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were deprived of all the use of their senses, and were spoken to by a voice, or saw prophetic visions in ecstasy, and that the third and lowest class of writers were those who, preserving the use of their senses, spake like other men, and yet in such a way that, although not favored with dreams or visions in ecstasy, they still perceived a divine influence resting upon them, at whose suggestion they spake or wrote what they made public. For the proof of this, see Prof. Stuart, ut supra, p. 269. Agreeably to this fanciful opinion, they made the arrangements of the sacred books which is found in the Talmud, and on this principle they placed Daniel in the list of the Hagiography. But assuredly this fanciful opinion, and the mistake of the Jews consequent on it, can be no reason for supposing that the Book of Daniel was written in the time of the Maccabees; and especially as they who made this arrangement never pretended this, and never could have made the arrangement on this ground. And,
(6) There is great reason for supposing, after all, that Daniel was not assigned to the place which he has in the Talmudic divisions of the sacred books, on the ground that he was properly classed there, even on their arbitrary and fanciful opinion as to the degrees of inspiration among the prophets, but because, in the disputes between Christians and Jews about the Messiah, in the first three and a half centuries, the Jews felt themselves to be so pressed by the prediction in Dan. ix. respecting the seventy weeks, that they sought to give the book a lower place than it had occupied before, and thus to remove it somewhat from an association with the other prophets, and to diminish the force of the argument in proof that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ.
(5.) To all this it may be added, that it would have been impossible to have foisted a book into the canon that was composed in the time of the Maccabees, and that was not regarded as of divine inspiration. We have, as above, the express testimony of Josephus, that for some four hundred years before his time, they had no prophets who wrote inspired books, or who could be regarded as sacred writers. The canon, according to him, was closed at the time of Artaxerxes, and afterward they had books in which “all occurrences were written down, but these were not regarded as of like credit with those that preceded them, because there was no certain succession of prophets.” That is, the canon of inspired books was then closed, in the apprehension of the Jews, or they had a definite number
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which they regarded as of divine origin, and as distinguished from all others.
Now, supposing this to have been, as no doubt it was, a prevailing opinion among the Jews, it would have been impossible to have foisted in a book written in the time of the Maccabeesor after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, as the objection supposes the Book of Daniel to have been-in such a way that it would be regarded as entitled to a place among the sacred writings. If this book was written at that time, it must have been known that it was not the genuine production of the Daniel of the captivity, and by whom could it be introduced into the canon ? On what pretence could it be done? What claim could have been urged for a spurious book of this kind to a place by the side of Isaiah and Ezekiel ? It is well known that the Hebrews have been, in all ages, most careful of their sacred books; that they have transcribed them with the greatest possible attention; that they have counted the words and the letters; that they have marked and preserved every variety, irregularity, and anomaly, even every unusual shape and position of a letter in the manuscript; and it may be asked with emphasis, in what way it would be possible to introduce a book which was known and admitted to be spurious—a book falsely ascribed to one who was said to have lived long before among those which they regarded as of divine origin, and whose purity they guarded with so much care? Scarcely any greater literary absurdity can be imagined than this.
VII. A seventh objection which has been urged to the genuineness of the Book of Daniel, is derived from the silence of the Son of Sirach in regard to it. This objection is urged by De Wette, Bleek, Eichhorn, Kirms, and Bretschneider, and is substantially this :—that in the Book of Ecclesiasticus (ch. xlix.), the author of that book, Jesus, the Son of Sirach, undertakes to give a list of the personages in the Jewish history who had been eminent for virtue, piety, and patriotism; and that the circumstances of the case are such that it is to be presumed that if he had known anything of Daniel and his writings, he would have been mentioned among them. Thus he mentions David, Hezekiah, Josiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve Prophets, Zorobabel, Jesus the son of Josedec, Nehemiah, Enoch, Joseph, Shem, Seth, and Adam. The particular point, however, of the objection seems to be, that he mentions men who were eminent in securing the return of the Hebrews to their own country, as Nehemiah and Zorobabel, and that if Daniel
had lived then in Babylon, and had had the important agency in effecting the return of the captives which is ascribed to him in this book, or had had the influence at the court of Persia attributed to him, it is unaccountable that his name was not mentioned.
To this objection we may reply: (1.) That the argumentum a silentio is admitted not to be a conclusive kind of reasoning. So long as there may have been other reasons why the name was omitted in such a list, it is unfair and inconclusive to infer that he had not then an existence, or that there was no such man. It is necessary, in order that this reasoning should have any force, to show that this is the only cause which could have led to this omission, or that this alone could account for it. But it is easy to conceive that there may have been many reasons why the name was omitted in this rapid enumeration, consistently with the belief that Daniel then lived in Babylon, and that he occupied the position, and rendered the services, which it may be supposed from the account in this book, he would render. In such a rapid enumeration it cannot be supposed that the writer mentioned all the eminent men among the Hebrews, and therefore it is in no way remarkable that the name of Daniel should have been omitted. This is conceded even by Kirms. See his work, Commentatio Historico-Critica, &c., p. 9. (2.) The objection, if of any value, would prove that no such person as Daniel existed at that time, or even at any time previous to the age of the Son of Sirach; for he did not mention these persons as authors of books, but as eminent persons—as distinguished not by their writings, but by their lives. But the existence of Daniel, as a historical personage, is as clear as that of any of the eminent men mentioned in the Jewish history, and is even conceded by the objectors themselves. See 1 of this Introduction. (3.) As a matter of fact, the Son of Sirach has omitted the names of others whom he would be at least as likely to refer to as the name of Daniel. He has wholly omitted the name of Ezra. Would not his agency be as likely to occur to such a writer as that of Daniel ? He has omitted the names of Mordecai and Esther—personages whose agency would be as likely to be remembered in such a connection as that of Daniel. He has omitted also the whole of the Minor Prophets; for the passage in ch. xlix. 10, which in the common version makes mention of them, is shown by Bretschneider (in loc.) to be clearly spurious, it having been copied verbatim from ch. xlvi. 12, with merely the substitution
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of the words “the twelve prophets" for the word “their." See Prof. Stuart, Com. p. 463. How can such an omission be accounted for if the objection derived from the omission of the name of Daniel has any force? And if the mere silence of the Son of Sirach be allowed to be an argument against the existence of prominent persons in the Jewish history, and the genuineness of the books which they wrote, who will determine the limit to which the objection will go ? How small a portion of the patriarchs and prophets; how small a portion of the writings of the Old Testament, would be spared! And, after all, why should so much weight be allowed to the mere silence of the Son of Sirach—an author comparatively unknown-as to set aside the positive testimony of all antiquity, and change the faith of the world ?
[To be Concluded.]
1. Scripture and Geology, by John Pye Smith, D. D., from fourth London
edition. R. E. Peterson, Philadelphia, 1850. 2. Preadamite Earth, by John Harris, D. D. Gould, Kendall & Lincoln,
Boston, 1850. 3. Bible and Geology Consistent, by James Murphy, D. D. Carter &
Brothers, New York, 1850. 4. Fool-Prints of the Creator, by Hugh Miller. Gould, Kendall & Lincoln,
Boston, 1850. 5. Old Red Sandstone, by Hugh Miller. Gould, Kendall & Lincoln, Bos
ton, 1851. 6. First Impressions of England and its People, by Hugh Miller. Gould
& Lincoln, Boston, 1851. 7. Course of Creation, by John Anderson, D. D. W. H. Moore, Cincin
nati, 1851. 8. Principles of Geology Explained, by Rev. David King, LL. D.
Carter & Brothers, New York, 1851. 9. Religion of Geology, and its Connected Sciences, by Edward Hitch
cock, D. D., LL. D. Phillips, Sampson, & Co., Boston, 1851. 10. Epoch of Creation, by Eleazer Lord, with an Introduction by R.
W. Dickinson, D. D. New York, Charles Scribner, 1851.
“ There cannot be two truths in contradiction to one another; and a man must have a mind fitted neither for scientific, nor for religious truth, whose religion can be disturbed by Geology; or. whose Geology can be distorted from its character of an inductive science, by a determination to accommodate its results to preconceived interpretations of the Mosaic cosmogony.”—Sir John Herschell.
“The meaning which any generation puts upon the phrases of Scripture, depends, more than is at first sight supposed, upon the received philosophy of the time. Hence, when men imagine they are contending for Revelation, they are, in fact, contending for their own interpretation of Revelation, unconsciously adapted to what they believe to be rationally probable."- Whewell on Inductive Sciences.
Reverence for Revelation is one thing; reverence for tradition is another. More than once has an oral law of interpretation overruled and made void the law written.
As an inspired volume, the Bible is an infallible teacher on all subjects which it professes to teach, or was divinely intended to teach. On the subject of Theology, Morals, and the Way of Salvation, it comes to us as an infallible directory; and whatever be its mode of teaching, the lesson intended to be taught is everlasting truth. But it does not come to us as a Revelation of quite every thing under the heavens, and above the heavens, and under the earth. It does not profess to be a divine communication of the most perfect system of grammar, or of rhetoric, or of metaphysics, or of geography, or meteorology, or chemistry, or botany, or physiology, or astronomy, or geology, or of any earthly science whatever. Excellent and admirable as the record is on all these points, it was evidently no part of the object of Divine Revelation, to anticipate future inventions or discoveries in philosophy and science; and men who go to it for an inspired system of astronomy or geology, might as well go to it for a heaven-contrived system of architecture, or agriculture, or navigation; might as well look in the Pentateuch for the telescope, and the steamboat.
The Bible is constructed on a plan of its own, and that is not the plan of modern science. Even Theology is not taught scientifically, as our system-makers teach it now, but in parts, as men could receive it, and in ways adapted to the capacities of the age in which any part of it was delivered. In communicating religious truth, the Most High God used the vehicles of the age. As the prophets, in their travels did not hurry along five hundred miles a day, in cars and steamers, but in a more humble way, with their pilgrim's scrip and staff, or on the