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TO THE READER
It will readily be understood that the Authors of the ensuing Essays are responsible for their respective articles only. They have written in entire independence of each other, and without concert or comparison. The Volume, it is hoped, will be received as an attempt to illustrate the advantage derivable to the cause of religious aud moral truth, from a free handling, in a becoming spirit, of subjects peculiarly liable to suffer by the repetition of conventional language, and from traditional methods of treatment.
The Education of the World, By FREDERICK TEMPLE, D.D,
Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen ; Head Master of
Rugby School ; Claplain to the Earl of Denbigh . . I
Bunsen's Biblical Researches. By ROWLAND WILLIAMS, D.D.,
Vice-Principal and Professor of Hebrew, St. David's
College, Lampeter ; Vicar of Broad Chalke, Wilts . . 50
On the Study of the Evidences of Christianity. By BADEN
POWELL, M.A., F.B.S., &c. &c., Savilian Professor of
Geometry in the University of Oxford . . . . . . 94
Siances Historiques de Geneve. The National Church. By
HENRY BRISTOW WILSON. B.D., Vicar of Great Staughton,
Hunts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
On the Mosaic Cosmogony. By C. W. GOODWIN, M.A. , . 207
Tencencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750.
By MARK PATTISON, B.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .254
On the Interpretation of Scripture, By BENJAMIN JOWETT
M.A., Regius Professor of Greek in the University of
Oxford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
Note on Bunsen's Biblical Researches . . . . . . . . 434
In a world of mere phenomena, where all events are bound to one another by a rigid law of cause and effect, if is possible to imagine the course of a long period bringing all things at the end of it into exactly the same relations as they occapied at the beginning. We should, then, obviously have a succession of cycles rigidly similar to one another, both in events and in consequence of them. The universe would eternally repeat the same changes in a fixed order of recurrence, though each cgcle might be many millions of years in length. Moreover, the precise similarity of these cycles would render the very existence of each one of them entirely unnecessary. We can suppose, without any logical inconsequence, any one of them struck out, and the two which, had been destined to precede and follow it brought into immediate contiguity.
This supposition transforms the universe into a dead machine. The lives and the souls of men becomes so indifferent, that the annihilation of a whole human race, or of many such races, is absolutely nothing, Every event passes away as it happens, filling its place in the sequence, but purposeless for the future. The order of all things becomes, not merely an iron rule, from which nothing can ever swerve, but an iron rule which, guides nothing and ends in nothing.
Sach a supposition is possible to the logical understanding; is not possible to the spirit. The human
heart refuses to believe in a universe without a purpose. To the spirit, all things that exist must have a purpose, and nothmg can pass away till that purpose be fulfilled. The lapse of time is no exception to this demand. Each moment of time, as it passes, is taken up in the shape of permanent results into the time that follows, and only perishes by being converted into something more substantial than itself. A series of recurring cycles, however conceivable to the logical understanding, is inconceivable to the spirit; for every later cycle must be made different from every earlier by the mere fact of coming after it and embodying its results. The material world may possibly be subject to such a rule, and may, in successive epochs, be the cradle of successive races of spiritual beings. But the world of spirits cannot be a mere machine.
In accordance with this difference between the material and the spiritual worlds, we ought to be prepared to find progress in the latter, however much fixity there may be in the former. The earth may still be describing precisely the same orbit as that which was assigned to her at the creation. The seasons may be precisely the same. The planets, the moon, and the stars, may be unchanged both in appearance and in reality. But man is a spiritual as well as a material creature, must be subject to the laws of the spiritual as well as to those of the material world, and cannot stand still because things around him do. Now, that the individual man is capable of perpetual, or almost perpetual, development from the day of his birth to that of his death, is obvious of course. But we may well expect to find something more than this in a spiritual creature who does not stand alone, but forms a part of a whole world of creatures like himself. Man cannot be considered as an individual. He is in reality, only man by virtue of his being a member of the human race. Any other animal that we know would probably not be very different in its nature if
brought up from its very birth apart from all its kind. A child so brought up becomes, as instances could be adduced to prove, not a man in the full sense at all, but rather a heast in human shape, with human faculties no doubt, hidden underneath, but with no hope in this life of ever developing those faculties into true humanity. If, them, the whole in this case, as in so many others, is prior to the parts, we may conclude, that we are to look for that progress which is essential to a spiritual being subject to the lapse of time, not only in the individual, but also quite as much in the race taken as a whole. We may expect to find, in the history of man, each successive age incorporating into itself the substance of the preceding.
This power, whereby the present ever gathers into itself the results of the past, transforms the human race into a colossal man, whose life reaches from the creation to the day of judgment. The successive generations of men are days in this man's life. The discoveries and inventions which characterize the different epochs of the world's histoly are his works. The creeds and doctrines, the opinions and principles of the successive ages, are his thoughts. The state of society at different times are his manners. He grows in knowledge, in self-control, in visible size, just as we do. And his education is in the same way and for the same reason precisely similar to ours.
All this is no figure but only a compendious statement of a very comprehensive fact. The clild that is born to-day may possibly have the same facilities as if he had been born in the days of Noah ; if it be otherwisem we possess no means of determining the difference. But the equality of the natural faculties at starting will not prevent a vast difference in their ultimate development. That deveippment is entirely under the control of the influences exerted by the society in which the child may chance to live. If such society be altogether denied, the faculties perish,
and the child (as remarked above) grows up a heast and not a man; if the society be uneducated and coarse, the growth of the faculties is early so stunted as never afterwards to he capable of recovery, if the society he highly cultivated, the child will he cultivated also, and will show, more or less, through life the fruits of that cultivation. Hence each generation receives the benefit of the cultivation of that which preceded it. Not in knowledge only but in development of powers the child of twelve now stands at the level where once stood the child of fourteen, where ages ago stood the full-grown in man. The discipline of manners, of temper, of thought, of feeling, is transmitted from generation to generation, and at each transmission there is an imperceptible but unfailing increase. The perpetual accumulation of the stores of knowledge is so much more visible than the change in the other ingredients of human progress, that we are apt to fancy that knowledge grows, and knowledge only. I shall not stop to examine whether it be true (as is sometimes maintained) that all progress in human society is but the effect of the progress of knowledge. For the present, it is enough to point out that knowledge is not the only possession of the human spirit in which progress can he traced.
We may, then, rightly speak of a childhood, a youth, and a manhood of the world. The men of the earliest ages were, in many respects, still children as compared with ourselves, with all the blessings and with all the disadvantages that belong to childhood. We reap the fruits of their toil, and bear in our characters the impress of their cultivation. Our characters have grown out of their history, as the character of the man grows out of the history of the child. There are matters in which the simplicity of childhood is wiser than the maturity of manhood, and in these they were wiser than we. There are matters in which the child is nothing, and the man everything, and in these we
are the gainers. And the process by which we have either lost or gained corresponds, stage by stage, with the processs hy which the infant is trained for youth, and the youth for manhood.
This training has three stages. In childhood we are subject to positive rules which we cannot understand, but aree bound implicitly to obey. In youth we are subject to the influence of example, and soon break loose from all rules unless illustrated and enforced hy the higher teaching which example imparts. In manhood we are comparatively free from internal restraints, and if we are to learn, must be our own mstructors. First come Rules, then Examples, then Principles. First comes the Law, then the Son of Man, then the Gift of the Spirit. The world was once a child under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the Father. Then, when the fit season had arrived, the Example to which all ages should turn was sent to teach men what they ought to be. Then the human race was left to itself to be guided by the teaching of the Spirit within.
The education of the world, like that of the child, begins with Law. It is impossible to explain the reasons of all the commands that you give to a child, and you do not endeavour to do so. When he is to go to bed. when he is to getup, how he is to sit, stand, eat, drink, what answers be is to make when spoken to, what he may touch and what he may not, what prayers he shall say and when, what lessons he is to learn, every detail of manners and of conduct the careful motheT teaches her child, and requires implicit obedience. Mingled together in her teaching and commands of the most trivial character and commands of the gravest unportance ; their relative value marked by a difference of manner rather than by anything else, since to explain it is impossible. Meanwhile to the child obedience is the highest daty, affection the highest stimulus, the mother's word the
highest sanction. The conscience is alive, but it is, like the other faculties at that age, irregular, underdeveloped, easily deceived. The mother does not leave it uncultivated, nor refuse sometimes to explain her motives for commanding or forbidding, but she never thinks of putting the judgment of the child against her own, nor of considering the child's conscience as having a right to free action.
As the child grows older the education changes its character, not so much in regard to the sanction of its precepts as in regard to their tenor. More stress is laid upon matters of real duty, less upon matters of mere manner. Falsehood, quarrelling, bad temper, greediness, indolence, are more attended to than times of going to bed, or fashions of eating, or postures in sitting. The boy is allowed to feel, and to show that he feels, the difference between different commands. But he is still not left to himself: and though points of manner are not put on a level with points of conduct, they are by no means neglected. Moreover, while much stress is laid upon his deeds, little is laid upon his opinions, he is rightly supposed not to have any, and will not be allowed to plead them as a reason for disobedience.
After a time, however, the intellect begins to assert a right to enter into all questions of duty, and the intellect accordingly is cultivated. The reason is appealed to in all questions of conduct: the consequences of folly or sin are pointed out, and the punishment which, without any miracle, God invariably brings upon those who disobey His natural laws - how, for instance, falsehood destroys confidence and incurs contempt ; how indulgence in appetite tends to brutal and degrading habits; how ill-temper may end in crime, and must end in mischief. Thus the conscience is reached through the understanding.
Now, precisely analogous to all this is the history of the education of the early world. The earliest
commands almost entirely refer to bodily appetites and animal passions. The earliest wide-spread sin was brutal violence. That wilfulness of temper, - those germs of wanton cruelty, which the mother corrects so easily in her infant, were developed in the earliest form of human society into a prevailing plague of wickedness. The few notices which are given of that state of mankind do not present a picture of mere lawlessness, such as we find among the medieval nations of Eiirope, but of blind, gross ignorance of themselves and all around them. Atheism is possible now, but Lamech's presumptuous comparison of himself wit God is impossible, and the thought of building a tower high enough to escape God's wrath could enter no man's dreams. We sometimes see in very little children a violence of temper which seems hardly human : add to such a temper the strength of a full-grown man, and we shall perhaps understand what is meant by the expression, that the earth was filled with violence.
Violence was followed by sensuality. Such was the sin of Noah, Ham, Sodom, Lot's daughters, and the guilty Canaanites. Animal appetites - the appetites which must be subdued in childhood if they are to be subdued at all were still the temptation of mankind. Such sins are, it is true, prevalent in the world even now. But the peculiarity of these early of licentiousness is their utter disregard of kind of restraint, and this constitutes their childish character.
The education of this early race may strictly be said to begin when it was formed, into the various masses out of which the nations of the earth have sprung. The world as it were went to school, and was broken up into classes. Before that time it can hardly be said that any great precepts had been given. The only commands which claim an earlier date are the ambitions of murder and of eating blood. And
these may lie considered as given to all alike. But the whole lesson of humanity was too much to be learned by all at once. Different parts of it fell to the task of different parts of the human race, and for a long time, though the education of the world flowed in parallel channels, it did not form a single stream.
The Jewish, nation, selected among all as the depository of what may he termed, in a pre-eminent sense, religions truth, received, after a short preparation, the Mosaic system. This system is a mixture of moral and positive commands: the latter, precise and particular, ruling the customs, the festivals, the worship, the daily food, the dress, the very touch ; the former large, clear, simple, peremptory. There is very little directly spiritual. No freedom of conduct or of opinion is allowed. The difference between different precepts is not forgotten; nor is all natural judgment in morals excluded. But the reason for all the minute commands is never given. Why they may eat the sheep and not the pig they are not told. The commands are not confined to general principles, but run into such details as to forbid tattooing or disfiguring the person, to command the wearing of a blue fringe, and the like. That such commands should be sanctioned by divine authority is utterly irreconcileable with our present feelings. But in the Mosaic system the same peremptory legislation deals with all these matters, whether important or trivial. The fact is, that however trivial they might be in relation to the authority which they invoked, they were not trivial in relation to the people who were to he governed and taught.
The teaching of the Law was followed by the comments of the Prophets. It is impossible to mistake the complete change of tone and spirit. The ordi- nances indeed remain, and the obligation to observe them is always assumed. But they have sunk to the second place. The national attention is distinctly
fixed on the higher precepts. Disregard of the ordinances is, in fact, rarely noticed, in comparison with breaches of the great human laws of lover and brotherly kindness, of truth and justice. There are but two sins against the ceremonial law which receive marked attention - idolatry and sabbath-breaking; and these to not occupy a third of the space devoted to the denunciation of cruelty and oppression, of maladministration of justice, of impurity and intermperance. Nor is the change confined to the precepts enforced : it extends to the sanction which enforces them. Throughout the Prophets there is an evident reference to the decision of individual conscience, which can rarely be found in the Books of Moses. Sometimes, as in Ezekiel's commen on the Second Commandment, a distinct appeal is made from the letter of the law to the voice of natural equity. Sometimes, as in the opening of Isaiah, the ceremonial sacrifices are condemned for the sins of those who offered them. Or, again, fasting is sprirutualized into self denial. And the tone taken in this teacing is such as to imply a previous breach, not so much of positive commands, as of natural morality. It is assumed that the hearer will find within himeself a sufficient sanction for the precepts. It is no longer, as in the law, "I am the Lord;" but, "Hath not he showed thee, O man, what is good?" And hence the style becomes argumentative instead of peremptory, and the teacher pleads instead of dogmatizing. In the meanwhile, however, no hint is ever given of a permission to dispense with the ordinances even in the least degree. The child is old enough to understand, but not old enough to be left o himself. He is not yet a man. He must still conform to the rules of his father's house, whether or not those rules suit his temper or approve themselves to his judgement.
The comments of the Prophets were followed in their turn by the great Lesson of the Captivity. Then
for the first time the Jews learned, what that Law and the Prophets had been for centuries vainly endeavouring to teach them, namely, to abandon for ever polytheism and idolatry. But though this change in their national habits and character is unmistakeable, it might seem at first sight as if it were no more than an external and superficial amendment, and that their growth in moral and spiritual clearness, though traceable with certainty up to this date, at any rate received a check afterwards. For it is undeniable that, in the time of our Lord, the Sadducces had lost all depth of spritual feeling, while the Pharisees had succeeded in converting the Mosaic system into so micheivous an idolatry of forms, that St. Paul does not hesitate to cell the law the strength of sin. But in spite of this is is nevertheless clear than even the Pharisaic teaching contained elements of a more spiritual religion than the original Mosaic system. Thus, for instance, the importance attached by the Pharisees to prayer is not be found in the law. The worship under the law consisted almost entirely of sacrifices. With the sacrifices we may presume that prayer was always offered, but it was not positively commanded; and, as a regular and necessary part of worship, it first appears in the later books of the Old Testament, and is never even there so earnestly insisted upon as afterwards by the Pharisees. It was in fact in the captivity, far from the temple and the sacrifices of the temple, that the Jewish people first learned from the ceremonial, and that of the two the spiritual was far the higher. The first introction of preaching and the reading of the Bible in the synagoges belong to the same date. The careful study of the law, though it degenerated into formality, was yet in itself a more intellectual service than the earlier records exhibit. And this study also, though commencing ealier, attains its maximum after the captivity.
; the Psalmists who delight in the study of the law are all, or nearly all, much later than David; and the enthusiasim with which the study is praised increases as we come down. In short, the Jewish nation had lost very much when John the Baptist came to prepare the way for his Master; but the time had not stood still, nor had that course of education whereby the Jew was to be fitted to give the last revlation to the world.
The results of this discipline of the Jewish nation may be summed up in two points - a settled national belief in the unity and spirituality of God, and an acknowledgement of the paramount importance of chastity as a point of morals.
The conviction of the unity and spirituality of God was peculiar to the Jews among the pioneers of civilization. Greek philosphers had, no doubt, come to the same conclusion by dint of reason. Noble minds may aften have been enabled to raise themselves to the same height in moments of generious emotion. But every one knows the difference between an opinion and a practical conviction - between a scientific deduction or a momentary insight and that habit which has become second nature. Every one, also, knows the difference between a tenet maintained by a few intellectual men far in advance of their age, and a believe pervading a whole people, penetrating all their daily life, leavening all their occupations, incorporated into their very langugage. To the great mass of the Gentiles, at the time of our Lord, polytheism was the natural posture of the thoughts into which their minds unconsciously settled when undisturbed by doubt or difficulties. To every Jew, without exception, monotheism was equally natural. To the Gentiles, even when converted, it was, for some time, still an effort to abstain from idols; to the Jew is was no more an effort than it is to us. The bent of the Jewish mind was, in fact, so fixed by their previous
training that it would have required a perpetural and difficult strain to enable a Jew to join in such folly. We do not readily realize how hard this was to acquire, because we have never to acquire it : and in reading the Old Testament we lok on the repeated idolatries of the chosen people as wilful backslidings from an elementary truth within the reach of children, rather than as stumblings in learning a very difficult lesson - difficult even for cultivated men. In reality, elementary truths are the hardest of all to learn, unless we pass out childhood in an atmosphere thoroughly impregnated with them; and then we imbibe them unconsciously, and find it difficult to perceive their difficulty.
It was the fact that this belief was not the tenet of the few, but the habit of the nation, which made the Jews the proper instruments for communicating the doctrine to the world. They supported it, not by arguments, which always provoke replies, and rarely, at the best, penetrate deeper than the intellect; but by the unconscious evidence of their lives. They supplied that spiritual atomosphere in which alone the faith of new convers could attain to vigorous life. They supplied forms of language and expression fit for immedidate and constant use. They supplied devotions to fill the void which departed idolatry left behind. The rapid spread of the Primative Church, and the depth to which it struck its root into the decaying society of the Roman empire, are unquestionably due, to a great extent, to the body of Jewish proselytes already established in every important city, and to the existence of the Old Testament as a ready-made text-book of devotion and instruction.
Side by side with this freedom from idolatry there had grown up in the Jewish mind a chaster morality than was to be found elsewhere in the world. There were many points, undoubtedly, in which the early morality of the Greeks and Romans would well bear
a comparison with that of the Hebrews. In simplicity of life, in gentleness of character, in warmth of sympathy, in kindness to the poor, in justice to all men, the Hebrews could not have rivalled the best days of Greece. In reverence for law, in reality of obedience, in calmness under trouble, in dignity of self-respect, they could not have rivalled the best days of Rome. But the sins of the flesh corrupted both these races, and the flower of their finest virtues had withered before the time of our Lord. In chastity the Hebrews stood alone; and this virtue, which had grown up with them from their earliest days, was still in the vigour of fresh life when they were commissioned to give the Gospel to the nations. The Hebrew morality has passed into the Christian church, and sins of impurity (which war against the soul) have ever since been looked on as the type of all evil; and our Litany selects them as the example of deadly sin. What sort of morality the Gentiles would have handed down to use, had they been left to themselves, is clear from the Epistles. The excesses of the Gentile party at Corinth (I Cor. v. 2), the first warning given to the Thessalonians (I Thes. iv. 3), the first warning to the Galatians (Gal. v. 19), the description of the Gentile world in the Epistle to the Romans, are sufficient indications of hte prevailing Gentile sin. But St. James, writing to the Hebrew Christians, says not a word upon the subject, and St. Peter barely alludes to it.
The idea of monotheism and the principle of purity might seem hardly enough to be the chief results of so systematic a discipline as that of the Hebrews. But, in reality, they are the cardinal points in education. The idea of monotheism outtops all other ideas in dignity and worth. The spirituality of God involves in it the supremacy of conscience, the immortality of the soul, the final judgement of the human race. For we know the other world, and can
only know it, by analogy, drawn from our own experience. With what, then, shall we compare God? With the spiritual or the fleshly part of our nature? On the answer depends the whole bent of our religion and of our morality. For that in ourselves which we choose as the nearest analogy of God, will, of course, be looked on as the ruling and lasting part of our being. If He be one and spiritual, then the spiritual power within us, which proclaims its own unity and independence of matter by the universality of its decrees, must be the rightful monarch of our lives; but if there be Gods many and Lords many, with bodily appetites and animal passions, then the voice of conscience is but one of these wide-spread delusions which, some for a longer, some for a shorter period, have, before now, mislead our race. Again, the same importance which we assign to monotheism as a creed, we much assign to chastity as a virtue. Among all the vices which it is necessary to subdue in order to build up the human character, there is none to be compared in strengh, or in virulence, with that of impurity. It can outlive and kill a thousand virtues; it can corrupt the most generous heart; it can madden the soberest intellect; it can debase the loftiest imagination. But, besides being so poisonous in charater, it is above all others most difficult to conquer. And the people whose extraordinary toughness of nature has enabled it to outlive Egyptian Pharaohs, and Assyrian kings, and Roman Cesars, and Mussulman caliphs, was well matched against a power of evil which has battled with the human spirit ever since the creation, and has inflicted, and may yet inflict, more deadly blows than any other power we know of.
Such was the training of the Hebrews. Other nations meanwhile had a training parallel to and contemporaneous with theirs. The natural religions, shadows projected by the spiritual light within shining on the dark problems without, were all in reality
system of Law, given also by God, though not given by reelation but by the working of nature, and consequently so distorted and adulterated that in lapse of time the divine element in them had almost perished. The poetical gods of Greece, the legendary gods of Rome, the animal worship of Egypt, the sun worship of the East, all accompanied by systems of law and civil government springing from the sam sources as themselves, namely, the character and temper of the several nationas, were the means of educating these people to similar purposes in the economy of Providence to that for which the Hebrews were destined.
Then the seed of the Gospel was first sown, the field which had been prepared to receive it may be divided into four chief divisions, Rome, Greece, Asia, and Judea. Each of these contributed something to the growth of the future Church. And the growth of the Church is, in this case, the development of the human race. It cannot indeed yet be said that all humanity has united into one stream; but the Christian nations have so unquestionably taken the lead amonst their fellows, that although it is liekly enough the unconverted peoples may have a real part to play, that part must be plainly quite subordinate; subordinate in a sense in which neither Rome, nor Greece, nor perhaps even Asia, was subordinate to Judea.
It is not difficult to trace the chief elements of civilization which we owe to each of the four. Rome contributed her admirable spirit of order and organization. To her had been given the genius of government. She had been trained to it by centuries of difficult and tumultuous history. Storms which would have rent asunder the framework of any other polity only practised her in the art of controlling popular passions; and when she began to aim consciously at the Empire of the World, she had already learned
her lesson. She had learned it as the Hebrews had learned theirs, by an enforced obedience to her own system. In no nation of antiquity had civil officers the same unquestioned authority during their term of office, or laws and judicial rules the same reverence. That which religion was to the Jew, including even the formalism which encrusted and fettered it, law was to the Roman. And law was the lesson which Rome intended to teach the world. Hence the Bishop of Rome soon became the Head of the Church. Rome was, in fact, the centre of the traditions which had once governed the world; and their spirit still remained; and the Roman Church developed into the papacy simply because a head was wanted, and no better one could be found. Hence again in all the doctrinal disputes of the fourth and fifth centuries the decisive voice came from Rome. Every controvery was finally settled by her opinion, because she alone possessed the art of framing formulas which could hold together in any reasonable measure the endless variety of sentiments and feeling which the Church by the time comprised. It was this power of administering law which enabled the Western Church in the time of Charlemagne, to undertake, by means of her bishops, the task of training and civilizing the new population of Europe. To Rome we owe the forms of local government which in England have saved liberty and elsewhere have mitigated despotism. Justinian's laws have penetrated into all modern legislation, and almost all improvements bring us only nearer to his code. Much of the spirit of modern politics came from Greece; much from the woods of Germany. But the skeleton and framework is almost entirely Roman. And it is not this frameowrk only that comes from Rome. The moral sentiments and the moral force which lie at the back of all political life and are absolutely insidpensable to its vigour are in great measure Roman too. It is true that the life and power off all
morality whatever will always be drawn from the New Testament; yet it is in the history of Rome rather than in the Bible that we find our models and precepts of political duty, and especially of the duty of patriotism. St. Paul bids us follow whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report. But except through such general appeals to natural feeling it would be difficult to prove from the New Testament that cowardice was not only disgraceful but sinful, and that love of our country was an exalted duty of humanity. That lesson our sonsciences have learnt from the teaching of Ancient Rome.
To Greece was entrusted the cultivation of the reason and the taste. Her gift to mankind has been science and art. There was little in her temper of the spirit of reverence. Her morality and her religion did not spring from conscience. Her gods were the creatures of imagination, not of spiritual need. Her highest idea was, not holiness, as with the Hebrews, nor law, as with the Romans, but beauty. Even Aristotle, who assuredly gave way to mere sentiment as little as any Greek that ever lived, placed the Beautiful (greek notation no included) at the head of his moral system, not the Right, nor the Holy. Greece, in fact, was not looking at another world, nor even striving to organise the present, but rather aiming at the development of free nature. The highest possible culrivation of the individual, the most finished perfection of the natural faculties, was her dream. It is true that here philosphers are ever talking of subordinating the individual to the state. But in reality there never has been a period in history nor a country in the world, in which the peculiarities of individual temper and character had freer play. This is not hte best atmosphere for political action; but it is better than any other for giving vigour and live to the impulses of genius, and for cultivating those faculties, the reason and taste, in which the highest genius can be
shown. Such a cultivation needs discipline less than any. And of all the nations Greece had the least of systematic discipline, least of instinctive deference to any one leading idea. But for the same reason the culativation required less time than any other; and the national life of Greece is the shortest of all. Greek history hardly begins before Solon, and it hardly continues after Alexander, barely covering 200 years. But its fruits are eternal. To the Greeks we owe the logic which has ruled the minds of thinkers since. All our natural and physical science really begins with the Greeks, and indeed would have been impossible had not Greece taught men how to reason. To the Greeks we owe the corrective which conscience need to borrow from nature. Conscience, startled at the awful truths which she has to reveal, too often threatens to withdraw the soul into gloomy and perverse asceticism: then is needed the beauty which Greece taught us to admire, to show us another aspect of the Divine Attributes. To the Greeks we owe all modern literature. For though there is other literature even older than the Greek, te Asiatic for instance, and the Hebrew, yet we did not learn this lesson from them; they had not the genial life which was needed to kindle other nations with the communication of their own fire.
The discipline of Asia was the never-ending succession of conquering dynasties, following in each other's track like waves, an even moving yet never advancing ocean. Cycles of change were successively passing over her, and yet at the end of every cycle she stood where she had stood before, and nearly where she stands now. The growth of Europe has dwarfed her in comparison, and she is paralysed in presence of a gigantic strength younger but mightier then her own. But in herself she is no weaker than she ever was. The monarchs who once lead Assyrian, or Babylonian, or Persian armies across half the world, impose on us by the vast extent and rapidity of their conquests; but
these conquests had in reality no substance, no inherent strengh. This perpetual baffling of all earthly progress taught Asia to seek her inspiratoin in rest. She learned to fix her thoughts upon another world, and was disciplined to check by her silent protest the over-earthly, over-practical tendency of the Western nations. She was ever the one to refuse to measure Heaven by the standard of earth. Her teeming imagination filled the church with thoughts "undreamt of in our philosophy." She had been the instrument selected to teach the Hebrews the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul; for whatever may be said of the early notions on this subject, it is unquestionable that in Babylon the Jews first attained the clearness and certainty in regard to it which we find in the teaching of the Pharisees. So again, Athanasius, a thorough Asiatic in sentiment and in mode of arguing, was the bulwark of the doctrine of the Trinity. The Western nations are always tempted to make reason not only supreme, but despotic, and dislike to acknowledge the mysteries even in religion. They are inclined to confine all dotrines within the limits of spiritual utility and to refuse to listen to dim voices and whispers from within, those instincts of doubt, and reverence, and awe, which yet are, in their place and degree, messages from the depth of our being. Asia supplies the corrective by perpetually leaning to the mysterious. When left to herself, she settles down to baseless dreams, and sometimes to monstrous and revolting fictions. But her influence has never ceased to be felt, and could not be lost without serious damage.
Thus the Hebrews may be said to have disciplined the human conscience, Rome the human will, Greece the reason and taste, Asia the spiritual imagination. Other reaces that have been since admitted into Christendom also did their parts. And others may yet have something to contribute; for though the time for discipline is childhood, yet there s no precise line beyond which all discipline ceases. Even the grey-haired
man has yet some small capacity for learning like a child; and even in the maturity of the world the early modes of teacing may yet find a place. But the childhood of the world was over when our Lord appeared on earth. The tutors and governors had done their work. It was time that the second teacher of the human reace should bein his labour. The second teacher is Example.
The child is not insensible to the influence of example. Even in the earliest years the manners, the language, the principles of the elder begin to mould the character of the younger. There are not a few of our aquirements which we learn by example without any, or with very little, direct instruction - as, for instance, to speak and to walk. But still example at that age is secondary. The child is quite conscious that he is not on such an equality with grown-up friends as to enable hime to do as they do. He imitataes, but he knows that it is merely play, and he is quite willing to be told that he must not do this or that till he is older. As time goes on, and the faculties expand, the power of discipline to guide the actions and to mould the character decreases, and in the same proportion the power of example grows. The moral atmosphere must be brutish indeed which can do deep harm to a child at four years. But what is harmless at four is pernicious at six, and almost fatal at twelve. The religious tone of a household will hardly make much impression on an infant; but it will deeply engrave its lessons on the heart of a boy growing towards manhood. Different faculties within us begin to feel the power of this new guide at different times. The moral sentiments are perhaps the first to expand to the influence ; but gradually the example of those among whom the life is cast lays hold of all the sould, - of the tastes, of the opinions, of the aims, of the temper. As each restraint of discipline is successively cast off, the soul does not gain at first a real, but only an apparent freedom. The youth, when too old for discipline, is not yet strong enough to guide his life by
fixed principles. He is led by his emotions and impulses. He admires and loves, he condemns and dislikes, with enthusiasm. And his love and admiration, his disapproval and dislike, are not his own, but borrowed from his society. He can appreciate a character, though he cannot yet appreciate a principle. He cannot walk by reason and conscience alone; he still needs those 'supplies to the imperfection of our nature' which are given by the higher passions. He cannot follow what his heart does not love as well as his reason approve; and he cannot love what is presented to him as an abstract rule of life, but requires a living person. He needs to see virtue in the concrete, before he can recognise her aspect as a divine idea. He instinctively copies those whom he admires, and in doing so imbibes whatever gives the colour to their character. He repeats opinions without really understanding them, and in that way admits their infection into his judgment. He acquires habits which seem of no consequence, but which are the channels of a thousand new impulses to his soul. If he reads, he treats the characters that he meets with in his book as friends or enemies, and so unconsciously allows them to mould his soul. When he seems most independent, most deSant of external guidance, he is in reality only so much the less master of himself, only so much the more guided and formed, not indeed by the will, but by the example and sympathy of others.
The power of example probably never ceases during life. Even old age is not wholly uninfluenced by society; and a change of companions acts upon the charactor long after the character would appear incapable of further development. The influence, in fact, dies out just as it grew; and as it is impossible to mark its beginning, so is it to mark its end. The child is governed by the will of its parents; the man by principles and habits of his own. But neither is insensible to the influence of associates, though neither finds in that influence the predominant power of his life.
This, then, which is born with our birth and dies with our death, attains its maximum at some point in the passage from one to the other. And this point is just the meeting point of the child and the man, the brief interval which separates restraint from liberry. Young men at this period are learning a peculiar lesson. They seem to those who talkk to them to be imbibing from their associates and their studies principles both of faith and conduct. But the rapid fluctuations of their miinds show that their opinions have not really the nature of principles. They are really learning, not principles, but the materials out of which principles are made. They drink in the lessons of generous impulse, warm unsulfishness, courage, self-devotion, romantic disregard of worldly calculations, without knowing what are the grounds of their own approbation, or caring to analyse the laws and ascertain the limits of such guides of conduct. They believe, without exact attention to the evidence of their belief; and their opinious have accordingly the richness warmth that belongs to sentiment, but not the clearness or firmness that can be given by reason. These affections, which are now hindled in their hearts by the contact of their fellows, will afterwards be the reservoir of life and light, with which their faith and their highest conceptions will be animated and coloured. The opinions now picked up, apparently not really, at random, must hereafter give reality to the clearer and more settled convictions of mature manhood. If it were not for these, the ideas and laws afterwards supplied by reason would be empty forms of thought, without body or substance - the faith would run a risk of being the form of godliness without the power therof. And hence the lessons of this time have such an attractiveness in their warmth and lik, that they are very reluctantly exchanged for the truer and profounder, but a.t first sight colder wisdom which os destined to follow them. To almost all men this period is a bright spot to which the memory ever afterwards
loves to recur; and even those who can remember nothing but folly - folly too which they have repented and relinquished - yet find a nameless charm in recalling such folly as that. For indeed even folly itself at this age is sometimes the cup out of which men quaff the richest blessings of our nature - simplicity, generosity, affection. This is the seed time of the soul's harvest, and contains the promise of the year. It is the time br love and marriage, the time for forming life-long friendships. The after life may be more contented, but can rarely be so glad and joyous. Two things we need to crown its blessings - one is, that the friends whom we then learn to love, and the opinions which we then learn to cherish, may stand the test of time, and deserve the esteem and approval of calmor thoughts and wider experience; the other, that our hearts may have depth enough to drink largely of that which God is holding to our lips, and never again to lose the fire and spirit of the draught. There is nothing more beautiful than a manhood surrounded by the friends, upholding the principles, and filled with the energy of the springtime of life. But even if these highest blessings be denied, if we have boon compelled to change opinions, and to give up friends, and the cold experience of the world has extinguished the heat of youth, still the heart win instinctively recur to that happy time, to explain to itself what is meant by love and what by happiness.
Of course, this is only one side of the picture. This keen susceptibility to pleasure and joy implies a keen susceptibility to pain. There is, probably, no time of life at which pains are more intensely felt; no the at which the whole man more 'groaneth and travaileth in pain together.' Young men are prone to extreme melancholy, even to disgust with life. A young preacher willpreach upon amictions much more often than an old one. A young poet will write more sadly. A young philosopher will moralize more gloomily. And this seems unreal soutiment, and is
smiled at in after years. But it is real at the the time; and, perhaps, is nearer the truth at all times than the contentedness of those who ridicule it. Youth, in fact, feels everything more keenly , and as far as the keenness of feeling contributes to its truth, the feeling, whether it is pain or pleasure, is so much the truer. But in after life it is the happiness, not the suffering of youth, that most often returns to the memory, and seems to gild all the past.
The period of youth in the history of the world when the human race was, as it were, put under the teaching of example, corresponds, of course, to the meeting point of the Law and the Gospel. The second stage, therefore, in the education of maan was the presence of our Lord upon earth. Those few years of His divine presence seem, as it were, to balance all the systems and creeds and worships which preceded, all the Church's life which has followed since. Saints had gone before, and saints have been given since; great men and good men had lived among the heathen; there were never, at any time, examples wanting to teach either the chosen people or any other. But the one Example of all examples came in the 'fulness of time,' just when the world was fitted to feel the power of His presence. Had His revelation been delayed till now, assuredly it would have been hard for us to recognise His Divinity for the faculty of Faith has turned inwards, and cannot now accept any outer manifestations of the truth of God. Our vision of the Son of God is now aided by the eyes of the Apostles, and by that aid we can recognise the Express Image of the Father. But in this we are like men who are led through unknown woods by Indian guides. We recognise the indications by which the path was known as soon as those indications are pointed out - but we feel that it would have been quite vain for us to look for them unaided. We, of course, have, in our turn, counterbalancing advantages. If we have lost that freshness of faith which
would be the first to say to a poor carpenter - Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God - yet we possess, in the greater cultivation of our religious understanding, that which, perhaps, we ought not to be willing to give in exchange. The early Christians could recognise, more readily than we, the greatness and beauty of the Example set before them; but it is not too much to say, that we know better than they the precise outlines of the truth. To every age is given by God its own proper gift. They had not the same clearness of understanding as we , the same recognition that it is God and not the devil who rules the world; the same power of discrimination between different kinds of truth - they had not the same calmness, or fixedness of conduct; their faith was not so quiet, so little tempted to restless vehemence. But they had a keenness of perception. which we have not, and could see the immeasurable difference between our Lord and all other men as we could never have seen it. Had our Lord come later, He would have come to mankind already beginning to stiffen into the fixedness of maturity. The power of His life would not have sunk so deeply into the world's heart; the truth of His Divine Nature would not have been recognised. Seeing the Lord, would not have been the title to Apostleship. On the other hand, had our Lord come earlier, the world would not have been ready to receive Him, and the Gospel, instead of being the religion of the human race, would have been the religion of the Hebrews only. The other systems would have been too strong to be overthrown by the power of preaching. The need of a higher and purer teaching would not have been felt. Christ would have seemed to the Gentiles the Jewish Messiah, not the Son of Man. But He came in the 'fulness of time,' for which all history had been preparing, to which all history since has been looking back. Hence the first and largest place in the New Testament is assigned to His Life four times told. This life we emphatically
call the Gospel If there is little herein to be technically called doctrine, yet here is the fountain of all inspiration. There is no Christian who would not rather part with all the rest of the Bible than with these four Books. There is no part of God's Word which the religious man more instinctively remembers. The Sermon on the Mount, the Parables and the Miracles, the Last Supper, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsomane, the Cross on Calvary - these are the companions alike of infancy and of old age, simple enough to be read with awe and wonder by the one, profound enough to open new depths of wisdom to the fullest experience of the other.
Our Lord was the Example of mankind, and there can be no other example in the same sense. But the whole period from the closing of the Old Testament to the close of the New was the period of the world's youth - the age of examples; and our Lord's presence was not the only influence of that kind which has acted upon the human race. Three companions were appointed by Providence to give their society to this creature whom God was educating; Greece, Rome and the Early Church. To these three mankind has ever since looked back, and will ever hereafter look back, with the same affetion, the same lingering regret, with which age looks back to early manhood. In these three mankind remembers the brilliant social companion whose wit and fancy sharpened the intellect and refined the imagination; the bold and clever leader with whom to dare was to do, and whose very name was a signal of success; and the earnest, heavenly- minded friend, whose saintly aspect was a revelation in itself.
Greece and Rome have not only given to us the fruits of their discipline, but the companionship of their bloom. The fruits of their discipline would have passed into our possession, even if their memory had utterly perished; and just as we know not the
man who first discovered arithmetic, nor the man who but invented writing - benefactors with whom no other captains of science can ever be compared - so, too, it is probable that we inherit from many a race, whose name we shall never hear again, fruits of long training now forgotten. But Greece and Rome have given us more than any results of discipline in the never-dying memory of their fresh and youthful life. It is this, and not only the greatness or the genius of the classical writers, which makes their literature preeminent above all others. There have been great poets, great historians, great philosophers in modern days. Greece can show few poets equal, none superior, to Shakspeare. Gibbon, in many respects, stands above all ancient historians. Bacon was as great a master of philosophy as Aristotle. Nor, again, are there wanting great writers of times older, as well as of times later, than the Greek, as, for instance, the Hebrew prophets. But the classics possess a charm quite independent of genius. It is not their genius only whuch makes them attractive. It is the classic life, the life of the people of that day. It is the image, there only to be seen, of our highest natural powers in their freshest vigour. It is the unattainable grace of the prime of manhood. It is the pervading sense of youthful beauty. Hence, while we have elsewhere great poems and great histories, we never find again that universal radiance of fresh life which makes even the most commonplace relies of classic days models for our highest art. The common workman of those times breathed the atmosphere of the gods. What are now the ornaments of our museums were then the every-day furniture of sitting and sleeping rooms. In the great monuments of their literature we can taste this pure inspiration most Argely; but even the most commonplace fragments of a classic writer are steeped in the waters of the same fountain. Those who compare the moderns
with the ancients, genius for genius, have no difficulty in claiming for the former equality, if not victory. But the issue is mistaken. To combine the highest powers of intellect with the freshness of youth was possible only once, and that is the glory of the classi nations. The inspiration which is drawn by the man from the memory of those whom. he loved and admired in the spring-time of his life, is drawn bu the world now kom the study of Greece and Rome. The world goes back to its youth in hopes to become young again, and delights to dwell on the feats achieved by the companions of those days. Beneath whatever was wrong and foolish it recognises that beauty of a fresh nature which never ceases to delight. And the sins and vices of that joyous time are passed over with the levity with which men think of their young companions' follies.
The Early Church stands as the example which has most influenced our religious life, as Greece and Rome have most influenced our political and intellectual life. We read the New Testament, not to find there forms of devotion, for there are few to be found; nor laws of church government, for there are hardly any; nor creeds, for there are none; nor doctrines logically stated, for there is no attempt at logical precision. The New Testament is almost entirely occupied wiht two lives - the life of our Lord and the life of the Early Church. Among the Epistles there are but two which seem, even at first sight, to be treatises for the future instead of letters fbr the time - the Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle to the Hebrews. But even these, when closely examined, appear, like the rest, to be no more than the fruit of the current history. That early church does not give us precepts but an example. She says, Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. This had never been said by Moses, nor by any of the prophets. But the world was now grown old enough to be taught by seeing
the lives of saints, better than by hearing the words of prophets. When afterwards ChrLstians needed creeds, and liturgies, and forms of church government and systems of theology, they could not find them in the New Testament. They found there only the materials out of which such needs could be supplied. But the combination and selection of those materials they had to provide for themselves. In fact, the work which the early church had to do was peculiar. Her circumstances were still more peculiar. Had she legislated peremptorily for posterity, her legislation must have been set aside, as, indeed, the prohibition to eat things strangled and to eat blood has been already set aside. But her example will live and teach for ever. In her we learn what is meant by zeal, what by love of God, what by joy in the Holy Ghost, what by endurance for the sake of Christ. For the very purpose of giving us a pattern, the chief features in her character are, as it were, magnified into colossal proportions. Our saints must chiefly be the saints of domestic life, the brightness of whose light is visible to very few. But their saintliness was forced into publicity, and its radiance illumines the earth. So on every page of the New Testament is written, Go and do thou likewise. Transplant into your modern life the same heavenly-mindedness, the same fervour of love, the same unshaken faith, the same devotion to your fellow-men. And to these pages accordingly the church of our day turns for renowal of inspiration. We even busy ourselves in tracing the details of the early Christian life, and we love to find that any practice of ours comes down from apostolic times. This is an exaggeration. It is not really following the early church, to be servile copyists of her practices. We are not commanded to have all things in common, because the church of Jerusalem once had; nor are we to make every supper a sacrament, because the early Christians did so. To
copy the early church is to do as she did, not what she did. Yet the very exaggeration is a testimony of the power which that church has over us. We would fain imitate even her outward actions as a step towards imitating her inner life. Her outward actions were not meant for our model. She, too had her faults: disorders, violent quarrels, licentious recklessness of opinion, in regard both to faith and practice. But these spots altogether disappear in the blaze of light which streams upon us when we look back towards her. Nay, we are impatient of being reminded that she had faults at all. So much does her youthful holiness surpass all that we can show, that he who can see her faults seems necessarily insensible to the brightness of her glory. There have been great saints since the days of the apostles. Holiness is as possible now as it was then. But the saintliness of that time had a peculiar beauty which we cannot copy; a beauty not confined to the apostles or great leaders but pervading the whole church. It is not what they endured, nor the virtues which they practised, that so dazzle us. It is the perfect simplicity of the religious life, the singleness of heart, the openness, the childlike earnestness. All elso has been repeated since, but this never. And this makes the religious man's heart turn back with longing to that blessed time when the Lord's service was the highest of all delights, and every act of worship came fresh from the soul. If we compare degrees of devotion, it may be reckoned something intriusically nobler, to serve God and love Him now when religion is colder than it was, and when we have not the aid of those thrilling, heart-stirring sympathies which blossed the early church. But even if our devotion be sometimes nobler in itself, yet theirs still remains the more beatiful, the more attractive. Ours may have its own place in the sight of God, but theirs remains the irresistible example which kindles all other hearts by its fire.
It is nothing against the drift of this argument, that the three friends whose companionship is most deeply engraven on the memory of the world were no friends one to another. This was the lot of mankind, as it is the lot of not a few men. Greece, the child of nature, had come to full maturity so early as to pass away before the other two appeared; and Rome and the Early Church disliked each other. Yet that dislike makes little impression on us now. We never identify the Rome of our admiration with the Rome which persecuted the Christian, partly, indeed, because the Rome that we admire was almost gone before the church was foundod; but partly, too, because we forget each of these while we are stud dug the other. We almost make two persons of Trajan, accordingly as we meet with him in sacred or profane history. So natural is it to forget in after life the faulty side of young friends' characters.
The susceptibility of youth to the impression of society wears of at last. The age of reflection begins. From the storehouse of his youthful experience the man begins to draw the principles of his life. The spirit or conscience comes to fill strength and assumes the throne intended for him in the soul as an accredited judge, invested with full powers, he sits in the tribunal of our inner kingdom, decides upon the past, and legislates upon the future without appeal except to himself. He decides not by what is beautiful, or noble, or soul-inspiring, but by what is right. Gradually he frames his code of laws, revising, adding, abrogating, as a wider and deeper experience gives him clearer light. He is the third great teacher and the last.
Now the education by no means ceases when the spirit thus begins to lead the soul - the once of the spirit is in fact to guide us into truth, not to give truth. The youth who has settled down to his life's work makes a great mistake if he fancies, that because
he is no more under teachers and governors his education is therefore at an end. It is only changed in form. He has much, very much, to learn, more perhaps than all which he has yet learned; and his new teacher will not give it to him all at once. The lessor of life is in this respect like the lessons whereby we learn any ordinary business. The barrister, who has filled his memory with legal forms and imbued his mind with their spirit, knows that the most valuable part of his education is yet to be obtained in attending the courts of law. The physician is not content with the theories of the lecture- room, nor with the experiments of the laboratory, nor even. with the attendance at the hospitals; he knows that independent practice, when he wit be thrown upon his own resources, with open his eyes to much which at present he sees through a glass darkly. In every profession, after the principles are apparently masteredm there yet remains much to be learnt from the application of those principles to practice, the only means by which we ever understand principles to the bottom. So too with the lesson which includes all others, the lesson of life.
In this last stage of his progress a man learns in various ways. First he learns unconsciously by the growth of his inner powers and the secret but steady accumulation of experience. The fire of youth is toned down and sobered. The realities of life dissipate many dreams, clear up many prejudices, soften down many roughnesses. The diference between intention and action, between anticipating temptation and bearing it, between drawing pictures of holiness or nobleness and realizing them, between hopes of success andreaUty of achievement, is taught by many a painfull and many an unexpected experience. In short as the youth puts away childish things, so does the man put away youthful things. Secondly, the full-grown man learns by reflection. He looks inwards
and not outwards only. He re-arranges the results of past experience, re-examines by the test of reality the principles supplied to him by books or conversation, reduces to intelligible and practical formulas what he has hitherto known as vague general rules. He not only generalizes-youth will generalize with great rapidity and often with great acuteness - but he learns to correct one generalization by another. He gradually learns to disentangle his own thoughts, so as not to be led into foolish inconsistency by want of clearness of purpose. He learns to distinguish between momentary impulses and permanent determinations of character. He learns to know the limits of his own powers, moral and intellectual; and by slow degrees and with much reluctance he learns to suspend his judgment and to be content with ignorance where knowledge is beyond his reach. He learns to know himself and other men, and to distinguish in some measure his own peculiarities from the leading features of humanity which he shares with all men. He learns to know both the worth and the worthlessness of the world's judgment and of his own. Thirdly, he learns much by mistakes, both by his own and by those of-others. He often persists in a wrong cause till it is too late to mend what he has done, and he learns how to use it and how to bear it. His principles, or what he thought his principles, break down under him, and he is forced to analyse them in order to discover what amount of truth they really contain. He comes upon new and quite unexpected issues of what he has done or said, and he has to profit by such warnings as he receives. His errors often force him, as it were, to go back to school; not now with the happy docility of a child, but w ithe chastened submission of a penitent. Or, more often still, his mistakes inflict a sharp chastisement which teaches him a new lesson without much efort on his own part to learn. Lasty, he learns much by contradiction. The collision of society compels him
to state his opinions clearly, to defend. them; to modify them when indefensible , perhaps to surrender the them altogether, consciously or unconsciously; still more often to absorb them into larger and fuller thoughts, less forcible but more comprehensive. The precision which is thus often forced upon him always seems to diminish something of the heartiness and power which belonged to more youthful instincts. But he gains in diretness of aim, and therefore in firmness of resolution. But the greatest of his gains is what seems a loss: for he learns not to attempt the solution of insoluble problems, and to have no opinion at all on many points of the deepest interest. Usually this ta.kes the form of an abandonment of speculation; but it may rise to the level of a philosophical humility which stops where it can advance no firther, and confesses its own weakness in the presence of the mysteries of life.
But throughout all this it must not be supposed that he has no more to do either with that law which guided his childhood or with any other law of any kind. Since he is still a learner, he must learn on the one condition of all learning-ohedience to rules; not indeed, blind obedience to rules not understood, but obedience to the rules of his own mind - an obedience which he cannot throw of without descending below the childish level. He is free. But freedom is not the opposite of obedience, but of restraint. The freeman must obey, and obey as precisely as the bondman - and if he has not acquired the habit of obedience he is not fit to be free. The law in fact which God makes the standard of our conduct may have one of two forms. It may be an external law, a law whuch is in the hands of others, in the making, in the applying, in the enforcing of which we have no share; a Iaw which governs from the outside, compelling a our will to bow even though our understanding be unconvinced and unenlightened; saying you must, and
making no effort to make you feel that you ought appealing not to your conscience, but to force or fear, and caring little whether you willingly agree or reluctantly submit. Or, again, the law may be an internal law; a voice which speaks within the conscience, and carries the understanding along with it a law which treats us not as slaves but as friends, allowing us to know what our Lord doeth; a law which bids us yield not to blind fear or awe, but to the majesty of truth and justice; a law which is not imposed on us by another power, but by our own enlightened will. Now the first of those is the law which governs and educates the child; the second the law which governs and educates the man. The second is in reality the spirit of the first. It commands in a diarent way, but with a tone not one whit less peremptory; and he only who can control all appetites and passions in obedience to it can reap the full harvest of the last and highest education.
This need of law in the full maturity of life is so imperative that if the requisite self-control be lost or impaired, or have never been sufficiently acquired, the man instinctively has recourse to a self imposed discipline if he desire to keep himself from falling. The Christian who has fallen into sinful habits often finds that he has no resource but to abstain from much that is harmless in itself because he has associated it with evil. He takes monastic vows because the world has proved too much for him. He takes temperance pledges because he cannot resist the temptations of appetite. There are devils which can be cast out with a word - there are others which go not out but by (not prayer only, but) fasting. This is often the case with the late converted. They are compelled to abstain from, and sometimes they are induced to denounce, many pleasures and many enjoyments which they End unsuited to their spiritual health. The world and its enjoyments have been to them a source
of perpetual temptation, and they cannot conceive any religious life within such a circle of evil. Some times these men are truly spiritual enough and humble enough to recognise that this discipline is not essential in itself but only for them and for such as they. The discipline is then truly subordinate. It is an instrument in the hands of their conscience. They know what they are doing and why they do it. But sometimes, if they are weak, this discipline assumes the shape of a regular external law. They look upon many harmless things, from which they have suffered mischief as absolutely, not relatively, hurtful. They denounce what they cannot share without danger, as dangerous, not only for them, but for all manking, and as evil in itself. They set up a conventional code of dirty founded on their own experience which they extend to all men. Even if they are educated enough to see that no conventional code is intellectually tenable, yet they still maintain their system, and defend it, as not necessary in itself, but necessary for sinful men The fact is, that a merciful Providence, in order to help such men, puts them back under the dominions of the law. They are not aware of it themselves - men who are under the dominion of the law rarely are aware of it. But even if they could appeal to a revelation from heaven, they would still be under the law - for a revelation speaking from without and not from within is an external law and not a spirit.
For the same reason a strict and even severe discipline is needed for the cure of reprobates. Philanthropists complain sometimes that this teaching ends only in making the man say, 'the punishment of crime is what I cannot bear;' not, 'the wickedness of crime is what I will not do.' But our nature is not all will; and the fear of punishment is very often the foundation on which we build the hatred of evil. No convert would look back with any other feeling than deep gratitude on a severity which had set free
go spirit by chaining down his grosser appetites. It is true that the teaching of mere discipline, if there be no other teaching, is useless. If you have only killed one selfish principle by another you have done nothing. But if while thus killing one selfish principle by another you have also succeeded in awaking the higher faculty and giving it free power of self-exertion, you have done everything.
This return to the teaching of discipline in mature life is needed for the intellect even more than for the conduct. There are many men who though they pass from the teaching of the outer law to that of the inner in regard to their practical life, never emerge from the former in regard to their speculative. They do not think; they are contented to let others think for them and to accept the results. How far the average of men are from having attained the power of free independent thought is shown by the staggering and stumbling of their hitellects when a completely new subject of investigation tempts them to form a judgment of their own on a matter which they have not studied. In such cases a really educated intellect sees at once that no judgment is yet within its reach, and acquiesces in suspense. But the uneducated intelect hastens to account for the phenomenon; to discover new laws of nature, and new relations of truth; to decide, and predict, and perhaps to demand a remodelling of all previous knowledge. The discussions on table-turning a few years ago, illustrated this want of intellects able to govern themselves. The whole analogy of physical science was not enough to induce that suspension of judgment which was efected in a week by the dictum of a known philosopher.
There are, however, some men who really think for themselves. But even they are sometimes obliged, especially if their speculations touch upon practical life, to put a temporary restraint upon their intellects.
They refuse to speculate at all in directions where they cannot feel sure of preserving their own balance of mind. If the conclusions at which they seem likkely to arrive are very strange, or very unlike the general analogy of truth, or carry important practical consequences, they will pause, and turn to some other subject, and try whether if they come back with fresh minds they still come to the same results. And this may go further, and they may find such speculations so bewildering and so unsatisfactory, that they Anally take refuge in a refusal to think any more on the particular questions. They content themselves with so much of truth as they find necessary for their spiritual life, and, though perfectly aware that the wheat may be mixed with tares, they despair of rooting up the tares with safety to the wheat, and therefore let both grow together till the harvest. All this is justifiable in the same way that any self-discipline is justifiable. That is, it is justifiable if really necessary. But as is always the case with those who are under the law, such men are sometimes tempted to prescribe for others what they need for themselves, and to require that no others should speculate because they dare not. They not only refuse to think, and accept other men's thoughts, which is often quite right, but they elevate those into canons of faith for all men, which is not right. This blindness is of course wrong; but in reality it is a blindness of the same kind a that with which the Hebrews clung to their law; a blindness, provided for them in mercy, to save their intellects from leading them into mischief.
Some men, on the other hand, show their want of intellectual self-control by going back not to the dominion of law, but to the still lower level of intellectual anarchy. They speculate without any foundation at all They confound the internal consistency of some dream of their brains with the reality of independent truth. They set up theories which have
so other evidence than compatibility with the few facts that happen to be known; and forget that many other theories of equal claims night readily be invented. They are as little able to be content with having no judgment at all as those who accept judgments at second hand. They never practically realize that when there is not enough evidence to justify a conelusion, it is wisdom to draw no conclusion. They are so eager for light that they will rub their eyes in the dark and take the resulting optical delusions for real flashes. They need intellectual discipline - but they have little chance of getting it, for they have burst its hands.
There is yet a further relation between the inner law of mature life and the outer law of chik1hood which must be noticed. And that is, that the outer law is often the best vehicle in which the inner hw can be contained for the various purposes of life The man remembers with diction, and keeps up with delight the customs of the home of his childhood; tempted perhaps to over-estimate their value, but even when perfectly aware that they are no more than one form out of many which a well-ordered household might adopt, preferring them because of his long familiarity, and. because of the memories with which they are associated. So, too, truth often seems to him richer and fidler when expressed in some favourite phrase of his mother's, or some maxim of his father's. He can give no better reason very often for much that he does every day of his life than that his father did it before him; and provided the custom is not a bad one the reason is valid. And he likes to go to the same church. He likes to use the same prayers. He likes to keep up the same festivities. There are limits to all this. But no man is quite free from the infuence; and it is in many cases, perhaps in most, an influeuce of the highest moral value. There is great value in the removalof many indiKerent matters
out of the region of discussion into that of precedent. There is greater value still in the link of sympathy which binds the present with the past, and fills old age with the fresh feelings of childhood. If truth sometimes suffers in form, it unquestionably gains much in power - and if its onward progress is retarded, it gains immeasurably in solidity and in its hold on men's hearts.
Such is the last stage in the education of a human ..soul, and similar (as far as it has yet gone) has been the last stage in the education of the human race. Of course, so full a comparison cannot be made in this instance as was possible in the two that preceded it. For we are still within the boundaries of this third - period, and we cannot yet judge it as a whole. But if the Christian Church be taken as the representative of mankind it is easy to see that the general law observable in the development of the individual may also be found in the development of the Church.
Since the days of the Apostles no further revelation has been granted, nor has any other system of reEgion sprung up spontaneously within the limits which the Church has covered. No prophets have communicated messages from Heaven. No infallible inspiration has guided any teacher or preacher. The claim of infallibility still maintained by a portion of Christendom has been entirely given up by the more advanced section. The Church, in the fullest sense, is left to herself to work out, by her natural faculties, the principles of her own action. And whatever assistance she is to receive in doing so, is to be through those natural faculties, and not in spite of them or without them.
From the very first, the Church commenced the task by determining her leading doctrines and the principles of her conduct. These were evolved, ed principles usually are, partly by redeetion on past experience, and by formularizing the thoughts embodied
in the record of the Church of the Apostles, partly by perpetual collision with every variety of opinion. This career of dogmatism in the Church was, in man y ways, simiLar to the hasty generalizations of early manhood. The principle on which the controversies of those days were conducted is that of giving an answer to every imaginable question. It rarely seems to occur to the early controversiaHsts that there are questions which even the Church cannot solve - problems which not even revelation has brought within the reach of human faculties. That the decisions were right, on the whole - that is, that they always embodied, if they did not always rightly define, the truth - is proved by the permanent vitality of the Church as compared with the various heretical bodies that broke from her. But the fact that so vast a number of the early decisions are practically obsolete, and that even many of the doctrinal statements are plainly unfitted for permanent use, is a proof that the Church was not capable, any more than a man is capable, of extracting, at once, all the truth and wisdom contained in the teaching of the earlier periods. In fact, the Church of the Fathers claimed to do what not even the Apostles had claimed - namely, not only to teach the truth, but to clothe it in logical statements, and that not merely as opposed to then prevailing heresies (which was justifiable), but for all succeeding time. Yet this was, after all, only an exaggeration of the proper function of the time. Those logical statements were necessary. And it belongs to a later epoch to see 'the law within the law' which absorbs such statements into something higher than themselves.
Before this process can be said to have worked itself out, it was interrupted by a new phenomenon, demanding essentially different management. A flood of new and undisciplined races poured into Europe, on the one hand supplying the Church with the vigour of fresh
life to replace the effete materials of the old Roman Empire, and, on the other carrying her back to the childish stage, and necessitating a return to the dominion of outer law. The Church instinctively had recourse to the only means that would suit the case - namely, a revival of Judaism. The Papacy of the Middle Ages, and the Papal Hierarchy, with all its numberless ceremonies and appliances of external religion, with its attention fixed upon deeds and not on thoughts, or feelings, or purposes, with its precise apportionment of punishments and purgatory, was, in fact, neither more nor less than the old schoolmaster come back to bring some new scholars to Christ. Of course, this was not the conscious intention of the then rulers of the Church, they believed in their own ceremonies as much as any of the people at large. The return to the dominion of law was instinctive, not intentional But its object is now as evident as the 014ject of the ancient Mosaic system. Nothing short of a real system of discipline, accepted as Divine by all alike, could have tamed the German and Celtish nature into the self control needed for a truly spiritual religion. How could Chlovis, at the head of his Franks, have made any right use of absolute freedom of conscience? Nor was this a case in which the less disciplined race could have learned spirituality from the more disciplined. This may happen when the more disciplined is much the more vigorous of the two. But the exhausted Roman Empire had not such strength of life left within it. There was no alternative but that all alike should be put under the law to learn the lesson of obedience.
When the work was done, men began to discover that the law was no longer necessary. And of course there was no reason why they should then discuss the question whether it ever had been necessary. The time was come when it was fit to trust to the conscience as the supreme guide, and the yoke of the medieval
discipline was shaken off by a controversy which, in many respects, was a repetition of that between St. Paul and the Judaizers. But, as is always the case after a temporary return to the state of discipline, Christendom did not go back to the position or the duty from which she had been drawn by the influx of the barbarian races. The human mind had not stood still through the ages of bondage, though its motions had been hidden. The Church's whole energy was taken up in the first six centuries of her existence in the creation of a theology. Since that time it had been occupied in renewing by self-discipline the self-control which the sudden absorption of the barbarians had destroyed. At the Reformation it might have seemed at first as if the study of theology were about to return. But in reality an entirely new lesson commenced - the lesson of toleration. Toleration is the very opposite of dogmatism. It implies in reality a confession that there are insoluble problems upon which even revelation throws but little light. Its tendoucy is to modify the early dogmatism by substituting the spirit for the letter, and practical religion for precise definitions of truth. This lesson is certainty not yet fully learnt. Our toleration is at present too often timid, too often rash, sometimes sacrificing valuable religious elements, sometimes fearing its own plainest conclusions. Yet there can be no question that it is gaining on the minds of at educated men, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, and is passing from them to be the common property of educated and uneducated alike. There are occasions when the spiritual anarchy which has necessarily followed the Reformation threatens for a moment to bring back some temporary bondage, like the Roman Catholic system. But on the whole the steady progress of toleration is unmistakeable. The mature mind of our race is beginning to modify and soften the hardness and severity of the principles which its early manhood had
elevated into immutable statements of truth. Men are beginning to take a wider view than they did. Physical science, researches into history, a more thhorough knowledge of the world they inhabit, have enlarged our philosophy beyond the limits which bounded that of the Church of the Fathers. And all these have an influence, whether we will or no, on our determinations of religious truth. There are found to be more things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in the patristic theology. God's creation is a new book to be read by the side of His revelation, and to be interpreted as coming from Him. We can acknowledge the great value of the forms in which the Erst ages of the Church defined the truth, and yet refuse to be bound by them; we can use them, and yet endeavour to go beyond them, just as they also went beyond the legacy which was left us by the Apostles.
In learning this new lesson, Christendom needed a firm spot on which she might stand, and has found it in the Bible. Had the Bible been drawn up in precise statements of faith, or detailed precepts of conduct, we should have had no alternative but either permanent subjection to an outer law, or loss of the highest instrument of self-education. But the Bible, from its very form, is exactly adapted to our present want. It is a history; even the doctrinal parts of it are cast in a historical form, and are best studied by considering them as records of the time at which they were written, and as conveying to us the highest and greatest religious life of that time. Hence we use the Bible - some consciously, some unconsciously - not to override, but to evoke the voice of conscience. When conscience and the Bible appear to differ, the pious Christian immediately concludes that he has not reaUy understood the Bible. Hence, too, while the interpretation of the Bible varies slightly from age to age, it varies always in one direction. The schoolmen found purgatory in it. Later students found enough to
condemn Galileo. Not long ago it would have been held to condemn geology, and there are still many who so interpret it. The current is all one way-it evidently points to the identification of the Bible with the voice of conscience. The Bible, in fact, is hindered by its form from exercising a despotism over the human spirit, if it could do that, it would become an outer law at once; but its form is so admirably adapted to our need, that it wins from us all the reverence of a supreme authority, and yet imposes on us no yoke of subjection. This it does by virtue of the principle of private judgment, which puts conscience between us and the Bible, making conscience the supreme interpreter, whom it may be a duty to enlighten, but whom it can never be a duty to disobey.
This recurrence to the Bible as the great authority has been accompanied by a strong inclination, common to all Protestant countries, to go back in every detail. of life to the practices of early times, chiefly, no doubt, because such a revival of primitive practices, wherever possible, is the greatest help to entering into the very essence, and imbibing the spirit of the days when the Bible was written. So, too, the observance of the Sunday has a stronger hold on the minds of all religious men because it penetrates the whole texture of the Old Testament. The institution is so admirable, indeed so necessary in itself that without this hold it would deserve its present position. But nothing but its prominent position in, the Bible world have made it, what it now is, the one ordinance which all Christendom alike agrees in keeping. In such an observance men feel that they are, so far, living a scriptural life, and have come, as it were, a step nearer to the inner power of the book from which they expect to learn their highest lessons. Some, indeed, treat it as enjoined by an absolutely binding decree, and thus at once put themselves under a law. But short of that, those who defend it only by arguments of Christian
expediency, are yet compelled to acknowledge that those arguments are so strong that it would be difficult to imagine a higher authority for any ceremonial institution. And among those arguments one of the foremost is the sympathy which the institution fosters between the student of the Bible and the book which he studies.
This tendency to go back to the childhood and youth of the world has, of course, retarded the acquishtion of that toleration which is the chief philosophical and religious lesson of modern days. Unquestionably as bigoted a spirit has often been shown in defence of some practice for which the sanction of the Bible had been claimed, as before the Reformation in defence of the decrees of the Church. But no lesson is well learned all at once. To learn toleration well and really, to let it become, not a philosophical tenet but a practical principle, to join it with real religiousness of life and character, it is absolutely necessary that it should break in upon the mind by slow and steady degrees, and that at every point its right to go further should be disputed, and so forced to logical proof. For it is only by virtue of the opposition which it has surmounted that any truth can stand in the human mind. The strongest argument in favour of tolerating all opinions is that our conviction of the truth of an opinion is worthless unless it has established itself in spite of the most strenuous resistance, and is still prepared to overcome the same resistance, if necessary. Toleration itself is no exception to the universal law, and those who must regret the slow progress by which, it wins its way, may remember that this slowness makes the final victory the more certain and complete. Nor is that all. The toleration thus obtained is different in kind from what it would otherwise have been. It is not only stronger, it is richer and fuller. For the slowness of its progress gives time to disentangle from dogmatism the really valuable
principles and sentiments that have been mixed up and entwined in it, and to unite toleration, not with indihrence and worldliness, but with spiritual truth and relgiousness of life.
Even the perverted use of the Bible has therefore not been without certain great advantages. And meanwhile how utterly impossible it would be in the manhood of the world to imagine any other instructor of mankind. And for that reason, every day makes it more and more evident that the thorough study of the Bible, the investigation of what it teaches and what it does not teach, the determination of the limits of what we mean by its inspiration, the determination of the degree of authority to be ascribed to the different books, if any degrees are to be admitted, must take the Ical of all other studies. He is guilty of high treason against the faith who fears the result of any investigation, whether philosophical, or scientific, or historical. And therefore nothing should be more welcome than the extension of knowledge of any and every kind - for every increase in our accumulations of knowledge throws fresh light upon these the real problems of our day. If geology proves to us that we must not interpret the first chapters of Genesis literally; if historical investigations shall show us that inspiration, however it ma.y protect the doctrine, yet was not empowered to protect the narrative of the inspired writers hom occasional inaccuracy; if careful criticism shall prove that there have been occasionally interpolations and forgeries in that Book, as in many others; the results should still be welcome. Even the mistakes of careful and reverent students are more valuable now than truth held in unthinking acquiescence. The substance of the teaching which we derive from the Bible will not really be affected by anything of this sort. While its hold upon the minds of believers, and its power to stir the depths of the spirit of man, however much
weakened at first, must be immeasurably strengthened in the end, by clearing away any blunders which may have been fastened on it by human interpretation.
The immediate work of our day is the study of the Bible. Other studies will act upon the progress of mankkind by acting through and upon this. For while a fww highly educated men here and there who have given their minds to special pursuits may think the study of the Bible a thing of the past, yet assuredly, if their science is to have its efect upon men in the mass, it must be by affecting their moral and religious convictions - in no other way have men been, or can men be, deeply and permanently changed. But though this study must be for the present and for some time the centre of all studies, there is mean, while no study of whatever kind which will not have its share in the general effect. At this time, in the maturity of maukind, as with each man in the maturity of his powers, the great lever which moves the world is knowledge, the great force is the intellect. St. Paul has told us 'that though in malice we must be children, in understanding we ought to be men.' And this saying of his has the widest range. Not only in the understanding of religious truth, but in all exercise of the intellectual powers, we have no right to stop short of any limit but that which nature, that is, the decree of the Creator, has imposed on us. In fact, no knowledge can be without its eHbet on religious convictions - for if not capable of throwing direct light on some spiritual questions, yet in its acquisition knowledge invariably throws light on the process by which it is to be, or has been, acquired, and thus ahets all other knowledge of every kind.
If we have made mistakes, careful study may teach us better. If we have quarrelled about words, the enlightenment of the understanding is the best means to show use our folly. If we have vainly puzzllled our
intellects with subjects beyond human cognizance, better knowledge of ourselves will help us to be humbler. Life, indeed, is higher than all else; and no service that man can render to his fellows is to be compared with the heavenly power of a life of holiness. But next to that must be ranked, whatever tends to make men think clearly and judge correctly. So valuable, even above all things (excepting only godliness) is clear thought, that the labours of the statesman are far below those of the philosopher in duration, in power, and in beneficial results. Thought is now higher than action, unless action be inspired with the very breath of heaven. For we are now men, governed by principles, if governed at all, and cannot rely any longer on the impulses of youth or the discipline of childhood.
When geologists began to ask whether changes in the earth's structure might be explained by causes still in operation, they did not disprove the possibility of great convulsions, but they lessened necessity for imagining them. So, if a theologian has his eyes opened to the Divine energy as continuous and omnipresent, he lessens the sharp contrast of epochs in Revelation, but need not assume that the stream has never varied in its flow. Devotion raises time present into the sacredness of the past; while Criticism reduces the strangeness of the past into harmony with the present. Faith and Prayer (and great marvels answering to them), do not pass away: but, in prolonging their range as a whole, we make their parts less exceptional. We hardly discern the truth, for which they are anxious, until we distinguish it froom associations accidental to their domain. The truth itself may have been apprehended in various degrees by servants of God, of old, as now. Instead of, with Tertullian, what was first is truest, we may say, what comes of God is true, and He is not only afar, but nigh at hand; though His mind is not changed.
Questions of miraculous interference do not turn merely upon our conceptions of physical law, as unbroken, or of the Divine Will, as all-pervading: bug they include inquiries into evidence, and must abide hy verdicts on the age of records. Nor should the distinction between poetry and prose, and the possible
of imagination's allying itself with affiction, be overlooked. We cannot encourage a remorseless criticism of Gentile histories and escape its contagion when we approach Hebrew annals; nor acknowledge a Providence in Jewry without owning that it may have comprehended sanctities elsewhere. But the Inoment we examine fairly the religions of India, and of Arabia, or even those of primeval Hellas and Latium. we find they appealed to the better side of our nature, and their essential strength lay in the elements of good which they contained, rather than in any Satanic corruption.
Thus considerations, religious and moral, no less than scientitle and critical, have, where discussion was free, widened the idea of Revelation for the old world, and deepened it for ourselves , not removing the footsteps of the Eternal from Palestine, but tracing them on other shores; and not making the saints of old orphans, but ourselves partakers of their sonship. Conscience would not lose by exchanging that repressive idea of revelation, which is put over against it as an adversary, for one to which the echo of its best instincts should be the witness. The moral constituents of our nature, so often contrasted with Revelation, should rather be considered parts of its instrumentality. Those eases in which we accept the miracle for the sake of the moral lesson prove the ethical element to be the more fundamental. We see this more clearly if we imagine a miracle of cruelty wrought (as by Antichrist) for immoral ends - for then only the technically miraculous has its value isolated; whereas by appealing to good 'WORKS' (however wonderful) for his witness, Christ has taught us to have faith mainly in goodness. This is too much overlooked by some apologists. But there is hardly any greater question than whether history shows Almighty God to have trained mankind by a faith which has reason and conscience for its kindred, or by one to whose miraculous tests their pride must
bow ; that is, whether His Holy Spirit has acted through the channels which His Providence ordained, or whether it has departed from these so signally that comparative mistrust of them ever afterwards becomes a duty. The first alternative, though invidiously termed philosophical, is that to which free nations and Evangelical thinkers tend, the second has a greater show of religion, but allies itself naturally with priestcraft or formalism; and not rarely with corruptness of administration or of life.
In this issue converge many questions anciently stirred, but recurring in our daylight with almost uniform(1) accession of strength to the liberal side. Such questions turn chiefly on the law of growth, traceable throughout the Bible, as in the world - and partly on science, or historical inquiry : but no less on the deeper revelations of the New Testament, as compared to those of the Old. If we are to retain the old Anglican foundations of research and fair statement, we must revise some of the decisions provisionally given upon imperfect evidence; or, if we shrink from doing so, we must abdicate our ancient claim to build upon the truth; and our retreat will be either to Rome, as some of our lost ones have consistently seen, or to some form, equally evil, of darkness voluntary. The attitude of too many English scholars before the last Monster out of the Deep is that of the degenerate senators before Tiberius. They stand, balancing terror against mutual shame. Even with those iix our universities who no longer repeat
1. It is very remarkable that, amidst all our Biblical illustration from recent travellers, Layard, Rawlinson, Robinson, Stanley, &c., no single leint has been discovered to tell in favourof an irrational supernaturalism; whereas numerous discoveries have confirmod the more liberal (not to say, rationalizing) criticism which traces Revelation historically within the sphere of nature and humanity. Such is the moral, both of the Assyrian discoveries, and of all travels in the East, as well as the verdict of philologers at home, Mr. G. Rawlinson's proof of this is stronger, because undesigned.
fully the required Shibboleths, the explicitness of truth is rare. He who assents most, committing himself least to baseness, is reckoned wisest.
Bunsen's enduring glory is neither to have paltered with his conscience nor shrunk from the dificulties of the problem; but to have brought a vast erudition, in the light of a Christian conscience, to unroll tangled records, tracing frankly the Spirit of God elsewhere, but honouring chiefly the traditions of His Hebrew sanctuary. No living author's works could furnish so pregnant a text for a discourse on Biblical criticism. Passing over some specialties of Lutheranism, we may meet in the field of research which is common to scholars, while even here, the sympathy, which justifles respectful exposition, need not imply entire agreement.
In the great work upon Egypt,(2) the later volumes of which are now appearing in English, we do not find that picture of home life which meets us in the pages of our countryman, Sir G. Wilkinson. The interest for robust scholars is not less, in the fruitful. comparison of the oldest traditions of our race, and in the giant shapes of ancient empires, which flit like dim shadows, evoked by a master's hand. But for those who seek chiefly results, there is something wearisome in the elaborate discussion of authorities and, it must be confessed, the German refinement of method has all the effect of confusion. To give details here is impossible (though the more any one scrutinizes them, the more substantial he will find them), and this sketch must combine suggestions, which the author has scattered strangely apart, and sometimes repeated without perfect consistency. He dwells largely upon Herodotus, Eratosthenes, and their successors, from Champollion and Young to Lepsius. Especially
1. Egypt's Place in Universal History by Christian C, J. Bunsen, &c. London 1848, vol. i. 1854, vol ii.
the dynastic records of the Ptolemaic priest, Manetho,(1) are compared with the accounts of the stone monuments. The result, if we can receive it, is to vindicate for the civilized kingdom of Egypt, from Menes downward, an antiquity of nearly four thousand years before Christ. There is no point in which archeologists of all shades were so nearly unanimous as in the belief that our Biblical chronology was too narrow in its limits; and the enlargement of our views, deduced from Egyptian records, is extended by our author's reasonings on the development of commerce and government, and still more of languages, and physical features of race. He could not have vindicated the unity of mankind if he had not asked for a vast extension of time, whether his petition of twenty thousand years be granted or not. The mention of such a term may appear monstrous to those who regard six thousand years as a part of Revelation. Yet it is easier to throw doubt on some of the arguments than to show that the conclusion in favour of a vast length is improbable, If pottery in a river's mud proves little, its tendency may agree with that of the discovery of very ancient pre-historic remains in many parts of the world., Again, how many years are needed to develop modern French out of Latin, and Latin itself out of its original crude forms ? How unlike is English to Welsh, and Greek to Sanskrit - yet all indubitably of one family of languages! What years were required to create the existing divergence of members of t]us family! How many more for other
1. See an account of him, and his tables, in the Byzantine Syncellus, pp. 72-145, vol. i., ed. Dind., in the Corpus Historiae Byzantinae, Bonn. 1829. But with this is to be compared the Armenian version of Eusebius's Chronology, discovered by Cardinal Mai. The text, the interpretation, and the historical fidelity, are all controverted. Baron Bunsen's treatment of that deserves the provisionl acceptance due to elaborate research, with no slight concurrence of probabilities; and if it should not ultimately win a favourable verdict from Egyptologers, no one who summarily rejects it as arbitrary or impossible can have a right to be on the jury.
families, separated by a wide gulf from this, yet retaining traces of a primreval aboriginal adinity, to have developed themselves, either in priority or collaterally? The same consonantal roots, appearing either as verbs infiected with great variety of grammatical form, or as nouns with case-endings in some languages, and with none in others, plead as convincingly as the succession of strata in geology, for enormous lapses of time. When, again, we have traced our Gaelic and our Sanskrit to their inferential pre-Hellenic stem, and when reason has convinced us that the Semitic languages which had as distinct an individuality four thousand years ago as they have now, require a cradle of larger dimensions than Archbishop Ussher's chronology, what farther effort is not forced upon our imagination, if we would guess the measure of the dim background in which the Mongolian and Egyptian languages, older probably than the Hebrew, became fixed, growing early into the type which they retain? Do we see an historical area, of nations and languages extending itself over nearly ten thousand years: and can we imagine less than another ten thousand, during which the possibilities of these things took body and form? Questions of this kind require from most of us a special training for each : but Baron Bunsen revels in them, and his theories are at least suggestive. He shows what Egypt had in common with that primeval Asiatic stock, represented by Ham, out of which, as raw material, he conceives the divergent families, termed Indo-European(1) and Semitic (or the kindreds of Europe and of Palestine) to have been
1. The common term was Indo-Germanic. Dr. Prichard, on bringing the Gael and Cymry into the same family, required the wider term Indo-European. Historical reasons, chiefly in connexion with Sanskrit, are bringing the term Aryan (or Aryas) into fashion. We may adopt which-ever is intelligible, without excluding, perhaps, a Turanian or African element surviving in South Wales. Turanian means nearly Mongolian.
later developed. Nimrod is considered as the Biblical., representative of the earlier stock, whose ruder language is continued, by affiliation or by analogy, in the Mongolian races of Asia and in the negroes of Africa.
The traditions of Babylon, Sidon, Assyria, and Iran, are brought by our author to illustrate and code, though to modify our interpretation of, Genesis. It is strange how nearly those ancient cosmogonies(1) approach what may be termed the philosophy of Moses, while they fall short in what Longinus called his 'worthy conception of the divinity.' Our deluge takes its place among geological phenomena, no longer a disturbance of law from which science shrinks, but a prolonged play of the forces of fire and water, rendering the primeval regions of North Asia uninhabitable, and urging the nations to new abodes. We learn approximately its antiquity, and infer limitation in its range, from finding it recorded in the traditions of Iran and Palestine (or of Japhet and Shem) but unknown to the Egyptians and Mongolians, who left earlier the cradle of mankind. In the half ideal half traditional notices(2) of the beginnings of our race, compiled in Genesis, we are bid notice the combination of documents, and the recurrence of barely consistent genealogies. As the man Adam begots Cain, the man Enos begets Cainan. Jared and Irad, Methuselah and Methusael, are similarly compared. Seth, like El, is an old deity's appellation, and MAN was the son of Seth in one record, as Adam was the son of God in the other. One could wish the puzzling circumstance, that the etymology of some of the earlier names seems strained to suit the present form of the narrative had been explained. That our author would
1. Aegypteris Stelle in der Weligeschickte, pp. 186-400; B. v. 1-3.
2. Aegypton's Stelle, &c., B. v. 4-5 pp, 50-142. Gotha. 1857.
2. Aegypton's Stelle, &c., B. v. 4-5 pp, 50-142. Gotha. 1857.
not shrink from noticing this, is shown by the firmness with which he relegates the long lives of the first patriarchs to the domain of legend, or of symbolical cycle. He reasonably conceives that the historical portion begins with Abraham, where the lives become natural, and information was nearer. A sceptical criticism might, indeed, ask, by what right he assumes that the moral dimensions of our spiritual heroes can not have been idealized by tradition, as he admits to have been the case with physical events and with chronology rounded into epical shape. But the first principles of his philosophy, which fixes on personality (or what we might call force of character) as the great organ of Divine manifestation in the world, and his entire method of handling the Bible, lead him to insist on the genuineness, and to magnify the force, of spiritual ideas, and of the men who exemplified them. Hence, on the side of religion, he does not intentionally violate that reverence with which Evangelical thinkers view the fathers of our faith. To Abraham and Moses, Elijah and Jeremiah, he renders grateful honour. Even in archaology his scepticism does not outrun the suspicions often betrayed in our popular mind; and he limits, while he confirms these, by showing how far they have ground. But as he says, with quaint strength, 'there is no chronological element in Revelation.' Without borrowing the fifteen centuries which the Greek Church and the Septuagint would lend us, we see, from comparing the Bible with the Egyptian records and with itself, that our common dates are wrong, though it is not so easy to say how they should be rectified. The idea of bringing Abraham into Egypt as early as 2876 B.C. is one of our author's most doubtful points, and may seem hardly tenable. But he wanted time for the growth of Jacob's family into a people of two millions, and he filt bound to place Joseph under a native Pharaoh, therefore, before the Shepherd
Kings. He also contends that Abraham's horizon in Asia is antecedent to the first Median conquest of Babylon in 2234. A famine, conveniently mentioned under the twelfth dynasty of Egypt, completes his proof. Sesortosis, therefore, is the Pharoah to whom Joseph was minister - the stay of the Israelites in Egypt is extended to fouteen centuries; and the date 215 represents the time of oppression. Some of these details are suHiciently doubtful to afford ground of attack to writers whose real quarrel is with our author's Biblical research, and its more certain, but not therefore more welcome, conclusions. It is easier to follow him implicitly when he leads us, in virtue of an overwhelming concurrence of Egyptian records and of all the probabilities of the case, to place the Exodus as late as 1320 or 1314. The event is more natural in Egypt's decline under Menephthah, the exiled son of the great Ramses, than amidst the splendour of the eighteenth dynasty. It cannot well have been earlier, or the Book of Judges must have mentioned the conquest of Canann by Ramses; nor later, for then Joshua would come in collision with the new empire of Ninus and Semiramis. But Manetho places, under Menephthah, what seems the Egyptian version of the event, and the year 1314, one of our alternatives, is the date assigned it by Jewish tradition. Not only is the historical reality of the Exodus thus vindicated against the dreams of the Drummonds and the Volneys, but a new interest is given it by its connexion with the rise and fall of great empires. We can understand how the ruin on which Ninus rose made room in Canaan for the Israelites, and how they fell again under the satraps of the New Empire, who appear in the Book of Judges as kings of the provinces. Only, if we accept the conformation, we must take all its parts. Manothe makes the conquerors before whom Menephthah retreats into Ethiopia Syrian shepherds, and gives the human side of an invasion, or war of liberation
Baron Bunsen notices the 'high hand' with which Jehovah led forth his people, the spoiling of the Egyptians, and the lingering in the peninsula, as signs, even in the Bible, of a struggle conducted by human means. Thus, as the pestilence of the Book of Kngs becomes in Chronicles the more visible angel, so the avenger who slew the firstborn may have been the Bedouin host, a,kin nearly to Jethro, and more remotely to Israel.
So in the passage of the Rod Sea, the description may be interpreted with the latitude of poetry: though, as it is not affirmed that Pharaoh was drowned, it is no serious objection that Egyptian authorities continue the reign of Menephthah later. greater diffculty is that we find but three centuries thus left us from the Exodus to Solomon's Temple. Yet less stress will be laid on this by whoever notices how the numbers in the Book of Judges proceed by the eastern round number of forty, what traces the whole book bears of embodying history in its most popular form, and how naturally St. Paul or St. Stephen would speak after received accounts.
It is not the importance severally, but the continual recurrence of such difficulties, which bears with evergrowing induction upon the question, whether the Pentateuch is of one age and hand, and whether subsequent books are contemporary with the events, or whether the whole literature grew like a tree rooted in the varying thoughts of successive generations, and whether traces of editorship, if not of composition, between the ages of Solomon and Hezekiah, are manifest to whoever will recognise them. Baron Bunsen
finds himself compelled to adopt the alternative of gradual growth. He makes the Pentateuch Mosaic, as indicating the mind and embodying the developed system of Moses, rather than as written by the great lawgiver's hand. Numerous fragments of genealogy, of chronicle, and of spiritual song go up to a high antiquity, but are imbedded in a crust of later narrative, the allusions of which betray at least a time when kings were established in Israel. Hence the idea of composition out of older materials must be admitted; and it may in some eases be conceived that the compiler's point of view differed from that of the older pieces, which yet he faithfully preserved. If the more any one scrutinizes the sacred text, the more he finds himself impelled to these or like conclusions respecting it, the accident of such having been alleged by men more critical than devout should not make Christians shrink from them. We need not fear that what God has permitted to be true in history can be at war with the faith in Himself taught us by His Son.
As in his Egypt our author sifts the historical date of the Bible, so in his Gott in der Geschickte,(1) he expounds its directly religious element. Lamenting, like Pascal, the wretchedness of our feverish being, when estranged from its eternal stay, he traces, as a countryman of Hegel, the Divine thought bringing order out of confusion. Unlike the despairing school, who forbid us trust in God or in conscience, unless we kill our souls with literalism, he finds salvation for men and States only in becoming acquainted with the Author of our life, by whose reason the world stands fast, whose stamp we bear in our forethought, and whose voice our conscience echoes. In the Bible, as an expression of devout reason, and therefore to be
1. Gott in. der Geschickle (i.e. the Divine Government in History). Books i. and ii. Leipzig, 1857.
read with reason in freedom, he finds record of the spiritual giants whose experience generated the religious atmosphere we breathe. For, as in law and literature, so in religion we are debtors to our ancestors - but their life must find in us a kindred apprehension, else it would not quicken; and we must give back what we have received, or perist by unfaithfulness to our trust. Abraham, the friend of God, Moses the inspired patriot, Elijah the preacher of the still small voice, and Jeremiah the foreseer of a law written on the conscience, are not ancestors of Pharisees who inherit their flesh and name, so much as of kindred spirits who put trust in a righteous God above offerings of blood, who build up free nations by wisdom, who speak truth in simplicity though four hundred priests cry out for falsehood, and who make self-examination before the Searcher of hearts more sacred than the confessional. When the fierce ritual of Syria, with the awe of a Divine voice, bade Abraham slay his son, he did not reflect that he had no perfect theory of the absolute to justify him in departing fro traditional revelation, but trusted that the FATHER 'whose voice from heaven he heard at heart, was better pleased with mercy than with sacrifice, and this trust was his righteousness. Its seed was sown from heaven, but it grew in the soil of an honest and good heart. So in each case we trace principles of reason and right, to which our heart perpetually responds, and our response to which is a truer sign of faith than such deterence to a supposed external authority as would quench these principles themselves.
It may be thought that Baron Bunsen ignores too peremptorily the sacerdotal element in the Bible, forgetting how it moulded the form of the history. He certainly separates the Mosaic institutions from Egyptian affinity more than our Spencer and Warburton would permit; more, it sooms, than Hongstenberg considers necessary. But the distinctively Mosaic
is with him, not the ritual, but the spiritual, which generated the other, but was overlaid by it. Moses, he thinks, would gladly have founded a free religious society, in which the primitive tables written by the Divine finger on man's heart should have been law but the rudeness or hardness of his people's heart compelled him to a sacerdotal system and formal tablets of stone. In favour of this view, it may be remarked, that the tone of some passages in Exodus appears less sacerdotal than that of later books in the Pentateuch. But, be this as it may, the truly Mosaic (according to our audior) is not the Judaic, but the essentially human; and it is not the Semitic form, often divergent from our modes of conception, but the eternal truths of a righteous God, and of the spiritual sacrifices with which He is pleased, that we ought to recognise as most characteristic of the Bible, and these truths the same Spirit which spoke of old speaks, through all variety of phrase, in ourselves.
That there was a Bible before our Bible, and that some of our present books, as certainly Genesis and Joshua, and perhaps Job, Jonah, Daniel, are expanded from simpler elements, is indicated in the book befbre us rather than proved as it might be. Fuller details may be expected in the course of the revised Bible for the People,(1) that grand enterprise of which three parts have now appeared. So far as it has gone, some amended renderings have interest, but are less important than the survey of the whole subject in the Introduction. The word JEHOVAH has its deep signiftennce brought out by being rendered THE ETERNAL. The famious Shiloh (Gen. xlix. 10) is taken in its local sense, as the sanuctuary where the young Samuel was trained, which, if doctrinal perversions did not interfere, hardly any one would doubt to be
1. Bibel-werk fur die Gemeinde. I. and II. Leipzig. 1858.
the true sense. The three opening verses of Genesis are treated as side-clauses (when God created, &c.), so that the first direct utterance of the Bible is in the fourth verse, 'God said, LET THERE BE LIGHT' Striking as this is, the Hebrew permits, rather than requires it. Less admissible is the division after verse 4 of the 2nd chapter, as if 'This is the history' was a summary of what precedes, instead of an announcement of what follows, But the 1st verse of the 2nd chapter belongs properly to the preceding. Sometimes the translator seems right in substance but wrong in detail. He rightly rejects the perversions which make the cursing Psalms evangelically inspired - but he forgets that the bitterest curses of Psalm 209 (from verse 6 to 19) are not the Psalmist's own, but a speech in the mouth of his adversary. These are trifles, when compared with the mass of information, and the manner of wielding it, in the prefaces to the work. There is a grasp of materials and a breadth of view from which the most practised theologian may learn something, and persons least versed in Biblical studies acquire a comprohensive idea of them. Nothing can be more dishonest than the affectation of contempt with which some English crities endeavoured to receive this instalment of a glorious work. To sneer at demonstrated criticisms as 'old,' and to brand fresh discoveries as 'new', is worthy of men who neither understand the Old Testament nor love the New. But they to whom the Bible is dear for the truth's sake will wish its illustrious translator life to accomplish a task as worthy of a Christian statesman's retirement as the Tusculans of Cicero were of the representative of Rome's lost freedom.
Already in the volume before-mentioned Baron Bunsen hass exhibited the Hebrew Prophets as witnesses to the Divine Government. To estimate aright his services a this province would require from most Englishmen years of study. Accustomed to be told that modern
history is expressed by the Prophets in a riddle which requires only a key to it, they are disappointed to hear of moral lessons, however important. Such notions are the inheritance of days when Justin could argue, in good faith, that by the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria were intended the Magi and their gifts, and that the King of Assyria signified King Herod(!);(1) or when Jerome could say, 'No one doubts that by Chaldeans are meant Demons,' and the Shunemmite Abishag could be no other than heavenly wisdom, foy the honour of David's old age(3) - not to mention such things as Lot's daughters symbolizing the Jewish and Gentile Churches.(4) It was truly felt by the early fathers that Hebrew prophecy tended to a system more spiritual than that of Levi; and they argued unansworably that circumcision and the Sabbath(5) were symbols for a time, or means to end. But when, instead of using the letter as an instrument of the spirit, they began to accept the letter in all its parts as their law, and twisted it into harmony with the details of Gospel history, they fell into in-
1. Isaiah viii. 4. Trypho 77, 8, 9. Well might Trypho answer, that
such interpretations are strained, if not blasphemous.
2. On Isaiah xliii. 14-15, and again, on ch. xlviii 12-16. He also shows on xlviii. 22, that the Jews of that day had not lost the historical sense of their prophecies; though mystical renderings had already shown themselves. But the later mysticists charitably prayed for HILLEL, because his expositions had been historical (See Pearson a Notes on Art, iii.) When will our mysticists show as Christian a temper as the Jewish ones?
Condonet Dominus hoc R. Hillel!
3. To Nepotian. Letter 52.
4. Presbyteri apud Irenaeum.
5. Trypho 41-43. This tract of Justin's shows strikingly a transition from the utmost, evangelical freedom, with simplicity of thought, to a more learned, but confused speculation and literalism. He still thinks reasons revelation, Socrates a Christian, prophecy a necessary and perpetual gift of God's people, circumcision temporary, because not natural; and lustral washings, which he contrasts with mental baptism, superstitions. His view of the Sabbath is quite St. Paul's. His making a millennial resurrection the Christian doctrine, as opposed to the heathen immortality of the soul, is embarrassing, but perhaps primitive. But his Scriptural interpretations are dreams, and his charge against the Jews of corrupting the Prophets as suicidal as it is groundless.
its necessify. Coleridge, in a suggestive letters preserved in the memoirs of Cary, the translator of Dante, throw secular prognostication altogether out of the idea of prophecy.(1) Dr. Arnold, and his truest followers, bear, not always consistently, on the same side. On the other hand, the declamatory assertions so easy in pulpits or on platforms, and aided sometimes by powers, which produce silence rather than conviction, have not only kept alive but magnified with uncritical exaggeration, whatever the Fathers had dreamt or modern rhetoric could add, tending to make prophecy miraculous. Keith's edition of Newton need not be here discussed. Davison, of Oriel, with admirable skill, threw his argument into a series as it were of hypothetical syllogisms, with only the defect (which some readers overlook) that his minor premise can hardly in a single instance be proved. Yet the stress which he lays on the moral element of prophecy atones for his sophistry as regards the predictive. On the whole, even in England, there is a wide gulf between the arguments of our genuine critics, with the convictions of our most learned clergy, on the one side, and the assumptions of popular declamation on the other. This may be seen on a comparison of Kidder with Keith.(2) But in Germany there has
Notes, by Lowth, Blayney, Newcome, Wintle, Horsley, &c. London.
1836. A book unequal, but useful for went of a better, and of which a
revision, if not an entire recast, with the aid of recent expositors, might
employ our Biblical scholars.
1. 'Of prophecies in the sense of prognostication I utterly deny that is any instance delivered by one of the illustrious Diadoche, whom the Jewish church comprised in the name Prophets - and I shall regard Cyrus as an exception, when I believe the 137th Psahn to have been composed by David. . . . .
Nay, I will go farther, and assert that the contrary belief, the hypotheis of prognostication, is in irreconcileable oppugnancy to our Lord's declaration, that the times hath the Father reserved to Himself.'- Memoir of Cary, vol. ii. p. 180.
2. Amongst recent authors, Dr. Palfkey, an American scholar, has expounded in five learned volumes the difficulties in current traditions about prophecy; but instead of remedying these by restricting the idea of revelation
been a pathway streaming with light, from Eichhorn to Ewald, aided by the poetical penetration of Herder and the philological researches of Gesenius, throughout which the value of the moral element in prophecy has been progressively raised, and that of the directly predictive, whether secular or Messianic, has been lowered. Even the conservatism of Jahn amongst Bomanists, and of Hengstenberg amongst Protestants, is free and rational, compared to what is often in this country required with denunciation, but seldom defended by argument.
To this inheritance of opinion Baron Bunsen succeeds. Knowing these things, and writing for men who know them, he has neither the advantage in
to Moses and the Gospels, he would have done better to seek a
definition of revelation which should apply to the Psalms, and Prophets, and
Mr.Franois Newman, in his Hebrew Monarchy, is historically consistent in his expositions, which have not been controverted by any serious argument; but his mind seems to fail in the Ideal element; else he would see, that the typical ideas (of patience or of glory) in the Old Testament, find their cuhninating fulament in the New.
Mr. Mansel's Bampton Lectures must make even those who value his argument, regret that to his acknowledged dialectical ability he has not added the rudiments of Biblical criticism. In all his volume not one text of Scripture is elucidated, nor a single difficulty in the evidences of Christianity removed. Recognised mistranslations, and missreadings, are alleged as arguments, and passages from the Old Testament are employed without reference to the illustration, or inversion, which they have received in the New. Hence, as the existic arts of logic without knowledge of the subject., matter become powerless, the author is a mere gladiator hitting in the dark, and his blows fall heaviest on what it was his duty to defend. As to his main argument (surely a strange parody of Butler), the sentenee from Sir W. Hamilton prefixed to his volume, seems to me its gem, and its confutation. Of the reasoning, which would bias our interpretation of Isaiah, by telling us Feuerbach was an atheist, I need not say a ward.
We are promised from Oxford farther elucidations of the Minor Prophets by the Regius Professor of Hebrew, whose book seems launched suficiently to catch the gales of friendship, without yet tempting out of harbour the blasts of criticism. Let us hope that, when the work appears, its interpretations may differ from: those of a Catena Aurea, published under high auspices in the same university, in which the narrative of Uriah the Hittite is improved by making David represent Christ, and Uriah symbolize the devil so that the grievous crime which 'displeased the Lord,' becomes a typical prophecy of Him who was harmless and undefiled!
argument of unique knowledge, nor of unique ignorance. He dare not say, though it was formerly said, that David foretold the exile, because it is mentioned in the Psalms. He cannot quote Nahum denouncing ruin against Nineveh, or Jeremiah against Tyre, without remembering that already the Babylonian power threw its shadow across Asia, and Nebuchadnezzar was mustering his armies. If he would quote the book of Isaiah, he cannot conceal, after Gesonius, Ewald, and Maurer have written, that the book is composed of elements of diferent cras. Finding Perso-Babylonian, or new-coined words, such as sagans for officers, and Chaldaic forms of the Hebrew verb, such as Apkel for Hiphil, in certain portions, and observing that the political horizon of these portions is that of the sixth century, while that of the elder or more purely Hebraic portions belonged to the eighth, he must accept a theory of authorship and of prediction, modified accordingly. So, if under the head of Zechariah he finds three distinct styles and aspects of affairs, he must acknowledge so much, whether he is right or wrong in conjecturing the elder Zechariah of the age of Isaiah to have written the second portion, and Uriah in Jeremiah's age the third. If he would quote Micah, as designating Bethlehem for the birthplace of the Messiah, he cannot shut his eyes to the fact, that the Deliverer to come from thence was to be a contemporary shield against the Assyrian. If he would follow Pearson in quoting the second Psalm, Thou art my son; he knows that Hebrew idiom convinced even Jerome(1) the true rendering was, worship purely. He may read in Psalm xxxiv. that, 'not a bone of the righteous shall be broken,' but he must feel a difficulty in detaching this from the context, so
Cavillater . . . . quod posuerim, . . . . Adorate pure . . . . ne violentus viderer interpres, et Jud. locum darem. - Hieron. c. Ruffin. 19.
as to make it a prophecy of the crucifixion. If he. accepts mere versions of Psalm xxii. 17, he may wonder how 'piercing the hands and the feet' can fit into the whole passage; but if he prefers the most ancient Hebrew reading, he finds, instead of 'piercing' the comparison 'like a lion,' and this corresponds sufficiently with the 'dogs' of the first clause - though a morally certain emendation would make the parallel more perfect by reading the word ' lions' in both clauses.(1) In either case, the staring monsters are intended, by whom Israelis surrounded and torn. Again he has in Hosea that the Lord loved Israel when he was young, and called him out of Egypt to be his son; but he must feel, with Bishop Kidder, that such a citation is rather accommodated to the flight of Joseph into Egypt, than a prediction to be a ground. of argument. Fresh from the services of Christmas, he may sincerely exclaim, Unto us a child is born; but he knows that the Hebrew translated Mighty God, is at least disputable, that perhaps it means only Strong and Mighty One, Father of an Age; and he can never listen to any one who pretends that the Maiden's Child of Isaiah vii. 16, was not to be born in the reign of Aham, as a sign against the Kings Pekah and Rezin. In the case of Daniel, he may doubt whether all parts of the book are of one age, or what is the starting point of the seventy weeks; but two results are clear beyond fair doubt, that the period of weeks ended in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, and that those portions of the book, supposed to be specially predictive, are a history of past occurrences up to that reign. When so vast an induction on the destructive side has been gone through, it avails little that some passages may be doubtful, one perhaps in Zechariah, and one in Isaiah, capable of being made
directly Messianic, and a chapter possibly in Deuteronomy foreshadowing the final fall of Jerusalem. Even these few cases, the remnant of so much confident rhetoric, tend to melt, if they are not already melted, in the crucible of searching inquiry. If our German had ignored all that the masters of philology have proved on these subjects, his countrymen would have raised a storm. of ridicule, at which he must have drowned himself in the Neckar.
Great then is Baron Bunson's merit, in accepting frankly the belief of scholars, and yet not despairing of Hebrew Prophecy as a witness to the kingdom of God. The way of doing so left open to him, was to show, pervading the Prophets, those deep truths which lie at the heart of Christianity, and to trace the growth of such ideas, the belief in a righteous God, and the nearness of man to God, the power of prayer, and the victory of self-sacrificing patience, ever expanding in men's hearts, until the fedness of time came, and the ideal of the Divine thought was fulfilled in the Son of Alan. Such accordingly is the course our author pursues, not with the critical finish of Ewald, but with large moral grasp. Why he should add to his moral and metaphysical basis of prophecy, a notion of foresight by vision of particulars, or a kind of clairvoyance, though he admits it to be a natural gift, consistent with fallibility, is not so easy to explain. One would wish he might have intended only the power of seeing the ideal in the actual, or of tracing the Divine Government in the movements of men. He seems to mean more than presentiment or
sagacity; and this element in his system requires proof.
The most brilliant portion of the prophetical essays is the treatment of the later Isaiah, With the insertion of four chapters concerning Hezekiah from the histories of the kings, the words and deeds of the elder Isaiah apparently close. It does not follow that all the prophecies arranged earlier in the book are from his lips; probaby they are not; but it is clear to demonstration,(1) that the later chapters (xl, &c.,) are upon the stooping of Nebo, and the bowing down of Babylon, when the Lord took out of the hand of Jerusalem the cup of trembling; for the glad tidings of the decree of return were heard upon the mountains, and the people went forth, not with haste or flight, for their God went before them, and was their rereward (ch. lii). So they went forth with joy, and were led forth with peace (ch. liv). So the arm of the Lord was laid bare, and his servant who had foretold it was now counted wise, though none had believed his report. We cannot take a portion out of this continuous song, and by dividing it as a chapter, separate its primary meaning from what precedes and follows. The servant in chapters lii. and liii. must have relation to the servant in chapters xlii and xlix. Who was this servant, that had foretold the exile and the return, and had been a man of grief, rejected of his people, imprisoned and treated as a malefactor? The oldest Jewish tradition, preserved in Origen,(2) and to be inferred from Justin,(3) said the chosen people - in opposition to heathen oppressors - an opinion which suits ch. xlix, ver. 3. Nor is the(4) later
1. To prove this, let any one read Jerome's arguments against it; if the
sacred text itself he not sufficient proof 'Go ye forth of Babylon,' &c.,
ch. xlviii, 20.
2. C. Celsium., i. 55, (Quoted by Pearson.)
3. For, in making the Gentiles mean Proselytes, they must have made the servant Israel [hebrew text deleted] Trypho, 122,
4. Later, because it implies the fall of Jerusalem. It is thought to have
exposition of the Targum altogether at variance for though Jonathan speaks of the Messiah, it is in the character of a Judaic deliverer: and his expressions about 'the holy people's being multiplied,' and seeing their sanctuary rebuilt, especially when he calls the holy people a remnant, ma,y be fragments of a trads tion older than his time, It is idle, with Pearson? to quote Jonatha.n as a witness to the Christian inter. pretation, unless his conception of the M.essiah were ours. But the idea of the Anointed One, which is some of the Psalms belongs to Israel, shifted from time to time, being applied now to people, and now to ling or prophet, until at length it assumed a sterner form, as the Jewish spirit was hardened by persecutions into a more vindicative hope. The Arst Jewish expositor who loosened, without breaking R.abbinical fetters, R., Saadia,h, in the 9th century, named Jeremiah as the man of grief, and emphatically the prophet of the return, rgiected of his people. Grotius, with his usual sagacity, divined the same clue; though Michaelis says upon it, pecimb Grolius. Baron Bunsen puts together, with masterly analysis, the illustrative passages of Jeremiah - and it is difUon1t to resist the conclusion to whi they tend. Jeremiah compares his whole people to sheep going astra.y,' a.nd himself to ' a lamb or an ox, brought to the slaughter." He was taken from prison 6 and
past epoch are left to be deciphered by the advancing light of learning and science, - the spirit of faith discovers continually increasing attestation of the Divine authority of the truths they include.
The 'reason of the hope that is in us' is not restricted to external signs, nor to any one kind of evidence, but consists of such assurance as may be most satisfactory to each earnest individual inquirer's own mind. And the true acceptance of the entire revealed manifestation of Christianity will be most worthily and satisfactorily based on that assurance of 'faith,' by which the Apostle affirms 'we stand' (2 Cor. ii 24), and which, in accordance with his emphatic declaration, must rest, 'not in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. (I Cor. ii. 5.)
SEANCES HISTORIQUES DE GENEVE-
THE NATIONAL CHURCH.
IN the city of Geneva, once the stronghold of the severest creed of the Reformation, Christianity itself has of late years received some very rude shocks. But special attempts have been recently made to counteract their effects and to re-organize the Christian congregations upon Evangelical principles. In pursuance of this design, there have been delivered and published during the last few years a series of addresses by distinguished persons holding Evangehcal sentiments, entitled Seances Historiques. The attention of the hearers was to be conciliated by the concrete form of these discourses ; the phenomenon of the historical Christianity to be presented as a fact which could not be ignored, and which must be acknowledged to have had some special source; while, from time to time, as occasion offered, the more peculiar views of the speakers were to be instilled. But before this panorama of historic scenes was advanced beyond the period of the fall of heathenism in the West, there had emerged a remarkable discrepancy between the views of two of the authors, otherwise agreeing in the main.
It fell to the Cornte Leon de Gasparin to illustrate the reign of Constantine. He laid it down in the strongest manner, that the individualist principle supplies the true basis of the church, and that by inaugurating the union between Church and State
not that he did not pay attention to the parts. Butler's eminence over his contemporary apologists is seen in nothing more than in that superior sagacity which relects the use of any plea that is not entitled to consideration singly. In the other evidential books of the time we find a miscellaneous crowd of sugges- of very various value; never fanciful, but often trivial; undeniable, but weak as proof of the point they are brought to prove. Butler seems as if he had sifted these hooks, and retained all that was solid in them. If he built with brick, and not with marble, it was because he was not thinking of reputation, but of utility, and an immediate purpose. Mackintosh wished Butler had bad the elegance and ornament of Berkeley. They would have been sadly out of place. There was not a spark of the littleness of literary ambition about him. There was a certain naturalness in Butler's mind, which took him straight to the questions on winch men differed around him. Generally it is safer to prove what no one denies, and easier to explain difficulties which no one has ever felt. A quiet reputation is best obtained in the literary quaestiunculae of important subjects. But a simple and straightforward man studies great topics because he feels a want of the knowledge which, they contain. He goes straight to the real doubts and fundamental discrepancies, to those on which it is easy to excite odium, and difficult to give satisfaction ; he leaves to others the amusing skirmishing and superficial literature accessory to such studies. Thus there is nothing light in Butler, all is grave and serious, and essential; nothing else would be characteristic of him (Bagehot, Estimates, &c., p. 189.) Though he has rifled their books he makes no display of reading. In the Analogy he never names the author he is answering. In the Sermons he quotes, directly, only Hobbes, Shaftesbury, Wollaston, Rochefoucauld, and Fenelon. From his writings we should infer that his reading was not pro-