Page images

volved in the foregoing observations, these sufferings are mediatorial and intercessory. For proof of this we need only refer the reader to our exposition of verses 6 and 12: “Jehovah mediated in him the sin of all of us," and "he for the sioners ever intercedes." The sufferings of the cross are consecrated into perpetual redeeming officacy by the everlasting intercession. This Old Testament prophet probably did not compreliend “what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in him did signify,” (1 Peter i, 11;) but we are satistied that the only complete fulfillinent of his words in these two verses is to be found in Jesus Christ, considered as the great High-priest who has entered into the heavenly holy of holies, * now to appear in the presence of God for us." Heb. ix, 24. His obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension are all virtually embodied and represented in his "ever living to make intercession for us;" and only from this lofty exaltation can we see how " he shall sprinkle many nations."

III. Who, now let us ask, was the writer of this profoundest of all prophecies? It is natural for us to desire to know. The unsurpassed grandeur and sublimity of the writing and its deep and wondrous lessons would remain the same, even if the author were utterly unknown; but those who truly prize the matchless prophecy will not be content, without the clearest show of reason, to allow & saintly namne, to whom it has been attributed by the unbroken tradition of two thousand years, to be robbed of his honor. Within the last century a large nunber of critics, chiefly German, have attempted to show that chapters xl-lxvi of the canonical Isaiah were not written by Isaiah the son of Amoz. It is quite generally agreed that these chapters are the work of a single anthor, and form a united whole, but must have been written later than the age of Isaiah, and during or after the Babylonish exile. And the unknown author has been called the “Pseudo-Isaiah," the "Later Isaiah,” “Deutero-Isaiah," and "The Great Unnamed.”

It is notable that almost invariably those critics that reject the Messianic exposition of chapter liii reject also the Isaiahan authorship of chapters xl-lxvi. And the great argument for assigning these chapters to a later age than that of Isaiah is the calling of Cyrus by name. Chaps. xliv, 28; xlv, 1. Manifestly this is the great difficulty with the rationalistic critics. They


And yet

will not allow a prediction that bears witness to a snperhuman origin, and so they settle the whole question in advance by an a priori assumption. The ultimate question, therefore, becomes this: Is there a personal God, who at times interferes in supernatural and extraordinary ways with human affairs ? If we say No, then must we resort to a naturalistic exposition of this and many other prophecies. But the holy Scriptures, from beginning to end, in one long multifarious answer, proclaim a God who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke to the fathers by the prophets. This forenaming of Cyrus is, indeed, extraordinary, and calculated to excite attention. But a careful scrutiny of our prophet's language (xliv, 26; xlv, 1-7) will bring out this issue : Either the writer truly prophesies of future things, or he is guilty of imposture. In calling Cyrus by name he assumes to be uttering a prophecy of a very extraordinary kind. A contemporary of Cyrus, uttering such language, would have exposed himself to contempt and ridi. cule. But the author's moral tone and sentiment are utterly incompatible with the perpetration of a pious fraud. again and again does he profess to reveal the future. Comp, xli, 4, 22, 23; xlii, 9; xliv, 7, 8.

Other evidences of a post-exile date, it is claimed, are seen in those passages which represent Zion as a captive, and Jerusalern a desolation. Chaps. lii, 2; lviii, 12; 1x, 9, 10; Ixi, 4; Ixii, 8; Ixiv, 10, 11. In some of these passages allusion is undoubtedly made to the afflictions of the Babylonish exile, which Isaiah had specially foretold to Hezekiah, (chap. xxxix, 6;) but these allusions, like the prophecy concerning Cyrus, are but a small part of the great prophetic picture of Israel's future. Alexander calls attention to the fact that Babylon is less frequently mentioned than Eyypt by Isaiah, and he wisely enggests that the oppressions and desolations described inay. be Egyptian or Roman as well as Babylonian. The seer has the past and the future of Israel, as the Old Testament Church, mapped out before his eye, and he shows hiinself familiar with all, as becomes one who speaks in the naine of Him who is the First and the Last. Chaps. xli, 4; sliv, 6. If striking allusions to the Babylonish exile are pressed as evidences of late authorship, then may we urge the marvelons portraiture of Jesus of Naza. reth in chapter liii, and insist on the saine ground that this must have been written after Jesus had suffered on the cross, and after Paul had expounded the inysteries of redemption.

The argument based on the peculiar style and diction of these chapters is of too uncertain a character to prove any thing. The citation of fancied Chaldaisins and of araç heyóueva produce an artificial glare confusing to some minds, but are utterly misleading as evidences of authorship. The subject matter of these prophecies would naturally beget a tone of peculiar majesty, and Knobel himself admits that their style greatly resembles that of the genuine Isaiah. As for the plea that they contain doctrines and sentiments belonging to an age later than that of Isaiah, it is quite sufficient to reply, Nay, these passages themselves show that such sentiments were current in Isaiah's day?

Over against all these critics we finally posit the unanimous verdict of all Jewish and Christian tradition as far back as there is any trace, and ask the candid reader to weigh it as against the hypothesis of a post-exile authorship and a pseudo-Isaiah. “That a writer confessedly of the highest genius,” observes Alexander, “living at one of the most critical junctures in the history • of Israel, when the word of God began to be precious and prophetic inspiration rare, should have produced such a series of prophecies as this, with such effects upon the exiles and even upon Cyrus as tradition ascribes to them, and then have left them to the admiration of all future ages, without so much as a trace of his own personality about them, is a phenoinenon of literary history compared with which the mystery of Junins is as nothing.

Some critics have urged, as against the traditional authorship of these later chapters, that in the Talmud Isaiah is placed after Jeremiah and Ezekiel. But far back of the Talmud, and two centuries or more before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Sirach wrote of these three great prophets, placing Isaiah first, and calling him “the great prophet, who was also faithful in his vision. By a great spirit,” he adds," he saw the last things, and comforted the mourners in Zion. He showed what should come to pass forever, and secret things before they came to light.” Ecclesiasticus xlviii, 22–23. And thus, as prince among the prophets, have all subsequent ages held him. In loftiness of thought, in splendor of diction, and in profound intuition of the yearnings of the human heart, he stands unrivaled, his enemies themselves being judges. And doubtless as the world grows older, mightier and mightier will grow this great evangelical prophet, this comforter of Zion, this winged psalmist of humanity's holiest hopes.

Minstrel sublime! Thy God anointed thee
Above thy fellow-prophets. All thy words
Are polished amethysts, and, like the glass
Of him that revols with the golden stars,
Bring to our vision worlds unknown before.
Immortal seer! What glory filled thine eye!
What myriad melodies possess thy harp,
That angels linger in their flights to hear
Thy oracles divine. Sound on, ye hymns
Prophetic; agès yet to come will hear,
As ages past heard, in these lofty strains
The Spirit's voice, and bearing, will believe
That Jesus is the very Christ of God.

Art. IV.-HARMAN'S INTRODUCTION. An Introduction to the Study of the Holy Scriptures. By HENRY M. HARMAN, D.D..

Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature in Dickinson College. Edited by GEORGE R. CROOKS, D.D., and John F. HURST, D.D. New York: Phillips å

Hunt. Cincinnati : Hitchcock & Walden. 1879. AROUND any ancient monument the dust of centuries has settled, until its base is buried out of sight. In order to judge of the proportions of such a monument, or to ascertain how securely it stands, we must dig down to its foundations, and bring to light its buried parts. Troy could never have been understood by studying the Iliad only; Dr. Schliemann's pick and shovel must prepare the way for a proper appreciation of the city of Priain.

The same thing is true of any old book. Time works such changes in language, in the manners and customs of the people, and in the relative position of the nations, that in a few centuries a large part of the book becomes buried lore. Almost every author leaves great chasms in his writings to be bridged over by facts and opinions commonly known and accepted. But these facts and opinions in course of time sink out of sight, and others widely different are superimposed. In a few centuries the bridges which connected the headlands of the narrative are all gone, and the new circumstances have either left the chasm with nothing to join its opposite banks, or have filled it up so high with débris that it is utterly impassable. The book thus becomes fragmentary, disconnected, and contradict ory; nor is it possible to vindicate its integrity and give it a plain and consistent meaning except by reproducing in thought the state of things which existed at the time it was written. But this will require no little digging and delving in the lore of the past, and will necessitate the exhuming of the age in which, and the people among which, the book first made its appearance.

The Bible is the oldest of all authentic books, and for that reason presents many difficulties requiring explanation before it can be thoroughly understood. Moreover, its several parts were written in different ages of the world, and in various countries. And then it was all penned by men of a widely different race from us, having modes of thought and forms of expression peculiar to the East. When we remember that the governments under which these writers lived bave perished from off the face of the earth, and that the Hebrew people no longe: inhabit the country which then was theirs, we should expect to find more difficulty in interpreting the Bible than in any other book. One half of that old monument is buried beneath the drifting, shifting sands of time, and we can but very imperfectly judge of its symmetry as a whole, or of the strength of its base, by the portion which now remains above ground. It requires more learning and more labor to remove the accumulations of time from the Bible, and lay bare the manners and customs which were contemporaneons with its writers, than are demanded for the elucidation of any other ancient document. If, however, the labor and learning thus spent shall result in discovering that the shaft is a inonolith, and that it rests upon the Rock of ages, the reward will be more than commensarate with the toil.

The necessity for a re-examination of the claims and contents of the Bible, for the purpose of directing attention and thought to its sacred truths, is made apparent by the attempt on the part of skeptical scientists to ignore and divert attention from this volume of our faith. Mr. James C. Southall says: "There

« PreviousContinue »