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3. That the Babylonish captivity should last seventy years

§ 4. That their king, Zedekiah, should be taken captive to

Babylon

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ON

THE GENUINENESS,

UNCORRUPTED PRESERVATION, AUTHENTICITY,

AND

INSPIRATION

OF THE

SACRED SCRIPTURES.

THE Sacred Volume, which we term THE BIBLE, (0 BIBAOE,) or THE BOOK, by way of eminence, consists of two grand parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament; containing conjointly a vast variety of very different compositions, historical, poetical, and judicial, moral, preceptive, and prophetical, written at various times by different persons, and afterwards collected into a volume.

CHAPTER I.

On the Genuineness of the Sacred Scriptures.

THAT these books are genuine, that is, were written by those persons whose names they bear, we have the most satisfactory evidence; and have no more reason to doubt, than that the histories which we have under the names of HERODOTUS, XENOPHON, or TACITUS, were written by those authors. For,

1. The books of the Old Testament have always been received as genuine by the Jews, and those of the New Testament by Christians, from the earliest period to the present time; and, in addition to the earlier books being

B

cited or alluded to by subsequent sacred writers, we have ample evidence afforded of the genuineness of the Old Testament by Jewish Translators and Writers, and of that of the New, by a regular succession of Christian Writers, who quote or allude to a number of passages as we now read them, from the times of the Apostles to the present hour; nor was their genuineness ever impugned by the most determined and acute Jewish or heathen adversaries, or heretics.

2. The language and style of writing, both in the Old and New Testaments, prove them to have been composed at the time and by the persons to whom they are ascribed. Their diversity of style proves them to have been the work of various authors; and competent Hebrew scholars have shewn, that the difference of character and style of the language of the Old Testament, as well as the introduction of certain foreign words, can only be accounted for by the supposition that they were composed at different and distant periods, and by the authors to whom they are attributed; while the Greek, in which the New Testament is written, which is intermixed with many Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Latin words and idioms, accords only with the time, situation, country, and circumstances, of the persons to whom it is ascribed.

3. The moral impossibility of their being forgeries is an additional evidence of their genuineness; for, it is impossible to establish forged writings as genuine in any place where there are persons strongly inclined, and well qualified, to detect the fraud. Now, if the books of the Old Testament be forgeries, they must have been invented either by Gentiles, Jews, or Christians. But they could not have been invented by the Gentiles, because they were alike ignorant of the history and sacred rites of the Hebrews, who most unquestionably would never have given their approbation to writings invented by them, nor yet to any fabrications of

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