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107 what significant in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. Bezer means a strong hold. And such is Christ. Ramoth in Gilead, a place of eminency. And Jehovah's testimony of Jesus is, that he should be exalted, and extolled, and be very high.” (Isa. lii. 13.) And Golan, in Bashan, carries with it the idea of glory. And is there not joy and peace in believing when the soul abounds in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost? Neither were the other three cities appointed beyond Jordan by Joshua, less striking, when considered in reference to Christ. (Josh. xx. 7.) Kedish, holy. And who is holy but Jesus? Shechem, the shoulder.' And Christ's goverment is said to be upon his shoulder. (Isa. ix. 6.), And Kirjatharba, or Hebron, the city of fellowship. Into what sweet fellowship and communion doth Jesus bring all his peope!
It is a very blessed addition to this merciful design of the Lord, that he so graciously appointed the whole six cities of refuge to suit the different situations of the people, that if they were central in the place where the manslaughter was committed, or at the remote end of their town, at each extremity there were avenues leading to the one or other of the city of refuge. And it was a law in Israel, we are told, that one day in every year there were persons sent to repair the roads leading to them, and to remove all stumblingblocks or stones, which might by time have fallen in the way; and to see also, that the posts of direction, which were set up at every corner leading to the city, were carefully preserved, and the name Miklat, (that is, refuge) legible upon them. All these were so many express types of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Zoar, (Gen. xix. 20, &c.) our Bezer, (Ps. cxlv, 18.) our city of refuge to flee to. And he is always near at hand. He is also, (as
the prophet described him) the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. (Isa. lviii. 12.) And every ordinance and means of grace in the ministry of his word points, like the Miklat of the Jews, unto Jesus, saying, “ This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isa. xxx. 21.) Blessed Jesus, be thou indeed," the way, and the truth, and the life ! » and surely, the wayfaring men,
though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isa. xxxv. 8.) BIBLE. This name is given to the Word of God;
and no one is at a loss to know what is meant by it when we say, the Bible. But it is not, perhaps, so generally known wherefore the Sacred Scriptures are called the Bible. This is the reason.The word Bible is taken from the Greek Biblos, or book; and it is called so by way of eminency and distinction, as if there were no other book (and which is, indeed, strictly and properly speaking, the case) in the world. So then, by Bible is meant the Book, the Book of God, the only Book of God, including the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and no other ; for these, and these alone, are“ able to make wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The Hebrews call their Scriptures Mikra, which means, lesson, instruction, or Scripture.
When I said the Bible includes the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and no other, I consider what is called the Apocrypha as not included. The very name Apocrypha, (so called by those who first placed those writings in our Bibles) which means hidden, or doubtful, implies as much, for there is nothing which can be called doubtful in the word of God.
Some pious minds, indeed, have gone farther, and have ceased to call those writings apocryphal,
or doubtful, but have decidedly determined against them, and from their own testimony shewn that they are unscriptural and contrary to God's word. And, indeed, if what they have brought forward in proof be compared with the unalterable standard of God's own declarations in Scripture, without doubt, they ought not to have place in our Bibles.
It would by far exceed the limits I have laid down for myself in this work, to enter deeply into the subject by way of determining the matter. One or two observations is all I shall offer ; leaving the reader to frame his own judgment.
The Book of Ecclesiasticus, take it altogether, is by far the best of the whole apocryphal writings. In the prologue, or preface, the writer, or translator, begs pardon for any errors that he may have fallen into in this service; which at once implies his opinion that he had no idea the author wrote it under divine inspiration. In chap. iii ver. 20. he speaks of giving alms as an “atonement for sins ;" and chap. xxxv. ver. 3. he declares the forsaking unrighteousness to be a propitiation. Thus much may suffice without enlarging.
I cannot, however, take leave of the subject without first quoting the words of Tertullian, who lived in the second century. He speaks decidedly concerning the Apocrypha, and felt indignant that it should ever have had a place in our Bibles. “ The prophet Malachi, (saith Tertullian) is the bound or skirt of Judaism and Christianity. A stake that tells us, that there promising ends, and performing begins ; that prophecying concludes, and fulfilling takes place. There is not a span between those two plots of holy ground, the Old and New Testament, for they touch each other. To put the Apocrypha, therefore, between them,
is to separate Malachi and Matthew; Law and Gospel. It is to remove the land-mark of the Scriptures, and to be guilty of that breach in divorcing the marriage of the testaments, and what God hath joined together for man to put asunder.”
Perhaps it may not be unacceptable to the reader to subjoin, under this article of the Bible, an account of the different copies of the sacred volume which have been handed down in the church through the several successive ages, for it will serve to manifest the Lord's watchful care over his own precious Word.
The first copy, called the Septuagint, in Greek, so called from the seventy pious men devoted to this service, was produced about two hundred and forty years before the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, including all the sacred books, as we now : have them, from Genesis to Malachi.,
The second copy consisted of the Old Testament, from Hebrew into Greek by a Jew named Aquila, being converted to the Christian faith, in the time of the Emperor Adrian.
The third translation was about fifty-three years after the former: And to this succeeded a fourth, under the Emperor Severus. Eight years after this, another translation appeared by an unknown hand; and this was called the fifth translation. Afterwards Hieronymus translated it out of the Hebrew into the Latin tongue; this is what is called the sixth copy. And this is what is used in the Latin language to this day. Our first English translation was that of Myles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter, bearing date
1535, and dedicated to King Henry the Eighth, BLASPHEMY. I think it proper to stop at this word,
as the sense and meaning of it is not so generally understood as it were to be wished ; and many of
tretien he was
God's dear children, it is to be apprehended, have their minds much exercised about it, fearing they have committed the unpardonable sinj in blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. It will not be amiss, therefore, to make an humble enquiry concerning it, looking up for the Lord the Spirit to be our Teacher.
The sin of blasphemy is peculiarly applied to those who sin against God by profaning his holy name, and speaking lightly and wantonly of his person, prefections, and attributes. The law under Moses's dispensation punished such crimes with death. (Lev. xxiv. 11. 16.).
This is what may be called blasphemy in general. But added to this, our Lord speaks of a peculiar branch of blasphemy against the person and work of God the Holy Ghost, as being accompanied with aggravated malignity, and in its nature unpardonable. But as if that none of his children might make a mistake concerning it, with that tenderness and grace which distinguished his character, the Lord Jesus mercifully set forth in what the peculiar degree of the sin consisted. He had been casting out devils, and the Scribes and Pharisees, with their usaol malignity, ascribed those gracious acts to the agency of the Evil Spirit. Hence, our Lord thus expressed himself, “Verily, I say unto you, all sin shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they should blaspheme. But he that should blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” And then it is added, as an explanation of the whole, and to shew' in what the unpardonable sin consisted, “ because they said, he hath an unclean spirit.” (Mark iï: 28, &c.) Here was the blasphemy, in ascribing the works of Jesus, wrought evidently by the Spirit of JEHOVAH, to the agency of Satan; this was blasphemy with a vengeance, and from its