Page images


Prophecy of ]

[Messiah. ness are set up; yea, they that tempt between him that serveth God and God are even delivered.

him that serveth him not. 16 Then they that feared the LORD

CHAP. IV. spake often ode to another : and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a FOR, behold, the day cometh, that book of remembrance was written be- shall burn as an oven; and all fore him for them that feared the the proud, yea, and all that do wickLord, and that thought upon his edly, shall be stubble: and the day pame.

that cometh shall burn them up, saith 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave the Lord of hosts, in that day when I them neither root nor branch. make up my jewels; and I will spare 2 But unto you that fear my name them, as a man spareth his own son shall the Sun of righteousness arise that serveth him.

with healing in his wings; and ye 18 Then shall ye return, and discern shall go forth, and grow up as calves between the righteous and the wicked, of the stall.


popular figure) that the great Person, whose (C) Predictions of the Messiah and his fore-runner he was, would “throughly forerunner.-In allusion to the custom of purge bis floor, and burn up the chaff with Eastern monarclas sending persons before unquenchable fire.” (Matt. iii. 7—12.). them to prepare the way, and remove all The following verses (in the very spirit obstructions when they travel, John the and power of Elias) severely reprehend the Baptist is now introduced as God's mes- crimes of all ranks of society among the senger, preparing the way for the Mes. Jews at this period; some being guilty of siah, who is here designated as the mese oppressing the poor and fatherless, with senger (or angel) of God's everlasting many other vices, and others even robbing covenant, which he comes to publish by his God their Maker, by neglecting the comministry, and ratify by his death, as had manded “tithes and offerings." This had been long before predicted by the evange- already subjected them to the curse of lical Prophet, Isaiah. (See chaps. xl., lii., God, withholding from them the usual liji., &c.)

fertility of their country. For this they What follows respecting the severe had even dared to reproach the Lord, ministry here spoken of, though undoubt- though it was the consequence of their own dly applicable to the Messiah himself, transgression. eems to have also a reference to the se- In the conclusion of this chapter, howrerity of John's preparatory ministry, ever, a broad line of distinction is drawn whose object undoubtedly was, in a great between the righteous and the wicked peasure, to "refine and purify the sons of' between those that fear God and those that Levi.' For when he saw many of the fear him not. For the former “a book Pharisees and Sadducees come to attend his of remembrance was written;" the divine preaching, he thus pointedly warns them Being had entered, as it were, a record of gainst indifference or hypocrisy; "O ge- their piety-he had marked with pleasure beration of vipers, who hath warned you their associations for purposes of devotion o flee from the wrath to come ?" He tells - he calls them bis jewels, and promises them that now “the axe is laid to the to spare them “ as a man spareth' his own foot of the trees," and (alluding to another son that serveth him.”

NOTES. CHAP. III. Ver. 1. The messenger of the cove- which become impregnated with a very strong uant- whom Jews as well as Christians understand lixivial salt, proper for taking stains out of wool or to be the Messiah, The ancient Jewish book Zohar cloth.” Orig. of Laws, vol.i., p. 132. Edinb. ays, “ It is the angel of whom it is written, Gen. Ver. 11. The devouter-that is, the locust, &c. clviii. 16. That angel is the Shechina, the Re- Ver. 16. A book of remembrance.- An allusion to leemer and Guardian of men,” &c. Quoted, Smith's the records kept by kings. See Esth. vi. 1. Messiah, l. 345.

Ver. 17. My jenels - Newcome, “My peculiar Ver. 2. Like fullers' sope-Heb." Like the borith treasure.” of the fullers. Mons. "Goguet says, “ With respect to the herb borith, I imagine it is sal-neort; CHAP.IV. Ver. I. AU that do wickedly—that is,

plant very common in Syria, Judea, Egypt, and all the impenitent and unbelieving. Rev. xxi. 8. Arabia : they burn it, and pour water on the ashes, Ver. 2. Grow up-that is, thrive like stalled calves. all away.


Prophecy of ]


[his forerunner, 3 And ye shall tread down the 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah wicked; for they shall be ashes under the prophet before the coming of the the soles of your feet in the day that great and dreadful day of the LORD: I shall do this, saith the Lord of 6 And he shall turn the heart of hosts.

the fathers to the children, and the 4 Remember ye the law of Moses heart of the children to their fathers

, my servant, which I commanded unto lest I come and smite the earth with a him in Horeb for all Israel, with the curse. statutes and judgments.

NOTES—Chap. IV. Con. Ver. 5. Elijnk the prophet—that is, a prophet in So the author of Ecclesiasticus seems to bare sthe spirit and power of Elijah. (See Expos.) So derstood it, Ecclus. xlviii. 10, 11. But Newcome ! Messiah himseli was often promised under the name Chandler render it, " The heart of the fatbers with of David.

the children, and the heart of the children with the Ver. 6. The heart of the fathers to the children, fathers." See Luke i. 17.-Smite the earth-Xes. &c.--that is, to recovcile the people to each other. come,“ The land." So Chandler, Boothroyd, &c.



IN the Introduction to our first Volume, when speaking of the Evidences of Revealed Religion (p.iv.), we merely named the important topics of Miracles and Prophecy, promising to revert thereto. We did so, as to the former, in our Introduction to the Book of Exodus (p. 171), and having wow gone through the Prophets, this seems the proper place to consider the arguments arising from the fulfilment of their predictions.

In examining writings of two or three thousand years old, we may naturally expect to meet with difficulties from their age only, and these are necessarily increased by the symbolical language in which those predictions are generally conveyed : but the principal difficulty arises froin the uncertainty attending ancient chronology. See Note on Daniel ix. 25.

Of the prophecies in the Old Testament, those relating to God's chosen people, and to Messiah, are by far the most interesting; and of them, those which confine their accomplishment within a certain period, are the most striking. Such was that to Abraham, that his seed should sojourn in the land of Canaan 400 years, and should be Enslaved and evil entreated, and that afterwards they should be avenged of their enemies, od possess the land wherein they were strangers, as they did above 1000 years. These tre circumstances that cannot reasonably be referred to any cause short of the divine rescience. (Compare Gen. xv. 13, with Acts vii. 6.) Again, toward the close of that eriod, it was predicted that they should go into captivity in Babylon for 70 years, and fterwards return, and rebuild their temple and city, and dwell long therein; Jer. xv. 11, 21. These were circumstances as punctually fulfilled as they were unlikely to ccur, and lead us to look confidently to a farther accomplishment of all that may yet emain unfulfilled. The Prophecy of Daniel's “ Seventy weeks," or 490 years (chap. ix. 24—27), whether be reckoned from the first decree of Artaxerxes, 467 years before Christ, or from the econd decree, as we have done, about 12 years later, falls within the period of Christ's eath: and if it be not accomplished, the Jews are hereby cut off from all future hopes fa Messiah.*

The prophecies of this illustrious personage are far too numerous to be here recapituated. They respect the divinity of his character ; his birth, life, death, resurrection, nd future triumph. + We shall only remind our readers of two or three that have een already considered in our Exposition and Notes ; namely, Psalm xxii, and Isaiah, hap. lii. and liii., which speak most explicitly of our Saviour's humiliation and suffergs; as Psalm ii. and cx. no less clearly describe his future kingdom and glory.

Now, though it is in some of these cases difficult to fix dates, and adjust minute cirumstances, yet the broad features of these predictions, and the great facts referred -, so strikingly correspond, that it is difficult to deny their divine authority. Thus é know Messiah suffered and died, and we have the most credible testimonies of his esurrection. We see the Jews (bis murderers) now scattered upon the face of the hole earth; and we find those nations and cities whose destruction was explicitly foreld in the height of their prosperity, either reduced to insignificance, or completely lotted out from our maps.

+ Upon a farther consideration of this important essage, it has occurred to us, that the latter part of r. 26, after the words “ not for bimsell," should obably be read in a parenthesis, though the He. ews had no marks, as we have, to indicate it; a cumstance which has occasioned much obscu. y, particularly in the Prophets. On this suppoion, the covenant mentioned in ver. 27, may be plained of the covenant of redemption (which is ore in harmony with the prophetic style); this as confirmed by the death of Christ, which, at the me time, virtually put an end to all other sacri. ces; and the last week will not only include Mes. ab's resurrection, but also the day of Pentecost. his would, however, occasion some alteration in e pointing, wbich we may probably remark on

Matt. xxiv. 15. In addition to the authors before referred to, see Nine Sermons on this Propbecy, by the late Rev. Rd. Winter,

+ See a Synopsis of the Prophecies classified; particularly those respecting the Messiah, in the New Edition of Mr. Horne's * Deism refuted," chap.iv. sec. 3. and Note (L), p. 229.

We referred to Mr. Horne's first Edition of this work in the Introduction to our first rolame; and are gratified to see this tract so amplified and enlarged as to make it a complete manual for young persons, on the evidences of Christianity; and we the more earnestly recommend it, as we are convinced that much of the infidelity of the prescat age originated in the neglect of this subject in the educa. tion of young people in the last oge.




THUS have we arrived at the conclusion of the Old Testament Canon, incladim, Moses and the Prophets, with the Hagiographa; all which have passed before si

the order of the English Bible. These are still existing in the Hebrew language; axi a very general tradition prevails among both Jews and Christians, that they were eslected and arranged by Ezra and his contemporaries into twenty-two books, tutti sponding with the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. They are enumerated be Josephus, the Jewish historian (who survived the destruction of Jerusalem), and compe into the ecclesiastical history of Eusebius (who wrote about the end of the third tury), arranged as follows:- The fwe books of Moses, commonly called the Pentateuch, thirteen books of the Prophets [viz. 1, Joshua; 2, Judges (including

Ruth); 3, Sama 4, Kings; 5, Isaiah ; 6, Jeremiah (with his Laineptations); 7, Ezekiel; 3, The te* (minor) Prophets; 9, Daniel; 10, Job; 11, Ezra and Nehemiah ; 12, Esther ; 13, Chre nicles] ; and four other books, containing hymns to God, and precepts for the case of human life * [namely, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Solomon's Sort These were all written, and still remain, in the Hebrew (or

Chaldee) language

. Es there are various other Apocryphalt hooks, or fragments, in Greek or Latin, which is Council of Trent, in the 16th century, admitted into the canon of the Church of Rose, though with little or no authority from the Christian Fathers. The Church of England doth indeed allow these to be read “ for the example of life, and instruction of manner but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine," as Dot considering the canonical, or of divine authority. Lessons from some of them are indeed admits into the week-day service of the Church, but no Sunday lessons are taken from the

As a painful controversy has been lately raised, as to the lawfulness of Protestants ! any way countenancing the circulation of these Apocryphal books, it may be accepted to many of our readers to see a characteristic list of them, chiefly extracted from t. Hartwell Horne's Introduction to the Critical Study of the Scriptures (New Ed. vol. 1

These Apocryphal books, when admitted into our English Bibles, are always please together between the Old and New Testament; but in Roman Catholic editions of Scriptures they are commonly interspersed among the sacred books, without any sa of distinction. The books referred to are as follows:

Esdras I. is in Greek, and in the Alexandrian Manuscript is placed before the case nical book of Ezra, because the events occurred prior to the captivity. But into Latin Vulgate, this and the following book are called the third and fourth books Esdras; those of Ezra and Nehemiah being reckoned the first and second. The author is unknown; it is a compilation from the Canonical books, wbich, in some places, str. ever, it contradicts, and is of no authority.

Esdras II. is still worse. The original is supposed to have been written in Greci but is lost, and a Latin version supplies its place. The author personates Ezm. bar relates some strange visions, and ridiculous Rabbinical fables. "It is, from vario allusions, supposed to have been written after the New Testament.

Josephus cont. Apion, lib. i. 8. Eusebius, Hist. Eceles. lib.iii. c. 9, 10. It should be observed, that the two books of Samuel, Kings, and Chroni. cles, were formerly reckoned each as one book only, as above enumerated. All the books, beside Moses and the prophets, are commonly comprehended under the general term Hagiographa, or Holy Writings.

+ The term Apocryphal, means doabtful, scure anthority. : Thirty-nine Articles, Art. ri.

These books are not named in any s** sacred canon, during the first four costane ** Cosins's History of the Canon, chap. in


The Book of Tobit * contains " so many Rabbinical fables and allusions to the Baby: lonian demonology, that many learned men consider it as (only) an ingenious and imusing fiction." It is supposed to have been written about 200 years before Christ.

Judith was originally written in Chaldee, which is lost, but there are translations in Greek, and Latin, and Syriac. Grotius considers it as a parabolic fiction, relating to Intiochus Epiphanes, under the name of Holofernes. Prideaux thinks it may have had ome foundation in history, but the facts are no where else mentioned, nor is the book luded to by either Philo or Josephus.

The Rest of Esther is of no authority, but was probably written to supply an aparent defect, which we have mentioned above, vol. I. p. 908. The additional facts are upposed to be borrowed from the History of Josephus.

The Wisdom of Solomon* appears to be an attempt of some Hellenistic Jew, to palm on je king of Israel maxims of wisdom (many of them confessedly very good); but they puld not all be written before the establishment of the Greek games, to which in hap. iv. and x.) there are several allusions. It has been generally attributed to Philo. Ecclesiasticus,* or, “ The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach," has been also atibuted to Solomon; and it appears to us not improbable that both in this book and the eceding, there may be many of Solomon's remarks, which were carried away by the arned strangers who came to hear bis wisdom." This book betrays its date, by speaking Jeroboam and the captivity; chap. xlvii.23—25. The work is said to have been written the vulgar Hebrew of the captivity, and translated into the Greek language, for the e of the Alexandrian Jews, about two centuries before Christ; but has no pretensions higher antiquity, or canonical authority. Baruck * is not extant in Hebrew, and perhaps never was. Grotius considers it as a gery, under the name of Baruch. It was never considered as canonical, either by the vs or early Christians. The Song of the Three Children * in the fiery furnace, is placed between the 23d and h verses of the third chapter of Daniel, where we have noticed it. It has, however, pretension to inspiration; nor is it altogether true. See ver. 15. The Story of Susanna * is prefixed to the Book of Daniel in the Septuagint, and apded to it in the Vulgate. Julius Africanus and Origen consider it both spurious and ulous. So Father Lamy, and the modern critics. lel and the Dragon :* Jerom calls this a fuble, and it was never admitted as canonical, er by the Jewish Church, or by the Christian, before the Council of Trent. Yet also is foisted into both the Greek and Vulgate versions. The Prayer of Munasses, king of Judah, when in captivity, though excellent and pious, no claim to divine authority, but is rejected as spurious, even by the Church of

See 2 Chron. xxxiii. 12, 13. It is not mentioned by any writer before the fourth ury. he First Book of Maccabees is considered as a most valuable historical document,” preferred, for accuracy, even to Josephus, who is supposed to have borrowed from It was probably written by John Hyrcanns, or under his direction, in the Syrodaic language; and is preserved in Greek and Latin translations. he Second book of Maccabees is much inferior to the first, and should be read with ion. It contains the history of the Jews for 15 years, from 3828 to 3843. But the Epistles at the beginning are considered as spurious. The book is preserved in ic, Latin, and Greek; from the last of which was made the translation in our Bibles. lere are two other books, called the Third and Fourth of Maccabees; but of so

credit or authority, that tbey could not gain admission even into the Roman

[ocr errors]


be books thus marked, (*) are admitted, in whole or in part, into the week-day service of the Church Fland.

« PreviousContinue »