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Moses, we must have an eye continually on the incarnation and death of Christ, to which it continually refers. And to have a proper view of the great atonement made by the sacrifice of our Lord, we must have constant reference to the Mosaic law, where this is shadowed forth. Without this reference, the law of Moses is a system of expensive and burdensome ceremonies, destitute of adequate meaning; and without this entering in of the law, that the offence might abound, to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the frailty of man, and the holiness of God; the gospel of Christ, including the account of his incarnation, preaching, miracles, passion, death, burial, ascension and intercession, would not appear to have a sufficient necessity to explain and justify it. By the law is the knowledge of sin ; and by the gospel its cure! Either, taken separately, will not answer the purpose for which God gave
these astonishing revelations of his justice and his grace.” -(Clarke.)
“ The scope of the writer of this book seems to be, to demonstrate the faithfulness of God, in the full accomplishment of his promises made to the patriarchs, that their children should obtain possession of the land of Canaan. And as, in the New Testament, the land of Canaan is considered as a type of heaven, the trials, conflicts, and victories of the Israelites have been considered as adumbrating the spiritual trials, conflicts, and triumphs of believers in every age of the church.
“And although Joshua, whose courage, piety, and disinterested integrity, are conspicuous throughout his whole history, is not expressly mentioned in the New Testament, as a type of the Messiah, yet he is universally allowed to have been a very eminent one. He bore our Saviour's name, which appellation is given to him in Acts vii. 45, and in Heb. iv. 8. Joshua saved the chosen people of God from their enemies; and Jesus saves his people from their sins.” -(Horne.)
Of the authenticity of this book, we have the strongest proofs that the case will admit. The greater part of it was evidently written immediately after the events recorded in it transpired, while the witnesses were still living, consequently the author's fidelity could be subjected to the test of examination. An appeal is made in it to the book of Jasher, (the upright or righteous,) which, whatever it
may be to us, was well known to the Jews in their day, and was to them a sufficient voucher for the truth of the things contained in the sacred books. Several of the transactions related in this book are recorded or alluded to by other sacred writers. See, for example, Judges xviii. 31, compared with Joshua xviii. 1, and 1 Sam. iii. 21. See also Psalm xliv. 1—3; lxxviii. 55–65; lxviii. 13–15; cxiv. 1–5; Hab. iii. 8—13, compared with Joshua x. 9–11.
Several things related in this book are confirmed by the traditions of heathen nations, of which notice is taken in Allix's Reflections; and the martyr Stephen, and the apostles Paul and James, having quoted from this book as from authentic records, and the Jews, in their day, making no objection, we may be well assured that it makes a part of the canonical scripture, and was “ given by inspiration of God.”
(See Acts vii. 4, 5; xiii. 19, 9; Heb. iv. 8—11;xi. 31, and James ii. 25,
THE BOOK OF JUDGES.
“ This book derives its name from its containing the ecclesiastical and civil history of the Israelites, from the death of Joshua to the high priesthood of of Eli, under the government of the judges. These men were raised up by God out of several tribes, as necessity required, and were endowed with a spirit of wisdom and magnanimity to maintain his rights, and those of his people, and victoriously to vindicate them from the injustice of their oppressors, as well as to restore the purity of his worship, and des fend the law which had been received from Him.
“ This book comprises the history of about three hundred years; and is very properly inserted between those of Joshua and Samuel, as the judges were governors intermediate between Joshua and the kings of Israel. It gives an account of the further conquests of the Israelites, (chap. 1,)—the character of the people of Israel, (chap. 2,)—their captivities, and oppressions ; and deliverances under Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephtha, Jbzan, Elon, Abdon and Samson.”
• The book of Judges," says Dr. Grey," presents us with a lively description of a fluctuating and unsettled nation ; a striking picture of the disorders and dangers which prevailed in a republic* without ma
* Republic is a state governed by representatives elected by the people. The Jewish commonwealth was not much like a republic, at this time.
gistracy; when the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through by-ways;' when few prophets were appointed to control the people, and ' every one did that which was right in his own eyes. It exhibits the contest of true religion with superstition ; displays the beneficial effects that flow from the former, and represents the miseries that flow from the latter." The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has made honorable mention of the names of several of the principal characters mentioned in this book, and of their faith.
In reading the history of the times recorded in this book, it is necessary to bear in mind, that the Judges frequently acted under a divine impulse, and were endowed with supernatural courage and strength; if this be lost sight of, it will be impossible to justify their conduct on many occasions ; but the sanction of a divine warrant supersedes all general rules of conduct.
From the circumstance of the author of this book remarking, that in those days there was no king in Israel, (chap. xix, 1; xxi. 25,) it has been supposed that it was written after the establishment of a regal government; but however this may be, it is certain that the fact of the Jebusites still dwelling in Jerusalem, (chap. i. 21,) proves it to have been written before that city was captured by David, in the early part of his reign. (2 Sam. v. 6-8.
Dr. A. Clarke, Mr. Horne, and many others, after investigating the question, conclude that Samuel was, in all probability, the author of this book ; but whoever was the compiler, there is unquestionable evidence that it is justly entitled to a place in the sacred canon.
66 In addition to the internal evidences of its authenticity which this book presents, we find it quoted by several of the other sacred writers. (See 1 Sam. xii. 9; 2 Sam. xi. 21 ; Ps. lxviii. 11; Isa. X. 4; x. 26 ; Acts xiii. 20; Heb. xi. 32.)
In some of its relations, we may trace the origin of mythological fables. In the story of Jephthah's daughter, we see the origin of the sacrificing of Iphigenia, it being usual with the heathens to attribute to their later heroes the glory of the actions of those who lived long before. The Vulpinaria, or feast of the foxes, celebrated among the ancient Romans, in the month of April—the time of the Jewish harvest—in which they let loose foxes with torches fastened to their tails, was derived from the story of Samson, and brought into Italy by the Phænicians. And in the history of Samson and Delilah, we trace the original of the fable of Nisus and his daughter, who cut off those fatal hairs upon which the victory depended. In addition to which, it may be remarked, that the memorials of Gideon's actions, are preserved by Sanchoniathon, a Tyrian writer, who lived soon after Gideon, and whose antiquity as a historian is attested by Porphyry.”— (Allix.)
THE BOOK OF RUTH.
“ This book, so called from its relating the history of a woman of that name, may be considered as an appendix to the book of Judges, and as an in