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never been disputed, and of the truth of the latter we are furnished with abundant proofs in the writings of Christian Fathers and Jewish Rabbins. Hence, then, it follows that for a period of more than eighteen centuries the best possible security against a joint fraud has existed in the irreconcileable enmity which has subsisted between the two parties ; both of whom have nevertheless preserved, with the most religious care, the books of the Old Testament, and appealed with confidence to the writings of the Prophets in particular, as affording the strongest corroboration of their respective notions concerning the character and offices of the Messiah.
The Jews, it is true, have sometimes been charged by Christian writers with having corrupted their prophetical books, and the charge has been maintained with great ingenuity and learning by Whiston and Dr. Henry Owen. A summary of the arguments used by these and other writers, who have embraced the same view of the question, may be seen in “Gerard's Institutes of Biblical Criticism.”+ From a review of these arguments, however, allowing them all the weight and importance which their advocates are disposed to claim for them, it appears that the alleged corruptions consist only of slight alterations in the text, and do not by any means affect the credit due to the prophetical books generally. The shape in which these books have been transmitted to us is precisely that in which they were received by Jews and Christians nearly two thousand years ago. Amidst all the differences of opinion which have existed as to the interpretation of them, and their application to particular persons and events, no writer of any celebrity has ever thought of calling their authenticity in question, or of assigning the composition of any one of them to a later period than that in which its reputed author lived, with the solitary exception of the book of Daniel ; and the grounds upon which the authenticity and credibility of this book have been disputed are of too singular a nature to pass entirely without notice.
The prophecies of Daniel extend through a long period of history, and point out in the most clear and distinct manner the fall of successive kingdoms, upon the ruins of which the kingdom of the Messiah was to be erected. They contain, however, such particular allusions respecting place and time, and correspond so exactly with the events to which they refer, that Porphyry, a heathen writer of the third century, and a great enemy of the Jewish and Christian religions, not being able to resist the evidence which they supplied in favour of Divine Revelation, was led to regard them as historical narratives, written after the events of which they contain such a minute and particular outline. This Porphyry was the author of a work, consisting of fifteen books, which had for its object a refutation of the arguments usually urged in defence of Judaism and Christianity; and the twelfth of these books was expressly directed against the authenticity and credibility of the book of Daniel.' The prophecies relating to the Persian and Macedonian kings were 50 exactly accomplished, that he found it impossible, in any other way, to overcome the difficulties which they presented. He compared them with the writings of the best Greek historians, and attempted to shew, that they corresponded so exactly with the events, as related by these writers, that they could not possibly have been written prior to the events themselves. He denied, therefore, that the book which goes under the name of Daniel was written by the Daniel who flourished during the Babylonish captivity, and contended that it was the production of another Daniel, who lived in the
See Whiston's “Essay towards restoring the true Text of the 0. T.,” Pro.. position 12; and Owen's is Enquiry into the present State of the Septuagint Version of the 0. T.," Sect. 2–9.
† Part II. Chap. I. Sect. II. $ 740.
time of Antiochus Epiphanes. He maintained also, that the part relating to the times preceding the reign of Antiochus was true, but that all which had a reference to any period subsequent to this was false. The main reason assigned by Porphyry for this sweeping charge against the book of Daniel, is, that its author could not have known what was to take place in futurity, quia futura nescierit ; * and truly this summary argument might, without fear of contradiction, be pronounced unanswerable, if it could be proved that a revelation of future events is impossible. With the aid of a concession like this, it would not be difficult to subvert the whole fabric of revelation, by undermining the authority and credit due to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the rest of the prophets, as well as Daniel. Let it be taken for granted that the Deity bas laid down a plan, from which it is not in his own power to deviate, and there is no inference, however wide of the truth, to which the admission might not lead. As long as the Unbeliever does no more than complain of the darkness and obscurity of the predictions contained in the Sacred Writings, and the difficulty of tracing out their accomplishment with any degree of exactness, there is some prospect of bringing the general question to a satisfactory issue one way or the other, hy mutual concessions and explanations; but when the possibility of a divine revelation of future events is denounced as an absurdity, argument ceases to be of any avail.
At the beginning of the last century the objections of Porphyry were revived by the celebrated Anthony Collins, in an anonymous work, entitled, “ The Scheme of Literal Prophecy considered,” and were ably refuted by Chandler in "A Vindication of the Antiquity and Authority of Daniel's Prophecies;" to which “Vindication” the reader who is anxious to obtain further information on the subject may be referred. The objections of the Schematist, which were eleven in number, received separate answers from the pen of the Dissenting divine, who subjoined eight arguments to prove the antiquity of the book of Daniel, and critical remarks upon three of the most interesting passages contained in the prophetical parts of that book; viz. ii. 44, 45; vii. 13, 14; ix. 24–27.
This long digression concerning the book of Daniel having, in some measure, cleared the way for a more profitable discussion of the general question, let us now proceed to adduce the testimonies by which the authenticity and credibility of the whole of the prophetical writings may be proved. These testimonies may be conveniently arranged under the six following beads, which will carry us back, step by step as it were, to the very period in which some of the books in question were published:
1. The Jewish Talmud. 2. The Works of the Christian Fathers. 3. The Writings of Philo and Josephus. 4. The Books of the New Testament. 5. The Alexandrine or Septuagint Version. 6. The Books of the Old Testament. '1. The Talmud is a collection of ancient Jewish traditions, consisting of two parts, called the Mishna and the Gemara. The Mishna contains the text, and the Gemara the commentary. The former is said to have been compiled in the second century, by Rabbi Jehudah Hakkadosh. It is sometimes called the Talmud of Jerusalem, and sometimes the Talmud of Babylon, according to the commentary which is annexed to it; one of these commentaries having been supplied by the Jews of Judæa, and the other,
S. Hieronymi Opera, Colon. 1616, Tom. IV. p. 495, Proæm, in Lib. Comment. Danielis.
after the expulsion of the Jews from that country, by those of Babylon. These Talmudical writings contain all the books of the prophets, though not in precisely the same order in which they stand in our English Bibles ;-a circumstance which it will be necessary to explain by observing, that the Talmudical doctors divided the books of the Old Testament into the three following classes: (1) the Law, called 7 7in, containing the five books of Moses; (2) the Prophets, called 'N'?), which were subdivided into two parts, the former containing the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and the laiter those of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve minor prophets; and (3) the remaining books, called D'ain, containing Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Lamentations, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah in one book, and Chronicles, and amounting in all to twenty-four books. In most of the Talmudical writings an inferior rank is assigned to Daniel, partly in consequence of a fanciful notion which prevailed among the ancient Jewish doctors that prophecies were never committed to writing out of Judæa, and partly on account of the high estimation in which the early Christians held that book and the use which they made of it in their controversies with the Jews. These Talmudists say, that Daniel lived in the Babylonish court in a style of magnificence inconsistent with the simplicity of the prophetical character, and that the medium through which future events were made known to him was inferior to the other modes of revelation specified by God in his address to Aaron and Miriam (Num. xii. 6—8); bat they admit that the Daniel who is mentioned by Ezekiel, (xiv. 14, xxvin. 3,) and who flourished during the Babylonish captivity, was favoured with divine communications, and that he was the author of the book which is inserted in the Jewish canon under his name.
2. Among the Christian Fathers none devoted so much attention to the sody of the Jewish Scriptures, and none, therefore, are so competent to give evidence on the present question, as Origen and Jerome.-Origen was at the trouble of collating the copies and correcting the text of the Septuagint Version, a work of great labour and inestimable value; and Jerome, in like manner, undertook the revision of the old Latin versions of the Jewish Scriptures, and afterwards executed, with great ability, a complete version of the Old Testament into Latin. Both these fathers published catalogues of the books of the Old Testament. That of Origen is preserved by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, and that of Jerome forms the substance of the celebrated Prologus Galeatus, || generally prefixed to our modern copies of the Vulgate. Jerome, who took great pains to make his collection, adopts the threefold division of the Talmudists, but makes the whole number of books twenty-two, to correspond with the number of letters in the Jewish alphabet. The order in which he mentions the later prophets differs likewise in a slight degree from that of the Talmud, and is as follows: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. The book of Daniel is placed by Jerome among the Chetubim or Hagiographa; but his catalogue embraces all the prophetical books. Origen placez Daniel before Ezekiel, and, according to our present copies of Eusebius, omits the book containing the writings of the twelve minor prophets. This, however, must be a mis
Marsh's Lectures, Part II. p. 128, and Butler's Horæ Biblicæ, Vol. I. pp. 10–12. † Bara Bathra, fol. 13, 14, ed. Venet. 1548. See Eichhorn's Einleitung in das A. T. Band I. $ 56.
Yet Daniel is reckoned among the Prophets in some Talmudical books. Vide Slailla, cap. ii. Jacchiades in Dan. i. 17. Gray's Key to the 0. T., Dublin ed. 1792,
Lib. vi, cap. XXV.
# Hieron, Op. Tom. III. p. 287.
take on the part of Eusebius himself or his transcriber, because, at the commencement of the quotation, Origen makes the number of books twenty-two, whereas, in the catalogue itself, he enumerates no more than twenty-one.
To the testimony of Origen and Jerome may be added that of Melito, Bishop of Sardis, of whom little is known among modern readers except the name, but who, nevertheless, stood high in the estimation of those who lived near his own times, and whose evidence in the present question is particuJarly valuable, his catalogue of the books of the Old Testament being more ancient than that of any other Christian writer upon record. Melito is placed by Cave in the year of our Lord 170, and is mentioned with honourable distinction by Jerome, in his “Catalogue of Illustrious Writers," and by Eusebius, in the fourth book of his Ecclesiastical History. * His information respecting the canon of the Old Testament was collected during a journey into the East, of which he gives the following account in the preface to one of his works consisting of short extracts from the Law and the Prophets: “ When I went into the East, and was upon the spot where these things were formerly preached and done, I procured an accurate account of the books of the Old Testament, a catalogue of which I have here subjoined and sent to you. There names are these Here he proceeds to specify the names of the books, and, although his catalogue differs in one or two minute particulars from that which is given in our common English Bibles, it contains all the prophetical books included in the present Jewish canon, which it enumerates in the following order: Isaiah, Jeremiah, the twelve minor prophets, Daniel, and Ezekiel.
W. (To be continued.)
LINES ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY.
Hath never yet glanc'd on;
Her pure, pure soul is gone !
Her angel form and look
And too much of heav'n partook.
Her embassy is o'er;
She has gain'd her native shore;
weep not, ye who are left behind;
The friend for whom ye sigh
The heavenly world on high!
J. C. W.
ON THE STATE OF RELIGIOUS PARTIES IN ENGLAND, The Dissenters of England constitute the most important body of Protestant dissidents from an Established Religion that is now to be found in the world. There is, probably, an equal number of persons holding the like faith, observing similar rites and united in nearly the same discipline, in the United States of North America: these are, indeed, from the old English Dissenting stock : they occupy the same position that is maintained by the Dissenters of England relatively to their fellow-christians; but they stand in a very different relation to their country, which is to them “ a nursing mother," while England is to her Dissenting population a hard and jealous stepmother. This feature in the character of the mother country, unpleasant as it is, makes the English Dissenters of more consequence in the State than the same number of Churchmen, or than a much greater number of persons living under an impartial government. They derive no importance, however, from their ancient families, or from the rank and titles of their members. Nobility is extinct amongst the Protestant Dissenters. One of the sons of nearly the last Dissentiog Peer, Lord Barrington, lately died in the princely see of Durham, which he had held for five and thirty years. The last nobleman, we believe, that made an avowal of Nonconformity, was the Lord Willoughby, of Parham. One or two may yet remain who are occasionally seen, preserving their incognito, in the meeting-house. In the last generation it was by no means uncommon for both Scottish and Irish peers to join the worship of Dissenters in England; their children are politically wiser, and do not suffer religion to stand in the way of the objects in pursuit of which they visit the Metropolis.* Some few baronets are said to finger on the Dissenting threshold. Two of them in our own day have scended Nonconformist pulpits. The families of these semi-nobles soon find that they are not at home in the conventicle; and the unsuitable connexion is gradually loosened, and is dropped as soon as the dissolution of early friendships will allow it to expire with decency.f The same descriptin applies to country gentlemen.' With a few honourable exceptions, the Owners of large estates and manors have sunk away from the Dissenters and settled down into quiet conformity. Nonconformity, then, is not to be estimated by acres. On the other hand, commerce and manufactures have poured their full proportion of wealth into the Dissenting community, amongst which
be pointed out the merchants that are princes, and the
* This change, or at least dismission, of a religious profession, according to local convenience, is said not to be confined to this class of persons. Gentlemen from the l'nited States of America, who boast of their descent from the Pilgrims, and make a figure at home in churches framed upon the liberal Dissenting model, are seldom known on visiting England to shew any preference for Dissenting worship, of eren Dissenting society. Some of them have, notwithstanding, thought themzelres qualified on their return to describe, for the iv formation, if not the gratificatiou, of their countrymen and brethren, the character of our Dissenters.-Nay, we have heard Unitarian pastors complain that the more opulent menibers of their churches sonetimes put in abeyance, for three months of the year, the religious priuciples which, at some cost and with no small opprobriuin, they act upon during
+ Electioneering purposes have been heretofore answered by the declared abanconment of the Dissenters on the part of candidates : yet it used to be reported that a certain City Baronet, who was the head and chief of Toryism in the Corporation of London for a great number of years,
sometimes caught a vote by avowing that be was bred a Disseuter and still paid an annual subscription to a meeting-house. ,
the other nive.