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Preface to the Book of Joshua .................
Preface to the Book of Ruth .......
Preface to the First Book of the Kings . ....
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Physical Map of Palestine and the Adjacent Countries-(Frontispiece).
THE BIBLE (or the Book') is the name usually given to man ever formed, evidently could not have originated an ancient collection of sixty-six smaller volumes, com- in his mind, but must have been communicated to him prising Darratives, poetry, moral axioms, and religious from a higher Being. In the life of the Redeemer espediscourses, written in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek, by cially, human excellences are delineated which no many different authors, who lived successively during a biographer had ever attributed to his hero; but which period of more than fifteen hundred years. Exceedingly are not less striking for their naturalness and reality valuable as containing the most ancient writings, the than for their perfect agreement with the dictates of Dost remarkable and best accredited histories, the sub enlightened conscience. Emest poetry, and the noblest personal, social, and political | 3. All that the Bible discloses respecting the moral morality in the world, it has peculiar and extraordinary government of God, and human responsibility, and the claims on account of its professed ORIGIN and OBJECT, - connection between our present conduct and our future declaring itself to be a Divine revelation, in which destiny, is in perfect accordance with the constitution of God is made known to us, in order that he may be nature and the order of providence-as manifested in honoured in the restoration of our fallen race to purity the punishments and rewards which even now follow and happiness.
virtue and vice, in their effects upon men's physical and Whilst no one can deny that it is possible for the Creator mental constitution and outward circumstances-in the to give to his intelligent creatures direct revelations pleasure bestowed or the pains inflicted by consciencerespecting himself and his will, his wisdom and bene in the approbation or contempt of others, and in the retriFolence render it highly probable that he should have butions of domestic and of civil life:-all of which suffimade such communications, if they were necessary. ciently prove that, even in the present degenerate and And, when we consider the deep degradation of millions disordered world, the Divine administration is on the side of heathen in every age and of every form of worship of the righteous; and amply justify the conclusion that, compare Rom. i. 18-32 with ancient histories and mo as this book declares, virtue, militant here, will be den missionary records)—the dismal uncertainty of the triumphant hereafter; and that the first-fruits of God's greatest pagan philosophers respecting the attributes and moral government which are perceptible now are the purpses of God, and the nature and destinies of the sure signs of its future perfection in the world to come. human race (compare Acts xvii. with Plato's Phædon 4. The plan of salvation which it reveals, through the and Cicero's Treatise De Natura Deorum) - and the mediation of the Son of God, is altogether beyond the entire failure of all modern theorists, though borrowing limits of human invention or conjecture; while, at the much from revelation, to construct any system affording same time, it affords a matchless display of holiness adequate motives to self-improvement, or sufficient con and love in indissoluble union, which fully accords with solation under inevitable suffering - we must be con our most enlightened notions of the Divine attributes, vinced that it was essential to the well-being of man that and can easily be conceived to produce effects upon the God should so speak to him.
welfare and happiness of the whole universe far beyond Now the Bible expressly and repeatedly claims to be our present powers of knowledge or comprehension. the word of God--the only and complete written revelation And not less does the wonderful adaptation of this of the Divine will. In proof that it is so, we observe, scheme of mercy to the condition of man prove that it
1. Its numerous books, written in different ages and proceeded from the Author of his nature; for it meets countries by men of different ranks and classes —shep- all the exigencies of the case--awakening conscience berds, fishermen, priests, warriors, statesmen, kings-all and satisfying its demands—supplying motives to holihave one great subject; and, amidst numerous diversitiesness of irresistible force - providing influences fully of form, style, and manner of thought, are pervaded by adequate to the moral renovation of every human being, the same ideas, which are gradually developed, with no whatever be his character, condition, or circumstances real contradictions, yet with such circumstantial varia and giving solid peace to the mind; as is remarkably tions as disprove the possibility of collusion; clearly illustrated by the fact that no instance is on record, or showing that one mind, through more than fifteen hun can be produced, of any sincere believer in the religion dred years, must have been engaged upon it.
of the Bible who, in the prospect of dissolution, ever 2. The description which it gives of man's state, however repented of his faith. opposed to his self-flattering views, exactly accords with 5. The moral teachings of the Bible, which fully accord what he sees passing around him and within him ; 80 with the fainter light of natural religion, bespeak its that the more closely any one scrutinizes the thoughts, Divine origin. The religion which it reveals is spiritual desires, and motives of his own heart, the more will he be and holy, requiring universal moral rectitude, and exeavinced that the Bible proceeds from One who knows tending to the inward principles and motives of human all the hidden secrets of his heart, and gives a far more conduct--not overlooking the outward forms, but valuing accurate account of his disposition and character than he them only as they are expressions of the internal spirit; himself could have done:-while the representation which unlike all human religions, which have respect to the garb it contains of the character of God, being altogether unlike and manners of piety rather than to its heart and soul. and infinitely superior to any ideas of Him which fallen | Among numberless illustrations of the moral dignity of
the Bible may be instanced its truthfulness and its good- | the Saviour; and the complete subordination of all that Dess :—its truthfulness, as seen in the fearless exhibition is merely personal, national, or temporary, to the higher of truths the most unwelcome to human selfishness, pride, interests of universal and eternal truth and goodness. and prejudices—its candid forewarnings of the trials and It should also be remembered, that if this volume be sufferings incident to true piety in the present world— not a revelation from heaven, there is no other document and its faithful delineation of good men, whom it nowhere in the world which can substantiate its pretension to be describes as perfect, although it presents them as sincere, such; so that we are left in darkness as to the origin or holy, and devoted disciples of a perfect system of truth the destiny of the human race, the whole history of the and duty;--and its goodness, as manifested in the spirit world is unexplained, and man himself, with all his noble of love and kindness which breathes through every part powers and endowments, will appear to have existed in of this book-its solicitude for the young-its sympathy for the poor, the oppressed, and the suffering-and its | Such are a few of the reasons which are sufficient to benevolent regard for classes of the human family whom satisfy every honest inquirer that the Scriptures are not a every other system of religion overlooks and despises. merely human production, but given by inspiration of
6. Another evidence of the truth of Scripture is found God.' But a practical belief of the gospel usually rests in its perfect agreement with personal experience. It upon more simple grounds even than these. A man who declares, for example, that the fruit of righteousness is has just views of the character of God, and of himself, will 'quietness and assurance for ever'--that sincere believing accept the Saviour here offered to him, just as a drowning prayer to God is ever answered, either in the bestowment man will lay hold of the arm that is stretched out to draw of the blessing asked, or of some greater-that obedience him to the shore; and, in proportion as the heart and to the Divine precepts is followed by inward joy, even conduct are influenced by these doctrines, will the underthough it may lead to outward suffering ;-in a word, standing be opened to perceive their perfect fitness, unit describes the history and experience of all Christians, questionable truth, and surpassing glory. and, with no less accuracy, those of the ungodly; and the description, in each case, is found to be true. The By the DIVINE INSPIRATION of the Scriptures, we mean Bible is thus incessantly proving itself to be the word of such a complete and immediate communication, by the unerring and ever-living truth.
Holy Spirit, to the minds of the sacred writers, of those 7. The effects of the Bible upon those who believe it things which could not have been otherwise known, and are such as no other book was ever known to produce;- such an effectual superintendence as to those particulars altering entirely the character and conduct, producing concerning which they might otherwise obtain informaeminent virtue, supplying extraordinary consolation, and tion, as sufficed absolutely to preserve them from every especially giving birth to expansive and self-denying degree of error in all things which could, in the least benevolence. So that if a person of entire impartiality, degree, affect any of the doctrines or precepts contained of sound mind and holy disposition, should be shown the in their writings..... They wrote, indeed, in such language two companies of those who have received and those who as their different talents, educations, habits, and associahave rejected the Scriptures; and should compare the tions suggested or rendered natural to them, but the seriousness, learning, patient investigation of truth, solid Holy Spirit so entirely superintended them, when writing, judgment, holy lives, and composure in a dying hour, as to exclude every improper expression, and to guide without unmanly terror or indecent levity, of the one them to all those which best suited their several subcompany, with the character and conduct of the other, jeots.'--Scott. See 1 Cor. ii. 13. he would be induced to take up the Bible with profound veneration, and the strongest prepossession in its favour.' Although some apocryphal writings have raised ques-Scott. It has also widely diffused a vastly beneficial tions respecting the CANON OF SCRIPTURE, it is not very influence wherever it has been known; improving the difficult to ascertain what books are properly included in moral and social state of the world to such a degree as to the volume of Revelation. As regards the Old Testament, make its own accounts of the depravity of former times, we have the testimony of our Lord, in numerous inthough corroborated by many ancient writers, and by the stances, to tho collection of sacred writings in use in his existing practices of the dark parts of the earth, appear days among the Jews; and he expressly mentions the almost incredible; while all other professed revelations three parts of which it consisted, according to the division have not only proved utterly worthless for the purpose of made at that time--the Law, the Prophets, and the ameliorating the condition, or reforming the character of Psalms, Luke xxiv. 44-46. And from the New Testathose who have most heartily received them, but have ment writers, from Josephus and other contemporaries, we cherished and called into action the most depraved prin learn the names of the books of which that collection was ciples of the human heart.
composed. The Law included the five books of Moses. To these might be added (beside the whole body of The Prophets consisted of two parts: the one, called 'the external evidences) many other marks of moral beauty | former prophets,' comprising the historical books, to the and Divine wisdom in the word of God: its variety com end of 2 Kings; the other, called the latter prophets, bined with its unity; its brevity, and yet its inexhaustible containing all the prophetical books except Daniel. And fulness; the consistency and harmony which exist be the third division, which was called the Psalms, because tween its several portions, as seen in the mutual rela those Divine poems stood first in it, and also named the tions of the Old and New Testaments--the mutual con *Writings,' comprehended all the rest. It is probable nections of the historical, poetical, and didactic books that the collection was made by Ezra (see note at the end of the exact correspondence of the types under the law with Ezra); and that after his time, his own book, with those of the substance under the gospel, and of predictions in the Nehemiah and Malachi, were added. Since then, the prophets with their fulfilment in the person and work of Jews have guarded with the utmost jealousy the Oracles of God' committed to them; and we have the evidence as applied to the whole, is supposed to have been first of early translators, and of Josephus, a priest and leader used in this sense in about the fifth century. of his nation, that precisely the same books as now bear the name of the Old Testament, were regarded by them The ORIGINAL LANGUAGES of the Bible are Hebrew, as alone possessing religious authority.
Chaldee, and Greek. The Old Testament was written in The names given to the Old Testament in the New are Hebrew, excepting a few portions which, from particular * Scripture,' or 'the Scriptures,' or 'the Holy Scriptures' circumstances, were in the cognate Chaldee dialect. See (2 Pet i. 20; Matt. xxi. 42; Rom. i. 2); "the Sacred Dan. ii. 4-vii. 28; Ezra iv. 8-vi. 18; vii. 12-26. The Writings' (2 Tim. iii. 15); the Law;' or 'the Law books of Moses exist in two forms. Beside the ordinary and the Prophets ;' or, the Law, the Prophets, and the Hebrew text, there is also the Samaritan Pentateuch, Pealms" (John xü. 34; Luke xxiv. 44).
which was in use among the mixed population who inThe genuineness of every book in the New Testament habited the kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the is established by a great variety of historical, critical, Assyrians, composed of the remnant of the poorer classes and internal proofs. Besides the evidence afforded by left in the country by Shalmaneser, and of the heathen their contents, there is express and positive testimony, colonists introduced by him (see 2 Kings xvii. 24–41); sa the part of both friends and enemies, that these books and who, in consequence of their political hostility to the were written by the apostles of Jesus Christ and their Jews, acknowledged only the writings of Moses. The date fellow.labourers. Indeed, there are no other ancient at which this Hebræo-Samaritan text had its origin is works the origin and age of which can be established by uncertain; it being ascribed by some to a period shortly 50 many trustworthy witnesses living at or near the time after the division of the two kingdoms, and by others to when they were written. They were received with the a date subsequent to the Assyrian captivity. This peatest respect by the first churches, many of which text, though inferior in value to the Hebrew, is useful had among themselves individuals competent, from their as affording confirmation or correction of it from an ino personal knowledge and experience, to judge of dependent authority. the credibility of the facts related in them; copies of All the authors of the New Testament appear to have then were multiplied and dispersed, as the boundaries written in the Greek language. That this was already of the Christian church were extended; and in every familiar to them as a vehicle of their religious thoughts age, from that time to the present, they have been pub- and feelings, is evident from their frequent use of the bely and solemnly read in the assemblies of Christians Greek translation called the Septuagint, in quoting the throughout the world. Wherever the Christian faith was Old Testament, and from the remarkable accordance of received, these books were acknowledged as the word of their style with the style of that ancient version. This God; were quoted and appealed to by persons of different language was also peculiarly suitable for this important sects and parties among Christians, as the standard of purpose, as being at that time almost universally known truth; and were explained and illustrated in numerous and used in the most civilized parts of the world. commentaries and expositions from the first centuries of the Christian era. And while there was this general In the PRESERVATION OF THE SACRED TEXT through concurrence of testimony respecting the books now re- many dark and troubled periods, the gracious hand of an ceived as canonical, there was no less agreement in ever-watchful Providence may be clearly seen. Among
exelading all other books professing to have similar many remarkable circumstances which contributed greatly | Euthority.
to this end, may be mentioned the speedy multiplication At what period the writings of the New Testament of copies, the early execution of accurate translations, were first collected together cannot be stated with cer and the introduction of very extensive quotations from i tainty. As this collection took its rise from the com the books of the New Testament in the writings of the manication of its apostolic writings by one church to early Fathers, which now, from their abundance and another, the great distances which separated them, and their agreement with each other, form one principal
other circumstances which rendered mutual intercourse criterion for the settlement of the text. As, for nany i dificult, would necessarily cause some churches to pos- ages, until the invention of printing, the Scriptures were
sess certain Scriptures earlier than others. Hence their handed down in written copies, there exist, as might be collections of sacred writings must at first have been expected, literal and verbal variations between the difdifferent, and must have remained so for a longer or ferent ancient manuscripts. In later times, an incalcushorter time, according to their different situations. But, lable amount of learning and industry has been applied notwithstanding the great difficulty of multiplying copies to the investigation and settlement of the text; the various in an age when there was no quicker method of produc authorities have been completely sifted ; and the most ing them than by writing every letter with the pen, it minute care and attention have been employed in coll appears that the numerous Christian churches founded in all the existing manuscript copies and ancient versions ;-the first century, as well as many private individuals, and the result is, that the Sacred Books are cleared from were possessed of the sacred writings. As early as the every cloud of doubt respecting their authenticity. All the sond century, a collection of the Christian Scriptures omissions in the ancient manuscripts put together would vas in general use, consisting of two volumes, under the not countenance the rejection of one essential doctrine of names of the Gospels' and 'the Apostles ;' and subse- the gospel relative to faith or morals; and all the addi. quently, in about the third century, the complete volume tions countenanced by the whole mass of manuscripts troeived the title of the New Testament,' or rather which have been collated, do not introduce a single essen'New Covenant,' in contradistinction to the preceding tial point which is not found in the most imperfect verboks, which are called by St. Paul (2 Cor. iii. 14) the sions. Thus the greatest discrepancies that can be found Old Covenant.' The name BIBLE ( Biblia,' i.e. books), leave untouched the ground of faith and the rule of life.
TRANSLATIONS both of the Hebrew and of the Greek | extreme costliness of copies before the invention of printScriptures were early made into various languages. The ing, and by the severe punishments, amounting even to most important of these are, (1.) The Septuagint, which death, to which any person having it in his possession is the name given to a Greek version (already mentioned) was liable, it became an engine of wonderful power, and of the whole of the Old Testament, made about 280 years contributed greatly to prepare the way for the happy before the Christian era, at Alexandria in Egypt, for the changes which afterwards took place. Wiclif also wrote numerous Jews who used the Greek language. It was much in vindication of the right of the common people called the Septuagint (i. e. seventy) probably because the to have the Scriptures in their own tongue. seventy or rather seventy-two elders of the Alexandrian For the first printed copy of a portion of the Scriptures sanhedrim are said to have examined and approved the in English we are indebted to William Tyndale. Unable work. This translation is, on the whole, rather free than to accomplish his great enterprise at home, he went to literal; and having been executed by different persons, it the continent, first to Cologne, then to Worms, and afteris of various degrees of excellence : but as the most ancient wards to Antwerp; and there made his version of the version of the entire Old Testament, made by learned Jews New Testament, not, as former English translators had at a period long anterior to the date of our oldest existing done, from the Latin Vulgate, but from the original Greek. Hebrew manuscripts, it is of important service in the It was printed in Holland to the extent of thirteen editions establishment of the text, as well as in the elucidation of in the course of about ten years; the greater portion of the Scriptures. It is very frequently quoted in the New which were imported secretly into this country, where they Testament. (2.) The Samaritan version of the five books were soon circulated far and wide, and produced great of Moses, which closely follows the Samaritan text, pre- and lasting results; so that, in the convocation of 1536, viously referred to, though the translator appears to have Edward Fox of Hereford declared, that the lay people availed himself of the labours of the Chaldee paraphrast, do now know the Holy Scripture better than many of us.' Onkelos. This version is supposed to have been made in Tyndale also translated from the Hebrew the Pentateuch the first or second century of the Christian era. (3.) The and the book of Jonah, which were in a similar manner
Ancient Syriac version both of the Old and New Testa- brought over and largely circulated here; the latter book ments, called the Peshito (i. e. 'simple' or 'single'-mean- having prefixed to it a long, bold, and seasonable warning ing literal, or free from glosses), and which was made in the to all England; and he had made very considerable profirst century of the Christian era. This version is faithfully gress in the translation of the rest of the Old Testament, translated, in a pure, easy, and vigorous style, and when he was seized by the Romish emissaries at Antwerp, has been found of important use in interpretation, es- and put to death at Vilvorde, near Brussels, in the year pecially in the New Testament. (4.) The Vulgate, 1536. But, happily, his manuscripts were saved, and which is the name applied to the Latin translation came into the possession of his intimate friend and fellowof the Bible used in the Western church. Several Latin labourer, John Rogers (afterwards the first sufferer at translations were made in the first ages of the Christian | Smithfield in Mary's reign), who proceeded with the church; and by the revision of these, Jerome, towards work; and in the year 1537 the whole Bible, with prothe end of the fourth century, formed that which is | logues and annotations, was printed, having the letters now called the Vulgate, which subsequently came into W. T., in large flourished text capitals, placed at the end general use in the Latin church, and is of considerable of the Old Testament, to mark the very large share which value in Biblical criticism. (5.) The Targums, or Chaldee Tyndale's labours had contributed to that portion of the versions and paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures, which volume; and with an exhortation to the study of the appear to have been made when the Jews began to lose Bible,' signed J. R. ; thus pointing out Rogers as the their acquaintance with Hebrew as a living or spoken editor. For the purpose of concealment, the fictitious language; having, during their long exile in Babylon, name of Thomas Matthew' was put upon it; and hence become familiar with the dialect which was there spoken, it became known as Matthew's Bible. It was printed and which they brought with them upon their return to somewhere on the continent, but where cannot be ascertheir own land. These are of different degrees of value. tained with certainty, and thence imported into England, The two oldest and best are that of Onkelos on the In the mean time Coverdale's Bible had been printed Pentateuch, and that of Jonathan on Joshua, Judges, at Zurich, in 1535, which professed in the title-page to Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve have been faithfully, translated out of the Doutche minor prophets. These were certainly made before A. D. (German) and Latyn:' but it was soon superseded by 300, and probably about or shortly before the time of our Tyndale's superior version, which became the basis of all Lord. Their chief use is in throwing light upon the subsequent editions of the English Bible. meaning of words, and upon Jewish ceremonies, customs, After these there appeared (1) the Great Bible, which and laws.
was a revision of Tyndale's version. This was commenced There are also ancient translations in the Gothic, by Coverdale at Paris in 1538; but the printing being Georgian, Armenian, Ethiopic, Slavonic, and other lan | interrupted there by an order of the Inquisition, the guages.
sheets, types, presses, and workmen were brought to Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors had translations, more or London, where the work was finished, and published in less valuable, of different parts of the Bible, by Adhelm, 1539 by royal license : and, through Cranmer's influence, Bede, king Alfred, and others. The Anglo-Norman period an order was made that the clergy should provide 'one also furnished rhyming paraphrases of portions of the book of the whole Bible of the largest volume in English Scriptures. But to John Wiclif belongs the honour of to be set up in the churches.' 'It was wonderful,' says first making a version of the whole Bible into English, Strype, to see with what joy the book was received, which he probably completed about A. D. 1380 : and al- | not only among the learneder sort, and those that were though its circulation was greatly restricted, both by the noted for lovers of the Reformation, but generally all