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announcing itself to be such by the manner in which it is introduced, as when taken generally from “ scripture," or when said to be a thing already “written;" or, still more specifically, when said to be “written in the prophets ;” or lastly, when said to have been spoken by God Himself, and when what is thus spoken we find to be in the Old Testament.* Over and above these we can, apart from any note of introduction whatever, detect the words of a later writer to have been a quotation, from their close resemblance to the words of an elder one; and lastly the recital of the same historical facts in the more recent, that we find to be narrated in the more ancient scriptures, may be argued for the existence of the earlier record as a creditable document from which the information has been taken; and the more if it be the only record that has come down to us of the history in question. There is a far greater likelihood, that the innumerable consistent allusions to the Jewish history, which are to be found in the later scriptures, were derived from written memorials than from oral tradition-handed down with such uniformity, and with such particularity, and such fulness, through a track of centuries. And we may be sure that the very memorials which furnished the information, would have had infinitely better chance of being transmitted to
“ But now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven," Heb. xii. 26-an undoubted quotation from Haggai ii. 6, though without the mention of its being written at all, either by Haggai or in scripture. It is represented as the voice of “ Him that speaketh from heaven;" and many other instances occur of such virtual, though somewhat disguised quotations. VOL. IV.
later times, than other memorials, which, if not worthy of being consulted, would not be held worthy of being preserved. The credit in which any books were held by the men of a remote age, is our best guarantee for the care wherewith they would be transmitted to their children, and through them onward to the most distant posterity. In other words, the books which gave to the Jews at the time of our Saviour, and for some centuries before, that bistorical knowledge on which they placed their reliance, must be the very books that we have received from their hands; and thus, in the identity of statement between the reputed later and the reputed earlier of these sacred writings, do we find a strong evidence for the reality of the earlier writings. For the full impression of this argument, we must divest ourselves of the rooted and established tendency to view the Bible as one book-it being in truth an aggregate of distinct books, which found a place there only because of the credit and confidence which they enjoyed in ancient times; and on which account, they are entitled to all the greater credit and confidence from us in the present day. Each testimony is just the more valuable, that it is a Bible testimony; and when viewed therefore what each ought to be as an independent testimony, never, may it well be said, have any books had so multitudinous an evidence, and that too evidence of which every ingredient taken separately is of such sterling quality and weight, as the books of the Old Testament. From the days of Moses, each successive period has borne downwards safely and solidly
the memorials of the one that went before it, till all at length reached a firm landing-place, in the consent and testimony of our Saviour and his Apostles—by which the Hebrew canon has been made to repose on the stable basement of all the evidence historical and moral, which can be alleged for the truth of Christianity. The canon of the Old Testament is pillared on a foundation as strong as the credibility of the New.*
48. An investigation of the canon of the Old, forms the best preparative for those investigations which lead to the establishment and vindication of the canon of the New Testament. The materials for this inquiry are to be found in Lardner; and a very good digest of these has been given by Paley in his evidences of Christianity. Jones, with many excellent considerations on the subject, is deficient in his exhibition of the positive evidence for our actual Christian scriptures; and he has bestowed his main strength on the disproof of those spurious or pretended scriptures, which, in the name of gospels or epistles, imposed on the credulity of past ages, and have been alleged by modern infidels, for the purpose of casting a general disparagement and discredit on the Christian religion. His book on the canon of the New Testament is altogether worthy, however, of perusal, by the professional student—while, for the general reader, we would recommend Alexander on the Canon, as
* We do not repeat here, though it be a consideration of the utmost possible strength, the concurrence, on this one point of the identity of their scriptures, between Jews and Christians, who stand fiercely opposed in almost all others,
a good though brief manual upon the subject. It must be obvious from the nature of the case, that the scriptural evidence, which might be alleged in such force and fulness for the canon of the Old, must be very scanty, if it exist at all, for the canon of the New Testament—made up, as it has been, not by successive but by conteinporaneous authors. Their references to the writings of each other can, in these circumstances, scarcely be looked for, however strong and valuable the concurrence of their independent depositions be, in regard to the great and common subject matter of all their writings. There is an undoubted reference in the writings of Peter to those of Paul, with this most important qualification too, that he as good as calls them scriptures; and assigns them co-ordinate rank and authority with the Jewish scriptures. See 2 Peter iii. 16—where, after having introduced the epistles of Paul to the notice of his readers, he complains of those unlearned and unstable, who wrest them, as they did also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. It has also been contended by some, that Paul in Rom. ii. 16, makes a reference to the Gospel of Luke, when speaking of “my gospel.” This is more doubtful. But to evince the great importance of a prior investigation into the canon of the Old, ere we attempt to investigate the canon of the New Testament—to prove, in short, that, even for the object of establishing the authority of the Christian scriptures, the labour of this chapter has not been thrown away-it should be remarked, as an essential steping-stone to the latter inquiry, that our chief argu
ment for the esteem, in which the writings of our evangelists and apostles were held from the earliest days of the church, is, that they are designed by the same title, and that quotations from them are introduced by the same restricted and appropriate phrases, as the more ancient are in the more recent scriptures; and as the Jewish scriptures are, both by Jews and Christians, from the days of the New Testament. It is a mighty circumstance, that Peter should do the same homage to the epistles of Paul that he does to the sacred writings of the Jews, by honouring them with the same title is ngapus—which is tantamount to saying, that the epistles of Paul have as good a title to a place in the Bible, as the Psalms of David or the Prophecies of Isaiah. These titles and peculiar phrases do, in fact, form the great link of communication between the Hebrew and the Christian argument for the canonicity of their respective scriptures; or rather go to identify them both into a common argument.
When we read in the New Testament, or in any Jewish author, that “it is written,” we may expect a quotation from the Hebrew scriptures; and when we read the same words in a Christian father, we may expect a quotation from the Christian scriptures. The latter, in fact, designate the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, and quote from them both in the very same way. The language which the New Testament uses, when signalizing the works of patriarchs and prophets, over all other works, is bequeathed to the fathers of the Christian church ; and they make use of the very same language, by which to