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Professor Lyon spoke last night at the College Conference on The Old Testament in the light of Hebrew history.
From the earliest times, said Professor Lyon, the Jews have been an invincible and independent people. The Hebrew nation brought with them a high sense of their great destiny in the world. The Old Testament is but a part of the product of the Hebrew literature trait. It has been largely neglected for several eras us. People think the Old Testament is antiquated. that it belongs to the dark age. Many do not pretend to be religious, and they consider the Old Testament to be very religious. Then there are men who believe the book is thoroughly right in all particulars and think that it can never be crushed and so do not interest themselves in it.
Some people use the Old Testament as a linguistic book, to introduce themselves, through it, to the Arabic and other languages. Others use it only for literature: certainly it is a masterpiece. Then there is the historical use-the learning of the history of the nation.- the theological use and the devotional use. The last is the most fraitful way to read it, and most people read it in this light. The proper way to get a correct view of what it is, is to read it by books.
In considering the composition of the Old Testament-it is evident that it contains bits of Semitic law, as in the first chapter of Genesis. There are certain old traditions regarding older times, as the story of Samson in Judges. Then follow the annuals of Kings the Prophets-substantially as the living speakers spoke them-the Psalins and Writings. All these were not put together in one form till centuries after they were written. The Old Testament was not regarded as sacred at the time it was written, which is evident by the opposition that the apostles received.
There are several peculiarities of the Old Testament. There is a biographical characteristic.- stories of individuals, from Genesis practically to Psalnis and Job. Then there is the intentional characteristic. The books were written for the sake of the lesson that the writers saw.
In considering the value of the historic I view of the Old Testament, it destroys the belief that God his spoken to the world once and speaks no more. It removes many moral and scientific difficulties.- such as are to be found in reading of the calling of children to be slathered and inconsistencies about the creation. It shows us that the writers were as we are-perhaps more devoted to their principles, but moved by the same passions. It frees the religious soul from bear, because it shows that safety and happiness lie in the present performance of duty and in the present communion with God.
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