of the service
pertaining to the sanctuary. 1 Chron. chaps. 22-29. He gives a
particular description of the solemn covenant made by the people with
Jehovah under Asa's direction, 2 Chron. 15:1-15; of the reformatory
labors and faith of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 19, 20; of Hezekiah, 2 Chron.
chaps. 29-31; and he adds to the account of Josiah's efforts against the
idolatrous practices of his day, a notice of his solemn observance of
the passover, 2 Chron. 35:1-19.

(3.) He _omits_, on the other hand, _the history of the kingdom of
Israel_, giving only a notice of its establishment, and of certain parts
of its history which were connected with that of the kingdom of Judah.
The apparent ground of this is, that the kingdom of the ten tribes
furnished no example which could be available to the people in the work
of reëstablishing the commonwealth. It is to be noticed, moreover, that
he passes over in silence the adultery of David with its calamitous
consequences, and the idolatry of Solomon. This is, perhaps, due to the
brevity of the history before the division of the kingdom; for he does
not spare the sins of the pious monarchs that followed. See 2 Chron.
16:7-12; 19:2; 32:25, 31; 35:21, 22.

21. In the Hebrew canon the books of Chronicles stand last in order. It
is generally agreed that they were written, after the return of the Jews
from the Babylonish captivity, _by Ezra_, who had all the qualifications
for such a work. Whatever use he may have made of the earlier books of
Samuel and Kings, it is plain that these were not his chief sources, for
he records many things not found in them. He and the author of the books
of Kings had access to the same public records, and each of them made
such selections from them as suited his purposes. Hence the matter
contained in the two works agrees in part, and is partly different. See
above, Chap. 15, Nos. 7, 8.

22. That there are some discrepancies between the books of Samuel and
Kings and the books of Chronicles, arising from errors in transcribing,
is generally admitted. These relate, however, mainly to dates, and do
not affect the general integrity of the works. But most of the
disagreements between the earlier and later histories are only apparent,
arising from their brevity, and from the fact that their authors
frequently select from the same reign different events, the one passing
by in silence what the other records; or that, where they record the
same events, various accompanying circumstances are omitted.

    An example of apparent error in transcription is 2 Sam. 24:13
    compared with 1 Chron. 21:12; the former passage specifying
    _seven_ years of famine, the latter _three_ years. For other
    examples see 2 Sam. 8:4 compared with 1 Chron. 18:4; 2 Sam. 23:8
    with 1 Chron. 11:11; 1 Kings 4:26 with 2 Chron. 9:25. We are not
    to infer, however, that all cases of apparent disagreement
    involve error in one or the other of the records. When the
    events of a whole campaign, for example, are crowded into single
    sentences, it is not surprising that the different narratives
    should contain seeming discrepancies which a full knowledge of
    the details would enable us to reconcile. The separate
    discussion of the difficulties presented by the books of
    Chronicles, as compared with the earlier histories, belongs to
    the commentator. It is sufficient to remark here, that
    independent parallel histories always exhibit, with substantial
    agreement, minor diversities which it is sometimes not easy to
    harmonize. It has not pleased God that in this respect the
    sacred narratives of either the Old or the New Testament should
    constitute an exception to the general rule. The parallel
    narratives of our Lord's life contain as many and as great
    diversities as those of the old Hebrew commonwealth. Though we
    may not always be able to show how these are to be brought into
    harmony, they constitute no valid objection to the authenticity
    of the histories in the one case any more than in the other.


23. In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which record the most important
events connected with the _restoration of the Hebrew commonwealth_, we
have unfolded to our view a new era in the history of the Theocracy. The
contrast between the relation of the Israelitish people to the heathen
world in the days of Joshua, and of Ezra and Nehemiah is as great as
possible. Under Joshua the people marched, sword in hand, as invincible
conquerors, to the possession of the promised land, while the hearts of
their enemies melted before them. After the captivity they returned in
weakness and fear, by the permission of their heathen rulers and under
their patronage and protection. But in the latter case, not less than in
the former, the Theocracy was steadily advancing under God's guidance
towards the accomplishment of its high end, which was the preparation of
the Jewish people, and through them the world, for the advent of the
promised Messiah. In the beginning of the Mosaic economy, and during the
earlier part of its course, it was altogether appropriate that God
should make stupendous supernatural manifestations of his infinite
perfections and of his supreme power over the nations of the world. Thus
he revealed himself as the only living and true God in the sight of all
men. But as the history of the covenant people went forward, there was a
gradual return to the ordinary providential administration of the divine
government. God's miraculous interventions were never made for mere
display. They always had in view a high religious end. As that end
approached its accomplishment, they were more and more withdrawn, and
soon after the captivity they ceased altogether until the final and
perfect manifestation of God in Christ. From Malachi to Christ was the
last stage of the Theocracy, when, in the language of the New Testament,
it was waxing old and ready to vanish away. Heb. 8:13. It was neither
needful nor proper that its history should be dignified by such displays
of God's miraculous power as marked its earlier periods.

24. But, although the age of miracles ceased after the Babylonish
captivity, the Theocracy went steadily forward in the accomplishment of
its divine mission. In truth it was now that it secured for the first
time, as a permanent result, the high end proposed by it from the
beginning, that of rescuing a whole nation from idolatrous practices and
making it steadfast in the worship of the true God, at least so far as
the outward life is concerned. By the permanent subjection of the Jewish
people to heathen rulers, their national pride was humbled, and they
were placed in such a relation to heathenism as inclined them to abhor
rather than imitate its rites. The fulfilment of the terrible
threatenings contained in the law of Moses in the complete overthrow,
first of the kingdom of Israel, and afterwards of that of Judah, and
their long and bitter bondage in Babylon, administered to them severe
but salutary lessons of instruction, under the influence of which they
were, by God's blessing, finally reclaimed from idolatrous practices. In
connection with the restoration, the synagogue service was established,
in which the law and the prophets were regularly read and expounded to
the people throughout the land. To this, more than to any other human
instrumentality, was due that steadfastness which the Jewish people ever
afterwards manifested in the worship of the true God. Thus, while the
outward glory of the Theocracy declined, it continued to accomplish the
true spiritual end for which it was established.

25. The book of _Ezra_ embraces a period of about seventy-nine years,
from the accession of Cyrus to the throne of Persia to the close of
Ezra's administration, or at least to the last transaction under it of
which we have a record. The first six chapters give a brief sketch of
the course of events among the restored captives before Ezra's arrival
at Jerusalem, especially their activity in rebuilding the temple, the
formidable opposition which they encountered from the neighboring
people, and how that opposition was finally overcome. The last four
chapters contain the history of Ezra's administration, the chief event
of which was the putting away by the princes and people of the heathen
wives whom they had married. That Ezra was the author of this book is
generally acknowledged. The first three verses are a repetition, with
some unessential variations, of the last two verses of Chronicles, of
which he is also believed, on good grounds, to have been the author. In
certain passages he speaks of himself in the third person; Ch. 7:1-26;
ch. 10; but there is no reason to deny, on this ground, that he was
their author. Jeremiah changes, in like manner, employing sometimes the
first and sometimes the third person. Certain parts of this book, which
are mainly occupied with public documents respecting the building of the
temple and the orderly arrangement of its services, are written in the
Chaldee language, namely: chaps. 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26.

    In respect to the Persian monarchs mentioned in this and the two
    following books, there is not an entire agreement among biblical
    scholars. The following table, formed in accordance with the
    views that seem to be best supported, will be useful to the
    reader. It contains, arranged in three parallel columns, first
    the names of the Persian kings in their order of succession, as
    given by profane historians; secondly, their scriptural names;
    thirdly, the dates of their accession to the throne, according
    to the received chronology.

    Cyrus,                   Cyrus, Ezra 1:1, etc.,          B.C. 536.

    Cambyses,                Ahasuerus, Ezra 4:6,              "  529.

    Smerdis,[1]              Artaxerxes, Ezra 4:7-23,          "  522.

    Darius Hystaspis,        Darius, Ezra 4:24-6:15,[2]        "  521.

    Xerxes,                  Ahasuerus, Esther throughout,[3]  "  485.

    Artaxerxes Longimanus,   Artaxerxes, Ezra 7:1, etc.; Neh.
                             2:1, etc.                         "  464.

    [Footnote 1: He was a usurper who reigned less than a year.]

    [Footnote 2: But in Neh. 12:22, Darius Nothus or Darius
    Codomanus must be referred to.]

    [Footnote 3: Some suppose Darius, others Artaxerxes, to have
    been the Ahasuerus of Esther.]

26. The book of _Nehemiah_ continues the history of the Jewish people
after the restoration, beginning with the commission which Nehemiah
received from Artaxerxes Longimanus, king of Persia, in the twentieth
year of his reign (B.C. 446), to go to Jerusalem in the capacity of
Tirshatha, or civil governor, for the purpose of rebuilding the walls of
Jerusalem and setting in order the affairs of the commonwealth. The book
naturally falls into three divisions. The _first_ division contains the
history of his labors in rebuilding the walls of the city and putting an
end to the practice of usury, and of the violent opposition and
intrigues of the surrounding people. Chaps. 1-7:4. To this is appended a
genealogical list, which is the same for substance as that contained in
the second chapter of Ezra. Ch. 7:5-73.

    Upon a comparison of the two catalogues, we find various
    differences in respect to names and numbers. The differences of
    names may be explained from the fact that it was common for men
    to bear different titles, particularly if they were persons of
    distinction; as, for example, Daniel and Belteshazzar,
    Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar. It is not certain upon what
    principle the differences in numbers are to be explained. The
    sum total of both catalogues is the same, namely, 42,360; from
    which it is plain that the lists are in both cases partial,
    since neither of them amounts to this sum. We add the following
    suggestion from Grey's Key as quoted by Scott: "The sum of the
    numbers, as separately detailed, will correspond, if to the
    29,818 specified by Ezra, we add the 1,765 persons reckoned by
    Nehemiah which Ezra has omitted; and, on the other hand, to the
    31,089 enumerated by Nehemiah, add the 494, which is an overplus
    in Ezra, not noticed by Nehemiah; both writers including in the
    sum total 10,777 of the mixed multitude, not particularized in
    the individual detail."

In the _second_ division we have an account of the solemn public reading
of the law of Moses at the feast of tabernacles, and, in connection with
this, of the renewal of the national covenant with Jehovah through the
signature and seal of the princes, Levites, and priests, in their own
behalf and that of the people. Chaps. 8-10. In this religious and
ecclesiastical transaction, Ezra the priest was the leader; Nehemiah, as
the Tirshatha, or civil governor, simply taking the lead of the princes
in the act of sealing.

The _third_ division contains, along with some genealogical lists, an
account of the measures taken by Nehemiah and the princes to increase
the number of residents in Jerusalem, of the solemn dedication of the
wall of Jerusalem, and of the rectification of various abuses which had
crept in partly during Nehemiah's absence at the court of Persia. Chaps.

    The date of Nehemiah's commission to rebuild the walls of
    Jerusalem is important on account of its connection with the
    seventy prophetic weeks of Daniel, which are reckoned "from the
    going forth of the commandment to restore and to build
    Jerusalem." Dan. 9:25. It cannot be considered as exactly
    ascertained, but may be placed somewhere from B.C. 454 to B.C.
    446. See the commentators on Dan. 9:24-27. How long Nehemiah's
    administration continued after his visit to the court of Persia,
    in the twelfth year of his rule, is not known.

27. The book, as its title testifies, was written by Nehemiah, not
earlier than his return from the court of Persia (ch. 13:6; 5:14); how
much later cannot be known. From the general character of style and
diction which belongs to the second division (chaps. 8-10), as well as
from the absence of Nehemiah's peculiar forms of speech, some have
thought that Ezra, as the chief actor in the reading of the law and
renewal of the national covenant, wrote the account of the transaction,
and that Nehemiah incorporated it into his work. To this supposition
there is no serious objection. We must remember, however, that arguments
based on supposed differences of style cannot amount to much where the
materials from which a conclusion is to be drawn are so scanty.

    The genealogical notice in ch. 12:10, 11, which gives the
    lineage of the high priests from Joshua to Jaddua, who is
    apparently the high priest described by Josephus as having met
    Alexander the Great on his march to Jerusalem, is thought by
    many to be an addition made after Nehemiah's death as a matter
    of public interest. See above, Chap. 15, No. 17. The same
    judgment is passed by some on 1 Chron. 3:19-24. But the
    interpretation of this latter passage is very uncertain.


28. This book, the author of which is unknown, records the wonderful
manner in which the plot of Haman the Agagite to destroy the Jews was
not only overthrown, but turned to their enlargement and honor. It is
remarkable that the author refrains throughout from mentioning the name
of God, although he manifestly designs to represent this deliverance as
effected by his providence, and that too in answer to the fervent
prayers of the Jews in connection with a fast of three days'
continuance. He prefers, as it would seem, to let the facts speak for
themselves. The book closes with an account of the establishment, under
the auspices of Mordecai and Esther, of the feast of Purim, in
commemoration of the deliverance which it records; and we are perhaps
warranted in saying that the immediate occasion of writing the book was
to show the historic origin of that festival--a festival mentioned in
the second book of Maccabees, under the title of _Mordecai's_ day (chap.
15:36), and observed, according to Josephus, by the Jews throughout the
whole world. Antiq., 11, 6. 13.

29. Among the various opinions respecting the Ahasuerus of this book,
the best sustained is that which identifies him with the celebrated
_Xerxes_ of profane history. With this agrees all that is said of the
splendor and extent of his dominions, extending "from India even unto
Ethiopia, over a hundred and seven and twenty provinces" (1:1), and of
his passionate, capricious, and sensual character.

    To us, who are accustomed to a government of law, in which the
    rulers are restrained from the exercise of arbitrary power, and
    are kept under constant restraint by popular opinion, the
    incidents recorded in this book seem very strange. But it gives
    a true and faithful portraiture of the course of affairs at the
    court of a Persian despot, where the monarch knows no law but
    his own arbitrary will, suddenly elevates his favorites to the
    highest places of power and trust, as suddenly consigns them to
    the hand of the executioner, and gives himself up to the
    unbridled indulgence of his passions. The history of Haman's
    sudden rise and fall is that of many an oriental courtier since
    his day. The Jews, we are told, "slew of their foes seventy and
    five thousand." This was a very great slaughter; but we must
    remember that it was distributed through all the provinces of
    the kingdom. Ch. 9:16. The permission which they had received
    was "in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand
    for their life; to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all
    the power of the people and province that would assault them,
    both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a
    prey" (ch. 8:11); all which, except the last clause, seems to
    have been carried into execution. We are not required to
    vindicate the wisdom of this severe decree, or to deny that the
    Jews may have used to excess the terrible power thus conferred
    upon them. On the side of God's providence, the vengeance that
    fell upon the Jews' enemies was righteous; but on the side of
    the human instrumentalities employed by him, there may have been
    much imperfection, or even folly and wickedness. So it has ever
    been in the history of human affairs, and so it is at the
    present day.



1. The Hebrews reckon but three books as _poetical_, namely: Job,
Psalms, and Proverbs, which are distinguished from the rest by a
stricter rhythm--the rhythm not of feet, but of _clauses_ (see below,
No. 3)--and a peculiar system of accentuation. It is obvious to every
reader that the poetry of the Old Testament, in the usual sense of the
word, is not restricted to these three books. But they are called
poetical in a special and technical sense. In any natural classification
of the books of the Old Testament, those of Ecclesiastes and Canticles
will fall into the division which contains the books of Job, Psalms, and

    The Hebrew system of accentuation is very subtle and
    complicated, and there is nothing corresponding to it in our
    western languages. These so-called accents are quite numerous,
    one of them resting, as a general rule, upon each word. Certain
    of them are peculiar to the poetical books, and are called
    poetical accents. They serve a threefold office. (1.) They guide
    the modulated flow of the voice in _cantillation_, thus serving,
    in a certain sense, as _musical notes_. Some think that this was
    their primary office. (2.) They indicate the _logical relation_
    to each other of the words and clauses, thus performing the
    office of marks of _interpunction_. (3.) They rest, with certain
    exceptions, on the _tone_ syllable, and thus serve as _accents_
    in our restricted sense of the word.

In the first division of the present chapter, the _characteristics of
Hebrew poetry_ will be briefly considered in respect to its _spirit_,
its _form_, and its _offices_. Then will follow, in the second division,
a notice of the _contents of the several books_.


2. As it respects the _spirit_ of Hebrew poetry, we notice, first of
all, its perfect _harmony with the spirit of the Theocracy_. It is, in
truth, an outgrowth of the Theocracy in the souls of holy men educated
under its influence and thoroughly imbued with its spirit. The God of
Moses and Aaron is also the God of David, Asaph, and Solomon; of Hosea,
Isaiah, and Habakkuk. In his boldest flights the Hebrew poet always
remains loyal to the institutions of Moses, not in their letter alone,
but much more in their spirit, of which he is the inspired interpreter.
The same Jehovah who thundered from Sinai and spake to the people by
Moses, speaks also by the sweet psalmist of Israel, by the wisdom of
Solomon, and by the whole succession of the prophets. Hence the poetry
of the Hebrews is radiant throughout with the pure monotheism of the
Theocracy. It exhibits God in his infinite perfections, as the Creator
and sovereign Ruler of the world, without a single taint of pantheism or
polytheism, and that in an age when pantheism and polytheism were the
reigning forms of religion without the pale of the covenant people.

Another distinguishing mark of Hebrew poetry is the _vivid consciousness
of God's presence_ by which it is pervaded. In this respect it runs
entirely parallel with Hebrew history. It has already been remarked (Ch.
20, No. 1) that Hebrew history differs widely from all other historical
writings in its habit of looking at the course of human events from the
Divine side, rather than the human; that while secular history is mainly
occupied with the endless details of human combinations and alliances,
and the progress of material civilization, the historical books of the
Old Testament unfold to us with wonderful clearness God's presence and
power as shaping the course of human events in the interest of his great
plan of redemption. Take, for example, that small section of Hebrew
history comprehended under the title, _Affinity with Ahab_. No Christian
can read it without feelings of holy awe, for it is radiant throughout
with the presence of that righteous God who renders to every man
according to his works, and visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the
children to the third and fourth generation. In it the retributive
justice of God shines forth, like the lightning, from one end of heaven
to the other. Just so is Hebrew poetry also filled with the presence and
glory of God. When the Hebrew bard sweeps his lyre, all nature gives
signs of her Maker's presence. The heavens rejoice before him, the earth
is glad, the sea roars, the mountains and hills break forth into
singing, and all the trees of the field clap their hands. He looks on
the earth, and it trembles; he touches the hills, and they smoke. Nor
less conspicuous is his presence in providence and in the human soul. He
is seen in awful majesty high above the tumult of the nations, directing
their movements to the accomplishment of his own infinitely wise
purposes; making the wrath of man to praise him, and restraining the
remainder of it. Meanwhile his presence shines in the believer's soul,
like the sun in his strength, filling it with strength, light, and
gladness. In a word, over the whole domain of Hebrew poesy, whether its
theme be God or nature or human society or the human spirit, is heard
continually the solemn cry of the seraphim: "Holy, holy, holy, is the
Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."

_Originality_ is another feature of Hebrew poetry. It cannot indeed be
said that this quality belongs to all the Hebrew poets. With such
divinely perfect models as the later writers had before them, models
with which they had been familiar from childhood, it was natural that
they should imitate them. The spirit of inspiration did not prevent
this, for it was not necessary to the ends of revelation that it should
be prevented. Set even among the later poets we have some striking
examples of originality; and Hebrew poetry, taken as a whole, is
original in the fullest sense of the word, borrowing nothing that we
know of from any other nation. Not to anticipate the question of the age
to which the book of Job belongs, and passing by some gems of poetry
contained in the book of Genesis, we may say that the oldest recorded
song of certain date which the world possesses is that of the Israelites
upon their deliverance at the Red sea. Exod., ch. 15. Next in order (to
pass by the poetic effusions of Balaam, and some other fragments, Numb.,
chaps. 21-24) come the song which Moses wrote for the children of Israel
just before his death (Deut., ch. 32), and (according to the title, the
genuineness of which there is no valid reason for doubting) "the prayer
of Moses the man of God," contained in the ninetieth psalm. In the
period of the judges we have only the song of Deborah and Barak. The
perfect originality of all these primitive songs is acknowledged by all.
It constitutes indeed one of their chief charms. With "the sweet
psalmist of Israel" began the era of lyric song; with Solomon that of
didactic, and with Hosea, Joel, Isaiah, and their contemporaries, that
of prophetic poetry. The poets to whom, under the illumination of the
Holy Ghost, these different forms of Hebrew poetry owe their origin, are
all distinguished for their originality. So is also the book of Job,
that great didactic song so perfectly unique in its character.

The wonderful _freshness and simplicity of thought_ in Hebrew poetry is
inseparably connected with its originality. A thought is fresh when it
bursts forth directly from the inner fountain of the soul just as it was
conceived there. But the moment the man pauses to remould it and shape
it to some artificial standard of propriety, it loses its originality
and its freshness together. It is no longer the living, glowing
conception as it existed in his bosom, but rather what he thinks it
ought to have been. In the process of working it over he has killed, if
not its life, at least its power. But the Hebrew poet opens, so to
speak, the floodgates of his heart, and pours forth the stream of his
thoughts and emotions just as they have sprung into being there. Because
he is under the sanctifying and illuminating influence of the divine
Spirit, they are high and holy thoughts. Because they come forth in
their primitive form, they are natural and fresh; and for this reason
the lapse of ages does not diminish their power over the human spirit.

Intimately connected also with the originality of Hebrew poetry is its
charming _variety_. The Hebrew poets are exceedingly unlike each other
in native character, in training, in surrounding circumstances, and in
the nature of the work laid upon them by the Spirit of inspiration. And
as they all write in a natural and appropriate way, it follows that
their writings must exhibit great diversities. No two writers can well
be more unlike each other than Isaiah and the author of the book of Job.
With Isaiah the central object of thought is always _Zion_, in whose
interest he sees God governing the world, and whose future glory is
revealed to him in prophetic vision. But Zion is not an individual. She
is a divine organization which God has destined to universal victory,
and around which revolve, under his almighty guidance, the great
movements of the heathen nations. The prophet, accordingly, has to do
not so much with particular persons, as with the destiny of society,
which is involved in that of Zion. He describes her present conflicts
and her future triumphs in his own peculiar and gorgeous imagery. But
the problem before the author of the book of Job is _God's providence
towards individuals_, as viewed from the position of the Old Testament
before the fuller revelations of the New. He is occupied with the
destiny of particular persons, rather than of nations or of human
society at large. To the solution of the question of God's justice
towards individual man he directs all his energy, and he discusses this
great theme in a manner as effective as it is original. His imagery is
as forcible as that of Isaiah, but how different, and how powerfully
adapted to his end! A few passages from each of these great poets, set
side by side, will exhibit the contrast between them in a striking

JOB.                                 ISAIAH


He shall deliver thee in six         Violence shall no more be heard in
troubles: yea, in seven there shall  thy land, wasting nor destruction
no evil touch thee. In famine he     within thy borders, but thou shalt
shall redeem thee from death: and    call thy walls Salvation, and thy
in war from the power of the sword.  gates Praise. The sun shall be no
Thou shalt be hid from the scourge   more thy light by day; neither for
of the tongue: neither shalt thou    brightness shall the moon give
be afraid of destruction when it     light unto thee; but the Lord shall
cometh. At destruction and famine    be unto thee an everlasting light,
thou shalt laugh: neither shalt      and thy God thy glory. Thy sun
thou be afraid of the beasts of the  shall no more go down; neither
earth. For thou shalt be in league   shall thy moon withdraw itself; for
with the stones of the field: and    the Lord shall be thine everlasting
the beasts of the field shall be at  light, and the days of thy mourning
peace with thee. And thou shalt      shall be ended. Thy people also
know that thy tabernacle shall be    shall be all righteous: they shall
in peace; and thou shalt visit thy   inherit the land forever, the
habitation, and shalt not sin. Thou  branch of my planting, the work of
shalt know also that thy seed shall  my hands, that I may be glorified.
be great, and thine offspring as     A little one shall become a
the grass of the earth. Thou shalt   thousand, and a small one a strong
come to thy grave in a full age,     nation: I the Lord will hasten it
like as a shock of corn cometh in    in his time. Ch. 60:18-22.
in his season. Ch. 5:19-26.

JOB.                                 ISAIAH.


He shall flee from the iron weapon,  For he bringeth down them that
and the bow of steel shall strike    dwell on high; the lofty city, he
him through. It is drawn, and        layeth it low; he layeth it low,
cometh out of the body; yea, the     even to the ground; he bringeth it
glittering sword cometh out of his:  even to the dust. The foot shall
gall: terrors are upon him. All      tread it down, even the feet of the
darkness shall be hid in his secret  poor, and the steps of the needy.
places: a fire not blown shall       Ch. 26:5, 6. For I will contend
consume him; it shall go ill with    with him that contendeth with thee,
him that is left in his tabernacle.  and I will save thy children. And
The heaven shall reveal his          I will feed them that oppress thee
iniquity; and the earth shall rise   with their own flesh; and they
up against him. The increase of      shall be drunken with their own
his house shall depart, and his      blood, as with sweet wine: and all
goods shall flow away in the day of  flesh shall know that I the Lord
his wrath. Ch. 20:24-28.             am thy Savious and thy Redeemer,
                                     the mighty one of Jacob. Ch. 49:25,

If now we open the book of Psalms, we find ourselves in a new world of
poetry, as different from that of Isaiah as it is from that of the book
of Job. David was anointed by God to be the head and leader of Israel.
As such he had a perpetual outward conflict with powerful, crafty, and
malicious foes, who sought his life and his kingdom. This brought to him
a perpetual inward conflict with doubts and fears. Under the pressure of
this double conflict he penned those wonderful psalms, which are the
embodiment of his whole religious life. And since heart answers to
heart, as face to face in water, they are the embodiment of religious
life in all ages. The songs of David and his illustrious collaborators,
Asaph and the sons of Korah, are emphatically the poetry of religious
experience. As such they can never grow old. They are as fresh to-day as
when they were written. God has given them to his church as a rich
treasury for "the service of song in the house of the Lord," in the
family, and in the closet. If we turn from the book of Psalms to the
book of Proverbs, we have still another type of poetry, unlike any one
of the forms hitherto considered. It is the poetry of _reflection_ on
the course of human life, as seen in the light of God's law and God's
providence. It is, therefore, didactic in the highest sense of the
word--the poetry of practical life. The maxims of heavenly wisdom
embodied in the book of Proverbs will make all who study them, believe
them, and obey them, prosperous in this life and happy in the life to
come. This contrast between the great Hebrew poets might be carried
through the whole galaxy, but the above hints must suffice.

_Diversity of themes_ often coincides with difference in the character
of the poets. Where the theme is the same, each writer will still pursue
his own peculiar method. If that theme be the vengeance of God on the
wicked, the style will naturally be rugged and abrupt. Yet the
ruggedness and abruptness of David will not be that of Hosea or Nahum.
But where both the theme and the character of the poet differ, there the
diversity of style becomes very striking. To illustrate this, take the
two following passages:

DAVID.                               NAHUM


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall     The mountains quake at him, and
not want. He maketh me to lie        the hills mels, and the hearth is
down in green pastures: he leadeth   burned at his presence, yea, the
me beside the still waters. He       world, and all that dwell therein.
restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in  Who can stand before his
the paths of righteousness for his   indignation? and who can abide in
name's sake. Yea, though I walk      the fierceness of his anger? his
through the valley of the shadow of  fury is poured out like fire, and
death, I will fear no evil: for      the rocks are thrown down by him.
thou art with me; thy rod and thy    The Lord is good, a strong hold in
staff they comfort me. Thou          the day of trouble; and he knoweth
preparest a table before me in the   them that trust in him. But with
presence of mine enemies: thou       an overrunning flood he will make
anointest my head with oil; my cup.  an utter end of the place thereof,
runneth over. Surely goodness and    and darkness shall pursue his
mercy shall follow me all the days   enemies. Nahum 1:5-8
of my life; and I will dwell in
the house of the Lord for ever.
Psa. 23.

The passage from Nahum is like a pent-up mountain stream leaping from
precipice to precipice. The psalm is like the same stream escaped to the
plain, and winding its way gently and placidly through green meadows and
shady groves vocal with the songs of birds. This subject might be
pursued to an indefinite extent. Suffice it to say that Hebrew poetry
has the charm of endless variety, always with graceful adaptation to the
nature of the theme.

The _oriental imagery_ in which Hebrew poetry abounds imparts to it a
peculiar and striking costume. Palestine was, in an emphatic sense, the
Hebrew poet's world. It was the land given by God to his fathers for an
everlasting possession; about which all his warm affections clustered;
with whose peculiar scenery and climate, employments and associations,
all his thoughts and feelings had been blended from childhood. It
followed of necessity that these must all wear an oriental costume. As
soon as he opens his mouth there comes forth a stream of eastern
imagery, very natural and appropriate to him, but much of it very
strange to us of these western regions. To understand the extent of this
characteristic one has only to peruse the Song of Solomon. The bride is
black but comely as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. She
is a dove in the clefts of the rock; her hair is as a flock of goats,
that appear from Mount Gilead; her teeth are like a flock of sheep which
come from the washing; her lips are like a thread of scarlet; her
temples are like a piece of a pomegranate; her stature is like a palm
tree, and her breasts like clusters of grapes--all thoroughly oriental.
So also the bridegroom is like a roe or a young hart leaping upon the
mountains; his eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters;
his cheeks are as a bed of spices; his lips like lilies, dropping
sweet-smelling myrrh, and his countenance as Lebanon, excellent as the
cedars. So also if we open the book of Isaiah, we find the Messiah
described as "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land"--a figure
which could not well occur to an Englishman or an American, but was
perfectly natural in the mouth of a Hebrew familiar with the terrible
sun of the Asiatic deserts, where neither tree nor cloud offers a
shelter to the thirsty and fainting traveller. Precisely here lies much
of the obscurity of which the expounders of Hebrew poetry complain.
True, there are other difficulties of a formidable character. The theme
is often vast, stretching into the distant and dimly-revealed future;
the language rugged with abrupt transitions, the historic allusions
obscure, and the meaning of the terms employed doubtful. But aside from
all these considerations the western scholar encounters a perpetual
difficulty in the fact that he is not of oriental birth, and can enter
but imperfectly into the spirit and force of oriental imagery. What
costs him days of laborious investigation would open itself like a flash
of lightning to his apprehension--all except that which remains dark
from the nature of the prophetic themes--could he but have that perfect
apprehension of the language, the historic allusions, the imagery
employed, and the modes of thought, which was possessed by the
contemporaries of the Hebrew poet.

It remains that we notice in the last place what may be called the
_theocratic imagery_ of the Hebrew poets; that is, imagery borrowed from
the institutions of the Mosaic law. The intense loyalty of the Hebrew
poets to the Mosaic law has already been noticed. They were its
divinely-appointed expositors and defenders, and their whole religious
life was moulded by it. No wonder, then, that their writings abound with
allusions to its rites and usages. The sweet psalmist of Israel will
abide in God's tabernacle for ever, and trust in the covert of his
wings, the literal tabernacle on Zion representing God's spiritual
presence here and his beatific presence hereafter (Psa. 61:4 and
elsewhere); he will have his prayer set forth before God as incense, and
the lifting up of his hands as the evening sacrifice (Psa. 141:2); he
will be purged with hyssop that he may be clean, and washed that he may
be whiter than snow (Psa. 51: 7); he will offer to God the sacrifice of
a broken spirit (Psa. 51:17); the people promise to render to God the
calves of their lips (Hosea 14:2); the vengeance of God upon Edom is
described as "a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land
of Idumea," in which the Lord's sword shall be filled with the blood of
lambs and goats and the fat of the kidneys of rams (Isa. 34: 6); with
allusions to the Levitical sprinklings God promises that he will
sprinkle upon his penitent and restored people clean water that they may
be clean (Ezek. 36: 25); and with allusion to the sacrificial flocks
assembled at Jerusalem on the occasion of her great festivals, that he
will increase them with men like a flock--"as the holy flock, as the
flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be
filled with flocks of men" (Ezek. 36:37, 38). How full the book of
Psalms is of allusions to the solemn songs of the sanctuary with their
accompaniment of psaltery and harp, trumpet and cornet, every reader
understands. This subject might be expanded indefinitely, but the above
hints must suffice.

3. We come now to the _form_ of Hebrew poetry. This is distinguished
from the classic poetry of Greece and Rome, as well as from all modern
poetry by the absence of metrical feet. Its rhythm is that of _clauses_
which correspond to each other in a sort of free parallelism, as was
long ago shown by Bishop Lowth in his Prelections on the Sacred Poetry
of the Hebrews, the matter of which has been revised and expanded in
later treatises. Herein, as elsewhere, Hebrew poetry asserts its
originality and independence. Biblical scholars recognize three
fundamental forms of parallelism in Hebrew poetry, which will be briefly
considered, first separately, and then in their combinations.

The _first_ is the _antithetic_ form, where two parallel members are
contrasted in meaning, a form peculiarly adapted to didactic poetry, and
therefore occurring most abundantly in the book of Proverbs. The
following are examples of it:

  The memory of the just is blessed:
  But the name of the wicked shall rot (Prov. 10:7);

where, in the original Hebrew, each clause consists of three words. In
such an antithetic parallelism the words of one couplet, at least, must
correspond in meaning, as here _memory_ and _name_; while the others are
in contrast--_just_ and _wicked_, _is blessed_ and _shall rot_.
Sometimes the two clauses are to be mutually supplied from each other,

  A wise son maketh a glad father:
  But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother (Prov. 10:1);

where the reader understands that a wise son is the joy, and a foolish
son the grief of both father and mother.

The _second_ form is the _synonymous_, where the same general thought is
repeated in two or more clauses. It is found abundantly in the whole
range of Hebrew poetry, but is peculiarly adapted to that which is of a
placid and contemplative character. Sometimes the parallel clauses
simply repeat the same thought in different words; in other cases there
is only a general resemblance. Examples are the following:

  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
  The Lord shall have them in derision. Psa. 2:4.

  For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous:
  With favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Psa. 5:12.

  Perish the day wherein I was born;
  And the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
  Job 3:3.

  Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom:
  Give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. Isa. 1:10.

In the following example we have a _compound_ synonymous couplet:

  Give them according to their deeds,
  According to the wickedness of their endeavors:
  Give them after the work of their hands,
  Render to them their desert. Psa. 28:4

Sometimes three or more parallel clauses occur, thus:

  When your fear cometh as desolation,
  And your destruction cometh as a whirlwind;
  When distress and anguish cometh upon you. Prov. 1:27.

  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
  Who healeth all thy diseases;
  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
  Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies;
  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;
  Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psa. 103:3-5.

In the preceding example, synonymous parallelism passes into _simple
enumeration_. So often with a succession of short clauses, or shorter
and longer clauses, where the poetry of the Hebrews assumes the freedom
of prose, thus:

  Who hath woe?
  Who hath sorrow?
  Who hath contentions?
  Who hath babbling?
  Who hath wounds without cause?
  Who hath redness of eyes? Prov. 23:39.

  A sinful nation;
  A people laden with iniquity;
  A seed of evil-doers;
  Corrupt children:
  They have forsaken the Lord;
  They have despised the Holy One of Israel;
  They have gone away backward. Isa. 1:4.

The parallel clauses are frequently introduced or followed by a single
clause, thus:

  Blessed is the man
  Who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly;
  And standeth not in the way of sinners;
  And sitteth not in the seat of scorners. Psa. 1:1.

  Hear, O heavens;
  Give ear, O earth;
  For the Lord hath spoken. Isa. 1:2.

The _third_ form of parallelism is called _synthetic_ (Greek
_synthesis_, _a putting together_), where one clause is necessary to
complete the sense of the other, as in the following examples:

  Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
  Than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Prov. 15:16.

  Every way of a man is right in his own eyes;
  But the Lord pondereth the hearts. Prov. 21:2.

  Whoso curseth his father and his mother,
  His lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. Prov. 20:20.

The connection between the two clauses may be that of comparison, cause,
effect, etc. Sometimes it is not expressed, but simply implied, as in
the following:

  A whip for the horse,
  A bridle for the ass,
  And a rod for the fool's back. Prov. 26:3.

The _combinations_ of the above forms in Hebrew poetry are exceedingly
varied and graceful. Here are examples of two _synonymous_ couplets that
are _antithetic_ to each other:

  The ox knoweth his owner,
  And the ass his master's crib:
  Israel doth not know,
  My people doth not consider. Isa. 1:3.

  The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught;
  He maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
  The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever;
  The thoughts of his heart to all generations. Psa. 33:10, 11.

In the following example, two _synonymous_ couplets constitute together
a _synthetic_ parallelism:

  Because they regard not the works of the Lord,
  Nor the operation of his hands,
  He shall destroy them,
  And not build them up. Psa. 28:5.

In the following, three _synthetic_ parallelisms make a _synonymous_

  For as the heaven is high above the earth,
  So great is his mercy toward them that fear him:
  As far as the east is from the west,
  So far hath he removed our transgressions from us:
  Like as a father pitieth his children,
  So the Lord pitieth them that fear him. Psa. 103:11-13.

But our limits will not allow us to pursue this subject farther. The
freedom of the Hebrew poet is one of his high prerogatives. He is not a
slave to form, but uses form as it suits his purposes. He blends
together the different kinds of parallelism as he pleases. Often he
breaks through all parallelism to the freedom of prose. But he soon
returns again, because this measured rhythm of clauses is to him the
natural costume of poetic thought, which always seeks to embody itself
in some form of rhythm.

To the form of Hebrew poetry belongs also its _peculiar diction_. To one
who reads the Hebrew poets in the original, this is a striking
characteristic. He meets with words, and sometimes with grammatical
forms, that do not occur in the prose writers. Many of these peculiar
words are _Aramean_; that is, they are words current in the Aramean
branch of the Shemitic languages. Chap. 14, No. 1. They are to be
regarded as _archaisms_--old words that were once common alike to the
Hebrew and the kindred Aramean, but which have been dropped out of prose
usage in Hebrew. They must not be confounded, as has too often been
done, with _true Aramaisms_, that is, Aramean words and forms borrowed
by later Hebrew writers from their intercourse with those who spoke

4. As it respects the _office_ of Hebrew poetry, it is throughout
subservient to the interests of revealed religion. This is implied in
what has been already said of the loyalty of the Hebrew poets to the
institutions of the Theocracy. It follows that the poetry of the Bible
is all _sacred_ in its character. It contains no examples of purely
secular poetry except here and there a short passage which comes in as a
part of history; for example, the words of "those that speak in
proverbs," Numb. 21:27-30; perhaps also the lament of David over Saul
and Jonathan. 2 Sam. 1:19-27. It is certain that the song contained in
the forty-fifth psalm and that of the Canticles were received into the
canon solely on the ground that they celebrate the mutual love between
God and the covenant people, considered as his bride; or, in New
Testament language, between Christ and "the bride, the Lamb's wife."

But sacred poetry has various uses. One of its earliest offices was to
celebrate the praises of God for his interposition in behalf of his
covenant people, as in the song of the Israelites at the Red sea, and
that of Deborah and Barak. But when David was raised to the throne of
Israel, the time had now come for introducing lyric poetry as a
permanent part of the sanctuary service. God accordingly bestowed upon
this monarch the needful inward gifts, and placed him in the appropriate
outward circumstances; when at once there gushed forth from his bosom,
smit by the spirit of inspiration, that noble stream of _lyric song_,
which the congregation of the faithful immediately consecrated to the
public service of the sanctuary, and which, augmented by the
contributions of Asaph, the sons of Korah, and other inspired poets, has
been the rich inheritance of the church ever since. In the book of Job,
sacred poetry occupies itself with the mighty problem of the justice of
God's providential government over men. It is, therefore, essentially
_didactic_ in its character. In the Proverbs of Solomon, it becomes
didactic in the fullest sense; for here it moves in the sphere of
practical life and morals. The book of Ecclesiastes has for its theme
the vanity of this world, considered as a satisfying portion of the
soul; and this it discusses in a poetic form. Finally, the prophets of
the Old Testament exhaust all the wealth of Hebrew poetry in rebuking
the sins of the present time, foretelling the mighty judgments of God
upon the wicked, lamenting the present sorrows of Zion, and portraying
her future glories in connection with the advent of the promised
Messiah. The Hebrew harp--whoever sweeps it, and whether its strains be
jubilant or sad, didactic or emotional, is ever consecrated to God and
the cause of righteousness.



5. The design of the book of Job will best appear if we first take a
brief survey of its plan. Job, a man eminent above all others for his
piety and uprightness, is accused by Satan as serving God from mercenary
motives. To show the falsehood of this charge, God permits Satan to take
from the patriarch his property and his children, and afterwards to
smite him with a loathsome and distressing disease. Thus stripped of
every thing that could make life valuable, he still holds fast his
integrity, and returns to his wife, who counsels him to "curse God and
die," the discreet and pious answer: "Shall we receive good at the hand
of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?" His three friends, who have
come to comfort him, amazed and confounded at the greatness of his
calamities, sit down with him in silence for seven days. At last Job
opens his mouth with vehement expressions of grief and impatience, and
curses the day of his birth. The three friends sharply rebuke him, and
in a threefold round of addresses (only that the third time Zophar fails
to speak), enter into an earnest controversy with him assuming the false
ground that the administration of God's government over this world is
strictly _retributive_, so that special calamity comes only as a
punishment for special wickedness, and is therefore itself a proof of
such wickedness. They accordingly exhort him to repent of his sins, and
seek God's forgiveness, as the sure means of removing his present
misfortunes. Conscious of his integrity, Job, with much warmth and
asperity, repels their unjust charges, and refutes their false arguments
by an appeal to facts. The ground he takes is that, by some inscrutable
plan of God, calamity comes alike upon good and bad men. He passionately
beseeches God to show him why he thus deals with him; and, according as
faith or despondency prevails in his soul, he sometimes expresses the
hope that he shall come out of his troubles like gold tried in the fire;
and then, again, the fear that he shall speedily sink down to the grave
under the weight of his sorrows, and nevermore see good. Having put to
silence his three friends by an array of facts to which they can make no
reply, he freely expresses the belief that the hypocrite's end shall be
destruction (chap. 27); shows that the wisdom by which God governs the
world is above man's comprehension, whose true wisdom lies in fearing
and obeying his Maker (chap. 28); contrasts his present calamities with
his former prosperity (chaps. 29, 30); and closes with a solemn
protestation of his integrity (chap. 31).

Elihu, a young man who has hitherto been a silent witness of the
controversy, now takes up the argument on the ground that trouble is
sent by God upon men as a _discipline_, that by it they may be made
aware of their errors and infirmities; and that, if they make a right
improvement of it, by bearing it with patient submission and looking to
God in penitence and prayer for its removal, it will end in renewed and
higher prosperity. To show the unreasonableness of charging upon God
injustice, he dwells at length upon his infinite majesty and greatness.
The special ground of Job's trial, as given in the first two chapters,
Elihu could not of course understand. But his general position in regard
to human afflictions is right; and it should be carefully noticed that
their issue as described by him in the case of a good man--an
imperfectly good man under a system of grace--is precisely what happens
to Job when he humbles himself before his Maker.

As Elihu's discourse was drawing towards a close, the signs of God's
approach had already began to manifest themselves (chap. 37). Now he
addresses Job out of the whirlwind, rebuking him for his presumptuous
language, and setting before him His infinite perfections, manifested in
the creation and government of the world, as a sufficient proof that to
arraign His justice at the bar of human reason is folly and presumption.
Job now humbles himself unconditionally before his Maker. Upon this God
publicly justifies him to his three friends, while He condemns them,
declaring that he has spoken of Him the thing which is right (42:8).
This is to be understood as referring not to the _spirit_ manifested by
Job, which God had sharply rebuked, but rather to the _ground_ taken by
him in respect to God's dealings with men. By God's direction the three
friends now offer sacrifices for their folly, which are accepted in
answer to Job's prayer in their behalf, and his former prosperity is
restored to him in double measure.

6. From the above sketch of the plan of the book its _design_ is
manifest. It unfolds the nature of God's providential government over
men. It is not simply retributive, as the three friends had maintained,
so that the measure of a man's outward sufferings is the measure of his
sins; nor is it simply incomprehensible, so that there can be no
reasoning about it; but it is disciplinary, in such a way that sorrow,
though always the fruit of sin, comes upon good men as well as upon the
wicked, being a fatherly chastisement intended for their benefit, and
which, if properly improved, will in the end conduct them to a higher
degree of holiness, and therefore of true prosperity and happiness. The
three friends were right in maintaining God's justice; but with respect
to the manner of its manifestation their error was fundamental. Job's
view was right, but inadequate. A disciplinary government, administered
over a world in which the wicked and the imperfectly good live together,
must be incomprehensible as it respects the particular distribution of
good and evil. Elihu was right in the main position, but he wanted
authority. The question was settled by God's interposition not _before_
the human discussion, nor _without_ it, but _after_ it; an interposition
in which the three friends were condemned, Job approved, and the
argument of Elihu left in its full force.

    It has been the fashion with a certain class of critics to
    disparage Elihu as a self-conceited young man, and to deny the
    authenticity of his discourses. But thus the plan of the book is
    fatally broken, as must be evident from the account given of it
    above. It was not necessary that Elihu should be named in the
    prologue. It is enough that he is described when he takes a part
    in the argument. Why he is not named in the closing chapter has
    been already indicated. There was nothing in his argument to be
    censured. As to the attacks made on other parts of the book as
    not authentic, for example, what is said of Behemoth and
    Leviathan, they rest on no valid foundation. They are only
    judgments of modern critics as to how and what the author of the
    book before us ought to have written. The attempt to resolve
    into disconnected parts a book so perfect in its plan, and which
    has come down to us by the unanimous testimony of antiquity in
    its present form, is a most uncritical procedure.

7. Job plainly belonged to the patriarchal period. This appears from his
longevity. He lived after his trial a hundred and forty years (42:16),
and must have been then considerably advanced in life. This points to a
period as early as that of Abraham. To the same conclusion we are
brought by the fact that no form of idolatry is mentioned in the book,
but only the worship of the heavenly bodies. The simplicity of the
patriarchal age appears, moreover, in all its descriptions. But we need
not from this infer that the book was written in the patriarchal age,
for the author may have received from the past the facts which he
records. The book is written in pure Hebrew, with all the freedom of an
original work, and by one intimately acquainted with both Arabic and
Egyptian scenery. Some have supposed Moses to be the author, but this is
very uncertain. The prevailing opinion of the present day is that it was
written not far from the age of Solomon.

8. There is no ground for denying that the book of Job has a foundation
of _true history_. He is mentioned by Ezekiel with Noah and Daniel as a
real person. Ezek. 14:14, 20. The apostle James also refers to the happy
issue of his trials as a historic event calculated to encourage God's
suffering children. Jas. 5:11. But we need not suppose that all the
details of the book are historic. The inspired poet takes up the great
facts of Job's history and the great arguments connected with them, and
gives them in his own language; probably also, to a certain extent,
according to his own arrangement. The scene of the first two chapters is
laid in heaven. Undoubtedly they record a real transaction; but it may
be a transaction revealed to the author in an allegorical form, like
Micaiah's vision (1 Kings 22:19-22), that it might be thus made level to
human apprehension.


9. We have seen the office of the Book of Job in the system of divine
revelation. Very different, but not less important, is that of the book
of Psalms. It is a collection of sacred lyrics: that is, of poems
expressive of religious feeling and adapted to the public worship of
God. In respect to subjects, the Psalms exhibit a wonderful diversity.
They cover the whole field of religious experience, and furnish to the
churches an inexhaustible treasury of sacred song for all ages.
Seventy-three of the psalms are ascribed to David in their titles, and
the whole book, as referred to in the New Testament, bears his name. Of
the remaining psalms, Asaph is named as the author of twelve; to the
sons of Korah eleven are ascribed; to Solomon two (Psalms 72 and 127);
to Moses one (Psalm 90); to Ethan one (Psalm 89). The remaining fifty
are anonymous. Of these, some appear from their contents to have been
written as late as the era of the captivity and restoration. Some
writers have referred certain psalms to the Maccabean age. But there is
nothing in the contents of these psalms which makes such a reference
necessary, and we have decisive evidence that the Hebrew canon was
closed long before this period. See below, Chap. 22, No. 21.

10. In regard to the external arrangement of the Psalms, which is
generally ascribed to Ezra, and cannot be earlier than his day, they are
divided in the Hebrew Bible into _five books_, each closing with a
doxology except the last, to which, as well as to the whole collection,
the final psalm serves as a doxology.

The _first_ book contains Psalms 1-41. Of these forty-one psalms,
thirty-seven bear the name of David. Of the remaining four, the second
and tenth undoubtedly belong to him, and in all probability the first
and thirty-third also. The psalms of this book are remarkable for the
predominance of the name _Jehovah_ over _Elohim_, _God_.

The _second_ book includes Psalms 42-72. Of these, eighteen bear the
name of David; the first eight (including Psa. 43, which is manifestly
connected with the preceding psalm) are ascribed to the sons of Korah;
one to Asaph (Psa. 50); one to Solomon (Psa. 72); and the remaining
three are without titles. In this book the divine name _Elohim_, _God_,
greatly predominates over the name _Jehovah_.

The _third_ book includes Psalms 73-89, seventeen in all. Of these, the
first eleven are ascribed to Asaph; four to the sons of Korah; one to
David (Psa. 86); and one to Ethan the Ezrahite (Psa. 89). In the psalms
of Asaph the divine name _Elohim_, _God_, predominates; in the remainder
of the book the name _Jehovah_.

The _fourth_ book includes Psalms 90-106. Of these seventeen psalms,
only three bear titles; the ninetieth being referred to Moses, the
hundred and first and hundred and third to David. This book is therefore
emphatically one of anonymous psalms, which are for the most part of a
very general character, being evidently arranged with reference to the
service of song in the sanctuary. Throughout this book the divine name
_Jehovah_ prevails; the name _Elohim_, _God_, being rarely used except
in connection with a pronoun or some epithet--_my God_, _God of Jacob_,

The _fifth_ book contains the remaining forty-four psalms. Of these,
fifteen are ascribed to David; one to Solomon (Psa. 127); and
twenty-eight are anonymous. In this book also the divine name _Jehovah_
prevails almost exclusively.

It is probable that these five books were arranged not simultaneously
but successively, with considerable intervals between some of them. The
subscription appended to the second book: "The prayers of David the son
of Jesse are ended," may possibly be explained, upon this supposition.
It may have been added as a subscription to the first two books, before
the others were arranged for the temple service.

Although the psalms belonging to the respective books are not classified
upon any strict principle, yet their arrangement is not altogether
fortuitous. We find psalms with the same title grouped together--eleven
psalms of Asaph. (73-83); eight of the sons of Korah (42-49); eight of
David (139-145 separated from his other psalms); three psalms inscribed
_Al-taschith_ (57-59); the fifteen songs of degrees (120-134), etc. Also
we find psalms of similar contents grouped together--Psa. 79, 80; 88,
89; 91-100; 105-107; etc.

Various attempts have been made to classify the psalms according to
their subjects. But their very richness and variety makes this a very
difficult undertaking. They cover the whole field of religious
experience for both individual believers and the church at large. Many
of them--the so-called _Messianic_ psalms--are prophetic of the
Saviour's offices and work. We need not wonder, therefore, that the
Psalms are quoted in the New Testament oftener than any other book of
the Old Testament, Isaiah not excepted.

11. Besides the names of the authors, or the occasion of their
composition, many of the psalms bear other inscriptions. Of these the
principal are the following:

(1.) The _dedicatory title: To the chief musician_, prefixed to
fifty-three psalms, signifies that the psalm is assigned to him, as the
leader of the choir at the tabernacle or temple, to be used in the
public worship of God. The title rendered in our version: _For the sons
of Korah_, is better translated, as in the margin: _Of the sons of
Korah_; that is, written by one of their number.

(2.) Titles expressing the _character_ of the composition. Here we have,
as the most common and general, _Psalm_, a lyric poem to be sung;
_Song_, a title borne by sixteen psalms, generally in connection with
the word _psalm_, where the rendering should be: _a psalm_, _a song_;
or, _a song_, _a psalm_. All the psalms thus designated except two (Psa.
83, 88) are of a joyous character, that is, songs of praise; _Song of
degrees_, a title the meaning of which is disputed. Many render: _A song
of ascents_, and suppose that the fifteen psalms which bear this title
(120-134) were so called because they were arranged to be sung on the
occasion of the ascent of the people to Jerusalem to keep the yearly
festivals. For other explanations, the reader is referred to the
commentaries. The titles: _Prayer_ (Psa. 17, 90, 102, 142), and _Praise_
(Psa. 145) need no explanation. Besides these titles, there are several
others left untranslated in our version, as: _Maschil_, _teaching_, that
is, a didactic psalm; _Michtam_ (Psa. 16, 56-60) either a _writing_,
that is, poem, or a _golden psalm_.

(3.) Titles relating to the _musical_ performance. Of these, the most
common is the much disputed word _Selah_. It is generally agreed that it
signifies a _rest_, either in singing for the purpose of an instrumental
interlude, or an entire rest in the performance. As a general rule, this
title closes a division of a psalm. Of the titles supposed to indicate
either musical instruments or modes of musical performance, the
following are examples: _Neginath_ (Psa. 61), elsewhere _Neginoth_,
_stringed instruments_; _Nehiloth_, probably flutes (Psa. 5); _Gittith_
(Psa. 8, 81, 84), from the word _Gath_, which denotes a Philistine city,
and also a wine-press. Gittith has been accordingly interpreted to mean
(1) a musical instrument or a melody brought from Gath; (2) a musical
instrument in the form of a winepress, or a melody used in treading the
wine-press; _Shoshannim_, _lilies_ (Psa. 45, 69); _Shushan-eduth_, _lily
of the testimony_ (Psa. 60); _Shoshannim-eduth_, _lilies of the
testimony_ (Psa. 80), either a musical instrument so named from its
shape, or a particular melody, or, as some think, an emblematic term
referring to the contents of the psalm; _Sheminith_, _the eighth_, or
octave, perhaps a musical key (Psa. 6, 12); _Alamoth_, _virgins_,
probably denoting treble voices (Psa. 46); _Al-taschith_, _destroy not_
(Psa. 57, 58, 59, 75), according to some, the name of an air taken from
a well-known poem; according to others, an indication of the contents of
the psalm. For other titles, occurring but once or twice, the reader
must be referred to the commentaries.

    Whether the titles constitute a part of the psalms; that is,
    whether they were prefixed by the writers themselves, is a
    question that has been much debated, and answered differently by
    different writers. That they are very ancient--so ancient that
    the meaning of the terms employed had passed into oblivion when
    the Alexandrine version was made--must be admitted. But it would
    be too much to affirm that they are a part of the inspired word.
    The correctness of some of them is doubtful. If we admit their
    general correctness, reserving for critical investigation the
    question of the historical validity of particular titles, it is
    as far as we need go.


12. The _place_ of the book of Proverbs in the system of divine
revelation is obvious at first sight. It contains a complete code of
practical rules for the regulation of life--rules that have a divine
breadth and fulness, and can make men wise not for time alone, but also
for eternity. The principles embodied in them admit of endlessly varied
applications, so that the study of a life cannot exhaust them. The more
they are pondered, and prayed over, and reduced to practice, the more
are their hidden treasures of wisdom brought to light. Solomon lived
himself in the sphere of practical life. He had constantly to deal with
men of all classes, and he knew men and the course of human events most
thoroughly. His maxims are therefore adapted to the actual world, not to
some imaginary state of things; and they contain those broad principles
of action which meet the wants of all men in all circumstances and
conditions of life. Whoever gives himself, in the fear of God, to the
study of these proverbs, and conforms his life to the principles which
they set forth, will be a truly happy and prosperous man. Whoever shapes
his conduct by different principles will be compelled in the end to
acknowledge his folly. To the young, for whose instruction they were
especially intended, they are affectionately commended as their manual
of action.

13. In respect to _outward form_, the book of Proverbs naturally falls
into four parts. Of these, the first nine chapters, consisting of
earnest and fatherly exhortations addressed to the young in a series of
discourses, of which the parts are more or less connected with each
other, constitute the _first_ part. The title prefixed to this part,
giving both the author's name and the end which he proposes (1:1-6)
refers perhaps to the book considered as a whole. The _second_ part,
introduced by the title: "The proverbs of Solomon," extends to the end
of the twenty-fourth chapter. Of this, the first section (chaps.
10-22:16) consists of proverbs properly so called, each verse
constituting a separate maxim of heavenly wisdom for the regulation of
the heart and life. Between the different verses there is either no
connection, or one of a slight and casual character, consisting
frequently in the common occurrence of the same word. In the remaining
section (chap. 22:17-24:34) the method of exhortation in discourse more
or less connected is resumed. To the _third_ part (chaps. 25-29) is
prefixed the superscription: "These are also the proverbs of Solomon
which the men of Hezekiah copied out." The proverbs of this part are, in
general, expressed in detached maxims, as in the first section of the
second part; but occasionally there is a connection between adjacent
verses. There is also an effort to bring together related proverbs, as
those concerning rulers (25:1-8); concerning fools (26:1-12); concerning
sluggards (26:13-16); concerning busybodies and tale-bearers (chap.
26:17-28). In this part also a number of proverbs are repeated that have
occurred elsewhere. Finally, the _fourth_ part, which may be considered
as a sort of appendix, contains the words of Agur (chap. 30), and of
King Lemuel (chap. 31).

    According to the most natural interpretation of the words
    prefixed to chap. 24:23--"these [maxims] also belong to the
    wise"--the verses that follow to the end of the chapter contain
    also a short appendix of proverbs not belonging to Solomon.

14. From the above it is manifest that the book of Proverbs was arranged
in its present form as late, at least, as the days of Hezekiah. It
contains not the whole of the three thousand proverbs which Solomon
spake (1 Kings 4:32), but only selections from them, such as the wisdom
of God judged needful for the edification of his people. Whether the
proverbs contained in the first and second parts were arranged in their
present form by Solomon himself or by some other person, we do not know;
but that all the proverbs of the book belong to him as their author,
except those which are expressly ascribed to others, there is no valid
reason for doubting.


15. The Hebrew name of this book is _Koheleth_, respecting the meaning
of which there has been much discussion. The Alexandrine rendering of
this word, _Ecclesiastes_, _one who gathers or addresses an assembly_,
and the English rendering, _Preacher_, express for substance its
probable meaning; or rather, since the form of the word is feminine, it
is _Wisdom as a preacher_, Solomon being regarded as her impersonation.
The uniform belief of the ancient church was that Solomon wrote this
book in his old age, when brought to repentance for the idolatrous
practices into which his heathen wives had seduced him. He had
thoroughly tried the world in all its forms of honor, wealth, pleasure,
and the pursuit of wisdom--speculative wisdom--and found it only "vanity
and vexation of spirit," when sought as the supreme good. The conclusion
to which he comes is that in such an empty and unsatisfying world, where
disappointment and trouble cannot be avoided, the cheerful enjoyment of
God's present gifts is the part of wisdom, for thus we make the best of
things as we find them. But this enjoyment must be in the fear of God,
who will bring all our works into judgment; and accompanied, moreover,
by deeds of love and charity, as we have opportunity. He explicitly
asserts a judgment to come; yet his general view of life is that
expressed in the Saviour's words: "The night cometh, when no man can
work;" words which imply that God's earthly service, as well as the
enjoyment of his earthly gifts, will come to a close at death. This view
of the Preacher is not a denial of the future life, as some have wrongly
maintained, but implies rather a less full revelation of it than is
given in the New Testament.

    Many evangelical men, as Hengstenberg, Keil, and others,
    interpret the first verse of this book as meaning not that
    Solomon was himself the author, or that the writer meant to pass
    himself off as Solomon, but simply that he wrote in Solomon's
    name, as assuming his character; that monarch being to the
    ancient Hebrews the impersonation of wisdom. Their reasons for
    this view are chiefly two: _First_, that the state of things
    described in the book of Ecclesiastes does not suit Solomon's
    age, the picture being too dark and sombre for his reign;
    _secondly_, that the language differs widely from that of the
    book of Proverbs and of the Canticles. Whether we adopt this
    view, or that above given, the _canonical authority_ of the book
    of Ecclesiastes remains as a well-established fact. It always
    held a place in the Hebrew canon, and existed there in its
    present form in the days of Christ and his apostles.

16. The following summary of the Preacher's argument is condensed from
Scott. He had evidently two objects in view. First, to show where
happiness could not be found; and secondly, where it might. The first
six chapters are principally employed on the former part of the
argument, yet with counsels interspersed tending to show how the vanity,
or at least the vexation of earthly pursuits may be abated. The
remaining six chapters gradually unfold the latter part of the argument,
teaching us how to make the best of things as we find them, how to live
comfortably and usefully in this evil world, and how to derive benefit
from the changing events of life. In respect to outward things, the
sacred writer inculcates a cheerful, liberal, and charitable use of
them, without expecting from them permanent or satisfying delight. He
counsels us to take the transient pleasure which agreeable circumstances
can afford, as far as consists with the fear of God; to be patient under
unavoidable evil; not to aim at impracticable results; to fill up our
allotted station in a peaceable, equitable, and prudent manner; to be
contented, meek, and affectionate; and to do good abundantly as we have
opportunity, in the expectation of a gracious reward. These general
rules are interspersed with warnings and counsels to princes and great
men, and to subjects in respect to their rulers.


17. The title of this book: _The Song of songs_, that is, the most
excellent of songs, indicates its application to the heavenly Solomon,
and his spouse the church. So the Jews from the most ancient times have
interpreted it. Looking at this song from the position of the Old
Testament, its ground-idea is: "Thy Maker is thy husband." Identical
with this is the New Testament idea: "The bride, the Lamb's wife." The
germ of this representation exists in the Pentateuch, where idolatry is
regarded as spiritual adultery. Exod. 34:15; Deut. 31:16. We find it
fully developed in the forty-fifth Psalm, which probably belongs to
Solomon's age, and which is expressly quoted in the epistle to the
Hebrews as a description of the Messiah. The same figure occurs in many
passages of the prophets who lived after Solomon's day. Isa. 54:5; 62:5;
Jer. 2:2; 3:14; Hos. 2:16, 19, 20. In the book of Revelation this
imagery is repeated and amplified.

18. This song is not a dramatic representation, in which the action
steadily advances to the end, but a series of descriptive pictures, the
great theme of which is the separation of the bride from her
beloved--the heavenly Bridegroom--for her sins, and her reunion with him
by repentance. In the spiritual application of its rich and gorgeous
imagery we should confine ourselves to the main scope, rather than dwell
on particulars. Thus the fruitfulness of the church is set forth under
the image of a garden filled with spices and precious fruits. But we are
not to seek for a hidden meaning in each particular spice or fruit--the
saffron, the spikenard, the myrrh, the pomegranate, the apple, the nut;
and the same is true with respect to the descriptions of the bride and
bridegroom with which the book abounds.

The book has always constituted a part of the Hebrew canon.

    The language of this book is pure and elegant, with all the
    freshness and energy of the best age of Hebrew poetry. Its most
    striking peculiarity is the uniform use (except once in the
    _title_) of the abbreviated form of the relative pronoun as a
    prefix--_shekkullam_ for _asher kullam_; _shehammelek_ for
    _asher hammelek_, etc.--which is manifestly a _dialectic_
    peculiarity of the living Hebrew adopted by Solomon for the
    purpose of giving to his song a unique costume.



1. We have already seen (Chap. 15, Nos. 11 and 12) that from Moses to
Samuel the appearances of prophets were infrequent; that with Samuel and
the prophetical school established by him there began a new era, in
which the prophets were recognized as a distinct order of men in the
Theocracy; and that the age of _written_ prophecy did not begin till
about the reign of Uzziah, some three centuries after Samuel. The Jewish
division of the _latter_ prophets--prophets in the more restricted sense
of the word--into the _greater_, including Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel, chronologically arranged; and the _less_, or twelve _Minor_
Prophets, arranged also, in all probability, according to their view of
their order in time, has also been explained. Chap. 13, No. 4.
Respecting the nature of prophecy and the principles upon which it is to
be interpreted, much remains to be said in another place. In the present
connection, a brief account will be given of _the place which the
prophets held in the Theocracy_, followed by a notice, in this and the
following chapter, of the separate books of prophecy belonging to the
Hebrew canon, according to the order in our English version, Daniel
being reckoned with the greater prophets, Lamentations considered as an
appendix to Jeremiah, and the minor prophets arranged by themselves.

2. The office of the prophets under the Theocracy, which we first
notice, was that of _bold reprovers_. They came to rulers and people
with an immediate commission from God to rebuke them for their sins; and
as the contents of their messages were received from God himself, they
exposed the hypocrisy and wickedness of their times in the pure sunlight
of truth, denouncing upon great and small alike the awful judgments of
Jehovah if they persisted in their impenitence. If we except the
preaching of Christ and his apostles, the history of the world furnishes
no such bright examples of faithful dealing with men's consciences. They
never spare kings and princes from fear of their power and patronage.
They never go round about men's sins, but declare them directly and
faithfully. With what majesty of severity did Samuel reprove Saul, and
Nathan David, and Elijah Ahab, and Elisha Jehoram, and Jehu Jehoshaphat!
And if we open the books of Hebrew prophecy which have come down to us
from distant ages and from a very different civil and social order, we
find them not in the least antiquated, but fresh as yesterday, instinct
with life and power. They are a mirror of terrible brightness in which
we may see reflected our pride, self-sufficiency, vain ostentation, and
worldliness; our avarice, fraud, overreaching artifices, breaches of
trust, bribery, oppression of the weak, and corrupt combinations for the
amassing of filthy lucre; our ambition, slander, falsehood, intrigues,
hypocrisy, and vain pretensions; our luxury, prodigality, sensuality,
and intemperance; our profaneness, Sabbath-breaking, neglect of God's
ordinances and contempt of his written word--a mirror too in which we
can see in the background dark clouds of judgment, big with awful
thunder, such as have already come forth upon our land from the
inexhaustible storehouse of divine justice, and are ready to come forth
again, but over which hangs the rainbow of mercy for all that will
repent and humble themselves before God.

3. We may next consider the office of the Hebrew prophets as _expounders
of the Mosaic law_--the Mosaic law in its substance, as distinguished
from its outward form. They never undervalued the letter of the law,
since that too was of divine appointment; but they taught men that true
obedience must rise above the letter to its spirit. When Saul excused
himself to Samuel for disobeying God's command on the ground that the
people had spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the
Lord, the prophet indignantly answered: "Hath the Lord as great delight
in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of
rams." 1 Sam. 15:22. "Bring no more vain oblations," says God to the
Jews whose hands were full of oppression and blood; "incense is an
abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of
assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a
trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them." And his direction is: "Wash
you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine
eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the
oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:13-17.
"I hate," says God to the covenant people through Amos, "I despise your
feast-days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye
offer me burnt-offerings and your meat-offerings, I will not accept
them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. Take
thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody
of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as
a mighty stream." Amos 5:21-24. "Wherewith," says Micah, "shall I come
before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before
him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be
pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body
for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:6-8. Under the Old Testament,
outward forms of divine service were required, and they are necessary,
to a certain extent, under the New also. But if any man puts his trust
for salvation in these, to the neglect of inward faith, love, and
obedience, he stands condemned at the bar of Moses and the prophets, not
less than at the bar of Christ and his apostles, Under the Mosaic
economy, both the rites of divine service and the succession of the
priesthood were definitively prescribed by God himself, and therefore to
all of binding authority. But the man who placed his religion in these
outward observances, to the neglect of his heart and life, was to God an
object of abhorrence, and the severest judgments were denounced against
him. It cannot be, then, that under the gospel any system of outward
forms, however right and proper in itself, can bring salvation to the
soul, where inward faith, love, and obedience are wanting.

4. The last and highest office of the prophets was to direct men's
thoughts to _the end of the Mosaic economy_, which was the salvation of
the world through the promised Messiah. The Spirit of Christ that spoke
through them, "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the
glory that should follow." 1 Pet. 1:11. It does not appear that they
understood the divine purpose to abolish the Mosaic economy, and with it
"the middle wall of partition" between Jews and Gentiles--that great
mystery, the revelation of which was reserved for the days of the
apostles; but they did have glorious visions of the latter days, when
the law should go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem, to all nations; when the whole world should submit itself to
Jehovah under the administration of the Messiah; and the earth should be
"filled with the knowledge of the glory of God, as the waters cover the
sea." Their glowing descriptions of the future enlargement and glory of
Zion have been the stay and solace of God's people in all succeeding
ages. The student of the Bible should not fail to notice that these
bright visions of the future were vouchsafed to the Hebrew prophets, and
through them to the church universal, not when the Theocracy was in the
zenith of its outward power and splendor, as in the days of David and
Solomon, but in the time of its decline and humiliation. The hopes so
ardently cherished by the covenant people of a return of the outward
glory of Solomon's reign were destined to utter and final
disappointment. It was not to feed their national pride, but to prepare
the way for Christ's advent, that God established the Theocracy. Now
that its outward glory was departing, it was suitable that the hopes of
the pious should be turned from the darkness of the present to the
brightness of "the last days" that awaited Zion in the distant future.
When Isaiah began his prophecies, the kingdom of Israel was tottering to
its fall, and before he had finished them it had suffered an utter
overthrow. The invasion of Judah by the allied kings of Israel and
Syria, in the reign of Ahaz, and by Sennacherib king of Assyria, in the
reign of Hezekiah, furnished an occasion for predicting not only the
present deliverance of God's people, but also the future triumph of Zion
over all her enemies, and the extension of her dominion over all the
earth. In his present interpositions in behalf of Zion, God mirrored
forth his purpose to give her a final and universal victory. And so it
was with all the other prophets. With their backs towards the gloom and
distraction of the present, and their faces steadfastly turned towards
the glory of the latter days, they uttered words of promise and comfort
that can have their fulfilment only in Christ's kingdom, which is the
true heir to all the promises made to the ancient Zion. Out of Christ
these promises are vain and delusory. In Christ their fulfilment has
been begun, and shall be completed in the appointed time. Out of Christ
no amount of learning will enable a man to understand the Hebrew
prophets; for the veil is on his face, which can be done away only in
Christ. What if more than eighteen centuries have elapsed since our
Lord's advent, and the domain of his kingdom is yet very limited? In the
divine reckoning, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day." If it took four of these days to prepare the
world for Christ's advent, can we not allow two days and more for the
complete establishment of his kingdom?

We add a notice of each separate book of the Greater prophets.


5. According to the Hebrew arrangement already noticed (No. 1, above),
the book of Isaiah, as the first of those belonging to the greater
prophets, stands at the head of the whole collection of prophetical
books; although Hosea, Amos, and Jonah, and in all probability Joel
also, entered upon their prophetical office before him. Micah was
contemporary with him. Of the private history of Isaiah we know almost
nothing, except that he was the son of Amoz (chap. 1:1), and that he was
married and had sons (chap. 8:1-4). The Jewish tradition is that he was
sawn asunder under the reign of Manasseh, to which it has been supposed
that there is a reference in the epistle to the Hebrews (chap. 11:37);
but all such traditions are uncertain. Isaiah prophesied "in the days of
Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." Chap. 1:1. If, with
many, we suppose him to have entered upon his office in the last year of
Uzziah, we have sixty-two years to the close of Hezekiah's reign. He
certainly exercised the prophetical office to the fifteenth year of
Hezekiah's reign, and possibly through the remaining fourteen years. As
the superscription is silent respecting any prophecies uttered in
Manasseh's reign, we are not warranted to extend the period of his
activity beyond that of Hezekiah, although he may have survived him, and
have perished in the way indicated by the Jewish tradition.

6. The book of Isaiah naturally falls into two great divisions. The
first, after an introductory chapter, contains a great variety of
prophetic messages, delivered on special occasions. Chaps. 2-39. The
second division, comprising the remaining twenty-seven chapters, seems
to have had no special occasion, but to have been written after the
overthrow of Sennacherib's army, probably in the old age of the prophet,
for the comfort and encouragement of God's people in all coming ages.
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God"--this is its great
theme as expressed in the introductory verse. Of the various plans for
_classifying the contents_ of the first part, all that rest upon the
rationalistic view that the book is a collection of writings belonging
to different authors and ages are false and groundless. Among
evangelical men, who hold the unity of the book and its authorship by
Isaiah, there have been various schemes of classification. It has been
proposed by Drechsler and others to arrange all of Isaiah's prophecies
around two great central events in the history of his times; namely, the
invasion of Judah in the reign of Ahaz by the allied forces of Israel
and Syria (chap. 7), and in Hezekiah's reign by Sennacherib, king of
Assyria (chaps. 36, 37). That these were the two great crises of
Isaiah's age, and that many of his prophecies had reference to them
directly or indirectly, cannot be denied; but to affirm that _all_ his
prophecies, extending over a period of from forty-eight to sixty-two
years, were connected with those two events, either directly or by way
of anticipation beforehand and natural sequence afterwards, is more than
can be established by any probable arguments. We must be careful not to
thrust upon the prophet a systematic arrangement beyond any that ever
existed in his own consciousness. The following brief analysis will be
sufficient for the general reader.

The title prefixed to the first chapter refers certainly to the first
part, and probably to the whole book. The contents of the first chapter
are well suited to constitute a general introduction to the book, and
there is much ground for the opinion that the prophet prefixed them, as
such an introduction, to the whole collection of prophecies. The four
chapters that follow were evidently written during a period of great
worldly prosperity. They contain visions against Judah and Jerusalem of
a threatening character, but interspersed with glorious promises to the
true Israel. The sixth chapter records a vision which the prophet had of
Jehovah in the temple, with the awful message to the people which he
received from His lips. Many regard this as the prophet's _inauguration_
to his office, and consequently as the first of his prophecies in order
of time. The four preceding chapters will then naturally fall into the
reign of Jotham. There is no decisive ground, however, for understanding
the words, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (verse 8,) as
containing the original call of Isaiah to the prophetical office. They
may have reference to the special message which he immediately receives;
a message of the most weighty import, and often quoted in the New
Testament. The confession of Isaiah, moreover, that he is "a man of
unclean lips," may be very naturally referred to his previous exercise
of the prophetic office. According to this view, the preceding four
chapters belong to the latter part of Uzziah's reign.

The series of prophecies that follows (chaps. 7-12) is connected with
the invasion of Judah by the allied kings of Israel and Syria. In this
emergency Ahaz, instead of seeking help from Jehovah, had hired the
Assyrians to defend him against the confederate forces. The prophet
predicts the overrunning of the land by these same Assyrians in whom the
Jews had reposed their confidence; and afterwards the overthrow of the
Assyrians themselves, and the universal establishment of the Messiah's
kingdom, who is foretold under the name of Immanuel. The series closes
with the millennial song of Zion.

Next we have a series of prophecies relating mainly to the heathen world
(chaps. 13-23), through all of which the prophet keeps prominently in
view the great truth that the nation which will not acknowledge Jehovah
and minister to the welfare of his people must perish. He begins with
Babylon, and passes in order to Philistia, Moab, Syria (with which as a
confederate nation Ephraim is joined), Ethiopia and Egypt (first
separately and then conjointly), Babylon again under the enigmatical
name of "the desert of the sea," Edom, and Arabia. Next follows a
prophecy against "the valley of vision," that is, Jerusalem, to which is
appended one against Shebna. The prophet then passes to Tyre, and so he
brings this series to a close.

The four chapters that follow (24-27) are general in their character.
They exhibit Jehovah as the avenger and deliverer of his people, who
abases the proud and destroys sinners as well within the pale of Zion as
without in the heathen world, while he exalts his true worshippers to
honor and salvation.

The next series of prophecies (chaps. 28-35) was apparently delivered in
view of the approaching invasion of the Assyrians, by which the
destruction of the kingdom of Israel was completed, and Judah was
overrun and desolated; but which ended in the overthrow of the invading
army, and the deliverance of Hezekiah and his kingdom. The prophet
denounces, first upon Ephraim and then upon Judah and Jerusalem, God's
heavy judgments for their iniquities, especially for the sin of making
Egypt instead of Jehovah their confidence; foretells the utter and
perpetual desolation of Edom, which here represents all the powers that
array themselves in hostility against God's people; and describes in
glowing language the glory and peace of Zion under the future reign of
the Messiah.

Next follows the history of Sennacherib's invasion and overthrow; of
Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery, and of his sin in
connection with the mission of Merodach-baladan's servants. Chaps.

In the second part of Isaiah, which includes the last twenty-seven
chapters, the prophet is occupied with the future redemption and glory
of Zion. In the clear light of inspiration, and in accordance with the
explicit prophecy that has just been quoted, he takes his stand in the
future of Babylon's supremacy, and of the captivity of Zion and the
dispersion of her children; and he comforts the true Israel by the
promise of restoration and elevation to a greater than the former glory,
when all nations shall submit themselves to Jehovah, and shall minister
to the peace and welfare of Zion. If we divide these twenty-seven
chapters into three equal sections of nine chapters each, the first and
second close with the words: "There is no peace, saith my God, to the
wicked" (chaps. 48:22; 57:21); while the third ends with a more
extended, threatening against the wicked (chap. 66:24). The prominent
characteristics of these three sections are thus given by Keil:

"The _first_ of these sections (chaps. 40-48) portrays the relation of
Israel to the heathen nations; and from the redemption of Israel
effected through Cyrus, the servant of God, it unfolds the certain
victory of the Theocracy over the gods and powers of the heathen world.
The _second_ section (chaps. 49-57) exhibits Israel as the seat of
salvation for the world. This it does by carrying out the thought that,
just as Cyrus is to redeem Israel from the Babylonish captivity, so must
the true servant of Jehovah, by his vicarious suffering and death, make
expiation for sin, raise the covenant people to true glory, and make
them, through the establishment of 'the sure mercies of David' (55:3),
the centre of salvation for the whole world. Finally in the _third_
section (chaps. 58-66), after an exhortation in which the sins of the
people are acknowledged and rebuked (chaps. 58, 59), the prophet
foretells, in a series of majestic images, how the Theocracy shall be
glorified when it shall become, in connection with the creation of a new
heaven and a new earth, the perfected kingdom of God." Introduction to
the Old Testament, § 65. This view of the glorification of the Theocracy
in the latter days is preëminently just, provided only that we do not
understand the Theocracy in a gross literal sense. It is the true
kingdom of God, once embodied in the old Theocracy, but now existing
under the freer forms of Christianity, that is heir to all this glory.

7. As Isaiah holds the first place among the Hebrew prophets in the
canon, in the extent of his writings, and in the fulness of his
prophecies concerning the Messiah and his kingdom, so has he been first
also in receiving the assaults of those who deny the supernatural
character of revelation. Since the last quarter of the last century
persistent attempts have been made to show that the whole of the second
part (chaps. 40-66) and various sections of the first part, particularly
all those that relate to the overthrow of Babylon, belong not to Isaiah,
but to an unknown prophet who lived about the close of the exile. In
support of this view many arguments have been adduced; but the real
argument which lies at the foundation of the whole is the belief that no
such insight into the future is possible as that which this part of the
book manifests, upon the supposition that Isaiah was himself the author
of it. The denial of the genuineness of the chapters in question began
and has always gone hand in hand with the denial of the reality of
prophetic inspiration. In the view of rationalists prophecy is no
revelation of the future through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. It
is only anticipation and shrewd conjecture of the future from the course
of the present. The possibility of prophecy, therefore, is limited by
the possibility of human foresight. Reasoning from this false position,
the critic first assumes that Isaiah cannot have been the author of the
last part of the book which bears his name, and then proceeds to find
arguments against its genuineness. To meet him we must plant our feet
firmly on the great historic truth that God has made to men a
supernatural revelation, of which prophecy in the proper sense of the
word--the revelation of the future by his Spirit--constitutes an
important part. We do indeed find that in the matter of prophecy, as in
all other parts of God's operations, the great law is: "First the blade,
then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." The way for the
fuller revelations is prepared by previous intimations of a more general
character. Precisely so was it in the present case. Moses himself had
more than once predicted the captivity of the covenant people and the
desolation of their land as the punishment of their foreseen apostacy
from God's service, and also the preservation of a remnant and its
restoration upon repentance. Lev., chap. 26; Deut., chaps. 28-32. When
Solomon had dedicated the temple, and his kingdom was at the zenith of
its glory, he received from the mouth of God himself the solemn warning:
"If ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and
will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before
you, but go and serve other gods and worship them; then will I cut off
Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I
have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall
be a proverb and a by-word among all people." 1 Kings 9:6, 7. When the
prophet wrote, these awful threatenings had been fulfilled upon the
kingdom of the ten tribes, and he had been commissioned to announce
their approaching fulfilment upon Judah also, and that in the form of a
captivity in Babylon: "Behold, the days come, that all that is in thy
house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day,
shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And
of thy sons which shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall
they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of
Babylon" (39:6, 7). Micah also had foretold, in express terms, both the
Babylonish captivity, and the subsequent delivery of God's people
(4:10). We see, then, what a full preparation had been made for the
revelations vouchsafed to Isaiah in the chapters now under
consideration. They relate not to something new and unheard of, but to a
captivity which he had himself foretold in accordance with the
threatenings of God by former prophets. Under the illumination of the
Holy Spirit he is carried into the future of Zion. In prophetic vision
he sees her land wasted, her temple burned, and her children groaning in
captivity. As the nearest interposition of God in her behalf, he
foretells her liberation by Cyrus, the anointed of the Lord, and her
restoration to the promised land. But this is only the earnest and
pledge of a higher redemption through the Messiah, the true servant of
Jehovah, under whom she shall be glorified with a perpetual salvation,
and her dominion extended over all the earth. To limit the prophet's
vision to the deliverance from Babylon would be to make him a messenger
of glad tidings which mocked the hopes of the covenant people; for this
deliverance did not fulfil the just expectations which his lofty
promises awakened in the bosoms of the pious remnant of Israel. No; it
is in Christ's redemption alone, of which that of Cyrus was only a
shadow, that Zion receives in full measure the glorious promises which
shine forth in this part of Isaiah.

If now we consider the _form_ of these promises, we find that they bear
throughout the stamp of true prophecy, as distinguished from history.
They have neither the dress of prose history, with its dates and
circumstantial details, such as we find in the books of Ezra and
Nehemiah, nor of historic poetry, like the song of Deborah and Barak;
like the seventy-eighth hundred and fifth, and hundred and sixth psalms.
They are expressed in a series of poetic images, in which, with the
exception of the name of Cyrus, all is general; images, moreover, drawn
for the most part, not from the great events connected with the
conquests of Cyrus, but from the earlier history of Israel. Let any one
read, for example, the forty-sixth and forty-seventh chapters of Isaiah,
and ask himself whether a writer who lived in Cyrus' day could have
described the fall of Babylon without specific allusions to the agencies
by which it was brought to pass. As to the _historic references_ which
some find to the march of the Jewish caravans of returning captives
through the desert that lay between Babylon and Palestine, whoever reads
the passages in question without a previously formed conclusion, must be
satisfied that they are _poetic descriptions_ of the redemption and
restoration of God's people borrowed mainly from the primitive journey
of Israel from Egypt to Canaan through the wilderness of Arabia. God, as
then, goes before his people, opening for them in their extremity
"rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys;"
making "the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of
water." Even Cyrus is mentioned not as the king of Persia, but as a man
raised up from the east to execute God's vengeance on the oppressors of
his people.

    According to Ctesias and Plutarch, the name _Cyrus_ signifies
    _sun_. Strabo says that his name, before ascending the throne of
    Persia, was _Agradales_. Some are of opinion that the word
    _Cyrus_ (Heb. _Koresh_) was an appellation common to the kings
    of Persia. We do not need, however, the help of this hypothesis.
    God himself explains the ground on which he is mentioned by
    name: "For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, have
    I even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though
    thou hast not known me" (45:4). According to Josephus (Antiq.
    11. 1, 2), Cyrus was moved to issue his decree for the
    liberation of the Jews by a knowledge of the prophecies of
    Isaiah in which he is mentioned by name. With this agree the
    terms of the edict: "The Lord God of heaven hath given me all
    the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him a
    house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah." Ezra 1:2, compared with
    Isa. 44:28. If this view be correct, the mention of Cyrus by
    name was a part of God's plan for the restoration of the
    covenant people.

    It is not true, as has been asserted, that the prophet follows
    Cyrus in the details of his conquests. On the contrary, his
    notices of him are few and general. As to the sins of the people
    which he rebukes, they may be all naturally referred to the
    times of Isaiah, while some of them, as the neglect of the
    established sacrifices and oblations (43:23, 24), and the
    offering of sacrifices in connection with an impure heart and
    life (66:3), presuppose the existence of the temple and altar at
    Jerusalem, where alone sacrifices could be lawfully offered. The
    sin of seeking heathen alliances (57:9) points also unmistakably
    to the same period. Although the prophet is carried forward in
    vision to the future of the covenant people, he does not wholly
    forget the men of his own generation, but occasionally
    administers to them severe rebukes, thus mingling the present
    with the future, after the manner of all the prophets.

The other arguments which have been urged against the genuineness of
this part of Isaiah are only of secondary importance, and can readily be
answered. It is said that the style is more diffuse and flowing than in
the first part. The answer is that this agrees well with both the
altered circumstances of the prophet and the altered character of his
theme. Most of his earlier prophecies were delivered under the pressure
and excitement of public life, when he went before rulers and people
charged with specific messages from Jehovah, and these, too, mostly of a
denunciatory character. But the part now under consideration was written
in the serenity of retirement, with the general purpose of comforting
God's people by a view of the future glory in reserve for them. It is
entirely natural, then, that the style of the first part should be more
concise and abrupt, that of the latter more diffuse and flowing; even if
we do not make allowance for the influence of age. But notwithstanding
this difference between the two parts, both have the same general
costume, and the same peculiar expressions and turns of thought, by
which they are sufficiently marked as the productions of the same pen.
It should be added that the Hebrew of this second part of Isaiah is in
general as pure as that of the first part. The few Chaldaisms which it
exhibits may be explained as belonging to the poetic diction. Such
Chaldaisms exist, moreover, in the earlier books. "Some words, as
_seganim_ (_princes_, 41:25), may be explained by the intercourse of the
Jews with the Assyrians in the days of Isaiah." Davidson's Introduction
to the Old Testament, p. 857.

8. It has been shown that the arguments against the genuineness of this
part of Isaiah (and by parity of reason against certain sections of the
first part) have their ground in the denial of prophetic inspiration,
and cannot endure the test of sober criticism. The evidence, then, for
the genuineness of these chapters remains in its full force, and it is
of the most weighty character. If we look to _external_ testimony, there
is the undeniable fact that, as far back as we can trace the history of
the book of Isaiah, they have constituted an integral part of it. They
are recognized as such by Josephus (Antiq. 11. 1, 2); by Jesus the son
of Sirach, in the book called Ecclesiasticus (48:24, 25); and always in
the New Testament when quotations are made from them--Matt. 3:3; 8:17;
12:17-21; Luke 3:4; 4:17-19; John 1:23; 12:38-41, where a quotation from
the _last_ part of Isaiah is joined with one from the _first_ part; Acts
8:28-33; Rom. 10:16, 20, 21. That they were appended by fraud and
forgery no one pretends to affirm. The character of this part of the
book, not less than the character of those who had the Jewish canon in
custody, is a sufficient protection against such a supposition. That
they should have been appended through ignorance is inconceivable. How
can the name of so great a prophet have remained unknown? According to
the hypothesis in question, he lived about the close of the Babylonish
captivity. He was contemporary, therefore, with Daniel; with Zerubbabel
also, Jeshua, and the other chiefs of the restoration. Did no one of
these know who was the man that prophesied so abundantly of the work
which they had so much at heart? And did his name indeed escape the
knowledge of the learned scribe Ezra? And if they did not know his name,
why did they append his writings to those of the true Isaiah, thus
tacitly ascribing to him their authorship? Why did they not leave them
without a name, as they did the books of Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings,
and Chronicles? That these chapters have always constituted a part of
the book of Isaiah, and been acknowledged as such, is a fact which
admits of but one explanation; that, namely, of their genuineness. The
_Great Unknown_, as he is called, is no other than Isaiah himself, whom
the principles of certain critics do not allow them to acknowledge as

The _internal_ evidence for the genuineness of these chapters has
already been partly considered in an incidental way. It is found in the
purity of the Hebrew, which belongs to the age of Isaiah, not of Cyrus;
in the undeniable allusions to the temple sacrifices and oblations as
then existing (43:23, 24), and to the sin of seeking heathen alliances
(57:9); and especially in the fact that a writer living near the close
of the exile must have referred in a more particular and historic way to
the great events connected with Cyrus' conquests. It may be added that
there are in the later prophets some clear allusions to this part of
Isaiah. Jeremiah, who undeniably made use of prophecies contained in the
first part of Isaiah, was acquainted with the second part also. Compare
Jer. 10:3,4, with Isa. 40:19, 20; 41:7; Jer. 31:35, with Isa. 51:15,
where a whole clause is repeated from Isaiah, which agrees in the Hebrew
to every letter; Jer. 50:2, with Isa. 46:1, 2. Compare also Zeph. 2:15,
with Isa. 47:8; Nah. 1:15, with Isa. 52:7.

9. The arguments urged against the genuineness of certain sections of
the first part of Isaiah are for substance the same as these that have
now been examined, and need not a separate consideration. We come on
solid grounds to the conclusion that Isaiah was the author of the whole
collection of prophecies which bear his name, and that the arrangement
of these prophecies in their present form also proceeded from him.


10. In passing from Isaiah to Jeremiah, the contrast is as great as it
can well be; and yet it is a contrast necessary to the completeness of
divine revelation, which employs men of all characters and temperaments,
and living in every variety of outward circumstances. Isaiah, like the
apostle John, seems to have lived above his personal relations in the
sphere of divine truth. He never alludes to his private history, except
where the nature of a given narrative requires it. It is not probable
that he was subjected to such an ordeal of persecution as that through
which Jeremiah passed. However this may be, we gain almost no knowledge
of his private life from the book of his prophecies. But Jeremiah, like
the apostle Paul, unfolds to us very fully the history of his inward and
outward life. With his peculiarly tender and sensitive mind it could not
have been otherwise. If he had not woven into his prophecies his own
inner and outer life, he would not have written naturally, and therefore
truthfully. Through this interweaving of biography with revelation, God
has given in the case of Jeremiah, as in that of the great apostle to
the Gentiles, a rich storehouse of truth for the instruction and comfort
of his persecuted and suffering servants in all ages. With the
simplicity of truth, the prophet informs us how the men of Anathoth, his
native place, conspired to take away his life (11:18-23; 12:6); how
Pashur, the son of Immer, smote him and put him in the stocks (20:1-6);
how in the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign he was accused before the
princes by the priests and false prophets as a man worthy of death, but
acquitted by them (chap. 26); how afterwards he and Baruch were hidden
by Jehovah (chap 36); how under Zedekiah he was repeatedly imprisoned
(chaps. 32:2; 33:1), and thrust into dungeons (chaps. 37, 38); how upon
the conquest of the city by the Chaldeans he was released from his
fetters and honorably treated (chs. 39:11-14; 40:1-4); and how
afterwards he was forced to go into Egypt with the fugitive Jews (chaps.
42, 43).

In connection with this external history, we have a vivid portraiture of
his inward conflicts. Most deeply does he sympathize with his countrymen
in the calamities which their sins have brought upon them; yet he is
rewarded only with curses, because he faithfully forewarns them of the
judgments of heaven which are fast approaching, and which can be averted
only by hearty repentance and reformation. "Woe is me, my mother," he
cries out in his anguish, "that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a
man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor
men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me"
(15:10); and like Job he loses all composure under the pressure of his
sorrows, and bitterly curses the day of his birth (20:14-18). Again we
see him in the hands of his persecutors serenely committing himself to
God, and calmly warning them against the guilt of shedding his blood
(26:12-15). In such alternations of impatience and faith we have a true
portraiture of the struggle of grace against the weakness of nature; and
it is this which gives it especial value as a part of revelation, which
never exhibits good men in a fictitious light, but always in the sober
livery of truth.

11. Jeremiah was of priestly descent (1:1); but that Hilkiah, his
father, was identical with the high priest who found in the temple the
book of the law (2 Kings 22:8), rests upon mere conjecture. Anathoth,
his native place, was in the land of Benjamin, about four miles north of
Jerusalem. He was called to the prophetical office in his youth, and
exercised it in his native land from the thirteenth year of Josiah to
the close of Zedekiah's reign, through a period of about forty-one years
(chap. 1:3); and afterwards in Egypt, whither he was carried by the
rebellious remnant of the people (chaps. 43, 44). His first appearance,
therefore, was about one hundred and thirty-one years after that of
Isaiah, if we reckon from the last year of Uzziah, and some seventy or
more after the close of Isaiah's prophecies. During all this time the
religious and moral condition of the Jewish nation had been steadily
changing for the worse under such kings as Manasseh and Amon; nor could
the zealous efforts of Josiah avail to check the swelling tide of
idolatry and profligacy. Sent by Jehovah in such a degenerate age to
rebuke the wicked rulers and people for their sins, and to forewarn them
of God's impending judgments, he was necessarily subjected to much
persecution. Isaiah had administered stern rebukes to Ahaz and his
people, but he had encouraged them with the hope of successful
resistance to the Assyrian power. But from the Chaldeans, who had
succeeded the Assyrians as the ruling monarchy of the world, Jeremiah
could promise no deliverance. In the name of the Lord he counselled
submission, solemnly assuring the kings and princes of Judah that their
reliance on Egyptian help would end in shame and disappointment
(37:5-10). This brought upon him a load of calumny, insult, and
persecution, which he keenly felt, but bore with fortitude, never
swerving from the path of strict fidelity towards God. The prophecies of
Jeremiah do not contain so many animating visions of the distant future
as are found in Isaiah. He is more occupied with the sins of his own
age, and the heavy judgments of God that impend over his countrymen. His
mission is emphatically to unfold the connection between national
profligacy and national ruin. This he does with a masterly hand, holding
up to the world, in the character and fate, of his countrymen, a mirror
for all time, in which wicked nations may see themselves and the ruin
which awaits them. The whole compass of profane history does not contain
so much clear instruction on this point as is crowded into the few pages
of "the weeping prophet." If the book of God's revelation could not have
been complete without the ecstatic visions of Isaiah, so neither could
it have spared Jeremiah's vivid delineation of a profligate nation
plunging itself into remediless ruin by its iniquities. At times,
however, we find in Jeremiah also joyous anticipations of the good
reserved for God's people in the latter days. He predicted not only the
Babylonish captivity, but its termination at the end of seventy years,
and the perpetual overthrow of Babylon and the Chaldean power (25:12-14;
29:10-14). See also chapters 30-33, where he describes, after the manner
of Isaiah, the glory of the latter days.

    In Jeremiah we have an illustrious example of one whose
    reputation after death became as high and lasting, as the
    reproach which he endured before death was deep and protracted.
    The men of his generation could not appreciate his worth. His
    messages they treated with scorn, and him with contumely.
    Through a long life of faithful labor it was his lot to endure
    reproach and calumny. But neither their unbelief, nor the
    burning of the roll of his prophecies by Jehoiakim could hinder
    the fulfilment of his words. When the captivity had come, as he
    had predicted, and especially when God's promise through him
    that it should end after seventy years had been fulfilled, he
    was honored as among the greatest of the prophets, and from that
    day onward his name became as ointment poured forth. The history
    of Jeremiah is also peculiarly encouraging to God's faithful
    servants who labor on for years amid difficulties and
    discouragements, and see no fruits of their toils. When he died
    it seemed as if all his solemn messages had been wasted upon
    that ungodly generation. But they were not lost to the Jews who
    lived to witness the fulfilment of his predictions in their
    captivity. In connection with the labors of Ezekiel and Daniel
    they contributed greatly to bring about that change for the
    better which took place during the exile. Through them,
    moreover, God provided a treasury of instruction and comfort for
    his people in all coming ages. How forcible a comment are his
    life and labors upon the apostolic declaration made many
    centuries afterwards: "Let us not be weary in well-doing: for in
    due season we shall reap if we faint not."

12. Of the prophecies of Jeremiah some are without date, and where the
date is given the chronological order is not always observed. In the
fourth year of Jehoiakim the prophet, by God's direction, dictated to
Baruch, and he wrote in a roll of a book all the prophecies which God
had communicated to him from the days of Josiah to that time (36:1-4).
When the king had destroyed this roll, he was directed to prepare
another containing the same prophecies, and "there were added besides
unto them many like words" (36:27-32). Whatever use may have been made
of this manuscript in the compilation of our present book, it is plain
that it has not come down to us in its original form as a constituent
part of Jeremiah's prophecies; since in these, as we now have them,
there is an intermingling of messages before and after the fourth year
of Jehoiakim. We cannot tell the origin of the present order, nor is it
a matter of importance, so far as the instructions to be derived from
Jeremiah's writings are concerned. Following the Hebrew order (see
below) we have the following general divisions:

(1.) Prophecies addressed to Judah, with which are connected many
notices of Jeremiah's personal history, and at the close of which stands
a message to Baruch. Chaps. 1-45.

(2.) Prophecies against foreign nations.

(3.) An appendix taken almost verbatim from 2 Kings 24:18-20 and chap.
25, and which seems to have been added by some later writer, as Ezra
(chap. 52.)

It is not necessary to consider particularly the attempt made to
disprove the genuineness of certain parts of Jeremiah's prophecies,
since they all rest, not on critical grounds, but on the false principle
that has been already considered--the denial of the reality of prophetic
inspiration. Men who deny that Isaiah could foresee the restoration of
the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, must deny also that Jeremiah
could limit the duration of that captivity to seventy years. But with
those who believe that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost," such arguments cannot have weight. It is well known that
Jeremiah, particularly in his prophecies against foreign nations, made
use of earlier prophecies, as those of Isaiah and Obadiah. Compare Isa.
chaps. 15, 16 with Jer. chap. 48; Obadiah with Jer. 49:7-17.

    The Alexandrine version differs unaccountably from the Hebrew
    text in its arrangement of the prophecies of Jeremiah. Those
    against foreign nations come after chap. 25:13, and also follow
    a very different order. Besides this, the Alexandrine exhibits a
    number of variations larger and smaller from the Hebrew text.
    The explanation of these differences in arrangement and in the
    text is a matter of uncertain conjecture.

13. _The book of Lamentations_ is designated in Hebrew by the opening
word _Echa_, _how_. The unanimous voice of antiquity ascribes it to
Jeremiah, and with this tradition agree its internal character and
style. It was written in view of the desolation of Judah and Jerusalem
by the Chaldeans, by an eye-witness of all the unutterable miseries
connected with that catastrophe. While it laments, in strains of the
deepest anguish, the desolation of Jerusalem with the slaughter and
captivity of its inhabitants, and heaps together images of horror, it
ascribes righteousness to God, and acknowledges the manifold sins of the
rulers and people as the cause of the overwhelming calamities that had
come upon them. We see throughout the feelings of a tender-hearted and
compassionate man, of a sincere patriot, and of a devout worshipper of
Jehovah beautifully blended together. Sad as is the picture, it is to us
who contemplate it in the light of history, not without its lessons of
comfort as well as of warning. It teaches us that in the midnight of
Zion's adversity her covenant God is with her, and that she has an
indestructible life. The prerogative which the Roman bard applied to his
country: "Plunge her in the deep, she comes out the stronger"--this high
prerogative belongs to the true spiritual Jerusalem, which no fire can
destroy, nor floods overwhelm.

The structure of this book is peculiar. Its five chapters constitute
five poetical compositions, each complete in itself so far as outward
form is concerned, but the whole inwardly bound together as parts of one
great theme. The first and second chapters consist each of twenty-two
verses, arranged in the order of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew
alphabet; that is, the first verse beginning with the first letter, the
second with the second, and so on. Each of the verses, moreover,
contains as a rule _three_ clauses. The third chapter contains sixty-six
short verses of _one_ clause each, the first three beginning with the
first letter of the alphabet, the next three with the second, and so
throughout. In this central chapter, therefore, the alphabetic structure
reaches its culmination. The fourth chapter is like the first and
second, with the exception that the verses generally consist of _two_
clauses each. The fifth chapter contains twenty-two short verses of
_one_ clause each, like those of the third, but not arranged

    The more artificial structure of the third chapter marks it at
    once as peculiar. In this the prophet, as the representative of
    the pious part of the nation, bewails the calamities that have
    come upon himself and his country, expresses his firm confidence
    in God and his purpose to wait for deliverance in patient
    submission to his will, exhorts his countrymen to repentance,
    and offers up his fervent prayer to God that he would remember
    his suffering people and punish their persecutors. The fifth
    chapter is a complaint of Zion in prayer to God in view of the
    terrible calamities that have come upon her. The other three
    chapters (the first, second, and fourth) are occupied mainly
    with a description of these calamities.


15. Ezekiel was especially the prophet of the captivity. Daniel, his
contemporary, received in Babylon glorious revelations respecting the
future history of God's kingdom; but he was a statesman, exercising the
prophetical office, like David, only in an incidental way. Ezekiel, on
the contrary, was expressly called and consecrated, like his
predecessors Isaiah and Jeremiah, to the prophetical office. Like
Isaiah, he has given us but few particulars concerning his personal
history. He was the son of Buzi, and of priestly descent (1:3); belonged
to that company of captives of the better class of the people who had
been carried away with Jehoiachin by the king of Babylon when he made
Zedekiah king in his stead (2 Kings 24:8-16); and lived with other
captives at Tell-abib on the Chebar (perhaps the ancient Chaboras, a
branch of the Euphrates), where he had a house and was married (1:1-3;
3:15; 8:1; 24:15-18). That he was held in high honor by his
fellow-captives, as a true prophet of God, is manifest from the manner
in which they assembled at his house to inquire of the Lord through him
(8:1; 14:1; 20:1). Of his personal standing and reputation, as well as
of the character of his hearers, we have an interesting notice in chap.
33:30-32, where instead of "talking against thee" (verse 30) we may
better render, as in the margin of our English version, "talking of
thee:" "Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people are still
talking of thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak
one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and
hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. And they come
unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people,
and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth
they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And
lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant
voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but
they do them not." Ezekiel was called to the prophetical office "in the
fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (1:2), from which date he
constantly reckons. Jeremiah's activity as a prophet continued not only
through the eleven years of Zedekiah's reign, but for a considerable
period afterwards; so that the two prophets were for some time
contemporary, the one prophesying in Jerusalem and afterwards in Egypt,
the other among the captives in Mesopotamia. The latest date which the
prophecies of Ezekiel furnish is the twenty-seventh year of Jehoiachin's
captivity, about twenty-two years from the time when he was called to
his office. How much longer he prophesied we have no means of

    The date with which the book of Ezekiel opens is "the thirtieth
    year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month," which
    was also "the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (verse
    2), or five hundred and ninety-five years before Christ.
    Reckoning back from this date thirty years, we come to the
    eighteenth year of Josiah, when he repaired the temple, and
    solemnly renewed the worship of God; and also to the first year
    of Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, who made Babylon
    independent of the Assyrian monarchy, and thus established a new
    era. Some have assumed the former of these two eras as that from
    which the prophet reckons; but the latter is more probable.
    Writing, as he does, under the Chaldean monarchy, it is natural
    that he should give, at the outset, a date by which the
    chronology of the whole series of his prophecies may be
    determined in reference to Chaldean history. Elsewhere he dates
    from Jehoiachin's captivity.

16. It is not worth while to raise any questions concerning the purity
of Ezekiel's Hebrew, as compared with that of the earlier writers. The
Holy Spirit is not concerned about the classic style of a prophet. He
selects men whose natural qualities, providential training, and
sanctified hearts fit them for the work assigned to them; and under his
inspiration they speak and write in the dialect to which they and their
hearers are accustomed. Ezekiel's style is marked by Chaldaisms, as
might have been expected from the circumstances in which he wrote. At
the same time it is as forcible as it is peculiar, a style every way
adapted to the work laid upon him. He was sent to "a rebellious nation;"
to "impudent children and stiff-hearted," with the charge: "Be not
afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and
thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid
of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a
rebellious house" (2:3, 4, 6). How well he fulfilled his mission his
prophecies show, in which there is a wonderful fire and vehemence,
joined with a wonderful variety of representation and imagery. Proverbs,
parables, riddles, symbolic actions, vivid portraitures of human
wickedness, terrible denunciations of God's approaching judgments, and
glorious visions of future peace and prosperity in reserve for the true
Israel--these are all familiar to him, and are set forth often with an
exuberant fulness of imagery. When summoned by God to judge "the bloody
city" of Jerusalem, ripe for the judgments of heaven, he heaps one upon
another the black crimes of which she is guilty (22:6-12). The
repetitions so remarkably characteristic of his style are those of
energy, not of weakness. They are the repetitions of a battering-ram
that gives blow upon blow till the wall crumbles before it. The same may
be said of his amplifications, as in chaps. 1, 16, 23, 27, etc. He had a
remarkable adaptation to his office; and his influence must have been
very great in bringing about the reformation of the nation which took
place during the captivity.

17. Ezekiel abounds in allegoric and symbolic representations. These
give to many of his prophecies a dark and mysterious character, and make
them difficult of interpretation. Jerome long ago called the book "an
ocean and labyrinth of the mysteries of God." Nevertheless, the common
reader finds in him much that is plain of apprehension, and full of
weighty instruction. Reserving the general subject of the interpretation
of prophecy for another place, we add here a few words respecting the
nature of allegories and symbols, and the principles upon which they are
to be interpreted.

An _allegory_ is a narrative of a real event expressed in figurative
language; that is, where one historic transaction is described under the
image of another. Thus in chap. 17:1-10, the two great eagles are
Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh; the highest branch of the cedar is
Jehoiachin; the cropping off and carrying away of this branch is his
removal by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, etc. So also the extended
descriptions of Jerusalem in chap. 16, and of Jerusalem and Samaria in
chap. 23, under the figure of lewd women. For other beautiful examples
of allegory see Judges 9:8-15; Isa. 5:1-6; Psa. 80; Mark 12:1-9.

In scriptural usage _parables_ are not always distinguished from
allegories. But properly speaking parables are narratives of supposed
incidents--at least of incidents the reality of which is of no
consequence--for the purpose of illustrating important truths; while
allegories are figurative descriptions of actual events.

A _symbol_ represents some great truth or event of the future under the
form of an action, or some material structure or arrangement. _Prophetic
symbols_ take the form of actions, and are of two kinds:

First, _actual_, where the prophet himself performs some action before
the eyes of his countrymen; as in chap. 24:18, where Ezekiel, in
obedience to God's command, refrains from all expressions of grief at
the death of his wife; and chap, 37:16, 17, where he joins together two
sticks to represent the reunion of the ten tribes with Judah and
Benjamin. See also Jer. 27:2 compared with 28:10.

Secondly, _ideal_; that is, seen only in vision; like Ezekiel's prophecy
upon the dry bones, chap. 37:1-10, and his measurements of the New
Jerusalem with its temple, porches, etc. Chaps. 40-48.

It is often difficult to determine to which of these two classes a given
symbol belongs. Did Jeremiah, for example, actually go to Euphrates to
bury the linen girdle there, or only in prophetic ecstacy? Jer. 13:1-11.
Did Ezekiel perform the acts recorded in chap. 4 in reality or in
vision? The answer to such questions is not of great importance, since
either way the meaning of the symbols and the instructions which they
furnish are the same.

18. If we divide the book of Ezekiel into two equal parts of twenty-four
chapters each, the _first_ part contains prophecies delivered before the
overthrow of Jerusalem. These are arranged in chronological order. After
an introductory chapter describing the vision of the glory of God which
the prophet had when called to his office, there follows, in the form of
visions, allegories, symbolic actions, and direct addresses, a series of
vivid descriptions of the sins of Jerusalem and the judgments of heaven
that are about to fall upon her. With these are interspersed
denunciations of the false prophets that flatter the people in their
sins, and fervent addresses to his fellow-captives remarkable for their
plainness and evangelical spirit. The _second_ part opens with a series
of prophecies against seven foreign nations, in which the order of time
is not observed--first, short prophecies against the four neighboring
nations, Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia (chap. 25); secondly, a series of
prophecies against Tyre, to which is appended a short prophecy against
Sidon (chaps. 26-28); thirdly, a like series of prophecies against Egypt
(chaps. 29-32). These prophecies were fulfilled through the same
Chaldean power that executed God's righteous vengeance on the covenant
people. As the number _seven_ is made out by separating Sidon from Tyre
to which it properly belonged, it is rightly held to be a symbolic
number, as in the book of Revelation and elsewhere, seven being the
well-known symbol of completeness. With the announcement of the fall of
Jerusalem (33:21) the thunders of God's wrath that had so long rolled
over her die away; and the series of prophecies that follows is mainly
occupied, like the last part of Isaiah, with predictions of the future
glory of Zion, in connection with God's awful judgments upon the wicked
within and without her borders. Of these the last nine chapters contain
a description of the vision which God vouchsafed to the prophet of a new
Jerusalem, with its temple, priests and altars, rising out of the ruins
of the former, of larger extent and in a more glorious form. He sees
the land of Canaan also divided out to the returning captives by lot, as
it was in the days of Joshua, but upon an entirely different plan.

The general plan of the temple is after the model of Solomon's; yet this
vision is not to be understood as a mere prophecy of the rebuilding of
Solomon's temple with the city in which it stood, and of the
repossession of the land after the Babylonish captivity. Several
particulars in the description make it plain that it was not intended to
be literally understood. See chaps. 42:15-20; 45:1-8; 47:1-12; and the
whole of chap. 48. It is rather a symbolical representation of the
coming deliverance and enlargement of the true spiritual Zion, which is
God's church, the same in all ages. The resettlement of the land of
Canaan, and the rebuilding of the temple and city after the captivity,
were a part indeed, but only a very small part of the "good things to
come" which the vision shadowed forth. Its fulfilment belongs to the
entire history of the church from Ezekiel's day onward, and it will be
completed only in her final triumph over the kingdom of Satan, and her
establishment in permanent peace and holiness.

As the time had not yet come for the old covenant to pass away, Ezekiel,
who was himself a priest under the law of Moses, saw the future
enlargement of God's kingdom under the forms of this covenant. The New
Jerusalem which God revealed to him had its temple, priests, altar, and
sacrifices. All these were shadows of Christ's perfect priesthood, of
the spiritual temple of which he is the chief corner-stone, and of the
spiritual priesthood of his people. 1 Peter 2:5-9. The literal
priesthood, altar, and sacrifices are for ever done away in Christ's one
perfect offering for the sins of the world on Calvary. Heb. chaps. 9,

In interpreting the vision before us we should not curiously inquire
after the meaning of every particular chamber and pillar and door, but
rather look to the general meaning of the whole. The angel measures, and
the prophet records all the parts of the building. This signifies, in
general, that God's care extends to all parts of his spiritual temple,
and that he will see that they are in due time made perfect. The New
Jerusalem described by the apostle John has much in common with this. It
is, in truth, a vision of the same spiritual city, "whose builder and
maker is God." But it differs from Ezekiel's vision in two respects.
First, it belongs apparently to the glorified state of the church after
the resurrection; secondly, it has nothing Jewish in it, neither temple
nor altar. These shadows have for ever passed away.


19. The book of Daniel is assigned in the Hebrew canon to the third
division, called _Hagiographa_. For the supposed grounds of this, see
above, Chap. 13, No. 4. Daniel, like Jeremiah, has interwoven into his
writings so many biographical notices of himself, that we gather from
them a pretty full history of his life. He belonged to the royal family
of Judah, being one of the number "of the king's seed and of the
princes," whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried captive to Babylon in an
invasion not recorded in the books of Kings or Chronicles (1:1-3). Thus
was fulfilled the prophecy recorded in Isa. 39:7. But God graciously
turned this into a rich blessing to the Hebrew nation; for Daniel,
having been educated with his three companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and
Azariah, "in the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans," and having
"understanding in all visions and dreams," a remarkable proof of which
he gave by relating to Nebuchadnezzar the dream which had gone from him,
with its interpretation, was made "ruler over the whole province of
Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon,"
and at his request his three companions were also set over the affairs
of the province of Babylon (chaps. 1, 2). He continued in high honor at
the court of Babylon as a wise and incorruptible statesman, and a
prophet who had the gift of interpreting dreams, till the overthrow of
the Chaldean empire by the Medes and Persians. By Darius the Mede he was
treated with like honor (perhaps in connection with his interpretation
of Belshazzar's dream, chap. 5), being made chief of the three
presidents whom he set over his whole realm, and a plot formed to
destroy him was frustrated through God's miraculous interposition and
turned to the increase of his honor and influence; so that he continued
to prosper "in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the
Persian" (chap. 6). He lived, therefore, to see the release of his
countrymen from their long captivity, though it does not appear that he
himself returned to his native land. Probably he continued in the
service of the Persian court to the day of his death.

20. The first chapter is introductory to the whole book, giving an
account of the selection and education of Daniel and his three
companions by direction of the king of Babylon. The prophecies that
follow naturally fall into two series. The _first_, occupying chaps.
2-7, is written in Chaldee from the middle of the fourth verse of chap.
2. It unfolds the relation which God's kingdom holds to the heathen
powers as seen (1,) in a twofold vision of the four great monarchies of
the world, in the form first of an image consisting of four parts, and
then of four great beasts rising up out of the sea, the last monarchy
being succeeded by the kingdom of the God of heaven, which shall never
be destroyed (chaps. 2, 7); (2,) in the protection and deliverance of
God's faithful servants from the persecution of heathen kings and
princes (chaps. 3, 6); (3,) in the humbling of heathen monarchs for
their pride, idolatry, and profanation of the sacred vessels belonging
to the sanctuary (chaps. 4, 5). Thus we see that the first three of
these six chapters (2-7) correspond to the last three taken in an
inverse order--the second to the seventh, the third to the sixth, and
the fourth to the fifth. The _second_ series, consisting of the
remaining five chapters, is written in Hebrew. This also exhibits the
conflict between God's kingdom and the heathen world, taking up the
second and third monarchies under the images of a ram and a he-goat.
Chap. 8. There follow some special details relating to the nearer
future, with some very remarkable revelations respecting the time of the
Messiah's advent, the destruction of the holy city by the Romans, the
last great conflict between the kingdom of God and its enemies, and the
final resurrection.

The intimate connection between the book of Daniel and the Revelation of
John must strike every reader of the holy Scriptures. They mutually
interpret each other, and together constitute one grand system of
prophecy extending down to the end of the world. Both also contain
predictions, the exact interpretation of which is extremely difficult,
perhaps impossible, till the mystery of God shall be finished.

21. That they who deny the reality of miracles and prophecy should
receive the book of Daniel as genuine and authentic is impossible. To
review the history of the assaults made by them upon it, or of the
volumes written in reply, is foreign to the plan of the present work. A
brief summary only will be given of the grounds on which its claim to a
place in the canon of the Old Testament is vindicated.

(1.) The _unity_ of the book of Daniel is now conceded. "The two leading
divisions are so related that the one implies the existence of the
other. Both have the same characteristics of manner and style, though a
considerable portion of the book is in Chaldee, and the remainder in
Hebrew." Davidson after Keil and others, Introduction to the Old
Testament, p. 916. This being admitted, the book as a whole claims
Daniel for its author; for in it he often speaks in the first person,
and in the last chapter the book is manifestly ascribed to him (12:4,

(2.) The uniform tradition of the Jews ascribed the book to Daniel. It
was on this ground that they received it into the canon of the Old
Testament. The objection that they did not class Daniel with the
prophets, but with the Hagiographa (see above, Chap. 13, No. 4) is of no
account. Had the book belonged, as the objectors claim, to the Maccabean
age, it would not have found a place in the Hagiographa any more than in
the prophets. The first book of Maccabees, which contains authentic
history, was never received into the Hebrew canon, because, as the Jews
rightly judged, it was written after the withdrawal of the spirit of
prophecy. Much less would they have received, under the illustrious name
of Daniel, a book written as late as the time of Antiochus Epiphanes,
more than three centuries and a half after Daniel. That they should have
done this through ignorance is inconceivable; that they could have done
it through fraud is a supposition not to be admitted for a moment, for
it is contrary to all that we know of their conscientious care with
regard to the sacred text.

    It may be added that the book of Baruch, which cannot be placed
    later than the Maccabean age, and is perhaps earlier, makes
    abundant use of the book of Daniel; and that the author of the
    first book of Maccabees had this book in the Alexandrine
    version, as is plain from the peculiar expressions employed by
    him in chap. 1:54--"they built the abomination of desolation
    upon the altar." Compare Dan. 9:27 of the Alexandrine version.

(3.) Josephus relates, Antiq. 11. 8. 5, among the other particulars of
the visit which Alexander the Great made to Jerusalem, that the high
priest Jaddus (Jaddua) showed him the book of Daniel "in which he
signified that a certain one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of
the Persians;" and that this, in connection with other extraordinary
circumstances narrated by Josephus, had the effect of assuaging the
king's wrath which had been excited against the Jewish high priest and
people by their refusal to render him assistance against Darius, and of
disposing him to bestow upon them great favors. Respecting the
authenticity of this narrative there has been much discussion; but there
is no ground for denying its substantial truth. It bears the stamp of
reality, and it accounts, moreover, for the extraordinary privileges
conferred upon the Jews by Alexander, which otherwise remain

(4.) _Christ himself recognizes Daniel as a true prophet._ He refers to
the future fulfilment of one of his prophecies as a most important sign
for his disciples: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of
desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place
(whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea
flee into the mountains." Matt. 24:15, 16; Mark 13:14. De Wette says
indeed: "In the nature of the case Christ neither _would_ nor _could_ be
a critical authority." That our Lord did not assume to be a critical
authority in the ordinary sense of the term is evident; for in this very
case he referred to the Alexandrine version, without pausing to notice
its variation from the Hebrew. But our Lord knew whether the book of
Daniel is a collection of real prophecies, or a spurious work composed
several centuries after Daniel, imposing upon the world in Daniel's name
pretended prophecies written after the events. Far be it from any one
who believes in the reality of Christ's supernatural mission thus to
make him set the seal of his divine authority to the work of an
impostor. Heb. 11:33, 34 also refers undeniably to Daniel, chaps. 6 and

(5.) The _language_ of the book agrees with the age of Daniel. The
writer employs both Hebrew and Chaldee, thus indicating that he lives
during the period of transition from the former to the latter language.
His Chaldee, moreover, like that of Ezra, contains Hebrew forms such as
do not occur in the earliest of the Targums. His Hebrew, on the other
hand, agrees in its general character with that of Ezekiel and Ezra.
Though the Hebrew survived as the language of the learned for some time
after the captivity, we cannot suppose that so late as the age of
Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees a Jewish author could have
employed either such Hebrew as Daniel uses, or such Chaldee.

(6.) The author manifests intimate acquaintance with the historical
relations, manners, and customs belonging to Daniel's time. Under this
head writers have specified the custom of giving new names to those
taken into the king's service (1:7); the threat that the houses of the
magi should be made a dunghill (2:5); the different forms of capital
punishment in use among the Chaldeans and Medo-Persians; the dress of
Daniel's companions (3:21); the presence of women at the royal banquet
(5:2), etc. See Davidson's Introduction, p. 920, who sums up the
argument thus: "It is improbable that an author in the Maccabean times
should have been so _uniformly accurate_ in his narrative, without
having been in Babylon itself."

22. The objections urged against the book of Daniel are not of a nature
to overthrow the mass of evidence in its favor. They may be considered
under the following heads:

(1.) Various _chronological and historical difficulties_. It is said
that Jewish history knows no expedition of Nebuchadnezzar against
Jerusalem in the _third_ year of Jehoiakim. The answer is that an
expedition which apparently fell about this time is mentioned in 2 Kings
24:1. The actual capture of the city, however, seems not to have taken
place before the _fourth_ year of Jehoiakim; for Jeremiah, in a prophecy
dated in this fourth year, speaks in terms which imply that the
threatened blow had not yet fallen. Jer. 25:9. Perhaps Daniel, chap.
1:1, dates from the beginning of the expedition, so that it fell partly
in the third and partly in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. It was in
connection with this expedition of Nebuchadnezzar that he overthrew the
army of Pharaoh-necho at Carchemish on the Euphrates; for that event
also took place in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Jer. 46:2.

    We learn from Berosus, as quoted by Josephus (Antiq. 10. 11. 1),
    that when Nebuchadnezzar was engaged in this expedition, and had
    already conquered the Egyptians, he received tidings that the
    throne of Babylon was made vacant by the death of his father.
    Upon this he hastened with his light troops across the desert to
    Babylon, leaving the body of his army to return by the ordinary

It is said again that the dates given in Jer. 25:1 and Dan, 2:1 cannot
be reconciled with each other. In the former of these the _first_ year
of Nebuchadnezzar is the fourth of Jehoiakim, in which year, or at all
events in the preceding year, Daniel with his three companions was taken
captive. Yet after they have been transported to Babylon and received an
education there extending through three years (Dan. 1:5), we find Daniel
interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream in the _second_ year of his reign.
To this it can be answered in part that in the second book of Kings and
in Jeremiah the years of Nebuchadnezzar are obviously reckoned from the
time when he was placed by his father, who was now old and infirm, at
the head of his army, the title of king being applied to him by way of
anticipation. 2 Kings 24:12; 25:8; Jer. 25:1. In the book of Daniel, on
the contrary, his years are reckoned from his actual accession to the
throne. But even then it is necessary to assume a considerable delay
between his return from his Egyptian expedition and his formal
investiture with the kingdom.

    The grounds of such a delay we can only conjecture. It may have
    been connected with the settlement of the affairs of the realm,
    which he found, Berosus tells us, administered by the Chaldeans,
    the kingdom being kept for him by the chief man among them; or
    the statement of Berosus may be wanting in fulness and accuracy.
    An argument from our ignorance cannot be urged against the
    authenticity of Daniel any more than in its favor.

As to the acknowledged difficulties connected with the identification of
Belshazzar and Darius the Median (chap. 5), it is sufficient to say that
the notices which we have of the Chaldean monarchy after Nebuchadnezzar
are so fragmentary and contradictory that no valid argument can be drawn
from such difficulties against the authenticity of the book of Daniel.

    An old opinion identifies Belshazzar with Nabonnedus, who was
    either a son of Nebuchadnezzar or a grandson--called his son,
    Dan. 5:22, in the sense of his descendant. But Rawlinson (as
    quoted in Smith's Bible Dictionary) informs us that from
    inscriptions deciphered by him it appears that the eldest son of
    Nabonnedus was called _Bel-shar-ezer=Belshazzar_. He thinks that
    as joint king with his father he may have been governor of
    Babylon, when the city was taken by the Medes and Persians, and
    have perished in the assault, while, in accordance with the
    statements of Berosus, Nabonnedus himself survived. Upon either
    of the above suppositions, Darius the Median will be Cyaxares
    II., son of Astyages and uncle to Cyrus, who succeeded to the
    title of king--"took the kingdom" (Dan 5:31 and chap. 6)--though
    the conquest of Babylon was due to Cyrus himself, who not long
    afterwards ascended the throne of the united kingdoms of Media
    and Persia. Another view makes Belshazzar the same as
    Evil-merodach, son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, and
    identifies Darius the Median with Astyages. It is not necessary
    to decide which, if either of these two views, is correct.

(2.) An argument has been drawn from the fact that Jesus, the son of
Sirach, does not mention the name of Daniel in the catalogue of his
worthies (chap. 49). Such negative arguments are at best weak, and this
loses all its force from the circumstance that he omits others, as Ezra
and Mordecai (the twelve minor prophets also, since chap. 49:10 is
regarded as spurious).

(3.) The alleged _linguistic_ difficulties have been reduced, so far as
the date of the book is concerned, to three or four Greek names of
musical instruments; all of which--the instruments and their names--may
naturally enough have been brought from Greece, the home of musical art,
in the way of ordinary commercial intercourse. We are not called upon to
defend the classic purity of Daniel's style. A Hebrew and educated at
the court of Babylon, it was natural that his Chaldee should be colored
with Hebrew forms, and his Hebrew with Chaldaisms. The argument from the
general style of the book is in favor of its genuineness, not against

(4.) The _commendations_ bestowed upon Daniel are thought to be
inconsistent with his being the author of the book. Some, who admit its
authenticity and its right to a place in the sacred canon, have been led
by this consideration to adopt the opinion that Daniel, though
essentially the author of the book, did not himself put it into its
present form, but that some one of his countrymen put together his
prophecies, prefixing to them introductory notices respecting the
author. So far as the canonical authority of the book is concerned there
are no serious objections to this hypothesis; but we may well ask
whether undue weight is not given to the objection under consideration.
Throughout the whole book these commendatory notices are underlaid by
the idea that Daniel's wisdom is not his own, but is given him by God,
and for purposes connected with the welfare of the covenant people. By
revealing to his servant secrets beyond the ken of all the wise men of
Babylon, he manifests at once his own infinite perfections and the
vanity of the Chaldean gods; and this Daniel records to the glory of the
God of Israel.

(5.) The real objection to the book lies, as already intimated, in _the
supernatural character of its contents_--in the remarkable miracles and
prophecies which it records. The miracles of this book are of a very
imposing character, especially adapted to strike the minds of the
beholders with awe and wonder. But so are those also recorded in the
beginning of the book of Exodus. In both cases they were alike fitted to
make upon the minds of the heathen, in whose presence they were
performed, the impression of God's power to save and deliver in all
possible circumstances. The prophecies are mostly in the form of dreams
and visions; and they are in wonderful harmony with Daniel's position as
a minister of state at the court of Babylon, and also with the relation
of Judaism to the heathen world. In the providence of God, the history
of his covenant people, and through them of the visible kingdom of
heaven, had become inseparably connected with that of the great
monarchies of the world. How appropriate, then, that God should reveal,
in its grand outlines, the course of these monarchies to the final and
complete establishment of the kingdom of heaven (2:44, 45; 7:26, 27). In
all this we find nothing against the general analogy of prophecy, but
every thing in strict conformity with it. In the seventh chapter there
appears, for the first time, an interpreting angel communicating to the
prophet, _in connected discourse_, the meaning of the vision which he
has just seen. So also in the eighth chapter and onward. Such a mode of
revelation is peculiarly adapted to _the communication of details_, and
in the eleventh chapter these are given to an unparalleled extent. But
this constitutes no ground for denying the reality of the prophecy.
Though the spirit of prophecy does not, as a general rule, give future
events in their succession, this is sometimes done. So it is in God's
announcement to Abraham of the bondage of his posterity (Gen. 15:13-16);
and also in our Lord's prophecy of the overthrow of Jerusalem (Matt.,
chap. 24). In this respect it does not become us to prescribe rules for
the wisdom of God.

    We need not pursue this subject any farther. No one of the above
    difficulties, nor all combined, can outweigh the evidence we
    have for the genuineness and authenticity of the book of Daniel.
    On the contrary, the hypothesis that it belongs to so late an
    age as that of the Maccabees is beset with difficulties
    inconceivably greater. It has for its foundation not sober
    criticism, but the denial of the supernatural.



1. By the Jewish arrangement, which places together the twelve minor
prophets in a single volume, the chronological order of the prophets as
a whole is broken up. The three greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel, stand in the true order of time. Daniel began to prophesy
before Ezekiel, but continued, many years after him. The Jewish
arrangement of the twelve minor prophets is in a sense chronological;
that is, they put the earlier prophets at the beginning, and the later
at the end of the collection. It does not appear, however, that they
intended to follow the order of time with exactness. If they did, then
in the judgment of many they committed errors. The particulars must be
discussed as the books come up separately for consideration.

    In regard to the first six, the arrangement of the Septuagint
    differs from the Masoretic, which is followed in our version, as

    MASORETIC TEXT.                      SEPTUAGINT VERSION.

    1. Hosea.                            1. Hosea.
    2. Joel.                             2. Amos.
    3. Amos.                             3. Micah.
    4. Obadiah.                          4. Joel.
    5. Jonah.                            5. Obadiah.
    6. Micah.                            6. Jonah.

2. This precious collection contains the earliest as well as the latest
writings of the Hebrew prophets, except such as are embodied in the
historical books; for Hosea, Joel, and Amos, at least, are older than
Isaiah, and the three prophets of the restoration are younger than
Ezekiel and Daniel. The minor prophets exhibit a great diversity of
manner and style--the rugged and sententious, the full and flowing, the
oratorical, and the simple and unadorned. In them are passages attaining
to the sublimity of Isaiah, to the tenderness and pathos of Jeremiah,
and to the vehemence of Ezekiel. Nowhere do we find sin rebuked with
more awful severity, the true meaning of the law more clearly expounded,
or the future glory of Zion more confidently predicted. That some of
these writings are obscure and of difficult interpretation cannot be
denied. This arises partly from the character of the style, as in the
case of Hosea and others; partly from the nature of the themes
discussed, as in Zechariah; partly from our ignorance of the times and
circumstances of the writers. Nevertheless the prayerful student will
find in them a rich treasury of divine truth, which will abundantly
reward the labor bestowed upon it.


3. The prophecies of Hosea were addressed immediately to the kingdom of
the ten tribes, yet so that he did not overlook Judah; for he considered
the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel as constituting together the
covenant people of God. Of his personal history we know nothing except
that he was the son of Beeri, for the transactions of the first three
chapters may be best understood as symbolic acts seen only in vision.
See above, Chap. 22, No. 17. For any thing that appears to the contrary,
he was of Israelitish descent. As it is generally agreed that Isaiah
began to prophesy in the last year of Uzziah's reign, or but a few years
before his death, while Hosea prophesied in the reign of Jeroboam II.,
the great-grandson of Jehu (2 Kings 14:23), who died about twenty-six
years before Uzziah, it follows that Hosea, though partly contemporary
with Isaiah, was called to the prophetical work at an earlier period. If
we suppose him to have commenced prophesying two years before the death
of Jeroboam, and then add the twenty-six remaining years of Uzziah's
reign, the sixteen of Jotham, the sixteen of Ahaz, and two of the first
years of Hezekiah, we shall have a period of sixty-two years. To Israel
this was a calamitous period, embracing four usurpations and murders of
the reigning sovereigns, and three invasions of the Assyrians. See the
history in 2 Kings 15:8-31, and 17:1-6. In the last of these Hosea, king
of Israel, became tributary to Shalmaneser, king of Assyria; but he
proved unfaithful to his master, and sought the alliance of So, king of
Egypt. 2 Kings 17:4. For this the Assyrian king besieged him in Samaria,
and after a siege of three years, took him with the city, and put an end
to the kingdom of Israel in the fifth year of Hezekiah, king of Judah.
Hosea seems to have closed his writings when Hoshea was seeking the help
of Egypt, while he had at the same time a covenant with Assyria (12:1),
consequently somewhere early in Hezekiah's reign.

4. Hosea's style is very concise and sententious, and his diction
impresses even the casual reader as original and peculiar. A remarkable
feature of his book is the constancy with which he sets forth the
relation of Israel to Jehovah under the figure of the marriage-covenant;
thus making unfaithfulness to God, and especially idolatry and
idolatrous alliances, to be spiritual adultery and whoredom. This fact
affords a key to the interpretation of the first three chapters, where
the nature of the transactions requires that we understand them not as
historic events, but as prophetic symbols occurring only in vision. The
remaining eleven chapters contain perhaps a summary of the prophet's
discourses to the people, written by himself near the close of his
ministry. The prophecies of Hosea are repeatedly referred to in the New
Testament as a part of the oracles of God. Matt. 2:15; 9:13; 12:7; Rom.
9:25, 26; and an allusion in 1 Cor. 15:55. The prophet brings his book
to a close with a delightful and refreshing view of the future
prosperity and peace of the true Israel, chap. 14.


5. The prophecies of Joel, the son of Pethuel, give no specifications of
place or time. But all the internal indications of the book point to
Judea--probably Jerusalem, with its temple, altar, priesthood, and
solemn assemblies--as the sphere of his labors, and to the date as among
the earliest of those belonging to written prophecy. The coincidences
between Joel and Amos cannot well be regarded as accidental. Compare
Joel 3:16 with Amos 1:2; Joel 3:18 with Amos 9:13; and notice the
striking similarity in the close of the two prophecies. If we may assume
that one of these prophets borrowed expressions from the other, the
priority will naturally be given to Joel, from whose closing address
(3:16) Amos takes the opening words of his prophecies. He must then be
placed as early, at least, as the reign of Uzziah, and perhaps earlier.

    From the fact that Joel does not mention as among the enemies of
    Judah the Syrians who invaded Judah in the reign of Joash, the
    grandfather of Uzziah, some have placed him as early as the
    reign of Joash before this Syrian invasion. There is no ground
    for placing him after Uzziah; for his writings contain no
    allusion to the Assyrian power, which became so formidable soon
    after Uzziah's time.

6. The writings of Joel bear the full impress of culture in a prophetic
school. His Hebrew is of the purest kind; his style is easy, flowing,
elegant, and adorned with magnificent imagery; and for vividness and
power of description he is not surpassed by any of the prophets. The
immediate occasion of his prophecies is a double plague of drought and
locusts, which has already invaded the land, and whose desolating
progress he describes in poetic strains of matchless elegance and power.
He summons the people of all classes to repentance, and promises, upon
this condition, not only the restoration of the land to its former
fruitfulness, but also the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh,
the triumph of the covenant people over all their foes, and an era of
universal holiness and peace. In this respect he is a model for all the
prophets that come after him. They all with one accord look forward
beyond the calamities of the present time, and the heavier impending
calamities which they are commissioned to foretell in the near future,
to the glory of the latter days, when Zion shall be made triumphant over
all her foes, and the whole earth shall be given her for her
inheritance. The apostle Peter, in his address on the day of Pentecost,
quotes a remarkable prophecy of Joel (2:28-32, compared with Acts

    The opinion of some commentators, that under the figure of
    locusts are represented simply hostile armies, must be regarded
    as forced and unnatural. More probable is the opinion of
    Henderson and others, that the prophet uses an actual invasion
    of the land by locusts as the type of a more formidable invasion
    of foreign foes. But there does not seem to be any valid reason
    for departing from the simple interpretation above given.


7. Amos prophesied "concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of
Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash king of Israel, two
years before the earthquake" (1:1). The time of this earthquake, which
is simply mentioned by Zechariah (14:5) as occurring in Uzziah's reign,
cannot be determined. We only know that Amos must have prophesied
somewhere during the last part of the reign of Jeroboam II., when he was
contemporary with Uzziah. Amos was thus contemporary with Hosea, and was
a considerable number of years earlier than Isaiah, who began to
prophesy near the close of Uzziah's long reign of fifty-two years. The
very specific date "two years before the earthquake" indicates that his
whole mission to Israel was executed within a single year, perhaps
within a few months. It seems to have been after his return to Judah,
when at least two years had elapsed, that he collected his prophecies
and put them into their present form.

Amos describes himself as one of "the herdmen of Tekoa," a small town
southeast of Bethlehem on the border of the wilderness of Judah. 2
Chron. 20:20. It belonged to Judah, whence we infer that Amos was
himself a Jew, a supposition which agrees well with the advice of
Amaziah: "O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and
there eat bread, and prophesy there" (7:12). He speaks of himself as "no
prophet, neither a prophet's son" (7:14); which means that he had not
been trained up for the prophetical office in any school of the
prophets, as were "the sons of the prophets." 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings
2:3, etc. God took him from following the herd, and gave him a
commission to prophesy to His people Israel, an office which he executed
at Bethel, where one of the golden calves erected by Jeroboam the son of
Nebat was worshipped (7:10-17 compared with 1 Kings 12:29). In entire
harmony with this historical notice is the character of his prophecies.
His style has not the flowing fulness of Joel, but charms the reader by
its freshness and simplicity. His writings abound in images taken from
rural scenes and employments, some of which are very unique and striking
in their character. See chaps. 2:13; 3:12; 5:19; 6:12; 9:2, 3, 9. He
opens his prophecies by a solemn annunciation of the approaching
judgments of heaven upon the nations bordering on Israel, specifying in
each case the sin which has provoked God's wrath. The storm passes,
without pausing in its course, over Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon,
Moab, Judah, till at last it reaches Israel. Here it rests, gathers
blackness, and thunders long and loud. The reign of Jeroboam II was one
of much outward prosperity. 2 Kings 14:25-28. The vices which Amos
rebukes are those which belong to such a period--avarice, violence,
oppression of the poor, perversion of justice, luxury, lewdness--all
these joined with the idolatrous worship established by Jeroboam the son
of Nebat. For such multiplied transgressions God will cause the sun to
go down at noon, and darken the earth in the clear day. Their feasts
shall be turned into mourning, their songs into lamentation, and they
shall go into captivity beyond Damascus. But while all the sinners among
God's people thus perish by the sword, he will remember his true Israel
for good. He will rear up again the fallen tabernacle of David, bring
again the captivity of his people of Israel, and plant them for ever in
their own land in peace and prosperity. Thus do the visions of Amos,
like those of Hosea and Joel, close with a cheering view of the future
glory of Zion. Amos is twice quoted in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts
7:42, 43; 15:16, 17).


8. The short prophecy of Obadiah is directed against Edom. The Edomites
were conspicuous for their hatred of the covenant people. See Ezek.
25:12; 35:5-15; Joel 3:19; Amos 1:11, and the parallel prophecy of Jer.
49:7-22. Accordingly they stand here, in respect to both their guilt and
punishment, as the representatives of Zion's enemies in all ages. In
like manner the promised victory of God's people over them shadows forth
the universal triumph of the kingdom of heaven which is reserved for
"the last days."

Concerning the date of Obadiah's prophecy expositors are not agreed. The
whole question turns upon the interpretation of verses 11-14. That these
contain an historic allusion to the exultation of the Edomites over the
capture and plunder of Jerusalem cannot well be doubted. If this was the
final capture of the city by the Chaldeans, then Obadiah's place will be
after the beginning of the Babylonish captivity. But since no mention is
made of the burning of Jerusalem, some suppose that the prophet refers
to an earlier capture, as that by the Philistines and Arabians under
Jehoram. 2 Chron. 21:16, 17. In favor of this view is urged the fact
that Jeremiah, who was in the habit of using the writings of the earlier
prophets, has much in common with Obadiah.

    That Jeremiah borrowed the language of Obadiah is far more
    probable than that both prophets availed themselves of an older
    document, as some have conjectured. Since, however, Jerusalem
    was taken more than once by the Chaldeans before its final
    overthrow (2 Kings chap. 24; Dan. 1:1), Obadiah may have
    referred to one of these earlier captures, and yet have written
    before Jeremiah penned his prophecy against Edom.


9. We learn from 2 Kings 14:25 that Jonah, the son of Amittai, was of
Gath-hepher, which is undoubtedly the same as Gittah-hepher, a town of
the tribe of Zebulun in the northern part of Palestine (Josh. 19:13);
and that he predicted the successes of Jeroboam II. According to the
general analogy of Scripture, prophecies like this, relating to one
particular event, are not separated by any great space of time from
their fulfilment. He belongs, therefore, in all probability, to the days
of Jeroboam II, when Amos also flourished. There is no valid reason for
assigning him, as some do, to an earlier date.

10. The story of the book of Jonah is too simple to need any analysis.
His act in fleeing from God's presence, when commissioned to go to
Nineveh with a threatening message, is very extraordinary; but such is
the inconsistency and folly of human passion. The conduct of the
mariners when overtaken by a tempest is not wonderful: it is in harmony
with all that we know of ancient habits of thinking and acting. But what
befell Jonah, when cast into the sea, is more than wonderful: it is
miraculous. That there exist in the Mediterranean fish capable of
swallowing a man entire is a well-attested fact. The original Hebrew
mentions only, "a great fish." The Alexandrine version, and after that
the New Testament, use the word _whale_ apparently in the sense of any
great sea monster. But whatever the fish may have been, his preservation
alive in its body for the space of three days, and his subsequent
ejection upon the dry land, can be accounted for only by reference to
the immediate power of God, with whom nothing is impossible. The effect
of his preaching upon the Ninevites was remarkable; but much more so was
his grief at its success, whereby God was moved to spare the city. The
common opinion is that he feared for his reputation as a true prophet;
but a deeper ground of his anger may have been that he rightly
understood the design of his mission to the Ninevites to be that through
repentance they might be saved from impending destruction; while he
regarded them as the enemies of God's people, and unworthy of his mercy.
However this may be, Jonah's mission to the Ninevites foreshadowed God's
purposes of mercy towards the heathen world, and that too at a very
suitable time, when the history of the covenant people, and through them
of God's visible earthly kingdom, was about passing into lasting
connection with that of the great monarchies of the earth.

11. The authorship of the book of Jonah is not expressly given; but may
be most naturally referred to the prophet himself. The few alleged
Chaldaisims found in it may be explained as belonging to the provincial
dialect of the prophet; since we have but an imperfect knowledge of the
variations which the living Hebrew language admitted in this respect. In
Matt. 12:39-41; Luke 11:29-32 the Saviour refers in explicit terms to
events recorded in this book as being true history; nor can the historic
character of the narrative as a whole be denied except on the ground
that all records of the supernatural are unhistoric.


12. Micah is called the Morasthite, probably because he was a native of
Moresheth-gath, a small town of Judea, which, according to Eusebius and
Jerome, lay in a southwesterly direction from Jerusalem, not far from
Eleutheropolis on the plain, near the border of the Philistine
territory. With this agrees the connection in which it is named
(1:13-15); for Lachish, Mareshah, and Adullam also lay in that
direction. He prophesied "in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,
kings of Judah." His prophetic activity began, therefore, soon after
that of Isaiah, and he was contemporary with him, as well as with Hosea
and Amos. His prophecies related to Samaria, the capital city of the
kingdom of Israel, and to Jerusalem (1:1). We find accordingly
denunciations against Samaria intermingled with his prophecies
concerning Judah and Jerusalem. The people, moreover, are spoken of
under the name of Jacob and Israel where, sometimes at least, as in
chap. 3:9, Judah must be included. It is generally thought that the book
of Micah contains only a summary of his prophecies, prepared perhaps in
the days of Hezekiah. But this is not certain; for the reference in
Jeremiah 26:18 obviously relates only to the particular prophecy quoted

13. The book is commonly distributed into three sections: chaps. 1 and
2; chaps. 3, 4, and 5; and chaps. 6 and 7. Each of these opens with a
summons to hear God's message, and then proceeds with expostulations and
threatenings, which are succeeded by glorious promises. The second of
these sections, which is the largest and contains the most extended
promises, is addressed more particularly to the rulers of the people.
The style of Micah is bold, vehement, and abrupt. His sudden transitions
sometimes make his writings difficult of interpretation. He abounds in
striking images, taken to a great extent, like those of Amos, from
pastoral and rural life. Micah has one remarkable prophecy common to him
with Isaiah. Chap. 4:1-3 compared with Isaiah 2:2-4. From the connection
of the context the passage in Micah is generally thought to be the
original. Besides this there is a general agreement between the two
prophets in their representations; and especially in the manner in which
they perpetually mingle stern rebukes and threatenings with glorious
promises relating to the Messiah and his kingdom. The remarkable
prophecy concerning the Messiah's birth (chap. 5:2) is quoted with some
variations in Matt. 2:5, 6, and referred to in John 7:42. The Saviour's
words, as recorded in Matt. 10:35, 36; Mark 13:12; Luke 12:53 contain an
obvious reference to Micah 7:6.


14. Nahum is called "the Elkoshite," probably from Elkosh, a village of
Galilee, which Jerome (Introduction to Nahum) mentions as pointed out to
him by his guide. The tradition which assigns for the place of his birth
and residence the modern Alkush, an Assyrian village on the east side of
the Tigris, a few miles above the site of the ancient Nineveh, rests on
no good foundation. The prophecy of Nahum is directed against Nineveh,
the capital of the Assyrian empire. When the prophet wrote, this city
was still in the height of its power (chap. 1:12; 2:8); oppressing the
nations and purposing the conquest of Judah (chap. 1:9, 11; 3:1, 4).
From chap. 1:12, 13 it appears that the Assyrians had already afflicted
Judah, and laid their yoke upon her. All these particulars point to the
reign of Hezekiah as the probable date of the book.

15. The first chapter opens with a description of God's awful majesty
and power, which nothing created can withstand. These attributes shall
be directed to the utter and perpetual overthrow of Nineveh and the
salvation of God's afflicted people. The second chapter begins a sublime
description of the process of this destruction by the invasion of
foreign armies. The third continues the account of the desolation of
Nineveh by her foes. For her innumerable sins she shall be brought to
shame before the nations of the earth, and made like populous No, that
is, No-amon, the celebrated metropolis of upper Egypt, also called
Thebes, whose children were dashed in pieces and her great men laid in
chains. The present condition of Nineveh, a mass of uninhabitable ruins,
is a solemn comment upon the closing words of the prophecy; "There is no
healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the report
of thee shall clap their hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy
wickedness passed continually?"


16. Respecting Habakkuk's personal history we have no information. The
apocryphal notices of him are unworthy of credence. From the fifth and
sixth verses of the first chapter it is evident that he prophesied not
long before that series of invasions by the Chaldeans which ended in the
destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the people; that is,
somewhere between 640 and 610 years before Christ, so that he was
contemporary with Jeremiah and Zephaniah. The theme of his prophecy is,
first, the overthrow of Judea by the Chaldeans, and then the overthrow
in turn of the Chaldean monarchy, each power in turn for its sins. In
the first chapter he predicts in a dramatic form--that of expostulation
with God on the part of the prophet, and God's answer--the approaching
desolation of the land by the Chaldean armies, whose resistless power he
describes in bold and striking imagery. In the second chapter the
prophet appears standing on his watch to see what answer Jehovah will
give to the expostulation with which the preceding chapter closes. He
receives a comforting message, but one that will try the faith of God's
people by its delay. Verse 3. It is an announcement of the overthrow of
the Chaldean oppressor, carried out in a series of bold and vivid
descriptions in which woe upon woe is pronounced against him for his
rapine, covetousness, iniquitous oppression, and idolatry. The third
chapter is a lyric ode in which the prophet, in view of both the
judgments that God is about to execute on his countrymen through the
Chaldeans (chap. 1), and the promised deliverance from them at a future
period (chap. 2), supplicates and celebrates the future interposition of
Jehovah for the redemption of his people in language borrowed from their
past history. Thus this sublime song is both a prayer for the renewal of
God's wondrous works in the days of old and a prophecy of such a
renewal. The apostle Paul quotes the words of Habakkuk: "The just shall
live by his faith" (2:4), and applies them to all believers (Rom. 1:17).

    The language of chap. 1:5 implies that the desolation of the
    land by the Chaldeans would be a _surprising_ event, which could
    not have been the case after the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over
    the Egyptians and his capture of Jerusalem in the fourth year of
    Jehoiakim, B.C. 606. It was also to be in the day of that
    generation--"in your days." Consequently we cannot date the
    prophecy earlier than B.C. 640, probably not before B.C. 630.

    The dedication of Habakkuk's ode (3:19) "to the chief
    musician"--the Hebrew word is the same that so often occurs in
    the titles of the Psalms--implies that this ode was to be used
    in the solemn worship of God. The added words, "on my stringed
    instruments," are most naturally understood of those under his
    charge as a leader in the service of song in the sanctuary.
    Hence we infer with probability that Habakkuk was a Levite.


17. Zephaniah prophesied in the reign of Josiah (1:1), apparently while
his work of reformation was in progress and not yet completed (1:4-6, 8,
9); that is, somewhere between his twelfth and his eighteenth year (2
Chron. 34:3-13).

In the first chapter he predicts the utter desolation of Judah, and with
it the destruction of all the patrons of idolatry and the rich and
presumptuous sinners in Jerusalem. In the second chapter he exhorts the
covenant people to repentance in view of the judgments that are coming
upon them (verses 1-3), threatens the surrounding nations--Philistia,
Moab, and Ammon--with desolation (verses 4-11), and denounces the
judgments of God upon the Ethiopians and Assyrians (verses 12-15). In
the third chapter, after a severe rebuke of Jerusalem for her
incorrigible rebellion against God (verses 1-7), he foretells in glowing
language the future purification and enlargement of Zion, and the
destruction of all her enemies (verses 8-20). The style of Zephaniah is
clear and flowing, having a general resemblance to that of Jeremiah. He
has frequent allusions to the earlier prophets. Chap. 1:7 compared with
Isa. 34:6; chap. 2:13-15 compared with Isa. 13:21, 22; 34:13-15; chap.
1:14, 15 with Joel 2:1, 2; chap. 1:13 with Amos 5:11, etc.

    The genealogy of Zephaniah is given through Cushi, Gedaliah, and
    Amariah to Hezekiah; for in the original Hebrew the words
    Hizkiah and Hezekiah are the same. As it is not usual that the
    descent of prophets should be given with such particularity, it
    has been assumed, with some probability, that this Hezekiah was
    the king of that name; though in this case we should have
    expected the addition "king of Judah." The "chemarim," verse 4,
    are the idol-priests; that is, priests devoted to idol worship.
    In 2 Kings 33:5, where the writer is speaking of the reformation
    under Josiah, the word is translated "idolatrous priests;" in
    Hosea 10:5 simply "priests," which is its meaning in the Syriac
    language. Some have maintained that the invasion of Judah to
    which Zephaniah refers was that of the Scythians described by
    Herodotus, 1. 105; but this is very improbable. From the fact
    that "the king's children" are included in the threatened
    visitation--in the Hebrew, "I will visit upon the princes and
    the king's children" (1:8)--some have inferred that they must
    have been already grown and addicted to idolatrous practices;
    consequently that Zephaniah wrote later than the eighteenth year
    of Josiah. But, as Keil and others have remarked, the mention of
    the king's children may have been added simply to indicate the
    universality of the approaching visitation; not to say that the
    prophetic vision of Zephaniah may have anticipated the sin and
    punishment of these king's children--Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim.


18. Haggai is the first of the three prophets after the captivity, who
are commonly called _Prophets of the Restoration_. His four short
messages to the people were all delivered in the space of three months,
and they all had reference to the rebuilding of the temple. By the
slanderous representations of the Jews' enemies this work had been
interrupted, as we learn from the fourth chapter of Ezra. Meanwhile the
Jews, having yielded to the spirit of unbelief, had lost their zeal for
God's cause and grown cold and indifferent. For this the prophets Haggai
and Zechariah were sent to reprove them, while at the same time they
encouraged them to resume the work, a mission which they successfully
accomplished. Ezra 5:1, 2.

19. The first message is dated "in the second year of Darius the
king"--Darius Hystaspes, who ascended the throne of Persia B.C. 521--"in
the sixth month, in the first day of the month." Chap. 1:1. In this
message the prophet sharply reproves the people for their indifference
to the cause of God's house and their selfish devotion to their own
private interests, which have brought upon them the divine rebuke. Chap.
1:2-11. The effect of his words in exciting both rulers and people to
renew the work upon the temple is added. Chap. 1:12-15. The second
message "in the one and twentieth day" of the same month is throughout
of an encouraging character. The elders who had seen the first house in
its glory, were despondent in view of the comparative meanness of the
new edifice. Jehovah promises them that "the Desire of all nations"
shall come, that he will fill this house with glory, so that "the glory
of this latter house shall be greater than of the former" (2:1-9). This
promise was fulfilled in a material way in the second temple as renewed
by Herod the Great. But the real reference is to its spiritual glory. It
was honored by the presence of the Son of God, who is the brightness of
the Father's glory. In the third message, "in the four and twentieth day
of the ninth month," the prophet in a sort of parable, rebukes the
people for their heartless formality, which, like the touch of a dead
body, defiles all their offerings and services, yet promises them God's
blessing upon their repentance. Chap. 2:10-19. The last message, which
was delivered on the same day, is wholly occupied with the future. Amid
commotions and overturnings God will destroy the power of the heathen
nations, and make Zerubbabel as a signet.

    The reference is to a seal-ring, and the promise is that God
    will preserve Zerubbabel from all the assaults of the wicked.
    Zerubbabel was one of the Messiah's ancestors (Matt. 1:12; Luke
    3:27), and since the prophecy reached far beyond his day, the
    promise made to him extends to all faithful rulers whom God sets
    over his church but can have its perfect fulfilment only in the
    Messiah himself, of whom Zerubbabel was a type.


20. Zechariah, the second and greatest prophet of the Restoration, calls
himself the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo (1:1). But in Ezra the
name of the father is omitted, perhaps as being less known, and he is
called simply the son of Iddo (chaps. 5:1; 6:14), the word son being
used in the general sense of descendant. There is no reason to doubt the
identity of this Iddo with the priest of that name who went up from
Babylon with Zerubbabel and Jeshua (Neh. 12:4); so that Zechariah, like
Jeremiah and Ezekiel, was of priestly descent. He began to prophesy two
months after Haggai (chap. 1:1 compared with Hag. 1:1), and the two
prophets were contemporary, at least for a short time.

21. The book of Zechariah may be naturally divided, according to its
contents, into three parts. The first six chapters constitute the
_first_ of these parts. After a short introductory message (1:1-6) there
follows a very remarkable series of visions relating to the
reëstablishment of the Jews in their own land, and the future
dispensations of God towards them; the whole being closed by a symbolic
prophecy of Christ as both priest and king upon the throne of David. To
the _second_ part belong the prophecies contained in the seventh and
eighth chapters. The occasion of the first of these was a question
proposed to the prophet concerning the observance of a certain fast. He
first rebukes the people for their formality, and then proceeds to
encourage them in the way of duty, adding glorious promises respecting
the future prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem. The remaining six
chapters, constituting the _third_ part, appear to have been written at
a later time. They all relate to the future destinies of the covenant
people, and, through them, of the visible kingdom of God on earth. But
the first three of these chapters are mainly occupied with the nearer
future, yet with glimpses at the final consummation in the latter days.
They are generally understood to predict the conquests of Alexander the
Great (9:1-8), the conflict of the Jews with their enemies in the
Maccabean age (9:13-16), the advent of Christ (9:9), the corrupt and
rapacious character of the Jewish rulers at that era, their rejection of
Christ, and the consequent rejection of the nation by God (chap. 11).
They also contain a prediction of the final reunion and restoration of
"the house of Judah" and "the house of Joseph" (ch. 10). The remaining
three chapters are occupied with the great and decisive conflict of the
last days, which is to usher in the era of millennial glory.

22. The prophecies of Zechariah, containing as they do a portraiture of
the destiny of God's people to the end of time, and comprehending so
many mighty events which yet await their fulfilment, present to the
interpreter many difficulties, some of which have hitherto been found
insoluble, and will probably remain unsolved till the mystery of God
contained in them shall have been fulfilled. One thing, however, they
clearly reveal to us: that the future triumph of God's kingdom is
certain, and that all the great movements in the history of the nations,
however unpropitious they may seem at the time, are parts of the mighty
plan of divine providence which shall end in making the kingdoms of this
world the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.

    In Matt. 27:9, 10, there is a quotation for substance of the
    words of Zechariah 11:13, but they are ascribed to "Jeremiah the
    prophet." Of this discrepancy various explanations have been
    proposed. Some have suspected an early error in the manuscript
    of Matthew's gospel; but of this there is no satisfactory proof.
    Others have thought that the part of our present book of
    Zechariah which contains the prophecy in question actually
    belongs to Jeremiah; but upon this hypothesis it remains a
    mystery how it should have been attached to the writings of

    Upon the ground of diversity of style and other alleged internal
    marks, it has been maintained by some biblical scholars that the
    whole of the last part of Zechariah belongs to an earlier age;
    but the validity of this conclusion is denied by others. To give
    even a summary of the opposing arguments would exceed the limits
    of the present work. The internal proofs being very nearly
    balanced against each other, the fact that these chapters have
    always been connected with the writings of Zechariah ought to be
    allowed a decisive influence in favor of their genuineness.


23. In Hebrew Malachi signifies _my messenger_, being the very word
employed in chap. 3:1. Hence some have supposed that this is not the
prophet's name, but a description of his office. Such a supposition,
however, is contrary to scriptural usage, which in every other case
prefixes to each of the prophetical books the author's proper name.
Malachi has not given the date of his prophecies, but it can be
determined with a good degree of certainty from their contents. The
people had been reinstated in the land, the temple rebuilt, and its
regular services reëstablished. Yet they were in a depressed condition,
dispirited, and disposed to complain of the severity of God's dealings
towards them. Their ardently cherished expectation of seeing the
Theocracy restored to its former glory was not realized. Instead of
driving their enemies before them sword in hand, as in the days of
Joshua, or reigning triumphantly over them in peace, as in the days of
Solomon, they found themselves a handful of weak colonists under the
dominion of foreigners, and returning to the land of their fathers
solely by their permission. All this was extremely humiliating to their
worldly pride, and a bitter disappointment of their worldly hopes. Hence
they had fallen into a desponding and complaining state of mind. While
rendering to God a service that was not cheerful but grudging,
complaining of its wearisomeness, withholding the tithes required by the
law of Moses, and offering in sacrifice the lame and the blind, they yet
complained that he did not notice and requite these heartless services,
and talked as if he favored the proud and wicked. "Ye have said, It is
vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his
ordinance, and walked mournfully before him? And now we call the proud
happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt
God are even delivered" (3:14, 15). To these sins they had added that of
putting away their Hebrew wives, that they might marry foreign women
(2:10-16). All these circumstances point to the administration of
Nehemiah, probably the latter part of it; for after his visit to Babylon
in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes (Neh. 13:6), he found upon his
return, and has described in the last chapter of his book precisely the
same state of affairs. Malachi is thus the last of all the prophets.

24. He opens his prophecies by reminding the people of God's great and
distinguishing love towards them and their fathers, which they were so
slow to acknowledge. He then reproves them sharply for the sins above
referred to, and forewarns them that the Lord, of whose delay they
complain, will suddenly come to his temple to sit in judgment there--an
advent which they will not be able to endure; for it will consume the
wicked root and branch, while it brings salvation to the righteous
(3:1-5; 4:1-3). In view of the fact that the revelations of the Old
Testament are now closing, he admonishes the people to remember the law
of Moses, and closes with a promise of the mission of "Elijah the
prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord"
(4:5, 6). This promise, with that contained in chap. 3:1, is repeatedly
referred to in the New Testament, and applied to the coming of John the
Baptist as our Lord's forerunner. The opening words of the prophecy,
chap. 1:2, are quoted by the apostle Paul (Rom. 9:13).



1. The Greek word _Apocrypha_, _hidden_, that is, _hidden_ or _secret_
books, was early applied by the fathers of the Christian church to
anonymous or spurious books that falsely laid claim to be a part of the
inspired word. By some, as Jerome, the term was extended to all the
books incorporated by the Alexandrine Jews, in their Greek version, into
the proper canon of the Old Testament, a few of which books, though not
inspired, are undoubtedly genuine. Another designation of the books in
question was _ecclesiastical_, books to be read in the churches for
edification, but not as possessing authority in matters of faith. But at
the era of the Reformation, when these books were separated by the
Protestant churches from the true canon, and placed by themselves
between the books of the Old and the New Testament, Jerome's old epithet
_Apocrypha_, or the _Apocryphal books_, was applied to the entire

How the term _Apocrypha_, _hidden_, became associated with the idea of
_spurious_ or _anonymous_ is doubtful. According to Augustine, it was
because the origin of these books was not clear to the church fathers. A
later conjecture, expressed by the translators of the English Bible, is
"because they were wont to be read not openly and in common, but as it
were in secret and apart." Still more probable is the opinion that they
were so called from their close relation to the _secret_ books
containing the mysteries--secret doctrines--of certain heretical sects.

2. The date of several of the apocryphal books is very uncertain; but
none of them can well be placed as early as the beginning of the third
century before Christ. Though some of them were originally written in
Hebrew or Aramean, they have been preserved to us only in Greek or other
versions. None of them were ever admitted into the Hebrew canon. The
ground of their rejection is well stated by Josephus (Against Apion 1,
8), namely, that from the time of Artaxerxes, Xerxes' son (Artaxerxes
Longimanus, under whom Ezra led forth his colony, Ezra 7:1, 8), "the
exact succession of the prophets" was wanting. The Alexandrine Jews,
however, who were very loose in their ideas of the canon, incorporated
them into their version of the Hebrew Scriptures. How far the mass of
the people distinguished between their authority and that of the books
belonging to the Hebrew canon is a question not easily determined. But
Josephus, as we have seen, clearly recognized their true character.
Philo also, as those who have examined the matter inform us, though
acquainted with these books, never cites any one of them as of divine
authority. The judgment of these two men doubtless represents that of
all the better informed among the Alexandrine Jews, as it does that of
the Saviour and his apostles, who never quote them as a part of the
inspired word.

3. During the first three centuries of the Christian era very few of the
church fathers had any knowledge of Hebrew. The churches received the
Scriptures of the Old Testament through the medium of the Alexandrine
Greek version, which contained the apocryphal books. It is not
surprising, therefore, that the distinction between these and the
canonical books was not clearly maintained, and that we find in the
writings of the church fathers quotations from them even under the name
of "divine scripture." But Jerome, who translated the Old Testament from
the Hebrew, understood perfectly the distinction between the canonical
and the apocryphal books. The canon which he has given agrees with that
of the Palestine Jews. He says (Prologus Galeatus) of the apocryphal
books Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobit, and Maccabees, that the
church reads these "for the edification of the people, not for authority
in establishing church doctrines." The same distinction is made by
Rufinus, the contemporary and antagonist of Jerome. The language of
Augustine was more wavering and uncertain. At the Council of Hippo, A.D.
393, at which he was present, the "ecclesiastical books," as the
apocryphal books are called, were included in the catalogue of sacred
books; and from that day to the time of the Reformation the extent of
the Old Testament canon was regarded as an open question. But the Romish
Council of Trent included the apocryphal books in the canon of the Old
Testament, with the exception of Esdras and the prayer of Manasseh,
pronouncing an anathema on all who should hold a contrary opinion. The
Protestant churches, on the other hand, unanimously adhered to the
Hebrew canon, separating from this the apocryphal books as useful for
reading, but of no authority in matters of faith.

4. Although the Protestant churches rightly reject the apocryphal books
as not belonging to the inspired word, the knowledge of their contents
is nevertheless a matter of deep interest to the biblical scholar. The
first book of Maccabees is in the main authentic, and it covers an
important crisis of Jewish history. All of the apocryphal books,
moreover, throw much light on the progress of Jewish thought, especially
in the two directions of Grecian culture and a rigid adherence to the
forms of the Mosaic law. Keil divides the apocryphal books into
_historical_, _didactic_, and _prophetic_, but with the remark that this
division cannot be rigidly carried out. In the following brief notice of
the several books the arrangement of the English Bible is followed.


5. The first two in order of the apocryphal books in the English version
bear the title of _Esdras_, that is, _Ezra_. The Greek Bible has only
the first, which stands sometimes before our canonical book of Ezra, and
sometimes after Nehemiah. In the former case it is called the _first_
book of Esdras, that is, Ezra; in the latter the _third_, Nehemiah being
reckoned as the continuation of Ezra, and called the _second_ book of
Ezra. It gives the history of the temple and its service from Josiah to
Ezra--its restoration by Josiah, destruction by the Chaldees, rebuilding
and reëstablishment through Zerubbabel and Ezra. Its original and
central part is a legend from an unknown source respecting a trial of
wisdom between Zerubbabel and two other young men, made in the presence
of Darius, king of Persia, which resulted in Zerubbabel's favor, and so
pleased the king that he issued letters for the rebuilding of Jerusalem,
and conferred many other favors on the Jews. Chaps. 3, 4. The preceding
and following parts are made up of extracts from 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and
Nehemiah, in which the compiler has made a free use of his biblical
sources, at one time abridging the narrative, at another making
explanatory additions, and again transposing the order of events
contrary to historical truth. Some, as Keil, think that the writer made
use of the Alexandrine version; others, that he drew from the original
Hebrew. His design was to exhibit the liberality of Cyrus and Darius
towards the Jews as a pattern for the heathen rulers of Judea in his own
day. (Keil.) Neither the author nor the date of the book is known, but
it cannot be placed earlier than the second century before Christ.

6. The _second_ book of Esdras (called also the _fourth_, when the first
is reckoned as the third) is extant in a Latin, an Arabic, and an
Ethiopic version. The Greek original has not thus far been found. The
Arabic and Ethiopic are thought to represent the primitive text more
correctly than the Latin: as they want the two introductory and closing
chapters of the latter, which are generally admitted to be spurious
additions by a later hand; and contain, on the contrary, a long passage
after chap. 7:35, which is not found in the Latin, and is thought to be

7. If we reject the first two and last two chapters of the Latin
version, which do not belong to the original work, the remainder of the
book has entire unity from beginning to end. It consists of a series of
pretended visions vouchsafed to Ezra through the angel Uriel in the
thirtieth year after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldees, while
he mourned over the desolate and distressed condition of the covenant
people with fasting and prayer. Of these visions, the first six, which
are preparatory to the last, pertain mainly to the method of God's
dealing with men, the end of the present age, the introduction of the
coming age, and the glorification of Zion, with the heavy judgments of
God that shall accompany these events. Many of these revelations are
made through the medium of symbols. In the seventh and last revelation,
a voice addresses Ezra out of a bush, as it did Moses of old. Upon his
complaining that the law has been burnt, he is directed to take five
ready scribes, with a promise that the holy writings which are lost
shall be restored to his people. The next day the voice calls to him
again, commanding him to open his mouth and drink the cup which is
offered to him, "full as it were with water, but the color of it was
like fire." Upon this he is filled with the spirit of inspiration, and
dictates to his five scribes in forty days 204 books (according to some
94). Of these the last 70 are secret, to be delivered only "to such as
be wise among the people." The rest are to be published openly, that the
worthy and unworthy may read them. The historic truth underlying this
fabulous revelation seems to be the revision of the canon of the Old
Testament by Ezra and his associates. Chap. 15, No. 17. It is agreed
that this book is the production of a Jew, but the date of its
composition is a disputed point. Some assign it to the first century
after Christ; others to the century preceding our Lord's advent, but
with interpolations that manifestly belong to the Christian era.


8. The book of Tobit contains a narrative of the piety, misfortunes, and
final prosperity of Tobit, an Israelite of the tribe of Naphtali, who
was among the captives brought to Assyria by Enemessar (Shalmaneser)
king of Assyria. With Enemessar he was in favor, became his purveyor,
and was able to deposit ten talents of silver with Gabael at Rages, a
city of Media. But Sennacherib, the successor of Enemessar, persecuted
him, especially for his pious care in burying the bodies of his Jewish
brethren whom that king had slain, and he was obliged to flee with his
wife Anna and his son Tobias, leaving all his goods as plunder to the
Assyrian king. Under Sarchedonus (Esarhaddon) he returned again to his
home, but soon a new misfortune overtook him. As he lay one night by the
wall of his courtyard, being unclean from the burial of a Jew whom his
son had found strangled in the market-place, "the sparrows muted warm
dung" into his eyes, which deprived him of sight. Wishing now to send
his son Tobias for the ten talents of silver deposited with Gabael at
Rages in Media, he directs him to seek a guide for the way; when the
angel Raphael offers himself under the name of Azarias the son of
Ananias the great, one of Tobit's brethren. As the angel and Tobias
journey together, they come one evening to the river Tigris. As the
young man goes down to the river to bathe, a fish assaults him; but by
the angel's direction he seizes him, drags him on shore, and takes for
future use his heart, liver, and gall. On their way to Rages they come
to Ecbatane, a city of Media, where resides Raguel, the cousin of
Tobias, whose only daughter, Sara, has lost seven husbands on the night
of their marriage, through the power of Asmodeus, an evil spirit. Tobias
being her nearest surviving kinsman, marries her according to the law of
Moses. By the angel's direction, upon entering the marriage-chamber, he
lays the heart and liver of the fish upon embers. The evil spirit, at
the smell of the smoke, flees away into the utmost parts of Egypt, where
the angel binds him. The angel goes to Rages and brings the ten talents
and Gabael himself to the wedding feast; the wedded pair return in
safety to Tobit with the silver, and also the half of Raguel's goods,
which Sara receives as her wedding portion. Finally Tobias, by the
angel's direction, anoints his father's eyes with the gall of the fish;
whereupon he recovers his sight, and lives in honor and prosperity to a
good old age. Such is a brief outline of the story, which is told in an
interesting and attractive style. How much historic truth lies at its
foundation, it is impossible to determine. The introduction of the
angelic guide may well be regarded as a mythical embellishment.

9. The book of Tobit is extant in various texts--Greek, Latin, Syriac,
and Hebrew, the Hebrew forms being all translations from the Greek or
Latin. These texts differ in minor details, but have all sprung directly
or indirectly from one original, which was probably Hebrew or Aramaic,
though some maintain that it was Greek. The book is thoroughly Jewish in
its spirit. The date of its composition is uncertain. The common opinion
of biblical scholars is that it was composed about 250-200 B.C. In its
general scope the book has a resemblance to that of Job. A good man
encounters suffering in the way of piety, but is finally delivered,
lives in prosperity, and dies in a good old age. The portraiture which
it gives of domestic piety is very pleasing, and affords an instructive
insight into the spirit of the age in which it was written. It gives
great prominence to deeds of charity; but the alms on which it insists
so earnestly flow from inward faith and love. In this respect they are
distinguished from the dead works of the late Scribes and Pharisees.


10. This book relates the exploit of Judith, a Jewish widow
distinguished alike for beauty, courage, and devotion to her country.
When Holofernes, one of Nebuchadnezzar's generals, was besieging
Bethulia, a city of Judea, she went over to his camp with her maid in
the character of a deserter, promised to guide him to Jerusalem, and by
her flattery and artful representations so insinuated herself into his
favor that he entertained her with high honor. At last, being left alone
with him at night in his tent, she beheaded him with his own falchion as
he lay asleep and intoxicated, and going forth gave his head to her
maid, who put it in her bag, and they two passed the guards in safety
under the pretext of going out for prayer, as had been their nightly
custom. The head of Holofernes was suspended from the wall of the city,
and when the warriors within sallied forth, the besieging army fled in
consternation. Judith receives as a reward all the stuff of Holofernes,
lives at Bethulia as a widow in high honor, and dies at the age of one
hundred and five.

11. The historical and geographical contradictions of this book are too
many and grave to allow the supposition that it contains an authentic
narrative of facts. It was manifestly written after the return of the
Jews from the Babylonish captivity and the rebuilding of the city and
temple (chaps. 4:3; 5:18, 19), when the nation was governed, not by a
king, but by a high priest and Sanhedrim. Chap. 4:6, 8; 15:8. Yet it
makes Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned in Babylon long before, king in
Nineveh in the eighth year of his reign, whereas his father had
destroyed Nineveh. The attempts that have been made to reconcile these
and other inconsistencies with true history are forced and unnatural.
Whatever historical truth may lie at the basis of the story, it is so
interwoven with fiction that the two elements cannot be separated from
each other. It was probably written by a Palestinian Jew in Hebrew or
Aramaic somewhere about the second century before Christ. The design of
the book is to excite the people to faith and courage in their severe
conflicts with foreign persecutors; but its morality is of a very
questionable character. Judith, its heroine, while she adheres with
great punctiliousness to the Mosaic ritual, does not scruple to employ
hypocrisy and falsehood that she may prepare the way for assassination,
being evidently persuaded that in the service of the covenant people the
end sanctifies the means.


12. These are printed by themselves in our English version, and
entitled: "The rest of the chapters of the Book of Esther, which are
found neither in the Hebrew, nor in the Chaldee;" but in the Septuagint
and old Latin they are dispersed through the canonical book so as to
form with it a consistent whole. They profess to supply deficiencies in
the canonical Esther--a dream of Mordecai with its interpretation; an
account of the conspiracy of the two eunuchs to destroy Ahasuerus; a
pretended copy of the king's edict for the destruction of the Jews; the
prayer of Mordecai and of Esther in view of this edict; various details
of Esther's visit to the king; and the pretended edict of Artaxerxes
(Ahasuerus) revoking the former edict, and giving the Jews liberty to
destroy all who should assault them--into which the name of God, which
nowhere appears in the genuine book of Esther, is abundantly introduced.
The origin of these legends is unknown.


13. The author of this book personages Solomon, and speaks in his name,
Solomon being to the ancient Jews the representative of all wisdom. Keil
gives the summary of its contents in three divisions, as follows; (1.)
"The book begins with a forcible exhortation to the rulers of the earth
to strive after wisdom as the fountain of righteousness and the guide to
immortality and happiness. With this it connects a warning against the
folly of unbelieving men who rebel against the law, oppress the
righteous, and thus bring upon themselves just punishment, distraction,
and everlasting shame. Chaps. 1-6. (2.) After the example of King
Solomon, who is introduced as speaking, the way to obtain wisdom is next
pointed out, and she is described in her nature as the spirit that
formed and sustains the world, and is the author of all that is good,
true, and great. Chaps. 7-9. (3.) Then follows a long historical
discourse (interrupted in chaps. 13-15 by a copious discussion
concerning the origin and nature of idolatry), in which the blessed
effects of wisdom and the fear of God, and the unhappy consequences that
come from the folly of idolatry are illustrated by the opposite fortunes
of the righteous and the wicked of past ages, especially of the people
of God as contrasted with the idolatrous Canaanites and Egyptians." The
different parts of the book constitute a well connected whole.

14. The book was originally composed in Greek by an Alexandrine Jew, who
is generally placed by biblical scholars somewhere in the second century
before Christ. Though possessing no canonical authority, it is very
interesting and valuable for the view which it gives of the progress of
Jewish thought in both religion and philosophy. This writer is the first
who expressly identifies the serpent that deceived Eve with the devil:
"Through envy of the devil came death into the world." Chap. 2:24. He
teaches also the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and of a future
judgment. In a passage of great beauty he personifies Wisdom, after the
example of the book of Proverbs, as the worker of all things, and the
teacher and guide, of men. "She is the breath of the power of God, and a
pure efflux from the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled
can find entrance into her. For she is the effulgence of the everlasting
light, and the unspotted mirror of the divine might, and the image of
his goodness. And being but one she can do all things; and remaining in
herself [unchanged] she makes all things new. From age to age entering
into holy souls, she makes them friends of God and prophets." Chap.
7:25-27. But along with this true development of doctrine on the basis
of the Old Testament he holds the unscriptural doctrine of the
preëxistence of souls (chap. 8:20), whether borrowed from the
Platonists, or taken from some other source. Some have thought that he
also holds matter to be eternal. But when he speaks of God's almighty
hand as having "created the world out of formless matter" (chap. 11:17),
he may have reference simply to the chaotic state described in Gen. 1:2.

Jerome left the Latin translation of this book unrevised. The text,
therefore, of our Latin Bibles is that of the "Old Latin" version, as it
existed before his day.


15. The Greek title of this book is, _The Wisdom of Jesus the son of
Sirach_, or more briefly: _The Wisdom of Sirach_. The Latin title,
_Ecclesiasticus_, that is, _Ecclesiastical_ book, designates it as a
book that was read for edification in the churches, though not included
in the Hebrew canon. We give, mainly from Keil, the summary of its
contents: This copious book is rich in its contents, embracing the whole
domain of practical wisdom, and, what is inseparable from this, the fear
of God. These virtues it describes, commends, and inculcates according
to their origin and nature, their characteristics and results, and their
realization in life, in a rich collection of proverbs, with rules and
counsels for the regulation of life in all its manifold relations. The
whole is after the manner of the Proverbs of Solomon, only with much
greater particularity of details, extending to all the spheres of
religious, civil, and domestic life, and giving rules of conduct for the
regulation of the same. This collection of wise maxims, moral precepts,
and rules of life constitutes a united whole, in which the particular
proverbs, counsels, and warnings are strung together in accordance with
an association of ideas that is often quite loose. Interwoven with these
are a number of connected discussions and prayers. The author closes his
instructions with two extended discourses, in the former of which he
celebrates the works of God in creation (chaps. 42:15-43:33); in the
latter, the praises of the famous men of Scripture from Enoch to Simon
the high priest, the son of Onias (chaps. 44-50). He then adds in the
final chapter a thanksgiving and prayer (chap. 51). This book, like that
of Wisdom, is of great value for the insight which it gives into the
theology and ethics of the Jews at the time of its composition.

16. It is undoubtedly genuine, having been written in Hebrew by the man
whose name it bears, and translated into Greek in Egypt by his grandson,
as stated in the prologue. But the age of the translator, and
consequently of the author, is a matter of dispute. The last of the
worthies described by him is "Simon, the son of Onias, the high priest."
There were two high priests of this name, both sons of Onias, but the
author's eulogy is applicable only to the former, who flourished about
310-290 B.C. It is a natural inference that Jesus, the son of Sirach,
wrote not many years afterwards. The translator, again, speaks of
himself as coming into Egypt "in the eight and thirtieth year, when
Euergetes was king." Does he mean the eight and thirtieth year of his
_own_ life, or of _Euergetes_' reign? If the latter, then of the two
kings that bore the surname Euergetes the latter only (B.C. 170-117) can
be understood, since the former reigned only twenty-five years. If the
former, as is most probable, then we naturally understand Euergetes I.,
who reigned B.C. 217-222, during which period the translation must have
been executed.

The Greek text, as exhibited in manuscripts, is in a very corrupt and
confused state, with many variations and transpositions. The Latin text
is that of the "Old Latin," which Jerome left, as he did that of the
book of Wisdom, without revision.


17. This is the only apocryphal book which assumes the character of
prophecy. It is formed after the model of Jeremiah, and ascribed to
Baruch his friend. But its spuriousness is generally admitted. Besides
historical inaccuracies, such as are not conceivable in the case of
Baruch, the fact that its author employed the Septuagint translation of
Jeremiah and Daniel mark it as of a later date. Keil assigns it to about
the middle of the second century B.C. The book professes to be a letter
written by Baruch in the name of the captive Jews in Babylon to their
brethren at Jerusalem, and consists of two well-marked divisions, the
first of which, extending to chap. 3:8, is, in the opinion of some, a
translation from an original Hebrew document. This part contains, after
an introductory notice, a confession of sin with prayer for deliverance.
The second part begins with an address to the covenant people, in which
they are rebuked for neglecting the teachings of divine wisdom, and
encouraged with the hope of returning prosperity when they shall obey
her voice. Chaps. 3:9-4:8. Zion is then introduced lamenting over the
desolations which God has brought upon her and her children (chap.
4:9-4:29), and afterwards comforting them with the hope of certain
deliverance and enlargement (chaps. 4:30-5:9). It is generally agreed
that the second part was originally written in Greek, and some think
that the same is true of the first part also.

18. There is another Epistle of Baruch preserved to us in the Syriac,
which is inserted in the London and Paris Polyglotts. It is addressed to
the nine and a half tribes, and "made up of commonplaces of warning,
encouragement, and exhortation." Smith's Bib. Dict., Art. Baruch.

19. There is a spurious _Epistle of Jeremiah_ which appears in the
Vulgate and our English version as the sixth chapter of Baruch. It is
entitled: "Copy of an epistle which Jeremiah sent to those who were to
be led captives into Babylon by the king of the Babylonians to make
announcement to them, as it was commanded him by God." It purports to be
a warning to these captives against the idolatrous practices which they
shall witness in Babylon, and is made up of a long discourse on the
impotence of the idols which the heathen worship, written in a
rhetorical style, in imitation of Jer. 10:1-16. Its author is supposed
to have been a Hellenistic Jew who lived towards the end of the
Maccabean period.


20. The Greek version of the book of Daniel, besides many departures
from the Hebrew and Chaldee original, contains three large additions.
The first of these is: _The Prayer of Azarias, and the Song of the Three
Children in the Fiery Furnace_, which is appended to the third chapter.
The second is: _The History of Susanna_, who is exhibited as a pattern
of chastity, and was delivered from the machinations of her enemies
through the wisdom of Daniel. This is placed sometimes before the first
chapter of Daniel, and sometimes after chapter 12. The third addition
is: _The Story of Bel and the Dragon_, which stands at the end of the
book, and is falsely ascribed in the Septuagint to the prophet Habakkuk.
Its design is to show the folly of idolatry. According to Keil, these
three pieces were composed in Egypt towards the end of the third, or the
beginning of the second century before Christ.


21. A genuine prayer of Manasseh, king of Judah, existed at the time
when the books of Chronicles were composed. 2 Chron. 33:18, 19. But the
existing prayer of the Apocrypha, though upon the whole beautiful and
appropriate, cannot claim to be a true representative of that prayer.
"The author," says Keil, "was a pious Jew who lived at all events before
Christ, though his age cannot be more accurately determined."


22. These are five in number. The first two passed from the Greek into
the early Latin versions, and thence into the Vulgate and the English
versions, and were received as canonical by the Council of Trent. Two
others are found in some manuscripts of the Septuagint. The fifth exists
only in Arabic. "If the historic order were observed, the so-called
_third_ book would come first, the fourth would be an appendix to the
_second_, which would retain its place, and the _first_ would come last;
but it will be more convenient to examine the books in the order in
which they are found in the MSS., which was probably decided by some
vague tradition of their relative antiquity." Smith's Bible Dict., Art.
Maccabees. The name _Maccabees_ is applied to the family and posterity
of the illustrious Jewish priest Mattathias, who maintained a long and
successful struggle with the Syrian kings, and finally succeeded in
establishing for a period the independence of the Jews. The origin of
the term has been variously explained; but the most common account of it
is, that it comes from a Hebrew word signifying _hammer_, so that the
adjective _Maccabee_ (Greek [Greek: Makkabaios]) will denote _Hammerer_.
According to Josephus (Antiq. 12, 6, 1) Mattathias was descended from
one _Asmonaeus_: Hence the family of the Maccabees are also called

23. _The first book of the Maccabees._ This is one of the most important
of all the apocryphal books. It contains a narrative of the long and
bloody struggle of the Jews, under their Maccabean leaders, for the
preservation of their religion, and the deliverance of the nation from
the yoke of their Syrian oppressors. The history bears the internal
marks of authenticity and credibility, being distinguished by simplicity
and candor. It is only when speaking of foreign nations that the writer
falls into some inaccuracies. These do not detract from his
trustworthiness in relating the affairs of his own nation through a
period of forty years of the most eventful character (B.C. 175-135). The
book is pervaded throughout by the Jewish spirit, and must have been
written by a Palestinian Jew. Its date is uncertain, but may probably be
placed somewhere during the government of the high priest John Hyrcanus
(B.C. 135-106). According to the testimony of Origen, the book was
originally written in Hebrew. With this agrees its internal character;
for the Greek version of it contains many Hebraisms, as well as
difficulties which are readily accounted for upon the supposition of a
Hebrew original.

21. _The second book of Maccabees._ This book opens with two letters
purporting to have been written by the Jews of Palestine to their
brethren in Egypt, in which the former invite the latter to join with
them in the celebration of "the feast of tabernacles in the month
Caslen," that is, the feast of dedication established to commemorate the
purification of the temple after its pollution by Antiochus Epiphanes.
To the latter of these is appended an epitome of the five books of Jason
of Cyrene, containing the history of the Maccabean struggle, beginning
with Heliodorus' attempt to plunder the temple, about B.C. 180, and
ending with the victory of Judas Maccabeus over Nicanor, B.C. 161. Both
of the letters are regarded as spurious. The second of them abounds in
marvellous legends--how, upon the destruction of the first temple, the
sacred fire of the altar was hid in a hollow pit without water; how, at
the close of the captivity, it was found in the form of thick water,
which being by the command of Nehemiah sprinkled on the wood of the
altar and the sacrifices, there was kindled, when the sun shone upon it,
a great fire, so that all men marvelled; how Jeremiah, at God's command,
carried the tabernacle, the ark, and the altar of incense to the
mountain "which Moses ascended and saw the heritage of God," that is,
mount Nebo (Deut. 34:1), and hid them there in a hollow cave, where they
are to remain until the time that God shall gather his people together
again, and be gracious to them.

The epitome of Jason's history begins some five years earlier than the
history contained in the first book, and covers a period of about
nineteen years; so that it is partly anterior to that history, partly
supplementary, and partly parallel. Alexander's Kitto, Art. Maccabees.
The two books are entirely independent in their sources of information;
and although the second cannot lay claim to the same degree of
trustworthiness as the first, yet the general judgment of biblical
scholars is that it is, in its main facts, authentic. But these are set
forth with embellishments and exaggerations, in which the author
manifests his love for the marvellous. Where the history of the two
books is parallel, it agrees in its general outlines, but the details
are almost always different, and sometimes they present irreconcilable
discrepancies. In its religious aspect this book is very interesting. In
the account of the martyrdom of a mother and her seven sons for their
refusal to eat swine's flesh (chap. 7) the doctrine of the resurrection
is plainly announced: "It is a thing to be desired," says the fourth son
to the king Antiochus, "that one being put to death by men should wait
for the hope of God that he shall be again raised up by him; but for
thee there is no resurrection unto life" (v. 14). Where Jason composed
his work cannot be determined. He cannot have lived long after the
events which he describes, else he would have taken notice of the
important events that followed. The author of the epitome contained in
this book is believed to have been a Hellenistic Jew living in
Palestine, who probably wrote in the first century before Christ.

25. _The third book of Maccabees._ This book does not belong to the
Maccabean age, but to the earlier time of Ptolemy Philopator (B.C.
221-204). Its title seems to have come simply from the similarity of its
contents. It relates in a pompous and oratorical style how Ptolemy
Philopator, being enraged at his failure to enter the sanctuary at
Jerusalem, determined to wreak his vengeance on the Jews in Egypt, and
assembled them for this purpose in the circus, that they might be
trampled under foot by drunken elephants, but was hindered by the
miraculous interposition of God; whereupon the king liberated the Jews,
prepared for them a sumptuous feast, and gave them permission to take
vengeance on their apostate countrymen. The narrative probably has a
groundwork of truth with legendary embellishments, after the manner of
the later Jews. Its author is believed to have been an Alexandrine Jew,
but his age cannot be determined. It was never admitted into the Romish

26. _The fourth book of Maccabees_ opens with a philosophical discussion
respecting the supremacy of devout reason over the passions, which is
then illustrated by the history of the martyrdom of Eleazar and the
mother with her seven sons, an account of which we have in 2 Macc.,
chaps. 6 and 7. The author of this book was a Jew imbued with the spirit
of the stoical philosophy. It has been falsely ascribed to Josephus.

27. _The fifth book of Maccabees_ exists only in Arabic. We draw our
notice of it from Alexander's Kitto, according to which "it contains the
history of the Jews from Heliodorus' attempt to plunder the treasury at
Jerusalem till the time when Herod revelled in the noblest blood of the
Jews;" that is, from 184-86 B.C., thus embracing a period of 98 years.
The book is a compilation made in Hebrew, by a Jew who lived after the
destruction of Jerusalem, from ancient Hebrew memoirs or chronicles,
which were written shortly after the events transpired. In the absence
of the original Hebrew, the Arabic versions of it, printed in the Paris
and London Polyglotts, give the text upon which we must rely.






1. In the _character of the original languages of the Bible_, as in
every thing else pertaining to the plan of redemption, God's hand is to
be reverently acknowledged. It was not by chance, but through the
provident care of Him who sees the end from the beginning, that the
writers of the Old Testament found the Hebrew, and those of the New
Testament the Greek language ready at hand, each of them so singularly
adapted to the high office assigned to it. The stately majesty, the
noble simplicity, and the graphic vividness of the Hebrew fitted it
admirably for the _historical_ portions of the Old Testament, in which,
under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the direct intuition of God's
purposes and of the deep springs of human action superseded the
necessity of philosophical argument and deduction. The historians of the
Old Testament did not pause to argue concerning their statements of
men's motives and God's designs. They saw both with wonderful clearness
of vision; and they found in the simplicity and directness of the Hebrew
syntax, so far removed from all that is involved and complex, a suitable
vehicle for their simple and direct statements of truth. How congenial
the Hebrew language is to _poetic_ composition, as well in its rugged
and sublime forms as in its tender and pathetic strains, every reader of
the Old Testament in the original understands. The soul is not more at
home in the body than is sacred poetry in the language of the covenant
people. As the living spirit of the cherubim animated and directed the
wheels of the chariot in Ezekiel's vision, so does the spirit of
inspired poesy animate and direct the words and sentences of the Hebrew
language: "When the cherubim went, the wheels went by them; and when the
cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same
wheels also turned not from beside them. When they stood, these stood;
and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also: for the
spirit of the living creatures was in them." Ezek. 10:16, 17. The same
characteristics fitted the Hebrew language most perfectly for
_prophetic_ vision, in which the poetic element so largely prevails.

2. Turning now from the Hebrew of the Old Testament to the Greek of the
New, we have a language very different in its structure; elaborate in
its inflections and syntax, delicate and subtle in its distinctions,
rich in its vocabulary, highly cultivated in every department of
writing, and flexible in an eminent degree; being thus equally adapted
to every variety of style--plain unadorned narrative, impassioned
oratory, poetry of every form, philosophical discussion, and severe
logical reasoning: in a word, a language every way fitted to the wants
of the gospel, which is given not for the infancy of the world but for
its mature age, and which deals not so much with the details of
particulars as with great principles, which require for their full
comprehension the capacity of abstraction and generalization. In the
historical records of the Old Testament, and in its poetic and prophetic
parts, the Hebrew language was altogether at home. But for such
compositions as the epistle to the Romans the Greek offered a more
perfect medium; and here, as everywhere else God's providence took care
that the founders of the Christian church should be furnished in the
most complete manner.

3. We find, accordingly, that centuries before our Lord's advent,
preparation began to be made in the providence of God for this change in
the language of the inspired writings. One result of the Babylonish
captivity was that Hebrew ceased to be the vernacular of the masses of
the people, and a form of Aramaean took its place. Chap. 14, No. 4.
After the return of the Jews from this same captivity and their
reëstablishment in their own land, the spirit of prophecy was also
withdrawn, and the canon of the Old Testament brought to a close. Thus
the cessation of Hebrew as the spoken language of the people, and the
withdrawal of the spirit of prophecy were contemporaneous events. The
canon was locked up in the sacred language, and the _interpreter_ took
the place of the _prophet_. "The providential change of language
suggested a general limit within which the voice of inspiration might be
heard, as the fearful chastisements of the captivity turned men's minds
to the old Scriptures with a devotion unknown before." Westcott's
Introduc. to the Study of the Gospels, chap. 1.

4. But the conquests of Alexander the Great (B.C. 334-323) brought the
Greek language and the Greek civilization into Asia and Egypt, as a sure
leaven destined to leaven the whole mass. To this influence the Jews
could not remain insensible. It reached even Palestine, where they
naturally clung most tenaciously to the Aramaean language and to the
customs of their fathers. But out of Palestine, where the Jews were
dispersed in immense numbers, it operated more immediately; especially
in Egypt, whose metropolis Alexandria was, after the age of Alexander
its founder, one of the chief seats of Grecian learning. To the Jews of
Alexandria the Greek language was vernacular. By them was executed, as
we have seen, under the patronage of the Egyptian king, the first
version ever made of the Hebrew Scriptures, namely, that called the
Septuagint (Chap. 16, Nos. 1-7), which was begun, if not completed, in
the latter part of the third century before Christ. Though this version
encountered bitter opposition on the part of the unbelieving Jews
_after_ the establishment of the Christian church, in consequence of the
effective use made of it against them by Christian writers, it was
received from its first appearance and onward with general favor. The
Hellenistic Jews--those using the Greek language and conforming
themselves to Grecian civilization--made constant use of it, and the
knowledge of it was very widely diffused beyond the boundaries of Egypt.
In our Saviour's day it was in very general use, as the abundant
quotations from it in the New Testament show; and it must have
contributed largely to the spread of the knowledge of the Greek language
among the Jewish people in and out of Palestine. Though the Roman empire
succeeded to that of the Greeks, the Roman could not supplant the more
polished Greek tongue, with its immense and varied literature. On the
contrary, the Greek language penetrated into Italy, and especially into
Rome, the metropolis of the civilized world, where, in our Saviour's
day, Greek literature was in high repute, and the Greek language was
very generally understood. Thus, in the good providence of God, the
writers of the New Testament, also, found ready at hand a language
singularly adapted to their service.

    Biblical scholars have noticed the significant fact that of the
    long list of names in the sixteenth chapter of Romans, the
    greater number belongs to the Greek language, not to the Latin.
    "The flexibility of the Greek language gained for it in ancient
    time a general currency similar to that which French enjoys in
    modern Europe; but with this important difference, that Greek
    was not only the language of educated men, but also the language
    of the masses in the great centres of commerce." Westcott in
    Smith's Bible Dict., Art. Hellenist.

5. Respecting the _character_ of the New Testament Greek there was in
former times much controversy, often accompanied with unnecessary heat
and bitterness. One class of writers seemed to think that the honor of
the New Testament was involved in their ability to show the classic
purity and elegance of its style; as if, forsooth, the Spirit of
inspiration could only address men through the medium of language
conformed to the classic standard of propriety. Another class went to
the opposite extreme, speaking in exaggerated terms of the Hebraisms and
solecisms of the New Testament writers. The truth lies between these
extremes. The style of the New Testament is neither classical nor
barbarous. Its characteristics are strictly conformable to the history
of its origin. (1.) Its basis is not the Greek of Plato and Xenophon,
but the so-called Hellenic or common dialect which arose in the age of
Alexander the Great, when "the previously distinct dialects, spoken by
the various sections of the Hellenic nation, were blended into a popular
spoken language." Winer, Gram, of the New Test., sec. 2. The Alexandrine
Jews doubtless learned it not so much from books as from the daily
intercourse of life, and it probably had its provincial peculiarities in
Alexandria and the adjacent region. (2.) In Jewish usage this common
Greek dialect received an Hebraic coloring from the constant use of the
Septuagint version, which is a literal rendering of the Hebrew
Scriptures into Greek, of course with the retention of many Hebrew
idioms. Only such thorough Greek scholars as Josephus and Philo could
rise above this influence. The New Testament writers manifest its power
in different degrees; for, as it respects Hebraisms, they do not by any
means stand on a common level. (3.) As the Aramaic--the so-called
Syro-Chaldaic--was the language of the mass of the people, the style of
the New Testament writers received a tinge from this also. (4.) More
than all, the style of the New Testament receives a peculiar impress
from the fact that the authors were Jews writing under the full
influence of a Jewish education and a Jewish faith, with the superadded
element of Christianity. It is the phenomenon of the spirit and thoughts
of Jewish Christians embodied in the language of Greece; and this at
once separates the writings of the New Testament by a wide interval from
all purely classic compositions. The apostolic writers imposed on the
Greek language an arduous task, that of expressing ideas foreign to the
conceptions of the most cultivated among the pagan authors; ideas partly
common to the old Jewish and the Christian religions, partly peculiar to
Christianity. This could only be done by giving to existing terms a new
and higher meaning, whereby they assumed a technical character wholly
unknown to the classic writers.

    "Compare particularly the words: _works_ (_to work_, Rom. 4:4),
    _faith_, _to believe in Christ_, or _to believe_ absolutely,
    _confession_, _righteousness_, _to be justified_, _to be
    chosen_, _the called_, _the chosen_, _the saints_ (for
    Christians), _edification_ and _to edify_ in a figurative sense,
    _apostle_, _to publish the good tidings_ and to _publish_
    absolutely for Christian preaching, the adoption of _baptisma_,
    _baptism_, for _Christian baptism_, perhaps _to break bread_ for
    the _holy repast_ (the _Agape_ with the communion), _the world_,
    _the flesh_, _fleshly_, in the known theological sense," etc.
    Winer's Gram, of the New Test., sec. 3.

6. From all the abovenamed causes the language of the New Testament
received a form differing widely from the classic style, but admirably
adapted to the high office assigned to it. To those who study the New
Testament in the original, the peculiarities of its language offer a
wide and interesting field of inquiry. But for the common reader the
above hints will be sufficient.



1. The writings of the New Testament fall into three _main divisions_;
the _historical_, the _epistolary_, and the _prophetical_, the latter
including only the Apocalypse. This distinction is not to be understood
in an absolute sense; since, as every reader knows, there are
prophetical passages in the historical books, and both historical and
prophetical in the epistles; but it gives with accuracy the general
character of each division. In outward form the Apocalypse is
epistolary, being addressed, with the apostolic greeting, to the seven
churches of Asia, and containing messages to each. But its contents,
after the first three chapters, are so wholly prophetical, that it is
entitled to stand by itself in any general division.

2. The _order_ of these _main divisions_ is natural and appropriate. The
gospel, as was remarked at the outset (Chap. 1, No. 1), is not a mere
system of philosophy or ethics, but rests on a basis of historic facts.
On these its whole system of doctrines and duties is built; so that to
destroy the foundation would be to destroy the superstructure also. It
is suitable, therefore, that the record of the facts should hold the
first place. The apostolic epistles, which unfold the doctrines and
duties involved in the gospel, and make a practical application of them
to all the manifold relations of life, naturally follow the historic
record. The mighty system of prophecies contained in the book of
Revelation, which stretches over the whole future history of the church
to the end of time, forms an appropriate close to the entire collection
of writings.

3. Equally appropriate is the order of the two _subdivisions_ of the
historic part--first, the four Gospels, containing the history of our
Lord's life; secondly, the Acts of the Apostles. In the general
arrangement of the epistles, the thirteen which bear the name of Paul
stand first in order. The seven so-called catholic epistles occupy the
last place. Intermediate between these two subdivisions stands the
epistle to the Hebrews, which is anonymous, though generally ascribed to
Paul. The epistles which bear the name of Paul fall into two
groups--nine addressed to _Christian churches_, which occupy the first
place; then four to _particular persons_. Of these last, the first
three, being addressed to Timothy and Titus, the apostle's companions in
travel and in the gospel ministry, are appropriately named from their
contents the _pastoral_ epistles. The letter to Philemon, a private
member of the church in Colosse, naturally stands last of all.

    We add from Bleek (Introduc. to New Test., secs. 18 and 254) the
    following additional notices:

    The present order of the Gospels is very ancient. Only in some
    manuscripts of the Old Latin version, in one Greco-Latin
    manuscript (the so-called Codex Bezae or Cambridge Codex), and
    in the manuscript of the Gothic version, the two apostles
    Matthew and John stand first; then the two companions of
    apostles, Luke and Mark, or sometimes Mark and Luke. In the very
    ancient Curetonian-Syrian manuscript the order is Matthew, Mark,
    John, Luke.

    The Acts of the Apostles stand in some manuscripts after the
    Pauline or after the catholic epistles.

    In the oldest Greek manuscripts, and generally in the greatest
    number of Greek manuscripts which contain the whole New
    Testament, the catholic epistles stand before the Pauline; an
    arrangement which some modern editors, as Lachmann and
    Tischendorf, have followed. In many manuscripts, the oldest
    Greek included, the epistle to the Hebrews stands after 2
    Thessalonians, immediately before the pastoral epistles. Luther
    placed together, at the end of his version, the epistles to the
    Hebrews, the epistles of James and Jude, and the Apocalypse. But
    this arrangement rested on no authority of manuscripts. It was
    only an expression of his private judgment respecting their
    canonical authority, which he placed below that of the other
    books of the New Testament.

4. We have seen (Chap. 13, No. 4) that in the arrangement of the books
of the Old Testament, the order of time is followed only very partially.
The same is true respecting the order of books in the New Testament, a
fact which the biblical student ought always to bear in mind. If we look
to the several divisions and subdivisions of the New Testament writings,
it is obvious that the arrangement is not chronological. It is generally
admitted that the Gospel according to John was written after the death
of Peter and Paul; consequently, after the Acts of the Apostles (which
were written during the life of Paul, Chap. 5, No. 5), after all the
Pauline epistles, and probably after all the Catholic epistles except
those which are ascribed to John himself. The Acts of the Apostles,
again, are of later date than several of Paul's epistles. Finally,
neither the Pauline nor the catholic epistles are arranged in
chronological order. See below, Chap. 30, No. 6. The intelligent student
of the New Testament will avail himself of all the means at his command
to ascertain the date, proximately at least, of each particular book;
that he may thus connect it with the development of Christianity in the
threefold line of doctrine, practice, and polity.

5. The present distinction of large letters (capitals) and small did not
come into use before the ninth century. In conformity with ancient
usage, the manuscripts executed before this period are written in large
disconnected letters (the so-called _uncial_), without any marks of
interpunction, or even division of words. This is called the _continuous
writing_ (_scriptio continua_), in which it is left to the reader's
discretion to make the necessary division of words and sentences; as if
the beginning of the Gospel according to John were written thus in Latin
and English:

_Latin_.                          _English_.


    Writers before our Saviour's time do indeed speak of signs of
    interpunction; but they seem to have been in use only in the
    grammatical schools, and with a limited application to certain
    doubtful passages in the ancient writers. That they were unknown
    in the older manuscripts of the New Testament is evident from
    the discussions that arose among the church fathers respecting
    the right division of certain passages, in which they never
    appeal to the authority of manuscripts, but argue solely from
    the nature of the connection. The reader may see a collection of
    examples in Hug's Introduction to the New Testament, § 43, where
    are also some curious examples of the wrong division of words.

6. To obviate the inconvenience of this continuous mode of writing,
there was introduced, about the middle of the fifth century, what is
called the _stichometrical_ mode (Greek _stichos_, a _row_ or _line_,
and _metron_, a _measure_). This consisted in arranging in a single line
only so many words as could be read, consistently with the sense, at a
single inspiration.

The invention of stichometry has been generally ascribed to Euthalius, a
deacon in Alexandria, who, in the year 458, set forth a copy of Paul's
epistles stichometrically arranged; but Tregelles is inclined to the
opinion that he borrowed the system from an earlier writer, Pamphilus
the martyr. However this may be, the original conception doubtless came
from the stichometry of Hebrew poetry. Hug (§ 44) and Tregelles (Horne's
Introduct., vol. 4, chap. 4) give an example in Greek from a fragment of
the Pauline epistles. This example (Titus 2:2, 3), when literally
translated into English according to the Greek order of words, reads as


Though the design of stichometry was not interpunction according to the
connection of thought, yet it seems to have led to this result. The
expensiveness of this mode of writing, owing to the waste of parchment,
naturally suggested the idea of separating the lines by a simple point,


As these divisions were mainly _rhythmical_, and often broke the true
connection of thought, men sought to introduce a more logical system of
interpunction. Thus was laid the foundation of our present system;
which, however, was not perfected till after the invention of the art of

    In the opinion of some, the use of the dot, at least to some
    extent, was earlier than stichometry. From the eighth or ninth
    century punctuation in manuscripts became more common and
    systematic. In _cursive_ manuscripts--those that employ the
    running hand with large and small letters and the separation of
    the words, a style of writing that became the common one from
    the ninth century and onward--punctuation also prevails, though
    not according to any one established system. Tregelles, _ubi
    sup_. Various other particulars interesting to those who study
    the Greek text in the original, as those relating to the
    accents, the smooth and rough breathing, and the iota subscript,
    are here omitted.

7. We come next to consider the _ancient divisions_ made in the
_contents_ of the sacred text. _Chapters_ are very early mentioned, as
by Tertullian and Dionysius of Alexandria. But it is uncertain whether
any thing more is meant than parts or sections of given contents. The
earliest formal division of the four gospels that has come down to us
consists of the _Ammonian sections_ (Greek _kephalaia_, _heads_ or
_chapters_), so named from Ammonius of Alexandria, who, about the middle
of the third century, prepared a harmony of the four gospels--_the
Gospel by four_, as Eusebius calls it. His plan was, to arrange in the
order of Matthew the parallel passages side by side, interpolating those
that were wanting in Matthew. To this end, he divided each of the
gospels into sections the length of which was very various, being wholly
determined by the parallelisms of the other gospels. Of these sections
Matthew contained 355; Mark, 234 (in Wordsworth's Greek Testament, 236
are given); Luke, 342; John, 231 (in Wordsworth's Greek Testament, 232).
The infelicity of this arrangement was that, with the exception of the
first gospel, the true order of the evangelists was broken up--"The
train of sequence of the three was destroyed in respect to the orderly
course of reading," as Eusebius says (Letter to Carpianus, given in
Wordsworth's Greek Testament).

To remedy this evil, Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, in the following
century connected with these Ammonian sections his _ten canons_. These
are ten tables, arranged according to the order of Matthew, or where
sections are wanting in Matthew, according to the order of the next
evangelist that contains them, in such a way as to show at a glance what
sections of the other evangelists answer to any given section of that
gospel which stands first in order in each canon.

    Numbering the four gospels in order--1, 2, 3, 4--the ten canons
    of Eusebius contain as follows:

        I. Sections common to 1, 2, 3, 4.
       II.           "        1, 2, 3.
      III.           "        1,    3, 4.
       IV.           "        1, 2,    4.
        V.           "        1,    3.
       VI.           "        1, 2.
      VII.           "        1,       4.
     VIII.           "           2, 3.
       IX.           "              3, 4.
        X. Sections peculiar to one.

    A couple of examples will make this matter plain. Turning to
    what is now the beginning of the thirteenth chapter of Matthew,
    we find (the Greek numerals being exchanged for those in common
    use) the sign 131/II that is, the 131st Ammonian section of
    Matthew with the second canon of Eusebius. Turning to the table
    of the second canon, we find, corresponding to the 131st section
    of Matthew, the 36th of Mark and the 76th of Luke, which contain
    the parallel passages concerning the sower. Again, connected
    with Mark 1:23, is the sign, 14/VIII whence we learn, by
    reference to the eighth canon, that the fourteenth section of
    Mark answers to the 25th of Luke. By a repetition of the canons
    as often as necessary, so as to allow each gospel in turn to
    take the lead, Wordsworth has greatly facilitated the work of
    comparing parallel passages.

    "The Codex Vaticanus B, contains a distribution into sections
    wholly peculiar. Of these, St. Matthew contains 170, St. Mark
    61, etc. The length of these divisions is very unequal; the
    _sense_ being the reason of the breaks occurring when they do.
    In the gospels, at least, the sections are perhaps the best that
    were ever devised; and this system of capitulary division is
    probably the earliest of which we have the means of knowing any
    thing." Horne's Introduction, vol. 4, chap. 4, revised edition,

8. Different from the Ammonian-Eusebian sections, and later in their
origin, are the divisions of the gospels called _titles_, because each
of them received a title from one of the first or principal subjects
mentioned in it. They are thought to have been connected with the public
reading of the gospels. Of these, Matthew contains 68; Mark, 48; Luke,
83; John, 18. They are, therefore, larger than the Ammonian sections,
and resemble more nearly our modern chapters.

    These _titles_ are called by the Latins _briefs_ (_breves_), and
    the tables of their contents _breviaries_ (_breviaria_). They
    did not come into common use before the fifth century, and are
    commonly annexed to manuscripts along with the Ammonian-Eusebian
    sections. But they are the only divisions known to some of the
    church fathers, as Euthymius and Theophylact.

9. The divisions of the other books of the New Testament are thought to
be of later origin. Euthalius introduced into a copy, which he sent to
Athanasius the younger, divisions called chapters. He has sometimes been
considered the author of those in the Acts and catholic epistles; but he
probably took them from an older source. Those in the Pauline epistles
he expressly ascribed to "one of the wisest and most Christ-loving of
our fathers." He also gave headings to the chapters, descriptive of
their contents, but collected from previous sources. The Apocalypse was
divided into twenty-four larger sections and seventy-two smaller--a work
ascribed to Andreas of Cæsarea in Cappadocia. Tregelles, in Horne's
Introduction, vol. 4, chap. 4.

10. Our present division of chapters was made in the thirteenth century,
by Cardinal Hugo, from whom proceeded also that in the Old Testament. It
was first introduced into the Latin copies, and afterwards into the
Greek. Our present division of verses was made by Robert Stephens, in
1551. It was preceded by some earlier divisions, as that of Pagninus, in
which the verses were longer than those of Stephens.

    Distinct from all the above divisions are the _church-lessons_,
    made very early, in imitation of the Jewish Haphtaroth, or
    sections from the prophets. Chap. 13, No. 6. The beginning of
    these seems to have been in special selections for the church
    festivals. But the usage was afterwards extended so as to
    include selections for all the Sabbaths and feast-days of the
    year. Hence from the fifth century and onward the whole New
    Testament was no longer publicly read, as in the primitive days
    of Christianity, according to the free judgment of those who
    conducted the church-services; but these selected sections
    (_pericopae_). Collections of these lessons were called by the
    general name of _lectionaries_ (lectionaria). Those from the
    gospels or Acts and epistles received special names indicative
    of their contents. See Bleek, § 265; Horne's Introduction, vol.
    4, chap. 4, end.

11. From the above brief survey, it is manifest that none of the
external divisions of the sacred text rest on any divine authority. They
are the work of uninspired men, and are to be treated accordingly. For
_convenience of reference_, a division of the Scriptures into chapters
and verses is indispensable; and we may well rest contented with that
which now prevails, though it cannot claim perfection. But in the
_interpretation_ of the inspired word we must go behind human divisions,
carefully inquiring after the true connection of thought, according to
the acknowledged laws of interpretation. To give one example out of
many, we must not infer that the last verse of the eleventh chapter of
the book of Revelation belongs to the _preceding_ and not the
_following_ context, because of its separation from the latter in the
division of chapters; but we must determine its true connection
independently of this division.

    A very good arrangement is that of _Paragraph Bibles_, in which
    the distinctions of chapter and verse are thrown into the
    margin, the text being broken into longer or shorter sections
    according to the true course of thought. Yet this mode of
    division also is human, and cannot be infallible.

12. The _titles_ of the several books of the New Testament did not
proceed immediately from the authors themselves. In form they present
some diversity; for example: _The Gospel according to Matthew_;
_according to Matthew_; _the holy Gospel according to Matthew_, etc.,
the shorter and simpler titles being, as a rule, the more ancient. For
substance, however, the different forms are the same. They represent the
ancient church tradition, and are of very high authority. The
_subscriptions_, on the other hand, which stand at the end of the
epistles of Paul, that to the Hebrews included--are confessedly the work
of later copyists. They are of no authority, and are sometimes
manifestly incorrect.



The history of the New Testament text naturally falls into two main
divisions, that of the _manuscript_ text, and that of the _printed_
text. A few remarks will be added on the _principles of textual
criticism_. _See PLATES at the beginning of this book_.

[Transcriber's Note: Transcriptions of the Plates are at the end of this


1. The preservation of the primitive text of the gospels from all
essential corruptions, additions, and mutilations has already been shown
at some length (Part 1, Chap. 3). The same line of argument applies
substantially to the other books of the New Testament. Though the text
of different books varies in respect to purity, there is no ground for
supposing that if we had the autographs of the evangelists and other
sacred writers, they would present to us a gospel differing in any
essential particular from that which we now possess. We should see in
them the same glorious Saviour, and the same holy system of doctrines
and duties.

2. But it has not pleased God to interpose in a miraculous way for the
purpose of keeping the primitive text in a state of immaculate purity.
He has left it subject to those common influences which produce what are
called _various readings_ in all works that are perpetuated from age to
age by transcription. Compared indeed with any other ancient writings,
the text of the New Testament has immensely the advantage in regard to
uncorruptness of preservation and means of verification. This arises
from the early multiplication of copies, as well as from the high value
attached by the primitive churches to their sacred books, and their
consequent zeal for their uncorrupt preservation. But the same
multiplication of copies which constitutes a sure guarantee against
essential mutilations and corruptions increases also the number of
various readings. Suppose, for example, that of two books equal in size
the second has been, from the first, copied a hundred-fold oftener than
the first. It is plain that, while the means of ascertaining and
verifying the true text of the second will abound, the number of
variations among the different manuscripts will abound also. The greater
the number of copies, the greater will be the number of various
readings, but this will make the true text not more but less uncertain;
for by diligent collation a text may be produced which, though not
absolutely immaculate, is very near to the primitive autograph, and
which can be certainly known to agree with it in every essential
respect. God does not rain down upon men bread and raiment from heaven,
as he could do with infinite ease; but he imposes upon them the
necessity of gaining both by hard labor. "In the sweat of thy face shalt
thou eat bread" is the stern law. God does not miraculously communicate
to the missionary who goes to Syria or India or China a knowledge of the
vernacular in his field of labor; but he must learn it by years of
patient study. And when he begins the work of translating, God does not
keep him in a supernatural way from all errors. He must find out and
correct his errors by the diligent use of the means at his disposal.
Just so it is the will of God that we should have a pure text of the New
Testament--pure in a critical sense--not without hard labor, but by
years of patient toil in the study and collation of the abundant
materials which his good providence has preserved for us.

3. _Various readings_ have arisen in the manuscripts of the New
Testament, as elsewhere, from the mistakes, and sometimes from the
unskilful corrections of the copyists and those subsequently employed to
compare and correct the copies. They are commonly divided into the three
classes of _substitutions_, _insertions_, and _omissions_.

_Substitutions_ from similarity of sound would naturally arise among the
vowels when, as was sometimes the case, the copyist wrote from
dictation, being guided by the ear instead of the eye. Most of these,
however, are mere matters of orthography. It is only when they affect
the sense that they come under the head of various readings. Synonymous
words, or those of kindred meaning, are frequently put for one another,
or the order of words is altered; sometimes a different word is made
through inadvertence by the change of a single letter or a couple of
letters; compound words are interchanged with simple; contracted words
are confounded with each other; plainer or more grammatical readings are
substituted for those that are difficult or less grammatical, etc.
Especially are parallel passages in one writer altered, so as to be
brought into conformity with the same in another.

_Insertions_ are the most frequent mode of variation. The copyist fills
out the text of his author from a parallel passage, inserts marginal
notations in the text, repeats clauses through inadvertence, etc.

    Of amplification from parallel passages many undoubted examples
    could be given. A single one must suffice. In Acts 9:5, the
    words, _It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks_, have
    been added from Acts 26:14.

The most fruitful source of _omissions_ is the similar termination of
two adjacent words, lines, or sentences, causing the eye of the copyist
to overlook the word, line, or sentence intervening between the two
similar endings. The same error may be caused by the circumstance of two
sentences beginning in the same way. It should be remembered that in the
ancient manuscripts the text was written continuously in uncial--that
is, capital--letters, without any division between the words, which made
it more difficult for the copyist to follow the manuscript before him,
and for both the copyist and collater to discover the errors made in

By far the greatest number of various readings had their origin in
simple inadvertence. Some of them, however, are due to unskilful
criticism; as when the copyist or the corrector sought to bring a
passage in one writer into more exact agreement with the corresponding
passage in another, to supply supposed deficiencies or correct supposed
errors in his copy, or to substitute smoother and more grammatical forms
of expression. Wilful falsifications in the interest of a particular
sect or party cannot with any show of justice be imputed to the men who
have perpetuated to us the text of the New Testament.

4. The _materials_ for textual criticism are much more abundant in the
case of the New Testament than of the Old. A vast mass of manuscripts
has been collected from different and distant regions, dating from the
fourth century and onward. Of these, part are in the original Greek,
part in ancient versions, or bilingual, that is, containing the original
and a version of it side by side. In addition to these are the
quotations of the early fathers, which are so abundant that a large part
of the New Testament text might be collected from them alone. The
question of the history of the text, as gathered from this rich mass of
materials, is very interesting, but is foreign to the plan of the
present work. To give even a history of the controversies respecting the
proper classification of the manuscripts of the New Testament according
to their characteristic readings would require a volume, and the
question must be regarded as yet unsettled. There are, however, some
general results, a few of the more important of which are here given
from Tregelles (in Horne, vol. 4, chap: 8).

    The variations in the form of the sacred text are not due to any
    general recensions or revisions by ecclesiastical authority, but
    arose gradually from the causes above considered (No. 3). These
    variations exhibit such gradations of text that it is impossible
    to draw definite lines of classification, without admitting so
    many exceptions as almost to destroy the application of such a

    There is a general difference in characteristic readings between
    the more ancient manuscripts, versions, and citations, and the
    copies of general circulation in more recent times. This gives
    rise to the general line of demarcation between the _more
    ancient_ and the _more recent_ texts; each of these two classes,
    however, having, in turn, its own points of difference among the
    texts belonging to it.

    The more ancient manuscripts, versions, and citations which we
    possess range themselves under what we know from their combined
    testimony to be the more ancient text. Among the manuscripts and
    documents so allied there are such shades of difference and
    characteristic peculiarities, that the versions and manuscripts
    might be easily contemplated as ramifying into two subclasses.

    The most ancient documents in general are sufficiently
    dissimilar to enable us to regard their testimony, when
    combined, as cumulative.

5. Respecting the materials for writing in ancient times--papyrus and
parchment, afterwards paper made from linen or cotton; the form of
manuscripts--the roll with papyrus, and the book-form with leaves when
parchment was used; the use of _palimpsests_; the _uncial_ and _cursive_
styles of writing; and the means of determining the age of manuscripts,
see in Chap. 3, No. 2. The existing manuscripts have been all numbered
and catalogued. The custom since the time of Wetstein has been to mark
the uncial manuscripts by capital letters, and the cursives by numbers
or small letters. We append a brief notice of a few of the more
celebrated manuscripts.

    There are four very ancient and important manuscripts, all of
    which originally contained the entire Greek Bible of the Old and
    New Testament, and which belong to a time when the arrangements
    of Euthalius, especially his stichometrical mode of writing
    (Chap. 25, Nos. 6-9), had either not been introduced or not come
    into common use. These are the following:

    (1.) The _Codex Vaticanus_, _Vatican manuscript_, marked by the
    letter B, and so called from the Vatican library at Rome to
    which it belongs. It is written continuously (without any
    division of words) on very fine vellum--one of the marks of high
    antiquity--in small but neat uncial letters, very much like
    those of the manuscript rolls of Herculaneum, and has three
    columns to the page, which is of the quarto size. Originally it
    had at the end of particular sections a small empty space of the
    breadth of a letter or half a letter, but no ornamental
    capitals, marks of punctuation, or accents, though some of these
    have been added by later hands. The divisions into sections made
    by the empty spaces above named are peculiar to this codex, not
    agreeing with those of any other system. Of these Matthew has
    170; Mark, 62 (so says Cardinal Mai, but others say 72 or 61);
    Luke, 152; John, 80. Most of the books have also brief titles
    and subscriptions. The manuscript contained originally the whole
    Bible, the Apocrypha included, as also the epistle of Clement to
    the Corinthians. The order of the books in the New Testament, if
    entire, would be the same as in the Alexandrine manuscript, the
    Catholic epistles preceding the Pauline, and the epistle to the
    Hebrews coming in between 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy. See
    below. At present the Old Testament wants the greater part of
    Genesis and a part of the Psalms. In the New Testament the
    epistle to Philemon, the three pastoral epistles, the latter
    part of the epistle to the Hebrews, and the Apocalypse are
    wanting. This manuscript is generally referred to the fourth
    century. Its authority is very high, but through the jealousy of
    its Roman conservators it has been of late years, for all
    practical purposes, inaccessible to biblical scholars. Cardinal
    Mai's edition of it in 1858, and the revision of this in 1859,
    are unreliable. Tischendorf has published an edition of the New
    Testament part of it. _No. (3) PLATE II_.

    (2.) The _Codex Sinaiticus_, _Sinai manuscript_, designated by
    Tischendorf, its discoverer, by the Hebrew letter _aleph_
    ([Hebrew: A]). One of the most interesting events of the present
    century, in the department of biblical science, is the very
    unexpected discovery of a complete manuscript of the New
    Testament, belonging, as is generally agreed, to the fourth
    century; therefore as old, at least, as the Vatican manuscript,
    perhaps older, and of very high authority in biblical criticism.
    In a visit to Mount Sinai in 1844, Tischendorf had found at the
    convent of St. Catharine on Mount Sinai forty-three beautiful
    parchment leaves belonging to a manuscript of the Septuagint not
    before known to biblical scholars. In a subsequent visit to the
    same convent in February, 1859, it was his high privilege to
    find of the same manuscript all the Greek New Testament entire,
    part of the Old, the so-called epistle of Barnabas, and part of
    the writing called the Shepherd of Hermas, the whole contained
    in one hundred and thirty-two thousand columnar lines, written
    on three hundred and forty-six leaves. This precious manuscript
    Tischendorf managed to obtain for the emperor Alexander of
    Russia as the great patron of the Greek church, and it is now at
    St. Petersburg. It is written on parchment of a fine quality in
    large plain uncial letters, with four columns to a page. It
    contains, as is commonly the case with ancient manuscripts,
    revisions and so-called corrections by a later hand; but, as it
    proceeded from the pen of the original writer, it had neither
    ornamented capitals, accents, nor divisions of words or
    sentences. The style of writing is plain, and every thing about
    it bears the marks of high antiquity. The order of the books is
    as follows: (1) the gospels; (2) the epistles of Paul, that to
    the Hebrews included, which stands after 2 Thessalonians; (3)
    the Acts of the Apostles; (4) the Catholic epistles; (5) the
    Apocalypse. It has the Ammonian sections and Eusebian canons,
    but whether from the first or a subsequent hand is doubtful. A
    splendid edition of this Codex was published at St. Petersburg
    in 1862, which seeks to preserve with the greatest possible
    accuracy the form of writing, columns, corrections, etc. The
    Leipsic edition is adapted to popular use. _See No. (1), PLATE

    (3.) We will consider next in order the _Codex Alexandrinus_,
    _Alexandrine manuscript_, placed first in the list of uncial
    manuscripts, and accordingly marked A. It is now in the British
    Museum, London. In the year 1628 it was sent as a present to
    Charles I., king of England, by Cyrillus Lucaris, patriarch of
    Constantinople, by whom it was brought from Alexandria in Egypt,
    where Cyrillus had formerly held the same office. Hence the name
    Alexandrine. Cyrillus himself, in a notice attached to it, says
    that tradition represented a noble Egyptian woman of the fourth
    century named Thecla as the writer of it (an Arabic subscription
    makes her to have been Thecla the martyr). These external
    notices are not so reliable as the internal marks, all of which
    show it to be of a great age. Some assign it to the fourth
    century, but it is more commonly assigned to the fifth, and
    Egypt is generally regarded as the place where it was written.
    It is on parchment in uncial letters, without divisions of
    words, accents, or breathings, and with only occasional marks of
    interpunction--a dot to indicate a division in the sense. The
    lines are arranged in two columns, and the sections begin with
    large letters, placed a little to the left of the
    column--outside the measure of the column. The order of the
    books is: (1) the gospels; (2) the Acts of the Apostles; (3) the
    Catholic epistles; (4) the epistles of Paul, with that to the
    Hebrews between 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy; (5) the
    Apocalypse. In the gospels, the Ammonian sections with the
    Eusebian canons are indicated, and at the top of the pages the
    larger sections or _titles_. In the Old Testament it is
    defective in part of the Psalms. In the New it wants all of
    Matthew as far as chap. 25:6; also from John 6:50 to 8:52; and
    from 2 Cor. 4:13 to 12:6. It has appended at the end the genuine
    letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, and a fragment of
    a second spurious letter. To these apocryphal additions we owe
    the preservation of the Apocalypse in an entire state. Until the
    discovery of the Sinai codex, the Alexandrine exhibited the text
    of the New Testament in far the most entire state of all the
    uncial manuscripts. _See No. (2), PLATE I_.

    (4) The fourth manuscript of this group is the celebrated
    palimpsest called _Codex Ephraemi_, _Ephraem manuscript_,
    preserved in the Imperial library of Paris, and marked in the
    list of uncials with the letter C. Originally it contained the
    whole of the New Testament, and apparently the Old also,
    elegantly written on thin vellum, with a single column to a
    page. The writing is continuous, without accents or breathings,
    and the letters are rather larger than in the Alexandrian
    manuscript, the first letter of each section being of larger
    size than the rest, and standing, as in that manuscript, a
    little to the left of the column. The Ammonian sections stand in
    the margin, but without the Eusebian canons. The gospels were
    preceded by the list of _titles_, or larger sections, of which
    those of Luke and John alone are preserved. The titles and
    subscriptions are short and simple. The date of the manuscript
    is supposed to be the first half of the fifth century. It has
    undergone corrections at the hand of at least two persons,
    possibly a third. These can be readily distinguished from the
    original writing. The critical authority of this codex is very
    high. Tregelles (in Horne, vol. 4, chap. 13) places it next to
    the Vatican manuscript.

    A few words on its history. About the thirteenth century, being
    regarded as a worn-out and obsolete manuscript, the vellum on
    which it was written was taken for a new purpose, that of
    receiving the Greek works of Ephraem the Syrian saint, a
    celebrated theologian of the old Syrian church, who flourished
    in the fourth century. "For this purpose the leaves were taken
    promiscuously, without any regard to their proper original
    order, and sewed together at hap-hazard, sometimes top end down,
    and front side behind, just as if they had been mere blanks, the
    sermons of Ephraem being the only matter regarded in the book."
    Stowe, Hist. of the Books of the Bible, p. 75. In the latter
    part of the seventeenth century, Allix first observed the older
    writing under the works of Ephraem. It was very illegible, but a
    chemical preparation applied in 1834-5 revivified it to a
    certain extent. It has been diligently collated by eminent
    scholars, and in 1842 Tischendorf printed an edition of it page
    for page and line for line. Of the two hundred and nine leaves
    contained in this manuscript, one hundred and forty-five belong
    to the New Testament, containing not quite two-thirds of the
    sacred text. The order of the books is the same as in the
    Alexandrine codex. _See No. (4), PLATE III_.

Besides the abovenamed four manuscripts, a few others may be briefly

    An interesting palimpsest of great critical value is the _Codex
    Dublinensis rescriptus_, _Dublin palimpsest manuscript_, in the
    library of Trinity College, Dublin, designated by the letter Z.
    It contains with other writings thirty-two leaves of the gospel
    by Matthew. They were edited, as far as legible, in 1801, by Dr.
    John Barrett, Fellow of Trinity College. In 1853 Dr. Tregelles
    made a new and thorough examination of the manuscript, and, by
    the aid of a chemical process, brought all that exists of the
    gospel text to a legible condition. This manuscript is assigned
    to the sixth century. Its letters are written in a singularly
    bold style, which unites the three qualities of ease, elegance,
    and symmetry.

    A celebrated _bilingual_ manuscript (in this case
    _Graeco-Latin_, containing the Greek and Latin texts) is the
    _Codex Bezae_, _Beza's manuscript_, called also _Codex
    Cantabrigiensis_, _Cambridge manuscript_, from the place of its
    deposit, which is the public library of the University of
    Cambridge, England. It is designated by the letter D, and
    contains the four gospels and Acts of the Apostles in Greek and
    Latin on opposite pages, stichometrically written. The account
    of Theodore Beza, its former possessor, was that he found it
    during the French civil wars in 1562, in the monastery of St.
    Irenæus, at Lyons. In 1581 he sent it as a present to the
    University of Cambridge. The interest felt in this manuscript
    arises in great part from the very peculiar character of its
    readings. "The text of this codex," says Bleek (Introduc. to New
    Test., sec. 270), "presents much that is peculiar--many
    additions and alterations that have even an apocryphal
    character, but are yet not uninteresting. Its native country is
    the West, and more definitely the south of Gaul." _See No. (5),
    PLATE IV_.

    Among the _fragments_ of manuscripts of high antiquity is one
    called _Codex purpureus_, _Purple manuscript_. _Four_ leaves of
    this are in the Cotton Library in the British Museum, _six_ in
    the Vatican, _two_ in the Imperial Library at Vienna. The
    manuscript to which they belonged was written in silver letters
    (the names of God and Christ in gold) on purple vellum. The
    writing is in two columns with large and round letters. It is
    referred to the end of the sixth or beginning of the seventh

    Many other uncial manuscripts, or fragments of manuscripts, some
    of them of great critical value, might be described; but the
    above brief notices must suffice. Of those which contain ancient
    _versions_, a few of the more important will be noticed in the
    following chapter.

    The _cursive_ manuscripts of the Now Testament are numbered by
    hundreds. In general their authority is less than that of the
    more ancient uncials. But a cursive manuscript may give
    indirectly a very ancient text. There are some cursives which,
    from their characteristic readings, were manifestly executed
    from codices of high antiquity, and are for this reason very
    valuable. As such Tregelles specifies those numbered 1 and 33.
    For further notices of these, as also of the _lectionaries_,
    containing selections for church readings, the reader may
    consult the works devoted to biblical criticism.


6. The _primary editions_ of the Greek New Testament, whence is derived
what is called _the received text_ (_Textus receptus_) are the
following: (1) the _Complutensian_; (2) the _Erasmian_; (3) those of
_Robert Stephens_; (4) those of _Beza_ and _Elzevir_. Their authority in
textual criticism depends wholly upon that of the manuscripts from which
their text was formed. As no stream can rise higher than its fountains,
so no printed text can obtain a just weight of influence above that of
its manuscript sources. It becomes, then, a matter of interest to
inquire what was the basis of these early printed editions.

    (1.) The entire New Testament was printed for the first time in
    Greek in the fifth volume of the _Complutensian Polyglott_ (so
    called from _Complutum_, that is _Alcala_ in Spain, where it was
    printed under the patronage of Cardinal Ximenes). It bears the
    date of 1514, but was not published until 1522, when Erasmus had
    already printed three editions of his Greek Testament. Its
    editors professed to have formed their text from manuscripts
    sent to them from the papal library at Rome. What these
    manuscripts were cannot now be ascertained; but that they were
    very ancient and correct, as alleged by these editors, is
    contradicted by the character of the text, which agrees with the
    modern in opposition to the most ancient manuscripts.

    (2.) At the request of Froben, a celebrated printer and
    publisher of Basle, _Erasmus_, who was then in England, where he
    had devoted some time to a revised Latin translation of the New
    Testament with annotations, went to Basle in 1515, and began the
    work of editing a Greek New Testament. "By the beginning of
    March, 1516," says Tregelles, "the whole volume, including the
    annotations as well as the Greek and Latin texts, was complete;
    in less, in fact, than six months from the time that the first
    sheet was begun." The design of this haste was to anticipate the
    publication of the Complutensian edition. The critical apparatus
    in Erasmus' possession was quite slender. It consisted of such
    manuscripts as he found at Basle, with the help of the revised
    Latin translation already prepared in England and Brabant. For
    the Apocalypse he had but one manuscript, and that defective at
    the end. In his four subsequent editions--1519, 1522, 1527,
    1535--he made many corrections. In that of 1527 he availed
    himself of the Complutensian text. This edition, from which the
    fifth and last published during his life differs but slightly,
    is the basis of the common text now in use.

    (3.) In 1546, 1549, 1550, appeared the three editions of _Robert
    Stephens_, the celebrated Parisian printer. In the first two of
    these the text is said to have been formed from the
    Complutensian and Erasmian. In the third edition, although he
    had the aid of thirteen Greek manuscripts, his text is almost
    identical with that of Erasmus' fifth edition.

    (4.) In 1565, _Theodore Beza_ published at Geneva his first
    edition of the Greek Testament with his own Latin version, and
    also the Vulgate with annotations. Three other editions followed
    in 1576, 1582, 1588-9. He had the use of the Codex Bezae above
    described, the Codex Claromontanus (an ancient Graeco-Latin
    manuscript of the Pauline epistles), the Syriac version then
    recently published by Tremellius, with a close Latin
    translation, and Stephens' collations. But he is said not to
    have made much use of these helps.

    The first of the _Elzevir_ editions, so celebrated for their
    typographical beauty, was issued in 1624, its text being mainly
    copied from that of Beza. This is the text that has acquired the
    name of _Textus receptus_, the _Received Text_, as it was for
    more than a century the basis of almost all subsequent editions.
    The genealogy of this _Textus receptus_ is thus succinctly given
    by Bishop Marsh: "The _Textus receptus_, therefore, or the text
    in common use, was copied, with a few exceptions, from the text
    of Beza. Beza himself closely followed Stephens; and Stephens
    (namely, in his third and chief edition) copied solely from the
    fifth edition of Erasmus, except in the Revelation, where he
    followed sometimes Erasmus, sometimes the Complutensian edition.
    The text, therefore, in daily use, resolves itself at last into
    the Complutensian and the Erasmian editions." Divinity Lectures,
    part I, p. 111.

7. It requires but a moderate acquaintance with the history of textual
criticism to understand that the Elzevir text is not only not perfect,
but is more imperfect than that which has been elaborated by the help of
the abundant manuscripts, versions, and citations of the early fathers,
of which modern criticism has availed itself. It is no reproach to the
editors of the primary editions that, with their comparatively scanty
materials, they could not accomplish as much as we can with the rich and
varied means at our disposal. The _essential integrity_ of the received
text, we do indeed thankfully acknowledge and firmly maintain. Our
fathers had presented to them in this text the same divine and glorious
Saviour, the same way of salvation, the same holy system of doctrines
and duties, as we now find in the most carefully revised modern text.
Nevertheless, a true reverence for the inspired word must impel us to
the diligent use of all the means at our command for setting forth a
pure text, that is, a text conformed as nearly as possible to that of
the original autographs. Viewed in this light the modern critical
editions of the New Testament must possess a deep interest for all who
are able to read it in the original tongue. But to discuss the merits of
these would be foreign to the design of the present work.

    Examples of the more important various readings occur in John
    1:18; Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:16. The passage 1 John 5:7, 8, _in
    heaven--in earth_, is generally rejected on the testimony of the
    manuscripts (see the full discussion in Horne, vol. 4, ch. 36).
    Among the passages which are regarded as more or less doubtful
    may be mentioned John 5:4; 8:3-11; Acts 8:37. In regard to all
    these the biblical scholar must be referred to the critical
    commentaries. So also for the questions connected with the text
    of Mark 16:9-20, which are of a peculiar character.


8. The end proposed by textual criticism is to restore the sacred text
as nearly as possible to its primitive purity (Chap. 7, No. 1). To this
work the biblical scholar should come in a candid and reverential
spirit, prepared to weigh carefully all the evidence which is accessible
to him, and decide, not as an advocate, but as a judge, in the simple
interest of truth. The three great sources of evidence for the original
text of the New Testament are Greek manuscripts, versions, and the
citations of the fathers. Of these, _Greek manuscripts_ hold the first
place. But all manuscripts are not of equal value. Other things being
equal, the oldest manuscripts have the highest authority. "If the
multiplication of copies of the New Testament had been uniform, it is
evident that the number of later copies preserved from the accidents of
time would have far exceeded that of the earlier, yet no one would have
preferred the fuller testimony of the thirteenth to the scantier
documents of the fourth century. Some changes are necessarily introduced
in the most careful copying, and these are rapidly multiplied." Westcott
in Smith's Bible Dict.; Art. New Test. Yet, as the same writer remarks,
we may have evidence that a recent manuscript has been copied from one
of great antiquity, and thus has preserved to us very ancient readings.
Revisions and corrections by a later hand are to be carefully
distinguished from the primitive writing. Yet these may be valuable, as
testifying to the prevailing reading of the age to which they belong.
The general class or family to which a given manuscript belongs is also
to be taken into the account. In a word, so many elements of judgment
are to be taken into account in determining the relative weight of
authority that belongs to a given manuscript, that the right decision of
the question requires large observation combined with much critical

9. _Ancient versions_ are of great value in textual criticism; for some
of them, as the old Latin and Syriac, to which may be added the old
Egyptian versions, are based on a text more ancient than that preserved
to us in any manuscript. In textual criticism, the testimony of a
version is valuable in proportion to its antiquity, its fidelity--not
its elegance or even its correctness of interpretation, but its literal
closeness--and the purity of its text. Versions are liable to all the
corruptions of text incident to Greek manuscripts, and far more liable
to interpolations by explanatory glosses. The difference of idiom,
moreover, frequently prevents such a literal rendering as shall be a
sure indication of the form belonging to the original text.

10. The _citations_ of the church fathers, which are immensely numerous,
constitute another source of testimony. But less authority belongs in
general to these, because they are often made loosely from memory alone.
Their testimony is chiefly valuable as _corroborative_. "Patristic
citations _alone_ have very little weight; such citations, even when in
accordance with a version, have but little more; but when a citation
_is_ in accordance with some ancient MSS. and translations, it possesses
great corroborative value. It is as _confirming_ a reading known
independently to exist, that citations are of the utmost importance. If
alone, or nearly alone, they may be looked at as mere casual adaptations
of the words of the New Testament." Tregelles in Horne, vol. 4, ch. 34.

11. The _application_ of the above sources of criticism to the sacred
text demands very extensive research and much sound judgment. "Canons of
criticism," as they are called are valuable in their proper sphere; but,
as Westcott remarks (_ubi supra_), "they are intended only to guide and
not to dispense with the exercise of tact and scholarship. The student
will judge for himself how far they are applicable in every particular
case; and no exhibition of general principles can supersede the
necessity of a careful examination of the characteristics of separate
witnesses, and of groups of witnesses."

We bring this subject to a close by an enumeration of the last six of
the thirteen rules laid down by Westcott.

8. "The agreement of ancient MSS., or of MSS. containing an ancient
text, with all the ancient versions and citations marks a certain

9. "The disagreement of the most ancient authorities often marks the
existence of a corruption anterior to them."

10. "The argument from internal evidence is always precarious." This
canon he illustrates by several examples: "If a reading is in accordance
with the general style of the writer, it may be said on the one side
that this fact is in its favor, and on the other that an acute copyist
probably changed the exceptional expression for the more usual one," &c.

11. "The more difficult reading is preferable to the simpler." This
canon rests on the obvious ground that a copyist would be more apt to
substitute an easy reading for a difficult than the reverse.

12. "The shorter reading is generally preferable to the longer." Because
of all corruptions of the text, additions from parallel passages, or to
meet its supposed wants, are the most common.

13. "That reading is preferable which explains the origin of the



1. Respecting the canon of the New Testament there are two distinct but
related fields of inquiry. The first has reference to the _origin and
gradual accumulation, of the materials_ which enter into the canon; the
second, to the _collection of these materials_ into a volume or series
of volumes possessing coördinate authority with the books of the Old
Testament, and constituting with them the sum of written revelation. The
first of these questions has been already discussed in great measure. In
Chs. 2-4, the genuineness, uncorrupt preservation, authenticity, and
credibility of the four gospels were shown at some length; in Ch. 5 the
same was done in respect to the Acts of the Apostles and the
acknowledged epistles; in Ch. 6 was considered the position of the
disputed books in respect to the canon; and in Ch. 7 the inspiration of
the canon was demonstrated. Connected with these inquiries were some
general notices respecting the date of the several books of the New
Testament; but the fuller consideration of this latter question is
reserved for the second division of the present Part--that of Particular
Introduction. It will be sufficient to state here in a general way that,
if we leave out of account the writings of the Apostle John, the
remaining books of the New Testament were written somewhere between A.D.
45-70 (according to the commonly received opinion, between A.D. 50-70);
while the most probable date of John's writings is A.D. 70-100. The
composition of the books of the New Testament, then, spreads itself over
a period of about half a century.

2. Turning our attention, now, to the second question, that of the
collection and arrangement of these writings in a volume or series of
volumes coördinate in authority with the books of the Old Testament, we
have a succession of periods, not sharply separated from each other, but
each of them possessing, nevertheless, its prominent characteristics in
relation to the canonical writings.

3. First in order is the _apostolic age_, extending to about A.D. 100,
especially the first half of it when many of the apostles still
survived. This is the period of the _composition_ of the books of the
New Testament, but we have no certain evidence that they were then
collected into a whole. The writings of apostles and apostolic men had
of course the same authority as their spoken word: that is, an authority
that was supreme and decisive, according to the principle laid down by
the Saviour: "He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth
me, receiveth him that sent me." Matt. 10:40. But so long as the
churches had the presence of the apostles they could not feel, as we do
now, the need of an authoritative written rule of faith and practice;
nor is there any proof that the apostles themselves understood in the
beginning of the gospel God's purpose to add, through them, a second
part to the canon of revelation that had been for so many centuries
closed. A considerable number of years elapsed after the ascension
before it was thought necessary to give to the churches under apostolic
sanction a written account of our Lord's life and teachings. The Acts of
the Apostles were not composed till about A.D. 61-63. The apostolic
epistles were for the most part written on special occasions and to meet
special exigencies, the greater number of them not till between A.D.
50-70, those of John still later. The Christians of this age drew their
knowledge of the gospel mainly from the same sources to which Luke
refers in the preface to his gospel; from oral tradition, namely,
received directly or indirectly from them "who from the beginning were
eye-witnesses and ministers of the word."

4. After the death of the apostles came what may be called the _age of
the apostolic fathers_; men who, like Ignatius, Polycarp, and others
whose names have not come down to us, had been the disciples of the
apostles. Ignatius suffered martyrdom at Rome, A.D. 107 or 116. Polycarp
survived beyond the middle of the second century. The literary remains
of this period are very scanty, the genuine writings of the apostolic
fathers being confined to a few epistles--one of Clement of Rome to the
Corinthians, seven of Ignatius, one of Polycarp to the Philippians, to
which we may add the so-called epistle of Barnabas; since whoever was
the author, it does not date from later than the early part of the
second century. From these writings we gather in general that the
gospels and apostolic epistles were in current use in the churches, but
nothing definite in regard to the collection of these writings into a

    "With the exception of the epistles of _Jude_, _2 Peter_ and _2,
    3 John_, with which no coincidences occur, and 1, 2
    Thessalonians, Colossians, Titus, and Philemon, with which the
    coincidences are very questionable, all the other epistles were
    clearly known, and used by them; but still they are not quoted
    with the formulas which preface citations from the Old Testament
    (The Scripture saith, It is written, &c.), nor is the famous
    phrase of Ignatius (To the Philadelphians 5: Betaking myself to
    the gospel, as to the flesh of Christ, and to the apostles, as
    the eldership of the church) sufficient to prove the existence
    of a collection of apostolic records as distinct from the sum of
    apostolic teaching. The coincidences with the gospels on the
    other hand are numerous and interesting, but such as cannot be
    referred to the exclusive use of our present written gospels."
    Westcott, in Smith's Bible Dict.; Art. Canon. The reason of
    this, as the writer goes on to show, was that "the details of
    the life of Christ were still too fresh to be sought for only in
    written records." There is, however, one remarkable passage in
    the epistle of Barnabas, the _Greek text_ of which has been
    recently discovered appended to the Sinaitic manuscript, in
    which he says (ch. 4): "Let us take care that we be not found as
    it is written, many are called, but few are chosen." This
    formula, "as it is written," distinguishes the gospel from which
    it is quoted as a part of the inspired word; for it is the
    customary formula employed by Christ and his apostles in
    accordance with the usage of their age, when they appeal to the
    Old Testament as of divine authority; and is never applied to
    writings of mere human authority.

5. Next in order comes what may be called the _period of transition_
between the age of the apostolic and that of the early church fathers.
The most distinguished writer of this period is Justin Martyr. It is now
generally conceded that the "Memoirs" of which he so often speaks were
our canonical gospels. Chap. 2, No. 7. Besides the abundant use of these
he mentions the Apocalypse by name, and ascribes it expressly to the
apostle John--"a certain man among us named John, one of the apostles of
Christ, prophesied, in the revelation given him, that those who have
believed in our Christ will spend a thousand years in Jerusalem," etc.
Dialogue with Trypho, chap. 81. He has also some apparent allusions to
the Pauline epistles, but how far he possessed and used a collection of
the New Testament writings, we have no means of judging. Towards the
middle of the second century, however, events occurred which had a
powerful influence, not indeed, for establishing the _authority_ of the
apostolic writings (since that existed from the beginning), but for
bringing home to the consciousness of the churches their _supreme
importance_ as an authoritative rule of faith and practice, and also the
necessity of carefully defining their extent as well as their true
interpretation. Heretical teachers arose who sowed in the Christian
church the seeds of gnosticism. Of these some, as Marcion, rejected on
dogmatical grounds a portion of the apostolic writings, and mutilated
those which they retained; others, as Valentinus, sought by fanciful
principles of interpretation to explain away their true meaning. Chap.
2, No. 12. The reaction upon the churches was immediate and effectual.
They set themselves at once to define and defend the true apostolic
writings as well against Marcion's false and mutilated canon, if canon
it may be called, as against the false interpretations of Valentinus,
Heracleon and others. The _occasion_ had now come for the recognition of
a New Testament canon coördinate in authority with that of the Old
Testament, and from this time onward we find the idea of such a canon
clearly developed in the writings of the church fathers. What aided
essentially in this work was the execution, about this time, of
_versions_ of the New Testament books, such as the Old Latin and Syriac;
for the authors of these versions must of necessity have brought
together the writings, which, in their judgment, proceeded from the
apostles and their companions.

6. We find, accordingly, when the _age of the early church fathers_
opens, about A.D. 170, a clearly recognized canon--sometimes described
in two parts, the _gospels_ and the _apostles_--which is placed on a
level with that of the Old Testament as the inspired word of God, and
cited in common with it as _the Scriptures_, _the divine Scriptures_,
_the Scriptures of the Lord_, etc. Both canons are mentioned together as
_The entire Scriptures both prophetical and evangelical_; _The prophets,
the gospel, and the blessed apostles_; _the law and the prophets, with
the evangelical and apostolical writings_; _the Old and the New
Testament_; _the entire instrument of each Testament_, etc. _Irenæus_,
against heresies, 2. 46; 5. 20; _Letter to Florinus_ in Eusebius' Hist.
Eccl., 5. 20: _Clement of Alexandria_, Strom., 7, p. 757; _Tertullian_,
against heretics, chap. 30. 36: against Marcion, 4. 6, etc. The canon
was not, however, completed in its present form; for the right of
certain books--the so-called _antilegomena_, chap. 6. 6.--to a place in
it remained for a considerable time an open question, which, in its
application to particular books was answered differently in the East and
the West. See chap. 6. On the other hand, certain writings of the
apostolic fathers (as the so-called epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of
Hermas, the epistle of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians), being read
in certain of the early churches, found their way into some codices of
the New Testament. Chap. 6, No. 4.

    To the latter part of the second century belong two important
    canons, that of the Syriac Peshito, and the Muratorian canon.
    The former of these represents the judgment of the _Eastern_
    churches; the latter apparently that of the _Western_.

    The canon of the Peshito has, of the seven disputed books,
    _Hebrews_ and _James_. It wants the other five, namely, _2
    Peter_, _2, 3 John_, _Jude_, _Revelation_.

    The Muratorian canon is in such an imperfect state that its
    testimony on some points is doubtful. It contains _Jude_ and
    _Revelation_; perhaps also _2, 3 John_. It wants _Hebrews_, and
    _2 Peter_, and it adds the apocryphal book called the
    _Apocalypse of Peter_.

    Origen in the third century (as quoted by Eusebius, Hist. Eccl.,
    6. 25) and Eusebius in the fourth, Hist. Eccl., 3. 25, give each
    a review of the New Testament canon with a statement of the
    differing judgments as to the disputed books. The details will
    come up hereafter in connection with the books in question.

    The Synodical Council of Loadicea, which was probably held
    between A.D. 343-381, gives in its 60th canon (the genuineness
    of which, however, has been called in question by some) a list
    of the books of the Old and New Testaments. That of the New
    Testament wants the _Apocalypse_.

    The third Council of Carthage, held A.D. 397, contains all the
    books of our present canon. So also the Latin fathers, as
    Jerome, Rufinus, etc. But the Syrian churches still adhered to
    the canon of the Peshito.

7. The history of Christian opinion in regard to the canon of the New
Testament, of which a very brief outline has been given, has all the
marks of naturalness and truthfulness. The Biblical student should
carefully remember the two following important considerations:

(1.) The books of the New Testament were not received as a whole, but
_separately_ upon the evidence that each gave of its apostolic origin.
Doubts in respect to certain books throw no shadow of suspicion upon the
rest, the genuineness and authenticity of which were acknowledged by all
from the beginning. The question, therefore, is not concerning the truth
of revelation, but simply concerning the claims of certain books to be a
part of the record of revelation. However it may be decided in
particular cases, the apostolic authority of the universally
acknowledged books, which constitute the main body of the New Testament,
remains perfectly sure.

(2.) The early diversities of judgment in respect to certain books
furnish satisfactory evidence of the freedom of thought and discussion
among the primitive Christians, and of the sincerity and earnestness of
their investigations. It was precisely because they would not accept any
book without full evidence of its apostolic authority, that these
diversities of judgment prevailed.



In the present chapter those versions of the Old Testament also that
were made in connection with versions of the New, and in the interest of
Christianity, will be briefly considered.


1. A peculiar interest attaches to the early Latin versions. The "_Old
Latin_" translation of the New Testament, in connection with which one
of the Old Testament was executed from the Septuagint, is perhaps the
earliest that exists in any language. The Old Syriac alone can rival it
in antiquity, and if either may claim the precedence, it is probably the
Latin. This version, and afterwards the revision of it by Jerome, was
the grand medium through which the Holy Scriptures were known to the
Western or Latin churches for more than twelve centuries. It has
exercised no small influence on the popular modern versions of
Christendom, and it is the great storehouse of theological terms for
both Catholic and Protestant Christianity.

    The English version of Wiclif (1324-1384) is a literal
    translation of the current text of the Latin Vulgate. The
    Psalter of the English Prayer Book is taken from Cranmer's Bible
    called the "Great English Bible:" and the version of the Psalms
    follows the Gallican Psalter, the second of the revisions made
    by Jerome from the Old Latin. See below, No. 4.

2. How early the _ante-Hieronymian_ Latin version (that current before
the days of _Hieronymus_, that is, _Jerome_), was executed is unknown;
but the writings of Tertullian furnish satisfactory proof that it was in
popular use in North Africa (the place where it was made) in the last
quarter of the second century. According to the testimony of the ancient
church fathers, its text existed in a great variety of forms, and the
same variety has come down to us in the old manuscripts that contain it.
Some, indeed, have maintained that several independent versions existed.
But the sum of the evidence from both the early fathers and the
manuscripts goes to show that there was never more than one that could
be called independent. The copies of this were subjected to multiplied
emendations or revisions from the Greek original, till the text had
fallen in the days of Augustine and Jerome into a state of great

    The language of Augustine is very strong: "The translators of
    the Scriptures from the Hebrew tongue into the Greek can be
    numbered, but the Latin interpreters can by no means be
    numbered. For whenever, in the first ages of Christianity, any
    one had gained possession of a Greek manuscript, and imagined
    himself to possess some little skill in the two languages, he
    ventured to become an interpreter." De Doct. Christ. 2. 16.
    According to the received opinion the so-called _Itala_
    (_Italian_) was not an independent version, but one of these
    revisions, apparently made in Italy, and as some think, under
    ecclesiastical auspices. This, Augustine recommends as more
    faithful and perspicuous than the rest.

3. The _canon_ of the Old Latin version seems to have wanted, in the New
Testament, Hebrews, James, and 2 Peter. In the Old Testament it followed
the Septuagint. It contained, therefore, the apocryphal books of that
version, to which was also added the second of Esdras. Appendix to Pt.
2, No. 6. The _text_ of this version is known to us from two sources,
quotations and manuscripts. For our knowledge of the Old Testament we
are dependent mainly on the quotations of the early Latin fathers, since
only a few fragments remain in the shape of manuscripts. The same is
true of some parts of the New Testament, particularly the Apocalypse.
But of the gospels as well as other parts of the New Testament, we have
some very ancient manuscripts which are of high value in textual
criticism. The agreement of this version in many characteristic readings
with the oldest known Greek manuscripts has already been noticed. Chap.
3, No. 3. Such agreement is the strongest possible testimony for the
genuineness of the readings in question. Chap. 26, No. 2.

    The _Codex Vercellensis_, belonging to the fourth century, and
    said to have been written by Eusebius, bishop of Vercellae (now
    Vercelli) in Northern Italy where the manuscript is preserved,
    is one of the oldest manuscripts of the sacred text in
    existence. The _Codex Veronensis_ at Verona, the Graeco-Latin
    _Codex Claromontanus_ in the Imperial Library at Paris, the
    _Codex Vindobonensis_ at Vienna, the _Codex Bobbiensis_ at
    Turin, and others that might be named, are also very ancient.
    Among the codices that contain what is called the _Italic_
    version, is the _Brixianus_ of the sixth century.

4. About A.D. 388, Jerome at the solicitation of Damasus, bishop of
Rome, undertook the arduous task of _revising_ the Old Latin version by
a comparison with the original Greek text. In this work he proceeded
very cautiously, being well aware of the prejudices which he must
encounter on the part of multitudes who could not discriminate between
the authority of the original Greek text and that of the Latin version
made from it. He began with the four gospels. According to his own
testimony, he selected ancient Greek manuscripts, but such as did not
differ much from the Latin usage; and in the use of these he so
restrained his pen that, when he had corrected those things only which
seemed to change the sense, he suffered the rest to remain as they were.
(Preface to the four gospels addressed to Damasus.) His work of revision
was afterwards extended to the remaining books of the New Testament; a
revision which Tregelles describes as "less complete and uniform than
that of the gospels, and in which many parts seem to have received
hardly any alterations from his hand." In Horne, vol. 4, ch. 23. About
the same time he turned his attention to the Latin version of the Old
Testament, which had been made, not from the original Hebrew, but from
the Greek Septuagint. Of this he first revised the Psalter, but not very
thoroughly; in his own words, "cursorily for the most part." This first
revision is known by the name of the _Roman_ Psalter. A later and more
thorough revision, executed by Jerome at Bethlehem between A.D. 384-391,
is called the _Gallican_ Psalter. There is good reason to believe that
Jerome's revision extended to all the remaining books of the Old
Testament, though we have positive evidence in respect to only a part of
them--Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Chronicles.

    Gregory of Tours is said to have introduced Jerome's second
    revision of the Psalter into the public service in France;
    whence its name _Gallican_. The Roman Psalter was retained in
    Italy till the time of Pius V., who introduced the Gallican
    generally. But three churches, one of them that of the Vatican,
    continued to use the Roman Psalter. Westcott in Smith's Bible
    Dict.; Art. Vulgate.

5. Jerome was soon convinced of the necessity of undertaking a _new
translation_ of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew. To this
arduous task he addressed himself with great earnestness, availing
himself of the help of Jewish scholars to complete his knowledge of the
Hebrew. The whole work occupied his time, with periods of intermission,
from A.D. 385 to A.D. 405. See in Horne, vol. 2, p. 89. He did not
venture, however, to make a new version from the Hebrew of the book of
Psalms, the constant use of which in the church service was a barrier to
the substitution of a new translation. He accordingly retained his
second _revision_ from the Septuagint, which is called the Gallican
Psalter. Of the Apocryphal books he translated only two, Judith and
Tobit. The remaining Apocryphal writings were retained in their old
form. The Latin bible thus in part revised and in part translated by
Jerome (most of the Apocryphal writings being left unrevised) is called
the _Vulgate_, that is _common_ or _current_ version, although this term
belonged, before the days of Jerome, to the Old Latin itself. Its
diversified character is thus briefly indicated by Westcott.--"(1.)
_Unrevised Old Latin_: Wisdom, Eccl., 1, 2 Macc., Baruch. (2.) _Old
Latin revised, from the LXX._: Psalter. (3.) _Jerome's free translation
from the original text_: Judith, Tobit. (4.) _Jerome's translation from
the original_: Old Testament except Psalter. (5.) _Old Latin revised
from Greek MSS._: Gospels. (6.) _Old Latin cursorily revised_: the
remainder of New Testament." In Smith's Bible Dict.; Art. Vulgate.

    It is not necessary to follow the history of the text of the
    Vulgate since Jerome's day. Suffice it to say that the
    simultaneous use of the Old Latin and Vulgate led to a
    corruption of both texts, which has not yet been thoroughly
    removed. The present standard text is that called the
    _Clementine_, from Pope Clement VIII., under whose auspices the
    Vulgate was edited in 1592. This is better than the preceding
    _Sixtine_ edition, A.D. 1590, but not by any means the pure text
    of Jerome, as it might be recovered, proximately at least, by a
    careful collation of ancient manuscripts and quotations.

    The oldest and best manuscript of the Latin Vulgate Old and New
    Testaments, is the _Codex Amiatinus_ in the Laurentian Library
    at Florence. It belongs to the sixth century, and exhibits the
    text of Jerome in a very pure form, carrying us back to about
    120 years from Jerome's death. The _Codex Fuldensis_ is said to
    belong to the same century. There are other good manuscripts
    more or less complete of the eighth and ninth centuries.

    Many other Latin versions have appeared in modern times,
    sometimes in connection with the original text, and sometimes
    separately, which it is not necessary to notice in detail.


6. The ancient Syriac version called the _Peshito_ belongs, in the
judgment of biblical scholars, to the second century. It comprises the
Old Testament as well as the New. The version of the Old Testament was
made from the original Hebrew, and thus has the honor of being the
oldest translation of the Hebrew Scriptures for Christian use, the Old
Latin version having been made from the Septuagint. The version of the
New Testament was made in connection with that of the Old, so that both
together constitute one work.

    Syrian tradition makes extravagant claims in respect to the
    antiquity of the Peshito, telling us that it was executed by men
    sent to Palestine by the apostle Thaddeus (whom tradition
    connects with the founding of the church at Edessa), and by
    Abgarus, King of Edessa, a contemporary of the Saviour. The Old
    Testament was sometimes referred to a still earlier age--that of
    Solomon and Hiram, or that of the captivity of the ten tribes.
    Without giving credence to such traditions, we may well believe
    that it belongs to the earliest period of the Syrian churches,
    and cannot be placed later than the last part of the second
    century. Of the term _Peshito_, that is, _simple_, there are
    different explanations. The most usual is that it denotes a
    simple and literal version, free from glosses and allegorical
    interpretations. Tregelles suggests that it was called _simple_
    in contrast with the translation made by Paul of Tela from the
    Hexaplar text of Origen (see below, No. 8), which was replete
    with _asterisks_ and _obeli_ to mark Origen's revisions, and had
    also marginal references. It is agreed that the Old Testament
    was translated from the original Hebrew and Chaldee, though the
    translators seem to have had before them the Greek version of
    the Seventy, and to have consulted it in the progress of their

7. The Peshito is a free, and at the same time, a faithful version of
Scripture, holding the first place among the ancient versions for its
general excellence, while it ranks with the Old Latin in antiquity. Its
authority in both textual criticism and interpretation is deservedly
high. As it regards textual criticism, however, its value is diminished
by the fact that its text has not come down to us in a pure state. It
has suffered in the same way as the text of the Old Latin, though not to
the same extent.

Among the manuscripts brought from the Nitrian monasteries, and
deposited in the British Museum, is one of great antiquity, containing
large portions of the four gospels in Syriac. Dr. Cureton published in
1858 the text of this manuscript as "Remains of a very ancient Syriac
recension of the four gospels in Syriac, hitherto unknown in Europe,"
with an English translation and preface. Its appearance was hailed with
lively interest and has excited warm discussions. The manuscript itself
is assigned to the fifth century, but it presents a text which, in the
judgment of competent scholars, is older than the current text of the
Peshito. Whether it is an older form of the Peshito version, or another
and earlier version of the gospels, is a question that has been
differently answered. It is maintained, on the one hand, that the
Peshito is a revision of the Curetonian text, "replete with readings
unknown in the second century" (Tregelles in Smith's Bible Dict.); on
the other, that it is "an older version than the Peshito; which the
author or authors of the latter consulted throughout." Davidson in
Alexander's Kitto. Its great value for critical purposes must be
acknowledged by all.

    In many characteristic readings it agrees with the oldest
    manuscripts and quotations. It has also some erroneous readings
    known to be of great antiquity. In a word, the high antiquity of
    its text cannot be reasonably questioned. Drs. Cureton and
    Tregelles think that the gospel of Matthew may be a translation
    from the apostle's Hebrew copy. But this is denied by Davidson
    and others.

8. The _Philoxenian_ Syriac version was executed A.D. 508, under the
auspices of Philoxenus, or Xenaias, bishop of Hierapolis or Mabug in
Syria. Philoxenus belonged to the sect of the Monophysites, and it is
generally thought that the version was made in the interest of that
sect. The translator's name was Polycarp, one of Philoxenus' rural
bishops. With the exception, perhaps, of certain books (see below), the
text of this version has not come down to us in its original form. We
have only a _revision_ of it made A.D. 616 by Thomas of Harkel in a
monastery of Alexandria, whence this version is also called the
_Harclean_ Syriac. The characteristic of this version is its extremely
literal character. It is the translator's aim to represent every Greek
word, even the article, by a corresponding Syriac word, even where the
idiom of the language must thereby be violated. Hence its style is of
necessity barbarous. But this very character of literalness gives to the
Philoxenian version high authority in respect to textual criticism. So
far as it has come down to us in its primitive form, it is, in truth,
equal to the Greek text of its own time.

About the time that Thomas of Harkel revised the Philoxenian version of
the New Testament, Paul of Tela, another Monophysite, executed what is
called the _Hexaplar Syriac_ version of the Old Testament, because it
was made from the text of Origen's Hexaplar. Chap. 16, No. 12. It
coincides with the Philoxenian version of the New Testament in respect
to its character as well as the time of its appearance, being made on
the principle of following the Greek text word for word as exactly as
possible. Thus the Hexaplar version of the Old, and the Philoxenian
version of the New, constitute together a whole of like character

    After the example of Origen, Paul introduced into his version
    _asterisks_ and _obeli_; the asterisk (*) to indicate insertions
    made in the text on the authority of manuscripts and other
    versions; the obelus (÷), to mark passages of doubtful
    character. Thus it supplies, as far as a version can, the
    Hexaplar of Origen, of which only a few fragments remain.

    The Philoxenian version of the New Testament, as revised by
    Thomas of Harkel, contains also the same asterisks and obeli.
    Critical marks and marginal readings also appear in most of the
    manuscripts. This critical apparatus is generally thought to
    have proceeded from Thomas himself, in imitation of the Hexaplar
    Syriac of the Old Testament; but whether to indicate comparison
    with the Peshito, or with the Greek manuscripts employed by
    Thomas is not certain.

    There is a version of the Catholic epistles wanting in the
    Peshito--2 Pet., 2, 3 John, Jude--existing in two forms, one of
    which is thought to be the _unrevised_ Philoxenian text. There
    is a codex at Rome containing the four gospels which has also
    been supposed to contain the same unrevised text.

    The _Jerusalem Syriac Lectionary_, containing simply lessons
    from the four gospels, is a peculiar version known to us from a
    single manuscript in the Vatican Library which belongs to the
    eleventh century. The version itself is referred by some to the
    sixth century, by others to a later date. Its dialect is
    barbarous, being a mixture of Chaldee and Syriac, but its
    readings are said often to coincide with the oldest and best


9. Formerly but one version was known to exist in the language of the
ancient Egyptians. This, which was made in the dialect of lower Egypt,
was naturally called _Coptic_. When it was discovered that another
version existed in the dialect of upper Egypt, the Arabic term _Sahidic_
was applied to it. But since the word _Coptic_ is generic, applying to
both dialects alike, it has been proposed to call the former version
_Copto-Memphitic_ or simply _Memphitic_, from Memphis, the ancient
capital of lower Egypt; and the latter _Copto-Thebaic_ or _Thebaic_,
from Thebes, the celebrated capital of ancient upper Egypt. When these
versions were executed cannot be determined with certainty. But they
existed in the fourth century, and probably in the latter part of the
third century. Their high antiquity gives to them great value in textual
criticism. The latter of them, however, exists only in a fragmentary
form. Some fragments of a _third_ version, differing from both the
Memphitic and the Thebaic, have been discovered. To this, the epithet
_Bashmuric_ has been applied, from the Arabian name _Bashmur_, a
district of lower Egypt in the Delta to the East. But Egyptian scholars
doubt whether the term is well applied, as the version is said to have
stronger affinity to the Thebaic than to the Memphitic version.

    The Memphitic and Thebaic versions are said to have contained
    the whole Bible, that of the Old Testament being made from the
    Septuagint. The whole Memphitic New Testament has been several
    times published, but never in such a manner as to meet the wants
    of Biblical criticism. Of the Thebaic version only some
    fragments have been published.

10. An _Ethiopic_ version of the whole Bible exists in the ancient
dialect of Axum. That of the Old Testament was made from the Septuagint;
that of the New is a close version of the original Greek. The age to
which it belongs is not known. Many of the readings of its text are said
to show an affinity with the older class of Greek manuscripts, while
others are of a later character. This leads to the suspicion that the
version has undergone revision by the aid of later Greek manuscripts. An
edition of the whole Bible is in process of publication in Germany.


11. The first information which European scholars had of the existence
of a _Gothic_ version of the New Testament was in the sixteenth century,
when one Morillon copied from a Gothic manuscript in the library of the
Monastery of Werden in Westphalia the Lord's Prayer and some other
parts, which were afterwards published. When the Swedes, in 1648, took
Prague, among the spoils sent to Stockholm was the celebrated _Codex
Argenteus_, _Silver manuscript_, containing a copy of the Gothic gospels
written on purple vellum in silver letters, except the beginnings of the
sections which are in gold. When entire the manuscript is said to have
contained 320 leaves, but when found it had but 188 in quarto size. In
its present state it wants parts of all the gospels. The letters are
deeply furrowed, and beautifully regular. It is thought that this
manuscript was executed for the use of some Gothic king. After various
changes of place, it was finally deposited in the library of the
University of Upsal in Sweden, where it is now preserved enclosed in a
silver case. The Gothic version, of which the Codex Argenteus is a
transcript, was made in the fourth century by Ulphilas, second bishop of
the Goths in Moesia (the so-called Moeso-Goths). The manuscript itself
belongs, it is thought, to the sixth century.

12. In 1762 a palimpsest was discovered by Knittel at Wolfenbüttel, a
city of the duchy of Brunswick in Germany, containing, as the earlier
writing, part of the epistle to the Romans in Gothic and Latin, the
versions standing side by side. In 1817 the late Cardinal Mai discovered
in the Ambrosian Library at Milan five palimpsests, from which, in
connection with the Wolfenbüttel palimpsest, the Gothic text of the
greater part of the Pauline epistles (that to the Hebrews not included)
has been recovered, as also some fragments of the gospels, and of the
books of Ezra and Nehemiah. All that has been recovered of the Gothic
version was edited in 1835-6 by Gabelentz and Loebe with a Latin
translation, notes, and a Gothic dictionary and grammar. There are
several later editions partly of the Codex Argenteus, and partly of all
the Gothic remains of the Scriptures. Thus this interesting version,
which represents the text of the New Testament in the fourth century as
it was known to Ulphilas, is made available for the purposes of Biblical

13. There is an ancient _Armenian_ version unaccompanied as yet by any
Latin translation; and thus available for critical purposes only through
the help of those who know the language. By means of such help Dr.
Tregelles used it for his critical edition of the New Testament, and he
speaks of its value "as a critical witness as to the general reading of
certain Greek copies existing in the former half of the fifth century."
In Smith's Bible Dict., Art. Armenian Version.

Other ancient versions, as the Arabic and Slavonic, we pass by; as their
comparatively late date makes them of little importance for critical
studies. The history of modern versions, among which is our own
authorized version, presents a wide and interesting field of inquiry,
but it does not come within the scope of the present work.




1. The New Testament, like the Old, is not an abstract system of
doctrines and duties, but a _record of facts_ involving doctrines and
duties of the highest import. This record does not constitute an
independent history, complete in itself, and to be explained in its own
light. It is rather the necessary sequel to the record of the Old
Testament. It interprets the Old Testament, and is itself interpreted by
it. The two constitute together an organic whole, and can be truly
understood only in their mutual connection. To discard the Old Testament
whether formally or in practice, is to throw away the key which unlocks
to us the treasures of the New; for the writers of the New Testament
continually reason out of the Scriptures of the Old. If we cannot truly
comprehend the Old Testament except when we view it as preparatory to
the revelation contained in the New, so neither can we have a full
understanding of the New except as the completion of the revelation
begun in the Old. In a word, we understand revelation aright only in its

2. The New Testament _uses_ all the teachings of the Old, but it does
not _repeat_ them all. The unity, personality, and infinite perfections
of God; his universal providence, and his supremacy as well over nations
as individuals; the duties that men owe to God and each other, as
embodied for substance in the ten commandments and expanded in the
teachings of Moses and the prophets; the indissoluble connection, on the
one hand, between righteousness and true prosperity, and on the other,
between sin and ruin--all these great truths are so fully unfolded in
the Old Testament that they need no formal repetition in the New. The
person and office of the Messiah--as that great prophet, like unto
Moses, whom God should raise up for his people in the latter days; as
that mighty king of David's line, who should sit on his throne and in
his kingdom to order it and to establish it with judgment and with
justice forever; as that high priest after the order of Melchisedec whom
God should establish forever with a solemn oath--had been prefigured in
the institutions of Moses, in the Psalms, and in the writings of the

Some other important truths not so fully revealed in the Old Testament
but deducible in a legitimate way either from its general scope or from
some brief hints in its teachings, had become firmly established in the
faith of the Jewish people during the long interval that elapsed between
Malachi and Christ. Such particularly were the doctrines of the
resurrection of the dead and of future rewards and punishments. These
truths, also, as well as those more directly and fully taught in the Old
Testament, were assumed by the Saviour and his apostles as a platform
for the peculiar revelations of the gospel, the sum of which is _Jesus
Christ crucified for the salvation of the world_. The four gospels,
then, as containing the history of our Lord's appearance and works, lie
at the foundation of the revelation contained in the New Testament. To
these, then, our attention must first be given; after which the history
of the apostolic labors, as given in the Acts of the Apostles, will
naturally follow.


3. The word _gospel_ (Anglo-Saxon, _god_, _good_, and _spell_, _history_
or _tidings_) answers to the Greek word _euangelion_, _good-tidings_,
whence comes the Latin _evangelium_, with the derived words in use among
us, as _evangelist_, _evangelical_, etc. It properly signifies the _good
message itself_, and it is only by a secondary usage that it is applied
to the _written histories_ of the Saviour's life, as being the
embodiment of this message. The titles prefixed to these gospels from
the beginning; "The Gospel according to Matthew", "The Gospel according
to Mark," etc., indicate that the written record is not itself the
gospel, but rather an account of the gospel _according to_ these
different writers. Christ himself is the author of the gospel. It
existed and was received by many thousands before a line of it was put
upon record on the written page.

4. The genuineness, uncorrupt preservation, and authenticity of the four
canonical gospels have already been shown at some length. Chaps. 2, 3,
4. In connection with the argument for their genuineness, their natural
division into two parts--the first three, commonly called the synoptical
gospels, and the gospel according to John; the remarkable agreements and
differences of the three synoptical gospels among themselves; and the
remarkable contrast which the fourth gospel presents to all three of the
synoptical gospels, have also been considered simply as _existing
facts_. Chap. 2, Nos. 14 and 15. But when we seek an _explanation_ of
these remarkable phenomena, we enter upon a very difficult problem, one
on which the ingenuity of Biblical scholars has exhausted itself for
several successive generations without reaching thus far a result that
can be regarded as perfectly satisfactory. Almost all conceivable
theories and combinations of theories have been proposed, some of which,
however, are now generally abandoned as untenable, and need not be
considered at large.

5. Looking at the three synoptical gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we
find a remarkable _agreement_ not only in their general plan, but in
many of their details also. With the exception of our Lord's last
journey to Jerusalem and the history of his passion there, they are
mainly occupied with his ministry in Galilee. The selection of incidents
is also to a great extent the same. "The most remarkable differences lie
in the presence of a long series of events connected with the Galilean
ministry, which are peculiar to St. Matthew and St. Mark (Matt.
14:22-16:12; Mark 6:45-8:26), and a second series of events connected
with the journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-18:14), which is peculiar to
St. Luke." Westcott, Introduct. to the Study of the Gospels, chap. 3.
The coincidences of language, as well as incident, are also remarkable;
and here the general law prevails that these coincidences are more
common, as has been shown by Norton and others, in the recital of the
words of others than in the narrative parts of the gospels, and most
common when our Lord's own words are recited.

6. But with these remarkable agreements coexist equally remarkable
_differences_. Each writer has his own peculiarities of style, which
appear more distinctly in the original than they can in any version. It
has been noticed also by Biblical scholars that these peculiarities are
more marked in the narrative than in the recitative parts of the gospels
in question. Each writer, moreover, brings in incidents peculiar to
himself, not in the form of patchwork, but as parts of a self consistent
whole. So far is he from exact outward conformity to either of the other
gospels, in respect to arrangement and circumstantial details, that the
diversity between him and them in these particulars, sometimes creates
serious difficulties when we attempt to arrange the three different
narratives in the form of a harmony.

7. No theory of the origin of these three gospels can be true which does
not explain both their coincidences and their differences. Hence we may
set aside at once the hypothesis of their _mutual dependence_ on each
other--that the later evangelists used the writings of the earlier. By
the different advocates of this theory, each of the three synoptic
gospels has been made in turn the primary record from which the others
drew; but no one of them has been able, upon this hypothesis, to account
for the omissions or insertions of the supposed later evangelists, much
less for the remarkable fact already noticed, that the peculiarities of
each writer appear more fully in the narrative than in the recitative
part of his gospel. The later evangelists may, indeed, have been
acquainted with the writings of the earlier and have consulted them, but
this supposition alone does not explain their peculiar coincidences and

Another hypothesis is that of an _original document or documents_, from
which all three are supposed to have drawn. The assumption of a single
original written gospel, as the basis of our first three canonical
gospels, is manifestly untenable. Had a primitive gospel existed of such
compass and authority as to be the common source of our three synoptic
gospels, it is inconceivable that the churches, which carefully
preserved these three gospels, though two of them proceeded not from
apostles themselves but only from their companions, should have allowed
the original gospel so speedily and utterly to perish, that no traces of
it remained in the days of Irenæus, Tertullian, and Clement of
Alexandria. Besides, this hypothesis, as it was soon seen, does not
explain the peculiar relation of these gospels to each other in respect
to coincidences and differences. Hence various modifications were
proposed--an original Aramaic gospel with various Greek translations,
this original Aramaic gospel variously increased with new matter, etc.
In a word, the form of these assumed original documents was
hypothetically explained from the actual form of our three synoptic
gospels; the very reverse of the true problem, which was to explain,
from some reliable data, the form of the canonical gospels themselves.

The remaining hypothesis is that of _oral tradition_ emanating from the
apostles themselves, and maintained in its purity during their lives by
their personal presence and teaching. That the gospel existed in this
form alone for some years after the beginning of Christianity is
admitted by all. The apostles were Christ's chosen witnesses of his life
and teachings. From their lips proceeded the tradition which now
constitutes our written gospels. The necessity of embodying this
tradition in the form of permanent records was not felt at the
beginning. But, as the churches were multiplied, oral tradition became
liable to corruption in many ways through the multiplicity of the organs
employed in its transmission. Then the need of written gospels began to
manifest itself, and it was natural that the apostles should look to the
supply of this need either by their own direct agency, or by that of men
writing with their knowledge and approbation. How many years elapsed
before the appearance of the earliest of our canonical gospels, which is
commonly supposed to have been that of Matthew, we have no means of
ascertaining with accuracy. But we may reasonably suppose that the
period was long enough to allow the apostolic tradition of our Lord's
life and teachings to assume a somewhat definite shape in respect to
both matter and outward form. _First_, in respect to _matter_. As their
public instructions could not cover the whole of our Saviour's history
(John 20:30; 21: 25), they naturally selected, under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit, those parts of it which embodied the spirit and meaning of
the whole. Since, moreover, the apostles remained together at Jerusalem
for some time after our Lord's ascension (Acts 8:1; 15:6), it is highly
reasonable to suppose that in a matter of such moment they had a mutual
understanding--an understanding which, while it interfered with the
freedom of no one, secured a general agreement as to the points in our
Lord's history and teachings which should be especially insisted on.
_Secondly_ in respect to _outward form_. While the apostles were
preserved by the illumination of the Holy Spirit from any superstitious
regard to the letter of our Lord's teachings, their reverence for him as
a perfect teacher, whose words were truth unmixed with error, must have
made them anxious to put the oral tradition of his sayings into as
perfect a form as possible; whence the tradition of our Saviour's words
would assume from the first a more fixed form than that of his life

It is supposed by many that the writers of the first three gospels drew
each from this common body of oral tradition such materials as suited
his general plan; no one of them proposing to give the whole of our
Lord's history, or even to observe a strict chronological order in the
events recorded by him, any farther than such order was rendered
necessary by their nature and essential connection. In the case of
Matthew, who was one of the twelve apostles, it might be thought that he
wrote simply from his own personal knowledge; but his gospel could not
cover all the ground of our Lord's history as known to him, and we may
well suppose that in the selection of his materials he had regard--not a
servile, but a free regard--to the common oral tradition of the
apostles, which was, in fact, the embodiment of their united wisdom
under the illumination of the Divine Spirit. Each evangelist, as well
Mark and Luke who were not apostles, as Matthew who belonged to the
number of the twelve, wrote independently of the other two. The later
writers may, indeed, have been acquainted with the writings of the
earlier, but a bare inspection of the three gospels shows that there was
no labored effort on the part of one evangelist to adjust his work to
those of the others. Hence arise apparent discrepancies, as in the two
genealogies of our Lord, which it is sometimes hard to explain. But
these very difficulties witness to the independent truthfulness of the
writers. Had they written in concert, or borrowed systematically from
each other, such difficulties would not have existed.

Although apostolic oral tradition is thus made the main source whence
the writers of these gospels drew their materials, it is not necessary
to affirm or deny their use, in a subordinate way, of written documents.
That such documents existed in the time of Luke we know from his own
words, chap. 1:1. He does not condemn them, but neither does he rely
upon them. His gospel is not derived from them, but from his own
accurate investigations; "It seemed good to me also, having accurately
traced out all things from the beginning" (as the original Greek means),
"to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus." Chap. 1:3. And
if Luke, the companion of Paul, was not dependent for his materials on
any previously existing writings, neither was Mark, the companion of
both Peter and Paul, nor Matthew, who was himself an apostle. Nor can
the incorporation of such writings into the synoptic gospels be shown
with any degree of probability. If it cannot be claimed for this
hypothesis of a primitive apostolic tradition, as the source whence the
writers of the synoptic gospels drew their materials, that it explains
all the phenomena of their mutual relation to each other, it is,
nevertheless, more satisfactory than any other that has been proposed,
and may be regarded as a near approximation to the actual facts in the

    Between the _traditions_ of which the apostle Paul speaks (2
    Thess. 2:15; 3:6; also, according to the original, 1 Cor. 11:2)
    received immediately from his mouth or pen, and the pretended
    traditions of later days, handed down from century to century
    through a succession of uninspired men, the difference is that
    between light and darkness, between truth and fiction. We have
    in the _writings_ of the New Testament the genuine apostolic
    tradition, at first oral, but put into a written form during the
    lifetime of the apostles. These traditions are the "gold,
    silver, precious stones" of divine truth. All other traditions
    are the "wood, hay, stubble" of human origin. In settling the
    question respecting the _genuineness_ of the New Testament
    writings, we proceed as in the case of any other writings. We
    avail ourselves of all the evidence within our reach, external
    and internal. We take the testimony of Irenæus and Tertullian,
    and also of Marcion and Valentinus; though none of them were
    inspired, and the two latter were heretical. But when we have
    once determined what books were written by apostles or apostolic
    men, these contain for us the only authoritative _tradition_, as
    defined by the apostle: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and
    hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word
    or our epistle." 2 Thess. 2:15.

8. In comparing the synoptic gospels with each other and with the fourth
gospel, we must ever bear in mind that no one of them professes to give
a complete history of our Lord's life, or to arrange all the incidents
which he relates in the exact order of time. Under the guidance of the
divine Spirit each one pursues his own course, independently of the
others, here inserting what one or more of the rest have omitted, or
omitting what one or more of them have inserted; and here, again,
bringing in incidents without regard to their exact chronological order,
with some general preface like the following: "at that time," Matt.
12:1; "and he began again," Mark 4:1; "and it came to pass as he was
alone praying," Luke 9:18; "and it came to pass as they went in the
way," Luke 9:57; etc. Thus the wisdom of God has given us, not all the
particulars of our Lord's history, but such a selection from both the
incidents of his public life and his public and private teachings as
best embodies the great facts of the gospel, and the doctrines and
duties connected with them. In the four canonical gospels the church
has, not all of our Lord's history and teachings, but all that the Holy
Ghost judged needful for her establishment and edification to the end of

    Of our Lord's history before his baptism we have only his
    genealogy in a twofold form; some notices of his miraculous
    conception; an account of his birth and circumcision, with the
    visions and prophecies connected with them; a history of his
    preservation from Herod's attempt to destroy him; the subsequent
    residence of his parents in Nazareth, with a single incident of
    his childhood. Luke 2:40-52. All these particulars have, in one
    way or another, a bearing on his divine mission and work as the
    Son of God. The apocryphal gospels on the contrary, as, for
    example, the Gospel of the Infancy, and the Gospel of Nicodemus,
    abound in frivolous stories relating to our Lord's infancy and
    later life, which have no connection with the great work of

9. The peculiarities of the fourth gospel, as well as its relation to
the three preceding gospels, will come up for consideration hereafter.
At present we only remark that John wrote many years after the
appearance of the synoptic gospels, and that, whatever reference he may
have had to them, his gospel constitutes, in the plan of revelation, a
_true complement_ to the other three. For (1) if we except the narrative
of our Lord's passion, it covers, for the most part, ground not occupied
by them. They give mainly the history of the Saviour's ministry in
Galilee (Luke also, at some length, that of his last journey to
Jerusalem); the scene of much of John's gospel, on the contrary, is
Jerusalem and its near vicinity. (2) John unfolds more fully the nature
of our Lord's person, and his peculiar relation to the Father and to his
church. This he does, more especially, in his prologue (chap. 1:1-18);
in the record of the Saviour's discussions with the Jews (chaps. 3,
5-12); and in that of his discourses addressed in private to the circle
of the apostles, chaps. 13-17. Thus John's gospel is emphatically that
of Christ's _person_, as illustrated by his works and words; while the
three earlier evangelists give rather the gospel of his _public
ministry_, through which his divine person everywhere shines forth. This
deeper view of our Lord's person and office which the gospel of John
unfolds met the wants of the primitive church in a more advanced stage,
when false teachers were already beginning to sow the seeds of those
errors which, in the next generation, brought forth such a rank and
poisonous harvest. The same great characteristics adapt it to the wants
of the church in all ages. Without the fourth gospel she could not be
completely furnished to meet the assaults of error, which, from one
generation to another, makes, with unerring instinct, its main assault
upon the person and office of the Son of God.

But if the evangelical narrative would not be complete without the
fourth gospel, neither would it be perfect for the use of the church
with this alone. The record of our Lord's life and teachings as given in
the first three gospels is preëminently adapted to popular instruction.
It is precisely such a record as the preachers of the gospel need in
their public ministrations. With it they can use the fourth gospel with
effect; but without it they would want the natural preparation for and
introduction to those deep and spiritual views of Christ's person and
office which the bosom-disciple unfolds. It is not in the three synoptic
gospels, nor in the gospel of John taken separately, that we find the
complete evangelical armor, but in the perfect whole of the four.

10. Very numerous attempts have been made to construct _harmonies_ of
the four gospels. One plan is to form out of the whole, in what is
supposed to be the true chronological order, a continuous narrative
embracing all the matter of the four, but without repetitions of the
same or similar words. Another plan is to exhibit in chronological
order, the entire text of the four gospels arranged in parallel columns,
so far as two or more of them cover the same ground. The idea is very
imposing, but the realization of it is beset with formidable if not
insurmountable difficulties. It is certain that the evangelists do not
always follow the exact order of time, and it is sometimes impossible to
decide between the different arrangements of events in their records. In
the four narratives of the events connected with the resurrection all
harmonists find themselves baffled. Had we a full account of all the
particulars of that exciting scene, we might undoubtedly assign to the
different parts of each narrative its true place in the order of time.
But with our present means of information this is impossible. Experience
shows that the most profitable way of studying the evangelical narrative
is to take _each gospel as a whole_, but with continual reference to the
parallel parts of the other gospels, so far as they can be ascertained.
In this work a good harmony, like that of Robinson, may render essential
service, though its arrangements must in many cases be regarded only as
_tentative_--essays at obtaining the true order, rather than the certain
determination of it.

    The relative number of _chapters_ in the different gospels does
    not give their true relation in respect to _size_. The chapters
    are respectively 28, 16, 24, 21; which are to each other in the
    proportion of 7, 4, 6, 5 1/4. But estimating according to the
    number of pages (in an edition without breaks for the verses),
    it will be found that the gospel of Luke holds the first place,
    its size being to that of the other gospels nearly as 60 to 57,
    35, 46. The relation of Matthew's gospel to that of Mark, in
    respect to the quantity of matter is then nearly that of 8 to 5.

    In the notices of the separate gospels which follow it is not
    thought necessary to give an elaborate analysis of their
    contents. The aim will be rather to exhibit the prominent
    characteristics of each, and its special office in the economy
    of divine revelation.


11. The unanimous testimony of the ancient church is that the first
gospel was written by the _apostle Matthew_, who is also called Levi.
With his call to the apostleship he may have assumed the name of
Matthew, as Saul took that of Paul. He was of Hebrew origin, the son of
Alphaeus, and a tax-gatherer under the Roman government, Matt. 10:3;
Mark 2:14; 3:18; Luke 5:27, 29; 6:15; Acts 1:13. He was evidently a man
of some means (Luke 5:29), and his office must have required for its
proper discharge a knowledge of the Greek as well as of his native
Hebrew; that is, Aramaean, as the word Hebrew means in the New
Testament, when applied to the vernacular of the Palestine Jews.

12. The question respecting the _original language_ of Matthew's gospel
has been, since the time of Erasmus, a matter of controversy, in which
eminent biblical scholars have been found on different sides. The
problem is to find a solution which shall bring into harmony the
following well-established facts: (1) that, according to the united
testimony of the early church fathers, Matthew originally wrote his
gospel in Hebrew; (2) that our present Greek gospel has all the freedom
of an original work, that it has remarkable coincidences in language
with the second and third gospels, and especially that the citations
from the Old Testament which stand in our Lord's discourses follow as a
rule the Greek version of the Seventy; (3) that all the early writers,
those who testify to the Hebrew original of this gospel included,
receive and use our present Greek gospel as the genuine and
authoritative gospel of Matthew; (4) that the original Hebrew gospel, to
the existence of which there is such abundant testimony, was allowed
utterly to perish, while the Greek form of it alone was preserved and
placed at the head of the canonical books of the New Testament.

13. The testimony from Papias, in the beginning of the second century,
and onward to the fourth century, has often been quoted and discussed.
It is not necessary to adduce it here at length. It may be found in
Kirchhofer, in the critical commentaries and introductions, and also in
the modern Bible dictionaries. The words of Papias, as preserved to us
by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., 3. 39) are as follows: "Matthew therefore
wrote the oracles in the Hebrew dialect, and every one interpreted them
as he was able." If there were any ground for doubting what Papias meant
by "the oracles," it would be removed by the testimony of the later
writers, as Pantaenus and Origen (in Eusebius' Hist. Eccl., 5. 10; 6.
25), Irenæus (Against Heresies, 3. 1), Eusebius himself (Hist. Eccl., 3.
24), Epiphanius (Heresies, 29. 9; 30. 3), and others. They who maintain
that Matthew wrote originally in Greek suppose that the early fathers
confounded an apocryphal gospel, the so-called "gospel according to the
Hebrews," with the true gospel of Matthew. Others think, perhaps with
more reason, that the gospel according to the Hebrews was a corrupted
form, or, what amounts to nearly the same thing, a close imitation of
the true Hebrew gospel of Matthew.

    The Ebionites and Nazarenes used each apparently a different
    form of a Hebrew gospel which is sometimes called the gospel
    according to Matthew, but more properly "the gospel according to
    the Hebrews" (once by Jerome "the gospel according to the
    apostles"). According to Epiphanius that in use among the
    Ebionites was "not entire and full, but corrupted and abridged."
    Heresies, 30. 13. Jerome says: "Matthew, who is called Levi,
    having become from a publican an apostle, first composed in
    Judea, for the sake of those who had believed from among the
    circumcision, a gospel of Christ in Hebrew letters and words.
    Who was the person that afterwards translated it into Greek is
    not certainly known. Moreover, the Hebrew copy itself is at this
    day preserved in the library of Cæsarea which Pampilus the
    Martyr collected with much diligence. The Nazarenes, who live in
    Beroca, a city of Syria, and use this volume, gave me the
    opportunity of writing it out." De Vir. Illustr., 3. Here he
    certainly identifies this gospel, which, as he repeatedly
    informs us, he translated, with the true Hebrew gospel of
    Matthew. But he afterwards speaks of it more doubtfully, as "the
    gospel according to the Hebrews," and more fully as "the gospel
    according to the Hebrews, which is written indeed in the Chaldee
    and Syriac language, but in Hebrew letters, which the Nazarenes
    use to the present day, [being the gospel] according to the
    apostles, or, as most think, according to Matthew" (Against the
    Pelagians, 3); "the gospel which the Nazarenes and Ebionites
    use, which we have lately translated from the Hebrew language
    into the Greek, and which is called by most the authentic gospel
    of Matthew." Comment. in Matt. 12:13. The most probable
    supposition is that Jerome, knowing that Matthew originally
    wrote his gospel in Hebrew, hastily assumed at first that the
    copy which he obtained from the Nazarenes was this very gospel.
    The character of the quotations which he and Epiphanius give
    from it forbids the supposition that it was the true Hebrew
    gospel of Matthew. It may have been a corrupted form of it, or
    an imitation of it.

14. Of those who, in accordance with ancient testimony, believe that the
original language of Matthew's gospel was Hebrew, some assume that the
apostle himself afterwards gave a Greek version of it. In itself
considered this hypothesis is not improbable. Matthew, writing primarily
for his countrymen in Palestine, might naturally employ the language
which was to them vernacular. But afterwards, when Christianity had
begun to spread through the Roman empire, and it became evident that the
Greek language was the proper medium for believers at large; and when
also, as is not improbable, some of the existing canonical books of the
New Testament had appeared in that language, we might well suppose that,
in view of these circumstances, the apostle himself put his gospel into
the present Greek form. But it is certainly surprising that, in this
case, no one of the ancient fathers should have had any knowledge of the
matter. In view of their ignorance it seems to be the part of modesty as
well as prudence that we also should say with Jerome: "Who was the
person that afterwards translated it into Greek is not known with
certainty." The universal and unhesitating reception of this gospel by
the early Christians in its present Greek form can be explained only
upon the supposition that it came to them with apostolic authority; that
it received this form at the hand, if not of Matthew himself, yet of an
apostle or an apostolic man, that is, a man standing to the apostles in
the same relation as Mark and Luke.

    This supposition will explain the freedom of Matthew's gospel
    and its coincidences in language with the gospels of Mark and
    Luke. An apostle or apostolic man would give a faithful, but not
    a servile version of the original. The oral tradition of our
    Lord's life and teachings from which the first three evangelists
    drew, as from a common fountain (see above, No. 7), must have
    existed in Palestine in a twofold form, Aramaean and Greek. The
    translator would naturally avail himself of the Greek
    phraseology, so far as the oral tradition coincided with that
    embodied in Matthew's gospel. Those who have carefully examined
    the subject affirm that the citations from the Old Testament
    adduced by Matthew himself in proof of our Lord's Messiahship
    are original renderings, with more or less literalness, from the
    Hebrew. The citations, on the contrary, embodied in the
    discourses of our Lord himself follow, as a rule, the Greek
    version of the Seventy; probably because the translator took
    these citations as they stood in the oral tradition of these

Meanwhile the original Hebrew form of the gospel, being superseded by
the Greek in all the congregations of believers except those that used
exclusively the vernacular language of Palestine, gradually fell into
disuse. The "gospel according to the Hebrews," noticed above, may have
been a corrupted form of this gospel or an imitation of it. As Marcion
chose the Greek gospel of Luke for the basis of his revision, so the
Ebionites and Nazarenes would naturally use the Hebrew gospel of Matthew
for their purposes.

15. The gospel of Matthew opens with the words: "The book of the
generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." In
accordance with this announcement, it traces back our Lord's lineage
through David to Abraham, giving, after the manner of the Jews, an
artificial arrangement of the generations from Abraham to Christ in
three sets of fourteen each, chap. 1:17. To effect this, certain kings
of David's line are omitted--between Joram and Ozias (the Uzziah of the
Hebrews), Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah; between Josias and Jechonias,
Eliakim--and David is reckoned twice; once as the last of a set of
fourteen, then as the first of the following fourteen. The thoroughly
Jewish form of this introduction indicates the primary design of
Matthew's gospel, which was to exhibit to his countrymen Jesus of
Nazareth as their _long promised Messiah and king_. To this he has
constant reference in the facts which he relates, and which he connects
with the prophecies of the Old Testament by such forms of quotation as
the following: "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord
by the prophet," chaps. 1:22; 2:15, 23; 13:35; 21:4; 27:35; "that it
might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet," chaps. 4:11;
8:17; 12:17; "then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the
prophet," chap. 2:17; etc. His direct references to the Old Testament in
proof of our Lord's Messiahship are more numerous than those of either
of the other evangelists. Peculiar to him is the expression "the kingdom
of heaven," to signify, in accordance with Rabbinic usage, the kingdom
which the Messiah was to establish in accordance with the prophecies of
the Old Testament; though he takes a spiritual view of its character,
and not the earthly and political view of the Jewish doctors. Another
designation of the same idea, common to him with the other evangelists,
is "the kingdom of God," which also was current among the Rabbins. This
"kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" is also the kingdom of the
Messiah. Chaps. 13:41; 20:21.

16. But precisely because Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, his
mission is not to the Jews only, but _to all mankind_, in accordance
with the original promise to Abraham: "In thy seed shall all the nations
of the earth be blessed." Gen. 22:18. While he records the fact that our
Lord's personal ministry was restricted to the Jews (chaps. 10:5, 6;
15:24), he also shows from our Lord's own words that the unbelieving
"children of the kingdom"--the Jews as the natural heirs to the
Messiah's kingdom--shall be cast out, and the believing Gentiles
received into it (chaps. 8:11, 12; 21:43); and he brings his gospel to a
close with the great commission: "Go ye, therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
commanded you, and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world." Chap. 28:19, 20.

17. A striking characteristic of this gospel is the _fulness and orderly
manner_ with which it records _our Lord's discourses_. Striking examples
of this are the Sermon on the Mount (chaps. 5-7), his awful denunciation
of the Scribes and Pharisees (chap. 23), and the majestic series of
parables (chap. 25). Doubtless, Matthew had by nature a peculiar
endowment for this work, which the Holy Spirit used to preserve for the
church much of our Lord's teachings which would otherwise have been
lost. The narrative part of this gospel, on the other hand, has not the
circumstantial fulness of the following gospel. As already remarked, the
field covered by Matthew's narrative is mainly that of our Lord's
Galilean ministry, with the great events connected with his final visit
to Jerusalem, though he gives indications of repeated visits to that
city. Chap. 23:37-39.

18. It has been assumed by some that Matthew follows, as a general rule,
the order of time. But others deny this, thinking that his arrangement
is according to subject-matter rather than chronological sequence,
especially in the first part (Alexander's Kitto); and this appears to be
the correct judgment. He follows the exact order of time only when the
nature of the events recorded requires him to do so.

19. It is universally admitted that Matthew wrote his gospel _in
Palestine_. This fact accounts for the absence of explanatory clauses
relating to Jewish usages, such as are not unfrequent in the gospel of
Mark. As to the interpretation of Hebrew words, as "Immanuel" (chap.
1:23); and the words on the cross (chap. 27:46), that belongs to the
Greek form of the gospel. The _date_ of this gospel is doubtful.
According to the tradition of the ancient church it was written first of
the four gospels. Assuming that it originally appeared in Hebrew, we may
reasonably suppose that a period of some years elapsed before it was put
into its present Greek form.

20. The _integrity_ of this gospel is unquestionable. In modern times
the genuineness of the first two chapters has been called in question by
various writers, but the insufficiency of their arguments has been shown
by many, among whom may be mentioned Davidson, Introduction to New
Testament, vol. 1, pp. 111-127. In the words of this writer the chapters
in question are found "in all _unmutilated_ Greek MSS., and in all
ancient versions;" "the earliest fathers had them in their copies, and
received them as a part of the gospel;" "the ancient heretics and
opponents of Christianity were acquainted with this portion of the first
gospel;" "the commencement of the first chapter is closely connected
with something preceding;" and "the diction of these two chapters bears
the same impress and character which belong to the remainder of the
gospel, proving that the gospel, as we now have it, proceeded from _one_


21. There is no valid ground for doubting the correctness of the ancient
tradition which identifies the author of the second gospel with "John
whose surname was Mark" (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37), who is called simply
John (Acts 13:5, 13), and Marcus or Mark (Acts 15:39; Col. 4:10; 2 Tim.
4:11; perhaps also 1 Peter 5:13). He was _cousin_ to Barnabas (Col.
4:10, not _sister's son_, as in our version), which relationship may
explain Barnabas' earnest defence of him (Acts 15:37-39). His mother
Mary resided in Jerusalem, and it was to her house that Peter resorted
immediately upon his miraculous deliverance from prison (Acts 12:12).
The intimacy of Peter with Mary's family must have brought about an
early acquaintance between the apostle and Mark. Ancient tradition
uniformly affirms a close relation between Peter and Mark, representing
the latter to have been the disciple and _interpreter_ of the former.
See below.

    Papias (in Eusebius' Hist. Eccl. 3. 39) says, upon the authority
    of John the Presbyter, "Mark being Peter's interpreter, wrote
    down accurately as many things as he remembered; not, indeed, as
    giving in order the things which were spoken or done by Christ.
    For he was neither a hearer nor a follower of the Lord, but, as
    I said, of Peter, who gave his instructions as occasion
    required, but not as one who was composing an orderly account of
    our Lord's words. Mark, therefore, committed no error when he
    thus wrote down certain things as he remembered them. For he was
    careful of one thing, to omit nothing of the things which he
    heard and to make no false statements concerning them." These
    words of Papias are somewhat loose and indefinite. But, when
    fairly interpreted, they seem to mean that as Peter taught
    according to the necessities of each occasion, not aiming to
    give a full history of our Lord in chronological order, so Mark
    wrote not all things pertaining to our Lord's life and ministry,
    but certain things, those namely that he had learned from
    Peter's discourses, without always observing the strict order of
    time. We need not press the words "in order" and "certain
    things," as if Papias meant to say that Mark's gospel is only a
    loose collection of fragments. It is a connected and
    self-consistent whole; but it does not profess to give in all
    cases the exact chronological order of events, nor to be an
    exhaustive account of our Saviour's life and teachings. Eusebius
    has preserved for us in his Ecclesiastical History the testimony
    of Irenæus on the same point (Hist. Eccl., 5. 8); also of
    Clement of Alexandria (Hist. Eccl., 6.14); and of Origen (Hist.
    Eccl., 6. 25). He also gives his own (Hist. Eccl., 2. 5). We
    have besides these, the statements of Tertullian (Against
    Marcion, 6. 25); and Jerome (Epist. ad Hedib. Quaest., 2). All
    these witnesses, though not consistent among themselves in
    respect to several minor details, yet agree in respect to the
    two great facts, (1) that Mark was the companion of Peter and
    had a special relation to him, (2) that he was the author of the
    gospel which bears his name. We add from Meyer (Introduction to
    Commentary on Mark) the following exposition of the word
    _interpreter_ as applied to Mark in his relation to Peter: "No
    valid ground of doubt can be alleged against it, provided only
    we do not understand the idea contained in the word
    _interpreter_ to mean that Peter, not having sufficient mastery
    of the Greek, delivered his discourses in Aramaean, and had them
    interpreted by Mark into Greek; but rather that the office of a
    _secretary_ is indicated, who wrote down the oral communications
    of his apostle (whether from dictation, or in the freer exercise
    of his own activity) and so became _in the way of writing_ his
    interpreter to others."

Mark's connection with the apostle Paul, though interrupted by the
incident recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (15:37-39), was afterwards
renewed and he restored to the apostle's confidence, as is manifest from
the way in which he notices him. Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11. If, as is
probable (see below, No. 22), Mark wrote between A.D. 60 and 70, his
long intimacy with Peter and Paul qualified him in a special manner for
his work.

22. Ancient tradition favors the idea that Mark wrote his gospel _in
Rome_. Had he written in Egypt, as Chrysostom thinks, we can hardly
suppose that Clement of Alexandria would have been ignorant of the fact,
as his testimony shows that he was. In respect to _date_, the accounts
of the ancients differ so much among themselves that it is difficult to
arrive at any definite conclusion. We may probably place it between A.D.
64 and 70. The _language_ in which Mark wrote was Greek. This is
attested by the united voice of antiquity. The subscriptions annexed to
some manuscripts of the Old Syriac, and that in the Philoxenian Syriac
version, to the effect that Mark wrote _in Roman_, that is, in Latin,
are of no authority. They are the conjectures of ignorant men, who
inferred from the fact that Mark wrote in Rome that he must have used
the Latin tongue.

    The story of the pretended _Latin autograph_ of Mark's gospel
    preserved in the Library of St. Mark at Venice is now exploded.
    The manuscript to which this high honor was assigned is part of
    the _Codex Forojuliensis_, which gives the text of the _Latin
    Vulgate_. The text was edited by Blanchini in the appendix to
    his _Evangeliarium Quadruplex_, _Fourfold Gospel_. The gospel of
    Mark having been cut out and removed to Venice was exalted to be
    the autograph of Mark. See Tregelles in Horne, vol. 4, chap. 23.
    The fact that Mark wrote out of Palestine and for Gentile
    readers at once accounts for the numerous explanatory clauses by
    which his gospel is distinguished from that of Matthew. Examples
    are: chaps. 7:3, 4; 12:42; 13:3; 14:12; 15:42; and the frequent
    interpretations of Aramaean words: 3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 10:46;
    14:36; 15:34.

23. The opening words of Matthew's gospel are: "The book of the
generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham," by
which, as already remarked, he indicates his purpose to show that Jesus
of Nazareth is the long promised Messiah of David's line, and the seed
of Abraham, in whom all nations are to be blessed. Mark, on the
contrary, passing by our Lord's genealogy, commences thus: "The
beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." He recognizes
him, indeed as the son of David, and the promised Messiah and king of
Israel. Chaps. 10:47, 48; 11:10; 15:32. But, writing among Gentiles and
for Gentiles, the great fact which he is intent on setting forth is the
person and character of Jesus as the Son of God. Matthew gives special
attention to the Saviour's discourses. With these considerably more than
a third of his gospel is occupied. Mark, on the contrary, devotes
himself mainly to the narrative of our Lord's works. With this is
interwoven a multitude of his sayings; since it was the Saviour's custom
to teach in connection with surrounding incidents. But if we compare the
set discourses of our Lord recorded by Mark with those which Matthew
gives, they will hardly amount to a fifth part in quantity. Between the
narrative parts of Matthew and Mark, on the contrary, there is not a
very great disparity in respect to the space occupied by each.

24. Though Mark has but little matter that is absolutely new, he yet
handles his materials in an original and independent way, weaving into
the narratives which he gives in common with one or more of the other
evangelists numerous little incidents in the most natural and artless
way. His characteristics as a historian are _graphic vividness_ of
description and _circumstantiality of detail_. If we except some
striking passages of John's gospel, he brings us nearer to our Lord's
person and the scenes described than either of the other evangelists. He
brings before us, as in a picture, not only our Lord's words and works,
but his very looks and gestures. It is he that records as has been often
noticed, how the Saviour "looked round about" him with anger on the
unbelieving multitudes and on Peter (chap. 3:5; 8:33); with complacency
on his disciples (chap. 3:34; 10:27); and with the piercing look of
inquiry (chap. 5:32); how he looked up to heaven and sighed when he
healed one who was deaf and dumb (chap. 7:34); and how he sighed deeply
in spirit at the perverseness of the Pharisees (chap. 8:12). He
sometimes gives us the very words of the Saviour when he performed his
mighty works--_Talitha cumi_ (5:41), _Ephphatha_ (7:34). His narratives
are remarkable for bringing in little incidents which can have come from
none but an eyewitness, but which add wonderfully to the naturalness as
well as the vividness of his descriptions. When the storm arises he is
asleep _on a pillow_ (chap. 4:38); Jairus' daughter arises and walks,
_for she was of the age of twelve years_ (chap. 5:42); the multitudes
that are to be fed sit down _in ranks by hundreds and by fifties_ (chap.
6:40), etc. As examples of vivid description may be named the account of
the demoniac (chap. 5:2-20), and the lunatic. Chap. 9:14-27. It is not
necessary to assume that Mark was himself a disciple of our Lord. If, as
ancient tradition asserts, he was the disciple and interpreter of Peter
he could receive from his lips those circumstantial details with which
his narrative abounds.

25. The closing passage of this gospel, chap. 16:9-20, is wanting in a
number of important manuscripts, among which are the Vatican and
Sinaitic. The same was the case also in the days of Eusebius and Jerome.
But it was known to Irenæus, and quoted by him and many others after
him. The reader must be referred to the critical commentaries and
introductions for the discussion of the difficult questions concerning
it. Tregelles, who, in his account of the printed text has given a full
statement of the case, thus expresses his judgment (in Horne, vol. 4, p.
436): "It is _perfectly_ certain that from the second century and
onward, these verses have been known as part of _this gospel_ (whoever
was their _author_)." He thinks that "the _book of Mark himself_ extends
no farther than 'for they were afraid,' chap. 16:8; but that the
remaining twelve verses, by whomsoever written, have a full claim to be
received as an authentic part of the second gospel, and that the full
reception of early testimony on this question does not in the least
involve their rejection as not being a part of canonical Scripture."


26. The unanimous voice of antiquity ascribes the third gospel with the
Acts of the Apostles to _Luke_. He first appears as the travelling
companion of Paul when he leaves Troas for Macedonia (Acts 16:10); for
the use of the first person plural--"we endeavored," "the Lord had
called us," "we came," etc.--which occurs from that point of Paul's
history and onward, with certain interruptions, through the remainder of
the Acts of the Apostles, admits of no other natural and reasonable
explanation. There is good reason to believe that he is identical with
"Luke, the beloved physician," who was with Paul when a prisoner at
Rome. Col. 4:14; Philemon 24; 2 Tim. 4:11. From the first of these
passages it has been inferred that he was not a Jew by birth, since he
is apparently distinguished from those "who are of the circumcision," v.

    Tradition represents him to have been by birth a Syrian of
    Antioch (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., 3. 4; Jerome, Preface to Matt.,
    and elsewhere), and a Jewish proselyte (Jerome, Quest. on Gen.,
    chap. 46); and it adds various other legends which are not worth

27. The evangelist himself, in his dedicatory address to Theophilus
(chap. 1:1-4), gives us clear and definite information respecting the
_sources of his gospel_. He does not profess to have been himself an
eye-witness, but has drawn his information from those "who from the
beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word." His
investigations have been accurate and thorough: "having accurately
traced out all things from the beginning" (as the original words mean),
he writes to Theophilus "in order;" that is, in an orderly and connected
way. He proposes to give not some loose fragments, but a connected
narrative; although, as we have seen above (No. 10), his order is not
always that of strict chronological sequence. From the long and intimate
connection of Luke with Paul it is reasonable to suppose that the latter
must have exerted an influence on the composition of this gospel. Luke,
however, did not draw the materials of his narrative from Paul (at least
not principally), but, as he expressly states, from those "who from the
beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word." He did not
write from Paul's dictation, but in a free and independent way; though
there is no reasonable ground for doubting that it was with Paul's
knowledge and approbation.

    The "eye-witnesses and ministers of the word" are those who (1)
    were from the beginning eye-witnesses of our Lord's public
    ministry; (2) were intrusted with the work of preaching the
    word; that is, the apostles and such of their associates as had
    companied with them all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and
    out among them. Acts 1:21. The words of Luke must not be
    strained; for he records some incidents of our Lord's history
    _before_ his public appearance which could have been learned
    only from Mary and her circle.

    The remarkable agreement between Luke's account of the
    institution of the Lord's Supper (Luke 22:9, 20), and Paul's (1
    Cor. 11:28-25) has often been noticed. It is most naturally
    explained by the supposition that Luke recorded the transaction
    in the form in which he had often heard it from the lips of
    Paul. But there is nothing in the character of this gospel which
    can warrant the supposition that the apostle exercised a formal
    supervision over its composition. Such a procedure would be
    contrary to the spirit of the apostolic age. The apostle himself
    wrote by an amanuensis. But when one of his associates in the
    ministry wrote, in whom he had full confidence, he left him to
    the free exercise of his judgment under the illumination of the
    Holy Spirit.

28. In respect to the _date_ of this gospel, if we assume that the Acts
of the Apostles were written at Rome about A.D. 63-65 (Chap. 5, No. 5),
it is reasonable to suppose that the gospel, which is dedicated to the
same personage, was composed not very long before, perhaps even during
the two years of Paul's imprisonment at Rome, in which case Rome would
also be the _place_ of its composition. Whether Luke wrote before or
after Mark is a question that has been differently answered, and cannot
be determined with certainty. The proof that all three of the first
evangelists wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem has been already
given. Chap. 3, No. 14.

29. Though Luke dedicates his gospel to Theophilus (chap, 1:1-4), it is
not to be supposed that it was written for his use alone. He had a more
_general end_ in view, and that is indicated by the form of our Lord's
genealogy as given by him. While Matthew traces the Saviour's lineage
through David to Abraham, in conformity with his design to show that he
is the promised seed of Abraham and king of Israel, Luke traces it back
through David and Abraham to Adam "the son of God." He identifies Jesus
of Nazareth not with the Messiah alone of Abraham's and David's line,
but with man as man. He is the second Adam, and as such the Saviour of
the race. This _universal aspect_ of the gospel, as a gospel not for one
nation but for all mankind, shines forth indeed in all the gospels, but
it appears with wonderful sweetness and power in some of the parables
which are peculiar to Luke, as those of the good Samaritan (chap.
10:30-37), the lost sheep (chap. 15:3-7), the lost pieces of silver
(chap. 15:8-10), the prodigal son (chap. 15:11-32); in all which Jesus
is set forth as the Saviour of suffering humanity.

30. As it respects the _character and plan_ of Luke's gospel, the
following particulars are to be noticed. In the distribution of matter
between the narration of events and the recital of our Lord's discourses
it holds a position between the first and the second gospel; being less
full in the latter respect than Matthew, but far more full than Mark. In
the narrative part there is an easy and graceful style which charms
every reader. In the introduction of minute incidents he goes beyond
Matthew, though he has not the circumstantial exactness of Mark. The
agreement of Luke's gospel with the two preceding in its general plan is
recognized at once by every reader. Like them it is mainly occupied with
our Lord's Galilean ministry. In regard to the Saviour's infancy he is
more full than Matthew, the matter of the first three chapters being in
a great measure peculiar to him. He omits a long series of events
recorded by the first two evangelists. Matt. 14:22-16:12; Mark
6:45-8:26. On the other hand he introduces (chap. 9:43-18:30) "a
remarkable series of acts and discourses which are grouped together in
connection with the last journey to Jerusalem. Some of the incidents
occur in different connections in the other evangelists; and the whole
section proves, by the absence of historical data and the unity of its
general import, that a moral and not a temporal sequence is the law of
the gospels." Westcott, Introduct. to Gospel, chap. 7. Very much of the
matter in this remarkable section is peculiar to Luke, and contains
passages of wonderful beauty and sweetness which would have been lost to
the church but for the record of this gospel. Among these are the
mission of the seventy, several miracles, some striking lessons of
instruction from passing incidents, and no less than twelve parables:
the good Samaritan, the unfortunate friend, the unclean spirit, the rich
fool, the barren fig-tree, the lost sheep, the lost pieces of silver,
the prodigal son, the unfaithful steward, the rich man and Lazarus, the
unjust judge, the Pharisee and publican. While the attentive reader
perceives the very near relationship of the third gospel to the first
and second, he notices also the fact that it differs from both of them
more than they do from each other.

    "If the total contents of the several gospels be represented by
    100, the following table is obtained:

                                  Peculiarities.           Concordances.
    St. Mark,.........................7........................93
    St. Matthew,.....................42........................58
    St. Luke,........................59........................41
    St. John,........................92.........................8

    "From this it appears that the several gospels bear almost
    exactly an inverse relation to one another, St. Mark and St.
    John occupying the extreme positions, the proportion of original
    passages in one balancing the coincident passages in the other.
    If again the extent of all the coincidences be represented by
    100, their proportionate distribution will be:

    St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, . . . . . . . . 53
    St. Matthew, St. Luke, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
    St. Matthew, St. Mark, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
    St. Mark, St. Luke,  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6 "

    [Westcott, after Stroud and Norton.]

    Of absolutely new matter in Mark a striking example is the
    beautiful parable, chap. 4:26-29. The two miracles peculiar to
    him (chap. 7:31-37; 8:22-26) are both of a very striking
    character, and related with circumstantial minuteness of detail.
    Where his narratives coincide with those of the other
    evangelists, they are characterized by the addition of details,
    which, as already remarked, add much to the vivedness and
    graphic power of his descriptions.

31. The _integrity_ of the third gospel has been recently assailed in
Germany in the way of attempting to show that the gospel of Luke, as we
now have it, is corrupted by interpolations, and that Marcion had it in
its true form. See Chap. 2, No. 12. But the result of a voluminous
discussion is that Marcion's gospel is now acknowledged to have been a
mutilated form of the canonical gospel, in accordance with the testimony
of the ancient fathers.

    On the relation to each other of the two genealogies of our Lord
    given by Matthew and Luke respectively, and the different modes
    of bringing them into harmony with each other, many volumes have
    been written. Two different principles of interpretation are
    proposed. According to the _first_, the genealogies of both
    Matthew and Luke are those of _Joseph_, the legal father of
    Jesus, and the only one that could be known in this relation in
    the public registers. The _second_ view is that Matthew gives
    the genealogy of _Joseph_, and Luke that of _Mary_, Joseph being
    called the son of Heli, in the sense of _son-in-law_; and being
    perhaps also legal heir to Heli through Mary in the absence of
    brothers. The reader will find statements of these two views,
    the former in Smith's Bible Diet., the latter in Alexander's
    Kitto, Art. Genealogy of Jesus Christ; also in the commentaries
    generally. We only add that though we may not be able to
    determine with certainty _what_ is the true solution of the
    difficulty, no one can show that such a solution is impossible.
    The reverent believer will quietly wait for more light, if it
    shall please God to give it; otherwise he will be content to
    remain without it.


32. Though the writer of the fourth gospel everywhere refrains from
mentioning his own name, he clearly indicates himself as the "bosom
disciple." When he speaks of two disciples that followed Jesus,
afterwards adding that "one of the two" "was Andrew, Simon Peter's
brother" (chap. 1:37, 40); of "one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved"
(chap. 13:23; 21:7, 20); and of "another disciple" in company with Simon
Peter (chap. 18:15, 16; 20:2-8), the only natural explanation of these
circumlocutions is that he refers to himself. Even if we suppose, with
some, that the two closing verses of chapter 21 (the former of which
ascribes this gospel directly to John) are a subscription by another
hand, their authenticity is unquestionable, sustained as it is by the
uniform testimony of antiquity, and by the internal character of the

33. The Scriptural notices of John are few and simple. He was the son of
Zebedee, a fisherman of Bethsaida on the Western shore of the sea of
Galilee not far from Capernaum. Matt. 4:21; Mark 1:19, 20; Luke 5:10,
11. His mother's name was Salome. Matt. 27:56 compared with Mark 15:40.
His parents seem to have been possessed of some property, since Zebedee
had hired servants (Mark 1:20), and Salome was one of the women who
followed Jesus in Galilee, and ministered to him. Mark 15:40, 41. From
the order in which he and his brother James are mentioned--James and
John, except Luke 9:28--he is thought to have been the younger of the
two. Early in our Lord's ministry he was called to be one of his
followers; was one of the three who were admitted to special intimacy
with him, they alone being permitted to witness the raising of Jairus'
daughter, the transfiguration, and the agony of Gethsemane (Matt 17:1;
26:37; Mark 5:37; 9:2; 14:33; Luke 8:51; 9:28); and of the three was,
though not first in place, first in the Lord's love and confidence--"the
disciple whom Jesus loved," and to whose tender care he committed his
mother as he was about to expire on the cross. By his natural
endowments, as well as by his loving and confidential intercourse with
the Saviour, he was prepared to receive and afterwards to publish to the
world, those deep and spiritual views of Christ's person and office
which so remarkably characterize his gospel.

So far as we have any notices of John in the Acts of the Apostles and
epistles of Paul, his residence after our Lord's ascension was at
Jerusalem. But, according to the unanimous testimony of antiquity, he
spent the latter part of his life in Ephesus, where he died at a very
advanced age, not far from the close of the first century. The subject
of his banishment to the isle of Patmos will come up in connection with
the Apocalypse.

    There is a mass of traditions respecting the latter years of
    this apostle, which are, however, of a very uncertain character.
    Among the more striking of these are: his being taken to Rome
    during the persecution under Domitian, and there thrown into a
    caldron of boiling oil, whence he escaped unhurt; his refusal to
    remain under the same roof with the heretic Cerinthus, lest it
    should fall upon him and crush him; his successful journey on
    horseback into the midst of a band of robbers to reclaim a
    fallen member of the church who had become their leader; and
    especially, that during the last days of his life, he was
    customarily carried into the assembly of the church, where he
    simply repeated the words: "Little children, love one another."

34. The arguments for the _late composition_ of this gospel--after the
destruction of Jerusalem--have already been given. Chap. 2, No. 14. If
we say between A.D. 70 and 100, it will be as near an approximation to
the time as we can make. The _place_, according to Irenæus (in Eusebius,
Hist. Eccl. 5. 8) was Ephesus, with which statement all that we know of
his later life is in harmony.

35. From the beginning of our Lord's ministry John was, as we have seen,
admitted to his intimate companionship and friendship. He was not
therefore, dependent on tradition. His gospel is the testimony of what
he had himself seen and heard. Yet it covers only a _part_ of the
Saviour's ministry; and the question remains why, with the exception of
the closing scenes of our Lord's life on earth, that part should be to
so remarkable an extent precisely _what the earlier evangelists have
omitted_. In answer to this question it might be said that those actions
and discourses of our Lord which John selected most clearly exhibit his
person and office as the son of God; and that these were especially, (1)
his encounters with the Jewish rulers at Jerusalem, (2) his private
confidential intercourse with his disciples. Whatever weight we may
allow to this consideration, it cannot be regarded as a full explanation
of the difference between John and the other evangelists in the
selection of materials. With the exception of the miracle of the loaves
and fishes and the incidents connected with it (chap. 6:1-21) his
notices of our Lord's ministry in Galilee relate almost entirely to
incidents and discourses omitted by the other evangelists. It is
altogether probable that, although John did not write his gospel simply
as supplementary to the earlier gospels, he yet had reference to them in
the selection of his materials. His own statement: "Many other signs
truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written
in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life
through his name" (chap. 20:30, 31), is not inconsistent with such a
supposition. The "many other signs" he may have omitted, in part at
least, because he judged that a sufficient account of them had been
given by the earlier evangelists, of whose writings, when we consider
the time that in all probability intervened between their composition
and that of his gospel, we cannot suppose him to have been ignorant.
Such a reference to these writings does not in any way exclude the
general design which he had, in common with the earlier evangelists, to
show "that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God," through faith in whose
name eternal life is received.

    Ancient tradition represents, in a variety of forms, that John
    intended to complete the evangelical history, as given by the
    other evangelists, in the way of furnishing additional events
    and discourses omitted by them. The citations may be seen in
    Davidson's Introduct. to New Test., vol. 1, pp. 320-22. Though
    the statements of the fathers on this point cannot be accepted
    without qualification, there is no valid ground for denying the
    general reference above assumed.

36. In writing his gospel John had not a polemical, but a _general end_
in view. It was not his immediate aim to refute the errors and heresies
of his day; but, as he tells us, to show that Jesus is the Christ, the
Son of God, in order that men, through faith in his name, may have
eternal life. Yet, like every wise and practical writer, he must have
had regard to the state of the churches in his day and the forms of
error by which they were assailed. In the latter part of the apostolic
age the seeds of those heresies which in the following century yielded
such a rank and poisonous harvest, had already begun to be sown. Like
all the heresies which have troubled the Christian church to the present
day, they consisted essentially in false views respecting our Saviour's
person and office. The beloved disciple who followed Jesus through the
whole of his ministry and leaned on his bosom at the last supper, has
given us an authentic record of the Redeemer's words and works, in
which, as in a bright untarnished mirror, we see both the divine dignity
of his person and the true nature of his office as the Redeemer of the
world. Such a record was especially adapted to refute the errors of his
day, as it is those of the present day. It is preëminently the gospel of
our Lord's person. It opens with an account of his divine nature and
eternal coëxistence with the Father; his general office as the creator
of all things, and the source of light and life to all men and his
special office as "the word made flesh," whom the Father sent for the
salvation of the world, and by whom alone the Father is revealed to men.
Equality with the Father in nature, subordination to the Father in
office, union with human nature in the work of redeeming and judging
men, and in all these perfect union with the Father in counsel and
will--such are the great doctrines that run through our Lord's
discussions with the unbelieving Jews, as recorded by this evangelist.
In the same discussions, but more especially in his private confidential
intercourse with his disciples, he adds deep views of his relation to
the world, as the only revealer of God's truth, the only source of
spiritual life, and the only way of access to the Father; and to
believers, as the true vine, through vital union with which they have
life, nourishment, and fruitfulness. He unfolds also more fully than the
other evangelists the office of the Comforter, whom the Father shall
send to make good to the church the loss of his personal presence. Thus
the gospel of John becomes at once an inexhaustible storehouse of
spiritual food for the nourishment of the believer's own soul, and a
divine armory, whence he may draw polished shafts in his warfare against
error. This last record of our Lord's life and teachings owes its
present form, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, partly to the
peculiar character of the writer, and partly to the lateness of the
period when it was composed. In both these respects we ought devoutly to
recognize the superintending providence of him who sees the end from the


37. The author of the Acts of the Apostles is identical with that of the
third gospel, as we learn from the dedication to the same Theophilus.
Chap. 1:1. Both are ascribed to Luke by the unanimous testimony of the
ancient church. The genuineness of this book, its credibility, and the
time of its composition--about A.D. 63-65--have been already shown.
Chap. 5, Nos. 2-5. It remains to consider its _plan_ and its _office_ in
the system of revelation.

38. In respect to _plan_ this book naturally falls into two main
divisions, the former embracing the first twelve chapters, the latter
the remainder of the work. The _first_ division contains the history of
the apostolic labors after the ascension, _in Jerusalem and from
Jerusalem as a centre_. Here, if we except the events connected with the
martyrdom of Stephen (chs. 6, 7), the conversion of Saul (chap. 9:1-31),
and the Ethiopian eunuch (chap. 8:26-40), _Peter_ everywhere appears as
the chief speaker and actor, being first among the twelve, though
possessing no official authority over them. It is he that proposes the
choice of one to supply the place of Judas, and that is the foremost
speaker on the day of Pentecost, at the gate of the temple, before the
Jewish Sanhedrim, and in the assembly of the church. Chaps. 1:15-22;
2:14-40; 3:4-26; 4:8-12; 5:3-11, 29-32. Associated with him we often
find the apostle John. Chaps. 3:1; 4:13, 19; 8:14. When the Samaritans
are to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter and John are sent to
them from Jerusalem. Chap. 8:14-25. When the gospel is to be carried for
the first time to the Gentiles, Peter is sent by the Holy Ghost to the
house of Cornelius in Cesarea (chap. 10), for which mission he
afterwards vindicates himself before the brethren at Jerusalem. Chap.
11:1-18. Further notices of Peter we have in chaps. 9:32-43; 12:3-19. We
know that the other apostles must have been actively and successfully
employed in prayer and the ministry of the word (chap. 6:4), but it does
not come within the plan of this narrative to give a particular account
of their labors.

The _second_ division is occupied with the history of _Paul's missionary
labors among the Gentiles, from Antioch as a centre_. He had already
been sent from that city with Barnabas to carry alms to the brethren in
Jerusalem and Judea (chaps. 11:27-30; 12:25), when "the Holy Ghost said,
Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called
them;" and they were sent, with fasting and prayer and the solemn laying
on of hands, on their great mission to the Gentiles. Chap. 13:1-3.
Thenceforward the narrative is occupied with an account of the labors of
Paul among the Gentiles. The fifteenth chapter is no exception; for the
convocation of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem was occasioned by
the missionary labors of Paul, and had especial reference to them.

    Two cities are mentioned in the New Testament which have the
    name of _Antioch_--_Antioch_ of _Pisidia_ so-called, though
    situated in the southern part of Phrygia near the border of
    Pisidia (Acts 13:14; 14:19, 21; 2 Tim. 3:11); and _Antioch_ of
    _Syria_, situated on the southern bank of the Orontes about
    fifteen miles from its mouth. Acts 11:19-27; 13:1; 14:26;
    15:22-35; 18:22; Gal. 2:11. The latter city was the centre of
    Gentile Christianity. It was the metropolis of Syria, the
    residence of the Syrian kings, and afterwards the capital of the
    Roman provinces in Asia. Here the first Gentile church was
    gathered, and the disciples first received the name of
    _Christians_. Acts 11:19-26. Hence Barnabas and Saul were sent
    to Jerusalem to bear alms (Acts 11:29, 30; 12:25); and
    afterwards to consult the apostles and elders at Jerusalem on
    the question of imposing the Mosaic law on the Gentile converts.
    From this city also the apostle started on his three missionary
    journeys, and to it he returned from his first and second
    journey. Acts 13:1-3; 14:26; 15:36, 40; 18:22, 23. From the time
    that Barnabas first brought the apostle to Antioch (Acts 11:26)
    to that of his seizure at Jerusalem and subsequent imprisonment,
    most of his time not occupied in missionary journeys was spent
    at Antioch. Acts 11:26; 12:25; 14:26-28; 15:30, 35; 18:22, 23.
    As _Jerusalem_ was the centre for the apostles of the
    circumcision, so was _Antioch_ in Syria for the apostle of the

39. This brief survey of the plan of this book gives us also an insight
into its _office_. First of all it gives us a fresh and vivid
portraiture of the apostolic labors and the spirit of the apostolic
church, as pervaded and quickened by the presence of the promised
Comforter. On the side of the apostles, we see a boldness and ardor that
no persecution can check, united with simplicity and godly sincerity. On
the side of the brethren, we see a whole-hearted devotion to the
Saviour, under the mighty impulse of faith and love, which opens their
hearts in liberality and causes them to have all things in common. On
the side of both the apostles and the brethren, we see untiring activity
and patient endurance in the Master's service, such as make the
primitive church a bright illustration of the promise: "Thou shalt be
like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail
not. And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places." Isa.
58:11,12. On the side of the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, on the
contrary, we behold, as ever since, a series of unsuccessful efforts to
hinder the work of God; the very ringleader of the persecutors being
called, in the midst of his heat and fury against Christianity, to be
the "ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." Such an authentic record
of apostolic times is of immense value to the church in all ages. It
gives the true standard of enlightened Christian zeal and activity, and
the true exhibition of what constitutes the real strength and prosperity
of the Christian church.

The Acts of the Apostles give also a cursory view of the inauguration of
the Christian church, by the descent of the Holy Spirit in his plenary
influences (chap. 2), by the appointment of deacons (chap. 6), and the
ordination of elders, though these last are only mentioned incidentally
(chaps. 14:23; 20:17), the office being understood of itself from the
usages of the Jewish Synagogue. The scantiness of the information which
we have on this matter of church organization is a part of the wisdom of
the Holy Ghost, and is full of instruction to the church in all ages.

Once more, the Acts of the Apostles give a most interesting and
instructive account of the way in which "the middle wall of partition"
between Jews and Gentiles was gradually broken down. The full import of
the Saviour's last command: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature," seems to have been at first but dimly
apprehended by the apostles. For some time their labors were restricted
to their own countrymen. But when, upon the dispersion of the disciples
in the persecution that arose in connection with Stephen's martyrdom,
the gospel had been preached to the Samaritans, the apostles Peter and
John were sent to them, and they in common with the Jews received the
gift of the Holy Spirit. Chap. 8:5-25. This was an intermediate step.
Afterwards Peter was sent among the Gentiles proper, and they also
received the Holy Spirit, to the astonishment of the Jewish brethren who
had accompanied Peter. Chap. 10. The same thing happened also at Antioch
(chap. 11:20), where the true reading is _Hellenas_, _Greeks_, that is,
_Gentiles_, not _Hellenistas_, _Hellenists_. But the work was not yet
finished. It remained that the believing Gentiles should be, by the
solemn and formal judgment of the assembled apostles and elders,
released from the yoke of the Jewish law. Of this we have an account in
the fifteenth chapter. Thus was the demolition of the middle wall of
partition completed. Of the greatness of this work and the formidable
difficulties by which it was beset--difficulties having their ground in
the exclusive spirit of Judaism in connection with the false idea that
the Mosaic law was to remain in force under the Messiah's reign--we who
live so many centuries after its accomplishment can form but a feeble

40. Brief and imperfect as is the sketch which Luke has given us, it is
sufficient for the instruction of the churches in subsequent ages. God
deals with them not as with children, to whom the command, "Touch not,
taste not, handle not," must continually be repeated; but as with
full-grown men, who need general principles rather than specific and
minute directions. The facts recorded in the Acts of the Apostles are of
a _representative_ character. They embody the spirit of apostolic times,
and the great principles upon which the cause of Christ must ever be
conducted. Fuller information in respect to details might gratify our
curiosity, but it is not necessary for our edification.



1. The apostolic epistles are a natural sequence of the office and work
committed by the Saviour to the apostles. They were the primitive
preachers of the gospel, and, under Christ, the founders of the
Christian church. From the necessity of the case they had a general
supervision of all the local churches, and their authority in them was
supreme in matters of both faith and practice. It was to be expected,
therefore, that they should teach by writing, as well as by oral
instruction. It does not appear, however, that epistolary correspondence
entered originally into their plan of labor. Their great Master taught
by word of mouth only, and they followed his example. "We," said the
twelve, "will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry
of the word." Acts 6:4. It was only when circumstances made it
necessary, that some of them took up the pen to write to the churches.
Passing by for the present the disputed question of the time when the
epistle of James was written, and assuming that the conversion of Paul
took place about A.D. 36, we have an interval of at least sixteen years
between this event and the date of his earliest epistles, those to the
Thessalonians, written about A.D. 53. The apostles did not regard
themselves as letter-writers, but as preachers of the word. They took up
the pen only when some special occasion made it necessary. The apostolic
epistles are _incidental_; and for this very reason they are eminently
life-like and practical. In respect to themes, and the manner of
handling them, they present a rich variety. All the great questions of
faith and practice that have agitated the Christian church since the
apostolic age come up for discussion in these letters, not indeed, in
their ever-varying outward forms, but in their great underlying
principles. Thus the providence of God has provided in them a rich
storehouse of truths for the instruction and edification of believers to
the end of time.

2. Of the twenty-one epistles contained in the New Testament _fourteen_
belong to Paul (if we include the anonymous letter to the Hebrews), all
written in the prosecution of his great work as the apostle to the
Gentiles. The Saviour's personal ministry was restricted to the Jews,
and so was that of the twelve apostles and the seventy disciples whom he
sent forth before his crucifixion. Matt. 10:5, 6; 15:24; Luke 10:1. But
his last command was: "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost." Matt. 28:19. In carrying into execution this command, which
involved such an immense change in the outward form of God's visible
earthly kingdom, it was necessary--

(1) That the apostles should insist very earnestly and fully on the
great fundamental doctrine of the gospel, that men have justification
and eternal life, not through the law of Moses, or any other possible
system of works, but _through faith in Jesus Christ_; a doctrine which
cuts up Pharisaism by the roots.

(2) That, since faith in Christ is the common ground of justification
for Jews and Gentiles, _both were to be admitted upon equal terms_ to
all the rights and privileges of the Christian church; the ancient
prerogative of the Jews above the Gentiles being done away in Christ.

(3) Still further, that since the Gentiles had justification and
salvation not through the law of Moses, but through faith alone, _the
Mosaic law was not to be imposed upon them_. This was virtually
announcing its abolition, its types and shadows having been fulfilled in

(4) That this removal of "the middle wall of partition" between the Jews
and Gentiles was _in accordance with Moses and the prophets_--not a
change of God's original plan, but only the full accomplishment of it.
Acts 15:15-18; Rom. 3:21, 31; 4:6-25; Gal. 3:6-9.

We have seen how this great work was begun by the gift of the Holy
Spirit, in connection with the preaching of the gospel, first to the
Samaritans (Acts 8:5-17), and afterwards to the Gentiles (Acts 10;
11:20-26, etc.); and how it was completed, so far as concerns the
_principles_ involved in it, by the solemn decree of the apostles and
the elders (Acts 15:1-29).

3. But for the _realization_ of these principles in the actual preaching
of the gospel to the Gentile nations, and the establishment of Christian
churches among them which should embrace on equal terms Jews and
Gentiles, a man of very peculiar qualifications was raised up in the
providence of God. Saul of Tarsus was a Jew, brought up in Jerusalem at
the feet of Gamaliel, thoroughly instructed in the law and the prophets,
and able therefore to speak with authority concerning the Old Testament
to both Jews and Gentiles. His indomitable energy and fiery zeal, united
with rare practical wisdom, had made him the foremost man in persecuting
the Christians. When the proper time had come Jesus met him on the road
to Damascus with converting power, and all his superior education and
endowments were thenceforth consecrated to the work of preaching the
faith which once he destroyed, especially to the Gentile world. But in
this matter he felt and acted as a Jew. He did not separate himself
abruptly from his countrymen. Cherishing towards them the tenderest
affection, they were everywhere the first objects of his Christian
effort. Into whatever city he went, he first sought the Jewish
synagogue, and there he "reasoned with them out of the Scriptures," Acts
13:14; 14:1; 17:2, 10; 18:4; 19:8. It was only when they persisted in
opposing and blaspheming, that he desisted from further effort among
them and turned to the Gentiles. Acts 13:45-47; 18:6; 19:9. Wherever he
went he encountered the bitterest persecution on the part of his own
countrymen, because of the prominence which he gave to the great
evangelical principles above considered--that men have justification not
wholly or in part through the Mosaic law, but simply through faith in
Christ, and that in him the distinction between Jews and Gentiles is
abolished. Even the believing Jews found it hard to apprehend these
truths in their fullness. In the narrowness of their Jewish prejudices
they were anxious to impose on the Gentile converts the yoke of the
Mosaic law. This, Paul steadfastly resisted, and it is to his defence of
Gentile liberty that we owe, in great measure, those masterly
discussions on the ground of justification, and the unity of Jews and
Gentiles in Christ, which are so prominent in his epistles. Yet with his
uncompromising firmness of principle he united remarkable flexibility in
regard to the means of success. To those who would impose circumcision
on the Gentiles he "gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour." Gal.
2:5. But where no great principle was concerned, he was willing to
circumcise Timothy, out of regard to the feelings of the Jews; thus
becoming, in his own words, "all things to all men." 1 Cor. 9:22.

4. The peculiar character of the apostle's style is obvious to every
reader. It is in an eminent degree argumentative. He "reasoned with
them," says Luke, "out of the Scriptures." These words describe
accurately the character of both his epistles and his addresses to the
Jews as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. In addressing a Gentile
audience at Athens, he still "reasoned with them;" but it was now from
the inscription on one of their altars, from certain of their own poets,
and from the manifestations in nature of God's power and Godhead. His
reasoning takes occasionally the form of an argument within an argument.
He pauses by the way to expand some thought, and does not return again
to complete in grammatical form the sentence which he had begun; so that
his style sometimes becomes complex and obscure. The versatility of the
apostle's mind, which made him equally at home in discussing subjects
the most varied, appears in his style also. It naturally takes the
complexion of his themes. To understand this one has only to compare the
epistle to the Romans with those to the Corinthians; the epistle to the
Galatians with that to the Ephesians; and all these with the epistles to
the Philippians and Thessalonians. His style may be compared to a clear
window, which shows with fidelity the ever varying forms and scenes that
pass before it.

5. The commentaries that have been written on the epistles of Paul would
themselves constitute a large library. Our own century has been very
fruitful in them, and some of them are accessible to every reader. For
this reason our notice of the separate epistles may well be brief. Our
aim will be to give the occasion of each, its chronological order in the
series, its connection with the apostle's missionary labors, its scope,
and the office which it accomplishes in the plan of revelation.

    In connection with Paul's epistles the reader should carefully
    study the history of his life and labors, as given in the Acts
    of the Apostles. From Acts 9:23-26 compared with Gal. 1:16-18,
    we learn that the first three years after Paul's conversion were
    spent at Damascus and in Arabia. Then he went up to Jerusalem,
    but after a short sojourn there was driven away by the
    persecution of the Jews, and retired to his native city, Tarsus
    in Cilicia. Acts 9:29, 30. After an interval of some time, which
    he spent "in the regions of Syria and Cilicia" (Gal. 1:21),
    "Barnabas departed to Tarsus, for to seek Saul. And when he had
    found him, he brought him unto Antioch." Acts 11:25, 26. This is
    supposed to have been about A.D. 43, seven or eight years after
    his conversion.

    Here begins his recorded public ministry _in Antioch and from
    Antioch as a centre_. See above, Chap. 29, No. 38. It embraces
    _three_ great missionary tours (Acts 13:1, etc.; 15:36, etc.;
    18:23, etc.), and _four_ visits to Jerusalem besides that
    already noticed. Acts 11:27-30 compared with 12:25; 15:2; 18:22;
    21:15. The last of these ended in his captivity and
    imprisonment, first at Cesarea and afterwards at Rome, with an
    intervening perilous voyage and shipwreck. Acts chap. 21-28. See
    the incidents of Paul's life chronologically arranged in
    Davidson's Introduct. to New Test., vol. 2, pp. 110-112, with
    the annexed table; in Horne's Introduct., vol. 4, pp. 490-495;
    in Conybeare and Howson, vol. 2, Appendix 2; and in the
    commentaries of Hackett, Alford, Wordsworth, etc.

6. As the epistles of Paul stand in the New Testament, they are not
arranged in chronological order. The principle of arrangement seems to
have been, first, those to _churches_, then, those to _individuals_; the
further order being that of _relative size_, with this modification;
that two epistles addressed to the same church should stand together,
and that the last of them, which is always the shorter, should determine
their place in the series. Where the epistles are about equal in size,
it seems to have been the design to arrange them chronologically. The
catholic epistles are arranged upon the same plan. The epistle to the
Hebrews, as being anonymous, now stands after those which bear the name
of Paul. But in many Greek manuscripts it is placed after 2
Thessalonians, consequently between the epistles addressed to churches
and those to individuals.

    The student of these epistles should carefully note the
    chronological order, because, as Wordsworth remarks (Preface to
    Commentary on the Epistles), the mutual illustration which the
    Acts of the Apostles and the apostolic epistles receive from
    each other "is much impaired if the apostolic epistles are not
    studied in connection with and in the order of the apostolic
    history." The following is the chronological order of the
    epistles, as far as it can be ascertained, though (as will
    hereafter appear) some uncertainty exists in respect to several
    of them:

    1 Thessalonians . . . about A.D. 53
    2 Thessalonians . . . about A.D. 53
    Galatians . . . . . . about A.D. 56 or 57
    1 Corinthians . . . . about A.D. 57
    2 Corinthians . . . . about A.D. 57
    Romans  . . . . . . . about A.D. 58
    Ephesians . . . . . . about A.D. 62
    Colossians  . . . . . about A.D. 62
    Philemon  . . . . . . about A.D. 62
    Philippians . . . . . about A.D. 63
    Hebrews . . . . . . . uncertain.
    1 Timothy . . . . . . about A.D. 65
    Titus . . . . . . . . about A.D. 65
    2 Timothy . . . . . . about A.D. 66

    Arranged according to the order of time the thirteen epistles
    which bear the name of Paul naturally fall into _four groups_:
    (1) the two epistles to the Thessalonians, written during the
    apostle's _second_ missionary journey recorded Acts 15:36-18:22;
    (2) the epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans,
    written during his _third_ missionary journey, Acts 18:23-21:15;
    (3) the epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and
    Philippians, written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome, Acts
    28:16-31 (some suppose the first three to have been written
    during his imprisonment at Cesarea, Acts 23:35-26:32); (4) the
    pastoral epistles, the first and third probably written after
    his recorded imprisonment in Rome, and the second during a
    second imprisonment after the publication of the Acts of the
    Apostles, and which ended in his martyrdom A.D. 67 or 68.

The epistles of Paul will now be considered in the usual order, except
that the three to the Ephesians, Colossians. and Philemon, which are
contemporaneous, will be taken together.


7. The _date_ of the epistle to the Romans, as well as the _place_ where
it was written, can be gathered with much certainty from the epistle
itself, taken in connection with other notices respecting Paul found in
the Acts of the Apostles. He was about to bear alms to his brethren in
Judea from Macedonia and Achaia. Chap. 15:25, 26. He had previously
exhorted the church of Corinth in Achaia to make this very collection,
which he was to receive of them when he came to them through Macedonia.
1 Cor. 16:1-6. That he was also to bring with him a collection from the
Macedonian churches is manifest from 2 Cor. 8:1-4; 9:1-4. He wrote,
moreover, from Corinth; for among the greetings at the close of the
epistle is one from "Gaius mine host" (chap. 16:23), a Corinthian whom
he had baptized (1 Cor. 1:14); he commends to them Phebe, a deaconess of
the church at Cenchrea, the eastern port of Corinth, chap. 16:1; and he
speaks of "the city" where he is as well known (chap. 16:23), which can
be no other than Corinth. Now by comparing Acts 19:21; 20:1-3; 24:17, we
find that he was then on his way to Jerusalem through Macedonia and
Greece, for the last time recorded in the New Testament. The epistle to
the Romans, then, was written from Corinth during the apostle's third
missionary tour and second abode in that city, about A.D. 58. It is the
sixth of his epistles in the order of time, and stands in near
connection with those to the Galatians and Corinthians, which were
apparently written during the previous year.

8. Concerning the founding of the church at Rome we have no information.
At the date of this epistle Paul had not visited it. Chaps. 1:10-15;
15:23, 24. Of its _composition_, however, we have more certain
knowledge. Founded in the metropolis of the Roman empire, where, as we
know from many notices of ancient writers, many Jews resided, it must
have been of a mixed character, embracing both Jews and Gentiles; with
this agree the contents of the present epistle. That the Gentile element
largely predominated in the church at Rome appears from the general
tenor of the epistle. Chaps. 1:13; 11:13-25, 30, 31; 15:16. That it had
also a Jewish element is plain from the whole of chap 2, and the
precepts in chap. 14.

9. The _occasion_ of writing seems to have been of a general character.
The apostle had often purposed to visit Rome, but had been as often
hindered. Chap. 1:13. To compensate in part for this failure, he wrote
the present epistle, having, as it appears, an opportunity to send it by
Phebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea. Chap. 16:1. The apostle's
_design_, like the occasion of his writing, was general. It was natural
that, in addressing a church which he had long desired to visit, he
should lay himself out to unfold the gospel of Christ in its deep
foundation principles, as a plan of salvation provided for the whole
world, and designed to unite Jews and Gentiles in one harmonious body,
on the common platform of faith in Christ. He first shows that the
Gentiles are under the dominion of sin (chap. 1:18-32), and the Jews
also (chap. 2), so that both alike are shut up to salvation by grace.
Chap. 3. He connects the gospel plan of salvation immediately with the
Old Testament by showing that Abraham, the father of the Israelitish
people, was justified by faith, not by the works of the law or any
outward rite; so that he is the father of all who walk in the steps of
his faith, whether Jews or Gentiles. Chap. 4. He then sets forth the
love of God in Christ, who is the second Adam, sent to restore the race
from the ruin into which it was brought by the sin of the first Adam
(chap. 5); and shows that to fallen sinful men the law cannot give
deliverance from either its condemnatory sentence or the reigning power
of sin, so that its only effect is to work wrath, while the
righteousness which God gives through faith in Christ sets men free from
both the curse of the law and the inward power of sin, thus bringing
them into a blessed state of justification, sanctification, and holy
communion with God here, with the hope of eternal glory hereafter.
Chaps. 6-8. Since the doctrine of the admission of the Gentiles to equal
privileges with the Jews, and the rejection of the unbelieving part of
the Jewish nation, was exceedingly offensive to his countrymen, the
apostle devotes three entire chapters to the discussion of this
momentous theme. Chaps. 9-11. He then proceeds to draw from the whole
subject, as he has unfolded it, such practical exhortations in respect
to daily life and conduct as were adapted to the particular wants of the
Roman Christians--entire consecration of soul and body to God in each
believer's particular sphere (chap. 12); obedience to magistrates (chap.
13:1-7); love and purity (chap. 13:8-14); mutual respect and forbearance
(chaps. 14:1-15:7). He then returns to the great theme with which he
began, that Christ is the common Saviour of Jews and Gentiles, in
connection with which he refers to his office and labors as "the
minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles" (chap. 15:8-21), and closes
with miscellaneous notices and salutations (chaps. 15:22-16:27).

10. From the above brief survey the special _office_ of the epistle to
the Romans is manifest. In no book of the New Testament is the great
doctrine of justification by faith so fully unfolded. The apostle sets
it in vivid contrast with the Pharisaical idea of justification by the
Mosaic law, and, by parity of reason, of justification by every other
system of legalism; showing that it is only by grace through Christ that
men can be delivered from either the guilt of sin or its reigning power
in the soul, while the effect of the law is only to excite and irritate
men's corrupt passions without the power to subdue them. The place,
therefore, which this epistle holds in the understandings and affections
of believers must be a good measure of their progress in the Christian


11. THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS was written _from Ephesus_, not
far from the time of Pentecost (chap. 16:8); not from Philippi,
according to the subscription appended to it. It was during Paul's
second and last visit to that city, as we learn from his directions
concerning a collection for the saints at Jerusalem, and his promise to
come to the Corinthians through Macedonia (chap. 16:1-5); for when Paul
left Ephesus after his second sojourn there he went by Macedonia and
Achaia (of which province Corinth was the capital) to Jerusalem to bear
alms. Acts 19:21; 20:1-3; 24:17. Paul's second stay in Ephesus, during
which time some think that he made a short visit to Corinth not
mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, which would be the _second_ in
order, that promised in this and the second epistle being the _third_ (2
Cor. 12:14; 13:1), extended over the space of about three years. Acts
19:1-10; 20:31. From his words (chap. 16:3-8), we gather that the
epistle was written not long before the close of this period.
Chronologists generally place it about A.D. 57.

12. The _occasion_ of his writing was more specific than when he penned
his epistle to the Romans. Corinth, the renowned capital of the Roman
province Achaia, situated on the isthmus that connects the southern
peninsula of Greece--the ancient Peleponnesus and the modern Morea, and
enjoying the advantage of two ports was alike distinguished for its
wealth and progress in the arts, and for its luxury and dissoluteness of
morals. Here the apostle had labored a year and six months, and gathered
a flourishing church embracing some Jews, but consisting mostly of
Gentiles. Acts 18:1-11; 1 Cor. 12:2. These Gentile converts, having just
emerged from the darkness and corruption of heathenism (chap. 6:9-11),
and living in the midst of a dissolute community (chap. 5:9, 10), did
not wholly escape the contamination of heathenish associations and
heathenish vices. Chaps. 5, 6, 8, 10. Taking a low and worldly view of
the Christian church and the spiritual endowments of its several
members, they were led into party strifes and rivalries. Chaps. 1:11-13;
3:3-7. Certain vain-glorious teachers, moreover, had come in among them
with a great show of worldly wisdom, who disparaged Paul's apostolical
standing, taught the people to despise the simplicity of his teachings,
and sought to supplant him in the confidence and affections of the
Corinthian church. Chaps. 4, 9; 2 Cor. 10-13. In addition to this,
certain disorders and abuses had crept into their public assemblies
(chaps. 11, 12, 14), and some among them denied the doctrine of the
resurrection. Chap. 15. According to the most probable interpretation of
chap. 5:9, the apostle had already written them a letter on some of
these points which has not come down to us, and the Corinthians
themselves had written to the apostle, asking his advice on some points
of a practical character, particularly in respect to the marriage
relation in their present state of trial. Chap. 7:1. The occasion, then,
of writing this epistle, which gives also its _scope_ and _office_, was
to correct the above named errors and abuses, of which he had received
accurate information, and also to answer the inquiries of the
Corinthians in their letter. In this work the apostle employs now sharp
rebuke, now tender expostulation, and now earnest and impassioned
argument. The party strifes among the Corinthians he meets by showing
that Christ himself is the only head of the church, that all gifts are
from him, and are to be used to his glory in the edification of
believers. Chaps. 1:13, 14, 30, 31; 3:5-23. The vain-glorious boasting
of their leaders he exposes by showing the emptiness and impotence of
their pretended wisdom in comparison with the doctrine of Christ
crucified, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God for the
salvation of all that believe, without regard to the distinctions of
worldly rank. Chaps. 1:18-2:16; 3:18-20. The abuses and disorders that
had crept into the church he rebukes with apostolical severity; and in
correcting them, as well as in answering the questions of the
Corinthians, he makes an application of the general principles of the
gospel to the several cases before him which is full of practical
wisdom--the incestuous person (chap. 5:8), companionship with the
vicious (chap. 5:9-13), litigation among brethren (chap. 6:1-8), fleshly
indulgence (chap. 6:9-20), the inquiries of the Christians in respect to
marriage (chap. 7), meats offered to idols and sundry questions
connected with them (chaps. 8, 10), disorders in the public assemblies
(chap. 11), spiritual gifts with a beautiful eulogy on love (chaps.
12-14), the doctrine of the resurrection (chap. 15). He also defends his
apostolical character and standing against his opposers, though by no
means so earnestly and fully as in the following epistle. Chaps. 4, 9.
Thus it comes to pass that the present epistle contains a remarkable
variety of topics, and gives us a fuller and clearer insight into the
practical working of Christianity in the primitive apostolic churches
than that furnished by any other of Paul's epistles, or, indeed, any
other book of the New Testament. The great principles, moreover, which
he lays down in meeting the particular wants of the Corinthian church
remain valid for all time; shedding from age to age a clear and steady
light, by which every tempest-tossed church may, God helping it by his
grace, steer its way into the haven of peace and prosperity.

13. The reader cannot fail to notice the remarkable contrast between the
tone of this epistle and that to the Galatians, which belongs in the
order of time to the same group. See above, No. 6. The errors of the
Corinthians were not fundamental, like those of the Galatians. They
built upon the true foundation, Jesus Christ; but marred the building by
the introduction of base materials--the "wood, hay, stubble" of human
wisdom, instead of the "gold, silver, precious stones" of the truth as
Paul had taught it. The false teachers among the Galatians, on the
contrary, sought to subvert the very foundations of Christianity by
bringing in a system of legal justification. In writing to the
Galatians, therefore, Paul contends, with apostolic severity, for the
very substance of the gospel, but in addressing the Corinthians, he
seeks only to purify the gospel from the admixture of human additions.

14. THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS was written not many months
after the first, _from Macedonia_, where the apostle was occupied in
completing a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, with the
purpose of afterwards proceeding to Corinth that he might receive the
contribution of the Corinthian church also. Chaps. 8:1-4; 9:1-5. Whether
he wrote from Philippi, according to the subscription of the epistle, or
from some other place in Macedonia, cannot be determined.

15. The _occasion_ of writing was manifestly the report which he had
received from Titus (and as is generally inferred from 1 Cor. 4:17;
16:10, from Timothy also). He had sent Titus to Corinth with the
expectation that he would bring tidings thence to Troas, where he hoped
to find him on his way from Ephesus to Macedonia. But in this he was
disappointed. He therefore hastened from Troas to Macedonia, where he
met Titus and learned from him the effect of his first epistle. Chaps.
2:12, 13; 7:6; 12:18. So far as the main body of the Corinthian
Christians was concerned, this was highly favorable, and for it the
apostle devoutly thanks God (chap. 7:6, 7); commends their prompt
obedience (chap. 7:11); directs them to restore the excommunicated
person (chap. 2:5-10); and discusses very fully the matter of the
collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem (chaps. 8, 9). But the
very success of his first epistle with the better part of the church had
embittered his enemies, and made them more determined in their
opposition to him. They accused him of levity in changing his original
plan of visiting the Corinthian church on his way to Macedonia (chap.
1:15-17); of uttering threats which he would not dare to execute when
present among them (chap. 10:9-11); of making a gain of them by indirect
means (chap. 12:16-18); and sought in various ways to disparage his
apostolical character and standing. This led him to dwell with great
earnestness on the fullness of his apostolic credentials, the purity of
his apostolic life, and the abundance of his labors and sufferings in
behalf of Christ's cause, always with reference more or less direct to
his enemies. With these personal notices of himself are interwoven
exalted views of the dignity of the ministerial office, and the true
spirit and manner in which its weighty duties are to be performed. See
chaps. 2:14-7:16; chaps. 10-13. The prominence which the apostle is thus
forced to give to his own person and labor constitutes the most
remarkable feature of the present epistle. To the same cause are due the
peculiarities of its diction, and its rapid transitions from one theme
and tone to another. "Consolation and rebuke, gentleness and severity,
earnestness and irony, succeed one another at very short intervals and
without notice." Alford, Introduction to this Epistle. All this came
about by the wisdom of God, who placed his servant in such circumstances
that fidelity to the cause of truth compelled him unwillingly to set
forth in himself the character of a true minister of the gospel in
bright contrast with that of those vain-glorious and selfish men, who
under a show of great worldly wisdom, seek to create parties in the
church of Christ for their own private honor and emolument. The
particular occasion which called forth this epistle soon passed away;
but the epistle itself remains a rich treasure for all believers,
especially for all Christian teachers.


16. _Galatia_ is the Greek word answering to the Roman _Gallia_, that
is, _Gaul_. It was one of the central provinces of Asia Minor, and
received its name from the circumstance of its being inhabited by a
people of Gallic origin who came by the way of Byzantium and the
Hellespont in the third century before Christ. Two visits of the apostle
to Galatia are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles; the first, during
his second missionary journey (Acts 16:6); and the second, at the
beginning of his third journey (Acts 18:23). After which of these visits
the present epistle was written is a question that has been much
discussed, and answered in different ways. The most natural
interpretation, however, of chapter 4:13-16 leads to the conclusion that
it was after his _second_ visit. The course of the events seems to have
been as follows: He was suffering from an infirmity of the flesh when he
preached the gospel to the Galatians "_at the first_," that is, upon the
first visit (verse 13). Then they received him "as an angel of God, even
as Jesus Christ," and were filled with holy joy through simple faith in
Christ's name (verses 14, 15). Upon his _second_ visit he found it
necessary to warn them in very plain terms against the seductions of
false teachers, who were seeking to draw them away from the simplicity
of the gospel to faith in a system of works. But after his departure
these false teachers had great success; and the result was that the
affections of the Galatians were alienated from Paul, who was their
spiritual father. In view of this fact he asks (as we may render v. 16,
after Ellicott, in perfect accordance with the idiom of the Greek): "So
then, am I become your enemy, by speaking to you the truth?" that is
because in my recent visit I told you the truth. According to this view
the epistle belongs to the second group, and was written about A.D. 56
or 57. Farther than this we cannot go in determining the time. The
_place_ is uncertain. It may have been Ephesus, or Corinth, which cities
Paul visited in his third and last missionary journey, but it cannot
have been Rome, as the subscription erroneously gives it.

    The subscriptions are of no authority. That to the present
    epistle probably had its ground mainly in chapter 6:17, where
    the writer was erroneously supposed to allude to the bodily
    sufferings that he endured in connection with his last recorded

17. The _occasion_ of this epistle, which gives also its _design_, was
very specific. The Galatian churches had begun well (chap. 5:7); but
soon after Paul's departure Judaizing teachers had drawn them away to
the very form of error noticed in the Acts of the Apostles (chap. 15:1);
"Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses ye cannot be saved."
They sought to impose on all the Gentile converts circumcision as
essential to salvation. Thus they placed justification on a _legal_
ground, and made faith in Christ a subordinate matter. This error was
fundamental. Paul therefore attacks it with unsparing severity, with
which, however, he mingles a wonderful tenderness of spirit. His
argument is for substance the same as that in the epistle to the Romans,
only that it takes from necessity a more controversial form, and is
carried out with more warmth and vehemence of expression. It is a divine
model of the way in which fundamental error should be dealt with.

18. The epistle naturally falls into three divisions. The _first_ is
mainly _historic_. Chaps. 1, 2. The false teachers had disparaged Paul's
apostolical standing, on the ground, apparently, that he was not one of
the original twelve, and had not been called immediately by Christ to
the apostleship, but had received his gospel from men. It would seem
also that they labored to make it appear that Paul's doctrine respecting
circumcision and the Mosaic law was contrary to that of Peter and the
other apostles of the circumcision. Paul accordingly devotes these two
introductory chapters to a vindication of his full apostolic standing.
He shows that his apostleship is "not of man neither by man, but by
Jesus Christ and God the Father" (chap. 1:1); that the gospel which he
preaches he neither received of man, nor was taught by man but by the
revelation of Jesus Christ (verses 11, 12); that, accordingly, upon his
call to the apostleship, he went not up to Jerusalem to receive
instruction from those who were apostles before him, but into Arabia,
whence he returned to Damascus (verses 15-17); that after three years he
made a brief visit of fifteen days to Peter, where he also saw James,
but had no personal acquaintance with the churches in Judea (verses
20-24); that fourteen years afterwards he went up to Jerusalem by
revelation, not to be instructed by the apostles there, but to confer
with them respecting "the gospel of the uncircumcision" which was
committed to him, and that he obtained the full recognition of "James,
Cephas, and John, who were reckoned as pillars" (chap. 2:1-10); and that
afterwards, when Peter was come to Antioch he withstood him to the face
on this very question of circumcision, because, through fear of his
Jewish brethren, he had dissembled and drawn others into dissimulation,
adding also the substance of the rebuke administered by him to Peter,
which contains an argument (drawn in part from Peter's own practice)
against compelling the Gentiles to live as do the Jews (verses 11-21).

Having thus vindicated his apostolic authority against the false
teachers in Galatia, he proceeds, in the _second_ part of the epistle,
to unfold the great _argument for justification by faith in Christ_. The
Galatians have received the Holy Spirit, with the accompanying
miraculous gifts, not by the works of the law, but by faith in Christ
(chap. 3:1-5); Abraham was justified by faith, as an example for all
future ages (verses 6-9,18); the law cannot bring justification to
sinners, but only condemnation (verses 10-12); from this condemnation
Christ delivers us, and makes us through faith the children of Abraham,
and heirs to all the promises which God made to him (verses 13, 14); the
Abrahamic covenant, conditioned on faith alone, is older than the Mosaic
law and cannot be disannulled by it (verses 15-17); the true office of
the law was to prepare men for the coming of Christ, in whom all
distinction between Jew and Gentile is abolished (verses 19-29); before
Christ the people of God were like a child that has not yet received the
inheritance, but is kept under tutors and governors, but through Christ
they are like the same child arrived at full age, and put in possession
of the inheritance (chap. 4:1-7). The apostle adds (chaps. 4:8-5:12)
various arguments and illustrations, with pointed allusions to the false
teachers who were subverting the simplicity of their faith in Christ;
and he solemnly warns the Galatian Christians that by receiving
circumcision they bind themselves to do the whole law--the whole law as
the ground of their justification. They have left Christ, and thus
fallen away from grace--forsaken a system of grace for one of works, so
that "Christ is become of no effect" to them. Chap. 5:3, 4.

The _third_ part (chaps. 5:13-6:18) is of a _practical_ character. The
apostle affectionately exhorts the Galatians to use their Christian
liberty in a worthy manner, mortifying fleshly lusts, restoring fallen
brethren in meekness, bearing one another's burdens, and being diligent
in every good work. In bringing the epistle to a close he contrasts the
vain-glory and hypocrisy of these Judaizing false teachers with his
steadfast purpose to glory only in the cross of Christ, in whom "neither
circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new


19. These three epistles are contemporaneous, in the sense that they
were written on the same general occasion, and forwarded at the same
time, though some days may have intervened between the composition of
the first and the last of them. They were all written when Paul was a
prisoner (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; Col. 4:10; Philemon 1, 9, 10, 23), and
all sent virtually by Tychicus; for Onesimus, a servant whom Paul sent
back to his master, Philemon of Colosse, with a commendatory letter,
went in company with Tychicus. Eph. 6:21, 22; Col. 4:7-9. The epistle to
the Ephesians contains no salutations; but those of the other two, are,
with a single exception, sent from the same persons--Aristarchus,
Marcus, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas. If any further argument for their
contemporaneousness were needed, it could be found in the remarkable
agreement between the contents of the epistles to the Ephesians and
Colossians, extending not only to the thoughts but to the phraseology

20. It is agreed that these three epistles were written during the
apostle's imprisonment in either _Cesarea_ or _Rome_; but from which of
these two places is a question on which biblical scholars differ, and
which cannot be answered with certainty, though the common opinion has
been that the apostle wrote from Rome. It is not necessary to review the
arguments advanced on the two sides. The reader who wishes to
investigate the matter will find them in commentaries and bible

21. Another question is: In what _order_ were the epistles to the
Ephesians and Colossians written? Here we have only indirect
indications, and these not decisive. It is manifest, however, from a
comparison of the two epistles, that the apostle had a more specific
occasion for writing to the Colossians than to the Ephesians. It is
natural, therefore, to suppose that he first penned his letter to the
former church, and very soon afterwards, while his heart was yet warm
with the great theme of that letter--the personal glory and dignity of
Christ, and the union through him of both Jews and Gentiles in one holy
family--he wrote to the Ephesians among whom he had so long labored,
going over the same general course of thought, but with more fulness and
in a less argumentative tone. However this may be, it is certain that
the most convenient order of studying these two closely related epistles
is to begin with that to the Colossians and thence proceed to the other.
We propose to consider them in this order.

22. EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS. Colosse was a city lying in the
southwestern part of Phrygia, in Asia Minor, in the neighborhood of
Laodicea and Hierapolis. Chap. 4:13, 16. Respecting the founding of the
church there we have no information. According to the most natural
interpretation of chap. 2:1, Paul had not visited Colosse in person when
he wrote the present epistle. The _occasion_ of his writing seems to
have been information received by him that false teachers were troubling
the Colossian church. That these men were Jews is plain from chap. 2:16,
20, 21; where the reference is to Jewish ordinances. But their doctrine
was not simple Phariseeism, like that of the false teachers among the
Galatians. They did not seek directly to substitute circumcision and the
Mosaic law for faith in Christ, as the ground of justification. They
seem rather to have been Christian Jews of an ascetic turn of mind, and
imbued with the semi-oriental philosophy of that day, which contained in
itself the seeds of the later Gnostic systems. Having no clear
apprehension of the glory of Christ's person and the fulness of the
salvation which his gospel offers to men, they sought to supplement the
Christian system by their ascetic practices and their speculations
concerning the orders of angels, whom they seem to have regarded as
mediators between God and men. To all this human philosophy the apostle
opposes directly the divine dignity and glory of Christ's person, and
the completeness of the redemption which he has provided for men.

    The _Jewish_ character of these false teachers appears in their
    insisting on meats and drinks, holy-days, new moons, and
    Sabbaths (chap. 2:16, 20, 21); their _ascetic_ character, in
    their doctrine concerning the mortification of the body (chap.
    2:23); their _speculations concerning angels_, in the fact that
    they are described as "delighting in humility and the worship of
    angels" (chap. 2:18, 23). The apostle apparently refers to a
    false humility which, under the pretence that God is too great
    to be approached except through the mediation of angels, made
    them instead of Christ the way of access to him, thus
    disparaging the Redeemer's person and office.

23. In respect to _plan_, the epistle naturally falls into two parts of
about equal length. The _first_ is _argumentative_. Chaps. 1, 2. After
an introduction, in which the apostle thanks God that the Colossians
have been made partakers of the gospel, commends them for the
fruitfulness of their faith, and assures them of his incessant prayers
in their behalf (chap. 1:1-12), and passes to his great theme, which is
to set forth the divine dignity and glory of Christ's person. He is the
image of the invisible God, existing before all things, and the creator
and upholder of all things, those angelic orders included whom the false
teachers regarded as objects of worship (verses 15-17). He is also the
head of the church, and as such unites under himself all holy beings in
heaven and earth in one happy family (verses 18-22). In him all fulness
dwells, and all believers are complete in him; receiving through him a
spiritual circumcision which brings to them holiness of heart,
forgiveness of sins, and life from the dead (verses 11-13). Christ has
abolished by his death on the cross "the handwriting of ordinances"--the
Mosaic ordinances under the figure of a bond which was before of binding
force, but which he has annulled--so that the former ground of
separation between Jews and Gentiles is done away (2:14). By the same
death on the cross he has "spoiled principalities and powers"--the
powers of darkness, of which Satan is the head--openly triumphing over
them (verse 15). The Colossians, then, have all that they need in
Christ, and the apostle affectionately warns them against being spoiled
through the philosophy of these false teachers, which is a compound of
ignorance, self-conceit, and will-worship, void alike of reality and

The _second_ part is _practical_. Chaps. 3, 4. The duties on which the
apostle insists come mainly under two general heads. The first is that
of a _heavenly temper of mind_ growing out of their resurrection with
Christ who sits at the right hand of God, and who shall appear again to
receive his disciples to himself, that they also may appear with him in
glory. In view of this animating hope he exhorts the Colossians to put
away all the sins belonging to their former state of heathenism. Chap.
3:1-8. The second is that of _mutual love and harmony_ arising from
their union with each other in Christ, whereby they have been made one
holy body, in which outward distinctions are nothing "but Christ is all
and in all." On this ground they are urged to cultivate all the graces
of the Spirit, the chief of which is love, and faithfully to discharge,
each one in his station, the mutual duty which they owe as husbands and
wives, as parents and children, as masters and servants. Chaps. 3:9-4:1.
They are admonished, moreover, to let the word of Christ dwell in them
richly for their mutual edification (chap. 3:16); to be single-hearted
in their aim to please Christ (verse 17); to be prayerful and vigilant
(chap. 4:2-4); and wise in their intercourse with unbelievers (verses 5,
6). The epistle closes with notices of a personal character intermingled
with salutations (verses 7-18).

    In chap. 4:16 the apostle directs that this epistle be read also
    in the church of the Laodiceans, and that the Colossians
    likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. What was this epistle
    from Laodicea? (1) Some think it was a letter written by the
    church of Laodicea to Paul, and forwarded by him to the
    Colossians. (2) Others understand it of an epistle of Paul to
    the Laodiceans (perhaps forwarded along with the three epistles
    now under consideration) and which the Colossians were to obtain
    _from_ Laodicea. This is the most probable supposition. On the
    attempt to identify this epistle with our canonical epistle to
    the Ephesians see below.

24. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS.--Ephesus, the metropolis of Proconsular
Asia, which comprehended the western provinces of Asia Minor, lay on the
coast of the Ægean sea between Smyrna on the north and Miletus on the
south. In the apostolic age it was a flourishing city, and renowned for
the temple of the heathen goddess Diana. Two visits of the apostle to
Ephesus are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, the latter of which
was prolonged through most of three years. Acts 18:19-21; chaps. 19;
20:31. The _occasion_ of writing this epistle seems to have been of a
very general nature. The apostle was sending a letter by Tychicus to the
Colossians, and embraced the opportunity to write to the Ephesians also.
In entire accordance with this supposition is the _general character_ of
the epistle. The apostle has no particular error to combat, as he had in
the case of the Colossians. He proceeds, therefore, in a placid and
contemplative frame of mind to unfold the great work of Christ's
redemption; and then makes a practical application of it, as in the
epistle to the Colossians, but with more fulness, and with some
important additions.

    It has seemed surprising to many that the apostle should have
    written in so general a strain to a church on which he had
    bestowed so much labor, and where he had so many personal
    friends; particularly that he should have omitted at the close
    all salutations. To account for this various hypotheses have
    been proposed. The words "_in Ephesus_" are omitted in the Sinai
    and Vatican manuscripts, and there is reason for believing that
    they were wanting in some other ancient manuscripts not now
    extant. See the quotations from Basil the Great, and other
    fathers in Alford, Ellicott, Meyer, and other critical
    commentators. On this ground some have supposed that the present
    epistle was intended to be _encyclical_--an epistle for general
    circulation among the churches; others, that it is the
    _Laodicean epistle_ referred to in Col. 4:16. But in favor of
    the words "in Ephesus" there is an overwhelming weight of
    evidence. They are sustained by all the versions and all the
    manuscripts except the above. Besides, as every Greek scholar
    knows, if these words are omitted, it compels the omission from
    the original of the two preceding words which are found in every
    manuscript and version--unless, indeed, we adopt the far-fetched
    hypothesis that the apostle furnished Tychicus with two or more
    copies of the epistle for different churches, leaving a _blank
    space_ to be filled as occasion should require; and then it
    becomes impossible to explain how the reading "in Ephesus"
    should have been so universal in the manuscripts and versions.
    There is no occasion for any of this ingenuity. The omission of
    these words from single manuscripts is not wonderful. It finds a
    parallel, as Alford remarks, in the omission of the words _in
    Rome_ (Rom. 1:7) from one manuscript, whether from oversight or
    for the purpose of generalizing the reference of its contents.
    Nor can any valid objection be drawn from the general character
    of the epistle. That depended much on the _occasion_ which
    called it forth, which we have seen to have been general, and
    the _frame of mind_ in which the apostle wrote. As to the
    omission of salutations, we shall find upon examination that the
    measure of Paul's personal acquaintance with the churches was
    not that of his personal greetings. These abound most of all in
    the epistle to the Romans whom he had never visited. Rom. 16.
    They are found also in the epistle to the Colossians to whom
    Paul was personally a stranger. Col. 4:10-14. On the contrary
    they are wanting, except in a general form, in the epistles to
    the Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Thessalonians (in 2
    Thessalonians wholly wanting as in this epistle), Titus, and the
    first to Timothy. The other objections are founded on
    misinterpretation, as when it is inferred from chap, 1:15 that
    the author had never seen those to whom he wrote; and from chap,
    3:2 that they had no personal acquaintance with him. But in the
    former passage the apostle speaks simply of the good report
    which had come to him from the Ephesian church since he left it;
    and, in the latter, the words: "if ye have heard" imply no doubt
    (compare 1 Peter 2:3), and cannot be fairly adduced to prove
    that the writer was personally unknown to his readers.

25. This epistle, like that to the Colossians, naturally falls into two
divisions of about equal size; the first _argumentative_, the second

The _argumentative_ part occupies the first two chapters. Full of the
great theme with which the epistle to the Colossians is occupied--the
personal dignity and glory of Christ, the greatness of his salvation,
and especially the union through him of all holy beings in heaven and
earth in one family of God--the apostle begins, immediately after the
apostolic greeting, by pouring out his heart in thanksgiving to God for
his rich mercy, which has made him and his beloved Ephesians partakers
of Christ's redemption, the greatness and glory of which he describes in
glowing terms, bringing in, as he proceeds, the thought with which his
mind is filled, that it is God's purpose to "gather together in one all
things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth."
Chap. 1:10. He then adds a fervent prayer for the growth of the
Ephesians in the knowledge of Christ, whom God has raised above all
principality and power and made head over all things to his body the
church. Returning in the second chapter to the theme with which he
began, he contrasts with the former wretched condition of the Ephesians,
when they had no hope and were without God in the world, their present
blessed state, as fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household
of faith; God having through Christ broken down the middle wall of
partition between Jews and Gentiles, and built them all into a holy
temple upon one common foundation, of which Jesus Christ is the chief
corner stone. In the third chapter he dwells upon the grace of God which
had committed to him, in a special sense, the office of preaching among
the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and adds a rapturous
prayer for the strengthening of the Ephesians through the Spirit in the
inner man, for their establishment in faith and love, and their
illumination in the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that they may
"be filled with all the fulness of God." Then follows a doxology in
which the apostle labors to find words wherewith to express his
conception of the greatness of God's power and grace through Jesus

With the fourth chapter begins the _practical_ part of the epistle. He
begins with an exhortation to unity, the argument for which cannot be
abridged: "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in
one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and
Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Chap.
4:4-6. He next speaks of the diversity of gifts among believers, all of
which come from Christ, and have for their end the unity of the church
in faith and knowledge, and thus her stability (verses 7-16). Then
follow earnest admonitions to shun the vices of their former state of
heathenism, and cultivate all the graces of the Spirit. The mutual
relations of life are then taken up, as in the epistle to the
Colossians. Here occurs that grand digression in which the love of
Christ towards his church is compared with that of the husband towards
his wife. Chap. 5:23-32. The closing exhortation, in which the Christian
is compared to a warrior wrestling not with flesh and blood but with the
powers of darkness, and his heavenly panoply is described at length, is
(with the exception of the brief figure, 1 Thess. 5:8) peculiar to this
epistle and is very striking.

26. EPISTLE TO PHILEMON.--This short epistle is essentially of a private
character. It was sent to Colosse by Onesimus at the same time with the
epistle to the Colossians, of which Tychieus was the bearer. Col. 4:7-9.
The epistle itself plainly indicates its object. It is a plea for
Onesimus, the servant of Philemon, who had left his master and
apparently defrauded him (verse 18), but now returns to him a Christian.
As a model of Christian delicacy and courtesy it has been the admiration
of all ages.


27. The ancient name of Philippi was _Crenides_ (_Fountains_); but
Philip of Macedon fortified the place and called it after his own name.
It lay along the bank of a river on a plain in the eastern border of
Proconsular Macedonia, and was made a colony by Augustus in memory of
his victory gained there over Brutus and Cassius. Compare Acts 16:12.
Its port was Neapolis on the Ægean sea about twelve Roman miles to the
southeast of it. Philippi was the first place in Europe where the gospel
was preached by Paul, who had been summoned across the sea to Macedonia
by a vision. Acts 16:9. This was during his second missionary journey,
about A.D. 53. A record of his labors and sufferings on that occasion is
given in Acts 16:12-40. In his third missionary journey he twice visited
Macedonia, sailing the second time from Philippi, that is, from its port
Neapolis. Acts 20:1, 3-6.

28. The _occasion_ of this epistle seems to have been the contribution
made by the Philippians to supply the apostle's necessities while a
prisoner in Rome. Chap. 4:10-18. That he was a prisoner is plain from
chap. 1:13, 14, 16. That the _place_ of imprisonment was Rome is
inferred from the general tone of the epistle, which shows that the
apostle was awaiting a decision of his case, in accordance with his
appeal to Cæsar, with the confident expectation of a favorable result
(chaps. 1:19-25; 2:23, 24), and especially from the mention of Cæsar's
household (chap. 4:22). From chap. 2:23, 24 we infer, moreover, that the
time for a decision of his case was at hand. The date of this epistle,
then, was about A.D. 63.

    The apostle speaks very confidently of a speedy release and
    restoration to the work of his apostolic office. Chaps. 1:19,
    25, 26; 2:24. This language is important in connection with the
    two closely related questions, that of a second imprisonment at
    Rome and that of the date of the pastoral epistles. See below,
    No. 35.

29. The _character_ of this epistle answers well to its occasion. It is
a free outpouring of the apostle's heart towards his beloved
Philippians, who had remembered him in his bonds and sent Epaphroditus
to supply his wants. He bestows upon them no censure, unless the
suggestion to Euodias and Syntyche be regarded as such, but commends
them for their liberality, exhorts them to steadfastness in the
endurance of persecution, and admonishes them to maintain a deportment
which shall be in all things such as becomes the gospel, the several
parts of which he specifies in the course of the epistle, but not in any
very exact order. It is in connection with these admonitions that the
apostle, while insisting on the duty of humility and self-sacrificing
love, brings in that sublime description of the Saviour's original glory
and equality with God, which he laid aside for our redemption, taking
upon himself the form of a servant and submitting to the death of the
cross; for which act of self-abasement he is now exalted to be Lord of
heaven and earth. Chap. 2:5-11. Intermingled with the above named
commendations, exhortations, and counsels, are frequent notices
respecting himself, introduced in the most natural and artless manner,
and unfolding for our edification some of the deepest principles of
Christian character.

His faith in Christ and love for His cause raise him above the sphere of
human jealousies. He rejoices that Christ is preached, whether of
good-will or of envy, knowing that this shall turn to his salvation
through the prayers of the Philippians and the supply of Christ's
Spirit. Chap. 2:15-19.

He knows that for himself personally it is better to depart and be with
Christ: but to continue in the flesh is more needful for the
Philippians. He cannot, therefore, choose between life and death. Chap.
1:21-25. How different this from the spirit of some, who think of death
only in connection with their own personal comfort, and how much higher
the type of religion which it reveals!

So far as outward advantages are concerned, no man can have more
occasion than he to glory in the flesh. But all these he has renounced
and counted loss for Christ. His one ambition is to know Christ, and be
united with him in his death and resurrection. His present attainments
he forgets in his single purpose of pressing towards the goal for the
prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. Chap. 3:4-14.

He warmly commends the Philippians for their liberality, but wishes them
to understand that he does not speak in respect to personal want; for
every where and in all things he has been taught the lesson of
contentment with present circumstances. Chap. 4:10-14.


30. The original name of Thessalonica was _Therme_, whence the gulf at
the head of which it is situated, was called the Thermaic gulf. The
modern name of the city is _Saloniki_, and of the gulf, the gulf of
Saloniki. In the apostolic age it was a large and wealthy city, and the
metropolis of the second district of Macedonia. At the present day it is
second only to Constantinople in European Turkey. Then as now a large
number of Jews resided in it. In his second missionary tour the apostle,
when driven from Philippi, went through Amphipolis and Apollonia to
Thessalonica. After his usual manner he first resorted to the Jewish
synagogue "and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the
Scriptures." After this a tumult was raised at the instigation of the
unbelieving Jews, and the apostle was sent away by night to Berea. Acts
17:1-10. We cannot affirm that his stay at Thessalonica was limited to
three weeks; yet it was very brief, and for this reason he was anxious
to return again that he might impart further instruction and consolation
to the converts there, who were undergoing a severe ordeal of temptation
through persecution. Chaps. 2:17-3:5. His labors at Thessalonica were
not confined to the Sabbath-day and the Jewish synagogue. He preached
the gospel to the Gentiles also, and his chief success seems to have
been among them. 1 Thess. 1:9; 2:14, 16.

apostle's _second_ missionary journey, the same journey in which he
first visited Thessalonica. This we gather from the fact that Silvanus
(Silas) was with him (chap. 1:1), for Silas was Paul's travelling
companion only during that journey (Acts 15:40; 16:19, 25, 29; 17:4, 10,
14, 15; 18:5); also from the notice of his being at Athens (chap. 3:1
compared with Acts 17:15, 16). He did not, however, write from Athens,
as the subscription erroneously states, but from _Corinth_; for it was
at this place that Silas and Timotheus rejoined him, bringing good
tidings from Macedonia respecting the church in Thessalonica. Chap.
3:1-6 compared with Acts 18:1-5. This is, then, _the earliest of Paul's
epistles_, having been written about A.D. 53.

32. The epistle clearly indicates its _occasion_. In consideration of
the brief time which the apostle had been able to spend at Thessalonica,
and of the severe persecution to which the converts in that city were
exposed, he was very desirous to make them a second visit. But having
been twice frustrated in this purpose, he sent Timothy and Silas to
learn the condition of the Thessalonian church and bring him word
concerning it, which they did while he was at Corinth. Chaps. 2:17-3:6.
The letter is an affectionate outpouring of his heart in view of the
good tidings received through these brethren, into which are interwoven
encouragements, instructions, and admonitions adapted to the
circumstances of the brethren at Thessalonica, with abundant references
to the apostle's own labors there. In the first chapter he commends,
with devout thanksgiving to God, the faith and love and patience of the
Thessalonian Christians. The second and third chapters are mainly
occupied with a notice of his own labors and those of his colleagues at
Thessalonica, of his strong desire to revisit them which he had thus far
been hindered from carrying into execution, and of his joy at the good
tidings brought by Timothy, the whole closed with a fervent prayer in
their behalf. The two remaining chapters contain miscellaneous
instructions suited to the condition of a church that had been recently
gathered in great part from the ranks of heathenism. In the course of
these he corrects an error into which the Thessalonian believers had
fallen from the idea that they who should die before Christ's second
coming might fail of their share in its glory and blessedness. Chap.
4:13-18. In both of the epistles he admonishes the Thessalonians against
the neglect of their proper worldly business, a fault that was
apparently connected with visionary ideas respecting the speedy second
coming of our Lord, and which he rebukes in severe terms. 1 Thess. 4:11;
2 Thess. 3:10-12.

33. THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS, like the first, is written
in the name of "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus," and seems to have
been sent from _Corinth_ not many months after the first. The apostle's
main _design_ was to correct a pernicious error respecting the time of
our Lord's second advent, which some at Thessalonica seem to have been
strenuously engaged in propagating, and to give them further instruction
respecting this great doctrine and their duty in relation to it. After
the apostolic salutation he expresses his gratitude to God for the
growth of their Christian faith and love, and comforts them under the