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CHAPTER THE FIRST:
AUTHENTICITY AND INSPIRATION
OF THE BOOKS OF
THE OLD TESTAMENT.
HRISTIAN THEOLOGY, OF DIVINITY, teaches from Revelation the knowledge of God, his various dispensations to mankind, and the duties required of men by their Creator.
The Scriptures, or Bible, are the only authentic source from which instruction upon these important points can be derived. The word Scriptures literally signifies Writings, and the word Bible, Book; but these words are now, by way of eminence and distinction, exclusively applied to those sacred compositions, which contain the Revealed Will of God. The words, Scriptures and Scripture, occur in this sense in the Gospels, VOL. I. B
Acts, and Epistles (a); whence it is evident, that, in the time of our Saviour, they denoted the books received by the Jews as the rule of their faith. To these books have been added the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists, which complete the collection of books acknowledged by Christians to be divinely inspired. The word Bible (b), or the Book, the Book of Books, was used in its present sense by the early Christians, as we learn from Chrysostom (c).
The Bible is divided into two parts, called the Old and New Testament (d). The Old Testament,
(a) Matt. c. 21. v. 42. v. 39. Acts, c. 18. v. 28. c. 3. v. 16. 1 Pet. c. 2. v. 6. (b) Bißov signifies simply a book. (c) Hom. 9. in Col.
c. 22. v. 29. John, c. 5. Rom. c. 15. v. 4. 2 Tim. James, c. 2. v.8.
(d) St. Paul, in the same chapter, 2 Cor. c. 3. v. 6. & 14. calls the dispensation of Moses the Old Testament, and the dispensation of Christ the New Testament; and these distinguishing appellations were applied by the early ecclesiastical authors to the writings which con ́tained those dispensations. The Greek word Aiann OCcurs in Scripture both in the sense of a testament or will, and of a covenant, Heb. c. 9. v. 16. and Gal. c. 3. v. 15. It seems improperly applied to the antient Scriptures in the former sense, since the death of Moses had no concern whatever in the establishment or efficacy of the Jewish religion; but in the latter sense it very properly
ment, of which alone it is intended to treat in this chapter, contains those sacred books which were composed, previous to the birth of our Saviour, by the successive prophets and inspired writers, whom it pleased God to raise up from time to time, through a period of more than 1000 years. These books are written in Hebrew, and they are the only writings now extant in that language. The Old Testament, according to our Bibles, consists of thirty-nine books; but among the Jews they formed only twenty-two, which was also the number of letters in their alphabet. They divided these twenty-two books into three classes; the first class consisted of five books, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which they called the Law; the second class consisted of thirteen books, namely, Joshua, Judges and Ruth in one book;
perly signifies the covenant between God and his chosen people. The word Aafnun, when applied in the sense of testament to the books which contain the Christian dispensation, may refer to the death of Christ, which forms an essential part of his religion; but even in this case it would, perhaps, have been better translated by the word covenant, as referring to the conditions upon which God is pleased to offer salvation to his sinful creatures, through the mediation of his only son Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word Berith, which is translated by Aabun in the Septuagint version, always signifies a covenant.