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CHAPTER II THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST TO THE OLD TESTAMENT
BY WILLIAM CAVEN, D. D., LL. D., LATE PRINCIPAL OF KNOX COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA
Both Jews and Christians receive the Old Testament as containing a revelation from God, while the latter regard it as standing in close and vital relationship to the New Testament. Everything connected with the Old Testament has, of recent years, been subjected to the closest scrutiny—the authorship of its several books, the time when they were written, their style, their historical value, their religious and ethical teachings. Apart from the veneration with which we regard the Old Testament writings on their own account, the intimate connection which they have with the Christian Scriptures necessarily gives us the deepest interest in the conclusions which may be reached by Old Testament criticism. For us the New Testament Dispensation presupposes and grows out of the Mosaic, so the books of the New Testament touch those of the Old at every point: In vetere testamento novum latet, et in novo vetus patet. (In the Old Testament the New is concealed, and in the New the Old is revealed.)
We propose to take a summary view of the testimony of our Lord to the Old Testament, as it is recorded by the Evangelists. The New Testament writers themselves largely quote and refer to the Old Testament, and the views which they express regarding the old economy and its writings are in harmony with the statements of their Master; but, for various reasons, we here confine ourselves to what is related of the Lord Himself.
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Let us refer, first, to what is contained or necessarily implied in the Lord’s testimony to the Old Testament Scriptures, and, secondly, to the critical value of His testimony.
I. THE LORD’S TESTIMONY TO THE OLD TESTAMENT
Our Lord’s authority—though this is rather the argumentum silentio—may be cited in favor of the Old Testament canon as accepted by the Jews in His day. He never charges them with adding to or taking from the Scriptures, or in any way tampering with the text. Had they been guilty of so great a sin it is hardly possible that among the charges brought against them, this matter should not even be alluded to. The Lord reproaches His countrymen with ignorance of the Scriptures, and with making the law void through their traditions, but He never hints that they have foisted any book into the canon, or rejected any which deserved a place in it.