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PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE AND EXEGESIS IN TIIE THEOLOGICAL BEMINARY AT
5 30 BRO A D W AY.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by
MELANCTHON W. JACOBUS,
Western District of Pennsylvania.
Stereotyped by SMITH & McDOUGAL, 82 & 84 Beekman Street, New York.
Printed by E. O. JENKINS, 23 North William Street.
It is now more than a quarter of a century since any popular Annotations on the Pentateuch have been given to the American public, if we except only Jamieson's very brief notes reprinted in this country.
During all this period Bush may be said to have been the only commentator on this portion of the Scriptures accessible to the mass of readers. And yet, this is the period in which the literature of the Pentateuch has most immensely increased. The questions lying at this threshold of revelation have become the leading questions of religious inquiry: and skepticism, seeking the darkest and most remote places for its operations, has labored around the origin of things, to throw obscurity upon God's revealed word hereabouts, to question the historical verity of these pages, and to bring to bear, with an inspiration of the Evil One, “the oppositions of science, falsely so-called.”
God's word suffers nothing from such captious queryings and cavillings as deface the pages of the modern destructive school. The Pseudo-bishop's criticism bewrayeth itself. The animus of this Pilate-judgment, that pronounces Christ faultless, but gives Him over to His crucifiers, is too manifest to mislead sober inquirers, even though the official robes of the
Colensos, like those of Pilate himself, might seem to carry some authority. The great vital question, urged, whether in pretence or otherwise, by so many, at this moment, is,“ What is truth ?” And Jesus answers, that“ to this end was He born, and to this end He came into the world, that He should bear witness unto the truth," and true enough is it, and must ever be, that“ every one that is of the truth heareth llis voice.”
The author has had constantly in eye the recent efforts of a specious infidelity, burrowing at the gateway of revelation, and assaulting the historical accuracy of these original records, to undermine, if possible, the foundations of scriptural truth. The various questions broached hereabouts, have been carefully treated, in this volume, without parading the names of the cavillers or their works, but by a simple exhibition of the subjects, such as may serve to answer the inquiries of multitudes, and to place in their hands the materials for putting to silence the ignorance of foolish men. It may here be observed that the apostate bishop already referred to, fills his pages mainly with the weaknesses of certain commentators, and with the flaws which he picks in their defences of the truth, and then sets all this to the account of the Scripture itself, as though the word of God could be held responsible for the follies and imbecilities of those who, in different ages and on different principles, have professed to elucidate this revelation.
The aid of science is invoked by skeptics, to overthrow God's written word, and scientific men claim to interpret the documents in nature's volume without reference to these inspired oracles. It is judged unscientific to refer to these pages in evidence; and the specious dictum has gone forth, from such schools, that the Scripture does not profess to teach science. But surely it has utterances in the department of natural science which belong to the very foundations, and which science cannot ignore, because this is the highest testimony in the case,-testimony to facts that are beyond the reach of mere naturalistic inquiry. And it must always be a “science falsely so called " which ignores these divine records, as though they were not the very cream of well-attested truth. Here are real histories, the only written histories of the events. They are amply authenticated. They are histories with which all true theories must harmonize. We point to the fact that advancing discoveries in natural science, while they have overthrown proud theories of scientific men, have sustained the Biblical statements. We point also to the fact that this naturalism, which would explain away the first principles of revealed truth, aims also to explain away God Himself from the universe; and thus, while it would deny future retribution and even Divine Providence, would tear away from men all their precious hopes for another world.
In treating the vexed question of “ the creative days,” the author has confined the discussion to the Introduction, without disturbing the comments. He has adopted the view which is now most commonly accepted among orthodox writers,—the view of Chalmers and Wardlaw, and more lately of Dr. Murphy of Belfast,—which adheres strictly to the plain sense of the scriptural passage. For, as Keil in his late work, well remarks, “Exegesis must insist upon this, and not allow itself to alter the plain sense of the words of the Bible from irrelevant and untimely regard to the so-called certain inductions of natural science. Irrelevant we call such considerations as make interpretation dependent upon natural science, because the creation lies outside the limits