« PreviousContinue »
signification of words and phrases, with general rules for investigating them; emphatic words,-rules for the investigation of emphases, and particularly of the Greek article; the SUBSIDIARY MEANS for ascertaining the SENSE of SCRIPTURE, viz. the analogy of languages; analogy of Scripture, or parallel passages, with rules for ascertaining and applying them; scholia and glossaries; the subjectmatter, context, scope, historical circumstances, and Christian Writers, both fathers and commentators.
"These discussions are followed by the application of the preceding principles, for ascertaining the sense of Scripture, to the HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION of the Sacred Writings ;the interpretation of the FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE OF SCRIPTURE, comprehending the principles of interpretation of tropes and figures; together with an examination of the metonymies, metaphors, allegories, parables, proverbs, and other figurative modes of speech occurring in the Bible ;-the SPIRITUAL or mystical INTERPRETATION of the Scriptures;-the INTERPRETATION of PROPHECY, including general rules for ascertaining the sense of the prophetic writings, observations on the accomplishment of prophecy in general, and especially of the predictions relative to the Messiah; the INTERPRETATION of TYPES, of the DOCTRINAL and MORAL parts of Scripture, of the PROMISES and THREAT ENINGS therein contained;-and the INFERENTIAL and PRACTICAL READING of the Sacred Writings. A copious Appendix to this volume comprises (among other articles) bibliographical and critical notices of the principal grammars and lexicons of the Hebrew, Greek, and Cognate Languages, of the most remarkable editions of the Septuagint Greek Version of the Old Testament, of the principal writers on the criticism and interpretation of the Scriptures, and a select list of the chief commentators and expositors of the Bible.
"In VOLUME III. will be found a SKETCH OF SUMMARY OF BIBLICAL GEO
GRAPHY AND ANTIQUITIES, in four parts: PART I. includes an outline of the Historical and Physical Geography of the Holy Land.
PART II. treats on the POLITICAL and MILITARY AFFAIRS of the Jews, and other nations incidentally mentioned in the Scriptures.
PART III. discusses the RELIGIOUS or
SACRED AFFAIRS of the Jews, arranged under the heads of Sacred Places, Sacred Persons, Sacred Times and Seasons, and the Corruptions of Religion among the Jews, their idolatry and various sects,
together with a description of their moral and religious state in the time of JESUS CHRIST.
PART IV. discusses the PRIVATE LIFE, MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AMUSEMENTS, &c. of the Jews and other nations, incidentally mentioned or alluded to in the Holy Scriptures.
"An APPENDIX to this third volume contains (besides chronological and other tables of weights and measures) a Geographical Index of the principal places mentioned in the Bible, especially in the New Testament; including an abstract of profane oriental history, from the time of Solomon to the captivity, illustrative of the history of the Hebrews as referred to in the prophetic writings, and presenting historical notices of the Assyrian, Chaldee, Median, and Persian empires.
VOLUME IV. is appropriated to the ANALYSIS OF SCRIPTURE. It contains copious critical prefaces to the respective books, and synopses of their several contents. In drawing up these synopses, the utmost attention has been given, in order to present, as far as was practicable, at one glance, a comprehensive view of the subjects contained in each book of Scripture." (Vol. i. p. vii, et scq.)
The first Volume, of between seven and eight hundred pages, is occupied with the evidences of the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures; and at first view it may appear somewhat irrelevant to the design of the work as expressed in the title-page, or at least as occupying too large a portion of it. In other times this objection might have some weight; but in addition to the disinclination which every candid person feels to censure what is done well, though somewhat out of place, or out of proportion, the Author we think merits much praise for having laid the foundation of the study of the Scriptures in an accurate and comprehensive understanding of their evidences. The impression upon the mind of the student is good, and he goes better prepared to the investigation of the heavenly record, when, instead of a general impression of its truth, he has examined its seals and its signatures, and recognizes, in all, the appropriate and inimitable characters of divine authentication. For we know nothing indeed which brings the mind into a temper so becoming, and so helpful to the study of the
Bible, as the deep conviction "that GOD hath spoken in the pages which now open before us." The student will not so soon forget his place, by erecting himself into a judge when he ought to learn; nor yield so readily to theories which, though originating in human thought, seek confirmation rather than trial from an infallible standard; and he will the more easily admit, what theological systembuilders have been often unwarrantably backward to acknowledge, that when an infinite mind deigns to commune with his creature, much of the communication must transcend the range of mortal conception, and that any system formed by man, under the pretence of explaining the whole of the recorded mind of GOD, bears upon its very front either folly or imposture.
But the importance of fully inducting the student into the proofs of the divinity of the religion he is designed to teach, does not terminate in the effect produced upon his own mind, though that is of great weight. The "scholar needs armoury against the errors of the time," and that not merely for his own defence, but to qualify him for taking a part in that glorious warfare to which he is called by his LORD. The efforts of the advocates of error are now too great, not to produce some impression upon many, whose natural corruption disposes them not merely to receive, but to seek error. A Christian Minister would therefore be inexcusable, if he did not furnish himself with the means of guarding his charge both against the bold assertion,and the insidious sophistry, with which many of them may probably be assailed. For this, no inconsiderable study and reading have been rendered necessary, by the multiplied forms which infidelity has assumed, and the various points from which it makes its attack. This branch of theological attainment MR. HORNE has rendered easy; and where his own work does not furnish the full discussion of a subject which an inquisitive mind requires, his readers can be at no loss for the authors in which it may be more largely pursued.
The first chapter states the necessity of a divine Revelation, in which
the Author has availed himself of the masterly works of LELAND, and other English divines; and has been enabled to enlarge their argument from the actual state of religious knowledge and morals among ancient heathen nations, by the disclosures of the condition of modern Pagans, which have been made by christian Missionaries, and christian travellers. This chapter contains a compressed, but very satisfactory analysis of this argument.
The second and third are copious chapters, on the Genuineness, Authenticity, and Credibility of the Old and New Testaments, on which we can only remark, that the argument is clearly and ably conducted, and comprehends, besides original remarks, the substance of all that the best writers have said on a subject, which has been so often and so satisfactorily treated. The testimonies of Jewish and Pagan writers to the credibility of both Testaments are copiously referred to; an important species of proof, because it establishes the antiquity of the Sacred Writings, and affords irresistible evidence as to the leading facts of the history they contain. From the section, entitled Collateral Testimonies to the truth of the facts in the Scriptures from coins, medals, and ancient marbles, we subjoin a few extracts. The application of this species of evidence, though for obvious reasons it is limited, is very decisive. From the study of coins and medals, doubtful points of history have often been cleared up. VAILLANT, in his History of the Syrian Kings, fixed the dates, and regulated the order, of many events mentioned in ancient historians by means of these imperishable vouchers; and though the Scripture History has been too well preserved, to need the evidence of these authentic witnesses for illustration in any great point, they are important in the testimony they give to incidental circumstances, as by that means they most fully disprove the bold assertions of those unbelievers, who have resolved the history into astronomical allegory, or fixed the writings at a lower period. The minuteness and incidental nature of the points thus, illustrated, render indeed the evi
dence still stronger, that the writings, and their received authors, were contemporaries with each other; and both with the events to which they give testimony. They prove, too, the minute accuracy of the writers of the New Testament. On the Apamean nedal we are not disposed to lay so much stress as MR. HORNE; but we with him refer the matter to BRYANT. The following extracts on other instances will be read with conviction.
"In Acts xiii. 7, the Evangelist LUKE, relating the transactions of PAUL in Cyprus, gives to SERGIUS PAULUS, the Roman governor of that island, the Greek title of Ayuraros, which was applied only to those governors of provinces who were invested with proconsular dignity. And on the supposition that CYPRUS was not a province of this description, it has been inferred, that the title given to SERGIUS PAULUS in the Acts of the Apostles, was a title that did not properly belong to him. A passage indeed has been quoted from DION CASSIUS, who, speaking of the governors of Cyprus, and some other Roman provinces, applies to them the same title which is applied to SERGIUS PAULUS. But as DION CASSIUS is speaking of several Roman provinces at the same time, one of which was certainly governed by a proconsul, it has been supposed, that for the sake of brevity, he used one term for all of them, whether it applied to all of them or not. That CYPRUS, however, ought not to be excepted, and that the title which he employed, as well as ST, LUKE, really did belong to the Roman governors of Cyprus, appears from the inscription on a coin belonging to Cyprus itself, and struck in the very age in which SERGIUS PAULUS was governor of that island. It was struck in the reign of CLAUDIUS CESAR, whose head and name are on the face of it: and in the reign of CLAUDIUS CESAR, ST. PAUL visited Cyprus. It was a coin belonging to the people of that island, as appears from the word KYПPION on the reverse: and, though not struck while SERGIUS PAULUS himself was governor, it was struck, as appears from the inscription on the reverse, in the time of PROCLUS who was next to SERGIUS PAULUS in the government of that island. And on this coin the same title, ANOTПIATOΣ, is given to PROCLUS, which is given by ST. LUKE to SERGIUS PAULUS. That CYPRUS was a proconsulate is also evident from an ancient inscription, of CALIGULA's
reign, (the predecessor of CLAUDIUS,) in which AQUIUS SCAURA is called the proconsul of CYPRUS.
"In Acts xvi. 11, 12, LUKE says, We came..... to Philippi, which is the
chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony. This passage has greatly exercised the ingenuity of critics and commentators. It may, more correctly, be thus rendered,-Philippi, a city of the first part of Macedonia, or of Macedonia Prima; and this is an instance of minute accuracy, which shows that the author of the Acts of the Apostles actually lived and wrote at that time. The province of Macedonia, it is well known, had undergone various changes, and had been divided into various portions, and particularly four, while under the Roman government. There are extant many medals of the first province, or Maceitonia Prima, mostly of silver, with the inscription ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΩΝ ΠΡΩΤΗΣ, or, the first part of Macedonia, which confirm the accuracy of LUKE, and at the same time show his attention to the minutest particulars. It is further worthy of remark, that the historian terms Philippi, a colony. By using the term xodavia, (which was originally a Latin word, colonia,) instead of the corresponding Greek word aronia, he plainly intimates, that it was a Roman colony, which the twenty-first verse certainly proves it to have been. And though the critics were for a long time puzzled to find any express mention of it as such, yet some coins have been discovered in which it is recorded under this character, particularly one, which explicitly states that JULIUS CAESAR himself bestowed the dignity and privileges of a colony on the city of Philippi, which were afterwards confirmed and augmented by AuGUSTUS. This medal corroborates the character given to this city by Luke, and proves that it had been a colony for many years, though no author or historian but himself, whose writings have reached us, has mentioned it under that character."
VOL. I. Third Series. JUNE, 1822.
"The triumphal arch erected at Rome by the Senate and Roman people in honour of the emperor TITUS, (which structure is still subsisting, though greatly damaged by the ravages of time,) is an undeniable evidence to the truth of the historic accounts, which describe the dissolution of the Jewish state and government, and also relate the conquest of Jerusalem. This edifice likewise corroborates the description of certain Vessels used by the Jews in their religious worship, which is contained in the Old Testament. In this arch, are still distinctly to be seen the golden candle2 S.
stick, the table of shewbread, with a cup upon it, and the trumpets which were used to proclaim the year of jubilee. And there are several medals of Judea vanquished, in which the conquered country is represented as a desolate female, sitting under a tree, and which afford a striking illustration of the first verse of the Lamentations of JEREMIAH."-(Vol. i. pp. 239, 210, and
The divine authority of the Scriptures, MR. HORNE rests upon Miracles, Prophecy, and Internal Evidence; the argument from each of which is amply developed, and the objections fairly stated, and answered. The definition of things best understood, is well known to be the most difficult. The definitions of the term Miracle by Divines are numerous, and it would answer no useful purpose to state them. To all of them, when tried by the genus proximum and the differentia specifica of logicians, some objection may probably be raised. MR. HORNE's definition is certainly not the definition of a miracle in the common theological acceptation of that term, because it leaves out the end for which the work is performed, and which undoubtedly constitutes a part of the specific difference. Accurate definition of the term is however not important, on a subject which derives no weight from that circumstance. The true character of those works of CHRIST, and of his servants, is marked with sufficient simplicity and strength in the words of NICODEMUS: "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from GOD; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except GoD be with him." A miracle, therefore, in the just conception of this "Master in Israel," was a work above human power, not happening by chance, nor occurring in the ordinary course of divine operation upon creatures, but "done" through a human agent, to prove, first, that "GOD was with him," and secondly, as the end of the work, that he was commissioned by GOD to teach mankind. This is the common, and correct view of the meaning of the term miracle, when it is referred to as proving the divine authority under which the Sacred Writers, the Prophets, and first Preachers of the Gospel, and our
LORD himself, professed to act and to teach.
MR. HORNE has entitled Prophecy, "the highest kind of evidence" of the divine authority of the Scriptures; and the following passage appears to set it in competition with the evidence of miracles.
"So admirably has this sort of evidence been contrived by the wisdom of GOD, that in proportion as the lapse of ages might seem to weaken the argument derived from miracles long since performed, that very lapse serves only to strengthen the argument derived from the completion of prophecy."
This comparison of the two great sources of the evidences of the truth of revealed religion is uncalled for by any practical end, and the superiority of prophecy to miracles, as a general proposition, is certainly unsupported. Our LORD appeals to his works," and so do the Apostles themselves, as often as to prophecy. The fact is, that each species of evidence has equal rank; but that as they were designed to operate sometimes jointly, and sometimes under different cir cumstances, each has a special office. They are the JACHIN and the BOAZ of the great porch of our spiritual temple, equally bearing the weight of that grand vestibule of external evidence which leads to the altar and the mercy seat;-and, according to the expressive names imposed upon the pillars themselves, we may write on the JACHIN of prophecy, "He shall establish," and on the Boaz of miracles, “In it is strength." Prophecy is indeed a species of miracle. It is miraculous operation on mind, as other miracles are supernatural operations on matter; and whatever is affirmed of one, may also be predicated of the other. Even the accumulative evidence, so justly attributed to prophecy, belongs also to the miracles of Scripture; so that "the lapse of ages,' so far from even "seeming to weaken" the evidence of miracles, abundantly confirms it. For as a true miracle must be a work transcending human power, a work which, according to the accurate conception of NICODEMUS, "no man can do;" it implies of course a previous acquaintance with
the limit of human power. Had the body of ABEL been restored to life by a word from some third person, supposing ADAM to have had no knowledge of human power but what had been derived from his short experience, this might have surprised him, but the evidence of its being a miraculous operation would not have been powerful. Before miracles were in fact performed, man had learned to fix the boundary of the power of man; and the raising of the dead, though by the agency of a human voice, was instantly ascribed to GOD, to whom nothing is impossible. The ages which have lapsed since have enlarged the experience of human power, and no such faculty has appeared in any man, except in those who referred the works performed by them to the immediate power of Gon. Time has enlarged buman experience also, both as to the ordinary and the casual operations of nature; and no effects at all similar to the miraculous acts of CHRIST and his Apostles have taken place, to sanction any suspicion of their having availed themselves of some extraordinary and opportune occurrence in nature: every branch of science has been most inquisitively explored; but no discovery has been made to warrant the supposition that some occult art was then in the possession of a few, by which any one of the wonders in question could be performed a great number of facts have been observed and collected on the very curious subject of the influence of the imagination upon the relief or sudden cure of bodily disorders, and the efficacy of certain processes of resuscitation; but no fact at all parallel to the opening of the eyes of a man born blind, or the raising of the actually dead, has occurred: and our experience of the moral nature of man, in every variety of circumstance, has also been extended; but yet, though many have been willing to die rather than renounce their religious opinions, in some cases true, and in others false, it has not been found, that a number of sensible and virtuous men would voluntarily expose themselves to persecution, poverty, suffering, and death, in attestation of the truth of
events which never occurred, and as to the occurrence of which they could not, from their nature, be mistaken.
Thus both the grand sources of the evidence of the Divine Authority of the Scriptures, like trees of Paradise, imbibe increasing vitality with years, and connect growth with duration; and as the latter day approaches they will work a deeper conviction, and spread to the ends of the earth a brightening demonstration which shall confound infidelity, and lead back the wandering and bewildered nations into the "path of peace."
Though we have taken an exception to the passage above quoted, we cannot too greatly commend the chapters on Miracles, Prophecy, and Internal Evidence, generally. No sceptic cau peruse them without conviction, unless under the influence of a dishonest heart, which, we fear, in all cases, is the true seat of the malady.
To this volume there are several Appendices. The third is a very copious collection of the Contradictions alleged to exist in the Holy Scriptures, judiciously classed, and ably explained. This never-ending theme, on which the ignorance and malignity of infidel writers have been made equally conspicuous, is very fairly taken from them. To the manner in which the scoffs of this class of men are, in one instance, evaded rather than met and silenced, we have, however, some objection. The case is that of the feeding of ELIJAH by ravens. It is placed in the section entitled, "Alleged Contradictions to philosophy and the nature of things;" but for what reason we see not. Like other miracles, it is above nature; but there is nothing in it, like the speaking of BALAAM's ass, against nature; and if it were fit to place this miracle under such a head, all the others recorded in the Scriptures might have been placed there too. The very place assigned to the objection heightens it beyond even the showing of the infidel himself; he can only ridicule it as incredible, but surely never pleaded that it implied any violence done to the nature of things itself. The criticism by