« PreviousContinue »
12. The following are quotations from Micah in the New Testament—" But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel,” Micah v. 2. " For thus it is written by the prophet, ' And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda : for out of thee shall come forth a Governor, that shall rule
my people Israel,'” Matt. ii. 5, 6. 66 See also John vii. 42.-“For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law: a man's enemies are the men of his own house,” Micah vii. 6. 66 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household,” Matt. X. 35, 36. The name of the prophet is given at the commencement, and a very express statement is made by him of his own inspiration—" Truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin,” Micah iii. 8. one of the earlier prophets; and, when his writings are compared with the direct history, it will be found that they shed a mutual light and confirmation on each other.*
* See furthericah i. 2.-Is. i. 2. i. 10.–Jer. vi. 26. i. 11.-Is. xlvii. 3. i. 16.
Micah ii. 2.-Is. v. 8.
Zech. viii. 21, &c. iv. 3.-_Joel iii. 10.
And most decisive quotations are made from him by the Apostle Paul, and the Evangelists.—“ I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau,” Mal. i. 2, 3. " As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," Rom. ix. 13.-"Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me," Malachi iii. 1. 6. For this is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before me," Matt. xi. 10. See also Mark i. 2, and Luke vii. 27.—“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers," Malachi iv. 5, 6. " And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,” Luke i. 17.*
47. We have now presented all the scriptural testimonies for which we can possibly afford room. There is no such mass, and no such firm contexture of evidence, for the existence or authority of any ancient book, as we have for the canon of the Old Testament. The strength of this evidence does not altogether lie in those quotations from the later writers, which either name some prior book in the collection, or which name the author of it. There is many an undoubted quotation announcing itself to be such by the manner in which it is introduced, as when taken generally from “scripture," or when said to be a thing already “ written;" or, still more specifically, when said to be written in the prophets ;” or lastly, when said to have been spoken by God Himself, and when what is thus spoken we find to be in the Old Testament. * Over and above these we can, apart from any note of introduction whatever, detect the words of a later writer to have been a quotation, from their close resemblance to the words of an elder one; and lastly the recital of the same historical facts in the more recent, that we find to be narrated in the more ancient scriptures, may be argued for the existence of the earlier record as a creditable document from which the information has been taken; and the more if it be the only record that has come down to us of the history in question. There is a far greater likelihood, that the innumerable consistent allusions to the Jewish history, which are to be found in the later scriptures, were derived from written memorials than from oral tradition_handed down with such uniformity, and with such particularity, and such fulness, through a track of centuries. And we may be sure that the very memorials which furnished the information, would have had infinitely better chance of being transmitted to
* See furtherMal. ii. 10.--Eph. iv. 6.
iii. 1.-Luke i. 76. iii. 7.-Zech. i. 3.
Mal. iv. 2.-Luke i. 78. iv. 5.—Matt xi. 14.
Mark ix. 11.
“ But now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven," Heb. xii. 26-an undoubted quotation from Haggai ii. 6, though without the mention of its being written at all
, either by Haggai or in scripture. It is represented as the voice of “ Him that speaketh from heaven ;" and many other instances occur of such virtual, though somewhat disguised quotations.
later times, than other memorials, which, if not worthy of being consulted, would not be held worthy of being preserved. The credit in which any books were held by the men of a remote age, is our best guarantee for the care wherewith they would be transmitted to their children, and through them onward to the most distant posterity. In other words, the books which gave to the Jews at the time of our Saviour, and for some centuries before, that historical knowledge on which they placed their reliance, must be the very books that we have received from their hands; and thus, in the identity of statement between the reputed later and the reputed earlier of these sacred writings, do we find a strong evidence for the reality of the earlier writings. For the full impression of this argument, we must divest ourselves of the rooted and established tendency to view the Bible as one book-it being in truth an aggregate of distinct books, which found a place there only because of the credit and confidence which they enjoyed in ancient times; and on which account, they are entitled to all the greater credit and confidence from us in the present day. Each testimony is just the more valuable, that it is a Bible testimony; and when viewed therefore what each ought to be as an independent testimony, never, may it well be said, have any books had so multitudinous an evidence, and that too evidence of which every ingredient taken separately is of such sterling quality and weight, as the books of the Old Testament. From the days of Moses, each successive period has borne downwards safely and solidly -the memorials of the one that went before it, till all at length reached a firm landing-place, in the consent and testimony of our Saviour and his Apostles-by which the Hebrew canon has been made to repose on the stable basement of all the evidence historical and moral, which can be alleged for the truth of Christianity. The canon of the Old Testament is pillared on a foundation as strong as the credibility of the New.*
48. An investigation of the canon of the Old, forms the best preparative for those investigations which lead to the establishment and vindication of the canop of the New Testament. The materials for this inquiry are to be found in Lardner ; and a very good digest of these has been given by Paley in his evidences of Christianity. Jones, with many excellent considerations on the subject, is deficient in his exhibition of the positive evidence for our actual Christian scriptures; and he has bestowed his main strength on the disproof of those spurious or pretended scriptures, which, in the name of gospels or epistles, imposed on the credulity of past ages, and have been alleged by modern infidels, for the purpose of casting a general disparagement and discredit on the Christian religion. His book on the canon of the New Testament is altogether worthy, however, of perusal, by the professional student-while, for the general reader, we would recommend Alexander on the Canon, as
* We do not repeat here, though it be a consideration of the utmost possible strength, the concurrence, on this one point of the identity of their scriptures, between Jews and Christians, who stand fiercely opposed in almost all others.