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RtC, Am 1880 















Of a large proportion of the world, including the most 
civilized nations of it, Christianity is the publicly recog- 
nized religion ; and, furthermore, there exists a collection 
of sacred books, upon the facts and doctrines contained in 
which this religion professes to be founded. The volume 
of these writings goes by various names : it is called the 
Bible, or "the Book" emphatically, from a Greek word 1 
signifying the bark of the papyrus, because on it books 
were originally written. From its two main divisions it 
is called the Old and New Testaments, or Dispositions, 
because it contains the covenants, or arrangements, which 
its Divine Author was pleased to enter into, first with 
the Jewish people, and then with believers in Christ of 
all nations. By itself, the term u Scripture," or " Scrip- 
tures," 2 is applied to its contents, by which is denoted a 
selection of writings distinguished from all others on the 
same subjects by certain marked peculiarities ; and by 
those who believe in its divine authority it is, on this 
account, frequently called the Word, or the oracles of 

1 B/'/iXs; ; in Latin, liber. 2 John, x. 2o ; v. 30. 


God. The different aspects under which our sacred books 
are thus presented to our view, will determine the main 
topics of which an introduction to the study of them may 
be expected to consist. • 

We shall have, then, to consider, in the first place, on 
what grounds the Scriptures claim to be a genuine and au- 
thentic record of the various communications of God to 
man which are described by the general term, Eevelation ; 
under which head the genuineness of the books, the form- 
ation of the canon, its uncorrupted transmission to our 
times, the history of the text, and kindred questions, will 
claim consideration. But inasmuch as Christians hold the 
Bible to be the word of God, and Protestant Christians 
refer to it as the supreme and only infallible authority in 
matters of faith, the next point to examine will be how far 
this belief is well founded ; whether it can be satisfactorily 
made out that the Bible is from God, and is sufficient 
to instruct us in the way of life : in other words, the sub- 
jects of the inspiration and interpretation of Scripture will 
naturally form a part of the present work. The way being 
thus cleared for an examination of the writings them- 
selves, a brief account will be attempted of the contents 
of the sacred volume, and of the institutions, Jewish and 
Christian, founded upon the revelation which it contains. 

Independently of its divine origin, the Bible, on mere 
literary grounds, claims our earnest attention. It is, 
beyond comparison, the oldest book in the world. The 
Pentateuch was written 600 years before the poems of 
Homer and Hesiod, and nearly 1000 years before the 
histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, the earliest ex- 


isting profane specimens of that species of literature. It 
contains the history of one of the most remarkable people 
on the face of the earth. It abounds with the finest 
models of composition in lyric poetry, in oratory, in nar- 
rative, and in the style of sententious apophthegm peculiar 
to the East. In its pages we have the only record, pro- 
fessing to be authentic, of the great convulsions, physical 
and social, which have affected the structure of the globe, 
and the disposition of its inhabitants. Its language, and its 
ideas, have become inextricably intermingled with those 
of modern society. To the antiquarian, then, to the phi- 
losopher, and to the man of taste, it must ever be an 
object of interest; — how much more so to the Christian, 
who has been taught to regard it as containing a revela- 
tion from God, in which the wants of our fallen nature 
are explained and supplied ; and who, in proportion as he 
studies its pages with a sincere desire for instruction, finds 
it more and more " a lamp to his feet, and a light unto 
his path,'' amidst the uncertain deductions of human 


It will be obvious to the reader that these remarks are 
intended of the normal case of Scripture, viz., adult baptism ; the 
only case upon which we possess clear Scriptural data. To what 
extent they may, or must, be modified in connexion with the ex- 
ceptional case of infants born within the Christian pale (excep- 
tional as regards Scripture, though ecclesiastically the ordinary 
one) is matter of discussion, for which this is not the place. 

^. V 'C' 

J o t 




Chap. I. The Authenticity and Uncoerupted Pee 

Sect. I. — External Evidence .... 

§ 1. Direct Testimony .... 

§ 2. Quotations 

§ 3. MSS 

§ 4. Versions 

Sect. II. — Internal Evidence . 

§ 1. Writers must have been Jews . • 

§ 2. Language 

§ 3. Circumstantiality . • 

§ 4. Style „ 

Chap. IT. The Canon of Scriptoee . . 

Sect. I. — Old Testament 

Sect. II. — The New Testament .... 
Sect. III. — Other Jewish and Christian Writings 
Apocrypha, Talmud 
Chap. III. Original Languages of Sceiptuee 
Sect. I. — Old Testament 

§ 1. Hebrew Language .... 

§ 2. History of the Hebrew Language • 

§ 3. Characteristics of the Hebrew . 







Sect. II. — New Testament 

§ 1. Reasons of the New Testament being 

written in Greek 
§ 2. Dialect of the New Testament . 
Chap. IV. History of the Sacred Text . 

Sect. I. — Old Testament .... 
§ 1. Writing and and writing materials 
§ 2. Hebrew letters . 
§ 3. Marks of distinction and divisions 
§ 4. Criticism of the Hebrew text 

§ 5. Hebrew MSS 

§ 6. Printed editions of the Hebrew Bible 

Sect. II. — New Testament .... 

§ 1. Greek MSS 

§ 2. Marks of division . . . 
§ 3'. Inscriptions • • 

§ 4. Lectionaries .... 

§ 5. Principal MSS 

§ 6. Critical history of the Greek Testament 
Chap. "V. Versions 

Sect. I. — Ancient Versions .... 
§ 1. Of the Old Testament 
§ 2. Of the Old and New Testament 

Sect. II. — Modern Versions . . 

§ 1. Modern Latin . • • « 
§ 2. German versions . . • 
§ 3. French versions . . • 

§ 4. Flemish and Dutch versions 
§ 5. Italian versions .... 
§ 6. Spanish versions 
§ 7. Russian, Turkish, &c. versions . 
§ 8. English versions . . . 
§ 9. Welsh, Irish, &c, versions . 

Chap. VJ. Critical Rules .... 
§ 1. Sources of various readings • 
§ 2. Critical rules .... 







Chap. I. Inspiration of Holt Scripture . 

§ 1. The Scriptures inspired 

§ 2. Nature and extent of inspiration 
Chap. II. The Interpretation of Scripture 
Sect. I. — Qualifications .... 

§ 1. Love of truth .... 

§ 2. Docility 

§ 3. Teaching of the Holy Spirit 

§ 4. Diligent use of external means . 
Sect. II. — Eules of Interpretation . 

§ 1. Literal interpretation 

§ 2. Figurative interpretation . 
Chap. III. Interpretation of Prophecy — Q 

tions from the old testament 

New — Scripture Difficulties. 

§ 1. The interpretation of prophecy . 

§ 2. Quotations .... 

§ 3. Scripture difficulties . 
Chap. IV. Geography, Topography, Climate 

Productions of the Holy Land — 

ners and Customs of the Jews 
Sect. I. — Geography, etc 

§ 1. Physical features . . . 

§ 2. Climate, productions, &c. . 

§ 3. Political geography . 

§ 4. Topography of Jerusalem . 
II. — Manners and Customs of the Jews 

§ 1. Habitations .... 

§ 2. Dress, &c 

§ 3. Marriage and education of children 

§ 4. Meals .... 

§ 5. Arts 








§ 6. Literature ....... 194 

§ 7. Commerce 195 

§3. Modes of reckoning time .... 196 
§9. Funeral rites . . • . . .197 




I. Pentateuch. 

Chap. I. Introductoky 199 

Sect. I. Sketch of the History of the Jews to the 

Death of Moses .'.... 199 

Sect. II. The Mosaic Law 213 

§ 1. Civil polity 213 

§ 2. Keligious polity 224 

Chap. II. Observations on each of the Books of 

the Pentateuch • .... 229 

Sect. I. On the Pentateuch in general .... 239 

Sect. II. Book of Genesis 243 

Sect. IH. Book of Exodus 244 

Sect. IV. Book of Leviticus 246 

Sect. V. Book of Numbers 247 

Sect. VI. Books of Deuteronomy 251 

II. Historical Books. 

Chap. I. Continuation of the History of the 
Jews to the Return from the Baby- 
lonish Captivity 252 

Chap. II. Observations on each of the His- 
torical Books 271 

Sect. I. Introductory 271 

Sect. II. Book of Joshua 272 



Sebt. III. — Judges 274 

Sect. IV.— Kuth 276 

Sect. V.— Samuel 276 

Sect. VI.— Kings 278 

Sect. VII. — Chronicles 280 

Sect. VIII.— Ezra 282 

Sect. IX.— Nehenriah 283 

Sect. X.— Esther 283 

III. The Poetical Books 

Sect. I. — On Hebrew Poetry in general . • . . 285 

Sect. II.— Job 286 

Sect. III.— Psalms 288 

Sect. IV. — Proverbs 291 

Sect. V. — Ecclesiastes 292 

Sect. VI. — Song of Solomon 293 

IV. The Pkophetical Books 

Sect. I. — Introductory 294 

Sect. II. — Prophets before the Captivity . . . 298 

§ 1. Jonah 298 

§ 2. Joel .299 

§ 3. Amos 299 

§ 4. Hosea 300 

§ 5. Isaiah 301 

§ 6. Micah .303 

§ 7. Nahum 304 

§ 8. Zephaniah 305 

Sect. III. — Prophets during the Captivity . .306 

§ 1. Jeremiah 306 

§ 2. Lamentations 308 

§ 3. Habakkuk 308 

§ 4. Daniel 309 

§ 5. Ezekiel 312 

§ 6. Obadiah 313 

Sect. IV. — Prophets after the Captivity . . . 314 

§ 1 . Haggai 314 

§ 2. Zechariah ..••••. 315 

§ 3. Malachi ....... 317 






Chap. I. Sketch of the Histoet of the Jews to 
the Destruction of Jerusalem by the 

Chap. II. Synagogues — Jewish Sects 

Chap. III. Our Lord's Life and Ministry. 
Promulgation of the Gospel , 

Chap. IV. Books of the New Testament 

Sect. I. Historical Books. The Gospels, 
Acts of the Apostles 
§ 1. On the Gospels in general 
§ 2. Gospel according to St. Matthew 
§ 3. Gospel according to St. Mark 
§ 4. Gospel according to St. Luke 
§ 5. Gospel according to St. John 
§ 6. Acts of the Apostles . 
Sect. II. — Doctrinal Books . 

§ 1. On the Epistles in general 
§ 2. Epistle to the Bomans 
§ 3. Epistles to the Corinthians 
§ 4. Epistle to the Galatians . 
§ 5. Epistle to the Ephesians . 
§ 6. Epistle to the Philippians . 
§ 7. Epistle to the Colossians . 
§ 8. Epistles to the Thessalonians 
§ 9. Epistles to Timothy . 

§ 10. Epistle to Titus 

§ 11. Epistle to Philemon . 

§ 12. Epistle to the Hebrews 

§ 13, Epistle of St. James . 

§ 14. Epistles of St. Peter . 

§ 15. Epistles of St. John . 

§ 16. Epistle of St. Jude . 

§17. Bevelation of St. John 
Tables of Monies, Weights, and Measures 








When we take any ancient composition into our hands, the 
-first questions that arise are — Have we reason to believe 
that it is the production of the author whose name it bears, 
or, at least, that it is an authentic document ? And then — 
Is it substantially in the state in which it came from the 
author's hand ? If a writing is proved to be spurious, that 
is, a forgery of later times, its authenticity, if a history, 
is very much impaired, if not destroyed ; a and if, though it 
be not spurious, it yet comes to us in a corrupt or muti- 
lated condition, our confidence in it as a true representa- 
tion of the author's mind becomes proportionably weakened. 
In the case of the Bible, which claims authority over our 

1 Authenticity, in the sense of credibility, is not absolutely incom- 
patible with the admitted spuriousness of a writing. The facts, might 
have been carefully investigated, and faithfully recorded, though not 
by the professed author, or in his age ; still even the credibility would 
be diminished by that circumstance. 



faith, these questions assume a still greater importance. 
For, however true in point of fact its statements might be, 
a forged composition could never proceed from inspired 
men ; and if we had reason to suspect that material 
interpolations or omissions had interfered with the in- 
tegrity of the original, we could not depend upon it as an 
authentic revelation of God's will. The genuineness and 
integrity of the sacred text are, therefore, to us Christians 
matters of vital moment. We propose, in this chapter, to 
present a general view of the evidence on which we believe 
the Bible to be, in all essential points, just as it came 
from the hands of its inspired authors. This evidence 
may be divided into external and internal. 

Sect. I. — External Evidence. 

Under this head we place, 1, direct testimony to the 
authorship and authenticity of the Scriptures ; 2, quota- 
tions by contemporaneous and subsequent authors ; 3, 
MSS. ; 4, versions. On all these points the Bible is 
attested by evidence incomparably more copious and con- 
clusive than belongs to any other ancient writing or 
collection of writings. 

§ 1. Direct testimony. — The direct proof that an author 
lived at a certain period, and that he wrote certain works, 
consists, like the proof of all other facts, of credible testi- 
mony to that effect. We believe that such a person as 
Cicero existed, and was the author of certain treatises that 
bear his name, because this information has been handed 
down to us by those who possessed good opportunities of 
knowing the facts. Applying this test to the books of 
Scripture, we have to observe, that, as regards the Old 
Testament, by the Jews, to whose custody this portion of 
the sacred volume was intrusted and who were most deeply 
interested in its integrity, no doubt was ever entertained as 


to the authenticity of the several books of which it was 
composed. That the Pentateuch is the production of 
Moses ; that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were written 
by those persons ; that Solomon was the author of Pro- 
verbs, Canticles, and Ecclesiastes ; David, Asaph, and 
other pious men, of the Psalms ; and the prophets, of the 
prophetical books which bear their names ; — on these points 
Jewish testimony is unanimous. Where, as in the case of 
the remaining books, it was uncertain who was the author, 
or the real author's name was lost, still the reception of 
them as authentic histories was not less unanimous. The 
Hebrew Scriptures occupy a peculiar position in the 
national literature. How the canon was fixed will be con- 
sidered in another place ; at present we are only concerned 
with the fact, that long before the Christian era it was so 
fixed. The following are. some of the testimonies on this 
point: — In the book of Ecclesiasticus, of which we possess 
only the Septuagint Greek translation, mention is made of 
three classes of books, to the study of which, as the trans- 
lator informs us, Jesus the son of Sirach, the author of the 
original Hebrew work, devoted himself, — " the law, the 
prophecies, and the rest of the books." The third century 
before Christ is usually assigned as the date of the Hebrew 
original; so that in this, the earliest existing writing 
after the cessation of prophecy, we have a distinct reference 
to our canonical books as then extant. Still clearer is the 
testimony of Josephus, who was contemporary with the 
Apostles, and who, in a well-known passage, 1 adopting 
the distribution of the Old Testament usual among the 
Jews of that age into twenty-two books, assigns five to 
the law, thirteen to the prophets, and four to sacred hymns 
and instructions for life, — the very division into the " law, 
the psalms, and the prophets," of which the New Testa- 
1 Cont. Apion. i. s. 8. 


ment makes mention. 1 " We have not," says the historian, 
" tliousands of books, discordant and contradicting each 
other; but we have only twenty-two, which comprehend 
the history of all former ages, and are justly accounted 
divine." From whom did Josephus, or the son of Siraeh, 
receive this tradition ? There is no link in the chain at 
which we can stop until, we ascend to the contemporaries 
of the writers themselves, from whom, doubtless, the 
evidence descended in an unbroken line, until it reached 
the last age of the Jewish Commonwealth. To a certain 
extent this species of evidence is furnished by the sacred 
volume itself ; in the later writers of which many references 
are found to the compositions of their predecessors. Thus 
Micah (c. iv. 1-3) repeats the prophecy of Isaiah (c. ii. 2-4) ; 
Jeremiah (c. xxvi. 18) attests the existence and genuine- 
ness of Micah's prophecies ; Jeremiah's predictions were 
known to, and read by, Daniel (c. ix. 2); and by our Lord, 
and the writers of the New Testament, the prophets are 
repeatedly quoted by name. 

In examining the attestations to the New Testament, 
it will be convenient to adopt an order the reverse of that 
above, and, commencing with the fourth century, to trace 
the line of evidence backwards. For after the period just 
mentioned, the current of testimony becomes so full and 
so clear that it is unnecessary to descend lower. We are 
fortunate enough to possess ten catalogues of the Christ- 
ian Scriptures written during the fourth century, six of 
w T hich agree exactly with our present collection, while the 
remaining four, though omitting one or more books, admit 
no others. The following are the authors of these cata- 
logues with their respective dates: — Augustine, bishop of 
Hippo (a.d. 394) ; Jerome (a.d. 392) ; Rufinus, Presbyter 
of Aquileia (a.d. 390) ; forty-four bishops at the third 
1 Luke, xxiv. 44. 


Council of Carthage (a.d. 307; ; Epiphanius (a.d. 370) ; 
Athanasius (a.d. 315); — these six specify all our books. 
Then follow, Gregory of Nazianzen (a.d. 375) ; the bishops 
at the Council of Laodicea (a.d. 364) ; and Cyril of Jeru- 
salem (a.d. 340), who omit the book of Eevelation ; and Phi- 
laster, bishop of Brescia, in Italy (a.d. 380), who omits both 
the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Eevelation. Of these 
the testimony of Jerome is particularly valuable, inasmuch 
as his life was devoted to the labours of biblical criticism, 
and from his extensive learning, his varied travels, and his 
long residence in Palestine, he was eminently fitted to de- 
cide upon such subjects. In his 2d epistle to Paulinus he 
commences his catalogue with the four Evangelists ; passes 
on to the Acts of the Apostles, which he ascribes to Luke ; 
enumerates seven churches to whom St. Paul wrote, whose 
titles correspond with those of our extant Epistles, adding 
as the production of the same author the Epistles to 
Timothy, Titus, and Philemon ; speaks of James, Peter, 
John, and Jude, as the authors of the seven Catholic 
Epistles ; mentions the Epistle of the Hebrews with an 
intimation that many persons did not regard it as the 
work of St. Paul ; and concludes with the remark that 
the Eevelation of St. John has as many mysteries as 
words. The candour with which he admits the doubts of 
the Latin Church as to the authorship of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews adds force to his testimony in favour of the 
other writings. The next important witness that meets 
us, as we ascend to earlier times, is Eusebius, bishop of 
Cassarea, who lived a.d. 315 ; a man of vast diligence and 
research. In the 25th chapter of the third book of his 
Ecclesiastical History he gives the result of his inquiries 
respecting the canon of Scripture. " The following," he 
says, " are universally admitted as genuine ; — the four 
Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the fourteen Epistles of 


Paul, 1 the first Epistles of John and Peter, and (if it so 
seem good) the Revelation of John. Those books on which 
the testimony of antiquity is not unanimous are, the 
Epistles of James and Jude, the second of Peter, and the 
second and third of John. Among the list of spurious 
writings are the Acts of Paul, the Revelation of Peter, and 
the gospel according to the Hebrews." This passage is 
valuable on a twofold account ; — first, because the author 
professes to deliver, not his own private judgment, but 
ecclesiastical tradition ; and, secondly, because it shows how 
carefully the early Christians sifted the evidence for the 
genuineness of the sacred books ; where there was a doubt 
they took no pains to conceal it. In the works of Origen 
(a.d. 243), the most learned and laborious writer of the third 
century, besides commentaries on the whole of Scripture, 
we find a catalogue, which corresponds exactly with that of 
Eusebius. Tertullian, in the second century, mentions the 
four gospels, and most of the books of the New Testament 
by name ; as does also Irenseus (a.d. 170), with the ex- 
ception of the Epistle to Philemon, the third of John, and 
the Epistle of Jude, references to which do not occur in his 
works ; and of the second Epistle of Peter, the Epistle of 
James, and that to the Hebrews, of which, though he 
alludes to them, he does not specify the authors. Finally, 
Papias, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, a hearer of Poly carp, 
expressly assigns the gospels of Matthew and Mark to 
those writers ; and Clemens Romanus, the fellow-labourer 
of Paul (Phil. iv. 3), refers, as expressly, to the first Epistle 
to the Corinthians as the work of that Apostle. 

On the body of evidence, of which the foregoing is but 
a specimen, we have two remarks to make ; the first, that 
it is collected from a large surface, the witnesses not only 

1 Eusebius is of opinion that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the 
work of St. Paul. See Eccl Hist. 1. iii. c. 3. 


living at different times, but in countries widely remote 
from each other, so that collusion is morally impossible. 
And, secondly, that where one writer fails us, another 
supplies the deficiency ; and thus, though it is but seldom 
that all the books of the Bible are mentioned by the same 
witness, yet there is no book that, from some quarter or 
other, does not receive attestation. 

This unanimous judgment of the early Church receives 
remarkable confirmation from the admission of ancient 
heretics and of avowed adversaries of the Christian faith, 
whether Jewish or heathen. Could the charge of forgery 
have been substantiated by either of these parties, we may 
be sure it would have been ; for thus further controversy 
would have been cut short. But various and contradictory 
to each other as were the tenets of the many heresiarchs 
who li^ed in the first four centuries, none of them ever 
called in question the authenticity of the Scriptures. 
They had no scruple in mutilating them when they 
thought them irreconcileable with their own views ; they 
disputed the orthodox interpretations ; but their very 
mutilations and comments prove that they admitted the 
genuineness of the books. So that, in the words of Dr. 
Lardner, summing up this head of evidence, we may say, 
that " Noetus, Paul of Samosata, Sabellius, Marcellus, 
Photinus, the Novatians, Donatists, Manichasans, Priscil- 
lianists, besides Artemon, the Audians, the Arians, and 
divers others, all received most, or all, of the same books 
of the New Testament which the Catholics received, and 
agreed in the same respect for them, as being written by 
Apostles, or their disciples and companions." 1 

As regards the opponents of Christianity, the three 
principal names of those first ages are, Celsus, Porphyry, 
and the Emperor Julian. The first, a heathen philosopher, 
1 Lardner, Works, vol. xii. p. 12. Edit. 1755. 


who flourished towards the close of the second century, 
wrote, under the person of a Jew, a treatise against 
Christianity, the greatest part of which has been preserved 
in Origen's reply to it, and which appears to have con- 
sisted chiefly of objections against the credibility of the 
Gospel, drawn from the Christian Scriptures. Cclsus 
professes to refute Christians " from their own writings ;" 
and what writings he means is evident from a number of 
facts relating to our Lord's birth and life, death and 
resurrection, which he cites from the four Gospels. He 
accuses Christians of " altering the Gospel ; " that is, of 
corrupting the original text, which, as Paley observes, 1 
proves the antiquity of that text, for various readings and 
corruptions do not belong to recent productions ; but in 
no instance does he question the genuineness of the books, 
or found any of his objections to Christianity upon what 
was delivered in spurious gospels. Celsus was followed 
by Porphyry in the third century, whose writings have 
perished. We can gather, however, the line of argument 
which he adopted. He objects to the contents of our 
present Gospels, and of the Acts of the Apostles, and to 
nothing derived from any other source. It was not from 
disinclination, could the attempt have been attended w T ith 
any prospect of success, that he abstained from urging the 
spuriousness of these books ; for, in the case of the prophet 
Daniel, he actually does adopt this objection, pronouncing 
his prophecies, on various grounds, to be a forgery, written 
after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Is it possible 
that so acute an inquirer could have failed to call in 
question the genuineness of the Christian Scriptures, had 
there been any plausible ground for doing so ? About a 
century after Porphyry, the Emperor Julian appeared in 
the lists against Christianity. From the extracts from 
1 Evidences, part 1. c. 9, s. 9. 


his works, given by Cyril and Jerome, it appears that the 
points to which his animadversions were directed, were all 
drawn from onr present gospels and the Acts of the 
Apostles. He quotes these, and he quotes no other books. 

From this reluctant testimony of heretics and adver- 
saries, the following conclusions may be drawn : 1. That 
our present books existed in their times. 2. That they 
were considered by Jews and heathens, as well as by 
Christians, as authentic records of the Christian religion. 
3. That no other books enjoyed this authority. 4. That 
no doubt existed as to the books being ^ the genuine 
productions of their reputed authors. Stronger evidence 
than this it is impossible to conceive. The Christian Scrip- 
tures were not jealously kept from the public eye as the 
exclusive property of a priestly caste ; they were scattered 
far and wide ; they were publicly read in the churches ; 
they were exposed to hostile criticism ; they challenged 
the scrutiny both of friends and enemies ; and they passed 
through the ordeal triumphantly. 

§ 2. Quotations. — In the foregoing remarks we have 
endeavoured to present an outline of what may be called 
the naked testimony to the authorship and authenticity of 
the Scriptures ; we now proceed to another branch of 
evidence, if possible still more satisfactory and convincing; 
viz.. the vast body of quotations from our sacred books 
which are found in Christian writers from the very first. 
This is, in reality, a far more cogent species of attestation 
than the last mentioned. If Quintilian had simply in- 
formed us that Cicero had left an oration in defence of 
the poet Archias, there would be a strong probability that 
the work which we possess under that title in Cicero's 
remains is the oration in question ; that, therefore, it was 
extant in Quintilian's time, and was esteemed by the 
rhetorician a genuine work : but when he quotes, as he 


does, a sentence from the oration itself, which we also find 
in our copies, we are not only assured of its existence in 
that age, and of its reputed authenticity, hut, what is 
equally important, of the uncorrupted preservation of the 
text, as far as that portion extends. And should we, from 
various authors, be able thus to recover the whole, or the 
greater part, of the oration in question, and find that it 
corresponds with our printed copies, a few unimportant 
variations of reading excepted, this would remove every 
doubt as to our possessing the very work which Cicero 
composed. By the providence of God, we possess, in the 
case of the Scriptures, evidence of this kind the most 
copious and incontestable. It was the custom of the 
early Christian writers, as it is of modern divines, to inter- 
lard their discourses with abundant allusions to, and 
quotations from, the sacred volume ; which at once proves 
the existence of the books, and the estimation in which 
they were held. Very many of these quotations consist 
sinrply of passages, without the name of the writer; others, 
especially from the Gospels, are introduced with the ex- 
pression, " The Lord hath said," the primary, instead of 
the secondary, Author being named. A few specimens 
from the earlier writers must suffice. In the epistle of 
Barnabas, the companion of St. Paul, written soon after 
the destruction of Jerusalem, the following passage occurs: 
" Let us, therefore, beware, lest it come upon us as it is 
written ; There are many called, few chosen ; " 1 a reference 
to the Gospel of St. Matthew. Clement of Borne, also a 
companion of Paul, exhorts the Corinthians to whom he 
writes, to " remember the words of our Lord Jesus ; for 
He said, Woe to that man ; it were good for him that he had 
never been born, than that he should offend one of my elect ; 
better for him that a millstone were placed around him, and 
1 C. 4. The genuineness of this epistle is here assumed. 


that he should be drowned in the sea, than that he should 
offend one of my little ones."" 1 Ignatius, bishop of Antioch 
(a.d. 70), in his epistle to the Church of Smyrna, speaks 
of Christ " as baptized by John, that all righteousness miglii 
be fulfilled in Him;'"' 2 and admonishes Polycarp, the bishop 
of the Church, "to be wise as serpents in all things, and 
prudent as a dove." 3 In the epistle of Polycarp, the 
disciple of St. John, we read, " Jesus Cftrist, whom God 
raised up, having loosed the pains of death ; on whom" he 
continues, " though not seeing Him, ye believed; and believing 
ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorious."* " Judge not, 
that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven you." 5 
" Neither adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves 
with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven." 6 " Every 
one who confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is 
Antichrist." 1 Though the epistle from which these in- 
stances are taken is but a short one, it contains upwards 
of thirty undoubted allusions of the same kind to the 
New Testament. In the two Apologies of Justin Martyr 
(a.d. 140), there occur between twenty and thirty quota- 
tions from the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles : 
can we doubt that he referred to the same books which we 
possess, when within the compass of half a page we read 
as follows : 8 " And in other words, He says, Depart from me 
into outer darkness, which the Father hath prepared for Satan 
and his angels." (Matt. xxv. 41.) " And again He said, in 
other words, / give unto you power to tread upon serpents, 
and scorpions, and venomous beasts, and upon all the power 
of the enemy." (Luke, x. 19.) " And before He was 
crucified, He said, The Son of Man must suffer many things, 
and be rejected of the Scribes and Pharisees, and be crucified, 

1 1 Epist. c. 46. 2 AdSmyr. c. 1. 3 Ad Polyc. c. 2. 

4 Ad Phil. c. 1. 5 c. 2. c. 5. 

7 c. 7. 8 Dial. Par. II. p. 303. Edit. Lond. 1722. 


and rise again the third day" (Mark, vlii. 31.) The 
churches of Lyons and Vienne, a.d. 170, in an epistle still 
extant in Eusebius, 1 addressed to the Churches of Asia and 
Phrygia, describe the sufferings of their martyrs : " show- 
ing," they say, " by their example, that the sufferings of this 
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory 
about to be revealed to us." Of one of these, Vettius Epa- 
gathus, they bear witness, that, " though a young man, 
he deserved the eulogium of Zacharias, for he had realized 
in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blame- 
less." The testimony of Irenams to the authorship of the 
writings of the New Testament has been already alluded 
to : it is particularly valuable, because in his youth he 
had been a disciple of Polycarp ; had travelled extensively, 
and had spent much time and pains in this very depart- 
ment of literary labour. He suffered martyrdom under 
the Emperor Severus about a.d. 202. " Matthew," he 
writes, " wishing to convey full assurance to the Jews, that 
Jesus was the Christ, commences his gospel with the 
genealogy of Christ." 2 "If any one should reject Luke, 
as not knowing the truth, he openly rejects the Gospel ; 
for, by means of Luke, we become acquainted with many 
necessary facts of the Gospel, such as the birth of John 
(the Baptist), the history of Zacharias, the advent of the 
angel to Mary, the exclamation of Elizabeth, the visit of 
the angels to the shepherds, the testimony of Anna and 
Simeon to Christ, the visit of Christ to Jerusalem at 
twelve years old," &c. 3 In the same part of his works 
he gives an epitome of the concluding chapters of the book 
of Acts. Clement of Alexandria, who followed Irenaeus 
at an interval of only sixteen years, quotes almost all the 
books of the New Testament ; his citations would fill a 

1 Eccl. Hist. 1. v. c. 1. 2 Possini £atena in Matt. (ap. Massuet). 

3 Cont. Heer. 1. Hi. c. 14. 


considerable volume. Of Tertullian, his contemporary, it 
is sufficient to cite Lardner's remark, " that there are 
more and larger 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." x In the remains of Origen's works, 
quotations from Scripture are so thickly strewn, that Dr. 
Mill does not hesitate to say, that " if we had all his works 
remaining, we should have before us almost the whole 
text of the Bible." 2 It is unnecessary to proceed further. 
Succeeding writers, to our own times, furnish materials in 
constantly increasing abundance ; but they* are chiefly 
valuable as showing that the Christian Scriptures never 
lost their character or authority. It has been asserted 
that, from the ecclesiastical writings of the first six 
centuries, the whole text of the New Testament might be 
recovered, even if no MSS. existed. We may add, that no 
Apocryphal books are referred to in the same manner. Of 
the existence of such in the first century, no evidence re- 
mains ; and if, subsequently, some books, such as the Gospel 
according to the Hebrews and the Preaching of Peter, are 
mentioned, it is with marks of discredit ; and neither are 
they alleged by different parties as of authority in matters of 
faith, nor were they subjects of commentaries or expositions. 
The quotations from the Old Testament, occurring in 
early Christian writers, are comparatively few ; nor is it 
to be expected that they should often allude to it. Their 
general ignorance of Hebrew prevented any critical ex- 
amination of the originals ; and the controversies in which 
they were engaged lay in other directions. But the defect 
is abundantly supplied by the Christian Scriptures them- 
selves ; and it is on this account that we have, in the first 
instance, laboured to establish the authenticity and integ- 
1 Vol. ii. p. 287. Edit. 1788. 2 Prolog, p. 64. 


rity of those Scriptures. Assuming it, then, as an un- 
questionable fact, that the books of the New Testament, 
such as we have them, were known and acknowledged from 
the very first, we have but to open the volume to find in it 
exactly similar attestations to the Jewish Scriptures. The 
writers of these books cite from the Old Testament, just 
as ecclesiastical authors cite from the New, and almost as 
abundantly. Some of the difficulties connected with this 
subject will be noticed hereafter j 1 we are now only con- 
cerned with the fact. It has been calculated, then, that 
the references of the New Testament to the Old, including 
all kinds, direct and indirect, exceed 600 : of these the 
actual quotations amount to 263, while of indirect refer- 
ences there are about 376. The Pentateuch is quoted 90 
times ; the Psalms, 71 ; Isaiah, 56 ; and the minor pro- 
phets, about 30. With some variations, arising princi- 
pally from the use of the Septuagint version instead of the 
Hebrew, the great bulk of these allusions establishes 
completely the integrity of our Hebrew copies. 

§ 3. MSS. — The next branch of evidence to be con- 
sidered is that furnished by MSS. An autograph MS. of 
an ancient work, could it be clearly proved to be such, 
would of course set at rest all doubts respecting the 
faithfulness of subsequent transcripts. But neither of the 
ancient classics, nor of the Scriptures, does any such 
autograph exist. The best established of our classical 
texts rest on the authority of MSS., generally speaking, 
not older than from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries ; of 
about the same date are the extant MSS. of the Hebrew 
Scriptures. M. de Rossi assigned two in his possession to 
the eighth and ninth centuries ; but the great bulk both of 
his and Dr. Kennicott's collections reaches back no further 
than to the tenth century. Even this date, however, 
1 Part II. c. 3. 


places them on a level with those of the principal classical 
authors ; while in point of number they possess a vast 
superiority. The editors of the best known Greek and 
Latin writers are content to frame their texts on the 
authority of ten or fifteen MSS. ; of the Hebrew MSS. 
Dr. Kennicott collected upwards of 600, and M. de Eossi 
nearly 500 more. Not that each of these contains the 
whole of the Old Testament ; many of them comprise only 
the Pentateuch, many more are but fragmentary remains : 
but what is wanting in one is supplied by another, and 
collectively they form an authentic record of what the 
Hebrew text was before the age of printing. It is not 
from one country, or continent, that this mass of evidence 
has been derived : Spain, Germany, Italy, and the East, 
have each contributed their quota. It had long been the 
desire of biblical scholars to obtain some MSS. from the 
Jews who were known to have settled in India : at length 
the late Dr. Buchanan was fortunate enough to procure a 
MS. roll of the Pentateuch from the black Jews of 
Malabar, which is now deposited in the University library 
at Cambridge. A collation of this MS. produced no 
important variation from our existing copies. 

Of much greater antiquity than the Hebrew are the 
Greek MSS. of the Scriptures, containing the New 
Testament aud the Septuagint translation of the Old. Of 
these the earliest existing, the Vatican and the Alexan- 
drine, the former preserved in the Vatican Library at Rome, 
the latter in the British Museum, belong, most probably, 
to the fifth century. Critics have assigned a still more 
ancient date to certain MSS. which contain only the Old 
Testament in Greek ; the Codex Cottonianus, for example, 
so called from its having been preserved in the Cottonian 
library at Westminster, a few fragments of which, pre- 
served from a fire which consumed the rest, are deposited 


in the British Museum, and which was probably written 
towards the close of the fourth century. The number of 
MSS. of the New Testament in existence is prodigious ; 
they abound in every library of Christendom, and are 
supposed to amount to several thousands. For the 
gospels there have been actually collated 496 ; for the 
Acts and Catholic Epistles, 200 ; for St. Paul's Epistles, 
255 ; and for the book of Revelation, 91. 

What, now, has been the result of these vast and 
laborious investigations ? In no single instance has a 
various reading been discovered which affects the general 
sense of Scripture. Variations, of course, are met with ; 
but they almost always relate to unimportant points. 
Indeed the substantial agreement of the MSS. of Scrip- 
ture is, the number of transcriptions they have passed 
through being taken into account, one of the most extra- 
ordinary facts in the history of literature, and almost 
irresistibly suggests the idea of a superintending Pro- 
vidence. Of the whole of the Old Testament about 1314 
readings have been noted, as of importance ; of the New 
Testament only ten or twelve. None of these can be said 
to be of theological moment : they correct dates, they com- 
plete the sense, in some instances (in the New Testament) 
they affect the number of proofs for particular doctrines : 
but this is all. Thus, for example, many MSS. omit 
Acts, viii. 37, a passage which has been alleged against 
infant -baptism ; on Acts, xx. 28, the authorities 
are divided between " the Church of God " and the 
" Church of the Lord;" in 1 Tim. iii. 16, Griesbach reads, 
for " God manifest," " who was manifest ;" and in Jam. ii. 
18, fourteen MSS. have for " by thy works," "without thy 
works." These are some of the most important differ- 
ences which the discovery of fresh MSS. has brought to 
light. So trivial indeed, for the most part, are these 


differences, that the labours of the learned in this branch 
of criticism have been depreciated, as having led to no 
results of consequence ; whereas one of the greatest advan- 
tages we have derived from them is a knowledge of the 
agreement of the MS. copies of the Scriptures with each 
other, and with our Bibles. 1 We conclude this section 
with the words of a great critic : " The real text of the 
sacred writer does not now (since the originals have been 
so long lost) lie in any single manuscript or edition, but is 
dispersed in them all. It is competently exact indeed, 
even in the worst manuscript now extant ; nor is one 
single article of faith or moral precept either perverted or 
lost in them." 2 

§ 4. Versions. — There remains one more source of 
external evidence, viz., ancient versions from the original 
Hebrew or Greek, which are of great value in determining 
what the text was at the time when they were executed. 

Under this head we place the Samaritan Pentateuch, 
though it is rather an independent recension of the sacred 
text than a version. Though it is referred to by ancient 
writers, it fell into oblivion, and was thought to have 
perished, until Archbishop Usher procured six copies 
from the East: by the aid of which, and other MSS. 
subsequently available, it was printed first in the Paris, 
and then in the London Polyglott. As there has been no 
intercourse between the Jews and the Samaritans since 
the Babylonish captivity, on account of the latter having 
established a separate worship on Mount Gerizim, the 
Samaritan Pentateuch must derive its origin from a very 
early period, perhaps antecedent to the division of the 
kingdom. The variations which it presents from our 
present Jewish copies are so inconsiderable, as to give us 

1 Tomline, Introd. part i. c. 1. 

2 Bentley, Remarks on Freethinking, p. 97. 



the strongest assiu-ance that we possess the text of this 
portion of God's word substantially as Moses left it. 

Of versions properly so called, the earliest and most im- 
portant is the Greek one of the Old Testament, commonly 
called the Septuagint, executed, it is supposed, under Pto- 
lemy Philadelphus, at Alexandria, b.c. 270. It contains 
the whole of the Old Testament, with the Apocrypha. Next 
in point of time, are the Targums, or Chaldee paraphrases, 
which were composed for the use of the Jews, to whom, after 
the captivity, Hebrew had become a dead language : the 
best executed, those of Onkelos and Jonathan, belong, it 
is supposed, to our Lord's age. These paraphrases, which 
are sometimes as literal as versions, comprise all the books 
of the Old Testament, with the exception of Daniel, Ezra, 
and Nehemiah. About the close of the first century the 
Syriac version called Peschito, or literal, from its close 
adherence to the original text, was made directly from the 
Hebrew of the Old, and the Greek of the New Testament ; 
the only books which it omits are those which were con- 
troverted in the Primitive Church, — the 2d Epistle of 
Peter, the 2d and 3d of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the 
Revelation. In the Western Church, before the labours 
of Jerome, a Latin version was current, called the Old 
Italic, a few fragments of which yet remain : it is ascribed 
to the second century. For our present purpose, which is 
not to give a critical history of versions, but to point out 
how they bear upon the authenticity of our Scriptures, it 
is unnecessary to pursue the subject further; and as much 
of the argumentative value of this species of evidence 
depends upon the independence of the versions of each 
other, those only have been specified to which this quality 
belongs. The three principal versions above mentioned had 
no manner of connexion with each other. The Chaldee 
paraphrases, used by the Hebrews, were for a long time 


unknown to the Christian Church ; of the Greek version 
the Syriac Christians were ignorant, and of the Syriac the 
Western Church ; the versions were not only of indepen- 
dent origin, but preserved by mutual enemies, Jews and 
Christians, and rival churches ; yet, with a few insignifi- 
cant variations, they represent the same text, enumerate 
the same books, and give us the same contents of each 
book. The evidence thus furnished is direct and conclusive. 
There must have been, at the time when these versions 
were executed, some one original, well known, widely 
diffused, and acknowledged as authentic. 

Sect. II. — Internal Evidence. 

When we open the volume of Scripture itself, do we 
find anything at variance with the supposition of the 
several portions of it having been written at the periods to 
which they are respectively assigned ? Such is the question 
now before us. 

§ 1. Writers must have been Jews. — We have to observe, 
then, in the first place, that the writers of Scripture 
profess to have been Jews, by birth and by religion ; and 
that they must have been so is evident. To insist upon 
this in the case of the Old Testament is needless, on 
account of the language ; but the New Testament also 
betrays everywhere its Jewish origin. Separated as the 
Jews were by their peculiar institutions from the rest of 
the world, and regarded with contempt by the polished 
nations of antiquity, who but natives could have evinced 
such a minute acquaintance with the national religion, 
customs, and even traditions, as appears in every page of the 
Christian Scriptures ? It would have been utterly impossible 
without a miracle, for either a Greek or a Roman of that, 
or, indeed, of any age, to become so conversant with every 
phase of Jewish life, so imbued with Jewish modes of 


thinking, so skilled in concealing his acquaintance with 
any literature beyond the confines of Judasa (with the 
single exception of St. Paul), as not, in some instances at 
least, to have let fall marks of his foreign extraction. But 
nothing of the kind (with the exception just mentioned) 
appears in the New Testament. It is throughout con- 
sistent with its reputed authorship. 

§ 2. Language. — The language in which Scripture is 
written renders the suspicion of forgery untenable. When 
a language has ceased to be verncaular, it becomes next to 
impossible to introduce a successful imposture of this kind. 
Now the Hebrew demonstrably ceased to be the living 
language of the Jews soon after the Babylonish captivity ; 
any production, therefore, in pure Hebrew cannot be of 
much later date than that. event; the book of Malachi, for 
example, the last of the prophets, must have been written 
several centuries before the Christian era. Supposing it to 
be so, we are compelled to advance a step further, and to 
conclude that between this latest portion of Scripture and 
the earlier books a considerable interval must have elapsed. 
For in the Hebrew, as in other languages, we can trace 
growth and progress ; from simpler to more complicated, 
from ruder to more refined forms of speech ; from the infancy 
to the prime, and then to the decline, of the language : the 
style of Moses is not that of David, nor the latter that of 
Isaiah, still less of Malachi : their works, therefore, must 
have been composed at different and distant periods, and 
this places the Pentateuch at a remote antiquity. 

These observations apply, but with increased force, to 
the language of the New Testament. For its structure is 
such as to fix its date within very narrow limits. It is 
written in Greek, but Greek tinged with the Chaldee and 
Syriac idiom to such an extent that none but persons con- 
versant with both languages could have used it. It is not 


the language of Athens, nor is it the language of Philo 
or Josephus, students of Greek literature ; but the dialect 
of unlearned Jews, who, from frequent intercourse with 
strangers, had acquired some familiarity with Greek, then 
the universal language, but who could not write it without 
largely intermingling Oriental phraseology. At what 
period of time could such an idiom have appeared ? Con- 
fessedly the offspring of Judeea, could these compositions, 
or if so, would they, have been fabricated by any Jew of 
that country in the second century, when the separation 
between Judaism and Christianity had become complete ? 
But at this time the only Christians who remained in 
Judaea were the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, who admitted 
but one Gospel, and that in Hebrew ; and who were not 
likely, therefore, to forge Greek gospels or epistles. We 
can assign them to but one period, that between our Lord's 
death and the destruction of Jerusalem ; during which the 
Jewish temple and polity were as yet in existence, and the 
various coincidences of Jewish origin and Christian faith, 
of Jewish education and acquired knowledge of the Greek 
tongue, could meet in the same persons, and produce the 
results which we actually see. 

§ 3. Circumstantiality. — A third internal mark of 
genuineness is the great circumstantiality of the Scripture 
narrative. It abounds with the names of men and places; 
with allusions to manners and customs, private and 
public transactions; it contains long pedigrees of the 
tribes, and of particular families; a large portion of it 
consists of biographical accounts of distinguished indi- 
viduals, which enter minutely into particulars. Com- 
positions of this kind, if spurious, expose themselves to 
the greatest danger of detection ; each particular fact or 
allusion becomes a test of the writer's veracity. In point 
of fact, forged accounts carefully avoid this minuteness of 


detail, and abound in vague generalities. It is not, how- 
ever, so much the mere amount of detail, as the intricacy 
of connexion, the undesigned coincidences, by which the 
history is knit together into an harmonious whole, that 
stamps the Bible as authentic. Into this interesting field 
of inquiry our limits will not permit us to enter: we can 
but refer our readers to works specially devoted to it, such 
as Blunt's Coincidences, and Paley's Horce Paulinas. An 
instance or two must here suffice. In Luke, iii. 14, we 
read that among others to whom the Baptist addressed his 
admonitions were certain " soldiers," or rather, " soldiers 
on the march " {a-r^arivo^ivoi). Who these were does not 
from the history appear; the Roman soldiers then in 
Judasa were engaged in no war. A Jewish historian, 
Josephus, supplies the link. He tells us that at that 
very period Herod was about to invade the territories of 
Aretas, his father-in-law, with whom he had a quarrel ; 
these " soldiers " then formed part of the army, which in 
its march from Galilee southwards must of necessity pass 
through the country where John was baptizing. Would 
it have occurred to a forger to have inserted so minute a 
circumstance ; or if so, would he not have taken pains to 
direct attention to his knowledge of the history of those 
times ? Would he have so casually, and without explana- 
tion, let drop the fact, and never afterwards referred to it? 
St. Paul is said, in Acts, xvi. 1, to have found in the 
parts about Derbe a:id Lystra, " a certain disciple, named 
Timotheus, the son of a certain woman which was a 
Jewess;" to the same Timothy he writes, "from a child 
thou hast known the Holy Scriptures," i.e., the Old Testa- 
ment (2 Tim. iii. 15), which implies that one at least of 
his parents must have been of Jewish race. If either the 
book of Acts or the Epistle had been a fabrication, and 
the passage relating to Timothy inserted to give colour to 


the forgery by conformity to the other writing, would the 
forger have satisfied himself with so oblique and unde- 
signed a coincidence ? 

§ 4. Style. — In the style of the New Testament there 
are no traces of imposture. It ministers no nutriment to 
the imagination ; nor is it distinguished bv any literary 
excellence save that of unadorned simplicity. It is the 
mode of writing which we should expect plain men, intent 
upon describing what they had seen, to adopt ; careless of 
embellishment, because they were narrating the truth. St. 
Paul's style, indeed, is different ; but it is also what we 
should expect from his recorded education and natural 
temperament. Yet, amidst this unpretending simplicity 
there is a feature which, were it the result of art, would 
have required the exercise of the highest genius to produce, 
— the identity of character both of the chief persons who 
figure in the history, and of the writings ascribed to them. 
We have four distinct memoirs of Christ; let us conceive, 
if we can, the difficulty of so fabricating these biographies 
as that they should be marked each by its own peculiarities, 
and yet convey substantially the same impression of Him 
whose history they relate. What we read of St. Peter in the 
Gospel and in the book of Acts is all in keeping; through- 
out St. Paul's Epistles, various as are the topics, the same 
vigorous, discursive mind appears ; none could ever con- 
found them with the writings of his brother apostle, " the 
disciple whom Jesus loved." It is rarely that in a single 
work of fiction individuality of character is thus sustained 
from beginning to end ; for such writers as those of the 
New Testament manifestly were to do this in a series of 
works, and through an extended range of personages, 
unless they were simply describing what they were eye and 
ear witnesses of, must be pronounced impossible. 


Conclusion. — The result of the foregoing remarks may- 
be briefly summed up. St. John, the last survivor of the 
Apostles, lived to the close of the first century; during 
his life no spurious gospels could have gained any general 
footing in the churches of Christendom. About the middle 
of the second century the series of testimony to the univer- 
sal reception and authority of our four Gospels commences ; 
it must have been in the brief interval then, if at all, — 
an interval of about fifty years — that they were forged. 
But is it credible that every Christian church should have, 
without question, admitted the imposture ; that no sus- 
picion should ever have been expressed as to the genuineness 
of the works in question ? And this at a time, when the 
means of communication, and therefore collusion, were 
comparatively difficult, and when we know that so far were 
the early Christians from at once acquiescing in the claims 
of books professing to come from Apostles, that, on the 
contrary, they were slow to accept those the evidence for 
which, however trustworthy, seemed less clear and full, as 
the Epistle to the Hebrews and the second Epistle of St. 
Peter. The same remarks apply, but still more strongly, to 
St. Paul's epistles. If they are forgeries, the fraud must- 
have been executed between his death (a.d. 66) and the 
middle of the second century, where, as before, the chain of 
testimony becomes distinct ; during this interval then the 
various churches to which these epistles are addressed were, 
on this hypothesis, induced to endorse compositions which 
they were well aware did not proceed from St. Paul, 
abounding with circumstantial allusions to his visits to 
them and to their internal state, all of which they must 
have known to be false ! Scepticism here, as frequently, 
passes into the weakest credulity. Both orthodox 
Christians and heretics, Jews and apostates, had the 


strongest interest in detecting and exposing this literary- 
fraud, could it have been, with any chance of success, 
shown to be such ; the attempt was never made, because it 
was felt to be hopeless. 

The authenticity of the Christian Scriptures being 
assumed, that of the Old Testament follows directly. By 
our Lord and the Apostles our present books are quoted 
and classified, and no others. Amidst the censures which 
Christ directed against the Jews of that age, he never 
charged them with adding to, or corrupting, their scrip- 
tures ; by their traditions they frequently " made the 
Word of God of none effect," out the Word itself they left 
intact. Ancient catalogues, ancient versions, the testimony 
of Philo and Josephus, the Septuagint translation, prove 
the existence, in their respective ages, of the very writings 
which we now read. The Jews, the appointed keepers of their 
own sacred books, have always held them, and none but them, 
to be genuine. Internal testimony confirms the external, 
and points to persons of the age, andjn the circumstances 
in which the reputed authors of Holy Scripture were placed, 
as the only persons who could have been the authors 

We have reason to believe that the text has come 
down to us substantially uncorrupted. It is, antecedently, 
extremely unlikely that any material alteration could have 
taken place. No proof, or vestige, of such exists. The 
law was the charter by which the Jews held Canaan ; it 
was to be publicly read at stated times; 1 it was to be 
kept in the ark; 2 parents were to teach it to their 
children; 3 nothing, under severe penalties, was to be 
added to, or taken from, it. 4 After the separation of the 
kingdoms, the Jews and the Samaritans acted as mutual 
checks upon each other, as far as the text of the Pentateuch 
1 Deut. xxxi. 9-13. 2 Ibid. 26. 3 Deut. vi. 7. 4 Deut. iv. 2. 


is concerned. The prophets are unsparing censors of the 
national sins, but they never accuse the people of tampering 
with their sacred books. Had any attempt of this kind 
been made, the mutilators would surely not have spared 
those passages in which the Jewish people is represented 
in the most unfavourable light. After the captivity the 
superstitious reverence of the Jews for the letter of the 
Scripture is well known, and the rival sects into which they 
were broken up must have operated as an additional security. 
Since the establishment of Christianity the mutual jealousy 
of Jews and Christians has rendered any material alteration 
impracticable ; nor would the former, had they been dis- 
posed to omit or to interpolate, have left the prophecies 
which relate to Christ in undiminished cogency of proof. 

Equally improbable is it that the writings of the New 
Testament should have been corrupted. During the life- 
time of their authors this would not be attempted ; and 
before their death copies were dispersed throughout the 
principal communities of Christians in the Roman empire. 
If one church, or any section of a church, were to form 
such a design, would the fraud have been connived at and 
accepted by all these communities ? These writings were 
publicly read ; they were appealed to by all parties as con- 
clusive in matters of controversy ; no omission, therefore, 
or insertion could take place without instant detection on 
the part of opponents. It must be remembered, too, that 
the New Testament books have been transcribed far more 
frequently than those of any other Greek author; how 
incredible, then, the supposition that all these MSS. 
scattered in various countries, should, by a general com- 
bination, have undergone the same corruption, and how 
incredible, if such a combination ever existed, that the 
fact should have been passed over in silence by eccle- 
siastical historians. It is to be observed, too, that 


at no time did such a union of sentiment exist 
amongst Christians as to render such a general attempt 

When to these considerations we add the agreement of 
MSS., versions, paraphrases, and quotations, which, inde- 
pendently of each other, give, with insignificant variations, 
the same text — an agreement which belongs equally to 
the Old and the New Testaments — we have abundant 
reason to conclude that not only do we possess in our 
sacred volume the very productions of the first preachers 
of the Gospel, but that they have been transmitted to us 
unadulterated ; and that when we read, we read, for all 
essential purposes of doctrine or practice, the very word 
of God. 

We proceed now to consider more in detail, the various 
topics which in the argumentative sketch above given, it 
was sufficient to touch upon, but upon which it is de- 
sirable that the biblical student should possess fuller 



Section 1. — Old Testament 

Among the nations of the East literature and religion 
were intimately connected ; priests were the earliest 
historians, and the temples the usual depositories of the 
national annals. From the East this custom passed to 
the West, and both Greeks and Romans had their sacred 
books; which were committed to the custody of a priestly 
caste, and carefully deposited in buildings set apart to 
sacred purposes. That the Hebrews, whose literature was 


exclusively sacred, and with whose temple all that was 
peculiar to the national worship was inseparably connected, 
should form no exception to the general practice of 
antiquity, is to he expected ; and we find, in fact, that of 
the book of the Law the priests were to be the guardians 
and interpreters (Deut. xvii. 9-18), and that the volume 
itself was to be deposited at the side of the Ark in the 
most holy place (Deut. xxxi. 26). This is the first 
mention we have of the collection and custody of the 
sacred books. The same rule seems to have been followed 
with the additions which from time to time were made : 
thus Joshua attached the record of the covenant which the 
people renewed with Jehovah to " the book of the law of 
God " (Josh. xxiv. 26) ; and Samuel " wrote the manner 
of the kingdom in a book, and laid it up before the Lord " 
(1 Sam. x. 25). It was " in the house of the Lord," that 
in the days of Josiah, the book of the Law was found by 
Hilkiah (2 Kings, xxii. 8). 

That a collection of sacred books, well known and acknow- 
ledged, was thus gradually formed, may be inferred from 
a passage in Isa. xxxiv. 16, in which he refers his readers 
to the " book of the Lord," including therein his own pro- 
phecies ; and from the general facts that the later prophets 
exhibit an intimate acquaintance with the writings of their 
predecessors, and that in the Old Testament a knowledge 
of the law, on the part of the people, is everywhere pre- 
supposed. We are not, indeed, to suppose that in these 
early times any formal steps were taken to ascertain the 
canonical books: as long as a visible manifestation of 
Jehovah's sovereignty in the most holy place guarded the 
inspired records from profanation, and especially as long as 
prophecy continued to authenticate those compositions which 
had been penned under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 
this task was the less necessary. But when, after the 


return of the people from Babylon, the second temple was 
deprived of the especial symbol of God's presence, the ark 
of the covenant ; when the gift of prophecy was withdrawn ; 
when the inspired writings, of every class, were probably 
scattered in all parts of the holy land, and in the hands of 
private persons incurred the danger of falsification; and, 
lastly, when the Hebrew ceased to be a living language, at 
least among the people in general; — the importance, and 
indeed necessity, of an authoritative settlement of the 
canon became evident. Accordingly it is to this period 
that we must refer the first attempt to collect the sacred 
books into a class distinct from all others. In point of 
fact, we find in the Jewish writers who lived after the 
time of Ezra, distinct references to such a collection, and, 
what is of equal importance, intimations that it was then 
closed. The most ancient book which time has spared us 
from the interval between Malachi and Christ, the book of 
the son of Sirach, mentions, as we have seen, three classes of 
writings, the productions of famous men of old, the law, the 
prophecies, and moral and lyric compositions ; and the pro- 
logue of his descendant, the translator of the book into 
Greek, likewise speaks of three, and three only, divisions, 
" the law, the prophets, and the rest of the books ; " under 
which last expression is to be understood the class known 
afterwards by the name of " Hagiographa." If with this we 
couple the fact that, notwithstanding the high estimation 
in which the book of the son of Sirach was held among the 
Jews, it was never placed among the canonical writings, we 
gain the clearest evidence that the case admits of that some 
time before this book was written, i.e. several centuries 
before Christ, the Jews regarded the canon as finally 
closed. The testimony of Josephus is express to the 
same point. After specifying the books of Scripture 
which, from the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, 


he divides into twenty-two, — five of the law, thirteen of 
the prophets, and fonr of the Hagiographa, — he adds, " from 
the time of Artaxerxes " (the date of the book of Esther), 
" to the present day, books of various kinds have appeared ; 
but they are not esteemed of equal authority with the more 
ancient, because since that time the legitimate succession 
of prophets has failed." 1 It seems, then, that in the 
opinion of Josephus, a succession of prophets, the latter 
attesting the works of the former, was necessary to fix the 
canon authoritatively ; and since the cessation of prophecy 
no book could claim this inspired testimony. 

According to a tradition of the Jews, the substantial 
truth of which there is no reason to doubt, soon after the 
return from the captivity, a body of learned men, called 
the Great Synagogue, undertook the task of restoring the 
public worship of the temple, and collecting the books of 
Scripture, which, through the destruction of the first 
temple, had been scattered abroad. The same tradition 
makes Nehemiah and Ezra members of this body ; and 
points to the latter as especially intrusted with the settle- 
ment of the Canon. From his priestly descent, and 
intimate acquaintance with the annals and literature of 
his native land, he was well fitted for this task ; and it is 
probable that he accomplished it in the interval between 
his first arrival at Jerusalem (Ezra, vii. 6) and the solemn 
assembly at which he officiated as interpreter of the law 
(Neh. viii. 10) ; for, during this period of nearly thirteen 
years, he disappears entirely from the history. To this 
authorised collection, Ezra's own writings, together with 
those of Nehemiah and Malachi, which were written after 
Ezra's death, were added, and the Canon thus completed. 
These additions are said to have been made by Simon the 
Just, the last of the Great Synagogue. 
1 Cent. Apion. i. s. 8. 


The threefold division of the Scriptures of the Old 
Testament seems as ancient as the collection itself. It is 
alluded to in the book of the son of Sirach, and still more 
explicitly by Josephus ; the latter of whom, however, dis- 
poses the books differently from the present arrangement of 
the Jews ; comprehending under the Chetubim, or Hagio- 
grapha, only the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song 
of Solomon. The present, and doubtless the most ancient, 
arrangement is as follows: — 1. The Pentateuch, which 
always formed a volume by itself, since to its author, 
Moses, was assigned the first rank amongst the inspired 
men of Israel ; 2. The prophets, comprising the former 
prophets, viz. the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 
1 and 2 Kings, the two latter forming, respectively, one 
book, and the latter prophets, the writings of Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and of the twelve minor prophets, 
which last were regarded as one book ; 3. The Chetubim, 
or Hagiographa, under which head all the remaining books 
were classed. The distinction between the prophets and 
the Hagiographa seems to have arisen from that between 
the prophets, properly so called, who had a public mission 
to a permanent office, and those inspired persons, who, 
like David or Solomon, were occasionally moved by the 
Spirit of God to write, without being officially of the 
prophetical college. 1 On this ground the books of Joshua, 
Judges, Samuel, and Kings, the authorship of which 
tradition assigned to prophets by office, were placed in the 
second class, while the book of Daniel, though prophetical 
in character, was referred to the Chetubim, because the 
author had no public prophetical mission. This threefold 
division is, as we know, referred to by our Lord, under the 

1 The distinction is expressed in Scripture by the two words, 
prophet and seer ; the former denoting the office, the latter a gift. 


titles of the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. (Luke, 
xxiv. 44.) 

The Canon thus closed was, with the exception of a 
few insignificant sects, acknowledged by the Jews through- 
out the world. Though a number of apocryphal writings, 
most of them of Alexandrine origin, appeared subsequently 
to the last of the prophets, and some became incorporated 
with the Septuagint translation of the Scriptures, it does 
not appear that even in Egypt they ever obtained canon- 
ical authority, and certainly not among the Jews of 
Palestine. The Samaritans, we know, rejected all but the 
Pentateuch, but they were a separate people. That the 
Sadducees questioned the authority of any part of the 
Canon, has never been satisfactorily proved ; the Essenes 
alone, a semi-heathenish sect, appear to have added certain 
mystical books of their own to those received by the rest 
of the nation. It was, therefore, in disregard of the 
unanimous tradition of the appointed guardians of the 
Old Testament, as well as of the facts of history, that the 
Church of Rome, with the view of establishing her dogma 
of Church authority, pronounced, at the Council of Trent, 
that all the books contained in the Vulgate, apocryphal 
and otherwise, should, under pain of an anathema, be 
counted as sacred and canonical. (Sess. iv. c. 1.) 

Sect. 2. — The New Testament. 

The Greek word kxvuv occurs several times in St. Paul's 
epistles, but only in the sense, either of the prescribed 
limits within which his mission was confined (2 Cor. x. 13, 
15, 16), or of the doctrine and practice which he preached 
(Gal. vi. 1G ; Philip, iii. 16). At a very early period, 
however, it was used to signify the collection of sacred 
books generally received by the Church, these books being 


the rule or standard by which alleged apostolic teaching 
was to be examined, and either received or rejected. 

It is unnecessary to repeat here what has been already 
observed 1 respecting the testimony of the early Church 
to our present books of the New Testament, and to them 
alone, as being canonical. From the first they are cited 
as Scripture, that is, as books of a peculiar character, 
possessing an authority which belonged to no others ; 
they were publicly read in Christian assemblies as the 
Word of God ; catalogues were formed of them, of which 
thirteen before the fifth century are extant, and which, 
though in some of them certain books are omitted, all 
agree in containing no other books ; the oldest version, 
the Peschito, contains no other books. Commentaries 
were written upon them, and they were appealed to by 
heretics and unbelievers, as well as by Christians, as the 
authentic records of the Christian religion. 

Notwithstanding that the fact is indisputable, that 
from the first a general agreement existed as to what 
books were to be accounted canonical, it is impossible to 
assign the particular time when the present collection was 
made, or the persons who were engaged in it. There are 
no traces of this question having been formally discussed 
and decided in any council ; that of Laodicea, a.d. 364, 
which has been improperly supposed to have first settled 
the canon, merely giving a catalogue of the books already 
well known and accepted. 2 Unlike the books of the Old 
Testament, which were written for one nation, circum- 
scribed within narrow bounds of territory, those of the 
New were addressed to churches scattered over the known 
world : time, therefore, was requisite, both for the dis- 

1 Pp. 9-14. 

2 The authenticity of this catalogue has been questioned See 
Westcott, i. p. 500, 


semination of the books and for a general recognition of 
their authority. When to this we add the comparative 
difficulties of transcription and of communication, and the 
political disadvantages under which, for several centuries 
Christianity laboured, preventing the assembling of any 
general council to determine this and similar questions, 
we cannot feel surprised that the canon should have only 
gradually become established. Each church probably 
enlarged its collection according as the evidence in favour 
of particular books became satisfactory ; and, under the 
circumstances, it is rather matter of wonder that Christians 
should so soon have come to a general agreement upon the 
subject, than that a formal decision should not have been 
promulgated earlier. 

One circumstance that must have retarded the fixing 
of the canon was the swarm of apocryphal writings which 
appeared in the ages following the Apostles, and which 
commonly laid claim to apostolic origin. Some of these 
will be mentioned in another place. To sift the evidence 
for these spurious compositions must have been a work of 
no small difficulty and labour ; and it must add to our 
respect for the diligence and judgment of the ancient 
Church, that none of them appear in the early catalogues 
or versions, are quoted as Scripture, were read as such in 
the public assemblies, or were adduced by different parties 
as of authority. 

The books which Eusebius calls opoXoyovp'ivoi, that is, 
universally and without controversy admitted, are the four 
Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of St. Paul, 
the first Epistle of St. John, and the first of St. Peter. 
Of the remaining books, the Epistle of St. James, the 
second Epistle of St. Peter, the second and third of St. 
John, the Epistle of St. Jude, and the Revelation, were 
questioned, he says, by s' v ^^ though received by the 


majority; 1 his own opinion being that the Revelation is the 
work of St. John. " The fourteen epistles of Paul are clear 
and publicly known ; it need not, however, be concealed that, 
on account of the doubts of the Roman Church respecting 
its authenticity, the Epistle to the Hebrews has by some 
been rejected." 2 Such, at the commencement of the fourth 
century, was the state of the canon as attested by one of 
the most diligent and impartial writers of antiquity. Some 
books had not as yet succeeded in obtaining an undisputed 
place therein ; they being precisely such as from their 
nature or contents we might expect to be of tardier ad- 
mission. For either, like the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 
Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, and the Apocalypse, they 
do not expressly assert their apostolic origin ; or, like the 
second and third of St. John, they were addressed to private 
persons not to churches, and therefore both their circulation 
and the proofs of their authenticity laboured under peculiar 
difficulties. As regards the Apocalypse, we may add that 
for the same reason that it is omitted in our Calendar of 
lessons, it was not commonly read in the public assemblies 
of the early Church ; hence, doubtless, its omission in the 
Peschito and some of the early catalogues. 

A fuller account of the disputed books of the New 
Testament will be given when we come to examine each 
book particularly ; the following general remarks must, for 
the present, suffice. The Epistle to the Hebrews was 
known from the earliest times ; but while by the Eastern 
and Syrian Churches both its Pauline origin and its canon- 
icity were admitted, the Western Church entertained 
doubts upon these points, which do not disappear till after 
the time of Jerome. The Epistle of St. James stands 
much in the same position ; it is referred to by the earliest 
fathers, and was received into the canon of the Eastern 
1 Eccles. Hist. lib. Hi. c. 25. - Ibid. c. 3. 


and Syrian Churches, but in other places hesitation was 
expressed respecting its claims. The second Epistle of St. 
Peter seems to have been very little known in the ancient 
Church ; of all the disputed books its history is the most 
obscure. Origen first mentions it as disputed, and it does 
not appear in the Peschito, or Syrian canon. From the 
time of Jerome, who considered it genuine, it gradually 
won its way into the canon. The genuineness of the second 
and third Epistles of St. John rests upon satisfactory 
testimony ; the Syrian Church alone did not receive them. 
The Epistle of St. Jude is not found in the Peschito, nor is 
it alluded to by the apostolic Fathers ; it forms part, how- 
ever, of the Muratori Canon, which is supposed to belong to 
the second century, and is quoted as genuine by Clement 
of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and Jerome. With the 
exception of the Syrian Peschito, which does not contain it, 
the Apocalypse can claim the unanimous testimony of the 
two first centuries in its favour ; for the first time in the 
third century it began, in certain Churches, to be questioned. 
Such is a simple statement of the facts as they exist. 
From the time of Jerome, whose critical abilities were 
especially employed on these subjects, the suspicion which, 
here and there, attached to the books in question, seems 
gradually to have disappeared, and in the fourth century 
our present canon may be said to have been universally 
acknowledged. It must never be forgotten that this 
question of evidence is comparative, and that those writings 
of the New Testament which are the least strongly attested, 
as, for example, the second Epistle of Peter, rest upon 
testimony incomparably stronger than can be adduced for 
any apocryphal writing. Nor must it be forgotten that 
the very hesitation and reserve with which the disputed 
books were received add vast weight to the judgment of 
the early Church where it was unanimous, and convey the 


assurance that, if doubts were abandoned, it was because 
the evidence was found at last to be irresistible ; the cir- 
cumstance proves the care and jealousy with which the 
canon was watched over, and the freedom too which was 
claimed and exercised in these discussions. The candidly 
expressed doubts of the first three centuries respecting 
portions of our present canon, are of the same assistance to 
our faith on this point as the incredulity of Thomas is to 
our conviction of the truth of our Lord's resurrection. 

Sect. 3. — Other Jewish and Christian writings, 
Apociypha, Talmud. 

Some other Jewish and Christian writings remain to 
be noticed, which, although not inspired, form an inter- 
esting portion of ecclesiastical literature, and are, a 
portion of them at least, of considerable use in the inter- 
pretation of Holy Scripture. Among these the first place, 
both as regards antiquity and importance, is due to the 
apocryphal books of the Old Testament. 

Apocryphal additions to the Old Testament. — The word 
apocrypha is derived either from the words ocxb tjj« xgvsrrus, 
because the books designated by it were removed from the 
crypt, or chest, in which the Canonical Scriptures were 
preserved; or from the verb a7roK^v^ra, to hide, because 
these books were concealed by the Church from the mass 
of readers. Under the term " apocryphal books," the Ee- 
formed Churches comprise, not merely those which the 
Church of Rome acknowledges to be such ; as the Prayer of 
Manasseh, the third and fourth books of Esdras, the sup- 
plement to Job, and the 151st Psalm ; but those also which 
the Council of Trent pronounces to be part of Canonical 
Scripture; viz. the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, and 
Ecclesiasticus ; the additions to the book of Esther ; Baruch 
the Prophet, with the Epistle of Jeremiah ; the Song of the 


Three Children ; the story of Susanna ; that of Bel and the 
Dragon; and the first and second books of Maccabees. 
They may be read for " instruction of manners," 1 but 
cannot be applied to establish any article of faith. The 
reasons for their rejection from the canon are briefly as 
follows: — The internal evidence is against them. None 
of them is extant in biblical Hebrew, though some of them, 
as the book of Ecclesiasticus, are said to have been origin- 
ally written in that language. It can be proved that they 
appeared subsequently to the cessation of prophecy; nor 
do the writers profess to be inspired. They contain state- 
ments fabulous, or self-contraclictory, or inconsistent with 
the history or the doctrines of Scripture. Of the first 
description are the story of Bel and the Dragon, and that 
of Judith; of the second, the statements that Baruch was 
carried to Babylon (Bar. i. 2), at the time when Jeremiah 
informs us that he was carried to Egypt (Jer. xliii. 6, 7); 
that Hainan was a Macedonian (Esth. xvi. 10); and 
that, according to 1 Mace. vi. 4-16, Antiochus Epiphanes 
died in Babylon, while, according to 2 Mace. ix. 28, he died 
a strange death among the mountains: of the third, are 
the sanctioning of prayers for the dead (2 Mace. xii. 44) ; 
prayers of the dead (Bar. iii. 4) ; justification by works, 
especially by alms-giving (2 Esd. viii. 33 ; Tob. xii. 8, 
9) ; suicide excused (2 Mace. xiv. 42) ; magical incantations 
sanctioned (Tob. vi. 16, 17). 

Still more conclusive is the external evidence. They 
were never received into the canon by the Jews ; nor have 
they the sanction of Christ or His Apostles, who never 
quote from them. Pliilo is silent upon their claims, and 
Josephus expressly excludes them from the canon. The 
later Jewish writers speak of them disparagingly. They 
are absent from the catalogues of the sacred books, pub- 
1 Art. G. 


lished during the first four centuries after Christ. 1 The 
Fathers of the Christian Church during the same period, 
speaking generally, draw a broad line of distinction between 
them and the acknowledged books of Scripture. Against 
this mass of testimony the loose expressions of individual 
writers, such as Origen and Augustine, who sometimes 
quote the Apocrypha, as if it were canonical Scripture, 
cannot be allowed to weigh. A succession of witnesses 
down to the sixteenth century can be adduced on the same 
side. The Greek Church rejects these books. For the first 
time, in the history of the Church, the Council of Trent 
(a.d. 1546) pronounced that " all the books" contained in 
the old Latin Vulgate, and the Apocryphal books by name, 
should be received with the same " piety and veneration " 
as were due to the undisputed writings of the Old 
Testament. — (Sess. 4). 

The estimation in which the Apocryphal books came to 
be held may easily be accounted for. The productions of 
Alexandrian Jews, from whom the Septuagint also pro- 
ceeded, and being for the most part written in Greek, or if 
not, translated into that language, they naturally became 
incorporated with the Septuagint version, and received, 
from the connexion, some portion of the reverence which 
was paid to the writings of the Old Testament. Along 
with the diffusion and constant use of the Septuagint 
version among the Jews, the Apocrypha also became 
known and read ; from the Jews the early Christian Fathers 
received both, and being, witli the exception of Origen, 
ignorant of Hebrew, incorporated both in their Latin 

1 The Catalogue of the Council of Laodicea (a.d. 364), the first 
that professes to be a complete one of the inspired books, makes 
mention of Baruch and the epistle of Jeremiah. But grave doubts are 
entertained respecting the authenticity of that part of the decrees of 
the Council. See Westcott, Canon, p. 496. 


translation, which formed the basis of the Vulgate. Until 
the time of Jerome no translation was made directly from 
the Hebrew ; and, therefore, the whole collection of books in 
the old Latin version came to be regarded as of one class, 
and many of the Fathers quote indiscriminately from the 
Hebrew Canon and from the Apocrypha. The feeling 
which had thus grown up in the Church was at the Re- 
formation so far indulged as that the Apocrypha was 
placed between the Old and the New Testaments, and some 
lessons for public reading selected from it; but the Re- 
formed Churches, and our own in particular, carefully 
distinguish between it and the canon, and confine its use 
to that of moral instruction. It may, indeed, be a question 
whether, when several important parts of Scripture are 
never heard in public, it would not have been wiser to 
banish the Apocrypha altogether from the services of the 
Church, and in them to make use exclusively of lessons 
taken from the inspired Word. 

Apocryphal boohs of the New Testament. — Besides the 
books of the Old Testament which come under this descrip- 
tion, there are extant several compositions purporting to have 
proceeded from Christ, or His Apostles, or the companions 
of the Apostles, which have received the title of the 
Apocryphal books of the New Testament. Such are the 
Epistle of Christ to Agbarus; the Constitutions of the 
Apostles ; the Apostles' Creed ; the Gospel according to 
the Hebrews ; the Gospel, Preaching, and Apocalypse of St. 
Peter ; the Gospel of the Infancy of Christ ; the Gospel of 
the Birth of Mary ; the Prot-Evangelium of St. James ; the 
Gospel of Nicodemus ; the Martyrdom of Thecla, or Acts of 
St. Paul ; the Epistle of St. Paul to the Laodiceans, and 
others. The same remarks which have been made in refer- 
ence to the Apocrypha of the Old Testament are applicable 
to these. They were not acknowledged as authentic by the 


early Church ; nor were they ever quoted by heretics as 
records of authority. They appear in no catalogues 
recognised by the universal Church. It may be proved, 
in fact, that few, or none, of them were composed before 
the second century, and many so late as in the third. In- 
ternally they bear all the marks of spuriousness. They 
abound in idle and absurd details, and narrate miracles 
utterly destitute of dignity or purpose. In many cases it 
is evidently the design of the writer to introduce unscrip- 
tural doctrines and practices under the mask of apostolic 
sanction. Thus, in the first Gospel of the Infancy the 
sanctity of relics, and in that of the Birth of Mary, Mario- 
latry, is not indistinctly taught. Finally, these compilations 
contain contradictions of authentic history, and their style 
is entirely unlike that of the writers whose names they bear. 
A multitude of works of their class, which once were in 
circulation, but whose titles only remain, have perished : 
it must be regarded as a providential appointment that a 
specimen should have survived, as nothing more clearly 
exhibits the immense interval which separates the inspired 
writings from every attempted imitation of them. 

Talmud, fyc. — About the second century after Christ, or, 
as some think, later, the body of floating Jewish tradition, 
much of which doubtless reaches up to a period prior to 
the Saviour's advent, was collected by Jewish doctors into 
a volume called Mishna, or Repetition. To this were 
subsequently added, under the name of Gemara, various 
comments ; and the Mishna and Gemara together were 
called the Talmud, from a Hebrew word signifying, to 
teach. There are two Talmuds extant ; that of Babylon, 
i.e. the Mishna with the Gemara of Babylon, which is 
most esteemed ; and that of Jerusalem, consisting of the 
same text and another commentary, which is in less 
repute. Amidst a vast mass of useless matter, the con- 


tents of the Talmuds sometimes throw light upon the 
Scriptures :_ they exhibit the traditionary interpretations 
of the Old Testament current among the Jews, and illus- 
trate the manners and customs alluded to in the inspired 

Other Jewish writings which critics have employed in 
the elucidation of Scripture are, the Rabboth, or commen- 
taries on the laws of Moses, with the Megilloth subjoined; 
the Midrashitic writings, which contain allegorical inter- 
pretations of several books of the Old Testament ; the 
books called Siphra, Siphri, and Mechilta, a kind of com- 
mentary on Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy ; and 
the book called Sohar, a cabbalistic commentary on the 



Sect. I. — Old Testament. 

§ 1. Hebrew language. — The language of the Old Testa- 
ment belongs to a family of languages to which, from their 
having been spoken by a large proportion of the descend- 
ants of Shem, the epithet Shemitish is applied. Western 
Asia (with the exception of Asia Minor) is the birthplace 
of these tongues. They may be divided, according to 
geographical position, into three principal dialects: — 
1. The Aramaean, spoken in the countries north-east of 
Palestine, from the river Tigris to the Taurus chain, of 
which there were two subdivisions, — the Eastern Aramrean, 
the tongue of Babylon and Chaldaea, and possibly Assyria ; 
and the Western Aramaean, which was spoken in Mesopo- 


tamia and Syria properly so called ; 2. The Arabic, 
spoken in the countries south of Palestine ; and 3. The 
language of Palestine itself. Of the old Aramaean, 
which in the time of Isaiah was a living language, and not 
understood by the Jews (Isa. xxxvi. 11), we have no 
remains ; the nearest approach to it exists in a few 
inscriptions of a date subsequent to the Christian era 
found at Palmyra (Tadmor). Our knowledge of the 
Chaldee, or Babylonish, dialect is derived from those por- 
tions of the Old Testament which are written in it, viz., 
some chapters in the books of Ezra and Daniel, and from 
the Targums, of which that of Onkelos is the only one of 
even approximate purity. The Western Arainsean, or 
Syriac, combined with Chaldee, which the Jews acquired 
during their residence in Babylon, was the common 
language of Palestine in our Lord's time. Of all the 
Shemitish tongues the Arabic is the richest both in forms 
and w T ords, and alone possesses a literature which may 
vie with that of the West. About the fifth century, the 
Coreitic, or dialect of Mecca, obtained the ascendancy over 
the other varieties, which became extinct ; this dialect 
was still further improved by Mahomet, who composed the 
Koran in it ; and it now forms the vernacular language of 
a large portion of Asia and Africa. Closely connected 
with Arabic is the ancient Ethiopic, the basis of which 
was the old Ante-Coreitic Arabian dialect, transplanted to 
the opposite shore of the Red Sea by Arabian settlers, and 
spoken in the district which now forms the modern king- 
dom of Abyssinia. There still remain fragments of it in 
a version of part of the Bible, and some other ecclesiastical 
writings. The language of Phoenicia, immediately con- 
tiguous to Palestine on the north-west, seems to have 
been, as might be expected from its geographical position, 
a mixture of Western Aramaean and Hebrew ; indeed the 


Phoenicians gave themselves the name of Canaanites 
The Samaritans, from their origin, spoke a dialect com- 
pounded of the same elements. 

Of these languages, that of Palestine, or the Hebrew, 
bears marks of being one of the most ancient. Indeed it 
has been, not without semblance of reason, argued that 
the Hebrew spoken by Abraham, if not the original lan- 
guage of man, must have been of cognate origin. 1 Without 
pronouncing positively upon this point, which, in the 
absence of authentic proof, must be considered doubtful, 
we may observe that this language must have existed 
long before the name by which it was afterwards called. 
The appellation " Hebrew" first occurs in Gen. x. 21, 
where Shem is called "the father of all the children of 
Eber;" whence it has been inferred that Eber is a 
patronymic, and that Hebrew means descended from Shem 
through Eber. But the expression " children of Eber " is 
probably a geographical rather than a genealogical one ; 
and signifies those who dwelt on this side of the Euphrates, 
those who had passed the river, from the root ^ to pass 
over. It is thus that in Gen. xiv. 13, Abraham is called 
" the Hebrew," i.e. the fugitive, who had crossed over the 
Euphrates to Canaan ; the appellation, as we may con- 
clude, being given to the new settlers, not by themselves, 
but by the inhabitants of the land to which they had 
emigrated. In the Old Testament itself the language is 
never called Hebrew ; this epithet first occurs in the Pro- 
logue of the Book of Wisdom, where, however, it signifies 
not the old Hebrew, but the Syro-Chaldee of later times, 
as it also does in the New Testament (John, v. 2). In the 

1 This conclusion is founded upon the fact that the proper names 
which abound in the early chapters of Genesis, and which of all words 
are least liable to change, are of Hebrew origin, and significant in 
meaning. See Heevernick's Introd. to Old Test, part i. p. 101. 


works of Josephus the expression " Hebrew tongue" always 
means the old Hebrew. Whatever be the origin of the name, 
the language denoted by it must have existed previously, 
for we find Abraham and his descendants able to converse 
freely with the Canaanites, and no difference in the 
language used by either race is anywhere intimated. 
Indeed, all the facts are in favour of the substantial 
identity of the old Hebrew, and the Phoenician or Canaani- 
tish tongues. Besides the circumstance just mentioned, 
the Canaanitish names of persons and places, such as 
Abimelech, Melchizedek, Shechem, are of Hebrew etymo- 
logy. Jerome testifies that the language of Carthage, a 
colony of Phoenicia, bore a strong resemblance to the 
Hebrew; and this is confirmed by coins and inscriptions, 
and the remains of the Phoenician, or Carthaginian, dialect, 
which are found in the works of the Greek and Latin 
classics. On the whole, we may conclude that the Shemitish 
dialect which Abraham brought with him from his native 
country was not essentially different from that which the 
Canaanites spoke, and that, in the lapse of time, both com- 
bined to form the Hebrew proper, such as we have it 
in the Pentateuch. 

With the Western Aramaean, or Old Syriac, must not 
be confounded the New Aramaean, or Ecclesiastical Syriac, 
of which the Syriac version of the Scriptures, executed 
about the end of the second century, is the oldest ex- 
isting specimen. In this language, which was cultivated 
with much success at Edessa in Mesopotamia, an im- 
portant Christian literature existed : and it is still the 
ecclesiastical dialect of the greater part of Eastern Christ- 

§ 2. History of the Hebrew language. — The history of 
the Hebrew language commences with the Pentateuch. 
Whatever earlier written documents Moses may have 


used, and that lie did so is probable, 1 it was from him that 
Hebrew received the form and structure which it was 
ever afterwards to retain. It is to be observed, too, that 
the Pentateuch contains specimens of the various kinds of 
composition, — history, poetry, and moral exhortation, — 
which afterwards were cultivated separately; so that it 
was fitted to become a model for subsequent writers, to 
whatever class they belonged. The language of the Pen- 
tateuch has peculiarities which denote its antiquity. 
These consist of grammatical constructions, and certain 
words not found in later writers ; and of peculiar expres- 
sions, for which others are substituted ; as, for example, 
" their shade," i.e. their defence, " is departed from them " 
(Num. xiv. 9), a poetic figure nowhere else occurring ; and 
the phrase " gathered to his fathers," for which in the 
other books the ordinary one is " slept with his fathers." 

From Moses to Isaiah may be considered the golden 
age of the Hebrew tongue. To this period belong the 
books of Joshua, Job, Judges, Samuel, and Faith; the 
writings of Solomon, the Psalms of David, and the older 
prophets, Hosea, Jonah, Amos, Joel, Micah, Nahura, Ha- 
bakkuk, Obadiah, and Isaiah. Each of these writers is 
distinguished by peculiarities of style, and some of them 
by Aramaean forms of speech; but the language of all 
represents Hebrew in the age of its classical purity. 

As we approach the period of the exile, a sensible 
deterioration of the language becomes evident. This was 
due to various causes. A whole nation of Arama?an origin 
was transplanted to the districts formerly occupied by the 
ten tribes; and by the successive Babylonish invasions, 
terminating in the seventy years' captivity, the mother 

1 From expressions in the Pentateuch, apparently in the time of 
Moses obsolete . and to which therefore he appends an explanation. 
See Gen. xv. 2, 3 ; xxxix. 20, See Hsevernick. d. 189. 


tongue of the remaining part of the nation became corrupted 
with an admixture of foreign words and idioms. By the 
extent of the change the age of the books of Scripture 
written during this period may be ascertained with 
tolerable accuracy. The prophecy of Zermaniah, the con- 
temporary of Josiah, is the least affected ; then come the 
books of Kings and Jeremiah ; Ezekiel and Daniel, who 
lived during the captivity, and the books of Chronicles, 
Ezra, and Nehemiah, which were composed soon after it, 
betray still more distinct traces of foreign influence ; and 
at length, by the gradual prevalence of the mixed dialect 
acquired by the Jews during their residence in Babylon, 
the Hebrew as a living language expired, and became the 
study of learned men. To this circumstance it may be 
owing that the prophets who flourished after the captivity, 
Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi, exhibit a comparative 
purity of diction ; they wrote, not the language which was 
spoken around them, but that which they derived from 
the perusal of the canonical books, as far as the canon 
had been completed in their time. How long Hebrew 
continued to be generally understood cannot be accurately 
determined ; but it seems most probable that with the 
Babylonish captivity it entirely ceased to be vernacular. 
At the meeting convened by Nehemiah (c. viii.), it was 
necessary, after the reading of the law by Ezra, to give 
the interpretation in Chaldee (v. 8). That the latest 
of the prophets continued to write in the old Hebrew is 
no proof that it was then spoken ; for their writings 
could be, and doubtless were, like those of their pre- 
decessors, interpreted to the people. As the sacred lan- 
guage of the Jews, it was naturally employed in sacred 
compositions ; and for the same reason, it continued to be 
used for inscriptions on coins, such as those still extant of 
the time of the Maccabees, and for public forms of prayer. 


§ 3. Characteristics of the Hebrew. — As a language, the 
Hebrew is distinguished by a lofty simplicity and strength 
of expression, which has impressed itself, more or less, on 
all the translations from the original. As compared with 
the Arabic, it is less copious in its vocabulary, and possesses 
less variety of grammatical construction ; but it exhibits 
greater purity of idiom. The tri-literal verbal roots, of 
which the language chiefly consists, are derived from the 
more ancient bi-literal, according to rules seldom violated ; 
and instead of the multiplying of words to express different 
ideas, the same root, in its derivates, is made to yield a 
variety of meanings. In synonym es no language is more 
abundant. Thus it has been observed that it possesses 
eighteen words for the notion of " breaking in pieces ; " 
eight for that of " darkness ; " ten for the act of " seeking ; " 
fourteen for " trust in God ;" nine for the " remission of 
sin;" and twenty-five for "keeping the law." 1 Another 
peculiar feature, as might be expected, consists in a num- 
ber of Theocratical words, which express the nature and 
attributes of the Deity, and His relations towards man. 
Such are the various names of God (Jehovah, &c.) ; the 
expressions for sin and prayer; and the psychological 
divisions of man's nature : forms of speech which, transferred 
to the New Testament, impart to the latter its peculiar 
colouring. If in comparison with modern languages, or 
those of ancient Greece and Home, the Hebrew should seem 
liable to the charge of poverty, we must remember, first, 
that the Old Testament is the only source of our know- 
ledge of it ; and, secondly, that from its literature being 
exclusively of a religious character, it is necessarily confined 
to a limited circle of thought and expression. 

The Hebrew, as long as it existed, suffered but little 
from foreign admixture. Some Egyptian words occur in 
1 Hsevernick, Einleit. part i. p. 173. 


the Pentateuch, and some Persian in the later books ; but 
until it was superseded by the Chaldee, it repelled ad- 
ditions from other sources. It is a question -whether 
dialects prevailed in the Holy Land; from the vicinity of 
the Phoenicians to the northern part of Palestine, and from 
the recorded circumstance that the Ephraimites pronounced 
certain letters in a peculiar manner, 1 it is not unlikely 
that the north was distinguished from the south by certain 
differences of idiom and pronunciation. 

Hebrew poetry differs from prose chiefly in the diction, 
which in the former is more removed from that of common 
life, both in particular words and in grammatical con- 
struction. The metrical form is extremely simple. It 
consists merely in a kind of rhythmical prose ; the principle 
of parallelism, one clause of a verse answering to another, 
and strophe to antistrophe, prevailing throughout, and 
constituting its chief characteristic. 

Sect. II. — New Testament. 

§ 1. Reasons of the New Testament being written in Greek. 
— There are obvious reasons why the New Testament should 
not have been composed in Hebrew. Even when it was a 
living language the latter was confined to one small 
country, and at the time of Christ it existed only in the 
Jewish Scriptures ; for the records, therefore, of a religion 
intended to embrace all men within its pale, it was mani- 
festly unfitted. At the period in question one language, 
and only one, possessed the necessary cosmopolitan char- 
acter, — the Greek ; which by a combination of natural causes, 
but under the conduct of Divine Providence, had become of 
all the most universally known and spoken throughout the 
Roman empire, and particularly in the Eastern provinces. 
1 Judges, xii. 6. 



That the Jews in particular, to whom the Gospel was first 
to be preached, were well acquainted with Greek, rests on 
ample historical testimony. For upwards of two centuries 
before the Christian era the Septuagint Greek version of the 
Old Testament had been, wherever Jews resided, in familiar 
use amongst them ; it is from this version that our Lord 
and the Apostles most frequently quote, as being more 
familiar to their hearers than even the Hebrew itself. 
Political circumstances tended to the same result. The 
Macedonian conquests under Antiochus filled Palestine 
with Greek cities, 1 which were protected and favoured by 
Herod the Great; a policy sanctioned by the Romans, 
with whom, in the administration of Juda?a, Greek was the 
official language: this led to a general diffusion of the 
knowledge of that tongue. In most of the principal cities 
of Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece Proper, the scenes 
of St. Paul's travels, Jews of the dispersion, as they were 
called, had taken up their abode, chiefly for the purposes 
of commerce; and from their continual intercourse with 
the natives these settlers must have become familiar with 
the language, and to some extent the literature, of Greece. 
All circumstances, in short, combined to render this 
language, and not Hebrew or even Latin, the most 
proper vehicle for the latest 'communication of Divine 
truth to mankind. 

§ 2. Dialect of the New Testament. — The character of 
the New Testament Greek was in former times a subject 
of debate amongst the learned; some advancing in its 
behalf extravagant pretensions to purity, while others 
contended that it is a compound of the idiom and phraseo- 
logy of several languages. In the present day the question 
may be considered as settled in favour of the latter opinion. 

1 Such as Scythopolis, Gaza, and, to a great extent, Csesarea. 


The language of the New Testament bears a considerable 
affinity to that of the Septuagint version : both alike, being 
the productions of Jews writing Greek, are marked by a 
strong admixture of the Hebrew idiom. It would be 
erroneous, however, to call its dialect Alexandrine, which 
was only one, and a very corrupt form of the Greek pre- 
valent in that age. The true account of the matter is as 
follows: — The Macedonian conquests were followed by a 
general breaking up of the Greek system of states, and a 
consequent fusion of the principal dialects into a dege- 
nerate, but widely extended language, called Common, or 
Hellenistic Greek, which was especially spoken throughout 
Western Asia and Macedonia. This language was not 
only a mixture of the several dialects, but contained 
foreign words from a variety of sources, according as, after 
the age of Alexander, different nations came in contact 
with the Macedonians. It is in Hellenistic Greek that 
the New Testament is written, with the additional tincture 
of Hebraism which might be expected from the Jewish 
origin of its authors, and of what may be called the 
technical phraseology of Christian ideas. This Hebraistic 
colouring is perceptible rather in phrases and idioms than 
in particular words. The following are a few examples : 
" to be called," and " to be found," instead of the verb 
substantive, " to be," (Matt. v. 9. 1 John, iii. 1. Acts, v. 
39. Phil. ii. 8); the use of the word "son," to signify 
relation in general, whether of cause and effect, or de- 
pendence of one thing upon another, or likeness (Luke, xvi. 
8. Eph. v. 8. Eph. ii. 2. John, xvii. 12) ; the term 
" name," to express substance or personality (John, i. 12. 
Matt, xxviii. 19); "exceeding fair" (Acts, vii. 20) lite- 
rally " fair to God," imitated from the Hebrew, which 
instead of superlatives employs the addition " of God," or 
" of the Lord," e. g. the " cedars of God," for the tallest 


cedars (Ps. lxxx. 10); the verb "to know," for "to ap- 
prove" (Matt. vii. 23); the verb "hear," for "pay at- 
tention to " (Acts, iii. 23). Words, however, entirely- 
foreign are found in the New Testament, — Aramaean, Rab- 
binical, Persian, and Latin. Of Aramaean, or Chaldee, 
the vernacular tongue of Judsea at the Christian era, the 
following may be noticed : — " Abba," father (Rom. viii. 15) ; 
"Aceldama," the field of blood (Acts, i. 19); " Cephas" 
a rock (John, i. 43); " Corban," a gift (Mark, vii. 11); 
"Ephphatha," be opened (Mark, vii. 34); " Raca," fool 
(Matt. v. 22); " Talitha cumi," Maid, arise (Mark, v. 41); 
" Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani," My God, my God, why hast 
thou forsaken me? (Matt, xxvii. 46): and of Latin the 
following: — kvvo-o?, census, a rate (Matt. xvii. 25); xoXavix, 
colonia, a colony (Acts, xvi. 12); <$Wg«>5, denarius, the 
Roman penny (Luke, vii. 41); (p^xyixxiov, flagellum, a 
scourge (John, ii. 15); xova-raoix, custodia, a guard of 
soldiers (Matt, xxvii. 65, 66); o-ov^oi^ioy, sudarium, a nap- 
kin (Luke, xix. 20); gtzikouXxtu^ speculator, one of the 
body-guard of a general (Mark, vi. 27). The Persian words 
are comparatively few; such are uyyx^ivmi, compel to go 
(Matt. v. 41); pdyoi, Magi (Matt. ii. 1.); ymfys, treasure 
(Acts, viii. 27); ^x^yx^ru?, pearls (Matt. vii. 6). 

It must not be supposed that the inspired writers, 
while agreeing in the general cast of their language, 
exhibit no variety of style. All write in Hebraic-Greek, 
but each is marked by his own peculiarities. The Hebrew 
element is more prominent in St. Matthew and St. Mark 
than in St. Luke and St. John, the former of whom occa- 
sionally has passages of classic purity. St. Paul's style, 
again, is entirely his own ; full of Hebraisms, but various 
and rapid ; evolving thought from thought, and quite un- 
like the sententious parallelism of St. James and St. Jade. 
It has already been remarked, that both the dialect in 


which our Scriptures are composed, and the diversity of 
style which they exhibit, are among the strongest proofs 
of the authenticity and genuineness of the several books. 



Sect. I. — Old Testament 

§ 1. Writing and writing materials. — The first dis- 
covery of arbitrary written signs for the expression of 
thought has been claimed for the Egyptians, but, as it 
should seem, on insufficient grounds. On the contrary, 
we have every reason to assign this honour to the Phoeni- 
cians, from whom the Greeks, as we learn from Herodotus 
(v. 58), received the alphabet and the art of writing. 
From the same people this art probably came to the 
Hebrews, among whom, long before the time of Moses, it 
seems to have been practised. We infer this from the 
commercial intercourse which, in the patriarchal times, 
evidently existed between the Hebrews, Phoenicians, and 
Canaanites, 1 and which must have speedily led to the 
adoption, on the part of the former, of so important a 
discovery ; from the fact that Judah, in the history of 
Tamar (Gen. xviii.), is said, among other things, to have 
possessed a " signet-ring," but where the art of graving 
was known, there could hardly have been ignorance of 
that of writing ; and from the expression translated 
" taskmasters," and " officers," of the Israelites (Exod. v. 
1 See Gen. xxxvii. 28 ; xliii. 11 ; xxiv. 22. 


6, 15), which properly signifies " writers." In the Mosaic 
age writing was in common use. The functions of the 
priests, as defined by Moses, viz. to act as interpreters of 
the law, and to read it every seven years in the hearing of 
the people (Deut. xvii. 9 ; xxxi. 10, 11), presuppose the 
means of multiplying copies from the original autograph. 
By writing Moses summoned the seventy elders (Num. xi. 
26). The curse of the adulteress was to be written in a 
book (Num. v. 23). By a written bill of divorcement 
man and wife were to be separated. In the book of 
Joshua frequent mention occurs of writing ; 1 and in that 
of Judges it appears, not merely as an art confined to the 
learned, but as practised by private persons. 2 

The materials for writing were, in the earliest times, 
stone (Exod. xxiv. 12) and metal (Ibid, xxviii. 36). 
These were used chiefly for public monuments. The 
graving was performed with an iron chisel (Job, xix. 24). 
But, for ordinary use, other lighter, and more easily 
managed substances were necessary, such as the skins of 
animals, which were prepared for the purpose by a peculiar 
process. In Numbers, v. 23, the priest is commanded to 
plunge his " book" into the bitter water, in order to blot 
out the writing ; the ink used, therefore, must have been 
a mere dye, and the material such as would not be injured 
by water ; circumstances which belong only to skin- 
writing. In David's time we find mention of rolls, doubt- 
less of such skins (Ps. xl. 7) ; and, much later, Jeremiah 
is described as inscribing his prophecy on a similar 
roll (xxxvi. 23). The stationary character of Eastern 
customs renders it probable that the lapse of time had 
brought with it no great changes in the mode of writing ; 
and that the instruments used by Jeremiah and Ezekiel 
were those of the earliest ages. They consisted of ink 
1 Josh. viii. 32 ; xv. 15 ; xviii. 4- 3 Judges, viii. 14. 


(Jer. xxxvi. 18), the "penknife" (v. 23), and the inkhorn 
(Ezek. ix. 2), carried at the writer's side. 

§ 2. Hebrew letters. — The present Hebrew letters, 
twenty-two in number, are of what grammarians call the 
" square form," to distinguish them from the older, or the 
Samaritan alphabet, such as it is found on the coins struck 
under the Asmonsean princes. At what period these 
square letters superseded the others is matter of doubt ; 
all we can with certainty affirm is, that the change must 
have taken place before the birth of Christ. The most 
probable opinion is that of Gesenius, that after the 
captivity, and from Babylon, the new letters were intro- 
duced, and that they were appropriated to sacred use, i. e. 
the transcription of the Scriptures, while the common 
alphabet was employed for secular purposes. The Talmu- 
dists make a distinction between the old and the new 
mode of writing, and deem the former profane ; it was 
also a rule with them that the canonical books should 
always be transcribed in the square letter. That the 
Scriptures, in our Lord's time, were in this character, we 
know from His allusion to the " one jot" (the letter yod, 
the smallest of the present Hebrew alphabet), and " one 
tittle" (the angular points of the present letters) " of the 
law" (Matt. v. 18) ; and from the description given by 
Jerome of the Hebrew characters of his day, no doubt 
can remain of their identity with those of our Bibles. 

The antiquity of the present Hebrew vowels and accents 
was a matter of debate in the seventeenth century ; some 
assigning them a date coeval with Moses, or at least with 
Ezra, while others held them to be of comparatively 
modem origin, and to have been introduced first by the 
school of Tiberias, about the sixth century after Christ. 
That this latter opinion is the correct one is now generally 
admitted. It is grounded upon the facts, that the ancient 


Shemitish languages, in general, were written without 
vowels ; that such is the case with the Samaritan Penta- 
teuch ; that the copies of the Scriptures read by the Jews 
in their synagogues, which are held peculiarly sacred, are 
likewise destitute of them, as they are of any distinction 
of verses, characteristics belonging also to the oldest and 
best MSS. hitherto collated; and that no mention is found 
of points, either in the Talmud, or in the most ancient 
Jewish and Christian writers. Since it is knowm that in 
the seventh century after Christ, Syriac and Arabic 
possessed a vowel system, we may assign the same date to 
the origin of the Hebrew vowel-points, the system of which 
was probably perfected about the tenth century. With 
the vowels, the accents, which point out on what syllable 
of a word stress is to be laid, or, as some think, were 
intended to regulate the public recitation of Scripture, 1 
are intimately connected ; both, indeed, are parts of the 
same system, and must have been introduced at the same 

§ 3. Metrics of distinction and divisions. — The separation 
of the words of the text by an interval must have speedily 
followed the introduction of the square character. Accord- 
ing to the Talmud the space between each word must, at 
least, be such as to admit a small letter ; enough, how- 
ever, was usually left for the lengthened final consonants, 
as they appear in our Hebrew Bibles. The Talmudists 
also employed a division into verses (Pesukim), which 
they ascribe to Moses, and hold in great reverence : the 
true origin was no doubt the necessity of pausing to inter- 
pret each passage as it was read in the ancient Hebrew ; 
to which we may add that such divisions would be useful, 
indeed necessary, in the instruction of youth. They 
were not marked, however, in the written copies of 
1 Stuart, Heb. Gram. 


Scripture ; tradition fixed at what words the reader, or 
learner, was to make a pause. Such was the state of the 
text in the time of Jerome. The MSS. he used were 
written in the square character, but without vowel-points, 
accents, or punctuation ; nor did they contain any division 
into chapters : only the poetical books were probably 
written rri%n$hj i.e., in lines, of different length, termi- 
nating with the sense, at which a pause was to be made. 
It was at a later period, though before the age of the 
Masorites, that two points ( :), like our colon, were used 
to mark the division of periods and verses. The other 
divisions of the text were, 1. The smaller Paraschioth, or 
sections, employed for the purposes of citation or private 
reading : it was not uncommon to designate them after the 
subjects of which they treated, as, for example, "the bush" 
(Mark, xii. 26), " he spake in a certain place of the 
seventh day" (Heb. iv. 4). 2. The larger Paraschioth, 
and the Haphtaroth, portions to be read on the Sabbath 
day in the synagogues. The ancient practice of reading 
the law on these occasions (Acts, xv. 21) compelled the 
division of the Pentateuch into sections, fifty or fifty -four 
in number, according as the year was simple or intercalary : 
one of these formed the first lesson. Afterwards it 
became the custom to add a lesson from the prophets, 
which, consequently, were divided likewise into fifty-four 
sections, called Haphtaroth : it was a section of this kind 
that our Lord expounded in the synagogue of Nazareth 
(Luke, iv. 16), and that the Ethiopian Eunuch was read- 
ing when Philip approached him (Acts, viii. 32). 

At what time our present division into chapters came 
into use is doubtful ; it is attributed to Cardinal Hugo de 
Sancto Caro, who flourished in the thirteenth century, and 
was the author of a Concordance to the Latin Vulgate. The 
convenience of reference caused it to be speedily adopted, 


and from the Christians it was borrowed by the Jews, of 
whom Rabbi Isaac Nathan (a.d. 1440) was the first who 
adapted it to the Hebrew Scriptures, retaining the 
Cardinal's division into chapters, but marking every 
fifth verse with a Hebrew numeral. Finally, Athias, a 
learned Jew of Amsterdam, in his edition of the Hebrew 
Bible (a.d. 1661), marked each verse with the common 
numerals, except those which Nathan had previously dis- 
tinguished with Hebrew letters ; and so our present 
Hebrew Bibles continue to be printed. 

§ 4. Criticism of the Hebrew text. — Of the critical 
treatment of the Hebrew text we have no knowledge before 
the appearance of the Septuagint version. But as it was 
one of the functions of inspired men, as long as prophecy 
continued, to authenticate the works of their predecessors, 
and as we have evidence, from the references in the later 
to earlier writers, that these works were diligently studied, 
we have every reasonable guarantee for a careful preserva- 
tion of the original text. The Septuagint version first 
presents us with remarkable deviations from this text ; 
deviations which may partly have arisen from corrupt 
MSS., but which are, no doubt, to be chiefly ascribed to 
the ignorance of the translators, or to their love of emen- 
dation. As a recension, therefore, this version is of little 
value, and cannot be placed in the balance against that of 
the Jews of Palestine, whose scrupulous reverence for the 
traditionary readings is well known. As proofs of the 
superior accuracy of the latter the translation of Aquila, 
the Hexapla of Origen, and the Targums of Onkelos and 
Jonathan, all of which exhibit a remarkable agreement 
with the original MSS., may be adduced. 

The labours of the Talmudists, in the second and third 
centuries, were directed principally to the exact mainte- 
nance of the sacred text as it had been handed down to 


them. Their critical and grammatical remarks relate, for 
the most part, to matters of little importance, such as the 
number of words and letters in each "book, the mode of 
writing words, the middle word or letter of a book, and the 
number of times a particular word is used in the same 
book. Whatever emendations they proposed were derived 
not so much from a critical examination of MSS., as from 
tradition : from this source came the distinction between 
Khetib, what is written, and Keri, what is to be read , the 
rules called the Rejection of the Scribes, and the Correction 
of the Scribes ; and the extraordinary points placed over 
one or more letters of a word. The variations Klietib and 
Keri arose from the practice of reading for the written 
word another one, according to Jewish ideas preferable ; 
as for the sacred name Jehovah that of Elohim, or Adonai; 
and for words too plain for modern ears those of better 
sound. The Rejection of the Scribes consisted in the 
removal of the copula vau from five places where it had 
been improperly read ; and the Correction of the Scribes in 
the proposal of certain various readings which might 
equally well have expressed the writer's meaning. The 
points which are found over all, or some, of the letters of 
words, may have arisen from the discovery that these 
words or letters were omitted in some MSS., which the 
copyist wished to signify without alteration, or erasure, of 
the text as he found it ; the Talmudists discovered 
mysteries in them, and matter for allegorical interpreta- 
tion. To the same use they, and in a still greater degree 
the later Cabbalistic Jews, applied the letters of unusual 
size, or position, which occur in the text, and which 
originally were only intended to mark the middle of a 
book or section. 

To these studies a new impulse was given about the 
sixth century by the revival of Jewish learning at Tiberias 


in Palestine. The doctors of this school undertook the 
task of extracting from the Talmud the various critical 
and grammatical remarks which lay scattered throughout 
it, and which they conceived might contribute toward 
fixing the text of the sacred volume : these they collected 
into a book which they called Masora, that is, tradition, 
and from which they themselves received the title of the 
Masorites. The Masora contains remarks on the books, 
words, and letters ; conjectural emendations ; corrections 
of grammatical peculiarities ; and an immense amount of - 
curious, but unimportant, information on the number of 
words and letters, the middle verse and word, &c, of each 
book. These observations, at first contained in separate 
volumes, were afterwards written on the margin of the 
MSS. of Scripture : they speedily grew to such a length 
that abridgements became necessary, which were respec- 
tively called the Greater and the Lesser Masora ; one or the 
other of which was inserted at the side of the text, while 
the parts omitted were transferred to the end, under the 
title of the Final Masora. Whatever may be the puerilities 
of the Masorites, their labours must have tended to ascer- 
tain and fix the correct reading of the Hebrew MSS. ; and 
the text as corrected by them gradually supplanted the 
older recensions, and became the standard from which 
copies were multiplied. It has already been observed that 
to them we owe the vowel-points and the accents. 

The Masora was first printed in Boniberg's Hebrew 
Bible (a.d. 1518), and more at length in the edition of 
the same work of .1526, which appeared under the auspices 
of the learned Jew, Jacob Ben Chajim. In a corrected 
and amended form, it was given by Buxtorf in his Rabbi- 
nical Bible, Basle, 1618-20. 

§ 5. Hebrew MSS. — The comparatively late date of the 
existing Hebrew MSS. may be accounted for by the circum- 


stance above mentioned, that the Masoritic text superseded 
that of the older copies, which gradually fell into disuse. 
The former prevailed almost exclusively in private MSS., 
while the ancient traditionary forms and Talmudical rules 
were still carefully observed in the preparation of MSS. for 
the public service of the synagogue. But though our 
existing MSS. belong only to one family, the Masoritic, it 
was before long discovered that the Eastern text, as used 
at Babylon, differed in certain places from the Western, as 
used at Tiberias. These various readings were found to 
amount to 220, none of them, however, affecting the sense; 
and a later and more accurate comparison, in the eleventh 
century, by two Jewish scholars, Aaron Ben Asher, of 
Tiberias, and Ben Naphtali, of Babylon, raised the number 
to upwards of 864, of which by far the greater part relate 
merely to the vowel-points. The MSS. containing the 
text of the East and the West, thus ascertained and 
revised, became respectively the standard exemplars for 
subsequent copyists, and long enjoyed the highest reputa- 
tion, under the names of the Babylonian, and the Palestine, 
Codex; the former followed by the Eastern, the latter by 
the Western Jews. Other standard MSS. supposed to be 
of peculiar accuracy, are mentioned by the Rabbinical 
writers, such as the Codex of Hillel, that of Sinai, and 
the Pentateuch of Jericho. 

Our present Hebrew MSS. may be divided into two 
principal classes ; the synagogue-rolls, which usually con- 
tain only the Pentateuch, with the Haphtaroth, and the 
ordinary MSS. for private use. The former are held in 
especial reverence ; they are written on parchment without 
points, and by the Talmudists the minutest prescriptions 
are given as to the manner in which they should be 
executed. The skin must be that of a clean animal; each 
skin must contain a certain number of columns, and each 


column a certain number of words ; the ink must be pure ; 
three errors on a page were held to vitiate the whole. 
The ordinary MSS. called by the Jews profane, are 
written on various materials, parchment, and paper, both 
of cotton and commoner materials ; the size is various, the 
ink black, and the initial words and letters are frequently gilt 
or illuminated. The prose portions are usually written in 
columns, the poetic in hemistichs, and not unfrequently a 
Targum, or paraphrase, is inserted either between the lines 
of the text, or in the margin. In many MSS. the Masoras 
are added ; the greater one occupying the top and bottom 
of the page, while the smaller one is written in the spaces 
between the columns. The order of the books, especially 
those of the Hagiographa, occasionally varies. In point 
of calligraphy the Spanish MSS. are said to bear away the 
palm ; next come the Italian, and last the German. 

These private MSS. contain vowel-points ; and since 
it was the business of the copyist to write the consonants 
only, they must have passed through several hands before 
appearing in their present form. Different persons made 
it their occupation to write the Masora, and other scholia ; 
to revive passages that had faded ; and replace words or 
letters that had become illegible. As far as we know, no 
Hebrew MSS. have been transcribed by other than Jewish 
copyists or proselytes. 

Most of the MSS. at present known reach back no 
further than the twelfth century. Some of them have 
the place and date subscribed, the latter of which is not 
always to be depended upon ; in the case of others our 
only criteria are the material, the colour of the ink, the 
shape of the letters, &c. For a long time no extensive 
collation of the Hebrew MSS. was attempted; the various 
readings given in the Bibles of Minister (Basle, 1534-5), 
of J. H. Michaelis (1720), and of Houbigant (Paris, 1753), 


hardly deserving the name. At length in the year 1760, 
Dr. Kennicott published proposals for a collation of the 
Hebrew, similar to that which had been undertaken for 
the Greek text. A liberal subscription furnished him 
with the means of prosecuting these researches ; and in the 
year 1780, the Hebrew Bible was, under his superinten- 
dence, printed at Oxford, containing the results ©f an 
examination of above 600 MSS. and 50 old editions. To 
this collection M. de Rossi (Parma, 1783-8) added the 
various readings of 479 MSS. and 288 printed editions. 
These two works form our printed apparatus for critical 

§ 6. Printed editions of the Hebrew Bible. — The earliest 
printed portion of the Hebrew Scriptures was the book of 
Psalms, with the commentary of Kimchi, a.d. 1477, pro- 
bably at Bologna. After the appearance of some o+her 
books, the entire Bible was printed at Soncino, 1488: on 
this edition were based those of Brescia, 1494, of which 
Luther made use, of Venice, 1518, and of Basle, 1536. 
Another editio princeps is the Complutensian Polyglott, 
printed at Alcala, or Complutum, in Spain. The third, 
and last, is the second Bomberg, under the care of Jacob 
Ben Chajim (Venice, 1525), which most of the subsequent 
editions have followed. In 1572, the Antwerp Polyglott, 
and in 1657 the splendid London Polyglott, edited by 
"Walton, appeared, with texts derived from various sources. 
The edition of which most of our modern texts, Van der 
Hooght, Hahn, &c. are reprints, is that of Athias, Am- 
sterdam, 1667, which was based upon Ben Chajim's Venice 
Bible, aided by a further collation of two MSS. 

Sect. II. — New Testament. 

§ 1. Greek MSS. — Of the New Testament the auto- 
graphs were probably written upon the Egyptian papyrus 


(see 2 John, 12). No trace of them is found in ancient 
writers: like the MSS. of modern books, they were probably 
consigned to oblivion as soon as the labours of the pro- 
fessional transcribers had made them public property. The 
more durable material of parchment, or vellum, must have 
been employed at an early period ; and at an early period, 
too, the New Testament writings must have been collected 
into one or more volumes. Of such volumes we have 
distinct traces in the second century ; the four Gospels 
formed one, St. Paul's epistles another, while the rest ,">! 
the books appear to have circulated separately. Fro;D tlio 
fourth century downwards, it was customary to comprise 
the whole of the books in one volume, though chinches 
differed as to the number admitted into the canon. It 
was not until a comparatively late period that paper was 
invented ; cotton paper in the tenth century, and linen in 
the thirteenth ; the latter discovery must have led at once 
to that of the art of printing. 

The oldest Greek MSS. are written on vellum, either 
natural, or coloured with purple, in what are called uncial 
characters, i.e. capitals unconnected with each other. Of 
a later date, probably the tenth century, is the cursive 
writing, which, like our present, consists of letters, con- 
tinuous, and often joined, with the initials only in capitals. 
It is but seldom that a MS. contains the whole of the New 
Testament ; the majority consist only of the four Gospels; 
many of the Acts and St. Paul's Epistles, or the Acts and 
the Catholic Epistles ; while but a few contain the Apo- 
calypse. The books are not always placed in the same 
order. It often happened that, from the scarcity and 
expense of vellum, the original writing of a MS. was 
partially obliterated, and over it another work transcribed; 
these are called Palimpsests, or Codices rescript*; and the 
labours of the learned have brought to light many remains 


of biblical and classical literature which had thus been 
compelled to make room for monkish legends and other 
worthless productions. 

§ 2. Marks of division. — Like the earliest Hebrew 
MSS., none of which time has spared us, those of the 
New Testament are written without any division of words 
or punctuation ; without accents, breathings, or iota post- 
scribed. The first attempt at punctuation was a dot, by 
which sentences were divided; in the fifth century this 
had become common. It was followed by the stichometrical 
arrangement, of which Euthalius (a.d. 458), a deacon of 
Alexandria, afterwards bishop of Sulca, in Egypt, is said 
to have been the inventor, or, at least, the first who ap- 
plied it extensively to Scripture. According to this plan 
the MS. was written in lines (W#o<), of different lengths, 
the pause being regulated by the sense or the convenience 
of the reader. St. Paul's Epistles, the Acts, and the 
Catholic Epistles, were published by Euthalius thus 
divided. The Gospels appear to have been arranged by 
some other hand, and at an earlier period. At the end of 
each MS. the number of stichoi it contained was usually 
specified, which answered the same purpose as the labours 
of the Talmudists in counting the letters and words of 
each book of the Old Testament. After prevailing for a 
few centuries stichometry gradually fell into disuse, and 
the punctuation of MSS. became general in the tenth 
century, though no settled system is visible before the 
invention of printing. 

Larger divisions of the sacred text are rirXoi, in Latin 
Breves, and Kitpdxccix, i.e. chapters. The former were 
larger portions, designed probably for public reading, and 
the name is derived from each division receiving a title from 
the principal subject mentioned in it: thus the fifth WtAo? 
of St. Matthew is entitled, " Concerning the beatitudes." 



Of St. Matthew there were sixty-eight t/tA«, of St. Mark 
forty-eight, of St. Luke eighty-three, and of St. John 
eighteen. The Mtpcixcciu were shorter sections, supposed 
to have been introduced into the four Gospels by Am- 
monius of Alexandria, in the third century, to serve the 
purposes of a harmony ; from the inventor they are termed 
the Ammonian Sections. Upon these in the following 
century, Eusebius founded the harmonising tables, called 
from him the Eusebian Canons. The same Euthalius, who 
reduced the New Testament into stichoi, published the 
Acts, St. Paul's Epistles, and the Catholic Epistles, divided 
into >a(pciXcciec ; and these divisions of rirXot and xitpolxuiu, 
remained in use in the Greek MSS. until the taking of 
Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. 

About two centuries before this the Latin Churches 
had abandoned the Greek divisions, and adopted the modern 
chapters, for which we are indebted to Cardinal de S. Caro. 
These were introduced into the first printed editions of the 
New Testament; but it was not until 1551 that the text 
was broken up into our present verses by Robert Stephens, 
who is said to have accomplished his task during an 
equestrian journey from Paris to Lyons. The convenience 
of reference procured for the verse-division a speedy and 
general acceptance ; and most of the editions of the New 
Testament are still thus printed. It cannot be denied, 
however, that in many instances, by separating the text 
from the context, it has operated injuriously; and for 
private reading the Paragraph Testaments, of which several 
have been published both in Greek and English, are un- 
doubtedly to be preferred. 

§ 3. Inscriptions. — By whom the present Inscriptions 
of the various books of the New Testament were framed is 
unknown ; they are probably of early date. Euthalius is 
said to be the author of the subscriptions to the Epistles ; 


if so, he must have performed his work in a very careless 
manner, for some of them are manifestly false, e.g. those 
subjoined to the Epistles to the Thessalonians, according 
to which they were written, not, as was really the case at 
Corinth, but at Athens. Generally these subscriptions 
are of no authority. 

§ 4. Lectionaries. — At an early period portions of the 
New Testament were set apart for public reading on 
Sundays and festivals ; the Acts and St. Paul's Epistles 
were in this manner divided by Euthalius. As the use of 
the Scriptures became more and more confined to the 
public services of the Church, these lessons were collected 
into a volume, arranged in the order of the ecclesiastical 
year, and received the name of Lectionaries, which, from 
their contents, were further designated by the titles of 
Evangeliarium, or Epistolare. They seem to have come 
into use among the Greeks about the eighth century. 
The MS. containing them continued to be written in 
uncial characters long after the introduction of cursive 
writing, probably on account of the greater facility with 
which the former were read. 

§ 5. Principal MSS. — The extant Greek MSS. reach 
to an antiquity much greater than those of the Hebrew 
Bible. Some contain both the Old and the New Testa- 
ments ; some the latter only ; and the majority, certain 
books, or fragments of books, of the latter. The lollowing 
is a brief notice of some of the principal. 

1. First in critical value, as in age, is the celebrated 
Codex Vaticanus, or Vatican MS., so called from its being 
preserved in the Vatican Library at Rome. Its history, 
before it came into possession of the popes, is unknown. 
It probably formed one of the earliest treasures of the 
Vatican, for it was well known, and alluded to, by scholars 
in the early part of the sixteenth century. It is written 


on thin vellum, in uncial letters, with three columns on a 
page, void of interpunction, and (originally) without accents 
or breathings. The latter, as they now appear, were added 
"by a later hand, as were also the large initial letters in 
the margin. The faded letters of the original have been 
throughout retouched by some restorer. 

This MS. contains the Septuagint version of the Old 
Testament, — portions of the books of Genesis and Psalms 
being wanting ; and the New Testament, as far as Heb. 
ix. 14, together with the Catholic Epistles. The Pastoral 
Epistles are wanting in it ; and the remainder of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse have been supplied in 
recent cursive writing. From its being without the 
Eusebiaii Canons, and even the Ammonian sections, which 
were in general use at the close of the fourth century, and 
from other palasographical peculiarities, it must be as- 
signed, at latest, to the early part of that century. It 
has been frequently collated for critical purposes ; and 
recently an edition of the text, in modern Greek characters, 
has been printed at Rome. But the jealousy of the Papal 
court has hitherto prevented the publication of any fac- 
simile of this precious MS. 

2. With the Vatican MS., the Codex Alexandrinus, 
preserved in the British Museum, long contested the palm 
of antiquity, though now the general consent of scholars 
has assigned to it a later date, viz. the middle of the fifth 
century. It was presented, in 1628, to the king of England 
by Cyrillus Lucaris, patriarch of Constantinople, by whom 
it had been brought from Alexandria, whence its name. 
Of its previous history little is known ; an Arabic sub- 
scription affirms it to have been from the pen of Thecla 
the Martyr. This MS., like the former, is on thin vellum, 
each page divided into two columns, without punctuation, 
accents, or breathings. It is now bound in four volumes, 


three of which contain the Old Testament from the 
Septuagint version, and the remaining one all the books 
of the New (with occasional chasms), and the two epistles 
of Clement of Rome. From its having the Ammonian 
sections and Eusebian canons, it cannot be of earlier date 
than the end of the fourth century. Collations have been 
made by Young, librarian to Charles I., by Mill, and by 
Wetstein, which were superseded by the publication, in 
1786, of a fac-simile of the MS. by Dr. Woide, assistant- 
librarian of the British Museum. This is the only MS. 
of the older class which contains the Apocalypse entire. 

3. The Codex Ephremi ; a palimpsest so called from 
some of the Greek works of Ephrem the Syrian having 
been written over the more ancient character. This 
ancient writing appears to have consisted of the Septua- 
gint version, and the whole of the New Testament ; only 
portions of either remain. It was formerly the property 
of Cardinal Ridolfi, of Florence, and from Italy it passed 
to the Imperial Library at Paris. It was collated im- 
perfectly by Wetstein, and was published at length, 
though not in the original character, by Tischendorf, in 
1842. This MS. is supposed to be of the fifth century ; 
it is one of the most valuable extant, presenting, especially 
in the Gospels, a very pure text of the Alexandrian re- 
cension. It is probably of Egyptian origin. 

4. Codex Bezaa ; a gift of Theodore Beza, in 1581, to 
the University of Cambridge, where it is deposited in the 
public library. It was found in a monastery at Lyons in 
1562. Nothing is known of its previous history. This 
MS. contains the gospels, and the book of Acts, in Greek 
and Latin, stichometrically arranged, without divisions 
between the words, and without accents cr punctuation. 
It is assigned to the sixth century, tnd is the oldest MS. 
which contains the passage, St. John, vii. 53 — viii. 11. A 


fac-simile of it was published at Cambridge by Dr. 
Kipling, in 1793. 

The foregoing are some of the most important and 
complete uncial MSS. of the oldest class : there are many 
others which contain either fragments of the Gospels, or of 
the other books without the Gospels. Of the cursive MSS. 
the number is immense. " Upwards of 500 MSS. of the 
Gospels, ranging in date from the tenth to the sixteenth 
century, have been inspected, more or less cursorily. 
More than 200 contain the Acts and Catholic Epistles ; 
upwards of 300 the Pauline Epistles ; 100 have the 
Apocalypse." 1 Respecting the majority of these very little 
is known ; and with the exception of a few, they are not of 
much critical value. The MS. called Codex Montforti- 
anus, now in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, deserves 
notice as being the first which contains the disputed 
passage 1 St. John, v. 7. In his two first editions of the 
New Testament Erasmus had omitted this passage, not 
finding it in the MSS. which he consulted : he promised, 
however, to insert it, should any MS. containing it be dis- 
covered. Before the appearance of his third edition this 
MS. was found with the clause in it ; and Erasmus 
redeemed his promise, whence the passage has passed into 
most modern translations of the New Testament. From 
the circumstances connected with its discovery, and other 
peculiarities, suspicions have been entertained that, as 
regards the Epistles at least, it was forged in order to 
compel Erasmus to insert the text : even the Gospels can- 
not be of much earlier date than the year 1500. 

§ 6. Critical history of the Greek Testament. — Before 

the age of printing we have but few traces of any critical 

revision of the sacred text. The testimony of Origen and 

Jerome, the two fathers who principally devoted themselves 

1 Davidson, Bib. Crit. ii. 324. 


to these studies, proves that in their day great variations 
existed in MSS., partly through heretical adulterations, 
and partly through the carelessness of transcribers. In 
the lapse of time, however, and particularly after Con- 
stantinople became the imperial city of the East, the 
common text of an earlier age appears to have gradually 
separated itself into two main divisions, distinguished from 
each other by characteristic marks and readings, one of 
which took its rise from Alexandria, the other from Con- 
stantinople. The observation of this fact gave rise to the 
various theories of recensions, or families, of MSS., of which 
several have been propounded. Bengel arranged MSS. 
under two classes, the African and the Asiatic, of the 
former of which the Codex Alexandrinus is the principal 
representative : to these Griesbach added a third, which he 
calls the Occidental, or Western. More recently Dr. Scholz 
has reverted to Bengel's classification, and considers that 
two only well-defined families of MSS. can be detected, 
viz., those which follow the text in use in Alexandria and 
the West of Europe, and those which were written within 
the limits of the patriarchate of Constantinople, and give 
the text as it was received there. Eecent researches have 
thrown too much doubt upon all these systems of recen- 
sion to render it necessary to pursue the subject further. 

The first printed edition of the New Testament is due 
to Erasmus ; it appeared at Basle in 1516, and before the 
editor's death in 1586, five editions of it had been 
published. Erasmus made use of MSS. of no great 

The Complutensian New Testament, so called from 
Complutum, or Alcala, in Spain, where it was printed 
under the directions of Cardinal Ximenes, is contained 
in the fifth volume of the Polyglott of that name. It was 
printed in 1514, but was not published till the year 1522. 


The editors seem to have followed MSS. of modern date, 
which they had received from the Vatican, and to have 
supplied what they thought deficiencies from the Latin 
Vulgate. From this latter source, no doubt, they derived 
the passage 1 St. John, v. 7, which Erasmus also inserted 
in his third edition. 

These two primary editions are the basis of the text 
still in common use. They were followed by the editions 
of Robert Stephens, the fourth of which, printed at Geneva 
in 1551, is the first that contains the modern division into 
verses. Stephens' text was conformed to that of the fifth 
edition of Erasmus ; and being reprinted, with some read- 
ings from Beza's New Testament which had appeared in 
the interval, by the Elzevirs, at Leyden, in 1724, it received 
the title of the Textus receptus (from a passage in the 
preface), and under that title continued in use on the 
Continent until recent times. 

To this country are due the first attempts to collect 
materials for a critical edition of the New Testament. 
Walton's Polyglott took the lead, and was followed by 
Mill's Greek Testament, the labour of thirty years' colla- 
tion of MSS., versions, and quotations : this great work 
appeared at Oxford in 1707. Mill contented himself with 
giving the various readings he had amassed below the 
text, which is that of Robert Stephens' edition of 1550. 

Biblical criticism now began to revive on the Continent. 
The illustrious Bengel published a valuable edition of the 
New Testament, with critical apparatus, in 1734 ; and in 
1751-2, that of Wetstein, a treasury of sacred criticism, 
appeared. Griesbach's editions, the second of which was 
completed in 1806, may be said to be the first that aimed 
at presenting a critically revised text ; the labours of this 
scholar have had a lasting effect upon subsequent editions. 
So much cannot be said for Scholz's investigations, which 


of late have fallen into disrepute. A text, formed on 
peculiar principles, and by some highly esteemed, was 
given to the world by Lachmann, Berlin, 1831, and again 
in 1850. Tischendorf's editions, Leipsic, 1849, are well 
known and in high repute. The promised work of 
Tregelles, who has devoted many years to these pursuits, 
has not as yet appeared. 



Sect. I. — Ancient versions. 

§1. Of the Old Testament. 1. Greek versions. 

1. Septuagint. — The most ancient of the versions of the 
Old Testament, in the Greek language, is the Septuagint, 
or, as it is sometimes called, the Alexandrian. The history 
of this celebrated translation is enveloped in the mists of 
fable. According to a letter purporting to be written by 
Aristeas, an officer of the court of Ptolemy Philadelphus, 
this monarch, at the suggestion of his librarian, Demetrius 
Phalereus, sent an embassy to Jerusalem, to request a 
copy of the Hebrew Scriptures, and that seventy-two 
persons might accompany it, six from each tribe, skilled in 
Hebrew and Greek, by whose assistance a translation 
might be made into the latter language. This document 
was known to Josephus, who has transcribed it in his 
Antiquities ; and to Philo, who adds some embellishments 
of his own, as that the translators were placed in the island 
of Pharos, each by himself, and produced so many separate 


translations, which, by a miracle of inspiration, agreed 
exactly, word for word, with each other. Justin Martyr 
relates the same story, with the addition that the inter- 
preters were confined in separate cells until they had com- 
pleted their work. The letter of Aristeas has long since 
been adjudged to be spurious, and the tale which it relates 
to be unworthy of credit. It was no doubt invented, or 
sanctioned, by the Alexandrian Jews, in order to exalt the 
reputation of the version in common use among them ; and 
for the same reason it was adopted by the early Christian 
fathers, both Greek and Latin, who being, for the most 
part, ignorant of Hebrew, were dependent upon the 
Septuagint for their knowledge of the Old Testament. 
Jerome was the first who ventured to call in question the 
authenticity of these traditions. 

The story, after being winnowed, may contain the fol- 
lowing particles of truth : that under Ptolemy Lagus, 
Demetrius Phalereus suggested the propriety, in a literary 
point of view, of a translation of the Jewish Scriptures ; 
that the work was then begun, was carried on at intervals, 
and was completed in the reign of Lagus's successor, 
Ptolemy Philadelphia, about the year 285 before the 
Christian era. Further than this we know not. The 
theory that this version was executed for the convenience 
of the Alexandrian Jews, by the command, and under the 
superintendence, of the Sanhedrim of that city, and 
particularly with the view of being read publicly in the 
synagogues, seems hardly supported by historical testi- 
mony : at what period synagogues came into existence in 
Egypt is a matter of doubt. 

That the authors of it were natives of Egypt is 
apparent from the number of Coptic words which they 
introduce ; and that they belonged to the Alexandrian 
school may be gathered from the general features of the 


version. Its neglect of literal faithfulness ; its attempts 
to adapt the original to existing circumstances, by alter- 
ations of words, phrases, and even whole paragraphs ; its 
employment of heathen terms for those peculiar to the 
theocracy, 1 all point to the latitudinarian, and allegorizing, 
tendencies of Alexandrian Judaism. Equally evident is it, 
that it was executed at different times and by different 
translators. There is a great difference of style in the 
several books. The best rendered is the Pentateuch, which 
is distinguished both by accuracy and elegance ; the book 
of Proverbs may be ranked next ; while that of Eccle- 
siastes holds, perhaps, the lowest place. The Prophets and 
Psalms, and generally the remaining books of the Bible, 
are but poor performances ; the translation of Daniel was 
so incorrect that it was not used by the early Church, that 
of Theodotion being substituted for it. What MSS. the 
Septuagint translators made use of it is now impossible to 
ascertain : if they were such as the dispersed Jews might 
have carried with them to Egypt, previously to the revision 
of the text by Ezra, they were, in all probability, more in- 
accurate than the faultiest of the MSS. now extant. 

Notwithstanding its glaring imperfections, the Septua- 
gint, for many centuries, enjoyed the highest authority. 
Wherever Greek was spoken, this was the version 
publicly read ; and how well known and esteemed it was, 
even among the Jews of Palestine, appears from the use 
made of it by our Lord and the apostles. The early 
doctors of the Church, who, with the exception of Origen 
and Jerome, were ignorant of Hebrew, read, and com- 
mented on it, exclusively ; and from it all the early 
versions, except the Syriac, were made. It is the Sep- 
tuagint which, in the form of the Vulgate, the Church of 

1 As, for example, the word Thummim, perfections (Exod. xxviii. 
30), they translate dt.nfaix, truth. 


Rome still reads ; and it is the version in ordinary use in 
the Greek, and most of the Oriental churches. To us its 
chief value consists in the light it throws upon the lan- 
guage and idiom of the New Testament ; heing written in 
nearly the same dialect, it renders valuable aid in inter- 
pretation, and is, indeed, indispensable to all who would 
successfully engage in these studies. 

The standard editions of the Septuagint are the Complu- 
tensian, 1514 ; the Aldine, 1518 ; the Vatican, 1587 ; 
and the Alexandrian, edited by Grabe, 1707-20. A 
splendid edition was printed by the University of Oxford, 
1818-27, under the editorial care of Drs. Holmes and 
Parsons. Several smaller editions have from time to time 
appeared. 1 

2. Versions of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmaclws. — 
Notwithstanding the reputation in which the Septuagint 
was held both by Jews and Christians, the former, after 
the destruction of Jerusalem, pressed by the arguments of 
their opponents, began to throw doubts upon the autho- 
rity of this version, and to insist that it did not faithfully 
represent the original: with the view of superseding it, new 
translations were, in the second century, undertaken by 
Aquila and Theodotion. The former, who was an apo- 
state from Christianity to Judaism, aimed at literally 
rendering word for word, which he carried to such an 
extent as to make his version frequently unintelligible. 
It was much approved of by the Jews, and proportionably 
contemned by the Christians. It is this version, and not 
the Septuagint, to which reference is made in the Talmud. 
The translation of Theodotion, nearly contemporary with 
Aquila, approaches to the freedom of the Septuagint, of 
which indeed it is said that he intended merely to issue an 

1 Oxford, 6 vols. 8vo. 1817. Valpy, London, 1819. Glasgow, 
1822. Leipsic, 1824. 


amended edition. By the Christians his rendering of the 
book of Daniel was preferred to that of the Septuagint ; 
and how highly valued this version in general was by 
Origen appears from the use he has made of it in the 

From the Ebionites, or semi-Christians, about the 
year 200, and therefore subsequently to the two former, 
a translation proceeded known under the name of that of 
Symmachus. It is free and paraphrastic, regarding rather 
the sense than the words ; and was thought to excel in 
purity of Greek expression. Of the three versions, which 
from their position in Origen's great work, have been 
called the fifth, sixth, and seventh, we know but little, 
save that they must have been later than the work of 
Symmachus: the authors were probably Ebionites. They 
appear to have contained, respectively, only a portion of 
the Old Testament. 

3. Origen's Hexapla. — From passages of the Septu- 
agint cited by Philo and Justin Martyr, it appears that in 
the course of time numerous errors, partly through the 
carelessness of transcribers, and partly from marginal notes 
becoming incorporated in the text, had crept into the 
current MSS. of this version. These must have been 
multiplied when the later Greek translations were made ; 
readings from which would be introduced into the older 
text, and render it still more unlike the original. With 
the view of remedying this growing evil, Origen, about 
the year 231, conceived the idea of issuing a revised text 
of the Septuagint, and arranging both it and the other 
Greek versions in parallel columns, the original Hebrew 
standing first. This great work, which was various]y 
designated by the ancients Hexapla and Octapla according 
to the number of columns it contained in different places, 
is said to have occupied its author twenty-eight years, and 


to have filled nearly fifty volumes. It was deposited after 
Origen's death, in the library of Pamphilus the Martyr at 
Csesarea; and was probably destroyed on the capture of 
that city by the Arabs in the seventh century. A few 
fragments, preserved in MSS. of the Septuagint, and in 
the works of the Greek fathers, are all that remain 
of it. 

The order which Origen adopted was, — 1. The Hebrew 
text according to the best MSS. he could procure. 2. The 
same text in Greek letters. 3. The version of Aquila, as 
being the most literal. 4. That of Symmachus. 5. The 
Septuagint. 6. The version of Theodotion. Not ventur- 
ing to alter the text of the Septuagint, Origen contented 
himself with noting its omissions, or variations, as com- 
pared with the Hebrew and the other versions, by certain 
marks, — asterisks, lemnisci, — &c, which, unhappily, time 
has obliterated. 

Origen's work gave rise to a distinction between the 
common (Komj, or Vulgate) text of the Septuagint, such as 
it existed previously to his collation, and the Hexaplarian. 
About the year 300, Eusebius, assisted by Pamphilus, 
published the Hexaplarian text, with Origen's critical 
notes ; and shortly afterwards two other recensions were 
undertaken, one by Lucius, a presbyter of the Church of 
Antioch, and the other by Hesychius, an Egyptian bishop. 
Eusebius' edition was adopted by the churches of Palestine, 
while in Syria and Egypt those of Lucius and Hesychius 
were respectively used. From these three principal editions, 
but intermingled and corrupted, our existing MSS. are 
derived; which accounts for the comparatively unsatis- 
factory state of the Septuagint text. 

We conclude this account of the ancient Greek versions 
cf the Old Testament with a brief notice of the translation 
of several books, which is preserved in the library of St. 


Mark of Venice. From the written characters it would 
seem to helong to the fourteenth century ; but, most likely, 
is a copy from an older original. It is more literal than 
even the version of Aquila, and presents, in its style, a 
singular mixture of Attic elegance and barbarism. The 
Chaldaic section in Daniel is rendered in the Doric dialect. 
Of this version the Pentateuch was published by Ammon, 
Erlangen, 1790-1 ; and the remaining books by Villoison, 
Strasburg, 1784. 

2. Oriental Versions. 

1. Targums. — Under this head may be classed the 
Targums, or Chaldee paraphrases, of the Old Testament. 
In the time of Ezra, as has been mentioned, it was neces- 
sary to accompany the reading of the law with a Chaldee 
interpretation, and a fresh impulse must have been com- 
municated to these studies by the rise of synagogues and 
public schools of instruction. The office of interpreter 
became one of importance : the Talmud lays it down as a 
rule, that as the law was given through a mediator, so 
through a mediator it must be read and explained. These 
explanations were at first oral ; but the inconveniences 
hence arising becoming more and more felt, they were com- 
mitted to writing, under the name of Targums, a Chaldee 
word signifying version, or explanation. Of these Tar- 
gums there have come down to us ten, which collectively 
contain a paraphrase of the Old Testament, the books of 
Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah excepted. Whether these 
latter books, from their being partly in Chaldee, were not 
thought to need a paraphrase, or whether there were 
Targums also upon them which have perished, is un- 

We have reason to believe that at least at the time of 
Christ, if not earlier, Targums existed. The Talmud 


assigns to a Targum on the book of Job a date as early as 
the middle of the first century, and this could hardly have 
been the first book of the Bible thus commented on. The 
earliest that time has spared us are those of Jonathan on 
the Prophets, and Onkelos on the Pentateuch. Jonathan 
Ben Uzziel is said to have been one of the most dis- 
tinguished scholars of Hillel, and consequently must have 
lived shortly before the birth of our Lord. The Jewish 
fable that he received his paraphrase from the mouth of 
the prophets Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi, proves at 
least that it was not merely highly esteemed, but considered 
the most ancient of these compositions. Onkelos, Gamaliel's 
friend and scholar, flourished a little later, and is supposed 
to have been contemporary with Christ. The paraphrases 
of both are favourably distinguished from those of later 
times by purity of language, and especially by the absence 
of legendary tales and cabbalistic interpretations ; but the 
latter more so than the former. The style of Onkelos 
approximates to the Hebrew-Chaldee of the Bible ; it 
contains no Latin, and but few Greek words. A version 
rather than a paraphrase, it renders the Hebrew word for 
word with such exactness that it admitted of being read 
with the same musical intonation as the original text in 
the public services of the synagogue. Nearly equal in 
point of diction to the paraphrase of Onkelos, that of 
Jonathan is inferior to it in literary accuracy, and abounds 
more in fabulous legends ; which may partly be accounted 
for by its subject-matter, the prophets more readily ad- 
mitting of a free mode of interpretation than the law. 

The growing corruption of Jewish taste, in the direc- 
tion of legends and allegorical meaning, gave rise to Tar- 
gums of a different character from the preceding ; the 
chief aim of the writers being, not to interpret the text, 
but to embellish it with traditionary tales, sometimes of 


the idlest description. Of this description of Targum we 
possess two on the Pentateuch, that known under the 
name of Pseudo-Jonathan, and the fragmentary Jerusalem 
Targum. Later investigations have led to the conclusion 
that these are not really distinct works, but that the 
Pseudo-Jonathan Targum is that known to the ancients 
by the name of the Jerusalem Targum, while, the other is 
but a recension. The style of both is unique, and abounds 
with barbarisms. From allusions to the Talmud, which 
was not composed till' several centuries after the death 
of Christ, and from the number of foreign words which 
occur in these Targums, critics have assigned to them 
a date not earlier than the latter part of the seventh 

The remaining Targums are, 1. That on the Hagio- 
grapha, ascribed by the Rabbins to Joseph the Blind, who 
lived in the fourth century, but more probably a compi- 
lation of later times. 2. The Targum on the books of 
Ecclesiastes, Solomon's Song, Ruth, Lamentations, and 
Esther, likewise a compilation not earlier than the sixth 
century. 3. The three Targums on the book of Esther, 
the first, a short one published in the Antwerp Polyglott ; 
the second and third, much more diffuse, edited by Taylor, 
London, 1655. These Targums are of late date. 4. A 
Targum on Chronicles, the existence of which seems to 
have been unknown even to the Jews, but which was. 
discovered at Erf art, and published by Beck (1680-3). 
Another more perfect edition was published by Wilkins 
(Amsterdam, 1715). This also betrays the lateness of 
its date. 

Most of these Targums are printed in the London 
Polyglott. Only two of them, those of Jonathan and 
Onkelos, are of value in a philological point of view ; from 
these, however, considerable assistance is derived in the 



interpretation of particular Hebrew words, especially of 
the prophecies relating to Messiah. The remaining ones 
are chiefly useful from the light they throw upon the later 
Jewish customs and modes of thought. 

2. Arabic versions. — Several Arabic versions, either of 
the whole or of part of the Old Testament, exist in 
print. The principal is that of Rabbi Saadias Gaon, a 
learned Jew of Babylon, who in the tenth century para- 
phrased the Old Testament in Arabic. Of this version 
there have been printed the Pentateuch, at Constantinople, 
in 1546, in Hebrew characters, and afterwards in the Paris 
and London Polyglotts, in Arabic letters ; and Isaiah, by 
Paulus, Jena, 1790. In the Polyglotts just mentioned, 
there is an Arabic version of the book of Joshua, and parts 
of the books of Kings and Nehemiah, supposed to belong 
to the eleventh century. In the year 1622 Erpenius pub- 
lished at Leyden an Arabic translation of the Pentateuch, 
the work of an African Jew of the thirteenth century, which 
adheres very closely to the Masoritic text. The British 
Museum contains a MS. of the books of Genesis, the 
Psalms, anci Daniel, in Arabic, the work of Saadias Ben 
Levi Askenoth, who lived in the sixteenth century. 

3. Samaritan versions. — The Samaritans possess in 
their ancient language a version of the Samaritan Penta- 
teuch, the author and age of which are unknown ; the 
most probable opinion is that it was made shortly after the 
birth of Christ. It betrays the influence of Jewish tra- 
dition in paraphrasing the name of the Deity, in avoiding 
anthropomorphisms, and in the use of euphemisms ; but, 
in 01 her respects, adheres faithfully to the original text. 

From the same source 1 is derived an Arabic version 

1 The Samaritan Pentateuch, from which these versions were 
made, is rather a recension of the Hebrew text than a version. Re- 
electing its age great difference of opinion exists. By some it is 


by Abu Said, a Samaritan, who, about the year 1070, for 
the use of his fellow-religionists in Egypt, translated the 
Pentateuch. This version is founded upon that of SaacHas, 
and only deviates from it where the Samaritan text differs 
from the Jewish. In order to recommend it to the Syrian 
Samaritans, who continued to use Saadias's version, it was 
revised and commented on by Abul Baracat, whence arose 
two recensions, that of Egypt by Abu Said, and that of 
Syria by Abul Baracat, which, in the lapse of time, became 
so confounded that separation is now impossible. Portions 
of this version have been published by Kiihner, Leyden, 

§ 2. Of the Old and New Testaments. 1. Oriental versions. 
1. Peschito. — Of versions containing the whole of the 
Scriptures, one of the most ancient and the most cele- 
brated, is the Syrian, called the Peschito, from a Syrian 
word signifying simple, or literal, on account of its close 
adherence to the text, without the admixture of allegorical 
interpretations. The tradition of the Syrians, that part of 
it was executed in the time of Solomon and Hiram, or, as 
others affirm, by Asa, a priest of the Samaritans, may be 
dismissed as unworthy of notice ; little more deserving of 
credit is the account that it is the work of translators sent 
to Palestine by the Apostle Thaddseus, and Agbarus king 
of Edessa. From these traditions, however, as well as from 

supposed to have existed, from the first, in the separate kingdom of 
Israel, and so to have become known to the mixed people who took 
the place of the ten tribes ; others make it coeval with the Samaritan 
temple on Mount Gerizim. Dr. Davidson assigns it to the reign of 
Josiah (Home, Introd. Edit. 10, vol. ii. c. 8). Though known to 
the Fathers it was lost sight of for more than a thousand years, until 
Abp. Usher procured some copies from the East, by the aid of which 
it was printed in the Paris and London Polyglotts. It is in the 
ancient Hebrew character. 


the fact that Ephrem the Syrian, tie first writer who 
makes use of this version, is compelled to explain many of 
its expressions which apparently in his day had become 
obscure, we may infer its high antiquity, and the most 
probable opinion is that which fixes its date at the close 
of the first century, and Edessa as its birth-place. 

Internal evidence proves that the Old Testament por- 
tion must have been the work of Christians, not of Jews: 
this appears from the sparing use of the Chaldee Targums, 
and from the Christian interpretation of the Messianic 
prophecies. It is also evident that the translation was 
made directly from the Hebrew, which it follows with 
scrupulous faithfulness; a circumstance whch renders it 
exceedingly valuable to the Biblical critic. The Peschito 
contains all the Canonical books of the Old Testament, 
and, at first, as it should seem, none but these; the 
Apocryphal writings, however, must have speedily followed, 
for they are cited by Ephrem, though not as canonical. 
Of the New Testament it comprises only the four Gospels, 
the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of St. Paul, in- 
cluding that to the Hebrews, the first Epistle of St. John, 
the first of St. Peter, and the Epistle of St. James. The 
Peschito was first printed, very defectively, in the Paris 
Polygbtt (1G45), and reprinted, with some additions, in 
that of London. A more correct edition was published in 
London (1823), at the expense of the Church Missionary 
Society, under the care of Dr. Lee, who collated for it 
three MSS. 

Received as this version was over a large portion of 
Christendom, recensions of it, by different parties, in the 
lapse of time appeared: of these two are known to us, that 
of the Nestorians, cited in the Scholia of Bar Hebrams, 
and that culled the Karkaphensian, or mountainous, from 
its supposed birth-place, Mount Sigara, in Mesopotamia. 


The latter is of Monophysite origin, and was executed in 
the tenth century ; it differs from the Peschito only in the 
order of the books, and in the adaptation of proper names 
to the Greek orthography. 

From the Peschito several Arabic versions were derived 
Of those printed in the Paris and London Polyglotts, the 
books of Job, Chronicles, Euth, Samuel, Kings (partly), 
and Xehemiah, are traceable to this source. To these may 
be added some versions of the Psalter yet in MS. 

2. Syriac Gospels. — The Peschito was for a long time 
believed to be the most ancient of the Syriac translations ; 
but the researches of Mr. Cureton have lately brought to 
light fragments of a still older version, differing consider- 
ably from any previously known. They are contained in a 
MS. brought from the Nitrian monasteries, now in the 
British Museum, and comprise large portions of the four 
Gospels. In 1848 an edition of this Syriac MS. was 
printed by Mr. Cureton, but remained unpublished until 
1858, when it appeared at London. 

3. The Pliiloxenian version. — This version was made 
at the suggestion of Philoxenus, or Xenaias, bishop of 
Mabug or Hierapolis, by Polycarp, a Chorepiscopus, or 
rural bishop of that country, in a.d. 508. It is known to 
us only through the revision of it by Thomas of Harkel, or 
Heraclea, who flourished about a century later, and was 
likewise bishop of Hierapolis. About the same time as 
this recension was undertaken a Syriac version of the 
Old Testament was executed from the Hexaplar text of 
the Septuagint by Paul, bishop of Telia; with whom was 
associated a deacon, Mar Thoma by name, who, not im- 
probably, may he the same as Thomas of Harkel. This 
version first became known in Europe in the year 1730. 
In that year, Dr. Gloucester Ridley received from the 
East some MSS., two of which contained the Harclean 


recension of the New Testament : it was his intention to 
have published them, but the design fell to the ground, 
and the version remained in MS. until 1803, when the 
whole was printed at Oxford. With the exception of the 
Apocryphal parts, the remaining portions of the Old 
Testament are also in print. 

4. The Jerusalem Syriac version. — This is contained in 
a Lectionary in the Vatican Library, and with the exception 
of a few extracts published by Adler, still remains in MS. 
It contains the four Gospels in a Syriac dialect peculiar 
to itself; and has been assigned by Adler to a period be- 
tween the fourth and sixth centuries. Its readings, so 
far as they are known, are of considerable value, con- 
firming as they do those of the most ancient authorities of 
other kinds. 

5. JEtliiopic version. — With the spread of Christianity in 
^Ethiopia in the fourth century, the translation of the Scrip- 
tures into the Gheez, or ancient sacred tongue of the country, 
seems to have been simultaneous. A tradition, of doubtful 
authenticity, assigns it to Frumentius, the first bishop 
of that region. Perfect MSS. of it exist in the libraries 
of Europe, but only portions of it have appeared in print. 
The New Testament was printed at Rome in 1549, and 
again in an amended form, by Mr. Piatt, London, 1830, 
for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Of the Old 
Testament only fragments had been published, until, recently, 
Dillmann, in Germany, undertook an entire edition, part 
of which has already appeared. In the Old Testament 
this version is founded entirely on the Septuagint, and con- 
tains, therefore, not merely the Apocrypha, but many 
spurious writings, such as the book of Enoch and the 
fourth book of Ezra. 

6. Egyptian versions. — Of about the same date, and 
likewise, as far as the Old Testament is concerned, founded 


upon the Septuagint, are these versions, of which three 
have been discovered, the Coptic, or more properly, Mem- 
phi tic, the dialect of Lower Egypt ; the Sahidic, or Thebaic, 
in the language of Upper Egypt ; and the Bashmuric, a 
mixture of the other two. When, and where, they were 
executed, is not known; but critics have assigned to the 
Thebaic version a date as early as the third century. The 
Memphitic New Testament was published by WilMns, 
Oxford, 1716, and the Pentateuch by the same editor, 
London, 1731: the Psalms have been often printed. The 
greater prophets were published by Tattam, Oxford, 
1836, and portions of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel, by 
other editors. In 1847 a new, and more accurate, edition 
of the New Testament was published by Schwartze, at 
Leipsic. Of the Thebaic and Bashmuric, only a few 
fragments are in print. The former especially is useful 
for critical purposes. 

7. Armenian versions. — In the fifth century Miesrob, 
the inventor of the Armenian alphabet, attempted a trans- 
lation of the Scriptures into Armenian from the Syriac; 
but this project being abandoned, Eznak and Joseph, two 
scholars, were sent to Alexandria to acquire a knowledge of 
Greek, for the purpose of executing a version from the 
Septuagint. The whole Bible was thus translated from 
the Greek. In the seventeenth century the Armenians were 
desirous of having their version printed in Europe; they 
failed in their object at Eome, but at length got an edition 
printed at Amsterdam, 1666, under the supervision of 
Uscan, an Armenian bishop. An improved editicn of the 
New Testament was published by Dr. Zohrab, at Venice, 

8. Georgian version. — This version is said to have 
been made in the sixth century. It is in the Armenian 
character, arid is probably derived from the Armenian- 


and therefore mediately from the Septuagint. It was 
printed at Moscow in 1743. 

9. Persian versions. — The Scriptures seem to have 
been translated into Persian at an early period. The 
version, however, to which Chrysostom and Theodoret 
refer, has perished ; those now extant of the Pentateuch, 
the Gospels, and some other parts of the Old Testament, 
are of much later date. The Pentateuch version could 
not have been made before the eighth century, because for 
Babel the author has substituted Bagdad, which city was 
not founded till a.d. 762. It professes to be the work of 
a rabbi, Jacob Ben Joseph, surnamed Tawus, from Tus, a 
city of Persia. Printed at first in Hebrew characters in 
the Constantinopolitan Polyglott, in 1546, it was trans- 
ferred, in Persic letters, to the London Polyglott. Two 
Persian versions of the Gospel are known ; one of them 
printed in Walton's Polyglott, the other by Wheloc and 
Pierson, 1652. Walton's MS. was written a.d. 1341. 
Different translations into Persian have been made from 
the Vulgate. 

10. Arabic translations. — The Arabic versions of the 
Old Testament, from the original Hebrew, from the 
Septuagint and from the Peschito, have been already 
described. There are several editions of the New Testa- 
ment in Arabic, of which that printed at Rome in 1591, 
containing the four Gospels, is the Editio princeps. It was 
reprinted in the Paris and London Polyglott. The whole 
of the New Testament was published by Erpenius at 
Leyden, 1616 ; and, in Syriac letters, at Rome in 1703. 
From the Vulgate various translations have been made 
for the use of the Eastern Christians. The whole Bible 
was issued from the Propaganda Press at Rome in 1671. 


2. Western Versions. 
1. The Old Latin. — Fragments of a version, sometimes, 

but improperly, called the old Italic, are found in the 
works of the early Latin fathers, such as Tertullian and 
Augustine. They belong to an ancient Latin version, the 
birthplace of which was not Italy, where Greek was the 
ecclesiastical language, but the Roman province of North- 
ern Africa, in which Latin had become the vernacular 
tongue. By whom it was made, and at what period, is 
uncertain ; there is evidence, however, of its being in use 
before the close of the second century. That there was 
only one current version under this name appears from 
the characteristic words which are found in all the 
citations made by the Latin fathers. When Augustine, 
therefore, speaks of the Latin interpreters as being in- 
numerable, 1 or prefers the Italic to all the other trans- 
lations, 2 he must be understood to mean different ex- 
emplars of the African original. In the Old Testament 
this was made from the Septuagint. 

2. The Vulgate. — At the request of Damasus, bishop 
of Rome, Jerome, then a presbyter from Dalmatia, under- 
took, about the year 382, a revision of the Old Latin 
version, which in a few years he completed, the Gospels 
more accurately than the Epistles. As he proceeded in 
his task to the Old Testament, the inaccuracy of the 
Septuagint version, from which the old Latin was derived, 
struck him so forcibly that he conceived the idea of a new 
translation from the original Hebrew ; a task for which, 
from his knowledge of Hebrew and his critical abilities, 
he was well fitted. This version, which occupied its 
author about twenty-one years, has, since its adoption by 
the Romish Church, borne the name of the Vulgate. 
1 De Doct. Christ, ii. 11. 2 Ibid. c. 15. 


Though it surpassed all former attempts of the kind, its 
first reception was unfavourable ; the veneration in which 
the Septuagint was held rendering the early fathers sus- 
picious of a version which differed from it so considerably. 
Gradually, however, it triumphed over opposition, and at 
length received the public sanction of Gregory the Great, 
from which period it became the authorised text of the 
Western Church. The Psalter, however, from its litur- 
gical use, and most of the apocryphal books, which by 
Jerome had been excluded from the canon, remained in 
the old Latin. 

In the lapse of time, from the intermixture of the 

two versions, the text fell into confusion. The celebrated 

Alcuin, at the command of Charlemagne, attempted to 

restore it ; but, notwithstanding his labours, and those 

of Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Nicholas, 

Hugo a Sancto Caro, and others, in the twelfth and 

thirteenth centuries, it remained, up to the invention of 

printing, in a very unsatisfactory condition. It appeared 

thus in the first printed editions, the earliest of which is 

that of Gumelli, Mayence, 1462. This was followed by 

the editions of Petrus, Brescia, 1496, of the Complu- 

tensian Polyglott, and of Robert Stephens, 1528-46 ; in 

all which, however, corrections were admitted from the 

Hebrew ; so that little was effected towards restoring the 

text to its original condition. The subject was discussed 

at the Council of Trent, and a commission appointed, who 

reported that the text was in such a corrupt state that the 

Pope alone could remedy the evil. Some recommended a 

new translation from the Hebrew, others a revision of the 

Latin. The matter ended in the Council's pronouncing 

the Vulgate to be the authentic rule of faith, but ordering 

that a new and amended edition should be undertaken 

The commission, however, to which this work was e> 


trusted, was superseded by Paul III. ; an edition, put 
forth in the meanwhile by the theologians of Louvain, was 
prohibited by his successor, Paul IV. ; and it was promised 
that the Pope, with the assistance of the cardinals, would 
forthwith issue an authentic text. After many delays, 
the promised edition appeared under the auspices of 
Sixtus V., in the year 1590, with a preface by the Pope 
himself, in which its accuracy is extolled in the highest 
terms. It was discovered, however, to be so very incorrect 
that another speedily followed, differing materially from 
its predecessor, but also guaranteed by the infallible 
authority of Gregory XIV. and Clement VIII. ; and this 
again was superseded by a third edition, the work of the 
latter Pope, which was published in 1593, and contained 
fresh corrections. This last is the standard edition of the 
Eomish Church ; subsequent ones being but transcripts of 
it. The Vulgate was, for a long time, disregarded as a 
source of criticism ; more recently, that is, since the time 
of Mill and Bentley, its claims have been admitted as a 
witness to ancient readings ; and, should a critical revision 
of it ever be accomplished, the gain to biblical literature 
will be very great. 

o. Sclavonic version. — The Sclavonic nations on the 
Danube are said to have received both the profession of 
Christianity and a translation of the Scriptures in the 
ninth century from two brothers, Cyrillus and Methodius, 
of Thessalonica, who laboured as missionaries in Great 
Moravia. It is doubtful, however, whether at that period 
more than the New Testament was rendered into Sclavonic. 
The Old Testament seems to have been, partly at least, 
taken from the Latin; but at what period is uncertain 
The oldest MS. of the entire Bible is of the year 1499 
The whole Bible was printed at Ostrog, in Volhynia. 
in 1581. 


4. Gothic version. — Towards the close of the fourth 
century the Visi- Goths received permission from the 
Emperor Valens to settle in the province of Mcesia, whence 
they received the name of Mceso-Goths. This was speedily 
followed by their conversion to Christianity; and their 
second bishop, Ulphilas, an Arian in creed, presented them 
with a version of the Scriptures, which was extensively 
used over a large part of Europe. It was only in the 
latter part of the sixteenth century that the existence of 
this version became known in Europe, by a MS., found in 
the Monastery of Werden, in Westphalia, from which a 
few portions were printed. In the year 1648, after the 
capture of Prague by the Swedes, the celebrated Codex 
Argenteus, a Gothic MS. of the four Gospels on purple 
vellum with silver letters, was discovered in that city and 
sent to Sweden, where it is now preserved in the library 
of the University of Upsal. It was first printed at Dort, 
in 1G65. This MS. belongs probably to the sixth 
century. The researches of Cardinal Mai have since 
brought to light the greater part of St. Paul's Epistles 
and a few portions of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, in 
the Gothic tongue. In the Old Testament, the Hexa- 
plaric text appears to be followed ; the New Testament is 
taken from the original Greek. The whole of these 
portions of Ulphilas' version were published at Leipsic, 
1843, under the care of Gabelentz and Loebe. As a source 
of criticism it does not rank very high. 

5. Anglo-Saxon versions. — These versions are not of a 
date earlier than the eighth century. Venerable Bede 
rendered the whole Bible from the Vulgate into Anglo- 
Saxon ; and in the tenth century, iElfric, archbishop of 
Canterbury, translated several books of the Old Testa- 
ment into the same language. A portion of iElfric's 
version was printed at Oxford, in 1C99. Previously to 


this, in 1640, a translation of the Psalter, purporting to 
be the work of King Alfred, had appeared in London. 
The entire version has not yet been printed. It is of little 
use, save in determining the readings of the Vulgate. 

Sect. II. — Modern versions. 

These are very numerous; and of late years, as the 
field of operation of the British and Foreign Bible Society 
has extended itself, the number has so increased that 
merely to enumerate them would occupy too much of our 
space. Some of the more ancient and important deserve 

§ 1. Modern Latin. — In the sixteenth and two follow- 
ing centuries, several Latin translations, Romish and 
Protestant, appeared, of various merit. Of the former 
may be mentioned that of Pagninus (1528), Cajetan (1639), 
and Houbigant (1753); of the latter, that of Munster 
(1534), Leo Jnda (1543), Castalio (distinguished for its 
classical elegance, but deficient in simplicity, 1573), 
Junius and Tremellius (1590), Schmidt (1696), and 
Dathe (the Old Testament, 1773), highly esteemed both 
for elegance and fidelity. Erasmus first translated the New 
Testament into Latin, in which he was followed by Beza 
(1556), whose version is remarkable for fidelity, and in the 
present century by Sebastiani (1817), who translated from 
the Alexandrian MS. 

§ 2. German versions. — To Germany belongs the honour 
both of the discovery of the art of printing, and of the 
first printed translation into the vernacular of any part 
of the Bible. In the year 1466, a German translation 
from the Vulgate was printed, the author of which is 
unknown. The Reformation gave a new impulse to 
Biblical study. Luther felt that the great work of which 
he was the human instrument could never rest upon a 


sure basis, until the Scriptures were accessible to tlie 
people ; and about the year 1517, he commenced a new 
version from the original Hebrew and Greek, which, after 
revision by Melancthon and other learned men, was first 
published in 1530. It is one of the first of modern trans- 
lations for simplicity, strength, and accuracy; and formed 
an era, not merely in the religious but in the literary history 
of the German people. It is the basis of several other 
versions, e.g. the Lower Saxon, the Pomeranian, the Danish, 
and the Icelandic. 

The Romish Church was compelled to follow in the 
wake of the Protestant. Almost contemporaneously with 
that of Luther, two versions appeared, one by Detemberger, 
the other by Eckius; and a third one by Caspar Ulenberg, 
in 1630. The most popular and highly esteemed Romish 
translation of the New Testament is that of Von Ess, 
which was published in 1812. 

§ 3. French versions. — In 1512, James le Fevre, of 
Estaples, published St. Paul's Epistles in French ; this was 
followed by the whole Bible in 1530. Le Fevre' s translation, 
revised by the divines of Louvain, was reprinted in 1550, 
and is said to have been the basis of all the other French 
translations, Romish or Protestant. The first Protestant 
translation was that of Olivetan (1535): it appeared at 
Geneva, in 1540, with corrections by Calvin, and again, in 
1588, after a further revision by the Genevan divines, who 
so improved it, that thenceforward it went by the name of 
the Geneva Bible. Other revisions of it were made, the 
best known of which are those of Martin and Ostervald. 
A Protestant translation of the New Testament, by 
Beausobre and L'Enfant (Amsterdam, 1718), enjoys a 
high reputation. 

§ 4. Flemish and Dutch versions. — In the sixteenth 
century a Flemish version of the Scriptures was made from 


the Vulgate, and printed at Cologne and Delft (1477). 
Until the year 1618, when the Synod of Dort took place, 
the Dutch Protestants had only a translation from Luther's 
German version ; but then a new version from the 
Hebrew and Greek was undertaken, which was printed at 
Amsterdam in 1680. 

§5. Italian versions. — Several of these are extant. The 
earliest is that of Malermi, published at Venice in 1471. 
All previous versions were, however, superseded by the 
elegant and faithful one of Diodati, 1607. Towards the 
end of the last century, another version was executed by 
Martini, archbishop of Florence, from the Vulgate, ac- 
companied with notes. It received the sanction of Pius 
VI. and has been frequently reprinted. 

§ 6. Spanish versions. — Besides some versions of the 
Old Testament for the use of the Spanish Jews, several 
are extant in the Spanish language, executed by Christians. 
The first of these from the original languages is that of 
Reyna, a Romanist, Basil, 1569, and the second, which is 
rather a revision of the former, that of Valera, a Pro- 
testant, Amsterdam, 1602. The Vulgate was translated 
into Spanish so early as 1478; and, again, in 1793-4 by 
Padre Scio, and in 1824 by Amat. 

§ 7. Russian, Turkish, §c. versions. — The Russians do 
not as yet possess the whole of the Bible in the vernacular. 
The New Testament was published in 1823, and some 
progress made with the Old ; but as yet the latter has not 
appeared. The printing of the entire Turkish Bible was 
completed in 1828, under the auspices of the British and 
Foreign Bible Society. To the Baptist missionaries at Ser- 
ampore, aided by the Bible Society, are due translations 
into Sanscrit, the learned language of India, and Chinese ; 
the entire Bible in which latter language was completed 
in 1821. Many versions in the vernacular dialects of 


India have since been published ; as also translations of 
the New Testament into modern Arabic and Persian. In 
fact, the progress of translation is commensurate with that 
of missions ; and in proportion as, by means of the living 
ministry, a desire for the word of life has been created, the 
Christian Church, at least the Protestant portion thereof, 
has acknowledged, and not inadequately fulfilled, the duty 
of satisfying this desire. 

§ 8. English versions. — For the English Christian the 
history of the translations of the Bible into his own 
language possesses a peculiar interest : we shall here, 
therefore, enter more into detail. 

Of the Anglo-Saxon versions we have already spoken. 
The oldest English translation extant is that of a priest 
named Bolle, who died in 1349, containing the Psalms, 
and several other Canticles, with a commentary ; but the 
first entire version was made by Wiclif, who, about the year 
1380, translated the Vulgate into English. The diffi- 
culty of transcription, and the opposition of the ecclesiasti- 
cal authorities, rendered copies of this work extremely rare : 
the price of a Testament was not less than about 30/. of 
our money. Two editions of Wiclif* 's New Testament have 
been published, one by Lewis 1731, the other a reprint of 
the former, by Baker 1810. 

William Tyndale led the van in printing any part of the 
Bible in English. Unable to carry out his design in 
England, he repaired to Antwerp, where, with the assist- 
ance of John Fryth and a friar named Boye, who after- 
wards received the crown of martyrdom, he completed a 
translation of the New Testament from the original Greek. 
It was printed in 1527, and many copies having found 
their way into England, Tonstal, bishop of London, the 
more effectually to suppress it, purchased up the impres- 
sion, and committed it to the flames at St. Paul's Cross 


The proceeds of the sale, however, assisted Tyndale in the 
preparation of new editions, which were extensively 
circulated in this country, and materially contributed to 
the progress of the Reformation. Tyndale had also 
designed to publish a version of the Old Testament from 
the Hebrew, and had advanced as far as the Pentateuch, 
when, in 1536, he suffered death for Christ's sake at 
Villefort, near Brussels. 

Coverdale' s Bible. — Remonstrances having been ad- 
dressed by the clergy to Henry VIII. against Tyndale's 
version, the king gave directions that a new translation 
should be undertaken, the execution of which was in- 
trusted to Miles Coverdale, afterwards Bishop of Exeter. 
It was published in 1535, and is the first translation of the 
entire Bible in our language, and the first sanctioned by 
royal authority. Being ignorant of the original languages, 
Coverdale translated from the Latin and the German, five 
of which versions he states that he used. It was reprinted 
in 1550 and 1553. 

Matthew's Bible. — This is a mere fusion of Tyndale's 
and Coverdale's translations, issued in 1537 under the 
fictitious name of Matthew. The real author is supposed 
to have been John Rogers. Of this Bible 2500 copies, 
which, by the permission of Francis I., had been printed at 
Paris for the use of English Christians, were burned in 
that city by the Inquisition ; a portion of the impression, 
however, was rescued, and being, with the types and 
printers, conveyed to England, a revised edition was, under 
the patronage of Cranmer, published in 1539, which bears 
the name of the Great Bible from its size, and Cranmer's 
from the archbishop's having prefixed a prologue to it. 
A splendid copy, in vellum, is preserved in the British 

Geneva Bible. — This was the fruit of the pious labours 



of the English Protestants, who, by the Marian persecu- 
tion, were driven to take refuge in Geneva. The chief 
persons concerned in it were Coverdale, Gilly, Whitting- 
ham, Woodman, Sampson, and Cole. It is partly a new 
translation, and partly a revision of the former ones. 
Upwards of thirty editions of it were published between 
the years 15 GO and 1616 ; a remarkable testimony to its 
excellence. In this Bible the division into verses was 
first adopted. 

Bishops' Bible. — After the accession of Elizabeth, a 
new edition of the Bible being required for the use of 
parish churches, Archbishop Parker, by the royal com- 
mand, allotted to men of learning distinct portions of the 
Great Bible, for the purpose of revision and correction. 
From the circumstance that eight of these divines were 
bishops, the result of their joint labours was called the 
Bishops' Bible. Their task being completed, the Bible 
was printed in folio in 1568, embellished with cuts and 
maps. It was the basis of the last, or Authorized Version, 
and was used in the public services of the Church, while 
the Geneva Bible kept its place in private houses. 

King James's, or the present Authorized Version. — At the 
Hampton Court Conference, in 1603, some objections 
having been made to the Bishops' Bible, the king gave 
orders for a new version, in which forty-seven of the most 
learned divines of the kingdom were engaged. They were 
divided into six classes, which sat at Westminster, and the 
two Universities ; and to each of them a particular portion 
of the sacred volume was assigned. The directions given 
them were, that they should adhere as closely as possible 
to the Bishops' Bible, retaining the old ecclesiastical terms 
and proper names, and that no notes should be added 
except marginal explanations of Hebrew or Greek words, 
and a few references to parallel passages. The books were 


first translated by each individual, and then submitted to 
the committee to which he belonged ; and, finally, to the 
revision of the whole body. The translation was com- 
menced in 1607, and completed in 1610 ; and in the next 
year the Bible was printed in folio. Upon the excellencies 
of it, it is needless to enlarge. By the unanimous voice 
of scholars and divines of all denominations, it has been 
pronounced one of the best versions extant. The transla- 
tors have seized not only the meaning, but the very spirit, 
of the original. As might be expected, the progress of 
scholarship has detected some errors, and time has rendered 
some expressions obsolete ; there seems no reason why, 
without altering the general cast of the language, these 
should not be gradually corrected. King James's transla- 
tion superseded all the former ones, with the exception of 
those of the Psalms, and of the Epistles and Gospels, in 
the Book of Common Prayer ; the former from Cranmer's, 
the latter from the Bishops' Bible ; which continued to be 
used until the final revision of the Liturgy in 1661, when 
the Epistles and Gospels were taken from the present 
version, the Psalms being suffered to remain in Cranmer's 

Anglo-Romish versions. — About the close of the six- 
teenth century, the Church of Home in England, no 
longer able to withstand the demand for the Scriptures in 
the vernacular, sanctioned the printing of an English 
New Testament at Rheims, which was followed by the 
Old Testament at Douay, in 1609-10. Both were made 
from the Vulgate, and, in several places, favour the 
peculiarities of the Romish system. This is the version 
alone used by English Romanists. 

§ 9. Welsh, Irish, <J-c, versions. — In 1563 an Act of 
Parliament directed that the Bible should be translated 
into Welsh for the use of the inhabitants of the Princi- 


pality. The New Testament appeared in 1567, the Old 
about twenty years later. A corrected version, by Dr. 
Parry, bishop of St. Asaph, which formed the basis of all 
the subsequent editions, was printed at London in 1620. 
Until comparatively recent times, Wales was but poorly 
supplied with Bibles for private use. It was in the year 
1802 that a few pious persons met to concert measures 
for the supplying of this want, which led to the formation 
of the British and Foreign Bible Society, one of the first 
of the beneficent labours of which was a large edition of 
the Bible in the Welsh tongue. Since that time an 
abundant supply has flowed into the Principality. 

The pious Bedell, bishop of Kilmore, in 1629, was the 
first who formed the design of giving the Irish the 
Scriptures in their native tongue. He caused a trans- 
lation to be executed, and was on the point of printing it, 
when the Rebellion put a temporary stop to the work. In 
1685 it was published at the expense of the Hon. Robert 
Boyle. Several editions, under the auspices of the Pro- 
testant societies, have since appeared. 

The Manx Bible, first projected by Dr. Wilson, bishop 
of Sodor and Man, has since been completed, and was 
printed in 1775 by the Society for Promoting Christian 
Knowledge, and, more recently, by the Bible Society. 
The latter Society has also issued several editions of the 
Scriptures in the Gaelic tongue, spoken in the Highlands 
of Scotland. 




§ 1. Sources of various readings. — Since the mode of 
the transmission of the sacred books resembles that of 
ordinary secular compositions, and infallibility was not a 
prerogative of copyists, it was inevitable that, in the lapse 
of time, mistakes should occur, which, increasing as copies 
were multiplied, gave rise to what have been called various 
readings. The term has sometimes been employed to 
denote all the variations which occur in MSS. ; but 
properly it signifies those cases only in which different 
words are used in the same passage. The others are 
rather differences in the mode of spelling the same word, 
such as occur in English books printed at considerable 
intervals of time. A very large proportion of the varia- 
tions in ancient copies are variations of orthography. 

Thus in the Greek MSS. the vowel-sounds were fre- 
quently interchanged, as n and t, ui and s. We have 
TMEIN and TMIN, ii^ov and J'^ov, yiivopxt and yivopxi, 
vteKpx for tiXvQcc, la-rcct and Ic-ts ; AAMBANETAI may be 
either the 2d pers. pi. active, or the 3d pers. sing, passive, 
the sense alone determining which it is. In later MSS. 
the interchange of o and a is frequent. The Iota postscript, 
or subscript, gives rise to orthographic differences. Origin- 
ally it was written after the vowel to which it belonged, 
as AI, ni ; afterwards it was dropped, and when cursive 
letters were employed, it once more appears. In general, 
where no doubt exists as to the word intended, these pecu- 
liarities of orthography may be dismissed unnoticed. 


Of various readings, properly so called, the causes are 
various. The first transcript from the author's autograph 
would probably not be faultless ; subsequent transcribers 
would either perpetuate the mistakes, or attempt to 
correct them. The corrections would be made according 
to the ideas of each writer ; these corrections would be 
again corrected ; and so the chances of error would go on 
increasing as the number of copies increased. The early 
mode of writing, without any break between the words ; 
the abbreviations in common use ; the difficulty of cor- 
recting the new exemplar, written as it also was without 
divisions, must have greatly increased the difficulty of 
accurate transcription. To this we must add, that MSS. 
were sometimes dictated ; and in this case the possibility 
of mistake was doubled, both the sight and the hearing 
participating therein. Finally, wilful tampering with the 
text, for party purposes, may have occurred, though this 
charge has never been satisfactorily substantiated. 

The results of these various sources of error have been 
arranged by Dr. Tregelles 1 under the three heads of 
substitutions, insertions, and omissions. Substitutions are 
sometimes of similar letters, which is particularly observ- 
able in Hebrew MSS., e.g. for the common reading in 
Judges, viii. 16, "he taught (jh*>) the men of Succoth," 
many MSS., and most of the versions, read, "he tore"^ 
(sn^). Sometimes synonymous words were put one for 
another, or clauses were transposed. A change of a 
single letter occasionally produces a different word, as 
lr^o7ro(j)o^(riv (the common reading) for Irgo^opogjjw, Acts, 
xiii. 18. In the dictating of MSS., similarity of sound 
may have given rise to errors ; in this way the various 
reading u?rviX7riKQr^ (" without hope " ) for etmXynxoTts 
("past feeling"), Eph. iv. 19, is supposed to have arisen. 
1 Home, Introd. Edit. 10, vol. iv. c. 6. 


Compound and simple forms are interchanged, and con- 
tractions are frequently mistaken. For what the copyist 
thought a grammatical solecism, is substituted a reading 
more in accordance with syntax. Of all kinds of sub- 
stitution, the most pregnant, according to Michaelis, is the 
altering of parallel passages, so as to make them identical 
in expression. Thus, in Matt. xyii. 2, for " white as the 
light," some copies have " white as the snow," from 
Mark, ix. 3. The gospels, from their containing so many 
parallel narratives, have suffered most in this way. 

Insertions are due, in many instances, to the tendency 
last mentioned ; as, for example, the form of the Lord's 
Prayer in Luke xi. has been amplified, to make it corre- 
spond with that in Matt. vi. 9 ; the words g-kX^ov rot %£<>$ 
xivr^cc XxxTifyiv, found in St. Paul's account of his conversion, 
Acts, xxvi. 14, have been introduced into the narrative of the 
same event in c. 9. Citations from the Old Testament have 
been altered or expanded, in order to make them correspond 
exactly with the Septuagint. Perhaps the most prolific 
source of unauthorised additions was, the tendency of 
transcribers to introduce into the text marginal notes, or 
glosses, of which both MSS. and versions afford many 
remarkable examples. Thus, the clause in Acts, viii. 37, 
" If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest," was, 
no doubt, originally a gloss, or rather a traditionary 
addition in the margin, whence it gradually found its way 
into the text. The word Amen after certain doxologies 
appears to belong to the same category. 

Omissions are much less frequent than insertions. 
Here, also, the aiming at exact parallelism influenced 
transcribers. They chiefly, however, proceeded from the 
inadvertence of the copyists, who, when words of similar 
termination occurred at a short interval in a passage, often 


permitted the eye to catch the second word without 
further examination ; in consequence of which all the 
intermediate words were omitted. Thus, in the Codex 
Bezze, the concluding words of Matt. v. 19, and the whole 
of v. 20, are omitted, because the expression, " kingdom 
of heaven," immediately precedes, and also concludes, the 
omitted portion. Occasionally omissions seem to have 
arisen from the practice of passing over, in the public 
reading of Scripture, certain portions of a narrative, 
either because they were inserted elsewhere, or were 
thought not fit for public exposition. 1 

§ 2. Critical rules. — The object of textual criticism is 
to reproduce, as far as is possible, amidst the various and 
conflicting evidence, which, from the causes just mentioned, 
our extant MSS. furnish, what the author really wrote. 
To be successfully pursued, it manifestly requires a 
knowledge, not merely of the original languages, but of 
the history and peculiarities of ancient MSS. ; a tact, 
almost an instinct, to perceive where a valuable reading is 
preserved, and where a copyist must have blundered ; such 
as the labours of a life devoted to such subjects alone can 
form. In the present age the office of the critic and of 
the expositor should be kept distinct ; the labours of 
either have their own place and their own importance ; 
but when the attempt is made to combine them, the result 
is usually unsatisfactory. 

The following rules, which have been proposed by 
critics, will give the reader some idea of the manner in 
which the text is settled. 

1. Where all the external authorities agree in a read- 
ing, it is to be accounted the genuine one. This is evident, 
for the art of the critic consists in balancing the claims of 
1 See Tregelles in Home's Introd. iv. p. 61. 


conflicting evidence. The great bulk of Scripture is 
happily thus attested by unanimous testimony. 

2. The same may be said of readings which are sup- 
ported by nearly all the authorities ; or by the general con- 
currence of the most ancient MSS., versions, quotations, and 
parallel passages, as distinguished from later testimony. 
A recent MS., however, if it be proved to be a copy of a 
very ancient one, is of greater authority than one whose 
actual date may be older. 

3. Headings found in versions, or the works of the 
fathers, alone, are entitled to little attention. 

4. A few MSS. of different countries, or families, where 
they agree in a reading, outweigh many MSS. of the same 
genealogy supporting a different one. 

5. In general the more difficult reading is to be prefer- 
red to the easier ; unusual forms to usual ; Hebraisms and 
solecisms, to pure grammatical forms ; and shorter read- 
ings to longer. 

6. Where the balance of external testimony is equal," 
internal evidence, such as the style of the writer, the 
context, the design of the work, may be allowed a 

7. Under the same circumstances, sometimes an early 
citation, sometimes a parallel passage, is decisive. Read- 
ings, too, from which others may naturally have been 
derived, are to be preferred. 

8. Critical conjecture is rarely to be admitted in the 
Old Testament, and never in the New. The analogy which 
might be thought to exist between the formation of the text 
of Scripture and that of the classical works which time 
has spared us, is but imaginary. Classical works have, in 
general, been transmitted by very few MSS. ; occasionally, 
as in the case of Velleius Paterculus, by means of one ; here, 


therefore, there is scope, where manifest corruptions exist, 
for critical sagacity in attempting to restore what the 
author really wrote. But the multitude of extant MSS. of 
Scripture, and of ancient versions, especially of the New 
Testament, renders critical speculations in this field wholly 
inapplicable. The materials of external evidence are abun- 
dant and various ; the office of the critic therefore is, not 
to suggest what the inspired writers might, and in his 
opinion, ought to have written, but from these materials to 
aim at reproducing what he actually did write. As regards 
the Old Testament the case is rather different. Our 
extant MSS. are of comparatively recent date, and belong 
to but one family ; the versions themselves have in many 
instances suffered ; hence it may not be possible, by the 
aid of external testimony, to correct manifest mistakes, 
such as occasionally appear in numbers, dates, and genea- 
logies. Yet even here critical conjecture, properly so 
called, is seldom allowable. Our best resource is the 
internal testimony of Scripture itself, i.e. the correcting 
of one passage, which may seem erroneous, by another 
which there is reason to believe contains the true 
reading. In this way many apparent contradictions may 
be removed. 

The above canons refer chiefly to the New Testament, 
the following rules, especially applicable to the Old, are 
given by Dr. Davidson in his treatise on Biblical Criticism. 
(I. pp. 386, 387.) 

" 1. When the Masoretic text deviates from the other 
critical documents, and when these documents agree in 
their testimony quite independently of one another, the 
reading of the latter is preferable. 

"2. If the documents disagree in testimony, the usual 
reading of the Masoretic text should be preferred, even 


though a majority of the Hebrew MSS. collated cannot be 
quoted in its favour. 

" 3. A reading found in the Masoretic text alone, or in 
the sources of evidence alone, independently of the Masoretic 
text, is suspicious. 

" 4. If the MSS. of the original text disagree with one 
another, number does not give the greater weight ; but 
other things, such as age, country, &c, aided by internal 



The foregoing observations will have sufficiently explained 
the circumstances under which the Bible, considered merely 
as an ancient book, has come down to us : but to Christians 
this volume is more than a record of interesting events, 
more than a collection of masterpieces in the several 
departments of literary composition ; to them it is a com- 
munication from God to man, an authoritative revelation 
of His will ; it is, in short, the Word of God, the inspired 
standard of faith and practice. We have next, then, to in- 
quire, on what grounds, and to what extent, we attribute 
this exalted prerogative to the Scriptures ? And since, the 
divine origin of the Bible being supposed, it is above all 
things important that its meaning be, with the utmost 
possible exactness, ascertained, some observations will 
then come to be offered on the principles of Scripture inter- 



§ 1. TJie Scriptures inspired. — The question of the In- 
spiration of the Scriptures is distinct from that of the 
Divine origin of the Christian religion. 1 Miracles, and 

1 The distinction has not been always kept in view. Thus in Mr. 
Home's valuable Introduction, a large space of vol. i. is devoted to 
the subject of the " Inspiration of the Scriptures," for which the two 


prophecy, form the external credentials of an ambassador 
from God ; they prove that the Creator is about to come 
forth from the clouds and darkness which surround His 
throne, for the purpose of declaring His attributes, or 
counsels ; they are, as an eminent writer expresses it, " the 
great bell of the universe," to call attention to the an- 
nouncement that is to follow : but when the communica- 
tions thus made from God to man have to be committed to 
writing, to form a permanent record for the benefit of 
future ages, it is obvious that to guard against error, 
arising from the failure of memory, or the admixture of the 
human element with the divine, a superintending influence 
of the Spirit is necessary, beyond the original afflatus, or 
Divine impulse ; and this is properly the gift of inspiration, 
a term which, contrary to the view advocated by a modern 
writer (Davidson, in Home's Introd. vol. ii. p. 373), should 
be applied, not to the men but to the books, or to the 
men as composers of the books. Prophecies uttered under 
the impulse of the Spirit were not, perhaps, committed to 
writing for some time afterwards ; — what guarantee would 
there be that they were correctly recorded, had not the 
prophets, or other persons, been inspired for that very pur- 
main external arguments adduced are "Miracles" and M Prophecy." 
But these are proofs of a Divine mission in general, not of a special 
commission to write a book. Our Lord proved Himself by miracles 
and prophecy to be " sent from God;" St. Luke, of whom no miracles 
are recorded, was inspired to write memoirs of Christ, and the history 
of the early Church. The gifts of miracles and prophecy might be distinct 
from the gift of correctly handing down the record of their exercise ; 
and these endowments were often, as in St. Luke's case, separated. 
The former mark the entrance of revelation into the world ; the latter 
ensures that it shall be transmitted pure. Jeremiah prophesying was 
in one sense inspired; Jeremiah commissioned to record his prophecies 
for the benefit of future ages, long after they were delivered, needed a 
further gift of the Spirit to preserve him from error ; and this is the 
gift to which the term inspiration is here confined. 


pose; viz. to record correctly what had been uttered? 
Accordingly we find that many inspired men were not 
inspired to write books; and, on the other hand, that 
others, who could not claim to be directly sent by God to 
communicate His will to man, received a Divine mission to 
compose, or to select, such written memorials as it seemed 
good to Divine providence to perpetuate for the use of the 

Inspiration, thus understood, may be defined to be, a 
special influence of the Holy Spirit, whereby the writers of 
Scripture were, in the act of writing, supernaturally pre- 
served from error, and enabled to transmit, in its integrity, 
the original revelation as they received it. We call it a 
special influence of the Spirit, to distinguish it from that 
which all Christians enjoy, ordinary sanctifying and illu- 
minating grace : between the highest measures of this, and 
the gift of inspiration, there is a specific difference; nor 
could the former, by natural growth, ever have passed into 
the latter. "We confine it to the writers (or compilers) 
of Scripture to distinguish it from the spiritual gifts with 
which men of God, who had received no commission to 
write, may have been endowed; who, in one sense, were 
inspired, but were not the agents of the Spirit in placing 
inspired communications on record. 

It is antecedently probable that if the Creator vouch- 
safed to reveal to man by man any portion of His counsels 
and will, He would also make provision for the faithful 
transmission of these communications : otherwise all 
generations subsequent to that which actually heard the 
words, and witnessed the acts, of the prophets and apos- 
tles, would be reduced to stake their faith, and their 
highest interests, upon human testimony. If the writers 
of Scripture were not supernaturally guided, the volume 
might still indeed claim to be an authentic record of the 


doctrine of Christ, just as Plato and Xenophon are deemed 
authentic expositors of the teaching of Socrates; but in 
the former case too much depends on the perfect trust- 
worthiness of the record, not to make it most desirable, 
nay imperative, that all doubts on this head should be 
removed. Scripture itself leaves no doubt upon the subject. 

Commencing with the New Testament, we find Christ 
promising to those, whom He had appointed His witnesses 
and ambassadors, that after His departure, another Advo- 
cate, or Instructor, the Holy Ghost, should abide with them, 
who should not merely recall to their remembrance what 
He had spoken, but supplement His teaching in those points 
in which " the whole truth " had not as yet been delivered 
to them. 1 The same Divine assistance had been previously 
assured to them for a particular case; viz. when they 
should be called before the magnates of the world to give 
an account of their doctrines and proceedings. 2 These 
promises were, we are assured, fulfilled. On the day of 
Pentecost the Holy Spirit visibly descended upon the 
Apostles, who forthwith began to preach " as the Spirit 
gave them utterance ;" 3 represent themselves in their 
regulations, as acting under His guidance'; 4 lay claim to 
a spiritual wisdom, which is not of man, but was revealed 
to them of God, and which they express in words, " not of 
man's teaching, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth." 5 If 
these claims be not utterly groundless, we must believe 
that the Apostles, in their statements of doctrine and in 
their official acts, spoke and acted as special agents of the 
Holy Ghost, in such a sense as that the Holy Spirit may 
be said to have spoken and acted through them. 

Of the eight writers of the New Testament, five were 
of the number of these accredited messengers ; and surely 

1 John, xiv. 16-26. 2 Luke, xii. 11, 12. 3 Acts, ii. 4. 

4 Acts, xv. 28 ; 1 Cor. vii. 40. 5 1 Cor. ii. 10-13. 


we cannot suppose that when they took in hand the task 
of recording what they had seen and heard, or furnishing 
instruction for the benefit of future ages, they would be 
left destitute of this special guidance of the Spirit ? Would 
they be supernaturally preserved from error in preaching 
to the few, and revert to fallibility when writing for the 
many ? Indeed the promise, that Christ would be with 
His Apostles for ever, 1 implies such a Divine superinten- 
dence of their writings, for since they were not in their 
proper persons to remain always upon earth, it is only in 
their writings that they survive; it is only in connexion 
with their writings that the promise is capable of fulfil- 
ment : Matthew, John, and Peter, still speak to us in the 
Scriptures, and in the Scriptures only; if, therefore, 
Christ is not with the apostolic writings, in the same 
sense in which He was with their authors, the perpetuity of 
the promise has failed. 

But it may be said, These promises of our Lord were 
addressed only to Apostles in the strict sense of the word ; 
but a considerable portion of the New Testament, — e.g. the 
Gospels of St. Luke and St. Mark, the Acts of the Apostles, 
the Epistle to the Hebrews (if it was not the composition 
of St. Paul), — was not written by Apostles, and therefore 
does not come to us with the same authority as the rest 
of the volume. But we must bear in mind, in the first 
place, that we nowhere read that the extraordinary gifts 
of the Holy Ghost were confined to the Apostles ; it was 
to be one of the distinctive features of the Christian dis- 
pensation that spiritual gifts, instead of being, as of old, 
bestowed upon a few individuals, should be common pro- 
perty; 2 and in fact, they manifested themselves promis- 
cuously in the Christian Church. 3 There is, therefore, no 
antecedent improbability against the supposition that St. 
1 Matt, xxviii. 20. 2 Joel, ii. 28. 3 1 Cor. xii. 4-11. 


Luke and St. Mark, equally with St. Mattliew and St. 
John, possessed the gift of inspiration. In the next 
place, these apostolical men were only second to the 
Apostles in those prerogatives which distinguished the 
latter from ordinary Christians. It was, in the first place, 
the peculiar privilege of the eleven that they " beheld the 
Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;" that 
from personal intercourse with the Saviour they received 
an impression of His glory which none others could 
pretend to, and which in the case of those who, like Paul, 
were destined to occupy the same position as the Apostles, 
needed to be supplied by extraordinary revelations. 1 Even 
apart from the gift of inspiration, this personal fellow- 
ship with the Saviour must have qualified the Apostles, 
beyond all other men, to exhibit in their writings a 
faithful portraiture of the Divine original. But Mark 
and Luke, if they were not actual witnesses of the great 
mystery of godliness, yet consorted habitually with those 
that had been ; received from their lips the very words of 
Christ; and possessed opportunities which none of their 
successors could possess, of testing the accuracy of current 
traditions, and correcting their own impressions by a 
reference to those who had seen and handled the Word of 
life. The same providential qualifications which rendered 
the Apostles fit instruments of the Spirit in transmitting 
the true doctrine of Christ, existed, if in a secondary, yet 
only in a secondary degree, in those who were associated 
with those inspired messengers in the daily labours of 
their ministry. Another prerogative belonging to the 
college of the Apostles was, that they were the founders 
and fathers of the Christian Church ; and it was to the 
exercise of this function that the assistance of the Holy 

1 Acts, :x. 


Ghost was specially attached. 1 But if not commissioned 
directly by Christ Himself, yet the special fellow-helpers 
of the Apostles were so connected with the latter in their 
mission that no inconsiderable portion of the prerogative 
in question belongs to them ; they assisted at the formation 
of Christian societies; they watered where the Apostles 
had planted; in the absence of the latter, they supplied 
their place, and exercised their functions. 2 Where there 
was a similarity of office, we may believe that when oc- 
casion required there would be a similarity of spiritual 
endowment : so far at least may be affirmed, that if the 
Holy Spirit, in selecting the subjects of inspiration made 
use of natural and providential qualifications (and of this 
there can be no doubt), next to the Apostles themselves 
none were so fit to be intrusted with the gift as the im- 
mediate followers and successors of the Apostles. We 
receive, therefore, even before we open the volume of their 
writings, without suspicion, the universal testimony of the 
Church from the first, that Mark and Luke (and the author 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews) were inspired equally with 
the Apostles, to compose the books which pass under 
their names. 

It is impossible, however, in a question of this kind to 
leave out of view the testimony, corroborative or the 
reverse, of internal evidence. Were there any marked 
discrepancy, either of style or doctrine, in the books that 
are not of directly Apostolic origin from those which were 
written by Apostles, there would be reason, if not for a 
summary decision against their claims, yet for hesitation 
and perplexity. But the moment we inspect these writ- 
ings, we perceive in them the unmistakeable traces of a 

1 John, xx. 21-23 ; Luke, xxiv. 46-49 ; Acts, xiii. 2. 
7 1 lim. i. 3; Tit. i. 5. 


Divine origin. It is not so mucli the perfect harmony in 
the leading particulars of Christ's life, or the leading 
doctrines of the Gospel, subsisting between the two classes 
of inspired writings that strikes the mind, as th& identity 
of tone and manner, which, if we may judge from the 
spurious attempts of the first two centuries, never could 
have been successfully counterfeited. There is the same 
absence of human emotion, or the expression of human 
feelings ; the same dignity and authority of address ; the 
same freedom from puerile details or legendary fables ; the 
same abstinence of taste in the selection of materials ; the 
same noble simplicity of language. With the single 
exception of Clement's first Epistle to the Corinthians, 
nothing approaching in these points to the Canonical 
books has ever appeared in the Church, even in the age 
immediately subsequent to the Apostolic. Writings so 
peculiar, the compositions of men not remarkable for 
genius or learning, carry with them their own impress of 
authority: the Christian instinct discerns in them the 
plenary mind of the Spirit, and without an effort assigns 
them to the same category with the writings of John or 
of Paul. 

The inspiration of the Old Testament follows at once 
from that of the New. We have, indeed, human testimony 
to the former as to the latter ; for as the Church of Christ, 
" the witness and keeper " of her own Scriptures, has from 
the first testified to their inspiration, so the Jews, the 
appointed guardians of the oracles of the Old covenant, 
have, with equal unanimity, regarded those oracles as 
written under the immediate influence of the Divine Spirit. 
We have, too, the express declarations of the prophets 
that the Word in their mouths is the Word of God. But 
we have more; we have the witness of Christ Himself, 
and of the inspired Apostles, to the inspiration of the 


Jewish Scriptures. The Law, the Psalms, and the Pro- 
phets, comprehending, as has been observed in another 
place, our present Canon of the Old Testament, are re- 
peatedly referred to by Christ as forming a recognised 
body of writings, which the Jews of His time were ac- 
customed to call " the Scriptures," and to which He 
affixes the seal of His own ratification. " Search the 
Scriptures;" 1 and these Scriptures are the "Word of 
God;" 2 " God spake unto Moses;" 3 " David said, by the 
Holy Ghost. ' The Lord said unto my Lord,' &c.;" 4 the 
Scriptures testify of Christ, and must be fulfilled. 5 Not 
less express are the statements of the Apostles. The Old 
Testament Scriptures, collectively, are " given by inspira- 
tion of God;" 6 " God at sundry times, and in divers 
manners, spake by the prophets; "7 "holy men of God 
spake as they were moved cf the Holy Ghost;" 8 "the 
prophets searched what the Spirit of Christ which was in 
them did signify: "9 passages are quoted from almost 
every book as of Divine authority. In these testimonies 
of Christ and the Apostles, it is particularly to be observed 
that not the writers, but the writings, are most frequently 
declared to be inspired. The significance of this observa- 
tion will be perceived if we remember that, as regards 
several books of the Old Testament, we are unable posi- 
tively to ascertain the authors of them, and therefore 
cannot, from the known character of the latter, infer the 
inspiration of the former; but the statements of Christ 
and the Apos+les are so framed as to leave the authority 
of the books untouched, whoever may have composed or 
compiled them. For it is a certain body of writings, 
perfectly well known and defined, which, under the title 

1 John, v. 39. 2 Mark, vii. 13. 3 Mark, xii. 26. 

4 Mark, xii. 36. • John, v. 39 ; Matt. xxvi. 24. 6 2 Tim. iii. 15. 
7 Heb. i. 1. "2 Pet. i. 21. 9 1 Pet. i. 11. 


of Scripture, they pronounce inspired ; so that the question 
of the inspiration of the Old Testament resolves itself into 
the question of the Old Testament Canon in onr Lord's 
time ; once this point is satisfactorily made out, the in- 
spiration of the writings Avhich belong to the Canon 
follows as a matter of course. We may not know for 
certain who were the authors of the books of Job and of 
Judges, but we are certain that in the time of Christ 
they formed part of the Canon ; and forming part of it, 
received His attestation to their inspiration. 

But are we not, in resting the inspiration of Scripture 
upon the testimony of Scripture itself, guilty of the 
logical error of petitio principii, or begging the question? 
For we seem to take for granted the fact which we pro- 
pose to prove. But let it be observed, that the doctrine 
of inspiration is not necessary to constitute Scripture a 
trustworthy record of the teaching of Christ and the 
Apostles: it would remain so even if the result of our 
investigations should be that it is a meie human compo- 
sition. Plato and Xenophon, though not inspired, are con- 
sidered authentic and credible expositors of *„he doctrines 
of Socrates; we claim no more for Matthew, Luke, and 
John. On mere historical grounds, their witness is un- 
exceptionable ; and that witness is to the effect that 
Christ both placed the seal of Divine authority on the 
Old Testament Scriptures, and promised Hn; Apostles 
supernatural aid in the discharge of their mission; and 
not least, assuredly, in that part of it which consisted in 
fixing the true type of Christian doctrine for all future 

There are other collateral or internal grounds for the 
common faith of the Church, which are of great weight, 
though here they can but receive a passing notice; e. g. the 
so-called teleological argument, or the argument from 


final causes. What was the purpose for which Scripture 
was given to the Church ? And could that purpose have 
been attained otherwise than by its being so ordered, not 
merely that the personages whose acts or words it records 
were messengers from God, but that the record itself 
should be God's message to man ? The marvellous unity 
of sentiment and design which pervades the whole volume, 
though the component parts of it are the productions of 
authors, separated from each other by intervals of many 
centuries, and by every variety of station, mental culture, 
and natural disposition. The singular preservation of 
these records, under circumstances of national apostasy, 
national dissolution, the fires of persecution, and the cor- 
ruption of Christian Churches ; a preservation which ex- 
tends, not merely to the substance of the Prophetic and 
Apostolic teaching, but,' as has been previously shown, 
with inconsiderable exceptions, to the very letter of what 
they delivered. The innate force of the language of the 
Bible, which has moulded and enriched every tongue of 
Christendom, and in every translation, retains its native 
energy. The inexhaustible fertility of the mine, which 
the more it is worked gives forth the more ; the student 
ever finding something new and fresh in the sacred page. 
The calmness and impartiality with which the writers 
narrate events the most likely to awaken human passion, 
and tempt to exaggeration. The adaptation of the matter 
of the Scriptures to the wants of human nature in all ages 
and countries. When we recollect that the authors were 
men of one people, secluded by its institutions from the 
rest of the world, and undistinguished among the nations 
of antiquity for its literature, its commerce, or its con- 
quests ; and men of ordinary education and capacity ; on 
what other supposition but that of a special Divine super- 
intendence can the facts of the case be accounted for ? 


§ 2. Nature and extent of inspiration. — We proceed to 
make some remarks upon the nature and extent of inspira- 
tion. With the mode in which the Divine Spirit operated 
upon the mind of man we are unacquainted ; the result is 
all that is cognizable by us. E^enthe subjects of inspira- 
tion, though perfectly aware when the Divine power 
rested on them and when it did not, would probably have 
been at a loss to explain the theory of its agency. The 
result which presents itself to us is such a combination of 
spiritual influence with human agency as renders the 
Scriptures at once Divine and human. 

The older theory of plenary inspiration, which regards 
the sacred writers as merely amanuenses or passive organs 
of the Spirit, the theory which in modern times has 
received the name of mechanical, has not been able to 
maintain its ground. In all acts of creative power, it is 
only the first entrance of the Divine agency into the 
world that is properly independent of natural causes ; after- 
wards the two co-operate and can no longer be distinguished. 
Thus in the work of regeneration, the first quickening of 
the soul is an act of grace in which the subject has no 
part ; but in the subsequent stages, man co-operates with 
God, and by a mixed agency, Divine and human, the 
" measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ " is 
reached. By analogy we should suppose that, while the 
primary communication of the inspiring Spirit would be 
independent of the human instrument, the subsequent pro- 
cess of exposition would be carried on in conjunction with, 
and by the means of, the natural faculties in each case. 
This conclusion is confirmed by the confessed differences of 
style which the inspired volume exhibits. The writings 
of the several authors are strongly marked by the peculiar 
colouring which the education, talents, or natural tempera- 
ment of each were calculated to impart; an Epistle of 


Paul could never be mistaken for one of John ; and Peter, 
in his style, resembles neither of those Apostles. Each 
has his own peculiar trains of thought, and expresses him- 
self in the language familiar to him: the compositions 
themselves, for the most part, are the offspring of circum- 
stances, and do not exhibit any preconceived plan. We 
must conclude, therefore, that the sacred writers, when 
under the influence of inspiration, were under no constraint 
in the exercise of their faculties, but spoke and wrote as 
men to men ; that the result, therefore, if it is the word of 
God, is also the word of man. 

On the other hand, however, we must believe that the 
preternatural influence was so exercised as to exclude the 
possibility of human error, or inadvertence. The Holy 
Spirit made use of natural or acquired faculties, acted 
through and by them ; but effectually guarded the result 
from the admixture of natural infirmity. Less than this 
would render the whole doctrine of inspiration nugatory. 
Be it remembered that it is not with the occult process of 
the Spirit's influence, or with the deposition of revelation 
in the Apostles' minds, that we have to do; what concerns 
us is that the deposit should issue from its source pure 
and unmutilated ; it is the written word of God that is to 
be a light to our feet and a lamp to our path. And, there- 
fore, we must hold that the language used, as well as the 
thoughts embodied, was the subject of the Holy Spirit's 
guardianship; and that, whether the words were directly 
dictated from above, or permitted to be naturally used by 
the writer, they were equally controlled by the Divine 
agent. We argue thus, not merely from the express 
statements of Scripture which assert it; 1 not merely from 
the instances in which the argument turns upon the use 
of a word; 2 bu* from the necessity of the case. The 
1 1 Cor. ii. lo. 2 Gal iii. 1G. 


thought or sentiment of another is nothing to us until it 
is expressed in words : it is they that give it visible form 
and permanency. If, therefore, inspiration extended merely 
to the thoughts of the writers, while in the expression of 
those thoughts they were left to themselves, what gua- 
rantee should we have that improper or even erroneous 
expressions had not been used as the medium of com- 
munication ? 

Furthermore, we must hold that inspiration extends 
to all parts o£ the Bible, the history as well as the doctrine 
or the morality. For if some portions be inspired, and 
others not, while no oracle has clearly pronounced which 
we are to regard as Divine and which as human, it is 
obvious that the whole becomes involved in doubt, and we 
stand not upon a rock, but upon shifting sand. It must 
ultimately be each man's private judgment that is to dis- 
tinguish between the Divine and the human element ; that 
is, there will be as many Bible's as theie are readers of 
different judgment or capacity. Moreover, was inspiration 
less needed in the historical than in the other portions of 
Scripture ? To transcribe, it is urged, the mere annals of 
the Jewish nation, or to write memoirs of Christ, needed 
no Divine interposition. It is forgotten that Scripture 
presents but a selection from these sources ; and what mere 
human power would have been adequate to the task of 
selection ? Out of the mass of the national records, those 
portions were to be chosen which should illustrate the 
dealings of God with man, or bear upon the scheme of 
redemption, or throw light upon the accomplishment of 
prophecy ; a work obviously beyond the reach of unassisted 
reason. The same principle of selection pervades the New 
Testament. St. John tells us that " if all the things that 
Jesus did were to be written, the world could not contain 


the books that should be written ; "* how then were the 
Apostles enabled to cull from the mass just so much as 
was necessary to give us a perfect portraiture of their 
Divine Master? In their epistolary communications to 
churches they omit much that might seem naturally to lie 
in their way, such as details of church government, or 
ritual : we see the wisdom of this, but how came they to 
act herein so differently from others who, in various ages, 
"have occupied an analogous position ? Details of the kind 
mentioned are just those upon which uninspired founders 
of churches would have been likely to enlarge ; what 
restrained the Apostles from thus transforming Christianity 
into a new law ? The omissions of Scripture are as sig- 
nificant as its contents, and equally prove its Divine origin. 
The modern phrase, then, that the Bible is not, but 
contains the word of God, must be held to be of pernicious 
import. 2 Its tendency is, either to confine inspiration to 
the thoughts of the writers, or to introduce the idea of a 
partial inspiration ; that is, to make human reason, or the 
so-called moral sense, the ultimate tribunal before which 
the claims of any given portion of Scripture are to be tried. 
The Bible only contains the word of God : who then is 
to separate the wheat from the chaff, to trace the stream 
of inspiration as it meanders through the pages of the 
volume ? To enable any man to do this unerringly would 

1 John, xxi. 25. 

2 "The men were inspired, the books are the results of that in- 
spiration." — Alford. Gr. Test. i. p. 21. If by this statement is meant 
that the Apostles, though as witnesses of Christ, and founders of the 
Church, they were inspired, were not insjrired to write the books of 
Scripture, it is liable to the objections above advanced. If, on the 
other hand, it also implies the latter, it is not easy to see what 
additional light the learned author has, by the distinction, thrown 
upon the subject. 


require a power nothing short of inspiration itself. Nor 
can we admit the hypothesis of degrees, or kinds, of inspir- 
ation. What learned men have written respecting the 
inspiration of "suggestion," of " direction," of "elevation," 
and of " superintendency," is but a vain attempt to explain 
what is inexplicable ; a figment which finds no support in 
Scripture, and fails in the practical application. Again, 
and again, it must be impressed on the reader's mind that, 
not " the process of the manufacture," but " the result of 
the commodity," ] is what practically concerns us ; and we 
are assured that the result is, that " all Scripture is given 
by inspiration of God." The only distinction that is of any 
real value is that between the impulse of the Spirit to write, 
and his superintendency over the act of writing. By the 
former is meant the inward prompting which led, we may 
say compelled, 2 a prophet, or an apostle, to take in hand a 
certain subject for the benefit of the Church ; by the 
latter, the supervision which was exercised over the pro- 
cess of composition. But, in either case it was the same 
Spirit, and in the same measure, that operated upon, and 
by, the human agent. 

Objections may, and have, been taken against the 
above view of inspiration, which, however, do not seem in 
any way to invalidate it. Objections from the acts or the 
sentiments recorded in Scripture ; as if the inspiration of 
the historian, or compiler, which enabled him to select, 
and to represent faithfully, the events he narrates, implied 
approbation of what is narrated. Objections from alleged 
historical inaccuracies or inconsistencies ; as if plenary in- 
spiration implies that of several narrators all should use 
the very same words in the very same order : not to men- 
tion the possibility that many of the so-called " inaccura- 
cies" may disappear with the progress of knowledge, or 
1 Chalmers, Works, vol. iv. p. 353. 2 Jer. xx. 9 ; 1 Ccr. ix. 16. 


the discovery of new sources of information. 1 Objections 
from alleged inaccuracies in matters of natural science, or 
discrepancies from the conclusions of scientific inquiry ; as 
if it were the object of Scripture to convey accurate know- 
ledge on these subjects, and it be not a question, as yet unde- 
termined, how far those interpretations which seem to clash 
with the results of science are the true ones. How shallow 
some of these objections are may be gathered from a single 
instance. Scripture, it is said, by its language, favours 
the exploded notion that the earth is stationary, while the 
sun, and other heavenly bodies, revolve round it. Does 
not every astronomer, we reply, use the same language 
when he describes the phenomena, not as they are in them- 
selves, but as they appear to us ? Does he not speak, and 
habitually, of the sun's rising and the sun's setting ? Of 
the fixed stars passing, one after another, a certain meri- 
dian line? Scripture, in like manner, speaks, not of real, 
but of apparent motion ; and could only thus speak. For 
all motion, hitherto discovered, is but apparent and rela- 
tive, not absolute. Thus relatively to the earth the sun is 
at rest, but relatively to the mightier system of which he 
forms a part, he is in motion ; so that, strictly speaking, 
until we shall have discovered the point of absolute rest in 
the universe, 2 all our language on this subject must be 
inaccurate, and the most exact expounder of the Newtonian 

1 " Demonstrable inaccuracies," Alford, vol.i. p. 19, is a phrase 
easily used, but not so easily made good. The difficulties of Scripture 
(and that there are difficulties is unquestionable) are not to be thus 
summarily dealt with. On the " inaccuracies " alluded to, those in 
Stephen's speech (Acts, vii. 4. and 15, 1G), see Professor Lee's 
remarks, Inspiration of Holy Scripture, Ed. 2. p. 527. Even if it be 
granted that Stephen spoke inaccurately, what has this to do with the 
inspiration of St. Luke, who merely records Stephen's speech ? 

1 See a lecture delivered before the Cheltenham Literary Institu- 
tion by Rev. H. Highton, M.A., Principal of the College. 


system can only describe things as they appear to be, and 
not as they are. 

From an erroneous interpretation of a passage in St. 
Paul's Epistles (1 Cor. vii. 10, 12, 25) it has been inferred 
that the Apostle himself, in this instance, disclaims the pre- 
rogative of inspiration, whereas an attentive examination of 
his argument will prove that he asserts it most strongly. 
He had no express Divine commandment to allege on the 
subject of virginity as he had on the indissolubility of th<? 
marriage tie: but he, notwithstanding, gives his own judg- 
ment, and this judgment, far from being that of uninspired 
man, proceeds from one who " had the Spirit of God." (v. 
40.) Scripture, it has been alleged, abounds with barren or 
trivial, details of history ; can we suppose these portions 
to have been indited under the immediate guidance of the 
Spirit ? As well might we argue that the apparently 
fruitless tracts of barren land, or the animalcule of a drop 
of water, could not have, equally with the fairest and 
greatest productions of nature, proceeded from the Creator. 
On the question, what ought to be the character of an 
inspired volume ? we are as ignorant as we are on the 
kindred one, what ought to be the physical conformation 
of the globe ? What to us appears trivial may have its 
necessary use. 

One general remark may here be made : difficulties 
which affect only the substance, or the manner, of an 
inspired communication, are of no weight, while the evidence 
of its being inspired remains unimpaired. The force of. 
the evidence we can estimate ; we are quite incompetent 
judges of the particular form which the written record 
should assume ; how much it should contain that is 
obscure, how much that is apparently inconsistent, how 
much apparently of small moment. " The only question 
concerning the truth of Christianity is, whether it be 


a real revelation, not whether it be attended with every 
circumstance which we should have looked for ; and con- 
cerning the authority of Scripture, whether it be what it 
claims to be, not whether it be a book of such a sort, and 
so promulgated, as weak men are apt to fancy a book con- 
taining a Divine revelation should. And therefore, neither 
obscurity, nor seeming inaccuracy of style, nor various 
readings, nor early disputes about the authors of particular 
parts ; nor any other things of the like kind, though they 
had been much more considerable in degree than they are, 
could overthrow the authority of the Scripture ; unless the 
Prophets, Apostles, or our Lord had promised that the 
book containing the Divine revelation should be secure 
from these things." 1 



Scripture then, we have reason to believe, is of God ; 
but since the meaning of Scripture is Scripture, it will 
have failed of the purposes for which it was intended unless 
we can discover and apply that meaning. We are thus 
led to the subject of Biblical interpretation, or the rules to 
be observed in order to arrive at a right understanding of 
the word of God. The observations to be made upon this 
head may be conveniently arranged under two divisions : — 
The qualifications necessary for an interpreter of Scripture; 
and the principles of the process itself of interpretation. 

Sect. I. Qualifications. — It has long been a matter of 
remark that the will and the understanding mutually in- 
fluence each other ; and that the perception of moral truth 
1 Butlers Analogy, part ii. c. . 


is very much dependent upon the right disposition of the 
inquirer. Not, indeed, that the will can absolutely control 
the understanding, so as to create belief or unbelief at its 
pleasure ; but that it can operate indirectly, by indisposing 
the mind to the exercise of that attention which may 
be requisite to perceive the force of evidence, or by leading- 
it to confound moral distaste with intellectual difficulties. 
From wishing a thing to be untrue it is but a short step 
to believing it to be so, or, more commonly, to a chronic 
state of hesitation, which neither absolutely denies, nor yet 
cordially accepts ; the will can bribe the understanding 
either to pervert, or to forego its functions. If this be the 
case in the investigation of ordinary moral subjects, how 
much more may it be expected to prevail in the interpreta- 
tion of Scripture, which at once contains mysteries likely 
to offend the pride of human reason, and a standard of 
practice which militates against the most cherished pro- 
pensities of the natural heart. Certain moral, therefore, as 
well as intellectual qualifications are necessary to the suc- 
cessful exercise of the function of an interpreter. Among 
these may be mentioned, 

§ 1. Love of truth. — An earnest desire to arrive at cor- 
rect views of Divine truth, a love of truth for truth's 
sake, is a much rarer quality than is generally imagined. 
Men too often approach the inquiry with preconceived 
notions, drawn from human systems, and instead of allow- 
ing Scripture to impress itself upon their minds, they seek 
to impress their views upon Scripture ; they come to the 
word of God, not to be taught, but to be confirmed in a 
foregone conclusion. They are especially liable to this 
danger who stand in the fore-front of the ranks of contro- 
versy, or, in the various parties which divide Christendom, 
assume the office of advocates. The temptation is so strong 
to overstate the force of an argument, or to pass over dif- 


Acuities as if they did not exist, or to urge particular texts 
of Scripture beyond what they will fairly bear ; iu short, 
to indulge in something like pious frauds ; in order 
to silence an adversary, or gain a supposed advantage to 
the cause advocated, that few are able to resist it. Thus 
the Pasdo-baptist finds a command to baptize infants in 
our Lord's injunction " to go teach all nations, baptizing 
them;" for (he urges) infants are a part of "nations;" 
forgetting that our Lord is not speaking of the proper 
subjects of baptism, but simply of the duty of gathering in 
disciples from every part of the world ; and that by the 
same mode of reasoning the Jesuit missionaries, who are 
reported to have literally baptized nations, might have 
justified their practice : while the Anti-paado-baptist leaves 
out of sight the significant fact, that in the Apostol'c ad- 
ministration of baptism to adults the sacrament was not 
deferred until visible signs of regeneration had been 
exhibited, but was administered at once, on an expression 
of desire for it. (See the various instances in the Acts of 
the Apostles.) The Episcopalian insists that by St. Paul 
Timothy and Titus were appointed diocesan Bishops of 
Ephesus and Crete respectively ; whereas nothing is plainer 
than that during the lifetime of the Apostle these ministers 
of Christ were never permanently established in any one 
place, but accompanied their master in his travels, and 
were employed by him, from time to time, in temporary 
missions : the opponent of Episcopacy refuses to attach 
any importance to the circumstance that, whether for a 
longer or a shorter time, the chief government of the 
Churches of Ephesus and Crete, respectively, was by St. 
Paul committed to an individual. It is thus that the love 
of party displaces the love of truth ; and while Scripture is 
appealed to on all sides, it is seldom allowed in reality to 
decide the questions at issue. The judgment, magnetized 


by some theological predilection, receives a bias which 
insensibly, but certainly, influences its decisions. 

Of all predispositions, indeed, it is impossible to dis- 
charge the mind ; nor is it the plan of Providence that we 
should come to Scripture with perfectly unformed opinions. 
Scripture was not designed to teach religion in the first 
instance; that function belongs to the Church. It is 
from the Church, that is, from living instructors, such as 
parents and teachers, that we all imbibe the elements of 
religious knowledge; we receive the deposit of faith at 
first, on trust. Afterwards we examine the inspired word 
to confirm, and if need be, correct, the impressions thus 
received. That is to say, the interpreter of Scripture musi 
necessarily be of the Church: the utter absence of the 
common faith of Christendom were a complete disqualifi- 
cation for the office. It is not, therefore, on fundamental 
points, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, that ths 
quality of singleness of mind in the pursuit of truth finds 
its proper sphere of exercise ; but rather on those subordi- 
nate topics, which have ever divided, and will as long as 
human nature remains what it is continue to divide, the 
Christian body. And here the importance of cultivating 
a sincere love of truth, whatever the discovery of it may 
cost, cannot be overrated. 

§ 2. Docility. — A second qualification without which 
the sense of Scripture is sure to be missed is, a willingness 
to receive what it plainly reveals, however mysterious the 
doctrine may be. This docility of disposition rests upon 
the cordial admission of two facts, — the insufficiency of 
human reason for the discovery or comprehension of 
spiritual truth, and the plenary inspiration of the Old and 
New Testaments. If reason be supposed competent, not 
merely as it is, to decide upon the validity of the evidences, 



but to determine what should be the provisions of the 
Christian scheme ; if the so-called moral sense is to be the 
arbiter of belief ; while at the same time Scripture is 
held not to be but to contain the word of God ; the failure 
of the interpreter becomes almost inevitable. Reason 
will decide how much of the statements of Scripture is to 
be received, and how much rejected ; reason will fix the 
sense in which the acknowledged portions are to be under- 
stood ; with what results may easily be anticipated. Hence 
the failure, even in a literary point of view, of the ration- 
alistic commentaries of modern Germany, and of their 
imitations amongst ourselves ; the poverty, the shallow- 
ness, which amidst much parade of learning they exhibit. 
They give us the Bible such as men would have it ; 
dwarfed to the level of human intelligence, and shorn of those 
unfathomable mysteries which, if it be really the word of 
God, it must necessarily contain ; the absence of which, in 
fact, would be sufficient to throw doubt upon the validity 
of its claims. 

The theological novelties, which from time to time 
run their brief course and pass out of sight, like comets, 
owe, for the most part, their origin to an absence of that 
docility of spirit which springs from the felt incompetency 
of reason to fathom the things of God. Whatever dis- 
agrees with the dictates of reason, or the moral sense, the 
Rationalist urges, is to be rejected ; an arrogant assump- 
tion, even if reason and the moral sense were wholly 
uninjured, for " the things of God knoweth no man" 
(fully and exactly) " but the Spirit of God." 1 But how 
much more arrogant, when, as in this case, reason has been 
partially blinded, and the moral sense perverted, by the 
effects of the fall. The usual result of interpretations 
1 1 Cor. ii. 11. 


conducted upon such principles is, not the sense of our 
present Scriptures, but another Scripture, very different 
from the original. 

§ 3. Teaching of the Holy Spirit. — A still more impor- 
tant qualification for the office of interpreter, and indeed 
one that comprises all others of a moral nature, is that he 
be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, without whose aid the 
spiritual sense of Scripture cannot, though the mere 
words may, be understood. There is nothing unreason- 
able in this. The works of Plato can only be successfully 
interpreted by a commentator who, besides being familiar 
with the philosophy and language, is able to enter into the 
spirit and peculiar genius, of his author; the commentator 
must himself be of Platonic mind: in like manner, to 
understand an author who has been inspired by the Holy 
Spirit to write, we need ourselves to be under the in- 
fluence of the same Spirit. And this the more because, 
unlike human compositions however peculiar, Scripture 
introduces us into a region of ideas and feelings wholly 
new and sui generis. For a commentator, then, to attempt 
to expound the expressions of Christian experience while 
a stranger himself to that experience, would be as vain as 
for a man bom blind to take upon himself to discourse 
upon the nature of colours, or a man born deaf upon the 
nature of harmony. 

This may be termed the one great prerequisite in the 
expositor, for it necessarily involves or leads to the favour- 
able dispositions previously mentioned. He who is under 
the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and in proportion as he 
is so, will cultivate a love of truth for truth's sake, and 
will prostrate his understanding and his will before the 
voice of God in His word. But inasmuch as God works 
by means, a fourth condition of success in the work of 
interpretation is, — 


§ 4. A diligent use of all the external means of arriving 
at the sense of Scripture which are within our reach. 
Such are, the study of the original languages ; the tra- 
dition of the Church ; the labours of predecessors in the 
same field ; the history, antiquities, &c. of the people with 
whose affairs Scripture is chiefly occupied. Where leisure 
permits, and especially in the case of those whose pro- 
fession it is to expound the word of God, no fruitful 
result can be anticipated if these helps be neglected ; and 
even the private Christian cannot be excused if he omits 
to prosecute studies of this kind, as far as his necessary 
secular engagements permit. 

Sect. 2. — Rules of Interpretation. 

We proceed to consider the rules to be observed in the 
process itself of Interpretation. They have been variously 
classified according as divisions into the literal and the 
figurative, the general and the special, the grammatical 
and the dogmatical, sense of Scripture have formed the 
basis of the discussion : we shall adopt the first-mentioned 
division, under which most of the points to be noticed may 
conveniently find a place. 

§ 1 . Literal Interpretation. 

Words are arbitrary signs of ideas. They are either 
literal or figurative; that is, they are used either in their 
natural and proper acceptation, as when we speak of a 
distinguished statesman, or in a transferred sense, as when 
we describe the same person as a pillar of the state. The 
terms spiritual, mystical, and allegorical, belong, not to 
modes of verbal expression, but to the matter of a passage; 
as in the parable of the sower the expressions used are 
literal, but the parable involves a further spiritual meaning. 
Our present inquiry is, how the sense of the expressions 


used by the inspired writers is to be ascertained? The 
expositor may call to his aid materials drawn from sources 
either external to the text or contained in the text itself. 

I. Sources external to the text are, in the case of a dead 
language (and throughout it is to the Scriptures in the 
original that the present remarks principally apply), 1. 
The testimony of writers to whom the language was ver- 
nacular, or of those who, though foreigners, had made 
themselves acquainted with it ; 2. Glossaries, scholiasts, 
versions, &c. ; 3. Etymology; 4. The analogy of languages ; 
5. Historical circumstances, such as the notions prevalent 
among the people to whom Scripture was addressed, facts 
of chronology, natural history, geography, and the man- 
ners and customs of the East. 

1. Testimony of writers. — When the meaning of an ex- 
pression is not defined or illustrated by the author himself 
whom we are interpreting, we must have recourse to con- 
temporary writers, or, if none such are extant, to the 
testimony of those to whom, though not contemporary, the 
language was vernacular. Hence the use of a good 
lexicon, which is nothing else but a collection of historical 
testimony to the meaning of the words it contains ; earlier 
writers explaining the later, and the later reflecting back 
light upon earlier usages. Just as Herodotus illustrates 
the diction of Thucydides, or iEschylus that of Sophocles, 
the writers of the New Testament, who, though distinct, 
and each marked by his own characteristics of style, all 
compose in the Hellenistic dialect, afford mutual aid in the 
matter of interpretation. Thus if we would understand 
the important word " righteousness " (ttizsiioo-vv/i) as used 
by St. Paul, we must not only carefully examine the 
Apostle's own definitions and examples, but observe the 
shades of meaning which it bears in the Gospels, and in 
the Epistles of St. John and St. Peter. 


Next in value are the writings of foreigners to whom 
the language was familiar, especially those whose diction 
was coloured by the influence of a Jewish education, such 
as Philo and Josephus, These writers illustrate not 
merely the sentiments, but the language of the New Tes- 
tament; though of course we cannot expect from them 
any explanation of terms embodying peculiarly Christian 
ideas. The testimony of the Greek Fathers, particularly 
of professed commentators like Chrysostom, possesses the 
same claim to attention ; they interpret their own verna- 
cular tongue. 

2. Glossaries, fyc. — Assistance in the interpretation 
of terms may sometimes be derived from glossaries, scholia, 
and versions. A glossary is a lexicon of those words only 
which are distinguished by some peculiarity, such as 
rarity of occurrence, or obscurity of meaning : the princi- 
pal ancient Greek glossaries are those of Hesychius, 
Suidas, Phavorinus, Photius, and the Etymologicum Mag- 
num. By recent lexicographers, especially Schleusner, 
much use has been made of the researches of these 

Scholia are short notes, sometimes giving the sense, 
sometimes merely explaining the words, of an ancient 
author. On most of the classics such scholia exist. On 
the New Testament collections of grammatical scholia, 
with which alone we are at present concerned, have been 
formed ; drawn chiefly from the works of Chrysostom. 
Their value depends upon the care and fidelity with which 
the selection has been made. 

For the history of the principal ancient and modern 

versions, the reader is referred to a former chapter. 1 The 

most important, as regards the illustration of the New 

Testament idiom, is the Septuagint, the influence of which 

1 Part I. c. 5. 


on the writers of Scripture is everywhere apparent. Its 
value for critical purposes, and as a translation, has, 
perhaps, been exaggerated ; but its Hebraistic Greek 
should be carefully studied by all who would understand 
the peculiar language of the Christian Scriptures. Thus 
the double sense of the word dtctQqxYi in Heb. ix. 15-18, 
where it seems to mean both " testament" and " covenant," 
may be explained from the usage of the Septuagint, in 
which it frequently occurs as the translation of the 
Hebrew word i" 1 "'"?, covenant or agreement ; while the 
former is its classical signification. Next in importance 
is the Peschito, or old Syriac version, which, from its 
fidelity, and, as regards the Old Testament, affinity in 
point of language, is peculiarly valuable. The versions of 
Symmachus and Aquila, and the Latin Vulgate, may also 
be consulted with benefit. For the Old Testament our 
chief dependence must be placed upon the Targums, and 
the Talmud with its comments. 

A distinction must be made between the use of ancient 
versions as a means of ascertaining the usus loquendi, or 
ordinary signification of words, and as presenting a faith- 
ful transcript of the original. In the latter point of view 
they are, generally speaking, far inferior to the best 
modern translations. The German version of De Wette, 
for example, though philologically of less importance than 
the Septuagint or the Syriac, must be ranked, as a trans- 
lation, above either of them ; and the same is, to a certain 
extent, true of our authorised version. 

3. Etymology. — Etymology, which tracss the meaning 
of words from the original root, may sometimes be useful, 
but it is a very uncertain guide. But a few words, com- 
paratively, especially when compounded, retain theii 
original signification. Etymology belongs lather to the 
history of language than to its actual use. What absurd- 


ities, for example, would a commentator fall into, who 
should attempt from their etymology to explain the words 
" tragic," and " comic," one of which is derived from the 
word r^dyog, a goat, the other from x^n, a village. The 
word "pagan" has lost all trace of its root, the Latin 
word " pagus," a village ; and so has our word " knave," 
which, from the German " knabe," originally meant a 
servant. One of the most remarkable instances in which 
use came to differ from etymology, is presented by the 
Hebrew word ™.7i?, a harlot, which is derived from the 
verb ^IP, to be sanctified. The particle " re " in com- 
position, generally signifies repetition ; but no trace of 
this meaning exists in the compounds " reprove," or 
" recommend." Of the primitive meaning of the word 
" sycophant," supposed to be derived from the trade of 
informers against those who exported figs from Attica, no 
instance occurs. 1 These examples prove how very little 
dependence is to be placed upon etymology, unless it be 
confirmed by other kinds of testimony. 

4. The analogy of languages. — Analogy properly means 
the similitude of proportion ; whence, in popular use, it 
has come to signify similitude in general. Applied to the 
illustration of language, it teaches us, in cases of difficulty, 
to infer the meaning from similar forms or compounds 
better known, or from roots, or primary meanings, found 
only in cognate languages. Thus the word IkXod^a-Ku'sty 
which occurs only once in the New Testament (Col. ii. 23), 
and the meaning of which by itself is obscure, receives 
light from similar compounds, as IkXo^ovXsU, voluntary 
slavery ; i^AoVovo?, prompt to labour ; ifoxlropog, one who 
affects philosophy ; from which we gather, that the word 
in question signifies an affectation of religious zeal. In 
the philology of the Old Testament, the cognate languages, 
1 See Campbell's Dissert, on Gospels, 4, ss. 15-26. 


such as Syriac, Chaldee, and, above all, Arabic, are often 
of use, by supplying roots, or primitive meanings, or 
explanations of obscure words and pbrases which no 
longer exist in the Hebrew. The Hebrew Lexicon of 
Gesenius contains many instances of felicitous interpreta- 
tion from these sources. 

5. Historical circumstances. — As it would be impossible 
fully to understand the Greek and Latin classics without 
a competent knowledge of the history, the prevalent 
opinions, the laws, manners and customs, and the geo- 
graphical peculiarities, of Greece and Italy ; a similar 
knowledge of biblical antiquities is necessary in the inter- 
preter of Scripture. Information npon these subjects 
must be derived, primarily from the Scripture itself, and 
then from the writings of Josephus, Philo, and the Tal- 
mudists. Coins, medals, and the remains of ancient 
sculpture, frequently throw light upon the statements of 
Scripture. And, as the manners of the East, as compared 
with those of Europe, are of a stationary character, the 
works of modern travellers, which describe Oriental 
customs, may be perused with the greatest advantage. 
In order not to interrupt the present discussion, a sketch 
of biblical antiquities has been thrown into a separate 
chapter, at the conclusion of this part of the work. 

II. The sources of interpretation contained in the text 
itself, are, — definitions, or examples, furnished by the 
author himself; the context; parallel passages; the scope; 
the particular circumstances under which each book was 
composed ; and the analogy of faith. 

1. TJie author sometimes his own interpreter. — Occasion- 
ally the author himself furnishes an explanation of the terms 
he uses. To take the word "faith" in the 11th of Hebrews, 
the writer of the Epistle first gives a definition, or description 
of it, viz. " that it is the substance of things hoped for, the 


evidence of things not seen," and then adds a series of 
examples, which still further illustrate his meaning. From 
which we gather that the term in this passage signifies, 
not, as it sometimes does, the body of Christian doctrine, 1 
nor faithfulness in the sense of veracity, 2 but confidence in 
God, or faith in the sense of trust. The word " flesh," in 
Rom. viii. 8, is explained, a little before, as the " carnal 
mind" (viii. 7). "Baptism," says St. Peter, "doth also 
now save us" (1 Pet. iii. 21); but he immediately adds 
what kind of baptism he has in view, viz., not the mere 
outward rite, " not the putting away the filth of the flesh, 
but the answer of a good conscience towards God ; " 
baptism implying repentance and faith. We might sup- 
pose the word " mystery," in Eph. v. 32, to signify the 
institution of marriage, had not the Apostle explained that 
he uses the term in the sense which it always bears in the 
New Testament, viz., to denote, not an ordinance, but a 
truth hitherto unknown, but now revealed. " I speak 
concerning Christ and the Church ;" that is, the mystery 
consists in the typical application of the words in Gen. ii. 
24, " For this cause shall a man leave his father and 
mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they too shall be one 
flesh ; " an application which St. Paul affirms had been 
hitherto unknown. So in a previous chapter of the same 
Epistle (c. iii. 3), the same word "mystery "is explained to 
mean the truth, hitherto unsuspected by the Jewish 
people, " that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs with 
them, and pariakers of the promise in Christ by the 
Gospel." St. Paul speaks of " weak and beggarly elements" 
to which the Galatians desired again to be in bondage (Gal. 
iv. 9); from the next verse we learn that he alludes to the 
ordinances of the Mosaic law, " days, and months, and times, 
and years," all of which had been abolished in Christ. 
1 Gal. i. 23. 2 Rom. iii. 3. 


2. Context. — An examination of the context is indis- 
pensable if we would avoid mistakes in determining the 
meaning of Scripture. Words, especially those in them- 
selves ambiguous, may be made to express anything but 
what the author intends, if no respect is had to the con- 
nexion in which they occur. And the same is true of 
statements. Thus the expression " stewards of the 
mysteries of God" (1 Cor. iv. 1), is sometimes explained 
to mean " administrators of the sacraments ;" contrary, not 
only to verbal analogy (see above), but to the context, in 
which the Apostle is speaking, not of ordinances of the 
gospel, but of the teaching of ministers, who may differ in 
their gifts, and yet be equally faithful dispensers of the 
word (see c. 3). " Tell it unto the Church," (Matt, xviii. 
17), i.e., says the Church of Rome, to the clergy ; the con- 
text, however, shows that by the "church" is meant the 
particular congregation to which the individual is supposed 
to belong. The same church founds the practice of extreme 
unction upon James, v. 14 ; an examination of the whole 
passage proves that the anointing spoken of was connected, 
not with the departure of the soul, but with the restoration 
of the body to health. " Go and prosper," said Micaiah to 
Ahab (1 Kings, xxii. 15), the context determines that the 
words were spoken ironically. St. Paul's statement that 
" it is good for a man not to touch a woman" (1 Cor. vii. 
1) might seem to favour the notions of the early Church 
on the superior sanctity of celibacy ; until we peruse the 
whole chapter, when it becomes evident that the Apostle 
has in view "the present necessity" (v. 26), i.e.,, the trials 
of various kinds which were the common lot of the first 
Christians, and during the continuance of which it might 
be advisable for those who possessed "the gift of con- 
tinency " to abstain from the marriage bond. But it is 
needless to multiply instances ; it is matter of common 


observation how often arguments are founded upon 
isolated texts, torn from the context, and interpreted, 
therefore, in reality, according to the mind, not of the 
author, but of the expositor. 

In order that we may not err as to what the context 
really is, particular attention is due to the parentheses 
which occur in Scripture, and with which St. Paul's 
writings in particular abound. Thus the words in Rom. 
ii. 15, " Their thoughts in the meanwhile accusing or else 
excusing one another," are followed by, " In the day when 
God shall judge the secrets of men" (v. 16); and, read 
continuously, these clauses give a grammatical sense ; the 
latter words, however, really belong to verse 12, " As many 
as have sinned without law shall be judged without law; 
and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by 
the law; in the day," &c. ; vv. 13-15 being a parenthesis. 
When the parenthesis extends to a considerable length, it 
assumes the character of a digression, such as we have in 
Rom. v. 13-17, and in Eph. iii. 2-21; the Apostle, in 
the latter passage, " going off," as his wont is, at the 
word " Gentiles," with which the first verse of the chapter 
concludes, and resuming the thread of his discourse in 
chapter iv. 1. 

3. Parallel passages. — The comparison of parallel pass- 
ages, passages, that is, in which the same words ocgur, or the 
same subjects are discussed, is a particular application of the 
great Protestant rule, that Scripture is its own sufficient 
interpreter. The rule rests upon two principles ; the first, 
that when the same writer handles the same subjects, he 
will usually use words and phrases in the same sense, and 
what is obscure or imperfect in one passage may be ex- 
pected to be explained or supplied in another; the second, 
that since all the writers of Scripture were under the 
superintending control of one Holy Spirit, the Bible, 


though in one sense a collection of separate books, is in 
another sense a whole — the production of one inspiring 
Spirit — exhibiting throughout substantial unity of design 
and teaching; that the writers, therefore, amidst subordi- 
nate differences, cannot contradict each other, but, at most, 
present different sides or aspects of events and doctrines, 
which combined will give the complete view. 

Parallelism is usually divided into verbal and real. In 
the former, the same words are compared ; in the latter, 
the same subject-matter. Real parallelism has been sub- 
divided into historic, which relates to narratives of the 
same event, and didactic, which compares similar moral, 
or doctrinal teaching. 

Verbal parallelism is not so useful to the interpreter of 
Scripture as real, because it is but seldom that the same 
words are used in describing the same thing, and because 
the context for the most part determines the sense in which 
words are to be taken. Still it may occasionally be employed 
with success. Where the meaning of a word is doubtful 
or ambiguous, and the context fails to remove the diffi- 
culty, the same word, or its synonyme, may be repeated in 
a similar passage, with explanatory adjuncts ; or a conju- 
gate word may be employed in the same connexion. Thus 
in 1 Pet. ii. 8, Christ is called " a stone of stumbling ;" 
immediately afterwards we find that to stumble at the 
word is equivalent to being disobedient to it ; and thus the 
former term is explained. " He who hath anointed us is 
God" (2 Cor. i. 21); "ye have an unction from the Holy 
One, and know all things" (1 John, ii. 20); the conjugate 
XZirpot, in the latter passage explains the participle x^lc-as 
in the former, which therefore signifies the enlightening 
teaching of the Holy Ghost. " The Holy Ghost shall 
come upon thee" (Luke, i. 35); this is explained by the 
parallel expression, " that which is conceived in her is of 


the Holy Ghost " (Matt. i. 20). " When He had by Him- 
self purged our sius" (Heb. i. 3); the ambiguity of the 
expression, " by Himself,"' is removed by the corresponding 
statement, "he hath appeared to put away sin by the 
sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. ix. 26). The word o-sarpos 
(Matt. viii. 24) properly signifies an earthquake; but 
comparing it with the word used by St. Luke, when 
describing the same occurrence, Xx7\a.^, a sudden gust of 
wind, we perceive that, in the former account, the main 
circumstance is merged in its ordinary accompaniment, 
earthquakes being usually preceded or followed by a tem- 
pest. The parallel structure of Hebrew poetry often enables 
us to clear up obscurities of diction. To take an instance, 
the expression "To the end that my glory may sing 
praise unto thee" (Ps. xxx. 12), receives illustration from 
the similar expression in Ps. xvi. 9, " My heart is glad, 
and my glory rejoiceth," i.e. my soul, the natural soul 
being the glory of man. 1 It also furnishes valuable aid 
in the interpretation of Hellenistic idioms {e. g. ipopoZvro in 
classic Greek "were terrified," is explained by the synonymes 
ixvpufy and Setfipiet), and of words of rare occurrence. 

Real parallelism is, perhaps, of all hermeneutical aids 
the most important. In many of the historical portions 
of Scripture, it is absolutely necessary to the gaining a 
complete view of the transactions recorded. Thus the 
books of Kings and Chronicles, the four Gospels, the book 
of Acts and the Epistles of St. Paul, are mutually sup- 
plementary, and must be carefully compared, that what 
is wanting in one may be supplied by the other. No one 
Evangelist, for example, gives us all the particulars re- 
lating to our Lord's resurrection. From the idea of thus 
combining the Scripture narratives into a consistent whole, 

1 These instances are taken from Stuart's Ernesti, p. 65. and 
Davidson's Home, part ii. c. 5. 


arose " Harmonies," as they are called, of which many, both 
in ancient and modern times, have appeared. The earliest 
attempt of this kind was the work of Tatian, who flourished 
in the middle of the second century ; it was called "Diates- 
saron" (to Six rartroi^aiv), or one Gospel formed from the union 
of the four. He was followed, in the third century, by 
Ammonius, of Alexandria, whose work is commended by 
Eusebius. Both these works have unhappily perished. 
Modern harmonies of the New Testament are very nume- 
rous : the most learned are those of Greswell, and Town send, 
but for practical purposes that of Dr. Robinson, reprinted 
by the Religious Tract Society, is to be preferred. A very 
complete work of the kind on the Old Testament is, 
Townsend's " Old Testament arranged in historical, and 
chronological order," London, 1826. 

Didactic parallelism relates to the teaching of the in- 
spired writers, and is closely connected with the rule, 
so much insisted upon by theologians, of interpreting 
Scripture according to the analogy of faith. From inat- 
tention to it arise misconceptions, or partial views, or 
perversions, of doctrine; single passages, or statements 
being unduly urged, to the neglect of others in which the 
same subject is discussed, and which present counter- 
balancing or supplementary aspects of Divine truth. 
Indeed, it is not too much to say that most of the errors 
that have appeared in the Church have arisen from 
giving an undue prominence to what in itself is an un- 
doubted truth. Thus Arian tendencies sprang from dwell- 
ing too exclusively upon the humanity of Christ ; while the 
opposite error of the Docetae, which manifested itself under 
so many forms in the first two centuries, may be traced to 
a similar exclusiveness of view with respect to His divinity. 
Sabellianism took its rise from not counterbalancing the 
declarations of the Old Testament respecting the unity of 


God with the equally clear statements of the New re- 
specting the Trinity in Unity. Certain declarations of St. 
Paul on the subject of justification misunderstood, have 
led to Antinomianism : certain others of St. James, taken 
alone, have given rise to a type of sentiment equally 
erroneous. By taking too exclusive a view of the agency 
of Divine grace in the work of conversion, Calvin was led 
to make rash statements on the subject of predestination; 
by unduly magnifying man's part in that work, anti- 
Calvinists have verged towards Pelagianism. So impor- 
tant is it to check what appear to be logical deductions 
from one class of passages by the collation of others which 
equally have a claim to be heard. 

In thus comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is 
obvious that the comparison should be as extensive as 
possible ; that clearer passages should govern the inter- 
pretation of the more obscure, and fuller ones that of the 
more scanty. The first rule will obviate partial induction ; 
the two latter are demanded by the very nature of the 
case. Thus the typical appointments of the ceremonial 
law, in themselves dark, receive light from the explanations 
of the New Testament : the language of prophecy is 
interpreted by its accomplishment, and a promise by its 
fulfilment. Our Lord's promise to Peter, that to him the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven should be given, 1 is, as it 
stands, obscure ; but the history of the Acts of the Apostles, 
which records that Peter was the instrument of first intro- 
ducing both Jews 2 and Gentiles 3 to the privileges of the 
Gospel, explains it, and proves also that the Papal inter- 
pretation of the passage is unnecessary and erroneous. 
" He hath made Him to be sin for us" (2 Cor. v. 21); 
the verbal analogy of the Hebrew word for " sin," 
signifying, as it does, also a " sin-ofiering," might lead us 
1 Matt. xvi. 19. a Acts, ii. 3 Ibid. x. 


so to interpret the word in this passage ; but, by com- 
paring the teaching of the Apostle on the same subject in 
other places, we arrive at the conclusion that Christ is 
here described, not as an offering, but as a substitute, for 
sinners (see Gal. iii. 13 ; Rom. viii. 3). To gain a 
complete view of the relation of the Mosaic Law to the 
Gospel, we must compare those portions of the Epistles to 
the Romans and the Galatians which treat of that subject. 
To understand the expression " Head of the Church," as 
applied to Christ, we must mark the comparison, in 
Rom. v. 12-21, and 1 Cor. xv. 21-57, between the first 
and the second Adam, and a^o the passages in which the 
nature of the union between Christ and His Church is 
described, such as Eph. iv. 16, Col. ii. 19 ; from which 
we gather, that it is not the aggregate of local Christian 
societies of which Christ is properly the Head, for not all 
the members of those societies derive life and nourishment 
from Him ; and, moreover, as local societies, they are 
directly governed, not by Christ, but by their local officers; 
but that the " Church" in this connexion means the " in- 
visible Church," the body of true believers, part on earth 
and part in paradise, in each of whom Christ really lives 
and rules by His Spirit, and which, by anticipation, is 
contemplated by the Apostle in its future glorified state, 
when Christ the Life shall appear, and His members shall 
appear with Him, — one pure, yet visible, community, 
" the manifestation of the sons of God" in glory (Rom. 
viii. 19 ; Col. iii. 4). 

We conclude with an illustration of the use of paral- 
lelism in the case of the important doctrine of regeneration. 
The word -xct.'hiyyviitia,, or regeneration, occurs but twice in 
the New Testament ; once in connexion with spiritual 
renewing (Tit. iii. 5), and once to denote the new state of 
things which the second advent of Christ shall introduce 



(Matt. xix. 28), — the " times of refreshing from the presence 
of the Lord" (Acts, iii. 19). Hence we gather, generally, 
that it means a new state or condition ; and, as regards 
the present question, the transfer of an individual from 
the old state of nature into the new one of grace. 

The next question is, Of what description is this 
change ? We have here to observe, that regeneration is 
described as the necessary entrance into " the kingdom of 
God" (John, iii. 3), or a state of salvation — a state of 
being saved ; and as that state implies both forgiveness of 
sin and a new heart, and regeneration confessedly does not 
mean the former, the latter is the idea primarily involved 
in the word. The same conclusion follows from an exami- 
nation of the synonymes " born again" (John, iii. 3) ; " born 
of God" (John, i. 13 ; 1 John, iii. 9); "a new creature" 
(2 Cor. v. 17) ; all of which denote a radical transformation 
of character. It is especially assigned to the Holy Spirit 
as its Author (John, iii. 5), and His work must be holy. 
To the new creature, we read, " old things have passed 
away, and all things" (tempers, habits, &c, as well as 
ecclesiastical standing) " have become new" (2 Cor. v. 17): 
still more expressly, " Whosoever is born of God doth not 
commit sin ; he cannot sin" (wilfully and habitually) 
(1 John, iii. 9). Combining these and similar passages 
together, we infer that regeneration is not a mere outward 
change of state, nor yet a mere dormant gift or capacity 
for holiness, but a new state of actual holiness : the " sons 
of God," i.e. the regenerate, are, according to the Apostle's 
teaching (Rom. viii. 14), all " led by the Spirit of God." 
It is not, indeed, a state of perfect freedom from sin, but 
it is one in which grace has the dominion (Rom. vi. 14). 
Once more, as regards the subordinate instruments. Re- 
generation is sometimes connected with the Word of God, 
and sometimes with the sacrament of baptism ; the former 


more frequently than the latter. (Compare Luke, viii. 11 ; 
1 Cor. iv. 15 ; Gal. iii. 26 ; 1 Pet. i. 23 ; Jam. i. 18 ; 
with John, iii. 5 ; Tit. iii. 5 ; Eph. v. 26.) Summing up 
the whole, then, we may say that regeneration is a work 
of the Holy Spirit, in which a double change takes place, — 
a change of position, for he that is born of God receives 
the privilege of adoption, and a change of nature, for the 
same person is made actually holy ; and that it is effected, 
partly by the Word of God, made effectual to produce 
repentance and faith, and partly by baptism, which indi- 
vidually seals the promises, and visibly certifies to the 
Church the inward change that has taken place : con- 
sequently, that all interpretations of the word which 
confine it to the mere act of visible initiation into the 
Church, of which baptism is the sole instrument, or which 
make the idea of actual holiness separable from it, so 
that the same person may be practically a child of God 
and a child of the devil, are so far erroneous or defective. 

The poetical parallelism of Scripture is treated of in 
another place. 1 

4. Scope. — Should neither the context, nor a compari- 
son of parallel passages, throw light upon the meaning of 
a disputed passage, recourse may be had to a considera- 
tion of the scope or design of the writer, whether special (in 
which case scope and context are nearly identical) or 
general. In some instances the general scope is stated by 
the writer himself: e.g. thus the object of the Book of 
Proverbs is declared to be, " to give subtilty to the simple, 
to the young man knowledge and discretion " (c. i. 4) : and 
that of the Book of Ecclesiastes, to describe the vanity of 
earthly blessings (c. i. 2). St. John's general intention 
in writing his Gospel was, that Christians " might believe 
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God " (c. xx. 31); and 
1 See p. 285. 


by a reference to it, many of the events and discourses 
peculiar to his Gospel will be the better understood. The 
special scope, or that of particular sections or paragraphs, 
is likewise often mentioned by the writer, and such notices 
render valuable aid to the interpreter. Thus since the 
declared design of the first three chapters of the Epistle to 
the Romans is to prove that all men, whether Jew or 
Gentile, are " justified by faith without the deeds of the 
law " (c. iii. 28, 29), we infer that the term " law " sig- 
nifies, throughout the section, not the ceremonial, but the 
moral, law; contained, indeed, in the Decalogue, but also 
" written in the heart " even of those who did not possess 
the privilege of the oracles of God (c. ii. 15). St. Paul 
warns the Colossians against submission to the yoke of 
" Sabbath-days" (c. ii. 16); whence it has been argued 
that he regarded the Sabbath, properly so called, as under 
the Gospel absolutely abolished. But, on examining the 
scope (or the context), we find that the expression " Sab- 
bath-days " occurs in connexion with Jewish ordinances 
purely ceremonial and typical, such as the distinction 
between meats, the feasts of the new moon, and other 
holy days, which were " a shadow of things to come ;" it 
is against the observance of these, as binding upon 
Christians, and not against obedience to the moral law, 
that the Apostle utters a protest. By " Sabbath-days," 
therefore, we understand, not the Sabbath, but the Jewish 
days of holy rest which also bore that name ; and so the 
Divine obligation of keeping one day in seven holy, part 
of the eternal moral law, remains, for anything in this 
passage to the contrary, unaffected. 

5. Historical circumstances. — The occasions on which 
writings were composed not unfrequently furnish a key to 
their meaning. Thus, where the inscriptions of the Psalms 
are trustworthy, as in Psalm* xviii. and xxxiv., they illus- 


trate the contents of those compositions; and the true 
interpretation of many of our Lord's parables depends 
upon marking the circumstances that gave rise to them. 
The ascertained time when a book was written will some- 
times refute erroneous theories as to its design; hence it 
is important to observe the chronological notices furnished 
by the author himself, as in the Epistle to the Galatians. 
The same may be said of the place of writing; — local 
features, whether natural or moral, may clear up passages 
otherwise obscure. Perhaps, however, the most effectual 
method of arriving at a just comprehension of the writer 
is repeated perusal of the book itself; in the course of 
which light will be thrown upon difficult passages, and the 
subordinate discussions fall into their proper places, while 
the central topic emerges into view. 

6. Analogy of faith. — The expression, analogy of faith, 
in connexion with hermeneutics, signifies the general 
harmony of Scripture on the fundamental verities of the 
Christian faith ; and much stress has been laid upon the 
rule, that no part of Scripture should be interpreted so as 
to be inconsistent with the analogy of faith. In one sense, 
this rule is only an extension of that of parallelism ; here 
the whole of Scripture is supposed to be the subject of 
comparison, and with the general result obtained particular 
sections, or statements, are to be brought into agreement. 
A further idea, however, seems to be conveyed by the ex- 
pression, as commonly used, viz. that of dogmatical autho- 
rity; that is, when we interpret according to the analogy 
of faith, we inquire not merely what is the historical sense 
of the passage in question, but what bearing the sense thus 
ascertained has upon Christian faith; to what extent, and 
in what manner, it is to regulate, or modify, our views of 
Divine truth, and contribute to the formation of a system 
of Christian doctrine. Questions of considerable difficulty 


here present themselves; e.g. What are the fundamental 
points of Christian doctrine? hdw are they ascertained ? 
and in what manner, according to the order of Providence, 
do we first become acquainted with them? With respect 
to the last point, it is obvious that, at the first, an analogy 
of faith existed antecedently to the written word— "the 
form of sound words " which Timothy was to hold fast, 1 
and which doubtless was embodied in the earliest forms of 
the Creed. And ever since, the analogy of faith has been 
taught previously to its being gathered from the study of 
Scripture; so that, in point of fact, no member of a 
Christian church approaches the Word of God to collect, 
for the first time, the fundamentals of the faith ; but he 
brings with him what he has received, to be confirmed, modi- 
fied, or rejected, according as it shall be found to agree or 
disagree with the tenor of the Apostles' teaching. It is 
this corrective function that, among Christians, Scripture 
especially discharges ; and, as Protestants, we hold that 
it is sufficient for this purpose, and forms in itself, and 
interpreted by itself, a perfect touchstone of truth. 

There is another sense which the expression, analogy 
of faith, may bear, more accordant with its meaning in 
the passage whence it is supposed to be derived, Rom. xii. 
6 ; viz. the measure, or proportion, of religious light vouch- 
safed under the various dispensations, patriarchal, legal, 
and evangelical, through which the course of revelation has 
passed. It is of the utmost importance to a correct ap- 
prehension of the meaning of Scripture, to bear in mind 
that Divine truth has been communicated " in various 
ways, and sundry partitions" (Heb. i. 1); that we must 
not expect to find the great doctrines of the Gospel clearly 
revealed to patriarchs and . prophets, or suppose that 
because we, with the key to the Old Testament in our 
1 2 Tim. i. 13. 


bands, can decipher the symbolism of the ceremonial law, 
it was as well understood by those who lived under it. In- 
attention to the fact that revelation has been gradual and 
progressive has been the prolific source of crude interpreta- 
tion, especially of the Old Testament. 

Sect. II. — Figurative Interpretation. 

The terms tropical, or figurative, as applied to lan- 
guage, signify the same thing under a slightly different 
aspect ; the former, from the Greek, denoting that a word 
has been turned from its literal meaning to a new use, the 
latter, from the Latin, that by being so transferred it pre- 
sents an image, or figure, to the mind. Thus the word 
" pillar," when used of a statesman, is employed in a new 
sense, and, at the same time, suggests an analogical 

All languages abound in figure ; partly from an indis- 
position needlessly to multiply words, but much more from 
the natural pleasure which arises from the discovery, and 
use, of analogical resemblance. Eastern nations, in par- 
ticular, among whom the imagination predominates over 
the logical faculty, delight in tropical expression, both in 
the language of common life, and in composition : hence, 
as might be expected, the Bible presents illustrations in 
abundance of every species of this kind of expression. It 
will be proper, first, to lay down some plain rules for 
determining whether words are to be understood in their 
literal, or in a figurative sense. 

Sometimes the absurdity that would follow from the 
literal sense decides the question ; when, in logical lan- 
guage, the predicate entirely disagrees with the subject, or 
the literal conclusion contradicts the evidence of the senses. 
Thus, when God is termed a rock, or a buckler ; when 


Judah is called "a lion's whelp ;" 1 when our Lord says, 
" Let the dead bury their dead," or, " lam the vine ;" it is 
self-evident that the words " rock," " buckler," " lion," 
" dead " (the agent), and " vine," must be taken figura- 
tively. The same observation applies to what grammar- 
ians call the figure synecdoche, i. e. when the whole is put 
for a part ; e. g. " Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord 
and the cup of devils ; ye cannot be partakers of the 
Lord's table, and of the table of devils ; " 2 the words 
" cup " and " table " are obviously used by a figure, in the 
one case, for the contents of the cup, in the other, for the 
provision on the table. Sometimes, however, the figurative 
use is not so apparent ; and in that case considerations of 
a more general nature must be taken into account : as 
whether the literal sense is not inconsistent with the 
nature of the thing described, or does not involve some- 
thing at variance with the moral precepts of Scripture, or 
is not repugnant to the context. Thus, when the pos- 
session of human organs, as hands, feet, &c, is ascribed to 
God, we know that the expressions must be tropical, for 
the supreme Being is pure spirit, " without body, parts, or 
passions ; " and we draw the same conclusion in reference 
to such commands as that of our Lord to cut off the right 
hand, and pluck out the right eye, for physical mutilation 
could in no case be a religious duty. Judged by this test, 
the literal interpretation of the words of sacramental insti- 
tution, " Take, eat, this is my body," must be pronounced 
erroneous ; for it contradicts reason to suppose that Christ, 
either before or after He suffered upon the cross, could 
have given to His disciples, literally, His body broken and 
His blood shed, or that the disciples conceived they were 
eating that body which they saw before them endued with- 
all the functions of life. " Whoso eateth my flesh and 
1 Gen. xlix. 9. 2 1 Cor. x. 21. 


drinketh my blood hath eternal life " (John, vi. 54) : not 
only is it repugnant to reason and moral feeling to under- 
stand these words of a carnal manducation of Christ, but 
the context forbids such an interpretation ; for the whole 
discourse is upon faith, by which Christ is spiritually 
received into the soul as food into the body : and our Lord 
Himself warns us against the literal sense, " The flesh pro- 
fiteth nothing ; the words that I speak unto you, they are 
spirit, and they are life " (v. 63). Parallel passages will 
occasionally clear up a difficulty : " I came not," says our 
Lord, " to send peace upon earth, but a sword " (Matt. x. 
34). In the parallel passage of St. Luke (c. xii. 51), the 
figurative expression " sword" is explained : " Suppose ye 
that I am come to send peace upon earth ? I tell you, nay, 
but rather division." 

It being ascertained that a word is used tropically, the 
interpretation of it is to be sought by the same methods 
which apply to the literal sense, and which it is needless to 
repeat. 1 We proceed to specify some of the most usual 
forms of figurative expression. 

1. Metonyme. — The figure synecdoche has been already 
explained. Another very common trope has received the 
name of metonyme, from its substituting one appellation 
for another, as the cause for the effect, or the subject for 
the adjunct, and vice versa. Thus the Holy Spirit is very 
frequently put for His operations, whether ordinary or 
extraordinary, as in the exhortation, " Quench not the 
Spirit : " 2 a nation is described by the name of its progenitor, 
as, " But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have 
chosen;" 3 and a book by the name of the writer, as, 
" Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach 
him." 4 On the other hand, the effect is sometimes put 

1 See the preceding section. 2 1 Thess. v. 19. 

3 Isa. xli. 8. "Acts, xv. 21. 


for the cause, as when Christ is said to be " our life," 1 or 
"the hope of glory." 2 The subject frequently stands for 
the adjunct, as the " world" for the men of the world, and 
the " flesh " for corrupt nature ; and, again, the adjunct for 
the subject, as " the hoary head" for an old man, or the 
term " vanities" for idols. 

2. Metaphor. — The most common of all the figures of 
rhetoric, both in profane and the sacred writings, is 
metaphor. The foundation of metaphor is, not likeness, 
but analogy — a very different thing. Analogy is the 
resemblance, not of things, but of relations ; things which 
are, in their nature, utterly unlike may be analogous. 
Thus we speak of a proposition as the foundation of a 
system, or the metropolis as the heart of the country : 
there is no similitude between a proposition and a material 
foundation, or between the human heart and a large city ; 
but there is, in either case, a resemblance of relations, for 
what the foundation is to a building, or the heart to the 
body, that the proposition is to the system, and the 
metropolis to the country. True metaphor is always an 
analogy ; but the analogy may subsist in points either of 
lesser or of greater moment, and it is only in the latter 
case that we can reason safely from it. Thus a pleasing 
analogy may be traced between the successive periods of 
human life and the growth of states ; but were we, from 
this, to argue that because individuals necessarily become 
decrepit, states must also decline and perish, we should be 
drawing a conclusion not warranted by the premises, for 
the things compared are in different classes of existence, 
and the analogy is rather fanciful than real. Even when 
the analogy is solid and real, care must be taken not to ex- 
tend it further than it really applies. Thus there is a real 
analogy between the heart of an animal body and the 
' Col. iii. 3. 2 Col. i. 27. 


metropolis of a country ; yet it would be rash to contend 
that, in the latter case as in the former, increased size is a 
sign and source of danger. 1 

This caution is especially needful in the interpretation 
of that class of scriptural metaphor in which the operations 
and passions of the human mind are predicated of the 
Deity. When we speak of the eye, or the hand, of God, 
every one perceives that the expression is purely analogical, 
and that there is no resemblance between the things 
spoken of ; that what we mean is, that God acts as we do 
when we use those members. But it is not always borne 
in mind that when the Scripture ascribes anger, jealousy, 
repentance, revenge, to God, the language is likewise 
analogical, and likewise signifies merely that He acts as we 
should do when under the influence of those passions. The 
same, to a certain extent, is true of the moral qualities of 
love, mercy, justice, wisdom, and the like ; to a certain ex- 
tent, for, since man was formed in the image of God, there 
cannot be an essential difference between his notions on 
these points and the Divine attributes : but the transcend- 
ancy of the Divine perfections renders the love, or the jus- 
tice, of God of a different species from ours, and so far the 
language is analogical. 

The metaphors of Scripture are culled from a large 
surface, — the natural world, the arts then known, the cere- 
monies of religion, and the history of the Jewish people. 
Hebrew poetry, in particular, abounds in bold and beau- 
tiful examples of this figure. 

The foregoing figures relate to words merely ; some- 
times, however, the tropical signification resides, not in the 
expression, but in the thought, and we have to interpret, 

1 See Copleston's note " On Analogy," in " Sermons on Predesti- 
nation," p. 122. 


not the words, but the things signified by the words. To 
this branch of figurative interpretation belong, Allegory, 
Parable, Symbol, and Type. 

(1.) Allegory. — An allegory is, as the name imports, a 
narrative, or history, intended to convey a meaning beyond 
the immediate ; as, e.g. the Psalmist, in Ps. lxxx., intending 
to describe the unhappy condition of the Hebrew common- 
wealth, as contrasted with its former prosperity, gives a 
short history of a vine transplanted from Egypt, which 
for a time flourished, but was now decaying. Allegory is 
not a continued metaphor, for the words used may be 
wholly unfigurative ; it is the double meaning of the nar- 
rative that fixes the class to which it belongs. Since it is 
the object of allegory to convey moral truth, the history 
may be either real or fictitious, the immediate representa- 
tion being of no value except as a vehicle. Thus the alle- 
gory of the vine above mentioned is fictitious ; and so is 
that of Nathan addressed to David (2 Sam. xii. 1-4) ; but 
the history of the two sons of Abraham, which St. Paul 
allegorises, is a real one (Gal. iv. 22-26). 

From this it is obvious that the process of interpretation 
in the case of allegory is twofold ; first, to ascertain the literal 
meaning of the expressions used, and, secondly, to discover 
what is the ultimate representation intended. Our present 
concern is with the latter alone. Sometimes the allegory 
sufficiently conveys its own meaning, as in the above ex- 
ample of the vine ; sometimes an explanation is added, as 
in Jotham's allegory of the trees (Judg. ix. 7) ; but our 
chief reliance must be placed upon the context, or histori- 
cal connexion, in which the allegory stands. It is thus 
that we understand the meaning of Nathan's allegory, and, 
in many instances, of our Lord's parables. Since it is 
usually a writer's object in using allegory to explain what 


is more obscure by what is more obvious, it is seldom, 
especially in the case of Scripture allegories, that we fail 
to perceive the meaning. 

Allegorising the narratives of Scripture is a very dif- 
ferent thing from converting them into allegory. Of the 
former St. Paul, in the passage above mentioned, furnishes 
an example ; the history of Hagar is not divested of its 
historical reality, but it is shown that the Holy Spirit in- 
tended to . convey, under this outward vehicle, a deep 
spiritual truth : of the latter the attempts of infidelity, 
both here and on the Continent, to prove that the history 
of the fall is not that of a real transaction, are an instance. 
In the former case, the historical truth of the narrative is 
assumed and maintained ; in the latter, history becomes 
converted into fable. The practice of treating the facts of 
the Scripture history as allegorical (in the latter sense) is 
not, however, of modern date ; this mode of interpretation 
was extensively used by the early Fathers, among whom 
Origen stands conspicuous for his free use of it ; in his 
hands a great part of the Bible lost all objective reality. 

(2.) Parables. — Parables are a species of allegory ; dif- 
fering, indeed, only in the form. In allegory, distinctively 
understood, the immediate and the ultimate representation 
are mingled together, as in Ps. lxxx. 8, the heathen are said 
to be cast out, that the vine may be planted ; in the 
parable, the story advances without the admixture of the 
literal and figurative, and the interpretation is appended 
from without. Thus, in the parable of the sower, no hint 
is given in the parable itself of its ultimate meaning ; this 
our Lord supplies afterwards, and the two, the vehicle of 
instruction and the truths taught, are placed side by side. 
Hence, generally speaking, the interpretation of the parable 
is more difficult than that of the allegory. 

The same rules, however, apply to both. The context 


must be examined ; and especially must attention be paid 
to explanations, or bints, furnished by the speaker him- 
self. For instance, in the parable of the vineyard, Matt, 
xxi. 33, the key to the whole is contained in our Lord's cita- 
tion from Ps. cxviii. : " The stone which the builders re- 
jected, the same is become the head of the corner," — itself, 
be it observed, a figurative expression. In explaining 
parables, the minute circumstances which form, as it were, 
the drapery of the narrative must not be anxiously pressed; 
many of them merely impart liveliness to the picture, and 
are of no spiritual significance. On the other hand, how- 
ever, the minuteness with which our Lord follows out the 
points of comparison in the parables of the sower, and the 
tares, proves that apparently insignificant particulars may 
be important, and should not be lightly overlooked as of 
no bearing upon the general meaning. Sobriety of judg- 
ment is here especially needful. 

It is a generally admitted rule that parables should 
not, in the first instance, be made the sources of doctrine. 
Whatever is essential to the Christian scheme will, we may 
presume, be found plainly revealed ; parables serve tc 
illustrate what is thus taught, but must themselves be 
interpreted according to the analogy of faith. 

(3.) Symbol. — A symbol is a visible representation of a 
spiritual or moral truth; an object which, appealing to the 
eye, tacitly conveys instruction. Thus the water in 
baptism is a symbol, reminding the baptized person and 
the bystaiidjrs of the inward holiness required of the 
Christian; and so is the cross upon the child's brow, 
designating him a soldier of Christ. Symbolism is the 
language of nature, especially in the East, where from 
time immemorial this mode of instruction has been cul- 
tivated; and for minds untutored to reflection, it un- 
doubtedly conveys livelier impressions than the more 


abstract and intellectual vehicle of language. Hence, in 
the Old Testament, which was addressed to a people not 
emerged from the childhood of religion, symbolism plays 
an important part: the whole of the ceremonial law was 
framed upon this principle, and prophecy very frequently 
made use of it, as when Isaiah walked three years naked 
and barefoot, as a sign against Egypt, 1 and Jeremiah put 
yokes and bonds round his neck, as a token of Assyrian 
bondage. 2 But on this feature of the Mosaic law some 
observations are made in another place. 3 The symbolical 
interpretation of the Levitical ritual has received but little 
attention in this country: it is a rich field, which will 
amply repay culture. 

(4.) Type. — A type differs from a mere symbol in em- 
bodying a predictive element: it is a prophetic symbol. 
Thus the ceremonial of the Passover was symbolical, in 
that it conveyed to the ancient believer present lessons of 
instruction ; but it was predictive also of Christ's atoning 
work. And since prophecy is the prerogative of Him who 
sees the end from the beginning, a real type, implying as 
it does a knowledge of the future antitype, can only pro- 
ceed from God : a type is a prophecy in action. 

It has been a question much debated, whether we are 
at liberty to extend the typical system of the Old Testa- 
ment beyond the types explicitly declared to be such by 
Christ or His apostles, such as the Paschal lamb, the 
brazen serpent, the w r ater from the rock, the Levitical 
priesthood, and the ceremonies of the great day of atone- 
ment. But if prophecy may be interpreted " either by the 
Word of God, or by His providence, either by a specific 
revelation, or by the completion of the prophecy in due 
time," 4 why may not a type similarly be seen to have' been 

1 Isa. xx. 2 Jer. xxvii. 

3 Pp. 227, 228. 4 Davison, " Primitive Sacrifice," p. 174. 


such by the event ? Can we doubt that Joshua was a type 
of Christ, though Scripture does not affirm it? The 
significance of the circumstance that, not Moses the law- 
giver, but Joshua the saviour, led the Israelites into the 
promised land cannot be mistaken ; was it not, then, pur- 
posely so ordered? To restrict the types of the Old 
Testament to those which have been revealed to be such 
would be to deprive the Christian of a large field of devout 
inquiry. Caution, indeed, is necessary, lest we mistake 
mere resemblances for types ; but caution is necessary in 
every branch of Scripture-interpretation. 

In explaining ascertained types we must beware of 
pushing the comparison into every minute detail. Thus, 
as regards the Passover, while the general import of the 
transaction admits of no doubt, it is not necessary to 
suppose that the roasting of the lamb with fire was 
typical of " the dreadful pains that Christ should suffer," 
or that the time selected, at even, represented Christ's 
suffering " in the last days," and the miraculous darkness 
which attended His crucifixion. 1 Such fanciful applications, 
too common with the early Fathers, tend to bring discredit 
upon the whole system of typical prophecy, and furnish a 
handle to the unbeliever. Cautiously applied, the types 
of the Old Testament furnish most valuable instruction; 
for they not only, as fulfilled prophecies, confirm our faith 
in the Divine origin of Christianity, but they explain its 
doctrines: e.g. the Christian atonement, in its leading ideas, 
receives its best illustration from the symbolism of the 
great day of atonement, as described in Leviticus xvi. It 
is no wonder, therefore, that modern rationalism especially 
aims at divesting the Old Testament of its typical 

1 See Cruden's Concordance, under the word "Passover," quoted 
by Dr. Hawkins, " Sermons on Scriptural Types," p. 39. 





In this chapter some topics which seern to appertain to the 
subject of Scripture interpretation, but which could not 
conveniently find a place elsewhere, will be briefly con- 
sidered. And first, as regards, 

§ 1. Tlie interpretation of Prophecy. — On this difficult sub- 
ject a few hints must suffice. The literal or figurative sense 
of the prophetical language must, like that of the other 
books, be determined by a judicious use of the foregoing rules, 
which equally apply to all parts of Scripture : it possesses, 
however, peculiarities of its own. It is not only highly figu- 
rative, but the figures recur so often in the same sense as 
to give rise to a species of prophetical vocabulary. The fol- 
lowing are instances: — The more glorious objects of nature 
are figuratively transferred to what is grand and important 
in the rational world ; as the sun, moon, and the stars, the 
cedars of Lebanon, or lofty mountains (Isa. ii. 13, 14), to 
signify the leading powers of the world. Ships of Tarshish 
(Isa. ii. 16) denote the rich traffickers of the earth. In 
like manner, natural convulsions, such as earthquakes, the 
sinking of mountains, and the appearing of islands, the 
darkening of the sun and moon, the falling star, represent 
changes and disasters, political and religious. For ex- 
amples, see Isa. xiii., which predicts the destruction of 
Babylon, and Jer. iv. 23-28, in which the approaching 
ruin of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar is described. In 
the combined prophecy of our Lord respecting the de- 


struction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and His own second 
coming, these images are adopted as the recognised repre- 
sentations of impending calamities (Matt. xxiv. 29, 30). 
Spiritual blessings, especially the promised outpouring of 
the Holy Spirit, are commonly set forth under the images 
of the dew, the rain, or water from a living spring (Isa. 
xliv. 3. Hos. xiv. 5) ; and the New Testament employs 
the same (John, iv. 10 ; vii. 38). The marriage-bond 
represents God's covenant with Israel; and idolatry is 
spiritual adultery (Hos. ii. 1-5). The temporal enemies 
of Israel, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and especially Babylon, 
frequently denote the spiritual foes of Messiah's king- 
dom ; and Babylon, too, in the mystical visions of St. 
John at Patmos, represents an an ti- Christian influence 
or authority (Rev. xvii.). Since the power of horned 
animals is exerted by the horn, this word is used to 
signify power in general: thus Daniel's kingdoms are 
represented under the ten horns of the beast (Dan. vii.; 
comp. Rev. xiii. l) r and hence the expressions, " horn of 
David " (Ps. cxxxii. 17), and " horn of salvation " (Luke, 
i. 69), denoting respectively, David's throne, and the 
" great salvation " of the Gospel. It was only natural 
that the prophets, in speaking of the Gospel dispensation, 
should borrow much of their imagery from the existing one : 
thus, Mount Sion, the great Jewish feasts, and the Levi- 
tical ritual, furnish numerous images, under which the 
kingdom of Christ is, in its various aspects, described. 
(See Isa. ii. 3; Mai. i. 11; Zech. xiv. 16.) The attentive 
reader of the prophets will soon come to distinguish ordinary 
figure from what may be called the peculiar and established 
stock of images which prophecy, as such, employs. 

There are other peculiarities of the prophetic style 
which must be borne in mind. It is very common with 
the prophets to speak of future things as actually present, 


as in the famous passage, Isa. ix. 6, " Unto us a child is 
born, unto us a son is given ;" or, " Jerusalem is a deso- 
lation ; our holy and beautiful house ... is burned up with 
fire" (Isa. lxiv. 10, 11) ; though the events predicted did 
not take place till long after Isaiah wrote. In like manner 
they arrange co-ordinately events separated by long inter- 
vals, as a person ignorant of astronomy would place the 
stars on the surface of a concave vault, all at the same 
distance from himself. Thus Isaiah frequently mingles 
deliverance from the Assyrian invasion with the spiritual 
deliverance of the Messiah (see cc. vii., x., xi., &c.) ; Ze- 
chariah speaks, in parallel lines of prophecy, of the triumphs 
of the Jews under the Maccabees, and of the glorious 
reign of Christ ; and our Lord connects His coming to 
visit Jerusalem with His second advent to judge the 
world, no mention being made of the intervening time. 
Before the mind of the prophet the visions of the present 
and the future seem to have presented themselves simul- 
taneously, so that he was unable to adjust the times ; and 
that this was intended we gather from such passages as 
Dan. xii. 9, where the prophet, desiring to understand "the 
end" of the things revealed to him, is told that the "words 
are closed and sealed up," in this point of view, " till the 
time of the end ;" and 1 Pet. i. 11, in which the prophets 
are declared to have been much, but fruitlessly, occupied in 
" searching what, and what manner of time, the Spirit did 
signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of 
Christ." A consideration which may throw some light on 
St. Paul's language in 1 Thess. iv. 13-18, where he is held 
by some to have supposed that the day of Christ would 
arrive in his own lifetime. 

This latter feature of prophecy leads us to make some 
remarks upon what has been called " the double sense," 
which has been as indiscriminately assailed by some as it 


lias been unduly extended by others. Properly under- 
stood, however, the principle seems free from objection. 
"What is it?" a judicious writer asks; "not the. con- 
venient latitude of two unconnected senses, wide of each 
other, and giving room to a fallacious ambiguity ; but the 
combination of two related, analogous, and harmonising, 
though disparate, subjects, each clear and definite in itself, 
implying a twofold truth in the prescience, and creating an 
aggravated difficulty, and therefore an accumulated proof, 
in the completion." 1 The prophecies relating to the 
kingdom of David furnish a conspicuous example. " He 
shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the 
throne of his kingdom for ever. If he commit iniquity, 1 
will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes 
of the children of men : but my mercy shall not depart 
away from him. Thine house and thy kingdom shall 
be established for ever before thee : thy throne shall 
be established for ever" (2 Sam. vii. 12-17). It is 
obvious that there is here a fulness of meaning which the 
temporal kingdom of David cannot be supposed to havt' 
exhausted. But prophecy, in this instance, was so con- 
structed as to embrace the double subject of the temporal 
throne of David and the spiritual reign of Him who should 
spring from David ; and the resemblance is neither forced 
nor ambiguous. The same may be said of the predictions 
which equally foreshow the restoration of Judah from cap- 
tivity and the Christian redemption, and those in which 
the judicial destruction of Jerusalem symbolises the final 
judgment. If it be asked, What test have Ave to ascertaii 
when the principle may safely and properly be adny tted ? 
we reply, with the writer above quoted, " The test is that 
each of the subjects ascribed to the prophecy be such as 
may challenge the right of it in its main import, and meet 
1 Davison on Prophecy, p. 202. 


its obvious representation ; other reasonable conditions 
being observed, as to the known general tendency of the 
whole volume of prophecy. When the divided application 
asserts itself in this manner, the principle is certain, the 
reason we have to follow is clear, and the prophecy is 
doubly authentic. But where it does not, the principle, 
having no safe ground to rest upon, ought not to be enter- 
tained ; least of all should it be applied to predictions of 
which the general import is doubtful, or of less note and 
prominence in itself," 1 

§ 2. Quotations. — The quotations from the Old Testa- 
ment which are found in the New, present to the biblical 
student a subject of some importance. They are sources 
of criticism, as regards the Hebrew and Septuagint texts ; 
and they throw light upon the prophetical connexion be- 
tween the two covenants. The subject, however, is not 
without difficulties. The first point to be considered is 
the external form in which these quotations appear ; and 
the, next, the manner in which they are applied. 

Above GOO allusions, direct or indirect, to the Old 
Testament have been collected from the New ; but the 
majority of them are merely instances of the transfer of 
ideas and expressions from the former to the latter, as was 
natural with writers familiar from their childhood with 
the Hebrew Scriptures, and therefore can hardly be called 
formal quotations. Of quotations properly so . called, if 
we omit the repetitions found in the same or other books, 
there are about 140 : of these, more than one half agree 
exactly with the Hebrew, and are very commonly expressed 
in the words of the Septuagint translation, though some- 
times the translation is independent ; about 30 express 
the sense of the Hebrew, with some slight variations 
from the original ; in 17 the Septuagint is followed, 
1 Davison, &c. p. 203. 


where it differs from the Hebrew; and in 17 more 
neither the Hebrew nor the Septuagint is strictly 
adhered to. 1 

That the Septuagint should be the ordinary source of 
the New Testament quotations is only what might be 
expected when we consider that this version was the one 
in common use even in Palestine, and much more so among 
the Jews of the dispersion : where, therefore, it sufficiently 
expresses the sense of the original, the sacred writers adopt 
it ; but in many instances they have exercised an in- 
dependent judgment, and where they thought the Septua- 
gint faulty, they had recourse to the original Hebrew, and 
either translated afresh from that, or introduced such 
alterations as were needful. In the comparatively few 
instances in which a difference exists between the original 
and the citation, the difference consists, for the most part, 
in verbal alterations which do not substantially affect the 
sense, but only render it more intelligible to the persons 
immediately addressed. Thus, to take one instance, the 
citation in 1 Cor. ii. 9, " 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,'" agrees neither with the Greek nor the Hebrew 
of the passage referred to, viz. Isa. lxiv. 4, of which the 
literal rendering is, " And from the beginning of the world 
they heard not, they perceived not by the ear, the eye saw 
not, a God beside thee, who will do for him that trusteth 
in Him." The Apostle paraphrases, rather than translates, 
this somewhat obscure passage, incorporating in it a phrase, 
:i neither came upon the heart," which the same prophet 
uses in another place and a different connexion (lxv. 17). 

In such alterations as these we must remember that it 
is inspired commentators who make them ; and, therefore, 
1 See Fairbairn's Herineneutical Manual, p. 412. 


that their comments or paraphrases are equally the Word 
of God with the original passages. 

Besides these variations in the external form, the use 
made of the passages cited sometimes occasions a difficulty. 
In the great majority of instances the propriety of the 
citation is evident ; the prophecy is seen clearly to have 
had a reference to the event. We have only to observe 
here, that the expression which so commonly introduces 
the citation of a prophecy, " In order that it might be 
fulfilled which was spoken," &c, is to be understood, not 
merely of the fact of a correspondence between the event 
and the prediction, the so-called ecbatic sense of the pre- 
position tvetj but of an intention that they should correspond, 
the so-called telic force of the same preposition ; Divine 
Providence so ordering the course of human affairs that 
the prophecy was thereby accomplished. The sacred 
writers everywhere contemplate the progress of secular 
events with a predestinarian eye. 

There are, however, cases in which a prophecy is applied 
to what is not its primary and immediate subject ; and 
these have created some embarrassment. To take one or 
two well-known examples : the simple statement of the 
prophet Hosea, " Out of Egypt have I called my son" 
(xi. 1), which, as the context proves, directly refers to 
the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, is regarded 
by St. Matthew as predictive of the recall of the infant 
Jesus from Egypt (ii. 15). The prophecy of Jeremiah 
(xxxi. 15) respecting the lamentation of Rachel for her 
lost children at Eamah, a town of Benjamin, is applied by 
the same Evangelist (ii. 17, 18) to the slaughter of the 
innocents at Bethlehem of Judasa. " I will open my mouth 
in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old" (Ps. 
lxxviii. 2) : the psalmist proceeds to give a sketch of the 
past history of the Israelites, with the view of deriving 


from it lessons of moral instruction for his contemporaries 
and for posterity ; by St. Matthew it is said, that Jesus 
" spake not to the multitude without a parable," in order 
that the psalmist's words "might be fulfilled" (xiii. 35). 
At first sight, such a use as this of the Old Testament 
seems perplexing ; and many have taken refuge in a theory 
of accommodation, according to which the inspired writers 
of the New Testament made use of passages or events in 
the Old as mere illustrations of the subjects they were 

This, however, is an unsatisfactory solution of the 
difficulty. It is more consonant to our ideas of the depth 
and comprehensiveness of Scripture to suppose that, as in 
the instance of the double sense of prophecy, so here, the 
Holy Spirit so controlled the utterances of the prophets 
that they were equally applicable to the proximate and 
the remote event ; and then enabled His inspired organs of 
the new covenant to discern the hidden typical meaning 
which those utterances embodied. Our space will not 
permit us to pursue the subject further : it will be found 
discussed at greater length by Dr. Davison and Dr. 
Fairbairn, in the works mentioned bdow. 1 In any 
of the later editions of Home's Introduction, vol. ii., full 
tables of the quotations, of every kind, which the New 
Testament contains, are given. 

§ 3. Scripture Difficulties. — Though the Bible was 
written by inspiration of God, and therefore it may be as- 
sumed that there can be no essential contrariety between 
one part and another, apparent contradictions, and diffi- 
culties, may, no doubt, be found in its pages ; and infidel 
writers have not been slow to avail themselves of this 
circumstance to impugn the authority of the Scriptures. 

1 Home's Intro J. Edit. 10, vol. ii. Fairbairn's Herineneutical 
Manual, part 3. 


Even were these seeming inconsistencies incapable of 
reconciliation, Bishop Butler's important remark would 
hold good, " Neither obscurity, nor seeming inaccuracy of 
style, nor various readings, nor early disputes about the 
authors of particular parts ; nor any other things of the 
like kind, though they had been much more considerable 
than they are, could overthrow the authority of Scripture ; 
unless the prophets, apostles, or our Lord, had promised 
that the book should be secure from these things." 1 In 
point of fact, however, the progress of knowledge, both 
sacred and profane, has done away with many of the 
objections which formerly were the stock-in-trade of the 
infidel, and the few that remain to exercise our faith and 
our diligence will, we doubt not, in due time receive a 
satisfactory solution. 

It would indeed be surprising if a collection of books, 
so numerous, and of such various matter, written at 
periods widely remote from each other, and under different 
degrees of religious light ; embracing so vast a scope, and 
occasionally entering into such minute details ; in two dis- 
tinct languages, no longer in living use ; alluding to 
manners and customs long since passed away, and touching 
profane history at so many points ; — if such a collection of 
writings should not, on the surface, present many difficul- 
ties to the student. What department of natural science 
is not, in this respect, analogous ? The works of God in 
creation, by their mysterious phenomena, incite, and 
/sometimes baffle, investigation ; why should not the Word 
of God exhibit similar characteristics ? 

Difficulties sometimes arise from a corrupt state of the 
text, or what appears to be so, as in Gen. xlix. 6, " They 
digged down a wall," where the margin has it, " They 
houghed oxen," neither of them probably the true reading : 
at least no such circumstance appears in the original ac- 
1 Analogy, part ii. c. 3. 


count, c. xxxiv. A difference of design, on the part of the 
inspired writers, will produce what appears like discre- 
pancy ; as in the genealogies of St. Matthew and St. Luke, 
the one intended for Jewish, the other for Gentile con- 
verts ; or in the fuller narratives of events and miracles 
in one evangelist as compared with the others. Omissions 
are not differences, though they are sometimes classed as 
such : thus, St. Matthew narrates that two blind men 
were healed at Jericho (xx. 30), while St. Mark and St. 
Luke mention only one : but, as Matthew Henry quaintly 
remarks, " Where there were two, there must have been 
one." The order of time is not always observed by the 
sacred writers ; as when the creation of Eve from the side 
of Adam is described in Gen. ii., apparently contradicting 
i. 27. The interchange of names often occasions per- 
plexity ; e. g. there were two Bethsaidas, two Bethlehems, 
several Csesareas ; and sometimes the same person or 
place bore different names at different times, as the father- 
in-law of Moses is called both Raguel and Jethro ; Nahash 1 
is the same as Jesse ; and Matthew is likewise called Levi. 
Difficulties arise from the Hebrew system of numeration, 
in which letters stand for numbers, and many of the letters 
are so much alike that a transcriber might easily make a 
mistake, and so change units into tens, or thousands : 
they arise too from the different modes of reckoning adopted 
in alluding to the same event ; e. g. the Israelites are said 
to have sojourned in Egypt 430 years (Exod. xii. 40), and 
in another place 400 years (Acts, vii. 6), whereas the real 
time of their residence in Egypt was only 215 years ; 2 but 

1 2 Sam. xvii. 25. 

2 According to the traditionary interpretation of Exod. xii. 40, 
founded on the Septuagint version, and St. Paul's statement, Gal. 
iii. 17. In his recent work on the Old Covenant, Kuntz maintains, 
with some plausibility, that the sojourn of Israel in Egypt was not 
less than -130 years (vol. ii. p. 135, Clark's translation). 


the first period is reckoned from the departure of Abraham 
from Ur of the Chaldees, and the second from the birth of 
Isaac to the Exode, and thus both are correct. 

For a fuller account of apparent textual contradictions 
the reader is referred to Home's Introduction, vol. ii. c. 7. 
It is unnecessary to pursue the subject further ; for 
alleged inconsistencies of doctrinal statement must be 
examined by the rules of interpretation already laid down, 
and objections to the morality of Scripture belong to the 
subject of the evidences of Christianity. 



Sect. I. — Geography, §c. 

§ 1. Physical features. — Palestine was a country of 
small extent, but of remarkable natural features. The 
boundaries as laid down by Moses 1 are as follows : — On 
the south, commencing from the lower extremity of the 
Dead Sea, the line was to pass over the " heights of 
Akrabbim " as far as the " wilderness of Zin," and thence 
westward to Kadesh-barnea, and so on to the Mediterra- 
nean. The water of this sea washed the whole of the 
western boundary. The northern frontier was formed by 
the double range of Lebanon and Anti- Lebanon, and 
extended to the neighbourhood of Damascus. From this 
point the eastern boundary, passing southwards, included 
the fertile valley through which the Jordan flows, to a dis- 
tance from its eastern bank averaging about thirty miles, 
until it met the southern border at the south-east corner of 
the Dead Sea. Palestine proper, as thus defined, must have 
been about 150 miles in length by 80 in breadth ; the 
1 Num. xxxiv. 


latter dimension varying somewhat with the irregularity of 
the eastern frontier. The kingdom of Solomon, however, 
was of much larger extent ; it comprised the whole terri- 
tory from the river Euphrates to the eastern arm of the 
Red Sea, and to the borders of Egypt, and extended to a 
considerable distance inland. 1 

The aspect of the country is extremely diversified. It 
is intersected in all parts by mountains, either single, or in 
ranges. The great northern barrier of Lebanon, formerly 
renowned for its stately cedars, rises to a height of nearly 
10,000 feet : the highest point of the eastern range, or 
Anti-Libanus, was called Hermon, and being always 
covered with snow, presents a conspicuous object from the 
whole neighbourhood of the sea of Tiberias. About ten 
miles south of Acre, or Ptolemais, the range of Carmel ran 
nearly north and south, terminating in a bold headland 
which forms the southern arm of the noble bay on which 
the town is situated : it was once clothed, from the base to 
the summit, with rich olive-groves and sloping pastures, 
and from its fertility became, in Hebrew poetry, the type 
of natural beauty. From the plain of Esdraelon rises Mount 
Tabor, a singular insulated hill of conical form, the prospect 
from which comprises some of the most celebrated scenes in 
sacred story, — the battle-plain of Deborah and Barak ; the 
mountains of Gilboa, where Saul was slain ; Endor, and 
the village of Nain ; and towards the north-east, at a dis- 
tance of about six miles, the sea of Tiberias ; and the 
snowy height of Hermon at the horizon. A ridge, called 
the mountains of Israel, or Ephraim, of which the cele- 
brated hills of Ebal and Gerizim formed a part, traverses 
the centre of the land from north to south ; and a similar 
ridge, " the hill-country " of Judaea, skirts the western 
shore of the Dead Sea. On the other side of Jordan, the 
mountains of Gilead intersect a fertile district, the northern 
1 1 Kincrs, iv 21. 


part of which bore the name of Bashan, noted for its oaks 
and rich pastures, and the southern that of Abarim, where 
a rugged range of hills forms the northern frontier of Moab : 
in this range stood the eminences of Pisgah and Nebo, 
whence an extensive view of the Holy Land could be 

Fruitful plains and well-watered valleys lay everywhere 
interspersed among the hills, which themselves formed no 
interruption to the general aspect of fertility which the 
country presented, since they were cultivated to their 
summits, in terraces supported by embankments, w T here the 
vine, the olive, and the fig, grew in rich abundance. The 
minute subdivision of the land, and the permanent interest 
which each family possessed in its ancestral territory, brought 
every spot under culture, and the whole resembled a garden. 
This accounts for the immense population, which, compared 
with its extent, the country was able to maintain. On the 
division of Canaan by Joshua, not fewer than 112 walled 
cities fell to the lot of the tribe of Judah. 1 In the time 
of David the fighting men amounted, after an imperfect 
census, to 1,300,000. 2 At a later period, from the two 
small provinces of Upper and Lower Galilee, Josephus col- 
lected an army of more than 100,000 men. 3 The present 
state of the Holy Land — under the curse, and after the 
devastations of successive conquerors, Assyrians, Chaldees, 
Syrians, Romans, Saracens, and, most barbarous of all, the 
Turks — affords no criterion of what it once was when the 
smile of Jehovah rested upon it. 

Palestine possesses no river of any account save the 
Jordan. This famous stream takes its rise at Paneas, or 
Cassarea Philippi, at the foot of Anti-Libanus, where the 
water issues from a spacious cavern under a wall of rock, 
and joins another stream at some distance in the plain. 
1 Josh. xv. 20. 2 2 Sam. xxiv. 9. 3 De Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 20. 


The united waters flow southwards, through the lake Merom, 
the Sea of Galilee, and the valley of the Jordan, until they 
lose themselves in the Dead Sea; the whole course being 
not less than 200 statute miles. The channel varies in 
width and depth: at the fords near Basan, recent travellers 
found the breadth to be 140 feet, with a sluggish current; 
but at the entrance into the Dead Sea the banks approach 
each other, and the stream becomes proportionably deep 
and rapid. Owing to the melting of the snows in spring, 
the river overflows its banks in the months of April and 
May (the time of barley-harvest), so that a sunken tract of 
land, covered with vegetation, extends on either side: after 
passing over this the traveller comes to the immediate 
bank, which is so thickly lined with bushes of various 
kinds, that, except where openings occur, no water is 
visible. Formerly these thickets were the haunt of wild 
beasts. Other remarkable streams are, — the Arnon, which 
descends from the mountains of Moab into the Dead Sea ; 
the Jabbok, one of the tributaries of the Jordan on the 
east ; and the Kishon, a mountain torrent, which, issuing 
from Carmel, discharges itself into the Mediterranean. 

In its course the Jordan, as has been observed, passes 
through three lakes, or, as they are termed in the Hebrew 
idiom, seas. The northernmost, called in the Old Testa- 
ment the waters of Merom, 1 the smallest of the three, is 
supposed to be about seven miles long by three broad ; 
its modern name is El-Huleh. Next in size, and sur- 
passing all in interest, is the Lake of Galilee, formerly 
called the Sea of Chinnereth, on the banks of which were 
situated the principal scenes of our Lord's ministry; Caper- 
naum, Chorazin, and the two places named Bethsaida. It 
is a limpid sheet of water, in a deep basin, probably below 
the level of the Mediterranean, about twelve miles in length 
1 Josh. xi. 5-7. 


and six in breadth, and surrounded with barren hills of a 
tame and rounded form. Its position, embosomed as it is 
deep in the higher tracts of country, exposes it to violent 
gusts of wind, which, in winter, blow with the fury of a 
tempest. It still abounds in fish of excellent quality ; 
but so supine is the government by which the fishing is 
farmed out, or the fishermen who ply their craft on its 
waters, that but one boat was found on it by Dr. Robinson ; l 
and the fish are usually taken from the shore with hand- 
nets. The Salt, or Dead Sea, sometimes called the Lake 
Asphaltite from the bitumen found in it, lies in a vast 
chasm which formerly formed a part of the plain of the 
Jordan, many hundred feet below the level of the Mediter- 
ranean. Naked cliffs of limestone rock rise from the sides, 
and the traces of a volcanic origin are visible in the sul- 
phur and nitre found on the banks, and the masses of 
bitumen continually thrown up from the depths below. Its 
length is supposed to be about sixty miles, and its general 
breadth eight. A scene of complete desolation reigns around. 
The surface is seldom stirred by a ripple, and nothing living 
has been found in the water. The tales, however, of its ex- 
halations being so noxious that birds are unable to fly over 
it, are fabulous ; they have probably arisen from the absence 
of aquatic birds, which, finding no food in the waters, do not 
frequent the place. The water is intensely bitter, and of 
such specific gravity that the most inexperienced swimmer 
can float in it with ease. 

§ 2. Climate, productions, #c. — The climate of Palestine, 
like that of all hilly countries, varies considerably. On the 
high lands the air is temperate, even in the heat of 
summer ; but on the more extensive plains, such as that 
of Esdraelon, or the plain of Jericho, the heat is intense, 
and, like that of India, sometimes fatal. 2 The changes of 
1 Researches, vol. iii. p. 252. 2 2 Kinsrs, iv. 19. 


temperature are very trying to European constitutions ; — 
a burning clay is often succeeded by an extremely cold 
night, and while in the rainy seasons the atmosphere is 
surcharged with moisture, no rain at all falls in the 
summer. The coldest part of the year is from the end of 
December to the beginning of March, during which 
period the lofty mountains are covered with snow, the 
north wind blows with cutting severity, and hail-storms 
pour down with a violence unknown to more northern 
climes. The spring, however, advances with great rapidity, 
and after a short interval of mild weather the summer 
heats set in, and from the beginning of June to the 
beginning of October the whole country presents a parched 
appearance. Agricultural operations depend upon the two 
rainy seasons, called in Scripture the former and the 
latter rain. The former rain commences about the close 
of October, and brings forward the barley and wheat sown 
in the early part of the month ; the latter rain begins to 
fall in the middle of March, and prepares the corn for the 
harvest. So essential are these rains to the fertility of the 
soil, that the withholding of them was equivalent to a 
plague of famine. 1 The barley-harvest precedes the wheat 
by about three weeks; the former being ripe in April, the 
latter in May. Little or no rain falls in the summer, but 
the absence of it is, to some extent, compensated by the 
dew, which is so abundant as to wet to the skin the 
traveller who is exposed to it. 

The productions of the Holy Land were very various. 
Besides the staple commodities of barley and wheat, the 
return of which, " sixty or a hundredfold," 2 must have 
rivalled the fertility of Egypt, the olive, the vine, the fig, 
the pomegranate, and the palm, flourished freely, furnish- 
ing abundant supplies of delicious fruit and wine. Even 
1 Jer. iii. 3. Joel, ii. 23. 2 Matt. xiii. 8. 


in modern times the luxuriance of the grape attests the 
truth of the Scripture narrative of the weight of the 
cluster which the two spies carried away from the valley 
of Eshcol. 1 The almond-tree, the first to blossom, bore its 
fruit in the middle of April. Numerous forest-trees, the 
majestic cedar, the oak, and the sycamore, afforded a grate- 
ful shelter from the summer's sun. The plain of Jericho 
was renowned for the opobalsamum-tree, from which the 
fragrant balsam known by the name of the Balm of Gilead 
distilled. The aloe, the lily, the rose, the spikenard, the 
myrtle, and other aromatic shrubs, imparted a fragrance to 
the air. Wild honey abounded on the rocks, or in the 
hollows of trees. It was a land flowing with milk as well 
as honey, for the plains and valleys, well watered by 
streams from the hills, afforded abundant pasturage to 
cattle ; and the ox, the sheep, the goat, camels, and asses, 
formed the ordinary wealth of this pastoral people. Certain 
districts, such as that of Bashan and Mount Gilead, were 
noted for their breed of domestic animals. 2 

Famed, however, as Palestine was in these respects, in 
others it was less fortunate. It was subject to the visita- 
tions under which the neighbouring country of Egypt 
frequently suffered. Tornadoes were of common occurrence; 
immense hosts of locusts devastated the fields ; and the fatal 
simoom swept across the deserts, burying whole caravans 
in the sleep of death. In the summer season, the inha- 
bitants were often compelled to depend upon their wells for 
a supply of water, which consequently were a fruitful source 
of contention: while, by filling them up, an enemy could 
reduce the population to the greatest straits. 

§ 3. Political geography. — From the nations who from 

1 Num. xiii. 23. 

2 Useful tables of the plants, minerals, and precious stones of 
Scripture, will be found in Angus's Handbook, p. 223. 



time to time happened to be predominant in it, the Holy 
Land received various appellations. One of the most 
common is Canaan, from the youngest son of Ham, of that 
name. His descendants formed ten nations, which after- 
wards became reduced to seven, and under the names of 
the Hittites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaan- 
ites, Hivites, and Jebusites, were devoted to extermination. 
The Divine command, however, was not fully executed, and 
the ancient inhabitants that were suffered to remain fre- 
quently gathered strength, and rose against their conquerors. 
It was not until the reigns of David and Solomon that 
they were finally reduced to subjection. 

The Philistines, a tribe descended from Mizraim the 
second son of Ham, occupied a strip of land on the sea- 
shore, to the south-west. Their country was in the time 
of Joshua divided into five districts, of which the chief 
towns respectively were Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Gath, and 
Ekron; and though small in extent, it produced a race 
which for a long time contested the empire with the 
Israelites, and at one period became so considerable as to 
give their name to the country, which from them was 
called by the Greeks Palestine — a name which it bears to 
this day. 

In the Old Testament, the most frequent title is, the 
Land of Israel, which has reference to the covenant 
between Jehovah and Abraham; and after the Babylonish 
captivity it received the name of Judaea, from the tribe of 
Judah (including Benjamin), which alone remained of the 
twelve who once occupied it. 

Around the frontier dwelt several nations, more or less 
connected with Jewish history: to the south, the Edomites, 
the descendants of Esau ; the Amalckites, whose destruction, 
commenced by Saul, was accomplished by David ; and the 
Kenites: to the east and south-east, the Moabites and 


Ammonites, sprung from the incestuous connexion of Lot 
with his daughters; and a tribe of the Midianites. 

By Joshua the land was divided into twelve portions, 
by lot, corresponding to the number of the tribes; the 
posterity of Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, 
being counted as distinct tribes, and the Levites having no 
separate allotment of land. To the latter, forty-eight cities 
with their suburbs, dispersed through the twelve tribes, 
were appropriated for their residence ; and out of these, 
thirteen, all lying in the southern parts of Judah, Ben- 
jamin, and Simeon, belonged to the priests. The other 
tribes were situated as follows: — In the north, Asher, 
Naphthali, Zebulon, and Issachar ; in the middle, Ephraim, 
and the half of Manasseh ; in the south, Judah, Benjamin, 
Dan, and Simeon ; on the eastern side of Jordan, Reuben, 
Gad, and the other half of Manasseh. In the reign of 
Solomon, when the kingdom became greatly extended, the 
tribal divisions were found inapplicable ; and by that mon- 
arch a fresh partition was made into twelve provinces, one 
of which, each month in the year, furnished provisions for 
the king's household. 1 

After Solomon's death, the separation of the ten tribes 
resulted in the establishment of the independent kingdom 
of Israel, as distinguished from that of Judah, the latter 
comprehending the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and cer- 
tain portions of the territories of Dan and Simeon. The 
invasion of Shalmaneser and the removal of the ten tribes 
put an end to the former kingdom ; and with a brief in- 
terval of national independence under the Maccabees, the 
remaining portion of the nation fell under the sway of the 
Syrian kings, and finally of the Romans. 

In our Lord's time the Holy Land was divided into 
five provinces. 1. To the north, Galilee, comprehending an 

1 1 Kings, iv. 7. 


Upper and a Lower province, the principal scene of the 
Gospel narrative. Here were situated Nazareth, the Sea 
of Tiberias with its adjacent towns, Nain, Cana, and other 
places specially honoured with the Saviour's presence. 
Most of the disciples were Galileans. It was called Gali- 
lee of the Gentiles from its proximity to the idolatrous 
nations of Syria; and on this account, as well as because 
of the impurity of its dialect, and its mixed population, it 
was despised by the Jews of purer blood. 2. Samaria, 
occupying the middle portion of the country. Its chief 
town was Shechem, or Sychar, near Mount Gerizim, the 
seat of the rival worship which raised an impassable barrier 
between the Jews and the Samaritans. 3. Judcea, nearly 
coextensive with the ancient kingdom of Judah. 4. Still 
further to the south, Idumaea, a province added by the 
Romans after their conquest of Palestine. 5. Pera?a, on 
the eastern side of Jordan, which included the seven 
cantons of Abilene, Trachonitis, Itursea, Decapolis, Gau- 
lonitis, Batanaea, and Peraea proper: of these, the four first 
are mentioned in the New Testament. 

§ 4. Topography of Jerusalem. — About twenty miles to 
the west of the northern extremity of the Dead Sea lies 
Jerusalem, the most celebrated city of the Holy Land, and, 
in our Lord's time, the metropolis of the country. In the 
age of Abraham it bore the name of Salem ; but at the 
invasion of Joshua it was in the possession of the Jebusites, 
who, though compelled to admit the Israelites to a joint- 
occupation, continued to hold the fortress of Zion until 
they were finally expelled from it by David. A rocky 
platform with four eminences, is divided on the east, 
south, and west, by narrow ravines from still higher hills 
around it, the north side alone sloping gradually into a 
level tract of country. On the east the declivity descends 
abruptly into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, through which 

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the brook Cedron, or Kidron, runs ; and on the opposite 
side rises the Mount of Olives, commanding a prospect of 
the -whole city. Another deep ravine, the Valley of Hin- 
nom, separates the southern district, Mount Zion, from the 
Mount of Offence, where Solomon in his old age is said to 
have built temples to Moloch ; and on the east, Mount 
Gihon overlooks the valley of the same name. So true 
is the Psalmist's description, " As the mountains are round 
about Jerusalem, so the Lord is around his people." 1 At 
first, three only of the eminences, which respectively bore 
the names of Zion, Acra, and Moriah, were built upon ; 
but subsequently another, called Bezetha, was inclosed 
within the walls, and at the final siege by Titus the city 
must have measured about a mile in length by half that 
distance in breadth. It was in Jerusalem, or its vicinity, 
that the most sacred scenes of Holy Writ were enacted. A 
little beyond the brook Kidron, on the first slope of Mount 
Olivet, a place is shown to which tradition assigns the 
name of Gethsemane ; and close to it the road passes over 
the hill to Bethany, distant about fifteen furlongs. The 
mount itself has three summits, from the middle one of 
which an extensive view of the Dead Sea, and the adjacent 
country, may be obtained: some few. olive-trees, of great 
age, are still scattered upon the sides. Just outside the 
wall, on the west, lies Mount Calvary, separated from the 
city by the ravine of Goath. With the Valley of Hinnom, 
or Gehenna, other ideas are connected. It was in this dell 
that the horrid rites of Moloch used to be celebrated, in 
imitation of which the Jews themselves " burned their sons 
and their daughters in the fire : " 2 in after times the filth of 
the city, and the bodies of executed criminals, were here 
consumed, and the fires, kept constantly burning for these 
1 Ps. cxxv,. 2. s Jer. vii. 31. 


purposes, presented a fit emblem of the future state of 
punishment, which hence received the name of Gehenna. 

In the time of the Romans the city was, in parts, 
surrounded with three walls, and in the book of Nehemiah 
no less than ten gates are mentioned : at present one 
massive stone wall, forty feet high and four broad, the 
work of Sultan Sulyman in 1542, encompasses it ; and 
there are but four gates, one towards each quarter of the 
horizon. Entering the south gate we approach Mount 
Zion, on which stood the citadel of David, and on which 
there is still a fortress, consisting of several buildings sur- 
rounded by a deep trench. On this mountain is the Tower 
of Hippicus, one of the three which Herod the Great 
erected, and which alone has survived the destruction of 
ages. Descending from Zion we come to Acra, or the 
lower city as it is called by Josephus ; now the Christian 
quarter, and remarkable for the church of the Holy 
Sepulchre, which is supposed to be built over the tomb of 
our Lord. Mount Moriah was the site of the Temple. 
This edifice, really the work of Herod the Great (for the 
temple of Zerubbabel had little pretensions to splendour), 
was one of the most magnificent in the world. A few 
years before the Christian era, Herod conceived the idea 
of repairing the second temple, which, in the lapse of five 
centuries, had become ruinous, and for nine years he 
employed 18,000 workmen in the task. The pious zeal of 
the people seconded his efforts, and for upwards of forty- 
six years 1 additions were made to it, until it was completed 
in the reign of Nero. As compared with the temple of 
Solomon it was deficient in those sacred symbols which 
marked the more immediate presence of Jehovah — the ark 
of the covenant, the shechinah, the sacred fire upon the 
1 John, ii. 20. 


altar, the Urim and Thummim, and the spirit of prophecy ; 
but its glory was greater in that it was favoured with the 
presence of Christ Himself. It was built of hard white 
stones of prodigious size, and surrounded by a wall of 
great height. This wall was pierced by nine gates, one of 
which, on the eastern side, more costly than the rest, com- 
posed of Corinthian brass, received the name of the 
Beautiful gate. 1 Entering by this gate we find ourselves 
in the first, or outer court, called the Court of the 
Gentiles, who were prohibited from advancing further : it 
contained a market for the cattle, salt, and incense, used 
in sacrifice, and here the money-changers plied their 
traffic. 2 Elevated a few steps in front was the Court of the 
Israelites, consisting of two partitions, one for the women, 
the other for the males ; in this square the treasury is 
supposed to have been placed, and here were chambers for 
the use of the Nazarites and for the purifying of lepers. 
A low wall, one cubit in height, separated the Court of the 
Israelites from that of the priests, in which the altar of burnt- 
offering stood ; and twelve steps conducted to the Temple 
itself, which was entered by a portico adorned with splendid 
offerings. Like the Tabernacle, the sacred building con- 
tained a Holy place, and a Holy of Holies, separated by a 
veil, the same which at our Lord's death was rent in 
twain ; and the triumphal arch of Titus at Rome still re- 
presents the golden candlestick, the table of shew-bread, 
and the trumpets used at the feast of Jubilee, which, at the 
destruction of the city, were found in the sanctuary. 

Emerging from the sacred precincts the traveller would 
mark, under the eastern wall of Jerusalem, the fountain of 
Siloam, which issues from a rock, and formerly filled two 
pools, or reservoirs ; and at the north-east corner, near the 
sheep-market, the pool of Bethesda, with its five porticoes 
1 Acts, iii. 2. 2 Matt. xxi. 12, 13. 


for the reception of the sick. At the north-west corner 
was situated the fortress of Antonia, erected or repaired by 
Herod, and so called by him in honour of Mark Antony. 
A Roman garrison was always quartered in it, for the 
purpose of keeping order at the feasts and quelling the 
insurrectionary tendencies of the people. It was from 
this fortress that Claudius Lysias and the band of soldiers 
rushed down to rescue Paul, in the tumult occasioned by 
his supposed introduction of Trophimus into the Temple 
(Acts, xxi. 29). By some it is supposed that this was 
the residence of the Roman procurators when in Jerusalem, 
and that it is so spoken of under the name of the Preetorium 
(John, xviii. 28) ; but others by this term understand 
Herod's palace, a superb building which that monarch had 
erected for his own use, and which afterwards was appro- 
priated to the use of the foreign governors. In front of the 
Praetorium was a raised pavement of mosaic work (Gab- 
batha), on which the Procurator sat in his judicial capacity ; 
thus obviating the necessity of the Jews entering the 
building, by which they would be denied. 

The modern population of Jerusalem is supposed to 
amount to about 20,000. In its present state it furnishes 
a striking comment upon the word of prophecy. 1 The 
foundations of the ancient city are buried beneath rubbish 
fifty feet deep, and nothing can be more desolate than the 
appearance of the modern town. The streets are badly 
formed, narrow, and filthy ; and most of the houses are out 
of repair, or half-choked with rubbish. The Jewish 
quarter especially presents an aspect of extreme filth and 

Sect. II. — Manners and Customs of the Jews. 
Of these, only a few of the principal come within the 
1 Jer. ix. 11. 


scope of the present volume ; fuller information must be 
sought in works specially devoted to the subject. 1 

§ 1. Habitations. — The fathers of the Jewish people 
lived in tents, resembling, probably, those of the modern 
Bedouins. They were sometimes covered with skins, but 
more frequently with a material of goats' hair, of a black 
or dusky colour, 2 such as to this day is used in the East. 
Like our tents, they were expanded, and kept firm, by cords 
stretched to pins driven into the ground ; it was with one 
of these pins that Jael despatched Sisera. Among the 
Arabs, persons of opulence have several tents ; one for 
themselves, another for their wives, and a third for their 
servants : in other cases, the single oblong tent is divided 
into compartments by curtains. Married persons have 
always a separate compartment to themselves. In these 
tents an Arabian family takes up its abode, with nothing 
underneath but the ground, or, occasionally, a mat. In a 
sultry climate shelter from the sun is a necessity, and 
where practicable the tents were pitched under trees ; as 
Abraham's at Mamre, 3 and that of Deborah. 4 Groves were 
planted for the same purpose ; the vine and the fig-tree, 
from their luxuriant foliage, being especially suitable. 

When the Israelites became settled in Palestine, they 
either used the houses of their predecessors, or constructed 
their own after the model of those which they had seen in 
Egypt. Those of the poor were commonly of mud, easily, 
therefore, washed away by a sudden torrent, or invaded by 
thieves ; 5 the rich used stone or brick, the latter being 
composed of clay, mud, and straw, mixed together, and 
baked in the sun. At first these houses seem to have 
been only of one story ; but in the time of our Lord the 

1 Home's Introd. vol. iii. Jennings' Jewish Antiquities. 
2 Caut. i. 5. 3 Gen. xviii. 4. 4 Juclg. iv. 5. 5 Alatt. vii 26. 


palaces of the wealthy might vie with those which adorned 
Athens or Rome. 

Since the customs of the East seldom change, we may- 
gather from the fashion that now prevails there a general 
notion of the structure of the ancient Jewish houses. The 
principal point in which they differed from ours is in being 
built round a square court, which is open to the weather, 
corresponding to the atrium, or rather the impluvium of 
the Romans. One side of the building faced the street, 
and was entered by a porch, leading through a waiting- 
room into the court, which was paved, sometimes with 
marble, sometimes with cheaper materials, according to 
the ability of the owner. On festive occasions the court 
was covered with mats or carpets ; and here the guests 
assembled. It was probably in an area of this kind that 
our Lord was teaching when the paralytic was let down 
before him " into the midst " (ik to pirov) ; 1 and it was 
in this space that the fire was kindled, and the servants of 
the high-priest waited, with Peter among them, until 
our Lord's examination was concluded. 2 Round the court 
ran a cloister, and above it a gallery with a balustrade, 
whence apartments of the same length as the court were 
entered. On the inner side, opposite the street entrance, 
which was always guarded by gates and attended by a 
porter, 3 stood the inner porch, leading to the main body 
of the building. The roof was flat, and surrounded by a 
parapet ; it was composed of earth, rolled hard, so as to be 
impervious to rain, and the grass was allowed to grow 
freely upon it. The roof of the house was a favourite 
place for prayer and meditation; 4 and here, during the 
heats of summer, the family slept. The doors moved on 

1 Luke, v. 19. 2 Ibid. xxii. 55. 

3 John, xviii. 16. Acts, xii. 13. 4 Acts, x. 9. 


pivots, and were secured by a bar. Glass being unknown, 
the windows were mere apertures with lattices. Kitchens 
may be supposed to be alluded to in Ezek. xlvi. 24 ; but 
no mention occurs of chimneys : the smoke, therefore, 
must have escaped by openings in the wall or roof for that 
purpose. But, as in most hot countries, charcoal was 
commonly used for domestic purposes. 

The furniture of an Eastern house was extremely 
simple. Pegs were fixed in the wall, on which articles 
of daily use were hung ; and the ground, covered with skins 
and mats, served for couch and table. A mattress, which 
could be rolled up and easily carried about, 1 with a 
coverlet, was laid for sleep. Chairs, however, and tables, 
were not unknown ; and in the houses of the wealthy the 
guests reclined at meals on couches around the tables, 2 
which, like the triclinium of the Eomans, formed three 
sides of a square. 

The domestic utensils consisted of vessels of earthen- 
ware, copper, and leather, the latter material being 
especially used for bottles to contain liquids. 3 In every 
Eastern house the hand-mill was an essential article of 
furniture ; it was commonly worked by women. 4 The 
apartments were lighted by lamps fed with olive oil, which 
the fertile slopes of Palestine furnished in great abundance. 

§ 2. Di^ess, &c. — - The " coats of skins," 5 which formed 
the clothing of the fathers of the human race, soon gave 
place to garments of wool or linen: for the manufacture of 
which latter material Egypt was especially renowned, and 
hence it must have been in common use among the Jews 
during their residence in that country. The hair of the 
camel was sometimes woven into a coarse kind of cloth. 6 

1 Matt. ix. 6. 2 Luke, vii. 37, 38. John, xiii. 23. 

3 Josh. ix. 4. Matt. ix. 17. Ps. cxix. 83. 4 Matt. xxiv. 41. 

5 Gen. iii. 21. e Matt. iii. 4. 


The ordinary dress of the Jews consisted of two gar- 
ments : — the tunic, or coat, which hung down to the knees 
or the ankles, furnished with sleeves, and a girdle to 
confine it to the body ; and an upper garment, which was 
simply a piece of cloth, several yards long, wound round 
the body. A person divested of this upper robe was said, 
in the language of Scripture, to be naked. 1 The nature 
of this dress made it necessary that when a journey was 
to be undertaken, or laborious work engaged in, it should 
be girt up round the loins, so as not to impede the motions 
of the body. 2 The outer fold of the robe formed a lap, or 
apron, in which matters could be carried, and the robe 
itself was frequently used as a covering at night. 3 The 
favourite colours were white, blue, and scarlet or purple ; 
and a species of embroidery was not unknown. 4 By the 
law of Moses, fringes were to be attached to the upper 
garment, to serve as remembrancers of the covenant; 5 in 
later times, those who affected peculiar sanctity enlarged 
their fringes, and added phylacteries, or strips of parch- 
ment inscribed with sentences from the law, which were 
supposed to act as charms against evil spirits. 6 

When engaged in their sacred functions, the priests 
wore linen drawers next the person; a linen tunic, fitting 
closely to the body ; an embroidered girdle ; and a kind of 
bonnet or turban, made of folds of linen twisted round the 
head. In addition to these the high-priest was distin- 
guished by, first, the coat of theephod, a robe of blue wool, 
on the hem of which were seventy-two bells, with artificial 
pomegranates between each couple. The bells gave notice 
to the people of the high-priest's entrance into the holy 
place. Secondly, the ephod itself; a vest of fine linen, 
wrought with gold and purple, consisting of two parts 

1 John, xxi. 7. 2 Exod. xii. 11. 1 Ppt. i. 13. 3 Deut. xxiv. 13. 
4 Exod. xxxv. 35. 5 Num. xv. 38. 6 Matt, xxiii. 5. 


fastened at the shoulders, the hinder part reaching to the 
feet, the fore part to the waist. On each of the shoulder- 
straps was a precious stone, on which were engraven the 
names of the twelve tribes. Thirdly, the breastplate, a 
parallelogram of the same materials as the ephod, on which 
were twelve precious stones, containing the names of the 
twelve tribes ; and the Urim and Thummim — words signi- 
fying " light " and " perfection," which is all that we know 
on this subject. Arrayed in this breastplate, the high- 
priest presented himself to ask counsel of Jehovah, and 
received answers, as some think by a voice from the most 
holy place, or as others, by a superior lustre on certain of 
the letters engraven on the stones. Fourthly, the mitre, 
on the front of which, fastened by a blue lace or riband, 
was a plate of gold, with the words engraven on it, 


The feet were protected by sandals, made of wood or 
leather, bound to the foot by straps. It was customary 
on entering a house to remove these, that the feet might 
be washed ; the operation was usually performed by ser- 
vants. 1 The delivery of a sandal was the formal act by 
which property passed from a vendor to a purchaser. 2 

The head was commonly left bare ; but sometimes a 
turban was worn, from which, in the case of females, a veil 
was suspended. 3 Long hair, both in men and women, was 
esteemed an ornament. The beard was suffered to grow, 
and was held in great veneration. To shave, pull, or 
otherwise maltreat it, was a mortal affront. 4 

Various ornaments are alluded to in Scripture as worn 
by the Jewish females, The signet-ring was common to both 
sexes : peculiar to the women were the nose-jewels, the ear- 
rings, chains round the neck, the perfume-box, the looking- 

1 Matt. iii. 11. John, xiii. 10. 2 Ruth, iv. 7. 

3 1 Cor. xi. 13-1C. 4 2 Sam. x. 4. 


glass (made of polished brass), and rings for the ankles. 1 
Like the Eastern ladies of the present day, those of former 
times tinged their eyelids with the powder of lead ore, 
which was thought to improve the expression of the eye : 
thus, Jezebel is said to have " painted," or rather stained, 
her face, in expectation of Jehu. 2 

Mourners put on sackcloth, or hair cloth; and to 
cover the head with the outer robe, or to rend the garments, 
was the customary expression of deep grief. 3 

§ 3. Marriage and education of children. — The strictness 
of the primitive institution was, under the Jewish law, so 
far relaxed that polygamy was tolerated, though never 
formally sanctioned ; prophecy pointing to a time when the 
bond should be again drawn closer.* Among the patriarchs 
concubinage was common ; the concubine, however, was a 
wife with conjugal rights, though of an inferior order. 
The chief, or primary wife, was mistress of the household, 
and her children inherited the father's property in pre- 
ference to those of the concubine : thus Isaac was heir to 
Abraham's substance, while the children of Hagar and 
Keturah, the patriarch's concubines, were dismissed in his 
lifetime with gifts. 5 

No marriage ceremony appears to have been in use 
among the Jews: it was the practice, however, for the 
parties to be betrothed to each other, sometimes at a very 
early age ; and these espousals were so far binding that a 
woman who, in the interval, proved unfaithful, was counted 
an adulteress. The parents expected from their future 
son-in-law a sum of money, or an equivalent present, which 
was called the purchase-money of the wife. 6 

The nuptials were celebrated with great rejoicings. At 

1 Isa. iii. 16-24. 2 2 Kings, ix. 30. 3 Gen. xxxvii. 29. 

4 Mai. ii. 15. 5 Gen. xxv. 5, 6. 6 Gen. xxxiv. 12. Hos. iii. 2. 


the marriage-feast, which was never omitted, the bride 
appeared crowned with flowers, or a chaplet of gold, and 
attended by her train of virgins ; while the paranymph 1 
and his companions rendered their services to the bride- 
groom. Among the wealthy it was usual for the bridegroom 
to provide suitable apparel for the guests ; 2 and at the close 
of the festival he conducted the bride to his home by night, 
with torches, music, and other demonstrations of joy. 3 

The law of Moses permitted divorce, but, as our Lord 
declares, only in accommodation to the low standard of 
morality of those early times. 4 This permission the Jews 
of a later age abused, allowing divorce for trivial causes ; 
which gave occasion to the Christian rule, that adultery 
alone should be deemed a sufficient cause for dissolving 
the marriage union. (Matt. v. 32.) 

Children, if males, were circumcised on the eighth day 
after their birth, at which time also the name was given. 5 
The birthday of a son was kept as a festival. Various 
privileges belonged to the first-born : he inherited a 
double portion of the estate ; and, in the patriarchal times, 
discharged the functions of priest. Under the law the 
tribe of Levi was substituted for the first-born, who were 
redeemed, at a valuation, from serving in the sacerdotal 
office. 6 Sons remained under the care of the women 
until the fifth year, when they were transferred to the 
father, who took care to have them instructed in the law. 
Parental authority was maintained by severe sanctions, 
but a parent could not proceed to extremities without a 
formal information before the judge.? 

The inheritance was divided equally among the sons, 
with the exception of the first-born, who received a double 

1 John, iii. 29. 2 Matt. xxii. 11. 3 Matt. xxv. 1-12. 
4 Matt. xix. 8. 5 Luke, i. 59. 6 Num. xviii. 15, 16. 

7 Deut. xxi. 18-21. 


portion. The daughters had no portion ; but if there were 
no brothers, or they had all died, the daughters succeeded 
to the family estate. 1 

Adoption was common in the later period of the Jewish 
commonwealth ; it differed, however, from that in use 
among the Greeks and Romans. If a man died without 
children, his surviving brother was bound to marry the 
widow ; and the offspring, if any, of such a marriage, was 
regarded as that of the deceased, and bore his name. 2 
Instances, too, occur of a father's adopting his daughter's 
children, where he had no sons ; 3 and of relations adopting 
their kindred. Thus Mordecai adopted Esther, his niece. 

§ 4. Meals. — Eastern nations use less animal diet than 
the inhabitants of colder climates ; and the food of the 
Jews, especially in early times, seems to have consisted 
chiefly of bread, milk, fruits, honey, cheese, and vegetables. 
At the festivals they indulged in more sumptuous banquets. 
Locusts were a common article of food. 4 As is the case with 
the modern Arabs, the bread was baked as it was wanted, 
and the operation was extremely simple. The flour was 
kneaded, sometimes leavened and sometimes unleavened, 
in a trough, and the dough, placed on the hearth or upon 
the coals, speedily became fit for eating. 

The Jews had two principal meals : one about eleven 
o'clock in the forenoon, and the other, the supper, about 
five in the afternoon. The food was taken with the hand, 5 
whence the custom of washing both before and after meals. 
The ordinary beverage was water, which was sometimes 
mixed with wine ; the common people drunk an acid 
mixture of this kind, which, in our English Bible, is called 
" vinegar." 6 Medicated wine was used to stupefy criminals 
about to be executed. In the Old Testament mention 

1 Num. xxvii.1-8. 2 Deut. xxv. 5 3 1 Chron. ii. 34. 
4 Matt. iii. 4. 5 Ibid. xxvi. 23. 6 Ibid, xxvii. 48. 


occurs of " strong drink," 1 a species of intoxicating liquor, 
made from corn, dates, or other fruits. 

§ 5. Arts. — It was not the intention of the Divine Law- 
giver that the chosen people should distinguish themselves 
in the pursuits of highly civilised or maritime nations. 
The main purposes of the Jewish economy would thus have 
been frustrated. Their knowledge of the arts and their 
commerce, except during the brief period of Solomon's 
glory, were limited; their literature almost exclusively 

To the breeding of cattle considerable attention appears 
to have been given. Oxen were used both for draught 
and tillage; asses and camels for riding; in the East, as 
in Spain, the ass attains a perfection and a value unknown 
to us. Of horses, no mention occurs before the time of 
David; the law of Moses discouraged the use of this 
animal: no doubt lest the Israelites should be tempted, by 
the use of cavalry, to extend their conquests beyond 
Canaan. Goats and sheep formed a main part of the 
property of the wealthy. The operations of agriculture, 
the basis of the national fabric, were substantially the 
same as at present. The plough and the harrow are 
mentioned in Scripture ; 2 and the use of manure seems to 
have been known. 3 For some reason unknown to us, the 
Jews were forbidden by the law to plough with an ox and 
an ass together, or to sow their fields with mingled seed. 4 
Wheat, barley, fitches, and cummin, were the principal 
tillage crops; the olive furnished oil, and the grape wine. 
Threshing was performed with the flail ; but often by oxen, 
who trod out the corn. 5 The grain, separated, by winnow- 
ing, from the chaff, was dried either by the sun, or in a 
furnace ; in which state it was sometimes eaten without 

1 Levit. x. 9. 2 Jer. iv. 3. Isa. xxviii. 24. 3 2 Kings, vi. 25. 
4 Deut. xxii. 10. Lent. xix. 19. 5 Deut. xxv. 4. 



further preparation, 1 but more commonly was ground in 
the handmills before described. 

How far the arts of architecture and painting were cul- 
tivated among the Hebrews it is difficult to determine. 
The skill of Bezaleel and Aholiab cannot be adduced in 
proof, for we are told that they worked under the special 
guidance of God. 2 Solomon was compelled to send to Tyre 
for artificers in wood and brass. Traces of the art of paint- 
ing, but probably of a rude character, appear in the writings 
of Jeremiah and Ezekiel : it is not likely, from the spirit 
of the Mosaic religion, that either this, or the sister art of 
sculpture, would be in much repute. With music the case 
was different. The national poetry was essentially lyrical ; 
the hymns composed for religious worship, in particular, 
were all set to music. On festive occasions, of whatever 
kind, the harp found a place. The Hebrew monarchs 
appear to have maintained a band of musicians at their 
court, 3 and the temple services were conducted by a skilled 
choir. Of the nature, however, of the Hebrew music, and 
of the instruments in use, little is known. The tabret, or 
tambourine; the cymbal; the dulcimer, a wind instrument 
of reed; the trumpet; the harp ; and the psaltery (a stringed 
instrument) ; may be considered as identified : beyond 
these all is conjecture. The case of Saul proves that the 
national temperament was peculiarly susceptible of the 
power of music. By the prophets it was employed to pre- 
pare the mind for the access of the Divine inspiration. 4 
§ 6. Literature.— -The native literature of the Hebrews 
was of a predominantly religious character. Little atten- 
tion appears to have been given to literary pursuits before 
the establishment of the schools of the prophets by 
Samuel ; on which subject the reader is referred to a sub- 

1 Levit. xxiii. 14. 2 Exod. xxxv. 30. 

3 Eccles. ii. 8. 4 2 Kings, iii. 15. 


sequent part of this work. 1 The prophets were commonly 
the chroniclers of the events of their times ; and of this 
description are the only historical books extant in Hebrew, 
viz. those of the Canon. Poetry devoted herself to the 
service of the sanctuary, and the lyric effusions of Moses, 
David, Asaph, and others, far surpass in sublimity, both 
of thought and expression, the most boasted productions 
of Greece and Rome. Moral philosophy took the form of 
sententious reflections upon life and manners, such as we 
possess in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, the 
author of which is said to have composed other treatises, 
now lost, upon natural history. 2 Of metaphysical specula- 
tion there are no traces before the rise of the Alexandrian 
school, a few centuries before the birth of Christ. Where 
astrology was forbidden, 3 astronomy, its offspring, was not 
likely to be cultivated : we read of nothing beyond the 
natural divisions of time, as marked by the sun and the 

§ 7. Commerce. — Our chief source of information upon 
this point is the account of Solomon's commercial system, 
contained in the First Book of Kings. After that bright 
era of national prosperity, the foreign trade of both king- 
doms declined, nntil it was destroyed by the capture of 
Elath on the Red Sea by Tiglath-pileser. On their 
return from the captivity the Jews engaged in traffic, but 
on a small scale : and even practised piracy. The only 
staple commodity which continued to be exported was 
corn, which was sent to Tyre for that purpose : Joppa and 
Ceesarea, in our Lord's time, are mentioned as commercial 
ports. Of the size and form of their ships we have no 
exact information. Without the aid of the compass, 
navigation must have been restricted within narrow limits ; 

1 See Part iii. p. 296. 2 1 Kings, iv. 33. 

3 Deut. xviii. 10. 


how imperfect the art was, even in St. Paul's time, we 
learn from the account of his shipwreck, in Acts, xxvii. 
Commerce was at first carried on by barter ; afterwards 
payments were made by weight, whence the word shekel 
signifies both a weight and a sum of money : coined money 
dates from the time of Judas Maccabseus, to whom Antio- 
chus Sidetes granted the privilege of issuing it in Judsea. 
In our Lord's time the Roman coinage was current among 
the Jews. 

§ 8. Modes of reckoning time. — Like the Romans, the 
Jews had a civil and a natural day : the former, from six 
in the evening to six in the next evening ; the latter, from 
sunrise to sunset. The natural day was divided into twelve 
hours of unequal length, according to the season. 

Before the captivity the night was divided into three 
watches, the first commencing at nine in the evening and 
lasting till twelve ; the second, from twelve to three ; and 
the third, from three to six in the morning : but afterwards 
the Jews adopted the Roman division into four watches, 
the additional one being from six in the evening to nine. 
The third watch, or from twelve to three, was called the 
cock -crowing. 1 They reckoned two evenings, the former 
commencing at three in the afternoon, the latter two 
hours later : the paschal lamb was to be sacrificed 
" between the two evenings." 2 

By the Jews of Juda?a the Hebrew months were dated 
from the actual appearance of the new moon ; and as they 
were only thirty days at longest, it became necessary to 
insert intercalary months at intervals. Astronomical 
cycles afterwards came into use ; at first one of eighty-four 
years, and afterwards that of Meton of nineteen years, 
twelve of which contain twelve months, and seven thirteen: 
this cycle the Jews still use. 

1 Mark, xiii. 35. s Exod. xii. 6, marg. 


The ecclesiastical year began with the month Nisan, or 
Abib, corresponding to part of March and April, because 
at that time the departure from Egypt took place. From 
this month the feasts were computed. The first month of 
the civil year was called Tisri, answering to part of Sep- 
tember and October ; it regulated civil contracts and the 
years of jubilee. It was the custom of the Jews to speak 
of a part of a period as the whole ; hence the scriptural 
statements that after three days Christ should rise, or that 
His body was in the grave three days, whereas the actual 
time was one whole day and parts of two others. 

§ 9. Funeral rites. — From the Egyptians the Jews 
probably borrowed the practice of embalming the bodies of 
the dead ; but whether their modes of performing this 
ceremony resembled those practised in Egypt, as described 
by Herodotus, admits of doubt. Jacob and Joseph, dying 
in Egypt, were embalmed, 1 no doubt, after the national 
fashion ; but we read that Nicodemus and Joseph of 
Arimathea wound the body of Jesus in linen clothes, with 
a large quantity of " myrrh and aloes, as the manner of 
the Jews is to bury : " 2 whence it would appear that the 
Jewish mode of embalming, in ordinary cases, consisted in 
simply swathing the corpse with linen bandages, enclosing 
a quantity of these aromatic drugs. That it was not so 
efficacious as the Egyptian mode may be gathered from 
Martha's observation, John, xi. 39. Of the burning of 
the dead we seldom read. 

The body was generally carried to the grave on an 
open bier, 3 the relations and friends accompanying it. 
Hired mourners, chiefly women, filled the air with plaintive 
lamentations, ar.d occasionally music was added to heighten 
the effect : when Jesus entered the house of Jairus he 
found " the minstrels," as well as " the people, making a 

1 Gen. l. 2, 2G. 2 John, xix. 39, 40. 3 Luke, vii. 12. 


noise" (Matt. ix. 23). The common burial-ground was 
always outside the city ; but persons of rank had family 
sepulchres in their own grounds. Thus the body of our 
Lord was laid in the tomb which Joseph of Arimathea had 
prepared for his own private use. These sepulchres were 
usually hollowed out of the rock, either on the side of a 
perpendicular cliff, or, as seems to have been the case with 
the tomb of Lazarus, 1 underneath the level ground, like 
our vaults. In either case a stone closed the entrance, to 
prevent the attacks of beasts of prey. At a very early 
period we find instances of a species of sepulchral monu- 
ment. Thus, Jacob erected a pillar over the grave of 
Rachel. 2 In later times it was a point of duty with the 
survivors to adorn the tombs of their departed friends in a 
costly manner : the tombs of the prophets were, in our 
Lord's time, objects of superstitious care to the Pharisees, 
who in this way hoped to gain a reputation for sanctity. 
A feast, to which the friends and relations of the deceased 
were invited, closed the funeral ceremonies. 

1 John, xi. 33. a Gen. xxxv. 20. 



I. OLD TESTAMENT.— I. Pentateuch. 


Sect. I. — Sketch of the History of the Jews to the 
Death of Moses. 

The speculations in which ancient philosophy loved to 
indulge respecting the origin of the world, and the early 
history of our race, have heen set at rest and superseded 
by the authentic record of Holy Scripture. From it we 
learn, that neither by an eternal succession of material 
causes, nor by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, did the world 
come into existence; but that " in the beginning, God," the 
personal and self-subsi stent, " created the heavens and the 
earth." In this terrestrial abode, amply, as we read, 
furnished with everything necessary to his wants and 
conducive to his happiness, man was placed, the lord of 
the inferior creation, intellectually and morally, " in the 
image of God." But this happy state of innocence was of 
brief duration. Sin, with its consequences, entered into the 
world ; and here again, by its jiccount of the temptation 


and fall of man, Scripture has furnished the solution of 
two great problems, which painfully engaged the thoughts 
of reflective heathens — the origin of evil, and the existence 
of death. 

Driven from the blissful retreat which the Divine be- 
neficence had assigned as their abode, but not without a 
cheering promise of a future restoration to be effected by 
the Seed of the woman, our first parents soon experienced, 
in the degeneracy of their descendants, the effects of the 
primeval sin. Bloodshed and lust inaugurated a period of 
universal corruption, yet the process of decline appears to 
have been gradual. Two lines of Adam's posterity, marked 
by distinguishing peculiarities, appear on the page of the 
history, and for some time ran side by side without com- 
mingling. The descendants of Cain addicted themselves 
either to arts and manufactures, or to the pursuits of a 
nomadic life ; and impiety and rapine marked their pro- 
gress. Those of Seth appear to have engaged in the more 
peaceful labours of agriculture, and are supposed, on 
account of the superior innocence of their life and their 
maintenance of the worship of the one true God, to be 
denoted in Scripture by the appellation of the " Sons of 
God" (Gen. vi. 2.) Intermarriages, however, gradually 
assimilated the habits of the Sethites and the Cainites, 
and the world became universally corrupt. The fearful 
judgment of the deluge followed, from which Noah and 
his family emerged, under a covenant of natural mercies 
(Gen. viii. 21), and became the progenitors of a second 
race of men. His three sons are supposed to have peopled 
different parts of the ancient world : Shem and his descend- 
ants occupying the plains of Asia ; Ham being the pro- 
genitor of the Canaanites, Philistines, and some of the 
African nations ; while Japheth and his posterity settled 
in Europe. As is usual in an unsettled state of society, 


individuals remarkable for personal prowess and dexterity 
took the lead, and became chieftains of tribes: — anions 
these the name of Nimrod stands particularly prominent. 
He is thought to have been the founder, or the conqueror, 
of the ancient kingdom of Assyria, with its capital, Nineveh ; 
and to have been the prime mover in the impious design 
of erecting in the plain of Shinar a tower, whose height 
should menace heaven, and which should serve a^ a visible 
centre to the various races of the world, at that time 
united by the bond of a common language. The design 
was frustrated by the confusion of tongues, and the division 
into nations which immediately succeeded. 

The time had now come for the first actual steps of 
Divine Providence towards the accomplishment of the 
prophecy delivered in the garden of Eden. Of the early 
history of Abraham we know little : he was of the race 
of Shem, and with his father Terah, the head of a pastoral 
family, dwelt in a district called Ur of the Chaldees, to the 
north-east of Mesopotamia. We are told (Josh. xxiv. 2) 
that idolatry prevailed in Terah's household, and probably 
that early form of it which consists in the worship of the 
heavenly bodies, to the observation of which the inhabit- 
ants of the plains of Chaldasa were, among the nations of 
antiquity, from time immemorial particularly devoted. 
But Abraham seems to have escaped the contagion, and 
whether from tradition, or direct communication from the 
Deity, to have learned, and maintained, the purer worship 
of earlier times. While still in his native country, a 
Divine intimation was conveyed to him that he should 
migrate, with such of his family as were willing to accom- 
pany him, to a region in the west ; and after a temporary 
sojourn in Charran, which lay in his route, he, at length, 
with Lot his nephew, and Sarai his wife, arrived in the 
promised land, and first settled in a rich valley between 


mounts Ebal and Gerizim, where the town of Shechem 
afterwards stood. He proceeded on his journey south- 
wards ; and after a visit to Egypt, whither a famine had 
compelled him to bend his steps, took up his abode, in 
company with Lot, in the northern parts of Judaea. The 
increasing prosperity both of the uncle and the nephew led 
to a separation ; and while Abraham, in obedience to the 
Divine command, journeyed through the principal districts 
of Palestine, Lot chose the rich plain of Jordan, to the 
south-east, which at that time was occupied with flourish- 
ing cities. It was on this occasion that the promise to 
Abraham, in dependence upon which he had quitted the 
land of his nativity, was, under its temporal aspect, re- 
peated, — that his seed, though he was then childless, 
should inherit the land in which he was a sojourner ; 1 while, 
on his leaving his native country, he had been assured that 
in him, as the progenitor of the promised Saviour, " all 
families of the earth should be blessed." 2 In anticipation 
of the blessing, the rite of circumcision, the distinguishing 
sign of the covenant between God and the posterity of 
Abraham, was instituted ; and after a fruitless attempt on 
the part of the patriarch and his wife to hasten prematurely 
the fulfilment of the promise, which seemed to linger, at 
length, to a period of life when all natural hope of offspring 
had vanished, the prophecy took effect, and Isaac was born. 
It now became necessary to mark distinctly in what line 
the covenanted blessing should descend ; and after a pain- 
ful struggle on Abraham's part, whose affection for his eldest 
son is natural and touching, Ishmael was sent forth from 
his father's house to become the progenitor of that singular 
race, whose home, to this day, is the desert, and which has 
never entered into the circle of civilized nations. This was 
not the only trial which the patriarch had to endure. Lot's 
' Gen. Aiii. 14-1G. 2 Ibid. xii. 3. 


worldly choice speedily bore its evil fruit, and a successful 
raid of the neighbouring chieftains upon the city of Sodom, 
his abode, would have consigned him to slavery, had not 
his uncle generously come to his aid, and by force rescued 
him from the 'hands of his enemies. Lot's subsequent 
history deserves little notice. Notwithstanding the warn- 
ing he had received, he returned to Sodom ; was involved, 
as far as regards the loss of all his property, his wife, and 
his relations by marriage, in the destruction of the city ; 
and miserably ended his career with an incestuous connex- 
ion, from which the two tribes of Moab and Ammon, after- 
wards so well known in Jewish history, sprang. 

The isolation of the Abrahamic family from the 
surrounding nations of Canaan, one of the leading pur- 
poses of the Jewish polity, was guarded with jealous 
care by the first patriarchs. The cave of Machpelah was 
purchased by Abraham, as a separate burial-place for his 
descendants; and both for Isaac and Jacob wives were 
sought from the far-distant country in which their kindred 
dwelt. After a life of singular vicissitudes, and a pro- 
tracted absence from Canaan, the latter returned thither, 
the parent of a numerous progeny, and rich in the pastoral 
wealth of the East. From the twelve sons of Israel the 
Jewish people were to spring ; and it became necessary to 
select a temporary place of sojourn, where the patriarchal 
tribe, abandoning the nomadic life to which they had been 
accustomed, might be kept together, and expand into a 

From a period reaching far beyond authentic history, 
Egypt had enjoyed the advantages of political civilization. 
That singular country, the gift of the Nile, as an ancient 
historian expresses it, 1 is the only part of northern Africa 
through which flows a large and navigable stream, which, in 
1 Hevouotus. ii. 


its descent to the sea carries with it immense quantities of 
earthy matter, and by periodically overflowing its banks en- 
riches the surrounding country with its deposit. The industry 
and skill of the husbandman turned to the best advantage 
the extraordinary natural resources of the soil. Through- 
out the whole period of ancient history, Egypt appears as 
the granary of the world. In the wake of agriculture fol- 
lowed commerce. The vicinity of the land of gold and spices 
produced a large caravan trade, and travelling merchants 
periodically traversed the desert, carrying to this common 
emporium the productions of their respective countries. 
(Gen. xxxvii. 25.) The political constitution of Egypt seems, 
in the time of Jacob, to have assumed substantially the 
same form which it retained in the days of Herodotus. It 
was founded on the principle of caste; and different writers 
mention a different number of castes, which, however, may 
be arranged under the three principal divisions of priests, 
warriors, and artisans. At the summit of the social pyramid 
stood the priestly order: to its custody was assigned not 
merely the rites of religion, but the public annals of the 
state. The priests were the astronomers and geometricians, 
the physicians, the natural philosophers, the antiquarians, 
and the lawyers of the country. Ample revenues and high 
dignities rewarded their services. Even when, by the skil- 
ful policy of Joseph, all the land of Egypt became vested in 
Pharaoh, an exemption was made in favour of the priests. 
(Gen. xlvii. 22.) Like the castes of India, those of Egypt 
never intermixed; and the same occupations, from genera- 
tion to generation, descended from father to son. 

At a very early period in the history of Egypt, an 
invasion of a wild Arab tribe took place, of which the 
people of the country ever retained the liveliest and most 
painful recollections. The intruders succeeded in establish- 
ing a dynasty of kings, who by the Egyptians were called 


Hyskos, or Shepherd kings; and from this circumstance 
is supposed to have arisen the contempt and hatred with 
which, as we know from the Book of Genesis, the occupation 
of a shepherd was regarded by them. The country soon 
recovered its independence, and a long line of native 
monarchs — some of them, like Sesostris, remarkable for 
their martial achievements, others for the vast structures 
and public works, the remains of which still excite the 
wonder of the traveller — adorned the national annals. 

The religion of Egypt was idolatry of the most gro- 
tesque and degrading character. Besides the well-known 
heathen divinities which from the banks of the Nile passed 
into Greece, animal worship prevailed ; and the goat, the 
ram, the bull, and the crocodile, received divine honours. 
Here, as elsewhere in pagan lands, licentiousness and 
religion were found in close connexion. With all its 
progress in civilisation, arts, and manufactures, Egypt was 
a bye-word, even among the nations of antiquity, for the 
grovelling character of its superstitions. 

It was this country which Divine Providence had 
assigned as the cradle of the Jewish people: here, for 
upwards of 200 years, they were to be nursed in temporal 
abundance indeed, but in fetters of slavery which left 
indelible impressions on the national mind. Yet their 
first entrance into Egypt seemed to betoken a different 
destiny. The high position of Joseph at the court of 
Pharaoh, and the favour with which, on account of his 
public services, he was regarded by that monarch, procured 
a favourable reception for his aged father's household, who, 
amounting collectively to seventy souls, migrated from 
Canaan, and settled in the district of Goshen, where the 
soil was adapted to pastoral occupations. Before long, 
however, a change took place : " A new king arose which 
knew not Joseph." The stranger race multiplied so rapidly 


as to excite the jealousy of the reigning sovereign, who 
first attempted to check their progress by employing them 
in the toilsome and unhealthy labours of the public works, 
and when this proved ineffectual, by a barbarous project of 
extermination of all the male children. 

But the period of deliverance was at hand. Among 
the children exposed, by the king's command, on the banks 
of the river, one was, by a remarkable interposition of 
Providence, rescued, and placed in the most advantageous 
position for acquiring the knowledge and experience 
necessary for the high destiny that awaited him. Brought 
up amidst the splendours of Pharaoh's court, and instructed 
in every branch of Egyptian learning, and with the fairest 
prospects before him, Moses, had he followed the dictates 
of worldly prudence, would have renounced all connexion 
with the despised and oppressed people from which he 
sprang ; but, probably from some Divine communication, 
he seems to have early conceived the idea of delivering his 
countrymen from bondage, and at length, by an act of open 
violence in behalf of his brethren, placed an impassable 
barrier between himself and his Egyptian connexions. 
Compelled to fly the country, he for forty years pursued 
the humble occupation of a shepherd in the plains of 
Midian, when, at the advanced age of eighty, he was 
summoned by the express call of Jehovah, the Unchange- 
able, to conduct the chosen people from the house of 
bondage. The reality of the miraculous plagues of 
Egypt has been questioned ; but that a member of the 
despised race, a stranger, without physical force at his 
command, or even the cordial co-operation of those whom 
he came to deliver ; without the natural endowments of 
eloquence, or the acquired one of wealth ; should have 
succeeded in triumphantly leading forth the Helot people, 
under the eye of a powerful and enraged monarch, and 


amidst a hostile population, whom the strongest motives 
of interest must have led strongly to oppose the migration 
— this would have been, a far more wonderful miracle than 
any which the Book of Exodus records. On the commonest 
principles of reasoning we must acquiesce in the lesser of 
two difficulties, and believe that nothing but the exhibition 
of Divine credentials, which at length assumed the most 
awful character, could have overcome the obstinacy of the 
king and the reluctance of his people. Successively, by 
the miraculous powers placed at Moses' disposal, the 
magicians and the priests of Egypt were confounded and 
humiliated ; and at length, on that " night to be much 
remembered," when a wail of anguish arose from every 
Egyptian family, for there was not one in which Death 
had not stricken his victim, a message arrived to the Jews 
assembled in Goshen, ordering them to evacuate the 
country with all their substance, and with all possible 
speed. In anticipation of this command they had cele- 
brated the great feast, which was at once a memorial and 
a type, with " shoes on their feet, and their staff in their 
hand;" and on the morrow, the terror-stricken inhabitants 
themselves accelerating their departure, they set forth 
under the guidance of Moses, 600,000 males in number, 
which, according to the ordinary calculation, would give a 
total of about 3,000,000 souls. 

By their long residence in Egypt, and social degradation, 
the Israelites had become deeply tinged with idolatrous 
tendencies and sensual indifference to higher interests than 
those of the body. To impress upon them the more 
deeply the lesson which they had just received, that the 
Jehovah who, by His servant, had effected their deliverance, 
was not one of the " gods many of heathenism," but the 
Almighty Creator ; to implant the rudiment of faith in an 
unseen Power; and, on the lower stage of temporal benefits, 


to elicit the feelings of love and gratitude towards a Divine 
Benefactor ; it was needful that, instead of being at once 
put in possession of Canaan, they should traverse the 
barren desert which forms the peninsula of Arabia Petraea, 
where the utter dearth of human resources might enhance 
the miraculous interferences in their behalf, and the 
necessity of perpetual dependence upon their heavenly 
King prepare them to submit to the polity, somewhat 
onerous, under which they were to be placed. But first 
there took place a signal miracle, by which the pursuing 
host of the Egyptians, with their king, who had soon 
repented of his facility in permitting so useful a body of 
slaves to escape, was overwhelmed in the billows of a creek 
of the Red Sea, while the Israelites passed in safety 
between the walls of water on either side, — a miracle 
which, by a figurative baptism, 1 wiped out the traces of 
their ancient slavery, and at once freed them from fear of 
further pursuit, and consecrated them to the service of 
their Almighty Deliverer. Resuming their march in 
triumph, they struck into the sandy plains which border 
the eastern side of the sea, and after various journeyings 
and encampments, during which their unbelief frequently 
broke out into rebellious murmurings, and as frequently 
was rebuked by providential supplies in the hour of 
necessity — "bread from heaven," and water from the rock 
— they approached the rugged precipices of the mountain 
range in which the peninsula terminates, variously called, 
from different portions of it, Horeb and Sinai, where, 
through the mediation of Moses, they were to receive the 
law, civil, ceremonial, and moral, which was to be the 
charter of their national existence. Amidst thunders and 
lightnings, which struck terror into the souls of the sur- 
rounding crowd, Moses ascends the mount ; remains there 
1 1 Cor. x. 2. 


forty days, receiving the Divine communications ; descends 
only to find the Israelites relapsing into their idolatrous 
propensities ; breaks, in indignation, the two tables of stone 
on which the moral law had been inscribed ; sojourns another 
forty days on Sinai ; and at length, with fresh tables of 
stone, and a complete code of laws, rejoins the people, who 
were anxiously expecting his appearance. 

In the following section a description of the Jewish 
polity, civil and religious, will be given ; at present we 
pursue this sketch of early Jewish history to the time 
when the nation stood upon the borders of the promised 
land. More than eleven months had elapsed since the 
departure from Egypt, when the encampment at Horeb 
broke up, and the Israelites, who numbered upwards of 
600,000 fighting men, proceeded in a north-easterly 
direction, along the coast, towards Canaan. The order of 
the march was fixed by Divine appointment : Judah took 
the lead, and Dan brought up the rear, while the Tabernacle, 
with the priests and Levites, occupied the centre. Moses 
secured the services of his brother-in-law, Hobab, as 
a guide through the difficult country about to be traversed; 
and after several adventures at the stations of Taberah, 
Kibroth-Hattaavah, and Hazeroth, in which the temporal 
sanctions of the newly-given law were executed with a 
severity before unknown, Kadesh-Barnea, a spot on the 
southern border of Palestine, was reached. Here, before 
advancing further, Moses deemed it advisable to send 
out a reconnoitring party, who might report upon 
the character of the country and its inhabitants ; and 
twelve men, one from each tribe, were despatched on this 
errand. The visible proofs which they exhibited of the 
fertility of the land, were counterbalanced by the formid- 
able picture which ten of the twelve drew of its inhabi- 
tants, their valour, resources, and gigantic stature ; and, in 



spite of the remonstrances of Caleb and Joshua, the 
people, forgetful of the Divine arm which had already carried 
them through so many dangers, with one accord refused 
to advance. A suitable punishment followed : since they 
would not, they should not, pass the frontier ; they should 
retrace their steps to the barren region they had left, and 
wander in the wilderness until the whole of that genera- 
tion, from twenty years old and upwards, with the excep- 
tion of the two faithful spies, should have been gathered 
to their fathers. 

Scripture contains but scanty notices of this long 
period of penal wandering : the people, apparently, traversed 
to and fro the extensive table-land in the middle of the 
Sinaitic peninsula, called the wilderness of Paran, halting 
where they found pasture and water for their cattle. 
Several interesting incidents, however, are recorded. It 
might be expected that a rude people, tasting for the first 
time the sweets of liberty, would not submit, without a 
struggle, to the authority of Moses and the possession of 
exclusive privileges by the priestly family of Aaron : the 
Lord's people were all holy, why should not all participate 
in the civil government, and in the priesthood? The 
smouldering embers at length burst into a flame ; leaders 
were found to head the malcontents ; and open menaces 
were addressed to Moses and Aaron. The rising of 
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, was, in reality, an act of 
rebellion against the Divine King of Israel Himself; and 
an example was needed to decide the question, once for all, 
in whose hands the supreme authority was to be considered 
as lodged. The mutineers perished miserably, some 
swallowed up in a chasm of the earth which opened 
beneath their feet, and others struck by fire from heaven ; 
yet so extensively had the contagion spread that the 
people took up the cause of the deceased leaders, and the 


spirit of insubordination was only checked by a plague, 
which carried off upwards of 14,000 victims. The miracu- 
lous budding of Aaron's rod, among the twelve which were 
laid up in the Tabernacle, completed the visible manifesta- 
tion of the Divine will in this matter. 

At length, thirty-eight years after the former visit to 
Kadesh-Barnea, the Israelites again appeared at that 
place, and prepared to invade the southern district of 
Judaea. It was not permitted either to Moses or Aaron to 
take part personally in the subjugation of the Canaanitish 
nations — an act of impatience on the part of these leaders 
at Meribah was visited with this penalty ; and soon after- 
wards Aaron died, and was buried at Mount Hor, not far 
from the ancient Petra. It was now necessary to decide 
upon the line of march, and though the route from Kadesh- 
Barnea to the southern frontier of Judaea was the direct 
one, so many obstacles presented themselves to an entrance 
at this point, that it was resolved to make a circuit round 
the lower extremity of the Dead Sea, and then passing 
northwards on the eastern side of the Jordan, to cross the 
river, and attack the central region of the country. This 
design was, in the first instance, frustrated by the refusal 
of the Edomites to grant a passage through the moun- 
tainous district of Mount Seir, which lay in the way ; but 
the Israelites advancing southward to the Gulf of Akaba, 
the eastern arm of the Red Sea, turned the corner of the 
Edomite mountains, and entered, without opposition, the 
plains of Moab. About this time occurred the incident of 
the plague of fiery serpents, which gave occasion to one of 
the most remarkable types of Christ, in the brazen 
serpent which Moses was commanded to erect, and which 
was the means of recovery to as many as in f ith looked 
towards it. The invaders, after defeating in two decisive 
battles the kings of the Amorites and of Bashan, who had 


endeavoured to check their progress, were now masters of 
the whole eastern bank of Jordan, and might have pro- 
ceeded to the passage of the river, had they not been 
diverted by an insidious project of the Midianites, who, 
despairing of successful resistance in the open field, at the 
suggestion of their prophet Balaam craftily celebrated the 
impure and idolatrous rites of their national festival in the 
immediate vicinity of the Israelitish camp. The snare 
was successful ; the people joined in the idol-worship ; and 
before the crime was expiated, 24,000 of them had fallen 
by pestilence. The Midianites, however, did not escape 
unscathed : a chosen band of warriors, consisting of 1000 
men from every tribe, made a sudden descent upon them, 
slew their kings, destroyed their cities, and cut off the 
whole male population. After this great blow no enemy 
remained in these regions ; and a portion of the Israelites, 
the tribes of Reuben and Gad, whose pursuits were chiefly 
pastoral, began to cast a wistful eye upon the rich plains 
of Bashan and Gilead. They requested that they might 
be permitted to settle on that side of Jordan ; and Moses, 
after binding them by a solemn compact to assist their 
brethren in the occupation of the rest of Canaan, portioned 
out the conquered territory between these two tribes and 
half the tribe of Manasseh. 

And now the great lawgiver's mission was accomplished. 
Another captain was to finish the work which had been 
begun. Assembling, therefore, the people for the last 
time, Moses recapitulated the law, in its several branches, 
and, passing rapidly through the eventful history in which 
he had played so conspicuous a part, inculcated upon them, 
with the deepest earnestness, the lessons to be thence 
derived. The ratification of the covenant, which he could 
not himself witness, was to be performed, when the 
promised land should be entered, under circumstances the 


most solemn and striking. On two hills, separated by a 
narrow valley, all Israel was to be assembled, six tribes on 
one, and six on the other. From Mount Ebal a cnrse 
against transgressors, from Mount Gerizim a blessing upon 
the obedient, was to be promulgated, and each division of 
the people was to express an audible assent. To the pro- 
phetic eye of Moses himself, the result of the great experi- 
ment about to be tried was not doubtful. In language, 
the sublimity of which no merely human composition has 
ever equalled, and with an accuracy as if he had been 
the historian of the events, he describes the fearful destiny 
which awaited the chosen people, and which centuries of 
suffering have not yet exhausted. And now one only wish 
remained. If he might not enter the sacred borders, a 
distant view of them might be permitted. Accordingly, 
ascending the highest point of Mount Nebo, whence a 
wide extent of rich country, diversified by mountain- 
ranges, and intersected from north to south by the silver 
thread of the Jordan, was visible, Moses feasted his eyes 
upon the prospect, and then closed them in death. He 
was buried in the neighbourhood ; but the particular spot 
was concealed, doubtless lest the Israelites should be 
tempted to make it a shrine of idolatrous worship. 

Sect. II. — The Mosaic Law. 

The polity which in the wilderness of Sinai the Jews 
received from the hand of Moses, may be considered under 
the twofold general division of civil and religious, though, 
from its peculiar nature, it is difficult to draw an exact line 
of demarcation. The civil code contains the laws which 
regulate the national constitution, the rights of individuals, 
and the intercourse of the nation with other nations ; the 
religious, those which appertain to the worship of Jehovah. 

§ 1. Civil polity. — The fundamental peculiarity of the 


civil constitution of the Hebrews is, that it was a pure 
theocracy, the only instance of such a polity which the 
history of the world presents. When God took the people 
into covenant with Himself, He became their God, not 
only in a religious but in a national sense ; He became not 
only the object of their worship, but their king. The same 
lawgiver framed both the civil and religious code of the 
nation; the same volume of inspiration which instructed 
the Jew in his duty towards his Maker, contained also the 
charter of his national privileges. Moreover, Jehovah not 
only delivered to the nation the law by which it was to be 
governed, but charged Himself with the administration of 
that law ; executing its sanctions of reward and of punish- 
ment by an immediate exercise of Almighty power. The 
religion, therefore, of the pious Jew was not only a 
religious but a national sentiment ; it was loyalty as well 
as religion. To worship other gods besides Jehovah was 
not only a sin but a crime — the crime of treason, and, as 
such, punishable with death, 'The ideas expressed by the 
terms sin and crime, between which human legislators 
know so well how to distinguish, were, under the Jewish 
law, perfectly interchangeable. 

If the question be put, why this peculiar polity was 
adopted, we have but to remember the* ends which Divine 
Providence had in view in the selection of the Hebrew 
nation. The first and principal was, to preserve the 
doctrines of the unity, spirituality, and personality of the 
Deity, amidst the universal tendency of the world, either, 
on the part of philosophers, to speculative pantheism, or, 
on the part of the people, to polytheism with its attendant 
evils, moral and physical. The visible outbreaks of idolatry, 
at least, must be repressed, and an external barrier erected 
against the encroachments of heathen pollution, behind the 
shelter of which the blossoms of true religion might 


flourish and expand. But such a barrier could only be 
supplied by the sovereign power of a nation, as dis- 
tinguished from inferior forms of social union, and of a 
nation founded upon the theocratical principle. Idolatry, 
in itself beyond the cognizance of human laws, must be 
made punishable with temporal penalties: that is, God 
must be the supreme magistrate as well as the object of 
worship, and to worship other gods besides Him must be a 
crime against the fundamental law of the state, and not 
merely a sin; otherwise the rights of conscience would 
have been violated, and a precedent afforded to Christian 
states to extirpate by force what they conceive to be 
religious error. Another main object was, to preserve and 
transmit those divine oracles of Holy Writ, which, extend- 
ing from the fall to the coming of Christ, unfolded to the 
eye of faith, with continually increasing distinctness, the 
glorious prospects which God had in store for His people. 
Now it is obvious, that in no way so effectually could this 
be secured as by incorporating the successive revelations 
in the public monuments of a state. Had they been 
scattered communications, given one here and another 
there, they would speedily have been lost or corrupted; 
confined to a particular nation, and enshrined in a political 
framework, they were kept together, and being combined, 
furnished mutual illustration. In the volume of the law, 
civil and ceremonial, no inconsiderable portion of these 
prophetic intimations is imbedded, and, under the form of 
types, cannot be separated from it; hence the national 
pride of the Jews became interested in maintaining them 
intact : with those in the Pentateuch, at least, they could 
not tamper, without mutilating the charter of their national 

Eesulting from the theocratical constitution, and a 
special feature of it, is the incorporation of the moral law, 


enjoining the love of God, and forbidding sins of the 
heart, in the national code. In ordinary legislation the 
insertion of the moral law is obviously out of place, and 
is never attempted; but Jehovah, in becoming the chief 
magistrate of the Jewish people, could not cease to be 
what He is, — the creator, the discerner of hearts, demand- 
ing the homage and service of His reasonable creatures, 
and requiring truth in the inward parts. And so the 
moral law, the great instrument of producing conviction 
of sin, and so preparing the way for the Saviour, naturally 
took its place among the enactments of the Jewish 

It was only in accordance with these purposes that no 
projects of foreign conquests, of commercial enterprise, of 
national aggrandizement, seem to be entertained by the 
Jewish lawgiver : on the contrary, isolation is his declared 
aim ; the people were to dwell alone, neither marrying with 
the surrounding nations, nor incorporating foreign customs 
with their own. Many of the laws were such as to prevent 
any considerable expansion of the Hebrew polity beyond 
the confines of Palestine ; as for example, the rite of cir- 
cumcision, the command to celebrate the three great feasts 
at Jerusalem, and the ordinances of the Sabbatical year 
and of the year of Jubilee. To compensate for any disad- 
vantages that might be apprehended from these regula- 
tions, temporal blessings, the plenty of the barn and the 
store, were promised as the reward of obedience ; and this 
not merely to individuals, but to the nation as such. 
Another peculiarity this of the theocracy, for human legis- 
lation deals only with individuals ; national visitations 
obviously require, and imply, a power superior to the 
nation. But an essential feature of the theocracy consisted 
in that extraordinary providence by which, and by which 
alone, such sanctions as these could be carried into effect 


Of the Mosaic law the expressed sanctions were exclu- 
sively temporal ; neither the doctrine nor the rewards of 
eternal life are in that law explicitly promulgated. This 
circumstance, which has been made use of to throw doubts 
upon the Divine origin of the Mosaic institutes, is only 
what might have been expected, what alone would have been 
suitable, in such an economy. If a visible theocracy was 
to be established, temporal sanctions, the proper sanctions 
of civil legislation, must be adopted ; and in the case of 
nations, which as such have no existence beyond this life, 
none but temporal could be admitted. To have inserted 
in the public code of the state eternal sanctions would have 
been virtually to dissolve it as an earthly polity, and reduce 
it to a collection of individuals, or at best a church, in the 
Christian sense of the word — that is, a purely religious so- 
ciety, which, as such, would have been unable to exercise the 
stringent powers necessary to repress the visible excesses of 
idolatry and superstition. Nor must the absence of explicit 
eternal sanctions in the law be supposed to imply that the 
individual transgressor had nothing to fear beyond this life. 
Promises and threatenings of a general character are inter- 
spersed throughout, which might well suggest hopes and 
fears of future retribution. " The law," it has been 
observed, " in its sanction, is only positive, that God will 
do so much ; not exclusive, that He will do no more ! " * 

From this general view of the structure of the Mosaic 
polity we proceed to some of its particular provisions. 
Since the Hebrews had no independent right to the 
country which they had conquered, but held it merely as a 
fief from the supreme Sovereign, they were not permitted 
to acquire any permanent property in it. The tenure of the 
nation, as such, depended upon obedience to the law ; and 
no private alienation of property for a period longer than 
1 Davison on Prophecy, p. 131. 


fifty years could take place. In the year of Jubilee, as it 
was called, all estates reverted to their original owners, 
all burdens ceased, and matters stood as they did at the 
original partition. By this regulation, excessive wealth 
and excessive poverty were equally obviated ; no large 
accumulations of property could centre in one family; 
and the greatest amount of general temporal prosperity 
was secured. A kindred appointment was that of the 
Sabbatical year. Every seventh year the land was to lie 
fallow, debts were not to be collected, and Israelites in 
bondage were to be released. To provide against the 
danger of famine, the harvest of the sixth year was 
to be preternaturally abundant. 

The twelve tribes formed a federal republic, but the 
sovereign legislative authority resided in Jehovah. All 
the officers of the state, civil and religious, were but His 
vicegerents. Hence we read nothing, until later times, 
when the theocracy began to wane, of any permanent 
national senate or council. To interpret, not to add to the 
law, was the function of the Levites; and the executive 
was entrusted to each component part of the body politic, 
and afterwards to the king, as the special representative 
of Jehovah. The primitive patriarchal constitution was 
permitted to remain, as far as was consistent with the 
expansion of a family into a nation. Each tribe had its 
heads of families, its judges, its scribes, and its prince or 
chieftain. These formed the provincial council ; and when, 
on extraordinary occasions, a national assembly was con- 
vened, it must have consisted of delegates from the 
provincial ones: but this latter seems to have been a 
thing of rare occurrence. It is obvious that a state, com- 
posed of materials so loosely connected, must have been in 
perpetual danger of falling in pieces, had it not been for 
the admirable regulation that, three times in the year, the 


males from every part of the kingdom should repair to 
Jerusalem, to celebrate the great feasts of Passover, Pen- 
tecost, and Tabernacles, commemorative of signal events 
in the history of the nation. By this means, the feeling 
of union among the separate tribes, and of their common 
relation to the central shrine of the religion, was effectually 

It is one of the most remarkable features of the Hebrew 
polity, and, on the supposition of its human origin, in- 
explicable, that in it the baneful principle of caste finds 
no place. Emerging from Egypt, where society was 
throughout constructed on this principle, it would have 
been natural for the Israelites to adopt it ; but the very 
opposite is the character of the Mosaic legislation, which 
establishes among all classes of the community perfect 
civil and religious equality. It is true that one tribe, that 
of Levi, was set apart for the service of the Tabernacle, and 
from it one family, that of Aaron, for sacerdotal functions 
— the preparatory and symbolical nature of Judaism 
required the appointment of a human priesthood. But 
the sacerdotal tribe was not the depositary of any system 
of esoteric doctrine, the knowledge of which was to be 
withheld from the people ; nor was the distinction between 
the priests and the rest of the community absolute, but 
relative : for all Israel was a kingdom of priests ; all had 
access to the same sources of information, and upon all the 
same law was binding. The temporal provision for the 
ministers of religion was liberal, but not excessive ; nor 
was it left to the voluntary zeal of the people. Jehovah, 
as lord of the soil, claimed a tenth of all the produce ; 
and this, with forty-eight cities, and a small tract of land 
attached to each, formed the possessions of the Levites. 
The priests received, in addition, a portion of the sacrifices, 
the redemption of the first-born, and the first-fruits. 


Exempt from the labours of agriculture, and scattered over 
the country, the Levites, though not strictly speaking 
religious teachers, would naturally exercise the functions 
of a learned class ; they would be the conservators and 
expositors of the law, and the annalists of the community. 
The nation was thus preserved from the inroads of gross 
ignorance, though it was not the design of Moses to 
promote the formation of a secular national literature. 

The penal laws of the Pentateuch present a mixture of 
severity and leniency. As might be expected, idolatry, 
the breach of the national compact, was to be punished 
•with unrelenting rigour. An individual convicted of it 
was to be put to death by stoning, and a city, under the 
same circumstances, was to be razed to the ground, and 
all the inhabitants put to the sword : by a wise enactment, 
to prevent ungrounded accusations from interested motives, 
the spoil was to be entirely consumed. Under idolatry 
was comprised, not merely image-worship, but the asso- 
ciating of other gods with Jehovah, whether the host of 
heaven or the impure deities of the Canaanitish nations. 
All approximation to the religious usages of these nations 
— such as the horrible practice of human sacrifices, or the 
arts of the necromancer and the wizard — were forbidden, 
under penalties equally severe ; and in order to raise an 
effectual barrier against the admixture of heathen rites, 
everything connected with Divine worship — the place, the 
officiating ministers, the animals to be offered, and the 
ceremonies to be observed — were strictly defined by law. 

In the existing state of society, it would not have been 
wise absolutely to prohibit polygamy or concubinage ; it 
was therefore permitted : but, since each wife was to have 
her full share of conjugal rights, in practice the number 
must have been limited. The chastity of females, whether 
married or betrothed, was guarded by fearful sanctions. 


If convicted of adultery, both parties were to be stoned ; 
and the same penalty awaited incontinence on the part of 
the female before marriage. Where suspicion existed, 
but conviction was difficult, the theocracy interfered 
directly. The woman was, in the most solemn manner, 
to imprecate upon herself the vengeance of the Almighty 
if she should be guilty, and the curse was instantly to take 
effect in the infliction of a horrid disease. To prevent 
incestuous connexion, however remote, the degrees of 
relationship in which marriage was forbidden were defined 
with the utmost exactness. 

The sanctity of life was jealously protected. The law 
demanded blood for blood. But there was a merciful 
provision for cases of accidental homicide, in which the 
passions of private revenge were likely to make no dis- 
tinction. Six cities were appointed, three on each side of 
Jordan, in which the manslayer might take refuge until 
the case was investigated. If it were proved that he had 
acted of malice prepense, he was delivered up to the goel, 
or avenger of blood, who was commonly the nearest relation 
of the deceased ; if it turned out to be a case of accidental 
homicide, the extreme penalty was remitted, but he was 
compelled, *at his peril, to reside for a period, measured by 
the life of the existing high-priest, in the sanctuary which 
he had chosen. From whatever cause the circumstance 
may have arisen, the crime of theft was treated with 
comparative leniency. The thief was to restore two or 
more fold, according to circumstances, and if he had no 
property, he might be sold to make restitution. 

The laws relating to war and slavery were as mild as 
the spirit of the age permitted. The Canaanites, indeed, 
were to be exterminated without mercy, but in other cases 
war was to be proclaimed in form, and conditions of peace 
offered ; if they were accepted, no blood was to be shed, 


but the city made tributary. If conquered after resistance, 
the males were to be put to death ; the women, children, 
and cattle, spared. No wanton ravages of the country 
were permitted. The captive females became slaves 
indeed, but their condition was mitigated by humane 
provisions. They shared in the rest of the Sabbath, and 
partook of the banquets at the three great festivals. A 
month was allowed for decent sorrow, before a slave was 
taken to the bed of the conqueror ; and if she was after- 
wards dismissed, she received her liberty in recompense. 
Among the Hebrews themselves, slavery assumed a much 
milder form. A Jew might either sell himself, or be sold, 
for his debts, but in no case for longer than seven years ; 
if, at the expiration of that period, he wished to continue 
a slave, a public declaration to that effect must be made 
before the magistrate, and even then the year of Jubilee 
set him free. At any time, an Israelite sold to a stranger 
could be redeemed by the payment of a sum of money 
equivalent to the value of his remaining period of service. 
Harsh treatment was discouraged. Mutilation procured 
freedom ; and if death ensued within two days, the master 
was amenable to civil penalties. 

Several of the minor laws remain to be noticed. The 
power of life and death, which some ancient states com- 
mitted to parents over their children, was restrained by 
Moses within reasonable limits, while the parental autho- 
rity was upheld in salutary rigour. To strike or curse a 
parent was a capital offence. In extreme cases the in- 
corrigible son might be denounced to the elders of the 
city, and if convicted, suffer death; but this severe law 
was guarded by the necessary concurrence of both parents 
in the accusation, and the enforcement of it might safely 
be trusted to natural affection. In the states of the 
ancient world, nothing so frequently produced political 


convulsions as the almost unlimited rate of usury per- 
mitted bylaw; Moses encountered the evil at its source, 
by absolutely prohibiting interest on money lent to an 
Israelite : only in the case of foreigners might this kind of 
profit be derived. The sanitary laws of the Pentateuch 
are remarkable, and as they all had a symbolical meaning, 
can only be understood by bearing in mind the religious 
ends of the Jewish polity. They had also, however, social 
benefits in view. In warm climates cleanliness is indis- 
pensable to health; and the frequent ablutions prescribed 
by the law must have tended to promote longevity. 
With the same view the diet of the people received the 
lawgiver's attention, and both the flesh of those animals 
which, like that of the swine, was likely to produce 
cutaneous disorders, and the use of blood as an article of 
food, were prohibited. 

As long as the federal republic lasted, no national 
revenue, save for the maintenance of religion, was needed. 
The land was held by military tenure ; and each Israelite 
was bound, when duly summoned, to appear in arms against 
the enemies of his country. The financial enactments of 
the law are therefore extremely simple. Agricultural 
produce was made subject to the payment of two tenths ; 
one of which was appropriated to the tribe of Levi, instead 
of a share in the land, and the other, called the tithe of 
feasts, furnished every year a public entertainment to all 
ranks and classes of the poorer inhabitants. The service 
of the Tabernacle was supported by a portion of the spoils 
taken in war ; by the first-fruits, which, though voluntary 
in amount, it was incumbent upon each Israelite to 
present; and by the first-born of men and animals, the 
former of which were always, and the latter in most cases 
might be, redeemed at a fixed valuation of money. From 
these various sources, from a tenth of the Levitical tithes, 


and from a large proportion of the animals offered in 
sacrifice, the priests were maintained, if not in excessive 
affluence, yet with a liberality befitting the important 
functions which they discharged in the republic. 

On the whole, the spirit of the Mosaic law was mild 
and beneficent. . The poor were declared to be the objects 
of Jehovah's special care, and oppression was denounced as 
a crime. The field was not to be gone over twice ; the 
gleanings of the harvest were the property of the widow 
and the fatherless ; and the poor man's garment, if taken as 
a pledge, must be restored before night. Nor was any 
sanction given to that narrow jealousy of strangers which, 
in later times, became a prominent feature of the national 
character. Foreigners, if not Canaanites, might settle in 
the land, and, as Lug as they conformed to the fundamental 
law of the state, were to be treated with humanity, and 
admitted to a share in the privileges of the theocracy. 

2. Religious polity. — Before entering into details on 
this subject, we propose to make some general observations 
on the nature and ends of the Levitical ritual. The first 
thing that strikes us is its exceedingly complicated and 
minute character. A greater contrast cannot be imagined 
than that which it presents to the New Testament, in 
which the regulations respecting the ceremonies of religion 
are few, and couched in the most general terms. The 
Mosaic law, on the contrary, leaves nothing to the discre- 
tion of the worshipper. If a tabernacle is to be erected, it 
must be of a certain size, of certain materials, of certain fur- 
niture; if there must be priests to minister in it, their tribe 
and family, their ritual of consecration, their very garments, 
must all be accurately prescribed; if the worshipper would 
offer sacrifice, a number of minute ceremonies must be 
observed. Even on the diseases incident to the climate, 
the natural infirmities of the body, and the last great 


change which in this life that body undergoes, a structure 
of legal prescriptions is raised which must have required 
for their fulfilment no small measure of time and attention. 
" Touch not, taste not, handle not;" this was the spirit of 
the Mosaic religion, and by reason of the theocratical 
form of government, all the regulations of the law, political 
and domestic, as well as those appertaining to the worship 
of God, partook of a religious character ; so that it is not 
too much to say that the religion of the Jew hemmed 
him in on every side, and by its incessant and importunate 
demands placed him under a yoke of bondage, which he 
confessed it difficult to bear. 1 

This peculiarity of the Jewish religion, which has 
furnished matter of scoffing to the unbeliever, is capable of 
an explanation perfectly satisfactory. "We have only to 
recollect the terms in which St. Paul speaks of the law, 
" as a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ," 2 or as containing 
the " mere elements " of piety ; and of the Jewish people, 
as being, especially when the law was given, " children, in 
bondage under these carnal elements ;" 3 to perceive that 
no other system would have been suitable. The theocracy, 
in fact, in this point of view, was an educational institution, 
a school of discipline, working from without inwards, just 
as in the case of children we fence them in with rules 
and restraints, which are gradually laid aside as the pupil 
advances in moral and intellectual discernment. At the 
period of their history in question, it must be remembered 
that the Israelites were a people of extremely rude religious 
conceptions. Their notions of the Divine nature and 
attributes had, during their residence in Egypt, become, 
to the last degree, childish and corrupt ; and so deeply had 
the taint of idolatry affected their minds that it required 
centuries of discipline, and the temporary dissolution of the 
1 Acts, xv. 10. 2 Gal. iii. 24. 3 Ibid. iv. 3. 



whole polity, to purge it out. Moreover, in the measure 
of revelation vouchsafed at the time of the promulgation 
of the law the materials of a more spiritual economy did 
not exist. The gracious designs of God for the redemption 
of our race, lay imbedded and concealed in the obscure 
intimation that the seed of the woman should bruise the 
serpent's head, and in the promises to Abraham. Nor 
was this defect perfectly remedied throughout the whole 
course of the dispensation. To the last the Jew walked 
in comparative darkness ; and though of the old dispen- 
sation, none had arisen greater than John the Baptist, he 
that is least in the kingdom of heaven — the Gospel dis- 
pensation — is in point of knowledge greater than he. 1 

A mode of training, then, suitable to the low capacities 
of the subject, must be adopted. The less the power of 
self-direction, of being " a law to himself," supposed to be 
present, the more must the pupil be confined by external 
enactments, and as little as possible left to his own dis- 
cretion. The appointments, under such circumstances, 
will naturally wear an arbitrary and artificial aspect ; the 
reason of them will not be apparent, and the less the 
import is understood the more strictly must the letter be 
observed. Material and immediate rewards and punish- 
ments will be the natural sanctions of such a system; 
those which are of a spiritual nature have little or no 
effect on children in the early stages, at least, of education. 
In all these respects the Mosaic religion is such as we 
should have expected. External aids, that is, ceremonies 
embodying just and true ideas, were multiplied to com- 
pensate for the lack of spiritual power and spiritual 
discernment within. Sensible temporal benefits engaged 
the affections of the Israelite towards his heavenly King. 
These outward appliances gradually fell off, and were 
1 Matt. xi. 11. 


superseded by the advancing clearness of revelation ; but 
in the early stages of that dispensation, they were indis- 
pensable, not merely as raising a fence against heathenism, 
but as disciplining the Jewish mind, in its then immaturity, 
into the dispositions and ideas, which were afterwards to be 
realized, in spirit and in truth, in Christianity. 

In the next place, the Mosaic system was a symbolical 
one, that is, it taught by visible representations, its teach- 
ing was addressed to the eye rather than the ear. It is a 
low view to take of this economy to suppose that the Jew 
was condemned to a mere mechanical performance of a 
dumb ceremonial, which conveyed no instruction to him, 
and which served only for typical purposes. We cannot 
doubt that every part of the Levitical ritual was to the 
serious and devout inquirer instinct with its own lessons. 
The ideas of man's sinfulness, of God's holiness, of pro- 
pitiation through the shedding of blood, of the necessity of 
purification, pressed themselves, wherever he looked, upon 
his attention. But these lessons came to him, not as they 
do to us, by the Word of God, but by a scenic representa- 
tion, a system of symbolism, in which they were acted, and 
by being acted, taught. This was quite in harmony with 
the whole spirit of the economy. The same immaturity 
of religion which rendered the law necessary as an external 
discipline, rendered this mode of instruction the only one 
suitable; we teach children by pictures, men by words. 
Hence there was no stated verbal ministry attached to the 
Jewish temple services, as to ours; nor, indeed, could there 
have been, for the great truths, to be afterwards brought 
to light, were then under a veil ; there was no completed 
redemption to announce. But the ideas which the facts 
of the Christian revelation embody could be set forth; 
and to the infantile capacity of the subject in no way so 
effectually as by a ceremonial of symbols which appealed 


to the outward sense of Bight. TTe must not measure the 
effect of such representations in ancient times and among 
Eastern nations by our more abstract and intellectual 
modes of communication. To us the language of sym- 
bolism is, except so far as nature prompts it, a strange 
one; to Eastern antiquity nothing was more familiar. 
The ear of the slave who refused his freedom was bored, 
in token of perpetual servitude; 1 the elders, at the expia- 
tion of an uncertain murder, washed their hands, to signify 
that they had had no participation in it. 2 If the pious 
Jew found profit in meditating in the law day and night, 3 it 
must have been because he discerned, beneath the outward 
ceremonial, the spiritual truths of which it was the vehicle. 
The Levitical ritual, once more, was typical. This is 
its third great feature. A symbol is not necessarily a 
type ; there may be symbols of past events. A type is a 
prophetic symbol, — a symbol constructed to prefigure or 
illustrate a future event. And such, we are assured by 
inspired authority, was one leading feature of the Law. 
It was " a shadow of good things to come ;" its appoint- 
ments were constructed by that Divine Wisdom to which 
all things are foreknown, with a special view to the future 
dispensation of the Gospel. Comparing the two, the Jew, 
had not his mind been blinded, might have seen that 
Christianity lay imbedded in the Law, and that in ac- 
knowledging Jesus as the Messiah, he was only exchanging 
the shadow for the substance, — the earthly figure for the 
spiritual reality. How far the pious worshipper of old 
perceived Christ in the Levitical ritual, is a matter of 
doubt ; probably his insight was less, perfect than we are 
apt to suppose. But to us the key of the Old Testament 
is given in the New ; and it is most interesting, as well as 
instructive, to mark how all the principal ordinances of 
1 Exod. xxi. 6. 2 Deut. xxi. 6. 3 Ps. i. 2. 


the Law seem to illustrate, in some point or other, the 
work and the offices of the Redeemer. 

Of the legal appointments, the following is a general 
sketch. Since the presence of Deity was, under that 
economy, to be localised, or by a visible symbol attached 
to a certain spot, the first thing necessary was to mark 
the spot by a material structure. Accordingly Moses 
received in the mount a pattern after which he was to 
frame the Tabernacle, a moveable structure which accom- 
panied the people in their journeys, and which, when the 
kingdom was established, gave place to the permanent 
Temple at Jerusalem. The Tabernacle, — i.e. the house or 
palace where Jehovah held His court, sometimes called 
the Tabernacle of Testimony, because there the two tables 
of the Law were deposited ; sometimes of Meeting, because 
there God admitted His people to His presence, — was a tent 
of an oblong shape, thirty cubits by ten, three sides of 
which were formed of pillars of shittim or acacia wood, 
crossed by planks lengthways, while the entrance, a curtain 
of fine linen, occupied the fourth. The roof consisted of 
four coverings of various materials ; the innermost, of fine 
white linen, forming the interior drapery of the Avails, 
while the others, of the skins of animals, protected the 
furniture and officiating priests from the weather. Around 
the Tabernacle ran a court, corresponding in shape to the 
structure which it enclosed, and surrounded by curtains 
suspended from silver rods, which rested upon pillars of 
acacia. The tent itself was divided into two compartments 
of unequal length ; the first, or holy place, being twenty 
cubits long, the second, or most holy, ten cubits. A linen 
vail, richly embroidered, hung between the two. To the 
court of the Tabernacle free access was permitted to all 
Israelites ; into the holy place the ordinary priests entered 
to discharge their official duties ; and into the most holy, 


the high-priest alone, once a-year, on the great day of 

Each division of the sacred precincts had its special 
furniture. The first object that met the worshipper's eye 
as he entered the court, was the altar of burnt-offerings, — 
a hollow vessel of wood, with a brazen grate at the top 
for the fire, and four projections at the corners, called in 
Scripture the " horns" of the altar. It was here that the 
sacrifices were offered. Between this altar and the 
Tabernacle stood the brazen laver, in which the priests 
about to officiate washed their hands and their feet. The 
holy place contained, on the north side, the table of shew- 
bread, with its twelve loaves, renewed every Sabbath ; on 
the south, the golden candlestick with its seven lights ; 
and between the two, in front of the vail, the altar of 
incense, on which, morning and evening, the priests burned 
a compound of odoriferous spices. In the most holy place 
a solemn gloom perpetually prevailed. Here was deposited 
the ark of the covenant, a chest of acacia-wood, plated 
within and without with pure gold, the special symbol of 
the Divine presence. It was covered on the top with the 
mercy-seat, or propitiatory, over which two cherubim, one 
at either end, bent with expanded wings. In the ark were 
placed the two tables of the Law, and beside or near it 
stood the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod, and the books 
of the old covenant. 

It would be inconsistent with the limits of the present 
work to discuss at length the symbolical meaning of these 
various arrangements. Suffice it to observe, that the 
Tabernacle in general represented the presence and inter- 
course of Jehovah with His people, while, in particular, 
the solitude of the most holy place set forth the Divine 
majesty, unapproachable, save through a mediator ; the 
altar of incense was symbolical of prayer ; that of burnt- 


offering, of reconciliation with God ; the laver, of inward 
purity ; and the candlestick, either of the grace of the 
Holy Spirit, or of the fruits which that grace enables 
believers to bring forth. Of the typical application we 
can speak with more certainty. The writer of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews teaches us, 1 that by the Tabernacle the 
person of Christ, in whom dwelt " all the fulness of the 
Godhead bodily," was foreshadowed ; while the mercy-seat 
over the ark pointed to that perfect atonement by which 
sin, the transgression of the Divine law, was to be covered. 

In the time of Joshua the ark was placed at Shiloh, 
where it remained during the period of the Judges. After 
the great victory of the Philistines in the time of Eli, it 
was removed to Nob ; and after the destruction of that 
town by Doeg (1 Sam. xxii.), we find it, in the time of 
David, at Gibeon (1 Chron. xvi. 39). Solomon conveyed 
it, and all its utensils, to Jerusalem, where it was deposited 
in the Temple. From this time it disappears from the 
sacred records. 

Three classes of ministers were attached to the services 
of the Tabernacle. The lowest offices, such as those of 
carrying the several parts of the sacred edifice, of setting it 
up when an encampment was formed, and, generally, of 
rendering assistance to the priests in the execution of their 
duties, were assigned to the males of the tribe of Levi, 
whose period of service, at least of the more laborious part 
of it, extended from the age of thirty to that of fifty years. 
From this tribe the family of Aaron was selected for the 
priesthood, whose special privilege it was to act as media- 
tors between Jehovah and His people. The proper func- 
tions of the priests, which none else could perform, were 
not, as is sometimes supposed, the slaying and dividing of 
the victim (except in certain special cases), but, first, the 
sprinkling of the blood upon the altar of burnt-offering, by 
1 Cc. ix. x. 


which act propitiation was made ; and, secondly, the 
burning of the incense in the holy place. The special 
cases of exception are those in which sin-offerings for the 
priests themselves were enjoined, in which the high-priest 
officiated as sacrificer (Lev. xvi.). At the head of the 
sacerdotal body was placed the high-priest, whose office 
was one of great dignity and importance. It descended, 
according to primogeniture, from Aaron to his posterity ; 
but was liable, as in the case of the sons of Eli, to 
forfeiture for misconduct. In the great annual propitiation 
for the sins of the people, when the blood of the victim 
was carried within the vail, the high-priest alone officiated. 
The Levitical priesthood was intended as a temporary 
satisfaction of the craving from which, in every religion, 
the idea of priesthood has sprung. Conscious of the 
infinite distance between himself and God, man desires to 
fill up the chasm with an intermediate order, which, con- 
nected on the one hand with the worshipper, and on the 
other hand with the Being worshipped, may serve as 
a means of communication between them : to persons 
thus invested with an official sanctity it was felt a relief to 
delegate those acts of religious homage which the worship- 
per himself shrank from performing. That carnal descent, 
not natural qualifications, should determine the priestly 
order ; that holy garments, and sacred oil, should form the 
rites of consecration ; that freedom from bodily defect 
should be a necessary requirement ; these, and similar 
regulations, are what might be expected in a symbolical 
and preparatory institution. They have given place to 
that which they were intended to typify ; they are fulfilled, 
and abolished, in the Christian dispensation. In and through 
Christ, the one great High Priest of His Church, all 
Christians have immediate access to God ; Christ alone 
represents them, as the Jewish high-priest bore the names 
of the twelve tribes on the mystic breastplate when 


he entered the Tabernacle. No human mediators may be 
interposed between the believer and the throne of grace, 
for " through Him" (t. e. Christ) "we both," both Jew and 
Gentile, " have access by one Spirit unto the Father." 1 

Priests must have sacrifices to offer ; and, accordingly, 
the main part of the temple-worship consisted in the 
various sacrifices enjoined by the law. The idea of this 
rite, as we find it in the Old Testament, may be thus 
expressed, — the priestly nation enjoyed, through its formal 
priesthood, a covenanted privilege of access to God ; but 
sin, cleaving to the worshipper, renders him unclean, and 
thereby unfit for the Divine presence : by sacrifice the dis- 
qualification is removed. The effect of it is usually 
described by the word " atonement," literally the covering 
of sin from the eye of Jehovah. Both for the nation 
collectively, and for individuals belonging to it, this 
cleansing process was necessary. At the original dedica- 
tion of the covenant, the whole people were sprinkled with 
blood, 2 by which ceremony they were symbolically purged 
from pollution, and fitted for intercourse with their 
heavenly King : but since, from the weakness of the instru- 
ment, this was but a temporary purification, and the 
nation, in the lapse of time contracted fresh uncleanness, 
an annual day of general expiation was instituted, on 
which, by solemn sacrifices, the covenant was renewed, and 
the people consecrated afresh to the service of Jehovah. 
The same idea pervades all the offerings commanded, 
or permitted by the law, in the case of individuals. These 
were of four principal kinds. The burnt-offering, the 
most ancient, and extensive in its import of all, consumed 
wholly upon the altar, represented, on the part of the true 
Israelite, a general conviction of demerit, and the felt 
duty of a complete surrender of all the powers and faculties 
to God. The sin and the trespass-offering had reference 
1 Eph. ii. 18. 2 Exod. xxiv. 8. 


to particular sins, by which, though committed inadver- 
tently, fellowship with God had been interrupted, and by 
sacrificial cleansing must be restored. In the peace, or 
thank-offering, the sense of sin -was expressed in connexion 
with particular mercies, vouchsafed by, or expected from 
God : in this species of sacrifice, after atonement made, 
man is seen in the enjoyment of perfect fellowship with God; 
he sits at God's table, he is placed, for the time being, on a 
level with the priests, and with them partakes of the Divine 
bounty. 1 The unbloody offerings of the Law can hardly be 
said to form a distinct class ; for they were either a sub- 
stitution for, or an adjunct of, the animal sacrifices. 

In whatever minor points the various offerings of the 
law may have differed from each other, one great idea 
pervades them, that of vicarious atonement. There were 
two ceremonies common to all, the imposition of hands by 
the offerer, and the sprinkling of the blood upon, or around, 
the altar : in the former the transgressor symbolically 
transferred his sin to the victim, which then became liable 
to death ; in the latter, after the infliction of death, the 
sin was symbolically covered, or removed, by the blood. 
Substitution was plainly the import of the whole transac- 
tion. The symbolism of the great day of atonement places 
this in the clearest light. What is implied in the other 
sacrifices is expressed in this ; and when Aaron placed his 
hands upon the head of the live goat, the significance of 
the act is declared to be that he thereby " put the trans- 
gressions " of Israel " upon the head of the goat," which 
then bore them away into the wilderness, out of sight. 2 
The lessons, then, impressed upon the worshipper by this 
ritual of sacrifice, were those of a broken law, of conse- 
quent guilt, of liability to punishment, and of forgiveness 
through vicarious suffering ; and no doubt the ceremonial 
law, especially in combination with the moral, must have 
1 Lev. vii. 15, 16. 2 Ibid. xvi. 21. 


directly tended to produce that sense of personal demerit 
which is the best preparation for the reception of the 
gospel. The antitype having come, these types have 
vanished. As there is now no human priesthood in the 
Church of Christ, so there is no visible sacrifice ; for by 
the one sacrifice of Himself, once offered, and never to be 
repeated, Christ has expiated fully the sin of the world. 1 
Yet, even to us the rudiments of the earlier dispensation are 
on this point full of instruction. The ideas -which underlie 
the biblical theory of sacrifice are in the Old Testament, 
even more plainly, and so to speak visibly, set forth than 
in the New. If Christ and the Apostles do not enlarge, 
so fully as we might expect, upon the vicarious import of 
His death, it is because they take for granted an acquain- 
tance with the Mosaic law, and an acknowledgment of its 
Divine origin ; the divinely intended connexion of the two 
dispensations being admitted, there was no need, in the 
later revelation, of explaining at length things which 
might be learned from the earlier. The law still dis- 
charges its office of a schoolmaster to conduct to Christ ; 
and a devout study of the Book of Leviticus is, to those 
who would understand the truths connected with the 
Christian atonement, not less necessaiy than interesting. 

Besides the principal rite of sacrifice, the law contained 
prescriptions of purification, in which, though the symbo- 
lism was different, the lessons inculcated were the same. 
Not only did transgression, whether inadvertent or wilful, 
exclude from the theocratical commonwealth, but even con- 
tact with the physical effects of sin, — disease and death, — 
produced ceremonial defilement. Of all diseases leprosy was 
the most terrible ; it was emphatically a living death : both 
the leper himself, therefore, and those who came in contact 
with leprosy, even in a house (Lev. xiv. 46), were to be 
1 Heb. ix. 26, 28. 


accounted unclean. The touch of a dead body "brought 
with it the same disqualification ; and so did some 
unavoidable natural infirmities. In many cases the un- 
cleanness was removed by washing the body, or the clothes, 
at even ; but where it was of a graver nature, extra- 
ordinary means were employed. The water of separation, 
as it is called (Num. xix.), consisted of a mixture of water 
and the ashes of a red heifer burnt without the camp ; a 
supply of it was to be always at hand, and where a corpse, 
or even the bone of a dead man, had been handled, it was 
with this mixture, applied with a bunch of hyssop, that 
the cleansing took place. The whole of these regulations 
were intended to express the truth, that the natural man is 
" dead in trespasses and sin ;" that in that condition he is 
unfit for communion with God ; and that to qualify him for 
such communion a purging process is necessary, viz. the 
application by faith of Christ's atoning work, whereby the 
conscience is released from " dead works, to serve the 
living God." 1 In the cleansing of the leper, i.e. restoring 
him, after a cure had taken place, to the privileges of the 
congregation, the typical rites were peculiarly significant. 
The blood of a slain bird, mixed with water, was sprinkled 
upon the leper ; a living bird, after being dipped in the 
same mixture, was set free ; the single idea, as in the ritual 
of the day of atonement, being represented under a double 
type : and eight days afterwards, by a particular act 
of consecration on the part of the priest, and after certain 
specified offerings, he was reinstated in his former position. 
The Jewish religion, though burdensome in its ritual, 
contained no element of asceticism. The Israelite was 
permitted and exhorted to enjoy with thankful heart the 
temporal blessings of a land flowing with milk and honey. 
Frequent festivals of a joyous character interrupted and 
1 Heb. ix. 14. 


enlivened the labours of the husbandman. Besides the 
three great feasts already mentioned, which were religious 
as well as political in character, every Sabbath was dis- 
tinguished by a cessation from secular toil, in which the 
stranger, the slave, and the cattle, shared. This ordinance 
rested on the double sanction of the rest of the Creator 
from His works, and the rest of the chosen nation from 
the bondage of Egypt; and was intended to typify that 
future release from the bondage of sin which awaits the 
Church in the heavenly Canaan. The Mosaic regulations, 
though strict, present no trace of the vicious scrupulosity 
with which in later times the Pharisees made void the 
real intention of the Sabbatical rest. The first day of each 
lunar month, though not a day of rest, was a day of 
festivity; and the new moon of the seventh month, the 
first day of the civil year, called the Feast of Trumpets, 
was kept in the same manner as the Sabbath. In the 
spring, the whole nation assembled at Jerusalem to cele- 
brate for a period of seven days the memorable era of 
their deliverance from Egypt; fifty days after the Pass- 
over, another national thanksgiving took place for the 
ingathering of the harvest; and again, in the autumn, 
when the vintage was completed, the land was covered 
with temporary booths, formed of the boughs of trees, in 
which for eight days universal rejoicings were kept up, 
tempered with the religious significance of the festival, 
which recalled to memory the sojourn of the ancestors of 
the nation in the wilderness. To all of these there are 
corresponding facts in the Christian scheme ; to the Pass- 
over, redemption by the Lamb slain from the foundation 
of the world; to the Pentecostal harvest-home, the out- 
pouring upon the Church of the gifts of grace purchased 
by the Saviour's cross and passion ; and to the Feast of 
Tabernacles, the final blessedness of the saints, when the 


Church shall look back upon her passage through this 
world, and celebrate the praises of her Almighty Deliverer 
and King. One only season of national humiliation was 
appointed by Moses, the annual day of Atonement, which 
took place five days before the Feast of Tabernacles. It 
was to be a day of rest, and of penitence ; and the impressive 
ceremony specially connected with it, the entrance of the 
high -priest into tje most holy place with the blood of 
the sin-offering, concentrating, as it did, in itself all the 
great ideas of atonement and intercession, furnish to the 
sacred writers the aptest illustration of Christ's atoning 
and priestly functions. 

Such w r ere the principal features of this remarkable 
politico-religious institution. 1 We may ask, in the words 
of a judicious writer, " When did a migration through a 
desert ever besides produce a new and complicated polity, 
exempted in its principles from the impieties of a sur- 
rounding dominant superstition, and framed on the reverse 
model, and opposed to an assimilation with them ; fully 
digested in the detail, and wrought into the choice of the 
migratory people ? A desert does not supply the matter 
upon which a great part of such a system could attach, and 
which usually serves to mould the frame of it; in fact, 
well-ordered polities, in the common experience of the 
world, grow up out of their first essays of administration, 
and do not precede it." 2 If we suppose the Mosaic re- 
ligion to be of Divine origin, the facts are easily accounted 
for ; to infidelity they must ever remain inexplicable. 

1 For a more extended view of the nature and object of the Mosaic 
dispensation the reader is referred to the author's Bawpton Lectures. 

2 Davison on Prophecy, p. 121. 




Sect. I. — On the Pentateuch in general. 

The word Pentateuch, by which the first five books of 
the Bible are commonly designated, is of Alexandrian origin, 
and was probably first used by the Septuagint translators : 
it signifies five volumes. By the Jews this portion of 
Scripture is called " the Law," or " the five-fifths of the 
Law," each book being a single " fifth." In the Hebrew 
MSS. it always forms one roll or volume, and is generally 
written continuously, without division, save into larger 
and smaller sections. 

The unanimous tradition of the Jews ascribes the com- 
position of the Pentateuch to Moses ; nor among Christians 
was the Mosaic authorship called into question until a com- 
paratively late period. To modern Germany various theories 
on this subject owe their origin, which, however, as they 
have not succeeded in establishing themselves, it is needless 
to particularise. At what period could the fabrication of 
the Pentateuch have been successfully attempted? We 
have irrefragable evidence that the Jews have acknowledged 
its authority from the present time to the era of their 
return from the Babylonish captivity : could it have been 
at that era compiled from traditionary sources ? Seventy 
years was too short a time to have obliterated all memory 
of public records. Individuals, doubtless, returned to their 
native land who could have at once exposed such a gross 
imposition as the compiling of a public code of laws and 
religion never before heard of, had such been attempted. 


Would tlie Samaritans, the bitter enemies of the Jews, have 
received and acknowledged such a compilation ? From the 
captivity to the revolt of the ten tribes is a period of 
about 877 years. Had the Pentateuch been fabricated 
during that period, would not the kings of Israel, whose 
interest it was, contrary to the injunctions of this code, to 
perpetuate the severance of the two kingdoms and establish 
a rival worship of their own, have exposed a fraud, the de- 
tection of which would have so materially promoted their 
policy ? Would the monarchs of either kingdom have per- 
mitted the promulgation of a forged document, which 
speaks of regal government as an unhallowed innovation, 
and lays the future king under irksome restraints? 1 From 
the separation of the kingdoms to the promulgation of the 
law is about 400 years. Would the whole nation have 
submitted to an extremely onerous system of legislation, 
if suspicion had at any time existed as to its Mosaic 
origin ? 

But the evidence of the genuineness of the Pentateuch 
rests on direct testimony. It is referred to, its regula- 
tions and authority are presupposed, by the whole series of 
the sacred writers. It has been well observed that, even 
if it had perished, most of its ordinances could be re- 
covered from the later books of the Bible. The testimony 
of Christ and the Apostles completes the chain ; the well- 
known volume of the law is uniformly ascribed by them to 
Moses, and without any hint of his having been only the 
principal compiler of it. 

Internal evidence is confirmatory of the external. 
The Mosaic laws of property are such that their intro- 
duction at any time subsequent to the entrance into 
Canaan would have been resisted. The facts which the 
history records are of so public and important a character 
1 Dtut. xvii. 16. 


that their general reception by the Jewish people is, on 
the hypothesis of a fraud, absolutely incredible. The 
simplicity and artlessness of the style ; the details, which 
in a literary point 'of view, mar the beauty of the work; 
the frequent genealogies in which error could be at once 
detected; the impartiality with which the writer deals with 
his own shortcomings and those of his nation; the absence 
of legendary embellishment in the account of his early 
life in Egypt; the unity of design which runs througl 
the whole; all these conspire to produce the impression 
that it is a real narrative which we peruse, and that it is 
the production of a single mind. 

It must be admitted, indeed, that to the original nar- 
rative additions were here and there made by a later hand. 
But they are very few and unimportant. The following 
are the principal : — In Deut. xxxiv. the death and burial 
of Moses are recorded; this must, of course, have been 
added either by Joshua, or some other writer. In some 
instances, the later name of a place has been substituted 
for the earlier one; as in Gen. xiv. 14, Dan for Laish. 
In Exod. xvi. 35, 36, the children of Israel are said to 
have eaten manna forty years, " until they came to the 
borders of the land of Canaan ; " and an omer is explained 
as the " tenth part of an ephah," the earlier measure by 
the later: it is obvious that Moses could not have written 
thus, and the passage has evidently been interpolated. 
Deut. iii. 14, we read that " Jair, the son of Manasseh," 
called certain places " after his own name, unto this day ; " 
the latter clause implying that some time had elapsed 
since the settlement in Canaan. This, also, is an interpo- 
lation. " The insertion of such notes rather confirms 
than impeaches the antiquity and genuineness of the 
original narrative. If this were a compilation long sub- 
sequent to the events it records, such additions would not 


have been plainly distinguishable, as they now are, from 
the main substance of the original ; since the entire history 
would have been composed with the same ideas and views 
as these additions were ; and such explanatory insertions 
would not have been made, if length of time had not 
rendered them necessary." 1 

The authenticity of the inspired history of Moses is 
confirmed by the traditions current in other nations of 
antiquity. The division of time into weeks is found in 
countries the most remote from each other : the period of 
man's innocence; the fall, with, its consequences; the 
deluge; the re-peopling of the earth from a common 
origin ; all form part of the unwritten deposit of history in 
the ancient world. The successive discoveries of ancient 
monuments in Assyria and Egypt have uniformly tended 
to establish the accuracy of the Mosaic narrative. Geology 
itself, so long supposed to be adverse to revelation, con- 
tributes its testimony; for one of the best established of 
its conclusions is, the comparatively recent formation of the 
present surface of the globe. 

The question, whence Moses derived the materials for 
the history contained in the Book of Genesis, cannot be 
answered with certainty. The longevity of human life in 
the first ages of the world would render but few links 
necessary to hand down an authentic tradition of the 
events; or registers and records may have been kept in 
the patriarchal families. What was wanting, inspiration 
doubtless supplied. And since the books, as they now exist, 
have received the stamp of Divine authority, it is of little 
consequence from what sources they were compiled. 

The Pentateuch comprises a period, according to the 
common computation, of 2515 years; and, according to Dr. 
Hales's system of chronology, of 37G5 years. 
1 Graves on Pentateuch, Appendix, § 1. 


Besides the Pentateuch, certain of the Psalms, from the 
90th to the 99th inclusive, are by the Jews ascribed to 
Moses ; but on insufficient grounds. The title of the 90th 
Psalm, indeed, professes that it was composed by the 
Jewish lawgiver; but the titles of the Psalms, in general, 
cannot be regarded as authentic, being, most of them, of 
not very ancient date. 

Sect. II. — Booh of Genesis. 

Genesis, the first book of the Pentateuch, is so called 
from its giving an account of the generation or production 
of all things. By the Jews, the books of the Old Testa- 
ment are often designated from their initial word; hence 
with them the Book of Genesis bears the title of the 
Hebrew word signifying, In the beginning; for thus the 
book commences. They divide it into twelve paraschioth, 
or larger sections, and forty-three siderim, or smaller ones. 
This book comprises the history of 2369 years, according 
to the common computation, and of 3619 according to that 
of Dr. Hales. 

Bespecting the time of its composition nothing certain 
is known. By some it is supposed that Moses wrote it 
while keeping the flocks of Jethro in Midian : by others 
that it was written after the giving of the law. Con- 
jectures on such a subject are equally easy and valueless. 

The scope of the book appears to be twofold ; first, to 
set at rest those great problems respecting the creation of 
the world, and the introduction of evil, which have ever 
employed the minds of the more thoughtful among the 
heathen. Pantheism, and the Manichean theory of the 
existence of two opposite and independent principles of good 
and evil, are alike, by the history of the creation and of 
the fall, refuted. Secondly, to give some account of the 


patriarchal church as the depository of prophecy, and as 
exhibiting the line of descent of the predicted Saviour. 

The following are the main subdivisions: 1. The 
creation (cc. i. ii.). 2. The history of the antediluvian world, 
containing an account of the fall of man, of his expulsion 
from Paradise, of Adam's descendants down to Noah, of 
the increasing wickedness of the world, and of the deluge 
(cc. iii.-vii.). 3. The history of the post-diluvian world ; 
containing the abatement of the waters, and the covenant 
of natural mercies ; the peopling of the world by Noah's 
descendants ; the confusion of tongues, and dispersion of 
mankind. 4. The patriarchal church; including the call 
and history of Abraham, with the birth of Isaac ; the lives 
of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph ; the settlement of Israel in 
Egypt ; the death of Jacob, and that of Joseph. 

Various projmecies of Christ are contained in Genesis. 
See c. iii. 15 ; xii. 3 ; xviii. 18 ; xxii. 18 ; xxvi. 4 ; xxviii. 
14 ; and xlix. 10. Types of the Messiah are, Adam (by 
contrast ; both being federal heads, the latter of sin and 
death, the former of righteousness and life), 1 Cor. xv. 
45 ; Melchisedek, Heb. vi. 20 ; and Isaac, Heb. xi. 18, 19. 

Sect. III. — Book of Exodus. 

From the Septuagint version the second book of the 
Pentateuch has received the name of Exodus, which is 
significant of the principal event which it relates — the 
going forth of the Israelites from Egypt. By the Jews it 
is called, from its initial words, VeALEH SHEMOTH, 
" These are the names ; " and is divided into eleven paras- 
chioth, and twenty-nine siderim. It comprises a period of 
145 years. 

The scope of the book is to exhibit the accomplishment 
of the promises to Abraham ; that from him a nation 


should spring, which, after a sojourn of several centuries in 
a state of degradation in a foreign land, should triumph- 
antly be brought forth, and established in the country 
destined for its permanent occupation (Gen. xy. 5, 13). 
The whole history, too, presents a vivid adumbration of 
the church militant, in her redemption from spiritual 
bondage, and her passage through the wilderness of this 
world. " His spiritual perceptions, one would think, must 
be dull who does not perceive, under these earthly figures,' 
the history both of the Church collectively, and of each 
Christian's experience in particular, portrayed in striking 
colours ; who, on looking back upon past trials and past 
mercies, cannot enter into the spirit of the words addressed 
to Israel of old, ' Thou shalt remember all the way which 
the Lord thy God led thee in the wilderness, to humble 
thee and to prove thee.' This is no fanciful spirit of ac- 
commodation : we have inspired authority for thus reading 
the Old Testament Scriptures. The use which our Lord 
makes of the elevation of the brazen serpent, 1 and of the 
manna in the wilderness, 2 and St. Paul of another interesting 
occurrence, the water from the rock at Horeb, 3 is familiar 
to all ; and that these are but specimens from the quarry 
we may gather from the general declaration of the Apostle, 
that ' these things happened ' unto the Jews ' for ensamples,' 
rather types, or models (?wo<), ' and they are written for 
our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are 
come.' 4 Studied with this light thrown upon it, the early 
history of the Israelites becomes an inexhaustible source 
of instruction, warning, and consolation ; and the convic- 
tion arises in the mind of the believer, that so apt a* 
reflection of the Christian life, in its various aspects, can- 
not be a casual coincidence ; in other words, that the 

1 John, iii. 14. Ibid. vi. 49, 50. 

1 Cor. x. 4. 1 Cor. x. 11. 


Divine Wisdom shaped the history of the chosen people, 
as well as the appointments of the law, with a special 
reference to the future dispensation of Christ." 1 

The contents may be thus arranged: — 1. The condition 
of the Israelites after Joseph's death ; the birth, and 
calling, of Moses ; his embassy to Pharaoh ; the ten 
plagues, and the exodus of the people (cc. i.-xii.) ; 2. The 
pursuit led by Pharaoh, and the miraculous deliverance of 
the Israelites; their journey to Sinai (cc. xiv.-xix.); 3. The 
delivery of the law, moral and civil, and the construction 
of the Tabernacle (cc. xx.-xxxi.) ; 4. The idolatry of the 
people, and renewal of the covenant (cc. xxxii.-xl.). 

The special types of Christ are the Paschal lamb 
(John, xix. 36 ; 1 Cor. v. 7-8) ; the Levitical priesthood 
(Heb. cc. vii., viii.) ; the manna (John, vi. 32) ; the Rock 
at Horeb (1 Cor. x. 4). But the whole of the Tabernacle 
arrangements were either symbolical or typical, or both 

Much has been written respecting the Egyptian 
plagues ; and the attempt has been made to prove that 
each was aimed at some particular superstition of that land, 
so fruitful in grotesque forms of idolatry. This may have 
been the case ; but the conclusions seem occasionally to 
have been drawn from insufficient premises. 

Sect. IV. — Booh of Leviticus. 

This book, called by the Jews Va-YiKEA, " And he 
said," from its first words, has received the name of 
Leviticus, from its containing a detailed account of the 
ceremonial law, of which Aaron and the priests, of the 
tribe of Levi, were the appointed guardians and ministers. 
The time comprised in it is one month ; from the com- 
mencement of the second year after the exodus to the 
1 Author's Bampton Lectures, p. 66. 


commencement of the second month of the same year. By 
the Jews it is divided into nine paraschioth. 

The Book of Leviticus is of inestimable value as 
exhibiting, under an elaborate system of symbolism, the 
fundamental ideas on which the atoning work of Christ 
rests. The best commentary upon it is an inspired one, 
viz. the Epistle to the Hebrews, from which we learn that 
this part of the law " was a shadow of good things to 
come ; " and especially that the ceremonies of the great 
day of atonement were, all of them, prefigurative of cor- 
responding realities under the Gospel. For information 
on the nature of the Mosaic ritual, and the various kinds 
of sacrifices and purifications prescribed by it, the reader is 
referred to the remarks contained in a previous section. 1 
The book contains, 1. The various rules to be observed in 
offering sacrifice, and the various species of sacrifice, 
bloody and unbloody ; and the modifications of the ritual, 
according to the theocratical standing of the offerer, whether 
one of the people, a ruler, or a priest (cc. i.-vii.). 2. The 
consecration of Aaron, and his sons, to the priesthood, 
with the death of Naclab and Abihu for offering strange 
fire (cc. vii.-x.). 3. The laws respecting clean and unclean 
beasts (c. xi.). 4. Those relating to purifications, especially 
from the legal unclcanness of leprosy (cc. xii.-xv.). 5. The 
ritual of the great day of atonement (c. xvi.). 6. A repetition 
of sundry laws, and enactment of others, the particular 
object of which was to raise a barrier between the Israelites 
and the idolatrous nations of Canaan (cc. xvii.-xxii.). 
7. Regulations respecting the feasts, vows, things devoted, 
and tithes (cc. xxiii.-xxvii.). 

Sect. V. — Booh of Numbers. 
The fourth book of Moses, which among the Jews 
1 Part III. c. i. § 2, 2. 


bears the name of Va-YeDaBeR, " And he spake," with 
which words it commences, was called by the Septuagint 
translators "A^iO^oi, or Numbers, because it contains an 
account of the numbering of the people, cc. i.-iii., and, 
again, c. xxvi. A period of about thirty-eight years is com- 
prehended in it ; but the events occurred chiefly in the 
second and last of those years. According to the Jewish 
division it consists of ten paraschioth. 

The wanderings of the Israelites, with which a con- 
siderable portion of the book is occupied, illustrate the 
providential care of God over His people, and His hatred 
of sin. No doubt they had also, as has been previously 
remarked, 1 a typical aspect, and were figures of the passage 
of the spiritual Church to the heavenly Canaan. 

Besides the water from the rock (c. xx. 11), the brazen 
serpent (c. xxi.) was a remarkable type of Christ, the appli- 
cation of which is fixed by our Lord Himself (John, iii. 14). 
The book contains one prediction, — the famous one of 
Balaam (c. xxiv. 17). The reference of this passage to the 
Messiah has been contested : the following remarks of an 
eminent writer seem to place the subject in a just point of 
view : " Every candid interpreter of prophecy will confess 
that this prediction could not be understood at the first, 
as afterwards, when the accomplishment of it in the mission 
of Christ supplied its interpretation ; nor could it direct 
men's ideas, either as to the character of the person whom 
it foretold, or the nature of his mission, so strongly, when 
it stood by itself, as when supported by other predictions 
relating, or seeming to relate, to the same general subject. 
But yet it was a vivid prophecy, and adapted to keep men's 
minds and hopes intent, and prepare them for something 
beyond the law, and that of no small importance, since it 
was to be ushered in by a person of a remote advent, 
1 See p. 245. 


whose symbols, a star and a sceptre, imported most 
naturally the display of some new revelation, and a 
dominion combined with it." 1 

Chapters i. ii. contain the census of the Israelites, and 
the order of the tribes in the camp, under their respective 
captains and standards. Next follows (cc. iii. iv.) a 
similar census of the Levites, and a description of their 
offices in connexion with the Tabernacle. In cc. v.-x. 
various laws and ceremonies — such as the trial of jealousy, 
the law of Nazarites, the oblations of the princes for the 
service of the Tabernacle, the consecration of the Levites, 
the celebration of the Passover — are instituted. The 
journeys of the Israelites, with their various murmurings, 
occupy cc. xi.-xxi., in the midst of which the ordinance of 
the water of separation, the typical reference of which is 
established by Heb. ix. 13, 14, occurs. The rest of the 
book contains the transactions in the plains of Moab ; viz. 
the history of Balaam, a second numbering of the people, 
regulations respecting sacrifice and other points of the 
law, the boundaries and partition of the promised land, 
the appropriation of forty-eight cities to the Levites, and 
the appointment of the six cities of refuge (cc. xxii.-xxxvi.). 

The following list of the stations of the Israelites in 
the wilderness, as described in the Books of Numbers and 
Deuteronomy, is taken from Davidson's Home, vol. ii. 
p. 586: — 

1. Rameses (Num. xxxiii. 3) 

2. Succoth (5) 

3. Etham (6) 

4. Pi-hahiroth (7) 

5. Etham, three days' march (8) 

6. Marah (8) 

7. Elim (9) 

1 Davison on Prophecy, p. 152. 


8. Encampment by the Red Sea (10) 

9. Desert of Sin (11) 

10. Dophkah (12) 

11. Alush (13) 

12. Rephidim (14) 

13. Wilderness of Sinai (15) 

14. Taberah (Num. xi. 3) 

15. Kibroth-Hattaavah (xxxiii. 16) 

16. Hazeroth(17) 

17. Rithmah (18) 

18. Rimmon-parez (19) 

19. Libnah(20) 

20. Rissah (21) 

21. Kehelathah (22) 

22. Mount Shapher (23) 

23. Haradah(24) 

24. Makheloth (25) 

25. Tahath (26) 

26. Tarah (27) 

27. Mithcah (28) 

28. Hashmonah (29) 

29. Moseroth (30) 

30. Bene-jaakan (31) 

31. Hor-hagidgad (32) 

32. Jotbathah (33) 

33. Ebronah(34) 

34. Ezion-gaber (35) 

35. Kadesh (36) 

36. Beeroth Bene-jaakan (Deut. x. 6) 

37. Mount Hor (Num. xxxiii. 37) 

38. Gudgodah (Deut. x. 7) 

39. Jotbath (Deut. x. 7) 

40. Way of the Red Sea (Num. xxi. 4) 

41. Zalmonah (Num. xxxiii. 41) 


42. Punon (42) 

43. Oboth(43) 

44. Ije-abarim or Jim (44, 45) 

45. Brook Zered (Num. xxi. 12) 

46. Arnon(13) 

47. Dibon-gad (Num. xxxiii. 45) 
48 Almon-diblathaim (46) 

49. Beer in the Desert (Num. xxi. 16) 

50. Mattanah(18) 

51. Nahaliel (19) 

52. Bamoth(19) 

53. Pisgah, or Mountains of Abarim (Num. 

xxxiii. 47) 

54. Plains of Moab by Jordan, near Jericho (48). 

Sect. VI. — Booh of Deuteronomy. 

The Book of Deuteronomy, which, as its name imports, 
contains a repetition of the law, is called by the Jews 
ALeH HaDeBaRiM, " These are the words," with which 
words it commences. By them it is divided into ten 
paraschioth. The time comprised is about -five weeks. 
It appears to have been written in the plains of Moab, 
shortly before the death of Moses. 

The book was intended to instruct the new generation, 
which had arisen during the wanderings in the wilderness, 
in the principles of the law delivered to their fathers. It 
differs from the earlier promulgation at Sinai in its horta- 
tory strain, and its exposition of the inner spirit of the 
Mosaic code. It contains one prophecy relating to the 
Messiah, c. xviii. 18, which is expressly so applied in Acts, 
iii. 22 ; and a strain of prediction relating to the Jewish 
people, its sufferings and dispersion, the fulfilment of 
which is visibly before us (c. xxviii.). 

Its contents are, 1. A summary of the history of the 


Israelites, and exhortations to obedience (cc. i.-iv.). 2. A 
recapitulation of the law, moral, civil, and ceremonial 
(cc. v.-xxvi.). 3. Directions as to what should be done 
after passing Jordan ; and a recitation of blessings and 
curses (cc. xxvii.-xxx.). 4. The subsequent history of 
Moses, including his appointment of Joshua as his suc- 
cessor ; his command that the law should be publicly read 
every seventh year ; his prophetic ode, and blessing of the 
twelve tribes ; his death and burial. 

It has already been remarked that the thirty-fourth 
chapter, which contains an account of the death of Moses, 
must be the production of a later writer. It was evidently 
intended to form a connecting link between the Books of 
Deuteronomy and Joshua. 

II. Historical Books. 


After a month's mourning for their great lawgiver, the 
Israelites prepared to carry out his dying instructions. 
Jericho, a fortified city on the other side of Jordan, the 
key of the whole country, lay in their front ; it was re- 
solved to attempt its reduction. As a precautionary 
measure Joshua despatched two spies to examine the 
place ; and their report of the consternation of the Canaa- 
nites at the approach of the invading army seeming to 
warrant a bold step, he at once gave orders to cross the 


river. The Jordan, swollen with the spring-floods, was 
overflowing its second channel , T but no sooner did the 
ark, borne by the priests, enter the river than the miracle 
of the Red Sea was repeated on a smaller scale ; the waters 
stood apart, and the whole army passed in safety to the 
western bank. Twelve stones, taken from the bed of the 
river, formed a monument to commemorate this great 
event. Before he advanced further, Joshua caused the 
Israelites to be circumcised, for during their sojourn in the 
wilderness this rite had been intermitted ; and at the same 
time the miraculous supply of manna failed. 

Six days did the ark encompass the devoted city, 
and on the seventh, amidst the shouts of the people 
and the blast of trumpets, the walls fell, and all the 
inhabitants, save Eahab and her family, were put to the 
sword. Freed from the danger of an enemy's fortress in 
their rear, the Israelites advanced to Ai, and, after a 
temporary check before that city, occasioned by the sin of 
Achan, they captured it by stratagem, and reduced it to 
ruins. It was after this expedition that the Gibeonites, 
the inhabitants of a neighbouring town, presented them- 
selves to Joshua, with all the appearance of way-worn 
travellers w^ho had come from a distance; — incautiously a 
league was made with them, and though the deceit was 
speedily discovered, the oath pledged was held sacred ; their 
lives were spared, but they were made hewers of wood and 
drawers of water for the use of the priests, in which servile 
condition we find their descendants, the Xethinims, at a late 
period of Jewish history. The submission of the Gibeonites 
gave occasion to the most alarming danger which had as yet 
threatened the invaders. Five kings of Amoritish origin, 
headed by Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, resolved to 
punish this desertion of the common cause ; they attacked 
1 See p. 174. 


the Gibeonites, who were compelled to apply to Joshua for 
succour. By a forced night-march the Israelites came up 
with the Canaanites unexpectedly, and defeated them with 
immense slaughter, while a violent hail-storm increased the 
panic. Night approaching while the enemy was still fly- 
ing, a stupendous miracle was wrought at Joshua's prayer ; 
the sun's course was arrested in the heavens until the work 
of destruction was complete, and the people had fully avenged 
themselves upon their enemies. The five kings were taken 
in a cave at Makkedah, and hanged. The subjugation of 
the whole country south of Gibeon followed this decisive 

One more stand was made by the Canaanite nations 
in the extreme north, under Jabin, the king of Hazor. 
At the lake Merom were assembled the heads of all the 
tribes which had not yet been subdued ; their collective 
contingents amounted to a vast host, " even as the sand 
upon the sea -shore." And they were particularly strong 
in chariots and cavalry. The intrepid leader of the 
Israelites fell upon them, and one decisive victory made' 
him master of the whole region. Hazor, the chief seat of 
the confederacy, was destroyed. Thus, in about seven 
years, the whole of the country west of Jordan, from 
Mount Seir to Lebanon, had been subdued, and no less 
than thirty-one kings had fallen by the sword. Un- 
fortunately, however, for the future peace of Israel, a 
pause now took place ; the war was suspended, and many 
of the ancient inhabitants remained in the land — both from 
their turbulent disposition, and from the seductive example 
of the.r idolatrous rites — a perpetual source of danger to 
their conquerors. 

Joshua now turned his attention to civil affairs. The 
solemn ceremony enjoined by Moses took place on Mounts 
Ebal and Gerizini ; the Tabernacle avus removed from 


Gilgal to Shi] oh ; the land was partitioned among the nine 
tribes and a half which were to occupy the west of Jordan ; 
and, after a final exhortation to the people to remain 
faithful to the covenant, Joshua died, at the age of 110 

Joshua nominated no successor to himself; and for 
about 400 years the Hebrew commonwealth subsisted as 
a number of independent republics, often in a state of 
discord among themselves, and more often at war with 
their neighbours. This period, that of the Judges, has 
been called the heroic age of Hebrew history i 1 feats of 
individual prowess and adventure adorn its annals, but it 
was marked by a spirit of anarchy, a great corruption of 
morals, frequent interruptions of the prescribed forms of 
religion, and guilty lapses into the various forms of idolatry 
practised by the subject peoples. It was not long before 
the backwardness of Joshua's warriors to prosecute their 
enterprise to a conclusion began to bear its fruits. After 
his death, indeed, some additional conquests were made: 
Judah, assisted by Simeon, defeated Adoni-bezek, king of 
Jerusalem, and seized a portion of his territory, including 
Jerusalem ; and Ephraim made a successful expedition 
against Beth-el. The dissensions, however, of the tribes, 
whose chief bond of union, that of a common religion, was 
now greatly weakened, and especially the indifference of 
the northern maritime members of the confederacy, en- 
couraged frequent revolts, and frequent invasions, on the 
part of their enemies. Reduced often to the last extremity, 
the unhappy Israelites seemed on the point of national 
extinction, but as often were rescued by the instru- 
mentality of the military dictators who were raised up for 
this purpose. The first of these dictators, or judges, 
Othniel, of Judah, freed his countrymen from the yoke of 
1 Milman, History of the Jews, vol, i. book 6. 


Chushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, who for eight 
years had oppressed them. Ehud, famous for his daring 
assassination of Eglon, king of Moab, and Shamgar for 
the slaughter of 600 Philistines with an ox-goad, procured 
a long peace of eighty years ; and then came the great 
battle in the plain of Esdraelon, where Barak encountered 
the hosts of Sisera, and broke the power of the northern 
Canaanites. After an interval of forty years, a peculiarly 
distressing visitation befell the people ; for seven years 
bands of Midianites, Amalekites, and other nomad tribes, 
regularly invaded the country at the time of harvest, and 
after living upon the produce, and carrying off what they 
could not consume, retired, at the approach of winter, to 
their fastnesses in the mountains. Gideon, of the tribe 
of Manasseh, was the chosen deliverer. First destroying 
the instruments of idolatry in his father's house, he 
summoned the tribes adjacent to the plain of Esdraelon, 
where the Midianites were encamped, to take arms, and 
with a force reduced, by Divine command, to 300 men, 
attacked the enemy at night. A panic ensued , the 
Midianites turned their arms against each other, and 
120,000 men fell by the sword. Gideon refused the crown 
which the gratitude of his countrymen offered him ; but 
the fickle Israelites acquiesced in the usurpation of one of 
his sons, Abimelech, who, after the Oriental fashion, put 
all his brethren, amounting to seventy persons, to death, 
and reigned for a time at Shechem. 

After a period of comparative tranquillity under Tola 
and Jair, two undistinguished names, a new apostasy 
produced a new invasion. The Philistines attacked the 
southern border, while the Ammonites, after subduing 
the tribes beyond Jordan, penetrated into the territory of 
Judah. The fame of Jephthah, a Gileadite, leader of a 
band of freebooters, attracted the notice of his countrymen : 


they offered him the command, and, after a fruitless 
attempt at negotiation, he marched against the enemy, 
and gained a complete victory. His memorable vow, and 
its tragic fulfilment, are well known. This success was 
sullied by a fatal civil war between Ephraim and the 
Gileadites under Jephthah's command, arising from the 
overbearing conduct of the former tribe : 42,000 Ephraim- 
ites fell by the hand of their brethren. 

Jephthah's rule lasted but a short time, but his military 
achievements procured for the Israelites a respite of 
twenty-five years. This was followed by a long subju- 
gation of forty years to the most formidable of their 
enemies. The Philistines, who in Jephthah's time had taken 
up arms, now pushed their conquests with such success, 
as almost to annihilate the tribe of Simeon, and bring the 
whole country under their dominion. No surer proof of 
the state of vassalage into which the Israelites had fallen 
could be given, than the remark of the historian, that " no 
smith was found throughout all the land of Israel," 1 lest 
weapons of war should be forged. During this period, 
however, two of the most distinguished judges flourished ; 
Samson, renowned for his feats of personal strength, his 
romantic adventures, and tragical end, and Samuel, who 
may be called the second founder of the Hebrew common- 
wealth. At Samson's death, Eli, the high-priest, seems 
to have assumed the reins of government, which he held 
for forty years, but latterly with so feeble a hand that his 
own sons abused their priestly privileges to convert the 
Tabernacle into a brothel. Under such an administration 
it was not likely that any effectual resistance would be 
made to the Philistines, who, relieved from the dread of 
Samson, resumed their hostile operations. A battle was 
fought at Aphek, in which the Israelites were defeated. 
1 1 Sam. xiii. 19. 


As a last resource, the ark was brought from Shiloh, and, 
in the expectation that Jehovah would protect the sacred 
symbol, the Israelites again engaged, but with still more 
disastrous results, 30,000 being slain, among whom were 
Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, while the ark itself 
was captured. At this point, however, the tide turned. 
After the lapse of a few months, the ark was restored by 
the Philistines, who had suffered severely from Divine visi- 
tations during its presence among them ; and though they 
held sway for about twenty years longer, their power 
began to decline. At length Samuel, now grown to man- 
hood, summoned a general assembly of the people at 
Mizpeh, to observe a day of national humiliation, and to 
concert measures against the common enemy. The Phi- 
listines took alarm, and collected their forces; a battle 
ensued, in which the elements fought on the side of Israel ; 
and so complete was the victory of the latter, that their 
inveterate enemy evacuated the country, and gave them 
no further trouble during the administration of Samuel. 

For many years Samuel conducted the affairs of his 
country with equal integrity and success, the whole of the 
southern tribes acknowledging his authority. As age, 
however, crept on, and his sons, whom he had installed as 
judges, proved of a different character from their father, a 
desire sprung up in the minds of the people for a change 
in the form of government, — a change which it was pre- 
dicted by Moses should in due time take place. 1 A mon- 
archy would ensure the more certain administration of 
justice, and by uniting the tribes under a common head, 
direct the military power of the country to better advantage. 
Samuel reproved the people for their unbelief, and pointed 
out the evils of despotic rule; but, in the end, finding that 
his remonstrances were of no avail, he yielded to the 
1 Deut. xvii. 14. 


national will, and, by Divine appointment, privately anointed 
Saul, a Benjamite, to the royal office. The selection was 
confirmed by lot, and by the almost unanimous voice of 
the people, at Mizpeh. It was not long before the young 
king gave proof of his prowess. The Ammonites, under 
Nahash, had invaded Gilead; Saul summoned the tribes 
to battle, encountered the enemy, and defeated them with 
immense slaughter. Seizing the favourable opportunity, 
while the splendour of this victory silenced opposition, 
Samuel again convened the people at Gilgal, and after a 
solemn appeal to them for the integrity of his administra- 
tion, he procured a fresh ratification of Saul's authority, 
and then resigned his own office. 

Whatever expectations the aged prophet might have en- 
tertained of an auspicious career for the first king of Israel, 
the impetuous character of the latter soon dissipated them. 
Saul's wars were, indeed, successful: at Michmash, not far 
from Jerusalem, assisted by his brave son Jonathan, he 
inflicted a severe blow upon the Philistines ; the Moabites, 
Ammonites, and Edomites, were successively defeated ; and 
the Amalekites, ancient enemies of Israel, were almost 
annihilated. But the spirit of self-will which he displayed 
on two signal occasions, — the first when, at Gilgal, he 
took upon himself, without waiting for Samuel, to offer 
sacrifice; and the second when, disobeying the Divine 
command, he spared Agag, king of the Amalekites, and 
the best of the spoil which he had captured ; provoked the 
displeasure of Jehovah, and Samuel was commissioned to 
announce to him the transfer of the kingdom to another, of 
more compliant disposition. Accordingly, about fourteen 
years afterwards, David, the youngest son of Jesse, an 
inhabitant of Bethlehem, was designated to the throne; 
and from that time figures conspicuously in the inspired 
history. The unhappy Saul, deserted by Samuel, became 


subject to fits of despairing melancholy; and David's 
exquisite skill on the harp was called in to allay the 
paroxysms of the malady. For a time he was in high 
favour; but the monarch's jealous spirit was aroused by 
the acclamations which greeted the youthful hero, as he 
returned from the slaughter of the renowned champion of 
Gath; and thenceforward, until he came to the throne, 
David's life was one of perpetual alarms. Twice, as by a 
miracle, he escaped the javelin of Saul ; a stratagem of his 
wife saved him from another great danger; and but for 
the devoted friendship of Jonathan, he must at length 
have fallen a sacrifice to the enmity of his former patron. 
That faithful friend counselled immediate flight; and 
David first took refuge in Nob, a sacerdotal city of Ben- 
jamin, where the kindness shown him by the priests was 
fearfully visited upon them by Saul. Thence he fled to 
Gath; but mistrusting the hospitality of the Philistine, 
he retired to a wild part of the country, whither a band of 
lawless adventurers flocked to his standard, and he found 
himself at the head of 400 desperate men. It was in vain 
that, by twice sparing Saul's life when it was in his power 
to have taken it, David attempted to awaken his more 
generous feelings ; for a time the unhappy monarch seemed 
to relent, but the evil passions to which he had become a 
prey ever returned with increased violence. At length 
the fugitive found himself compelled to seek safety among 
the Philistines, who, believing him to be irreconcilably 
alienated from his countrymen, received him favourably, 
and assigned him the town of Ziklag as his residence. 
From this place he engaged in marauding expeditions, pro- 
fessedly against the towns of Israel, but in reality against 
the Philistines: while Achish, the king of Gath, flattered 
himself that he had gained a valuable ally. But now 
this romantic drama was drawing to a close. Saul, after 


filling up the measure of his iniquity by consulting a 
female necromancer, perished with Jonathan and his other 
sons in the battle of Gilboa ; and the way was at length 
open for David to accomplish his high destiny. 

By Divine direction, he repaired to Hebron, where the 
tribe of Judah immediately saluted him king. By Abner, 
however, the general of Saul's army, a rival was set up in 
the person of Ish-bosheth, the only remaining son of Saul, 
who wielded a precarious authority over the northern 
tribes, until the defection of Abner to David terminated 
the contest. Ish-bosheth himself was soon afterwards 
assassinated, and David became undisputed sovereign of the 
whole country. His first act was to capture the strong- 
hold of Mount Zion, which he made his own residence, and 
the seat of government. He then turned his arms against 
the surrounding nations. He drove the Philistines out of 
Gath; conquered the Edomites; made Moab tributary; 
defeated the Syrians in two great battles; and in a short 
time had extended the eastern boundary of his kingdom 
to the Euphrates. Religious and civil affairs now claimed 
his attention. The ark, which after its restoration by the 
Philistines had remained at Kirjath-jearim for twenty 
years, was transferred with great solemnity to Jerusalem ; 
but the king's design of building a. permanent structure 
for its reception was not permitted to be fulfilled, that 
honour being reserved for his son. By the assistance of 
Hiram, king of Tyre, who sent him skilled artisans, he 
built his own palace in a style of great magnificence. 
Thus far his reign was marked by unexampled prosperity; 
the remaining portion was clouded by disaster. A war 
with the Ammonites had broken out, and Kabbah, their 
capital, was besieged by Joab, when, in an unguarded 
moment, the " man after God's own heart " committed the 
crimes which give so melancholy an interest to his later 



history. The Ammonites were subdued ; but the predicted 
retribution speedily followed. The death of the child of 
guilt; the incest of. Amnon, and his assassination by 
Absalom; the rebellion and death of that favourite son; 
the plague which cut off 70,000 of the people; and the 
attempt of Adonijah, aided by Joab and the priest Abia- 
thar, to seize the throne before his father's death; al? 
contributed to embitter the declining years of the monarch. 
Before his death, however, he had the satisfaction of 
seeing Solomon, for whom the throne had long been des- 
tined, recognised as his successor by the leading men of 
the state. 

At the age of twenty Solomon commenced his splendid 
reign. The imprudence of his enemies, Adonijah, Abiathar, 
and Joab, soon afforded him the opportunity which his 
father's dying injunctions had recommended him not to 
miss, of ridding himself of them ; and, free from internal 
dangers, he was enabled to devote his whole attention to 
the pursuits of legislation and commerce. His- extensive 
dominions were parcelled out into twelve districts, with 
local governors, whose business it was to provide for the 
enormous consumption of the royal household. By mar- 
riage he connected himself with Egypt, the inland trade of 
which in horses and linen-yarn was exclusively carried on 
by Jews ; while his treaty with Hiram of Tyre supplied 
him with ships and mariners, by the aid of which he en- 
gaged in a very extensive foreign commerce. His ships 
traded to Tarshish, in the south of Spain, and, by the 
route of the Red Sea, to Ophir, on the east coast of Africa, 
and the shores of the Arabian peninsula. Another line of 
traffic traversed the countries inland from the interior of 
Asia to Tyre ; to facilitate which Solomon built two cities, 
Tadmon and Baalath, between the Euphrates and the 
coast. The wealth which poured into the treasury from 


these various sources was expended partly upon the luxu- 
ries of a magnificent court, and partly upon costly build- 
ings, among which the Temple was conspicuous. This 
celebrated edifice occupied more than seven years in 
building, and was justly esteemed the glory of Solomon's 
reign. A full description of it must be sought elsewhere ; x 
it is sufficient here to observe, that all the resources of 
ancient art, and the most lavish expenditure, were taxed 
to render it worthy of its sacred destination. The utensils 
were all of solid gold, and gold met the eye of the spec- 
tator in whatever direction he looked. In its general arrange- 
ments the Temple resembled the Tabernacle. For its 
dedication an extraordinary festival was appointed, which 
lasted for two weeks, and during which 22,000 oxen and 
120,000 sheep were sacrificed. The whole tribe of Levi, 
including the priests, were in attendance ; the ark was 
conveyed into the most holy place amidst the chantings 
of the choir ; Solomon, in a solemn prayer, invoked the 
Divine blessing ; fire descended from heaven upon the 
altar ; and the shecinah, or bright cloud, filled the 
building, and Jehovah visibly took possession of His new 

The vast expenses of Solomon's court could not be 
maintained without the imposition of a heavy burden of 
taxation ; but the reputation of their famous sovereign, 
whose magnificence and whose wisdom were the admira- 
tion of foreign potentates, reconciled the people to the 
excessive exactions from which, in the latter part of his 
reign, they suffered. Discontent, however, was rife ; and 
the lamentable declension of the king, Avho, in his old age, 
suffered himself to be seduced by his foreign connexions 
into idolatry, and even established on a hill to the south of 
Jerusalem, afterwards called the Mount of Offence, the 
1 See Home's Introd. vol. iii. part 3, s. 2. 


worship of false gods, increased the dangers that threat- 
ened his kingdom. After his death the storm burst. His 
son and successor, Rehoboam, without the pretensions, 
attempted to imitate the arbitrary policy, of his father, 
and at once ten of the tribes renounced their allegiance, 
and formed themselves into a separate kingdom under 
Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who, even in Solomon's life- 
time, had been the leader of an abortive rebellion. Thus, 
after a brief period of splendour, the Jewish empire came 
to an end, and the national union was never afterwards 

It would be a wearisome task to describe in detail the 
vicissitudes which befell the rival kingdoms. The history 
presents little but a series of crimes, wars, and national 
apostasies ; relieved in the kingdom of Judah by occasional 
reigns of a brighter character. In the war that followed 
the separation of the kingdoms, Jeroboam was defeated by 
Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, with enormous loss ; but no 
permanent result ensued. On the contrary, the usurper 
proceeded to render the breach irreparable by establishing 
an idolatrous worship at Beth-el and Dan, the extremities 
of his dominions, and creating priests from the lowest of 
the people. For this his race was condemned to extermi- 
nation ; and accordingly his son Nadab was, after a short 
reign of less than two years, assassinated by Baasha, one 
of his generals ; and Baasha's son in turn by Zimri, who 
speedily gave place to Omri, founder of the new metro- 
polis, Samaria, between Ebal and Gerizim. In the reign 
of Omri's successor, Ahab, who had married Jezebel, 
daughter of the king of Zidon, the wickedness of Israel 
culminated. The prophets of Jehovah were slain or ba- 
nished, and the priests of Baal installed in their place. A 
temporary reformation followed the noble stand made by 
Elijah ; but the influence of Jezebel prevailed, and the 


prophet was compelled to fly. Foreign wars were now 
added to domestic disorders : for a long time a confederacy 
of the Syrian kings, headed by Ben-hadad of Damascus, 
threatened imminent ruin to the kingdom. In one of the 
encounters with the Syrians Ahab was slain ; and the brief 
reigns of his two sons, Ahaziah and Jehoram, which were 
illustrated by the miracles and ministry of the prophet 
Elisha, closed with the assassination of Jehoram by Jehu, 
the appointed instrument of destroying the sanguinary race 
of Ahab. 

The dynasty of Jehu lasted about 114 years, — longer 
than any of the foregoing. Under the rule of his descen- 
dants, Israel recovered in some degree from its depression. 
Jehoash, his grandson, successfully opposed the inroads of 
the Syrians, and inflicted a severe blow upon Judah 
at Beth-shemesh ; on this occasion Jerusalem was pillaged, 
and much of the treasure of the Temple carried away to 
Samaria. Jeroboam II., who reigned for forty-one years, 
followed up his fathers successes, and re-established the 
ancient frontier of the country ; but at his death an inter- 
regnum of eleven years of anarchy followed. At length 
his son Zachariah, the last of the house of Jehu, obtained 
the sceptre ; but only to hold it for a few months. He 
was assassinated by Shallum, and Shallum by Menahem, 
who succeeded in keeping possession of the throne for ten 
years, but only by the aid of Pul, king of Assyria, that 
mighty empire which was beginning to assume a threatening 
aspect towards Israel. Pekah, an able usurper, whose 
reign lasted for nearly thirty years, delayed for a time the 
impending ruin : but under his successor, the feeble 
Hoshea, it was consummated. The country was invaded 
by Shalmaneser, the Assyrian king, who at first contented 
himself with laying it under tribute ; but, having detected 
Hoshea- in a secret correspondence with the king of Egypt, 


he marched against Samaria, took it after a siege of three 
years, and transplanted to the interior of his empire the 
greater part of the ten tribes, who thenceforward disappear 
from the page of history. Their place was supplied by a 
race from Assyria called Cuthceans, who partly retained 
their old superstitions, and partly adopted the worship of 
Jehovah ; whence in after times arose the mixed people 
known by the name of the Samaritans. The separate 
kingdom of Israel, from its commencement to its close, 
lasted 254 years. 

The eye of the historian rests with greater pleasure 
upon the sister kingdom of Judah. Intervals of peace 
and prosperity, under the rule of monarchs distinguished 
for their piety, grace its annals. The chief source of 
danger was connexion with the impious kings of Israel, 
either in the way of alliances or hostility. Asa and 
Jehoshaphat, the immediate successors of Abijam, son of 
Rehoboam, both reigned in the fear of God, until, in an 
evil hour, the latter married his son Jehoram to Athaliah, 
daughter of Ahab. The fruits of this connexion were 
speedily visible. Bloodshed, idolatry, and political disas- 
ter marked Jehoram's career. The Edomites recovered 
their freedom, and seized upon Elath, the only port on the 
Red Sea remaining to Judah ; and the Philistines and 
Arabians invaded the country. A loathsome disease 
terminated Jehoram's life, and Ahaziah his son was 
slain by order of Jehu. Athaliah, the queen-mother, then 
showed herself a worthy descendant of Ahab : she mas- 
sacred all the seed-royal save one child, Joash, who was 
secreted by his aunt, and for six years maintained herself 
in power ; in the seventh, a conspiracy, headed by the high- 
priest, broke out, Athaliah was slain, and the rightful heir 
restored. But Joash's reign belied the expectations which 
had been formed from its commencement : after the death 


of Jehoiada, the high-priest, idolatry again began to pre- 
vail ; the faithful warnings of Zachariah, the son of 
Jehoiada, were requited by a cruel death ; and at length, 
after sustaining several defeats from the Syrians, the king 
was murdered by his own officers. The same fate befell 
his son Amaziah. The long and tranquil reign of Uzziah, 
or Azariah, restored the country to some degree of its 
ancient prosperity ; the Philistines were subdued, and 
Elath recovered : but a relapse took place under Ahaz, one 
of the most ungodly kings that ever filled the throne. 
Defeated by the Israelites in a great battle, in which he 
lost 120,000 men, and harassed by the attacks of the 
Edomites and Philistines, he had recourse to the dangerous 
expedient of requesting the protection of Tiglath-pileser, 
the Assyrian monarch, who levied a heavy tribute upon his 
ally, while he afforded no effectual assistance. Judah 
seemed on the point of sharing the fate of Samaria, when 
Hezekiah's reformation changed the aspect of things, and 
the haughty Sennacherib was compelled, by the miraculous 
destruction of his army, to retire from the walls of 
Jerusalem. It was, however, but a passing gleam : 
Manasseh's wicked and disastrous administration succeeded ; 
and when Josiah, the last hope of the nation, was killed in 
battle, it became evident that the dissolutioa of the king- 
dom was at hand. Jerusalem was first taken by Necho, 
king of Egypt, and then by Nebuchadnezzar (b.c 601), 
who carried Jehoiakim the king a prisoner to Babylon. 
Eeinstated on the throne, Jehoiakim attempted to throw 
off the Assyrian yoke, but, being slain in a skirmish, trans- 
mitted his sceptre, and the war, to his son Jehoiachim. 
Nebuchadnezzar a second time captured Jerusalem, plun- 
dered the Temple, and sent the king and the royal family, 
with the useful part of the population, to Babylon. Over 
the depopulated province he placed Zedekiah, who for some 


years reigned in a state of vassalage ; but, on his revolt, 
for the third and last time the Assyrian conqueror appeared 
before the city ; reduced it, after some resistance, by 
famine ; carried Zedekiah, after having put his eyes out, to 
Babylon ; razed the Temple and chief buildings to the 
ground ; and seized all that remained of the treasures. 
The greater part of the people was transported to Babylon, 
a few of the poorer class being left under the command of 
Gedaliah, to cultivate the land. Thus ended the monarchy 
of Judah, and, as it might have seemed to human eye, the 
existence of the Jews as a distinct nation. But they were 
safe in the custody of prophecy ; and after seventy years of 
captivity, they commenced a new career in their native 
land, to terminate in a more terrible and lasting cata- 

The territory of Judah, after the removal of the Jews 
to Babylon, was not peopled, like that of Israel, with 
colonists from Assyria, but remained during the captivity 
in possession of a remnant of the poorer natives, under a 
Babylonish governor, Gedaliah. A conspiracy, headed by 
Ishmael, a man of royal blood , resulted in the assassination 
of Gedaliah; but the assassin failing in his ambitious 
projects, was compelled to fly, and a large body of the 
Jews, carrying with them the prophet Jeremiah, took 
refuge in Egypt from the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar. 
Egypt itself, however, about eighteen years afterwards, 
was invaded and conquered by the Assyrian monarch. 

The situation of the Jews as captives was better than 
they had reason to expect. They seem to have been per- 
mitted to settle as independent communities in various 
parts of the empire, and to have maintained without 
molestation the distinctive features of their religious 
worship, so far as was practicable, in a heathen land : on 
the river Chebar, in particular, north of Babylon, a large 


body was established, among whom Ezekiel lived and 
prophesied. Daniel, the contemporary of that prophet, 
one of the captives of distinction who had been carried 
away as hostages at the first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, 
rose by a series of providential circumstances to a post of 
dignity at the Babylonish court, and continued to fill the 
highest offices under the reigns both of Darius, who, by 
the defeat of Belshazzar, put an end to the Chaldasan 
empire, and of Cyrus, who succeeded to the undisputed 
throne of the three combined nations, the Babylonians, 
the Medes, and the Persians. Soon after the accession of 
Cyrus, Daniel, consulting the prophecies of Jeremiah, per- 
ceived that the predicted termination of the captivity was 
at hand ; and through his influence, no doubt, the welcome 
edict was promulgated, permitting the Jews to return to 
their native land. 

Many preferred remaining in Babylonia, where they 
had formed connexions and acquired property, and the first 
detachment under Zerubbabel, or Shesh-bazzar, the lineal 
descendant of their kings, numbered less than 50,000. 
Out of the twenty-four courses of the priests four joined 
the returning exiles. Arrived in Jerusalem, their first 
care was to re-establish the temple-worship ; and amidst 
the acclamations of the younger, and the tears of the elder, 
part of the assembly, the latter of whom contrasted the 
magnificence of Solomon's Temple with the comparative 
poverty of the new building, the foundations of the second 
temple were laid, and the sacrifices resumed. At this 
point, however, difficulties occurred which suspended the 
operations for several years. The Samaritans, descendants 
of the Cuthcean colonists who peopled the land of Israel, 
claimed, on account of their mixed blood, a share in the 
restoration of the national fabric; the claim was con- 
temptuously rejected, and from that time an implacable 


animosity existed between the two nations. In revenge- 
for the affront, the Samaritans directed all their efforts to- 
thwart the projects of the Jews; and by their influence at 
the Persian court, during the rest of the reign of Cyrus r 
and that of Cambyses and Smerdis, they succeeded in 
arresting the progress of the building. 

The accession of Darius Hystaspes (b.c. 521) changed 
the aspect of things. The edict of Cyrus was confirmed 
by Darius, who even compelled the Samaritans to con- 
tribute to the completion of the temple ; and accordingly, 
in the sixth year of that monarch's reign, it rose from its 
ruins, and was dedicated afresh with great solemnity. 
The reign of his successor Ahasuerus, commonly supposed 
to be Xerxes, was marked by the imminent danger and 
signal deliverance of the Babylonish Jews, in memory of 
which the feast of Purim was instituted. The mission of 
Ezra to set in order the civil and ecclesiastical affairs of 
Judaea, and that of Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of 
Jerusalem, took place in the following reign : these eminent 
men, assisted by the prophet Malachi, whose writings 
close the volume of inspiration, successfully accomplished 
their respective tasks, the former devoting himself parti- 
cularly to the establishment of the Old Testament canon. 
About this time, the rival worship on Mount Gerizim was 
established by Sanballat, the Horonite; in revenge, it is 
said, for the expulsion of his son-in-law Manasseh by 
Nehemiah. Manasseh was installed high-priest of the 
new temple; and thus the schism between the Jews and 
the Samaritans was consummated. 




Sect. I. Introductoivj \ 

The twelve following books of Scripture, from Joshua 
to Nehemiah inclusive, have been called " the historical 
books " ; though the name does not seem very appropriate, 
since a great portion of the Pentateuch and some parts of 
the prophets contain historical matter. The first seven 
are by the Jews called the " former prophets," because 
they are supposed to have been written by men endowed 
with the prophetic gift. According to the Jewish division 
of the canon of Scripture, the twelve form but six books ; 
Ruth being classed with Judges, Nehemiah with Ezra, 
and the two Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, 
being respectively counted as one. The period over which 
they extend is about 1000 years, commencing with the 
death of Moses, and terminating with the restoration of 
religion by Nehemiah, after the return from the Babylonish 

Since it is impossible to determine, with any certainty, 
who the authors of these books were, it is an interesting 
question, on what grounds they are to be considered as 
authentic. The direct reply is, of course, that they were 
written by inspiration of God, inspiration revealing, if 
necessary, as well as superintending : but it must likewise 
be remembered, that among no people more carefully than 
among the Israelites were records of the national annals 
preserved, and that from the first. The great principle 
of the agrarian law of Moses, that lands should not be 


permanently alienable from tribes and families, rendered it 
necessary that accurate genealogies should be kept ; and 
it was an ordinary part of the prophetic office to draw up 
authentic memorials of public events as they occurred. 
Thus we read of the Books of Gad and Nathan, 1 Iddo and 
Ahijah ; 2 and frequently of the Book of Jasher. 3 There 
were, therefore, no doubt, ample materials in the national 
archives from which the selection contained in the canon- 
ical Scriptures could be made ; and in this instance Inspi- 
ration may be conceived of as merely suggesting the 
selection, and ensuring accuracy of statement. 

The uses of the historical Scriptures are manifold. 
They furnish the most impressive lessons of the corrup- 
tion and weakness of human nature ; of the goodness of 
God ; of His controlling providence, over both the chosen 
people and the heathen ; of His faithfulness to His pro- 
mises. 4 Their peculiarities arise from their strictly 
religious scope. What secular historians would have 
enlarged upon, the mighty actions of illustrious men, 
or the revolutions of empires, are passed over in silence, 
or briefly noticed : what concerns the church, or the 
progress of religion, is detailed at length. Hence the 
large space devoted to biographical memoirs. The history 
of an important reign is given in a few sentences ; the 
history of a poor widow occupies a chapter. 3 The refer- 
ence, more or less direct, to the Messiah gives unity and 
significance to the whole. 

Sect. II. Booh of Joshua. 
The Book of Joshua is so called rather from its con- 

1 1 Chron. xxix. 29. 2 2 Chron. ix. 29. 3 Josh. x. 13. 

4 See " Sermons on the Historical Scriptures," by Dr. Hawkins, 
Provost of Oriel. 

6 ] Kings, xvii. ; 2 Kings, iv. 


taming an account of that warrior's achievements than 
from his having been the author of it. That Joshua 
himself left memorials of his wars, and of the portioning 
of the land of Canaan, is very probable ; that if not he, 
some contemporary, did so, may be considered certain : 
but the book, in its present form, could hardly have been 
written in the time of the Jewish leader. Historical 
notices which it contains prove that it was not coeval with 
the transactions it records. In c. xv. 63, the Jebusites 
are spoken of as dwelling with the Israelites at Jerusalem ; 
which did not take place till after Joshua's death. 1 In 
several passages memorials are said to exist " unto this 
day;" 2 a phrase which betrays a later hand. The account 
of Joshua's death, c. xxiv., must, of course, be a supple- 
ment. Yet the passage relating to the Jebusites shows 
that it must have been written before the age of David, 
for that monarch expelled the Jebusites from Jerusalem. 
More than this cannot be affirmed. The true authorship 
is unknown. That it must, however, have been compiled 
from authentic documents is evident, both from the accu- 
racy with which matters of the greatest public importance 
are narrated, such as the division of the land among the 
tribes, which evidently was copied from some coeval 
record the authority of which did not admit of dispute ; 
and from the discourses with which it abounds, which, 
apparently, are given just as they were spoken. 

This book comprises the history of about seventeen 
years ; and its special object is to exhibit the faithfulness 
of Jehovah in the fulfilment of the promises made to 

The Samaritans have two books called Joshua, written 
in Arabic with Samaritan letters. They consist chiefly of 
fabulous tales. 

1 Judges, i. 21. 2 Josh. iv. 9 ; xvi. 10 ; xix. 47. 


Though Joshua is not expressly said to be a type of 
Christ, we cannot overlook the significance of the fact that, 
not Moses the lawgiver, but Joshua, i. e. Jesus, or saviour, 
conducted the chosen people into the promised land. 

The book contains, 1. An account of the conquests of 
the Israelites under Joshua, including the miraculous 
passage of Jordan ; the capture of Jericho, and of Ai ; the 
war with the Canaanitish kings, and the miracle of the 
sun's standing still ; and the defeat of Jabin and his 
confederates at the waters of Merom (cc. i.-xiii.). 2. The 
division of the conquered land, with the appointment of the 
cities of the Levites, and the cities of refuge, according 
to the injunctions of Moses (cc. xiv.-xxii.). 3. The last 
counsels, death, and burial of Joshua (cc. xxiii. xxiv.). 

Sect. III. — Book of Judges. 

The remarks which have been made on the Book of 
Joshua are, to a great extent, applicable to that of 
Judges. The authorship of it is unknown, though the 
Jews assign it to Samuel. It derives its name from its 
containing the history of the Hebrew commonwealth under 
a certain number of judges, or special deliverers, raised 
up, from time to time, to rescue the Israelites from the 
oppression of their enemies, and to reform corruptions in 
religion. From c. xix. 1, we gather that it was written 
after the commencement of the monarchy, and from 
c. i. 21, that it was written before the accession of David : 
consequently its probable date is the reign of Saul. Some 
critics contend that the first sixteen chapters were composed 
by an earlier, and the remainder by a later, writer. It 
comprises a period of about 300 years. 

The author himself states the object he had in view, 
viz. to prove that the calamities which the people suffered 
were tne consequence of their unfaithfulness to the 


covenant (c. ii. 11-23), and to set forth the goodness of 
God, so strikingly manifested in His readiness to accept 
their repentance, and grant deliverance. The book 
presents a lively picture of a turbulent and ill-cemented 
confederacy : the public roads insecure, the defenceless 
villages liable to the raids of marauders, the administration 
of justice irregular. The Israelites, after Joshua's death, 
underwent a change of character for the worse ; they ex- 
changed the pursuits of war for those of agriculture, and 
permitted their inveterate enemies to regain their strength 
and courage. The consequence was, that they became 
involved in perpetual wars, from which they generally 
came forth with little credit. Their intercourse with the 
heathen nations led to idolatry, and this to national 
degradation and calamity. 

The Book of Judges may be arranged under these 
main divisions : — The first describes the national declension 
that took place (cc. i. ii.) ; the second contains the exploits 
and administration of thirteen judges, commencing with 
Othniel and ending with Samson (cc. iii.-xvi.) ; the third, 
which is of the nature of an appendix, contains: 1. The 
history of Micah, and the setting up of idolatry by the 
tribe of Dan at Laish. 2. The account of a detestable 
crime, which issued in the almost total destruction of the 
tribe of Benjamin (cc. xvii.-xxi.). 

The following is a table of the judges : — 

Othniel King of Mesopotamia. 

Ehud Moabites. 

Shamgar Philistines. 

Deborah Jabin, king of Canaan. 

Gideon Midianites. 




Jephthah Ammonites. 




Samson Philistines. 

Sect. IV.— Book of Ruth. 

The Book of Ruth may be regarded as a sequel to that of 
Judges, and an introduction to the Books of Samuel. The 
date and authorship are unknown, but Jewish tradition 
ascribes it to Samuel. The transactions it records 
happened in the time of the judges, probably during the 
administration of Gideon. A Jewish family, of which 
Elimelech was the head, is compelled, by a famine, to 
migrate to Moab, where his two sons married Moabitish 
women, Orpah and Ruth. On the death of the sons, 
Naomi, the widowed parent, resolves to return to her own 
country, and Ruth accompanies her. They discover Boaz, 
a wealthy kinsman, who receives them kindly, and marries 
Ruth. From this union David sprang, the progenitor of 
the Messiah. The object of the book is, plainly, to 
establish the fact of David's descent, and, perhaps, by the 
adoption of Ruth into the Jewish Church, to intimate the 
future ingathering of the Gentiles. 

The book contains, — 1. The bereavement of Naomi, 
and of Ruth, and their return to Bethlehem (c. i.). 2. 
Their interview with Boaz, and his marriage (cc. ii.-iv.). 
3. The birth of Obed, the grandfather of David, and the 
genealogy of David (c. iv. 13-22). 

Sect. V. — Tico Boohs of Samuel. 
The two Books of Samuel made but one in the Jewish 
Canon, and from their structure it is apparent that they 
form but one treatise. The question of the authorship is 


attended with difficulty ; but the more prevalent opinion 
is, that the first twenty-four chapters were written by 
Samuel himself, and the rest by the prophets Nathan and 
Gad, the contemporaries of David. The books contain 
the history of the two last judges, Eli and Samuel, and of 
the two first kings of Israel, Saul and David ; the former 
extending over a period of about eighty years, the latter 
over one of nearly forty. 

In the First Book of Samuel we have to observe, — 
1. The magistracy of Eli, including the birth of Samuel, 
with the song of his mother, Hannah ; the iniquity of 
Hophni and Phinehas, and the weakness of their father, 
Eli ; the call of Samuel, and denunciations against the 
house of Eli ; prophecy revived in the person of Samuel ; 
the capture of the ark, and death of Eli (cc. i.-iv.). 2. The 
administration of Samuel. The ark is restored by the 
Philistines. National repentance at Mizpeh, and defeat 
of the Philistines. Peace during the rest of Samuel's 
administration (cc. v.-vii.). 3. The people desire a king. 
History of Saul : his election, successes against the 
Philistines, and rejection for disobedience. Early part of 
David's life : his anointing by Samuel ; his combat with 
Goliath ; call to court ; persecutions by Saul ; flight and 
wanderings (cc. viii.-xxvii.). 4. The concluding portion of 
Saul's life : his consultation with the witch of Endor ; 
battle with the Philistines at Gilboa, and death (cc. 

The Second Book of Samuel describes the transfer of 
the kingdom from the tribe of Benjamin to that of Judah 
(Gen. xlix. 10). It contains, — 1. The prosperous part of 
David's reign ; his triumph over Saul's party, and crowning 
at Hebron ; victories over the Jebusites, Philistines, 
Moabites, and Ammonites (cc. i.-x.). 2. The disasters 
occasioned by his sin in the matter of Uriah. Domestic 


troubles from the incest of Amnon. Rebellion and death 
of Absalom. Return of David to Jerusalem, and in- 
surrection of Sheba. Punishment of the sons of Saul. 
David's second sin, in numbering the people. Pestilence, 
and the king's sacrifice and intercession (cc. xi.-xxiv.). 

Sect. VI. — Books of Kings. 

These two books, like the former, form but one in the 
Jewish Canon. Respecting the authorship nothing certain 
is known ; but it is evident that they must have been 
compiled at a late period, since the second book concludes 
with the liberation of Jehoiachim, king of Judah, from 
captivity in Babylon, an event which took place about 
twenty-eight years after the destruction of Jerusalem. 
The uniformity of style and of idiom throughout prove 
them to be the production of one writer. Opinion has 
been divided between Jeremiah and Ezra, as the author : 
Jewish tradition is in favour of the former ; and un- 
doubtedly there is a strong resemblance of style between 
the prophecies of Jeremiah and the Books of Kings. Who- 
ever the writer was, he must have compiled his work from 
ancient documents, the annals, probably, of contemporaneous 
prophets or historians. The Books of the Chronicles of 
the kings of Israel and Judah, so often referred to by the 
inspired writer, were memorials of this kind ; and so, no 
doubt, were the books of the acts of Solomon, 1 of the 
prophet Jehu, 2 and of the acts of Uzziah by the prophet 
Isaiah. 3 From these copious materials the inspired writer 
gives a selection, suited to the purpose which he had in 
view. This purpose seems to have been, to present a vivid 
picture of the theocratical government : hence he enlarges 
upon the Temple, as the visible court of Jehovah ; upon the 
piety or wickedness of kings, as Jehovah's vice-gerents ; 
1 1 Kings, xi. 41. a 2 Chron. xx. 34. 3 2 Chron. xxvi. 22. 


and especially upon the function and influence of the 
prophets, who occupy a very prominent position during 
this period. This, indeed, may be called the principal age 
of prophecy. The period comprised in both books is about 
426 years. 

The First Book of Kings consists of two main divisions, 
— 1. The history of the undivided kingdom under Solomon. 
2. The commencement of the history of the divided kingdom. 

Under the former head we have, — 1. The association of 
Solomon in the kingdom during the latter days of David. 
His accession to the sole rule. The extent and splendour 
of his kingdom. Building and dedication of the Temple. 
His foreign commerce. His lapse into idolatry, and the 
troubles consequent thereupon (cc. i.-xi.). Under the 
latter : — The accession of Rehoboam, and revolt of the ten 
tribes, under Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Policy of 
Jeroboam to prevent the ten tribes from repairing to 
Jerusalem to worship. The reigns of Abijam and Asa, 
kings of Judah, and the contemporary reigns of Nadab, 
Baasha, Elah, Zimri, and Omri. Jehoshaphat, king of 
Judah, and Ahab, contemporaries. Elijah prophesies (cc. 
xii.-xxii.). The Second Book of Kings likewise forms two 
principal divisions: — 1. The history of both monarchies, 
until the termination of the kingdom of Israel. 2. That 
of the kingdom of Judah, until the Babylonish captivity. 

The joint history presents us with a long succession of 
reigns ; those of Israel uniformly wicked, those of Judah 
of a mixed character. The principal historical personages 
are, Elisha the prophet, successor of Elijah ; Jehu, the 
destroyer of Ahab's dynasty ; Athaliah, the female usurper 
of the throne of Judah ; and Jehoash, the rightful heir 
thereto. In the reign of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, 
Samaria, the capital of the kingdom, was taken by Shalma- 
neser, and the ten tribes transplanted to Assyria (cc.i.-xvii .). 


The history of Judah contains, — the pious reigns of 
Hezekiah and Josiah, between which those of Manasseh 
and Amon, of an opposite character, intervene ; and the 
capture of Jerusalem, under Zedekiah, the last king, 
who was carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (cc. 

Sect. VII. — Bodies of Chronicles. 

The Books of Chronicles received their present title 
from Jerome. By the Jews they are called, the Words of 
Days, i.e. Diaries, or Annals; and by the Septuagint 
translators, Ux^xXn^o^ivot, or things omitted, because they 
supply omissions in the other historical books. Though 
they go over much of the same ground as the Books of 
Kings, they possess a distinct character of their own. 
After a short epitome of the Jewish history from Adam, 
the writer devotes his chief attention to the fortunes of 
the kingdom of Judah, the affairs of that of Israel being 
comparatively passed over^in silence. As compared with 
the Books of Kings those of Chronicles are more didactic, 
and are more occupied with ecclesiastical changes and 
appointments. They were evidently compiled from 'the 
same sources; but, from the circumstance just mentioned, 
it has been conjectured that the writer made use chiefly, if 
not exclusively, of the annals of Judah. 

Concerning the author we have no certain knowledge. 
From 2 Chron. xxxv. 25, it appears that the books were 
written after the time of Jeremiah; and the history is 
carried clown to the restoration of Cyrus (2 Chron. xxxvi. 
22). The Jews ascribe the authorship to Ezra ; and 
there is, no doubt, a resemblance between the language of 
these books and that of the Book of Ezra: but against 
this supposition the fact of Zerubbabel's genealogy being 
continued to the time of Alexander (c. iii. 10-24), when 


Ezra was no longer living, may seem to militate. If 
Ezra was the author, this genealogy must have been 
added by a later hand. 

The design of the writer seems to be threefold : — First, 
to fix the genealogies of the Hebrews returning from capti- 
vity, in order that the line of descent of the Messiah might 
not be involved in confusion. Secondly, to describe the 
original distribution of lands among the tribes and families, 
in order that to each their ancient inheritance might re- 
turn. Thirdly, to facilitate the re-establishment of reli- 
gious worship, by detailing the genealogies of the priests 
and Levites, and the ritual arrangements and reformations 
of David, and other pious kings. The whole period em- 
braced is not less than 3468 years. 

From c« i. to c. ix., the First Book of Chronicles is occu- 
pied by genealogies, which are, however, not always perfect. 
The rest of the book, and the second book, relate the same 
history as the Books of Samuel and Kings : it is not, there- 
fore, necessary to recapitulate it. Some of the particulars 
omitted in the former books, and supplied by Chronicles, 
are; — The regulations of David for the service of the 
Temple (1 Chron. xxiii.-xxvi.); the defeat of Jeroboam by 
Abijah, king of Judah, which crippled the resources of 
Israel for a long time (2 Chron. xiii.); the successful cam- 
paign of Asa against the Ethiopians (2 Chron. xiv.); the 
prosperous reign of Jehoshaphat, including the reforms, 
civil and religious, which he introduced, and his decisive 
defeat of the Moabites who had invaded Judah (2 Chron. 
xvii.-xx.); Jehoram's idolatry (2 Chron. xxi. 11); the 
stoning of Zechariah the priest by Joash (Ibid, xxi v. 21); 
Amaziah's army, and idolatry (Ibid. xxv. 6, 14); Jotham's 
war (Ibid, xxvii. 5) ; Hezekiah's cleansing of the Temple 
(Ibid. xxix. 3, 21, 31); Manasseh's repentance and resto- 
ration (Ibid, xxxiii. 12-20). 


Sect. VIII.— Booh of Ezra. 

This and the following Book of Nehemiah were by the 
Jews united in one volume, under the title of the first and 
second books of Ezra. Two other apocryphal books, 
bearing the name of Esdras, are extant. Ezra has always 
been considered the author ; though some have found a 
difficulty in the writer's speaking of himself as present at 
Jerusalem in the reign of Darius Hystaspes (c. v. 4), whereas 
Ezra did not go thither until nearly sixty years later. 
Hence the first six chapters have been ascribed to a different 
hand. But nothing is more probable than that Ezra, on 
his arrival at Jerusalem (c. vii. 1), found a record of what 
had taken place previously, and transferred it verbatim to 
his own work. From the seventh chapter Ezra speaks of 
himself as being present. Part of the book (c. iv. 8-vi. 
18 ; and vii. 12-46), consisting chiefly of decrees and con- 
versations, is in Chaldee. The history extends from B.C. 
536 to b.c. 457, about 79 years. 

Ezra was a scribe and priest, a lineal descendant of 
Phineas, the son of Aaron. He led the second expedition 
of the Jews from exile. He seems to have remained at 
Jerusalem ; where, according to Jewish tradition, he died 
at the age of a hundred and twenty years. His name has 
always been held by his countrymen in the highest venera- 

The book consists of two divisions : — 1 . The edict of 
Cyrus, permitting the Jews to return to their own land. 
The first expedition under Zerubbabel, or Shesh-bazzar. 
Commencement of the rebuilding of the Temple, and oppo- 
sition of the Samaritans. Decree of Darius Hystaspes, 
and completion of the Temple (cc. i.-vi.). 2. Arrival of 
Ezra at Jerusalem with a commission from Artaxerxes 
Longimanus. Eeformation effected by him. 


Sect. IX. — Booh of Nehemiah. 

Nehemiah, the author of this book, was cupbearer to 
Artaxerxes Longimanus, from whom he obtained per- 
mission to visit Jerusalem in the capacity of governor, for 
the purpose of placing the defences of the city in a proper 
condition. He is supposed to have been of the tribe of 
Judah, and house of David. After his first visit, which 
lasted for twelve years, he returned to Persia, and again 
was permitted to go to Jerusalem, where, it is said, he 
ended his days. Part of the book is a compilation from 
ancient registers (cc. vii. 6-73 — xii. 1-26). It was 
probably written towards the close of Nehemiah's ad- 
ministration, which lasted about thirty-six years. 

The book contains, — 1. The commission and departure 
of Nehemiah (cc. i. 1 — ii. 1-11.) 2. The repairing of the 
walls of Jerusalem, and opposition of Sanballat and Tobiah 
(cc. ii. 11-iv.). 3. Reformation of the abuses of usury 
(c. v.). 4. Celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, and 
public reading of the law (c. viii.). 5. Solemn fast and 
humiliation, and national covenant to serve God (cc. ix. x.). 
6. Second reformation of Nehemiah on his return to Jeru- 
salem (c. xiii.). 

Sect. X. — Booh of Esther. 

This book derives its name, not from its author, but 
from the history of the person who chiefly figures in it. 
It is held in the highest veneration by the Jews. Various 
opinions have been held respecting its authorship. Some 
have ascribed it to Ezra, others to Mordecai, while a third 
supposition is that it is a translation by a Persian Jew 
from the records of the reign of Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes 
Longimanus. Hence, it is suggested, the absence of the 
name of God, the use of the Persian word Purim, the 


minute acquaintance -with the details of the Persian em- 
pire, and the designation of Esther as " the queen," and 
Mordecai as " the Jew." Its canonicity has never been 
doubted. The institution of the festival of Purim, which 
is observed to the present time, is an evidence of the 
reality of the transactions recorded. 

The book relates, — 1. The elevation of Esther to the 
throne (cc. i. ii.). 2. The advancement of Haman, and 
his plot to destroy the Jews (c. iii.). 3. The measures of 
Mordecai to avert the calamity. Defeat of Haman's plot 
against Mordecai and against the Jews. His execution 
(cc. iv.-vii.). 4. The triumph and joy of the Jews. 
Feast of Purim (cc. viii.-x.). The history may be placed 
between the sixth and seventh chapters of Ezra. 



Sect. I. — On Hebrew Poetry in general. 

The five following books of Scripture, Job, Psalms, 
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles, are, from the form 
of their composition, called "the poetical books." Though 
some of them are anterior in date to the historical books, 
they are, in our Bibles, placed after the latter, and together. 
In the Jewish Canon they form part of the Hagiographa. 

A few remarks may here be fitly introduced on the 
nature of Hebrew poetry in general. As regards the 
Hebrew versification, several opinions have been advanced. 
It has been maintained that something analogous to the 
Greek and Roman metres may be discovered in it: of 


this theory the principal defenders are among the an- 
cients, Philo and Josephns, who discover in the lyrical 
effusions of the Pentateuch, and in the Psalms of David, 
trimeters and hexameters, and Jerome, who thought he 
perceived in the Psalms iambic, alcaic, and sapphic 
metres ; among the moderns, Gomar, Sir W. Jones, 
Michaelis. Others, like Lowth, 1 while assenting to the 
metrical theory, hold that the ancient pronunciation of the 
Hebrew being lost it is impossible to discover what the 
metres were. A few have even maintained the existence 
of rhyme, or something like it, in Hebrew poetry. The 
opinion best supported by the facts of the case, and by the 
authority of the learned among the Jews, is, that metre, 
properly so called, never formed an element of Hebrew 
versification. Nor can we distinguish poetical from prose 
compositions by alphabetical commencement of lines, 
foreign words, or sublime expressions : 2 for, as regards the 
first, this arrangement occurs but in twelve poems of the 
Old Testament ; and as regards the two latter, foreign 
words and sublime expressions are found in the prose as 
well as the poetical books. The true characteristic of 
Hebrew poetry is what has been called parallelism, or a 
rhythmical correspondence between the members of each 
period, so that the same thought is twice expressed in 
different words. The following, from Job, vii. 1, 2, is a 
good specimen : — 

" Is there not a struggle to man upon the earth ? 
Are not his days like those of an hireling ? 
Like a servant, he gapeth after the shadow : 
Like a hireling, he looketh for his reward." 

The poetical parts of the Old Testament are all con- 
structed, more or less clearly, on this principle. Critics 3 
have enumerated several kinds of parallelism, such as, — 
1 Praelect. iii. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 


synonymous, when the members express the same thought, 
as in the instance from Job above ; antithetic, in which 
the two members correspond by opposition, as Prov. x. 17, 
" The memory of the just is blessed ; but the name of the 
wicked shall rot ;" and synthetic, which consists merely in 
a general correspondence in the form and construction of 
the sentences, as in Ps. xix. 10, " More to be desired than 
gold, and much fine gold : sweeter also than honey, and 
the dropping of honeycombs." The last class includes 
several subordinate varieties, such as double synonyme 
(Isa. i. 3), and double antithetic (Hab. iii. 17). This 
last is very common in the prophets. 

Parallelism has been discovered in the New Testament. 
Bishop Jebb was the first to point out this peculiarity. 
Certain parts, such as the hymns of praise in St. Luke, 
clearly bear out the learned prelate's theory ; but it may be 
questioned whether he has not, with the zeal of a dis- 
coverer, pushed it beyond the limits of sobriety. It is a 
remarkable property of the Hebrew poetry, arising from 
the simplicity of its rhythm, that it admits of being trans- 
lated, without suffering much in the process. We know 
how impossible it is adequately to represent Homer or 
Virgil in a modern dress : but our English translation of 
the Bible, for example, conveys not only the spirit but the 
parallel cadences of the original with wonderful accuracy. 

Hebrew poetry is of various nature : — lyric, as the 
Psalms ; didactic, as the Books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes ; 
dramatic, as Job and Canticles ; rhetorical, as the prophets. 
From its consecration to the service of the sanctuary, it 
soars to a height which that of no other nation has been 
able to attain. 

Sect. II. — Book of Job. 
A large volume might be filled with the discussions to 


which this book has given rise. The author, the age, and 
the design, have all been disputed. With respect to the 
first, total uncertainty prevails. The book has been as- 
signed to Elihu, Solomon, Isaiah, Moses, Job himself; but 
on grounds entirely conjectural. The favourite hypothesis 
is, that Moses composed it ; but to this there are in- 
superable objections, such as the total absence of allusion 
to the Mosaic ordinances, and the difference of style from 
that of the Pentateuch. The authorship is concealed in 
impenetrable obscurity. We have some data for fixing 
the age, within certain limits, though the range is very 
extended. The book was known to Ezekiel, Jeremiah, 
Isaiah, and the Psalmist, as appears from the imitations of 
it that occur in those prophets ; it must, therefore, have 
been in existence towards the close of the eighth century 
before Christ. More than this cannot be ascertained ; but 
a high antiquity has reasonably been assigned to it from 
its silence on the Mosaic law, and on the destruction of 
Sodom and Gomorrah ; from the only form of idolatry 
mentioned being that of the sun and moon, confessedly the 
most ancient ; from the length of Job's life ; and from the 
manners and customs recorded, which are those of the 
earliest times. 

The very existence of Job as a real person has been 
questioned, but without reason. He is classed in the Old 
Testament with Noah and Daniel; 1 and alluded to in the 
New in terms which forbid the supposition of the history's 
being mythical. 2 We have no reason to doubt that, in the 
main, the narrative is one of facts. Uz, the scene of the 
poem, is supposed to have been in Idumasa. 

The question discussed by Job and his friends, with an 
acuteness and sublimity that have never been surpassed, is 
a branch of the great problem which has exercised thinking 
1 Ezek. xiv. 14. 2 Jam. v. 11. 


minds in all ages — the existence of evil. Job, a righteous 
man, is overtaken by calamities of the severest kind ; how 
is the fact to be accounted for ? His three friends attribute 
it to sins open or concealed, of which he has been guilty : 
he defends his innocence. Elihu gives the true solution, 
as far as was consistent with the existing state of reve- 
lation ; he shows that affliction is a blessing in disguise, 
and, when sanctified, conducts to a happy issue. 

The book consists of, — 1. The historical introduction, 
containing the narrative of Job's wealth, and of his sudden 
reverses (cc. i. ii.). 2. The discussions between Job and 
his friends. First discussion, — Eliphaz the Temanite 
(cc. iii.-vii.); Bildad the Shuhite (cc. viii.-x.); and Zophar 
the Naamathite (cc. xi.-xiv.). The controversy resumed 
by the three friends (cc. xv.-xxi.) ; and again (cc. xxii.- 
xxxi.). The substance of these discussions is the same in 
all, viz. the assumed necessary connexion between afflic- 
tion and sin, and Job's protestations of innocence. 3. The 
appearance of Elihu on the scene. The disputants all 
censured, as reasoning partially (cc. xxxii.-xxxvii.). 4. 
Address of Jehovah ; termination of the controversy ; and 
restoration of Job to more than his former prosperity 
(cc. xxxviii.-xlii.). 

Sect. III. — Booh of Psalms. 

The Book of Psalms is a collection of lyric odes, in- 
tended to be sung to instruments of music. The word 
Psalter, sometimes applied to the collection, properly sig- 
nifies a musical instrument. They were composed at dif- 
ferent times, through a period ranging from Moses to after 
the Babylonish captivity. By the Jews the volume is 
called " The Book of Praises," from the larger part of its 
contents. The age of David was the golden period of 
Hebrew lyric poetry. He was not only himself the chief 


composer of these odes, but placed the musical arrangements 
of the Temple services on a new and enlarged footing. 1 
The canonicity of this book rests upon most convincing 
evidence. By our Lord and His apostles it is referred to 
at least seventy times. 

According to the titles prefixed to the Psalms, David 
was the author of seventy-four of them ; Asaph, of twelve; 
the sons of Korah, of eleven; Solomon, of two; and Moses, 
Heman, and Ethan, of one, respectively. These titles are 
not of inspired authority ; they are not, however, to be 
rejected, unless internal evidence is decisive against them. 
Upwards of thirty Psalms have no inscription whatever. 
Of these, however, two, the second and the ninety-fifth, 
are, in the New Testament, ascribed to David. 2 The anony- 
mous Psalms are by the Jews assigned to various authors, 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, and Zechariah ; but probably 
only on conjecture. 

By whom the present collection was made we cannot 
determine. Most probably it was formed gradually, at 
different times, and by different persons. In the Hebrew 
MSS. it is divided into five books, each of which ends 
with a doxology. This division must be of ancient date, 
since it is found in the Septuagint. The Septuagint adds 
a Psalm to the canonical 150, descriptive of the combat of 
David with Goliath ; but both by Jews and Christians it 
has been uniformly rejected. Seven of the Psalms (xxv., 
xxxiv., xxxvii., cxi., cxii., cxix., cxlv.) are constructed on 
the alphabetical principle. 

iso very accurate classification of the Psalms can be 
given. The following is from De Wette's Introduction: — 

1. Hymns of praise to Jehovah. Pss. viii., xix., xxxiii., 
xlvii., civ. 

1 ldChron. xvi. 4, & Acts, iv. 25. Heb. iv. 7. 



2. Historical Psalms. Pss. lxxviii., cv., cvi., cxiv. 

3. Temple Psalms. Pss. xv., lxviii., lxxxvii., cxxxv. 

4. Koyal Psalms. Pss. ii., xx., xlv., lxxii., ex. 

5. Penitential and supplicatory. Comprising more 
than a third of the whole collection. 

6. Didactic. Pss. xxiii., xliii., L, xc, exxxiii. 
To these we may add : — 

7. The prophetical Psalms. Pss. ii., xvi., xxii., xl., 
xlv., lxviii., lxxii., lxxxvii., ex., cxviii. 

On the meaning of the terms prefixed to many of the 
Psalms opinion is divided. The following is a table of 
them, with the most probable interpretation: — 

Aijeleth Shahar — Hind of the morning, Ps. xxii. 
Supposed to signify the melody to which the Psalm was 
to be sung. 

Al-Taschith — Destroy not. Another melody. 

Gittith, Pss. viii., lxxxi., lxxxiv. Probably a musical 

Jonath-elem-rechokim, Ps. lvi. The mute dove among 
strangers. Either David, the subject of the Psalm, or a 
melody so called. 

Jeduthun, Ps. xxxix. One of David's chief musicians 
(1 Chron. xvi. 41). 

Mahalath, Ps. liii. A musical instrument. 

Michtam, Pss. xvi., lvi., lvii., lviii., lix., lx. Either a 
golden Psalm, i.e. one of peculiar excellence, or a writing. 

Maschil, Pss. xxxii., xlii., xliv., xlv., &c. A didactic 
poem, or a figurative composition. 

Neginoth, Pss. vi., liv., lv., lxxvi. Probably a general 
name for stringed instruments. 

Nehiloth, Ps. v. Flutes, or wind-instruments. 

Selah. This expression occurs seventy-one times in 
the Psalms. Many interpretations have been given of it. 


The two most probable are, that it indicates where the 
voice was to be raised to a higher key, or where a pause 
was to be made. 

Alamoth, Ps. xlvi. Probably virgins — to be sung by 

Shiggaion, Ps. vii. Either a hymn, or a soDg of 

Song of degrees, Pss. cxx.-cxxxiv. Some have supposed 
this expression to signify the song of pilgrims on the road 
to Jerusalem ; others, an elevation of the voice. More 
probably, it means an ascension from clause to clause in 
the thought. 

Sheminith, Pss. vi., xii. Either an instrument with 
eight strings, or an octave, viz. the bass. 

Shushan, a lily. Shoshannim, Pss. xlv., lxix., Ixxx. 
Probably an instrument resembling a lily in shape. Shushan- 
eduth, Ps. lx., lily of testimony, i.e. an excellent subject. 
Or a tune, or instrument. 

Sect. IV. — Book of Proverbs. 

That Solomon was the author of the principal part of 
this book has never been doubted ; it is, no doubt, a 
selection from the 3000 proverbs which he is said to have 
spoken (1 Kings, iv. 32). It did not, however, as it 
stands, proceed from him ; from c. xxv. to c. xxix. inclusive, 
they are said to have been arranged by order of King 
Hezekiah. 1 Chapter xxx. contains the instructions of 
Agur to his friends, Ithiel and Ucal ; and c. xxxi. those 
of King Lemuel's mother to her son. 

Proverbs have always been, in the East, a favourite 

vehicle of moral instruction. A proverb may be defined 

to be a pointed, antithetical sentence, conveying, in the 

fewest possible words, some moral truth. The Hebrew 

1 C. xxv. 1. 


language, from its terseness, is admirably adapted for this 

The Divine authority of the book is sufficiently proved 
by the quotations from it in the New Testament (Rom. 
xii. 20. Heb. xii. 5, 6. 1 Pet. iv. 8. 1 Thess. v. 15). 

Its contents naturally fall into five divisions. 1. An 
exhortation to wisdom, conceived in the highest style of 
Hebrew poetry (cc. i.-ix.). 2. Disconnected moral maxims 
on various subjects (cc. x.-xxii. 17). 3. Observations 
on wisdom, similar to the exordium, though inferior in 
sublimity (cc. xxii. 17 -xxiv.). 4. Separate maxims, as 
before (cc. xxv.-xxix.). 5. The supplement, consisting of 
the instructions of Agur, and King Lemuel's mother (cc. 
xxx. xxxi.). Who these persons were is not known. 

Sect. V. — Booh of Ecclesiastes. 

This book received the name it bears in our Bibles 
from the Septuagint translators. In the Hebrew it is 
called Koheleth, from its initial word, i.e. assembler, or 
teacher. From the circumstance that Solomon is intro- 
duced in it as speaking, it has generally been ascribed to 
that prince ; but many are of opinion that it was composed 
daring the period of the second temple. It cannot be 
placed later than the time of Ezra, by whom the Canon 
was completed. 

If it is the production of Solomon, it presents an 
interesting and instructive picture of that monarch's 
return to a better mind, when, at the close of life, he took 
a retrospect of his past career. The general de ;ign of the 
author is to set forth the nothingness of earthly pursuits 
and enjoyments, and to recommend the acquisition of 
nly wisdom. From the commencement to c. vi. i), 
the former theme is enlarged upon, the writer reviewing 
the various conditions and objects of human life, and 


showing that " all is vanity." From c. vi. 10 to the end, 
the excellence of wisdom is exhibited, the sum and crowning 
lesson of the whole being, " Fear God, and keep His 
commandments" (c. xii. 13). 

Sect. VI. — Song of Solomon. 

To Solomon this book is ascribed by the unanimous 
voice of antiquity. He is said to have written 1005 songs 
(1 Kings, iv. 32), of which this is supposed to have been 
one. In the Hebrew it is called the Song of Songs, i.e. 
the most excellent song. 

Of no book is the canonicity better attested by external 
evidence. It was translated by the Alexandrian interpre- 
ters, forms part of Josephus's catalogue, and has been 
always received by the Christian Church. Those who have 
doubted or denied its right to be included in the Canon, have 
been led to their conclusion by what has appeared to them 
internal evidence ; and this, again, rests upon their inter- 
pretation of the book. 

Great diversity of opinion prevails respecting the 
nature of this poem. By some, as by Origen, it is con- 
sidered a marriage- song, composed for the nuptials of 
Solomon with a fair damsel of Sharon (Cant. ii. 1); by 
others, that it is a pastoral drama (Lowth), or a series of 
sacred idyls; while others, again, contend that it describes 
the chaste loves of unmarried persons. The characters are 
Solomon and his bride, who speak both in dialogue and 
soliloquy, a chorus of virgins, and a company of young 
men; and the poem describes various scenes, a rural 
landscape (c. ii.); a nuptial procession (c. iii. 6); a night- 
scene (c. v.); a garden scene (c. vi.); concluding with a 
colloquy between Solomon, the bride, and her brothers 
(c. viii.). 

From the earliest times this book has been regarded as 


a Divine allegory, representing, under the earthly figures 
of wedded love, the covenant between Jehovah and the 
Jewish people ; with a further and deeper reference to the 
union between Christ and His Church, which, in the New 
Testament, is likewise expressed in terms derived from the 
conjugal relation. 1 Apart from the allegorical interpre- 
tation, the book loses all its significance; and it is no 
wonder that they who look no further than the letter 
experience a difficulty in accounting for its admission 
into the Canon. Among the Jews the perusal of it was 
forbidden until the fervour of youth had given place to 
maturer sentiments. 



Sect. I. — Introductory. 

Prophecy occupied a very important position in the 
Hebrew commonwealth. The teaching of the Law was 
typical, or by mute symbol: prophecy instructed orally, 
and thus formed the nearest approach which we find in the 
ancient economy to that great ordinance of the Gospel, the 
ministry of God's Word. The prophetic function, too, was 
a safeguard, as far as any institution could be, against the 
dangers to be apprehended from a corrupt government or 
priesthood. Its corrective influence, in relation to these 
orders of the state, must have been very great. An 
ungodly king might attempt to draw away his people 
from the worship of Jehovah, or an ambitious hierarchy 
might devise schemes for its own aggrandisement; but 
neither could feel secure from the unwelcome intrusion of 
1 Eph. v. 23-32. 


some inspired messenger from God, taken indiscriminately 
from any tribe, who, with the utmost intrepidity and 
faithfulness, dealt rebuke on all sides, and denounced the 
judgments of God against a guilty land. 

It would be a narrow conception of Hebrew prophecy 
to limit its use to the prediction of future events. It 
abounds as much in moral and didactic as in predic- 
tive matter ; even more so. The prophets enlarge upon 
the nature and attributes of God, His universal providence, 
the evil and danger of sin, and the happiness and safety 
of pious obedience : they comfort the afflicted believer, as 
well as admonish the careless and the profane. They 
enlarge especially upon the requirements of the moral law, 
as distinguished from a mere ritual religion ; and, in pro- 
portion as they thus awaken a sense of sin, they unfold the 
great doctrines of the Gospel, and lead the mind onwards 
to a time when, in Christ, every spiritual want should be 

Prophecy is almost coeval with creation. Enoch pro- 
phesied of the second coming of Christ; 1 Noah was a 
preacher of righteousness ; Jacob possessed the prophetic 
gift. Even ungodly men, as Balaam, were sometimes 
employed as instruments in communicating the Divine 
counsels. But the chief of the prophets was Moses, who 
enjoyed the special privilege, conferred on none subse- 
quently, of speaking with God "face to face." 2 From 
Moses to Samuel an interval occurs, during which, as far 
as we read, there was, if not an intermission, 3 yet a com- 
parative scarcity of the prophetic gift; and certainly the 

1 Jude, 14. 2 Deut. xxxiv. 10. 

3 That there was not an absolute suspension of the gift appears 
from Judges, vi. 8 ; from 1 Sam. ii. 27 ; and from the instances of 
Deborah and Hannah. The prophetic revelation made no great 
progress during the period in question. 


predictive matter received no accessions daring that period. 
With. Samuel prophecy recommenced, and thenceforward 
proceeded, without any material chasm, to the days of 
Malachi, when the gift was finally withdrawn from the 
ancient Church. 

It is at the commencement of this, the principal age of 
prophecy, that we find the first mention of institutions for 
the regular training of persons for the prophetic function. 
The schools of the prophets, as they were called, were 
communities somewhat resembling the monastic institu- 
tions of the middle ages, but without compulsory rules of 
seclusion from the world, or celibacy. The members of 
these associations, called in Scripture " the sons of the 
prophets," 1 lived together under the rule and instruction 
of a superior, generally an elder prophet, by whom they 
were prepared for their public duties. Samuel, Elijah, and 
Elisha, are mentioned as directors of such colleges. Their 
time appears to have been divided between the acquisition 
of knowledge (including especially the study of the law, 
and of music), prayer, and the labours of husbandry. They 
erected their own dwellings, and subsisted upon the pro- 
duce of their own industry. It was commonly from these 
schools that from time to time the inspired messengers of 
Jehovah were selected to communicate His will to the 
people; though sometimes persons were chosen to this 
office who had received no previous training. Thus Elisha 
was called from following the plough, and Amos tells us 
that he was no prophet's son, but a herdsman and gatherer 
of sycamore fruit. 2 

A frugal and austere life was considered a necessary 
accompaniment of the prophetic office. Elijah was cloth < d 
in skins; 3 Isaiah wore sackcloth; 4 bread and water, or the 

1 1 Kin<:s. xx. 35. 2 Amos, vii. 14. 

8 2 Kings, i. 8. « Isa. xx. 2. 


fruits of the earth, sufficed for their sustenance. 1 A bed, 
a table, a stool, and a candlestick, was all that even the 
pious Shunammite thought needful for Elisha. 2 These holy- 
men displayed a noble contempt for the rewards which the 
veneration or gratitude of those whom they had benefited 
placed at their disposal. 3 They were, therefore, highly 
esteemed by kings and nobles as well as people : the pro- 
phets were often persecuted, but they were never despised. 

The mind of God was conveyed to the prophets in 
various ways. In dreams, in visions, or by an influence 
upon the mind of which the subjects were conscious, 
they received the Divine inspiration ; and by a strong 
internal impulse were constrained to deliver their message. 4 
Many of the symbolical acts which the prophets are 
represented as performing, such as Jeremiah's hiding the 
girdle near the river Euphrates 5 (a distance from Jerusalem 
of about twenty days), are reasonably supposed to have 
passed before their minds in vision : this must have been 
the case with those* manifestations of the Divine presence 
which are more than once recorded. 6 

The signs of a prophet were either miracles, or a 
proximate prediction, the accomplishment of which afforded 
to the contemporaries of the prophet a guarantee of his 
Divine mission. Hence these proximate events are often 
predicted with as much care and minuteness as the 
remoter ones of greater importance. Thus Isaiah, to 
encourage Ahaz, king of Judah, who was besieged by the 
kings of Damascus and Israel, assures him, from the Lord, 
that before a child, who should be born m about ten months, 
should be able to say, " My father and my mother," both 
Damascus and Samaria should be spoiled by the king of 

1 1 Kings, xviii. 4. 2 2 Kings, iv. 10. 

8 2 Kings, v. 16. < Jer. xx. 9. 

5 Ibid. xiii. 1-9. • 1 Kings, xxii. 17-19. Isaiv. . 1. 


Assyria ; * which actually took place within three years. 
The fulfilment of this prophecy would secure attention 
and credence to the infinitely more important announce- 
ment, connected with this part of Ahaz's history, that a 
virgin should conceive, and bear a son, whose name should 
be Immanuel. 2 

The prophetical books are usually divided into those of 
the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and 
Daniel, and those of the minor, which comprehend all the 
rest. The distinction relates only to the relative size of 
the books, not to their authority. We shall adopt a chro- 
nological arrangement, according as prophets lived before, 
during, or after, the Babylonish captivity. 

Sect. II. — Prophets before the Captivity. 
§ 1. Book of Jonah, b.c. 840-795. 
There can be little doubt that Jonah is the same 
person who is mentioned in 2 Kings, xiv. 25, as having 
foretold the prosperous but brief reign of Jeroboam II. ; 
in whose time, therefore, or about B.C. 840, the prophet 
must be supposed to have lived. He is called the son of 
Amittai, and was a native of Gath-hepher, in the tribe of 
Zabulon. The Book of Jonah contains an account of the 
prophet's mission to denounce the judgments of God 
against Nineveh. With the exception of the hymn in 
c. ii., it is a plain historical narrative, bearing all the 
marks of reality, and is referred to as such by our Lord. 3 
The recent theories of German critics, that it is a vision 
which Jonah had while in the ship, or the work of a later 
writer, embellishing an ancient historical circumstance, 
must therefore be dismissed as untenable. In his miracu- 
lous preservation Jonah furnished one of the most illus- 
trious of the Old Testament types of our Lord's resurrection. 
1 Isa. viii. 4. 2 Ibid. vii. 14. 3 Matt. xii. 39-41. Luke, xi. 29, 30. 


The book consists of two parts, — 1. The prophet's 
mission to Nineveh, his flight, shipwreck, and preservation 
(cc. i. ii.). 2. His preaching at Nineveh, and the repent- 
ance of that great city, with the discontent of the prophet 
(cc. iii. iv.). 

§ 2. Booh of Joel, b.c. 810-780. 

Respecting this prophet little more is known than 
what the title to his predictions contains, that he was the 
son of Pethuel. He is supposed to have lived in Judah ; 
and, from his making no mention of the Assyrians among 
the enemies of his country, in the reign of Uzziah, which 
would make him contemporary with Amos and Hosea in 

The prophet opens his prophecy with announcing an 
extraordinary plague of locusts, with extreme drought 
(c. i. 2-12). This part of the book has been differently 
interpreted, some understanding it literally, others figura- 
tively, as signifying the various invasions of the Chaldseans, 
Greeks, and Eomans. He then exhorts to a general fast and 
repentance, assuring his countrymen of the Divine placa- 
bility (cc. i. 13 -ii. 27). A remarkable prediction of the 
outpouring of the Spirit, to take place under the Gospel 
dispensation, follows ; to which St. Peter alludes in Acts, 
ii. 16. The book concludes with predictions of the 
destruction of the enemies of Jerusalem, and the glorious 
state of the Church under the reign of Messiah (c. iii.). 

§ 3. Booh of Amos, b.c. 790. 

Amos, as we learn from the title to his prophecies 
(c. i. 1), lived in the reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam II., and, 
consequently, was contemporary with Hosea, and probably 
Joel. He is supposed to have been a native of Tekoa, a 
town south of Jerusalem ; thither certainly he was driven 


by Amaziah, the high-priest of Beth-el, on account of his 
prophecies against Israel (c. vii. 12). He himself informs 
us what his original occupation was, viz. that of a herds- 
man and dresser of sycamore-trees (c. vii. 14). Notwith- 
standing this, his style is full of fire and force, and some 
of his pastoral images are of great beauty. 

"When Amos received his commission, the kingdom of 
Israel had been restored to its ancient limits and splendour 
by Jeroboam II.; but the revival of national prosperity 
had been followed by great corruption of manners. Amos 
was the herald of impending retribution. The book com- 
mences with a denunciation of God's judgments against 
the surrounding nations, Syria, the Philistines, Tyre, 
Edom, Ammon, and Moab (cc. i.-iii.). Judah is briefly 
warned (c. ii. 4, 5); and then the burden of the prophecy 
is directed against Israel (c. ii. G). Symbolical visions, 
significative of future calamities, follow (cc. vii.-ix. 10). 
Towards the close, the scene brightens, and the advent 
of the Messiah is portrayed under images drawn from 
rural life (c. ix. 11-15). This book is twice alluded to 
in the New Testament ; by Stephen (Acts, vii. 42), and by 
the Apostle James (Ibid. xv. 16.) 

§ 4. Book of Rosea, b.c. 800-740. 

The prophetic life of Hosea must have extended 
over a period of about sixty years, from the reign of 
Uzziah and his contemporary, Jeroboam II., through those 
of Jotham, Ahaz, and to the commencement of that of 
Hezekiah. He was the son of Beeri, who has been con- 
founded with Beerah, a prince of the Reubenites(l Chron. 
v. 6), and was probably an Israelite. His prophecies 
are almost exclusively occupied with the sins and impend- 
ing fate of the kingdom of Israel : Judah, however, is 
occasionally introduced and warned. 


The state of Israel at that time was deplorable. The 
idolatry of Jeroboam I. had continued now for 150 years, 
and the groves were polluted with the licentious rites of 
heathen deities. To this spiritual adultery, as the pro- 
phet describes it (c. ii.), were added civjl anarchy and 
open violations of the law. Alliances were formed with 
heathen states, which resulted in an imitation of their 
idolatrous worship. During the long space of sixty years 
Hosea addressed his warnings to the doomed people, but 
in vain. 

The book opens with what has generally been supposed 
to be an allegorical representation of the infidelity of the 
prophet's wife ; who bears him three children, with sym- 
bolical names, significant of God's judgments upon the 
house of Jehu and the kingdom of Israel. The whole 
represents the spiritual unfaithfulness of Israel to the 
covenant (cc. i. ii.). The rest of the book contains severe 
rebukes, interspersed with affecting invitations to repent- 
ance. The Christian subject is not prominent in Hosea : 
he alludes, however, to the calling of Christ from Egypt 
(c. xi. 1); and celebrates, in sublime strains, the triumph of 
the Redeemer and His people over the grave (c. xiii. 14. 
Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 55). 

The language of Hosea is peculiarly difficult ; his style 
abrupt and concise. Frequent references to this prophet 
occur in the New Testament (see Matt. ii. 15 ; ix. 13 ; 
Rom. ix. 25 ; 1 Pet. ii. 10). 

§ 5. Booh of Isaiah, b.c 763-713. 
Of Isaiah little is known beyond what he himself tells 
us, that he was the son of Amoz (sometimes confounded 
with the prophet Amos), and that he prophesied in the 
reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. But the 
whole of these reigns to Hezekiah would give a period of 


not less than 112 years : we must suppose, therefore, that 
his prophetic ministry began shortly before Uzziah's death, 
or about b.c. 763 ; and, since we know that he was alive 
in the fifteenth year of Hezekiah, it must have lasted 
about fifty years. The Jewish tradition, that he lived till 
the time of Manasseh, and was put to death by that mon- 
arch, by being sawn asunder, is unworthy of credit ; it is 
most likely that he died before Hezekiah. His wife is 
called a prophetess, and two of his sons are mentioned, 
who bore symbolical names. 1 His residence was Jerusalem, 
near the Temple. Besides the prophecies preserved to us, 
Isaiah wrote, at least, two historical works, — a biography 
of king Uzziah, 2 and a work called " the Vision of Isaiah," 3 
containing an account of Hezekiah's reign. 

Until comparatively recent times, no doubt was enter- 
tained of Isaiah's having been the author of the whole 
book as it stands. It has been the fashion, however, 
abroad to question the genuineness of the last twenty-six 
chapters, chiefly on the ground of alleged difference of 
style, and other peculiarities ; but these objections have 
been satisfactorily refuted. The testimony of antiquity, 
and of the New Testament, 4 is express to the effect that 
the whole volume proceeded from one and the same 

Both from the extent and the importance of his re- 
mains, Isaiah may be considered as the chief of the Hebrew 
prophets. He excels in every department of composition. 
" He is at once elegant and sublime, forcible and orna- 
mented ; he unites energy with copiousness, and dignity 
with variety. In his sentiments there is uncommon eleva- 
tion and majesty ; in his imagery the utmost propriety, 
elegance, dignity, and diversity ; in his language uncom- 

1 C. vii. 3 ; viii. 3. 2 2 Chron. xxvi. 22. 

3 Ibid, xxxii. 32. 4 Matt. iii. 3. Luke, iv. 17, 18. 


mon beauty and energy ; and, notwithstanding the obscurity 
of his subjects, a surprising degree of clearness and 
simplicity." 1 

The book consists of two principal parts. From c. i. 
to c. xxxix. inclusive, we have a series of prophecies against 
foreign nations, with a short historical episode relating to 
Hezekiah. The opening cc. i.-v. contain reproofs, warn- 
ings, and promises, addressed to the Jews : this portion of 
the book was probably written before the death of Uzziah, 
which is recorded in c. vi. From c. vi. to c. x. belongs to 
the reign of Ahaz ; and from c. x. to c. xxxix. to that of 
Hezekiah, whose miraculous deliverance from the As- 
syrians, sickness, and recovery, bring this part of the book 
to a close. The second portion, from c. xl. to the end, 
relates chiefly to the Messiah, whose person, sufferings, and 
death, are described with an accuracy which has gained 
for the author the title of " the Evangelical prophet." As 
in many parts of the prophetical volume, so here, the double 
sense of prophecy is to be remarked : the proximate object 
is often deliverance from the Babylonish captivity ; but 
this is described in terms which must have led the mind of 
the pious inquirer onwards to the greater redemption to 
be accomplished by Christ. Among the most striking 
predictions is that relating to Cyrus, who, 200 years before 
his birth, is described as the conqueror of Babylon, and 
the restorer of the Jews to their native land. According 
to Josephus, these prophecies relating to himself made a 
deep impression on Cyrus, and induced him to set the Jews 
at liberty. 

§ 6. Book of Micah, b.c. 759-699. 
Micah, of Moresheth, a town near Gath, prophesied in 
the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah ; 
1 Lowth. 


and, consequently, was contemporary with Hosea, Amos, and 
Isaiah : nothing further is known of him. 

His prophecy consists of two parts, the former of which 
terminates with c. v. After expatiating upon the sins of 
Judah and Israel, the prophet predicts the overthrow of 
both kingdoms (cc. i.-iii.) ; and then passes on to celebrate 
the return of Judah, the restoration of the Temple, and the 
glories of Messiah's reign (cc. iv. v.). The latter part 
consists of an animated dialogue, or controversy, between 
Jehovah and His people ; in which the backsliding of the 
latter is reproved, and judgment threatened, but which 
ends with a promise of brighter days (cc. vi. vii.). 

One of the most remarkable Messianic prophecies in 
Scripture occurs in this book (c. v. 2-4). It describes the 
eternal generation, the universal dominion, and the human 
birth-place of Christ. It was this prophecy which enabled 
the Jewish doctors to answer Herod's question, " Where 
Christ should be born." 1 The style of Micah is sublime 
and vehement ; he abounds in rapid transitions and beau- 
tiful tropes. In Jer. xxvi. 18, his prophecies are referred 
to as well known. 

§ 7. Book o/Nahum, b.c. 720-698. 

Of Nahum nothing is known, save that from the super- 
scription of his prophecy he is supposed to have been a 
native of Elkosh, a village of Galilee. He prophesied, 
most probably, between the Assyrian and Babylonish 
captivities, when the recent subversion of the kingdom 
of Israel was calculated to inspire gloomy anticipations 
in the pious of the sister kingdom. To encourage them, 
he foretells the destruction of the Assyrian empire, and 
especially of its capital, Nineveh, in the most glowing 
1 Matt. ii. 4-6. 


colours, and with wonderful minuteness ; while he assures 
Judah of the Divine love and faithfulness. 

This book consists of one entire poem, and is coherent 
throughout. It opens with a sublime description of the 
attributes of Jehovah (c. i. 2-8), and passes on to announce 
the overthrow of Sennacherib, and deliverance of Hezekiah 
(c. i. 9-15). The rest of the poem depicts the siege and 
capture of Nineveh (cc. ii. iii.). Nahum is surpassed by 
none of the prophets in sublimity. His style is pure ; the 
rhythm regular and lively. His descriptions are couched 
in the highest style of sacred oratory. 

§ 8. Booh of Zephaniahy b.c. 642-611. 

The superscription of this book traces the ancestors of 
Zephaniah back for four generations, yet of what tribe or 
family he was is uncertain. By some he is supposed to 
have been of the tribe of Simeon. He prophesied in the 
reign of ' Josiah, and probably the earlier part of it, before 
the sweeping religious reformation of that prince, which 
was completed in the eighteenth year of his reign. He 
must therefore have been, for some time, a contemporary 
of Jeremiah. Since Nineveh fell b.c 625, that portion of 
his prophecy which relates to the subversion of the 
Assyrian empire must have been delivered before that 

The book consists of three chapters, which treat of 
three distinct subjects. In the first, the sins of Judah are 
severely rebuked, and repentance recommended (cc. i. ii. 3). 
In the second, the heathen states in the neighbourhood of 
Judaea — the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and Ethio- 
pians, and especially Nineveh — are doomed to destruction. 
In the third, while the prophet returns to the sins of 
Jerusalem, promises are given of her restoration from 



captivity, and an ultimate enjoyment of glorious theocratical 

Sect. III. — Prophets during the Captivity. 

§ 1. Book of Jeremiah, B.C. 628-585. 

Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, was of priestly descent, 
and a native of Anathoth, in the tribe of Benjamin. He was 
called to the prophetic office in the thirteenth year of 
Josiah (b.c. 629), and, as it should seem, at a very early 
age. After residing some time at Anathoth, the ill- 
treatment which he experienced from his fellow-citizens 
induced him to retire to Jerusalem, where, for the long 
period of nearly forty years, he exercised his prophetic 
functions. During the reign of Josiah, he would naturally 
be courted and protected by that monarch as a valuable 
ally in his plans of reformation ; but, when that influence 
was withdrawn, he became an object of attack, both to 
the leading men of the state and to the populace. During 
the short reign of Jehoahaz, he seems to have been un- 
molested; but when his successor, Jehoiakim, came to the 
throne, the priests and false prophets, irritated by his 
predictions against Jerusalem, brought him before the 
authorities, demanding that he should be put to death 
(c. xxvi. 8). Unwilling to proceed to this extremity, they, 
however, committed the prophet to prison, or placed him 
under restraint; for in the fourth year of Jehoiakim he was 
compelled to employ Baruch to write his predictions, and 
read them publicly in the Temple (c. xxxvi. 5). Consider- 
able excitement ensued. The princes who were friendly to 
Jeremiah recommended concealment, while they endea- 
voured to influence the mind of the king; but this 
reckless monarch, when he heard the prophecy read, cut 
the roll in pieces, and cast it into the fire, giving orders 


for the apprehension of Jeremiah and Baruch. By Divine 
interposition they were preserved, and the prophecies were 
re-written, with additions. 

The short reign of Jehoiachin, or Coniah, exhibited no 
improvement, and in that of his successor, Zedekiah, 
Nebuchadnezzar commenced the siege of Jerusalem. A 
diversion for a time was occasioned by the approach of 
succours from Egypt ; but Jeremiah was commissioned to 
warn the king that the Chaldaeans would return and destroy 
the city. Accused of a secret correspondence with the 
enemy, he was again confined in prison; but the con- 
quest of Nebuchadnezzar, who knew how to value his 
faithfulness and integrity, freed him from captivity, and he 
was given in special charge to Nebuzar-adan, the captain 
of the guard (c. xxxix. 11). The choice being allowed him 
of either accompanying the conqueror to Babylon, or 
remaining in Judaea, he determined to abide with the 
remnant of the people, and accordingly repaired to Gedaliah, 
who had been appointed governor. After the assassination 
of Gedaliah by Ishmael, Jeremiah in vain endeavoured to 
prevent the migration of his countrymen to Egypt, assuring 
them that if they took that step calamity would befall 
them: they gave no heed to his admonitions, but carried 
him and Baruch with them to Tahpanhes, where the tra- 
dition runs that he was stoned by the people. 

Jeremiah was contemporary with Zephaniah, Hab- 
akkuk, Ezekiel, and Daniel. It is difficult to arrange his 
prophecies chronologically; as they stand in our Bibles 
they are evidently transposed and intermixed. They con- 
sist, however, of two main divisions: cc. i.-xlv. relate to 
the Jews, cc. xlvi.-li. to the Gentile nations. The former 
portion is occupied with denunciations against Judah, 
mingled with promises of pardon on repentance; and with 
the various historical narratives from which the above 


account of Jeremiah's ministry has heen derived. The latter 
takes up, successively, the destinies of Egypt, Philistia, 
Moab, Ammon, Edom; and predicts the total overthrow of 
Babylon. Chapter lii. must have been added by a later 
writer, probably Ezra. Several Messianic prophecies occur in 
Jeremiah's writings ; e. g. the person and office of Christ 
(" the Lord our righteousness ") c. xxiii. 5, 6, and the better 
covenant (c. xxxi. 31-34. Comp. Heb. viii. 7). His style, 
though inferior to that of Isaiah in power and sublimity, 
is marked by pathos and tenderness, in accordance with 
what seems to have been the cast of his mind. He excels 
in expressing and awakening the softer emotions. The 
prophecies of Jeremiah were known to, and examined by, 
Daniel in Babylon (Dan. ix. 2). 

§ 2. Lamentations. 

This book may be regarded as a sequel to the preced- 
ing prophecies. That Jeremiah was the author is estab- 
lished by a chain of uninterrupted testimony. It depicts, 
in a strain of the deepest pathos, the calamities which 
befell Judah from the Babylonish invasion. The poem 
consists of five distinct elegies, contained in so many 
chapters ; the four first of which are distinguished by an 
alphabetical arrangement, each elegy consisting of twenty- 
two periods, the periods commencing severally with a 
letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The last elegy is on a 
different plan, and is a kind of epilogue to the preceding. 
In some versions it is styled the Prayer of Jeremiah, but 
for this there is no authority in the Hebrew MSS. or in 
the Septuagint translation. 

§ 3. Book ofHabakkuk, B.C. 610-598. 

Of the birth-place or life of Habakkuk nothing trust- 
worthy is known. The date of his prophecies must be 


determined from the portion that has come down to us ; 
from which it appears that he prophesied shortly before 
the Chaldean invasion, for he speaks of it as a future 
thing (c. i. 6), and yet as at hand (c. ii. 3); that is, during 
the reign of Jehoiakim. He must, therefore, have been 
contemporary with Jeremiah. The design of the book is 
to pourtray the coming destruction of Judah by the 
Chaldseans, and the retribution which should befall the 
latter (cc. i. ii.). It concludes with an ode, which presents 
one of the most perfect specimens of Hebrew lyrical poetry ; 
indeed, generally, in point of style, Habakkuk may rank 
with the most eminent prophets. References to this 
book occur in Heb. x. 37 ; Rom. i. 17 ; Gal. iii. 11 ; 
Acts, xiii. 41. 

§ 4. Bool of Daniel, B.C. 606-534. 
Daniel, if not of royal descent, was connected with one 
of the noblest families in Judah (c. i. 3). In the fourth 
year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, he, with three other 
youths of noble birth, was carried captive to Babylon, 
where he was instructed in the literature and science of the 
Chaldasans. He was contemporary with Ezekiel, whom 
he preceded by a few years, and was remarkable among his 
own countrymen, as well as the Chaldaeans, for his wisdom 
and piety (Ezek. xiv. 20). Entering the service of the 
king, he received, according to the usage of Eastern 
countries, the new name of Belshatzar, or Belteshazzar 
(c. i. 7). The first circumstance that brought him into 
notice was his interpretation of a dream of Nebuchadnezzar, 
which had baffled the skill of the Chaldasan magicians ; by 
which means, as Joseph of old in Egypt, he rose into 
favour at court, and was appointed governor over the 
province of Babylon (c. ii.). This must have occurred in 
the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's universal monarchy, 


or b.c. 603. After this we lose sight of Daniel for thirty- 
three years, when we find him interpreting another dream 
of the king's, to the effect that, as a chastisement of his 
pride, he should, for a time, lose his reason, but be restored 
to it when the visitation had wrought its intended effect. 
Another long interval occurs, during which the prophet 
appears to have languished in neglect ; but in the reign 
of Belshazzar, supposed to have been the last king of 
Babylon, he reappears, in the midst of the splendid banquet 
given by that prince, interpreting the mystic characters 
which announced the downfall of the existing dynasty. 
Under the reign of Darius, or Cyaxares II., Daniel occupied 
a post of the highest dignity ; and a conspiracy formed 
against him by the native nobles, jealous of the advance- 
ment of a stranger, only issued in his further exaltation, 
the special providence of God exhibiting itself in the most 
striking manner, in his deliverance from the cruel death to 
which he had been destined. His influence at the Persian 
court must have been of great advantage to the Jewish 
exiles, and he lived to see the long-wished-for decree 
issued which permitted their return, though his own 
advanced age prevented him from accompanying them. 
He probably died at Susa. 

The Book of Daniel consists of two main divisions ; 
the first, historical ; the second, prophetic. Under the 
former head we have the expatriation, and the education, 
of Daniel and his three companions (c. i.) ; the interpre- 
tation of Nebuchadnezzar's first dream (c. ii.) ; the history 
of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (c. iii.) ; the inter- 
pretation and accomplishment of Nebuchadnezzar's second 
dream (c. iv.) ; Belshazzar's banquet and death (c. v.) ; 
the conspiracy against Daniel, and his miraculous deliver- 
ance (c. vi.). In the latter portion of the book, prophecy 
takes a range commensurate only with the end of time. 


To enter minutely into the import of this part of Holy 
Scripture would be incompatible with our limits ; suffice 
it to say, that the four great monarchies of the ancient 
world, the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek, and the 
Roman, represented in Nebuchadnezzar's dream under the 
symbol of an image composed of gold, silver, brass, and 
iron mixed with clay ; and, in Daniel's own visions, under that 
of four beasts with significant emblems ; pass successively 
before us, the last of the series to be split up into ten 
lesser kingdoms, and the whole to give place " to the stone 
cut out without hands " (c. ii. 34), or the spiritual reign 
of Messiah. In the visions that follow (cc. viii.-xii.), 
various particulars respecting these empires, their nature 
and duration, are added ; and the prophetic glance extends 
onwards to the temporary restoration of the Jews, the 
trials of the Maccabsean period, the death of Messiah, the 
dispersion and sufferings of the Jewish people, the in- 
gathering of the Gentiles, the general resurrection, and 
the inauguration of the millennium. So accurately did 
the former part of these prophecies correspond with the 
facts of history, that Porphyry, one of the chief opponents 
of the Christian faith in the third century, was driven, in 
his attempts to invalidate the evidence for the truth of 
Christianity thence arising, to assert, that the predictions 
were framed after the events occurred, and to suit them. 

No book of the Old Testament has, in recent times, 
had its authenticity so severely assailed as the one before 
us. It is needless to specify objections which have been 
abundantly refuted. It is sufficient to observe, that by 
our Lord and the Apostles its authority is explicitly ac- 
knowledged. (See Matt. xxiv. 15 ; 2 Thess. ii. 3 ; Heb. 
xi. 33.) 

The style of Daniel is not so poetical as that of the 
other prophets, partaking, as it does, more of the nature 


of historical narrative. From c. ii. 4, to c. vii., inclusive, 
the Chaldee language is used. 

§ 5. Booh of Ezekiel, B.C. 595-574. 

Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, was, like Jeremiah, of priestly 
descent. Of his birthplace and early history we have 
no authentic information. He was carried captive to 
Babylon with Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and placed, with 
a Jewish colony, on the banks of the river Chebar, which 
flows into the Euphrates near Circesium, about 200 miles 
north of Babylon. This was the scene of his predictions, 
which extend from the fifth year of Jehoiakim's captivity, 
or b.c. 595, to B.C. 574, a period of twenty-one years. 
He was, therefore, contemporary with Jeremiah and 
Daniel. His character is strongly marked in his writings. 
Bold, and somewhat severe in temperament, he presents a 
strong contrast to the tender and plaintive spirit of 
Jeremiah ; human feeling seems lost in a sense of the 
Divine majesty ; the man is absorbed in the prophet : and 
hence Ezekiel gives us few or no particulars of his personal 
history. From his energy and decision he was admirably 
adapted to confront the proud and rebellious people to 
whom he was sent. He passed his life in exile, and is 
said to have been put to death at Babylon by the leader 
of the Jews, whom he was reproving for his idolatry. 

The Book of Ezekiel consists of predictions relating, 
1. To the destruction of Jerusalem; 2. To heathen 
nations; 3. To the restoration of the Jews. In the 
first division we have, Ezekiel's call to the prophetic 
office (cc. i.-iii.); various symbolical representations, pre- 
dictive of the siege and capture of Jerusalem (cc. iv.- 
vii.); a vision of Ezekiel at Jerusalem, exhibiting the 
idolatry of the people (cc. viii.-xi.); a series of reproofs 
and warnings addressed to the prophet's contemporaries 


(cc. xii.-xix.); another series of the same kind, giving 
warning of the approaching calamity (cc. xx.-xxiii.); and 
a prophecy, announcing the commencement of the siege by 
the king of Babylon (c. xxiv.). The second division con- 
tains predictions against the Ammonites, Edomites, and 
Philistines, especially Tyre — the total destruction of which 
by Nebuchadnezzar is foretold — and Egypt, which, by the 
same monarch, was to be shorn of its crown of pride (cc. 
xxv.-xxxii.). The closing section describes the spiritual 
resurrection of Israel from its low condition, and concludes 
with mystical representations of the glory and perfection 
of Messiah's kingdom (cc. xxxiii.-xlviii.) 

Ezekiel lived at a period when the Hebrew language 
was in a state of decline ; it is not, therefore, on the graces 
of his style so much as on the weightiness of his matter 
that his claims to eminence rest. In vehemence, grandeur, 
and solemnity, he has no superior among the sacred 

§ 6. Booh of Obadiah, b.c. 588-583. 

Nothing certain is known of this prophet or his history. 
The very date of his ministry is matter of doubt ; but it 
may most probably be placed between the taking of Jeru- 
salem, b.c. 588, and the conquest of Edom by Nebuchad- 
nezzar, which took place a few years afterwards. He 
would thus be contemporary with Jeremiah. Traces of 
resemblance have been discovered between the two pro- 
phets, which render it probable that one had the writings 
of the other before him. The main subject of the book is 
the impending destruction of the Edomites, whom the 
prophet severely reproves for their unkind treatment of the 
Jews in the calamity of the latter. They fancied them- 
selves secure in the impregnable fastnesses of their rocks 
(v. 3), but the spoiler should utterly destroy them (w. 


4-16); while the chastisement inflicted upon the Jews 
should " be but temporary, and after their return from 
captivity they should possess, not only their own country, 
but Edom and Philistia, and at length rejoice in the 
glorious reign of Messiah (vv. 17-21). 

Sect. IV. — Prophets after the Captivity. 
§ 1. Booh of Haggai, B.C. 520-518. 

Haggai, the first of the three prophets who flourished 
in Judsea after the captivity, is supposed to have been born 
in Babylon, and to have accompanied Zerubbabel's expedi- 
tion; but of his personal history we have no authentic 
accounts. The date of his prophecies is clearly marked. 
The rebuilding of the Temple had been commenced, B.C. 
535, but, owing to the opposition of the Samaritans, who 
procured an edict forbidding the progress of the work, it 
was suspended for fourteen years. But now, when these 
impediments were removed, the worldly-minded Jews showed 
no disposition to resume operations ; and, as if the time 
predicted by Jeremiah had not yet arrived, they devoted 
their attention to building splendid houses for themselves. 
In the second year of Darius Hystaspes, or b.c 520, 
Haggai was commissioned to stir up the flagging zeal of 
the people, informing them that the unproductive seasons 
which they had experienced were the punishment of their 
negligence, and assuring them that the second Temple, 
far from being inferior to that of Solomon, should exceed 
it in glory. 

This book contains, 1. The prophet's expostulation with 
his countrymen, and exhortation to recommence the work 
of building; and the people's obedience to the call (c. i.). 
2. A consolatory assurance to the builders, who probably 
had abated in their zeal, that the glory of this house should 


be greater than that of the former (c. ii. 1-9). 3. An- 
other message, promising a blessing from the time that 
the house should be finished (c. ii. 10-19). 4. A pro- 
phecy, addressed to Zerubbabel alone, of the establishment 
of Messiah's kingdom amidst the overthrow of the king- 
doms of the world (c. ii. 20-23). Haggai is referred to in 
Heb. xii. 26. 

§ 2. Booh o/Zechariak, B.C. 520-518. 

Zechariah opened his prophetic mission very shortly 
after Haggai, in the eighth month of the second year of 
Darius Hystaspes. It appears to have continued two 
years (c. vii. 1). Though his father, Barachiah, and his 
grandfather, Iddo, are mentioned by name (c. i. 1), it is 
not known of what tribe or family he was. He appears, 
at an early age, to have accompanied Zerubbabel to Jeru- 

Like those of Haggai, the special design of Zechariah's 
prophecies was to encourage the exiles, on their return, to 
prosecute the work of rebuilding the Temple, and to seek 
for a revival of the ancient theocratic spirit. Next to 
Isaiah, he abounds most in evangelical predictions, and is 
very frequently referred to in the New Testament. Comp. 
Zech. iii. 8 ; ix. 9 ; xi. 12 ; xii. 10 ; xiii. 7 ; with Luke, 
i. 78 ; Matt. xxi. 4, 5 ; Matt, xxvii. 9 ; John, xix. 37 ; 
Matt. xxvi. 31. The greater part of his prophecies is 
couched in symbolical imagery. They consist of three 
general divisions. Of these, the first, relating to events 
then taking place, contains nine visions: — 1. A rider on a 
red horse, among the myrtle-trees, symbolising a general 
peace over the earth, and the cessation of opposition to 
the building of the Temple (c. i. 7-17). 2. Four horns, 
symbols of the enemies by which the Jews had been 
oppressed, and four carpenters, by whom the horns are to 


be broken (c. i. 18-21). 3. A man with a measuring-line, 
describing an enlarged boundary for Jerusalem, signifying 
her increase, and the reception of the Gentiles (c. ii. 1-9). 
4. Joshua, the high-priest, arrayed in filthy garments, 
which are exchanged for new and glorious attire, signifying 
the restoration of Judah from a state of degradation, and, 
more remotely, the advent of the Branch (c. iii.). 5. A 
golden lamp, supplied by two olive-trees, symbolising the 
success of Zerubbabel in rebuilding the Temple, and the 
future glory of the Church, under the dispensation of the 
Spirit (c. iv.). 6. A flying roll, significative of Divine 
judgments against the ungodly (c. v. 1-4). 7. A woman 
in an ephah, pressed down into it by a weight of lead, and 
borne to the East, denoting the repression and banish- 
ment of idolatry (c. v. 5-11). 8. Four chariots, issuing 
from two mountains of brass, indicating the course of 
Divine providence (c. vi. 1-8). 9. The crowning of 
Joshua, the high-priest, emblematic of the union of the 
regal and sacerdotal dignity in the Branch (c. vi. 9-15). 

The second series of oracles takes its rise from an in- 
quiry, on the part of the exiles in Babylon, whether they 
mould still keep the fasts that had been instituted at the 
time of the overthrow of the sacred city. The prophet 
replies, that these fasts should be discontinued, enlarging, 
at the same time, upon the nature of a true fast (c. vii.). 

In the remaining portion, the destinies of the Jewish 
people, and of the Church, to the end of time, are unfolded. 
Amidst the victorious career of Alexander Judah should 
dwell in safety (c. ix. 1-7), and under the reigns of the 
Maccabees subdue her enemies (vv. 12-17). A reverse, 
however, takes place ; the rejection of Messiah is to be 
followed by the rejection of the people, and a second 
destruction of Jerusalem (cc. xi., xii. 1, 2). Yet a day 
of grace is in store for the cast-off people of God, in which 


they shall repent, and look unto Him whom their forefathers 
pierced (c. xii. 3-14) ; idolatry shall cease, and a remnant 
shall be saved. The last great conflict takes place before 
Jerusalem ; the Lord appears in behalf of the saints ; their 
enemies are destroyed ; and an era of theocratic glory 
succeeds (c. xiv.). 

The style of this prophet betrays the influence of 
Chaldaism, and is deficient in rhythm and grace. From 
the diversity in style of the last six chapters, some critics 
have argued against their genuineness, but on insufficient 

§ 3. Booh of Malachi, b.c. 436-397. 

It has been doubted whether the word Malachi, which 
signifies " my messenger," is a proper name, or merely a 
general term, descriptive of an inspired person ; and it has 
been supposed that Ezra was the writer of this book. 
But authority is decidedly in favour of the former suppo- 
sition. We have no certain information when this, the 
last of the prophets, "flourished ; but internal evidence 
points to the administration of Nehemiah as the period. 
The Levitical ritual appears restored (c. i. 7), which 
indicates the completion of the second Temple; and the 
same offences which Nehemiah reproves, intermarriages 
with idolaters, and the withholding of offerings due to the 
Lord, are condemned by Malachi (cc. i. 12, 13 ; iii. 8, 9). 
It appears that, after the death of Ezra, and during Xehe- 
miah's absence in Persia, the Jews, and especially the 
priests, had become extremely negligent and corrupt. 
Malachi's mission was to reform these abuses, and to 
invite to repentance, by promises of future Gospel blessings. 

The book commences with a mention of the peculiar 
favour shown to Israel, as compared with Edom, and a 
reproof of the Jews for their ingratitude (c. i. 1-5). The 


priests are severely censured for their profane and merce- 
nary conduct (cc. i. 6-14 ; ii. 1-10), and the people for 
their divorces and forbidden intermarriages (c. ii. 11-17). 
The latter part announces the advent of the Lord to purify 
the sons of Levi, and inaugurate a period of pure spiritual 
worship, when the righteous few should be remembered 
and rewarded, and the doom of the wicked finally sealed 
(c. in.). The book concludes with a consolatory assurance 
that "the Sun of Righteousness" should "arise, with 
healing in His wings," and an admonition to adhere 
closely to the Mosaic law, inasmuch as no further prophet 
was to be expected until the forerunner of the Messiah, 
Elijah, or John the Baptist, should commence his ministry. 
Thus the prophetic volume closes with a description of the 
personage who was to usher in the brighter era of the 
Gospel. " Resigning its charge to the personal precursor 
of Christ, it expired with the Gospel upon its tongue." 1 



From the administration of Nehemiah to the time of 
Alexander the Great, Judaea, as a portion of the Persian 
empire, enjoyed a period of tranquil prosperity, unmarked 
by any important event. The government practically fell 
into the hands of the high -priest for the time being, who 
acted as the delegate of the Persian satrap. At this time 
took place the singular alteration in the national character 
1 Davison on Prophecy, p. 354. 


which writers have often noticed. Prone, before the cap- 
tivity, to adopt the idolatrous practices of every adjacent 
nation, the Jews now began to display an intense attach- 
ment to the principles of their law, and that jealous ex- 
clusiveness which led the heathen to regard them as 
enemies to mankind. The sufferings they had undergone 
had effectually purged out the old taint, but it was suc- 
ceeded by dispositions of another kind, not more com- 
mendable, — a spiritual pride which led them to regard 
themselves as the exclusive favourites of Heaven, and a 
zeal for proselytism which was consistent with gross 
violations of the moral law. The expectation of a Messiah 
became a living principle in the national mind, but it was 
associated with ideas of deliverance from their subject 
condition, and the restoration of the kingdom to its 
ancient splendour. A fanatical aud rancorous temper, which 
awakened the curiosity and dislike of other nations, hence- 
forward marked their history ; and proved so embarrassing 
to the Romans, that even that tolerant people departed, in 
this case, from their usual policy, and pushed the right of 
conquest to the last extremity. 

The victory of Alexander over Darius (b.c. 330) trans- 
ferred Judaea to the Macedonian empire. The conqueror 
treated the Jews with leniency ; they retained their national 
laws and their religion; and to those who might be 
disposed to migrate to the new colony in Egypt many 
privileges were granted. Alexandria thus became, next to 
Jerusalem, the most important Jewish settlement. On 
the death of Alexander, the Jews found themselves in an 
embarrassing position between the two monarchies of Egypt 
and Syria, which were rivals, and continually at war with 
«?ach other. Ptolemy Lagi at length, by the decisive 
defeat of Antigonus at Ipsus, became master of Judaea, 
and, under him and his successors on the throne of Egypt, 


the Jews for nearly a century enjoyed comparative tran- 
quillity. At the end of that time, Antiochus the Great 
succeeded in once more annexing Palestine to Syria, and 
with this change of masters came a change in the fortunes 
of the subject people. Dissensions having arisen between 
rival aspirants to the high-priesthood, Antiochus Epi- 
phanes, a name justly execrated by the Jews, took occasion, 
from the defeat of his candidate, to wreak his vengeance 
upon Jerusalem. After a short siege, he took the city, 
put 40,000 of the inhabitants to death, pillaged the 
Temple and treasury, and crowned his exploits by offering 
a swine upon the altar of burnt-offering, and sprinkling 
the liquor in which the flesh had been boiled over every 
part of the sacred edifice. The worship of Jehovah was 
prohibited throughout Palestine, and that of the Greek 
deities established in its place. The Temple at Jerusalem 
was dedicated to Jupiter Olympius, that on Mount Gerizim 
to Jupiter Xenius, and the reluctant Jews were forced to 
substitute the licentious orgies of the Bacchanalians for the 
Feast of Tabernacles. 

In this, one of the most critical periods of their history, 
Providence interfered in behalf of the chosen people. In a 
town called Modin lived a man of priestly descent, of the 
family of the Asmoneeans, named Mattathias, the father of 
five sons, who were in the prime of life. Mattathias viewed 
with indignation the tyranny of Antiochus, and the un- 
worthy compliances into which many of the Jews were led, 
and organised a successful revolt. Collecting a body of 
adherents, he occupied the mountain-fastnesses, whence he 
made descents upon the towns, destroying the heathen 
altars, and punishing his apostate countrymen. His ad- 
vanced age was unequal to the toils of this mode of life, 
but he bequeathed the war to the most valiant and enter- 
prising of his sons, Judas, afterwards called Maccabseus. 


The origin of this latter name is uncertain; some deriving 
it from the initial letters of the Hebrew words in Exod. 
xv. 11, signifying, " Who is like unto Thee, Lord?" 
others regarding it as a personal appellation of Judas, 
from a word signifying a hammer, or mallet. A succession 
of brilliant victories over the generals of Antiochus at 
length put Judas in possession of Jerusalem, where a solemn 
feast (that of the Dedication, John, x. 22) was held for 
eight days, during which Divine worship was restored, and 
the Temple purified from the profanation of the heathen. 
Shortly afterwards Antiochus died, in great agonies of 
mind for the cruelties he had committed; and was suc- 
ceeded by his nephew Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, who 
had hitherto lived as a hostage at Rome. Demetrius 
imitated the policy, if not the barbarities, of Antiochus : 
his generals invaded Judaea ; but victory, as usual, followed 
the Maccabsean standard, until the Jewish leader, unfortu- 
nately for his country, fell in battle, B.C. 161. 

Jonathan, the brother of Judas, now assumed the com- 
mand, and by skilfully availing himself of the difficulties 
in which Demetrius was involved by the claim of a rival 
to the throne of Syria, he extorted from that prince many 
political privileges, and a confirmation of the dignity of 
the high-priesthood, which he had assumed. With Jona- 
than commenced the reign of the Asmonasan princes. 
After a short but prosperous career, he was treacherously 
slain by Tryphon, an adherent of the party opposed to 
Demetrius ; and left to his elder brother Simon the task 
of consolidating the newly- acquired power of his family. 
So important were the services which Simon was enabled 
to render to the tottering throne of Demetrius, that his 
demand to be recognised as an independent prince could 
not be resisted ; and thenceforward Judaaa was free from 
the Syrian yoke. Simon, in turn, perished by the hand of 



an assassin ; but the vigour of his race descended to his 
son John Hyrcanus, who extended his territory by the 
conquest of Samaria and Idumsea, and, what was, in the 
eyes of his countrymen, his greatest exploit, razed the 
Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim to the ground. 
Under the vigorous administration of Hyrcanus, who 
reigned for twenty-nine years, the country recovered most 
of its prosperity ; but his death was followed by a period 
of crime and internal dissension, which destroyed its 
resources, and left it a prey to the first conqueror. Ari- 
stobulus, the son of Hyrcanus, after putting his mother 
and brother to death, expired in a fit of remorse for his 
crimes, and was succeeded by Alexander Jannaeus, an 
enterprising prince, but whose perpetual wars brought no 
strength to his kingdom ; and whose reign, if the accounts 
are to be credited, was stained by acts of savage cruelty. 
On one occasion, he is said to have crucified 800 Jews in 
the sacred city. He left his throne to his widow Alex- 
andra, and two young sons ; and again for nine years, under 
a female sceptre, the land had a breathing-time. Her 
death was the signal for violent disputes between her two 
sons, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, concerning the succession ; 
the powerful party of the Pharisees espousing the cause of 
the former, while the latter possessed the affections of the 
army. Aretas, king of the Arabians, and Antipater, an 
Idumasan, father of Herod the Great, sided with Hyrcanus, 
and Aristobulus was closely besieged in Jerusalem. 

At this juncture, that great power, which had been 
steadily making advances to universal dominion, gained the 
opportunity, long desired, of effectually interfering in the 
affairs of Judaea. Already Judas Maccabaeus had courted 
the friendship of the Romans, and now Hyrcanus and 
Aristobulus both appealed to Pompey, returning from his 
eastern triumphs. The Roman general at first supported 


Aristobulus, but afterwards changing sides, placed his 
legions at the disposal of Hyrcanus, and, after a vigorous 
resistance, took the city of Jerusalem. He destroyed the 
fortifications, but respected the treasures of the Temple ; 
which the rapacious Crassus, a few years later, pillaged 
without remorse. 

Hyrcanus, or rather Antipater, was thus left in pos- 
session of the supreme power. The crafty Idumeean, in the 
great civil war of Eome, embraced the party of Caesar, and 
for his reward was made procurator of Judaea, while Hyr- 
canus retained the high-priesthood. After the death of 
Caesar, and the battle of Philippi, Antipater's sons, Phasael 
and Herod, who had hastened to render allegiance to Mark 
Antony, were appointed tetrarchs of the province ; and 
Phasael being slain by Antigonus, the last of the Asmo- 
naean race, Herod became sole ruler of the country, with 
the title of king. 

Herod, surnamed the Great, was the last independent 
sovereign of Palestine. His relentless cruelties, both 
domestic and political, were ill compensated by the dex- 
terity and vigour of his administration, and the splendour 
with which he rebuilt the decayed temple of Zerubbabel. 
Owing all to the favour of the Roman emperor, his adula- 
tion of that potentate knew no bounds ; and Augustus, 
in return, treated him, while living, with the greatest con- 
sideration, and ratified his will, by which his son Archelaus 
inherited the sovereignty of Judaea, Herod Antipas that 
of Galilee and Peraea, and Philip the tetrarchy of Tra- 
chonitis. After reigning nine years, Archelaus, having 
been convicted at Rome of cruelty and injustice in his 
government, was banished to Vienne in Gaul, and Judaea 
was reduced to a Roman province. Thus, in accordance 
with prophecy (Gen. xlix. 10), the sceptre finally departed 
from Judah. 


As part of the prefecture of Syria, the affairs of Judaea 
were administered by a Roman procurator : there was a 
rapid succession of these governors, among whom the 
names of Pontius Pilate (a.d. 27), Felix, and Porcius 
Festus, are familiar to the readers of the sacred volume. 
With the exception of a temporary proscription at Rome, 
the Jews, under Tiberius, continued to enjoy, without 
molestation, the exercise of their religion ; but on the 
accession of Caligula, the storm which was to overwhelm 
them began to lower around. It is a singular circum- 
stance, that before it reached Palestine partial outbursts 
were felt, successively, in the remote settlements of the 
nation: both in Alexandria and Babylonia terrible calami- 
ties befell the Jewish population, a large proportion of 
which fell by the sword. The insane act of Caligula, in 
ordering that his statue should be placed in the Holy of 
Holies, may be regarded as the commencement of hostilities 
in Jerusalem itself: through the forbearance of Petronius, 
the Roman prefect of Syria, and the influence of King 
Agrippa, the edict was revoked ; but the insult rankled 
deep in the mind of the nation, and the wound was kept 
open by the increasing animosity of the Roman soldiery of 
Antonia towards the inhabitants of the town, and the 
rapacity and cruelties of such governors as Felix, Albinus, 
and Gessius Florus. The flame at length broke out at 
Cajsarea. That city, founded by Herod the Great, in 
honour of his patron Augustus, had rapidly increased in 
population and magnificence, and formed the usual resi- 
dence of the Roman governor. It was inhabited by two 
races, the Syrian Greeks and the Jews, who contended 
violently for the mastery. A decree of Nero assigned the 
government of the city to the Greeks, who used their 
power to insult and persecute their fellow-citizens, until at 
length a violent tumult took place, and the Jews were ex- 


pelled. They appealed to Florus, but in vain ; instead of 
attempting to reconcile the two parties, the rapacious 
Roman secretly fomented the disorder, which promised 
an opportunity of plunder. The Jews of Jerusalem took 
part with their countrymen, broke out into open insurrec- 
tion against the Roman authorities, and under the conduct 
of Eleazar, son of the high-priest Ananias, stormed the 
citadel of Antonia, and forced the Romans to evacuate the 
towers built by Herod. An act of the vilest treachery 
precipitated the doom of the city. Metilius, the Roman 
commander, had stipulated to surrender on condition of the 
garrison's lives being spared; but as, on the faith of this 
agreement, he was leading his soldiers out, Eleazar and his 
followers fell upon them, and slew all with the exception 
of Metilius. On the same day, as if by Divine retribution, 
the Greeks at Csesarea rose against the Jews, and massacred 
them almost to a man. Maddened by this, the whole 
nation took arms, and attacked the surrounding cities, 
which made fearful reprisals. A signal reverse which 
Cestius Gallus, the prefect of Syria, sustained before Jeru- 
salem, where the undisciplined multitude repulsed a Roman 
army, with the loss of 5300 men and all their baggage and 
military engines, filled the cup of the popular intoxication, 
and the whole province appeared in open rebellion against 

Vespasian, the ablest general of the empire, was 
charged with the conduct of the war. He levied a large 
force in Alexandria and Syria, and, in the early spring of 
a.d. 67, invaded the northern province of Galilee. It was 
in vain that the Jews, led by Josephus, the celebrated 
historian, made a gallant stand ; the city of Jotapata, in 
particular, holding out for forty-seven days against the 
whole Roman force: numbers and discipline at length 
prevailed, and town after town submitted to the conqueror, 


who made terrible examples. As if to extinguish all hope 
of successful resistance, Jerusalem at this time, instead of 
being united against the common enemy, was torn by 
furious internal dissensions ; and the politic Roman, 
instead of marching at once upon the capital, permitted 
the unhappy inhabitants to spend their strength in these 
intestine feuds, while he overran the rest of the country. 
Peraea, Antipatris, Emmaus, and the frontier towns of 
Idumaea, were successively reduced; and at length the 
invading army appeared before Jericho, almost at the 
gates of Jerusalem. The destruction of the capital 
seemed imminent; but the events at Rome, which ended 
in his elevation to the imperial purple, suspended Vespa- 
sian's operations, and gave a respite of nearly two years 
to the devoted city. 

No sooner, however, was the emperor firmly seated on 
the throne, than his thoughts reverted to Judaea, and Titus, 
his son, was sent to complete the subjugation of the pro- 
vince. Having completed his preparations, that general 
advanced with a large force from Caesarea, and at once 
commenced the siege. Three factions, headed respectively 
by Eleazar, John of Ghischala, and Simon the son of 
Gioras, divided the military part of the population and 
the fortifications between them ; and it was only the sight 
of the Roman army encamped under the walls that led to 
a cessation of mutual hostilities. The leaders united their 
forces, and fanaticism and despair lent an audacity to the 
Jewish combatants, which baffled even the disciplined 
valour of the Roman legions. The siege was changed into 
a blockade, and the inhabitants, cooped up in the town, in 
the heat of summer, began to suffer dreadfully from pesti- 
lence and famine. Besides the ordinary population, the 
city was crowded with multitudes who had assembled to 
celebrate the Passover, and who were prevented, by the 


rapid measures of the Romans, from retiring to their 
respective homes. Frightful scenes ensued : robbers in 
quest of food broke into the houses, and forced the 
famished inmates to surrender their last morsel : the story « 
of the woman who cooked her infant, and when these 
wretches, attracted by the smell of food, demanded that 
she should produce her stores, set the remains before them, 
is well known. The terrible drama, which lasted for 
nearly five months, at last came to a close. The suburb 
of Bezetha, the citadel of Antonia, the Temple, the 
towers of Herod, in which the leaders of the factions 
had fortified themselves, successively fell into the hands 
of the enemy, who, exasperated by the obstinate de- 
fence, gave unbridled license to the work of devastation. 
The Temple was consumed, and the town razed to the 
ground; the three towers of Herod alone were suffered to 
remain, as monuments of the victory. It is computed 
that upwards of 1,000,000 persons perished during the 
siege. The golden table, the seven-branched candlestick, 
and the book of the law, rescued from the Temple, graced 
the triumph of the conqueror ; and on the Arch of Titus at 
Rome these spoils still appear in mouldering relief. Thus 
fell Jerusalem, fulfilling in her doom, to the very letter, 
the predictions of Moses, 1 and of the second, and greater 
Lawgiver, of whom Moses spake. 2 



The change which the Babylonish exile wrought in the 
national character of the Jews has been already noticed : 
from the same period, or soon after it, may be dated other 
1 Deut. xxviii. 49-57. 2 Luke, xix. 41-44. 


characteristic features of their religious life, which had an 
important bearing upon the establishment and progress of 
Christianity. Among these, the most remarkable are, the 
institution of the synagogue-worship and the rise of 

§ 1. Synagogues. — To what extent any system of regular 
religious instruction prevailed in the earlier ages of the 
Jewish commonwealth cannot be exactly determined. We 
know that Moses enjoined that the law should be read in 
the hearing of the people every seventh year, at the Feast 
of Tabernacles ; that it was the office of the priests and 
Levites to expound its meaning in doubtful cases ; and 
that the Levites were dispersed throughout the land for 
the purpose, no doubt, of forming centres of knowledge 
to the rest of the people. It has already been observed 
that the schools of the prophets must have tended to 
promote the study of the word of God. But it seems pro- 
bable, that in the disordered state of public affairs under 
the judges, and many of the kings, these provisions for 
public instruction were suffered to fall into disuse : that 
gross ignorance sometimes prevailed may be gathered from 
the surprise of Hilkiah the high-priest at the discovery of 
the book of the law, and the consternation of Josiah at 
hearing its contents. 1 Such a state of things is obviously 
incompatible with the supposition of its having been, at 
that time, the practice to form assemblies for the purpose 
of hearing the law read and expounded. To the syna- 
gogues, therefore, properly so called, we cannot assign a 
higher antiquity than some period subsequent to the 
Babylonish captivity : and this event sufficiently accounts 
for the rise of the institution. The exiles " by the waters 
of Babylon," deprived of the temple services, endeavoured 
•o supply the omission by such religious exercises as still 
1 2 Chron. xxxiv. 14-19, 


remained to them. They prayed with their face towards 
Jerusalem ; > they came together, when opportunity offered, 
to hear at the mouth of a prophet words of consolation and 
instruction. More than once in the Book of Ezekiel we 
find mention of such assemblies, presided over by the 
prophet himself, and consisting sometimes of the elders, 
and sometimes of elders and people together. 2 Eestored 
to their native land, the Jews continued these weekly 
assemblies, the homiletic services of which would be the 
more valued when the gift of prophecy was withdrawn. In 
the Book of Nehemiah we have an account of a religious 
service which bore a close resemblance to what afterwards 
became the stated worship of the synagogue. Ezra the 
scribe ascended a pulpit of wood, read portions of scrip- 
ture, which (since the ancient Hebrew was no longer under- 
stood by the people) were interpreted by persons appointed 
for that purpose, and the whole concluded with prayer and 
thanksgiving. 3 From this beginning synagogues so mul- 
tiplied, that in Jerusalem alone, in our Lord's time, there 
are said to have been 480 of these structures. 

The remarkable dispersion of the Jews which took place 
after the captivity, produced a corresponding diffusion of 
the new mode of worship. At the feast of Pentecost, which 
witnessed the descent of the Holy Ghost, there were found 
at Jerusalem "Jews, from every nation under heaven;" 
who, by their stated attendances at the principal festivals, 
maintained their connexion with the Temple, the centre of 
the national polity and worship ; while in the particular 
localities in which they resided they were fain to content 
themselves with the simpler devotions of the synagogue. 
And thus, in every considerable city of the Roman empire, 
Jews, and Jewish synagogues, were, at the time of Christ, 
found established. 

1 Dan. vi. 10. 2 Ezek. xiv. 1 : xx. 1. 3 Neh. viii. 1-8. 


From what has been said, the nature of the synago- 
gical worship may be gathered. With the Temple, or the 
Levitical worship, it had no connexion. The services were, 
not sacrificial and typical, but verbal and homiletic : a 
priest, as such, had in the synagogue no functions to 
discharge. With respect to those who might teach and 
expound a considerable degree of liberty prevailed. While 
this office properly belonged to the rulers of the syna- 
gogue, and could not be exercised without their permission, 
it was commonly delegated by them to any properly qua- 
lified member of the assembly who might intimate his 
wish to discharge it. Hence it excited no surprise when 
our Lord, in the synagogue of Nazareth, " stood up to 
read ; " the book was delivered to Him, in the character 
of Rabbi and Teacher, as a matter of course ; and we read 
that thus, without hindrance, " He preached in their syna- 
gogues throughout all Galilee." 1 So it was with the 
Apostles. When Paul and Barnabas entered the syna- 
gogue in Pisidia, and took their seats upon the doctors' 
bench, the rulers sent a permissive message to them, who 
in all probability were perfect strangers, that " if they had 
any word of exhortation for the people," to " say on." 2 

The form of government which prevailed in the syna- 
gogue was not everywhere the same. In the more populous 
cities it was framed on the Presbyterian model ; a college, 
or senate of presbyters, being invested with the chief 
authority ; while in the smaller villages, where there were 
not learned men in sufficient number to form such a 
senate, the synagogue was placed under the presidency of 
a single doctor of the law, who bore the title of Master, 
or Teacher. Hence may b3 reconciled the varying state- 
ments of the New Testament, which sometimes speaks of 
the "rulers," and sometimes of the "ruler" of the syna- 
1 Mark, i. 39. a Acts, xiii. 14, 15. 


gogue : in the one case, a corporate governing body ; in the 
other, an individual holding the same office. The proper 
Jewish appellation of the members of the presiding council 
was " elders ; " and the duties appertaining to their office 
were to teach and to rule : the latter comprehending the 
regulation of all matters connected with public worship, 
the care of the poor, and the administration of discipline. 
Besides its governing college of elders, the synagogue had 
its inferior ministers, upon whom devolved the care of the 
sacred books, and other subordinate offices : of this order 
was the "minister" to whom our Lord, on the occasion 
already referred to, returned the book or roll of Isaiah, 
from which He had been reading, to be restored to its 
place. 1 

The synagogues were used, not only as places of worship, 
but as courts of judicature for smaller offences ; and frequent 
references occur in the New Testament to the punishments 
of scourging and of excommunication, 2 which it was in 
their power to inflict. In the synagogues, too, it was not 
unusual for the doctors of the Jewish law to give instruc- 
tion : seated on an elevated chair, or platform, they were 
surrounded by their disciples, who stood beneath ; to 
which circumstance St. Paul alludes when, in his address 
to the Jews, he declares that he was " brought up at the 
feet of Gamaliel." 3 

Such was the synagogue ; an institution which, 
evidently under a superintending Providence, had gradu- 
ally established itself wherever there were Jews — that is, 
everywhere ; and the design of which was at once to facili- 
tate the introduction of the Gospel in each important city, 
and to furnish the groundwork of the polity of the 
Christian Church. If the Jews had not, in their dispersed 

1 Luke, iv. 20. 2 Matt. x. 17. Luke, xii. 11. John, ix. 22. 

3 Acts, xxii. 3. 


state after the captivity, formed themselves into synago- 
gues, there would not have existed any religious centres to 
which the promulgation of the Gospel could have attached 
itself as the Apostles, in the exercise of their mission, 
traversed the world. For the Temple, and the Temple 
services, were, we know, incapable of multiplication ; they 
were, by Divine appointment, fixed to one spot, and no 
Jew, rightly instructed in the principles of his religion, 
ever could, or did, think of erecting in a foreign land a 
counterpart of the sacred structure. But in the synagogue, 
exactly what was wanting was supplied. These places of 
worship could be multiplied indefinitely, without affecting 
the unity of the Temple, or the connexion of the worship- 
pers therewith : by them the knowledge of the law and the 
prophets was maintained amidst the corrupting influences 
of heathenism ; by them the Jewish mind became habitu- 
ated to the offerings of prayer and praise instead of the 
bloody sacrifices of the law, and to the ministry of the 
word instead of a ministry of types. Thus, on their 
arrival at any new scene of labour, the missionaries of 
Christ, themselves Jews, had but to repair to the syna- 
gogue, and, as far as regards external facilities, they found 
everything prepared for a successful promulgation of the 

§ 2. Jewish Sects. — Later than the establishment of 
synagogues must be placed the rise of the Jewish sects, no 
vestiges of which appear before the age of the Maccabees. 
Of these sects the three principal were the Pharisees, the 
Sadducees, and the Essenes ; the two former of which are 
frequently mentioned in the New Testament. 

Pharisees. — The origin of this sect is obscure. The 
name is derived from a Hebrew word signifying to 
separate, since they affected a degree of holiness beyond 
the common. Josephus mentions both the Pharisees and 


the Sadducees as distinct sects in the time of the high- 
priest Jonathan (b. c. 145) ; their rise, therefore, must be 
referred to an earlier date, and probably the Pharisaic 
tendency exhibited itself soon after the return from the 
captivity. Their reputation for sanctity and knowledge 
gave them great weight with the people, and by that 
means, in the administration of public affairs : under the 
later Maccabsean princes they directed the government as 
they pleased. Their political bias was democratic. In 
the time of Christ they were divided into two principal 
schools, those of Hillel and Shammai, the former repre- 
senting the more moderate, the latter the stricter, form of 
Pharisaism : it was to the latter that St. Paul, brought 
up " in the straitest sect" of his religion, 1 belonged. 

The tenets of the Pharisees were as follows : — Besides 
the written law of Moses they admitted oral tradition, 
comprehending various details of practice, which they pre- 
tended had been handed down from Moses, and which they 
placed on a level with the precepts of the inspired word. 2 
Of the law itself they were diligent students, and were 
looked up to as the authentic expositors of it ; but laying 
stress upon the letter, to the neglect of the spirit, they 
presented a loathsome combination of punctilious obedience 
in matters of ritual and ceremony with great laxity of 
morals. A corrupt casuistry was at their command, where- 
by the plainest precepts of the moral code were evaded ; 
w T hile the exalted ideas w T hich they entertained of their 
own sanctity placed a bar to the entrance of juster notions 
respecting their state in the sight of God. Notwith- 
standing these grave defects, they were the representatives 
of orthodox Judaism ; they " sat in Moses' seat :" many of 
them, too, were men of sincere piety : hence it was from this 
sect that Christianity received the greater number of its 
1 Acts, xxvi. 5. 2 Matt. xv. 2. Mark, vii. 4. Matt, xxiii. 5. 


first converts. Doctrinally, Pharisaism inclined to the 
predestinarian theory; without, however, denying the power 
of man to co-operate with the Divine will. The Pharisees 
held the existence of angels and spirits, and the immortality 
of the soul, together with a state of future retribution. 
Their doctrine of the resurrection appears to have been, 
that the souls of the righteous, after an interval of bliss, 
were to be reunited to pure bodies, and return to earth ; 
while the souls of the wicked remained in Hades, suffering 
the pains of eternal punishment. Not, indeed, the Christian 
doctrine of the resurrection ; but, on the other hand, 
differing materially from the Pythagorean transmigration 
of souls, with which it has been sometimes confounded. 

Sadducees. — Of the origin of this sect we know no 
more than we do of that of the Pharisees. Jewish 
tradition refers it to a certain Zadok, a disciple of Anti- 
gonus Sachseus, who flourished in the middle of the third 
century before Christ; and who, from the doctrine of his 
master, that virtue should be sought for its own sake, and 
not for reward, drew the further inference that there is no 
future state of retribution : but this account seems un- 
worthy of credit. It was natural, that when the Pharisaic 
tendency began to display itself, an opposite mode of 
thought should appear, and gradually assume the form of 
a distinct school: this is all that can be affirmed, with 
probability, of this sect. Of the doctrines of the Sadducees 
we have more certain information. In opposition to the 
Pharisees, they rejected all traditionary additions to Scrip- 
ture, and all allegorical interpretations. Some have con- 
jectured that they admitted as canonical only the five 
books of Moses : but for this opinion there is no ground. 
Josephus, himself a Pharisee, is silent upon such a charge; 
nor can we suppose that, had it been true, Sadducees would 
have been admitted, as they were, not merely to the 


Sanhedrim, but to the high-priesthood. They held that 
the soul perishes with the body, and consequently that 
there is no resurrection of the latter: from the same prin- 
ciples they argued that there is "neither angel nor spirit." 1 
To man they attributed absolute freedom of will and 
action, excluding Divine interposition in the affairs of the 
world. In their habits and intercourse they affected 
austerity, and were noted for the rigour of their judicial 
decisions. As compared with the Pharisees, the Sadducees 
were few in number, and exercised but little popular 
influence; on the other hand, their adherents were usually 
men of wealth and distinction. 

Essenes. — Of this sect no express mention occurs in 
the sacred books, yet it was one of the most considerable 
among the Jews. It is supposed to have arisen a little 
before the time of the Maccabees, when persecution drove 
the faithful followers of Jehovah into caves and deserts, 
where they became so habituated to a retired life that they 
were unwilling, on the restoration of peace, to return to 
the world. The Essenes were dispersed in different coun- 
tries, but Egypt and Palestine were their chief seats. 
They were divided into the Practical, who, without renoun- 
cing society, employed themselves in husbandry, and the 
other mechanic arts, those relating to war excepted; and 
the Contemplative, or Therapeutae (Soul-physicians), who 
were wholly devoted to meditation, and practised great 
austerities. They are said to have admitted the im- 
mortality of the soul, but denied the resurrection of the 
body; and, like the Pharisees, to have referred all things 
to a controlling Providence. 

Herodians, Scribes, fyc. — A few other names, denoting 
rather political parties, or classes of men, than sects, occur 
in Holy Scripture, and demand a short notice. The Hero- 
1 Matt. xxii. 23. Acts, xxiii. 8. 


dians were so called from their attachment to the family of 
Herod, whom they supported in his policy of subjugating 
Judaea to the Roman empire. Their political affected 
their religious tendencies ; and they were suspected of a 
leaning to indififerentism on the subject of the heathen 
customs which their patron had attempted to introduce. 
As might be supposed, they were in direct antagonism to 
the Pharisees. The Scribes, so frequently mentioned in the 
New Testament, otherwise called " the lawyers," were a class 
of men specially devoted to the employment of transcribing 
and expounding the law : though generally Pharisees, 
they were not confined to that sect. The Sadducees also 
had their scribes. 1 

The Nazarites were a species of consecrated persons, 
who were bound, or who had bound themselves, by certain 
vows. They were of two kinds : those who, by their parents, 
were devoted to God from their infancy, or even before 
their birth, as Samson (Judg. xiii. 5), Samuel (1 Sam. 
i. 11), and John the Baptist (Luke, i. 15), and those who 
bound themselves to the Nazareate for a limited time. 
The vows of the Nazarites comprised, — 1. Abstinence from 
wine and strong liquors ; 2. The suffering the hair of the 
head to grow, without cutting, during the period of their 
vow ; 3. The taking special care not to defile themselves 
by the vicinity of a dead body, during the same period. 
At the expiration of his vow the Nazarite cut off his hair 
at the door of the Tabernacle, and offered sacrifices. See 
Num. vi., where the laws of this institute are given in 

With the vows of the Nazareate must not be confounded 
those which pious persons took upon themselves on deliver- 
ance from sickness, or any imminent danger ; though in 
this latter case, too, the hair was suffered to grow, and 
1 Acts, xxiii. y. 


abstinence from strong liquors practised. Such a vow 
was that which St. Paul had voluntarily incurred (Acts, 
xviii. 18). At the expiration of it he shaved his head in 
Cenchrea ; but it was only at Jerusalem that the sacrifices 
and purifications necessary to perfect the vow could be 
offered ; hence he hasted from Ephesus, and presented 
himself, with the four men similarly bound, in the Temple, 
for the purpose of undergoing these ceremonies (Acts, 
xxi. 26). 



The most transient view of the state of the world at 
the birth of our Lord exhibits a marvellous concurrence of 
circumstances preparing the way for the promulgation of 
the Gospel. Some of the providential changes which befell 
the Jewish nation ; such as the final eradication of idola- 
trous tendencies ; their dispersion over the Roman empire, 
and the accompanying institution of synagogues; have 
been already mentioned: to these may be added the 
existence and general use of the Septuagint version of 
the Old Testament, and the spread of the Greek language 
over the civilized world, which must have led to a general 
acquaintance with the prophetic Scriptures. The political 
aspect of affairs was equally favourable. The nations of 
the earth were united under the sceptre of Augustus, and 
a profound peace everywhere prevailed. The means of 
intercourse between the various portions of the empire 
were multiplied, and the well-known principles of religious 
toleration by which the Roman government was distin- 


guished, proved a protection to the early Church from the 
animosity of its inveterate enemies, the unbelieving Jews. 
The popular systems of idolatry had become effete ; they 
were a mere husk, from which the living power which once 
had given them influence over the minds of men had 
vanished; while every school of philosophy, and every 
mythical system, had, in turn, confessed its insufficiency to 
meet the spiritual wants of human nature. " The fulness 
the times" had come when the primeval promise 1 was 
fulfilled, and the Saviour appeared in our flesh. 

This great event took place in the year of Eome 749, 
or about four years before the common era. The circum- 
stances of it were in exact accordance with prophecy. A 
virgin "conceived, and bare a son;" 2 and though his 
mother, and reputed father, resided in Galilee, yet it was 
at Bethlehem 3 that the event occurred, whither Joseph and 
Mary, who both were of the lineage of David, had repaired 
for the purpose of being taxed or enrolled in their own 
city. Unnoticed by the powers of this world, the birth of 
the Saviour was marked by several striking occurrences : it 
was communicated by angels to the shepherds of Bethle- 
hem; it was celebrated by Simeon and Anna in strains of 
prophetic thanksgiving; and the representatives of the 
Gentiles were summoned from the East, by an extraordinary 
appearance in the heavens, to present their devotions and 
their gifts to the infant Jesus. The previous inquiries of 
these Eastern magi respecting the predicted king of the 
Jews had aroused the jealousy of Herod; who, frustrated 
in his attempt to discover the new-born babe, wreaked 
his vengeance upon the infants of the whole neighbour- 
hood,— a massacre as useless as it was diabolical, for the 
holy family had previously taken refuge in Egypt, where 
they remained till the death of the tyrant. They then 
1 Gen. iii. 15. 2 Isa. vii. 14. 3 Mic. v. 2. 


returned and took up their abode at Nazareth, where 
thirty years of our Lord's life passed in obscurity; the 
only incidents of it recorded being His visit to the Temple, 
where, at twelve years of age, He was found by His parents 
among the Jewish doctors, "hearing them and asking 
them questions." 1 

The public ministry of Christ was preceded by that of 
John the Baptist. Austere in life, and intrepid in cha- 
racter, the son of Zacharias was personally well fitted for 
the office assigned him, — of preparing the way for the 
Gospel by recalling men's minds to the spiritual nature of 
the Divine law, and awakening the conscience to a sense of 
transgression. Multitudes nocked to him, to receive his 
baptism; and at length Jesus Himself, that He "might 
fulfil all righteousness," submitted to this preparatory rite, 
and at the same time received the solemn consecration of 
the Holy Ghost, and the attestation of the Father to His 
Divine mission. 2 And as the spiritual history of the first 
Adam began with temptation, issuing in defeat, and sin, 
and death; so the second Adam, immediately after His 
anointing with the Holy Spirit, engaged in the wilderness 
in that victorious contest with the powers of evil which 
proved His Divine power, and gave the promise of a 
future and complete extinction of the dominion of Satan. 

Before our Lord departed from Judaea to Galilee, which 
was to be the principal scene of His ministry, He attached 
to His person the four disciples, Andrew, John, Peter, and 
Philip; and after His arrival in the neighbourhood of 
Capernaum, the number was increased by the addition of 
Nathanael, Philip's brother, and James the brother of 
John, who, with his brother, was by profession a fisherman. 
It was while He was at Cana in Galilee that His first 
miracle, specially intended to confirm the faith of these 
1 Luke, ii. 46. 2 Matt. iii. 17. 


disciples, was performed, in the change of water into wine 
at a marriage-feast. 1 

At the first Passover which He attended after His 
baptism, Jesus purged the Temple from the profanations 
of the money-changers, and of those who sold animals for 
sacrifice; and uttered the remarkable prophecy of the 
resurrection of the Temple of His body. 2 It was on this 
occasion, too, that the interview with Nicodemus took 
place, when this wavering disciple was instructed in the 
mystery of the new birth, and attached permanently to 
the cause of Christ. The attention which our Lord's 
discourses and miracles excited at last awakened the 
jealousy of the Pharisees, which was increased when His 
disciples, after the example of John, began to baptize; and 
He deemed it prudent to retire to Galilee. Soon after the 
departure of Jesus from Judasa the Baptist's ministry came 
to a. close ; he was incarcerated by Herod Antipas in the 
fortress of Machserus, where he remained until, by the 
same monarch, at the instigation of Herodias, he was put 
to death. 

This journey of our Lord to Galilee was memorable for 
His discourse with the woman of Samaria, near Sychem, 
and for the favourable reception which He met with from 
the inhabitants of that district. He repaired first to 
Cana, the scene of His former miracle, where He again 
exhibited His Divine power in healing a nobleman's son 
who lay at the point of death; and after a fruitless attempt 
to gain a hearing in His own city, Nazareth, He pro- 
ceeded to Capernaum, on the shores of the lake of Tiberias, 
and there took up His abode. 

The next few months were spent in Galilee, which, 
according to the prophet's prediction, 3 was singularly fa- 
voured with Christ's presence and miracles. To this period 
1 John, ii. 1-11. 2 Ibid. v. 19. 3 Isa. ix. 2. 


belongs the miraculous draught of fishes, when Peter and 
Andrew, James and John, were finally separated from 
their secular calling to a more constant attendance upon 
their Master; the casting out of the unclean spirit in the 
synagogue of Capernaum ; the cure of Peter's mother, and 
others ; the healing of the leper, and of the paralytic let 
down through the roof; and the calling of Matthew the 

A Jewish feast, 1 probably the second Passover, finds 
our Lord again at Jerusalem. It was on this occasion 
that the healing of a cripple at the pool of Bethesda gave 
rise to one of the various discourses which He held with 
the Jews respecting the proper observance of the Sabbath, — 
a question which, after His return to Galilee, was again 
raised by the disciples plucking the ears of corn, and the 
healing of the man with a withered hand, on the Sabbath- 
day. Jesus now selected twelve from among His disciples, 
to whom, from their office, He gave the name of Apostles, 
and who, from their constant attendance upon Him, might 
be enabled afterwards to testify with greater authority 
what they had seen and heard. During this sojourn in 
Galilee, the sermon on the mount, and that remarkable 
series of parables recorded by St. Matthew, 2 were delivered; 
and as, in company with the twelve, He made various 
circuits through the surrounding country, His path was 
marked by acts of mercy and beneficence; — such as the 
raising of the widow's son at Nain ; the healing of the two 
demoniacs of Gadara ; the raising of Jairus' daughter ; the 
healing of the woman with an issue of blood, and of two 
blind men ; and the feeding of five thousand at Bethsaida 
(Julias). To this period may be referred the temporary 
mission of the twelve, their return to Jesus, and the night- 
scene on the sea of Galilee. 

1 John, v. 1. - Matt. xiii. 


The third Passover does not seem to have been 
celebrated by Christ at Jerusalem : he probably found 
that it would be unsafe to venture to the capital, and 
therefore continued in Galilee until the following Feast of 
Tabernacles. During this interval, the daughter of the 
Syrophenician woman was healed — a pledge of blessings in 
store for the Gentiles ; the miracle of feeding four thousand 
people with seven loaves and a few fishes was wrought ; and 
the great transaction of the transfiguration, probably on 
Mount Tabor, took place. From this time Jesus began to 
prepare the minds of His disciples for His approaching 
sufferings and death. 

In the month of October, a.d. 33, Jesus took His final 
departure from Galilee, for the purpose of attending the 
Feast of Tabernacles. His journey lay through Samaria, 
and in the course of it occurred the healing of ten lepers, 
and the sending forth of the Seventy on a mission similar 
to that which the Apostles had previously discharged. 
Arrived in Jerusalem, He devoted a large portion of His 
time to discoursing in the Temple with the unbelieving Jews, 
making occasional excursions into the neighbouring dis- 
tricts of Ephraim and Perasa, or the country beyond the 
Jordan. At Bethany, the great miracle of the raising of 
Lazarus was performed ; in Persea, the parables of the lost 
sheep, the prodigal son, the unjust steward, the rich man 
and Lazarus, the Pharisee and the publican, were spoken. 
At length, taking Jericho in His way, where the conver- 
sion of Zacchaeus took place, and two blind men were 
restored to sight, our Lord once more arrived at Bethany, 
about six days before His fourth, and last, Passover. 

The events of the next six days are detailed with more 
than usual minuteness by the Evangelists. It was on the 
Jewish Sabbath that our Lord arrived at Bethany, which, 
during this eventful week, He made His residence at night, 


visiting the city daily. On the first day of the week, 10th 
Nisan = April, He made His public entry into Jerusalem ; 
on the next He cleansed the Temple, and pronounced a curse 
upon the barren fig-tree ; on Tuesday he discoursed in the 
Temple, took His leave of it, and, on His way to Bethany, 
foretold its approaching destruction, as well as His own 
coming to judgment ; on Wednesday the rulers conspired, 
and Judas laid his plan of treachery ; on Thursday even- 
ing, that is, the commencement of Friday, our Lord 
partook of the Paschal lamb, instituted the Lord's Supper, 
passed through the agony of Gethsemane, was betrayed 
and apprehended : He was brought, first before Caiaphas, 
and then before Pontius Pilate ; was condemned and cruci- 
fied, and, before sunset, laid in the sepulchre. 

At the request of the Jews, a guard of Roman soldiers 
was stationed at the tomb, which was also secured by a 
large stone rolled to the mouth. Early in the morning, 
however, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene 
and some other women, who had come for the purpose of 
anointing the body with spices, found the stone removed, 
and the sepulchre empty. The other women hastened to 
the city to announce what they had seen, and in the way 
they were met by Jesus, who spoke to them encouragingly, 
and bade them tell the disciples to go into Galilee, where 
they should meet Him. During their absence, Peter and 
John, who had been summoned by Mary Magdalene, 
satisfied themselves, by entering the sepulchre, that the 
body was not there ; and after their departure, Mary, as 
she was standing at the entrance weeping, was favoured by 
a sight of her risen Master. The same day, but when is 
uncertain, He was seen by Peter ; 1 and in the afternoon 
occurred the interview with the two disciples, on the way 
to Emmans. In the evening He appeared in the midst of 
1 1 Cor. xv. 5. 


the Apostles, and demonstrated the reality of His resur- 
rection-body ; and eight days afterwards the incredulous 
Thomas was convinced of the fact by the evidence of his 
senses. In obedience to His command, the Apostles now 
departed to Galilee, where He appeared to them at the 
lake of Tiberias, and afterwards, on a certain mountain, to 
above five hundred of the disciples at once. Returning to 
Jerusalem, the Apostles were favoured with a last inter- 
view ; l and then, leading them out to Bethany, Jesus, after 
blessing them, ascended to heaven. 

In one of the interviews with their Master in Galilee 
the Apostles had received their commission to preach the 
Gospel throughout the world ; but they were not to fulfil 
this command until they should receive the promised gift 
of the Holy Spirit. This great event took place on the 
day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover ; and with 
it properly begins the history of the Christian Church. 
The first-fruits of the outpouring of the Spirit was the 
conversion of three thousand souls by the discourse of Peter; 
and the number increased daily. Miracles accompanied, and 
confirmed, the word preached. It was not long before 
these proceedings excited the attention of the Jewish 
authorities : Peter and John at first, and then all the 
Apostles, were summoned before the Sanhedrim ; but, at 
the suggestion of Gamaliel, they were dismissed, with an 
injunction to abstain from further speaking in the name of 
Jesus. They continued, however, publicly and privately, 
to teach, until Stephen's boldness and success brought 
matters to a crisis, and a violent persecution arose, which, 
however, by scattering the disciples, only promoted the 
cause it was intended to impede. It was thus that the 
Gospel was preached in Samaria, and that ^Ethiopia heard 
the word of God. But the time had now arrived for its 
1 1 Cor. xv. 7. 


promulgation among the Gentiles. To Peter, according 
to our Lord's prediction, 1 it "was given to admit, in the 
person of Cornelius, the Gentile proselytes to the privileges 
of the Gospel ; for the conversion of the idolatrous 
Gentiles a special instrument was raised up. Among the 
most violent opponents of Christianity was Saul of Tarsus, 
a learned Pharisee, who had distinguished himself hy the 
unrelenting zeal with which he persecuted the Church. It 
was on an errand of this kind, to Damascus, when his 
remarkable conversion took place ; and thenceforth his 
sentiments and his course of life underwent a complete 
change. After an interval of retirement, during which a 
second persecution, or rather persecutor, Herod Agrippa I., 
deprived the Church of James the brother of John, and 
threatened tLe life of Peter, but did not prevent the spread 
of the Gospel to Antioch, the capital of the kingdom of 
Seleucus, to Phoenicia, and to Cyprus, Saul returned to 
Damascus, and preached with success until the animosity 
of the unbelieving Jews compelled him to seek safety in 
flight. He repaired to Jerusalem, where he was introduced 
to the brethren ; but, being Divinely admonished that his 
sphere of labour was to be among the Gentiles, he departed, 
first to Tarsus, preaching throughout Syria and Cilicia, and 
then to Antioch, where, in company with Barnabas, he 
laboured for a whole year. The history of the Church, as 
far as it is contained in the New Testament, is, henceforward, 
a narrative of the life and labours of the great Apostle. 

Antioch was the great centre of missionary operations. 
From this place, in company with Barnabas, and John 
Mark, Paul set out on his first missionary journey. 
Embarking for Cyprus, they landed at Salamis, and, after 
preaching there in the synagogue, proceeded to Paphos, 
where the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus, resided. The 
1 Matt. xvi. 19. 


proconsul was won to the faith of Christ ; but the aspect 
of things not being otherwise encouraging, the Apostles 
sailed to the coast of Pamphylia, and, after a short stay 
at Perga, went on to Antioch of Pisidia, where for two 
Sabbath-days they taught in the synagogue. Crowds 
flocked to hear them, when the further progress of the 
Gospel in those parts was put a stop to by a persecution 
on the part of the Jews, which compelled Paul and 
Barnabas to retire to Lycaonia. Here, in the cities of 
Iconium and Lystra, they gained many converts, among 
others Timothy, the future fellow-labourer of Paul ; but 
they were followed by their Jewish adversaries, who so 
worked upon the excitable populace, that they stoned the 
Apostle to whom they had just before been about to offer 
sacrifice. After a brief sojourn at Derbe, Paul and his 
companion retraced their steps, confirming the churches 
which they had founded, and arrived at Antioch, where they 
were gladly received by the Church, and where they 
remained for some years. 

During Paul's stay at Antioch, the great question re- 
specting the obligation of the Gentile converts to be circum- 
cised and to observe the law of Moses, which for some 
time had agitated the Church, was discussed in a full 
assembly of the " Apostles, elders, and brethren," at Jeru- 
salem, and decided in favour of the principles of Christian 
liberty. In deference, however, to the prejudices of the 
Jewish believers, the Gentile converts were recommended 
to abstain from things strangled, and from practices that 
had a direct connexion with idolatrous rites. Notwith- 
standing this solemn decision, such is the force of habit 
and education, that Peter, who had assisted at the deliber- 
ations of the Council, and to whom a special vision, 
inculcating the great truth that under the Gospel no 
distinction of persons was to be admitted, began, on his 


arrival at Antioch, to waver on this essential point, and 
not only himself withdrew from full communion with the 
uncircumcised believers, but influenced Barnabas in the 
same direction. Happily for all parties, Paul stood firm; 
lie administered a faithful reproof to Peter, which seems to 
have been effectual, for we read no more of his lending his 
name and influence to the Judaizing party. 

Paul now proposed to Barnabas that they should 
revisit the scenes of their former labours; but a difference 
having arisen between them on the subject of taking 
Mark as their companion, who, on the previous occasion, 
had left them at Perga, they separated; and while Barnabas, 
with Mark, went to Cyprus, Paul, with Silas as his com- 
panion, passed through Syria, and Cilicia, and Lycaonia; 
and then, proceeding northwards, preached in Phrygia and 
Galatia, in which latter country the Gospel was very 
favourably received. But the time had arrived for the 
Apostle's entering upon a new and vastly enlarged 
sphere : a Divine intimation was given him that he should 
pass over into Europe ; in obedience to which he and his 
three associates, Timothy, Silas, and Luke, embarked for 
Keapolis, and thence went on to Philippi, the chief city of 
that part of Macedonia. The conversion of Lydia and her 
household was the first seal to his ministry in this place ; 
and the Gospel continued to make progress, until the 
expulsion of an evil spirit from a female slave, by which 
the unhallowed gain of her masters was put a stop to, so 
irritated the latter, that a tumult was excited, which ended 
in the magistrates committing Paul and Silas, after first 
ordering them to be scourged, to the public prison, as 
disturbers of the peace. Eeleased by a miraculous inter- 
position, which produced the conversion of the jailor, they 
departed next day unmolested ; the magistrates, who had 
made themselves liable to severe penalties by scourging 


Roman citizens uncondemned, obsequiously fetching them 
out of the prison, and requesting their departure. 

From Philippi the two missionaries travelled to Thes- 
salonica, the capital of the province of Macedonia, where a 
nourishing church was founded. Driven thence by his old 
opponents the Jews, Paul retired to Berea, which, however, 
from the same cause, he was soon compelled to quit ; and, 
leaving Silas and Timothy behind him, he hastened to 
Athens, the centre of Greek literature and philosophy. 
Here he was enabled, indeed, to make a noble protest 
against the reigning idolatry, but not to gather in many 
converts; and, after a short delay, he passed on to the 
luxurious metropolis of Achaia, the emporium of commerce, 
Corinth. So important was this field of labour, and so 
cheering were the results of his ministry, both among Jews 
and Gentiles, that Paul continued at Corinth eighteen 
months ; ably seconded in his efforts by Aquila and 
Priscilla, Jews who had been expelled from Rome, and 
whom he was instrumental in converting to the faith of 
Christ. From Corinth the two Epistles to the Thes- 
salonians were written. At length, wishing to be present 
in Jerusalem at a certain feast, Paul took leave of the 
Corinthian Christians, and, after a passing visit to Ephesus, 
landed at Csesarea, whence he proceeded to Jerusalem, and 
shortly afterwards returned to Antioch, having thus com- 
pleted his second apostolic tour. 

After a brief interval we find this indefatigable mis- 
sionary engaged in his third and last apostolic journey. 
He passed through Asia Minor, " strengthening the dis- 
ciples," and at length arrived at Ephesus, the capital of 
the Roman province of Asia. Here he remained for 
upwards of two years, preaching both to Jews and Gentiles. 
A great effect was produced: the votaries of magical science 
burnt their books publicly, to the value of about two 


thousand pounds ; the trade of silver shrines for Diana, whose 
temple was the great ornament of the city, became sensibly 
affected: when suddenly the Apostle found himself involved 
in one of the greatest perils which he had yet encountered. 
Demetrius, a master-craftsman of these silver shrines, 
summoned his workmen together, represented how seriously 
their interests were affected by the spread of the new faith, 
and succeeded, by their means, in throwing the whole city 
into a tumult. With great difficulty the commotion was 
appeased, and Paul, taking ship, departed to Macedonia. 

During the Apostle's sojourn at Ephesus, the state of 
the Church of Corinth had caused him great uneasiness. 
Apollos, an Alexandrian Jew, of great learning and elo- 
quence, had, after his conversion to Christianity, selected 
Corinth as a suitable sphere for his ministerial activity ; 
and the fickle Corinthians, prone to over-estimate intel- 
lectual gifts, had made him, no doubt against his own will, 
a party leader. Practical corruptions, too, prevailed in 
the Church. These circumstances gave rise to the two 
Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians, the former written 
from Ephesus, the latter from Philippi; and not long 
afterwards, having " preached the Gospel round about 
unto Ulyricum," 1 he repaired in person to Corinth, for the 
purpose of correcting the disorders which prevailed, and 
promoting a contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem. 
These objects having been accomplished, he set out for 
Palestine, proceeding not by the direct route, but through 
Macedonia, to escape the machinations of the Jews : and 
embarking at Philippi, he and his companions landed at 
Troas, and thence sailed, past Mitylene, to Miletus, where, 
having summoned the elders of the Ephesian Church, he 
took a solemn and affecting farewell of them. At Tyre, 
and again at Caesarea, prophetic intimations met him of the 
1 Rom. xv. 19. 


clangers that awaited him at Jerusalem ; but his resolution 
was fixed, and arriving at the holy city, he took up his 
abode with an old disciple named Mnason. 

The day after his arrival, he met the elders and brethren 
of the Church, to whom he gave an account of his mis- 
sionary travels, and delivered the contribution for the poor 
with which he had been entrusted. What course he should 
now take became a matter of serious concern. The un- 
believing Jews regarded him as a renegade, and even the 
Jewish converts entertained strong prejudices against him, 
as the great defender of Gentile liberty. It was thought 
best that, to remove any suspicion of contempt, on his 
part, of the law of Moses, he should join with some 
Christian Jews in the fulfilment of a vow, which required 
their presence in the Temple. No sooner, however, did he 
appear within the sacred precincts than he was recognised 
by certain Jews of Asia, who at once raised a tumult, and, 
collecting a mob of zealots, dragged the Apostle out of the 
Temple, and would have put him to death, but for the 
timely interference of the Roman guard in the fortress of 
Antonia. Rescued with difficulty, he attempted to address 
the populace, but the mention of the word Gentiles excited 
their fury afresh, and Lysias, the chief captain of the 
guard, found it necessary to convey him into the fortress. 
The next day the Sanhedrim assembled to hear him ; but 
perceiving that, before such an audience, it was useless to 
plead, he skilfully set the Pharisees at variance with the 
Sadducees, and, amidst the confusion that ensued, Lysias 
again withdrew his prisoner. A plot was now laid to 
assassinate him ; but intelligence of it coming to the ears 
of Lysias, he sent the Apostle away by night to Caesarea, 
the residence of the Roman procurator, Felix, where for 
upwards of two years he remained in captivity. The 
Jews were summoned from Jerusalem to make their 


accusation, but no decisive result followed: Felix hoped 
that a bribe might be offered for his captive's release, but 
no offer was made : and when his successor, Porcius Festus, 
arrived to assume the government, Paul was still in 

The new governor was importuned by the Jews to send 
his prisoner to Jerusalem, their intention being to assas- 
sinate him by the way ; but Festus refused their request, 
and appointed a day for the trial at Caesarea. At the 
time fixed Paul and his accusers were once more confronted, 
and the old charges were made and refuted ; but, perceiving 
that Festus was desirous to rid himself of the matter by 
complying with the wishes of the Jews, the Apostle, as a 
last resource, appealed to the Roman emperor, and the 
case was thus taken out of the hands of the inferior 
authorities. For the gratification of Herod Agrippa II., 
who happened to be on a visit to Festus, and for the 
further information of the governor himself, who was ill- 
versed in Jewish questions, Paul was permitted once more 
to plead his cause in public : his innocence was admitted, 
but the appeal to Caesar made it necessary for him to be 
sent to Rome. 

He was accordingly, with some other prisoners, com- 
mitted to the charge of a centurion, who chartered a 
vessel, first to Myra, on the coast of Mysia, and then to 
Italy. The former part of the voyage was accomplished 
successfully, but the latter ended in the total wreck of the 
vessel on the island of Malta. No lives, however, were 
lost, and, embarking again in an Alexandrian ship, the 
Apostle arrived in safety at the end of his journey, and 
was committed to the custody of the praetorian prefect, 
who gave him permission to dwell in his own house, with 
a soldier to guard him. Thus two years were spent, during 
which time Paul had frequent opportunities of preaching 


the Gospel : the Epistles to the Ephesians, the Philippians, 
the Colossians, and Philemon, were also the precious fruits 
of this period of comparative leisure. 

The inspired history here breaks off, and the rest of 
the Apostle's life is involved in some obscurity. While 
some have held that this captivity was his last, others 
suppose that he was released from it, and accomplished a 
fourth apostolic journey through Asia Minor, and thence 
to Spain ; after which he visited Macedonia, Crete, and 
Epirus, in which last place he was arrested, and again 
sent to Rome, where, under Nero, a.d. 68, he suffered 

Of the history of the rest of the Apostles we have only 
obscure traditions. Peter, the Apostle of the circumcision 
as Paul was of the Gentiles, is said to have suffered death 
by crucifixion at Rome. John, having survived his banish- 
ment to Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, settled 
at Ephesus, and lived to an extreme old age. Most of the 
other Apostles are said to have suffered martyrdom. 

We close this sketch of the history of the Apostolic 
Church with a short notice of its ecclesiastical polity and 
rites. The first Christian societies seem to have been 
constituted after the model of the synagogue. Like that 
of the Jewish institution, the religious worship of a 
primitive Christian assembly was homiletic, not sacrificial; 
it consisted in prayer, singing, and exhortation. 1 There is 
a correspondence, too, between the officers in either case, 
the deacons answering to the inferior ministers, and the 
presbyters to the elders, of the synagogue. The Temple 
and its rites had their fulfilment in Christ; the synagogue 
reappeared in local Christian churches. The progress of 
organization was gradual, as need required. Of diocesan 
episcopacy the New Testament does not seem to present 
1 1 Cor. c. xiv. 


any clear instance, for the commissions of Timothy and 
Titus were but temporary, and the words presbyter and 
episcopus are in the New Testament perfectly synonymous. 
The episcopal form of government, however, may reason- 
ably lay claim to apostolical sanction ; how else could it 
have so speedily and so universally prevailed ? The 
destruction of Jerusalem probably marks the date of this 
further extension of Church polity. 

The ceremonies of the primitive Church were few and 
simple. Of the administration of the sacraments little 
is recorded beyond the fact. Converts were baptized with 
water in the name of the Holy Trinity, and probably by 
immersion ; baptized Christians " broke bread," that is, 
celebrated the Lord's Supper, it should seem very fre- 
quently ; beyond this no details are given. We know not 
what, or whether any, form of consecration was used ; 
certainly no liturgical formulary at that time existed. 
The Lord's Supper was commonly preceded by an agape, 
or love-feast, and, as we learn from the instance of Troas, 1 
it was not uncommon to celebrate it in the evening. The 
first day of the week appears set apart for religious 
worship. No buildings for that purpose as yet existed ; 
the disciples " broke bread from house to house." In this 
absence of minute prescription we recognise the Divine 
wisdom ; for Christianity was not to be a new ceremonial 
law, but a new life, and, retaining its essentials, it was, in 
matters of ritual and polity, to adapt itself to all varieties 
of climate, national temperament, and mental culture. 
The law of Moses was an iron band, encircling one nation ; 
Christianity was to pervade the world, and needed a 
corresponding elasticity in its outward equipments. 
1 Acts, xx. 7. 




No classification hitherto proposed of the Books of the 
New Testament is perfectly accurate ; for the divisions are 
either incomplete, or they run into each other. Thus the 
old arrangement of " Gospels," and " Apostles," seems to 
imply that the Gospels were not written by Apostles ; and 
that of " Gospels" and " Epistles" excludes the Book of 
Acts, and the Revelation of St. John. There are, how- 
ever, certain books which consist chiefly of narrative, such 
as the Gospels and the Book of Acts, and these we may call 
historical : in certain others, as the Epistles, the dogma- 
tical element is most prominent, and hence they may 
receive the name of doctrinal : and one Book, the Revela- 
tion, is of a prophetical character. 

Sect. I. — Historical Books. The Gospels, and the 
Acts of the Apostles. 

§ 1. On the Gospels in general— The word Gospel, i.e. 
God's spell, or word, is a sufficiently accurate translation 
of the Greek term, which signifies good tidings. Properly 
it means the substance of the message of salvation ; but in 
time it came to be applied to the books in which especially 
the advent and ministry of the personal Saviour are de- 
scribed. Four such accounts, of inspired authority, have 
been transmitted to us, two of them written by Apostles 
and eye-witnesses of the principal events of Christ's life, 
and two by companions of the Apostles. The necessity of 
such an authoritative record is obvious. Oral traditions, 
or written histories, professing to furnish the particulars of 
Christ's ministry upon earth, would naturally be circulated 
among the first Christians, many of them defective, and 


many inaccurate ; in order to supersede these, inspired men 
were commissioned to commit authentic accounts to writing. 
Why these should be four in number the Fathers have 
assigned several fanciful reasons, which it is needless to 
repeat : it is sufficient to observe that, while one general 
impression is conveyed by the memoirs collectively, each 
brings out more distinctly than the rest a peculiar side and 
aspect of Christianity and its Author. The three first 
Gospels belong substantially to one class, that of historical 
narrative, without comment ; they describe the man Christ 
Jesus : they resemble each other, too, in the circumstance 
of their confining themselves almost exclusively to our 
Lord's ministry in Galilee. The fourth Gospel enlarges 
upon the Divine attributes of the Son of God, and supplies 
those particulars of His visits to Jerusalem which are 
omitted by the others. The three synoptic Gospels, how- 
ever, when compared with each other, exhibit each its own 
peculiarities. In St. Matthew, Christ appears as the 
" Minister of the circumcision ;" in St. Mark, as " a Pro- 
phet mighty in deed ;" in St. Luke, as the " Saviour of 
the world." 

The evidence for the genuineness of the Gospels has been 
already detailed. No ancient books come to us with such a 
weight of testimony in their favour. Early in the second 
century a collection of them into one volume was current 
among Christians. In the fourth century the Bible, sub- 
stantially as we possess it, formed one sacred code. More- 
over, in these inspired memoirs of Christ, we possess four 
independent and separate accounts of the facts therein 
related ; for that any of the Gospels were borrowed from 
the others, or even that the respective writers, with the 
exception, perhaps, of St. John, had seen the compositions 
of their fellow-labourers in this field, has never been satis- 
factorily made out, and, indeed, is extremely improbable. 


The coincidences which we find in the first three Gospels 
must be referred, not to any designed imitation, or con- 
nexion, or dependence, but to the fact that Christ's promise, 
that He would bring all things that He had spoken to the 
Apostles' remembrance, had been fulfilled, and that the 
Apostles were at hand to supply St. Mark and St. Luke 
with the necessary information. 

§ 2. The Gospel according to St. Matthew. — This Gospel 
is universally allowed to have been written by the Apostle 
whose name it bears. By St. Mark (ii. 14), Matthew is 
called the son of Alphasus, and he was therefore, probably, 
the brother of James the Less, though by some the father 
of Matthew is distinguished from Alphaeus, or Cleophas, the 
father of James. He was a native of Galilee, and by pro- 
fession an inferior tax-gatherer, under the Roman govern- 
ment, at Capernaum. By Mark and Luke he is called Levi 
(Mark, ii. 14 ; Luke, v. 27) ; and it is not improbable 
that, either on his entering upon his official duties, or on 
his becoming a disciple of Christ, he assumed the second 
name of Matthew. His calling to the Apostleship is 
related by himself (c. ix. 9); but, in all probability, he 
had been for some time a disciple of Christ, pursuing his 
worldly calling, until he was thus finally separated to his 
high vocation. On this occasion he gave a parting enter- 
tainment to his friends (Luke, v. 29). He is mentioned 
only once more in the New Testament, in Acts, i. 13: how 
long he remained in Judsea after the day of Pentecost, or 
what his end was, we have no authentic account. 

While the testimony of the early Church is unanimous 
that St. Matthew was the first of the Evangelists, the pre- 
cise date of his Gospel has been a subject of dispute. The 
earliest assigned year is a.d. 37, the latest a.d. 64 ; and 
the point is not susceptible of satisfactory determination. 
It must have been written before the destruction of 


Jerusalem ; and, on the whole, the evidence is in favour 
of an early date, or a few years after the ascension. 
Another question, much controverted, is whether the 
original Gospel of St. Matthew was not in Hebrew, or 
rather Syro-Chaldee, the language of Palestine at that 
time. Of those who maintain this opinion, some have 
supposed our present Greek Gospel to be a translation from 
the Hebrew, and others have supposed that there were two 
originals, the earlier in Syro-Chaldee, the later in Greek. 
External testimony is, no doubt, in favour of a Hebrew 
original : it is mentioned by Papias, Irenseus, Origen, 
Jerome, and many other Fathers. But it is a question 
whether the gospel to which they allude be not the 
spurious gospel according to the Hebrews, which they 
were led to believe was the work of Matthew ; and as 
there are no traces in the Greek Gospel of its being a 
translation, and it is quoted as early as the other Gospels, 
we cannot doubt that it is an original, if not the only 
original, work of the Apostle. The Hebrew gospel, if 
such ever existed, has utterly perished, — a circumstance 
which, of itself, renders its existence problematical. 

External, and internal, evidence combine to prove that 
Matthew wrote chiefly for the use of Jewish converts in 
Palestine. He traces, for example, the genealogy of 
Christ from Abraham through David; he but seldom 
appends interpretations of Jewish phrases or customs ; he 
quotes largely from the prophets ; and he narrates at 
length those discourses of our Lord in which the form- 
alism, and self-righteousness, of the Pharisees are exposed. 

Like the other synoptic Gospels, that of St. Matthew 
consists of three main groups of facts : — those relating to, 
1. The birth of Christ, and the preparation for His public 
ministry (cc. i.-iv.). 2. The active life of Christ, espe- 
cially in Galilee (cc. v.-xxv.). 3. The closing scenes ; 


including the institution of the Lord's Supper, the agony in 
the garden, the betrayal, the apprehension, the crucifixion, 
resurrection, and ascension (cc. xxvi.-xxviii.). 

§ 3. Gospel according to St. Mark. — This Evangelist, 
whose Hebrew name was John (Acts, xv. 37), was the son 
of a pious woman named Mary, who lived at Jerusalem, 
and who was sister to Barnabas. He is supposed to have 
been converted by Peter, who calls him his "son" (1 Pet. 
v. 13). He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their 
first missionary journey (Acts, xii. 25); but left them in 
Pamphylia, and returned to Jerusalem (Acts, xiii. 13). 
This gave rise to the separation between these two Apostles, 
when planning their second journey ; Barnabas wishing 
again to take Mark with them, and Paul refusing to do so 
on account of his former departure (Acts, xv. 39). Mark 
accordingly accompanied Barnabas to Cyprus ; but he 
afterwards seems to have become reconciled to Paul, for he 
was with the Apostle during his first captivity at Rome 
(Col. iv. 10). From Rome he seems to have repaired to 
Peter, with whom tradition reports that he travelled in 
the capacity of amanuensis, and there the inspired history 
leaves him ; but he is said to have returned with Peter to 
Rome, and to have eventually settled at Alexandria, as the 
first bishop of that church, where he suffered martyrdom. 

Of the genuineness of this Gospel as far as c. xvi. 8, no 
doubt has ever been entertained. From c. xvi. 8, to the 
end of the Gospel, bears the appearance of having been 
added subsequently. External evidence is divided ; in- 
ternal, on the whole, preponderates against the authorship 
of Mark. But the addition, if it be one, is of very ancient 
date. With respect to the substance of the Gospel, the 
general belief has been that it was composed under the 
superintendence of the Apostle Peter. Internal evidence 
.seems to confirm this supposition. The actions and dis- 


courses of Christ at which Peter was present are detailed 
with a minuteness which implies the testimony of an eye- 
witness ; and while the excellencies of Peter are thrown 
into the background, his failings are fully recorded. 

That the gospel of Mark was written for the Gentile 
Christians is obvious, from his omission of the genealogies 
of our Lord ; from his interpretation of Syro-Chaldee 
terms (c. vii. 11), and his explanation of Jewish customs 
(c. vii. 3); and from the scarcity of quotations from the 
Old Testament. That it was written in Greek was never 
disputed, until, in recent times, certain Romish writers 
(Bellarmine and Baronius) maintained, on the authority of 
a pretended autograph of the Evangelist in St. Mark's 
Library, in Venice, that the original language was Latin, — 
a hypothesis wholly untenable, as contradicting historical 
evidence, and inconsistent with the fact of the supposed 
Latin gospel having so soon, and so completely, disap- 
peared, that no ancient writer alludes to it. 

With respect to the place, and date, of its composition, 
traditions are conflicting. The best attested account is 
that it was written at Rome, and about a.d. 63. 

Mark is distinguished from the other Evangelists by 
reporting the works rather than the discourses of Christ, 
and by the minuteness, and graphic touches, of his* 
descriptions. His narrative is more limited in range than 
that of Matthew and Luke ; but the scenes which he 
narrates abound in interesting particulars not noticed by 
the other Evangelists. Compare, for example, Mark, ix. 
14-29, with the corresponding account in Matthew and 

§ 4. Gospel according to St. Luke. — Ecclesiastical 
tradition, which there is no reason to doubt, identifies the 
author of this Gospel with the Lucas, or Lucanus, men- 
tioned in Col. iv. 14. He is said to have been a native of 


Antioch, and, from his name, it is probable that he was 
descended from heathen ancestors, and passed through 
Judaism to Christianity : his acquaintance, certainly, with 
Jewish customs is such as could hardly have been 
possessed save by a proselyte. By profession he was a 
physician, and, as such, must have received a liberal educa- 
tion. Some of the Fathers make him one of the Seventy 
(Luke, x. 1), but this is contradicted by his own testi- 
mony, that he had not seen Christ in the flesh (Luke, i. 2), 

The first mention of him in the New Testament occurs 
in Acts, xvi. 10, where the person changes from the third 
to the first. From Troas he accompanied Paul to Mace- 
donia, and thence to Asia and Jerusalem ; was with him 
at Csesarea (Acts, xxvii. 1); and sailed with him to Rome, 
where he appears to have remained with the Apostle to a 
late period (2 Tim. iv. 11). Of the manner, or time, of his 
death we have no certain account. 

The origin of this Gospel is stated by its author. 
" Forasmuch as many had taken in hand" to draw up 
accounts of our Lord's life, " it seemed good to " him 
"also," after careful inquiry, to communicate the results of 
his researches (c. i. 3). Not himself an eye-witness, he 
yet gathered his information from those who had been 
" eye-witnesses, and ministers of the word." When and 
where it was written is doubtful. But as it was com- 
pleted some time before the Book of Acts, and as that 
book proceeds no further than the close of St. Paul's two 
years' imprisonment at Rome, or a.d. 63, the Gospel must 
have appeared some years earlier. Tradition reports that it 
was written in Greece. That the author had Gentile con- 
verts in view, or them particularly, may be inferred from 
the general structure of the Gospel, in which, as compared 
with the others, Christ appears as the Saviour of all men. 
Hence our Lord's genealogy is traced up to Adam, instead 


of to Abraham ; hence such parables as that of the good 
Samaritan and the prodigal son. 

That this Gospel was written in Greek admits of no 
doubt. Though its language is tinged with Hebraisms, it 
is mo v re classical in style than that of the other Gospels, as 
might be expected from the superior education of the 
author. The preface is composed in pure classical Greek. 

Of all the Gospels St. Luke's approaches nearest 
to a complete biography of our Lord. He supplies 
many important particulars not narrated by the other 
Evangelists; as, for example, the events preceding and 
accompanying the birth of Christ (cc. i. ii.); the narrative 
contained in the large section from c. ix. 28, to c. xviii. 14, 
which is almost peculiar to this Evangelist ; the parables 
in cc. xv. and xvi. ; and the account of the disciples on the 
road to Emmaus (c. xxiv. 13-35). Though the sources of 
St. Luke's information are substantially the same as those 
from which St. Matthew and St. Mark drew, his Gospel 
has the air of an independent and original narrative. 

§ 5. Gospel according to St. John. — John, the acknow- 
ledged author of this Gospel, was the s/)n of Zebedee and 
Salome, and brother of James the elder. The family 
resided in Galilee, probably at Bethsaida ; and the father, 
and his two sons, followed the occupation of fishing on the 
lake of Galilee. They were by no means of the lowest 
class; we read that Zebedee employed hired servants 
(Mark, i. 20); that Salome was one of those who ministered 
to Christ's wants (Matt, xxvii. 56); and that John was 
enabled, after our Lord's death, to receive Mary into what 
seems to have been his own house in Jerusalem. 

It has generally been supposed that one of the two 
disciples of the Baptist who, from the testimony of the 
latter, were induced to follow Jesus (John, i. 37), was the 
Evangelist himself. After this first acquaintance with 


the Saviour, he returned to his occupation in Galilee, 
until he was called to be with Christ permanently (Luke, 
v. 11). To him and his brother James our Lord gave the 
surname of Boanerges ; either on account of their zealous 
disposition, or prophetically, on account of the position 
they were afterwards to hold in the Church. 

Of all the Apostles John was admitted to the closest 
intimacy with his Divine Master ; doubtless from a kindred 
purity and tenderness of disposition. He is called " the 
disciple whom Jesus loved;" he was one of the three 
favoured Apostles who were present on the most momentous 
occasions of our Lord's life, — the raising of Jairus' daughter, 
the transfiguration, and the agony in Gethsemane; and 
to his care Jesus, on the cross, committed His mother 
(John, xix. 26). John's attachment to the Redeemer was 
reciprocal. Though, in common with the rest of the 
Apostles, he forsook his Master in the hour of danger, 
he soon returned, and alone was present at the closing 

How long John remained at Jerusalem cannot be 
exactly determined. As long as Mary lived, he could 
hardly have quitted that city ; and we find him there on 
St. Paul's third visit, about a.d. 52 (Gal. ii. 9). After 
this period, we are dependent upon tradition for his history. 
We may consider it as certain that the latter part of his 
life was spent at Ephesus, from which place he exer- 
cised a superintendence over the churches of Asia Minor; 
but when he came thither we know not. It is not, how- 
ever, likely that he did so until after the death of the 
Apostle Paul. Under Domitian he was exiled to the 
island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation; 
and under Nerva he returned to Ephesus, where he died, it 
is said, in the hundredth year of his age. 

The genuineness of this Gospel has been universally 


acknowledged. The accurate knowledge and vivid im- 
pressions of an eye-witness are everywhere apparent in it. 
Whether John had the other Gospels before him when he 
wrote his own is uncertain, but he must have intended to 
communicate to the Christian world something different 
from, and beyond, the cycle of actions and discourses which 
is common to them. What they mention he omits, and 
supplies what they pass over in silence. Thus Christ's 
first visit to Jerusalem, with its attendant circumstances, 
His purging the Temple, His discourse with Nicodemus, 
&c. (cc. ii. 13 — iii.), we know only from this Evangelist. 
The same may be said of the controversial discussions with 
the Jews, which occupy so large a space in the middle 
chapters of the Gospel. To set forth the glory of Christ 
as the Son of God is obviously the main design of the 
whole. Hence the discourses of Christ, in which His 
essential oneness with the Father is asserted, and those in 
which He presents Himself as the source of life and 
comfort to His people, are narrated at length ; and the six 
miracles which this Evangelist records direct the mind to 
the same truths. That St. John had a particular contro- 
versy in view, e.g. to refute the tenets of Cerinthus, has 
never been satisfactorily made out ; and, indeed, according 
to his own statement, his object was a more general one : 
" These are written that ye might believe that Jesus 
Christ is the Son of God" (c. xx. 31). To promote 
advanced Christian knowledge, as distinguished from the 
fancies of Gnostic speculation, is the aim of the author ; 
but he accomplishes it rather by positive teaching than by 
the refutation of unsound doctrine. 

That St. John wrote his Gospel at Ephesus is probable, 
but the date of his writing is very uncertain. All that 
can be affirmed is, that it must be placed between the 
destruction of Jerusalem, a.d. 70, and the end of his life. 


The date commonly assigned is a.d. 97. From the diffe- 
rence of style, and from the character which it wears of an 
appendix, it has been supposed that c. xxi. was added by 
the author some years after the Gospel, ending with c. xx., 
had been completed. 

§ 6. Acts of the Apostles. — This book, the fifth and 
last of the historical books of the New Testament, contains 
a portion of the early history of the Church, immediately 
after the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. 
It is of inestimable value, both as furnishing an introduc- 
tion to the Epistles, and as expounding the principles on 
which the Apostles proceeded in their work of founding 
Christian churches. The most cursory glance, however, is 
sufficient to show that it never was intended as a complete 
history of the Church during the period comprised in it. 
Thus it is silent upon the state of Jewish Christianity after 
the conversion of Paul, as also upon the progress of the 
Gospel in the East and in Egypt : even of St. Paul's history 
it omits some interesting portions, e.g. his journey into 
Arabia, and his various shipwrecks (2 Cor. xi. 25) : it 
contains no information respecting the founding of the 
Church at Rome, or the labours and lives of the majority 
of the Apostles. It is rather a specimen of Church history 
than a professed history. As such, however, it is sufficient 
for every purpose of guidance and instruction ; for, in the 
first place, from the marvellous results of the Pentecostal 
effusion, it illustrates the spiritual nature of the Christian 
Church (cc. i.-xii.) ; in the second place, it exhibits the 
universality of Christianity, Gentiles as well as Jews being 
gradually admitted to the full privileges of the Gospel 
(cc. xiii.-xxviii.) ; and in the third place, without any 
formal code on the subject, it exhibits, interspersed 
throughout, the leading principles which should govern 
the visible organization of Christian societies. 


From the introductory sentences of the book, it is 
evident that it is the production of the same writer as 
composed the third Gospel. Where, and at what time, it 
was written, has been a subject of dispute. But, since it 
is continued to the end of St. Paul's imprisonment, it 
could not have been written before a.d. 63, and, since it 
relates no part of his history afterwards, it could hardly 
have appeared much later ; a.d. 63 is, therefore, the most 
probable date. And no place can be assigned with greater 
probability than Eome, where, during these two years, we 
know that Luke was the companion of Paul, and had 
abundant means and leisure for learning from the Apostle's 
mouth such parts of his history as occurred previously to 
their connexion. The events up to the death of Stephen 
must have been gained from other sources, probably the 
Apostles who resided at Jerusalem. By its dedication to 
Theophilus, it appears that the book was intended for the 
same readers as the Gospel was, i.e. Christians in general. 

The settlement of the chronology of the Acts is of 
great importance, but of equal difficulty. Many learned 
disquisitions on it are extant. We content ourselves with 
the following table of the principal events, according to 
the most generally received view : — 


The Ascension 30 

Martyrdom of Stephen, and conversion of Paul (cc. 

vii.-ix. 19) 37 

Paul's first visit to Jerusalem (c. ix. 26) . . .40 
Paul's second visit to the same place (c. xi. 30) . 43 

Martyrdom of James (c. xii. 2) . . . .44 
Paul's first missionary journey (cc. xiii., xiv.) . . 45 
Paul's third visit to Jerusalem (c. xv. 2) . . .50 
Paul's second missionary tour (c. xv. 40) . • .51 
~°aui's fourth visit to Jerusalem (c. xviii. 22) . . 54 



Paul at Ephesus for more than two years (c. xix. 10) 57 
Paul's fifth visit to Jerusalem (c. xxi. 17) . .58 

Paul at Rome (c. xxviii. 16) . . . . .61 

Sect. II. — Doctrinal Books. 

§ 1. On the Epistles in general. — It was promised by 
our Lord to the Apostles, that they should enjoy super- 
natural assistance in the discharge of their official duties, 
as witnesses of His resurrection and founders of the Church, 
and the promise seems to extend beyond the term of their 
natural lives : " Lo, I am with you always, even unto the 
end of the world." 1 How was this latter part of it to be 
fulfilled ? The Apostles were not immortal, and, as 
Apostles, they had no successors ; how, then, are we to 
interpret the assurance of Christ that He would be with 
them, even to the end of time? We reply that, as Apostles, 
they are still present with us by that inspired record of 
their teaching which is contained in the Epistles. In them 
Peter, Paul, John, still speak to us, — still authoritatively 
expound Christian doctrine, regulate the affairs of Christian 
societies, and plant the Gospel among the heathen. It is 
in this sense alone that we have Apostles amongst us ; we 
have, and we need, no other infallible authority. 

The Epistles thus contain a record — the only authentic 
record — of Apostolic teaching, and their place in Scripture 
is distinctly marked. Addressed to existing Christian 
Churches, and presupposing % a knowledge of the great 
facts of redemption, they furnish an inspired comment 
upon these facts ; they explain their import and connexion. 
Questions, too, of casuistry, practical difficulties making 
their appearance in the infant Church, are solved on 
principles applicable to every age, and so much guidance 
1 Matt, xxviii. 20. 


on such topics is given as is consistent with the spiritual 
and universal nature of the new dispensation. It is 
obvious that the occasional and unstudied form of these 
communications is the very best that could have been 
adopted to secure the particular end in view. 

Of the Epistles, by far the larger portion was written 
by St. Paul ; probably fourteen, certainly thirteen, of the 
twenty-one. In this, the superintending care of the Divine 
Author of the Scriptures is manifest. Who so fit to 
expound the spirit and practical bearings of Christianity 
as this chosen vessel, at once a Jew and the special 
Apostle of the Gentiles, and possessing qualifications of 
mental culture which fall to the lot of but few? The 
Pauline Epistles, therefore, stand first in our Bibles ; they 
are not, however, arranged in chronological order, but are 
placed according, either to their intrinsic importance, or 
that of the Churches to which they were addressed. On 
both accounts precedence has been given to — 

§ 2. The Epistle to the Romans. — At what time or by 
whom the Gospel was first preached in the metropolis of 
the ancient world it is impossible to determine. Left to 
conjecture, we must suppose that some of the " strangers 
from Rome," 1 who were witnesses of the great events of the 
day of Pentecost, carried back with them to that city the 
knowledge of Christ; and owing to the intercourse that 
existed between the capital and the provinces, their number 
would be soon increased by converts from other parts of 
the world. That Peter had any share in founding the 
Roman Church is contradicted by the clearest historical 
evidence. In the Epistle to the Romans, no mention 
occurs of Peter, not even in the salutations to individuals; 
and it is incredible that his name should have been omitted 
had he held a position of authority in the Church, or even 
1 Acts, ii. 10. 


been at Eome at the time. The history of the Acts, too, 
is inconsistent with this supposition. Nor does any al- 
lusion to Peter's being, or having been, at Rome occur in 
the Epistles of Paul written during the imprisonment of 
the latter. If the former Apostle, then, ever visited the 
metropolis, it must have been after Paul's sojourn there. 

Whoever was the founder of the Roman Church, it had, 
when Paul penned his Epistle, acquired great celebrity. 
Its "faith was spoken of throughout the world." 1 If we 
may judge from the tenor of the Epistle, it was composed 
both of Jews and Gentiles, for both parties are successively 
addressed, though a greater prominence is given to questions 
in which the latter would feel an interest. 

The genuineness of this Epistle has never been doubted, 
save by a few obscure sects of heretics. As little has it 
been questioned that it was written in Greek. Nor is it 
strange that a Roman Church should have been addressed 
in that language. At that period, the knowledge of Greek 
was universally diffused, far more so than that of Latin ; 
at Rome, especially, it was a necessary part of a polite 
education. Nor must we forget that, though addressed to 
particular churches, the apostolical letters were intended 
for the benefit of the whole Christian body, of the greater 
part of which, at that time, Greek was the vernacular 
tongue. Respecting the date, we can fix it within narrow 
limits. The decree of Claudius, banishing the Jews from 
Rome, was issued about a.d. 54, and from Acts, xix. we 
learn that, two or three years after this date, Aquila and 
Priscilla were at Ephesus; tor in 1 Cor. xvi. 19, written 
during St. Paul's sojourn there, they send salutations to 
the Corinthians. But in the Epistle to the Romans they 
are described as being at Rome (xvi. 3); that Epistle, 
therefore, could not have been written before a.d. 57. 
1 Rom. i. 8. 


Further, it appears from the epistle that the author was 
about to proceed to Jerusalem with a collection for the 
saints (c. xv. 25); which journey, in fact, was that which 
led to his imprisonment at Caesarea, and his transmission to 
Rome, a.d. 61. The Cesarean imprisonment lasted at least 
two years; and allowing a further time for Paul's journey 
through Greece (Acts, xx. 2), we have a.d. 58 as the date 
of the epistle. The place, too, is easily ascertained. 
Gaius, his host (Rom. xvi. 23), was a resident at Corinth 
(1 Cor. i. 14): Erastus, " the chamberlain of the city," 
(Rom. xvi. 23) was a Corinthian (2 Tim. iv. 20); and to 
Phoebe, a member of the church at Cenchrea, the port of 
Corinth, who was about to take a journey to Rome, the 
epistle was given in charge. From all these circum- 
stances we gather that it was written at Corinth, during 
St. Paul's three months' abode in that city, and on his 
way to Jerusalem (Acts, xx. 3). 

Of all St. Paul's epistles, that to the Romans is the 
most systematic and comprehensive. It consists of two 
main divisions, — Doctrinal (cc. i.-xi.), and Practical (cc. 
xii.-xvi.) Under the first head the Apostle, after a short 
introduction (c. i. 1-15), proceeds to show the need of a 
Saviour, both on the part of Gentiles (c. i. 16-32) and of 
Jews (cc. ii. iii.), both being "concluded under sin." He 
then unfolds the Divine method of justification trryngh 
faith without the works of the law (cc. iii. 21 — v. 11); and 
of sanctification by the power of the Holy Spirit, the law 
serving only to convince of sin, not to subdue it (cc. vi. vii.): 
the privileges of a justified state follow (c. viii.); and the 
Divine counsels respecting the Israelites, their existing 
condition and future prospects, bring this part of the 
epistle to a close. The practical division comprises exhort- 
ations to self-dedication and holy walking (cc. xii. xiii.); 
and to Christian charity, on the part of the stronger 

B B 


towards the weaker brethren (cc. xiv. xv.). Various salu- 
tations to the Christians at Rome, and from the Christians 
at Corinth, conclude the whole (c. xvi.). 

§ 3. Epistles to the Corinthians. — Corinth, in St. Paul's 
time the political metropolis of Achaia, was situated on 
the neck of land joining the Peloponnesus with the 
northern division of Greece. From the advantages of its 
situation, commanding as it did both seas, the Corinthian 
and Saronic gulfs, it became the great emporium of 
commerce between the East and the "West, and the mother 
of several powerful colonies. The Roman capital, Corinth, 
was founded on the ruins of the ancient town by Julius 
Caesar, and speedily recovered a large measure of its former 
prosperity : at St. Paul's visit thither it was the residence 
of a Roman proconsul. Superstition and profligacy were the 
leading features of the place. The patron goddess of the 
city was Venus, to whom was erected a magnificent temple 
on the Acro-Corinthus, where one thousand prostitutes 
were maintained. The wealth which poured into the city, 
and the crowds of merchants who nocked .thither, made it 
the favourite abode of courtesans; and these noxious in- 
fluences so affected the character and morals of the people 
that they became notorious throughout Greece for effemi- 
nacy and vice. It was in this place, humanly speaking 
so unlikely, that the Lord had " much people " (Acts, 
xviii. 10). 

It was on his second missionary journey, as already 
related, 1 that Paul arrived from Athens at Corinth (Acts, 
xviii. 1). He found there Aquila and Priscilla, who, in con- 
sequence of the decree of Claudius, had been compelled to 
leave Rome, and discovering that they were of the same 
trade with himself, viz. the manufacture of hair-cloth 
tents, he associated himself with them. Their conversion 
1 P. 347, 348. 


appears to have speedily followed ; and they proved valuable 
helpers to the Apostle in his arduous labours, which con- 
tinued with much success, though amidst violent opposition 
on the part of the unbelieving Jews, for a year and a half. 
At the end of this time the Apostle proceeded to Asia 
Minor, and in his absence, Apollos, an eloquent Alexandrian 
Jew, took up the work, and watered the seed which had 
been planted (1 Cor. iii. 6). 

It was during his absence at Ephesus that Paul wrote 
the first Epistle to the Corinthians. It has been disputed 
whether a third epistle, now lost, did not precede both of 
those which have come down to us; and certainly the 
expressions in 1 Cor. v. 9, " I wrote unto you in an 
epistle," can hardly be explained on any other supposition. 
Assuming this, the order of events may be thus arranged : 
During his sojourn at Ephesus, Paul receiving unfavour- 
able tidings of the state of the Corinthian Church, especially 
its laxity of discipline, addressed an epistle to it, to which 
the Corinthians replied (1 Cor. vii. 1). His written ad- 
monitions proving of little avail, he paid them a short 
visit; as it should seem, with no better result. On his 
return to Ephesus, and not long before his departure from 
that city, or in the spring of a.d. 57, he wrote a second 
epistle, our present first, in which he enters at length upon 
the points which needed correction. Soon afterwards he left 
Ephesus and proceeded to Macedonia, having first sent 
Timothy (Acts, xix. 22), and then Titus (2 Cor. xii. 18), 
to Corinth, to report upon the state of things there, and 
especially upon the effect which the epistle had produced. 
On Titus rejoining him in Macedonia with more favour- 
able accounts, our second epistle was written, and was 
followed, shortly afterwards, by the Apostle himself. 

The leading evil tendencies, against which Christianity 
had to contend in Corinth, were, a fondness for speculative 


philosophy, party spirit, and laxity of practice. The first 
led to a denial, or an explaining away, of some of the 
fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, such as the resur- 
rection of the body (1 Cor. xv.), which, probably, was 
interpreted to signify a mere spiritual resurrection of the 
soul in this life ; the second led to the formation of schisms 
and parties, some professing to be followers of Paul, others 
of Apollos, others of Peter, and others, whatever is meant 
by the expression, of Christ (1 Cor. i. 12) ; the last 
produced delinquencies of the gravest description (1 Cor. 
v. 1), — besides abuses at the Agapse or love-feasts, which 
preceded the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. xi. 21), and an over- 
estimation of spiritual gifts as compared with the great 
duty of charity (ibid. c. xiii.). These evils were increased 
by the presence of Judaizing teachers, who made it their 
business to depreciate the authority of the Apostle. 

The preceding remarks will throw light upon the 
contents of the two epistles. In the first, Paul commences 
by noticing the divided state of the Church, which he 
traces to its true source, undue reliance upon the human 
instrument ; whereas, whether it were Paul, or Apollos, or 
Peter, all were but stewards of the mysteries of God. 
For himself, he had determined to know and to preach 
nothing save Christ and Him crucified, and this with all 
plainness of speech ; yet he did not expect any save the 
spiritual man to appreciate such topics (cc. i.-iii.). After 
vindicating his apostolic mission (c. iv.), he proceeds to the 
questions in hand, giving directions for the excommuni- 
cating of the incestuous person (c. v.), for the settlement 
of differences among Christians (c. vi.), on the subject of 
marriage (c. vii.), and on the treatment of the weaker 
brethren (cc. viii.-x.). The abuses connected with the 
celebration of the Lord's Supper, and with the exercise of 
spiritual gifts, are then noticed (cc. xi.-xiv.), and the 


epistle concludes with a vindication of the doctrine of the 
resurrection of the body (c. xv.), and a request for a 
contribution in aid of the poor saints at Jerusalem (c. xvi.). 

The second epistle commences with a notice of his 
sufferings for Christ's sake, amidst which he was cheered 
by the ready obedience of the Corinthians to his admonitions. 
The incestuous person, having given satisfactory proofs of 
repentance, was to be restored to the communion of the 
Church (cc. i.-vii.). Chapters viii. ix. treat at length 
upon the subject of the collection recommended in the 
former epistle. In the concluding part (cc. x.-xiii.), the 
Apostle defends himself against the insinuations of the 
false teachers, who had endeavoured to undermine his 
authority, and threatens, unless they changed their tone, 
to make them feel the rod of discipline. 

§ 4. Epistle to the Galatians. — Galatia was a province 
in the centre of Asia Minor, which derived its name from 
the Gallic or Celtic tribes who occupied it about b. c. 280. 
In the year b.c. 189 it fell under the power of the Ro- 
mans, and b.c. 25 it became a Roman province. From 
the intermixture of Greeks, it was also called Gallo- 

Into this district the Gospel was introduced by Paul 
himself. His first visit is mentioned in Acts, xvi. 6 ; and 
from the epistle it appears that he was very favourably 
received by the inhabitants (Gal. iv. 14). Another visit 
is recorded in Acts, xviii. 23. Since there is no mention 
in the epistle of more than one visit, it is probable 
that it was written in the interval between the two, and 
either at Corinth or Ephesus ; that is, either a. d. 54 or 
a.d. 56. 

We gather from the epistle that, soon after Paul's 
departure from Galatia, the Judaizing party sent emis- 
saries to the churches in that region, who zealously pro- 


pagated their tenets respecting the continued obligation 
of the Mosaic law upon the Gentile converts. As was 
usual with this party, they also insinuated that Paul was 
not a divinely-commissioned Apostle. The fickle Gala- 
tians, but imperfectly grounded in the faith, lent an ear 
to these seducers, and were in danger of receiving another 
Gospel, fatally adulterated. Intelligence of this having 
been conveyed to the Apostle, he addressed to his con- 
verts this — perhaps the most earnest and admonitory of 
all his epistles — exposing the pernicious nature of the 
error in question; and that it might come with more 
weight, contrary to his usual custom, he wrote it with his 
own hand (Gal. vi. 11). The genuineness of this epistle 
has never been doubted. 

The epistle consists of three parts. In the first, the 
Apostle, after expressing his wonder that the Galatians 
should so soon have become unsettled on the cardinal 
doctrines of the Gospel, vindicates his apostolic authority 
and the independence of his mission. He had received 
his knowledge of Christian truth, not at second-hand, 
through man, but directly from Christ Himself ; so that 
the Apostles, whom he afterwards met at Jerusalem, 
" added nothing" to him, but rather he was enabled to 
set Peter right when the latter showed symptoms of wav- , 
ering (cc. i. ii.). In the second part he treats, dog- 
matically, of the great doctrine which the Judaizing party 
assailed. He appeals to the Galatians' own experience, , 
who had received the gifts of the Spirit, not through the 
law, but by faith. He enlarges upon the case of Abra- 
ham, who had been justified by faith long before the law 
was given. As for the law, it was interposed between 
the promise to Abraham and its fulfilment in Christ, for 
a special purpose — to convince of sin ; it never was meant 
to give life. The state of the Jew under the ceremonial 


law was a state of pupilage ; this has now given place to 
the manhood of the Gospel. Christ has redeemed us from 
the yoke of the law ; and in Him we are complete (cc. iii. 
iv.). The third division comprises practical admonitions, 
— not to abuse this Christian liberty, and to walk in con- 
formity with the precepts of the Gospel (cc. v. vi.). 

§ 5. Epistle to the Ephesians. — Ephesus was a cele- 
brated city, the capital of the Roman province of Asia. It 
lay not far from the coast, between Smyrna and Miletus, and 
in St. Paul's time was the principal emporium of Western 
Asia. It was chiefly celebrated for the magnificent temple 
of Diana, built by contributions from the whole of Asia 
Minor ; which, by the ancients, was counted one of the seven 
wonders of the world. It was famous, too, for the practice 
of occult arts, the usual accompaniments of a voluptuous 
civilisation. A large number of Jews appears to have 
settled in this city. Two visits of St. Paul to Ephesus 
are recorded; the former, a short one (Acts, xviii. 19); 
the latter, for two years and three months (ibid. xix. 10). 
A large and flourishing Church was the result' of his 
labours ; and he would, probably, have continued there for 
a longer period, had not the tumult raised by Demetrius, 
the silversmith, compelled him to leave the city. On his 
last journey to Jerusalem, the Apostle sent for the elders 
of the Ephesian Church to Miletus, and took leave of 
them in the affecting address recorded in Acts xx. 

Of the genuineness of this epistle no reasonable doubt 
exists. But it has been a question to whom it was origi- 
nally addressed. Some MSS. omit the word Ephesus 
in c. i. 1 ; and since St. Paul speaks in Col. iv. 16, of an 
epistle to the Laodiceans, no longer extant, it has been 
thought that this is the epistle in question. The absence 
of any reference in our epistle to Paul's sojourn in Ephesus 


has been urged as confirmatory of this supposition. But 
tradition is altogether in favour of the common opinion ; 
and any peculiarities in the internal structure of the epistle 
are satisfactorily accounted for by the hypothesis that it 
was a kind of circular epistle, intended for all the Churches, 
of which that at Ephesus was the centre : local allusions 
would, therefore, naturally be omitted. 

This epistle was one of those written during the Apo- 
stle's first imprisonment at Rome, about a.d. 62. It 
seems to have been subsequent in time, though at a very 
short interval, to those to the Colossians and Philemon. 
It was conveyed to the Ephesians by Tychicus (Eph. vi. 
21), who was also the bearer of that to the Colossians 
(Col. iv. 7). 

The Epistle to the Ephesians is the outpouring of a 
heart completely filled with the powers of the world to 
come. Overjoyed to receive a good account of the faith 
and love of his converts (c. i. 15), the Apostle breaks out 
into a continuous strain of triumphant thanksgiving for 
the blessings of redemption, in all its main features of 
electing grace, free justification, and abiding union with 
Christ : this may be called the doctrinal portion of the 
epistle (cc. i.-iii.). In the latter half, the various duties 
of the Christian life, personal and relative, are inculcated ; 
and an exhortation to watchfulness and Christian for- 
titude concludes the whole (cc. iv.-vi.). 

§ 6. Epistle to the Philippians. — The Church at Phi- 
lippi was founded by the Apostle himself, whose first visit 
thither was marked by the interesting conversions of Lydia 
and the jailor (Acts, xvi.). A second visit was paid by him 
before his departure from Greece (Acts, xx. 6). Thilippi 
was a city of Proconsular Macedonia. It was formerly called 
Krenides, from its numerous fountains ; but having been 


taken and enlarged by Philip of Macedon, it was called by 
him after his own name. It was the first place in Europe 
which received the Gospel. 

There appears to have subsisted between this Church 
and the Apostle a peculiar attachment. He speaks of it as 
the only Church from which, during his first visit to 
Macedonia, he permitted himself to receive any gift (c. iv. 
15). And the immediate occasion of the epistle was a con- 
tribution which the Philippian converts had sent to him at 
Rome by the hands of Epaphroditus (c. iv. 18). It is 
plain, from the expressions of the epistle, that Paul was 
then in bonds at Rome (c. i. 13) ; and from his apparent 
expectation of a speedy release (c. ii. 24), it was probably 
written towards the close of his imprisonment, or a.d. 63. 

Full of gratitude for its affectionate remembrance of 
him, the Apostle addresses this Church in terms of warm 
approval. It has been remarked that this is almost the 
only epistle in which no expression of censure occurs. In 
the first part, after the usual salutation, Paul assures the 
Philippians that his imprisonment had turned out rather 
to the furtherance of the Gospel, for which object he was 
willing either to live or to die. He then passes on to ex- 
hortations to brotherly love, and states his reason for send- 
ing Epaphroditus to them instead of Timothy, as he had 
originally designed (cc. i. ii.). In the second part he 
warns them against the Judaizing teachers, stating the 
change which, on his conversion, his own views had under- 
gone, on this point (c. iii.). The last chapter contains 
admonitions to individual members of the Church, with 
general exhortations, and a delicate acknowledgment of 
their gift, which, though he had learned in every state to 
be content, he accepted as a grateful offering to God (c. iv.). 

§ 7. Epistle to the Colossians. — Colosse was a city of 
Phrygia, on the river Lycus, and in the vicinity of Lao- 


dicea and Hierapolis. By whom the Gospel was first 
preached there is uncertain. From Paul's expressions in 
the epistle (c. ii. 1), it should seem that, though he twice 
visited Phrygia, he did not reach Colosse. But during his 
sojourn in Ephesus persons from different places must 
have fallen in the Apostle's way ; and of these probably 
Epaphras (Col. i. 7) was one, who, embracing Christianity, 
on his return to his own city made known to his country- 
men the glad tidings of salvation. Epaphras had been 
sent to Rome by the Colossian Church to consult Paul, 
and was with the latter when this epistle was written 
(c. iv. 12). 

From the striking resemblance, both in thought and 
expression, between this epistle and that to the Ephe- 
sians, it is evident that they must have been written 
within a few days of each other at most ; and from the 
Apostle's mention of his " bonds " (Col. iv. 3), it appears 
that he was, at the time, in captivity. The epistle 
was, therefore, written from Rome, a.d. 62, and was in- 
trusted to the care of Tychicus. After being read at Co- 
losse, it was to be sent on to Laodicea (Col. iv. 16), and 
the Colossians were to receive from that place another 
epistle which Paul had addressed to them, and which, if it 
be not the epistle to the Ephesians, is lost. 

The epistle to the Colossians is directed against a class 
of errors which had some affinity with the tenets of Mon- 
tanus in the next century; aproneness, on the one hand, to 
philosophical speculation on points beyond man's capacity ; 
and, on the other, to the practices of a rigid ascetism. The 
Judaizing party, too, appear to have had adherents in this 
Church. It may be remarked, that Phrygia had ever been 
the fruitful parent of religious fanaticism : it was here 
that the worship of Cybele, with its maddening orgies, 
chiefly flourished. In the dogmatical part of the epistle, 


therefore, the Apostle enlarges upon the perfection of 
Christ's person and work, pointing out that believers are 
complete in Him, " in whom are hid all the treasures of 
wisdom and knowledge ; " after which he warns them 
against vain speculations, e. g. on the number and nature 
of angels, and against once more yielding themselves to 
the yoke of a ceremonial law (cc. i. ii.). The practical 
portion contains precepts on the relative duties of hus- 
bands and wives, parents and children, masters and ser- 
vants ; and concludes with salutations from himself and 
his fellow-labourers at Rome (cc. iii. iv.). 

§ 8. Epistles to the Thessalonians. — Thessalonica, ori- 
ginally called Thermae, was the capital of the second part 
of Macedonia, and the residence of the Roman authorities. 
Its favourable situation, at the head of the gulf of Salo- 
nichi, the modern corruption of the ancient name, at- 
tracted thither, for the purposes of trade, a large mixed 
population, of which Jews formed a considerable part. 

Shortly after their release from Philippi, Paul and 
Silas arrived at Thessalonica (Acts, xvii. 1), and through 
their preaching a nourishing Church, composed of Jews 
and Gentiles, was speedily formed. Driven from the city 
by the violence of the unbelieving Jews, the Apostle re- 
tired to Athens, and thence to Corinth, having meanwhile 
despatched Timothy to Thessalonica to confirm the dis- 
ciples. On the return of the latter with good accounts of 
the state of the Church, Paul, still unable to fulfil his 
intention of visiting it in person, wrote the first epistle, 
not, as the subscription has it, from Athens, but from 
Corinth, a.d. 53. It is, therefore, the earliest of all the 
Apostle's extant letters ; and, perhaps, on this account, is 
accompanied by an injunction that it should be read pub- 
icly in the church (1 Thess. v. 27). The second epistle 


must have been written from the same place, and shortly 
after the first. 

The general design of the first epistle is to encourage 
the Thessalonians under the trials which the profession of 
Christianity in that age involved. He reminds them of 
the joyful reception which they gave him as an ambas- 
sador of Christ, and commends their steadfastness under 
affliction (cc. i. ii.). The tidings of their faith and love 
had cheered him in his own troubles (c. iii.). The time 
was short ; and the Lord would speedily appear, to gather 
his elect to Himself (c. iv). This prospect should lead 
to watchfulness, and patient perseverance in well-doing 

(C. T.). 

The allusion in this epistle to the second advent of 
Christ seems to have led to a misunderstanding on the 
part of the Thessalonians, as if the day of Christ were 
close at hand : in consequence of which they neglected 
their secular duties. In the second epistle the Apostle 
corrects this error ; and, while repeating what he had 
said respecting the approach of the Lord to judgment, he 
informs them that this great event would not take place 
until a great apostasy had manifested itself in the Christ- 
ian Church (cc. i. ii.). He concludes with exhortations to 
holiness, and the practical duties of their station in lift 
(c. iii.). 

The genuineness of both epistles is attested by the 
strongest evidence. 

§ 9. Epistles to Timothy. — These, with the following 
Epistle to Titus, are called the Pastoral Epistles, from 
their being, to a great extent, occupied with directions for 
the discharge of the duties of the Christian ministry. 

Timothy was a native of Lycaonia, of a Jewish mother 
and Greek father. He had been carefully trained by his 


pious mother in the knowledge of the Old Testament 
Scriptures (2 Tim. iii. 15); and, on St. Paul's first visit 
to Lystra (Acts, xiv. 6), he seems to have been led by 
the Apostle's preaching to embrace Christianity. On St. 
Paul's second visit (Acts, xvi. 1), he received such favour- 
able accounts of the young disciple that he chose him as 
the companion of his missionary labours, and thencefor- 
ward Timothy always appears connected with the Apostle. 
His history subsequently to St. Paul's death is unknown : 
tradition makes him Bishop of Ephesus. That he was 
not, during Paul's lifetime, a bishop in our sense of the 
word, is obvious ; for he never remained long in one place. 
He belonged to a class of persons who may be called 
Apostolical Commissioners ; persons in constant attend- 
ance upon Paul, and who by him were despatched, as need 
required, to different Churches, to supply the Apostle's 
place : such were, besides Timothy, Silas or Silvanus, 
Tychicus, Titus, Artemas, Marcus, Aristarchus, &c. 

It appears from the first Epistle to Timothy, that the 
latter was left at Ephesus to govern that Church in the 
absence of Paul, who had departed to Macedonia. Beyond 
this we know nothing of its date, or the place of its writ- 
ing. It has been assigned as early as to a.d. 56, and as 
late as to a.d. 64, after St. Paul's first imprisonment at 
Pome. Tbe latter seems, on the whole, the most proba- 
ble. The genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles has been 
assailed by modern German -critics ; but they have come 
out from the ordeal triumphantly. 

The first epistle, after the introduction (c. i. 1, 2), 
instructs Timothy how to conduct himself in the execu- 
tion of the office with which he had been entrusted, in 
reference — 1. To false teachers, who, by Jewish fables or 
Gnostic spiritualism, were undermining the simplicity of 
the Gospel (c. i.). 2. To matters of Church discipline, 


such as the celebration of public worship, the ordination 
of ministers, the correction of abuses, the admission of 
widows to the alms of the Church, &c. (cc.ii. v.). 3. To cer- 
tain practical defects, such as the love of money, to which 
the Ephesian Church appears to have been prone (c. vi.). 

For the date of the second epistle we are dependent 
entirely upon internal evidence. That Paul was a prisoner 
when it was written appears from c. i. 8 ; and that he was 
at Rome is probable from c. i. 17 ; but whether the im- 
prisonment is that mentioned in Acts, xxviii., or a second one 
which ended in his martyrdom, has been disputed. The 
evidence is in favour of the latter supposition. The 
Apostle no longer speaks in a tone of confidence of his 
approaching release, as in Philip, i. 25, but anticipates a 
speedy departure from his labours (2 Tim. iv. 6) ; he 
writes for articles which he had left at Troas (ibid. iv. 13), 
but he had not visited that place for five years before his 
first Roman imprisonment. His condition, as compared 
with the treatment recorded in Acts, xxviii. 30, 31, seems 
to have changed for the worse (2 Tim. iv. 16). From 
these circumstances, it may be concluded that this epistle 
was written about a.d. 65, shortly before the Apostle's 
death. It is, therefore, the last of all St. Paul's epistles. 
Where Timothy was at the time is wholly unknown. 

In it Paul informs Timothy of the trying circum- 
stances in which he was placed, and utters a last protest 
against the errors, Jewish and Gnostic, which were infect- 
ing the Church (c. i.). Timothy is exhorted to fortitude 
and patience in the exercise of his ministry (c. ii.); and 
is warned against false professors, the increase of whom 
is predicted (c. iii.). Paul requests Timothy to join him 
as soon as possible, and sends salutations to the brethren 
in Asia (c. iv.). 

§ 10. Epistle to Titus. — Titus was of Greek origin, and 


is first mentioned as having accompanied Paul to Jeru- 
salem when the question respecting circumcision was to 
be decided (Gal. ii. 1). Afterwards we find him at 
Corinth (2 Cor. xii. 18), and in Macedonia with Paul 
(2 Cor. ii. 13). Like Timothy, he was a constant at- 
tendant on the Apostle, who everywhere speaks of him 
in terms of affection. 

By whom, and when, the Gospel was preached in Crete 
is uncertain. The only visit of St. Paul to that island, 
recorded in the New Testament, is that which took plac6 
on his journey to Rome (Acts, xxvii. 8), when it is not 
likely that, prisoner as he was, he could have founded a 
Church : moreover, he could not then have expected to 
winter at Nicopolis (Tit. iii. 12). 

Various suppositions have been made on the subject, 
but from the great similarity between this epistle and the 
first to Timothy, the most probable is, that Paul visited 
Crete after his first Roman imprisonment, and being ob- 
liged for some reason to leave the island suddenly, left 
Titus there to organise the Church, and soon afterwards, 
or a.d. 65, addressed this epistle to him, probably from 
Macedonia. Tradition reports that Titus was the first 
Bishop of Crete, and died there at an advanced age. The 
genuineness of this epistle was never doubted in ancient 
times, except by the heretic Marcion. 

The inhabitants of Crete were proverbial for falsehood, 
licentiousness, and idleness. The Jewish settlers were 
not behind the natives in immorality. Titus's task, 
therefore, must have been a difficult one ; and to instruct 
him in the discharge of it is the design of the epistle. 
The Apostle speaks of the qualifications to be required 
in elders (c. i.); of the duties incumbent on various 
classes of persons, especially the young of both sexes 
(c. ii.); of the obedience due to the civil power, and the 


avoiding of unprofitable disputations (c. iv.). He con- 
cludes by directing Titus to join him, as speedily as pos- 
sible, at Nicopolis. 

§11. Epistle to Philemon. — Onesimus, a slave of Phi- 
lemon, who was one of Paul's converts at Colosse, and a 
man of consideration in his own city, had fled from his 
master to Koine, where, by means of the Apostle, he was 
converted to the Christian faith. Thinking it right to 
send him back, Paul at the same time addressed this 
beautiful letter to Philemon, in which he intercedes for 
Onesimus, requesting, not merely that he may be pardoned, 
but received with confidence and affection as a Christian 
brother. It appears from v. 9 that Paul, at the time of 
his writing it, was in bonds ; and that this must have 
been his first imprisonment at Eome is plain from com- 
paring Philem. 12 with Col. iv. 8, and Philem. 23, 24, with 
Col. iv. 12-14. It was written, therefore, a.d. 62. 

After an affectionate salutation to Philemon, to Apphia, 
who is supposed to be his wife, and to Archippus, a pastor 
at Colosse, the Apostle enters upon the main subject of 
the epistle. He pleads with Philemon as " Paul the 
aged," his father in the faith, and now " a prisoner of 
Jesus Christ ; " and, in the most delicate manner, hints 
that if he had suffered any loss by Onesimus's flight, he 
(Paul) was prepared to make it good. He then expresses 
a hope of being speedily set at liberty. The epistle has 
ever been regarded as a model of elegant composition. 

§ 12. Epistle to the Hebrews.— Of this great epistle, 
or rather treatise, the authorship has been keenly con- 
tested. In our authorised version it is ascribed to Paul, 
nor is there any reason, in the present state of the evi- 
dence, to dissent from this judgment. It must not, how- 
ever, be concealed, that eminent critics have been, and are, 
divided upon this point ; and, even of the ancient Church, 


the judgment is not unanimous. The internal differences 
between it and the acknowledged epistles of the writer 
are important and obvious. It does not commence, as the 
other epistles, with a mention of the name of the writer ; 
and the style is more rounded and rhetorical than is usual 
with Paul. On the other hand, there is much in the 
contents of the epistle that is in favour of a Pauline 
origin. The Apostle's favourite topics — the glory of 
Christ, as God manifest in the flesh ; the inferiority of 
the Mosaic law to the Gospel, and its approaching aboli- 
tion ; the excellence and efficacy of faith ; — are here en- 
larged upon and illustrated. We have here too instances, 
though comparatively few, of the involved parentheses, the 
fondness for a particular word, and what Paley calls " a 
propensity to go off at a word," which are characteristics 
of Paul's manner. The few personal allusions which 
the epistle contains — such as, apparently, the writer's 
deprivation of personal liberty (c. xiii. 19), his mention of 
Timothy as a brother, and his sending salutation from 
saints in Italy — agree well with St. Paul's circumstances 
in his first Roman imprisonment. On the whole, the 
internal evidence points to St. Paul as the author. So 
striking, indeed, is the correspondence between the senti- 
ments of this epistle and those of St. Paul's undoubted 
productions, that the strongest opponents of the Pauline 
authorship have supposed it to have been written by 
some one thoroughly imbued with the Pauline type of 
teaching. By those who reject the commonly-received 
opinion it Iras been ascribed to Barnabas, to Luke, and, 
above all, to Apollos. The last-mentioned hypothesis, 
first started by Luther, appears to the favourite one 
among modern critics. None of these theories, however, 
have succeeded in gaining universal assent. 

With respect to the external evidence, it is, as has 


been remarked, divided. While the Eastern Church, from 
the first, received the epistle as one of St. Paul's, the 
Western, on the contrary, for three centuries, hesitated 
upon this point ; at length, in the fifth century, we find 
the Western Church also acceding to the common opinion. 
Since the epistle was undoubtedly written in Greek, and 
for a branch of the Eastern Church, the Jews of Palestine, 
the judgment of the Eastern Church seems entitled to the 

It is not difficult to fix the date of the epistle. It 
must, of course, have been written before the destruction 
of Jerusalem, as it speaks of the Levitical ritual as in 
existence ; and, the Pauline authorship being assumed, 
the allusions in c. xiii. lead us to conclude, that it was 
written towards the close of the first Roman imprison- 
ment, or about a.d. 63. It appears to have been addressed 
to the Jews, either at Jerusalem or Ca?sarea, but was mani- 
festly intended for the use of Jewish converts throughout 
the world. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews is an inspired commentary 
of inestimable value on the import and uses of the Le- 
vitical ritual : it is the only composition of the New 
Testament, which expressly treats of this subject. Proving 
that all the types of the law have had their fulfilment ip 
Christ, it forms a bulwark against the whole of that class 
of errors which would transform the Gospel, once more, into 
a ceremonial law ; errors which, in one form or another, 
and in greater or less degree, have prevailed in the Church 
ever since the Apostolic times. 

This epistle consists of two main divisions : in the 
first of which the supercession of the Law by the Gospel is 
demonstrated ; and in the second, the Hebrews are exhorted 
to perseverance under existing trials. The writer com- 
mences by proving from the Old Testament Scriptures the 


divinity of Christ (c. i.), and then asserting His perfect 
humanity (c. ii.); from which it follows that He is both 
infinitely superior to Moses, the mediator of the old 
covenant, and also capable of fully sympathizing with the 
sufferings of His people (cc. iii. iv.). Let them take heed, 
then, to hold fast the word of truth which they had re- 
ceived (c. vi.). The sacrifice and priesthood of Christ 
are as much superior to those of the law, as His person 
is to that of Moses. The legal appointments were but 
shadows, for a temporary use : Christ's sacrifice is the real 
atonement, He, in His priestly office, is the true Mediator; 
the former, therefore, is never to be repeated ; the latter 
is perpetual. We have, therefore, in the Christian Church, 
neither visible sacrifice nor human priest (cc. vii.- 
x. 18). 

In the second division, the wavering Hebrew converts 
are admonished by the awful danger of apostasy (c. x. 
18-39), and by the example of " a great cloud of wit- 
nesses," who, with Christ at their head, " endured the 
cross, despising the shame," to hold fast their profession 
(cc. xi. xii.). The epistle concludes with various prac- 
tical exhortations, and a benediction (c. xiii.). 

§ 13. Epistle of St. James. — This is the first of the 
so-called Catholic Epistles, a designation of which the origin 
is uncertain. It is supposed that they were so called, 
either from their not being addressed, like St. Paul's 
epistles, to particular churches or individuals ; or from 
the first epistles of John and of Peter having been, from 
the first, universally acknowledged, whereas the others 
were disputed : whence these epistles were called Catholic, 
and the title was extended to the whole seven as soon as 
their claims to form part of the canon became admitted. 

The anthorship of the epistle before us lias been a 
matter of doubt. At least two persons, bearing the name 


of James, are mentioned in the New Testament; viz. James 
the son of Zebedee and brother of John, commonly called 
James the elder, and James the son of Alphasus, also one 
of the twelve. To these, by some, a third has been added, 
James " the Lord's brother" (Gal. i. 19), who afterwards 
presided over the Church at Jerusalem ; but by others 
this James is identified with the son of Alphseus. Since 
it is altogether improbable that James the son of Zebedee, 
who suffered martyrdom so early as a. d. 32, was the author 
of the epistle, it must be ascribed to James " the brother 
of the Lord," who is always spoken of as the author by 
those ancient writers who make a distinction between him 
and the son of Alphasus. 

This James, after the dispersion of the other apostles, 
remained at Jerusalem, where he exercised an undefined 
presidency over the Church. From his singular piety he 
was surnamed, by his unbelieving countrymen, the Just ; 
but at length, in a tumult excited by the Pharisees and 
Scribes, he was put to death by being precipitated, it is 
said, from a battlement of the Temple, about a.d. 62. 
This epistle is supposed to have been written shortly before 
his martyrdom. The state of degeneracy which it de- 
scribes, both in doctrine and practice, is hardly consistent 
with an earlier date. 

As the salutation runs, it was written for the use of 
Jewish converts in general ; and from its similarity in 
sentiment and diction to the writings of the prophets it 
must have been admirably adapted to gain their attention. 
Its canonicity was in early times questioned. " Not many 
of the ancients," says Eusebius, " have mentioned it." Soon 
after the Council of Nice, however, it was received both in 
the Eastern and Western Churches, and continued to be so 
till the Reformation, when the ancient doubts were revived 
by Erasmus and Luther, but chiefly on dogmatical grounds. 


This epistle is one continued strain of exhortation, 
the only doctrinal section being an allusion to certain errors 
on the subject of justification, which appear to have been 
then prevalent. The converts to whom the Apostle writes 
being in circumstances of trial, he commences with topics 
of consolation (c. i. 1-15), and then passes on to the 
practical fruits of religion, patience, charity, and humility 
(cc. i. 16— ii. 13). Faith without works is profitless (c. ii. 
14-26). The tongue especially should be kept under 
control (c. iii.), and the evil tempers of envy, covetousness, 
and pride, checked by the consideration of the approaching 
advent of Christ (c. iv. 5-10). Intercessory prayer, with 
unction in the name of the Lord, shall be effectual to pro- 
cure recovery and forgiveness for the sick (c. v. 14-20). 

§ 14. Epistles of St. Peter. — Peter, one of the three 
favoured Apostles, was the son of Jonas, and resided, at 
the period of the Gospel history, at Capernaum. Here 
he must have enjoyed frequent opportunities of hearing 
Christ, and witnessing His miracles ; and at length, with 
his brother Andrew, he was summoned to attach himself 
to the Lord's person as an Apostle (Matt. iv. 18-20). 
His subsequent history, as far as it is comprised in the 
Gospels, is well known. 

After our Lord's ascension, Peter for some years took 
the lead in the affairs of the Church. To him, according 
to Christ's promise (Matt. xvi. 19), the privilege was 
granted of being the first to admit both Jews and Gentiles 
to the kingdom of heaven ; the former, in the three thou- 
sand converted by his preaching on the day of Pentecost ; 
the latter, in the person of Cornelius. He took a promi- 
nent part in the Council held at Jerusalem, a.d. 49, and 
gave his voice for the emancipation of the Gentiles from 
the yoke of the Law. Afterwards he seems to give place 
to the superior influence and activity of Paul ; and at no 


time is there a trace of his having exercised anything like 
a supremacy over the other Apostles. On the contrary, 
Paul " withstood him to the face " (Gal. ii. 11). 

Of his other labours nothing certain is known. He 
is said to have preached the Gospel in the countries men- 
tioned in his first epistle, and to have suffered martyrdom 
at Rome, under Nero, a.d. 64, by being crucified with his 
head downwards. This is probable ; but it is certain that 
he was never, for any length of time, resident in that city, 
and exercised no jurisdiction over the Church there. 

The genuineness of the first epistle has never been 
questioned. External and internal evidence combine to 
attest its authorship. It professes to be addressed to the 
" strangers," i.e. the Jewish converts scattered throughout 
the provinces of Asia Minor ; and to have been written 
from " Babylon " (c. v. 13), which some have thought to 
be a mystical name for Rome. But there is no evidence 
that at that early period Rome was mystically called 
Babylon ; and as the epistle is not, like the Apocalypse, 
figurative in character, there is no reason for rejecting the 
literal sense. We must suppose, therefore, that it was 
really written from Babylon or the neighbourhood, and 
probably about a.d. 63. 

The general design of the epistle is to console the 
Jewish Christians under the afflictions which were their 
lot. With this view they are reminded of the necessity, 
uses, and transitoriness, of earthly trials (c. i. 1-12) ; 
and exhorted, looking to Jesus, to walk worthy of their 
vocation (c. i. 1 3— ii. 10). Particular duties, incumbent 
upon them in the several capacities of citizens, slaves, 
husbands, and wives, follow (c. ii. 13-iii. 8) ; and after 
admonishing them to use their various gifts to the glory 
of God, the Apostle concludes with a special address to 
pastors on the duties of their office (c. v.) 


The second epistle must have been written not long after 
the first, and in the immediate prospect of martyrdom 
(c. i. 14). It is reasonable to suppose that it was ad- 
dressed to the same persons, and from the same place. 
Of all the books of the New Testament, this has sustained 
the severest attacks on its genuineness, both in ancient and 
modern times. The doubts, however, which some ancient 
writers, as Origen and Eusebius, express as to its claims, may 
be accounted for by the fact of its having been, compa- 
ratively, so little known to antiquity. It is certain that 
before the close of the fourth century it began to gain an 
acknowledged place in the Canon ; and it is enumerated in 
the Canon of Laodicsea, and the decrees of the Councils of 
Hippo and Carthage. The controversy has since been 
revived, but nothing material has been elicited to shake 
the general faith of Christendom. 

There is, no doubt, a great difference between the style 
of the second chapter and that of the first epistle ; but 
there are resemblances also. The sentiments are entirely 
worthy of an Apostle ; and no sufficient reasons have as 
yet been given for dissenting from the judgment of Jerome, 
Augustine, and others, by whom, after due investigation, 
the epistle was received as genuine. The date is gene- 
rally fixed about a.d. 65. 

The author, referring to the former epistle (c. iii. 1), 
states it as his design to address a last warning to his 
converts. He exhorts them to grow in Christian fruit- 
fulness, and to take heed of false teachers, whom he de- 
scribes and denounces in terms of awful severity (cc. i -iii. 
8). He predicts the advent of Christ, and the dis- 
solution of the world by fire (c. iii. 8-12) ; and concludes 
with a caution against the misinterpretation of certain 
parts of St. Paul's epistles (c. iii. 15, 16). The striking 


resemblance between this part of the epistle and that of 
St. Jude has led some critics to the conclusion that one 
writer must have borrowed from the other ; but to which 
the priority is to be assigned is matter of dispute. 

§ 15. Epistles of St. John. — The genuineness of the 
first epistle rests upon unimpeachable testimony. And 
though no name is prefixed to it, the sentiments and lan- 
guage correspond so closely with those of the Gospel of 
St. John, as to leave no doubt upon the mind that both 
are the productions of the same author. The writer had 
personal knowledge of Christ in the flesh (c. i. 1), and 
writes as an eye-witness of His ministry. 

Concerning the date of this epistle much uncertainty 
prevails. Some suppose it to have been written before the 
destruction of Jerusalem ; others, towards the close of the 
first century. The particular errors which it assails seem 
to point to the later date. Hence, too, we gather that it 
was addressed to the Christians of Asia Minor ; for that 
region was the birthplace of the Cerinthian and Docetic 
heresies. Though called an epistle, it possesses nothing of 
an epistolary character. 

The design of the writer is, in the first place, to esta- 
blish the true doctrine respecting Christ's person ; he 
asserts both His proper divinity (cc. ii. 23 ; v. 20), and 
His proper humanity (c. iv. 3) ; and, in the next place, to 
enforce the truth that a holy walk and conversation is 
inseparable from real communion with the Saviour, 
(cc. iii., v.) As might be expected, the Christian grace 
of love is particularly enlarged upon, and made the decisive 
test of the new birth. The chief peculiarity of the style 
consists in the absence of logical connexion between the 
sentences ; from which circumstance, though the meaning 
of each statement is clear, it is difficult to trace the 


sequences of thought. The history of the disputed clause, 
c. v. 7, 8, must be sought elsewhere ; it is now generally- 
omitted in critical editions of the Greek Testament. 

The second and third epistles are classed by Eusebius 
among the disputed books, and are not received by the 
Syrian churches. Various reasons have been alleged for 
their tardy recognition, the most probable of which is, that 
being addressed to private persons, they remained for a 
considerable time unknown ; and when at length they were 
discovered, those who could have vouched for their genu- 
ineness were no more. They were probably written about 
the same time as the first. 

The second epistle is addressed to a Christian lady, 
who is styled " Elect," or " Electa," — a name either proper 
or significant. She is commended for her piety, and warned 
against the same heresies which the first epistle condemns, 
those of Cerinthus and the Gnostics. 

The third epistle is addressed to Gaius, of whom no- 
thing more is known. It has been conjectured that he was 
the Gaius of Corinth, who likewise was noted for his hos- 
pitality towards Christians (Rom. xvi. 23) ; but this is 
doubtful. The scope of the epistle is to commend Gaius 
for his hospitality ; to caution him against a certain Dio- 
trephes, probably bishop of the church, noted for his am- 
bition and arrogance ; and to recommend Demetrius to 
his friendly offices. The title which the writer gives him- 
self of " Elder" has led some to suppose that it could not 
have been the Apostle ; but Peter also calls himself a 
" co-presbyter " with the pastors whom he addresses : that 
the last survivor of the apostles should have received or 
adopted the title is by no means extraordinary. 

§ 16. Epistle of St. Jude. — Of the Apostle Jude, sur- 
named Thaddaeus or Lebbasus, little more is recorded than 
that he was the brother of James, and therefore stood 


towards our Lord in the same degree of relationship as 
the latter. (Matt. x. 3; xiii. 55.) The only saying attri- 
buted to him is the question how Jesus could manifest 
Himself to His disciples and not to the world? (John, 
xiv. 22.) After our Lord's ascension, he is mentioned as 
consorting with the Apostles, and, doubtless, was partaker 
of the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit. Of his subse- 
quent life nothing certain is known. He is said to have 
preached in Syria and Arabia, and to have suffered mar- 
tyrdom in Persia. 

The date and place of writing this epistle are matter 
of conjecture. If Jude had St. Peter's second epistle 
before him when he wrote, the date cannot be fixed 
earlier than a.d. 66 ; some have assigned so late a period 
as a.d. 90. The latter opinion is founded on the supposi- 
tion that the epistle quotes from the apocryphal book of 
Enoch, written after the destruction of Jerusalem ; but 
the prophecy of Enoch (ver. 14) may have been derived, 
not from any book, but from a traditional source. The 
same may be said of the passage in which the Archangel 
Michael is said to have disputed with Satan about the 
body of Moses (ver. 9) ; if, indeed, the writer be not alluding 
to Zech. iii. 1-3. 

The whole of this epistle is occupied with a descrip- 
tion, and a denunciation, of certain false teachers, who 
are manifestly the same as those portrayed in 2 Pet. ii. 
The Apostle warns Christians against the dangerous tenets 
of these men by the examples of the fallen angels, and of 
Sodom and Gomorrah ; reminds them that the appearance 
of such characters had been foretold ; and exhorts to per- 
severance in faith and love. The style is remarkable for 
energy and vehemence. 

§ 17. Revelation of John. — The Apocalypse, or Reve- 
lation of St. John, is the only strictly prophetical book of 


the New Testament. From the author not styling him- 
self an Apostle, it has been attributed to John the Pres- 
byter ; but the external evidence is decidedly in favour of 
the common opinion. Considerable diversity of view pre- 
vails respecting its date, and the place where it was writ- 
ten. From the writer's own statement, it appears that 
the visions he beheld were vouchsafed in the island of 
Patmos (c. i. 9), and it is probable that the book was 
written either there, or shortly afterwards, at Ephesus ; 
but the time of St. John's exile has been variously fixed, 
some maintaining that it occurred under Nero, a.d. 67, 
while the received opinion assigns it to Domitian's reign, 
a.d. 94. The latter opinion seems the best supported by 
the evidence ; and, according to it, the date of the 
Apocalypse would be about a.d. 97. 

For the theories that have been propounded respecting 
the interpretation of the prophetical symbols of this book 
the student is referred to works expressly treating upon 
the subject. A mere enumeration of them would fill a 
volume. In its two main divisions the book refers to — 
1, The " things that are," i. e. the existing state of the 
seven churches of Asia Minor mentioned in cc. ii. iii. ; 
and, 2, The " things which shall be hereafter" (c. i. 19), 
or the history of the Church from the close of the first 
century to the end of time. There is an obvious resem- 
blance between the visions of the Apocalypse and those 
of Daniel ; and, indeed, the two books should be studied 
together, the former being a continuation of the latter. 
What prophecy was to the Jews, the Apocalypse is to 
us ; and the same blessing which, no doubt, attended the 
devout perusal, on the part of believers of old, of the elder 
volume of prophecy, is, by special promise, attached to 
the study of this, the last of the inspired communications 
which it has pleased God to vouchsafe to His people. 




1. Jewish Money reduced to the English Standard. 

& s. d. 

A gerah 00 1-2687 

10 | A bek ah 1 1-6875 

20 | 2 | A shekel 2 3"375 

1200 | 120 | 50 | A maneh, or minah Hebraica . . . 5 14 "75 

60000 1 6000 | 3000 I 60 | A talent 342 

A solidus aureus, or sextula, was worth 12 05 

A siculus aureus, or gold shekel, was worth . . . . 1 16 6 

A talent of gold was worth 5475 

In the preceding table, silver is valued at 5s. and gold at U. per oz. 

2. Roman Money, mentioned in the New Testament, reduced to the 
English Standard. 

£ s. d. far. 
A mite (Ai-rrov or A<rtrdgiov) . . . • • • . Of 
A farthing (Ko^«vt>jj) about . . . • . . . l£ 

A penny or denarius (Anvapov) 0072 

A pound or mina 3260 

8. Jewish Weights reduced to English Troy Weight. 

lbs. oz. dwt. gr. 

The gerah, one-twentieth of a shekel 12 

Bekah, half a shekel 5 

The shekel 10 

The maneh, 60 shekels 26 2£ 

The talent, 50 maneh or 3000 shekels 125 



4. Scripture Measures of Length reduced to English Measure. 

A digit 

4 | A palm 

Eug. feet. inch. 



A span 

• • a . . . A in-CUd. 



3 | A cubit 

1 9-888 

om 7 S-SS3 




2 | A fatr 



12 | 

6| 15 

Ezekiel's re 

ed . . .10 H-328 
rabian pole . 14 7-104 



16 | 

8| 2 | 1-3 | An A 



160 I 

80 1 20 

13-3 | 10 

A schcenus or).., ...... 

measuring line} 145 u 04 

5. The Long Scripture Measures. 

lA cubit 

Eng. miles 




400 | A stadium or furlong . . . 
2000 | 5 | A sabbath-day's journey . 

. 33 

4000 | 10 | 2 | An eastern mile . 


12000 ! 30 | 6 | 3 | A parasang 


96000 | 240 | 48 | 24 1 8 | A day's journey 


Scripture Measures of Capacity for Liquids, reduced to English 
Wine Measure. 

gal. pints. 

ACapb 0625 

1-3 1 A log 0833 

5-3 J 4 | A c ab 3-333 

16 | 1 2 | 3 | A hin 12 

32 J 24 | 6 | 2 | A se ah 2 4 

96 j 72 I 18 J 6| 3 | A b ath or ephah .... 7 4 

960 [ 720 | ISO 1 60 | 20 | 10 | A kor or coros, chomer or homer 75 5 

Scripture Measures of Capacity for things Dry, reduced to English 
Com Measure. 

pecks, gal. pinta 

A gachal 00 0-1416 

20 [A cab 00 28333 

36 | 1'8 | An om er or gomer . . -. , . .0 5-1 

12 | 6 | 3-3 | A se ah 10 1 

~360 | 18 | 10 | 3 | An c; hah 3 3 

1800 j 9 | 50 j 15 | 5 | A letech 16 

"3600 j"l80 | 100 | 30 | 10 | 2 | A chomer, homer, kor, or coros 32 1 


Acts, Book of, 364 
iEthiopic version. See Versions. 
Alexandria, 319 

Alford, Dean, his view of inspira- 
tion, 122 
Allegory, 156 
Ammoniua, 66 
Amos, Book of, 299 
Analogy, Bishop Butler's, 125 

of Faith, 149 

Nature of, 154 

Anglo-Romish versions. See "Versions. 
Anglo-Saxon do. See do. 
Antiochus Epiphanes, his conquest 

of Judaea, 320 
Anthropomorphism of Scripture, 155 
Apocrypha, Old Testament, 37-39 

; New Testament, 40, 41 

Aquila. See Versions. 
Arabic language, 43 

versions. See Versions. 

Aramsean language, 42 
Archelaus, 323 

Armenian version. See Versions. 
Arts cultivated among the Jews, 193 
Asmonean princes, 321 
Atonement, meaning of, 233 

great day of, 234 

Authenticity of Scripture, 2-23 
Authorised version. See Versions. 
Avenger of blood, 221 

Barnabas, Epistle of, 10 

Breves, 65 

Bible, bishops', 98 

, Hebrew, editions of, 63 

Burnt-offering, 233 

Caesarea, revolt at, 324 
Canon, meaning of word, 32 

of Old Testament, 28 

of New Testament, 34-36 

Catalogues of Canonical books, 4 

Carmel, Mount, 172 

Canticles. See Song of Solomon. 

Celsus, his testimony to New Testa 
ment, 7 

Ceremonial Law, its nature and ob- 
jects, 225 

Children, education of, among the 
Jews, 190 

Chronicles, Books of, 280 

Christ, life of, 337-343 

Church, early history of, 344-352 

its constitution and ordi- 
nances, 352 

Cities of refuge, 221 

Clemens Romanus, his testimony to 
Scripture, 6 

Codex. See MSS. 

Colossians, Epistle to, 377 

Commerce among the Jews, 195 

Concubinage, 190, 220 

Context, its importance in interpre- 
tation, 139 

Corinthians, Epistles to, 370 

Coverdale, his version. See Versions. 

Cursive writing, 70 

Daniel, Book of, 309 
David, his reign. 261 
Deuteronomy, Book of, 251 
Difficulties, Scripture, 168 
Docility, necessary in interpretation 

of Scripture, 129 
Dress of the Jews, 187 
Dutch versions. See Versions. 

Ecclesiastes, Book of, 292 

Egypt, ancient, description of, 203 

Egyptian versions. See Versions. 

English versions. See Versions. 

Ephesians, Epistle to, 375 

Epistles in general, 366 

Essenes. See Sects. 

Esther, Book of, 283 

Etymology, 135 

Eusebius, his Catalogue of sacred 

books, 5 
Canons, 66 



Eusebius, his edition of Hexapla, 78 
Euthalius, 65 
Exodus, Book of, 244 
Ezra, Book of, 282 

his labours on the Canon, 30 

Ezekiel, Book of, 312 

Figurative language of Scripture, 151 
Flemish versions. See Versions. 
French do. See do. 
Funeral rites, Jewish, 197 

Galatians, Epistle to, 373 
Geuesis, Book of, 243 
Geneva Bible, 97 
German versions. See Versions. 
Georgian do. See do. 
Glossaries, 134 
Gospels in general, 354 
Gospel of St. Matthew, 356 

St. Mark, 358 

St. Luke, 359 

St. John, 361 

Gothic version. See Versions. 

Habakkuk, Book of, 308 

Habitations of the Jews, 185 

Haggai, Book of, 314 

Haphtaroth, 57 

Harmonies, 143 

Hebrew language, antiquity, 42 

history, 45 

characteristics, 48 

poetry, 49 

letters, 55 

■ vowels and accents, 


marks of division, 


Hebrews, Epistle to, 384 

Heretics, their testimony to Scrip- 
tures, 7 

Hermon, Mount, 172 

Herod the Great, 323 

Antipas, ib. 

Herodians. See Sects. 

Hcsychi is, his edition of Hexapla, 78 

High-priest, his duties, 232 

High ton, Rev. H, 124 

History, early, of Jews, 199 

to Babylonish captivity, 252 

Historical books of Scripture, 271 

Hosea, Book of, 300 

Idolatry, sin of, under the law, 214 
Ignatius, his testimony to Scriptures, 

Inscriptions to Epistles, 66 
Insertions, instances of, 103 
Inspiration of Holy Scripture, proof 

of, 108 

and extent of, 119 

Interpreter, qualifications necessary 

for, 126 
Interpretation, literal, 132 

figurative, 137 

Irenseus, his testimony to Scriptures, 

Irish versions. See Versions. 
Isaiah, Book of, 301 
Italic old version. See Versions. 
Italian versions. See do. 

James, Epistle of, 387 

Jeremiah, Book of, 306 

Jerome, his catalogue of Canonical 
books, 5 

Jerusalem, topography of ancient, 180 

modern state of, 184 

siege and destruction of, 


Job, Book of, 286 

Joel, Book of, 299 

John, Gospel of. See Gospels. 

Epistles of, 392 

Revelation of, 394 

Jonah, Book of, 298 . 

Jordan, river, 173 

Josephus, his testimony to Old Tes- 
tament Canon, 3 

Joshua, his wars, 253 

Book of, 272 

Jubilee, year of, 218 

Judas Maccabasus, his conquests, 321 

Jude, Epistle of, 393 

Julian, his testimony to Canonical 
books, 7 

Judges, list of, 275 

Book of, 272 

Justin Martyr, his allusion to Scrip- 
tures, 11 

Kings, Books of, 278 

Kitpdkoaa, 65 

Lamentations, Book of, 308 

Language, analogy of. 136 

Laodicea, Council of, 32 

Latin, modern versions. See Ver- 

old version. See do. 

Law of Moses, religious enactments, 

civil ditto, 213 

Lebanon, 172 

Lectionaries, 67 

Leprosy, 236 

Levites, their duties. 231 

Leviticus, Book of, 247 

Literature, Jewish, 194 

Lucius, his edition of Hexapla, 78 

Luke, Gospel of. See Gospels. 

Lyons and Vienne, churches of, 12 

Mal.ubi, book of, 317 

Manx versions. See Versions. 

Mark, Gospel of. See Gospels. 


MSS., a?e of classical, 15 

Hebrew, 14, 62 

New Testament, 15 

Hebrew collations, 15, 63 

Greek do. 16 

Hebrew, Eastern and "Western 

revisions, 61 

- Codex Babylonius, Hil- 

lel, Palestine, and Sinai, ib. 
two kinds of ib 

Greek, materials, 64 

characters, ib. 

marks of division, 65 

Codex Vaticanus, 15, 07 

Alexandrinus, 15, 

Cottoniamts, 15 
Ephremi, 69 
Bezae, ib. 

recensions, 71 

in the Library of St. Mark's, 

Venice, 7S 
Masora and Masorites, 60 
Matthew, Gospel of. See Gospels. 
Matthew's Bible, 97 
Meals of the Jews, 19 f 
Metaphor, 154 
Metonyme, 153 
Micah. Book of, 303 
Moses, early history of, 206 

Nahum, Book of, 304 
Nazarites. 336 
Nehemiah, Book of, 2S3 
New Testament, its allusions to Old, 

dialect of, 50 

Hebraisms of, 51 

Chaldaisms of. 52 

Latinisnis of. ib. 

editions of, 71 

Numbers, Book of, 247 

Obadiah, Book of, 313 

Old Testament, threefold division of, 

Omissions, instances of, in MSS., 103 
Origen, his catalogue of Canonical 

bonks, 6 

allusions to Scriptures, 13 

Hexapla, 77 

Palestine, its boundaries, 171 

physical features, 172 

climate, 175 

productions, 176 

political geography, 177 

Palimpsests, 64 

Papias, his catalogue of Canonical 
i ooks 6 

Parabl. s, 157 . 

Parallelism, kinds of, 141 

Parallelism, its uso in interpretation, 

Pavaschioth, 57 
Passover, Feast of, 237 
Paul, missionary journeys of, 345-349 

captivity at Rome, 351 

Peace-offerings, 234 
Pentecost, Feast of, 237 
Persian versions. See Versions. 
Pentateuch, Samaritan, 17 

observations on, 239-242 

Peschito. See Versions. 

Peter, Epistles of, 3S9 

Pharisees. See Sects. 

Philemon, Epistle to, 384 

Philippians, Epistle to, 376 

Philistines, 178 

Philoxenian version. See Versions. 

Poetry, Hebrew, nature of, 2S4 

Polyglott, Walton's, 72 

Porphyry, his testimony to the Scrip- 
tures, 7 

Priests, Jewish, duties of, 231 

maintenance for, 219, 


Procurators, Roman, 324 

Prophecy, nature and functions of, 


interpretation of, 101 

double sense of, 163 

Prophets, schools of, 290 
Prophecies concerning Christ, 244, 

24«, 251 
Proverbs. Book of, 291 
Psalms, Book of, 283-2S9 
Ptolemy i^agi, his conquest of Judaea, 

Purifications of Mosaic law, 235 

Quotations, their argumentative va- 
lue, 9 

of New Testament from 

Old, 165 

Readings, various, sources of, 101 
Regeneration, 145-147 
Robinson, Dr., his harmony, 143 
Romans, Epistle to, 367 
Rules, critical, 104 
Russian versions. See Versions. 
Ruth, Book of, 276 

Sabbath, Jewish. 237 

Sabbatical year, •_ i -> 

Samaritan versions. See Versions. 

Sancto Car o, Cardinal de, 66 

Samuel, Books of, 276 

Sanitary laws of Mosc=, 223 

Saul, his l'eign, 259 

Scholia, 134 

Sclavonic version. See Versions. 



Scope, importance of interpretation, 

Scribes, 336 
Sea, Dead, 175 
Sects, Jewish, rise of, 332 

Pharisees, ib. 

Sadducees, 334 

Essenes, 335 

Herodians, ib. 

Separation, water of, 236 
Sin-offering, 234 
Slavery among the Jews, 221 
Solomon, his empire and reign, 262 

Song of, 293 

Spanish versions. See Versions. 
Spirit, Holy, his teaching necessary 

in interpretation of Scriptures, 130 
Stations of Israelites in the desert, 

Stephens, Robert, 66 
Substitution, instances of in MSS., 102 
Symbol, nature of, 1S3 
Symmachus. See Versions. 
Synagogues, rise of, 328 

- worship of, 330 

Synagogue, Great, 30 
S3 T necdoche, 152 
Syriac version. See Versions. 
Jerusalem version. See do. 

Tabernacle, description of, 229 

Tabernacles, Feast of, 237 

Tabor, Mount, 172 

Talmud, 41, 42 

Talmudists, 59 

Taigums, 18, 79 

Tatian, 143 

Temple of Herod, 1S2 

Tertullian, his catalogue of Canonical 

books, 6 
allusions to Scriptures, 

Theocracy, its nature, 214 
Theodotion. See Versions, 
'ihessalomans, Epistles to, 379 
Tiberias, Like of, 172 
Time, modes of reckoning among uie 

Jews, 196 
Timothy, Epistles to, 880 
Titus, Epistle to, 382 
Townsend, his harmonies, 143 

Trent, Council of, 32 
Trumpets, Feast of, 237 
Turkish versions. See Versions. 
Tyndale, 96 
Types, nature of, 159 

interpretation of. 1(50 

. of Christ, 246-248 

Versions : 

iEthiopie, 86 

Anglo-Saxon, 92 

Anglo-Romish, 99 

Aquila, 76 

Arabic, 82, 88 

Armenian, 87 

Egyptian, 86 

English, 96 

Flemish and Dutch, 94 

French, ib. 

Georgian, 87 

German, 93 

Gothic, 92 

Italian, 95 

Jerusalem, Syriac. 86 

Manx, 100 

Modern Latin, 93 

Old Latin, 89 

Persian, 88 

Peschito, 83 

Philoxenian, 85 

Russian, Turkish. &o , 95 

Samaritan, 82 

Sclavonic, 91 

Septuagint, 18, 73-76 

Spanish, 95 

Symmachus, 77 

Syriac Gospels, 85 

Theodotion, 76 

Vulgate, 89 

Welsh. Irish. Ac , D9 

their use in interpretation, 


Weights and Measures, 396 

Welsh versions. See Versions 
Wicliff, 96 

Writing, invention of, 53 
materials, ib. 

Zephaniah, Book of, 305 
Zechariah, Book of, 315 

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