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means pre-eminently their traditional doctrines. There are two works known by this name : The Talmud of Jerusalem, and the Talmud of Babylon. The Talmud of Jerusalem is said to be the work of Rabbi Jochanan, about 300, A. D., and was designed for the Jews of Judea. It is composed of two parts, the Mishna and the Gemara. The Mishna is a collection of traditions gathered by the doctors and put together in this body, lest they should be lost. The Gemara again is a collection of illustrations of the Mishna, or a supplemental commentary upon it. These two constitute the Talmud of Jerusalem. The Talmud of Babylon consists of the Mishna of Judah the holy, and of a Gemara, collected or composed about 400, A. D., as is believed by Rabbi Asa of Babylon. It was designed chiefly for the Jews in Babylon and on the Euphrates. I believe this Talmud is generally preferred to that of Jerusalem. I have heard that it is a common saying among the Hebrews, that the Bible is water, the Mishna wine, and the Gemara hypocistis. They say the Talmud contains the things taught to Moses by God himself, wbo taught them to Aaron and his sons, and they to the Elders of Israel, and they to the prophets and the members of the great Synagogue, who communicated them to the Rabbis, who composed the Mishna and Gemara. Horne on the Scriptures and Bible Dictionaries, will enable you to pursue this study, if you are so inclined. The works also of Philo Judaus, a noble Jew of Alexandria, about A. D. 40, contain many curious treatises that are of much importance in illustrating the language, phraseology and sentiment of the New Testament. The writings of Josephus, a learned

SOURCES OF PERSIAN HISTORY.

67

Jew of the priestly line and of royal descent, are too well known to need any description. Ile was born about thirty years after the Advent, and was alive in A. D. 96, but it is not known when he died. Though I believe Josephus is not a popular author among the Jews, and has been often severely criticised, still his works must be regarded as of great value to Biblical students.

Seconılly. All the sources of Persian history now opened to scholars are found to corroborate the Megilloth Esther in every possible way.

These sources, so far as the period of our history is concerned, may be said to consist of the old traditions of Persia embodied in the poets we have named, and the works of Herodotus, Xenophon, Ctesias, Arrian, Josephus, and Strabo; and the fragments incidentally recorded in the sacred books of the Jews. Xenophon, Ctesias and Arrian were eye-witnesses of the last days of the Persian empire. Ctesias was a resident of the Court of Cyrus the Younger, but all that we have of the twenty-three books which he wrote then, are some fragments preserved in Photius. He was a medical man. The most reliable sources are the Oriental discoveries of our own day, especially for information concerning the sacred scriptures.

In the Asiatic Journal, xii. vol., Major Rawlinson has given a most interesting memoir of the Persian Inscriptions from Behistun. The Major, now Sir Henry Rawlinson, has, in public lectures and by drawings and numerous models, taken from the sculptures now in the British Museum, repeatedly pledged himself to adduce by most abundant coincidence the authenticity of the Holy Writings. He says the Inscriptions go back to

about 2,000 years before Christ, and that from every part of Assyria a multitude of inscriptions have been deciphered, which confirm in the minutest details the pages of Scripture, and explain many passages hitherto obscure.

These readings are particularly interesting as to the signification and derivation of names, and also as to « The earliest connection of the Chaldees and Indians, and the Babylonian mythology; the ethnology and geography of the Assyrians; the historical records, all are illustrated; in every case, there is an entire agreement with the Bible. The lecturer inferred, from his studies, that the Book of Job belonged to a time about 700 before Christ. In the inscriptions there is a period of nearly a thousand years, without mention of Judea, but during that period, there was no inducement for intercourse between the Assyrians and the Jews. The visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon was verified. So, the wars between Sennacherib and Hezekiah. There were four distinct captivities of the Jews. Some inscriptions referred to the time of Nebuchadnezzar; others threw light on the existence and actions of Belshazzar, who was joint king with his father, Minus, and who shut himself up in Nineveh.”

CHAPTER IV.

POINTS TO BE PROVEN.

“Look through the world which all about you lies,

The noisy town, its common, daily life,
Flushed with coarse passions, hot with selfish strife,
The crowded street, the dens of vice and WANT,
The gilded halls where Pride and Fashion flaunt,
And from their mingled threads, the grave, the gay,
Weave, if you will, the Epic of to-day.”

1. We hope to be able to show as this wonderful roll is unfolded before us, that we should be thankful to the Jews for their Megilloth Esther. It is a true history of persons and events in a remarkable period of the Church of God. The adversaries of Revelation delight in pressing the objection that our Sacred Writings contain contradictions. The argument is this: An account or story, say they, is not to be believed, the narrators of which give contradictory statements about it; the sacred writers give contradictory accounts of some of the things of which they write; therefore they are not to be believed at all. Now the same argument applied to Xerxes, Cyrus, or Alexander, would prove that such men never lived. Archbishop Whately has applied the argument with great force in his “Historic Doubts,"

concerning Napolean Bonaparte. The argument stands thus: A story is not to be believed, whose reporters do not agree in their statements concerning it: the historians of the life of Napoleon do not agree in their reports: therefore, the story of his life is not to be believed. The same process of argumentation would prove

there never was such a battle as that of Bunker (Breed's) Hill, nor of New Orleans, for some of the historians of the wars and of the times of the actors in these battles, have omitted to mention them at all, or have made contradictory statements concerning them. It is not agreed, for instance, whether cotton bales were used by General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans or not. This argument would prove that no such persons as Washington or Jackson ever lived.

It is the more important to attend, also, to the fact that our position is very different from that of the heathen. The inquiry that naturally arises in the mind of a Chinaman, or of any Pagan, when Christianity is proposed to him, is not, What are the objections to Christianity ? but, Why should I receive it? The very reverse is the ordinary process among ourselves. Being brought up in a Christian country, and not unfrequently without inquiring into the reasons of our faith -in fact, without being stimulated to seek for reasons for believing it, till we find it controverted; and when it is controverted, then we find ourselves answering objections to, rather than seeking for evidences in support of Christianity. This is manifestly giving the opponents of Revelation a great advantage. For it is plain that a child can ask a question that seven wise men cannot answer, or propose a difficulty concerning some

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