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ing and peculiar period recorded Acts 2: is not sustained by the concurrent history. The distinction of rich and poor is everywhere recognized in the Christian Scriptures.
The hypothesis, then, which makes Christianity an outgrowth of Essenism is untenable. It breaks down at every important point of the comparison. It will not bear the test of honest historical and analytical inquiry. Unbelief must search elsewhere for an affiliation of this strange, unique religion, which certainly originated somewhere, and must be ascribed to the agency of some intelligent cause, either in or above the world, and that at no very great remove from the time and place which all the converging lines of history and tradition compel us to acknowledge as the chronological and geographical matrix of the Christian faith. It is the conception of the peculiar idea of Christ as a character, and the devotion of so many minds to the glorification of his name, and the setting forth of his merits and the annunciation of his transcendent demands upon the faith of mankind, then and there, as our New Testament and ecclesiastical and heathen records and memorials place beyond the power of doubting, that call for some solution different from what has yet been offered to the world by the patrons of deism, or by Dr. Strauss and his school. And reason as we may, the pure feelings of the world will be faithful to Jesus Christ as entitled to divine honors, and the everlasting gratitude of a sinful, dying race, faithful to the Bible as the sacred oracles of Heaven, revealing God, and sanctifying the soul of man, and proving equally true and equally necessary both to the religious and the historical sentiment in human nature.
That there are some minute items of resemblance between the code of the Essenes and particular sayings of the Redeemer, which we have not adverted to, may be true. Let each lover of truth look and decide for himself. Growing up in the bosom of Judaism as both did, and united by a common bond of language, nationality, and religion, it might easily happen that proverbial expressions, or forms of action and modes of thought, would be adopted from the common stock, and fallen in with as convenient and natural channels of self-development,—as well as on Christ's part, of uniting himself most sympathizingly and effectively with the life of humanity. Let us, however, give the Essene credit for all that he was as a worshiper of the true God, and as a man striving after moral purity in a corrupt age. The Gospel that breathed new life into the higher nature of man, can afford to allow all his virtues. We know that the Spirit of Christ opens the eye to the excellences of others. Truth rejoices in truth, and as all truth is from the same source, the lustre of one development can never be increased by hiding the glory of another. We would not enhance the necessity of our Lord's appearance by depreciating the moral condition of mankind at that period. Those ascetic Jews deserve well of mankind for the light they gave out in a dark age. We admire the humanity and justice of their principles; their disapproval of war and slavery in the midst of a world lying in wickedness, and the noble example of industry, frugality, and moderation in the things of this life they set before all. We honor their honest endeavors to combine the vita contemplativa and the vita activa,—to escape the bondage of the senses, to maintain the supremacy of the spirit, and to unite themselves with the Highest. But in all these respects, they are only the true children of monotheism, the legitimate offspring of the Jewish theocracy. They could have sprung up nowhere else.
In the phenomenon of the Essenes let us therefore alore the provident wisdom of Jehovah, and recognize the secret working of his love in carrying forward the great, eternal economy of salvation. They exerted an influence on their age which helped pave the way for the Christ. Conscience spoke, and was spoken to, through them; and the dying sense of virtue was kept alive. Thus were they stars which emitted an humble though useful light before, but grew pale and became invisible after, the coming of the Sun of Righteousness. There is, indeed, a true asceticism-a moral and religious self discipline for the subjugation of sense to spirit—which goes before as well as follows after, an earnest reception of Christianity. It is only when bearing the Cross, which virtue ever lays on her followers in our present being, that it is possible for man to come into communion with a Savior whose whole existence in time was a voluntary sacrifice of self to the will of God. For a sinful creature striving after holiness, via crucis, via lucis, is an axiom never to be forgotten.
Be it ours, then, to make the imperfectly righteous 'though sincere Essene, a guide to his infinite Superior, the sinless One, the world-befriending Jesus. Be it ours, led by heavenly wisdom, to seek and to find in every human system the connecting link which unites it to the Divine in the universe; the higher truth and life which are now revealing themselves on all sides and out of every finite phenomenon, “to awaken the soul from the sleep of superstition, the torpor of atheism, and the death of sin."
· ARTICLE VIII.
DATE OF THE BOOK OF JOB.
There appeared in a late number of the German periodical, the Studien und Kritiken, the following ingenious and erudite disquisition, from the pen of F.G. Vaihinger, on the vexed but interesting subject of the age of the Book of Job. An excellent version of it soon after appeared in the London Biblical Review, which we have preferred substantially to copy, to translating it anew. Though not entirely conclusive, yet it cannot fail to be regarded as an important contribution to the literature of this difficult subject. ---Ed.
Of all the Old Testament writings, the book of Job, as to its spirit, its contents, and its language, is the greatest production of the Hebrew people; it is the true Epopée of the nation; that in which the theocracy is exhibited in the clearest manner; and in which the deepest thoughts of the human soul, clothed naturally and beautifully in a dress of the most gorgeous poetry, present themselves to our view, and struggle with intense earnestness for the solution of the great enigma of the world's history. In the case of such a book, the date of its composition must be of the greatest value; because, when placed in the light of its own age, it speaks to us a more intelligible language; and its full comprehension becomes so much the more perfect. How difficult it is to determine this point in the case before us, is proved by the simple fact, that the critics of more recent times, from Eichhorn and Berthold, down to Vatke and Ernst Meier, vary respecting the date no less than a thousand years, inasmuch as the former place it in the period before Moses, and the others at some time after the Babylonish captivity, namely, in the fifth century before Christ. As I now propose to make some attempt at fixing the real age of the book of Job, I shall begin by endeavoring to place certain limits on both sides, by means of which the investigation can go forward with security. In this way we shall at length fix upon a given period, which still affords a tolerable latitude. Intelligent critics must not be vexed at this indefinite result, since even Ewald, who seeks to fix the time of its composition very precisely, says, “ The age of the book can only be known by approximation, even as regards centuries.”
I begin, then, by laying down, in the outset, these two propositions :
1. That the book of Job cannot have been composed before the time of Solomon. And,
consequently before the time of King Josiah.
Before I attempt to narrow this period, which comprehends full three centuries, I will offer some evidence for both propositions. And, first, the earlier critics, who fix the date of the composition before the time of Moses, or between Moses and Solomon, have almost all started with the common error of not separating the time of Job's life from that of the composition, which treats of him and of his destiny. The necessity of making this distinction, however, must be at once obvious. That Job, whose life most evidently belonged to patriarchal times, himself wrote the document wbich bears his name, no one will now in good earnest maintain, much less undertake to prove. On this point, therefore, there is no need to insist. But there are positive marks, which render the idea of its being written before Solomon altogether impossible. These lie (to pass by the other reasons which have either often been urged before, as those derived from the progress of religious ideas, and from political relations, or which are not very conclusive, as the influence of foreign culture), these lie, we say, in the language of the book, both in general, and also in its particular features. I do not now refer to the so-called Aramæisms, of which we shall speak by-and-by, but rather to the whole figurative construction of the poem, and its by no means polished and artistic, yet, at the same time, pure and flowing diction. When we compare with this the well-attested relics of the earlier poetry, such as the fragments in the twenty-first of Numbers, and the song of Deborah, we must feel convinced that the earlier poetical diction was much more rough and unpolished, and that it was first brought into form and pliancy by David and Solomon, or at least during their glorious age; as we find it, for example, in the Psalms and Proverbs. The prose, in like manner, appears to have received at that time a beneficial modification; at any rate, it is not easy to assert anything in opposition to Ewald's remarks on the re-elaboration of the earlier historical books, by some author of that period. (See Ewald's Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. i. p. 72.) But, to come to examples, the expression 721 (Ophir), occurs twice in the book of Job, namely, 22:24, and 28:16, an expression which it is vain to search for in the Pentateuch, though it often makes mention of gold; as also in the Psalms of David, which, in the same manner as the Pentateuch, only speaks of 20, and 79. It is true that the region itself is mentioned in the register of the peoples of the earth (Gen. 10:29); but Ewald has proved beyond a doubt, in his Israelitish History, that this register does not represent the ideas of the Israelites at the time of Moses, but the later geographical ideas of the age of Solomon. At any rate there was no trade to Ophir, and no gold from Ophir, in Israel before the time of Solomon; and on that account we find it first mentioned in the later Psalms, as 45:10. No one, at least, can very well deny that the two passages, 1 Kings 9:28, and 1 Kings 10:11, express the first acquaintance of Israel with this distant land. If, then, the book of Job is an Israelitish production,
as is now universally acknowledged, the very circumstance that the gold of Ophir is mentioned in it,-gold which first became known in the time of Solomon,-is a striking proof that the composition of the book of Job cannot fall before the time of Solomon, to say nothing of the many other objections, which stand in the way of an earlier authorship.
But however certain it may be that the book of Job was not written before the time of Solomon, it is equally evident that it was written before the time of the prophet Jeremiah, and of King Josiah. If we carefully compare the passagein Jer. 20:14–18, with Job 3:3—10, and Jer. 17:1, with Job 19: 24, we cannot but observe striking relationship. If this relationship indicates the acquaintance of the one author with the writings of the other, there can be no hesitation in asserting, both from the thorough originality of the author of Job, and from the circumstance that Jeremiah, in other places, quotes the earlier writings in his work, that the book of Job was known by Jeremiah, and consequently, was written previous to his prophecies.
This becomes so much the clearer when we observe how closely the Lamentations of Jeremiah are related to Job in many points, both of language and subject; so that, from these circumstances together, we may conclude with tolerable certainty, upon Jeremiah's acquaintance with the book of Job. The relationship in the subject matter presents itself throughout the whole work; but as an instance of it in expression, any one may compare Lam. 3: 7,9, with Job 19:8; Lam. 2 : 15, with Job 12 : 4, 17: 6,30:1.
Contemporary with Jeremiah, was the prophet Ezekiel. If this author (see Ezek. 14 : 15) knew Job as a very pious and devotional man, there must certainly have been before his imagination, not a mere traditionary character, but the distinct person whose life is contained in the work before us; more especially with reference to the passage in Job 42:8. These reasons may be sufficient to lead any unprejudiced mind to regard it as morally certain, not only that Job lived before the age of both these prophets, but that his life had also been depicted in the book which we now possess. A similar reference to the book of Job appears also to be contained in Isa. 40: 2, as compared with Job 7: 1, also in Zech. 14:5, as compared with Job 5:1.
We are now in a position to advance somewhat farther, and to narrow our first supposition. In the book of Amos there are two passages which coincide in a very striking manner with the book of Job. In Amos 4:13, this expression is used respecting Jehovah, yox insa-by 797, the very same which we find in Job 9:8, only in this case, instead of the expression pox, we find the term ' employed. In the same manner, in Amos 5:8, we find the names
which we also meet with ,כסיל and כימה ,of two constellations