« AnteriorContinuar »
necessary to the credibility of those mass of things, though he cannot scriptures on which his faith de- so easily sedịce los acquisitions to pends. Knowledge is better the form of distinct and useful than prejudice, and therefore the knowledge. These remarks may testimony of past ages to the genu- show, if necessary, that the labours ineness and integrity of the sacred of Dr. A. were not altogether suvolume cannot be unimportant to perfluous in the field of Biblical lithim. To clergymen, particularly, erature. His work is complete in the work of Dr. A. we think will respect to the comprehensiveness be acceptable. Those whose of its plan, and is executed with a shelves are loaded with the vol- good degree of judgment. umes of the learned, may indeed The task which is thus performmeet with investigations of the sub- ed by him, we do not ourselves ject, in one form or another, on propose to repeat; but, since we every hand; but collections of vol. are on the subject, we may throw umes sufficiently extensive to give together a few of its leading feaa full view of the canonical author. tures, following mainly the method ity of the Old and New Testaments, of our author. are, in general, too expensive for Every reader of the Bible has the libraries of clergymen. Intro- perceived that it is composed of ductions and Prolegomena can distinct books, written by different furnish but a barren outline ; while persons, and at different periods of more extended and distinct trea- time. The Old Testament, accortises on the subject are either par- ding to our enumeration, comprises tial in their plan, as is the valuable thirty-nine books, though the Jews work of Jones, which embraces reckoned them as only twenty-two, only the New Testament, or erro. according to the letters of their alneous in their conclusions, as are phabet. To reduce them to this the volumes of Du Pin, who show. number, they annexed some of the ing too much respect to Roman Cath- smaller books to some of the larger, olic authorities, allows the greater as the book of Ruth to the book of part of the Old Testament apocry. Judges, and Lamentations to Jerepha a place in the sacred canon. miah ; Ezra and Nehemiah, also, And even Lardner, whose labours and the twelve minor prophets, they are above praise, out of his great reckoned respectively as one book. candor, and his great caution in the They further reduced their sacred admission of authorities, weakens scriptures to three classes, or divishis readers' confidence in several ions, which they designated as the of the received books of the New Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. Testament, by assigning them a To this division our Saviour refers, secondary place in the canon, as Luke xxiv. 44. being of somewhat doubtful au. When, and by whom, the writings thority. In the compilation of a of the Old Testament were formed work of this kind therefore it would into one collection, it does not cer. appear that no ordinary judgment tainly appear. The five books of is requisite to discriminate between Moses, by his own command, Deut. the precious and the vile. In the xxxi. 24--26, were deposited in materials out of which it is to be the side of the ark of the covenant formed, much that is fable obtrudes of the Lord. Horne supposes that itself as history, and much that is the books of Joshua, Judges, and spurious claims to be genuine. Ruth, and the first part of the first Considerable pains also is necessa- book of Samuel, were collected by ry to digest it into method. The that prophet. The writings of othindustrious reader may acquire a er inspired men were subsequently,
L. of C.
and módoube sacressively, added, whole was completed, about the till the canon.wes at: length com- time of Simon the Just,” or not pleted by Ezra. That Ezra finish- long after the death of Alexander ed the collection of the Hebrew the Great. scriptures was the common opinion But these inquiries are comparaof the Jews, and in this they have tively unimportant. It will be sufbeen followed by the most respec- ficient for our full satisfaction, if it table modern authors. There are can be ascertained what scriptures however some difficulties in the were received by Christ and his way of this opinion. For it would Apostles. And in this there is no seem that Malachi, the last of the difficulty. We have abundant eviprophets, lived after the time of dence that the canon of the Old Ezra, and consequently his prophe. Testament as it now exists was cy could not have been included in fixed some centuries before the the canon of the former. This dif- Christian era. The Greek verficulty the Jews obviated by main- sion, called the Septuagint, was taining that Malachi was no other made at Alexandria two hundred than Ezra himself; affirming that and eighty-two years before Christ, the latter received the name, Mal. and this version, which was freachi, from the circumstance of his quently quoted by the New Testahaving been sent (according to the ment writers, contains the same import of the word) to superintend books which are now found in our the religious concerns of the Jews. Hebrew and English Bibles. The Several of the Christian fathers same books were recognised as adopted the same opinion, but, on constituting the sacred canon, by very slight grounds. But further Josephus, who was contemporary difficulties remain. In Nehemiah, with the apostles, and by the early xii. 22, mention is made of the Christian fathers, as well as by high-priest Jaddua, and Darius the the Jews ; which may be seen by Persian, who are supposed to have reference to their writings. Catalived at least a hundred years after logues of these books are found in the time of Ezra. In the first of Christian writings from Melito and Chronicles, also, the genealogy of Origen downward ; and these catthe posterity of Zerubbabel is alogues agree with one another and brought down to a later period than with our received canon. The Bithat in which he lived. Du Pin ble which is now received by the however endeavours to show that protestants therefore was the Bible Ezra might have continued to the of the Jews; and these are those time of the persons above referred SCRIPTURES to which our Saviour to. But his reasoning does not and his disciples habitually appealsatisfy himself, and he prefers a dif- ed. To these scriptures they conferent account of the matter ; viz. stantly sent their hearers for divine that the passages involving the dif- light. Search the scriptures, said ficulty were inserted by other hands the Saviour, for—they are they subsequently to the time of Ezra. which testify of me. All scripture And this opinion is adopted in the is given by inspiration of God, and work before us. “ The probable is profitable, said Paul ; but nei. conclusion," says Dr. Alexander, ther Paul, nor his Master, nor his “ is, that Ezra collected and arran- brethren, ever caution their hearged all the sacred books which be- ers against any unsoundness in the longed to the canon before his time, “living oracles.” They do not and that a succession of pious and point out to them, that this is genlearned men continued to pay at- uine and that apocryphal. On the tention to the canon, until the contrary, they quote freely from
the sacred books,* and though cal scriptures, which were read by they accuse the Jews of wresting bishops and presbyters from a more the scriptures, and of making them conspicuous place. From being of none effect by their traditions, thus read in the churches, and assothey never charge them with cor- ciated with the sacred scriptures, it rupting or adding to them. In is probable that they became the fine, the canonical authority of the object of increasing veneration, books we are considering, has till the last council of Trent, when, never been disputed, by either in the plenitude of its authority Jews or Christians. This cannot over things sacred, and more espebe said of the Apocrypha. . cially as the apocryphal books
The Apocryphal writings attach- might seem to favour some of the ed to the Old Testament must be Romish corruptions, that council dismissed in few words. They are “presumed to place them all (exnot found in the Hebrew script. cepting the prayer of Manasseh and ures, and were not written in the the third and fourth books of EsHebrew language. They are not dras) in the same rank with the inacknowledged by Christ and the spired writings of Moses and the apostles; the Jews reject them, prophets.” and even reproach the Christians There are various passages in for receiving them, as they suppos- the Bible, from which it has been ed; the Christians disown them, supposed that some portions of the according to their own testimony. ancient canon have been lost. Thus They are not found in any of the mention is made, in the last chapcatalogues before mentioned ; and ter of 1 Chronicles, of the book they contain within themselves suf- of Samuel the seer, the book of ficient evidence that they are not Nathan the prophet, and the book from above. They were written, of Gad the seer. The book of the as is supposed, by Alexandrian Wars of the Lord is mentioned, in Jews, after the spirit of ancient Numbers xxi. 14 ; also the book prophecy had ceased. They do of Jasher, the book of Shemaiah, not themselves profess to be inspi. and others, in various places. We red.-How came they then to be are told that Solomon spake "three received into the canon? The thousand proverbs; and his songs charge of the Jews against the were a thousand and five." He Christians was not just : the apoc- also spake of trees and plants and ryphal books were not received by animals. Reference is often made them. It appears however, that in to historical records of the acts of the fourth century a part of them the kings of Judah and Israel, were read in the churches, as Je- which are not found in our books rome informs us, “ for example of of Kings and Chronicles. life, and instruction of manners, We have no such books as are but were not applied to establish here referred to. But upon examany doctrine.” Augustine states ination it would seem to appear, that they were read by the inferior that some of them were merely ecclesiastical officers, and in a public records written for civil purlower place, than were the canoni poses; and that others, though
written by holy men, and even in* All the books of the Jewish canon are spired perhaps, were only designed cited in the New Testament, according for special occasions, and never beto Du Pin, except seven, viz. Judges,
longed to the canon. If they had Ruth, Ecclesiastes, the Canticles, the Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Oth
been intended for the perpetual iners reduce the books not cited to a small
struction of the church, no doubt of number,
they would have been preserved by the Jews with the same fidelity as sion only of the Revelation. Anthe other scriptures, and especially other important source of evidence by the superintending care of their is found in the ancient versions of divine author. With regard to sev- the Christian scriptures. Even in eral of the books supposed to be the days of the apostles Christianilost, however, it has been thought ty was spread beyond the limits of by some, that they are the same as the language in which they wrote; some we have in the Bible, but and it is to be supposed that it would with different titles. A full exam. carry their writings with it. Hence ination of this subject may be found translations were early necessary; in the volume under review. Dr. and accordingly, the Latin versions A. has also a section to show that had become old in the days of Jethe oral law of the Jews is without rome. And though those versions authority. He has likewise dis- have not come down to us, there is cussed the question whether any good reason to believe that they canonical book of the New Testa- comprised the same books as are ment has been lost, and whether contained in Jerome's version, any part of the Christian revelation which we now have in the Vulgate. has been handed down by unwrit. The oldest existing version known ten tradition, both which opinions is found in the Syriac language, are strenuously contended for by and this is in favour of the present the Romanists. On these points canon, as far as it goes. It omits we shall merely refer the reader to the Revelation and several of the him.
smaller epistles, but the omission In settling the canon of the New is a presumptive evidence, perhaps, Testament the same general meth- of the great antiquity of the version, od is pursued as in determining and of the translator's ignorance of that of the Old. Recourse is had the existence, or the genuineness, to authentic historical testimony of the omitted books, rather than of The exact time when this canon a designed rejection of them. was collected does not appear ; but Besides the various testimony it is sufficiently evident that it was which applies to the canon as such, done before, or not long after, the each book is supported by its own death of the apostle John, and an distinct history. And altogether, opinion has prevailed among the it is not extravagant to say, that the learned that the canon was formed records of antiquity are full of the by him. That it was not deter- canonical authority of the books of mined by the authority of any coun- the New Testament as received cil, or public body, as some have af- by us. firmed, is abundantly shown by Lard. This cannot be said of the apocner. More satisfactory than such ryphal writings. The apocryphal a decision is the general consent of writings of the New Testament are the ancient Christians respecting it. very many, and the fact is not dif.
The scriptures of the New Tes- ficult to be accounted for. In the tament have been publicly read in first century they were not numer. the churches, and quoted by Chris- ous, yet even in the days of the apostian writers, from the apostolic age tles some seem to have made their downwards ; and from the fourth appearance. If, as Paul tells the century they have transmitted to Philippians, some preached Christ us ten distinct catalogues of the of envy and strife, and not sincerely, books which it comprised. Of supposing to add affliction to his these catalogues, six agree with bonds, there would probably be the present canon, and the other others who would forge scriptures four are the same, with the omis. from the like unchristian motives, He warns the Galatians against speak of nearly thirty false gosanother gospel, (Gal. i. 6-9.) pels not now extant, and half as and seems to allude to forged epis- many acts of the apostles, besides tles, under his name, in his cau- epistles and other spurious writings. tion to the Thessalonians, (2 Thes. Not above twelve or fifteen apocryij. 2.) and Luke is supposed to re- phal books of the New Testament fer to unauthorized gospels, in his now exist; and these seem to have preface to his own. But the great. been permitted to come down to us er part of these pseudographical pro- as specimens of the rest, and to ductions belong to a later age, and show, by way of contrast, the simare the offspring of heresies. Yet ple majesty of the true scriptures. some of them appear to have been If any one would see how much invented by well-meaning Christ- above fiction the sacred books are, ians, who imagined they might edify let him go to these forgeries ; comthe church, or convert heathens, pared with some of which, even by vending fictions under sa- the story of Bel and the Dragon ricred names. The Christian fathers ses to the dignity of sober history.
LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE.
Scott's Family Bible.--It will be times, has resolved to introduce the seen by an advertisement on our coy- gymnastic system without delay. The ers, that this work is stereotyping in gymnastic exercises, which were inNew-York. There have been five troduced the last autumn on a liberal quarto editions published in the Uni- scale, at Yale College, have been purted States, amounting to twelve or sued in a systematic and spirited manfourteen thousand copies, besides à ner by the Students, and have connumber of octavo editions. The edi- verted their lounging hours into proftion now publishing contains the last itable action. We hope these exerrevision of the author, with all his cises may be introduced at our colmarginal references, and many valua- leges generally, and save us from beble additions and improvements. We holding so many men in professional have seen a specimen of the edition, life, who have exchanged the briskand are much pleased with its ap- ness of health for the leaden heaviness pearance. The type is large and and nervous languor of dyspepsia. handsome, and the work is in all respects neatly executed.
The Scholarships of the American
Education Society, already established, Amherst College.-The Trustees according to the “Brief View” of the
exhibiting a detailed plan of improvements contemplated in this Institution. The following facts show the attenThey propose to introduce a new tion, so far as the Legislature is concourse of studies, distinct from the cerned, to education in Louisiana. In present one, more modern and nation. 1811 the Legislature appropriated al, and to be pursued at the option of $39,000 for the establishment of a the student. They design also to college, and a school in each county. add, when their means will enable By the same act, 3000 dollars were apthem, a “ department of Education," propriated annually for the support of of which a prominent object is, the the college, and 500 dollars a year for instruction of school-masters.
each school. In 1819, the allowance
for the support of schools was increasThe Columbian College, following ed to 600 dollars, and in 1821 to 800 the fashion and philosophy of the dollars a year each. Since which,