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object to the union of Christ and the apostles, as though they occupied the same stand-point. Our Saviour had the Spirit without measure, and knew all things. He was properly and truly infallible, whereas the apostles had the Spirit in measure, and did not know many things. It is unnecessary, however, to urge this objection at the present time. In some things both adopted a wise accommodation to popular views. They did not in matters of moment; but with such unimportant points of criticism as the authorship of the Pentateuch they did not interfere. The fact that they were teachers of truth did not lead them to meddle with and correct all questions; but only those of important doctrine. If they make declarations or statements irrespectirely of the persons with whom they argued, and on their own proper authority, they must be believed as asserting what is literally correct; but when confuting the Jews, they generally reasoned with them on their own principles. Employing the argumentum ad hominem they simply accepted the acknowledged sentiments of the people, without vouching for their truth. Let it be carefully observed that they did not urge that as truth which they thought to be falsehood. To impute such a thing to the Saviour is impious. It is scarcely less so to ascribe it to the apostles and evangelists. “Men are particularly attentive,” says Dr. Hey,“ to any reasoning upon their own principles; and when they are convinced of their own inconsistency (which they are by the argumentum ad hominem), they grow humble and reasonable, attentive to truth, and willing to admit it. The arguing of which we are speaking, in quotation from, or allusion to, the Old Testament, is generally of the nature of the argumentum ad hominem, if not always.” In another place the same
says: · We have now reason to think that no text, or scarcely any, was ever either cited or alluded to by our Saviour, but according to the notions of the Jercs then present. . . . . Now, if it is the duty of those who teach religion to become all things to all men, that they may by all means save some, how could any one better become a Jew to the Jews than by entering into their favourite mode of persuasion ? It gave no authority to any sense of a passage
of Scripture, because it was not understood to do so; it implied no error, no falsehood ; and it made the affinities between the two dispensations, the harmony of the divine counsels, to be more strongly perceived.”? Agreeing as we do with this theologian in the sentiment that our Saviour and his apostles accommodated their mode of reasoning to the habitual notions of the Jews, no authority can be attributed to that reasoning except where it takes the form of an independent
I Lectures on Divinity, vol. 1, p. 189, third edition, 1841. 2 Ibid, vol. i., pp. 184, 185.
declaration or statement, and so rests on the speaker's credit. It should also be observed, that historical and critical questions could only belong to the sphere of his human culture—a culture stamped with the characteristics of his age and country. The development of Jesus is distinctly recognised in the New Testament, and is not incompatible with his Divine nature (Luke ii. 25). Considering therefore the human limitations to which the Son of God was subjected on earth, we are not irreverent in supposing that he shared the common views of the Jews in his day in regard to points ethically or doctrinally unimportant.
Objections to our conclusion respecting the authorship of the Pentateuch cannot be legitimately urged at the present day. It is too late, for example, to adduce that founded on the Samaritan Pentateuch being substantially the same Jewish copy. The argument used to be that the Samaritans got the book from the kingdom of the ten tribes, and the latter from Judah. Accordingly the work must have existed in its present form before the separation of the tribes under Rehoboam. Hengstenberg has copiously and ably refuted this position.' There is no good ground for saying that the Samaritans got their Pentateuch from Israel. It is more likely that they had it
. from Manasseh, the son of the high priest as Josephus calls him, who fled to the Samaritans and drew many Jews after him.
It is also too late to adduce the absence of any distinct announcement of the soul's immortality, as an argument against the late composition of the Pentateuch; because (as is alleged) so much light had shone forth upon the subject in the time of David, that he could anticipate the pleasures at God's right hand for evermore; while the prophets describe in glowing strains the everlasting glories of Messiah's salvation.
This argument, if such it can be called, rests on a false basis. The doctrine of immortality is not enunciated more clearly in the Psalms than it is in the Pentateuch. Indeed it is not distinctly enunciated in either. In a few passages in the Psalms the poets seem to have pierced for the moment beyond the visible world into a future, where they should continue to exist ; but the prevailing tone never rises into settled belief. It is only a spiritual anticipation of the inner man—a dim foreshadowing of the soul's immortality, both in the Psalms and prophets. Any enunciation of the everlasting glories of Messiah's salvation in the prophets is merely spiritual prevision, vague and ideal, involving no belief in the doctrine of immortality. Whatever light was shining round the compiler of laws and documents, the light of inspired poets and prophets—he had little to do
1 Authentie des Pentat. vol. i. p. 1 et seqq.
with it from the nature of his work. It was not in keeping with his task to write according to the development of his own age on all subjects. But we assert, from an extended examination of the later books, that the doctrine of immortality is as clearly found in the Pentateuch as in the writings of the time when the compilers lived.
In bringing our remarks on the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch to a close, we cannot refrain from expressing the conviction that the case against the correctness of the tradition which has so long assigned the composition of this part of Scripture to the Hebrew legislator, is fully established. Internal evidence disagrees with tradition. If scientific theology detect the groundlessness of external evidence, the latter must give way. So in the present instance. It is now an acknowledged result of scientific criticism that Moses did not write the Pentateuch as it is. The authority of the work is not impaired on that account; though persons ignorant of the true bearing of critical theology may think so. Let none be deceived by the usual talk respecting the credit of the history being destroyed provided contradictions and discrepancies in it be established its being untrustworthy; undeserving implicit confidence; ceasing to be an authoritative testimony, etc.
Such idle and vague declamation can only impose on the ignorant. It suits the vul. gar apprehension to preach about the sacred volume sinking to the level of other ancient histories and of being no more than an ordinary production, if the conclusions advocated by the most enlightened critics be adopted. To talk of the results we have arrived at as deeply affecting the faith of the church is the cant of uneducated minds." The authenticity of the Pentateuch is not a question of religion and rationalism, of faith and unbelief. Those who regard the record as the depository of the early religious traditions of the Hebrews and the revelations vouchsafed to their wisest men, who look upon it as embodying the divine truth possessed by that race and preparing the way higher and purer dispensation, do not destroy the authority of the Pentateuch. They do not undermine the pillars of Christianity. To affirm that they do, is mischievous absurdity. They do deny the infallibility of written books, as well as the infallibility of the persons who composed them. They do maintain that they are human books, having such a divine character and aspect as it befits the wisdom and perfections of the Deity for man to conceive of, and for his truest servants of old to be mirrored in. They do hold the Mosaic books to be faithful records of the ancient Jews, containing sublime views of the Almighty Creator and his works, showing a pure monotheism to have been the faith of the highest minds among the old Hebrews, yet imperfect notions on their part of theology, science, art, civilization. Christianity stands on another and better basis than the Mosaic composition of the Pentateuch. It has nothing to do either with the question of its authorship or its documents. It is not injuriously affected by the discrepancies observable in the traditions it embodies. We hold by the truth; we contend for and value it as much as the noisy declaimers who ascribe infidelity to all who will not endorse their fancies. We appeal to the test of an enlightened criticism which 'understands the Hebrew language and does not deal in quibbles and apologies. We will not be scared by anathemas or dogmatism, prejudices or denunciations. The question is, what is the true nature of these Mosaic records ? Who wrote them? Are they infallibly correct and consistent, divine to the exclusion of every human element of imperfection? Were they dictated from heaven to Moses; if not, did he alone write them under such superintendence as effectually secured absolute correctness ? To talk about their authority, credit, and sacredness till their real nature has been settled, is nugatory. It is using words vaguely; or using them with a certain implied meaning amounting to a begging of the question. The subject has nothing to do with personal religion. It has to do with right views of revelation, and greatly conduces to their formation. There is an erroneous idea abroad, that persons who wrote books preserved in the canon were the only inspired individuals. All religious men were counted inspired, under the Old Testament dispensation ; some possessing a larger measure of the Spirit than others. Moses was not the only inspired person of his time. He had successors who were inspired as well as he, though not to the same extent. But the authority of sacred writings has no connection with names. Unknown persons may have had the Spirit of God in a larger degree than those with whose names we are acquainted. If the divinity of a book depended on the name of a writer, the book would be nothing more than human. The dicine would then be personal and individual. But truth is independent of persons. No historical loss affects it. IIence revelation can lose nothing by a critical rejection of the Mosaic authority of the Pentateuch. That work, containing a divine revelation, must have a value independent of authority derived from authorship. A divine revelation is not such because of the person who conveys it in writing, but because it contains divine truth. The process therefore of judging the credibility of a divine revelation is not a historical, but religious, thing. It is subjectire and ideal, not objective. The opponents of criticism lament their historical loss in not possessing a narrative contemporaneous with the events, instead of later traditions. But the loss is a gain, if criticism gives forth historical truth; and if it does not, let its baselessness be shown. To build the authority of revelation on the untrue, can answer no good purpose. It is therefore incum. bent on the enemies of historical criticism who dislike its decision regarding the Pentateuch, to refute it on historical grounds. As long as they deal in nothing but prejudices, they cannot hope for a hearing from truth-loving theologians.
Well did the immortal De Wette write, so long ago as the year 1805: “Pentateuchum non esse a Moses conscriptum, sed seriori aetate ortum, nostris diebus, postquam tam multum tamque docte atque sagaciter hac de re disputatum est, neminem adhuc esse puto, qui neget, praeter eos qui auctoritatis suae magis tuendae causa, quam veritatis studio ducti, contrariam sententiam defendunt. Neque tamen satis est negare, Mosem Pentateuchi auctorem esse ; res eo ducenda est, ut statuamus, diversorum auctorum scripta in eo volumine esse congesta et concinnata.”l
We conclude by affirming that there is little external evidence for the Mosaic authorship. And what little there is, does not stand the test of criticism. The succeeding writers of the Old Testament do not confirm it. The venerable authority of Christ himself has no proper bearing on the question.
on the question. The objections derived from internal structure are conclusive against the Mosaic authorship. Various contradictions are irreconcileable. The traces of a later date are convincing. The narratives of the Pentateuch are usually trustworthy, though partly mythical and legendary. The miracles recorded were the exaggerations of a later age. The voice of God cannot, without profanity, be said to have externally uttered all the precepts attributed to him. Moses' hand laid the foundation of the edifice of God's word, which has grown into the proportions in which we now possess it; but he was not the first writer who penned parts of the national legends and history. He was emphatically a lawgiver, not a historian -a grand spiritual actor in the life-drama of the Israelites, who founded their theocratic constitution under the direct guidance of the Supreme.
XXII. When was the present Pentateuch completed ? The date of it coincides with that of Deuteronomy. Hence the reign of Manasseh was the period when the Pentateuch appeared. Is this supported by any evidence external to the work itself? In 2 Kings xxii. 8, etc., there is a narrative which seems to imply the existence of the Pentateuch in Josiah's reign. It is said that Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. That this was the Pentateuch may be inferred from the following considerations :
1 Opuscula Theologica, p. 161.