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dictions of Moses, a more enthusiastic religious revival than attainable through his own exhortations.
The coincidence of patriarchal life and Persian theosophy in the pages of Job remains to this day an unsolved enigma in the hands of puzzled theologians. But, when we abandon the fiction of its divine inspiration, we at once detect in the work a dramatic adaptation, in the style of Æschylus, of some ancient Hebrew legend to the dual principle of antagonism between Good and Evil-between Auramazda and Ahriman, obviously borrowed by the unknown author from Persian theology, at a much later period than the age of the patriarchs.
If the Book of Enoch had been extant at the time of Ezra, it would have doubtless found a place in the Hebrew canon; and its most marvellous episodes would have made no more unreasonable demand on faith than the canonised legend of Jonah swallowed by a whale. This important work, ostensibly written by Enoch and Noah, although excluded from all but the Ethiopic canon, held an imposing position as Scripture among primitive Christians. The apostle Jude quotes Enoch as a prophet ; and Tertullian (A.D. 160–240), whilst admitting the absence of the book from the Hebrew canon, maintains its divine inspiration as a work of the most ancient prophet Enoch, containing important revelations respecting the Messiah. By a singular fatality, this remarkable book disappeared in the early centuries of Christianity, and was supposed to have been irretrievably lost, until the distinguished traveller Bruce brought three copies of the Ethiopic version from Abyssinia, A.D. 1773, and deposited one in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, where it remained in obscurity until Archbishop Laurence published an English translation in 1821, followed by second and third editions, in 1833 and 1838, long since out of print.
1 Tertullian On Dress, chap. iii.
Notwithstanding apostolic and patristic faith in the remote origin of the Book of Enoch, modern criticism assigns its date to the century immediately preceding the Christian era ; and its authorship to some unknown Hebrew exile, who borrowed the name of an antedi. luvian patriarch to authenticate his own enthusiastic forecast of the future glories of the Messianic kingdom. But when and by whomsoever written, in the contents of this long-neglected work we now trace the source from which Jesus of Nazareth drew His conception of the second advent of the Messiah. Some passages in the Book of Enoch are so closely followed in the utterances of Jesus that Tertullian imagined the book was, for this reason, rejected by the Jews, and some modern theologians suggest that the Messianic passages are the interpolated additions of primitive Christianity-conclusions equally embarrassing for modern believers ; for, if the Book of Enoch, in its present form, was in the hands of Jesus, the extent to which he borrows from the Messianic passages indicates his acceptance of the illusory dreams of an imaginary prophet; and if, on the contrary, these disputed passages were introduced into the text subsequent to the death of Jesus, this corrupt or fanatical tampering with real or imaginary Scripture necessarily discredits all the primitive literature of Christianity. We adopt the conclusions of Archbishop Laurence by assigning the Book of Enoch to the century immediately preceding
the Christian era ; and further progress in our inquiries will disclose the important influence exercised by its contents on the evolution of Christianity.
As the claims of Hebrew Scripture to supernatural authority are, therefore, historically unattested, it remains for us to seek, in internal evidence, some reasonable proof of divine inspiration. It is futile to appeal for enlightenment to antagonistic sects anathematic Churches, for their conflicting creeds practically annul revelation. Let us therefore rather rely on the modern ideal of an omnipotent, omniscient, and beneficent Deity as an infallible criterion for testing the pretensions of all sacred literature ; for if ancient records of providential action conflict with modern conceptions of Divinity, we must inevitably reject their claims to inspiration, or admit the mutability, and consequent imperfection, of the Deity. We accordingly submit Moses and the prophets to the ordeal involved in following unsectarian questions :
I. Are the thoughts, words, and actions of Jehovah consistent with the attributes of infinite Divinity ?
II. Is the divine origin of Hebrew morality attested by superiority to all merely human systems of ethics ?
III. Do Hebrew annals sustain the theory of a chosen race, so highly favoured as to possess the supreme Deity as their temporal Ruler?
THE HEBREW DEITY.
I. ARE the thoughts, words, and actions of Jehovah consistent with the attributes of infinite Divinity?
Modern research discovers in the Book of Genesis a composite work: Mosaic, not as the autogram of the Hebrew legislator, but as the editorial patchwork of the Restoration, mingling Semitic legends with cosmopolitan myths, and at once disclosing in the original the presence of at least two authors through distinctive names of the Deity-Elohim, equally applicable to heathen gods, and Jehovah, the personal name of the Hebrew Deity, unknown at least before the exodus, if not assignable to even a later period.
No knowledge of Hebrew is necessary for the discovery of two distinct narratives of the creation, divergent not only in the name but in the character of the Deity. The cosmogony of the first or Elohistic writer, ending with the third verse of the second chapter, is the sublime conception of some ancient bard, attributing the phenomena of nature to the personal action of the Deity accomplishing in days the work of ages.
Orthodox chronology has, until quite recently, assured us that this globe has not yet attained the age of six thousand years. But the unorthodox earth, yielding up its secrets to the curiosity of modern geologists, confronts inspired records with material evidence that countless ages elapsed during the evolution of the earth and its successive inhabitants, and that prehistoric man lived and died upon its surface in ages unknown to Mosaic chronology.
1 Exod. vi. 3.
This inconvenient discrepancy between oracles traditionally divine and facts practically irrefutable has taxed the ingenuity of piety to originate theories of reconciliation between Scripture and geology, with no more satisfactory result than inay be found in the suggestion that Mosaic records mean something very different from what they have been telling the world, in God's name, for more than two thousand years. A single day, clearly identified by morning and evening as four-and-twenty hours, is now accepted by Orthodoxy as a geologic age of indefinite duration, and so startling an error on the part of a divinely inspired author is explained by the theory that the instruction of mankind in the science of geology is not included in the work of the Holy Ghost.
But Mosaic cosmogony has instructed the world in geology for more than two thousand years; and, if modern professors had lived in the age of Galileo, its divine authority would have condemned them to torture and death, unless prepared to admit, in penitential recantation, that the evidence of the rocks had been falsified by Satan himself, with the diabolical design of ensnaring the souls of presumptuous men impiously questioning Nature on subjects already set at rest, for ever, by the word of the Deity Himself.