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thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest."* “ And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire, in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself, and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me." “ And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life." I “ And it shall be, on the day when you pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster : And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over," &c.|| These quotations serve to prove how early writing was resorted to, in the communications between heaven and earth. The book that was “ before the priests the Levites," we have no doubt, was that laid up in the ark of the covenant, from which each king was required to write a copy; and we cannot imagine a more effectual device for the preservation of an autograph, and for the transmission of a book in its original integrity to future ages. But beside this, we may observe in these
Ex. xxxiv. 1.
+ Deut. x. 4, 5. | Deut. xvii. 18, 19.
|| Deut. xxvii. 2, 3.
passages, what the written revelations were, in their earliest and most rudimental form—before they were expanded into books, whether smaller or larger, for circulation among the people. “Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it to the children of Israel : put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel." “ Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel."* “ Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord.”+ “ Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever."I “ The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.”ll 6. The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah."S “ So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.”T “ But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end."**
These last quotations exhibit to us the origination of books, or parts of books, in the Old Testament; and did we offer, in addition to
Deut, xxxi. 19, 22. fi Sam. X. 25. This act of laying up what he had written before the Lord, may be regarded as another example of the deposition of the Sacred Writings, in a sanctuary or consecrated place. # Is. xxx. 8. | Jer. xxx. 1, 2. $ Jer. xlv. I. Jer. li. 60.
** Daniel xii. 4.
this, to present all the passages in which these books are referred to, all the traces that might be gathered along the course of the sacred history of the respect and estimation in which they were held it would swell our extracts into many pages. We shall do it in part, when we investigate the evidence for the particular books, as, in those very extracts, there lies the essence of what we hold to be far the most valuable kind of proof for the authority of the Hebrew scriptures. But it is enough at present, under the head of our third general argument, to state of these books that they were the objects of frequent and familiar recognition by the Jewish people. names, though at first general, and such as were descriptive of a whole class, had at length, by the force of the definite article or by the annexation of an epithet, the exclusive speciality of an appellative. There are innumerable writings on all subjects; but these were the writings, and ai you out or yaon was appropriated to those writings which were esteerned by the Hebrews as divine: Or, when a particular and express quotation was made, it was under the form of “this scripture," avtn yguon: Or they were distinguished by another phrase, “the Sacred Writings,” yapan legal, sometimes Tu iegu rougkata: Or, lastly, they were named “ the oracles of God," tu hoyou TOU Osov. These names were as much restricted to certain writings, and there was as little possibility of their being applied to any other—as the Bible,"
or the “Scrip
Bible---originally and generally a book; and "the book," • Bißaos, became the appellative of our present scriptures.
tures,” or the Old and New Testament would in the present day. They were the voces signatæ, that marked out certain books collected by the Jews into a volume or volumes, and in universal recognition among that people. That a whole nation should make use of the same names, and without any difference in the application of them, proved a common understanding as to what the books were (and no others) which were held to be of scriptural rank amongst them. Now the strength of our third general argument lies in this—that our Saviour and His Apostles joined in this common use, and fell into this common understanding. They make use of the term “scriptures,” without explanation, as if there had to be the adjustment of any difference between them and the Jewish people, on the question of what the Scriptures really were. There was in truth no such question betwixt them. What the Jewish people at large understood to be the scriptures, Christ and His Apostles understood to be the scriptures. In other words, they all acknowledged the same scriptures.
We do not speak, at present, of the properties ascribed by Christ and the authors of the New Testament, to these writings of the Old Testament—for this comes more rightly under our view, when discussing the question of the inspiration of these books. But the circumstance of Christ and His Apostles having acknowledged the same Old Testament with the Jews, is all in all on the question of the canon, and of the legitimate place which each of the separate pieces held in this received and authorised col
lection of writings. When Paul says of the Jews that “ to them were committed the oracles of God," he had no different view of these oracles, these horoc, in as far as the written oracles were concerned, from what they had themselves. And in like manner when in speaking to the Jews, he says of the Gospel, that God hath promised it “ afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures”*_he does not make use of a designation that expressed to them one set of writings, while to his own mind it expressed another set of writings. To us it is a very strong circumstance, that what they held to be the “ oracles of God," and the “ holy scriptures,” he held to be the oracles of God and the holy scriptures also. There was a common understanding between them on this point; and the same common understanding between our Saviour and His countrymen, when He told them, to “search the scriptures”-when He asked them, “Did ye never read in the scriptures?” when He thus charged them, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures"_when He argued with them, “ How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled"_when He assured them “but the scriptures must be fulfilled” -when He quotes their sacred volume by their own designation, “as the scripture hath said"-and, lastly, when, making use of the same designation, He ascribes to it this property, that “the scripture cannot be broken.”+ Our Saviour would never, in directing His countrymen to search the scrip
Rom. i. 2. + Matt. xi. 42, xxii. 29, xxvi. 54. Mark xii. 24, xiv. 49. John v. 39, vii. 38, x. 35. VOL. IV.