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I. which was made 270 years before Christ. There is also a perfect agreement between the Samaritan (u) and Hebrew Pentateuchs, except in one or
guage, and that the high priest sent six elders from each of the twelvetribes. These seventy-two persons soon completed the work, and from their number it was called the Septuagint Version, seventy being a round number. This account of Aristeas is but little credited. Some learned men have supposed that this was called the Septuagint Translation, because it was approved by the Sanhedrim, whose number was seventy. But whatever was the origin of its name, it is certain that this version was made in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and that it was in great esteem among the Jews in the time of our Saviour. Most of the quotations in the New Testament are made from it, except in St. Matthew's Gospel.
(u) The Samaritans, who were the descendants of the ten tribes that seceded in the reign of Rehoboam, and of the Cutheans,a colony brought from the East, and established in Samaria by Esarhaddon, professed the Hebrew religion; but the Pentateuch was the only part of the Jewish Seriptures which they acknowledged. The Samaritan Pentateuch is a copy of the original Hebrew, written in the old Hebrew or Phænician characters. There are still some Samaritans, who have their high priest, and offer sacrifices, upon Mount Gerizim. Archbishop Usher procured two or three copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch, which were the first that had been in Europe since the revival of learning. It is well known that the language now spoken by the Jews is different from that of the Hebrew Scriptures, which has indeed been a dead language since the return from captivity; and in like manner the language spoken
two manifest interpolations, which were noticed immediately by the Jewish writers (r); and this is no small proof of the genuineness of both, as we may rest assured, that the Jews and Samaritans, on account of their rooted enmity to each other, would never have concurred in any alteration. Nor ought it to be omitted, that the Chaldee paraphrases (y), which are very antient, and so con
by the modern Samaritans is different from that of their antient Pentateuch. There is a translation of the Pentateuch in the modern Samaritan language, which is pub lished in the Paris and London Polyglots: it is so literal, that Morinus and Walton have given but one version for both, only marking the variations. Vide Gray and Pria deaux, Part 1. ch. 5. & 6.
(a) Vide Prideaux, part 1. b. 6.
(y) The Chaldee paraphrases, called Targums, or Versions, are translations of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into Chaldee, made for the benefit of those who bad forgotten, or were ignorant of, the Hebrew, after the captivity. They were read publicly with the original Hebrew, sentence for sentence alternately. Vide Nehem. c. 8. v. 8. The two most antient and authentic are that of Onkelos, on the Law, and that of Jonathan, on the prophets; which from the purity of the language and other circumstances are considered as having been made soon after the captivity, or at least before the time of Christ. There are other Targums, which are of a much later date. The Targums are printed in the second edition of the Hebrew Bible, published at Basil, by Buxtorf the Father, in 1610. Vide Gray and Prideaux, part 2. book 8.
cise that they may be called translations, entirely accord with our Hebrew Bibles.
The books of the Old Testament have been always allowed, in
every age and by every sect of the Hebrew Church, to be the genuine works of those persons to whom they are usually ascribed; and they have also been, universally and exclusively, without any addition or exception, considered by the Jews as written under the immediate influence of the Divine Spirit. Those who were contemporaries with the respective writers of these books, had the clearest evidence, that they acted and spoke by the authority of God himself; and this testimony transmitted to all succeeding ages, was in many cases strengthened and confirmed by the gradual fulfilment of predictions contained in their writings. “We have not,” says Josephus, “myriads of books which differ from each other, but only twenty-two books, which comprehend the history of all past time, and are justly believed to be divine. And of these, five are the works of Moses ; which contain the laws, and an account of things from the creation of man to the death of Moses: this period falls but a little short of 3000 years. And from the death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes, who succeeded Xerxes as king of Persia, the prophets after Moses wrote the transactions
of their own times in thirteen books; and the four remaining books contain hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life. And from Artaxerxes to the present time there is a continuation of writings, but they are not thought deserving of the same credit, because there was not a clear succession of prophets. But what confidence we have in our own writings is manifest from hence; that after so long a lapse of time no one has dared to add to them, or to diminish from them, or to alter any thing in them; for it is implanted in the nature of all Jews, immediately from their birth, to consider these books as the oracles of God, to adhere to them, and if occasion should require, cheerfully to die for their sake (%).” The Jews of the present day, dispersed all over the world, demonstrate the sincerity of their belief in the Authenticity of the Scriptures, by their inflexible adherence to the Law, and by the anxious expectation with which they wait for the accomplishment of the prophecies.
« Blindness has happened to them” only “ in part (a);" and the constancy, with which they have endured persecution, and suffered hardships, rather than renounce the commands of their lawgiver, fully
(z) Jos, cont. Ap. lib. 1. sect. 8. edit. Huds. p. 1333
(a) Rom. c. 11, v. 25. VOL. I.
proves their firin conviction that these books were divinely inspired, and that they remain uninjured by time and transcription. Handed down, untainted by suspicion, from Moses to the present generation, they are naturally objects of their unshaken confidence and attachment-but suppose the case reversed-destroy the grounds of their faith, by admitting the possibility of the corruption of their Scriptures, and their whole history becomes utterly inexplicable. “A book of this nature,” says Dr. Jenkin, speaking of the Bible, “which is so much the antientest in the world, being constantly received as a divine revelation, carries great evidence with it that it is authentic : for the first revelation is to be the criterion of all that follow; and God would not suffer the antientest book of Religion in the world to pass all along under the notion and title of a revelation, without causing some discovery to be made of the imposture, if there were any in it; much less would he preserve it by a particular and signal providence for so many ages. It is a great arguinent for the truth of the Scriptures, that they have stood the test, and received the approbation of so many ages, and still retain their authority, though so many ill men in all ages have made it their endeavour to disprove them ; but it is a still farther evidence in behalf of 7