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to in 2d Esdras, as its adversaries cannot but suppose, then was the forgery admitted by friends and enemies, and appealed to as ancient and genuine prophecy by one party and mutilated by the other in its own defence, at the very time when it first appeared in the world, i. e. between the time of of St. John and of Justin Martyr! The case is not much altered if Clemens Alexandrinus be supposed to have been the first author who quoted the book.
I shall now proceed to enquire into The internal Evidence for the authenticity of 2d Esdras. It must be premised, that the book is handed down to us in a barbarous Latin translation, (the manuscripts of which greatly differ, and have never been collated,) and in an Arabic version extremely different from the Latin. Consequently the foundations of internal evidences for, or against the book, must be extremely precarious, and of small value when compared with those of the external evidences. The practice, however, has been to inverse this proposition.
Having premised thus much, I shall first enquire whether there be sufficient internal evidence to enable us to decide in what language the book was originally written. Now, the Vulgate, as Sir John Floyer has proved, is evidently a translation from the Greek, and retains many Greek words. But the Arabick is so different from the Vulgate, that they must have proceeded from different sources, wbich is a strong presuinption that the Arabic is a translation from an Oriental original.
It must secondly be enquired whether the style resembles that of Esdras or not. This a translation will not enable us to decide, and the difference of the subjects of this and the canonical books would render almost impossible. The Jews, indeed, believe, that Esdras composed the book attributed to Malachi, and several corresponding passages are certainly found in Malachi. Comp. Mal. i. 3, with 2d Esd. xv. 29, and Mal. iii. 3, with 20 Esdras xvi. 74, and Mal. iv. 1, with 2nd Esd. xvi. 79.
To this head it belongs to observe that many passages in the Targums and Talmud strongly resemble 2d' Esdras.
We must thirdly endeavour to ascertain whether the author of this book alluded to the New Testament, or whether he was himself alluded to therein.
Now the learned author of The Sign of the Times has brought forwards a remarkable passage, viz. Luke xi. 49, which is very important in the present enquiry. In that place our Lord himself apparently quotes 2d
Esdras i. 32, under the title of “ The Wisdom of God," by which may fairly be understood, the Spirit of Christ, denominated “the Spirit of Wisdom,” which spake by the prophets. But there may further have been a peculiar propriety in styling this book by that name, for the reason of which compare ad Esdras xiv. 48, with Luke xi. 52. And that it is a quotation from Esdras is confirmed by comparing it with the parallel place in Mat. xxiii. 34, &c. where we find a second quotation froin the same place in Esdras.. These together resemble the two sections of an indenture, and form a coincidence which it must have been the beight of imposture to have contrived.
Besides this, it may generally, be observed that where there are found in Esdras places common to the New Testainent, Esdras is frequently the more plain and full. And it must be remembered, that it was the custom of the apostles thus slightly to allude to the Old Testament writers for a more full explanation of any point treated of by both. Time will more clearly shew whether the explanations of the prophecies common to the New Testament and to this book were inspired (comp. Rev. xii. 14, with 2d Esd. xii. 11, &c. and Rev. xiii. 3, with 2d Esd. xii. 18, and Rev. xii. 1, &c. with 2d Esd. ix. 38, &c.) and whether its other prophecies are true. I come now, fourthly, to examine the chronology of the book. Calmet observes, that Ezra is thought by some to have returned with Zerobabel to Jerusalem, (B. C. 526,) which he thinks improbable. It is, however, certain, that he was present when the officers of the king of Persia came to Jerusalemn, (Ez. v. 3, B. C. 520) and that he was a chief person in the expedition, (Ez. vii. 27, 28, B. C. 457,) and that he lived under Nehemiah, (Neh. xii. 26, 36, B.C. 445,) It is therefore evident, that between the years 520 and 444 B. C. Esdras was of an age to prophesy.
Now to reconcile the chronology of 2.d Esdras with this, it must be observed that in ch. i. 3, Esdras is said to have been “captive in the land of the Medes in the reign of Artaxerxes King of the Persians." This agrees with Ezra vii. where the genealogy of Ezra with some small variation, is likewise given, and Esdras said in like manner to have been in Babylon. It is not improbable, that the two fisst chapters of Esdras were written not long before the expedition of Esdrasto Jerusalem, considering
the complaint which he there makes. This expedition took place B. C. 457.
In ch. i. 40, mention is made of Malachi ; and it is 'not impossible that Malachi might have then begun to prophesy, (vid. Stackhouse :) there is therefore no apachros nism in the two first chapters; which, however, are not found in the Arabic, and were published separately from the rest in a Latin Bible mentioned by Calmet.
The third chapter seems to have been written long before the two first, and has been admirably defended by Mr. King, from the charge of anachronism, together with the prophecy of ch. xiv. 11. The ruin of the city, he says, means the capture of Babylon (B. C. 536.) and if it be objected that Lsdrus elsewhere speaks of the capture of Babylon as future, it may be answered, that Esdras is there predicting a second capture of Babylon by the Saracens or Tartars, (see ed Esd. xv. 59.)
Sir John Floyer very ingeniously applies this last prophecy to the history of the Turks, Saracens, Crusaders, and Tartars.
The next thing to be observed, is, that in ch. viii, 19, (the middle of the verse) there seems to commence a new series of prophecies, the latest of all in time. By the end of the world, in ch. xiv. 11, we may understand the destruction of Jerusalem, which supposition places this vision in the year 440 B. C. soon after which, Esdras probably died.
The next difficulty is that of ch. vii. 28, where it is said, that Christ was to be revealed within 400 years. But if we compare the place with Daniel ix. we shall find that it is in a great measure an explanation of Daniel's. seventy weeks, adopted, though not quoted, by Clemens Alexandrinus. It is foretold to Esdras that there should be a revelation of Jesus Christ, about the time presignified to Daniel in ch. ix. 25. This revelation of Messiah the Prince, is thus explained by Dr. Lowth in his preface to Malachi: “. Bishop Lloyd dates this prophecy something later than Nehemiah's time, about 397 years B. C. at which time, according to his computation, the first seven weeks of Daniel, or forty-nine years, were expired, which time, as his lordship explains the words, was allotted for sealing up the vision and prophecy (Dan. ix. 24,) i. e. for completing the canon of the Old Testament.” Now Malachi closed the canon of Scripture, who is called by Esdras himself, “ the Angel of the Lord,”
(ch. i. 40.) as though he had resembled Elias, or John the Baptist, of whom he spake. From the year 396 or 397, (according to Esdras there were to be 400 years, in part commensurate to the 62 weeks of Daniel, during which (see the Latin) Judea was comparatively to be at rest. After those years Christ was to die, and either the whole nation to perish afterwards, or, as it may be understood, all good people to be buried with him in baptism. Now the advent of Christ in the flesh, in which he was to suffer death, took place precisely at the end of 400 years, dated from the year 396 B. C. A third period of seven days is mentioned both by Esdras and Daniel, which seems to relate to the death-like silence at the time of Christ's death, and to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, (comp. Rev. viii. 1-7.)
This is not the only place in which Esdras interprets Daniel. For if we would understand the vision of the Eagle, especially of the three heads of it, we must compare it with Daniel vii.; and as Esdras refers to Daniel by name, he wrote this book after Daniel's vision of the four beasts. See Mr. S. Johnson and Sir John Floyer on the vision of the Eagle. The objection made against Esdras for speaking of the destruction of Tyre and Sidon, is groundless, for he speaks only of the provinces of Tyre and Sidon, (comp. 2d Esd. i. 2, with Josh. xix. 28, &c.)
I have now considered the essential points relating to the external and internal evidences concerning this extraordinary book; and I now leave the question to be decided by better judges than myself. The question is indeed of great extent and importance, and not to be treated in a superficialand supercilious manner as hitherto has generally been done. What, indeed, can be more important than to decide, whether the luminous prophecies and sure evidences of Christianity in this book, were or were not forgeries ; and whether the Jews did, or did not, take away this key of knowlege, so wonderfully adapted to unlock the mysteries of their law?
I am, Sir,
ON GREEK MONOSYLLABLES.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's
MAGAZINE. SIR, (T is with much satisfaction that I see Mr. Granville
Sharp's excellent Treatise occasionally canvassed in your respectable work; and I cannot but express my wish that it were made more frequently the subject of critical enquiry ;-for, as I think the doctrine it tends to establish of the highest importance, so I am of opinion that the foundation on which Mr. S. builds, minute as it appears, and insignificant as it has been deemed, is, in the eye
of sober judgment, 'broad, and sound, and solid, and effectual.
It is now something more than a year since I called upon men of learning, through the medium of your work, to search the purest Greek authors for similar proofs of this mode of writing, which the Bishop of St. David's says, is the "jus et norma loquendi,” or the idiom,“ of the Greek language.” I will not repeat what I have already said upon this interesting subject, but, referring the reader to page 43 of your gih volume, only repeat my request. If that be deemed unnecessary or useless, I shall acquiesce : I am too old to argue ; but if otherwise, I shall then hope to find, in some future number of your work, a compliance with my request.
Among the opinions which have been offered by your ingenious correspondents on Mr. Sharp's rule, I could not but feel surprised and concerned at that which fell from the pen of the excellent Mr. Pearson. He hesitates, and doubtfully expresses what he thinks of the rule-unwilling, as it seems, to rest a doctrine of weight on a point so minute* as a Greek monosyllable.--I know he will have the goodness to excuse me if I say, that in Greek, and in English too, a monosyllable, whether particle or article, is of great force ; so great, as to make a naterial alteration in the sense and meaning of a sentence, according as it is properly or improperly adopted. When Nebuchadnezzar says, “I see four men walking,
* The Bishop of St. David's no less pointedly than justly observes, “ That the power of words does not depend upou the number of syllables." Vol. XI. Churchm. Mag. for Sept.