If this direct verbal testimony had been absent, the entire structure of the scriptural books from Joshua to Malachi would have necessitated the same conclusion. These books never could have been written in their existing form, unless by men familiarly conversant with the Pentateuch. Hence are derived the ultimate principles which underlie the whole. They are united to it by a mass of re. ference so complex, intricate, and minute, as to constitute a study in itself. The grand monotheism which pervades the whole, the over-ruling Provi dence which is everywhere thrown into the fore ground, the national election of the Jew, and his relation to his forefathers in the perpetual covenant sealed between God and them, would all be inex plicable without this reference to the transactions of the past. Throughout the prophetical books es pecially, the tone of thought and feeling, the lan guage employed, the illustrations used, the accents of blended reproach, warning, and promise, the allusions to the past, and the predictions of the future, would be unintelligible to the student if the Pentateuch were not in his possession to inter pret them. This is as true, and perhaps more forcibly evident in regard to the N. T. and the teaching of our Lord and his apostles, than it is in the O. T. and in the language of the prophets. The Pentateuch is the thread of gold which runs— now latent, now prominent—throughout the whole body of the Scriptures. Retain it in its place, and the whole is united by a consistent purpose from end to end ; take it away, and all the rest of re velation becomes a mass of inextricable confusion. The recognition of this bearing of the authority of the Pentateuch on the authority of the other scrip tural books is most necessary. For the purpose, however, of succinctly stating the positive argument in favour of the authorship and divine authority of the five books of Moses, it is sufficient to trace the line of testimony down to the time of Malachi, for here we find that firm footing in the acknowledged facts of profane history which enables us to close every single avenue against the objections of un belief.
For if the argument stood at the point to which we have now brought it, we should be liable to the retort that the witnesses themselves lie under the taint of unfaithfulness. It might be, as it has been broadly argued, that the whole of the scriptural books altogether are an imposture, a fraud which priestcraft has succeeded in palming upon the cre dulity of mankind, and are consequently devoid of historic existence and credibility. On this sup position, it might be imagined that the mind or minds which conceived the composition of the Pen tateuch, conceived at the same time the composition of the later books, and that the authors naturally took care to make the one consistent with the other, and to pervade what purport to be the later com positions with such references to what purport to be the earlier, as would accord with that theory of successive compositions on which the fraud was based. In this point of view, every instance in which the language of the Pentateuch is employed in the later books would only constitute a further evidence of imposture.
A passing glance must be given at the improba bility of this hypothesis on the ordinary standards of literary criticism. For the deliberate fabrication of accidental references, neither so prominent as to obtrude themselves forcibly on the attention, nor so wholly latent as to defy detection, stands fore most among the most difficult of tasks. The long history of spurious publications, and the definite canons which a cautious criticism has adopted to guide investigation into their claims, suffice to prove that in no other case, at all events, has human in genuity succeeded in accomplishing such a work ; and if it has been successfully done in the case of the Scriptures the instance stands absolutely alone.
In all other cases a minute examination has detected undeniable anachronisms and contradictions. We claim, on the positive side of the argument, that a minute examination of the Scriptures only tends to bring into notice a number of minute and latent harmonies which a more cursory investigation had overlooked. The negative and controversial side of this question still remains for further notice. Meanwhile a perusal of such a book as Professor Blunt's Undesipzea' Coincidences will show in regard to the O. T. what Paley's Hera Paulin& shows in regard to the N., the strong 5rindi facie evidence afforded by these coincidences in favour of the genuineness and credibility of the Scriptures, and against the hypothesis of their fraudulent origin.
But let it be supposed that this difficulty was overcome, and that the theory of an imposture was admitted as a possible explanation of the facts so far as we have yet considered them ; we are now brought into contact with another set of facts alto gether, which renders the theory absolutely in credible. For at the time of Malachi we enter the domain of recognised history, and listen to witnesses absolutely impartial. Profane history here enables us to get a clear view of the world as it existed at the time, of its dominant nations, and of their mutual relations towards each other. History be came at this date a recognised branch of human study. Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Poly bins, Dionysius, Diodorus, Arrian, and Plutarch, constitute the links of the historical literature which unites together the times of the later prophets and the times of Christ. On the great salient facts of this period not even the scepticism of modern his torical criticism has ventured to cast a doubt.
Now, when in this full blaze of historic light we look at the condition of the world, we find the Jew prominent in the picture. If we saw him as the member of a great nation already compacted into unity under the influences of a national constitution without parallel in the history of the other nations of the world, the case would be a strong one. But we see more than this : we see the Jew, when this stage of national existence had already become a thing of the past ; we see him already transferred into a later stage, that of national decay. We find him scat tered among every known nation of the world, and yet in every place and under every circumstance retaining his peculiar national type. The case is not, we must clearly remember, that of an exiled people banished into some distant spot or into the midst of a lonely barbarism, and there nursing in sullen isolation the exclusive pride of his race, and maintaining as the pledge of his former greatness the law which had been the stay of his happier times. But it is that we find him dispersed in separate communities up and down the world, seen in all the great cities, and mingling with the ordi nary business of mankind, and yet retaining all over the world the same ineffaceable characteristics. At the seats of learning the Jew is found more than usually prominent, such as Alexandria, Pergamos, Tarsus, Antioch. At Alexandria his history was a fact so notorious that the Scriptures, which had impressed upon his race their own stamp, had be come the object of literary curiosity, and were given to the world in a Greek version, the Septuagint, which remains to our own day.