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great, but unnecessary difficulties, into the whole system. These books were univerfally read and received by the Jews of our Saviour's time. He and his apostles, in common with all other Jews, referred to them, alluded to them, used them. Yet, except where he expressly ascribes a divine authority to particular predictions, I do not know that we can strictly draw any conclusion from the books being so used and applied, beside the proof, which it unquestionably is, of their notoriety and reception at that time. In this view our fcriptures afford a valuable testimony to those of the Jews. But the nature of this testimony ought to be understood. It is surely very different from, what it is sometimes reprefented to be, a specific ratification of each particular fact and opinion ; and not only of each particular fact, but of the motives assigned for every action, together with the judgement of praise or difpraise bestowed upon them. St. James, in his epistle *
fays, fays, “ Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord.” Notwithstanding this text, the reality of Job's history, and even the existence of such a person, has been always deemed a fair fubject of inquiry and discuflion amongst Christian diyines. St. James's authority is considered as good evidence of the existence. of the book of Job at that time, and of its reception by the Jews, and of nothing more. St. Paul, in his second epistle to Timothy*, has this fimilitude : “ Now, as Jannes and Jambres withstood Mofes, so do these also refift the truth." These names are not found in the Old Testament. And it is uncertain, whether St. Paul took them from some apocryphal writing then extant, or from traditien. But no one ever imagined, that St. Paul is here asserting the authority of the writing, if it was a written account which he quoted, or making himself answerable for the authenticity of the tradition ; much less, that he so involves himself with either
of these questions as that the credit of his own history and mission should depend upon the fact, whether " Jannes and Jan bres withstood Mores, or not.” For what reason a more rigorous interpretation should be put upon other references, it is difficult to know. I do not mean, that other passages of the Jewish history stand upon no 'better evidence than the history of Job, or of Jannes and Jambres (I think much otherwise); but I mean, that a reference in the New Testament, to a paffage in the Old, does not so fix its authority, as to exclude all inquiry into its credibility, or into the separate reasons upon which that credibility is founded; and that it is an unwarrantable, as well as unsafe rule to lay down concerning the Jewish history, what was never laid down concerning any other, that either every particular of it must be true, or the whole false.
I have thought it necessary to state this point explicitly, because a fashion revived by Voliaire, and pursued by the disciples of his
school, school, seems to have much prevailed of late, of attacking Christianity through the sides of Judaism. Some objections of this class are founded in misconstruction, fome in exaggeration ; but all proceed upon a supposition, which has not been made out by argument, viz. that the attestation, which the author and first teachers of Christianity gave to the divine mission of Moses and the CHAP. IV.
prophets, exteads to every point and portion of the Jewish history; and so extends, as to make Christianity responsible in its own credibility, for the circumstantial truth, I had almost said for the critical exactness, of every' narrative contained in the Old Testament.
Rejećtion of Christianity,
E acknowledge that the Christian re-
and countries in which it appeared.
The matter of the objection divides itself into two parts, as it relates to the Jews, and as it relates to Heathen nations; because the minds of these two descriptions of men may have been, with respect to Chris tianity, under the influence of
different causes. The case of the Jews, inasmuch as