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2 The people that walk in darkness behold a great light;
They who dwell in the land of death-like shade,
Upon them a light shineth. 3 Thou enlargest the nation ;
Thou increasest their joy;
It may seem that Dr. Noyes has taken the liberty of conjectural criticism, in restoring consistency to the third verse. But he has only followed the approved reading of the Hebrew, that of the keri, or marginal correction. The error of the text is a curious one, some transcriber having substituted the word *,“ not,” for the word 13, " to it," of which the sound is similar.
Isa. xxi. 5. and following verses, Common Version :
“Prepare the table, watch in the watch-tower, eat, drink : arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me: Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed : and he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watch-tower in the daytime, and am set in my ward whole nights. And behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen ; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.”
Dr. Noyes:" The table is prepared ; the watch is set; They eat; they drink;
Arise, ye princes ! Anoint the shield!' For thus said the Lord unto me : 'Go, set a watchman, Who shall declare what he seeth And he saw a troop, horsemen in pairs, Riders on asses, and riders on camels, And he watched with the utmost heed. Then he cried like a lion: My Lord, I stand continually upon the watch-tower in the daytime,
And keep my post all the night;
The passage in Zech. vi. 9-15, where, in the Common Version, the prophet is directed to place “ crowns” on the head of the high priest, is rendered more intelligible by translating the word in the singular number. Though plural in form, it is followed by a singular verb in ver. 14. This coronation of the high-priest, if it was actually done, and was not merely a poetical fiction, was an act of no little boldness under the Persian Government. The passage is remarkable, as being a direct prophecy of a Messiah uniting the kingly and priestly offices. It is so regarded by Dr. Noyes. See his note on the passage, vol. ii., page 382.
Our author agrees with most other competent critics, in regarding the Book of Daniel, not as the composition of the prophet whose name it bears, but as written during the struggle for independence under the Maccabees, against Antiochus. The facts that it contains words of Greek origin, and that its supposed prophecies give the history of Alexander's successors as far as Antiochus, and are thence no longer traceable, seem to leave no alternative to this conclusion. As to the purpose of the writer in assuming the person of an ancient prophet, Dr. Noyes remarks:
“ It is difficult to say what was the intention of the author of the Book of Daniel, in writing under an assumed name, and clothing history in the language of prediction, because we are not acquainted with the circumstances of its original publication, and do not know whether the contemporaries of the writer were deceived or not. There is reason to believe that apocalyptical writers sometimes assumed a false name with an intention to deceive.' But we cannot agree with some recent writers in maintaining that such a practice was generally regarded as consistent with moral rectitude. Was there ever an age when the public was willing to be imposed upon ? In our desire to avoid the conclusion that the Book of Daniel is a pious forgery, we must be careful not to set up maxims which will destroy the trustworthiness of all history. I do not believe that a practice which, at the present day, would be universally condemned as deception and fraud, was, at any period of the Jewish or Christian Church, generally approved as right. In our ignorance of the manner in which the writer first offered the work to his contemporaries, — its first readers, - it may be hoped, but not confidently asserted, that he intended to practise no deception. It was an unfortunate thing, at least, that he adopted a species of literary fiction which has generally been misunderstood, and has in various ways been productive of much more evil than good” (vol. ii. pp. 394, 395).
We welcome these words, for the testimony they give, in the name of truth and human nature, against the doctrine so popular of late with those who would persuade us that the fourth Gospel and half the Epistles of St. Paul were wellmeant forgeries of the second century. But, if the Book of Daniel must be deprived of its place as a record of actual events and of original predictions, we are inclined to assign it a very high position as a work of imagination, inspired by patriotism and religion. It was written, we cannot doubt, to animate the Jews in their great struggle against Syrian oppression, by examples of patient endurance and divine protection in the past, and by indications of a glorious future. The materials were probably derived in part from traditions respecting Daniel and his companions at the court of Babylon, in part from the national expectation of the Messiah ; while the brilliant imagination of the writer added those touches which have given this singular book so great a mastery over the minds of men, — the “Fifth Monarchy,” glorifying the dreams of English patriots when their vision of a Commonwealth had proved illusive, and “ Belshazzar's Feast" presenting a favorite theme for the poet and the painter.
The peculiar structure of the book, written in two languages, suggests the idea, that it was the work of more than one author. If this was the case, the original writer was, in our opinion, the author of the Chaldee portion, extending from chap. ii. ver. 4, to the end of chap. vii. From the same hand, probably, was the short introductory part, which appears to be
in purer Hebrew than the concluding chapters. This was written apparently before the idea occurred to the author of adding an air of reality to his narrative, by writing it in the dialect of the court of Babylon. These portions include all the more striking narratives, and the sublime vision of the “ Ancient of Days” (chap. vii. 9-14). Would that Dr. Noyes could have felt justified in retaining that glorious Chaldaism, instead of translating it “an aged one”! On the supposition we bave made, the book was left in a fragmentary state, probably by the sudden death of its author, and was finished in Hebrew by another hand.
The works of the prophets must ever be of high value to the antiquarian, the scholar, and the man of poetic taste and religious feeling; but their chief interest must depend upon our conception of the nature of that inspiration from which they proceeded. In his Introduction to the present edition, Dr. Noyes enters more fully than he had done before into the question of inspiration. He tells us, very truly, that the office of a prophet among the Jews was not primarily that of predicting future events :
“No term by which the Hebrew prophet is denoted in the Old Testament means predicter.” — “His office was to proclaim the whole will of Jehovah to the Jewish people” (p. v). The prophets “ felt that their minds were illumined and moved by the holy spirit of God, and that the thoughts which they expressed in speech or writing, under his illumination and influence, were to be regarded as the word of God." _“We have, however, no reason to suppose that the prophets of the Old Testament, any more than St. Paul and the prophets mentioned in the New Testament, connected the idea of absolute infallibility with inspiration. Nor do their writings afford any indications of such infallibility” (p. vi).
“ Had, then," he adds elsewhere, “the Hebrew prophets no crite rion by which they and others might know that they were inspired by God, different from that which was possessed by Savonarola, Luther, Milton, or Fox? If they had, they have not told us what it was. It seems to follow, therefore, that infallibility ought not to be connected with the scriptural idea of inspiration. For mere strength of conviction that one is moved to think, speak, or write by the spirit
of God, or, which is the same thing, by divine inspiration, is not at the present day regarded as evidence that one is infallible” (p. viii).
The passage last quoted is illustrated by a note, in which the opinions of various eminent writers are adduced in support of the view here advanced. Dr. Noyes, however, contends that to deny the infallibility of the prophets does not deprive them of authority. He justly observes: “Our gov. ernors and judges do not deny the authority of the common or the Roman law, when they deny the infallibility of either” (p. xc).
He appears, however, to consider the inspiration of the Hebrew prophets as similar in nature to that which is granted to all earnest advocates of truth, and indeed to all who seek it, in every age:
“If it should still appear to any one strange that the prophets, even under the influence of the spirit of God, should claim, in a manner so emphatic, that their utterances were the word of God, and that they should prefix • Thus saith the Lord’ to nearly all their discourses, let him consider that nearly all these discourses have for their object the establishment of the primary truths of religion and the most obvious duties of life, -the quickening up of our minds to a more lively converse with those eternal truths of reason, which commonly lie buried in so much fleshly obscurity within us, that we discern them not;' and that even now, in modern times, according to the most approved philosophy, these primary truths of religion, these elementary principles of duty, are regarded as revealed to the mind by God, and immediately seen by the eyes of the soul. In other words, there are intuitive perceptions of truth and duty in all men, which are rightly acknowledged as an immediate, primary revelation from God.” — “ If, then, the elements of religious truth and duty may be represented as a revelation from the Deity to the intuitive mind of man, it is easy to see how the prophets, with their views of the operations of the spirit of God, and of their own gifts and office under the theocratic government of his people, might honestly and intelligently speak as the representatives of God, and as uttering his word. Nor would they thus lay claim to infallibility, any more than religious
VOL. LXXXIII. — NEW SERIES, Vol. IV. no. 1.