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of Chronicles, the genealogy of the sons of Zerubbabel is carried down at least to the time of Alexander the Great This book, therefore, could not have been put into the Canon by Ezra, nor much earlier than the time of Simon the Just. The book of Esther, also, was probably added during this interval.

The probable conclusion therefore is, that Ezra began this work, and collected and arranged all the sacred books which belonged to the Canon before his time, and that a succession of pious and learned men continued to pay attention to the Canon, until the whole was completed, about the time of Simon the Just; after which nothing was ever added to the Canon of the Old Testament.

Most, however, are of opinion that nothing was added after the book of Malachi was written, except a few names and notes; and that all the books belonging to the Canon of the Old Testament were collected and inserted in the Sacred Volume by Ezra himself; and this opinion seems to be the safest, and is nowise incredible in itself. It accords also with the uniform tradition of the Jews, that Ezra completed the canon of the Old Testament, and that after Malachi there arose no prophet who added anything to the sacred volume. *

Whether the books were now collected into a single volume, or were bound up in several codices, is a question of no importance: if we can ascertain what books were received as Canonical, it matters not in what form they were preserved. It seems probable, however, that the sacred books were at this time distributed into three volumes—the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa. This division we know to be as ancient as the time of our Saviour, for he says, “ These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.”† Josephus also makes mention of this division; and it is by the Jews, with one consent, referred to Ezra as its author.

In establishing the Canon of the Old Testament, we might labour under considerable uncertainty and embarrassment, in regard to several books, were it not that the whole of what were called the Scriptures, and which were included in the threefold division mentioned above, received the explicit sanction of our Lord. He was not backward to reprove the Jews for disobeying, misinterpreting, and adding their traditions to the Scriptures, but he never drops a hint that they had been See Note A, at the end of Part I.

+ Luke xxiv, 44.

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SANCTIONED BY CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES.

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unfaithful or careless in the preservation of the sacred books. So far from this, he refers to the Scriptures as an infallible rule which “must be fulfilled,”* and “could not be broken.”+ “ Search the Scriptures," I said he, “ for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. The errors of the Sadduces are attributed to an ignorance of the Scriptures, and they are never mentioned but with the highest respect, and as the unerring word of God. The apostle Paul, also referring principally if not wholly to the scriptures of the Old Testament, says,

" And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” They are also called by this apostle the Oracles of God, the Lively Oracles, the Word of God; and when quotations are made from David, it is represented as “the Holy Ghost speaking by the mouth of David.” || The testimony of Peter is not less explicit, for he says, “ The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”T And the apostle James speaks of the Scriptures with equal confidence and respect—" And receive with meekness,” says he, “ the ingrafted word which is able to save your souls;" " And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith,” &c.; “Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain ?” &c. tf 1

We have, therefore, an important point established, with the utmost certainty, that the volume of Scripture which existed in the time of Christ and his apostles was uncorrupted, and was esteemed by them an inspired and infallible rule. Now, if we can ascertain what books were then included in the Sacred Volume, we shall be able to settle the Canon of the Old Testament without uncertainty.

But here lies the difficulty:-Neither Christ nor any of his apostles has given us a catalogue of the books which composed the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

estament. They have distinctly quoted a number of these books, and so far the evidence is complete. We know that the Law, and the Prophets, and the Psalms, were included in their Canon. But this does not ascertain particularly, whether the very same books which we now find in the Old Testament were then found in it, and no others.

It is necessary then to resort to other sources of information; and happily the Jewish historian Josephus fur• Mark xiv, 49. † John x, 35. I John v, 39. $ 2 Tim. jii, 15, 16. | Acts i, 16; iv, 25. [ 2 Pet. i, 21. ** James i, 21.

tf James iv, 5. If Note B.

nishes us with the very information which we want: not, indeed, as explicitly as we could wish, but sufficiently so to lead us to a very satisfactory conclusion. He does not name the books of the Old Testament, but he numbers them, and so describes them that there is scarcely room for any mistake. The important passage to which we refer is in his first book against Apion: “ We have,” says he, "only two-and-twenty books which are to be believed as of divine authority-of which five are the books of Moses. From the death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, king of Persia, the Prophets, who were the successors of Moses, have written in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and documents of life, for the use of men.”* Now, the five books of Moses are universally agreed to be, Genesis, Exo dus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The thirteen books written by the Prophets, will include Joshua, Judges with Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah with Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, the twelve Minor Prophets, Job, Ezra with Nehemiah, Esther, and Chronicles. The four remaining books will be, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, which make the whole number twenty-two. The Canon then existing is thus proved to be the same as that which we now possess. It would appear, indeed, that these books might more conveniently be reckoned twenty-four, and this is the present method of numbering them by the modern Jews, but formerly the number was regulated by that of the Hebrew alphabet, which consists of twenty-two letters; therefore, they annexed the small book of Ruth to Judges, and probably it is a continuation of this book by the same author. "They added also the Lamentations of Jeremiah to his Prophecy, and this was natural enough. As to the minor prophets, which form twelve separate books in our Bibles, they were anciently always reckoned one book; so they are considered in every ancient catalogue and in all quotations from them.

It will not be supposed that any change could have occurred in the Canon from the time of our Saviour and his apostles to that in which Josephus wrote. Indeed, he may be considered the contemporary of the apostles, as he was born about the time of Paul's conversion to Christianity, and was therefore grown up to man's age long before the death of this apostle; and the apostle John probably survived him. And it must be remembered that Josephus is here giving his testimony to a public fact: he is declaring what books were received as divine

Note C.

pre

by his nation, and he does it without hesitation or inconsistency. “ We have," says he, “only twenty-two books which are believed to be of divine authority.”

We are able also to adduce other testimony to prove the same thing. Some of the early Christian Fathers who had been brought up in Paganism, when they embraced Christianity, were curious in their inquiries into the Canon of the Old Testament; and the result of the researches of some of them still remain. Melito, bishop of Sardis, travelled into Judea for the very purpose of satisfying himself on this point; and although his own writings are lost, Eusebius has served his catalogue of the books of the Old Testament, from which it appears that the very same books were in his day received into the Canon as are now found in our Hebrew Bibles. And the interval between Melito and Josephus is not a hundred years, so that no alteration in the Canon can reasonably be supposed to have taken place in this period. Very soon after Melito, Origen furnishes us with a catalogue of the books of the Old Testament, which perfectly accords with our Canon, except that he omits the Minor Prophets; which omission must have been a mere slip of the pen in him or his copyist, as it is certain that he received this as a book of Holy Scripture; and the number of the books of the Old Testament, given by him in this very place, cannot be completed without reckoning the twelve minor prophets as one.

After Origen, we have catalogues in succession, not only by men of the first authority in the church, but by councils, consisting of numerous bishops, all which are perfectly the same as our own. It will be sufficient merely to refer to these sources of information. Catalogues of the books of the Old Testament have been given by Athanasius, by Cyril, by Augustine, by Jerome, by Rufin, by the Council of Laodicea, in their lx. Canon, and by the Council of Carthage. And when it is considered that all these catalogues exactly correspond with our present Canon of the Hebrew Bible, the evidence I think must appear complete to every impartial mind, that the Canon of the Old Testament is settled upon the clearest historical grounds. There seems to be nothing to be wished for further, in the confirmation of this point.

But if all this testimony had been wanting, there is still a source of evidence to which we might refer with the utmost confidence, as perfectly conclusive on this point; I mean the fact that these books have been, ever since the time of Christ and his apostles, in the keeping of both Jews and Christians, who have been constantly arrayed in opposition to each other, so that it was impossible that any change should have been made in the Canon, by either party, without being immediately detected by the other. And the conclusive evidence that no alteration in the Canon has occurred is, the perfect agreement of these hostile parties in regard to the books of the Old Testament at this time. On this point, the Jew and Christian are harmonious. There is no complaint of addition or diminution of the sacred books on either side. The Hebrew Bible of the Jew, is the Bible of the Christian. There is here no difference. A learned Jew and Christian have even been united in publishing an excellent edition of the Hebrew Bible.* Now, if any alteration in the Canon has occurred, it must have been by the concert or collusion of both parties; but how absurd this idea is must be manifest to all.

I acknowledge what is here said of the agreement of Christians and Jews can only be said in relation to Protestant Christians; for as to those of the Romanist and Greek communions, they have admitted other books into the canon which Jews and Protestants hold to be apocryphal; but these books will form the subject of a particular discussion in the sequel of this work.

The fact is important, that a short time after the Canon of the Old Testament was closed, a translation was made of the whole of the books into the Greek language. This translation was made at Alexandria in Egypt, at the request, it is said, of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, that he might have a copy of these sacred books in the famous library which he was engaged in collecting. It is called The Septuagint, from its being made, according to the accounts which have been handed down, by seventy, or rather seventy-two men, six from each of the tribes of Israel. So many fabulous things have been reported concerning this version, that it is very difficult to ascertain the precise truth. But it is manifest, from internal evidence, that it was not the work of one hand, nor probably of one set of translators; for, while some books are rendered with great accuracy, and in a very literal manner, others are translated with little care, and the meaning of the original is very imperfectly given.

The probability is, that the Pentateuch was first translated, and the other books were added from time to time, by different hands; but when the work was once begun, it is not likely that it would be long before the whole was completed.

* See the Biblia Hebraica, edited by Leusden and Athias.

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