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diffuse its influence through every distinguishing part of the Unitarian system, is the assumption of low and degrading thoughts concerning the BLESSED and HOLY GOD, his moral government, and the revelation of his justice and grace. Let a man, with a candid, pure, and devotional mind, turn from the frigid comments of this school to the glowing energy which warms and illuminates the apostolic pages;-and will he not be compelled to acknowledge that the views and feelings of the scriptural writers, and the dictates of these modern refiners, are irreconcileably contradic
It is now submitted to the judgment of the reader, whether the remarks in this chapter have sufficiently established the points already stated; that the style of the New Testament scriptures is well adapted for intelligence and perspicuity, to all ranks of men, in every nation, and in every period of time ;-that they are wisely calculated to suffer less in translation than most other writings;—and that their figurative expressions are, in the most important cases, constructed upon a regular principle, the general design of which guides and illustrates the particular instances of its application.
If these views be correct, the application of them will facilitate our proposed inquiries, and will preclude many objections.
Note [A] page 13. 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16.-" That from a child thou hast known the holy writings, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every writing divinely inspired [is] also profitable for instruction, for conviction [of error], for recovery [to that which is right), for training up in righteousness.” It appears to me impossible to establish, from the Greek text alone, so as to preclude all fair objection, either side of the agitated question, whether dɛót vevoros agrees immediately with rãoa ypap, or is (as it is translated in the common version and in many others) a part of the predicate. But I apprehend
I that the scale is turned in favour of the other construction by the evidence of the venerable Syriac Version, whose antiquity is almost, if not quite, apostolic. It reads, “And that, from thy childhood, thou hast known the holy books," --&c. “ for every writing which has been written by the Spirit, is valuable for instruction," &c. The Vulgate confirms this interpretation :“ Omnis scriptura divinitus inspirata, utilis est ad docendum," &c. It is evident that the apostle, in v. 16, resumes distributively what he had before advanced collectively: so that “ every
writing divinely inspired” is a description by which the apostle designates each and every one of the writings comprized under the well-understood collective denomination, rà iepà ypáppara, the holy writings. Timothy, and every contemporary Jew or Christian, needed no explanation of this phrase. They knew it, as
one of the most common terms of usage, to denote the ypapai, writings, or scriptures, to which the Lord Jesus was in the habit of referring, as to the ultimate divine authority (e. g. Matt. xxii. 29. xxvi. 54. Luke xxiv. 32.), the searching of which he enjoined (John v. 39.), and which it is impossible to suppose, with any shadow of reason, that he did not design to use in the sense in which he knew that all his hearers would understand him; namely, as expressive of the whole sacred canon of the Jews, for to them"
were entrusted the oracles of God.” (Rom. iii. 2.) The general tenor of the New Testament most clearly recognizes, under these descriptions, the whole received scriptures of the Jewish nation: and, when a particular passage is cited, it is usual to refer to it in the singular number και η γραφή, η γραφή αυτη, Ērépa ypadň, the writing, or scripture, this scripture, another scripture, (John xix. 24, 37. Mark xii. 10.)
Thus the passage before us, though we adopt that construction of DeÓT VEVOTOS which Unitarians generally approve, furnishes the strongest testimony to the inspiration of each and every of the books of the Old Testament. The importance of this conclusion, in relation to our present subject and to every other part of the controversy with the Unitarians, needs not to be pointed out.
If, however, any should ask what documents we have to ascertain to us what books were acknowledged by the Jews as sacred when these repeated sanctions of Christ and the apostles were given; we answer
1. That the conservation of the Hebrew scriptures with a perfection and scrupulosity unexampled in any other case, and from a period long anterior to the birth of Christ, is among the most established facts in critical history.
2. That we have the testimony of Josephus, a contemporary of the apostles, no friend to Christianity, and more solicitous than truth and honour would justify to conciliate the favour of a heathen court; a testimony which brings to this topic all the light that could be desired. Having spoken of the prophets as learning what they had to communicate “by inspiration from God," (κατά την επίπνοιαν την από του Θεού), he says ;
". There are not among us endless multitudes of books, dissonant and contradice tory; but only twenty-two-which are justly believed to be divina
(δικαίως θεία πεπιστευμένα) (dxalwç Dela TETLOTEvuéva.)" He distinguishes these as the inspired writings, from books written after the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus; an era which coincides with the dates of the books of Malachi and Nehemiah, and the history of Esther. He describes them, as “their own scriptures" (rà idea ypápuara), the “ doctrines of God” (Okoī dóyuara), and “ the laws and the writings (avaypapal) succeeding them." Contra Ap. lib. i. $ 7.8. ed. Hudson. tom. ii. p. 1333. The number which Josephus gives, twenty-two, is made out, if we consider the following books as combined, on obvious and satisfactory grounds : Ruth annexed to Judges; the two books of Samuel, of Kings, and of Chronicles, as respectively unbroken, and so making three instead of six; Nehemiah annexed to Ezra; the twelve minor prophets as one roli or book; and (which, it must be confessed, does not carry that evidence of affinity which the others do; ή δε κρίσις χαλεπή) the Canticles annexed to Ecclesiastes,
Note [B] page 16. “If we look for that perspicuity and clearness in the expression of divine revelation, which men endeavour to give unto the declaration of their minds in things natural, by artificial methods and order, and by the application of words and terms invented and disposed of on purpose to accommodate what is spoken unto the common notions and reasonings of men; we may be mistaken. Nor would it have become divine wisdom and authority to have made use of such methods, ways, or arts. There is that plainness and perspicuity in it which becomes the holy and wise God to make use of, whose words are to be received with reverence, with submission of mind and conscience unto his authority, and fervent prayer that we may understand his mind and do his will. Thus all things are made plain unto the meanest capacity; yet not so, but that, if the most wise and learned do not see the characters of infinite divine wisdom on things that seem most obvious and most exposed unto vulgar apprehensions, they have no true wisdom in them. In those very fords and appearing shallows of this river of God, where the lamb may wade, the elephant may swim. Every thing in the scripture is so plain as that the meanest believer may understand all that belongs unto his duty, or is necessary unto his happiness; yet is nothing so plain, but that the wisest of them all have reason to adore the depths and stores of divine wisdom in it." Owen on Sp. Underst. ch, xi.
Note [C] page 21. “ Instituenti mihi de Poesi Asiaticâ disserere, prima sese offert Hebræorum poesis, verbis splendida, sententiis magnifica, translationibus elata, compositione admirabilis, origine tandem, quod de nullâ aliâ dici potest, verè divina.-Ea est linguæe Hebreæ cum Arabicâ cognatio, ea poeseos utriusque gentis cùm in imaginibus tum in figuris similitudo, ut nequeam mihi persuadere quin metra etiam Hebræa fuerint Arabicis persimilia :"_“ At the outset of a disquisition on the Asiatic Poetry, that of the Hebrews first presents itself to our regard, brilliant in diction, magnificent in sentiment, sublime in figures, admirable in arrangement, and in its origin possessing the unrivalled dignity of inspiration from God. - Such is the near relationship of the Hebrew tongue to the Arabic, such the resemblance of the poetry of each of those nations, both in the imagery and the kinds of figures which they employ, that" -&c. Sir William Jones's Commentarii Poeseos Asiat. in his Works, vol. vi, p. 1, 55.