صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


ings of the Hebrew canon, removes all doubt upon 'this head.' Accordingly he again afferts in the fame chapter, that It is not a Jewish book,' * The fame thing I know faid cardinal Pezron, though I have never been able to fee his book, or the arguments by which he contends, that it is omitted in the catalogue of the facred books by Jofephus.

But does there appear any fufficient evidence, that Jofephus did not allow it a place in the facred code of his nation? I apprehend not. It is surely of no force at all to prove this, that he makes no mention of the calamities which befel Job, and his deportment under them, and his deliverance from them, in the great work of his Antiquities; for herein he proposed only to write the history of the Jews from the earliest times, and to give an account of the conftitution of their state. He might therefore be filent about his fortune and behaviour, who was of a different people and country, as appears from the beginning of the book itself, though it was a part of the Jewish canon, and honoured by himself as fuch. And of as little weight muft it be to evince this, that he does not touch upon his character and affairs in his book against Appion; fince here his fole aim was to vindicate the honour of his own nation, to which as hath been faid, Job did not belong.

It is true, he reprefents Mofes to have written no more than five books, comprehending their fyftem of laws, and the series of events and transactions from the formation of man until his own death. And he makes the pro hets after Mofes, to have written the acts and occurrences of their own times, from his Contra Appion, lib. 1. cap. 8.

• Page 236.

death till the reign of Artaxerxes, the fucceffor of Xerxes upon the throne of Perfia; which is unfa vourable to their hypothefis, who reckon Job to have been older than, or contemporary with Mofes, and the book which derives its name from him, to have been compofed by this person while he abode in the land of Midian, or while he led Ifrael in the defert, ́ or even amidst his refidence in Egypt; fince none pretend to count it among his five books, which have been defcribed. And an equally unfavourable afpect it hath upon their fcheme, who have looked upon it as the production of Joseph, or any other of fuperior antiquity to Mofes. Nevertheless all this affords no evidence, that the book of Job was not a part of the canon of Scripture among the Jews. He might notwithstanding know it to be fo, and judge it to have been written, either by fome prophet in, or near the time of the Babylonifh captivity, as Grotius, Cadurcus, Le Clerc, and the learned bishop of Glocefter have done; among whose arguments, it may feem none of the most contemptible, that though he is twice mentioned by Ezekiel, as a perfon of distinguished piety and virtue, with Noah and Daniel, he is always mentioned after the laft; while the other, as the order of time required, hath the precedency in the honourable band. Or, he might fuppose it, if not written in fo late a period, to have been penned by fome prophet, who was raised up after Mofes in the Hebrew nation, and coeval with the stranger, whose viciffitudes and patience are the fubject of the piece. And in this view it may not be unworthy of obfervation, that Jerome in his letter to Paulinus, after finishing his account of Deu



teronomy, and faying, So far Mofes, fo far the Pentateuch,' introduces Job as an example of patience, ere he proceed to speak of the book of Joshua the fon of Nun, and the reft. If indeed Jofephus had faid, that the prophets after Mofes wrote the affairs of the Jewish nation, between his death and Artaxerxes's reign, as Mr. Whifton gives his fenfe, in his fupplement to his effay towards reftoring the true text of the Old Testament p. 28, there could have been no room for this fuppofition; unless we should have faid, he was to be understood to declare the theme of their writings in general, and not to express himfelf with rigour and ftrictnefs about the fubject of them; fince even in these books of theirs, which are unquestionably authentic, there are predictions and hiftories of the fucceffes and difafters of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and other nations, where the Jews were not parties to the quarrel, as well as prophecies and histories relative to their own country and people. But there is no need of fuch folution, for Mr. Whifton's account of his meaning is unfair-the import of the words being no more than this, That they wrote the acts of their own times; as every scholar may perceive, by cafting his eye toward the foot of the page, where he will find the original text. Agreeably, the book of Job may be counted among the facred books of the Jews, without fwelling their number beyond twenty-two, which the historian has given as the fum of their code in whole; Yea, without increasing the books of their prophets that arose after Mofes beyond thirteen, which he makes, in the paffage tranfcribed be† Ubi fupra, * Απο δε της Μωυσέως τελευτης μέχρι της Αιτω


low, the amount of them. This is done by making the books of Judges and Ruth, the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, the two books of Chronicles, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, and the books of the twelve prophets ftand only for feven books in his catalogue. For thus Job's book is easily introduced among the thirteen books of the prophets, and no pretence left for faying, as Mr. Whiston has done, that the Canticles must be excluded from the Old Testament, to make room for its admiffion among the four books of hymns and inftructions for the conduct of human life, which Jofephus mentions as, with thefe thirteen, and the five books of Mofes, conftituting the canon of his nation. But upon what just and reasonable grounds, fuch a method of numeration is to be used, cannot now be explained, though the matter appears to me of great moment; for if we are once affured that these books, which now compofe the Old Testament, were the received holy scriptures among the Jews, and neither more nor fewer, during the miniftry of Jefus and his apostles, the inference will be certain and irresistible, that they are of divine + authority; because they who


• ξερξε—-αρχης, οι μετα Μωυσην προφηται τα κατ' αυτος πραχθεμά τα συνέγραψαν εν τρισι και δέκα βιβλίοις.


It is from a perfuafion, that these books, which compofe the Old Testament canon, had the fanction of our Saviour and his apostles as the oracles of God, and that there are other evidences of their infpiration, that Chriftians treat them with fuch refpect, not merely because they were written by Jews. How injurious then is Mr. Voltaire, when he reprefents this as the foundation of our reverence for them, and faith in them, and then proceeds to accufe us of the most unparalelled inconfiftency: We defpife and abhor the Jews; and

[ocr errors]

bore a commiffion from heaven, and gave fatisfactory proofs of it, appeal to them as fuch upon all occafions. Yet I do not know that it hath been shown hitherto, with that fulness of evidence which it allows. I only observe farther, ere I difmifs this article, that Philo a Jew of great learning in Alexandria, brother to the Alabarch, that is, the chief magiftrate of the Jewish people there, and of the race of that nation, who was cotemporary with Chrift and his apoftles, quotes the words of Job, in the fame manner in which he produces paffages from other books of the Old Teftament, which he speaks of in the most respectable terms, calling them the facred word, the divine word, the prophetic word, the facred scriptures, the holy oracles, and the like, that he may confirm his own opinions by them. Thus, in his treatise concerning the change and alteration of names, Who, as Job faith, is free from defilement,


though life be one day? For there are innumerable 'things which pollute the foul, &c.' So indeed, Job's words run very much in the Greek verfion, according to the Alexandrian MS. for they are, chap. xiv. Who is pure from defilement? Not one, though ' even life be of one day.' Instead of which, we have in our tranflation, Who can bring a clean thing 'out of an unclean? Not one.' Upon the whole


[ocr errors]


yet we infist, that all fuch of their writings which we have collected, 'bear the facred stamp of divinity. Never was fuch a contradiction ⚫ heard of!' See his Philof. Dictionary, Article Solomon, p. 331.

* Philo,' De mutatione nominum, page 1051. Paris Edition 1640. Τις γαρ, ὡς ὁ Ιωβ φησι, καθαρος απο ῥυπο, καν μια ήμερα εςιν ή ζώη; &c. In Alex. Ms. Τις γαρ εςι καθαρος από έντε; εδε είς, στη και μιας ημέρας γίνεται ὁ βies.

« السابقةمتابعة »