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taste and his own fancy. Where would have been that condensed and expressive brevity which is nowhere else to be met with in the whole

compass

of literature ? How else could the record of such a number of centuries have been given at once so briefly and yet so comprehensively ? What would have been our security, that, in such an infinite diversity of topics, the most pertinent would have been selected; and those which are best adapted to the purposes of a revelation ? That there should be such a keeping between the parts of this vast and varied miscellany—that altogether it should be confined within dimensions so moderate, that, instead of swelling out into an unmanageable size, this record of thousands of years should, though not a meagre chronicle of events but a vivid and interesting narrative abounding throughout in touches of graphic delineation, should, nevertheless, have all been comprised within the limits of a pocket volume—there must have been a management here beyond the wisdom of man, and far more beyond it in the historical, than in the didactic parts of the composition. There must have been one presiding intellect that foresaw all, and over-ruled all for the random concurrence of such a number of authors could never have terminated in such a unique and wondrous combination -insomuch that it holds more emphatically true of the historical than of the doctrinal in the Old Testament, that “whatever things were written aforetime were written for our admonition, on whom the latter ends of the world have come.”

23. This consideration is insisted on with great strength and judgment by Mr. Haldane, in his pamphlet on Inspiration; and at still greater length, in a way too we think exceedingly striking, by Joseph Cottle in the second volume of a miscellaneous work entitled, “ Malvern Hills with Minor Poems and Essays." The following are copious extracts from one of those essays, being an “Argument in favour of Christianity deduced from the size of the Bible.” The whole argument which is admirably put is well worthy of perusal. “When an uninspired man undertakes to write an important history, entering often into detail, of incident, description, and delineation, the work necessarily becomes extended. But, when mighty events are recorded; the rise and fall of states; the lives of warriors and kings; the principles that regulated their conduct; the aggressions of neighbouring potentates; with all the results and. changes which arose from conquest or subjugation; the boldest reader is appalled at the probable accumulation of pages.

If this writer has to describe also his own country and ancestors, under all the impressions of personal and national feeling, the temptation to amplify becomes still more imperative: and to what a magnitude might a work be supposed to extend, which was to comprise the labours not only of two or three such writers, but a long succession of them, through many generations ? Now the Bible is this extraordinary book, and it is not only totally dissimilar to all others in its nature and execution, but is equally contradistinguished by the rarely-combined qualities of comprehension and succinctness. The transactions referred to are grand beyond comparison. The writers related occurrences which excited a supreme interest in their minds. They were personally, as well as relatively, connected with the circumstances recorded. Many of them narrated their own exploits, as well as the exploits referable to anterior ages. The multifarious writers consisted of historians, legislators, biographers, moralists, poets, and prophets. The periods described, present a matchless assemblage of important events; the creation ; the fall; the antediluvian corruption of man; the deluge; the confusion of tongues; the origin of all the great monarchies of the earth; the lives of the patriarchs, entering often into the minutest statements; their wonderful escape from famine ; the call of a particular people; (springing from the patriarchs, in whom was preserved, amid universal polytheism, the knowledge of the one Living and True God ;) their ultimate bondage and miraculous preservation; their wandering, for forty years, through the desert; the giving of the moral and ceremonial law; the establishment of the same people in Canaan, where they were sustained for fifteen hundred years, till the coming of Christ, while all the great dynasties by which they were surrounded, successively crumbled away ;-the Babylonish; the Assyrian; the Persian ; the Egyptian; and the Grecian. To these events must be added, the expulsion of numerous idolatrous long-established, and powerful nations of Palestine ; the reigns of an extensive succession of monarchs, in two different lines, under whom the grandest and most complex

transactions occurred which could pertain to so limited a region, including the destruction of Zion and its magnificent temple; the captivity of a whole people for twenty years; their ultimate redemption, with the rebuilding of their city and the temple of “their Great King. At length, in the fulness of time, the Saviour of the world appeared, in whom a thousand predictions all centred. His birth and ancestry are narrated, with many incidental occurrences. His sermons are given ; his precepts; his important actions; his miracles, and his prophecies. To this are subjoined his arraignment at the bar of Pilate; an account of the indignities which he endured; his patient sufferings; his death, and his resurrection. To all this are added, the lives and travels of his Apostles; the establishment of the first Christian churches, with a narrative of individual and general persecutions; twentyone Apostolical epistles; a voyage abounding with striking incidents; and the whole concluding with a series of the sublimest Revelations; yet this diversified mass of materials is concentrated into a compass which a finger might suspend, and a wayfaring man can read !” “ All must feel that a few words added to, or subtracted from, many of the precepts, or parables of our Redeemer, would have jarred, and brought down the whole, comparatively, to a human level; but they stand at present in a sacred investment of language, which, if they (with the other scriptures) were not guarded by the plagues which are written in this book,' none would dare to violate. To furnish an additional example of the brevity contained in scrip

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ture, it may be remarked, what an extent of condensed meaning appears in the explanation which Christ gave of his parable of the end of the world · • He that soweth the good seed, is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them, is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels.' In the attenuated thread of ordinary composition, what space would not have been occupied by this, and many other brief specimens of Biblical narrative.” “ But to recur, finally, to the size of the Bible.' With such strong inducements to expatiate, in the respective writers, had it not been for an over-ruling Providence, in restraining their natural dispositions, a hundred folio volumes could scarcely have contained so vast a depository as the sacred volume. In this case, for all practical purposes, it must have become nearly a sealed book; independently of the impossibility which would have existed, in a manuscript age, of disseminating copies sufficient to guard against the ravages of time, or to allow three transcripts to the whole world.

This compression must be viewed as one of the most striking of the scripture miracles.” “ Jesus Christ, instead of preparing this well-digested statement of his actions, doctrines, and miracles, never wrote one word! Instead of selecting historians to record his life, from among the learned, and the refined, he chose rather for his coadjutors, and biographers, illiterate fishermen! Instead of providing for the future, and

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