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BS 480 .H3 1839 V.l 
Haldane, Robert 
The evidence and authority 
of divine revelation 


Princeton Theological Seminarv Libraries 

1 1012 01184 9512 

Luars sruip ' 

(Irsiglicq to cell 















VOL. I. 










The first edition of the following work having* 
been long ago exhausted, a second would have 
been sooner published, had not the author been 
prevented by other engagements from making 
those alterations and additions which seemed 
necessary to the completion of his original plan. 
The nature of that plan, and the manner of its 
execution, are explained in the following Intro- 
duction. Several new Chapters are now added, 
and many sources of evidence more fully exa- 
mined. Instead of being a Book merely supple- 
mentary to those which have already occupied the 
same ground, the Author has all along aimed at 
an object, not in the contemplation of the great 
majority of those who have chiefly distinguished 


themselves by their -writings on the Divine au- 
thority of the Christian Revelation. He has long- 
been deeply convinced that it is necessary to 
attend, not merely to the arguments which can 
be adduced to prove the Bible to be true, but to 
the Salvation which it reveals. Many have be- 
lieved the Bible to come from God, who have 
remained strangers to the saving and sanctifying 
influences of the Gospel which it declares. They 
have acknowledged the beauty and the excellence 
of the book itself, but have forgotten the pearl of 
great price that it contains. It has therefore 
been his study not merely to silence and refute 
the cavils of the sceptic and the infidel, but to 
strengthen the faith of the true believer ; not to 
illustrate the Evidences of Christianity in the 
abstract, but to hold them forth as inseparably 
associated with its doctrines, and to vindicate, 
not the authenticity only, but the full inspiration 
and unspeakable value of the Holy Scriptures. 


There is nothing- more remarkable in the character 
of man, than his conduct in regard to eternity. The 
shortness of human life, the transitory nature of all 
earthly enjoyments, and the utter vanity of every object 
of human ambition, are truths which have been, in all 
ages, universally acknowledged and deplored. It might 
therefore have been imagined, that the prospect of 
never-ending" life and happiness beyond the grave, 
would have been grasped at with an eagerness in some 
degree proportioned to the evanescent character of the 
present and the vastness of the future state of existence. 
In the pursuit of wealth, the world at large has toiled 
with a zeal and perseverance which has been abated by 
no disappointment, and overcome by no obstacle. There 
is nothing, however recondite, in the walks of science, 
or the speculations of philosophy, which has not stimu- 
lated the curiosity, and exercised the industry of multi- 
tudes. But strange as it might seem to one unac- 
quainted with mankind, the evidences of Divine Reve- 
lation have been treated with an indiflPerence and 
neglect altogether unparalleled. This remark cannot be 


restricted to those only who reject the Bible, or indeed 
to any one class exclusively. It is applicable to per- 
sons of every description. It applies not only to those 
who openly renounce Revelation, and intrench them- 
selves behind the ramparts of infidelity, but also to 
multitudes who profess to believe the Scriptures, and 
the doctrines they contain. 

From the age of Celsus and Porphyry, down to that 
of Voltaire and Thomas Paine, it may safely be affirmed 
there never has appeared one solitary unbeliever who 
has discovered by his writings, that he was thoroughly 
conversant with the nature or the evidences of that 
Revelation which he undertook to overthrow. In most 
of the opponents of the Christian religion, the greatest 
ignorance is manifest. Their rejection of the Bible, 
far from being the result of a patient and full exami- 
nation of its evidence, only displays a deep-rooted dis- 
affection to its contents. They have evidently been 
urged to the acquirement of their slender acquaintance 
with the subject, not by the importance of the ques- 
tion, not by that love of truth of which they are ever 
boasting, but by the desire of discovering something 
weak at the foundation of Christianity. In this deplo- 
rable state of mind, it cannot be imagined that they 
would be assiduous in endeavouring fully to acquaint 
themselves even with those evidences which are most 
obvious. Far less can it be expected that they should 
diligently search for such proofs as require more labo- 
rious investigation, or that they should retain a deep 
impression of the distinguishing features of those testi- 
monies to which they have been actually introduced. 


They dislike the subject, and impatiently attend to it 
only so long as they hope to collect materials for cavil. 
When their unhallowed task is done, they usually take 
an abrupt departure, and for the most part bid a final 
farewell to that path, which, if pursued in a different 
spirit, might have conducted them to solid peace and 
eternal happiness. 

If this be the case with the philosophic infidel — if 
this be the procedure of the boasted friends of free 
enquiry, shall we be astonished to find the bulk of un- 
believers totally ignorant of the evidences of Christi- 
anity ? They reject the Bible, because they dislike it, 
and justify their dislike by objections, which the 
slightest acquaintance with the subject would have alto- 
gether precluded. These objections, a thousand times 
refuted, they advance, as unanswerable, with a confi- 
dence, which shows that they have never deemed it of 
any moment to consider or receive those satisfactory 
solutions which have been a^orded by patient re- 

In every other concern of human life, the folly and 
danger of such conduct would at once be manifest. 
Eager enquiry, in proportion to the magnitude and im- 
portance of the object, would be made without delay, 
and no pains would be spared to obtain information. 
The most hidden sources of evidence would be care- 
fully explored, and the most recondite treasures un- 
locked. No avenue would remain untried that gave 
the faintest promise of leading to knowledge. But in 
regard to the things of God, man's conduct is a mys- 
tery which Revelation only can explain. 


A book] that presents itself as a messenger from 
heaven, furnished with ample credentials, cannot be 
safely overlooked or rejected without enquiry. True 
wisdom cannot refuse to hear and examine it with can- 
dour. If its claims be well founded, they are para- 
mount to all other interests, and all earthly glory in 
the comparison loses its lustre. If the Bible be the 
Word of God, its contents demand the utmost atten- 
tion. This, however, is the only subject on which 
human curiosity does not relish information. The wise 
of this world, as well as the ignorant, neglect the book 
of God, and while they boast the most intimate ac- 
quaintance with all the sages of Greece and Rome, 
they know little of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. 

How affecting is it to behold, upon the only question 
of infinite and eternal moment, so many make up their 
minds without any suitable enquiry, and madly stake 
their all against a body of evidence which they have 
never examined! Blinded by prejudice, and influenced 
by aversion to the truth, they impose on themselves, 
bv the most silly sophisms, the unsoundness of which, 
on all other subjects, they would instantly perceive. 
Men of the strongest intellectual powers are frequently 
duped by objections that would not shake the faith of 
a child ; some difficulty in the system of Christianity 
or the records of Revelation, strikes their mind, which, 
without a thorough examination, appears of sufficient 
weight to excuse them from farther enquiry on a sub- 
ject which they find disagreeable. Such conduct veri- 
fies the Scriptures, and affords additional evidence of 
their authenticity. It shows human nature to be what 


the Bible represents it, and stamps the character which 
it gives of man as a revelation from God. 

But it is not only to avowed unbelievers that the 
charge of inadequate acquaintance with the evidences 
of Revelation attaches ; it is in a great measure appli- 
cable to the majority of the professors of Christianity. 
Of these not a few appear to take this matter altoge- 
ther on trust. It seems quite enough for them that 
there are elaborate books of evidence, bearing on their 
title-page the names of those who have been distin- 
guished for learning and talents. Their conduct 
would be less irrational, if the mere abstract truth of 
Revelation were all that is to be considered, but it is 
perfect foolishness when viewed in the light of Scrip- 
ture, which declares that its discoveries can be of no 
avail without personal faith. Though the truth itself 
stands unshaken by the sophistry of the sceptic, he that 
believes not the Gospel on its proper evidence, has no 
ground to look forward to the heavenly inheritance. 
But not only does it appear that multitudes who pro- 
less Christianity, without experiencing its saving influ- 
ence, are little aware of the importance of this subject ; 
even many real Christians, and some, too, far advanced 
in the knowledge of the divine word, are very insuffi- 
ciently impressed with the duty and importance of 
studying the evidences of their holy religion. Con- 
vinced that it is true, they are often unmindful that 
there are degrees in faith, and that assurance of the 
truth of the Scriptures is confirmed by our acquaintance 
with their evidence. The more deeply and extensively 
we examine its proofs, the more fully do we perceive 


that the Bible could not be the work of man. In study- 
ing- the evidences of the authenticity and inspiration of 
the Scriptures, we are studying- the Scriptures them- 
selves ; and while we advance in conviction, we ad- 
vance in edification and Christian growth. 

It seems, however, to be taken for granted, that 
books of evidence are principally valuable for convincing 
gainsayers of Revelation, or for the establishment of 
babes in Christ. Christians of long standing and ex- 
tensive knowledge of the Divine Word, it is thought, 
may regard this subject as sufficiently ascertained, while 
they exclusively pursue the study of the doctrines and 
duties of Christianity. Now, it is humbly but earnestly 
suggested, that this is a very pernicious error. The 
study of the evidences of the book of God is intimately 
connected with progress in the knowledge of all the 
truth it contains. The subject is therefore highly im- 
portant to believers themselves. For what purpose has 
God provided such various and striking proofs of its 
divine origin, if it be not that they should be diligently 
examined, not merely by the unbeliever, but by the 
true disciple ? Though disquieted with no doubts, it is 
eminently calculated to afford him inexpressible conso- 
lation, as well as to confirm his mind and strengthen 
his faith, to view in their connexion the multiplied and 
various evidences of the truth of his religion. 

There is another consideration that greatly enhances 
the importance of this subject, and ought to prompt 
Christians to an uninterrupted study of the evidences 
of the truth of the Scriptures. It has often been justly 
remarked, that we readily believe what we wish to be 


true; and yet it is equally certain, that, in matters of 
the most momentous concern, we are greatly inclined 
to doubt. To reconcile these seeming contradictions, 
it should be observed, that with respect to the things 
which our inclination leads us too easily to believe, 
they are not generally of paramount concernment to us, 
however weighty they may be in themselves. On the 
other hand, the doubt that naturally presses on things 
of urgent and acknowledged importance, is not an in- 
credulity that totally rejects, but rather a weakness of 
faith, accompanied by fears, conjured up by the very 
intensity of affection which we feel for the object of 
desire. These fears seem to create a barrier in the way 
of our enjoyment, which we wish to have removed. 
In the same way when, like Moses from the top of 
Pisgah, the Christian surveys the promised land, and 
looks forward to the glory that shall be revealed, he is 
ready to act like the disciples, who, when they first 
saw the Lord after his resurrection, could not believe 
for joy. Must not, therefore, the study of that force 
and variety of the incontrovertible evidences by which 
the truth of the Scriptures is attested, be useful to him, 
as long as he walks by faith and not by sight ? 

The evidence of the authenticity and divine origin of 
the Scriptures is of such infinite importance, as at once 
to invite and to justify never-ending research. It is a 
subject intimately connected with all the contents of the 
inspired book, which will be more or less fully deve- 
loped in proportion as they are understood. Many 
there are who have been convinced of the truth of Re- 
velation, while they remained ignorant of its peculiar 


nature and character. They have yielded to the weight 
of proof to which they had nothing- to oppose, but they 
have never explored those hidden recesses, which afford 
the most delightful confirmation to those by whom the 
characteristic wisdom of the sacred volume is discerned. 
Never having discovered this Divine impress of the 
Word of God, which is alike stamped on all the works 
of Creation, of Providence, and Redemption, sach per- 
sons may upon the whole entertain a strong general 
conviction that the Bible is the Book of God. But still 
they must be ignorant of much of its evidence which 
otherwise they might possess, and must also regard 
some things as difficulties, both respecting tlie internal 
and external evidences, which, if properly viewed, would 
serve as confirmations of its truth. The man, for in- 
stance, who is not thoroughly aware of the Divine wis- 
dom, and the unvarying plan of God, in permitting 
difficulties to appear in all his works, often finds him- 
self at a loss to answer the objections of scepticism, 
even on the external evidence of Revelation. When 
we consider only one source of that evidence, some- 
thing of this description will present itself, and, if we 
look no further, fill us with embarrassment. We see 
that in all his works God reveals himself in such a 
manner as not to exclude the possibility of wilful per- 
version ; and this is wisely appointed to manifest the 
enmity of the heart of man to the God of Creation and 
Providence, as well as to the God of Redemption. 
Candid examination will find a criterion whereby to 
distinguish the hand of God ; but if men hate the truth, 
it is the just retribution of a righteous God to give 


them up to believe a lie. If this single observation be 
carried through every subject of our enquiries into the 
Works and Word of God, it will convert that which is 
to others a ground of stumbling, into an additional 
source of evidence. It is a characteristic feature of all 
that is Divine. 

Though the Evidences of Christianity are immensely 
various and great, yet they are of such a nature as de- 
mand in the enquirer industry, attention, humility, and 
candour. They are not intended to overwhelm unbe- 
lief, or to deprive it of all possibility of excuse. On 
the contrary, every branch of evidence requires patience 
of investigation, and is accompanied with its peculiar 
difficulties, which disaffection to the nature of truth can 
easily magnify, so as plausibly to justify rejection. 
Even miracles themselves are encountered by false 
miracles, both of Paganism and Antichristianism. Ac- 
cordingly, the first opposers of Christianity did not deny 
the miracles, but accounted for them by magic, and con- 
founded them with others, such as the pretended won- 
ders of ApoUonius Tyanaeus. And it is well known 
that infidels in modern times have resisted the evidence 
from the miracles of Jesus Christ, on the supposition 
that the miracles of Popery are as great, as frequent, 
and as well attested. The Scriptures contain many 
seeming contradictions, which it requires patience and 
information to reconcile. As these could have easily 
been avoided, we must believe that they were inten- 
tional, and must have been designed as a test of the 
obedience of man to the manifestation of the Divine 
will. The Spirit of God could have divested Revela- 


tion of all appearance of inconsistency of statement ; 
He could present truth to every man with evidence that 
would aiford no room for resistance. Jesus Christ, as 
the Sovereign of the world, could conduct his provi- 
dential dealings in such a way as to stop the mouths of 
infidels, and cover unbelief with confusion and terror. 
Since, then, he does not this ; since he has left his Re- 
velation open to specious objections from ignorance, 
rashness, and disaffection ; since he permits his ene- 
mies to speak against him, and he is silent ; since his 
hand wields the sceptre of heaven and earth, yet he 
darts no thunderbolts against the heads of his blasphe- 
mers, he must design his word to be a touchstone of the 
allegiance of the world to the throne of God. 

If no plausible objections could be made against 
Christianity ; were its evidence such as to overpower 
unbelief, man would remain as hostile as he now is to 
the Divine character, yet that hostility would not be 
apparent ; disaffection to the truth would be as strong, 
yet would no tongue utter that disaffection. The as- 
sent of the understanding might be constrained, but the 
heart would still continue to be the citadel of man's 
enmity to his Creator. No good object would have 
been attained by such a method, and there would not 
only have been exhibited a prodigal expenditure of power, 
inconsistent with all the other dealings of Omnipotence, 
but man would have been left as much as ever a re- 
bel and alien from his Maker, while the Divine glory 
would have been eclipsed rather than illustrated. The 
manner of Revelation, then, and the nature of its evi- 
dences, are designed to bring out the hatred of the 


human heart to the character and ways of God. They 
are as gins and as snares to the wisdom of this world. 
Let those who carp and cavil at the word of God, on 
account of difficulties and objections, which are plausible 
only from their own ignorance, indolence, and disaffec- 
tion to God, consider this solemn truth with attention 
and seriousness. They seem to think that God was 
obliged to furnish evidence of his Revelation that could 
not be resisted. One objects to this part of the Divine 
testimony, another to that ; one will have this evi- 
dence, another will have something more. Some even 
require that a particular Revelation should be made to 
every individual, and that miracles should be succes- 
sively presented to all eyes. How unreasonable is all 
this 1 If God condescends to supply evidence of any 
kind, it is sufficient to condemn gainsayers. Whom do 
we advantage by our faith ? From the way in which 
many speak on this subject, it might be thought that 
we confer a favour on God by accepting his testimony. 
The benefit is altogether our own ; the injury done by 
our unbelief falls upon our own heads. Let unbelievers 
then weigh the evidences of Revelation. Let it not be 
the work of an hour, but the work of their lives. 

But if even the external testimonies of Revelation 
are elucidated by candid and attentive examination, 
how much more will the observation apply to the in- 
ternal evidences. There is no end to our discovery of 
the evidence of Divine truth. Every page of the 
inspired volume will present us with rich mines, 
which cannot be exhausted, and which astonish and 
delight the Christian as he advances in his inquiries. 


The authenticity of the Scriptures is not like the 
authenticity of the title-deeds of an estate, which, 
when once admitted and registered, need not after- 
wards be consulted. The Bible is valuable for the 
treasures it contains ; and while any thing in it is un- 
known, or imperfectly discovered, it must be a subject 
of study. Were we even fully acquainted with all its 
contents, the necessity of meditating on it would not 
cease. It is the food of the Christian, and by ponder- 
ing its glorious truths he is nourished. The import- 
ance, then, of studying the truth of Revelation, is 
seen in this, that the believer thereby advances in the 
knowledge of the things of God, and his faith is con- 
tinually strengthened by keeping its evidence before 
his mind. The same reason that renders the constant 
remembrance of the death and resurrection of the 
Saviour necessary to edification, comfort, and growth 
in grace, also evinces the importance of keeping alive 
on the mind the evidence of those things that are 
reported in the Scriptures. The life of Methuselah 
would be well spent in the investigation of Divine 
truth ; and the constant discoveries made to faith ex- 
ercised in humility and a teachable disposition, would 
yield a thousandfold in the riches of knowledge and 
grace. Independently, then, of any additional know- 
ledge, this study is eminently useful to the Christian ; 
but as to additional knowledge there is no boundary, 
the subject is inexhaustible in extent, and infinite 
in moment. 

It has been too much the practice to defend the 
truth of the Christian religion, as something distinct 


from its grand distinguishing doctrines, apart from 
which no system deserves the name of Christian. 
Without reference to the person and work of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, some of the sources of evidence must 
be entirely unperceived, and very many of them seen 
in an obscure light. If the Gospel is not clearly un- 
derstood, it is impossible for the ablest writer fairly to 
exhibit its evidence. This circumstance forbids Chris- 
tians to leave their cause on this subject in the hands 
of those eminent men who have generally volunteered 
the defence of the truth of Christianity. Many of 
them have been totally ignorant of the Gospel, and 
actual opposers of the salvation which the Scriptures 
reveal. Others, to say the least, have had a very in- 
adequate knowledge of its doctrines ; and where they 
have been uninformed, their defence, if not erroneous, 
must be lame and unsatisfactory. By the force of 
those natural talents with which God had endowed 
them, they have indeed succeeded in representing 
many parts of the evidence in a very striking light, as 
well as in repelling the attacks of its assailants ; but 
they have in general either overlooked or misrepre- 
sented the nature of that religion whose truth they 
undertook to demonstrate. It is often something of 
an entirely different character which their labours are 
calculated to establish. 

If an unbeliever were to read with attention the 
works of these writers, to be struck with the force of 
the evidence they produce, and to embrace their senti- 
ments, he would still not only remain unacquainted 
with the plan of salvation, but would, moreover, be 

VOL, I. , B 


confirmed in a system directly opposed to its design. 
The Apostles represent men, while destitute of the 
knowledge of Christ, as being without God, without 
hope, and under condemnation. They conclude that 
a man is justified by faith without works, and that the 
righteousness of God is freely imputed to all who 
believe, without any difference arising from their pre- 
vious dispositions or conduct, and, consequently, that 
all boasting is excluded. But many acute and learned 
writers on the Evidences of Christianity represent what 
they call natural religion as the foundation of all our 
hopes ; they explain the righteousness of God revealed 
in the Gospel as descriptive of a pure system of mo- 
ralitv enjoined on men, and faith as a disposition to 
cleave to God, which may be possessed by those who 
are unacquainted with Divine Revelation. Instead of 
promoting in their readers the belief of the Gospel, by 
connecting the evidences of its truth with its essential 
character — by which alone these can be properly and 
fully illustrated — they distort and misrepresent its 
character and doctrines in such a way as to bring the 
whole in the end to correspond with the maxims of a 
vain philosophy, and the deceitful reasonings and self- 
righteousness of the depraved heart. They abandon 
the Apostolic doctrine, and substitute in its place a 
system, which to every unenlightened man will appear 
more rational, and which accords better with ever}'* 
principle of our fallen nature. The consequence is, 
that men's prejudices against the Gospel are confirmed 
by the authority of those who are considered to be its 
ablest defenders ; and the great foundations of unbelief, 


30 far from being shaken or removed, are strength- 
ened. In a word, their writings contain a defence of 
Christianity at yariance with the nature of Christianity 
itself; and where they are not positively erroneous, 
they are, in general, deplorably defective. These are 
not rash or groundless assertions. It would be easy 
to verify their truth, by referring to a whole host of 
writers, of the greatest celebrity, on the evidences of 
Divine Revelation. 

Christianity will appear important just in proportioa 
as its nature is understood. To him who perceives 
salvation to be only in Jesus Christ, its importance is 
inestimable. But this importance gradually diminishes 
with every shade of difference of opinion, through all 
the systems of self-righteousness, down to that which 
can. perceive in the Lord Jesus Christ nothing but a 
virtuous man. Many of the writers on the Evidences 
of Christianity can recognise as legitimate every pre- 
tender to the honour of the name of Christian, and 
bandy compliments even with the infidel, while their 
books are meant to apply to every thing that men 
choose to call by that name. They make concessions 
that raze the very foundation of the Christian's hope- 
What remains of Christianity may he useful for this 
life, but leaves its votaries exposed to the wrath to 
come. What, after all, then, is the aspect of their 
works as regards the Gospel of Salvation ? No number 
of such defences, were they ever so ably written, caa 
be deemed, by the Christian, sufficient to supersede the 
necessity of defending the truth of religion, as it appears 
in the Bible, and of endeavouring to impress the im- 


portance of that truth, connected with its evidence, on 
every individual of the lost race of Adam. 

In the persuasion that these writers exercise a most 
pernicious influence, the following work, of which a 
new edition is now presented to the public, was under- 
taken with a desire of adding- something- to the scanty- 
stock of books we possess on the evidences of Chris- 
tianity, written according- to the truth of the Gospel. 
To render this work as extensively useful as possible 
has been the author's constant aim. With this view, 
large additions have now been made. The materials 
collected by the writers above alluded to have been 
freely made use of, while at the same time it has been 
his study to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to 
avoid the errors with which their writings are so lament- 
ably defaced. Whatever it has been judged might be 
useful has likewise been borrowed from other books 
without reserve. The remarkable harmonies of times 
and coincidence of events that are found in the Bible, 
which are introduced in this edition, are taken from a 
work of Jean Despagne, which contains many others, 
though not arranged by him in any regular order. 
This is a species of evidence to the authenticity of the 
Scriptures, and the overruling providence of their 
Divine Author, which appears to have been almost 
entirely overlooked, although our attention is called to 
it in both the Old Testament and the New. 

The First Chapter of the book is introduced to show 
the necessity of a Divine Revelation, with a view to 
make it evident, that without such a Revelation nothing 
can be known by man respecting the removal of guilt,, 

JNTI^ODucTIO^^. 21 

and acceptance with God. In opposition to those who 
have represented what is called natural religion as a 
sufficient guide to eternal happiness, and extolled it in 
such a way as to depreciate the Bible, it is there pro- 
posed to demonstrate, by an induction of facts, that 
natural religion can never conduct man in his fallen 
condition to God ; that neither the Revelation which 
God has given of himself in the works of creation, nor 
that of the work of the law written in the heart, when 
separated from the knowledge of the Gospel, can pro- 
duce any other result than to render man inexcusable, 
and to declare his condemnation to be manifestly just. 
As the whole book is written mainly for the purpose 
of confirming the faith of Christians, proofs of the ne- 
cessity of the Revelation of Jesus Christ are adduced 
from the Scriptures themselves, in connexion with a 
view of the deplorable circumstances of those boasted 
sages and philosophers who lived in the dark ages of 
Paganism, and did not enjoy the light of Christianity. 
Much may be said respecting this necessity even by 
those who are ignorant that the Christian Revelation has 
been vouchsafed, or who are not acquainted with what 
it contains ; but it is only from that Revelation itself 
that the urgency of this necessity can be fully known. 

The Second Chapter, on the persecuting spirit of 
Pagans, is intended to remove a strong objection to 
the admission of the general depravity of the civilised 
Heathens, resting on their supposed religious toleration. 
This is a point on which their superiority to Christians 
is much vaunted by infidels, and often too readily ad- 
mitted by some who might be expected to reason better 


on the subject. Besides obviating- this objection, the 
force of evidence arising from the Pagan persecutions, 
is there shown to be peculiarly striking, and to have 
produced a very powerful impression on the first Chris- 
tians. The various proofs of the truth of the Scrip- 
tures are afterwards introduced in a regular series, in 
one connected point of view, arranged according to 
their dependence on one another, which seems the 
jnost natural order, but in which, so far as the author 
is aware, they have not hitherto been exhibited. The 
evidence arising from the correspondence between the 
Old Testament and the New, and the fulfilment of the 
former in the latter, has been particularly attended to ; 
and, for its further elucidation, the chapters on the 
Types and Prophecies that refer to the Messiah have 
in this edition been greatly enlarged. The subject of 
types may be abused, but, on the other hand, it has 
been too much neglected ; and the author can by no 
means subscribe to the sentiment of those who are of 
opinion, that nothing should be received as typical in 
the Old Testament, but what is expressly recognised 
as such in the New. The types of the Old Testament 
possess a claim to a much greater degree of attention 
than they generally obtain. They furnish a proof of 
the truth of Divine Revelation of a most peculiar and 
interesting description ; and the Christian who does not 
carefully examine them is neglecting one great means 
of edification which God has provided in his Word. 

The view that is given of the Inspiration of the 
Scriptures contains an unansv/erable proof of their au« 
thenticity. It is altogether different from that exhi- 


bited by those authors who have treated on the ques- 
tion, and have followed each other in the adoption of 
the error which denies the verbal inspiration of the 
Bible. Proceeding upon that common, but dangerous 
and false hypothesis, it was impossible for them to 
avail themselves, with any adequate effect, of the argu- 
ment for the truth of the Bible derived from its inspi- 
ration. It appears then more necessary to insist on 
this argument, since it has not hitherto been employed 
for this purpose by any of the writers on the evidences 
of Christianity, although the testimony it aifords is 
peculiarly forcible. The truth of the Christian reli- 
gion has been generally defended at the expense of the 
complete inspiration of the l)ook on which that truth 
is founded ; and so fatally prevalent has been this error, 
that the author knows not of an individual among them 
who has exhibited a just and scriptural view of this 
important and fundamental doctrine. Yet if we ask 
the most experienced unsophisticated private Christians 
what are their views of the inspiration of the Bible, 
with hardly a solitary exception, it will be found that 
they understand in its plain and obvious meaning the 
testimony of the Apostle, when he affirms that " all 
Scripture is given by inspiration of God." Such no- 
tions as those which introduce distinctions in regard to 
the degree and extent of the agency of the Holy Spirit 
in the composition of the Word of God, are not from 
above, and cannot boast even of the semblance of a 
sanction from the language of the Bible. They origi- 
nate in that vain philosophy which has been the parent 
of every pernicious and fatal error that has divided the 


Church of Christ, against the indulgence of which the 
Apostle, when standing on the confines of eternity, so 
earnestly and solemnly warned his fellow-labourer 
Timothy. The plenary and verbal inspiration of Scrip- 
ture has been held by distinguished Christians in this 
and foreign countries ; yet, by some strange oversight, 
this view of the subject appears to have been but inci- 
dentally mentioned by them, while in none of the dif- 
ferent systems of divinity, either at home or abroad, 
has it been discussed and fully developed. The field 
has been left in the almost undisturbed possession 
of those who first introduced novel and unscriptural 
distinctions on the subject, who have been blindly fol- 
lowed by many excellent men, of whom better things 
might have been expected. The plenary inspiration 
of the Bible is a most important doctrine. The oppo- 
site error originates in some, in inattention, or in dis- 
affection to the Word of God, and in others, in a desire 
to make the defence of the Scriptures, as they con- 
ceive, more easy. But the theory is unfounded and 
unnecessary, as well as dishonourable to the character 
of Revelation. 

In furnishing extracts from writers who in early 
times opposed or adhered to the Christian religion, the 
selection has been made so as to bring into view the 
great truths of the Gospel, especially such of them as 
Arians, and Socinians, and others falsely called Chris- 
tians, affirm to be the inventions of a more modern date. 
Throughout the whole of the work, the question of the 
truth of Christianity is never treated as one that is 
doubtful — on which the judgment should be suspended 


till the proof of it is exhibited. The principle of its 
absolute certainty is everywhere assumed. It is not 
intended to prove that to be true which was previously 
doubtful, but to exhibit those evidences in their order 
which stand connected with the truth of the Bible. 

No truth ever published is capable of such variety of 
proofs as the divine original of the Scriptures. Many 
different kinds of evidence unite their testimony in its 
favour, and in each of them there are innumerable links, 
strong- in themselves when taken separately, but irre- 
fragable when received as a whole. Above all, the 
character and glory of the Gospel afford the strong- 
est evidence of the truth of Divine Revelation, and 
impart to the believer the highest consolation. They 
comprehend the very marrow and substance of the sa- 
cred record, and direct to its proper use. To study the 
Scriptures merely as a subject of criticism, or with a 
view to wrest them in support of their own errors, has 
been the object of too many of those who have spent 
their lives in turning over their pages. But the study 
of the Scriptures is only valuable, as it leads to the 
understanding and developement of Divine truth, and 
to a life of faith on that truth. It has been the con- 
stant aim of the author to direct the reader to the 
grace of God that bringeth salvation, and especially to 
arouse the attention of that numerous class in this coun- 
try who are not ranked as infidels or avowed opposers 
of Christianity, — who profess to believe the Bible to be 
true, yet, after all, are not Christians, — to awaken their 
consciences, to point out their awful responsibility, and 
to induce them to listen to the truth as it is in Jesus. 


The principal desig-n of this book is to furnish Chris- 
tians with materials to employ their minds on the sub- 
ject, and especially to lead them into the right track in 
exploring the treasures of Divine Revelation. Books 
of evidence are seldom taken up by avowed unbelievers. 
They may occasionally be urged on their attention by 
Christian friends, and in this way be useful. But it is 
Christians themselves that the author chiefly hopes to 
assist, by exhibiting the evidences connected with the 
doctrines of Christianity. While the following work 
does not lose sight of the importance of convincing the 
sceptic or unbeliever, its chief object is to bring the 
believer nearer to God, and to induce him to live with 
his heart more in Heaven. Every thing it contains is 
intended to lead to the Lamb of God, who taketh away 
the sin of the world. Jesus Christ is the centre and 
substance of all Revelation, and those who do not per- 
ceive the glory of the Divine character as it shone in 
him, are still ignorant of Christianity. 





Modern writers on IMoral Science — Ancient Philosophers 29 
■ — Pagan superstition and immorality — Religious and 
moral systems of the Philosophers — Their ignorance, and 
moral degradation — State of Heathens in modern times 
— Inadequacy of Natural Religion— The revelation of na- 
ture and that of grace contrasted — Change effected by 
the introduction of Christianity. 



No religious toleration among Pagans — Their persecutions 81 
of Christians — Gibbon's inconsistency, and Hume's self- 
contradiction on the subject — Testimony afforded by 
Pagan persecutions to the truth of the Christian religion. 



Human testimony sufficient to prove the existence of miracles 101 
— They are neither impossible nor incredible — What are 
called the laws of nature not agents^The miracles of 



Scripture differ from pretended miracles — Remarks on 
Mr Hume's Essay on this subject — Miracles of Scripture 
were matters of fact that could not be mistaken. 





Authenticity of the Books of the Old Testament — Testi- 125 
monies to these Books — Apocryphal Books — Their cha- 
racter — When first added to the Jewish Scriptures — 
Books of the New Testament when written — The man- 
ner in which they were collected — The agreement of 
Christians respecting them — Testimonies quoted — Dif- 
ference between these testimonies and the traditions of 
the Church of Rome — A list of the names of the books 
would not have added to the certainty of the Divine ori- 
ginal of the Canon — The question of the Canon is a 
point of Divine revelation. 



What the Scriptures teach respecting their Inspiration — No 207 
different Degrees of Inspiration — Plenary and Perfect 
Inspiration of the Scriptures — Objections answered — 
Meaning of Passages often referred to on this Subject ; 
1 Cor. chapter vii. ; 2 Cor. xi. 17 ; 2 Peter, i. 19 ; 1 
Timothy, v. 23 ; 2 Timothy, iv. 13 — Various proofs of 
the verbal Inspiration of the Books both of the Old 
Testament and the New — Proofs from the Nature of the 
Service to which the Apostles were appointed, from the 
Promises made to them, and from their own Declarations 
— Inspiration loses its meaning when divided between 
God and Man— Inspiration of the Historical Parts of 



Scripture — The testimony to the truth of the Scriptures 
derived from their Inspiration. 



The Design of the Historical Parts of Scripture — It is 283 
essentially different from that of all other histories— The 
Evidence which the History affords to the truth of the 
Gospel — General View of the History of the Old Testa- 
ment, as preparing the way for the Messiah. A view 
of the History as interweaving in its texture all the doc- 
trines and duties that are enjoined by the Lord and his 
Apostles — It affords remarkable representations of the 
origin, progress, and final overthrow of the Man of Sin 
— The moral import of innumerable facts in the Scrip- 
ture history invite to the closest study of that part of the 
sacred volume. 



Nothing but the power of God adequate to the perform- 342 
ance of a miracle — General character of the miracles of 
the Old Testament — Particular miracles referred to — 
Mracles on the conquest of Canaan of such an order as 
to show the universal supremacy of God — The miracles 
cannot be separated from the history which records them 
— They were essential to the circimistances in which the 
Israelites were placed — They materially contributed to 
maintain the knowledge and worship of God in the 
world, and to authenticate the Scriptures as the oracles 
of God. 



Definition of a type. The mode of instruction by types and 354 
parables — The beauty and widom of the typical ordi- 


nances — The typical import of the Jewish economy- 
Types are now abolished as to the practice, but not as to 
the contemplation of them — Different classes into which 
they are divided — natural — personal — local — legal — his- 
torical — Examples of these. — The typical import of the 
eighth day, and the remarkable manner in which it is 
distinguished in the Old Testament — The word " per- 
fection," Ch. vi. 1, the key to the Epistle to the Hebrews 
— Types are a mirror in which is reflected whatever in the 
future economy has since been realized — The whole 
typical system of high importance, and demands parti- 
cular attention. 



Nature of the Old Testament prophecies — Divided into 440 
three branches — No quotations of these prophecies in the 
New Testament by way of accommodation — The use of 
these prophecies as they regard the Messiah. — Prophecies 
of the Old Testament that refer to the Messiah — his 
person — character — offices — sufferings — death — resur- 
rection, and the progress of his kingdom. 




Nothing more clearly proves the darkening- influence 
of sin in alienating man from God, than the manner in 
which many writers on the science of morals speak of 
the necessity of a Divine Revelation. They do not 
indeed aifect to question its utility and importance 
as a means of advancing the knowledge, or improving" 
the[character of mankind, but their views of the dignity 
of human nature are far too lofty to permit them to 
acknowledge the humbling truth that a divine reve- 
lation is indispensablyfnecessary. They deig-n occa- 
sionally to mention Christianity as the most perfect of 
all religions, and to compliment its tendencies to pro- 
mote virtue and happiness. They praise its benevolence, 
they extol its simplicity, and they admire the purity, 
the beauty and perfection of its moral precepts. 
But it is evident to every attentive observer, that their 
systems, though not avowedly hostile to a supernatural 
revelation, are, with few exceptions, incompatible with • 
the idea of its necessity, as well as with the truth of the 
doctrines which it has promulgated. Their natural 
religion, in its discoveries by the unaided light of reason, 


is according" to their representations only inferior to 
Christianity in its clearness and sanctions ; and they 
exhibit human nature in such an aspect, that notwith- 
standing some trifling imperfections and weaknesses, it 
may very easily climb to the heights of the most 
arduous virtue, and by the force of native merit gain an 
eternity of happiness. No derangement evidential of 
the fall is at all discovered in the mental faculties, nor 
any alienation from God ; while goodness is indicated 
by the appearances of human nature in its desires, pur- 
suits, and practices. Man in all respects appears still 
the very same as when he came pure from the hands 
of his Creator. If he is susceptible of evil, he is with- 
out any natural bias to vice, and the very propensities 
of his nature, which, according to the Apostle Paul, 
subject him to condemnation by the holy law of God, 
serve only to exalt his virtue, by affording him an 
opportunity of displaying a more meritorious and rigid 
self-denial. In their systems of theology, they gene- 
rally exhibit mercy as one of the attributes of God, 
discoverable by reason. But they have never been 
able to make it consistent with justice. Nor is it -pos- 
sible for any scheme to harmonize these attributes that 
does not make full compensation to the latter. To 
ascribe mercy to God according to the views they give 
of it, is to ascribe to him a blemish instead of a per- 

But, waving their defects, it is enough, in order to 
lower the pretensions of these systems, to strip them of 
all they have borrowed from Christianity. The builders 
of moral systems, while they avowedly draw from the 
light of nature alone, usually take all the materials that 
the discoveries of the gospel have thrown in their way. 


SO far as these coincide with their predilections. In a 
scheme of moral science each exhibits the whole of his 
theological creed. What is agreeable to his prejudices 
he readily finds in the light of nature, and never reflects 
that what appears to him the discovery of reason is the 
dictate of pure revelation ; or, though deducible from 
the works of God, has lain hid from the wisest of man- 
kind. To settle any controversy of this kind, there is a 
standard of indubitable authority. Nothing can be justly 
claimed by the modern philosopher but what he can 
point out in ancient discoveries. Whatever the religion 
of nature could do, must be abundantly obvious from 
the writings of the philosphers of Greece and Rome. 
In them is shovvn the utmost that human reason, un- 
aided by divine revelation, can discover of God and of 
human duty. Any moral truth which the world had not 
been able to discover in the study of four thousand years, 
cannot be reckoned to the account of the religion of 
nature. Nor is there the pretence of uninterrupted 
barbarism. In Greece for some hundred years the hu- 
man understanding had the fairest field for exhibiting 
its powers. The most ardent love of knowledge distin- 
guished that period from any other age of the world, 
while their habits and manners gave the lovers of 
wisdom the most entire leisure for prosecuting their 
studies. The names of their most distinguished sages 
are better known, in all civilised countries, than the 
names of the most eminent philosophers of the present 
day. Yet, with all their advantages, they did not know 

Notwithstanding all the wise things which the 
ancient philosophers occasionally said with respect to 
God, they wavered with respect to those attributes 

VOL. I. c 


that are now thought to be the most obvious to reason. 
What philosopher, what peasant, now thinks himself 
at a loss to prove from the light of nature the existence 
of God ? But how many ancient philosophers, as well 
as the vulgar, were ignorant of this grand truth, or even 
denied it ? Who is it that now finds any difficulty in 
proving the unity of God? But show us any ancient 
philosopher who held this doctrine with a steady con- 
sistent faith. There is not one of them that can be 
said strictly to have held it at all. They spoke indeed 
of One Supreme ; but the wisest of them did not hold 
this supremacy in such a sense as to exclude every 
other being from Deity and its attributes. It is there- 
fore an abuse of language, and a false representation, 
to assert that they held the unity of God. Almighty 
power is now an obvious attribute in every system of 
natural theology ; but where is the ancient philosopher 
by whom this was properly understood ? They spoke, 
indeed, occasionally of God as almighty ; but it was in 
reality an empty, complimentary expression. What- 
ever power they might in some things ascribe to God, 
they all set bounds to this divine attribute. He could, 
indeed, do many wonderful things ; but still many other 
things he could not do. To create something out of 
nothing was, in the estimation of the wisest of them, 
beyond the power of God ; and to raise the dead was 
supposed neither desirable nor possible.* Thus we 

* That the Epicurean scheme was no other than Atheism 
disguised ; that the hypothesis of the Stoics was little different 
from the Polytheism of the vulgar ; and that the faith of the 
Academics was either none at all, or faint and fluctuating at 
best, will not be disputed by those who have any knowledge of 
antiquity. To judge of their sentiments by occasional sayings 


might run over all the attributes of the Godhead, and 
we should find that not one of them was g-iven, in per- 
fection, to the Supreme Being- of the philosophers of 
the heathen world. While they may be ascribed in 
words, they are in reality subject to innumerable limi- 
tations. In estimating-, then, the importance of Revela- 
tion, it is absolutely necessary to consider the exacr 
extent of that knowledge of God and human duty, 
manifested by the discoveries of ancient wisdom. As 
often as natural rehgion points to her systems of moral 
science, and from the perfection of these would lower 
the value of the discoveries of the gospel, she ought to 
be stripped of her borrowed feathers, and instead of the 
rich and brilliant plumage in which she now usually 
appears, if she is not altogether unfledged, she will 
have but a plain and scanty covering. 

At first sight, these observations may appear to some 

with which modern philosophers are wont to embellish their 
works, it may be believed, as many have believed, that the an- 
cient philosophers were possessed of the whole system of what 
is called Natural Religion. But if we look into their writings, 
we shall be undeceived. Or if we take the testimony of one of 
the most considerable among them who had made their doctrines 
his study, we shall be told that the being and providence of God 
was, of all subjects, a matter of the greatest doubt and disputa- 
tion among philosophers. Let Cicero's dialogues concerning 
the nature of the gods, stript of rhetorical embellishments, and 
reduced to simple propositions, be put into the hands of some 
peasant of common understanding and acquainted with the 
Christian revelation, and he will be astonished at the opinions 
of the ancients, the gross stupidity of the Epicureans, the frivo- 
lous superstition of the Stoics, and the presumptuous rashness 
of the Academics, and be thankful that he possesses the Holy 



inconsistent with the doctrine of the Apostle Paul, in 
the beginning- of his Epistle to the Romans ; but a 
moment's reflection will show the perfect consistency. 
That the existence, and many of the attributes of God, 
are written in the two volumes of the heavens and 
the earth, is a conclusion which reason ought in all 
men to draw, and is a thing which cannot be questioned 
bv any man who acknowledges this Epistle of Paul to 
be a part of the inspired Word of God, But there is a 
difference between what reason ought to find out, if it 
would properly exert itself in the discovery, and what 
it has actually found out, or what, from the corruption 
of human nature, it would ever find out. The heavens 
and the earth teach a lesson, that, from the enmity of 
the heart of man to God, no man ever learned. And 
as a matter of fact, we find, that although the sun has 
been preaching to all nations for six thousand years the 
existence and attributes of the God that made him, no 
individual has ever fully understood his voice, or re- 
ceived his testimony. Men are not led by the preach- 
ing of the sun, moon, or stars, to the knowledge of the 
true God, because they hate him ; and even when from 
tradition they knew God, yet they did not like to retain 
him in their knowledge, but formed to themselves gods 
more suitable to their own character. Notwithstanding 
the incessant labours of these faithful preachers, when, 
at the end of 4000 years from the beginning of the 
world, Jesus Christ appeared, all nations, with the ex- 
ception of the Jews, were found idolaters, and there 
was not an individual that had discovered and worshipped 
God, as manifested in his works, from the mere testi- " 
< monv of these" works. The necessity, then, of an 
explicit revelation from God, to be promulgated to all 


nations, in order to bring' them back to the worship of 
himself, and to carry into effect his gracious purposes 
of mercy, is placed beyond all doubt. This will be 
fully evident, if we take a view of the religious, as well 
as the moral degradation into which the most distin- 
guished of the heathen nations had fallen, at the time 
when civilisation was carried to the highest pitch of 

The Greeks and Romans, with w^hose history we are 
best acquainted, who looked with contempt on all the 
rest of the world as barbarians, were plunged in the 
grossest ignorance with respect to the knowledge of 
God, and of those moral relations in which they stood 
to him, and to one another. Respecting their religious 
worship, they were all, without exception, idolaters. 
Innumerable deities were feigned by them, of the worst 
characters, and infamous for the most enormous crimes. 
They invented ideal gods of all classes, and for pur- 
poses even the most base and ignoble. They deified 
the inanimate parts of the world. They ascribed to 
their deities passions and propensities the most odious 
and abominable. These deities were represented by 
their worshippers as guilty of drunkenness, incest, 
rapes, adulteries, thefts, and quarrels. " They were 
distinguished for violence, impurity, fraud, revenge, 
rapacity. Mercury was a thief ; Bacchus a drunkard ; 
Jupiter dethroned his father ; Venus was a harlot ; 
Saturn murdered his own children."' They w^ere, in 
short, monsters of cruelty, lewdness, and profligacy. 
Statues and pictures were formed, and set up in tem- 
ples dedicated to them, in which the worship of their 
votaries entirely corresponded with the characters they 
bore. It consisted in the vilest and most detestable 


rites, many of which were cruel and contrary to hu- 
manity, and hence the licentiousness and impurity of 
their religious services became notorious. Human 
sacrifices were frequently offered on their altars. Many 
of their temples were places of avowed prostitution. 
Fornication and drunkenness formed part of the worship 
of Venus and Bacchus. Strabo relates that the temple 
of Venus at Corinth was exceedingly rich, so as to 
have in property more than a thousand harlots, the 
slaves and ministers of the temple, donations made to 
the goddess by persons of both sexes. Hence he says 
that " the city was crowded, and became wealthy." 
Such, according to Gibbon, was " the cheerful devotion 
of the Pagans," and such were the gods and goddesses 
who composed what he terms " the elegant mythology 
of the Greeks." The same, according to the history 
of all heathen nations, both ancient and modern, is the 
character of that idolatry, which in one form or other 
has overspread the earth, and which has been uniformly 
found the most gross in countries the most civilised. 

Just notions of God, obedience to his moral law, 
purity of heart, and sanctity of life, were not enforced, 
nor even mentioned, as ingredients in the religious 
services of Greece and Rome. They prescribed no 
repentance of past crimes, no future amendment of 
conduct. The Heathen religion, so far from giving 
anv aid to virtue, had not the smallest connexion with 
it. The actions of the Pagan gods, recorded in their 
sacred stories, were so wicked and impure, that they 
could not but greatly corrupt the practice of their 
worshippers. The morals of the people were accord- 
ingly such as might have been expected. They were 
wholly dissolute. Sensual indulgence, and every species 


of cruelty, were carried to the highest pitch. The 
pleasures of the table became the chief object of atten- 
tion, and every thing- was ransacked to gratify the 
appetite. The most unrestrained sensuality of every 
kind was practised. Fornication, and the grossest im- 
purities, were indulged without restraint. Divorces 
were so easily obtained, and at length became so com- 
mon, that marriage, under a legal name, was often the 
vilest and most shameless prostitution. Parents were 
at liberty to expose their children to perish with cold 
and hunger, or to be devoured by wild beasts. Ex- 
posing them was frequently practised, and passed with- 
out punishment, and even without censure. The most 
civilised of the sages of Greece gave parents permission, 
by law, to kill their children. Suicide was recommend- 
ed and sanctioned, by the practice of men of the lirst 
and most esteemed characters. 

Wars were carried on with the greatest ferocity. 
Whole cities and nations were extirpated by fire and 
sword. Thousands of the vanquished were put to 
death in cold blood. In the midst of the ceremony of 
a public triumph, the general of the vanquished army, 
if taken alive, was put to death, and a pause was made 
in the triumph till his execution took place. In their 
battles, the combatants seldom gave quarter but in the 
hope of profit by making slaves of their prisoners, who 
were thus condemned to perpetual bondage. This 
being the case, we may judge of the nature of their 
conflicts. Instances occur of cities besieged, whose 
inhabitants rather than open their gates, murdered 
their wives and children, and rushed themselves on a 
^'oluntary death. 

Above two-thirds of the whole inhabitants of the 


most civilised countries are computed to have been 
slaves. Those who were in this unhappy situation, 
were treated in the most barbarous manner. Their 
masters had absolute power over them, and might 
scourge or put them to death at pleasure. This right 
was exercised with the greatest cruelty. When punish- 
ed capitally, slaves were generally crucified. One of 
the friends of Augustus devised a new species of cruelty 
to slaves, throwing them into a fish-pond, to be de- 
voured by lampreys. A chained slave for a porter 
was usual at Rome. For the correction of slaves, a 
lash was commonly hung in the staircase. Seneca 
mentions, without remarking it as an instance of cruelty, 
that regularly about the third hour of the night, the 
neighbours of such persons as took their meals at a 
late hour, heard the noise of whips and lashes, and, 
upon enquiry, found they were taking account of the 
conduct of their slaves, and giving them correction. 

Marriage appears to have been seldom permitted to 
slaves. It vvas deemed matter of prudence, and on 
that ground it was recommended, to give a wife to the 
overseer of a farm, to attach him more strongly to his 
master's service ; but this was a peculiar indulgence to 
one in whom confidence was reposed. Married slaves 
were thought very inconvenient. Xenophon, in giving 
directions for the management of a farm, seems not to 
suppose that they were ever married. Plutarch says, 
that the elder Cato allowed the male slaves to have 
intercourse with the females in his family, upon paying 
a certain sum for the permission. It was the professed 
maxim of Cato to sell his superannuated slaves for any 
price, rather than maintain what he esteemed a useless 
burden. The custom of exposing old, useless, or sick 


slaves ia an island of the Tiber, there to starve, was 
not uncommon in Rome. Any who recovered, after 
having- been exposed, had their liberty given them by 
an edict of the Emperor Claudius, in which it was 
likewise forbidden to put to death any slave merely on 
account of old age or sickness. If a master of a 
family was killed in his own house, and the murderer 
not discovered, all his domestic slaves were liable to 
suffer capitally. A Roman nobleman, who had 400 
slaves, being assassinated by one of them, the whole, 
without exception were put to death. At the funerals 
of the rich, frequently, great numbers of their slaves 
were slain, as victims pleasing to their departed spirits. 
Were there no other proof of the inhuman treatment 
which slaves received, than the fact that, in the salu- 
brious climates of Italy and Greece, they did not main- 
tain their numbers, that alone would be sufficient. So 
far from multiplying, the stock of slaves could not be 
kept up without immense recruits from the remoter 
provinces. The cruelties practised in modern times 
towards slaves, have always been reprobated as most 
disgraceful. But in heathen Rome the humanizing 
influence of Christianity was absent, and slavery was 
consequently only mitigated by the restraints of self- 
interested cupidity. 

Where slaves were so inhumanly treated, compassion 
to the poor is not to be looked for. Of any institution 
provided or sanctioned by their religion or govern- 
ment for the relief of the sick, the infirm, or the help- 
less, not a trace is to be found in the Pagan world. 
The laws of Israel enjoined the greatest kindness and 
compassion to the poor, and that the most liberal 
assistance should be afforded to those who were in 


want. But, under the Messiah's reign, every thing- of 
this kind, according- to the predictions of the prophets, 
was to be carried into the fullest effect. Accordingly, 
the first regular institution for the relief of the poor, 
is to be found in the church at Jerusalem. On every 
Christian church throughout the world, the same duty 
was enforced, and the same means provided for its 
being executed. Christians were commanded " with 
quietness to work," not only that they might " eat 
their own bread," but that " they might have to give 
to those that needed." On the first day of the week, 
every one was to " lay by him in store" for this purpose, 
" as God had prospered him ;" and persons among 
them were appointed to distribute their liberality. In 
every country to which Christianity has extended its 
benign influence, and in proportion as it has prevailed, 
numberless benevolent institutions have been provided 
for the relief of those in distress, nothing similar to 
which existed in the heathen world. 

But the strongest proof of deliberate cruelty among 
the civilised heathens was exhibited in their public 
shows ; in which gladiators, composed of captives, 
slaves, and condemned criminals, regularly trained 
for the purpose, were brought out by thousands into 
their immense amphitheatres, and there compelled to 
cut one another in pieces, for the entertainment of peo- 
ple of every rank. The combats of gladiators were 
at first used in Rome at funerals only, where prison- 
ers were obliged to assume the profession, and fight 
before the tombs of deceased generals and magistrates, 
in imitation of the barbarous custom of the Greeks, of 
sacrificing captives at the tombs of their heroes. The 
Romans were so passionately fond of these spectacles, 


that wherever colonies were established, it was found 
necessary to exhibit shows of this kind, to induce the 
emigrants to remain in their new country. The pro- 
fusion of human blood which was shed at these shows, 
and the refinements that were invented to augment 
the barbarous pleasure of the spectators, are proofs of 
the dreadful degree of corruption and depravity to 
which human nature is capable of attaining. As these 
combats formed the supreme pleasure of the inhabi- 
tants of Rome, the most cruel of the Emperors were 
sometimes the most popular, merely because they grati- 
fied the people, without restraint, in their favourite 
amusement. That no occasion might be lost of indul- 
ging this savage taste, criminals were condemned to 
fight with wild beasts in the arena, or were exposed un- 
armed to be torn in pieces by them ; at other times they 
were blindfolded, and in that condition obliged to cut 
and slaughter each other. So that instead of victims 
solemnly sacrificed to public justice, they seemed to be 
brought out as buifoons, to raise the mirth of the specta- 
tors. At the gladiatorial shows, sometimes twenty or 
thirty thousand men were slain in a month. The Em- 
peror Trajan, who was extremely partial to these enter- 
tainments, gave shows of gladiators after one of his 
victories, in which ten thousand of these devoted vic- 
tims combated. Not only the men, but even the 
women, were passionately fond of these shows. It was 
not till the Christian religion had superseded Pagan 
idolatry that prisoners and slaves were treated with 
humanity, and the bloody exhibitions in the amphi- 
theatres abolished. With what truth do the Scriptures 
declare, that " the dark places of the earth are full of 
the habitations of cruelty I" To the honour of the 


Jews let it be recorded, that when Herod proposed to 
introduce gladiatorial fights among them, they received 
the proposal with the utmost indignation. 

But it may be asked, could philosophy do nothing to 
stem this overwhelming torrent of superstition, sensu- 
ality, debauchery, and cruelty ? So far from doing any 
thing in the way of restraint, it was when philosophy 
was most cultivated, and brought to the highest point 
which it appears to have been naturally capable of at- 
taining, that these enormous evils most prevailed. 
Those who called themselves philosophers, were sepa- 
rated into various sects. These may be divided gen- 
erally into two great classes, both of whom felt the 
pressure of evil and sorrow in life, but neither were • 
able to discover a remedy. In this situation, the one 
class sought a refuge in sensuality and extreme indul- 
gence, " Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." 
The other, wrapped up in pride, taught men to brave 
the ills of life, as not worthy of the consideration of a 
wise man. 

Such of the philosophers as were not sceptics, for 
the most part acknowledged one God as superior to the 
rest, but corrupted the doctrine of the Unity by making 
him to be of the same nature as the other gods, 
though of a higher order. Hence originated the cus- 
tom of the priests, who, in all their sacred ceremonies 
and devotions, after addressing themselves to the 
special deities to whom it was necessary at each par- 
ticular time to offer up prayer or sacrifices, were wont 
to invoke all the gods in general. Socrates, the most en- 
lightened of all the philosophers, represents the worship, 
not of one God, but of the gods, as the first and most 
universal law of nature. He taught his disciples to 


conform themselves to the false religion of his country, 
which he countenanced both by precept and example. 
He sacrificed at the public altars, and sent to consult 
the oracle of Delphi. At his trial, he pleaded these 
facts as known to his accusers, to establish his innocence, 
and to prove that he had not denied the gods. If at 
any time he spoke against the religion of his country, 
it was only in secret and feebly. The last order he 
gave before he expired, and at a time when there was 
no temptation to practise dissimulation, was to sacrifice, 
in his name, a cock to Esculaj)ius. That he died a 
martyr to the doctrine of the unity of the divine sub- 
stance, Bishop Horsley asserts to be a vulgar error. 
Aristotle affirmed, that though there was one eternal 
first mover, yet the stars are also true eternal deities. 
Plato says expressly, that it is not easy to find the 
parent of the universe, nor prudent to discover him to 
the vulgar when found. In his treatise of Laws, and in 
his books of the Republic, he orders worship and rites 
to be performed to the gods, and to the demons, and to 
Esculapius. He prescribes the worship of the stars, 
which are indeed the divinities he principally recom- 
mends to the people. Cicero often speaks as if he 
believed that there was a plurality of gods. In arguing 
for the existence of God, he leads the people to a plu- 
rality, and asserts expressly that those who were 
accounted gods of the higher order, were taken from 
among men. He very much approves of the custom 
of paying divine honours to famous men, and of regard- 
ing them as gods. 

Many of the most renowned among the philosophers 
held the doctrine of the TO '£N. God was with them 
a sort of subtle spirit, which penetrated all nature, and 


was therefore literally " the soul of the universe." The 
souls of men were particles of this universal mind; and, 
after their separation from the bodies to which they had 
been united, were absorbed into the to h, or animated 
other bodies in endless progression. The consequences of 
this system are obvious. It is much the same as that re- 
vived by Spinoza. The idea of God is totally evapo- 
rated, since it allows of no being superior to ourselves. 
This pantheism, or mixture of the absurdities of athe- 
ism with the reveries of pride, which excluded prayer, 
humility, and whatever belonged to religious worship, 
except their hypocritical conformity to the established 
religions of their country, was the system of most of 
the ancient philosophers, and was still more impious 
than all the fables of the Pagan vulgar. 

The first and highest God was not, according to the 
philosophers, concerned in the creation of the world. 
Cicero would not allow that God created the matter 
out of which the universe was made. Some of them 
held that the world was eternal, others that it was 
formed by a fortuitous concourse of innumerable atoms ; 
but it was commonly supposed that the world owed its 
origin to chance. Much was ascribed to matter, or to 
what they called fate. It was a universal notion among 
them, that the Supreme Being did not concern himself 
with the affairs of this world, but committed them 
wholly to inferior deities. 

Respecting the immortality of the soul and a future 
state, those of the philosophers who did not disbelieve 
them altogether, lived in entire uncertainty; and of the 
resurrection of the body, they seemed to have formed 
no idea. On the two former points they never arrived 
at any fixed opinion. Socrates concludes a long dis- 


cussion, relative to the state of souls after death, hv 
saying-, '* That these things are so as I have represent- 
ed them, it does not become any man of understanding- 
to aflBrm." In this strain of conjecture and uncertainty 
he continued to speak to the last. In his apology to 
his judges, he comforts himself with the consideration, 
that " there is much ground to hope that death is good ; 
for it must necessarily be one of these two, either the 
dead man is nothing, and has not a sense of any thing, 
or it is only a change or migration of the soul hence 
to another place, according to what we are told. If 
there is no sense left, and death is like a profound sleep 
and quiet rest, without dreams, it is wonderful to think 
what gain it is to die ; but if the things which are told 
us are true, that death is a migration to another place, 
this is still a much greater good." Aristotle asserts that 
" death is the most dreadful of all things, for that it is 
the end of our existence ; to him that is dead, there 
seems nothing further to remain, whether good or evil." 
" Whilst I shall exist," says Cicero, " I shall not be 
troubled at any thing, since I am free of all fault ; and 
if I shall not exist, I shall be deprived of all sense." 
Referring to the several opinions concerning the nature 
and duration of the soul, he says, " Which of these is 
true, God alone knows, and which is most probable, is 
a very great question." Seneca thought the soul could 
last only for a determined period ; for a time was to 
come when a general conflagration would take place, 
and all things be reduced to their primitive chaotic 
state. Pliny, the naturalist, labours to expose the ab- 
surdity of ascribing immortality to the soul. Speaking 
of opinions relating to a future existence, he affirms 
that " these are childish and senseless fictions of mor- 


tals who are ambitious of a never-ending; state of exist- 
ence. Plutarch, having spoken of the cares and troubles 
of life, and quoted some passages respecting them from 
the poets, says, " If such then be the condition of hu- 
man life, as they speak, why do we not rather applaud 
their good fortune who are freed from its drudgery, than 
pity and deplore them, as some men's folly prompts 
them to do ? Socrates," he adds, " said, that death was 
like either to a very deep sleep, or to a journey taken a 
great v/ ay and for a long time, or to the utter extinction 
of soul and body ; and, if we examine each of these com- 
parisons, we shall find that death is not an evil upon any 
account ; for if death be sleep, and no hurt happens to 
those who are in that innocent condition, it is manifest 
that neither are the dead ill dealt with." " Homer," he 
observes, " saith, death is made of iron, thereby intimat- 
ing to us that it is insensible ; neither hath he spoken 
much amiss." A little after, he adds, " The words of 
Socrates to his judges seem to me to be spoken even 
with inspiration : — ' To fear death, is nothing else than 
to counterfeit the being wise when we are not so ; for 
he that fears death, pretends to know what he is igno- 
rant of; for no man is certain, whether death be not 
the greatest good that can befall a man, but they posi- 
tively dread it as if they were sure it was an evil.' " In 
harmony vvith this ignorance of the philosophers respect- 
ing a future state, the Greek and Roman poets urge 
men to a full indulgence of their appetites, on the 
ground that life is short, and that death will entirely 
terminate our existence. 

The philosophers admitted their own ignorance on 
these subjects, and the necessity of further instruction. 
Socrates, meeting Alcibiades going to the temple to 


pray, dissuaded him from it, because he knew not how 
to do it till one should come to teach him. "It is alto- 
gether necessary,'* says he, " that you should wait for 
some person to teach you how you ought to behave your- 
self, both to the gods and men." Plato tells the Athe- 
nians, that they would remain in a state of sleep for 
ever, if God did not out of pity send them an instruc- 
tor. Cicero says, " I do not suppose that Arcesilas 
engaged in dispute with Zeno out of obstinacy, or a 
desire of superiority, but to show that obscurity, under 
which all things lie, and which forced Socrates to a 
confession of his ignorance, and all those who were the 
admirers of Socrates, such as Democritus, Anaxagoras, 
Empedocles, and almost all the ancients, were reduced 
to the same confession. They all maintained that no 
true insight of things could be acquired ; that nothing 
could be clearly perceived or known ; that our senses 
were limited, our intellect weak, and the course of man's 
life short.'* According to Democritus, truth lay buried 
in the depths of the sea, or in a well without a bottom. 
Such was the utter uncertainty into which these philo- 
sophers had reasoned themselves respecting the most 
important of all subjects, the nature of God, the im- 
mortality of the soul, and a future state ; subjects of 
which barbarians, keeping closer to early tradition, were 
not nearly so ignorant. On this point, the remarks of 
Gibbon are just and striking, though they could scarcely 
have been expected from such a quarter : — *' Since, 
therefore, the most sublime efforts of philosophy can 
extend no farther than feebly to point out the desire, 
the hope, or, at most, the probability, of a future state, 
there is nothing except a divine revelation that can as- 
certain the existence, and describe the condition, of the 

VOL. I. D 


invisible country which is destined to receive the souls 
of men after their separation from the body. But we 
may perceive several defects inherent to the popular 
religions of Greece and Rome, which rendered them 
very unequal to so arduous a task. 1. The general 
system of their mythology was unsupported by any 
solid proofs ; and the wisest among the Pagans had al- 
ready disclaimed its usurped authority. 2. The de- 
scription of the infernal regions had been abandoned 
to the fancy of painters and of poets, who peopled them 
with many phantoms and monsters, who dispersed their 
rewards and punishments with so little equity, that a 
solemn truth, the most congenial to the human heart, 
was oppressed and disgraced by the absurd mixture of 
the wildest fictions. 3. The doctrine of a future state 
was scarcely considered among the devout Polytheists 
of Greece and Rome as a fundamental article of faith. 
The providence of the gods, as it related to public com- 
munities rather than to private individuals, was prin- 
cipally displayed on the visible theatre of the present 
world. The petitions which were offered on the altars 
of Jupiter or Apollo, expressed the anxiety of their 
worshippers for temporal happiness, and their ignorance 
or indiiference concerning a future life. The important 
truth of the immortality of the soul was inculcated with 
more diligence, as well as success, in India, in Assyria, 
in Egypt, and in Gaul." 

If such was the ignorance of the philosophers respect- 
ing religion, its worship, and its sanctions, and re- 
specting the immortality of the soul and a future state, 
what opinions may they be supposed to have enter- 
tained respecting morals ? These entirely correspond- 
ed with their religious notions. Pride and vanity were 


their ruling- principles. Many of them commended and 
justified suicide, and most of them judged lying- to be 
lawful when it was profitable. Plato says, '' he may lie 
who knows how to do it when in a fitting- or needful 
season." He lays it down as a maxim, that it is ne- 
cessary for rulers frequently to make use of lying- and 
deceit, for the benefit of their subjects ; and advises 
governors to practise falsehood when it is convenient, 
both towards enemies and citizens. Maximus Tyrius 
remarks, *' there is nothing venerable in truth, if it be 
not profitable to him who hears it." Pie adds, that a 
lie is often profitable or advantageous to men, and truth 
hurtful. The laws of Lycurgus, who is extolled by 
Plutarch as a perfectly wise man, were defective in 
justice and honesty, and enjoined the grossest viola- 
tions of decency.* According to them, the young wo- 
men appeared naked in the public exercises, and at the 
festivals and sacrifices. The young men of Sparta were 
trained to dexterity in committing theft. Aristippus, 
the disciple of Socrates, maintained that it was lawful 
for a wise man to steal, and to commit adultery and sacri- 
lege when opportunity offered ; for that none of these 
actions were naturally evil, setting aside the vulgar 
opinion which was introduced into the world by silly 
and illiterate people ; and that a wise man might pub- 

* In the town of Pompeii, near Naples, which was overwhelm- 
ed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and is now partly unco- 
vered, the author has seen on the front of one of the houses, in 
a public street, a representation on the wall, which strikingly 
marks the total disregard to outward decency that prevailed 
among the inhabitants. That this was universal among the ci- 
vilised heathens, is sufficiently manifest in the writings of their 


licly, without shame or scandal, keep company with 
harlots, if his inclination led him to it. Owing to such 
sentiments, and to divorces being permitted on very- 
slight pretences, both by Greek and Roman legislators, 
the marriage state fell into such disrepute and contempt, 
that it became necessary to force men to marriage by 
penal laws. Cato of Utica, who has been held up as 
" a perfect model of virtue," who lent his wife to Hor- 
tensius, was a habitual drunkard, and taught and prac- 
tised self-murder ; while Seneca pleads for suicide, and 
justifies Cato's intemperance. 

Customary swearing was encouraged, if not by the 
precepts, yet by the example, of the most distinguished 
among the heathen philosophers, as Socrates, Plato, 
and Seneca. Scarcely one of them condemns the in- 
human practice of exposing infants. Aristotle approves 
it, and even enjoins it as a duty to expose and destroy 
sickly children. Plutarch commends it in a particular 
instance as a virtue. Plato prescribes a community of 
wives in his commonwealth ; he gives great liberties to 
incontinency ; allows, and in some cases recommends, 
the exposing and destroying of the children of mothers 
older than forty, and of fathers older than fifty-five, and 
allows of drunkenness at the feasts of Bacchus. Cicero 
pleads for fornication, as having in it nothing cvdpable, 
as a thing universally allowed and practised, which he 
had never heard was condemned, either in ancient or 
modern times. Plutarch, in his book of morals, dis- 
coursing on the education of children, represents him- 
self as entirely at a loss on one part of the subject ; 
and speaks of parents as " of a peculiar humour, and of 
a sour and morose temper," who resisted, with respect 
to those who had the training of their sons, that foul 


crime which was the predominant disgrace of the civi- 
lised heathens, the guilt of which Gibbon charg-es on 
the tirst fifteen Roman emperors, with the exception of 
Claudius, v/ho lived in incest. " I am tender," adds 
Plutarch, " of being- the persuader or encourager of 
such a practice. But, on the other side, when I call to 
mind Socrates, and Plato, and Xenbphon, and Eschines, 
and Cebes, with a whole troop of other such men, who 
have appeared ... I am again of another mind, as 
much inclined by the zeal 1 have for the honour of 
such great persons." Socrates, Aristotle, Zeno, Plato, 
and others, are themselves charged with the same crime. 
Lycurgus by law permitted it, as is also affirmed of 
Solon. Cicero introduces Cotta, a man of the first 
rank, plainly owning to other Romans of the same 
quality with himself, that he practised it, and quoting 
the ancient philosophers in vindication of this infam- 
ous vice. 

Hume, in his Essays, gives the following account of 
an accomplished Athenian : — " I think I have fairlv 
made it appear, that an Athenian man of merit might 
be such a one as with us would pass for incestuous, a 
parricide, an assassin, an ungrateful perjured traitor, 
and something else too abominable to be named ; not 
to mention his rusticity and ill manners. And, having 
lived in this manner, his death might be entirely suit- 
able : he might conclude the scene by a desperate act 
of self-murder, and die with the most absurd blasphe- 
mies in his mouth. And, notwithstanding all this, he 
shall have statues, if not altars, erected to his memory ; 
poems and orations shall be composed in his praise ; 
great sects shall be proud of calling themselves by his 
name ; and the most distant posterity shall blindly 


continue their admiration : Thougb, were such a one 
to arise among themselves, they would justly regard 
him with horror and execration." 

From the above details, we cannot be surprised at 
being assured on their own authority, that none were 
more scandalous in their manners than the philosophers 
by profession of all sects ; while the flagitious and im- 
pure practices of the heathen world are publicly avowed 
and celebrated by their most admired poets. Such was 
the dreadful condition, moral and religious, of the civi- 
lised heathens. The philosophers, the statesmen, and 
the priests, and, as might be expected, the great body 
of the people, avowedly addicted themselves to the 
most abominable vices. The gods whom they wor- 
shipped were represented by them as guilty of the same 
enormities. Their temples were brothels ; their pic- 
tures invitations to sin ; their sacred groves were places 
of prostitution ; and their sacrifices a horrid mixture of 
superstition and cruelty. Lord Hailes has with great 
justice remarked that " the profligacy of the heathens 
in the apostolical age was more enormous than some 
people know, or at least are inclined to confess.^' 

After adverting to the opinions and practices of the 
heathen philosophers respecting religion and moral con- 
duct, it is needless, in estimating their qualifications as 
instructors and reclaimers of mankind, to examine those 
parts of their speculations which are consistent with 
reason and virtue. To recommend and enforce virtue 
they wanted sanctions of sufficient authority, and were 
ignorant of right motives. In respect to the rewards 
of a future state, their opinions were various and con- 
tradictory ; and all idea of future punishments was dis- 
carded by them. Cicero affirms that it was universally 


held by the philosophers that God could neither be 
angry nor hurt any one. He admits the consequence 
of this universal principle, that it quite overthrew the 
notion of Divine punishments ; and says in regard to 
an oath, that a perjured man need not fear the wrath of 
Heaven. He accordingly speaks of the punishments of 
the wicked as silly fables, and on a particular occasion 
says, " if these things be false, as all men understand 
them to be, what has death taken from him [a man 
whom he represents as a monster of wickedness, guilty 
of the most atrocious murders, &c.] but a sense of 
pain ?" Plutarch treats the fear of future punishment 
as vain and childish. Seneca asserts that no man in 
his reason fears the gods ; and contemns future punish- 
ments as vain terrors invented by the poets. In this 
manner did these philosophers, by their impious specu- 
lations, discard the fear of God ; and as to the love of 
God, they were utter strangers even to the idea. 

Their motives to the practice of virtue were absurd 
and illegitimate. One followed it for the love of fame 
and reputation ; another^ for the intrinsic beauty of its 
nature ; a third, for the benefit of its effects ; a fourth, 
for that the laws of his country required it ; a fifth, for 
he knew not why. But none practised it on its true 
principle, conformity to the will of God, from whence 
glory to him naturally proceeds. They were also as 
much mistaken in man's ability. They pretended, that 
they had the whole exercise of virtue in their power, 
by the mere force and rectitude of their own nature, 
without any aid or assistance from the Deity. The 
stoics, a sect which, of all others, most cultivated the 
science and practice of morality, were so far from seek- 
ing the assistance of Heaven, that, with an unparalleled 


extravagance, they placed their wise man in a rank 
superior to their gods, as having in him something of 
higher strength and fortitude ; for that he persevered 
in virtue amidst a thousand difficulties and discourage- 
ments, vi'hereas the virtue of the gods had no tempta- 
tions to shake it. In a word, such utter strangers were 
they in general, both to the nature of God and man, 
that Cicero, delivering the sentiments of ancient wisdom 
on this matter, expresses himself to this effect : " All 
the commodities of life are the gift of Heaven, but 
virtue no man ever yet thought came from God. For 
who ever returned him thanks that he was good and 
honest ? And why should he ? For virtue is of right 
our own praise, and that in which man reasonably 
glories. This, in short, is the opinion of all the world, 
that the goods of fortune are to be asked of Heaven, 
but that wisdom is to be had only from ourselves." 

" The ancient epic poets," says Dr Johnson in his 
life of Milton, " wanting the light of revelation, were 
very unskilful teachers of virtue ; their principal cha- 
racters may be great, but they are not amiable. The 
reader may rise from their works with a greater degree 
of active or passive fortitude, and sometimes of pru- 
dence, but he will be able to carry away few precepts of 
justice, and none of mercy." 

The heathen philosophy comprised only idle and 
fruitless truths, with which the people had no concern ; 
or abstract and obscure speculations, with which they 
had no acquaintance. What principle in theology, or 
what rule of morals, has any one of the ancient poets 
or philosophers, or have all of them indubitably esta- 
blished ? How many of these four essential doctrines 
respecting God did any of the philosophers hold — 


that there is one God — that God is no part of those 
things which we see — that God takes care of all things 
below, and governs the world — that he alone is the 
Great Creator of all things out of himself? Before 
the Christian era, no people in the world, excepting 
the Jews, believed these truths. None of the greatest 
and wisest among the Greeks and Romans held all of 
them, and very few of them held any of them firmly. 
The philosophers were a set of men who, on the first 
appearance of Christianity, most violently opposed it 
by all the arts of sophistry and injustice. And when 
by the force of its evidence they were driven to profess 
it, they immediately began to debase and corrupt both 
its doctrines and precepts. Tertullian affirms, that 
from their profane and vain babbling, every heresy took 
its birth. Whenever they or their philosophy are 
spoken of in Scripture, it is in terms of the strongest 
disapprobation. The Apostle Paul, after adverting to 
their unprincipled conduct in keeping back from the 
people what they knew of God, declares that they were 
without excuse, and that, professing themselves to be 
wise, they had become fools. In the first chapter of 
his Epistle to the Romans, he has given that appalling 
description of their depravity and guilt, which the truth 
of history, and their own statements, so awfully verify. 
But, even though these philosophers had understood 
the proper motives to virtue, and had been able, by 
proper sanctions, to enforce the practice of it, they 
wanted the inclination. They proceeded on a sys- 
tematic exclusion of the body of the people from all the 
means of moral and religious instruction. Instead of 
attempting to enlighten the multitude, all the influence 
which they derived from their knov/ledge was employ- 


ed to rivet on their minds the authority of the most 
degrading- superstitions. The vulgar and unlearned, 
they contended, had no right to truth. All of them, 
without distinction, held it as a fixed maxim, that no 
alteration was to be made in the established faith or 
worship. This was the express doctrine of Pythagoras, 
Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Epictetus, Seneca, and all the 
other great names of antiquity. Philosophers, states- 
men, magistrates, and every one distinguished either 
by his office or his station, worshipped the gods in 
common with the people, according to the established 
mode. " The philosophers," says Gibbon, " diligently 
practised the ceremonies of their fathers ; devoutly 
frequented the temples of the gods ; and sometimes 
condescending to act a part on the theatre of supersti- 
tion, they concealed the sentiments of an Atheist under 
the sacerdotal robes." Their want of integrity, and of 
any settled good principle, is strikingly manifest in this 
temporizing conduct. Convinced of the folly and false- 
hood of the vulgar superstitions, they not only conform- 
ed to them themselves, but taught their disciples to do 
the same ; thus making hypocrisy and dissimulation, in 
a matter of the last importance, an essential part of 
their instructions confirmed by their example, and per- 
petuating the most stupid idolatry in close connexion 
with the most abominable vices. 

'< These ideas of the philosophers of Europe," ob- 
serves Dr Robertson, in his disquisitions on India, 
" were precisely the same which the Brahmins had 
adopted in India, and according to which they regulated 
their conduct with respect to the great body of the 
people. Wherever the dominion of false religion is 
completely established, the body of the people gain 


nothing by the greatest improvements in knowledge. 
Their philosophers conceal from them, with the utmost 
solicitude, the truths which they have discovered, and 
labour to support that fabric of superstition which it 
was their duty to have overturned.'' 

What has been already advanced, is sufficient to 
prove the utter unfitness of the heathen philosophers 
in respect of character, of knowledge, and of inclination, 
to reclaim mankind from vice, and to bring them back 
to the worship and service of God and the practice of 
virtue. But on this subject one point, and that the 
most essential of all, still remains to be brought forward ; 
they were altogether ignorant of the great doctrine 
concerning the pardon of sin, and of the way of man's 
acceptance with God. These important questions were 
never made the subject of their consideration. So that, 
had their lives been as pure as they were profligate, 
their moral system as complete as it was imperfect and 
erroneous, and their knowledge of a future state as 
clear as it was perplexed and obscure, they would still 
have been blind guides, utterly unfit for the office of 
religious instructors ; and the need of a supernatural 
revelation to teach man his duty to God, and the way 
of restoration to his favour, and of attaining to future 
blessedness, would still have been indispensable. 

If man was originally under law to God, and if by 
the breach of that law he had become subject to the 
Divine displeasure, it could not be known, without a 
direct revelation from Heaven, that the pardon of sin 
was possible, or if possible, how it could be effected. 
That God will pardon sin in any instance, is a thing 
that without information from himself w^e have not 
principles to determine. On this subject, what is called 


natural religion conveys no information. The doctrine 
preached by the works of God, though in many respects 
very important, is here utterly silent. While the 
heralds of heaven proclaim the eternal power and god- 
head of the Creator, as well as his wisdom, it is plain 
that from them we can learn nothing of his mercy ; for 
they were sent forth to preach before mercy was needed 
by man ; and they have received no additional instruc- 
tions. They testify to us nothing but what they testi- 
fied to the first man when he was sinless, and to force 
from them a declaration of mercy is to pervert their 

In the works of creation, and in the moral government 
of the world, the justice and goodness of the great 
Creator are manifest ; but their connexion and har- 
mony cannot be discerned. The present is evidently 
a mixed state, in which much confusion prevails. One 
thing appears to counteract another, and neither justice 
nor goodness seems to attain its full end, far less do 
they unite and co-operate. Enough, however, is seen 
in these ways, especially when we take in connexion 
with them the convictions of duty arising from the 
remains of the law written in the heart, to leave every 
man " without excuse," and justly to condemn him be- 
fore God, for not acting up to what he knows to be 
right. But what is there in all this to inform him of 
the way of a sinner s acceptance with God ? What, 
then, can be said of natural religion, of which the above 
is the amount, as a system in any way available for the 
salvation of man ? Can that be called religion, which, 
finding man in a state of alienation from God, leaves 
him at last as it found him, exposed to all the conse- 
quences of the divine displeasure ? The wisest of the 


heathens fell indeed far short of what they might have 
known, and of what they were inexcusable for not 
knowing-. But even if all that is taught by the works 
of creation and providence had been universally under- 
stood and acknowledged by them, much would yet have 
been wanting-. 

Had then the ministration of what is called natural 
religion been committed to the ancient philosophers, as 
the ministration of the old covenant was committed to 
Moses, it would have been only, like that of Moses, 
*' the ministration of death." On what terms God, who 
cannot " look upon iniquity," would hold fellowship 
with man, who daily sins, and comes short even of his 
own convictions of duty, the wisest of them could not 
tell. The original tradition respecting the way of ac- 
ceptance with God, was wholly forgotten among them. 
Of the meaning of the sacrifices that were offered, they 
had lost all knowledge. Thick darkness had overspread 
the teachers, and gross darkness the people. 

The philosophers were as little acquainted with the 
malady of human nature, as they were with the remedy. 
They were ignorant alike of the radical corruption of 
their own hearts, and of the holiness and justice of God. 
Had they known the former, their vanity and presump- 
tion would have given way to abasement and terror. 
Had they been acquainted with the latter, would they 
have dared to conform to the " abominable idolatries," 
which, without exception, they countenanced ? 1 nstead 
of spending time in the endless speculations of their 
" vain philosophy," would not their solemn enquiry 
have been, " wherewith shall I come before the Lord, 
and bow myself before the most high God ?" 

A quotation has already been made from Cicero, 


which proves their deplorable ig-norance in respect to 
their own characters : " Whilst I exist I shall not be 
troubled at anything-, since I am free of all fault." 
Here we have a picture of midnight darkness, of a 
mind " blinded by the god of this world." How differ- 
ent was the view of himself entertained by the Apostle 
Paul! " I am carnal, sold under sin. I know that in 
me, that is, in my liesh, dwelleth no good thing. Who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" But he 
had been made acquainted with that righteousness 
which God had provided, and which he had joyfully 
accepted. It is not, therefore, on any precarious or 
hollow foundation of the supposed purity of his life, or 
of the cliance of non-existence in a future state that he 
rests. He stands with confidence on a specified and 
certain ground of hope; " I know whom I have be- 
lieved, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that 
which I have committed unto him against that day." — 
" Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through 
our Lord Jesus Christ." 

In order to form some comparative estimate of the 
strength of the different principles which supported the 
minds of these two men, both confessedly great in their 
way, let us view them in adverse and trying circum- 
stances. Cicero, deserted by his friends, and in the 
prospect of suffering death, has nothing to rest on but 
the broken reed of his own rectitude, and as to futurity 
he is in total darkness. Paul, in his last hours, his 
work done, and himself about to be put to death as an 
evil doer, after exhorting a fellow-labourer to endure 
afflictions, and to persevere in that cause for which he 
was now to suffer, breaks out into that triumphant 
exclamation, to which there is nothing comparable, or 


in the smallest degree similar, in all the works of all 
the philosophers : " / am noiu ready to he offered^ and 
the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought 
a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness , which the Lord, the righteous Judge, 
shall give me at that day ; and not to me only, hut 
unto all them also that love his appearing." 

We have now contemplated the state of the ancient 
heathen world as illustrated by the records of history, 
and the writings of the Greek and Roman philosophers. 
We have surveyed the dismal picture of the inhabitants 
of the most civilised countries, sunk in the grossest 
superstition, stained with the blackest crimes, and wal- 
lowing in the most degraded sensuality. We have 
seen with what a feeble arm their boasted philosophers 
strove to combat the gigantic forms of error by which 
they were enslaved, and that so far from holding forth 
the truth, even in its faintest glimmerings, these cele- 
brated men were themselves in theoretical opinions, the 
victims of delusion, and in practical morality the slaves 
of vice. If such was the character of paganism of old, 
what expectations can we entertain regarding those 
nations in modern times, on whom the Sun of righteous- 
ness has not arisen with healing in his wings ? If So- 
crates died in the very act of idolatry ; if Plato, after 
vainly speculating about the immortality of the soul, 
and the nature of the Divine Being, finally acknow- 
ledged the fruitlessness of his enquiries ; if Cicero found 
himself involved in the same doubts and darkness ; and 
if the whole of their philosophy has been emphatically 
described in scripture as the profession of wisdom ter- 
minating in folly, what could we hope in behalf of the 

64 THE nec;essity of 

rude barbarians of modern Africa, America, or Asia, 
or even of the more civilised inhabitants of India or 

Is it to be supposed that the modern heathens should 
rise superior to that doubt and uncertainty, which hung' 
like a dark cloud over the most admired speculations 
of the most enlightened of the Grecian sages, or that 
they should arrive at clearer ideas of God, and of eter- 
nity — of the duty of man to his maker, to himself, or to 
his neighbour ? Vain, indeed, must all such expectations 
be found. The character of man estranged from God, 
and destitute of the light of revelation, has been drawn 
by the finger of inspiration in the first chapter of the 
Romans : and, whether we look back to Egypt, the 
cradle of arts and sciences, to Chaldea, to Babylon, to 
Greece, or to Rome the final centre of ancient civilis- 
ation and refinement ; or whether we look around on 
the pagan world in our own days, we shall still find 
the same broad and distinguishing lines of character, 
separating the heathen from those nations on whom the 
light of Christianity has shone. Between the heathen 
rites of China or Hindoostan, and the idolatries of the 
savage New Zealanders, the Africans, or the aboriginal 
Americans, we can discover little practical difference. 
The same ignorance of God and eternity, the same 
absurd and polluting mythology, varying in its several 
forms, but agreeing in its essential features ; the same 
cruelty, deceitfulness, and sensuality ; all characterise 
the idolaters of modern nations, however diversified by 
language, climate, civilisation, and other outward cir- 
cumstances, exactly in the same manner as they cha- 
racterised all the idolaters of the nations of the ancient 


In the vast empire of China, embracing- as it does so 
larg-e and fair a portion of the habitable globe, and com- 
prising a population of 360 millions, we are told in the 
recent work of a Christian missionary (GutzlaiF), that 
though atheism is wide spread, still the idols are innu- 
merable. One of their religious sects boasts that their 
idols are as numerous as the sands of the Hong- river, 
and Gutzlaff himself saw, written over a shop near 
Pekin, " Idols and Budhos of all descriptions, neatly 
made and repaired." The morality of the Chinese is 
on a level with their degradation in religion. They 
are, like other idolaters, remarkable for their falsehood 
and deceit, while the tone of public feeling- among- all 
classes is of the lowest description. In the article 
China, in the Encyclopsedia Britannica, written by Sir 
John Barrow, he says, "It is to be feared that the 
boasted morality of the Chinese is built on no principle 
of feeling- or propriety of action between man and man, 
and that, where public decorum is not offended, there is 
no breach of moral duty. All ranks and conditions 
have a total disregard for truth. From the Emperor 
downwards, the most palpable falsehoods are produced 
with unblushing- effrontery, to answer a political, an 
interested, or exculpating- purpose." According to the 
testimony of other respectable witnesses, lately publish- 
ed, insincerity and dishonesty in trade, are faults with 
which the Chinese are very generally chargeable. Their 
distinctive quality is to cozen and deceive. 

If we turn from China to India, what a picture do 
we there behold of idolatry and superstition, with their 
usual concomitants, cruelty and vice. Of their mytho- 
logy a graphic description is given by the late Mr 
Wilberforce, in his celebrated speech in the House of 

VOL. I. E 


Commons, on the renewal of the East India charter in 
1813. "The leg-ends and histories of their actions, 
namely, of the deities, male and female, are innumerable, 
and in the highest degree extravagant, absurd, and in- 
credible. The most enormous and strange impurities, 
the most villanous frauds and impostures, the most 
detestable cruelty and injustice, the most filthy and 
abominable conceits, every corruption and indulgence, 
are presented to us in their histories, varied in a 
thousand forms. Very many of them are perpetuated 
by images, temples, and ceremonies, and those of 
such a nature as it w^ere pollution to describe. Repre- 
sentations which abandoned licentiousness durst hardly 
imagine within the most secret recesses of impurity, 
are there held up in the face of the sun to all man- 
kind, in durable materials, in places dedicated to 
religion : nay, they are the subjects of religious adora- 
tion ; and miniatures of them are worn by multitudes 
about the neck." The character of the people may 
be judged of from their mythology. Accordingly, we 
learn from the testimony of various writers, some dis- 
tinguished for their Christianity, and others for their 
indifference or opposition to the gospel, that the 
degradation of morals among the Hindoos is truly 
affecting. Dr Carey, the distinguished Baptist mission- 
ary, who laboured among them for nearly fifty years, 
observes, " Lying, theft, whoredom, and deceit, are 
sins for which the Hindoos are notorious. There is 
not one man in a thousand who does not make lying 
his constant practice." Another writer of a different 
character, Mr Forbes, who resided for so long a period 
in the East, remarks, " Their cruelty, avarice, craftiness, 
and duplicity, occasioned me a thousand grievances, 


which I could neither counteract nor redress, and dis- 
played such shocking- traits, rooted and strengthened by 
religious opinion, prejudices of caste, and habits of op- 
pression, as baffled all my endeavours to relieve the poor 
peasantry suffering under their tyranny." " They make 
not the least scruple," says the late Lord Teignmouth, 
governor of Bengal, " of lying-, where falsehood is at- 
tended with advantage. To lie, steal, plunder, ravish, 
or murder, are not deemed sufficient crimes to merit 
expulsion from society." 

The morality of the Hindoos was at one period a sub- 
ject of panegyric among infidels, eager in their blinded 
zeal against Christianity to find something- good in any 
other system of religion. Of the justice of these pane- 
gyrics we have already had some evidence. If more be 
wanted, it may be found in the abandoned profligacy 
of their worship, in the casting of human beings into the 
Ganges, in the multitudes of the victims crushed under 
the cars of their idols, and of widows burned on the 
funeral piles of their husbands. The horrid murders 
committed in cold blood by a tribe of Hindoos called 
Thugs, as an offering of blood to one of their deitieshave 
lately been brought to light. In speaking of this dia- 
bolical practice, the Edinburgh Review (January, 1837) 
observes, " To the Thugs murder is an act of religion, 
just as much as the practice of charity is to the Chris- 
tian." And again, " it will now_, we think, be apparent 
in what the principle of Thuggee consists ; what it was 
which gave rise to the phenomenon of several thousand 
persons pursuing murder as a trade, generation after 
generation." In Ceylon there are five different systems 
of idolatry, and the devil is regularly and systemati- 
cally worshipped. In thousands of instances the poor 


deluded people, we are informed, are so anxious to 
place themselves and all connected with them under 
the care and protection of the devil, that their children 
are solemnly dedicated to him before they are born. Of 
the people of Borneo, Mr Abeel says, " war is their busi- 
ness ; murder their pastime ; and the trophies of cruelty 
their proudest distinction." Among the Mexicans, when 
the new world was discovered, of all offerings, human 
sacrifices were deemed the most acceptable. Their 
last Emperor, Montezuma, is said to have offered twenty 
thousand annually, while it is estimated that throughout 
the whole country the blood of fifty thousand was every 
year shed upon their altars. Such is a specimen of what 
Gibbon calls " the cheerful devotion of the Pagans.'' 
The same testimony might be given as to the tribes of 
Africa, which have lately been visited. 

There is still another proof, that " the dark places of 
the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty," which 
ought not to be omitted in the black catalogue of hea- 
then wickedness. The horrid crime of infanticide 
appears to be as characteristic of every heathen nation 
in modern, as it was in ancient times. This dreadful 
proof of the malignant influence of idolatry has been 
alike exhibited among Pagans, by the savage and by the 
sage, from the earliest periods down to the present day. 
The expediency of this practice was taught by Plato ; 
it was countenanced by Aristotle, and expressly appro- 
ved by Seneca and Plutarch. At Sparta, it was per- 
mitted byliycurgus ; and was in like manner legalized 
in Athens, the chosen metropolis of philosophy, and at 
Rome, the mistress of the world. Why, then, should 
we wonder if we find the same crime still prevailing 
where the benign influence of Christianity has not 


penetrated, and where men are still left to the opera- 
tion of their own corrupt dispositions, urged on by the 
malice of the devil, and unrestrained by the voice of 
mercy heard in the gospel of the grace of God? 

In China, the greatest and most extensive heathen 
nation in the world, female infanticide is practised on the 
largest scale. In the city of Pekin alone, it is estimated 
that four thousand infants are annually destroyed. It 
is a general custom throughout the country to drown a 
large portion of the new-born female infants. In India, 
the practice has been partially abolished by the British 
government, but it still exists to a dreadful extent. To 
these horrid exhibitions of human depravity, we may 
add that the blackness of heathen darkness is relieved 
by none of those works of benevolence and philan- 
thropy which adorn every Christian country. Hospi- 
tals and infirmaries, as has already been stated, were 
unknown before the introduction of Christianity. They 
are equally unknown among modern nations destitute 
of the gospel. In India, the indifference with which 
the aged, the infirm, or the sick are left to perish is ap- 
palling ; while, in the vast territories of the Chinese 
Empire, it is believed there does not exist one chari- 
table institution. 

If any additional evidence of the necessity of a divine 
revelation is to be sought for from the state of the 
heathen world, it may be found in the contrast be- 
tween the former and present condition of those Pagan 
islanders of the South Seas, who are renouncing idola- 
try, and embracing the glorious gospel of salvation. In 
a recent work by Mr Williams, the well-known mis- 
sionary to the South Seas, which has obtained so great 
a circulation, the author gives a fearful account of the 
prevalence of infanticide in the islands which have been 


the scene of his labours. Among many most appal- 
ling proofs of the extent of this unnatural and diaboli- 
cal species of wickedness, he mentions one instance in 
which three native converts casually acknowledged 
that they had murdered in all one-and-twenty children. 
Mr Williams concludes the subject with the following 
just observations : — " What a truly affecting picture do 
these facts exhibit of human nature, where the light 
of divine truth has not beamed upon its darkness — 
where the religion of the gospel has not exercised its 
benign influence ! They show that the sun may shine 
for ages, with all its boundless beneficence, and yet 
fail to kindle in man a spirit of benevolence ; that the 
earth may pour forth her abundance, and not teach man 
kindness ; that the brute creation, impelled only by 
instinct, may exhibit parental fondness, and man fail to 
learn the lesson. By no species of ingenuity could we 
instruct the beasts of the field thus barbarously to de- 
stroy their young. Even the ferocious tiger prowls 
the forest for their support, and the savage bear will 
fearlessly meet death in their defence. But the facts 
now stated are only in harmony with innumerable 
others, which prove that in every place, and under all 
circumstances, men need the gospel. Whether you 
find them upon the pinnacle of civilisation, or in the 
vortex of barbarism ; inhabiting the densely populated 
cities of the East, or roaming the wilds of an African 
wilderness ; whether on the wide continent or the fer- 
tile islands of the sea ; surrounded by the icy barriers 
of the poles, or basking beneath a tropical sun — all need 
the gospel ; and nothing but the gospel can elevate 
them from the degradation into which they have been 
sunk by superstition and sin. Let science, then, go with 
her discoveries, and philosophy with her wisdom, and 


law with her equitable sanctions and social benefits, 
and let them exert their united influence to bless and 
elevate our benighted world ; but let it be the labour 
and ambition of the Christian to convey that Glo- 
rious Gospel, by which alone the regeneration and 
happiness of mankind can be fully and permanently 

From the above account of the heathen nations, both 
ancient and modern, the insufficiency of what is called 
natural religion to enlighten mankind in their present 
state of apostasy may be clearly estimated, and its being 
totally inadequate to lead men to God fully ascertained. 
We see what were its effects in the most civilized na- 
tions of antiquity, on those who were most ardent in 
their pursuit of knowledge and most remarkable for 
their acquirements beyond others of their time. Amidst 
all their speculations and reasonings, they remained in 
absolute uncertainty respecting those important ques- 
tions, which above every other it concerns creatures 
destined for immortality to resolve ; — how shall man 
be just with God, and to what is he destined in that 
future and eternal state, nearer to which each suc- 
ceeding hour conducts him ? And what, we may ask, 
are the effects at this day of the philosophical re- 
searches of the most eminent men in modern times 
who neglect the revelation of the gospel, which appears 
to them to be folly ? Their studies, directed to physi- 
cal or moral science, elevated and sublime as they may 
appear to be, leave them, when separated from the 
knowledge of the gospel, in ignorance of their own 
character and of the character of God,'of their condition 
as sinners, and of the value and saving influences of that 
Word which God has magnified above all his name. 


An unbelieving astronomer, it has been said, is mad ; 
but the study of astronomy will never conduct men to 
God. So far is this from being the case, that many of 
the most distinguished astronomers, as well as geolo- 
gists, have remained as much unacquainted with the 
way of salvation as the most benighted heathens, and 
even determinedly opposed to it. To what superior 
light did Mr Hume attain after all his philosophical 
researches ? On the contrary, he involved himself in 
total darkness. The confession with which he shuts 
up his enquiries on religion should operate as a solemn 
warning to all who, pushing reason beyond its legiti- 
mate province, reject the abundant means of knowledge 
which God has vouchsafed, that are graciously adapted 
to the present state and nature of man, " The whole," 
says he, " is a riddle, an enigma, an inexplicable 
mystery. Doubt, uncertainty, suspense of judgment, 
appear the only result of our most accurate scrutiny 
concerning this subject."* After all, the attainments 
of these men in their several enquiries, whether lawful 
and useful in themselves, like those of the astrono- 

* When Mr Hume's philosophical Mends visited him on his 
death-bed, he appeared to them to be cheerful, and was even 
unbecomingly jocular, as is narrated in that discreditable letter 
which after his death was addressed by Dr Adam Smith to Mr 
Strahan, and which has been exposed as it deserves by Bishop 
Home. But when these friends were not present, it is said to 
have been far otherwise with him, indeed the very reverse ; and 
that, in the gloom of his mind, he observed on one occasion 
to the person who attended him, that he had been in search of 
light all his life, but that now he was in greater darkness than 
ever. This is entirely consistent with the above deliberate 
avowal when he was in health and at ease. 


mer, or blasphemous and pernicious, like those of the 
sceptical philosopher, the question that was put of old 
may be urg-ed on them all, which, if they have neglected 
the great salvation, they must be conscious implies 
their condemnation ; *' Who is he that overcometh the 
world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of 
Godf The comparison that may be drawn between 
natural religion, or the revelation of nature, and the 
revelation of the gospel, will exhibit in the most con- 
spicuous manner the impossibility that the former can 
supply the place of the latter. 

The revelation of grace in the gospel may be consi- 
dered in comparison with that of nature, either as the 
latter came immediately from the hand of God, or in 
the darkness which has been occasioned to it by sin. 
The revelation of the gospel is given by the word of in- 
struction, whereas the other is made in the way of a work 
or operation, which is a manner more obscure, more em- 
barrassed, and more limited. Besides this, there are 
many things revealed in the gospel, of which we can 
have no knowledge from nature, as for example the 
doctrine of the Trinity, of the incarnation, of heavenly 
felicity, of the resurrection of the dead, and, in one 
word, all the mysteries of the economy of Jesus Christ. 
When we consider nature in its darkness occasioned by 
sin, we see almost all that it teaches turned to bad uses, 
and applied in a manner that leads to folly and extra- 
vagance. The sentiment that there is a God is not ex- 
tinguished — on the contrary, it is strongly impressed 
on the minds of all ; but it has been unhappily turned 
to all that multitude of idols which the Pagan nations 
worship ; or, where this is not the case, to an idea 
of God which is altogether false and erroneous. The 


necessity of religion is recog-nised, for there is no nation 
that can live without religion ; but how many supersti- 
tions does this sentiment beget ? The necessity of 
living morally is also turned to a bad use. In one word, 
there are none of the lights of the revelation of nature 
which are not corrupted and spoiled by the aberrations 
of man. 

While the revelation of nature in the state of inno- 
cence was something very uniform, and while its differ- 
ent parts had an admirable relation one to another, it has 
happened, that by the entrance of sin, a subversion almost 
universal has taken place, which has destroyed all that 
admirable symmetry and that justness of correspondence 
of its parts which shone in its economy. God, for ex- 
ample, who in the works of the heavens and the earth 
appears good, beneficent, and infinitely favourable to the 
human race, appears at the same time as an adversary 
offended, full of aversion to man, in the fatal accidents, 
the tragical events that occur from time to time, the 
floods, the earthquakes, the destruction of cities by the 
lire of heaven, the famines, the pestilences, and other 
such things. What relation does there appear between 
infinite goodness and so much wrath ? Man, that great 
work of the hands of God, an epitome of all the perfec- 
tions which are seen scattered up and down among the 
other creatures, is, as the lord and absolute master of all 
the works of God here below, formed for happiness and 
virtue. But at the same time we see him the slave of 
bis passions, unworthily defiled and dishonoured by a 
thousand crimes, unhappy in his designs, misled in his 
ideas, overwhelmed with multiplied miseries in this 
life, and subjected to death. What relation is there 
betwixt so much majesty and so much meanness, so 


much glory and so much ignominy ? Such is the state 
in which we find the revelation of nature since the en- 
trance of sin, like to the ruin of a beautiful palace, 
where we see on one hand magnificent columns and 
porticoes, but on the other marks of conflagration and 
destruction. In one word, it is a confused mass of 
beauties and desolations, of splendid grandeur and 
gloomy horror. 

These considerations conduct us to the necessity of 
the revelation of Jesus Christ, and to the economy of 
his grace. For, with respect to the first disorder which 
has been remarked in nature, consisting in the bad use 
and pernicious application that men have made of the 
truths revealed in the work of the universe, God has, 
by the revelation of the Gospel, done two things ; by 
the one he has confirmed and enhanced these truths, 
and set them in an entirely different light ; by the 
other he has rectified their use and application, lead- 
ing men back from their wanderings, dissipating their 
errors, and overthrowing their vain superstitions. Be- 
sides, as to the other thing that has been also remarked, 
namely, the mixture of contrarieties which appears in 
nature, the gospel has not only discovered the true 
causes of it, which were for the most part unknown, 
but has, besides, repaired the ruins under which nature 
groaned. From all this, we see the necessity of the super- 
natural revelation of Jesus Christ. For nature, in the 
state in which it is under sin, could not furnish to man 
what was necessary for his living well and happily. It 
conducted him a certain length, but it left him at fault, 
for the ways of reason and its lights all led him, in 
their termination, to precipices. Nature taught him 
that there is a God supremely great and good, but it 


also told him that he is an enemy to man, without fur- 
nishing any means for rendering him propitious. It in- 
formed him that man is made to serve God by religious 
worship, but it did not teach him what that religion 
ought to be, and it left him engaged in a thousand su- 
perstitions. It gave him to know that he was made for 
a sovereign good, but it left him in misery, without fur- 
nishing him with the mea#is to extricate himself, and 
without giving him to see in what that sovereign good 
consisted, or the way to arrive at it. It was necessary, 
then, that God, in order to eifect his purposes of mercy, 
should furnish man with a supernatural revelation, to 
relieve him from this labyrinth ; and this is what hap- 
pily the revelation of the gospel has effected. 

In the revelation of nature, God displayed his admi- 
rable wisdom, which is every where manifest ; for what 
can be more beautiful than the order of the universe as 
it appears before our eyes ? But in the revelation of 
grace he has concealed the greatest wonders of his wis- 
dom in such a manner as to give it the semblance of folly. 
In the beginning, he manifested himself to man in a 
manner clear and plain, conformed to the ways of human 
intelligence in the creation of the universe. The hea- 
vens declare the glory of God ; and the firmament 
showeth his handiwork. But that way, instead of suc- 
ceeding, had no other result but the blindness and the 
error of man. In the new creation there is nothing of 
that external magnificence. God here proceeds a se- 
cond time in the way of mystery, that is to say, in 
wrapping up his designs under the appearance of fool- 
ishness, and in concealing the wonders of his wisdom 
in unsearchable depths. In order to perform the work 
of salvation, and that of the destruction of the empire 


of Satan, he has employed means weak in appearance, 
and incapable of producing so great an effect. For what 
seems to be less fitted to issue in eternal glory and fe- 
licity than meanness, suffering, and ignominy ? What 
seems to be less fitted to destroy a tyrannical power, 
such as that of the devil, and to triumph over spiritual 
wickedness, than the humiliation and weakness of the 
* Son of God, his reed, and his cross, and his crown of 
thorns ? It is in this way, however, that God has ac- 
complished the great and admirable work of redemp- 
tion. Our strength has arisen from weakness, our life 
from death, our glory from ignominy; and our adoption 
has been the fruit of the abandonment which the 
only begotten Son of God suffered on the part of his 
Father. Satan had his mystery, for he concealed our 
destruction under splendid appearances. God was 
pleased to have his mystery, but in a manner the very 
opposite from that of the devil. The one is a mystery 
of death, the other a mystery of life. The one is a 
mystery of hatred, the other a mystery of mercy. Thus 
God was pleased that the economy of Jesus Christ 
upon earth should be a mystery, an admirable mystery, 
elevated far above the ways of reason, and bearing the 
appearance of folly to the carnal mind. 

" After that in" (by, or through the display of) " the 
wisdom of God, the world, by wisdom knew not God, 
it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save 
them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and 
the Greeks seek after wisdom ; but we preach Christ 
crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto 
the Greeks foolishness ; but unto them which are called, 
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and 
the wisdom of God." From the despised country of 


Judea, the light of the nations at length shone forth. 
" Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in 
whom my soul delighteth. I have put my Spirit upon 
him. He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 
For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and gross 
darkness the people. But the Lord shall arise upon 
thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the 
Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the bright- 
ness of thy rising." 

And now how great is the change which the gospel 
has effected in the world ! The base superstitions of 
Pagan idolatry are banished, and true knowledge is dif- 
fused. The Gospel contains representations of God 
and man, and of a present and future life, entirely unlike 
any thing known among the civilized heathens, previ- 
ous to its publication ; and to this knowledge men of 
every rank and condition have access. The Scriptures, 
from beginning to end, are delivered in a manner level 
to the capacity of all. From their first publication, 
they were not only open to the people, but all were en- 
joined to read and to study them. Instead of commu- 
nicating the truth of God to a small number of their 
followers, the Apostles of Jesus Christ proclaimed it 
publicly. They commanded all men every where to turn 
from idols. They denounced the crime of idolatry, and 
declared the punishment which will fall upon those who 
are guilty of it ; they condemned the vices which were 
practised in the worship of false gods ; and in this man- 
ner exposing themselves to the most cruel persecutions, 
they at last submitted to death with a joy and courage 
which triumphed over their sufferings. So far from 
acting like the heathen philosphers, who systematically 
excluded their fellow-creatures from the means of infor- 


mation, all those who were sent of God to reveal his 
will, delivered their instructions to the whole of the 
people. It is one of the distinguishing- characteristics 
of the Messiah's reign, that " to the poor the gospel is 

The most unlearned Christian possesses knowledge 
to which the wisest men of ancient times were wholly 
strangers. Ask him concerning his soul, he will aver 
that it is immortal ; that it shall undergo a judgment 
after this life ; that, accordingly, it shall abide in a state 
of bliss or misery everlasting, — points, about which 
neither Socrates nor Seneca could answer any thing. 
Enquire of him how all things are upheld, how govern- 
ed, and ordered ? He will presently reply, by the 
powerful hand and wise providence of God. Whereas, 
among philosophers, one would ascribe all events to 
the current of fate, another to the tides of fortune ; one 
to the blind influences of the stars, another to a con- 
fused jumble of atoms. Ask him about the main points 
of morality and duty, and he will, in a few words, give 
a better reply than Cicero, or Epictetus, or Aristotle, 
or Plutarch, in their large tracts and voluminous dis- 
courses about matters of that nature. So real a pro- 
perty it is of God's law, " to give subtlety to the simple, 
to the young man knowledge and discretion." So true 
is what the Lord affirmeth of himself, " I am come a 
light into the world, that he who believeth in me may 
not abide in darkness." 

With the idolatry and superstition of the heathens, 
the gospel has put an end to many of their corrupt 
practices. It has banished much of the cruelty which 
they encouraged, such as the exposure of infants, the 
shows of gladiators, the murdering of captives taken 


in war, domestic slavery, human sacrifices, and many 
gross abominations. Its spirit is directly opposed to 
the ideas of all the Pagan moralists, who represent the 
desire of revenge as a mark of a noble mind, and to 
whom the duty of the forgiveness of injuries, and the 
love of our enemies, was unknown. It has raised the 
standard of morals, and effected much, even-uhere it 
has interposed no express injunction ; while the purity 
of its doctrine, the authority of its precepts, and the 
energy of its sanctions, produce important effects on 
multitudes, who yet have only the name of Christian. 
But, above all, the true character and situation of man 
in the present state, the remedy provided for guilt, and 
the way of acceptance with God, respecting all of which 
the civihzed heathen world, having almost entirely lost 
sight of early tradition,* were in total darkness, are now 
made known. " Life and immortality are brought to 
light by the gospel." 

The necessity, then, of a supernatural and divine 
revelation is manifest. The experiment of reformation 
without it had long been tried among the most civilized 
nations on earth. Learning and philosophy had done 
their utmost, and all had failed. Where is the "city or 
village, since the world began, that was ever enlight- 
ened in the knowledge of God, by either heathen or 
infidel philosophers ? It is the doctrine of the fisher- 
men of Galilee which has subverted the altars and dis- 
pelled the darkness of Paganism. The Christian who 

• Many of the ancient heathens were candid enough to profess 
to have derived what knowledge they had, not merely from the 
exertions of their reason, but from a higher source, even from 
ancient tradition, to which they usually assigned a divine origin. 


reads the Bible, borrows no light to his system from 
the writings of such men as Hume and Voltaire. And. 
were he not, in some measure, acquainted with the 
deep depravity of the human heart, he would be aston- 
ished that, under the meridian light of divine revela- 
tion, their sentiments in religion should have been so 
perverse and so crude. 



Having said so much respecting the religion and 
practice of the heathen world, it is proper, before 
taking leave of the subject, to notice what has been 
called the " mild and tolerating spirit of polytheism," a 
character, on account of which its votaries have been 
so much applauded. If it were true that Pagan idol- 
aters really deserve the credit which they have on this 
account obtained, it would be a striking contrast to all 
the other effects of their depraved superstition. But 
although the fact of their religious toleration be strongly 
insisted on by some, and too easily conceded by others, 
it is entirely without foundation. 

The Pagan religion presented the extraordinary 
spectacle of more than thirty thousand gods ; and at 
Rome alone, six hundred different kinds of sacred rites 
were exercised. It is true that, as far as respected 
their religious opinions, the worshippers of these gods, 
and the observers of these rites, lived together in peace. 
At first view this appears extremely amiable ; it seems 

VOL. I. F 


to warrant all that has been said to prove that the 
most unbounded toleration prevailed. But, on closer 
inspection, this beautiful appearance vanishes like a 
cloud. Although some worshipped one set of deities, 
and others another, yet on the subject of rehg-ion there 
were no opposing- opinions among them. The exist- 
ence and the power of their several deities were equally 
acknowledged by all ; and not one of those numerous 
religions ever pretended to accuse another of falsehood. 

The Romans adopted the gods of the different coun- 
tries which they conquered, recognising them as the 
tutelary deities of their several districts, and believing 
it to be their duty, as well as their interest, to render 
them homage. So firmly were they persuaded of this, 
that when they laid siege to any town, it was usual to 
invoke the tutelary god of the place, and to endeavour, 
by promising him equal or greater honours than he then 
enjoyed, to bribe him to betray his former votaries.* 
Hence it is evident that there was no room for perse- 
cution on the subject of religion. Men could not per- 
secute others for serving gods whom they themselves 
acknowledged, and in similar circumstances worship- 
ped ; especially as these others were equally ready to 
invoke the gods whom they adored. The peace, then, 
which subsisted among heathens, on the subject of 
their idolatrous worship, had nothing whatever to do 
with toleration. It vvas the necessary result of their 
indiscriminating notions of Polytheism. 

" The various modes of worship,'' says Mr Gibbon, 

* The Tyrians, when besieged by Alexander, put chains on 
the statue of Hercules, to prevent that deity from deserting to 
the enemy. 


" which prevailed in the Roman world, were all con- 
sidered bv the people as equally true, by the philosopher 
as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful. 
The devout polytheist, though fondly attached to 
his national rites, admitted, with implicit faith, the 
different religions of the earth. The thin texture of 
Pagan mythology was interwoven with various, but 
not discordant materials. The deities of a thousand 
groves and a thousand streams, possessed in peace their 
local and respective influence. Nor could the Roman, 
who deprecated the wrath of the Tiber, deride the 
Egyptian, who presented his offering- to the beneficent 
genius of the Nile. The visible powers of nature, the 
planets and the elements, were the same throughout 
the universe. The invisible governors of the moral 
world were inevitably cast in a similar mould of fiction 
and allegory. The Greek, the Roman, and the bar- 
barian, as they met before their respective altars, easily 
persuaded themselves, that, under various names, and 
with various ceremonies, they adored the same deities." 
If this representation of the case be just, where was 
the boasted toleration of Polytheism ? On the other 
hand, sufficient provision was made for the legal exer- 
cise of intolerance, both in Greece and in Rome. By 
the laws of Athens, no strange god was admitted, or 
foreign worship allowed, till approved and licensed by 
the Court of Areopagus. Every citizen was bound by 
oath to defend and conform to the religion of his coun- 
try. This oath was in the name of the gods, and con- 
cluded thus : *' I swear by these following deities, the 
Agrauli, Enyalius, Mars, Jupiter, the Earth, and 
Diana.'* The Romans had a law to the same effect. 
Livy mentions it as an established principle of the early 


ages of the commonwealth, to guard against the intro- 
duction of foreign ceremonies of religion. He says 
that the prohibiting all foreign religions, and the abo- 
lishing every mode of sacrifice that differed from the 
Roman mode, was a business frequently intrusted by 
their ancestors to the care of the proper magistrates. 
For nothing, he observes, could contribute so effectu- 
ally to the ruin of religion, as the sacrificing after an 
external rite, and not after the manner instituted by 
their fathers. At an early period, the sediles were com- 
manded to take care that no gods were worshipped 
except the Roman gods, and that the Roman gods were 
worshipped after no manner but the established manner 
of the country. Maecenas recommended to Augustus 
to worship the gods himself according to the established 
form, and to force all others to do the same ; and to 
hate and to punish all those who should attempt to in- 
troduce foreign religions. It is obvious then that the 
Roman custom, of adopting the gods of other coun- 
tries, while it indicates the extent of their superstition, 
or the use they made of religion as a state engine, can 
never show that the religion of individuals, where it 
differed from the religion of their country, was either 
connived at as a matter of indifference, or tolerated as 
an inalienable right of human nature. 

In so far as religious persecution did not take place 
among the Pagans, it was owing to this, — that there 
was no opportunity or temptation to persecute. But 
when the Christian religion, which differed from the 
established worship, and required toleration, and which, 
from the acknowledged peaceableness and loyal demean- 
our of Christians, was every way entitled to it, began 
to gain ground, it was immediately manifest that such 


a principle as religious toleration had no place in the 
minds of Pagans. What Gibbon calls " the mild spirit 
of Polytheism" was then put to the test ; and Chris- 
tians soon found, that any thing but toleration was to 
be expected. At first, indeed, persecution was in differ- 
ent places begun by the multitude, and Christians did 
not, for a while, attract the particular notice of the 
Roman government. But at length it commenced in 
that quarter, and, except at intervals, did not remit for 
nearly three hundred years ; after which the persecu- 
tions of Paganism ceased with its power. 

Tacitus informs us, that the Emperor Nero inflicted 
exquisite punishments on those people who, he says, 
were abhorred for their crimes, and were commonly 
known by the name of Christians. " They were con- 
demned," he tells us, " not so much for the crime of 
burning the city''' (which Nero had falsely laid to their 
charge), " as for their enmity to mankind." Their 
sufferings, too, were so contrived, that they should be 
exposed to scorn, and their misery rendered ridiculous. 
" For this purpose," he adds, " they were enclosed in 
the skins of wild beasts, that they might be torn to 
pieces by dogs ; or else they were fastened to crosses. 
Others were appointed to be set on fire ; and it was so 
ordered, that they should, after they had been in tor- 
ment all day, serve for lights by night." One should 
suppose that this historian, after stating such things, 
and adding that they were *' really criminal, and de- 
serving exemplary punishment," would have brought 
forward some proof of their enmity to mankind, and 
given an account of the crimes for which they were 
held in abhorrence. But not a word of this appears. 
No such crimes, it is well known, existed ; yet, in the 


spirit of a persecutor, he joins in the clamour ag-ainst 
them, and, without a shadow of reason, asserts, that 
" they were deserving- of exemplary punishment.'' 

It may he said, however, that this is an example of 
persecution and intolerance under the reign of a tyrant, 
whose cruelty is proverl)ial. Let us, then, turn to the 
situation of Christians under one who was esteemed the 
hest and greatest of the Roman Emperors, — Trajan, to 
whom the title of " Optimus" was given by the senate 
and the people. Under his rei^-n, the third persecution 
began in the year 100. About the year 106. Pliny, the 
younger, was appointed govern*>r of Bithynia. The 
character of Pliny, as well as that of Trajan, is highly 
celebrated ; and perhaps two men more deservedly 
esteemed, could not be selected from among- the hea- 
thens. But the situation of Christians under these men 
was dreadful. Of this we have the most authentic 
evidence, under their own hands. 

As soon as Pliny arrived in his province, he wrote 
to the emperor for direction how to proceed in the 
trials of the Christians. In his letter, which the reader 
will afterwards see at full length under the article of 
" Testimonies from public edicts," Pliny declares he 
does not well know what is the subject either of punish- 
ment or of enquiry ; what strictness ought to be used 
in either ; whether any difference ought to be made on 
account of age ; whether repentance should entitle to 
pardon ; and whether the name itself, although no 
crimes were detected, ought to be punished. " Con- 
cerning- all these things," he says, " I am in doubt." 
In the mean time he informs the Emperor, that he had 
put the question to all who were accused, whether they 
were Christians ? *' Upon confessing- that they were, 


I repeated the question a second and a third time, 
threatening- also to punish them with death. Such as 
still persisted I ordered away to be punished ; for it 
was no doubt with me, that whatever might be the 
nature of their opinion, contumacy and inflexible ob- 
stinacy ought to be punished." He farther says, " that 
he had received anonymous information against several 
persons, who, upon examination, denied that they were 
Christians, or ever had been so ; who repeated," he 
adds, " after me an invocation of the gods, and with 
wine and frankincense made supplication to your imag-e, 
— none of which things, as is said, they who are really 
Christians can by any means be compelled to do." He 
then gives the account he had heard of their mode of 
worship and orderly behaviour, and of their binding- 
themselves to the strictest integrity in conduct. He 
had put to the torture two maid-servants (deacon- 
esses) who belonged to them, to try what he could 
learn. " But,'' says he, " I have discovered nothing- 
but a bad and excessive superstition." From Pliny's 
letter we also learn, that these severities were not the 
commencement, but the continuation of persecution. 

Trajan, in his answer, declares, that Pliny had taken 
the right 7nethod in his proceedings with those Chris- 
tians who had been brought before him. Only he 
directs that they should not be sought for,* and that 
anonymous accusations should not be received ; and 

* TertuUian ridicules this decree of Trajan, as inconsistent and 
contradictory. " He forbids the Christians to be sought for, 
supposing them to be innocent ; and he orders them to be 
punished as guilty. If they are criminal, why should they not 
be sought for ? If they are not to be sought for, why should 
they not be absolved ? 


" if any one denies being- a Christian, and makes it 
evident in fact, that is by supplicating to our gods, 
thoug-h he be suspected to have been so formerly, let 
him be pardoned upon repentance.'' These are all the 
limitations which were allowed in favour of the un- 
offending- Christians ; against whom Pliny, after all 
the pains he had taken, and the information he had re- 
ceived, could alledge nothing, but their firm adherence 
to the worship of God, according to their conscience. 
On the other hand, the Emperor adds, " If any are 
brought before you, and are convicted, they ought to 
be punished ;" and they were to be pardoned only on 
condition that they renounced their religion. 

We have here a specimen of the vaunted toleration 
of Pagans. Where no crime is alleged ; where, on the 
contrary, innocence and good conduct are unequivocally 
admitted, there remains " no doubt" with him who is 
called the " humane Pliny," that Christians should be 
punished with death, on account of their " bad and ex- 
cessive superstition ;" that is, merely for their religion, 
and their " inflexible obstinacy" in not making suppli- 
cation to " our gods," and among the rest to the image 
of Trajan. All this, Trajan, who is in other respects 
justly admired for his excellent and equitable govern- 
ment, confirms, and commands to be executed. What- 
ever might be the nature of their opinions, whether 
good or bad, provided they were different from the 
Pagan religion, those who consistently adhered to them 
were to suffer death. 

Under Marcus Antoninus, another of the most dis- 
tinguished of the Roman emperors, the Christians were 
severely persecuted. Athenagoras, in his apology, pre- 
sented to the Emperor in the year 178, tells him that 


all other people experienced the benefit of his equitable 
government. " But we Christians," says he, " because 
no regard is had to us, nor any provision made for us, 
though we do no evil, and are in all things obedient to 
the divine Being and your government, are harassed 
and persecuted for the name only. We therefore entreat 
you to take care of us, that we may no longer be put to 
death by sycophants." 

The spirit of persecution was not confined to the 
emperors. It manifested itself on every opportunity 
among the whole body of the people. The governors 
of the provinces sometimes went beyond the commands 
of the emperors, and issued public orders that strict 
search should be made for Christians. The common 
cry of the people at their public shows was, " The 
Christians to the lions." They thirsted after their 
blood like the savage beasts to which they desired to 
expose them, and were even more forward than their 
governors to inflict on them the most dreadful tortures. 
Among these was the uncus, or hook, the eculeus, the 
palus and stipes, upon which they seem to have been 
impaled ; also the iron chair, which was made hot, and 
the victims placed on it. But the most common, and 
to the spectators the favourite punishment, was that of 
exposing the Christians to the wild beasts in the circus, 
to be torn to pieces. Such was what has been called, 
" The mild and tolerating spirit of Polytheism." 

Gibbon assigns it as a reason, why, under the Roman 
government, the Jews enjoyed a measure of religious 
freedom, while the Christians were so violently persecu- 
ted, that the former were a nation, the latter were a sect. 
But this is not a true account of the matter. On the 
principles of Paganism, indeed, the God of the Jews 


was allowed to be the tutelary deity of their country, 
and in this view, besides that the Jews did not attempt 
to make proselytes, they were not so olmoxious to the 
persecution of Pagan Polytheists. But the real cause 
of the difference in question can only be found in that 
enmity against the author of the gospel, and his fol- 
lowers and doctrine, to which he himself so often re- 
ferred. " If the world hate you, ye know that it hated 
me before it hated you ; if ye were of the world, the 
world would love its own ; but because ye are not of 
the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, 
therefore the world hateth you." The above observa- 
tion, however, contains a plain acknowledgment, by Mr 
Gibbon himself, of the vanity of his plea for the toler- 
ating- spirit of Polytheism. Can that be called toler- 
ation which extends only to strangers, and not to per- 
sons who form a part of the community in which they 
reside ? " The Jews," he says, " were a nation, the 
Christians were a sect ; and if it was natural for every 
community to respect the sacred institutitms of their 
neighbours, it was incumbent on them to persevere in 
those of their ancestors. The voice of oracles, the 
precepts of philosophers, and the authority of the laws, 
unanimously enforced this national obligation." The 
principle of persecution which actuated the Pagans, is 
thus not only avowed, but justified. Mr Gibbon's 
sophistry is here very palpable, but it may mislead the 
unwary. The want of toleration in persecuting idol- 
aters, is vindicated by him on the shallow pretence of 
its being incumbent on them to persevere in the sacred 
institutions of their ancestors, as if they would have 
been prevented from doing so by allowing others to act 
according to their conscience ; and on the unprincipled 


plea, that it was " natural " for them to persevere in 
the " sacred institutions " of their ancestors. The 
sacred institutions of their ancestors, however wicked 
and impious, and even absurd, are thus pleaded, by this 
apologist for idolaters and traducer of Christians, as a 
legitimate ground for not suffering men to act according 
to their consciences. Let those who are in danger of 
being bewildered by his writings, contrast this senti- 
ment with the manner in which prophets and apostles, 
whom he affects to despise, express themselves. Un- 
dazzled by the false glare of ancient usages, and abhor- 
ring the guilt of employing them as a cover for injus- 
tice, or an apology for sin, " We acknowledge, O Lord," 
says a prophet, " our wickedness, and the iniquity of 
our fathers." — Jer. xiv. 20. While an apostle reminds 
believers of their " vain conversation, received by tra- 
dition from their fathers." — 1 Peter, i. 18. 

Notwithstanding Mr Gibbon's strong desire to explain 
the fact of the persecution of Christians in such a way 
as still to support his false allegation as to what he calls 
" the mild spirit of Polytheism," yet the trutla some- 
times escapes him. " The pious Christian," he ob- 
serves, " as he was desirous to obtain or to escape the 
glory of martyrdom, expected, either with impatience 
or with terror, the stated returns of the public games 
and festivals. On these occasions, the inhabitants of 
the great cities of the empire were collected in the 
circus or the theatre, where every circumstance of the 
place, as well as of the ceremony, contributed to kindle 
their devotion, and to extinguish their humanity ; 
whilst the numerous spectators, crowned with garlands, 
perfumed with incense, purified with the blood of victims, 
and surrounded with the altars and statues of their 


tutelary deities, resigned themselves to the enjoyment 
of pleasures, which they considered as an essential part 
of their religious worship. They recollected that the 
Christians alone abhorred the gods of mankind, and by 
their absence and melancholy on these solemn festivals, 
seemed to insult or to lament the public felicity. — It 
was not among a licentious and exasperated populace 
that the forms of legal proceedings could be observed ; 
it was not in an amphitheatre, stained with the blood 
of wild beasts and gladiators, that the voice of compas- 
sion could be heard. The impatient clamours of the 
multitude denounced the Christians as the enemies of 
gods and men, doomed them to the severest tortures, 
and venturing to accuse by name some of the most dis- 
tinguished of the new sectaries, required, with irresis- 
tible vehemence, that they should be instantly appre- 
hended, and cast to the lions." — Speaking of the Em- 
peror Marcus Antoninus, Gibbon says, " During the 
whole course of his reign, Marcus despised the Chris- 
tians as a philosopher, and punished them as a sove- 
reign." I shall only add one quotation more, but it is 
decisive on the question : " It was in vain that the 
oppressed believer asserted the unalienable rights of 
conscience and private judgment. Though his situa- 
tion might excite the pity, his arguments could never 
reach the understandings either of the philosophic or 
of the believing part of the Pagan world.'* 

Where is now the " mild spirit of Polytheism," and 
that universal toleration by which the Pagans are 
asserted to have been so much distinguished? On the 
contrary, there did not exist among them even its 
shadow. But this false plea in favour of heathen- 
ism is eagerly brought forward by such writers as Gib- 


bon and Hume. " So sociable," says Mr Hume, " is 
Polytheism, that the utmost fierceness and aversion it 
meets with in an opposite religion, is scarce able to 
disgust and keep it at a distance." Such is the utter 
disregard of truth evinced by this author, when, in 
attempting to undermine the Christian rehgion, he 
exalts the system of Polytheism. Although he was 
fully aware of the fierce and unrelenting persecutions 
of Christians by Pagan idolaters for 300 years, that is, 
as long as it was in their power, yet he affirms that the 
spirit of the latter was so mild as not to be disgusted 
or kept at a distance by the " utmost ^erceness " in an 
opposite religion ; while he speaks of " the tolerating 
spirit of idolaters " as " very obvious," and says, " that 
the intolerance of almost all religions which have main- 
tained the unity of God, is as remarkable as the con- 
trary principle of Polytheists." 

When Mr Hume contrasts " the tolerating principle 
of idolaters " with the " intolerance of almost all reli- 
gions that have maintained the unity of God," the ex- 
ception " almost " is used merely for a cover, and is not 
intended to exonerate the Christian religion. Accord- 
ingly, he soon after includes Christianity in the charge, 
by an indirect accusation against it, drawn from the 
conduct of Christians. " If," says he, " amongst Chris- 
tians, the English and Dutch have embraced the prin- 
ciples of toleration, this singularity has proceeded from 
the steady resolution of the civil magistrate, in oppo- 
sition to the continued efforts of priests and bigots." 
Our attention is thus called to the tolerating prin- 
ciple of idolaters, and the intolerance of the Chris- 
tian religion ; and we are informed, that if any Chris- 
tians " have embraced the principles of toleration, this 


singularity has proceeded from the steady resolution of 
the civil magistrate." In opposition to this, however, 
let us now learn from Mr Hume himself, in another 
part "of his writings, to whom " so reasonable a doc- 
trine," as that of toleration, owed its origin. 

In his History of England, Mr Hume, in narrating 
the events of 1644, and speaking of the Independents 
in that country, observes, " Of all the Christian sects, 
this was the lirst which, during its prosperity as well 
as its adversity, always adopted the principle of tolera- 
tion. A?ul it is remarkable, that so reasonable a doc- 
trine owed its orighi, not to reasoning, but to the height 
of extravagance and fanaticism^ Here, notwithstand- 
ing all he has said in his Essay on the tolerating prm- 
ciple of Polytheists, exalting, in this respect, Pagan- 
ism at the expense of Christianity, he now informs us, 
that more than a thousand years after Paganism had 
ceased to exist, the doctine of toleration oived its origin, 
not to the reasoning of philosophers or to Polytheists, 
but to a sect of Christians. Fanaticism and the Chris- 
tian religion are, with this writer, synonymous terms. 
"When men act dishonestly, it seldom happens that 
they are able to maintain consistency. 

The servants of .Jesus Christ may defy the most 
perspicacious opposers of their religion, to point out 
one word in the Bible that gives the smallest counte- 
nance to intolerance. Here Christians can meet their 
opposers on fair and open ground — ground, however, 
which they seldom choose to occupy. Were it possible 
for them to do so with any success, they would not 
resort to that underhand kind of warfare which Gibbon 
and Hume were incessantly carrying on in their writings 
against the Christian religion ; — attacking it with the 


weapons of ridicule and misrepresentation, through the 
faults or mistakes of Chnst-ians. Their ignorance of 
the nature of the religion they op[)osed, which is 
manifest in all they say on the suWject. precluded them 
from acting the part of fair and honourable adversaries. 
It is mentioned, in Bosvvell's Life of Johnson, that Mr 
Hume told a clergyman at Durham, that he had never 
read the New Testament with attention. Whether 
he did so or not, it is certain that he grossly misun- 
derstood its contents. 

Thus, we have Mr Hume's unequivocal testimony, 
that the "reasonable doctrine" of toleration owed its 
origin to Christians. He is mistaken, however, in 
assigning its discovery to so late a period. He ought 
to have known that it was maintained by some of the 
early Christians, and should have traced it primarily 
to the Word of God. But even according to Mr Hume, 
it is no more to be sought for among Pagan idolators. 
It is a principle too refined to have emanated from such 
a source. Like innumerable other blessings to society, 
it flowed from the Christian religion ; and although 
religious intolerance may be charged on mistaken 
Christians, it never can be laid to the charge of Chris- 
tianity itself. Christianity has nothing to do with the 
persecutions of Madrid and Rome, of which Mr Hume, 
in his Essay on Toleration, reminds his readers, nor 
with those which have taken place in any country. 
Christianity never sanctioned the shedding of one drop 
of blood, either in its propagation or in its defence. 
The Emperor Julian himself, the great opponent of 
Christianity, declares, that " Jesus and Paul gave no 
such precept." 

The apostle Peter, before he was well instructed in 


the nature of his religion, once drew his sword to de- 
fend his master ; but Jesus said unto him, " Put up 
ag-ain thy sword into its place, for all they that take 
the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou 
that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall pre- 
sently give me more than twelve legions of angels ?" 
He thus intimated to Peter, and to all his followers to 
the end of time, that he did not commit to them wea- 
pons of violence to defend his kingdom ; and that, if 
he needed assistance in this matter, he would not make 
use of such precarious means as the power of men, but 
would employ more efficient instruments. 

" The weapons of our warfare," said the apostle 
Paul, " are not carnal, but mighty through God to the 
pulling down of strongholds ;" and so they proved, in 
opposition to all the powers of the world. Whoever 
then knows and recollects, that, " except a man be born 
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," and that 
"no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy 
Ghost," will not suppose that shedding a man's blood, 
or using violence of any kind, is the way to convert 
him, and to make him obedient to God. There is no 
need of laboured essays on toleration, to prove to the 
Christian who studies the Word of God, that he must 
not dare to use violence to promote the cause of the 
Gospel. Liberty of conscience to all men from each 
other is there written as with a sunbeam. And when- 
ever real Christians, misled by the prejudices of the 
age in which they lived, or giving way to the depraved 
principles natural to the human heart, have resorted to 
carnal weapons to propagate their religion, they have 
always erred grievously from the faith, and have gene- 
rally pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 


On the whole, the violent persecutions to which 
Christians were subjected during- the first three centu- 
ries, is a fact acknowledged even by those who most 
strenuously contend for Pagan toleration. The princi- 
ples of all the other religions which the heathen world 
embraced, were at bottom really one. All of them 
agreed to treat sin with lenity, and to allow one an- 
other's religion to be right on the whole. Even those 
philosophers who laughed at their religious rites, 
themselves conformed to them ; and they had no sys- 
tem of their own to bring forward which radically 
opposed the prevailing superstitions. Amidst such 
agreement, the absence of persecution does not deserve 
the name of toleration. Far less was it a proof of that 
mild spirit which has been falsely ascribed to Paganism. 
As soon as Christianity appeared, the most virulent 
opposition was excited, which issued in a system of the 
most cruel persecution. 

It is always to be recollected that this persecution 
was purely of a religious nature. There was nothing 
political in it, not even the pretence of any thing of 
the kind. The Christians under the Roman empire 
were the most peaceable citizens. Their submission to 
government, strictly enjoined upon them by the Scrip- 
tures, formed a prominent part of their religion. Never 
were the principles of any set of men put to so severe 
a test. From the increase of their numbers they came 
at length to possess the means of opposition, had they 
chosen to employ them. But this they never attempted. 

To whatever cause the persecution that Christians 
suffered as long as Paganism predominated may be at- 
tributed, the evidence which it furnishes to the truth 

VOL. I. G 


of the Christian religion is peculiarly strong-. We are 
immediately reminded by it of the full and distinct in- 
timations which the Lord gave to his disciples before- 
hand of what they were to suffer for his sake. We see 
also a reason for his solemn warning, "Whosoever 
shall confess me before men, him also will I confess be- 
fore my Father which is in heaven ; but whosoever shall 
deny me before men, him also will I deny before my 
Father which is heaven." 

There was nothing which the Lord Jesus Christ 
more constantly inculcated upon his disciples than the 
unfriendly reception, and even violent opposition, which 
they should every where meet with, in propagating his 
doctrine. This was the more necessary, as it was pro- 
bably what they did not expect. In becoming the mes- 
sengers of the glad tidings of salvation to mankind, and 
in seeking to diffuse the mild, humble, and benevolent 
spirit of Christianity, they must naturally anticipate 
that wherever they went they should be received with 
respect and kindness. But he who " knew what was 
in man," foresaw how different their reception would 
be. " Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on 
earth ? I tell you nay, but rather division ; For from 
henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three 
against two, and two against three." — " I am come to 
send fire on the earth ; and what will I if it be already 
kindled ?" — " The brother shall deliver up the brother 
to death, and the father the child ; and the children 
shall rise up against the parents, and cause them to be 
put to death ; and ye shall be hated of all men for my 
name's sake." — " Behold I send you forth as sheep in 
the midst of wolves." — " Ye shall be brought before 
governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony 


against them and the Gentiles." — " They shall lay their 
hands on you, and persecute you, delivering- you up to 
the synagogues, and into prisons ; being brought before 
kings and rulers for my name's sake ; and it shall turn 
to you for a testimony" — " Yea, the time cometh, that 
whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God 

The force of the evidence arising from these predic- 
tions, which in the sufferings of the first Christians, 
were literally verified, cannot be set aside. No one, 
without divine foreknowledge, could have foreseen 
that persecutions so violent would arise. From the 
various ways in which unbelievers at this day endea- 
vour to account for it, and from the surprise which 
they discover that they should have taken place, we see 
that the ablest of them would never have dreamed of 
it beforehand. The early Christians particularly ob- 
served and pointed out the striking evidence which 
thence arose to the truth of their religion. They 
speak of it as a wonderful notice that Jesus Christ had 
given to his disciples, that they should be brought be- 
fore kings for his sake. " Is there any other doctrine 
in the world," says Origen, " whose followers are pu- 
nished ? Can the enemies of Christ say that he knew 
his opinions were false and impious, and that therefore 
he might well conjecture and foretell what would be the 
treatment of those persons who should embrace them ? 
Supposing his doctrines were really such, why should 
this be the consequence ? What likelihood was there 
that men should be brought before kings and governors 
for opinions and tenets of any kind, when this never 
happened even to the Epicureans, who absolutely de- 
nied a providence, nor to the Peripatetics themselves. 


who laughed at the prayers and sacrifices which were 
made to the Divinity ? Are there any but the Chris- 
tians, who, according- to this prediction of our Saviour, 
being- brought before kings and governors for his sake, 
are pressed, to their latest gasp of death, by their re- 
spective judges to renounce Christianity, and to procure 
their liberty and rest, by offering the same sacrifices, 
and taking the same oaths that others did ? As for 
us, when we see, every day, those events exactly accom- 
plished which our Saviour foretold at so great a dis- 
tance, that his Gospel is preached in all the world. Matt. 
xxiv. 14, — that his disciples go and teach all nations, 
Matt, xxviii. 19, — and that those who have received 
his doctrine are brought, for his sake, before governors 
and before kings. Matt. x. 1 8, — we are filled with ad- 
miration, and our faith in him is confirmed more and 

And now, in these latter times, additional testimony 
on this subject presents itself. We have observed the 
manner in which Mr Hume and Mr Gibbon, who have 
distinguished themselves so much among the most 
inveterate and insidious enemies of the gospel, have 
studiously misrepresented the subject of the alleged 
tolerating spirit of Paganism. In them, therefore, is 
that declaration fulfilled, " There shall come in the 
last days scoffers^ walking after their own lusts." 2 
Peter, iii. 3. If, then, in the early days of the church, 
the persecuting spirit of the world, so clearly predicted 
by the Lord, turned to the first Christians for a testi- 
mony, shall not this other prediction contained in his 
word and literally verified in our time, turn in like 
manner to us for a testimony ? In order to falsify the 
prediction of Jesus Christ, and to vilify his religion, by 


showing it to be more destructive to every right feeling 
of the mind of man than all the abominations and 
absurdities of Pagan idolatry, Mr Gibbon and Mr 
Hume have laboured with all their might. But " the 
Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are 
foolishness." " I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, 
and will bring to nothing the understanding of the 
prudent." Again it is written, " He taketh the wise 
in their own craftiness." Of this we have before us a 
very remarkable example. These same scoffers, being 
included in the prophetic annunciations of that book, 
which, walking after their own lusts, it was their 
settled purpose to overthrow, but which they have un- 
consciously verified, are here summoned as unexception- 
able witnesses against themselves. '' Out of the eater 
came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth 
sweetness." But while the truth of the Scriptures is 
thus confirmed, it is impossible to overlook the deep 
criminality of those writers, who, in the indulgence of 
their enmity against the Christian religion, and in 
direct opposition to what they knew to be the fact, 
have celebrated the " mild and sociable spirit of 



Testimony conveys to us the greatest part of our 
knowledge of actual existence, and its evidence may 
arise to such a height, as to be perfectly equivalent to 


that of sense or demonstration,* A man who has 
never travelled out of Great Britain, is by testimony- 
alone, as much convinced of the existence of China and 
America, as he is of the existence of this country 
in which he resides. No one seriously doubts that 
there was such a city as ancient Rome, and that its 
empire flourished under certain forms of g-overnment. 
Its history has been recorded in the works of several 
writers, and these, bearing the stamp of antiquity, 
and the impress of truth, have been transmitted to 
the present time from distant ages. Certain subordi- 
nate circumstances in these histories may be feigned or 
misrepresented. But there are leading facts which 
none call in question. All, for instance, are convinced 
that there existed such a man as Julius Caesar ; that 
he lived about the time which history testifies ; that 
he wrote commentaries of many of his exploits ; and 
that he gave rise to a new form of government, which 
continued for ages, and produced very important effects. 
The truth of these events is so firmly established by 
the general and concurrent testimony of history, that 
were certain learned men now to arise, and, without 
being able to produce any ancient contradictory state- 
ments, to endeavour to destroy their authority, it would 
argue the greatest folly and weakness to be moved by 
their reasonings. In like manner, the truth of other 
facts which happened in distant periods is substantiated, 
and upon such evidence almost the whole business and 
intercourse of human life is conducted. 

* Probable evidence is essentially distinguished from demon- 
strative by this, that it admits of degrees, and of all variety of 
them, from the very lowest presumption to the highest moral 


On the same grounds of historical testimony, but 
furnished to us in a measure far more extensive, and 
connected, moreover, with a variety of other kinds of 
evidence, we are assured of the fact, that Jesus Christ 
appeared in the world, and that he was born, and lived, 
and died in the country of Judea. This is attested by 
contemporary historians ; and no man acquainted with 
history can be so absurd as to admit the reality of the 
existence of Julius Caesar, and at the same time to 
deny that of Jesus of Nazareth. This fact is admitted 
by the greatest enemies to Christianity ; and it is also 
acknowledged on all hands, that the Christian religion, 
which is professed at this day, took its rise from Jesus 
Christ, and in the age in which he lived : Till then it 
is never mentioned ; but from that period it begins to 
be noticed by historians, it shortly after becomes the 
subject of public edicts, and afterwards produces re- 
volutions in government, both more important and more 
permanent than that which Julius Ceesar effected. 

To diminish the force of this statement, it may be 
said that, while it cannot be denied that we have the 
same kind of evidence for the fact of the existence of 
Jesus Christ as of Julius Caesar, yet the whole tenor 
of the history of the latter is according to the common 
course of events, while that of the former is entirely 
diiferent. It is true that the history of Julius Caesar 
presents nothing dissimilar to the appearances we con- 
stantly witness, and what is related of him readily ac- 
counts for all that he accomplished. But it is also 
true that, while the Divine mission of Jesus Christ 
must, from its nature, like the creation of the world, 
stand alone, the miracles that accompanied his life, and 
attested his doctrine, consisted of matters of fact, 


which, being- evident to the senses of those who wit- 
nessed them, and of such a nature that they could not 
be mistaken, are, equally with common occurrences, 
the subjects of credible testimony. 

It has, indeed, been laid down as a maxim by some, 
that no human testimony is sufficient to prove a miracle, 
which has been defined to be a work in which the stated 
laws of nature are departed from, suspended, or con- 
trolled. But if human testimony cannot be admitted 
as a proof of this, it must be because such a work is in 
its nature either impossible or incredible. 

Respecting- the impossibility of miracles, if by the 
stated laws of nature be meant a physical necessity, 
under which God acts, it is evident that in this case 
there could be no such thing as a miracle ; but this is 
absolute atheism. To affirm, then, that a suspension 
or alteration of the laws of nature is impossible, is to 
confer on them the attributes of Deity, and to declare 
that they are supreme ; and their having no superior, 
precludes the existence of God as well as of miracles, 
or it represents him as subordinate to his own laws. 
But whoever believes in the being and omnipotence of 
God, must be convinced that he has power to interfere 
in his own works, and to make such interference mani- 
fest, and likewise to alter or suspend those laws by 
which he is pleased usually to reg-ulate them. Yet, 
when this is admitted, an idea seems to prevail, that 
the world has been so formed, and its laws so perma- 
nently fixed, that, after once being set in order, all 
proceeds of itself like the motion of a machine, in the 
absence, and without the interference, of him who con- 
structed it. This, indeed, is the perfection of any work 
of man, who, owing to his limited nature, can only be 


present in one place, and employed in one way, at the 
same time. But such an idea is totally inapplicable to 
the Supreme Being-. 

The Scriptures represent God to be infinite. Vast 
as we believe the universe to be, it has its bounds, but 
we must go beyond them to conceive of God. " The 
heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him." — 
" Canst thou by searching" find out God ? Canst thou 
find out the Almighty unto perfection ? As high as 
heaven, what canst thou do ? Deeper than hell, what 
canst thou know ? The measure thereof is longer than 
the earth, and broader than the sea." We cannot con- 
ceive of God but as every where present, and uphold- 
ing all things by the word of his power. This can 
occasion to him no weariness, no distraction, no waste. 
" He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor 
sleep." — " Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, 
that the everlasting God the Lord, the Creator of the 
ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary ?" All 
of the Scripture histories represent God as working on 
the right hand and on the left, though men do not 
discern him, and as constantly maintaining and direct- 
ing all things. Without him, " not a sparrow falls 
to the ground." — " My Father," says Jesus Christ, 
" worketh hitherto, and I work." These descriptions 
accord with every idea we can form of God, and this 
belief of his constant operation, is far more consistent 
than the notion that certain laws were at first impressed 
on matter, which, under the name of the course of 
nature, continue to operate, without the interference of 
the Creator. For what is the course of nature but the 
agency of God ? It has been justly denied, that the 
course of nature is a proper active cause, which will 


work and go on by itself without God, if lie permits 
it. The course of nature, separate from the agency of 
God, is no cause, or nothing. It is impossible that it 
should continue of itself, or go on to operate by itself, 
any more than to produce itself. God, the original 
cause of all being, is the only cause of all natural 
effects. In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, " It is the 
will of the mind that is the^r^^ cause, that gives sub- 
sistence and efficacy to all these laws ; who is the 
efficient cause that produces the phenomena which ap- 
pear in analogy, harmony, and agreement, according to 
these laws." 

" In compliance with custom," says Dr Reid, " or 
perhaps to gratify the avidity of knowing the causes 
of things, we call the laws of nature causes and active 
powers. So we speak of the powers of gravitation, of 
magnetism, of electricity. We call them causes of 
many of the phenomena of nature ; and such they are 
esteemed by the ignorant and half learned. But those 
of juster discernment see that laws of nature are not 
agents. They are not endowed with active power, and 
therefore cannot be causes in the proper sense." 

" The reason," says Warburton, " why men so 
readily admit the natural government of God, while 
they deny his moral government, is, that the former is 
thought to be kept iu order only by the general laws of 
mechanism impressed on matter at its creation ; so that 
here he works neither immediately nor particularly, 
but leaves every thing to the government of these 
general laws. This supposed distance and separation 
of the great artist from his work, after having once set 
the machine agoing by the first impression of his 
general laws, is the gratuitous conclusion of a talking 


philosophy. The latter and more correct enquiries into 
the material system, on the unerring experience of the 
Newtonian physics, have clearly discovered that God 
is intimately present to every particle of matter, at 
every point of space, and in every instance of being-. 
For a vis i?iertice, or resistance to the change of its 
present state, being an essential quality of matter, and 
inconsistent with any motive force, or power in that 
substance, all those effects commonly ascribed to a cer- 
tain essence residing in it, such as gravity, attraction, 
elasticity, repulsion, or whatever other tendencies to 
motion are observed in matter, are not powers naturally 
belonging to it, or what can possibly be made inherent 
in it ; so that these qualities, without which matter 
would be utterly unfit for use, must needs be produced 
by the immediate influence of the First Cause, inces- 
santly performing, by his Almighty finger, the minutest 
office in the material economy, working still near us, 
round us, within us, and in every part of us." What 
is called the usual course of nature, then, is nothing 
else but the will of God, producing certain effects in 
a continued, regular, constant, and uniform manner ; 
which course or manner of acting being in every 
moment perfectly arbitrary, is as easy to be altered at 
any time as to be preserved. 

It is only atheism, therefore, in one form or other, 
which, inducing men to deny that God has power to 
interfere in the regulation of his own works, leads to 
the conclusion, that a miracle, or a departure from, or 
suspension of, the usual course of his proceedings, is 
impossible. On any ground, indeed, to assert the 
impossibility of a miracle, is absurd ; for no man 
can prove, nor is there any reason to believe, that to 


work a miracle is a greater exertion of power than 
those usual operations which we daily witness. To 
restore life to a dead body, and to bring it forth from 
the grave, is not attended with more difficulty than to 
communicate life to a foetus, and to bring it forth from 
the womb. Both are equally beyond the power of 
man ; both are equally possible with God. In respect 
of the power of God, all things are alike easy to be 
done by him. The power of God extends equally to 
great things as to small, and to many as to few, and 
the one makes no more difficulty, or resistance to his 
will, than the other. The idea that any successful re- 
sistance can arise to the will and operation of God, 
either from mind or from matter, is absurd. 

If the possibility of miracles cannot be denied, there 
can be but one other ground for the assertion that they 
cannot be proved by human testimony, namely, that in 
their nature they are incredible. But this can never 
be established. It is readily admitted that the manner 
in which God acts in upholding the universe is the best 
possible, and that its uniformity and regularity are the 
result of infinite wisdom. This uniformity and regu- 
larity are likewise necessary, in order that, by comparing 
the future with the past, we may know what to antici- 
pate, and how we ought to conduct ourselves ; and were 
there no such regularity, there could be no miracle. 
But if all this arrangement is ordered, as we must be- 
lieve, for the improvement and happiness of the moral 
world, then, so far from being incredible, it is in the 
highest degree probable, that when any important end 
is to be attained in the latter, the laws of the natural 
world, either in their uniform course, or temporary al- 
teration, should be made subservient to it. And this 


subserviency of the natural world to the moral system, 
and the analogy of every part of the divine government, 
render it so probable, that, when any important end is 
to be served in the moral world, the laws of the natu- 
ral world should be made to promote it, that no man 
can consistently doubt the evidence of testimony on this 

It is at the same time evident that, if what are called 
the laws of nature be under the management of a legis- 
lator, not only may that legislator modify these laws, 
but those modifications may be palpable facts, and so 
become the direct subject of testimony, and of such tes* 
timony, that if it could be proved to be false, it would 
be a more palpable violation of moral order than mi- 
racles can in any view be shown to be of natural order. 
Imposture in a number of men whose aim is evidently 
virtuous, who persevere with constancy in their testi- 
mony, by which they expose themselves to the greatest 
calamities, and even to death, would undoubtedly be a 
violation of moral order, and such an exception to its 
general course as cannot be produced in the history of 
the world. Human testimony is sufficient for all the 
purposes of transmitting from generation to generation 
well authenticated facts, of whatever kind they may be. 
Testimony is no proof of opinions, but it must be ad- 
mitted to be a proof of facts ; and nothing can destroy 
the proof of testimony in any case, but a proof or pro- 
bability that the persons who testif}' are not competent 
judges of the facts to which they give testimony, or 
that they are actually under some operative influence 
in giving it in such particular case. 

There is no conceivable way in which a divine reve- 
lation could be made, unless accompanied by miracles. 


There is, therefore, the same prohab'dity of the occur- 
rence of miracles, as there is of a revelation from God, 
and the same necessity for the one as for the other. 
If ever the enjoyment of that intercourse with God 
which man has forfeited, is to be restored, it must ob- 
viously be by supernatural means. If God afterwards 
speaks audibly and visibly to men, it can only be in a 
way out of the common course. If he sends messengers 
to declare his will, they must possess credentials to 
prove that they come from him. If a particular people 
are made, in the first instance, the depositaries of his 
written word, and the medium of communication to the 
rest of the world, and are for this purpose subjected to 
a singular constitution of civil laws and religious ser- 
vices, that people must be made sensible, by manifest 
tokens, that in what they thus adopt, in itself so un- 
precedented, they are not the dupes of artifice and fraud. 
On the other hand, it could not be expected that these 
sensible tokens, or marks of Divine interposition, 
should be renewed in every age, or to every individual 
in the world. This would be to subvert the established 
order of things, without answering- an adequate end, 
since, like any other fact, they may be the subject of 

If, however, men, through prejudice or inattention, 
and from having their minds preoccupied, or from being- 
opposed to the nature of such facts, will not believe 
them, when transmitted in this way, they would not be 
convinced of that truth which these tokens or miracles 
infer, although themselves had been present when they 
were wrought. The carcasses of that generation which 
witnessed the thunders of Sinai, and entreated that they 
might not hear the voice of God any more lest they should 


die, fell in the wilderness on account of their unbelief. 
Some of those Jews who were present at the resurrec- 
tion of Lazarus, reported it to the enemies of Jesus 
Christ, with a view to obtain their favour. The Jewish 
rulers, who witnessed his miracles, and who never de- 
nied them, put him to death. The Roman soldiers who 
guarded the sepulchre, and felt the terrors of Christ's 
glorious resurrection, accepted a bribe to circulate a 
false report. An attentive observation of human nature, 
of the motives which actuate the world, and of the gen- 
eral objects of men's ambition and pursuits, will compel 
us fully to admit the truth of that weighty declaration, 
" If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither 
will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." 
The miracles related in the Scriptures, are entirely 
different from the absurd and insulated pretences to any 
thing of the kind, either among heathens or others. 
Who could examine the accounts of the works ascribed 
to ApoUonius Tyanaeus ; of the Emperor Vespasian's 
having opened the eyes of a blind man at Alexandria ; 
of the wonders said to be performed at the tomb of the 
Abbe Paris, which ceased when, in consequence of an 
order from the king, the sepulchre was enclosed with a 
wall ; or of the French prophets in England, without 
at once rejecting them ? When such counterfeits have 
been brought forward, as by Hume, to confront the 
evidence of the miracles of Scripture, their absurdity, 
their equivocal nature, their total want of adequate evi- 
dence and of adequate object, have been again and again 
exposed. It is not, indeed, to be conceived, that the 
man who rejects the miracles of Scripture, believes in 
the truth of those by which they are counterfeited. His 
object is to bring suspicion on every thing of a similar 


kind, by artfully confounding- the nature and evidence 
of what is palpably false, with what he wishes to show 
not to be true. By this confusion which he creates, 
the bulk of readers, through indolence, are deterred 
from further examination, and are led to give up the 
whole. But if ever the miracles of revelation shall be 
set aside as incredible, it must be by some other means 
than by endeavouring- to exalt to an equality with 
them, counterfeits, the base ingredients of which it re- 
quires but a small portion of attention and honesty to 
detect. How differently do men act when their worldly 
interests are concerned ! for who would refuse to make 
use of the money current in the land, because the coin 
of the realm, or the notes of the banker, had been imi- 
tated by the forg-er ? 

The sum of Mr Hume's Essay on Miracles, Dr 
Campbell has shown to be this, '• that it is impossible 
for God Almighty to give a revelation attended with 
such evidence, that it can be reasonably believed in after 
ages, or even in the same age, by any person who hath 
not been an eye-witness of the miracles by which it is 
supported." — " Now, by what wonderful process of rea- 
sonings," he adds, "is this strang-e conclusion made out?" 
He then proceeds to examine the reasoning- in the Es- 
say, and has not only convicted Mr Hume of begging 
the question, tdkking for granted the very point in dispute, 
but has shown that his favourite argument, of which 
he boasts the discovery, is founded in error, managed 
with sophistry, and at last abandoned by himself. 

IVIr Hume, after having- asserted that no testimony for 
any hind of miracle has ever amounted to a probability, 
much less to a proof, and again, that " we may establish 
it as a maxim, that no human testimony can have such 


force as to prove a miracle, and make it a just foun- 
dation for any such system of religion," adds, in a note, 
" I beg the limitation here made may be remarked, 
when I say, that a miracle can never be proved so as 
to be the foundation of a system of religion. For I own 
that otherwise there may possibly be miracles, or vio- 
lations* of the usual course of nature, of such a kind as 
to admit of proof from human testimony." According, 
then, to Mr Hume himself, miracles may " admit of 
proof from human testimony,'' provided they be not 
brought in support of a system of religion. His excep- 
tion, with respect to those miracles which are made the 
foundation of religion, is not only untenable, but com- 
pletely absurd. For whatever destroys the possibility 
of proving a miracle in the case of religion, must 
equally do so in every other case ; and whatever shows 
that miracles in any other case admit of proof from 
human testimony, equally proves this in the case of re- 

Absurd, however, as Mr Hume's general position 
is, and untenable as the arbitrary limitation to which 
he resorts proves it to be, it is not surprising that such 
eiforts have been made on the subject of miracles by 
those who oppose the truth of the Christian religion ; 
since the miracles to which it appeals are conclusive in 
its favour, and since " the religion of the Bible is, of 
all the religions that have subsisted, or that now sub- 

• Mr Hume has defined a miracle to be a transgression of the 
laws of nature. The word transgression, as well as violation, is 
generally used in a bad sense, as implying a certain degree of 
vice. This circumstance, it is probable, recommended it to his 
choice, in order to gire a keener edge to his reasoning on the 

VOL. I. H 


sist in the world, the only religion which claims to 
have been attended in its first puhlication with the 
evidence of miracles. For though in different ages and 
countries, numberless enthusiasts have arisen, extremely 
few have dared to advance this plea ; and whenever any 
have had the boldness to recur to it, it hath proved the 
bane, and not the support, of their cause." Mr Hume 
asserts, in his Essay, that men in all ages have been 
much imposed on by ridiculous stories of miracles as- 
cribed to new systems of religion. To this Dr Camp- 
bell replies, "that there is not the shadow of tmith" 
in this assertion, and that he is utterly at a loss to con- 
ceive what should have induced Mr Hume to advance 
it. There is then no presumption, arising from the 
history of the world, which can in the least invalidate 
the argument from miracles in proof of the truth of 
Christianity. All miracles, except those wrought in 
support of the religion of Jesus Christ, have been en- 
gines of received superstitions, and artifices intended 
to keep alive the credulity of the people. 

In Mr Hume's Essay, we see the greatest opponent 
of the credibility of miracles, compelled at last, by the 
conviction that came home to his own mind, to abandon 
his general position, and to surrender at once the whole 
value of that argument which he boasts he had disco- 
vered, to show that no testimony can amount to a proof 
of any kind of miracle, and to limit the whole force of 
his reasoning to the case of religion. For this limita- 
tion, it was out of his power to assign any sufficient 
reason. When, on the contrary, the nature of religion, 
and its importance to man, are considered, there is no 
unprejudiced person but must be convinced, that the 
case excepted affords the strongest probability of the 


existence of extraordinary Divine interposition, and even 
evinces the necessity of it ; in other words, of the dis- 
play of miracles. Is there any thing- in the world so 
important as religion, which teaches the knowledge of 
God ; in what manner man shall be freed from guilt, 
received into favour by his Creator, and enabled to ren- 
der him acceptable service ; and on what grounds his 
happiness shall, after this short and transitory life, be 
secured through eternity ? This is religion ; and no 
occasion can be conceived so important, and so worthy 
of the display of the Creator's power and interposition, 
in deviating from those rules by which he usually pro- 
ceeds in the government of the world, in order to lay 
a just foundation for a system of religion. Nor does it 
argue any defect in the Divine plans to suppose, that it 
should ever be necessary for God to make a special in- 
terposition : the conclusion, therefore, that no interpo- 
sition should ever be made, is not warranted by any 
sound principle whatever. Miraculous interposition in 
such a case, as when man had sinned against God, and 
involved himself in ruin, in darkness, and guilt, disco- 
vers consistency in principle, instead of irregularity in 
government. The wisdom of God is equally evinced 
by that uniform course which he generally follows in 
the order of the world, and by those occasional devia- 
tions from it when they become subservient to the be- 
neficent purposes of his moral government ; while in 
both of these modes of procedure the exertion of his 
power is the same. 

After all, there 7nust be miracles. Not only must 
we admit that they are both possible and credible, but 
the absolute necessity of their existence forces itself 
upon us. " Whether the world had or had not a be- 


ginning ; whether, on ihe Jirst supposition, the pro- 
duction of things be ascribed to chance or to design ; 
whether, on the second^ in order to solve the number- 
less objections that arise, we do, or do not, recur to 
universal catastrophes, there is no possibility of ac- 
counting for the phenomena that presently come under 
our notice, without having at last recourse to miracles ; 
that is, to events altogether unconformable, or, if you 
will, contrary to the present course of nature, known 
to us by experience." 

The miracles which " lay a just foundation" for the 
Christian religion, were matters of fact, which could not 
be mistaken, and the knowledge of them is transmitted 
to us by testimony of the most unexceptionable de- 
scription. They were not of a momentary nature, of 
which the proof is immediately withdrawn ; but were 
permanent in their effects. They were also numerous, 
were complete at once, and were performed in broad 
daylight, in the midst of multitudes. Above all, they 
were wrought before enemies, under a government and 
priesthood alike rancorous in their hostility to them, 
and to the system they supported. Had, therefore, 
any deception been practised, it must have been de- 
tected. But, on the contrary, the enemies of Jesus 
Christ were compelled to admit their reality, the Jews 
ascribing them to diabolical, and the Heathens to ma- 
jj^ical influence. These miracles were never denied in 
the age in which they were performed, nor for ages 
afterwards. We have, then, the unanimous testimony 
of friends and of enemies for their truth ; of persons on 
both sides whose interests were deeply implicated. 

The miracles of Jesus Christ were worthy of him 
who wrought them, and of that cause which he came 


to support. Predicted beforehand, they were directed 
to beneficent purposes, and never performed as mere 
displays of power. They are in strict correspondence 
with the nature of the end designed, and are essentially 
necessary to account for the effects they produced. 
They are related to us by eye-witnesses ; are insepara- 
bly connected with the rest of the history of which they 
are a part ; and are every way suitable to just notions 
of the wisdom and goodness of God. 



The canon and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures 
are subjects of the highest importance to every Chris- 
tian. The Divine books contain the only information 
with respect to the salvation of sinners ; and the duties, 
privileges, and hopes of the heirs of heaven. All that 
can be known of the mind of God, and of the future 
state of man, must be learned from them. The theories 
of men with respect to the things of God, and all rea- 
soning respecting revealed subjects, grounded on any 
other foundation but the Divine declarations, are not 
only fallacious as far as concerns their immediate ob- 
jects, but prevent an accurate acquaintance with the 
ways of God, by opening innumerable devious paths, 
which deceitfully promise to lead to heavenly know- 


The Bible not only contains things that are Divinely- 
accredited as true, but it contains all the truth on Divine 
subjects that is accessible to man. Hence everything 
that respects the particular books composing- the canon, 
and the inspiration of these books, is of the liveliest inte- 
rest to every Christian. Whatever tends to invalidate the 
authority of any particular book of the canon, or to add 
other books to the number, ought to be met with the 
most decided opposition, as threatening to rob us of the 
most precious revealed truth, or to impose on us the 
traditions of men as the commandments of God. To 
reject a book, whose authenticity rests on the autho- 
rity of the canon, is not only to give up the portion of 
Divine truth which such book contains, but to take 
away the evidence of every other book standing on the 
same authority. If one book of the canon is given up, 
how shall any other be retained on the authority of that 
canon ? Is it a light matter to admit a principle that 
unsettles the evidence of every book of the Bible ? Is 
it an innocent thing to charge as superfluous, unimpor- 
tant, unholy, or unworthy of God, anything that there 
is authority to hold as his Word ? What, then, shall 
be said of those Christians, who have not only disco- 
■vered an unbecoming facility in surrendering parts of 
the Book of God, but have laboured with the most 
strenuous exertions to unsettle the canon, and have 
availed themselves of every resource with which their 
ingenuity could supply them, to degrade some of the 
books that are as fully authenticated as any in that 
sacred collection? 

In like manner, to recognise a book, not authenti- 
cated by the canon, is to invalidate the authority of the 
canon, and to lay a foundation for the admission of un- 


accredited books to an indefinite extent. It is obvions^ 
that those who do so cannot be assured of the truths 
which they receive, nor that they have all the revealed 
truths in the Bible. Such a mode of proceeding de- 
grades the Word of God, unsettles the faith of the 
Christian, and greatly mars his edification and comfort. 
The inspiration of the Scriptures is of equal impor- 
tance with the authority of the canon. If God is not 
the Author of them, in the fullest and most complete 
sense of that term, we cannot receive them as the 
Word of God. The Scriptures so plainly assert 
their inspiration, that it is matter of astonishment that 
any who profess to believe them should have denied it. 
Yet many have contrived to hold the word, and to deny 
the thing itself. In this way, they perhaps hide even 
from themselves the boldness of their unhallowed spe- 
culations. That inspiration extends to words as well as to 
matter, is so obvious, that it never could have been ques- 
tioned, if those who deny it had not misled themselves 
by their vain reasonings on the subject, or taken the con- 
trary for granted without enquiry, on the authority of 
others. A writing inspired by God self-evidently im- 
plies, in the very expression, that the words are the words 
of God ; and the common impression of mankind coin- 
cides with this most entirely. That the inspiration is 
in the matter, not in the words ; that one part of Scrip- 
ture is written with one kind or degree of inspiration, 
and another part with another kind or degree, is con- 
trary to the phraseology, and totally without founda- 
tion in any part of the Scriptures themselves, and ne- 
ver could have suggested itself as a natural meaning of 
the word. This unholy invention is the figment of an 
ill-employed ingenuity, either to invalidate some Scrip- 


ture truths, or to repel some objections which appeared 
'itherwise unanswerable. It is an expedient to serve a 
■turpose, and as little to be approved, when it is used 
o defend the declarations of God, as when it is used to 
overturn them. Yet degrading views both of the 
canon and inspiration of the Scriptures too generally 
prevail ; and the writers of most influence on the pub- 
lic mind, instead of correcting these errors, have lent 
all their weight to their establishment. 

The plenary or verbal inspiration of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, is not only confirmed by the most express pas- 
sages in the way of direct authority, but it is a matter 
of no light consideration, that there are no opposing 
passages on the other side. Hardly an error ever was 
maintained, but what could press some passage of the 
Word of God into its service, by the use of torture. 
Indeed, very many important truths of the Divine 
Word are not without their difficulties, from passages 
that afford a handle to human ignorance and human 
depravity. While these are always capable of a solu- 
tion in perfect accordance with the truths to which, at 
first sight, they may appear to be opposed, they prove 
a test of our submission to the Divine wisdom. They 
manifest the child-like disposition of the people of 
God ; but they are as gins and snares to the wisdom 
of this world, and the wise are taken by them in their 
own craftiness. As the contiguity of the Canaanites 
manifested the unbelief of the people of Israel, so these 
passages, in the Divine wisdom, bring out into open 
avowal the enmity of men to the truth of God. But 
the inspiration of the Scriptures, in the words as well 
as in the matter, is not opposed by any difficulty of this 
kind ; and the authors of the low and derogatory view 


of the Word of God, which ascribes to it different de- 
grees of inspiration, cannot plead a single passage that 
will afford them even the shadow of support. Their 
doctrine is but a theory — a theory in opposition to the 
most express assertions of Scripture, and not counte- 
nanced by the allegation of a single text. 

Whence comes the Bible ? is a question in every 
way worthy of the deepest attention of the Christian. 
The grounds on which is rested the happiness of this 
world, and of the world to come, can never be too 
deeply examined. The title-deeds to so immense an 
inheritance are worthy of the constant researches of the 
life of man. 

To establish with the utmost precision what are the 
books belonging to the canon of Scripture, to fix the 
brand of reprobation on all false pretenders to the ho- 
nour of inspiration, arid to vindicate the writings of the 
Old Testament and the Nev/, as the words of the 
Spirit of God, can at no period be a useless* labour. 
But present circumstances add greatly to this import- 
tance, and recent events have discovered not only 
ignorance on these subjects, where knowledge might 
have been expected, but opposition even from the 
friends of the gospel. It is much to be regretted, that 
unscriptural opinions concerning these subjects have 
long been entertained, and have of late been advocated 
])y persons who might have been expected to be the 
most zealous in opposing their progress. The Chris- 
tian public are in the greater danger from the infection 
of this heresy, that it is propagated by persons whom 
they have long been accustomed to regard as among 
the brightest ornaments of true religion. Had these 
dangerous opinions made their appearance in the works 


of Socinians, Christians would have stood on their 
guard against them. But when the canon is unsettled, 
and verbal inspiration is denied by men who profess to 
hold the distinguishing doctrines of the gospel, many 
will be misled. If, then, we are commanded to con- 
tend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, 
it is surely our duty to contend for the canon and in- 
spiration of the Bible, by which only that faith can be 
ascertained. Our reverence for the Bible depends on 
our full conviction of the plenary inspiration of the 
Apostles and Prophets, and our being satisfied that our 
Bible exclusively contains their writings. On these 
subjects the mind of every Christian should be fully 
informed, and firmly established. Just views respect- 
ing them exalt our conceptions of the perfection of the 
Holy Scriptures, and tend to make us better acquainted 
with their contents. The opposite views have a con- 
trary tendency in a very great degree. 

While the natural opposition of fallen man to God 
leads some to open and avowed infidelity, it operates 
on a still greater number in the way of indifference to 
religion. It leads them to be satisfied with very lax 
and general views on a subject to which they are in- 
disposed, but which they dare not altogether neglect. 
Under the influence of this indifference, many entertain 
no fixed views in regard to the Bible. They admit 
that the Scriptures contain a revelation from God, and 
that many parts of them are, therefore, entitled to our 
utmost reverence ; but they do not perceive that all 
parts of the Bible, whether history, prophecy, praise, 
or precepts, are so many integral and connected parts 
of one great whole, intimately connected with the Cross 
of Christ, which forms the centre of revelation, with- 


out reference to which no part can be understood. 
They may read the history of Israel, they may believe 
the facts recorded, and yet remain completely unac- 
quainted with the instruction conveyed. They may 
admire the Proverbs of Solomon as the dictates of the 
wisest of men ; they may derive benefit from them in 
the regulation of their conduct in the world, while 
their souls cleave to the dust, and they are treasuring 
up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath. 
They may read the predictions of the desolation of 
Tyre and Babylon ; they may acknowledge the proof 
which these aiford of the Divine foreknowledge, while 
they remain utterly ignorant of the nature of that 
kingdom to the establishment of which all such events 
were subservient, and with which every part of revela- 
tion is closely and inseparably connected. But when 
God opens the understanding to understand the Scrip- 
tures, — when men are made to know that all the pro- 
phets, both in the history of the past and the predictions 
of the future, bear witness to Christ, and that every 
circumstance recorded in the Word of God is a part of 
the testimony of Jesus, then they are led to exclaim, 
" O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God I" to pray with the Psalmist, 
" Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous 
things out of thy law ;" and with the Apostle, they 
follow on to apprehend Christ Jesus, the Lord, in the 
dihgent study of every part of the Word of God. 

This naturally produces just views on the subject of 
inspiration. Unless the mind be misled by false teach- 
ing, or perverted by some unscriptural theory, it puts 
an end to idle and impious speculations about super- 
natural influence being unnecessary, when the sacred 


penmen are speaking of " common or civil affairs ;" 
and about their mentioning- " common occurrences or 
things in an incidental manner, as any other plain and 
faithful men might do." We behold the Word of God 
composed of many parts, but forming one grand con- 
nected system, like a building so admirably construct- 
ed, that every stone increases its beauty and stability, 
and not one of which could be removed without injury. 
We behold the wisdom of God in employing so many 
persons to labour in distant ages, and in different de- 
partments, producing in their various compositions a 
revelation of his will, complete in all its parts, and 
distinguished by the most perfect unity, without the 
shadow of discrepancy, redundancy, or deficiency. From 
not perceiving this, some attach different degrees of 
authority to different parts of Scripture. In the same 
way, many prefer the discourses of Jesus to the other 
portions of the New Testament, although, when about 
to leave the world, he informed his Apostles that there 
were many things which at present they could not bear, 
but which he would afterwards communicate to them 
by the teaching of his Spirit. According to his pro- 
mise, he endued them with power from on high ; and, 
consequently, in their writings we have the completion 
of Divine Revelation, the exhibition of the great salva- 
tion which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, 
and which he more fully explained by speaking in his 
apostles. 2 Cor. xiii. 3. 







• The Bible, which contains the account of the origin, 
progress, and nature of the Christian religion, is the 
production, not of one period, but of many ages. Its 
writers succeeded each other, during the space of about 
1500 years. The Scriptures of the Old Testament 
far exceed, in antiquity, all other historical records. 
Moses, who wrote the first five books, lived more 
than lOOO years before Herodotus, the father of Gre- 
cian history ; and rather earlier than the time of Hero- 
dotus, Ezra and Nehemiah completed the historical 
part of the Old Testament Scriptures. 

The longevity of the first generations of men, which 
accelerated the population of the world from a single 
pair, rendered a written revelation, between the fall of 
man and the promulgation of the law at Sinai, less ne- 
cessary, as the knowledge of the Divine will was, 
during that period, transmitted from one age to an- 
other, by very few individuals. From Adam to Moses, 
although a space of about 2300 years, it passed through 
only four intermediate persons. In all that time, God 
made himself known by visible interpositions and signs, 

* A genuine book is one written by the person whose name it 
bears, as the author of it. An authentic book is one that relates 
matters of fact, as they really happened. 


as in the cases of Cain and Babel, and held direct com- 
munication with prophets, who were revered as such 
by the people among whom they lived, which tended to 
preserve his truth from being- corrupted. Thus it was 
sufficiently early in the days of Moses, permanently to 
record that authentic revelation, which was then de- 
livered. But, at that period, when the age of man 
was reduced nearly to its present limits, God separated 
a people from the nations, and gave them such an 
establishment, that full security was afforded for pre- 
serving entire his written word. 

Moses, who, at the giving of the law, acted the part 
of a mediator between God and the people of Israel, 
was called up to Mount Sinai, where he received those 
laws and institutions that were then enjoined. These, 
together with the history of the creation, and of what- 
ever, from the beginning, was necessary for the in- 
struction of the people of God, were committed by him 
to writing, in five books, and deposited in the taber- 
nacle by the side of the ark. 

These five books, called the Book of the Law, and 
also known by the name of the Pentateuch, (or five 
volumes,) constituted the first part of the sacred re- 
cords, and include the history of about 2530 years. 
The law was read every Sabbath-day in the synagogues, 
and again solemnly every seventh year. The king was 
required to copy it, and the people were commanded 
to teach it to their childen, and to bear it as " signs 
upon their bauds, and frontlets between their eyes.'* 
The remaining books* of the Old Testament, com- 

* The exact time when the book of Job was written is not 


posed by different writers, carry the history of Israel 
beyond the Babylonish captivity, and contain the mes- 
sages of a succession of prophets till 420 years before 
the coming- of Christ, when, at the distance of about 
1030 years from Moses, Malachi, the last of the pro- 
phets, wrote. 

The books which compose the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures, were held by the Jews, in every age, to be the 
genuine works of those persons to whom they are as- 
cribed ; and they have also been universally and exclu- 
sively, without any addition or exception, considered 
by them as written under the immediate influence of 
the Spirit of God. They preserved them with the 
greatest veneration ; and, at the same time, carefully 
guarded against receiving any apocryphal or uninspired 
books. While the Jews were divided into various sects, 
which stood in the most direct opposition to each other, 
there never was any difference among them respecting 
the authority of the sacred writings. 

The five books of Moses were also preserved by the 
Samaritans, who received them nearly 700 years before 
the coming of Christ. Whatever diagreement, in other 
respects, subsisted between them and the Jews, and 
however violent their enmity against each other, they 
perfectly united in admitting the authenticity and in- 
spiration of the law of Moses, which they both adopted 
as their religious rule. In addition to all this, about 
280 years before the Christian era, the whole of the 
Old Testament was translated into Greek ; a language 
which, from the time of Alexander's conquests, was 
commonly understood by the nations of the world. 
Thus JewSf Samaritans, and all the civilized ivorld, 


had access to these sacred hooks, which prevented the 
possibility of their being- either corrupted or altered 
without its being- generally known. 

We are assured by Josephus, the Jewish historian, 
who was born about five years after the death of Christ, 
and who lived in the time of the Apostles, that the 
Jews acknowledged no books as Divine, but twenty-two. 
" We have not," he says, " an innumerable multitude 
of books among- us, disag-reeing- from, and contradicting 
one another (as the Greeks have), but only twenty- 
two books, which contain the records of all the past 
times ; which are justly believed to be Divine. And of 
them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws, and 
the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. 
This interval of time was little short of 3000 years. 
But as to the time from the death of Moses till the 
reign of Artaxerxes King of Persia, who reigned after 
Xerxes, the prophets, who w-ere after Moses, wrote 
down what was done in their times in thirteen books. 
The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and 
precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our 
history hath been written since Artaxerxes very parti- 
cularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority 
with the former by our forefathers, because there hath 
not been an exact succession of prophets since that 
time : And how firmly we have given credit to these 
books of our own nation, is evident by what we do ; 
for during so many ages as have already passed, no one 
hath been so bold as either to add any thing to them, 
to take any thing from them, or to make any change 
in them ; but it is become natural to all Jews, immedi- 
ately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books 
to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, 


if occasion be, willingly to die for them." — Josephus, 
ed. 1784, vol. ii. 361. The books here referred to are 
precisely the same, which from the beginning- have been 
received by Christians, and that are still acknowledged 
by the modern Jews, concerning^ whose undivided at- 
tachment to them, all that is here asserted by Josephns 
is verified to the present day. 

The authenticity of the Old Testament Scriptures, 
against which there is no contradictory testimony, is 
confirmed by many collateral evidences of customs, 
traditions, and natural appearances, which have been 
collected from every part of the world. It is likewise 
supported by all the notices to be found respecting- them - 
in the most ancient heathen historians. Josephus 
appeals to the public records of different nations, and 
to a great number of books extant in his time, but now 
lost, as indisputable evidence, in the opinion of the 
Heathen world, for the truth of the most remark- 
able events related in his History, the account of 
the early periods of which he professes to have taken 
principally from the Pentateuch. Porphyry, one of the 
most acute and learned of the early enemies of Christi- 
anity, admitted the genuineness of the Pentateuch, and 
acknowledged that Moses was prior to the Phoenician 
Sanchoniathon, who lived before the Trojan war. He 
even contended for the truth of Sanchoniathon's account 
of the Jews, from its coincidence with the Mosaic his- 
tory. Nor was the genuineness of the Pentateuch 
denied, by any of the numerous writers against the gos- 
pel, in the first four centuries, although the Christian 
fathers constantly appealed to the history and prophe- 
cies of the Old Testament in support of the Divine 
origin of the doctrines which they taught. The power 

VOL. I. I 


of historical truth compelled the Emperor Julian, 
whose favour to the Jews appears to have proceeded 
only from his hostility to the Christians, to acknow- 
ledge, that persons instructed by the Spirit of God once 
lived among the Israelites ; and to confess that the 
books which bore the name of Moses were genuine ; 
and that the facts which they contained were worthy 
of credit. 

Of the genuineness and authenticity of their Scrip- 
tures, the Jews had the strongest evidence, which pro- 
duced a corresponding impression. The five books of 
Moses are addressed to the Israelites as his contem- 
poraries, and had they not been both genuine and au- 
thentic, they never could have been imposed on his 
countrymen, whose religion and government were 
founded upon them. The transactions of their own 
times were narrated by the several writers of the other 
books, and the truth of their respective histories was 
witnessed by all their countrymen who lived at the 
same period. The plainest directions were given for 
ascertaining the truth of the mission of all who declared 
themselves prophets, those who were sent being fur- 
nished with ample credentials, while every one who 
pretended to deliver the messages of God, without these 
credentials, was to be put to death. Deut. xviii. 20. 
And although false prophets did arise, and for a time 
obtained a degree of influence, their wickedness was 
exposed by the failure of their predictions, or by the 
judgments inflicted on them, as in the case of Hananiah. 
From the miracles, too, which the people of Israel con- 
stantly witnessed, as well as the fulfilment of the pro- 
phecies which was all along taking place, they had 
complete proof that the true prophets wrote by the 


authority of God himself. During the whole period 
from Moses to Malachi, a succession of them was 
raised up, under whose direction the Word of God was 
infallibly distinguished from all counterfeits ; and by 
their means, in connexion with the visible interference 
of the God of Israel in punishing those who made the 
people trust in a lie, the Scriptures were preserved 
pure and unadulterated. 

These books are handed down to us by that nation, 
whose history they record with an impartiality for 
which we shall seek in vain in the annals of any other 
historians. There are here no national prejudices, and 
no attempts at embellishment. The history of the 
people of Israel is recorded by the uncompromising 
hand of truth. Their ingratitude, and their obstinacy, 
are alike exposed ; their sinful incredulity on many 
occasions is published ; their virtues are not magnified, 
and their courage is not extolled. This history con- 
tains an account, not in confused traditions, but in 
minute detail of time, place, and circumstances, of great 
public facts transacted in the presence of the whole 
people, in which they were actors, and of which perma- 
nent memorials were instituted at the time when they 
occurrred.* These facts involved their submission to a 

* Mr Leslie, who writes on Deism, in proving the authenticity 
of the books of Moses, lays down the following rules as a test of 
truth, which all meet in these books. "Wherever they do meet, 
what they refer to, he aflfirmsj cannot be false. On the contrary, 
they cannot possibly meet in any imposture whatever. " 1. That 
the matter of fact be such, that men's outward senses, their eyes 
and ears, may be judges of it. 2. That it be done publicly 
in the face of the world. 3. That not only public monuments 


religion entirely different from that of all the surround- 
ing- nations, which laid them under great and painful 
restraints, and to laws and institutions, which, while 
they secluded them from the rest of mankind, exposed 
them to their utmost detestation and contempt. Had 
such facts never taken place, they could not at any 
period have been forced upon the belief of a whole 
nation, so as to be ever afterwards acknowledged by 
them, without one dissenting voice. It is a striking- 
singularity in their laws, that they were promulgated 
not from time to time, but in one written code, and 
were permanently binding- both on the rulers and 
the people, never to be in any respect either altered or 
added to. 

Nor are the Jews alone referred to as witnesses of 
some of the most important of those transactions, the 
scene of which is not laid in an obscure corner, but in 

be kept in memory of it, but some outward actions be performed. 
4. That such monuments, and such actions, or observances, be 
instituted, and do commence from the time that the matter of 
fact was done. The two first rules make it impossible for any 
such matter of fact to be imposed on men at the time when said 
to be done, because every man's eyes and senses would con- 
tradict it. The two last rules render it impossible that the mat- 
ter of fact should be invented and imposed some time after." 
After proving, in a variety of ways, that all his four rules meet 
in the books of Moses, Mr Leslie observes: — " You may chal- 
lenge the whole world to show any action that is fabulous, which 
has all the four rules or marks before mentioned. It is impos' 
sible. — I do not say that every thing which wants these four 
marks is false, but that nothing can he false which has them all." 
It is said that Dr Middleton endeavoured for twenty years to find 
out some pretended fact to which ]\Ir Leslie's four rules could be 
applied, but without success. 


the midst of the most civilized nations of the world. 
The entrance of their ancestors into Egypt ; their con- 
tinuance for centuries, and increase there ; the manner 
in which they were oppressed ; the causes of their being- 
suffered to depart, and the awful catastrophe which 
accompanied that departure, — are facts in which the 
people of Egypt were equally implicated with them- 
selves. Their" subsequent continuance, during forty 
years, in an uncultivated desert ; their invasion of Pa- 
lestine ; the long-continued contest, and their final 
occupation of the land, — were public and permanent 
facts, brought home to the inhabitants of that country, 
who lived in the centre of the civilised world. The 
train of the history too, which, as well as the style and 
tendency of all the separate books, is entirely consistent 
with itself, proceeds in so uniform a manner, and one 
thing so naturally rises out of another, that unless on 
the supposition of what goes before, that which follows 
cannot be accounted for. This remark holds good 
with respect to the state of the Jews even to this day ; 
and all that is recorded is necessary to explain their 
present unexampled situation. Impressed with an un- 
alterable conviction of their Divine origin, they have, at 
the expense of every thing dear to men, tenaciously 
adhered, as far as circumstances permit, to the outward 
form of the religion, the laws and the institutions 
engrossed in their sacred records. And although they 
themselves are condemned by these books, and know 
that they are employed to support a system which they 
mortally hate, they have, under all circumstances, down 
to the present hour, continued to be faithful deposi- 
taries of the Old Testament Scriptures. 

" The honour and privilege," says Bishop Cosin, in. 


his history of the Canon of the Holy Scripture, " which 
the posterity of Jacob some time had, above all the 
world besides, was to be that peculiar people of God, 
to whom he was pleased to make his laws and his 
Scriptures known ; nor was there then any other 
church but theirs, or any other oracles of God, than 
what were committed to them. For they had all that 
were then extant, and all written in their own language. 

" These they divided into three several classes, 
whereof the first comprehended the five books of 
Moses ; the second all the prophets ; and the 
third those writings which they call the Chethuhim, 
or BOOKS that were written by the holy men of God, 
who were not so properly to be ranked among the 
Prophets ; from whom both the Jive Boohs of Moses 
and these Chethuhim were distinguished ; because, how- 
soever they were all written by the same prophetical 
spirit and instinct, which the JBooJcs of the Prophets 
were, yet Moses having been their special lawgiver, 
and the writers of these other books having had no pub- 
lic mission or office of Prophets (for some of them 
were Kings, and others were great and potent persons 
in their times), they gave either of them 2k peculiar class 
by themselves. 

" In this division, as they reckoned Five Boohs in 
the first class, so in the second they counted Eight, 
and in the third Nine ; Two-and- Ttventy in all ; in 
number equal to the letters of their Alphabet, and as 
fully comprehending all that was then needful to be 
known and believed, as the number of their letters did 
all that was requisite to be said or written. And hereof 
after this manner they made their enumeration. 



The Books of Moses 

Four Books of the 
former Prophets 

Four books of the 
latter Prophets 

And the rest of the 
Holy Writers 

r Genesis, 
I Exodus, 
<| Leviticus, 
L Deuteronomy, 

f Joshua, 

J Judges and Ruth, 
*j Samuel, 1 and 2, 

L Kings, 1 and 2, 

f Isaiah, 
Jeremiah and his 

TheBookofthe 12 
lesser Prophets, 

King David's Psalter, 

King Solomon's Proverbs, 

His Book of the Preacher, 

His Song of Songs, 

The Book of Job, 

The Book of Daniel, 

The Books of Ezra and Ne- 

The Book of Esther, 
The Book of Chronicles, 1 

and 2, 

|> VIIL 



"Which last JBook of the Chronicles^ containing- the 
sum of all their former histories, and reaching from the 
creation of the world to their return from Babylon, is 
a perfect epitome of all the old Testament, and there- 
fore not unfitly so placed by them, as that it concluded 
and closed up their whole Bible. 

" Other divisions of these books were afterwards 
made, and the order of them was somewhat altered (as 
in divers respects they may well be), but the books 
were still the same ; and as the number of them was 
never augmented, during the time of the Old Testa- 


ment, so there were no additional pieces brought in, or 
set to any of them at all. 

" It is generally received, that after the return of the 
Jews from their captivity in Babylon, all the books of 
the SCRIPTURE, having been revised by Ezra (then 
their priest and their leader), who digested them like- 
wise into those several classes before rehearsed, were 
by him, and the Prophets of God that lived with him, 
consigned and delivered over to all posterity. But 
this is sure, that after his age, and the time of the pro- 
phet Malachi (who was one among those that prophe- 
sied in that time), there were no more prophets heard 
of among the Jews till the time of St John the Baptist, 
and therefore no more prophetical and divine Scrip- 
tures between them. 

" The BOOKS, then, of the Old Testament, such 
and so many as they were after the captivity of Baby- 
lon, in the time of Esdras, (Ezra,) the same and so 
many being accurately preserved by the Jews, and con- 
tinuing among them unto the time of our blessed Sa- 
viour (as they do likewise still unto this very day), 
without any addition, immunition, or alteration, de- 
scended to the Christians." 

Nothing then can be better authenticated than the 
canon* of the Old Testament, as we now possess it. 
We have the fullest evidence that it was tixed 280 
years before the Christian era, when, as has been no- 
ticed, the Greek translation, called the Septuagint, was 
executed at Alexandria, the books of which were the 
same as in our Bible. And as no authentic records of 

* The word canon signifies a rule or a law. Hence the books 
of the Holy Scriptures taken together are called the canon, as 
designed by God to be the rule of our faith and practice. 


a more ancient date are extant, it is impossible to ascend 
higher in search of testimony. As held by the Jews 
in the days of Jesus Christ, their canon was the 
same as when that translation was made, and it has 
since been retained by them without any variation, 
though by separating- books formerly united, they in- 
crease their number. The integrity and divine original 
of these Scriptures are thus authenticated by a whole 
nation — the most ancient that exists — who have pre- 
served them and borne their testimony to them from 
the time of Moses down to the present day. That na- 
tion was selected by God himself to be his witnesses, 
Isaiah, xliii. 10, to whom he committed " the lively 
oracles," and amidst all their wickedness he prevented 
them from betraying their trust, the Jews never having 
given admission into their canon to any other books 
but to those which by his prophets and servants were 
delivered to them. 

In addition to the unanimous testimony of the Jew- 
ish nation to the genuineness and authenticity of the 
Old Testament Scriptures, of which they had been con- 
stituted the depositaries, we have the decisive attesta- 
tion of the Son of God. Jesus Christ, who appeared 
on earth 1500 years after Moses the first of the pro- 
phets, and 400 years after Malachi the last of them, 
bore his testimony to the sacred canon as held by the 
Jews in his time, and recorded it by his holy Apostles. 
Among all the evils with which he charged the Jews, 
he never once intimated that they had in any degree 
corrupted the canon either by addition, or diminution, 
or alteration. Since with so much zeal he purged the 
temple, and so often and sharply reprehended the Jews, 
for perverting the true sense of the Scriptures, much 


more, we may be assured, would he have condemned 
them, if they had tampered with, or vitiated, these sa- 
cred writings ; but of this he never accused them. By 
often referring- to the " Scriptures," which he declared 
" cannot be broken," the Lord Jesus Christ has given 
his full attestation to the whole of them as the unadul- 
terated Word of God. " Search the Scriptures, for 
in them ye think ye have ete^^nal life, and they are 
they which testify of me" Here he warrants, in the 
most explicit manner, the canon of the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures, He told the Jews that they made the Word of 
God of none effect through their traditions. By call- 
ing them the Word op God, he indicated that these 
Scriptures proceeded from God himself. In his con- 
versation with the disciples going to Emaus, when, 
" beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he ex- 
pounded to them in all the Sc7'iptures the things con- 
cerning himself'^ he gave the most express testimony 
to every one of the books of the Old Testament canon. 
Just before his ascension, he said to his Apostles, 
" These are the words which I spake unto you while 
I was yet with you, that all things vnust he fulfilled 
which were written in the law of Moses, and in the 
Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me»^ By 
thus adopting the common division of the Law, and the 
Prophets, and the Psalms, which comprehended all the 
Hebrew Scriptures (to which division Josephus, as we 
have seen, refers), he ratified and sanctioned by his au- 
thority the canon of the Old Testament, as it was re- 
ceived by the Jews ; and by declaring that these books 
contained prophesies which must be fulfilled, he estab- 
lished their Divine inspiration, since God alone can 
enable men to foretell future events. 


The same testimony is repeated by the Apostles, 
who constantly appeal to the Jewish Scriptures as " the 
lively oracles of God, Referring to the whole of the 
Old Testament, Paul declares, that " All Scripture is 
given hy inspiration of God^ The term <' Scripture," 
or "the Scriptures" (the writings), was then, as it is 
still, appropriated to the written Word of God, as both 
the Old Testament and the New are now, by way of 
eminence and distinction, called the Sible, or the Book. 
The same Apostle recognises the entire canon of the 
Jews, when he says, " imto them were committed the 
oracles of GodP The fidelity of the Jews to their 
trust is here asserted by Paul ; and those to whom he 
writes are required to acknowledge the Scriptures of 
the Old Testament as of divine authority. While the 
Apostles affirmed that they spoke " not the ivords which 
mans wisdo'rn teacheth, hut ivhich the Holy Ghost 
teacheth," they uniformly referred to the Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures, as of equal authority with those of the 
New Testament, both of which, as commissioned by 
their Divine Master, they have delivered over to the 
Christian Church as " the Word of God." Indeed, so 
manifestly is it the object of the Apostles to establish 
the divine authority of the Old Testament, that though 
they were as fully inspired and accredited as the ancient 
prophets, or former servants of God, and could establish 
the truth of any thing they taught by the miracles 
which they performed, yet they reasoned out of the 
Old Testament Scriptures, proving and alleging from 
them the truth of what they declared. Instead of pro- 
fessing to give authority to what was written in them, 
they uniformly appealed to those writings as authority 
equal to their own. Paul declares, that the Gospel of 


God, to which he was separated as an Apostle, was 
that " u'hich he had promised afore hy his prophets 
in the Holy Scriptures." — Rom.i. 2.* Here, where 
Paul asserts his Apostolic commission, he gives the 
whole weig-ht of his Apostolic authority to the ancient 
Scriptures, which he denominates " holy writings," in 
which God, he affirms, had recorded his promises by 
his prophets. When the same Apostle declares, that 

* Much important matter is contained in this verse. The 
Apostle here tacitly repels the accusation of the Jews, that the 
gospel was a novel doctrine. He shows that the Old Testa- 
ment is the promise of the New, and that the New is the fulfil- 
ment of the Old — by its prophecies which foretold a new 
covenant— by all that it promised concerning the Messiah — by 
all its legal institutions, which contained in themselves the 
promises which they prefigured — by the whole economy of the 
law which prepared men for the reception of the Gospel — by all 
the revelations of grace and mercy which contained the Gospel 
in substance, and, consequently, promised its more full deve- 
lopement. He also repels the accusation, that the Apostles 
were enemies to Moses and the Prophets ; showing, on the 
other hand, that there was a complete agreement betwixt them 
He establishes the authority of the prophets and the inspiration 
of the Scriptures, by declaring that it was God himself who 
spoke in them. He shows whence we are to take the true 
Word of God and of his prophets, not from verbal tradition, 
which must be uncertain and fluctuating, but from the written 
Word, which is certain and permanent. He teaches that we 
ought constantly to have recourse to the Scriptures, for that all in 
religion which is not found in them, is really novel, although 
it may have been received for many ages ; but that what is found 
there is really ancient, although men may have for a long time 
lost sight of it. Such are the great truths contained in this 
compendious verse. — See the authors Exposition of the Epistle 
to the Romans^ ch. i. 2. 


" whatsoever things were written afore time ivere 
written for our learning; that we, through patience 
and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hojje,'^ he 
gives his attestation to the whole of the sacred writ- 
ings, and proves that they exist entire ; for he could 
not have said this if any of them had been lost, or had 
any additions been made to them.* 

From the important connexion that subsists between 
the Old Testament and the New, the early Christian 
writers carefully examined the Jewish Scriptures, and 
have given distinct catalogues of these books, precisely 
the same as we now receive, and as they are still retained 
by the Jews. Melito, Bishop of Sardis, travelled in 
the second century into Palestine, on purpose to inves- 
tigate the subject. His catalogue, which is preserved 

* It is true, that the sacred writers refer to other books that 
do not now exist, as of Iddo the seer ; but they do not refer to 
them as canonical books, but as civil records of the kingdom, 
such as the reference to the civil records of Persia in the book 
of Esther. Were it even to be admitted that some epistles 
written by the Apostles have not come down to us, the fact 
would not imply that the Scriptures have lost an epistle, or a 
single word. There might have been hundreds of such inspired 
letters from the Apostles, without implying that ever they made 
a part of that collection that was designed by God to be a perfect 
and sufficient standard to all ages. This is said not from a con- 
viction that there ever existed any inspired letters of the Apos- 
tles except those which we possess,! ^^^ t^'^Y ^^Y have existed 
in any number without affecting the integrity of the canon, which 
some have weakly supposed would follow from the fact, if 

t " Some," says Tlieodoret, " imagine Paul to have wrote an epistle to 
the Laodiceans, and accordingly produce a certain forged epistle (so en- 
titled) ; but the holy Apostle does not say rhv f^ig Aeto^ixiiug, the epistle 
/o the Laodiceans, but Tfiv Ix Accost xsixs, the epistle/r(»« the Laodiceans." 


by Eusebius, contains the canonical books of the Old 
Testament, and no more. He names the several books, 
comprehending- under the Book of Ezra, those of Ne- 
hemiah and Esther, to which they were commonly 
annexed, these three being' by many accounted but one 
book. In the Jewish list, the Book of Nehemiah, only, 
was joined to Esther, as the Book of Lamentations 
was also annexed to Jeremiah ; but the Book of Esther 
was never wanting in the canon of the Jews. The 
learned Origen, in the third century, gives a catalogue 
of the Jewish Scriptures, and says, " that the canoni- 
cal books of Scripture contained in the Old Testament, 
are twenty and two in number, which the Hebrews 
have left unto us, according to the number of letters 
which they have in their alphabet." Athanasius also, 
in the fourth century, specifies the twenty-two books, 
and, naming them one after another, in the same order 
in which they now stand, says, that " they are received 
by the whole church." Hilary of Poictiers, and many 
writers in the same century, affirm that these books 
alone were received as canonical. This fact is con- 
firmed by the Council of Laodicea, which met in the 
year 363, and gave a list of the twenty-two books, the 
same as have been received both by Jews and Chris- 

Nothing can be more satisfactory and conclusive 
than all the parts of the foregoing evidence of the 
authenticity and integrity of the canon of the Old 
Testament Scriptures. The Jews, to whom they were 
first committed, never varied respecting them ; while 
they have been fully recognised by the Lord and his 
Apostles, and consequently, their authenticity is esta- 
blished by express revelation. And that we now pos- 


sess them as thus delivered and authenticated, we have 
the concurrent testimony of the whole succession of 
the most distinguished early Christian writers, as well 
as of the Jews to this day, who, in every age, and in 
all countries, the most remote from one another, have 
constantly been in use of reading them in their syna- 

The Scriptures of the Old Testament that have been 
thus so faithfully preserved, and so fully attested, con- 
tain the most satisfactory and convincing internal evi- 
dences of their truth. The character of God which 
they exhibit, nowhere delineated in the writings of any 
of the wisest of this world, unenlightened by revelation, 
is such as carries with it its own confirmation. The 
character they give of man is verified in the history of 
every nation, and of each individual. The majesty, 
purity, and suitableness to the condition of man, of the 
doctrine they contain — the soundness and unrivalled 
excellence of the moral precepts they inculcate, and 
the glory of the succeeding dispensation which, towards 
their close, they indicate with increasing clearness ; 
and all this confirmed and verified in the minutest par- 
ticulars by the New Testament Scriptures — form a 
body of internal evidence, to which nothing but the 
deep corruption of the human heart, and the enmity of 
the carnal mind against God, could render any one in- 

In the course of time, and in the progress of that cor- 
ruption in the churches which soon began to work, the 
sacred canon was defiled by the addition and even inter- 
mixture of other books, which, through the unfaith- 
fulness of Christians, were admitted first as of secondary, 


and at length by many as of equal authority and consi- 
deration with those of which it was composed. 

These books were called Apocryphal, and are sup- 
posed to have been so denominated from the Greek 
word uTTOK^vTrro), to hide — to conceal^ which is expres- 
sive of the uncertainty and concealed nature of their 
origin. Who their authors were is not known. They 
were written subsequently to the cessation of the pro- 
phetic spirit in the time of Malachi, who closed his tes- 
timony by reminding the people of Israel of the autho- 
rity of the law of Moses, and intimating that after him- 
self, no prophet was to arise until the harbinger of the 
Messiah should appear. They were not written in the 
Hebrew language, in which all the books of the Old 
Testament were originally composed, with the excep- 
tion of a few passages in Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and 
Esther, which were written in Chaldee. Both Philo 
and Josephus, who flourished in the first century of the 
Christian era, are altogether silent concerning these 
spurious books, which were not contained in the Sep- 
tuagint version, as set forth by the translators under 
Ptolemy : '^ and they form no part of those sacred 

* " Of the Greek Septuagint Bible (as it was first set forth 
in the lime of Ptolemseus Philadelphus), St Angustin acknow- 
ledged no more Books, than what were then translated out of 
the Hebrew copies sent from Jerusalem, where neither Tobit nor 
Judith, nor any of that class, were to be found ; for (whatever 
Genebrard saith of his own head to the contrary) those addi- 
tional writings were brought in afterwards, and used only by 
the Hellenist Jews abroad at Babylon and Alexandria, from 
whom they were, in time following, commended to be read by 
tlie Christians, but never made equal with the other sacred 
Scriptures, as they are now set forth in the Roman Septuagint 


writings committed by God to the Jews, universally 
acknowledged and preserved by them entire. Above 
all, they have not received, like these holy writings, the 
attestation of Jesus Christ, and his Apostles, placing 
upon them the broad seal of heaven, who have never 
once quoted them. A real and essential difference was 
constantly maintained by the early Christians between 
them and the canonical books ; and it was not till the 
fourth century, when the churches had become exceed- 
ingly corrupt both in faith and practice, that they came 
to be permitted to appear with the canon. 

The Apocryphal books, though not admitted by the 
first Christian writers, or churches, to have any autho- 
rity in matters of faith, yet claim for themselves that 
authority, and even arrogate an equality with the sacred 
Scriptures, to which they were at length advanced by 
the church of Rome. They present themselves to the 
world as a part of the Word of God, sometimes com- 
municated immediately by himself, sometimes conveyed 
through the medium of angels, who are represented as 
standing before him. The claim to inspiration is not 
more explicitly asserted by the writers of the Scriptures, 
than by some of the authors of the Apocryphal books. 
No higher demand for attention to their messages can 
be made by holy prophets and apostles, than when thev 
affirm, " Thus saith the Lord." Yet this is the lan- 
guage in which men are addressed by these authors. 
They " have daubed them with imtempered mortar, 
seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, 
Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath 
not spoken." Ezek. xxii, 28. 

by the authority of Sixtus Quinhis, which is an edition of that 

Bible, many wajs depraved Cosin, p. 98. 

VOL. I. K 


In the second book of Esdras, the writer havings 
commenced by declaring- his lineage, affirms, " The 
tvord of the Lord came unto me, saying, Go thy way 
and show my people," &c. " Speak thou therefore unto 
them, saying, Thus saith the Lord^ — " Thus saith 
the Almightif Lord.'' This expression occurs four 
times in the first chapter. The second chapter opens 
with " Thus saith the Lord," which in the course of 
that chapter is repeated nine times ; and an angel is re- 
presented as speaking to the writer — " Then the angel 
said unto me, go thy way, and tell my people what 
manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord 
thy God thou hast seen." The rest of the book pro- 
ceeds in the same strain, the author continuing to re- 
cite divine communications, made to himself as they 
had been to Moses. 

In the book of Baruch, ii. 21, it is written, " Thus 
saith the LordP 

In the book of Tobit a long interview with an angel 
is related, who affirms that he is one of the holy angels 
who go in and out before the glory of the Holy One. 
" Now, therefore," says this angel, '^ give God thanks, 
for I go up to him that sent me, but write all things 
which are done in a book." Tobit, xii. 15, 20. God 
himself is often introduced by the Apocryphal writers, 
as communicating his will to them, and long speeches 
are ascribed to him. * Thus, the writers of the Apo- 
crypha come as the bearers of messages from God, and 
as such they deliver them to mankind. They profess 
to communicate a portion of spiritual light, not bor- 

* The unintelligible speeches, replete with absurdities, ascribed 
to God in different places, prove the Apocrypha to be not only a 
human but a most impious composition. 


rowed from the Holy Scriptures, but immediately de- 
rived from the source of light. In every sense of the 
word, these books present themselves as a part of Di- 
vine Revelation, and if they were what they pretend 
to be, would be entitled to equal attention and reverence 
with the Holy Scriptures. Here, then, there is no 
medium, and the conclusion is inevitable : — The Apo- 
cri/pha is either' an addition made to the Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures hy God himself, or it is the icork 
of lying prophets. This important question ought, 
therefore, to be considered by every Christian, and hap- 
pily its solution is attended with no difficulty. 

The Hebrew Scriptures come to us, as we have seen, 
with the fullest and most unequivocal attestations, that 
they are the oracles of God. On the other hand, if we 
examine the claim of the Apocryphal books, what do 
we observe ? External evidence of their constituting 
a portion of Divine Revelation they have none. The 
question, then, is, on this ground alone, even were there 
no other to which we could appeal, for ever decided 
against them. But in order to produce the fullest con- 
viction in the minds of all who know the truth as it is 
in Jesus, and to exclude every doubt, let us call another 
witness. We shall appeal, then, to the internal evidence 
of these writings. They contain within themselves 
their own condemnation. They are inconsistent, ab- 
surd, and contrary to the Word of God. 

Viewing the Apocryphal writings as standing by the 
side of the Holy Scriptures, what character do they 
present? Do they oifer any thing new, any thing that 
it might be of importance to know beyond what is 
contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testa- 
ment? Do they teach us the way of God more per- 


fectly ? This will not be pretended by any one. Do 
their histories, which they present to us as true, com- 
port with the dignity of Holy Writ ? Do they possess 
internal marks of being authentic ? Do they bear the 
character of a revelation from God, given for our in- 
struction ? So far is this from being the case, that 
many of their narrations are incredible and self-con- 
tradictory, and others irreconcilably at variance with 
the canonical Scriptures. They are defiled with a 
variety of errors, vanities, low conceits, and other 
faults incident to human nature and human infirmity. 
While their style, far different from the grave and 
chaste simplicity, or the divine and spiritual majesty, 
of the pure genuine Word of God, is deformed with 
levity, and affectation of worldly wisdom and eloquence. 
The Apocryphal books are not only replete with 
absurdities, superstitions, and falsehoods, in their nar- 
rations, but also with false doctrines, directly opposed 
to the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures, such as those of 
purgatory and prayers for the dead. But waving for 
the present every other charge against them on this 
head, let us turn our attention to a single point of the 
last importance, which involves an answer to that most 
momentous of all questions. How shall man he just he- 
fore God ? The Scriptures assure us, that if any man 
denies the doctrine of justification by faith without 
works, he becomes a debtor to do the whole law. What 
judgment then are we bound to form of a book which, 
openly contradicting this fundamental doctrine, and 
exhibiting another way of acceptance with God, makes 
void the whole plan of redemption ? On this one point, 
then, of the explicit contravention by the Apocryphal 
books of the grand Scripture doctrine of justification, 


let them be tried ; — that doctrine which is peculiar to 
the Christian religion, and unknown to every false one, 
which so remarkably illustrates and honours the finish- 
ed work of the Redeemer — that doctrine of which God 
in his word has affirmed, that the man who perverts it, 
Christ shall profit him nothing. 

It is written in the Apocrypha, " Whoso honoureth 
his father maketh an atonetnent for his sins;" and 
again, " Water will quench a faming fire ^ and alms 
maketh an atonement for sins.'* Eccl. iii. 3-30. 
Sentiments more directly opposed to the doctrine of 
the Holy Scriptures, more dishonourable to God, more 
contrary to his holiness, more derogatory to his justice, 
or more fraught with mortal poison, and more destruc- 
tive to the souls of men, cannot be imagined. 

The apostle Paul solemnly declared to the churches 
of Galatia, that if an angel from heaven should preach 
any other gospel than that which he had preached unto 
them, he should be accursed. That very occurrence 
which the apostle here supposes, has, according to the 
Apocrypha, been realized. An angel from heaven, it 
affirms, has descended and declared that he came from 
God. " / am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, 
which present the prayers of the saints, and which 
go in and out before the glory of the Holy One ; not 
of any favour of mine, hut hy the uill of our God I 
came.'^ Tobit, xii. 15, 18. And that very doctrine 
does this angel explicitly contradict which the apostle 
so earnestly inculcated, accompanied with the solemn 
asseveration, that the curse of God should rest on any 
creature who dared to pervert it. " It is better," says 
this angel, " to give alms than to lay up gold : for 
alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge aicay 


all sin." Tolnt, xii. S, 9. It" the man or angel who 
shall preach another irospel than that which the Bible 
contains, is pronounced hy the Holy Ghost to be 
accursed, then must this awful denunciation apply to 
a book which, pretending- to recoril the message of an 
angel from heaven, teaches another gospel. On the 
Apocrypha, therefore, does this anathema rest. 

The writers, then, of the Apocryphal books, " who 
tread down the pastures, and foul the residue of the 
waters with their feet," Ezek. xxiv. IS, are, by con- 
fronting their doctrine with that of the holy Apostles, 
proved to be false prophets, against whom the wrath of 
God and many woes are denounced in Scripture. In 
opposition to their follv and wickedness, the Lord 
says, " The J) raphe f that hath a di-eam, let him tell- 
a dream ; and he that hath mi/ word, let him speak 
mi/ icordthithfidli/. IJliat is the chajfto the wheat ? 
saith the Lord. Is not my word like as a Jire ? 
saith the Lord ; and like a ham me)' that breaketk 
the rock in pieces ?" Jer. xxii. 28. — *• The prophety 
which shall presume to speak a word in mif name, 
which I hare not commanded him to speak, or that 
shall speak in the name of other gods, even that 
prophet shall die.'' Deut. xviii. 20. These, and 
raauv other passages, are pointedly applicable to the 
Apocrypha. The writers of it may be justly termed 
prophets of deceit, and of their own heart, that pro- 
phesy lies in the name of the Lord, •• sayings I have 
dreamed, I have dreamed."^ Jer. xxiii. 25. They 
have indeed imitated the style of the Scriptures, like 
the impostors concerning whom it is written, •• There- 
fore, behold, J am against the prophets, saith the 
Lord, that steal iny ivords every one from his neigh- 


hour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the 
Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. 
Behold, I am against them that prophesy' false 
dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause 
my pjeoptle to err by their lies and hy their lightness ; 
yet I sent them not, nor commanded them : there- 
fore they shall not profit this pjeojjle at all, saith the 
Lord.'' J^r. xxiii. 30. " Thus saith the Lord God; 
Woe unto the foolish jjrojihets, that follow their oven 
sjtirit, and have seen nothing ! — Have ye not seen 
a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divi- 
nation, v:hereas ye say. The Lord saith it ; albeit L 
have not sptoken ? Therefore, thus saith the Lord 
God ; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, 
therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord 
God. And mine hand shall be upon the ptropjhets 
that see vanity, and that divine liesV Ezek. xiii. 
3, 7, 9. The Bible, then, and the Apocrypha, stand in 
direct opposition in their doctrine, and the latter is de- 
nounced bv the former, and lies under its heaviest 
anathemas. The Apocryphal books, when delivered 
to the people as part of the divine oracles, are calcu- 
lated by their absurdities to make men Deists or Athe- 
ists rather than Christians, and by their false doctrines 
to cause their readers to wrest the Scriptures to their 
own destruction. As their introduction into the sacred 
canon has been the grand and crowning device of 
Satan for deceiving and corrupting Christians, and 
supporting the claims of the mother of harlots and 
abominations of the earth, it will be proper to trace it 
from its origin. 

Although all the Apocryphal books had been called, 
by the first Christian writers, spurious and supposi- 


titious, as not being- inspired, but, on the contrary, 
containing- doctrines which subvert the very foun- 
dations of the Gospel, and of a sinner's acceptance 
before God ; yet some of them were at length selected 
as being- supposed to be purer than the rest, and better 
entitled to be used in public readings and services, and 
on this account they received the name of Ecclesiasti- 
cal or Church books. Of these there was even formed 
a register or inferior canon, to exclude such as were 
reckoned more erroneous or faulty ; and this, in process 
of time, occasioned the name of canonical to be given 
in common to the writings which were truly Divine, 
and to those which were reckoned the best of the 
Apocryphal books. The books of the first canon were 
esteemed to be divinely inspired, and to be the certain 
rule of faith. The Apocryphal books were reckoned 
to be instructive and useful, but were excluded from all 
authority in matters of faith, and in determination 
of controversies ; and when they came to be permitted 
to be read in the churches, the reader stood up in an 
inferior place.* It happened, however, in the course 
of years, that all these Canonical and Apocryphal books 
were conjoined and bound up together in one volume, 
for the greater facility of ecclesiastical use ; and for the 
purpose of uniting the historical parts with the his- 
torical, the proverbial with the proverbial, the doctrinal 

♦Augustine, who lived in the fifth century, relates, that when 
the Book of Wisdom, and other writings of the same class, were 
publicly read in the church, they Avere given to the readers or 
inferior ecclesiastical officers, who read them in a place lower 
than that in which those universally acknowledged to be the 
canonical, were read by the bishops and presbyters in a more 
eminent and conspicuous manner. 


with the doctrinal, they were intermingled with one 
another, as at present in the Roman Catholic Bibles. 
But this practice obtained no sanction from the pri- 
mitive churches, or the best and earliest of the Chris- 
tian fathers, who, on the contrary, strongly objected 
against it ; and denied that these books were possessed 
of any authority. At the beginning they were not ac- 
knowledged at all, nor admitted into any of the earlier 
catalogues of the Scriptures, and their introduction to 
that place which they afterwards unlawfully usurped, 
was slow and partial. 

Justin, who suflfered martyrdom for the Christian 
faith, in the year 163, never, iu any of his writings, 
cites a single passage of the Apocryphal books, nor 
makes the least mention of them in his conference with 
Trypho : while he speaks of it as a special work of Di- 
vine Providence, that the Jews had been faithful pre- 
servers of the Scriptures. None of these books appear 
in the catalogue of the Old Testament Scriptures of 
Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in the second century ; nor 
in that of Origen, in the third century. 

In the fourth century, Eusebius, who was Bishop of 
Caesarea in the year 320, affirms, that from the time of 
Jesus Christ, there were no sacred books of Holy Scrip- 
ture, besides those which had been received into the 
canon of the Jewish and Christian churches. He had 
read the Apocryphal books, and makes frequent quota- 
tions from them as the writings of particular authors, 
but never acknowledges any of them as a part of the 
canonical Scriptures. He declares that the authors of 
those books which bear the names of the Wisdom of 
Solomon, and the Wisdom of the Son of Sirach, are wri- 


ters contradicted, or not allowed, in the canon. When 
Porphyry adduced some objections against him from the 
new pieces annexed to the book of Daniel, he said that 
he was not bound to defend them, because they had no 
authority of Holy Scripture. 

In the year 325, the first general council was held 
at Nice, at which were present 318 bishops, besides 
multitudes of other Christians, from all the provinces 
and churches of the Roman Empire. That in the 
Scriptures they made use of, " there were none of the 
controverted books, appears," says Bishop Cosin, p. 42, 
" by the evidence and attestation which both the Em- 
peror Eusebius and Athanasius (the chiefest actors in 
this council), have hereunto given us." 

Athanasius, who flourished in the year 340, enume- 
rates the books of the Old and New Testament precisely 
as we now have them, and asserts that these alone are 
to be accounted the canonical and authentic sacred 
writing-s admitted by the Lord and his Apostles, and 
recognised by all the fathers and teachers of the church 
since the Apostolic age. At the same time he reproves 
those who had intermixed a number of the Apocrvphal 
books with the catalogue of the acknowledged books of 
the Old Testament. 

" These things," says Cyril, who was Bishop of Je- 
rusalem in the year 350, " we were taught by the divine- 
ly-inspired Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. 
For there is one God of both Testaments, who in the 
Old Testament foretold the Christ, who was manifested 
in the New. — Read the Divine Scriptures, the two-and- 
twenty books of the Old Testament, which were trans- 
lated by the seventy-two interpreters — Read these 


two-and-twenty books, and have nothing to do with 
Apocrvphal writings. These, and these only, do you 
carefully meditate upon which we securely or openly 
read in the church. The apostles and ancient bishops, 
governors of the church, who have delivered them to 
us, were wiser and holier men than thou. As a son of 
the church, therefore, transgress not these bounds; 
meditate upon the books of the Old Testament, which, 
as has been already said, are two-and-twenty ; and if 
you are desirous to learn, fix them in your naemory, as 
I enumerate them, one by one." The list of these 
books Cyril subjoins ; it is precisely the same as the 
Jewish canon which we receive.* 

The council of Laodicea, which met in the year 363, 
prohibited the public reading of any books as sacred or 
inspired except the canonical. In their 59th canon, it 
is declared, " that private psalms ought not to be read 
(or said) in the church, nor any books not canonical, 
but onlv the canonical books of the Old and New 

"The Hebrews," says Jerom, who was ordained 

• " — although both he (Cyril) at Jerusalem, and Athanasius 
at Alexandria, together with other Churches, had not the use of 
the Hebrew Bible among them, but kept themselves only to the 
Greek translation of the LXX., whereunto were afterwards com- 
monly added those ecclesiastical books which the Hellenist Jews 
first introduced and received into their churches, that so all the 
most eminent books of religion written in the Greek tongue 
before Christ's time might be put together and contained in one 
volume; yet nevertheless they were always careful to preserve 
the honour of the Hebrew canon, which consisted of XXII. books 
only, divinely inspired ; and accurately to distinguish them from 
the rest, which had hut ecclesiastical authority/." — CosiN, p. 54. 


presbyter of Antioch about the year 378, " have two- 
and-twenty letters, and they have as many books of 
divine doctrine for the instruction of mankind." He 
next gives a list of these books, and then adds, " This 
prologue I write as a preface to all the books to be 
translated by me from the Hebrew into Latin, that we 
may know that all the books that are not of this num- 
ber, are to be reckoned Apocryphal. Therefore Wisdom, 
which is commonly called Solomon's, and the book of 
Jesus the son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobit, and the 
Shepherd are not in the canon." In his Latin trans- 
lation, called the Vulgate, Jerom intermingled the 
Apocryphal and inspired writings ; but to prevent mis- 
take, he prefixed to each book a short notice, in which 
the reader was distinctly informed of its character, and 
apprised that the Apocryphal writings were not in the 
canon of Scripture. He says that to meet the prejudices 
of the ignorant he retained these " fables," which, 
though not in the Hebrew, were widely dispersed ; but 
he adds, that according to his custom, he had marked 
these Apocryphal intruders with a spit or dagger, placed 
horizontally for the purpose of stabbing them.* In his 
letter to Lseta, written about the year 398, giving her 
instructions concerning her daughter Paula, he advises 

* After the third verse of the tenth chapter of Esther, where 
the Apocryphal addition to that book commences, Jerom has 
inserted the following notice ; it is the ancient Vulgate to which 
he refers, which was the most common version of his time :— 
" Quse habentur in Hebreeo, plena fide expressi. Haec autem, 
quze sequuntur, scripta reperi in editione vulgata, quae Graecorum 
lingua et Uteris continentur : et interim post finem libri hoc 
capitulum ferebatur : quod juxta consuetudinera nostram obelo, 
id est vera, praenotavimus." 


that she should read the Scriptures, and in this order : 
first the Psalms, next the Proverbs, the Acts, and the 
Epistles of the Apostles. Afterwards she may read the 
Prophets, the Pentateuch, the Kings and Chronicles, 
but no Apocryphal books ; or, if she does, she should 
first, by way of caution, be informed of their true cha- 
racter. Jerom speaks of the fables of Bel and the 
Dragon, and says that the Apocryphal books do not be- 
long to those whose names they bear, and that they 
contain several forgeries. In all his works, he ex- 
plicitly maintains the distinction between canonical and 
Apocryphal books. Of the latter he says that the 
church does not receive them among canonical Scrip- 
tures ; and that they are not to be esteemed of authority 
for proving any doctrine of religion. His canon of the 
Old Testament was precisely that of the Jews ; and 
though he and other ancient Christian writers sometimes 
quote the Apocryphal books, by way of illustration, as 
they also do Heathen writings, yet they had a supreme 
regard for the Jewish canon, consisting of those books 
which were received by the Jewish people as sacred 
and divine. 

Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, in the island of 
Cyprus, who wrote in the year 392, has thrice enume- 
rated the books of the Old Testament as held by the 
Jews. Of the Apocryphal books he makes no mention, 
except of the Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of 
Jesus the Son of Sirach, of which, after referring to the 
canonical books, he says, that they are not brought into 
the same number with the foregoing, and, therefore, 
are not placed in the ark of the covenant. 

Rufinus, presbyter of Aquileia, who wrote about the 
year 397, after giving distinct catalogues of the sacred 


Scriptures, both of the Old Testament and the New, 
adds as follows : " However, it ought to be observed, 
that there are also other books that are not canonical, 
but have l)een called by our forefathers ecclesiastical, 
as the Wisdom of Solomon, and another which is called 
the Wisdom of the Son of Sirach ; and among- the 
Latins, is called by the general name of Ecclesiasticus ; 
by which title is denoted, not the author of the books, 
but the quality of the writing. In the same rank is the 
book of Tobit, and Judith, and the books of the Mac- 
cabees. In the New Testament is the book of the 
Shepherd, or of Hermas, which is called the Two Ways, 
or the Judgment of Peter. All which they would have 
to be read in the churches, but not to be alleged by way 
of authority for proving articles of faith. Other Scrip- 
tures they called Apocryphal, which they would not 
have to be read in the churches." Thus, it appears, 
that all the early Christian writers, while they were 
unanimous in acknowledging the Jewish Scriptures, 
rejected, with one accord, the Apocryphal books, as 
uncanonical, or destitute of all claim to inspiration. 

The first catalogue of the books of the Old Testa- 
ment, in which Apocryphal books were added to the 
Jewish canon, although some refer it to a later date, 
is that of the third, sometimes called the sixth council 
of Carthage, which assembled in the year 397, when 
the books of the Maccabees were reckoned in the num- 
ber of canonical books. But the word canonical appears 
to have been used by them loosely, as comprehending 
not only the Jewish Scriptures, which were admitted 
as the rule of faith, but those Apocryphal books also, 
which they esteemed to be useful. It is said, too, that 
Innocent, Bishop of Rome, in the year 402, confirmed 



this catalogue ; but this is doubtful. Other fathers and 
councils, in the succeeding- centuries, speak occasionally 
of these books as canonical, meaning, however, as 
appears, in the secondary sense, and generally with 
express declarations of their inferiority to the Jewish 
canon, when that question was agitated. But at length 
the Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, in order 
to check the progress of the Reformation, pronounced 
the Apocryphal books (except the prayer of Manasseh, 
and the third and fourth books of Esdras) to be strictly 
canonical. From that period they have usurped the 
name of inspired Scriptures, and have been intermingled 
with the canonical books in the Bibles of Roman Ca- 
tholics. Thus, in direct opposition to the command ot 
God, an addition was made to the sacred canon, in 
the very worst form, of many entire books, and these 
not corresponding with the inspired writings, but in nu- 
merous instances, and most important particulars, 
directly contradicting them.* 

* The following list of books, which is annexed to the decree 
of the Council of Trent, will show how completely the Apocryphal 
books, here in Italics, are intermingled in Roman Catholic Bibles. 
The books of the New Testament are the same as in the Protes- 
tant canon. 

5 of Moses, i.e. Chronicles, 2 






Joshua ,. 



Kings, 4 

Ezra, 1 and 2 

Rest of Esther 

David's Psalms, 150 


Song of Songs 








Song of Three Children 


We have thus observed the manner in which the 
Apocryphal books came to be connected with the cano- 
nical Scriptures. They were not admitted into the canon 
without much opposition. The most distinguished 
Christian writers often protested against them, and al- 
though those who patronised them maintained that they 
never meant to dignify these writings with any autho- 
rity as rules of faith, yet a presentiment, or foresight, 
of the abuse that might be made of them, induced 
many in the churches, and even whole churches, to re- 
sist their introduction. The Christian assemblies of the 
East were their principal opponents, and more strictly 
observed the directions of the Apostle John, who had 
passed a great part of his life among them. This ap- 
pears evidently from the conduct and decisions of the 
Council of Laodicea above quoted, which was held in 
the fourth century, and which prohibited the reading 
of any but the canonical books in the churches. 

The introduction of the Apocryphal books probably 
originated in their being written, as is supposed, by 
Jews, who constantly refer to the authenticated history 
of their nation, and to the law delivered to their fathers. 
Although totally devoid of both external and internal 
evidence of their being from God, yet they came, as we 
have seen, to be considered as related to the Scriptures, 

Susannah Amos Zephaniah 

Sel and the Dragon Obadiah Haggai 

1 2 Prophets, the less, Jonah Zechariah 

Le. Micah Malachi 

Hosea Nahum Maccabees, 2, 1. 8f II. 
Joel Habakkuk 

Four books are incorporated in tli; body of the inspired ttxts 
of Esther and Daniel. 


not, indeed, as possessing- divine authority, but as pro- 
fitable for instruction ; and in this light they continued 
to be viewed till the Reformation, which was produced 
by an open appeal to the Word of God. In vain did 
the Man of Sin, at that era, protest against tampering^ 
with the long-established authority of the church — in 
vain did he endeavour to prevent the translation and 
circulation of the Scriptures : the palpable abuses in 
the Popish system convinced multitudes that it could 
not be of God, and the desire of examining- the Scrip- 
tures became irresistible. Amidst all this enquiry, how- 
ever, the ignorance of Europe was so great, that the 
Council of Trent, above referred to, ventured to decree 
that the Apocryphal books were equal in point of au- 
thority, and were henceforth to be viewed as an inte- 
gral part of the Word of God, and to pronounce its 
anathema on all who should reject them. 

It was then that the design of Satan, in bringing 
about the unhallowed connexion between the Holy 
Scriptures and the Apocryphal writings, was brought 
to light. He had patiently waited his opportunity, and, 
satisfied with having the books of lying prophets placed 
in juxtaposition with the Word of God, had not prose- 
■ cuted the advantage which he had obtained ; but he 
well knew, that, in the course of events, this undefined 
association of truth and error — of sacred and profane — 
would increase to more ungodliness ; and when the 
throne of Antichrist seemed tottering to its foundation, 
he successfully propped it up by the adulteration of the 
Word of God, for which the unfaithfulness of Chris- 
tians for a thousand years had paved the way. While 
the reformers strenuously denied the authority of the 

VOL. I. L 



Apocrypha, and loudly protested against the blasphe- 
mous decree by which it was sanctioned as divine, they 
yielded to the suggestions of a sinful expediency, 
and allowed it to retain that affinity to the Scrip- 
tures which it had long possessed, by being translated, 
bound up, and circulated along with them. And who 
can tell how far this has tended to produce that denial 
of the full inspiration of the Scriptures, which is so la- 
mentably common among Protestants ? Be this as it 
may, to the present hour the book of God is very gen- 
erally profaned by this unhallowed connexion, more or 
less defined or acknowledged. But God now appears 
to have arisen to plead the cause of his own Word. 
The question in regard to the Apocrypha has, in the 
course of his adorable providence, begun to be agitated, 
and it will issue in the purification of the fountain from 
which those waters flow, that are destined to diffuse 
life and felicity over the world. Ezek. xlvii. 8, 9. 
The means by which the attention of Christians has 
been directed to this all-important subject are very 
remarkable, and we are forcibly reminded, that, in 
the good providence of God, the most important 
effects frequently proceed from causes which at first 
appear to have a directly opposite tendency, and that 
the friends of truth have often reason to rejoice in 
the issue of events which at first occasioned the great- 
est alarm. We are thus taught to adore him who 
makes the wrath of man to praise him, and causes 
human folly and wickedness to redound to the praise 
of his own glory. 

That the usurpation of the place which the Apo- 
cryphal writings have long occupied should be traced 
to its origin, and their presumptuous claims to inspi- 


ration, or to any authority, exploded, was the more 
necessary, as many are but little acquainted with 
the manner in which these forgeries have obtained 
the situation they hold in the Bibles of Roman 
Catholics, and even of Protestants, or with the im- 
piety of their contents. The Apocrypha, instead of 
being- a part of God's word, and a book of useful though 
uninspired instruction, is a book of imposture and de- 
structive error. 

On the subject of adding the Apocryphal writings 
to the Holy Scriptures, Bishop Hall expresses himself 
in the following terms : — " The Scripture complains 
justly of three main wrongs offered to it. The first, 
of addition to the canon. Who can endure a piece of 
new cloth to be patched unto an old garment ? or, 
what can follow hence, but that the rent should be 
worse ? Who can abide, that, against the faithful in- 
formation of the Hebrews ; against the clear testi- 
monies of Melito, Cyril, Athanasius, Origen, Hilary, 
Jerom, Rufinus, Nazianzen ; against their own doctors, 
both of the middle and latest age ; six whole books 
should, by their fatherhoods of Trent, be, under pain 
of a curse, imperiously obtruded upon God and his 
church ? Whereof, yet, some purpose to their readers 
no better than magical jugglings ; others, bloody self- 
murders ; others, lying fables ; and others. Heathenish 
rites ; not without a public applause in the relation 
.... We know full well how great impiety it is, to 
fasten upon the God of Heaven the weak conceptions 
of a human wit : neither can we be any whit moved 
with the idle crack of the Tridentine curse, while we 
hear God thundering in our ears, ' If any man add unto 
these words, God shall add unto him the plagues writ- 


ten in this book ;' (Apocal. xxii. 18.) Neither know 
I, whether it be more wickedly audacious to fasten on 
God those things which he never wrote ; or to weaken 
the authority, and deny the sufficiency, of what he hath 

While there are those who have dared to add cer- 
tain Apocryphal books to the Jewish canon, which 
form no part of it, but are the production of lying 
prophets, and therefore under the curse pronounced 
upon such by God, there are others who have con- 
tended that certain books included in that canon do 
not constitute a part of Divine revelation. This has 
been particularly the case respecting the book of Esther 
and the Song of Solomon, which, it has been alleged, 
are not quoted in the New Testament. But though 
this may be true as to particular passages, yet the books 
themselves are quoted each time that either the Lord 
Jesus Christ or his Apostles refer to what is "written," 
or to " the Scriptures," of which they form a part. 
Exceptions have been made to these books from their 
contents, and on this ground their claim to be canoni- 
cal has been doubted. Such a sentiment is the effect 
of inconsiderate rashness and presumption. The arro- 
gant wisdom of man may now pretend to quarrel with 
the Book of Esther for not containing the name of 
God, and to lind impurity in the Song of Solomon, or 
imperfection in other books of Holy Writ. But the 
authority of Jesus Christ has given a sanction to every 
book in the Jewish canon, and blasphemy is written 
on the forehead of that theory which alleges imperfec- 
tion, error, or sin, in any book in that sacred collec- 
tion. It is not necessary to urge, that the genuine- 
ness and authenticity of the two books referred to were 


not only not doubted, but that they were received by 
the Jews with pecuhar veneration, which is a well- 
known fact. The irrefragable proof respecting- their 
authenticity and inspiration is, that they form a part 
of those Scriptures ivhich were committed to the Jew- 
ish Church, and were sanctioned hy the Lord and his 
Apostles. On these incontrovertible grounds, all the 
books of the Old Testament Scriptures are most surely 
believed by the great body of Christians to be the oracles 
of God ; and could it be shown that any one of them 
is not worthy of being received as a part of the sacred 
canon, this would invalidate the claim of all the rest. 
That man, therefore, who rejects a single one of these 
books as not being canonical, in other words, equally 
the dictates of inspiration as the rest, proves that he 
does not rely on the true and secure foundation 
which God has laid for entire confidence in that por- 
tion of the faithful record of his Word. He does it in 
defiance of all the foregoing evidence ; and to deny 
the whole volume of inspiration would not require 
the adoption of any other principle than that on which 
he is proceeding. 


From the time when the Old Testament was com- 
pleted by Malachi, the last of the prophets, till the 
publication of the New Testament, about 460 years 
elapsed. During the life of Jesus Christ, and for some 
time after his ascension, nothing on the subject of his 
mission was committed to writing. The period of his 
remaining upon earth, may be regarded as an interme- 


diate state between the Old and New Dispensations. 
His personal ministry was confined to the land of 
Judea ; and, by means of his miracles and discourses, 
together with those of his disciples, the attention of 
men, in that country, was sufficiently directed to his 
doctrine. They were also in possession of the Old 
Testament Scriptures, which, at that season, it was of 
the greatest importance they should consult, in order 
to compare the ancient predictions with what was then 
taking place. Immediately after the resurrection of 
.Tesus Christ, bis disciples, in the most public manner, 
and in the place where he had been crucified, pro- 
claimed that event, and the whole of the doctrine 
which he had commanded them to preach. In this 
service they continued personally to labour for a con- 
siderable time, first among their countrymen the Jews, 
and then among the other nations. During the period 
between the resurrection and the publication of the 
New Testament, the churches possessed miraculous 
gifts, and the prophets were enabled to explain the 
predictions of the Old Testament, and to show their 

After their doctrine had everywhere attracted atten- 
tion, and, in spite of the most violent opposition, had 
forced its way through the civihzed world ; and when 
churches, or societies of Christians were collected, not 
only in Judea, but in the most celebrated cities of Italy, 
Greece, and Asia Minor, the Scriptures of the New 
Testament were written by the Apostles and other 
inspired men, and intrusted to the keeping of these 

The whole of the New Testament was not written 
at once, but in different parts, and on various occasions. 


Six of the Apostles, and two inspired disciples who 
accompanied them in their journeys, were employed 
in this work. The histories which it contains of 
the life of Christ, known by the name of the Gospels, 
were composed by four of his contemporaries, two 
of whom had been constant attendants on his public 
ministry. The tirst of these was published within a 
few years* after his death, in that very country where 
he had lived, and among- the people who had seen him 
and observed his conduct. The history called the 
" Acts of the Apostles," which contains an account of 
their proceedings, and of the progress of the gospel, 
from Jerusalem, among the Gentile nations, was pub- 
lished about the year 64, being 30 years after our 
Lord's crucifixion, by one who, although not an 
Apostle, declares that he had '^ perfect understanding 
of all things from the very first," and who had writ- 
ten one of the Gospels. This book, commencing 
with a detail of proceedings, from the resurrection 
of Jesus Christ, carries down the evangelical history 
till the arrival of Paul as a prisoner at Rome. The 
Epistles, addressed to churches in particular places, to 
believers scattered up and down in different countries, 
or to individuals, in all twenty-one in number, were 
separately written by five of the Apostles, from seven- 
teen to twenty, thirty, and thirty-five years after the 
death of Christ. Four of these writers had accompanied 
the Lord Jesus during his life, and had been " eye-wit- 
nesses of his majesty." The fifth was the Apostle Paul, 

* " Some have thought that it was written no more than eight 
years after our Lord's ascension ; others have reckoned it no 
fewer than fifteea." — Campbell's Preface to Matthew's Gospel. 


who, as he expresses it, was " one born out of due 
time," but who had likewise seen Jesus Christ, and 
had been empowered by him to work miracles, which 
were " the signs of an apostle." One of the five 
also wrote the book of Revelation, about the year 96, 
addressed to seven churches in Asia, containing epistles 
to these churches from the Lord himself, with various 
instructions for the immediate use of all Christians, 
together with a prophetical view of the kingdom of 
God till the end of time. These several pieces, which 
compose the Scriptures of the New Testament, were 
received by the churches with the highest venera- 
tion; and, as the instructions they contain, though 
partially addressed, were equally intended for all, they 
were immediately copied, and handed about from one 
church to another, till each was in possession of the 
whole. The volume of the New Testament was thus 
completed before the death of the last of the Apostles, 
most of whom had sealed their testimony with their 

From the manner in which these Scriptures were at 
first circulated, some of their parts were necessarily 
longer of reaching certain places than others. These, 
of course, could not be so soon received into the canon 
as the rest. Owing to this circumstance, and to that 
of a few of the books being addressed to individual be- 
lievers, or to their not having the name of their writers 
affixed, or the designation of Apostle added, a doubt 
for a time existed among some respecting the genuine- 
ness of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of 
James, the 2d Epistle of Peter, the 2d and 3d Epistles 
of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Book of Revela- 
tion. These, however, though not universally, were 


generally acknowledged ; while all the other books of 
the New Testament were without dispute received 
from the beginning. This discrimination proves the 
scrupulous care of the first churches on this highly 
important subject. 

At length these books, which had not at first been 
admitted, were, like the rest, universally received, not 
by the votes of a council, as is sometimes asserted, but 
after deliberate and free enquiry by many separate 
churches, under the superintending providence of God, 
in different parts of the world. It is at the same time 
a certain fact, that no other books besides those which 
at present compose the volume of the New Testament, 
were admitted by the churches. Several Apocryphal 
writings were published under the name of Jesus Christ 
and his Apostles, which are mentioned by the writers 
of the first four centuries, most of which have perished, 
though some are still extant. Few or none of them 
were composed before the second century, and several 
of them were forged so late as the third century. But 
they were not acknowledged as authentic by the first 
Christians, and were rejected, by those who have 
noticed them, as spurious and heretical.* Histories, 

* " These forged writings," says Lardner, " do not oppose, 
but confirm, the account given us in the canonical Scriptures. 
They all take for granted the dignity of our Lord's person, and 
his power of working miracles ; they acknowledge the certainty 
of there having been such persons as Matthew and the other 
evangelists, and Peter and the other Apostles. They authenti- 
cate the general and leading facts contained in the New Testa- 
ment. They presuppose that the Apostles received from Christ 
a commission to propagate his religion, and a supernatural power 
to enforce its authority. And thus they indirectly establish the 
truth and divine original of the Gospel." 


too, as might have been expected, were written of the 
life of Christ, and one forgery was attempted, of a 
letter said to be written by Jesus Christ himself to 
Abgarus, king of Edessa ; but of the first, none were 
received as of any authority, and the last was universally 
rejected. " Besides our Gospels, and the Acts of the 
Apostles," says Paley, " no Christian history, claiming 
to be written by an apostle, or apostolical man, is quoted 
within 300 years after the birth of Christ, by any writer 
now extant or known ; or, if quoted, is quoted with 
marks of censure and rejection." 

This agreement of Christians respecting the Scrip- 
tures, when we consider their many differences in other 
respects, is the more remarkable, since it took place 
without any public authority being interposed. " We 
have no knowledge," says the above author, " of any 
interference of authority in the question before the 
council of Laodicea, in the year 363. Probably the 
decree of this council rather declared than regulated 
the public judgment, or, more properly speaking, the 
judgment of some neighbouring churches — the council 
itself consisting of no more than thirty or forty bishops 
of Lydia and the adjoining countries. Nor does its 
authority seem to have extended farther." But the 
fact, that no public authority was interposed, does not 
require to be supported by the above reasoning. The 
churches at the beginning, being widely separated from 
each other, necessarily judged for themselves in this 
matter, and the decree of the council was founded on 
the coincidence of their judgment. 

In delivering this part of his written revelation, God 
proceeded as he had done in the publication of the Old 
Testament Scriptures. For a considerable time, his 


will was declared to mankind through the medium of 
oral tradition. At length he saw meet, in his wisdom, 
to give it a more permanent form. But this did not 
take place, till a nation, separated from all others, was 
provided for its reception. In the same manner, when 
Jesus Christ set up his kingdom in the world, of which 
the nation of Israel was a type, he first made known 
his will by means of verbal communication, through 
his servants whom he commissioned and sent out for 
that purpose ; and when, through their means, he had 
prepared his subjects and collected them into churches, 
to be the depositaries of his Word, he caused it to be 
delivered to them in writing. His kingdom was not 
to consist of any particular nation, like that of Israel, 
but of all those individuals, in every part of the world, 
who should believe in his name. It was to be ruled, 
not by means of human authority, or compulsion of 
any kind, but solely by his authority. These sacred 
writings were thus intrusted to a people prepared for 
their reception — a nation among the nations, but sin- 
gularly distinct from all the rest, who guarded and 
preserved them with the same inviolable attachment 
as the Old Testament Scriptures had experienced from 
the Jews. 

Respecting the lateness of the time when the Scrip- 
tures of the New Testament were written, no objection 
can be offered, since they were published before that 
generation passed which had witnessed the transactions 
they record. The dates of these writings fall within 
the period of the lives of many, who were in full man- 
hood when the Lord Jesus Christ was upon earth ; 
and the facts detailed in the histories, and referred to 
in the Epistles, being of the most public nature, were 


still open to full investigation. It must also be recol- 
lected, that the Apostles and disciples, during the 
whole intermediate period, were publicly proclaiming 
to the world the same things which were afterwards 
recorded in their writings. 

Had these Scriptures been published before associa- 
tions of Christians were in existence, to whose care could 
they have been intrusted ? What security would there 
have been for their preservation, or that they would 
not have been corrupted ? In the way which was 
adopted, they were committed to faithful men, who, 
viewing them as the charter of their own salvation, and 
the doctrine which they contained as the appointed 
means of rescuing their fellow creatures from misery 
and guilt, watched over their preservation with the 
most zealous and assiduous care. 

But, unless the whole manner of communicating the 
revelation of God, in these Scriptures, had been altered, 
it is not possible, that, excepting the accounts of the life 
of Jesus Christ, they could have been earlier commit- 
ted to writing. The history of the Acts of the Apostles, 
being carried down to about the year 63 of the Chris- 
tian era, could not, it is evident, have been published 
sooner. The Epistles are not addressed to men of the 
world, or to the whole inhabitants of particular coun- 
tries, but exclusively to believers. The truth conveyed 
in them is not delivered in an abstract form, but in the 
way of immediate application to existing cases and 
circumstances. This practical method of communica- 
ting the doctrine, and of recording the laws of the 
kingdom of Christ, which commends itself to every 
reflecting mind, could not, it is manifest, have been 
adopted till societies of Christians were in existence^ 


and till they had existed for some considerable time. 
In this way, too, we have an undeniable proof of the 
success of the Apostles in the rapid progress of the 
Gospel. We are acquainted, as we could not other- 
wise have been, with their zeal, resolution, self-denial, 
disinterestedness, patience, and meekness ; and have 
the most convincing- evidence of the extraordinary gifts 
they possessed. We are also furnished with indubitable 
evidence of the miraculous powers of the first Chris- 
tians, as well as of their sincerity, courage, and pa- 

Thus were the Scriptures, as we now possess them, 
delivered to the first churches. By the concurrent 
testimony of all antiquity, uniting friends and foes, 
they were received by Christians of different sects, and 
were constantly appealed to on all hands, in their 
controversies. Commentaries upon them were written 
at a very early period, and translations made into dif- 
ferent languages. Formal catalogues of them were 
published, and they were attacked by the adversaries of 
Christianity, who not only did not question, but ex- 
pressly admitted, the facts they contained, and that they 
were the genuine productions of the persons whose 
names they bore. 

In this manner the Scriptures were also secured 
from the danger of being in any respect altered or 
vitiated. " The books of Scripture," says Augustine, 
" could not have been corrupted. If such an attempt 
had been made by any one, his design would have been 
prevented and defeated. His alterations would have 
been immediately detected by many and more ancient 
copies. The difficulty of succeeding in such an at- 
tempt is apparent hence, that the Scriptures were early 


translated into divers lang-uages, and copies of them 
were numerous. The alterations which any one at- 
tempted to make would have been soon perceived ; 
just even as now, in fact, lesser faults in some copies 
are amended by comparing- ancient copies or those 
of the original. . . . If any one," continues Aug-ustine, 
" should charg-e you with having- interpolated some 
texts alleged by you as favourable to your cause, what 
would you say ? Would you not immediately answer 
that it is impossible for you to do such a thing in books 
read by all Christians ? And that if any such attempt 
had been made by you, it would have been presently 
discerned and defeated by comparing the ancient co- 
pies ? Well, then, for the same reason that the Scrip- 
tures cannot be corrupted by you, neither could they 
be corrupted by any other people." 

Accordingly, the uniformity of the manuscripts of 
the Holy Scriptures that are extant, which are incom- 
parably more numerous than those of any ancient 
author, and which are dispersed through so many 
countries, and in so great a variety of languages, is 
truly astonishing. It demonstrates both the venera- 
tion in which the Scriptures have always been held, 
and the singular care that has been taken in transcrib- 
ing them. The number of various readings, that by 
the most minute and laborious investigation and colla- 
tions of manuscripts have been discovered in them, said 
to amount to one hundred and fifty thousand, though 
at first sight they may seem calculated to diminish con- 
fidence in the sacred text, yet in no degree whatever do 
they affect its credit and integrity. They consist almost 
wholly in palpable errors in transcription, grammatical 
and verbal differences, such as the insertion or omission 


of a letter or article, the substitution of a word for its 
equivalent, the transposition of a word or two in a sen- 
tence. Taken altogether, they neither change nor 
affect a single doctrine or duty announced or enjoined 
in the Word of God.* When, therefore, we consider 
the great antiquity of the sacred books, the almost in- 
finite number of copies, of versions, of editions, which 
have been made of them in all languages — in languages 
which have not any analogy one with another, among 
nations differing so much in their customs and their 
religious opinions ; — when we consider these things, it 
is truly astonishing, and can only be ascribed to the 
watchful providence of God over his own word, that 
amongst the various readings, nothing essential can 
be discerned, which relates to either precept or doc- 
trine, or which breaks that connexion, that unity which 
subsists in all the various parts of divine revelation, 
and which demonstrates the whole to be the work of 
one and the same Spirit. 

In proof that the Scriptures were published and de- 
livered to the churches in the age to which their dates 
refer, we have the attestation of a connected chain of 
Christian writers, from that period to the present day. 
No fewer than six of these authors, part of whose 
works are still extant, were contemporaries of the 

Barnabas was the companion of the Apostle Paul. 
He is the author of an epistle, which was well known 

* Dr Kennicott examined and collated 600 Hebrew manu- 
scripts, and so trifling were the variations he discovered, that it 
has been objected, though very unjustly, that he had effected 
nothing by all his labours. 


among the early Christians. It is still extant, and 
refers to the Apostolic writings. 

Clement was the third bishop of the church in 
Rome, and is mentioned by Paul in his Epistle to the 
Philippians. He has left a long Epistle, which is 
extant, though not entire, written in name of the 
church at Rome to the church at Corinth, in which 
the latter is admonished to adhere to the commands of 
Christ. Irenseus says that it was written by Clement, 
" who had seen the blessed Apostles, and conversed 
with them ; who had the preaching of the apostles still 
sounding in his ears, and their traditions before his 
eyes. Nor he alone, for there were then still many 
alive, who had been taught by the Apostles. In the 
time, therefore, of this Clement, when there was no 
small dissension among the brethren at Corinth, the 
church at Rome sent a most excellent letter to the 
Corinthians, persuading them to peace among them- 
selves." About 80 or 90 years after this letter was 
written, Dionysius, the Bishop at Corinth, declares, 
that " it had been wont to be read in that church 
from ancient times." It contains several quotations 
from the New Testament Scriptures, and allusions to 

Hermas, also contemporary with the Apostles, has 
left a book that still remains, called " The Shepherd 
of Hermas," in which he quotes and enforces the doc- 
trine of Scripture. 

Ignatius was bishop of the church at Antioch, 
about 37 years after Christ's ascension. He suffered 
martyrdom at Rome under the Emperor Trajan. Ig- 
natius has left several Epistles that are still extant, 
which give testimony to Jesus Christ and his doctrine. 


He declares, that he " fled to the Gospels as the flesh 
of Jesus, and to the Apostles as the elders of the 

PoLYCARP had been taught by the Apostles, and 
had conversed with many who had seen Christ. He 
was appointed by the Apostles Bishop of the church at 
Smyrna. One epistle of his still remains, which evinces 
the respect that he and other Christians bore for the 
Scriptures. Irenseus, who, in his youth, had been a 
disciple of Polycarp, says, concerning- him, in a letter 
to Florinus, — " I saw you when I was very young, in 
the Lower Asia with Polycarp. For I better remem- 
ber the affairs of that time, than those which have 
lately happened ; the things which we learn in our 
childhood growing up with the soul and uniting them- 
selves to it. Insomuch, that I can tell the place in 
which the blessed Polycarp sat and taught, and his 
going out and coming in, and the manner of his life, 
and the form of his person, and the discourses he made 
to the people ; and how he related his conversation 
with John, and others who had seen the Lord, and 
how he related their sayings, and what he had heard 
from them concerning the Lord ; both concerning his 
miracles and his doctrine, as he had received them 
from the eye-witnesses of the Word of Life ; all which 
Polycarp related agreeably to the Scriptures. These 
things I then, through the mercy of God toward me, 
diligently heard and attended to, recording them not 
on paper, but upon my heart. And through the grace 
of God T continually renew the remembrance of them." 
Polycarp was condemned to the flames at Smyrna, the 
proconsul being present, and all the people in the 
amphitheatre demanding his death. Thus, like Igna- 

VOL. I. M 


tins, he confirmed his testimony to the Scriptures with 
his blood. 

Papias was a hearer of the Apostle John, and a 
companion of Polycarp. He was the author of five 
books, which are now lost, but which, according to 
quotations from them that remain, bore testimony to 
the Scriptures. He expressly ascribes their respective 
Gospels to Matthew and Mark. 

The above six writers had all Hved and conversed 
with some of the Apostles. Those parts which remain 
of the writings of the first five, who are called the 
Apostolical Fathers, are valuable by their antiquity ; 
and all of them contain some important testimony to 
the Scriptures. 

About twenty years after these writers follows 
Justin Martyr. He was born about the year 89, 
and suffered martyrdom about the year 163. Origi- 
nally he had been a Heathen philosopher ; and, in his 
dialogue with Trypho the Jew, he relates the circum- 
stances of his conversion to Christianity. From his 
works might be extracted almost a complete life of 
Christ ; and he uniformly represents the Scriptures as 
containing the authentic account of his doctrine. The 
Gospels, he says, were read and expounded every 
Sunday in the solemn assemblies of the Christians. 
He particularly mentions the Acts of the Apostles, 
along with the books of the Old Testament, which 
were also regularly read, as in the Jewish synagogues; 
and he appeals to the Scriptures as writings open to 
all the world, and read by Jews and Gentiles. He 
presented two Apologies for the Christian religion ; the 
first to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, in the year 140 ; 
the second to Marcus Antoninus, the philosopher, 


in the year 162. Both these Apologies are still ex- 
tant ; the first entire, of the second the beginning is 

DioNYSius, Tatian, and Hegesippus, wrote about 
thirty years after Justin Martyr, and give their testi- 
mony to the Scriptures. Hegesippus relates, that, 
travelling from Palestine to Rome, he visited in his 
journey many bishops ; and that " in every succession, 
and in every city, the same doctrine is taught which 
the law and the prophets and the Lord teacheth." 

About the year 177? the churches of Lyons and 
Vienne in France sent a relation of the persecutions 
they suffered to the churches in Asia and Phrygia. 
PoTHiNUS, bishop of the church at Lyons, was then 
90 years old ; and in his early life was contemporary 
with the Apostle John. This letter, which is preserved 
entire, makes exact references to the Scriptures. 

Iren^us succeeded Pothinus as bishop at Lyons. 
In his youth, as already noticed, he had been a dis- 
ciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the Apostle 
John. Thus he was only one step removed from the 
Apostles. Irenaeus gives a most ample testimony, both 
to the genuineness and the authenticity of the Scrip- 
tures. " We have not received," says he, " the know- 
ledge of the way of our salvation by any others than 
those by whom the gospel has been brought to us ; 
which gospel they first preached, and afterwards, by 
the will of God, committed to writing, that it might be 
for time to come the foundation and pillar of our faith. 
— For after that our Lord rose from the dead, and they 
(the Apostles) were endued from above with the power 
of the Holy Ghost coming down upon them, they 
received a perfect knowledge of all things. They then 


went forth to all the ends of the earth, declaring to 
men the blessing- of heavenly peace, having, all of them, 
and every one alike, the gospel of God. Matthew, 
then among the Jews, wrote a Gospel in their own 
language, while Peter and Paul were preaching the 
Gospel at Rome, and founding a church there. And 
after their exit (death or departure), Mark also, the 
disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in 
writing the things that had been preached by Peter ; 
and Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book 
the Gospel preached by him (Paul). Afterwards John, 
the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned upon his 
breast, he likewise published a Gospel while he dwelt 
at Ephesus in Asia. And all these have delivered to 
lis, that there is one God, the maker of the heaven and 
the earth, declared by the law and the prophets, and 
one Christ, the Son of God. And he who does not 
assent to them, despiseth indeed those who knew the 
mind of the Lord ; but he despiseth also Christ himself 
the Lord, and he despiseth likewise the Father, and is 
self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own sal- 
vation, as all heretics do.'' — *' The tradition of the 
Apostles hath spread itself over the whole universe ; 
and all they who search after the sources of truth, 
will find this tradition to be held sacred in every 
church. We might enumerate all those who have 
been appointed bishops to those churches by the 
Apostles, and all their successors up to our days. It 
is by this uninterrupted succession that we have re- 
ceived the tradition which actually exists in the church, 
and also the doctrine of truth as it is preached by the 

After giving some reasons why he supposed the 


number of the Gospels was precisely four, Irenaeus 
says, ** Whence it is manifest that the Word, the 
Former of all things, who sits upon the cherubim, and 
upholds all things, having- appeared to men, has given 
to us a Gospel of a fourfold character, but joined in one 
spirit. — The Gospel according to John discloses his 
primary and glorious generation from the Father : ' In 
the beginning was the Word.' — But the Gospel accord- 
ing to Luke, being of a priestly character, begins with 
Zacharias the priest offering incense to God. — Matthew 
relates his generation, which is according to men : 
' The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of 
David, the son of Abraham.' — Mark begins from the 
prophetic spirit which came down from above to men, 
saying, ' The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, 
as it is written in Esaias the prophet.' " 

The above passage distinctly ascertains, that the 
four Gospels, as we have them, and no more, were 
equally received and acknowledged by the first 

Irengeus further says, " The Gospel according to 
Matthew was written to the Jews, for they earnestly 
desired a Messiah of the seed of David ; and Matthew, 
having also the same desire to a yet greater degree, 
strove by all means to give them full satisfaction that 
Christ was of the seed of David, wherefore he began 
with his genealogy." — " Wherefore also Mark, the in- 
terpreter and follower of Peter, makes this the begin- 
ning of his evangelic writing, * The beginning of the 
Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.' And in the 
end of the Gospel, Mark says, ' So then, the Lord 
Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was received up 
into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.' " — 


" But if any one rejects Luke, as if he did not know 
the truth, he will be convicted of throwing away the 
Gospel of which he professeth to be a disciple. For 
there are many, and those very necessary, parts of 
the Gospel, which we know by his means." He then 
refers to several particulars, which are known only from 

The Acts of the Apostles is a book much quoted by 
Irenaeus, as written by Luke, the companion of the 
Apostles. There are few things recorded in that book 
which have not been mentioned by him. " And that 
Luke," says he, " was inseparable from Paul, and his 
fellow-worker in the Gospel, he himself shows, not 
boasting- of it indeed, but obliged to it for the sake of 

Irenaeus quotes largely from the Epistles of Paul ; 
and remarks, that this Apostle " frequently uses hyper- 
bata'' (or transpositions of words from their natural 
order), " because of the rapidity of his words, and 
because of the mighty force of * the Spirit in him.' " 
The book of Revelation Irenaeus often quotes, and 
says, " It was seen no long time ago, but almost in our 
ov^n age, at the end of the reign of Domitian." He 
mentions the code of the Old Testament and of the 
New, and calls the one, as well as the other, the Oracles 
of God. 

Speaking of the Scriptures in general, he says, " well 
knowing that the Scriptures are perfect, as being dic- 
tated by the word of God and his Spirit." — " A heavy 
punishment awaits those who add to or take from the 
Scriptures."—" But we, following the one and the only 
true God as our teacher, and having his words as a 


rule of truth, do all always speak the same things con- 
cerning the same things." 

Athenagoras, Miltiades, Theophilus, and 
Pant^nus, who lived at the same time with Irenseus, 
all bear testimony to the Scriptures. Some of their 
works remain, and others are lost. 

Clement of Alexandria followed Irenaeus at the 
distance of sixteen years. He was a man of great learn- 
ing, and presided in the Catechetical School at Alexan- 
dria. Clement travelled into different countries in search 
of information. " The law and the prophets, together 
with the Gospels," he says, " conduct to one and the 
same knowledge in the name of Christ." — " One God 
and Almighty Lord is taught by the law and the 
prophets, and the blessed Gospels.'' He has given a 
distinct account of the order in which the four Gospels 
were written. The Gospels which contain the gene- 
alogies were, he says, written first, Mark's next, and 
John's the last. He repeatedly quotes the four Gospels 
by the names of their authors, and expressly ascribes 
the Acts of the Apostles to Luke. His quotations from 
the Scriptures of the New Testament are numerous, 
and he calls them '^ the Scriptures of the Lord," and 
the *' true evangelical canon." 

Next to Clement, and in the same age, comes Ter- 
TULLiAN, who was born at Carthage about the year 
160. He was a man of extensive learning, and the 
most considerable of all the Latin writers on Chris- 
tianity. He wrote a very valuable Apology for the 
Christians, about the year 198, addressed to the go- 
vernors of provinces, which is still extant. He gives 
the most ample attestation to the Scriptures, quoting 
them so frequently, that, as Lardner observes, there are 


more and longer quotations of the small volume of the 
New Testament in this one Christian author, than 
there are of all the works of Cicero in writers of all 
characters for several ages. After enumerating many 
churches which had been gathered by Paul and the 
other Apostles, he declares, that not those churches 
only which were called Apostolical, but all (who have 
fellowship with them in the same faith) received the 
four Gospels, and that these had been in the possession 
of the churches from the beginning. He also declares, 
that the original manuscripts of the Apostles, at least 
some of them, were preserved till the age in v/hich he 
lived, and were then to be seen. 

<« In the first place," says TertuUian, " we lay this 
down for a certain truth, that the Evangelic Scriptures 
have for their authors the Apostles, to whom the work 
of publishing the gospel was committed by the Lord 
himself, and also Apostolical men. — Among the Apos- 
tles, John and Matthew teach us the faith ; among 
Apostolical men, Luke and Mark refresh it, going upon 
the same principles as concerning the one God, the 
Creator, and his Christ born of a virgin, the accom- 
plishment of the law and the prophets.— If it be certain 
that that is most genuine which is most ancient, that 
most ancient which is from the beginning, and that 
from the beginning which is from the Apostles ; in like 
manner, it will be also certain that that has been de- 
livered from the Apostles which is held sacred in the 
churches of the Apostles. Let us then see what milk 
the Corinthians received from Paul, to what rule the 
Galatians were reduced, what the Philippians read, 
what the Thessalonians, the Ephesians, and also the 
Romans recite, who are near to us ; with whom both 


Peter and Paul left the Gospel sealed with their blood. 
We have also churches which are the disciples of John ; 
for, though Marcion rejects his Revelation, the succes- 
sion of bishops, traced up to the beginning, will show 
it to have John for its author. We know also the 
original of other churches (that is, that they are Apos- 
tolical). I say, then, that with them, but not with them 
only that are Apostolical, but with all who have fellow- 
ship with them in the same faith, is that Gospel of 
Luke received, which we so zealously maintain." That 
is, the genuine entire Gospel of Luke, not that which 
had been curtailed and altered by Marcion. '< The 
same authority of the Apostolical churches will support 
the other Gospels, which we have from them, and 
according to them (that is, according to their copies), 
1 mean John's and Matthew's, although that likewise 
which Mark published may be said to be Peter's, whose 
interpreter Mark was, for Luke's digest also is often 
ascribed to Paul." Tertullian says that Matthew's 
Gospel began in this manner, " The book of the gen- 
eration of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of 
Abraham." The Acts of the Apostles are often quoted 
by him under that title : he calls them Luke's Com- 
mentary, or History. 

" I will," says Tertullian, " by no means say Gods 
nor Lords, but I will follow the Apostle; so that, if the 
Father and the Son are to be mentioned together, I will 
say God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Lord ; but 
when I mention Christ only, I can call him God, as 
the Apostle does." " Of icliom Christ came, ivho is" 
says he, " over all, God Messed for ever" 

To Tertullian succeeds a multitude of Christian 
writers. Of the works of these authors, only fragments 


and quotations remain, in which several testimonies to 
the Gospels are found. In one of them is an abstract 
of the whole Gospel history. 

After those writers, and at the distance of twenty- 
five years from Tertullian, comes the celebrated Origen 
of Alexandria, of whom it is said, that *' he did not so 
much recommend Christianity by what he preached, or 
by what he wrote, as by the general tenor of his life." 
He was born about 150 years after the resurrection of 
Jesus Christ. In the quantity of his writings he ex- 
ceeded the most laborious of the Greek and Latin writers. 
He gives full and decisive testimony to the Scriptures. 
He says, " that the four Gospels alone are received 
without dispute by the whole church of God under 
heaven ;" and he subjoins a history of their respective 
authors. " The first," says Origen, *' is written by 
Matthew, once a publican, afterwards an Apostle of 
Jesus Christ. The second is that according to Mark, 
who wrote it as Peter dictated to him, who therefore 
calls him his son, in his Catholic Epistle. The third is 
that according to Luke, the Gospel commended by 
Paul, published for the sake of the Gentile converts. 
Lastly, that according to John." He speaks of the Acts 
of the Apostles as an uncontested book, and gives the 
same account concerning Mark's Gospel as having been 
written under the direction of the Apostle Peter, which 
is given by Clement. It is reckoned a monument of 
the humility of Peter, that several very remarkable 
circumstances in his favour, related by the other Evan- 
gelists, are not mentioned, or even hinted at, by Mark. 
Origen uniformly quotes the Epistle to the Hebrews 
as the writing of the Apostle Paul, and the Book of 
Revelation as the writing of the Apostle John. His 


quotations of Scripture are so numerous, that Dr Mill 
says, " if we had all his works remaining-, we should 
have before us almost the whole text of the Bible." 
He expresses, in the most unqualified terms, his opinion 
of the authority of the books of the New Testament as 
inspired writings, and says, that " the sacred books are 
not writings of men, but have been written and de- 
livered to us from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 
by the will of the Father of all, through Jesus Christ." 
He urges, with earnestness, the reading of the Old and 
New Testament Scriptures, as a sacred obligation in 
the churches of Christ. " Food," says he, " is eaten, 
physic is taken ; though the good effect is not presently 
perceived, a benefit is expected in time, and may be 
obtained. So it is with the Holy Scriptures ; though, 
at the very time of reading of them, there be no sensible 
advantage, yet, in the end, they will be thought profit- 
able for strengthening virtuous dispositions, and weak- 
ening the habits of vice. — The true food of the rational 
nature is the word of God. — Let us come daily to the 
wells of the Scriptures, the waters of the Holy Spirit, 
and there draw and carry thence a full vessel. The 
greatest torment of demons is to see men reading the 
Word of God, and labouring to understand the Divine 

In his Apology for the Christian Religion, in answer 
to Celsus the Epicurean philosopher, Origen, when 
giving a quotation from Scripture, says that it is writ- 
ten, " not in any private book, or such as are read by 
a few persons only, but in books read by every body," 
In that Apology, he has preserved, from the writings of 
Celsus, most distinct and complete attestations to the 
gospel history. 


Gregory, Bishop at Neocesaria, and Dionysius 
of Alexandria, scholars of Origen, and the well-known 
Cyprian, Bishop at Carthage, come about twenty 
years after Origen. Their writings abound with 
copious quotations from the Scriptures, to which they 
give their full and particular attestation. Cyprian 
says, " The church is watered, like Paradise, by four 
rivers, that is, four Gospels." 

Within forty years after Cyprian, Victorinus, 
Bishop at Pettaw, in Germany, and a multitude of 
Christian writers, all testify their profound respect for 
the Scriptures. 

About the year 306, Arnobius and Lactantius 
wrote in support of the Christian religion. Lactantius 
argues in its defence, from the consistency, simplicity, 
disinterestedness, and sufferings of the writers of the 
Gospels. Arnobius vindicates the credit of the writers 
of the Gospels, observing, that they were eye-witnesses 
of the facts which they relate, and that their ignorance 
of the arts of composition was rather a confirmation of 
their testimony, than an objection to it. 

EusEBius, Bishop at Csesarea, born about the year 
270, wrote about fifteen years after the above authors. 
He composed a History of Christianity, from its origin 
to his own time ; and has handed down many valuable 
extracts of ancient authors, whose works have perished. 
In giving his testimony to the Scriptures, he shows 
himself to be much conversant in the works of Chris- 
tian authors, and he appears to have collected every 
thing that had been said, before his own time, respect- 
ing the volume of the New Testament. 

Athanasius became bishop at Alexandria about 
the year 326. He expressly affirms that every one of 


the books of the New Testament that we now receive, 
are inspired Scriptures, which he specifies in their 
order, and ascribes them to the writers whose names 
they bear. He represents them as constantly and 
pubhcly read in the Christian churches. Athanasius 
had full access to every source of information, and 
applied himself to ascertain the canon of the Old Tes- 
tament as well as of the New. It appears that he 
sent to the Emperor Constance a copy of the whole 
Bible, which he described as the whole inspired Scrip- 
tures. Speaking- of the Scriptures, he says, " These 
are fountains of salvation. In them alone the doctrine 
of religion is taught. Let no man add to them, or 
take any thing from them." 

It is unnecessary to carry down this chain of his- 
torical evidence further. The Council of Nice was 
called by Constantine in the year 325 ; and as Christi- 
anity had then become the established religion of the 
Roman empire, its history is afterwards inseparably 
interwoven with every thing^ connected with the state 
of the world. 

From the above numerous and early writers, we 
have most unquestionable attestations to the integrity 
and authority of the Holy Scriptures. First, we have 
six writers who were contemporary with the Apostles, 
and then eleven more who lived in distant parts of the 
world, regularly succeeding- each other during- the first 
hundred years after the Apostles. From that period, 
the chain of evidence continues unbroken and unin- 
terrupted. " When Christian advocates," says Paley, 
«' merely tell us that we have the same reason for 
believing the Gospels to be written by the Evangelists 
whose names they bear, as we have for believing the 


Commentaries to be Caesar's, the ^neid Virgil's, or 
the Orations Cicero's, they content themselves with 
an imperfect representation. They state nothing 
more than what is true, but they do not state the truth 
correctly. In the number, variety, and early date of 
our testimonies, we far exceed all other ancient books. 
For one which the most celebrated work of the most 
celebrated Greek or Roman writer can allege, we pro- 
duce many." 

The force of the above testimony is greatly strength- 
ened by the consideration, that it is the concurring 
evidence of separate, independent, and well-informed 
writers, who lived in countries remote from one ano- 
ther. Clement lived at Rome ; Ignatius, at AntiocJi; 
Polycarp, at Smyr^ia ; Justin Martyr, \n Syria; Ire- 
naeus, in France ; Tertullian, at Carthage ; Origen, 
in Egypt; Eusebius, at CcBsarea; Victorinus, in GeV' 
many. The dangers which they encountered, and 
the hardships and persecutions which they suffered, 
some of them even unto death, on account of their 
adherence to the Christian faith, give irresistible 
weight to their testimony. 

" No writings," says Augustine, " ever had a better 
testimony afforded them than those of the Apostles 
and Evangelists. Nor does it weaken the credit and 
authority of books, received by the church of Christ 
from the beginning, that some other writings have 
been, without ground, and falsely, ascribed to the 
Apostles. For the like has happened, for instance, to 
Hippocrates ; but yet his genuine works are distin- 
guished from others which have been pubhshed under 
his name. We know the writings of the Apostles as 
we know the works of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Varro, 


and others, to be theirs, and as we know the writings 
of divine ecclesiastical authors ; for as much as they 
have the testimony of contemporaries, and of those 
who have lived in succeeding- times. I might, more- 
over, by way of illustration, produce for examples 
those now in hand. Suppose some one, in time to 
come, should deny those to be the works of Faustus, 
or those to be mine ; how should he be satisfied but 
by the testimony of those of this time who knew both, 
and have transmitted their accounts to others ? And 
shall not, then, the testimony of the churches, and 
Christian brethren, be valid here; especially when 
they are so numerous, and so harmonious, and the tra- 
dition is with so much ease and certainty traced down 
from the Apostles to our time — I say, shall any be so 
foolish and unreasonable as to deny or dispute the 
credibility of such a testimony to the Scriptures, 
which would be allowed in behalf of any writings 
whatever, whether heathen or ecclesiastical ?" 

In another place Augustine observes, " If you here 
ask us, how we know these to be the writings of the 
Apostles ; in brief we answer, in the same way that 
you know the epistles, or any other writings, of Mani, 
to be his : for if any one should be pleased to dispute 
with you, and offer to deny the epistles ascribed to 
Mani to be his, what would you do ? Would you not 
laugh at the assurance of the man who denied the 
genuineness of writings generally allowed ? As there- 
fore it is certain those books are jMani's, and he would 
be ridiculous who should now dispute it ; so certain is 
it that the Manichees deserve to be laughed at, or 
rather ought to be pitied, who dispute the truth and 
genuineness of those writings of the Apostles, which 


have been handed down as theirs from their time to 
this, through an uninterrupted succession of well- 
known witnesses." 

Should it occur to any that to prove the genuine- 
ness and authenticity of the Scriptures by the testi- 
mony of the Fathers, is to sanction the traditions of 
the Church of Rome, they ought to consider that there 
is a radical distinction between these two cases. Tes- 
timony is a first principle, universally acknowledged 
as authoritative in its own province, as far as it is 
unexceptionable. The whole business of the world 
proceeds on this principle, and without it human affairs 
would run into utter confusion. That historical testi- 
mony is a legitimate source of evidence, the general 
sentiments of mankind admit, in the universal appeal 
to history for the knowledge of past events. Historical 
testimony may be false, but this is not peculiar to this 
class of first principles. We are liable to be deceived 
on all subjects to which our faculties are directed ; but 
there are means by which historical evidence may be 
ascertained. Its proof may vary from the lowest de- 
gree of probability to the highest degree of certainty. 
Of many things recorded even in profane history, we 
can have no more doubt than we can have of truths 
that contain their own evidence. Now, the stress laid 
on the testimony of the ancient writers that have been 
quoted, is warranted by the most cautious laws of his- 
torical evidence ; and it cannot be rejected, without 
entirely rejecting history as a legitimate ground of 
knowledge. That such writers did give such testi- 
mony, is as indisputable as any historical fact can be. 
And the proof of this lies open to every man who has 
time, opportunity, and ability to examine the subject. 


If SO, there is no reason to reject as insufficient, in 
proof of the authenticity of the Bible, the same kind 
of evidence that is allowed to prove any other fact. 
But the traditions of the Church of Rome are not of 
this nature. They are not historical at all. They 
have not been written ; they are nowhere to be found. 
It is not pretended by their friends that they possess 
historical evidence. They are recommended altogether 
on another foundation, — the authority of the church. 
It is said the church has had them treasured up in 
secret ; but this being a mere figment, incapable of 
pooof, and evidently absurd, can give no assurance 
whatever of the authenticity of the Scriptures. The 
difference, then, between the two cases, is manifest and 
essential. And clearer historical proof cannot be exhi- 
bited on any subject, than has been adduced for the 
genuineness and authenticity of the Holy Scriptures. 

It has been supposed that, if a list of the names and 
numbers of the books of Scripture had been recorded 
in any part of the canon, it would have added to our 
certainty respecting the Divine original of the whole. 
But if there were such a list, it would still remain to 
be decided whether the books we possess were the very 
books named, in words and substance, as well as in. 
name. Indeed if the list were written, and the num- 
ber of lines and words recorded, the case would still 
be the same. It would not in the smallest degree add 
to our certainty respecting their Divine original ; for 
how could we be assured of that inspired list, but from 
the certainty of the book being from God that con- 
tained the list ? Such a list could neither ascertain 
its own accuracy, nor the authenticity of the book 
which contained it. The authenticity of that list 

VOL. I. N 


must have been ascertained precisely in the same 
manner as that of each and all of the books is now 

If, therefore, the name and number of the inspired 
books were contained in any epistle, it would still leave 
the authority of the books named, on the same founda- 
tion of the authority of the epistle in which they were 
named ; and that authority must have been ascertained 
exactly in the same way by which we now ascertain 
the authority of each and all of the inspired books. 
The ultimate foundation, then, of the evidence would 
be the same, as to that particular part which contained 
the list ; and, with respect to the books mentioned in 
the list, we could not be assured against their mutila- 
tion and corruption. It is quite absurd, then, to sup- 
pose that a list of the names and numbers of the in- 
spired books would have given us better evidence of 
their authority. The authority of that part which 
contained such a list, must be ascertained in the ordi- 
nary way ; and, as the stream cannot rise higher than 
the fountain, the authority of all the books, as resting 
on the testimony of one, would be no stronger than 
that of the one which supported them. In whatever 
way that one could prove its Divine authority, in the 
same way we now prove the authority of all. 

The circumstance, then, that there is not a list of the 
books of inspiration contained in the page of inspira- 
tion itself, does not lessen the certainty as to the 
canon, nor increase the difficulty of ascertaining the 
truth of it. That if a list of the books of Scripture 
were given in the Scriptures, it would not fix the ques- 
tion of the canon on a surer foundation, is obvious too, 
from the consideration that a forgery might contain 


such a list, as well as an authentic document, and that 
the truth of such a list takes it for granted that the 
book which contains it is canonical. Is the second 
epistle of Peter put above the first, as to the certainty 
of its being- canonical, by the assertion, " This second 
epistle, beloved, I now write unto you ?" Does such 
an expression establish its being canonical ? Is it not 
evident, on the contrary, that the epistle's being canon- 
ical must be established before the assertion, " This 
second epistle I now write unto you," is believed to be 
inspired ? So far from such a list proving that the 
books which contain it are canonical, it is their being 
canonical that verifies the list. If the claim of a book 
of Scripture to be canonical is not ascertained, the list 
which it contains is not revelation. With respect to 
the books of the Old Testament, however, such a list 
is in effect given, and the inspiration of them war- 
ranted in the assertion, " x\ll Scripture is given by 
inspiration." Now, the steps by which we arrive at 
certainty here, are few and simple. If the book of the 
New Testament which contains this assertion is canon- 
ical, it warrants all the books of the Old Testament 
which at the time of its publication were received as 
Scripture. We have only to enquire what books were 
then contained in the Jewish canon, to be assured in 
this matter. This is a point of testimony on which 
no diflBculty exists. It must be observed, however, 
that the confidence placed in the list, or notification, 
rests entirely upon the authenticity of the book that 
contains it being previously ascertained. But if a list 
of the whole of the inspired books is the only thing 
that could ascertain with sufiicient evidence such as are 
from God, then no man can have a thorough faith in 


the Scriptures, for such a list has not been given. And 
had it been given, it could not have secured against 
forgery, as has been already noticed, for nothing is 
easier than for a forger to give such a list. Had the 
Scriptures been a forgery, they would probably have 
recommended themselves by a very correct list. 

It has been asserted that " the question of the canon 
is a point of erudition, not of Divine revelation." This 
is to undermine both the certainty and the importance 
of the sacred canon. The assertion, that the question 
of the canon is not a point of revelation, is false. It is 
not true either of the Old Testament, or of the New. 
The integrity of the canon of the Old Testament, is a 
matter of revelation, as much as any thing contained 
in the Bible. This is attested, as has been shown, by 
the whole nation of the Jews, to whom it was com- 
mitted, and their fidelity to the truth has been avouched 
by the Lord and his Apostles. Is not this revelation ? 
The integrity of the canon of the New Testament is 
equally a point of revelation. As God had said to the 
Jews, " Ye are my witnesses," and as they " received 
the lively oracles to give unto us," Acts vii. 38; so the 
Lord Jesus said to the Apostles, " Ye shall be witnesses 
unto me, both in Jerusalem and all Judea, and in Sa- 
maria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." The 
first churches received the New Testament Scriptures 
from these witnesses of the Lord, and thus had inspired 
authority for those books. It was not left to erudition 
or reasoning to collect, that they were a revelation from 
God. This the first Christians knew from the testi- 
mony of those who wrote them. They could not be 
mor assured that the things taught were from God, 
than they were that the writings which contained them 


were from God. The integrity of the sacred canon is, 
then, a matter of revelation, conveyed to us by testi- 
mony, like every thing- contained in the Scriptures. 

While it has been denied that the question of the 
canon is a point of revelation, it has been asserted that 
it is a point of erudition. But erudition has nothing 
further to do with the question, than as it may be em- 
ployed in conveying- to us the testimony. Erudition 
did not produce the revelation of the canon. If the 
canon had not been a point of revelation, erudition 
could never have made it so ; for erudition can create 
nothing- ; it can only investig-ate and confirm truth, 
and testify to that which exists, or detect error. We 
receive the canon of Scripture by revelation, in the 
same way that the Jews received the law which was 
given from Mount Sinai. Only one g-eneration of the 
Jews witnessed the giving- of the law ; but to all the 
future generations of that people, it was equally a 
matter of revelation. The knowledge of this was con- 
veyed to them by testimony. In the same way, Chris- 
tians, in their successive generations, receive the canon 
of Scripture as a matter of revelation. The testimony 
through which this is received, must indeed be trans- 
lated from a foreign language ; but so must the account 
brought to us of any occurrence the most trivial that 
takes place in a foreign country. If in this sense the 
question of the canon be called a point of erudition, 
the gospel itself must be called a point of erudition ; 
for it, too, must be translated from the original lan- 
guage in which it was announced, as also must every 
thing which the Scriptures contain. When a preacher 
inculcates, the belief of the gospel, or of a doctrine of 
Scripture, or obedience to any duty, would he be war- 


ranted in telling his audience that these are questions 
of erudition, not of Divine revelation ? Erudition 
may be allowed its full value, without suspending on 
it the authority of the Word of God. 

The assertion that the question of the canon is a 
point of erudition, not of Divine revelation, is subver- 
sive of the whole of revelation. We have no way of 
knowing that the miracles related in the Scriptures 
were wrought, and that the doctrines inculcated were 
taught, but by testimony and the internal evidence of 
the books themselves. We have the evidence of 
miracles, as that evidence comes to us by the testi- 
mony which vouches the authenticity of the inspired 
books. As far as the genuineness and authenticity of 
any book are brought into suspicion, so far is every 
thing contained in it brought into suspicion. For it 
should always be remembered, that there is no greater 
absurdity than to question the claim of a book to a 
place in the canon, and at the same time to acknow- 
ledge its contents to be a revelation from God. There 
can be no evidence that the doctrines of Scripture are 
revealed truths, unless we are certain that the books 
of Scripture are revelation. If the books which com- 
pose the canon are not matter of revelation, then we 
have no revelation. If the truth of the canon be not 
established to us as matter of revelation, then the 
books of which it is composed are not so established ; 
and if the books be not so, then not one sentence of 
them, nor one doctrine or precept which they contain, 
comes established to us as a revelation from God. If, 
then, the question of the canon be a point of erudition, 
not of Divine revelation, so is every doctrine which 
the Scriptures contain ; for the doctrine cannot be 


assured revelation, if the book that contains it be not 
assured revelation. There can be no higher evidence 
of the doctrine being- revelation, than of the book that 
contains it ; and thus were not the canon a matter 
of Divine revelation, the whole Bible would be stripped 
of Divine authority. Any thing, therefore, that goes 
to unsettle the canon, goes to unsettle every doctrine 
contained in the canon. 

Without a particular revelation to every individual, 
it does not appear that the authority of the canon 
could be ascertained to us in any other way than it is 
at present. The whole of the Scriptures was given at 
first by revelation, and afterwards this revelation was 
confirmed by ordinary means. The testimony con- 
cerning it has been handed down in the churches from 
one generation to another. On this, and on their own 
internal characteristics of being Divine, we receive the 
Scriptures with the most unsuspecting confidence, and 
on the same ground the Jews received the Scriptures 
of the Old Testament. In these ways, it is fixed by 
Divine authority, and not left in any uncertainty ; for 
if its truth can be ascertained by ordinary means, it is 
fixed by the authority of God, as much as if an angel 
from Heaven were every day to proclaim it over the 
earth. When Paul says, that his handwriting of the 
salutation was the token in every epistle, he at once 
shows us the importance of the canon, and warrants 
us in receiving it as a Divine revelation attested by 
ordinary means. Those to whom he wrote had no 
other way of knowing the handwriting of the Apostle 
than that by which they knew any other handwriting. 
Even at that time the churches knew the genuineness 
of the epistles sent to them by ordinary means ; and 


Paul's authority warrants this as sufficient. We have, 
then, the authority of revelation for resting- the canon 
on the ordinary sources of human evidence, and they 
are such as to preclude the possibility of deception. 
The claim of the Epistles sent to the first churches, 
and of the doctrine they contain as Divine, rested even 
to those churches on the same kind of evidence on 
which we now receive them. It is very important to 
settle what kind of evidence is sufficient for our receiv- 
ing" the Scriptures. Many have rated this too high, 
and as the Scriptures contain a revelation, they wished 
to have them attested to every age by revelation, 
which is, in fact, requiring the continuance of miracu- 
lous interference, which it might easily be shown 
would be pernicious. 

With respect to the validity of the internal evidence 
on which the canon is received, an important argument 
may be founded on John, iv. 39. From the account 
of the woman of Samaria there related, we learn the 
kind of evidence on which the Lord Jesus was acknow- 
ledged while on earth. The foundation of this woman's 
faith was the Lord's having told her all things that 
ever she did. This was sufficient for her to recognise 
him as a prophet, or as one sent of God ; and, conse- 
quently, when he declared to her that he was the 
Messiah, she had sufficient ground to believe so, for 
God would not enable any one to tell her such things 
in order to deceive. For if there was evidence from 
what he said that he was sent by God, there was evi- 
dence from his assertion that he was the Messiah. 
From verse 41 of the same chapter, we learn, that 
" many more believed because of his own word ;'' and 
that they did so, and that the woman believed, are 


exhibited to us, not only as facts, but as valid grounds 
of belief. Jesus had not worked any miracle, and the 
reason why they believed on him, is expressly stated to 
be because of his own word. If then, the word of 
Jesus, unaccompanied by miracle, was a sufficient 
ground of faith when he spoke, it is equally valid in 
writing. From hearing- him, the people of Samaria 
could assert, with confidence, that they themselves 
knew that he was indeed the Christ. And from read- 
ing the Scriptures, the same satisfactory evidence is 
obtained. In reading the Scriptures, we are often so 
struck with their evidence, that, independently of any 
other proof, we firmly believe that they come from 
God. We are often most forcibly convinced by evi- 
dence which we could hardly state intelligibly to others. 
The Apostles still commend themselves to every man's 
conscience, and we feel the force of the question, 
" What is the chaff to the wheat, — is not my word 
like a fire ?" Must, then, the illiterate man receive 
the Scriptures as a question of erudition ; Must the 
canonical authority of an epistle that recommends it- 
self as the light of heaven, depend on questions of 
erudition ? 

Christians receive the Holy Scriptures on the autho- 
rity of God, as declared by his inspired messengers, so 
that they are received on the ground of revelation. 
The illiterate are equally bound to receive them in 
this way, and interested in so doing, as the learned. 
As all are to be judged by them, it was necessary that 
all should have full assurance that they are from God ; 
and it is matter of express revelation, that nothing but 
hatred of the light, and the love of darkness, prevents 
any man who reads them from receiving the truth. 

202 Genuineness and authenticity. 

Both the old Testament and the New come to us 
stamped with the authority of Him who is " the 
brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image 
of his person," and of those to whom God bore " wit- 
ness both with signs and wonders, and diverse miracles, 
and gifts of the Holy Ghost," and also with their own 
internal evidence of being divine. And if any portion 
of them be set aside as uninspired, or if any addition 
be made to them, it is done in spite of that authority 
and that evidence. 

If we displace from the canon any one of those books 
that have been sanctioned by the recognition of the 
Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles, we overturn the 
authority on which the rest are held, and invite the 
evil propensities of our nature to quarrel with any 
thing in the Bible to which we find a disrelish. Those 
who hold that the question of the canon is open to 
discussion, and who set aside any part of it on the 
ground of either external or internal evidence, cannot 
be said to have a Bible. Their Bible will be longer or 
shorter, according to their researches ; and a fixed 
standard they can never have. 

If it be asked, should we be precluded from enquiring 
into the grounds on which the canon is received, it is 
replied, certainly not. But we should remember that the 
permanent ground on which it stands is testimony ; and 
such must be the ground of every historical fact. Inter- 
nal evidence may confirm the authenticity of a book 
sanctioned by the canon, but to suspend belief till we 
receive such confirmation, argues an ignorance of the 
principles of evidence. A book might be inspired, 
when no such internal confirmation, from the nature of 
the subject, might be found. And when a book is 


substantially approved, by testimony, as belonging to 
the canon, no evidence can, by a Christian, be legiti- 
mately supposed possible, in opposition to its inspiration. 
This would be to suppose valid objections to first prin- 
ciples. SufiBcient testimony deserves the same rank as 
a first principle, with axioms themselves. Axioms are 
not more necessary than testimony, to all the business 
of human life. Internal evidence may be sufificient to 
prove that a book is not Divine ; but it is absurd to 
suppose that such a book can have valid testimony, 
and therefore it can never be supposed by a Christian, 
that any of those books that are received as part of 
the sacred canon, on the authority of sufiScient testi- 
mony, can contain any internal marks of imposture. 
This would be to suppose the possibility of the clash- 
ing of two first principles. The thing that can be 
proved by a legitimate first principle, can never be dis- 
proved by another legitimate first principle. This 
would be to suppose that God is not the author of the 
human constitution. If, then, in a book recognised by 
the canon, as the Song of Solomon, we find matter 
which to our wisdom does not appear to be worthy of 
inspiration, we may be assured that we mistake. For 
if that book is authenticated by testimony as a part of 
the sacred Scriptures, which the Lord Jesus Christ 
sanctioned, it is authenticated by a first principle, to 
which God has bound us, by the constitution of our 
nature, to submit. If, in this instance, or in any par- 
ticular instance, we reject it, our own conduct in other 
things will be our condemnation. There is no first 
principle in the constitution of man that can enable 
him to reject any thing in the Song of Solomon, com- 
ing, as it does, under the sanction of a first principle. 


Those persons who reject any hooks of the canon on 
such grounds, would show themselves much more ra- 
tional, as well as more humble Christians, if, recogni- 
sing the paramount authority of a first principle univer- 
sally acknowledged, they would receive the Song of 
Solomon and th'fe book of Esther, or any other of the 
books that they now reject, as parts of the Word of 
God, and humbly endeavour to gain from them the 
instruction and edification which, as Divine books, they 
must be calculated to give. This questioning of the 
canon, then, proceeds on infidel and irrational princi- 
ples, which, if carried to their legitimate length, must 
end in complete unbelief. 

" According to your way of proceeding,'* observes 
Augustine, in reference to those who supposed that the 
Scriptures had been interpolated or corrupted, and the 
observation is equally applicable to all who add to, or 
reject, certain parts of the sacred canon — " According 
to your way of proceeding, the authority of Scripture 
is quite destroyed, and every one's fancy is to deter- 
mine what in the Scriptures is to be received, and what 
not. He does not admit it, because it is found in wri- 
tings of so great credit and authority ; but it is rightly 
written, because it is agreeable to his judgment. Into 
what confusion and uncertainty must men be brought 
by such a principle !" 

It is a wonderful circumstance in the providence of 
God, that while the two parts of Scripture were deli- 
vered to two classes, with the fullest attestation of their 
Divine original, both the one and the other have been 
faithful in preserving the precious trust respectively 
committed to them, while they have both been rebel- 
lious in regard to that part of which they were not 


originally appointed the depositaries. The Jews always 
held the books of the Old Testament in the highest 
veneration, and continued to preserve them, without 
addition or diminution, until the coming- of Him con- 
cerning- whom they testify, and they have kept them 
entire to this day ; yet they have altogether rejected 
the New Testament Scriptures. And while Christians 
have all agreed in preserving the Scriptures of the New 
Testament entire and uncorrupted, they have wickedly 
adulterated those of the Old by a spurious addition, or 
have retrenched certain portions of them. Of the 
Divine original of the sacred Scriptures, as we now 
possess them, we have evidence the most abundant and 
diversified. It is the distinguishing characteristic of 
the gospel, that it is preached to the poor, and God 
has so ordered it, that the authenticity of that Word by 
which all are to be judged, should not be presented to 
them as a matter of doubtful disputation. 

Were there no other evidence of the truth of Divine 
revelation than the existence of the Holy Scriptures, 
that alone would be conclusive. The Bible is not a 
book compiled by a single author, or by many authors 
acting in confederacy in the same age, in which case 
it would not be so wonderful to find a just and close 
connexion in its several parts. It is the work of be- 
tween thirty and forty writers in very different condi- 
tions of life ; kings, legislators, and statesmen were 
employed, with herdsmen and fishermen in the ac- 
complishment of the work. They wrote also in 
distant ages ; and some of them in distant coun- 
tries ; so that under these circumstances the world 
must have assumed an appearance altogether new, 
and men must have had different interests to pur- 
sue. This would have led a spirit of imposture to vary 


its schemes, and to adapt them to different stations 
in the world, and to different fashions and changes in 
every age. David wrote about 400 years after Moses, 
and Isaiah about 250 after David, and John about 800 
years after Isaiah. Yet these authors, with all the 
other Prophets and Apostles, wrote in perfect harmony, 
confirming- the authority of their predecessors, labour- 
ing to enforce their instructions, and denouncing the 
severest judgments on all who continued disobedient. 
Such entire agreement in propounding religious truths 
and principles, different from any before or since pro- 
mulgated, except by those who have learned from them, 
establishes the divine mission of the writers of the 
Bible beyond dispute, proving that they all derived their 
wisdom from God, and spake as they were moved by 
the Holy Ghost. In all the works of God there is an 
analogy characteristic of his Divine hand ; and the va- 
riety and harmony that shine so conspicuously in the 
heavens and the earth, are not farther removed from 
the suspicion of imposture than the unity which, in the 
midst of boundless variety, reigns in that book which 
reveals the plan of redemption. To forge the Bible is 
as impossible as to forge a world.* 

* So impressed was the celebrated Sir William Jones with the 
character of the Holy Scriptures, that, after having distingmshed 
himself as the greatest linguist in the world, after having fiiade 
himself acquainted with all the literature of the East and of the 
West, of ancient as well as modern times, he left the following re- 
markable testimony in an autograph note in his Bible ; — " I have 
carefully and regularly perused these Holy Scriptures, and am of 
opinion, that the volume, independently of its Divine origin, con- 
tains more sublimity, purer morality, more important history, 
and finer strains of eloquence, than can be collected from all 
other books, in whatever language they may Lave been written." 

TELE UfSriBATION, &C. 207 



The Scriptures of the Old Testament and of the 
New, are not only genuine and authentic, but also in- 
spired. The claim of inspiration which they advance, 
is a claim of infallibility and of perfection. It is also a 
claim of absolute authority, which demands unlimited 
submission. It is the claim of being the Book or 
Word of God, as being- dictated by God. 

The inspiration of the Scriptures is attested, both by 
the nature and value of their contents, and bv the evi- 
dence of their truth. On these grounds, they stand 
without a rival in the world, and challenge from every 
man the highest possible regard. 

Our knowledge of the inspiration as well as of every 
doctrine of the Bible, must be collected from itself. If 
the writers of this book appear with such credentials 
as entitle them to be received as commissioned of 
God, it is from themselves only we can learn those 
truths which they are authorized to make known. 
Among these, it is of primary importance to know what 
is the extent of that dependence which we are to place 
on their words. Is implicit credit to be given to every 
thing they declare ? and, if the writers are numerous, 
is this equally due to all that they have written ? 

The question of the inspiration of the Scriptures 
has been viewed by many as one of great diiBculty ; and, 
accordingly, various theories have been invented to ex- 
plain it. To those who consider the subject merely in 
the light of the Bible itself (the only source of legi- 


timate information on any matter of revelation), it may 
appear surprising- that this doctrine should be supposed 
to present any difficulty at all. Nothing can be more 
clearly, more expressly, or more precisely taught in the 
Word of God. And while other important doctrines may 
be met with passages of seeming opposition, there is not, 
in the language of the Scriptures, one expression that 
even appears to contradict their plenary or verbal inspir- 
ation. Whence, then, it may be asked, has arisen the 
idea of difficulty so g-eneral among the learned, but un- 
known to the great body of Christians ? It has pro- 
ceeded, wholly, from an unhallowed desire to penetrate 
into the manner of the Divine operation, on the mind of 
man, in the communication of revealed truth. That the 
Holy Ghost spake and wrote through men, is a fact at- 
tested by the Scriptures ; but how he influenced their 
minds we are not informed. To enquire into the nature 
of the influence of the Spirit of God in inspiration, is as 
fruitless and presumptuous as to enquire into the nature 
of that influence which gives spiritual life and produces 
spiritual birth, or the nature of that influence by which 
the universe was created. With respect to the way in 
which the Holy Spirit acted on the writers of the Bible, 
we know nothing ; but that every part of it is equally 
inspired, rests on Divine testimony. 

Instead, however, of coming- to the Scriptures in a 
childlike manner, and humbly submitting to what they 
teach on this subject, many have occupied themselves 
in forming a scale, for determining how far inspiration 
was necessary in their difierent parts, while to some 
parts they ascribe what they improperly call inspiration 
only in a very small degree. But as the Scriptures 
assert the inspiration of all their parts, these writers 


are obliged to denominate even this slight assistance as 
a kind of inspiration. Some accordingly make three 
degrees or kinds of what they denominate inspiration, 
while others subjoin a fourth and a fifth, or even more. 
To the superintendence, elevation, and suggestion of 
Dr Doddridge, have been added e.vcitement, guidance, 
and controL But will the term inspiration apply to 
any one of these varieties attributed to it, except sug- 
gestion ? Does inspiration mean to superintend, to 
excite, or to control the mind ? These are not kinds 
or degrees of inspiration ; they are not inspiration in 
any view whatever. Had they all been enjoyed by the 
writers, it would not have entitled the Scriptures to be 
called the Word of God. Nor is it lawful to interpret 
what is said with respect to the writing, as if it respected 
merely the mind of the writers. Besides, the enquiry 
is not what degree of divine assistance might have been 
necessary for the Scriptures, but what is the divine tes- 
timony on the subject. Can any thing, then, be more 
improper than to speak of a number of different species 
of inspiration, in a graduated scale of increase, when 
the Scriptures themselves have not, in all their com- 
pass, a single sentence that teaches any distinction in 
their inspiration ? 

To such speculations, though very generally adopt- 
ed, the writers of the Scriptures give not the slight- 
est countenance or support. This being the fact, 
and as the question of inspiration can only be deter- 
mined by the Scriptures themselves, all the distinctions 
that have been introduced are nothing better than 
vain and unsubstantial theories, unsupported by any 
evidence. " All Scripture," says Paul, " is given by 

VOL. I. O 


inspiration of God"* This declaration is decisive on 
the subject. The Apostle thus expressly affirms, that 
every passage of Scripture is inspired by God; and 
what is here meant by inspiration belongs equally to 
every part of the Bible, since it cannot mean one thing- 
respecting one part, and another respecting another 
part, for different meanings never belong to the same 
word in the same occurrence. This assertion is not 
confined to the Old Testament, but refers to the whole 
of the Scriptures. " The Holy Scriptures," with which 
Timothy, in the preceding verse, is said to have been 
early acquainted, are the Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment ; but the phrase all Scripture, without the ar- 
ticle, instead of being confined to the ancient Scriptures, 
embraces all that can be called Scripture. Even at that 
time Timothy must have known that the writings of 
the Apostles were called Scriptures. That they were 
so denominated in the Apostolic times, is clear from 2 
Peter, iii. 16. " As also in all his Epistles, speaking in 
them of these things; in which are some things hard to 
be understood, which they that are unlearned and un- 
stable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto 
their own destruction." 

The word inspire signifies to breath into, and liter- 
ally corresponds to the original in 2 Tim. iii. 16, All 
scripture is inspired hy God. It is here of the tvrit- 
ing that the inspiration is asserted. While it is very 
proper to speak of the writers as inspired, it must be 
borne in mind that this passage speaks of inspiration 

* Whoever wishes to see this passage fully examined, may 
read " A Critical Discussion on 2 Tim. iii. 16," by Mr Carson, 
annexed to his " Refutation of Dr Henderson's Doctrine in his 
late work on Divine Inspiration," pp. 187. Hamilton, Adams, 
& Co , London ; Wm. Whyte & Co., Edinburgh. 1837. 


solely as it concerns what is written. Inspiration, then, 
is here ascribed to the Scriptures, and is not predicated 
of the writers. It is by overlooking this, and treating 
of inspiration as it respects the sacred writers, that false 
theories on the subject have originated. The greek 
compound word corresponding to our phrase inspired 
hy God, was applied among the heathens to such 
dreams are were supposed to be breathed into men. 
Paul calls the Old Testament Scriptures " the Oracles 
of God," which were committed to the Jews. — Rom. 
iii. 2. He afterwards gives the same denomination of 
" oracles" to all the revealed truth of God. — Heb. v. 
12. The same expression was used by the Greeks to 
denote the responses given out in distinct words, which 
their priests made, in name of their deities, to those 
who consulted them. In the same sense, Stephen, 
speaking under the immediate influence of the Holy 
Ghost, designates the writings of Moses as " lively 
oracles." In this expression Xheivverhal inspiration is 
distinctly asserted. 

In the passage already quoted, " All Scripture is 
given hy inspiration of God,'' the same thing is expli- 
citly declared. Paul does not say the meaning of all 
Scripture, or the ideas contained in it, but all Scrip- 
ture — all writing, or all that is written (taking Scrip- 
ture in the appropriated sense in which he uses it), is 
given by inspiration of God. Here, then, we have a 
most unequivocal testimony to the inspiration of the 
words of Scripture, for neither a meaning, nor an idea, 
can be expressed in writing, except by words. If any 
writing is inspired, the words of necessity must be in- 
spired, because the words are the writing ; for what is 
a writing, but words written ? The thoughts and sen- 


timents are the meaning- of the words. To say that a 
writing is inspired, while the words are uninspired, is 
a contradiction in terms. To the same purpose, the 
Apostle Peter affirms, " The prophecy came not of old 
time [at any time] hy the will of man, hut holy men 
of God spake as they were onoved by the Holy Ghost" 
If they spake as they were moved, they did not choose 
the language they uttered, but the words which they 
spoke were given to them by the Holy Ghost. — ] Cor. 
ii. 13. In the same manner the disciples, on the day 
of Pentecost, " were all filled with the Holy Ghost, 
and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit 
gave them utterance" Here, then, iitterance, or the 
words they spoke, is expressly ascribed to the Holy 
Spirit. Nothing can more distinctly convey the mean- 
ing of inspiration than these words, " who by the mouth 
of thy se7'vant David hast said." — Acts, iv. 25. And 
this inspiration, which without variation or exception 
is claimed for the Scriptures by the sacred writers, en- 
titles the whole of them to be called " the Word of 
God," to which high designation they could not be en- 
titled on any other ground. 

The words of Scripture, indeed, as used by the 
writers, were their own words. But this does not 
convey the idea that the Bible is partly the word of 
God, and partly the word of man. It is not the effect 
of any such co-operation, as supposes that one part was 
produced by God, and the other part by man, to make 
out a whole. The passages above quoted preclude our 
entertaining any such notion. Because the words were 
written by the Prophets and Apostles, this does not 
prevent them from being the words of God. The fol- 
lowing remarks of President Edwards, when he is com- 


bating the deeply erroneous sentiment of the Arminians, 
respecting a co-operation between God and man in the 
work of grace, will explain this matter. " In efficacious 
grace we are not merely passive, nor yet does God do 
some, and we do the rest. But God does all, and we 
do all. God produces all, and we act all. For that is 
what he produces, viz. our own acts. God is the only 
proper author and foundation : we only are the proper 
actors. We are, in different respects, wholly passive 
and wholly active. In the Scriptures the same things 
are represented as from God and from us. God is said 
to convert, and men are said to convert and turn. God 
makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us 
a new heart. God circumcises the heart, and we are 
commanded to circumcise our own hearts ; not merely 
because we must use the means in order to the effect, 
but the effect itself is our act and our duty. These 
things are agreeable to that text, ' God worketh in you 
both to will and to do.'" — Edwards's Remarks, 8zc.25l. 

We are not, however, required to suppose, that while 
inspired, the ordinary exercise of the faculties of the 
penmen of the Scriptures was counteracted or suspended, 
or that their minds did not entirely go along with what 
was communicated to them. " They were all filled with 
the Holy Ghost," Acts, xi. 4. They " had the mind 
of Christ," 1 Cor. xi. 15 ; and were themselves cast into 
the mould of that doctrine which they delivered to 
others. We are certain, then, as appears from the whole 
of their writings, that, as far as they comprehended 
the truths which they were employed to record, they 
both fully acquiesced in them, and powerfully felt their 

It forms no objection to the inspiration of the Scrip- 


tures, that the words are occasionally changed in parallel 
passages or quotations by Him who dictated them. 
The Holy Spirit is not confined to any one mode of 
expression, and in such places his mind is conveyed in 
words, which though varied by him, are yet perfectly 
adapted to communicate his will. The objection to 
verbal inspiration from varieties of expression among 
the sacred writers, is altogether groundless. It is taking 
for granted, that two or more accounts of the same 
thing, differing in phraseology, though substantially 
agreeing, cannot all be the words of inspiration ; which 
has not the smallest foundation in truth. If variety of 
expression in relating the same things in the Scriptures 
would not affect the truth of the narrative, on the sup- 
position that the writers were uninspired, why is it pre- 
sumed that it would affect it on the supposition of their 
being inspired ? and why should it be thought improper 
for the Holy Ghost to make use of that variety ? Why 
should a perfect identity of words be aimed at ? Vari- 
ations of expression, instead of being contradictions to 
the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, are not in the 
smallest degree inconsistent with it. Are they consis- 
tent with truth ? If they are, they are consistent with 

Nor does the difference of style which we find among 
these writers at all conclude against their having the 
words they were to write imparted to them. The 
style that God was pleased to employ was used, and 
to the instruments he chose that style was natural, 
and flowed like the words with their full consent, and 
according to the particular tone of their minds, while 
they yielded to the impression as voluntary and intelli- 
gent agents. The Holy Spirit could dictate to them 


his own words in such a way, that they would also be 
their words, uttered with the understanding-. He could 
speak the same thoug-ht by the mouth of a thousand 
persons, each in his own style. Is it, then, because we 
cannot comprehend the mode of such an operation, that 
we should dare to deny the obvious import of Scripture 
declarations ? Because one peculiar cast of style dis- 
tinguishes every man's writings, is it thought impos- 
sible that the Spirit of God can employ a variety of 
styles, or is it supposed that he must be confined to 
one particular style ? The simple statement of such an 
idea contains its refutation. It is evident, too, that 
variety of style militates no more against the verbal 
inspiration of the Scriptures, than against the idea of 
the writers being superintended, elevated, or controlled ; 
for if the Holy Spirit sanctioned variety, it was equally 
consistent to dictate variety. And it might be shown 
that such variety is of essential importance in the 
Gospel narratives, in bringing- out very interesting- 
views, that could not be so well exhibited in a single 

Of the fact, however, that the variety of style which 
is found among the writers of the Scriptures, does not in 
the smallest degree militate against that verbal inspira- 
tion by which they affirm that they are written, we have 
conclusive proof. For while it is evident to all, that 
there is a certain characteristic distinction of style, that 
pervades the whole of the Scriptures, and sufficiently 
attests that they are the work of the same author, it is 
equally certain that each one of the writers is distin- 
guished from the rest by a style peculiar to himself. 
Now the difference of style is as great among the pro- 
phets, when predicting future events, which they did 


not understand, where, as is admitted by all, the words 
they employed must necessarily have been communis 
cated to them, as it is found to be among them when 
relating- events with which they were previously ac- 
quainted. Here, then, we have positive proof on this 
subject, which it is impossible to set aside. The objec- 
tion, too, that is founded on variety of style, to the 
communication oi words, would equally conclude against 
the communication of ideas. There is as great diver- 
sity of modes of thought, and of viewing their sub- 
jects, as o/* EXPRESSION AND STYLE among the wri- 
ters of Scripture. And can it for a moment be sup- 
posed, that either as to the one or the other the Spirit 
of God is limited ? " He that planted the ear, shall he 
not hear ? He that formed the eye, shall he not see ?" 
" Who hath made man's mouth, or who maketh the 
dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind ; did not 
I, the Lord ?" He who conferred on men all the varied 
forms and faculties which they possess, is he not able 
to communicate to their minds whatever seems to him 
good, in every possible variety and every conceivable 
shape ? Is there any contradiction in the declaration, 
" Who by the mouth of thy servant David hath said ?" 
If it be possible for the Almighty to utter his own 
words in the style and manner of expression of the 
writers whom he employs, the objection to the inspi- 
ration of the Scriptures from variety of expression or 
style, is altogether nugatory. 

It has been objected, that if the verbal inspiration of 
the whole of the Scriptures could be proved, it would 
follow, that the words of all the speakers who are 
introduced in them, such as those of Job's friends, 
although their opinions were erroneous, nay even the 


words of the devil himself, were inspired. This ob- 
jection is so absurd, that unless it had been sometimes 
gravely urged, it would be too trifling to be noticed. 
Is it not sufficiently plain, that while God dictated to 
the sacred penman the words of those referred to, he 
dictated them to be inserted not as his words, but as 
their words ? Every thing contained in the Bible, 
whether the words of the penman, that contain the 
mind of God, or the words of others, that are inserted 
for the purpose of giving such information as he is 
pleased to impart, is equally, according to the express 
declarations of Scripture, dictated by God. It should, 
however, be observed, that it is not at all implied in 
the assertion of verbal inspiration, that every example 
recorded in Scripture, without any judgment expressed 
with regard to the conduct of good, or even inspired 
men, is held forth for imitation. When the Word of 
God records human conduct, without pronouncing on 
its morality, whether it is sin or duty must be ascer- 
tained by an appeal to the general principles of Scrip- 

It is no valid objection to verbal inspiration, that the 
sacred writers were often acquainted beforehand with 
those facts which they recorded, and that they were 
directed to refer to this knowledge to establish their 
credibility. This no more proves that their relating 
these facts originated with themselves, than the previ- 
ous knowledge of a messenger of the contents of the 
message he bears, proves that it originated with him- 
self, or detracts from its truth or authority. The 
Scriptures are God's message to the world through 
the writers of Scripture ; and they are equally a com- 
munication from God when these writers received 


what they previously knew, and when they wrote 
things of which they were previously ig'norant : their 
previous knowledge, or ignorance, is not at all to be 
taken into account. We have nothing to do with 
either. What they gave, they gave from God, and 
not from their previous knowledge. It required no 
inspiration to teach a man what he knew, but it re- 
quired inspiration to write such an account of this as 
could be called the word of God, or be said to be 
written by inspiration. It has arisen entirely from 
viewing inspiration, as it respects the inspired persons, 
and not the things written by them, that it has ap- 
peared absurd to speak of inspiration with respect to 
what was known by natural means, and that could 
have been written without inspiration. To avoid this, 
some have denied inspiration with respect to certain 
things recorded in the Scriptures, while others, with 
more reverence for them, have contrived such distinc- 
tions in the word as to suit the various cases. But 
not even the appearance of a difficulty on this point 
presents itself when the question is properly stated. 
It is not said that the sacred writers were inspired with 
knowledge which they previously possessed ; but it is 
said that their accounts of every thing recorded by 
them are given by inspiration ; and this is as true with 
respect to things previously known by them, as it is 
with respect to those things of which they were pre- 
viously ignorant. When they wrote what they knew, 
and could of themselves have expressed it, both the 
matter and the words were the words of God, as much 
as when they wrote what they did not understand. 
There was no need to be inspired with the knowledge 
of what they knew, but every thing written in the 


account of this was by inspiration ; and though they 
mig-ht have related many things in their own language, 
without the dictation of God, yet, as a matter of fact, 
they did not write any thing- without Him, for all 
Scripture is given by inspiration of God. 

Some have supposed that the quotations in the New 
Testament from the Septuagint, which was not in- 
spired, concludes against the verbal inspiration of the 
Scriptures. On this it has been observed, that there 
is not in all the New Testament any thing that recog- 
nises the translation of the lxx. Even those passages 
in which there is a perfect coincidence between the 
words of the New Testament, and the Greek transla- 
tion of the Old, are not alleged as quotations from that 
translation. If they were adopted, they were adopted 
by the Holy Spirit, and are to the writers of Scripture 
as fully the words of inspiration as any thing contained 
in the Bible. Why should not the Holy Spirit use 
that translation as far as it expressed his meaning ? 
Such passages were not verbally inspired in the trans- 
lation ; but when communicated by the Holy Spirit to 
the writers of the New Testament, they are as fully 
inspired as the letters of Jesus to the Seven Churches 
of Asia. 

The existence of various readings has been urged as 
an objection to the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures; 
but it has nothing to do with the question. The doc- 
trine of plenary verbal inspiration does not imply that 
our copies must infallibly contain the pure original in 
every instance. It asserts that the Scriptures as God 
gave them were his, not only in matter, but in every 
word of them. But this by no means implies that the 
present copies are in every instance perfectly corres- 


pondent with the original. The permanency of the 
purity of the divine word was committed by God to 
the care of his Providence, in the use of the ordinary 
means. There is, indeed, every reason a priori, to con- 
clude that God would not suffer his Word to be cor- 
rupted ; and there is the most satisfactory evidence 
that he has not permitted it to be so. But the doctrine 
of verbal inspiration has nothing to do with this, 
whatever might be the extent of corruption by tran- 

Inspiration belongs to the original writings. No 
one contends for any degree of inspiration in the trans- 
lations of the Scriptures that have been made in dif- 
ferent ages. Accuracy in them is, under the provi- 
dence of God, by which he always attair~ his purposes, 
secured by the fidelity of those to whom the Scriptures 
have been committed — by the opposition of parties 
watching each other, as of Jews and Christians, and of 
various sects — and by the great multiplication of copies 
and translations into different languages which so early 
took place. 

There is a simplicity, a harmony, and a consistency, 
in that plan which represents the Scriptures, as in one 
point of view, the production of man, and in another 
wholly the book of God. This is consistent with the 
language of the Apostle Paul, when he sometimes 
designates the Gospel, " my Gospel," and sometimes 
*' the Gospel of God," it being, in fact, both the one 
and the other. Though the wisdom of man could 
never have anticipated such a scheme of inspiration, 
yet, when it is submitted to the mind, it manifests 
itself to be Divine. And nothing but this view will 
harmonize all the assertions of Scripture. 


The subject of the inspiration of the Bible has been 
too much disregarded among- Christians ; many have 
not attended to it at all, while others have ventured to 
indulg-e in vain speculations respecting it. But, like 
every other doctrine, it ought to be carefully enquired 
into, and the truth respecting it received with the most 
unreserved submission. It is a matter pureli/ of divine 
testimony/, and our business is simply to receive the 
testimony. Inspiration is as much a matter of revela 
tion as justitication by faith. Both stand equally on 
the authority of the Scriptures, which are as much an ul- 
timate authority on this subject as on any other question 
of revealed truth. We have nothing to do respecting 
it with any thing except the Divine testimony ; and 
from it a body of evidence may be produced that no 
revealed truth can exceed. It will be proper, then, to 
consider it solely in the light which the Word of God 
affords ; and for this purpose, after attending to the ob- 
jections that have been derived from erroneous views of 
the meaning of certain passages of Scripture, to exhibit 
the ample proofs contained in the sacred record, which 
unequivocally substantiate its own plenary inspiration 
in every part, without one single exception. 

The inspiration of certain parts of the Scriptures is 
frequently denied, on the supposition that the Apostles 
themselves " sometimes candidly admit, that they are 
not speaking by inspiration." This objection proceeds 
on a mistaken view of the meaning of the passages on 
which it is founded. 

In the 7th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corin- 
thians, the Apostle Paul is supposed, in some places, to 
disclaim inspiration, and, in one place, not to be certain 
whether he is inspired or not. This, at first sight, will 


appear to be evidently contrary to the uniform style of 
this Apostle's writings, and altogether improbable, 
when, as a commissioned and accredited ambassador of 
Jesus Christ, he is answering certain questions put to 
him by a Christian church, to whom he had just before 
in the most explicit manner asserted, that he spoke 
" not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but 
which the Holy Ghost teacheth ;" and that he was 
addressing them " in the name of the Lord Jesus." — 
1 Cor. ii. 13, and v. 4. Attention to these things 
might have prevented the adoption of the unfounded 
and mistaken meaning that has been affixed to the pas- 
sages refert'ed to, which tends to unsettle the minds of 
Christians respecting the inspiration of the Scriptures. 
No such indecision, however, attaches to the passages 
in question. 

In answer to the question about marriage, Paul says, 
1 Cor. vii. 6, " I speak this hy permission^ and not of 
coynmandment." Dbes this mean, that the Spirit per- 
mitted him, but did not command him to give the 
answer he had done? Even upon this supposition, 
the Apostle's declaration must be according to the mind 
of the Spirit ; for Paul could not, on such an occasion, 
have been permitted to say what was contrary to it. 
But this would have been a very extraordinary and 
unusual mode of communicating that mind, and evi- 
dently is not what is here intended. The obvious 
meaning is, that what the Apostle here said was in the 
way of permission, not of commandment. " I speak 
this," says he, "as a permission, and not as a com- 
mandment ;" and without this, the Apostle might have 
been understood as enjoining marriage as an indispen- 
sable duty. In the second Epistle to the same church, 


chap. viii. 8, the Apostle expresses himself to the same 
purpose, in a passage which no one misunderstands. 
Again, at the 10th verse, — " Unto the married I com- 
7nand, yet not I, hut the Lord.^^ This commandment 
had been delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ himself. 
The Apostle, therefore had no new commandment to 
deliver to them, or no commandment from himself 
only, but one which the Lord had given. " To the 
rest, speak /, not the Lord.'' There was no former 
commandment given by the Lord, to which he might 
here refer them ; on this point, therefore, he now deli- 
vers to them the will of God. So far, indeed, was this 
commandment from having been given before, that it 
was the repeal of an old one, by which, under the 
Jewish dispensation, the people were commanded to 
put away their wives, if heathens. Can it, then, be 
supposed, that the Apostle is speaking from himself, 
and not under the dictation of the Holy Ghost, when 
he is declaring the abrogation of a part of the law of 

" NoiVy concerning virgins, I have no command' 
ment of the Lord ; yet I give my judgment as one 
that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to he faithful.'^ 
Here again no commandment had formerly been given, 
to which Paul could refer those to whom he wrote. 
But now, he gave his judgment as one that had ob- 
tained mercy of the I^ord to be faithful in the discharge 
of that ministry which he had received, to deliver the 
whole counsel of God to man. "/ think also that I 
have the spirit of God" In this, as in many other 
passages, the word translated, "I think,"* does not 

* " On 1 Cor. vii. 40, Woljius remarks, that the v. ^oku im- 


mean doubting, but certainty. If Paul meant it to be 
understood, that he was not certain whether he was in- 
spired or not, it would contradict all he has so often posi- 
tively declared, in the same Epistle, on the subject of 
his inspiration, both before the expression in question 
and afterwards, when he says, chap, xiv, 37, " If any 
man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let 
him acknowledge that the things which I write unto 
you are the commandments of the Lord." And it 
would stand directly opposed to what he affirms, 1 Thess. 
iv. 8, " He, therefore, that despiseth, despiseth not man, 
but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit." 
But so far is this from being the case, that in order 
more deeply to impress the minds of those to whom he 
wrote, with the importance of what he had said, Paul 
concludes by assuring them that he was certain that he 
wrote by the Spirit of God. 

The only other passage in which this Apostle is sup- 
posed to disclaim inspiration, occurs in 2 Cor. xi. 17 : — 
" That which I speak^ I speak it not after the Lord, 
hut as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting" 
In this passage Paul does not refer to the authority, 
but to the example of the Lord. " I speak not accord- 
ing to the example or manner of the Lord, but after 
the manner of fools :" a manner which, as he tells the 
Corinthians in the next chapter, they had compelled 
him to adopt. Such is the true sense of the above 
passages ; but even if the mistaken meaning that is so 

ports not an uncertain opinion, but conviction and knowledge, 
as John, v. 39. So in Xenophon, Cyroped. , at the end of the 
proem, K<r6yi<r6»i AOKOYMEN expresses assuranctf not 
doubt." — Parkhurst. 


often attributed to them were the just one, they would 
not at all militate against the plenary inspiration of 
the Scriptures, because in that case Paul must be viewed 
as having- been inspired to write precisely as he has 
done, since they form a part of Scripture, all of which 
is given hy inspiration of God, 

Another passage in the Second Epistle of Peter, i. 19, 
is frequently quoted, so as to invalidate the Apostolic 
testimony. Peter had just before declared, that on the 
mount of transfiguration, he and the other Apostles 
had been eye-witnesses of the majesty of Jesus Christ, 
and had heard the voice from heaven, which attested 
that he was the beloved Son of God. Yet, after this, 
he is supposed to refer Christians to the word of pro- 
phecy, as "more sure" than this testimony. Instead 
of this, which is evidently a most improper view of the 
passage, degrading to the testimony of the Apostles 
(than which there is nothing in heaven, or on earth, 
more absolutely certain,) he refers to the prophecies, 
now made " more firm," or " confirmed, " by what they 
had witnessed. * 

Two passages are quoted from Paul's First Epistle 
to Timothy, v. 23, " Drink no longer water, hut use 
a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often 
infirmities" And 2 Tim. iv. 13, " The cloak that I 
left at Troas with Carpits, when thou comest, bring' 
with thee, and the books, but es2^ecially the parch- 

* " He," the Apostle, " does not oppose," says Wetstein, 
" the prophetic word to fables, or to the transfiguration seen by 
himself. . . But the prophetic word is more firm now, as it 
has been confirmed by the event, than it was before the event. 
So the Greek interpreters understood the passage." — Park- 

VOL. I. P 


ments.'^ These passag-es, it is supposed, are of so un- 
important a nature, that they cannot be the dictates of 
inspiration. Such a conchision, even if we could not 
discover their use, would be altogether unwarrantable. 
On the same principle we might reject many other parts 
of Scripture, the import of which we do not understand ; 
but in doing so, we should act both as absurdly and 
irreverently as the daring infidel, who might assert that 
a worm or a mushroom was not the workmanship of 
God, because it appeared to him insignificant ; or that 
the whole world was not created by God, because it 
contained deserts and barren wastes, the use of which 
he could not comprehend. 

In reference to the above passages, Dr Doddridge 
makes the following remarks : " There are other ob- 
jections of a quite different class, with which I have 
no concern ; because they affect only sttch a degree of 
inspiration as 1 think it not prudent, and 1 am sure it 
is not necessary, to assert. I leave them, therefore, to 
be answered hy those, if any such there be, who ima- 
gine that Paid would need an immediate Revelation 
from Heaven, and a miraculous dictate of the Holy 
Ghost, to remind Timothy of the cloak and writings 
which he left at Troas, or to advise him to mingle a 
little wine with his water T * Modern writers on inspi- 
ration have hkewise singled out these two passages, 
together with the shipwreck of Paul on the island of 
Melita, as uninspired, because they conceive that " these 
were not things of a religious nature." 

Respecting the account of the Apostle's shipwreck, 
there are few things to be found in the historical part 

* Dissertation on the Inspiration of the New Testament, in 
Appendix to the Harmony of the Evangelists, p. 58. 


of the Bible that are more truly valuable, whether we 
consider the delightful and encouraging- views it affords 
of the providential dealings of the Lord in every cir- 
cumstance of the life of his people, or attend to the 
unparalleled illustration it furnishes of the manner by 
which the purposes of God are, in the use of means, 
carried into effect. Nothing could be more worthy of 
inspiration than the recording of this portion of Scrip- 
ture ; and so far from not being- of a religious nature, 
the account it contains is fraught with the most import- 
ant religious instruction. As to the objection that is 
founded on the two passages in the Epistles to Timothy, 
it being- both commonly made and resorted to as one of 
the strongholds of those who oppose the verbal inspira- 
tion of the whole Scripture, it requires to be examined 
at some length. Instead of being so trifling as to ren- 
der them unworthy to be a part of Divine Revelation, 
they present considerations of very high interest. 

In the first of these passages, it is said, " Drink no 
longer water, hut use a little wine for thy stomach's 
sake, and thine often infirmities" A due considera- 
tion of the nature of the office of Paul, who gave this 
injunction to Timothy, and of the Epistle in which it 
is contained, as a part of the oracles of God, as well as 
of the service in which Timothy was engaged, ought 
to have deterred any one from rashly concluding that 
this verse forms no part of the words of inspiration. 
The connexion, too, in which it is found, embodied in 
one of the most solemn addresses to be met with in the 
Scriptures, assures us that it must contain something of 
importance. " / charge thee before God, and the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou 
observe these . things^ without preferring one before 


another, doing nothing hi) partiality. Lay hands 
suddenly on no man, neither he partaker of other 
men^s sins: keep thyself j^u^e. Drink no longer 
water, hut use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, 
and thine often infirmities. Some mien's sins are open 
heforehand, going hefore to judgment ; and some men 
they folloiv after. Likewise also the good works of 
some are manifest heforehand ; and they that are 
otherwise cannot he hid." Can it be imagined that, in 
the midst of an address, in which, if the language of in- 
spiration is to be found in the Bible, the Apostle is 
speaking by it, before the charge is completed, which 
contains a permanent law in the kingdom of Christ, the 
course of that inspiration is suddenly interrupted, and 
broken in upon, by a remark merely human, " not of a 
religious nature," by an advice, which, originating 
with the Apostle, might not be judicious ? On the con- 
trary, being fully assured that the verse in question is, 
like the other parts of the charge that precede and fol- 
low it, dictated by the Divine Spirit, we are prepared 
to regard it as containing what is worthy of its author, 
and deserving of our attention. Proceeding, then, to 
examine it, under the settled conviction that it is given 
by inspiration of God, and that it is profitable for in- 
struction in righteousness, I observe. That while en- 
joining upon Timothy many arduous and laborious 
duties, the Apostle was inspired to admonish him to 
attend to bis health, in order to fit him for their right 
discharge ; and hence Timothy was taught, and we 
learn, that it is the duty of every man to have a regard 
for his health, even amidst the most important labours, 
in order that he may be more fitted for the service of 
God, and that his life may be prolonged in that service. 


2. We learn the abstemiousness of Timothy, not- 
withstanding* his bodily weakness, and abundant la- 

3. That his abstemiousness was even carried the 
length of an unnecessary austerity, and that although 
he had a good end in view, this over-abstemiousness 
was wrong, and was therefore corrected by the Apostle. 
Hence, we learn how apt we are to err, even when our 
intentions are good, and how necessary it is to receive 
direction from the Lord. 

4). If Timothy was in an error respecting the lawful- 
ness of using wine, that error is here corrected ; but 
whether this was the case or not, it was a matter of 
importance to instruct believers on this point, on which, 
as it appears from Rom. xiv. 21, a diversity of opinion 
existed in the churches. The lawfulness of the use of 
wine was denied by the Essenes, a sect among the Jews, 
as was afterwards the case with different Christian sects. 
This error may have been imbibed by them, or confirm- 
ed by the law of the Nazarites, or from a partial atten- 
tion to the manner in which the Rechabites, who 
abstained from wine, were held up as an example of 
obedience to the people of Israel. In this view of the 
passage, it contains a most salutary and necessary cor- 
rective of what might otherwise have become exten- 
sively prejudicial in the kingdom of Christ ; and it 
proves a useful comment, in the way of warning, on 
what the Apostle had said a little before, concerning a 
defection that was to take place in the latter times, in 
which false teachers were to command men to abstain 
from meats which God had created, to be received with 
thanksgiving, chap. iv. 3. 

5. " Use a little wine." Here we are instructed in 


the duty of temperance. We are taught to use the 
bounties of Providence with moderation, and in subordi- 
nation to our sustenance and bodily health. 

6. If the error of those who live too abstemiously, so 
as to hurt their health, be here corrected ; how much 
more does this passage condemn those who exceed in a 
contrary extreme, and who impair their constitutions 
by intemperance ! 

7. From this passage, as from some others, e.g. 
Phil. ii. 27, we learn that the Apostles had it not in 
their power on every occasion, even when they might 
be desirous of it, to work miraculous cures, and that tbe 
gift of healing, at that time vouchsafed, did not preclude 
the use of means for the preservation of health. 

8. This passage sanctions the medical profession. 
This is very important, as some Christians have been 
inclined to think, that to have recourse to a physician 
is to supersede the interposition of God. Now, the 
prescription of Paul to Timothy was a medical pre- 
scription, founded on the fitness of the medicinal quali- 
ties of wine. Christians ought, indeed, to look to God 
for their cure, so ought they for the nourishment of 
their bodies, for man does not live by bread alone ; but 
both food and medicine are to be taken as the means 
appointed by God, as we here learn. 

The other passage referred to, occurs in Paul's Se- 
cond Epistle to Timothy, ch. iv. 13, " The cloak that I 
left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring 
with thee, and the hooks, hut especially the parch- 
ments.^' This passage, like the former, is introduced 
in the midstof very solemn considerations, in connexion 
with an annunciation of the Apostle Paul's trial for 
his life, and in the immediate prospect of his martyr- 


dom. In his desire to have his cloak brought to him 
from a distance, a proof is recorded at the close of his 
ministry, of Paul's disinterestedness in his labours 
among- the churches. We are here reminded of his 
resolution, and are taught how faithfully he adhered to 
it, to make the gospel of God without charge ; and in 
the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed, not 
to abuse his power of receiving support in preaching 
the Gospel, or to allow his glorying on the ground of 
his disinterestedness to be made void, 1 Cor. ix. 13-18. 
On the approach of winter, in a cold prison, and at the 
termination of his course, the Apostle Paul appears 
here to be a follower indeed of him who had not where 
to lay his head. He is presented to our view as actually 
enduring those hardships, which elsewhere he describes 
in a manner so affecting, — " in prisons, in cold, in 
nakedness." He had abandoned, as he elsewhere in- 
forms us, all the fair prospects that once opened to him 
of worldly advantages, for the excellency of the know- 
ledge of Christ, and had suffered the loss of all things : 
and in this Epistle we see all that he has said on the 
subject, embodied and verified. He is about to suffer 
death for the testimony of Jesus ; and now he requests 
one of the few friends that still adhered to him (all the 
others, as he tells us, having forsaken him), to do his 
diligence to come before winter, and to bring to him 
his cloak. Here, in his solemn farewell address, of 
which the verse before us forms a part, — the last of his 
writings, and which contains a passage of unrivalled 
grandeur, — the Apostle of the Gentiles is exhibited in 
a situation calculated deeply to affect us. We behold 
him standing upon the confines of the two worlds, — in 
this world about to be beheaded, as guilty, by the Em- 


peror of Rome, — in the other world to be crowned, as 
righteous, by the King- of Kings, — here deserted by 
men, there to be welcomed by angels, — here in want of 
a cloak to cover him, there to be clothed upon with his 
house from heaven. 

Dr Doddridge, in his commentary on the passage 
before us, has the following note : — " Bring with thee 
that cloak. If (pgAevjov here signifies cloaks or mantle, it 
is, as G^ro^m* justly observes, a proof of Paw/'* poverty, 
that he had occasion to send so far for such a garment, 
which probably was not quite a new one." Since, as 
we here learn, this observation of Grotius appeared 
just to Dr Doddridge, it might have prevented him 
from rashly treating the subject with the levity which 
appears in his remark, formerly quoted, and from think- 
ing it not " prudent" to assert, that the text was dic- 
tated by the Holy Spirit. The observation of Grotius 
to which he refers, is as follows : " See the poverty of 
so great an Apostle, who considered so small a matter, 
left at such a distance, to be a loss to him !" On the 
same place, Erasmus remarks : " Behold the Apostle's 
household furniture, a cloak to defend him from rain, 
and a few books !" Here, then, we are reminded in- 
cidentally (a manner of instruction common in the 
Word of God), of Paul's poverty. In the low, dis- 
tressed circumstances of the Apostles, we seethe Lord's 
warnings, as to the reception they were to meet with 
from the world, and the hardships and privations they 
were to experience, fully verified. The evidence of the 
truth of the Gospel, which arises from the suffering 
condition of those who were first employed to propagate 
it, is calculated to produce on our minds the strongest 
conviction of its Divine origin. In the wisdom of 


God it appears to have been appointed for this end ; 
and it is all along- kept in view, in the accounts trans- 
mitted in the Scriptures concerning them. " I think 
that God hath set forth us the Apostles last, as it were 
appointed unto death ; for we are made a spectacle 
unto the world, and to angels, and to men. — Even 
unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and 
are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwell- 
ing-place." 1 Cor. iv. 9-II. 

Paul also desires Timothy to bring with him the 
" books, but especially the parchments." Whatever 
these parchments were, the use that Paul intended to 
make of them would be well known to Timothy, and 
in it he might have a farther example of the Apostle's 
zeal, and unwearied exertion in the service of God. By 
this passage we may be taught, that even those who 
were so highly favoured with the most distinguished 
gifts, w^ere not raised above the necessity of using 
means for their own improvement, and for the stirring 
up of those gifts that were in them ; and if this was 
the case respecting them, how forcibly is the duty 
here inculcated upon us, to give diligence to retain 
the knowledge of Divine things which we may already 
possess, and to seek to add to our present attainments, 
whatever we may suppose them to be ! We are certain 
that they were not useless books which the Apostle 
required to be brought to him at such a time, and from 
so great a distance. They must have been intended to 
be profitable to himself, or in some way to be turned 
to the advancement of that cause, to promote which 
was his only desire, and for which he was now about to 
suffer. In any, or all of these views, the contents of 
this verse may convey instruction, and afford an ex- 


ample to us ; and at any rate, we can no more conceive 
that the course of inspiration is here interrupted, with- 
out the smallest intimation to this effect (of which an 
example in the whole Bible cannot be produced), than 
we can believe it was the case concerning the verse 
which we formerly considered. 

In the former of the above passages, we observe Paul 
evincing his kindness and sympathy, and attending to 
the wants of a fellow labourer ; in the latter, to his 
own wants. Is there any thing in either of them 
beneath the dignity of Divine Revelation ? In pre- 
scribing by his Apostle, the use of wine, which he 
would bless for the re-establishment of the health of 
Timothy, the Lord acted in the same manner as when 
he directed his prophet to order the application of a 
" lump of figs," for the cure of King Hezekiah. Was 
it beneath the dignity of Him who turned water into 
wine at a marriage feast, to order the use of wine for 
the preservation of Timothy's health, instead of the use 
of water ? Was this unworthy of that Lord who had 
condescended so far to the indulgence of the feelings 
of his people, as to cause it to be engrossed in his law, 
that the man who had planted a vineyard, and had not 
eaten of it, should not go out to war, lest he should 
die in the battle ? Deut. xx. 6. 

So far from there being any thing in these passages 
beneath the dignity of a revelation from God, or un- 
worthy of his character, they are entirely consistent 
with the one, and strikingly illustrative of the other. 
And it is only when we consider them, not as the word 
of man, but as " the ivord of God," that we discover 
their beauty and their use. It is God himself who 
here speaks. He who is the high and lofty One that 


inhabiteth eternity, condescends to the weakness and to 
the wants of his servants. Nothing that interests them 
escapes his notice. The hairs of their head are all 
numbered, and the smallest circumstance of their lot is 
ordered by the providence of God. What a striking 
illustration do these tvvo passages afford, of those affect- 
ing considerations which Jesus presented to his dis- 
ciples, Luke, xii. 22-30, in order to withdraw their 
minds from the cares and anxieties to which they are 
so prone to yield during their earthly pilgrimage ! 
Viewing these verses in this light, as the ivords of God 
himself] can any thing be more adapted to foster the 
spirit of adoption, or to lead us to cry, Abba, Father ? 
And are they to be expunged from the Sacred Record, 
as incompatible with the idea we ought to form of in- 
spiration, and unworthy of proceeding from God ? But 
at such passages as these the blind intidel scoffs, while 
the injudicious or ill-instructed Christian considers 
them as useless, and converts them into an argument 
against the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. 

On the same principle that the admonition to 
Timothy, to drink no longer water, but to use a little 
wine for the benefit of his health, is rejected as unwor- 
thy of verbal inspiration, ought not the truth of the 
miracle wrought at the marriage at Cana in Galilee, of 
turning water into wine, to be denied, and the occasion 
deemed unworthy of miraculous interposition ; and espe- 
cially of its being exhibited as the first of the miracles 
of Jesus ? Shall we be told that it also was a " thing 
not of a religious nature," that it was not worthy to be 
recorded by the pen of inspiration, that it is not " j»rw- 
dent" to speak of such a passage as inspired ; or to 
admit with those, " if any such there be, who imagine " 


that Jesus first manifested forth his glory, by turning 
a little water into wine ? 

The levity, not to say the profaneness, of this man- 
ner of treating the Holy Scriptures, ought to be held 
in abhorrence. Their paramount authority, and their 
unity as the Word of God, are thus set aside. The 
Bible is converted into another book ; and a nevv reve- 
lation, were such licentious principles of interpretation 
admitted, would become indispensable to teach the 
humble Christian, who takes it for " a lamp unto his 
feet, and a light unto his path," what portion of it he 
is to consider as from God, and what portion as from 
man_, what parts of it are of " a religious nature," 
from which he may derive edification, and in which he 
may converse with God, and what parts relate only 
to " common or civil afiairs," with which he has no 
concern, and respecting which it would not be prudent 
to speak of them as inspired. If, in this manner, in- 
spiration is first denied to the words, and next to such 
things as are suppossed not to be " of a religious nature," 
the progress to the non-inspiration of whole books of 
Scripture, is perfectly easy and natural ; and, if whole 
books are rejected, then, both the authenticity and in- 
spiration of the whole of the Scriptures are subverted. 
For, if the canon has admitted one uninspired book, 
there is no security that it has not admitted more ; and 
if that canon has been recognised by Jesus Christ with 
one uninspired book, every book in the collection may 
be uninspired, notwithstanding that recognition. If the 
Apostle Paul has asserted the inspiration of the whole 
volume, while one book is uninspired, no book in the 
volume can be received on his authority. The discovery, 
in like manner, of one single passage in the Scriptures 


not dictated by the Holy Ghost, would make void the 
declaration, that " all Scripture is given by inspiration 
of God," and would render inspiration necessary to tell 
us what part of it is inspired, and what is not. Ac- 
cording to those writers who deny the doctrine of 
plenary inspiration, we have not the pure Word of God ; 
for much that we have under that designation, is solely 
the word of man. 

Let those who treat the Scriptures in this manner 
pause, and review the principles on which they are 
proceeding; and let them not perplex " plain Christians" 
with their rash and unhallowed speculations. The 
great body of believers receive, with implicit credence, 
the whole contents of the Bible, as the oracles of God ; 
they venture not either to add to it, or to take from 
it. Convinced that it is the book of God, they treat 
even those parts of it which they do not imderstand 
with humble reverence ; and in them is fulfilled what 
is written, Matth. xi. 25, while the fancied wisdom and 
knowledge of many learned critics has perverted them, 
Isaiah, xlvii. 10. Those who, in the spirit of little 
children, read in the Epistles of Paul to Timothy, that 
" all Scripture is given by inspiration of God," will not 
easily be induced to believe, that in the very same 
Epistles the Apostle has contradicted his own decla- 
ration, and has afforded at least two examples of the 
fallacy and unsoundness of what he had, almost in the 
same breath, so solemnly affirmed. And it is upon 
the general ground of these passages being found in 
Scripture^ indeptendently of the meaning tvhich may 
he affixed to them, that we denounce the profane man- 
ner in which they have been treated, and hold them to 
be a portion of the Word of God. It was in this light 


that Origen, who was born towards the end of the 
second century, viewed those parts of Scripture as in- 
spired, of which he was not able to discover the use. 
The following- are his words when quoting Mark, x. 
30 : " Shall we say that the Evangelist wrote without 
thought, when he related the man's casting away his 
garment, and leaping and coming to Jesus ? and shall 
we dare to say that these things were inserted in the 
Gospels in vain ? For my part, I believe that not one 
jot or tittle of the Divine instruction is in vain. We 
are never to say that there is any thing impertinent 
or superfluous in the Scriptures of the Holy Spirit, 
thougi.1 to some they may seem obscure. But we are 
to turn the eyes of our mind to Him who commanded 
these things to be written, and seek of Him the inter- 
pretation of them. The sacred Scriptures come from 
the fulness of the Spirit ; so that there is nothing in 
the Prophets, or the Law, or the Gospel, or the Apos- 
tles, whieh descends not from the fulness of the Divine 
Majesty." *' Well knowing," says Irenseus, " that the 
Scriptures are perfect, as dictated by the Word of God 
and his Spirit — a heavy punishment awaits those who 
add to, or take from, the Scriptures." 

The inspiration of the account of Paul's shipwreck, 
and that of Paul in writing for his cloak, stand upon 
the same foundation as the inspiration of any doctrine 
in the plan of salvation. But, to be able to show that 
these facts contain religious instruction, is not necessary 
for the vindication of their inspiration. That they are 
inspired, is ascertained by their being found in a book 
that is divinely attested as inspired. We ought not to 
read in order to discriminate in the Scriptures by a hu- 
man theory what is divine from what is human, but to 


read every word as the dictate of God, and endeavour 
to find out the religious use the Holy Spirit intended 
we should derive from it. Admitting that in some 
things we should not be successful, whether is it more 
proper tb reject those as not given by the inspiration 
of God, or to suppose that the Divine Word may con- 
tain treasures that we are not able perfectly to exhaust ? 
"If," says Mr Scott, " we could not understand, or get 
any benefit from certain portions of the Scriptures, it 
would be more reasonable to blame our own dulness, 
than so much as in thought, to censure them as useless " 
It should, moreover, be remembered that to entitle the 
simplest narrative to be called Scripture, requires as 
much inspiration as any thing contained in Scripture. 

Some who are satisfied as to the inspiration of all 
the other parts of the New Testament Scriptures, are 
doubtful concerning the inspiration of the three books 
written by Mark and Luke, who were not Apostles, 
From early accounts concerning these disciples, it is 
reckoned by many that they were among the seventy 
whom Jesus sent out in Judea. We know for certain, 
that they respectively accompanied Peter and Paul in 
their journeys, and they are mentioned by these two 
Apostles with much regard. The Apostles not only 
received the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, but 
by laying on their hands imparted these gifts to other 
disciples. When Peter went down to Samaria, he laid 
his hands on the disciples there, who then received the 
Holy Ghost. When Paul wrote to the Christians at 
Rome, he informed them that he longed to see them, 
that he might impart to them some spiritual gift. Paul 
had communicated a gift to Timothy, whom he employ- 
ed, as he also did Titus, in directing the churches in 


his absence. " I put thee in n/^memhrancey that thou 
stir up the gift of God.) ichich is in thee, hy the put- 
ting on of mil hands." By means of these gifts, those 
who possessed them were enabled to speak in languages 
they had never learned, and some of thera to speak, 
by " revelation," the mind of God. There can be no 
reason, then, to doubt, that to Mark and Luke, con- 
sidering- the circumstances in ^vhich they stood vrith 
the Apostles, the best miraculous gifts were also com- 
municated. They were not Apostles, but they were 
prophet^ ivho received immediate revelations from the 
Spirit, jiph. iii. 5. 

But che conclusive argument as to the inspiration 
and ^cness of these two disciples to contribute the 
books they have furnished to the sacred volume, does 
not rest on any supposition respecting them, however 
good the grounds of it may be, but on the fact, that 
the books they wrote are a part of those Scriptures of 
which it is said, " All Scripture is given by inspira- 
tion of God," and that the first churches, under the 
immediate guidance and superintendence of the 
Apostles, received these books on an equal footing- with 
the other Scriptures. The nation of Israel was ap- 
pointed by God himself to be the depositaries of the 
Old Testament Scriptures, which are stamped with the 
authority of Jesus Christ. In like manner, to that 
nation which constitutes the kingdom of heaven, the 
New Testament Scriptures were committed. To it 
they were addressed and delivered by the Apostles, 
whom Christ had commissioned to record his words, 
which these Scriptures contain. The inspiration, there- 
fore, of this second portion of the Holy Scriptures, 
stands on the same footing- with that of the first por- 


tion, and is equally stamped with his authority. We 
appeal to .the canon of the Jews with respect to the 
Old Testament, and we have the same strong ground 
of confidence, when we receive from the first churches 
the Scriptures of the New Testament. As, therefore, 
the Gospels of Mark and Luke, and the Acts of the 
Apostles, were received by them without dispute, were 
read by them in their assemblies every Lord's day, and 
taken for the rule of their duty, as of equal authority 
with the other Scriptures, which we have already seen 
by quotations from the early Christian writers ; so we 
conclude with certainty, that these books stand on the 
same footing in point of authority, in other words, of 
inspiration, with all the rest, and form a part of the 
words olf Christ, by which we shall be judged at the 
last day. 

It is often supposed that the historical parts of Scrip- 
ture were written by men acquainted with the facts 
that are recorded, under a Divine superintendence ^ by 
which they were prevented from falhng into any error. 
This opinion is founded on very low and most erro- 
neous ideas of those portions of the Word of God, and 
of their use. It supposes that those histories are little 
more than the narrative of the facts they contain, in 
which we are not greatly concerned. But every fact 
they record is fraught with important instruction. This 
idea was so strongly impressed upon the Jews, that 
they maintained that God had more care of the letters 
and syllables of the Law, than of the stars of heaven ; 
and that upon each tittle of it, whole mountains of 
doctrine hung. Hence every individual letter of the 
Law was numbered by them, and notice was taken how 
often it occurred. The facts of the Scripture history 

VOL. I. Q 


teacli the character of God, and the character of man. 
They are the history of God's providence and ways, 
and all of them refer to the work of the Messiah. 

In the tenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Co- 
rinthians, the essential importance of the historical 
parts of the Old Testament Scriptures is placed beyond 
all doubt. After referring- to the recorded history of 
Israel, concerning their passage throug-h the Red Sea, 
and the manner in which they Mere conducted in the 
wilderness, the Apostle add-s, " No2v all these things 
hajjpened to them for examples^ and they are written 
for our admonition^ up on whom the ends of the ivorld 
are come." Here the purpose and value of the histori- 
cal parts of Scripture are demonstrated. Thej" are in- 
tended for the admonition oH\iQ people of God. ^'What- 
soever things were written aforetime, luere written 
for our learning, that we through patience and com- 
fort of the Scriptures might have hope." — Rom. xv.4. 
In this text it is expressly affirmed, that every part 
of the Old Testament Scriptures was written for the use 
and edification of believers. Where, then, is there place 
for the impious sentiment which some have ventured to 
promulgate, so derogatory to every idea that we ought 
to entertain of the oracles of God, so diametrically 
opposed to all they inculcate respecting their own 
Divine origin and inspiration, that they contain certain 
things that are " not of a religious nature," and that 
« no inspiration was necessary concerning them ?" In 
opposition to such daring and profane theories, Paul, 
the commissioned and accredited ambassador of Jesus 
Christ affirms that " ALL Scripture is given hy in- 
sjnration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for 
reproof for correction, for instruction in righteous' 


nesS) that the man of God may he perfect, thoroughly 
furnished unto all good u-orks" The above compre' 
hensive declarations include the historical as well as 
the prophetical and doctrinal parts of the Sacred Oracles, 
in short, the whole of them. 

When the typical import of so many of the sacred 
narratives, concerning persons, places, institutions, and 
events, with their necessary bearings, in subserviency 
to the ushering in of the Messiah, are duly attended to, 
all may be convinced, that for selecting and relating 
these histories, in which nothing was to be deficient, and 
nothing redundant, and for placing before us these 
mystic pictures for our instruction, the most plenary 
inspiration, the most accurate divine dictation, was in- 
dispensable. The prophets, and even the angels, had 
but a partial understanding of the things that were 
afterwards to take place. Moses, it is evident, was not 
aware, that, as being a type of Christ, it was necessary 
that his death should intervene, before the people of 
Israel should be led into the promised land. We have 
no reason to believe that he understood the import of 
all he wrote ; for instance, that when he recorded the 
history of Sarah and Hagar, he knew the design for 
which it was recorded, and the use that was afterwards 
to be made of it. We cannot doubt that the prayer of 
David, " Open thou mine eyes, that I may hehold 
wondrous things out of thy law" was equally suitable 
for Moses, who wrote that law. It was the Lord who 
made the statutes, and judgments, and laws, between 
him and the children of Israel, hy the hand o/" Moses. 
— Lev. xxvi. 46. 

Had the wisest and best informed of the Scripture 
historians not been inspired of God, but simply super- 


intended, so as to prevent them from falling- into error, 
the histories recorded by them would have been very 
unlike those which they have actually transmitted. 
Many of their narrations that exist would never have 
appeared, and others of them would have been very 
differently modified. We might have discovered in 
them the self-approving wisdom of man, but not the 
seeming "foolishness of God." Would the united sa- 
gacity of all the wise men in the world have led them 
to relate the history of the creation of the universe in 
one chapter of his book, as Moses has done, and of the 
erection of the tabernacle in thirteen?* Would the 
fond prejudices of the Jewish nation, or the general 
desire, fostered by so many of the learned, to support 
what is called the dignity of human nature, in both 
which Moses no doubt participated, have permitted 
him to record so base an action as the selling of their 

* If we compare the first chapter of Genesis with the last six- 
teen of Exodus, excepting the thirty-second and the two follow- 
ing, we shall find a great difference between Moses' describing 
the construction of the universe and that of the tabernacle. In 
the one, he is very general and succinct ; in the other, he is very 
copious, and marks the smallest peculiarities. The description 
of the great edifice of the world seemed truly to require more 
words than that of a small tent. But, on the contrary, the Spirit 
of God having presented a short representation of the whole 
mass of the world, details at great length the structure of the 
tabernacle. The world was solely constructed for the Church, 
in order that in it God should be served, and by it his glory 
manifested, Eph. iii. 10. The tabernacle was, in one view, a 
figure of the Church. God, thus purposing to show that his 
church, in which he was to be served, was more precious to him 
and more important, than all the rest of the world, has spoken 
of the tabernacle more amply and more particularly than of all 
/,ho e'ements and all the universe together. 


brother Joseph as a slave by the Jewish patriarchs, 
the incest of Judah, whose tribe was to be always pre- 
eminent, and the treachery and revenge of Levi, from 
whom was to descend the whole priesthood of Israel ? 

That there was a higher hand which directed the 
pens of Moses, and of the other writers of sacred his- 
tory, may be sufficiently manifest to all who have seen 
in what that history has issued. There is, besides, a 
combination and a harmony in the historical parts, 
both of the Old and New Testaments, which we have 
sufficient ground to believe in a great measure escaped 
the notice of the writers, as has also been the case with 
thousands of those who have read them; a variety and 
a unity which irresistibly prove that One only. He 
who knows the end from the beginning is the author 
of the whole, who employed various individuals to pro- 
duce a uniform work, of which none of them either 
comprehended all that he contributed to it, or knew for 
what reason he was directed to record one thing,* and 
to omit another. 

Considering the purpose which the historical parts 
of the Scriptures were intended to serve, in exhibiting 
the character and power of God, and his uninterrupted 
agency in the government of the world, and in point- 

* A remarkable instance of this occurs in the repetition of the 
tenth commandment in the book of Deuteronomy. The Roman- 
ists are in the habit of striking out the second commandment, 
■which condemns their idolatry ; and, to preserve the appearance 
of integrity for the decalogue, they divide the tenth command- 
ment into two. The transposition of the two first clauses of this 
commandment in the book of Deuteronomy, for which at first 
aight no reason can be assigned, completely stultifies and exposes 
their artifice. 


ing" to him who is the end of the law, we have suffi- 
cient reason to be convinced, that neither Moses, nor 
the other sacred historians, nor all the angels in hea- 
ven, though acquainted with all the facts, and under 
the direction, and with the aid, both of superintendence 
and elevation, were competent to write the historical 
parts of the Word of God. They neither possessed 
foresig-ht nor wisdom sufficient for the work. In both 
respects every creature is limited. Into these things, 
the angels, so far from being qualified to select and 
indite them, "desire to look," and, from the contem- 
plation of them, derive more knowledge of God than 
they before possessed, and have their joy even in 
heaven increased. In those histories, the thoughts and 
secret motives of men are often unfolded and referred 
to. Was any one but the Searcher of Hearts compe- 
tent to this ? Could angels have revealed them, unless 
distinctly made known to them ? If it be replied, that 
in such places the sacred writers enjoyed the inspira- 
tion of suggestion, that is, of verbal dictation, we ask, 
where is the distinction to be found ? It is a distinc- 
tion unknown to the Scriptures. And so far from a 
plenary inspiration not being necessary in its historical 
parts, there is not any portion of the sacred volume in 
which it is more indispensable. But even admitting- 
that verbal inspiration was not in our view essential in 
those parts of the book of God, is this a reason why we 
should not receive the testimony of the sacred writers, 
who nowhere give the most distant hint that they are 
written under a different kind or degree of inspiration 
from the rest of it ; but who, in the most unqualified 
manner, assert that full inspiration belongs to the whole 
of the Scriptures ? 


The words that are used in the prophetical parts of 
Scripture, must necessarily have been communicated 
to the prophets. They did not always comprehend 
the meaning of their own predictions, into which they 
" searched diligently." And in this case, it was impos- 
sible that, unless the words had been dictated to them, 
they could have written intellig-ibly. Although they 
had written the Scriptures, it was necessary to show 
them " that which is noted in the Scripture of truth," 
Dan. X. 21. The writings of the prophets constitute 
a great portion of the Old Testament Scriptures, and 
God claims it as his sole prerogative, to know the things 
that are to come. We are therefore certain that they 
enjoyed verbal inspiration ; and, as we have not any- 
where a hint of different kinds of inspiration by which 
the Scriptures are written, does it not discover the most 
presumptuous arrogance to assert that there are different 
kinds ? 

The nature of the mission of the prophets required 
the full inspiration which they affirm that they pos- 
sessed. God never intrusted such a work as they had 
to perform to any man, nor any part of such a work. 
It was God himself, " who, at sundry times, and in 
diverse manners, spake in time past unto the fathers, 
by the prophets." That work, through which was to 
be made known " to principalities and powers in hea- 
venly places, the manifold wisdom of God, according 
to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ 
Jesus," was not a work to be intrusted to any creature. 
The prophet Micah, iii. 8, says, " Buttruly I am full 
of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of Judgment, 
and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, 
and to Israel his sin" It was not the prophets, then. 


who spoke, but the Spirit of God who spoke by 

Of the complete direction necessary for such a ser- 
vice as was committed to him, both of lawgiver and 
prophet, Moses was aware, when the Lord commanded 
him to go to Pharaoh, and to lead forth the children 
of Israel from Egypt. In that work he entreated that 
he might not be employed. This proved the proper 
sense he entertained of his own unfitness for it. But 
it was highly sinful, and evinced great weakness of 
faith, thus to hesitate, after the Lord had informed him 
that he would be " with him." Moses was accordingly 
reproved for this, but the ground of his plea was ad- 
I mitted ; and full inspiration, not only as to the subject 
of his mission, but as to the very words he was to 
employ, was promised. In answer to his objection, 
the Lord said unto him, Exod. iv. 11, 12, " Who hath 
made man's mouth ? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, 
or the seeing, or the blind ? have not I the Lord ? 
Now therefore go, and / ivill be with thy mouthy and 
teach thee what thou shall say." Moses still urged his 
objection, and the same reply was in substance repeated, 
both in regard to himself and to Aaron. The full in- 
spiration, then, which was at lirst promised to Moses 
in general terms, was, for his encouragement, made 
known in this particular manner, and the promise was 
distinctly fulfilled. Accordingly, when, as the law- 
giver of Israel, he afterwards addressed the people, he 
was warranted to preface what he enjoined upon them 
with, " Thus saith the Lord,'^ or, " These are the 
words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should 
do themr In observing all the commandments that 
Moses commanded them, and in remembering the way 


by which the Lord had led them, Israel was to learn, 
that " man doth not live by bread alonQ, but by every 
ivord that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LordV 
Signs were shown to Moses, and God came unto him 
in a thick cloud, in order, as he said, " that the people 
may hear thee when I speak with thee^ and believe thee 
for ever" Exod. xix. 9« 

If the words of Moses had not been the words of 
God, had he not been conscious of the full verbal 
inspiration by which he wrote, would the following 
language have been suitable to him, or would he have 
ventured to use it ? Deuteronomy, iv. 2 : " Pe shall 
not add unto the word ivhich I command you^ neither 
shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep these 
commandments of the Lord your God which I com- 
mand your Deut. vi. 6 : " And these ivords, which 
I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart ; and 
thou shah teach them diligently unto thy children,** 
&c. Deut. xi. ] 8 : " Therefore shall ye lay up these 
my ivords in your heart and in your soul, and bind 
them for a sig?i upon your head, that they may be as 
frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them 
to your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in 
thine house, and ivhen thou ivalkest by the way, when 
thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou 
shalt ivrite them upon the door-posts of thine house, 
and upon thy gates'* From these passages, we learn 
that Moses was conscious that all the words which he 
spoke to the people, were the words of God. He knew 
that it was with him as with Balaam, to whom the 
Lord said. Numbers, xxii. 35, 38, " Only the tvord 
that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak ;* 
and in the language of Balaam, Moses could answer, 


" The word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall 

1 speak." 

As " the word of the Lord," was communicated to 
Moses, so it also came to Gad, to Nathan, and to the 
other prophets, who were men of God, and in whose 
mouths was the word of God. " Now hy this I know 
that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the 
Lord in thy mouth is truth" 1 Kings, xvii. 24. The 
manner in which the prophets delivered their messages, 
proves that they considered the words which they 
wrote, not as their own words, but dictated to them by 
God himself. Elija said to Ahab, " Behold I will 
bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity T 
On this, Mr Scott, in his Commentary, observes, " Eli- 
jah was the voice, the Lord was the speaker, whose words 
these were." This is a just account of all the mes- 
sages of the prophets. They introduce them with, 
" Thus saith the Lord^^ and declare them to be " the 
word of the Lord ;" and is it possible that the prophets 
could have more explicitly affirmed, that the words 
which they uttered were communicated to them, and 
that they were only the instruments of this communi- 
cation to those whom they addressed ? In the place 
where we read, " Now these be the last words of David, 
the sweet psalmist of Israel," David says, " The Spirit 
of the Lord spake hy me, and his ivord was in my 
tongue,'' 2 Samuel, xxii. 2. In like manner it is said, 
" And he did that which ivas evil in the sight of the 
Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jere- 
miahthe Prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord" 

2 Chron. xxxvi. I, 2. '• Yet many years didst thou 
forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy Spi- 
rit in the prophets" Nehemiah, ix. 30. Isaiah com- 


mences his prophecies by summoning- the heavens and 
the earth to hear, "ybr the Lord hath spoken^'' Isa. i. 2. 
In the same manner Jeremiah writes, " The words of 
Jeremiah, to whom the word of the Lord came'' " Then 
the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth; 
and the Lord said unto me. Behold, I have put my 
words in thy mouth'' " / will make my ivords in thy 
mouth Jire," Jeremiah, i. 1, 2 ; 9 ; v. l^. " Thus speak- 
eth the Lord God of Israel, saying. Write thee all 
the words that I have spoken unto thee in a hook^' Je- 
remiah, XXX. 2. Again, in the prophecies of Ezekiel, 
" Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel^ 
and speak my words unto them'' " Moreover, he said 
unto me, Son of man, all my ivords that I shall speak 
unto thee, receive in thine heai^t, and hear with thine 
ears, and go get thee to them of the captivity, unto the 
children of thy people, and speak unto them and tell 
them. Thus saiih the Lord God!' Ezekiel, iii. 4, 10. 
Hosea says, " The word of the Lord that came unto 
Hosea ;" *' The beginning of the luord of the Lord hy 
Hosea," i. 1, 2. It is in similar language that the 
other prophets generally introduce their predictions, 
which are everywhere interspersed with, " thus saith 
the Lord." 

All, then, that was spoken by the prophets in these 
several recorded passages, was spoken in the name of 
the Lord. When false prophets appeared, it was ne- 
cessary for them to profess to speak in the name of 
the Lord, and to steal his ivords from their neighbour. 
" / have heard what the prophets say, that prophecy 
lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have 
dreamed. The pi-ophet that hath a dream, let him tell 
a dream ; and he that hath my word, let him speak 


my word faithfully, Wliat is the chaff to the wheat 9 
saith the Lord. Is not my word like as afire ? saith 
the Lord ; and liho. a hammer that hreaheth the rock 
in pieces ? Therefore^ behold I am against the pro- 
phets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one 
from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the pro- 
phets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say. 
He saith." Jeremiah, xxiii. 25 — 31. They were the 
words of God, therefore, which the false prophets stole 
from the true prophets of Jehovah. 

The uniform language of Jesus Christ, and his 
Apostles, respecting the whole of the Old Testament 
Scriptures, proves that, without exception, they are 
" the Word of God." On what principle but that of 
the verbal inspiration of Scripture, can we explain our 
Lord's words, John, x. 35, " The Scripture cannot be 
broken ?" Here the argument is founded on one 
word, " gods," which without verbal inspiration might 
not have been used ; and if used improperly, might 
have led to idolatry. In proof of the folly of their 
charge of blasphemy, he refers the Jews to where it is 
written in their law, " I said ye are gods." The reply 
to this argument was obvious : — The Psalmist, they 
might answer, uses the word in a sense that is not 
proper. But Jesus precluded this observation, by 
affirming, that " the Scripture cannot be broken," that 
is, not a word of it can be altered, because it is the 
Word of Him with whom there is no variableness. 
Could this be said if the choice of words had been left 
to men ? Here, then, we find our Lord laying down 
a principle, which for ever sets the question at rest. 
The Apostles, in like manner, reason from the use of 
a particular word. Of this we have an example, 


Hebrews ii. 8, where the interpretation of the passage 
referred to depends on the word " alir Again, Gala- 
tians, iii. 16, a most important conclusion is drawn 
from the use of the word " seed^^ in the singular, and 
not in the plural number. A similar instance occurs, 
Hebrews, xii. 27, in the expression " once wzore," 
quoted from the prophet Haggai. 

When the Pharisees came to Jesus, and desired an 
answer respecting divorce, he replied, " Have ye not 
read, that he ivJiich made them at the beginning, made 
them a male and female ? and said, for this cause," &c. 
Thus, what is said in the history, either by Adam or 
Moses, at the formation of Eve, is appealed to as 
having the authority of a law. Adam was not a legis- 
lator, and nothing that Moses could say, unless dic- 
tated by God, could have the force of a law, to be 
quoted by our Lord. But what was then uttered by 
man, was the Word of God himself. 

The Lord Jesus Christ constantly refers to the 
whole of the Old Testament, as being, in the most 
minute particulars, of infallible authority. He speaks 
of the necessity of every word of the Law and the 
Prophets being fulfilled. " Till heaven and earth pass, 
one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, 
till all be fulfilled." — " It is easier for heaven and earth 
to pass, than one tittle of the Law to fail." — " The 
Scriptures," he says, " must be fulfilledr In numer- 
ous passages the Lord refers to what is " written^^ in 
the Scriptures, as of equal authority with his own de- 
clarations ; and, therefore, the words which they con- 
tain must be the words of God. 

The Apostles use similar language in their many 
references to the Old Testament Scriptures, which 


they quote as of decisive authority, and speak of them 
in the same way as they do of their own writings. 
" That ye may he immlful of the words ivhich ivere 
spoken before hy the holy j^rophets, and of the com- 
mandment of us the Apostles of the Lord and 
Saviour" 2 Peter, iii. 2. Paul says to Timothy, 
" From a child thou hast known the Holy Scrip- 
tures^ which are ahle to tnake thee wise unto salva- 
tion, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. 
iii. 15. In this way he proves the importance of the 
Old Testament Scriptures, and the connexion between 
the Mosaic and Christian dispensations. The Apos- 
tles call the Scriptures " the oracles of God," Rom. 
iii. 2. What God says is ascribed by them to the 
Scriptures : " The ScTip)ture saith unto Pharaoh, 
Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, 
that I might show my power in thee." — " For ivhat 
saith the Scripture ? Abraham believed God, and 
it was counted unto him for righteousness" — " What 
saith the Scriptures ? cast out the bond-woman and 
her son" So much is the Word of God identified 
with himself, that the Scripture is represented as 
possessing- and exercising- the peculiar prerogatives of 
God : " The Scripture, forseeing that God would 
justify the Heathen ;" — " The Scripture hath con- 
eluded all under sin" 

From the following passages, among others that 
might be adduced, we learn the true nature of that 
inspiration which is ascribed to the Old Testament by 
the writers of the New : Matth. i. 22, "Now all this 
was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken 
of the Lord by the Prophet." Matth. ii. 15, " And 
was there until the death of Herod : that it might be 


fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, 
saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." Matth. 
xxii. 43, " He saith unto them, How then doth David 
in spirit, call him Lord ?" Mark xii. 36, " For David 
himself said hy the Holy Ghost^ Luke, i. 70, " As 
he spake by the mouth of his holy Prophets, which have 
been since the vrorld began." Acts, i. 16, " Which 
the Holy Ghost spoke by the mouth of David." Acts, 
xiii. 35. " Z?e(God) saith also in another psalm. Thou 
shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." 
These words are here quoted as the words of God, 
although addressed to himself. In the parallel passage, 
Acts ii. 31, the same words are ascribed to David, by 
whose " mouth" therefore God spoke. Acts, xxviii. 
25, " And when they agreed not among themselves 
they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word : 
Well sjjake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet, 
unto our fathers." Rom. i. 2, " Which he had pro- 
mised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures." 
Rom. ix. 25, " As He saith also in Osee, I will call 
them my people, which were not my people ; and her 
Beloved, which was not beloved." 1 Cor. vi. 16, 17, 
" What ! know ye not, that he which is joined to an 
harlot is one body ? for two, saith He, shall be one 
flesh." Here the words of Adam or of Moses are re- 
ferred to by the Apostle, as they had been by Jesus 
Christ himself, as the words of God. Eph. iv. 8, 
" Wherefore He saith, when he ascended up on high." 
Heb. i. 7, 8, " And of the angels He saith ;" — " But 
unto the Son He saith." In these passages what was 
said by the psalmist, is quoted as said by God. Heb. 
iii. 7> " Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith. To-day 
if ye will hear his voice." Heb. x. 15, " Whereof the 


Holy Ghost also is a witness to us, for after that ffe 
had said" 1 Peter, i. 11, " Searching- what, or what 
manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them 
did signify, when it testijied beforehand the sufferings 
of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 2 Peter, 
i. 20, <' Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the 
Scripture is of any private interpretation (declaration), 
for the prophecy came not in old time (at any time), by 
the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they ivere 
moved by the Holy Ghost." And how was it possible 
that they could find language in which to express the 
mysteries of God which they so imperfectly compre- 
hended, unless the spirit of Christ, which was in them, 
had dictated every word they uttered ? Acts, iv. 25, 
" Who hy the 'mouth of thy servant David hast saidy 
Why did the Heathen rage ?" Heb. i. 1, " God, who, 
at sundry times, and in diverse manners, spake in time 
past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last 
days spoken unto us by his Son." The words, then, 
spoken by the Prophets, were as much the words of 
God, as the words which were spoken by the Lord 
Jesus Christ himself. And on various occasions Jesus 
declares, that the words which he spoke were the words 
of him that sent him. John viii. 26, 28, " / speak to 
the world those things which I have heard of him i*^ 
— " As my Father hath taught me, I speak these 
things^ John, xii. 49, 50, " I have not spoken of my- 
self hut the Father which sent me, he gave me a com- 
inandment what I should say, and tvhat I should 
speak ;" — " Whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as 
the Father said unto me, so I speaks John, xiv. 10, 
" The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of 
myself" John, xvii. 8, " / have given unto them the 


words which thou gavest me." John, xvii. 14, " / 
have given them thy word" And this was in strict 
conformity with what God had declared by Moses, con- 
cerning the divine naission of his Son. Deut. xviii. 18, 
*' I will raise them up a Prophet from among their 
brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his 
mouth ; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall 
command him. And it shall come to pass, that who- 
soever will not hearken unto 7riy words which he shall 
speak in my name, I will require it of him." — *'■ He 
hath made my mouthy^ saith the Redeemer, " like a 
sharp sword," Isaiah, xlix. 2. " And out of his mouth 
went a sharp two-edged sword," Rev. i. 16. And 
again, God saith to the Messiah, " I have put my words 
in thy mouth," Isaiah, li. 16. " And my words^ which 
I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy 
mouth," Isaiah, lix. 21. The words, then, of which 
the whole of the Scriptures are composed, are the words 
dictated by God, and written by men. Sometimes they 
are quoted as the words of God, and sometimes as the 
words of the writers, which proves that in fact they are 
both. Those who deny that, in some instances, the 
words used by the penmen of Scripture are the words 
of Gofl, not only contradict the assertion of the Apostle, 
that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, but 
also disregard the direct testimony of all those passages 
that have been quoted above, as well as of a multitude 
of others to the same effect, that are contained in the 

The perfect inspiration which belongs to the Apostles 
may be learned from the nature of that Service to 
which they were appointed, from the Promises which 
were given to them for the discharge of it, and also 

VOL. I. R 


from their own Declarations, the truth of which is 
attested, not only by the nature of their doctrine, but 
by the miracles they wrought. 

The commission of the Lord to his Apostles, when 
he sent them forth in the Service to which he appoint- 
ed them, was given in these words : Matth. xxviii. 19, 
" Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of tJie Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all 
things whatsoever I have commanded you : and, lo, I 
am ivith you alway, even unto the end of the world. 
Amen." Here we see, that the commission of the 
Apostles included the promulgation of the whole doc- 
trine, and of every regulation of the kingdom of God ; 
that it extended to all the world ; and that a promise 
was annexed to it, that the Lord himself would be pre- 
sent with them to the end of time, maintaining and 
giving efficacy to their testimony, which is recorded in 
the Scriptures. 

This commission is exactly conformable to all that 
Jesus Christ had at different times said to the Apostles. 
To Peter, at one time, he declared, Matth. xvi. 19, 
" j^nd I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall 
be bound in heaven ; and whatsoever thou shalt loose 
on earth shall he loosed in heaven." Afterwards he 
repeated this to all the Apostles, Matth. xviii. 18. 
" Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall hind on 
earth shall he bound in heaven ; and whatsoever ye shall 
loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." To the same 
purpose, when he had breathed on them and said, 
" Receive ye the Holy Ghost," John, xx. 22, he added, 
" Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unlo 


them ; and whose soever sins ye retain^ they are 
retainedy In these respects, the Apostles were con- 
stituted the authoritative ambassadors of the Lord, and 
were appointed to an office in which they can have no 
successors. The laws which, under that authority, 
they were to establish, and the doctrine they were to 
promulgate, by which eternal life is conveyed to men, 
and which is therefore characterised as the keys of the 
kingdom of heaven, were to be of perpetual and uni- 
versal obligation. John, xii. 48, " He that rejecteth 
me, and receiveth not my words,'* says Jesus, " hath 
one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken" — 
which he had spoken, or was to speak by his Apostles, — 
" the same shall judge him in the last day" In an- 
other place to the same purpose, when speaking of 
the Apostles having followed him, he says to them, 
Matth. xix. 28, " In the regeneration, when the Son 
of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also 
shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes 
of IsraeV 

The word which the Apostles were to declare, was to 
open and to shut, to bind and to loose, in heaven and 
in earth. It was his own word, the word of the Lord, 
to be uttered by them, by which he would at last judge 
the world. " For," says he, " he that receiveth you 
receiveth me ; and he that receiveth me receiveth 
him that sent me," Matth. x. 40; which is to the same 
effect as when he says to the seventy disciples whom he 
sent out, " He that heareth you heareth me ; and he 
that despiseth you despiseth me ; and he that de- 
spiseth me despiseth him that sent me," Luke, x. 16. 
From the awful importance, then, of the service com- 
mitted to the Apostles, we may judge what kind of in- 


spiration was necessary for those whose words were to 
be the wordsof the judge of all. " We are unto God," 
say they, " a sweet savour oj' Christ, in them that are 
saved, and in them that j^erish : To the one we are 
the savour oJ' death unto death. And to the other the 
savour of life unto life : and who is sufficient for 
these things ?" 2 Cor. ii. 15. The commission of the 
Apostles embraces every circumstance by which the 
Divine glory is manifested to every order of intelligent 
beings — the whole of that revelation of mercy by which 
the manifold wisdom of God is to be made known to 
principalities and powers in heavenly places, as well as 
a complete system of the will of God to mankind. Can 
it be supposed, then, that the heralds of this salvation 
did not receive a plenary inspiration to qualify them for 
such a service ? That a prophet should be left to the 
choice of his own words, and be a prophet from God, 
or that an Apostle should be commissioned to promul- 
gate the laws of the kingdom of Christ, which are ever- 
lastingly to bind in heaven and in earth, and yet be 
permitted to choose for himself the words and language 
in which these laws should be delivered, is altogether 
incredible and absurd. If the words or language are of 
man's choosing, the Bible becomes partly the book of 
man and partly the book of God. 

The nature of this inspiration, we are also taught by 
the Promises that were given to the Apostles respect- 
ing it. When Jesus Christ first sent out his Apostles 
to proclaim to the house of Israel that his kingdom was 
at hand, he warned them of the reception they were to 
meet with, and that they should be brought before go- 
vernors and kings for his sake. At the same time they 
were forbidden to use the means which would have been 


necessary, if in any measure they had been left to their 
own judgment. He commanded them to rely entirely 
upon him, and promised them the inspiration of his 
Spirit which, in such situations, would be necessary for 
them : Matth. x. 19, " But when they deliver you up, 
take no thought how or what ye shall speak : for it 
shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall 
speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of 
your Father which speaketh in you" Mark, xiii. 11, 
" But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, 
take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither 
do ye premeditate : but whatsoever shall be given you 
in that hour, that speak ye : for it is not ye that 
speak, hut the Holy Ghost." In the parallel passage, 
Luke xii. 12, "For the Holy Ghost shall teach you 
in the same hour what ye ought to say" And again, 
Luke, xxi. 15, " I will give you a mouth and wisdom, 
which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay 
nor resist." Language cannot more plainly declare, 
that the words they were to utter, were to be given 
by inspiration to the Apostles. It was the Holy Spirit 
who was to speak by them, just as " God hath spoken 
by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the vjorld 
began." Acts, iii. 21 ; Luke, i. 70. 

If inspiration was necessary for the Apostles in par- 
ticular passing circumstances, when they were brought 
before judges and magistrates ; and if, in such occa- 
sional situations, as on the day of Pentecost, they actu- 
ally possessed it, how much more necessary must it 
have been when they were employed in recording the 
permanent laws of the kingdom of Christ ! It must, 
therefore, be included in the declarations made by our 
Lord, in what he says in his last discourse, respecting 


the Comforter whom he was to send. And that these 
declarations did refer to the same inspiration, we are not 
left to conjecture ; for we hear the Apostle Paul, when 
afterwards he addresses a Christian church, asserting 
that Christ spake in him, 2 Cor, xiii. 3. When about 
to leave his disciples, Jesus said to them, John, xiv. 26, 
" Bi(t the Co7nfo7'ter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom 
the Father ivill send in my name, he shall teach you 
all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, 
whatsoever I have said unto you" The Apostles were 
not to trust to their memories, to repeat what Jesus 
had said to them ; but all that he had said was to be 
dictated to them by the Holy Ghost. And again, 
John, xvi. 13, <' When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, 
he will guide you into all truth : for he shall not speak 
of himself; but ivhatsoever he shall hear, that shall he 
speak, and he will show you things to come." After 
his resurrection, Jesus Christ said to them, John, xx. 21, 
" Peace be unto you : as my Father hath sent me, even 
so send I youT His last words to them on earth were 
these. Acts, i. 8 : " But ye shall receive power, after 
that the Holy Ghost is come upon you : and ye shall 
he witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all 
Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of 
the earth," Such were the Promises given to the 
Apostles of what they were to receive, to fit them for 
that great work in which they were about to engage. 
We shall now hear their own Declarations in re- 
spect to the fulfilment of them. 

On the day of Pentecost, Acts, ii. 4, " They were 
aUJilled ivith the Holy Ghost, and began to speak 
with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utter - 
anceP On that occasion, when speaking in unknown 


tongues, as was the case with others of the brethren in 
the Churches, 1 Cor. xiv. 13, 28, they must have been 
inspired with every word they spoke, as is asserted in 
the declaration, that they spoke as " the Spirit gave 
them utterance" When, afterwards, having been 
brought before the Jewish rulers, they had returned to 
their own company and prayed. Acts, iv. 31, " The 
place was shaken where they were assembled together ; 
and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they 
spake the word of God with boldness." Paul begins 
his Epistles by designating himself an Apostle of Jesus 
Christ. Thus he declares his apostolic character and 
commission from the Lord, by whom he was qualified 
for his work. We see with what authority he after- 
wards expresses himself : " Now unto him that is 
of power to stahlish you according to my gospel, and 
the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revela- 
tion of the mystery which was kept secret since the world 
hegan ; but now is made manifest, and hy the Scrip- 
tures of the prophets, according to the commandment of 
the everlasting God, made knoion to all nations for the 
obedience of faiths — " Though we,^^ says the same 
Apostle, Galatians, i. 8, " or an angel from heaven, 
preach any other gospel unto you than that which we 
have preached unto you, let him be accursed" — " As 
vje said before, so say I now again, If any man preach 
any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, 
let him be accursed." — '^ But I certify you, brethren, 
that the gospel which was preached of me is not after 
man. For I neither received it of maji, neither was I 
taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 
ii. 9, 10, " Bict as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor 
ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, 


the things which God hath prepared for them that love 
him. But God hath revealed them unto us hy his 
Spirit" — " Which things also we speah, not in the 
words which mans wisdom teachethy hut which the 
Holy Glwst teacheth,'' 1 Cor. ii. 13. Here, in making- 
a general declaration of what he taught, both the matter 
and the words are declared to be from God. Again 
he says, 1 Cor. ii. 16, " For tvho hath known the mind 
of the Lord, that he may instruct him 9 But we have 
the mind of Christ^ 1 Cor. ii. 7, " We speak the 
wisdom of God" Eph. iii. 4, " Whereby, when ye 
read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery 
of Christ, which in other ages was not made known 
unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his 
holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit" 2 Cor. 
ii. 10, " To whom ye forgive any thing, 1 for give also ; 
for if I forgave any thing, to rvhom I forgave it, for 
your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ" 2 Cor. 
xiii. 2, 3, " If I come again, I will not spare : since ye 
seek a proof of Christ speaking in me." In 1 Cor. 
•vii. 17, where some have rashly and ignorantly assert- 
ed that the Apostle concludes with expressing a doubt 
whether he was inspired or not, he says, " so ordain I 
in all churches." Such language, which is precisely 
similar to that of Moses, Deut. vi. 6, would have been 
most presumptuous, unless he could have added, as he 
does a little afterwards, 1 Cor. xiv. 36, " What ! came 
the word of God out from you ? or came it unto you 
only ? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or 
spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I 
write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." 
At the opening of the same epistle Paul had said, 
" My speech and my preachiiig was ?iot with ejiticing 


words of man's wisdom, hut in demonstration of the 
Spirit and of power.'' — " We speak the wisdom of God." 
Could any man have used such language, unless he had 
been conscious that he was speaking the words of God ? 
I Thess. ii. 13, " For this cause also thank we God, 
without ceasing, because, when ye received the word 
of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the 
word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God»* 
1 Thess. iv. 8, " He, therefore, that despiseth, despiseth 
not man but God, who hath also given unto us his 
Holy Spirit." 1 Pet. i. 12, " Unto whom if was re- 
vealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did 
minister the things, which are now reported unto you 
by them that have preached the gospel unto you with 
the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven ; ivhich things 
the angels desire to look into." 1 Pet. i. 23, " Being 
born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, 
by the word of God, ivhich liveth and abideth for ever " 
1 Pet. i. 25, " The ivord of the Lord endureth for ever. 
And this is the word which by the gospel is preached 
unto you." In referring to the instruction which they 
gave to the churches, the Apostles characterise it as 
their " comma?idme?it," and refer to it as equivalent to 
the authority of the Holy Ghost, as in fact it was the 
same. Acts, xv. 24, 28, ^^ It seemed good to the Holy 
Ghost, and to us." Such is the inspiration by which 
all the penmen of the Scriptures wrote, and God has 
pronounced the most solemn prohibitions against any 
attempt to add to, or to take from, or to corrupt, his 
Word. These warnings are interspersed through every 
part of the sacred volume ; and each of them is equally 
applicable to the whole of it. 

In this manner, that portion of the Scriptures called 


the Laiv is guarded : — " Ye shall not add unto the 
tvord ichich I command you, neither shall ye diminish 
aught from it," Deut. iv. 2 ; xii. 32. 

In the next division, sometimes called the Hagio- 
grapha, it is written, " Every word of God is pure : 
He is a shield unto them that jnit their trust in him. 
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and 
thou be found a liar," Prov. xxx. 16. The last part 
of this threatening is infinitely more terrible than the 
first ; for transgressors may be reproved, and yet find 
mercy, but " all liars shall have their part in the lake 
which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the 
second death," Rev. xxi. 8. 

In the prophetical writings, a similar warning is again 
repeated. They are closed with an intimation, that no 
more prophets were to be sent, till the forerunner of 
Jehovah, who was to come suddenly to his temple, 
should appear. Israel is then commanded to regard 
that revelation which had been made to Moses, con- 
cerning Jesus, which the prophets had been commis- 
sioned to illustrate, but not to alter : " Remember 
ye the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded 
unto him in Horeb, for all Israel, with the statutes and 
judgments^ Mai. iv. 4. 

As, at the conclusion of the Old Testament, where 
the attention of the people of Israel is called to the first 
appearance of the Son of God, the Saviour, they are 
instructed that the prophetic testimony to him is 
finished ; so, at the conclusion of the New Testament, 
where the attention of all men is directed to his second 
coming, as the final Judge, the canon of Scripture is 
closed, and a solemn and most awful warning is given, 
neither to add to it, nor to take from it : " / testify 


unto every man that heareth the words of the 'prophecy 
of this bookj Iff^f^y 'num shall add unto these things^ 
God shall add unto him the plagues that are written 
in this hook ; and if any man shall take away from, 
the words of the hook of this prophecy^ God shall take 
away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the 
Holy City, and from the things luhich are written in 
this book:,'' Rev. xxii. 18, 19. This passage, so similar 
to the others above cited, is, for the same reasons for 
which it is applicable to the book of Revelation, appli- 
cable to the whole inspired volume. 

In the references that have been made above to many 
passages of Scripture, to which many more of a similar 
import might have been added, the complete verbal in- 
spiration by which both Prophets and Apostles spoke 
and wrote, has, by their own declarations, been un- 
answerably established. Whatever they recorded, they 
recorded by the Spirit of God. Whether they spoke in 
their own tongue, or in tongues which they had not 
learned ; or whether they uttered prophecies which they 
understood, or concerning which they acknowledged, 
" I heard, but I understood not;" still they spoke or 
wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And if 
we have seen that even the Divine Redeemer himself, 
who is over all, God blessed for ever, when acting, in 
his mediatorial character, as the Father's servant, spoke, 
as he declares, not of himself, but the words of Him 
that sent him ; and that God the Holy Ghost, in his 
office of Comforter, was not to speak of himself, but to 
speak whatsoever he should hear ; is it to be presumed 
that Prophets and Apostles should ever have been left 
to choose the words which they have recorded in the 
Scriptures ? 


The words, then, which the Prophets and Apostles 
recorded, were the words of God, — Christ spake in 
them, — they were the words which the Holy Ghost 
taught. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, 
Eph. vi. 17. " It is quick, and powerful, and sharper 
than any two-edged sword^^ Heb. iv. 1 2. This word 
was put into the mouths of the Prophets and Apostles ; 
and therefore their words and commandments have all 
the authority of the words and commandments of God. 
" / stir up your pure minds hy way of remembrance, 
that ye may he mindful of the words which were spoken 
before hy the holy prophets, and of the commandment 
of us, the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour, ^^ 2 Pet. 
iii. 1, 2. The term inspiration loses its meaning- when 
an attempt is made to divide it between God and man. 
In what an endless perplexity would any man be in- 
volved, who was called upon to give to each degree of 
inspiration, under which it has been supposed the Bible 
is written, that portion which belongs to it ! Let any 
one undertake the task, and he will soon find that he is 
building on the sand. Yet such an attempt should have 
been made by those, who, without pretending to plead 
any authority for it,have presumptuously represented the 
Scriptures as given partly by an inspiration to which 
they ascribe various degrees, and partly without inspi- 
ration. But where do the Scriptures teach any thing 
about these different degrees, or intimate that any part 
of them was given without inspiration ? Can such 
questions be answered from Scripture ? Can they be 
answered at all ? Such as adopt distinctions on this 
subject, professedly speculate and theorise upon it, while 
they speak of the theories and hypotheses of their oppo- 
nents ; yet they who maintain the verbal inspiration of 


every part of Scripture invent no hypothesis, and have 
no theories respecting- it. Their aim, on the contrary, 
is to oppose all speculation in this matter, and simply 
to adhere to the Divine testimony. That every vi^ord 
of Scripture, as originally written, is of God, they be- 
lieve ; because God, who cannot lie, has pledged his 
truth for the fact. They attribute every thing in the 
Scriptures, without exception, to the Holy Spirit, be- 
cause God testifies that all Scripture is divinely in- 

But why have such distinctions been introduced ? 
Do they diminish the difficulty of understanding- how 
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost is communicated to 
the mind of man ? Is it easier to conceive that ideas 
without words should be imparted, than that they 
should be communicated in words ? Instead of being- 
diminished, the difficulty is increased tenfold. But in 
either case we have nothing- to do with difficulties. It 
is a subject which we cannot comprehend ; and in what- 
ever way the effect is produced, it is our duty to believe 
what the Holy Scriptures assert, and not to resort to 
those vain speculations by which men darken council 
by words without knowledge. And let it ever be re- 
membered that difficulties, however great, cannot inva- 
lidate a doctrine proved by positive testimony. 

The late Mr Scott was involved in the error so 
common in his day on the subject of the inspira- 
tion of the Scriptures. In the preface to his com- 
mentary, he observes, * The author of this work, is 
' decided against any compromise ; and he ventures 
' to stand forth, as vindicating- the Divine inspira- 
< tion of the Holy Scriptures.' — ' By the Divine in- 
* spiration of the Scriptures, the author would be 


^ understood to mean, such a complete and immediate 

* communication, by the Holy Spirit, to the minds of 
' the sacred writers, of those things which could not 

* have been otherwise known ; and such an eifectual 
' superintendency, as to those particulars, concerning 
' which they might otherwise obtain information ; as 
*= sufficed absolutely to preserve them from every degree 
< of error, in all things, which could in the least affect 

* any of the doctrines, or precepts, contained in their 
' writings, or mislead any person who considered them 
' as a divine and infallible standard of truth and duty.' 
This definition is inaccurate in the following respects : 
— 1st, It confounds inspiration as predicated with re- 
spect to the writers of Scripture with inspiration as pre- 
dicated of Scripture itself. The Scriptures assert indeed 
that the writers of Scripture were inspired ; but this 
should not be confounded with the inspiration that is 
predicated of the Scriptures themselves. Mr Scott, in 
speaking of the inspiration of the Scriptures, speaks of 
the writers of Scripture. He is involved in the common 
error that has prevented so many from perceiving the 
truth on this subject. 2d, He distinguishes in the 
Scripture between things that could not have been 
otherwise known, and things that required superintend- 
ency, which is a human figment. 3d, He represents 
the writers as secured by superintendency from error, 
not in every thing, but in ' all things which could in the 
' least affect any of the doctrines, or precepts.' This 
not only deprives a part of the Scriptures of true inspi- 
ration, but of true superintendency. It not only makes 
some things human, but allows that some things may 
be false. In this respect the Bible would be a book 
much inferior to many of the works of men. Books 


that contain mathematical demonstration are all with- 
out error. And many narratives written by men may 
in every, even the minutest circumstances, be perfectly 
true. If then errors, though unimportant, are to be 
found in Scripture, the Bible is a book, as to truth, 
much inferior to some of the writings of men. 

Mr Scott, in his introduction to the prophecies of 
Isaiah, remarks, ' Much has been written, concerning- the 

* different degrees of inspiration, with which the pro- 
' phets were endowed : but, I own, I never found 

* satisfaction in any discussion of this subject. Cer- 
' tainly the Scriptures intimate some disparity between 
' Moses and other prophets, and several ways in which 
' divine communications were made : and let others 
' determine what credit is due to the rabbinical deter- 
' minations in this respect. It seems enough to ob- 
' serve, that the credit of Scriptural prophecy does not 
' depend on such distinctions, but on internal evidence ; 
' and the highest authority, that holy men of God spake 

* as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Probably 
' none, except prophets, ever had an idea, how the 
' illapses of the Holy Spirit came into their minds, and 
' beyond doubt evinced their divine origin. All the 
' prophets were so superintended, both as to the words 
' used by them, and the messages delivered, as to be 
' preserved from error, and to give us the very Word of 
' God : and this is enough for our satisfaction.' That 
Mr Scott never found satisfaction in any discussion 
concerning the " different degrees of inspiration," is a 
candid admission, in which it would be well if others 
would imitate him. But his not finding that satisfac- 
tion is not wonderful, since, though much has been 
written on the different degrees of inspiration of the 



Scriptures, they themselves containnot one word con- 
cerning them. In his remark respecting- the several 
ways in which divine communications were made, 
there is nothing- that is not true, though it shows that 
Mr Scott's views were extremely deficient on this 
subject. It is true, as he asserts^ that the Scriptures 
intimate some disparity between Moses and other pro- 
phets. But some disparity, the greatest possible dis- 
parity, between Moses and other prophets, made no dis- 
parity in the inspiration of what was written by Moses, 
and what was written by the other prophets. It is 
true, likewise, that there were " several ways in which 
divine communications were made;" but the way in 
which the communications were made to the writer, is 
entirely a different thing from the inspiration of the 

It is evident, however, that though Mr Scott has in 
part adopted the common error respecting inspiration, 
and shows great misapprehension on this important 
subject, he had a much more exalted conception of it 
than the generality of the writers of his time. He 
avows this in the fullest manner when speaking gene- 
rally, and vindicates it in that view with the proper 
Scriptural arguments. If, when he comes to define 
inspiration, he adopts distinctions, it is evidently to 
be ascribed not to a desire to degrade the Scriptures, 
nor to a show of wisdom in explaining what is 
not revealed, but to a conviction that he was taking 
the highest ground that he could possibly defend. 
He shows his sense of the high importance of this 
doctrine, and his just indignation against those 
who compromise the honour of revelation in the view 
they give of inspiration. If he had seen the way in 


which, without distinction of kind or degree, it may be 
asserted of every part of the Word of God, there is 
reason to beheve that he would have adopted it, and 
have rejoiced in the discovery. He is not then to be 
treated hke those who, when the truth has been exhi- 
bited according to Scripture, continue to degrade the 
Word of God by their pernicious theories. 

Every Christian should consider that the view which 
he takes of the inspiration of the Scriptures is to him 
of the greatest practical importance. With what a 
different feeling must that man read the Bible, who be- 
lieves that it is a book which partly treats of " common 
and civil affairs," and partly of " things religious," which 
is partly the production of men, who were sometimes 
directed in one way, sometimes in another, and who 
sometimes were not directed at all, and partly the pro- 
duction of God, and that it contains certain things 
unworthy of being considered as Divine revelation, — 
from the feeling of the Christian, who reads that sacred 
book under the solemn conviction that its contents are 
wholly religious, and that every word of it is dictated by 
God ! In reading these words. Proverbs, iii. 2, " 3Iy 
sojif despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither be 
weary of his correction," how differently must he be 
affected who reads them as addressed to him merely by 
Solomon, from the man who views them as addressed 
to him by his heavenly Father, according to Hebrews, 
ii. 5! Paul, in that Epistle, in making various quo- 
tations from the Old Testament, refers to them ex- 
pressly as the words of the Holy Ghost. As far as 
distinctions in inspiration are admitted, their tendency 
is to diminish our reverence for the Bible, and to 

vol.. I. s 


exclude the agency of the Spirit of God in its compo- 
sition. In the same way, men eag-erly oppose the doc- 
trine of a particular providence, as one on which it is 
not ^^ prudent" to insist, as not '^necessary " and as 
" attended with difficulties" while they labour to ex- 
clude the agency of God from the government of the 
world, and from the direction of the course of events, 
by ascribing- the whole to the operation of what are 
called " the laws of nature." 

Dr Doddridge, in his Essay on Inspiration, p. 58, 
after desiring the reader to observe, that in very few 
instances he has allowed an error in our present copies 
of the Scriptures, and that, in these few instances, 
he has imputed it to translators — adds, " because, as 
Mr Seed very properly expresses it, in his excellent 
sermon on this subject (which, since I wrote the former 
part of this dissertation, fell into my hands), a partial 
inspiration is, to all intents and purposes, no inspiration 
at all : For, as he justly argues against the supposition 
of any mixture of error in these sacred writings, man- 
kind would be as much embarrassed to know what was 
inspired, and what was notf as they could be to collect 
a religion for themselves ; the consequence of which 
would be, that we are left Just where we were, and 
that GOD put himself to a great expense of miracles 
to effect nothing at all ; a consequence highly deroga- 
tory and injurious to his honour." It is not a little 
remarkable, that such sentiments should thus be ap- 
proved of by one who, in the same work, has ascribed 
various degrees of inspiration to different parts of the 
Scriptures. Let this glaring inconsistency be con- 
sidered by those who have followed Dr Doddridge in 
his unscriptural views on this subject. 


It is allowed by Dr Doddridge, that under what is 
called the inspiration of suggestion^ " the use of our 
faculties is superseded, and God does as it were speak 
directly to the mind ; making such discoveries to if, as it 
could not otherwise have obtained, and dictating the 
very words in which, these discoveries are to be com- 
municated to others ; so that a person, in what he writes 
from hence, is no other than first the Auditor, and then 
(if I may be allowed the expression) the Secretary, of 
GOD ; as Jok7i was of our Lord Jesus Christ, when 
he wrote from his sacred lips the seven Epistles to the 
Asiatic Churches. And it is, no doubt, to an inspira- 
tion of this kind that the Book of the Revelation owes 
its original." (Doddridge on Inspiration, page 41). 
Why, then, has Dr Doddridge supposed that any other 
part of the Bible was written under an inspiration of a 
different kind ? Where did he learn this ? Was it less 
necessary that the Epistles, which were written to the 
other churches, as " the commandments of the Lord," 
1 Cor. xiv. 37) should be fully inspired, than for those 
addressed to the seven churches of Asia ? or was it re- 
quisite that, to the Book of Revelation, a higher degree 
of inspiration should belong, than to the other books of 
the Holy Scriptures ? And where, we are entitled to 
ask, do the Scriptures sanction such distinctions ? But 
if in no part they give the smallest countenance to 
them, or lo any thing similar, what right has any man 
to introduce them, and to teach what the Scriptures 
have not only not taught, but the contrary of which 
they have most explicitly taught? To invent distinc- 
tions that consider some parts of the Scriptures as half 
inspired, and others as not inspired at all, as relating 


to things merely civil, is most dishonourable and de- 
grading- to the Book of God, and deprives Christians 
of the edification which such passages are calculated 
to afford. Such distinctions, let them be made by 
whom they may, are the offspring of presumption and 

On the whole, we see the nature of that inspiration 
by which the Prophets and Apostles wrote. The 
manner of communicating the revelations might differ, 
Numbers, xii. 6, 7, 8. They might be imparted in a 
vision, or in a dream, or by speaking mouth to mouth ; 
but their certainty and authority were the same. For 
the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, 
but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost. Neither was it the Apostles who spoke, 
but the Spirit of their Father who spoke in them, or by 
them. Let no man, then, venture to introduce distinc- 
tions in that inspiration by which the word of God is 
written, unheard of in that word, and therefore totally 
unwarranted and unauthorized. It is not for men to 
say, " How can these things be ?" No man compre- 
hends himself, either in soul or in body, nor can w^e tell 
how the one acts upon the other ; And shall vain man, 
who " would be wise though man be born like the 
wild ass's colt," stumble at and reject the declarations 
of God concerning that inspiration which belongs to his 
Word, and by which he makes known his pleasure ? 
" The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest 
the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, 
and whither it goeth." The Lord is able to communi* 
cate His will in whatever way He pleases, although we 
cannot trace the manner of His operation. In the words 


spoken by the ass of Balaam, we have an example of 
this communication, through an unconscious and in- 
voluntary instrument * In Balaam himself we have 
an example, through one who was conscious, but invo- 
luntary, in the declaration he made respecting Israel. 
In Caiaphas, through one who was voluntary in what 
he said, but unconscious of its import. And in the 
writers of the Scriptures, we have an example of agents 
both voluntary and conscious, but equally actuated by 
the Spirit of God. 

The dictating of that Law which is perfect, every 
jot and tittle of which was to be fulfilled, — of those 
histories which were written for the " admonition" of 
all future generations, — of the institutions of that king- 
dom which is to endure for ever, — and of that word by 
which all shall be judged, was, and necessarily must 
have been, the work of perfect, that is, the work of in- 
finite wisdom ; Psalm, xix. 7> " The law of the Lord 
is 2Je7fect."-^Bnt if certain parts of it are the words of 
men, who wrote merely under a superintendence which 
preserved them from recording what is false or erro- 
neous, these r arts must, like their authors, be imperfect. 
The same wculd hold true respecting all that is sup- 
posed to be written under an inspiration of elevation, 
which, whatever it may mean, could not be carried be- 
yond that enlargement of which the mind of man is 
capable. The Bible can only be perfect, if it be the 
word of God himself from one end to the other. But, 
if the words of the writers of it be solely their own 

• Under which of the kinds of inspiration, most erroneously 
so called, did the ass of Balaam speak? Was it under that 
of Elevation ? Or shall the truth of the fact be rejected alto- 
gether, because it is " attended with difficulties ! .'" 


words, or be they the words of angels, principalities, 
or powers, they are imperfect, — and the Bible is an 
imperfect book. 

The perfection of the Scriptures is necessary, for the 
purpose they were intended to serve. " The heavens 
declare the glory of God ; and the firmament showeth 
his handiwork," Psalm, xix. 1. " By the things that 
are made," God's eternal power and Godhead are clearly 
seen, so as to render men " without excuse," Rom. i. 
20 ; and there they leave him under condemnation. 
But, " The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting 
the soul : the testimony of the Lord is sure, making 
wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are rightj 
rejoicing the heart : the commandment of the Lord 
is pure, enlightening the eyes." It is not, then, by 
the works of creation, — it is not by his dealings towards 
either holy or fallen angels, that the glory of God is 
fully displayed. This4ionour is reserved for the history 
of the incarnation of his Son. It is here, and here only, 
that mercy and truth meet together, that righteousness 
and peace embrace each other ; — truth has sprung out 
of the earth, and righteousness has looked down from 
heaven. Here justice and judgment are seen to be the 
habitation of Jehovah's throne, — and mercy and truth 
to go before his face. 

" Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the 
skies pour down righteousness ; let the earth open, 
and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteous- 
ness spring up together ; I the Lord have created 
it," Isaiah, xlv. 8. Here is something far more glori- 
ous than all that ever was seen before in the universe 
of God ! It is a righteousness exalted to absolute per- 
fection, and rendered infinitely glorious by the union of 


the divine with the human nature. God charged his 
ang-els with folly, and the heavens are not clean in his 
sight, but with him who wrought this righteousness, 
he is " well pleased." 

The righteousness of Adam in innocence, or the 
righteousness of angels in glory, was the righteousness 
of creatures, and therefore a limited righteousness. It 
consisted in the love and service of God, which they 
rendered with all their heart and strength ; but further 
it could not go. Their righteousness was available in 
the time only while it continued to be performed, and 
it might cease and be lost. But that righteousness 
which the skies have poured down, is a righteousness 
that is infinite, and that shall never be abolished, Isaiah, 
li. 6, 8. It is a righteousness that was performed in 
a limited period of time, by Him who is " called 
Jehovah our righteousness ;" but the glory of it 
was contemplated from eternity, while its efficacy ex- 
tends back to the fall of man, and forward through all 
the ages of eternity. It is the " everlasting righteous- 
ness,^^ which the prophet Daniel predicted was to be 
brought in by the Messiah. It is " the righteousness 
of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Peter, i. 1, the 
ministration of which was committed to the Apostles, 
2 Cor. iii. 9. Through eternity it shall be the delight 
of the Father, the admiration of angels, and the song 
of the redeemed. 

It is in the Bible that this righteousness is made 
known. In the Bible the gospel is recorded, which is 
the power of God unto salvation, because therein is 
the righteousness of God revealed, Rom. i. 17. The 
Bible contains the record of the eternal purpose of God, 
which he purposed in Christ Jesus, — of the unsearch- 


able riches of Christ, — of the eternal election of Him 
to be the Mediator between God and man, and of the 
eternal election of His people in Him, — of His incarna- 
tion, humiliation, and exaltation to glory. And " in 
as much as he who hath builded the house hath more 
honour than the house," insomuch is there a higher 
display of the glory of God, in the history contained in. 
the Bible, of Him who was " God manifest in the flesh," 
than is afforded in the creation, and the discovery of 
all the other works of God in the universe, animate and 
inanimate, of which Jesus Christ is the Creator and the 
Head. Hence is that preference justified which is 
g-iven to the Bible above them all, " Thou hast mag- 
nified thy WORD above all thy name." The earth and 
the heavens shall perish, — " As a vesture shalt thou 
fold them up, and they shall be changed, — But the 
word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the 
ivord which by the gospel is preached unto youP 

Such, then, is the perfection of the Bible, to every 
part of which, inspiration, in its proper meaning-, was 
absolutely indispensable, in order that it should be 
entirely the word and the work of God, — in thought, — 
in meaning, — in style, — in expression, — in everv part, 
and in the strictest sense, the word or voice of God to 
man. Each part is necessary in its place to complete 
the whole, — and if any one part were wanting, how- 
ever inconsiderable it may appear, that absolute perfec- 
tion, that complete adaptation to the end proposed, 
which belong- to the Booh of God, would be destroyed. 

Christians ought to beware of giving- up in the small- 
est degree the inspiration of the Bible. That precious 
deposit is now delivered to their keeping, as the first 
portion of it was committed to the Jews. The Jews 


were constituted the " witnesses" of Jeho-v ah, Isaiah, 
xliii. 10, 12; until the time arrived, when, in his 
sovereign pleasure, he appointed other " witnesses," 
Acts, i. 8. The nation of Israel was his peculiar trea- 
sure, — an holy nation, Exodus, xix. 5, 6 ; till, by their 
final rejection of his Son, they forfeited that title, and 
he g-ave his vineyard to other husbandmen, Matth. xxi. 
41. They possessed the peculiar name which he had 
conferred on them, till the prophecy concerning- it was 
fulfilled, when it was left " for a curse," Isaiah, Ixv. 
15 ; and when a new name was bestowed on those who 
were henceforward to be acknowledged as the people 
of God, Acts, xi. 26 ; 1 Peter, vi. 16. Having become 
the depositaries of the whole volume of inspiration, let 
Christians regard it with the same unshaken fidelity, 
with which, before being completed, " the words which 
the Lord of Hosts hath sent i?i his Spirit by the 
former prophets" Zechariah, vii. 7, 12, were preserved 
by the Jews. Let them not weaken by vain reason- 
ings, the impression produced upon their minds by the 
testimony of the Bible itself concerning its full inspira- 
tion in every part, nor substitute for it, a book which, 
in their imagination, is only partially inspired, — which 
contains sometimes the words of God, and sometimes 
the words of men, who spake not as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost, but who were only preserved from 
error, or who wrote " as any other plain and faith- 
ful men might do" By such sentiments, the offspring 
of philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of 
men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after 
Christ, has the Bible been degraded, and its high title 
•to the designation of " the oracles of God" made void. 
In opposition to these heretical opinions, be they ancient 


or modern, let every disciple of Him whose command 
it is to " search the Scriptures," reg-ard it as 2i faithful 
saying-, and not liable to doubtful interpretations, that 
" All Scripture is given hy inspiration of God, and 
is pr ofif able for doctrine, for 7^eproof for correction, 
for instruction in righteousness ; that the man of God 
may he perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good 

The testimony to the truth of the Scriptures, and 
consequently to the Messiah, which arises from their 
inspiration, is of the strong-est kind. By presenting- 
themselves as inspired, they bring the truth of their 
contents to the most decisive test. They occupy g-round 
which nothing- but truth and perfection could enable 
them to maintain. Could any thing absurd, or false, or 
erroneous, be found in them ; could the smallest flaw 
in the character or doctrine of the Author of Salva- 
tion, any degree of weakness, or of want of wisdom, be 
detected, they must immediately be compelled to relin- 
quish this ground. The claim of inspiration is an asser- 
tion of the infinite importance, and incomparable excel- 
lency of the matter which they contain as communicated 
by God, and as what man, without them, never could 
have discovered ; and also that it is delivered in a style 
suitable to the dignity of what they present. They 
contain many chains of prophecies, as well as multitudes 
of detached predictions, now fulfilling, or that have 
been fulfilled in different ages ; and they defy the per- 
spicacity of man to falsify a single one of them. They 
assert a number of facts respecting various particulars 
of the creation, age, and history of the world ; of a 
general deluge ; of the descent of all mankind from a- 
single pair ; of the primeval condition of man, as civil- 


ized, and not savage : of the origin of a variety of 
universal customs, otherwise unaccountable, as of sacri- 
fice, and of the division of time by weeks. Yet, after 
all the severest scrutinies of the most enlightened, as 
well as most inveterate opposers in ancient and modern 
times, not one fact which they assert has been disproved. 
On the contrary, these facts are constantly acquiring 
fresh evidence, from various sources. The harmony, 
too, of the doctrine of the several w-riters of Scripture 
is particularly observable, and forms a striking contrast 
to the discordant opinions, inconsistencies, and self- 
contradictions of the Greek and Roman, as wiell as of 
modern writers, on almost every subject of which they 

Since, then, the Scriptures advance a claim that no- 
thing but their truth could sustain, and which, if false, 
could be so easily disproved ; since they constitute the 
only book ever published that could bear such a test, 
there is the most demonstrative evidence that they are 
the Word of God. The industry and researches of 
philosophers have detected error in the noblest produc- 
tions of ancient wisdom, but all the light of science, 
throughout all the ages of the world, has not been able 
to discover one single error in the Bible. 



The correspondence between the Scriptures of the 
Old Testament and the New, written in ages so re- 


mote, and the ultimate accomplishment of the former 
in that system to which, from the beginning-, it was 
subservient, afford a demonstrative proof of their truth. 
The grand design of both these sacred volumes, is to 
exhibit the plan and execution of the work of redemp- 
tion by the Messiah. The first contains the account 
of what preceded his advent ; the second, of his mani- 
festation. From the creation of the world to the time 
of the appearance of Jesus Christ, comprehending a 
period of 4000 years, a great and connected scheme of 
preparation for that event was carried on, which is ex- 
hibited in the history, the miracles, the types, 
and the prophecies, recorded in the Old Testament. 
From these four sources, a body of evidence may be 
deduced that is truly astonishing, even when they are 
considered separately ; but, when united, they present 
the most complete demonstration of the truth of reve- 
lation. Beginning with the History, we shall after- 
wards proceed to each of the others in its order. 

A large proportion of the Scriptures of the Old Tes- 
tament consists in historical narrations, which transmit 
to us the knowledge of many most important events, 
the account of which is nowhere else to be found. 
This history is not, however, to be regarded merely 
as a record of curious, ancient, and interesting facts, 
valuable as authentic documents of important affairs. 
Its design is not to gratify curiosity, but to instruct. 
It is a selection of facts, divinely recorded as profitable 
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 
in righteousness. It contains examples to be followed 
or avoided, most extensively applicable, and many of 
them couching in figure spiritual truths for the con- 
firmation of the faith of the remotest ages. Civil his- 


tory, even as written by men, conveys much instruction 
as to the ways of Providence, and he reads it to little 
advantage who does not trace the hand of the Omnipo- 
tent Ruler of the world in all the affairs of men. But 
this is only a general lesson, which the historian, in- 
stead of wishing to teach generally, endeavours to keep 
out of sight. However well inclined the uninspired 
historian may be, we depend on his own judgment only 
for the selection of his facts, and his best efforts do not 
aim at that peculiar kind of moral and spiritual instruc- 
tion conveyed by inspired history. 

The historical parts of Scripture are all designed to 
teach spiritual lessons to the people of God. The Spi- 
rit of God has made a selection of the facts that are 
recorded. These facts are exhibited only in that light, 
to that extent, and with those observations, that Divine 
wisdom judged necessary. In this view, the historical 
portions of the Word of God afford scope for never-end- 
ing meditation. While one or two readings will make 
us acquainted with all the instruction conveyed in the 
writings of uninspired authors, the facts recorded in the 
Scriptures, which human wisdom has often considered 
barren and uninteresting, afford an inexhaustible fund 
of spiritual instruction. After we have read them a 
thousand times with profit, we may read them again 
with an assurance of increasing edification. Instead of 
expressing arrogant regret that the Scriptures do not 
contain fuller information on points on which we would 
wish further light, convinced of their fulness and of our 
own blindness, our prayer in reading them ought to be, 
" Lord, open thou mine eyes, that I may behold won- 
drous things out of thy law." 

The historical parts of Scripture are both introduc- 



tory to, and illustrative of, the plan of redemption. The 
general importance, in a reliijious point of view, of the 
great outline of the narrations of the Fall, — of the 
Flood, — of the calling of Abraham, and of the election 
of the people of Israel, — of their deliverance from 
Egypt, and their being put in possession of the pro- 
mised land, must be universally acknowledged. But the 
whole of the minute detail by which that outline is 
filled up, is likewise in the highest degree instructive, 
and ought to be perused with the most devout atten- 
tion. The Bible history describes, in action and ex- 
hibition, the perfections of Jehovah, as fully as the 
proclamation in which he declares himself to be long- 
suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity, and 
transgression, and sin, and by no means clearing the 
guilty. It delineates the deceitfulness and desperate 
wickedness of the human heart, as forcibly and distinct- 
ly as the annunciations of the prophets, when they " cry 
aloud and spare not." In the narratives of Scripture, 
the dependent state, the perverseness, and the folly of 
man, and the secret motives by which he is actuated, 
as well as the power, the wisdom, the justice, and the 
goodness of God in his providential government, and 
above all in redemption, are vividly depicted. There is 
not a battle fought by the Israelites, nor a change in 
the administration of their government, the account of 
which is not designed for our instruction. There is 
not an incident recorded as taking place in a private 
family, that has not a significant meaning. 

In Scripture history, there are many things which, 
considered only in themselves, appear to be of no value, 
or, at least, of very little importance ; but in reality 
the Bible contains nothing superfluous — nothing which 


does not contribute to its perfection, and to the evidence 
of its Divine origin. Besides the lists of names in 
genealogies, we observe many other things in the Word 
of God, the knowledge of which seems to be of no use ; 
yet their importance might be proved by numerous 
examples. We find in the Old Testament several regu- 
lations and narrations, which, in appearance, contribute 
neither to the strengthening of faith, nor to instruction 
or consolation. In the books of Moses, matters of the 
greatest importance are often only touched upon in a 
few words, while, on the contrary, many things that 
seem inconsiderable, are dwelt upon at great length. 
The redemption by the Messiah, which God promise4 
to man immediately after his fall — the calling of the 
Gentiles predicted to Abraham — the priesthood of Mel- 
chisedic, the most illustrious figure of Christ, and many 
other points of important doctrine, are only noted in a 
very summary manner. On the other hand, the nati- 
vity of Ishmael, the marriage of Isaac, and similar his- 
tories, are amply detailed, even in the most minute 
particulars, but all of them are full of instruction. 
The single account of Hagar and Ishmael, as inter- 
preted by the Apostle Paul, even to the most incon- 
siderable circumstances^ shows us how we ought to 
judge of other histories of the Old Testament, although 
we do not perceive their object. 

Various particulars, apparently of little consequence, 
which the Scriptures relate very fuHy, prove in what 
way effects the most wonderful have proceeded from 
causes in themselves inconsiderable ; for instance, the 
birthright of Jacob. God is pleased so teach great 
things, by things that are small. The prohibitions to 
take the dam with its young ones in the nest, and not 


to muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, extend 
farther than at first appears. The act of Jesus Christ 
in stretching- out his hand to touch the leper, does not 
seem of any moment, except to those who know the 
law which declares that it occasioned uncleanness. The 
same law forbade the High Priest, who represented 
Jesus Christ, to enter any house in which there was a 
dead body. Notwithstanding- this, the Lord even 
touched a bier. In all these particulars, there is a 
fulness of important doctrine. 

There are many who, not being acquainted with 
what the Scripture has in view, are astonished at the 
recital of different enormities which it particularizes so 
carefully. The incest of Judah with the wife of his 
son, might seem to be a fact which should rather have 
been buried in his tomb, than inserted in the Sacred 
History, with so many shameful circumstances. Yet, if 
the arrogance of the Jews is considered, who glory in 
their extraction, and who even found their election as 
a nation and their covenant upon the virtues of their 
ancestors, we shall see that their errors could not be 
better refuted, nor their pride more effectually humbled, 
then by holding up to view the deeply culpable con- 
duct of their progenitor. The record of the sins of 
Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, was calculated to 
warn Israel not to seek salvation by the works of the 
law. The omission of the Genealogy of Melchisedec, of 
his birth, and of his death, denoting the eternity of Jesus 
Christ, and his everlasting priesthood, proves how much 
even the silence of the Scripture is instructive. Every 
distinct fact recorded in Scripture history may be truly 
considered an article of faith ; for in the plan of salva- 
tion, matters of fact become doctrines, and doctrines 


matters of fact. Every fact points to that great event 
upon which the salvation of man depends — the coming- 
of the Son of God in the likeness of sinful flesh, to re • 
deem a pejculiar people to himself — or in some way il- 
lustrates his salvation. 

The object, then, of the historical records in Scrip- 
ture, is essentially diiferent from that of all other his- 
tories. They are not given, to preserve the memory of 
certain occurrences, in order to promote the knowledge 
of what may be useful in regard to the affairs of this 
world, and to extend the sphere of human intelligence 
and experience ; but exclusively to teach the knowledge 
of God and salvation. Scripture history is conducted 
in such a manner, that, like the doctrinal parts of the 
Bible, it is foolishness to the men of the world. It 
disappoints them in the nature of the facts which it re- 
lates, and also in the manner in which they are exhi- 
bited. It not only records truth, without the smallest 
mixture of error, but also invariably keeps in view the 
agency of God in every occurrence, — in events the 
most minute, as well as the most considerable ; and thus 
it furnishes a perpetual comment on the sublime de- 
scription of the Apostle, when, penetrated with admira- 
tion of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge 
of God, he exclaims, " Of Him, and through Him, and 
to Him, are all things ; to whom be glory for ever. 


The History of the Old Testament, which we are now 
to consider in the light of the evidence it affords to the 
truth of the gospel, commences with a narrative of the 
creation of the world, of which it furnishes the only 
rational and intelligible account that exists.* It repre- 

* " Compare the account of the creation which is given by 
VOL. I. T 


sents God in the exercise of omnipotent power, calling 
the world into existence, reducing- it to order, and fit- 
ting- it for the accommodation of man, its principal in- 
habitant. This was effected gradually in the course of 
six days. Infinite power could as easily have created all 
things in a moment as in the most lengthened period ; 
in six seconds, as easily as in six days, or six thousand 
years. But in this way time is given to contemplate 
one thing as it arose after another. Every thing was 
created perfect in its kind ; and man was formed in the 
image of God, and capable of enjoying communion with 

The goodness of God was displayed in the happiness 
of that condition in which man was placed. The tenure 
by which he held it was his continuance in his original 
purity. God did not, hoAvever, confirm his stability in 
holiness, but committed it to himself, while he placed 
him in a state of trial in which the greatest advantages 
were enjoyed, and the strongest inducements held out 
to persevere in obedience. Nor was the inheritance of 
which he was put in possession, although unspeakably 
glorious, constituted necessarily permanent. It might 
be corrupted, it might be defiled, and it might fade 
away. The reverse of these conditions, both as to 
their regenerated nature, and the new inheritance with 
which they shall be invested, belongs only to the sons 

Moses with the ravings of Sanchoniatho, the Phoenician philoso- 
pher, which he has dignified with the title of Cosmogony ; or 
compare it with the childish extravagances of the Greek and the 
Latin poets, so justly likened to a sick man's dreams ; and then 
say whether any person of candour and discernment will not be 
disposed to exclaim, in the words of the prophet, * What is the 
chair to the wheat!'" 


of the new creation, who are sealed with the Holy 
Spirit of Promise. Jer. xxxii. 40. 1 Peter, i. 4. 

A test of obedience every way suited to the circum- 
stances of man being- appointed, and life and death set 
before him, he speedily transgressed the command of 
God, and, yielding- to temptation, fell from his state of 
innocence and happiness. A higher order of beings 
had sinned and rebelled against God. One, superior 
to the rest, actuated by malignity against God and all 
his works — the prince of the fallen angels — entered the 
serpent for the purpose of concealment, and through 
that animal, as the instrument and medium of com- 
munication, addressed the mother of mankind. He 
falsely pretended to have discovered the excelieiice of 
the forbidden fruit, assured her that the threat annexed 
to transgression would not be executed, but that, on 
the contrary, the happiest effects would follow the 
eating- that fruit, and thus seduced her to disobey the 
commandment of God. 

This temptation has often been made a subject of 
ridicule, as being- of a very trifling- description. On 
the contrary, it presented motives to disobedience, the 
most powerful that can ba conceived. It included the 
whole circle of Satan's temptations, being calculated 
at once to excite " the lust of the flesh, the lust of the 
eye, and the pride of life ;" accompanied with an assu- 
rance that no punishment would follow transgression ; 
and to all this was added, in the case of Adam, the 
strength of his affection for his wife. " And when the 
woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that 
it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to 
make one wise, she took the fruit thereof, and did eat, 
and gave also to he?' hushand ivitli her, and he did 


eat." Man was in this manner involved in rebellion 
against his Creator. Sin entered the world, and death 
by sin. An immediate change took place. They who 
had before enjoyed the friendship of God, by whom 
they were surrounded with all the blessings of creation, 
now trembled when they heard his -voice, and fled to 
hide themselves among the trees of the garden. Called 
from the place of their concealment, and charged with 
the sin they had committed, the man laid it on the 
woman, who again charged it on the serpent. In this 
situation, with all his guilt discovered, Adam stood 
exposed to the full rigour of the punishment annexed 
to disobedience. But God in judgment remembered 
mercy. A way of salvation was announced, in which, 
while sin was to be punished in a manner the most 
awful, life and happiness, beyond the jDossibiiity of a 
second forfeiture, were to be awarded in consequence 
of the most perfect fulfilment of the divine law. 

The intimation of a Saviour to come was given in 
the sentence which God immediately pronounced on 
the serpent ; and we learn, from what follows, that our 
first parents accepted it as a revelation of mercy to 
man. For as soon as God had also declared the suffer- 
ing state, to terminate in death, to v/hich, on account 
of their disobedience they were now to be subjected, 
Adam called his wife's name Eve. Formerly, when 
in a state of innocence, and when God had blessed 
them, saying, " be fruitful and multiply," he called her 
" woman, because she was taken out of man." But 
now when the sentence of death is pronounced upon 
them, he calls her Eve, (Life), intimating his persua- 
sion, that in her seed another life was, according to the 
promise of God, provided. The piety of the expres- 


sion of Eve on the birth of her iirst-born son, whether 
or not she supposed him to be the promised seed, should 
be particularly remarked. " 1 have gotten a man from 
the Lord," or " a man, even Jehovah." The new 
feeling- of shame which our lirst parents experienced, 
as well as the change in the serpent's appearance con- 
sequent on the sentence pronounced on him, must have 
been strong confirmations to them, that all the future 
threatenings and promis,es contained in the sentence 
would also be verified. 

The sentence was passed on the transgressors suc- 
cessively in their order. The man was first questioned 
as to his transgression, and next the woman ; but to 
the serpent God put no question, having for him no 
purpose of mercy. His doom, who had acted the part 
of a deceiver, was first pronounced. Peculiar and mor- 
tifying trials were adjudged to the woman who had 
given of the tree to her husband, under whose domi- 
nion she was now placed ; and a life of labour and 
sorrow was to be the portion of the man till he re- 
turned to the dust, and on his accoifnt the earth was 
cursed. The fulfilment of these judgments has been 
experienced in all ages by every individual in the 
successive generations of mankind, though few com- 
paratively trace them to their proper source. Afflict- 
ing, however, as they are, they do not exhaust the 
awful import of that denunciation, of which, to multi- 
tudes, they are only its preludes — "in the day that 
thou eatest thou shalt surely die," — a sentence which, 
in its full extent, will only be executed personally on 
those who shall be delivered over to the second death. 

The curse that fell upon the ground intimated an 
extraordinary change on the face of the earth. Thorns 


and thistles it was from this time to bring forth, and 
only to produce the food necessary for the sustenance of 
man, through his incessant labour, instead of spon- 
taneous fruits. The introduction of this new state of 
things must have been- attended with remarkable and 
visible effects, which, in conjunction with the over- 
flowing of the waters of the deluge, will account for 
those extensive indications of great convulsions that 
are witnessed in every part of the globe. In this man- 
ner the introduction of sin explains the appearances of 
disorder in the elements, and shows the cause of the 
accumulation of human misery and toil, which other- 
wise, under the government of God, who is infinite 
in .goodness, wisdom, and power, would be altogether 
inexplicable, and apparently inconsistent and at variance 
with these attributes. It is to this state of things that 
the Apostle Paul refers, when he declares that the 
whole creation is made subject to vanity, and groaneth 
and travaileth together in pain, under the bondage of 
corruption. But all this disorder, while it proves the 
truth of Scripture history, is overruled for good. The 
sentence that imposes on man a life of labour, though 
bearing, as it does, the evident marks of divine dis- 
pleasure, is converted into a blessing, and is a neces- 
sary and gracious appointment, without which, society, 
in the present depraved state of human nature, could 
not subsist, while every thing around him loudly pro- 
claims that this is not his rest. 

As soon as the sentence of sorrow and death was 
pronounced, the mercy that had been intimated to our 
first parents began to take effect. God made coats of 
skins, and clothed them. This emblematical represen- 
tation, on the institution of sacrifice, of that robe of 


righteousness to be provided through the one sacrifice 
by which sin was to be put away, was calculated greatly 
to encourage their hopes and strengthen their confidence 
in the promised blessing, which began to operate in this 
token of the fatherly care and kindness of God. They 
were, however, immediately driven out from the gar- 
den, while cherubiras and a flaming sword were placed 
to keep the way to the tree of life, no longer accessible 
to man, according to the first constitution, " Do this 
and live." But, consonant to the promise that had 
just been given, concerning the Deliverer who was to 
spring from the woman, a new and living way of access 
to that tree was opened, the providing of which forms 
the whole subject of the Gospel History. 

Soon after the expulsion of Adam from paradise, sin, 
in the most hideous and distressing form, appeared in 
the murder of his younger brother by the first man 
that was born. Thus it was evident, that the enmity 
between the seed of the woman and the seed of the 
serpent already wrought. *^ Cain," says the Apostle, 
" was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And 
wherefore slew he him ? because his own works were 
evil, and his brother's righteous." 

The history of Adam and his posterity, which soon 
became numerous, is carried forward, in a very com- 
pendious manner, from this time till the flood. Cain, 
driven out from the presence of the Lord, employed 
himself in building a city, which he called after his first- 
born son. But, after relating the names of some of his 
descendants, the history is continued in the line of 
Seth, whom Eve acknowledged to be given her by the 
Lord, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. The object of 
Scripture history is not to record events that lead to 


temporal ag-grandizement ; on these it touches but occa- 
sionally, and only as they stand connected with the 
great and only end it has in view, — the advent of the 
Messiah, and the erection of his kingdom. 

In the days of Enos, the son of Seth, it is remarked, 
that " men began to call upon the name of the Lord." 
Whether this signifies that at that time they first be- 
gan to worship God in public assemblies, or that a more 
marked distinction then took place between the children 
of God and the men of the world, it certainly intimates 
that some visible progress was made in attention to the 
service of God. 

Of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, it is recorded 
that, " He walked with God, and he was not, for God 
took him." These words are the more remarkable, as, 
in summing up the lives of the other antediluvians, 
whose ages were prolonged to the extraordinary term 
of nearly a thousand years, it is uniformly said, " and 
he died." Enoch was a distinguished example of one 
who obeyed God, and held intimate communion with 
him. We are informed by an Apostle, that he prophe- 
sied of the coming of the Lord, and warned ungodly 
sinners of the consequence of their ungodly deeds, pro- 
claiming to them a future judgment, and the separation 
that would then be made between the righteous and the 
wicked. In confirmation of the great truths which he 
had been employed to declare, " he was translated, that 
he should not see death, and was not found, because 
God translated him ; for before his translation he had 
this testimony that he pleased God." Thus, by means 
of Enoch, an increase of light was vouchsafed, and a 
striking intimation given of a future state ; together 
with a representation of the restoration of the body as 


well as of the soul from the ruins of the fall, both of 
which were according- to this example to be delivered 
from death. The translation of Enoch before the law, 
and of Elijah under the law, as well as the ascension to 
heaven after the law of Him who, having obtained the 
victory over death and the grave, is " the first fruits of 
them that slept," are highly important events, not only 
as making- manifest, in their several periods, the reality 
of a future state, but as proving that the people of God, 
in every period, are partakers of the same salvation. 

The most remarkable occurrence recorded in the his- 
tory, after the translation of Enoch, is a great apos- 
tasy from the service of God, which arose from the sons 
of God intermarrying- with the daughters of men. This 
sinful connexion between the children of God and the 
children of the wicked one, that is between believers and 
unbelievers, the ruinous consequences of which are so 
often pointed out in Scripture, opened a floodgate to 
wickedness. The effect soon appeared in their descend- 
ants, who, instead of obtaining " a g-ood report through 
faith," became mighty men of renown. The earth was 
filled with violence, and " God saw that the wickedness 
of man was great in the earth, and that every imagina- 
tion of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, and that 
continuallv." The consequence was, that " the world 
that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." 
A great convulsion took place, of which the earth every- 
where bears evident marks to this day. It was over- 
whelmed with a flood during five months, which pre- 
vailed above the highest hills. For 120 years, Noah, 
who was a preacher of righteousness, had given warning 
to the ungodly world, and called them to repentance ; 
but they refused to listen. " They were eating and 


drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the 
day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until 
the flood came and took them all away." And now, as 
an Apostle declares, 1 Pet. iii. 19? they are "spirits in 
prison," — the prison of hell, a fact truly awful, and a 
solemn warning to all who neglect as they did to seek 
the righteousness of God ; that righteousness which 
the Messiah was to bring in, of which Noah was a 
preacher, 2d Peter, ii. 5, and of which through faith he 
was an heir. Heb. xi. 7. 

In this general wreck, occasioned by the wickedness 
of man, Noah only, with his family, and the animals in 
pairs, were saved in an ark, which in faithful obedience, 
being warned of God, he had prepared, and in which he 
remained a year and ten days. Exact computations 
have been made of the size of the ark, of the number 
of animals preserved in it, and of the quantity of food 
necessary for their sustenance, from which it is ascer- 
tained that it was of sufficient dimensions to contain 
the whole. Miraculous interposition seems to be sel- 
dom, if ever, resorted to, where ordinary means will 
accomplish the end. The objection which is sometimes 
raised, " whence came such a quantity of water as was 
necessary to overflow the earth, and what became of it 
afterwards," is too absurd and atheistical to merit notice. 
"Behold I, even I, do bring a flood of waters 
UPON THE EARTH." Shall this answer not be sufficient 
to stop the mouth of the scoffer ? Could not the great 
Lord of all, who " in the beginning created the heavens 
and the earth " out of nothing^ both produce and re- 
move at pleasure the waters of the flood ? How 
irrational are such objections, when advanced by a puny 
creature, against him who, as the great creator and up- 


holder of all things, measures the earth with his span ; 
and " holdeth the waters in the hollow of his hand !" 
The Christian with far truer philosophy, although 
with a humbler spirit, is content to know, that it 
pleased God then to put forth his almighty power for 
the purpose of executing his curse on the earth, by 
causing it to perish by water, as it is now reserved by 
the same omnipotence for universal destruction by fire. 

Immediately after the flood, when the Lord com- 
manded Noah to come out of the ark, he accepted the 
sacrifice that Noah offered, and made over to him a new 
grant of the earth, engaging by a covenant, whereof 
the rainbow is the token, that it shall not again be 
overflowed v/ith water. " And God blessed Noah and 
his sons, and said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, 
and replenish the earth." The grant of animal food, 
as that of vegetable had formerly been given to Adam, 
was now made to man, into whose hands all the ani- 
mals were delivered, and the fear and dread of him was 
impressed upon them. At this time also, the life of 
man w^as greatly shortened in comparison of its former 

When men began again to increase in the earth, they 
were all of one speech, and, in opposition to God, and in 
pursuit of vain glory, desiring " to make themselves a 
name," and to avoid being " scattered," they began to 
build a city, and a tower of vast height. This appears 
to have been the city of Babylon, in after ages so re- 
markable for its oppression of the people of God, and 
for the final ruin in which it was plunged. On this 
occasion God visibly manifested his displeasure, by 
confounding their language, and scattering them abroad 
upon the face of all the earth. This confusion of tongues, 


which has continued ever since in the great variety of 
languages that obtains all over the world, and which 
cannot be accounted for in any other way, constitutes 
a standing monument of the truth of the fact thus 

Notwithstanding the visible tokens of God's abhor- 
rence of sin, first in destroying nearly the whole inha- 
bitants of the earth by a flood, then in confounding 
their language, and scattering them over the face of 
the earth, to prevent their ungodly combination, the 
whole earth soon relapsed into idolatry. Even that 
line of which the Messiah was to descend, partook of 
the general corruption. But now, in another remark- 
able manner, God interposed, by raising up an indivi- 
dual, whom he called from idolatry, and constituted 
the progenitor of the Messiah, and the father of be- 
lievers. As in Abraham's family God purposed to 
carry forward the plan of salvation, he took him from 
his kindred, and sent him into a distant country. In 
that land he was to sojourn as a pilgrim and stranger, 
detached from the contagion of idolatry ; and there his 
posterity were to remain, a people separate from all the 
rest of the world. This calling of Abraham took place 
about 2000 years before the coming of Christ, and 
nearly at the same distance of time from the first pro- 
mise to Adam. 

To Abraham, on different occasions, God renewed 
the promise made to our first parents, confirming it by 
an oath, with the limitation of the immediate descent 
from him of the Messiah. " In thy seed shall all the 
nations of the earth be blessed." Along with spiritual 
blessings, and both as pledges of these, and as a me- 
dium through which they should be conveyed, he also 


promised to bim great temporal benefits. " Abrabam 
believed in tbe Lord, and be counted it to bim for 
rigbteousness." Tbis being- recorded, sbowed the 
manner in wbicb tbe blessing of rigbteousness to be 
provided in tbe obedience of tbe Son of God was to be 
conveyed, even by faitb. 

Abraham's faitb was long tried ; and notwithstand- 
ing- tbe promise of a numerous offspring, and tbe bless- 
ing- of salvation included in it, Sarah bis wife, till long- 
after it was possible in natural course, bore no child. 
The promise was, however, from time to time, renew- 
ed to Abrabam, who was strong in faitb, giving glory 
to God. At length Isaac was born, in whose line tbe 
promises were to run. When Abrabam saw Isaac 
born out of tbe common course, and beyond all expec- 
tation, except what rested on tbe faithfulness of God, 
he received a pledge of tbe fulfilment of every other 
promise that bad been made to him. 

A minute history is recorded of Abraham's family, 
and of bis son Isbmael by a bondwoman, as well as of 
bis son Isaac by Sarah bis wife. Isbmael having been 
discovered mocking Isaac, Sarab required that be 
should be cast out of tbe family. This might appear 
to be only a private narrative of an occurrence that 
was likely to happen in any family in similar circum- 
stances. But tbe Scripture history is dictated by 
inspiration of God, and is to be read with a degree of 
respect and attention very different from what is due 
to other writings. In tbis transaction, permitting the 
bad passions of human nature to exert themselves in 
a way that is so common, God gave a representation 
of tbe two covenants, tbe old and tbe new ; the first 
made with Israel after tbe flesh, tbe second with Israel 

302 THE ins TORY OF 

after the spirit, on account of which the former is now 
cast out and abolished. 

In the days of Abraham God gave another awful 
proof " of the certainty of the vengeance of eternal 
fire unto all those that after should live ungodly." 
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, on account of the 
enormous wickedness of their inhabitants, were de- 
stroyed by fire. This destruction fell upon them in 
the same unexpected manner in which the flood had 
come upon the earth, when, like its former inhabit- 
ants, they were wholly engrossed with the things of 
this world. " They did eat, they drank, they bought, 
they sold, they planted, they builded. But the same 
day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and 
brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all." From 
this catastrophe, the visible traces of which remain to 
this day, Lot only, with his two daughters, was deli- 
vered. Thus " God remembered Abraham, and sent 
Lot out of the midst of the overthrow." This destruc- 
tion was not only calculated to impress the fear of 
God on the inhabitants of that country, but also to 
secure the lives of his servants, and to teach them to 
live more separate, both from the people and the man- 
ners of the land. 

After Abraham's death, God renewed his covenant 
with Isaac, and afterwards with Jacob, who received 
a striking confirmation of the promised blessing, when 
at Peniel, on his way to meet his brother Esau, he 
saw " God face to face," in the human form, who 
blessed him there. On this occasion, the Messiah ma- 
nifested himself by anticipation in a very remarkable 
manner, as when, before the destruction of Sodom and 
Gomorrah, he appeared as a traveller to Abraham ; 

THE oJjD testament. 303 

and afterwards to Joshua, as a man in armour, " the 
Captain of the Lord's host ;" and in similar ways to 
others, on various occasions, during^ the Old Testa- 
ment dispensation. 

Jacob and his family, through a remarkable train 
of providential occurrences, were led into Egypt, and 
there brought into bondage, and cruelly oppressed. 
But after they had increased to a great multitude, God, 
by the hand of Moses, brought them out of that 
country, and took signal vengeance on their enemies. 
In this manner the descendants of Abraham, in the 
line of Isaac, when they had almost entirely relapsed 
into idolatry, were separated, like their great progeni- 
tor, from the other nations with whose manners they 
were infected. And thus the promise (Gen. xv. 13, 14) 
that God had made to Abraham respecting the deliver- 
ance of his descendants, and the punishment of their 
oppressors, was, as is recorded by Moses, at the set 
time fultilled. " The sojourning of the children of 
Israel who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty 
years. And it came to pass, at the end of the four 
hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day, it came 
to pass, that all the hocts of the Lord went out from 
the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed 
unto the Lord, for bringing them out from the land of 
Egypt. This is that night of the Lord to be observed 
of all the children of Israel in their generations." 
Afterwards Joshua, when he had led the people into 
the promised land, made to them, at his death, this 
solemn appeal : " And behold this day I am going the 
way of all the earth, and ye know in all your hearts 
and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed, of 
all the good things which the Lord your God spoke 



concerning" you ; all are come to pass unto you, and 
not one thing- hath failed thereof." And again, Solo- 
mon, at the dedication of the temple, celebrated, as 
follows, the faithfulness of God, " Blessed be the Lord, 
that hath given rest unto his people Israel ; according- 
to all that he promised, there hath not failed one word 
of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand 
of Moses his servant." 

The Israelites might soon have entered the land that 
had been given to their fathers, but God, having im- 
portant purposes to serve by it, saw good to detain 
them in the intervening wilderness during forty years. 
They were there to be formed into a separate nation, 
under circumstances different from those of any other 
people that ever had been on earth. God himself be- 
came their king and lawgiver, and made with them a 
peculiar covenant. They were also to be reclaimed 
from the superstitions and idolatry of Egypt, into which 
they had deeply drank, and by witnessing a long train 
of miraculous interpositions in their behalf, a deep and 
lasting impression was to be produced. In the wilder- 
ness the law was given to Israel as a nation, and the 
promise of the inheritance of Canaan, and of other pe- 
culiar privileges, ratified. One of the tribes was set 
apart for the priesthood. The tabernacle, of which the 
exact pattern had been shown to Moses, was erected 
as the visible habitation of the God of Israel, in which 
he was " to dwell among them ;" and the pillar of 
cloud and of fire, that had conducted them through the 
sea, rested on the tabernacle, and directed them in all 
their wanderings while in the wilderness. Thus, in 
the language of the Apostle, to Israel pertained " the 
adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the 


giving of the law, and the service of God, and the pro- 
mises ; whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concern- 
ing the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed 
for ever." 

While, however, these distinguished and unexam- 
pled privileges were bestowed on the nation of Israel, 
they were expressly informed, that the Lord had not 
chosen them on account of their number or greatness — 
for they were reminded that they had been the fewest 
of all people — but of his own sovereign pleasure, and 
because of the promise he had made unto their fathers. 
On the other hand, they were often declared to be a 
stiif-necked people. This was analogous to the whole 
procedure of Him " who giveth not account of his 
matters," and who hath mercy on whom he will have 
mercy. " Blessed is the man whom he chooseth, and 
causeth to approach unto him." So in like manner, 
under the New Testament dispensation, " God hath 
chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the 
wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the 
world to confound the things which are mighty ; and 
base things of the world, and things which are despi- 
sed, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, 
to bring to nought things that are, that nojlesh should 
glory in his prese/iceJ* 

Of the character of the Israelites, however, many 
form a more unfavourable opinion than is warranted by 
fact. " Whatsoever doth make manifest is hght," and 
in the holy Scriptures divine truth shines forth in so 
conspicuous a manner, that every thing of a contrary 
nature is strikingly exposed. In all uninspired histo- 
ries, a very partial statement of facts is presented, while 
the secret motives of men's actions remain unknown. 

VOL. I. u 


Abundant proof is indeed afforded that the earth is filled 
with violence ; but the greatest evils are often conceal- 
ed or glossed over, while false principles are appealed 
to and inculcated. In the Scriptures, on the other 
hand, nothing is concealed, disguised, or misrepresented. 
All is impartially narrated ; and the whole being ex- 
hibited in connexion with the purity of the Divine 
character, the contrast is more apparent and striking. 
From not attending to this, the men of the world are 
often shocked with the narratives which the Scriptures 
contain. The character of the people of Israel, and of 
many individuals whose histories they record, appears 
to them to be greatly worse than that of the grossest 
idolaters ; and the account given in the Bible of some 
of those whose conduct on the whole stands approved 
by God, seems to sink below that standard of moral 
rectitude, to which they suppose that themselves and 
others who make no pretensions to religion, have at- 
tained. Not being accustomed to measure themselves 
by a perfect standard, but by one reduced to what they 
term their own " imperfection," they are not aware of 
the real state of human nature. Christians, who are 
all in a degree acquainted with the deceitfulness and 
desperate wickedness of their hearts, draw a very differ- 
ent conclusion from these faithful narrations contained 
in the Bible, which are to them an irrefragable testimony 
to its truth. Such narratives are not anywhere else to 
be met with, even in those books whose principles are 
derived from the Scriptures. When we compare with 
them the biography of the most enlightened Christians, 
the contrast is manifest and striking. In order to form 
a just estimate respecting the character of the Israelites, 
it is necessary to observe the accounts that both the 


Old Testament and the New present of the other nations, 
and particularly to attend to the picture which, in the 
first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, is drawn of 
the civilized heathens. From these we must be con- 
vinced that the deeper shades of depravity that darken 
the annals of the people of Israel, are to be ascribed 
not to their being- actually worse than others, but to the 
fact, that their history has been more faithfully trans- 

On account of the rebellious conduct of the Israelites, 
on hearing the report from those who had been sent to 
explore the promised land, of the power of its inhabit- 
ants, exemplary punishment was inflicted on them, and 
till it was executed they were detained in the wilder- 
ness. With only two exceptions, all of those who had 
been above twenty years of age, when they departed 
from Egypt, died in the wilderness. On this occasion 
the duration of the life of man was contracted to its pre- 
sent usual period. Before the flood, it had extended 
to about 900 years. But immediately after that catas- 
trophe, it was reduced in the first generation to 600, 
and in the next to between 400 and 500 years. After- 
wards it was gradually diminished till the time of this 
murmuring of the Israelites at the report of the spies, 
when it was reduced to its present standard, according 
to the 90th Psalm, which Moses wrote, as is supposed, 
on that occasion : " The days of our years are three- 
score years and ten ; and if by reason of strength they 
be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sor- 
row ; for it is soon cut off and we fly away." After 
the expiration of forty years, the people entered the 
promised land, expelled the inhabitants by the command 
of God, and took possession of the country. This occu- 


pation of their land, and the execution inflicted on its 
ungodly possessors, had been purposely delayed, till the 
TYieasure of their iniquity was full. 

Objections have been daringly advanced against the 
authenticity of the whole of the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures, and through them against that of the New, on 
account of the command to extirpate the Canaanites, as 
if it were repugnant to every idea we ought to enter- 
tain of the character of God. Such impious cavils pro- 
ceed on partial and inconsiderate views. Is it in any 
respect contrary to the moral character of God, that, 
under his righteous government, men should be punish- 
ed for their sins ? Might not God, with equal justice, 
destroy those nations whom " the land spewed out," 
on account of their iniquities, as inflict vengeance on 
Sodom and Gomorrah, and on the whole inhabitants of 
the earth, old and young, by a deluge ? Might he not, 
to mark his abhorrence of sin, likewise involve in this 
visitation, the children, as well as those who were grown 
up, as he does in other more common visitations ? Have 
not the whole human race forfeited life by sin, in con- 
sequence of which, in their successive generations, all 
are removed by death ? And Js it not a fact of daily 
occurrence, that death reigns over children " who have 
not sinned after the simihtude of Adam's transgression?" 
Might not then the Supreme Ruler of the universe 
justly employ the sword of the Israelites, as well as the 
plague, or an earthquake, to execute his purpose ? 
Human governments employ the sword of the execu- 
tioners, and whole armies when it is necessary, either 
to maintain the authority of their laws, or to assert 
their rights. And shall men venture to arraign the 
conduct of the Judge of all the earth, and foster them- 


selves in the unbelief of the very existence of his 
g-overnment, because, in executing- justice, he acts in a 
way which even they themselves allow and practise ? 
It should also be remembered, that the Israelites were 
not commanded to cultivate the principles, and to act 
from the spirit, of treachery or cruelty ; the injunction 
to them required only the performance of an external 
act. By the command of God they took away the pro- 
perty and life of those who had no right to either, but 
what arose solely from the good pleasure of God, of 
which they \vere moreover justly deprived, on account 
of their rebellion and wickedness. 

This merited and awful visitation of God on a race 
of idolaters, with whose aggravated wickedness he had 
for ages borne with unexampled patience, was calcu- 
lated, like the former instances of divine vengeance by 
water and by fire from heaven, and the destruction of 
the Egyptians in the Red Sea, to produce the most salu- 
tary and lasting- moral effects, not only on the Israel- 
ites, and on the surrounding- nations, but also on every 
one who shall hear of it till the end of time. It fur- 
nishes, too, a solemn warning- to those who, through 
the forbearance of God, do not experience the just re- 
tribution of sin for a season, reminding them that the 
Lord knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day 
of judgment. to be punished, and that, though hand join 
in hand, the wicked shall not escape. 

The people of Israel having- arrived in Canaan, the 
service of God, which had been instituted in the wil- 
derness, was more fully regulated and observed ; and 
the tabernacle, with the ark of the testimony, were 
placed at Shiloh. For a considerable time they were 
governed by judges, whom God raised up and qualified, 


for administering the laws, for defending tbem from 
their surrounding enemies, or for delivering them from 
those nations by whom, on account of their sins, he had 
suffered them to be subdued. At length, becoming 
dissatisfied with that form of government which God 
had appointed over them, and ambitious to increase 
their consequence and means of defence, the Israelites 
clamorously demanded of the prophet Samuel, that, like 
the other nations, they should have a king. Their re- 
quest was granted, and Saul was chosen, who, at the 
commencement of his reign, was successful in defeating 
their enemies ; but, towards its termination, having 
manifested his disregard of God, he was slain in battle, 
and the kingdom was transferred to David, whom God 
elevated to be a distinguished type of the Messiah, of 
whom he was the progenitor. 

By means of David, the city of Jerusalem, which had 
previously been partly inhabited by the Jebusites, be- 
came the capital of the kingdom, and was appointed as 
the place to which the tribes should go up to worship. 
Thither David brought the ark of God, and prepared 
materials to erect a temple for its reception ; but hav- 
ing been much engaged in war, he was not permitted 
to build the Temple, that honour being reserved for 
his son, Solomon. The exact pattern or model after 
which it was to be constructed, was given to him " by 
the Spirit," to be communicated to Solomon in writing. 
David was also employed to complete all that part of 
the worship of Israel which had not been delivered to 
Moses, nor could have been observed till this settled 
habitation was provided for the ark of God. 

The Temple was accordingly built by Solomon, who 
succeeded his father, David ; and the whole of the in- 


stituted worship of God delivered for that dispensation, 
was completely regulated. At this time, the promises 
of temporal good things to Israel were fulfilled in their 
largest extent. Their prosperity was great under Solo- 
mon's reign. The people of the land, who had not before 
been dispossessed, were entirely subdued, " and Judah 
and Israel dwelt safely every man under his vine and 
under his fig-tree, from Dan even to Beershebah, all the 
days of Solomon." " Judah and Israel were many, as 
the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and 
drinking, and making merry." 

But after Solomon's time, the power of Israel gradu- 
ally declined. In the reign of Rehoboam, his son, ten 
of the tribes revolted, so that Judah and Benjamin 
alone retained their allegiance to the House of David. 
These two tribes, with the tribe of Levi, which also re- 
turned to Rehoboam, were denominated Jews, and con- 
tinued under the government of the descendants of 
David, till at length they were subdued and carried 
captive to Babylon. This captivity appears to have 
produced the most salutary effect in finally reclaiming 
the Jews from that tendency to idolatry, through which 
they had so often been seduced from the worship of the 
true God, and had brought upon themselves the great- 
est calamities. 

The Jews were restored to their own land by Cyrus ; 
and the Temple, which had been destroyed, was rebuilt. 
They continued, however, generally to be in subjection 
to one foreign nation or another, till the advent of Jesus 
Christ. And it is solely to be ascribed to the special 
interposition of God, that, during a period of extraor- 
dinary convulsion, although the land of Judea lay in the 
midst of the contending parties, and was often the seat 


of war, they were not entirely swallowed up. They were, 
notwithstanding-, preserved amidst all the calamities 
they experienced from the Babylonians, the Persians, 
the Macedonians, and at last from the Romans, who 
successively subdued one another. Every thing that hap- 
pened to them directly tended to promote the end which 
God had in view, in separating- the people of Israel from 
the other nations, and to prepare the way for the fulfil- 
ment of the promise of salvation, that had been made at 
the beginning to Adam, and so often renewed. The 
completion of this great purpose, nothing could prevent ; 
and all those occurrences that appeared calculated to 
oppose and to thwart it, were overruled, to be entirely 
subservient- to this object, and in the most remarkable 
manner to contribute to its accomplishment. 

Although the historical records of the Old Testament 
Scriptures were closed above 400 years before the ap- 
pearance of the Messiah, yet the plan of preparation 
for that great event continued, as we learn from other 
sources, to be carried on, in the Providence of God, in 
a manner the most remarkable. The long captivity of 
the Jews in Babylon, and the frequent subjugations 
which they afterwards experienced, were the means of 
dispersing them through the greater part of the civi- 
lized world. In the time of Esther, about 500 years 
before the coming of Christ, there were Jews scattered 
throughout the whole Persian empire, from India to 
Ethiopia. And about 200 years before the same period, 
many of them were settled in the different countries 
dependent on Greece and Rome. 

After the Babylonish captivity, copies of the Holy 
Scriptures were greatly multiplied ; and in every city 
where any considerable number of Jews resided, syna- 


gogues were erected, in which they assembled, where 
the law was publicly read every Sabbath day. In con- 
nexion with this, the translation of the Scriptures 
into the Greek language, about sixty years after Alex- 
ander's conquests, and nearly 300 years before the 
Christian era^ contributed greatly to make known the 
expected advent of the Messiah. This translation, 
which goes by the name of the Septuagint, and which 
remains to the present day, had become necessary to the 
Jews, who lived in foreign countries, where the Greek 
language was spoken, and afterwards, except in Judea, 
they commonly made use of it in their synagogues. By 
this means the people of these countries had an oppor- 
tunity of perusing the Scriptures, and of hearing them 
read in their own language. 

At length, between sixty and seventy years before 
the appearance of the Messiah, the Romans conquered 
Judea, and soon after the Roman empire was establish- 
ed in its greatest extent, the nations of the world being 
united under its government. A direct commurlication 
was, in consequence, opened from one country to an- 
other. This, together with the erection of the Jewish 
synagogues, and the general use of the Greek language, 
tended greatly to facilitate the execution of that com- 
mission which the Apostles were afterwards to receive, 
to "go into all the world, and to preach the gospel to 
every creature." 

One thing more was now ordered in the course of 
divine Pro -idence, to prepare the way for Him, who 
was the *' desire of all nations." The Roman govern- 
ment, towards the end of the republic, although it had 
subdued the rest of the world, was itself in a very un- 
settled state. But about thirty years before the birth of 


the Messiah, Augustus Csesar, havings succeeded in put- 
ting down his rivals, became the first Roman Emperor. 
Augustus continued, with some intervals, to be engaged 
in wars, in subduing his enemies, and in regulating 
the empire, till that very year in which our Lord Jesus 
Christ was born, when all was terminated in tranquil- 
lity ; and, in token of the peace that was then establish- 
ed, which lasted twelve years, the temple of Janus, at 
Rome, was shut. Thus the world, which had expe- 
rienced continual convulsions for many hundred years, 
was, at this important hour, settled in universal tran- 

Let us now look back, and observe that remarkable 
concurrence of circumstances, by which He to whom all 
his works are known from the beginning, and who 
ruleth in heaven and in earth, prepared the way for 
the coming of his Son. The fittest country, as is 
evident at this day, after all the discoveries in geo- 
graphy, was provided. It is situated in the very centre 
of the world, and from it the communication is easier 
and shorter than from any other point, to Europe, to 
Africa, to the distant parts of Asia, and from thence to 
America, by the strait where, according to modern dis- 
coveries, these two continents nearly meet. A nation 
was prepared and put in possession of this country, 
where, under the particular providence of God, and by 
means of a written revelation of his will, they main- 
tained his worship uncorrupted, when all the other 
nations of the world had relapsed into idolatry. There 
they were preserved from being swallowed up by the 
powerful heathen monarchies that surrounded them, 
and by which, as a punishment for their sins, they were 
often overrun. 


The world was in the meantime agitated by the most 
dreadful contentions, and experienced the greatest revo- 
lutions, till it was completely subdued by one people, 
and brought under a government the most powerful 
and the most civilized that had ever existed. At this 
time learning- and philosophy had risen to their greatest 
height. "Almost all improvements of the human mind," 
says Mr Hume, " had reached nearly to their state of 
perfection about the age of Augustus." A complete 
trial was therefore made, of what human wisdom and 
, science could effect in discovering the way to happiness, 
which was the great subject of enquiry among the phi- 
losophers. But all of them wandered in the dark, 
amidst an endless variety of absurd opinions, without 
being able to come to any satisfactory conclusion on the 

After a proof had thus been given of the truth of the 
declaration that " the world by wisdom knew not God," 
the time arrived when the Sun of Righteousness was to 
arise with healing in his wings. That child was now 
to be born, whose name is " Wonderful, Counsellor, the 
Mighty God, the Father of the everlasting age, the 
Prince of Peace." A general expectation of his appear- 
ance was excited, and a universal peace was established, 
as a proper prelude to his entrance into the world. 
All that concerned the coming of the Messiah was to 
be made known in the fullest manner, so as to give 
every opportunity for the immediate investigation and 
the future transmission of the testimony of so remark- 
able an event. " This thing was not done in a corner." 
That revelation which was to be delivered to mankind 
of the way which God had provided for them to escape 
from condemnation and death, and to attain eternal 


life, was not to be given in such a manner, that its 
origin could only be traced to some remote and obscure 
country, and to some distant and barbarous age. At 
the end of 4000 years from the creation of the world, 
it was to be made known in the most cultivated period 
of Greece and Rome. " It was to originate, as Gibbon 
has characterised them, " in an age of science and his- 
tory," and " in a celebrated province of the Roman 

Thus we have witnessed a series of events from the 
first promise given to Adam, in the preservation of 
one family from the general catastrophe of the flood ; 
in the selection of an individual, highly favoured of 
God, to whom that promise w^as renewed ; in the se- 
paration from other nations of a whole people who de- 
scended from him, to whom was delivered a written 
revelation of the M'ill of God, and in the various un- 
paralleled train of circumstances which marks their 
history from its commencement; all tending to one 
point, and all subservient to one grand design. 

Having considered the History of the Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures in the light of that plan of preparation 
which it records as subservient to the advent of the 
Messiah, and the introduction of the Christian dispen- 
sation, we shall now view it as interweaving in its 
texture, all the doctrines and duties that are enjoined 
by the Lord and his Apostles. That this history is 
designed to convey, along with particular facts, both 
moral and typical instruction, is a truth not left to the 
discoveries of human ingenuity ; it is the repeated 
testimony of Apostolic teaching. The facts it records 
not only adumbrate what was future, but inculcate lessons 


both of faith and practice, which exactly correspond 
with those that are more fully and clearly developed in 
the New Testament. It is in this latter point of view 
that we are now to attend to it, reserving" till after- 
wards the consideration of the numerous types which 
refer more particularly to the Messiah. In both of 
them the truth of the Apostle's declarations will be 
manifest, that, " whatsoever things were written afore- 
time, were written for our learning-, that we, through 
patience, and comfort of the Scriptures, might have 
hope ;" and that '^ all Scripture is given by inspiration 
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for 
correction, for instruction in righteousness ; that the 
man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto 
all good works." 

At the opening of the History of the Old Testament, 
the formation of Eve from a rib of Adam is related. 
This fact teaches all the duties of marriage. If it 
shows that, by the divine appointment, the husband 
and the wife are one body, every duty resulting from 
the marriage relation follows as a consequence. That 
this is the import of the fact, Adam himself understood 
at the time. " And Adam said, this is now bone of my 
bone, and flesh of my flesh : she shall be called woman, 
because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a 
man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave 
unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." On this 
principle, the matrimonial duties are inculcated by the 
Apostle. And it is very remarkable that the force of 
this divine appointment, constituting husband and wife 
one flesh, is generally felt, notwithstanding all the cor- 
ruption of sin. Millions who have no knowledge of 
this fact, and others who regard not the authority of 


God in it, though they are acquainted with the history, 
feel the influence of this original divine institution. 
That a man and a woman, strangers to each other 
during the former part of their lives, should, by enter- 
ing into the relation of husband and wife, possess feel- 
ings of kindred and attachment stronger than those of 
all the other nearest relations of life, and find themselves 
in heart, as well as in word, one body, is a fact that 
cannot be accounted for on any other principle, than 
the constant working of the divine hand, giving effect 
to this original constitution. 

In this fact, also, we are taught that a man should 
have but one wife, as well as that the wife should have 
but one husband. God made but one of each sex at 
first, which the Lord himself interprets as bearing this 
import ; while an admirable equality in the number of 
each sex has been preserved by Him in every age and 
every country. Polygamy, with all its evils, is ex- 
cluded by the nature of this relation, as seen in the 
marriage of the first pair. We have here also the 
most solid refutation of the unholy tenet of celibacy 
inculcated by the man of sin. Marriage was the ap- 
pointment of God for man even in the Garden of Eden. 
How daring then is it to preclude any order of men 
from this appointment under pretence of greater purity I 
Whatever advantages, in some points of view, and in 
certain states of society, celibacy may possess, yet it 
can never, consistently with the original institution of 
God, be urged on the ground of greater holiness. Can 
the holy and honourable nature of this relation be more 
fully declared than by the fact, that it is a figure of 
Christ and the Church, and was instituted in the 
state of innocence at the very formation of man ? 


The historical relation of the common descent of all 
mankind from one pair, is eminently calculated, as it 
was undoubtedly intended from the first, to promote 
brotherly love among- men. To suffer the poor to 
want is, according- to Isaiah, Iviii. 7, to hide ourselves 
from our own flesh. What is better calculated to re- 
press arrogance, pride, and contempt of inferiors in 
station, than the consideration that God " hath made 
of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on all the face 
of the earth." Acts, xvii. 26. Even in primitive 
innocence, the constitution of man taught him humi- 
lity, as being- formed of the dust of the earth, as to his 
body. The remembrance of this should have kept man 
humble in Paradise, but as a fallen creature, with the 
seeds of mortality in him, it teaches the lesson still 
'more forcibly. 

From all that we find in the Scriptures respecting- 
the formation of Adam and Eve, it follows, by a neces- 
sary consequence, that the redemption of sinners 
through Jesus Christ, was not a thing- planned after 
the ruin of the human race, or the best expedient of 
disappointment; but that it was .the eternal purpose of 
Jehovah, intimated in his works, even before sin en- 
tered into the world. The incarnation of Jesus Christ, 
and all its glorious results, were, in the counsels of 
eternal wisdom, contemplated in the formation of man. 
Adam, in his representative headship to his posterity, 
and in the covenant, by the breach of which he and his 
race were ruined, was a iig-ure of Christ in the redemp- 
tion of his people. Thus, we see, that " known unto 
God are all his works from the beginning- of the world." 
Throughout eternity there is nothing- new to him. 
In all things he follows the eternal counsels of his own 


In the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, we have 
in epitome the history of all the persecutors of Chris- 
tians — the origin of the hatred of the world towards 
them, and the vehemence of that hatred overcoming- 
the strongest ties of nature. 1 John, iii. 12. 

The destruction of the world by the flood, and the 
ruin of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven, 
strikingly represent the destruction of the world at 
the last day, and the state of things at that period. 
Matth. xxiv. 38. 2 Peter, ii. 5. Jude, 7. 

That God is so very compassionate that he will not 
execute his threatenings against the wicked, and that 
it is uncharitable to man, as well as dishonourable to 
God, to suppose that the bulk of the world are objects of 
future punishment, is a very general sentiment of man- 
kind. Their chief hope of escaping the vengeance of 
Divine justice is founded, partly on vague notions of 
the mercy of God, and partly on the very great number 
of those who are obnoxious to his displeasure. A great 
portion of the history of the Old Testament is designed 
to sweep away these refuges of lies ; and of this the 
history of the flood is a remarkable example. Among 
all the children of men at that period, there was not 
found an individual who served God, except in the 
family of Noah, and even that all of them were spiri- 
tual worshippers, does not appear. Let those who 
brand others as uncharitable, who regulate their opi- 
nion on that subject by the word of God, consider this 
fact. If the world was so generally corrupt in the days 
of Noah, does charity oblige us to suppose that in our 
own day, the great body of mankind must be among 
the heirs of immortality ? In the fate, then, of the 
world at the flood, let men be undeceived as to the 


compassion of God. He bears loDg-, but in the end he 
will punish the impenitent. We see in this fact that 
God will keep his word, and execute threatened ven- 
geance on all the workers of iniquity. The flood came 
and swept them all away. Did mercy then interfere 
to deliver ? Mercy spoke by Noah for a hundred and 
twenty years ; but when God arose to execute his 
threatened judgment, mercy spoke not a word. So shall 
it be in the end of the world. Mercy now calls aloud,' 
through Jesus Christ, to all sinners, even to the guilt- 
iest of the guilty ; but when the time of the execution 
of threatened punishment shall arrive, mercy will not 
interpose for their deliverance, more than justice. 

The destruction of the nations of Canaan speaks the 
same language. They were universally corrupt, and 
were doomed to destruction without mercy. How 
many plausible things might modern liberality allege 
to show that these nations should not be viewed in 
such an uncharitable light I That charity of senti- 
ment, which is so generally approved, would allege 
that a merciful God would not treat them in the man- 
ner represented. Indeed, the justice of the Most High 
in their punishment has unreservedly been termed 
cruelty, and as such denounced as unworthy of God. 
But in the terrible nature of the punishment of these 
nations, we see God's determination to execute wrath 
upon the wicked in the most dreadful manner. It is 
the same God who will execute the judgment denoun- 
ced against the wicked in the end of the world. In 
the punishment of the Canaanites, let all despisers of 
Divine truth behold the God to whom they must give 
account. Can we believe their vain speculations, 
teaching that God will not be so severe, when in such 

VOL. I. X 


facts we actually behold the most awful specimens of 
his just severity ? Whether was Saul or Samuel more 
pleasing- to God in the case of Agag- ? 1 Sara. xv. 
Saul spared Agag, and lost the kingdom of Israel. 
Samuel hewed him in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal, 
and received the Divine approbation. Let no man 
presume to be more merciful than his Maker. Had 
Saul and Samuel acted from their own impulse and 
feelings, the conduct of Saul would have been generous, 
and that of Samuel horrible. But as acting for God, 
they must not presume to interpose their feelings of 
compassion. In the condemnation of men and angels, 
all heaven and earth must say, " thy will be done." 

Spurious charity and atheistical liberality may read 
the same lesson in the destruction of Sodom and Go- 
morrah, and the other cities of the plain. In them all 
there were not found ten righteous men. Indeed there 
is no evidence that there was one besides Lot himself. 
There was not found a single inhabitant of the city, 
besides his own household, to accompany him out of 
Sodom. To his sons-in-law he appeared as one that 
mocked, even when destruction was hanging over them. 
Justice poured down upon them fire from heaven, and 
mercy said nothing in disapprobation. Their country 
itself was blotted out from under heaven. Shall the 
number of the wicked, then, or the mercy of the Judge, 
contrary to justice and truth, interfere to deliver the 
wicked at the day of judgment ? In the fall of the 
angels and their punishment, and in the accomplish- 
ment of God's threatening against the rebellious chil- 
dren of Israel in the wilderness, all hopes are cut off 
from those who turn away from the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Nothing can be more profitable for Christians than to 


consider these events in the view of warning-, excite- 
ment, and trust in God. For this express purpose 
have they been written. 

In every pag-e of the history of the Israelites, we 
may learn how prone the people of God are to un- 
belief, how speedily backsliding and often gross sin fol- 
low it, and how closely chastisement follows sin. In 
the murmurings and distrust of God exemplified in 
the wilderness, Christians read their own history, are 
guarded against unbelief, and put to shame for their 
backwardness to confide in God. We are thus practi- 
cally taught that it is an evil thing and bitter to for- 
sake the living God. We blame the Israelites, when, 
after a thousand deliverances, they are overwhelmed 
with despair at every new danger, yet we often exem- 
plify the same distrust on less dangerous occasions. 
We ought to learn a different lesson from the history 
of God's dealings with his people of old. We should 
indeed distrust ourselves, but we never can confide too 
steadfastly in the Lord. Christians give way to sin, 
but it can never promote their happiness to do so, 
even though they are assured of impunity as to a fu- 
ture world. Uninterrupted obedience is not only their 
duty, but it is their earthly advantage. Indeed it would 
be absurd to suppose that God is the ruler of the world, 
and that he will give countenance to his children liv- 
ing in disobedience. When they depart from God, 
they may find gratification in fulfilling the desires of a 
corrupt mind ; yet in such a course they will never 
find happiness and peace. 

In the history of God's dealing with the Israelites, 
both as a nation and individuals, we have many strik- 
ing examples of the blessings of obedience and the evil 


of disobedience. In rewarding and punishing", in ap- 
proving and disapproving, we have a constant lesson 
from facts. The cases of many individuals among the 
Israelites, as well as that of the nation as a body, is a 
proof of this. Let Achan, Jacob, and David, serve 
for examples. How soon did publicity put to shame 
the secret sins of the first and the last, and how dread- 
ful was the consequence of their transgression ! All 
the labours, difficulties, and trials of Jacob's life, seem 
to have been the fruit of his dishonourable artifice with 
respect to his brother. God had appointed him both 
for the blessing and the birthright ; but the Almighty 
had no need for the wiles of his servant to give execu- 
tion to his purposes. Even the will of God is not to 
be brought about by any improper means. 

The example of Saul's conduct, and of the Divine 
punishment which it entailed on him, can never be too 
much the object of our contemplation. 1 Samuel, xv. 
22, 23. We have here one of the most plausible pre- 
tences that are usually made for not fully obeying the 
Lord, by those who profess to be his servants, and every 
evasion that ingenuity can invent for apology. But all 
could not plead his excuse, or reverse the sentence. 
** Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings 
and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? 
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken 
than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of 
witchcraft, and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry ; 
because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, 
he hath rejected thee from being king." On the 
other hand, in Joshua and Caleb, we see the bless- 
ing of following the Lord fully. While their com- 
panions, in viewing the land, were cut off by the hand 
of Divine vengeance, they were spared to enter into 


the land, in a distinguished manner, with a distin- 
guished inheritance. How instructive is the history 
of Joseph I It is a history of natural events, yet it is 
a history of the miracles of Providence, a history in 
some degree verified in the experience of every Chris- 
tian. With these facts before our eyes, and with the 
inspired interpretation of their import m the New 
Testament as a key, can we be at any loss in applying 
all the other facts for edification, instruction, correc- 
tion, warning, or encouragement, according to the in- 
tention of each ? 

From Lot's choice of the well-watered plains, we 
learn the great evil of preferring temporal to spiritual 
advantages. How much safer, as well as happier, 
might he have been in the society of Abraham ! In 
the deliverance of Lot, that righteous man, we see the 
safety of God's people. But in the choice of his resi- 
dence among the people of Sodom, in the effects of 
this on his family, and his escape with the loss of all 
his worldly goods, we are taught the folly of preferring 
earthly to spiritual blessings, for ourselves and our 
children. Abraham, for the sake of peace, gave Lot 
his choice of the country, and Abraham's family pos- 
sessed the land for many generations, and their title 
to it is not yet extinct. At all events, his seed 
have a promise of yet being called to the blessings of 
their Messiah. On the other hand. Lot chose for his 
family a portion among the inhabitants of Sodom, but 
his house forsook the Lord. He was, indeed, himself 
a righteous man, but there is not sufficient evidence 
that there was another in his family that truly served 
the Lord. Whether or not any of his daughters per- 
ished in Sodom, even those of them who went with 


him showed abundantly the corrupting- elFect of the 
society into which they had been thrown, and his wife 
was made a monument of disobedience. The Moabites 
and Ammonites, the two nations descended from him, 
w^re distinguished for wickedness and the most cruel 

That the history of Jacob and Esau, the sons of 
Isaac, born of the same mother, and at the same time, 
is designed to teach us practically God's sovereignty 
in the election of his people, is asserted by inspired in- 
terpretation. Rom.ix. 11. Jacob and Esau were twins, 
whose conception and birth placed them entirely on a 
level, so that the one had no advantage naturally over 
the other, except it was that Esau was the first born, 
and was entitled, on that account, to the right of primo- 
g-eniture. " For the children being^ not yet born, nei- 
ther having done any good or evil, that the purpose of 
God according to election might stand, not of works, 
but of him that calleth, it was said unto her, the elder 
shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob ha\e I 
loved, but Esau have I hated." These two individuals, 
then, were by nature entirely equal, neither of them had 
done any thing either good or evil, which distinguished 
them, or gave a preference of the one to the other ; they 
were both equally the creatures of God, equally belong- 
ing to the corrupt mass of human nature, and equally 
unworthy of the love of God on account of their natural 
depravity. But by his conduct towards them, and the 
preference he gave to Jacob, God has clearly made it 
appear that he is the Sovereign Lord of the calling and 
salvation of men, and of their rejection — that he chooses 
and rejects such as it seems good to him, without re- 
spect to any natural quality that distinguishes one man 


from another. No plausible oljjection can be made to 
the doctrine of election, that cannot equally be made to 
this divinely authenticated fact, both as it relates to 
time and eternity. For if it had been wrong- to make 
such a choice with respect to eternity, it must be wrong" 
to make it with respect to the smallest blessing. If it 
is justifiable in temporal blessings, it is equally justifi- 
able in eternal. God cannot do a temporal injury more 
than an eternal. The expression, "Esau have I hated," 
is sometimes explained as signifying that God loved 
Esau less than Jacob ; but to confute this false inter- 
pretation, it is only necessary to turn to the passage 
in Malachi, to which the Apostle refers, Mai. i, 2, 4, 
where it will be seen that the awful denunciation on 
Esau and his descendants there recorded, "against whom 
the liOrd hath indignation for ever," is very different 
from expressing only a less degree of love to him 
than to Jacob. Of this, too, any one who traces the 
account that is given of Esau through the Scriptures, 
both in the historical and prophetical parts, may soon 
be convinced. The difference between him and his bro- 
ther is strikingly marked in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
where they are for the last time introduced. Jacob is 
there referred to as one who lived by faith, while Esau 
is declared to be a "profane person " (Bs/SjjAoj) ; the 
same expression is employed, 1 Tim. i. 9, in the enu- 
meration of the most horrible vices. This historical fact, 
then, concerning Jacob and Esau, where God declares 
that he has hated the one and loved the other, and that 
" the elder shall serve the younger," contains a practi- 
cal exhibition of no fewer than six fundamental doc- 
trines — the doctrines of the prescience, the provi- 
dence, the SOVEREIGNTY of God, O'f his PREDESTI- 


conclusion which the Apostle Paul draws from the 
whole is this, " Therefore hath he mercy on whom he 
will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." * 

That the children of the flesh are not the children 
of God, and that men become servants of God only 
by his free sovereign grace, is seen in Cain and 
Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob. Their 
parentage and extraction were the same. If grace 
came either by carnal descent, or religious instruction, 
as a necessary consequence, then Cain, Ishmael, and 
Esau, would have been as godly as Abel, Isaac, and 
Jacob. Yet Cain was a murderer of his brother, and 
a persecutor of him that was born after the Spirit. 
Ishmael was a mocker of the pretensions of the heir 
of promise ; and Esau was rejected of God, and proved 
himself to be a mere man of this world, concerned for 
the temporal blessing, but totally unconcerned for the 
heavenly inheritance. It is also remarkable that, in 
each of these examples, God chose the younger in pre- 
ference to the elder ; by this, teaching us that his grace 
is sovereign, and that on conferring it he has no regard 
to those things that usually influence the preference of 
men. What a number of examples does the history 
of the Old Testament afford us, showing that the 
children of God are not born by blood, or of the will 
of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God ? How 
soon did universal corruption appear among the descend- 
ants of Adam ? How soon was it also manifest among 
the descendants of Noah ? How strikingly was it seen 

* The same doctrines are established by the same Apostle, 
from God's dealings with Pharaoh. 


in the descendants of righteous Lot ? There are, on 
the other hand, a multitude of examples to show that 
God usually blesses the efforts of his people for the 
conversion of their offspring; but the above facts suffi- 
ciently teach, that when God brings the children of the 
righteous to the knowledge of himself, they are born 
again by his Spirit, and are not so by carnal descent. 
Samuel was a child of prayer and a child of God, but 
how unlike to Samuel were the sons of Samuel ! As 
the case of Samuel is an encouragement to parents, 
who, like Hannah, devote their children wholly to the 
Lord, and desire them from him only in the prospect 
of a heavenly inheritance, so the case of the sons of 
Eli is a remarkable warning against all unfaithfulness 
in Christian parents. Eli did not countenance the 
misconduct of his sons ; he did not overlook it when 
it was reported to him ; but he is blamed, because, 
though he reproved, he did not restrain them from 
their wickedness. Let all Christians take a lesson 
from this with respect to the extent of their account- 
ableness for the misconduct of their children. 

The doctrine of the Trinity itself, from the begin- 
ning, was intimated in the forms of expression used in 
the Old Testament ; and when we bring the light of 
the New Testament to bear on this peculiarity of the 
phraseology of the Old, the discovery of the truth is 
obvious. No other solution of such a form of expres- 
sion as that in Gen. i. 26, &c., is satisfactory, but that 
which shows it to have been from the first the design of 
the Divine wisdom to couch this truth in the phraseo- 
logy of the Old Testament. Of the operations of the 
Spirit of God on the hearts of men, we read in many 
parts of the Old Testament Scriptures, as also of the 


person of the Messiah, both in his Divine and human 
natures, as the child born, yet the mighty God, as well 
as of his offices and work. The doctrine of the sove- 
reignty of God is everywhere exhibited, and that of 
election, as we have seen above, fully taught, while the 
doctrine of the perseverance of the people of God to the 
end of their course, is striking-ly exemplified in the his- 
tory of many believers, even amidst the strongest 
temptations, as in that of David. In the history of 
Abraham, we read that he believed in the Lord, and he 
counted it to him for righteousness. Here the neces- 
sity of the imputation of the righteousness of God, and 
the way in which it is received, is taught in a manner 
so clear, that the Apostle Paul, in the New Testament, 
when he declares that the revelation of that righteous- 
ness is the cause why the gospel is the power of God 
unto salvation, refers to it and argues from it. Even 
the resurrection from the dead is taught in the history 
of the Old Testament, as exemplified in the case of the 
man who revived when his body touched the bones of 
Elisha, and is emblematically taught in Abraham's 
offering up Isaac, and receiving him back as from the 
dead ; and likewise that of a future state, in the trans- 
lation of Enoch, as has been already noticed, when God 
took him to himself, and also when God declared to 
Moses, that he was " the God of Abraham, of Isaac, 
and Jacob," after their departure from this world. 

The history of Naaman the Syrian, preaches the 
gospel in figure in a clear and striking manner. In it 
we behold the calling of the Gentiles, and are taught 
that what was so oifensive to the Jews, was enveloped 
in the shadows of their own dispensation. A thing 
so abhorrent to the feeling of the Jews, so opposed to 


their proud and self-righteous notions of themselves, 
could not have been in their own contemplation ; yet 
this and many other portions of the Jewish history, 
distinctly point to the calling of the Gentiles. The 
leprosy among the Israelites was evidently a represen- 
tation of the total depravity and spiritual loathsome- 
ness of the sinner, and the rites used in curing it, point- 
ed to the way of salvation by Jesus Christ. Naaman 
was a leper, and there was in his own country no cure 
for him. In Israel only can a remedy be found ; so 
all the nations of the world are covered with the 
leprosy of sin, and there is no cure for them but by 
the knowledge of Jesus Christ. They who sin with- 
out law, shall perish without law. All in every nation 
for whom God has provided an inheritance, must have 
remission of sins through the Saviour of Israel. 

In this history of Naaman, we see also the providence 
of God conveying the information about the Saviour 
in a way peculiar to himself. A little Israelitish maid 
was taken captive by the Syrians, and by Divine pro- 
vidence was placed in the house of Naaman. This 
reminds us of the seemingly accidental circumstances, 
that afford to the heirs of salvation an opportunity of 
becoming acquainted with that Gospel by which they 
are called out of darkness to light, and washed in the 
blood of Jesus Christ. God had designed to cure 
Naaman of his leprosy, and for this purpose the Israel- 
itish maid is brought into his family. Christians are 
here instructed in their duty also, with respect to avail- 
ing themselves of every opportunity to bring sinners 
to Christ. It is not the ministers of the Gospel alone, 
who ought to convey the glad news, but every one who 
knows it. A little Israelitish maid was here the herald 


of salvation to one of the greatest men in Syria. This 
maid was under no obligation to the Syrians. She was 
enslaved by them, and torn from her country and rela- 
tions ; yet she evidently desires the good of her master, 
and conveys to him information with respect to his 
cure. Christians, then, should desire to bring all men 
to the knowledge of the truth ; and the most obscure 
of them may have many opportunities of usefulness. 

The King of Syria addressed not the prophet, but the 
King- of Israel, in behalf of his servant, and sent much 
gold and valuable presents. Like Simon Magus, he 
vainly imagined that the gift of God could be purchased 
with money, and knew not that if he were " to give 
his house full of silver and gold," Elisha could not go 
beyond the word of the Lord to do less or more. 

The nature of the cure is the next thing that arrests 
our attention. Naaman is commanded to wash seven 
times in the Jordan. Seven is the number of perfec- 
tion ; and the washing in Jordan seven times, most 
beautifully represents the perfect cleansing effected by 
the washing of the blood of Christ. There was no 
virtue in the water itself, or in the number seven ; but 
it was God's appointment, to represent that which had 
a real value and a real efficacy, the precious blood of 
Christ, which cleanses from all sin. 

Naaman was at first angry with the prophet for the 
apparent insufficiency of the cure. He considered the 
rivers in his own country better than any in Israel, and 
expected that the prophet would have come out and 
called on the name of the Lord his God, and have 
struck his hand over the place. This is the usual me- 
thod of procedure with those who use incantations. 
In how many ways is the gospel corrupted, to make it 


more suitable to the wisdom of man, and to make effi- 
cacious that which is apparently so weak ! All the 
various ways of making faith a work, are founded on 
the same view that manifests itself here in Naaraan. 
The simplicity of the Gospel is corrupted, because to 
wash by faith in the blood of the Saviour appears to 
human wisdom an insufficient ground of reliance. Had 
the prophet enjoined some arduous undertaking in order 
to effect a cure, no doubt, as his servants properly ob- 
served, he would have complied. But he is indignant 
when a remedy is prescribed that is so simple and seem- 
ingly unavailing. And in every age since the coming 
of Christ, even under the name of Christianity, along 
with the washing in Jordan great things are often en- 
joined. The efficacy is expected, not from the washing 
in Jordan, not from the blood of Christ believed in for 
salvation, but from the things associated with it to 
give it an efficacy. The mass of the professors of 
Christianity speak still of the blood of Christ, but their 
dependence for salvation is in the great things that 
they do themselves, which supply the deficiencies of 
the waters of Jordan, 

Naaman, however, listened to his faithful servants, 
and washed, and was cured. Many reject the Gospel 
at first, who afterwards are, by the mercy of God, 
brought to believe it. And as soon as they wash in 
Jordan, their leprosy is cleansed. Faith in the blood 
of Christ is an instantaneous and effectual cure. Sin 
is washed away, guilt is pardoned, and the heart is 
renewed, the same moment in which the Gospel is 

The effect of the belief of the truth is seen in Naa- 
man after his cure. He returns, and makes an open 


profession of the God of Israel, and renounces all his 
former gods as vanities. " Behold, now I know that 
there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel." Here 
we observe nothing of that infidel complaisance that 
compromises the honour of the Lord, by supposing 
that God is worshipped by idolatrous nations, and that 
it is perfectly the same whether it is " Jehovah, Jove, 
or Lord." " 

In the conduct of Gehazi, we see a remarkable con- 
trast to that of his master Elisha. The prophet, that 
he might not appear to sell the gift of God, but to 
show that it is bestowed without money and without 
price, positively refused to receive any present from 
the hand of Naaman when he was cured. This excited 
the covetous spirit of Gehazi, and in order to possess 
a part of what his master had refused, he was led to 
practise the vilest deceit. In this we perceive the cor- 
ruption of human nature. No example, no teaching, 
no profession, without the constant agency of the Spirit 
of God, can preserve us from conduct dishonourable to 
ourselves, and opposed to the laws of our Divine Master. 
The corruption of human nature is a fact which the 
history of the Old Testament is designed strikingly to 
teach. We see it in all its vileness and abominations 
in the conduct of the Benjamites — as it respects even 
the people of God when left to themselves, we see it 
awfully displayed in David and Solomon. This fact 
ought to be kept in view, if we would read the Scrip- 
ture history to advantage. 

The Apostolic precept, " Be ye not unequally yoked 
with unbelievers," 2 Cor. vi. 14, 17, is figuratively 
enforced in the Old Testament, in the injunction not 
to sow a vineyard with diverse seeds, or to plough with 


an ox and an ass togetber. Deut. xxii. 9, 11. Even 
the neiu commandment given by tbe Lord to bis disci- 
ples to love one anotber — although it be only true, in 
all its fulness and extent, in him and in them, as the 
Apostle John declares, is shadowed forth in the dis- 
tinction which the Israelite was taught to observe be- 
tween his brethren and strangers. Deut. xxiii. 20. 

The Old Testament history affords us remarkable 
representations of the origin, progress, and final over- 
throw of the Man of Sin. Babylon is so noted a repre- 
sentation of this corrupt system of Christianity, that 
in the book of Revelation the latter is expressly called 
by the name of the former. If so, we cannot be wrong- 
when we assert that we discover the traces of the early 
origin of this apostate Christianity in the building of 
Babel and the confusion of tongues consequent on that 
rebellious attempt. We see here not only the exten- 
sion of the Antichristian system in the vast height of 
the tower they builded, whose top should reach unto 
heaven, but also the arresting of its progress in the 
building- being- stopped before it arrived at the height 
proposed by its founders. God shall bring universal 
confusion on it, and shall destroy it by scattering the 
builders. But especially in the history of the city of 
Babylon itself, its persecutions of the people of God, 
and its signal and final destruction, we have a remark- 
able representation of the bloody persecutions and de- 
struction of Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots, 
and abominations of the earth. 

That Sodom and Egypt represent that system which, 
in the New Testament, is described as the city that 
reigns over the kings of the earth, what is said in 
Revelation, xi. 8, leaves us no room to doubt. This 


great city in which the bodies of the witnesses lie dead, 
is there spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also 
our Lord was crucified. The cruelty, persecution, and 
spiritual tyranny of the system of Popery, are exhibited 
in the latter ; in the former we have an image of its 
vile abominations, both in manners and religion. In- 
deed, all the great idolatrous persecuting cities de- 
nounced to vengeance in the Old Testament, seem to 
represent, in different points of view, the same system, 
all of which are necessary to exhibit it in all its various 
features. What a striking correspondence do we find 
between the miracles of the Egyptian enchanters, to 
oppose the deliverance of the children of Israel, and 
those of the false church under the New Testament, 
to prevent the deliverance of the people from the 
tyranny of Antichrist ! Pharaoh and the people of 
Egypt were hardened in opposition to the command 
of God by the false miracles or lying wonders of the 
enchanters. In like manner, there is nothing that so 
much tends to harden the people in their opposition 
to the Gospel of Christ, and to confirm them in their 
allegiance to the great apostasy, as the miracles which 
Satan pretends to perform through the priests of the 
Popish Church. Perhaps the best key to what is yet 
future in the prophecies of the New Testament with 
respect to the Man of Sin, may be found in the his- 
tory of that system in the Old Testament. The gradual 
way in which it has been lowered step by step since it 
began to decline, corresponds to the fall and decay of 
the first Babylon. We may look there for information 
with respect to its total overthrow, from the corre- 
sponding parts of its undoubted emblems. As God 
overthrew Sodom, and delivered his people with a 


high hand out of Egypt, after many judgments on 
Pharaoh's subjects, followed and closed with the over- 
whelming destruction of all his hosts in the Red Sea, 
we may look for something corresponding in that anti- 
type. In the mean time it is pleasing to reflect, that 
as some of the subjects of Pharaoh feared the word of 
the Lord, and saved their cattle from the destruction 
that came on all. that despised it, so at present, and 
probably in the darkest days of Popery, some of those 
nominally in the kingdom of the beast, have feared the 
God of Jacob, and found salvation in the blood of the 
cross. When we contemplate the numbers, strength, 
and indefatigable never-ending zeal of the votaries of 
this corrupt system of Christianity, we are apt to be 
discouraged and overwhelmed with the doubts of suc- 
cess. To oppose it in those countries where it seems 
to be firmly rooted, appears like an attempt to perform 
impossibilities. When we turn to the Old Testament, 
we have innumerable facts to encourage the most con- 
fident hopes of its final overthrow. When the Lord 
was with Jonathan he discomfited and routed hosts 
of his enemies. Multitudes of similar examples to 
that of Gideon and others, may be seen in the history 
of the Israelites. 

The abominable idolatries of apostate Christianity, 
engrafted on the religion of Christ, seem to be pointed 
out also by the calf of Aaron the high priest. He by 
no means professed to reject the true God, but pur- 
posed to give the people some visible object of worship. 
The feast appointed for the calf was proclaimed as the 
feast of the Lord, the God who had brought them up 
out of the land of Egypt. " These be thy gods, O 

VOL. I. Y 


Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." 
Exod. xxxii. 4. It was therefore well calculated to 
pourtray the Antichristian idolatry of the Antichristian 
high priest, which, with all its extravagancies, professes 
loudly to be in honour of Jehovah. But like Aaron's 
calf, it shall, in the end, be reduced to powder, and 
scattered by the winds of heaven. The calf of Aaron 
was made in the absence of Moses when he was in the 
Mount : and the calf of Rome was made after the 
ascension of Jesus to the hill of God, and will be con- 
sumed by the brightness of his coming. 

The same thing seems to be intimated in the defec- 
tion of the ten tribes under Jeroboam, and the esta- 
blishment of a mixture of the institutions of Moses and 
the rites of Paganism by that prince. The calves of 
Dan and Bethel were designed to keep the people from 
going up to Jerusalem. And are not all the mumme- 
ries of Antichrist contrived to keep his votaries from 
the Gospel of Christ, and the true church of God ? 
There is such an artful mixture of heathenism with 
Christianity, so much profession of zeal for the true 
God, conjoined with the idolatry of ancient Rome, that 
the eyes of men are blinded with respect to its true 
nature. With all their superstitions and idolatries, 
Papists, like the Jews of old, cry, " the temple of the 
Lord, the temple of the Lord are these." As among the 
ten tribes God had his elect and his prophets, while the 
kings were universally wicked men, and some of them 
monsters of iniquity and idolatry, as well as the most 
cruel persecutors of the church of God ; in like manner 
in the defection of the Antichristian apostasy, God has 
had his elect, and occasionally some of his ministers, 


yet the line of Popes has been as one man pursuing- 
one system, and in all ag-es wasting- the church of God, 
as well as promoting idolatry. 

Let the above serve as specimens of the innumer- 
able facts in the history of the Old Testament, which, 
by their moral import, invite to the closest study of 
that part of the sacred volume. Let the Christian 
reader — dismissing- the lax and unscriptural views of 
the inspiration of the Scriptures which have been too 
common, and abhorring- the idea, founded in gross 
ignorance, that inspiration was not necessary in the 
historical parts of Scripture — peruse his Bible with 
this truth full in view, and the immense variety of 
facts that he will be enabled to collect, either with the 
direct stamp of inspired interpretation, from the New 
Testament, or naturally resolvable by the key afforded 
in those that are explained there, will excite his 
astonishment. Nothing is better adapted to correct 
the errors of those rash and shallow-thinking persons 
who have presumed to speak slightingly of the Old 
Testament, to discountenance the study of it, and to 
pay a compliment to one part of the Divine Word at 
the expense of another. But this view of the subject 
is not only calculated to raise the Old Testament 
Scriptures in the esteem of the Christian, it is equally 
calculated to confirm the truth of Revelation. Though 
the Christian depends on the interpretation of the 
New Testament for the assurance of the moral import 
of the historical facts of the Old, yet the circumstance 
that a history of such a variety of events, through 
such a number of ages, should possess a natural capa- 
bility of a moral interpretation, is itself irrefragable 
evidence of a Divine Author. This evidence is in- 


creased by the consideration, that it is not a random 
import imposed on it, but that it is one that perfectly 
coincides with the meaning- of the typical ordinances. 
An ungoverned fancy might take mysteries out of 
any history ; and ungoverned fancy has taken fanciful 
mystical meanings out of the Scriptures, as Origen 
and some of the Fathers did ; but while a proper dis- 
cernment on this subject will secure the Christian 
from this abuse of the Bible, it will also prevent the 
giving any handle to infidelity to bring such a charge. 
When all such figurative import is to be understood, 
either by the direct explanation of inspiration, or to be 
derived by the sober use of the key thus aff'orded, and 
always under the sanction of plainly revealed truth, 
so that no truth or meaning is to be taken from the 
history that is not expressly and plainly taught in the 
New Testament, the caprice of fancy can have no place. 
We should constantly resist that pernicious method 
of what is called spiritualizing the Scriptures, by the 
random efforts of an unbridled imagination. This is 
an error on one side. To despise or neglect the moral 
and typical instruction of the history of the Old Tes- 
tament, is an error on the other, against both of which 
every Christian should strongly protest. The facts of 
the Old Testament history teach spiritual truth, ac- 
cording to the interpretation of the New Testament. 
The moral as well as typical import of the facts is per- 
fectly identical with that of the ordinances. This 
considerstion at once secures against error, and con- 
firms the truth of Revelation. If the same import is 
found in a vast variety of histories or figures, it proves 
that that import was intended ; and if the typical im- 
port of a chain of facts, in a history of many genera- 


tions, coincides with that of an immense variety of 
typical ordinances, we have the most satisfactory evi- 
dence that the thing is designed, and that the author 
is God. 

The emblematical facts narrated in the Old Testa- 
ment history, are not only infinitely numerous, corre- 
sponding- to the typical ordinances, but they form one 
whole with the utmost exactness and symmetry of parts. 
All the truths of Revelation are shadowed forth by 
them. Not one part is useless. All united embody 
and figure the whole range of Divine truth. In this 
point of view, is it possible that we can be insensible 
to the confirmation afforded by this subject to the evi- 
dence of Christianity ? The study of the Old Testa- 
ment, in this light, must delight the Christian, and is 
calculated to convince every candid enquirer, that the 
Bible is the Word of God. The Old Testament his- 
tory, throughout a period of some thousand years, writ- 
ten by different hands, and at many different times, not 
only exhibits a series of events, arranged and exclusively 
designed to prepare the way for the advent of the Mes- 
siah, and the accomplishment of the plan of salvation, 
but has woven into its very texture all the doctrines 
and duties of Christianity — doctrines and duties not 
fully developed nor understood till the coming of Christ, 
but now to be clearly traced in the ancient records. 
Can there be a doubt about the Author of the history ? 
It would be as easy to counterfeit the heavens and the 
earth as to forge such a series of documents. The 
Bible, then, must be the book of God. 




The history which we have been considering-, stands 
connected Avith a train of miraculous agency, from which 
it cannot be separated. Miracles are proper and direct 
proofs of the immediate interposition of God. Those 
laws by which God conducts the government of the 
material creation, were originally adjusted, and continue 
to be carried into effect, by himself ; and to suppose, 
that, without his special permission, any other being 
can exercise power over them, is to deny the Divine 
supremacy. Of the truth of the Scriptures there are 
various other proofs ; but that of miracles, wrought to 
attest the doctrine they contain, is of itself conclusive. 
Nor can this proof be invalidated by an appeal to other 
miracles said to be performed, besides those which are 
related and accounted for by the Scriptures. 

There is no reason to believe that any created being-, 
angel or spirit, possesses the power of working- a mir- 
acle. The laws by which God usually conducts the 
government of the material creation, from which mi- 
racles are a deviation, were originally adjusted by him- 
self, and are still preserved by his providence ; and it 
cannot be supposed that he will give any other being 
power over them without his own special commission. 
Not a single miracle in all history, without the record 
of Scripture, which depends upon good evidence, can 
be referred to. All the pretended miracles of divination 
have been uniformly wrought in an age of darkness, or 


in a manner that precluded general observation and de- 
tection. But why, if they were real, should they shun 
the light, and never appear in a manner in which their 
pretensions can be examined ? 

To the doctrine that nothing- but the power of God 
is adequate to the performance of miracles, the whole 
Scripture gives its uniform and decided attestation. 
The Old Testament is wholly constructed on the idea 
of the unity of God, and of there being no governor of 
the world but Jehovah only. When Moses wrought 
miracles in Egypt, God entered into no competition 
with the gods of the Egyptians, as if they had in reality 
any existence. Pharaoh did not call in the priests of 
his gods, but the jugglers, the magicians, and the sor- 
cerers. When Moses turned his rod into a serpent, 
they appear to have effected only what is commonly 
done by the jugglers of China at this day, dexterously 
withdrawing their rods, and substituting serpents in 
their stead. Bell of Antermony, in the account of his 
travels, relates, that when he was at the court of China, 
he was much alarmed by a trick of a similar kind. A 
juggler threw his cap on the floor, out of which imme- 
diately issued a great number of serpents. It was easy 
in the same manner for the Egyptian magicians to make 
a small quantity of water assume the appearance of 
blood, and to produce frogs when the country swarmed 
with them. Accordingly Pharaoh hardened his heart, 
not as if he doubted the power of the God of Israel, or 
supposed that the gods of the Egyptians were stronger 
than he, but rather, it would seem, because he suspec- 
ted that there was no miracle in the case, and that 
Moses was only a more dexterous juggler than those 
who opposed him. The magicians of Egypt were 


countenanced by the king, who wished to retain his 
Hebrew slaves. Accordingly he resisted the proofs of 
Moses' commission, even when he wrought miracles 
which the Egyptian magicians could not imitate, till 
the darkness and other awful plagues, and at last the 
decisive judgment of the death of the lirst-born, con- 
vinced the people that the arm of the God of Israel 
was with Moses. 

Moses is so far from ascribing the tricks of the magi- 
cians to the invocation and power of demons, or to any 
superior beings whatever, that he most expressly refers 
all they did or attempted in imitation of himself, to 
human artifice and imposture. The original words, 
which are translated enchantments, do not carry in 
them any sort of reference to sorcery or magic, or the 
interposition of any spiritual agents ; they import de- 
ception and concealment, and ought to have been ren- 
dered secret sleights, or juggling. Thus Moses has, 
in the most direct terms, ascribed every thing done in 
imitation of the miracles he performed, entirely to the 
fraudulent contrivances of his opposers. 

To Pharaoh, whatever he may have thought of the 
performances of the magicians, sufficient and paramount 
evidence was furnished that he was fighting against 
God. To countervail that evidence, miracles should 
have been wrought to set aside those of Moses, such 
as restoring the river to pure water, and removing the 
swarms of frogs. Till this was done, or at least till 
miracles of equal power were performed, the evidence 
of the miracles of Moses remained in full force, not- 
withstanding that on a small scale an imitation of these 
was presented ; while the swallowing of the serpents 
of the magicians by the serpent of Moses, evidently 


decided the question between them. In addition to all 
this, miracles of a similar kind were performed by Moses, 
which the Egyptians could not imitate, and against 
whose effect they were unable to protect themselves, 
constraining them to declare to Pharaoh, " this is the 
finger of God." Pharaoh's persisting then to withstand 
the attestations he witnessed of Divine interposition, 
did not proceed from want of evidence, but from rebel- 
lious obstinacy, in which he hardened himself by his own 
devices. In this view, his case was precisely similar 
to that of Ahab, the rebellious King of Israel, when a 
lying spirit was allowed to take possession of his pro- 
phets to harden him to his destruction. At the same 
time he also received sufficient intimation of his dan- 
ger from a true prophet of the Lord. By such ex- 
amples men are warned not to be " mockers, lest their 
bands be made strong." 

But even supposing that the signs of the Egyptian 
magicians were real, it would not invalidate the testi- 
mony to the truth of the Scriptures afforded by mira- 
cles. In that case, power was given to some malig- 
nant spirit — as we know was the case in those trials 
that were brought upon Job — to perform what was 
done by them, in order to harden Pharaoh's heart. It 
cannot be maintained that this would have been im- 
proper or unjust. Pharaoh could not complain of this, 
since he was deliberately acting towards the whole 
nation of Israel in a manner which he knew to be most 
cruel and unjust, and was wilfully shutting his eyes 
against evidence of a Divine message delivered to him 
by Moses, and setting himself to oppose it. It was 
therefore just to allow him to be caught in his own 
snare, and to give him up to strong delusion, especially 


when a paramount attestation was furnished in the 
superiority of the miracles of Moses, that he was fight- 
ing against God. 

Another instance in Scripture respecting miracles, 
occurs in the case of Saul, when, in the course of his 
opposition to God, he consulted a woman who was said 
to be possessed of a familiar spirit. It is not to be 
imagined that this woman had power to call up Sa- 
muel, whom Saul wished to consult, nor does this ap- 
pear from the narrative. Some, indeed, suppose, that 
it was the devil who appeared in the likeness of the 
prophet ; but this is a false interpretation. Before the 
sorceress could prepare her incantations, by which she 
was to flatter and soothe the king by the promise of 
good fortune, the prophet Samuel appeared, and de- 
nounced the judgment of death upon Saul and his three 
sons, because he obeyed not the voice of the Lord. 
There is no mention here made of the devil. The 
Scriptures expressly say it was Samuel, and the words 
he pronounced are perfectly characteristic of that pro- 
phet. It is very improbable, too, that had this been 
the devil, he would have threatened punishment for 
disobedience to God, and uttered the words of truth. 
But we are certain that in this case Samuel was sent 
by God himself, because the message he delivered re- 
spected a future event. To foretell what is to take 
place, is the prerogative only of God. Isaiah, xli. 21, 
23, and xlii. 9. 

When the priests of Baal were challenged by the 
prophet Elijah to a trial of power, it was not intended 
as if God was to enter into any competition with them, 
but to prove that they could perform no miracle. When 
by all their prayers, and cuttings, and other rites, from 


morning- even until noon, and from noon till the time 
of the evening sacrifice, they could not bring down 
miraculous fire, and when God, at the prayer of Elijah, 
sent down his fire upon the altar and consumed the 
sacrifice, the people were convinced, not that Jehovah 
was stronger than Baal, but that Baal was in reality 
no God. They fell upon their faces and exclaimed, " the 
Lord he is the God." 

There is nothing then in the above cases to invali- 
date the representation uniformly given in Scripture, 
both of the Old Testament and the New, of the full at- 
testation that miracles aiford to the immediate inter- 
position of God. " Rabbi," said Nicodemus, " we know 
that thou art a teacher come from God ; for no man can 
do those miracles that thou doest, except God be with 
him." To the miracles which he wrought Jesus Christ 
again and again appealed, as full evidence of his Divine 
mission, while he declared those to be inexcusable who 
saw them, and yet did not believe him. " The works that 
I do in my Father s name, they hear witness of me" 
^^ If I had not done among them the works which none 
other man did, they had not had sin ; hut now have 
they hoth seen and hated hoth me and my Father." 
" Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father 
in me ; or else helieve me for the very works' sake." 
Miracles, then, are the seals of God, by which he rati- 
fies his Covenants with man. They are the proper and 
direct proof to us of his sovereign commission ; and he 
will not give his glory to another. We may rest in the 
satisfactory assurance that no created being whatever 
has power to interfere at pleasure in the course of hu- 
man affairs, and that the whole train of pretended 
miracles is false from beginning to end — that the uni- 


verse in all its arrang-ements is still in the hands of its 
Creator, and that his power only is competent to sus- 
pend or control its laws. 

The general character of the miracles of the Old 
Testament is that of facts, plain, palpable, in their na- 
ture, at the same time inseparably connected with other 
facts and histories, and always immediately necessary 
to the occasion on which they were exhibited. The 
end to be obtained by them was obvious, and was also 
generally, previous to their performance, distinctly 
announced, so that the attention of the beholders was 
often particularly directed to their progressive and 
frequently long-protracted completion. The universal 
deluge, the confusion of the tongues at Babel, and the 
destruction of the cities of the plain by fire from hea- 
ven, were visible and immediate interpositions of God 
for the punishment of wicked men, different from his 
usual mode of procedure in the government of the 
world. The design and tendency of these awful dis- 
plays of Divine indignation, of the first of which 120 
years' warning was given, were of a public and perma- 
nent nature, peculiarly adapted to the state of the world, 
when the knowledge of God was transmitted by oral 

On the separation of Israel, as a nation, from the 
rest of mankind, a remarkable train of miraculous 
interpositions, interwoven with their history and laws, 
commenced. In the wilderness, Moses beheld the 
burning bush, which was not consumed, and was 
enabled, with his rod, to work miracles, to convince 
both his countrymen and Pharoah, that he was ap- 
pointed the leader of the people of Israel. When the 
nation of Israel, under his guidance, at length went 


lip out of Egypt, a pillar of cloud by day, and of fire 
by night, preceded their camp. When encompassed 
by the mountains on each side, and by the army of the 
Egyptians, the Red Sea, which was before them, di- 
vided at the stretching out of the rod of Moses, and 
opened to the whole multitude a safe passage, while 
the Egyptians, pursuing them, were overwhelmed by 
its returning waters. On their way to the promised 
land, God led them " through that great and terrible 
wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, 
and drought, where there was no water," — " a land 
that was not sown," — " a land of deserts and of pits, a 
land of drought and of the shadow of death, a land 
that no man passed through, and where no man 
dwelt." By the daily falling of manna, and by the 
supply of water that followed them, they were sup- 
ported, during forty years, in a situation where, with- 
out a miracle, so great a multitude of people (com- 
puted to have been at that time between two and 
three millions) could not have subsisted forty days. 
And from their continuance in the wilderness, these 
prolonged miracles were not only evident to them- 
selves, but likewise to the surrounding nations. 

Soon after they had left Egypt, the law was deli- 
vered to them from Mount Sinai. At the foot of the 
mountain, standing at a di.stance beyond the reach of 
any human voice, the whole nation heard the sound of 
the trumpet, and the voice of God, accompanied with 
thunder and lightning from the midst of the fire and 
the cloud, the tokens of the Divine presence. Of this 
appearance formal intimation was given to them some 
time before. The whole scene was so awful, that 
Moses trembled, and the people removed and stood 


afar off. The authority of Moses, afterwards employ- 
ed as their lawgiver, was supported during- their jour- 
ney by miraculous appearances and events on every 
necessary occasion. When they came out of Egypt, 
there was not a feeble person among them, so that not 
one was left behind. And at the end of their journey, 
Moses, after forty years, could appeal to them that their 
feet had not swelled, neither had their raiment waxed 
old. When arrived at the borders of Canaan, and when 
a supply of food could be obtained in the usual man- 
ner, the manna ceased. 

On the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan, a 
way was opened for them to pass through the river 
Jordan, as they had formerly passed through the Red 
Sea, of which enduring memorials were set up at the 
time in presence of the whole nation. And in order 
to encourage them in the war in which they were 
about to engage, and to assure them of that Divine 
assistance which they should experience, the walls of 
the first city they invested fell down on the blowing 
of horns. In one of their great battles, their enemies 
were destroyed by hail-stones poured down upon them; 
and the sun was stopped in his course for the space of 
a whole day, that they might be enabled to follow up 
their victory. Thus in the conquest of Canaan, God 
wrought four distinguished miracles in their favour ; — 
one in the water in Jordan, one on the earth, in throw- 
ing down the walls of Jericho, one in the «fr, in de- 
stroying their enemies with hail, and one in the hea- 
vens, in stopping the course of the sun and moon. 
These wonders happening successively in the above 
order, and in the different parts of the universe, proved 
the universal power of the God of Israel. Like other 


idolaters, the Canaanites acknovvledg-ed only particular 
gods in one or other of the elements, or in certain 
parts of the world : but these miracles showed them 
that the God of the Hebrews reigned universally over 
all — in the water, — in the earth, — in the air, — and in 
the heavens. Here, too, it may be remarked, that 
three memorable passages of the Israelites took place 
by the turning- of waters. To open to them a way 
out of Egypt, the sea was divided. To open to them a 
way. into Canaan, the river Jordan was divided ; and 
to bring them out of Babylon, the waters of the Eu- 
phrates w^ere turned from their course. Visible mira- 
culous interpositions were continued long after they 
came to be established in the land which God had given 
them as an inheritance. Miracles were likewise wrought 
among them occasionally in more private instances, and 
sometimes with signal publicity, as in those performed 
by their great prophets Elijah and Elisha, the former 
of whom was, like Enoch, translated to heaven. 

Such as has been described being the nature of the 
miracles wrought among the Israelites, they cannot, 
it is evident, be separated from the history which re- 
cords them. Both their character and the relation in 
which they stand to that history, of which they form 
so essential a part, mark the total contrariety between 
them and all pretended miracles, the falsity of which 
never disturbs the train of those histories in which 
they are narrated. But either the whole of the his- 
tory of the Israelites is false, or the accounts of the 
miracles which it records must be true. If that peo- 
ple passed through the sea, as the history testifies, it 
must have been by miracle. If they remained forty 
years in the wilderness, they must have been miracu- 


lously fed while there. All the events related in the 
history depend upon the truth of that public and long- 
continued miraculous agency, without which they 
could not have had place. These miracles were re- 
corded at the time when they occurred, and are not 
only minutely detailed in a way that stamps their au- 
thenticity, but are constantly appealed to both in the 
acts of public government, in the legislation, and in 
the execution of the laws. Unless the people of Is- 
rael had seen and known them to be facts, they never 
could have been influenced by such appeals. 

The whole train of miraculous interposition from 
the beginning, before there was any written revela- 
tion, materially contributed to maintain the knowledge 
and worship of God in the world. To Israel, as sepa- 
rated from the other nations, it was essential to the 
circumstances in which they were placed. Miracles 
were necessary to authenticate the Scriptures as the 
oracles of God, of which the Israelites were appointed 
the depositaries. They were also necessary to pre- 
serve the nation in subjection to that burdensome 
ritual, which served at once to restrain them from 
idolatry, and to shadow forth the good things to 
come. The spiritual import of their law they might 
not all comprehend ; but it was indispensably requisite 
that they all should be fully convinced, that its out- 
ward form which they received was from God. With- 
out miraculous interposition, the Israelites never 
would have continued in their state of seclusion, and 
in that separation from the idolatrous rites of other 
nations to which they had been accustomed, and to 
which, being so much suited to the naturally depraved 
appetites of man, they were all along so prone to 


return. And unless they had been convinced, by a 
series of miracles, and sometimes by immediate and 
awful visitations, as in the case of Dathan and Abiram, 
that Moses was a prophet sent from God, they would 
not have submitted to him as a leader, whose autho- 
rity, on various occasions, they so reluctantly obeyed. 
Nothing-, then, but that miraculous Providence under 
•which they were placed, could have retained them in 
obedience, subdued their incredulity, or impressed on 
their minds a conviction of the Divine origin and 
nature of that dispensation under which they were 
placed. But such has been the force of this impres- 
sion, that all their subsequent trials and dispersions, 
and all their disappointments, occasioned by the errors 
they have embraced, have not effaced it to this day. 
At length, when the purposes intended by miraculous 
interpositions were accomplished, they became gra- 
dually less frequent, till the spirit of prophecy was 
withdrawn, when they seem to have ceased altogether, 
not to appear again in Israel till they were renewed 
by the Messiah himself, in a way better adapted to the 
genius of that more spiritual dispensation which he 
introduced, as well as more illustrative of the benefi- 
cent nature of the Divine mission of him who came 
not to condemn the world, but to save it, but in a way 
equally beyond the utmost stretch of human power. 

VOL. I. 

354 THE TYPES or 



The plan of preparation for the advent of the Mes- 
siah, was carried on by different methods, all equally 
adapted to the grandeur and importance of their object. 
The commencement may be traced from the manifesta- 
tion of the dealings of God with individuals, while the 
progress of the mighty scheme was afterwards more 
fully developed in the records of Israel as a people, and 
particularly in the miracles interwoven with their na- 
tional history. To these was added a series of typical 
or parabolical representations, by which the work of 
redemption was shadowed forth and kept in view by a 
constant and visible appeal to the senses. 

A type is a pattern, model, or sign, of another object 
which it represents beforehand. It is employed in 
Scripture to denote those acts, circumstances, or events, 
connected with the Old Testament economy, which 
prefigured something corresponding that was to take 
place under the New Testament.* The words, shadow, 

* The word type, derived from a Greek word, that signifies 
to strike, and meaning in its primary sense an impression that 
something hard makes on another substance, is sometimes used 
in Scripture for a mark or print, John xx. 25 ; sometimes for an 
example or pattern, Phil. iii. 17; 1 Thess. i. 7 ; 2 Thess. iii. 9 ; 
1 Tim. iv. 12 ; Titus, ii. 7; 1 Pet. v. 3 ; or for an image or 
similitude. Acts, vii. 43 ; or summary, Acts, xxiii. 25 ; and in 
Romans, vi. 17, for a form or mould ; and finally, it is employed 
in the more appropriate and extensive sense explainedabove, 
Acts, vii. 44 ; Rom, v. 14 ; 1 Cor. ix. 6 and 1 1 j Heb. viii. 5. 


and figure, are likewise used in the same sig-nification, 
A parable is either a fictitious narrative, employed to 
convey instruction, in which the instruction or truth 
is called the moral or mystery ; or it signifies, in the 
sense in which we are now to consider it, information, 
imbodied in an action which is designed to represent 
something distant or future. Thus various institu- 
tions and actions werq so ordered as to be fit emblems 
or representations of future events. They were figures 
which the Divine wisdom ordained with an object so 
definite and precise as to impose an obligation on men 
to consider them as such. And hence we discover 
that in the lives of the memorable characters of the 
Old Testament, as well as in various striking histori- 
cal occurrences, particularly in the whole instituted 
worship of Israel, God was pleased to exhibit a picture 
or representation of those spiritual things which were 
to have place under the future economy. In these mys- 
tical pictures, God, in a certain measure, developed his 
future design respecting the mission of his Son into the 
world, his two natures, his humiliation and exaltation, 
bis death and the value of his sacrifice, his resurrection 
and ascension to heaven, his intercession, his reign, 
and his prophetical character, the remission of sins, 
the sanctification of believers, and in general all that 
belongs to the economy of grace, and the work of 

The mode of instruction by types and parables, » 
which is still common all over the East, was thus, in the 
wisdom of God, employed from the beginning, to lead 
forward the attention of men to truths that were at first 
only partially revealed. This is analogous to tbe whole 
of the Divine procedure, both in the creation and the 


government of the world. Nothing- is hroug-ht to 
maturity at once. As, therefore, in the natural world, 
there is first the blade, then the ear, after that the 
full corn in the ear ; so in respect to spiritual things, 
God delivered his will, by sundry portions, and in 
diverse manners, to the fathers by the prophets, before 
that in the last days he *' spake by his Son." 

In a type or parable, it is not. necessary that every 
part or circumstance should have its corresponding 
circumstance, or counterpart, in the antitype or moral. 
Some things may be introduced into the type or para- 
ble to render it complete, which are not material to 
the truth of what is signified. We are not, for instance, 
to imagine, when any person or thing is a type of 
Jesus Christ, that every circumstance relative to that 
person or thing is typical. Some things, it may be, are 
peculiar only to the type, some only to the antitype, 
and others common to both. Solomon, for instance, is 
proposed in 2 Samuel, vii. as a type of Jesus Christ ; 
but when it is said, " If he commit iniquity, I will 
chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes 
of the children of men," this relates to Solomon, and not 
to Christ ; when it is said, " I will establish the throne 
of his kingdom for ever," it refers to Christ, and not 
to Solomon ; and when it is added, " He shall build an 
house for my name," this is applicable to both. Some- 
times it is sufficient that there be a faint resemblance 
in the type of something more excellent in the antitype ; 
that resemblance must indeed at all times be slender 
when it relates to Jesus Christ, because of the infinite 
distance between him and the creature. The silence of 
Scripture, in regard both to the beginning and end of 
the days of Melchizedec's life, was sufficient to pre- 


£gure the eternity of Jesus Christ. When the same 
thing is asserted both of the type and the antitype, it 
is in a more eminent manner true in the antitype than 
in the type ; so that the truth of the thing in its full 
import is only to be found in the antitype. Thus we 
are to explain Heb. i. 5, " To which of the angels said 
he at any time, thou art my Son" — " I will be to him 
a Father, and he shall be to me a Son." Here it is 
evident that the same was said concerning Solomon, 
but in such a diminutive sense with respect to him, 
that when his whole dignity, honour, and grandeur, 
are compared with what belongs to Jesus Christ, they 
plainly bear no proportion to it ; but it is true in Jesus 
Christ in so large and extensive an import that his 
dignity and honour infinitely exceed that of all the 
angels, and cannot be communicated to any creature. 
It may further be observed, that a certain variation, 
sometimes takes place with regard to the signification 
of the type, in so much that, in some respects, it may 
be applied to Christ, and in others to his church, 
which is his mystical body. Of this, Abraham's of- 
fering up his son is an instance. Isaac, in being ready 
to suffer death, in obedience to his father and to God, 
was a type of Christ, in obeying God, his Father, even, 
unto death. But when the ram was offered in the 
room of Isaac, the fio-ure was chang^ed, and that ram 
represented Jesus Christ, and Isaac the church which 
is delivered from death by the sacrifice of CliHst. 

The great beauty and wisdom of the typical ordi- 
nances is their union in one centre, and their mutually 
contributing to shadow forth the full character, works, 
and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of them 
has its proper point of reference and illustration, and 


no two of them are perfectly coincident. The whole is 
wanted to represent Christ in all his characters. Jacob 
and Joseph, Samson and Daniel, and Solomon, are 
each types of the Messiah, but no two of them repre- 
sent him in the same point of view. The same may 
be said of all the types, and the like variety and corre- 
spondence is found in the historical facts of Scripture. 

Besides a literal meaning", the Jews universally ac- 
knowledged, that there was a spiritual sense in their 
Scriptures. It was accordingly a constant and received 
opinion among them, that all things in the law of Moses 
had a mystical or secret meaning. They believed that 
all that was great or considerable, whether among their 
ancient priests or patriarchs, was to have its accom- 
plishment in the person of the Messiah. Moses him- 
self, when he said, "God will raise up unto thee a pro- 
phet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto 
me," led them to regard himself as a type of the prophet, 
whom he promised to them. To this mode of figura- 
tive instruction, they were habituated by the typical 
actions performed by the prophets, such as is recorded, 
Ezek. iv., which represented beforehand certain events 
in their history. These actions, being regularly veri- 
fied by their fulfilment, were calculated to produce the 
strongest confidence in the future accomplishment of 
whatever was yet only shadowed forth. 

As the Jewish and the Christian religions have the 
same author, and are considered in the Scriptures as 
essentially the same, the ceremonial economy must have 
a spirit more noble than its external form. Though 
the observations of certain unbelievers with respect to 
the resemblance of the Jewish and Pagan religions, are 
false and injurious, yet it is perfectly true that the rites 


of the Mosaic system are of the same nature with those 
of the other nations. This is in effect intimated by 
Scripture itself, when it denominates the ceremonial 
observances " the elements of the world." If there is 
nothing in them more excellent than their outward 
semblance, they possess nothing- suitable to the Jeho- 
vah of the Scriptures. Looking only at their external 
nature and their number, they appear trifling and irk- 
some. In the Messiah and his kingdom only have they 
an interpretation, and a meaning useful, dignified, and 
important. In him only can they harmonize with 
Christianity. Assuming this, then, as the spirit of the 
Jewish ritual, two religions, most opposite in their ex- 
ternals, and most dissimilar in appearance, unite to- 
gether in a manner calculated to excite our wonder and 
admiration. This beautiful and unexpected harmony 
evinces that they are the same in origin, in purpose, and 
in consummation. It proves that they are one, and 
that they belong to the same Lord. Every other use, 
every other reason alleged in justification of the oceans 
of blood shed in the service of the God of mercy, and 
the innumerable accompaniments of sacrifice in the 
worship of the temple, fails in discovering to us wisdom, 
dignity, and importance suitable to the character of 
the great I AM. Whatever other purposes these rites 
might serve, take away their spiritual reference, and a 
rehgionis left unworthy of God. 

They who take Christ out of the rites of the Old 
Testament worship, leave in it nothing but a lifeless 
carcass. Is it, then, a matter of wonder or surprise, 
that those who see little of Christ in the Old Testament 
Scriptures, should undervalue the instruction to be 
derived from every part of them, and that they enter- 


tain 80 low and degrading ideas of their inspiration, 
even at the very moment when they confess, in a gene- 
ral way, that the Old Testament, as well as the New, 
is the Word of God? Without acknowledging a 
spiritual reference it is impossible to derive edification 
from the ordinances of Jewish worship, and the laws 
and customs of the Jewish nation. The laws and ob- 
servances concerning the leprosy, for instance, are full 
of the most important instruction when regarded as 
typical ; but in every other sense would be degraded to 
the level of superstitions. In truth, Judaism is not 
only inconsistent with Christianity in every other view 
except that in which the one is a figure of the other; 
but in this way only it is consistent with itself. The 
unity, spirituality, immensity, omniscience, and omni- 
presenpe of Jehovah, are as clearly taught in the Old 
Testament as in the New. The carnal ordinances, then, 
the cumbrous ceremonies, the purgation by water and 
blood, the propitiations by the sacrifice of animals, the 
never-ending observances of rites not founded in nature, 
are in themselves palpably unsuited to God, and self- 
evidently unequal to effect the ostensible end in any 
other than a typical forra.'j 

The typical import of the Jewish economy, both as 
a whole and in its several parts, is fully recognised in 
the New Testament. The Apostle Paul, in alluding 
to the narratives and the events recorded in the Old 
Testament, afifirms generally, that " whatsoever things 
were written aforetime, were written for our learn- 
ing ; that we through patience and comfort of the 
Scriptures might have hope," Rom. xv. 4. And re- 
ferring particularly to their typical import, he says, in 
relation to what happened to Israel in their journey 


from Egypt, and in the wilderness, " Now these things 
were our examples' (literally types), " to the intent 
we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted" 
Afterwards, deducing- from them the most important 
instructions, he adds, " Now all these things happened 
to them for examples" (literally types), " and they are 
written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the 
world are come," 1 Cor. x. 6, 11. This proves that 
these occurrences are not to be regarded as simple con- 
formities of nature, but that they were expressly or- 
dained by Divine wisdom for the purpose which the 
Apostle declares they were intended to serve. The 
same Apostle, after having described the ancient taber- 
nacle, Heb. ix., adds these remarkable words : " The 
Holy Ghost signifying this, that the way into the holi- 
est of all was 7iot yet made manifest, while as the first 
tabernacle was yet standing^ which was a figure" (lite- 
rally parable) '■'■for the time then present^ Here we 
see clearly that Paul refers this figure to the institu- 
tion of the Holy Spirit ; and a little after he says, 
that these things, namely which belonged to the taber- 
nacle, represented the things which are in heaven. In 
the tenth chapter, he declares that " the law had a 
shadow of good things to come; and in the eighth 
chapter of the same epistle, that ^^ the tabernacle was 
the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses 
was admonished of God, when he was about to make 
the tabernacle ; for see, saith he, that thou make all 
things according to the pattern' (literally type) " show- 
ed to thee in the mount." From this it appears evident 
that God himself had caused the tabernacle to be erect- 
ed exactly according to the pattern which he had 
showed to Moses, in order that it might be a figure to 


represent heavenly things. We may collect the same 
truth from the arguments which the Apostle Paul 
often deduces from the types and figures of the Old 
Testament, as in Rom. ix. and Gal. iv. — arguments 
which would have been wholly inconclusive, unless 
these types had, by a particular dispensation of the pro- 
vidence of God, been really instituted as such, with an 
obligation on our part to consider them in that light. 
It is in contrast with these types, that Paul affirms that 
Jesus Christ had been evidently set before the Gala- 
tians crucified, and that we with unveiled face behold 
as in a glass the glory of the Lord. 

It is admitted that, in the Scriptures, there are 
many things which are compared with Jesus Christ, 
without, however, being, properly speaking, types, in- 
stituted with a particular design by the wisdom of God. 
Their comparison simply arises out of the conformity 
which subsists between them and Jesus Christ. Thus, 
for instance, he is called a door, a vine, 3, Jhundation, 
a corner stone, without our being led to conclude that 
the doors, the vines, the foundations, and the corner 
stones, are types properly so called. These are arbi- 
trary images, which are so only by the conformity 
which subsists between them and Jesus Christ. But 
it is equally clear that there are figurative representa- 
tions in the Old Testament, which the wisdom of God 
has employed with a precise and particular design, ap- 
pointing them as typical of him, and laying men under 
the obligation of considering them in that light, accord- 
ing both to the settled opinion of the Jews, and the 
express testimony of the Apostles. By these means, 
God saw it good to nourish the hope and consolation 
of ancient believers, thus directing their attention to 


the Messiah to come, and confirming them in the assu- 
rance that he would at length be manifested. And he 
intended also, that, under the new dispensation, his 
people, by comparing these things with Jesus Christ 
manifested, and with the different parts of his salvation, 
should recognise that he is indeed that Messiah whom 
the wisdom of God had in ancient times prefigured, 
when they discern so admirable a resemblance between 
him and all these shadows. As there cannot be too 
many ways opened by which to come to a clear and 
full understanding of himself, God has been pleased to 
join this way to others, in order that we may advance 
more and more in the knowledge of the truth of Jesus 
Christ our Lord, who is the sura of truth, so that, 
entering by many different ways into our hearts and 
thoughts, he should make on them a more profound 
impression. In addition to this, of all the means by 
which we can attain to the knowledge of the mysteries 
of Christ, there is not one which bears a greater accor- 
dance to the human understanding than typical repre- 
sentation ; for the different resemblances and beautiful 
analogies which we discover between the Lord Jesus 
Christ and his types, have not only something in them 
that is both most natural and agreeable, but something 
also which fixes the attention much more than those 
simple objects, the consideration of which does not admit 
of comparison. 

We must not, however, imagine, that the ancient 
believers understood exactly all the resemblances be- 
tween these figurative representations and the Saviour. 
Their knowledge being very obscure respecting the- 
person, the natures, the qualities, the different states, 
the actions and the works of the Messiah, they could 


not see these resemblances or conformities very dis- 
tinctly. They had, however, sufficient knowledge of 
them to support their faith, to minister to their con- 
solation, to animate their hope, and to conduct them 
to salvation. In regard to New Testament worshippers, 
these figures are indeed abolished as to the practice, 
but not as to the contemplation of them, or the fruits 
which result from that contemplation. They are abo- 
lished as to practice ; for it is not now permitted to 
Christians to celebrate the new moons, the feasts, and 
the Sabbaths, to present sacrifices, or to observe the 
ancient ceremonies of the Jews. All these things have 
been buried in the grave of Jesus Christ, and when he 
came forth from it, he left them there for ever. Ac- 
cordingly, the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Ga- 
latians, strenuously opposes the false teachers, who 
wished to bring back the observance of the legal cere- 
monies, and to connect them with the gospel. And 
in his Epistle to the Colossians, he says, " Let no many 
therefore^ judge you in meaty or indrink, or in respect 
of an holy-daij, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath' 
days ; which are a shadoio of things to come, but the 
body is of Christ,'' But these types, or ancient figures, 
are still of use to us; forit is certain that we are required, 
in the reading of the Old Testament, to consider these 
admirable representations of his Sou, which God has 
placed there, to examine all their relations, and to 
make use of them for our instruction and edification. 
We are no longer called to eat unleavened bread, or to 
immolate the paschal lamb ; but we have to consider in 
the figure of that lamb, the perfeciion of Him who is 
the true Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the 
world ; and in the figure of unleavened bread, we have 


to recognise Christian sincerity and truth, of which 
that institution was only the image. We may even 
say, that in this respect the ancient figures were rather 
made for us than for the Israelites,. since it is certain 
that of these we possess a far clearer understanding 
than they could possibly have. 

It is not only lawful, then, but our incumbent duty, 
to ascertain the meaning of the types of the Old Tes- 
tament. And it must not be supposed, that either an 
infallible authority is necessary to explain these types, 
or that all the types of the Old Testament are ex- 
plained in the New. For why should an infallible 
authority be required in interpreting the types rather 
than in interpreting the prophecies ? It is manifest 
that it was the will of God to instruct us by types, and 
the explanation of the types is now far more easy, on 
account of the distinct knowledge of the Antitype, 
than of many prophecies. And why should we believe 
that all the types of Jesus Christ were explained, rather 
than all the prophecies concerning him, especially as 
the apostle affirms, that he has not spoken particularly 
of them all ? Heb. ix. 5. 

Types may be divided into different classes ; some 
are natural, some are personal, some are local, some 
are legal, and others historical. In nature, all the 
works of the universe, which God has drawn from the 
treasures of his wisdom, of his goodness, and his 
power, have been a type of that other great work in the 
Church, which God has done, and which he still does, 
and will do, even till the consummation of all things. 
For this reason the work of grace is in Scripture called 
a new heaven and a new earth ; and Paul says, that 
" loe are the workmanship of God created unto good 


works." Between these two works there are different 
points of resemblance. Both the one and the other 
proceed from the good pleasure of God. Both are 
mirrors in which God has been pleased to reflect his 
glories. They are each of them the admirable work 
of his wisdom and power, to which no creature can 
attain ; and as no one but God could make the world 
and the Church, so there was nothing that could resist 
or prevent the accomplishment of his purpose. We 
may find typical resemblances in the most illustrious 
parts of the universe — in the sun the type of Jesus 
Christ — in the moon that of the Church. Light is to 
us an image of truth, of holiness, of the joy which 
grace imparts. Darkness, or night, on the contrary, 
represents the ignorance, the error, the disorder, the 
guilt, the fear of punishment in which believers lived 
during their sinful state. 

The creation of the heavens and the earth is a figure 
of the new and spiritual creation. The first was the 
work of God's power, his wisdom, his goodness ; but 
the second is that of his mercy, and all his other per- 
fections. The first consisted in things material and 
earthly, the second of things spiritual and heavenly. 
The six days which God employed in that work, and 
the seventh in which he rested, represent the time 
that he employs in the construction of his Church ; 
and the great and eternal rest into which she will 
enter, when he shall have finished his work. That 
the Sabbath, appointed to commemorate the finishing 
of the work of creation in six days, had also a farther 
reference, symbolically, to the eternal rest that Jesus 
Christ, by his work in the flesh, should prepare for his 
people, is the doctrine of the New Testament. All 


Sabbatical institutions had this as their ultimate object. 
Heb. iv. 1 — 11. And as the first day of the week has 
taken place of the seventh, in honour of the resurrec- 
tion of Christ, so the rest of Jesus Christ from his 
work of redemption was contemplated prospectively 
in the first Sabbath. Thus we see that man was not 
designed in his creation for happiness in this world 
through eternity ; but that, in the counsels of Jehovah, 
the " election" was, from the first, destined to an in- 
conceivably higher state. They were made for hap- 
piness in that eternal Sabbath which, through Jesus 
Christ, remains for the people of God. Infidel geolo- 
gists, and, to their sharhe, some professing Christians, 
following in this instance the wisdom of the world, 
have supposed that the six days of the creation do not 
denote exactly the portion of time which is generally- 
understood by that expression, and that the world is, 
or may be, older than we are taught by the pen of in- 
spiration to believe. This they judge to be necessary, 
in order to account for certain natural appearances. 
But even in creation, God hath made foolish the wisdom 
of this world. 

Under the Old Testament dispensation, persons, 

TUTIONS of WORSHIP, EVENTS, and almost all things 
recorded in the ancient Scriptures, were typical signs 
of the Messiah, of his kingdom and salvation. The 
following are a few examples, out of multitudes that 
might be produced. 

The first man who was taken from the dust of the 
€arth, and into whom God breathed the breath of 
life, was a type of the second man, who is the Lord 
from heaven, into whom God has also put not only a 


living soul, but the fulness of the Holy Spirit. This 
name, " the second man from heaven," which is taken 
from the comparison with the first man in nature, in- 
cludes the idea of a new creation, which God in his 
grace had designed to produce. It supposes the re- 
semblance which exists betwixt Adam and Jesus Christ. 
Adam was created in the image of God, in perfect holi- 
ness and righteousness ; Jesus Christ is the image of 
the invisible God, holy, harmless, undetiled, and separate 
from sinners. The lordship of Adam over all the 
animals, is a figure of the universal dominion of Jesus 
Christ as mediator. And, as it was in their commu- 
nion with the first Adam that God blessed all crea- 
tures, so it is in the communion of Jesus Christ that 
God blesses all believers. The first Adam had his 
paradise on earth, which was provided for him and his 
descendants ; the second Adam has his paradise in 
heaven, elevated above all things both for himself and 
his children. The first man received the human nature, 
and all its blessings, not for himself alone, but for the 
transmission of them to others. Jesus Christ has not 
received for himself alone the blessings of grace ; he 
received them that his people might obtain all from his 

The above name, " the second man from heaven," 
also includes the differences which may be found be- 
tween Adam and Jesus Christ, such as that Adam could 
only communicate an earthly life and animal nature, in 
place of which, Jesus Christ communicates one that 
is celestial and divine. Adam communicated a nature 
"which was mutable and mortal, Jesus Christ one that 
is immortal and immutable. This is remarked by Paul, 
not only when he gives the title of celestial to Jesus 


Christ, but principally when he says, that " the first 
man Adam was made a living- soul ;" viz. that he might 
convey natural life to those who had not received it ; 
but " the last Adam was made a quickening spirit," 
viz. that he might impart spiritual life to them who 
had lost it. The soul of man can communicate life to 
the body if it be united to it, but it cannot of itself form 
this union, far less unite itself when detached from it. 
But the quickening spirit has this virtue, that it not 
only communicates spiritual life to the soul, but unites 
the soul to the body after their separation. Thus Jesus 
Christ raised up himself, and quickens, and will raise 
up all believers. The living soul, then, simply signi- 
fies a life, but that quickening- spirit denotes an immor- 
tal life, which repels and overcomes death. As Adam 
was not considered as an individual person, but as 
the federal head and representative of all his natural 
posterity, to whom his actions, while he retained that 
character, were imputed ; so Jesus Christ was not con- 
sidered in what he did and suffered as an individual 
person, but as the federal head and representative of 
all his spiritual posterity. The one was the head of 
all men in nature, the other is the head of all believers 
in grace. 

As there are points of resemblance between the two 
Adams, so there are also points of opposition. The 
first was, even in his fall, a type of the last. As the 
first Adam was a principle of death to all his posterity, 
so the second Adam is a principle of life to all who 
spring from him, " As in Adam all die, even so in 
Christ shall all be made alive." In the first, believers 
are dead — in the second, they revive. In the first, 
their nature is corrupted — in the second it is restored, 

VOL. I. 2 a 


In the first, they were degraded, the bond slaves of 
Satan and of sin ; in the second, they have been brought 
into the glorious liberty of the children of God. In 
the one they became the enemies of God ; in the other, 
they are reconciled, and made his children and friends. 
By the one came sin, condemnation, and death ; by 
the other came righteousness, justification, and life. The 
first Adam was so far from being able to transmit 
life and happiness to his posterity, or to give them to 
eat of the tree of life, that himself was driven out from 
the terrestrial paradise, and from all access to that life- 
giving tree. But the second Adam confers on his pos- 
terity a heavenly inheritance, and declares, that to him 
that overcometh, he will give to eat of the tree of life 
which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Thus, as 
Jesus Christ is the head and representative of all who 
from him derive spiritual life, so Adam, who was the 
head and representative of all who derive from him 
natural life, was " the figure (literally, type) of him that 
was to come." Rom. v. 14. 

Eve, who was taken from the side of Adam while 
asleep, represented the church which is taken from 
the side of Jesus Christ when dying, from which 
flowed blood and water, by which he was to sanctify 
and cleanse, and to present to himself his church. The 
marriage of Adam with his wife was the image of the 
mystical union of Jesus Christ with his church, which 
is called the Lamb's Wife. Rev. xix. 7. As the Apostle 
Paul, in Romans v. and 1 Corinthians, xv., marks 
the conformity between Adam and Jesus Christ, and 
reasons from the one to the other, so, in the Epistle 
to the Ephesians, he employs the marriage of the man 
with the woman, which is an institution of the first 


creation, as a type of the raarriag-e and mystical com- 
munion which subsists between Jesus Christ and his 
church. The Apostle not only illustrates the duties 
of the one relation by those of the other, but expressly 
aflSrms that marriag-e is a " mystery," or a figure of 
the union of Christ and believers. As Adam said of 
Eve, that she was bone of his bone, and flesh of his 
flesh, so the Apostle affirms, with respect to Jesus 
Christ and his people, that they are " members of 
his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." Eph. v. 31, 

Abel, whose name signifies vanity and emptiness, 
was a type of Jesus Christ, who " made himself of no 
reputation;" literally, emptied himself, Phil. ii. 7, 
when assuming- the nature of man, who is '' like unto 
vanity," Psalm Ixii. 9. In offering an acceptable 
sacrifice, and in his death, which Abel suffered by the 
hands of his brother Cain, who slew him because his 
own works were evil and his brother's righteous, he 
was a type of Jesus Christ in the bloody sacrifice 
which he offered, and in his death which he suffered 
by the hands of wicked men of his own nation, who 
hated him because of his holy life and doctrine. The 
mark which was set on Cain on account of the mur- 
der of his brother, and his being driven out as a fugi- 
tive and a vagabond on the earth, furnishes a most 
remarkable representation of the state of the Jews at 
this very day, who were the murderers of Jesus Christ, 
and on this account are a proverb and a by-word, 
" driven out" from their country, and scattered as 
vagabonds all over the world. God, too, declared that 
Cain should not be killed, and he has not suffered 
ihe Jews to be exterminated. The blood of Jesus 


Christ which they shed, calls aloud for the vengeance 
which they imprecated on themselves and their pos- 
terity, as the hlood of Abel did against Cain, though 
in other respects the blood of Christ speaks better 
things than that of Abel. 

Enoch was a type of Jesus Christ in his state of 
oxaltation, as Abel was a type of him in his state of 
humiliation. Enoch, who was the seventh from Adam, 
was, in his translation, a type of Jesus Christ, in his 
jiscension to heaven, who was the seventieth from 
Enoch. Enoch, who " had this testimony, that he 
pleased God," was the third person that we read of who 
departed out of this world, and was taken up to God ; 
Christ was the third person who ascended to heaven, 
in whom God declared that he was " well pleased." 

Noah was a type of Jesus Christ. His name sig- 
Piifies rest ; and of him it was said, " This same shall 
tomfort us concerning our work a?id the toil of our 
hands, because of the ground ivhich the Lord hath 
cursed.'' In like manner, Jesus Christ promises rest 
to all who labour and are heavy laden, that come to 
him, and comforts them by redeeming them from the 
curse which God has pronounced on all who have bro- 
ken his law, as those who came to Noah were com- 
forted and rescued from the curse inflicted on the 
ground by the destruction of the flood. Noah was a 
preacher of righteousness to the world — the righteous- 
ness of Christ. Jesus Christ was a preacher of the 
same righteousness " in the great congregation." Ps. 
xl. 9. Noah prepared an ark, by which he saved his 
family, while the rest of the world perished in the 
flood. Of Jesus Christ, it is said, " A man shall be 
as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from 


the tempest." He saves all the children whom God 
hath given him, while the Lord shall swallow up in 
his wrath all the rest of the world. As the antedilu- 
vian world would not listen to the preaching- of Noah, 
so the ungodly world refuses to attend to the preaching- 
of Jesus Christ. Noah w^as the head of the new 
world, Jesus Christ is the head of the new creation, 
Noah " builded an altar, and offered burnt-offerings on 
the altar, and the Lord smelled a sweet savour ;" and 
Jesus Christ " hath given himself an offering and a 
sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour." God 
made a covenant with Noah and his seed, by which 
he engaged that there should not be any more a flood 
to destroy the earth. God made a covenant with Je- 
sus Christ, which shall stand fast with him, and whose 
seed he will make to endure for evermore. God gave 
the rainbow in the cloud to Noah as a token of his 
covenant, and Jesus Christ, with whom God made the 
everlasting covenant, appears as the mighty angel 
clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow upon his head. 
Rev. X. 1. 

The ark w^hich Noah built was also a type of Jesus 
Christ. As the ark secured all who entered into it 
from the descending rains and the overflowing floods 
so Jesus Christ gives a secure refuge from the wrath 
that is to come to all who fly to him, for to them who 
are in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. As the 
ark was despised by the antediluvian world, who were 
hardened to their destruction, so the glad tidings of 
salvation, which men are called to seek for only in 
Christ, are to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the 
Greeks foolishness. The dove which Noah sent out, 
and which returned with the olive leaf plucked off, 

374 !rHE TYPES OF 

was a type of the Holy Spirit, which descended upon 
Christ when he was baptized in Jordan. And as that 
dove brought the olive branch to those who were in 
the ark, from which they might know that the waters 
were dried up ; so in like manner the Holy Spirit as- 
sures those who are in Christ of the peace of God, the 
symbol of which was the olive branch. For all who 
entered into the ark there was room, and all of them 
were saved from the deluge, in which the rest of the 
world perished. In like manner, all who come to 
Christ he will receive, and all of them shall be saved, 
in the day of the wrath of God, when <' the hail shall 
sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall 
overflow the hiding-place." 

Melchizedec, who was King of Salem, and also 
priest of the Most High God, is the first in Scripture 
who is called a priest. He was an early and very re- 
markable type of Jesus Christ, both in his priestly and 
kingly office. He was first " by an interpretation king 
of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, 
which is king of peace." In both these respects, and 
in the same order, he represented Jesus Christ, who, 
by way of eminence, is called " the righteous,'' who 
brought in " everlasting righteousness," and who 
works in his people a sanctifying righteousness by the 
power of his Spirit, on whose appearance " peace" 
was proclaimed on earth, and who is his people's peace, 
because he gives them peace as the fruit of righteous- 

No other but Melchizedec ever united the priestly 
and kingly offices, but he was both King of Salem and 
priest of the Most High God, and thus was an eminent 
type of him, of whom it was said, " he shall bear the 


glory, and he shall be a priest upon his llironer In 
the 110th Psalm, where David is addressing- the Mes- 
siah, he says, " Thou art a priest for ever, after the 
order of Melchizedec.'' The priesthood of the tribe 
of Levi was an eminent type of the priesthood of the 
Messiah. But as it was at length to be superseded, it 
could not represent his priesthood in respect of dura- 
tion ; and probably to signify its limited period, an 
accurate genealogy, which was kept till the coming- of 
Christ, was indispensable to it.* But the genealogy, 
the birth, and the death of Melchizedec, are all omit- 
ted, in order that, appearing- in the history without 
father, without mother, without beginning of days or 
end of years, he might more perfectly represent Him 
who is from eternity, and of whose priesthood and go- 
vernment there shall be no end. The circumstance 
that the Levitical priesthood should be set aside, which, 
as it was of Divine appointment, was essential to the 
instalment of Messiah in his office, was thus early in- 
timated in the case of Melchizedec. While the cir- 
cumstance that the order of Melchizedec's priesthood 
should be permanent, was plainly declared, as above, 
by David, King- of Israel, at a time when the priest- 

* Owing to the genealogy being indispensable to the Leviti- 
cal priesthood, an important purpose was served, when after 
the coming of the Messiah, and the destruction of Jerusalem, it 
•was irrevocably lost ; as not only by the destruction of the tem- 
ple, the place in which alone the legal sacrifices could be offer- 
ed, but also by the loss of the sacerdotal genealogy, it became 
absolutely impracticable to continue the legal sacrifices — an 
end to which the prophet Daniel had predicted was to take 
place at the death of the Messiah. 


hood of the tribe of Levi subsisted in all its dignity. 
The priesthood of Melchizedec was to be exhibited as 
superior to that of the tribe of Levi ; and to him, 
therefore, even Levi paid tithes in the person of Abra- 
ham, his progenitor, from whom, when returning from 
the slaughter of the kings, Melchizedec received the 
tenth part of his spoils ; when Abraham, as the less, 
was blessed by Melchizedec. On that occasion, when 
these two priesthoods met, the imperfection of the le- 
gal priesthood which communicated no real blessing, 
but on the contrary needed to receive one, was on- the 
one hand pointed out, and on the other, the perfection 
of the priesthood of Jesus Christ which truly blesses ; 
for it was Jesus Christ, represented in the type of 
Melchizedec, who, in blessing Abraham, declared him- 
self far elevated above the priesthood of Levi, and 
showed that all the blessing which belonged to it was 
derived from what he communicated. Thus the law, 
as a servile covenant, was made to do homage to the 
gospel, and a figurative and temporary priesthood to 
one which is true and eternal. To Abraham, also, 
and his followers, Melchizedec, the priest of the Most 
High God, brought forth bread and wine, which, as 
the emblems of that spiritual food, the flesh and blood 
of Jesus Christ, provided for the life of the world, are 
DOW permanently appointed by the true king and high 
priest of their profession, to nourish and refresh his 
followers. Melchizedec being a priest of the Gentiles, 
intimated that the priesthood of the Messiah should 
not be confined to the nation of Israel, as that of Levi 

Finally, the priesthood of Melchizedec particularly 
represents the acts of his priesthood which Jesus Christ 


exercises not on earth but in heaven. For that part 
of his priesthood which consisted in his humihation, 
was represented in the type of Aaron, and not in that 
of Melchizedec ; this last type reg-arding- that other 
part which consists in his exaltation. His being called 
a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec, sig- 
nifies two things — the one that be must perform celes- 
tial and continual acts of priesthood, and the other that 
his priesthood must be conjoined with the glory of 
majesty and royal dignity. But as neither the one 
nor the other of these two things could be found in 
the first part of his priesthood, namely, in that part 
which he executed on earth, it was necessary that to 
this first part a second should succeed, in which both 
these divine characters are found — the one of eternity, 
the other of royalty. And consequently it was neces- 
sary, that after having offered his sacrifice on earth, he 
should ascend to heaven, there to appear before the 
eternal Father, and there to be seated at his right hand 
to intercede for his people. 

Abraham was the progenitor and an eminent type 
of Jesus Christ. He was chosen by God, and was 
called his " friend." He was a pilgrim and a stranger 
on the earth, yet he overcame kings. God made a co- 
venant with him, and promised to him a seed numer- 
ous as the stars of heaven, constituting him the father 
of many nations, which he fulfilled, but not till after 
his body was dead. Rom. iv. 17, 19. He gave him 
also the land of Canaan, of which, however, he was 
not to put him in possession during his life, nor to give 
it to his posterity till long after his death, and he made 
him the heir of the world. In all these respects, he 
was a type of the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the elect 


of God in whom his soul "delighteth," Isaiah, xlii. 
1. He is " the everlasting- Father of all believers, 
who are the children whom God hath given him, of 
whom he is the pattern and example ; and he is de- 
clared to be the heir of all things. At the call of God 
he left heaven, his original country, and his father's 
house, and came and sojourned in this world, in which 
he was " a stranger to his brethren and an alien to his 
mother's children," yet he was made " higher than 
the kings of the earth." God made a covenant which 
*' shall stand fast with him," by which, but only in 
consequence of his death, Isa. liii. 10, he engages to 
give him a posterity numerous as the drops of dew 
from the womb of tlie morning ; and he gave to him 
" the promise of eternal inheritance" in the heavenly 
country, which, however, he was not to put him in 
possession of before his death, nor to give it to his 
seed till a long time after. In all these and other par- 
ticulars, a very striking representation, in the person 
of Abraham, was given of the Messiah, who, till after 
many ages, was not to appear in the world. 

The covenant which God made with Abraham, of 
which circumcision was the sign, in virtue of which 
he promised him the land of Canaan, was a type of the 
evangelical covenant. For as God was not induced to 
make that covenant but of his own good pleasure, and 
as he made choice of Abraham, among all men, solely 
by grace to honour him with it, so the gospel is the 
fruit of the good pleasure of God, and the elect to 
whom God communicates it, are chosen solely by 
grace. This covenant was founded and executed in 
Isaac. " In Isaac shall thy seed be called." In like 
manner, the gospel is founded solely in Jesus Christ, 


of whom Isaac was a type. The land of Canaan, 
flowing with milk and honey, which is represented in 
Scripture as a land extremely delightful, was promised 
to Abraham, so that the right which he and his pos- 
terity had to it, was entirely founded on the gratuitous 
promise of God. In like manner heaven, the eternal 
inheritance, which the temporal Canaan represented, 
is prepared for his people, by the promise and from the 
free grace of God, to which all the right they have to 
it must be referred. This covenant with Abraham is 
to be viewed in two aspects, first as a prophecy, se- 
condly as a type. As a prophecy, because in it God 
promised the Messiah, and all that is contained in his 
economy. But because in the same promises of God 
to Abraham, there were two covenants included, the 
one the legal, and the other the evangelical, and as 
the legal was the figure of the evangelical, the cove- 
nant made with Abraham must also be considered as a 

Abraham had two wives, Sarah and Hagar — Sarah 
the freewoman, and Hagar the bondwoman. Of Hagar 
he had a son, born according to nature. Of Sarah he 
had Isaac, born by a supernatural principle, in the order 
of the promise, and according to the good pleasure of 
God. Ishmael, born according to the flesh, that is, 
according to the principles of nature, was a slave, and 
banished from his father's house. Isaac, on the con- 
trary, born according to a supernatural principle, and 
of a free mother, was heir of the house and of the goods 
of Abraham. These things, says the Apostle Paul, 
are an allegory, that is to say, that they are to be con- 
sidered as types. '< For," he adds, " these are the two 
covenants, the one from Mount Sinai, which genderetb 


to bondage, which is Agar." These two wives of 
Abraham, then, are the figure of two covenants which 
God made with man, viz. of the law and. the gospel. 
The gospel is the free covenant, which was made for 
its own sake, and not to be subservient to another co- 
venant. The law, on the contrary, is the servile cove- 
nant, which was made only for the purpose of being 
subservient to the gospel. " The law was our school- 
master to bring us unto Christ ;" the object and end of 
that covenant being to be fulfilled in the Redeemer, 
and to dispose men to receive the gospel. Both cove- 
nants produced children. The law naturally engendered 
those who, seeking to obtain life and eternal happiness 
by the way of their works, have a servile and merce- 
nary spirit. The gospel, on the contrary, begets true 
believers, who, renouncing the way of works, and em- 
bracing that of faith, in order to obtain salvation from 
the paternal mercy of God, have a character more noble 
and more elevated than the other. These last are 
therefore animated with the spirit of adoption, while 
the others have the spirit of bondage. The first are 
born according to the principles of nature, for the man- 
ner in which they seek to establish their righteousness 
and their hope, namely, that in doing the things that 
God commands in his law, tbey will obtain eternal life, 
is a principle of nature. But believers are born on a 
supernatural principle, which is the promise of mercy 
and of grace, that God vouchsafes to all those who be- 
lieve in him, and in Jesus Christ, his Son. The con- 
sequences to the two wives and the two children of 
Abraham were very different, as their condition also 
was. For Hagar was banished from the house of Abra- 
ham, and Ishmael had no part of his heritage ; accord- 


ing to that which was said to Abraham, " Cast out this 
bondwoman and her son ; for the son of this bondwo- 
man shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac." 
There is the same difference between the law and its 
self-justifying- children, on one side, and the gospel 
with believers on the other. The law has been banish- 
ed from the house of God, to be no longer a covenant ; 
and the self-justitiers have no part in the heavenly in- 
heritance. But the gospel remains an everlasting 
covenant; and believers are the true heirs, the true 
children to whom God gives his blessings, not in the 
way of what is due, as the self-justifiers pretend that 
they are to obtain them, but in the way of promise ; 
that is to say, of a free gift, and as an inheritance. 

The sacrifice of Isaac, whom Abraham designed to 
offer on Mount Moriah, was a type of the sacrifice of 
Jesus Christ, in which the Eternal Father delivered 
his own Son to death. As Isaac was promised long 
before he was born, whence he is called the son of 
the promise, Gal. iv. 23, so Jesus Christ was the Seed 
promised from the foundation of the world. As Isaac 
was not a child of the flesh, but of promise, Rom. 
ix., by supernatural and Divine power, of a woman 
both naturally and by reason of her age barren, so Jesus 
Christ was born of a virgin, not according to the order 
of nature, nor by virtue of the blessing, increase and 
multiply, but by the supernatural and miraculous power 
of the Holy Spirit ; and the nativity of both was an- 
nounced by an angel. As Isaac voluntarily, and with- 
out murmuring, obeyed his father, who designed to 
offer him as a sacrifice to God, so Jesus Christ was 
obedient unto death, and as a sheep before her shearers 
is dumb; so he opened not his mouth. As Isaac carried 


the wood on whlcli he was to be offered, so Jesus Christ 
bore his cross. As there were three days from the 
commandment given to Abraham to offer his son, dur- 
ing" which he esteemed him to be dead, until his deli- 
verance, so there were three days from the death of 
Jesus Christ until his resurrection. The mountain 
that God chose for the sacrifice of Isaac, was the same 
on which Jesus Christ, 2000 years afterwards, was 

It was in Isaac that God gave the first figure and de- 
monstration of the necessity of a human victim for the 
expiation of sin ; for as it was man that had sinned, it 
must be by man, and not by the sacrifice of beasts, that 
justice was to be satisfied. On that account, the Son 
of God, in coming into the world, is represented as 
saying, " Sacrifice and offering, and burnt offerings, and 
offering for sin, thou wouldst not, neither hadst pleasure 
therein (which are offered by the law) ; then said he, Lo, 
I come to do thy will, O God. No sacrifice could be a 
more express figure of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ than 
that of Isaac. Although Isaac was not actually put to 
death, yet he was considered by his father to be so dur- 
ing the three days of their journey ; and he was as al- 
ready dead, when the Angel arrested the deadly blow; 
so that in this deliverance he was received from the dead 
in a figure, Heb. xi. 19, and, therefore, was a type of 
Jesus Christ, who was gloriously restored from death. 
Thus, the sacrifice of Isaac is a type both of the death 
and resurrection of Jesus Christ, of whom it is said, 
that God raised him up, having loosed the pains of 
death, because it was not possible he should be holden 
of it. And as Isaac was the head and heir of the family 
of Abraham, so Jesus Christ is established heir of all 


things by God his father, of whom the whole family in 
heaven and earth is named, and the iirst born of many 
brethren. As Isaac, restored to life, has begotten a 
posterity numerous as the stars of heaven, and as the 
sand on the sea-shore, so Jesus Christ, by his resurrec- 
tion, has obtained a life, by which he hath begotten to 
God an innumerable multitude of believervS, according 
as it was predicted by Isaiah, that after he should make 
his soul an offering for sin, he should see his seed, and 
the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand. 
When Abraham, therefore, prepared to offer his only son 
Isaac in sacrifice to God, and afterwards received him 
back in a figure, as if he had been raised from the 
dead, he was unconsciously exhibiting an emblematical 
representation of the sacrifice and death of the only be- 
gotten Son of God, who was ordained by the will of the 
everlasting Father, to put away sin by the sacrifice of 
himself, and of his resurrection from the dead, for the 
redemption of sinners. 

Jacob was in various respects a type of the Messiah, 
and to him was given the promise of the land of Ca- 
naan, as formerly it had been given to Abraham and to 
Isaac. He was appointed the father of Israel after the 
flesh, that nation which was typically the people of God, 
and separated from the other nations of the world. 
From him sprung the twelve patriarchs, who were the 
fathers of that holy nation. In his trials and afflictions, 
and during his whole life, he was a pilgrim and a 
stranger, without any permanent dwelling-place. In 
all these particulars, he prefigured Jesus Chrisf, — who 
was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, — who 
had not where to lay his head, — to whom tho promise 
©f the eternal inheritance was given, — who is " the 


Everlasting-'Father" of his people Israel after the spirit, 
separated from all others, of whom the twelve Apostles, 
whom he appointed, are the spiritual fathers. In 
wrestling- with the Angel, with whom he had power 
and prevailed, and to whom he wept and made suppli- 
cation, Jacob represented him, who, in the days of his 
ilesh, " offered up prayers and supplications, with strong- 
crying- and tears, unto him that was able to save him 
from death, and was heard in that he feared." Jacob 
became a servant in the house of Laban, and submitted 
to many hardships to obtain in marriage his beloved 
Rachel ; and " Christ also loved the Church," and, in 
the view of betrothing her to himself, " took on him 
the form of a servant," at a distance from his father's 
house, and endured many troubles. Jacob was brought 
up out of Egypt ; and of Jesus Christ, it was said, 
" out of Egypt have I called my son." Jacob left the 
world blessing the children, of whom, he said to Esau, 
that they were the children which God had graciously 
g-iven him ; and Jesus Christ, in like manner, left the 
world blessing- those, of whom he declared, that they 
were given to him by God. 

Joseph, the son of Jacob, was an eminent type of 
Jesus. Christ. He was called " the shepherd, the stone 
of Israel." He was the first born of Rachel — the be- 
loved son of his father — a goodly person — and a man 
in whom the Spirit of God was — an interpreter of 
dreams. He was sent by his father to seek his " bre- 
thren" in the wilderness. He was hated by them, and 
cast into a pit, and sold, according to the proposal of 
Judah or Judas, for a small price. He was tempted, 
but resisted the tempter. He was falsely accused, and 
cast into prison with two noted criminals, the one of 


whom he adjudged to death, and the other to life. 
From prison h& was brought out and elevated to be 
ruler over all the land of Egypt, with so much power 
and glory, that Pharaoh, in presenting him to the 
people, and giving him a name, caused it to be pro- 
claimed that all should bow the knee before him. He 
saved the lives of his brethren by providing food for 
them, while he rejected the money they brought to pur- 
chase it. Although he dealt hardly with them at first, 
he brought them at length into that fertile land to which 
God sent him before them, to save them by a great de- 
liverance. There they sat with him at his table, they 
did eat and drink with him, and partook with him in 
his prosperity and glory. 

In all the above particulars, Joseph was a type of 
Jesus Christ, who was the first born, — the beloved Son 
of God. He was fairer than the sons of men, and grace 
was poured into his lips. He alone hath revealed the 
secret counsels of God, and prevailed to open the book 
and to loose the seven seals thereof. He is the shep- 
herd of Israel, and the chief corner stone. He was 
sent by his father to seek those who were lost. His 
own countrymen hated him, and said, This is the heir, 
come let us kill him, and caught and cast him out of 
the vineyard. He was sold by Judas for thirty pieces 
of silver. He was tempted, but resisted the tempter, 
was falsely accused, condemned, and cast into the grave. 
He adjudged one of the criminals who suffered with 
him to everlasting life, while the other he allowed to 
perish, according to his deserts. He was brought out 
of the prison of the grave, and a name was given to him, 
and at his name it is proclaimed that every knee shall 
how. Phil. ii. 10. He provides food without mojiey 
VOL. I. 2 B 


and without price^ for those whom he is not ashamed 
to call his brethren, and saves their lives ; and though 
he may seem to deal hardly with them for a season, so 
that through much tribulation they must enter his 
kingdom, he will in the end prove that he acts graci- 
ously towards them. He is gone to that heavenly 
country, whither, as the forerunner of his people, he 
has entered, there to prepare a place for them. He 
conducts them in their journey thither, and they shall 
eat and drink with him at his table in his kingdom, 
and shall behold the glory which God hath given him. 
Moses was, in many respects, a very remarkable 
type of Jesus Christ. At his birth he was saved from 
the general slaughter of the infants of the Israelites, 
which took place by a tyrant's command, and was after- 
wards compelled to fly into a foreign country to save 
his life. Moses was the meekest of men. His Divine 
commission was accredited by the signs and wonders 
which he was enabled to perform. He compelled the 
magicians who contended with him in Egypt, to con- 
fess his superior power. He controlled the swelling of 
the sea, which retired at his command. He fed the 
people with bread from heaven in the wilderness. God 
talked with him face to face, and the words which 
he heard he reported to the people. He appointed 
seventy elders, endued with a portion of his own spirit, 
to share his labours, and sent out twelve men to view 
the land of promise. Moses was the '' chosen " of the 
Lord, Psalm vi. 23, and by way of eminence, called his 
" SERVANT," Numbers, xii. 7. Moses was the most dis- 
tinguished prophet of Israel, whom the Lord knew 
face to face. Deut. xxxiv, 10. He was the ruler and 
DELIVERER or redeemer of the people from Egyptian 


bondage. Acts, vii. 35. He was the lawgiver, Num- 
bers, xxi. 18, and the judge of Israel, Exodns, xviii. 
13, and the mediator of that covenant which God 
made with them. Deut. v. 5. He was an intercessor 
for them. Exodus, xxxii. 11. Psalm, cvi. 23. He was 
their leader, Exodus, xxxii. 34. In their journey 
through the wilderness, on their way to the promised 
land, when receiving the law, he fasted for forty days 
and forty nights, and when he descended from the 
mountain his face shone with the reflected glory of God. 
In all these respects, Moses, in a very remarkable 
manner, prefigured Jesus Christ, with whom his 
parents were compelled to flee into a foreign land to 
escape from the slaughter of the infants that took place 
by a tyrant's command. Jesus Christ was meek and 
lowly, but approved by signs and miracles which God 
did by him. He compelled the devils whom he cast 
out to acknowledge him as the holy one of God. The 
winds and the sea obeyed his voice ; he fed miraculously 
the multitudes who followed him. He was with the 
Father, and hath revealed him, and speaks the word 
of God. He sent forth seventy disciples, whom he 
endowed with his spirit, and twelve Apostles to go into 
and search out every land. God pointed him out as his 
"servant" and his "elect," Isaiah, xlii. 1. He was 
that prophet whom Moses foretold God was to raise 
up like unto him, the deliverer and Redeemer of 
his people from the bondage of Sin and Satan. He is 
their lawgiver and the judge of Israel, Micah, v. 1. 
The mediator of the new Covenant made with the 
house of Israel, their intercessor, who ever liveth to 
intercede for them. He is the leader or captain of 
their salvation. Leading them through the wilderness of 


this world, in which they are strangers, to the promised 
land of rest. In entering- upon his work, he fasted forty 
days and forty nights ; when he was on the holy mount 
of transfiguration, his face did shine as the sun. ''Moses 
verilif teas faithful in all his house as a servant, for 
a testimony of those things ivhich ivere sj^okeii after, 
but Christ as a son over his own house." Is this simili- 
tude and correspondence, in so many and such impor- 
tant particulars between Moses and Christ, the effect of 
chance ? " Let us search," says one, " all the records 
of universal history, and see if we can find a man who 
was so like to Moses as Christ, or so like to Christ as 
Moses. If we cannot find such an one, then we have 
found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets 
did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. 

One thing further respecting Moses must be remark- 
ed. On account of his sinning against God, he was not 
permitted to enter the promised land, of which he was 
so desirous, and for which he earnestly besought the 
Lord. The sentencTe, however, that excluded him re- 
mained unchanged, and he was commanded to speak no 
more of that matter. It was necessary that his death, 
as the mediator of that first covenant, should intervene 
before Israel could enter the land of promise, otherwise 
an important part of his typical resemblance to Jesus 
Christ, as the mediator of the new covenant, could not 
have been exhibited. Through sin Moses forfeited this 
privilege ; and, on account of sin, the death of the true 
mediator of the people of God was necessary, in order 
that they may be put in possession of their eternal 
inheritance.* Moses, although he wrote of Christ, 

* From this part of the history of Moses, in God's refusing to 
hear his prayer, Christians may derive a useful lesson. In refe- 


was not aware of the correspondence, in all its circum- 
stances, of the part he was acting; with that of the 
Messiah, otherwise he would not have urged his request 
as he did. 

Neither Moses, however, nor any single individual, 
could furnish a complete representation of Jesus 
Christ. Many, or rather all of those who during the 
Old Testament dispensation " obtained a good report 
through faith," in one way or other prefigured him. 
In all of them, there were points of resemblance ; but 
still, like the law, they were only the shadow, and not 
the very image, of him that was to come. Moses, 
though the leader of Israel through the wilderness, 
did not conduct them into the promised land. That 
honour was reserved for Joshua his successor, who 
was descended from Joseph. 

Joshua was the first of the typical characters who 
bore the name of the Messiah, Jesus and Joshua, 
which imports Jehovah the Saviour, being one in the 
original languages. Joshua conducted the people of 
Israel safely through the divided river of Jordan 
into the promised land, and set up twelve stones as 
*' a memorial to the children of Israel for ever," of 
this great deliverance. He conquered Jericho, the 
walls of which fell on the seventh day, at the blowing 

renceto spiritual things, they cannot be too importunate. " This," 
says an Apostle, *' is the will of God, even your sanctification ;" 
therefore in this respect they may ask what they will, and it 
shall be done unto them. But as to temporal matters, they are 
not proper judges of what is best for them. Were many of 
their petitions granted, it would prove their ruin, or granting 
them would be contrary to some of the great but unknown pur- 
poses of God. 


of trumpets. He subdued the enemies of Israel, and 
settled them in peace in the land of promise. In all 
this, Joshua was a type of "the Captain of salvation/' 
— " the Captain of the host of the Lord," in which 
character Jesus Christ appeared to Joshua. Jesus 
Christ is Jehovah the Saviour, who leads his people 
safely through the valley of the shadow of death, of 
which the river of Jordan, flowing- between the wilder- 
ness and Canaan, was a striking representation. He 
brings them into their promised inheritance, which 
Canaan prefigured, of which he puts them in peaceful 
possession, and subdues all their enemies. After he 
had passed through death for them and for himself, he 
appointed twelve apostles as his " witnesses" to all 
future generations of this great deliverance. When, 
by the command of Joshua, the " seven priests" blew 
the " seven trumpets of rams' horns," and " compassed 
the city seven times," " it came to pass at the seventh 
time, when the priests blew with the trumpets," the 
wall of Jericho " fell down flat ;" and so when, by the 
command of Jesus, " the seventh angel" shall sound 
the trumpet, the bulwarks of Satan's kingdom shall 
be overthrown, and "the kingdoms of this world shall 
become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ." 
Rev. xi. 15. 

Jonah was a type of Jesus Christ. When the 
Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, he refer- 
red them to Jonah, saying, " As Jonah was three days 
and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son 
of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of 
the earth." Jonah, who is the first prophet we read 
of that was sent to reform a Gentile nation, received 
a commission from God to goto the city of Nineveh. 


Being- averse to execute so dangerous and difficult a 
service, he attempted to make his escape, embarking 
in a ship bound to Tarshish. But a storm arose, and 
Jonah voluntarily counselled the mariners to cast him 
into the sea. They endeavoured, in spite of the tem- 
pest, to reach the shore, but in vain. They therefore 
cast him into the deep, and immediately the storm and 
the raging- of the sea ceased. A fish prepared by God 
swallowed up Jonah, at whose command it again 
vomited him out alive upon the dry land on the third 
day, after which he fulfilled his commission, and 
preached with success to Nineveh, whither he had 
been sent. The sin and the reluctance of the prophet 
necessary in order to the sign, are altogether inappli- 
cable personally to his great antitype ; and were these 
to make it void, no type of the Redeemer could be 
found in this sinful world. Atonement was made 
even for the altars of Israel, as well as for the priest 
the offerer, before they could be used for religious 
services. But the commission of Jonah being exe- 
cuted only through death, which is the efifect of sin 
— the consequent and immediate appeasing of the tem- 
pest — his deliverance from the bottom of the deep on 
the third day, and the successful accomplishment of 
the ministry he had received, strikingly represented 
Him in whose name the Psalmist says, " All thy bil- 
lows have gone over me, I sink in deep waters ;" and 
who, going up to Jerusalem before his death, com- 
pared his sufferings to an immersion in water, saying, 
" I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I 
straitened till it be accomplished ;" who voluntarily 
died and was buried, but saw no corruption ; and who, 
having stilled the tempest of the wrath of God, came 


forth again from the grave on the third day to preach 
salvation, and successfully to accomplish the end for 
which he was sent. 

The most remarkable types of the death and resur- 
rection of Jesus Christ, besides that of Jonah, are the 
following : Of his death — the prison of Joseph — the 
sparrow whose blood was poured out, and the sacrifices 
of living animals. The chief types of his resurrection^ 
are the sacrifice of Isaac, who was received in a figure 
from the dead — Joseph coming out of prison — the 
Israelites going up out of Jordan — the sparrow which, 
on the cleansing of the leper, was let go, and flew into 
the air — the temple of Jerusalem, which was rebuilt 
by Ezra and Nehemiah, and also those who, before the 
advent of Jesus Christ, were restored to life ; for these 
were all representations and preludes of the resurrec- 
tion of the Messiah. 

The Prophets who, from time to time, were raised 
up in Israel, prefigured in their office Jesus Christ, 
as they also gave witness to him. Like all his other 
types, they were but faint shadows, in comparison of 
Him " who was a prophet mighty in deed and in word, 
before God and all the people," for they received but 
a small measure of grace and light from on high, in 
comparison of that fulness which is in him. The same 
spirit animated them, though not inherent in them, 
but in Jesus Christ it was properly his own. These 
prophets were also his forerunners, for although that 
title is in a peculiar manner assigned to John the 
Baptist, it also belonged to all the other prophets, for 
they all prepared the way for him, and were sent for 
that purpose. But Jesus Christ was not the fore- 
runner of any one, he being himself the end he had in 


view. They were ministers of his, and the degrees of 
supernatural and spiritual light which they possessed, 
were communicated by him, which, although limited, 
and bearing no proportion to the measure of the Spirit 
with which he was endowed, yet fitted them to repre- 
sent him in figure, to prepare the way for his coming, 
to announce his advent, to communicate instruction 
to the people, and to fill up a prominent and distin- 
guished department in that typical dispensation to 
which they belonged. 

The High Priests, who, as the chief men in 
Israel, appeared before God in their sacred office and 
services, and the whole Levitical priesthood, pre- 
figured, as is expressly taught in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, the <' great High Priest who is passed into 
the heavens." The priesthood of Aaron, after its 
manner, freed men who had committed sins from 
merited punishment. It established in its way a 
certain communion with God, and brought upon them 
a certain kind of peace and benediction. It was the 
foundation and support of that covenant to which it 
belonged, for the whole of the Divine service under 
the law, all the worship which God received from the 
people of Israel, and the promises and advantages 
which he gave them, were established in the Aaronic 
priesthood. Except through that priesthood, Israel 
had none of that communion with Him which had 
been promised to Abraham and his posterity. That 
ancient priesthood had its services, which consisted in 
the oifering of sacrifices, in entering into the holy- 
place, there to sprinkle the blood of the victim on the 
ark of the covenant, so making intercession, and in 
blessing the people. For these three purposes Aaron 


was anointed, consecrated, and established. All those 
things which typically are found in the Levitical 
priesthood, and in which it specially represented things 
that were to come, belonged spiritually and efficaciously 
to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. He also offered his 
SACRIFICE, that is his body, on earth, and afterwards 
entered the holiest of all, that is Heaven, to present 
to God the infinite price of his oblation, which is his 
blood, which is no other than his intercession, and 
as he blessed his Apostles when he parted from them, 
so at the last day he will come forth and pronounce the 
BLESSING on his people, saying, " Come, ye blessed 
of my Father." 

In constituting the Levitical priesthood a type of 
the priesthood of Jesus Christ, God, in order to pre- 
vent men from resting in the figure, without extend- 
ing their views to the thing signified, had, in his 
wisdom, marked it with many imperfections, besides 
pointing out, even in the books of Moses themselves, 
another order of priesthood, namely, that of Melchi- 
zedec, far more excellent than that of Aaron. The 
Aaronic priesthood was established without an oath. 
It was established only for a time, and it sanctified but 
to the purifying of the flesh ; expiating no sins but 
those that were typical, that is to say, sins that in 
their own nature were not sins. By the efficacy of 
that priesthood, men had only a figurative and not a 
real communion with God, which consisted in this, 
that God was their God in a temporal sense, and 
bestowed on them earthly blessings, and received from 
them a service that was ceremonial and external. The 
priesthood of Aaron was conferred on a man who was 
sinful, finite, and mortal, and it was not joined with 


the prophetic or kingly office. That priesthood be- 
longed to many at the same tinae, though one only 
was high priest ; and although there was but one high 
priest at a time, there were many successively. The 
high priest, too, entered only once every year into the 
holy place made with hands. The ancient sacrifices 
could not expiate all of even typical sins, nor sanctify 
the consciences of men for ever, not even with a typi- 
cal and ceremonial sanctification. The Aaronic priest- 
hood subsisted only till that of Christ was established. 
But while " perfection" was not by the Levitical 
priesthood ; and while it bore no proportion to the 
priesthood of Jesus Christ, in which those characters 
wanting in it were found ; yet, like the prophetical 
office in Israel, it was divinely adapted in all its parts 
— its priests, its altars, and its sacrifices — to exhibit 
an emblematical and a most striking representation of 
the office of an high priest, of good things to come by 
a greater and more perfect tabernacle, who, through 
the eternal Spirit, was to oifer himself without spot to 

The Kings, in their office and government, were 
types of Jesus Christ. All were so, who had in Israel 
any degree of royal dignity, as at the beginning Joshua, 
and the Judges, and afterwards Saul and David, and 
the other kings. All of them were types of that spi- 
ritual King ; but chiefly he was prefigured bv David 
and Solomon. In general, David represented that part 
of the royalty of Jesus Christ, which was marked with 
humiliation, reproach, and persecution ; Solomon, on 
the contrary, represented the glorious part of his reign, 
David prefigured him in his combats, and Solomon in 
his triumphs. David, when he prepared the materials 


for building- the Temple, preiig-ured him when he was 
on earth ; and Solomon, in his building- and consecrating 
it, represented him after his ascension to heaven. In 
2)articular, however, David may be said to have repre- 
sented the two states of royalty of Jesus Christ. David 
was first anointed King of Israel by Samuel in the 
city of Bethlehem, and in the same spot that angels 
celebrated the birth of the Messiah, in proclaiming to 
the shepherds tidings of great joy, announcing that to* 
them was born in the city of David a Saviour, which 
is Christ (anointed) the Lord. David having remained 
for some time after his anointing unknown and despised, 
was at length acknowledged as king by the tribe of 
Judah, and reigned as such seven years in Hebron, yet 
rejected by the rest of the Israelites. At last, however, 
he was solemnly recognised as king by all the twelve 
tribes. On this account, it is said in the Psalms, " the 
stone which the builders rejected, has become the head 
of the corner,: — this is the doing of the Lord." All 
this corresponds to what took place respecting Jesus 
Christ, who, after he had remained for a long time un- 
known, and contemned by all the world, was, however, 
recognised as the true Messiah by a small number of 
disciples who gathered around him. Afterwards, he 
was solemnly acknowledged as such in the midst of 
many nations, and at last " to him every knee shall bow, 
and every tongue confess that he is Lord, to the glory 
of God the Father." David, then, in his birth-place, in 
his afflictions, and in his prosperity, and of whom, " as 
concerning the flesh, Christ came," and Solomon, by the 
wisdom, by the glory, and the peace of his reign, both 
typified the King of Zion, who is the " King of kings." 
Thus the prophets, the priests, and the kings of 


Israel, were types of Jesus Christ, in whose person the 
prophetical, the priestly, and the kingly offices are united. 
And as he was the Messiah, or the Anointed of God — 
anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with power, — so 
they also were anointed for their several offices. Jesus 
Christ, too, was elected of God- — the first elected, and 
emphatically called, " the elect" of God; and those who 
among- them were his most remarkable types, were also 
the objects of a special election. Thus Moses, who, as 
a prophet, was eminently a type of Christ, was called 
the chosen of God, Psalm, cvi. 23. Thus Aaron was 
invested with the priesthood by a particular election, 
Exod. xxviii. And David was called to the kingdom 
in the same manner. " He refused the tabernacle 
of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim, but 
chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion which he 
loved. — He chose David, also, his servant, and took him 
from the sheepfolds," Psalm Ixxviii, 67. It should 
also be remarked, that these three offices were never 
joined in one person. Moses, who appears as chief of 
the ancient prophets, was not honoured either with the 
priesthood or the crown of royalty. Aaron, on whom 
God conferred the priesthood, had no part in the kingly 
or prophetical office ; and as to the kings, they were to 
be punished as Uzziah was, when they undertook to 
perform the functions of the priesthood. Thus every 
thing was disposed in the providence of God, to point 
out the imperfection of the law, and to lead men to 
Jesus Christ alone ; for in him all these offices are 
conjoined in a manner the most complete. He is pro- 
phet, and priest, and king, the only centre in whom all 
the lines of the Christian religion terminate — the only 
source from which they they take their origin. The 


union of these three offices in him mark the infinite 
dignity of the person who sustains them ; for if no man 
is capable of sustaining- at once the priestly, the pro- 
phetical, and the kingly offices, even as a shadow or 
figure, how ineffable must be the majesty of Jesus 
Christ, who hears all these three dignities, not in figure, 
but in truth and reality ! The prophetical character, 
too, becomes more glorious, when associated with the 
priesthood and royalty, as is also the case with these 
two other offices, when all the three appear in union. 
But Jesus Christ declares himself to be " the way, the 
truth, and the life." He is the way to the Father by 
his priestly, the truth by his prophetical, and the 
LIFE by his kingly character. Of God he is made to 
his people wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification 
and redemption. He is their wisdom^ as being a pro- 
phet, their righteousness^ as being a priest, and their 
sanctification and redemption^ as being a king. These 
three offices form the whole subject of the Epistle to 
the Hebrevvs, where Paul treats of the prophetical chdi- 
racter of Jesus Christ, exalting it above the angels, the 
messengers of God, above Moses, and above all the 
other ways in which God has revealed himself. He 
treats of his kingly character, exalting it above Joshua 
and his rest, the land of Canaan, into which Joshua 
conducted the Israelites ; and, finally, he describes his 
priesthood as superior to that of Aaron, in the legal 

Certain objects and appearances were likewise 
employed to furnish typical representations of the Mes- 
siah and his salvation. 

Jacob " dreamed, and behold a ladder set upon 
the earth} and the top of it reached to heaven; and 


behold the angels of God ascending and descending 
on it^' Gen. xxviii. 12. Jesus Christ is the only 
medium of communication between heaven and earth. 
The constitution of the Redeemer's person, as uniting' 
the human and the Divine natures, though the distance 
between them is infinite, is here represented, as also 
his mediation, by which a communication is opened 
both for the drawing- nigh of God to men, that he may 
dwell with them, and for the access of men to God, that 
they may have their conversation in heaven, to which 
they shall ascend by Jesus Christ alone. Upon this 
ladder Jacob beheld the angels ascending and descend- 
ing ; and it is by Jesus Christ that angels descend from 
heaven to earth, and from earth ascend again to heaven. 
It is from him, as the Lord of angels, that they re- 
ceive all their commands for their ministrations to the 
saints. " Are they not all ministering spirits, sent 
forth to minister to them who are the heirs of salva- 
tion?" They ministered to Jesus Christ, the Head, 
while he was on earth, and they continue to minister 
to all his members. Above this ladder stood the Lord 
himself, speaking gracious words to his servant Jacob, 
confirming the covenant made with his fathers, and thus 
intimating that God was in Christ reconciling the world 
unto himself, and well pleased in his beloved Son. 
Apparently, in allusion to this mystic ladder, Jesus 
Christ declared to Nathaniel, " Hereafter ye shall see 
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and de- 
scending upon the Son of Man," John, i. 51. 

" And the angel of the Lord appeared unto hiin, in 


and he looked, and, behold, the hush hurned with^re, 
and the hush ivas not consumed" Exod. iii. 2. Here 


the angel of the Lord, not a created angel, but the un- 
created angel of the covenant, assumed to himself the 
high title of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
the self-existent Jehovah — " I am that I am." This 
was a vision of the future incarnation of Jesus Christ. 
This bush in the wilderness represented the human 
nature of him whom Isaiah compares to a tender 
plant, and a root out of a dry ground, having- no form 
nor comeliness. The flame of fire shadowed forth his 
deity, fire being in Scripture a frequent emblem of the 
presence of God, who is " a consuming fire." This 
union of the flame of fire with the bush, denoted the 
union of the Godhead and the manhood of him of 
whom Moses, in his dying benediction, spoke as having 
" dwelt in the bush." As the fire was in the bush, 
and the bush in the fire, so the man Christ Jesus is in 
God, and God is in the man, while the natures of both, 
though mysteriously united, still are not confounded, 
but retain their distinct properties. This angel who 
dwelt in the bush, in a flame of fire, required the most 
profound respect and religious homage from Moses, 
and Moses beheld this great sig-ht with reverence and 
awe, as the disciples alterwards beheld the glory of 
him who in human nature dwelt among them. 

" The Lord went before them hy day in a pillar 
OF CLOUD, to lead them in the way ; and hy night in 
a PILLAR OF FIRE, to give them light to go by day 
and night" Exod. xiii. 21. This miraculous cloud 
never changed its form of a pillar, and always main- 
tained its station over the tabernacle during forty 
years, and led the people of Israel during- all that time 
through the wilderness. It was a visible symbol of 
the presence of God, and was an illustrious type of 


Jesus Christ, first in the care of his providence, and 
then in the special light of his gospel. The Lord 
thus appearing to Israel, and conducting them in the 
veil of the cloud, gave a pre-intimation of his appear- 
ing in a veil of flesh. Here, then, was an emblem of 
that glorious person, in whom the brightness of Divi- 
nity is conjoined with the darkness of humanity ; for as 
there were not two pillars, the one of cloud and the 
other of lire, but one pillar both of cloud and of fire, so 
there are not two persons of Emmanuel, the one God 
and the other man, but one person, who is both God 
and man. That glorious angel, whom the apostle John 
beheld rising out of the east, who was Jesus Christ 
himself, was clothed with a cloud, and his feet were 
as pillars of fire. This pillar of fire and cloud was the 
guide of the Israelites through the wilderness, leading 
them in the way. It was their guard, separating and 
protecting them from their enemies ; it enlightened 
them in darkness, and out of it the Lord spake with 
them. In all this it was an emblem of him who after- 
wards appeared in the world, and of whom it was de- 
clared that he would " create upon every dwelling-place 
of Mount Zion, and upon all her assemblies, a cloud 
of smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming- fire by 
night ; for upon all the glory shall be a defence." Isa. 
iv. 5. And as this pillar was a light to conduct the 
Israelites, so it was darkness to the Egyptians, and 
through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, the Lord 
looked unto their host, and troubled them. In the 
same way, Jesus Christ is a stumbling-block and 
foolishness to the enemies of God, but to those who 
are called, the wisdom and the power of God ; and the 
gospel is a savour of death to those to whom it is hid, 
VOL. I. 2 c 


to whom at last the Lord will be revealed in flaming 
fire, taking vengeance upon them. In this cloud, as 
in the sea, all the children of Israel were baptized unto 
Moses, 1 Cor. x. 2 ; and all the children of God are 
baptized unto Jesus Christ, Rom. vi. 3. And as that 
cloud conducted Israel after the flesh, into the earthly 
Canaan, their promised rest, so Jesus Christ conducts 
Israel after the spirit, into the heavenly Canaan, the 
rest which remaineth to the people of God. Without 
that pillar of fire and cloud, Israel could not have dis- 
covered their path through the wilderness; and with- 
out Jesus Christ, who is the *'way" to the Father, 
believers could not find their path through this world 
of which he is the "light." " He took not away the 
pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, 
from before the j^eople," Exod. xiii. 22. And Jesus 
Christ says, " Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the 
end of the world." 

" He rained down manna upon them to eat, and 
gave them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat an- 
gels* food ; he sent them food to the fully^ Psalm 
Ixxviii. 24, 25. " And Moses said unto them. This is 
the hi^ead luhich the Lordhath give7i you to eat" Exod. 
xvi. M. This manna was a type of Jesus Christ, which 
he applied to himself when he said, " Verily, verily, I 
say unto you, Moses gave you not that hread from, 
heaven; hut my Father giveth you the truehread from 
heaven ; For the bread of God is He which eometh 
down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. I 
am the living hread which came down from heaven,'* 
John, xxxii. 51. In like manner the Apostle Paul, re- 
ferring to the spiritual meaning, of the manna, says, 
*' They did all eat the same spiritual meat," 1 Cor. x. 3. 


God fed the people with manna, that he might make 
them " know that man doth not live hy hvead only" This 
manna was not provided by the Israelites with their 
own labour and skill, but showered from heaven, and 
prepared for their use even at the time when they were 
murmuring against God. In like manner, believers 
can do nothing to obtain or to merit Jesus Christ, who 
is the giftof God to those who were "without strength, 
" ungodly, sinners and enemies to God," Rom. v. 6, 10. As 
the manna, before it was fit for food, must be " ground 
in mills, or beat in a mortar," it was necessary that, 
to satisfy the justice of God, Jesus Christ should be 
bruised for the iniquities of his people, that he might 
be made perfect through sufferings, in order to afford 
spiritual nourishment to their souls. As the manna 
was loathed by " the mixed multitude " among the 
people who lusted after the good things of Egypt; 
in like manner the things of this world are preferred 
to Jesus Christ and his salvation, by multitudes of those 
who take the name of Christians. As the manna could 
be of no use to the Israelites unless they gathered and 
eat it, so no benefit can be derived from Jesus Christ, 
except by eating his flesh and drinking his blood. ''^Ex- 
cept ye eat thejiesh of the Son of Man, and drink his 
blood, ye have no life in you," John, vi. 53. As the 
manna was indispensably necessary for the children of 
Israel, as long as they remained in the widnerness, ia 
which, if after a season it had failed, they must have 
perished, so it is necessary for believers to live by faith 
on the Son of God, during all the days of their pilgrim- 
age here on earth. The pot of manna laid up by the 
side of the ark, represented the permanency of that 
spiritual food which Jesus Christ provides for his 


people, and which, in allusion to what was contained in 
this pot, he calls the "hidden manna;" and, in the 
same manner Aaron's rod, which budded, prefigured the 
perpetual efficacy of Christ's everlasting- priesthood. As 
the manna ceased not till the people of Israel eat of the 
corn of Canaan, so the people of God will feed on Him 
who is the true bread from heaven, while they pass 
through this world, and until they arrive at their eter- 
nal rest. 

" Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly to- 
gether^ thou and Aaron thy brother^ and speak ye 
unto the rock before their eyes, and it shall give 
forth his water y and thou shall bring forth to them 
water out of the rock'' Numb. xxi. 8. To this rock, 
out of which God caused streams to flow, to supply 
the people of Israel with water in the wilderness, the 
Apostle Paul expressly ascribes a typical signification 
— " that rock was Christ" 1 Cor. x. 4. It was em- 
blematical of Him who is the " rock of offence," yet 
the " sure foundation which God hath laid in Zion," 
and the " chief corner stone." That rock, although 
outwardly it appeared to be hard and dry, yet contained 
a rich abundance of water for all the people. Iw. the 
same way, Jesus Christ, although he appeared without 
form and comeliness, and as a root out of a dry ground, 
was full of grace and truth, and out of his fulness all 
believers receive. The waters which issued from that 
rock represented the living water, of which Jesus Christ 
himself has said, " Whosoever drinketh of the water 
that I shall give him, shall never thirst ; but the water 
that I shall give him shall he in him a well of water 
springing up into everlasting life" That water did 
not flow from the rock till it was smitten by the rod of 


Moses the lawgiver, and in the same way the blessings 
of salvation flow from Jesus Christ only as he was 
smitten of God by the curse of the broken law, in con- 
sequence of which the Holy Spirit, in all his blessed 
influences, which are compared to " rivers of living 
water" (John, vii. 38), is communicated to all who be- 
lieve. All this was denoted by the blood and water 
which flowed from the side of Jesus Christ, when 
pierced. The blood was the atonement for sin, and the 
water represented the grace of the Holy Spirit. Thus 
He came by water and blood ; and as the typical repre- 
sentation of the smitten rock in the wilderness was 
fully verified in Him, so also was the following direct 
prophecy, — ^^ And a man shall he as rivers of waters 
in a dry place, and the shadow of a great rock in a 
dry land,'* Isaiah, xxxii. 2. Moses smote the rock >( 
twice, but was punished for his presumption. Jesus > 
Christ, who was that rock, was to be smitten only once 
by the rod of Divine Justice. 

" The Lord said unto Moses, make thee a fiery 
SERPENT, and set it upon a pole, and it shall come to 
pass that every one that is bitten, ivhen he Jooketh upon 
it, shall live. And Biases made a serpent of brass, and 
put it upon a pole ; and it came to pass, that if a ser- 
pent had bitten any man, ivhen he beheld the serpent of 
brass he lived," Numbers, xxi. viii. This remarkable 
type the Lord Jesus Christ applied to himself, when, in 
preaching the gospel to Nicodemus, he said, " As 
Moses lifted up the serpent in the loilderness, even so 
must the Son of Man be lifted up. That whosoever he- 
lieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting' 
life,'' John, iii. l^. This emblem, and the occasion on 
which it was exhibited, furnished a striking representa- 


tion of the deadly nature of sin, and of the remedy 
which God hath provided. It contained a remarkable 
pre-intimation of the manner of death which Jesus 
Christ was to suffer. It was by the old serpent that 
man had been bitten, and being- of their father the 
devil, they had been transformed into serpents as his 
seed, and it therefore pleased God that his son should 
be represented by a serpent, on account of the curse 
with which he was charged, to deliver from it his peo- 
ple. But as that brazen serpent had only the form and 
the colour, but not the poison of a living- serpent, so 
Jesus Christ, although he came in " the likeness of sin- 
ful flesh," (Rom. viii. 3,) was absolutely free from the 
smallest contagion of that mortal poison with which all 
men are infected. Adam, the first man, and the head 
of the old creation, although of the earth, was formed 
in the image of God. Jesus Christ, the second man, 
and the head of the new creation, the Lord from heaven, 
begotten by the immediate agency of the Holy Ghost, 
was, in his conception and birth, perfectly holy, (Luke, 
i. 35), being conceived in such a manner, that although 
partaking of our nature, he was free from the corrup- 
tion which now accompanies it in other men. The ser- 
pent was lifted up on a pole, and Christ was lifted up 
on the cross. The serpent was lifted up, that whosoever 
looked upon it, might be healed and live ; and Christ was 
crucified, that whosoever looketh to him may be saved. 
** Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth" 
Isaiah, xlv. 22. ^'And I, if I he lifted up, ivill draw all 
men unto me," John xii. 32. But as the looking- to this 
serpent of brass did not prevent the Israelites from still 
being bitten by the poisonous serpents, but secured 
against the fatal consequence of their otherwise mortal 


bite, so the eifect of looking- to Jesus Christ, that is, 
believing in him, (John, iii. 15), does not exempt from 
temptation, and from afterwards sinning while in the 
wilderness of this world, but assures all who believe 
in him, that they shall not perish, but have eternal life. 
It was by looking- on the serpent, and not by any work 
done by them, that the Israelites were healed, and it is 
only by believing on Jesus Christ that men are saved. 
" To him that worJceth not^ hut helieveth on him 
that justijieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for 
(or rather unto) righteousness P " Therefore it is of 
faith that it might he hy grace, and if hy grace, then 
it is no more of ivo7'ks." As in the camp of Israel, 
whoever looked to the serpent, whatever was his con- 
dition or character, or whatever was the nature of the 
w^ound he had received, was healed ; in like manner, 
whatever has been the previous character of him who 
looks to Jesus Christ — however numerous and aggra- 
vated his sins may have been, he is saved by him. Of 
this, the salvation of the thief on the cross furnishes 
an illustrious example. The remedy of the brazen 
serpent proved effectual to every one who beheld it, 
however weak his sight might be, and the smallest 
degree of faith unites the soul to the Saviour, and de- 
rives the blessings of salvation from him. 

Certain places were in the Old Testament adapted 
to represent Jesus Christ and his salvation. 

The GardExN of Eden, that earthly paradise, in 
which God placed the first of the human race, repre- 
sented the heavenly inheritance of the first-born, whose 
names are written in heaven, which is the Paradise of 
God. The tree of life in the midst of it, was a figure 
of Jesus Christ, who is <' that eternal life," on whom 


whosoever believetb, " shall never die." At the open- 
ing of Scripture we read of this inheritance on earthy 
which soon proved corruptible, was defiled, and faded 
away, from which all the children of the first Adam 
were expelled. Towards the close of Scripture, we 
read of the inheritance in heaven which is incorrupt- 
ible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, which is 
reserved for all the children of the second Adam. At 
the commencement of Scripture our attention is di- 
rected to the tree of life in the midst of the garden, 
the plucking of whose fruit, by any effort of his own, 
was prohibited to man as soon as he had sinned, and 
the way to it guarded by cherubim and a flaming 
sword. At the termination of Scripture, it is once 
more presented to our view, as flourishing in the midst 
of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, and on either 
side of the river of the water of life, bearing twelve 
manner of fruits, that is, of all kinds ; and yielding its 
fruit every month, that is, perpetually. The leaves of 
the tree are for the healing- of the nations, which im- 
ports its life-giving efficacy in all respects. The che- 
rubim and the flaming sword which turned every way 
to keep the way to it, no longer prevent from access 
to it the children of God, who are made by him who 
has passed under the sword of Divine justice, partakers 
of its fruit. " To him that overcometh will I give 
to eat of the tree of life ^ which is in the midst of the 
Paradise of God'' " Because I live ye shall live 
also." " / am come that they might have life, and 
that they might have it more abundantly." 

The Wilderness through which the people of 
Israel, under Divine guitlance and protection, passed as 
travellers to the promised land, was barren and deso- 


late, producing no food, without any road or sig-n of 
direction, but inhabited by noxious animals. It aptly- 
represented the state of this world, which is the king- 
dom of Satan, the ground of which is cursed, through 
which the people of God, who are sojourners and pil- 
grims, pass to their heavenly rest. Like the wilder- 
ness, it is barren, and destitute of any thing spiritually 
good. All spiritual food, as well as all necessary direc- 
tion for their journey, must be supplied from above, 
while snares and enemies beset their path. 

The Land of Canaan was a type of the heavenly 
country. It was the inheritance given by promise to 
Abraham and his posterity. As his descendants after 
the liesh inherited the one, so his spiritual seed shall 
inherit the other. Canaan was " the land of rest," 
after the toils and dangers of the v/ilderness. To make 
it a fit inheritance, and an emblem of that inheritance 
which is undefiled, and into which there shall in no 
wise enter any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever 
worketh abomination, it was cleared of the ungodly 
inhabitants. As the introduction of the people of Israel 
into that land was not effected by their own power or 
efforts (Joshua, xxix. 12 ; Psl. xliv. 4), but by the 
unmerited goodness and power of God ; so the children 
of God do not obtain possession of the heavenly inheri- 
tance by their own power or efforts, but by the free 
grace and power of God (Rom. ix. 16). As those who 
believed not were excluded from Canaan, so all unbe- 
lievers will be excluded from heaven. As Moses could 
not lead the people of Israel into Canaan, that honour 
being reserved for Joshua, so it is not by the law re- 
presented by Moses that the people of God shall enter 
heaven, but by the gospel of Jesus Christ, the true 


Joshua to whom that glory belongs. No other coun- 
try on earth could have been selected as a fitter em- 
blem of heaven. It is called in Scripture " the pleasant 
land," — " the glory of all lands," — " a land flowing 
with milk and honey." " A sight of this territory," 
says a late traveller, " can alone convey any adequate 
idea of its surprising produce. It is truly the Eden 
of the East, rejoicing in the abundance of its wealth. 
Under a wise and beneficent government, the produce 
of the Holy Land would exceed all calculation. Its 
perennial harvest ; the salubrity of its air ; its limpid 
springs, its rivers, lakes, and matchless plains ; its hills 
and vales ; all these, added to the serenity of its climate, 
proves this land to be indeed ' a field which the Lord 
hath blessed.' God hath given it of the dew of heaven 
and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and 

Cities of Refuge were appointed for the people 
of Israel. To impress on their minds the greater abhor- 
rence of the crime of murder, the nearest of kin was 
permitted to put to death the man who, even without 
design, had killed his neighbour. But to these cities 
of refuge he might flee for safety. Roads to them, of 
great breadth, and bridges where necessary', were pro- 
vided ; and inscriptions set up to direct him who fled. 
When arrived in one of them, the guilty person found 
the necessary accommodation, and his life was placed 
under protection of the laws. There he was to remain 
till the death of the High Priest, after which he might 
return into the land of his possession. We have here 
an apt representation of the safety of the believer who 
has ^^ fled for refuge to the hope set before hiyn." The 
high way is prepared, and abundant direction provided 


for him ; and, through the death of the great High 
Priest, he will at length be released from all confine- 
ment and bondage. Speaking of the days of the gospel, 
Isaiah says, " And a high way shall he there, the ivay- 
faring men, thoi'gh fools, shall not err therein" "And 
there shall be a tabernacle for a shadoiv in the day 
time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for 
a covert from, storm, and from rain^ " Thoit hast 
been a strength to the poor, — a strength to the needy 
in his distress, — a refuge from the storm.'^ 

The city of Jerusalem was taken possession of by 
David. On the hill of Zion was the residence of the 
kings of Israel, and the place where the temple stood, 
Jerusalem w^as the capital of Judea, where the worship 
of God was established, and where all the nation of 
Israel assembled at their solemn feasts. " Our feet 
shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem 
is built as a city that is compact together, ichither 
the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the 
testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of 
the Lordr " Beautiful for situation, the joy of the 
whole earth, is 3Iount Zion on the sides of the North, 
the city of the great King." It is called in Scripture 
the "perfection of beauty ;" " The joy of the whole 
earth ;" '" The city of God ;" " The holy city." Je- 
rusalem was a type of " the city of the living God, the 
heavenly Jerusalem ;" that city in the heavenly country 
for which Abraham looked, "which hath foundations, 
V)hose builder and maker is God," — of "that great 
city, the holy Jerusalem," which John saw descending 
out of heaven from God, " having the glory of God." — 
"And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God 
Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And 


the city had no need of the su7i, neither of the moorif 
to shine in it ; for the glory of God did lighten it, 
and the Lamh is the light thereof" 

The Tabernacle, which contained the ark of the 
covenant, and afterwards the Temple at Jerusalem, 
were remarkable types of Jesus Christ. Both were 
erected according- to exact patterns : The first was 
given to Moses, when it was said to him, " Look 
that thou make them after their pattern, which teas 
showed thee in the Mount.'' The last was g-iven to 
David": " All this, said David, the Lord made me 
understand in writing hy his hand upon me, even all 
the works of this pattern^ There may be parts of 
them which, like certain circumstances in a parable, are 
only necessary to complete the figure, and not essential 
to the moral ; but as a whole, and also in many, if not 
all, of their minute parts, they were eminent represen- 
tations of Jesus Christ and his salvation. 

Alluding- to the temple, and applying- the figure to 
himself, Jesus Christ said of his own body, '-'■ Destroy 
this temple and I icill raise it vp in three days," It 
is only through him that sinners have access to God. 
The temple, accordingly, in which the cloud, the symbol 
of the Divine presence, over the mercy-seat, appeared, 
was a figure of him that was to come, — God manifest in 
the flesh, and who as such was appointed to be the only 
medium of communication with God. The priests 
were to officiate in it, the sacrifices to be offered, and 
the worship of God to be performed, according' to the 
order prescribed. Since the destruction of that temple, 
all these services have become legally impracticable. 
When at a distance from the temple, the Israelite was 
to have respect to it in drawing- near to God, lifting up 


his hands tow^ards the " holy oracle." At its dedication, 
Solomon prayed that if the people should worship the 
Lord towards that house, God would hear them in 
heaven. Accordingly Daniel, in a distant country, 
prayed, ^''his window being open in his chamber towards 
Jerusalem." Jonah calling- upon God from the belly 
of the lish, says, ^'- 1 will look again towards thy holy 
temple." " TjT," says Jehosaphat, *' when evil cometh 
upon us, the stuord, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, 
we stand before this house, and in thy presence {for 
thy name is in this house), and cry unto thee in our 
affliction, then thou luilt hear and help." 

Every thing within the temple, and connected with 
its service, typified the Redeemer and his salvation. 
Within the second veil stood " the arJcofthe covenant," 
which contained the two tables of the law, over which 
was the propitiatory or mercy-seat, of pure gold. These 
tables were inscribed with the finger of God, and while 
all the other statutes given to Israel were placed by its 
side, as preparatory to their removal, that law of ever- 
lasting obligation, which was pronounced by the voice 
of God himself, was laid up within the ark under the 
mercy-seat. In strict correspondence with this remark- 
able emblem, the Divine Redeemer is introduced in the 
Psalms, declaring, " I delight to do thy ivill, O my 
God, yea thy law is within my heart." The 
propitiatory covering, or mercy-seat, in an especial 
manner signified Christ, as covering and taking away 
the guilt of his people's sins, for God is in Christ re- 
conciling the world to himself (2 Cor. v. 19). That 
propitiatory or mercy-seat being placed in the holy of 
holies of the tabernacle, or of the temple, within the 
yeil, was concealed from the eyes of all the people of 


Israel, because the expiation was not yet' made ; but 
God has now " set forth" Jesus Christ before the eyes 
of all believers, and openly exhibited him to their view 
as a propitiation. Rom. iii. 25. The mercy-seat, which, 
being of pure gold, denoted the divinity of Jesus Christ, 
laid upon the wood which represented his humanity, 
teacheth what it is that adds infinite worth and value 
to the obedience and sufferings of the man Christ Jesus; 
namely, the infinite dignity of his godhead. From the 
mercy-seat, as a throne of grace, God gave gracious 
answers to the people, showing that, as sin and the 
breaking of the holy law were the cause of their separa- 
tion from God, so through Christ, the true propitiatory, 
by whom the honours of the broken law are restored 
and maintained, intercourse is again established. The 
example of the signal punishment of the people of Beth- 
shemeth, for looking into the ark on the tables of the 
law, with the covering of the propitiatory or mercy- 
seat removed, awfully displayed the necessity of the 
great propitiation, and the heavy curse of the broken 
law, which will fall on all those " who, heing ignorant 
ofGod^s righteousness, and going about to establish 
their own righteousness, have not submitted them- 
selves to the righteousness of God," — who, unacquaint- 
ed with the extent and perfection of his holy law, ven- 
ture to approach to God in their own supposed right- 
eousness, and to stand the test of that law without a 
covering or propitiation, and who, above all, reject and 
remove from between them and the holy law that pro- 
pitiation which God has provided. 

Institutions of worship, under the Old Testa- 
ment dispensation, were typical of Jesus Christ. 

Sacrifice appointed from the beginning, and con- 


tinned till the Messiah put away sin by the sacrifice of 
himself, was the chief of the instituted types. Ani- 
mals that were accounted clean, and fit for human food, 
being- devoted to God, were slain upon an altar, to make 
atonement for sin. To consider this service as possess- 
ing any importance in itself, otherwise than as a figu- 
rative sign, would be giving it a place to which it 
cannot, on any just ground, be entitled. Atonement 
comprehends the satisfying of Divine justice, procuring 
remission of sin, access to God, and acceptance with 
him, deliverance from death, and all other miseries that 
are the fruit of sin. To ascribe such effects any other- 
wise than typically to the sacrificing of animals, is to 
ascribe effects of the greatest importance to causes that 
bear no manner of proportion to them. The shedding 
of the blood of beasts is no more than what is done 
daily, for no higher end than subsistence to the body, 
and bears no proportion to expiation for the sin of the 
soul. The blood of animals man had no right to shed 
at all, unless permission had been given by God himself, 
to whom these animals and their lives belong. The 
offerer was therefore presenting to God only what was 
his own ; and it could not be conceived that there was 
any inherent efficacy in what was thus presented, to re- 
move guilt. But when viewed in its proper light of 
emblematical signification, the slaying of an animal de- 
voted to God, over which the offerer confessed his sins, 
thus laying them upon it, and putting it to death as 
loaded with guilt, was calculated to impress, in the 
strongest manner, the conviction that death was the 
consequence of sin ; that the life of the offerer was for- 
feited by it, of which this action was a solemn acknow- 
ledgment; but that God would graciously accept a 


substitution. Thus it led forward the view of the 
worshipper to a method of delivery to be provided — to 
a sacrifice of intrinsic value, every way efficacious and 
well pleasing- to God. 

The institution of sacrifice having- been appointed 
from the first entrance of sin, its remembrance was 
preserved, and handed down by every nation in the 
■world ; and no people, however barbarous, have been 
found altogether without some form of this institution. 
At the same time, the knowledge of the purpose for 
which sacrifice had been originally instituted, was, 
with the exception of the Jews, lost among- all the 
nations. None of them could tell how they came to 
attend to it ; by this means, however, they all had 
their minds possessed with a belief that atonement was 
necessary, and that repentance was not capable of 
expiating- guilt. That the whole world should have 
agreed in a religious service so remarkable in itself, 
and which the light of nature could never have dis- 
covered to be acceptable to God, is an indubitable 
proof of the truth of the original revelation given to 
man, and of the whole human race being of one descent. 

The skins with which God clothed our first parents, 
immediately after the intimation of deliverance by the 
seed of the woman, appear to have belonged to animals 
slain in sacrifice. The grant of animal food had not 
then been made, and of the instituted mode of worship 
by sacrifice, we have soon after the fullest confirmation 
in the case of Abel, who " hy faith offered unto God 
a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.'' The principal 
requirements in sacrifice, afterwards enjoined under 
the Mosaic dispensation, namely, the bringing of " the 
Jirstlings of his flock and the faty' were observed by 


Abel. And his doing this by faith, hy which he 
obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying 
of his gifts," Heb. xi. 4, furnishes incontestable proof 
that sacrifice was the express appointment of God, 
and that as such it was observed by Abel. Being in 
this manner clothed, our first parents, in addition to 
the promise they had just heard, received assurance, 
by an emblematical representation, that God, providing 
an atonement for their guilt in the way of substitution, 
and preparing a robe to cover them, instead of the 
fig-leaves employed by themselves, would rescue them 
from that naked and helpless condition to which, by dis- 
obedience, they were reduced. In the histories of Noah, 
of Abraham, and of all the servants of God, of whom 
a particular account is given, we find that by them 
the institution of sacrifice was solemnly observed. 

Under the Mosaic dispensation, the institution of 
sacrifice was established and regulated in a manner the 
most minute and particular. The whole of the Cere- 
monial Law, and all the numerous services and ordi- 
nances belonging to it, were figures that respected the 
mysteries of the Christian religion. Various kinds 
of offerings were appointed, both of animals and of 
the fruits of the earth, which represented the ex- 
piatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the spiritual ser- 
vices of his people. In selecting the animals to be 
presented as victims, the most express directions were 
given both as to their kind and their being free from 
blemish. '' It shall be j:)erftct to be accepted ; there 
shall be no blemish," " Ye shall not offer unto the 
Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or brolcen, or 
cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in 
your land, because their corruption is in theniy they 
VOL. I. 2d 


shall not he accepted for you^^ Lev. xxii. 21, 24<. 
The same precautions were to be carefully observed 
respecting- the priest who was to offer the sacrifice, that 
he should be free from all blemish and bodily imperfec- 
tion, while atonement was to be naade for him, and 
even for the altar and the holy place, before the sacri- 
fice could be offered. All this was appointed to typify 
the absolute perfection, the entire freedom from sin, of 
Him who is at once the priest, the altar, and the sacri- 
fice, who, in the fulness of time, was to offer himself 
without spot to God. 

Here it may be remarked, that there were two kinds 
of oblations. Those of one kind were accompanied 
with a perfume of incense which was burnt with them, 
and on this account they were called offerings " of a 
sweet savour unto the Lord," Lev. ii. 2, 9. Those of 
the other kind, although approved by the law, were 
not offerings of a sweet savour, because they were 
offered without the incense, Lev. ii. 12. But the 
burning of any incense on the offerings for sin, was 
prohibited, Lev. v. 11. It was 'thus taught that the 
remembrance of sin, and even the sacrifices that repre- 
sented it, were not of a sweet smelling savour to God, 
Numbers, v. 15, for they could not take away sin. But 
Jesus Christ, taking the sins of his people upon him- 
self, has removed that corruption. From this we learn 
the true import of the Apostle's remarks, Eph. v. 2, 
that Christ *' hath given himself for us an offering and 
a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour," that is 
to say, altogether pleasing to God. 

Besides the particular daily sacrifices which were 
commanded to be offered, others of a very solemn de- 
scription were to be presented at the appointed seasons, 


while the great annual feasts all referred to Jesus 
Christ, and to that spiritual feast which his people 
celebrate under his reign, and that great and glorious 
rest into which they shall enter after the last judg- 

The feast of the Passover was instituted when that 
decisive miracle of slaying all the first-born in Egypt 
was wrought, which vanquished the obstinacy of Pha- 
raoh, and compelled him to allow the people of Israel 
to depart. Every family of Israel was commanded to 
kill a lamb, but a bone of him was not to be broken. 
It was to be a lamb of the first year, without blemish, 
to be roasted with fire, on which they were to feast, 
and the blood of which they were to strike on the side- 
posts and lintels of their doors. Under the protection 
of that blood, the Israelites were safe ; the destroying 
angel, who in that night slew all the first-born among 
the Egyptians, being commanded to pass over those 
houses on the doors of which it was sprinkled. This 
was to be a standing ordinance in Israel, to be annually 
observed in all their generations. It was a memorial, 
as they were to inform their children, of that deliver- 
ance which they experienced in their departure from 
Egypt. By this deliverance from temporal death and 
temporal bondage, was strikingly prefigured the libera- 
tion of the people of God from the bondage of Satan, 
and from the dominion of sin and death, by the blood 
of Jesus Christ, of whom a bone was not to be broken, 
John, xix. 33, who is so often compared to a lamb 
without spot or blemish, and who, at the feast of the 
Passover, about 1500 years after its institution, was 
offered as the true paschal lamb, having been pointed 
out as *' the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of 


the world'' When this took place, the observance of 
the Passover was abolished — the veil of the temporal 
deliverance was removed — and his disciples were after- 
wards to take the emblems of the body and blood of 
Christ, '' who is our passover, sacrificed for us,'' and 
eating and drinking" in remembrance of him, to feast 
upon them in the presence of God. When all the 
miracles which Moses was enabled to perform before 
Pharaoh had failed of success, the slaying of the paschal 
lamb, and the exhibition of its sprinkled blood, that 
illustrious type of the great atonement, was the signal 
of the departure of the Israelites out of the house of 
bondage, and of the destruction of their enemies, whom 
after a little they were to see no more. 

The feast of " first fruits" was appointed to suc- 
ceed the Passover. The commencement of the harvest, 
which, in such a climate as the Israelites enjoyed, 
would be very uniform, was on the day after the Pass- 
over. The people then presented a sheaf or an omer, 
containing an offering of the first fruits of the harvest; 
and till this was done they were not to taste any part 
of the produce of the year. They were then to count 
seven Sabbaths from the day they presented the sheaf; 
and on the morrow after the last of these Sabbaths, 
the fiftieth day, they were to abstain from work, ta 
keep a religious assembly, and to present two loaves of 
fine flour leavened, as for food, not for sacrifice. These 
being the produce of the harvest, now fully prepared 
for use, were also called the first fruits unto the Lord. 
The whole of this service was a typical representation 
of good things to come ; the letter which shadowed 
forth the spirit. 

At the feast of the Passover, Jesus Christ was cru- 

thu old testament. 421 

cified. On the morning after the third day of the 
Passover, the first day of the harvest, and of present- 
ing- the sheaf of first fruits, he rose from the grave, 
" being the first fruits of them that slept,^' But till he 
had completed all that he was to do on earth, and had 
ascended to the Father, in consequence of which the 
Holy Spirit was sent forth, the fruit of the spiritual 
harvest was not fully prepared for use. The Apostles, 
therefore, during this interval, were to remain silent ; 
but on the fiftieth day, when the people of Israel were 
again assembled at the feast of Pentecost, to present 
the two loaves now to be used by them as food^ the 
Holy Ghost was given, and then the bread of life being 
fully prepared, the Apostles began to minister the 
Gospel of God. 

It is further to be remarked, that the resurrection 
of the Messiah, which completed the deliverance of 
believers from the bondage of sin, and which was the 
harbinger and pledge of their release from the power 
of death, took place in the same month, and on the 
same day of the month, that the Israelites were deli- 
vered from the bondage of Egypt. For the Israelites 
went out of Egypt, and Christ was crucified, on the 
fifteenth day of the month Nisan. And the descent 
of the Holy Ghost appears to have taken place on the 
same day on which the law was given to Israel, being 
fifty days after their departure from Egypt. The one 
was the giving of the letter written on the tables of 
stone, the other of the Spirit, written on the tables of 
the heart, 2 Cor. iii. 3. It should likewise be observed 
that Jesus Christ rose from the grave on the eighth 
day, the day after the Sabbath, and the first day of 
the week, which was the eighth from the creation. 


And as every thing- belonging- to the new dispensation 
was prefigured and shadowed forth under the old ; we 
shall find, that various typical intimations were given 
of this change of the day of weekly rest. The eighth 
day is accordingly distinguished throughout the Old 
Testament in a very remarkable manner. 

Circumcision was to be administered to children on 
the EIGHTH day, Gen. xvii. 12, till which day the 
mother was not purified. Lev. xii. 2, 3 The first- 
born of cattle, which belonged to the Lord, were not 
to be received till the eighth day of their age, " on 
the EIGHTH day thou shall give it to me," Exod. xxii. 
30. On the eighth day, but not before, they were 
accepted in sacrifice, " When a bullock, or a sheep, 
or a goat is brought forth, then it shall be seven days 
under the dam, and from the eighth day, and thence- 
forward, it shall be accepted for an offering made by 
fire unto the Lord," Lev. xxii. 27. On the eighth 
day, the consecration of Aaron, High Priest, and his 
sons, was completed. Lev. ix. I, 24. The cleansing 
of the leprosy, which was typical of cleansing from 
sin, took place, after various ceremonies, on the 
eighth day, Lev. xiv. 23. On the eighth day 
the cleansing from issues, emblematical of sin, was 
effected, Lev. xv. 14, 29. On the eighth day 
atonement was made for the Nazarite who was defiled. 
Num. vi. 10. In the feast of tabernacles, the eighth 
day was a Sabbath, and was called the great day of the 
feast. " Seven days ye shall offer an offering made hif 
Jire unto the Lordy and on the eighth day shall be an 
holy convocation unto you^' Lev. xxiii. 36. On the 
first day of this feast, thirteen bullocks were offered ; 
on the other six days, the number of bullocks was 


decreased by one each day ; so that, on the seventh 
day, only seven bullocks were offered. But on the 
eighth day, the number was reduced to one bullock, 
when these sacrifices were elided. At the dedication 
of the temple, when it was completed or perfected^ the 
ark of the covenant being placed in it, Solomon kept 
the feast seven days, and all Israel with him ; and, 
on the EIGHTH day, they made a solemn assembly, 
2 Chron. vii. 8, 9 ; 1 Kings, viii. 8, 9. In sanctifying 
the temple in the time of Hezekiahj " they began on 
the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the 
EIGHTH day of the month came they to the porch of 
the Lord : so they sanctified the house of the Lord in 
eight days, and in the sixteenth" (the second eighth 
day) " of the first month, they made an end," 2 Chron. 
xix. 17. When the law was read by Ezra, " they 
kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day was 
a solemn assembly, according to the manner^' Neh. 
viii. 18. Ezekiel, in his vision of the city and temple, 
towards the close of his prophecies, in which he 
appears to give figuratively, and in Old Testament 
language, a description of the Redeemer's kingdom 
and church, says, " Seven days shall they purge the 
altar, and purify it, and they shall consecrate them- 
selves, and when these days are expired, it shall be that 
upon the eighth day , and so forward, the priest shall 
make your offerings upon the altar, and your peace 
offerings, and I will accept you, saith the Lord.'' Let 
the correspondence of the spirit with the letter be now 

The work of creation was finished in six days, and 
on the seventh, God rested from his work, which 
completed a week, or the first series of time, in the 


first creation. The eighth day then was the first of 
a new series, and on this day, the day of his resurrec- 
tion, the Lord Jesus Christ rested from the work of 
the new creation. On that day, according" to the 
prediction of the prophet Daniel, he brought in the 
" everlasting- righteousness." Of this righteousness, 
circumcision was a seal* — a pledge or confirmation 
that it should be provided, on which account it would 
appear that this rite was to be performed on the 
EIGHTH day. On the eighth day Jesus Christ was 
received as the first-born from the dead^ which was 
typified by the first-born of cattle being- received or 
given to the Lord on that day of their age. On the 
eighth day he was raised from the dead, in token 
that his sacrifice was accepted — typified also by their 
being on that day " accepted for an offering." On the 
eighth day being raised up, he was " consecrated for 
evermore," or perfected as the High Priest of his 
people, as on that day the High Priests of Israel were 
consecrated. On the eighth day he " finished trans- 
gression ;" and thus, by his sacrifice, cleansed his people 
from sin, which had been typified by the cleansing on 
that day from the leprosy and from issues, and of the 
Nazarite who had contracted defilement. On the eighth 

* Of Abraham it is said, that " he received the sign of circum- 
cision — a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, 
yet being uncircumcised," Rom. iv. 11, — not a seal of Abra- 
ham's faith, or that he possessed that righteousness, but a seal, 
assurance, or pledge, of that righteousness, viz., that it should 
certainly be provided. It is the righteousness of faith, that is, 
received by faith, and that faith it is declared in this passage, 
Abraham had. This pledge was therefore properly given on 
the EIGHTH day, being the day in which that righteousness was 
to be brought in. 


<lay he, by one sacrifice, perfected for ever them that 
are sanctified ; and this, in a remarkable manner, cor- 
responds with the offering- on that day in the feast of 
Tabernacles of the one bullock, although many had 
been offered on the seven preceding- days, denoting- both 
the inefficiency and the gradual vanishing away of the 
legal sacritices, which were all to terminate in his one 
offering. On the eight day, on which the dedication 
of the temple was completed, and on which, according 
to Ezra, a solemn assembly, after the manner, was held, 
Jesus Christ having been perfected through suffer- 
ing, the temple of his body was raised up, and his dis- 
ciples on that day hold solemn assemblies : and upon 
the EIGHTH day, and so forward, he (as that priest who, 
having consecrated himself for evermore, entered into 
the holiest of all, and " ever liveth to make interces- 
sion" for his people) stands at the altar, as the Apostle 
John beheld him, having a golden censer, with much 
incense, which he offers with the prayers of all saints, 
upon the golden altar before the throne. It should 
likewise be remarked that the year of jubilee was the 
50th year, and not the 49th, which corresponded with 
the last of the seven sabbatical years. But the 50th 
year, namely, the year after the sabbatical years, corre- 
sponds with the EIGHTH day, that is the first day of the 
week. In the same manner, the day of Pentecost was 
the 50th, and not the 49th day. 

The institution of the day of atonement is record- 
ed in Leviticus, xvi., which contains a full description 
of that anniversary, and of the sacrifices of bulls and 
goats, whose blood made a typical atonement, prefigur- 
ing the truth of the atonement of Jesus Christ, of 
which the Apostle Paul speaks at large in the ninth 


chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where he treats 
of the typical ordinances of the Mosaic law. On that 
day the high priest made his solemn entrance into 
the most holy place, where the ark of the covenant was 
placed and made an atonement for himself and his 
house, by washing- himself in water, and offering a young 
bullock. This showed the weakness and imperfection 
of the Levitical priesthood, the priests being obliged 
first to offer for their own sins, and afterwards for the 
sins of the people. Aaron was then to enter within 
the second veil, clothed in clean linen garments, which 
were those worn by the ordinary priests, and not in 
his own vestments. This represented the humiliation 
of Jesus Christ, but unstained with the least spot of 
sin. Aaron was then to take two kids of goats for a 
sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering. These 
kids were to be procured at the common expense of 
all, out of the treasury appointed for defraying the 
charges of the sacrifices, and other things necessary for 
the worship of God. Both belonged to one sacrifice 
for sin. Both were an expiatory sacrifice for the sins 
of the people. Lots were to be cast upon both, the 
one for the Lord, the other for the scape-goat. That 
goat which fell to the Lord was to be prepared for 
a sin-offering, and after it was killed, its blood was 
to be carried within the veil, with which the high 
priest was to sprinkle both the mercy-seat and before 
the mercy-seat, seven times, which denoted the fulness 
and sufficiency of the sacrifice that was required for 
expiating sin. Thus, an atonement was to be made 
for the holy place, and for the tabernacle of the con- 
gregation, "because of the uncleanness of the children 
of Israel." Then the live goat was brought forth. 


when the high priest laid both his hands on its head, 
and over it confessed the iniquities of the people. In 
this manner, all their iniquities and all their trespasses 
were laid on the goat, which was sent away into the 
wilderness, bearing the iniquities of the children of 
Israel, into a land not inhabited. All this was a typi- 
cal representation of Jesus Christ suffering for the sins 
of his people and making atonement for them. 

Jesus Christ, who is frequently in other places called 
a lamb, on account of his meekness, patience, and 
holiness, is here represented by the emblem of a goat, 
on account of the sins of his people, for which as their 
surety he undertook, and of his coming in the likeness 
of sinful flesh. Both goats are to be viewed as types 
of the great propitiation. The first goat was an em- 
blem of Christ sacrificed, and was given to Aaron by 
the people. Jesus Christ was given to men by God ; 
yet what he offered, namely, his human nature, he took 
from man, being raised up by God from the midst of 
his brethren, Deut. xviii. 15. Jesus Christ was bought 
with thirty pieces of silver, which were taken from 
the treasury. Both the goats were presented to the 
Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, 
and Jesus Christ presented himself to God, saying, 
" Lo, I come ; I delight to do thy will, O my God."" 
The goat which by lot fell to the Lord was slain. But 
as God orders the disposal of the lot, Prov. xvi. 33, so 
Jesus Christ also was delivered to death by the deter- 
minate council of God, Acts, ii. 23, and iv. 28. The 
slain goat was burned in the sacred fire, and in like 
manner Jesus Christ Mas burned by the fire of the Di- 
vine wrath kindled against sin. The burning of the 
flesh and skin of the goat was performed without the 


camp ; Jesus Christ also suffered without the gate. 
Thus his humiliation and sufferings were typified by 
this goat. 

By the same goat also the exaltation of Jesus Christ 
w^as represented. Aaron entered into the sanctuary 
with the blood of the goat ; Jesus Christ, having made 
an offering for sin, entered into heaven, and sat down 
on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Aaron en- 
tered within the veil with the censer and incense ; Je- 
sus Christ ascended into heaven, to appear and inter- 
cede there in the presence of God. There was no 
entrance possible for Aaron without the blood of the 
expiatory sacrifice ; neither did Jesus Christ enter into 
the holy place without blood — not of bulls or of goats, 
but with his own blood — whereby he obtained eternal 
redemption. The blood of the goat was to be sprinkled 
on and before the mercy-seat, and so that blood re- 
mained in the holy of holies ; Jesus Christ appears 
always in heaven with his blood, which is the " blood 
of sprinkling, speaking better things than that of Abel." 
Hence it is that John saw a lamb standing before the 
throne, as if it had been slain, Rev. v. 6. For though 
Jesus Christ was once dead, and liveth for evermore, 
yet he is represented in heaven as slain, on account of 
the virtue and efficacy of his death ; while his interces- 
sion is a continual representation of his merits and death 
before the Father. That an expiation was to be made 
by blood for the holy place itself, and for the tabernacle 
of the congregation, signifies, that God cannot dwell 
in the sinner without the sacrifice and blood of Jesus 
Christ, and that heaven itself would be polluted, if 
sinners were to be admitted there without an expia- 
tion. Thus, Paul affirms that " the heavenly things 


are purified with better sacrifices." Not that there 
is any impurity in heaven, but that it is not con- 
sistent with the Divine holiness to admit sinners, 
unexpiated by the blood of the Redeemer, into the 
communion or participation of his glory, nor for him 
to dwell with them. Therefore Jesus Christ said, 
when he departed, *' I go to prepare a place for you." 
There was to be no man in the tabernacle when Aaron 
made the atonement, which emphatically showed that 
atonement for sin is made by Jesus Christ alone, and 
that not even in appearance must any other be joined 
with him in his mediatorial work. 

The living- goat sent away into the wilderness, com- 
pletes the whole of this typical representation. Aaron 
laid both his hands on the head of the goat. This 
pointed to Jesus Christ, who was devoted in the eter- 
nal decree, on whom all the sins, transgressions, and 
iniquities of his redeemed people were laid. " The 
Lord hath laid on hirn the iniquities of us alU^ 
" Surely he hath home our griefs, and carried our 
sorroivs" — " the chastisement of our peace wa.s upon 
him" '-'■Hehathtnadehimtohesinforiisy ^^ Christ 
hath redeemed us from the curse of the laic, being- 
made a curse for ics." Thus, the sins of the people 
of Israel were confessed over the head of the goat, and 
they were laid upon it. The goat was sent away into 
the wilderness. This was typical of Jesus Christ, who 
has borne away all the sins of his people into the wil- 
derness of oblivion and forgetfulness, never more to 
come into the mind of God, who casts all their sins 
behind his back, and into the depths of the sea. He 
blots out their iniquities, transgressions, and sins, as a 
thick cloud, never to be remembered against them^ 


*^ The goat shall hear upon him all their iniquities 
into a land not inhabited" No one shall ever speak 
or hear of them any more ; and, in like manner, 
on account of the transfer of the sins of his people 
to the Redeemer, and his bearing them away, " the 
iniquity of Israel shall he sought for^ and there 
shall he none ; and the sins of Judah^ and they shall 
not he found)' Jer. 1. 20. When the scape-goat had 
been sent away, bearing upon him the iniquity of the 
people, Aaron put off his linen garments, and, having 
washed himself, put on the rich garments peculiar to 
him as high priest, called by the Jews the golden gar- 
ments, and offered the burnt-offering for himself and 
the people, which completed the expiation, and thus 
represented him who, having nnade full atonement for 
his people, appears as the glorious High Priest, who 
hath for ever perfected them as sanctified. The whole, 
then, of this sacred expiation consisted of two parts ; 
first, the slaying of the one goat, whose blood was shed 
to expiate the sins of the people, and then the sending 
away of the other goat, which rook away the sins that 
were laid upon it by the sacrifice just offered. In the 
slain goat the true expiation for sin was represented ; 
in the other, the effect of this expiation ; and thus, 
vv^hat could not be so fully represented by one act, is set 
before us in this remarkable typical appointment, on the 
great annual day of atonement in Israel. 

Besides the rest which the land of Israel enjoyed 
every seventh year, it was also to rest every fiftieth 
year ; when it was neither to be tilled nor sown, which 
was the year of Jubilee. '' And thou shalt number 
seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven 
years ; and the space of seven Sabbaths of years shall 


he unto thee forty and nine years. Then shall thou 
cause tlie trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth 
day of the seventh months in the day of atonement shall 
ye make the trumpet to sound throughout all the land^* 
Lev. XXV. 8. Thus the trumpet was to be blown on 
the day of atonement, on which the expiation of the 
Messiah was clearly exhibited, in the goat that was 
slain, and in the g-oat that was sent away, on which 
was laid the sins of the people. " And ye shall hallow 
the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the 
land, unto all the inhabitants thereof It shall be a 
jubilee unto you ; and ye shall return every inan into 
his j)OSsession ; and ye shall return every man unto 
his family J^ The usual toil and labour to which man 
is subjected on account of sin, was then to be remitted ; 
servants were to be released and delivered from bond- 
age ; and all were to return into the possession of their 
inheritance, which they had forfeited. In all this a 
typical representation of the preaching of the gospel 
is exhibited, and Jesus Christ is pointed out, who came 
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to preach the 
acceptable ^^year of the Lord,'' and who, after he had 
made atonement for sin, appointed his Apostles to 
blow the trumpet of the gospel, and to pubhsh the 
glad tidings of salvation. Thus he proclaims to all 
who labour and are heavy laden his blessed rest. He 
proclaims freedom to them who are the slaves of sin 
and Satan, and brings them into the glorious liberty of 
the children of God; and to those whose original in- 
heritance had been forfeited, he proclaims not the re- 
instating them in possession of the inheritance they 
had lost — according to the type which here falls short 
of the reality — but of an inheritance far more glorious 

432 a?HE TYPES OF 

which he has acquired for them. Accordingly, look- 
ing- forward to the substance of which the jubilee was 
a shadow, the prophet exclaims, " O blessed are the 
people who know the joyful sound ; they shall walk, O 
Lardy in the brightness of thy couyitenance. In, thy 
name shall they rejoice all the day ; and in thy righte- 
ousness shall they be exalted" Psalm Ixxxix. 15. And 
as the Jubilee trumpet was to be blown " throughout 
all the land'' of Judea, so the Gospel trumpet shall be 
blown throughout all the world ; and its sound shall 
wax louder and louder. "And it shall come to pass 
in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and 
they shall come which were ready to perish in the land 
of Assyria, and the out-casts in the laiid of Egypt, 
and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at 
Jerusalem," Isaiah, xxvii. 13. 

The most striking display of all the typical repre- 
sentations was exhibited in the kingdom of Israel^ 
The people of Israel, the law which, in the hand of a 
Mediator, they received, the Covenant that was made 
with them, their various religious and political insti- 
tutions, and the different occurrences which hajipened 
to them, were all types of those things that belong to 
the Christian dispensation. Their being chosen of 
God to be his people, was a type of the election of be- 
lievers. Their being sprung from one as good as dead, 
and descended from twelve men, typified the origin, 
of believers in the Christian Church, as springing from 
one who was dead, and as being the spiritual children 
of the twelve Apostles. Their servitude in Egypt was 
a type of the servitude of sin. Their deliverance from 
Egypt, and their passage through the Red Sea, in 
which they were all baptized into Moses, and their 


coming out of the water, was a type of the spiritual 
deliverance of Christians when they are brought from 
the power of Satan into union with Jesus Christ, and 
buried with him by baptism into death, and raised up 
with him from the dead. Their journey through the 
wilderness was typical of the journey of believers 
through this world as strangers and pilgrims exposed 
to many trials. The river Jordan, through which the 
Israelites passed to enter the land of Canaan, was a 
type of death, through which the people of God must 
pass to enter their heavenly inheritance. Jericho, of 
which the walls fell flat at the sounding of the trum- 
pets of Joshua, was a type of the empire of the devil, 
which shall at last be entirely subverted by the voice 
of the Apostles, who are the trumpets of Jesus Christ. 
As the Israelites, by the command of Joshua, put their 
feet upon the necks of the kings who assailed them, so 
Jehovah Jesus will bruise Satan under the feet of his 
people shortly. The first-born of Israel, consecrated 
to God, to whom belonged the double portion, and also 
the near kinsman, who, if an Israelite died without 
children, was to marry his widow to raise up seed unto 
his brother, that his name might not perish, who as 
the goel — kinsman redeemer — was to bring back his 
possession if he had alienated it, or to redeem him if 
he had sold himself to another man, or if an Israelite 
was murdered, to avenge his blood, were types of the 
nature and office of Jesus Christ, who is the first-born 
of every creature, and the kinsman redeemer of his 

The whole of the ceremonial law, with all its nu- 
merous services and ordinances, were figures, as we 
have seen, which represented the mysteries of the 

VOL. I. 2 E 

434 THE TYPES or 

Christian dispensation. Aaron and all his sacrifices, 
prefigured Jesus Christ and his salvation. The victims 
and oblations represented either the expiatory sacrifice 
of Jesus Christ, or the spiritual sacrifices of his peo- 
ple. The solemn feasts all referred to the spiritual 
feast, which the people of God celebrate under the 
reign of the Messiah, and that glorious rest to which 
they shall be elevated after the last judgment. The 
people of Israel, then, separated from all the rest of 
the world, and imbodied as a nation, of which God 
himself was the king, to be a peculiar treasure to him 
above all people, a kingdom of priests and an holy 
nation (Exodus, xix. 5), formed an eminent type of 
the kingdom of God under the new dispensation ; of 
those who are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, 
a peculiar people to show forth the praises of him who 
hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous 
light, 1 Peter, ii. 9. 

Such a typical representation as that first covenant 
exhibited, was well adapted to the state of the world 
before the appearance of the Messiah, " when the day 
broke and the shadows fled away." Its ordinances, 
called " the rudiments of the world," which, if ulti- 
mately rested in, conducted only to death, were indeed 
*' weak and beggarly elements," inasmuch as they could 
only " sanctify to the purifying of the flesh," and as 
no spiritual benefit could be derived from them, except 
in so far as they were typically understood. But in this 
manner they proved effectual to the salvation of many; 
and were the means of maintaining the knowledge and 
worship of the true God, in the midst of an apostate 
and idolatrous world, as well as of preparing the way 
for the coming of the Messiah. They were ^' the 


middle wall of partition," and served as a bound hedge 
around the nation of Israel — a barrier against that 
flood of iniquity which had overwhelmed every other 
nation on earth, and against which, owing to man's 
proneness to transgress, the spiritual light, which had 
been vouchsafed and transmitted by oral tradition, did 
not avail. " The law was added because of transgres- 
sion, till the seed should come to whom the promise 
was made," In Christ the veil is done away. And 
" we all," says the Apostle, " with open [unveiiedj 
face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 
are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, 
as by the Lord of the spirit." The spirit, then, is now 
made manifest, and the former dispensation, which, 
•every way suitable to existing circumstances, was glo- 
rious in itself, had no glory in this respect, by reason 
of the glory of that dispensation that excelleth, to the 
introduction of which it was, however, mainly condu- 
cive, and the nature of which it continues to this hour 
to illustrate. 

When Paul contrasts the ministry or service com- 
mitted to Moses, with the service committed to the 
Apostles, he calls the first the ministration of the letteVy 
and the second that of the spirity 2 Cor. iii. 6. Mo- 
ses put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel 
could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is 
abolished. The ministration committed to him, was 
the ministration of condemnation and death, for " the 
letter killeth." But this letter^ or outward form, ia 
which spiritual blessings were veiled under sensible 
images and carnal ordinances, was useful and necessary 
in itself, while it remained in force. Every part of it 
regulated the conduct of the people of Israel, remind-* 


ing them of their natural ignorance, their depravity, 
and their dependence on God, and of their need of his 
unmerited favour and mercy, for the pardon of their 
multiplied transgressions. It was likewise calculated 
to lead forward their minds to that new and more spi- 
ritual dispensation, to which, on the appearance of 
another prophet like unto Moses, they were instructed 
to look. In the mean-time, that covenant bore visible 
marks of imperfection. Something, so far as it was 
concerned, was still wanting-. There was a manifest 
imperfection in the sacrifices that were offered, which 
could not make the comers thereunto perfect, as per- 
taining to the conscience, and a striking disproportion 
between the value of the blood of bulls and of goats, 
and the malignity of sin ; while the repetition of the 
same sacrifices every year, and the infirmity of those 
who presented them, plainly intimated, that by their 
means guilt was not removed. But in this constant 
representation of its removal, a pledge was given of 
what was at length to be effectual for this end. 

The typical use of the kingdom of Israel to prefigure 
the Messiah, his kingdom, and salvation, is treated of 
at large in the Epistle to the Hebrews. That Epistle 
was written to convince the believing Jews, that the 
law, as containing a shadow of good things to come, 
had passed away, now that these good things had 
arrived. The Apostle announces his design in what 
may be termed the Key of the Epistle, when, in the 
beginning of the 6th chapter, he says, " Let us go on 
unto perfection" or the finishing, meaning the com- 
pletion of the plan of redemption, by the introduction 
of the new covenant, the perfection of which it is the 
"object of the Epistle to contrast with the imperfection 


of the old covenant. This expression, which occurs 
so frequently in the course of his discussion, is the same 
with that used by the Lord, when he said in his last 
intercessory prayer, '' 1 have finished \_perfected~\ the 
work which thou gavest me to do ;" and when he bowed 
bis head on the cross, and said, " It is finished," or 

" The law made nothing- iperfect^^ Heb. vii. 9. The 
legal service was a figure, ix.Q, for the time then present, 
which could not make him that performed \t perfect, as 
pertaining to the conscience. — " The law having a sha- 
dow of good things to come, and not the very image of 
the things, can never, with those sacrifices which they 
oifered year by year continually, make the comers there- 
XiVi\.Q pjerfect^' x. 1. Perfection was not by the Leviti- 
cal priesthood, vii. 11, for whatever was connected with 
it served only unto the example and shadow of heavenly 
things, and Moses, when about to make the tabernacle, 
was admonished of God, " For see, saith he, that thou 
make all things according to the pattern showed to 
thee in the Mount," viii. 3. It was necessary, there- 
fore, that XkiQ pjatterns of things in the heavens should 
be purified with the blood of animals, but the heavenly 
things themselves with better sacrifices than these, 
ix. 23. But Christ being come, an high priest of good 
things to come, by a greater and more perfect taber- 
nacle, is not entered into the holy places made with 
hands, which are the figures of the true ; but into 
heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for 
us, ix. 11, 24. *'It became him for whom are all 
things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many 
sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation 
perfect through sufferings," xi, 10. And being made 


perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto 
all them that obey him, v. 9* " The law maketh men 
high priests, which have infirmity ; but the word of 
the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, 
who is consecrated [Yit^rdWy, perfected'] for evermore," 
vii. 28. *' By one offering he hath jyerfected for ever 
them that are sanctified," x. 14. He is the author and 
perfecter of faith, xii. 2. Arrived at all that is connect- 
ed with this perfection, we are come, says the Apostle,, 
*' to the spirits of just men va^iAQ perfect" * by the work 
of Jesus, xii. 23. Without that work, which has been 
performed in our days, and testified by us, they could not 
have been made j^erfect, xi. 40. Thus, from a variety 
of considerations, Paul, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
has proved the weakness and imperfection of the legal 
priesthood and sacrifices, and also their typical import j 
and his concluding argument is_, that the Holy Ghost 
had plainly intimated this imperfection, when, by the 
prophets, he declared, that the Lord would make a new 
covenant with the house of Israel, Heb. viii. 8 — x. 15, 
through which remission being obtained, all further 
offering for sin must consequently cease. Jesus Christ, 
therefore, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the 
end, is the end or peifeciion, Rom. x. 4., (the same ex- 
pression in the original as that so often used in the 

* This does not mean that they were made perfect in holiness 
and happiness, according to the usual explanation of the passage ; 
although that is indeed true — but made perfect as to their title 
to heavenly glory. This did not take place till the sacrifice of 
Jesus Christ was offered, though, in the certain prospect of its 
accomplishment, they had received the blessings which flow from 
it long before ; otherwise what would be the meaning of He- 
brews, xi. 40 ? Both passages, then, are in strict accordance 
with the object the Apostle has in view throughout the Epistle. 


Epistle to the Hebrews), of the law, to whom it pointed, 
and in whom its typical design was consummated. 

The law, then, " contained a shadow of good things 
to come," and " the priests that offer gifts, according 
to the law, served unto the example and shadow of 
heavenly things." " That was not first which is spiri- 
tual, but that which is natural ; and afterwards that 
which is spiritual." This mode of gradual develope- 
ment — of a literal and mystical signification, of making 
natural things represent spiritual things, and the one 
to precede and lead on to the other that was to follow 
— while it served the immediate purposes of regulation 
and instruction, furnishes demonstrative evidence of a 
consistent and premeditateti plan. Accordingly, this 
last is one principal use which is made in the New 
Testament of the numerous typical representations of 
the Old. To these they call men's attention, as they 
do to the prophecies, to prove, that what had at length 
taken place, was only the grand consummation of what 
had long been shadowed forth. 

The above are a few specimens of the numerous 
shadows and types of the ancient dispensation. They 
were figures " for the time then present," serving in 
that period their appointed purpose, but chiefly intend- 
ed to adumbrate what was afterwards to take place. 
The Old Testament Scriptures in all their histories, 
in all their miracles, in all their laws and institutions, 
in all their parts, comprise a picture or model of what 
was afterwards to be imbodied — they are a mirror in 
which is reflected whatever in the future economy has 
since been realized. Every doctrine and every duty 
which is now more fully unfolded, is there, as we have 
seen, figuratively taught and enforced. The whole 


typical system, then, is of very great importance, de- 
manding particular attention ; and the Christian who 
does not carefully consider it, is neglecting- one great 
means of edification. It affords a striking display of 
the wisdom and foreknowledge of God. The study of 
this peculiar mode of instruction is, therefore, most 
important, as well for information, for encouragement, 
and for warning, as for evidence to the Christian reli- 
gion, the truth of which it establishes in a manner no 
less astonishing than incontestable. 



Connected with the typical representations which 
prefigured the Messiah and his redemption, the Old 
Testament Scriptures contain a series of promises and 
predictions, by which his advent was foretold. By 
this means, a body of evidence, of the strongest and 
most unexceptionable description, was provided from 
the earliest times. As the exhibition of miracles af- 
fords demonstrative proof of the operation and finger 
of God, so the fulfilment of prophecies equally denotes 
similar interposition. The knowledge of future events 
belongs to God only. On this ground is founded the 
challenge to the idols of the heathen nations, recorded 
by Isaiah, xli. 21, " Produce your cause, saith the Lordy 
hring forth your strofig reasonsy saith the King of 
Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and show us 


what shall happen. Let them show the former things 
ivhat they he, that ice may consider them, and know 
the latter end of them, or declare us things for to 
come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, 
that ive may know that ye are gods." Isa, xlii. 9? 
" Behold the form,er things are come to pass, and 
new things I do declare : before they spring forth 
I tell you of them," 

The coincidence of a certain event with a particular 
dream or conjecture, dignified as it might be with the 
appellation of a prophecy, of which we meet with a 
few detached instances in profane history, can impress 
no conviction of Divine interposition. It would be more 
remarkable were such coincidences never to occur. But 
the prophecies of the Scriptures claim a very different 
kind of regard. They are not referable only to a few 
instances, neither are they of an insulated or desultory 
nature. Delivered and distinctly recorded through a 
long succession of ages, they consist of an immense 
number of predictions, linked together in a connected 
series or chain, and terminating in one grand object, to 
which they conduct us through an almost endless variety 
of subordinate events. Some degree of obscurity, how- 
ever, always belongs to prophecy, which is not intended 
to make men prophets, or to interfere with human 
agency, but to afford proof, in its fulfilment, of the truth 
of what it is intended to verify. If in the prediction 
there were no obscurity, it would in many cases defeat 
its purpose, and the event might be supposed to be 
brought about by those who were interested in the ac- 
complishment. In order to attain the end of serving 
as evidence, a prophecy should be so constructed as to 
leave the main circumstances of the event in a certain 


degree of darkness before its fulfilment, but to be sa 
clear as to be intelligible after the event predicted has 
taken place. The veil, then, of apparent obscurity, 
which distinguishes prophecy from history, is a proof 
of wise contrivance, and what on the first view increases 
the obscurity, on due enquiry increases the evidence 
and determines the meaning of the prediction. 

That mixture, then, of light and obscurity which is 
observable in the Scripture prophecies, and which is so 
wisely adapted to the object in view, aflfords an internal 
mark of their authenticity. Forged prophecies, formed 
upon past events, are generally so clear as to be with- 
out a veil. Under the most studied concealment, it is 
apparent that the history has been converted into pro- 
phecy. This is remarkably the case with respect to 
the corruptions in the Sibylline oracles, introduced by 
some early Christian writers. There is nothing of the 
darkness of the true prophets in the compositions of 
those who forged predictions after they were accom- 
plished. Had the heathen world, before the coming of 
Christ, really possessed, as they did in the third century, 
the prophecies of the Sibyl, they would have enjoyed a 
much clearer revelation with respect to the m'Smifesta- 
tion of the Messiah than the Jews themselves possessed. 
This shows that the prophecies of the Old Testament 
were not the work of men, for they are formed upon a 
plan different from that which human wisdom would 
have adopted. On the other hand, the obscurity of 
the Old Testament prophecies is not the obscurity of 
heathen oracles, when they wished to conceal their ig- 
norance of futurity. The obscurity of the pagan oracles 
couched no meaning ; the obscurity of the prophecies 
of Scripture was a veil to conceal a truth afterwards to 


he fully brought out, and which, when brought out, 
manifests itself as the meaning-. The darkness of 
Scripture prophecy also is quite different from the 
ambiguity of the heathen oracles, which might be suited 
to contingencies of which their authors were ignorant. 
The answer of Apollo might often be interpreted so 
differently, as to suit the event in opposite senses. 
But in the fulfilment of a Scriptural prophecy, there is 
no room to doubt that the event is the real meaning of 
the prediction. No forgery, then, either before or after 
the accomplishment of events, was ever constructed on 
the plan of the Scripture prophecies. 

A like observation may be made with respect to the 
interpreters of prophecy in every age. There is a gen- 
eral disposition in them to look on the unfulfilled pro- 
phecies as much clearer than they are, and to speak of 
their views of the predicted events with the same con- 
fidence as if they referred to facts recorded by history. 
There is also a manifest proneness in them to make 
prophecy bear on their own times. The history of the 
opinions of the interpreters of unfulfilled prophecy, is 
at once a proof of this proneness in the human mind, 
and a lamentable manifestation of the opposition of the 
wisdom of men to that of God. It is, then, one of the 
strongest evidences that the prophecies of Scripture 
were not the work of man, that they are not in the 
style of human wisdom. If, in explaining prophecy, 
men generally see every thing so clearly that they can 
admit no doubt, it is evident, with respect to events in 
the womb of futurity, that if men had formed a scheme 
of prophecy, they would have accomodated it to their 

While all the surrounding nations were sunk in the- 


grossest idolatry, that dispensation of prophetical inti- 
mation which was vouchsafed to the Jewish people, 
powerfully contributed to the intended effect of main- 
taining among- them the worship of the one living- and 
true God. The fulfilment of numerous predictions, to- 
gether with the constant and unequivocal proofs of 
miraculous interposition which they so often witnessed, 
and to which their attention was previously called by 
their prophets, can alone account for the firm adherence 
of the Jews to the Old Testament Scriptures — an adher- 
ence that has continued to this day, although they 
have so much misunderstood the real meaning of these 
sacred records. This strong conviction of the Divine 
origin of the Word of God is entirely distinct from 
the knowledge of that system of truth which it con- 
tains. The former, as we witness every day, may be 
firmly held, most conscientiously contended for, and 
ably exhibited, by men who are altogether in error 
respecting the latter. Many tenaciously and sincerely 
take to themselves the name of Christians, who are 
ignorant of the doctrine of Christ. Many have writ- 
ten ably and forcibly on the evidences of Christianity, 
who knew nothing of true Christianity. Many will say 
to Christ in the last day, <' Lord, Lord, have we not 
prophesied in thy name, and in thy name done many 
wonderful works ? And then he will profess unto 
them, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that 
work iniquity." It was to this state of mind that our 
Lord adverted respecting the Jews, when he declared 
that they trusted in Moses, while they did not believe 
him. " Do not think that I will accuse you to the 
Father ; there is one that accuseth you, even Moses 
in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses ye 


would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if 
ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my 
words ? " 

Prophecy pervades the whole of the Old Testament 
Scriptures. In the first period, from the history of 
the creation till Samuel's time, although many in- 
stances of the prediction of future events occur, they 
are not so frequent as afterwards. But, from the days 
of Samuel, a succession of prophets was raised up, and 
their predictions became more clear and minute as the 
time of their accomplishment drew near. 

This system of prophecy divides itself into three 
branches. One branch consists of prophecies relating- 
to the Jews and the neighbouring nations, most of 
which were fulfilled during the period of the Old 
Testament dispensation. Prophecies of another branch 
have a twofold interpretation, and refer to two distinct 
accomplishments ; the one more immediate and subor- 
dinate, before the coming of the Messiah ; the other 
at, or after his coming, which is the ultimate and 
principal object. The prophecies of a third branch 
refer solely to the Messiah and the times of the gos- 

Nothing could be more completely adapted than 
this arrangement, to answer the design of prophecy. 
Had there been no prophecies of the first branch, and 
had the fulfilment of all the predictions been deferred 
till the time of the Messiah, the Jews, to whom the 
prophecies were delivered, would not have been fur- 
nished with that evidence of their truth, which was 
necessary to command their confidence. But when 
they witnessed the exact accomplishment of so many 
of these prophecies, some pronounced in their own age. 


and others, which stood on their records from more 
distant periods ; and when, from time to time, they 
observed the inspiration of their prophets put to this 
decisive test, and not failing in one single instance, 
they received the strongest pledge that those predic- 
tions, which referred to their expected Messiah, and 
to times more remote, would also be fulfilled. Those 
prophecies again, which, having a twofold accom- 
plishment, point to two distinct objects, served the 
purposes both of the first and last branches, each of 
which had only single events in view. In their first 
fulfilment, they verified to the Jews of their day their 
inspired character, and were instrumental in support- 
ing and carrying on the administration of the theocra- 
tical government. They also furnished, in that ful- 
filment, a typical representation of what belonged to 
their spiritual and principal design in the future eco- 
nomy. The accomplishment of those of the last 
branch, uttered at a period so distant, and fulfilled in 
such circumstances as preclude every idea of collusion, 
exhibits a standing miracle, and furnishes a body of 
■evidence which cannot be impaired so long as the 
authenticated histories of the prediction and the ac- 
complishment are preserved. 

Numerous examples of those prophecies, of which 
the ancient Jews witnessed both the annunciation and 
the fulfilment, are to be met with in the different books 
of the prophets. Some of them took effect almost 
immediately after they were delivered, or within one 
or two years ; and others at more distant periods. 
The prophecies to Ahab of his death, and to Hezekiali 
of the prolongation of his life, and of protection from 
^Sennacherib, are instances, among many others, of such 


as were almost immMiately accomplished. The pro- 
phecy of Joshua respecting Jericho, the fulfilment of 
which is recorded nearly 500 years afterwards ; the 
prophecy concerning- Josiah the king, delivered above 
300 years before he was born, and accompanied by the 
rending of the altar of Jeroboam, as an immediate sign 
of the certainty of its accomplishment ; and the pro- 
phecy of the founding of the temple by Cyrus, delivered 
by Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the fulfilment recorded 
by Ezra, at the distance of nearly 200 years, are in- 
stances of the prediction and accomplishment of more 
distant events. 

Prophecies which have a twofold accomplishment 
abound in every part of the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures. A great portion of the book of Psalms is of 
this description. Many of the Psalms relate the ex- 
perience of David and of the people of God in his 
dealings with them, their trials, their afflictions, and 
consolations. But a greater than David is often there. 
Under the name of David, and in the account of his 
troubles and persecutions, of his government, and his 
kingdom, its privileges, permanence, and extent, Jesus 
Christ is pointed out, and his humiliation and suffer- 
ings, his exaltation and redemption described. Some 
of these delineations belong more fully, some entirely 
to David, others exclusively to the Messiah. But 
many of them clearly indicate the twofold interpreta- 
tion, and show that the first object intended has not 
exhausted the import of the prophecy ; and that we 
must go on to the second, in order to comprehend the 
whole that is designed. Sometimes one part of the 
prophecy refers to the first, and another part to the 
second ; so that making a reference to both, we must 


assign a distinct portion to each. At other times, the 
description of both is so blended, that in all the parts 
we have a twofold fulfilment plainly set forth. 

There are frequently in the same discourse certain 
things which relate to what is ultimately intended, and 
not to its figure or typical representation ; and others 
that relate to the figure, and not to what it designs* 
In speaking of the spiritual redemption, the prophets 
often intermix with it the temporal deliverance of the 
Jews from the captivity of Babylon, in such a way, 
that sometimes what they say can only belong to one 
or other of them ; sometimes to what is common to 
both. Jesus Christ has adopted this prophetical style 
in his predictions in Matthew 24th, and elsewhere, 
respecting the destruction of Jesusalem, the calling of 
the Gentiles that accompanied it, and the day of judg- 
ment, because the first fulfilment of the prediction was, 
in truth, the figure of one still more remarkable. 

From not attending to one or other of these different 
senses of this branch of the prophecies, many have erred 
in contrary extremes. One party see in them no other 
object but the Messiah, and so not only fail to observe 
the beauty and utility of the twofold interpretation, but 
also lose much of the benefit to be derived from con- 
templating a true portrait, drawn by the Holy Spirit, 
of the experience of other believers, with which they 
might compare and confirm their own. Another party, 
erring in a more hurtful extreme, discern nothing fur- 
ther than a faithful delineation of the state and circum- 
stances of men of like passions with themselves. Into 
the first of the above errors. Christians are chiefly led, 
by observing that it is often with reference only to their 
ultimate design, that these prophecies are quoted in the 


New Testament. Overlooking this circumstance, they 
point to these quotations as certain proofs of the sound- 
ness of their interpretation ; although this manner of 
quotation only results from the connexion in which the 
prediction is brought to view. When an Apostle passes 
over the primary sense, which had long before been re- 
ceived, it is no disparagement to that sense, nor an in- 
dication that he does not admit what had been previous- 
ly and universally acknowledged. 

In the case of the prophetical declaration of Nathan 
to David concerning Solomon, we have an example of 
the prophecies of the twofold interpretation, 2 Sam. vii. 
12, 17. This prophecy evidently refers to Solomon, 
who was to be set upon the throne of Israel as soon as 
the days of David were fulfilled ; and in this sense it is 
applied to him by David near his death. In the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, the same prediction is applied to the 
Messiah. In the first instance, it referred to Solomon, 
in whom, as a type, it was, in its subordinate s«;nse, 
partially fulfilled. But it w'as ultimately and fully ac- 
complished in his antitype, who was to build a house 
very different from the temple at Jerusalem, and whose 
kingdom, in his own person, was, in the most absolute 
sense, to endure for ever. This accomplishment is ex- 
pressly referred to in the 89th Psalm, where the predic- 
tion, much enlarged, is evidently applied to the Messiah, 
and in this sense it is quoted in the Epistle to the He- 

In the same manner, the spiritual meaning of typical 
representations is often quoted by the Apostles. When 
Moses came down from the Mount, he put a veil on 
his face, to conceal the shining of his countenance, on 
which the Israelites could not look. Paul, in the Se- 

VOL. I. 2 F 


cond Epistle to the Corinthians, introduces this cir- 
cumstance of the veil ; but, passing by the literal sense, 
he speaks only of the spiritual import of that action, 
both as it referred to Moses and to the people of Israel. 
This veil concealing- the glory of Moses's face, and the 
inability of the people to behold it, signified that carnal 
commandment called the '« letter," 2 Cor. iii. 6, under 
which the " spirit" that belonged to the new dispensa- 
tion was concealed, to which, as the end or object of 
that commandment, the Israelites, in general a carnal 
people, who would have been dazzled with its glory, 
could not steadfastly look. In the same manner, the 
description in the 19th Psalm, of the sun in the firma- 
ment, has a strictly literal and primary meaning ; but it 
is also typical of him who is called the Sun of Right- 
eousness, who, by his word, is the spiritual light of the 
world. The Apostle, therefore, in the 10th chapter of 
the Romans, quotes this description in the last sense, 
substituting for their line, or the orderly course of the 
sun and other celestial bodies, their sound or voice ; 
thus taking the spiritual meaning which was ultimately 
intended. This suits his object in that place, while he 
drops the literal, although a just and acknowledged 
sense. It is not then as setting aside the literal appli- 
cation of such passages that the Apostles quote them in 
their spiritual import, nor in the way of accommoda- 
tion, as is often erroneously asserted, but in their ulti- 
mate and most extensive significations. 

Nothing has been more mischievous, more audacious, 
and more dishonourable to the character of Revelation 
than the doctrine that represents the New Testament 
writers, as quoting the Old Testament prophecies by- 
way of accommodation. It is based on the supposed 


difficulty or impossibility of explaining- the agreement 
in the literal accomplishment. To this, it may be 
replied, that satisfactory solutions of the cases of diffi- 
culty have been given. But, though no satisfactory 
solution were given, the supposition would be inadmis- 
sible. It contradicts most explicitly the Spirit of God, 
and must be rejected, let the solution be what it may. 
The new Testament writers, in quoting the Old Testa- 
ment prophecies, quote them as being fulfilled in the 
event which is related. If it is not truly fulfilled, the 
assertion of fulfilment is false. The fulfilment by 
accommodation, is no fulfilment in any sense of the 
word. This interpretation, then, cannot be admit- 
ted, as being palpably contradictory to the language of 
inspiration. To quote the Old Testament prophecies 
in this way, could not in any respect serve the purpose 
of the writers of the New Testament. What confir- 
mation to their doctrine could they find from the lan- 
guage of a prophecy that did not really refer to the subject 
to which they applied it, but was merely capable of 
some fanciful accommodation ? It is ascribing to these 
writers, or rather to the Spirit of God, a puerility, of 
which every writer of sound judgment would be ashamed. 
The application of the language of Scripture by way of 
accommodation, is a theory that has sometimes found 
patrons among a certain class of writers. But a due 
respect for the inspired writings, will ever reject it 
with abhorrence. It is an idle parade of ingenuity, 
even when it coincides in its explanations with the 
truths of the Scriptures. But to call such an accom- 
modation of Scripture language a fulfilment, is com- 
pletely absurd. There is nothing in Scripture to war- 
rant such a mode of explanation. 


The third branch of prophecy relates solely to the 
times of the Messiah. " The testimony of Jesus is the 
spirit of prophecy" To him give all the prophets wit- 
ness. The glory of his person, the importance of his 
work, its progress and completion from the beginning 
to the end of time, is the grand theme of prophecy, to 
which every other part of it is subordinate. As this 
branch contains such a body of evidence to the truth of 
revelation, and so many divine attestations to him who 
came to fulfil the law and the prophets, it is necessary 
to trace it at some length. And in order to give a con- 
nected view of that series of predictions which refer 
solely to the Messiah, some of the prophecies that 
belong to the second branch will also be introduced. 

The Prophets, with one consent, gave witness to 
Jesus Christ ; and nothing remarkable befell him, and 
nothing great was either said or done by him, which 
they did not foretell. The Apostle Paul protested that 
he said none other things than those which the Pro- 
phets and Moses did say should come. Thus, the 
reality, when it took place, exactly corresponded with 
the predictions that had long before been delivered, for 
it became the wisdom and goodness of God to give such 
an exact description of the Messiah, with all his marks 
and characters, that he might be known and distin- 
guished from all manner of impostors who should ever 
usurp his character or counterfeit his name. 

By the dispensation of the prophecies, the dignity 
and grandeur of the Messiah were proclaimed, so that 
it might not be imagined that he was an ordinary per- 
son. In every view it was proper that so great and 
admirable an event as the incarnation of the Son of 
God, the Saviour of the world, of him who was to 


renew the face of all things, should be marked bv due 
intimations of his appearance. By these prophecies, too, 
God was pleased to nourish and support the faith and 
hope of his ancient church. For since all the elect of 
God since the foundation of the world, even to the 
coming- of his Son, were to be saved by his satisfaction 
and merit, it was necessary that some knowledge of 
him should be given from the beginning. The ancient 
church had the same relation to the first cominsr of 
Jesus Christ, and the times of the Gospel, as we have 
now to his last coming and to the period of future 
glory. As, then, it is necessary in order to sustain our 
hope, and to nourish our faith, that we should have 
some knowledge of the good things reserved for us, and 
that we should know with certainty that Jesus Christ 
will come again, so, in like manner, it was necessary, in 
order to the faith of believers under the former dispensa- 
tion, that they should be assured of the first coming of the 
Messiah, and that they should have some knowledge of 
the greatness of the blessings that he was to bring to them. 
Accordingly, the Apostle Paul, speaking of the elders, 
says, that they had not received the promises, but that 
they saw them afar off, and were persuaded of them, 
and embraced them. Jesus Christ says of Abraham, 
that he saw his day and was glad ; and to his Apostles 
he said, Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your 
ears for they hear ; for, verily, I say unto you, that 
many prophets and righteous men have desired to see 
those things which ye see, and have not seen them. 

By the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ, God has 
laid a firm foundation for the faith of his people, in 
causing the preceding ages to render testimony to his 
Son. For one of the most important proofs of the 


Christian religion, and which marks that God is its sole 
Author, is the connexion between the Old Testament 
and the New ; and the same predictions which support 
the faith and hope of the people of God, serve as a 
subject of condemnation to all unbelievers. 

Of the prophecies contained in the Old Testament 
which regard the Messiah, some refer to his person, 
some to his first advent, and others to its consequences. 
Of those which refer to his person, some mark his qua- 
lity as the Son of God, others his divine, and others 
his human nature, his abasement, his exaltation, his 
prophetical, his priestly, and his kingly character. Of 
those which mark the circumstances of his advent, some 
speak of the time, others of the place of his manifesta- 
tion. Some relate to his forerunner, others predict his 
actions ; some mark the manner of his death, and others 
of his resurrection. Of the prophecies which relate to 
his advent, some speak of reconciliation with God, and 
the blessings of his grace ; others of the calling of the 
Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews ; others of the 
ruin, particularly of Judas, and of his persecutors who 
crucified him. In general, it may be remarked, that as 
the time of the coming of the Messiah approached, the 
prophecies concerning him become more distinct, more 
circumstantial, and appeared in greater number. 

The earliest intimation of a Redeemer was given to 
our first parents immediately after the fall, in the fol- 
lowing sentence pronounced on the tempter. " And 
the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast 
done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above 
every beast of the field ; upon thy belly shalt thou go, 
and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And 
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and 


between thy seed and her seed ; he shall bruise thy 
head, and thou shalt bruise his heel," Gen. iii. 14, 15. 
The serpent had been the instrument employed in the 
temptation, and on that animal the sentence of a corre- 
sponding punishment and degradation was carried into 
eiFect. The curse pronounced upon it was typical, and 
similar to that which Jesus Christ pronounced on the 
fig-tree on which he found no figs ; for the serpent, con- 
sidered simply as an animal, was not, any more than 
the fig-tree, a subject of condemnation, being not a sub- 
ject of law. But as under the figure of the curse of the 
fig-tree was represented the curse of God upon the Jews 
— that mystical tree which he had planted — so undei* 
the figure of this curse pronounced on the serpent was 
represented the curse of God upon the devil, who was 
to eat the dust, that is to say, to hold his course in the 
midst of all impurities, griefs, and degradations. That 
this was the case, is evident from the whole tenor of 
the Scriptures, in which the devil is uniformly spoken 
of as the seducer and murderer of man, and as having 
introduced death and all that misery and confusion which 
prevail in the world. Isaiah denominates him *' the 
serpent " whom the Lord will punish ; and in the book 
of Revelation he is called " that old serpent^ who is the 
Devil and Satan." 

The sentence, directed against the tempter of the 
human race, mysteriously opened to man a prospect of 
the greatest blessings. Although the malignant and 
powerful spirit who spoke through the serpent, had 
overcome the woman in the first assault, God was now 
to set them in opposition to one another. Satan had 
triumphed over the weakness of that sex, and from it 
was to proceed one who was to destroy that direful 


empire which he had established. " I will put enmity 
hetween thee and the woman" These words apply 
particularly to the woman, and not to the man, and sig- 
nify that God would put in that sex the first germ of 
the war which should take place, and which was to 
issue in the ruin of Satan. It is added, " and hetween 
thy seed and her seed." This intimated the division 
in the human race that was to be occasioned by the 
entrance of sin. The woman was to have an offspring 
which should stand in opposition to Satan, but Satan 
was also to have a progeny that should belong to him. 
Here that enmity that has existed between the children 
of the devil and the children of God, which was exerted 
to the utmost when he, who was emphatically called 
the seed of the woman, appeared, and which, from the 
days of Cain and Abel, the two first men that were 
born, to the present hour, has been written in charac- 
ters of blood, is at once referred to and accounted for. 
The seed of the woman is Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, who, by this singular designation, which is not 
found in any other part of Scripture, is indicated, be- 
cause he was to be " made of a woman " — born of a 
virgin, without any participation of man. It was thus 
that God was pleased to cause the confusion of Satan to 
proceed from that sex, which he had made use of to sub- 
vert the whole economy of nature. *' He shall bruise 
thy heady and thou shalt bruise his heel" Jesus Christ, 
that blessed seed of the woman — that triumphant de- 
liverer, who was to spring from the general mother of 
the human race, and so was to stand equally related 
to Jews and Gentiles, has bruised the head of the ser- 
pent, that is to say, has destroyed his empire, and has 
wrested from him that authority which he had usurped 


in the world, and on account of which the Apostle Paul 
calls him the god of this world. On which it may be 
remarked, that God does not say absolutely that the 
seed of the woman will put the serpent to death, or 
deprive him of all motion ; for although that must take 
place at last, yet this prediction principally regards the 
first coming- of the Messiah, and not the second, refer- 
ring to the destruction of the empire of the devil, by 
the cross of Jesus Christ, and the publication of his 
Gospel through the world. But as serpents do not 
cease to have motion and action when they have their 
head bruised, in like manner, although the empire of 
Satan be destroyed, he does not cease to be the tempter 
and persecutor of believers, and to do them much evil. 
There are therefore two victories which must be obtain- 
ed over him — by the first, his head has been bruised 
under the feet of Jesus Christ, and by the second, all 
the rest of his body shall be bruised under the feet of 
his people. This prediction speaks of the first of these, 
and Paul speaks of the second, Rom, xvi. 20, " The 
God of Peace shall br^uise Satan under your feet 
shortly r These terms, the " God of Peace," should 
be remarked ; for, in the first prediction, God speaks 
as the Lord of Hosts, the God of War — " / ivill put 
enmity^ The war continues till the empire of the 
devil is overthrown, and when it is subverted, peace is 
made, and God is the God of Peace. 

As to the latter expression, " thou shalt bruise his 
heeir we see that accomplished in the person of Jesus 
Christ, with respect to his human nature, which was 
in him as his earthly and least noble part, and most 
distant from authority, from majesty, from the source 
of motion, of action, and of life. It vvas against his 


human nature that the devil was to display his force, 
and it is to be observed that the prophecy does not say 
thou shalt pierce his heel, which, it may seem, should 
rather have been said, but thou shalt bruise his heel, 
making- use of the same expression that had been em- 
ployed to express the action of Jesus Christ against 
the devil, because in truth, in the same manner that 
Jesus Christ has displayed his invincible and infinite 
force to overwhelm the devil and to overthrow his em- 
pire, so likewise the devil has displayed all his force to 
overwhelm Jesus Christ in his human nature ; and, as 
the head of the serpent has been bruised by the power 
of Jesus Christ, so the human nature of Jesus Christ 
has suflfered dissolution and death by the rag-e of the 
devil. When the head is crushed, the body cannot re- 
establish itself ; on the contrary, the crushing- of the 
head very speedily becomes fatal to the whole body, 
but when the heel is bruised, and the head remains 
entire, nature is in a state to re-establish itself. In 
like manner, the destruction of the empire of the devil 
will necessarily be followed by complete ruin, while 
Jesus Christ, having- only suffered in his human nature, 
has been quickly re-established by virtue of that divine 
nature which was beyond the reach of the enemy. On 
this account the Apostle Peter says, that he was put to 
death in the *' flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." An 
evident allusion is made to this prediction concerning 
the Messiah, in the 11 0th Psalm, where it is said, " Sit 
thou at my right hand until I malce thine enemies 
thy footstool." And who are the enemies of the 
Messiah but the serpent and his seed, between whom 
and the seed of the woman there was to be eternal 
enmity ? Afterwards, when it was said that Jehovah 


hath sworn to the Messiah, saying-, " Thou art a priest 
for ever after the order of Melchizedec," it is added, 
that " He shall judge among- the nations, he shall fill 
the places with the dead bodies, he shall wound the 
head over a great country." This, applied to the 
Messiah, represents the ruin of the empire of the devil, 
which he usurped by the fall of the first man, in evident 
allusion to the declaration, that the seed of the woman 
shall bruise the head of the serpent. 

In that early and remarkable prophecy which we 
have been considering, a compendious view is given of 
the whole Gospel. As verified in its fulfilment it is 
strikingly exact, and totally inapplicable to any thing 
besides that has ever taken place in the world. The 
whole revelation of God, made at diff'erent times dur- 
ing a period of 4000 years, till the canon of the Scrip- 
tures was completed, is only the gradual development 
of this prophetical intimation which is still going on to 
its final accomplishment. It entirely corresponds with 
the description of Jesus Christ given by the Apostles. 
" He came to destroy the works of the devil." " For- 
asmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, 
he also himself took part of the same, that through 
death he might destroy him that had the power of death, 
that is the devil." 

Another prophecy respecting the Messiah was deli- 
vered immediately after the flood, at the beginning of 
the new world, as the former had been given at the 
beginning of the old. This prediction was uttered by 
Noah, on the occasion of his being employed by God 
to pronounce a curse upon one of his descendants, who 
appears to have been of the seed of the serpent. 


" And he said, 

Cursed be Canaan ; 

A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 

And he said, 

Blessed be Jehovah, God of Shem ; 

And Canaan shall be servant to them. 

God shall enlarg-e Japheth, 

And shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; 

And Canaan shall be servant to them." 

This prediction, as it refers to Canaan, shall be taken 
up in another place. At present we are to consider it 
as it applies to Shem. The blessing- here pronounced 
on Shem is, that God should be his God, and should 
DWELL IN HIS TENTS. The posterity of Ham and 
Japheth soon fell into idolatry ; but the descendants of 
Shem were preserved in the worship of God. Shem 
was the father of the Hebrews, and God established 
his covenant with Abraham, who was one of them, 
promising- " to be a God to him and to his seed in 
their generations." 

This remarkable blessing was all along- strikingly 
verified in the history of Israel, the descendants of 
Abraham in the line of Isaac, till the Messiah appeared 
among them. God said, " I will dwell among- the 
children of Israel, and will be their God ; and they 
shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought 
them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell 
among them : I am the Lord their God," Ex. xxix. 45. 

The dwelling of God in the tents of Shem here pro- 
mised, was shadowed forth to Israel, by the manifest- 
ation of the divine presence in the pillar of cloud and 
of fire. The element of fire had been used from the 
beginning as a token of the presence of God. It 


appeared at the expulsion of our first parents from 
paradise, as a flaming- sword ; at the making- of the 
covenant with Abraham, as a burning- lamp ; and at 
the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, when " the 
Lord descended upon it in fire." The pillar of cloud 
and of fire guarded and conducted the Israelites out of 
Egypt, and in the wilderness, rested on the Taber- 
nacle, and dwelt between the cherubim in the first 

When David was not permitted to build the temple, 
as he intended, the Lord said, " I have not. dwelt in a 
house since the day that I broug-ht up Israel unto this 
day ; but I have gone from tent to tent, and from one 
tabernacle to another," 1 Chron. xvii. 5. On the 
dedication of the temple, Solomon said in astonish- 
ment, " Will God in very deed dwell with man on 
earth ? Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens 
cannot contain thee, how much less this house which 

1 have builded ? " 1 Kings, viii. 27. As soon as So- 
lomon made an end of praying, " fire came down from 
heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacri- 
fices ; and the glory of the Lord filled the house," 

2 Chron. vii. 1. In that house, God dwelt in the 
cloud, amidst the darkness of which the rays of divine 
efi'ulgence shone forth, which indwelling the Jews 
expressed by the term Shechinah. The Shechinah, or 
cloud of glory, was the visible symbol of the Divine 
presence, the fulness of the Godhead, which was to 
dwell bodily in the man Christ Jesus. This symbol 
the second temple did not possess, but concerning that 
last house it was declared, " I will shake all nations, 
and the Desire of all nations shall come : and I will fill 
this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts," Hag- 


gai, ii. 7. Accordingly, in that second temple, of which 
he took possession as his Father's house, Messiah him- 
self appeared. 

Another prophecy of the same import with that of 
Noah, was delivered hy Zechariah, 500 years before 
the coming of Christ. " Sing and rejoice, O daughter 
of Zion, for lo I come, and I will dwell in the midst 
of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be 
joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people, 
and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt 
know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me unto thee," 
Zech. ii. 10. Of the accomplishment of those pre- 
dictions, in their fullest and most important signifi- 
cation, the Apostle John, a descendant of Shem, at 
length informs us. " In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, 
— and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among 
us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only 
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John, 
i. 14. The word here translated " dwelt," literally 
signifies tabernacled, or dwelt as in a tent. The 
word tabernacle is used in Scripture to signify the 
human body, 2 Peter, i. 14. 

The fulfilment of Noah's prophecy has been exact. 
It was fulfilled to a certain degree all along, and figu- 
ratively illustrated for many ages. It was ultimately 
acomplished in its most extensive import in Jesus 
Christ dwelling in human nature among the de- 
scendants of Shem — God manifest in the flesh, whose 
descent, according to this prediction, was at the begin- 
ning of the new world restricted to that line. But now 
the promise thus fulfilled, is no longer confined to one 
branch of the human race. The blessing of Abraham, 


the heir of the world, is come upon all nations. God 
now DWELLS among- his people of every descent. 
" Thou hast ascended on high," said the Psalmist, 
addressing the Messiah, <' thou hast led captivity cap- 
tive; thou hast received gifts for men; yea, even for 
the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell 
among- them," Psalms, Ixviii. 18. The pillar of cloud 
by day, and of fire by night, which indicated to Israel 
the presence of God, no longer rests exclusively on the 
tents of Shem. The period is come of which it was 
declared, " The Lord will create upon every dwelling-- 
place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud 
and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire 
by night ; for upon all, the glory shall be a defence. 
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the 
day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge and 
for a covert, from storm and from rain," Isaiah, iv. 5. 
— " I will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and 
the glory in the midst of her," Zech. ii. 5. The Lord 
Jesus Christ now dwells in his people's hearts by faith, 
Eph. iii. 17, and they are " an habitation of God 
through the Spirit,'' Eph. ii. 22. " He that dwelleth 
in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him," ] John, iv. 

The next prediction concerning the Messiah was 
delivered to Abraham, from whom it was declared he 
should descend. This gracious promise was repeated 
to him at different times ; and on occasion of his offer- 
ing up his son Isaac, it was renewed in these words, 
" By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because 
thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy 
Son, thine only Son, that in blessing I will bless thee, 
and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed, as the 


stars of heaven, and as the sand that is upon the sea- 
shore ; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his ene- 
mies, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth 
be blessed," Gen. xxii. 16. This prophetic declaration 
does not terminate in Abraham, or in his posterity, 
taken literally, but must necessarily be referred, in its 
full and ultimate accomplishment, to the Messiah, who 
is Jesus Christ. 

In this covenant there are five principal things to be 
considered. 1. I will bless thee. 2. The multiplica- 
tion of a posterity as the stars of heaven, and the sand 
upon the sea-shore. 3. That his seed should possess 
the gate of his enemies. 4. That all the nations of the 
earth should be blessed in his seed. 5. The oath by 
which all their promises are ratified and confirmed. 
These five things are of such a nature that each of 
them furnishes convincing proof that this covenant re- 
gards the Messiah, and must be considered as a pro- 
phecy respecting him. It is not indeed to be supposed 
that the words of this covenant had not a respect to 
the Israelites after the flesh ; on the contrary they re- 
gard two future covenants, of which the one was in- 
cluded in the other, namely, the temporal covenant, 
which referred to the Israelites, and the evangelical, 
which respects all believers, and of which the former 
was a type and figure. At present our attention is di- 
rected to the words of God to Abraham, only as they 
include a promise respecting the Messiah. 

The first thing they contain is the blessing which 
God promises to Abraham. This blessing has its full 
and ultimate accomplishment and effect only in Jesus 
Christ, who is the blessed of God, not only because 
God has elevated him to a greater degree of glory than 


can be conceived, but also because he has made him the 
source of every blessings to man. <' Blessed," says the 
Apostle, *' be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings 
in heavenly places in Christ." Eph. i. 3. 
. The multiplication of a posterity, numerous as the 
stars of heaven and the sand of the sea, has also its full 
accomplishment in Jesus Christ, whose posterity com- 
prehends all the elect from the beginning- to the end of 
the world, who are the children of his blood, the mys- 
tical fruit of the travail of his soul. " When thou shalt 
make his soul an offering- for sin, he shall see his seed." 
Isaiah, liii. 10. And immediately after it is explained 
what is meant by this posterity, that they are those 
whom he shall justify. The number of his posterity 
may well be compared to the stars of heaven and the 
sand on the sea-shore. 

That his seed should possess the gate of his enemies, 
applies in all its extent to Jesus Christ, who reigns 
over principalities and powers, over whom he trturaphed 
on his cross. His enemies are the devil with his idols, 
his superstitions, and his crimes, with which he has 
filled the world. Jesus Christ possesses their Gate, 
having destroyed all their power, and having wrested 
from them that authority which they had unjustly 
usurped, and this he has done by the light of his Gos- 
pel. His enemies too are idolatrous and wicked men, 
and Jesus Christ possesses their gate in two ways ; 
one in respect to those whom he converts, since they 
voluntarily submit themselves to his authority ; the 
other in respect to those who remain wicked and 
unbelieving, whom he subjects to the order of his pro- 
vidence, making use of them according to his good 

VOL. I. 2 G 


pleasure, in order to execute his purposes. His church 
also possesses the gate of her enemies, as she has part 
in the victories and sovereign authority of Jesus Christ, 
her Head and Saviour. 

The fourth promise so clearly belongs to Jesus Christ, 
that it is not possible to refer it to any other, either in 
part or in whole. " In thy seed shall all the nations of 
the earth he blessed^ When we consider all the force 
of these words, it appears manifestly that they could 
only have their full accomplishment in one divine per- 
son, infinite and elevated above all creatures. Whence 
it follows that they must belong to one and not to 
many. The term seed, then, is used here in an indi- 
vidual sense as the Apostle Paul affirms, and as it is 
employed in other parts of Scripture. It is distin- 
guished from the many nations that were to descend 
from Abraham, for in it all nations were to be blessed ; 
and it is distinguished from Isaac, when it is promised 
that it should come in his line, and also when to Isaac 
himself the same promise is afterwards renewed. It, 
therefore, refers to that individual descended from 
Abraham, in whom alone this prediction is verified. 
It appears to have been the purpose of God, by here 
using the term, seed, which he had employed in the 
first promise of the Messiah, where it is said, " He 
shall bruise thy head," to show that the same person 
who was designed in that first prediction, is also point- 
ed out here with less generality ; for the seed of the 
woman is an expression which suggests an idea more 
general and extended than this of the seed of Abra- 
ham, which is more particular and limited. The bless- 
ing to be conferred, in which Abraham himself was 
included, is the blessing of righteousness^ which comes 


by the Messiah through faith. Abraham, we are told, 
believed God, and it was counted unto him for right- 
eousness. And not only to him ; but also to all who 
have the faith of Abraham, this promise has, or shall 
be accomplished. 

The oath by which all these promises are ratified and 
confirmed, marks the grandeur and importance of this 
prophecy both as it respects God and man. When God 
swears, he swears by himself. " By myself have I 
sworn, saith the Lord." To swear by himself is to call 
to witness the whole of his divinity — to interest all his 
perfections in the matter in question. This universal 
appeal to his attributes can only take place in something 
which, in the most peculiar manner, has respect to his 
sovereignty and glory. If we were to refer the above 
predictions to any other than to Jesus Christ, we could 
not but remark a disproportion altogether unworthy of 
God — a great and august seal, the most majestic of all 
characters, applied to an affair of secondary importance 
— but in referring it to Jesus Christ, we at once discern 
that just proportion so worthy of the wisdom of God. 
For as there is nothing so august, so great, so inviol- 
able, as the oath of God, there is nothing so admirable, 
so majestic, so heavenly, as the everlasting covenant, 
which the Father has made with Jesus Christ, his Son, 
and with all believers in Jesus Christ. It is a never- 
ending, an eternal covenant ; it is a covenant which 
elevates the glory of God to the highest point ; it is a 
covenant which communicates to man a real salvation ; 
a heavenly felicity ; a glorious immortality ; it is then 
well worthy of the oath of God. 

The occasion on which God made the above great 
promises to Abraham, was after he had called him to 


sacrifice his son Isaac. It is not to be questioned that 
there was a mystery in this part of the Divine conduct, 
and that his wisdom intended that under this shadow 
or veil we should discover that all the great promises 
which compose the covenant with Jesus Christ, that the 
blessing- which he possesses, that the multiplication of 
his posterity, that the victory and domination over his 
enemies, and finally that the diffusion of his benediction 
over all nations, come only in consequence of his sacri- 
fice, and that they all spring from the blood of his cross. 
On this it is to be remarked, that there being several 
things that preceded his exaltation, as the union of his 
two natures, his miracles, his sufferings, although these 
are noted in many other prophecies, there is not one of 
them referred to in the prophecy before us. Here there 
are only those things that regard his exaltation and the 
preaching of his gospel throughout the whole world, 
that is to say what has followed his death, and nothing 
that preceded it. The wisdom of God has thus appoint- 
ed it, because this covenant was announced to Abraham 
after the sacrifice of Isaac, and because God purposed 
to make it known, that the secret meaning of this pre- 
diction regarded Jesus Christ after the sacrifice which 
he was to offer to God for man's redemption. 

The same promise that had been given to Abraham 
with a limitation to the line of Isaac, was repeated to 
Isaac himself. And about a hundred years after being 
first announced, it was again made in the same form to 

The next prophetic promise of the Messiah was ut- 
tered by Jacob on his death-bed, when, in blessing his 
twelve sons, he singled out Judah as the progenitor of 
tlie Messiah. "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren 


shall praise. Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine 
enemies ; and thy Father's children shall bow down 
before thee. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, 
nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh 
come ; and unto him shall the gathering of the people 
be." Gen. xlix. 8. Here it is proper to remark, that 
Jacob, in blessing his sons, does not foretell what would 
happen to them personally, but what would take place 
respecting their posterity. And what is affirmed is the 
more remarkable, as Judah was then only a shepherd, 
and in no respect elevated above his brethren. This 
prediction not only restricts the descent of the Messiah 
to one of the numerous family of Jacob, but limits a 
period for his appearance. And that pre-eminence now 
bestowed on Judah, whom his brethren were to "praise," 
and before whom his Father's children were to bow 
down, which after Jacob's death was given to the tribe 
of Judah, was continued to it till the coming of Jesus 

The tribe of Judah w^as first in offering- its gifts at 
the Tabernacle, as well as in the order of encampment 
of the tribes. In the journeys of Israel, it was appoint- 
ed to march foremost. IMoses denominated it the " Law- 
giver." David declared that God had chosen Judah to 
be the " Ruler." The royalty was granted to Judah in 
the person of David and his descendants, and this tribe 
communicated its name to the remnant of the other 
tribes. Jerusalem, the chief city of Judah, was the ca- 
pital of the whole nation, where the government was 
established, where the Temple was built to which all 
the other tribes resorted to worship ; where alone the 
sacrifices were off'ered, and where the services that pre- 
figured the Messiah were performed. And the sceptre 


did not depart from Judah till Shiloh came, and to him 
has been the gathering of the nations. The explana- 
tion of this prophecy depends on three things ; namely, 
what is meant by Shiloh, who was to come ; next, what 
is that sceptre and lawgiver which Judah was to retain 
till Shiloh came ; and, lastly, what is that gathering of 
the people that Shiloh was to effect. 

To the term, Shiloh, different significations have been 
ascribed, as the peaceful or giver of peace, the person 
sent, he whose it is, he to whom it is reserved. Or, as 
according to many of the Rabbis, his Son, that is the 
Son of Judah, thus named by way of eminence, because 
although Judah had many descendants who might be 
called the sons of Judah, yet the Messiah being the 
most glorious among them, he is called his son in a 
peculiar sense, as he is called the seed of Abraham, and 
to him only has been the gathering of the people. 
Whichever of these meanings is adopted, the first Jews 
and all Christians have applied the term Shiloh to the 
Messiah. The time of the coming of Shiloh was to be 
before the sceptre should depart from Judah, or a law- 
giver from between his feet. 

According to this prediction, the tribe of Judah was 
to subsist under its own government and laws, without 
being despoiled of its authority, till the Messiah should 
come. And this was fully verified. The interruption 
of the seventy years of captivity in Babylon was not an 
extinction of the natural government of Judah, nor an 
abolition of his sceptre, since they had in the interval 
a government of their own under the king of Babylon, 
and were re-established at the end of seventy years, so 
that there was, at most, only a temporary suspension. 
But the meaning of the prediction is not that such a 


suspension should not take place, but that the sceptre 
of Judah, the form of his government, should not be 
absolutely and totally taken away, nor suffer an entire 
extinction, until Shiloh came. Accordingly, when 
Jesus Christ appeared in the world, and when he dwelt 
among the Jews, that people lived under their own 
sceptre, and had their own legislators. It is true that 
this sceptre was considerably shaken when Judea was 
joined to Syria, under the deputy whom the Romans 
sent there, and besides, the Roman Emperor sent a 
governor into Judea, who transacted every thing in his 
name. On this account, we read that when one of these 
governors said to the Jews, " Behold your king," they 
answered, " We have no king but Caesar ;" and when 
Pilate said to them, " Take ye him and judge him 
according to your law ;" they answered, " It is not law- 
ful for us to put any one to death." But however 
much their sceptre was thus shaken, still they formed 
a distinct body of people ; they were in possession of 
their own country ; they were governed under the Ro- 
mans by their own laws ; they had their own judges, 
their own magistrates, their Sanhedrim, which was 
their senate, and thus it could not be said that their 
sceptre and legislator had absolutely departed. But 
this soon sfterwards happened ; for within less than 
forty years after the death of Jesus Christ, Jerusalem 
and all Judea were taken and despoiled by the Roman 
armies, and the whole of the people dispersed in such a 
manner, that they have no more been collected into a 
body as a nation ; they have not possessed a country, 
they have not had the power of exercising or enacting 
their own laws, or of living under any form of their own 
government. All this evidently shows that Shiloh is 


the Messiah promised ; for their present dispersion, 
which has now continued nearly eighteen hundred 
years, cannot be considered as merely a suspension of 
the rule of their sceptre, as that which took place during- 
the Babylonish captivity.* 

The gathering- of the people to Shiloh, can only mean 
the calling of the Gentiles, so often predicted in various 
parts of the Scriptures, and which is fulfilled in Jesus 
Christ, for he has come to gather into one the children 
of God, and under his reign there is but one flock, and 
one Shepherd. Here then we have a most remarkable 
prediction of the coming of the Messiah, which limits 
the time of his appearing, Jacob, uttering, by the 
Spirit of God, particular and minute predictions respect- 
ing each of his twelve sons, which were all afterwards 
verified, singles out one of them, declares his pre-emi- 
nence over his brethren, and that he should be invested 
with power, and continue to enjoy it, till one should 
descend from him, to whom the gathering of the nations 
was to be. And all this verified through the whole 
intervening period, was fully accomplished at the dis- 
tance of about 1690 years. 

In conformity to the above prediction, is another 
declaration to the same effect, in the first Book of 
Chronicles, " The genealogy is not to be reckoned 
after the birth-right, for Judah prevailed above his 
brethren, and of him came the chief Ruler." 1 Chron. 
V. 1. 

Above 200 years after the death of Jacob, another 

* Here is a conclusive argument against the Jews that the 
Messiah is come, — that for more than seventeen hundred years 
Judah has possessed neither sceptre nor legislator. For hence 
it follows that Shiloh promised by Jacob has come. 


prediction of the Messiah, descriptive of the office that 
he should bear, was delivered by Moses to Israel: 
" The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet 
from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me ; 
unto him ye shall hearken. — I will raise them up a 
Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and 
will put my words in his mouth ; and he shall speak 
unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall 
come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto 
my words which he shall speak in my name, I will re- 
quire it of him." Deut. xviii. 15, 18. 

This prediction announced by Moses, marks a pro- 
phet in the singular number, and not a certain order 
of persons, such as the ordinary prophets whom God 
sent to his people. It is declared that this prophet 
shall be like unto Moses, and this is repeated twice. 
Among many other points of this resemblance that 
might be noted, we may briefly remark four particulars. 
First, Moses was a deliverer of the people of God, in 
a manner that was very glorious, accompanied with 
miracles — a deliverer from a state of the most degraded 
servitude, and of the deepest misery — a deliverer who, 
in freeing them from slavery, set before them the 
possession of the land of Canaan. Second, He was a 
mediator of a covenant betwixt God and the Israelites, 
speaking to the people on the part of God, and to God 
on the part of the people. Third, he was a legislator 
who established a law and a form of religion, under 
which the people were placed. Fourth, He formed an 
ecclesiastical society, assembling them into a body, as 
a church. It is certain that God never raised up any- 
other prophet, with the exception of Jesus Christ, in 
whom these four characteristics meet. We must there- 


fore necessarily regard the above words as a prediction 
which can only find its accomplishment in the person 
of the Messiah, that is to say, in Jesus Christ. He 
alone delivers the people of God from a state of servi- 
tude, more miserable and more cruel than that of 
Eg-ypt. He effects this deliverance under the title of 
the Prophet of God, immediately sent by him. He 
does it with miracles and infinite power, in obtaining- 
a complete victory over the enemies of our salvation, 
as Moses did over the Egyptians. He does it with 
the blood of propitiation, as Moses did with the shed- 
ding of blood. And in thus delivering his people, he 
sets before them the possession of a New Canaan, even 
the heavenly. Besides all this_, Jesus Christ is the 
Mediator of a new covenant, not only as he makes 
known on the part of God the mysteries of his will, and 
on the part of men presents their acquiescence in it 
to God ; but also as he joins and reconciles the two 
parties, who before were enemies, on account of which 
his blood is called the blood of the everlasting cove- 
nant. He is besides a legislator, like unto Moses, ha- 
ving given us that holy and inviolable law, namely, 
his gospel, to be the rule of his people's faith and con- 
duct ; and having left a religion and divine service, 
which he has accompanied with promises and threat- 
enings, proposing on the one side eternal life to those 
who receive it, and on the other, denouncing death and 
eternal damnation to those who reject it. And finally, 
Jesus Christ has been the author and founder of a new 
church, a new society of men, whom he has bound to- 
gether by sacred ties, after having delivered them from 
their former servitude. Of this assembly, he himself 
is the head and the leader, to conduct it to the heaven- 


\y Canaan ; and before introducing- it there, he guides 
it through a wilderness, in which he feeds it, not with 
the fruits of the earth, but with the heavenly and the 
hidden manna. 

As the prophet who was promised, Jesus Christ is, 
hke Moses, appointed by God himself, not by a mission 
emanating from men, like the priests and scribes, not 
with human preparations, such as was the case with 
some of the ancient prophets in their schools, but insti- 
tuted solely by God himself. He was also taken from 
among his brethren, which marks the human nature 
of Jesus Christ, and also that he should be born among 
the Jews, being the son of Abraham and of David. 
And lastly, the commandment is given to hear him, 
which marks his sovereign authority over the Church, 
and his infallibility ; for we are not bound to hear with- 
out limitation any one who is not infallible, and whose 
word is not the word of God. It notifies too, that this 
prophet was to silence every voice but his own ; the 
voice even of Moses and of the ancient prophets, in 
order that the attention of men might be solely directed 
to him ; for we cannot listen to the voice of two pro- 
phets at one time. In Jesus Christ, then, and in no 
other, the prediction before us has been accomplished. 

Thus, even in establishing the first covenant with 
the people of Israel, intimation was given that from 
among themselves another prophet was to arise, who 
should supersede Moses ; and this prediction applies 
only to Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the New Cove- 
nant. No other Jewish prophet ever pretended that 
he was like unto Moses, to whom the Lord " spake 
face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend," Exod. 
xxxiii. 11. The law, too, that was given by Moses, 


was declared by all the succeeding prophets of Israel, 
to have continued in force in their day. Malachi, the 
last of them, in connexion with a clear prediction of the 
Messiah, and of his forerunner, says, *' Remember ye 
the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto 
him in Horeb, for all Israel, with the statutes and judge- 
ments," Mai. iv. 4. And it continued in force till after 
that Moses, the giver of that law, and Elijah, its most 
eminent supporter, had appeared, in the presence of 
witnesses, on the mount of transfiguration, conversing 
with Jesus Christ, when a voice from heaven announced, 
" This is my beloved Son, hear Him," In Jesus 
Christ, then, this prediction was accomplished. He was 
raised up from the midst of Israel. Like Moses, he was 
found in fashion as a man. Like Moses, he was to speak 
the words of God. But he was to be a prophet greater 
than Moses, whose words were to be in force till He 
should appear, after which the people were to turn from 
Moses, and to hear Him. 

In the time of Moses, a general prophecy concerning 
the Messiah's appearance in a distant age, was uttered 
by Balaam, when Balak, king of Moab, had sent for 
him to curse Israel, but whom God commanded him to 
bless. " And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam, 
the son of Beor, hath said, and the man whose eyes are 
open hath said. He hath said, which heard the words of 
God, and knew the knowledge of the Most High, 
which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a 
trance, but having his eyes opened, I shall see him, but 
not now ; I shall behold him, but not nigh ; there shall 
come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of 
Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy 
all the children of Seth," Num. xxiv. 15. Two things 


are evident in this prophecy. The one is, that it cannot 
refer to the people of Israel as a body, nor to Moses, 
nor to any of those illustrious persons whose history is 
contained in the Old Testament. The other is, that it 
has its full and entire accomplishment in Jesus Christ 
the Messiah. 

These expressions, " I shall see him, but not now ; I 
shall behold him, but not nigh ; there shall come a star 
out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel," 
prove that Balaam does not speak here of the nation 
of Israel, for he beheld them ranged according to their 
tribes, as is expressly noted in the second verse of the 
same chapter. They refer, then, to some person who 
was not yet born, and whom Balaam beheld at a dis- 
tance, that is, in the obscurity of future ages. That 
this star was to proceed from Jacob, and this sceptre 
to arise from Israel, mark that a particular person is 
spoken of, who was to be born in the midst of the 
Israelites. The term Star, denotes that he was to be 
brilliant as a star — brilliant with a celestial light, fixed 
and permanent, incapable of alteration, like that of the 
stars ; which could not be said of Moses, nor of Joshua, 
nor of David, nor of any of the Kings of Israel ; be- 
cause, whatever glory they had, and whatever great acts 
they performed, these were not permanent, and their 
glory belonged more to earth than to heaven. The 
expression, a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, marks not 
the person of a king who receives the sceptre from the 
hand of his predecessors, but a royalty that is singular, 
different from that which is ordinarily established 
among men. It is added, he shall destroy, or, rather, 
he shall rule over all the children of Seth ; which evi- 
dently proves that this prediction can neither apply 


to all the nations of the Israelites, nor to any of the 
illustrious men who governed it, for the children of 
Seth are universally all men, at least all the descend- 
ants of Noah ; for Noah, who descended from Seth, 
was the only one who, with his children, was saved 
from the deluge. This prediction then has four cha- 
racters ; first, it designates a person far distant from 
the time of Balaam, who was not to appear till long 
after his age. Secondly, it denotes a particular per- 
son, to whom the qualities of a star should belong, 
namely, its splendour or glory, its celestial nature, and 
its permanent light, incapable of being extinguished. 
Thirdly, it indicates an extraordinary form of royalty, 
different from that of others : and, fourthly, it de- 
notes a reign which was to extend over the whole 
earth. These four characters can belong only to the 

But it is evident that all these four are fully verified 
in the person of Jesus Christ. His greatness and dig- 
nity render him an object worthy to be revealed from 
distant times by the Spirit of God, by whom it is ex- 
pressly declared, that Balaam was inspired at this time. 
Between the birth of Jesus Christ and the time in which 
Balaam lived, there was to elapse a long series of ages. 
Jesus Christ is a singular person, so magnificent and 
glorious, that, appearing from a distance as he did to 
Balaam, he might properly be represented under the 
image of a star — namely, of a new star, which, at a 
very distant period, should begin to appear and to ho- 
nour the earth with its rays. When Malachi, the last 
of the prophets, saw him, on his nearer approach, it was 
under the semblance of a, Sun ; but to Balaam, who 
viewed him from afar, he appeared as a StaQ\ The 


condition, or the nature of Jesus Christ, like that of 
the stars, is altogether heavenly, on account of which, 
the Apostle Paul calls him the Man from Heaven ; 
and he himself often declared that he came down from 
heaven. " No one," he says, " came down from heaven, 
but the Son of Man who is in heaven." The reign of 
Jesus Christ is different from that of all those king-s 
who ever appeared in the world ; different in its object, 
for the natural purpose of other reigns is the temporal 
preservation of their subjects, but that of Jesus Christ 
is their eternal salvation. The kings of the earth reign 
over the bodies of men ; — Jesus Christ reigns over their 
consciences. The kings of the earth reign by earthly 
weapons ; — Jesus Christ by his word and Spirit. The 
reign of earthly kings subsists by the succession of many 
persons ; Jesus Christ, on the contrary, has neither 
successors nor predecessors. Finally, the sceptre of 
Jesus Christ is swayed over all the children of Seth— 
that is, over all the people of the earth, as it is said by 
David, — Ask of me, and I shall give thee the utter- 
most parts of the earth for thy possession. He shall 
have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river 
unto the ends of the earth ; and, as he himself declares, 
all power is given to him in heaven and in earth. 

A very distinguished prophecy is contained in the 
Book of Job, in which he expresses his firm conviction 
of the self-existence and future appearance of the 
Messiah. " I know that my Redeemer liveth, and 
that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth : 
and though after my skin worms destroy this body, 
yet in my flesh shall I see God ; whom I shall see for 
myself, and mine eyes shall behold him, and not an- 
other," Job, xix. 25, 26. These words were uttered 


by Job, after an introduction which marks their im- 
portance. " Oh, that my words were now written ! 
Oh, that they were printed in a book I That they 
were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock 
for ever ! " This introduction, which calls for atten- 
tion in a manner so singular and extraordinary, shows 
that Job had something- to say of the greatest import- 
ance, and his desire that it might be graven in the 
rock, and perpetuated, proves also that what he had to 
say was a prophecy which regarded future times, and 
whose use would be perpetual. It is further to be 
remarked, that the term. Redeemer, used in this place, 
where the future resurrection, and the state of man 
after worms have destroyed his body, that is to say, 
after death, must signify a spiritual and eternal re- 
demption, and not a temporal deliverance, such as Job 
afterwards obtained from the mercy of God. From 
the whole of his preceding discourse, it appears that he 
had no hope of again enjoying that prosperity of which 
God had deprived him ; and it is clear that his hope 
was more elevated, and that he intended to say, that 
even when he must die under the weight of that 
affliction, he would still hope for salvation from God. 
Hence it follows, that when he calls the author of that 
spiritual salvation his Redeemer, he has respect to the 
redemption of the Messiah, who is the Redeemer of 
both our souls and our bodies, not only because he 
delivers them from eternal death, and communicates 
a blessed life, but also because he delivers them with 
the price of the infinite value of his blood. God is 
indeed sometimes called the Redeemer of Israel, on 
account of his delivering them from their bondage in 
Egypt. But the term, as used here, furnishes full 


proof that the resurrection of the just, and their eter- 
nal felicity after death, is the real redemption spoken 
of, and consequently the work not of the law, but of 
grace — not of Moses, but of the Messiah — not of God 
as the author of nature, but of God as the author of 
the g-ospel. 

Job says he knows that his Redeemer liveth, or is 
living-. This term is opposed to death, to the death 
of this same Redeemer, as the God of Israel is- called 
the " Living- God," in opposition to the gods of the 
heathen, which are dead. And it is proper to remark, 
that the idea of a true and real redemption includes the 
death and the life of Him who redeems ; for, in order 
to redeem sinners, it is necessary to die, as this redemp- 
tion can only be effected by the propitiation of a 
sacrifice. But it is also necessary to live after death, 
otherwise the propitiation would not be complete, and 
consequently there could be no real redemption. *' My 
Redeemer liveth" — that is to say, he died to pay the 
price of my ransom ; and because his ransom has had 
its effect, he has come forth victorious from death. The 
term liveth, also stands in opposition to the death of 
Job, as if he had said, I do not doubt that I shall die, 
which is the consequence and certain fruit of sin, but 
I shall rise again, because I have a living Redeemer — 
that is to say, one who not only lives himself, but will 
i^ive life to those whom he hath redeemed. This can 
only refer to the Messiah. Job adds, that he shall 
stand at the latter day, or shall remain the last upon, 
or over the earth. This includes three things — the 
first is, that we all die except the Redeemer, who will 
continue always living, in order that, from his life, 

VOL. I, 2 H 


the resurrection of believers may flow, as from a new 
source. The source of our natural life is Adam ; but 
Adam is dead, and in bis communion we all die. But 
God has provided a new source of life in this Redeemer, 
in order that he may restore and raise from the dead all 
who are in his communion ; for " as in Adam all die, 
so in Christ shall all be made alive." " He shall stand 
at the latter day upon the earth" — shall stand over the 
earth in the latter day, or shall remain the last on the 
earth, which sig-nifies that he shall execute the last and 
universal judg-ment, as if he said, all men shall die, and 
from death they shall pass to judgment, for death must 
precede the judgment. Job thus indicates that all men 
shall die, and shall be shut up in the same prison of 
death to be judged ; but the Redeemer shall remain 
the last upon the earth, he shall not die, he shall remain 
alive, because it is he who must judge all creatures. It 
signifies, besides, that he will gain a complete victory; 
as if Job had said, he will combat all my enemies, and 
will conquer them one after another ; the last which 
shall be overcome is Death, over which he will triumph 
in raising me up : and then not only hell, the devil, sin, 
the flesh, the world, shall be subdued by him but death 
itself shall be swallowed up, and the Redeemer shall 
remain master of the field of battle. 

When Job says, I shall see God for myself, and mine 
eves shall behold him, and not another, it is evident that 
he speaks of the eyes of hi« ^ ody — of that same body, the 
resurrection of which ne looks for. It follows, that 
this is one of the most magnificent prophecies that can 
be found in the Old Testament; for it clearly establishes 
it as a truth, that God will render himself visible to 
the eyes of the body, and that in that form be shall 


come to judge the world, and to be seen by Job him- 
self, who lived many ages before the appearance of the 
Messiah. This declaration, that God will render him- 
self visible to the eyes of the body, includes all the 
mysteries of the Christian religion, and connects with 
what the Apostle John has said, that "the Word was 
made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his 
glory," and " what our eyes have seen, and our hands 
have handled of the word of life." To which may be 
added the declaration of the Apostle Paul, that great is 
the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. 

About four hundred years after the time of Moses, 
the descent of the Messiah, which before had been con- 
fined to the TRIBE of Judah, was by another prediction, 
limited to the family of David, an individual of that 
tribe. This prophecy, announced by Nathan to David, 
has been already referred to among the prophecies to 
which a twofold interpretation belongs. It was also 
delivered at great length in the 89th Psalm, where it 
commences with these words, v. 3, "I have made a co- 
venant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my 
servant. Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build 
up thy throne to all generations." From a variety of 
passages in the Psalms, it appears, that David clearly 
understood, that his seed here spoken of was one greater 
than Solomon, and that this prophecy belonged only 
to the Messiah. And all the succeeding prophets, 
long after the death of Solomon, and after the building of 
the Temple which he erected, looked forward to another 
son of David, to another house, and to another throne. 

Nearly 300 years after the above prediction was deli- 
vered, the prophet Isaiah again limits the descent of the 
Messiah to the family of David. *' There shall come 


forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse (the father of 
David), and a Branch shall grow out of his roots»" 
Isaiah, xi. 1. This chapter contains an evident predic- 
tion of the Messiah, and it is not possible to understand 
it in any other sense. It is divided into two parts. 
The first is a description of the reign of the Messiah, 
The second predicts the calling of the Gentiles. In the- 
former, the prophet marks the family from which Jesus 
Christ was to spring, namely, the family of David, 
and that same family of David so reduced, that there 
remained nothing more of it than the roots. This is- 
contained in the first verse. The second declares the 
infinite abundance of graces which were to belong to hi& 
person. The third, the sincerity and faithfulness of his- 
judgments. The fourth, his mercy towards the right- 
eous, and the vengeance with which he would visit the 
•wicked. The fifth shows that justice and faithfulnes& 
shall be inseparable from his reign. In the 6th, 7th, 
8th, and 9th verses, the profound and admirable peace- 
of his reign is described, for which it is given as a rea- 
son that " the earth shall be full of the knowledge of 
the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." In the remain- 
ing part of the chapter, the caUing of the Gentiles is- 
spoken of, which is described in the language of con- 
quest. All this it is impossible to understand but in 
reference to the Messiah ; and in the person of Jesus- 
Christ, of the seed of David, it has a full accomplish- 

The term " Branch,^^ used in the above prophecy, 
is frequently afterwards applied in the Scriptures to- 
the Messiah. " Behold the days come, saith the Lord, 
that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and 
a king shall reiga and prosper, and shall execute 


judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah 
shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely ; and this 
is his name wherewith he shall be called, Jehovah our 
Righteousness," Jer. xxiii, 6. These words are re- 
peated, chap, xxxiii. 15, 16, with this difference, that 
the name " Jehovah our Righteousness," which in the 
former passage is given to the Branch, is here attribu- 
ted to Jerusalem, that is, to the Church of God. This 
prophecy applies only to the Messiah, of the family of 
David ; and the title Righteous shows his character, 
which, in its strict sense, belongs to no other king. After 
the Jews returned from the captivity of Babylon, they 
had no more a king of the race of David. This Right- 
eous Branch, then, can only be Jesus Christ, the soa 
of David according to the flesh, who came into the 
world when that family was entirely reduced, although, 
not extinct. It is said, his name shall be called "Jeho- 
vah our Righteousness," which signifies that this King 
was to justify his people, and consequently that he 
should obtain for them a true salvation, and a real peace 
of conscience, which can only consist in the peace and 
love of God ; but Jesus Christ alone can give this to 
his people. The name here given to him establishes 
beyond dispute the divinity of his person. This title, 
given to the Messiah in an active sense, is ascribed to 
the Church passively. It is the Righteous Branch of 
David which justifies his people with his righteousness, 
and they are justified with this righteousness of Jehovah, 
by means of their King. 

At length, in contemplation of the coming of the 
Messiah, the prophet Isaiah announced in plain lan- 
guage, the meaning of the expression in the first inti- 
mation of mercy, " the seed of the woman." " Behold 


the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call 
his name Immaniiel," chap. vii. 14. Under the reign 
of Ahaz, he and the people of Jiidea were filled with 
the greatest consternation, on hearing of a confederacy 
against them by Syria and Israel. The prophet Isaiah 
was sent to comfort them. Taking with him his son, 
whose name signified, " a remnant shall return,*' which 
indicated the determination of God to save his people, 
he assured Ahaz that the purposes of his enemies 
should not stand, but that they should be destroyed. 
The message, however, failing to give confidence to 
Ahaz, he was desired to ask a sign, " either in the depth 
or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not 
ask, neither will I tempt the Lord." Ahaz having 
thus, through hypocrisy, rebellion, and ingratitude, re- 
fused to ask a sign, the prophet, on the part of God, 
testifies his indignation. " And he said. Hear ye now, 
O house of David, is it a small thing for you to weary 
men, but will ye weary my God also ? Therefore, the 
Lord himself shall give you a sign, Behold the virgin 
shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name 
Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat until he 
know to refuse the evil and choose the good. But be- 
fore the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose 
the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken 
of both her kings," Isaiah, vii. 14. 

The sign then is this, — that the Messiah should 
come, that he should be born of «, virgin, that his name 
should be Immanuel, that he should eat butter and 
honey, that is to say, should live in a plain and simple 
manner, and be brought up like other children, living 
on the food produced on the mountains and in the 
plains of Judea — a proof that Jerusalem should not 


then be invested by enemies — until entering on the dis- 
charge of his office, he should make a great and extra- 
ordinary separation between the righteous and the 
wicked, rejecting the latter, and cutting them off from 
the covenant of God, and choosing others in their stead. 
The attention of Ahaz and his people was thus turned 
from the present alarming appearances, and directed 
to the certainty of the predictions concerning the Mes- 
siah, in the fulfilment of which their preservation was 
involved. It remained on their records, which they had 
received from their ancestors as the infallible Word of 
God, that the sceptre was not to depart from Judah 
until Shiloh came ; and God had promised to David, 
that of the fruit of his loins Christ should sit on his 
throne. The extraordinary circumstance now announ- 
ced, which was to be connected with that great event, 
together with the assurance they had just received from 
the prophet, was sufficient to banish their fears, and to 
satisfy them not only as to their surviving the present 
confederacy, but as to the stability and duration of their 

In this illustrious prediction, the prophet refers to 
three characteristics of the Messiah. One is his being 
born of a virgin — a virgin shall conceive. Another is 
the New Covenant, or the communion of God with men 
— they shall call his name Immanuel, God with us, 
both of which are quoted by Matthew, i. 23. The 
third is the great distinction which he should m.ake 
among men, rejecting the wicked and choosing the 
good, which is expressly declared by his forerunner 
John the Baptist, Matt. iii. 11, 12 ; and the event, in 
that great separation which Jesus Christ made by the 
preaching of his Gospel, rejecting as chaff the greater 


part of the Jewish nation, and reserving only a small 
remnant, fully corresponded with the prediction. Thus 
the Apostle Paul, after having quoted what God had 
said, " I have reserved to myself seven thousand men 
who have not bowed the knee to Baal," adds, " Even 
so then at this present time there is a remnant accord- 
ing to the election of grace." He also quotes what 
Isaiah had said to the same purpose, K,om. ix. 27, 30. 
The prophet Micah, who prophesied about the same 
time with Isaiah, in denouncing a threatening against 
the Jews on account of their sins, also intimates the 
birth of the Messiah, though in language less plain, 
when he says, " Therefore will he give them up, until 
the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth ; 
then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto 
the children of Israel," Micah v. 3. That this predic- 
tion refers to the Messiah is evident, because it imme- 
diately connects with the following plain declaration 
concerning the place where he was to be born : " And 
thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little 
among the thousands of Judab, yet out of thee shall 
he come forth unto me, that is to be the ruler in Is- 
rael, whose goings forth have been from of old, from 
everlasting." He then adds, " Therefore will he give 
them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath 
brought forth ; then the remnant of his brethren shall 
return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand 
and feed (or rule) in the strength of the Lord, in the 
majesty of the name of the Lord his God ; and they 
shall abide : for now shall he be great unto the ends of 
the earth, Micah, v. 2, 4. This prophecy marks the 
place of the birth of the Messiah, viz. Bethlehem. 
Bethlehem Ephratah, or Bethlehem Judah, to distin- 


guish it from another place of the same name, was the 
native city of David, that great personal type, as well 
as the progenitor, of the Messiah. It was now de- 
clared to be the birth-place of David's Son, who was 
also David's Lord. The Jews would be given up to 
be harassed by their enemies until the time when she 
— the virgin spoken of by the prophet Isaiah — that 
was to travail with child, should bring forth this de- 
liverer, when the chosen remnant of his people should 
be united under him as the Israel of God. This pro- 
phecy then marks also the end or destination for which 
the Messiah should come, viz., to be ruler in Israel — 
that is to say, over his church. It declares his divine 
nature, and the ineffable majesty of his person — whose 
goings forth have been from eternity. In the former 
clause, he was spoken of as coming forth out of Beth- 
lehem according to his humanity ; and in this latter 
clause, his everlasting coming forth from the Father 
signifies his eternal co- existence with the Father as 
his only begotten Son. " The words," says Lowth, 
"do naturally import an original, distinct from the 
birth of Christ, which is here declared to have been 
from eternity ; for so the word translated herefrom of 
old., but rendered yV-om everlastiiig [Hab. i, 12], and 
the words rendered from the days of eternity, do plain- 
ly signify." This prophecy proclaims also the stabi- 
lity and duration of his reign — "he shall stand and 
rule in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the 
name of the Lord his God." It marks also the ex- 
tent of his dominions — " he shall be great unto the 
ends of the earth." The circumstances that afterwards 
led to the fulfilment of this prophecy, respecting the 
birth-place of the Messiah, was a decree published by 


Augustus Caesar, for a general enrolment throughout 
the Roman empire. On this occasion, the mother of 
Jesus, who then resided at Nazareth of Galilee, was 
under the necessity of going to Bethlehem with 
Joseph to whom she was espoused, to be there enrol- 
led, because they were of the house of David ; and 
there she brought forth her son. Thus the Roman 
government, totally unconscious of it, was employed 
to minister, by its decree, to this accomplishment of 
the purpose of God. 

At the birth of the Messiah, a circumstance took 
place in Bethlehem, which was also the subject of pro- 
phecy. Herod being informed that he who was called 
King of the Jews was born there, being alarmed at the 
prospect of danger to his government, probably from 
fear of some popular commotion, and supposing that he 
could cut off the occasion of it at once, sent and slew 
all the children of the place who were under two years 
old. Nearly 600 years before this slaughter of the in- 
fants, the prophet Jeremiah, xxxi. 15, by a bold and 
beautiful example of personification, suited to the style 
of prophecy, introduced Rachael, the wife of Jacob, 
who had been buried between Ramah and Bethlehem, 
bitterly lamenting this catastrophe. " A voice was 
heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping ; Ra- 
chael, weeping for her children, refused to be comforted 
for her children, because they were not." * Mary and 
her son, before that slaughter took place, had removed 

* This is a prophecy which, like many others, had a double 
fulfilment ; the first regarded the destruction occasioned by the 
Assyrians, the second the slaughter by Herod of the children at 


from Bethlehem ; but it is worthy of notice, that, ow- 
ing' to this circumstance of the slaughter of these chil- 
dren, the date of the birth of the Messiah was precisely 
fixed, and all pretensions to that character were cut off, 
which might have been set up by any other born there 
at that time, which, by another prophecy, was fixed as 
the period of his appearance. 

Although born at Bethlehem, the Messiah was not to 
continue there. Galilee was to be the principal place 
of his residence, where especially his heavenly doctrine 
was to be taught, and so many of his wonderful works 
were to be performed. This circumstance was also inti- 
mated by the prophet Isaiah : " Nevertheless, the dim- 
ness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at 
the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun, and 
the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously 
afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in 
Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in 
darkness have seen a great light ; they that dwelt in 
the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the 
light shined." Isaiah, ix. 1, 2. This prophecy is im- 
mediately followed in the 6th verse by a remarkable 
description of the birth and character of the Messiah, 
which can apply to no one else. It declares the sudden 
appearance of a great light among the people, who had 
just been described as in darkness, and the advantages 
that would accompany the advent of the Messiah, who 
is spoken of by the same prophet as being givenybr a 
light to the 'people. It is announced in the following 
words : " Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is 
given ; and the government shall be upon his shoulder : 
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, 
the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince 


of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace 
there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and 
\ipon his king-dom, to establish it with judgment and 
vvith justice, from henceforth even for ever." Isaiah, 
ix. 6, 7. The words of this prophecy refer to what the 
prophet had said in chapter seventh respecting Emma* 
nuel, the son of the virgin, and also to the first predic- 
tion of the seed of the woman, and to the seed of 
Abraham, in whom all nations were to be blessed, and 
to Shiloh — that is, the son whom Jacob had promised, 
— and to Psalm ii. <•' Thou art my Son ; this day have 
I begotten thee." The titles which here follow that 
are given to the Messiah are such as ought to shut for 
ever the mouths of the Jews, and to cover with confu- 
sion all those who are enemies to the divinity of Jesus 
Christ. For what mean these expressions — his name 
shall be called Wonderful, * Counsellor, the 
Mighty God, the Father of Eternity, the Prince 
of Peace — if they do not mark the Divine nature of 
the Messiah ? The words of the seventh verse announce 
expressly a blessedness and an eternal reign, accompa- 
nied with judgment and righteousness, which can only 
he understood of Jesus Christ, being totally inapplicable 
to any other king. 

The exact time of the Messiah's appearance, con- 
nected with several other remarkable circumstances, 
was at length revealed to the prophet Daniel. In the 
ninth chapter of his prophecies^ he states, that having 

* The same word " Wonderful," li.ere applied to the Messiah, 
is in Judges translated " Secret," when the angel, the Angel of 
llie Covenant, the Messiah, who there, as on many other oc- 
casions, appeared prior to his incarnation, said, " Why askest 
tliou thus after my name, seeing it is secret ?" Judges, xiii. IS. 


observed that it was predicted by the prophet Jeremiah 
that the captivity of the Jews in Babylon was to last 
seventy years, and that these years were now drawing 
to a conclusion, he addressed himself in prayer to God> 
beseeching- him to remember his people in their afflic- 
tion. While engaged in confession of their sins, and in 
earnest supplication, the angel Gabriel announced to him 
the following minute and comprehensive prediction : 
" Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and 
upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to 
make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for ini- 
quity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to 
seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most 
Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the. 
going forth of the commandment to restore and to build 
Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven 
weeks, and threescore and two weeks : the street shall 
be built again, and the wall even in troublous times. 
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be 
cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince 
that shall come shall destipy the city and the sanctuary, 
and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the 
end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall 
confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in 
the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and 
oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abomi- 
nations he shall make it desolate, even until the con- 
summation, and that determined shall be poured upon 
the desolate." Dan. ix. 24. This is one of the most 
illustrious prophecies of the Old Testament, in which 
the term Messiah, the same v/ith Christ (or Anointed), 
is employed. 

In this vision, Daniel was expressly informed of the 


advent of the Messiah, — of the time of his advent, — 
and of his being* cut off. The whole period fixed is 
seventy weeks, wdiich was to be dated from the going- 
forth of the commandment to rebuild the city. In pro- 
phetical language, a day is used to signify a year, as was 
announced to the prophet Ezekiel, iv. 6, " I have ap- 
pointed thee each day for a year." To this way of 
reckoning the Jews had all along been accustomed. In 
the law of Moses they were commanded to number 
seven weeks of years to the jubilee, which was forty- 
nine years. In this prophecy, the computation is made 
in the same way, by seventy wTeks, or seventy sevens, 
that is, seven times the length of the period of the cap- 
tivity of Babylon, in reference to which Daniel had been 
putting up his supplications. Seventy weeks are seventy 
returns of the Sabbatical year, or 490 years. This period 
is here fixed for the continuance of Jerusalem, which 
was about to be rebuilt, as the holy city where the in- 
stituted service of God was performed, when an effec- 
tual sacrifice for sin should be offered, which would 
make an end of sin or sin-offering as heretofore, accord- 
ing to the law ; would make reconciliation for iniquity, 
and intvoduce everlasting righteous?iess, when the visions 
and prophecies would receive their accomplishment, and 
the holy One of God be anointed. 

The whole time allotted for these events is divided 
into three distinct parts. The first is seven weeks, the 
second sixty-two vi^eeks, and the third one week. Da- 
niel was to know and understand, that from the going 
forth of the commandment to restore and to build Je- 
rusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, should be seven 
weeks and three score and two weeks. Here two 
periods of the seventy weeks are fixed, in which two 


events were to take place. In seven weeks, or forty- 
nine years, the city was to be built in turbulent times ; 
and after the end of sixty-two weeks, that is, 434 years, 
which, added to the forty-nine years, make 483, the 
Messiah was to be cut off. This was to happen in the 
seventieth week, for it was to be after the sixty-two 
weeks. Messiah was then to confirm the covenant ; 
and in the midst of the last, or seventieth week, he 
was to cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. 
The hostile invaders (the people of the prince that 
should come) should make the city desolate till its de- 
cisive destruction, which would afterwards take place. 
We have here a most remarkable prophecy, deliver- 
ed above 500 years before the event, which, besides 
what it declares of the Messiah's salvation, as finishing- 
transgression, and introducing the everlasting right- 
eousness, contains a variety of most important circum- 
stances, all future at the time when Daniel wrote. 
The following public facts are expressly noted. 1. The 
commandment to build the city. 2. The building of it. 
3. The character of the times during which this was 
to take place. 4. The coming of the Messiah. 5. The 
time that was to elapse after the return of the Jews 
from the captivity of Babylon till his appearance. 6. 
The express application of the term Messiah, which is 
the same as Christ. 7. His dying a violent death : 
he shall he cut off, hut not for himself that is to say, 
not for his sins, but for the sins of men. 8. His ma- 
king atonement for sin. 9. His putting an end to the 
legal sacrifices. 10. His introducing the everlasting- 
righteousness. 11. The closing up of prophecy. 12. 
Its consummation, in his confirmation of it with many 
who should accede to it. 13. The destruction of the 


city and temple. 14. The signal nature of that de- 
struction. 15. The times when all these things should 
take place specified in their distinct periods. 

All this received an exact accomplishment. The 
commandment to build the city was given to Ezra by 
Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign, and is 
recorded in the book of Ezra, and the building of the 
city was effected. At the set time Jesus Christ, point- 
ed out as the Messiah by a variety of other prophecies, 
appeared. He was put to death, yet many became 
his disciples, with whom he confirmed his covenant. 
The time of the law and the prophets came to an end ; 
and the legal sacrifices lost their obligation and effica- 
cy. Soon after, Jerusalem and the temple were de- 
stroyed, as by an inundation. The sacrifices then 
ceased to be oifered, even in form. From that day to 
the present, the Jews have been anxiously desirous to 
renew them ; but Jerusalem being the only place where 
these could be offered, and it having been ever since in 
the hands of their enemies, this has been totally out of 
their power. 

The appearance of the Messiah was also to be 
marked by the proclamation of a ForePvUNNEr, who 
should announce his approach. This circumstance is 
foretold by the prophets Isaiah and Malachi. After 
I exhorting the people of God to be of good comfort, from 
the consideration that their conflicts were about to ter- 
minate, and their iniquity to be pardoned, Isaiah ex- 
claims, '' The voice of him that crieth in the wilder- 
ness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight 
in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley 
shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be 
made low ; and the crooked shall be made straight, and 


the roug-h places plain. And the glory of the Lord 
shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it tog-ether : for, 
the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it," Isaiah, xl. 3.* 
The prophet Malachi, iii. 1, says, " Behold I will send 
my messenger, and he shall pr^epare the way before 
me ; and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come 
to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant 
vi^hom ye delight in, behold he shall come, saith the 
Lord of Hosts. But w^ho may abide the day of his 
coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth ?" 
Malachi concludes his prophecy, and closes the canon 
of the Old Testament Scriptures, with calling the atten- 
tion of the Jews to the coming of this forerunner, and 
to the effect it should produce. He denominates him 
Elijah, from his similarity in zeal, temper, and appear- 
ance, to that great prophet. " Behold I will send you 
Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and 
dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart 
of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the child- 

* The words that follow, are these, " The voice said, Cry. 
And he said, What shall I cry ? All flesh i? grass, and all the 
goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field : The grass wither- 
eth, the flower fadeth ; because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth 
upon it : Surely the people is grass. The grass wlthereth, the 
flower fadeth ; but the word of our God shall stand for ever." 
They are quoted by the Apostle Peter, and appear to refer not 
to the vanity of human life, but to that temporal covenant which 
God had made with the nation of Israel, and all the external 
advantages which he had granted to them. These were as 
nothing, and the covenant itself wor^^l vanish, so that they ought 
not to value themselves on these privileges which they had en- 
joyed by their natural birth, but ought rather to seek for eternal 
benefits that are conferred by the spiritual birth, which is given 
by the word of the gospel. 

VOL. I. 2 I 


Yen to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth 
with a curse/' Mai. iv. 5. 

Thus the forerunner of the Messiah was to go hefore 
him, to remove obstacles, and to prepare his way, to 
proclaim that the glory of the Lord was about to be 
revealed, and that all ilesh (Jews and Gentiles) should 
see it ; and that suddenly (immediately after his fore- 
runner) this messenger of the covenant, the proprietor 
of the temple, should appear. Contrary to what might 
have been expected, it was also declared, that the place 
where this forerunner was to deliver his testimony 
should be the wilderness ; while the transient nature 
of his office is intimated by the manner of his being in- 
troduced as a " voice" which as soon as it is uttered is 
gone. All this was literally fulfilled when Jesus Christ 
appeared, preceded by John the Baptist, " crying in the 
wilderness of Judea, Prepare the way of the Lord, 
make his paths straight." Matth. iii. 3. 

Before the coming of the Messiah, the Jews were to 
be brought very low on account of their sins. " And 
thou profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is 
come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the 
Lord God, Remove the diadem and take off the crown ; 
this shall not be the same ; exalt him that is low, and 
abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, 
overturn it ; and it shall be no more, until he come 
whose right it is, and I will give it him." Ezek. xxi, 
25. Here it is foretold, that the diadem or crown of 
Israel should be taken off. Hitherto it had continued 
in the line of David, but now it should be removed, till 
7ie should come wJiose right it was. This overturning 
is repeated three times. Ezekiel prophesied during the 
Babylonish captivity ; and after his prophecy, three 


great overtiirnings of the world were to take place, 
before the Messiah should appear, — the first by the 
Persians, the second by the Grecians, and the third by 
the Romans. During- the dominion of the latter. He 
came who was the true King- of Israel, whose right the 
crown was, and on whose head, according to the many 
predictions of the everlasting stability of his govern- 
ment, it shall remain for ever. " Thus saith the Lord, 
David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne 
of the house of Israel. — Thus saith the Lord, if ye can. 
break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the 
night in their season, then may also my covenant be 
broken with David my servant, that he should not have 
a son to reign upon his throne." Jer. xxxiii. 17-20. 

The great shakings and revolutions among the 
nations that were to prepare the way for the coming of 
the Messiah, were likewise foretold. When, on the 
return of the Jews from Babylon, the second temple 
was erected, it appeared so much inferior to the first 
that the people were greatly discouraged. The prophet 
Haggai was therefore commissioned to inform them, 
that the glory of the latter house would be greater than. 
that of the fiDrmer, for that in it He who was the Desire 
of all nations was to appear. He also announced, that 
previously to the coming of the Messiah, God would 
shake all nations, and intimated how great and how 
general this shaking would be. " For thus saith the 
Lord of Hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will 
shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the 
dry land. And I will shake all nations, and the Desire 
of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with, 
glory, saith the Lord of Hosts. The silver is mine, 
and the gold is mine saith the Lord of Hosts. The 


glory of this latter house shall be greater than the for- 
mer, saith the Lord of Hosts. And in this place will I 
give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts." Hag-, ii. 6. 

As the second temple was in many respects inferior 
to the first, it could be greater in no other view but by 
the coming to it of Him who was the desire of all 
nations. The cloud which is called the Glory of the 
Lord, had tilled the first temple, and God himself, by 
that symbol had taken possession of it. Within it 
God gave his answers by Urim and Thuramim. In it 
was the ark of the covenant — the tables of the law 
written by the finger of God — the golden pot filled 
with manna which fell in the wilderness — the rod of 
Aaron which budded. Of any of these there was no 
trace in the second temple. But what elevated it far 
above the other, and above all the advantages which 
the first possessed, was that during the period of its 
continuance, the Messiah, the Master and Lord of the 
Temple, the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe, 
came into the world, and honoured it by his entry and 
his presence, and that it continued till the establishment 
of the new covenant, and the calling of the gentiles. 

The prophet Haggai adds, " I will overthrow the 
throne of kingdoms, and I wdll destroy the strength of 
the kingdoms of the heathen ; and I will overthrow the 
chariots, and those that ride in them, and the horses 
and their riders shall come down every one by the 
sword of his brother," Hag. ii. 22. According as here 
predicted, so it was fulfilled ; and after this period till 
the coming of Messiah, the greatest revolutions that 
history records took place. Almost all the nations of 
the known world w'ere overturned again and again. 
Thus the world was prepared for the coming of the 


Messiah. But when he appeared, the whole was sub- 
jected to one powerful government, and a universal 
peace succeeded these overturning-s and convulsions of 
the earth. Here we see the true reason of the exalta- 
tion of the Roman empire. All that has happened in 
the world, both before and since the coming- of the 
Messiah, has been entirely subservient to the establish- 
ment of his everlasting kingdom. 

The Person, the Character, and the Office of the 
Messiah, his Sufferings, his Death, and Resurrection, 
his Exaltation, and the Progress of his kingdom and. 
religion, are minutely described by the prophets. 

Respecting his Person, the Prophets, like the 
Apostles, explicitly teach that he is the supreme God, 
and that uniting in himself the Divine and human 
natures, he was to appear in the world as the Son of 
God, and the Father's servant. They proclaim a dis- 
tinction in the Godhead, and speak of a Divine person, 
incarnate, the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us, 
David's son, and David's Lord. Several express de- 
clarations to this effect we have already observed in the 
predictions above quoted, to which the following may 
be added. 

In the 45th Psalm, the Messiah is thus addressed : 
*' Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever ; the sceptre 
of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest right- 
eousness and hatest wickedness ; therefore God, thy God, 
hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy 
fellows." Here, the name, the power, and the eternity 
of God, are ascribed to Jesus Christ. In the 102d 
Psalm, he is introduced as the Father's servant, beseech- 
ing him in his afflictions, " O my God, take me not 
away in the midst of my days." The answer of the 


Father to this prayer, as quoted in the Ejjistle to the 
Hebrews, immediately follows : " Thy years are through- 
out all generations ; of old hast thou laid the founda- 
tion of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy 
hands. They shall perish but thou shalt endure ; yea, 
all of them shall wax old like a garment, as a vesture 
shait thou change them, and they shall be changed : 
But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no 
end." Thus creation is ascribed to Jesus Christ. In 
Psalm ex. 1, we read, " The Lord said unto my Lord, 
sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies 
thy footstool." Jesus Christ, when the Pharisees were 
disputing with him, asked them, " What think ye of 
Christ ? Whose son is he ? They say unto him, the 
son of David. He saith unto them, how then doth 
David in Spirit call him Lord, saying, the Lord said 
unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make 
thine enemies thy footstool ? If David then call him 
Lord, how is he his son ?" Matth. xxii. 42. On that 
occasion the Pharisees were " not able to answer him 
a word, neither durst any man, from that day forth, ask 
him any more questions." David was both a king and 
a prophet; David's son, then, could not be David's Lord 
in any other way but by a superiority of nature. 

In the 35th chapter of Isaiah, which foretells the 
flourishing state of the Messiah's kingdom, it is said, 
*' They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excel- 
lency of our God." It is added, " Say to them that are 
of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not, behold your God 
will come with vengeance, even God with a recom- 
pense ; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of 
the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall 
be unstopped, then shall the lame man leap as an hart^ 


and the tongue of the dumb shall sing-." All this was 
literally verified when Jesus Christ appeared, and has 
been fulfilled spiritually both among Jews and gentiles. 

In the prophecies of Hosea, i. 7, it is said, " I will 
have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save 
them by the Lord their God." This prophecy refers, 
in its ultimate and full accomplishment, to the salvation 
of the gospel, which is properly denominated mercy ; 
and it is here declared, that it is God himself imme- 
diately, without any second cause, who is to effect this 
deliverance. The deliverance from Babylon was not 
effected in this manner, but by the intervention of men ; 
instead of which, the deliverance by the gospel was 
accomplished by the Son himself. Here it is God the 
Father who speaks, who declares, I will save Judah 
" by the Lord their God." Jesus Christ, then, is Je- 
hovah our God, and, consequently, the true God essen- 
tially with the Father. 

By the prophet Zechariah it is expressly declared, 
that he who was sent by Jehovah is Jehovah : " For 
thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, after the glory hath he 
sent me unto the nations which spoiled you, for he that 
toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. For be- 
hold I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall 
he a spoil to their servants ; and ye shall know that 
the Lord of Hosts hath sent me. Sing and rejoice, 
O daughter of Zion, for lo I come, and I will dwell in 
the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 'And many nations 
shall be joined to Jehovah in that day, and shall be 
my people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and 
thou shalt know that Jehovah of Hosts hath sent me 
nnto thee," Zech. ii. 8 — 11. Here the speaker, who, 
in the eighth verse, is called Jehovah of Hosts, de- 


dares that he is sent by another ; but this other is 
afterwards said to be Jehovah. The foregoing- pas- 
sages, with many others that might be quoted, prove 
that the prophets testified that the Messiah who was 
to come is the supreme God. 

After proclaiming his forerunner, who was to pre- 
pare his way, and saying, " The glory of the Lord 
shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it,'* the prophet 
Isaiah, in prospect of the coming of the Messiah, ex- 
claims, " O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee 
up into the high mountain ! O Jerusalem, that bring- 
est good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it 
up, be not afraid ; say unto the cities of Judah, be- 
hold your God ! Behold the Lord God will come with 
strong hand, and his arm shall rule for them ; behold 
his reward is with him, and his work before him. He 
shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather 
the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, 
and shall gently lead them that are with young. Who 
hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, 
and meted out the heaven with a span, and compre- 
hended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed 
the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" 
Isaiah, xl. 9 — 13. Here is a most sublime description 
of the power and glory of Emmanuel — God with us — 
the Good Shepherd, and the Almighty Creator of the 

Predicting the appearance of the forerunner of Mes- 
siah, Malachi, as we have already seen, proclaims as 
follows : — " Behold I will send my messenger, and he 
shall prepare the way before me, and Jehovah, whom 
ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple — even the 
Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in ; 


behold he shall come, saith Jehovah of Hosts." He, 
before whom John the Baptist came to prepare the 
way, was Jesus Christ ; but it is Jehovah of Hosts 
who says, " Behold I will send my messenger." Jesus 
Christ, then, is here declared to be Jehovah of Hosts 
— Jehovah, who was to come suddenly to his temple. 
We may also observe, that the prophet, in marking- the 
coming of the Messiah, characterises him, first, as " the 
Lord whom ye seek ;" that is to say, Jehovah, who hath 
been promised to you, and whom ye expect. He next 
calls him "the Messenger of the Covenant," or rather 
the Angel of the Covenant, in manifest allusion to the 
Angel whom God employed in the first covenant, who 
is called the Angel of God's presence ; and then he 
says, that it is he " whom ye delight in ;'* that is to 
say, the object of the universal desire of all nations, 
and of the whole Church. Lastly, the prophet shows, 
that the day of the Messiah will be great and terrible, 
and that few will be able to stand before him. This 
refers to that great separation of the righteous and the 
wicked which the Messiah was to make. 

Messiah was also to be the Son of man. " I saw 
in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of 
man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the 
Ancient of days ; and they brought him near before 
him. And there was given him dominion and glory, 
and a kingdom that all people and nations and lan- 
guages should serve him. His dominion is an ever- 
lasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his 
kingdom that which shall not be destroyed," Dan. vii. 
13. The person here spoken of is called the Son of 
mar\, to mark his humanity ; but its being said that 
he was like the Son of man, indicates that the Messiah, 


although he was to be a man, was not to be simply a 
man, but the Son of God, clothed with the human 
nature. He came with the clouds of heaven, which 
represents that all his economy is celestial and super- 
natural. It is said that he came to the Ancient of 
days, from whom he received dominion and glory, in 
order to show that his reign, as mediator, is delegated, 
in the exercise of which he holds the place of God 
his Father. The extent of his reign is pointed out 
when it is said that all people, and nations, and lan- 
guages, should serve him. And lastly, its eternity is 

Respecting the Messiah's character, the Pro- 
phets describe him as just, and having salvation ; and 
yet lowly, as not crying, nor lifting up his voice in the 
streets ; exercising his ministry with such circum- 
spection and tenderness, as not " to break the bruised 
reed, nor to quench the smoking flax," Isaiah, xlii. 3. 
He was to feed his flock like a shepherd, to gather 
the lambs with his arms, and to carry them in his 
bosom, and gently to lead them that were with young, 
Isaiah, xl. 11. He was to be fairer than the children 
of men, grace was to be poured into his lips ; therefore 
God had blessed him for ever. Psalm xlv. 2, 7. He 
was to be God's " righteous servant," " neither was 
any deceit in his mouth," Isaiah, liii. 9, H. " Behold," 
said God, " my servant whom I uphold ; mine elect 
in whom my soul delighteth," Isaiah, xlii. 1. "Be- 
hold my servant shall deal prudently," Isaiah, lii. 13. 
How far this delineation by the Prophets of Messiah's 
character was verified, when he appeared in the world, 
need not be told to those who have read the history of 
his life. 


In entering" upon his office, in his public ministry, 
and claiming^ the character of the Messiah, which he 
supported by the miracles he wrought, and by the doc- 
trine he taught, Jesus Christ employed the prophetic 
words by which it had been characterised by Isaiah, 
" The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me ; because the 
Lord hath appointed me to preach good tidings unto 
the meek ; he hath sent me to bind up the broken- 
hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the 
opening of the prison to them that are bound ; to pro- 
claim the acceptable year of the Lord," Isaiah, Ixi. L 
The same prophet, speaking in Messiah's name, say&, 
" The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the 
learned, that I should know how to speak a word in 
season to him that is weary," Isaiah, 1. 4. Again, he 
says, " And there shall come forth a rod out of the 
stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the 
spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of 
counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear 
of the Lord. And shall make him of quick under- 
standing in the fear of the Lord ; and he shall not 
judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after 
the hearing of his ears, but with righteousness shall he 
judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek 
of the earth ; and he shall smite the earth with the rod 
of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he 
slay the wicked ; and righteousness shall be the girdle 
of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins," 
Isaiah, xi. 1. The same prophet foretold that " the 
poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of 
Israel," Isaiah, xxix. 19. And in another place, de- 
claring that God would come and save them, he sayS;>^ 


" Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the 
ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the 
lame man leap like an hart, and the tongue of the 
dumb sing : for in the wilderness shall waters break 
out, and streams in the desert," Isaiah, xxxv. 3. All 
these, and many similar predictions, were literally ful- 
filled in the ministry of Jesus Christ, and are applicable 
to no one else. 

As a Prophet) in which character he had been pre- 
dicted by Moses, he was to declare the words of God : 
" I have preached righteousness in the great congre- 
gation, lo I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou 
knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my 
heart ; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salva- 
tion ; I have not concealed thy loving kindness, and 
thy truth, from the great congregation," Psalm, xl. 9» 
The peculiar manner in which he was to teach, viz., 
by parables, was also foretold. " Give ear, O my 
people, to my law ; incline your ears to the words of 
my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable ; I will 
utter dark sayings of old," Psalm Ixxviii. 1. 

In virtue of his office, an unchangeable Priestliood 
was also to belong to him. " The Lord hath sworn, 
and will not repent ; thou art a Priest for ever, after 
the order of Melchizedec," Psalm ex. 4. When the 
legal sacrifices are declared to be of no avail, the Mes- 
siah is introduced, saying, " Then said I, Lo, I come ; 
In the volume of the book it is written of me ; I 
delight to do thy will, my God," Psalm xl. 7. 
Accordingly, Isaiah represents him as pouring out his 
soul unto death, and making it an offering for sin. 
And, by Daniel, he is spoken of as finishing transgres- 
sion, making an end of sin, making reconciliation for 


iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness. 
By Zechariah, xiii. 1, it was said that there should be 
" a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness," 
<' As for thee also," says Jehovah, " by the blood 
of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out 
of the pit wherein is no water," Zech. ix. 11. He 
was to make intercession for the transgressors, 
Isa. liii. 12. And all nations were to be blessed 
in him. Psalm xlv. 1. Thus it was foretold that the 
three great purposes for which the priesthood was 
instituted, sacrifice, and intercession, and hlessingj 
were to be accomplished in him. It was likewise 
predicted that Messiah was not only to be a Prophet 
and a Priest, but also a King. He was to be a Priest 
upon his throne. Therefore, as a type of him, Joshua 
the High Priest was crowned. " Take silver and 
gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of 
Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest ; and 
speak unto him, saying, thus speaketh the Lord 
of Hosts, saying. Behold the man whose name is 
the Branch ; and he shall grow up out of his place, 
and he shall build the Temple of the Lord : even he 
shall build the Temple of the Lord, and he shall bear 
the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne ; and 
he shall be a priest upon his throne," Zech. vi. 11. 
^ iiLtle before, the prophet Zechariah had predicted 
the coming of the Messiah, under the name of the 
Branch ; here he repeats the same thing, and enlarges 
on the two great honours peculiar to him ; the one 
that he was to build the Temple of Jehovah, the other, 
that he was to be both a King and Priest. " Behold," 
says Isaiah, " a king shall reign in righteousness," 
xxxii. 1, In the second Psalm, Jehovah says, " I have 


set my King- upon my holy hill of Zion." He is 
spoken of as ruling in the midst of his enemies,* 
and as sitting " upon the throne of David, and upon 
iiis kingdom, to order it, and to estabhsh it with judg-- 
ment and with justice, from henceforth, even for ever," 
Psalm ex. 2. At his appearance, Zion is called upon 
to rejoice. " Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion ; 
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem ; behold, thy king- 
Cometh to thee ; he is just, and having salvation, 
lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal 
of an ass ; — and he shall speak peace unto the heathen ; 
and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and 
from the river even to the ends of the earth," Zech. 
ix. 9. Here a peaceful king is spoken of, who should 
be lowly, which does not apply to earthly kings. The 
mark given by which he should be known, is that he 
would make his entry into Jerusalem on an ass's colt. 
This is only apphcable to Messiah, for other kings 
make their entry in triumphal chariots. This King^ 
was to speak peace to the nations, which marks the 
calling of the Gentiles, which is by Jesus Christ alone. 
This King was to reign over the whole earth, from 
one sea to another, which is fulfilled in no one but in 
Jesus Christ. 

The above characters of Prophet, Priest, and King-, 
are all applied in the New Testament to the Messiah, 
as exclusively belonging to him. As a Prophei, he 
declared himself to be the light of the world ; he 
proclaimed the glad tiding-s of salvation, and brought 
life and immortality to light. As a Priest, he super- 

* This is a striking representation of power. Human govern- 
ments can only subsist by destroying or banishing their enemies. 


seded all other priests and sin-offerings, and put away 
sin by the sacrifice of himself, and he ever liveth to make 
intercession for those whom God sent him to bless. He 
appeared as the King of Zion. " Is not the Lord in 
Zion ? Is not her King in her ?" Jeremiah, viii. 19. 
And from Zion his gospel was to be proclaimed. " Out 
of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord 
from Jerusalem," Isaiah, ii. 3. This second chapter of 
Isaiah contains three parts, all prophetical and remark- 
able. The first verse to the fourth inclusive, treats of 
the calling of the Gentiles, and the extension of the 
covenant of God to all the people of the earth, under 
the peaceful reign of the Messiah. The second part, 
on to the tenth verse, contains the rejection of the Jews, 
which is very clearly expressed. The third part, which 
includes the rest of the chapter, declares the elevation 
of the one God above every creature, and the bringing 
of all things under him ; and it particularly foretells 
the destruction of all idols. Thus his kingdom was to 
begin in Judea, and his government is shown by the 
prophets to include all the promised blessings of right- 
eousness and stability, peace and security. 

There are numerous prophecies which foretell the 
Sufferings and Death of the Messiah. The pro- 
phets declare that he was to be " a man of sorrows and 
acquainted with grief," Isaiah^ liii. 4. Many were to 
be astonished at him, " his visage was so marred more 
than any man, and his form more than the sons of 
men," Isaiah, lii. 14. The Psalmist, testifying before- 
hand of his sufferings, says, " My days are consumed 
like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My 
heart is smitten, and withered like grass, so that I 
forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my 


groaning, my bones cleave to my skin," Psal. cii. 
" Mine enemies reproach me all the day, and they that 
are mad against me are sworn against me. — Reproach 
hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness," 
Psalm Ixix. 2. " I am a worm, and no man, a reproach 
of men and despised of the people. My strength is 
dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my 
jaws, and thou hast brought me unto the dust of death," 
Psalm xxii. " Mine enemies speak evil of me ; when 
shall he die, and his name perish ? Yea, mine own 
familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of 
my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me," Psalm 
xli. This last circumstance refers to Judas, who be- 
trayed him. " The kings of the earth did set them- 
selves, and the rulers took counsel together, against 
the Lord, and his Anointed," Psalm ii. 2. " He was 
taken from prison, and from judgment. He was cut off 
out of the land of the living," Isaiah, liii. 8. 

The RESURRECTION of Messiali from the grave, and 
his subse(][uent exaltation, were likewise foretold. In 
Isaiah, xxv. 8, after promising to enlighten all nations, 
God, it is said, " will swallow up death in victory." By 
the prophet Hosea, xiii. 14, God says, " O death, I will 
be thy plagues , O grave, I will be thy destruction." 
Accordingly, it is declared, that after the Messiah shall 
make an offering for sin, he " shall see his seed, be shall 
prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall 
prosper in his hand," Isaiah, liii. 10. These things are 
represented as happening after his death, and there- 
fore suppose his living after death. " God will redeem 
my soul from the power of the grave ; for he shall 
receive me," Psalm xlix. 15. " As for me, I will 
behold thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied 



when I awake with thy likeness," Psalm xvii. 15. His 
people are represented as exulting in hina as their head 
risen from the grave on the third day. " Come and let 
us return unto the Lord, for he hath torn, and he will 
heal us ; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After 
two days will he revive us ; in the third day he will 
raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." Hosea, vi. 1. 
" Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead 
body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell 
in the dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs ; and the 
earth shall cast out the dead." Isaiah, xxvi. 19- The 
chapter which contains this last prediction is both typi- 
cal and prophetical. It is typical, because, under the 
figure of the re-establisbment of the Jews after the 
Babylonish captivity, it speaks of the re-establishment 
of the church by the Messiah. It is also prophetical, 
•because there are things in it which belong to the deli- 
verance of the Messiah, and not to that from Babylon, 
as in particular the words above quoted. These words 
are too forcible and too great to respect only a temporal 
deliverance. They belong, in the first place, to that 
spiritual and mystical resurrection which Jesus Christ 
has given to his church by his blood and Spirit ; and, 
secondly, to the last resurrection of the bodies of be- 
lievers, which will take place by his power, and in con- 
sequence of his resurrection., For here men are repre- 
sented as attaining to a joyful resurrection from the 
dead, and that by virtue of the resurrection of the dead 
body of an extraordinary person. Referring to the short 
time he should remain in the grave, it is said, " There- 
fore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth ; my flesh 
also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul 
in hell (the grave, Gen. xxxvii. 35), neither wilt thou 
VOL. I. 2 k 


suffer thine Holy One to see corruption ; thou wilt 
show me the path of life ; in thy presence is fulness of 
joy ; at thy right hand there are pleasures for ever- 
more," Psalm xvi. 10. 

The Exaltation of the Messiah is also declared by 
the prophets. As they represent him to be in a state 
of great humiliation during his life, so those prophecies 
which relate to his exaltation must refer to his state 
after his death and resurrection. " He asked life of thee, 
and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever 
and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation ; honour 
and majesty hast thou laid upon him, for thou hast 
made him most blessed for ever." Psalm xxi. 5. " Thou 
hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive," 
Psalm Ixviii. 18. When in the 24th Psalm, it is en- 
quired, " Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ? 
and who shall stand in his holy place ?" and after the 
answer is given, describing the perfection of Messiah's 
character, admission into the heavenly world is demand- 
ed for him, under the title of the King of Glory. " Lift 
up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye ever- 
lasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. 
Who is this King of Glory ? The Lord, strong and 
mighty ; the Lord, mighty in battle." 

In the sublimest strains, the Prophets foretell the 
Progress of the Kingdom and Religion of 
Messiah throughout the world, as bearing down all 
opposition, extending itself on every side, and at 
length becoming universal, " The Lord at thy right 
hand shall strike through kings in the day of his 
wrath," Psalm ex. 1. The whole of this psalm de- 
scribes the exaltation and power of the Messiah, and 
the progress of his kingdom. 1. By their author, 


who is God. 2. By the nature of the dignity to 
belong- to him, which is to sit at the right hand of 
God. 3. By the success of his reign. 4. By the 
place where his reign should commence, and from 
whence it should extend itself. 5. By the nature of 
his subjects. 6. By the power of this king, and by 
the increase of power, or renewed vigour, which should 
belong to him. 7. By the union in his person of an 
everlasting priesthood, combined with everlasting 
royalty. 8. He shall judge among the nations ; he 
shall fill the places with dead bodies ; and particularly 
by the ruin of Satan's kingdom ; " he shall smite him 
that is the head over a great country." Here the 
prophet alludes to the words of the first promise, " the 
seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the ser- 
pent." 9. Finally, By the extreme labours which 
must precede the establishment of his kingdom, " He 
shall drink of the brook in the way : therefore shall 
he lift up his head." The Messiah shall prosecute 
his victory over the enemies of his church, till they 
are all defeated and consumed ; and this he shall do 
with such zeal and earnestness, that he shall not allow 
himself rest or respite ; but he shall quench or allay 
his thirst with water out of a brook, which he shall 
find by the way, in pursuit of his enemies. In this 
last verse, the state of his humiliation and exaltation 
are both joined together. It is said, Isaiah, Iv. 4, 
" Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, 
a leader and commander to the people." — " 1 the Lord 
have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine 
hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant 
of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the 
blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, 


and those that sit in darkness out of the prison house," 
Isaiah, xlii. 6. The 60th chapter of Isaiah, from the 
■beginning, contains the most magnificent promises to 
Zion, to be fulfilled by means of the Messiah, " the 
Holy One of Israel." " Behold, the darkness shall 
cover the earth, and gross darkness the people ; but 
the Lord shall arise on thee, and his glory shall be 
seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy 
light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." 

The prophets contemplate, with the greatest de- 
light, the extension of the Messiah's kingdom, and 
anticipate the period when " the mountain of the 
Lord's house shall be established on the top of the 
mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and 
all nations shall flow unto it," Isaiah, xi. 12. Daniel 
declares that the stone " cut out of the mountain 
without hands," shall smite the image, and shall break 
it to pieces, and shall become a great mountain, and 
fill the whole earth. " And in the days of these kings 
shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall 
never be destroyed ; and the kingdom shall not be 
left to other people, but it shall break in pieces, and 
consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for 
ever," Dan. ii. 44. lo this prediction, the prophet 
marks the mission of the Messiah into the world, and 
his birth, when he «epresents him as a stone cut out 
of the mountain without hands ; that is to say, that 
he is come into the world immediately by the will of 
God, and by virtue of his Holy Spirit, by whom he 
was conceived of a virgin. It marks his abasement 
and seeming weakness at his appearance, when this 
stone is spoken of, which, in comparison of the great 
statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw, was as nothing. It 


marks his exaltation, when it is said that it became a 
great mountain, and tilled the whole earth. It repre- 
sents the power of his kingdom in four particulars. 
It cannot be destroyed by the power of its enemies. 
It shall never pass into the hands of any other. It 
shall consume all other kingdoms. It shall be eter- 
nal.* This is that stone of which it is predicted that 
the builders should reject it, but that it should become 
the head of the corner. Psalm cxviii. 22. It repre- 
sents him of whom it was foretold, that he was to be 
for a sanctuary, but " a stone of stumbling', and a rock 
of offence, to both the houses of Israel," Isaiah, viii. 
14. This is that stone on which " whosoever shall 
fall shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, 
it will grind him to powder," Matt. xxi. 44. 

In the 72d psalm, the blessings^ the equity^ and the 
extent, of Messiah's reign, are strikingly exhibited. 
*' He shall judge the people with righteousness. In 
his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of 
peace, so long as the moon endureth. He shall spare 
the poor and needy, and shall redeem their soul from 
deceit and violence, and precious shall their blood be 
in his sight. He shall have dominion from sea to sea. 
All kings shall fall down before him ; all nations shall 
serve him. His name shall endure for ever ; his name 
shall be continued as long as the sun, and men shall 
be blessed in him ; all nations shall call him blessed, 

* The opposite of all these qualities belongs to the kingdoms 
of this world. They may be destroyed by the power of their 
enemies. They may be transferred from those who reign over 
them to others. They cannot consume all other kingdoms. 
Their duration is not everlasting. 


Blessed be his glorious name for ever, and let the 
whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and 

The 49th chapter of Isaiah declares, in a very re- 
markable manner, the work of the Redeemer ; the dif- 
ferent reception he should meet with from Jews and 
Gentiles ; the care of Jehovah over his people ; and 
the enlargement of his kingdom. In the beginning of 
that chapter, the Messiah, describing himself appa- 
rently with an allusion to his being the seed of the 
woman, is represented as addressing the uttermost 
parts of the earth to listen to him, as about to deliver 
a message of the highest importance. " Listen, O 
isles, unto me, and hearken, ye people, from afar. The 
Lord hath called me from the womb ; and he said, I 
will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou 
mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth." 
Verses 1-6 : The Messiah complains to Jehovah of 
the little effect of his ministry among the Jews ; but 
an assurance is given to him, that nevertheless it 
shall be extensively successful. Verses 7-12 : It is 
declared that, notwithstanding the treatment he should 
at first exj)erience, kings and princes shall worship 
him : that Jehovah had heard him, and given him for 
a covenant to the people ; the blessed effects of his 
ministry are also described, and the way that should 
be opened for it, where formerly there had been no- 
thing but desolation and ignorance. Verse 13 is an 
animated address to the heavens and the earth to re- 
joice, on account of the great things that Jehovah was 
about to do. Verse 14 : Zion, the church of God, on 
hearing this, and contrasting it with her present de- 
solate condition, is introduced, complaining that the 


Lord has forsaken her. Verses 15, 16, l7: God ap- 
plies the strongest figures to convince Zion of her fu- 
ture increase, and of his protection. Verses 18, 19: 
Zion is called upon to lift up her eyes, to look around 
and to see the multitude with which she should he 
adorned, crowding and gathering themselves to her. 
Jehovah assures her of this with an oath, and that 
even the desolate places of the earth, which, as being 
now under the dominion of Satan, might be called the 
land of her destruction, should he too narrow for her, 
and those who opposed her should be far away. Verses 
20, 21 : Here she is informed of the enlargement of 
the numbers of her children from among the Gentiles, 
after she had lost her own children the Jews ; and that 
she should enquire with astonishment, who had begot- 
ten her these, whence did they come, and where they 
had been, seeing she had lost her former children, had 
been a captive, and left alone. This was remarkably 
the case when the church at Jerusalem was scattered 
abroad. Zion was then desolate and left alone, for- 
saken and persecuted by those to whom she naturally 
looked as her children, and before she had received the 
others . But these were the very means employed to 
effect the purposes of her gracious Lord. Verses 22, 
23 : Zion having enquired whence this multitude of 
children came, whom she now saw flocking to her, and 
by what means they were collected, Jehovah answers, 
and describes her future triumphs. Verse 24 : Aware 
of the power of her enemies, and of the awful dark- 
ness in which the heathen world was involved, she 
again puts the question, as if doubting the possibility 
of so great a change. Verses 24-27 : Her doubts are 
answered. God himself will contend with them that 


contend with her, and will punish them to their de- 
struction. He will make it manifest that he is her 
Saviour and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 
In this prophecy of Isaiah, we have a very particular 
and minute prediction respecting- the Messiah : his 
incarnation is declared, his prophetical office, his 
preaching to the Jews, the unbelief of that nation, 
his preaching to the Gentiles, the glorious success 
of the Gospel, the conversion of kings and princes, 
the glory of the Church, and that of its Saviour. All 
these things are contained in this prophecy, and it 
is not possible to affix to it any other meaning, 
nor to apply it to any other king than Jesus Christ, 
nor to any other deliverance but his, nor to any 
other Church but that which he has gathered by his 

Besides the general strain of the prophecies respect- 
ing the Messiah, there are many minute particulars, 
towards the close of his life, which were foretold by the 
prophets, and are detailed in his history. 

We have already observed one plain prediction con- 
cerning the treachery of Judas ; there are also several 
others in the Psalms, both as to his betraying his 
Master, his being deposed from his office, and his un- 
timely end. The Jive circumstances of his bargaining 
for a sum, his receiving the small price of thirty pieces 
of silver, his casting them down, his doing so in the 
Temple, and the consequent purchase of the Potter's 
field, are predicted by Zechariah, xi. 12, " And I said 
unto them, If ye think good, give me my price ; and 
if not, forbear ; so they weighed for my price thirty 
pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me. Cast it 
unto the potter : a goodly price that I was prized at of 


them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast 
them to the potter in the house of the Lord." 

When Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas, and 
seized by the armed band, all the disciples forsook him 
and fled. Zechariah, xiii. 7, speaking of his sufferings, 
predicts this circumstance, " Awake, O sword, against 
my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, 
saitli the Lord of Hosts : smite the shepherd, and the 
sheep shall be scattered." 

When Jesus Christ was seized, he was taken before 
the Jewish rulers, who, after trying him, pronounced 
him guilty. Next morning, all the chief priests and 
elders of the people took counsel against him to put 
him to death ; and when they had bound him, they led 
him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the 
governor. By Pilate the Roman governor, he was 
again tried and condemned. All this was effected by 
the joint acts of Jews and Heathens. This concur- 
rence is distinctly foretold in the 2d Psalm, 1, 2, 
" Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine 
a vain thing ? The kings of the earth set themselves, 
and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, 
and asrainst his Anointed." In the same Psalm it is 
added, 6-9, '* Yet have I set my King upon my holy 
bill of Zion. I will declare the decree : the Lord hath 
said unto me. Thou art my Son, this day have I begot- 
ten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen 
for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the 
earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with 
a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a pot- 
ter's vessel." The Roman and Jewish governments 
have indeed fulfilled this prediction. They have raged ; 
they have imagined a vain thing ; they have taken 

522 moPHECiES of the old testament 

counsel together; they have set themselves against 
Jehovah and his Messiah. God has also carried his 
decree into effect. He has set his Messiah on his holy 
hill of Zion ; he has declared him to be his only begot- 
ten Son ; he has given him the earth to its utmost 
bounds for his possession, over which, to this hour, 
he is extending his dominion — while, as with a rod 
of iron, he has dashed t}ie7n in pieces like a potter's 
vessel. Jerusalem is destroyed. The Jews are scat- 
tered to the four winds, and the Roman empire is 
crumbled into dust. Never was a prediction more 
fully accomplished. Zion's question concerning the 
prey being taken from the mighty is now resolved, and 
the secret of her deliverance disclosed. 

After the trial of Jesus, they did spit in his face and 
buffeted him, and others smote him with the palms 
of their hands. *' I gave my back to the smiters, and 
my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. I hid 
not my face from shame and spitting," Isaiah, 1. 6. 
The prophet Micah, in that remarkable prediction 
which has been already quoted, when he foretells that 
Bethlehem should be the place of the Messiah's birth, 
declares that " They shall smite the Judge of Israel 
with a rod upon the cheek." When they led Jesus 
Christ to the place of crucifixion, " They gave him 
vinegar to drink mixed with gall," Matth. xxvii. 34. 
This circumstance was foretold. " I looked for some 
to pity, but there was none ; and for comforters, but 
I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat, 
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink," 
Psalm Ixix. 20. In the 22d Psalm, where so many 
particulars of the crucifixion of the Messiah are pre- 
dicted, it is said, " They pierced my hands and my 


feet," V. 16. In these words, it is intimated that he 
was to be put to death by crucifixion, the piercing* of 
the hands and feet being peculiar to that kind of death. 
Crucifixion was never used among the Jews, as is 
plain from the books of Moses, where all the different 
kinds of punishment are mentioned, but nothing is 
said of crucifixion. It was unknown among them, not 
only in David's time, but for several years after. The 
chief priests did not themselves pass sentence of death 
on Jesus Christ, they only found him guilty of blas- 
')hem.y, and then alleged before the Roman governor 
that he had committed a crime against Caesar in pre- 
tending to be King of the Jews. By giving their 
accusation this form, they succeeded in having him 
condemned to be crucified. And thus, contrary to all 
human probability, the prophecies which described the 
nature and manner of his death were accomplished. 

" They part my garments among them, and cast lots 
upon my vesture," v. 18. This was literally fulfilled. 
*' Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, 
took his garments, and made four parts, to every sol- 
dier a part ; and also his coat : now the coat was with- 
out seam, woven from the top throughout. They said, 
therefore, among themselves ; Let us not rend it ; but 
cast lots for it, whose it shall be," John, xix. 23. 
Whilst casting lots for the upper garment of Jesus 
was thus an exact fulfilment of the prophecy, it is re- 
markable in another respect. By the law, the high 
priest was commanded not to rend his clothes. Lev. 
X. 6. At the trial of Jesus, the high priest rent his 
clothes, which, being contrary to the law, violated for 
ever the authority of his priesthood. But the garment 
of JesuS Christ, who was the true high priest, was left 


whole and entire. " All they that see me, laugh me 
to scorn ; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, 
saying-, He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver 
him : let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him,'* 
Psalm xxii. 7. This prediction also was fulfilled when 
he hung upon the cross : " They that passed by reviled 
him, wagging their heads. Likewise also the chief 
priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 
He saved others, himself he cannot save. He trusted 
in God, let him deliver him now if he will have him ; 
for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also 
which were crucified with him, cast the same iu his 
teeth," Matth. xxvii. 39-4L 

" And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud 
voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani ; that is to 
say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me," 
Matth. xxvii. 46. This is the expression ascribed to 
the Messiah, Psalm xxii. L 

*' But one of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced his 
side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water," 
John, xix. 34. The piercing of his side ascertained his 
death. It was also the shedding of the blood of the 
sacrifice. This circumstance was foretold by Zecba- 
riah, speaking of him, chap xii. 10, "And they shall 
look upon me whomi they have pierced." " And with 
him they crucify two thieves, the one on his right 
hand and the other on his left," Matth. xv. 27. This 
was an act of deep malignity, as nothing could have 
been contrived more effectually to discredit his preten- 
sions, and to dishonour him. This circumstance, as 
well as his burial by Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, 
is foretold by Isaiah, liii. 9. " And he was numbered 
with the transgressors — He made his grave with the 


wicked, and with the rich in his death." Bishop 
Lowth translates the last passage, " And his grave 
was appointed with the wicked ; but with the rich man 
was his tomb." 

The soldiers brake the legs of those who were cru- 
cified on each side of him. " But when they came to 
Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they brake not 
his legs," John, xix. 33. Thus was fulfilled what was 
strictly enjoined and prefigured in the typical appoint- 
ment of the Passover. " Neither shall ye break a bone 
thereof," Exodus, xii. 46. 

The whole of the 53d chapter of Isaiah is propheti- 
cal, without type or figure. It refers solely to Jesus 
Christ, and it is not possible to apply it to any one be- 
sides. It contains a particular account of his appear- 
ance, his character, his humiliation, his work, his recep- 
tion, his sufferings, his trial, his death, his burial, and 
his atonement, his success, his exaltation, and inter- 
cession, with many minute particulars respecting him. 
Neither the genuineness nor the authenticity of this 
illustrious prophecy were ever doubted. It stands in 
the Jewish Scriptures the unquestioned production of 
the Prophet Isaiah, recorded 700 years before the 
coming of Jesus Christ. 

In the beginning of the preceding chapter, Zion is 
called upon to awake, and to be clothed with strength ; 
and Jerusalem, the holy city, to put on her beautiful 
garments. She is reminded that she had sold herself 
for nought, but now God would redeem her without 
money. " My people shall know my name in that day, 
for I am he, Jehovah, that promised ; and lo, here I 
am." Their attention is then directed to the glorious 
messenger, bringing good tidings of peace and salvation. 


The watchmen who descry his approach raise the shout 
of exultation, and all are commanded to break forth 
into joy, because Jehovah had comforted and redeemed 
his people, and had displayed his power before the 
whole earth. They are to go forth from their captivity, 
to contract no pollution, and those who convey back 
the vessels of the Lord are commanded to be clean. But 
they were not to go out with precipitation, as if pursued 
by enemies and in dang'er, " for Jehovah shall march in 
your front, and the God of Israel shall bring- up your 
rear." God's messenger is next described, who should 
be highly extolled. On the one hand, his glory should 
be so obscured, that many would be astonished at him ; 
but, he should sprinkle many nations,* and kings should 
listen to him with reverence. Much unbelief would, 
however, prevail. *' Who," exclaims the prophet, " hath 
believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the 
Lord revealed ?" But this he immediately accounts 
for, by the lowly appearance of this messenger of God, 
so different from the expectation of the Jews, w^ho 
looked for their Messiah's appearing in circumstances 
of the greatest external grandeur. The prophet describes 
him as " a root out of a dry ground ;" " he hath no form 
nor comeliness ; and when we shall see him, there is no 
beauty that we should desire him." Thus, Christ cruci- 
lied is to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks 
foolishness. The prophet goes on to announce that he 
is despised and rejected of men ; and having declared 
that to the Jews he appeared to be judicially smitten of 
God, this gives an opportunity of introducing, in the 

* Referring to the blood of atonement sprinkled on the mercy- 



remaining part of the prophecy, the Reason of his hu- 
miliation, the Circumstances connected with it, and the 
glorious Consequences that were to follow. 

So extraordinary and improbable a combination of 
circumstances — the greatest honours enjoyed, the ut- 
most contempt experienced, — the meekness of the suf- 
ferer, who is highly extolled by Jehovah, yet forsaken 
and bruised by him under tokens of his heaviest dis- 
pleasure, — the deepest debasement terminating in death, 
leading to exaltation crowned with unbounded success ; 
— all of this first predicted, and afterwards at the dis- 
tance of seven centuries verified, attaches such a weight 
of evidence to this portion of Scripture, as nothing but 
eternal truth could supply. 

Thus we have witnessed a surprising train of pro- 
phecies respecting the Messiah. It is not a detached 
intimation concerning him, but a connected series of 
predictions uttered during the space of 4000 years. At 
the beginning of that remote period, we meet with a 
compendious promise, which includes the outline of all 
that afterwards follows. The first promise which 
mentions a common benefit to all the sons of Adam, is 
expressed in very general terms. It was made before 
God had rejected Cain's posterity, by preferring that of 
Seth. It was given before the restriction was made to 
Noah in Seth's family, and to Shem in Noah's family. 
It was then made to Abraham, whom God distinguish- 
ed by circumcision from the rest of the family of Shem, 
with a declaration that it should be a blessing to all the 
nations of the world. It was next made to Isaac, pass- 
ing by Ishmael, and then to Jacob, passing by Esau. 
It was next limited to one tribes one small toiviii one 
family, and one particular individual in that family. 


The time of the birth of the Messiah was then fixed, 
and the appearance of the messenger who should pre- 
cede him foretold. 

Many prophecies have likewise been pointed out, 
referring to the Messiah's person, character, office, suf- 
ferings, death, resurrection, exaltation, and the pro- 
gress of his religion ; to the reception he was to meet 
with from Jews and Gentiles ; and to a number of 
minute and apparently contradictory particulars con- 
cerning him, which have been all fulfilled. These are 
contained in a book which is zealously preserved by 
the Jews, who are his most inveterate enemies, and 
which was also delivered into the hands of the whole 
civilized world, nearly 300 years before his appearance. 

As the coming of Jesus Christ is so clearly pointed 
out in the Jewish Scriptures, it is of great importance 
to observe whether the determined and continued rejec- 
tion of him by the Jewish nation, be founded on a dis- 
trust of the Divine inspiration of these records with the 
keeping of which they were intrusted, or whether it does 
not wholly arise from their mistaken interpretation of 
them. In the former case, the Scriptures would have 
produced little or no efi"ect, and would have been kept 
by them, if preserved at all, probably to be made use 
of like the Sibylline books, or the pretended responses 
of the heathen oracles, as a state engine, useful only to 
manage and overawe the multitude. But that this was 
not the light in which they viewed them, we have the 
most indubitable proof. No juggling deception, nor 
underhand means were employed to support the Jew- 
ish dispensation. In this, as in other respects, it was 
entirely diiferent from the heathen governments. The 
veil concealed the inner sanctuary from view, into 


which the High Priest entered alone ; but all that it 
contained, and what he was to do there, as well as the 
particular interest the people had in his oblations, were 
fully made Jsnown to them. The Scriptures of the Old 
Testament were never intrusted only to the leaders, 
and kept back from the people, but were open to all, 
were read to all, and all were commanded to study them. 
Delivered to them in successive periods of their history, 
and recording events concerning themselves which that 
generation who received them witnessed, the Jews 
never entertained the smallest doubt of the authenticity 
and Divine authority of their Scriptures. The care 
and veneration with which they have preserved them 
in all the vicissitudes of their wonderful history, in their 
many captivities and long dispersion, abundantly attest 
this fact. They have all along admitted the authority 
of the prophecies, and have constantly applied them to 
their expected Messiah, while their obstinacy in reject- 
ing him when he appeared is distinctly foretold by the 
prophets. It is, therefore, in their misinterpretation 
of the Scriptures alone, that we are to look for the cause 
of their rejection of the Messiah. This is a material 
point, an important link in the chain of evidence of the 
Divine origin of the Christian religion. Consistently 
with this view of the matter, and in full confirmation 
of it, a general expectation of the Messiah prevailed 
among the Jews, at the time of the appearance of Jesus