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FRQM-THE- LIBRARY-OP 
TRINITYCOLLEGETORDNTO 


AIDS    TO    FAITH; 


A    SEEIES    OF    THEOLOGICAL    ESSAYS, 


BY  SEVERAL  WRITERS. 


EDITED 

BY  WILLIAM    THOMSON,   D.D., 
LOED  AECHBISHOP  OF  YOEK. 


T11IRT)  EDITION. 


LONDON: 
JOHN    MURRAY,   ALBEMARLE   STREET. 

1870. 

Tlu  right  of  Translation  it  resented. 


\87o 


UNIFORM     WITH     THE     PRESENT    VOLUME. 


PRIN'CIl'LES  AT  STAKE.  ESSAYS  ON  CHURCH  OUF.STIONS  OF 
im.  DAY.  By  various  Writers.  Edited  by  GEORGE  IIKNRV 
SUMNER,  M.A.,  Rector  of  Old  Alresford,  Hants.  Second  Edition, 
Svo.,  I2.f. 

I.     Ritualism  and  Uniformity.   BENJAMIN  SHAW,  M.  A.,  late  Fellow  of  Trinity  College, 
Cambridge. 

II.  Increase  of  t lie  Episcopate  oj  the  Church  of  England.  LORD  ARTHUR  HEKVEV, 
.M.A.,  Lord  Bishop  of  Hath  and  Wells. 

III.  Powers  and  Duties  of  tlte  Priesthood.  R.  PAYNE  SMITH,  D.D.,  Canon  of  Christ 
Church,  and  Regius  Professor  of  Divinity  at  Oxford. 

IY.     National  Education.     ALEXANDER  R.  GRANT,  M.A.,  Rector  of  Hitcham,  Suffolk. 

Y.  Doctrine  of  the  Eucharist,  considered  in  connection  with  Statements  recently  put 
forth  respecting  that  Holy  Sacrament.  THE  KDITOR. 

YI.     Serif-tare  and  Ritual.     T.    1).   BERNARD,  M.A.,  Rector  of  \Yalcot,  ami    Canon  of 

Wells. 
Yll.       'Hie  Church  in  South  Africa.      AliTHfR   MILLS,   M.A.,  of  Halliol  College.  Oxford. 

YIII.     Schismatical  Tendency  of  Ritualism.     GEORGE  SALMON,  I ).  I).,  Regius  Professor  of 
Divinity  in  the  I'niverMty  of  Dublin. 

IX.  Revisions  of  the  Liturgy  considered  in  their  bearing:  on  Ritualism.  W.  G.  Hu.M- 
I'HKV,  l"l.  I ) .,  Vicar  of  St.  Martin-in-the-Fields,  late  Fellow  of  Trinity  College, 
Cambridge. 

X.     Parties  and  Tarty  Spirit.     JOHN  SAUL  Howsox,  D.D.,  Dean  of  Chester. 


THE   CHURCH    AND   THE    AGE.      A   SF.RIF.S   OF    ESSAYS   ox 

T1IK       PRINCIPLES       AMI       PRESENT       POSITION       OF       TIIK       ANOI.ICAN 

Cut-urn.       INDITED    liY    RI-'A".    ARCIIIIiALI)    WIOIR.    D.CI,,    and 
REV.  \VIEE1AM    DAERVMI'EE  MACI.ACA.X,    M.A.     Svo. 

Introduction.      DEAN  01-  CiuriiF.sTER. 

I.  Fra&i-ss  and  Direction  of  Modern  Thought.    BISHOP  OK  GLOITKSTER  AND  HRIS-IMI. 

II.  '/'/«•  State,  the  Church,  and  the  Synods  of  the  l-'uture.      Rev.  W.  J.  IKONS,  I ).  I ). 

III.  Religious  Use  of  Taste.     Rev.  R.  ST.  JOHN  TYKWHITT. 

IV.  Place  of  the  Laity  in  Cliurch  Government.      Professor  MONTAC;H    BI:KI:OWS. 

V.  Private  L.ife  and  Ministrations  of  the  Parish  Priest.     Rev.  W  \LSII.\M   IIuu 

VI.  Anglican  Divines  of  the  \dth  and  i7th  Centuries.     Rev.  A.  W.  II  \DD.\N 

Yll.  Liturgies  and  Ritual.     Rev.  M.   F.  SADLER. 

VIII.  Indian  Missions.     Sir  BARTLE  FKERE. 

IX.  The  Church  and  Education.     Rev.  ALFRED  KAKKY,  D.I  I. 

X.  The  Church  and  the  People.      Rev.  W.   I).  MACI.AIIAN. 

XI.  Conciliation  and  Comprehension:    Charity  within  the  CliurJ,  ,,nd  l;-yonJ.     Rev. 
AK>  HIHALU  WF-:IR,  D.C .  L. 


PREFACE. 


THE  Essays  in  this  volume  are  intended  to  offer  aid 
to  those  whose  faith  may  have  been  shaken  by  recent 
assaults.  The  writers  do  not  pretend  to  have  exhausted 
subjects  so  vast  and  so  important,  within  the  compass 
of  a  few  pages ;  but  they  desire  to  set  forth  their 
reasons  for  believing  the  Bible,  out  of  which  they  teach, 
to  be  the  inspired  Word  of  God,  and  for  exhorting 
others  still  to  cherish  it  as  the  only  message  of  salva 
tion  from  G-od  to  man.  They  hope  that  these  Essays 
may  be,  to  those  whose  attention  they  can  secure, 
incentives  to  further  thought  and  reading.  They  have 
avoided  rather  than  sought  direct  controversy.  They 
have  excluded  personality  ;  they  have  not  spoken  with 
undue  harshness  of  the  views  they  have  been  forced  to 
oppose. 

For  the  choice  of  contributors  and  the  arrangement 
of  subjects  the  Editor  is  responsible.  Most  of  the 
writers  gave  their  names  without  knowing  those 
of  their  coadjutors ;  and  not  one  of  them,  but  the 
Editor,  has  seen  all  the  Essays  up  to  the  day  of  publica 
tion.  Each  has  written  independently,  without  any 
editorial  interference,  beyond  a  few  hints  to  prevent 
omissions  and  repetitions,  such  as  must  arise  when 
several  writers  work  without  concert. 


iv  THE  FACE. 

On  the  withdrawal  of  one  of  the  contributors,  Dr. 
McCaul  most  kindly  undertook  a  second  paper,  at  a 
short  notice.  No  one  has  a  better  claim  to  be  heard 
on  the  important  subjects  that  have  been  confided  to 
him. 

Professor  Mansel  lent  much  valuable  aid  to  the 
Editor  in  an  unexpected  increase  of  labour. 

This  volume  is  humbly  offered  to  the  Great  Head  of 
the  Church,  as  one  attempt  among  many  to  keep  men 
true  to  Him  in  a  time  of  much  doubt  and  trial.  Under 
His  protection,  His  people  need  not  be  afraid.  The 
old  difficulties  and  objections  are  revived  ;  but  they  will 
meet  in  one  way  or  another  the  old  defeat.  While 
the  world  lasts  sceptical  books  will  be  written  and 
answered,  and  the  books,  perhaps,  and  the  answers  alike 
forgotten.  But  the  Rock  of  Ages  shall  stand  unchange 
able  ;  and  men,  worn  with  a  sense  of  sin,  shall  still  find 
rest  "  under  the  shadow  of  a  great  rock  in  a  weary 
land." 

W.  G.  &  B. 

1861. 


CONTENTS. 


PAGE 

I.— ON  MIRACLES  AS  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTANITY         ..         1 
H.  L.  MANSEL,  B.D.,  Dean  of  St.  Paul's. 

II. — ON    THE    STUDY    OP    THE    EVIDENCES    OP    CHRIS 
TIANITY        43 

WILLIAM  FITZGERALD,  D.D.,  Lord  Bishop  of  Cork, 
Cloyne  and  Ross. 

III.— PROPHECY 81 

A.  MoCAUL,  D.D.,  late  Professor  of  Hebrew  and  Old 
Testament  Exegesis,  King's  College,  London,  and 
Prebendary  of  St.  Paul's. 

IV.— IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION      133 

F.  C.  COOK,  M.A.,  Canon  of  Exeter,  Preacher  at  Lincoln's 
Inn,  and  Examining  Chaplain  to  the  Bishop  of 
Lincoln. 

V.— THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION 189 

A.  McCxuL,  D.D.,  late  Professor  of  Hebrew  and  Old 
Testament  Exegesis,  King's  College,  London,  and 
Prebendary  of  St.  Paul's. 

VI.— ON  THE  GENUINENESS  AND  AUTHENTICITY  OF  THE 

PENTATEUCH 237 

GEORGE  RAWLINSON,  M.A.,  Camdeu  Professor  of  Ancient 
History,  Oxford,  and  late  Fellow  arid  Tutor  of 
Exeter  College. 

VIL— INSPIRATION     287 

EDWARD  HAROLD  BROWNE,  D.D.,  Lord  Bishop  of  Ely. 

VIII.— THE  DEATH  OF  CHRIST      325 

WILLIAM  THOMSON,  D.D.,  Lord  Archbishop  of  York. 

IX.— SCRIPTURE,  AND  ITS  INTERPRETATION 371 

CHARLES  JOHN  ELLICOTT,  D.D.,  Lord  Bishop  of  Glouces 
ter  and  Bristol. 


ON  MIRACLES  AS  EVIDENCES  OF 
CHRISTIANITY. 


ADDITIONAL  NOTES. 

Page  8. — t  Butler,  '  Analogy,'  Part  ii.,  Ch.  2.  "  Supposing  it  acknowledged 
that  our  Saviour  spent  some  years  in  a  course  of  working  miracles,  there  is 
no  more  i  resumption,  worth  mentioning,  against  His  having  exerted  this 
miraculous  power  in  a  certain  degree  greater,  than  in  a  certain  degree  less ;  in 
one  or  two  more  instances,  than  in  one  or  two  fewer." 

Page  16. — t  Compare  the  language  of  Julius  Miiller, '  De  Miraculorum  Jesu 
Christi  Natura  et  Necessitate,'  Pars  i.,  p.  23.  "  1'ropter  id  ipsuin  ilia  est 
naturae  lex.  quod  naturae  viribus  modum  et  regulam  agcndi  ponit,  neque  si 
quaj  sunt  vires  superiores,  cum  iisdem  quidquam  rei  ipsi  est.  Quaa  cum  ita 
sint,  violari  vel  suspendi  miraculo  nature  legein  nullus  dieere  poterit,  nisi  qui 
natuise  viribus  illud  eflici  opinetur." 


CONTENTS  OF  ESSAY  I. 


1.  INTRODUCTION— A  belief  in  the  re 

ality  of  miracles  is  indispensable 
to  Christianity. 

2.  Miracles  belong  to  the  moral   as 

well  as  to  the  sensible  evidences 
of  Christianity,  and  are  part  of  its 
essential  doctrines,  not  merely  of 
its  external  accessories. 

3.  Fallacy  of  the  argument  from  the 

disbelief  in  reported  miracles  of 
the  present  day  :  this  argument 
not  applicable  to  the  miracles 
of  Christ. 

4.  Testimony  how  far  able  to  prove  a 

miracle  as  such  :  the  proof  of 
one  miracle  removes  the  antece 
dent  presumption  against  others 
of  the  same  series. 

5.  Connection  between  the  miracles 

of  the  Old  Testament  and  those 
of  the  New. 

6.  Amount  of  testimony  in  support  of 

the  Christian  miracles. 

7.  Fitness  of  the  miracles  as  accom 

paniments  of  man's  redemption. 

8.  Statement  of  the  question   as   re 

lated  to  modern  science. 

9.  Position  of  miracles  with  reference 

to  the  empirical  laws  of  matter. 

10.  Supposed  objection  against  mira 

cles  from  the  uniformity  of  nature 
— Hume's  argument  not  strength 
ened  by  the  subsequent  progress 
of  science 

1 1 .  Advance  of  physical  science  tends 

to  increase  our  conviction  of  the 
supernatural  character  of  the 
Christian  miracles. 

12.  Difference,  as  regards  science,  be 

tween  physical  phenomena  and 
works  done  by  human  agency. 

13.  Final   alternative  necessitated  by 

scientific  progress. 

14.  Refutation  of   Hume's  argument: 

a  miracle  is  not  properly  a  vio 
lation  of  the  laws  of  nature, 
but  the  introduction  of  a  special 
cause. 

If).  Introduction  of  special  causes  is 
not  incredible  —  Objection  from 
tin;  supposed  necessary  relations 
of  natural  forces  to  each  other. 

10.  Exception  to  this  necessity  in  the 
case  of  the  human  will  - —  Exten 
sion  of  the  argument  from  the 
human  will  to  the  Diviue. 


17. 


18. 


True  conception  of  a  miracle  as  the 
interposition  of  a  superhuman 
will — Relation  of  this  superhuman 
will  to  the  conception  of  nature, 
active  and  passive,  and  to  that  of 
law. 

Position  of  miracles  with  reference 
to  our  conceptions  of  God's  nature 
and  attributes  —  Limits  within 

,  which  this  question  must  he  dis 
cussed  —  Form  which  it  assumes 
in  relation  to  miracles. 

Man's  conception  of  God  is  derived 
from  mind,  not  from  matter. 

Conceptions  of  law,  and  order,  and 
causation,  are  borrowed  by  mate 
rial  from  mental  science. 

God  is  necessarily  conceived  as  a 
Person,  and  as  related  to  the 
personal  soul  of  man. 

Nature  conceal*  God :  man  reveal f 
God. 

Consequences  of  the  above  prin 
ciples  :  miracles  must  be  judged, 
not  merely  from  physical,  but 
also  from  moral  and  religious 
grounds,  and  their  probability 
estimated  by  that  of  a  revelation 
being  given  at  all. 

The  possibility  of  miracles  follows 
from  the  belief  in  a  personal  God. 

Evidential  value  of  miracles — Er 
roneous  views  on  this  point  — 
Miracles  how  far  objects,  how  far 
evidences  of  faith. 

Miracles  and  doctrines,  their  rela 
tion  to  each  other  —  Negative 
character  of  the  doctrinal  crite 
rion  :  its  relation  to  the  question 
whether  miracles  have  been 
wrought  at  all. 

Agency  of  evil  spirits  is  practically 
excluded  from  the  question  : 
practical  question  is  between  a 
Divine  and  a  human  origin  of 
Christianity,  as  regards  the  au 
thority  due  to  each. 

Theoretical  authority  of  miracles 
as  evidences  of  doctrines. 

Practical  extension  of  this  autho 
rity  —  Doctrines  of  natural  reli 
gion  may  practically  be  proved 
by  miracles,  and  have  actually 
been  so. 

Principle  on  which  the  evidential 
value  of  miracles  depends. 

Conclusion. 


ON  MIRACLES 

AS    EVIDENCES    OF    CHRISTIANITY. 


1.  WHAT  is  the  exact  position  of  Miracles  among  the  Evidences 
of  Christianity,  is  a  question  which  may  be  differently  answered 
by  different  believers,  without  prejudice  to  their  common  belief. 
It  has  pleased  the  Divine  Author  of  the  Christian  religion  to 
fortify  His  revelation  with  evidences  of  various  kinds,  appealing 
with  different  degrees  of  force  to  different  minds,  and  even  to  the 
same  mind  at  different  times.  The  grounds  of  belief  consisting, 
not  in  a  single  demonstration,  but  in  an  accumulation  of  many 
probabilities,  there  is  room,  in  the  evidences  as  in  the  doctrines 
of  Christianity,  for  special  adaptations  of  different  portions  to  dif 
ferent  minds ;  nor  can  such  adaptation  be  regarded  as  matter  of 
regret  or  censure,  so  long  as  the  personal  preference  of  certain 
portions  does  not  involve  the  rejection  of  the  remainder. 

The  question,  however,  assumes  a  very  different  character 
when  it  relates,  not  to  the  comparative  importance  of  miracles 
as  evidences,  but  to  their  reality  as  facts,  and  as  facts  of  a  super 
natural  kind.  For  if  this  is  denied,  the  denial  does  not  merely 
remove  one  of  the  supports  of  a  faith  which  may  yet  rest  securely 
on  other  grounds.  On  the  contrary,  the  whole  system  of  Chris 
tian  belief  with  its  evidences,  the  moral  no  less  than  the  intel 
lectual  influences,  the  precept  and  example  for  the  future  no  less 
than  the  history  of  the  past, — all  Christianity  in  short,  so  far  as 
it  has  any  title  to  that  name,  so  far  as  it  has  any  special  relation 
to  the  person  or  the  teaching  of  Christ,  is  overthrown  at  the  same 
time. 

2.  For  this  question  must  be  considered,  not  merely,  as  is  too 
often  done,  in  relation  to  a  purely  hypothetical  case,  to  a  sup 
position  of  possible  means  by  which  the  Christian  religion  might, 
had  it  so  pleased  God,  have  been  introduced  into  the  world 
otherwise  than  it  was ;  but  in  relation  to  the  actual  means  by 
which  it  was  introduced,  to  the  teaching  and  practice  of  Christ 
and  His  Apostles,  as  they  are  portrayed  in  the  only  records 

B  2 


4  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

from  which  we  can  learn  anything  about  them.  Whether  the 
doctrinal  truths  of  Christianity  could  or  could  not  have  been 
propagated  among  men  by  moral  evidence  alone,  without  any 
miraculous  accompaniments,  it  is  at  least  certain  that  such  was 
not  the  manner  in  which  they  actually  were  propagated,  accord 
ing  to  the  narrative  of  Scripture.  If  our  Lord  not  only  did 
works  apparently  surpassing  human  power,  but  likewise  ex 
pressly  declared  that  He  did  those  works  by  the  power  of  God, 
and  in  witness  that  the  Father  had  sent  Him  ; — if  the  Apostles 
not  only  wrought  works  of  a  similar  kind  to  those  of  their 
Master,  but  also  expressly  declared  that  they  did  so  in  His  name, 
the  miracles,  as  thus  interpreted  by  those  who  wrought  them, 
become  part  of  the  moral  as  well  as  the  sensible  evidences  of 
the  religion  which  they  taught,  and  cannot  be  denied  without 
destroying  both  kinds  of  evidence  alike.  "  That  ye  may  know 
that  the  Son  of  Man  hath  power  upon  earth  to  forgive  sins,  I 
say  unto  thee,  Arise,  and  take  up  thy  couch,  and  go  unto  thine 
house  :  "  "  If  I  with  the  finger  of  God  cast  out  devils,  no  doubt 
the  kingdom  of  God  is  come  upon  you :"  "  By  the  name  of  Jesus 
Christ  of  Nazareth,  whom  ye  crucified,  whom  God  raised  from  the 
dead,  even  by  Him  doth  this  man  stand  here  before  you  whole :  "- 
let  us  imagine  for  an  instant  such  words  as  these  to  have  been 
uttered  by  one  who  was  merely  employing  a  superior  know 
ledge  of  natural  laws  to  produce  a  false  appearance  of  superna 
tural  power  ;  by  an  astronomer,  for  instance,  who  had  predicted 
an  eclipse  to  a  crowd  of  savages,  or  by  a  chemist,  availing  him 
self  of  his  science  to  exhibit  relative  miracles  to  an  ignorant 
people, — and  we  shall  feel  at  once  how  even  the  most  plausible 
of  the  natural  explanations  of  miraculous  phenomena  deals  the 
deathblow  to  the  moral  character  of  the  teacher,  no  less  than  to 
the  sensible  evidence  of  his  mission. 

But  there  is  a  yet  higher  witness  to  this  intimate  association 
of  the  Christian  Evidences  one  with  another,  in  that  great  fact 
which  forms  at  once  the  central  point  of  apostolical  preaching 
and  the  earnest  of  the  future  hope  of  all  Christian  men.  If  there 
is  one  fact  recorded  in  Scripture  which  is  entitled,  in  the  fullest 
sense  of  the  word,  to  the  name  of  a  Miracle,  the  INSURRECTION 
OF  CHRIST  is  that  fact.  Here,  at  least,  is  an  instance  in  which 
the  entire  Christian  faith  must  stand  or  fall  with  our  belief  in  the 
supernatural.  "  If  Christ  be  not  risen,  then  is  our  preaching 


ESSAY  1.]  ON  MIRACLES.  5 

vain,  and  your  faith  is  also  vain."  Here,  at  least,  is  a  test  by 
which  all  the  evidences  of  Christianity  alike,  internal  as  well  as 
external,  moral  as  well  as  intellectual,  may  be  tried.  If  Christ 
did  not  truly  die  and  truly  rise  from  the  dead,  preaching  is  vain 
and  faith  is  vain  ;  the  Apostles  are  false  witnesses  of  God ;  nay, 
Christ  Himself,  if  we  may  dare  to  say  so,  has  witnessed  falsely 
of  Himself. 

It  is  necessary  to  state  the  case  in  this  manner,  in  order  to 
point  out  the  real  importance  of  the  interests  at  stake.  Nothing 
can  be  more  erroneous  than  the  view  sometimes  taken,  which 
represents  the  question  of  the  possibility  of  miracles  as  one 
which  merely  affects  the  external  accessories  of  Christianity, 
leaving  the  essential  doctrines  untouched.*  Such  might  possibly 
be  the  case,  were  the  argument  merely  confined  to  an  inquiry 
into  the  evidence  in  behalf  of  some  one  miracle  as  an  isolated 
fact,  without  impeaching  the  possibility  of  miracles  in  general. 
But  such  is  not  the  question  which  has  been  raised,  or  can  be 
raised,  as  regards  the  relation  of  miracles  to  the  alleged  dis 
coveries  of  modern  science.  If  the  possibility  of  miracles  be 
granted,  the  question,  whether  any  particular  miracle  did  or  did 
not  take  place,  is  a  question,  not  of  science,  but  of  testimony. 
The  scientific  question  relates  to  the  possibility  of  supernatural 
occurrences  at  all ;  and  if  this  be  once  decided  in  the  negative, 
Christianity  as  a  religion  must  necessarily  be  denied  along  with 
it.  Some  moral  precepts  may  indeed  remain,  which  may  or  may 
not  have  been  first  enunciated  by  Christ,  but  which  in  them 
selves  have  no  essential  connection  with  one  person  more  than 
with  another ;  but  all  belief  in  Christ  as  the  great  Example,  as 
the  Teacher  sent  from  God,  as  the  crucified  and  risen  Saviour,  is 
gone,  never  to  return.  The  perfect  sinlessness  of  His  life  and 
conduct  can  no  longer  be  held  before  us  as  our  type  and  pattern, 
if  the  works  which  He  professed  to  perform  by  Divine  power 
were  either  not  performed  at  all  or  were  performed  by  human 
science  and  skill.  No  mystery  impenetrable  by  human  reason, 
no  doctrine  incapable  of  natural  proof,  can  be  believed  on  His 


*  See   'Essays  and   Reviews,'  p.  94  ;  tiken,'  1858,  p.  23)  that  "Miracles  and 

(third  edition).    A  similar  view  is  taken  -  Prophecies  are  not  adjuncts  appended 

by   Schleiermacher,    '  Der   Christliche  from  without  to  a  revelation  in  itself 

Glaube,'  §  14,  pip.  100,  sqq.     With  far  1  independent  of  them,  hut  constitutive 


greater  truth  it  is  maintained  on  the 
other  hand  hy  Eothe  ('  Studieu  und  Kri- 


elements  of  the  revelation  itself.' 


AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

authority  ;  for  if  He  professed  to  work  miracles,  and  wrought  them 
not,  what  warrant  have  we  for  the  trustworthiness  of  other  parts  of 
His  teaching?  The  benefits  obtained  by  His  Cross  and  Passion,  the 
promises  conveyed  by  His  Resurrection,  are  no  longer  the  objects 
of  Christian  faith  and  hope  ;  for  if  miracles  are  impossible,  He 
died  as  other  men  die,  and  was  laid  unto  his  fathers,  and  saw 
corruption.  The  prayers  which  we  offer  to  Him  who  ascended 
into  Heaven,  and  there  liveth  to  make  intercession  for  us,  are  a 
delusion  and  a  mockery,  if  miracles  are  impossible ;  for  then  is 
Christ  not  ascended  into  Heaven. 

3.  In  point  of  fact,  even  single  miracles  cannot  be  treated  as 
isolated  occurrences,  and  judged  as  we  should  judge  of  any  simi 
lar  fact  narrated  at  another  time.  There  is  a  latent  fallacy  in  the 
appeal  which  is  sometimes  made  to  the  manner  in  which  well- 
informed  men  deal  with  alleged  marvels  at  the  present  day.* 
The  Christian  miracles  can  only  be  judged  in  connection  with  the 
scheme  of  which  they  form  a  part,  and  by  the  light  of  all  the 
collateral  evidence  which  that  scheme  is  able  to  furnish.  The 
true  question  is,  not  what  should  we  think  of,  or  how  should  we 
endeavour  to  explain,  a  single  marvellous  occurrence,  or  even  a 
series  of  such  occurrences,  reported  as  taking  place  at  the  present 
time  ?  but,  what  should  we  think  of  one  who  should  come  now, 
as  Christ  came,  supported  by  all  the  evidences  which  combined 
to  bear  witness  to  Him  ?  If  the  world,  with  all  its  advance  in 
physical  science,  were  morally  and  religiously  in  the  same  state 
as  at  the  time  of  Christ's  coming  ;  if  we,  like  the  Jews  of  old, 
,  had  been  taught  by  a  long  series  of  prophecies  to  expect  a  Re 
deemer  in  whom  all  the  families  of  the  earth  should  be  blessed ; 
if  the  events  of  our  national  history  tended  to  shew  that  the 
time  was  come  to  which  those  prophecies  pointed  as  the  epoch 
of  their  fulfilment ;  if  we  were  in  possession  of  a  religion,  itself 
claiming  a  divine  origin,  yet  in  all  its  institutions  bearing 
witness  to  something  yet  to  come, — a  religion  of  type,  and  cere 
mony,  and  sacrifice,  pointing  to  a  further  purpose  and  a  spiritual 
significance  beyond  themselves ;  if  one  were  to  appear,  pro 
claiming  himself  to  be  the  promised  Redeemer,  appealing  to  our 


*  See  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  107.  I  nunft,' p.  100,  ed.  Roscnkranz;  though 

A  similar  appeal  to  the  practical  denial  i  Kant  does  not   go    so  far   as  to  deny 

of  miracles  is  made  liy  Kant,  '  Religion  ,  the  theoretical  possibility  of  miracles. 
iniuM-halb  dcr  Urcrizen  der  blossen  Ver- 


ESSAY  I.] 


ON  MIRACLES. 


sacred  writings  as  testifying  of  himself,  doing  works,  not  only 
full  of  power  but  of  goodness,  full  of  wonder,  but  also  full  of 
love,  and  confirmed  by  Scriptures  expressly  declaring  that  such 
works  should  be  done  by  him  that  was  to  come ;  doing  them, 
not  in  secret,  nor  in  an  appointed  place,  nor  with  instruments 
prepared  for  the  purpose,  but  openly  and  without  effort,  and 
upon  occasions  as  they  naturally  presented  themselves,  in  the 
street  and  in  the  market-place,  in  the  wilderness  and  on  the  sea, 
by  the  sick  man's  bed  and  the  dead  man's  bier ;  and  expressly 
declaring  that  he  did  them  by  the  power  of  God  and  in  proof 
that  God  had  sent  him  ; — with  all  these  circumstances  com 
bined,  let  any  unprejudiced  man  among  ourselves  say  which 
would  be  the  more  reasonable  view  to  be  taken  of  such  works 
performed  by  such  a  person ;  whether  to  admit  his  own  account 
of  them,  guaranteed  by  all  the  weight  of  his  character,  or  to 
refer  them  to  some  natural  cause,  which  will  at  some  future  time 
receive  its  explanation  by  the  advance  of  discovery.  Surely 
those  who,  even  in  this  enlightened  age,  chose  to  adopt  the  latter 
hypothesis,  rather  than  admit  the  teacher's  own  testimony  con 
cerning  himself,  would  be  the  legitimate  successors  of  those 
who,  under  like  circumstances,  declared,  "  He  casteth  out  devils 
through  Beelzebub  the  chief  of  the  devils."  * 

4.  But  it  is  said  that  testimony  is  unable  to  prove  a  miracle  as 
such.  "  No  testimony,"  we  are  told  on  high  scientific  authority, 
"can  reach  to  the  supernatural;  testimony  can  apply  only  to 
apparent  sensible  facts ;  testimony  can  only  prove  an  extraor 
dinary  and  perhaps  inexplicable  occurrence  or  phenomenon  : 
that  it  is  due  to  supernatural  causes  is  entirely  dependent  on 
the  previous  belief  and  assumptions  of  the  parties."!  Whatever 
may  be  the  value  of  this  objection  as  applied  to  a  hypothetical 
case,  in  which  the  objector  may  select  such  occurrences  and  such 
testimonies  as  suit  his  purpose,  it  is  singularly  inapplicable  to  the 
works  actually  recorded  as  having  been  done  by  Christ  and  His 
Apostles,  and  to  the  testimony  by  which  they  are  actually  sup 
ported.  It  may,  with  certain  exceptions,  be  applicable  to  a  case 
in  which  the  assertion  of  a  supernatural  cause  rests  solely  on  the 


*  For  this  argument  I  am  partly  in 
debted  to  Dean  Lyall,  '  Preparation  of 
Prophecy,'  p.  151,  ed.  1854. 

f  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  107.  This 


objection  is  partly  borrowed  from  Dean 
Lyall,  p.  23,  who  however  uses  it  for  a 
very  different  purpose. 


8  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

testimony  of  the  spectator  of  the  fact ;  but  it  is  not  applicable  to 
those  in  which  the  cause  is  declared  by  the  performer.  Let  us 
accept,  if  we  please,  merely  as  a  narrative  of  "  apparent  sensible 
facts,"  the  history  of  the  cure  of  the  blind  and  dumb  demoniac, 
or  of  the  lame  man  at  the  Beautiful  Gate ;  but  we  cannot  place 
the  same  restriction  upon  the  words  of  our  Lord  and  of  St.  Peter, 
which  expressly  assign  the  supernatural  cause:  "If  I  cast  out 
devils  by  the  Spirit  of  God,  then  the  kingdom  of  God  is  come  unto 
you :"  "  By  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ  of  Nazareth  doth  this  man 
stand  here  before  you  whole."  *  We  have  here,  at  least,  a  testi 
mony  reaching  to  the  supernatural ;  and  if  that  testimony  be 
admitted  in  these  cases,  it  may  be  extended  to  the  whole  series 
of  wonderful  works  performed  by  the  same  persons.  For  if  a 
given  cause  can  be  assigned  as  the  true  explanation  of  any  single 
occurrence  of  the  series,  it  becomes  at  once  the  most  reasonable 
and  probable  explanation  of  the  remainder.  The  antecedent 
presumption  against  a  narrative  of  miraculous  occurrences,  what 
ever  may  be  its  weight,  is  only  applicable  to  the  narrative  taken 
as  a  whole,  and  to  the  entire  series  of  miracles  which  it  contains. 
But  if  a  single  true  miracle  be  admitted  as  established  by  suffi 
cient  evidence,  the  entire  history  to  which  it  belongs  is  at  once 
removed  from  the  ordinary  calculations  of  more  or  less  proba 
bility.  One  miracle  is  enough  to  shew  that  the  series  of  events 
with  which  it  is  connected  is  one  which  the  Almighty  has  seen  fit 
to  mark  by  exceptions  to  the  ordinary  course  of  His  Providence  ; 
and,  if  this  be  once  granted,  we  have  no  a  priori  grounds  on 
which  we  can  determine  how  many  of  such  exceptions  are  to  be 
expected.  If  a  single  miracle  recorded  in  the  Gospels  be  once 
admitted,  the  remainder  cease  to  have  any  special  antecedent 
improbability,  and  may  be  established  by  the  same  evidence 
which  is  sufficient  for  ordinary  events.  For  the  improbability, 
whatever  it  may  be,  reaches  no  further  than  to  shew  that  it  is 
unlikely  that  God  should  work  miracles  at  all ;  not  that  it  is 
unlikely  that  He  should  work  more  than  a  certain  number,  f 

5.  Hitherto  we  have  spoken  only  of  the  miracles  of  Christ 
and  His  Apostles.  But  the  miracles  of  the  Old  Testament  also 
can  only  be  rightly  estimated  through  their  connection  with 
those  of  the  New.  The  promise  of  man's  redemption  was  coeval 

*  St.  Matt.  xii.  28 ;  Acts  iv.  II).          f  Sec  note,  p.  1. 


ESSAY  I.J  ON  MIRACLES.  9 

with  his  fall ;  and  the  whole  intervening  history,  as  it  is  told  in 
Scripture,  is  a  narrative  of  the  steps  by  which  the  world  was 
prepared  for  the  fulfilment  of  that  promise.  The  miracles  of  the 
Old  Testament,  as  has  been  observed,  are  chiefly  grouped  round 
two  great  epochs  in  the  history  of  the  theocratic  kingdom — that 
of  its  foundation  under  Moses  and  Joshua,  and  that  of  its  resto 
ration  by  Elijah  and  Elisha.*  They  thus  have  a  direct  relation 
to  the  establishment  and  preservation  of  the  Mosaic  covenant, 
itself  a  supernatural  system,  provided  with  supernatural  institu 
tions,  and  preparing  the  way  for  the  final  consummation  of 
God's  supernatural  providence  in  the  advent  of  His  Son.f  Not 
merely  the  occasional  miracles  of  Jewish  history,  but  some  of 
the  established  and  prominent  features  of  their  religion  down  to 
the  time  of  the  Captivity — the  gift  of  Prophecy,  the  Shechiriali, 
the  Urim  and  Thummim,  the  Sabbatical  year,  and  others — mani 
fest  themselves  as  the  supernatural  parts  of  a  supernatural  sys 
tem,  and  that  system  one  having  a  definite  purpose  and  pointing 
to  a  definite  end.|  They  were  the  adjuncts  of  the  Law  ;  and 
"  the  law  was  our  schoolmaster  to  bring  us  unto  Christ." 

6.  The  real  question  at  issue  between  the  believer  and  the 
unbeliever  in  the  Scripture  miracles  is  not  whether  they  are 
established  by  sufficient  testimony,  but  whether  they  can  be 
established  by  any  testimony  at  all.  If  it  be  once  granted  that 
testimony  is  admissible  in  the  case,  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  con 
ceive  a  stronger  testimony  than  that  which  the  Christian 
miracles  can  claim.  It  is  the  testimony,  if  ever  such  testimony 
was,  not  of  man  merely,  but  of  God.  Even  as  regards  one  who 
does  not  believe  in  the  distinctive  doctrines  of  Christianity, 
there  are  two  witnesses  to  Christ  which  no  other  man,  whatever 
may  be  his  worth,  can  claim — the  history  of  the  Jewish  nation 
before  His  coming,  and  the  history  both  of  the  Jewish  and  of 
the  Christian  world  afterwards.  Whether  it  was  by  natural  or 
by  supernatural  means,  it  cannot  be  denied  that  He  to  whom  the 
natural  and  the  supernatural  are  alike  subject  has  permitted  the 
course  of  events  in  the  world  to  bear  a  witness  to  Christ,  such 


*  See  Trench,   •  Notes  on  the   Mi-   j   p.  178 ;  Van  Milclert,  '  Boyle  Lectures,' 
racles,'  p.  45  (sixth  edition).  Sermon  xxi. 


t  Compare  Neander,  'Life  of  Christ,' 
p.   1:58,  English  translation ;    Twesten, 
gL'U  uebcr  die  Dogiuatik,'  ii., 


X  Compare  Bp.  Atterbury, '  Sermons 
(1730;,  vol.  i.,  p.  153. 


10  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

as  has  never  been  borne  to  any  other  person  who  has  appeared 
upon  earth  in  the  likeness  of  a  man.  It  cannot  be  denied  that 
the  prophetic  writings  contain  descriptions  which,  account  for 
the  correspondence  as  we  may,  do,  as  a  fact,  agree  with  the  per 
son  and  history  of  Jesus  of  Nazareth,  as  they  agree  with  no 
other  man,  or  body  of  men  ;  that  the  rites  and  ceremonies  of  the 
Jewish  religion  have  a  meaning  as  typical  of  Him,  which  no 
other  interpretation  can  give  to  them  ;  that  the  temple  and  its 
services  were  brought  to  an  end  after  His  appearance  on  earth, 
as  if  expressly  to  exclude  the  claims  of  any  future  Messiah ; 
that  His  dominion  has  been  spread  over  the  civilised  world  to 
such  an  extent,  and  by  such  means,  as  no  other  ruler,  temporal 
or  spiritual,  can  claim ;  that  superstitions  have  given  way  before 
His  name  which  no  other  adversary  had  been  able  to  shake  ; 
that  doctrines  have  been  established  by  His  teaching  which  in 
the  hands  of  other  teachers  were  but  plausible  and  transitory 
conjectures.  However  these  things  may  be  accounted  for,  they 
are  sufficient  at  least  to  mark  Him  as  the  central  figure  of  the 
world's  history,  looked  forward  to  by  all  preceding  generations, 
looked  backward  to  by  all  following  ;  they  are  sufficient  to 
secure  for  His  sayings  and  His  acts  an  authority  which  cannot 
be  claimed  by  those  of  any  other  person. 

7.  It  is  scarcely  necessary  to  state  how  much  this  argument 
is  strengthened  when  it  is  addressed  to  one  who  believes,  no 
matter  on  what  grounds,  in  any  of  the  fundamental  articles  of 
the  Christian  Faith.  I  do  not  speak  of  one  who  believes  in  the 
narrative  of  the  Gospels ;  for  to  such  an  one  the  miracles  are 
not  matters  of  question ;  but  of  one  who  in  any  sense  believes  in 
Christ  as  the  Redeemer  of  mankind,  though  doubting  some  of 
the  records  of  His  earthly  life.  If  God  has  seen  fit  to  redeem 
the  world  by  Christ  and  by  Christ  alone,  what  marvel  if  the  his 
tory  of  Christ  and  of  the  dispensation  preparatory  to  Christ 
exhibits  signs  and  wonders  such  as  no  other  history  can  claim  ? 
The  antecedent  probability,  in  this  case,  is  for  the  miracles,  not 
against  them.  It  is  to  be  expected  that  an  event  unique  in  the 
world's  history  should  be  marked  by  accompaniments  partaking 
of  its  own  character.  The  miracles  are  not  every-day  events, 
because  the  redemption  of  mankind  is  not  an  every-day  event ; 
they  belong  to  no  cycle  in  the  recurring  phenomena  of  nature, 
because  Christ  has  not  often  suffered  since  the  foundation  of  the 


ESSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  11 

world.  Bound  this  great  fact  of  man's  redemption  the  accessory 
features  of  that  wondrous  narrative  are  grouped  and  clustered  as 
around  their  proper  centre ;  no  longer  the  uncouth  prodigies  of 
the  kingdom  of  Nature,  but  the  fitting  splendours  of  the  king 
dom  of  Grace.  It  was  meet  that  He  who  came  as  the  conqueror 
of  sin  and  death,  who  had  power  to  lay  down  His  life,  and  power 
to  take  it  again,  should  come  also  as  the  Lord  of  Body  and  the 
Lord  of  Spirit,  having  power  over  the  elements  of  matter  and 
over  the  thoughts  of  men's  minds ;  foretold  by  predictions  which 
no  human  wisdom  could  have  suggested,  testified  to  by  works 
which  no  human  power  could  have  accomplished.  Viewed  as 
part  of  the  scheme  of  Redemption,  the  marvels  of  the  Scripture 
narrative  are  no  longer  isolated  and  unmeaning  anomalies,  but 
a  foreordained  and  orderly  system  of  powers,  working  above  the 
ordinary  course  of  nature  because  their  end  is  above  the  ordinary 
course  of  nature.  The  incongruity,  the  anomaly,  would  be  if 
they  were  not  there — if  the  salvation  of  the  souls  of  men  were  to 
be  brought  about  by  no  higher  means  than  those  which  minister 
to  their  bodily  appetites  and  material  comforts.  The  daily  wants 
of  the  individual,  or  the  progressive  culture  of  the  race,  may  be 
provided  for  or  advanced  by  laws  which  work  unceasingly  from 
day  to  day,  and  from  generation  to  generation ;  but  we  seek  no 
recurring  law  of  the  Scripture  miracles,  because  we  expect  no 
recurrence  of  that  fact  to  which  all  Scripture  bears  witness.  * 

8.  The  above  remarks,  though  only  preliminary  to  the  main 
question,  are  necessary  in  order  to  shew  what  is  the  real  point 
to  be  established,  if  the  belief  in  the  supernatural  is  to  be  over 
thrown.  It  is  not  the  rarity  of  miracles — no  one  asserts  them 
to  be  common :  it  is  not  their  general  improbability — no  one 
asserts  them  to  be  generally  probable :  it  is  not  that  they  need 
an  extraordinary  testimony  as  compared  with  other  events — 
siich  a  testimony  we  assert  that  they  have.  It  is  neither  more 
nor  less  than  their  impossibility — an  impossibility  to  be  esta 
blished  on  scientific  grounds,  such  as  no  reasonable  man  would 
reject  in  any  other  case ;  grounds  such  as  those  on  which  we 
believe  that  the  earth  goes  round  the  sun,  or  that  chemical 
elements  combine  in  definite  proportions.  In  this  point  of  view 
the  argument  is  altogether  of  a  general  character,  and  is  un 
affected  by  any  peculiarities  of  probability  or  testimony  which 
may  distinguish  one  miraculous  narrative  from  another.  If  the 

*  Sec  additional  paragraph,  p.  40. 


12  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

progress  of  physical  or  metaphysical  science  has  shewn  beyond 
the  possibility  of  reasonable  doubt  that  miracles  are  impossible — 
if,  as  seems  to  be  the  tendency  of  a  recent  argument,  the  asser 
tion  of  a  miracle  is  now  known  to  be  as  absurd  as  the  assertion 
that  two  and  two  make  five* — it  is  idle  to  attempt  a  comparison 
between  greater  or  less  degrees  of  probability  or  testimony. 
The  preceding  observations  will  in  that  case  only  serve  to  shew 
what  it  is  that  we  have  to  surrender,  and  to  rescue  the  inquiry 
from  the  particular  fallacy  which  seeks  to  underrate  its  import 
ance  by  representing  it  as  only  affecting  the  accidents  and 
excrescences  of  Christianity.  Let  us,  at  the  outset,  be  clearly 
convinced  of  the  vital  importance  of  the  question,  in  order  that 
we  may  enter  on  its  examination  prepared,  if  necessary,  to  sacri 
fice  our  most  valued  convictions  at  the  demand  of  truth,  but,  at 
the  same  time,  so  convinced  of  their  value  as  to  be  jealous  of 
sacrificing  them  to  anything  but  truth. 

9.  The  inquiry  concerning  the  possibility  of  miracles  in  general 
(as  distinguished  from  that  whieh  concerns  the  credibility  of  the 
Scripture  miracles  in  particular)  involves  two  distinct  questions, 
which  must  be  considered  separately  from  each  other.  The  first 
of  these  questions  relates  to  the  position  occupied  by  miracles 
with  reference  to  experience  and  to  the  empirical  laws  of  matter ; 
the  second  relates  to  their  position  with  reference  to  philoso 
phical  conceptions  of  God's  nature  and  attributes.  It  is  indis 
pensable  to  a  clear  understanding  of  the  subject  that  these  two 
questions  should  be  kept  apart  from  each  other  ;  though  it  will 
be  necessary,  in  discussing  the  first,  to  take  for  granted  some 
conclusions  which  will  afterwards  have  to  be  established  in  con 
nection  with  the  second.  Let  us  then  assume,  for  the  present, 
that  we  are  justified  in  conceiving  God  as  a  Person,  and  in 
speaking  of  His  nature  and  operations  in  the  language  which  we 
should  employ  in  describing  the  analogous  qualities  and  actions 
of  men.  \Ve  shall  speak,  as  theists  in  general  are  accustomed 


*  Sec  'Essays  and  Reviews/  p.  141.  !  visible  objects.    Put  the  case  in  its  only 

It  is  astonishing  tliat  this  acute  author  j   possible  form  : — let  a  man  say  that  lie 

should  not  have  seen  the  absurdity  of  had  seen  two  balls,  and  then  two  more, 

introducing  this  statement  in  connec-  put  together,  and  five  balls  produced 

tion  with  testimony.     No  witness  could  from  them  ;  and,  instead  of  an  impossi- 

possibly  fee  two  atid  two  make  five,  or  bility,  we   have  but  the  commonest  ot 

four,  or  any  number,  i»  Mie  abstract ;  he  jugglers'  tricks, 
must  see  it  in  connection  with  certain 


ESSAY!.]  ON  MIRACLES.  13 

to  speak,  of  the  will,  and  the  purpose,  and  the  design  of  God  ;  of 
the  contrast  between  His  general  and  special  providence  ;  of  His 
government  of  the  world  and  control  over  its  laws  ;  reserving1 
for  a  subsequent  inquiry  the  vindication  of  these  and  similar  ex 
pressions  from  a  philosophical  point  of  view. 

10.  The  argument  which  denies  the  possibility  of  miracles, 
on  the  ground  of  the  uniformity  of  nature,  may  be  considered 
under  two  heads :  first,  as  regards  the  general  conception  of  a 
system  of  natural  laws ;  and,  secondly,  as  regards  the  special 
experience  of  the  mode  in  which  those  laws  are  manifested.  The 
former  may  be  fairly  stated  in  the  words  of  Hume,  whose  reason 
ing  has  received  no  substantial  addition  from  the  labours  of 
subsequent  writers  on  the  same  side :  "  A  miracle  is  a  violation 
of  the  laws  of  nature  ;  and  as  a  firm  and  unalterable  experience 
has  established  these  laws,  the  proof  against  a  miracle,  from  the 
very  nature  of  the  fact,  is  as  entire  as  any  argument  from  expe 
rience   can  possibly  be   imagined."*     The  argument,  as  thus 
stated,  was  just  as  strong  or  just  as  weak  at  the  day  when  it  was 
written  as  at  the  present  time :  it  has  received  no  additional 
strength  from  the  progress  of  science  during   the  interval, — 
indeed  it  is  hard  to  see  how  the  evidence  of  "  a  firm  and  unalter 
able  experience,"   if  such   existed  at  any  time,  is  capable  of 
being  made  stronger.     No  scientific  man  in  the  last  century  had 
any  doubt  that  the  sensible  phenomena  which  came  under  his 
own  experience  and  that  of  his  contemporaries  were  owing  to 
some  natural  cause  acting  by   some  natural  law,  whether  the 
actual  cause  and  law  were  known  or  unknown.     The  nature  of 
this  conviction  is  not  altered  by  any  subsequent  increase  in  the 
number   of    known  as  compared  with    unknown    causes :    the 
general  conception  of  "  a  firm  and  unalterable  experience "  is 
wide  enough  to  contain  all  discoveries  anticipated  in  the  future, 
as  well  as  those  already  made. 

11.  In  one  respect,  indeed,  the  advance  of  physical  science 
tends  to  strengthen  rather  than  to  weaken  our  conviction  of  the 
supernatural  character  of  the  Christian  miracles.     In  whatever 
proportion  our  knowledge  of  physical  causation  is  limited,  and  the 
number  of  unknown  natural  agents  comparatively  large,  in  the 
same  proportion  is  the  probability  that  some  of  these  unknown 


*    '  Philosophical  Works,'  vol.  iv.,  p.  133. 


14  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

causes,  acting  in  some  unknown  manner,  may  have  given  rise 
to  the  alleged  marvels.  But  this  probability  diminishes  when 
each  newly-discovered  agent,  as  its  properties  become  known, 
is  shewn  to  be  inadequate  to  the  production  of  the  supposed 
effects,  and  as  the  residue  of  unknown  causes,  which  might 
produce  them,  becomes  smaller  and  smaller.  We  are  told, 
indeed,  that  "the  inevitable  progress  of  research  must,  within 
a  longer  or  shorter  period,  unravel  all  that  seems  most  mar 
vellous  ;"*  but  we  may  be  permitted  to  doubt  the  relevancy  of 
this  remark  to  the  present  case,  until  it  has  been  shewn  that  the 
advance  of  science  has  in  some  degree  enabled  men  to  perform 
the  miracles  performed  by  Christ.  When  the  inevitable  pro 
gress  of  research  shall  have  enabled  men  of  modern  times 
to  give  sight  to  the  blind  with  a  touch,  to  still  tempests  with 
a  word,  to  raise  the  dead  to  life,  to  die  themselves,  and  to  rise 
again,  we  may  allow  that  the  same  causes  might  possibly  have 
been  called  into  operation,  two  thousand  years  earlier,  by  some 
great  man  in  advance  of  his  age.  But  until  this  is  done,  the 
unravelling  of  the  marvellous  in  other  phenomena  only  serves 
to  leave  these  mighty  works  in  their  solitary  grandeur,  as 
wrought  by  the  finger  of  God,  unapproached  and  unapproach 
able  by  all  the  knowledge  and  all  the  power  of  man. 

12.  We  have  already  observed  that  there  is  one  kind  of  testi 
mony  which  can  reach  to  the  supernatural ;  namely,  the  tes 
timony  of  the  person  who  himself  performs  the  work ;  and  we 
may  now  add  that  the  fact  of  a  work  being  done  by  human 
agency  places  it,  as  regards  the  future  progress  of  science,  in  a 
totally  different  class  from  mere  physical  phenomena.  The 
appearance  of  a  comet,  or  the  fall  of  an  aerolite,  may  be 
reduced  by  the  advance  of  science  from  a  supposed  supernatural 
to  a  natural  occurrence;  and  this  reduction  furnishes  a  reason 
able  presumption  that  other  phenomena  of  a  like  character  will 
in  time  meet  with  a  like  explanation.  But  the  reverse  is  the 
case  with  respect  to  those  phenomena  which  are  narrated  as 
having  been  produced  by  personal  agency.  In  proportion  as  the 
science  of  to-day  surpasses  that  of  former  generations,  so  is  the 
improbability  that  any  man  could  have  done  in  past  times,  by 
natural  means,  works  which  no  skill  of  the  present  age  is  able 


*  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  109. 


KSSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  15 

to  imitate.  The  two  classes  of  phenomena  rest  in  fact  on 
exactly  opposite  foundations.  In  order  that  natural  occurrences, 
taking  place  without  human  agency,  may  wear  the  appearance 
of  prodigies,  it  is  necessary  that  the  cause  and  manner  of  their 
production  should  be  unknown ;  and  every  advance  of  science 
from  the  unknown  to  the  known  tends  to  lessen  the  number  of 
such  prodigies  by  referring  them  to  natural  causes,  and  increases 
the  probability  of  a  similar  explanation  of  the  remainder.  But 
on  the  other  hand,  in  order  that  a  man  may  perform  mar 
vellous  acts  by  natural  means,  it  is  necessary  that  the  cause  and 
manner  of  their  production  should  be  known  by  the  performer ; 
and  in  this  case  every  fresh  advance  of  science  from  the  un 
known  to  the  known  diminishes  the  probability  that  what  is 
unknown  now  could  have  been  known  in  a  former  age. 

13,  The  effect  therefore  of  scientific  progress,  as  regards  the 
Scriptural  miracles,  is   gradually  to  eliminate  the  hypothesis 
which  refers  them  to  unknown  natural  causes,  and  to  reduce  the 
question  to  the  following  alternative :  Either  the  recorded  acts 
were  not  performed  at  all  (in  which  case  it  is  idle  to  talk  of  the 
probable  "  honesty  or  veracity  "  of  the  witnesses  *),  or  they  were 
performed,  as  their  authors  themselves  declare,  by  virtue  of  a 
supernatural  power,  consciously  exercised  for  that  very  purpose. 
The  intermediate  theory,  which  attempts  to  explain  them  as 
distorted  statements  of  events  reducible  to  known  natural  causes, 
has  been  tried  already,  in  the  scheme  of  Paulus,  and  has  failed 
so  utterly  as  to  preclude  all   expectation  of  its  revival,  even 
in  the  land  of  its  birth.     There  remains  only  the  choice  between 
a  deeper  faith  and  a  bolder   unbelief;  between  accepting  the 
sacred  narrative   as  a  true  account  of  miracles  actually  per 
formed,   and  rejecting  it  as   wholly  fictitious   and  incredible ; 
whether  the  fiction  be  attributed  to  the  gradual  accretion  of 
mythical  elements,  or  (for  a  later  criticism  has  come  back  again 
to  the  older  and  more  intelligible  theory!)  to  the  conscious 
fabrication  of  a  wilful  impostor. 

14.  The  argument  of  Hume,  which  may  be  taken  as  the  repre- 


*  See  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  106.  of  Bruno  Bauer,  who  rejects  the  liypo- 
f  In  this  way  the  mythical  theory  of  ',   thesis  of  a  traditional  origin  of  tho 
Strauss,  after  having   overthrown    the  '    Gospels,  in  favour   of  that  whieh  as- 
naturalistic  theory  of  Paulus,  has  itself  cribes  them  to  deliberate  fabrication, 
in  turn  Ix'en  subjected  to  the  criticism  | 


16  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

sentative  of  all  those  which  rest  merely  on  the  general  concep 
tion  of  laws  of  nature,  was  refuted  long  ago  by  one  who  wrote 
as  the  advocate  of  his  teaching  in  some  other  respects.*  A 
miracle  is  not  "a  violation  of  the  laws  of  nature,"  in  any  sense 
in  which  such  a  violation  is  impossible  or  inconceivable.  It  is 
simply  the  introduction  of  a  new  agent,  possessing  new  powers, 
and  therefore  not  included  under  the  rules  generalized  from 
a  previous  experience.  Its  miraculous  character,  distinguishing 
it  from  mere  new  discoveries  in  nature,  consists  in  the  fact  that 
the  powers  in  question  are  supposed  to  be  introduced  for  a 
special  purpose,  and  to  be  withdrawn  again  when  that  purpose  is 
accomplished,  and  thus  to  be  excluded  from  the  field  of  future 
observation  and  investigation.  Uut  the  supposition  of  such 
powers  need  not  imply  any  violation  of  the  present  laws  observed 
by  present  natural  agents.  The  laws  of  nature,  in  the  only 
sense  of  the  phrase  which  is  relevant  to  the  present  argument, 
are  simply  general  statements  concerning  the  powers  and  pro 
perties  of  certain  classes  of  objects  which  have  come  under  our 
observation.  They  say  nothing  about  the  powers  and  properties 
of  other  objects  or  classes  of  objects  wliich  have  not  been 
observed,  or  which  have  been  observed  with  a  different  result. 
There  are  laws,  for  instance,  of  one  class  of  material  agents 
which  do  not  apply  to  another ;  and  there  are  laws  of  matter  in 
general  which  are  not  applicable  to  mind ;  and  so  there  may  be 
other  orders  of  beings  of  which  we  have  no  knowledge,  the  laws 
of  whose  action  may  be  different  from  all  that  we  know  of  mind 
or  body.  A  violation  of  the  laws  of  nature,  in  this  sense  of  the 
expression,  would  take  place  if,  in  two  cases  in  which  the  cause 
or  antecedent  fact  wore  exactly  the  same,  the  effect  or  con 
sequent  fact  were  different.  But  no  such  irregularity  is  asserted 
by  the  believer  in  miracles.  He  does  not  assert  that  miracles 
are  produced  by  the  abnormal  action  of  natural  and  known 
causes — on  the  contrary,  he  expressly  maintains  that  they  are 
produced  by  a  special  interposition  of  Divine  Power ;  and  that 
such  an  interposition,  constituting  in  itself  a  different  cause,  may 
reasonably  be  expected  to  be  followed  by  a  different  effect.! 
15.  So  far  then  as  miracle  is  regarded  as  thf  operation  of  a 

*  See  Brown  on  Cause  and  Effect,  '.  seating  from  some  of  his  details,  and 
Note  E.  I  have  lion-owed  the  leading  ;  therefore  unable  to  adopt  hid  exact  Ian- 
idea  of  Hrown's  argument,  though  dis-  guage.  t  See  note,  \i.  1. 


ESSAY  l.j  ON  MIRACLES.  17 

special  cause,  producing  a  special  effect,  it  offers  no  antagonism 
to  that  general  uniformity  of  nature,  according  to  which  the 
same  effects  will  always  follow  from  the  same  causes.  The 
opposition  between  science  and  miracle,  if  any  exist,  must  be 
sought  in  another  quarter ;  namely,  in  the  assumption  (provided 
that  such  an  assumption  is  warranted  by  science)  that  the  intro 
duction  of  a  special  cause  is  itself  incredible.  The  ground  of 
such  an  assumption  appears  to  lie  in  the  hypothesis  that  the 
existing  forces  of  nature  are  so  mutually  related  to  each  other 
that  no  new  power  can  be  introduced  without  either  disturbing 
the  whole  equilibrium  of  the  universe,  or  involving  a  series  of 
miracles,  coextensive  with  the  universe,  to  counteract  such 
disturbance.  This  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  following 
observation  by  a  recent  writer : — "  In  an  age  of  physical  research 
like  the  present,  all  highly  cultivated  minds  and  duly  advanced 
intellects  have  imbibed,  more  or  less,  the  lessons  of  the  inductive 
philosophy,  and  have  at  least  in  some  measure  learned  to  appre 
ciate  the  grand  foundation  conception  of  universal  law — to 
recognise  the  impossibility  even  of  any  two  material  atoms  sub 
sisting  together  without  a  determinate  relation — of  any  action 
of  the  one  or  the  other,  whether  of  equilibrium  or  of  motion, 
without  reference  to  a  physical  cause — of  any  modification  what 
soever  in  the  existing  conditions  of  material  agents,  unless 
through  the  invariable  operation  of  a  series  of  eternally  impressed 
consequences,  following  in  some  necessary  chain  of  orderly  con 
nexion — however  imperfectly  known  to  us."  * 

This  operation  of  a  series  of  eternally  impressed  consequences 
could  hardly  be  described  more  graphically  or  forcibly  than  in 
the  following  words  of  a  great  German  philosopher  : — "  Let  us 
imagine,  for  instance,  this  grain  of  sand  lying  some  few  feet 
further  inland  than  it  actually  does.  Then  must  the  storm- 
wind  that  drove  it  in  from  the  sea-shore  have  been  stronger  than 
it  actually  was.  Then  must  the  preceding  state  of  the  atmo 
sphere,  by  which  this  wind  -was  occasioned  and  its  degree  of 
strength  determined,  have  been  different  from  what  it  actually 
was  ;  and  the  previous  changes  which  gave  rise  to  this  particular 
weather ;  and  so  on.  We  must  suppose  a  different  temperature 
from  that  which  really  existed,  and  a  different  constitution  of 
Ihe  bodies  which  influenced  this  temperature.  The  fertility  or 


*  '  Kfl&iys  nnd  Reviews,'  p.  ISii. 


IS 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  1. 


barrenness  of  countries,  the  duration  of  the  life  of  man,  depend, 
unquestionably,  in  a  great  degree,  on  temperature.  How  can 
you  know — since  it  is  not  given  us  to  penetrate  the  arcana  of 
nature,  and  it  is  therefore  allowable  to  speak  of  possibilities — 
how  can  you  know  that  in  such  a  state  of  the  weather  as  we 
have  been  supposing,  in  order  to  carry  this  grain  of  sand  a  few 
yards  further,  some  ancestor  of  yours  might  not  have  perished 
from  hunger,  or  cold,  or  heat,  long  before  the  birth  of  that  son 
from  whom  you  are  descended ;  that  thus  you  might  never  have 
been  at  all ;  and  all  that  you  have  ever  done,  and  all  that  you 
ever  hope  to  do  in  this  world,  must  have  been  hindered,  in  order 
that  a  grain  of  sand  might  lie  in  a  different  place?"* 

16.  Without  attempting  to  criticise  the  argument  as  thus  elo 
quently  stated,  let  us  make  one  alteration  in  the  circumstances 
supposed — an  alteration  necessary  to  make  it  relevant  to  the 
present  question.  Let  us  suppose  that  the  grain  of  sand,  instead 
of  being  carried  to  its  present  position  by  the  wind,  has  been 
placed  there  by  a  man.  Is  the  student  of  physical  science 
prepared  to  enumerate  a  similar  chain  of  material  antecedents, 
which  must  have  been  other  than  they  were,  before  the  man 
could  have  chosen  to  deposit  the  grain  of  sand  on  any  other  spot 


*  Fichte,  '  Die  Bestimmung  des 
Mcnschen,'  Wcrke,  ii.,  p.  178.  For  the 
translation  I  am  indebted  to  an  excel 
lent  American  work,  which  deserves  to 
be  better  known  in  this  country,  and  to 
which  I  take  this  opportunity  of  ex 
pressing  my  own  obligations — '  The 
Principles  of  Metaphysical  and  Ethical 
Science,'  by  my  friend  Professor  Bowen. 
of  Harvard  College.  [Since  this  note 
was  first  published,  I  have  been  in 
formed  that  the  passage  is  an  extract 
from  the  translation  of  the  '  Bestim- 
ninng,'  by  Mrs.  Percy  Sinnett,  and  is 
acknowledged  as  such  in  the  first  edi 
tion  of  Professor  Bowen 'a  work.] 

Buhleiermaeher  ('  Der  Christliche 
Glaube,' §  47,  p.  260)  expresses  in  ge 
neral  terms,  and  with  express  reference 
to  miracles,  the  same  view  which  Fichte 
has  exhibited  by  an  instance  in  relation 
to  necessity  in  general.  "  A  miracle," 
he  says,  "  has  a  positive  relation,  by 
which  it  extends*  to  all  that  is  future, 
and  a  negative  relation,  which  in  a  cer 
tain  sense  affects  all  that  is  past.  In 
so  fai  as  that  does  not  follow  which 
would  have  followed  according  to  the 
natural  connection  of  the  aggregate  of 


finite  causes,  in  so  far  an  effect  is  hin 
dered,  not  by  the  influence  of  other 
natural  counteracting  causes  belonging 
to  the  same  series,  but  notwithstanding 
the  concurrence  of  all  effective  causes 
to  the  production  of  the  effect.  Every 
thing,  therefore,  which  from  all  past 
time  contributed  to  this  effect  is  in  a  cer 
tain  measure  annihilated ;  and  instead 
of  the  interpolation  of  a  single  super 
natural  agent  into  the  course  of  nature, 
the  whole  conception  of  nature  is  de 
stroyed.  On  the  positive  side,  some 
thing  takes  place  which  is  conceived  as 
incapable  of  following  from  the  aggre 
gate  of  finite  causes.  But,  inasmuch 
as  this  event  itself  now  becomes  an 
actual  link  in  the  chain  of  nature,  every 
future  event  must  be  other  than  it  would 
have  been  had  this  one  miracle  not 
taken  place.  Every  miracle  thus  not 
only  destroys  the  original  order  of  na 
ture  for  ever  after  ;  but  each  later  mi 
racle  destroys  the  earlier  ones,  so  far  as 
these  have  become  parts  of  the  series 
of  effective  causes."  The  whole  ar 
gument,  as  liothe  has  observed,  rests 
on  the  assumption  of  absolute  deter 
minism. 


ESSAY  I.] 


ON  MIRACLES. 


than  that  on  which  it  is  now  lying?  Such  a  conclusion  has 
indeed  been  maintained  in  general  terms,  without  any  specifica 
tion  of  antecedents,  by  the  advocates  of  Fatalism  ;  and  it  is  main 
tained  in  the  continuation  of  the  passage  from  which  the  above 
extract  is  taken.*  But  the  question  is,  not  whether  such  a  con 
clusion  has  been  asserted,  as  many  other  absurdities  have  been 
asserted,  by  the  advocates  of  a  theory  ;  t  but  whether  it  has  been 
established  on  such  scientific  grounds  as  to  be  entitled  to  the 
assent  of  all  duly  cultivated  minds,  whatever  their  own  consci 
ousness  may  say  to  the  contrary.  \  The  most  rigid  prevalence 
of  law  and  necessary  sequence  among  purely  material  pheno 
mena  may  be  admitted  without  apprehension  by  the  firmest 
believer  in  miracles,  so  long  as  that  sequence  is  so  interpreted 
as  to  leave  room  for  a  power  indispensable  to  all  moral  obliga 
tion  and  to  all  religious  belief—  the  power  of  Free  Will  in  man. 
Deny  the  existence  of  a  free  will  in  mail ;  and  neither  the 
possibility  of  miracles,  nor  any  other  question  of  religion  en- 
morality,  is  worth  contending  about.  Admit  the  existence  of  a 
free  will  in  man ;  and  we  have  the  experience  of  a  power,  ana 
logous,  however  inferior,  to  that  which  is  supposed  to  operate  in 
the  production  of  a  miracle,  and  forming  the  basis  of  a  legitimate 
argument  from  the  less  to  the  greater.  §  In  the  Will  of  man  we 
have  the  solitary  instance  of  an  Efficient  Cause  in  the  highest 
sense  of  the  term,  acting  among  and  along  with  the  physical 
causes  of  the  material  world,  and  producing  results  which  would 
not  have  been  brought  about  by  any  invariable  sequence  of 
physical  causes  left  to  their  own  action.  We  have  evidence,  also, 
of  an  elasticity,  so  to  speak,  in  the  constitution  of  nature,  which 


*  Not  however  as  the  author's  own 
conclusion  ;  but  as  one  of  two  conflict 
ing  doubts,  to  be  afterwards  resolved. 

t  "Nihil  tarn  absurde  dici  potest, 
quod  non  dicatur  ab  aliquo  philosopho- 
j urn." — Cicero,  De  Divinatione,  ii.,  58. 

J  An  attempt  has  recently  been  made 
to  prove  the  non-existence  of  free  will, 
by  means  of  statistical  calculations, 
shewing  an  average  uniformity  in  the 
recurrence  of  certain  actions  in  certain 
periods  of  time.  The  resemblance,  how 
ever,  between  statistical  averages  and 
natural  laws  fails  at  the  very  point  on 
which  the  whole-  weight  of  the  argu 
ment  rests.  A  natural  law  is  valid  for 
a  class  of  objects,  only  because  and  in 


so  far  as  it  is  valid  for  each  individual 
of  that  class  :  the  law  of  gravitation, 
for  instance,  is  exhibited  in  a  single 
apple  as  much  as  in  an  orchard :  and 
is  concluded  of  the  latter  from  being 
observed  in  the  former.  But  the 
uniformity  represented  by  statistical 
averages  is  one  which  is  observed  in 
masses  only,  and  not  in  individuals ; 
and  hence  the  law,  if  law  it  be,  whirl) 
such  averages  indicate,  is  one  which 
ofters  no  bar  to  the  existence  of  in 
dividual  freedom,  exercised,  as  all 
human  power  must  be  exercised,  within 
certain  limits. 

§   Compare   Twesten,    '  VorlcsungfU 
ueber  die  Dogmatik,'  ii.,  p.  171. 

c  2 


20  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KSSAY  1. 

permits  the  influence  of  human  power  on  the  phenomena  of  the 
world  to  be  exercised  or  suspended  at  will,  without  affecting  the 
stability  of  the  whole.  We  have  thus  a  precedent  for  allowing 
the  possibility  of  a  similar  interference  of  a  higher  will  on  a 
grander  scale,  provided  for  by  a  similar  elasticity  of  the  matter 
subjected  to  its  influence.  Such  interferences,  whether  produced 
by  human  or  by  superhuman  will,  are  not  contrary  to  the  laws 
of  matter;  but  neither  are  they  the  result  of  those  laws.  They 
are  the  work  of  an  agent  who  is  independent  of  the  laws,  and 
who,  therefore,  neither  obeys  them  nor  disobeys  them.*  If  a 
man,  of  his  own  free  will,  throws  a  stone  into  the  air,  the  mo 
tion  of  the  stone,  as  soon  as  it  has  left  his  hand,  is  determined 
by  a  combination  of  purely  material  laws;  partly  by  the  attrac 
tion  of  the  earth  ;  partly  by  the  resistance  of  the  air  ;  partly  by 
the  magnitude  and  direction  of  the  force  by  which  it  was  thrown. 
But  by  what  law  came  it  to  be  thrown  at  all  ?  What  law 
brought  about  the  circumstance  through  which  the  aforesaid 
combination  of  material  laws  came  into  operation  on  this  par 
ticular  occasion  and  in  this  particular  manner?  The  law  of 
gravitation,  no  doubt,  remains  constant  and  unbroken,  whether 
the  stone  is  lying  on  the  ground  or  moving  through  the  air ;  but 
neither  the  law  of  gravitation,  nor  all  the  laws  of  matter  put 
together,  could  have  brought  about  this  particular  result,  without 
the  interposition  of  the  free  will  of  the  man  who  throws  the 
stone.  Substitute  the  will  of  God  for  the  will  of  man  ;  and  the 
argument,  which  in  the  above  instance  is  limited  to  the  narrow 
sphere  within  which  man's  power  can  be  exercised,  becomes 
applicable  to  the  whole  extent  of  creation,  and  to  all  the  pheno 
mena  which  it  embraces. 

17.  The  fundamental  conception,  which  is  indispensable  to  a 
true  apprehension  of  the  nature  of  a  miracle,  is  that  of  the  distinc 
tion  of  Mind  from  Matter,  and  of  the  power  of  the  former,  as  a 
personal,  conscious,  and  free  agent,  to  influence  the  phenomena 
of  the  latter.  We  are  conscious  of  this  power  in  ourselves  ;  we 
experience  it  in  our  everyday  life  ;  but  we  experience  also  its 
restriction  within  certain  narrow  limits,  the  principal  one  being 
that  man's  influence  upon  foreign  bodies  is  only  possible  through 
the  instrumentality  of  his  own  body.f  Beyond  these  limits  is 


*  S.-e  Rothe,  in  '  Studion  und  Kritiken,,'  1858,  p.  33. 

t  Twesten,  Vorlesungoa  iiber  die  Dognntik,'  i.  p.  303.    Cf.  Jul.  Miillcr,  '  De 
Mir.  Natiittt,'  Part  I.,  p.  MS 


ESSAY  I.J  ON  MIRACLES.  21 

the  region  of  the  miraculous.  In  at  least  the  great  majority  of 
the  miracles  recorded  in  Scripture,  the  supernatural  element 
appears,  not  in  the  relation  of  matter  to  matter,  but  in  that  of 
matter  to  miiid  ;  in  the  exercise  of  a  personal  power  transcend 
ing  the  limits  of  man's  will.  They  are  not  so  much  supermaterial 
as  superhuman.  Miracles,  as  evidences  of  religion,  are  connected 
with  a  teacher  of  that  religion ;  and  their  evidential  character 
consists  in  the  witness  which  they  bear  to  him  as  "a  man 
approved  of  God  by  miracles  and  wonders  and  signs,  which  God 
did  by  him."  He  may  make  use  of  natural  agents,  acting  by 
their  own  laws,  or  he  may  not :  on  this  question  various  con 
jectures  may  be  hazarded,  more  or  less  plausible.  The  miracle 
consists  in  his  making  use  of  them,  so  far  as  he  does  so,  under 
circumstances  which  no  human  skill  could  bring  about.  When  a 
sick  man  is  healed,  or  a  tempest  stilled,  by  a  word,  the  mere 
action  of  matter  upon  matter  may  possibly  be  similar  to  that 
which  takes  place  when  the  same  effects  occur  in  a  natural 
way :  the  miracle  consists  in  the  means  by  which  that  action  is 
brought  about.  And  those  means,  we  are  assured  by  the  word 
of  the  Teacher  himself,  are  nothing  less  than  the  power  of 
God,  vouchsafed  for  the  express  purpose  of  bearing  witness 
that  God  has  sent  him.  Is  it  more  reasonable,  taking  the 
whole  evidence  into  account,  to  believe  his  word ;  or  to  sup 
pose,  either  that  the  works  were  not  done  at  all,  or  that  they 
were  done  by  a  scientific  deception  ?  This  is  the  real  question 
to  be  decided. 

If,  indeed,  we  include,  under  the  term  nature,  all  that  is  po 
tential,  as  well  as  all  that  is  actual,  in  the  constitution  of  the 
world — all  that  can  be  brought  about  in  it  by  divine  power,  as 
well  as  all  that  is  brought  about  in  it  by  physical  causes, — in 
such  an  extended  sense  of  the  term,  a  miracle,  like  any  other 
occurrence,  may  be  included  within  the  province  of  nature.  We 
may,  doubtless,  believe  that  God,  from  the  beginning,  so  ordered 
the  constitution  of  the  world  as  to  leave  room  for  the  exercise  of 
those  miraculous  powers  which  He  foresaw  would  at  a  certain 
time  be  exercised ;  just  as  He  has  left  similar  room  for  the  ex 
ercise,  within  narrower  limits,  of  the  human  will.  In  this  sense, 
some  of  the  scholastic  divines  maintained,  with  reason,  that  a 
miracle  is  contrary  to  nature  only  in  so  far  as  nature  is  regarded 
as  an  active  manifestation,  not  in  so  far  as  it  is  regarded  as  u 


AIDS  TO  FAITH, 

passive  recipient  of  power.*  If  this  distinction  is  once  clearly 
understood,  the  question,  whether  miracles  mav  be  represented  as 
the  result  of  law,  or  not,  is  a  mere  verbal  question,  which  is  only 
important  from  its  liability  to  be  mistaken  for  a  real  one. 
Properly  speaking,  a  natural  effect  is  not  produced  by  a  law,  but 
by  an  agent  acting  according  to  a  law.  Every  natural  phe 
nomenon,  has  its  physical  cause  in  some  antecedent  natural 
phenomenon  which  it  regularly  follows ;  and  the  laws  of  nature 
are  merely  classifications  of  some  of  these  sequences  with  others 
of  a  similar  character;!  or,  as  they  have  been  aptly  called,  "the 
uniformities  which  exist  among  natural  phenomena,  when  re 
duced  to  their  simplest  expression."!  In  this  sense,  miracles 
cannot  be  referred  to  a  natural  law,  known  or  unknown ;  for 
they  do  not  resemble  any  sequence  of  one  sensible  phenomenon 
from  another ;  nor  can  any  sensible  phenomenon  or  group  of 
phenomena  be  pointed  out,  or  even  supposed  to  exist,  the  occur 
rence  of  which  would  be  invariably  followed  by  such  results. 
But  if  the  term  law  be  used  in  a  different  sense,  to  denote  a 
method  or  plan  conceived  in  the  mind  of  an  intelligent  Being ; 
and  if,  by  referring  miracles  to  a  law,  no  more  is  meant  than 
that  they,  like  other  events,  formed  part  of  God's  purpose  from 
the  beginning,  and  were  the  result,  not  of  sudden  caprice,  but  of 
a  preordained  plan,  by  which  provision  was  made  for  them,  that 
they  should  be  wrought  at  their  proper  time  and  place  without 
disturbing  the  economy  of  the  universe, —  such  an  expression, 
allowing  for  the  necessary  imperfection  of  all  human  terms 
when  applied  to  divine  things,  is  perhaps  the  most  true  and 
reverent  conception  of  these  events  which  we  are  capable  of 


*  This  is  clearly  expressed  in  the  Ian-  '  Summa,'  p.  ii.,  tract  viii.,  qu.  xxxi. ;  and 

guage  of  Alexander  ah  Ales,  '  Summa,'  by  Aquinas,  in  1  Sent.,  dist.  xlii.,  qu.  ii., 

p.  ii.,  qu.  xlii.,  numb,  v.,  art.  5  : — "Eat  !  art.  2.     See  also  Neander, '  Church  His- 

enim  potentia  activu,  et  est  potentia  sus-   j  tory,'  vol.  viii.  p.  161,  Eng.  tr.,  ed.  Bohu. 

ceptiva,   et  est  potentia  aptata  et  po-    I  f  "No  further  insight  into  why  tho 

tentia  non  aptata.     Et  est  potentia  ac-   i  apple  falls  is  acquired  by  saying  it  is 

tiva  tain  naturae  inferioris  quam  supe-  forced  to  fall,  or  it  falls  by  the  force 

rioris ;  susceptiva  autem  naturae  infe-    |  of  gravitation  :  by  the  latter  expression 

rioris.     Et   vernin   est  quod    quicquid   '  we  are  enabled  to  relato  it  most  usefully 

est  Deo  possi bile  secundum  potentiam   |  to  other  phenomena ;  but  we  still  know 

activam,  est  naturtu  possibile,  non  sim-  no  more  of  the  particular  phenomena 

pliciter,  swl  Becundum  potentiam  sus-    ;  than  that  under  certain  circumstances 

ceptivam  ;  et  hoc  est  dicta  possibilitas  ;    i  the  apple  docs  fall." — drove  on  the  Cor- 

sed  non  secundum  activam  potentiam,   !  relation  of  Physical  For  erg.  p.  18,  iird 

nef    secnndmn   aptatam."      A    similar  edition, 

view    is    held    by    Alhcrtus    Magnns,  }  Mill's  '  l^ic,'  vol.  i.  p.  38;"). 


ESSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  23 

forming  during  this  present  life;  though,  like  other  analogies 
transferred  from  the  human  mind  to  the  Divine,  it  is  the  object 
rather  of  religious  belief  than  of  philosophical  speculation. 

18.  Our  argument  has  hitherto  proceeded  on  the  assumption 
that  we  are  justified  in  regarding  the  visible  world  as  under  the 
government  of  a  personal  God,  and  in  speaking  of  His  acts  and 
purposes  in  language  which  implies  an  analogy  between  tht 
Divine  mind  and  the  human.  It  now  becomes  necessary  to  make 
some  remarks  in  vindication  of  the  assumption  itself,  which  has 
been  included  by  recent  criticism  in  the  same  condemnation  with 
the  consequences  which  we  have  endeavoured  to  deduce  from  it. 
Of  the  argument  from  design,  "  as  popularly  pursued,"  we  are 
told  that  it  "  proceeds  on  the  analogy  of  a  personal  agent,  whose 
contrivances  are  limited  by  the  conditions  of  the  case  and  the 
nature  of  his  materials,  and  pursued  by  steps  corresponding  to 
those  of  human  plans  and  operations: — an  argument  leading 
only  to  the  most  unworthy  and  anthropomorphic  conceptions."* 
We  are  told,  again,  that  "  to  attempt  to  reason  from  law  to  voli 
tion,  from  order  to  active  power,  from  universal  reason  to  distinct 
personality,  from  design  to  self-existence,  from  intelligence  to 
infinite  perfection,  is  in  reality  to  adopt  grounds  of  argument 
and  speculation  entirely  beyond  those  of  strict  philosophical  in 
ference.'^  We  are  told,  again,  that  "  the  simple  argument  from 
the  invariable  order  of  nature  is  wholly  incompetent  to  give  us 
any  conception  whatever  of  the  Divine  Omnipotence,  except  as 
maintaining,  or  acting  through,  that  invariable  universal  system 
of  physical  order  and  law ;"  and  that  "  a  theism  of  Omnipotence  in 
any  sense  deviating  from  the  order  of  nature  must  be  entirely  de 
rived  from  other  teaching. "J  In  order  to  test  the  value  of  these 


*  Powell,  '  Order  of  Nature,'  p.  237.  !  with  the  exercise  of  intellect,  and  the 

It  is  natural  to  turn  to  this  more  elabo-  volition,  or  power  of  moral  causation,  of 

rate  work,  published  but  a  short  time  !   which  we   are    conscious   within   our- 

before  the  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  as  the  \   selves,  that  we  speak  of  the  Supreme 

most  probable   source   from   which    to  Mind,  and  Moral  Cause  of  the  universe, 

complete   or   explain    anything   which  of  whose  operation,  order,  arrangement, 

seems  defective  or  obscure  in  the  au-  and  adaptation  are  the  external  maiii- 

thor's  contribution  to  the  latter  volume.  :    festations.     Order  implies  what  by  ana- 

At  the  same  time  it  is  but  just  to  call  logy  wo  call  intelligence:  subserviency 

attention  to  some  indications  of  a  very  to  un  observed  end  implies  intelligence 

different  and   a  far  truer  view,   in  an  foreseeing,  which,  by  analogy,  we  call 

earlier  work  by  the  same  writer ;  as  in  the  design.'' — On  (lie  Spirit  of  (lie  Inductive 

following   passage,  which  I  venture  to  Philosophy,  p.  166. 

cite,  though  unable  to  reconcile  it  with  t  Powell,  'Order  of  Nature,'  p.  244. 

his  later  language  : — "  It  is  by  anahxjy  J  Ibid.,  p.  247. 


24  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KSSAY  I. 

and  similar  arguments,  it  will  be  necessary  that  \ve  should  clearly 
understand  what  this  other  teaching  is,  and  what  it  teaches  ns  ; 
as  well  as  the  relation  in  which  it  stands  to  the  generalizations 
and  inductions  of  physical  science. 

In  examining  this  question,  \ve  are  not  directly  concerned 
with  the  higher  inquiry  regarding  the  degree  and  character  of 
man's  knowledge  of  God,  as  a  whole  and  from  whatever  source 
derived,  in  its  relation  to  the  absolute  essence  of  its  Divine 
Object,  and  to  the  necessary  limits  of  man's  faculties.  The  diffi 
culties  connected  with  metaphysical  theories  of  the  Absolute  and 
Infinite,  which  have  driven  so  many  speculative  minds  into  the 
extravagances  of  Pantheism,  do  not  affect  our  present  argument. 
Mow  any  relation  between  the  infinite  and  the  finite  can  be  con 
ceived  as  existing  ; — how  God  can  be  contemplated  as  acting  in 
time  at  all,  whether  in  connection  with  the  phenomena  of  the 
material  world,  or  with  the  thoughts  and  feelings  of  men  :— 
questions  of  this  kind  are  equally  applicable  to  every  positive 
conception  of  Divine  Providence  which  we  are  capable  of  forming, 
and  have  no  direct  bearing  on  the  peculiar  claims  of  one  class 
of  such  conceptions  as  compared  with  another.  The  general 
answer  to  such  difficulties  is  to  be  found  in  the  confession  of  onr 
ignorance  as  regards  the  mystery  from  which  they  spring  and  on 
which  their  solution  depends ;  but  this  ignorance,  arising  as  it 
does  from  the  universal  limits  of  human  thought,  has  no  special 
relation  to  one  age  or  state  of  man's  knowledge,  more  than  to 
another,  and  is  not  removed  by  any  advance  in  those  depart 
ments  which  fall  within  his  legitimate  field.  Pantheistic 
speculation  has  flourished  with  much  the  same  result,  or  want  of 
result,  in  the  earliest  and  in  the  latest  days  of  philosophy,  in 
ancient  India  and  in  modern  Germany ;  and  if  any  advance  is 
to  be  expected  in  relation  to  the  questions  with  which  such 
speculation  deals,  it  is  probably  to  be  looked  for,  not  in  the  fuller 
solution  of  the  questions  themselves,  but  in  the  clearer  appre 
hension  of  the  reasons  why  they  are  insoluble. 

The  question  now  before  us  is  of  another  character.  It  relates 
to  that  knowledge  of  God  which,  be  it  more  or  less  philosophic 
ally  perfect,  is  that  which  practically  determines  the  thoughts 
and  feelings  and  actions  of  the  majority  of  mankind  ;  being 
connected  with  facts  of  their  daily  experience,  and  with  ideas 
intimately  associated  with  those  facts.  And  the  form  in  which 


ESSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  25 

it  meets  us  at  present  may  be  expressed  as  follows: — Is  the 
truest  and  highest  conception  of  God  to  which  man  can  practi 
cally  attain  with  his  present  faculties  that  which  is  suggested  by 
the  observation  of  Law  and  Order,  as  existing  in  the  material 
world  ?  or  is  there  a  higher  conception,  derived  from  a  different 
class  of  objects,  by  which  the  errors  of  an  exclusively  physical 
theology  may  be  discovered  and  corrected  ? 

19.  Reduced  to  its  simplest  terms,  the  question  really  stands 
thus  : — Is  Matter  or  Mind  the  truer  image  of  God  ?     We  are 
told,  indeed,  "  that  the  study  of  physical  causes  is  the  sole  real 
clue  to  the  conception  of  a  moral  cause ;    and  that  physical 
order,  so  far  from  being  opposed  to  the  idea  of  supreme  in 
telligence,  is  the  very  exponent  of  it."*     We  are  referred  to 
"  the  grand  contemplation  of  cosmical   order  and   unity  "  as 
furnishing   "  proofs  of    the   ever-present  mind   and   reason  in 
nature  ;"f  but  we  have  yet  to  learn  what  is  the  exact  process 
by  which  the  desired  conclusion  is  elicited  from  the  premises. 

20.  In  opposition  to  these  statements  I  do  not  hesitate  to 
repeat,  with  a  very  slight  modification,  the  words  of  Sir  William 
Hamilton,  "  that  the  class  of  phenomena  which  requires  that  kind 
of  cause  we  denominate  a  Deity  is  exclusively  given  in  the  phe 
nomena  of  mind ;  that  the  phenomena  of  matter,  taken  by  them 
selves  (you  will  observe  the  qualification, — taken  by  themselves), 
do  not  warrant  any  inference  to  the  existence  of  a  God."$     The 
argument  which  would  deduce  the  conception  of  God   solely 
from   physical  causation  bears  witness,  in  the  very  words   in 
which  it  is  announced,  to  its  own  imperfection.    The  very  names 
of  law,  and  order,  and  cause,  had  a  literal  before  they  had  a 
figurative  meaning,  and   are  borrowed,  in   common  with  the 
whole  phraseology  of  causation,  by  the  sciences  of  invariable 
succession,  from  those  of  moral  action  and  obligation.     We  dis 
cern  Law  as  Law,  solely  by  means  of  the  personal  consciousness 
of  duty ;  we  gain  the  conception,  not  by  the  external  observa 
tion  of  what  is,  but  by  the  internal  apprehension  of  what  ought 
to  be.     We  discern  Causation,  as  Causation,  solely  in  and  by 
the  productive  energy  of  the  personal  will, — the  one  solitary 
fact  of  human  experience  in  which  is  presented  the  consciousness 
of  effort, — of  power  in  action,  exerting  itself  to  the  production 

*  Powell,  '  Order  of  Nature,'  p.  235.    I        J  '  Lectures  on  Metaphysics,'  vol.  i., 
t  Ibid.,  p.  '238.  I   p.  2(3. 


215  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

of  an  effect.  We  discern  Order,  as  Order,  only  in  so  far  as  we 
conceive  the  many  as  constituting  the  One, — the  varied  pheno 
mena  of  sense  as  combined  into  a  single  whole;  and  the  ideas 
of  unity  and  totality  are  given  only  in  the  personal  consciousness, 
—in  the  immediate  perception  of  the  one  indivisible  Self,  and 
its  several  modes  of  conscious  existence.*  What  do  we  mean 
when  we  speak  of  the  Order  of  Nature  as  implying  a  presiding 
Mind  ?  The  language  is  unintelligible,  save  as  interpreted  by 
what  the  personal  consciousness  tells  us  of  our  own  mind  and 
its  control  over  the  objects  that  are  under  its  dominion.  In  the 
little  world  of  man's  thought  and  its  objects,  that  Order,  that 
System  from  which  the  Cosmos  derives  its  name, — that  Unity 
which  binds  together  the  diverse  elements  into  a  consistent 
whole, — is  the  factor  contributed  by  the  mind  to  its  objects, — 
the  product  of  Intelligence,  comprehending,  arranging,  general 
izing,  classifying.  Without  this  action  of  mind  upon  its  objects, 
the  little  world  of  each  man's  knowledge  would  be,  not  a 
Cosmos,  but  a  Chaos, — not  a  system  of  parts  in  mutual  relation 
to  each  other,  but  an  endless  succession  of  isolated  phantoms, 
coming  and  going  one  by  one.  It  is  from  this  little  world  of 
our  own  consciousness,  with  its  many  objects,  marshalled  in  their 
array  under  the  rule  of  the  one  conscious  Mind,  that  we  are  led 
to  the  thought  of  the  great  universe  beyond, — that  we  conceive 
this  also  as  a  world  of  Order,  and  as  being  such  by  virtue  of  its 
relation  to  an  ordering  and  presiding  Mind.  Design,  Purpose, 
Kelation,  of  parts  to  a  whole,  of  means  to  an  end, — these  con 
ceptions,  borrowed  from  the  world  of  mind,  can  alone  give 
order  and  unity  to  the  world  of  matter,  by  representing  it  as 
moulded  and  governed  by  a  ruling  and  purposing  Mind,  the 
centre  and  the  source  of  that  relation  which  mind  does  not  take 
from  matter,  but  confers  upon  it.  Through  this  alone  can  Chaos 
be  conceived  as  Cosmos  ;  through  this  alone  can  the  Many  point 
to  the  One. 

21.  But  this  is  not  all.     The  very  conception  of  a  Design  in 
creation  implies  the  existence  of  a  Free  Will  in  the  Designer. 


*  "  Lc  mo i  est  la  scule  unit''-  qui  nous    |    lui,  la  met  hors  dc  lui  par  induction,  ct 


suit  donne'e  imm£diatement  par  la  na 
ture;  nous  no  lareiicontronsdans  anemic 
des  clioses  que  nos  facultea  observent. 
Mais  I'eiiUii'knunt,  qui  la  trouvc  en 


d'ua  certain  nombre  des  choses  coex- 
istiinti's  il  cree  dcs  unite's  artincielles.'' 
— Royer-CoUard,  in  Jmiffroy't  trantht- 


ESSAY  I.] 


ON  MIRACLES. 


27 


If  man  were  not  conscious  of  a  free  will  in  himself,  he  could 
frame  no  designs, — he  could  conceive  no  purposes  of  his  own ; 
and,  without  the  assumption  of  an  analogous  Divine  Will,  there 
is  no  meaning  in  his  language  when  he  speaks  of  the  Design  or 
Purpose  of  God.  But  in  conceiving  God  as  a  free  agent,  we 
necessarily  conceive  Him  as  a  Person ;  and  this  conception 
places  Him  in  a  totally  different  light  from  that  of  a  mere  soul 
of  the  world,  or  intelligence  manifested  in  a  system  of  material 
phenomena.  In  conceiving  God  as  a  Person,  we  conceive  Him 
as  standing  in  a  direct  relation  to  that  one  object  in  the  world 
which  is  most  nearly  akin  to  Himself, — the  personal  soul  of 
man,  by  whom  He  is  so  conceived.  The  personality,  and,  as 
implied  in  the  personality,  the  moral  nature  of  God,  is  not,  as 
it  has  sometimes  been  represented,  an  isolated  conception, 
derived  from  a  distinct  class  of  facts,  and  superadded  to  another 
conception  of  a  Deity  derived  from  the  order  of  nature  :*  it  is 
the  primary  and  fundamental  idea  of  a  God  in  any  distinctive 
sense  of  the  word, — an  idea  without  which  no  religion  and  no 
theology,  no  feeling  of  a  spiritual  relation  between  God  and 
man,  and  no  conception  of  a  mind  superior  to  nature,  can  have 
any  existence.  To  speak,  in  the  language  of  modern  pantheistic 
philosophy,  of  a  Reason  or  Thought  in  the  universe,  which  first 
becomes  conscious  in  man,  is  simply  to  use  terms  without  a 
meaning ;  for  we  have  no  conception  of  reason  or  thought  at 
all,  except  as  a  consciousness.  And  to  speak,  on  the  side  of 
physical  philosophy,  of  a  Supreme  Mind,  evinced  in  the  laws  of 
matter,  is,  in  like  manner,  to  use  terms  which  have  no  meaning 
until  we  have  acquired  a  conception  of  what  mind  is  from  the 
consciousness  of  the  mind  within  ourselves.  Our  primary 
religious  consciousness  is  that  of  man's  relation  to  God  as  a 
person  to  a  person ;  and,  unless  we  begin  with  this  and  retain 


*  "  At  the  utmost,"  says  Professor 
Powell,  "  a  physico-theology  can  only 
teach  a  supreme  mind  evinced  in  the 
laws  of  the  world  of  matter,  and  the 
relations  of  a  Deity  to  physical  things 
essentially  as  derived  from  physical 
law.  A  moral  or  metaphysical  theo 
logy  (so  far  as  it  may  be  substantiated.) 
can  only  lead  us  to  a  Deity  related  to 
mind,  or  to  the  moral  order  of  the 
world. ' — Order  of  Nature,  p.  245. 

I  consider  this  separation   between 


two  sources  of  theology  as  fundamen 
tally  erroneous.  I  believe  that  man's 
conception  of  God  us  mind  is  primarily 
derived  from  the  personal  consciousness 
alone  ;  and  that,  however  much  it  may 
be  enlarged  by  the  contemplation  of 
material  objects,  it  does  not  oriijinate 
from  them,  and  can  only  be  legitimately 
applied  to  them  in  and  by  its  primary 
characteristics  of  personality  and  a 
moral  nature. 


AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

it  in  our  knowledge,  the  very  name  of  God  is  unmeaning.  If 
this  bo  Anthropomorphism,  it  is,  as  Jacobi  has  said,  an  Anthro 
pomorphism  identical  with  Theism,  and  without  which  there 
remains  nothing  but  Atheism  or  Fetichisni.* 

'2'2.  The  following  quotation  from  the  same  eloquent  and  pro 
found  philosopher  is  probably  already  familiar  to  many  readers, 
but  is  too  excellent  in  itself  and  too  appropriate  to  the  present 
argument  to  be  omitted. 

''  Nature  conceals  God ;  for,  through  her  whole  domain, 
Nature  reveals  only  fate,  only  an  indissoluble  chain  of  mere 
efficient  causes,!  without  beginning  and  without  end,  excluding, 
with  equal  necessity,  both  providence  and  chance.  An  inde 
pendent  agency,  a  free  original  commencement,  within  her 
sphere  and  proceeding  from  her  powers,  is  absolutely  impossible. 
Working  without  will,  she  takes  counsel  neither  of  the  good  nor 
of  the  beautiful ;  creating  nothing,  she  casts  up  from  her  dark 
abyss  only  eternal  transformations  of  herself,  unconsciously  and 
without  an  end  ;  furthering,  with  the  same  ceaseless  industry, 
decline  and  increase,  death  and  life, — never  producing  what 
alone  is  of  God  and  what  supposes  liberty, — the  virtuous,  the 
immortal. 

"  Man  reveals  Grod ;  for  Man,  by  his  intelligence,  rises  above 
Nature,  and,  in  virtue  of  this  intelligence,  is  conscious  of  himself 
as  a  power  not  only  independent  of,  but  opposed  to,  Nature,  and 
capable  of  resisting,  conquering,  and  controlling  her.  As  man 
has  a  living  faith  in  this  power,  superior  to  nature,  which  dwells 
in  him,  so  has  he  a  belief  in  God,  a  feeling,  an  experience  of 
His  existence.  As  he  does  not  believe  in  this  power,  so  does  he 
not  believe  in  God;  he  sees,  he  experiences  nought  in  existence 
but  nature, — necessity, — fate.":}: 

23.  From  the  above  principles  it  follows  (to  use  the  words  of 


Wir  bekennen  uns  demnach  zu 
von  der  Uebcrzeugung,  class  der 
Mensch  Gottes  Kbeiibild  in  sich  truge — 
unzertrennliehenAnthropomorphismus, 
und  behaupten,  ausser  dicsem  Anthro 
pomorphism  UD,  der  von  jeher  Thei.smus 
gcnaunt  wurde,  i.st  nur  Gotten] auguuag 
oder — Fetir.hitin.us."  —  Von  den  Giitt- 
liclien  Diiujen,  Werke,  iii.,  p.  422. 

t   The    phrase   efficient    causes   (wir- 
kpnde  Ursiu'lirii),  hero  and   in  a  subse- 


must  be  understood  in  u  different  sen.se 
from  that  in  which  it  is  used  by  some 
modern  writers,  to  denote  metaphysical 
us  distinguished  from  physical  causes — 
a  sense  adopted  above,  p.  ID.  For  the 
two  senses  of  the  phrase,  sec  especially 
a  note  in  Stewart's  '  Philosophy  of  the 
Active  and  Moral  Powers,  book  iii., 
ch.  ii.,  Collected  Works,  vii.,  p.  27. 

I   Werke,  iii.,  p.  -12.").     Translated  by 
Sir   W.  Hamilton,   'Lectures  on  Metii- 


tjuent  quotation    from    the    translator,    i    physics,'  vol.  i.,  p.  40. 


ESSAY  L] 


OX  MIRACLES. 


Sir  W.  Hamilton)  "  that  the  universe  is  governed  not  only  by 
physical  but  by  moral  laws ;"  and  "  that  intelligence  stands  first 
in  the  absolute  order  of  existence — in  other  words,  that  final 
preceded  efficient  causes."*  But  this  involves,  as  a  consequence, 
that  the  question  concerning  the  possibility  or  probability  of  a 
miracle  is  to  be  judged,  not  merely  from  physical,  but  also,  and 
principally,  from  moral  grounds ;  not  merely  from  the  evidence 
furnished  by  the  phenomena  of  the  material  world,  but  also 
from  that  furnished  by  the  religious  nature  of  man,  and  by  his 
relation  to  a  God  to  whom  that  nature  bears  witness.  It  is 
altogether  an  erroneous  view  to  represent  the  question  between 
general  law  and  special  interposition  as  if  it  rested  on  me 
chanical  considerations  only, — as  if  it  could  be  judged  by  the 
difference  between  constructing  a  machine  which,  when  once 
made,  can  go  on  continuously  by  its  own  power,  and  one  which, 
at  successive  periods,  requires  new  adjustments,  f  The  miracle 
is  not  wrought  for  the  sake  of  the  physical  universe,  but  for  the 
sake  of  the  moral  beings  within  it ;  and  the  question  to  be 
considered  is  not  whether  a  divine  interposition  is  needed  to 
regulate  the  machinery  of  nature,  but  whether  it  is  needed  or 
adapted  to  promote  the  religious  welfare  of  men.  If  the 
spiritual  restoration  of  mankind  has  in  any  degree  been 
promoted  by  means  of  a  religion  professing  to  have  been 
introduced  by  the  aid  of  miracles,  and  whose  whole  truth  is 
involved  in  the  truth  of  that  profession,  we  have  a  sufficient 
reason  for  the  miraculous  interposition,  superior  to  any  that  can 
be  urged  for  or  against  it  from  considerations  derived  from  the 
material  world.  The  very  conception  of  a  revealed  as  dis 
tinguished  from  a  natural  religion  implies  a  manifestation  of 
God  different  in  kind  from  that  which  is  exhibited  by  the 
ordinary  course  of  nature  ;  and  the  question  of  the  probability 
of  a  miraculous  interposition  is  simply  that  of  the  probability  of 
a  revelation  being  given  at  all.  In  the  words  of  Bishop  Butler, 
"  Revelation  itself  is  miraculous,  and  miracles  are  the  proof  of 
it."t 

24.  As  regards  the  general  question  of  the  possibility  of  miracles 


*  '  Lectures  on  Metaphysics,'  vol.  i., 
p.  28. 

t  This  objection  against  miracles  is 
urged  by  Voltaire, '  Dictionnaire  Pliilo- 


sophique,'  v.  'Miracles,'  and  is  answered 
by  Bishop  Van  Mildert,  'Boyle  Lec 
tures,'  Sermon  xxi. 

i  *  Analogy,'  part  ii.,  ch.  ii. 


30  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

(that  of  their  reality  must  of  course  be  determined  by  its  own 
special  evidence),  Paley's  criticism  is,  after  all,  the  true  one : — 
"  Once  believe  that  there  is  a  God,  and  miracles  are  not 
incredible."  For  an  impersonal  God  is  no  God  at  all ;  and  the 
conception  of  a  personal  God  in  relation  to  man  necessarily 
involves  that  of  a  divine  purpose,  and  of  the  manifestation  of 
that  purpose  in  time.  Grant  this,  and  there  is  no  a  priori 
reason  why  such  a  manifestation  may  not  take  place  at  one 
time  as  well  as  at  another  ;  why  the  beginning  of  a  spiritual 
system  at  one  period  may  not  be  as  credible  as  the  beginning  of 
a  material  system  at  another  period.  It  would  indeed  be  a 
precarious  argument  to  attempt  to  reason  positively  from  an 
a  priori  notion  of  the  divine  attributes  to  the  necessity  of  creation 
or  of  revelation ;  but  the  very  conditions  which  render  such  an 
argument  doubtful  only  increase  the  force  of  the  negative 
caution,  which,  refusing  to  dogmatize  on  either  side  concerning 
what  mmt  be  or  must  not  be,  is  content  to  seek  for  such  evidence 
as  is  within  its  reach  concerning  what  is. 

'25.  "With  the  question  of  the  possibility  of  miracles  is  inti 
mately  connected  that  of  their  value  as  evidences.  Both  questions, 
indeed,  must  ultimately  be  decided  on  the  same  principle  ;  and 
the  influence  of  that  principle  is  probably  at  work,  though 
unconsciously,  in  the  minds  of  some  who  endeavour  to  regard 
the  two  inquiries  as  wholly  distinct.  Sometimes,  indeed,  we 
iind  both  united,  and  apparently  treated  as  parts  of  the  same 
argument  on  the  side  of  denial ;  though  it  is  obvious  that,  if  the 
impossibility  of  miracles  can  once  be  shewn,  there  is  no  need  of 
any  inquiry  into  their  comparative  value.  Nevertheless,  as  if 
the  conclusiveness  of  the  former  argument  were,  after  all, 
somewhat  doubtful  in  the  eyes  of  its  advocates,  we  find  it 
coupled  with  an  attempt  to  disparage  the  value  of  the  miracles 
as  evidences,  even  supposing  their  reality.  It  is  intimated  that 
they  are  not  so  much  evidences  as  objects  of  faith,  invested  with 
sanctity  and  exempted  from  criticism  by  virtue  of  the  religious 
mysteries  with  which  they  are  connected  :*  and  approved 
divines  are  referred  to  as  practically  making  the  doctrine  the 
real  test  of  the  admissibility  of  the  miracles,  and  as  acknow 
ledging  the  right  of  an  appeal,  superior  to  that  of  all  miracles, 

*  Se«  'Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  14,'i. 


ESSAY  I.J  ON  MIRACLES.  31 

to  our  own  moral  tribunal.*  The  feeling  which  dictates  this 
judgment  is  intelligible  at  least,  if  not  excusable,  as  the  result 
of  a  reaction  against  the  opposite  error  of  a  former  generation  ; 
but,  when  the  judgment  is  advanced,  as  it  often  is,  not  merely 
as  an  expression  of  the  personal  feelings  of  an  individual,  but  as 
a  general  statement  of  the  right  grounds  of  belief,  it  is  at  best 
nothing  more  than  an  attempt  to  cure  one  evil  by  another, 
introducing  a  remedy,  on  the  whole,  worse  than  the  disease. 

Some  of  the  questions  introduced  in  this  connection  pro 
perly  belong  to  an  earlier  stage  of  our  argument ;  for  though 
they  have  been  treated  by  some  writers  as  bearing  on  the  evi 
dential  value  of  miracles,  supposing  their  reality  to  be  admitted, 
they  more  strictly  relate  to  the  previous  inquiry  concerning  the 
grounds  on  which  we  believe  miracles  to  have  been  wrought 
at  all.  Thus  the  assertion  that  the  Gospel  miracles  are  objects 
of  faith  is  undoubtedly  true ;  but  it  is  true  in  a  sense  which  is 
by  no  means  incompatible  with  their  being  also  evidences.}  To 
us,  in  these  latter  days,  as  regards  the  grounds  on  which  we 
believe  the  miracles  to  have  taken  place  at  all,  they  are  "  objects 
of  faith  "  in  that  proper  sense  of  the  term  faith  in  which  it 
is  opposed,  not  to  reason,  but  to  sigJit.^  We  were  not  eye 
witnesses  of  the  miracles :  we  know  all  that  we  know  about 
them  from  the  testimony  of  others  ;  and  testimony  of  all  kinds 
is  an  appeal  to  faith,  as  distinguished  from  sight, — prcesentia 
videntur,  creduntur  absentia.^  But  to  say  that  miracles  are  in 
this  sense  objects  of  faith,  is  a  very  different  thing  from 
making  them  exempt  from  criticism  by  virtue  of  the  religious 
mysteries  with  which  they  are  connected.  The  faith  which 
is  called  into  exercise  is  only  that  which  is  required  in  all 
admission  of  testimony,  whether  connected  with  religious 
mysteries  or  not ;  which  exists  in  all  cases  in  which  we  accept, 
on  the  authority  of  others,  statements  which  we  are  unable  to 
verify  by  our  own  experience. 

26.  The  often-disputed  question,  whether  the  miracles  prove  the 
doctrine,  or  the  doctrine  the  miracles,  is  also  one  which  properly 


*  'Essays   and    Reviews,'   pp.    121,  '   object*,  it  means  an  act  of  belief ;  in 

122.  relation  to  evidences,  it  means  a  doctrine 

t  When  it  is  asserted  that  the  mira-  J   to  be  believed. 

cles  are  objects,  not  evidences,  of  faith,  i       J  2  Cor.  v.  7,  "We  walk  by  faith, 

it  is  obvious  that  the  vrord  faith  is  used  not  by  sight." 

in  two  different  senses.     In  relation  to  §  St.  Augustine,  Epist.  cxlvii.,  c.  2. 


32  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

belongs  to  the  earlier  inquiry  concerning  the  credibility  of  the 
miracles  as  facts,  and  which,  like  that  of  objects  and  evidences, 
derives  a  seeming  plausibility  from  an  epigrammatic  antithesis 
of  language  covering  a  confusion  of  thought.  There  are  cer 
tain  doctrines  which  must  be  taken  into  account  in  determining 
the  question  whether  a  true  miracle — i.e.  an  interposition  of 
Divine  poivei — has  taken  place  at  all.  If  a  teacher  claiming  to 
work  miracles  proclaims  doctrines  contradictory  to  previously 
established  truths,  whether  to  the  conclusions  of  natural  religion 
or  to  the  teaching  of  a  former  revelation,  such  a  contradiction  is 
allowed,  even  by  the  most  zealous  defenders  of  the  evidential 
value  of  miracles,  to  invalidate  the  authority  of  the  teacher.*  But 
the  right  conclusion  from  this  admission  is  not  that  true  miracles 
are  invalid  as  evidences,  but  that  the  supposed  miracles  in  this  case 
are  not  true  miracles  at  all ;  i.e.  are  not  the  effects  of  Divine 
{tower,  but  of  human  deception  or  of  some  other  agency.  And 
the  criterion,  as  has  been  often  observed,  is  only  of  a  negative 
character ;  contradiction  to  known  truth  is  sufficient  to  disprove 
a  Divine  mission  ;  but  conformity  to  known  truth  is  not  sufficient 
to  establish  one.f  And  even  the  negative  criterion,  however 
valid  as  a  general  rule,  is  liable  to  error  in  its  special  applications. 
The  certainty  of  the  truths  of  natural  religion  does  not  guarantee 
the  certainty  of  all  the  conclusions  which  this  or  that  man 
believes  to  be  truths  of  natural  religion,  any  more  than  the 
infallibility  of  Scripture  guarantees  the  infallibility  of  every  man's 
interpretation  of  Scripture.  God  cannot  contradict  Himself, 


*  Thus  Clarke  ('  Evidence  of  Natural 
and  Revealed  Religion,'  Prop.xiv.)  says, 
"If  the  doctrine  attested  by  miracles 
bo  in  itself  impious,  or  manifestly  tend 
ing  to  promote1  vice,  then  without  all 
question  the  miracles,  how  great  soever 
they  may  appear  to  us,  are  neither 
worked  by  God  Himself  nor  by  His 
commission,  because  our  natural  know 
ledge  of  the  attributes  of  God,  and  of 


trine  be  such  as  is  capable  of  behir; 
proved  by  miracles.  See  also,  on  the 
same  question,  Bishop  Sherlock,  Dis 
course  x.  ;  Penrose,  '  On  the  Evidence 
of  the  Scripture  Miracles,'  p.  212. 

t  Thus  Bishop  Atterbury.  in  his  Ser 
mon  on  '  Miracles  the  most  proper  way 
of  proving  the  Divine  Authority  of  any 
Religion,'  says,  "Though  the  badness 
of  any  doctrine,  and  its  disagreeable- 


the  necessary  difference  between  good  '  ness  to  the  eternal  rules  of  right  reason, 

and  evil,   is  greatly  of  more  force   to  j  be  a  certain  sign  that  it  did  not  CORK; 

prove  any   such    doctrine   to  be    false  i  from  God,  yet  the  goodness  of  it  can 

than  any  miracles  in  the  world  can  be  be  no  infallible  proof  that  it  did."    The 


to  prove  it  true."  But  Clarke  also 
shews  that  this  admission  is  a  very 
different  thing"  from  making  the.  doc 
trine  the  proof  of  the  miracles  ;  that,  on 


same  argument  is  handled  in  Rogers's 
'  Sermons  on  the  Necessity  of  Divine 
Revelation,'  pp.  GO,  10!),  ed.  ]757.  See 
also  Warburton,  '  Divine  Legation,'  b 


the  contrary,  the  miracles  are  the  proof      ix.,  c.  5;  Clarke,  '  Evidence,'  Prop.  ix. 
of  tin1  doctrine,  prt>ritit'<l  Unit  the,  due-    ' 


ESSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  33 

whether  He  teaches  through  nature  or  through  revelation  ;  but 
man  may  misinterpret  God's  teaching  through  the  one  as  well  as 
through  the  other. 

27.  In  regarding  the  doctrinal  criterion  as  properly  relating 
to  the  question  whether  a  true  miracle  has  been  wrought  at  all, 
we  set  aside,  as  unworthy  of  serious  consideration,  the  supposition 
which  has  sometimes  been  advanced  in  favour  of  an  opposite 
view ;  namely,  that  real  miracles  may  possibly  be  performed  by 
evil  spirits  in  behalf  of  a  false  doctrine.  This'supposition,  whatever 
may  be  its  value  as  a  theme  for  argumentative  ingenuity,  is  not 
one  which  we  are  practically  called  upon  to  consider  by  any  of 
the  actual  circumstances  with  which  we  are  concerned.  The 
objections  which  may  justly  be  urged  against  Fanner's  argu 
ment,  when  earned  to  the  extent  of  denying  the  credibility  of 
demoniacal  miracles  of  any  kind,  do  not  apply  to  it  when  limited 
to  such  miracles  as  are  wrought  in  evidence  of  a  religion,  and  to 
the  question,  not  of  their  theoretical  possibility,  but  of  their 
actual  occurrence.  It  may  be  unsafe  to  reason  a  priori,  from 
our  conception  of  the  Divine  attributes,  that  the  permission  of 
such  agency  is  inconceivable ;  but  we  may  fairly  refuse  to  attach 
any  practical  importance  to  the  supposition,  until  some  evidence 
is  brought  forward  to  shew  that  it  has  actually  been  realized. 
It  remains  yet  to  be  shewn  that  in  all  human  experience  any 
instance  can  be  produced  of  a  real  miracle  wrought  by  evil 
spirits  for  purposes  of  deception ;  *  and  until  some  probable 
grounds  can  be  alleged  in  behalf  of  the  fact,  we  have  not  suffi 
cient  means  of  judging  concerning  the  theory.  Doubtless,  if  it 
is  consistent  with  God's  Providence  to  permit  such  a  temptation, 
He  will  also,  with  the  temptation,  make  a  way  for  us  to  escape ; 
but  what  that  way  will  be,  or  how  far  the  temptation  is  con 
sistent  with  God's  Providence,  we  cannot  decide  beforehand :  we 
must  wait  till  some  actual  occurrence,  with  all  its  accompanying 
circumstances,  comes  before  us.  The  only  real  question  at  issue 
is  not  whether  Christianity  is  a  revelation  from  God  or  a  delusion 
of  Satan ; — a  question  which  no  sane  man  at  the  present  time 
would  think  worthy  of  a  serious  discussion  ;  but  whether  it  is  of 
God  or  of  man;  and,  consequently,  on  what  grounds  and  to 


*  See  Penrose. '  On  the  Evidence  of 
the  Scripture  Miracles,'  p.  23.  The 
exceptions,  in  the  instances  of  the 


Egyptian  magicians  and  the  witch  of 
Eudor,  are  satisfactorily  disposed  of  by 
Farmer,  '  Dissertation,'  chap.  iv. 
D 


34  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I. 

what  extent  it  is  entitled  to  the  acceptance  of  mankind.  AYhat 
man  lias  taught,  man  may  revise  and  improve.  If  the  doctrines 
of  Christianity  are  no  otherwise  of  divine  origin  than  as  all 
human  wisdom  is  the  gift  of  God,  they  have,  like  other  products 
of  human  wisdom,  no  further  claim  to  be  accepted  than  as  they 
may  be  verified  by  the  wisdom  of  later  generations.  In  that 
case,  we  may  listen  to  the  teaching  of  Christ  and  His  apostles,  as 
we  listen  to  the  teaching  of  human  philosophers,  with  respect 
and  gratitude,  but  not  necessarily  with  submission :  we  claim  a 
right  to  judge  and  sift,  and  it  may  be  to  reject,  as  our  own 
reason  shall  determine  us,  acknowledging  no  other  authority 
than  that  which  is  due  to  the  wise  and  good  of  every  generation 
of  mankind.  But  if,  on  the  other  hand,  the  doctrines  are  given 
to  us  by  Divine  revelation  such  as  no  human  wisdom  can  claim, 
they  have  a  right  to  be  received  by  virtue  of  the  authority  on 
which  they  rest,  distinct  from  any  which  they  may  possess 
through  their  own  intrinsic  reasonableness  or  capability  of  veri 
fication.  Of  such  a  Divine  authority  miracles  are  the  natural 
and  proper  proof; — a  proof  which  all  men  are  disposed  naturally 
and  instinctively  to  admit  in  practice,  whatever  cavils  may  be 
raised  against  it  on  the  ground  of  imaginary  difficulties  in 
theory.  In  the  words  of  one  of  the  ablest  of  the  writers  who 
have  discussed  this  point,  "  All  natural  scepticism  on  the  subject 
of  miracles  attaches  to  the  question  whether  they  were  really 
performed,  not,  if  performed,  to  the  authority  which  they  pos 
sess."  *  For  all  real  purposes  of  controversy,  the  question  may 
be  stated  now,  as  it  was  stated  by  Gamaliel  of  old,  whether  the 
counsel  and  the  work  be  of  men  or  of  God ;  and  the  only  serious 
inquiry  that  can  be  raised  concerning  the  miracles  of  Scripture 
is  whether  they  were  wrought  by  the  direct  interposition  of  God, 
or  were  the  result  of  human  skill  or  other  natural  causes, — in 
other  words,  whether  they  were  or  were  not  really  miracles  at  all. 
28.  The  question,  then,  only  requires  to  be  disentangled  of 
its  confusion,  to  be  very  briefly  answered.  If  it  is  considered  , 
theoretically  and  in  the  abstract,  with  reference  merely  to 
the  logical  character  of  certain  doctrines  in  themselves,  and  not 
to  the  circumstances  and  needs  of  men,  we  may  divide,  as  is 
usually  done,  the  doctrines  of  religion  into  those  which  are  and 

*   Pctiro.se,  j).  '21. 


ESSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  35 

those  which  are  not  discoverable  by  human  reason  ;  regarding 
the  former  as  prior  to  revelation,  and  furnishing  a  negative 
criterion  which  no  true  revelation  can  contradict;  while  the 
latter  are  posterior  to  revelation,  and  rest  immediately  on  the 
authority  of  a  divinely  commissioned  Teacher,  and  mediately  on 
the  proofs  of  his  divine  mission,  whatever  these  may  be.*  And 
it  is  at  this  stage  of  the  inquiry  that  the  question  concerning  the 
evidential  value  of  miracles  properly  comes  in.  A  teacher  who 
proclaims  himself  to  be  specially  sent  by  God,  and  whose 
teaching  is  to  be  received  on  the  authority  of  that  mission, 
must,  from  the  nature  of  the  case,  establish  his  claim  by  proofs 
of  another  kind  than  those  which  merely  evince  his  human 
wisdom  or  goodness.  A  superhuman  authority  needs  to  be  sub 
stantiated  by  superhuman  evidence ;  and  superhuman  evidence 
thus  exhibited  is  miraculous.  It  is  not  the  truth  of  the  doctrines 
but  the  authority  of  the  teaclier,  that  miracles  are  employed  to 
prove ;  and  the  authority  being  established,  the  truth  of  the 
doctrine  follows  from  it.  In  this  manner  our  Lord  appeals  to  His 
miracles  as  evidences  of  His  mission :  "  The  works  which  the 
Father  hath  given  me  to  finish,  the  same  works  that  I  do,  bear 
witness  of  me  that  the  Father  hath  sent  me."|  It  is  easy  to 
say  that  we  might  have  known  Jesus  Christ  to  be  the  Son  of 
God,  had  He  manifested  Himself  merely  as  a  moral  teacher, 
without  the  witness  of  miracles.  It  is  easy  to  say  this,  because 
it  is  impossible  to  prove  it.  We  cannot  reverse  the  facts  of  history  : 
we  cannot  make  the  earthly  life  of  Christ  other  than  it  was. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  He  did  unite  miraculous  powers  with  pure 
and  holy  doctrine  ;  and,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  He  did  appeal  to 
His  miracles  in  proof  of  His  divine  authority.  The  miracles  are 
a  part  of  the  portrait  of  Christ :  they  are  a  part  of  that  influence 
which  has  made  the  history  of  the  Christian  Church  what  it  is. 
It  is  idle  to  speculate  on  what  that  history  might  have  been,  had 
that  influence  been  different.  We  have  to  do  with  revelation 
as  we  have  to  do  with  nature, — as  God  has  been  pleased  to 
make  it,  not  as  He  might  have  made  it,  had  His  wisdom  been 
as  ours. 

Such,   even  at  its  very  lowest   estimate,  is  the   evidential 
character  of  miracles  from  the  abstract  and  theoretical  point  of 


*  Compare  Warburton,  '  Divine  Legation,'  b.  ix.,  c.  5.         t  St.  Jolm  v.  5J6. 

D   2 


30 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  1 


view.  "The  truths,"  says  Bishop  Atterbury,  "which  are  neces 
sary  in  this  manner  to  he  attested  are  those  which  are  of 
positive  institution  ;  those  which,  if  God  had  not  pleased  to 
reveal  them,  human  reason  could  not  have  discovered ;  and 
those  which,  even  now  they  are  revealed,  human  reason  cannot 
fully  account  for  and  perfectly  comprehend.  Such,  for  example, 
are  the  doctrines  of  Baptism  and  the  Supper  of  the  Lord,  of  the 
Resurrection  of  the  same  Body,  of  the  Distinction  of  Persons  in 
the  Unity  of  the  Divine  Essence,  and  of  the  Salvation  of 
Mankind  by  the  Blood  and  Intercession  of  Jesus.  It  is  this 
kind  of  truths  that  God  is  properly  said  to  reveal  ;  truths  of 
which,  unless  revealed,  we  should  have  always  continued 
ignorant ;  and  'tis  in  order  only  to  prove  those  truths  to  have 
been  really  revealed,  that  we  affirm  miracles  to  be  necessary."  * 
29.  But  practically,  in  reference  to  the  actual  condition  and 
needs  of  men,  the  evidence  of  miracles  has  a  far  wider  range,  and 
includes  all  those  doctrines,  whether  natural  or  revealed,  which 
have  at  any  time  been  taught  or  revived  among  men  by  the 
preaching  of  the  Christian  Faith.  This  lias  been  pointed  out, 
with  his  usual  practical  wisdom,  by  Bishop  Butler.  "It  is 
impossible,"  he  says,  "  to  say  who  would  have  been  able  to  have 
reasoned  out  that  whole  system  which  we  call  natural  religion, 
in  its  genuine  simplicity,  clear  of  superstition ;  but  there  is 
certainly  no  ground  to  affirm  that  the  generality  could.  If  they 
could,  there  is  no  sort  of  probability  that  they  would.  Admitting 
there  were,  they  would  highly  want  a  standing  admonition  to 
remind  them  of  it,  and  inculcate  it  upon  them."  To  the  same 
effect  he  continues :  "  It  may  possibly  be  disputed  how  far 
miracles  can  prove  natural  religion ;  and  notable  objections 
may  be  urged  against  this  proof  of  it,  considered  as  a  matter  of 
speculation ;  but,  considered  as  a  practical  thing,  there  can  be 
none.  For  suppose  a  person  to  teach  natural  religion  to  a 
nation  who  had  lived  in  total  ignorance  or  forgetfulness  of  it ; 
and  to  declare  he  was  commissioned  by  God  to  do  so  ;  suppose 
him,  in  proof  of  his  commission,  to  foretell  things  future,  which 
no  human  foresight  could  have  guessed  at ;  to  divide  the  sea 
with  a  word ;  feed  great  multitudes  with  bread  from  heaven  ; 


*  '  Miracles  the  proper  way  of  proving 
the  Divine  Authority  of  any  Religion,' 


Sermons   (1734),   vol.   i.  p.   l>Io.     See 
also  Bishop  Sherlock,  Discourse  x. 


ESSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  37 

cure  all  manner  of  diseases ;  and  raise  the  dead,  even  himself, 
to  life  :  would  not  this  give  additional  credibility  to  his  teaching 
— a  credibility  beyond  what  that  of  a  common  man  would  have ; 
and  be  an  authoritative  publication  of  the  law  of  nature,  z.  e.  a 
new  proof  of  it  ?  It  would  be  a  practical  one,  of  the  strongest 
kind,  perhaps,  which  human  creatures  are  capable  of  having 
given  them."  * 

In  this  passage,  the  good  sense  of  Butler  has  solved  the 
question  in  its  practical  aspect,  leaving  the  theoretical  difficulty 
in  its  proper  insignificance.  No  doubt,  if  we  are  at  liberty  to 
suppose  a  totally  different  state  of  things  from  the  actual  one, 
we  may  deduce  a  great  number  of  hypothetical  consequences 
concerning  what  might  have  been  the  case,  but  is  not.  If  all 
men  possessed  a  perfect  system  of  natural  religion,  no  authori 
tative  publication  of  natural  truths  would  be  needed ;  and  no 
teaching  which  contradicted  men's  natural  belief  would  have 
any  claim  to  be  received.  And  so,  if  all  men  were  possessed  of 
perfect  bodily  health,  no  medicine  would  be  needed  to  give  it 
them;  and  any  medicine  which  tended  to  alter  their  state  of 
health  would  be  injurious.  Unhappily,  both  suppositions  are 
untrue ;  and  the  conclusions  practically  fall  to  the  ground  with 
them.  It  may  be  granted  that  the  authority  of  which  miracles 
are  a  proof  is  but  an  accidental  and  relative  evidence  of  truths 
of  this  character.  Still,  the  accident  is  one  which  has  extended 
over  the  greater  part  of  mankind  ;  and  the  relation  is  coexten 
sive  with  it.  And  this  consideration  must  serve  to  modify  in 
practice  the  negative  criterion  which  is  allowed  to  be  valid  in 
theory.  In  whatever  degree  any  man  does  not  possess  a  perfect 
natural  religion,  in  the  same  degree  he  is  liable  to  errdr  in 
judging  of  the  truth  of  a  revelation  solely  from  internal 
evidence.  And  even  the  man  who,  in  the  present  day,  claims 
the  right  to  exercise  such  a  judgment,  may  be  reminded  that 
the  knowledge  oil  which  his  claim  is  based  is  in  no  small  degree 
owing  to  that  very  authoritative  teaching  on  which  his  judgment 
is  to  be  passed : — aTreXaarto-e  KadaTrepel  TO,  TrwXdpia  yevvrjOevra 
rrjv  fjLrjTepa.  "  The  fact,"  says  Mr.  Davison,  "  is  not  to  be 
denied ;  the  religion  of  Nature  has  had  the  opportunity  of 
rekindling  her  faded  taper  by  the  Gospel  light,  whether 


*  'Analogy,'  part  ii.,  cli.  i. 


38  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  1. 

furtively  or  unconsciously  taken.  Let  her  not  dissemble  the 
obligation  and  the  conveyance,  and  make  a  boast  of  the 
splendour,  as  though  it  were  originally  her  own,  or  had  always 
in  her  hands  been  sufficient  for  the  illumination  of  the  world."  * 

30.  The  whole  question  of  the  value  of  miracles  as  evidences 
of  Christianity  must,  in  fact,  be  answered  by  means  of  the  same 
distinction  on  which  depends  the  question  of  their  credibility  ; — 
the  distinction,  namely,  between    God's  general  manifestation 
of  Himself  in  the  ordinary  course  of  nature,  and   His  special 
manifestation   of  Himself  by  supernatural   signs.     Those  who 
deny  the  existence  of  any  special  revelation  of  religious  truths, 
distinct  from  that  general  sense  in  which  man's  reason  itself  and 
all  that  it  can  discover  are  the  gifts  of  Him  from  whom  every 
good  thing  comes ; — those  who  deny  that  any  teaching  has  been 
made  to  man  by  special  inspiration  of  particular  teachers,  in  a 
sense  different  from  that  in  which   all   holy  desires,  all   good 
counsels,  and  all  just  works  proceed  from  the  inspiration  of  the 
Holy  ISpirit  ; — such  persons  are  only  consistent  when  they  deny 
that  miracles  have  any  value  as  evidences  of  religious  truth,  and 
are  still  more  consistent  if  they  deny  that  such  works  have  ever 
been  wrought.    If  religion  teaches  nothing  but  what  every  man, 
by  God's  grace,  may  discover,  or  at  least  verify,  for  himself,  the 
distinction  between  natural  and  revealed  religion  ceases  to  exist, 
and  with   it  the  distinction  between  natural  and  supernatural 
evidences  of  the  truth.     If  the  ordinary  witness  of  man's  reason 
or   conscience   is   sufficient   for   all    purposes   of   religion,   the 
extraordinary  witness  becomes  superfluous  if  it  agrees  with  this, 
and  pernicious  if  it  differs  from  it.     But  this  absolute  sufficiency 
of  the   natural   reason   is   the   very  point   which   history  and 
philosophy  concur  to  call  in  question. 

31.  The  following  words  of  a  learned  and  thoughtful  prelate 
of  the   English   Church    may   be    cited   and   adopted   as   ex 
pressing  the  conclusions  which   I  have  endeavoured,  however 
imperfectly,  to  establish  in  common  with  him  :  "  It  appears,  then, 
on  a  review  of  the  preceding  arguments,  that  the   Scripture 
miracles  stand  on  a  solid  basis,  which  no  reasoning  can  over 
throw.     Their  possibility  cannot  be  denied  without  denying  the 
very  nature  of  God  as  an  all-powerful  Being :  their  probability 


•  Discourses  ou  rrojihi-cy,'  p.  (J  (4lh  edition^. 


ESSAY  I.]  ON  MIRACLES.  39 

cannot  be  questioned  without  questioning  His  moral  perfections : 
and  their  certainty,  as  matters  of  fact,  can  only  be  invalidated 
by  destroying  the  very  foundations  of  all  human  testimony. 

"  Upon  these  grounds  we  may  safely  leave  the  subject  in  the 
hands  of  any  wise  and  considerate  man :  and  we  may  venture 
to  affirm  that  no  person  of  such  a  character  will,  after  an 
attentive  examination  of  these  points,  ever  suffer  his  faith  in 
the  miracles,  by  which  the  Divine  authority  of  the  Christian 
revelation  "is  supported,  to  be  shaken.  Convinced  that,  by  a 
fair  chain  of  reasoning,  every  one  who  denies  them  must  be 
driven  to  the  necessity  of  maintaining  atheistical  principles,  by 
questioning  either  the  power,  or  wisdom,  or  goodness  of  the 
Creator,  the  true  philosopher  will  yield  to  the  force  of  this 
consideration,  as  well  as  to  the  overpowering  evidences  of  the 
facts  themselves ;  and  will  thankfully  accept  the  dispensation 
which  God  hath  thus  graciously  vouchsafed  to  reveal.  He  will 
suffer  neither  wit,  nor  ridicule,  nor  sophistry,  to  rob  him  of  this 
anchor  of  his  faith ;  but  will  turn  to  his  Saviour  with  the  confidence 
so  emphatically  expressed  by  Nicodemus :  '  Rabbi,  we  KNOW 
that  thou  art  a  Teacher  come  from  God :  FOR  no  man  can  do 
these  miracles  that  Thou  doest,  except  GOD  be  with  him.' "  * 

To  these  remarks,  which  are  applicable  to  every  age  and  race 
of  men  to  whom  the  Christian  evidences  may  come,  it  may  per 
haps  not  be  inappropriate  to  add  a  further  observation  having  a 
more  especial  reference  to  ourselves.  The  very  attacks  which 
have  been  made,  in  the  supposed  interests  of  science,  upon  the 
miraculous  element  of  the  Gospel  narrative,  may  themselves 
serve,  if  rightly  considered,  to  give  to  that  very  element  a  new 
significance,  and  to  point  to  a  moral  purpose  more  discernible 
now  than  of  old.  An  age  of  advanced  physical  knowledge  has 
its  especial  temptations,  no  less  than  its  especial  privileges.  Few 
indeed,  it  is  trusted,  will  be  found  to  repeat  what  one  great  sci 
entific  teacher  of  the  present  century  has  been  found  to  assert, 
that  the  heavens  declare,  not  the  glory  of  God,  but  only  the 
glory  of  the  astronomer.  Yet  this  bold  and  profane  language  is 
only  the  extreme  expression  of  a  ten  dency  against  which  an  age 
like  the  present  has  especial  need  to  watch  and  pray.  Against 
such  a  tendency  it  is  no  small  safeguard  that  men  of  science 
should  be  trained  from  their  earliest  childhood  in  records  which 


*  Van  Mildert, '  Boyle  Lectures.'  Sermon  xxi. 


•10  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  I 

at  every  page  tell  of  the  personal  presence  of  Him  by  whom  all 
things  w£re  made,  manifested  in  direct  control  over  the  delegated 
workings  of  His  visible  creation.  It  is  but  one  form  of  His  per 
petual  presence  with  His  Church,  th  at  in  founding  a  Faith  destined 
to  ally  itself  with  the  intellectual  cultivation  of  all  succeeding 
o-enerations,  He  should  have  founded  it  in  such  a  manner  as  to 

O 

furnish,  in  the  record  of  its  origin,  a  lesson  of  the  spirit  in  which 
that  cultivation  should  be  pursued,  and  a  safeguard  against  the 
perils  to  which  it  is  especially  exposed.  If  there  are  times  when 
the  very  vastness  of  the  material  system  which  science  discloses 
seems  to  thrust  the  Author  of  all  to  an  almost  infinite  distance 
from  us ; — if  there  are  times  when  we  feel  almost  tempted  to 
echo  the  wish  of  the  poet,  to  be  "  a  Pagan  suckled  in  a  creed 
outworn,"  so  that  we  might  but  have  a  clearer  sight  of  the  pre 
sence  of  Deity  among  the  phenomena  of  nature ; — if  there  are 
times  when  the  heaven  that  is  over  our  heads  seems  to  be  brass, 
and  the  earth  that  is  under  us  to  be  iron,  and  we  feel  our  hearts 
sink  within  us  under  the  calm  pressure  of  unyielding  and  un- 
sympathizing  Law,  as  those  of  the  disciples  of  old  sank  within 
them  under  the  stormy  violence  of  wind  and  wave ; — at  such 
times  we  may  learn  our  lesson  and  feel  our  consolation,  as  we 
turn  to  those  vivid  pictures  which  our  Sacred  Story  portrays  of  the 
personal  power  of  the  Incarnate  God  visibly  ruling  His  creation  ; 
and  may  hear  through  them  the  present  voice  of  Him  who  spake 
on  the  waters,  "  Be  of  good  cheer ;  it  is  I  ;  be  not  afraid." 

Am>mov  TO  PAGE  11. 

And  when  we  nix-  told,  in  the  language  of  a  recent  writer,  that  "if  miracles 
were  in  the  estimation  of  a  former  age  among  the  chief  supports  of  Christi 
anity,  they  are  at  present  among  the  main  difficulties  and  hindrances  to  its 
acceptance,"*  we  may  fairly  ask  in  reply.  "What  is  this  Christianity  which  might 
be  more  easily  believed  if  it  had  no  miracles  ?  Is  it  meant  that  the  Gospel-narra 
tive  in  general  would  be  more  easy  to  believe  if  the  miracles  were  taken  out  of  it? 
The  miracles  are  so  interwoven  with  the  narrative  that  the  whole  texture  would  be 
destroyed  by  their  removal.  Or  is  it  meant  that  the  great  central  fact  in  the 
apostolic  preaching,  the  Resurrection  of  Christ,  would  be  more  credible  if  He  who 
thus  marvellously  rose  from  the  dead  had  in  Jlis  lifetime  exhibited  no  signs  of  a 
power  superior  to  that  of  His  fellow-men?  Or  is  it  meant  that  the  great  dis 
tinctive  doctrines  of  Christianity,  such  as  those  of  the  Trinity  and  the  Incarnation, 
might  be  more  readily  accepted  if  there  were  710  miracles  in  the  Scripture  which 
•iiutains  them?  We  can  scarcely  imagine  it  to  be  seriously  maintained  that  it 
vould  be  easier  to  believe  that  the  Second  Person  of  the  Divine  Trinity  came  on 
urth  in  the  form  of  a  man,  if  it  were  also  asserted  that,  while  <>n  earth,  He  gave 
10  sigiiw  of  a  power  beyond  that  of  ordinary  men.  In  short,  it  is  difficult  to 
mderstimd  on  what  ground  it  can  be  maintained  that  miracles  are  a  hindrance 
to  the  belief  in  Christianity,  except  on  a  ".round  which  asserts  also  that  there  is 
no  distinctive  Christianity  in  whin!)  to  believe. 

*  '  Essays  rind  Reviews  '  p.  140. 


ESSAY  II. 

ON  THE  STUDY  OF  THE  EVIDENCES  OF 
CHRISTIANITY. 


CONTEXTS  OF  ESSAY  II. 


1.  INTRODUCTION. 

2.  Reaction  against  the  study  of  Evi 

dences. 

3.  Circumstances  of  the  Infidel  con 

troversy  in  the  17th  and  18th  cen 
turies. 

4.  Change    of  position   of  Christian 

apologists  occasioned  by  change 
of  tactics  of  Infidels. 

,r>.  Internal  condition  of  the  Church. 

C.  Rise  of  the  Methodist  and  Evan 
gelical  movement— its  excesses. 

7.  Want  of  Church  activity. 

8.  The   "  New  Birth  "    preached  by 

Whiteficld  and  the  Wesleys. 

9.  Decay     of     theological     learning 

among  the  Evangelical  leaders. 

10.  Ultimate  development  of  false  prin 

ciples  when  left  unchecked. 

11.  Influences  loosing  men's  hold  upon 

the  Historical  element  in  Chris 
tianity — German  Neology. 

12.  Charms  of  the  foreign  literature — 

Influence  of  the  new  opinions 
on  the  current  literature  of  the 
country — Religion  regarded  as  an 
aftair  of  sentiment. 

13.  Inadequacy  of  the  system  to  meet 

the  mere  moral  wants  of  man- 
protect  against  the  foundation  of 
the  whole  theory. 


14.  A  religion    disentangled   from    all 

historical  inquiries,  and  commend 
ing  itself  to  the  mind  by  its  in 
trinsic  beauty  and  suitability  to 
man's  wants  and  wishes,  is  not 
Christianity. 

15.  The  essential  connexion  of  Chris 

tianity  with  the  history  of  past 
ages  advances  civilization  wher 
ever  Christianity  prevails. 

lb'.  Disadvantages  of  the  mean  and  il 
literate  in  judging  of  the  historical 
evidences  of  Christianity. 

17.  Direct  evidence  within  the  reach  of 
the  humbler  classes. 

IS.  Development  of  critical  inquiry 
abroad  has  diminished  the  dilfi- 
culties  of  comparath  ely  unlearned 
readers. 

19.  Origin  of  the  Christian  religion  not 

a  very  remote  event — Absurdity  of 
the  mythical  theory  as  applied  to  it. 

20.  Strauss's  '  Life  of  Jesus'  merely  the 

working  out  of  a  foregone  conclu 
sion — Insufficiency  of  the  theories 
of  Strauss's  successors  —  Causes 
and  remedies  of  the  present  panic 
— Danger  of  concentrating  a 
whole  system  of  belief  upon  a 
single  point — Romanist  creed. 

21.  Order  in  which  sceptical  objections 

are  to  l>e  dealt  with. 

22.  Very  little  new  matter  to  be  pro 

duced  by  Infidelity — Conclusion. 


ON  THE  STUDY  OF  THE  EVIDENCES  OF 
CHRISTIANITY. 


1.  "EVIDENCES  of  Christianity!"  exclaims  the  late  Mr.  Cole 
ridge  in  one  of  the  most  popular  of  his  prose-works;  "I  am 

weary  of  the  word.  Make  a  man  feel  the  want  of  it and 

you  may  safely  trust  it  to  its  own  evidence." 

There  can  be  little  doubt,  I  think,  that  these  words  express 
the  prevailing  sentiments  of  a  very  considerable  number  of 
Christians  at  the  present  day ;  and  it  cannot  be  denied  that,  for 
many  years  back,  there  has  been  a  general  distaste  for  that 
apologetic  religious  literature  which  was  popular  in  the  last 
century. 

2.  This  has  doubtless  been  greatly  owing  to  a  Reaction  from  the 
disproportionate  attention  paid  to  such  literature  by  the  Divines 
of  a  former  age,  and  has  taken  place  in  virtue  of  that  general 
rule  which  seems  to  ordain  that  an  over  value  of  any  branch  of 
knowledge  in  one  generation  shall  be  attended  by  an  unjust  depreci 
ation  of  it  in  the  next.  The  argumentative  value  of  things  even 
so  important  as  the  evidences  of  religion  may,  unquestionably, 
engross  the  public  mind  too  much ;  and  he  who  is  continually 
occupied  in  contemplating  and  stating  the  proofs  of  its  truth  will 
fail  of  reaching  the  just  standard  of  a  Christian  teacher,  or  a  Chris 
tian  man.  Such  a  person  will  be  like  a  prince  who  employs  all 
his  time,  and  strength,  and  resources  in  raising  fortresses  about 
a  territory  which  he  does  not  carefully  govern ;  or  like  a  land 
lord  who  lives  but  to  accumulate  muniments  of  an  estate  which 
he  neglects  to  till.  But  the  folly  of  such  conduct  would  be  no 
excuse  for  suffering  our  frontiers  to  lie  open,  or  our  title-deeds 
to  be  lost.  Yet  something  very  like  such  advice  is  sometimes- 
offered  to  us.  Our  forefathers,  perhaps,  were  too  apt  to  include 
all  strong  energy  of  emotion  and  play  of  fancy  in  their  general 
and  unsparing  censures  of  enthusiasm ;  and  some  of  us  are  dis 
posed  to  redress  the  balance  by  appealing  exclusively  to  the 
imagination  and  the  feelings.  We  see  that  it  will  not  do  to 


44  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  11. 

address  the  head  alone,  and  therefore  we  will  not  address  it  at 
all,  but  speak  only  to  the  heart. 

Now  it  is  important  to  observe  that  this  reaction  was  so  far 
from  springing  from  any  failure  of  the  apologists  in  their  proper 
work,  that  it  would  hardly  have  been  possible  if  that  work  had 
not  been  thoroughly  done.  Their  proper  work  was  to  drive  the 
infidel  writers  of  their  own  age  out  of  the  field;  and  never  was 
task  more  completely  accomplished.  No  literature,  of  any 
recent  date,  has  perished  more  completely  than  the  infidel 
literature  of  the  early  and  middle  parts  of  the  last  century. 

Ipsaj  perifere  ruinaj. 

It  is  only  some  curious  antiquary,  loving  to  parade  forgotten 
lore,  who  now  searches  the  pages  of  such  writers  as  Toland 
or  Tindal,  and  Chubb,  and  Morgan,  and  Coward,  and  Collins — 
though  some  of  them  were  really  men  of  parts,  and  all  con 
spicuous  in  their  day.  Their  very  names,  indeed,  would  have 
passed  wholly  from  remembrance,  but  that  some  of  them  were 
answered  in  works  which  "  posterity  will  not  easily  let  die  ;"  and 
almost  all  are  found  by  the  young  student  of  theology  enume 
rated  by  Leland  in  his  'View  of  the  Deistical  Writers.'*  They 
survive,  like  the  heroes  of  the  'Newgate  Calendar,'  in  the 
annals  of  that  public  justice  which  chastised  their  faults. 

3.  The  long  controversy  with  the  infidels  assumed,  in  the 
course  of  it,  many  forms.  But  these  changes  of  position,  on 
the  part  of  the  defenders  of  Christianity,  were  caused  by  the 
changing  tactics  of  their  assailants,  who,  when  driven  from  one 
point  of  attack,  immediately  occupied  a  new  one. 

The  necessity  for  an  English  apologetic  j-  literature  began  to 


*  "  The  best  book,"  says  Burke,  "that  '   perly  so  willed,  which  required  prin- 

ever  has  been  written   against  these  j   ciples  as  certain  as   those  of  natural 

people,  is  that  in  which  the  author  has  .    science.     They  could  not  find  mink  a 

collected  in  a  body  the  whole  of  the  certainty  in  moral  evidence,  and  there- 

infidel   code,   and    has    brought    their  fore  had  recourse  to  supernatural  light, 

writings  into  one  body,  to  cut  them  all  The  Iteformers  partook  in  their  niits- 

off  together." — Speech  on  Ilelii'f  of  I'm-  take  of  requiring  an  u.-isnit  out  of  pro- 

testant  Dissenters,  1773.  portion    to    the   evident',- ;    but  substi- 

t  It  has  been  supposed  that  our  early  tilted    the    infallible    Scripture   as    its 

Reformers,  conscious  of  the  weakness  object  for  the  infallible  Church.     The 

of  external  proofs,  rested  the  authority  Iruu    distinction    between    assent  and 

of  Scripture  wholly  upon  its  self-evi-  adhesion  was  drawn  by  Hooker  in  his 

dencing  light.    JJut  tho  doctrine  of  the  great    sermon    on    the    'Faith   of  the 

self-evidencing  light  had  quite  a  dif-  Klect,'    and,    after    him,    by    Jackson, 

ferent    origin.      The    schoolmen    had  Workx  vol.  iii.,  Oxford,  1841. 
erected   theology   info   a    science,   pro- 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  45 

be  felt  even  before  the  Restoration,  and  is  attested  by  such 
works  as  Jeremy  Taylor's  *  Moral  Demonstration,'  and  Ham 
mond's  remarkable  little  tract  on  the  '  Evidences  of  Religion.' 
After  it,  still  more.  The  press,  indeed,  was  not  yet  free  to  the 
infidels  (though  Hobbes,  by  masking  his  attack  on  all  religion 
and  morality  under  the  form  of  a  defence  of  despotism,  con 
trived  to  evade  its  restrictions) ;  but  it  is  plain,  from  incidental 
notices,  that  sceptical  objections  were  largely  circulated  in  MS. 
and  in  conversation.  Men  read,  in  secret,  authors  whose  names 
sound  strange  to  this  generation — Averroes,  Jordanes  Brunus, 
Cardan,  Pomponatius,  Vanini ;  and  their  doubts,  denied  a  free 
expression,  festered  into  grotesque  and  monstrous  forms  of 
atheism,  of  which  Smith,  and  More,  and  Cudworth  occasionally 
reveal  to  us  portentous  specimens.  Learning,  too,  was  beginning 
to  suggest  literary  difficulties,  of  which  we  have  indications  in 
Isaac  Vossins  and  Sir  John  Marsham. 

It  was  in  this  state  of  tilings  that  those  two  great  works,  Cud- 
worth's  '  Intellectual  System,'  and  Stillingfleet's  '  Origines 
Sacrse,'  *  were  published.  They  were  certainly  very  far  from 
being  popular  and  easy  defences  of  religion,  but  they  were  not 
intended  as  replies  to  popular  attacks.  They  were  the  weapons 
in  a  war  of  giants. 

'  Non  jaculo,  neque  enira  jaculo  vitam  ille  dedisset, 
Sed  magnum  stridens  contorta  Falarica  venit." 

Those  who  despise  them  have  probably  never  read,  and  cer 
tainly  never  understood,  them. 

4.  The  point  of  attack  was  now  gradually  changed.  Science 
was  every  day  bringing  fresh  aids  to  religion.  Before  the 
arguments  of  More,  and  Cudworth,  and  Green,  and  Ray,  and 
Boyle,  and  Clarke,  the  position  of  Atheism  was  generally 
abandoned  as  untenable.  The  divines  had  proved  to  their  op 
ponents  that  there  was  such  a  thing  as  natural  religion ;  and 
those  opponents  now  adopted  that  system  of  natural  religion, 


*  Let  any  competent  person  read  the 
chapters  on  Ancient  History  in  the  first 
book  of  the  '  Origines,'  and  the  account 
of  the  laws  against  the  Christians  in 
b.  ii.  c.  9,  and  he  will  see  that  those 
who  sneer  at  that  great  work  are  them- 


and  when  his  temper  had  been  spoiled 
by  flattery,  and  his  faculties  decayed 
by  years,  engaged  foolishly  in  a  con 
troversy  with  Locke,  in  which  he  did 
not  appear  to  advantage.  Yet  he  singled 
out  most  of  those  points  which  later 


selves   the    proper  objects  of  pity  or      metaphysicians  have  deemed  the  weak 
contempt.    Stillingfieet,  in  his  old  age,      points  in  Locke's  harness. 


•40  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  II. 

which  had  been  reasoned  out  for  them,  as  their  own ;  declared 
its  proofs  to  have  been  always  so  clear  and  convincing-  that 
nothing  but  the  artifices  of  priestcraft  could  have  obscured 
them ;  and  contended  that  revelation  should  at  once  be  set  aside 
as  a  superfluous  incuiubrance  of  its  perfection.*  The  war-cry 
now  was,  "  The  sufficiency  of  natural  religion  !"  The  points  in 
Christianity  now  selected  for  attack  were  those  peculiar  to  it 
as  distinguished  from  natural  religion.  It  was  contended  that 
miracles  were  incredible,  or  utterly  insignificant ;  that  God 
could  not  give  a  particular  revelation  ;  that  He  could  not  have 
selected  a  chosen  people  ;  that  He  could  not  accept  a  vicarious 
atonement  ;  that  the  Gospel  doctrine  of  eternal  rewards  and 
punishments  subverted  morality  by  making  it  mercenary,  &c. 
It  was  such  objections  as  these  that  drew  forth  the  masterpieces 
of  Clarke,  and  Butler,t  and  Warburton.  In  their  hands  the 
cause  of  religion  was  safe ;  but,  in  its  management  by  less 
sagacious  writers,  one  disastrous  mistake  was  committed,  the 
influence  of  which  was  long  felt  to  the  injury  of  the  Church. 

In  the  early  stage  of  the  controversy  it  was  the  infidels  who 
maintained  (with  Hobbes  and  Spinoza)  the  selfish  system  of 
morals,  and  the  defenders  of  religion  who  asserted  the  nobler 
doctrine  that  virtue  was  an  end  in  itself.  So  much,  indeed,  was 
this  the  case  that  hardly  anything  excited  more  the  general 
outcry  against  Locke's  '  Essay '  than  the  supposition  that  his 
denial  of  innate  ideas  destroyed  the  proper  foundation  of  ethics. 
But,  in  time,  Locke  was  discovered  to  have  been  a  Christian  ; 
and  the  Platonic  theory  of  virtue  was  turned  by  Shaftesbury 
(his  somewhat  ungenerous  pupil)  into  a  support  of  naturalism, 
and  an  engine  for  assailing  Christianity.  Tliis  circumstance 


*  See  some  admirable  remarks  upon 
the  latest  form  of  the  same  prejudice 
in  Dr.  Salmon's  'Sermons  preached  in 
Trinity  College,  Dublin,'  ^Maemillan, 
18(31),  pp.  1GO-1G5. 

f  1  have  seen  a  curious  criticism  upon 
Butler  s  style,  in  which  his  disuse  of 
technical  terms  is  accounted  for  by 
Baying  that  he  was  essentially  a  Stoic, 


phis,"  says  Cicero,  "  Stoici  plurima 
uovaverunt.  Zeno  quoque,  eorum  prin- 
ceps.  non  turn  rerum  inventor  i'tiit  quain 
novorum  verborum." — De  Vinilms,  lib. 
iii.  c.  2.  And  most  persons  who  have 
looked  into  Antoninus  will  agree  with 
his  editor  that,  so  far  from  taking  his 
diction  from  common  life,  "  utilur  voci- 
bus  plane  suis,  quas  raro  apud  alios 


and  may  be  compared  with  "  Epictetus,  autores  invenias."  As  for  Plutarch,  one 
Antoninus,  and  Plutarch,"  who  moral-  :  is  surprised  to  hear  that  he  was  a  Stoic, 
ized  iu  the  language  of  common  life.  He  is  commonly  eupposed  to  have  writ- 


Tho  Stoics,  I  had  always  thought,  were 
rather  remarkable  for  the  use  of  tech 
nical  terms.  "  Ex  omnibus  Philoso- 


ten  some  rather  smart  treatises  against 
the  Stoice. 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  47 

unhappily  prejudiced  some  of  the  leading  divines  against  even 
what  was  soundest  in  Shaftesbury's  writings.  They  saw  an  acci 
dental  gain,  in  proving  the  necessity  of  revelation  to  assure  man 
that  the  practice  of  virtue  was,  under  all  circumstances,  his 
dearest  interest,  and  they  caught  at  it  too  eagerly.  Thus 
"  Hamlet  and  Laertes  changed  rapiers,"  and  some  of  the  cham 
pions  of  Truth  disgraced  themselves  by  using  the  poisoned 
weapon  which  they  had  wrested  from  the  maintaiuers  of  error. 

But,  though  some  oversights  were  committed  in  the  conduct 
of  the  war,  the  issue  of  the  conflict  was  not,  on  the  whole,  doubt 
ful.  And  now  again  the  position  had  to  be  altered  to  meet 
a  new  assault.  Lord  Bolingbroke  gave  the  signal  by  complain 
ing  that  "  divines  had  taken  much  silly  pains  to  establish  mys 
tery  on  metaphysics,  revelation  on  philosophy,  and  matters  of 
fact  on  abstract  reasoning.  Religion,"  he  said  truly — "  such  as 
the  Christian,  which  appeals  to  facts — must  be  proved  as  all 
other  facts  that  pass  for  authentic  are  proved.  If  they  are  thus 
proved,  the  religion  will  prevail  without  the  assistance  of  so  much 
profound  reasoning."  * 

To  the  proof  of  religion,  then,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  the  Chris 
tian  divines  addressed  themselves :  and  as  the  points  to  be  con 
sidered  in  this  view  were  the  credibility  of  the  prime  witnesses 
to  the  miraculous  facts  of  Christianity,  and  the  trustworthiness  of 
the  tradition  by  which  their  testimony  has  been  delivered  down 
to  us,  it  was  these  which  were  the  chief  subjects  of  the  apologetic 
literature  which  may  be  said  to  terminate  in  the  works  of 
Lardner  f  and  Paley. 

But  though  the  defenders  of  Christianity  had  been  expressly 
challenged  to  this  field  of  argument,  it  was  one  into  which  their 
antagonists  showed  little  serious  disposition  to  follow  them.  Cer 
tainly  Lord  Bolingbroke's  own  performances,  in  his  '  Remarks 
on  the  Canon  of  Scripture,'  and  the  historical  speculations  which 
are  scattered  in  his  '  Fragments,'  were  not  very  formidable  to 
the  faith.  Gradually  the  attack  upon  revealed  religion  fell  into 


*  See  Wurburton's  '  Doctrine  of 
Grace.' 

t  "  I  should  be  ungrateful,"  says  Mr. 
Westcott,  "  not  to  bear  witness  to  the 
accuracy  and  fulness  of  Lardner's  '  Cre 


dibility  ;'  for,  however  imperfect  it  may       p.  1>. 
be  iu  the   view  which  it  gives  of  the 


earliest  period  of  Christian  literature, 
it  is,  unless  I  am  mistaken,  more  com 
plete  and  trustworthy  than  any  work 
which  lias  bt-en  written  since  on  the 
same  subji-ct." — History  of  the  Canon, 


48 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  11. 


the  hands  of  persons  too  ignorant  and  too  manifestly  unscru 
pulous  to  produce  much  effect  upon  the  educated  part  of  the 
public.  Such  writers  as  Burgh  and  Paine  might  do  mischief 
among  the  lower  classes  ;  but  they  can  hardly  till  a  place  in  any 
literary  history. 

Two  really  illustrious  names  do  indeed  close  the  catalogue  of 
the  infidels  of  the  last  century — Hume  and  Gibbon.*  But  neither 
appeared  as  an  open  assailant  of  Christianity,  and  neither  owes 
his  chief  fame  to  those  parts  of  his  writings  in  which  Christianity 
was  assailed.  After  them  infidelity  in  England  appeared  to 
have  sheathed  its  sword,  furled  its  banner,  and  retired  from  the 
field. 

5.  But  what  meanwhile  was  the  internal  condition  of  the 
Church  ?  It  was  (to  recur  to  a  former  comparison)  too  much 
like  an  estate  after  the  decision  of  a  long  suit  in  Chancery 
to  settle  a  litigated  title.  The  controversy  with  the  infidels  had 
not  been  the  only  one  of  that  busy  century.  It  was  an  age 
of  a  thousand  controversies.  There  was  the  great  Nonjuring 
Controversy,  in  which  political  rancour  was  still  more  embittered 
by  the  gall  of  the  odium  tfteologicum.  There  was  the  great 
Bangorian  Controversy,  growing  out  of  the  former,  and  draining 
into  it  all  the  poisonous  dregs  of  its  predecessor.  There  was 
the  great  Convocation  Controversy,  which  changed  country 
parsons  into  clerical  Hainpdens,  and  ranged  High  Church 
divines  in  strange  antagonism  against  the  royal  supremacy. 
There  was  the  great  Trinitarian  Controversy,  begun  by  Clarke 
and  Waterlaud,  and  continued  by  a  host  of  inferior  writers,  till 
the  public  grew  weary  of  the  very  thought  of  Patristic  litera- 
ture.f  These  and  countless  minor  ones  distracted  the  attention 
of  churchmen  from  observing  the  spiritual  destitution  that  was 
spreading  widely  around  them  amidst  all  this  polemical  activity. 


*  In  reference  to  the  supposed  diffi 
culties  and  discouragements  under 
which  infidels  labour,  it  is  worth  ob 
serving  that  both  Hume  and  Gibbon 
held  lucrative  situations  under  Govern 
ment.  At  an  earlier  period  it  was 
AValpole's  policy  to  patronize  some  of 
the  most  rabid  -md  indecent  assailants 
of  religion ;  and)  until  the  infidels  had 
been  thoroughly  refuted  by  the  wea 
pons  both  of  wit  and  argument,  the 
most  open  avowal  of  their  opinions  was 


rather  a  recommendation  to  what  was 
called  "  polite  society."  A  strong  re 
action  in  the  tone  of  popular  literature 
began  with  Steele  and  Addison. 

t  Warburton  made  an  effort,  in  the 
preface  to  his  'Julian,'  to  restore  the 
Fathers  to  some  credit,  and  to  put  their 
character  in  a  favourable  light :  and, 
in  return,  he  lias  been  charged  with 
"disdain,  and  ignorance  of  Catholic 
theology." 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  49 

The  brilliant  services  of  the  tongue  and  pen  in  defending 
Christianity,  or  orthodoxy,  or  even  faction,  eclipsed  the  less 
showy,  but  not  less  real,  and  far  more  generally  requisite, 
usefulness  of  the  pastoral  care,  in  its  ordinary  forms  of  teach 
ing  and  admonition.  Prelates  forsook  their  dioceses  for  the 
nobler  work  of  writing  controversy,  or  asserting  the  political 
interests  of  their  order.  Discipline  became  relaxed ;  parishes 
were  neglected ;  and  at  the  end  of  the  century  the  Church  found 
itself  surrounded  with  a  swarming  population,  and  no  adequate 
machinery  provided  for  dealing  with  this  mass  of  ignorance. 

It  is  not  true,  I  think,  that  the  bulk  of  the  lower  orders  had 
been  leavened  with  infidelity.*  Their  heathenism  was  negative, 
not  positive  ;  they  had  been  suffered  to  grow  up  in  gross  igno 
rance  of  religion :  and  it  was  during  the  prevalence  of  such  evils 
that  the  evangelical  reaction — commencing  with  the  Methodist 
movement — began. 

G.  But  it  would  be  an  error,  I  apprehend,  to  suppose  that  it  was 
Whitfield  and  the  Wesleys  who  originated  a  Reformation.  Long 
before  them  it  appears  manifest  that  a  healthy  reaction  had  set 
in.  As  the  old  panic  dread  of  fanaticism  abated  on  the  one 
hand,  and  the  necessities  of  continual  controversy  became  less  on 
the  other,  preachers  insisted  more  and  more  on  the  peculiarities 
of  the  Christian  faith  as  the  springs  and  motives  of  Gospel  obe 
dience.  Energetic  efforts  were  made  to  build  new  churches  and 
establish  schools  throughout  the  country  :  and  (what  is  always  a 
hopeful  sign)  some  zeal  began  to  be  felt  for  foreign  missions, 
and  some  sense  of  responsibility  for  the  religious  state  of  our 
colonies.  A  change  for  the  better  was  going  on.  The  case  of 
Whitfield  and  the  Wesleys  was  that  of  other  energetic  men 
whose  names  figure  in  history  as  the  originators  of  mighty 
changes.  They  fling  themselves  into  a  great  movement  before 
it  has  become  conspicuous  to  the  vulgar  eye :  they  put  them 
selves  at  its  head ;  they  carry  it  on  to  extravagance,  and  thus 
accelerate  and  extend  an  impulse  which  they  partially  misdirect, 
and  may  ultimately  spoil  for  ever. 


*  Even  that  of  the  upper  was  greatly 
overrated  :  "The  truth  of  tlie  case," 
says  Hurd,  a  cool  observer,  "is  no  more 
than  this.  A  few  fashionable  men  make 
a  noise  in  the  world  ;  arid  this  clamour 
beinpr  echoed  on  all  side.s  from  the  shal 


low  circles  of  their  admirers,  mislead] 
the  unwary  into  an  opinion  that  the 
irrelipfious  spirit  is  universal  and  un 
controllable."— Sec  the  whole  pannage, 
'Sermons  on  Prophery,'  sermon  xii.,  cr.n- 
clturion. 


50  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IT. 

The  Methodists,  then,  had  not  to  convert  the  English  popula 
tion  to  a  belief  in  Christianity  ;  but  they  had  to  awaken  a  sense  of 
the  Christian  religion  in  men  who  had  been  so  long  thinking  of 
it  as  a  thing  to  be  proved  that  they  had  forgotten  that  it  was  also 
a  thing  to  be  felt  and  acted  on  ;  and  they  had  to  teach  even  the 
elements  of  that  religion  to  vast  numbers  of  an  outlying  mass 
beyond  the  range  of  ordinary  instruction.  This  was  the  appro 
priate  work  to  which  the  circumstances  of  the  times  really  called 
them.  But,  besides  the  pressure  of  these  real  wants,  there  were 
other  cravings  of  the  popular  mind  demanding  satisfaction. 
There  was  (what  is  to  be  found  in  every  generation)  the  great 
herd  of  superficial  minds  who  always  require  the  stimulus  of 
something  new ;  who  throw  the  blame  of  their  own  shallowness 
upon  their  teachers,  and  are  always  asking  for  something  more 
"  deep  and  earnest  and  thoroughgoing,"  or  "  more  rational  and 
suited  to  the  age,"  than  the  current  theology,  whatever  it  may 
be.  This  is  the  common  sequacious  mob  of  "  novarum  rerum 
avidi,"  who  are  drawn,  like  insects,  by  the  loudest  noise  and 
the  greatest  glare.  This  moveable,  and  indeed  restless  multi 
tude,  swells  the  decuman  wave  of  every  great  movement,  and 
retires  with  its  ebb,  only  to  return  again  on  the  crest  of  its  suc 
cessor.  Nor  can  it  be  reasonably  doubted  that  many  of  those 
amiable  but  weak  persons  who  have  latterly  been  roving  over 
England  in  the  garb  of  Passionists  and  Oratorians  would  have 
been,  in  the  days  of  Whitfield's  popularity,  preaching  rank  Me 
thodism  on  Kennington  Common,  amidst  a  shower  of  mud  and 
turnip-tops. 

There  was,  then,  in  the  first  place,  the  call  for  something  new. 
But  there  was  also  the  call  for  something  fanatical.  The 
terrible  experience  of  the  seventeenth  century  had  left  a  deep 
impression  on  the  beginning  of  the  eighteenth,  of  dread  and 
bitter  scorn  of  fanaticism.  In  the  wild  tumult  of  the  Common 
wealth  the  nation  had  been,  as  it  were,  drunk  with  religious  en 
thusiasm  ;  and,  in  shame  and  grief  at  the  remembrance  of  that 
horrible  debauch  and  all  its  crimes,  they  had  hastily  vowed  a  total 
abstinence  from  those  feelings  which  Hartley  describes  under 
the  odd  but  convenient  term  Theopathy.  But  a  wild  career  of 
another  kind  of  drunkenness  had  done  much  to  efface  that  im 
pression  before  the  close  of  that  century  ;  and  the  hypocrisy  of 
the  Puritans  had  been  thrown  into  the  shade  by  the  brazen 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  51 

profligacy  of  the  race  who  succeeded  them.  Enthusiasm  was 
again  eagerly  demanding  its  turn  for  gratification. 

7.  Furthermore,  there  was  a  want  that  has  been  less  often 
remarked  as  one  of  the  causes  of  Methodism — the  want  of  what 
may  be  called  a  freer  Church-activity.  The  busy,  bustling  demo 
cratic  spirit  of  ultra-Protestantism  had  made  itself  so  hateful  in 
the  previous  generation,  that,  within  the  Church,  laymen  shrank 
from  meddling.  The  synodical  assemblies  of  the  clergy  had  only 
spasmodic  fits  of  action,  in  which  they  eitlver  tore  themselves,  or 
made  violent  assaults  on  others.  Their  time  and  energies  were 
wasted  in  disputes  between  the  two  Houses,  disputes  with  the 
Crown,  disputes  with  obnoxious  brethren; — till,  at  last,  their 
action  became  so  manifestly  scandalous  that  the  Minister  was 
able  to  silence  them  entirely,  to  the  general  satisfaction  of  a 
public  who  had  ceased  to  be  entertained  by  their  quarrels.* 
Thus  they  no  longer  broke  the  dull  monotony  of  QUIET  which 
it  was  the  policy  of  Walpole  to  maintain  per  fas  aut  nefas. 

"  The  Convocation  gaped,  but  could  not  speak." 

Outside  the  Church,  dissent  had  been  crushed  by  the  rigorous 
laws  of  Charles  II.,  and  the  general  disgust  and  contempt  of  the 
nation,  so  effectually,  that  it  could  not  recover  when  the  Tolera 
tion  came.  The  Dissenting  teachers  were  generally  either  hard, 
dry,  and  narrow  Calvinistical  divines  ;  or  men  of  enlarged  and 
liberal  sentiments,  disgusted  with  their  own  communion,  and  no 
longer  retaining  the  old  prejudices  against  surplices  and 
rochettes,  but  kept  from  conformity,  partly  by  hereditary  pride, 
and  partly  by  dislike  to  the  doctrinal  fetters  of  subscription  to 
the  Articles  and  Liturgy.f  How  far  an  ultra-liberalism  had 
leavened  the  Dissenting  teachers  became  manifest  when  the 
Arian  movement  carried,  at  one  sweep,  the  whole  body  of  the 
English  Presbyterians,  and  a  great  part  of  the  Irish,  into  a 
heresy  most  remote  from  the  traditions  of  their  forefathers. 

Thus,  within  the  Church  and  without,  there  was  a  demand 
beginning  to  be  felt  for  some  free  and  stirring  ecclesiastical 


*  Like  the  old  comedy — 


liturgies,  crosses,  and  genuuYxions,   in 
"  luroitcr  obticuit,  sublalo  jure  nocendi.  ii-  n 

•^'i<l lathers,   godmothers,    and    rotatory 


t  See  the  notices  of  negotiations  for 
a  comprehension  in  Doddridge's  Cor 
respondence,  and  compare  the  language 
of  I  lure  wood  :  "Our  separation  is  not 


founded  in  vestments  and  surpliees,  in 


motions, — it  is  Athunasius  who  drives 
us  from  your  idtars." — Flee  Dinaertu- 
titm*  (1772),  p.  ttf. 


•r)2  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [Kss.xv  11. 

activity  ;  tlie  thought  of  which  men  had  ceased  to  associate  with 
any  of  the  old  organisations. 

8.  In  such  a  state  of  predisposition,  Whitfield  and  tlio 
Wesleys  began  their  work  by  preaching  the  NEW  BIRTH.  The 
term  had  doubtless  a  sound  and  valuable  meaning.  But,  in  that 
sense  it  meant,  not  the  production  of  a  new  belief,  but  of  a  new 
tense  of  the  reality  and  importance  of  momentous  truths  involved 
in  what  had  been  already  assented  to. 

These  two  things  are  frequently  confounded  by  careless 
thinkers;  but,  in  reality,  they  are  quite  different :  and  the  dif 
ference  is  observable,  not  only  in  religious,  but  in  ethical 
matters,  and  in  the  affairs  of  common  life.  In  all  practical 
matters,  mere  belief,  or  acquiescence,  is  one  thing;  and  that 
belief,  quickened  into  a  sense  of  reality,  and  touching  all  the 
springs  of  action,  is  another:  and,  in  all  practical  matters,  the 
most  mischievous  consequences  may  result  from  confounding 
together  such  different  things.  It  would  be  a  great  mistake  to 
fancy  that  FAITH  had  been  produced  as  soon  as  ever  the  mind 
had  been  brought  to  recognise  the  connection  of  a  conclusion 
with  unimpeachable  premisses  :  and  it  would  be  a  great  mistake, 
on  the  other  hand,  to  suppose  that  all  processes  of  reasoning 
might  l>e  discarded,  and  nothing  consulted  or  addressed  but  the 
fancy  and  the  emotions.  "  Going  over  the  theory  of  virtue  " 
may  indeed,  as  Butler  has  pointed  out,  not  only  fail  to  make  a 
man  practically  moral,  but  tend  to  deaden  the  sense  of  moral 
truths,  by  weakening  their  practical,  as  it  shows  their  rational, 
associations.  But  we  should  not,  therefore,  listen  to  a  hotheaded 
reformer  like  Rousseau,  who  would  urge  us  to  cast  aside  all 
theory  and  reasoning  in  morals,  and  attend  to  nothing  but  the 
immediate  dictates  of  the  heart. 

Into  such  confusions  and  mistakes,  however,  the  leaders  of  the 
Evangelical  movement  were  rapidly  beguiled  by  their  own 
sudden  and  widely-spread  success.  They  taught  (and  taught 
rightly)  that  we  must  not  only  believe,  but  feel,  before  we  can 
act,  as  Christians.  In  recalling  attention  to  the  truth  that  the 
Gospel  is  a  revelation  of  God's  love  to  sinners,  designed  to  pro 
duce  corresponding  affections  in  our  hearts — that  the  faith  of 
Christ  is  a  faith  that  works  through  love,  they  did  valuable 
service,  which  should  never  be  dissembled  or  forgotten.  But 
unhappily  they  went  on  to  teach  that  the  belief  and  the  action 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  53 

were  to  be  grounded  upon  the  feelings,  considered  as  the  imrne- 
.diate  and  sensible  operation  of  the  Holy  Spirit  upon  the  human 
mind. 

Now  such  a  preposterous  mistake  as  this  could  hardly  have 
been  possible  but  for  the  general  acquiescence  of  the  national 
mind  in  the  truth  of  the  Christian  religion.  For  I  am  per 
suaded  that  none  except  the  very  wildest  fanatics  (and  the  leaders 
of  whom  I  speak  were  certainly  not  mere  wild  fanatics)  do  really 
thus  wholly  ground  their  faith  upon  an  imaginary  inspiration. 
There  is,  in  almost  all  cases,  a  secret  tacit  reference  in  the 
bottom  of  the  heart  to  some  fixed  external  standard  by  which 
the  extravagances  of  fancy  and  feeling  are  moderated  and  kept 
in  check.  The  Methodists  could  assume  the  general  truth  of 
Christianity  as  a  postulatum.  They  could  assume  that  there  was 
a  Holy  Spirit ;  they  could  assume  the  necessary  coincidence  of 
His  teaching  in  the  heart  with  His  teaching  in  the  Holy  Scrip 
tures  ;  and  they  could  try  the  former  by  the  latter.  In  the  first 
fervours  of  their  preaching  they  plainly  were  tempted  to  appeal 
to  the  agitations  which  it  produced  in  the  minds  and  bodies  of 
their  converts  as  a  sort  of  miraculous  attestation  of  its  truth  ; 
but  experience  soon  convinced  the  shrewder  of  them  that  such 
evidence  could  not  be  relied  upon,  and  that  the  true  appeal  must 
be  made  elsewhere.  But  the  logical  viciousness  of  the  circle  in 
which  the  mind  moves  in  such  cases  can  only  be  hidden  from  it 
when  the  external  authority  on  which  it  falls  back  is  thought  of 
as  something  unquestioned  and  unquestionable.  It  is  only  in 
reference  to  heretics,  who  hold  in  common  with  himself  the 
inspiration  of  Scripture,  that  the  Romanist  can  be  guilty  of  the 
absurdity  of  proving  his  Church  by  the  Scriptures,  and  the 
Scriptures  by  his  Church.  When  dealing  with  the  infidel,  he 
must  proceed,  just  as  other  Christians  proceed,  by  the  way  of 
moral  evidence;  and  from  the  'Summa  contra  Gentiles'  of 
Aquinas  down  to  the  '  Principia '  of  Abbe  Hooke,  this  is  the  way 
in  which  Roman  Catholic  as  well  as  Protestant  apologists  have 
proceeded  in  the  argument  against  infidelity.  So,  also,  when 
one  enthusiast  meets  another  of  opposite  sentiments,  but  with 
persuasions  as  strong,  feelings  as  lively,  satisfaction  as  complete, 
and  inward  peace  as  perfect  as  his  own,  each  is  driven  to  "  try 
the  spirit "  of  his  antagonist  by  some  external  test,  forgetting 
that,  upon  his  own  principles,  that  standard  itself  was  only 


54  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  II. 

known  by  tho  inward  discernment  which  it  is  now  employed  to 
control.  Where  such  a  standard  is  unhesitatingly  admitted  by 
both,  the  fallacy  may  be  long  concealed;  but  as  soon  as  its 
authority  comes  to  be  generally  and  openly  questioned,  the  mis 
take  becomes  patent,  and  can  only  be  corrected  by  abandoning 
the  false  principle  which  has  produced  the  mischief. 

One  circumstance  which  contributed  to  favour  the  Metho- 
i  distic  exaggerations  upon  this  subject  was,  that  the  doctrine  of 
the  influence  of  the  Holy  Spirit  had  been  one  comparatively 
reserved  in  the  preaching  of  the  preceding  half-century.  I  do 
not  mean  that  it  was  denied,  or  even  wholly  omitted.  Such 
strong  and  wholesale  charges  against  the  teaching  of  the  Church 
at  that  period  are  often  made ;  but  they  are  wholly  without 
foundation.  But  when  referred  to  in  more  than  a  general  way, 
the  reference  was  usually  for  the  purpose  of  guarding  against 
fanatical  extravagance — for  correcting  the  abuse  rather  than 
illustrating  the  use  of  that  doctrine ;  for  showing  rather  what 
was  not,  than  what  was  implied  in  it. 

It  was  not  strange,  therefore,  if,  in  their  ardour  to  develop 
fully,  on  its  positive  side,  this  cardinal  Christian  doctrine  of  a  free 
and  intimate  communion  between  God  in  Christ  and  the  human 
soul,  the  Evangelical  leaders  were  tempted  to  overstep  the 
bounds  of  sobriety  ;  and  to  forget  that  the  Holy  Spirit  is  given 
not  to  supersede,  or  supply  the  place  of,  any  of  our  natural 
faculties,  but  to  help  their  infirmity,  and  restore  them  to  that 
just  balance  and  due  subordination — that  proper  and  healthful 
exercise — which  have  boen  disturbed  by  sin.  From  Him,  in 
deed,  "  all  holy  desires,  all  good  counsels,  and  all  just  works  do 
proceed ;"  but  we  must  first  determine  that  our  desires  are  holy, 
our  counsels  good,  and  our  works  just,  before  we  can,  without 
intolerable  rashness,  attribute  them  to  that  sacred  influence ; 
and  we  cannot  determine  that  by  the  mere  strength  of  our  per 
suasions,  or  the  vividness  of  our  fancies,  or  the  depth  and 
earnestness  of  our  feelings,  without  opening  a  way  for  every 
wild  extravagance  that  can  support  itself  on  strong  persuasion, 
vivid  fancy,  and  deep  and  earnest  feeling. 

But,  in  the  flush  and  fervour  of  their  triumph,  and  the  general 
silence  of  the  advocates  of  infidelity,  the  evangelical  leaders 
went  on  securely — comparing  proudly  their  own  achievements 
with  the  performances  of  their  predecessors — and  declaring  that 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  55 

they  needed  no  other  evidences  than  the  manifest  adaptation  of 
their  doctrine  to  the  wants  of  mankind,  and  its  living  power, 
when  received,  to  regenerate  a  sinful  race. 

9.  The  natural  consequence  of  all  this  was  an  extensive  decay 
among  them  of  theological  learning.  A  few  leading  doctrines 
were,  for  them,  the  essence  of  the  Gospel,  and  their  preaching, 
in  too  many  cases,  became  little  more  than  a  monotonous  repe 
tition  of  those  doctrines.  For  such  a  ministry  neither  deep 
research  nor  accurate  thinking  was  at  all  necessary.  On  the 
contrary,  it  was  manifest  that,  in  order  to  make  a  great  part  of 
the  Bible  available  for  the  direct  teaching  of  the  few  subjects  to 
which  they  confined  themselves,  it  was  needful  to  violate  all 
rules  of  sober  criticism,  and  confound  the  Old  Testament  with 
the  New  by  an  arbitrary  spiritualising  interpretation  to  which 
reason  could  set  no  limits.  The  practical  result  of  such  a  course 
was  an  extensive,  though  vague,  popular  impression  that  the 
test  of  a  correct  exposition  of  Scripture  was  the  amount  of  com 
fort  or  edification  that  the  hearer  or  reader  sensibly  derived 
from  it.  The  pious  feelings  which  a  text,  as  he  understood  it, 
produced  in  his  mind  were  unhesitatingly  regarded  as  the  con 
sequence  of  the  Spirit's  teaching  through  the  Word.  Human 
agency,  it  was  indeed  acknowledged,  was  necessary  to  teach  a 
man  to  read ;  and  human  agency  was  needful  to  supply  the 
unlearned  with  translations  of  the  Bible  ;  but,  beyond  this,  very 
little  was  allowed  to  any  other  help  than  prayer,  for  the  profit 
able  study  of  the  Scripture. 

The  real  tendency,  it  is  evident,  of  such  opinions  is  not  to 
exalt  the  authority  of  the  Word  of  God,  but  to  destroy  it.  The 
mind  of  the  reader  in  such  a  process  of  study,  instead  of  re 
ceiving  instruction  from  the  Scripture,  imports  a  meaning  into 
it.  We  have,  not  an  Exegesis,  but  an  Isegesis.  A  certain 
system  of  doctrine  is  first  accepted,  not  upon  the  authority 
of  propounders  accredited  by  external  evidence,  but  for  the 
sake  of  the  doctrine  itself:  the  Scripture  becomes  valuable 
only  as  the  vehicle  of  this  doctrine,  and  valuable  in  propor 
tion  as  it  can  be  made  the  vehicle  of  this  doctrine,  and  the 
means  of  exciting  a  certain  class  of  pious  sentiments :  and,  as 
it  is  soon  discovered  that  what  the  very  elements  of  criticism 
would  detect  as  palpable  misinterpretations  or  mistranslations  of 
the  sacred  text  may  be  the  most  cherished  vehicles  of  such  doc- 


50  AIDS  TO  FAITH. 

trine,  and  powerful  exciters  of  such  feelings,  criticism  is  laid 
aside,  and  the  Bible  becomes  a  kind  of  cipher,  to  be  read  not  by 
reason  but  by  fancy. 

10.  I  am  tracing  here  the  ultimate  development  of  false  prin 
ciples  when  left  unchecked  to  their  full  operation.     But,  even  in 
cases  where  no  such  extravagance  was  possible,  we  can  perceive 
through  a  great  part  of  the  religious  writings  of  the  last  genera 
tion  a  prevailing  tendency  to  forget  the  aspect  of  Fact,  and 
view  only  the  aspect  of  Doctrine  in  contemplating  the  truths  of 
Christianity.     Indeed,  if  we  steadily  retain  in  our  minds  the 
historical  view  of  Christianity  which  is  presented  in  the  New 
Testament,  and  the  primitive  creeds,  as  a  religion  of  FACTS,  it 
will  be  hard  to  grasp  Mr.  Coleridge's  dictum  as  even  a  compre 
hensible    utterance.     It  will  immediately  strike   us  as  hardly 
intelligible  to  say,  that  the  best  way  to  convince  a  man  that 
Jesus  Christ  was  "  conceived  by  the  Holy  Ghost ;  born  of  the 
Virgin    Mary ;    suffered   under   Pontius   Pilate ;   was   crucified, 
dead,  and  buried ;  and  the  third  day  rose  again  from  the  dead ;" 
is  to  make  him  sensible  of  a  strong  wish  that  these  facts  should 
have  taken  place.     It  would   at  once   become  plain  that   the 
religion  which  was  to  be  proved  by  such  a  process  must  be 
something  widely  different  from  an  historical  religion. 

11.  While  such  causes  as  I  have  endeavoured  to  indicate  were 
in  England  loosing   men's  hold   upon  the    historical   element 
in  Christianity,  other  influences  were    operating   at  a   greater 
distance    towards    the    same   result.      The    literature   of  Ger 
many  is  eminently  speculative  and  metaphysical.     There  the 
Governments  have  been  accustomed  to  forbid,  as  dangerous  to 
the  public  peace,  the  free  discussion  of  those  concrete  matters 
relating  to  Church  and  State  on  which  the  popular  mind  with 
us  is  kept  continually  interested,  and  often  agitated.     The  only 
scope  for  the  activity  of  the  human  intellect  in  dealing  with 
morals,  religion,  and  politics,  is  in  those  high  generalities  where 
vulgar  minds  are  unable  to  follow  it.     Literary  men  converse 
with,  and  write  for,  literary  men,  and  feel  no  necessity  to  trans 
late  their  thoughts  into  the  common  working-day  language  of 
ordinary  life.     Within  the  esoteric  circle,  one  dialect  is  spoken ; 
without  it ,  another  :  and  thus  speculation  is  unchecked  by  that 
constant  reference  to  the  common  sense  of  mankind  which  in 
freer  countries  curbs  its  extravagance. 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  57 

These  two  circumstances — the  encouragement  of  unlimited 
speculation  within  bounds  remote  from  vulgar  apprehension,  and 
the  repression  of  everything  directly  tending  to  agitate  the  mass 
of  the  people,  or  shake  the  institutions  of  the  country — gave  its 
peculiar  character  to  German  infidelity.  The  problem  to  be 
solved  was,  the  substitution  of  metaphysical  Pantheism  for 
revealed  religion,  combined  with  a  retaining  of  the  structure 
and  ordinances  of  the  Church,  together  with  the  language  of  the 
Scripture  and  the  Creeds,  accommodated  to  the  requirements 
of  such  metaphysics.  The  result  has  been  truly  described  as  a 
system  which,  "concealing  scepticism  under  faith,  using  much 
circumlocution  to  reach  its  object,  dwelling  on  the  imagination, 
on  poetry,  on  spirituality,  transfigured  what  it  threw  into  the 
shade,  built  up  what  it  destroyed,  and  affirmed  in  words  what  in 
effect  it  denied."  It  was  intended  for  a  kind  of  EUTHANASIA  of 
Christianity.  Revelation  was  to  die  out,  not  amidst  the  insults 
of  coarse  assailants,  but  the  compliments  and  tender  regret  of 
friends,  and  to  leave  behind  it  an  honoured  name  and  a  con 
spicuous  monument.  GOD  was  to  be  merged  in  the  Soul  of  the 
Universe :  CHRIST  in  the  Ideal  of  Humanity :  THE  INCARNATION 
in  the  union  of  the  higher  and  lower  principles  of  human 
nature;  and  THE  ATONEMENT  in  the  reconciliation  of  those 
principles  through  struggle  and  suffering.  For  the  successful 
carrying  out  of  such  an  enterprise,  it  was  necessary  to  expel  the 
miraculous  from  the  documents  of  Christianity,  without  charging 
the  authors  of  them  with  fraud  or  deliberate  imposture:  and 
this  was  attempted  in  two  ways.  The  earlier  project  was  to 
resolve  the  supposed  miracles  into  a  series  of  odd  natural  events, 
sometimes  mistaken  for  supernatural  by  the  excited  fancies  of 
the  spectators.  The  later  method  proposed  to  turn  almost  the 
whole  narrative,  natural  and  supernatural,  into  a  set  of  sym 
bolical  legends  embodying  the  idea  of  the  Jewish  Messiah  as 
modified  by  the  necessity  of  adapting  it  to  Jesus  of  Nazareth . 
Each  of  these — the  naturalistic  and  the  mythical  theory- 
promised  well  at  first ;  but  each  was  soon  found  to  labour  under 
insuperable  difficulties.  Common  sense  revolted  at  last,  even  in 
the  studies  of  German  professors,  against  the  clumsily  elaborate 
explanations  by  which  miracles  were  converted  into  natural 
events.  A  fresh  hypothesis  had  to  be  made  for  each  occurrence, 
and  it  was  at  last  perceived  that  such  a  multitude  of  strange; 


58 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  II. 


natural  phenomena,  crowded  into  the  narrative  of  a  few  years, 
and  gratuitously  assumed  for  the  mere  purpose  of  evading  the 
obvious  meaning  of  the  story,  were  really  far  more  improbable 
than  miracles  themselves.  On  the  other  hand,  the  external 
evidence  carried  back  the  date  of  the  sacred  writings  to  an  age 
when  the  true  history  of  Jesus  was  so  recent  as  to  make  it 
incredible  that  it  should  have  been  wholly  smothered  then  by 
legends  of  a  mere  romantic  character  ;  *  while  the  gravity,  con 
sistency,  and  perfect  quietness  of  the  style  of  those  writings 
themselves  made  the  attempt  to  turn  them  into  mythical 
legends  a  task  everywhere  difficult  in  detail,  and,  in  some  cases, 
even  ludicrously  hopeless.  Hence,  to  account  for  the  historical 
phenomena  of  Christianity  is  still  really  an  unsolved  problem 
among  German  unbelievers.  The  plain  direct  account — that 
Jesus  was  the  Son  of  God  ;  that  He  died,  and  rose  again  ;  and 
sent  His  Holy  Spirit  to  plant  His  Church  in  the  world — is  set 
aside  by  an  a  priori  presumption  against  all  miracles.  But  the 
historical  evidence,  the  Books  themselves,  still  remains  a  "  stone 
of  stumbling,  and  rock  of  offence,"  against  which  hypothesis 
after  hypothesis  is  dashed  to  pieces. 

The  irreligious  principles  which  thus,  for  a  long  time,  infected 
the  critical  and  philosophic  and  theological  literature  of  the 
Continent,  made  it  odious  in  England ;  and  the  policy  at  first 
acted  on  was  to  endeavour  to  exclude  it  altogether  from  the 
notice  of  the  British  public. t  But  such  a  policy  was  attended 
with  greater  evils  than  were  likely  to  have  ensued  if  things  had 
been  suffered  to  take  their  natural  course.  A  great  part,  indeed, 
of  the  critical  literature  of  Germany  was  valuable  in  no  sense 
whatever.  Much  of  it  was  a  mere  succession  of  wild  hypotheses.} 
springing  up,  like  mushrooms,  in  the  morning,  and  perishing  at 
night,  without  leaving  even  a  relic  of  their  decay  to  manure  the 


*  Strauss,  for  example,  is  compelled 
to  acknowledge  th.it  Luke,  the  author 
of  the  third  Gospel  and  tho  Acts,  was 
the  companion,  and  most  probably  the 
disciple,  of  St.  Paul. 

t  See  some  curious  details  in  the  Ap 
pendix  to  Goode's  '  Life  of  Geddes.' 
The  scandal  occasioned  by  the  transla 
tions  of  Schleiermacher,  and  even  of 
Neibuhr,  are  matters  of  recent  memory. 

J  "  It  is  well  known,"  says  I)e  Wettc 
in  the  Preface  to  his  '  Lehrbueh  der 


historisch-kritischen  Einleitung,'  "  that 
from  the  beginning  ....  the  pernicious 
fondness  for  vain  and  arbitrary  combina 
tions  and  hypotheses  has  been  brought 

into  this  department The 

burden  of  hypotheses  under  which  Bib 
lical  introduction  labours  has  been 
much  increased  in  recent  times."  Ho 
takes  credit  for  bringing  back  the  his 
tory  of  the  Septuagint  version  to  the 
place  in  which  llwly  left  it  in  170-1 ! 


ESSAY  II.] 


EVIDENCES  OP  CHRISTIANITY. 


soil  on  which  they  had  flourished.  Much  of  it  was  the  mere 
lost  labour  of  a  perverse  diligence,  and  sinister  ingenuity,  like 
the  fairy  toil  of  the  Gnomes  and  Kobolds  in  the  fables  of  its  own 
mines  and  forests.  But  so  vast  an  amount  of  intense  mental 
activity  and  unlimited  research  into  all  the  recesses  of  learning, 
sacred  and  profane, — so  free  a  questioning  of  everything;  so 
various  a  combination  of  new  ideas  upon  such  a  multitude  of 
subjects, — could  not  but  contain  in  it  seeds  of  thought  that  might 
have  usefully  stimulated  the  natural  indolence  of  our  intellect 
tit  home.  The  mere  love  of  Truth  for  its  own  sake  is,  in  general, 
not  sufficient  to  set  men  on  work,  and  keep  them  at  work.  It 
is,  to  a  great  extent,  the  collision  of  thought,  the  pressure  of 
difficulties,  the  agitation  of  doubts,  that,  by  "  troubling  the 
waters,"  makes  them  yield  their  virtue.  The  culture  of  the 
mind  is  like  the  tillage  of  the  soil — 

"  Pater  ipse  colendi 

Hand  facilem  essc  viam  voluit,  primusque  per  artes 
Movit  agros,  curis  acuens  mortalia  corda, 
Nee  torpere  gravi  passus  sua  regna  veterno." 

As  it  was,  English  scholarship  seemed  to  have  settled  upon  its 
lees ;  and  we  have  scarcely  ever  had  an  age  so  barren  of  any 
great  efforts  as  that  of  which  we  are  now  speaking.  * 

12.  But  meanwhile  men  of  leisure  and  curiosity,  in  the  uni 
versities  and  elsewhere,  disgusted  with  the  tame  and  superficial 
monotony  that  prevailed  around  them,  were  repairing,  as  it  were 
in  secret,  to  the  fresh  stores  that  had  been  opened  on  the  conti 
nent  of  Europe.  The  very  circumstance  that  this  foreign  litera 
ture  was  secluded  from  the  vulgar  gaze,  and  even  a  kind  of 
contraband  learning,  gave  it  an  additional  charm.  The  adepts  felt 
as  if  they  had  been  initiated  in  some  higher  mysteries,  and  were 
disposed  hugely  to  over-estimate  the  value  of  their  attainments. 
Doubts  and  strange  opinions  which,  if  they  had  been  freely 


*  I  have  purposely  avoided  any  de 
tails  of  the  reaction  towards  Church 
authority  culled  the  Tract  Movement. 
It  is  certain  that,  so  far  from  doing  any 
thing  to  revive  the  study  of  Christian 
evidences,  some  of  the  foremost  leaders 
of  that  movement  went  even  beyond 
the  most  violent  ultra-Pro testants  in  de 
nouncing  that  study  aa  dangerous  ;  and 


ultimately  encouraged  men  to  "  throw 
themselves "  into  a  particular  system, 
on  the  ground  mainly  of  its  affording 
scope  to  certain  religious  feelings,  and 
gratifying  certain  religious  tastes.  This 
branch  of  the  subject  has  been  con 
sidered  in  the  '  Caution*  for  the  Times.' 
(Parker  and  Bon,  London.) 


60  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  11. 

expressed  and  ventilated  in  the  fresh  air  and  broad  sunshine  of 
public  discussion,  would  have  soon  shrunk  to  their  proper  small 
dimensions,  grew  into  giants  in  the  shade,  and  over-mastered  the 
minds  that  had  been  nursing  them  in  secret.  Then,  gradually, 
the  influence  of  the  new  opinions  began  to  pervade  the  current 
literature  of  the  country — not  in  plain  and  definite  statements 
— that  would  have  too  rudely  shocked  the  multitude ;  but  some 
times  in  hints  "  vocal  to  the  intelligent,"  sometimes  in  ambiguous 
language  adapting  to  other  purposes  the  religious  phrases  of  the 
day,  sometimes  under  a  cloud  of  metaphysical  jargon  that 
bewildered  the  admiring  reader.  Thus  it  has  come  to  pass  that, 
without  any  open  controversy,  but  silently,  as  it  were,  and 
"  while  men  slept,"  the  old  matter-of-fact  faith  has  died  out  in 
many  minds,  and  religion  has  come  to  be  regarded  as  an  affair 
of  sentiment,  that  should  be  disentangled,  as  soon  as  possible, 
from  its  historical  elements. 

13.  It  would  not,  I  think,  be  very  difficult  to  meet  the  patrons 
of  such  views,  even  on  their  own  high  philosophical  ground.  I 
think  it  would  not  be  hard  to  prove  that,  even  if  we  took  the 
moral  wants  of  man  as  the  sole  measure  of  religious  truth,  the 
Gospel  which  these  persons  preach  is  inadequate  to  meet  the 
moral  wants  of  man.  We  require  not  merely  an  ideal  of  human 
excellence,  but  to  see  that  ideal  realized ;  and  to  sec  further  that 
the  issue  of  that  realization  has  been  a  triumph  over  all  the  ills 
of  life,  and  over  all  the  menaces  of  death.  We  require  to  be 
shown  in  fact  that  man  can  truly  serve  God,  and  that  the  end  of 
that  service  is  everlasting  life.  We  need  a  basis  of  fact,  an  his 
torical  basis,  for  our  religious  faith ;  and  without  such  a  basis 
that  faith  is  a  mere  castle  in  the  air — a  splendid  vision,  as  prac 
tically  inoperative  to  resist  real  temptation  as  every  other  ideal 
picture  has  ever  proved. 

But,  after  all,  this  would  be  only  "  answering  a  fool  according 
to  his  folly ;"  and  it  is  better  to  begin  by  protesting  at  once 
against  the  foundation  of  the  whole  theory.  It  is  a  mere  delusion 
to  fancy  that  man's  supposed  wants  or  his  wishes  are  to  be  taken 
as  either  the  major  or  the  minor  limits,  or  indeed  as  any  measure 
at  all,  of  religious  truth.  We  cannot  be  justified  in  assuming 
that  things  exist  because  we  seem  to  ourselves  to  want,  or  because 
we  feel  that  we  earnestly  desire  their  existence  :  nor  can  we  even 
be  justified  in  disbelieving  or  disregarding  the  existence  of  things 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  01 

which  seem  to  us  superfluous,  or  unpleasant,  or  even  noxious,  if 
assured  on  good  authority  that  they  exist,  and  that  it  is  important 
for  us  to  take  notice  of  their  existence. 

That  man  must,  indeed,  be  a  backward  scholar  in  the  school  of 
nature  who  has  not  learned,  even  from  his  own  experience,  how 
little  human  wants  and  wishes  are  an  evidence  that  the  things 
wanted  and  wished  for  really  exist.  It  is  the  common  delusion  of 
over-sanguine  youth  to  fancy  that  we  shall  find  in  life  exactly  what 
we  seem  to  require,  and  that  circumstances  will  infallibly  open  for 
us  those  opportunities  which  are  most  suitable  for  the  display  of 
our  talents,  and  the  advancement  of  our  fortunes.  But  how  little 
does  stern  reality  tally  with  these  golden  dreams  of  the  inexpe 
rienced  imagination  !  And  shall  we  go  on  to  the  grave,  trusting 
these  promises  of  our  own  fancy,  which  every  day  is,  with  con 
tinually  accumulated  evidence,  proving  to  be  false  ? 

It  is  not,  if  we  are  wise,  to  our  wants  and  wishes  that  we  trust, 
in  the  affairs  of  this  world,  as  evidence  that  the  means  of  remedy 
ing  those  wants,  or  gratifying  those  wishes,  are  in  store  for  us ; 
but  to  the  proper  evidence  of  matters  of  fact.  And  if  we  would 
find  a  solid  basis  for  our  religious  faith,  we  must  obtain  for  it  also 
a  similar  foundation. 

The  truth  is  that  we  may  see  beforehand  that  the  wants  and 
wishes  of  a  creature  like  man  are  boundless,  and,  in  their  very 
nature,  incapable  of  being  all  gratified.  All  creatures  are  necessa 
rily  imperfect ;  and  every  imperfection  is  the  want  of  some  con 
ceivable  good ;  and  every  conceivable  good  is  in  itself  desirable ; 
and  may,  if  we  give  the  reins  to  our  desire,  become  an  object  of 
our  wishes. 

"  Men  would  be  angels,  angels  would  be  gods." 

Nothing  short  of  absolute,  of  infinite  perfection  can  possibly 
supply  all  wants,  and  gratify  all  the  wishes  of  an  imperfect 
being,  who  fancies  that  he  has  only  to  wish  strongly  in  order  to 
obtain  his  object. 

And  equally  vain  is  the  notion  that  we  may  safely  disregard 
everything  that  seems  not  suitable  to  our  moral  nature.  Here, 
again,  let  us  have  recourse  to  that  analogy  which  the  great 
master  of  that  argument  has  justly  described  as  "  the  very  guide 
of  life."  How  ill  would  a  child  reason  who  should  obstinately 
neglect  every  study,  the  use  of  which  he  could  not  himself 


62  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  II. 

discern !  And,  as  to  the  things  of  another  life,  are  we  not  all 
children?  Shall  we,  who  know  not  what  an  hour  may  bring 
forth — we,  whose  wisest  calculations  and  most  sagacious  foresight 
are  perpetually  baffled  and  brought  to  nothing  in  a  moment  by 
the  changes  and  chances  of  even  this  short  mortal  life — shall  we 
presume  to  take  our  own  case  for  eternity  into  our  own  hands, 
and  determine  for  ourselves  what  is  sufficient  for  us  to  believe  ? 
The  Almighty  has  taken  us  under  His  own  care.  He  has 
promised  us  an  inheritance  of  which  we  know  little  more  than 
that  it  is  a  state  of  eternal  holiness  and  happiness.  He  has 
engaged  to  prepare  us  for  it  here ;  and,  for  that  purpose,  has  re 
vealed  to  us  those  truths  which  Ho  saw  fitting  for  our  discipline. 
Can  we  know  so  certainly  how  the  character  which  He  requires 
is  to  be  formed,  as  to  be  able  to  correct  the  method  which  He 
has  been  pleased  to  employ  ?  Do  we  know  our  spiritual  diseases 
so  well  that  we  can  safely  reject  the  remedies  which  the  Great 
Physician  has  prescribed  for  them  ?  Are  we,  in  this  our  state 
of  infancy,  so  perfectly  acquainted  with  all  that  is  needful  for 
our  manhood  that  we  can  manage  our  own  education,  and  deter 
mine  the  training  by  which  we  are  to  be  reared  for  Heaven  ? — 
If,  indeed,  the  present  life  were  the  whole  of  each  man's  exist 
ence,  if  our  only  immortality  were  the  immortality  of  the  human 
race,  there  might  be  some  specious  ground  for  saying  that  we 
had  now  made  such  a  survey  of  all  our  narrow  domain,  and 
gained  such  a  knowledge  of  our  capacities  and  implements,  that 
we  were  at  last  entitled  to  be  our  own  masters,  and  might  trust 
to  our  own  little  skill  and  prudence  in  the  management  of  our 
own  little  territory.  But  if  a  boundless  and  untried  existence, 
beyond  the  limits  of  all  our  experience,  really  does  lie  before  each 
individual  hereafter,  it  is  surely  mere  madness  to  neglect,  in 
matters  which  concern  that  existence,  the  teachings  of  Him  who 
alone  knows  the  nature  of  that  hidden  world  into  which  we  are 
so  blindly  passing. 

A  prudent  man,  then,  will  not  only  inquire  what  it  is  that 
his  heart  seems  to  want,  but  also  how  far  those  wants  are  in 
point  of  fact  supplied.  He  will  not  only  consider  what  he 
wishes  to  be  true,  but  what  he  has  reasonable  evidence  for 
believing  to  be  true.  He  will  treat  the  truths  of  Religion  as 
matters  of  fact,  and  seek  for  the  appropriate  evidence  of  mat 
ters  of  fact — that  is,  in  other  words,  for  historical  evidence. 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  63 

14.  A  religion  disentangled  entirely  from  all  historical  in 
quiries,  and  commending  itself  immediately  to  the  mind  by  its 
mere  intrinsic  beauty  and  suitability  to  man's  wants  and  wishes, 
may  be  a  very  captivating  vision,  and  seems  highly  desirable  on 
many  accounts ;  but  it  is  a  gross  abuse  of  words  to  call  such  a 
religion  Christianity.  Christianity  is  the  religion  which  was 
taught  by  Christ  and  his  Apostles;  and  it  was  certainly  an 
historical  religion — a  religion  made  up  of  matters  of  fact, 
and  propounded  on  the  evidence  of  matters  of  fact — which  they 
promulgated.  "That  which  we  have  heard  and  seen  with  our 
eyes,  and  our  hands  have  handled  of  the  Word  of  Life,  declare 
we  unto  you,"  is  the  language  of  the  first  preachers  of  the 
Gospel ;  and  the  modern  attempt  to  separate  the  ideal  Christ, 
the  type  of  the  godlike  in  man,  from  the  historical  person,  is 
not  a  whit  less  opposed  to  the  genius  of  the  Apostolic  religion 
than  was  that  teaching  of  the  Gnostics  against  which  the  last  of 
the  Apostles  raised  his  warning  voice  as  the  very  spirit  of 
Anticlirist.  The  Christ  of  the  Gnostics  was  an  impalpable 
^Eon ;  the  Christ  of  their  successors  is  something  less  substan 
tial — an  abstract  idea. 

Indeed,  whatever  may  be  the  case  with  other  religions,  the 
Gospel  certainly  never  made  its  way  by  first  recommending 
itself  to  the  conscious  wants  and  wishes  of  mankind.  It  seemed, 
on  the  contrary,  to  contradict  all  man's  expectations,  and  to 
outrage  all  their  cherished  feelings,  and  to  cross  all  their 
desires.  It  was  "to  the  Jews  a  stumblingblock,  and  to  the 
Greeks  foolishness."  It  is  not  until  believed  and  acted  upon 
that  it  gradually  changes  the  temper  and  frame  of  mind  into 
accordance  with  itself;  it  is  like  some  of  those  tonic  medicines 
which,  at  first,  seem  bitter  and  disagreeable,  until  the  palate  is 
accustomed  to  their  taste,  and  the  stomach  braced  and  strength 
ened  by  their  wholesome  harshness. 

It  may  indeed,  on  the  surface,  seem  strange  that  the  Chris 
tian  religion  should  be  thus  encumbered,  as  it  were,  by  an 
apparatus  of  history ;  and  that  men  should  be  required  to 
investigate  the  evidence  of  past  transactions  in  order  to  find  a 
basis  for  their  Faith,  instead  of  merely  consulting  their  hearts, 
and  finding  an  echo  there,  to  attest  the  divinity  of  its  voice. 
But  in  this,  as  in  other  cases,  we  shall  find,  upon  reflection,  that 
what  seems  the  foolishness  of  God,  is  wiser  than  men.  The 


04  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  II. 

careful  and  candid  investigation  of  the  evidences  on  which 
Christianity  rests — not  for  the  satisfying  a  mere  inquisitive 
curiosity,  but  to  find  truth  for  the  regulation  of  our  lives — is  an 
eminently  practical  exercise  of  the  understanding,  and  brings 
home  the  great  facts  of  our  religion  as  facts  to  the  mind,  with  a 
feeling  of  their  reality  which  the  most  highly  raised  efforts  of 
the  imagination  cannot  give  them  ;  and  thus  makes  rational 
deliberate  faith  a  counterpoise  to  the  engrossing  influence  of 
sense.  In  the  affairs  of  the  world,  we  know  that  realities 
address  themselves,  in  some  shape  or  other,  to  the  judgment ; 
and  that  those  that  exclusively  and  immediately  address  the 
feelings  and  the  imagination  are  unreal.  If  then  the  objects  of 
religion  entered  only  through  this  ivory  gate  of  fancy  into  the 
mind,  a  steady  practical  faith  in  their  reality  could  be  hardly 
maintained.  I  say  a  steady  practical  faith;  for,  undoubtedly,  if 
religion  were  a  mere  affair  of  feeling  divorced  from  practice,  or 
of  practice  divorced  from  motive  and  reduced  to  the  mere 
mechanism  of  custom,  there  might  be  something  intelligible  in 
discarding  all  investigation  of  evidence.  Everyone,  even  super 
ficially  acquainted  with  the  structure  of  the  human  mind,  is 
aware  that  the  feelings  may,  as  in  the  case  of  a  novel  or  a  play, 
be  deeply  interested  and  strongly  excited,  without  anything  but, 
at  best,  a  sort  of  dim  and  transient  belief  in  the  reality  of  the 
objects  which  thus  interest  and  excite  them ;  and  that,  for  such 
a  purpose,  scarcely  anything  more  is  necessary  than  that  the 
mind  should  not,  for  the  time,  attend  to  their  unreality.  This 
sufiices  for  mere  feeling :  but  for  action,  a  perfectly  sane,  man 
requires  more.  He  requires  evidence  as  a  ground  of  belief: 
and,  even  in  an  insane  man, — wrhere  the  fancy  has  become 
paramount,  and  established  its  throne  upon  the  ruins  of  the 
understanding,  close  observers  can  generally  detect  a  lurking 
suspicion  of  the  deceitfulncss  of  the  mind's  own  visions, — an 
unsteady  wavering  flicker  in  the  predominating  persuasion, 
which  betrays  a  difference  of  no  small  importance  between 
rational  and  irrational  belief ;  a  secret  sense  of  insecurity  and 
weakness,  which  makes  the  mind  of  the  madman,  except 
in  some  high  paroxysm  of  frenzy,  succumb  and  quail  before 
the  calmer  presence  of  a  well-regulated  intellect. 

15.  There  i£  another  use  also  served  by  this  complication  of 
religion  with  historical  inquiry,  which  it  is  not  unsuitable  to 


ESSAY  II. J  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  65 

notice.  The  essential  connection  of  Christianity  with  the  history 
of  past  ages  makes  a  provision  for  the  maintenance  and  advance 
ment  of  civilization  in  every  country  in  which  Christianity 
prevails.  It  was  this  which  made  the  preservation  of  learning 
possible  when  the  great  flood  of  barbarism  swept  over  Europe, 
and  the  Church  alone  contained  the  sacred  deposit  of  an  earlier 
civilization — the  memory  of  the  past,  and  the  hopes  of  the 
future.  And  it  is  this  which  is  still  a  bulwark  against  bar 
barism.  Barbarism  is  essentially  that  state  of  mind  which  is 
produced  by  placing  it  exclusively  under  the  influences  of  a 
contracted  present  sphere  of  circumstances.  It  is,  as  Dr. 
Johnson  justly  said,  "  by  making  the  past,  the  distant,  and  the 
future  predominate  over  the  present,"  that  we  are  "  advanced 
in  the  dignity  of  thinking  beings."  All  history,  more  or  less, 
renders  this  valuable  service  to  the  human  mind ;  but  it  cannot 
be  reasonably  doubted  that  the  history  of  the  Church,  in  that 
view  of  it  which  the  Bible  presents,  as  one  continuous  body 
from  the  beginning  of  the  world,  is,  of  all  others,  the  best  fitted 
to  render  such  a  service.  The  idea  of  history,  it  has  been  truly 
said,*  is  that  of  the  biography  of  a  society.  There  must  be,  to 
constitute  the  narrative  properly  historical,  an  unity  of  action, 
interest,  and  purpose  among  the  persons  who  are  the  subjects 
of  it.  Now,  whether  we  consider  the  length  of  its  duration,  or 
the  breadth  of  its  extent, — the  variety  of  its  fortunes,  or  the 
unity  of  its  purpose, — the  diversity  of  its  members  in  age,  and 
character,  and  language,  and  manners,  and  habits  of  thought, 
and  stages  of  cultivation,  or  the  closeness  of  mutual  relation 
into  which  all  these  seemingly  scattered  persons  have  been 
brought, — what  other  society  can  anywhere  be  pointed  out 
which  can  form  so  noble  and  so  useful  a  subject  for  the  historian  ? 
It  is  the  conception  of  the  Church  which  enables  the  mind  not 
only  to  combine,  but  to  blend  together,  the  pastoral  simplicity  of 
the  primitive  times  of  mankind  and  the  elaborate  civilization 
of  later  ages  ; — to  bring  into  one  collection  all  the  character 
istics  of  all  the  climes  and  regions  of  the  world  ; — to  bring  all 
specimens  of  the  human  family,  "  from  the  north  and  from  the 
south,  and  from  the  east  and  from  the  west,"  and  make  them 
"  sit  down "  before  us  "  in  the  kingdom  of  God."  Nor  can  I 


*  Arnold's  Lecture*  on  History. 


W)  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  1! 

doubt  that  the  peculiar  strength,  and  freedom,  and  versatility  of 
the  modern  European  intellect  are,  to  a  great  extent,  due  to  the 
historical  character  of  Christianity.  No  one  can  read,  in 
telligently,  so  much  as  the  prime  documents  of  our  faith,  even 
in  a  vermicular  translation,  without  feeling  himself  transported 
into  a  region  where  the  modes  of  conception  and  of  expression, 
the  events  and  the  institutions  to  be  met  with,  are  strikingly 
different  from  those  which  surround  him  with  the  associations 
of  everyday  life;  without,  in  short,  finding  himself,  for  the 
time,  emancipated  from  the  mere  influence  of  the  present,  and 
brought  under  that  of  the  distant  and  the  past.  Nor  could 
anything  have  secured  such  a  potent  and  salutary  influence 
to  history  over  the  human  mind  as  the  indissoluble  tie  by  which 
it  is  connected  with  religion ;  the  feeling  that,  in  our  nearest 
and  most  intimate  relations,  we  are  personally  connected,  as 
members  of  one  body,  with  the  remotest  past  and  the  illimitable 
future, — linked  in  one  unbroken  living  chain,  with  patriarchs 
and  prophets,  and  apostles  and  martyrs, — heirs  with  them  of  the 
same  promise,  and  waiting  with  them  for  the  same  completion 
of  the  great  mystery  of  God.  And  it  is  worth  observing  that 
Providence  has  so  arranged  matters,  that  the  Eastern  world, — 
to  which  the  language  and  habits  of  thought  contained  in 
Scripture  were  most  familiar, — seems  destined  to  receive  back 
its  lessons,  modified  by  the  peculiarities  of  Western  civili/ation 
and  European  teaching.  In  those  nations  where  the  language 
of  Christianity  was,  as  it  were,  a  native  voice,  it  produced  least 
influence  at  first  as  a  source  of  permanent  civilization.  It  was 
the  leaven  of  foreign  associations  which  caused  a  fermentation 
in  the  Western  mind ;  and,  from  the  blended  mass  which  was 
the  product  of  that  fermentation,  it  seems  destined  to  pass  back 
to  the  realms  from  which  it  came,  in  a  form  fitted  to  produce 
there  a  similar  effect. 

In  the  same  degree,  then,  as  any  system  has  a  tendency  to 
break  the  connexion  between  history  and  religion,  in  that 
same  degree  it  tends  to  deprive  civilization  itself  of  one  of  its 
chief  safeguards, — to  withdraw  from  effective  operation  one  of 
the  most  powerful  causes  "which  now  stimulate  research  and 
bring  the  minds  of  the  present  generation  into  contact  with 
those  of  the  past.  If  the  mind  be  referred  immediately,  for 
religious  guidance,  not  to  an  historical  document,  but  to  a 


ifissAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  (57 

supposed  infallible  authority  of  the  present  Church,  or  to  the  sup 
posed  infallible  authority  of  each  man's  fancy  and  feelings,  the 
influences  favourable  to  barbarism  are  so  far  restored:  and 
I  think  the  visible  results  of  both  experiments,  so  far  as  either 
has  been  consistently  worked  out,  are  such  as  to  show  that  a 
retrogression  towards  barbarism  would  be  their  most  probable 
consequence.  To  look  only  at  the  present — to  live  in  the  pre 
sent — shape  our  habits  by  the  present — adopt,  at  every  change, 
the  vogue  of  the  day — and  cast  aside  whatever  we  cannot 
accommodate  to  the  taste  of  our  own  generation — this  is  to  do 
our  utmost  to  restore  barbarity,  and  sink  us  below  the  level  on 
which  God  and  nature  intended  us  to  be  placed.  And  hence 
we  may  find  fresh  reason  for  admiring  the  wisdom  of  the  Divine 
economy  which,  in  the  case  of  the  Jewish  and  of  the  Christian 
Church  alike,  withdrew,  after  a  while,  the  living  voice  of  inspired 
guides,  and  substituted  for  them,  as  the  ultimate  basis  of  faith, 
a  written  historical  record  of  their  teaching ;  thus  building  the 
Church,  as  a  continuous  body  through  all  ages,  on  that  founda 
tion  of  the  apostles  and  prophets,  of  which  Jesus  Christ  Himself 
is  the  chief  corner-stone. 

16.  But  then  it  will  be  said, — "  Is  not  Christianity  a  Gospel 
to  be  preached  to  the  poor?  and  how  are  the  mean  and 
illiterate  to  judge  of  the  historical  evidences  of  Christianity?" 

Now,  undoubtedly,  not  in  religious  matters  alone,  but  in 
respect  of  almost  every  useful  truth  alike — moral,  scientific, 
economical,  political — the  uneducated  and  ill-educated  classes 
labour  under  peculiar  disadvantages  :  and  this,  so  far  as  it  is  a 
difficulty,  is  a  difficulty  upon  every  hypothesis  which  admits  a 
benevolent  Providence  and  recognises  a  difference  between 
truth  and  falsehood.*  The  true  lesson  to  be  derived  from  the 
circumstance  is,  that  we  are  bound,  as  far  as  \ve  can,  to  raise 
the  condition  of  our  meaner  brethren,  and  make  them  more 
and  more  capable  of  judging  for  themselves.  Still,  however, 
no  doubt,  great  difference  will  continue  to  subsist :  nor  will 
it  ever  be  possible  to  equalize  all  understandings,  or  make 
the  opportunities  and  capacities  of  improvement  the  same 
for  every  mind.  But  each  class  must  be  contented,  in  this 


*  The  difficulties  attending  the  re-    j    structure  of  nature  and  the  i-ourse  of 
jectiou  of  these  being  all  the  marks  of       history, 
desin  and  benevolent  intention  in  the 


08 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  II. 


as  in  other  cases,  with  such  an  amount  of  evidence  as  its 
circumstances  will  allow :  and,  if  the  upper  classes  would  faith 
fully  do  their  duty,  this  amount  of  evidence  would  not  be  small 
in  any  case. 

Let  it  be  observed  that  the  form  of  this  objection  allows  us  to 
assume  that  Christianity  is  true ;  that  it  is  capable  of  being 
proved  true  by  rational  evidence  to  well-informed  persons ; 
that,  among  men  of  literary  attainments,  it  can  hold  its  ground 
with  the  weapons  of  argument;  that  it  needs  not  to  fear  any 
amount  of  light,  or  shrink  from  any  examination  however 
searching ;  and,  assuming  this,  let  us  consider  what  the  condition 
of  the  lower  classes  would  have  been,  if  the  Church  had  faith 
fully  done  its  duty.  The  Christian  religion  would  then  come 
before  them  as  a  religion  manifestly  subserving  no  interested 
temporal  ends — encumbered  with  no  artifices  of  priestcraft — 
notoriously  based,  from  the  first,  upon  the  ground  of  rational 
evidence,  and  maintaining  itself  through  all  generations  upon 
that  ground  alone, — open  to  all  challengers,  and  ready  at  all 
times  to  give  a  reason  of  its  hope  to  every  one  demanding  it ; — 
and  can  it  be  said  that  this  would  not  be  good  evidence  to  them 
of  its  truth ;  and  evidence  of  the  same  kind  as  that  upon  which 
they  must  rely,  from  their  circumstances,  for  the  truth  of  almost 
everything  of  importance  at  all  removed  beyond  the  sphere  of 
their  own  immediate  experience  ?*  It  is  the  putting  of  Christi 
anity  upon  other  grounds ;  it  is  the  claim  of  authority  to  silence 
doubt;  it  is  the  discouragement  of  inquiry,  the  contempt  of 
reason,  the  depreciation  of  intellect  in  religious  matters ;  it  is 
the  shrinking  from  light  and  correction,  the  suffering  pure 
truth  to  be  encrusted  with  prejudices  and  mistakes  for  fear  of 
unsettling  men's  minds ;  it  is  the  borrowing  of  the  arts  and 
language  that  are  the  common  signs  of  imposture  by  the  friends 
of  truth,  and  leaving  its  own  bold  speech  and.  open  ways  to  its 
enemies ;  it  is  these  unworthy  methods  that  deprive  the  lower 
classes  of  the  safeguards  which,  with  such  a  religion,  they 
might  and  ought  to  have  for  the  security  of  their  faith.  The 
Providence  of  God  has  linked  all  classes  together  in  mutual 


*  See  an  interesting  statement  of 
the  nature  of  the  evidence  within  the 
reach  of  the  lower  order*,  in  Arch 


bishop  Whately's   '  Easy  Lessons'   on 
the  Evidences,  pp.  215-27. 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  69 

dependence,  so  that,  "if  one  member  suffer,  all  the  members 
suffer  with  it ; "  and  the  Gospel  cannot  be  preached  to  the  poor, 
if  the  well-instructed  scribes  do  not  take  the  only  measures  by 
which  it  can  possibly  be  preached  with  effect. 

17.  But,  even  of  direct  evidence,  the  amount  is  not  slight  that 
is  within  the  reach  of  the  humbler  classes.  There  is  much  of 
most  persuasive  evidence  of  the  truth  of  Christianity  which  not 
only  requires  no  dialectical  skill  to  make  it  felt,  but  which  cannot 
be  drawn  out  and  stated  in  its  full  force  by  any  amount  of 
dialectical  skill.  Let  any  one  consider  with  himself  what  the 
nature  of  the  evidence  is  upon  which  he  has  formed  his  judg 
ment  of  the  characters  of  the  persons  with  whom  he  converses 
in  daily  life.  What  a  medley  of  slight  traits,  looks,  gestures, 
chance  expressions,  little  circumstances,  each,  perhaps,  ambi 
guous  in  itself,  but  all  conspiring  in  one  definite  impression, 
will  it  appear!  And  all  these  he  has  gathered  in  and  com 
bined,  not  by  a  consciously  logical  process,  watching  for  and 
sifting  each  scruple  of  evidence  as  it  arose,  and  then  de 
liberately  putting  them  together,  like  a  clever  advocate  to 
make  a  case ;  but  unconsciously,  and  by  a  kind  of  instinct, 
the  mind  has  drawn  its  inference  from  these  little  circum 
stances  which  he  can  remember,  and  from  a  thousand  other 
evanescent  phenomena  which  he  cannot  now  recall.  And  yet 
all  this  evidence  was  good  evidence,  upon  which  he  unhesi 
tatingly  relies. 

Now  such  is  the  reasonable  evidence  which  the  Scriptures 
themselves  yield  to  the  candid  and  attentive  reader,  who  is 
neither  searching  for  proof  nor  watching  for  objections.  It 
deposits,  as  it  were,  the  practical  persuasion  of  its  own  truth 
fulness  and  honesty  by  a  thousand  artless  traits  while  we 
converse  with  its  pages.  "If  we  may  judge,"  says  Jackson, 
"  of  the  truth  of  men's  writings  by  their  outward  form  or 
character,  as  we  do  of  men's  honesty  by  their  looks,  speech,  or 
behaviour,  what  history  in  the  world  bears  so  perfect  a 
resemblance  to  things  done  and  acted,  or  yields  (without  further 
testimony  than  its  own)  so  full  assurance  of  a  true  narration  ?" 
[Works,  vol.  i.  p.  27.]  Men  who  never  consciously  framed  a 
syllogism  have  felt,  and  are  daily  feeling,  the  force  of  such 
evidence.  They  are  continually  perusing  the  accounts  of 
miracles  so  numerous  and  so  striking  that  the  witnesses  of  them 


70  AIDS  TO  FAITH. 

could  not  be  mistaken,  and  yet  embedded  indissolubly*  in  a 
narrative  so  artless,  so  grave,  so  honest,  so  intelligent,  as 
palpably  to  be  no  product  of  fraud  or  fancy ;  and,  without 
any  elaborate  criticism  or  detailed  process  of  deduction,  their 
mind  takes  the  impression  which  a  book  so  circumstanced  is 
naturally  and  reasonably  fitted  to  impart.  Thus  many  a  mind 
that  has  scarcely  ever  felt  a  doubt,  or  heard  of  an  infidel  in 
Christian  lands,  has,  in  reality,  based  its  faith  upon  rational 
evidence.  Its  belief  has  not  been  built  amidst  the  noise  of 
hammers  and  the  ring  of  axes,  but  has  grown  up,  "a  noise 
less  structure,"  from  the  ground  of  an  honest  and  true 
heart. 

18.  In  some  respects,  indeed,  the  result  of  the  unlimited  de 
velopment  of  critical  inquiry  abroad  has  been  to  diminish,  rather 
than  increase  the  difficulties  of  comparatively  unlearned  readers. 
Almost  the  only  infidel  theory  which  is  quite  intelligible  to  the 
lower  orders,  is  that  coarse  one  which  treats  the  New  Testament 
as  a  mere  forgery  throughout,  or  ascribes  the  origin  of  our  re 
ligion  to  gross  fraud  and  imposture.  Now,  if  there  be  any  certain 
result  of  German  criticism  at  all,  it  has  been  to  show  that  any 
such  theory  is  utterly  untenable.  The  Wolfenbiittel  Fragments 
were  almost  the  last  shameful  effort  in  that  direction,  and  their 
track  is  a  road  which  no  one,  with  the  smallest  pretensions  to 
literary  character,  would  now  venture  to  pursue.  Countless 
other  evasions  of  the  plain  force  of  evidence,  each  contradictory 
of  the  other,  and  each  rejected  with  contempt  by  almost  every 
one  but  its  author,  have  been  invented  ;  but  there  is,  except  at 
Tiibingen,  no  disposition  to  return  to  what  may  be  called  the  old 
orthodox  system  of  infidelity.  To  men  of  plain  common  sense,  if 
they  fully  understood  the  whole  state  of  the  case,  it  would  ap 
pear  that  all  the  premisses  are  granted  which  render  inevitable 
an  admission  of  the  substantial  truth  of  Christianity.  Put,  for 
example,  Paul's  undoubted  Epistles,  with  Luke's  Gospel  and 
Acts,  into  the  hands  of  a  plain  ordinary  Englishman,  and  tell 
him,  "  It  is  no  longer  questioned  that  these  letters  are  the 


*  "  The  miracles  in  the  Bible,"  says  the  whole  history  is  founded  on  them; 

IJiilingbrokr,  "  an)  not,   liko   those   in  i    it  consists  of  little  else  ;  ami  if  it  wero 

I,ivy,  detached  pieces  that  do  not  dis-  not  a  history  of  them,  it  would   be   <t 

Inrb  the  civil   history,  which   goes  on  history  of  nothing." 
verv    well    without    them  .     .     .      I5uf 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  71 

genuine  work  of  Paul ;  it  is  no  longer  questioned  that  the 
writer  of  the  other  Books  was  his  companion,  who  compiled 
them  while  the  men  were  still  alive,  who  had  conversed  with 
Jesus,  and  seen  Him  crucified  ;  it  is  no  longer  doubted  that 
Paul  and  Luke  were  sincere  and  honest  men  who  had  no 
design  to  impose  upon  their  hearers ;  and  the  alternatives 
before  you  are  either  to  admit  that  Christianity  was  really 
grounded  upon  miracles,  or  to  explain  these  documents  by  the 
methods  of  Paulus,  or  Strauss,  or  Weisse,  or  some  other 
Naturalistic  or  Mythic  Doctor ;" — let  this,  I  say,  be  the  issue 
placed  before  an  Englishman  of  ordinary  common  sense  and 
information,  and  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  he  would  regard 
the  first  alternative  as  far  less  prodigiously  incredible  than  the 
second.  The  case  stands  thus  : 

19.  The  origin  of  the  Christian  religion  is  not  one  of  those 
events  so  distant  as  to  be  lost  in  a  fabulous  antiquity. 
Whatever  gave  rise  to  it  occurred  at  a  period  of  which  we  know 
a  great  deal,  in  a  civilized  world,  and  within  historic  times ; 
and  was  something  which  enabled  the  first  preachers  to  make 
more  converts  among  enemies  in  five  years,  than  our  most  active 
missionaries  have  made  in  five  centuries.  Within  no  long 
time  after  the  death  of  Jesus  we  find  Christian  Churches 
diffused  in  the  most  distant  places  over  this  civilized  world, 
continually  growing  in  numbers  and  importance,  under  the 
eyes  and  in  spite  of  the  hostility  of  their  powerful  neigh 
bours.  The  consentient  tradition  of  all  these  Churches  ascribes 
their  foundation  to  the  first  Disciples  of  Jesus  Christ,  and 
ascribes  to  those  Disciples  the  Gospel  that  He  had  been  raised 
from  the  dead,  and  that  this  Resurrection,  with  its  preceding 
and  accompanying  miracles,  was  the  ground  of  their  faith. 
Their  creeds,  their  sacraments,  their  universal  observance  of 
Easter  and  the  weekly  Lord's  day,  all  embody  this  tradition. 
These  Churches  are  not  without  written  historical  records.* 
They  put  forward,  with  one  consent,  a  body  of  documents, 
giving  a  detailed  account  of  Christ's  life,  and  death,  and  resur- 


*  "  It  is  allowed,"  says  Mr.  Westcott,    j    was  composed  essentially  of  the  saim 


"by  those  who  have  reduced  thu 
genuine  Apostolic  works  to  the  nar 
rowest  limits,  that  from  the  time  of 
IrciKcus  [i.e.  the  latter  part  of  the 
second  century!  the  New  Testament 


books  as  we  receive  at  present,  and 
that  they  were  regarded  with  the  same 
reverence  as  is  now  shown  to  them."— 
History  of  the  Caituti,  p.  8. 


72  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  II. 

rection,  and  of  the  first  preaching  and  fortunes  of  his  Apostles, 
and  embracing  a  collection  of  letters  from  some  of  those  Apostles 
themselves.  With  respect  to  many  of  these  writings,  no  literary 
man  of  any  character,  at  present,  doubts  their  genuineness. 
With  respect  to  most  of  the  rest,  it  is  at  any  rate  agreed  that 
they  are  not  mere  forgeries  of  a  late  age,  but  books  written  in 
good  faith,  at  a  date  when  the  true  history  of  the  times  they 
refer  to  was  easily  to  be  obtained.  The  testimony  of  these 
documents  is  the  same  as  the  tradition  of  the  Churches.  They 
put  the  Christian  religion  upon  the  evidence  of  miraculous 
facts,  and  specially  of  Christ's  Resurrection,  as  attested  by  the 
alleged  witnesses  of  it,  in  the  very  place  where  He  had  been 
executed  as  a  malefactor,  and  in  the  face  of  the  very  persons  by 
whom  He  had  been  condemned  and  slain. 

What  we  are  called  upon  to  believe  is — that  all  the  Churches 
were  mistaken  as  to  the  grounds  of  their  own  faith  ;  that  all  the 
documents,  and  the  Apostles  themselves,  have  given  a  wrong 
account  of  it ;  that  the  belief  in  the  religion  was  not  grounded 
on  the  belief  in  the  miracles,  but  that  the  belief  in  the  miracles 
was  grounded  on  the  belief  in  the  religion  ;  that  Jesus,  who  (if 
He  wrought  no  miracles  and  was  the  subject  of  no  miracles) 
contradicted,  in  every  circumstance  of  his  birth,  and  education, 
and  teaching,  and  life,  and  death,  the  best  established  and  most 
cherished  notions  of  all  around  Him  concerning  the  promised 
Messiah,  was  believed,  in  spite  of  all,  to  be  that  Messiah ;  that 
miracles  were  ascribed  to  Him  because  the  Messiah  ought  to 
have  wrought  miracles ;  that  He  was  believed  to  have  risen 
again  because  it  suddenly  occurred  to  somebody  that  He  ought 
to  have  risen  again ;  and  that,  by  such  an  easy  and  intelligible 
process  as  this,  a  creed  of  fables  was  transmuted  into  a  creed  of 
facts,  and  stamped  indelibly,  and  with  one  impression,  upon 
the  faith  and  institutions  of  the  great  Christian  communities 
throughout  the  world. 

This  is,  in  plain  words,  the  theory  of  the  origin  of  Christianity 
corrected  to  the  latest  results  of  Continental  criticism ;  and 
it  seems  to  amount  to  this  —  that  CHRISTIANITY  HAD  NO 
ORIGIN  AT  ALL.  It  is,  indeed,  not  criticism  that  has  spon 
taneously  yielded  these  results ;  but  it  is  the  a  jiriori  prejudice 
against  miracles  which  has  forced  criticism  upon  this  strange 
enterprise. 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  73 

20.  Let  any  one  take  up  (it  is  almost  forgotten  now  in  Ger 
many,  but  may  be  still  met  with  in  England)  Dr.  Strauss's  *  Life 
of  Jesus,'  and  he  will  see  at  once  that  the  author  is  all  through 
merely  working  out  a  foregone  conclusion.  Not  one  of  his 
orthodox  predecessors  in  the  seventeenth  century  ever  set 
himself  with  more  dogged  resolution  to  fight  his  way  through 
all  difficulties  in  defence  of  the  verbal  inspiration,  scientific 
accuracy,  and  textual  integrity  of  every  jot  and  tittle  in  the 
Hebrew  Scriptures,  and  find  a  way,  or  make  one,  to  the  goal 
which  he  had  determined  to  reach  than  Strauss  does  to  destroy 
it.  And  so  with  his  successors ;  the  very  multitude  and  dis 
cordance  of  their  theories  is  a  witness  to  their  insufficiency. 
They  are  the  struggles  of  a  strong  animal  in  toils  which 
he  cannot  break.  The  favourable  posture  for  an  infidel  is 
that  of  an  objector  ;  when  he  is  forced  to  recognise  the  necessity 
of  having  something  positive  on  his  own  side,  he  finds  his 
own  difficulties  greater  than  those  over  which  he  has  been 
exulting  in  the  case  of  his  antagonists  ;  and  the  end  has  been 
that,  in  Germany,  thinking  men  are  either  returning  to  the  faith 
of  their  fathers,  or  laying  the  detailed  examination  of  the 
phenomena  of  Christianity  aside  as  an  insoluble  problem.  And 
in  reality,  the  greater  part  of  the  panic  which  has  lately  spread 
among  its,  from  the  reappearance  of  the  infidel  controversy 
in  England,  has  arisen  from  the  security,  the  unhesitating 
acquiescence,  of  the  previous  generation.  In  the  general  silence 
of  objectors,  in  the  general  recognition,  which  pervaded  our 
whole  literature,  of  the  unquestionable  truth  of  Christianity, 
men  had  ceased  to  reflect  particularly  upon  the  rational 
grounds  of  their  faith.  The  authority  of  the  Bible  became  a 
kind  of  axiom,  and  everything  that  was  supposed  to  be  involved 
in  that  authority  was  grasped  with  the  same  firmness  of  belief. 
In  such  a  state  of  mind,  the  whole  of  its  creed  is  no  firmer  than 
the  weakest  part ;  and  hence,  when  open  attacks  began  again  to 
be  made  upon  what  men  had  regarded  from  their  childhood  as 
essential  portions  of  Christianity — when  attention  was  called  to 
the  real  difficulties  which  beset  many  passages,  the  undoubtedly 
strong  objections  which  may  be  urged  against  many  articles — 
v/hen  writers  of  learning  and  ability  were  quoted  as  authorities, 
not  for,  but  against,  the  traditions  of  their  youth — an  alarm  arose 
as  if  the  whole  of  religion  was  giving  way.  This  danger  always 


74  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  II. 

attends  the  concentration  of  a  whole  system  of  belief  upon  a 
single  point.  It  is  like  embarking  a  whole  army  at  once,  for  a 
long  and  perilous  voyage,  in  one  gigantic  transport.  If  the 
sliip  hold  together,  much  is  gained  in  speed  and  convenience ; 
but  if  the  vessel  sink,  all  goes  with  her  to  the  bottom. 

It  is  thus  with  the  llomanist,  who  builds  all  on  the  authority 
of  the  present  Church.  If  one  portion,  however  small  or  slight, 
of  the  complicated  structure  of  his  creed  be  shaken,  the  basis  ot 
it  is  shaken,  and  the  entire  edifice  falls  to  ruin  in  a  moment. 
And  so,  when  the  feelings  of  the  reader  have  been  made  the 
test  of  the  inspiration  of  Scripture ; — when  men  have  been 
accustomed  to  say,  "  We  feel,  from  the  echo  in  our  bosoms, 
from  the  warm  sentiments  of  devotion  which  it  excites,  from  the 
sensible  comfort  that  it  gives,  that  this  is  and  must  be  no  less 
than  the  voice  of  God  speaking  with  us  ;" — in  such  a  case  the 
decision  of  criticism  against  the  genuineness  or  authenticity  of  a 
single  book,  or  even  a  single  passage,  becomes  a  thing  formid 
able  to  the  whole  of  faith.  If  the  religious  sense,  on  which  the 
reader  relies  for  distinguishing  the  divine  from  the  human,  have 
erred  in  any  case,  its  assumed  infallibility  is  gone ;  the  test 
itself  of  inspiration  is  shown  to  be  fallacious  ;  and  he  is  left 
doubtful  whether  the  whole  of  his  belief  may  not  be  founded  on 
a  mere  delusion. 

But  a  faith  founded  upon  rational  evidence  is  not  liable  to  be 
thus  shaken.  If  it  be  shown,  for  example,  that  a  particular 
verse  in  the  1st  Epistle  of  John,  or  even  a  long  passage  in  his 
Gospel,  is  an  interpolation,  this  does  not  subvert  the  proof  of 
the  genuineness  of  the  rest  of  those  pieces  ;  since  the  evidence 
for  the  disputed  parts,  and  the  evidence  for  the  rest  of  the 
documents,  is  not  the  same  ;  and  such  a  faith  is  grounded  upon 
and  proportioned  to  the  evidence.  And  if  the  evidences  of 
Christianity, — their  nature  and  degrees, — and  even  the  first 
elements  of  the  criticism  of  our  sacred  books,  were  made  an 
ordinary  part  of  the  instruction  of  every  tolerably  educated 
man,  we  should  be  free  from  those  periodical  panics  which  aie 
a  disgrace  to  the  intelligence  of  a  Christian  nation. 

As  it  is,  when  suddenly  put  upon  searching  the  reasons 
of  the  faith  that  is  in  them,  men  hardly  know  at  what  point 
to  begin,  and  in  their  confusion  often  seize  first  upon  the 
weakest. 


ESSAY  II.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  75 

21.  In  dealing,  either  for  the  satisfaction  of  ourselves  or  of 
others,  with  sceptical  objections,  it  is  of  vast  importance  to 
consider  in  what  order  they  are  to  be  dealt  with.  If  we  suffer 
ourselves  to  fall  into  the  error  of  regarding  each  part  of  our 
position  as  equally  strong  in  itself,  the  consequences  may  prove 
calamitous. 

There  are,  for  example,  narratives  of  miraculous  occurrences 
in  the  Bible,  which,  if  we  met  with  them  separate  from  the  rest, 
or  connected  with  documents  of  a  different  character — if  we 
found  them  in  a  life  of  Pythagoras  or  Apollonius — we  should 
reasonably  set  aside  as  mere  legendary  stories,  or  exaggerations 
of  purely  natural  events.  It  would  be  a  grievous  oversight  to 
stake  the  truth  of  Christianity  at  once  upon  the  separate 
defence  of  such  passages  as  these.  The  reasonable  course  is  to 
waive  them  at  the  outset ; — to  let  them  stand  over  for  consider 
ation  in  their  due  place ; — and  to  consider,  first  of  all,  the  most 
important  and  best  circumstanced  facts  upon  which  the  claims 
of  Kevelation  rest.  If  these  can  be  established,  the  others  will 
either  be  not  worth  fighting  about,  or  will  follow  as  a  matter  of 
course.  "Supposing  it  acknowledged,"  says  Bishop  Butler, 
"that  our  Saviour  spent  some  years  in  a  course  of  working 
miracles ;  there  is  no  more  presumption  worth  mentioning 
against  His  having  exerted  this  miraculous  power  in  a  certain 
degree  greater  than  in  a  certain  degree  less;  in  one  or  two 
more  instances,  than  in  one  or  two  fewer;  in  this,  than  in 
another  manner."  (Analogy,  part  ii.  c.  2.) 

It  is  quite  true — and  should  always  be  distinctly  allowed — 
that  nervous  excitement,  the  strong  tonic  of  a  powerful  faith 
and  a  lively  imagination — perhaps  also  some  subtle  influence, 
such  as  animal  magnetism — are  capable  of  producing  wonderful 
cures  of  some  disorders ;  and  that,  if  some  of  the  narratives  of 
miraculous  cures  in  the  Gospel  and  the  Acts  were  all  the  mi 
raculous  narratives  relating  to  the  first  planting  of  Christianity 
that  we  had,  it  might  be  reasonable  to  suppose  the  cures  effected 
by  some  such  agencies  as  these.  But  if  other  miracles  remain 
which  are  incapable  of  any  such  solution,  and  sufficient  to  prove 
the  claims  of  Christianity  to  a  divine  origin,  then  the  natural 
explanations,  even  of  the  former,  cease  to  be  the  more  probable ; 
because  such  natural  effects  as  they  assume,  though  possible,  are 
more  or  less  unlikely ;  whereas  there  is  no  improbability  in  sup- 


76 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  II. 


posing  that  a  person  endowed  with  the  power  of  miracles  exerted 
it  upon  a  particular  occasion.  It  is  improbable  that  any  man 
ever  lived  in  Greece  of  such  strength  as  is  attributed  to  Hercules ; 
but  if  it  were  once  established  that  such  a  person  lived  at  a 
given  time,  there  would  be  nothing  improbable  in  any  story  of  a 
particular  exertion  of  that  strength,  merely  on  account  of  its 
surpassing  the  vigour  of  ordinary  mortals. 

Upon  similar  principles,  we  should  carefully  avoid  entangling 
the  question  of  the  general  truth  of  Christianity  with  that  of  the 
nature  or  extent  of  the  inspiration  of  the  sacred  writers.  There 
are,  indeed,  some  arguments  for  Christianity  which  tend  to  prove 
directly  the  inspiration,  in  some  form  or  other,  of  those  writers ; 
as,  for  instance,  that  derived  from  the  omission  in  their  works  of 
topics  which  men  in  their  circumstances  would  naturally  have 
introduced,  an  argument  which  has  been  pressed  with  great  force 
by  the  Archbishop  of  Dublin  in  his  first  series  of  Essays.*  But, 
in  general,  it  is  evident  that  our  first  concern  with  the  sacred 
writers  is  in  their  character  of  witnesses ;  and  we  should  care 
fully  distinguish  in  our  minds  the  objections  against  their 
character  as  inspired  persons,  and  objections  against  their  cha 
racter  as  trustworthy  relators  of  facts.  The  question  of  the  nature 
and  extent  of  their  inspiration  legitimately  comes  in  after  the 
main  facts  have  been  established,  which  prove  our  Saviour's 
divine  mission,  and  the  promise  of  supernatural  assistance  which 
He  made  to  His  Apostles. 

Some  parts,  indeed,  of  Scripture,  such  as  the  prophecies,  claim 
inspiration  directly,  and  on  the  face  of  them  ;  and  in  the  case  of 
these,  to  disprove  their  inspiration  is  to  disprove  their  trust 
worthiness. 

But,  meanwhile,  in  the  interpretation  of  such  writings,  it 
cannot  be  reasonable  to  put  out  of  sight  the  character  which 
they  claim,  and  insist  upon  expounding  them  as  if  they  were  not 
inspired  at  all.f  This  is  a  principle  of  criticism  which  is  never 
forgotten,  except  in  the  case  of  Scripture.  If  the  Christian 
revelation  be  really  the  completion  of  the  Jewish — if  Christ  and 
His  Church  be  really  the  development  of  the  mystery  of  God, 
which  was  gradually  wrought  and  prepared  for  in  all  the  pre- 


*  See  also  Bishop  Hind's  very  valu 
able  work  on  Inspiration. 


t  See  'Charge  of  the  Archbishop  of 
Dublin,' 1861.  Parker  and  Son.  London. 


ESSAY  H.]  EVIDENCES  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  77 

vious  dispensations — and  if  the  prophets  of  those  dispensations 
really  "  spoke  as  they  were  moved  by  the  Holy  Ghost,"  it  is  no 
more  unreasonable  to  give  their  lofty  expressions  a  secondary 
reference  to  the  coming  glory  than  to  find  allusions  to  Augustus 
in  the  '  ^neid,'  or  to  Elizabeth  and  Mary  in  the  '  Faery  Queen,' 
or  to  the  Roman  Republic  in  an  ode  to  Horace's  ship.*  And, 
indeed,  the  very  possibility  of  such  an  interpretation — the 
continuity  of  thought,  character,  and  plan,  in  a  literature  spread 
over  so  many  ages,  which  makes  it  feasible — has  ever  struck 
thoughtful  men,  from  Justin  Martyr  to  Pascal,  as  strong 
evidence  for  the  inspiration  of  that  literature. 

22.  But  to  pursue  these  topics  further  would  be  only  to  repeat 
what  has  been  a  thousand  times  said  already ;  and  when  infi 
delity  comes  to  drop  its  reserve,  and  tell  us  plainly  what  the 
deep  objections  are  that  are  now  only  hinted  at  in  more  or  less 
doubtful  forms  of  insinuation,  it  will  most  probably  be  seen  that 
there  is  very  little  new  matter  to  be  produced  in  this  great  con 
troversy,  and  that  the  Church  is  assailed  in  the  nineteenth 
century  with  no  stronger  artillery  than  her  walls  have  borne  for 
eighteen  centuries  already.  My  earnest  wish  is,  that  those  who 
think  they  can  speak  would  speak  out  and  let  us  know  the  worst. 

ev  Se  (frdet  KOI  6'Xecrcroi/. 

And  if  the  literal  truth  of  Christianity  fall,  it  will  certainly  be 
a  final  and  total  subversion  of  the  whole  religion.  Let  no  one 
suppose  that  its  spirit  can  remain  living  and  acting  among  us 
after  its  body  has  been  decomposed.  Its  spirit  will  return  to 
God  who  gave  it.  "  That  man,"  says  one  who  was  no  narrow 


*  See    Kurd     on    the     '  Prophecies,'    I    He.  dying,  left  the  fairest  Tanaquill 

and  Warburton's  '  Divine  Legation,'  b.  i  £Iim  to  s"cce^  ih^'  by  Ue^\  wlH' 
,,  T  4.1  ,,  ,  P  .  *  Fairer  and  nobler  hvi'tli  none  this  ho\vre, 
j1'  !-,  ?flSe  Pr°PhecieS  With  a  Ne  like  in  grace,  ne  like  in  learned  skill,  &c.- 
double  sense,"  I  have  observed  else 
where,  "  we  may  be  often  sure  of  the 
secondary  application  of  some  parts  of 
them,  even  though  we  may  see  clearly 
that  other  parts  have  no  such  applica 
tion Thus,  for  example,  no  one 

doubts  that,  in  Spenser's  Chronicle  of 


,T  ,     ,  .     ,,    ,   ,, 

,  N"  on.e> i ^  vTn        \r> ihes°\mcs 

secondary  application  of  some  parts  of  ^  tofl Hcnj7  JIIL  !iml  Queen  E1/za: 
them,  even  though  we  may  see  clearly  i  ^th-  though  &*«  »  no  consistent 
that  other  parts  have  no  such  applica-  i  Parallel  l«t  ween  the  succession  of  faery 
tion.  ...  Thus  for  exam  *in?8  and  B?tish  monarcl18-  ~^  *> 


Sutlers  Analogy,  p.  203. 


v»*_«  uvw    •»**••)    i»»      KJI/»>I.IO^I   o     ^/UJIUJLUUJIO     \Jl  m  J*     —      oTl  A      \ 

Faery  Kings  (b.  il  c.  x.),  the  following         ,?o  argue  from   he  extravagant  abuse 
lines__  of  types  and  double  senses  against  then- 

existence,  is  like  arguing  that  if  we  ad- 


tmpiie  place  the  r>ii;,hty  f>berm 


Dotiblj  supplied  in  tpousail  and  dominion,  ito.—        is  literal  . 


.        > 

we  cannot  be  sure  that  anything  in  it 


7«S  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  II. 

bigot,  "who  does  not  hold  Christ's  earthly  life,  with  all  its 
mil-ados,  to  be  as  properly  and  really  historical  as  any  event  in 
history,  and  who  does  not  receive  all  points  of  the  Apostolic- 
creed  with  the  fullest  conviction,  I  do  not  conceive  to  be  a 
Protestant  Christian.  And  as  for  that  Christianity  which  is 
such  according  to  the  fashion  of  the  modern  philosophers  and  pan 
theists,  without  a  personal  GOD,  without  immortality,  without 
an  individuality  of  man,  without  historical  faith,  it  may  be  a 
very  ingenious  and  subtle  philosophy,  but  it  is  no  Christianity 
at  all."* 

*  Nk'buhr,  quoted  by  Neander  in  the  Fivluce  to  the  3rd  edition  of  his  •  Lift-  of 
Christ.' 


ESSAY  III. 
PROPHECY. 


CONTENTS  OF  ESSAY  III. 


1.  INTRODUCTION. 

2.  THE  DIVINE  MISSION  OF  THE  PRO 

PHETS  —  Definition  of  the  term 
"  Prophet.  ' 

3.  Definition  of  the  title  "  Seer." 

4.  Definition  of  the  designation  "Man 

of  God." 

f>.  Definition  of  the  phrase  "  Man  of 
the  Spirit.'1 

f>.  Scripture  contrast  of  the  false  pro 
phet. 

7.  THE     POWER     TO     PREDICT    THE 

FUTUUE  —  Popular  belief  of  the 
Hebrews. 

8.  Claims  of  the  Prophets  themselves. 

9.  Justification  of  thear  claims  by  the 

fulfilment  of  their  predictions  : 
Examples  from  Nithum— Hosea 
— Amos — Micah — Isaiah. 

10.  Groundlessness  of  recent  insinua 

tions  shown  by  the  fulfilment  of 
a  remarkable  prediction  —  Un- 
trust  worthiness  of  Rationalist 
criticism. 

11.  Predictions   of   Moses   concerning 

the  destinies  of  Israel  not  disputed 
or  explained  by  Rationalists  or 
Essayists. 


12.  MESSIANIC   PROPHECY  — •  The   real 

question  at  issue  :  Whether  the 
New  Testament  or  German  critics 
are  to  be  our  guides  in  interpret 
ing  prophecy  ? 

13.  Variety  and  diversity  of  opinions  in 

the  German  Rationalist  School 
unbounded. 

14.  Doctrine    of    our    Lord    and    the 

Apostles. 

15.  In  citing  or  applying  passages  of 

the  prophecies,  attention  must  be 
paid  to  the  mind  and  intention  of 
the  speaker  or  writer. 
1C.  Our  Lord,  and,  after  Him,  the  Apos 
tles,  lay  down  the  principle  that 
past  history  may  represent  that 
which  is  to  happen  hereafter 

17.  Prophecies  which  our  Lord  and  the 

Apostles  interpret  as  specially 
spoken  in  reference  to  Christ  and 
Christianity — Belief  of  orthodox 
writers  and  Rationalist  divines 
that  Christ  claimed  to  be  the 
Messiah  foretold  by  the  Prophets. 

18.  Genuineness  of  the  Book  of  Daniel. 

19.  Genuineness  of  Isaiah  xl.-xlvi. 

20.  Interpretation  of  Isaiah  liii. 
'jl.  Conclusion. 


PROPHECY. 


1.  HEBREW  prophecy,  like  the  Hebrew  people,  stands  without 
parallel  in  the  history  of  the  world.  Other  nations  have  had 
their  oracles,  diviners,  augurs,  soothsayers,  necromancers.  The 
Hebrews  alone  have  possessed  prophets,  and  a  prophetic  litera 
ture.  It  is  useless,  therefore,  to  go  to  the  manticism  of  the 
heathen  to  get  light  as  to  the  nature  of  Hebrew  prophecy.* 
To  follow  the  Eabbis  of  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  centuries 
is  just  as  vain.  The  only  reliable  sources  of  information  on  the 
subject  are  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  and  New  Testament. 
They  contain  documents  written  when  the  voice  of  prophecy 
still  was  heard,  and  it  would  be  strange  indeed  to  interpret 
coeval  testimonies  by  theories  devised  by  heathenized  Rabbis,  f 
nearly  two  thousand  years  after  Hebrew  prophecy  had  ceased. 
Even  a  novice  in  the  study  of  the  Bible  perceives  the  falsehood 
of  the  Eabbinic  assertions,  that  the  prophetic  gift  dwells  only  in 
a  man  who  is  learned,  powerful,  and  rich ;  and  that  no  man  can 
attain  to  it  except  by  study,  combined  with  a  certain  requisite 
mental  conformation.^  The  attempt  to  explain  prophetic  inspi 
ration  by  the  phenomena  of  animal  magnetism,  seems  to  be  still 
farther  removed  from  sobriety  of  judgment,  and  Christian  reve- 
rence.§  From  the  Old  Testament  alone,  illustrated  by  the  New, 


*  Vitringa,  Typus  doctr.  prophet.,  in 
'  Observationes  Sacrae,'  lib.  vii.  p.  4 ; 
Carpzov,  '  Introd.  ad  Libr.  Bibl.  V.  T.,' 
Part  iii.,  p.  7;  Knobel,  'Prophetis- 
mus  der  Hebraer,'  i.  21  ;  C.  I.  Nitsch, 
'  System  der  Christlichen  Lehre,'  p. 
88  ;  Tholuck,  '  Die  Propheten  und  ihre 
Weissagungen,'  p.  1,  73. 

t  Maimonides  and  his  school,  whom 
Smith  and  others  follow,  departed  from 
the  ancient  tradition,  and  endeavoured 
to  remodel  Judaism  according  to  the 
Greek  philosophy,  with  which  they 
became  acquainted  through  Arab  trans 
lations.  Maimonides  himself  is  remark 
able  for  his  determined  effort  to  elimi 
nate  the  supernatural  from  the  Old 


Testament,  and  may  in  truth  be  re 
garded  as  the  father  of  Eationalist 
Theology. 

J  '  Doctor  Perplexorum,'  p.  ii.  c.  3. 
Buxtorf  s  Translation,  p.  284  ;  '  Hil- 
choth  Yesode  Hattorah,'  c.  vii. ;  Sal 
vador,  '  Institutions  de  Mo'ise,'  i.  p. 
192-197. 

§  "  The  word  which  we,  after  the 
LXX.,  translate  Prophets,  means  in  the 
Hebrew,  Inspired.  Their  original  de 
signation  was  Seers,  men  who  saic. 
Clairvoyance  (the  so  called  magnetic 
sight)  and  prophesying  in  the  ecstatic 
state  were  of  remote  antiquity  amongst 
the  Jews  and  their  neighbours ;  and 
Joseph,  a  man  of  a  waking  spirit,  who, 

a 


82  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

is  it  possible  to  learn  the  nature  of  prophecy  and  the  prophetic 
office.  To  interpret  the  prophetic  writings  with  accuracy,  a 
familiar  acquaintance  with  the  original  language  is  necessary. 
But  a  correct  idea  of  the  prophet's  work  and  office,  and  of  the 
nature  of  prophecy  in  general,  may  be  obtained  from  any  ordinary 
translation  of  the  Old  Testament  by  any  intelligent  reader. 
The  student  of  the  English  Bible  may  not  be  able  to  explain 
the  meaning  of  a  rare  Hebrew  word,  or  an  obscure  and  doubtful 
passage,  nor  to  perceive  beauties  and  peculiarities,  observable 
only  in  the  original.  He  must  also  occasionally  miss  the  force 
of  particular  expressions,  and  sometimes  put  up  with  an  incor 
rect  rendering.  But  he  can,  without  any  Hebrew,  understand 
the  character  and  history  of  Moses  or  Elijah,  and  know  that 
Elijah  foretold  a  drought,  or  Elisha  sudden  plenty  :  that  Micaiah 
was  a  true  prophet,  and  the  son  of  Chenminah  an  impostor,  just 
as  easily  and  correctly  as  Gesenius,  or  Ewald,  or  Bunsen. 

For  this  no  modern  criticism  is  necessary,  and  in  such  matters 
no  reader  of  the  Authorized  Version  ought  to  allow  himself  to  be 
mystified  or  silenced  by  an  appeal  to  foreign  critics,  much  less 
to  be  disturbed  in  his  faith,  as  if  he  could  not  apprehend  the 
general  teaching  of  the  Bible  without  profound  knowledge  of 
the  Semitic  dialects,  and  the  latest  results  of  German  criticism. 
All  these  things  are  good  in  their  place,  but  the  great  and 
essential  outlines  of  Divine  truth,  whether  in  reference  to  Deity, 
or  piety,  or  morality,  or  prophecy,  are  perceptible  without  them  ; 
and  it  would  be  just  as  reasonable  to  assert  that  without  these 
things  we  cannot  understand  the  Ten  Commandments,  as  to  tell 
the  reader  of  the  Bible  in  the  vernacular,  that  he  cannot  grasp 
the  scope  of  prophecy,  or  know  whether  it  has  been  fulfilled, 
until  he  has  spent  vears  in  the  study  of  Hebrew  and  of  modern 
commentators.  The  essential  features  of  prophetic  truth  are 
too  boldly  drawn  to  be  hidden  by  the  veil  of  translation,  and 
have  been  as  plain  and  visible  in  all  ages  to  the  Greek,  the 
Syrian,  and  the  Arab,  as  to  the  polyglot  critic  of  the  nineteenth 
century.  A  knowledge  of  the  Hebrew  text,  indeed,  enables  its 
possessor  at  onco  to  reject  such  cavils  as  those  lately  revived,* 


as  a  growing  youth,  possessed  a  natural  ,  bowl." — Baron    Rnnsen,    Gott   in   der 

gift  of  second  sight,  was  able  as  man  i  GeschirMe,  p.  141. 

to  see  visions  in  his  cup,  jubt  as  the  |  *  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  68,  G9. 

Arab  boy  in  Cairo  still  sets  them  in  his  I 


ESSAY  III.] 


PROPHECY. 


83 


that  the  Hebrew  words  in  Ps.  ii.  12.  for  "Kiss  the  Son,"  ought 
to  be  translated  "  Worship  purely,"  or  that  the  Hebrew  word 
for  "  pierce,"  in  Ps.  xxii.  17.  ought  to  be  rendered  "  Like  a 
lion,"  or  that  in  Isaiah  ix.  6.  (Heb.  5.),  the  words  "  Mighty  God  " 
ought  to  be  "  A  strong  and  mighty  one."  But  the  English 
reader  still  sees  from  the  context,  in  spite  of  these  alterations, 
that  the  2nd  Psalm  speaks  of  an  universal  King,  greater  than 
David,  that  the  22nd  Psalm  portrays  one  persecuted  to  death 
by  man,  delivered  by  God,  after  whose  deliverance  "All  the 
ends  of  the  earth  remember  themselves  and  turn  unto  the  Lord," 
and  that  in  Isaiah  ix.,  the  prophet  speaks  of  a  marvellous  child, 
who  is  also  "  The  Everlasting  Father,  of  the  increase  of  whose 
government  there  shall  be  no  end,  to  order  and  establish  his 
kingdom  for  ever ;"  words  amply  sufficient  to  teach  the  reader 
that  Isaiah  spake  of  no  mere  man.*  The  Hebrew  student  is 
astonished,  in  the  present  state  of  Biblical  learning,  to  see  such 
objections  resuscitated.  He  knows  that  the  translation  "  Wor 
ship  purely  "  was  invented  by  Rabbinic  controversialists ;  that 
the  version  "  Kiss  the  Son  "  is  defended  even  by  such  an  oppo 
nent  of  Christianity  as  Aben  Ezra  amongst  the  Rabbis,  and  by 
De  Wette  amongst  the  Rationalists ;  and  adopted  by  Moses  Men 
delssohn,  Fiirst,  and  his  fellow  translators,  who  have  "  Huldigt 
dem  Sohne :"  and  that  the  ancient  Jews  interpreted  this  Psalm 
of  the  Messiah! — that  the  rendering  "  Mighty  God  "  is  adopted 
and  defended  by  Hitzig  and  Knobel.J  But,  without  depreciating 
the  value  of  Hebrew  learning  and  criticism,  it  may  be  safely 
asserted,  that  the  nature  and  teaching  of  prophecy  may  be 
collected  from  any  tolerable  version :  and,  therefore,  the  Apostles, 
guided  from  above,  did  not  perplex  the  Gentiles  by  discussing 
the  differences  between  the  LXX  and  the  Hebrew  Text,  but 
wisely  used,  and  sanctioned  the  use  of  that  Greek  Version,  which 


*  Luther,  who  translates  "  Kraft, 
Held,"  had  no  doubts  as  to  the  right 
interpretation  of  the  passage. 

t  This  is  confessed  even  by  Rashi, 
in  the  llth  century,  who  says,  "Our 
Rabbis  interpreted  this  Psalm  of  the 
Messiah ;"  to  which  was  added  in  the 
older  copies  of  his  commentary,  "  But 
in  order  to  answer  the  heretics,  it  is 
better  to  interpret  it  of  David,"  words 
still  found  in  the  commentary  on  the 
xxist  Psalm. 


J  Knobel's  reasons  for  rejecting  the 
translation  "strong  and  mighty  one," 
are  thus  expressed : — "  Because  ?N  never 
occurs  as  an  adjective,  and  if  adjective, 
ought  to  be  after  1133.  The  phrase 
"1133  ?N  'mighty  God'  occurs  x.  21. 
Elsewhere  also  "1133  is  adjective  to  ?X, 
as  e.g.  Deut.  x.  17  ;  Jer.  xxxii.  18." — 
'  Commentary  on  Isaiah,'  p.  73. 

G   2 


84  ATDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IT  I. 

they  found  providentially  prepared,  already  partially  known 
amongst  the  heathen,  and  at  that  time  regarded  with  reverence 
by  the  Jews.  They  understood  how  Divine  Truth  may  be 
apprehended  by  the  unlearned  in  a  translation,  and  hidden 
from  the  wise  and  prudent  with  all  their  knowledge  of  the 
original.*  With  regard  to  Hebrew  prophecy,  there  are  three 
things  equally  perceptible  in  the  original  and  in  the  versions, 
and  at  present  specially  requiring  attention.  These  are : — the 
supernatural  mission  of  the  Prophets,  their  power  to  predict 
future  events,  and  their  announcements  of  a  coming  Saviour. 

2.  A  prophet  is  a  man  specially  called  and  sent  by  God  to 
communicate  a  Divine  revelation.!  This  is  apparent  in  the  first 
place  from  the  names  given  to  those  Divine  messengers.  They 
are  called  Prophets,  seers,  men  of  God,  men  of  the  Spirit.  The 
Hebrew  word  for  prophet  (Nabi)  is,  according  to  its  etymology, 
supposed  by  some  to  signify  "an  inspired  person;"  by  others, 
with  more  probability,  "  An  utterer  or  announcer."  J  Its  mean 
ing,  and  that  of  the  English  word  prophet,  as  used  in  the  Old 
Testament,  are  fully  explained  by  a  comparison  of  two  passages 
in  the  book  of  Exodus :  the  first  vii.  1,  "  See  I  have  made  thee 
a  God  to  Pharaoh,  and  Aaron  thy  brother  shall  be  thy  prophet." 
The  second,  iv.  If),  "  And  he  shall  speak  for  thee  (A.  V.  be  thy 
spokesman),  and  thou,  thou  shalt  be  to  him  for  a  God."  \Vhat 
is  propJiet  in  the  first  is  mouth  in  the  second.  Moses  was  to  be 
as  God  to  Aaron,  Aaron  as  prophet  or  mouth  or  spokesman  to 
Moses ;  Moses  to  communicate  to  Aaron,  and  Aaron  to  declare  the 
message  to  Pharaoh  and  the  people.  According  to  this,  prophet 
means  a  declarer  or  interpreter  of  the  Divine  will.  He  is 
one  who  does  not  speak  of  himself  (aft  eavrov),  the  workings  of 
his  own  mind,  but  declares  the  mind  and  will  of  God,  and 
speaks  what  he  receives  from  without.§ 


*  Matt.  xi.  25.  i       J  Carpzov,   '  Introd.   ad    Lib.   Bihl. 

t  Et  hue    fork:  respexerunt  Patres    !    V.  T.,'  Part  iii.,  p.  it.      See  Gesenius, 


eeclesia>  cum  Prophetaa  ®to\6yovs,  re- 
rum  dii-inaruni  consul  tas  dixere.  Ita 
Pseudo-Dionysius,  cap.  8,  <le  Coel.  Hie- 
rarchia,  p.  !)5.  TOIV  &eo\6yuv  fls,  & 

"iax^pias,  &c in   quern    locum 

ita  commcntatur  Pachyincres,  p.  104. 
rovs  iepous  irpo^-firay  Oto\6yous  </>T)<ric, 


1  Thesaurus ;'  Winer's  edition  of  '  Simo- 
nis  Lexicon  ;'  Knobel's  '  Prophetismus,' 
i.  103;  Bleek,  'Einleitung  in  das  alte 
Testament,'  p.  412;  Tholuck,  'Die 
Propheteu  uiul  ihre  Weissagungen,'  p. 


24. 


Heidegger  says,  "  J02J  proprie  e.st 


\6yovs  @(ov  T]fuf  ( £ayyt \\ovTas.  I  omiiis  verborum  alienoriim,  ex  alieno, 
C;irpzov,  'Introd.  ad  Lib.  Mibl.  V.  T.,'  |  non  proprio  nutu  et  voluntate  pronun- 
Part  iii.  p.  4.  i  ciator,  orator,  (]ui,  ut  li.  D,  Kiuichi  lo- 


ESSAY  III.] 


PROPHECY. 


85 


3.  The  title  "  Seer "  *  refers  rather  to  the  mode  of  receiving 
the  Divine  communication  than  to  its  utterance  to  others.     It 
is  derived  from  Numb.  xii.  G,  "  If  there  be  a  prophet  among 
you,  I  the  LORD  will  make  myself  known  to  him  in  a  vision 
(sight,  !"TR"l<3)."    The  Seer  is  therefore  one  who  receives  a  Divine 
communication  in  a  vision.     His  vision  is  not  the  offspring  of 
his  own  mind,  but  the  LORD  makes  liimself  known  (JTIIAl)  to 
the  prophet.     It  is  something  received  from  without.     "  Her 
prophets  also  find  no  vision  from  the  LORD  (miTD)"  (Lam.  ii.  9). 
But  the  word  "  vision "  does  not  necessarily  imply  ecstasy  or 
symbolic  representation.     It  is  often  equivalent  to  "  The  word 
of  the  LORD,"  as,  in  1  Sam.  iii.  I,  "  The  word  of  the  LORD  was 
precious  in  those  days ;  there  was  no  open  vision  (pTH)."    Samuel 
was  a  Seer,  but  "  the  LORD  revealed  himself  to  Samuel  by  the 
word  of  the  LORD"  (1  Sam.  iii.  21).     So  the  first  chapter  of 
Isaiah,  which  is  destitute  of  all   symbolic   imagery,    is  called 
"  The  vision  (PTH)  of  Isaiah ;"  whilst  the  second  chapter  has  as 
its  title,  "  The  word  that  Isaiah,  the  son  of  Amos,  saw  (nin)."-f 

4.  The  designation,   "man  of  God,"  also  implies  intimacy, 
communion  with  God,  or  commission  from  Him,  as  the  similar 
phrases,  "  men  of  David,"  "  men  of  Hezekiah,"  meant  those  who 
were  in  attendance  on  those  monarchs,  whom  they  employed ; 
and,  in  this  sense,  the  prophets  are  called  "  the  servants  of 
Jehovah,"  and  "  the  messengers  of  God  "  (2  Chrou.  xxxvi.  10). 

5.  The  phrase  "  man  of  the  Spirit,  HI"!,"  (Hos.  ix.  7)  explains  the 
agency  by  which  the  communication  came,  namely,  by  the  Spirit 
of  God  ;  as  St.  Peter  says,  "  Prophecy  came  not  at  any  time  by 
the  will  of  man,  but  holy  men  of  God  spake,  being  borne  away 
(fcpopevot)  by  the  Holy  Ghost "  (2  Pet.  i.  21).     The  Old  Tes 
tament  also   makes  this  impetus   of  the   Spirit  the   essence 
of  prophecy.     In  Numb.  xi.  is  related  the  appointment  of  the 
seventy  elders  to  assist  Moses.     The  Lord  says,  "  I  will  take  of 
the  Spirit  which  is  upon  thee,  and  will  put  it  upon  them  ;"  and, 


quitur,  Echo  ad  instar,  nihil  profert 
uut  profatur,  nisi  quod  prius  acccpit." 
'Kxerc.  Bibl.'  viii.  §  27.  Augustine, 
"  Nihil  aliud  ease  Prophetam  Dei,  nisi 
enunciatorem  verborum  Dei  homini- 
DUS."  Carpzov,  ibid.,  p.  8.  Comp.  Spi 
noza,  '  Tractat.  Theolog.  Polit.'  c.  1,  who 
is,  with  regard  to  prophecy,  more  candid 
than  tin 


*  For  this  there  are  two  Hebrew 
words  used,  but  which  are  equivalent 
in  sense.  They  are  both  found  in  Isai. 
xxx.  10,  "which  say  to  the  Seers  (DW*) 
see  not,  and  to  the  prophets  (lit.  Seers, 
D^Tin)  prophesy  not  (see  not  junto  us." 

t  Go-up.  Ps.  Ixxxix.  '20  ;  Ainos  i,  1 ; 
Obad.  i.  1  ;  Hab.  ii.  2,  3  ;  Nfthum,  i.  1. 


8G  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

accordingly,  in  the  25th  verse,  it  is  said,  "  The  Lord  came  down 
in  a  cloud,  and  spake  unto  him,  and  took  of  the  Spirit  that  was 
upon  him,  and  gave  it  to  the  seventy  elders ;  and  it  came  to 
pass  that  when  the  Spirit  rested  upon  them,  they  prophesied 
and  did  not  cease."  In  like  manner,  with  regard  to  Eldad  and 
Medad,  "  The  Spirit  (rmn)  rested  upon  them  . . .  and  they  pro 
phesied  in  the  camp."  That  which  caused  these  two  men,  as 
well  as  the  seventy  elders,  to  prophesy,  was  the  resting  of  the 
Spirit  upon  them,  and,  therefore,  Moses  makes  this  resting  of 
the  Spirit  equivalent  to  the  gift  of  prophecy.  "  Would  God 
that  all  the  LOKD'S  people  were  prophets,  and  that  the  LORD 
would  put  his  Spirit  upon  them."  *  From  this  passage  alone  we 
learn,  1st,  That  it  is  the  resting  of  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  upon 
a  man  that  makes  that  man  a  prophet.  It  was  not  the  spirit 
of  Moses,  but  the  Spirit  that  was  upon  Moses,  that  was  given  to 
the  seventy  elders,  that  which  Moses  himself  calls  "  the  Spirit 
of  the  Lord."  We  learn,  in  the  next  place,  that  it  is  the 
Lord  who  gives  the  Spirit.  Moses  was  not  able  to  confer  it, 
and  it  was  given  altogether  independently  of  3Ioses  to  the 
two  men,  not  present  at  the  tabernacle.  The  persons  upon 
whom  it  was  conferred,  did  not  choose  themselves,  and  did 
not  take  the  gift  by  their  own  will.  Similar  instruction  is 
derived  from  the  history  of  Saul.  Samuel  (1  Sam.  x.  6)  said 
to  him,  "  The  Spirit  of  the  LORD  will  come  upon  thee,  and 
thou  shalt  prophesy  with  them  ....  and  when  they  came  thither 
to  the  hill,  behold  a  company  of  prophets  met  him,  and  the 
Spirit  of  God  came  upon  him,  and  he  prophesied  among  them." 
It  does  not  appear  that  he  had  any  previous  qualifications,  or 
preparations,  or  training,  as  required  by  Maimonides  ;  nor  yet 
his  servants  (1  Sam.  xix.  20),  of  whom  it  is  said,  "  The  Spirit 
of  God  was  upon  the  messengers  of  Saul,  and  they  also  pro 
phesied."  And  so,  when  he  came  himself  on  that  occasion, 
certainly  in  no  pious  frame  of  mind,  the  Spirit  came  on  him  also, 
and  he,  like  his  messengers,  prophesied  involuntarily.  They  were 
fapo/ievoi,  borne  away  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  just  as  the  wicked 
Balaam  prophesied  when  "  the  Spirit  of  God  came  upon  him," 
and  Caiaphas  unwittingly  uttered  a  Divine  oracle  concerning  the 
vicarious  death  of  the  Lord.  "  And  this  spake  he  not  of 

*  Compare-  Joel  ii.  2S.     In  tin.-  Hel>.  Text,  iii.  1. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  87 

himself,  a<p    eavrov,  but  being  High  Priest  that  year,  he  pro 
phesied"  (Johnxi.  51).* 

6.  This  view  is  confirmed  by  the  Scripture  contrast  of  the 
false  prophet.  He  is  described  as  one  who  is  not  sent  by 
the  Lord,  and  who  has  not  the  Spirit  of  God,  but  speaks  out 
of  his  own  heart  his  own  imaginations.  "  They  speak  a 
vision  of  their  own  heart,  and  not  out  of  the  mouth  of  the 
Lord — I  sent  them  not,  nor  commanded  them."  f  "  They  pro 
phesy  out  of  their  own  hearts — they  follow  their  own  spirit, 
and  have  seen  nothing.  They  have  seen  vanity  (8W)  and 
lying  divination,  saying,  The  Lord  saith ;  and  the  Lord  hath 
not  sent  them :  and  they  have  made  others  to  hope  that  they 
would  confirm  (fulfil,  D*j3;>)  the  word."  J  And  therefore,  even 
the  Great  Prophet  of  the  Church  dwells  frequently  upon  the 
fact  that  He  is  sent,  and  that  His  doctrine  is  not  His  own. 
"  My  doctrine  is  not  mine,  but  His  that  sent  me.  If  any  man 
will  do  His  will,  he  shall  know  of  the  doctrine,  whether  it  be 
from  God,  etc  rov  Seov,  or  whether  I  speak  of  myself,  air  e/jMvrov. 
He  that  speaketh  of  himself,  dfi  eavrov,  seeketh  his  own  glory."  § 
As,  therefore,  a  true  prophet  is  one  who  is  sent  by  God,  who 
runs  not  of  himself,  upon  whom  the  Spirit  of  God  rests,  who 
speaks  the  word  of  God  and  not  his  own;  and  as  there 
were  pretenders,  whom  God  did  not  send,  whose  words  were  not 
inspired  by  His  Spirit,  a  test,  whereby  one  could  be  distinguished 
from  the  other,  was  necessary  both  for  the  satisfaction  of  the 
prophet  himself,  and  for  the  protection  of  the  people  from 
imposture.  To  have  been  trained  in  the  schools  of  the  prophets 
(for  a  time  there  were  such  schools  ||)  was  not  enough  to  con 
stitute  a  man  a  prophet.  The  prophetic  commission  could  not 
be  given  by  the  schoolmaster,  nor  could  the  doctrines  of  men, 
or  their  instruction,  communicate  a  Divine  message,  so  as  to 


*  Comp.  2  Sam.  xxiii.  2;  1  Kings,  |    circumstantial  information  is  found  in 

xxii.  24  ;  2  Chron.  xxiv.  20;  Isai.  Ixi.  1 ;  |    the   Old   Testament.     Schools  of  the 

Jer.  i.  9 ;    Ezek.  xi.   5 ;   Joel   ii.  2'J  ;  !    prophets  are   mentioned  oidy  in   the 

(Hob.  iii.  2) ;  Mic.  iii.  8,  &c.  &c.  |    histories  of  the  prophets  Samuel,  Eli- 

t  Jer.  xxiii.  16,  21,  32,  and  xiv.  14,  |   jali,  and  Elisha,  that  is  from  1100-900, 

&c.  i    which   period  must   therefore  be  re- 

J  Ezek.  xiii.  2-9.  garded  as  the  time  of  their  existence." 

§  John  vii.  16-18  ;  comp.  Isai.  Ixi.  Knobel,  Prophetiamus,  ii.  39,  50.    What 

||  "Concerning  the  origin,  arrange-  |    imaginative    historians    have    written 

riieuts,  and  duration   of  the  so-called  on   this  subject  is,  therefore,  of  little 

schools  of  the  prophets,  no  detailed  or  value. 


88  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

make  the  speaker's  word  the  word  of  the  Lord.  Neither 
Deborah  nor  Huldah  had  thus  received  the  prophetic  call. 
Indeed  it  does  not  appear  that  any  of  the  great  prophets  had 
been  trained  in  those  schools.  Nothing  less  than  an  outward, 
clear,  unmistakable  call  of  God  could  satisfy  the  mind  and 
conscience  of  the  prophet  himself.  Neither  inward  persuasion, 
nor  dream,  nor  ecstasy,  was  in  itself  sufficient.  Moses  was 
awake  and  in  full  possession  of  all  his  faculties  when  he  saw 
a  bush  burning  but  not  consumed,  and  heard  the  voice  of  the 
God  of  Abraham  and  Isaac  and  Jacob.  Samuel  thought  that 
Eli  called,  and  went  twice  to  the  aged  priest,  before  he  knew 
that  it  was  the  Lord's  voice  ;  and  was,  therefore,  fully  roused 
from  slumber  before  he  received  the  Divine  message.  Isaiah's 
eyes  were  opened  to  see  the  Lord  on  his  throne,  and  his  ears 
to  hear  the  words  "  Whom  shall  I  send,  and  who  will  go  for  us  ?" 
Jeremiah  objected  his  youth,  and  did  not  accept  the  commission 
until  the  Lord  put  forth  his  hand  and  touched  his  mouth. 
Ezekiel  felt  that  "  the  hand  of  the  Lord  was  upon  him."  Amos 
was  a  herdsman,  and  a  gatherer  of  sycomore  fruit,  and  the  Lord 
took  him  "  as  he  followed  the  flock,"  and  said,  "  Go,  prophesy 
unto  my  people  Israel."  There  was  a  supernatural  call.  A  spe 
cific  .message  also  was  delivered,  and  therefore  the  prophet  was 
able  to  say,  "  Hear  ye  the  word  of  the  Lord,"  "  Thus  saith  the 
Lord."  Even  after  this  external  and  supernatural  call,  every  time 
the  prophet  uttered  a  new  oracle,  it  was  the  result  of  a  new  com 
munication,  and  a  special  command.  He  was  still  unable  to 
prophesy  at  will.  He  might  inquire  of  the  Lord  and  ask  counsel, 
as  Moses  did  in  the  case  of  the  Sabbath-breaker,  or  of  Zelophehad's 
daughters,  but  had  no  permanent  habilitation  to  declare  the  will 
of  God.  Without  this  supernatural  call,  and  without  this  specific 
message,  no  one  can,  according  to  Scripture  idiom,  without  great 
confusion  of  mind,  or  wilful  and  dishonest  abuse  of  language,  be 
said  to  possess  anything  like  prophetic  inspiration.  The  Apostles 
of  the  New  Testament,  called  directly  by  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ, 
moved  by  His  Holy  Spirit,  and  entrusted  with  a  specific  message, 
were  and  may  be  called  prophets  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word, 
for  they  were  able  to  affirm  that  the  Gospel  proclaimed  of  them 
was  "  not  of  man,  but  by  revelation  of  Jesus  Christ ;"  and  they 
communicated  it  "  not  in  words,  which  man's  wisdom  teach eth, 
but  which  the  Holy  Ghost  teacheth."  But  to  speak  of  Poets 


ESSAY  III.] 


PROPHECY. 


89 


ancient  or  modern,  or  Philosophers,  or  Lawgivers,  as  being  in 
spired,  like  Moses  or  Isaiah,  is  simply  to  confound  things  Divine 
and  human,  and  to  manifest  great  mistiness  of  apprehension,  or 
daring  profanity  of  spirit.  It  is  just  as  contrary  to  Scriptural 
statement,*  and  as  revolting  to  Christian  reverence,  as  to  identify 
the  prophetic  character  and  calling  with  that  of  the  demagogues  of 
Greece. t  Poets  and  Philosophers  exercise  the  high  natural  gifts 
bestowed  by  God,  according  to  the  movings  of  their  will  or  the  im 
pulse  of  their  genius ;  apply,  and  sometimes  abuse  them,  according 
to  the  state  of  their  hearts ;  but  do  not  pretend  to  any  external  call 
from  God,  nor  claim  for  their  words  the  reverence  due  to  the  word 
of  Jie  Almighty.  The  Hebrew  prophets  announced  themselves 
as  God's  messengers,  claimed  obedience  and  reverence  for  their 
message  as  the  word  of  God,  and  therefore  carried  with  them 
credentials  for  the  satisfaction  of  the  people.  These  credentials 
were,  according  to  the  Hebrew  Scriptures,  miracle  and  prediction.^ 
To  accredit  Moses  as  His  messenger  to  the  children  of  Israel,  He 
empowered  him  to  make  three  superhuman  manifestations  of 
power,  saying  "  If  they  will  not  believe  thee,  neither  hearken  to 
the  voice  of  the  first  sign,  that  they  will  believe  the  voice  of  the 
latter  sign."  And  therefore  the  prophet  like  unto  Moses,  also 
appealed  to  His  works  as  greater  testimony  than  that  of  John  the 
Baptist,§  and  says,  "  If  I  had  not  done  among  them  the  works 
which  none  other  man  did,  they  had  not  had  sin,  but  now  have 
they  both  seen  and  hated  both  me  and  my  Father."  The  Law 
of  Moses  also  provided  another  criterion  of  a  true  or  false  prophet, 
in  the  fulfilment  or  non-fulfilment  of  his  word,  "When  a  prophet 
speaketh  in  the  name  of  the  Lord,  if  the  thing  follow  not,  nor 


*  "  At  quamvis  scieiitia  naturalis  di- 
viua  sit,  ejus  tauten  propagatores  nou 
possunt  vocari  prophetse." — Spinoza, 
Tractat.  Theolog.  Polit.  Opera,  torn.  iii. 
p.  16. 

t  Leo  'Vorlesungen,'  159,168;  Ber 
lin,  1828  ;  Salvador,  as  above,  p.  197. 

J  This  is  admitted  even  by  D.  F. 
Strauss  :  "  To  accredit  his  Divine  mis 
sion  to  the  people,  God  enabled  Moses 
to  perform  certain  acts  beyond  ordi 
nary  human  power ;  and  Moses  refers 
to  this  to  prove  that  he  did  not  come 

of  himself,  but  was  sent  by  God 

Hand  in  hand  with  miracle,  prediction 
appears  in  Biblical  history  us  a,  creden 
tial  of  Revelation.  Thus  in  the  Old 


Testament  God  gives  Moses  a  predic 
tion,  the  fulfilment  of  which  should 
certify  his  Divine  mission  (Exod.  iii. 
12).  ...  In  the  case  of  the  prophets  the 
occurrence  of  wonderful  events  which 
they  had  predicted  is  the  proof  of  their 
Divine  commission  (1  Kings  xvii.  1, 
xviii.  41,  &c.).  The  prophets  also,  not 
rarely,  foretel  the  occurrence  of  some 
event,  soon  to  happen,  that  its  occur 
rence  may  be  a  sign,  tlmt  what  they 
have  predicted  concerning  the  distant 
future  is  from  God  (1  Sam.  ii.  34,  x. 
7,  and  1  Kings  xiii.  3,  2  Kings  xix.  29  ; 
Isai.  vii.  2  ;  Jer.  xliv.  29)."— Glaubens- 
lehre,  vol.  i.  p.  86-89. 

§  John  xv.  24  ;  comp.  Matt.  xi.  1-5. 


90  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

come  to  pass,  that  is  the  thing  which  the  Lord  hath  not  spoken." 
(Dent,  xviii.  22.)  To  this  Jeremiah  alludes  when  he  says,  "  The 
prophet  which  prophesieth  of  peace,  when  the  word  of  the  pro 
phet  shall  come  to  pass,  then  shall  the  prophet  be  known,  that 
the  Lord  hath  truly  sent  him  "  (Jer.  xxviii.  9). 

7.  To  declare  the  will  of  God,  and  deliver  His  message, 
whether  it  regarded  the  past,  the  present,  or  the  future,  was  the 
prophet's  great  duty.  And  therefore,  when  the  Jewish  lawgiver 
was  communicating  moral  or  ceremonial  precepts,  received  from 
God,  and  when  the  Messiah,  in  his  Sermon  on  the  Mount,  was 
explaining  the  spirituality  of  the  Law,  they  were,  in  the  strict 
sense  of  the  word,  prophesying  just  as  much  as  when  Moses 
predicted  the  destinies  of  Israel,  and  the  Lord  foretold  the 
destruction  and  treading  down  of  Jerusalem.  To  have  received 
a  call  and  message  direct  from  God,  and  to  deliver  it,  constituted 
the  essence  of  prophetism.  But  if  we  are  to  form  our  idea 
from  the  Scriptures,  we  must  admit  that  the  Hebrew  people 
believed  that  the  prophets  were  endowed  with,  or  could  attain  to, 
superhuman  knowledge,  for  the  benefit  and  advantage  of  God's 
people.  This  belief  was  rooted  in  their  conception  of  the 
Divine  character.  Whether  we  take  the  Hebrew  Scriptures  as 
inspired  or  not,  it  is  an  incontrovertible  fact  that  the  funda 
mental  idea  of  the  Hebrew  religion  is  that  Jehovah  is  a  God 
who  reveals  Himself  to  His  creatures;  that  He  has  not  left 
the  human  race  to  grope  their  way  to  the  regions  of  religion  or 
morality  as  they  best  can,  but  that  from  the  beginning  He  has 
taken  His  children  by  the  hand,  cared  for  their  welfare,  made 
known  to  them  His  will,  and  marked  out  for  them  the  way  to 
happiness.  This  idea  runs  through  all  the  books  of  the  Old 
Testament, — Law,  History,  I'salms,  Prophecy, — and  is  taken  up 
in  the  New  Testament,  where  is  the  fullest  revelation  of  the  love 
of  our  Heavenly  Father  to  man.  But  the  Hebrew  believed  not 
only  in  God  as  one  who  reveals  Himself  for  the  benefit  of  the 
race,  but  as  the  loving  and  watchful  Father,  who  superintended 
all  the  everyday  concerns  of  each  individual,  and  who,  though 
He  dwelt  in  the  high  and  holy  place,  yet  had  regard  to  the 
lowly,  and  considered  nothing  too  small  or  insignificant  for  His 
care.  This  is  evident  in  the  prayer  of  Abraham's  servant  to  be 
guided  to  Kebekah,  in  the  increase  of  Jacob's  cattle,  in  Leah's 
fruitfulness,  in  the  answer  to  Hannah's  prayer,  not  to  mention 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  91 

many  similar  and  well-known  traits  in  the  lives  of  God's  ancient 
saints.  As,  therefore,  the  Hebrew  people,  high  and  low,  re 
garded  the  prophet  as  a  messenger  from  God,  enlightened  and 
instructed  by  the  Holy  Spirit,  they  ascribed  to  him  a  super 
natural  knowledge  and  the  power  to  give  information  not 
attainable  by  human  reasoning  or  sagacity — in  fact  the  same 
power  possessed  by  the  High  Priest  of  procuring  from  God  a 
miraculous  response  by  means  of  the  Urim  and  Thummim :  and 
as  they  believed  in  God  as  their  Father,  they  trusted  that  He 
was  interested  in  all  their  troubles  and  anxieties,  and  would 
not  consider  their  temporal  concerns  too  insignificant  for  His 
gracious  consideration.  Hence  it  is  recorded  that  Rebekah 
went  to  inquire  of  the  Lord  respecting  the  subject  of  her 
anxiety.  David  inquired  of  the  Lord,  by  means  of  the  ephod, 
whether  he  should  smite  the  Philistines  and  save  Keilah ;  and 
again,  whether  the  men  of  Keilah  would  deliver  him  into  the 
hands  of  Saul ;  and  received  answers  from  the  Lord.  So  Saul's 
servant  thought  they  might  go  to  Samuel  and  inquire  concern 
ing  the  lost  asses.  In  like  manner  King  Jehoshaphat  wished 
to  inquire  of  the  Lord,  by  means  of  a  prophet,  before  he 
ventured  into  the  battle  against  the  Assyrians.  And  again, 
when  he  and  Jehoram  were  in  difficulties  from  want  of  water,  he 
asked,  "  Is  there  not  a  prophet  of  the  Lord  here  that  we  may 
inquire  of  the  Lord  by  him  ?"  Even  ungodly  men  like  Zede- 
kiah  (Jer.  xxi.  2,  and  xxxvii.  17),  and  the  elders  of  Israel 
(Ezek.  xiv.  1 — 7),  or  heathens  like  King  Benhadad  (2  Kings, 
viii.  7,  8,  &c.),  believed  in  this  power,  and  were  glad,  when 
occasion  required,  to  avail  themselves  of  it.  And  there  is  not 
only  no  intimation  that  they  erred  in  making  such  inquiries, 
but  Joshua  and  the  men  of  Israel  are  represented  as  having 
done  wrong  because  they  made  peace  with  the  Gibeonites,  and 
"  asked  not  counsel  at  the  mouth  of  the  Lord  "  (Josh.  ix.  14). 
And  when  Ahaziah  sent  to  Ekron  to  inquire  of  Baal-zebub, 
"  the  angel  of  the  Lord  said  to  Elijah  the  Tishbite,  Arise,  go  up 
to  meet  the  messengers  of  the  King  of  Samaria,  and  say  unto 
them,  Is  it  not  because  there  is  not  a  God  in  Israel  that  ye  go 
to  inquire  of  Baal-zebub,  the  god  of  Ekron?"  Indeed,  some 
Christian  commentators  of  great  name,  as  well  as  some  of  the 
Rabbis,  think  that  in  the  Law  God  has  made  special  provision 
for  this  sort  of  inquiry  when  He  forbids  Israel  to  be  diviners  or 


92 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  III. 


consulters  with  familiar  spirits,  and  promises  them  a  prophet 
like  Moses  to  reveal  His  will  (Deut.  xviii.  10 — 19).  It  is  certain 
that  Isaiah  insists  on  the  duty  of  inquiring  of  the  Lord  when 
lie  says,  "  And  when  they  shall  say  unto  you,  Inquire  of  the 
familiar  spirits,  and  of  wizards  who  peep  and  mutter :  Should 
not  a  people  inquire  of  their  God?  For  the  living,  should  they 
inquire  of  the  dead?"  (viii.  19.)* 

In  some  of  the  cases  just  mentioned  inquiry  is  made  respecting 
the  future,  and  it  is  evident  that  David  and  Jehoshaphat,  as 
well  as  Zedekiah,  believed  that  through  the  priest  or  the  prophet 
they  could  receive  from  God,  respecting  contingencies,  answers 
which  the  Divine  prescience  could  alone  supply ;  that  is,  that 
through  the  Divine  help  the  priest  or  the  prophet  could  predict 
future  events.  This  faith  rested  upon  the  doctrine  of  God  as 
taught  in  the  Law,  and  exemplified  in  the  whole  of  their  previous 
history.  Before  there  were  prophets  God  Himself  predicted  the 
future.  The  announcement  of  the  flood  to  Noah  and  the  limita 
tion  of  the  day  of  grace  to  120  years  f  are  predictions.  Noah 
knew  the  future  of  the  human  race,  and  by  the  Divine  instruction 
was  enabled  to  provide  against  the  coming  calamity.  The 
declaration,  at  a  time  when  Abraham  was  childless,  that  his 
posterity  should  be  afflicted  in  a  strange  land  for  400  years,  but 
that  their  enemies  should  be  punished  and  they  come  forth  with 
great  wealth,  was  clearly  a  prediction.  Jacob  is  represented 
as  having  on  his  death-bed  predicted  what  should  befal  his 
posterity  "  in  futurity  of  days  "  (D^D^il  JT"intfH).  Joseph's  inter 
pretation  of  Pharaoh's  dreams  was  a  prediction  of  the  seven 
years  of  plenty  and  of  famine,  and  came  from  God  as  well  as 
the  dreams.  "What  God  is  about  to  do  he  showeth  unto 
Pharaoh  "  (Gen.  xl.  28).  It  is  recorded  of  most  of  the  prophets 
mentioned  in  the  historic  books  that  they  uttered  predictions. 
Deborah  foretold  the  fate  of  Sisera.  The  man  of  God  an- 


*  Lowth,  and  after  him,  Knobel, 
translate  the  last  clause,  "  Instead  of 
the  living  [Gud]  should  they  inquire 
of  the  dead  [idols  ?],"  but  contrary  to 
the  parallelism.  The  prophet  is  re 
monstrating  against  the  practice  of 
inquiring  of  the  spirits  of  departed  men. 
DIN  is  the  spirit  of  a  dead  man,  and 
therefore  D^riQ  must  refer  to  some 
thing  similar. 


f  The  words  "  Yet  his  days  shall  be 
120  years  '  do  not  refer  to  a  diminution 
of  the  long  life  of  the  antediluvians, 
nor  to  the  subsequent  measure  of 
human  life,  but  to  the  length  of  the 
day  of  grace  given  them  to  repent. 
Such  is  the  interpretation  of  the  Tar- 
gums,  Luther,  Calvin,  and  many  of  tlia 
best  modern  commentators.  See  De- 
litseh  on  Genesis,  p.  237,  8. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  93 

nounced  to  Eli  the  judgments  coming  upon  his  family,  and  the 
death  of  his  sons  in  one  day.  Samuel  confirmed  this  prediction 
and  declared  its  certain  fulfilment,  and  it  is  remarked  "  that  the 
Lord  let  none  of  his  words  fall  to  the  ground.  And  all  Israel, 
from  Dan  to  Beersheba,  knew  that  Samuel  was  accredited  (or 
verified  pM)  for  a  prophet  to  the  Lord."  Micaiah  foretells  the 
defeat  of  the  allied  armies  of  Judah  and  Israel,  and  rests  his 
prophetic  pretensions  upon  the  fulfilment  of  what  he  had 
announced.  "  If  thou  return  at  all  in  peace,  the  Lord  hath 
not  spoken  by  me.  And  he  said,  Hearken,  O  people,  every  one 
of  you."  Elijah  predicted  that  there  should  be  no  rain  but 
according  to  his  word,  the  death  of  Jezebel,  the  extermination  of 
Ahab's  posterity.  Elisha  foretold  the  overthrow  of  the  Moabites, 
the  three  defeats  of  the  Syrians.  All  these  tilings,  as  well  as  the 
birth  of  Josiah,  and  the  continuance  of  Jehu's  posterity  on  the 
throne  of  Israel  to  the  fourth  generation,  are  related  as  predic 
tions,  in  the  ordinary  sense  of  the  word, — as  supernatural  com 
munications  from  the  Lord,  and  the  fulfilment  specially  noticed. 
It  may  indeed  be  said,  and  has  been  said,  that  these  predictions 
and  the  narratives  connected  with  them  are  mythical  narrations, 
written  after  the  events  when  the  historic  substrata  had  had 
time  to  be  transmuted  into  the  supernatural.  But  that,  it'  true, 
would  not  alter  the  fact  that  the  Hebrews  believed  in  the  power 
of  the  prophets  to  predict  events  by  supernatural  aid  from  on 
high  ;  that  this  belief  is  inseparably  connected  with  their  ideas  of 
the  Divine  Being,  and  everywhere  visible  in  the  historical  books 
from  Genesis  to  Nehemiah ;  in  fact  that  the  power  of  predicting 
future  events  is  one  of  the  essential  features  in  the  character  of 
a  prophet.  And  as  it  is  incontrovertibly  a  part  of  the  popular 
belief,  so  it  is  the  doctrine  of  the  prophets  themselves,  as  re 
corded  in  their  writings.  It  is  hardly  possible  to  open  a  page  of 
any  book  of  the  prophets  on  which  there  is  not  a  prediction. 
"  By  far  the  greatest  portion  of  the  prophetic  discourses  consists 
in  delineations  of  the  future,  or  predictions  referring  partly  to 
the  Jehovah  people,  and  therefore  to  the  kingdoms  of  Israel  and 
Judah,  partly  to  foreign  nations  who  came  in  contact  with  the 
Hebrews,  ....  partly  to  individuals  of  the  former,  seldom  of  the 
latter."*  Amos  lays  it  down  as  an  axiom  that  the  Lord  reveals 


*  Knobel's  '  Prophetismub,'  i.  293. 


94  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

to  the  prophets  his  purposes  before  they  are  realized.  "  Surely 
the  Lord  God  will  do  nothing,  but  he  revealeth  his  secret  (THi?) 
to  his  servants  the  prophets."  (Amos  iii.  7.)  Upon  which, 
Hitzig  says :  "  The  prophet  predicts  the  coming  evil,  which  is 
always  an  ordinance  of  Jehovah ;  for  Jehovah  makes  him  ac 
quainted  beforehand  with  that  which  He  has  decreed."  Isaiah 
makes  the  prediction  of  future  events  a  distinguishing  charac 
teristic  and  prerogative  of  Deity,  and  therefore  a  proof  that  the 
God  of  Israel  is  the  true  and  living  God.  "  Remember  the  former 
things  of  old :  for  I  am  God  and  there  is  none  else :  I  am  God, 
and  there  is  none  like  me.  Declaring  futurity  (JTinN)  from 
former  time,  and  from  ancient  times  the  things  that  are  not  yet 
done  "  (xlvi.  9, 10)  ;  upon  which  words  Knobel  thus  comments : — 
"  The  better  view  consists  in  the  knowledge  that  Jehovah,  and 
none  besides,  is  God,  that  He  is  God  and  nothing  like  Him.  To 
this  view  they  can  easily  come  by  remembering  the  former 
things,  that  is,  the  prophecies  formerly  given,  which  are  now 
being  fulfilled  (xlii.  9).  These  prove  Jehovah's  foreknowledge, 
and  thereby  His  Godhead."  In  like  manner  Isaiah  makes  the 
want  of  predictions  amongst  idolaters  a  proof  that  their  gods  are 
no  gods.  "  Produce  your  cause,  bring  forth  your  strong  reasons, 
saith  the  King  of  Jacob.  Let  them  bring  them  forth,  and  show 
us  what  shall  happen  :  Let  them  show  the  former  things  what 
they  be,  that  we  may  consider  them  and  know  the  latter  end  of 
them  ;  or  declare  for  us  things  for  to  come.  Show  the  things 
that  are  to  come  hereafter,  that  we  may  know  that  ye  are  gods  " 
(xli.  21 — 23) ;  where  Gesenius  says,  "  A  new  challenge  to  the  idols 
as  in  verse  1,  &c.,  again  with  a  reference  to  Cyrus,  but  also 
with  a  reference  to  former  predictions  of  the  prophets,  such  as 
the  heathen  had  none  to  show."  Knobel's  words  are  still 
stronger:— "Let  them  bring  forth  their  proofs,  especially  that 
one  which  rests  upon  correct  prediction  of  the  future ;  for  the 
foreknowledge  of  the  future  is  the  peculiar  attribute  of  God,  and 
proves  Deity,  on  which  account  it  was  also  the  credential  of  the 
true  prophet.  Deut.  xviii.  21.  Jer.  xxviii.  9.  And,  on  the 
contrary,  the  idols  never  were  able,  nor  are  they  now,  to  announce 
the  future.  They  should  declare  the  things  to  come  hereafter, 
that  is,  what  should  afterward  happen,  and  Jehovah  will  see  and 
recognise  that  they  are  gods,  namely,  when  their  prediction  is 
accomplished.''  In  these  plnces;  and  many  m.ore,  it  is  taught 


ESSAY  III.] 


PROPHECY. 


95 


that  Jehovah  gives  predictions  to  His  servants  the  prophets,  and 
also  that  He  fulfils  them.  "  He  confirmeth  the  word  of  His 
servants,  and  performeth  the  counsel  of  His  messengers  "  (Isai. 
xliv.  26)  ;  that  by  so  doing  He  proves  not  only  that  the  prophets 
are  true  prophets,  but  that  He  Himself  is  the  true  God.  We 
have  in  fact  the  same  proof  of  the  truth  of  Divine  Kevelation 
that  has  been  urged  in  modern  times  from  fulfilled  prophecy, 
and  which  has  the  highest  possible  sanction  in  the  words  of  our 
Lord,  "  And  now  I  have  told  you  before  it  come  to  pass,  that 
when  it  is  come  to  pass  ye  might  believe."  (John  xiv.  29 :  coinp. 
xiii.  19.  and  xvi.  4.) 

8.  It  is  evident  that  the  Hebrew  people  believed  that  their 
prophets  could  predict  the  future.  The  prophets  themselves 
affirm  that  they  have  the  power  and  utter  predictions.  Were 
they  impostors,  or  did  they  deceive  themselves  ?  That  they 
were  impostors,  is  not  believed  by  those  Rationalists  who  have 
given  most  attention  to  this  subject,  as  Gesenius,  Ewald,  and 
Knobel,  and  is  disproved  by  their  doctrine  and  their  life. 
Concerning  God  they  teach  that  He  is  One,  the  Lord,  Creator 
of  the  heavens  and  the  earth,  Everlasting,  Almighty,  Omniscient, 
Free,  All  wise,  Holy,  a  righteous  Judge,  a  merciful  Saviour,  the 
Governor  of  the  world,  forgiving  iniquity  and  sin.*  Their 
notion  of  the  religion  acceptable  to  Him  is  also  equally  free 
from  fanaticism  and  formality.  They  denounce  those  who 
"  draw  near  to  God  with  their  lips,  but  remove  their  heart  far 
from  Him."  They  teach  that  to  reform  the  life  is  better  than 
external  demonstrations.  "To  what  purpose  is  the  multitude 
of  your  sacrifices  ?  .  .  Wash  you ;  make  you  clean ;  put  away 
the  evil  of  your  doings  from  before  mine  eyes ;  cease  to  do  evil, 
learn  to  do  well ;  seek  judgment,  relieve  the  oppressed ;  judge 
the  fatherless;  plead  for  the  widow"  (Isaiah  i.  11 — 17).  "I 
will  have  mercy,  not  sacrifice."  They  proclaim  that  honesty, 
mercy,  and  humility  are  the  weightiest  matters  of  the  Law. 
"  What  doth  the  Lord  require  of  thee,  but  to  do  justly,  and  to 
love  mercy,  and  to  walk  humbly  with  thy  God?"  (Mic.  vi.  8).  To 
preach  such  doctrine  was  their  business ;  and  boldly  to  reprove 


*  See  Isai.  xl.28,  xliv.  6  ;  Jer.  x.  10, 
xxiii.  23,  24  ;  Isai.  xiv.  24,  27  ;  Jer. 
xxxii.  19,  xvii.  10;  Hah.  i.  13;  Mai. 
ii.  10  ;  Isai.  Ixiv.  8  ;  Jer.  xi.  20  ;  Joel 


ii.  13;  Mic.  vii.  18  ;  Dan.  ii.  28  ;  Ezck. 
xxxi.  9  ;  Amos  iii.  6 ;  Ezek.  xviii.  4 ; 
Hos.  xiii.  14,  &c.  &c. 


96  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

all  who  lived  in  opposition  to  it,  whether  kings,  or  priests,  or 
people,  was  their  practice,  and  this  without  fee  or  reward,  for 
they  received  nothing  for  their  prophesying,  but  often  exposed 
themselves  to  persecution  and  death.  They  sought  not  wealth, 
or  honour,  or  favour,  or  ease.  They  were  temperate,  self- 
denying,  patient,  valiant  for  the  truth,  leaning  upon  God  as 
their  stay,  and  looking  to  God  alone  for  their  reward.  They 
were  neither  morose  ascetics,  nor  unlettered  fanatics.  Married 
and  living  amongst  the  people,  in  cottages  and  in  courts,  they 
discharged  the  ordinary  duties  of  citizens.  They  cultivated 
letters,  and  have  left  a  literature  unique  in  the  history  of  the 
world ;  if  judged  according  to  a  human  standard,  unsurpassed 
in  genius,  sublimity,  grandeur ;  but  in  purity  and  morality 
unequalled  by  any  nation  in  any  age.  This  prophetic  order 
beginning,  if  reckoned  from  Samuel,  nearly  400  years  before 
the  birth  of  Koine,  and  closing  when  the  bloom  of  Grecian 
genius  was  only  appearing,  is,  when  compared  with  the  state  of 
the  world  around  them,  a  phenomenon  as  wonderful  as  the 
power  of  prediction  which  they  claimed.  The  best  days  of 
Greece  and  Rome  can  furnish  no  heroes,  patriots,  or  moral 
teachers  to  compare  with  this  long  and  wonderful  succession  of 
holy,  disinterested,  bold  reprovers  of  vice  and  preachers  of 
virtue,  unambitious  examples  of  genuine  patriotism,  living  for 
the  glory  of  God,  and  the  good  of  man ;  whose  writings  are  so 
imbued  with  imperishable  and  universal  truth,  that  for  nearly 
twenty-four  centuries  after  the  death  of  the  last  of  the  goodly 
fellowship,  they  have  continued  and  still  continue  to  touch  the 
hearts,  and  influence  the  faith,  the  thoughts  and  lives  of  the 
wisest,  greatest,  and  most  excellent  of  the  human  race.  That 
such  men  could  be  deceivers,  or  that  imposture  could  have 
exercised  a  po\ver  so  enduring,  is  impossible.  That  they  could 
have  been  self-deceiving  enthusiasts  is  equally  incredible. 
Neither  their  doctrine,  nor  their  lives,  nor  their  writings  savour 
of  enthusiasm,  nor  can  they  be  accounted  for  as  mere  ebullitions 
of  genius.  Why  did  not  the  poetic  inspiration  and  colossal 
intellect  of  Greece  produce  similar  results?  Why  did  not 
Euripides  prophesy?  Why  did  Plato  never  rise  to  moral 
purity?  *  "  It  is  because  of  the  theocracy,"  say  modern  diviners. 


*  Of  all    the    great  writers  of  anti-        to  the  corruption  of  fallen  human  na- 
quity  Plato  is  the  most  striking  witness        hire,  and  the  propensity  of  the  grandest 


ESSAY  III.j 


PROPHECY. 


97 


Moses  founded  a  theocracy,  and  prophetism  was  the  necessary 
result.  But  this  is  only  to  remove  the  difficulty  one  step 
farther  back.  Why  did  not  the  Spartan,  or  Athenian,  or 
Locrian  lawgivers,  or  the  royal  disciple  of  Egeria  found  a 
theocracy  like  that  of  Moses  ?  Why  did  not  their  legislations 
bring  forth  prophets?  In  a  certain  sense  prophecy  did  arise 
out  of  the  original  relation  established  between  God  and  Israel. 
The  same  Divine  Being,  who  commanded  the  theocracy,  gave 
also  the  prophets,  inspired  them  with  their  doctrines,  revealed 
to  them  the  future,  and  enabled  them  to  utter  predictions,  far 
beyond  the  powers  of  human  foreboding,  sagacity  or  conjecture, 
which  by  their  fulfilment,  of  old  and  in  the  present  times, 
demonstrate  that  they  were  not  self-deceiving  enthusiasts,  but 
spake  as  they  were  moved  by  Him  who  knows  the  end  from 
the  beginning. 

9.  It  has  indeed  been  said  by  foreign  writers,  and  lately 
repeated  in  this  country,  that  the  predictions  arose  out  of  the  cir 
cumstances  of  the  days  in  which  the  prophets  lived,  and  do  not 
extend  beyond  the  horizon  of  their  times.  The  interpreter  "  can 
not  quote  Nahum  denouncing  ruin  against  Nineveh,  or  Jere 
miah  against  Tyre,  without  remembering  that  already  the 
Babylonian  power  threw  its  shadow  across  Asia,  and  Nebuchad 
nezzar  was  mustering  his  armies."  *  Some  foreign  critics, 
though  in  the  same  spirit,  take  a  different  view  of  the  occasion 
of  Nahum's  prophecy,  ascribing  it  to  an  attempt  by  the  Medes 
and  their  eastern  allies.  "  This  is  the  remarkable  expedition," 
says  Ewald,  speaking  of  the  Medes  and  their  oriental  con 
federates  under  Phraortes,  "  which  Nahum  saw  with  his  own 
eyes,  when,  predicting  the  approaching  end  of  Nineveh,  he  wrote 
his  still  extant  oracle ;  he  lived  in  Alqush,  somewhat  farther 
east  of  the  Tigris,  and  was  therefore  able,  in  that  place,  to  see 
the  whole  host  as  it  advanced  against  Nineveh."f  The  latter 
supposition,  that  Nahum  lived  near  Nineveh,  is  for  good  reasons 
rejected  by  Knobel,  who  affirms  that  he  lived  at  Elkosh  in 


intellect,  when  left  to  itself,  to  exten 
uate  the  foulest  and  most  odious  vice. 
In  nothing  does  the  superiority  of  He 
brew  ethics  shine  out  more  brightly. 
See  Wuttke,  '  Handbucli  dor  (Jhristli- 
chen  Sittenlehre,'  pp.  55-67.  At  the 
same  time  the  mercy  inculcated  in  the 


prophets  may  be  favourably  contrasted 
with  the  Greek  doctrine  concerning 
slaves,  incurables,  cripples,  exposure  of 
children,  abortion,  suicide,  &c. 

*  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  68. 

t  '  GescMchte  Israel's,' iii.  889.  See 
also  Knobel's  '  I'ropheti.smus,'  ii.  212. 

II 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


KSSAY  III. 


( lalilee,  and,  therefore,  did  not  see  the  Median  power  advancing 
against  the  Assyrian  capital.  With  regard  to  the  relative 
strength  of  the  Babylonian  and  Median  powers  in  comparison 
with  that  of  the  Assyrian  empire  at  that  time,  there  was  nothing 
to  lead  the  prophet  to  anticipate  that  either  the  one  or  the  other 
was  able  to  take  Nineveh,  or  overthrow  the  Assyrian  monarchy, 
but  the  contrary.  According  to  Knobel,  who,  in  the  eyes  of 
Rationalists,  is  an  unexceptionable  witness,  Nahum  wrote  this 
prophecy  between  the  years  713  and  711  B.C.  Nineveh  was  not 
overthrown  until  about  612.*  Just  about  the  time  when  Nahum 
wrote,  or,  according  to  others,  three  or  four  years  later,  f  the; 
Medes  under  Deioces  revolted  from  the  Assyrians,  and  set  up  an 
independent  monarchy.  Their  power  at  that  time  could  not 
have  been  very  formidable,  for  fifty  years  later,  when  the  Median 
empire  had  been  consolidated  by  the  long  and  wise  government 
of  Deioces,  it  was  still  unable  to  cope  with  the  Assyrians,  by 
whom  their  army  was  utterly  defeated,  their  king  slain,  and 
their  capital  taken.  The  effort  of  Phraortes  was  equally  unsuc 
cessful,  and  therefore  Hitzig  says,  "  The  attack  of  Phraortes  is 
not  a  sufficient  ground  [for  the  confident  tone  of  the  prophecy  |. 
The  Assyrians  destroyed  him  and  his  whole  host.  The  capital, 
which  Ewald  supposes  to  have  been  vigorously  besieged,  does 
not  appear  to  have  been  approached  by  any  danger  of  the  kind.":}: 
The  Babylonians  were  just  as  little  a  match  for  the  Assyrians, 
for,  some  fifty  years  before,  Esarhaddon  had  seized  Babylon, 
and  reunited  it  to  the  Assyrian  monarchy.§  When,  then,  Nahum 
wrote,  the  shadow  of  the  Babylonian  or  Median  power  was  not 
such  as  to  cause  much  alarm  for  the  existence  of  Nineveh. 
Notwithstanding  the  loss  of  an  army  of  185,000  men,  the  Assy 
rian  power  was  still  the  greatest  in  the  world ;  and  whilst  it  was 
still  the  greatest,  whilst  the  kingdom  of  Babylon  was  still  so 
inferior  as  to  be  unable  to  undertake  anything  against  it  by 
itself,  and  was  therefore  glad  to  seek  the  alliance  of  Hezekiah, 
one  hundred  years  before  the  event,  Nahum  predicted  the  siege 


*  According  to  Pridcaux  ;  but  accord 
ing  to  Usher/  (>26.  Weber  ('Weltge- 
so.hichte,'  i.  47)  places  tlic  total  destruc 
tion  of  Nineveh  in  606. 

t  According  to  Knobel,  the  Medes 
revolted  in  the  years  immediately  pre 
ceding  710,  and  made  Deioces  king, 
and  he  reigned  from  7JO  on.  Comp. 


M.  von  Nicbuhr,  '  GeKchichte  Assur'a 
und  Bibel's,'  pp.  177,  J78. 

J  Hitzig's  'Minor  Prophets,'  p.  22.~>. 
Comp.  von  Niebuhr,  pp.  188,  18<J. 

§  According  to  Niebuhr,  Sennache 
rib  seized  Babylon,  and  made  Esar- 
haddon  viceroy,  p.  177,8. 


ESSAY  III.] 


PROPHECY, 


99 


and  utter  destruction  of  Nineveh.  "  And  it  shall  come  to  pass, 
that  all  they  that  look  upon  thee  shall  flee  from  thee,  and  say, 
Nineveh  is  laid  waste  .  .  .  The  gates  of  thy  land  shall  be  set 
wide  open  unto  thine  enemies  ;  the  fire  shall  devour  thy  bars. 
Draw  the  waters  for  the  siege,  fortify  thy  strong  holds  ;  go  into 
clay,  and  tread  the  morter,  make  strong  the  brickkiln.  There 
shall  the  fire  devour  thee :  the  sword  shall  cut  thee  off,  it  shall 
eat  thee  up  like  the  cankenvorm !"  *  Can  any  of  those  men  who 
now  assert  that  this  prophecy  was  a  mere  conjecture,  tell  us 
what  will  be  the  fate  of  Paris  or  London  one  hundred  years 
hence  ?  They  deny  the  miracle  of  supernatural  foreknowledge, 
and  believe  what  is  more  incredible  far  ;  that  unassisted  human 
knowledge  can  lift  the  veil  from  futurity,  and  presage  the  des 
tinies  of  empires.  Nahum  is,  however,  not  the  only  prophet 
who  uttered  predictions  concerning  the  Assyrians.  "  Assur  had 
not  yet  passed  the  Euphrates  as  a  conqueror,  and  the  victorious 
Jeroboam  still  reigned  in  the  kingdom  of  Israel,  when  the  pro 
phetic  voice  of  Hosea  and  Amos  already  threatened  their 
countrymen  with  the  scourge  of  Assyria.  Amos  vi.  14,  vii.  17  ; 
Hos.  x.  7,  8,  xiv.  1.  Some  years  before  the  fall  of  Samaria, 
Micah  uttered  these  words  : — '  What  is  the  guilt  of  Jacob,  is  it 
not  Samaria  ?  And  what  are  the  idol-high  places  of  Judah,  are 
they  not  Jerusalem  ?  Therefore  I  will  make  Samaria  as  an 
heap  of  the  field,  and  as  plantings  of  a  vineyard :  and  I  will 
pour  down  the  stones  thereof  into  the  valley,  and  I  will  discover 
the  foundations  thereof.'  But  for  three  years  the  Assyrian  was 
obliged  to  lie  before  the  well-fortified  city  before  it  fell.  Con 
cerning  Judah  also  Micah  uttered  the  oracle  : — '  Evil  came  down 
from  the  Lord  to  the  gate  of  Jerusalem,'  |  and  thereupon  begins 
the  announcement  of  the  desolation  of  particular  country  towns 
of  Judea.  But  at  that  time  Shalmaneser  passed  by  the  king 
dom  of  Judah  in  peace,  and  Hezekiah  continued  to  pay  his 
tribute.  It  was  not  until  the  throne  had  got  a  new  occupant  in 
Sennacherib  that  he  ceased  to  do  so,  and  thus  brought  the  Assy 
rian  host  before  the  gates  of  Jerusalem,  and  caused  the  fulfil 
ment  of  the  prophecy.  But  long  before  this,  when  the 


*  Nahum  iii.  7,  14,  15. 

t  He  might  have  added  "  O  thou 
inhabitant  of  I.achish,  bind  the  chariot 
to  tlic  swift  hfOfit ;  she  is  the  beginning- 


of  the  sin  to  the  daughter  of  Zion  :  for 
the  transgressions  of  Israel  were  found 
in  thee.'' 

ii  2 


100  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  ITT. 

unbelieving  Ahnz  called  upon  Tiglath  Pileser  for  help  against 
Syria  and  Israel,  Isaiah,  with  prophetic  eye,  looking  far  beyond 
the  then  present,  announced  to  him  that  through  the  King  of 
Assyria  danger  should  come  upon  him,  and  his  father's  house, 
and  his  people,  such  as  had  not  been  since  the  division  of  the 
kingdoms.  (Isai.  vii.  17,  18.)  Ahaz  himself  sank  into  a  state  of 
disgraceful  Assyrian  vassalage,  and,  perhaps,  even  experienced 
the  horrors  of  war  in  his  own  land.  (2  Chron.  xxviii.  20.)  But 
in  the  days  of  Hezekiah  the  word  of  the  prophet  was  fulfilled  in 
full  measure  by  Sennacherib."  * 

But  the  accuracy  of  Micah's  language  and  of  Isaiah's  pro 
phetic  foreknowledge  are  worthy  of  attention.  Micah  foretels 
utter  destruction  to  Samaria ;  to  Judah  only  chastisement, 
which  should  reach  to  the  gate  of  Jerusalem,  but  no  farther. 
"  For  it  is  incurable,  every  one  of  her  blows — it  (the  blow) 
is  come  to  Judah.  He  hath  reached  (J^3  touched,  or  smitten) 

as  far  as  the  gate  of  my  people,  to  Jerusalem For 

the  inhabitant  of  Maroth  waited  carefully  for  good ;  but  evil 
came  down  from  the  Lord  to  the  gate  of  Jerusalem.  O 
thou  inhabitant  of  Lachish,  bind  the  chariot  to  the  swift 
beast."  From  the  history  it  appears  that  the  word  of  Micah 
Avas  exactly  fulfilled.  "  In  the  fourteenth  year  of  King  Heze 
kiah,  Sennacherib  King  of  Assyria  came  up  against  all  the 
defenced  cities  and  took  them  [Lachish  among  the  number]. 
And  the  King  of  Assyria  sent  Babshakeh  from  Lachish  to  Jeru 
salem  with  a  great  army."  (Isaiah  xxxvi.  1,  &c.)  The  land  of 
Judah  was  overrun ;  the  evil  reached  even  to  the  gate  of  Jeru 
salem,  for  the  city  was  invested ;  but,  in  conformity  with 
Micah's  words,  it  never  entered  the  city — the  Assyrian 
power  was  broken,  and  the  king  returned  by  the  way  he 
came,  as  Isaiah  had  foretold.  There  is  no  doubt  about  the 
predictions,  or  the  fact  that  they  were  uttered  before  the 
event,  nor  yet  about  the  fulfilment.  In  the  time  of  Ahaz, 
Isaiah,  who  had  also  foretold  the  chastisement  to  be  inflicted  on 
Judah  by  the  Assyrians,  expressly  announced  a  miraculous 
destruction  of  the  Assyrian  host.  "  Therefore  shall  the  Lord, 
the  Lord  of  Hosts,  send  among  his  fat  ones  leanness ;  and  under 
his  glory  He  shall  kindle  a  burning  like  the  burning  of  a  fire, 


*  Tholiick,  'Pit:  Propliftun  uii'l  ihro  Wci.s.siigungon,'  [>.  83,  84. 


ESSAY  III.]  PtfOPHECY.  101 

And  the  light  of  Israel  shall  be  for  a  fire,  and  his  Holy  One  for 
a  flame :  and  it  shall  burn  and  devour  his  briers  in  one  day ; 
and  shall  consume  the  glory  of  his  forest  and  of  his  fruitful  field 
both  soul  and  body,  and  they  shall  be  like  the  pining  away  of  a 
sick  man,"  &c.  (Isai.  x.  16-19.)  And,  again,  xxx.  27-32,  Isaiah 
also  predicts  that  the  Assyrian  shall  be  broken  in  his  land  at 
least  thirty  years  before  the  event.  That  the  Assyrian  power 
should  be  broken  was  then  improbable  ;  that  it  should  be  broken 
on  the  mountains  of  Judah  more  improbable  still,  beyond  human 
conjecture,  and  yet  it  was  accomplished.  The  prediction  is 
found  Isai.  xiv.  24-27.  "  The  Lord  of  Hosts  hath  sworn,  saying, 
Surely  as  I  have  thought,  so  shall  it  come  to  pass ;  and  as  I 
have  purposed  so  shall  it  stand :  that  I  will  break  the  Assyrian 
in  my  land,  and  upon  my  mountains  tread  him  under  foot :  then 
shall  his  yoke  depart  from  off  them,  and  his  burden  depart  from 
off  their  shoulders.  This  is  the  purpose  that  is  purposed  upon 
the  whole  earth  ;  and  this  is  the  hand  that  is  stretched  out  upon 
all  nations,  for  the  Lord  of  Hosts  hath  purposed,  and  who  shall 
disannul  it  ?  And  his  hand  is  stretched  out,  and  who  shall  turn 
it  back  ?"  Modern,  even  sceptical,  criticism  assigns  this  fragment 
to  Isaiah,  and  considers  it  as  a  part  of  the  prophecy  beginning 
at  x.  5,  and  going  on  to  the  end  of  chapter  xii.  The  wording  is 
remarkable.  It  implies  miracle,  and  by  miracle  the  Assyrian 
host  was  destroyed :  the  fulfilment  is  not  only  narrated  in  the 
history,  but  recorded  in  several  Psalms,  and  von  Niebuhr  shows 
how,  notwithstanding  the  continuance  of  Sennacherib's  empire, 
and  its  prosperity  under  Esarhaddon,  the  Assyrian  power  was 
then  really  "  broken." 

With  regard  to  Assyria's  successor,  Babylon,  there  are  pre 
dictions  equally  sure.  That  one  hundred  and  fifty  years 
before  the  event,  the  Babylonian  captivity  was  foretold  in 
the  most  unequivocal  and  remarkable  language  by  Isaiah,  is 
as  certain  as  any  fact  in  history.  In  the  xxxixth  chapter  of 
that  prophet  we  read  that  on  Hezekiah's  recovery  Merodach 
Baladan,  King  of  Babylon,  sent  to  congratulate  him.  Hezekiah 
vaingloriously  exhibited  to  him  all  his  wealth.  Isaiah  was  soon 
at  hand  to  rebuke  his  vanity,  and  announce  the  Lord's  purpose 
concerning  Hezekiah's  posterity.  "  Hear  the  word  of  the  Lord 
of  Hosts :  Behold  the  days  come,  that  all  that  is  in  thine  house, 
and  that  which  thy  fathers  have  laid  up  in  store  until  this  day, 


102  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

shall  be  carried  to  Babylon  :  nothing  shall  be  left,  saith  the 
Lord.  And  of  thy  sons  that  shall  issue  from  thee.  which  thou 
shalt  beget,  shall  they  take  away :  and  they  shall  be  eunuchs  in 
the  palace  of  the  King  of  Babylon."  It  is  certain  that  Nabo- 
nassar  had  shaken  off  the  Assyrian  yoke,  and  made  Babylon  an 
independent  kingdom,  and  that  some  twelve  years  after  his 
death  reigned  Merodach  Baladan.*  The  genuineness  of  the 
chapter  in  Isaiah  has  never  been  doubted.  The  circumstances  of 
Babylon  were  not  then  such  as  to  raise  any  conjecture  respect 
ing  its  future  greatness.  It  was  independent,  but  not  stiperior  to 
Assyria  ;  on  the  contrary,  as  we  have  already  said,  Babylon  was 
soon  after  reduced  again  to  Assyrian  obedience. 

Micah  also  predicted  the  captivity  and  the  deliverance  from 
Babylon.  Ch.  ii.  10,  he  says,  "  Arise  ye  and  depart :  for  this  is  not 
your  rest :  Because  it  is  polluted  it  shall  destroy  you  even  with 
a  sore  destruction  ;"  iii.  12,  he  announces  that  Jerusalem  shall 
be  ploughed  as  a  field,  Jerusalem  become  heaps,  and  the  temple 
and  its  place  be  desolate ;  iv.  10,  he  says,  "Thou  shalt  go  forth 
out  of  the  city,  thou  shalt  dwell  in  the  field,  and  thou  shalt  go 
even  to  Babylon :  there  shalt  thou  be  delivered  :  there  the  Lord 
shall  redeem  thee  from  the  hand  of  thine  enemies."  This  pre 
diction  is  the  more  remarkable,  because,  as  we  have  seen,  he 
predicts  the  overrunning  of  the  land  of  Judah  by  the  Assyrians, 
declares  that  the  evil  .should  only  come  to  the  gate  of  Jerusalem  ; 
and  v.  5,  6,  foretels  the  deliverance  in  the  land  of  Israel.  "  This 
one  ftt  [the  Messiah,  the  Son  of  God]  shall  be  the  peace,  when 
the  Assyrian  shall  come  into  our  land,"  and  announces  the 
wasting  of  the  land  of  Assyria.!  He  could  not,  therefore,  have 
expected  that  Assyria  was  to  bring  them  to  Babylon  ;  and  still 
less  that  at  Babylon  they  should  be  delivered.  Micah  pro 
phesied  before  the  destruction  of  Samaria,  i.e.  before  724,  that  is, 
about  a  hundred  and  forty  years  before  the  destruction  by  Ne 
buchadnezzar,  and  consequently  about  two  hundred  before  the 
deliverance  from  Babylon.  J 

10.  The  mention  of  Babylon  reminds  us  of  another  remarkable 
and  indubitable  prediction  as  remarkably  fulfilled,  and  the  ful- 


*  Niebuhr,  j5p.  46,  47,  and  1M.  writing  admitted   to  lie  genuine,  Hit; 
t   Mil1,  i.  9,  ii.  4,  f>,  10,  vii.  13.                   main  objection  against  the  genuineness 

*  TholiK'k  remarks  well,  that  as  11  IP    j    of  Isai.    xiii.   xiv.  and   xl.-lsvi.   is   ro- 


r>:ihy]onish  captivity   ia    foretold   hotli 
Ipy    Isaiah    and    Mic-ah,    and   yet   their 


moved. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  103 

filment  of  which  shows  the  groundlessness  of  recent  insinua 
tions.  One  of  these  was  noticed  above.  "  He  cannot  quote 

Jeremiah   [denouncing  ruin   against   Tyre]    without 

remembering  that  already  the  Babylonian  power  threw  its 
shade  across  Asia,  and  Nebuchadnezzar  was  mustering  his 
armies."  But  surely  the  writer  of  these  words  could  not  have 
forgotten  that  the  ruin  of  Tyre  by  the  Chaldeans  had  been  pre 
dicted  long  before  the  days  of  Jeremiah.  In  the  twenty-third 
chapter  of  Isaiah  is  found  the  burden  of  Tyre.  The  siege, 
the  interruption  of  her  commerce,  the  flight  of  her  citizens,  and 
the  lamentations  of  her  mariners  and  her  colonies,  are  all 
graphically  foretold  here — and  even  the  authors  of  the  ruin  are 
named.  In  the  thirteenth  verse,  A.V.,  we  read,  "  Behold  the 
land  of  the  Chaldeans.  This  people  was  not  till  the  Assyrian 
founded  it  for  them  that  dwell  in  the  wilderness :  they  set  up 
the  towers  thereof,  they  raised  up  the  palaces  thereof ;  and  he 
brought  it  to  ruin."  There  are  various  translations  of  this  verse,* 
but  that  the  Chaldeans  are  predicted  as  the  destroyers  of  Tyre 
is  admitted  by  some  of  the  highest  modern  authorities.  Knobel 
says,  "Behold,  the  land  of  tJie  Chaldeans.  With  the  word 
'Behold'  the  author  introduces  something  new  to  which  he 
directs  special  attention.  That  something  is  the  destroyers  of 
Tyre  whom  he  is  about  to  name."  Gesenius  has  "  The  sense 
of  verse  13  is — Behold,  this  people  of  the  Chaldees,  a  little 
while  ago  inhabitants  of  the  deserts,  to  whom  the  Assyrians  first 
assigned  settled  habitations  and  made  it  a  people  :  this  hitherto 
insignificant  people,  scarcely  deserving  mention,  shall  be  the 
instrument  of  the  destruction  of  the  ancient  world-wide  famous 
city  of  Tyre."  If  this  be  the  sense,  as  is  generally  agreed,  then 
we  have  a  prediction  far  surpassing  the  powers  of  human  fore 
sight,  and  not  suggested  by  existing  circumstances.  The  deniers 
of  prediction  feel  this,  and  therefore  use  the  most  violent  means 
to  get  rid  of  it,  not  scrupling  to  alter  the  text  and  change  the 
meaning  of  the  Hebrew  words.  Even  the  great  Ewald  is  not 
above  this  violence.  Without  a  shadow  of  critical  support  he 
would  for  "  Chaldeans  "  substitute  "  Canaanites,"  and  interpret 


*  Hitzig  has 

liehold,  the  land  of  the  Chaldeans, 
The  people  there,  that  was  no  people. 
Assur  created  it  for  the  inhabitants  of 

the  deserts. 


They  erect  their  castles, 
Destroy  her  palaces, 
Make  her  a  heap  of  ruin. 


104  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

"  Behold,  the  land  of  the  Canaanites  (the  Phoenicians),  this 
people  is  no  more,  Assur  has  made  it  a  desolation  ;  they  (the 
Phoenicians)  erected  their  country  villas,  they  built  their  palaces, 
he  made  it  a  ruin."  I.  Olshausen  is  guilty  of  still  greater 
violence :  he  would  strike  out  of  the  verse  a  number  of  words  at 
the  beginning,  including,  of  course,  "  Chaldeans."  Meier  pro 
poses  to  substitute  "  Kittiim  "  for  "  Chaldeans,"  and  to  strike  out 
the  latter  part  of  the  verse:  all  which  criticism  Knobel  un 
ceremoniously  calls  "  bodenlose  Willkiihr."  Others  would 
get  rid  of  the  whole  as  ungenuine,  not  written  by  Isaiah, 
but  by  some  one  in  the  time  of  Jeremiah  and  Ezekiel.* 
Knobel  and  Gesenius  get  rid  of  the  difficulty  by  finding  the 
event  alluded  to  in  Shalmaneser's  attempt  on  Tyre,  when  he 
subdued  the  whole  of  continental  Phoenicia,  but  was  unable  to 
take  New  Tyre  on  the  island,  and  established  a  blockade  for  five 
years.  The  Chaldeans,  they  say,  served,  and  were  some  of  the 
best  troops,  in  the  Assyrian  army.  But  this  is  also  to  do  violence 
to  the  text.  The  prophet  does  not  say  that  the  Assyrians  should 
destroy  the  city,  but  explicitly  and  emphatically  points  out  the 
Chaldeans  as  the  miners  of  Tyre.  "  Behold,  the  land  of  the 
Chaldeans.  This  is  the  people — it  was  not  [a  people],  Ashur 
founded  it  [the  land]  for  the  dwellers  in  steppes.  They  erected 
their  watch-towers ;  they  roused  up  her  palaces ;  they  made 
her  a  ruin."  Knobel  and  Geseuius,  in  the  passages  quoted  from 
their  commentaries,  plainly  admit  this.  But  the  only  siege  of 
Tyre  by  the  Chaldeans  was  the  thirteen  years'  siege  by  Nebu 
chadnezzar,  and  every  unprejudiced  mind  must  admit  that  it 
alone  answers  to  the  prophet's  words,  and  therefore  receive  the 
prophecy  as  a  prediction.  Sooner  than  do  this,  Kuobel,  who 
believes  and  proves  the  prophecy  to  be  genuine,  says  we  must 
reject  it  as  ungenuine,  and  ascribe  it  to  Jeremiah.  "  To  assert 
the  genuineness  of  this  portion,  and  yet  to  refer  it  to  the  siege 
of  Tyre  by  Nebuchadnezzar  the  King  of  the  Chaldeans,  an 
event  which  happened  a  hundred  years  later,  Ezek.  xxvi.-xxviii. 
(as  Jerome,  Vitringa,  I.  1).  Michaelis,  Drechsler,  Hengstenberg), 
is  impossible,  because  in  the  time  of  Isaiah  there  could  not  be  a 
foreboding,  much  less  a  certain  and  definite  announcement  of 
anything  of  the  kind."  Such  is  the  honesty  and  trustworthiness 


'  Commentary,'  j>.  71G. 


ESSAY  in.] 


PROPHECY. 


105 


of  "  the  higher  criticism."  Better  to  reject  a  prophetic  passage, 
which  it  proves  to  be  genuine,  than  admit  a  prediction.  Here 
is  a  plain  proof  that  the  criticism  proceeds  from  previous  rejec 
tion  of  prediction,  not  that  the  unbelief  proceeds  from  the 
criticism.  The  critical  De  Wette  says  the  same  in  his  Introduc 
tion  to  the  0.  T.  "  The  prophecy  concerning  Tyre,  c.  xxiii., 
lias  been  denied  to  be  Isaiah's  on  account  of  the  mention  of  the 
Chaldeans,  and  because  it  has  been  supposed  that  its  fulfilment 
must  be  found  in  history  ;  also  because  of  the  supposed  Chal- 
daisiug  language  (verses  3,  11).  But  these  objections  can  be 
some  of  them  entirely  confuted,  and  others  shown  to  be  weak"* 
The  preceding  statement  is  a  remarkable  exhibition  of  the  un- 
trustworthiness  of  Rationalist  criticism  on  account  of  the  pre 
vious  dogmatic  prejudices  of  the  authors  against  inspiration  and 
prediction.  It  is  also  a  specimen,  one  out  of  thousands,  of  how 
much  reliance  is  to  be  placed  on  Professor  Jowett's  statement, 
"  that  the  diversity  amongst  German  writers  on  prophecy  is  far 
less  than  among  English  ones.  That  is  a  new  phenomenon 
which  has  to  be  acknowledged."!  Any  one  who  would  take  the 
trouble  could  show  that  the  contrary  is  the  fact ;  that  there  is 
such  a  love  of  novelty,  and  such  unrestrained  efforts  after 
originality,  that  the  diversities  of  opinion  on  any  one  subject, 
easy  or  difficult,  are  much  greater  than  in  England. 

But,  to  return  ;  Professor  Jowett  says  that  this  is  one  of  the 
passages  which  have  not  been  fulfilled.  "  For  a  like  reason  the 
failure  of  a  prophecy  is  never  admitted,  in  spite  of  Scripture 
and  of  history  (Jer.  xxxvi.  30 ;  Isai.  xxiii. ;  Amos  vii.  10-17)."^ 
What  he  considers  unfulfilled  in  this  prediction  he  does  not  say ; 
but  there  are  two  points  to  which  he  probably  alludes.  The 
first  is,  that  there  is  no  historic  account  of  Tyre  having  been 
taken  by  assault  by  Nebuchadnezzar.  But  no  such  event  is 
predicted  in  this  chapter.  The  prophet  foretels  a  siege  by  the 
Chaldeans,  great  calamities,  Tyre  reduced  to  a  ruin — this  is  all 
matter  of  history.  Tyre  was  besieged  for  thirteen  years.§  In 
so  long  a  siege  the  city  must  have  suffered  severely.  Nebuchad 
nezzar  overran  all  Syria  and  Phoenicia :  ||  he  must,  therefore, 


*  This  lias  been  done  by  both  Ge- 
senius  and  Knobel  in  their  commen 
taries. 

t  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  340. 


J  '  Essays,'  p.  343. 
§  Josephus,    Antiq.    lib.   X.,   c.    II. 
Contra  Ap.  i.  21. 

||  Contra  Apiun.  lib.  i.  e.  20. 


JOG 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[KSSAY   III. 


have  taken  Old  Tyre  on  the  continent ;  and  modern  critics  now 
admit  that  if  Xew  Tyre  on  the  island  was  not  taken  by  assault, 
it  submitted  to  the  Chaldeans  by  capitulation,  and  that  tho 
Tyrian  royal  family  was  carried  to  Babylon.  So  Gesenius  says, 
"  The  siege  probably  ended  with  a  peaceable  agreement  and 
alliance,  as  we  see  that  subsequently  the  Tyrians  sent  to 
Babylon  to  fetch  Merbal,  one  of  their  later  kings  (Joseph,  contra 
Apion.  i.  §  21)."  And  Tholuck  (p.  133),  "That  which,  after  the 
searching  investigations  of  Hengstenberg  and  Havernik,  should 
never  have  been  questioned,  has  now,  since  the  farther 
researches  in  Movers  (ii.  1,  p.  401),  found  pretty  general  recep 
tion  (also  in  Duncker,  i.  172 ;  Niebuhr,  p.  216) ;  that  certainly, 
if  not  a  conquest,  yet  a  capitulation  of  the  Tyrians  must  have 
taken  place,  in  consequence  of  which  they  again  became  vassals 
of  the  Chaldeans,  and  were  obliged  to  submit  to  the  removal  of 
the  royal  family  to  Babylon.  The  plainest  proof  of  this  is  seen 
in  the  fact,  that  about  a  year  later  they  were  attacked  as  Chal 
dean  vassals  and  subdued  by  Hophra,  who  had  been  formerly 
their  ally.  That  this  conquest  could  hare  been  effected  by  the 
Egyptian  king  by  a  surprise,  shows  in  what  a  low  state  their 
fortifications  and  their  power  must  have  been."  *  It  is  therefore 
historically  certain  that  Tyre  was  besieged,  and  reduced  to  a 
state  of  ruin  by  the  Chaldeans,  just  as  Isaiah  had  foretold  about 
a  hundred  and  thirty  years  before,  when  the  Chaldeans  were  as 
yet  mere  mercenary  troops  in  the  armies  of  Assyria.  It  is 
equally  certain  that  after  the  fall  of  Babylon,  Tyre  became  inde 
pendent,  rich,  and  prosperous  again,  as  the  prophet  foretold.  "  It 
shall  come  to  pass  in  that  day,  that  Tyre  shall  be  forgotten  seventy 
years,  according  to  the  days  of  one  king :  after  the  end  of 
seventy  years  shall  Tyre  sing  as  a  harlot."  The  discord  amongst 
critics  about  the  meaning  of  the  seventy  years  and  the  days  of 
one  king  is  just  as  great  as  that  already  noticed.  Two  opinions 
meet  most  favour :  one,  that  of  the  Rationalists,  that  seventy  is 
a  round  number,  and  that  seventy  years  mean  a  long  time ;  the 
other,  that  kinghere  means  dynasty  or  kingdom  of  the  Chaldeans, 
as  Dan.  vii.  17,  viii.  20,  which  is  the  view  of  Aben  Ezra,  Vi- 
tringa,  Lowth,  Doderlein,  Rosenmiiller,  &c.  If  either  be  true, 


*  Thai  is,  to-  what  a  .state  of  ruin 
(hey  had  been  reduced  by  tlic  previous 
thirteen  years'  sio^e. — See  also  von 


Xiebiilu-'s  '  Crcschichte  Atssur's  und 
hel's,'  p.  '-Mi;. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  107 

the  objector  cannot  fairly  say  that  the  prediction  has  not  been 
fulfilled. 

With  regard  to  the  concluding  verse,  in  which  the  prophet 
foretels  that  after  Tyre's  recovery  from  Babylonian  vassalage, 
"  Her  merchandize  and  her  hire  should  be  holiness  to  the  Lord," 
the  most  that  can  be  objected  is,  that  we  have  no  record  of  its 
fulfilment.  But  from  this  it  does  not  follow  that  this  part  of 
the  prediction  was  not  accomplished.  The  fulfilment  could  only 
have  taken  place  after  the  restoration  from  Babylon,  and  before 
the  destruction  by  Alexander.  The  records  of  events  in  Scrip 
ture  from  the  return  of  Zerubbabel  to  the  close  of  the  Canon  are 
too  brief  to  afford  us  any  light  as  to  the  relations  between  Tyre 
and  Jerusalem.  In  the  days  of  Solomon  we  know  that  they 
were  friendly,  Hiram  contributed  to  the  building  of  the  temple, 
and  the  friendship  must  have  continued  unusually  intimate,  as 
Amos  denounces  punishment  upon  Tyre  for  "  not  having  remem 
bered  the  brotherly  covenant."  (Amos  i.  9.)  There  is,  there 
fore,  nothing  improbable  in  the  supposition  that,  after  Tyre's 
recovery  from  almost  ruin,  friendly  relations  were  re-established, 
and  rich  offerings  made  in  the  temple  at  Jerusalem.  The  mar 
vellous  fulfilment  of  the  former  portion  respecting  the  Chaldeans 
is  a  guarantee  for  the  Divine  origin  and  accomplishment  of  the 
latter.  Hitherto  objectors  have  only  asserted,  not  attempted  to 
prove,  the  non-fulfilment.  ( 

There  are  other  fulfilled  predictions  to  which  the  reader's 
attention  might  satisfactorily  have  been  turned,  but  the  charge 
of  non-fulfilment  made  in  '  Essays  and  Reviews '  constrains  us 
to  consider  a  passage  in  Jeremiah,  and  another  in  Amos  there 
referred  to,  in  support  of  the  allegation.  The  former,  Jer.  xxxvi. 
10,  is  thus  given  in  the  Authorized  Version : — "  Therefore  thus 
saith  the  Lord  of  Jehoiakim,  King  of  Judah,  he  shall  have  notie 
to  sit  [literally,  'none  sitting'*]  upon  the  throne  of  David; 
and  his  body  shall  be  cast  out  in  the  day  to  the  heat,  and  in  the 
night  to  the  frost."t  To  this  Hitzig  in  his  commentary  objects, 
that  Jehoiakim  had  a  son,  Jehoiachin,  who  did  sit  upon  his 


*  The  present  participle  3E'V  is  used  j  xxiv.  55  ;  Ps.  ix.  8  ;  Jer.  xxx.  18. 

to  denote  continuance.      See    Ewald,  i  ,   f  Compare  xxii.  19:  "He  shall  ho 

Gramm.  §  35').  i  buried  with  the  burial  of  an  ass,  drawn 

The  verb  355"  signifies  to  abide,  con-  \  and  east  forth  beyond  the  gates  of  Je- 

tintif,  endure,  as  well  as  to  sit.     Gen.  |  rusnlem." 


108  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  111. 

throne,  and  that  in  2  Kings  xxiv.  6  (Hcb.  5),  we  read,  "  So  Jc- 
hoiakim  slept  with  his  fathers,  and  Jehoiachin  his  son  reigned  in 
his  stead."  If  Jeremiah  had,  after  uttering  the  prophecy,  com 
mitted  it  to  writing,  and  then  died  before  Jehoiakim,  this  objec 
tion  might  have  some  weight ;  but  when  it  is  remembered  that 
Jeremiah  lived  many  years  after  the  death  of  Jehoiakim,  and,  if 
his  words  had  been  falsified  by  events,  might  have  altered  them, 
and  yet  did  not,  but  left  them  as  originally  uttered,  the  objection 
ceases  to  have  any  force  at  all.  The  prophet  must  have  been 
satisfied  after  the  event,  that  his  words  expressed  what  had  hap 
pened.  Jehoiakim  had  in  i'act  no  son  "  sitting,"  or  continuing 
on  the  throne  of  David,  for,  three  months  after  Jehoiachin's 
elevation,  he  was  deposed  and  carried  away.  The  words,  "  He 
slept  with  his  fathers,"  signify  simply  that  he  died,  affirming 
nothing  about  his  burial.  Here  Ewald  is  much  more  thought 
ful  and  more  candid  than  the  English  Essayist  or  his  German 
forerunner.  In  the  '  Geschichte  des  Volkes  Israel,'  iii.  p.  430, 
Ewald  gives  an  account  of  the  death  of  Jehoiakim  and  of  the 
treatment  of  his  corpse  in  agreement  with  Jeremiah's  words, 
and,  in  a  note,  adds,  "  The  particular  circumstances  of  the  death 
of  Jehoiakim  are  very  obscure.  The  formula,  '  He  slept  with  his 
fathers,'  2  Kings  xxiv.  G,  means  nothing  more  than  his  death  ;  that 
he  was  taken  prisoner  is  mentioned,  2  Chron.  xxxvi.  6  ;  but 
what  actually  occurred  may  be  inferred  with  tolerable  proba 
bility  from  the  words  selected  by  Jeremiah  xxii.  18,  &c.,  and 
xxxvi.  30.  For,  though  the  prophet  had  certainly  predicted  the 
king's  unhappy  end  long  before,  he  wrote  down  the  words  after 
the  event."  Ewald,  therefore,  saw  the  impossibility  of  these 
words  containing  an  unfulfilled  prediction.  The  English  objector 
might  have  saved  Ins  criticism  from  appearing  as  the  dictate  of 
passion  rather  than  the  conclusion  of  judgment,  had  he  taken 
time  to  consider  the  prophet's  words  impartially. 

Another  example  of  this  unhappy  hastiness  in  taking  up  ob 
jections  is  found  in  the  reference  to  Amos  vii.  10-17.  In  our 
English  Bible  the  passage  reads  thus : — "  Then  Amaziah  the 
priest  of  Bethel  sent  to  Jeroboam  King  of  Israel,  saying,  Amos 
hath  conspired  against  thee  in  the  midst  of  the  house  of  Israel : 
the  land  is  not  able  to  bear  all  his  words.  For  thus  Amos  saith, 
Jeroboam  shall  die  by  the  sword,  and  Israel  shall  surely  be  led 
away  captive  out  of  their  own  land.  And  Amaziah  said  unto 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  109 

Amos,  0  thou  seer,  go  flee  thee  away  into  the  land  of  Judah,  and 
there  eat  bread,  and  prophesy  there :  But  prophesy  not  again 
any  more  at  Bethel ;  for  it  is  the  king's  chapel  and  the  king's 
court."  Amos  asserts  his  Divine  call,  and  utters  this  prediction 
against  Amaziah  : — "  Therefore,  thus  saith  the  Lord  ;  thy  wife 
shall  be  an  harlot  in  the  city,  and  thy  sons  and  thy  daughters 
shall  fall  by  the  sword,  and  thy  land  shall  be  divided  by  line  ; 
and  thou  shalt  die  in  a  polluted  land  ;  and  Israel  shall  surely 
go  into  captivity  forth  of  his  land."  As  the  Essayist  does  not 
specify  the  particulars  which  he  supposes  unfulfilled,  we  can 
only  state  the  objection  according  to  Hitzig.  First,  then,  he 
may  suppose  that  the  prediction  is  not  fulfilled  because  Jero 
boam  II.  did  not  die  by  the  sword ;  but  if  the  objector  will  look 
at  verse  9,  he  will  see  that  Amos  did  not  predict  anything  of 
the  kind — the  prophet's  threat  is  not  against  Jeroboam,  but  his 
house.  "  I  will  rise  against  the  house  of  Jeroboam  with  the 
sword,"  which  threat  was  fulfilled  when  Shallum  conspired 
against  Jeroboam's  son  and  successor,  and  slew  him  and  reigned 
in  his  stead.  (2  Kings  xv.  10.)  The  words,  "  Jeroboam  shall  die  by 
the  sword,"  were  a  malicious  addition  of  Amaziah's  to  induce 
Jeroboam  to  drive  Amos  from  Bethel.  Hitzig's  attempt  to 
prove  that  "  house  of  Jeroboam "  included  Jeroboam  himself 
by  referring  to  Isai.  vii.  13,  where  "  house  of  David  "  includes 
Ahaz  and  his  family,  is  a  miserable  failure.  To  make  the  cases 
parallel,  Isaiah  must  have  said,  "  Hear  ye  now,  0  house  of 
Ahaz." 

The  next  portion  of  the  assaulted  prediction  foretels  that 
Israel  should  go  into  captivity.  Taking  Knobel's  dates,  Amos 
uttered  his  prophecies  between  790-784  B.  c.,  i.  e.  before  the 
death  of  Jeroboam.  The  final  carrying  away  of  Israel  by  Shal- 
maneser  occurred  about  sixty  years  after :  so  that  here  is  an  un 
doubted  prediction  undoubtedly  fulfilled. 

There  remains  only  the  denunciation  against  Amaziah,  his 
wife  and  children,  the  fulfilment  of  which  is  not  recorded.  But 
surely  this  is  not  surprising,  when  the  excessive  brevity  of 'the 
accounts  of  the  kings  and  revolutions  that  followed,  is  taken  into 
consideration.  There  is  nothing  impossible  or  improbable  in  the 
fate  predicted.  Within  thirty  years  from  the  date  of  the  prophecy, 
the  Assyrians  began  their  incursions  into  the  laud  of  Israel. 
Although,  then,  the  fulfilment  of  this  particular  is  not  related,  it 


110  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  iKssAV  I!!. 

is  not  improbable.  The  fulfilment  of  the  other  two  particulars 
is  a  guarantee  that  this  also  was  accomplished.  This  objection, 
however,  like  others  of  the  kind,  has  this  value :  it  shows  that 
the  objector  believes  that  the  Hebrew  prophets  did  lay  claim  to 
the  power  of  predicting  future  events. 

11.  Here  our  attention  has  been  directed  to  one  of  many 
wondrous  predictions  concerning  the  destinies  of  Israel,  which 
have  excited  the  astonishment  of  readers  in  all  ages.  Moses  fore 
told  the  dispersion  of  the  disobedient  people,  and  their  preserva 
tion  in  the  midst  of  the  nations.  The  theme  has  been  taken  up 
by  all  the  later  prophets.  The  fulfilment  is  before  our  eyes.  Israel 
has  been  scattered  to  the  four  winds,  but  is  still  preserved.  Of  the 
nations  by  whom  and  amongst  whom  they  were  first  dispersed 
the  Lord  has  made  a  full  end.  He  has  chastened  Israel  in  mea 
sure,  but  has  not  permitted  them  to  disappear.*  The  Assyrians,  the 
Babylonians,  the  Homans  have  utterly  perished.  The  Ten  Tribes 
are  "  wanderers  among  the  nations."  The  people  of  the  Jews, 
rich,  powerful,  intelligent,  survive  all  the  revolutions  of  Empires, 
ancient,  medieval,  modern,  and  await  the  consummation  of  the 
Lord's  oracles.t  But  as  tliis  is  matter  of  notoriety,  is  not  disputed 
or  explained  by  Rationalists  or  Essayists,  it  is  enough  to  refer  to 
this  proof  of  revelation,  as  wonderful  as  the  answer  to  Elijah's 
prayer  (1  Kings,  xviii.). 

\'l.  But  that  which  gives  to  Hebrew  prophecy  its  peculiar 
charm,  and  its  paramount  importance,  is  that  it  contains  predic 
tions  respecting  Redemption  and  the  Redeemer.  That  there  are 
Messianic  prophecies  has  been  the  belief  of  Jews  and  Christians  for 
more  than  two  thousand  years,  and  is  fully  admitted  by  the  New 
School  of  Theology.  But,  much  beyond  this,  the  agreement 
between  the  old  and  new  interpreters  does  not  extend.  For  some 
of  the  prophecies  applied  in  the  New  Testament  to  the  Messiah, 
the  modern  school  has  new  interpretations.  Of  others,  and  those 
most  important,  it  denies  the  genuineness ;  and  one  of  the  vital 
questions  now  brought  before  the  English  mind  is,  whether  we 
are  to  follow  the  New  Testament,  or  the  new  German  critics. 
The  innovators  in  England  do  not  pretend  to  offer  anything  ori 
ginal  of  their  own.  They  repeat  in  English  what  they  have  de- 


*  Jer.  xxx.  11,  xxxi.  ?>f>-.';7  ;  Isai.  vi. 
-115 ;  Amos  ix.  9. 


t  See  Butler's  '  Analogy,'    Piirt 
.  7. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  Ill 

rived  from  one  class  of  German  writers.  And,  as  German 
learning  stands  deservedly  in  high  repute,  there  is  a  danger  of 
the  unwary  receiving  without  question,  what  appears  to  come  on 
authority  so  respectable.  Hence  the  present  necessity  of  such 
frequent  references  to  the  sources  from  which  they  draw,  and 
also  of  recalling  attention  to  the  real  question  at  issue,  namely, 
whether  the  New  Testament  or  German  critics  are  to  be  our 
guides  in  interpreting  prophecy.  Now,  placing  for  a  moment  the 
New  Testament  writers  on  the  lowest  level,  regarding  them 
merely  as  included  amongst  the  ancient  Jews,  their  opinion  must 
be  of  some  value.  Theirs  were  the  prophetic  books.  For  their 
fathers  and  for  themselves  they  were  written.  They  were  ori 
entals.  They  inherited  the  traditional  interpretation  of  their 
people.  Their  interpretation  has  been  accepted  by  the  intel 
ligent  of  other  nations.  The  Christian  Church,  composed  of  a 
great  variety  of  races,  abounding  in  minds  of  all  possible  types, 
in  different  stages  of  culture,  approved  and  adhered  to  the  old 
Jewish  interpretation  for  many  centuries.  True,  that  only  two 
or  three  of  the  Fathers  understood  Hebrew,  and  that  the  early 
Church  was  dependent  upon  the  Greek  and  Syriac,  and  the  me 
dieval  Church  on  the  Vulgate,  versions.  But,  as  was  said  above, 
and  at  the  present  time  ought  to  be  kept  in  remembrance,  how 
ever  many  of  the  beauties  and  peculiarities  of  the  writer  may  be 
lost  in  a  version,  the  grand  substance,  the  purpose  and  intent  of 
the  whole,  which  is,  after  all,  the  real  meaning  of  any  book  that 
has  a  meaning,  may  be  grasped  in  any  tolerable  translation  by 
any  intelligent  reader.  And  that  which  suggests  itself  to  the 
common  sense  of  mankind,  as  the  meaning,  whether  derived  from 
version  or  original,  is  undoubtedly  the  true  meaning.  And  so  it  is 
with  prophecy.  To  readers  of  ancient  or  modern  versions,  or  of 
the  original,  the  general  scope  and  intent  has  ever  appeared  the 
same.  And,  therefore,  at  the  revival  of  letters,  and  at  the  Re 
formation,  when  the  original  language  of  the  prophets  came  to  be 
studied,  the  general  sense,  handed  down  from  the  New  Testa 
ment  writers  by  the  Fathers  and  medieval  divines,  still  com 
mended  itself  to  students  as  acute  in  intellect,  and  to  scholars  as 
familiar  with  the  Hebrew  language,  as  any  who  have  liv^d  in  the 
last  hundred  years.  Indeed  it  may  be  doubted  whether  Hebrew 
has  been  so  nearly  a  mother-tongue  with  any  recent  critics,  as  it 
was  with  the  Buxtorfs,  Wagenseil,  Edzard,  and.  others  of  old ; 


112  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

and  whether  any  modern  commentators  have  been  naturally  more 
competent  to  grasp  the  general  sense  than  the  Reformers,  and 
those  who  followed  them.  And  yet,  from  the  Reformation  down 
to  the  last  quarter  of  the  eighteenth  century,  the  old  interpreta 
tion  prevailed.  Romanists  and  Protestants  were  still  of  one 
mind  as  to  the  general  outline  of  prophetic  truth.  Wonderful 
if  ancient  Jews,  Fathers  and  Medievalists,  Protestants  and 
Romanists,  were  all  mistaken,  and  the  true  sense  hidden  until 
about  fifty  years  ago. 

13.  If  the  New  School  were  all  of  one  mind;  if  all  modern 
critics  were  unanimous  in  their  judgments,  and  uniform  in  their 
interpretations,  and  their  conclusions  had  been  arrived  at  by  un 
biassed  investigation,  such  unanimity  of  opinion,  and  conclusions 
so  deduced,  would  naturally  have  great  weight.  But  the  variety 
and  diversity  of  opinion  in  the  German  Rationalist  School  is  un 
bounded.  They  agree  only  in  that  negative  view,  which  neces 
sarily  arises  from  the  common  origin  and  the  common  principles 
of  their  theology.  The  origin  of  their  theology  is  undoubtedly 
Deistic  infidelity  ;*  its  fundamental  principles,  that  there  is  no 
supernatural  revelation  of  Deity,  and  therefore  no  Divine  predic- 
tiou,f  consequently  that  there  can  be  no  real  predictions  concern 
ing  Jesus  of  Nazareth,  or  anybody  else.J  Criticism  derived  from 
such  a  source,  and  guided  by  such  principles,  must  be  eminently 
untrustworthy.  The  conclusions  forerun  the  investigation.  If 

•/ 

there  can  be  no  prediction  at  all,  then  there  can  be  none  relating 
to  our  Lord  ;  and  therefore  from  their  general  principle,  before  any 
investigation  is  made,  it  follows  that  neither  the  xxiind  Psalm, 
nor  Isai.  vii.  14,  nor  any  other  Psalm  or  prophecy,  can  be  inter 
preted  of  the  Saviour,  and  therefore  investigation  can  only  be 
made  in  order  to  show  that  the  foregone  conclusion  is  true.  The 
investigators  may  be  learned,  profound,  acute,  diligent,  honest, 
but  their  principles  hinder  them  from  acknowledging  that  any 


*  See  '  Letters  on  Rationalism,'  pas-  eiatur,  ideas  Dei  sanctissimi  et  benig- 
sim.                                                               '    nissimi  repugiiat.  fatalismum  fovet  et 

t  At  vero  qnibus  miraculorum  aucto-  libi-rtatcm  homimim  moralem  tollit. 

ritas  implicita  est  Bcrupulis,  iisdem  vel  — Wegacheider,  Iitstttutionex,  p.  217. 

•rravioribus  etiam  decreta  de  vatieiniis  t  "So  muss  wold  zugegeben werdeu, 

proposita  premuntur.      Primum   enim  dassein  Erweis  Cliristi  als  Erlosera  au.«! 

qiiifivis   pn.-dictio   divinitns    patefaeta,  den  Weissagungen   iiiunoglich    ist."— 

qua  fa  turn  inevitaliile  hominis  aut  po  Sclileiennucher,  Ucr  Chri'gtliche  GltiuJ/e, 

puli  cujusdam,  quod  ex  re  quadam  ab  i.  'J,  a.  105. 
ipsis  perpetranda  peifdet,  dim-lie  ram- 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  113 

prediction  ever  was  or  can  be  fulfilled,  and  compel  them  to  con 
clude  that  it  is  not ;  and  therefore  their  criticism  and  conclusions 
in  such  matters  must  be  regarded  not  only  with  suspicion,  but  as 
probably  untrue,  the  result  of  their  dogmatic  prejudices,  and 
therefore  utterly  insufficient  to  outweigh  the  common  judgment 
of  Jews  and  Gentiles  for  more  than  two  thousand  years. 

14.  Such  would  be  the  opinion  of  the  student  who  had  never 
heard  of  Evangelists,  Apostles,  or  Rationalists  in  his  life,  but 
considered  the  subject,  apart  from  all  religious  interests,  merely  in 
a  scientific  point  of  view.  But  in  the  question  between  the  New 
Testament  and  modern  criticism  the  Christian  sees  something 
more  than  an  alternative  between  ancient  Judaism  and  modern 
heathenism — he  sees  that  it  is  an  alternative  between  Christ  and 
unbelief.  The  interpretations  of  the  New  Testament  are  the  inter 
pretations  of  Christ  and  of  those  to  whom,  "  beginning  at  Moses, 
and  all  the  prophets,  he  expounded  in  all  the  Scriptures  the  things 
concerning  himself  "  (Luke  xxiv.  27),  "  whose  understandings  He 
opened  that  they  might  understand  the  Scriptures  "  (Luke  xxiv. 
45) ;  to  whom  He  sent  His  Holy  Spirit  to  "  bring  all  things  to 
their  remembrance  whatsoever  He  had  said  unto  them,"  and  to 
"guide  them  into  all  truth." (John  xiv.  26,  xvi.  13.)  He  cannot 
depart  from  their  interpretations,  and  adopt  the  new  and 
contradictory  criticism,  without  admitting  either  that  Christ 
knowingly  accommodated  Himself  to  the  errors  of  the  times,  or 
that  He  was  mistaken,  or  that  His  discourses  have  been 
incorrectly  reported ;  any  one  of  which  admissions  is  equivalent 
to  a  renunciation  of  Christianity.  The  first  is  the  supposition  of 
some  of  the  elder  Rationalists,  the  second  of  some  of  the  later, 
and  the  third  apparently  of  many  modern  critics.  To  admit  the 
first  is  to  deny  our  Lord's  integrity,  to  concede  the  second  is  to 
make  him  a  mere  fallible  man,  and  to  receive  the  third  is  to 
take  away  the  main  ground  of  our  faith  in  Christ.  The  lowest 
theory  of  inspiration,  at  all  compatible  with  faith,  is  that  "  it 
protects  the  doctrine."  Our  Lord's  doctrine  is  contained  in  His 
discourses,  and  part  of  those  discourses  is  His  interpretation  of 
prophecy,  and  the  promise  of  the  Holy  Spirit  to  guide  His 
disciples.  If  in  those  discourses,  or  those  of  His  disciples,  the 
prophecies  are  falsely  interpreted,  the  doctrine  is  not  protected, 
the  promise  of  the  Spirit  cannot  have  been  fulfilled,  and  we  are 
brought  to  the  horrid  and  blasphemous  conclusion  that  Christ, 

i 


11-4  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

"  The  Way,  the  Truth,  and  the  Life,"  was  fallible,  and  that  His 
word  is  not  to  be  depended  upon.  From  these  consistent  and 
necessary  conclusions  the  Essayists  do  not  shrink  any  more 
than  their  German  masters.  They  reject  the  New  Testament 
interpretation  of  prophecy,  and  then  consistently  deny  the 
authority  of  the  New  Testament  itself.  He  who  would  sweep 
away  all  predictive  prophecy  insinuates  that  the  Gospel  portrait 
of  our  Lord  is  dimmed  "by  the  haze  of  mingled  imagination 
and  remembrance,  with  which  his  awful  figure  could  scarcely 
fail  to  be  at  length  invested  by  affection."  *  Another  says  that 
"  The  New  Testament  writings  leave  us  in  uncertainty  as  to 
the  descent  of  Jesus  Christ  according  to  the  flesh,  whether  by 
His  mother  He  were  of  the  tribe  of  Judah,  or  of  the  tribe  of 
Levi  ;"f  implies  that  His  birth  at  Bethlehem  and  the  announce 
ment  of  it  by  the  Angels  are  doubtful ;  and  that  the  three  first 
Gospels,  though  more  trustworthy  than  the  fourth,  contain  only 
"  more  exact  traditions  of  what  He  actually  said."  A  third,  who, 
following  Eeimarus,^  doubts  whether  any  one  passage  from  the 
Psalms  or  Prophets  quoted  in  the  Epistles  is  rightly  inter 
preted^  insinuates  that  our  Lord's  prediction  concerning  the 
day  of  judgment  has  failed  because  it  is  inseparable  from  that  of 
the  destruction  of  Jerusalem,  and  in  another  work  expressly 
teaches  that  in  this  matter  our  Lord  was  mistaken.  ||  Thus 
the  example  of  foreign  critics  and  their  followers  at  home 
warns  us  that  if  we  give  up  the  prophetic  interpretations  of 
Christ  and  the  Apostles,  we  must  prepare  also  to  part  with  our 
Christianity,  and  begin  a  painful  and  not  very  profitable  search 
for  those  crumbs  of  Divine  truth,  which  these  kind  critics  still 
suppose  to  be  scattered  about  in  the  Prophets  and  Evangelists, 
and  which  can  only  be  recognized  by  the  verifying  faculty  of  the 
critic.  But  if  we  believe  in  Christ,  and  those  whom  He  taught 
by  His  Spirit,  we  must  take  their  principle  of  interpretation  as 
ours,  and  rest  assured  that  the  interpretations  which  they  have 
given  exhibit  the  true  mind  of  that  Spirit  who  spake  by  the 
prophets.  The  wise  men,  and  the  scribes,  and  the  disputers  of 
the  day  may  decry  this  principle  as  unscientific,  and  protest 


*  'Essays  ami  Reviews,' p.  80.  §  Pa^e  406. 

t  Ibid.,  p.  180,  203.  ||  See  Professor  Jowett's  '  Commen- 

J  Wolfenbiittel    '  Fragments,'   §  .34-    |    tary  to  the  First  Epistle  to  the  Tliessa- 

45.  I    lonians,'  p.  108-111. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  115 

that  it  is  better  not  to  read  the  Bible  at  all,  than  to  read  with 
such  restrictions ;  but  Christians  may  be  content  with  the  wisdom 
that  came  down  from  above,  and  with  the  liberty  wherewith 
Christ  has  made  them  free.  Where  our  Lord  or  an  inspired 
Apostle  has  spoken,  we  abide  by  the  interpretation. 

15.  Here,  however,  it  is  necessary  to  guard  against  mistake. 
Where  passages  of  the  prophecies  are  cited  or  applied,  attention 
must  be  paid  to  the  mind  and  intention  of  the  speaker  or  writer, 
as  sometimes  Old  Testament  language  is  used  without  any 
intention  of  intimating  a  fulfilment  of  prophecy  either  direct  or 
typical.  The  words  were  suitable  to  express  the  feelings  or 
thoughts  of  the  writer,  and  they  were  adopted.  Thus  when 
St.  Paul  says,  "  I  say,  have  they  not  heard  ?  Yes,  verily,  their 
sound  went  into  all  the  earth,  and  their  words  unto  the  end  of 
the  world,"  there  is  no  reason  for  supposing  that  the  Apostle 
looked  upon  Ps.  xix.  4  as  a  prophecy  fulfilled  in  the  preaching 
of  the  Gospel.  The  Psalm  speaks  of  the  heavens  and  the 
firmament.  But  the  words  aptly  and  beautifully  expressed 
what  the  disciples  of  Christ  had  already  done,  and  Paul  was 
guided  to  adopt  them,  the  rather  because  in  the  Psalm  itself  the 
parallel  is  drawn  between  the  book  of  nature  and  the  book  of 
revelation,  the  harmonious  testimony  of  the  works  and  word  of 
God.  Another  instance  occurs  1  Cor.  xv.  32  :  "  If  the  dead  rise 
not,  let  us  eat  and  drink,  for  to-morrow  we  die."  Here  is  a 
quotation  from  Isai.  xxii.  13.  The  words  of  the  prophet  forcibly 
depicted  the  character  of  those  of  whom  the  Apostle  was 
speaking,  and  they  are  adopted  accordingly.  This  principle  is 
demonstrated  by  2  Tim.  ii.  19  :  "  The  foundation  of  God  stand- 
eth  sure,  having  this  seal,  The  Lord  knoweth  them  that  are  his." 
The  latter  words  are  a  quotation  from  Numb.  xvi.  5,  referring  to 
the  rebellion  of  Korah  and  his  company,  but  adopted  by  the 
Apostle,  just  as  the  later  prophets,  especially  Jeremiah,  express 
their  message  occasionally  in  citations  from  their  predecessors 
or  from  the  Pentateuch. 

In  the  next  place,  it  is  to  be  observed  that  Old  Testament 
passages  are  sometimes  cited  simply  to  confirm  a  doctrine,  or  to 
form  the  foundation  of  an  argument ;  as  when  the  Apostle  say.s 
(Rom.  ix.  7)  "  Neither  because  they  are  the  seed  of  Abraham,  are 
they  all  children  :  but  in  Isaac  shall  thy  seed  be  called."  The 
latter  words  are  cited  to  prove  that  mere  fleshly  descent  does  not 

i  2 


116  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

constitute  a  right  to  the  inheritance  or  God's  favour.  Ishmael 
was  according  to  the  flesh  the  child  of  Abraham,  but  it  was  to 
Isaac  and  his  posterity  that  the  inheritance  of  the  promises  was 
given.  In  like  manner  our  Lord  (Matt.  xiii.  14)  applies  Isai.  vi. 
!»,  10  to  the  Jews  whom  He  addressed,  and  St.  Paul  applies 
the  same  words  (Acts  xxviii.  2(!)  to  the  Jews  at  Rome.  They 
contain  a  general  principle  of  God's  dealings  with  men,  appli 
cable  at  all  times.  So  St.  Paul  (Rom.  x.  12)  employs  the  words 
of  Joel,  "  Whosoever  shall  call  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord  shall 
be  saved,"  to  prove  that  there  is  no  difference  between  the  Jew 
and  the  Gentile.  The  stress  is  upon  the  words  Tra?  yap  09  [IttfN  73] 
"  every  one."  Not  to  the  Jews  only,  but  to  every  one  who  calls 
upon  the  name  of  the  Lord,  God  promises  salvation,  therefore 
there  is  no  difference,  &c.  The  object  for  which  the  quotation 
is  made  must  be  kept  in  view,  else  the  conclusiveness  of  the 
argument  will  be  missed,  and  a  wrong  interpretation  given  to 
the  prophecy..  As  for  example  (Acts  xv.  15 — 17),  where  James 
proves  the  right  of  the  Gentiles  to  be  received  into  the  Church 
without  circumcision,  he  says,  "Simeon  hath  declared  how  God 
at  the  first  did  visit  the  Gentiles  to  take  out  of  them  a  people 
for  His  name.  And  to  this  agree  the  words  of  the  prophets  ;  as 
it  is  written,  After  this  I  will  return,  and  will  build  again  the 
tabernacle  of  David,  which  is  fallen  down  .  .  .  that  the  residue 
of  men*  might  seek  after  the  Lord,  and  all  the  Gentiles  on 
whom  my  name  is  called,  saith  the  Lord."  Some  readers  and 
interpreters  fix  their  eye  upon  the  tabernacle  of  David,  and 
seeing  that  that  was  not  literally  fulfilled,  take  it  figuratively  of 
the  Christian  Church,  and  thereby  do  violence  to  the  words  of 
the  prophecy,  and  at  the  same  time  miss  St.  James's  argument. 
The  question  was,  whether  the  Gentiles,  i.e.  without  circumcision 
and  obedience  to  the  Mosaic  Law,  could  be  received  into  the 
Christian  Church.  The  majority  of  Jewish  Christians  thought 
that  they  could  not.  St.  Peter  proved  that  these  persons  were 
wrong  by  an  appeal  to  fact.  St.  James  shows  the  same  by  a 
reference  to  prophecy.  His  object  was  not  to  quote  and  show  a 
fulfilment  of  one  prediction,  but  the  general  teriour  of  all 
respecting  the  call  of  the  Gentiles  as  such,  and  therefore  he  says 
in  the  plural,  "To  this  agree  the  words  of  the  prophets."  At 

*  Aimw,  L\.  11,1'2. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  1  1  7 


the  same  time  he  selects  oiie,  ill  which  the  Gentiles  [DN>0,  e 
are  mentioned  by  name  with  the  addition  "all,"  "all  nations,"  and 
where  it  is  said  that  the  name  of  the  Lord  is  called  upon  them. 
The  stress  of  the  argument  rests  upon  the  word  "  Gentiles,"  and 
upon  the  fact  that  God's  name  is  called  upon  them  ;  as  if  he 
would  say,  "  Here  in  Amos  men  upon  whom  the  Lord's  name  is 
called  are  still  spoken  of  as  Gentiles  ;  they  cannot  therefore  be 
persons  circumcised  and  keeping  the  Law,  and  therefore  the 
name  of  the  Lord  may  now  also  be  called  upon  Gentiles  as  such, 
and  therefore  there  is  no  necessity  for  circumcising  them.  To 
enter  the  Church  of  Christ  it  is  not  necessary  that  they  should 
cease  to  be  Gentiles,  or  become  proselytes  by  circumcision."  * 

16.  In  the  next  place  words  are  quoted  from  the  prophets, 
which  contain  no  prediction  at  all,  and  are  yet  spoken  of  as  being 
fulfilled,  because  the  event  to  which  they  allude  was  a  type  of 
that  to  which  they  are  applied.  Our  Lord  and,  after  Him, 
the  Apostles,  lay  down  the  principle  that  past  history  may 
represent  that  which  is  to  happen  hereafter.  Thus  the  Saviour 
refers  to  the  brazen  serpent,  and  to  Jonah  as  prefiguring  His 
resurrection,  and  even  the  time  of  it  on  the  third  day.  St.  Paul 
teaches  that  Hagar  and  Sarah  are  typical  of  the  covenants  ;  the 
Paschal  lamb  of  Christ's  atoning  death  ;  the  passage  of  the  lied 
Sea  of  baptism  ;  the  smitten  rock  of  Christ.  The  author  of  the 
Epistle  to  the  Hebrews,  St.  Peter  in  his  allusion  to  the  deluge, 
and  St.  John  in  his  mystical  application  of  the  names  Sodom, 
Egypt,  and  Babylon,  confirm  the  principle,  which  helps  us  to 
interpret  passages  of  the  Old  Testament,  such  as  those  where 
the  Messiah  is  called  David,  and  to  understand  passages  of  the 
New  Testament,  where  what  was  spoken  of  David  is  applied  to 
our  Lord.  The  principle  also  solves  the  apparent  difficulty  of 
two  passages  strongly  insisted  upon  by  the  enemies  of  Christi 
anity.  Concerning  our  Lord's  early  sojourn  in  Egypt,  St. 
Matthew  says,  that  it  happened  "  that  it  might  be  fulfilled  which 
was  spoken  of  the  Lord  by  the  prophet,  saying,  Out  of  Egypt 
have  I  called  my  son,"  —  and  respecting  the  slaughter  of  the 
children  at  Bethlehem,  "Then  was  fulfilled  that  which  was 


*  The  account  of  this  dispute  is  a 
strong  testimony  to  the  credibility, 
knowledge,  and  good  faith  of  the  writer. 
The  Pharisees  believed  that  proselytes 


of  the  gate,  i.  e.  proselytes  without 
circumcision,  could  only  bo  received 
when  all  the  twelve  tribes  were  in  tho 
land. 


118  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

spoken  by  Jeremy  the  prophet,  saying,  In  Kama  was  a  voice 
heard."  In  neither  case  does  St.  Matthew  quote  predictions, 
but  Hosea's  and  Jeremiah's  references  to  past  history.  When 
liosea  said,  "Out  of  Egypt  have  I  called  my  son,"  or  when 
Jeremiah  spoke  of  Rachel  weeping  for  her  children,  neither  was 
uttering  a  prediction  of  the  future,  but  alluding  to  facts  long 
past.  Hosea  was  alluding  to  the  Exodus  eight  centuries  before, 
and  Jeremiah  to  the  carrying  away  of  the  Ten  Tribes  one 
hundred  years  before  he  wrote.  St.  Matthew  therefore  speaks 
of  them  as  fulfilled  in  the  only  way  in  which  facts  can  be 
fulfilled,  in  events  the  antitypes  of  those  referred  to. 

17.  But  after  making  allowance  for  these  and  numerous  other 
similar  applications  of  prophecy,  there  remain  many  which  the 
Lord  and  the  Apostles  interpret  as  specially  spoken  in  reference 
to  Christ  and  Christianity.  It  has  ever  been  the  belief  of  all 
orthodox  writers  that  Christ  claimed  to  be  the  Messiah  foretold 
by  the  prophets.  It  is  also  acknowledged  by  Nationalist  divines. 
Thus  Von  Colin  says  that  the  sick  who  had  been  healed,  the 
common  people,  his  own  immediate  adherents,  acknowledged 
Him  as  the  Messiah,  and  adds,  "  That  Jesus  approved,  and  even 
called  forth  tins  view  of  Himself,  is  evident  from  His  words  and 
His  conduct.  1st.  From  His  answer  to  Peter  (Matt.  xvi.  17) ;  His 
approval  of  the  acclamations  of  the  people  (Luke  xix.  34,  40  ; 
Matt.  xxi.  If),  1C).  2nd.  From  His  assuming  the  names  belonging 
to  the  Messiah,  especially  the  titles  Son  of  God  and  Son  of  Man 
from  Dan.  vii.  13,  14.  3rd.  From  His  claiming  the  privileges 
attributed  to  the  Messiah,  as  the  full  unfolding  and  explanation 
of  the  Law  (Matt.  v.  17) ;  the  assertion  that  He  was  Lord  of  the 
Sabbath  (Matt.  xii.  8)  ;  His  reformation  of  the  temple  service 
(John  ii.  13,  20) ;  His  dispensation  of  His  disciples  from  the 
usual  fasts  (Matt.  ix.  14)  ;  and  His  claiming  the  right  to  forgive 
sins.  4th.  From  His  express  declaration  that  He  was  the  Messiah 
(John  iv.  25,  26,  xvii.  3  ;  Matt.  xxvi.  63,  64,  &c.) — This  his  asser 
tion  that  He  was  sent  from  God,  as  the  founder  of  a  new  theocracy, 
Jesus  proved  to  be  true — 1,  From  the  Holy  Scriptures  of  His 
people,  which  bare  witness  of  His  person  and  His  works.  According 
to  the  general  convictions,  the  Law  and  the  Prophets  spake  of  an 
ideal  theocracy.  There  was  an  unanimity  of  opinion  as  to  the  pas 
sages  which  treated  of  the  ideal  King,  and  also  as  to  the  particular 
features  of  his  character  as  drawn  [by  the  prophets].  Whosoever, 


ESSAY  III.] 


PROPHECY. 


119 


therefore,  gave  himself  out  for  the  Messiah,  was  under  the  neces 
sity  of  proving  that  these  features  were  found  in  him.  Jesus, 
therefore,  often  employed  the  declarations  of  the  Law  and  the 
Prophets  to  convince  the  Jews  that  He  was  the  Messiah.  .  .  . 
The  application  of  the  prophetic  passages  to  Himself  cannot  be 
explained  as  accommodation,  as  Jesus  in  the  circle  of  His  confi 
dential  disciples,  and  after  Him  the  Apostles  in  their  discourses 
and  Epistles,  adhere  to  this  application."  *  The  same  author 
teaches  elsewhere  (p.  89)  that  our  Lord  received  the  Law  and 
the  Prophets  as  the  inspired  word  of  God,  and  "  employed  the 
prophetic  oracles  in  these  writings  as  testimonies  to  His  own 
appearance  and  works  (John  v.  39,  46;  Luke  iv.  21).  He 
pointed  out  especially  and  often  that  His  sufferings  must  happen 
according  to  the  announcements  of  these  Holy  Books,  and  were 
therefore  inevitable  ordinances  of  God :  Matt.  xxvi.  24  ;  Mark  ix. 
12,  xiv.  49 ;  Luke  xviii.  31—33,  xxii.  37,  xxiv.  26,  27." 

18.  Now  the  two  prophets  to  whose  writings  our  Lord  and  the 
Apostles  most  emphatically  refer  are  Daniel  and  Isaiah  ;  and  by 
their  references  they  not  only  interpret  particular  passages,  but 
establish  the  genuineness  of  the  books.  Our  Lord  not  only  cites 
the  prophet  Daniel  by  name,  when  speaking  of  "the  abomina 
tion  of  desolation"  (Matt.  xxiv.  15),  but  has  been  pleased  to 
adopt  from  that  book  the  designation  of  His  kingdom,  and  the 
title  which  He  appropriates  to  Himself.  The  expressions  "  King 
dom  of  Heaven,"  and  "  Son  of  Man,"  are  confessedly  taken  from 
the  second  and  seventh  chapters  of  Daniel.  The  latter  expres 
sion  is  particularly  important.  Meyer  says — "  Its  simple  meaning 
is,  The  Messiah.  It  is  derived  from  the  awful  and  striking 
representation  in  the  prophetic  vision  (Dan.  vii.  13)  so  well 
known  to  the  Jews,  and  occurring  also  in  the  pre-Christian  book 
of  Enoch,  in  which  the  Messiah  appears  in  the  clouds  of  heaven, 
as  '  The  Son  of  Man'  (ow<?  wos  dvdpwTrov),  surrounded  by  the 
angels  of  the  Divine  throne  of  judgment  (see  Ewald,  'Gesch. 
Chr.,'  p.  79),  that  is,  in  a  form  nothing  different  from  that  of  an 
ordinary  man.  Jesus,  inasmuch  as  in  Him  the  Messiah  was 
come,  was,  in  the  realisation,  that  Son  of  Man  whose  form  was 
seen  in  Daniel's  vision.  As  often,  therefore,  as  Jesus  in  His  dis- 


*  Von  Colin,  '  BibJiuche  Tlioologic,' 
ii.  p.  11(5-18,  and  8S) ;  coinp.  Wegschei- 
dor,  '  lustitutiones,'  §  1 19,  especially 


Note  C. ;  Kuobel,  •  Trophetism.'  i.  3H8  ; 
Do  Wette. '  Biblische  Dogmutik,'  §  IS'J. 


120  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  111. 

courses  says  'The  Son  of  Man,'  lie  means  'The  Son  of  Man  of 
that  vision  of  Daniel,'  that  is,  The  Messiah."'  It  is  needless  to 
say  how  often  this  expression  occurs  in  all  the  CJospoIs  in  our 
Lord's  discourses,  especially  on  the  most  solemn  occasions,  as 
when  He  describes  His  second  advent  (Matt.  xiii.  41,  xxiv.  "27, 
HO,  44,  xxv.  31)  ;  when  He  speaks  of  His  passion  (John  iii.  ].*>, 
14)  on  the  very  eve  of  its  accomplishment  (Matt.  xxvi.  '24) ;  and 
when,  after  formal  adjuration,  He  declares  Himself  the  Christ, 
the  Son  of  God,  "  Hereafter  shall  ye  sec  the  Son  of  Man  sitting 
on  the  right  hand  of  power,  and  coming  in  the  clouds  of  heaven  ;" 
so  that  it  is  impossible  to  separate  the  essential  elements  of 
Christ's  teaching  from  the  book  of  Daniel,  and  equally  impos 
sible  to  suppose  that  He  who  came  into  the  world  to  bear  witness 
to  the  truth  would  ground  His  claims  and  His  most  solemn  doc 
trine  on  a  forgery.  The  question  of  the  genuineness  and  au 
thenticity  of  Daniel  cannot,  therefore,  be  separated  from  that 
respecting  the  fallibility  or  infallibility  of  the  Saviour.  ]>y 
asserting  that  the  book  of  Daniel  is  umrenuine — a  forged  and 

o  ~  o 

false  prophecy — men  charge  our  Lord  with  the  uncritical  igno 
rance  of  His  times,  or  a  deliberate  application  of  a  document 
which  lie  knew  to  be  false.  But  the  student  need  not  be 
alarmed  at  the  greatness  of  the  issue.  He  must  remember  that 
the  original  assault  on  Daniel  was  made  by  the  heathen  Por 
phyry,  an  able  but  bitter  enemy  of  Christianity  in  the  third  cen 
tury,  and  is  continued,  partly  in  the  original  form  of  objection, 
by  those  who  deny  all  supernatural  revelation,  make  our  Lord 
himself  a  mere  man,  and  are  as  opposed  to  the  doctrine  of 
Christ's  proper  Deity  as  Porphyry  himself.  It  must  never  be 
forgotten  by  those  who  read  Rationalist  books,  that  even  when, 
like  Schlciermacher  and  his  school,  they  use  the  expression  "  Son 
of  (Jod,"  they  use  it  in  a  non-natural  sense,  rejecting  the  accounts 
of  His  supernatural  birth,  and  regarding  Him  as  the  Son  of 
Joseph  and  Mary.'f1  They  are  interested,  therefore,  not  only  in 


*  H.  A.  W.  Meyer's '  Comm.  on  Matt.  |    Stahl,  Kuinoel,  Liicko,  Tholuck.     Sic 

viii.  '20.'    Fleck  also  saya  :  "  Dcnotatur  i    also  tlic  references  f^iven  above  to  Von 

cnim  in,  queni  omnes  norunt,  qui  omni-  \    Colin,  Wegscheidur,  De  Wette,  Knobel. 

run  ore  fertnr  <  sensu  rximio  it;i  vocalus)  f  Compare  '  Essays  ami  Reviews,'  pp. 

filing   liominis    />an?e//Vzctw=Mo8sias."  I    82,  88,  89,  202,  20H,  351,  352, 354, 355  ; 

'  De  Regno  Divhio,' p.  121.    The  italics  and  Sclileiemiacher's  '  (Jlanlicnslclm-,' 

are     Klerk's.       He    also    refers  1i>    the  lir.l  (.••lit.,  )..  Cl-C!). 
li.ilihifi,     WeMein      lirotiiis.     La/npc, 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  121 

getting  rid  of  the  predictions  in  Daniel,  especially  such  an  one 
as  the  seventy  weeks,  but  also  in  setting  aside  a  remarkable  tes 
timony  to  the  Old  Testament  doctrine  of  the  Deity  of  Mes 
siah.  The  two  main  Rationalist  arguments  against  the  book  of 
Daniel  are — first,  that  in  their  opinion  it  contains  accurate  pre 
dictions  concerning  Antiochus  Epiphanes,  which  they  borrow 
from  Porphyry ;  and  secondly,  that  it  relates  miracles,  and 
therefore  according  to  their  own  system  cannot  be  true.  This  is 
strongly  urged  by  Knobel.  "  The  history  of  Daniel,"  he  says, 
"  has  a  legendary,  almost  a  fairy-tale  complexion,  and  represents 
the  events  in  a  manner  in  which  they  could  not  possibly  have 
happened.  They  could  have  assumed  this  form  only  after  a  long 
oral  transmission.  For  in  Hebrew  history,  where  numerous 
myths  and  legends  occur,  as,  for  example,  in  that  of  the 
patriarchs,  of  Moses,  Balaam,  Samson,  Elijah,  Elisha,  the  narra 
tives  were  committed  to  writing  a  considerable  time  after  the 
events :  when,  on  the  contrary,  events  have  a  natural  appearance, 
as  in  the  books  of  Ezra,  Nehemiah,  the  first  of  Maccabees,  there 
they  were  generally  committed  to  writing  at  the  time,  or  very 
soon  after  the  events.  This  is  an  historic  canon,  of  the  validity 
of  which  there  can  be  no  doubt."  * 

To  men  holding  such  axioms  of  criticism,  the  book  of  Daniel 
must,  as  a.  matter  of  course,  be  as  ungemiine  as  the  narrative  of 
our  Lord's  miracles.  Criticisms,  therefore,  founded  on  such 
principles  must  always  appear  questionable  to  a  thoughtful  in 
quirer,  even  if  he  is  not  able  to  show  their  weakness  or  falsehood. 
The  believer  in  the  Gospels  will  feel  assured  that  they  are  not 
unanswerable,  and  a  little  inquiry  will  satisfy  him  that  they 
have  been  answered  again  and  again,  by  scholars  trained  in  the 
schools  of  modern  German  philology  and  criticism,  and  every 
way  equal  to  the  task.  Within  the  last  thirty  years,  Hengsten- 
berg,  Sack,  Havernik,  lleichel,  Schulze,  Herbst,  Vaihinger, 
Delitsch,  Oeler,  Auberlen,  Ziindel,  have  stood  forward  as  suc 
cessful  vindicators  of  the  genuineness  of  Daniel's  prophecies. 
Kurz,  Keil,  v.  Hoffmann,  Drechsel,  Baumgarten  have  also  con 
fessed  their  adhesion  to  the  ancient  faith,  f  A  defender  of  the 
accuracy  of  Daniel's  chronological  statements  has  appeared  in 


*  '  PropliotisniUB,'  ii.  401. 

t  Compare  Auberlen'i  '  L)CT  I'rophet  D.uiirl,'  p.  ltil-177. 


122  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

Marcus  von  Niebuhr,  in  his  History  of  Assyria  and  Babylon. 
These  writers  show,  one  or  other  of  them,  that  those  interpreters 
who  would  make  the  seventy  weeks  end  with  Antiochus 
Epiphanes  contradict  and  confute  one  another  ;  that  that  period 
must  begin  at  the  going  forth  of  the  decree  to  rebuild  Jerusalem, 
and  must  extend  to  the  times  of  our  Lord  ;  that  from  the  neces 
sary  and  proved  relations  between  chapters  ix.  and  xi.,  the  latter 
looks  far  beyond  the  days  of  Antiochus.  They  have  answered 
the  objections  from  the  length  of  Daniel's  life,  from  supposed 
contradictions,  from  history,  from  dates.  They  have  proved  that 
some  of  the  supposed  Gra3cisms  are  not  Graeeisms  at  all ;  that 
others  were  naturalised  in  the  time  of  Daniel,  the  Greeks  having 
had  relations  long  before  with  the  Assyrians;  and,  above  all, 
that  the  Canon  of  the  Old  Testament  was  closed  within  one 
hundred  years  of  the  restoration  of  the  Jewish  State,  and  the 
book  of  Daniel,  if  not  written  before,  could  not  have  been  ad 
mitted  into  it ;  that  therefore  the  book  of  Daniel  is  both  genuine 
and  authentic.* 

19.  The  other  prophecy,  whose  genuineness  Rationalist  cri 
ticism  has  specially  delighted  to  dispute,  is  that  which  is  also 
specially  vouched  for  by  the  New  Testament,  namely,  that  con 
tained  in  the  latter  part  of  Isaiah  (chapters  xl. — Ixvi.)  and  which 
seems  really  the  connecting  link  between  Old  and  New  Testa 
ment  revelation.  It  is  a  singular  coincidence  that  those  portions 
of  the  Old  Testament  which  are  most  essential  to  New  Testament 
theology — as  the  Pentateuch,  the  book  of  Daniel,  and  the  latter 
part  of  Isaiah — are  just  those  parts  which  nationalist  criticism 
has  selected  as  the  favourite  fields  on  which  to  display  its  skill. 
Those  Messianic  predictions,  which  it  can  explain  with  plausibility 
as  expressing  Jewish  hopes  of  earthly  grandeur  and  prosperity, 
and  incompatible  with  the  teaching  of  Christ,  it  pronounces  to  be 
genuine.  The  prophecies  which  represent  the  Son  of  Man  as  a 
heavenly  judge,  coming  in  the  clouds  of  heaven  (Dan.  vii.) ;  the 
Messiah  as  cut  off  (Dan.  ix.)  ;  Sion's  King  as  meek  and  lowly, 
and  riding  upon  an  ass  (Zech.  ix.)  ;  the  good  shepherd,  sold  for 
thirty  pieces  of  silver  (Zech.  xi.) ;  pierced  by  the  inhabitants  of 
Jerusalem  (Zech.  xii.  10,  xiii.) ;  despised  and  rejected  of  men, 
cut  off  out  of  the  land  of  the  living,  one  upon  whom  the  Lord 


what  Bibhop  Uutier  has  said  :   '  Analogy,'  p.  ii.  c.  vii.  3. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  123 

hath  laid  the  iniquities  of  us  all  (Isaiah  liii.) — are  just  the  pre 
dictions  which  it  proves  to  be  ungenuine.  The  book  of  Daniel, 
the  latter  half  of  Zechariah,  aud  the  conclusion  of  Isaiah,  which, 
if  genuine,  are  fatal  to  Nationalist  theology,  are  by  Rationalist 
criticism  condemned  as  ungenuine,  in  direct  opposition  to  tiie 
teaching  of  the  New  Testament.  The  quotations  from  Zecha- 
riah  are  well  known,  the  determination  of  our  Lord  to  fulfil  the 
ninth  chapter  of  that  prophecy  obvious  in  the  Gospels.  The 
condemned  portion  of  Isaiah  is  also  emphatically  honoured  by 
the  Lord  and  His  Apostles.  From  the  beginning  to  the  end  it  is 
quoted  as  the  work  of  Isaiah,  and  as  fulfilled  in  our  Lord.  John 
the  Baptist  begins  the  interpretation  with  the  opening  prediction 
(Isaiah  xl.)  by  declaring,  "  I  am  the  voice  of  one  crying  in  the 
wilderness,  make  straight  the  way  of  the  Lord,  as  said  the 
prophet  Esaias"  (John  i.  23).  Matthew  xii.  17 — 21  explains 
Isaiah  xlii.  1 — 3  of  our  Lord,  and  as  the  prophecy  of  Isaiah. 
The  corresponding  passage  (xlix.  6)  respecting  the  Lord's 
righteous  servant  is  interpreted  by  St.  Paul  of  the  call  of  the 
Gentiles  (Acts  xiii.  47).  The  fifty-third  chapter  is  appropriated 
by  our  Lord  Himself  (Luke  xxii.  37)  ;  and,  after  Him,  explained 
by  Philip  (Acts  viii.)  ;  by  St.  Peter  (1  Epist.  ii.  24,  25)  ;  and  in 
the  Epistle  to  the  Hebrews  (ix.  28)  of  the  sacrifice  of  Christ. 
Chapter  Ixi.  1  is  also  interpreted  by  our  Lord  of  Himself 
(Luke  iv.  17 — 21)  ;  and  the  end  of  the  prophecy  (Ixv.  1)  is  in 
the  Epistle  to  the  Komans  (x.  20,  21)  expounded  of  the  conver 
sion  of  the  Gentiles,  and  the  unbelief  of  the  Jewish  people.  Thus 
the  whole  of  the  prophecy,  from  the  beginning  to  the  end,  is  in 
the  New  Testament  ascribed  to  Isaiah  as  the  writer,  and  cited  as 
being  fulfilled  in  our  Lord,  His  sufferings,  and  His  salvation. 
Both  statements  are  denied  by  nationalist  writers,  so  that  we 
cannot  follow  the  latter  without  rejecting  the  teaching  of  the 
Lord  and  His  Apostles,  and  the  common  belief  of  the  Christian 
Church  and  the  Jewish  nation  for  nearly  1800  years.  With 
regard  to  the  authorship  of  this  portion  of  Isaiah,  there  was 
during  that  long  period  only  one  opinion.  One  solitary  rabbi  in 
the  twelfth  century  suggested  a  doubt  on  the  subject,  but,  with 
the  exception  of  Spinoza,  was  not  followed  by  either  Jews  or 
Christians.  It  was  not  until  men  had  ceased  to  believe  in  Christ 
that  they  began  to  question  the  latter  prophecy  of  Isaiah.  The 
Buxtorfs,  the  Carpzovs,  Glassius,  Gussetius,  Cocceius,  Veiieina, 


124  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

Vitringa,  Schultens,  Danz,  the  Michaelis,  acquiesced  in  tlio 
judgment  of  antiquity  Even  Paulus  says  that  the  diction  is  as 
pure  as  in  the  other  parts  of  Isaiah.  Eichhorn  adduced  uo  in 
stances  of  later  language.  Bertholdt  confesses  that  there  are  no 
traces  of  later  usage.  The  first,  and  the  great  objection  still,  is 
that  Cyrus  is  mentioned  by  name.  When  men  came  to  teach 
either  that  God  could  not  know  beforehand  the  name  of  one  of 
His  creatures,  or,  if  He  could,  could  not  or  would  not  communi 
cate  it  before  the  existence  of  that  creature,  they  necessarily 
thought  that  the  prediction  concerning  the  conqueror  of  Babylon 
must  have  been  written  after  his  appearance.  The  denial  of  the 
genuineness  came  first,  the  criticism  came  after,  similar  to  that 
famous  course  of  law  which  first  condemned  and  executed,  and 
afterwards  proceeded  to  trial.  Yet  the  process  has  led  to  bene 
ficial  results.  The  nationalist  dogmatic  criticism  has  been  sub 
jected  to  a  thorough  examination  by  Hengstenberg,  Iliivernik, 
Kleinert,  Drechsler,  Keil,  and  others.  The  objections  have  been 
fairly  met,  and  the  claims  of  Isaiah  to  the  latter  chapters  vindi 
cated  on  various  grounds,  as,  for  example,  the  plain  references  to 
those  chapters  in  the  books  of  Xahum,  Ifabakkuk,  Zephaniah, 
Jeremiah  ;  the  circumstances  of  the  times  described,  so  exactly 
agreeing  to  the  days  of  Isaiah,  not  to  the  close  of  the  exile  ;  the 
historical  relations;  the  similarity  of  style  and  manner — the 
peculiarities  of  diction  ;  the  entire  tone  and  colouring,  not  to 
mention  other  evidences  external  and  internal.  Indeed,  Ewald 
and  Bleek  have  made  a  fatal  rent  in  the  adverse  criticism  by 
confessing  that  the  passage  Ivi.  9 — Ivii.  11,  was  written  before 
the  exile.  "  This  passage,"  they  say,  "  may  be  received  with  the 
highest  probability  ;is  a  prophetic  oracle,  uttered  before  the  exile, 
perhaps  by  Isaiah  himself;  more  probably  not  long  before  the 
exile,  certainly  at  a  time  when  the  Jewish  State  still  existed,  as 
it  is  only  on  this  supposition  that  the  contents  and  composition 
can  be  understood."  * 

20.  Even  that  chapter  which  invests  the  controversy  with  its 
chief  interest  (liii.  1 — 12)  is  supposed  by  Ewald  to  be  the  work 
of  a  prophet  anterior  to  the  author  of  the  other  chapters ;  and,  refer 
ring  to  the  strong  traits  of  personal  individuality,  not  personifica 
tion,  especially  in  verse  8,  he  says — "  TJie  belief  of  after  times,  that 


BK-ck, '  Kinlfitung,'  p.  45(j;  KwuM,  '  Prophctcn  dcs  alien  iJimdes,'  I1-  407,  8. 


ESSAY  III.] 


PROPHECY. 


125 


the  historie  Messiah  is  here  to  be  found,  lay  certainty  very  near  at 
hand"  *  Indeed  the  prophetic  picture  of  the  sufferings  of  Jesus 
of  Nazareth  is  so  lifelike,  that  when  it  has  been  for  the  first  time 
brought  before  Jews  ignorant  of  the  passage,  they  have  affirmed 
that  the  chapter  has  been  inserted  in  the  Christian  editions  of 
the  Hebrew  Bible ;  whilst  others,  not  a  few,  have  been  brought 
by  it  to  faith  in  Christ.  It  is  not,  therefore,  to  be  wondered  at 
that  for  more  than  seventeen  centuries  the  Christian  Church  re 
ceived  the  prophecy  as  genuine  ;  and  that  the  Fathers,  the  me 
dieval  writers,  the  Reformers,  Protestants  and  Romanists  after 
the  Reformation,  with  the  one  exception  of  Grotius,  interpreted 
it  of  our  Lord,  until  Deistic  infidelity  found  its  way  into  the 
hearts  and  minds  of  so-called  Christian  divines,  and  the  necessi 
ties  of  the  new  theology  imperatively  demanded  a  new  interpre 
tation.  First  Neology  and  then  Rationalism  set  to  work,  and 
the  result  is  a  curious  specimen  of  the  alleged  agreement  of 
modern  German  expositors  of  prophecy.  Here  is  one  of  the 
most  striking  and  extended  prophecies  to  be  found  in  the  Bible ; 
not  an  obscure  verse,  where  agreement  is  impossible,  but  an 
oracle  running  through  twenty-seven  chapters ;  and  yet  German 
commentators  have  not  yet  decided  as  to  the  fundamental  prin 
ciple  of  interpretation,  whether  the  subject  is  an  individual  or  a 
personified  aggregate.  Neither  do.  the  two  parties  formed  by 
tin's  difference  agree  among  themselves.  Of  the  first  class,  some 
interpret  it  of  King  Uzziah,  others  of  Josiah,  others  of  the 
prophet  Isaiah  himself,  others  of  an  unknown  prophet  persecuted 
and  killed  in  the  exile  ;t  Bunsen  alone,  after  Grotius,  of  the 
prophet  Jeremiah.  In  the  second  class,  the  greatest  names  of 
Germany  stand  arrayed  against  each  other.  Eichhorn,  Heude- 
werck,  Koster,  Hitzig,  Ewald,  Beck,  interpret  the  prophecy  of 
the  Jewish  people,  actual  or  ideal.  Paulus,  Thenius,  Maurer, 
von  Colin,  Knobel,  say  that  "  The  servant  of  the  Lord  "  means 
the  better  portion  of  the  exiles.  Rosenmuller,  Gesenius,  De 
Wette,  assert  that  he  is  a  personification  of  the  collective  pro 
phetic  ordei'4  For  several  of  these  interpretations,  these  distin 
guished  writers  are  indebted  to  Jewish  polemics.  The  application 
to  Josiah  was  invented  by  Abarbanel  in  the  sixteenth  century  ; 


*  Tbi  1.  in  the  note, 
f-  Seo  Hengsteuberg, '  Christologie,' 
i.  p.  30(3 ;  Gesenius'B '  Commentary,'  iii. 


pp.  1G4-172. 

%  See  Knobel, '  Commentary,'  p.  382- 
390. 


120  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

that  to  Jeremiah  by  Saadiah  Gaon,  in  the  ninth  century ;  that 
to  the  whole  Jewish  people  was  known  to  the  Jews  with  whom 
Origen  disputed,  and  is  most  generally  accepted  by  modern 
Jews ;  that  to  the  pious  or  better  portion  of  the  people  is  found 
in  Ixashi,  in  the  eleventh  century.  The  ancient  Jewish  interpre 
tation  was  that  which  referred  the  prophecy  to  the  Messiah. 
From  the  LXX.  it  can  be  inferred  with  certainty  that  they  dis 
tinguished  between  the  servant  of  the  Lord  and  the  people  of 
Israel.  This  is  evident  from  their  translation  of  xlii.  6  and 
xlix.  6,  where  they  plainly  make  the  Lord's  servant  "  The  raiser 
up  of  Jacob,"  and  "  The  restorer  of  the  dispersion  of  Israel,"  and 
"  a  covenant  of  the  people,"  which  words  cause  such  difficulties 
to  Rationalist  interpreters  as  to  make  them  violate  the  commonest 
proprieties  of  Hebrew  idiom.  \Yhen,  therefore,  the  LXX.  in 
serted  the  words  "  Jacob  "  and  "  Israel "  in  xlii.  1, — "  Jacob  is  my 
servant,  and  I  will  help  him :  Israel  is  mine  elect,  my  soul  hath 
accepted  him/' — they  did  not  mean  to  apply  those  words  to  the 
people,  but  to  give  to  the  servant  of  the  Lord  that  title  which 
he  has  in  the  Hebrew  text  in  xlix.  3.  "  And  He  said  to  me, 
Thou  art  my  servant :  Israel  art  thou,  in  whom  I  will  be  glori 
fied,"  *  where  Gesenius,  and  before  him  J.  D.  Michaelis,  in  order 
to  get  rid  of  the  plain  meaning,  propose  to  set  critical  authority 
at  defiance,  and  oust  the  word  "  Israel  "  from  the  text.  The 
LXX.  have  it  here  all  right,  where  they  plainly  distinguish  be 
tween  the  Lord's  servant  and  the  people,  and  thereby  prove  that 
they  thought  the  words  "  Jacob  "  and  "  Israel "  titles  of  tliis  ser 
vant,  and  not  the  name  of  the  people.  And,  therefore,  in  xlii. 
1!>,  "AYho  is  blind  but  my  servant?  or  deaf  as  my  messenger 
that  I  sent  ?  who  is  blind  as  he  that  is  perfect,  and  blind  as  the 
Lord's  servant?"  which  they  interpret  of  the  people,  and  not  of 
the  servant ;  they  turn  the  singulars  into  plurals  to  prevent  mis 
take — KCU  TI'<?  ruc^Xo?  aXX'  r)  ot'  TratSe?  JJLOV,  Kal  K0)(j)ol  dXX'  rj  ol 
Kvpievovres  avrwv,  teal  €Tv<f>\(t)di](Tav  ol  Bov\oi  TOV  (~)eo£. 

The  early  traditions  of  the  Hebraist  Jews  are  clear  and  un 
equivocal,  and  are  identical  with  the  New  Testament  interpreta 
tion,  as  is  admitted  even  by  the  modern  luibbis.t  who,  for 


*  This  is  the.  translation  given  by 
cM-nius  of  the  text  as  it  stands, 
t  By  modern  Rabbis  are  meant  those 


when,  partly  owing  to  the  hostility  ex 
cited  by  tin-  Crusaders  in  the  Jewish 
mind,  and  partly  from  their  intercourse 


who  lived  from   the  llth  century  on,    >    with   the  Mahometans,    Jewish    inter- 


ESSAY  m.]  PROPHECY.  127 

polemical  reasons,  interpret  differently.  Aben  Esra,  in  the 
twelfth  century,  says,  "  Many  have  interpreted  this  chapter  of 
Messiah,  because  our  ancients  of  blessed  memory  have  said  that 
Messiah  was  born  the  same  day  that  the  Temple  was  destroyed, 
and  that  he  is  bound  in  chains."  Rabbi  Alshech,  who  flourished 
in  Palestine  in  the  middle  of  the  sixteenth  century,  makes  a 
similar  confession — "  Behold  our  Rabbis  have  with  one  mouth 
confirmed,  and  received  by  tradition  that  King  Messiali  is  here 
spoken  of  ...  He  beareth  the  iniquities  of  the  children  of 
Israel,  and  behold  His  reward  is  with  Him."  The  truth  of  these 
confessions  may  be  seen  by  consulting  the  ancient  books  of 
authority.  In  Isai.  xlii.  1,  and  lii.  13,  Jonathan,  about  the  time 
of  our  Lord,  adds  Messiah  after  the  word  "  servant ;"  "  Behold, 
my  servant,  the  Messiah."  The  book  of  Zohar,  regarded  with 
the  utmost  reverence  by  all  pious  Jews,  and  parts  of  which  are 
certainly  from  the  first  century  of  Christianity,  also  says  plainly 
that  Messiah  bears  the  sins  of  the  people,  and  that  "  If  he  had 
not  removed  them  from  Israel  and  taken  them  upon  himself,  no 
man  could  bear  the  chastisement  of  Israel  on  account  of  the 
punishment  pronounced  in  the  Law.  This  is  what  is  written — 
Surely  He  hath  borne  our  sicknesses"  The  Talmud  (Sanhedrin, 
vol.  98,  col.  2),  the  Psikta,  and  Yalkut  Shimoni,  all  have  the 
same  interpretation.  "  Behold  my  servant  shall  deal  very  pru 
dently — this  is  the  King  Messiah.  He  shall  be  exalted,  and 
extolled,  and  be  very  high.  He  shall  be  exalted  more  than 
Abraham  .  .  .  He  shall  be  extolled  more  than  Moses  .  .  .  He 
shall  be  higher  than  the  ministering  angels.  'But  He  was 
wounded  for  our  transgressions,  He  was  bruised  for  our  iniqui 
ties  :  the  chastisement  of  our  peace  was  upon  Him,  and  with 
His  stripes  we  are  healed.'  Rabbi  Huna,  in  the  name  of  Rabbi 
Acha  says,  the  chastisements  were  divided  into  three  parts  : — 
one  to  David  and  the  fathers  ;  one  to  the  rebellious  generation  ; 
and  one  to  King  Messiah."  Indeed,  such  possession  had  this 
interpretation  of  the  Jewish  mind,  that  it  found  its  way  into  the 
prayers  of  the  Synagogue,  and  there  it  remains  until  this  day. 
In  the  Liturgy  for  the  Day  of  Atonement  is  found  the  following 
remarkable  passage,  which  is  given  from  David  Levi's  edition  of 


pretiition  and  Jewish  theology  under-        witiely  from  ancient  Judaism  as  well 
went  a  great  change,   and  diverged        as  from  Christianity. 


128 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  III. 


the  Synagogue  service  books,  and  in  his  translation.  "  Before 
He  created  anything,  He  established  His  dwelling  (the  temple) 
and  YinHon.*  Our  righteous  anointed  is  departed  from  us: 
horror  hath  seized  us  and  we  have  none  to  justify.  He  hath 
borne  the  yoke  of  our  iniquities,  and  of  our  transgression,  and  is 
wounded  because  of  our  transgression.  He  beareth  our  sins  on 
His  shoulder  that  He  may  first  pardon  for  our  iniquities.  We 
shall  be  healed  by  His  wound  at  the  time  that  the  Eternal  will 
create  Him  (the  Messiah)  as  a  new  creature.  O  bring  Him  up 
from  the  circle  of  the  earth,  raise  Him  up  from  Seir,  to  assemble 
us  the  second  time  on  Lebanon  by  the  hand  of  Yimion""^  The 
Jewish  editor,  David  Levi,  endeavours  to  break  the  force  of  this 
passage  by  a  note,  explaining  "  our  righteous  anointed "  of 
Josiah.  But  as  he  confesses  that  the  whole  passage  refers  to  the 
Messiah,  with  whose  name  it  begins  and  ends,  and  as  the 
Hebrew  words  for  "our  righteous  anointed  One,''  literally, 
"  Messiali  our  righteousness,"  are  a  common  llabbinic  designation 
of  the  Messiah,  taken  from  Jer.  xxiii.  6,  this  interpretation  can 
only  be  regarded  as  a  polemic  evasion  to  avert  the  Jewish  mind 
from  the  Christian  interpretation  of  Isai.  liii.  Even  in  Lcvi's 
translation  the  passage  speaks  for  itself,  and  as  found  in  the 
service  for  the  most  solemn  day  in  the  whole  Jewish  year, 
proves  that  the  Messianic  interpretation  was  not  only  the  an 
cient,  but  the  national  reception  of  the  chapter.}  The  llabbinic 
tradition  of  two  Messiahs,  one  to  suffer  and  the  other  to  reign, 
seems  also  to  be  a  witness  or  a  homage  to  the  ancient  interpre 
tation  of  this  chapter,  and  to  the  deep  national  conviction  of  the 
need  of  an  atonement.  That  this  national  persuasion  ought  to  have 
some  weight,  even  if  not  supported  by  the  New  Testament,  will 
be  admitted  by  candid  readers.  It  acquires  double  weight 
from  the  fact  that  this  interpretation  is  contrary  to  the  worldly 
hopes  of  a  conquering  Messiah,  so  ardently  entertained  in  the 


*  Yiniion  is  the  Hebrew  word 
translated  in  the  A.  V.  "shall  he 
continued,'*  Ps.  Ixxii.  17.  But  accord 
ing  to  Jewish  tradition,  it  is  a  name 
of  the  Messiah.  "  Yinnon  was  His 
name  before  the  sun,"  i.  e.  before  the 
creation  of  the  world.  As  it  conies 
from  the  verb  p3,  to  propaijate,  they 
seem  to  have  taken  it  in  the;  same 
sense  as  DIOV,  "OH.  "IV"),  and  to  have  un 


derstood  by  it  the  Sonship  of  Messiah. 

t  "The  name  of  the.  Messiah,  as 
alluding  to  Psalm  Ixxii.  17."  (Levi  s 
Note., 

I  Compare  also  the  Prayers  for  the 
Feast  of  Passover,  p.  72,  where  is  ano 
ther  quotation  of  Isaiah  liii.  IS, 
which  David  Levi  himself  says  means 
the  true  Messiah. 


ESSAY  III.]  PROPHECY.  129 

days  of  Roman  domination  in  Palestine,  and  to  which  Rabbinic 
polemics  still  return  in  order  to  prove  that  Jesus  cannot  be  the 
Messiah.  With  such  hopes  and  prejudices,  the  idea  of  a  suffering 
and  despised  Messiah  could  never  have  arisen,  nor  have  been 
entertained,  if  it  had  not  previously  existed,  and  been  received 
as  true  and  genuine.  The  idea  of  pardon  and  salvation  through 
the  sufferings  of  another  was  equally  contrary  to  the  self- 
righteous  doctrine  of  the  Pharisees.  The  existence  and  con 
tinuance  of  such  an  interpretation  is,  therefore,  strong  proof  of 
its  antiquity,  and  of  its  original  source.  The  national  interpre 
tation  of  one  of  their  own  records,  under  such  considerations, 
ought  to  have  at  least  as  much  weight  as  the  discordant  and 
controverted  opinions  of  critics  living,  according  to  their  own 
showing,  2300  years  after  the  record  was  written,  and  filled 
with  antecedent  prejudices  against  a  true  exegesis. 

He  must  indeed  be  a  man  "  that  leans  to  his  own  understand 
ing,"  who  can  lightly  esteem  the  judgment  of  the  ancient  Jewish 
Church,  and  the  common  consent  of  all  Christian  scholars  for 
nearly  ]  800  years,*  and  believe  that  he  has  found  what  such  a 
goodly  company  have  failed  to  perceive.  But  the  Christian 
bows  to  still  higher  authority  than  the  common  judgment  of  this 
mighty  host  of  the  great,  the  good,  the  wise,  and  the  learned,  in 
so  many  ages  and  nations ;  he  learns  from  Him  whose  Spirit 
spake  in  the  prophets,  and  guided  His  disciples  and  Apostles  into 
all  truth.  Christ  and  His  Apostles  have  interpreted  this  chapter 
of  His  suffering^,  death,  and  resurrection-glory  ;  and  the  provi 
dence  of  God  has  verified  the  interpretation.  Not  to  speak  of 
the  past,  our  eyes  still  see  the  fulfilment  of  this  prediction.  The 
most  improbable  prophecy  in  the  world  was  this  which  pre 
dicted  that  a  Jew,  despised  by  his  people,  numbered  amongst 
transgressors,  cut  off  out  of  the  land  of  the  living,  should,  never 
theless,  prolong  his  days,  be  the  light  of  the  Gentiles,  and  God's 
salvation  to  the  ends  of  the  earth.  And  yet  this  is  what  has 
been  accomplished,  and  is  accomplishing  itself  before  our  eyes. 
In  spite  of  all  the  pride,  prejudice,  and  power  of  Greeks  and 
Romans,  the  ignorance  and  fury  of  barbarian  invaders,  the  self- 
sufficiency  of  human  knowledge,  the  vices  of  civilisation,  Jesus 
of  Nazareth  has  triumphed,  and  triumphs,  and  is  still  the  light 


*  Tlio  one  exception  of  Grotius  makes  the  universal  agreement  the  more  striking. 

K 


130  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  III. 

of  the  world.  The  Christian  humbly  and  thankfully  accepts 
the  teaching  of  the  Lord,  and  the  testimony  of  God's  providence. 
The  wondrous  outline  stands  vividly  marked  on  the  page  of 
prophecy ;  the  fulfilment  as  unmistakably  inscribed  on  the 
prominent  pages  of  the  world's  history.  The  one  answers  to 
the  other,  as  the  mirror  to  the  human  face,  and  he  cannot  be 
mistaken.  No  microscopic  investigations  of  criticism  can  make 
the  agreement  doubtful.  He  does  not  despise  or  disregard  the 
labours  of  even  hostile  critics.  On  the  contrary,  he  carefully 
considers  their  every  suggestion,  thankfully  receives  the  light 
which  they  have  thrown  on  words  and  phrases,  acknowledges 
their  diligence,  their  genius,  their  learning,  and  their  honesty, 
so  far  as  their  dogmatic  prejudices  allow  them  to  be  impartial. 
But  Christ  has  spoken,  and  by  Christ's  words  he  abides.  He, 
therefore,  believes  that  the  prophets  spake  as  they  were  moved 
by  the  Holy  Ghost ;  that  they  uttered  predictions ;  that  many 
of  the  most  seemingly  improbable  have  been  fulfilled,  and  are 
pledges  that  the  remainder  shall  also  be  accomplished.  He 
cannot  join  in  the  unbelieving  cry,  "  Where  is  the  promise  of 
His  coming  ?"  He  does  not  believe  that  "  since  the  fathers  fell 
asleep  all  things  continue  as  they  were  from  the  beginning  of 
the  creation,"  but  that  Christ  "  in  His  majesty  rides  prosperously 
on  in  the  cause  of  truth,  and  meekness,  and  righteousness ;"  and 
"  though  the  vision  tarry,"  he  waits  for  it,  assured  that  it  is  "  for 
an  appointed  time,"  and  that  "  at  the  end  it  shall  speak  and  not 
lie — it  will  surely  come,  it  will  not  tarry." 


ESSAY   IV. 
IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


K    2 


CONTEXTS  OF  ESSAY  IV. 


1.  INTRODUCTORY    remarks — practical 

applications  and  bearings  of  Ideo 
logy. 

2.  Professed    objects    of    Ideology — 

chief  peculiarity  of  the  system. 

3.  The  contrast  between  this  and  older 

forms  of  scepticism. 

4.  The  two  systems  mutually  destruc 

tive. 

5.  Proposed  inquiry  into  the  origin  of 

the  system. 

G.  The   outward  world   governed   by 
universal  laws. 

7.  Difficulty  of  applying  general  prin 

ciples  to  the  events  of  secular  his 
tory.  Fiction  and  history  com 
pared. 

8.  The  Ideologist's   view    of    sacred 

history  accounted  for. 

9.  10.  Contrasted  with  that  taken  by 

Christians. 

11.  The  Christian  view  illustrated  and 

confirmed. 

12.  Alternative  set  forth — the  system 

of  Ideologists  repugnant  to  con 
science,  and  to  the  Englishman's 
love  of  truth. 

13.  Historical  inquiry  into  the  origin  and 

development  of  Ideology. 
11.  The  Life  of  Jesus  by  Strauss. 

15.  Early  training   of   Strauss   at  Tu 

bingen. 

16.  Strauss   at  Berlin.     Influence  and 

character  of  Schleiermacher. 

17.  Hegel — his  position,  influence,  and 

general  principles. 

18.  Publication  of  the  'Life  of  Jesus' 

— state  of  Germany  at  the  time — 
effects  of  the  publication. 

19.  General  objects  of  that  work. 

20.  First  part  of  the  work  destructive 

— way  prepared  by  De  Wette, 
Semler,  Gabler,  and  Schleierma 
cher.  Myths. 

21.  Result   of   the   first   part  —  as   re 

gards  our  Lord's  history,  and  dis 
courses. 

22.  Strauss's   theory   as    to    the    ideal 

truths  which  underlie  the  history 
of  Christ., 

23.  Development  of  Pantheism  in  the 

work  on  Christian  Doctrine. 


24.  Straggle  of  the  followers  of  Schleiev- 

maeher  and  Hegel  to  shake  oil' 
the  responsibility.  Other  develop 
ments  of  Hegelian  principles.  F. 
Hie  liter,  Bruno  Bauer. 

25.  Rothe's    work    on    the    Christian 

Church — comparison  with  Dr.  Ar 
nold's  view. 

20.  Ultimate  results  of  Hegelian  prin 
ciples.  Feuerbach,  Communists, 
Atheists,  Revolution  of  1S48. 

27.  Reaction.    Ideology  brought  to  Eng 

land. 

28.  Identity  of  principles  as  regards  a 

future  state. 

29.  Church  and  State. 

30.  Rejection  of  supernatural  agency — 

myths — general  scepticism. 

31.  Position  of  Ideologists  as  ministers 

of  the  Church. 

32.  Doctrinal  safeguards. 

33.  The  practice  of  the  Apostles  con 

sidered  generally. 

34.  St.  Paul's  proceedings  in  the  ease  of 

the  fornicator  at  Corinth,  and  of 
heretical  teachers. 

35.  The  practice  of  the  Early  Church — 

doctrinal  limitation  not  inaugurat 
ed  by  Constantino.  Council  of  Nice. 
The"  Creed  accepted  by  the  State. 

36.  The  practice  of  our  own  Church. 

The  Bible  or  Word  of  God  the 
foundation  of  fundamentals — the 
Creeds  fundamental.  Objects  of  the 
Articles.  Subscription  not  requir 
ed  of  the  laity,  but  of  ministers. 

Reason  of  the  difference. 

Subscription  a  promise,  as  regards 
not  belief,  but  ministerial  acts. 

39.  Obligation  moral,  not  merely  legal. 

40.  Extent  of  the  obligation.     Feelings 

of  the  laity  touching  the  meaning 
of  subscription. 

41.  The  alleged  alienation  of  the  people 

from  the  Church.  The  fact  doubt 
ful — the  cause  not  to  be  found  in 
doctrinal  teaching.  Effects  of  the 
substitution  of  an  ethical  system 
for  Christian  doctrines.  Position 
of  a  rationalistic  minister  in  using 
the  Liturgy. 

42.  True  object  and  duty  of  the  Church. 

Probable  results  of  changes. 

43.  Concluding  remarks. 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


1.  THE  term  Ideology  is  strange,  and  certainly  not  welcome  to 
English  ears;  nor  is  it,  perhaps,  much  to  be  feared  that  the 
system  which  bears  the  name  will  find  many  adherents,  or 
exercise  any  direct  influence  upon  the  current  of  religious 
thought.  A  summary  rejection  may,  therefore,  at  first  sight, 
appear  to  be  an  effectual  and  satisfactory  mode  of  disposing  of 
its  claims.  Such  indeed  might  be  the  case  if  we  considered 
merely  the  abstract  speculations  with  which  Ideology  is  con 
nected  :  but  in  its  applications  and  bearings  it  assumes  a  very 
practical  form.  It  touches  the  most  important  questions  of 
morality,  the  most  vital  truths  of  religion.  It  affects  the  vera 
city  or  trustworthiness  of  the  witnesses  of  Revelation,  the 
genuineness  and  integrity  of  its  documents,  their  origin  and 
interpretation,  and  by  a  strictly  logical,  though  not  perhaps  a 
very  obvious  consequence,  the  relations  between  the  Church, 
her  people,  and  ministers.  Such  points  must  be  scrutinized ;  the 
true  character  of  the  system,  the  principles  on  which  it  rests, 
and  its  inevitable  results  ought  to  be  distinctly  ascertained. 
Should  it  prove,  as  in  all  former  controversies  has  been  the  case, 
that  some  great  truths,  not  generally  recognized  in  their  fulness, 
find  in  this  system,  false  and  pernicious  as  it  may  be,  a  partial  and 
inadequate  expression ;  and  that  the  very  objections  of  ideologists 
enable  us  to  comprehend,  somewhat  more  clearly  than  hereto 
fore,  some  essential  characteristics  of  the  Christian  revelation,  that 
result,  at  least,  will  be  welcome  to  those  who  watch  with  interest, 
though  not  without  perplexity  and  apprehension,  the  progress  of 
religious  speculation  in  an  age  remarkable  for  fearlessness,  and, 
it  may  be  hoped,  for  sincerity,  in  the  pursuit  of  truth. 

2.  The  object  of  Ideology,  as  it  is  described  in  the  writings  of 
Strauss,  who  first  presented  it  in  a  complete  and  systematic 
form,  is  to  reconcile  belief  in  the  spiritual  truths  which  he 
recognized  as  the  ideal  basis  of  Christianity,  with  rejection  of 
all  the  miraculous  events,  and  by  far  the  largest  portion  of  tho 


134  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

narrative,  with  \vlii oh  those  truths  are  connected.  The  rejection 
rests  upon  an  assumption  of  the  utter  incredibility  of  miracles, 
as  irreconcileable  with  philosophical  principles,  and  as  contrary 
to  experience  ;  and  it  is  supported,  as  we  shall  see  presently,  by 
an  unscrupulous  use  of  arguments  supplied  by  various  schools 
of  infidelity.  But  the  chief  peculiarity  of  Ideology  is  that,  sub 
ject  to  this  assumption,  it  professes  to  account  for  the  existence 
of  a  belief  in  the  facts,  and  for  the  form  in  which  the  facts 
are  represented,  and  to  explain  the  real  significance  of  nar 
ratives  involving  supernatural  elements.  The  ideologist,  or 
idealist,  asserts  that  such  narratives  are  myths,  which  it  would 
be  absurd  to  regard  as  true  in  the  letter,  but  which  may  yet 
be  treated  with  respect,  and  even  with  reverence,  as  symbols 
and  representations  of  ideas  which  are  of  permanent  interest 
and  importance  to  mankind.  The  facts  did  not,  and  could  not 
occur  in  the  manner  or  under  the  circumstances  described  in 
Scripture,  but  they  may  yet  be  substantially,  that  is  ideally 
true,  as  products  of  human  consciousness,  as  expressing  at  least 
the  aspirations  or  presentiments  of  a  nature  akin  to  the  divine. 
Many  writers  of  this  school  (and  Strauss  himself  in  several 
passages)  adopt  at  times  a  far  more  offensive  tone,  and  do  not 
hesitate  to  attribute  the  origin  of  large  portions  of  the  Gospel 
narrative  to  the  prepossessions  of  the  writers,  to  their  ignorance, 
credulity,  and  fanaticism,  or  to  selfish  and  interested  motives. 
We  do  not  propose  to  discuss  those  speculations.  The  only  form 
in  which  the  theory  of  ideologists  is  calculated  to  produce  any 
effect  upon  generous  and  elevated  minds,  is  that  which  accepts 
the  ideal  principles  as  true,  while  it  denies  the  historical 
character  of  the  relations  in  which  they  are  bodied  forth. 

3.  One  point  strikes  us  primd  facie  in  considering  this  theory : 
and  that  is  the  very  remarkable  contrast  which  it  exhibits  to 
the  position  of  those  who  formerly,  either  in  England  or  on  the 
Continent,  denied  the  objective  facts  of  revelation.  The  strongest 
attacks  have  proceeded  hitherto,  not  only  from  a  distinct,  but  a 
diametrically  opposite  point  of  view.  Sceptics  and  infidels  used 
to  argue  that  the  doctrinal  statements  in  the  Bible  are  opposed 
to  reason,  and  more  especially  to  the  moral  consciousness  of 
man ;  and  they  rejected  the  historical  relations  chiefly  because 
they  involved  miraculous  attestations  to  those  statements.  That 
position  was  at  least  consistent  and  intelligible :  the  issue  one 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


135 


about  which  there  could  be  no  mistake.  The  Christian  advocate 
had,  of  course,  to  prove  that  the  history  was  sustained  by  evidence 
sufficient  to  satisfy  impartial  inquirers ;  but  his  great  duty  was  to 
vindicate  the  Scriptural  representations  of  the  Divine  attributes, 
and  the  principles  on  which  God  is  described  as  conducting  the 
moral  government  of  the  world.  In  the  new  system,  on  the 
contrary,  the  very  adaptation  of  the  doctrines  of  Scripture  to 
our  spiritual  nature  is  taken  as  a  proof,  or  presumption,  that  the 
forms  in  which  they  are  presented  must  have  been  invented 
or  remoulded  by  the  plastic  imagination  of  man.  It  is  assumed 
not  merely  that  the  existence  of  certain  feelings,  opinions,  or 
aspirations  accounts  for  belief  in  the  facts  narrated  by  the 
evangelists,  but  that,  taken  as  a  whole,  the  objective  system  of 
revelation  sprang  out  of  the  belief — was  spontaneously  evolved 
from  the  half-conscious  operations  of  the  human  mind.  Thus 
the  need  of  reconciliation  with  God  was  repudiated  as  a  super 
stition  by  the  old  sceptic ;  according  to  the  idealist  it  was  the 
feeling  of  such  a  need  which  invested  the  death  of  an  innocent 
man  with  the  attributes  of  a  sacrificial  atonement.  The  longing 
for  communion  with  God,  derided  as  mysticism  by  the  former, 
according  to  the  latter  originated  the  idea  of  the  incarnation ; 
while  all  that  appeared  necessary  to  substantiate  the  doctrine, 
in  the  way  of  miraculous  attestation  or  divine  endowment,  was 
supplied  according  to  this  theory  by  the  credulity  or  imagina 
tion  of  the  followers  of  one  who,  at  a  critical  period  in  the  world's 
history,  concentrated  upon  himself  the  reverence  and  admiration 
of  zealous  converts.  Clustering  around  one  gracious  form,  one 
wise  and  loving  and  truly  sublime  being,  human  yearnings,  human 
tendernesses  sought  and  found  in  him  a  visible  representation  of 
the  Deity.*  In  short,  according  to  ideologists,  the  circumstances 
of  our  Lord's  nativity  and  baptism,  His  conflict  with  Satan,  His 
manifestations  of  superhuman  powers,  and  predictions  of  the 
immediate  or  remote  future,  His  resurrection  and  ascension, — 
indeed  all  the  cardinal  facts  of  religion, — are  so  far  from  being, 
as  older  sceptics  affirmed,  opposed  to  our  moral  consciousness, 
that  they  are  all  but  adequate  representations  of  the  ideal,  which, 


*  Strauss  in  his  answer  to  Sttudel 
makes  the  whole  impulsive  force  of 
Christianity  centre  in  the  personality 
of  Jesus.  In  the  concluding  chapter  of 


the  '  Leben  Jesu,'  he  acknowledges  thn 
peculiar  and  unique  grandeur  of  our 
Lord's  person. 


136  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

if  it  could  IIP  realized,  would  satisfy  the  very  deepest  and  most 
universal  aspirations  of  mankind. 

4.  Certainly  no  greater  contrast  could  be  imagined  between 
two  classes  of  men  who  concur  in  rejecting  the  facts,  and  employ 
nearly  the  same  processes  in  their  attempts  to  discredit  the 
sacred  narrative,  so  far  as  it  involves  what  they  are  pleased  to 
call  violations '  of  universal  laws.  It  may  be  that  the  two  sys 
tems  are  not  merely  contrasted  to  each  other,  but  that  each  con 
tains  a  principle,  which,  if  disentangled  from  the  errors  in  which 
it  is  enveloped,  may  suffice  for  the  exposure  and  overthrow  of 
the  opposite  fallacy.  Destroying  each  other  mutually  as  systems, 
cadi  may  leave  a  residuum  of  truth  available  for  the  defence  of 
the  position  which  they  both  assail. 

On  the  one  side  we  have  the  fact,  that  inquirers,  whom  none 
would  hold  to  be  influenced  by  doctrinal  prejudices  and  pre 
possessions,  recognize  the  adaptation  of  Christian  principles  t 
to  the  wants  and  instincts  of  humanity.  This  fact  not  only 
contradicts,  but  it  utterly  subverts,  the  position  of  those  who 
assert  that  the  doctrines  are  so  repugnant  to  those  instincts  as 
to  make  the  transactions  incredible  by  which  they  are  attested. 
The  old  diy  scepticism  cannot  stand  when  confronted  with 
such  a  recognition  of  the  intrinsic  excellence  and  spirituality 
of  Christian  truth,  as  is  at  present  actually  professed  by  the 
majority,  or  at  any  rate  by  the  most  intellectual  and  influential, 
among  those  whom  freethinkers  regard  as  the  leaders  and 
representatives  of  modern  thought.  J  That  form  of  disbelief  has 
the  ground  cut  away  from  under  its  feet.  It  must  be  regarded 
as  a  mere  subjective  impression,  or  an  indication  of  disorder  in  a 
man's  moral  nature.  The  minds  which  reject  such  truths  cannot 
be  in  what  mere  philosophers,  looking  on  the  whole  matter 
from  without,  would  admit  to  be  a  healthy  and  normal  state. 


*  See  Butler's  remarks  on  the  ob-  ,    left,  or  destructive  side.  M.  de  Pressense" 

jections  to  miracles,  '  Analogy, '  part  ii.  .says  with  equal  force  and  beauty,  "  Lc 

<•.  iv.     His  theory,  that  miracles  may  j    Cliristianism  e'tait  la  re'ponse  <lu  Ciel 

be  referred  to  some  universal,  though  aux  aspirations  de  la  terre." 

unknown,  law  lias  been  strangely  mis-  i        I  In  fact  the  overthrow  of  the  older 

represented.  Rationalism    in    Germany,    which    ex- 

t  That  was  the  opinion  of  all  the  actly     corresponded     with      English 

followers    of    Hegel    until    they   were  Deism,  is  claimed  as  the  great  work  of 

broken   into    opposite   parties   by    the  i    the    system    in    which  Ideology  origi- 

publication  of  Strauss 's  book.     Of  late  nated.     See  Schwartz,  Zur  Geschichte 

years    the   denial  of  such   adaptation  der  neuesten  Theologie,  p.  95. 
marked  a  man  s  place  on  the  extreme 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  137 

Still  the  old  sceptic  has  some  stubborn  facts  on  his  side  which 
are  wholly  inexplicable  on  the  opposite  system.  There  is  the 
fact  that,  since  the  first  promulgation  of  Christianity,  multitudes 
have  rejected,  myriads  misunderstand,  or  are  utterly  unable  to 
realize  its  distinctive  doctrines, — those,  for  instance,  which  the 
most  thoughtful  idealists  regard  with  admiration.  This  is  surely 
incompatible  with  the  theory  that  the  human  mind  could  of 
itself  have  originated  or  developed  the  doctrines,  or  that  it 
should,  consciously  or  unconsciously,  have  distorted  historical 
events  so  as  to  represent  them  in  a  concrete  form.  Those 
doctrines  jar  too  harshly  with  the  mind  in  its  natural  state, 
excite  man's  fears  too  painfully,  to  admit  the  supposition  that 
they  could  be  the  spontaneous  product  of  human  consciousness. 
Under  certain  conditions,  it  is  true  that  they  find  an  echo  in  the 
conscience,  and  give  an  intelligible  solution  to  many  dark 
problems  of  the  universe  :  but  the  very  first  of  those  conditions 
is  a  subjective  change  of  which  neither  sceptic  nor  ideologist 
can  give  any  probable  account.  The  religion  which  involves 
those  doctrines,  which  speaks  of  a  futurity  of  retribution,  which 
contradicts  the  most  widely  spread  prejudices,  and  sets  up  an 
exemplar  utterly  unlike  the  heroes  and  deities  of  all  nations,  is 
one  which  certainly  could  not  have  been  devised  or  anticipated 
by  man.  Thus  scepticism  by  the  very  fact  of  its  prevalence 
overthrows  the  position  of  the  ideologist :  while  the  objections 
and  contradictions  of  both  find  at  once  their  explanation  and 
their  refutation  in  that  position  which  we  hold,  as  a  matter 
not  only  of  faith,  but  of  experience.  Christian  truth,  and  the 
facts  of  revelation  by  which  it  is  represented,  are  in  accordance 
with  the  fundamental  principles  of  human  reason  and  conscience  ; 
yet  they  are  only  accepted  by  man  when  those  principles  are 
themselves  distinctly  recognized, — that  is,  when  both  reason  and 
conscience  are  raised  out  of  the  state  of  corruption  and  degrada 
tion  into  which  they  had  unquestionably  sunk  when  Christianity 
was  first  promulgated.  The  accordance  removes  all  a  priori  moral 
objections  to  the  consideration  of  the  evidence  by  which  those 
truths  and  facts  are  attested,  while  the  actual  repugnance  of  so 
large  a  portion  of  mankind  to  admit  the  doctrine  is  absolutely 
fatal  to  the  theory  of  its  origination  in  human  consciousness, 
apart  from  an  external  supernatural  impulse. 

o.  This  argument  is  not  to  be  set  aside  as  a  mere  logomachy,  an 


138  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

attempt  to  neutralize  conflicting  opinions.  It  is  but  one  instance 
among  many,  of  the  way  in  which  truth  is  elicited  by  the 
collision  of  opposite  errors.  Our  object,  however,  is  not  so 
much  to  confute  as  to  convince,  certainly  not  to  exasperate, 
conscientious  opponents;  and  this  object  may  perhaps  be 
better  attained  by  an  inquiry  how  the  contemplation  of 
Christianity,  being  a  perfect  realization  of  a  perfect  ideal,  could 
have  suggested  to  any  one  such  a  theory  as  that  which  is 
presented  to  us  by  ideologists. 

6.  In  some  sense  all  philosophers  admit  that  the  outward  world 
is  the  result  and  representation  of  the  invisible.     According  to 
materialists   all   phenomena   are  the   products  and  exhibition 
of  self-sustaining  and   self-evolving   powers  which  pervade  all 
nature — that  is,  of  invisible  forces  known  only  by  their  effects. 
According  to  Theists  the  whole  universe  is  the  product  and 
manifestation  of  a  creating,  preserving,  and  ruling  will.     The 
events  of  history  are  in  a  special  sense  manifestations  of  the  law 
which  that  will  imposes  upon  the  development  of  the  human 
race.    The  law  itself  is  discoverable  to  a  certain  extent  by  reflec 
tion  upon  those  events;  Christians  believe  that  it  is  revealed 
fully  in  the  sacred  writings.     All  facts  indeed  are  in  some  sense 
the  concrete  results  and  expression  of  some  absolute  principle, 
some  unseen  power,  some  general  law.*     There  is  in  reality 
no  such  thing  as  a  dead  matter  of  fact,  no  chance,  no  casual 
occurrence,  in  the  history  of  the  world.    Joined  one  to  the  other  in 
an  unbroken  series  of  cause  and  effect,  every  fact,  every  event  finds 
its  necessary  place  in  the  universal  order ;  each  is  a  link  in  that 
chain,  which  according  to  materialists  had  no  beginning  and 
will  have  no  end,  which  according  to  Theists  is  fastened  by  each 
extremity  to  the  throne  of  God.     Christians  accept  the  state 
ment  that  all  existences  are  the  result  of  universal  law,  but 
they  hold  that  law  to  be  the  expression  of  a  supreme  intellect 
and   infinite   love :    deriving  its  force  solely  from  the  will  of 
God. 

7.  Here  we  stand  on  a  platform  on  \vhich,  whether  agreed  or 


*  This  truth  is  recognized  quite  as  be  any  such  thing  as  chance  ;  and  con- 
distinctly  by  Butler  and  all  other  great  elude  that  the  things  which  have  this 
champions  of  •  Revelation  as  by  its  '  appearance  are  the  results  of  general 
strongest  opponents.  "  All  reasonable  laws,  and  may  be  reduced  into  them." 


men  know  certainly  that  there  cannot 


Analogy,  ii.  c.  iv.  §  3. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  139 

not,  we  can  at  least  understand  our  relative  positions.  We  may 
advance  a  stage  further,  and  that  brings  us  to  the  real  issue.  It 
may  be  true,  that  in  a  general  survey  of  history,  principles  of 
law  and  order  are  discernible ;  but  it  is  certain  that  the  diffi 
culty  is  great,  if  not  insuperable,  when  we  seek  to  ascertain  the 
operations  of  those  principles  in  individual  cases,*  when  we  would 
apply  them  to  account  for  events  recorded  by  secular  historians. 
When  thought  sweeps  over  a  wide  expanse,  it  is  confused  by  the 
multiplicity  of  apparently  abnormal  and  contradictory  phe 
nomena — 

"  It  is  most  hard,  with  an  untroubled  ear, 
Those  dark  inwoven  harmonies  to  hear." 

Certain  personages  stand  forth  from  time  to  time,  in  grand 
critical  epochs  of  the  world's  development,  as  representative 
men,  but  seldom,  if  ever,  are  they  adequate  representatives  of 
high,  never  of  the  highest  principles.!  Striking  indications  are 
given  of  an  unseen  presence  by  which  all  processes  are  guided, 
and  of  ends  which  all  subordinate  occurrences  subserve.  But 
over  the  whole  there  is  a  mist,  sometimes  broken,  sometimes 
seeming  to  transmit  light  from  a  higher  sphere,  but  for  the  most 
part  dense  and  impenetrable.  Aberrations  and  inconsistencies, 
contradictions  and  divergencies,  confound  the  philosophic  reader 
of  history,  in  the  attempt  to  arrive  at  a  distinct  perception  of 
the  general  principles,  the  universal  laws,  which  underlie  and 
govern  the  complicated  series  of  external  events. 

One  unquestionable  result  of  this  fact  requires  special  atten 
tion.  The  discrepancy  between  events  as  they  occur  in  secular 
history,  and  the  absolute  ideas  or  principles  which  all  events 
rightly  understood  exemplify  and  represent,  is  in  point  of  fact 
so  far  recognized  by  the  human  mind,  that  whenever  we  read  a 
narrative,  in  which  the  ideal  and  real  are  presented  in  perfect 


*  Thus  Butler,  1.  c.  :  "  It  is  but  au  j  vol.  ii.,  p.  433,  2nd  edition, 

exceeding  little  way,  and  in  but  few  |        f  This  position  and  its  bearings  upon 

respects,  that  we  can  trace  up  the  na-  |  Ideologists  were  discussed  with  great 

turul   course  of  things  before    us    to  |  ability  and  persuasiveness  by  Ullimum 

general  laws."   Mr.  Jowett  has  said,  in  in  the  '  Studien  und  Kritikcn,'    183ti, 


an  essay  of  most  melancholy  tendency, 
"  In  the  study  of  ethnology,  or  geology, 
in  the  records  of  our  own  or  past  times 


No.  3.  This  treatise,  which  was  after 
wards  reprinted  with  tho  title  •  H!H- 
torisch  oder  Mythiseh,'  induced  Strauss 


a  curtain  drops  over  the  Divine  pre-        to  modify  tho  conclusion  of  his'  Lel>eii 
sence." — On  the  Kpistlcs  of  St.  Paul,         Jesu.' 


140  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KSSAY  IV. 

accordance,  we  are  all  but  irresistibly  impressed  with  the  con 
viction  that  it  must  be  fictitious.  Fiction,  as  Aristotle  long 
since  taught,  is  more  catholic  than  reality ;  that  is,  it  is  a  more 
obvious  and  perfect  exemplification  of  general  principles.  A 
perfectly  good,  an  entirely  consistent  man,  a  life  in  which  all 
events  should  be  so  ordered  as  to  harmonize  with  our  ideas  of 
fitness  and  justice,  a  series  of  events  in  which  the  moral 
government  of  the  Supreme  Being  should  be  outwardly  and  de- 
monstrably  exemplified,  would  seem  to  us  from  a  purely  secular 
point  of  view  a  sheer  impossibility.  The  Hegelian  is  right,  so 
far  as  ordinary  men  and  ordinary  events  are  concerned,  in  his 
theory  that  the  ideal  is  ever  striving  for  realization,  but  that  it 
never  is  realized.  That  is  an  old  truth  which  our  own  Hooker 
has  stated  in  terms  at  once  more  simple  and  accurate — "  All 
things  besides,  God  excepted,  are  somewhat  in  possibility  which 
as  yet  they  are  not  in  act."  *  The  map  of  a  country  drawn  in 
outlines  of  geometrical  symmetry,  a  narrative  in  which  all 
events  are  the  development  of  some  great  principle  and  conduce 
to  some  one  intelligible  result,  alike  produce  the  impression  of 
unreality.  We  do  not  see  such  things.  They  are  contrary  to 
experience.  Scarcely  any  amount  of  external  evidence  would 
satisfy  us  of  their  truth. 

It  is  just  at  this  point  that  the  controversy  between  the 
Christian  and  the  Ideologist  arises.  The  question  is  simply 
this :  are  the  same  principles  applicable  to  secular  history  and 
to  the  records  of  a  scheme  which  is  professedly  one  of  divine 
interpositions  ?  f  We  see  perfectly  well  that  if  they  were  ap 
plicable,  the  conclusions  of  the  ideologist  could  scarcely  be 
controverted.  To  one  who  does  not  view  the  sacred  narrative  as 
a  thing  apart,  not  merely  in  certain  details,  but  in  its  entire 
construction,  resting  altogether  upon  different  principles  from 
those  which  he  is  accustomed  to  apply  in  historical  investiga 
tions,  its  facts,  whether  or  not  what  is  commonly  called 
miraculous,  have  primd  facie  this  characteristic  of  fiction.  The 
long  series  of  events  recorded  in  the  Bible,  connected  for  ages 
with  one  family,  but  involving  in  its  consequences  all  the 
destinies  of  mankind,  unquestionably  exemplifies  certain  ideal 
principles,  and  that  throughout  and  completely,  in  its  organic: 

*  E.  P.  i.  5.  t  See.  for  instance,  Strauss'*  '  LC!M  n  .Trsii,'  Kinlcitung,  §  8. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  141 

structure  and  in  its  several  parts.  In  the  opinion  of  one 
who  dismisses,  without  argument,  all  notions  of  supernatural 
intervention,  such  a  fact  is  unaccountable,  excepting  upon 
the  supposition  that  the  history  has  been  invented  or  essen 
tially  changed  in  character  by  the  writers  who  have  trans 
mitted  the  traditional  records  in  their  actual  state.  Whether 
he  attribute  this  to  design,  to  the  influence  of  high  or  low 
feelings,  to  superstition,  ignorance,  prejudice,  or,  on  the  other 
hand,  to  noble  and  generous  aspirations,  may  be  admitted  to 
be  a  matter  of  considerable  import  so  far  as  regards  his  own 
spiritual  state;*  but  the  result  is  alike  destructive  so  far  as 
regards  the  bearings  of  the  argument  upon  the  substantial 
verity  of  the  Scriptures.  The  more  solemn  and  majestic  the 
events,  the  more  completely  in  the  ideologist's  mind  do  they 
bear  the  essential  character  of  a  myth.  In  no  portion  of  Holy 
Writ  is  such  criticism  more  destructive  than  in  that  which 
presents  to  us  the  life  of  our  Lord — that  perfect  embodiment  of 
an  ideal,  in  itself  without  a  parallel,  in  its  realization  transcend: 
ing  all  conceptions  of  the  human  mind.f 

9.  We  thus  account  for  the  position  of  the  ideologist,  and  in 
accounting  for  it  we  seem  to  gain  a  singularly  distinct  perception 
of  what  is  surely  the  most  positive  and  peculiar  characteristic  of 
Christianity.  The  attributes,  the  very  nature  of  God,  are 
manifested  in  the  government  of  the  world,  viewed  by  the  light 
of  Scripture,  but  most  specially  and  completely  in  the  Person 
and  works  of  the  Son.  Just  in  this  point  consists  the  real 
contrast  between  sacred  and  profane  history.  Profane  history 
may  not,  and  indeed  it  cannot  contradict,  but  it  certainly  does 
not  distinctly  teach,  some  of  the  most  momentous  and  necessary 
truths — such  as  the  unity  of  God,  the  unity  of  the  human  race, 
the  unity  of  human  history,  the  universal  principles  of  morality, 
or  the  systematic  development  of  the  purposes  of  an  almighty 
and  loving  will.  Historians,  excepting  so  far  as  they  have 
drawn  light  from  other  sources,  do  not  in  point  of  fact  distinctly 


*  All  these  influences  are  adopted  f  Thus   even  Grotz,  quoted  in  the 

by  Stniuss,  as  acting  in  co-ordination  'Westminster     Review,'     July     1861. 

with   the  philosophical   mythus,   that  j  Strauss  speuks  scarcely  less  strongly  of 

which    clothes    in    the    garb   of   his-  j  the  marvellous  and  unrivalled  beauty 

torical  narrative  a  simple   thought,  a  I  of  the  conception.     See  his  answer  to 

precept  or  idea  of  the  time.     L.  J.,  Ullmann,  '  Verganglichcn  uud  Bleiben.' 


Einleitung,  §  8. 


183'J. 


142  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  ;  ESSAY  IV.. 

set  forth  all  or  any  of  these  truths.  Sacred  history  teaches 
them  all,  and  teaches  them  not  by  mere  abstractions,  but  by  the 
representation  of  events  in  which  our  conceptions  of  what  is 
right,  reasonable,  and  desirable,  find  a  perfect  satisfaction. 
Our  only  postulate  is  one  which  cannot  be  denied  on  rational 
grounds  by  any  but  atheists* — that  God  has  the  will  and  the 
power  of  making  Himself  known  to  His  creatures.  That  granted, 
the  reasonableness  and  therefore  the  probability  of  such  a 
manifestation  of  Himself  can  scarcely  be  denied.  The  intellect 
freed  from  the  shackles  of  sin  and  knowledge  falsely  so  called, 
fastens  with  joy  upon  the  one  clue  to  the  labyrinthine  mazes  of 
speculation.  Holding  it  a  priori  to  be  possible  that  the  Divine 
love  may  choose  thus  to  deliver  us  from  dark  and  dreary  be 
wilderment,  we  gladly  accept  the  proofs  that  such  has  been  His 
gracious  will.  We  believe  that  in  another  state  the  ideal  will 
be  thoroughly  and  universally  realized,  that  each  act  and  eacli 
existence,  in  its  place  and  its  degree,  will  be  then  a  perfect 
exemplification  of  some  eternal  reality ;  and  of  this  we  are  equally 
convinced,  that  a  foretaste  and  anticipation  of  that  future  har 
mony  has  been  vouchsafed  in  the  Scriptural  narrative,  most 
especially  in  the  life  and  person  of  Jesus  Christ. 

10.  It  is  a  strange  and  instructive  contrast  which  is  thus  pre 
sented  between  the  effects  of  the  Scriptural  narrative  upon  the 
ideologist  and  upon  the  simple-hearted  Christian.     The  traces  of 
harmonious  accordance  impress  the  former  with  the  conviction 
that  he  is  listening  to  the  record  of  a  dream — beautiful  it  may 
be,  and  significant, — the  dream  of  a  poet  or  a  saint,  of  a  spirit 
full  of  divine  yearnings  and  sympathies,  but  still  a  dream — 
an  empty,  unsubstantial  dream.     The  Christian  sees  in  that 
accordance  the  evidence  of  a  divine  power ;  of  all  effects  upon 
lus  mind  the  very  last  would  be  a  doubt  as  to  the  reality  of  the 
objective  facts  which  show  how  that  power  has  been  exerted 
for  the  regeneration  of  man. 

11.  This  is  a  strong  position  to  occupy,  a  secure  resting-place 


*  Including  all  schools  of  Pantheism  j  body  of  the  Deity.  Such  arc  J.  II. 
which  deny  the  consciousness  of  God,  j  Ficlitr,  and  C.  H.  Weisse,  Schwartz, 
and  moreover  those  Deists  who  main-  Sic.,  in  Germany ;  F.  Newman  (if,  in- 


tain  the  absolute  necessity  of  all  mani 
festations  of  the  Divine  nature  in  the 
world — who  make  the  world,  so  to 
.speak,  the  complete  manifestation  and 


deed,  he  recognizes  at  present  any  per 
sonal  consciousness  in  God  ,  and  many 
others,  in  England. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  143 

for  the  spirit.  We  may  profitably  dwell  somewhat  in  detail  upon 
the  thoughts  which  it  suggests.  Every  fact  in  the  life  of  our 
Master  is  in  accordance  with  a  spiritual  principle  which  it  actually 
and  completely  represents.  Man,  conscious  of  inherent  weakness, 
longs  for  union  with  God.  In  the  incarnation,  God  and  man  be 
come  one.  Man  feels  himself  exposed  to  a  strange  fascination  which 
attracts  him  towards  evil  and  draws  him  away  from  God.  In 
Christ  he  meets,  baffles,  and  overcomes,  the  personal  agent  of  all 
temptation.  Man  feels  that  he  is  a  slave  to  nature,  over  which 
a  sure  instinct  tells  him  that  he  was  destined  to  rule.  In  Christ 
he  exercises  that  dominion,  making  all  physical  forces  subser 
vient  to  his  will.  Man  fears  disease,  affliction,  and  bereavement. 
In  Christ  all  sorrows  become  medicinal,  and  conduce  to  the  per 
fection  of  our  renewed  nature.  Man  has  two  great  foes — sin,  and 
death  the  penalty  of  sin.  Christ  crushes  sin,  and  expels  it 
from  His  dominions ;  death  He  converts  into  the  last  best  friend, 
the  opener  of  the  portals  of  eternal  life.  Moved  by  the  Spirit 
of  God,  the  mind  of  man  from  age  to  age  has  uttered  aspirations, 
more  or  less  imperfectly  comprehended,  for  a  Saviour,  a  righteous 
Lord,  a  manifestation  of  God  in  a  living  human  Person.  One 
by  one  the  characteristics  of  such  a  Person  were  traced  by  the 
spirit  of  prophecy :  all  the  conditions  of  that  manifestation,  the 
object  of  His  coming,  the  time,  the  circumstances,  the  various 
signs  by  which  He  might  be  recognized,  were  clearly  predicted ; 
those  predictions  were  graven  upon  the  hearts  of  the  Israelites, 
and  were  even  partially  known  to  the  Gentiles.*  In  Jesus,  by 
a  combination  of  circumstances  which  seemed  fortuitous,  and,  so 
far  as  human  agents  were  concerned,  beyond  all  question  were 
undesigned,  those  predictions  were  fulfilled,  apparent  contradic 
tions  were  reconciled ;  and,  in  a  higher  sense  than  the  most  gifted 
seers  had  imagined,  those  characteristics  were  exemplified.  We 
see  in  Jesus  perfect  man,  the  one  normal,  ideal  man,  the 
one  representative  of  the  type  which  was  in  the  thought 
of  God  when  He  moulded  the  frame  of  Adam,  and  breathed 
into  his  nostrils  the  breath  of  life.-j-  In  personal  union 


*  Strauss  adopts  the  view  that  the 
whole  life  of  Jesus,  all  that  He  should 
or  would  do,  had  an  ideal  existence  in 
the  Jewish  mind  long  before  His  birth. 
Einleitung,  §11. 


t  This  thought,  as  might  be  ex 
pected,  is  worked  out  very  thoroughly 
by  the  best  divines  of  modern  Ger 
many  ;  but  it  belongs  to  the  old  schools 
of  Hebrew  exegesis,  or,  to  speak  more 


144  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  TV. 

with  that  perfect  man  we  are  taught  to  discern  the  living 
Word,  the  Son  of  God.  If  the  whole  structure  of  our  religion 
be  not  a  baseless  vision,  if  all  our  hopes  be  not  a  miserable 
delusion,  it  is  true,  simply  and  absolutely  true,  that  in  that 
Person  the  perfect  ideal  is  perfectly  real.  We  expect,  there 
fore,  to  find — in  fact  we  should  be  confounded  if  we  did  not 
find — in  the  history  of  the  God-man*  just  that  harmony,  unity, 
and  complete  interpenetration  of  all  that  is  good  and  beautiful  in 
abstract  principles,  that  perfect  representation  of  inward  spiritual 
truths,  of  which  genius  has  dreamed,  but  which  it  has  vainly 
striven  to  realize.  We  feel  that  such  a  history  must  be  sacra 
mental.  And  thus,  in  the  very  facts  which  create  distrust  in  the 
ideologist,  we  find  the  strongest  confirmation  of  our  faith.  We  are 
entitled  to  say  to  him — You  cannot  surely  be  so  unreasonable 
as  to  call  upon  us  to  give  up  any  part  of  what  you  must  admit 
to  be  a  consistent  and  complete  realization  of  that  which  you 
profess  to  recognise  as  good  and  beautiful,  simply  on  the  ground 
that  it  is  too  good,  too  beautiful,  to  be  true.t  We  have,  as  you 
must  confess,  full  access  to  the  ideal  sphere  in  which  the  soul 
may  expatiate  with  delight.  You  cannot  wish  us  to  pass  over  to 
you,  with  nothing  to  gain,  with  so  much  to  lose,  even  in  your 
opinion,  in  our  own  not  less  than  all.  You  offer  us,  in  fact,  nothing 
but  the  substitution  of  moral  and  intellectual  speculations  of 
the  most  bewildering  character,  in  place  of  difficulties  which  a 
simple  faith  enables  a  sound  reason  practically  to  overcome.  WTe, 
on  the  contrary,  have  every  motive  to  call  on  you  to  pass  over 
to  our  side  :  what  you  have  to  sacrifice  is  a  mere  notion,  a  novel 
one  even  in  the  schools  of  philosophy,  as  to  the  incredibility  of 
an  external  and  perfect  manifestation  of  the  divine.  What  you 
have  to  gain  is  the  realization  of  the  dearest  and  deepest  hopes 


correctly,  underlies  all  the  Biblical  in-  prove  that  in  its  philosophic  form  the 

timations  of  tin-  future  Messiah's  per-  j    truth  was  recognized  and   taught   by 

son  and  work.    'See  the  account  of  the  Hegel.     See   Goschel,  Von  Gott,  dem 

Adam  Cadmon  in  Dorner's  '  Einluitung  Menschen  und  dem  Gottmenschen. 

to   his   Christology.')     It   is   not    sur-  *  dtdvQpujiros,  a  most  pregnant  term, 

prising,  when  we  consider  the  immense  !    used    very   frequently   by    the    Greek 

importance  of  the  principle,  that  the  ,    Fathers. 

followers  of  opposite   and   conflicting  I        f  Strauss,  speaking  of  the  theory  in 

systems  of    philosophy    should    have  the    very   imperfect   form   which    was 

claimed  it  for  their  own  leaders.     The  given  to  it  by  Schleiermacher,  calls  it  a 

Hegelians  were  especially  anxious  to  beautiful  effort  of  thought. 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


145 


of  humanity — hopes  which  nothing  short  of  such  a  realization 
can  satisfy  and  fulfil. 

12.  It  would  be  a  good  thing  if  our  countrymen,  and  especially 
our  younger  countrymen,  would  distinctly  contemplate  the  alter 
native  which  they  must  in  consistency  adopt  when  the  claims  of 
the  Scriptural  narrative  are  confronted  with  ideologists.  We 
may  owe  something  even  to  the  fearless  speculators  who,  obscure 
and  perplexing  as  their  writings  are  in  other  respects,  have  at 
least  brought  this  question  to  a  definite  issue.  For  young  men 
of  active  and  liberal  spirits  (indeed,  for  all  who  venture  into  the 
region  of  speculative  inquiry,  for  those  more  especially  who  hang 
about  its  outskirts)  the  chief  danger  is  that  they  may  adopt 
opinions  which  are  intrinsically  antagonistic  to  truth,  without 
any  suspicion  of  their  tendencies  and  necessary  results.  It  is 
well  that  such  tendencies  are  at  any  rate  brought  out  distinctly. 
Some  few  may  possibly  accept  the  conclusions  to  which  the 
speculations  lead :  but  even  for  them  it  may  be  better  that  they 
should  arrive  rapidly  at  the  end,  and  find  by  experience  its  bar 
renness  and  emptiness.  The  recoil  from  the  dreary  void  of  scep 
tical  negation  has  been  to  some,  and  those  no  ignoble  spirits,  the 
first  movement  towards  the  recovery  of  truth.  But  the  great 
majority  of  Englishmen  are  extremely  unlikely,  even  for  a 
season,  to  find  any  resting-place  in  a  system  which  makes  the 
deepest  and  most  practical  convictions  dependent  upon  meta 
physical  abstractions,  depriving  them  of  the  foundation  of  positive 
objective  facts.*  Once  assured  that  ideology  simply  means 
denial  of  the  veracity  of  the  writers  who  bear  witness  to  mi 
raculous  facts — of  the  truth  of  the  whole,  or  of  any  considerable 


*  Such,  too,  was  the  state  of  feel 
ing  in  Germany.  A  writer,  whose 
bias  is  utterly  opposed  to  orthodoxy, 
declares  truly  that  the  orthodox  reac 
tion  originated  among  men  connected 
with  public  life— leaders  of  the  pa 
triotic  outburst— that  the  religious  sys 
tems  of  the  Berlin  schools  were  too 
spiritualistic,  too  thin  and  fine  drawn, 
too  sentimental  and  indefinite  to  pro 
duce  practical  results.  What  men 
wanted  was  a  right  massive,  sturdy, 
popular  Christianity,  such  as  Luther 
preached.  "  In  truth  there  was  a  deep 
chasm  between  the  new  intellectual 
character  (Geistosbildung)  presented  by 


the  leaders  in  philosophy  and  poetry, 
and  the  wants  of  the  people."  See 
Schwartz, '  Zur  Gcschichte  der  neuesten 
Theologie,'  p.  67.  The  whole  chapter 
is  instructive,  as  showing  the  utter  un- 
fitness  of  Rationalism  in  any  of  its 
forms,  Idealism  included,  to  act  on  the 
moral  and  spiritual  life  of  the  people — 
that  is,  to  do  the  special  and  peculiar 
work  of  Christianity.  A  form  of  religion 
which  admits  that  incapacity  stands 
self- condemned.  The  arguments  of 
Origen  against  Celsus  are  particularly 
worthy  of  consideration  in  their  bear 
ings  upon  this  question.  See  lib.  vi.  2, 
and  vii.  59,  60. 


146  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

portion  of  the  book,  in  which  it  nevertheless  recognizes  utterances 
of  a  divine  spirit,  they  will  turn  aside  in  contempt  from  what 
must  seem  to  them  a  suicidal  inconsistency.  One  great  charac 
teristic  of  Englishmen — the  characteristic,  in  fact,  on  which  they 
may  justly  rest  their  claims  to  a  foremost  (indeed,  £7*6.  foremost) 
position  among  the  representative  races  of  humanity — is  the 
belief  in,  and  the  love  of,  positive  objective  truth.  Once  con 
vinced  of  the  untruthfulness  of  a  writer,  no  ingenuity  of  reason 
ing,  no  fascination  of  style,  no  adaptation  of  his  statements  to 
their  feelings  or  prejudices,  will  induce  them  to  listen  to  his 
words.  They  may  be  slow  to  discern  the  symptoms  of  untruth- 
fulness,  may  be  deceived  and  misled,  but  they  will  have  but 
one  short  word  to  designate  what  they  are  once  convinced  has 
no  foundation  in  fact.  The  very  last  position  which  they  will 
admit  as  possible,  or  tolerate  as  defensible,  is,  that  truths  of  in 
finite  import  should  have  been  transmitted  from  the  divine  to 
the  human  intelligence  by  unveracious  witnesses,  or  through  the 
medium  of  events  distorted  by  enthusiasts.  The  Englishman 
may  be  narrow-minded  or  prejudiced,  unapt  to  deal  with  abstract 
speculations  ;  but  he  has  at  least  had  this  training, — he  has  been 
accustomed  to  weigh  evidence,  to  seek  for  matter  of  fact  truth 
in  the  first  place,  and  to  satisfy  himself  as  to  the  good  faith  and 
correct  information  of  those  from  whom  he  expects  to  receive 
knowledge  or  instruction.  One  thing  with  him  is  fixed  and  certain  ; 
whatever  else  may  be  doubtful,  this  at  least  is  sure — a  narrative 
purporting  to  be  one  of  positive  facts,  which  is  wholly  or  in  any 
essential  or  considerable  portion  untrue,  can  have  no  connection 
with  the  Divine,  and  cannot  have  any  beneficial  influence 
upon  mankind.  The  doctrines  which  are  based  upon  it,  or  in 
separably  bound  up  with  it,  must  have  their  origin  in  another 
region  than  that  of  light.  He  will  not  allow  himself  to 
be  entangled  in  the  mazes  of  speculation.  Without  troubling 
himself  as  to  the  direction  in  which  they  may  lead  him,  he  will 
stop  at  the  threshold  :  he  will  say — Before  I  go  one  step 
further,  let  me  know  what  you  say  to  our  Lord's  miracles — to 
the  miracle  of  miracles,  the  Resurrection.  Is  it  a  fact  or  not  ? 
As  for  the  ideal  truth  which,  as  you  say,  it  may  represent, 
we  may  inquire  about  that  hereafter ;  but  let  us  first  know  on 
what  we  stand — on  the  shifting  quicksands  of  opinion,  or  on  the 
solid  ground  of  positive  objective  fact. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  147 

13.  It  may  be  said  that  it  is  unfair  to  press  a  man,  and  by  urging 
the  consequences  of  his  opinions,  to  drive  him  from  a  position 
in  which  even  for  a  time  he  may  find  refuge  from  utter  unbelief. 
This  consideration  would  undoubtedly  have  great  weight  if  the 
question  regarded  only  the  speculative  inquirer.   Charity  cannot 
be  carried  too  far  in  judging  any  man's  motives,  in  bearing  with  his 
perplexities,  and  putting  the  most  favourable  construction  upon 
his  words :  but  when  a  man  propounds  his  opinions  publicly,  works 
them  up  into  an  elaborate  system,  and  commends  them  by  all 
the  graces  and  artifices  of  rhetoric,  his  object  is  evidently  not  so 
much  to  satisfy  his  own  mind,  as  to  influence  the  minds  of 
others ;   and  for  their   sake  it  is  necessary  to   ascertain   his 
meaning,  and  to  show  clearly  the  principles  upon  which  his 
system  rests,  and  the  consequences  which  it  involves.   Above  all, 
is-  this  our  duty  when  those  principles  are  introduced  rather  by 
insinuation  than  by  direct  assertion,  and  are  directly  connected 
with,  the  recommendation  of  disingenuous  acts,  by  which  the 
safeguards  of  religion  are  undermined.     We  consider  it  a  fortu 
nate  circumstance  that,  on  the  first  appearance  of  ideology,  so 
much  of  its  true  character  has  been  disclosed.     In  order,  how 
ever,  thoroughly  to  comprehend  its  bearings,  and  to  prove  its 
internal  and  necessary  connection  with  the  ultimate  principles 
of  unbelief,  it  will  be  expedient  to  give  some  account  of  its  ori 
gination  and  development  in  Germany.  Some  of  the  facts  which 
follow  are  unknown  to  the  generality  of  English  readers ;   they 
certainly  ought  to  be  known  by  all  who  feel  interested  in  the 
progress  and  tendencies  of  Rationalism  in  its  most  ingenious  and 
subtle  form. 

14.  It  has  been  already  stated  that  ideology  was  first  presented 
as  a  distinct  and  complete  system  in  the  writings  of  Strauss.  His 
Life  of  Jesus  is  universally  recognized  as  the  beginning  of  a 
new  epoch  in  theological  speculations.     The  writer  himself  has 
lately  asserted,  with  characteristic  arrogance,  that  no  work  of 
any  importance  has  since  been  written  upon  any  portion  of  the 
evangelical  narrative  without  reference  to  his  book.    The  vaunt, 
as  we  shall  see,  is  not  an  empty  one.  That  work  did  concentrate 
and  systematize  all  that  infidelity  had  previously  advanced  or 
suggested  against  the  credibility  of  the  Gospels  and  the  whole 
system  of  Christianity  as  an  objective  revelation.     The  destruc 
tive  criticism  of  rationalists,  arid  the  mysticism  of  Hegel,  were 

L  2 


148  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

brought  together ;  that  to  discredit  the  facts  of  revelation,  this  to 
supply  a  new  foundation  for  the  speculations  which  Strauss  pro 
poses  as  the  substitute  for  historical  Christianity. 

15.  By  education  and  circumstances,  and  also,  it  must  be  ad 
mitted,  by  some  rare  and  eminent  gifts,  Strauss  was  qualified  for 
the  position  he  assumed.     He  was  brought  up  at  Tubingen,  an 
university  which,  in  its  retention  of  ancient  forms  of  discipline, 
still  bears  more  resemblance  to  Oxford  than  to  any  institution 
in  Germany  ;  and,  when  he  was  a  student,  it  was  justly  regarded 
as  the  stronghold  of  Lutheran  orthodoxy.     Among  others  less 
widely  known,  but  sound  in  the  faith, — such  as  Storr,  Flatt,  and 
Steudel, — Tubingen  boasts  of  the  great  name  of  Bengel.      In 
that  school  Strauss  learned  somewhat  of  the  nature  of  the  prin 
ciples  which  he  was  to  attack.     Under  F.  C.  Baur,  since  known 
as  the  most  subtle  and  learned  of  neologians,  but  whose  tenden 
cies  were  then  scarcely  suspected,  he  acquired  the  habit  of  scep 
tical  investigation,  and  imbibed  a  rooted  antipathy  to  what  the 
Germans  call  "  supernaturalisin  " — that  is,  the  recognition  of  a 
miraculous  element  in  religion.  Free  from  any  taint  of  sensuality, 
he   bore  a  high  character,  to  which  his  influence  among  the 
students  and  professors  may  in  part  be  attributed.   On  the  other 
hand,  utterly  indifferent  to  the  tendencies  or  results  of  his  in 
quiries,  singularly  devoid  of  geniality  or  sympathy,  he  evinced 
on  all  occasions  a  supercilious  disregard  for  feelings  which  he 
might  wound,  combined  with  a  total  absence  of  reverence  for 
the  divine.     His  intellect  was  keen  and  clear  ;  his  natural  apti 
tude  for  dialectical  subtleties  was  developed  by  intense  applica 
tion  :    he  had  also  a  power,  not  common  in  any  country,  and 
extremely  rare  in  his  own,  that  of  presenting  the  results  of  his 
labours  in  an  intelligible  and  interesting  form,  with  the  advan 
tages  of  artistic  arrangement  and  a  perspicuous  style. 

16.  In  the  year  1831,  Strauss,  until  then  a  Repetent  or  assistant 
tutor  at  Tubingen,  went  to  Berlin,  at  that  time  the  centre  of  all 
speculative  movements  in  theology  and  philosophy.     Schleier- 
macher  stood  at  the  head.  Few  men  have  ever  exercised  a  wider 
or  more  powerful    influence.      His  vast  learning  and  vigorous 
intellect ;  his  lively  and  persuasive  eloquence ;  above  all,  his 
peculiar  mode  of  inculcating  religious  principles,  attracted  many 
of  the  noblest  and  most  powerful  minds.  The  characteristic  of  his 
system  was  the  prominence  which  he  gave  to  religious  feeling — 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


149 


subjective  feeling  was  to  him  and  the  most  influential  of  his  fol 
lowers  the  one  test  both  of  the  importance  and  reality  of  spi 
ritual  truths :  and  to  his  teaching  may  be  traced  that  aversion  to 
what  is  called  dogmatism,  which  distinguishes  many  of  our  own 
writers  who,  without  adopting  all  his  views,  have  passed  through 
his  school.  His  influence  over  Strauss,  however,  depended  upon 
other  qualities.  Schleiermacher  combined  with  a  peculiarly 
genial  and  winning  sweetness  of  character,  and  with  a  dreamy 
but  graceful  and  attractive  sentimentalism,  a  no  less  remarkable 
talent  for  sarcastic  and  reckless  criticism.  No  man  was  more 
acute  in  detecting  flaws,  none  more  unscrupulous  in  exposing 
what  he  deemed  to  be  inconsistencies.  None  had  hitherto  gone 
so  far  in  discrediting  large  portions  of  the  Scriptural  narrative, 
or  in  assailing  the  authenticity  of  canonical  books.*  When  Strauss 
came  to  Berlin,  Schleiermacher  had  been  giving  a  course  of 
lectures  on  the  life  of  Jesus,  which  are  characterized  by  a  friendly 
critic  as  full  of  acute  combinations  and  destructive  scepticism. 
Those  lectures  were,  indeed,  the  chief  attraction  which  drew  him 
thither.t  They  gave  the  strongest  impulse  to  his  own  work  of 
demolition. 


*  This  statement  may  seem  too 
Larsh.  Schwartz,  however,  a  critic 
who  has  the  greatest  admiration  and 
even  reverence  for  Schleiermacher, 
observes  that  the  critical  processes  by 
which  Strauss  attempted  to  overthrow 
the  sacred  history  were  learned  in  the 
school  of  Schleiermaclier.  "  Originating 
with  Semler  and  Eichhorn,  they  had 
been  developed  in  rationalistic  circles, 
and  reached  their  highest  point  in  the 
labours  of  De  Wette,  Schleiermacher, 
and  Gieseler."  Zur  Geschichte  der 
neuesten  Theologie,  p.  33.  A  most 
important  statement  for  the  young 
student  of  German  theology.  Gieseler 
himself  gives'the  following  account  of 
thatgreatman's  principles : — "  Schleier 
macher  went  very  far  in  his  concessions 
to  modern  opinion.  He  admitted  that 
the  piety  of  a  Pantheist  might  be  iden 
tical  with  that  of  a  Monotheist,  and 
recoucileable  even  with  Christianity. 
That  piety,  moreover,  could  coexist 
with  the  theory  which,  denying  the 
continuance  of  personal  existence,  re 
gards  the  common  spirit  of  humanity  as 
the  source  of  individual  souls,  the  true 
living  unity,  of  which  alone  eternity 
and  immortality  can  be  predicated ;  in- 
rlividual  souls  being  its  transitory 


actions,  or  manifestations.  For  the 
Christian  as  such  there  is  no  guarantee 
for  personal  duration,  save  that  which 
is  found  in  the  belief  of  the  eternal 
union  of  the  Divine  Essence  with  the 
human  nature  in  Christ.  The  his 
torical  connection  of  Christianity  with 
Judaism  is  external,  precisely  the  same 
as  with  heathenism — hence  he  assigns 
to  the  Old  Testament  no  normal  au 
thority.  Angels  are  creatures  of  the 
imagination — in  the  idea  of  the  devil 
ho  rinds  an  internal  contradiction — but 
he  consents  to  retain  angels  and  devils 
for  liturgical  use.  The  resurrection  of 
the  body  and  the  last  judgment  are  to 
be  understood  not  as  positive  truths, 
but  as  the  outward  representations  of 
general  truths.  Eternal  damnation  is 
rejected  as  inconceivable." — Kirchenge- 
schichte  der  neuesten  Zeit.,  p.  240. 

t  See  Schwartz,  1.  c.  Strauss  himself 
says  that  he  procured  the  MS.  of  the 
lectures  which  had  been  given  before 
his  arrival.  He  points  out  the  differ 
ence  between  his  own  views  and  those 
of  Schleiermacher,  who  wished  to  retain, 
by  help  of  naturalistic  interpretations, 
the  substance  of  the  Gospel  narration. 
His  statement  is  quite  compatible  witli 
tlmt  of  Schwartz. 


150  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

1 7.  It  was  not,  however,  in  the  system  of  Schleiermacher  that 
Strauss  found  the  true  key  to  his  own  position.  He  was  abun 
dantly  supplied  with  weapons  for  attack.  Rationalists  and  senti 
mentalists  had  undermined  the  outworks  of  revelation  :  but  he 
.saw  plainly  that  something  more  and  something  different  was 
needed  to  account  for  the  origin  of  Christianity ;  and  it  was  per 
fectly  clear  to  him  that  the  battered  and  disfigured  fabric  of  what 
he  regarded  as  mere  superstition  could  not  be  demolished  and 
swept  away,  unless  it  were  displaced  by  a  system  better  calculated 
to  meet  the  requirements  of  the  human  mind. 

It  seems  strange  that  he  should  have  fixed  upon  Hegelianism 
for  that  purpose ;  for  Hegel,  then  in  the  full  noontide  of  his  in- 
Huence,  was  regarded  as  the  bulwark  of  orthodox  conservatism 
both  in  church  and  state.  The  fundamental  doctrines  of  reli 
gion,  the  dogmatic  forms  of  the  church,  even  the  most  abstruso 
and  difficult  speculations  of  theologians  and  schoolmen,  were  at 
that  very  time  maintained  by  professors  of  the  school  of  Hegel, 
who  were  recognized  by  him  as  faithful  and  intelligent  expositors 
of  his  views.  It  was  believed  that  he  had  effected  a  real  and  per 
manent  reconciliation  between  philosophy  and  religion.  Faith  and 
knowledge  henceforth  were  to  work  together  in  perfect  harmony  ; 
all  apparent  contradictious  were  to  be  absorbed  ;  all  perplexing 
problems  to  find  a  solution  in  the  higher  sphere  of  metaphysical 
abstraction.  A  new  system  of  optimism  was  founded,  which 
acknowledged  the  State  not  merely  as  a  necessary  organization, 
but  as  the  highest  realization  of  the  ideal  of  society,  and  rejected 
all  factious  and  democratic  tendencies  as  pernicious  errors ;  while, 
in  their  ecclesiastical  tendencies,  Hegel's  principles  seemed  rather 
to  verge  towards  Romanism  than  towards  the  dissolution  of  all 
formal  authority,  which  appeared  imminent  as  a  development  of 
infidelity  under  the  thin  disguise  of  rational  Protestantism. 
He  was,  in  fact,  by  taste,  habits,  and  disposition,  a  conserva 
tive,  both  as  regarded  the  outward  framework  of  church  and 
state,  and  the  dogmatic  representation  of  religious  truths.  It 
may  seem  strange ;  but  it  was  a  proof  of  the  clear  insight  and 
vigorous  intellect  of  Strauss,  that  in  the  fundamental  prin 
ciples  of  that  philosopher's  system,  he  discerned  the  motive 
power  which,  he  required  to  overthrow  all  which  it  appeared 
to  accept  so  unreservedly  and  to  defend  with  unprecedented 
success. 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


151 


We  can  scarcely  hope,  and  will  not  attempt,  to  state  those 
principles  in  a  clear  or  even  intelligible  form ;  but  some  of  the 
results,  as  Strauss  apprehended  and  applied  them,  are  practical 
enough.  His  exposition,  moreover,  has  been  justified  both  by 
the  adhesion  of  a  considerable  number  of  those  who  were  once 
thestanchest  maintainers  of  their  master's  orthodoxy,  and  by  the 
ultimate  overthrow  of  the  system  itself,  which  is  now,  in  the  form, 
which  Hegel  gave  it,  altogether  a  thing  of  the  past.*  Under 
the  abstruse  and  cloudy  statements  of  that  philosopher,!  Strauss 
saw  clearly  involved  the  positive  denial  of  the  personality  of  the 
Godhead,  the  assertion  of  the  phenomenal  and  evanescent,  the 
incomplete  and  inadequate  character  of  all  existences,  the 
absorption  of  individuality  ;  in  short,  a  complete  system  of  pan 
theism,  more  idealistic  than  any  previous  development,  and  at 
the  same  time  more  capable  of  explaining  the  events  of  history 
both  profane  and  sacred. 

18.  Strauss  took  some  time  to  prepare  a  work  in  which  he  ap 
plied  these  principles  to  the  overthrow  of  Christianity.  The  '  Life 
of  Jesus '  was  published  in  1835.  It  appeared  at  a  period  of  out 
ward  calm ;  there  was  a  singular  cessation  just  then  of  contro 
versy,  a  general  feeling  of  security.  Hegel  had  been  dead 
four  years.  He  had  departed,  so  to  speak,  in  the  odour  of 


*  M.  Scherer  says — "  II  a  fait  faillite, 
et  c'est  le  positiviame  qui  a  pris  la  suite 
de  ses  affaires."  And  elsewhere — "  Ce 
bulle  de  savon  a  creve  depuis  long- 
temps." 

t  Hegel  taught  that  the  universe  is 
but  a  continuous  evolution  of  an  in- 
iinite  potentiality  ;  that  the  absolute 
is  not  found  either  in  the  ideal  sub 
stratum,  which  is  not  a  positive  exist- 
once,  or  in  matter  of  fact  phenomena, 
which  have  no  permanent  reality,  but 
in  a  perpetual  process  of  self-develop 
ment.  Whatever  exists  has  a  necessary 
but  a  merely  transitory  existence. 
The  ideal  is  ever  tending  to  realization, 
but  is  never  perfectly,  and  cannot  bo 
permanently,  realized.  It  was  a  ques 
tion  among  his  followers  whether  he 
regarded  Christianity,  in  the  Person  of 
its  Founder,  as  an  exception  from  these 
sweeping  conclusions — whether  his  sys 
tem  was  compatible  with  Theism.  It 
seems  to  me  scarcely  possible  to  recon 
cile  many  statement!  in  his  first  consi 
derable  work  (the  '  Phiinomenologie 


des  Geistes  ')  with  belief  in  a  personal 
God.  It  is  certain  that  no  Christian 
theologians  now  accept  the  applications 
of  his  general  principles  to  Christian 
dogmas.  Chalybseus  admits  the  "  com 
fortless  results  "  of  the  whole  system. 
On  the  attempts  of  Marheineke  and 
Goschel,  some  valuable  remarks  may 
be  read  in  Gieseler's  '  Kirchenge- 
schichte  d.  n.  Z.,'  p.  242.  Strauss  also 
gives  a  clear  account  of  the  disputes 
between  the  scholars  of  Hegel  in  his 
'  Glaubenslehre,'  p.  5'20  ff.  It  is,  how 
ever,  certain  that  Hegel  wished  to 
maintain  religion — that  he  regarded 
the  establishment  of  Theism  as  the 
highest  problem  and  work  of  philosophy, 
and  utterly  detested  all  sceptical  and 
destructive  criticism,  especially  that  of 
Schleiermacher — an  aversion  extending 
even  to  purely  secular  writers,  as  Nie- 
buhr.  His  last  work,  on  the  Philo 
sophy  of  Religion,  is  full  of  beautiful 
and  devout  aspirations  :  whether  they 
are  consistent  with  his  philosophy  or 
not,  is  another  question. 


152 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  IV. 


orthodoxy.  Marheineke,  Daub,  and  Goschel  were  recognized 
as  true  expositors  of  his  system,  and  as  sound  defenders  of  the 
faith.  Schleiermacher,  too,  was  gone.  His  followers  claimed 
for  him  the  merit  of  having  destroyed  the  older  forms  of 
rationalism,  which  had  sunk  into  utter  contempt.  Neander  at 
Berlin,  Tholuck  at  Halle,  Steudel  at  Tubingen,  and  a  host  of 
theologians  of  various  shades  of  opinion,  ranging  from  ortho 
doxy  to  neology,  but  animated  for  the  most  part  by  deep 
Christian  sympathies,  occupied  the  professorial  chairs ;  while  a 
strong  and  united  band  of  men,  sound  in  the  old  Bible  ortho 
doxy,  wrought  more  directly  upon  the  popular  mind  through 
the  pulpit.  The  effect  of  the  publication  of  IStrauss's  book  is 
indescribable.  Friends  and  enemies  cannot  find  words  strong 
enough  to  express  the  consternation,  the  horror  and  indignation 
of  all  who  retained  a  vestige  of  reverence  for  religion.  An 
electric  shock  running  through  all  bosoms,  a  trumpet  sounding 
the  signal  for  a  conflict  for  life  and  death,  an  earthquake  shaking 
the  foundations  of  all  human  hopes ;  such  are  the  terms  which 
historians  use  in  speaking  of  the  shock.*  Our  own  time  has 
lately  had  an  example  of  the  effect  which  is  produced  when  men 
known  only  as  able,  industrious  scholars,  of  unspotted  character, 
and  exemplary  in  all  personal  relations,  come  forward  as  the  oppo 
nents  of  truths  which  they  are  bound  to  uphold.  The  excite 
ment  and  panic,  if  panic  it  can  be  called  which  brought  hosts 
of  combatants  to  the  front  of  the  battle,  had  then  a  further 
justification  in  the  talents,  unity  of  purpose,  straightforward 
audacity  of  the  author,  in  his  thorough  mastery  of  all  the  weapons 
of  attack,  in  the  coherence  of  his  philosophical  principles — 
principles,  as  we  have  shown  already,  accepted  by  multitudes  of 
thoughtful  men — above  all  in  the  state  of  the  public  mind, 
shaken  by  rationalism,  distrustful  of  its  guides,  unable  to  com 
prehend  the  position  of  the  recognized  defenders  of  religion,  arid 
tossed  to  and  fro  by  conflicting  systems  of  doctrine  and  inter 
pretation.  Strauss  was  at  least  a  brave  and  open  foe,  showed 
his  true  colours,  and  nailed  them  to  the  mast,  and  met  eveiy 
attack  manfully, — open  as  he  certainly  was  to  the  imputation 


*  Compare  Schwartz,  Zur  Geschichte 
dor  neuesten  Theologie,  and  M.  E. 
Scherer,  Revue  des  Deux  Mondes,  Feb. 
1861  ;  and  Giet-cler.  Strauss  himself 


speaks  with  great  exultation  of  the 
shrieks  of  believers.  See  the  Introduc 
tion  to  his  second  edition. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  153 

of  making  a  dishonest  use  of  a  position  entrusted  to  him  for 
the  defence  of  Christianity. 

In  that  work  Strauss  had  two  distinct  objects.  The  first  was 
to  set  aside  all  supernatural  events,  to  prove  that  the  Divine  did 
not  manifest  itself  in  the  manner  related,  and  that  the  actual 
occurrences  were  not  divine.*  The  other  was  to  set  up  a  system 
in  which  all  that  Christianity  attempts  to  accomplish  should 
be  disentangled  from  its  imperfect  form,  and  developed,  by  a 
philosophical  process,  from  universal  and  permanent  trutlis. 

In  the  first  part  of  the  work  Strauss  collected  all  the  objections 
which  a  remorseless  criticism  had  raised  against  the  historical 
veracity  of  the  sacred  writers  :  he  completed  them,  gave  them  a 
sharper  point  and  keener  edge,  combined  them  in  a  systematic 
form,  and  reduced  them  to  a  fundamental  thought.!  De  Wette 
had  already  laid  down  the  position,  that  all  men  of  cultivated 
minds  rejected  the  miraculous  narratives  of  the  Bible,  and  that 
the  only  question  was  how  to  account  for  their  origin.:}:  Strauss 
addressed  himself  to  that  question.  First  laying  down  far  more 
broadly  the  general  position,  that  miracles  are  a  priori  incredible, 
on  the  ground  that  the  workings  of  the  Divine  in  the  world 
proceed  in  accordance  with  fixed,  unvarying,  and  universal  laws, 
which  utterly  exclude  the  possibility  of  miracles, §  he  refers  all 
accounts  of  supernatural  interventions  to  one  origin — that  of 
Myths.  Here  again  he  adopts  what  sceptics  or  infidels  had  pre 
viously  suggested.  Semler  had  applied  to  the  account  of 
Samson  and  Esther  the  saying  of  Heyne,  that  all  the  history 
and  philosophy  of  primitive  antiquity  originated  in  myths. 
Vater,  and  still  more  decidedly  De  Wette,  had  advocated  the 
mythical  interpretation  of  a  large  portion  of  the  Old  Testament  |j 
history.  But,  as  Strauss  complains,  that  system  had  been 


*  Introduction,  §  1.  See  also  his 
Streitechriften,  part  iii.,  p.  59.  He  gives 
a  full  account  of  the  original  plan  of 
his  work  (showing  that  the  second  part 
was  that  to  which  he  attached  most  im 
portance)  in  the  treatise  '  Verhaltniss 
der  Hegel'schen  Philosophic  zur  Kritik.' 


Scriptures. 

§  Strauss  uses  precisely  the  same 
language  as  Baden  Powell.  See  his 
Introduction,  vol.  i.  p.  71  of  the  Eng 
lish  translation.  In  p.  87,  §  16,  he 
gives  the  marks  by  which  the  unliis- 
torical  character  of  a  narrative  may  be 


t  Schwartz,   '  Zur    Geschichte    der    I  a  priori  demonstrated — the  principal  is 


nuuesteu  Theologie,'  p.  104. 

J  That  position   was  taken  in   the 
work   which   in  Germany,  some  thirty 


based  upon  the  impossibility  of  any  arbi 
trary  act  of  interposition  by  the  abso 
lute  cause. 


years  ago,  was  put  into  my  hands  as  an  ||  Kritik  dur  MosaisrhciiGescbiehtc, 

introduction  to  tho  study  of  the  Hebrew       quoted  by  Strauss.     Introduction,  §  8. 


154  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

t 
applied  inconsistently  and  timidly  even  to  the  Old  Testament, 

and  had  stood  side  by  side  with  naturalistic  interpretations,  while 
lew  had  ventured  to  bring  it  to  bear  upon  any  portion  of  the 
Gospel  narrative.  Yet  even  here  the  way  had  been  prepared. 
Schleiermacher  had  not  hesitated  to  call  the  history  of  the 
Temptation  a  myth.  Gabler,  and  others  of  his  school,  held  that 
all  portions  of  the  narrative  which  involve  angelic  appearances 
had  the  essential  characteristics  of  myth.  Some  theologians 
had  gone  so  far  as  to  bring  the  details,  first  of  the  Nativity,  and 
then  of  the  Resurrection,  under  the  same  category.  The  barriers 
had  been  thrown  down,  and  all  that  remained  for  Strauss  to  do 
was  to  carry  out  the  principle  consistently  into  the  whole 
structure  of  the  New  Testament.  To  use  his  own  words : 
"  Others  had  driven  through  the  grand  portal  of  myths  into  the 
evangelical  history,  and  had  passed  out  again  by  the  same ; 
but  as  for  all  the  intermediate  portions,  they  were  contented  to 
pursue  the  crooked  and  laborious  paths  of  natural  interpretation." 
He  left  himself  no  portion  of  our  Lord's  life  untouched.  He 
saw  too  clearly  the  internal  coherence  of  all  its  parts  ;  he  dis 
cerned  the  unity  of  the  principles  which  underlie  all  its  pheno 
mena  :  all  or  nothing  must  be  admitted.  Rejecting  \\ith  disdain 
the  subterfuges  of  rationalist  and  semi-rationalist,  he  would  not, 
as  he  says,  set  up  the  authority  of  one  Evangelist  against 
another.  The  testimony  of  one  is  worth  as  much,  or  to  speak 
more  correctly,  is  worth  as  little  as  the  others.*  A  bellum  om 
nium  contra  ornnes  is  waged;  from  beginning  to  end  he  finds 
no  single  spot  of  firm  historical  ground,  scarcely  any  mixture  of 
ascertainable  fact,  amid  the  legendary  and  mythical  representa- 
tions.f 

Strauss  enters,  of  course,  fully  into  the  investigation  of  myths,^: 
which    had    already  been   classified   under   three   heads ;    the 


*  Schwartz,  Zur  Geschichtc,  p.  110.     j   concileahle  with  facts  :  with  the  failure 
t  To  allow  time  for  such  a  transmit-    |   ofthattheory  the  whole  mythical  system 


tiition  of  history,  which,  fis  all  historians 
agree,  is  only  possible  in  times  when 
letters  are  unknown  or  unused,  and 
events  are  transmitted  by  ignorance  and 
superstition,  Strauss  was  driven  to  the 
theory,  that  all  the  Gospel  narratives 
were  the  product  of  tin.1  second  century, 
a  theory  which  is  admitted  universally, 
even  by  unchristian  critics,  in  be  inx- 


collapses.  Dr.  Arnold,  who  had  not  read 
the  book,  judging  of  it  merely  from  a 
review,  saw,  of  course,  this  point.  "  The 
idea  of  men  writing  mythic  histories 
between  the  time  of  Livy  and  Tacitus, 
and  St.  Paul  mistaking  such  for  reali 
ties  !"  Life,  ii.  p.  58. 

J  L.  J.,  Introduction,  p.  20. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  155 

historical,  which  confound  the  natural  and  supernatural ;  the 
philosophical,  which  clothe  in  the  garb  of  historical  narrative 
some  thought  or  idea  of  the  time ;  and  the  poetical,  in  which  the 
original  idea  is  almost  obscured  by  the  veil  which  the  fancy  of 
the  poet  has  woven  around  it.  All  these  he  holds  to  be  blended 
in  various  proportions  in  the  Gospel  narrative — the  great  source 
of  all  the  mythical  embellishments  being  the  prepossessions 
of  the  countrymen  and  followers  of  our  Lord  touching  the 
person  and  works  of  the  expected  Messiah  :  the  next  source 
being  that  peculiar  impression  which  was  left  by  the  personal 
character,  actions,  and  fate  of  Jesus,  and  which  served  to 
modify  the  Messianic  idea  in  the  minds  of  the  people. 

21.  The  residuum  from  this  system  is  thus  stated  by  one*  who 
is  far  from  an  unfriendly  critic.     The  myth  has  eaten  into  the 
very  heart  of  the  narrative.     There  remains  but  a  scanty  frame 
work  of  the  life  of  Jesus.   That  He  was  brought  up  in  Nazareth, 
was  baptized  by  John ;  that  He  formed  disciples,  and  taught  in 
various  districts  of  Palestine  ;  that  He  opposed  everywhere  the 
outwardness  of  pharisaism,  and  proclaimed  the  Messianic  king 
dom  ;  that  at  last  He  succumbed  to  the  hatred  and  envy  of  the 
pharisaic  factionf  and  died  upon  the  Cross — such,  according  to 
Strauss,  is  the  sum  total  of  facts,  which  the  ideas  and  aspirations 
of  early  Christendom  enveloped  in  a  tissue  of  significant  legends 
and   devout  imaginings.     Of  the    discourses   of  our  Lord,   a 
small  solid  kernel,  as  he  thinks,  can  be   discerned  with  cer 
tainty.     Such,   for    instance,   is    the   Sermon    on   the  Mount. 
The  sayings  of  Jesus,  according  to  him,  were  so  pregnant  and 
forcible,  had  so  strong  a  hold  upon  men's  minds  in  their  con 
densed  gnomic  form,  that  they  were  preserved  in  great  part 
even  in  the  flood  of  oral  tradition.     Even   this   seems,  upon 
second  thoughts,  too  much  for  him  to  admit.     Wrenched  from 
their  natural  connection,  dislodged  from  their  original  site,  they 
remain  like  boulders,  objects  of  vague  wonder  or  superstitious 
legends,  until  their  true  origin  and  meaning  are  ascertained  by 
philosophic  ingenuity  and  research. 

22.  And  yet  Strauss  professes,  and  may  be  assumed  actually  to 


*  Schwartz.  See  also  Scherer,  Revue 
cles  Deux  Mondes. 

t  Even  tliis  is  a  distortion  of  history. 
Caiaphas  and  his  party  were  Sad- 


ducees  ;  a  fact  which  later  writers  of 
the  Tubingen  school  luive  found  im 
possible  to  reconcile  with  their  theory 
of  the  origin  of  the  Gospels. 


156  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

believe,  that  he  retains  the  essential  truths  of  Christianity.  The 
last  portion  of  his  book,  which  he  certainly  regarded  as  the  most 
important,  is  intended  to  draw  out  the  eternal  ideas  which 
underlie  this  strange  tissue  of  legend  and  myth.  The  super 
natural  nativity  of  Christ,  His  miracles,  His  resurrection  and 
ascension,  remain  ideal  truths — utterly  separated  as  they  are 
from  objective  facts.  Christ,  indeed,  in  His  concrete  personality, 
disappears  from  the  system  of  the  great  teacher  of  Ideology. 
No  individual  does  or  can  adequately  represent,  much  less  em 
body,  absolute  realities.  But  the  Church  was  guided  by  a  true 
instinct  when,  in  the  Person  of  Jesus,  she  found  an  expression  of 
those  realities.  In  Him  was  manifested  more  perfectly  than  in 
any  individual  that  which  is  the  ultimate  and  substantial  prin 
ciple  of  all  religion,  the  unity  of  God  and  man.  It  is  actually 
startling  to  find  how  the  versatile  and  imaginative  intellect  of 
Strauss*  can  discern  the  blessedness  and  sublimity,  the  en 
couragement  and  consolation  of  the  thoughts  which  the  early 
Church  derived  from  the  orthodox  view  of  Christ.  Standing 
from  without,  he  sees  far  more  clearly  than  many  who  profess 
to  believe  the  Gospel,  the  internal  coherence  of  its  highest 
doctrines.  Only,  as  Strauss  teaches,  the  true  meaning  of  those 
doctrines  remained  to  be  discovered  in  the  light  of  the  philoso 
phy  of  the  Absolute.!  That  alone  supplies  the  key  to  the  whole 
system  of  Christology.  Instead  of  an  individual  we  have  an 
idea.  In  an  individual  the  properties  and  functions  which  the 
Church  attributes  to  Christ  contradict  themselves  :  in  the  idea 
of  the  race  they  perfectly  agree.  Humanity  is  the  union  of  the 
two  natures — God  become  man  ;  it  is  the  worker  of  miracles, 
the  sinless  existence ;  for  sin  belongs  to  the  individual,  not  to  the 
race.  It  is  Humanity  that  dies,  rises,  ascends  into  Heaven.  By 
faith  in  this  Christ,  that  is,  in  his  own  human  nature,  man  is 
justified  before  God. 

23.  Is  this  the  last  word  of  the  system  ?  It  seems  to  go  far 
enough.  Yet  Strauss  had  more  to  say.  In  a  later  work,:}: 
he  boldly  clears  away  all  remaining  prejudices.  The  world 
is  not  merely  one  with  God — an  ever  changing,  ever  pro- 

*  See   the  concluding  Dissertation,  theory  by  M.  de  Pressens^,  i.  p.  322. 

§  145.  J  Tin-   '  Dogmatik,'  or  'Die  Chrisl- 

t  Concluding  Dissertation,  §  151,  p.  :    lie-he  Glaubeiiolehre,'  published    1840, 

•1.77,  vol.  iii.  English  translation.     Sec  1811. 
some   very   striking    remarks  on   this 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


157 


gressing  manifestation  of  the  Divine,  but  God  has  Himself  no 
personality,  no  conscious  Being.  Man  had  taken  the  throne  of 
Christ.  He  seats  himself  ultimately  in  the  throne  of  the  Abso 
lute,  which  first  attains  to  consciousness,  to  personal  existence, 
in  humanity.*  The  individual  is  nothing — a  mere  phenomenal 
and  transitional  evolution ;  the  absolute  is  nothing — a  mere 
potentiality  never  realized  or  realizable.  Empty  abstraction 
swallows  up  all  idea  and  fact,  the  Divine  and  human,  in  one 
universal  void. 

Such  is  Ideology  in  the  mind  of  its  ablest,  its  most  honest 
and  consistent  exponent.  The  storm  produced  by  such  a  work 
may  be  conceived.  All  the  leaders  of  German  thought  were  in 
a  tumult  of  excitement ;  the  first  object  of  those,  between  whose 
systems  and  that  of  Strauss  there  appeared  to  be  a  logical  con 
nection,  was  to  shake  off  the  responsibility.  Schleiermacher's 
friends  first  rushed  to  the  rescue,  and  pointed  out  the  absolute 
antagonism  between  the  genial  and  loving  spirit  of  their  chief, 
and  the  reckless  audacity,  the  irreverence,  and  bitterness  of  the 
intruder.  Hegelians  were,  of  course,  vehement  in  disavowing  the 
principles  and  the  consequences.  Yet,  as  we  have  seen,  Strauss 
did  but  use  the  weapons  which  had  been  forged  for  him.  He 
scarcely  went  further  thanDe  Wette,  on  the  one  hand,  in  historical 
scepticism,  or  differed  from  him  only  in  the  consistency  and 
completeness  of  his  application  of  the  same  critical  principles. 
Strauss  might  even  claim  Schleiermacher's  own  authority  for  the 
denial  of  the  possibility  of  miracles,  although,  by  a  glorious  in 
consistency,  that  great  man  accepted  as  a  Christian  truth  what 
he  could  find  no  place  for  in  his  philosophical  system.  On  the 
other  hand,  so  far  as  his  application  of  the  Hegelian  theory  was 
concerned,  daringly  blasphemous  as  he  may  seem,  he  was  soon 
outstripped  by  even  more  reckless  infidels.  In  fact,  other 
symptoms  soon  removed  all  doubt  as  to  the  tendency  of  Hegelian 
forms  of  thought.  Frederic  Kichter,  a  bookseller  of  Breslau, 
had  already  published  in  1833 — two  years  before  the  appearance 
of  Strauss's  '  Life  of  Jesus ' — a  work  in  which  he  proclaimed  a 
new  Gospel,  as  he  styled  it,  that  of  eternal  death,  f  His  argu- 


*  "  Gott  is  nicht  Person,  Er  wird  es 
in  dcr  uncndlichen  Reihe  der  men- 
schlichen  Subjecte."  See  Schwartz, 
p.  218  ;  and  Strauss,  Glaubenstohre,  p. 


502-524. 

t  Die  Lehre  von  den  Ictzten  Dingen. 
Gieseler  says  that  many  Hegelians 
Illumed  Etiehter  not  for  the  doctrine, 


AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

raent,  in  the  opinion  of  very  competent  judges,  was  a  legitimate 
deduction  from  Hegel's  theory  of  individuality,  though  the  book 
and  the  author  were  overwhelmed  in  a  general  outburst  of 
indignation.  Later  and  more  consistent  professors  of  that 
school  did  not  hesitate  to  call  the  condemnation  of  Riehter, 
coming  as  it  did  from  Hegelians,  a  literary  assassination. 
Again,  one  of  the  most  thoroughgoing  adherents  of  Hegel, 
Bruno  Bauer,  a  writer  who  had  made  himself  conspicuous 
by  his  heady  arrogance  in  the  cause  of  orthodoxy,  now  turning 
round  with  a  sudden  revulsion,  poured  forth  a  stream  of 
writings,  in  which  the  facts  and  doctrines  of  Christianity  were 
treated  with  a  blasphemous  insolence  scarcely  paralleled  in 
modern  days.  The  writings  of  Bauer  and  Richter,  however, 
were  easily  disavowed ;  even  the  opponents  of  Hegel  hesitated 
to  make  the  calm  conservative  philosopher  responsible  for 
such  results. 

25.  Two  years  after  the  appearance  of  Strauss's  work  another 
application  of  Hegel's  principles  was  developed,  which,  though 
far  less  startling  and  urged  in  a  far  different  spirit,  produced  a 
deeper  and  more  durable  sensation  on  the  Continent.  R.  Rothe,* 
sub-director  of  the  theological  college  at  Wittenberg,  published, 
in  1837,  his  treatise  on  the  origin  and  constitution  of  the 
Christian  Church.  Rothe  is  in  all  respects  a  most  remarkable 
man ;  in  originality  and  independence  of  thought  he  stands 
almost  alone  among  German  theologians ;  his  personal  piety  and 
hearty  acceptance  of  the  living  truths  of  religion  are  undoubted.! 
Few  of  our  own  later  writers  have  gone  so  far — none  have  gone 
farther,  in  defending,  both  by  a  priori  arguments  and  historical 
evidence,  the  apostolical  origin  of  Episcopacy,  the  unity  and 
authority  of  the  primitive  Church.  It  seemed  as  though  the 
conservatism  of  Hegel  had  found  a  perfect  exponent.  Yet, 
strange  as  it  may  appear,  the  conclusion  at  which  he  arrives, 


but  for  its  publication,  "for  discovering  a 


troduction  to  Ids  new  edition    of  the 


secret  of  the  school."  '  Kirchengeschiehte  '  Reden  der  Apostel,'  18(Jl,  p.  viii.    Ho 

der  n.  Z.,'  p  245.  I  Buys  of  him — "  Dessen  iniu-rstca  Glau- 

*  Now  Professor  at  Heidelberg.  His  j  bensleben  ich  wohl  kenno."     In  some 

book   is    entitled    '  Die   Anfange    tier  |  points  Rothe  allows  a  strong  tendency 


Christlichen  Kirche,  und  ilirer  Verfas- 
sung.' 

t  A  very  strong  testimony  is  borne    i    litied  eulogy, 
to  liis  piety  by  liudolf  Stier  in  the  in 


to  Romanism,  and  speaks  of  Mohler's 
'  Symbolik  '  in  terms  of  almost  unqua- 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


159 


following  out,  as  the  keenest  critics  *  admit,  the  principles  of 
his  master,  is  that  the  Christian  Church  is  but  a  temporary 
institution  destined  to  be  absorbed  by  the  State  ;t  in  which, 
like  all  true  Hegelians,  J  he  sees  no  mere  system  of  mutual 
defence,  or  institution  in  which  the  energies  of  individuals  may 
be  freely  developed,  but  the  highest  product  of  reason,  the 
supreme  development  of  humanity, — in  a  word,  the  moral  world 
realized  and  organized.  The  views  of  Rothe  are  altogether  too 
subtle,  and  indeed  too  elevated,  to  reach  the  general  mind  in 
the  form  which  he  gave  them  :  his  State  is  an  ideal  one  ;  his 
hope  of  the  realization  of  his  theory  depends  upon  his  belief  in 
a  future  personal  manifestation  of  the  Saviour ;  but  the  necessary 
results  of  his  reasoning  were  clearly  discerned  by  thinking  men, 
and  practical  inferences  were  readily  drawn.  He  recognizes 
himself  with  calm  satisfaction  what  he  believes  to  be  early  and 
progressive  symptoms  of  decline  and  disintegration  in  the  Church, 
the  steady  progress  of  encroachments  on  the  part  of  the 
State ;  and,  in  connection  with  outward  changes,  an  internal 
modification  of  opinions,  feelings,  and  principles,  tending  to 
wards  a  final  identification  of  the  secular  and  religious,  the 
natural  and  the  Divine.  He  does  not  hesitate  to  assert  that 
the  religious  life  itself  must  find  its  true  and  satisfactory 
realization,  not  in  the  Church  but  in  the  State.  §  Though 
resting  on  far  other  grounds,  there  is  a  remarkable  resemblance 
between  his  theory  as  well  as  the  arguments  by  which  it  is 
maintained,  and  that  of  our  own  Arnold.  ||  The  supremacy 


*  For  instance,  E.  Scherer  in  the 
'  Revue  des  Deux  Mondes,'  p.  849,  Feb. 
18(jl  ;  and  Schwartz,  '  Zur  Geschichte 
der  neuesten  Theologie.' 

t  "  Der  vollendete  Staat  schliesst  die 
Kirche  schlechthin  aus." — '  Anfange,' 
p.  47. 

J  See  his  note,  p.  13,  where  he  col 
lects  Hegel's  definitions  of  the  State. 

§  P.  51. 

||  Dr.  Arnold,  of  course,  did  not  de 
rive  his  opinions  directly  from  Rothe, 
whoso  work  he  read  in  1838.  In  a 
letter  written  that  year  to  Chevalier 
Bunsen,  he  expresses  his  entire  agree 
ment  with  Rothe  in  his  theory  as  to 
the  identity  of  Church  and  State,  hut, 
as  might  be  expected,  rejects  as  entirely 
hio  conclusions  touching  the  aposto 
lical  origin  of  episcopacy.  See  •  Life,' 


&c.,  ii.  p.  105.  It  will  be  remembered 
that  the  Chevalier  Bunsen,  with  whom 
Arnold  says  distinctly  that  he  agrees 
more  thoroughly  than  with  any  of  his 
friends,  was  deeply  imbued  with  Hegel's 
principles,  and  more  especially  with 
their  application  to  the  relations  be 
tween  the  Church  and  the  State.  There 
can  be  little  doubt  that  he  gave  the 
first  impulse  to  Arnold's  mind  upon 
this  subject,  or  at  least  confirmed  it  in 
the  direction  which  it  took  after  the 
reaction  from  what  he  somewhere  calls 
his  Oxford  Toryism.  The  numerous 
and  peculiar  coincidences  between 
Arnold  and  his  German  prototypes  can 
otherwise  scarcely  be  accounted  for. 
He  learned  German  somewhat  late  in 
life. 


160 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  IV. 


of  the  State  in  all  matters,  both  of  discipline  and  doctrine, 
is  the  rightful  and  legitimate  development  of  Christianity ; 
it  decides  what  doctrine  shall  be  taught,  and  how  it  shall  be 
taught ;  and  in  the  mean  time  it  treats,  and  has  a  right  to  treat, 
the  national  Church  as  no  less  properly  an  organ  of  the  national 
life  than  a  magistracy  or  a  legislative  estate. 

27.  The  philosophy  of  ideology,  thus  consistently  carried  out 
by  writers  of  very  different  feelings  and  principles,  leaves  man 
without  a  church,  without  a  Saviour,  without  a  living  soul. 
There  remained,  however,  still  a  sort  of  profession  of  religion,  a 
religion  of  vague,  dreary  abstractions,  but  still,  such  as  it  was, 
supplying  an  element  in  which  philosophers  might  find  some 
materials  for  the  religious  sentiment,  while  the  common  herd 
might  be  guided  by  the  retention  of  the  old  doctrinal  forms.  That 
delusion  was  soon  dissipated.  Feuerbach  took  up  the  argument 
where  Strauss  left  it,  and  drew  from  it  the  inevitable  conclusion, 
that  man  himself  is  the  only  proper  object  for  the  reverence 
and  the  worship  which  had  hitherto  been  directed  to  the  idea 
of  a  God.  Theology  was  thus  converted  to  anthropology. 
Instead  of  loving  God,  men  are  to  love  themselves.  Sacra 
ments  will  disappear,  but  then  the  true  eucharist  will  be  found 
in  wholesome  meals ;  baptism,  in  the  healthy  use  of  cold  baths  ! 
Natural  science  will  take  the  place  of  religious,  moral,  and 
metaphysical  speculation.  Atheism  thus  stood  out  in  its  bare 
ness  and  barrenness — yet  not  even  then  in  its  utter  hatefulness. 
It  remained  for  a  numerous  school  of  philosophical  radicals  to 
get  rid  of  the  last  vestiges  of  superstition.  Feuerbach  recognized 
the  virtues  of  unselfishness,  courage,  truth  ;*  he  was  an  admirer 
of  the  higher  developments  of  genius,  in  science,  literature, 
and  art.  He  speaks  of  humanity  as  a  real  being.  A  whole 
host  of  writers  soon  sprang  up  who  rejected  all  such  delusions 
with  utter  contempt ;  they  saw  clearly  that  they  had  no  meaning 
disjoined  from  the  religious  element,  and  heaped  upon  him 
self  the  contumelious  epithets  which  he  had  unsparingly  applied 
to  his  predecessors.  The  dogmas  of  socialism  and  communism 
were  preached  with  the  wildest  fanaticism  ;f  poets,  politicians, 


*  This  is  too  favourable  a  view.  In 
liig  poems,  which,  like  the  'Thalia'  of 
Aritw,  aro  intended  to  popularize  his 
tenets,  his  cynicism  is  revolting.  In  his 


axioms  he  lays  down  the  principle — 

Thy  first  duty  is  to  do  yood  to  thyself. 

t  See  Schwartz, '  Zur  Geschichteder 

neuesten  Thcologie,'  p.  227, 240,  242.  It 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  161 

socialists,  and  natural  philosophers  came  forward  to  demand 
the  extirpation  of  all  faith,  to  denounce  the  belief  in  the 
invisible  as  the  root  of  all  human  weakness  and  misery,  to 
proclaim  the  sacred  law  of  egotism — the  religion  of  the  flesh ; 
and  for  a  time  they  seemed  to  have  succeeded.  They  appealed 
to  man's  strongest  passions ;  they  appealed  also  to  some  deep 
principles.  It  was  felt  that  the  religion  preached  by  the  pro 
fessors  of  all  schools  tainted  by  rationalism  or  by  ideology 
was  a  farce,  a  delusion,  a  fraud ;  the  materialists  carried  the 
day,  took  the  lead  in  the  revolutionary  movement  of  1848, 
and  suddenly,  to  their  own  amazement,  found  themselves 
triumphant  amidst  the  ruins  of  Church  and  State. 

27.  A  long  and  powerful  reaction  followed.    Utterly  worn  out, 
unmasked,  and  confounded,  ideology,  together  with  the  meta 
physical  speculations  with  which  it  was  connected,  sank  into  ob 
scurity  and  contempt.*     The  very  last  thing  to  be  expected  was 
that  it  should  have  been  transplanted  into  a  soil  of  all  apparently 
the  most  uncongenial — that  it  should  be  offered  to  Englishmen 
as  a  useful  help  in  the  interpretation  of  the  Scriptures.     A  very 
brief  summary  of  points  distinctly  advanced,  or  undeniably  sug 
gested,  by  some  of  the  latest  advocates  of  the  system  in  England 
will  show  the  fundamental  identity  of  principles  between  them  and 
the  German  ideologists ;  although  we  gladly  admit  that,  whether 
withheld  by  reverence,  or  by  fear  of  offending  men  of  all  shades 
of  religious  opinion,  not  to  speak  of  legal  penalties  and  disquali 
fications,  few  among  us  have  ventured  to  present  the  most  offen 
sive  insinuations;  none  have  dared  to  apply  the  principles  to 
the  whole  substance  of  the  Scriptural  narrative. 

28.  The  doctrine  of  personal  annihilation,  of  the  absorption  of 
the  individual  consciousness  in  the  infinite  Spirit — a  doctrine,  be 


must  be  noted  that  Schwartz  and 
Seherer  (who  takes  precisely  the  same 
view — see  '  Revue  des  Deux  Mondes,' 
Feb.  18(51,  p.  851)  are  ultra  liberals. 
Schwartz  names  Herwegh,  Ruge,  Marr, 
Voght,  &c.,  as  leaders  in  this  new  cru 
sade.  Gaspard  Schmidt,  better  known 
by  the  assumed  name  of  Stirner,  was, 


more  or  less  complete  refutations  of 
the  Straussian  ideology.  It  would  have 
occupied  more  space  than  could  be 
spared  for  this  Essay,  and  have  involved 
discussions  upon  a  variety  of  points 
quite  beside  my  present  object.  To 
most  English  readers,  certainly  of  those 
for  whom  these  Aids  are  especially  in- 


perhaps,   the   most    influential   writer.   |    tended,  the   clear  exposition   of  such 
Gieseler,  1.  c.  pp.  30  and  275,  may  bo   I    principles  is  a  sufficient  refutation.  The 


consulted. 


whole  system  stands  or  falls  with  dis- 


*  I  have  not  given  any  account  of       belief  in  the  conscious  personality  and 
the   numerous  and  able  works  which   I    omnipotence  of  God. 
have  appeared  in  Germany,  containing   ; 

H 


102  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV 

it  noted,  which  is  distinctly  proclaimed  among  ourselves  by  Free 
thinkers,  and  directly  based  upon  Pantheism,  or  a  spurious  Theism 
— is  not  of  course  preached,  nor  is  it  likely  to  be  preached,  by  any 
one  who  cares  to  obtain  or  retain  a  hold  upon  the  attention  of 
English  Christians ;  but  it  finds  an  echo,  a  partial  expression, 
what  sounds  like  a  preparation.  Divested  of  what  is  most  repul 
sive  in  form,  the  principle  is  insinuated,  the  way  paved  for  its 
reception.  Every  attempt  to  get  rid  of  the  idea  of  individual 
responsibility,  to  exempt  any  considerable  portion  of  mankind 
from  the  universal  law  of  retribution,  is  a  step,  and  a  very  de 
cided  step,  towards  the  denial  of  the  continuity  of  personal  con 
sciousness.  A  nearer  approximation  to  the  scepticism  of  the 
Ideologists  could  perhaps  hardly  be  made  than  that  which  we 
find  in  the  suggestion,  that,  after  some  possible  state  of  new  pro 
bation  for  rudimentary  spirits,  for  germinal  souls — after  the 
completion  of  the  sublunary  office  of  the  Christian  Church — all, 
both  small  and  great,  may  find  a  refuge  in  the  bosom  of  the 
universal  Parent  TO  REPUTE,  or  to  be  quickened  into  higher 
life.* 

29.  We  have  seen  how  nearly  the  theories  of  the  Church  coin 
cide.  As  a  function  of  the  State,  destined  to  be  absorbed  (and  if 
such  its  destiny,  surely  the  sooner  the  better)  in  that  institution, 
it  ought,  of  course,  to  concern  itself  exclusively  with  the  ethical 
development  of  its  members.t  Rothe,  indeed,  looked  for  such 
absorption  only  when  the  State  should  be  thoroughly  penetrated 
with  Christian  doctrine,  transformed  and  glorified  by  Christian 
principles — when  its  ideal  should  be  realized  under  the  govern 
ment  of  its  head.  Taking  lower,  more  matter  of  fact  and  prac 
tical  grounds — free,  as  it  would  almost  seem,  from  the  religious 
prepossessions  which  biassed  the  German  thinker,  English  writers 
are  found  to  advocate  the  immediate  completion  of  the  process. 
"  Speculative  doctrines" — that  is,  all  dogmatic  teaching  — 
"  should  be  left  to  philosophical  schools."  "  The  ministry  of  the 


*  See  E.  and  R.,  p.  206  ;  and  com 
pare  Jowf'tt  on  Romans,  vol.  ii.  p.  48!). 

t  There  is  a  radical  difference  be 
tween  this  theory  and  that  of  our  Re 
formers,  as  stated  by  Hooker.  The 
latter  proceeded  on  the  assumption 
that  the  State  accepts  the  doctrines 
taught  by  the  Church.  "  How  should 


when  the  whole  Commonweal  doth 
believe  ?"  "  The  truth  is  that  the 
Church  and  the  Commonweal  are 
names  which  import  things  really  dif 
ferent  ;  but  those  things  are  accidents, 
and  such  accidents  as  may,  and  always 
should,  lovingly  dwell  together  in  one 


the  Church  remain  by  personal  subsist-        viii. 
i!iice   divided    from    the  Commonweal, 


subject." — 'Ecclesiastical  Polity,'  Book 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  163 

Church  is  to  be  regarded  simply  as  a  function  of  the  national 
life."  Divested  of  its  special  doctrines,  its  creeds,  and  articles, 
and  all  peculiar  manifestations  of  a  divine  life,  the  Church  could 
of  course  be  little  or  nothing  more  than  an  instrument  for  de 
veloping  the  moral  character  of  the  nation.*  We  are  distinctly  told 
concerning  "  the  doctrines  of  an  isolated  salvation,  the  reward,  the 
grace  bestowed  on  one's  own  labours,  the  undisturbed  repose,  the 
crown  of  glory,  in  which  so  many  have  no  share,  the  finality  of 
the  sentence  on  both  sides — that  reflections  on  such  expectations 
as  these  may  make  stubborn  martyrs,  or  sour  professors,  but  not 
good  citizens"  t  If  so,  these  doctrines,  which,  invidiously  as  they 
are  here  stated,  are,  rightly  understood,  the  very  life  of  Christ 
ianity,  must  be  discountenanced ;  even  if  for  a  time  tolerated 
of  the  State,  they  must  be  discarded  altogether,  when  it  is 
once  fully  awakened  to  the  consciousness  of  its  true  relations 
to  the  Church. 

30.  Still  clearer,  less  capable  of  being  explained  away  or 
denied,  is  the  agreement  of  the  English  ideologists  with  the  fun 
damental  principles  of  their  German  teachers.  Ideology  proceeds 
from  the  a  priori  assumption  that  all  miraculous  interventions  are 
impossible,  since  the  Divine,  whether  conscious  or  unconscious, 
personal  or  impersonal,  does  not  and  cannot,  without  self-con 
tradiction,  violate  its  own  laws.  All  the  school  in  England  more 
or  less  distinctly  concur  in  the  elimination  of  the  supernatural 
element  from  Scripture.  The  least  advanced  represent  it  as  a 
serious  hindrance  to  the  reception  of  Christian  truth  by  men  of 
cultivated  intelligence.  The  German  master  adopted  and  gave 
a  new  and  keener  point  to  all  detailed  objections  to  narratives  in 
volving  that  element ;  the  same  course  is  pursued  in  numerous 
passages  of  the  '  Essays  and  Reviews.'  \ 

With  regard  to  myths,  the  special  characteristic  of  ideology, 
one  writer  at  least  cannot  be  open  to  Strauss's  charge  of  incon 
sistency.  He  has  not  merely  entered  into  the  fields  of  Scriptural 
history  through  the  portal  of  the  myth  and  passed  out  again 
leaving  the  main  facts  untouched. §  The  incarnation  of  our  Lord, 
His  descent  from  David,  the  circumstances  of  His  nativity,  His 
temptation,  transfiguration,  His  most  remarkable  miracles,  in 
cluding  those  attested  by  all  the  Evangelists, — nearly  all,  if  not 


*  E.  and  R ,  p.  196. 

t  Hen;  wo  seem  to  hear  Rothe,  p. 


54. 


+  E.  and  R.,  pp.  179,  180.   See  Arch 
deacon  Sinclair's  Charge,  1861. 


§  E.,  and  R.,  p.  202. 


M    2 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


F  ESSAY  IV. 


all,  the  grounds  for  an  "  historical  faith  "  are  referred  substantially 
to  "  an  ideal  origin."  As  for  the  Old  Testament,  we  are  told  that 
"  previous  to  the  time  of  the  divided  kingdom,  Jewish  history 
contains  little  that  is  thoroughly  reliable."  Its  miraculous  events 
may  be  taken  as  parable,  poetry,  legend,  or  allegory — that  is, 
simply  as  myths.  The  German  saw  plainly  enough  that  in 
order  to  find  time  and  place  for  the  development  of  myths,  the 
authenticity  and  genuineness  of  the  historical  records  must  be 
denied.  He  scarcely  went  farther  than  a  writer  who  speaks 
coolly  of  "  links  deficient  in  the  traditional  record  of  events " 
which  are  related  by  St.  Matthew  and  all  the  Evangelists. 

A  crucial  test  of  a  man's  feelings  towards  the  Person  of 
Christ  Himself  is  undoubtedly  supplied  by  his  reception  or  denial 
of  the  Gospel  of  St.  John.  The  early  rationalists  rejected  it  on 
the  ground  that  it  is  inconsistent  with  the  simpler,  more  accurate 
representations  of  Christ  in  the  other  Gospels.  The  modern 
neologians  hold  that  it  is  the  product  of  the  higher  development 
of  the  Christian  consciousness  in  the  post-Apostolic  age.  Accord 
ing  to  the  school  of  pantheistic  rationalism,  aptly  and  truly 
designated  the  modern  gnosticism,  the  representation  of  the 
Saviour  in  that  Gospel  is  too  true,  that  is,  too  perfect  an  embo 
diment  of  the  ideal,  to  be  historical.  But  of  all  hypotheses,  the 
most  offensive,  the  least  supported  by  any  shadow  of  evidence, 
is  that  which  connects  the  origin  of  the  Gospel  with  the  gnostic 
heresy,*  and  brings  down  its  date  to  the  year  140.  That  hy 
pothesis  is  noticed  without  an  expression  of  indignation  by  one 
writer,  who  in  his  own  name  expressly  asserts  that  there  is  no 
proof  that  St.  John  gives  his  voucher  as  an  eye  and  ear  witness 
of  all  that  is  related  in  his  Gospel.  Strauss  demanded  no  more 
than  this.  Here  is  a  TTOV  trrw  for  the  subversion  of  all  positive  evi 
dence  of  historical  Christianity.  The  mythical  process  has  free 
play  ;  and  it  is  only  a  question  of  time,  of  discretion  in  meddling 
with  stubborn  prejudices,  how  soon  and  how  far  the  objective 
facts  of  an  external  positive  revelation  may  be  rejected,  how 
the  doctrines  themselves  may  be  remoulded,  under  the  supreme 
and  ultimate  authority  of  the  natural  conscience,  into  accordance 
with  the  requirements  of  an  enlightened  age. 


*  Tims  Hilgenfeld.  See  a  brief 
summary  of  opinions  in  Langr's  Bil>el- 
werk.  iv.  p.  20,  an  excellent  work, 


which  will  mret  the  requirements  of 
manv  students. 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


165 


31.  The  question  of  course  arises — how  is  it  possible  that  men 
of  honour  holding  such  opinions  can  retain,  or  endure,  their 
position  as  ministers  and  teachers  of  a  Church,  which,  liberal 
as   it   undoubtedly    is    in   dealing  with    all    questions    about 
which   believers  in  a  positive  revelation  may  conscientiously 
differ,  has  no  less  certainly  pronounced  a  clear  and  decisive 
sentence  upon  each  and  all  the  points  controverted  or  denied 
by  Ideologists?     That  the  difficulty  is  felt  is  sufficiently  ob 
vious.     The  principal  object  of  the  only  treatise  in  which  the 
leading  principles  of  this  form  of  neology  have  been  distinctly 
commended  by  a  minister  of  the  Church  of  England,  is  to  justify 
the  conduct  of  himself  and  those  who  maintain  the  same  views. 
In  this  part  of  his  undertaking  he   has  been  supplied  with 
weapons  from  the  same  foreign  armoury.     In  the  writings  of  all 
schools  of  rationalism  and  neology,  a  prominent  place  is  assigned 
to  the  vindication  of  absolute  liberty  of  sceptical  speculation,  not 
merely  for  students,  but  for  professors  of  theology.  We  need  not, 
however,  trace  the  connection.*     That  is  of  little  moment.     The 
arguments  in  this  case  have  at  least  the  merit  of  being  intelli 
gible  and  practical.     Whether  the  Church  has  at  present,  and 
has  had  from  the  beginning,  safeguards  to  preserve  her  doctrines 
from  corruption,  whether  she  has  a  right,  and  has  exercised  the 
right,  to  exact  from  all  her  ministers  a  pledge  that  so  long  as 
they  retain  her  commission  they  will  deliver  those  doctrines  in 
their  integrity  to  the  people,  whether  the  act  of  subscription  by 
which  the  ministers  give  such  pledge  involves  a  moral,  or  a  mere 
legal  obligation — such  questions  stand  upon  independent  grounds, 
and  may  be  discussed  without  any  reference  to  the  sources  from 
which  the  arguments  we  have  to  consider  may,  or  may  not,  be 
derived. 

32.  In  this  controversy  the  first  point  must  needs  be  to  ascertain 
the  practice  of  the  Apostles  as  recorded  or  intimated  in  the 
New  Testament,  and  in  the  next  place  the  practice  of  the  Church 
in  various  periods  of  its  development ;  the  most  important,  in  a 
general  point  of  view,  being  that  critical  epoch  which  terminated 
the  first  struggle  with  heathenism.     Scarcely  secondary  is  the 


*  The  history  of  the  struggle  of 
Rationalists,  more  especially  the  Licht- 
i'reunde,  partisans  or  followers  of 
Strauss,  to  get  rid  of  all  doctrinal 
tests,  the  Creeds  included,  is  given  by 


Gieseler,  who,  though  differing  from 
them  in  important  points,  sympathizes 
with  them  to  some  extent  in  that  desire. 
See  '  Kirchengescliichte  d.  n.  Z.,'  p. 
250  and  2(J3. 


106  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

position  taken  by  our  own  Church,  when  it  thoroughly  investi 
gated  all  points  of  principle  and  organization  at  the  time  of  the 
.Reformation — a  position  retained  without  any  substantial  modi 
fication  at  the  present  day. 

33.  With  regard  to  the  first  point,  the  ingenuity  and  disingenu- 
ousness  of  those  who  deny  the  propriety  of  doctrinal  limitations 
are  equally  conspicuous.  The  subject  is  introduced,  so  to  speak, 
casually,  and  disposed  of  with  little  intimation  of  its  surpassing 
importance.  If  the  Apostles*  enforced  a  rule  of  faith,  and  made 
the  teaching  of  sound  doctrine  an  absolute  and  universal  condi 
tion  of  holding  office  in  the  Church,  the  principle  is  of  course 
decided,  whatever  difficulty  may  be  felt  at  any  time  about  its 
practical  application.  Now,  the  first  impression  made  upon  every 
thoughtful  reader  of  the  New  Testament  is  undoubtedly,  that 
the  whole  system  of  Christian  morals,  most  especially  as  concerns 
those  characteristic  peculiarities  which  distinguish  the  Christian 
from  the  heathen  moralist,  is  not  merely  interwoven  with  the  ex 
ternal  facts  and  positive  doctrines  of  Christianity,  but  is  altogether 
based  upon  them,  and  derives  from  them  its  sanctions,  its 
power,  its  life.  The  manifestation  of  the  Divine  life  in  man  is  a 
reflexion  and  efflux  from  the  manifestation  of  God  in  Christ. 
The  understanding  and  heart,  the  spiritual  and  the  moral  nature 
of  man,  are  equally  under  the  dominion  and  control  of  truths, 
which  man  has  indeed  a  natural  and  inherent  capacity  for  appre 
hending  when  set  before  him,  but  which,  in  the  actual  state  of 
his  faculties,  he  is  certainly  unable  to  discover.  Those  truths 
are  given  in  revelation  in  the  two-fold  form  of  facts  and  doctrines, 
equally  positive,  equally  indispensable  to  the  development  of 
the  spiritual  man.  The  denial  or  perversion  of  either  excludes 
a  man  from  the  benefits  of  the  revelation — a  result  which  follows 
of  necessity  from  the  very  notion  of  a  revelation,  for  why  should 
truth  be  revealed  but  to  be  accepted  ?  We  are  not  at  present 
concerned  with  the  question  how  far  such  result  is  reconcileable 
with  the  Divine  attributes,  or  we  might  observe  that  the  denial 
of  what  God  has  revealed  must  needs  involve  some  penalty  in 
beings  responsible  for  the  use  of  their  faculties ;  nor  do  we  touch 
the  case  of  those  to  whom  the  revelation  has  not  been  given ; 
Charity  feels-  no  need  of  speculations  concerning  those  whom  she 


See,  e.  g.,  2  Timothy  i.  13,  11 ;  ii.  2  ;  iii.  10,  M. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  167 

leaves  in  faith  and  hope  to  the  mercy  of  their  Maker.  We  are 
not  confining  the  effects  of  the  atonement,  which  may,  and 
doubtless  do,  extend  far  beyond  the  sphere  of  our  contemplation  ; 
but  simply  indicate  the  limits  within  which  its  full  effects 
are  experienced — limits  undoubtedly  coextensive  with  its  recep 
tion  by  the  intellect  and  heart.  Christ  made  confession  of  faith 
in  Himself,  and  in  the  truths  which  He  proclaimed,  the  condition 
of  salvation.  The  Apostles,  guided  by  His  Spirit,  exacted  a  de 
claration  of  belief  in  those  truths  as  a  preliminary  condition  of 
admission  to  the  Church,  full  in  every  case  in  proportion  to  the 
capacities  of  their  hearers  and  their  opportunities  of  knowing 
the  truth,  fullest  and  most  explicit  in  the  case  of  those  whom 
they  appointed  to  the  work  of  the  ministry,  If  so,  the  con 
clusion  is  obvious,  that  the  Church  would  cease  to  be  a  Church 
if  she  commissioned  any  to  teach  in  her  own  and  in  her  Master's 
name,  when  they  are  at  direct  issue  with  herself  upon  points 
which  from  the  beginning  have  been  held  by  those  who  denied, 
as  well  as  by  those  who  accepted  them,  to  pertain  to  the  very 
foundations  of  the  faith. 

34.  That  position,  however,  clear  as  are  the  principles  on  which 
it  rests,  is  now  for  the  first  time  assailed ;  not  indeed  directly, 
but  by  implication.  We  are  told  generally,  that  whereas  the 
Apostles  enjoin  the  infliction  of  the  last  penalty,  that  of  ex 
communication,  for  moral  turpitude,  they  deal  with  speculative 
questions,  even  those  which  touch  fundamental  doctrines,  simply 
by  the  way  of  controversy.  The  case  selected  is  that  of  the  for- 
nicator  at  Corinth,  which  is  contrasted  with  that  of  heretics  who 
denied  a  corporeal  resurrection.  With  regard  to  the  former 
there  is  no  question.  The  proceeding  of  St.  Paul  in  that  case  is, 
of  course,  of  the  highest  importance  as  a  proof  of  the  existence 
and  enforcement  of  disciplinarian  powers  in  the  Apostles,  and  in 
the  Church,  whose  rulers  were  reproved  for  not  having  exercised 
them  without  St.  Paul's  intervention.  It  might  be  pointed  out 
that  the  offence  then  punished  consisted  most  probably  in  the 
infringement  of  a  positive  precept,  which,  though  recognized  by 
the  moral  instincts  of  heathendom,  was  first  distinctly  promul 
gated  by  the  Apostolic  council  at  Jerusalem  ;*  and  with  reference 


*  It  is  Hooker's  opinion,  in  which   ]    critics, as Ritschl,  'Die  Entstehungi lor 
some  of   the    latest   and    the   acutest   |    altkathulischen    Kirehe,'    p.    129,   and 


168  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

to  other  controverted  matters,  that  the  circumstances  under 
which  the  sentence  was  pronounced  would  lead  to  the  conclusion 
that  the  powers  deposited  in  the  Church,  and  more  especially 
in  the  Apostles  as  representatives  of  the  Head  of  the  Church, 
are  in  their  essence  independent  of  the  State.  With  regard 
to  the  other  point,  which  concerns  the  Apostle's  mode  of 
dealing  with  heretical  opinions  in  fundamental  matters,  we 
wholly  repudiate  the  inference  drawn  from  a  partial  state 
ment  of  his  proceeding.  It  is  said  that  St.  Paul  does  not  call 
for  the  expulsion  of  those  among  the  Christian  converts  who  had 
no  belief  in  a  corporeal  resurrection.  That  may  be :  weakness 
of  faith,  errors  in  points  of  faith  on  the  part  of  converts,  hearers, 
and  learners,  were  dealt  with  tenderly,  by  the  way  of  controversy. 
The  very  objects  of  the  Christian  Church  would  otherwise  be 
defeated.  But  the  question  is,  whether  St.  Paul  held  that  the 
opinions  ought  to  be  tolerated  ?  Whether  they  could  be  professed 
or  retained  without  forfeiture  of  the  distinctive  privileges  of 
Christians  ?  What  does  he  say  of  those  .who  held  them  ?  What 
but  that,  if  those  opinions  were  maintained,  their  faith  was  vain, 
they  were  yet  in  their  sins  ;  Christ  had  died  in  vain  ?  If  such 
a  declaration  be  not  tantamount  to  excommunication,  to  cutting 
off  those  who  obstinately  persisted  in  such  errors  from  Christian 
privileges,  words  have  no  meaning.  Self  condemned,  they 
became  aliens,  relapsed  into  the  stute  of  unconversion,  by  the 
very  fact  of  their  denying,  not  indeed  a  speculative  opinion,  but 
what  (as  even  ideologists  admit,  strangely  inconsistent  as  such 
admission  is  with  the  system  they*  advocate)  St.  Paul  always 
represents  as  the  corner  stone  of  the  Christian  belief.  Of  course 
the  Apostle  proceeds  in  the  first  instance  by  the  way  of  contro 
versy,  or,  to  speak  more  correctly,  of  demonstration.  Of  course 
his  one  great  desire  is  to  persuade,  to  convince,  to  win  to  the 
truth,  those  who  were  weak  or  unsound  in  the  faith ;  to  clear  up 
obscurities,  and  to  remove  difficulties  from  their  way.  Nor  does 
lie  fail  to  show  the  inward  harmony  between  the  ordinary  course 
of  nature  and  the  miraculous  intervention  of  that  Power  by 


Wieselcr,  concur,  that  iropvtia,  in  Acts 
xv.  20,  means  illicit  marriages.  Kitschl 
proves  that  St. -Paul  enforced  the  de 
cree — a  point  of  considerable  importance 
in  the  controversy  with  the  Tubingen 
school. 


*  There  is  no  point  on  which  Ideo 
logists,  even  those  who  partially  adopt 
the  system,  are  more  generally  agreed 
than  the  necessity  of  explaining  away 
the  fact  of  the  Resurrection. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  169 

which  the  laws  that  regulate  the  course  of  nature  were 
ordained.  That,  however,  is  no  more  than  he  does  in  the  case 
of  offenders  against  the  moral  law.  He  exhausts  all  the  re 
sources  of  persuasion,  expostulation,  and  warning ;  he  appeals  to 
the  reason,  the  conscience,  the  heart,  before  he  hints  at  any 
measure  of  a  judicial  character,  even  in  the  case  of  those  who 
"  defile  the  temple  of  the  Holy  Ghost."  But,  as  in  this  latter  case, 
\yhen  all  such  preliminary  endeavours  proved  to  be  ineffectual, 
he  resorted  ultimately  to  the  exercise  of  the  awful  powers  en 
trusted  to  the  Apostles  as  governors  of  Christ's  Church,  as 
assessors  with  Him  on  the  throne  of  judgment ;  so  also,  beyond 
all  doubt,  he  was  prepared  to  act,  even  as  he  had  acted  in  the 
case  of  Elymas  at  the  very  beginning  of  his  ministry,  in  the 
case,  of  all  stubborn  impugn  ers  of  fundamental  truths. 

In  fact,  the  expressions  which  he  uses  in  reference  to  those 
who  attacked  tenets  which  would  undoubtedly  be  regarded  by 
many  as  purely  speculative  and  dogmatic,  sound  even  harsh, 
and  would  be  indefensible  as  they  are  painful,  did  they  not  pro 
ceed  from  a  principle  of  infinite  importance  to  the  integrity  of 
the  Christian  faith.  "I  would  that  they  were  cut  off  that 
trouble  you ;"  "  Let  him  be  accursed  who  preaches  to  you 
another  Gospel ;"  these  and  similar  *  expressions  had  no  refer 
ence  to  evil  livers,  as  such,  but  to  teachers  and  maintainers  of 
evil  doctrines,  with  which  all  corruptions  of  our  moral  nature  are 
connected,  but  which  have  their  origin  in  that  higher  element 
of  our  spiritual  and  intellectual  being,  for  the  regulation  and 
conscientious  use  of  which  our  responsibility  is  grave,  even  in 
proportion  to  its  excellence  and  the  incomparable  majesty  of 
the  objects  with  which  it  is  concerned. 

We  must  further  remark,  that  in  order  to  bring  the  argument, 
such  as  it  is,  to  bear  upon  the  question  of  subscription  as  a  con 
dition  of  exercising  the  functions  of  the  Christian  ministry,  it 
should  have  been  shown  that  St.  Paul  admitted  any  man  to 
preach  publicly,  in  the  capacity  of  an  appointed  teacher,  against 
the  Resurrection,  or  any  other  doctrine  which  had  been  plainly 
declared,  or  that  he  and  his  fellow  Apostles  failed  to  exercise 
the  right  of  deposition,  when  admonition  and  warning  were 


*  Galatians  v.  12  ;  1  Timothy  iv.  1,    I    10.    Compare  2  John  10,  11 ;  2  Peter 
2  ;  2  Timothy  iii.  8,  I);  Titus  i.  11,  iii.    |    iii.  17  ;  Acts  xx.  28-30. 


170  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

Ibund  ineffectual  to  secure  the  cause  of  truth.  Such  is  not 
the  conclusion  which  we  draw  from  the  case  of  Hyrnenaeus 
and  Alexander,  whom  the  Apostle  "  delivered  to  Satan  (the 
same  sentence  as  that  pronounced  in  the  case  of  the  Corinthian 
fornicator — one  which,  whatever  might  be  its  effect,  undoubtedly 
amounts  to  excommunication),  that  they  might  learn  not  to  blas 
pheme  ;"  nor  from  that  of  Hymenaeus  and  Philetus,  which  is 
even  more  immediately  to  the  point,  "  who  erred  concerning  the 
truth,  saying  that  the  resurrection  is  already  past  " — unless,  in 
deed,  we  presume  that  St.  Paul  allowed  their  word  to  "  eat  as  doth 
a  canker,"  and  to  "  overthrow  the  faith  "  of  his  converts,  without 
using  the  power  "  given  to  him  by  the  Lord "  for  the  protec 
tion  of  the  weak  brethren,  "  for  whom  Christ  died." 

35.  The  practice  of  the  early  Church  is  too  clearly  established 
by  a  multitude  of  public  acts  to  be  open  to  a  similar  course  of 
argument.  The  determination  of  the  general  body  and  the 
recognized  representatives  of  the  Christian  community  to  ex 
clude  all  teaching  contrary  to  its  fundamental  principles,  to 
guard  its  doctrinal  deposit  by  strict,  definite,  and  uumistakeable 
declarations,  is  the  most  prominent  fact  which  meets  every 
student  of  ecclesiastical  history,  which,  indeed,  is  recognized 
most  distinctly  by  those  who  feel  a  rooted  antipathy  to  every 
shade  of  what  they  are  pleased  to  call  dogmatic  intolerance.  A 
different,  and  not  implausible  line  of  argument,  is  therefore 
adopted.  The  statement  is  hazarded  that  the  State,  rather  than 
the  Church,  is  responsible  for  this  exclusiveness.*  We  are  told  | 
that,  together  with  the  inauguration  of  multitudinisrn,  Constan- 
tine  inaugurated  a  principle  essentially  at  variance  with  it — 
that  of  doctrinal  limitation  ;  and  we  are  informed  that  his 
torians,  who  are  certainly  all  but  unanimous  upon  the  point,  are 
wrong  in  supposing  that  the  increasing  strictness  of  definitions 
in  the  Christian  creed  must  be  attributed  to  the  rise  of  succes- 


*  It  is  a  singular  instance  of  the  in 
fluence  which  has  been  exercised,  di 
rectly  or  indirectly,  by  the  writings  of 
one  of  the  most  subtle  and  ingenious 
of  modern  controversialists,  that  even 
this  argument  is  derived,  though  used 
for  very  different  purposes,  from  New 
man's  theory  about  the  Thirty-nine 
Articles.  See  '  Romanism  and  Popular 


"  Their  imposition  in  its  first  origin 
was  much  more  a  political  than  an  ec 
clesiastical  act ;  it  was  a  provision  of 
the  Htate  rather  than  of  the  Church, 
though  the  Church  co-operated — tho 
outward  form  into  which  our  religion 
was  cast  has  depended  in  no  slight 
measure  on  the  personal  opinions  and 
wishes  of  laymen  and  foreigners." 


Protestantism,'    Lecture    ix.    p.    '27  K    •       t  E.  and  11.,  p.  100. 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


171 


sive  heresies.  Such  assertions  can.  of  course,  only  be  refuted 
completely  by  a  searching  inquiry  into  the  records  of  Christian 
antiquity ;  but  they  may  be  met  by  some  decisive  facts ;  and 
we  have  no  hesitation  in  asserting  that  the  part  thus  assigned 
to  the  first  Christian  emperor  is  diametrically  in  opposition  to 
historical  facts.  So  far  from  inaugurating  the  principle  of 
doctrinal  limitation,  Constantino  from  first  to  last  had  one 
paramount  object,  and  that  was  to  get  rid  of  doctrinal  discus 
sions,  and  to  bring  about  a  compromise  between  conflicting 
parties — in  fact,  to  do  exactly  what  we  are  told  would  have 
been  so  desirable,  viz.,  to  enforce  forbearance  between  the  great 
antagonistic  parties,  and  to  insist  on  the  maxim  that  neither  had 
a  right  to  limit  the  common  Christianity  to  the  exclusion  of  the 
other.  Constantine  looked  upon  the  controversy  between  Catho 
lics  and  Arians,  as  the  representatives  of  the  secular  authority 
are  generally  disposed  to  do,  altogether  from  without ;  and  the 
special  points  under  discussion  were  to  him  matters  of  utter  in 
difference.*  The  course  which  he  pursued  in  the  first  instance 
was  the  very  wisest  that  could  be  devised ;  nor,  considering  the 
unparalleled  importance  of  the  crisis  and  the  results  of  his 
decision,  do  we  see  how  Christians  can  doubt  that  it  was  brought 
about  by  the  great  Head  of  the  Church.  He  called  together  from 
all  quarters  of  his  empire  the  governors  of  the  whole  Christian 
community,  and  referred  the  questions  under  discussion  to  their 
arbitration.  The  result  was  absolutely  decisive.  The  Nicene 
Creed  was  drawn  up  as  a  declaration  of  what  was  included  in 
that  common  Christianity.  It  defined  the  true  limits  beyond 
which  no  teacher  f  could  go  without  infringing  the  fundamental 
principles  of  the  faith.  With  the  exception  of  one  word,  that 
Creed  contained  no  single  statement  in  which,  both  as  regarded 
substance  and  form,  all  Churches  had  not  previously  coincided. 
That  word  represented  not  "the  hardening  of  fluid  and  un 
settled  notions,"  but  the  existence  of  one  fixed  universal  con 
viction,  that  the  centre  and  life  of  Christianity  is  found  in  the 
recognition  of  the  absolute  and  perfect  Godhead  of  its  Founder 
and  Head.  The  word  was  chosen,  not  by  Constantine,  but  by 


*  See  his  epistle  to  Alexander  and 
Arius.  Euseb.  V.  C.,  ii.  69,  70. 

•f-  It  must  be  remembered  that  sub 
scription  wua  exacted  at  once  of  the 


clergy,  as  being  teachers,  but  not  of 
the  laity.  Anathemas,  however,  were 
pronounced  against  all  who  openly 
denied  the  doctrines  of  the  Creed. 


172 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  IV. 


those  divines  who  clearly  perceived  the  vital  character  of  the 
questions  at  issue.  They  chose  it  because  nothing  short  of  an 
exact  definition  would  deliver  Christendom  from  the  corrup 
tion  with  which  it  was  menaced.  The  word  was  open  to  cavil, 
and,  if  left  unexplained,  to  fair  objection  ;*  but  with  such  expla 
nation  as  was  at  once  given  and  accepted,  it  expressed  the  mind 
of  the  universal  Church.  It  must  not  be  supposed  that  the 
object  was  to  express  the  personal  opinions  of  the  Bishops  pre 
sent  ;  even  the  arguments  by  which  they  might  defend  those 
opinions  were  matters,  comparatively  speaking,  of  indifference. 
In  selecting  that  word  they  were  actuated  but  by  one  wish — that 
of  expressing  clearly  and  unmistakeably  the  conviction  of  the 
entire  body  in  whose  name  they  spoke.  The  most  unlearned, 
the  least  conversant  with  technical  terms  or  philosophical  dis 
cussions  among  them,  were  rejoiced  to  have  that  word,  feeling 
that  they  could  not  show  their  faces  to  their  own  congregations 
if  they  returned  without  having  recorded  such  a  decision  as 
might  exclude  for  ever  the  incongruous  and  hostile  element  from 
the  sphere  of  Christian  communion.  Constantine  did  but  give 
effect  to  the  universal  will.  They  inaugurated  the  doctrinal 
limitation  ;  he  gave  it  for  the  time  legal  validity.  Nor  must  it 
be  lost  sight  of,  that  all  the  special  pleading,  all  the  philosophical 
speculations  and  technical  innovations  began,  as  indeed  has 
always  been  the  case,  not  with  the  maintaiuers,  but  with  the 
opponents  of  the  old  Catholic  doctrine.  "  That  there  was  a  time 
when  God  the  Word  was  not ;  that  He  was  alien  in  essential  sub 
stance  from  the  absolute  God  ;"  these  and  similar  forms  of  what 
the  Church  then  rejected — and  so  long  as  she  exists  will  ever 
reject  as  blasphemy — had  their  origin  in  the  catechetical  schools 
tainted  most  deeply  by  neoplatonism.  The  necessity  of  a  new, 
a  more  searching  and  comprehensive,  and  at  the  same  time  a 
more  exclusive  term,  was  entirely  owing  to  those  metaphysical 
speculations.  The  Church  acknowledged  the  truth  of  the  con- 


*  See  Atbanasius,  'De  Syn.  Nic., 
§  20-24,  and  Basil,  Ep.  52,  with  Gar- 
nier's  note.  It  is  well  known  that  all 
the  great  divines  of  that  age  were  qiu'te 
satisfied  with- an  honewt  acceptance  of 
the  doctrine  expressed  by  'Onoovcnoi, 


even  in  the  case  of  those  who  tor  a 
time  were  unwilling  to  receive  that 
word.  Few  writers  of  late  have  dealt 
with  the  question  so  fairly  as  the  Bene 
dictine  editors,  or  as  Tilleraont,  '  Me- 
moires  H.  E..'  torn.  iv.  p.  125. 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  173 

elusion  drawn  by  its  most  clearsighted  champions,  that  the  intro 
duction  of  an  intermediate  Being,  neither  truly  God  nor  truly 
man,  was  a  subtle  but  unquestionable  form  of  polytheism,*  sub 
versive  of  all  the  principles  on  which  the  redemption  of 
humanity  depends.  The  decision  was,  undoubtedly,  exclusive. 
It  excluded — it  ejected  as  a  poison,  a  gangrene,  a  treasonable 
lie — the  doctrine  which  is  too  often  regarded  as  a  mere  verbal 
error,  or  one  depending  upon  the  inherent  imperfection  of  a 
finite  intellect ;  but  for  that  exclusiveness  the  Church,  and  the 
Church  alone,  is  responsible.  So  far  indeed  was  the  State  from 
taking  upon  itself  the  responsibility  of  this  "  doctrinal  limita 
tion,"  that  within  a  very  short  time  its  whole  power  was  brought 
to  bear  upon  the  Church,  in  order  to  compel  it  to  reverse 
its  decision  and  to  eliminate  that  one  word  from  its  creed. 
During  the  reigns  of  two  most  able  and  powerful  sovereigns 
no  means  of  fraud,  intimidation,  or  violence  were  spared 
to  produce  the  result  which  is  now  represented  to  be  so 
desirable — that  of  sweeping  away  the  limitary  definition  which 
shut  out  the  only  influential  dissentients  from  office  and  com 
munion  in  the  Church.  It  was  assuredly  a  providential  dis 
pensation  to  test  the  sincerity  of  the  Church's  faith,  and  to 
demonstrate  its  independence  of  the  State.  An  age  of  terrible 
struggles  intervened  before  the  final  triumph ;  but  during  that 
time  the  principle  took  such  root  that  no  storms  have  since 
shaken  it.  One  point  requires  especial  notice ;  it  is  often 
overlooked :  neither  Constantine  nor  his  successors  attempted 
to  introduce  the  terms  of  the  Arian  heresy  in  the  formularies 
which  they  recommended,t  freely  as  they  allowed  the  doctrines 
of  Arianism  to  be  preached ;  they  merely  wished  to  exclude 
from  the  Creed  the  one  word  of  doctrinal  limitation;  and  in 
that  attempt  they  failed.  The  early  Church  knew  that  it 
was  a  matter  of  life  or  death ;  and  in  the  position  where  that 
Church  left  us  we  stand,  with  a  Creed  definitely  stating,  not 


*  This  is  the  great,  the  palmary  ar 
gument  of  Athanasius,  adopted  by 
Basil,  Gregory,  and  all  the  great  di 
vines  who  have  written  against  Arian 


ism. 


even  Constantius  is  spoken  of  in  terms 
of  respect  by  staunch  but  candid  up 
holders  of  the  orthodox  doctrine,  as 
Hilary,  Ambrose,  Theodoret,  and 
Gregory  Nazianzen.  See  the  preface 


t  Hence  not  only  Constantine,  but   !    to  G.  N.  Or.  iv.  p.  76,  ed.  Ben. 


174  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

explaining  or  discussing,  but  simply  declaring,  those  doctrinal 
facts*  without  which  our  common  Christianity  would  be  a 
mere  name. 

30.  That  the  actual  position  of  our  own  Church  is  definite  and 
unmistakeable  is  recognized  both  by  those  who  maintain, 
and  not  less  distinctly  by  those  who  assail  it,  as  is  shown 
by  the  direction  of  their  attacks.  It  is  in  principle  precisely 
that  of  the  Apostolic  Church,  in  fact  of  all  portions  of  the 
Church,  in  the  best  and  purest  ages.  The  first  object  of  our 
Church  is  to  determine  the  grounds  on  which  all  its  doctrine  is 
based.  That  she  does  by  enumerating  the  canonical  books  of 
Holy  Writ,  to  which  alone  she  appeals  for  authoritative  con 
firmation  of  her  teaching.  Belief  in  the  Scriptures,  in  their 
genuineness,  authenticity,  and  divine  origin — belief  in  them  not 
merely  as  fundamental,  but  as  the  foundation  of  all  funda 
mentals,}  the  sole  and  sufficient  warrant  for  the  Creeds  J  them 
selves,  is  the  first  condition  of  communion,  a  condition  not 
stated  simply  because  it  is  assumed  as  a  point  about  which  no 
question  could  be  raised  by  Christians.  The  Bible  is  to  our 
Church  §  as  it  was  to  the  early  Church,  as  it  was  most  distinctly 
and  emphatically  to  the  Churches  of  the  Reformation,  the 
Word  of  God.  The  three  Creeds  are  accepted  and  set  forth 
as  the  condensed  declaration  of  the  articles  of  faith  which 
she  holds,  on  the  ground  of  their  scripturality,  to  be  true,  and 
on  that  of  their  importance  to  be  fundamental.  In  the  Thirty- 
nine  Articles  of  Religion  she  exhibits  the  whole  body  of  her 
theology  as  contradistinguished  from  that  of  churches  which 
had  corrupted,  mutilated,  or  added  to,  the  truth.  The  general 
objects  of  those  Articles  are  to  repudiate  the  errors  of  the 


*  I  use  the  expression  advisedly —  I  xx.  xxii.  xxxiv.  There  cannot  be  any 

the  doctrines  of  the  Church  are  facts,  j  reasonable  doubt  that  the  "  word  of 

;ind  the  facts  are  doctrines.  >  God  "  in  these  Articles  means  the  Bible. 

t  The  term  first  used,  if  I  mistake  j  In  other  passages  it  might  possibly  be 

not,  by  Newman.  Sec  '  Romanism  and  '  explained  away,  but  the  expressions 

Popular  Protestantism,'  p.  287.  It  coin-  :  "  Holy  Scripture  "  and  "  word  of  God  " 

cides  with  Chillingworth's  well-known  !  were  most  certainly  synonymous  in  the 

faying,  and  with  Hegel's,  "  Dabei,"  i.  e.,  mind  of  the  compilers  of  the  Articles, 

with  the  Creeds,  "  gait  in  der  pro-  as  they  are  now  in  the  mind  of  the  im- 

testantischen  Kirche  die  Bestimmung,  posers  of  subscription.  The  results  of 

doss  die  Bibel  die  wesentliche  Grund-  j  denying  that  the  word  of  God  is  co- 

Jage  der  Lehre  sey." — '  Philosophic  der  extensive  with  Holy  Scripture  are 

Religion,'  p.  29.  drawn  out  clearly  enough  in  E.and  R., 


Article  viii. 
§  See  Article.-)  xvii.  (tin.'  la^t  words,, 


p.  17t:,  177. 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


175 


Papal  system,  and  to  maintain  what  is  called  the  Catholic 
doctrine, — that  is,  the  whole  system  of  doctrines  recognized  by 
the  Church  of  Christ  as  opposed  to  early  heresies.*  So  far  her 
position  is  clear.  With  regard  to  the  acts  of  adhesion  required 
of  her  members,  we  find  the  same  substantial  identity  of 
principle  with  the  early  Church.  As  to  hearers  of  the  word,  to 
attendants  upon  her  services,  we  readily  admit  that  no  formal 
act  of  adherence  beyond  what  is  given  in  baptism,  and  is  after 
wards  implied  by  their  acceptance  of  her  ministrations,  ought  to 
be  required.  Nor  does  our  Church  require  it.t  As  we  believe  to 
have  been  the  practice  in  the  Apostolic  age,  she  admits  all  appli 
cants  to  free  participation  in  any  ordinances  from  which,  judging 
for  themselves,  they  expect  to  derive  benefit ;  nor  does  she  retain 
even  so  much  of  the  discipline  of  the  post-Apostolic  Church  as 
might  be  held  desirable  in  order  to  protect  the  most  solemn  rites 
from  profanation.  Even  that  risk  is  incurred  in  preference  to 
the  possible  exclusion  of  timid  and  scrupulous  believers.  Our 
Church,  to  use  a  somewhat  pedantic  but  not  inexpressive  term,  is 
multitudinous,  in  the  sense  that  it  does  not  inquire  minutely  and 
jealously  into  the  qualifications  and  opinions  of  its  members, 
but  opens  wide  its  gates  day  and  night,  and  offers  freely  to  all 
the  leaves  that  were  given  for  the  healing  of  the  nations.  But 
that  is  quite  a  different  question  from  the  terms  of  admission  to 
the  functions  of  the  ministry.  J  Our  Church  has  learned  from 
St.  Paul,  from  his  fellow  Apostles,  and  from  his  Master,  that  an 


*  See  Dr.  Arnold's  '  Life  and  Corre 
spondence,'  ii.  p.  136.  The  passage  is 
quoted  further  on.  Compare  Water- 
land,  vol.  ii.  p.  302. 

t  This  does  not  touch  the  case  of 
the  Universities.  Of  course,  any  colle 
giate  or  corporate  institution  has  power 
to  impose  its  own  conditions  for  ad 
mission  to  its  privileges  or  benefices. 
There  is  great  force  in  the  arguments 
of  the  pamphlet,  written,  I  believe, 
by  Mr.  Maurice, '  Subscription  no  Bon 
dage,'  1835 — "In  all  schools  and  uni 
versities  there  is  a  contract  expressed 
or  implied  between  the  teacher  and  the 
learner,  as  to  the  principles  on  which 
the  one  agrees  to  teach  and  the  other 
to  learn — and  to  state  the  terms  of  this 
contract  is  at  once  the  most  honest  me 
thod,  and  the  most  serviceable  to  edu 
cation." 


J  Thus  Waterland — "  Subscription 
is  not  a  term  of  lay  communion,  but  of 
ministerial  conformity,  on  acceptance 
of  trusts  and  privileges,"  vol.  ii.  p.  362. 
Again,  "  This  writer  cannot  distinguish 
between  ejecting  and  not  admitting, 
nor  between  Church-communion  and 
Church-trusts.  I  said  not  a  word  about 
ejecting  any  man  out  of  communion," 
ib.  p.  392.  Bishop  Bull  takes  pre 
cisely  the  Eume  view,  '  Vindication  of 
the  Church  of  England,'  vol.  ii.  p.  211, 
ed.  Burton.  So  also  does  Bishop  Jeremy 
Taylor,  '  Ductor  dubitantium,'  iii.  c.  4. 
In  accordance  with  this  principle,  Athu- 
nasius  admitted  the  Semi-Arians  to 
communion,  although  they  would  not 
accept  the  term  Homousion ;  but  lie 
would  not  allow  them  to  iiold  office  in 
the  Church. 


170 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  IV. 


imperfect  knowledge,  much  more  denial  of  the  truth  when  it 
extends  to  fundamental  principles,  when  it  touches  the  "  Divine 
personalities,"  and  the  authority  of  God's  word,  is  an  insuperable 
disqualification  for  the  ministerial  office. 

37.  It  is  disingenuous  to  represent  this  difference  between  a  lay 
and  clerical  member  of  the  Church  as  implying  that  one  is  free 
to  inquire,  the  other  bound  to  profess  what,  be  it  true  or  be  it 
false,  may  not  be  true  to  him.  The  layman  is  simply  treated, 
so  far  and  so  long  as  he  chooses  to  be  so  treated,  as  one  whose 
opinions  are  in  process  of  formation  ;  whereas  the  other,  by  the 
mere  fact  of  his  assuming  the  functions  of  a  teacher,  declares  that 
upon  all  essential  points  his  mind  is  already  made  up.  A 
school  of  theology  may,  within  certain  limits,  be  a  fair  arena  for 
speculative  conflicts;  but  the  chair  of  the  professor,  and  a  fortiori 
the  pulpit  of  the  minister,  should  be  occupied  by  one  who  is  in 
possession  of  the  truth.  It  has  been  stated,  that  whenever  laymen 
are  put  in  positions  where  their  influence  may  affect  the  religious 
principles  of  members  of  the  Church,  the  same  guarantees  are 
exacted  as  in  the  case  of  ministers.  Though  incorrect  in  point 
of  fact,  that  statement  bears  witness  to  the  reasonableness  of  the 
condition,  that  professed  teachers  of  the  Church's  doctrines  ought, 
in  some  form  or  other,  to  give  an  assurance  that  they  know  what 
these  doctrines  are,  and  that  they  receive  them  and  intend  to 
teach  them  without  any  essential  modification.  There  are 
several  conceivable  ways  in  which  the  Church  may  satisfy  her 
self  upon  this  point ;  but  surely  the  easiest  and  most  natural — 
the  least  open  to  the  charge  of  unfairness — is  to  state  clearly, 
broadly,  and  completely,  the  principles,  and  doctrines,  which 
she  holds  to  be  fundamental,  and  to  require  of  those  who  are 
candidates  for  the  most  important  of  all  offices,  a  declaration 
deliberately  made  and  attested  by  the  simple  act  of  subscription, 
that  they  are  one  in  mind  and  in  convictions  with  herself.  The 
Church  can  do  no  less  than  demand  such  a  pledge,  that  at  the  time 
when  a  man  accepts  that  office,  he  allows,*  that  is,  he  honestly 
and  unreservedly  approves  and  assents  to  her  code  of  faith. 


*  It  is  strange  that  any  scholar  should 
raise  a  question  as  to  the  meaning  of 
this  word.  It  occurs  frequently  in  our 
early  formularies,  and  always  in  the 
nense  of  approving  and  accepting.  See 
also  Luke  xi.  -IS:  ]  Thcs?.  ii.  A.  As 
to  its  meaning  in  Subscription,  Jeremy 


Taylor  writes  thus  (1.  c.)  : — "  Lubens  et 
ex  animo  subscripsi,  that's  our  form  in 
the  Church  of  England.  Consentiens 
subscripsi :  so  it  was  in  the  ancient 
Church,  as  Sf.  Austin  reports.  I  con 
sent  to  the  thing,  my  mind  goes  with 
it." 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


177 


38.  This,  it  is  said,  is  equivalent  to  a  promise  that  a  man  will 
believe,  and  that  is  a  promise  which  it  is  not  in  his  power  to  fulfil. 
But  so  far  as  regards  belief,  subscription  is  not  a  promise,  but  a 
declaration.*   Whatever  promise  is  implied  concerns  not  our  con 
victions,  but  our  acts.    We  pledge  ourselves  simply  to  this,  that, 
so  long  as  we  hold  an  office  of  trust,  we  will  not  contravene  the 
purposes  for  which  it  was  instituted.    The  objects  of  our  faith  are, 
indeed,  immutable  truths;  but,  knowing  the  changeableness  of 
the  subjective  faculties  which  apprehend  them,  and  the  manifold 
disturbances  to  which  spiritual  development  is  liable,  we  make 
no  promise  that  we  will  retain  those  convictions  ;  although,  from 
the  very  nature  of  convictions  touching  the  highest  interests  of 
our  being,  we  entertain  a  hope,  a  trust,  a  something  in  all  honest 
men  approaching  to,  and  in  single-hearted  believers  identified 
with,  a  confident  assurance  that  we  shall  retain  them  to  the  end. 
The  promise,  however,  as  to  acts  is  binding,  on  the  plainest 
grounds  of  moral  obligation,  and  that  without  any  reference  to 
the  possible  contingency  of  legal  penalties  and  disqualifications 
in  case  of  its  violation. 

39.  This  point  is  of  primary  importance.     It  concerns  our  con 
science  more  nearly  than  any  considerations  bearing  upon  our 
ministerial  position.   It  has  been  lately  asserted,  as  I  believe  for 
the  first  time,  that  the  moral  obligation  of  the  act  of  subscription 
is  commensurate  and  identical  with  the  legal  obligation.     Now 
the  effect  of  this  doctrine,  were  it  generally  adopted,  would  be 
the  practical  annihilation  of  all  obligation,  in  the  great  majority 
of  cases  where  any  question  could  arise.     It  is  but  too  obvious 
that  a  man  may,  if  not  directly,  yet  by  insinuation  and  unmis- 
takeable  inference,  attack  even  the  fundamental  doctrines  of  the 
Church  without  incurring  the  danger  of  legal  conviction.  In  fact, 
so  far  as  the  mere  legal  obligation  is  concerned,  there  could  be 
no  object  whatever  in  requiring  subscription.    That  act  does  not 


*  Thus  Jeremy  Taylor,  1.  c.,  c.  xxiii. 
"  Ecclesiastical  subscription  only  gives 
witness  of  our  present  consent,  but  ac 
cording  to  its  design  and  purpose  for 
the  future  it  binds  us  only  to  the  con 
servation  of  peace  and  unity."  His 
view  of  the  act  of  subscription  is  of  great 
importance.  "  It  implies  that  he  who 
subscribes  does  actually  approve  the 


articles  overwritten — does,  at  the  time, 
believe  them  to  be  such  as  it  is  said 
they  are :  true,  if  they  only  say  they 
are  true  ;  useful,  if  they  pretend  to  use 
fulness  ;  necessary,  if  it  is  affirmed  they 
are  necessary.  For  if  the  subscriber 
believe  not  this,  he  by  hypocrisy  serves 
the  ends  of  public  peace,  and  his  own 
preferment." 

N 


ITS  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

render  a  man  liable  to  legal  consequences  in  a  higher  or  different 
degree  than  would  the  acceptance  of  an  office  to  which  certain 
conditions  are  attached  by  the  legislature.  It  is  perfectly  com 
petent  to  the  supreme  authority  to  inflict  deprivation  for  any 
infringement  of  those  conditions,  without  reference  to  the  pre 
vious  concurrence  of  ministers  in  the  definition  of  their  duties. 
The  act  of  subscription  would  be  superfluous,  if  it  did  not 
superadd  to  the  legal  a  perfectly  distinct  and  incomparably 
higher  obligation, — even  one  which  binds  the  conscience  of  an 
honest  man.* 

40.  The  existence  of  the  moral  obligation  does  not,  however,  de 
termine  its  exact  nature  and  extent.  The  question  still  remains, 
how  far  the  act  of  subscription  implies  conformity  between  a 
man's  inmost  convictions  and  the  doctrinal  formularies  of  the 
Church.t  That  the  conformity  does  not  necessarily  extend  to  an 
absolute  and  entire  acceptance  of  any  human  formularies,  as 
exhaustive  or  perfect  representations  of  Divine  truth,  may  readily 
be  conceded.  Such  a  demand  would,  in  fact,  be  tantamount  t<> 
an  assumption  of  verbal  and  plenary  inspiration,  which  the  coir 
pilers  of  the  documents  and  the  imposersof  subscription  would  be 
the  first  to  disclaim.  The  conformity  must,  however,  amount  to 
as  much  as  this.  Taking  the  articles  of  religion  in  their  natural 
and  obvious  meaning,  |  as  upon  the  whole  witli  singular  unani 
mity,  and  in  the  most  essential  points  with  absolute  unanimity, 
they  have  been  understood  and  interpreted  by  our  great  divines, 
the  subscriber  recognizes  in  them  a  faithful  exhibition  of 
Christian  doctrine,  the  rule  of  his  public  teaching,  the  authori 
tative  expression  of  the  faith  once  delivered  to  the  saints.  On 
two  points  especially,  an  explicit  and  unhesitating  act  of  adhe 
sion  is  demanded — the  canon  of  Holy  Scripture,  and  the  Creeds 


*  See  the  touching  and  unanswer 
able  statement  of  Mr.  Whiston,  quoted 
by  Waterland,  vol.  ii.  p.  400. 

t  This  is  the  declaration  of  the  four 
Oxford  Tutors  in  1841  :— "  We  readily 
admit  the  necessity  of  allowing  that 
liberty  in  interpreting  the  formularies 


right  in  our  apprehension  of  the 
author's  meaning,  we  are  at  a  loss  to 
Bee  what  security  would  remain,  were 
his  principles  generally  recognized, 
that  the  most  plainly  erroneous  doc 
trines  and  practices  of  the  Church  of 
Runic  might  not  be  inculcated  in  tli 


of  our  Church  which  has  been  advo-  !  lecture-rooms  of  the  university  and 
cated  by  many  of  our  most  learned  from  the  pulpits  of  our  churches.'' 
bishops  and  eminent  divines  ;  but  this  J  Sec  Dr.  Waterland  on  '  Arian  Sub 
tract  puts  forth  new  and  startling  j  scription,'  vol.  ii.  p.  SHo.  )MsL»ps  Bull, 
views  as  to  the  extent  to  which  that  |  vol.  ii.  p.  211,  and  J.  Taylor,  quoted 
liberty  may  be.  carried.  For  if  we  are  alu.ve. 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


179 


which  present  its  fundamental  doctrines  in  a  concentrated  form.* 
Short  of  this  conformity,  it  is  certain  that  a  minister  cannot 
sympathize  with  the  spirit,  or  give  effect  to  the  purposes,  of  the 
Church.  Common  sense,  in  this  case  fully  in  accord  with  the 
highest  reason,  is  a  sufficient  guide  to  the  most  cautious  and 
scrupulous  inquirer.  Nor  can  I  forbear  from  quoting  the  words 
of  one  whom  no  man  will  suspect  of  any  tendency  to  dogmatic 
intolerance,  any  disregard  of  even  exaggerated  sensitiveness.  In 
a  letter  to  one  who  had  felt  much  perplexity  about  subscription, 
after  alluding  to  difficulties  formerly  experienced  by  himself,  Dr. 
Arnoldf  writes  thus : — "  The  real  honesty  of  subscription  appears 
to  me  to  consist  in  a  sympathy  with  the  system  to  which  you 
subscribe,  in  a  preference  of  it,  not  negatively  merely  as  better 
than  others,  but  positively,  as  in  itself  good  and  true  in  its  most 
characteristic  points.  Now,  the  most  characteristic  points  of  the 
English  Church  are  two :  that  it  maintains  what  is  called  the 
Catholic  Faith  as  opposed  to  the  early  heresies,  and  is  also  de 
cidedly  a  Keformed  Church  as  opposed  to  the  priestly  and  Papal 
system."  Such  must  have  been  the  feelings  of  the  Oxford  tutor  J 
who  some  twenty  years  since  bore  this  testimony  to  our  Church, 
with  especial  reference  to  its  safeguard  of  subscription — "  I 
know  not, where  free  scope  may  be  found  for  the  feelings  of  awe, 
mystery,  tenderness,  and  devotedness,  when  they  struggle  for 
utterance  in  the  breast  of  the  spiritual  man,  more  freely  than  in 
our  own  communion :  where  our  sons  are  taught,  without  adding 
thereto,  or  diminishing  aught  from  it,  the  greut  mystery  of  godli 
ness  :  God  manifest  in  the  flesh,  justified  in  the  Spirit,  seen  of 
angels,  preached  unto  the  Gentiles,  believed  on  in  the  world, 
received  up  into  glory."  No  one  holding  those  principles  could 
feel  any  difficulty  in  subscription.  Such  a  man  is  satisfied,  not 
because  he  is  safe  from  legal  consequences,  but  because  he  feels 
himself  in  harmony  with  the  spirit  of  his  Church,  because  he 
knows  that  he  is  offering  an  honest  act  of  fealty,  and  is  willing, 
without  subterfuge  or  equivocation,  to  carry  out  her  intentions  to 


*  To  these  should  be  added  the  doc 
trine  of  the  Sacraments.  The  statute  of 
Elizabeth  13,  which  requires  subscrip 
tion  to  all  the  Articles,  specifies  in  the 
first  place  such  only  as  concern  the 
c'oiif'e^ion  of  the  Christian  faith  and 
Uit-  doctrine  of  tho  TIolv  SncTiiments. 


See  Collier, '  Ecclesiustical  History,'  vol. 
vi.  pp.  485  and  489. 

t  '  Lite  and  Correspondence,'  vol.  ii. 
p.  177. 

I  '  Letter  to  Rev.  T.  T.  Churton  by 
Ilev.  H.  B.Wilson,'  1K41. 


180  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [  ESSAY  IV. 

the  best  of  his  ability.  Should  it,  indeed,  unhappily  be  the  case, 
that  in  after  years  his  inind  should  be  so  affected  as  to  reject  not 
merely  a  word  here  and  there,  the  meaning  or  application  of 
expressions  about  which  the  most  learned  and  candid  writers 
have  differed,  or  even  positive  determinations  upon  questions  of 
subordinate  importance,  but  the  great  truths,  the  objective  facts, 
the  fundamental  doctrines  set  forth  plainly  and  unmistakeably 
in  those  formularies,  then  surely  the  moral  obligation  is  posi 
tive.  It  leaves  but  one  alternative.  He  cannot  do  the  work 
which  he  has  undertaken,  cannot  preach  the  doctrines,  cannot 
proclaim  the  facts  which  are  the  very  foundation  of  the  Church  : 
how  can  he  retain  the  trust  ?  If  people  did  not  understand  this 
to  be  our  feeling  as  ministers,  they  would  speedily  seek  for 
some  other  guarantee.  If  it  were  generally  believed  that,  when 
called  upon  to  clear  himself  from  "  odious  imputations,"  a  mi 
nister  might  put  a  stop  to  all  further  inquiry  by  simply  renewing 
his  subscription,  with  a  clear  understanding  that  thereby  he 
means  no  more  than  that  he  recognizes  a  legal  obligation,  retain 
ing  the  right  of  explaining  away,  or  even  denying  privately  and 
publicly,  the  very  statements  to  which  he  puts  his  hand,  the 
whole  body  of  the  laity  would  scout  the  very  notion  of  sub 
scription,  would  reject  it  as  illusory,  as  a  mere  sham.*  .  The  only 
light  in  which  they  look  upon  subscription  is,  that  it  is  a  means 
of  ascertaining  what  truths  a  man  holds,  and  what  he  holds  him 
self  bound  to  teach, — not  surely  upon  what  terms  he  may  con 
sider  himself  justified  in  retaining  office  or  emoluments  in  the 
Church.  They  will  be  prepared  to  allow  time  for  consideration 
to  any  man  harassed  by  perplexing  doubts :  no  man  would  be 
regarded  with  more  entire  sympathy  and  tenderness  than  one 
whose  spirit  might  be  overwrought  in  its  struggles  with  storms 
which  haunt  the  higher  regions  of  intellectual  life  :  but  so  lon^ 


*  These  words  express  with  equal 
force  and  accuracy  the  general  feelings 
of  the  laity.  "  If  the  Church  of  Eng 
land  really  possesses  that  element  of 
vitality  which  her  sons  proudly  believe 


her  only  hope  of  safety  and  unity  in 
allowing  her  sons  to  profess  one  creed 
and  believe  another,  let  her  prepare 
for  that  well-merited  downfall  to  which 
deceit  and  double  dealing  never  fail  to 


to  be  inherent  in  her,  she  will  never       conduct."     A  tract  bearing  the  till 


flinch  from  vindicating  the  integrity  of 
her  Articles  and  the  uniformity  of  her 
belief ;  but  if  she  should  he  ill-advised 
enough  to  allow  her  tests  to  be  broken 
down  and  rendered  void  by  .strained 
and  licentious  expositions,  if  she  place 


'  The  Articles  Construed  by  Them 
selves,'  Oxford,  184],  attributed,  as  I 
believe,  to  li.  Lowe,  Esq.,  formerly  of 
Magdalen  College,  now  Vice-President 
of  the  Committee  of  Council  on  Edu 
cation. 


ESSAY  IV.] 


IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION. 


181 


as  he  works,  prays,  preaches,  administers  the  sacraments  of 
the  Church,  or  discharges  the  kindred  and  no  less  responsible 
duty  of  forming  the  character  of  youth  under  the  sanction  of 
the  ministerial  office,  laymen  presume,  and  would  be  scandalized 
to  hear  it  doubted,  that  he  holds  substantially  the  convictions 
which  he  professed,  when  formally,  publicly,  deliberately,  at  a 
most  critical  moment  of  his  life,  he  signed  his  name  in  token 
of  unfeigned  assent  to  the  Articles  of  his  Church. 

41.  One  reason  assigned  for  the  removal  of  all  doctrinal  tests 
may  require  special  consideration.*  It  is  stated  that  there  is  a 
wide-spread  and  increasing  alienation  from  the  Church ;  that  the 
minds  of  thoughtful  men  reject  the  views  of  Christian  doctrine 
commonly  advanced  in  our  churches  and  chapels— that  is,  in 
other  words,  by  the  teachers  of  nearly  all  religious  denomina 
tions  ;  and  it  is  distinctly  implied,  that  this  alienation  is  to  be 
attributed  to  the  growing  sense  of  incompatibility  between  the 
tenets  generally  regarded  as  essential  to  Christianity,  and  the 
conclusions  of  reason  from  the  progress  of  science,  and  more 
especially  "  from  the  advance  of  general  knowledge  concerning 
the  inhabitancy  of  the  world."  We  might  question  the  fact  of  an 
increasing  alienation.  We  might  argue  that,  compared  with  the 
state  of  the  Church  in  the  last  century,  her  existing  condition  is 
one  of  wider  and  far  more  effectual  influence ;  that  every  test 
upon  which  reliance  can  be  placed  indicates  a  strengthening 
of  religious  convictions;  that  the  number  of  communicants  is 
multiplied  at  least  tenfold ;  that  the  very  face  of  the  country 
is  changed  by  the  multitude  of  churches  built,  enlarged,  or 
restored  ;  and  that,  for  the  first  time  since  the  Reformation, 
our  Church  has  grappled  with  the  real  difficulties  of  her  position, 
sends  forth  missionaries  to  all  quarters  of  the  earth,  and  has  or 
ganized  the  colonial  episcopate.  We  might  point  to  many  of 
the  greatest  names  in  art,  science,  literature,  and  politics,  which 
within  the  same  period  have  recognized  in  our  Church  a  true 
manifestation  of  the  Divine  life.  Nor,  again,  can  it  be  denied 
that  the  alleged  facts  of  the  census  of  1851,  in  themselves  most 
questionable,  have  been  most  unfairly  applied.  Certainly,  of  all 


*  Mr.  Wilson  can  hardly  hope  to  dis 
prove  his  own  forcible  statement. 
"  Schemes  of  comprehension  of  neces 
sity  defeat  their  own  design :  if  weak 


brethren  are  included  on  the  one  hund, 
weak  brethren  are  excluded  on  the 
other."— Letter  to  Rev.  T.  T.  Churton. 


182  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  1\. 

inferences,  the  least  reasonable  is,  that  the  absence  of  some 
15  percent,  of  the  population  from  public  service  was  in  any 
way  attributable  to  conscientious  objections  to  the  doctrine 
taught  in  our  churches,  or  to  a  conviction  that  heathenism,  after 
all,  is  no  very  lamentable  condition  of  two-thirds  of  the  human 
race.  We  should  have  thought  that  ignorance,  vice,  and  indif 
ference,  on  the  one  hand,  on  the  other,  the  want  of  sufficient 
and  proper  accommodation,  were  generally  recognized  as  the 
main  causes  of  what  certainly  was  a  most  painful  result  of 
an  inquiry  into  the  actual  number  of  worshippers.  Upon 
these  points  we  need  not  dilate ;  but  this  we  maintain  without 
hesitation,  the  alienation,  to  whatever  extent  it  may  really 
exist,  is  not  owing  to  the  doctrines  set  forth  in  the  Creeds 
<>f  our  Church,  and  embodied  in  her  liturgical  formularies. 
The  surest  way  of  emptying  any  church  or  chapel  is  to  substi 
tute  for  earnest  preaching  of  those  very  doctrines  which  are 
specially  selected  for  attack  or  suspicion,  a  vague?,  cold,  ration 
alistic  system  of  so-called  Christian  ethics.*  Let  the  people 
suspect  that  their  ethical  development  is  the  single  object  of  all 
the  instrumentality  of  the  Church,  they  would  simply  throw  it 
off  as  cumbrous  and  superfluous ;  and  they  would  be  right.  The 
experiment  has  been  tried  here  and  abroad.  It  has  had  one 
unvarying  result.  In  Germany,  where  for  a  time  it  had  free 
play,  it  alienated  the  great  body  of  the  nation  from  the  commu 
nion  of  the  Church.  In  England  sufficient  proof  has  been 
given  that  a  "  prudential  system  of  ethics  "  not  only  fails  "  as  a 
restraining  force  upon  society,"  but  that,  disjoined  from  the  vital 
doctrines  of  Christianity,  it  leads  rapidly  to  the  decay,  and  ends 
in  the  dissolution,  of  any  denomination  by  which  it  is  adopted. 
This  is  the  case  even  in  independent  communities  where  the 
principal  parts  of  the  service  are  adjusted  by  the  minister  and 
his  congregation — where  prayer  and  psalmody  may  be  kept 
in  harmony  with  preaching,  however  rationalistic.  But  in  ;i 
church  where  the  doctrines  taught  in  the  Creeds  find  an  ex 
pression  in  every  prayer,  the  contradiction  between  the  sernioi: 
of  a  rationalist  and  the  words  which  he  is  constrained  to 


*  Nut  but  tlVut  our  strictest  doeina-  tion  of  subscription,  "  Every  heresy  it 

tical  writers  :  re  most  careful  t<>  iLShi^n  I  morality  i.s  of  moro.  pernicious  consr 

its  ri^lit  place  to  morality.     Wuterlainl  I  qucncu  than  hcreduc>  in  point  of  potulivi 

s;ivs,  with  releicuci     |o   this  vrry  q'le.s-  '  religion." 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  183 

utter  in  his  ministerial  functions,  will  always  be,  and  ought 
always  to  be,  fatal  to  his  influence.  If  the  congregation  have 
good  reason  to  suspect  that,  in  reciting  the  Creeds,  the  mi 
nister  looks  upon  himself  as  subjected  to  the  hard  bondage  of 
uttering  what  he  inwardly  disavows,  or  regards  as  an  "  unhappy  " 
form ;  that  in  the  petitions  of  the  Litany  he  uses  expressions 
touching  the  "  Divine  personalities  "  which  are  to  him  little  more 
than  metaphysical  abstractions,  or  speculative  conclusions  of  the 
schools  ;  if  they  believe  that,  from  the  opening  prayer  to  the 
final  blessing,  there  has  been  a  constant  struggle,  a  series  of  in 
ward  protests,  Jesuitical  reservations  or  interpretations,  going  on 
within  the  mind  of  the  reader  ;  whatever  else  may  be  the  effect 
upon  their  hearts,  one  effect  is  sure,  their  moral  sense  will  be 
shocked,  they  will  recoil  in  indignation  from  such  hypocrisy. 
Even  supposing  he  should  have  communicated  to  them  his  own 
unhappy  doubts  and  repugnances,  they  will  feel  that  it  is  a  bad 
and  evil  thing  for  them  to  share  in  acts  of  such  glaring  and 
flagrant  inconsistency.  They  will  soon  desert  the  church  alto 
gether,  or  testify  their  contempt  for  the  ordinances  or  the  mi 
nister,  by  their  demeanour  when  he  preaches,  or  by  their  expres 
sive  silence  in  the  acts  of  common  worship.  One  thing  must 
be  looked  in  the  face.  The  abolition  of  subscription  to  those 
doctrines  which  find  expression  in  our  Liturgy  *  would  be  utterly 
futile  unless  that  Liturgy  itself  were  entirely  reconstructed.  No 
partial  reform,  not  the  widest  reform  which  has  ever  been  sug 
gested,  or  would  be  tolerated  by  the  most  indifferent  and  scep 
tical  congregation  in  this  land,  would  free  from  intellectual 
bondage  the  conscience  of  those  who  are  now  culling  for  the 
relaxation  of  subscription.  It  is  not  a  mere  phrase  here  and 
there  which  would  change  their  position  ;  it  is  the  very  spirit  of 
Cliristianity,  full  of  the  recognition  of  its  most  special  and  cha 
racteristic  truths,  which  drives  the  minister  to  the  alternative 
of  speaking  as  a  believer  in  each  and  all  essential  doctrines,  or 
of  standing  self-convicted  and  self-condemned  in  the  presence  of 
llim  whom  he  mocks  by  the  utterance  of  prayers  which  he  in 
wardly  disavows. 

What  we  desire  is  this, — to  bring  into  the  fold  of  Christ's 


*  Tins  was    distinctly   felt  by   the    I  last  century.  See  Dr.  Watcrland's  tract 
ulers  in  the  Arian  controversy  in  the    |  on  '  Arian  Subscription,'  vol.  ii. 


leaders 


184  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

Church  all  who  are  estranged  from  its  communion  ;  but  it  must 
be  a  complete  and  an  honest  work.  Our  commission  is  to  give 
and  teach  the  truth,  the  whole  truth,  and  nothing  but  the  truth. 
The  Christian  faith  is  a  perfect  and  indissoluble  whole.  AYc 
cannot  consent  to  mutilate  or  disfigure  it.  We  cannot  entrust  it 
to  the  care  of  any  ministers  who  are  not  prepared  to  give  full 
and  satisfactory  pledges  that  they  accept  it  as  a  whole.  We 
have  no  fear  of  any  consequences,  so  long  as  men  can  rely  upon 
the  trustworthiness  of  the  agents  through  whom  the  Church  acts. 
The  one  thing  of  which  all  need  to  be  assured  is,  that  their 
ministers  hold  fast  the  form  of  sound  words ;  the  truth  once 
delivered  to  the  saints ;  the  canon  of  Holy  Scriptures,  which 
are  able  to  make  wise  unto  salvation;  the  knowledge  of  the 
Father  and  the  Son,  which  is  eternal  life  ;  in  a  word,  faith  in  the 
Incarnation  and  the  Atonement,  without  any  subtlety  of  inter 
pretation,  in  the  plain  sense  accepted  by  all  the  Churches 
of  Christendom.  Upon  subordinate,  or  purely  speculative 
questions,  considerable  latitude  of  interpretation  is  conceded 
— the  wider  and  freer  the  better  for  the  cause  of  truth.  But 
this  liberty  is  conceded  because  men  doubt  not  that  they  who 
use  it  accept  those  fundamental  truths.  Abuse  of  the  conces 
sion,  attempts  to  strain  the  liberty  so  as  to  unsettle  the  doctrines 
nearest  to  the  hearts  of  Christians,  would  speedily  bring  about 
results  the  very  opposite  to  those  contemplated  by  many  who 
struggle  against  existing  limitations.  It  must  be  borne  in  mind, 
that  if  changes  were  made,  they  would  probably  be  made  in 
a  different  direction  from  that  pointed  out  by  latitudinarians. 
To  increase,  not  to  diminish  our  securities, — to  exclude,  not  to 
admit  incongruous  and  adverse  elements — such  would  be  the 
great  object  of  all  earnest  Cliristiau  men ;  of  those  who  would 
undoubtedly  take  the  lead  should  the  national  ark  be  unloosed 
from  its  moorings,  should  the  storms  of  angry  and  unscrupulous 
controversy  once  more  thoroughly  rouse  the  national  spirit. 
We  are  far  from  wishing  for  any  increase  of  stringency.  So 
far  as  regards  the  terms  of  admission  to  the  ministry,  we  are 
satisfied  with  existing  safeguards,  provided  always  that  men  do 
not  palter  with  us  in  a  double  meaning,  that  we  are  safe  from 
special  pleading  and  equivocation,  that  declarations  are  made 
in  the  sense  in  which  those  who  hear  them  are  well  known  to 
receive  them. — that,  in  a  word,  we  have  precisely  the  same 


ESSAY  IV.]  IDEOLOGY  AND  SUBSCRIPTION.  185 

kind  of  confidence  which  is  felt  by  all  honourable  men  who  are 
parties  to  compacts  involving  the  recognition  of  weighty  duties 
distinctly  set  forth  and  understood. 

We  need  not  fear  the  issue  of  the  controversy.  It  may 
justify  watchfulness,  but  not  alarm.  It  is  true  that  some  ques 
tions  have  been  raised,  which  are  not  likely  to  be  finally  settled 
in  this  generation.  The  elements  which  have  thrown  the  mind  of 
Europe  into  a  state  of  disturbance,  have  undoubtedly  penetrated 
very  deeply  into  England.  Our  young  men  will  have  to  pass 
through  a  fiery  trial.  It  is  not  an  age  for  rest,  for  unreasoning 
acquiescence  in  past  traditions.  The  progress  of  religious 
knowledge  will  in  future  be  more  beset  by  speculative  and 
intellectual  difficulties  than  has  been  the  case  in  former  years. 
Candidates  for  the  ministry  must  not  be  contented  with  meagre 
introductions  to  Holy  Scripture,  or  a  superficial  analysis  of  its 
contents.  It  will  be  their  duty — a  duty  more  strongly  felt 
than  ever — to  ascertain  the  grounds  on  which  the  Canon  of 
Scripture  has  been  received  by  the  Church,  and  the  proofs 
of  its  genuineness  and  authenticity;  they  will  test  more 
closely  and  severely  the  evidences  for  all  the  doctrinal  state 
ments,  to  which  after  careful  examination  they  will  have  to 
declare  their  assent.  But  in  all  this  work  they  have  abundant 
help.  The  close,  microscopic  examination  of  the  Book  of  Life 
is  daily  bringing  its  secret  beauties  into  clearer  light.  The 
progress  of  historical  research  opens  new  fields  of  discovery  in 
which  the  Scriptural  exegetist  finds  valuable  materials.  The 
deep  spiritual  meaning  of  many  an  obscure  passage  or  neglected 
fact  is  discerned  more  distinctly  by  those  who,  candidly  but 
warily,  scrutinize  the  objections  of  antagonists  to  the  faith.  The 
current  of  religious  thought  flows  in  broader  and  deeper 
channels  than  heretofore,  and  the  vessels  of  those  who  sail  under 
the  sure  guidance  of  the  Spirit  of  God  will  reach  the  haven 
freighted  with  treasures  of  great  price.  Antagonisms  may 
indeed  become  stronger,  secessions  perhaps  be  more  frequent ; 
superstition  and  infidelity  may  claim  each  its  share  in  the 
spoil  of  troubled  and  faithless  spirits ;  but  the  revelation  of 
Christ  will  not  lose  its  hold  upon  the  heart  of  the  humble, 
nor  upon  the  intellect  of  the  truthful  inquirer.  Our  branch 
of  the  Church  will  not  be  disinherited  of  its  privileges  or 
stripped  of  its  safeguards ;  it  will  eject  rationalism  in  every 


180  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  IV. 

form,  more  especially  in  the  most  un-English  and  Jesuitical 
of  all  forms,  that  of  Ideology.  It  will  continue  to  do  its  own 
proper  work,  preparing  its  members  not  for  a  dreamy  state 
of  repose  in  the  bosom  of  the  universal  Parent,  but  for  a 
full,  perfect,  and  conscious  life  in  the  presence  of  the  living 
God. 


ESSAY  V. 


CONTENTS  OF  ESSAY  V. 


1.  INTRODUCTION  :  THE  CREATOR,  ELO 

IIIM — JEHOVAH. 

2.  The  Eloliistie  and  Jchovistic  theory, 

as  stated  by  Bleek — Theories  of 
Astrue,  Eiehhorn,  Ilgen,  De  Wette, 
Von  Bohlen,  Gramberg,  Ewald, 
Hiipfeldt,  and  Knobel. 

3.  Want  of  unity—  Tin-  most  celebrated 

critics  convict  each  other  of  false; 
criticism — Their  conclusions  va 
lueless. 

4.  "Elohim"  and  "Jehovah"  not  sy 

nonymous. 

5.  THE  CREATION — Unity  of  the  first 

two  chapters  of  Genesis  :  they  do 
not  contain  two  distinct  accounts 
of  the  Creation. 

G.  Assertion  that  the  Mosaic  cosmo 
gony  is  contradicted  by  the  disco 
veries  and  progress  of  science,  and 
that,  therefore,  Moses  could  not 
have  been  inspired. 

7.  First  supposed  difficulty,  the  age  of 
the  world. 


8.  The  words  of  Moses,  though  com 

prehensive  as  to  time,  are  precise 
as  to  the  fact  of  creation. 

9.  Meaning  of  the  phrase  "  The  hea 

vens  and  the  earth." 

10.  Gen.  i.  2  :   The  state  of  the  earth 

before  the  six  days'  work. 

11.  Verse  3  compared  with  verses  14-10 

— Light  and  the  earth  before  the 
sun — Theory  of  La  Place. 

12.  Meaning  of  the  word  "  day." 

13.  The  six  days  not  the  six  Geological 

periods. 

14.  Supposed  immobility  of  the  earlh. 

15.  The  Mosaic  firmament  an  expanse, 

not  a  solid  vault. 

1C.  Creation  of  one  human  pair — State 
ment  in  '  Essays  and  Keviews  ' 
that  the  original  formation  of  only 
one  pair  of  human  beings  is  taught 
only  in  the  2nd  chapter,  and  not 
in  the  1st. 

Conclusion. 


THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION. 


1.  ALMOST  all  ancient  nations  have  traditions  respecting  the 
origin  of  the  universe.  These  traditions  differ  in  detail  and 
representation  according  to  the  genius  of  the  people  by  whom 
they  have  been  preserved,  but  they  retain  a  family  likeness, 
and  certain  points  of  contact  with  each  other  and  the  Mosaic 
cosmogony,  with  which  some  exhibit  a  striking  resemblance. 
Thus  the  Etruscans  relate  that  God  created  the  world  in  six 
thousand  years.  In  the  first  thousand  He  created  the  heaven 
and  the  earth ;  in  the  second  the  firmament ;  in  the  third  the  sea 
and  the  other  waters  of  the  earth  ;  in  the  fourth  sun,  moon,  and 
stars ;  in  the  fifth  the  animals  belonging  to  air,  water,  and  land ; 
in  the  sixth  man  alone.*  The  Persian  tradition  also  recognises 
the  six  periods  of  creation,  assigning  to  the  first  the  heavens  ;  to 
the  second  the  waters ;  to  the  third  the  earth ;  to  the  fourth 
trees  and  plants ;  to  the  fifth  animals  ;  to  the  sixth  man.t  Others 
mention  the  darkness,  the  chaotic  mass  of  waters,  the  Spirit 
of  God ;  so  that  even  in  the  judgment  of  modern  critics,  there 
must  have  been  "  a  primitive,  cosmogonical  myth,  universally 
pervading  antiquity."  J  How  and  when  that  universal  myth  arose, 
modern  criticism  does  not  say  ;  and  yet  it  is  a  striking  fact  that 
there  should  be  such  a  tradition,  and  that  amidst  the  variety  of 
modifications  the  original  identity  should  still  be  perceptible. 
Christian  apologists  have  found  in  the  resemblances  a  presump 
tion  of  its  being  derived  from  the  original  revelation,  and  in  the 
consent  of  the  various  human  families,  combined  with  the  ma 
nifest  superiority  and  historic  character  of  the  account  in 
Genesis,  a  proof  of  the  Divine  origin  of  the  Mosaic  Record, 
and  of  the  unity  of  the  human  race.S  Modern  theology,  on  the 


*  Suidas  in  voc.  Tvfifavia. 

f  Zend  Avestn,  Kleuker.  p.  19 ; 
Anquetil  du  Perron,  torn.  ii.  348  ;  Bur 
nout',  Ya9iia,  toin.  i.  p.  297. 

+  Knobel  on  Genesis,  p.  6. 


§  Grotius  'deVeritatc,'  who  has  given 
an  ample  collection  of  ancient  testimo 
nies,  lib.  i.  §  xvi.  Faber,  'Horse  Mo- 
saicae,'  vol.  i.  p.  17-40. 


100  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

contrary,  teaches  that  the  Mosaic  cosmogony  is  only  the  Hebrew 
form  of  the  original  myth,  bearing  the  palm  indeed  on  account 
"  of  its  simplicity,  dignity,  and  sublimity,"  but  still  unhistoric 
in  its  relation,  and  inconsistent  with  the  results  of  modern  cri 
ticism  and  science. 

To  discuss  all  the  details  of  criticism  would  require  volumes. 
]>iit  one  alleged  result,  often  stated  in  an  off-hand,  popular  way, 
asserted  with  unhesitating  confidence,  and  repeated  as  absolutely 
certain,  requires  notice.  It  is  said  that  in  the  Book  of  Genesis 
there  are  some  portions  in  which  God  is  spoken  of  exclusively 
as  Elohim — in  others  exclusively  as  Jehovah  [the  LORD  in  the 
Authorized  Version],  This  exclusive  use  of  the  one  Divine 
name  in  some  portions,  and  of  the  other  in  other  portions,  it  is 
said,  characterizes  two  different  authors,  living  at  different 
times,  and  consequently  Genesis  is  composed  of  two  different 
documents,  the  one  Elohistic,  the  other  Jehovistic,  which  more 
over  differ  in  statement,  and  consequently  that  this  book  was 
not  written  by  Moses,  and  is  neither  inspired  nor  trustworthy. 
Now,  not  to  notice  the  defectiveness  of  this  statement  as  to  the 
names  of  God,  who  in  Genesis  is  also  called  El,  El  Elyon,  Most 
High  God ;  El  Shaddai,  God  Almighty ;  Adonai,  Lord ;  nor  the 
fact  that  in  other  books,  as  Jonah  and  the  Psalms,  the  same 
exclusiveness  is  found ;  let  us  look  at  this  statement  as  a  sup 
posed  result  of  criticism.  It  is  generally  urged  as  if  on  this 
point  critics  were  all  of  one  mind,  agreed  in  the  portions  which 
are  Elohistic  or  Jehovistic — unanimous  as  to  the  characteristic 
differences  of  style  in  the  separate  portions,  in  fact  as  if  the 
theory  came  with  the  authority  of  universal  consent.  Were 
this  the  case,  it  would  necessarily  carry  with  it  great  weight. 
For,  though  the  conclusions  of  criticism  differ  from  the  demon 
strations  of  pure  science  and  the  inferences  of  induction,  yet, 
when  unanimously  adopted  by  those  competent  to  judge,  they 
deservedly  influence  the  minds  of  all  reasonable  persons.  But 
this  is  not  the  case  in  the  present  theory.  The  popular  statement 
given  above  does  not  represent  the  true  state  of  the  case.  The 
fact  is,  that  there  is  here  the  greatest  variety  of  opinion,  and 
the  modifications  of  the  above  apparently  simple  theory  are  so 
widely  divergent,  as  either  to  shake  the  value  of  the  criticism, 
or  throw  a  dark  shade  of  doubt  on  the  competence  of  the  critics. 
In  the  first  place,  there  is  a  difference  as  to  the  extent  to  which 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  191 

the  theory  is  to  be  applied.  Some  confine  it  to  the  Book  of 
Genesis ;  others  include  Exodus  to  chapter  vi. ;  others,  as 
Knobel,  Bleek,  and  Ewald,  assert  that  the  Jehovistic  and 
Elohistic  differences  can  be  recognized  through  the  whole 
Pentateuch  to  the  end  of  Joshua.  Some,  as  J.  D.  Michaelis, 
Jahn,  Vater,  Hartmann,  regard  Genesis  as  a  loose  and  un 
systematic  stringing  together  of  disjointed  fragments.  2.  But 
passing  these  by,  let  us  look  at  the  state  of  the  Elohistic  and 
Jehovistic  theory,  as  stated  by  Bleek  in  his  Introduction. 

i.  In  the  year  1753,  Astruc,  a  French  physician,  taught  that 
the  Book  of  Genesis  is  made  up  of  twelve  memoirs  or  documents, 
of  which  the  two  principal  are  the  Elohistic  and  the  Jehovistic. 
From  these  Moses  composed  the  book,  which  he  wrote  in  twelve 
columns.  Copyists  mixed  these  together,  and  hence  the  present 
form  of  Genesis. 

ii.  Eichhorn  asserted  that  the  present  Book  of  Genesis  is 
based  upon  two  pre-Mosaic  documents,  distinguished  by  Elohim 
and  Jehovah,  and  that  the  author,  in  relating  any  event,  selected 
that  document  in  which  the  fullest  account  was  contained. 
Sometimes  the  accounts  are  mixed  together.  Some  other  docu 
ments  were  consulted. 

iii.  Ilgen  supposes  seventeen  documents,  but  only  three 
authors,  one  Jehovist,  two  Elohists,  and  is  so  acute  in  his  scent 
as  sometimes  to  divide  even  single  verses  between  the  three, 
and  give  to  each  his  own. 

iv.  De  Wette's  theory,  in  the  first  edition  of  his  Introduction, 
is,  that  a  continuous  Elohistic  document  pervades  and  forms  the 
basis  of  the  whole  book,  and  extends  to  Exod.  vi.  In  this  the 
author  inserted  what  he  found  in  one,  or,  probably,  in  several 
Jehovistic  documents. 

v.  Von  Bohlen  believes  in  the  same  Elohistic  basis,  but 
denies  the  existence  of  Jehovistic  documents.  The  author  of 
the  book  in  its  present  state  is  the  Jehovist,  so  that  only  two 
persons  are  concerned. 

vi.  Gramberg  makes  three  authors, — the  Elohist,  the  Jehovist, 
and  the  compiler,  who  does  not  scruple  sometimes  to  substitute 
one  Divine  name  for  the  other. 

vii.  Ewald  exhibits  a  variety  of  opinions :  first,  he  began  by 
holding  the  unity  of  Genesis,  and  proving  it  against  both  the 
document  and  the  fragment  hypothesis.  His  arguments  have  not 


1U2  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

yet  been  refuted,  either  by  himself  or  others.  Secondly,  about 
ten  years  afterwards  he  taught  that  the  basis  of  the  Book  of 
Genesis  is  an  ancient  writing,  of  which  considerable  remains  are 
found  in  the  whole  Pentateuch,  and  which  is  distinguished  by 
peculiarity  of  language,  especially  by  the  use  of  Elohim  up  to 
Exod.  vi.  2.  This  author  had  incorporated  into  his  book  morn 
ancient  documents,  as  the  Decalogue  and  Exod.  xxi.  xxiii. 
At  a  subsequent  period  arose  another  work  on  the  ancient 
history,  which  ascribed  the  use  of  Jehovah  to  patriarchal  times. 
From  this  later  work  portions  were  inserted  into  the  former  by 
the  author  of  the  present  Book  of  Genesis,  so  that  here  there 
are  at  the  least  four  writers  concerned.  Thirdly,  Ewald  extended 
and  modified  this  theory  by  supposing  more  than  two  treatments 
of  the  ancient  history  forming  the  contents  of  the  Pentateuch, 
and  the  Book  of  Joshua.  He  ascribes  Genesis  in  its  present, 
form  to  that  writer,  whom  in  his  first  edition  he  calls  the  fourth 
narrator,  and  in  his  second  edition  the  fifth  narrator  of  the 
primitive  histories,  who  lived  in  the  time  of  Jotham.  This  work 
had  several  predecessors ;  according  to  the  first  edition,  three  ; 
according  to  the  second,  six.  Three  of  these  are  Elohistic. 

viii.  Hiipfeldt  takes  as  the  basis  of  our  Genesis  three  inde 
pendent  historic  works  ;  two  Elohistic,  one  Jehovistic,  and  makes 
in  addition  a  compiler. 

ix.  Knobel  believes  in  two  documents  :  first,  the  Elohistic, 
forming  the  basis  of  the  Pentateuch  and  of  Joshua ;  second,  the 
Jehovistic,  which  again  has  two  previous  sources.  There  are, 
besides,  free  Jehovistic  developments,  in  which  the  compiler 
sometimes  followed  hints  in  the  two  documents,  sometimes 
popular  tradition,  and  sometimes  his  own  conceptions. 

8.  This  enumeration  is  far  from  exhausting  the  varieties,  but  is 
sufficient  to  show  the  want  of  unity.  The  reader  will  perceive 
that  some  assert  one  Elohistic  document — others,  two — others, 
three.  In  like  manner  some  make  one  Jehovist ;  some  more. 
Some  make  the  Jehovist  identical  with  the  compiler ;  others 
make  him  a  different  person.  Some  make  two,  others  three, 
others  four,  Ewald  seven  documents  by  different  authors  the 
materials  of  Genesis.  Now  every  one  can  understand  that 
there  is  a  great  difference  whether  the  Elohistic  and  Jehovistic 
portions  be  assigned  to  one  or  be  divided  amongst  two,  three,  or 
more  persons.  He  who  says  that,  fliers  is  only  one  Elohist  must 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  KECORD  OF  CREATION.  193 

believe  that  in  the  whole  Elohistic  portion  there  is  unity  of  style, 
tone,  spirit,  language.  If  there  be  two  Elohists,  then  the  former 
is  mistaken  as  to  the  unity,  and  there  must  be  two  diversities  of 
style ;  but  if  there  be  three  Elohists,  then  both  first  and  second 
critics  are  mistaken,  and  there  must  be  three  different  styles. 
The  portions  assigned  to  each  must  also  be  smaller.  Let  the 
three  Elohists  be  A,  B,  C.  The  first  critic  says  that  the  whole 
belongs  to  A.  The  second  critic  says,  No ;  pail  belongs  to  B. 
The  third  critic  says  part  belongs  to  A,  part  to  B,  and  part  to 
C.  And  thus  the  most  celebrated  critics  convict  each  other  of 
false  criticism.  Hiipfeklt  condemns  Knobel ;  Ewald  condemns 
Hiipfeldt  and  Knobel ;  Knobel  condemns  Ewald  and  Hiipfeldt.  If 
Knobel's  criticism  is  correct,  Hiipfeldt's  is  worthless.  If  Ewald 
be  right,  the  others  must  be  deficient  in  critical  acumen. 
They  may  all  be  wrong,  but  only  one  of  the  three  can  be  right. 

But  take  into  account  all  the  other  differences  enumerated 
above,  one  supposing  that  the  documents  are  pre-Mosaic,  another 
that  they  were  written  in  the  times  of  Joshua  or  the  Judges, 
another  in  the  time  of  David,  another  some  centuries  later ;  and 
how  uncertain  must  the  principles  of  their  criticism  appear, — how 
valueless  their  conclusions !  With  such  facts  can  any  sane 
person  talk  of  the  results  of  modern  criticism  as  regards  the 
Book  of  Genesis  ?  or  be  willing  to  give  up  the  belief  of  centuries 
for  such  criticism  as  this  ? 

It  is  self-evident  that  criticism  leading  to  such  inconsistent 
conclusions  must  be  in  a  high  degree  imaginative :  a  little 
examination  shows  that  it  is  also  unreasonably  arbitrary.  In 
order  to  make  out  the  theory  that  there  are  two  authors,  one  of 
whom  is  known  by  the  exclusive  use  of  Elohini,  and  the  other 
by  the  exclusive  use  of  Jehovah,  and  that  the  former  is  more 
ancient  than  the  latter,  it  is  necessary  to  point  out  paragraphs 
in  which  those  Divine  names  are  exclusively  used,  and  also  to 
prove  that  the  Elohist  does  not  refer  to  the  Jehovistic  docu 
ment  ;  for  if  the  Elohist  plainly  refers  to  what  the  Jehovist 
has  related,  the  latter  cannot  be  posterior  to  the  former,  and  the 
theory  fails.  Now,  unhappily  for  the  theory,  the  word  Jehovah 
does  occur  in  the  Elohistic  passages,  and  the  Elohist  does  refer 
to  the  Jehovistic  narrative.  Thus  in  Genesis  ii.  4,  the  two 
names  occur  together.  "  These  are  the  generations  of  the 
heavens  and  the  earth  when  they  were  created,  in  the  day  when 

o 


194  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

Jehovah  Elohim  made  the  earth  and  the  heavens."  Now  if 
this  verse  belongs  to  what  precedes,  then  the  following  narrative, 
which  has  also  the  unusual  union  of  the  two  names,  was  written 
by  the  Elohist,  and  the  first  three  chapters  are  by  one  author. 
If  it  be  written  by  the  Jehovist,  how  comes  it  to  have  Elohim  as 
well,  and  why  does  it  differ  both  from  Elohist  and  Jehovist 
documents  by  the  union  of  the  names  ?  Here  is  a  difficulty 
which  has  divided  all  Germany,  and  arrayed  Rationalist  against 
Rationalist,  and  Orthodox  against  Orthodox,  and  for  which  there 
seems  no  hope  of  solution,  unless  violence  be  offered  to  the  text, 
and  men  be  persuaded,  against  the  evidence  of  manuscripts  and 
ancient  versions,  that  the  words  "  These  are  the  generations  of 
the  heavens  and  the  earth"  stood  originally  as  the  heading 
before  the  first  verse  of  the  first  chapter,  and  that  the  word 
Elohim  in  ii.  4  is  an  interpolation  of  the  Jehovist.  Take 
another  example  : — Genesis  v.  is  said  to  be  Elohistic,  and  it  is 
certain  that  Elohim,  God,  occurs  five  times ;  but  in  verse  29 
appears  the  word  Jehovah  to  disturb  the  theorist ;  and  not  only 
is  this  word  there,  but  the  verse  refers  to  the  Jehovistic  chapter 
iii.  17.  What  is  to  be  done  ?  The  verse  stands  in  all  the  manu 
scripts  and  ancient  versions.  But,  if  the  Elohistic  theory  is  to 
stand,  it  must  be  got  rid  of  somehow.  It  is  an  interpolation, 
says  the  theorist ;  it  was  put  in  by  the  compiler.  In  like 
manner  the  theorists  cut  off  chapter  vii.  9 — 24  from  its  context, 
and  say,  It  is  Elohistic.  But  lo !  in  verse  16  stands  "Jehovah." 
The  same  canon  of  the  old  Socinian  criticism  is  again  applied ; 
the  unwelcome  word  is  an  interpolation.  One  instance  more. 
The  xlixth  chapter  is  said  to  belong  to  a  long  Elohistic  portion. 
But  in  the  18th  verse  occur  those  words  of  Jacob,  "I  have 
waited  for  thy  salvation,  0  Jehovah."  Again  the  same  violence 
is  repeated.  The  disturbing  verse  is  an  interpolation.  Is  this 
criticism  ?  Is  it  a  fair  and  legitimate  proceeding  to  alter  the 
text,  and  that  not  once,  but  frequently,  in  order  to  make  it  suit 
one's  theory  ?  To  discard  the  consent  of  manuscripts,  ancient 
versions,  all  printed  editions,  and  cry  out,  Interpolation,  inter 
polation,  without  any  authority  at  all?  There  is  no  more 
certain  sign  of  helpless  prejudice  or  critical  incompetence,  than 
to  have  frequent  recourse  to  violent  and  unauthorized  alteration 
of  the  text;  and  yet  without  this  the  theory  of  the  Elohistic 
and  Jehovistic  documents,  even  if  it  were  unanimously  received 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  195 

by  modern  critics,  could  not  be  made  out.  Arbitrary  separations 
of  what  evidently  belongs  together,  and  unwarranted  assertions 
of  interpolation,  prove  its  unsoundness.  The  variety  of  its  modi 
fications,  one  neutralizing  the  other,  as  has  been  shown  above, 
demonstrates  the  uncertainty  and  untrustworthiness  of  the 
results. 

4.  But  the  theory  rests  upon  an  assumption  totally  false,  that 
the  names  Elobim  and  Jehovah  are  synonymous,  and  that  they 
can  be  used  indifferently,  one  for  the  other.  The  names  are  not 
synonymous,  and  cannot  be  so  used.  There  is  the  same  differ 
ence  between  Elobim  and  Jehovah,  as  between  Deus  and  Jupiter, 
or  homo  and  Petrus.  The  one  expresses  the  genus,  the  other 
stands  for  the  individual,  and  is  a  proper  name.  Elohim  answers 
to  our  own  word  Cf-od  or  Deity,  and  is,  therefore,  used  of  false 
Gods  as  well  as  of  the  true.  Jehovah  stands  for  the  personal, 
living,  self-revealing  Being,  and  is  explained  in  those  two  pas 
sages,  Exod.  iii.  14,  "  I  am  that  I  am ;"  and  xxxiv.  6,  when,  the 
Lord  having  said,  "  I  will  proclaim  my  name  before  thee,"  pro 
claimed  "Jehovah,  Jehovah,  God  [El]  merciful  and  gracious, 
long-suffering  and  abundant  in  goodness  and  truth ;"  and  can 
therefore  be  applied  to  none  but  the  one  true  and  eternal  God, 
as  is  said,  "  I  am  Jehovah ;  that  is  my  name,  and  my  glory  will 
I  not  give  to  another."  This  distinction  is  strongly  marked  in 
the  words  of  Elijah,  "  If  Jehovah  be  Elohim,  follow  Him ;  if 
Baal,  then  follow  him."  Here  it  would  be  impossible  to  inter 
change  Elohim  and  Jehovah,  or  to  say,  "  if  Baal  be  Jehovah." 
There  is  an  essential  difference  in  signification,  and,  though 
Jehovah  is  the  true  God,  and  the  true  God  Jehovah,  and  there 
fore  sometimes  either  might  be  used,  yet,  in  consequence  of  the 
essential  difference,  there  are  cases  where  there  is  a  peculiar 
propriety  in  using  one  rather  than  the  other ;  and  there  are 
other  cases  in  which  one  must  be  used,  and  the  other  cannot.  As 
Jehovah  is  the  proper  name  of  God,  it  does  not  take  a  genitive  case 
or  a  suffix.  It  is,  therefore,  impossible  to  say  in  Hebrew,  "  the 
Jehovah  of  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob,"  or,  "My,  thy,  our 
Jehovah."  In  such  cases,  Ulohim  must  be  used,  as  "The 
Elohim,  God  of  Abraham,  &c."  "  My  Elohim,  my  God,  our 
Elohim,  our  God,  &c."  Again,  as  Jehovah  signifies  the  self- 
revealing,  that  word  cannot  occur  in  the  mouth  of  those  to  whom 
He  has  not  revealed  himself,  nor,  ordinarily,  in  the  mouth  of 

o  2 


196  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

Hebrews  speaking  to  such ;  and,  therefore,  when  Moses  and 
Aaron  use  it  to  Pharaoh,  they  add  "the  God  of  Israel"  to  make 
it  intelligible,  But  still  Pharaoh  asks,  "  Who  is  Jehovah  ?  I 
know  not  Jehovah ;"  and  they  explain,  "  The  Elohiin,  God,  of 
the  Hebrews  hath  met  with  ns."  There  is  no  room  here  to  go 
through  and  illustrate  all  the  peculiarities  of  these  Divine 
names.  But  what  has  been  said  is  sufficient  to  show  that  the 
exclusive  use  of  Elohim  cannot  be  received  as  a  characteristic 
mark  to  distinguish  one  author  from  the  other,  inasmuch  as,  in 
the  cases  above  enumerated  and  others,  the  use  of  Elohim  is 
compulsory ;  and  neither  Moses,  nor  Samuel,  nor  Isaiah,  could 
in  these  cases  leave  out  Elohim,  and  substitute  Jehovah.  Thus, 
in  Gen.  xl.  8,  the  word  Elohim  occurs  once,  when  Joseph  says  to 
the  Egyptian  prisoners,  "  Do  not  interpretations  belong  to  God, 
Elohim  ?"  Here  Jehovah  could  not  be  used.  Again,  in  xli.,  the 
word  Elohim  occurs  eight  times.  In  six  of  them  the  use  was 
compulsory.  In  xliii.  23  it  occurs  twice  with  suffixes  or  geni 
tive,  and  no  other  word  could  be  used,  and  so  in  other  instances.* 
And,  therefore,  the  use  of  the  word  cannot  be  the  characteristic 
peculiarity  of  one  author.  In  the  first  chapter  of  Genesis,  Moses 
might  have  used  either  Elohim  or  Jehovah,  except  in  the  27th 
verse,  where'  Elvhim  was  compulsory.  But  in  the  opening  of 
the  Divine  teaching,  it  was  necessary  to  make  clear  that  God  is 
Creator,  that  the  world  was  not  eternal,  nor  independent ;  and 
also  that  Jehovah  is  not  one  among  many — not  the  national 
God  of  the  Hebrews — but  that  Jehovah  the  Self-revealer,  and 
Elohim  the  Almighty  Creator,  are  one.  Therefore,  in  the  first 
chapter,  Elohim  is  used  throughout.  The  Deity  is  the  Creator. 
But  in  approaching  that  part  of  the  narrative  where  the  personal 
God  enters  into  relations  with  man,  and  where  Jehovah  was 
necessary,  Moses  unites  the  names,  and  says,  "Jehovah  Elohim, 
the  LOUD  God."  Had  he  suddenly  used  Jehovah  alone,  there 
might  have  been  a  doubt  as  to  whether  Jehovah  was  not  different 
from  Elohim.  The  union  of  the  two  names  proves  identity,  and 
this  being  proved,  from  the  fourth  chapter  on,  Moses  drops  this 
union  and  sometimes  employs  Jehovah,  sometimes  Elohim,  as 
occasion,  propriety,  and  the  laws  of  the  Hebrew  language  require. 


*  Kwald    in    his   '  Composition    dor    !    306-391,    have   examined    all    the 


and    Hengstenberg    in     liis 
'Authentic  de.s  Pentateuchs,'  vol.  i.  \>. 


stances  where  the  names  occur,  and  ex 
plained  the  propriety  or  the  necessity. 


ESSAY  V.] 


THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION. 


197 


The  use  of  these  names,  therefore,  can  prove  nothing  against 
the  unity  of  the  narrative. 

5.  But,  in  truth,  independently  of  all  philological  criticism, 
the  unity  of  the  first  two  chapters  of  Genesis  may  be  proved  by 
comparing  one  with  the  other.  They  do  not  contain  two  dis 
tinct  accounts  of  "  the  Creation." 

The  second  chapter  does  not  narrate  the  creation  of  heaven  or 
earth,  or  light,  firmament,  sun,  moon,  or  stars,  sea,  or  dry  land, 
fish,  or  creeping  things.  The  second  chapter,  therefore,  is  so  far 
from  being  a  cosmogony,  that  it  is  not  even  a  geogony,  and, 
therefore,  the  fourth  verse  of  the  second  chapter,  "  These  are 
the  generations  of  the  heavens  and  the  earth  when  they  were 
created,  in  the  day  that  the  Lord  God  (Jehovah  Elohim)  made 
the  earth  and  the  heavens/'  cannot  be  the  title  or  summary  of 
what  follows,  but  are  an  exact  recapitulation  of  what  is  narrated 
in  the  first  chapter.  They  mention  first  the  creation  of  "  the 
heavens  and  the  earth  ;"  second,  the  making  of  "  the  earth  and 
heavens  "  in  the  very  order  in  which  the  process  of  creation  is 
related  in  that  chapter,  but  of  which  not  one  word  is  said  in  what 
follows.  The  second  chapter  is  obviously  not  an  account  "  of 
the  creation,"  but  of  the  particulars  of  the  formation  of  man, 
and  his  early  history.  Ewald  said  long  ago,  "  The  aim  of  the 
first  connected  narrative  (ch.  i.  1 — ii.  3)  is  to  exhibit  God  as  the 
Creator  of  the  universe.  .  .  The  author  then  passes  over 
from  the  perfected  picture  of  the  created  universe,  to  that  which 
must  have  been  to  him,  as  to  all  writers  of  history,  the  most 
worthy  of  note,  to  the  history  of  man.  Yet  he  closes  the  first 
picture  with  the  words  (ii.  4),  '  These  are  the  generations  of 
the  heavens  and  of  the  earth.'  "  The  second  chapter  is,  there 
fore,  an  integral  part  of  a  relation  contained  in  the  three  first 
chapters,  connected  with  the  chapter  by  verse  four,  and  pre 
paring  for  the  account  of  the  Fall  by  telling  us  beforehand  of 
Paradise,  of  the  tree  of  knowledge,  the  prohibition  to  eat  of  it, 
and  of  the  formation  of  the  woman.  Indeed,  most  recent  writers 
admit,  that  whether  there  be  different  sources  or  not,  the  author 
has  formed  them  into  one  narrative ;  there  cannot,  therefore,  be 
contradiction.  There  are  differences  to  be  explained  by  the 


*  '  Composition  der  Genesis,'  p.  192, 
3.     To  tins  division  Ewuld  adhere!),  as 
from  his  Essays  on  the  subject 


in  his  '  Jubrbuch  '  i'or  1X48,  p.  77,  and 
1849,  p.  1^2. 


198  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

different  objects  which  the  author  had  in  view.  In  the  first,  his 
object  was  to  give  an  outline  of  the  history  of  the  universe  ;  in 
the  second,  to  relate  the  origin  and  primitive  history  of  man,  so 
far  as  it  was  necessary,  as  a  preparation  for  the  history  of  the 
Fall.  In  the  former,  therefore,  all  the  steps  of  creation 
are  treated  in  chronological  order.  In  the  latter,  only  so  much 
is  alluded  to  as  is  necessary  for  the  author's  purpose,  and  in  the 
order  which  that  purpose  required. 

0.  So  much  for  modern  criticism.  But  the  new  theology  also 
asserts  that  the  Mosaic  cosmogony  is  contradicted  by  the  dis 
coveries  and  progress  of  science,  and  that,  therefore,  Moses 
could  not  have  been  inspired.  This  is  a  straightforward  objec 
tion,  deserves  a  fair  and  full  consideration,  and  ought  not  to  be 
met  with  what  objectors  can  only  regard  as  evasions.  Such  are 
the  assertions,  that  the  first  chapter  of  Genesis  is  poetry,  or  a 
series  of  seven  prophetic  visions,*  or  the  mere  clothing  of  a 
theological  truth.  To  urge  such  suppositions  is  not  to  defend 
the  ark  of  God,  but  to  abandon  it  to  the  enemy.  If  the  first 
chapter  of  Genesis  be  poetry,  or  vision,  or  parable,  it  is  not 
historic  truth,  which  is  just  what  objectors  assert.  There  are  in 
this  chapter  none  of  the  peculiarities  of  Hebrew  poetry.  The 
style  is  full  of  dignity,  but  it  is  that  of  prose  narrative.  There 
is  no  mention  of  prophetic  vision,  no  prophetic  formula  em 
ployed.  It  is  not  said,  "  The  vision  which  Moses  saw,"  nor  "  I 
lifted  up  my  eyes  and  behold."  The  prophet  or  historian  is 
kept  entirely  out  of  sight,  and  the  narrative  begins  at  once  with 
out  any  preface,  "  In  the  beginning  God  created  the  heavens 
and  the  earth,"  and  then  goes  to  the  account  of  Paradise,  the 
birth  of  Cain  and  Abel,  &c.,  without  any  break  or  note  of  tran 
sition  from  vision  to  history.  The  Book  of  Genesis  is  history. 
It  is  the  historical  introduction  to  the  four  following  books  of 
the  Pentateuch,  or,  rather,  to  all  following  revelation,  and  the 
first  chapter,  as  the  inseparable  beginning  of  the  whole,  must  be 
historical  also.  When  the  Lord  recapitulates  its  contents  in 
the  Fourth  Commandment,  and  makes  it  the  basis  of  the 
ordinance  of  the  Sabbath,  He  stamps  it  as  real  history.  To 
suppose  a  moral,  or  even  a  ceremonial  command,  based  upon  a 
poetic  picture,  or  a  vision,  or  an  ideal  narrative,  would  be 


*  So  Kurz,  and  al't^r  him,  Hn^li  Miller. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  199 

absurd.  The  Lord  also  treats  "  the  first  chapters  of  Genesis  "  as 
real  and  authoritative  history,  when  He  makes  Gen.  i.  27,  and 
ii.  23,  24,  the  foundation  of  His  doctrine  concerning  marriage 
and  divorce.  As  history,  therefore,  they  must  be  received,  what 
ever  difficulties  that  reception  may  involve.  Some,  indeed, 
hold  that  in  reading  the  Bible,  a  distinction  is  to  be  made 
between  statements  relating  to  religion,  and  those  relating  to 
physics,  that  the  former  are  to  be  received,  and  the  latter  dis 
regarded,  as  "  The  purpose  of  revelation  is  to  teach  man  what 
he  cannot  find  out  by  his  unassisted  reason,  but  not  physical 
truths,  for  the  discovery  of  which  he  has  faculties."  But,  what  are 
we  to  do  when  a  truth  is  both  religious  and  physical,  such  as 
"  God  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth  ?"  And  how  are  we  to 
distinguish  between  what  can  be  and  what  cannot  be  discovered 
by  man's  natural  faculties  ?  On  the  one  hand,  the  leading  in 
tellects  of  Germany  are  still  disputing  about  the  eternity  of  the 
universe,  and  the  relation  of  the  finite  to  the  absolute ;  and  on 
the  other,  Deists  and  Theists,  and  Rationalists,  teach  that  all 
religious  and  moral  truth  can  be  discovered,  and  has  been  dis 
covered,  by  man's  natural  powers — can  be  known  in  no  other  way, 
and  that,  therefore,  revelation  is  unnecessary.  Besides,  if  the 
first  chapter  of  Genesis  be  not  given  to  teach  us  the  facts  and 
order  of  creation,  why  is  it  there  at  all  in  all  its  circumstan 
tiality?  Are  we  to  believe  that  Divine  revelation  begins 
with  an  unscientific  misstatement  of  physical  truth  ?  If  the 
first  chapter  be  the  offspring  of  human  error,  where  does  Divine 
truth  begin  ?  This  principle  raises  many  new  difficulties,  and 
removes  none.  We,  therefore,  adhere  to  the  plain  grammatical 
statement,  as  a  Divine  revelation  of  the  origin  of  the  universe, 
not  yet  superseded  by  the  theories  of  the  speculative  philosophy, 
nor  antiquated  by  the  discoveries  of  modern  science. 

7.  The  first  supposed  difficulty  in  the  Mosaic  statement  is  the 
age  of  the  world.  According  to  the  teachings  of  Geology  and 
Astronomy,  the  existence  of  the  heavens  and  the  earth  is  to  be 
reckoned  by  myriads  of  thousands  of  years.  According  to  Mosos, 
it  is  alleged,  they  are  of  yesterday.  To  know  whether  this  diffi 
culty  is  real,  it  is  first  necessary  to  know  what  Moses  has  actually 
said.  And  here  it  is  not  intended  to  propose  anything  new,  but  to 
revert  to  the  ancient  exposition  of  the  phrase,  "  In  the  begin 
ning,"  for  upon  this  the  question  really  turns.  The  first  pro- 


200  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KSSAY  V. 

position  is  "  In  the  beginning  f-Jod  created  the  heavens  and  the 
earth,"  and  here  it  is  necessary  to  observe  that  Reshith,  the 
Hebrew  word  for  "  beginning,"  is  in  the  original  without  the 
definite  article.  Moses  says,  "  In  lleshith  [not  in  the  Eeshith], 
Elohim  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth."  The  antiquity  and 
correctness  of  this  reading  are  proved  by  the  Septuagint,  Clialdce, 
and  Syriac  versions. 

LXX.  'Ey  apxfli  Chaldee  ]*21p2«  Syriac  L±*±'t  ~s;  and  so 
it  is  also  found  in  the  Evangelist's  allusion,  John  i.  1.  The  uni 
formity  of  the  reading,  and  the  care  with  which  it  had  been  pre 
served  for  centuries — notwithstanding  the  natural  temptation  to 
supply  the  article — testify  that  there  was  an  uniform  traditional 
meaning  attached  to  it,  different  from  that  possible,  if  the  word 
had  the  article.  What  this  meaning  is,  is  plainly  seen  in  the 
first  verse  of  St.  John's  Gospel.  Now  that  Socinian  exegesis  is 
a  thing  of  the  past,  all  divines,  English  and  foreign,  agree  that 
St.  John  here  makes  a  pointed  reference  to  Gen.  i.  1,  and  that  in 
the  words  eV  ap^y,  "  In  the  beginning,"  he  expresses  Duration  or 
Time,  previous  to  Creation.  So  Dean  Alford  "  'Ef  upxfl  =  Trpo 
rov  TOV  Koa-fiov  elvai."  "In  the  beginning"  is  equivalent  to 
"  Before  the  world  was."  Tholuck  says  that  the  phrase  expresses 
"  Eternity  a  parte  ante."  Mever  also  takes  it  of  duration  before 
time,  and  translates  it  Vorzeitlichkeit  (pre-temporality),  and  says 
that  it  is  equivalent  to  the  Septuagint  version  of  Prov.  viii.  23 
"  In  the  beginning,  before  he  made  the  earth  ;"  and  to  the  words 
of  our  Lord  "  Before  the  world  was ;"  and  of  St.  Paul  "  Before  the 
foundation  of  the  world  "  (Ephes.  i.  4).  De  Wette  has  nearly 
the  same  words  and  the  same  references.  Eiicke  also  says  that 
the  phrase  "  In  the  beginning  "  includes  the  idea  of  pre-mundano 
existence  (des  Vorweltlichen) ,  and  answers  to  "  Before  the  world 
was  "  (John  xvii.  5).  All  are  agreed  that  "  Beginning  "  refers  to 
duration  or  time,  not  to  order,  and  that  it  is  indefinite  in  its  sig 
nification,  and  may  mean  previous  eternity,  or  previous  time, 
according  to  the  subject  spoken  of.*  They  who  believe  that  St. 
John  was  inspired  will  receive  his  interpretation  of  the  first 
words  of  Genesis  as  infallibly  correct,  and  therefore  interpret 
them  there  as  in  the  Gospel.  But  even  if  St.  John  be  regarded 


*  Similar    is    the    meaning  of  the 
words  in  the  Boxology,  •'  As  it  was  in 


fho  beginning,  is  now,  and  ever  shall 
be." 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  201 

as  an  ordinary  writer  asserting  an  important  truth,  his  adoption 
of  the  interpretation  proves  that  it  was  known  to  the  Jews  of  his 
time,  and  this  is  further  proved  by  the  nearly  contemporary  tes 
timony  of  the  Targum. 

Its  author  Onkelos  gives  the  same  meaning,  and  proves  that 
it  was  then  the  received  interpretation.  For  the  Hebrew 
S'reshith  he  gives  B'kadmin  (^Dlp3)  in  antiquities,  or  former 
times.  The  word  K'dam,  equivalent  to  the  Hebrew  Kedem, 
signifies,  as  Buxtorf  says,  "  ante,  antiquitas,  prior  itas,principium." 
In  the  plural  number,  as  Onkelos  here  has  it,  it  signifies,  not 
order,  but  time,  "  ancient  times,  former  times,  eternity"  For  ex 
ample  (Gen.  xxviii.  19),  "  Luz  was  the  name  of  the  city  fDTpTD, 
from  antiquities,  or  former  times."  Again  (Ps.  Ixviii.  33),  "  To 
him  that  rideth  upon  the  heavens  of  heavens  of  antiquity,"  the 
Chaldee  has  ^Dlp/Dl,  "  that  were  from  antiquities,  or  former 
times"  which  our  translators  followed,  and  have  rendered,  " the 
heavens  of  heavens  which  were  of  old."  Again  (Deut.  xxxiii.  27), 
"  The  Eternal  God  (literally,  the  God  of  antiquity  or  priority] ;" 
Onkelos  has,  "  The  God  who  is  from  antiquities,  ^KH^hKn." 
Here  the  word  is  applied  to  eternity.*  "When,  therefore,  On 
kelos  translates  the  first  word  of  Gen.  i.  1.  by  B'kadmin  in  the 
plural,  and  without  the  article,  he  meant,  in  antiquities,  in 
former  times  or  duration,  of  old. 

The  LXX.  use  ev  dpxfj  in  the  same  way,  and  thereby  prove 
that  this  interpretation  was  far  more  ancient  than  Onkelos. 
Thus,  in  Ezek.  xxxvi.  11,  they  employ  ap^f)  to  render  Kadmah 
(former  state),  and  give  as  the  parallel  e^Trpocrdev  for  Rishah, 
nearly  related  to  Reshith.  Karot/aoi  u/ia?  a>9  TO  ev  dpxfj  vp-wv, 
real  ev  TTOI^CTO)  vf^df  wcrirep  ra  epTrpoadev  vpwv. 

Again,  in  Prov.  viii.  23,  they  apply  it  to  express  duration  an 
tecedent  to  creation.  IIpo  rov  al&vos  e#e/ieXia>cre  /ze*  ev  apxfi  Trpo 
rov  rrjv  ryrjv  Trotijaai. 

In  Deut.  xxxiii.  15,  it  signifies  antiquity.  For  "  ancient 
mountains,"  literally  "  mountains  of  antiquity,"  the  LXX.  have 
(ZTTO  tcopvffis  opewv  «p%^<?,  parallel  to  ftovvwv  aevdwv.  Accord 
ing,  then,  to  the  LXX.,  "in  the  beginning"  means  "informer 
duration,  of  old." 

This  is  also  the  meaning  of  the  Hebrew.     The  word  Rcsltith 


*  Compare  Jonathan  on  Mit-iih  v.  2. 


202  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KSSAY  V. 

having,  according  to  its  form,  an  abstract  meaning,  and  coming 
from  liosh  or  liesh,  head,  signifies  first  of  all,  as  Gesenius  says, 
"  the  being  head  ;  "  and,  therefore,  applied  to  rank  or  quality, 
would  express  "superiority" — to  order,  "priority"  like  its 
synonym  Clp,  whose  first  meaning  is  priority — to  time,  " 'an 
teriority."  To  "  former  time,"  "  state  at  a  former  time,"  it  refers 
in  Job  xlii.  12,  "  The  Lord  blessed  the  latter  end  of  Job  more 
than  his  beginning,"  where  the  LXX.  translate  more  exactly, 
6  Se  /cvpios  ev\o<yricre  ra  ecr^ara  'Iw/3  ?;  TO,  tf^TrpocrOev,  and  so 
Hirzel  has  "  JT~inN,  die  sptitere,  JT^iO,  die  friihere  Lebenszeit." 
So  in  Jcr.  xxviii.  1,  "  in  the  beginning  (Reshith]  of  the 
reign  of  Zedekiah,"  beginning  does  not  mean  the  first  day, 
nor  the  first  year,  but  tho  former  part  of  his  reign,  as  the 
prophet  immediately  adds,  "  in  the  fourth  year."  This  is  also 
the  meaning  in  Isai.  xlvi.  10,  "  declaring  the  end  from  the 
beginning,"  properly,  "  declaring  futurity  from  former  time,"  as 
is  explained  by  the  following  clause — "  and  from  ancient  times 
the  things  which  are  not  done."  According,  then,  to  tho 
Hebrew,  the  meaning  of  the  first  verse  of  Genesis  is,  "  In 
Heshith  (anteriority),  i.  e.,  in  former  times,  of  old,  God  created 
the  heavens  and  the  earth ;"  and  the  article  is  omitted  to  ex 
clude  the  application  of  the  word  to  the  order  of  creation.  This 
is  also  the  sense  given  in  other  words  by  the  Psalmist  (cii.  20). 
"Of  old  (D^S?*  formerly)  hast  thou  laid  the  foundation  of 
the  earth." 

The  sum,  then,  of  all  that  has  been  said  is,  that  the  words, 
"  In  the  beginning,"  refer  to  "  time  or  duration,"  not  to  order — 
and  thus,  therefore,  the  first  verse  does  not  mean,  "  At  first  God 
created  the  heaven  and  the  earth,"  nor,  "  In  the  beginning  of 
creation  he  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth,"  but  "  Of  old,  in 
former  duration,  God  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth."  How 
long  ago  is  not  said.  The  Hebrew  word  is  indefinite,  and 
can  include  millions  or  milliards  of  years  just  as  easily  as 
thousands.  The  statement  of  Moses  is,  therefore,  not  contrary 
to  the  discoveries  of  geology,  which  alleges  the  earth  to  have 
existed  for  myriads  of  years  before  tho  creation  of  man.  Moses's 
words  are  big  enough  to  take  in  times  indefinite,  exceeding  the 
powers  of  human  comprehension.  They  also  answer  the  more 


*  Coini»;iiT  INI.  xli.  "Id,  where  D'ja       is  purallcl  to  fc 


ESSAY  V.J 


THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION. 


203 


ancient  objectors,  who  found  it  absurd  that  God  created  nothing 
in  previous  eternity,  and  had  remained  inactive  until  a  few 
thousand  years  ago.*  The  words  of  Moses,  rightly  understood, 
say  just  the  contrary.  They  leave  "  the  when  "  of  creation  un 
defined. 

8.  But  though  thus  comprehensive  as  to  the  time,  they  are 
precise  as  to  the  fact  of  creation.  Moses  says  "  God  created,"  and 
Sara,  the  word  here  used,  is  peculiar.  There  are  three  words 
employed  in  the  Old  Testament  in  reference  to  the  production 
of  the  world — Bard,  he  created ;  Yatzdr,  he  formed  ;  Asdh,  he 
made — between  which  there  is  this  difference,  that  the  two  last 
may  be,  and  are,  used  of  men.  The  first  word  Sard  is  never 
predicated  of  any  created  being,  angel  or  man,  but  exclusively 
appropriated  to  God,  and  God  alone  is  called  Bor^  N")i  Creator. 
Creation  is  therefore,  according  to  the  Hebrew,  a  Divine  act — 
something  that  can  be  performed  by  God  alone.  In  the  next 
place,  though,  according  to  its  etymology,  it  does  not  necessa 
rily  imply  a  creation  out  of  nothing,  it  does  signify  the  Divine 
production  of  something  new,  something  that  did  not  exist 
before.  See  Numb.  xvi.  30 ;  Jer.  xxxi.  22.  And  therefore 
Gesenius  says,  in  his  '  Thesaurus,'  "  In  that  common  disputation 
of  interpreters  and  theologians  concerning  the  creation  out  of 
nothing,  some  appeal  to  this  word  [Bara]  as  if  it  could  be  in 
ferred  from  its  etymology,  or  proper  signification,  that  in  the 
first  chapter  of  Genesis,  not  a  creation  out  of  nothing,  but  a 
conformation  of  eternal  matter  is  taught.  But,  from  what  has 
been  said,  it  will  be  abundantly  plain,  that  the  use  of  this  verb 
in  Kal  is  altogether  different  from  its  primary  signification,  and 
that  it  is  more  used  of  new  production  (see  Gen.  ii.  3)  than  of 
the  conformation  and  elaboration  of  matter.  But  that  in  the 
first  verse  of  Genesis  the  first  creation  of  the  world  out  of 
nothing,  and  in  a  rude  and  unformed  state,  and  in  the  remainder 
of  the  first  chapter  the  elaboration  and  disposition  of  the  recently 
created  mass  is  set  forth,  is  proved  by  the  connection  of  things 
in  this  whole  chapter.  Thus,  also,  the  Rabbis  (as  may  be  seen 
in  Aben  Esra  to  Gen.  i.  1)  say  '  that  creation  is  a  production  of 
something  from  nothing.' "  This  is  also  the  explanation  given  in 


*  rice  Augustine  'de  Civit.  Dei,"  Lib. 
xi.  4,  3;  'Confess.'  xi.    10.     Com  pant 


also'Origen  de  Principiic,'  iii.  5,  and 
Calvin's  '  Commentaries  on  Gcncsiy.' 


204  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

the  Psalms.  In  Ps.  cxlviii.  5  wo  read,  "  For  He,  Ho  commanded, 
and  they  were  created."  The  parallel  passage  (Ps.  xxxiii.  9) 
says,  "For  He,  He  said,  and  it  existed  (VT1).  He,  He  com 
manded,  and  it  stood."  It  is  true  that  the  how  of  creation,  the 
link  between  the  Divine  will  and  the  realisation,  is  not  made 
known.  Perhaps  to  finite  minds  it  is  incomprehensible.  But, 
notwithstanding,  the  word  creation  is  more  than  a  name  for  our 
ignorance  of  the  mode  of  production.  It  teaches  that  neither 
the  world,  nor  the  matter  of  which  it  is  composed,  is  eternal  or 
self-existent — that  the  universe  is  not  a  pantheistic  emanation, 
but  a  work  of  the  Divine  will  and  power ;  and  this  Mosaic  doc 
trine,  in  accordance  with  all  sound  reason,  has  not  been  shaken 
by  any  discoveries  or  theories  of  science.  Even  though  the 
nebulous  theory  were  demonstrably  certain  ;  though  all  the 
starry  hosts  were  mere  agglomerations  of  elementary  matter, 
which  was  once  diffused  like  "an  universal  fire-mist "  throughout 
all  space,  and  impressed  with  fixed  laws,  or  endowed  with  self- 
evolving  powers,  yet  there  must  be  a  maker  of  that  fire-mist  and 
its  fifty-five  elementary  substances — there  must  be  a  lawgiver, 
who  imposed  those  laws,  or  communicated  those  powers,  and 
who  produced  that  change  of  temperature,  without  which  agglo 
meration  would  have  been  impossible — that  is,  there  must  have 
been  a  Creator,  and  therefore  the  words  of  Moses  would  still  be 
true,  "  God  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth."  "  Sic  philo- 
sophi  debueruut,  si  forte  cos  primus  aspectus .  mundi  conturba- 
verat,  postea  cum  vidisseut  motus  ejus  finitos  et  tequabiles,  orn- 
niaque  rat  is  ordinibus  moderate,  immutabilique  constantia, 
intelligere  inesse  aliquem  non  solum  habitatorem  in  hac  celesti 
ac  divina  domo,  sed  etiam  Rectorem  et  Moderatorem,  et  tan- 
quam  Architectum  tanti  operis  tantique  muneris."  ' 

9.  In  order  to  understand  the  Mosaic  narrative,  the  next  thing 
to  be  considered  is  the  meaning  of  the  phrase  "  The  heavens  and 
the  earth,"  and  the  purpose  of  the  whole  verse.  Some  take  it 
as  a  title  or  summary  of  the  contents  of  the  chapter.  But  this 
view  is  forbidden  by  the  conjunction  "and,"  with  wrhich  the 
second  verse  begins.  "  In  the  beginning  God  created  the 
heavens  and  the  earth.  2.  And  the  earth  was  without  form,  and 
void."  This  "  and  "  makes  the  second  verse  a  continuation  of 


DC  Nitt. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  205 

the  narrative  begun  in  the  first.  The  proposition,  "  And  the 
earth  was  without  form,  and  void,"  implies  that  the  earth  was  in 
existence,  and  that  something  had  been  said  of  it  with  which 
the  "  and  "  is  the  connecting  link.  Besides,  if  the  first  verse  be 
not  a  part  of  the  narrative,  but  only  a  heading,  the  creation  of 
the  earth  is  not  mentioned  at  all  in  the  narrative  itself.  The 
first  verse  is,  therefore,  not  a  summary,  but  a  part  of  the  history 
of  creation. 

Others  suppose  that  the  first  verse  describes  the  creation  of  the 
materials  out  of  which  heaven  and  earth  were  afterwards  formed. 
But  this  is  simply  to  put  into  the  verse  what  is  not  there.  "Heaven 
and  earth  "  never  mean  materials,  and  if  they  did,  that  meaning 
would  not  agree  with  the  context  The  connecting  "  and "  of 
the  second  verse  shows  that  the  earth  of  the  second  verse  is  that 
earth  spoken  of  in  the  first  verse,  not  the  materials.  Moses  is 
very  precise  and  clear  in  his  statements,  and  as  he  names  "  the 
heavens  and  the  earth,"  no  expositor  can  legitimately  give  that 
phrase  a  meaning  which  it  has  not  in  any  other  place  in  the  Old 
Testament.  The  first  question  then,  here,  is,  what  Moses 
intended  by  "  the  heavens,"  for  the  word  is  plural,  and  has  no 
singular  in  Hebrew.  That  something  different  from  the  firma 
ment  is  intended  is  plain  from  the  order  of  the  narrative.  It  is 
not  said,  God  made  the  earth  and  the  heavens,  but  of  old,  in 
former  duration,  God  made  the  heavens  and  the  earth.  Then  it 
is  related  that  the  earth  was  without  form,  and  void ;  darkness 
was  upon  the  face  of  the  deep  ;  the  Spirit  of  God  moved  upon 
the  face  of  the  waters ;  God  said,  Let  there  be  light.  Then,  on 
the  second  day,  God  made  the  firmament,  and  called  it  heavens. 
The  heavens  of  the  first  verse  were  made  in  former  duration, 
before  the  moving  of  the  Spirit,  before  the  appearance  of  light. 
The  heavens  of  the  seventh  and  eighth  verses  were  made  on 
the  second  day,  after  the  earth  and  after  light.  The  difference 
of  time  proves  a  difference  of  subjects,  just  as  there  is  a  difference 
between  the  earth  of  the  first  verse,  which  means  the  whole 
terraqueous  globe,  and  the  earth  of  the  tenth  verse,  which  is 
only  the  dry  land.  And  this  difference  between  the  heavens  of 
the  first  verse  and  the  firmament  is  strongly  marked  in  the 
fourth  verse  of  the  second  chapter — "  These  are  the  generations 
of  the  heavens  and  the  earth,  when  they  were  created,  in  the 
day  that  the  Lord  God  made  the  earth  and  the  heavens."  In 


200  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

the  first  half  reference  is  made  to  the  primitive  creation,  and 
therefore  the  order  of  the  first  verse  is  preserved.  In  the  latter 
half  reference  is  made  to  the  creation  of  the  earth  in  its  empty 
state,  and  the  subsequent  making  of  the  firmament ;  and,  there 
fore,  earth  is  put  first,  before  heavens,  an  inversion  that  must 
be  intentional,  as  the  phrase  "  heaven  and  earth  "  is  in  Scrip 
ture  a  standing  formula,  but  the  inversion  "  earth  and  heaven  " 
occurs  only  once  more  in  the  Bible  (Ps.  cxlviii.  13).  The  first 
expression,  "the  heavens  and  the  earth,"  comprehends  all 
created  things,  the  universe  ;  the  second,  "  earth  and  heavens," 
takes  in  only  the  earth  and  that  portion  of  the  universe  imme 
diately  connected  with  it.  The  object  of  the  historian  is  first  to 
assert  that  God  is  the  Creator  of  all  created  things,  invisible  as 
Avell  as  visible  ;  then  to  narrate  the  manner  in  which  this  earth 
was  prepared  for  the  abode  of  man  by  the  same  Almighty 
Being,  so  as  to  leave  no  room  for  the  eternity  of  matter,  nor  yet 
for  two  Creators,  one  of  whom  made  the  high  and  holy  spiritual 
world,  the  other  this  lower  and  material  world.  The  Jews 
knew  that  there  were  other  heavens,  as  those  where  angels 
dwell,  mentioned  xxviii.  12-17,  whither,  perhaps,  Elijah  was 
carried  (2  Kings  ii.  1),  and  the  heavens  where  is  the  throne  of 
God  (Ps.  xi.  4  ;  ciii.  19),  called  also  the  heavens  of  heavens.  That 
these  heavens  and  the  angels  were  made  before  the  earth  and 
the  firmament  appears  from  Job  xxxviii.  7,  "  When  the  morning 
stars  sang  together,  and  all  the  sons  of  God  shouted  for  joy." 
They  are,  therefore,  included  in  the  statement  of  the  first  verse, 
"  Of  old  God  made  the  heavens  and  the  earth,"  as  they  certainly 
are  in  the  first  verse  of  the  second  chapter,  where  Moses, 
summing  up  the  entire  work  of  creation  of  the  universe,  the 
primitive  creation  and  the  six  days'  work,  says,  "  Thus  the 
heavens  and  the  earth  were  finished,  and  all  the  host  of  them." 
The  expression  "host  of  heaven"  sometimes  means  the  heavenly 
bodies,  sometimes  angels  :  thus,  in  Deut.  xix.  4,  it  evidently 
refers  to  the  former  ;  in  1  Kings  xxii.  If),  Isa.  xxiv.  21,  Ps. 
cxlviii.  2,  it  as  plainly  refers  to  the  latter,  who  are  called  "Jeho 
vah's  host"  (Josh.  v.  14,  If)),  and  "God's  host"  (Gen.  xxxii.), 
where  the  corresponding  word  HJTO  is  used.  Therefore,  in 
this  summing  up  of  creation,  •'  all  the  host  of  them  "  is  men 
tioned  to  include  angels,  often  referred  to  in  this  Book  of 
Genesis,  and  to  teach  that  they  were  not  independent  beings, 


ESSAY  V.] 


THE  MOSAIC  RECOED  OF  CREATION. 


207 


but  creatures  of  God.  According  to  the  Bible,  then,  this  earth 
is  not  the  centre  of  the  universe.  Long  before  it  was  fashioned 
for  man  there  were  heavens,  and  morning  stars,  and  angels ; 
regions  more  glorious  than  the  earth,  heavens  more  ancient 
than  the  firmament,  heavenly  inhabitants  who  excel  in  strength, 
and  who  looked  on  in  wonder  and  adoration  when  they  beheld 
the  earth  fashioned  by  the  Creator.  The  ken  of  Moses  and  the 
Hebrews  was  not  limited  to  this  earth,  nor  their  idea  of  dura 
tion  to  the  time  that  man  has  existed.  They  knew  that  the 
earth  in  its  present  condition  was  later  than  the  heavens  and 
their  host,  and  the  human  race  young  when  compared  with  the 
ungels  of  God. 

10.  VEESE  2. — The  next  statement  made  by  Moses  is  so  far 
from  being  in  opposition  to  the  discoveries  of  science  that  it  is  an 
extraordinary  anticipation  of  what  geology  teaches.  It  presents 
to  us  the  earth  before  its  habitation  by  man,  covered  with  water, 
and  utterly  devoid  of  inhabitants  or  life.  "  The  earth  was  [or, 
as  others  translate,  had  become*]  desolation  and  emptiness,  and 
darkness  upon  the  face  of  the  raging  deep,  and  the  Spirit  of 
God  brooding  upon  the  face  of  the  waters."  Very  similar  are 
the  statements  of  geologists,  who,  though  believing  that  the 
earth  was  first  in  a  state  of  igneous  fusion,  suppose  that  before 
the  various  formations  and  deposits  began,  it  was  first  entirely 
covered  with  water.  So  Pfaff  says,  "  We  soon  perceive  not  only 
that  by  far  the  greatest  part  of  our  earth  was  under  water,  but 
that  to  water  it  owes  its  origin,  and  that  under  water  the  entire 
gradual  formation  of  these  mighty  masses  took  place."  And 
again,  "  The  earth  was  at  first  a  molten  fiery  sphere,  over  which 
existed  a  thick  atmosphere,  containing  all  the  water  of  the 
earth.  In  consequence  of  cooling  a  firm  crust  was  formed, 
which  was  everywhere  uniformly  covered  by  water,  condensed 
in  like  manner  by  the  same  cooling  process."  f  The  conflicts 
between  the  waters  and  the  fiery  heat,  as  the  crust  of  the  earth 
was  broken,  fell  in,  or  was  upheaved,  are  vividly  described  by 
M.  d'Orbigny,  and  his  account  answers  well  to  the  words  of 
Moses,  "  The  earth  was  desolation  and  emptiness,  and  darkness 


*  Diitliius.  Post  hsec  veto  terra 
factii  crat  vasfai  ct  doscrta. 

t  IM'ittFs  *  SchopfungBgeechichte,'  p. 
3  and  (ilo.  See  also  D'Orbigny,  'Cours 


e'lemcntaire,'  torn,  ii.,  Fnscic.  i.  201 
Lnrdner's  'Pro-Adamite  Kartli,'  §  1ST 
'  Essayd  and  Reviews,'  p.  213,  11. 


208  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

upon  the  face  of  the  raging  deep."  It  is  not  necessary  to  accept 
this  theory  of  "  a  molten  fiery  sphere,"  as  the  Neptunists  describe 
a  somewhat  similar  state,  produced  by  water  only,  and  a  sober 
though  able  author  speaks  of  it  only  as  a  guess.  "  Geology 
.  .  .  may  guess  at  conditions  of  original  igneous  fluidity  or 
aqueous  plasticity  in  the  mass,  and  may  hint  at  some  great  law 
of  secular  contraction ;  but  it  must  be  confessed  that  on  these 
and  similar  points  science  is  yet  unable  to  offer  anything  like 
the  certainty  of  demonstration."*  But  the  great  facts  of  tho 
submersion  of  the  earth,  and  its  desolation  and  emptiness,  were 
stated  by  Moses  more  than  3000  years  ago,  and  his  statements 
have  not  only  not  been  disproved,  but  have  been  confirmed,  by 
the  deductions  of  modern  scientific  research.  But  how  this  state 
of  "  igneous  fluidity  or  aqueous  plasticity,"  and  consequent  deso 
lation  and  emptiness,  arose;  whether  God  created  the  earth 
desolate  and  empty,  or  whether  it  became  so  in  consequence  of 
some  mighty  catastrophe,  neither  Neptunists  nor  Vulcanists  can 
tell  us,  nor  has  Moses  expressly  declared,  though  the  latter 
appears  to  some  to  be  implied  in  his  words.  There  seems  to  be 
a  contrast  between  the  state  of  the  heavens  and  that  of  the 
earth.  "  Of  old  God  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth.  And 
the  earth  was  desolation  and  emptiness,"  not  so  the  heavens. 
If  Datliius's  translation,  "  The  earth  had  become  desolation  and 
emptiness,"!  be  correct,  it  would  follow  this  was  not  the  earth's 
original  state.  How  the  change  from  the  chaotic,  the  desolate 
and  the  empty,  was  effected,  science  cannot  tell.  Moses  informs 
us  that  it  was  by  the  action  of  the  Divine  Spirit.  "  The  Spirit 
of  God.  brooding  on  the  face  of  the  waters,"  not  "  the  wind  of 
God,"  as  the  verb  rachaph  [to  brood]  is  never  used  of  wind. 
"  The  Spirit  streamed  forth  from  God  upon  the  chaos,  commu 
nicated  to  it  life-power,  and  made  it  capable  of  development  at 
God's  bidding,  and  of  bringing  forth  plants  and  animals.  For, 
according  to  the  Old  Testament,  the  Spirit  of  God  is  the 
quickening  principle  of  the  world,  and  all  life  is  an  outgoing 


*  Page's  •  Advanced  Tcxt-lxx>k  of  out  a  following  •),  the  same  signitiea- 

Geology,'  p.  25.  tion,  e.£.  Isai.  Ixiv.  o,  9,  where  see 

f  This  translation  is  supported  by  E\v:ild,  Xunz,  and  Bosenmiiller.  That 

the  fact  that  tho  verb  il'H  is,  in  some  the  earth  was  not  originally  desolate 

twenty  places,  in  this  chapter  correctly  i  also  Been  is  to  lie  implied  in  Isai.xlv.  18. 

translated  by  fivo/j.ai  anil  Jin,  and  not  '  "  lie  created  not  the  earth  a  desolation  " 

by  Et/*t  or  euiu,  and  ha.s  elsewhere,  with-  <  [Tohu  |. 


ESSAY  V.j 


THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION. 


201) 


from  God ;  according  to  Psalm  civ.  30,  even  the  life  of  the  vege 
table  kingdom."* 

11.  VERSES  3,  and  14-19. — The  next  Mosaic  statement  is  found 
in  verses  3-5,  "And  God  said,  Let  there  be  light,  and  there 
was  light.  And  God  saw  the  light,  that  it  was  good,  and  God 
separated  between  the  light  and  between  the  darkness.  And 
God  called  the  light  day,  and  the  darkness  He  called  night. 
And  evening  happened,  and  morning  happened,  one  day,"t  and 
has  given  occasion  to  many  objections.  Celsus  found  it  strange 
that  Moses  should  speak  of  days  before  the  existence  of  the  smi.J 
"  How  did  God  create  the  light  before  the  sun  ?  "  asked  Voltaire. 
"  How  did  He  make  the  day  before  the  sun  was  made  ?"§ 
"  Modern  astronomy,"  says  D.  F.  Strauss,  "found  it  contrary  to 
order,  that  the  earth  should  not  only  have  been  created  before 
the  sun,  but  should  also,  besides  day  and  night,  have  distinction 
of  the  elements  and  vegetation  before  the  sun."  |j  "  Light  and 
the  measurement  of  time  are  represented  as  existing  before  the 
manifestation  of  the  sun,  and  this  idea,  although  repugnant  to 
our  modern  knowledge,  has  not  in  former  times  appeared 
absurd,"  is  the  objection  of  '  Essays  and  Reviews ;'  ^[  and,  as  is 
evident,  is  not  the  result  of  modern  science,  having  been 
broached  already  by  Celsus.  As,  however,  recent  writers  give 
modern  science  the  credit  of  it,  it  becomes  necessary  to  ask, 
what  does  modern  science  teach  with  regard  to  the  relative  ages 
of  the  earth  and  the  sun  ?  The  answer  is,  Nothing,  absolutely 
nothing  as  a  scientific  certainty.  Whether  sun  and  earth  were 
created  simultaneously,  and  in  their  present  relations — or, 
whether  the  earth,  already  created,  wandered  within  the  range 
of  solar  attraction,  or  whether,  after  the  sun  existed,  the  earth 
was  called  forth  within  that  range,  science  does  not  know.  It 
has,  however,  without  any  reference  to  the  Book  of  Genesis, 
proposed  a  theory,  which  has  been  accepted  by  some  of  the 


*  Knobel  in  loc.  Comp.  Gesenius, 
*  Thesaurus,'  in  Rad.  ejJTl.  "  De  Spiritu 
Dei,  qui  nidi  creationis  moli  incububat 
fovens  et  vivificans." 

t  The  exact  force  of  the  Hebrew 
words,  especially  of  the  verb  flTl  fio,  is 
more  apparent  in  the  LXX.  than  in  our 
Authorized  Version.  Ka!  eTirei/  6  Ot6s 
rfvr)0'fiT<a  <pias,  xal  tytvcro  <f>£r.  Koi 
fiSfv  &  Ofbs  rb  <pa>y  STI  xa\6v,  KO.I 


SifXitipiffti'  6  Ofbs  ava  fj-fffov  rov  (piarbs 
Kal  ava  ntGov  rov  o~K6rovs~  Kal  fK<i\ffffv 
6  Ofbs  rb  <pus  7/juepai/  Kal  rb  ffK6ros  ^Kt£- 
\fffe  vvKra,  Kal  lytvfro  tffirtpa  Kal  iyt- 
'vfTO  Trpui,  rifjLfpa  /j,ia. 

J  Origen    'contra   Celsum,'   vi.   GO. 
toin.  i.  (578. 

§  Voltaire's  Works,  vol.  xxxiii.  403. 

||  '  Glaubenslehre,'  vol.  i.  p.  622. 

f  P.  219. 

P 


210 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


V. 


most  scientific  men  of  these  days  as  highly  probable.*  Had  it 
been  devised  for  the  express  purpose  of  removing  the  supposed 
difficulties  of  the  Mosaic  account,  it  could  hardly  have  been 
more  to  the  purpose.  It  supposes  that  the  whole  solar  system 
was  originally  one  mass  of  vapoury  or  nebulous  matter,  which, 
according  to  the  laws  of  gravitation,  assumed  the  form  of  an  im 
mense  sphere.  This  sphere  received  (from  without)  an  impulse 
which  caused  it  to  revolve  on  its  axis  from  west  to  east.  In 
consequence  of  this  revolving  motion,  it  became  flattened  at  the 
poles  and  swollen  in  the  equatorial  region,  and  in  consequence 
of  the  greatness  of  the  centrifugal  force  at  the  equator,  and  the 
contemporaneous  condensation  and  contraction  of  the  nebulous 
mass,  a  free  revolving  ring,  similar  to  that  of  Saturn,  detached 
itself  in  the  region  of  the  equator.  This  ring  not  being  of 
uniform  density,  and  in  consequence  of  contraction,  broke  in 
one  or  more  places,  and  these  fragments,  in  obedience  to  the 
laws  of  gravitation,  became  a  sphere  or  spheres,  that  is,  a 
planet,  or  planets,  all  necessarily  revolving  from  west  to  east, 
round  the  parent  mass.  Another  ring  was  formed  in  like 
manner,  and  another  planet  came  into  existence,  and  so  on 
until  the  whole  solar  system  was  complete.  A  similar  process 
took  place  with  regard  to  some  of  the  planets,  and  thus  they 
got  their  moons. t 

Now,  according  to  this  theory,  not  only  the  earth,  but  all  the 
planets  of  our  system,  existed  before  the  sun  in  its  present  con 
dition.  As  these  planets  are  now  not  self-illuminating,  it  may 


*  Of  the  theory  in  its  present  form 
La  1'luce  is  the  author.  Perhaps  the 
first  suggestion  came  from  Sir  W.  Her- 
Bchel.  It  has  been  adopted  by  the 
great  German  astronomer,  Madler,  and 
extended  to  comets.  It  h:is  been 
defended  by  Pfaff,  and  its  truth  has 
been  taken  for  granted  by  Humlxjldt, 
'  Cosmos,'  1.  85,  90,  iv.  KjH.  It  is  also 
advocated  by  the  author  of '  Vestiges  of 
the  Natural  History  of  Creation.' 

t  IA  Place,  '  Exposition  dti  Systeme 
du  Monde,'  (j*mi'  edition,  note  vii.  pp.  4(>5 
andsqq. ;  PiaffVSchopftingsgeschichte,' 
Kap.  xiii. ;  Humboldt's  'Cosmos,'  as 
above.  This  theory  is  also  applied  by 
La  Place  and  others  to  account  for  the 
zodiacal  light.  M.  Plateau  has  furnished 
an  ingenious  experimental  verification. 
He  mixed  alcohol  and  water  until  the 


mixture  was  of  the  same  specific  gravity 
as  oil.  The  mixture  was  then  put  into 
a  glass  box,  and  a  certain  quantity  of 
oil  introduced,  which  immediately  took 
the  form  of  a  globe.  He  now  applied  an 
axis,  which  passed  through  the  axis  of 
the  oil  glol>e,  and  caused  the  box  to  ro 
tate  rapidly.  In  consequence  of  the 
rotation  the  oil  glol>e  flattened  at  the 
poles  and  swelled  out  at  the  equator. 
A  more  rapid  motion  disengaged  a  ring 
of  oil,  revolving  in  the  same  direction 
as  the  oil  globe.  Tliis  ring  broke,  and 
the  fragments  formed  globes  or  planets 
rotating  on  their  axes,  and  revolving 
round  the  parent  glol>e.  See  Pfaff,  p. 
318;  also  '  Vestiges  of  the  Natural  His 
tory  of  Creation,'  reprint  of  sixth  edi 
tion,  p.  11-14. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  21 1 

be  supposed  that  the  rings,  when  detached  from  the  original 
nebulous  mass,  were  dark  also,  and  therefore  that  the  equato 
rial  matter  of  the  parent  nebulous  sphere  of  which  they  were 
composed  was  also  devoid  of  light — that  therefore  the  sun  did 
not  receive  its  luminous  atmosphere  until  all  the  planets  had 
been  detached.  But,  until  this  luminous  atmosphere  existed, 
they  could  not  derive  their  light  from  the  sun.  If,  on  the  other 
hand,  it  be  supposed  that  these  detached  rings  were  luminous, 
and  that  the  planets  formed  from  them  were  luminous  also,  then 
the  planets  had  a  light  of  their  own,  independent  of  the  sun. 
But  however  that  be,  so  much  follows  from  this  theory,  that  the 
earth  existed  before  the  residuary  parent  globe  could  be  called 
the  sun,  or  could  perform  its  office  of  luminary  to  the  system. 
If  the  earth  therefore  had  light  during  this  period,  it  must  have 
been  derived  from  some  other  source.  That  this  is  possible 
cannot  now  be  denied.  The  discoveries  with  regard  to  heat, 
combustion,  electricity,  galvanism,  show  that  there  may  be 
light  independent  of  the  sun.  It  is  also  now  generally  received 
that  the  sun  itself  is  an  opaque  body,  and  that  solar  light  pro 
ceeds  from  a  luminous  atmosphere  by  which  it  is  surrounded.* 
The  progress  of  science  has,  therefore,  neutralized  the  objection 
that  light  could  not  exist  before  the  sun.  Indeed  it  has  done 
more — it  has  proved  the  accuracy  of  the  Mosaic  language. 
Moses  does  not  call  the  sun  "  Or,  light,"  but  "  Ma6r,  a  place  or 
instrument  of  light,"  a  luminary,  or  candlestick,!  just  what 
modern  science  has  discovered  it  to  be.  Thus,  so  far  is  the 
Mosaic  doctrine  of  light  from  being  opposed  to  recent  discoveries, 
that  if  Moses  had  wished  to  describe  the  modern  doctrine  con 
cerning  light,  he  could  not  have  expressed  himself  more 
happily.  "  Scripture  does  not  say  that  God  created  the  light,  or 
made  it,  but  said,  '  Let  it  be,  and  it  was ! '  If,  then,  light  be 
not  a  separate  and  definite  body,  but  only  vibrations  or  undula- 


*  Arago's  '  Astronomy,'  p.  5G,  57 ; 
Pfaff,  p.  621 ;  Humbolrlt's  'Cosmos,'  iii. 
271,  etc. ;  Walker's  '  Physical  Constitu 
tion  of  the  Sun,'  p.  6.  The  wonderful 
discoveries  of  Kirclihoff  and  others  in 
solar  chemistry  are  supposed  by  some 
to  confirm  La  Place's  theory,  and  to 
prove  that  the  earth  was  before  the 
sun,  and  had  a  light  of  its  own. 

f  Knobel,  in    his  Commentary,  has 


"  Lichtorte."  For  the  meaning  of  nouns 
formed  by  prefixing  D,  see  Ewald's 
'  Grammar,'  §  3:V7  and  339  : — "  D  may 
signify,  first,  that  wherein  anything 
happens,  the  place  of  action  (the  so- 
called  13  loci) ;  .  .  .  .  secondly,  the  in 
strument  of  action  ;  thirdly,  the  what 
of  the  action."  Compare  also  Simonis 
'  Arcanum  Formarum,'  p.  447-504 ; 
Gcsenius's  '  Lehrgeb.'  p.  494,  §  14. 

p  2 


21'2  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ ESSAY  V. 

t  ions  of  other,  somehow  set  in  motion,  the  sacred  writer  could 
not  have  expressed  its  appearance  in  words  more  beautiful  or 
more  agreeable  to  truth."  * 

Now,  this  theory  of  La  Place  may  or  may  not  be  true,t  but  it 
is  an  offspring  of  modern  science,  and  implies,  just  like  the 
Mosaic  account,  the  pre-existence  of  the  earth  before  the  sun 
became  the  luminary  of  the  system.  It  does,  indeed,  also  imply 
the  pre-existence  of  the  great  parent  nebulous  globe,  but  this  is 
not  contrary  to  the  Mosaic  account.  Moses  does  not  say  that 
the  body  of  the  sun  or  moon  and  stars  were  created  on  the 
fourth  day,  but  according  to  the  Hebrew,  "  God  said,  Let  there 
be  light-holders  in  the  firmament  of  the  heaven,  ....  and  let 
them  be  for  light-holders  in  the  firmament  of  the  heaven  to 
give  light  upon  the  earth,  and  God  made  the  two  great  light- 
holders  and  God  gave  l/VI,  them  in  the  firmament  of 

heaven  to  give  light  upon  the  earth,  and  the  stars."  The 
Hebrew  word,  Asah,  make,  may  signify  "  make  ready,  prepare, 
dress  "  (see  Gesenius's  '  Lexicon,'  in  verb.).  The  creation  of  the 
sun  or  parent  globe  may  be  included  in  verse  1,  and  the  work 
of  the  fourth  day  consisted  in  furnishing  it  with  its  luminous 
atmosphere.  When  this  took  place,  and  the  sun  began  to  shed 
its  light,  then  the  moon,  and  the  earth's  fellow  planets,  "  the 
stars,"  of  verse  16,  became  luminaries  also.  The  stars  of  this 
sixteenth  verse  are  certainly  different  from  those  morning  stars 
of  which  Job  speaks,  which  were  in  existence  long  before,  and, 
as  connected  with  the  sun  and  moon,  seem  naturally  to  mean 
those  belonging  to  the  solar  system,  and  which  received  their 
light  on  the  fourth  day,  when  the  sun  became  luminous. 
Having  thus  seen  how  modern  science  proves  that  the  earth 
and  light  might  exist,  and,  according  to  scientific  theory,  pro 
bably  did  exist  before  the  sun,  it  is  no  longer  difficult  to  con 
ceive,  how  there  might  also  be  a  measure  of  time.  What  that 
measure  was,  the  length  of  that  "one  day,"  of  which  Moses 
speaks,  it  is  now  necessary  to  inquire. 


*  '  Cosmogony  of  Moses,'  by  M.  Mar-  shine,  give  light."    mi"l3,    light.     Job 

eel  de  Series,  Professor  of  Mineralogy  ijj.  4. 

and  Geology  at  Montpellier,  German  |  Compare  Whewell's  '  Indications  of 

edition,  p.  45.  -  Compare  the  language  the  Creator,'  p.  54,  102,  and  his  'Philo- 

of  St.  Paul,  2  Cor.  iv.  6.    It  is  a  curious  !  80phy  of  Discovery,'  p.  304,  305 ;  '  Plu- 

fiiet  that  the  Hebrew  verb  "1HJ,  which  rality  of  Worlds,'  p.  1'J'J. 

signifies  "to  flow,"  also   signifies  "to  ' 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  213 

12.  The  question,  then,  naturally  arises,  How  are  we  to  under 
stand  the  word  "  day  ?  "  Is  it  a  period  of  twenty-four  hours,  or 
is  it  an  indefinite  portion  of  time  ?  It  is  quite  certain  that  the 
Almighty  could  not  only  arrange  the  earth  in  six  ordinary  days, 
but  that  He  could  create  the  whole  universe  by  a  momentary 
exertion  of  His  power.  The  shortness  of  the  time,  therefore,  is 
no  valid  objection.  The  contrary  objection  that  six  ordinary 
days  are  too  long,  and  that  instantaneous  creation  is  more  worthy 
of  Omnipotence,  is  just  as  strong.  But  nature  and  Scripture 
both  teach  us  that  it  has  pleased  God  to  work  gradually.  His 
purpose  was  to  fill  the  earth  with  inhabitants,  and  yet  only  a 
single  pair  was  created.  He  announced  the  lledeemer  in  Para 
dise,  but  4000  years  passed  away  before  the  fulness  of  the  time 
was  come.  It  is  His  will  that  the  whole  earth  shall  be  filled 
with  the  knowledge  of  Himself;  but  the  diffusion  of  that 
knowledge  has  been  left  to  gradual  preaching  and  human  instru 
mentality.  So  in  nature,  trees,  animals,  and  men  have  small 
beginnings,  and  require  time  to  attain  to  perfection.  Tin's  twofold 
course  of  the  Divine  procedure,  in  grace  and  in  nature,  guards  us 
against  the  necessity  of  supposing  that  the  arrangement  of  the 
earth  was  of  necessity  sudden,  or  a  series  of  instantaneous  exhi 
bitions  of  Omnipotence.  The  facts  of  creation,  however,  must 
be  gathered  from  the  Mosaic  statement.  Moses  undoubtedly 
reckons  six  days.  But  it  is  an  old  and  true  observation,  that 
in  the  Bible  the  word  "  day  "  often  signifies  undefined  periods 
of  time,  as,  "  the  day  of  the  Lord,"  "  the  day  of  vengeance," 
"  that  day,"  "  the  night  is  far  spent,  the  day  is  at  hand."  In 
this  narrative  (ii.  4)  the  word  takes  in  the  whole  time  of  the 
creative  work.  The  first  three  days  were  certainly  not  measured 
by  the  interval  between  sunset  and  sunset,  for  as  yet  the  sun 
was  not  perfect,  and  had  no  light.  The  first  day  consisted  of  an 
alternation  of  light  and  darkness.  But  how  long  the  light 
lasted,  and  how  long  the  darkness  until  the  next  dawn,  is  not 
said.  That  there  was  an  alternation  of  light  and  darkness,  is 
related  in  the  words,  "  And  God  divided  between  the  light  and 
between  the  darkness.  And  God  called  the  light  Day,  and  the 
darkness  He  called  Night."  First  there  had  been  universal 
darkness.  "  Darkness  was  upon  the  face  of  the  deep."  Out  of 
this  darkness  God  caused  the  light  to  shine.  "  God  said,  Let 
there  be  light,  and  there  was  light."  It  might,  then,  be  sup- 


214  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KBSAY  V. 

posed  that  this  light  being  as  universal  as  the  darkness  had 
been,  there  was  now  only  continued,  uninterrupted  light  in  the 
world,  and  no  darkness  more  until  the  new  order  of  things  com 
menced  in  the  fourth  day.  The  sacred  historian  guards  against 
this  supposition  by  relating  that  God  divided  between  the  light 
and  the  darkness,  and  that,  in  consequence  of  this  division, 
evening  happened,  and  morning  happened,  so  that  one  stage  of 
creation  was  divided  from  the  other  by  an  interval  of  darkness. 
The  time  of  light  in  which  the  Divine  work  proceeded,  lie 
called  Day,  and  the  time  of  darkness  He  called  Night.*  It  was 
not  a  day  measured  by  the  presence  of  the  sun's  light,  nor  a 
night  measured  by  the  absence  of  that  light.  There  was  light 
and  there  was  darkness,  and  God  called  the  light  Day,  and  the 
darkness  He  called  Night.  The  union  of  these  two  periods  of 
light  and  darkness  He  calls  "  one  day,"  "  a  second  day,"  "  a 
third  day,"  to  mark  the  distinctive  breaks  in  the  progress  of  the 
development  of  the  world.  In  this  fifth  verse  "  day  "  is  taken 
in  two  senses, — first,  of  the  duration  of  the  light ;  and  secondly, 
of  the  whole  time  of  light  and  darkness  together.  But  how 
long  the  light  continued  before  it  was  evening,  or  how  long  the 
darkness  continued  before  it  was  morning,  or  what  was  the 
duration  of  the  two  together,  we  are  not  told ;  and  so  far  there 
is  nothing  to  cause  us  to  conclude  that  the  whole  was  equal  to 
twenty-four  hours.  It  is  true  that  David  Strauss  f  urges  the 
mention  of  "  evening  and  morning,"  and  thence  concludes  that 
they  must  be  common  days ;  and  there  is  a  general  persuasion 
that  Moses  here  reckons  according  to  the  usual  custom  of  the 
Hebrews,  from  evening  to  evening,  supposing  that  the  original 
darkness  is  the  first  evening,  and  that  the  space  of  time  occupied 
by  it  and  by  the  light  which  succeeded,  is  described  as  the  first 
day.  But  this  mistake  arises  from  confining  the  attention  to 
the  English  translation,  which  says  "  And  the  evening  and  the 
morning  were  the  first  day."  J  But  the  Hebrew  and  the  ancient 
versions  have  "  And  evening  happened,  and  morning  happened, 
one  day."  Now  if  the  first  day  begins  with  the  original  dark- 


*  Compare  the  words  of  our  Lord, 
"  I  must  work  the  works  of  Him  that 
sent  me,  while-  it  is  day  ;  the  night 
cometh  when  no  man  can  work." 


t   '  Glaubfciislehre,' p.  G24.  ;    lir^t  d;iy. "    I'.  2 

j  This  is  plainly  I  he  source  of  error 


in  '  Essays  and  lleviews,'  where  il  is 
said,  "  The-  space  of  time,  occupied  by 
the  original  darkiuss  and  the  light 
which  succeeded,  is  described  as  the 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  215 

ness,  then  the  first  day  consists  of  the  original  darkness,  the 
light,  and  the  evening  that  followed,  ending  with  the  morning, 
and  thus  the  first  day  would  have  an  evening  at  the  beginning 
and  an  evening  at  the  end.  The  mention  of  morning,  "  evening 
happened  and  morning  happened,"  ought  to  have  guarded 
against  this  mistake.  Evening  and  morning  do  not  together 
make  a  day,  but  only  a  part  of  a  day.  The  whole  day  is  not 
complete  until  the  following  evening.  But  that  Moses  does  not 
here  reckon  from  evening  to  evening  is  proved  from  the  account 
of  the  first  day.  The  evocation  of  light  is  the  prominent  object 
of  the  first  day's  work,  but  it  is  after  this  evocation  of  light  that 
it  is  said  "  And  there  was  evening,  and  there  was  morning,  one 
day."  I£  therefore,  the  day  began  with  the  evening,  light  was 
created  before  that  first  day  began,  and  there  would  be  no 
account  at  all  of  what  was  done  the  first  day.  The  first  day 
must,  therefore,  be  reckoned  as  beginning  at  the  appearance  of 
light,  and  continuing  through  the  evening  to  the  dawn.  The 
appearance  of  light,  with  the  darkness  that  followed  the 
evening  until  the  next  dawn,  is  the  first  day.  With  that  dawn 
the  second  day  begins.  This  mode  of  reckoning,  unique  in  the 
Bible,  and  peculiar  to  this  first  chapter  of  Genesis,  suggests  that 
the  days  are  peculiar  too.  To  know  the  length  of  the  first  day, 
it  would  be  necessary  to  know  how  long  the  light  continued 
after  its  first  appearance  until  the  evening  came,  and  then  how 
long  from  evening  until  the  first  dawn.  But  this  is  not  told  us. 
The  ordinance  concerning  the  reckoning  of  time,  "  Let  them  be 
for  signs,  and  for  seasons,  and  for  days  and  for  years,"  was  not 
given  until  the  fourth  day,  and  could  have  no  application  until 
after  the  creation  of  Adam.  Not  by  the  sun,  then,  were  the 
days  measured,  but  by  the  light  and  darkness,  which  God  called 
Day  and  Night,  of  the  length  of  which  we  are  not  informed ; 
and,  consequently,  there  is  nothing  in  the  text  to  compel  us  to 
restrict  the  days  to  the  time  of  the  earth's  diurnal  motion.  If 
the  length  of  the  days  is  to  be  measured  by  that  of  the  seventh, 
the  day  of  God's  rest,  those  days  must  be  indefinite  periods,  for 
that  day  of  rest  still  continues.  It  is  said,  chap.  ii.  2,  "  And  He 
rested  on  the  seventh  day  from  all  the  work  which  He  had 
made,"  without  any  mention  of  evening  and  morning.  The  day 
of  rest,  therefore,  still  continues,  and  this  is  plainly  expressed 
and  argued  in  the  Epistle  to  the  Hebrews,  "  Let  us  therefore 


210  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [Ks»AY  V. 

fear,  lest  a  promise  being  left  us  of  entering  into  His  rest,  any 
of  vou  should  seem  to  come  short  of  it,"  or,  as  some  moderns 
translate,  4i  Let  us  then  be  careful,  lest  as  a  promise  to  enter 
into  His  [God's]  rest  still  remains,  any  of  you  appear  remaining 
behind."  On  which  words  Stuart  says,  "  In  chapter  iv.  1,  lie  brings 
forward  the  assertion  that  the  promise  of  entering  into  the  rest 
of  God  still  remains,  addressed  to  the  Hebrew  Christians  as  it 
was  to  the  Israelites  of  old.  .  .  .  But  what  is  the  rest  in  ques 
tion?  Is  it  quiet  possession  of  the  land  of  Canaan?  No,  says 
the  Apostle.  Believers  now  enter  into  the  rest  (verse  3),  i.  e. 
(adds  he)  the  same  kind  of  rest  as  was  anciently  proffered. 
Moreover,  God  calls  it  KaTcnravcrtv  f^ov,  My  rest,  i.  e.  (adds  he) 
such  rest  as  God  enjoyed,  after  He  completed  the  creation  of 
the  world,  consequently  spiritual,  heavenly  rest.  This  is  plain 
(as  he  goes  on  in  verse  4)  from  what  the  Scripture  says,  Gen.  ii. 
2,  concerning  the  rest  of  God."  According,  then,  to  this  decla 
ration  that  God's  rest  or  Sabbath  still  continues,  the  seventh 
day  of  creation  is  an  indefinite  period  and  the  other  days  may 
be  also.  The  six  days  are  days  of  the  Lord,  God's  days,  as  the 
first  Sabbath  was  God's  rest,  and,  therefore,  as  God  rested  on 
His  seventh  day,  man  is  commanded  to  rest  on  his  seventh  day, 
and  God  blessed  and  sanctified  it. 

13.  But  though  the  Mosaic  language  implies  that  the  six  days 
of  which  he  speaks  are  six  periods  of  time,  it  does  not  follow  that 
they  are  to  be  identified  with  the  six  periods  commonly  received 
in  geology.  Indeed,  to  those  who  have  no  theory  to  establish, 
it  is  apparent  that  they  do  not  agree,  neither  is  it  necessary 
that  they  should.  That  the  Mosaic  account  is  not  contradicted 
by  modern  discovery  is  quite  sufficient.  The  impossibility  of 
identifying  these  periods  is  evident  from  the  fact  that  of  the 
work  of  two  days  in  the  Mosaic  account  geology  knows  nothing, 
and  astronomy  nothing  certain ;  namely,  that  of  the  first  on 
which  the  light  was  called  forth;  and  of  the  fourth  day,  when 
the  sun  and  the  planetary  system  were  perfected.  Moses  gives 
an  outline  of  the  history  of  creation,  such  as  would  be  intelli 
gible  to  those  for  whom  he  wrote,  and  suitable  as  an  introduc 
tion  to  Divine  revelation,  and  on  both  accounts  necessarily 
limited  in  the  matter  and  brief  in  the  narration.  He,  therefore, 
notices  only  those  things  necessary  to  a  true  religious  system, 
<;r  perceptible  by  men.  After  the  original  creation  of  heaven 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OP  CREATION.  217 

and  earth,  and  the  condition  of  earth,  he  mentions  the  evoca 
tion  of  light  and  the  creation  of  the  ether,  in  which  the  hea 
venly  bodies  move,  as  effected  in  the  first  two  days.  Whether 
anything  else  was  created  in  those  two  days,  he  neither  affirms 
nor  denies.  So  far  therefore  as  the  Mosaic  record  is  concerned, 
these  two  days  may  include  the  whole  of  the  primary,  second 
ary,  and  tertiary  formations,  with  all  their  products,  their  flora 
and  their  fauna.  The  products  of  those  periods,  buried  in  the 
earth,  were,  so  far  as  we  know,  utterly  unknown  to  the  Israelites 
and  their  contemporaries,  and  to  mankind  for  many  ages  after. 
Even  to  ourselves  the  knowledge  is  recent.  For  Moses  to 
mention  them,  was  not  only  unnecessary,  but  would  have  been 
altogether  out  of  place.  Such  details  would  have  encumbered 
the  outline,  and  turned  away  the  attention  from  God  the 
Creator  to  things  at  that  time  invisible  and  unintelligible.  The 
object  of  the  Mosaic  narrative  is  to  explain  the  origin  of  the 
universe  and  of  its  parts,  as  they  were  known  or  visible  to  men 
of  that  day.  So  soon,  therefore,  as  he  has  mentioned  the  light 
and  the  ether,  he  advances  at  once  to  the  preparation  of  the 
earth  for  man ;  and  thus  the  third  day  presents  the  dry  land  in 
its  present  state,  with  its  flora  differing  from  the  preceding 
geological  stages.  Of  this  state  of  things,  Page  says  :  "  At  the 
close  of  the  Pleistocene  period  the  present  distribution  of  sea 
and  land  seems  to  have  been  established ;  the  land  presenting 
the  same  surface  of  configuration,  and  the  sea  the  same  coast 
line,  with  the  exception  of  such  modifications  as  have  since 
been  produced  by  the  atmospheric,  aqueous,  and  other  causes, 
described  in  chap.  iii.  At  the  close  of  that  period,  the  earth 
also  appears  to  have  been  peopled  by  its  present  flora  and 
fauna,  with  the  exception  of  some  local  removals  of  certain 
animals,  and  the  general  extinction  of  a  few  species."*  Accord 
ing  to  the  Mosaic  account,  the  growth  of  grass,  herb  and  fruit 
trees,  begun  on  the  third  day,  must  have  gone  on  through  the 
fourth.  Then  on  the  fifth  day  the  marine,  and  on  the  sixth  the 
land  animals  of  the  present  period  were  called  into  existence. 
The  words  of  Moses,  "  Let  the  dry  land  appear,"  are  in  exact 
accordance  with  what  geology  relates.  The  rise  of  the  ocean 


'  Advanced  Text-book,'  p.  300. 


218  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

had  buried  the  tertiary  world  in  its  waters.  "  The  disruption 
of  the  earth's  crust,  extending  W.  16°  S.,  and  E.  lb'°  N., 
through  which  the  chain  of  the  great  Alps  was  forced  up  to  its 
present  elevation,  which,  according  to  M.  d'Orbigny,  was 
simultaneous  with  that  which  forced  up  the  Chilian  Andes,  a 
chain  which  extends  over  a  length  of  3000  miles  of  the  western 
continent,  terminated  the  tertiary  age,  and  preceded  immedi 
ately  the  creation  of  the  human  race  and  its  concomitant  tribes. 
The  waters  of  the  seas  and  oceans,  lifted  up  from  their  beds  by 
this  immense  perturbation,  swept  over  the  continents  with 
irresistible  force,  destroying  instantaneously  the  entire  flora  and 
fauna  of  the  last  tertiary  period,  and  burying  its  ruins  in  the 

sedimentary  deposits  which  ensued When  the  seas  had  settled 

into  their  new  beds,  and  the  outlines  of  the  laud  were  perma 
nently  defined,  the  latest  and  greatest  act  of  creation  was 
accomplished  by  clothing  the  earth  with  the  vegetation  which 
now  covers  it,  peopling  the  land  and  the  water  with  the  animal 
tribes  which  now  exist,  and  calling  into  being  the  human  race.  .  .  . 
The  most  conspicuous  condition  which  distinguishes  the  present 
from  all  past  periods  is  the  existence  of  the  human  race  among 
its  fauna,  the  attributes  of  which  are  so  peculiar  as  to  place  it 
out  of  all  analogy  with  the  other  classes  of  animals.  Another 
striking  physical  difference  between  the  present  and  all  former 
periods  consists  in  the  different  divisions  of  the  earth's  surface 
into  climatological  zones,  each  zone  having  its  peculiar  fauna 
and  flora.  In  all  former  ages  and  periods,  including  those 
which  immediately  preceded  the  present,  no  traces  of  climatic 
difference  have  been  found."  *  In  all  this  there  is  nothing 
inconsistent  with  the  Mosaic  statement.  There  is  one  most 
striking  and  extraordinary  coincidence :  Moses  represents  the 
earth  as  existing  for  a  long  period  before  the  sun  became  its 
source  of  light  and  heat.  During  that  period  there  could  have 
b(.-en  no  climatic  difference,  as  this  depends  upon  the  position  of 
the  earth  with  reference  to  the  sun.  Now  this  exactly  agrees 
with  the  conclusions  of  geology,  which  asserts,  as  we  have  seen, 
that  before  the  human  period  there  was  no  difference  of  cli 
mate,  that  the  earth  was  not  dependent  on  the  suii  for  its 


*  Lanhicr'ci  '  Popular  Geology,'  §55^,555,  5C.1. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  219 

temperature,  that  there  was  apparently  one  uniform  high 
temperature  over  the  whole  earth,  and  consequently  that  the 
flora  and  fauna  of  warm  climates  are  found,  in  the  prehuman 
period,  in  latitudes  where  they  could  not  now  exist.  Here 
then  is  an  instance  of  the  extraordinary  scientific  accuracy  of 
the  Mosaic  account. 

14.  Another  objection  to  Scriptural  cosmogony  is,  that  the 
Bible  asserts  that  the  earth  is  immovable.  "  The  Hebrew  records, 
the  basis  of  religious  truth,  manifestly  countenanced  the  opinion  of 
the  earth's  immobility."  "  The  proofs  of  this  proposition  are  not 
taken  from  Moses,  who  says  nothing  on  the  subject,  but  from 
such  passages  as  Ps.  xciii.  1,— "  The  world  also  is  established 
that  it  cannot  be  moved;"  and  Ps.  civ.  5, — "Who  laid  the 
foundations  of  the  earth,  that  it  should  not  be  moved  for  ever." 
See  also  Ps.  cxix.  90,  91.  According  to  this  mode  of  interpre 
tation,  it  can  also  be  proved  that  the  Hebrews  also  held  that  a 
pious  man  was  an  immovable  fixture  ;  for  it  is  said,  Prov.  x.  30, 
"  The  righteous  shall  never  be  moved,"  the  same  word  in  Hebrew. 
But  this  objection  rests  on  simple  ignorance  of  the  Hebrew 
word  translated  "moved."  This  word,  Mot  (BID),  signifies, 
as  Gesenius  says,  "  to  waver,  to  shake,  to  totter,"  and,  there 
fore,  it  is  applied  to  the  feet  of  one  in  motion  in  Ps.  xvii.  5 — 
"Hold  up  my  goings  in  thy  paths,  that  my  footsteps  slip  not;" 
or,  as  the  margin  has  it,  "  be  not  moved."  Can  any  one  be 
found  so  silly  as  to  suppose  that  David  prayed  that  his  feet 
might  be  immovably  fixed  ?  The  whole  prayer  implies  motion, 
walking  in  the  Lord's  ways ;  and  the  latter  part  of  the  petition 
is  that  his  feet  might  not  "  totter,"  that  he  might  not  stumble. 
So  far,  therefore,  are  the  above  passages  from  declaring  that  the 
earth  is  immovable,  that  they  necessarily  imply  its  motion. 
"  The  world  is  established  that  it  cannot  totter,"  not  even  in  that 
velocity  of  motion  with  which  it  compasses  the  sun.  A  totter, 
a  slip,  would  be  of  dreadful  consequence  to  its  inhabitants ;  but 
the  Lord  has  so  arranged  and  steadied  its  motions,  that  no  totter 
is  possible.  The  wonderful  mode  of  its  suspension  in  space,  as 
well  as  that  of  the  heavenly  bodies,  as  necessarily  implied  in  the 
Scriptural  doctrine  of  an  ethereal  expanse,  is  also  beautifully 


*  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  208.     Sec  also  Hitchcock's  '  Religion  of  Geology 
).  25  and  i;5. 


AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

expressed  in  Job  xxvi.  7.  "  He  stretcheth  out  the  north  over  the 
empty  place ;  he  hangeth  the  earth  upon  nothing."  To  infer 
that  Scripture  teaches  the  immobility  of  the  earth  because  it 
speaks  of  sunrise  and  sunset,  or  because  Joshua  said,  "  Sun,  stand 
them  still,"  is  just  as  fair  as  to  attribute  the  same  error  to  the 
compilers  of  almanacks  and  astronomical  tables,  or  to  scientific 
men  in  their  common  parlance.  There  are  certain  popular 
phrases  which  no  universality  of  science  will  ever  banish  from 
general  use.  The  great  historian  of  the  Inductive  Sciences, 
like  all  other  people  of  common  sense,  uses  the  popular  lan 
guage.  "  The  motions  of  the  sun,  the  succession  of  the  places  of 
his  rising  and  setting  at  different  times  of  the  year,  the  greatest 
height  which  he  reaches  ....  would  all  exhibit  several 
cycles.  .  .  .  The  turning  back  of  the  sun,  when  he  had 
reached  his  greatest  distance  to  the  south  or  the  north,  as  shown 
cither  by  his  rising  or  his  height  at  noon,  would  perhaps  be  the 
most  observable  of  such  circumstances."  *  If  Copernicus  himself 
had  been  in  a  similar  position  with  that  of  Joshua,  he  would 
have  used  just  the  same  language.  To  the  end  of  time  the  most 
scientific  of  men  will  continue  to  speak  of  sunrise  and  sunset — 
t  he  sun  passing  the  meridian,  or  sinking  below  the  horizon  ;  and 
he  who  would  try  to  substitute  a  more  exact  phraseology  would 
be  regarded  as  more  of  a  pedant  than  a  philosopher. 

15.  VERSES  (J-8. — The  Mosaic  firmament  not  a  solid  vault. — 
In  close  connection  with  tin's  objection  is  that  directed  against 
the  Mosaic  account  of  "  the  firmament."  It  was  already  urged 
by  Voltaire,  and  in  recent  times  oft  triumphantly  repeated,  to 
show  the  supposed  ignorance  and  gross  conceptions  of  the 
Hebrew  people.  Geseuius,  Winer,  Knobel,  &c.,  have  patronised 
it ;  their  statements  have  been  transferred  wholesale  into  popular 
English  works,  and  lately  repeated  in  '  Essays  and  Reviews ' 
(pp.  219,  220)  :— "The  work  of  the  second  day  of  creation  is  to 
erect  the  vault  of  heaven  (Heb.,  rakia  ;  (Jr.  crrepew/xa ; 
Liit.,  firmamentum),  which  is  represented  as  supporting  an 
ocean  of  water  above  it.  The  waters  are  said  to  be  divided,  so 
that  some  are  below,  some  above  the  vault.  That  the  Hebrews 
understood  the  sky,  firmament,  or  heaven,  to  be  a  permanent, 
solid  vaultx  as  it  appears  to  the  ordinary  observer,  is  evident 

*  Vol.  i.  p.  1-^7. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  PkECCmD  OF  CREATION.  221 

enough  from  various  expressions  made  use  of  concerning  it.  It 
is  said  to  have  pillars  (Job  xxvi.  11),  foundations  (2  Sam.  xxii. 
8),  doors  (Ps.  Ixxviii.  23),  and  windows  (Gen.  vii.  11).  No 
quibbling  about  the  derivation  of  the  word  rakia,  which  is 
literally  '  something  beaten  out,'  can  affect  the  explicit  descrip 
tion  of  the  Mosaic  writer,  contained  in  the  words,  '  The  waters 
that  are  above  the  firmament,'  or  avail  to  show  that  he  was 
aware  that  the  sky  is  but  transparent. 

"  Note. — The  root  is  generally  applied  to  express  the  ham 
mering  or  beating  out  of  metal  plates  ;  hence  something  beaten 
or  spread  out.  It  has  been  pretended  that  the  word  rakia  may 
be  translated  expanse,  so  as  merely  to  mean  empty  space.  The 
context  sufficiently  rebuts  this." 

This  objection,  if  well  founded,  would  be  conclusive  proof  of 
the  opposition  between  astronomic  science  and  the  Mosaic  cos 
mogony.  But,  happily,  it  is  the  weakest  of  all  the  objections,  and 
the  most  easily  refuted  by  Scripture  statement,  and  by  the 
history  of  interpretation.  "  The  Hebrews,"  says  Mr.  Goodwin, 
"  understood  the  sky,  firmament,  or  heaven  to  be  a  permanent  solid 
vault."  Here  are  two  assertions :  First,  that  the  Hebrews  under 
stood  the  firmament  or  heaven  to  be  a  vault.  Secondly,  that 
they  regarded  that  vault  as  solid.  The  first  assertion,  a  repeti 
tion  of  Gesenius's  hemisphcerii  instar,  is  totally  without  founda 
tion.  The  word  rakia  signifies  not  vault,  but,  as  all  allow,  an 
expanse,  something  spread  out,  whether  solid  or  unsolid,  and  there 
fore  incompatible  with  the  idea  of  vault  or  arch.  But  the 
main  part  of  the  objection  is  that  the  firmament,  or  heavens,  are 
solid  or  firm.  Now,  according  to  Scripture,  the  firmament,  or 
heaven,  is  that  space  or  place  where  birds  fly.  They  could  not 
fly  in  a  solid  vault ;  therefore  the  firmament  cannot  be  a  solid 
vault.  This  is  proved  by  the  following  references.  In  Gen.  i. 
28,  birds  are  called  "  the  fowl  of  the  heavens  "  (not  "  air,"  as 
the  Authorized  Version  has  it) — a  description  utterly  inapplica 
ble  if  the  heavens  be  a  permanent  solid  vault,  in  which  the 
heavenly  bodies  were  fixed.  "  The  fowl  of  the  solid  vault " 
would  be  nonsense.  If  the  heavens  be  the  expanse,  beginning 
at  the  earth,  extending  to  the  stars,  and  including  the  air,  the 
description  is  appropriate  ;  and  so  convinced  were  our  trans 
lators  that  the  heavens  have  this  meaning,  that  they  have  here 
and  elsewhere  translated  "fowl  of  the  air,"  not  "fowl  of  the 


222 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  V. 


heavens."  The  reason  why  Moses  calls  birds  fowls  of  the  heavens 
is  because  they  fly  in  the  heavens,  as  we  read,  Dent.  iv.  17, 
"any  winged  fowl  that  flieth  in  the  heavens."  And  again,  1'rov. 
xxx.  19,  "The  way  of  an  eagle  in  the  heavens."  And  again, 
Jer.  viii.  7,  "  The  stork  in  the  heavens  knoweth  his  appointed 
time."  In  all  these  passages,  "  heavens  "  means  the  place  where; 
birds  fly.*  In  Psalm  Ixxviii.  3(5,  the  word  means  the  place 
where  winds  blow — "  He  causeth  a  wind  to  blow  in  the  heavens  ;" 
in  both  cases  the  region  of  the  atmosphere.  The  Biblical 
writers  must,  therefore,  have  considered  the  heavens  or  firma 
ment  as  something  analogous  to  the  air,  an  expanse,  or  ether, 
not  a  hard,  solid  vault. 

The  idea  of  expanse,  independent,  or  even  exclusive  of 
solidity,  is  also  to  be  inferred,  from  the  manner  in  which  other 
verbs t  simply  signifying  to  extend  or  spread  out,  arc  applied  to 
the  heavens  :  as,  for  instance,  Isaiah  xlviii.  13,  "  My  right  hand 
hath  spread  out  (tippcchah)  the  heavens."  Isaiah  xl.22,  "That 
stretcheth  out  (noteh)  the  heavens  like  a  curtain  (literally,  like 
fineness),  and  spreadeth  them  out  (yaiyimtach)  as  a  tent  to  dwell 
in."  The  comparison  to  a  tent  does  not  suggest  solidity — the 
comparison  with  a  fine  curtain  excludes  it.  The  Hebrew  word 
(Dok)  here  used  for  curtain,  is  cognate  with  Dale,  "fine  dust," 
and  signifies,  as  Gesenius  says,  "  fineness — hence  fine  cloth, 
garment,  a  curtain."  The  same  idea  of  something  unsolid,  im 
permanent,  and  movable,  is  conveyed  in  the  similar  figure, 
1's.  civ.  2,  "Who  stretchest  out  the  heavens  like  a  curtain 
[Yerihah]."  The  Hebrew  word  here  used  for  curtain  means 
"  something  tremulous,"  and,  as  Gesenius  gives  it,  "  a  curtain, 
hanging,  so  culled  from  its  tremulous  motion" — a  simile  most 
unsuitable  for  a  solid  vault,  most  appropriate  for  an  ethereal 
expanse  or  fluid. 

But  besides  Itakia  and  Shamairn,  there  is  another  word, 
Shechakim,  said  to  be  used  sometimes  for  heavens,  which  also 
excludes  the  idea  of  solidity.  Gesenius  thus  gives  the  meaning  : 
1.  Dust,  fine  dust.  Isai.  xl.  15  ;  2.  A  cloud,  Arab,  thin 


*  These  passages  also  give  the  true 
meaning  of  the  words  in  Genesis  i.  ."0, 
where  the  Authorized  Version  lias,  "  In 
the  opeii  firmament  of  heaven,"  lite 


rally,  "  upon  the  face  of  the  firmament 
of  heaven." 

t  The  verbs  nt^Xatah,nnOMatliaeh, 
an.l  ri2D  Taphach. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  223 

cloud,  pp.,  as  it  would  seem,  cloud  of  dust,  or  the  like.  Mostly 
in  plural,  clouds.  Metonym.  for  the  firmament,  the  heavens,  the 
sky,  i.  q.  D?E$  and  i^p"1,  comp.  in  English  the  clouds.  Job 
xxxvii.  18,  'Hast  thou  like  him  spread  out  the  sky  (D^nttf), 
which  is  firm  like  a  molten  looking-glass  T  "  A  cloud  of  dust  is 
nothing  solid,  and,  therefore,  when  the  word  Shachak,  signifying 
cloud  of  dust,  is  transferred  to  the  clouds  of  heaven,  it  implies 
that,  in  the  mind  of  him  that  transferred  it,  the  clouds  of 
heaven  are  also  devoid  of  solidity.  But  here  it  will  be  replied, 
In  the  passage  of  Job,  just  referred  to  by  Gesenius,  "  the  sky  " 
is  compared  to  a  molten  metallic  mirror — it  must,  therefore,  be 
firm,  like  a  metal  plate.  Now.  granting  for  a  moment  that 
"  sky  "  is  here  a  possible  translation,  the  conclusion  drawn  does 
not  follow.  If  the  sky  be  solid  and  firm,  and  able  to  bear  up  a 
whole  heavenly  ocean  of  water,  is  it  not  rather  a  descent  from 
the  poetic,  indeed  a  very  considerable  bathos,  to  compare  its 
strength  to  that  of  a  woman's  metal  mirror  ?  The  beauty  of  the 
simile  is  lost.  Luther's  poetic  mind  and  shrewd  common  sense  saw 
this,  and,  therefore,  when  there  was  no  dispute  about  the  matter, 
showed  that  here  there  is  a  contrast  rather  than  a  comparison. 
The  expanse,  he  says,  is  rarer  and  finer  than  the  atmosphere  in 
which  we  live,  and  yet,  through  the  power  of  the  Divine  word, 
strong  as  if  it  were  metal.* 

Take  into  account  the  exact  meaning  of  SJiechakim,  clouds,  or 
substances  unsolid  as  a  cloud  of  dust,  and  the  beauty  and  force  of 
the  figure  come  out  still  more  strongly.  When,  therefore,  it  is 
remembered  that  "  the  Hebrews  "  regarded  the  heavens  or  fir 
mament  as  including  the  place  where  birds  fly — that  they  liken 
it  to  fineness  or  fine  cloth,  that  they  regard  it  as  tremulous,  like 
a  tremulous  curtain,  and  thought  that  it  was  of  the  nature  of  the 
clouds,  D^pn^,  and  that  the  clouds  were  of  the  nature  of  a 
cloud  of  fine  dust,  and  might  be  called  by  the  same  word,  it  will 
be  seen  that  they  did  not  consider  the  heavens  as  a  solid  vault, 
but  as  an  ether  similar  to  the  atmosphere. 

That  the  word  JRakia  signifies  expanse  is  also  proved  by 
Jewish  tradition.  It  is  that  sense  which  appears  when  the  Jews 
began  to  write  lexicons  and  grammars,  and  is  preserved  to  this 


See  the  passage  quoted  below,  p.  224. 


224  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

day.  David  Kimehi,  in  his  Book  of  Roots,  explains  the  word 
Rakah  first  by  Paras,  to  spread  out,  and  he  is  followed  by  both 
Spanish  and  German  Jews,  who  translate  Rakia  expanse. 

The  Jewish-Spanish  version  has  "  Espandidura ;"  the  Jewish- 
German  "  Ausspreitung  ;"  the  Pentateuch  by  Ztinz,  Arnheim, 
and  Sachs  gives  " Ausdehnung."  The  'Jewish  School  and 
Family  Bible,'  by  Dr.  Benisch,  has  "  expanse."  At  the  revival 
of  letters  Christians  learned  Hebrew7  from  the  Jews,  and  received 
the  old  Jewish  interpretation  "expanse."  So  Vatablus  and 
Peter  Martyr  have  "Sit  expansio  in  medio  aquarum."  Calvin 
has  both  extensio  and  expansio — "  Sit  extensio  in  medio  aquarum 

et  fecit  Deus  expansionem ;"  and  so  Sebastian  Minister, 

Mercerus,  the  Geneva  French  Bible  of  1588,  Luke  Osiander, 
1507,  and  Cypriano  de  Valera,  1602,  who  has  "Sea  un  estendi- 
miento  en  medio  de  las  aguas."  And  Luther,  though  he  retained 
the  word  "  Veste,"  answering  to  "  firmament,"  explains  it  as  u 
fine  and  subtile  expanse.  In  his  Commentary  to  verse  (>,  he 
says,  "  God  takes  this  thick  and  shapeless  lump  of  vapour,  nebel 
(nebula),  created  the  first  day  out  of  nothing,  and  commands 

it  to  spread  itself  out for  the  wrord  Rakia  signifies  among 

the  Hebrews  something  extended  and  spread  out,  and  comes 
from  Raka,  to  spread  out ....  when,  therefore,  Job  says,  xxxvii. 
18,  'The  heavens  are  made  firm  as  with  iron,'  he  has  respect  not 
to  the  material,  but  to  the  Word,  which  can  make  the  softest 
thing  in  nature  into  the  strongest  and  the  firmest.  ....  for  we 

know  how  subtile  the  air  is  in  which  we  live But  the1 

heaven  is  naturally  still  more  subtile  and  thin."  *  Yatablus 
gives  a  similar  explanation.  Having  remarked  that  heaven  is 
by  the  Hebrews  sometimes  called  Shamaim,  sometimes  Rakia, 
he  says,  "It  is  distinguished  into  two  parts,  the  upper  part, 
which  is  called  ether,  which  is  fire,  and  the  lower  part,  which  is 
called  air."  Calvin  (in  loc.)  gives  a  similar  interpretation. 
"  Moreover,  the  word  Rakia  comprehends  not  only  the  whole 
region  of  the  air,  but  whatever  is  open  above  us,  as  the  word 
lieaven  is  sometimes  understood  by  the  Latins."  Now,  it  is  to 
be  remarked  that  these  interpretations  were  given  Avhen  the  old 
system  of  astronomy  was  still  in  fashion,  and  received  by  those 


*  Lutlu-r's  '  \Vcrko.1     Wnlcli.  vol.  i. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION. 


225 


who  give  these  interpretations,  as  the  Jewish  Rabbis  and  the 
Reformers.  They  cannot  therefore  be  accused  of  quibbling,  or 
of  advocating  a  new  interpretation  to  help  them  out  of  difficul 
ties  arising  from  the  discoveries  of  Copernicus  and  Galileo. 
This  sense  continued  to  be  received  by  Hebrew  scholars  until 
the  infection  of  Deistic  infidelity  fully  influenced  the  minds  of 
men  to  make  out  a  case  of  ignorance  against  Moses  and  the 
Hebrews.  It  is  found  in  Mariana,  1624;  Hottinger,  1659; 
Seb.  Schmidt,  1697;  Baumgarten  and  Rom.  Teller,  1749; 
J.  C.  F.  Schultz,  1783  ;  Dathius,  1791 ;  Ilgen,  1798.  Even  in 
the  first  edition  of  Gesenius's  'Lexicon/  1810-13,  though  he 
says  that  the  Hebrews  looked  upon  heaven  as  solid,  he  explains 
rakia,  not  as  a  solid  expanse,  but  "  Etwas  ausgebreitetes."  In 
later  editions  he  wavers,  sometimes  inserting,  sometimes  omit 
ting,  the  word  "  solid  "  or  "  firm."  * 

But,  it  may  be  asked,  if  such  be  the  Jewish  tradition,  how 
the  LXX.  and  Vulgate  came  to  render  Rakia  by  arepeca^a, 
Jirmamentum.  The  answer  is,  that  by  arepewfia  the  LXX.  also 
understood  a  fine  and  subtile  ether  which  held  the  heavenly 
bodies  in  their  places.  Stereoma  was  chosen  not  to  express 
something  itself  solid,  but  something  that  strengthened  or  made 
firm  the  heavenly  bodies.  They  took  the  word  in  the  transitive 
sense,  like  /3e/3aiw/tia,  Sfacofta,  vrX^pcy/ia.,  &c. ;  and  this  is  proved 
by  the  Vulgate  having  Jirmamentum,  which  form  of  word  signi 
fies  something  that  makes  firm,  like  ornamentum,  complementum, 
alimenturn,  monumentum,  &c.  In  this  sense  stereorna  is  else 
where  used  by  the  LXX.,  as  Ezek.  iv.  16 :  "I  will  break  the 
staff  of  bread,  a-repewpa  dprov ;  "  and  Esther  ix.  29  :  "  And  the 
confirmation  of  the  letter,  TO  re  arepew^a  TT}?  eTrto-roX.^?."  And 
again  Ps.  xviii.  3:  "The  Lord  is  my  rock,  o-repeay/^a  /AOV" 
where  the  Vulgate  has  firmamentum  meum.  That  Jerome 


*  In  the  'German  Manual '  of  1823, 
in  the  verb  VpT  we  find — "  (1)  Stam- 
pt'en  mit  den  Fiissen  ...  (2)  Stampl'en, 
breitschlagen,  daher ...  (3)  Ausbreiten, 
aber  nur  von  festen  Kiirpern  .  .  .  Im 
Syr.  bet'ustigen,  griinden."  In  the  Latin 
edition  of  1833  it  is  not  found.  In 
Robinson's  translation,  the  word  "  solid" 
is  found  in  the  substantive,  but  not  in 
the  verb.  The  reference  to  the  Syriac 
shows  that  the  idea  "  firm  "  is  not  in 


cluded  :  Syr-^.CLJ — firmavit,  stabilivit, 

Aph.  fundavit,  pertundendo  et  consti- 
pando  firmavit,  ut  facere  Bolent,  qui 
fundamenta  aedium  jaciunt."  Accord 
ing  to  this,  and  Gesenius  is  right,  the 
Syriac  word  docs  not  mean  to  beat  out 
or  ram  something  that  is  solid  or  firm, 
but  by  ramming  or  touting  to  make 
firm  that  wlu'ch  wae  not  firm  before. 


226  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

took  firmamentum  in  the  same  sense  appears  from  his  Com 
mentary  on  Isa.  xxvi.  1,  where  for  7P1,  bulwark,  Symmachus 
has  arepeoufj,a ;  and  Jerome  remarks  :  "  Pro  eo  quod  nos  vertimus 
antcmurale,  Symmaclms  firmamentum  interpretatus  est."  And 
again  on  Ezek.  iv.  16,  on  the  words  "staff  of  bread  :"  "  Verbum 
Plebraicum  Matteh  prima  Aquila?  editio  baculum,  secunda  et 
Symmachus  Theodotioque  arepew^a,  id  est  firmamentum  inter- 
pretati  sunt."  The  Septuagint  adopted  the  word,  as  Le  Clerc 
has  shown  in  his  Commentary,  from  the  Oriental  or  Chaldaic 
philosophy :  "  Hinc  coelos  ryp~)  Rekihin,  et  ut  loquuntur 
Groeci  eorum  interpretes,  o-repewpa,  quod  inferiora  comprimerent 
ac  firmarent,  deosque  presides  uniuscujusque  cceli  'Ai/o^eZ?  et 
Su^o^ei?,  sustentatores  et  coactores  appellabant."  He  refers  in 
proof  to  a  passage  in  Thomas  Stanley's  '  History  of  Philosophy,' 
in  which,  though  that  writer  calls  stereoma  a  solid  orb,  yet  he 
shows  that  this  stereoma  was  of  the  nature  of  an  ethereal  fluid  :  * 
"  The  first  of  the  corporeal  worlds  is  the  empyreal  (by  Empy- 
ra?um  the  Chalda?ans  understood  not,  as  the  Christian  theolo- 
gists,  the  seat  of  God  and  the  blessed  spirits,  which  is  rather 
analogous  to  the  supreme  light  of  the  Chaldoeans,  but  the  out 
ward  sphere  of  the  corporeal  world).  It  is  round  in  figure, 
according  to  the  oracle,  'enclosing  heaven  in  a  round  figure.' 
It  is  also  a  solid  orb,  or  firmament ;  for  the  same  oracles  call  it 
o-repew/ia.  It  consists  of  fire,  whence  named  the  Empyreal,  or 
as  the  oracles,  the  fiery  world,  which  fire,  being  immediately 
next  the  incorporeal  supramundane  light,  is  the  rarest  and 
subtilest  of  bodies,  and,  by  reason  of  this  subtilty,  penetrates 
into  the  aether,  which  is  the  next  world  below  it,  and,  by  medi 
ation  of  the  sether,  through  all  the  material  world. 

"  Chap.  xiv. — The  aether  is  a  fire  (as  its  name  implies)  less 
subtile  than  the  empyrffium  ;  for  the  empyraeum  penetrates 
through  the  aether ;  yet  is  the  aether  itself  so  subtile  that  it 
penetrates  through  the  material  -world.  The  second  aethereal 
world  is  the  sphere  of  fixed  stars.  .  .  .  The  third  aethereal 
world  is  that  of  the  planetary  orb,  which  contains  the  sun, 
moon,  and  planets." 

According,  then,  to  this  meaning  of  stereoma  the  word  gives 


*  'History  of  Philosophy,'  by  Thomas  Stanley.     Chaldaick  Philosophy,  chap, 
xiii. 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  227 

no  countenance  to  the  idea  that  the  firmament  is  a  solid  vault, 
capable  of  sustaining  an  ocean  of  water  above  it.  On  the  con 
trary,  it  conveys  the  idea  of  a  fine,  subtle  fluid  pervading  space, 
and  agrees,  therefore,  with  the  Biblical  usage,  which  makes  it 
an  expanse  extending  from  the  earth  to  the  heavenly  bodies,  in 
cluding  the  airy  space  in  which  birds  fly. 

Having  thus  shown,  from  the  usage  of  the  Biblical  writers, 
the  uniformity  of  the  Jewish  tradition  and  the  LXX.,  that  the 
meaning  of  Rakia  is  an  expanse,  not  a  solid  vault,  the  fiction  of 
"  an  ocean  of  water  above  it "  falls  of  itself.  That  rests  upon 
the  supposition  of  a  "  permanent  solid  vault,"  and  is  altogether 
incompatible  with  the  true  meaning  of  an  ethereal  expanse. 
But  independently  of  this  incompatibility,  the  theory  of  "  an 
ocean "  above  the  firmament  is  a  mere  fiction.  There  is  not 
one  word  about  it  in  the  Bible.  The  sacred  text  says  that  the 
firmament  was  to  separate  the  waters  which  were  under  the  fir 
mament  from  the  waters  which  were  above  the  firmament.  It 
also  relates  the  gathering  together  of  the  waters  under  the  fir 
mament  and  the  formation  of  the  ocean,  but  it  says  not  one 
word  about  the  gathering  together  of  the  waters  above  the  fir 
mament  into  an  ocean  or  reservoir ;  that  is  pure  invention  of 
those  who  wish  to  burden  upon  "  the  Hebrews  "  what  they  are 
entirely  innocent  of.  Indeed  it  is  admitted  by  Gesenius  and 
others,  though  not  noticed  by  the  Essayist,  that  the  Hebrews 
knew  better,  and  were  acquainted  with  the  true  origin  of  rain. 
Gesenius  says  that  the  Hebrew  poets  describe  a  firmament, 
"  Super  quo  oceanus  coelestis  existat,  apertis  firmamenti  cancellis 
pluviam  demittens  in  terram  (Gen.  i.  7,  vii.  11;  Ps.  civ.  3; 
cxlviii.  4)  vulgarem  nimirum  intuitionem  secuti,  licet  vera 
rerum  ratio  iis  minime  incognita  sit."  (Vide  Gen.  ii.  6 ;  Job 
xxxvi.  27,  28.)  He  does  not  ascribe  the  fiction  of  an  ocean  to 
the  Hebrews  generally,  but  only  to  the  poets  following  popular 
notions.  It  is  therefore  unfair  to  charge  it  upon  "  a  Hebrew- 
Descartes,"  who  must  have  been  up  to  the  science  of  the  day. 

But  it  is  said  that  the  Hebrews  believed  that  heaven  had 
piJlars  and  foundations,  that  there  were  windows  and  doors  in 
heaven,  on  the  opening  of  which  the  rain  descended.  With 
equal  reason  might  these  wise  interpreters  say  that  the  He 
brews  believed  that  there  were  bottles  in  heaven,  and  that  the 
celestial  ocean,  or  part  of  it,  was  first  bottled  off  before  the 

Q  2 


228  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

earth  could  bo  supplied  with  rain,  or  that  "  the  waters  are  bound 
up  in  a  garment "  (Prov.  xxx.  4),  or  that  the  ocean  has  bars  and 
doors  (Job  xxxviii.  10,  17),  or  that  the  shadow  of  death  and  the 
womb  have  doors  (Job  iii.  10),  for  all  these  are  spoken  of.  If 
these  are  figurative,  so  are  the  windows  and  doors  of  heaven.  As 
in  Job  xxxviii.  37,  "  Who  can  number  the  clouds  in  wisdom  ?  or 
who  can  stay  the  bottles  of  heaven  ?"  bottles  are  parallel  to  and 
explained  by  "  clouds ;"  so  in  Ps.  Ixxviii.  23,  there  is  a  similar 
explanatory  parallelism — "  Though  He  hud  commanded  the 
clouds  from  above,  and  opened  the  doors  of  heaven ;"  and  few 
children  in  a  Sunday  or  National  school  would  take  bottles  or 
doors  literally.  The  common  people  are  not  so  dull  as  Gese- 
nius  and  some  other  intellectual  wonders  of  the  day  think.  Who 
ever  met  a  rustic,  accustomed  to  look  at  the  heavens,  who 
thought  it  was  a  solid  vault,  and  that  the  stars  were  fixed  in  like 
nails?  The  common  people  are  not  so  silly:  they  judge  by 
what  they  see.  They  do  not  see  a  solid  vault,  but  they  see  the 
lark  and  the  eagle  soaring  aloft  in  the  air,  and  they  think  that 
all  beyond  is  just  alike.  They  never  dream  of  a  solid  obstacle 
in  the  way.  That  solid  vault  savours  much  more  of  the  fancy 
of  the  poet  adding  a  trait  of  grandeur  to  a  description,  or  of  the 
school  of  the  philosopher  inventing  a  theory  to  account  for  the 
motions  of  the  heavenly  bodies,  than  of  the  practical  common 
sense  of  the  common  people.  The  most  uneducated  know  very 
well  the  connexion  between  clouds  and  rain,  and  in  this  the 
Hebrews  were  not  behind  other  people.  The  two  passages 
pointed  out  by  Gesenius — Gen.  ii.  6,  and  Job  xxxvi.  27,  28 — 
prove  that  the  Hebrews  knew  the  connexion  between  evapora 
tion  and  rain,  especially  the  latter.  "For  he  maketh  small 
the  drops  of  water ;  they  pour  down  rain  according  to  the 
vapour  thereof,  which  the  clouds  do  drop  and  distil  upon  man 
abundantly."  The  Hebrew  language  has  various  words  for 
"  cloud  "  or  "  clouds  ;"  they  are  all  found  in  connexion  with 
rain.  Thus,  Gen.  ix. :  "  When  1  bring  a  cloud,  ]%y,  over  the 
earth,  my  bow  shall  be  seen  in  the  cloud."  The  clouds  might 
excite  apprehension  of  another  deluge ;  the  bow  dispels  it. 
Deborah  was  able  to  tell  how,  wht-n  the  Lord  went  out  of  Seir, 
"  the  earth  trembled,  and  the  heavens  dropped  (distilled) ;  the 
clouds,  D^y,  also  dropped  water."  (Judges  v.  4.)  In  1  Kings 
xviii.  44,  45,  the  little  cloud,  3,y,  rising  from  the  sea,  was  re- 


ESSAY  V.j  THE  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  229 

cognized  by  Elijah  as  a  sign  of  coining  rain ;  and  when  the 
heavens  were  black  with  clouds  and  wind,  "  a  great  rain  "  fol 
lowed.  Solomon  says  (Prov.  iii.  20),  "  By  his  knowledge  the 
depths  are  broken  up,  and  the  clouds,  Dpn$,  drop  down  dew," 
which  reads  very  like  a  commentary  upon  Gen.  vii.  11,  "the 
fountains  of  the  great  deep  were  broken  up,  and  the  windows  of 
heaven  were  opened."  These  are  only  a  few  specimens  of  the 
many  passages  that  bear  upon  the  subject ;  but  sufficient  to  show 
that  "  the  Hebrews "  knew  very  well  that  rain  did  not  come 
from  a  celestial  ocean,  through  windows  and  doors,  nor  yet  from 
bottles  in  the  heavens,  but  from  the  clouds.  Indeed,  the  con 
nexion  between  the  two  furnished  materials  for  the  proverb, 
"  Clouds,  QWttO,  and  wind,  and  no  rain ;  such  is  the  man 
whose  promise  of  a  gift  is  a  lie."  (Prov.  xxv.  14.) 

But  though  there  be  no  ocean  above  the  firmament,  may 
there  not  have  been,  may  there  not  still  be,  waters  above  the 
firmament  ?  Such  was  the  opinion  of  the  learned  F.  Von 
Meyer,  adopted  by  Kurtz  in  his  first  edition  of  '  Bible  and 
Astronomy,'  and  lately  advocated  by  Delitsch.  That  such  a 
supposition  is  not  unscientific,  appears  from  Dr.  Whewell's 
'  Theory  of  the  Solar  System  :' — "  The  planets  exterior  to  Mars, 
Jupiter,  and  Saturn  especially,  as  the  best  known  of  them,  ap 
pear,  by  the  best  judgment  which  we  can  form,  to  be  spheres  of 
water  and  of  aqueous  vapour,  combined,  it  may  be,  with  atmos 
pheric  air  .  .  .  Can  we  see  any  physical  reason  for  the  fact, 
which  appears  to  us  probable,  that  all  the  water  and  vapour  of 
the  system  is  gathered  in  its  outward  parts  ?  It  would  seem 
that  we  can.  Water  and  aqueous  vapour  are  driven  off  and  re 
tained  at  a  distance  by  any  other  source  of  heat.  ...  It  was, 
then,  agreeable  to  the  general  scheme,  that  the  excess  of  water 
and  vapour  should  be  packed  into  rotating  masses,  such  as  are 
Jupiter  and  Saturn,  Uranus  and  Neptune.  .  .  .  And  thus  the 
vapour,  which  would  otherwise  have  wandered  loose  about  the 
atmosphere,  was  neatly  wound  into  balls,  which  again  were  kept 
in  their  due  place  by  being  made  to  revolve  in  nearly  circular 
orbits  about  the  sun."  Perhaps,  when  science  knows  a  little 
more  about  the  ethereal  medium  which  fills  space,  and  in  which 
the  heavenly  bodies  move,  it  may  also  learn  something  more 
about  "  this  water  and  aqueous  vapour,"  and  be  better  able  to 
understand  the  Mosaic  statement  about  the  waters  above  the 


230  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  A'. 

firmament.  But,  however  that  be,  .Biblical  usage,  Jewish  tra 
dition,  the  reason  that  moved  the  LXX.  to  adopt  stereoma,  and 
the  Vulgate  firmamentum,  the  current  of  Protestant  interpreta 
tion  until  a  recent  date,  concur  in  proving  that  "  the  Hebrews  " 
did  not  believe  in  a  solid  heaven,  like  the  brass  or  iron  heaven 
of  the  heathens,  but  in  an  expanse  of  something  like  the  atmos 
pheric  air.*  This  is  not  contrary,  but  rather  agreeable  to  the 
discoveries  of  modern  science,  which  attributes  the  retardation 
of  the  heavenly  bodies  to  some  resisting  medium,  and  light  to 
the  undulations  of  some  subtile  fluid. 

16.  VERSE  27.  Creation  of  one  human  pair. — This  subject  has 
been  so  fully  discussed  by  Prichard  that  it  is  not  necessary  to 
enter  upon  it  here.f  It  may  be  well,  however,  to  notice  a 
statement  in  'Essays  and  Reviews'  which  says  that  the  original 
formation  of  only  one  pair  of  human  beings  is  taught  only  in 
the  second  chapter,  and  not  in  the  first.  "  Man  is  said  to  have 
been  created  male  and  female,  and  the  narrative  contains 
nothing  to  show  that  a  single  pair  only  is  intended." J  "It  is  in 
the  second  narrative  of  creation  that  the  formation  of  a  single 
man  out  of  the  dust  of  the  earth  is  described,  and  the  omission 
to  create  a  female  at  the  same  time  is  stated  to  have  been  re 
paired  by  the  subsequent  formation  of  one  from  the  side  of  the 
man." — Note  in  'Essays  and  Reviewa,'  p.  222.  But  the  text  in 
Gen.  i.,  if  carefully  examined,  proves  that  only  one  pair  01 
human  beings  is  intended,  and  that  the  formation  of  the  two 
was  not  simultaneous.  In  verse  20  we  read,  "  And  God  said, 
Let  us  make  man  (Adam  without  article)  in  our  image,  after 
our  likeness,  and  let  them  have  dominion,"  etc.  Here  the 
laumiajje  is  indefinite.  It  refers  to  the  whole  human  race.  But 


*  The  threat,  Levit.  xxvi.  19,  "I  will  fore,    by  a   second   inference,   but   OIK; 

make  your  heaven  like  the   iron,  and  race.     It  will,  I  apprehend,  be  allowed 

your  earth  like  the  brass,''  also  shows  by  those  who  have  attentively  followed 

that  the  Hebrews  as  little  looked  upon  this  investigation  of  particulars,   that 

the  heavens  as  hard  and  solid,  as  they  the  diversities  in  physical  character  be- 

believed  the  earth  to  be  brass.  longing  to  different  races   present   no 

t  Prichard    sums    up   his   argument  material  obstacle   to  the  opinion    that 

thus  : — "  On  the  whole  it  appears  that  all  nations  sprang  from  one  original,  a 

the     information    deduced    from    this  result  wiiieh  plainly  follows  from  the 

fourth  method  of  inquiry  is  as  satisfac-  foregoing  consideration."   ('Researches 

tory  as  we  could  expect,  and  is  snfH-  into  the  Physical  History  of  Mankind,' 

cient  to  confirm,  and  indeed  by  itself  to  by  James  Cowles  Prichard,  M.D.,  vol. 

establish,  the  inference  that  the  human  ii.  p.  .~>89.) 
kind  contains  but  one  species,  and  there-          ~  Cf.  '  Essays  and  Reviews.' 


ESSAY  V.]  THE  MOSAIC  HECORD  OF  CREATION.  231 

then  follows,  "And  God  created  the  man  (Adam,  with  the 
article)  in  his  image,  in  the  image  of  God  created  He  him :  male 
and  female  created  He  them."  Here  the  language  is  definite, 
"  the  man,"  and  in  the  first  half  of  the  verse  the  pronoun  is  in 
the  singular  number,  and  the  masculine  gender,  "  In  the  image 
of  God  created  He  him."  If  the  author  had  intended  briefly  to 
have  stated  that  at  first  only  one  human  being,  and  that  one  the 
male,  was  created,  what  other  language  could  he  have  em 
ployed  ?  Then,  having  spoken  in  the  singular  number,  and  the 
masculine  gender,  he  as  briefly  but  clearly  describes  the  subse 
quent  distinction  into  sexes.  "Male  and  female  created  He 
them."  The  plan  of  this  chapter  forbad  his  entering  into  the 
detail  of  the  creation  of  woman,  just  as  much  as  it  hindered  him 
from  describing  the  varieties  of  herbs  or  trees,  or  fowls  or  fishes, 
or  of  beasts  of  the  earth  and  cattle.  As  he  merely  says  that 
God  created  them,  so  here,  after  the  mention  of  "  the  man,"  he 
just  notices  the  fact  that  God  created  them  male  and  female ; 
but  in  that  very  notice  he  implies  that  there  is  something 
peculiar,  for  with  regard  to  fish  or  beasts  or  cattle  he  does  not 
mention  that  God  created  them  male  and  female,  or,  as  it  may 
be  rendered,  "a  male  and  a  female."  With  regard  to  man, 
short  as  is  the  notice,  he  does  relate,  first,  that  "  in  the  image 
of  God  created  He  him,"  that  is  one  male ;  and  then  "  male  and 
female  created  He  them."  Even  according  to  the  opinion  of 
those  who  make  the  first  and  second  chapters  of  Genesis  two 
accounts,  written  by  two  authors,  the  fifth  chapter  was  written 
by  the  author  who  wrote  the  first  chapter  (the  Elohist,  as  they 
say).  But  in  the  fifth  chapter  the  creation  of  one  pair  only  is 
plainly  implied.  "  This  is  the  book  of  the  generations  of  Adam. 
In  the  day  that  God  created  Adam,  in  the  likeness  of  God 
created  He  him  ;  male  and  female  created  He  them ;  and  blessed 
them,  and  called  their  name  Adam,  in  the  day  when  they  were 
created.  And  Adam  lived  an  hundred  and  thirty  years,"  etc. 
In  all  this  Adam  is  one  person,  and  yet  the  first  and  second 
verses  are  a  recapitulation  of  chapter  i.  26, 27,  in  the  very  words 
of  those  verses.  Therefore  in  i.  27,  the  author  took  Adam  as 
one  individual  male  human  being,  as  Knobel  fairly  admits  in 
his  commentary  on  chap.  v.  1-5  : — 

"  Adam  is  here  a  proper  name,  as  iii.  17 The  author 

designedly  repeats  the  statements  of  i.  27,  28,  as  his  purpose  is 


232  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  V. 

here  to  narrate  how  the  first  human  pair  propagated  the  species 
by  generation,  and  brought  forth  children  of  the  same  form 
which  they  themselves  had  received  at  the  creation  from  God. 
The  passage  teaches  that  the  Elohist,  who  here  attri 
butes  to  his  Adam  the  begetting  of  a  son  in  his  130th  year, 
also  believed  in  one  first  human  pair,  though  in  i.  20  he  had  not 
plainly  said  so." 

On  this  point,  therefore,  there  is  no  discrepancy  between  the 
first  and  second  chapters.  The  first  chapter,  as  is  proved  by 
v.  26,  27,1  relates,  first,  the  creation  of  Adam,  and  then  mentions 
the  distinction  of  male  and  female.  The  second  chapter  gives 
the  particulars,  first,  of  the  creation  of  Adam,  then  of  the  crea 
tion  of  Eve. 

17.  Thus  a  comparison  of  the  actual  statements  of  Moses 
with  the  discoveries  and  conclusions  of  modern  science  is  so 
far  from  shaking,  that  it  confirms  our  faith  in  the  accuracy 
of  the  sacred  narrative.  We  are  astonished  to  see  how  the 
Hebrew  Prophet,  in  his  brief  and  rapid  outline  sketched  3000 
years  ago,  has  anticipated  some  of  the  most  wonderful  of  recent 
discoveries,  and  can  ascribe  the  accuracy  of  his  statements  and 
language  to  nothing  but  inspiration.  Moses  relates  how  God 
created  the  heavens  and  the  earth  at  an  indefinitely  remote 
period  before  the  earth  was  the  habitation  of  man — geology 
has  lately  discovered  the  existence  of  a  long  prehuman  period. 
A  comparison  with  other  scriptures  shows  that  the  "heavens" 
of  Moses  include  the  abode  of  angels,  and  the  place  of  the 
fixed  stars,  which  existed  before  the  earth.  Astronomy  points 
out  remote  worlds,  whose  light  began  its  journey  long  before 
the  existence  of  man.  Moses  declares  that  the  earth  was  or 
became  covered  with  water,  and  was  desolate  and  empty.  Geo 
logy  has  found  by  investigation  that  the  primitive  globe  was 
covered  with  an  uniform  ocean,  and  that  there  was  a  long  azoic 
period,  during  which  neither  plant  nor  animal  could  live. 
Moses  states  that  there  was  a  time  when  the  earth  was  not 
dependent  upon  the  sun  for  light  or  heat,  when,  therefore,  there 
could  be  no  climatic  differences.  Geology  has  lately  verified 
this  statement  by  finding  tropical  plants  and  animals  scattered 
over  all  parts  of  the  earth.  Moses  affirms  that  the  sun,  as  well 
as  the  moon,  is  only  a  light-holder.  Astronomy  declares  that 
the  sun  itself  is  a  non-luminous  body,  dependent  for  its  light  on 


ESSAY  V.]  THK  MOSAIC  RECORD  OF  CREATION.  233 

a  luminous  atmosphere.  Moses  asserts  that  the  earth  existed 
before  the  sun  was  given  as  a  luminary.  Modern  science  pro 
poses  a  theory  which  explains  how  this  was  possible.  Moses 
asserts  that  there  is  an  expanse  extending  from  earth  to  distant 
heights,  in  which  the  heavenly  bodies  are  placed.  Recent  dis 
coveries  lead  to  the  supposition  of  some  subtile  fluid  medium 
in  which  they  move.  Moses  describes  the  process  of  creation 
as  gradual,  and  mentions  the  order  in  which  living  things 
appeared,  plants,  fishes,  fowls,  land-animals,  man.  By  the 
study  of  nature  geology  has  arrived  independently  at  the  same 
conclusion.  Where  did  Moses  get  all  this  knowledge?  How 
was  it  that  he  worded  his  rapid  sketch  with  such  scientific 
accuracy?  If  he  in  his  day  possessed  the  knowledge  which 
genius  and  science  have  attained  only  recently,  that  knowledge 
is  superhuman.  If  he  did  not  possess  the  knowledge,  then 
his  pen  must  have  been  guided  by  superhuman  wisdom.  Faith 
has,  therefore,  nothing  to  fear  from  science.  So  far  the  records 
of  nature,  fairly  studied  and  rightly  interpreted,  have  proved 
the  most  valuable  and  satisfying  of  all  commentaries  upon  the 
statements  of  Scripture.  The  ages  required  for  geological  deve 
lopment,  the  infinity  of  worlds  and  the  immensity  of  space 
revealed  by  astronomy,  illustrate,  as  no  other  note  or  comment 
has  ever  done,  the  Scripture  doctrines  of  the  eternity,  the  omni 
potence,  the  wisdom  of  the  Creator.  Let  then  Science  pursue 
her  boundless  course,  and  multiply  her  discoveries  in  the  heavens 
and  in  the  earth.  The  believer  is  persuaded  that  they  will 
only  show  more  clearly  that  "  the  words  of  the  Lord  are  pure 
words,  as  silver  tried  in  a  furnace  of  fire,  purified  seven  times." 
Let  Criticism  also  continue  her  profoundly  interesting  and  im 
portant  work.  Let  her  explore,  sift,  analyse,  scrutinize,  with  all 
her  powers,  the  documents,  language,  and  contents  of  Scripture, 
and  honestly  tell  us  the  results.  Since  the  day  when  Laureutius 
Valla  exposed  the  fiction  of  the  Imperial  donation,  she  has 
contributed  much  to  the  removal  of  error,  and  the  advancement 
of  literary,  patristic,  and  historic  truth  ;  and  Divine  revelation 
has  also  been  illustrated  by  her  labours.  It  might  be  shown  that 
even  the  hostile  and  sceptical  have  involuntarily  helped  in  the 
confirmation  of  the  Christian  verity,  and  that  even  then-  labours 
cannot  be  neglected  without  loss.  But  the  student  must  carefully 
distinguish  between  the  speculations  of  individuals  and  the  ascer- 


234  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [lissAY  V. 

tained,  settled  results  of  critic-ism.  The  theory  of  any  one  indi 
vidual,  however  learned,  laborious,  and  genial,  is  only  an  opinion, 
perhaps  only  one  of  a  chaos  of  conflicting  opinions,  where  sound 
criticism  has  found  no  sure  footing.  The  settled  results  are  those 
which,  after  severe  testing,  have  been  unanimously  accepted  by 
the  competent,  the  sober,  and  the  judicious.  The  former  may 
be  popular  for  a  while,  and  seem  to  shake  the  faith ;  but  they 
are  gradually  overthrown  by  the  progress  of  critical  investiga 
tion,  and  take  their  place  in  the  record  of  things  that  were. 
The  history  of  the  last  hundred  years,  since  modern  criticism 
took  its  rise,  is  sufficient  to  quiet  the  believer's  mind  as  to  the 
ultimate  result.  It  tells  of  theory  after  theory,  propounded  by 
the  critics  of  the  day,  first  applauded,  then  controverted,  then 
rejected,  just  like  the  philosophic  systems  of  the  same  period, 
and  yet  a  gradual  advance  from  anti-Christian  hostility  to  an 
effort  after  scientific  impartiality,  and  a  large  amount  of  positive 
gain  for  the  right  interpretation  of  Scripture  and  the  confirma 
tion  of  the  old  Christian  belief.  Faith,  therefore,  feels  no  more 
fear  of  Criticism  than  of  Science,  being  assured  that  neither  can 
"  do  anything  against  the  truth,  but  for  the  truth." 


ESSAY  VI. 

ON  THE  GENUINENESS  AND  AUTHENTICITY 
OF  THE  PENTATEUCH. 


CONTENTS  OF  ESSAY    VI. 


1.  HISTORIC  character  of  Christianity 

— attacks  upon  it — grounds  of  the 
attacks  lie  in  speculation  rather 
than  in  discovery. 

2.  The  Pentateuch  specially  assailed 

— object  of  the  paper,  to  defend 
Coj  the  genuineness  of  the  Pen 
tateuch,  and  (bj  its  authenticity. 

3.  First    argument   in   favour   of  the 

genuineness,  the  fact  that  the 
work  has  come  to  us  under  the 
name  of  Moses. 

4.  Second  argument,  from  the  archaic 

character  of  the  narrative  and  of 
the  language. 

5.  Third  argument,  from  the  intimate 

acquaintance  with  Egypt  shown 
by  the  author. 

6.  Fourth  argument,  from  the  know 

ledge  which  lie  displays  of  the 
Sinaitic  peninsula  and  of  the  old 
races  inhabiting  Canaan. 

7.  Fifth  argument,  from  the  fact  that 

the  Pentateuch  professes  to  be  the 
work  of  Moses — the  tact  admitted 
by  nationalists. 

8.  Sixth  argument,  from  the  uniform 

and  consistent  witness  of  the  ear 
liest  Jewish  writers. 

9.  Seventh  argument,  from  the  testi 

mony  of  the  Heathen. 

10.  Objection  of  De  Wette,   from  the 

literary  perfection  of  the  work, 
answered — Perfection  not  so  great 
as  supposed — Actual  literary  me 
rit  not  very  surprising. 

1 1 .  Objection  from  particular  passages, 

said  to  imply  a  later  date — First 
answer. 

12.  Second  answer. 

13.  Objection  from  the  supposed  intro 

duction  of  the  Levitical  system  at 
a  time  long  subsequent  to  Moses 
— Grounds  of  the  objection  dis 
proved. 


14.  Mosaic  authorship  not  having  been 

disproved,  no  need  to  examine  the 
other  theories  of  the  authorship — 
number  of  such  theories  very 
great. 

15.  Importance  of  proving  the  genuine 

ness. 

16.  Explanation  of  the  exact  sense  in 

which  it  is  maintained  that  Moses 
was  the  author  of  the  Pentateuch. 

17.  Authenticity  of  the  Pentateuch  as 

sailed  on  six  principal  points. — 
I.  The  Chronology,  which  is  re 
garded  as  too  narrow — (a)  on  ac 
count  of  the  supposed  early  foun 
dation  of  a  monarchy  in  Egypt — 
(6)  on  account  of  the  time  requi 
site  for  the  formation  of  language. 
Examination  of  these  two  argu 
ments.— II.  The  Flood  thought  to 
have  been  partial,  from  the  ab 
sence  of  a  universal  tradition  of  it 
— The  tradition  proved  to  be,  in 
one  sense,  universal.  —  III.  The 
Ethnology  of  Gen.  x.  regarded  as 
incorrect — Proofs  of  its  correctness 
on  the  points  to  which  exception 
has  been  taken. — IV.  The  early 
chapters  of  Genesis  regarded  as 
mythic — (a)  on  account  of  the  re 
semblance  of  the  two  genealogies 
of  the  Cainites  and  the  Sethites — 
(l>]  on  account  of  the  significance 
of  the  names  employed — (c)  on 
account  of  the  fact  that  the  early 
history  of  other  nations  uniformly 
runs  up  into  myth — Examination 
of  these  arguments. — V.  The  lon 
gevity  of  the  Patriarchs  considered 
to  be  impossible — Possibility  not 
denied  by  physiology — Fact  of  lon 
gevity  strongly  attested  by  history. 
— VI.  The  time  assigned  to  the 
sojourn  in  Egypt  supposed  to  be 
incorrect — fa,  as  being  insufficient 
for  the  immense  increase  in  the 
numbers  of  the  Israelites — (6;  as 
l)eing  exactly  double  of  the  pre 
ceding  period  —  Examination  of 
these  arguments. 

18.  Summary. 


ON  THE  GENUINENESS  AND  AUTHENTICITY 
OF  THE  PENTATEUCH. 


'  AOK€1  OVV  TT\(IOV  1)   TO  rjf/XKTV  TOV  TTdVTOS  flVdl   f]    OpX'?-'  -  ARISTOTLE. 


1.  CHRISTIANITY  is  an  historic  religion.  It  claims  to  be  a  rea 
sonable  belief;  but  it  does  not  base  itself  upon  Eeason.  Its  foun 
dation  is  laid  on  the  rock  of  Fact.  God's  actual  dealings  with 
the  world  from  its  creation  to  the  full  establishment  of  the 
Christian  Church  constitute  its  subject  matter,  and  form  the 
ground  out  of  which  its  doctrines  spring.  The  mystic  spirit, 
which,  despising  the  grossness  and  materiality  of  facts,  seeks 
to  form  to  itself  a  sublimated  and  idealized  religion  in  which 
events  and  occurrences  shall  have  no  place,  leaves  the  fixed  and 
stable  land  to  float  off  upon  an  interminable  ocean  of  shifting 
and  changing  fancies,  substituting  in  reality  for  the  truth  of 
God  the  mere  thoughts,  feelings,  and  opinions  of  the  individual. 
If  we  are  to  maintain  a  Faith  worthy  of  the  name,  we  must 
plant  our  feet  firmly  on  the  solid  ground  of  historic  fact,  and 
not  allow  ourselves  to  be  shaken  from  that  ground  by  unproved 
assertions,  however  boldly  made,  or  however  often  repeated. 
We  must  give  little  heed  to  doubts,  which  may  readily  be  started 
in  connexion  with  any  narrative,  and  demand  of  those  who 
attack  our  belief,  not  mere  ingenious  speculations  as  to  the  past, 
but  proof  that  the  authoritative  account,  which  has  come  down 
to  us  as  part  and  parcel  of  our  religion,  and  which  even  they 
profess  after  a  certain  sort  to  venerate,  is  devoid  of  literal  truth, 
before  we  follow  them  in  their  endeavours  to  extract  from  the 
record  some  other  sort  of  truth  —  not  "  rigidly  historic  "  *  —  but 
ideal,  poetic,  symbolical.  We  need  not,  we  must  not,  shut  our 
eyes  to  any  new  discoveries,  be  they  scientific  or  historical  ;  but 
we  are  bound  to  examine  the  so-called  discoveries  narrowly,  to 
see  exactly  to  what  they  amount,  and  then  to  ask  ourselves, 


*  Bunsen,  '  Egypt's  Place  in  Universal  History,'  vol.  iv.  p.  383. 


238 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


T  Ess  AY  VI. 


"  Do  they  positively  conflict  with  the  plain  historic  sense  of 
Scripture  or  no?"  If  they  do,  it  will  become  a  question  (when 
the  presumed  discovery  is  historical)  of  relative  credibility. 
The  witnesses  contradict  one  another — which  of  them  shall 
we  believe?  But  more  often  it  will  be  found  that  there  is 
no  such  contradiction — that  all  which  the  discoveries  have 
established,  is  compatible  with  the  Scriptural  narrative,  and 
that  the  contradiction  arises  only  where  the  conjectures  and 
hypotheses  of  speculative  minds  have  been  superadded  to  the 
facts  with  which  they  profess  to  deal.  Where  this  is  the  case, 
there  need  be  no  hesitation.  "  Yea,  let  God  be  true,  and  every 
man  a  liar!"  Human  speculations  and  conjectures,  once  seen 
to  be  such,  cannot  trouble  the  faith  of  a  Christian  man.  Facts 
are  stubborn  things,  and  rightly  command  our  respect ;  hypo 
theses  are  airy  nothings,  and  may  safely  be  disregarded  and 
despised. 

2.  Among  the  numerous  attempts  made  to  disturb  men's  faith 
in  the  present  day,  few  have  seemed  more  plausible,  or  have 
met  with  a  greater  amount  of  success,  than  those  which  have 
grouped  themselves  about  the  Pentateuch,  the  foundation  stone 
on  which  the  rest  of  the  Bible  is  built.     The  genuineness  of 
the  work,  though  it  has  not  lacked  defenders,*  has  been  per 
tinaciously  denied,  both   in  Germany  and   in  America ;  while 
the  authenticity  of  the  narrative  has  been  assailed  in  various 
respects.     It  will  be  the  aim  and  object  of  the  present  paper 
to  show,  first  that  there  is  no  sufficient  reason  to  doubt  the 
Mosaic  authorship  of  the  Pentateuch,  and,  secondly,  that  there 
are  no  sufficient  historical  grounds  for  questioning  the  authen 
ticity  of  the  narrative. 

3.  It  is  a  general  rule  of  literary  criticism  that,  except  for 
special  reasons,  books  are  to  be  assigned  to  the  authors  whose 
names  they  bear.     In  profane  literature  this  rule  is  considered 
sufficient  to  determine   the    authorship  of  ninety-nine   out   of 
every   hundred    volumes    in    our    libraries.      Most    men,    who 
write  works  of  any  importance,  claim  them  during  their  life 
time  ;  their  claim,  if  undisputed,  is  accepted  by  the  world  at 
large ;  and  nothing  is  more  difficult  than  to  change  the  belief, 


*  See  especially  the  work  of  Jahn, 
'  Aechtheit  des  Pentateuchs,'  and  Hii- 
vernick's  more  recent  '  Kinloitung,' 


which  has  heen  translated  for  Clarke's 
'Theological  Lihrnry.' 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  239 

which  is  thus  engendered,  subsequently.  Every  work  therefore 
which  comes  down  to  us  as  the  production  of  a  particular 
author  is  to  be  accepted  as  his  production,  unless  strong  grounds 
can  be  produced  to  the  contrary.  The  onus  probandi  lies  with 
the  person  who  denies  the  genuineness ;  and,  unless  the  argu 
ments  adduced  in  proof  are  very  weighty,  the  fact  of  reputed 
authorship  ought  to  overpower  them.  Sound  criticism  has 
generally  acquiesced  in  this  canon.  It  raises  an  important  pre 
sumption  in  favour  of  the  Mosaic  authorship  of  the  Pentateuch, 
anterior  to  any  proof  of  the  fact  to  be  derived  from  internal 
evidence,  or  from  the  testimony  of  those  who  had  special  oppor 
tunities  of  knowing. 

4.  The  internal  evidence  in  favour  of  the  Mosaic  authorship 
is,  briefly,  the  following : — The  book  is  exactly  such  a  one  as  a 
writer  of  the  age,  character,  and  circumstances  of  Moses  might 
be  expected  to  produce.  Its  style  is  archaic.  The  reader,  even 
of  the  English  version,  feels  that  he  is  here  brought  into  contact 
with  a  greater  simplicity,  a  more  primitive  cast  of  thought  and 
speech,  than  he  meets  with  in  any  of  the  other  sacred  writings. 
The  life  described,  the  ideas,  the  characters,  have  about  them 
the  genuine  air  of  primitive  antiquity.  The  student  of  the 
original  observes  that  the  very  words  themselves,  the  construc 
tions,  the  grammatical  forms,  bear  similar  traces  of  a  remote 
authorship,  being  often  such  as  had  become  obsolete  even  before 
the  composition  of  the  Book  of  Joshua.*  It  is  impossible  to 
exhibit  this  argument  popularly  in  the  present  condition  of 
Hebrew  scholarship  among  us.  Its  weight,  however,  is  suffi 
ciently  shown  by  the  pressure  which  it  has  exerted  upon  the 
controversy  in  Germany,  where  the  opponents  of  the  Mosaic 
authorship  are  constrained  to  allow  that  a  considerable  number 
of  "  archaisms  "  do  in  fact  exist  in  the  Pentateuch,  and  to  account 
for  them  by  the  supposition  that  genuine  Mosaic  documents 
were  in  the  hands  of  its  "compiler,"  from  which  he  adopted 
the  forms  and  words  in  question !  f  This  is  surely  about  as 
probable  as  that  a  modern  French  author,  who  made  use  of 
Froissart  among  his  materials,  should  adopt  his  spelling,  and 
form  his  sentences  after  his  type. 


*  Soe  .Tahn    in   Bengel's   '  Archiv,'  ticity  of  the  Five  Books  of  Moses,'  pp. 

vol.  ii.,  pp.  578  et  seqq. ;  and  Fritzsche,  6  et  seqq. 

'Aecbtheit  der  Blieher  Mosis,'  pp.  174  t  De  Wette,  '  Einleitung  in  d.  alt. 

.  Compare  also  Marsh 's'Anthen-  Test.,'  §  163. 


240 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  VI. 


5.  Again,  the  writer  shows  a  close  acquaintance  with  Egypt, 
its  general  aspect,  its  history,  geography,  manners,  customs,  pro 
ductions,  and  language,  which  would  be  natural  to  one  so  cir 
cumstanced  as  Moses,  but  which  cannot  be  shown  to  belong 
naturally,  or  even  probably,  to  any  later  Israelite,  down  to  the 
time  of  Jeremiah.  No  doubt  there  was  extensive  commercial 
and  political  intercourse  between  Egypt  and  Juda'a  in  the  age 
of  Solomon,  and  in  the  later  period  of  the  Jewish  kingdom  ;  but 
such  intercourse,  even  if  direct  (of  which  we  have  no  proof), 
would  fail  to  give  that  exact  historic  knowledge  of  what  would 
then  have  become  a  remote  era,  which  the  writer  of  the  Pen 
tateuch  displays  at  every  turn  in  the  most  easy  and  natural 
manner  possible.  Laborious  attempts  have  been  made  to 
invalidate  this  argument ;  and  one  writer*  has  gone  so  far  as  to 
assert  that  in  many  respects  the  author  of  the  Pentateuch 
shows  a  want  of  acquaintance  with  the  customs  of  Egypt,  such 
as  is  sufficient  to  prove  that  he  was  not  Moses.  But  this 
audacity  has  had  the  happy  effect  of  calling  forth  a  reply,  which 
has  established  beyond  all  possibility  of  refutation  the  exacti 
tude  and  vast  extent  of  the  author'?  Egyptian  knowledge,  which 
is  now  allowed  on  all  hands.  The  work  of  Hengstenberg. 
"Aegypten  und  Mose,"  must  be  carefully  read  for  the  full 
weight  of  this  reasoning  to  be  appreciated.!  Its  argument 
does  not  admit  of  compression,  since  it  depends  mainly  on  the 
multiplicity  and  minuteness  of  its  detail ;  but  the  impression 
which  it  leaves  may  be  stated,  briefly,  as  follows : — That  either 
a  person  born  and  bred  in  Egypt  about  the  time  of  the  Exodus 
wrote  the  Pentateuch,  or  that  a  writer  of  a  later  age  elaborately 
studied  the  history  and  antiquities  of  the  Egyptians  for  the 
purpose  of  imposing  a  forgery  on  his  countrymen,  and  that  he 
did  this  with  such  skill  and  success  that  not  even  modern 
criticism,  with  its  lynx-eyed  perspicacity,  and  immense  know 
ledge  of  the  past,  can  detect  and  expose  the  fraud  or  point 
out  a  single  place  in  which  the  forger 
ignorance. 


stumbled   through 


*  Von  Boh  Ion. 

t  Tills  work  lias  boon  translated 
into  English  by  Mr.  R.  D.  C.  Hot  .bins, 
of  the  Theological  Seminary,  Andover, 
United  Stales;  and  a  reprint  of  this 


translation,  with  additional  notes,  form 
ed  the  third  volume  of  Clarke's  'Bibli 
cal  Cabinet,'  New  Series  (Edinburgh, 
1845). 


ESSAY  VI.] 


THE  PENTATEUCH. 


241 


6.  To  this  it  .must  be  added,  that  the  writer,  who  is  thus 
intimately  acquainted  with  the  land  and  people  of  Egypt,  is 
also  fully  aware  of  all  the   peculiar  features  of  the   Sinaitic 
peninsula ;  *  and  further  (and  more  especially)  that  he  has  a 
knowledge   of  the  ancient   condition    and  primitive   races   of 
Canaan,  which    must   have   been  quite    beyond   the   reach   of 
any   one   who   lived  much  later  than  Moses.     The  Eephairn, 
Zuzim.   Emini,   Horim,   Avim,   and  Anakim,   who   appear  as 
powerful   races   in  the   Pentateuch,   have    either    perished  or 
been  reduced  to   insignificance   by  the  time   of  the  Judges. 
The  writer  of  the  Pentateuch,  however,  knows  their  several 
countries,  their  designations  in  the  mouths  of  different  nations, 
their  cities,  and  the  peoples  by  whom   they  were    severally 
conquered.f      Similarly,    he    acquaints   us  with    the    ancient 
names   of  a   number  of  Canaanitish  towns,  which   had   been 
superseded  by  fresh  titles  long  before  the  Exodus.J     All  this 
i?  natural  enough,  supposing  that  the  work  was  composed  by 
Moses ;  but  it  would  be  very  forced  and  artificial  in  a  writer 
of  a  later  age,  even  if  we  could  suppose  such  a  writer  to  have 
any  means  of  acquiring  the  information. 

7.  Further,  the  Pentateuch  professes  to  be  the  work  of  Moses. 
Few  books   comparatively  tell  us  by  whom  they  are  written. 
Neither  Joshua,  nor  Judges,  nor  Euth,  nor  the  Books  of  Samuel, 
nor  Kings,  nor  Chronicles,  nor  Esther,  nor  the  first  three  Gospels, 
nor    the   Acts,    nor    the    'Commentaries'    of   Caesar,    nor   the 
'  Annals,'  or  '  Histories,'  of  Tacitus,  nor  the  '  Hellenics '  of  Xeno- 
phon,  nor  Plato's   '  Dialogues,'   nor   Aristotle's  '  Philosophical 
Works,'  nor  Plutarch's  '  Lives,'  nor  at  least  nine-tenths  of  the 
other  remains  of  ancient  literature,   contain  within  them  any 
statements  showing  by  whom  they  were  written.     Authorship 
generally  is  mere   matter  of  notoriety;  and  usually  the  best 
evidence  we  have  for  it,  beyond  common  repute,  is  the  declara 
tion  of  some  writer,  later  by  two  or  three  centuries,  that  the 
person  to  whom  a  given  work  is  assigned,  composed  a  book 


*  Stanley,  '  Sinai  and  Palestine,'  pp. 
20-24. 

t  Gen.  xiv.  5,  G ;  Num.  xiii.  28 ; 
Deut.  ii.  10-23. 


(Gen.  xiv.  2,  ;  Enmishpat,  which  be 
came  Kadesh  (ib.  ver.  7);  Hazezon- 
Tamar,  which  became  Engedi  (ib.  ; 
compare  2  Chron.  xx.  2) ;  and  Galeed, 


J  As    Manure,    which    became    first  I  which  became  Mizpah  (Gen.  xxxi.  48, 
Kirjath-arba  (Josh.  xiv.  15),  and  then      49). 
Hebron ;    Bela,   which    became    Zoar  ] 


242 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[F.SSAY  VI. 


answering  in  its  subject  and  its  general  character  to  the  work 
which  \ve  find  passing  under  his  name.  But  occasionally  we 
have  evidence  of  a  higher  order.  Some  writers  formally  name 
themselves  as  the  authors  of  their  works  at  the  beginning,  or 
at  the  close,  or  in  the  course  of  their  narrative.*  Others, 
without  a  distinct  formal  announcement,  let  us  see,  by  the  mode 
or  matter  of  their  narration,  who  the  author  is,  using  the 
first  person,  or  mentioning  facts  of  which  they  only  could  be 
cognisant,  or  otherwise  implying,  without  directly  asserting, 
their  authorship.  This  last  is  the  case  of  the  Pentateuch.  The 
author  does  not  formally  announce  himself,  but  by  the  manner 
in  which  he  writes,  implies  that  he  is  Moses.  This  is  so  clear 
and  palpable,  that  even  the  antagonists  of  the  genuineness  are 
forced  to  allow  it.f  "  The  author  of  the  last  four  books,"  says 
one,  "  wishes  to  be  taken  for  Moses."  "  The  writer  of  Deutero 
nomy,"  says  another,  "  would  have  men  think  that  his  whole 
book  is  composed  by  Moses."  They  do  not  indeed  admit  the 
conclusion,  that  what  is  thus  claimed  and  professed  must  be 
true  ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  maintain  that  the  actual  writer  lived 
many  centuries  after  the  great  Legislator.  Apparently  they  do 
not  see  that,  if  their  views  are  correct,  the  whole  value  of  the 
work  is  lost — that  it  becomes  a  mere  impudent  fraud,  utterly 
unworthy  of  credit,  which  cannot  reasonably  be  attached  to  any 
statements  made  by  one  who  would  seek  to  palm  on  the  world 
a  gross  and  elaborate  deception.  If  a  work  has  merely  gone 
accidentally  by  a  wrong  name,  the  discovery  of  its  spuriousness 
need  not  seriously  affect  its  authenticity ;  but  if  the  writer  has 
set  himself  to  personate  another  man  in  order  to  obtain  for  his 
statements  a  weight  and  authority  to  which  they  would  not 
otherwise  be  entitled,  the  detection  of  the  fraud  carries  with 
it  the  invalidation  of  the  document,  by  wholly  destroying  our 
confidence  in  the  integrity  of  the  author.  Modern  Rationalism 
shrinks  from  these  conclusions.  It  would  degrade  the  Sacred 
Books,  but  it  would  not  deprive  them  altogether  of  an  historic 
character.  It  still  speaks  of  them  as  sacred,  and  as  entitled 
to  our  respect  and  reverence,  while  it  saps  the  foundations  on 


*  As  Herodotus,  Thucydides,  Isaiah, 
St.  Paul,  Jesus  the  son  of  Sirach.  &c. 

t  Do  Wetto,  '  Einleitung  in  d.  alt. 
Test.,'  §  162,  d. ;  Hurtmann,  '  For- 


sclmnpren  iiber  d.  Pentateuch,'  p.  538; 
Von  Bohlen,  '  Die  Genesis  hist.  krit. 
erlaut.  Einleitung,"  p.  xxxviii. 


ESSAY  VI.] 


THE  PENTATEUCH. 


243 


which  their  claim  to  our  reverence  rests,  making  them  at 
best  the  "  pious  frauds "  of  well-intentioned  but  unveracious 
religionists. 

8.  The  external  evidence  of  the  Mosaic  authorship  of  the  Penta 
teuch  is  allowed  to  be  extensive ;  but  it  is  said  to  be  of  little 
worth,  in  the  first  place,  because  the  witnesses  are  uncritical.* 
The  Jews  and  Greeks,  who,  during  eighteen  centuries,  without 
a  dissentient  voice  ascribed  the  "  Book  of  the  Law  "  to  Moses, 
were  not  acquainted  with  the  modern  Critical  Analysis,  which 
claims  to  be  an  infallible  judge  of  the  age,  and  mode  of  com 
position,  of  every  literary  production.  It  is  true  the  witnesses 
include  Apostles,f  prophets,:}:  confessors,§  our  Blessed  Lord 
Himself:  II  but  the  distance  of  these  witnesses  from  the  a^e  of 

'  M  O 

Moses  is  held  to  invalidate  their  testimony ;  If  or  if  the  words  of 
One  at  least  are  too  sacred  to  be  gainsaid,  He  spoke  (it  is 
argued)  by  way  of  accommodation,  in  order  not  to  shock  the 
prejudices  of  the  Jews.  We  are  challenged  to  produce  witnesses' 
near  the  time,  and  told  that  no  evidence  to  the  Mosaic  author 
ship  "approaches  within  seven  centuries  to  the  probable  age 
of  Moses."  *  Of  course,  if  the  antiquity  of  the  Pentateuch  be 
denied,  that  of  the  later  books  of  the  Old  Testament  is  not 
likely  to  pass  unquestioned.  But  the  challenge  is  really  met, 
and  answered  fully  and  fairly  by  an  appeal  to  those  books, 
which  are  the  only  writings  within  the  period  named  in  which 
any  reference  to  Moses  was  to  be  expected.  The  author  of 
Joshua,  by  many  thought  to  be  Joshua  himself,  and,  if  not  he, 
at  least  one  of  his  contemporaries,  f  speaks  of  "  the  Book  of  the 
Law,"J:j: — "the  Book  of  the  Law  of  Moses," §§ — a  book  con-, 
taining  "  all  that  Moses  commanded,"  with  "  blessings  and 
cursings  ;"!H  thus  entirely  corresponding,  so  far  as  the  descrip 
tion  goes,  to  the  work  which  has  always  passed  under  Moses' 
name.  The  writer  of  Judges  is  less  express  ;  ***  but  he  so  com- 


*  De  Wette,  §  164. 

t  John  i.  45;  2  Cor.  iii.  15. 

j  Dan.  ix.  11  ;  Mill.  iv.  4. 

§  Acts  vii.  38. 

||  Matt.  xix.  7,  8  ;  Mark  x.  3  ;  xii.  26  ; 
Luke  xvi.  29  ;  xxiv.  27 ;  John  v.  46, 
&c. 

T  '  Westminster  Review,'  No.  xxxv., 
p.  35. 

**  Ibid.  1.  s.  c. 

1 1  for  proof  of  this,  see  the  '  Bampton 


Lectures  '  for  1859,  p.  83,  first  edition. 

JJ  Josh.  i.  8;  viii.  34. 

§§  Ib.  viii.  31  ;  xxiii.  6. 

II  ||  Ib.  viii.  35. 

il^I  Ib.  ver.  34  ;  compare  Deut.  xxvii. 
andxxviii.  Note  also  the  quotations  in 
Josh.  viii.  31.  from  Deut.  xxvii.  5,  6 ; 
and  in  Josh,  xxiii.  7,  from  Ex.  xxiii.  13. 

***  Judg.  ii.  15  is  probably  a  reference 
to  Lev.  xxvi.  16,  17  ;  and  Judg.  iii.  4, 
to  the  law  generally. 

R   2 


244 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


I'KSSAY  VI. 


pletely  agrees  in  bis  account  of  the  Hebrew  institutions  with 
the  Pentateuch,  and  so  closely  follows  its  diction  in  many 
places,  that  a  candid  nationalist  *  has  been  driven  to  allow, 
that  "the  arranger  of  this  book  was  well  acquainted  with 
the  Pentateuch  in  its  entire  extent."  In  Samuel,  though  the 
Pentateuch  itself  is  not  mentioned,  there  are  at  least  two  clear 
citations  of  it — the  passage  respecting  "the  priest's  custom  with 
the  people,"  t  which  follows  word  for  word  Deut.  xviii.  .'>,  and 
that  concerning  the  "  assembling  of  women  at  the  door  of  the 
Tabernacle  of  the  congregation,"  J  which  is  an  exact  repetition 
of  Ex.  xxxviii.  8.  In  Kings  and  Chronicles — both  probably 
compilations  made  from  papers  contemporary  with  the  kings 
whose  history  is  related — the  references  to  the  work  are 
frequent ;  §  and  it  is  unhesitatingly  assigned  to  Moses, ||  as 
indeed  is  admitted  on  all  hands. 

It  thus  appears  that  the  Pentateuch  is  either  cited,  or  men 
tioned  as  the  work  of  Moses,  by  almost  the  whole  series  of 
Jewish  historical  writers  from  Moses  himself  to  Ezra.  The  first 
testimony  occurs  within  (probably)  half  a  century  of  Moses's  de 
cease,  and  is  by  a  writer  who  may  have  known  him  personally. 
It  is  rarely  indeed  that  we  have  evidence  of  this  satisfactory  and 
conclusive  character  with  respect  to  the  genuineness  of  any  an 
cient  work. 

9.  With  regard  to  profane  testimony,  it  must  be  allowed  that 
none  of  it  is  very  ancient.    But  this  simply  results  from  the  fact 
that  none  of  the  earlier  authors  have   occasion  to  mention  the 
Jews,  or  to  touch  the  subject  of  their  literature.     The  frst  who 

.do  so — Manetho  and  Hecatams  of  Abdera,  an  Egyptian  and  a 
Greek — are  in  accordance  with  the  native  authorities,  ascribing 
the  law  of  the  Jews,  which  is  represented  as  existing  in  a  written 
form,  to  Moses.  And  the  later  classical  writers,  with  but  one 
exception,  are  of  the  same  opinion. 

10.  To  this  direct  testimony  the  adversaries  of  the  Mosaic 
authorship  are  wont  to  oppose  certain  difficulties,  which  militate 
(they  argue)  against  the  notion  that  the  work  is  even  of  the  age 
of  Moses.     The  most  important  of  these  is  the  objection  of  De 


*  Hartmann., 

t  1  Sam.  ii.  13. 

}  Ib.  ii.  22. 

§  1  Kings   ii.   3 ;  2    Kings  xxii.   8 ; 


xxiii.  3  ;  2  Chron.  xxiii.  18 ;    xxv.  4 
xxxv.  12. 

|[  1  Kings  ii.  3 ;  2  Kings  xxiii.  25 
2  Chron.  xxiii.  18.  &c. 


ESSAY  VL]  THE  PENTATEUCH  245 

Wette,  that  the  book  is  altogether  beyond  the  literary  capabi 
lities  of  the  age,  containing  within  it  every  element  of  Hebrew 
literature  in  the  highest  perfection  to  which  it  ever  attained, 
and  thus  (he  thinks)  necessarily  belonging  to  the  acmd  and  not 
to  the  infancy  of  the  nation.*  Were  this  statement  correct,  we 
should  indeed  have  a  strange  phenomenon  to  account  for, 
though  one  which  could  not  be  pronounced  impossible,  if  the 
Divine  as  well  as  the  human  authorship  were  taken  into  consi 
deration.  God  might  have  chosen  to  assign  to  the  first  burst  of 
written  Revelation  a  literary  perfection  never  afterwards  to  be 
exceeded  or  even  equalled.  He  might  have  given  to  His  first 
mouthpiece,  Moses,  such  powers  of  mind  and  such  a  mastery 
over  the  Hebrew  language  as  "  to  leave  nothing  for  succeeding 
authors  but  to  follow  in  his  footsteps.''  The  fact,  however,  is  not 
really  so.  De  Wette's  statement  is  a  gross  exaggeration  of  the 
reality.  Considered  as  a  literary  work,  the  Pentateuch  is  not 
the  production  of  an  advanced  or  refined,  but  of  a  simple  and 
rude  age.  Its  characteristics  are  plainness,  inartificiality,  absence 
of  rhetorical  ornament,  and  occasional  defective  arrangement. 
The  only  style  which  it  can  be  truly  said  to  bring  to  perfection, 
is  that  simple  one  of  clear  and  vivid  narrative,  which  is  always 
best  attained  in  the  early  dawn  of  a  nation's  literature,  as  a 
Herodotus,  a  Froissart,  and  a  Stow  sufficiently  indicate.  In 
other  respects  it  is  quite  untrue  to  say  that  the  work  goes  be 
yond  all  later  Hebrew  efforts.  We  look  in  vain  through  the 
Pentateuch  for  the  gnomic  wisdom  of  Solomon,  the  eloquent  de 
nunciations  of  Ezekiel  and  Jeremiah,  or  the  lofty  flights  of 
Isaiah.  It  is  absurd  to  compare  the  song  of  Moses,  as  a  literary 
production,  even  with  some  of  the  Psalms  of  David,  much  more 
to  parallel  it  with  Ezekiel's  eloquence  and  Homeric  variety,  or 
Isaiah's  awful  depth  and  solemn  majesty  of  repose.  In  a  lite 
rary  point  of  view  it  may  be  questioned  whether  Moses  did  so 
much  for  the  Hebrews  as  Homer  for  the  Greeks,  or  whether  his 
writings  had  really  as  great  an  influence  on  the  after  productions 
of  his  countrymen.  And  if  his  literary  greatness  still  surprises 
us,  if  Hebrew  literature  still  seems  in  his  person  to  reach  too 
suddenly  a  high  excellence,  albeit  not  so  high  a  one  as  has  been 
argued — let  us  remember,  in  the  first  place,  that  Moses  was  not, 


'  Eiiileitung,'  §  I(j3,  sub  fin. 


2-16  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

any  more  than  Homer,  the  first  writer  of  his  nation,  but  only 
happens  to  be  the  first  whose  writings  have  come  clown  to  us. 
"  Yixere  fortes  ante  Agamemnona."  Moses  seems  so  great  because 
we  do  not  possess  the  works  of  his  predecessors,  and  so  are 
unable  to  trace  the  progress  of  Hebrew  literature  up  to  him. 
I  Fad  we  the  "  songs  "  of  Israel,*  and  the  "  book  of  the  wars  of  the 
Lord,"  which  he  quotes, f  we  might  find  him  no  Literary  pheno 
menon  at  all,  but  as  a  writer  merely  on  a  level  with  others  of 
his  age  and  nation.  Again,  we  must  not  forget  to  take  into 
consideration  the  stimulus  which  contact  with  the  cultivation  of 
Egypt  would  naturally  have  given  to  Hebrew  literature  during 
the  two  centuries  preceding  Moses.  If  we  may  trust  the  modern 
decipherers  of  Egyptian  papyri,  literature  in  Egypt  had  reached 
a  tolerably  advanced  stage  in  the  time  of  the  eighteenth  and 
nineteenth  dynasties,  under  one  or  other  of  which  Moses  was  in 
all  probability  born  and  bred.  "  The  art  of  writing  books  Avas 
invented  ages  before  the  time  of  Moses  ;"$  and  had  been  carried 
further  in  Egypt  than  in  any  other  country.  History,  epistolary 
correspondence,  and  novel-writing  were  known  and  practised  ;  so 
that  the  composition  of  an  extensive  work  possessing  literary 
merits  even  of  a  high  order  would  be  no  strange  thing  in  the 
case  of  one  bred  up  in  the  first  circles  of  Egyptian  society,  and 
'•  learned  in  all  the  wisdom  "  of  that  ingenious  people. 

11.  Besides  this  general  objection,  there  are  a  certain  number  of 
particular  passages  which,  it  is  said,  record  facts  later  than  the 
time  of  Moses,  and  thus  could  not  have  been  written  by  him. 
Such  are  supposed  to  be  the  mention  of  Dan  instead  of  Laish  in 
Gen.  xiv.  14 ;  of  Hebron  instead  of  Kirjath-Arba  or  Mamre  in 
Genesis  §  and  Numbers  ;||  and  the  list  of  the  kings  of  Edom  in 
Gen.  xxxvi.  Now  in  none  of  these  cases  is  it  really  impossible 
that  Moses  may  have  written  the  passages.  The  Dan  intended 
may  be  Dan-jaan,H  and  not  Laish.  Hebron  may  have  been  a 
name  of  the  city  called  also  Mamre  and  Kirjath-Arba,  within 
the  lifetime  of  Moses.  Even  the  eight  kings  of  Edoin  may  pos 
sibly  be  a  dynasty  of  monarchs  intervening  between  Esau  and 


*  Num.  xxi.  17;  compare  Ex.  xv.  1.  §  Gen.  xiii.  18;  xxiii.  2,  19;  xxxv. 

t  Num.  xxi.1 14.  '27,  Ac. 

£  Bunsen,  '  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  p.   384.  i       ||  Num.  xiii.  22. 
Compare  '  Cambridge  Essays  '  ibr  li«58,          ^  2  Sum.  xxiv.  (.>. 
pp.  230-260. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  247 

Moses,  the  last  of  the  eight  being  Moses'  contemporary,  as  con 
jectured  by  Havernick.*  The  remarkable  expression,  "  These 
are  the  kings  that  reigned  in  the  land  of  Edom,  before  there 
reigned  any  king  over  the  children  of  Israel"  may  be  understood 
prophetically.  Moses  may  have  intended  in  the  passage  to 
mark  his  full  belief  in  the  promises  made  by  God  to  Abraham 
and  Jacob  ;|  that  "  kings  should  come  out  of  their  loins,"  a  be 
lief  which  he  elsewhere  expresses  very  confidently.  J  There  is 
no  really  valid  or  insuperable  objection  to  any  of  these  explana 
tions  ;  which  may  not  strike  us  as  clever  or  dexterous,  yet  which 
may  be  true  nevertheless;  for  " Le  vrai  n'est  pas  toujours  le 
vraisemblable" 

12.  Or  the  right  explanation  may  be  the  more  commonly 
received  one— that  these  words,  phrases,  and  passages,  together 
with  a  few  others  similar  to  them,  are  later  additions  to  the  text, 
either  adopted  into  it  upon  an  authoritative  revision,  such  as  that 
ascribed  to  Ezra,  or,  perhaps,  accidentally  introduced  through 
the  mistakes  of  copyists,  who  brought  into  the  text  what  had 
been  previously   added,   by  way   of  exegesis,   in  the   margin. 
Such  additions  constantly  occur  in  the  case  of  classical  writers ; 
and  there  is  no  reason  to  suppose  that  a  special  providence 
would   interfere   to  prevent   their  occurrence   in    the   Sacred 
Volume.     We  "have  our  treasure  in  earthen  vessels."      God 
gives  us  His  Revelation,  but  leaves  it  to  us  to  preserve  it  by  the 
ordinary  methods  by  which  books  are  handed  down  to  posterity. 
No  doubt  its  transcendent  value  has  caused  the  bestowal  of  espe 
cial  care  and  attention  on  the  transmission  of  the  Sacred  Volume ; 
and  the  result  is  that  no  ancient  collection  has  come  down  to  us 
nearly  so  perfect,  or  with  so  few  corruptions  and  interpolations  ; 
but  to  declare  that  there  are  none,  is  to  make  an  assertion  impro 
bable  a  priori,  and  at  variance  with  the  actual  phenomena.  The 
sober-minded  in  every  age  have  allowed  that  the  written  Word, 
as  it  has  come  down  to  us,  has  these  slight  imperfections,  which 
no  more  interfere  with  its  value  than  the  spots  upon  the  sun  de 
tract  from  his  brightness,  or  than  a  few  marred  and  stunted 
forms  destroy  the  harmony  and  beauty  -of  Nature. 

13.  One  other  line  of  objection  requires  a  few  words  of  notice. 
The  whole  Levitical  system,  it  is  sometimes  said,  was  an  after- 


*  '  Einleitung,'  §  124.          f  Geu.  xvii.  6,  1(5 ;  xxxv.  11.  J  Deut.  xvii.  H-20. 


248  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

growth  from  the  real  Mosaic  law,  which  went  but  little,  if  at  all, 
beyond  the  Decalogue.  This  is  thought  to  he  evidenced  by  the 
scantiness  of  any  traces  of  Levitical  worship  throughout  the  period 
of  the  Judges,  and  the  infraction  of  various  precepts  of  the  cere 
monial  law  from  the  time  of  Joshua  to  that  of  Nehemiah.  But  it 
has  been  shown*  that  though  the  Book  of  Judges  exhibits  a  very 
disordered  political  and  religious  condition  of  the  nation,  and 
from  its  nature — biographical  rather  than  historical — is  likely 
to  contain  but  little  regarding  the  Mosaical  institutions,  yet  it 
does,  in  point  of  fact,  bear  witness  to  the  knowledge  and  prac 
tical  existence  during  the  period  whereof  it  treats,  of  a  very  con 
siderable  number  of  those  usages  which  are  specially  termed 
Levitical.  The  sacred  character  of  the  Levites,  their  dispersion 
among  the  different  tribes,  the  settlement  of  the  High-Priesthood 
in  the  family  of  Aaron,  the  existence  of  the  Ark  of  the  Cove 
nant,  the  power  of  inquiring  of  God  and  obtaining  answers,  the 
irrevocability  of  a  vow,  the  distinguishing  mark  of  circumcision, 
the  distinction  between  clean  and  unclean  meats,  the  law  of  the 
Nazarite,  the  use  of  burnt-offerings  and  peace-offerings,  the  em 
ployment  of  trumpets  as  a  means  of  obtaining  Divine  aid  in  war, 
the  impiety  of  setting  up  a  king,  are  severally  acknowledged  in 
the  Book  of  Judges,  and  constitute  together  very  good  evidence 
that  the  Mosaic  ceremonial  law  was  already  in  force,  and,  though 
disregarded  in  many  points  by  the  mass,  was  felt  as  binding  by  all 
those  who  had  any  real  sense  of  religion.  The  ritual,  as  a  whole, 
is  clearly  not  of  later  introduction  than  the  time  of  the  Judges, 
since  twelve  or  thirteen  of  its  main  points  are  noted  as  being  at 
that  time  in  force.  "Why,  then,  should  we  suppose,  merely  be 
cause  the  book  is  silent  on  the  subject,  that  the  other  enact 
ments  which  are  in  the  same  spirit  and  are  inextricably  inter 
twined  with  these,  were  not  known  at  the  period  ?  It  is  always 
dangerous  to  build  on  silence.  Here  the  silence  is  only  partial ; 
and  the  half-utterance  which  we  have  is  sufficient  to  indicate 
what  the  full  answer  would  have  been,  had  it  come  within  the 
scope  of  the  writer  to  deliver  it.  There  is  thus  ample  reason  to 
conclude  that  the  Levitical  law  was  complete  in  all  its  parts 
before  the  time  of  the  Judges. 

"What,  then,  shall  we  say  to  its  infractions?  what  to  David's 
"priests  of  the  tribe  of  Judah  ?"  what  to  (Solomon  himself  offer 
ing  sacrifice?  what  more  especially  to  the  suspension  of  the 

*  ISv  Hiiveniiuk.     •  Kinlfitunir,'  Jj  136. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  249 

Feast  of  Tabernacles  for  eight  hundred  years  from  Joshua  to 
Nehemiah  ?  *  Are  they  compatible  with  the  existence  of  the 
Pentateuch  at  the  time,  and  with  an  acknowledgment  of  its 
Divine  authority  on  the  part  of  those  who  disobeyed  its  injunc 
tions  ?  Even  if  we  allow  them  all  to  be  infractions^  we  may 
still  answer  that  undoubtedly  they  are.  An  authority  may  be 
acknowledged  which  is  not  obeyed.  Precepts  may  be  heard, 
read,  and  known,  may  be  as  familiar  as  household  words  in  the 
mouths  of  persons,  and  yet  may  not  be  carried  out  in  act. 
There  would  be  nothing  more  strange  in  David's  breaking  the 
Levitical  law  with  respect  to  priesthood  in  the  case  of  his  sons, 
than  in  his  infraction  of  the  moral  law  respecting  chastity  in  the 
case  of  Uriah's  wife.  There  would  be  no  greater  marvel  in 
Solomon's  taking  it  upon  himself  to  offer  sacrifice  than  in  his 
marrying  wives  from  the  forbidden  nations.  There  would  be 
nothing  harder  to  understand  in  the  discontinuance  after  a  while 
of  one  of  the  great  Mosaical  feasts,  than  in  the  introduction  and 
stubborn  maintenance  from  one  generation  to  another  of  idola 
trous  rites.  The  moral  law,  admitted  to  have  been  given  by 
Moses,  was  broken  constantly  in  almost  every  clause  ;  why  then 
should  infractions  of  the  ceremonial  law  disprove  its  having 
come  from  him  ? 

14.  The  Mosaic  authorship  of  the  Pentateuch  is  therefore  a 
thing  which,  to  say  the  least,  has  not  been  hitherto  disproved  ;  and 
the  ingenious  attempts  of  the  modem  reconstructive  criticism  to 

*  '  Westminster  Review,'  No.  xxxv.,  ,  late  "  priests,"  and  to  understand  "  ec- 
p.  36.  The  writer  gives  no  reference,  i  clesiastical  counsellors."  Note  also  that 
except  to  Nehemiah  viii.  17,  which  j  the  LXX.  give  av\dpxai,  "chamber- 
shows  <]io  thinks;  that  "for  800  years  I  lains,''  and  that  in  the  parallel  passage, 
from  the  days  of  Joshua  to  those  of  l.Chron.  xviii.  17,  the  expression  used  is 
Ezra,  the  Feast  of  Tabernacles  was  un-  ^/SH  "Jv  D'O^NI.!"!,  "chief"  or  "first 
known  in  Israel."  Probably  he  would  !  aijout  the'  king.")  T\Vith  regard  to  So- 
regard  "  David's  priests  of  the  tribe  of  !  lomon's  sacrifices,  it  is  nowhere  either 
Jndah  "  as  mentioned  in  2  Sam.  viii.  18,  i  ^tated  or  implied  that  he  sacrificed  with 
where  the  Hebrew  has  D^fiS,  which  j  his  own  hand.  "  The  priests  "  are  men- 
commonly  means  "priests;"  while  for  '  tioned  as  present  with  him  at  the  time 
"Solomon's  sacrifices  "  we  should  be  re-  \  (l  K^g8  viii-  ^>  2  Chron.  v.  7  ;  vii.  2, 
ferred  to  1  Kings  viii.  5,  62-64  ;  2  Chr.  ;  6)«  .ancl  it;.is  mo:st  probable  that  he  used 
v.  6  ;  vii.  4,  5  ;  and  viii.  12.  ,  their  services.  Evidently  he  could  not 

t  In  point  'of  fact,  none  of  the  in-  '  himself  have  slain  the  22,000  oxen  and 
fractions  need  be  allowed.  David's  '  120,000  sheep  of  one  sacrifice  (1  Kings 
"  priests  of  the  tribe  of  Judah  "  are  f  viii-  &*)•  And  Nehemiah,  in  viii.  17, 
probably  not  "  priests,"  but  "  princes,"  probably  only  means  that  no  such  eele- 
or  "chief  rulers,"  as  our  Authorized  bration  of  the  feast  had  taken  place 
Version  renders.  (See  Buxtorf  ad  voe.  since  the  time  of  Joshua.  Two  cek- 

j.  and  compare  Gesenius  ad  eand.  who      bl*£?*  ;lt  liny  ,rat?!  are  ^f  ",ctly  n'T 

corded  between  the  time  ot  Joshua  and 


allows  that  jn3  may  mean  "  a  prince;  "      that  of  Nehemiah.     (See  2  Chr.  v.  3; 
though  he  prefers  in  this  place  to  truii*-      iiii.  8-10  ;  and  Ezra  iii.  4.) 


250  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [Kss.vv  VI. 

resolve  the  work  into  its  various  elements,  and  to  give  an 
account  of  the  times  when  and  the  persons  by  whom  they  Mere 
severally  composed,  even  if  they  had  no  other  fault,  must  be 
pronounced  premature  ;  for  until  it  is  shown  that  the  book  was 
not  composed  by  its  reputed  author,  the  mode  and  time  of  its  com 
position  are  not  fit  objects  of  research.  The  theological  student 
may  congratulate  himself  that  this  is  so,  and  that  lie  is  not 
called  upon  to  study  and  decide  between  the  twenty  different 
views — each  more  complicated  than  the  last — which  Continental 
critics,  from  Astruc  to  13unsen,  have  put  out  on  this  apparently 
inexhaustible  subject. 

15.  It  is  sometimes  said  that  questions  of  genuineness  are 
matters  of  mere  idle  curiosity,  and  that  authenticity  is  alone  of 
importance.  In  an  historical  work  especially,  what  we  want  to 
know  is,  not  by  whom  it  is  written,  but  whether  the  narrative 
which  it  contains  is  true.  This  last,  no  doubt,  is  our  ultimate 
object;  but  it  not  unfrequently  happens  that,  for  the  purpose  of 
deciding  it,  we  have  to  consider  the  other  point ;  since  the 
genuineness  is  often  the  best  guarantee  of  the  authenticity. 
How  entirely  would  it  change  our  estimate  of  Xenophon's  '  Ana 
basis,'  were  we  to  find  that  it  was  composed  under  the  name  of 
Xenophon  by  a  Greek  of  the  time  of  the  Autonines !  iSo  works 
are  more  valuable  for  history  than  autobiographies ;  and  when 
we  come  upon  a  document  claiming  any  such  character,  it  is  of 
great  importance  to  see  whether  upon  examination  the  character 
is  sustained  or  no.  Given  the  genuineness  of  such  a  work,  and 
the  authenticity  follows  almost  as  a  matter  of  course,  unless  it 
can  be  shown  that  the  writer  is  unveracious,  and  wished  to  de 
ceive.  Rationalists  have  not  failed  to  perceive  the  force  of  this 
reasoning  with  respect  to  the  Pentateuch ;  and  hence  their 
laborious  efforts  to  disprove  its  genuineness.  Strauss  remarks 
naively  enough — "  The  books  which  describe  the  departure  of 
the  Israelites  from  Egypt,  and  their  wanderings  through  the 
wilderness,  bear  the  name  of  Moses,  who,  being  their  leader, 
would  undoubtedly  give  a  faithful  history  of  these  occurrences, 
unless  he  designed  to  deceive  ;  and  who,  if  his  intimate  connection 
with  Deity  described  in  these  books  be  historically  true,  was 
likewise  eminently  qualified,  by  virtue  of  such  connection,  to 
produce  a  credible  history  of  the  earlier  periods."*  This  admis- 


*  '  Lobun  Jfsu,'  Einleitung,  § 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  251 

sion  on  the  part  of  the  most  extreme  of  Rationalists  is  sufficient 
to  show  that,  at  least  in  the  case  before  us,  it  is  not  irrelevant 
or  unimportant  to  attempt  to  establish  the  genuineness  of  the 
record. 

16.  Before  the  final  close  of  this  portion  of  the  inquiry,  it  will 
perhaps  be  best  to  state  distinctly  in  what  sense  it  is  intended 
to  maintain  that  Moses  was  the  author  of  the  Pentateuch.  In 
the  first  place,  it  is  not  intended  to  assert  that  he  was  the  original 
composer  of  all  the  documents  contained  in  his  volume.  The 
Book  of  Genesis  bears  marks  of  being  to  some  extent  a  compi 
lation.  Moses  probably  possessed  a  number  of  records,  some  of 
greater,  some  of  less  antiquity,  whereof,  under  Divine  guidance, 
he  made  use  in  writing  the  history  of  mankind  up  to  his  own 
time.  It  is  possible  that  the  Book  of  Genesis  may  have  been, 
even  mainly,  composed  in  this  way  from  ancient  narratives, 
registers,  and  biographies,  in  part  the  property  of  the  Hebrew 
race,  in  part  a  possession  common  to  that  race  with  others. 
Moses,  guided  by  God's  Spirit,  would  choose  among  such  docu 
ments  those  which  were  historically  true,  and  which  bore  on  the 
religious  history  of  the  human  race.  He  would  not  be  bound 
slavishly  to  follow,  much  less  to  transcribe  them,  but  would 
curtail,  expand,  adorn,  complete  them,  and  so  make  them 
thoroughly  his  own,  infusing  into  them  the  religious  tone  of  his 
own  mind,  and  at  the  same  time  re-writing  them  in  his  own 
language.  Thus  it  would  seem  that  Genesis  was  produced. 
With  regard  to  the  remainder  of  his  history,  he  would  have  no 
occasion  to  use  the  labours  of  others,  but  would  write  from  his 
own  knowledge. 

In  the  second  place,  it  is  not  intended  to  deny  that  the  Pen 
tateuch  may  have  undergone  an  authoritative  revision  by  Ezra, 
when  the  language  may  have  been  to  some  extent  modernised, 
and  a  certain  number  of  parenthetic  insertions  may  have  been 
made  into  the  text.  The  Jewish  tradition  on  this  head  seems  to 
deserve  attention  from  its  harmony  with  what  is  said  of  Ezra  in 
the  book  which  bears  his  name.*  And  this  authoritative  revision 
would  account  at  once  for  the  language  not  being  more  archaic 
than  it  is,  and  for  the  occasional  insertion  of  parentheses  of  the 
nature  of  a  comment.  It  would  also  explain  the  occurrence  of 
"  Chalclaisms  "  in  the  text.f 


*  See  Lord  Arthur  Htrvcy's  article 
on   '  E/.ni,'    in    Dr.  Smith's   '  Biblical 


Dictionary,'  vol.  i.,  p.  606. 

t  llirzol,    '  Do    Clialdaisiiii    Uiblici 


252  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

Thirdly,  it  is,  of  course,  not  intended  to  include  in  the  Pen 
tateuch  the  last  chapter  of  Deuteronomy,  which  was  evidently 
added  after  Moses'  death,  probably  by  the  writer  of  the  Book  of 
Joshua. 

17.  The  authenticity  of  the  Pentateuch  has  been  recently  called 
in  question,  principally  on  the  following  points: — 1.  The  chro 
nology,  which  is  regarded  as  very  greatly  in  deficiency ;  2.  The 
account  given  of  the  Flood,  which  is  supposed  to  magnify  a 
great  calamity  in  Upper  Asia  into  a  general  destruction  of  the 
human  race  ;  3.  The  ethnological  views,  which  are  said  to  be 
sometimes  mistaken  ;  4.  The  patriarchal  genealogies,  which  are 
charged  with  being  purely  mythical ;  5.  The  length  of  the  lives 
of  the  Patriarchs,  which  is  thought  to  be  simply  impossible ; 
iiud  0.  The  duration  of  the  sojourn  in  Egypt,  which  is  con 
sidered  incompatible  with  the  number  of  the  Israelites  on 
entering  and  quitting  the  country.  It  is  proposed,  in  the 
remainder  of  this  paper,  to  consider  briefly  these  six  subjects. 

I.  According  to  Baron  Bunsen,  the  historic  records  of  Egypt 
reach  up  to  the  year  B.C.  9085.  A  sacerdotal  monarchy  was 
then  established,  and  Bytis,  the  Theban  priest  of  Ammon,  was 
the  first  king.  Before  this  Egypt  had  been  republican,  and 
separate  governments  had  existed  in  the  different  nomes. 
Egyptian  nationality  commenced  as  early  as  B.C.  10,000.  These 
conclusions  are  vaguely  said  to  be  drawn  "  from  Egyptian  re 
cords,"  *  or  "  from  the  monuments  and  other  records  ;  "f  expres 
sions  apt  to  beget  a  belief  that  there  is  really  monumental 
evidence  for  them.  Let  us  then  see,  in  the  first  place,  what  is 
the  true  basis  on  which  they  rest. 

The  Egyptian  monuments  contain  no  continuous  chronology, 
and  no  materials  from  which  a  continuous  chronological  scheme 
can  be  framed.]:  The  possibility  of  constructing  such  a  scheme 


origine,"  pp.  5  ct  seqq.  There  is  also 
smother  mode  in  which  the  "  Clial- 
daisms "  may  be  accounted  for.  As 
Chaldee  and  Hebrew  are  sister  tongues, 
having  one  common  parent,  the  forms 
and  expressions  in  question  may  have 
been  common  to  both  at  first,  but  have 
died  out  in  the  Hebrew  while  they  were 
retained  in  the  ,Chaldee.  Movers  ob 
serves  with  reason  : — "  Aramaic  forms 
in  a  book  are  cither  a  sign  of  a  very 


xvi.  157.)  Those  in  Genesis  may  be 
really  "  Archaisms." 

*  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  p.  54. 

f  Bunsen's  '  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.,  p.  553. 

J  "  The  history  of  the  dynasties  pre 
ceding  the  18th,''  says  Mr.  Stuart  Poole, 
"  is  not  told  by  any  continuous  series  of 
monuments.  Except  those  of  the  4th 
and  12th  dynasties  there  are  scarcely 
any  records  of  the  age  left  to  the  pre 
sent  day.''  ("'Biblical  Dietionaiy,'  vol. 


early  or  of  a   very  late  composition.'   i   i.  p.  509.)     M.  Bunsen  also  says,  in  one 
i '  Boiuier  Xeitschrift  fiir   Philosophic,'    '   place,  of  the  Egyptian  monuments  :— 


ESSAY  VI. } 


THE  PENTATFAJOH. 


253 


depends  entirely  upon  the  outline  which  has  been  preserved  to 
us  of  the  Sebennytic  priest  Manetho,  who  composed  a  history 
of  Egypt  under  the  early  Ptolemies.  This  outline  is  in  a 
very  imperfect  condition ;  and  the  two  versions  of  it,  which  we 
find  in  Syncellus  and  in  the  Armenian  Eusebius,  differ  consider 
ably.  Still  both  agree  in  representing  Egypt  as  governed  by 
thirty  dynasties  of  kings  from  Menes  to  Alexander,  and  the  sum 
of  the  years  which  they  assign  to  these  dynasties  is  a  little  above 
(or  a  little  below)  5000.  The  monuments  have  proved  two 
things  with  respect  to  these  lists :  they  have  shown,  in  the  first 
place,  that  (speaking  generally)  they  are  historical — that  the 
persons  mentioned  were  real  men,  who  actually  lived  and 
reigned  in  Egypt  ;  while,  secondly,  they  have  shown  that 
though  all  reigned  in  Egypt,  all  did  not  reign  over  the  whole  of 
Egypt,  but  while  some  were  kings  in  one  part  of  the  country, 
others  ruled  in  another.  It  is  allowed  on  all  hands — by  M. 
Bunsen  no  less  than  by  others — that  no  chronological  scheme  of 
any  real  value  can  be  formed  from  Manetho's  lists  until  it  be 
first  determined,  either  which  dynasties  and  inonarchs  were 
contemporary,  or  what  deduction  from  the  sum  total  of  the 
dynastic  years  is  to  be  made  on  account  of  contemporaneousness. 
M.  Bunsen  regards  this  point  as  one  which  Manetho  himself 
determined,  and  assumes  that  he  was  sure  to  determine  it  aright. 
He  finds  a  statement  in  Syncellus,*  that  "  Manetho  made  his 
dynasties  cover  a  space  of  113  generations,  or  3555  years ;" 
and  he  accepts  this  statement  as  completely  removing  the  diffi 
culty,  and  absolutely  establishing  the  historic  fact  that  the 
accession  of  Menes  to  the  crown  of  Egypt  took  place  more  than 
thirty-six  centuries  before  our  era.f  He  then  professes  to  follow 
Manetho  for  the  preceding  period ;  but  here  he  distorts  and 
misrepresents  him.  Manetho  gave  his  Egyptian  dynasties  alto 
gether  about  30,000  years.  This  long  space  he  divided,  how 
ever,  into  a  natural  and  a  supernatural  period.  To  the  super 
natural  period,  during  which  Egypt  was  governed  by  gods, 
demigods,  and  spirits,  he  assigned  24,925  years.  To  the 
natural  period,  which  began  with  Menes,  he  gave  at  any  rate 


"  Such  documents  cannot  indeed  com 
pensate  for  the  want  of  written  history. 
Even  Chronology,  its  framework,  can 
not  be  elicited  from  them."  ('  Egypt,' 
vol.  i.,  p.  32.) 


*  'Chronograph.'  p.  52,  D. 

t  'Egypt,'  vol.  i.  j-p.  86-89.  Lep- 
sius,  on  the  same  grounds,  and  keeping 
closer  to  his  authority,  places  Mrnr.-j 
nearly  39  centuries  before  Clirist. 


254 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  VI. 


not  much  more  than  5000.  M.  Bunsen,  not  content  with  this 
antiquity,  but  determining  to  find  (or  make)  a  greater,  changes 
the  order  of  Manetho's  early  dynasties,  and  by  removing  to  a 
higher  position,  without  authority  arid  of  his  own  mere  fancy, 
one  which  is  plainly  supernatural,  obtains  for  the  natural  period 
four  dynasties,  covering  a  space  of  5212  years  (or,  as  he  makes 
it,  5462  years),  which  are  capable  of  being  represented  as 
human.  This,  then,  is  the  mode  in  which  the  date  B.C.  9085  is 
reached.  It  is  not  obtained  from  the  monuments,  which  have 
no  chronology,  or  at  any  rate  none  earlier  than  B.C.  1525.  It  is 
not  derived  from  Mauetho,  for  it  is  in  direct  contradiction  to  liis 
views,  more  than  doubling  the  period  during  which,  according 
to  him,  Egypt  had  had  human  kings.  It  is  a  mere  theory  of 
M.  Bunsen's,  to  square  with  which  Manetho's  lists  have  been 
violently  disturbed,  and  above  5000  years  subtracted  from  his 
divine  to  be  added  to  his  human  period. 

Even  with  respect  to  Menes,  and  the  supposed  date  of  B.C. 
3892  (according  to  Lepsius),  or  B.C.  3(523  (according  to  M. 
Bunsen),  for  his  accession,  on  what  does  it  in  reality  depend  ? 
Not  on  any  monumental  evidence,  but  simply  on  the  supposi 
tion  that  in  a  certain  passage  (greatly  disputed  *)  of  Syncellus, 
he  has  correctly  represented  Manetho's  views,  and  on  the  further 
supposition  that  Manetho's  views  were  absolutely  right.  But  is 
it  reasonable  to  suppose  that  Mauetho  had  data  for  determining 
with  such  exactitude  an  event  so  remote,  even  if  it  be  a  real 
event  at  all,f  as  the  accession  of  Menes  ?  It  is  plain  and  pal 
pable,  and  moreover  universally  admitted,  that  between  the  an 
cient  monarchy  (or  rather  monarchies)  of  Egypt  and  the  later 
kingdom,  there  intervened  a  time  of  violent  disturbance — the 
period  known  as  the  domination  of  the  Hyksos — during  which 
the  native  Egyptians  suffered  extreme  oppression,  and  through 
out  Egypt  all  was  disorder  and  confusion.  The  notices  of  this 
period  are  so  vague  and  uncertain,  that  moderns  dispute  whether 


*  Bockh  in  Germany,  and  Mons.  C. 
Miiller  in  France,  have  disputed  M. 
Hanson's  conclusions  from  the  passage 
of  Syncellus.  The  latter  thinks  thaf  it 
is  a  Paeudo-Manetho  to  whom  Synoellus 
refers.  The  former  regards  the  passage 
as  corrupt,  and  'snsprcts  that  Annianus 
was  quoted,  not  Manetho. 

t  Whether  Menes  was  an  historic  per 
sonage  at  all  may  reasonably  be  doubted. 


It  is  not  pretended  that  he  left  any  mo 
numents.  As  a  name  closely  resembling 
his  is  found  in  the  earliest  traditions  of 
various  nations,  e.  fl.  Menu  in  India, 
Minos  in  Crete,  Mam's  in  Phrygia, 
Manes  in  Lydia,  and  Maiinus  in  Ger 
many,  there  is  at  least  reason  to  suspect 
that  he  belongs  to  myth  rather  than  to 
history. 


ESSAY  VI. ]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  255 

it  lasted  500,  600,  900,  or  2000  years.*  Few  monuments  be 
long  to  it.  It  is  extremely  doubtful  whether  an  Egyptian  of 
Manetho's  age,  honestly  investigating  the  records  of  the  past, 
could  have  carried  on  chronology,  with  any  approach  to  exactness, 
beyond  the  commencement  of  the  eighteenth  dynasty,  which 
effected  the  expulsion  of  the  Hyksos  or  Shepherd  kings.  From 
that  time  Egypt  had  been  united,  and  had  been  a  tolerably  settled 
monarchy.  Previously,  the  country  had  been  divided  into  a  mul 
titude  of  states,  sometimes  more,  sometimes  fewer  in  number, 
each  knowing  very  little  of  the  rest,  all  inclined  to  magnify  their 
own  duration  and  antiquity,  and  none  able  effectually  to  check 
the  others.  Let  it  be  granted  that  Manetho  honestly  endea 
voured  to  collect  and  arrange  the  lists  of  kings  in  the  several 
states  among  which  Egypt  had  been  parcelled  out.  What  a 
task  was  before  him!  Koyal  monuments,  or  dynastic  lists 
of  better  or  worse  authority,  might  give  him  the  names  of 
the  monarchs  and  the  number  of  years  that  each  had  borne 
the  royal  title.  But  as  "association"  was  widely  practised 
in  Egypt — two,  three,  and  even  more  kings  occupying  the 
throne  together — it  would  have  been  a  work  of  extreme  diffi 
culty,  without  full  and  detailed  records,  which  can  scarcely 
be  supposed  to  have  generally  survived  the  Hyksos  period, 
to  make  out  from  the  length  of  the  reigns  the  duration  of  any 
dynasty.  And  to  determine  what  dynasties  were  contemporary 
and  what  consecutive  would  have  been  a  still  harder  task. 
It  is  extremely  doubtful  whether  Manetho  really  made  any 
effort  to  overcome  these  difficulties.  Setting  aside  the  sino-le 

O  O 

disputed  passage  of  Syncellus,  we  have  no  evidence  that  he  did. 
His  lists,  as  they  have  come  down  to  us,  both  in  Syncellus  and 
Eusebius,  are  a  mere  enumeration,  in  a  single  line,  of  thirty 
dynasties  of  kings,  with  an  estimate  of  the  years  of  each  dynasty, 
evidently  formed  by  merely  adding  together  the  years  of  the 
several  reigns.  There  is  no  trace  in  either  epitome  of  any 
allowance  being  made,  either  on  account  of  contemporary  kings 
within  a  dynasty,  or  on  account  of  contemporary  dynasties. 
Apparently,  Manetho  either  declined  the  task  of  arranging  and 
completing  the  chronology  as  one  for  which  he  had  no  sufficient 
data,  or  preferred  to  leave  the  impression  on  foreigners  that 
the  dynasties  and  kings  were  all  consecutive,  and  that  Egypt 


*  Bunsen, «  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  p.  508  ;  'Bibl.  Diet.,'  vol.  i.  p.  508. 


25fi 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  VI. 


had  a  history  stretching  back  fifty  centuries  before  Alexander  ! 
Other  Egyptian  priests  before  him  had  made  even  greater  ex 
aggerations.* 

If  it  be  still  thought  that  the  mere  opinion  of  men  so  well 
acquainted  with  the  Egyptian  monuments,  as  Bunsen  and 
Lepsius,  ought  to  have  weight,  despite  the  weakness  of  the 
argumentative  grounds  on  which  they  rest  their  conclusions,  let 
it  be  remembered  that  others,  as  deeply  read  in  hieroglyphic 
lore,  and  as  capable  of  forming  a  judgment,  have  come  to  con 
clusions  wholly  different.  Sir  Gardner  Wilkinson  inclines  to 
place  the  accession  of  Menes  about  B.C.  2690, t  and  Mr.  Stuart 
Poole  gives  as  his  first  year  B.C.  27174  These  writers  believe 
that  the  number  of  contemporaneous  dynasties  has  been  much 
under-estimated  by  the  German  savans,  who  have  especially 
erred  in  regarding  the  Theban  dynasties  as,  all  of  them,  subse 
quent  to  the  Meinphite.  They  consider  that  Manetho's  first 
and  third  Theban  dynasties  were  contemporary  with  his  third, 
fourth,  and  fifth  Meinphite ;  that  the  first  and  second  Shepherd 
dynasties  ruled  at  the  same  time  in  different  parts  of  Lower 
Egypt ;  and  that  the  dynasty  of  Cho'ites  (Manetho's  14th)  was 
contemporary  writh  the  two  Shepherd  dynasties  above  men 
tioned,  and  with  the  second  Theban.  They  do  not  deny  that 
their  arrangement  of  the  dynasties  is  to  some  extent  conjectural ; 
but  they  maintain  that,  while  the  idea  of  it  was  derived  from  a 
close  inspection  of  Manetho's  lists,  it  is  also  "  strikingly  con 
firmed  by  the  monuments."  §  "While  names  of  such  weight  can 
be  quoted  on  the  side  of  a  moderate  Egyptian  chronology,  it 
cannot  be  reasonably  argued  that  Egyptian  records  have  dis 
proved  the  Biblical  narrative. 

Still  less  can  it  be  argued  that  the  records  of  other  nations,  so 
far  as  they  have  any  pretension  to  be  considered  historical,  con 
flict  with  the  chronology  of  the  Bible.  The  Babylonians 
indeed,  the  Indians,  and  the  Chinese,  in  their  professed  histories 
of  ancient  times,  carry  back  the  antiquity  of  our  race  for  several 
hundred  thousand  years.  But  it  is  admitted  that  in  every  case 
these  large  numbers  are  purely  mythical ;  and,  in  truth,  the 
authentic  histories  of  all  these  nations  begin  even  later  than  the 


*  Herod,  ii.  100  and  142,  143. 
t  Sec  the  writer's   'Herodotus,'  vol. 
ii.  pp.  342,  343. 


J  '  Biblical  Dictionary,'  vol.  i.  p.  508. 
§  Ibid.  p.  507. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  257 

Egyptian.  India  has  no  historical  documents  earlier  than  the 
third,*  or  China  than  the  sixth  century  B.C.  Indian  history 
scarcely  goes  back  beyond  the  time  of  Alexander ;  Chinese  is 
not  thought  by  those  \vho  place  most  faitli  in  the  early  literature 
of  the  country  to  ascend  any  higher  than  the  year  B.C.  2637.f 
The  Babylonian  historian,  Berosus,  while  he  claimed  for  the 
human  race  an  antiquity  of  above  466,000  years,  arranged  his 
dynasties  in  such  a  way  as  to  make  it  palpable  that  the  historic 
period  began,  at  the  earliest,  in  B.C.  2458.  This  is  the  conclu 
sion  of  Sir  Henry  Eawlinson  in  England,  of  Gutschmid  and 
Brandis  in  Germany.!  These  critics  divide  the  nine  dynasties  of 
Berosus  into  two  mythic  ones  (reigning  the  extravagant  periods 
of  432,000  and  34,080  years),  and  seven  historic  ones,  all  reign 
ing  moderate  and  possible  periods,  varying  between  87  and  526 
years.  It  might  have  seemed  incredible  that  in  the  nineteenth 
century  any  critic  could  take  a  different  view.  M.  Bunsen, 
however,  believing  that  he  has  "  devised  a  method  "  §  whereby 
the  historical  part  of  the  second  dynasty,  which  he  arbitrarily 
divides,  may  be  reduced  to  1550  years,  adds  that  space  of  time 
to  Berosus's  historic  chronology,  and  decides  that  the  regular 
registration  of  the  oldest  Chaldaean  kings  commenced  B.C.  3784. 
He  thus  assumes  the  partially  historic  character  of  a  dynasty 
said  to  have  reigned  more  than  34,000  years,  two  kings  of  which 
— Chomasbelus  and  Evechius — are  made  to  occupy  the  throne 
for  above  5000  years !  It  seems  needless  to  examine  the 
"  method "  whereby,  from  data  thus  manifestly  unhistoric,  an 
exact  conclusion,  claiming  to  be  historically  certain,  is  drawn.  j| 
On  the  whole  it  would  seem  that  no  profane  history  of  an 
authentic  character  mounts  up  to  an  earlier  date  than  the  27th 
or  28th  century  before  Christ.  Egyptian  history  begins  about 
B.C.  2700 ;  Chinese,  perhaps,  in  B.C.  2637  ;  Babylonian  in  B.C. 


*  See  the  late  Professor  Wilson's  In-  I  Bunsen  exaggerates  his  Babylonian 
(reduction  to  the  '  Eig-Veda  Sanhita,'  I  chronology  seems  worthy  of  notice.  It 
pp.  xlvi.,  xlvii.  I  is  the  method  of  mistranslation.  Pliilo 

t  Kemusat,  '  Nouveaux  Melanges  ;  Byblius  having  observed  in  his  work 
Asiatiques,'  vol.  i.  p.  G5 ;  Bunsen,  j  about  Cities  that  Babylon  was  founded 
•Egypt,'  vol.  iii.  pp.  379-407.  j  1002  years  (trtffi  x»Aiou  Svo,  before  Se- 

j  Gutschmid,  'Kheinisches  Museum,'  |  miramis,  M.  Bunsen  renders  the  words 
vol.  viii.  p.  252  et  seqq. ;  Brandis,  '  Re-  in  brackets  by  "  two  thousand  years," 
rum  As.syriarum  Tempora  emendata,' pp.  thus  gaining  for  his  chronology  near  a 
1C,  17.  thousand  years  at  a  stroke.  (See  his 

§  '  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  p.  411.  i  'Egypt,'  vol.   iv.  p.   414,  and  again  p. 

||  One  method,  however,  whereby  M.     4!M.) 


258  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

2458;  Assyrian  in  B.C.  1273;  Greek,  with  the  Trojan  War,  in 
B.C.  1250,  or,  perhaps,  with  Hercules,  a  century  earlier ;  Lyclian 
iu  B.C.  1229  ;  Phoenician  about  the  same  period  ;*  Carthaginian 
in  B.C.  880  ;  Macedonian  about  B.C.  720 ;  Median  not  before 
B.C.  708  ;  lloman  in  the  middle  of  the  same  century  ;  Persian  in 
B.C.  558  ;  Indian,  about  B.C.  350  ;  Mexican  and  Peruvian  not 
till  after  our  era.f  The  oldest  human  constructions  remaining 
upon  the  earth  are  the  Pyramids,  and  these  date  from  about 
B.C.  2400  ;  |  the  brick  temples  of  Babylonia  seem,  none  of  them, 
earlier  than  B.C.  2300 ;  §  B.C.  2000  would  be  a  high  date  for 
the  first  Cyclopian  walls  in  Greece  or  Italy ;  the  earliest  rock- 
inscriptions  belong  to  nearly  the  same  period.  If  man  has 
existed  upon  the  earth  ten  or  twenty  thousand  years,  as  M. 
Bunsen  supposes,  why  has  he  left  no  vestiges  of  himself  till 
within  the  last  five  thousand  ?||  It  cannot  be  said  that  his  earlier 
works  would  necessarily  have  perished  ;  for  there  is  nothing  to 
hinder  the  Pyramids  or  the  Birs  Nimrud  from  standing  several 
thousand  years  longer.  It  is  remarked  that  in  Egypt  the  most 
ancient  monuments  exhibit  but  slight  traces  of  rudeness,  and 
that  the  arts  within  two  centuries  of  Menes  are  in  a  very 
advanced  condition,  so  that  civilisation  must  have  made  great 
progress  even  before  the  age  of  Menes.  But  "  the  consti 
tutional  development  of  Egyptian  life"  into  the  condition 
reached  in  the  time  of  the  early  monuments,  does  not  require 
a  term  of  five  or  six  thousand  years,  as  M.  Bunsen  argues,lf 
but  rather  one  of  five  or  six  hundred  years,  which  is  what  the 
Biblical  numbers  will  allow.  There  is  nothing  surprising  in  a 
high  civilisation,  even  within  a  very  short  time  from  the  Deluge  ; 


*  See  the  writer's  '  Herodotus,'  vol.  j  be  said  to  be  such  vestiges.  But  the  ex- 
iv.  p.  '249.  The  first-known  Phojnieian  j  treruely  doubtful  age  of  the  latter  has 
king  is  Abibal,  the  father  of  Hiram,  'been  well  shown  by  the  '  Quarterly  lie- 


David's   contemporary.     He  cannot  be 
placed  earlier  than  B.C.  1100. 

t  See  Prcscott,  '  History  of  the  Con 
quest  of  Mexico,'  vol.  i.  p.  13  ;  '  History 
of  the  Conquest  of  Peru,'  vol.  i.  pp.  10- 
14. 


view'  (Xo.  210,  pp.  419-121;.  The  value 
of  the  former  as  evidence  of  extreme 
human  antiquity  must  depend  on  two 
questions,  neither  of  which  has  yet  been 
solved — 1.  Are  they  of  the  same  age  as 
the  formation  in  which  they  are  found  ? 


'I  Wilkinson  in  the  writer's  'Herodo-  and  '1.  Is  that  formation  itself  of  an 
tus,'  vol.  ii.  p.  oi:j;  Stuart  Poole  in  the  j  antiquity  very  remote?  It  has  been 
'  Biblical  Dictionary,' vol.  i.  p.  508.  j  clearly  shown  by  a  writer  in  'Bhick- 

<j  Sir  II.   Itawlinson    in   the    writer's     woods  Magazine'   (No.   540,   pp.  422- 


'  Herodotus,'  vol.  i.  p.  4oi>. 

||  The  "  Hint   weapons   in  the  drift," 
i.nd  Mr.  Homer's  Egyptian  pottery,  will 


i'.VJ,,  that  the  high  antiquity  of  the  drift 
is  at  any  rate  "  not  proven.  ' 
^1  '  Kgypt,'  vol.  iv.  p.  f)71. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  259 

for  the  arts  of  life,  which  flourished  in  the  ante-diluvian  world,* 
would  have  been  preserved  by  those  who  survived  the  catastro 
phe,  and  might  rapidly  revive  among  their  descendants.  Rather, 
it  is  surprising  that,  except  in  Egypt,  there  should  be  so  few 
traces  of  an  early  civilisation.  Babylonian  art,  for  many  cen 
turies  after  the  first  establishment  of  the  kingdom  (B.C.  2458), 
is  exceedingly  rude  and  primitive ;  the  Greek  and  Italian 
buildings,  approaching  to  the  same  date,  are  of  the  roughest 
construction  ;  it  is  not  till  about  the  year  B.C.  1000  that  a  really 
advanced  civilisation  appears  in  any  part  of  Asia,  nor  much 
before  B.C.  600  that  it  can  be  traced  in  Europe.  Thus,  monu 
mental  and  historical  evidence  alike  indicate  that  the  "  Origines  " 
of  our  race  are  recent,  and  the  dates  established  on  anything 
like  satisfactory  evidence,  fall,  in  every  case,  within  the  time 
allowed  to  post-diluvian  man  by  Scripture. 

For  the  date  of  the  Deluge,  which  we  are  most  justified  in 
drawing  from  the  Sacred  documents,  is  not,  as  commonly  sup 
posed,  B.C.  2348,  but  rather  B.C.  3099,  or  even  B.C.  3159 — sixty 
years  earlier.t  The  modern  objectors  to  the  Chronology  of 
Scripture  seek  commonly  to  tie  down  their  opponents  to  the 
present  Hebrew  text;J  but  there  is  no  reason  why  they  should 
submit  to  this  restriction.  The  Septuagint  Version  was  regarded 
as  of  primary  authority  during  the  first  ages  of  the  Christian 
Church :  it  is  the  version  commonly  quoted  in  the  New  Testa 
ment  ;  and  thus,  where  it  differs  from  the  Hebrew,  it  is  at  least 
entitled  to  equal  attention.  The  larger  chronology  of  the  Sep 
tuagint  would,  therefore,  even  if  it  stood  alone,  have  as  good  a 
claim  as  the  shorter  one  of  the  Hebrew  text,  to  be  considered 
the  Chronology  of  Scripture.  It  does  not,  however,  stand  alone. 
For  the  period  between  the  Flood  and  Abraham,  the  Septuagint 
has  the  support  of  another  ancient  and  independent  version — 
the  Samaritan.  It  is  argued  that  the  Septuagint  numbers  were 
enlarged  by  the  Alexandrian  Jews  in  order  to  bring  the  Hebrew 
chronology  into  harmony  with  the  Egyptian  ;§  but  there  is  no 
conceivable  reason  why  the  Samaritans  should  have  altered  their 


*  Gen.  iv.  20-22.  «  Westminster  Review,'  No.  38,  p.  569  ; 

t  See  the  '  Biblical  Dictionary,'  sub  '  Essays  and  Reviews,'  pp.  54,  55. 

voc.  CHRONOLOGY,  and  Mr.  W.  Palmer's  §  '  Westminster  Review,'  1.  s.  c. ;  Bun- 

'  Egyptian  Chronicles,'  p.  89(J.  sen,  '  Egypt,'  vol.  i.  p.  185  ;  vol.  iv.  p. 

J  Bunsen,   '  Egypt,'   vol.  iv.  p.  402 ;  39G. 

.s  2 


200  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

Pentateuch  in  this  direction,  and  no  very  ready  mode  of  ac 
counting  for  the  identity  *  of  the  numbers  in  these  two  versions, 
but  by  supposing  that  they  are  the  real  numbers  of  the  original. 
This  identity  it  has  been  usual  to  keep  out  of  sight ;  but  it  is  a 
most  important  feature  in  the  case,  and  furnishes  a  solid  ground 
for  preferring,  apart  from  all  historical  considerations,  that 
longer  system  of  Biblical  Chronology  with  which  Egyptian  and 
all  other  profane  history  is  found  to  be  in  accordance. 

Besides  the  purely  historic  objections  to  the  Biblical  Chrono 
logy  which  have  been  here  examined,  another  semi-historic  one 
has  been  recently  taken,  which  seems  to  require  some  notice. 
Languages,  it  is  said,  bear  traces  of  having  all  proceeded  from  a 
common  stock.  Time  was,  when  "  the  whole  earth  was  of  one 
language  and  of  one  speech."  t  But  this  time  must  have  been 
immensely  remote.  Languages  grow  but  slowly.  It  has  taken 
nearly  2000  years  to  develop  modern  French,  Italian,  and 
Spanish  out  of  Latin.  Must  it  not  have  taken  much  longer  to 
develop  Latin,  Greek,  German,  Celtic,  Slavonic,  Zend,  Sanscrit, 
out  of  their  mother-speech?  And  that  mother-speech  itself 
which  had  an  affinity,  and  so  a  connexion,  with  the  Semitic  and 
Turanian  forms  of  language,  yet  was  far  more  widely  separated 
from  them  than  its  daughter  tongues  from  one  another,  what  a 
vast  period  must  have  been  required  for  its  formation  and  diver 
gence  from  the  other  linguistic  types  !  Even  the  primitive  tongue 
itself  did  not  spring  to  its  full  height  at  once,  or  reach  the  era 
of  decay  and  change  till  after  a  long  term  of  years.  Twenty- 
one  thousand  years — "  the  period  of  one  great  revolution  of  the 
globe  upon  its  axis  " — is  (we  are  told)  "  a  very  probable  term 
for  the  development  of  human  language  in  the  shortest  line  ;" 
and  so  the  conclusion  is  drawn,  that  the  true  era  of  man's  crea 
tion  is  not  B.C.  9085,  when  Egyptian  history  is  said  to  have 
begun,  nor  B.C.  14,000,  when  Hamitism  and  Semitism  were  first 
"  deposited,"  but  six  thousand  years  before  the  earlier  of  these 
two  dates— B.C.  20,000 !  { 


*  The  identity  is  complete,  it'  we  reject  |  Clinton's  '  Fasti  Hellenici,'  vol.  i.  p.  287  ; 
from  the  Septuagint  the  false  reading  of  '  '  Biblical  Dictionary,'  vol.  i.  p.  1519.) 
some  copies  CK9  for  79)  in  Gen.  xi.  24,  i      f  <*eu.  xi.  1. 

and  omit  the  interpolated  Cainan,  who         J  Biniscn,  '  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  pp.  TiGO- 
was  unknown  to  I'hilo,  Josephus,  Theo-     56(!,  imd  p.  485. 
philus  of  Antioch,  and  Kusrbius.     (See  j 


ESSAY  VI.] 


THE  PENTATEUCH. 


261 


This  argument  claims  an  inductive  character.  It  bases  itself 
on  the  historical  ground,  that  a  certain  number  of  years  have 
been  required  for  the  development  of  French,  Italian,  Spanish, 
Wallachian,  &c.,  out  of  Latin  ;  and  assumes  that  from  this  the 
rate  of  change  or  growth  in  language  is  determinately,  or  ap 
proximately,  known.  The  rate  is  viewed  as  relative  to  the 
degree  of  change  or  divergence,  so  that  as  Celtic,  Slavonic, 
German,  Greek,  Latin,  and  Sanscrit  are  far  more  unlike  one 
another  than  French,  Italian,  and  Spanish,  a  far  longer  period 
must  be  allowed  for  their  formation.*  The  argument  thus 
gathers  strength  at  each  stage ;  and  as  there  are  at  least  four 
stages,  the  formula  becomes  something  very  much  like  this  : — 
a  +  IQa  +  lOOa  +  1000a  =  s;  so  that  it  may  seem  a  moderate 
estimate  to  say,  that  s  =  21,000  years. 

But  the  following  considerations  detract  from  the  force  of  the 
reasoning.  The  induction  on  which  it  rests  is  from  a  single 
instance — the  case  of  Latin  and  its  daughter  tongues.  It  does 
riot  at  all  follow,  that  because  a  particular  language  under  par 
ticular  circumstances  took  a  certain  time  to  blossom  into  new 
tongues ;  therefore,  every  other  language  of  a  similar  type 
would,  under  all  conceivable  circumstances,  do  the  same. 

The  unit  which  is  assumed  to  be  known,  and  which  is  made 
the  basis  of  the  whole  calculation — the  a  of  the  above  equation — 
is  in  reality  unknown.  It  is  impossible  to  say  how  long  it  took 
for  Latin  to  change  into  French  or  Italian.  Latin  was  probably 
imperfectly  learnt  by  the  Italians  and  the  Gauls  from  the  first, 
and  a  language  far  more  like  Italian  than  classical  Latin  was 
probably  spoken  in  the  provinces  of  Italy  at  a  very  early  date. 
We  know  at  the  utmost  what  the  date  is  of  the  first  extant 
French  or  Italian  document.  We  have  no  means  of  deciding 
when  French  or  Italian  first  began  to  be  a  spoken  tongue. 

The  argument  assumes  as  certain  that  equal  linguistic  changes 
must  have  occupied  equal  periods  of  time  at  all  portions  of  the 
world's  history,  which  is  much  the  same  as  to  assume  that  con 
stitutional  changes  in  states  must  be  equal  in  equal  times ;  or 
that,  because  B,  a  youth  of  eighteen,  5  ft.  10  in.  high,  grew  half 
an  inch  between  the  1st  of  January,  1860,  and  the  1st  of 


*  "  If  the  step  from  Latin  to  Italian 
IK?  taken  us  a  unit,  the  previous  step 
must  be  reckoned  at  least  at  ten  or  at 


twenty."     (Bunsen's    Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  pp. 
5G2,  563.) 


202  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KBSAY  VI. 

January,  ISO],  therefore  lie  grew  at  the  same  rate  all  his  pre 
vious  lifetime.  Such  an  assumption,  were  it  applied  to  dis 
cover  the  age  of  the  youth  by  one  who  possessed  no  other  data, 
might  lead  to  the  conclusion  that  he  verged  upon  140  !  It  is 
quite  possible  that  similar  reasoning,  applied  to  the  age  of 
language,  may  have  produced  a  term  of  years  almost  equally  in 
excess  of  the  truth. 

Not  only  the  analogy  of  growth  generally,  but  certain  known 
linguistic  facts  favour  the  view,  that  when  language  was  still 
young,  it  grew  with  a  rapidity  quite  unknown  to  its  later  stages. 
Nothing  so  much  tends  to  fix  and  stereotype  a  language  as  a 
literature.  When,  therefore,  there  was  as  yet  no  literature  to 
keep  the  vagaries  of  speech  in  check,  it  would  have  been  in  a 
perpetual  flux  and  change,  and  may,  in  a  comparatively  short 
space,  have  undergone  the  greatest  modifications.  Again,  when 
literature  is  wanting,  yet  men  live  together  in  political  commu 
nities  of  a  large  size,  the  requirements  of  social  intercourse  with 
a  wide  circle  act  as  a  safeguard  against  rapid  dialectical  change. 
But  in  the  simpler  and  earlier  times,  before  such  communities 
were  formed,  when  men  were  chiefly  or  wholly  nomades,  and 
lived  in  small  and  isolated  bodies  without  much  intercourse  with 
one  another,  this  check  would  not  have  existed.  Linguistic 
changes  may,  under  such  circumstances,  have  taken  place  with 
extraordinary  quickness,  and  a  growth  equal  to  that,  which 
would  in  later  times,  and  under  other  circumstances,  have 
required  five  hundred  or  a  thousand  years,  may  have  been  con 
tained  within  an  ordinary  lifetime.  "  Tribes,"  says  Professor 
M.  Miiller,  "  who  have  no  literature,  and  no  sort  of  intellectual 
occupation,  seem  occasionally  to  take  a  delight  in  working  their 
language  to  the  highest  pitch  of  grammatical  expansion.  The 
American  dialects  are  a  well-known  instance ;  and  the  greater 
the  seclusion  of  a  tribe,  the  more  amazing  the  rank  vegetation 
of  their  grammar.  We  can,  at  present,  hardly  form  a  correct 
idea  with  what  feeling  a  savage  nation  looks  upon  its  language  ; 
whether,  it  may  be,  as  a  plaything,  a  kind  of  intellectual  amuse 
ment — a  maze  in  which  the  mind  likes  to  lose  and  to  find  itself. 
But  the  result  is  the  same  everywhere.  If  the  work  of  agglu 
tination  has  once  commenced,  and  there  is  nothing  like  litera 
ture  or  society  to  keep  it  within  limits,  two  villages,  separated 
only  for  a  few  generations,  will  become  mutually  unintelligible. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  263 

This  takes  place  in  America,  as  well  as  on  the  borders  of 
China  and  India;  and  in  the  north  of  Asia,  Messerschmidt 
relates,  that  the  Ostiakes,  though  really  speaking  the  same  lan 
guage  everywhere,  have  produced  so  many  words  and  forms 
peculiar  to  each  tribe,  that  even  within  the  limits  of  twelve  or 
twenty  German  miles,  conversation  between  them  becomes  ex 
tremely  difficult.  It  must  be  remembered  also,  that  the  Dic 
tionary  of  these  languages  is  small,  if  compared  with  a  Latin  or 
a  Greek  Thesaurus.  The  conversation  of  nomadic  tribes  moves 
within  a  narrow  circle ;  and  with  the  great  facility  of  forming 
new  words  at  random,  and  the  great  inducement  that  a  solitary 
life  holds  out  to  invent  for  the  objects  which  form  the  world  of 
a  shepherd  or  huntsman,  new  appellations — half  poetical,  per 
haps,  or  satirical — we  can  understand  how,  after  a  few  genera 
tions,  the  dictionary  of  a  nomadic  tribe  may  have  gone,  as  it 
were,  through  more  than  one  edition."*  These  observations, 
which  are  made  in  reference  to  Turanian  dialects,  have  a  more 
extended  bearing.  They  show  that  while  the  inhabitants  of  the 
earth  continued  nomadic,  and  without  a  literature,  language 
would  alter  at  a  rate  very  much  beyond  that  which  is  found  to 
prevail  since  they  have  gathered  into  large  communities,  each 
with  its  own  treasure  of  written  law,  legend,  or  history. 

Further,  it  is  obvious  to  remark  that  the  whole  argument 
turns  upon  a  theory  of  language,  which  can  never  be  anything 
more  than  an  hypothesis — a  theory,  moreover,  which  ignores 
altogether  the  confusion  of  Babel,  ascribing  as  it  does  all  the 
changes  and  diversities  of  human  speech  to  the  operation  of 
natural  causes.  Those  persons  who  believe  the  miracle  recorded 
in  Gen.  xi.  1 — 9,  will  see  that  if  the  Divine  fiat  produced  in  a 
moment  of  time  a  number  of  diversities  of  speech,  which  in  the 
natural  course  of  things  would  only  have  gradually  been  de 
veloped,  language  cannot  but  present  the  appearance  of  being 
older  than  it  really  is. 

It  seems,  therefore,  that  nothing  has  really  been  as  yet  dis 
covered,  either  in  the  facts  of  history,  or  in  those  of  language, 
that  militates  against  the  chronological  scheme  of  Scripture,  if 
AVC  regard  the  Septuagint  and  Samaritan  versions  as  the  best 
exponents  of  the  original  text  in  respect  of  the  genealogy  of  the 


'  Philosophy  of  Universal  Hibtory,'  vol.  iii.  p.  483. 


2G-1 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[K8HAY    VI. 


Patriarchs  from  Shem  to  Abraham.  Whether  the  chronology 
of  these  versions  admits  of  further  expansion ;  whether,  since  the 
chronologies  of  the  Hebrew  Bible,  the  Samaritan  Pentateuch, 
and  the  Septuagint  differ,  we  can  depend  on  any  one  of  them ; 
or  whether  we  must  not  consider  that  this  portion  of  revelation 
lias  been  lost  to  us  by  the  mistakes  of  copyists  or  the  intentional 
alterations  of  systematisers,  it  is  not  necessary  at  present  to 
determine.  "  Our  treasure,"  as  before  observed,  "  is  in  earthen 
vessels."  The  revealed  AVord  of  God  has  been  continued  in  the 
world  in  the  same  way  as  other  written  compositions,  by  the 
multiplication  of  copies.  No  miraculous  aid  is  vouchsafed  to 
the  transcribers,  who  are  liable  to  make  mistakes,  and  may  not 
always  have  been  free  from  the  design  of  bending  Scripture  to 
their  own  views.  That  we  have  a  wonderfully  pure  and  perfect 
text  of  the  Pentateuch,  considering  its  antiquity,  is  admitted  ;  but 
doubts  must  ever  attach  to  the  chronology,  not  only  because  in 
all  ancient  MSS.  numbers  are  especially  liable  to  accidental 
corruption,  but  also,  and  more  especially,  from  the  fact  that 
there  is  so  wide  a  difference  in  this  respect  between  the  Hebrew, 
the  Samaritan,  and  the  Greek  copies.*  Still,  at  present,  we 
have  no  need  to  suppose  that  the  numbers  have  in  every  case 
suffered.  All  the  requirements  of  profane  history  are  suf 
ficiently  met  by  the  adoption  of  the  Septuagint  and  Samaritan 
date  for  the  Deluge  ;  and  this  is  the  date  which  is  really  most 
authoritative,  since  it  has  in  its  favour  two  out  of  the  three- 
ancient  versions. 

II.  An  authentic  character  is  denied  to  the  Pentateuch  on 
account  of  the  narrative  contained  in  it  of  the  great  Flood.  This 
narrative  is  viewed  as  the  traditional  representation  of  a  real 
event,  but  as  unhistoric  in  most  of  its  details,  and  more  especially 
as  untrue  in  regard  to  the  assertion  which  is  so  strongly  made, 
that  all  mankind,  except  a  single  family,  were  destroyed  on  the 
occasion.!  The  Deluge,  it  is  said,  was  local,  affecting  only  that 
portion  of  Asia  in  which  were  located  the  Arians  and  the 
Semites.  It  did  not  extend  to  the  Egyptians,  or  to  the  Chinese, 
or  to  the  Turanian  races  generally.  This  conclusion  is  pro- 


*  Although -in  the  list  of  patriarchs 
from  Shem  to  Abraham,  the  Samaritan 
and  the  Septuugint  coincide,  they  diller 
widely  in  the  pivredinu'  list  from  Adam 


to  Noah.  The  Samaritan  has  there  a 
term  of  years  even  (shorter  than  the 
Ilehrew. 

t  < ;<•!!.  vii.  21-2:5. 


ESSAY  VI.] 


THE  PENTATEUCH. 


265 


fessedly  drawn  from  "  the  infallible  linguistic  science,"*  or,  in 
other  words,  from  those  views  of  the  history  of  language,  the 
changes  it  has  undergone,  and  the  time  occupied  by  them,  which 
have  been  just  shown  to  be  arbitrary  and  not  very  tenable 
hypotheses.  It  is  further  regarded  as  confirmed  by  the  alleged 
fact,  that  while  among  most  of  the  Semitic  and  Arian  races 
there  was  a  distinct  and  clear  tradition  of  the  Flood,  as  among 
the  Babylonians,  the  Indians,  the  Armenians,  the  Phrygians,  the 
Lithuanians,  the  Goths,  the  Celts,  and  the  Greeks ;  neither  in 
China,  nor  in  Egypt,  nor  among  the  "  old  Turanians  "  was  any 
such  tradition  current.  Here  the  argument  is  strong ;  but  it 
attains  its  strength  by  a  combination  of  exaggeration  on  the  one 
side,  with  understatement  on  the  other.  It  is  not  true  that  "  we 
find  allusions  to  the  Flood  everywhere  among  the  Iranians  and 
Semites." t  The  Flood  does  not  appear  in  the  Zenda vesta;  it 
was  not,  so  far  as  is  known,  among  the  traditions  of  the  Arabs, 
or  the  Phoenicians,  or  the  Romans,  or  the  Slaves.  On  the  other 
hand,  traditions  of  it  were  not  entirely  wanting  in  China,  in 
Egypt,  or  among  the  Turanians. 

The  Chinese  speak  of  a  "  first  heaven  " — an  age  of  innocence, 
when  "  the  whole  creation  enjoyed  a  state  of  happiness  ;  when 
every  thing  was  beautiful,  every  thing  was  good ;  all  beings 
were  perfect  ill  their  kind ;"  whereto  succeeded  a  "  second 
heaven,"  introduced  by  a  great  convulsion.  "  The  pillars  of 
heaven  were  broken — the  earth  shook  to  its  foundations — the 
heavens  sunk  lower  towards  the  north — the  sun,  the  moon,  and 
the  stars  changed  their  motions — the  earth  fell  to  pieces ;  and 
the  waters  enclosed  within  its  bosom  burst  forth  with  violence,  and 
overflowed  it.  Man  having  rebelled  against  heaven,  the  system 
of  the  universe  was  totally  disordered.  The  sun  was  eclipsed, 
the  planets  altered  their  courses,  and  the  grand  harmony  of 
nature  was  disturbed."  $ 

In  Egypt,  according  to  Plato,  the  teaching  of  the  priests  was, 
not  that  there  had  been  no  Deluge,  but  that  there  had  been 
several.  They  believed  that  from  time  to  time,  in  consequence 
of  the  anger  of  the  Gods,  the  earth  was  visited  by  a  terrible 
catastrophe.  The  agent  of  destruction  was  sometimes  fin;, 


*  Bunsen, '  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  p.  472,  anil 
p.  559. 

t  Ibid  p.  164. 


J  Fiilxjr,  '  Iloric  Mosaicae,'  ch.  iv.  pp. 
117,  148. 


2G6  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  ESSAY  VI. 

sometimes  water.  In  the  conflagrations,  all  countries  were 
burnt  up  but  Egypt,  which  was  protected  by  the  Nile  ;  and  in 
the  deluges,  all  were  submerged  except  Egypt,  where  rain  never 
fell.  The  last  catastrophe,  they  said,  had  been  a  deluge  ;  it 
took  place  above  8000  years  before  Solon,  and  not  only  swept 
away  the  Greeks,  as  they  were  themselves  aware,  but  perma 
nently  submerged  a  vast  island  in  the  Atlantic  Ocean,  previously 
the  seat  of  a  great  conquering  monarchy.*  It  does  not  destroy 
the  traditional  character  of  these  latter  statements,  that  they 
are  coupled  with  a  theory  of  repeated  mundane  catastrophes ; 
neither  does  it  much  lessen  the  value  of  the  evidence,  in  the 
case  of  a  people  making  such  absurd  pretensions  to  antiquity  as 
the  Egyptians,  that  Egypt  is  supposed  to  have  been  exempt 
from  the  general  ruin.  31.  Bunsen  admits  that  the  oldest  tradi 
tions  of  Egypt  "  seem  here  and  there  to  retain  the  echoes  of  a 
knowledge  of  some  violent  convulsions  in  nature,"  f  while  he 
denies  that  these  traditions  constitute  a  reminiscence  of  the  his 
torical  Flood.  It  is  at  least  as  reasonable  to  hold  that  the  one 
convulsion  of  which  they  had  some  real  knowledge  was  that 
great  catastrophe,  and  that  in  regard  to  the  rest  they  merely 
represented  historically  the  conclusions  at  which  they  had 
arrived  by  speculation. 

With  regard  to  the  belief  of  the  Turanian  races,  it  may  be 
true  that  those  of  Europe  and  Asia  have  no  traditions  of  a 
Deluge  among  them,  although  this  point  has  hardly  been  as  yet 
sufficiently  established ;  but  if  we  hold  (as  is  now  commonly 
done)$  the  Malays  to  be  a  Turanian  offshoot,  and  the  Polynesian 
islanders  to  be  Malays,  then  it  must  be  allowed  that  traces  of  a 
belief  in  the  Deluge  exist  also  in  this  ethnic  family.  "  Tradi 
tions  of  the  Deluge,"  says  Mr.  Ellis,  "  have  been  found  to  exist 
among  the  natives  of  the  South  Sea  Islands,  from  the  earliest 
periods  of  their  history.  .  .  The  principal  facts  are  the  same 
in  the  traditions  prevailing  among  the  inhabitants  of  the  different 
groups,  although  they  differ  in  several  minor  particulars.  In 
one  group  the  accounts  stated,  that  in  ancient  times  Taarsa,  the 
principal  god  according  to  their  mythology,  being  angry  with 


*  '  Tinisciis,'  p.  21. 

t  '  Kjjypt,'  vol.  iv.  \\  f>59. 

J  M.  Miiller,  in  the  'Philosophy  <>!' 


Universal  History,'  vol.  iii.  pp.  403-429  ; 
'Lan-rimjirc'sj  oi'  the  Seat  of  War,'  p.  110, 
1st  edition. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  207 

men  on  account  of  their  disobedience  to  his  will,  overturned  the 
world  into  the  sea,  when  the  earth  sunk  in  the  waters,  excepting 
a  few  projecting  points,  which,  remaining  above  its  surface,  con 
stituted  the  present  cluster  of  islands.  The  memorial  preserved 
by  the  inhabitants  of  Eimeo  states,  that  after  the  inundation  of 
the  land,  when  the  water  subsided,  a  man  landed  from  a  canoe 
near  Tiataepua  in  their  island,  and  erected  an  altar  in  honour  of 
his  god.  The  tradition  which  prevails  in  the  Leeward  Islands 
is  intimately  connected  with  the  island  of  Eaiatea."  Here  the 
story  is  that  a  fisherman  disturbed  the  sea-god  with  his  hooks, 
whereupon  the  god  determined  to  destroy  mankind.  The 
fisherman,  however,  obtained  mercy,  and  was  directed  to  take 
refuge  in  a  certain  small  islet,  whither  he  betook  himself  with  his 
wife,  his  child,  one  friend,  and  specimens  of  all  the  domestic 
animals.  The  sea  then  rose,  and  submerged  the  other  islands, 
destroying  all  the  inhabitants.  But  the  fisherman  and  his  com 
panions  were  unharmed,  and  afterwards  removing  from  their 
islet  to  Kaiatea  became  the  progenitors  of  the  present  people.* 
Thus,  if  the  South  Sea  Islanders  belong  to  the  Turanian  family, 
it  would  seem  that  that  family,  no  less  than  the  Arian  and 
Semitic,  has  reminiscences  of  the  Great  Catastrophe  which  once 
befel  mankind.! 

The  result  is,  that  there  is  no  marked  difference,  in  respect  of 
traditions  of  the  Deluge,  between  "the  different  races  of  men. 
No  race  is  without  some  tradition  on  the  subject,  while  in  none 
is  the  tradition  spread  universally  among  all  the  nations  into 
which  the  race  subdivides.  Various  circumstances  have  caused 
the  event  to  be  vividly  or  faintly  apprehended,  to  be  stored  in 
the  memory  of  a  nation,  or  to  be  allowed  to  fade  from  it.  If 
the  Semitic  tradition  is  the  clearest  and  most  circumstantial, 
while  the  Turanian  is  the  dimmest  and  slightest,  it  is  probably 
because  the  Turanians  generally  were  without  a  literature,  while 
among  the  Semites  the  tradition  took  a  written  form  early.  If 
in  Egypt,  while  the  Deluge  is  not  unknown,  it  makes  little 
figure,  notwithstanding  the  early  use  of  letters  in  that  country, 
it  is  perhaps  because  the  Egyptians  did  not  choose  to  keep  it 


*  '  Polynesian  researches,'  vol.  ii.  pp.  j  Lad  very  clear  traditions  of  the  Flood, 
57-5!»  were  also  probably  oi'  Tumiiiuu  origin, 

t  The  Mexicans  and  Peruvians,  who  | 


208  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

in  mind,  since,  in  their  desire  to  be  considered  autochthonous 
and  of  immense  antiquity,  they  seem  to  have  determinately 
severed  all  the  links  which  connected  them  with  their  primitive 
Asiatic  abodes.*  If,  on  the  contrary,  among  the  Arians,  though 
they  had  no  very  early  literature,  the  reminiscence  is  vivid,  it 
may  be  ascribed  to  the  Liveliness,  impressibility,  and  poetic  tone 
of  their  minds,  which  such  an  event  as  the  Deluge  was  calcu 
lated  to  affect  strongly,  and  to  their  comparative  honesty,  which 
led  them  to  cherish  in  most  cases  the  traditions  uniting  them 
with  primitive  times. 

III.  The  objections  taken  to  the  ethnology  of  Genesis  are 
limited  to  two.  It  is  allowed  that  a  high  antiquity,  and  a  great 
historical  value,  belong  to  the  Toldoth  Beui  Noah,  or  "  Book  of 
the  generations  of  the  sons  of  Noah,"  which  forms  the  tenth 
chapter  of  the  First  Book  of  Moses.  But  it  is  maintained  that 
in  its  present  state  this  chapter  is  the  work  of  a  "  compiler,"  who 
misunderstood  his  materials,  and  that  it  requires  correction  from 
the  better  knowledge  of  the  moderns.t  The  two  mistakes  which 
are  especially  charged  on  the  document  are — first,  that,  by  making 
Canaan  a  son  of  Ham,  it  connects  the  Canaanites  ethnically  with 
the  Egyptians,  whereas  they  were  an  entirely  distinct  people, 
not  Hamites,  but  Semites ;  and  secondly,  that,  by  declaring 
Gush  to  have  begotten  Nimrod,  it  makes  that  conqueror  and 
his  kingdom  Ethiopian,  whereas  they  were  in  reality  Cossroan, 
and  so  Turanian  or  Scythic.  In  the  latter  case  it  is  supposed 
that  the  "  compiler  "  was  misled  by  a  resemblance  of  words ;  in 
the  former,  that  he  misinterpreted  a  geographical  fact  ethni 
cally. 

But  the  latest  research  tends  to  vindicate  the  ethnology  of 
Genesis  in  both  the  disputed  cases.  The  supposed  Semitic  cha 
racter  of  the  Canaanites  rests  upon  two  grounds — first,  their 
presumed  identity  with  the  Phoenicians,  and  secondly,  the 


*  "  The  evidence  of  the  Egyptians,"  change  of  sent,  and  the  settlement  in 

says  Mr.  Stuart  Poole,  "as  to  the  pri-  Egypt  of  a  civilized  race,  which  either 

meval  history  of  their  race  and  country  wishing  to  be  l>elicved  autochthonous, 

is  extremely  indefinite There  is  a  or  having  lost  all  ties  that  could  keep 

very  short  and  extremely  obscure  time  up  the  traditions  of  its  first  dwelling- 

of  tradition,    and   at  no  great  distance  place,  filled  up  the  commencement  of  its 

from  the  earliest  date  at  which  it  can  IKJ  history  with  materials  drawn  from  my- 

held   to  end    we   come  upon   the   clear  thology."     ('Biblical  Dictionary,' vol.  i. 

lii/lit  of  history  in  the  days  of  the  1'yra-  p.  507.) 
midd.     The  indications  are  of  a  sudden          f   Buns-en,  'Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  p.  -117. 


ESSAY  VI.] 


THE  PENTATEUCH. 


269 


Semitic  etymology  of  certain  Canaanitish  names — e.  g.,  Melchi- 
sedek,  Abimelech,  Adonibezek,  Mamre,  Eshcol,  Kirjath-Arba, 
&c.  This  last  argument  is  undoubtedly  important,  though  it  is 
far  from  decisive.  For,  firstly,  language  is  not  a  certain  sign  of 
race,  since  occasionally  a  nation  has  adopted  a  completely 
foreign  tongue.  Secondly,  the  names,  as  given  in  the  Hebrew 
Scriptures,  are  perhaps  not  Canaanitish  words  at  all,  but  only 
the  Semitic  equivalents  of  the  native  (Hamitic)  terms.  Thirdly, 
the  true  stock  of  the  Canaanites  may  have  been  Hamitic,  yet 
even  before  the  time  of  Abraham  they  may  have  received  a 
Semitic  infusion  from  the  valley  of  the  Euphrates  ;  and  Semitic 
names  may  thus  have  been  introduced  among  them.  As  for  the 
other  argument,  though  it  has  great  names  in  its  favour,  there  is 
really  very  little  to  be  said  for  it.  Phoenicia,  as  a  country,  is 
distinguishable  from  Canaan,  in  which  it  may,  perhaps,  have 
been  included,  but  of  which  it  was  at  any  rate  only  a  part ;  and 
the  Pho3nician  people  present  in  many  respects  a  strong  and 
marked  contrast  to  the  Canaanites,  so  that  there  is  great  reason 
to  believe  that  they  were  an  entirely  different  race.*  That  their 
ethnic  character  was  really  Hamitic  seems  to  be  indicated  by  the 
Babylonian  tradition  in  Eupolemus,t  that  Canaan  was  the  grand 
father  of  Cush  and  Mestraim  (Mizraim).  It  is  further  evidenced 
by  the  names  of  various  places  in  their  country,  as  Baalbek,  "  the 
h&use  of  Baal,"  where  beJc  is  the  Egyptian  root  found  in  Atar- 
bechis,  "  the  house  of  Athor " — Marathus,  which  seems  to  be 
Martu,  the  Hamitic  term  for  "  the  West " — Beth-shan,  which 
in  Semitic  was  Beth-shemesh,  "the  house  of  the  sun,"  &c. 
Finally,  it  is  thought  to  be  absolutely  proved  by  the  Hittite 
names,  which  occur  abundantly  in  the  Assyrian  inscriptions,  and 
which  are  found  to  be  unmistakably  of  a  Hamitic  type  and  for 
mation. 

The  Cushite  descent  of  the  Babylonians  has  still  more  ample 


*  Sec  the  writer's  '  Herodotus,'  vol. 
iv.  pp.  243-245,  where  the  point  is  ar 
gued  at  length.  "The  Canaanites,"  it 
is  noted,  "  are  fierce  and  intractable  war 
riors,  rejoicing  in  the  prancing  steeds 
and  chariots  of  iron,  neither  given  to 
commerce  nor  to  any  of  the  arts  of  peace ; 
the  Phoenicians  are  quiet  and  peaceable, 
a  nation  of  traffickers,  skilful  in  naviga 
tion  and  in  the  arts  both  useful  and 
ornamental ;  un  warlike  except  at  sea, 


and  wholly  devoted  to  commerce.  Again, 
whereas  between  the  real  Canaanites 
and  the  Jews  there  was  deadly  and 
perpetual  hostility,  until  the  former  were 
utterly  rooted  out  and  destroyed,  the 
Jews  and  Phoenicians  were  on  terms  of 
perpetual  amity, — an  amity  encouraged 
by  the  best  princes,  who  would  scarcely 
have  contracted  a  friendship  witli  tlio 
accursed  race." 

t  '  Fragm.  Hist.  Gr.'  vol.  iii.  p.  212. 


270 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  VI. 


evidence  in  its  favour.  Linguistic  research,  harmonising  in 
this  instance  at  once  with  classical  tradition  and  with  the  Scrip 
tural  account,  shows  the  early  Babylonians  to  have  been,  not 
only  Hamitic,  but  determinately  of  Cushite  origin.*  All  the 
ancient  Babylonian  documents  are  in  a  dialect,  the  vocabulary 
of  which  has  a  closer  connexion  with  the  native  languages  of 
Abyssinia  than  with  any  other  known  form  of  speech.  Nor  is 
this  a  mere  coincidence.  The  evidence  of  monuments  (Him- 
yaric,  Chaldean,  and  Susian)  shows,  that  a  homogeneous  race 
was  spread  in  very  ancient  times  from  the  country  upon  the 
Upper  Nile,  along  the  southern  coast  of  Arabia,  to  the  shores  of 
the  Persian  Gulf,  and  thence  into  Susiana,  whence  it  probably 
passed,  by  way  of  Gedrosia,  to  India.  M.  Bunsen  decides  that 
'•  an  Asiatic  Kush  (or  Ethiopia)  exists  only  in  the  imagination  of 
Biblical  interpreters,  and  is  the  child  of  their  despair."  \  But 
ancient  lore  and  modern  research  are  equally  against  this  view. 
Homer  knew  the  Ethiopians  to  be  "  divided,"  and  to  dwell 
"  towards  the  rising  and  the  setting  sun."  \  Hesiod  made 
Memnon,  the  son  of  the  Dawn,  and  the  traditional  founder  of 
Susa,  an  Ethiopian  king.  §  Pindar  taught  that  this  same 
Memnon  brought  an  army  of  Ethiopians  to  the  relief  of  Troy.  |j 
Herodotus  was  told  of  Asiatic  Ethiopians  as  contained  within 
the  Persian  empire,  and  assigned  them  their  place  in  the 
satrapies  of  Darius,  t  and  in  the  army  of  Xerxes.**  Ephorus 
gave  all  the  shores  of  the  Erythraean  Sea,  or  Southern  Ocean,  to 
the  Ethiopians  ;tt  and  so,  according  to  Strabo,  did  the  ancient 
Greek  writers  generally.tt  The  names  Kissia,  and  Kosssea, 
Kusan,§§  and  Kutch  or  Kooch,  which  have  clung  to  portions  of 
the  south  coast  of  Asia,  from  the  time  of  Herodotus  to  the 
present  day,  confirm  the  classical  belief — a  belief  which  is 
further  evidenced  by  the  genealogists,  who  almost  universally 
connect  Belus,  the  mythic  progenitor  of  the  Babylonians,  with 
^Egyptus  and  Libya. Hi!  Thus  the  Asiatic  Ethiopia,  which  is 


*  Sir  H.  Itawlinson,  in  the  writer's 
'  Herodotus,'  vol.  i.  p.  442,  note :  com 
pare  Kalisch,  '  Comment,  on  Genesis,'  p. 
174,  E.  T. 

t  '  Philosophy  of  Universal  History,' 
vol.  iii.  p.  191. 

I  '  Odyssey,'  i.  23,  24. 

§  '  Theogonia,'  'JS4,  985. 

1|  '  Xemea,'  iii.  (12,  C3. 


«I  Herod,  iii.  94. 

**  Ibid.  vii.  70. 

tt  Ap.  Strab.  i.  2,  §  28. 

II  Stnih.  i.  2,  §  27. 

§§  Kusan  was  the  name  given  to  the 
country  east  of  Kerman  throughout  the 
whole  of  the  Sassuiiian  period. 

||  ||  Phereeyd.  Fr.  40;  Charax  Per-, 
ap.  Stcph.  Byz.  s.  voe.  Afyuirro? :  Apol- 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  271 

mentioned  more  than  once  in  Scripture,*  is  no  guess  or  myth, 
but  an  established  fact ;  and  to  this  Ethiopia  it  appears  that 
both  early  Babylon  and  the  neighbouring  countries  of  Susiana 
and  Southern  Arabia  belonged. 

The  "  Toldoth  Beni  Noah,"  therefore,  instead  of  proving  in 
correct  on  the  two  points  where  its  accuracy  has  been  most 
recently  challenged,  is  found  in  regard  to  them  singularly  to 
accord  with  the  latest  results  of  philological  and  ethnological 
research.!  Indeed  that  document,  which  has  been  well  called 
"  the  most  authentic  record  that  we  possess  for  the  affiliation  of 
races,"  J  is  continually  receiving  fresh  illustration  and  confirma 
tion  from  the  progress  of  modern  discovery,  and  is  probably 
destined  to  become,  as  time  goes  on,  a  continually  stronger  evi 
dence  of  the  historic  accuracy  of  Genesis. 

IV.  Of  all  the  attempts  made  to  invalidate  the  histori 
cal  character  of  the  Pentateuch,  the  boldest  is  that  which, 
starting  from  an  observation  of  the  resemblance  of  the  names 
given  in  the  two  genealogies  of  the  Sethites  and  the  Cainites,§ 
proceeds  to  argue  that  they  are  really  representations  of  one 
and  the  same  list,  with  variations  in  the  order  and  in  the  ortho 
graphy,  Avhich  variations  destroy  the  authority  of  both,  and 
show  that  nothing  has  come  down  to  us  but  a  document  founded 
on  "a  misunderstanding  of  the  earliest  records." ||  "Not  having 
one  tradition,  but  two,"  we  have,  it  is  argued,  in  reality,  "  no 
historical  account."  We  may,  therefore,  suppose  that  neither 
list  contains  any  actual  genealogy  at  all.  We  may  view  the 
names  as  ideal  or  mythical,  significative  of  notions,  nations,  or 
epochs  ;  and  we  may  then  construct  a  history  of  the  Old  World 
according  to  our  fancy,  with  very  little  check  indeed  upon  our 
faculty  of  invention. 

Now  the  facts  of  the  case  are  simply,  that  in  the  two  genea 
logies,  which  differ  both  at  the  beginning  and  at  the  end,  six 
consecutive  names  occur,  of  which  two  are  identical,  while  the 
remaining  four  have  more  or  less  of  resemblance.  These  names 


lodor.  ii.  1,  §  4 ;  Eupolcmus  ap.  Alex,   i  'Biblical  Dictionary'  are  recommended 
Polyhist.   Fr.   3;    Johann.   Antiochen.      to  the  reader's  attention. 


Fr.  6,§  15. 

*  Gen.  ii.  13 ;  Ezck.  xxxviii.  5. 

t*In  connexion  with  this  subject 
Mr.  11.  S.  Poolc's  articles  on  '  The  Ca- 
naanitee  '  and  '  Cush '  in  Dr.  Smith's 


J  Sir  H.  Rawlinson  in  the  '  Journal 
of  the  Asiatic  Society,'  vol.  xv.  p.  280. 
§  Gen.  iv.  17-22  ;  Gen.  v.  3-82. 
||  '  Egypt's  Place,'  vol.  iv.  p.  395. 


272  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  []-SSAY  VI. 

are  Cain,  Enoch,  Irad,  Mehujael,  Methusael,  and  Lamech  in  tlio 
one  list;  Cainau,  Mahalaleel,  Jared,  Enoch,  Methuselah,  and 
Lamech  in  the  other.  The  names  Enoch  and  Lamech  (it  will 
be  seen)  occur  in  both  lists  ;  of  the  rest,  Cain  resembles  Cainan  ; 
Irad,  Jared ;  Mehujael,  Mahalaleel ;  and  Methusael,  Methu 
selah.  The  resemblance,  however,  is  in  the  Hebrew  scarcely  so 
<rreat  as  in  the  Authorized  Version.  Irad  differs  from  Jared  bv 

„ 

an  initial  letter  of  peculiar  importance,  the  Hebrew  a  in  (J7), 
which  had  a  strong  guttural  sound,  and  is  rarely  lost.*  Maha 
laleel  differs  from  Mehujael  by  one  entire  element  out  of  the 
two  which  make  it  up  ;  it  is  really  no  nearer  to  Mehujael  than 
Theodosius  to  Theophilus,  or  Jeroboam  to  Jerubbaal.  In  Methu 
sael,  and  Methuselah,  again,  the  concluding  element  is  different, 
there  being  probably  no  connection  between  the  sael  or  shael  of 
the  one  and  the  sclah  or  shelach  of  the  other.  Further,  there  is 
a  considerable  difference  in  the  order  which  the  names  hold  in 
the  two  lists  ;  and  of  this  difference  no  account  has  been  even 
attempted.  The  second  name  in  the  Cainite  list  is  the  fourth 
in  the  list  of  the  Sethites  ;  and  conversely  the  fourth  among  the 
Cainites  is  a  name  resembling  the  second  name  among  the 
Sethites.  Hence,  if  we  allow  the  names  to  correspond,  we  must 
say  that  the  two  lists  agree  in  no  single  relationship,  except 
only  that  of  the  last  pair.  Cain  is  the  son  of  Adam  and  father 
of  Enoch  ;  but  Cainan  is  the  son  of  Enos  and  father  of  Mahala 
leel.  Enoch  the  Cainite  is  the  son  of  Cain  and  father  of  Irad  ; 
but  Enoch  the  Sethite  is  the  son  of  Jared  and  father  of  Methu 
selah.  Irad  is  son  of  Enoch  and  father  of  Mehujael ;  but  Jared 
is  son  of  Mahalaleel  and  father  of  Enoch.  Finally,  Methusael 
is  son  of  Mehujael,  but  Methuselah  of  Enoch  ;  and  Lamech  the 
Sethite  is  father  of  Noah,  but  Lamech  the  Cainite,  of  Jabal, 
Jubal,  and  Tubal-Cain.  Altogether,  while  the  amount  of  re 
semblance  in  the  two  lists  is  certainly  remarkable,  the  amount 
of  diversity  is  such  as  very  clearly  to  distinguish  them  from  one 
another.  AVhere  confusion  was  most  likely  to  ensue — that  is  to 
say,  in  the  cases  of  the  twro  identical  names  of  Enoch  and  La 
mech — the  narrative  in  one  or  the  other  list  is  fuller  and  more 


*  In  the  LXX.  Hie  ain  is  represented 
by  the  Greek  7.  There  the  two  names 
scarcely  retain  any  resemblance  at  all, 
bring  respectively  lured  '  \dpeS,  and 


Ga'idad  Tai'SaS).  The  copies  used  by 
the  LXX.  evidently  had  ~]  in  the  place 
of-|. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  273 

detailed  than  usual,  apparently  for  the  very  purpose  of  guarding 
against  the  mistake  of  identification.  All,  therefore,  that  can 
fairly  be  concluded  is,  that  in  the  two  families  of  the  Sethites 
and  the  Cainites,  as  in  the  two  kingdoms  of  Israel  and  Judah,* 
similar  appellations,  and  to  some  extent  the  same  appellations, 
prevailed.  It  would  seem  that  at  first  men  were  slow  to  invent 
new  names,  and  either  used  the  old  names  over  again  or  modified 
them  slightly.  Thus  we  have  Enos  and  Enoch,  Adam  and  Adah^ 
Jabal,  Jubal,  and  Tubal-C&in,  where  no  one  suggests  an  identi 
fication.  Probably  names  were  considered  of  great  importance, 
and  the  experiment  of  an  entirely  new  name  was  not  readily 
made. 

The  mythical  character  of  this  same  portion  of  the  Biblical 
history  has  been  further  based  upon  certain  supposed  etymolo 
gies.  Seth,  we  are  informed,  represents,  not  a  man,  but  God 
Himself,  since  Set  or  Sutekh  was  an  old  Oriental  root  for  God, 
and  Set  or  Suti  continued  to  be  an  Egyptian  deity.  $  Enos  is 
the  same  as  Adam,  since  in  Aramaic  it  means  "  man,"  as  Adam 
does  in  Hebrew.  §  Neither  nre  real  names  of  persons,  but  only 
ideal  appellations  for  the  first  founder  of  our  race.  Enoch, 
"  the  seer  of  God,"  represents  a  religious  period  intervening  be 
tween  the  time  of  the  marauder  Cain,  and  that  of  the  agricul 
tural  builder  of  cities  Irad.  ||  At  the  same  time  he  is  "  the  solar 
year,"  since  the  number  of  years  which  he  is  said  to  have  lived 
coincides  exactly  with  the  number  of  days  in  that  division  of 
time.!  Cain  and  Irad  are  the  respective  types  of  the  nomadic 
shepherd  races  and  the  agricultural  dwellers  in  towns.  The 
other  patriarchs  also  represent  epochs  ;  and  Nahor,  the  grand 
father  of  Abraham,  is  the  first  real  Biblical  man.** 

It  is  clear  that  all  history  whatsoever  may  be  made  to  evapo 
rate  under  such  treatment  as  this.  If  we  may  guess  at  etymo 
logies,  and  then  at  once  assume  our  guesses  to  be  coincident 
with  truth ;  if  we  may  regard  all  significant  names  as  mythic, 
and  the  personages  to  whom  they  are  assigned  as  ideal,  there  is 
no  portion  of  the  world's  annals  which  may  not  with  a  very  little 


*  Taking  the  five  consecutive  and 
contemporary  monarchs  of  these  two 
kingdoms,  who  follow  upon  Ahab  and 
Jehoshaphat,  we  find  three  names  com 
mon  to  the  two  lists. 

j  Tlif  rpseinbl.iriw  is  less  in  the  He 


brew,  but  still  it  is  real. 

J  Bunsen,  '  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  p.  208. 
§  Ibid.  p.  3«5. 
||  Ibid.  p.  3SJO. 


Ibid.  p.  389. 
Ibid.  p.  40!». 


r 


274  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

ingenuity  be  transferred  to  the  region  of  myth.  A  witty  writer 
noted  some  ten  years  since  the  certainty  that,  if  such  views 
prevailed,  a  famous  passage  from  the  ecclesiastical  history  of 
our  own  time  would  be  relegated  by  posterity  to  that  shadowy 
region  ;  for  how  could  it  be  doubted  that  such  names  as  New 
man,  Wiseman,  Masterman,  Philpotts,  Wilde,  were  "  fictitious 
appellations  invented  by  an  allegorist,  either  to  set  forth 
certain  qualities  or  attributes  of  certain  persons  whose  true 
names  were  concealed,  or  to  embody  certain  tendencies  of  the 
times,  or  represent  certain  party  characteristics  ?"*  Similarly 
it  might  be  argued  that  Athenian  history,  from  Draco  to 
Pericles,  is  mythical — that  Draco  was  intended  to  represent  the 
bloody  and  cruel  spirit  of  the  old  aristocracy,  Cylon  their 
crooked  courses,  Solon  the  first  establishment  of  a  sole  authority 
(for  it  would  seem  to  be  thought  allowable  to  draw  a  derivation 
from  a  cognate  dialect),  Pisistratus  the  usurpation  in  which  a 
chief  persuaded  an  army  to  help  him,  Hippias,  Hipparchus,  and 
Thessalus,  the  time  when,  with  the  aid  of  Tltessaly,  the  cavalry 
service  was  first  fully  organised,  Isagoras  the  establishment  of 
democracy,  Clisthenes  the  triumph  of  physical  strength,  Themi- 
stocles  the  ascendancy  of  law,  Aristides  the  completion  of  the  best 
form  of  government,  Pericles  the  age  when  Athens  attained  her 
full  glory.  Where  names  are  significant,  and  their  etymology 
is  accurately  known,  it  is  generally  easy  to  bend  them  into 
agreement  even  with  the  actual  history  of  the  time.  How  much 
more  easy  must  it  be,  when  their  signification  is  unknown,  to 
affix  a  meaning  on  plausible  grounds  which  shall  square  with 
our  historical  fancies ! 

But,  it  is  said,  the  histories  of  all  other  nations  run  up  into 
myth.  Can  the  Hebrews  be  a  solitary  exception?  This  is 
simply  to  ask  :  Can  there  be  direct  revelation  at  all ;  or,  in 
other  words,  can  God  or  a  Divine  messenger  speak  to  man  face 
to  face,  as  the  prophets  declare  they  were  spoken  to  ?  If  He 
can,  there  is  certainly  nothing  to  prevent  the  subject  matter  of 
His  revelation  from  being  historical.  And  the  beginnings  of 
human  history  might  in  this  way  be  as  well  communicated  as 
any  other  facts,  past,  present,  or  future.  N"or  is  it  at  all  impos- 

*  'Eclipse  of  Fiiitli,'    pp.   347,    3-18.  I  couplet,  written  l>v  a  living  scholar  »<. 

The  significance  of  two  of  the    mimes  the  time  of  the  "Papal  Aggression"  :- 

belonging  to  this  passage  of  <>ur    his-  ..C;1I11  s.,,,;,,,,,.  pilH  ,,ost-:.sjuravit  ln  an.*: 

tor}*    gave     occasion    to    the    following  Impius  heu  Sapient  iusipipnuque  HUB!" 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  275 

sible  that  the  true  histury  may  have  been  handed  down  in  one 
line  by  an  undefiled  tradition,  while  in  all  other  lines  it  was 
corrupted.  The  la  vs  which  govern  human  action  are  general, 
not  universal ;  and  an  exception  is  so  much  a  matter  of  course 
that  some  regard  it  as  "  proving  the  rule."  It  is  unphilosophical 
to  assume,  merely  on  the  analogy  of  other  nations,  that  the 
Hebrew  "  beginnings "  are  mythic.  At  the  least,  they  ought 
first  to  be  formally  compared  witli  the  "  beginnings  "  of  those 
other  nations,  and  only  pronounced  mythic  if  found  to  resemble 
them.  Such  a  comparison  has  not  been  made  at  all  fully  as 
yet ;  and,  if  it  were  made,  would  exhibit  the  most  striking 
diversity.*  The  "  beginnings "  of  other  races  have  an  air  of 
extravagance  about  them,  a  tone  of  quaintness  and  grotesque- 
nes-s  utterly  alien  from  the  "  Origines  "  of  the  Hebrews.  In  the 
former  gods  have  their  heads  cut  off,  or  devour  their  children, 
or  undergo  marvellous  transformations,  or  marry  their  mothers, 
or  are  fished  up  out  of  the  sea  by  fishermen,  or  are  otherwise 
set  before  us  in  ludicrous  aspects,  which  take  away  all  solemnity 
and  seriousness  from  the  narrative.  How  different  from  this  is 
the  simple  and  awful  grandeur  of  Genesis !  What  a  deep  and 
solemn  earnestness  greets  us  in  the  very  first  words !  What 
sustained  seriousness  do  we  find  throughout !  How  evident  that 
we  are  on  holy  ground,  in  the  hands  of  a  writer  who  does  not 
dare  to  jest  or  sport  with  things  divine,  who  is  no  fanciful 
allegorizer,  weaving  quaint  fables  to  delight  us  as  he  instructs, 
but  one  who  speaks  as  in  the  presence  of  God,  with  a  simple 
reverent  solemnity,  incompatible  with  any  conscious  departure 
from  literal  truth !  It  is  impossible  to  illustrate  this  subject  to 
any  large  extent  here ;  but  the  reader  may  gain,  from  the  two 
passages  placed  below  in  parallel  columns,  a  tolerably  fair 
notion  of  the  extent  to  which  the  "  Origines  "  of  other  nations 
differ  in  tone  from  Genesis. 

ACCOUNT  OF  THE  CREATION  FROM         ACCOUNT  OF  THE  CREATION  FROM 
BERosus.f  GENESIS.}; 

"  In  the  beginning  all  was  darkness  "  In  the  beginning  God  created  the 
and  water,  and  therein  were  generated  heaven  and  the  earth.  And  the  earth 
monstrous  animals  of  strange  and  pe-  was  without  form  and  void  ;  and  dark- 


*  M.  Bunsen  makes  a  very  incom 
plete  comparison  in  the  fourth  volume 
of  his '  Egypt '  (pp.  364-375  .  He  cannot, 
however,  even  proceed  so  fsir  as  he  1ms 
pone  without  bVing  struck  with  the  di 


versity  here  spoken  of.     (See  p.  374.) 
t  Ap.  Syncell.  'Chronograph.'  vol.  i. 

p.  53  :  compare  Euaeb.    '  Chron.    Can. 

i.  2  ;  pp.  11,  12,  ed.  Mai. 
I  Gen.  i.  1-8  ;  24-27;  ii.  7. 
T   2 


276 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ESSAY  VI. 


cnliar  forms.  There  were  men  with 
two  wings,  and  others  even  with  tour, 
and  with  two  faces:  and  others  witli 
two  heads,  a  man's  and  a  woman's,  on 
one  body  :  and  there  were  men  with 
the  heads  and  the  horns  of  goats,  and 
men  with  hoofs  like  horses,  and  some 
with  the  upper  parts  of  a  man  joined 
to  the  lower  parts  of  a  horse,  like 
centaurs ;  and  there  were  bulls  with 
human  heads,  dogs  with  four  bodies 
and  with  fishes'  tails,  men  and  horses 
with  dogs'  heads,  &c.  &c.  A  woman 
ruled  them  all,  by  name  Omorka, 
which  is  the  same  as  '  the  sea.' 


ness  was  upon  the  face  of  the  deep. 
And  the  Spirit  of  God  moved  upon 
the  face  of  the  waters. 


"  And  Belus  appeared,  and  split 
the  woman  in  twain  ;  and  of  the  one 
half  of  her  he  made  the  heaven,  and 
of  the  other  half  the  earth  ;  and  the 
beasts  that  were  in  her  he  caused  to 
perish.  And  he  split  the  darkness, 
and  divided  the  heaven  and  the  earth 
asunder,  and  put  the  world  in  order  ; 
and  the  animals  that  could  not  bear 
the  light  perished. 


"  Belus,  upon  this,  seeing  that  the 
earth  was  desolate,  yet  teeming  with 
productive  j>ower,  commanded  one  of 
the  gods  to  cut  off  his  head,  and  to 
mix  the  blood,  which  flowed  forth, 
with  earth,  and  form  men  there wi'th, 
and  beasts  that  could  bear  the  light. 
So  man  was  made,  and  was  intelligent, 
being  a  partaker  of  the  Divine  wis 
dom." 


"  And  God  said,  Let  there  be  light  •, 
and  there  was  light.  And  God  saw 
the  light  that  it  was  good ;  and  God 
divided  the  light  from  the  darkness. 
And  God  called  the  light  Day ;  and 
the  darkness  he  called  Night.  And 
the  evening  and  the  morning  were  the 
first  day. 

"  And  God  said,  Let  there  be  a  fir 
mament  in  the  midst  of  the  waters ; 
and  let  it  divide  the  waters  from  the 
waters.  And  God  made  the  firma 
ment,  and  divided  the  waters  which 
were  under  the  firmament  from  the 
waters  which  were  above  the  firma 
ment;  and  it  was  so.  And  God  called 
the  firmament  Heaven.  And  the  even 
ing  and  the  morning  were  the  second 
day. 

"  And  God  said,  Let  the  earth  bring 
forth  the  living  creature  after  his  kind, 
cattle  and  creeping  thing  and  beast 
of  the  earth  after  his  kind  ;  and  it  was 
so.  And  God  made  the  beast  of  the 
earth  after  his  kind,  and  cattle  after 
their  kind,  and  everything  that  creep- 
eth  upon  the  earth  after  his  kind  :  and 
God  saw  that  it  was  good. 

"  And  God  said,  Let  us  make  man 
in  our  image,  after  our  likeness  ;  and 
let  them  have  dominion  over  the  fish 
of  the  sea,  and  over  the  fowl  of  the  air, 
and  over  the  cattle,  and  over  all  the 
earth,  and  over  every  creeping  thing 
that  crecpetli  upon  the  earth.  So  God 
created  man  in  his  own  image  ;  in  the 
imaue  of  God  created  he  him ;  male 
and  female  created  he  them. 

"  And  the  Lord  God  formed  man 
of  the  dust  of  the  ground,  and  breathed 
into  his  nostrils  the  breath  of  life. 
And  man  became  a  living  soul." 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  277 

V.  The  longevity  of  the  Patriarchs  appears  to  modern 
critics  "  at  variance  with  all  the  laws  of  human  and  animal 
organism,"  and  therefore  "  as  contrary  to  common  sense  as  the 
notion  of  there  being  any  real  chronology  in  astronomical 
cycles  of  hundreds  of  thousands  of  years."  *  Men,  we  are  told, 
cannot  ever  have  lived  more  than  150,  or,  at  the  most,  200 
years  ;  and  a  document  which  assigns  them  lives  of  300,  600, 
800,  and  even  900  years,  must  be  unhistorical,  and  is  either,  in 
respect  of  its  numbers,  worthless,  or  to  be  explained  in  some 
not  very  obvious  way.  This  argument  is  supposed  to  be  drawn 
from  physiology,  another  of  the  "  infallible  sciences,"  which  are 
held  to  lay  down  laws,  not  only  for  our  practical  guidance  at 
the  present  day,  but  for  our  intellectual  belief  as  to  the  occur 
rences  of  all  past  ages.  In  truth,  however,  the  science  of  phy 
siology  has  not  spoken  on  the  point  before  us.  Its  problem  has 
been,  not  what  length  of  time  it  is  possible  for  man  ever  to 
have  lived,  but  how  long  it  is  possible  for  him  now  to  live 
under  the  present  circumstances  of  the  earth,  and  in  the  present 
known  condition  of  human  bodies.  And  even  this  question  it 
can  only  answer  empirically.  It  finds  the  body  to  be  a  machine 
which  wears  out  by  use ;  but  it  fails  to  discover  any  definite 
rate  at  which  the  process  of  wearing  out  must  proceed.  In 
this  difficulty,  comparative  physiology  does  not  help  it,  for  the 
law  of  longevity  in  the  brute  creation  is  capricious  in  the 
extreme.  All  the  proposed  standards  of  measurement — the 
period  of  gestation,  the  time  occupied  in  growth,  the  size  of  the 
full-grown  body  —  when  applied  to  species  severally,  fail  in 
certain  instances.  Physiology  then  can  only  say :  These  human 
bodies  are  mortal ;  death  is  inevitable  ;  and,  so  far  as  modern 
testimony  goes,  men  do  not  seem  now  able  to  resist  the  ten 
dency  to  decay  beyond  the  term  of  150,  or  at  the  utmost  200 
years.  But  the  possible  duration  of  life,  when  the  species  was 
but  recently  created,  and  had  its  vigour  unimpaired  by  the  taint 
of  hereditary  disease,  is  beyond  the  cognizance  of  physiological 
science,  which,  by  the  mouth  of  its  most  celebrated  professors, 
declines  to  pronounce  a  positive  judgment.  The  great  Haller, 


Buimen,   'Egypt,'  vol.  iv.   p.  391;     vol.  i.  p.  197;  Bredow, ' Untersudiuugun.' 


compare  Winer,  '  Realworterbuch,'  vol. 
ii.    |>.  ->(ft  ;   P.i.ucr,  '  Hcbr.  Mytliolo£U'," 


vol.  i.  p.  1,  &c. 


278  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

when  led  to  speak  on  the  subject,  declared  the  problem  one 
which  could  not  be  solved,  on  account  of  the  absence  of  suffi 
cient  data,*  while  Buffon  accepted  the  Scriptural  account,  and 
thought  he  could  see  physical  reasons  why  life  should  in  the 
early  ages  have  been  so  greatly  extended.! 

It  cannot,  therefore,  be  said  with  truth  that  the  longevity  of 
the  Patriarchs  is  "  at  variance  with  all  " — or  indeed  with  any — 
'•'of  the  laws  of  human  and  animal  organism."  \Ve  do  not 
know  on  what  longevity  depends ;  we  could  not  possibly  tell  d 
priori  whether  man,  or  any  other  animal,  would  live  one,  ten, 
twenty,  fifty,  a  hundred,  or  a  thousand  years.  The  whole  ques 
tion  is  one  of  fact,  and  so  of  evidence.  Men  now  do  not,  except 
in  very  rare  instances,  exceed  100  years.  Was  this  always  so, 
or  was  it  once  different?  The  Bible  answers  this  question  for 
us  very  clearly  and  decidedly,  showing  us  that  human  life  gra 
dually  declined,  beginning  with  a  term  little  short  of  a  millen 
nium,  and  by  degrees  contracting,  till,  in  Moses'  time,  it  had 
reached  (apparently)  its  present  limits — the  days  of  man's  age 
having  become  then  "threescore  years  and  ten,"  and  only  a 
few,  "  by  reason  of  strength,"  reaching  to  fourscore  years.}:  Does 
other  historical  testimony  really  run  counter  to  this,  and  render 
it  even  hard  to  believe?  or  is  it  not  the  fact  that  all  the 
evidence  we  have  is  in  accordance  with  the  Scriptural  narrative, 
and  strongly  confirmatory  of  the  statement  that  in  the  early 
ages  human  life  was  prolonged  very  much  beyond  its  present 
term? 

In  the  Hindoo  accounts  there  are  four  ages  of  the  world.  In 
the  first,  man  was  free  from  diseases,  and  attained  to  the  age  of 
400  years ;  in  the  second  the  term  of  life  was  reduced  to  300 
years;  in  the  third  it  became  200;  and  in  the  fourth  100. 
The  Babylonian  traditions  gave  to  their  early  monarchs  reigns 
of  between  two  and  three  thousand  years.  The  Greeks  told  of 
a  time  when  men  were  children  till  they  reached  a  hundred. § 
Pliny  mentions  a  number  of  authors,  according  to  whom  men 
had  lived  300,  500,  600,  and  800  years.  ||  Josephus  relates  that 


*  "Problema  ob  paucitatcm  Hatorum  J  Ps.  xc.  10.  The  title  of  this  psalm 
insolubile."  ('.Element.  Physiolog.  viii.  is  "a  prayer  of  Moses,  the  man  of  God.  ' 
§  21.)  §  Hesi'od,  '  Op.  et  Dies,'  130,  131. 

t  'Histoire  Nahirelle  de   1'Homme,'  ,       ||  'Hist.  Nat.'vii.  48. 
,  vol.  ir.  pp.  S58-361. 


KSSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  279 

the  Egyptian,  Phoenician,  Babylonian,  and  Grecian  historians 
united  in  declaring  that  there  had  been  cases  of  persons  living 
nearly  1000  years.*  It  seems  to  be  quite  certain  that  a  very 
wide-spread  tradition  existed  in  the  ancient  world,  to  the  effect 
that  the  term  of  human  life  had  been  greatly  abbreviated  since 
man's  first  appearance  upon  the  earth. 

VI.  The  duration  of  the  sojourn  in  Egypt,  whether  taken  as 
430  years,  according  to  the  apparent  meaning  of  Ex.  xii.  40,  41, 
or  as  215  years,  according  to  the  traditional  explanation  of  that 
passage,  is  thought  to  be  unhistorical  because  of  the  impossibi 
lity  (as  it  is  said)  of  a  family  of  seventy  persons  having,  even  in 
the  longer  of  the  two  periods,  multiplied  into  two  millions  of 
souls.  So  strongly  is  this  difficulty  felt,  that  for  a  theologian 
not  to  perceive  its  force,  is  regarded  as  "  one  of  the  most  melan 
choly  signs  of  the  times,"  reducing  modern  exegesis  to  a  level 
with  the  absurdities  of  Rabbinical  comment.f  The  chronology, 
it  is  argued,  must  of  necessity  require  a  very  considerable  ex 
pansion  ;  and  this  it  is  proposed  to  give  by  substituting  for  the 
430  years  of  Moses  and  St.  Paul,*  1400,  or  (more  exactly)  1427 
years  (!)  as  the  real  length  of  the  interval  between  the  going 
down  of  Jacob  into  Egypt  and  the  Exodus  under  Moses.  § 
But  it  is  more  easy  to  make  a  vague  and  general  charge  of  ab 
surdity  against  an  adversary  than  to  point  out  in  what  the 
absurdity  with  which  he  is  taxed  consists.  ||  No  one  asserts  it  to 
be  naturally  probable  that  such  a  company  as  went  down  with 
Jacob  into  Egypt  would  in  215,  or  even  in  430  years,  have  be 
come  a  nation  possessing  600,000  fighting  men.  Orthodox  com 
mentators  simply  say  that  such  an  increase  of  numbers  was 
possible  even  in  the  shortest  of  these  terms.  They  note  that 
Jacob  brought  into  Egypt  fifty-one  grandsons,  arid  that  if,  under 
the  special  blessing  of  God  so  repeatedly  promised  to  Abra- 


*  'Ant.  JucL'i.  3. 
•f  Bunsen, '  Egypt,'  vol.  i.  p.  179. 
Gal.  iii.  17. 


main  56  pair  who  produced  children." 
M.  Bunsen  says  this  reminds  liim  of 
FalstafTs  mode  of  reckoning.  But  the 


§  Bunsen,  •  Egypt,'  vol.  iv.  pp.  492,  |  reckoning  is  perfectly  correct,  since  the 
493.  i  "  5t>  pair '  who  remain  consist  of  the  56 

When  M.  Bunsen  condescends  to  '  male  grandcliilttren    and    great-grand- 


particularize,  he  fulls  himself  into  a  re 
markable  error.  Baumgarten  had  ob 
served  that,  "  if  we  deduct  from  the  70 
souls  who  came  into  Egypt  14,  viz. 
Jacob,  his  \'l  sons,  and  Dinah,  there  re- 


cliildren  of  Jacob  i  who,  together  with  the 
14  deducted,  make  up  the  70  souls  ,  and 
their  wives,  who  were  additional  to  the 
70.  'See  Gen.  xlvi.  8-27.) 


280  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VJ. 

ham,*  his  male  descendants  had  continued  to  increase  at  the 
same  rate,  they  would  long  within  the  specified  period  have 
reached  the  required  number.  In  point  of  fact,  they  would  in 
the  fifth  generation  have  exceeded  850,000,  and  in  the  sixth 
have  amounted  to  six  millions.!  If  God  can  bless  with  increase, 
if  fecundity  and  life  are  His  gifts,  He  might,  by  making  every 
marriage  fruitful  and  every  child  grow  up,  raise,  even  with 
greater  rapidity  than  the  record  declares  to  have  been  done,  a 
family  into  a  nation.  At  the  same  time,  as  we  are  bound  not  to 
exaggerate  the  Divine  interference  with  the  ordinary  course  of 
nature  beyond  what  is  actually  stated  or  implied  in  Scripture,  it 
ought  to  be  borne  in  mind  that  we  have  no  need  to  suppose  the 
b'00,000  fighting  men  who  quitted  Egypt,  though  they  are  all 
called  Israelites,  to  have  been  all  descendants  of  Jacob.  The 
members  of  the  Patriarch's  family  came  down  into  Egypt  with 
their  houseJiolds.%  What  the  size  of  patriarchal  households  was, 
we  may  gather  from  that  of  Abraham,  whose  "  trained  ser 
vants  born  in  his  house  "  amounted  to  318.  §  Nor  was  this  an 
exceptional  case.  Esau  met  Jacob  on  his  return  from  Padan- 
aram  with  400  men,  who  were  probably  his  servants,  ||  and 
Jacob  at  the  same  meeting  had  such  a  number  that  he  could 
divide  them  into  two  "bands,"  or  "armies"  (JTI3nD).^[  It  is 
not  unlikely  that  the  whole  company  which  entered  Egypt  with 
Jacob  amounted  to  above  a  thousand  souls.**  As  all  were  cir 
cumcised,  t  all  would  doubtless  be  considered  Israelites ;  and 
their  descendants  would  be  reckoned  to  the  tribes  of  their 
masters.  Again,  we  must  remember  that  polygamy  prevailed 
among  the  Hebrews  ;  and  that  though  polygamy,  if  a  nation 
lives  by  itself,  is  not  favourable  to  rapid  increase,  yet,  if  foreign 
wives  can  be  obtained  in  any  number,  JJ  it  is  an  institution  by 
means  of  which  population  may  be  greatly  augmented.  A  recent 
Shah  of  Persia  is  said  to  have  left  at  his  death  nearlv  three 


*  Gen.  xii.  2  ;  xiii.  16 ;  xvii.  4-6  ; 
xxii.  17. 

t  The  average  increase  of  the  males 
in  the  two  generations  had  been  more 
than  sevenfold  each  generation.  A  se 
venfold  increase  would  have  given 
857,157  males  in  the  fifth  generation. 


||  Gen.  xxxii.  6. 

\  Gen.  xxxii.  7. 

**  Kurtz  thinks  they  must  have  con 
sisted  of  " several  thousands."  ''Hist, 
of  Old  Covenant,'  vol.  ii.  p.  149,  E.  T.) 

tt  Gen.  xvii.  12. 

l\  The  Israelites  could  probably  have 


and  6,000,099'in  the  sixth.  :  obtained  wives  from  the  lower  castes  of 

\  Gen.  xlv.  IS  ;  Ex.  i.  1.  the  Egyptians;  also  trom  the  Midian 

<•  Gen.  xiv.  It.  (Ex.  ii.  21  ,  the  Libyans,  and  others. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  281 

thousand  descendants ;  and  it  is  a  well-known  fact  that  one  of 
his  sons  had  a  body-guard  of  sixty  grown  men,  who  all  called 
him  father.*  Egypt,  moreover,  was  a  country  where  both  men  and 
animals  are  said  to  have  been  remarkably  prolific  ;*f*  where,  there 
fore,  natural  law  would  have  tended  in  the  same  direction  as  the 
special  action  of  Divine  Providence  at  this  time.  These  consi 
derations  do  not  indeed  reduce  the  narrative  within  the  category 
of  ordinary  occurrences  ;  but  they  diminish  considerably  from 
its  extraordinariness.  They  show  that  at  any  rate  there  is  no 
need  to  extend  the  period  of  the  sojourn  beyond  the  430  years 
of  the  Hebrew  text,  unless  we  seek  to  deprive  the  increase  of 
that  special  and  exceptional  character  which  is  markedly 
assigned  to  it  by  the  sacred  historian.:}: 

It  is  further  maintained,  that,  even  apart  from  the  entire 
question  of  the  rapid  increase  of  the  Israelites  in  Egypt,  the 
Biblical  number,  430,  cannot  be  historical,  because  it  is  the 
exact  double  of  the  period  immediately  preceding  it,  that,  namely, 
between  Abraham's  entrance  into  Canaan  and  Jacob's  journey 
into  Egypt.  It  is  "repugnant,"  we  are  told,  "to  any  sound 
critical  view,"  to  believe  the  one  period  to  have  really  been 
exactly  the  double  of  the  other. §  The  nature  and  ground  of  the 
repugnancy  are  not  stated ;  but  apparently  the  principle 
assumed  must  be,  that  numerical  coincidences  are  in  no  case 
historical,  and  that  where  they  occur  we  are  justified  in  assuming 
that  one  or  other  of  the  two  numbers  is  purely  artificial — the  in 
vention  of  a  writer  not  honest  enough  to  admit  his  ignorance. 
But  is  this  principle  really  sound  ?  Will  there  be  no  numerical 
coincidences  in  historical  chronology  ?  What,  then,  shall  we 
say  to  the  ready  acceptance  by  the  writer  who  takes  this  view, 
of  a  statement  made  by  Manetho,  that  during  a  certain  period 
of  151  years  there  reigned  in  different  parts  of  Egypt  two 
contemporary  dynasties  consisting  of  exactly  forty-eight  kings 
each  ?  Yet  this  is  exhibited  as  part  of  a  "  clear  historical  pic- 


*  Sir   H.  Rawlinson  in  the  writer's    and  the  land  was  filled  with  them."   (Ex. 

•  Herodotus,'  vol.  i.  p.  277.  i.  7.  j    "  But  the  more  they  afflicted  them 

t  Aristot.  '  Hist.  An.'  vii.  4  ;  Strab.     the  more  they  multiplied  and  grow ;  and 
xv.  1,  §  22;  Plin.  '  H.  N.'  vii.  3  ;  Senec.  :  they  (i.  e.  the  Egyptians)  were  grieved 

•  Qusest.  Nat.'  iii.  25  ;  Columell.  'de  Re     because  of  the  people  of  Israel.''     (Ib. 
Rust.'  iii.  8.  verse  12  ;  compare  also  verse  20.) 

J  "  And  the  children  of  Israel  were        §  Bunsen,  '  Egypt's  Place,'  vol.  i.  p. 
fruitful,  and  increased  abundantly,  and     173. 
multiplied,  und  waxed  exceeding  mighty;  • 


282  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

ture  "  in  the  very  same  work  which  proclaims  the  belief  in  a  less 
exact  coincidence  repugnant  to  all  sound  criticism.*  The  truth 
is,  that  a  certain  number  of  these  coincidences  will  be  presented 
by  the  historical  chronology  of  any  nation.  For  instance,  from 
the  commencement  of  the  Persian  to  the  end  of  the  Pelopon- 
nesian  war— a  very  marked  period  of  Grecian  history — was 
eighty-six  years  ;  and  from  the  end  of  the  Peloponnesian  war  to 
the  termination  of  the  struggle  between  Sparta  and  Thebes — 
the  next  marked  period — was  exactly  half  the  time,  or  forty- 
three  years.  At  Rome,  from  the  beginning  of  the  disturbances 
caused  by  the  Gracchi  to  the  first  civil  war  between  Sylla  and 
Marius  was  forty-four  years,  and  from  the  breaking  out  of  this 
war  to  the  death  of  Julius  Caesar  was  likewise  forty-four  years. 
(It  was  also  exactly  forty-four  years  from  the  death  of  Julius 
Caesar  to  the  reputed  year  of  the  birth  of  Christ.)  In  the  Mo 
hammedan  Caliphate  the  family  of  Mohammed  occupied  the 
throne  from  B.C.  <K>2  to  B.C.  u'u'l,  or  (inclusively)  thirty  years; 
and  the  succeeding  dynasty  of  the  Ommiades  held  it  from  B.C. 
6GO  to  B.C.  730,  or  just  ninety  years,  thrice  the  time  of  their 
predecessors.  Again,  in  the  portion  of  Jewish  history  with  re 
spect  to  which  there  is  no  dispute,  the  length  of  the  period  of 
independence  intervening  between  the  Syrian  and  the  Koman 
servitudes  is  exactly  equal  to  that  of  the  servitude  under  Home, 
which  began  with  Antipater  and  terminated  with  the  destruc 
tion  of  Jerusalem  by  Titus,  f  But  k  is  needless  to  multiply  in 
stances.  Common  sense  assures  us  that  such  accidental  coinci 
dences  must  occasionally  take  place  ;  and  no  chronology  claim 
ing  to  be  historical  is  to  be  rejected  on  account  of  them,  unless 
they  are  of  more  frequent  occurrence  in  it  than  can  be  accounted 
for  by  the  doctrine  of  chances.  It  is  not  pretended  that  they 
are  frequent  in  the  Pentateuch  ;  nor  indeed  in  the  whole  of  the 
five  books  of  Moses  is  there  anv  other  instance  of  a  recurrin<>- 

•  o 

number  that  has  given  rise  to  any  suspicion. 

18.  It  appeal's,  then,  from  this  whole  review,  that  there  is 
nothing  in  the  history  of  the  world,  so  far  as  it  is  yet  known,  that 
forms  even  a  serious  objection  to  the  authenticity  of  the  Penta 
teuch.  Weice  we  bound  down  to  the  numbers  of  the  Hebrew  text  in 


*  Bunsen, 'Egypt,' vol.  iv.  p.  510.       '  by  Juli us  Czesar  in  B.C.  48.  Jerusalem  was 
t  Juilft»  Maccabseus  revolted  i..c.  Ifi6.  j  destroyed  A.D.  70.    But  KJti  -  48  =  118, 
A  ntipakT  wad  nwlr-  Procurator  of  Judsea  |  and  48  -f  70  =  IIS. 


ESSAY  VI.]  THE  PENTATEUCH.  283 

regard  to  the  period  between  the  Flood  and  Abraham,  we  should, 
indeed,  find  ourselves  in  a  difficulty.  Three  hundred  and  seventy 
years  would  certainly  not  seem  to  be  sufficient  time  for  the 
peopling  of  the  world,  to  the  extent  to  which  it  appears  to  have 
been  peopled  in  the  days  of  Abraham,  and  for  the  formation  of 
powerful  and  settled  monarchies  in  Babylonia  and  Egypt.  But 
the  adoption  of  the  Septuagiut  numbers  for  this  period,  which 
are  on  every  ground  preferable,  brings  the  chronology  into  har 
mony  at  once  with  the  condition  of  the  world  as  shown  to  us  in 
the  account  given  in  Scripture  of  the  times  of  Abraham,  and 
with  the  results  obtainable  from  the  study,  in  a  sober  spirit,  of 
profane  history.  A  thousand  years  is  ample  time  for  the  occu 
pation  of  Mesopotamia,  Syria,  and  Egypt,  by  a  considerable 
population,  for  the  formation  of  governments,  the  erection  even 
of  such  buildings  as  the  Pyramids,  the  advance  of  the  arts 
generally  to  the  condition  found  to  exist  in  Egypt  under  the 
eighteenth  dynasty,  and  for  almost  any  amount  of  subdivision 
and  variety  in  languages.  More  time  does  not  seem  to  be  in 
any  sense  needed  by  the  facts  of  history  hitherto  known  to  us. 
The  world,  generally,  is  in  a  primitive  and  simple  condition  at 
the  time  of  the  call  of  Abraham.  Men  are  still  chiefly  nomades. 
Population  seems  sparse ;  for  Abraham  and  Lot  find  plenty  of 
vacant  land  in  Palestine,  and  the  descendants  of  Abraham  ex 
perience  no  difficulty  in  overspreading  several  countries.  Settled 
kingdoms  appear  nowhere,  except  in  Egypt  and  in  Babylonia  ; 
and  there  the  governments  are  of  the  simplest  form.  Art  in  Baby 
lonia  is  in  a  poor  and  low  condition,  the  implements  used  being 
chiefly  of  stone  and  flint.  Yet  Babylon  is  much  superior  to  her 
neighbours,  holds  Assyria  in  subjection,  and  claims  the  second 
place  in  the  history  of  the  world.  Her  historical  beginnings 
reach  back,  at  the  utmost,  to  B.C.  2458,  while  those  of  Egypt 
are  probably  but  a  very  little  earlier.  All  other  nations  acknow 
ledge  themselves  younger  than  these  two,  and  have  no  traditions 
even  of  their  existence  much  before  B.C.  2000.  The  idea  that 
the  Biblical  chronology  is  too  narrow,  that  it  cramps  history, 
and  needs  to  be  set  aside  in  favour  of  a  scheme  which  puts 
10,000  years  between  the  Deluge  and  the  birth  of  Christ,  is  not 
one  which  has  grown  upon  men  gradually  through  the  general 
tenor  of  their  inquiries  into  the  antiquities  of  different  nations. 
It  is  merely  the  dream  of  a  single  historical  enthusiast,  who, 


284  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VI. 

devoting  himself  to  the  history  of  one  country,  and  pinning  his 
faith  on  one  author — whom  after  all  he  exaggerates  and  mis 
represents — has  come  to  imagine  that  the  additional  time  is 
required  by  the  history  of  his  favourite,  and  has  then  forced  and 
strained  the  histories  of  other  countries,  with  which  he  has  no 
special  acquaintance,  into  a  distant  agreement  with  the  chrono 
logical  scheme  formed  upon  the  supposed  necessities  of  a 
single  kingdom  and  people.  As  for  the  further  requirement 
of  another  10,000  years  between  the  Deluge  and  the  creation  of 
man,  it  rests  upon  linguistic  phantasies  of  the  most  purely 
speculative  character.  The  remainder  of  the  historical  objec 
tions  to  the  authenticity  of  the  Pentateuch,  though  sometimes 
ingenious,  have  in  them  nothing  to  alarm  us.  Profane  history 
is  decidedly  favourable  to  a  Deluge  extending  to  all  races  of 
men,  and  to  the  greater  longevity  of  man  in  the  earlier  ages. 
Ethnological  research  tends  continually  more  and  more  to  con 
firm,  instead  of  shaking,  the  account  given  of  the  affiliation  of 
nations  in  the  tenth  chapter  of  Genesis.  The  more  accurately 
old  myths  are  examined,  the  more  evident  does  it  become  that 
their  tone  and  spirit  are  wholly  different  from  the  tone  and  spirit 
of  Scripture.  The  Pentateuch  has  the  air  and  manner  of  history ; 
the  Jews  have  always  regarded  it  in  that  light ;  and  modern 
historical  and  geographical  inquiries,  whenever  they  afford  an 
opportunity  of  testing  the  accuracy  of  the  narrative,  are  found 
to  bear  witness  to  its  truth.  AYhatever  may  be  the  scientific 
difficulties  in  the  way  of  a  literal  reception  of  some  portions, 
historical  difficulties  of  any  real  magnitude  there  are  none. 
Internally,  the  narrative  is  consistent  with  itself ;  externally,  it 
is  supported  by  all  that  has  any  claim  to  be  considered  sober 
earnest  in  the  histories  of  other  nations.  The  Christian  world, 
which  has  reposed  upon  it  for  nearly  2000  years,  as  an  authentic 
record  of  the  earliest  ages,  is  justified,  by  all  the  results  of 
modern  historical  research,  in  still  continuing  its  confident 
trust.  There  is  really  not  a  pretence  for  saying  that  recent 
discoveries  in  the  field  of  history,  monumental  or  other,  have 
made  the  acceptance  of  the  Mosaic  narrative  in  its  plain  and 
literal  sense  any  more  difficult  now  than  in  the  days  of  Bossuet 
or  Stilliii£ne,et. 


ESSAY   VII. 


INSPIRATION. 


CONTENTS  OF  ESSAY  VII. 


1.  INTRODUCTION  —  All   spiritual   en 

lightenment  derived  from  the  Di 
vine  Spirit ;  but  is  all  derived  in 
the  same  way  ? 

2.  A  Divine  ami  a  human  element  in 

oil  inspiration  -How  co-existing? 

3.  History  of  the   question  —  Jewish 

opinions  —  Patristic  opinions. 

4.  No  argument  against  a  high  view 

to  l>e  deduced  from  the  patristic 
belief  in  the  inspiration  of  others 
besides  the  Apostles. 

5.  Middle  ages  —  Mysticism. 

6  The   Reformation  favourable  to  a 

very  high  esteem  of  Holy  Scrip 
ture,  but  favourable  also  to  free 
dom  of  thought. 

7  Tendency  of  thought  in  Germany 

in  the  18th  century. 

8.  Deisrn  passed  from  England,  through 

France,  to  Germany — Doctrine  of 
the  English  Deists. 

9.  Causes  leading  to  fhe  controversy 

on  inspiration  in  the  present  day. 

10.  English  writers  of  the  present  cen 

tury  and  their  theories. 

11.  Christian  Evidences  in  a  measure 

independent  of  theories  of  inspi 
ration. 

12.  Definite  theories  not  desirable. 

13.  Objections    to    inspiration    closely    ; 

connected  with  objections  to  mi 
racles. 

H.  Origin  of  doubts  about  miracles. 

In.  Miracles  not  improbable,  if  there  be 
a  spiritual  world  connected  more 
or  less  closely  with  the  physical 
world,  and  a  Personal  Ruler  of 
the  world. 


1H.  If  miracles  ever  should  occur,  we 
should  most  naturally  expect  tl.em 
to  be  connected  with  some  special 
communication  of  God's  will  to 
man. 

17.  The  common  course  taken  by  philo 

sophical  scepticism. 

18.  As  to  inspiration  :  we  have  first  cer 

tain  phenomena  in  the  Bible,  prov 
ing  the  existence  of  a  human  ele 
ment  —  The  manifestation  of  that 
human  element  most  valuable  in 
the  matter  of  evidence  —  We  have 
next  certain  phenomena  manifest 
ing  a  Divine  element. — (a.)  Pro 
phecy — Question  as  to  the  exist 
ence  of  true  predictive  prophecy 
in  the  Old  Testament — Objection 
— Nihil  in  scripto  quod  non  prius 
in  8criptore  —  Objection  replied 
to  —  Cases  of  Balaam  and  Caia- 
phas. — '6.1  Types. 

19.  How  far  all  this  proves  the  special 

inspiration  of  the  Old  Testament 
--Coleridge's  view  considered 

20.  Argument  a  fortiori,  for  the  inspira- 

tion  of  the  New  Testament  —  Mr. 
Maurice's  question  replied  to. 

21 .  Mr.  Morell's  theory  of  the  intuitional 

consciousness  considered. 

22.  Latitude  of  opinion  on  some  points 

may  be  allowable. 

23.  The  Scriptures  an  infallible  deposi 

tory  of  religious  truth. 

24.  Question       concerning       physical 

science. 

25.  Conclusion  —  Some    trials   of   our 

faith  ought  not  to  stagger  UK  -  - 
The  proper  condition  of  mind  in 
the  present  day. 


INSPIRATION. 


1.  As  in  the  natural  world  wisdom  and  intelligence  are  among 
the  signs  of  life  in  an  intelligent  being,  so  in  the  spiritual  world  a 
spiritual  understanding  follows  on  the  possession  of  spiritual  life. 
As  the  Divine  Spirit  gives  life,  so  He  inspires  wisdom.  Indeed 
all  spiritual  gifts  flow  equally  from  the  same  Spirit.  St.  Paul 
says  that  "  there  are  diversities  of  gifts,  but  the  same  Spirit," 
who  gives  to  one  the  word  of  wisdom,  to  another  the  word 
of  knowledge,  to  another  faith,  to  another  miracles  and  gifts  of 
healing,  to  another  prophecy,  to  another  divers  kinds  of  tongues, 
to  another  the  interpretation  of  tongues.  So  he  describes  the 
influence  of  that  one  and  the  selfsame  Spirit  on  the  early  disciples 
in  the  Church  of  Corinth.  Are  we  to  take  this  literally  ?  Are 
we  to  believe  that,  whilst  some  had  spiritual  wisdom  and  under 
standing — and  that  in  larger  or  less  degrees — others  were  en 
abled  to  work  miracles,  others  to  prophesy ;  that  whilst  to  some 
there  was  only  the  common  understanding  of  spiritual  truths  and 
mysteries,  such  as  an  enlightened  mind  among  ourselves  could 
penetrate,  to  others  there  was  given  an  infallible  knowledge 
of  future  events  or  of  Divine  truths  otherwise  unknown  to  man  ? 
Or,  on  the  other  hand,  shall  we  think  no  more  than  this — that 
the  Holy  Spirit,  who  is  the  inspirer  of  all  wisdom,  by  rege 
nerating  the  heart,  purifying  the  soul,  exalting  the  affections, 
and  quickening  the  intuitions  of  the  mind,  gives  to  some  men 
more  than  to  others  an  insight  into  things  heavenly,  and  so 
enables  them  in  all  times  and  in  all  ages  of  the  Church  to 
be  exponents  of  the  Divine  will? — that  He  reveals  God  and 
Christ  to  their  inmost  consciences,  inspiring  them  with  all  high 
and  holy  thoughts,  and  that  thus  they  can  utter  things  which 
would  be  deep  mysteries  to  other  men,  and  which  are,  indeed, 
the  oracles  of  God  ? 

2.  This  is  pretty  much  the  question  concerning  inspiration  so 
much  agitated  now.  When  we  come  to  consider  it,  there  can  be 
no  doubt  but  that  we  must  admit  a  human  and  a  Divine  element 
There  is  the  mind  of  the  Prophet  or  Apostle  to  be  enlightened, 


288  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

and  the  Holy  Spirit,  the  iuspirer  or  enlightener.  The  question 
will  be,  in  what  manner  and  in  what  proportion  these  two  ele 
ments  coexist.  We  may  suppose  the  human  mind  perfectly 
passive,  acting  simply  under  a  mechanical  influence  of  the  Holy 
Spirit,  speaking  or  writing  not  its  own  thoughts  or  its  own  words, 
but  only  the  thoughts  and  words  of  the  Spirit  of  God.  Or  we 
may  suppose  the  mind  of  the  writer  or  speaker  acting  altogether 
freely,  speaking  entirely  its  own  thoughts  and  words,  but  having 
derived  from  Divine  communion  and  enlightenment  a  higher 
tone,  having  acquired  a  corrector  judgment,  and,  from  a  deep 
spiritual  insight,  able  to  speak  spiritual  things  such  as  the 
natural  man  receiveth  not.  These  are  the  two  extremes.  The  one 
is  verbal  inspiration,  simple  dictation,  so  that  the  lips  of  the 
Prophet  and  the  pen  of  the  Evangelist  are  but  mechanical  organs 
moved  by  the  Spirit  of  God.  The  other  is  no  more  than  an  ex 
altation  of  the  natural  faculties  by  the  influence  of  the  same 
Spirit,  such  an  exaltation  as  we  must  believe  all  wise  and  holy 
men  to  have  received,  an  inspiration  such  as  that  by  which 
a  Hooker  or  a  Butler  wrote  the  works  which  bear  their  names. 
There  are  many  intermediate  steps  between  these  two,  but 
no  one  can  exceed  either  of  these  extremes  and  yet  call  him 
self  a  Christian. 

3.  Many  causes  have  brought  this  subject  into  controversy  at 
present.  It  has,  however,  occupied  the  thoughts  of  thoughtful 
men,  and  has  been  debated  and  disputed  on  in  earlier  times ; 
and  a  rapid  glance  at  the  history  of  the  question  may  be  a 
help  to  giving  it  its  true  place,  and  perhaps  to  finding  its  true 
solution. 

The  reverence  which  the  ancient  Jews  felt  for  the  Jewish 
Scriptures,  must  have  sprung  from  the  highest  theory  of  verbal 
inspiration.  Their  care  to  count  every  verse  and  letter  in  every 
book  of  the  Old  Testament,  to  retain  every  large  or  small  letter, 
every  letter  above  or  below  the  line,  their  belief  that  a  mystery 
lurked  in  every  abnormal  state  of  letter,  jot,  or  tittle,  cannot 
have  resulted  from  any  lower  principle.  Later  Jews,  like  the 
Cabbalists  or  Maimonides,  may  have  become  Pantheists  or  Ration 
alists  ;  but  the  more  ancient  have  left  us  the  clearest  proof  that 
they  esteemed  the  Scriptures  as  the  express  word  of  God  Him 
self.  The  well-known  tradition  amongst  the  Alexandrian  Jews 
concerning  the  verbal  agreement  of  all  the  LXX.  translators, 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  289 

though  working  in  seventy  separate  cells,  looks  the  same  way. 
There  is  considerable  reason  to  believe  that  the  distinction 
between  the  different  books  of  Scripture — the  Hagiographa 
being  esteemed  inferior  to  the  Prophets,  and  the  Prophets  infe 
rior  to  the  Law — was  at  least  much  magnified,  if  not  wholly 
invented,  by  the  later  Jews.  So  far,  however,  as  such  a  distinc 
tion  and  such  difference  of  estimation  existed  at  all,  so  far  we 
must  perhaps  believe  that  there  was  a  notion  of  something  like 
degrees  of  inspiration. 

The  earlier  Christian  Fathers  seem  to  have  followed  much  the 
same  course  as  their  Jewish  predecessors.  Clemens  Romanus 
calls  the  Holy  Scriptures  "  the  true  words  of  the  Holy  Ghost " 
(c.  45).  No  definite  theory  of  inspiration  would  be  likely  to  be 
propounded ;  but  the  general  reverence  for  the  words  of  Holy 
Writ,  and  the  deep  significance  believed  to  exist  underneath  the 
letter,  prove  the  belief  in  inspiration  to  have  been  very  strong  and 
universal.  Justin  Martyr,  and  his  Jewish  opponent,  seem  fully 
agreed  in  their  appreciation  of  the  Old  Testament.  "No  Scrip 
ture  can  be  opposed  to  any  other  Scripture  "  ('  Dialog.'  p.  289). 
Irenseus  saw  in  our  Lord's  promise  to  His  Apostles — "  He  that 
heareth  you,  heareth  Me  "  (Luke  x.  16) — an  assurance  of  their 
infallibility  in  the  Gospel.  "  After  the  Lord's  resurrection  they 
were  indued  with  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  had  perfect 
knowledge  of  the  truth.  He,  therefore,  who  despises  their 
teaching  despises  Christ  and  God  "  (Iren.  iii.  1).  Still  it  may 
be  fairly  said  that  Irenaeus,  in  his  accounts  of  the  composition  of 
the  Gospel,  seems  to  combine  a  human  element  with  the  Divine. 
(See  Iren.  iii.  11.) 

Tertullian  embraced  the  Montauist  belief,  that  Divine  commu 
nications  were  made  to  man  by  means  of  a  condition  of  trance 
or  ecstasy.  In  this  trance  the  prophet  was  supposed  to  lose  all 
sense,  like  a  Pythoness  under  the  influence  of  the  Divine  afflatus 
(c.  Marcion.  iv.  22).  This  was  the  highest  kind  of  inspiration. 
Yet  he  seems  to  have  thought  that  the  Apostles  were  at  times 
allowed  to  speak  their  own  words,  and  not  the  words  of  God,  as 
where  St.  Paul  (1  Cor.  vii.  12)  says,  "  To  the  rest  speak  I,  not 
the  Lord  "  ('  De  Monogam.'  c.  3). 

The  Alexandrian  Fathers,  Clement  and  Origen,  thougli  adopt 
ing  somewhat  of  the  Neo-Platonic  views  of  the  soul,  as  receiving 
an  enlightenment  by  communion  with  the  Divine  Logos,  appear 


290  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

to  have  held  firmly  the  infallibility  of  every  word  of  Scripture  ; 
and  the  mystical  sense  which  they  attach  to  the  history  and  the 
language  of  the  Old  Testament  seems  to  point  even  to  verbal  in 
spiration.  (See  Lumper,  '  Historia  Theologico-critica,'  vol.  9.  c.  4. 
§  iii.  art.  2.)  'Origen  was,  however,  the  first  great  Biblical 
critic :  few  things  have  tended  more  than  Biblical  criticism  to 
modify  the  theory  of  verbal  inspiration :  and  this  appeared  even 
in  the  patristic  ages  and  among  some  of  the  most  illustrious 
of  the  patristic  writers.  The  critical  labours  of  Chrysostorn  and 
Jerome,  in  the  beginning  of  the  fifth  century,  made  them 
observe  the  apparent  discrepancies  in  the  accounts  of  the  Evan 
gelists,  and  other  like  difficulties  in  Holy  Writ.  Such  observa 
tions  led  to  a  greater  appreciation  of  the  human  element  in  the 
composition  of  Scripture.  St.  Chrysostom  could  see  that  some 
slight  variations  in  the  different  narratives  of  the  same  event 
were  no  cause  for  anxiety  or  unbelief,  but  rather  a  proof  that  the 
Evangelists  were  independent  witnesses.  And  St.  Jerome  could 
discern  in  the  New  Testament  writers  a  dialect  inferior  to  the 
purest  Greek,  and  even  at  times  a  mixture  of  human  passion  in 
the  language  of  the  Apostles.*  All  this,  however,  these  Fathers 
clearly  held  to  be  subjected  and  subordinate  to  the  general 
Divine  influence  of  the  guiding  and  overruling  Spirit. 

4.  No  argument  against  a  high  doctrine  of  inspiration,  as  held 
by  the  Fathers,  can  be  fairly  deduced  from  the  fact  that  they 
were  disposed  to  admit  the  inspiration  of  other  writings  besides 
the  Canonical  Scriptures.  Many  of  them  knew  the  Old  Testa 
ment  only  in  the  Greek  translation,  and  were  inclined  to  pay  the 
same  reverence  to  that  which  may  have  been  due  only  to  the 
Hebrew  original.  The  writings  of  Clement  and  Hermas  Avere  at 
first  received  as  canonical,  though  more  careful  inquiry  ex 
cluded  them  from  the  Canon  of  the  New  Testament.  This  may 
be  an  argument  against  the  critical  accuracy  of  the  Fathers,  but 
is  none  against  their  belief  in  the  inspiration  of  the  Bible.  Nor, 
again,  are  we  warranted  in  thinking  that  they  confounded  natu 
ral  enlightenment  with  spiritual  inspiration,  because  some  of 
them  speak  as  if  prophetic  powers  and  supernatural  illumination 
were  vouchsafed  to  others  besides  the  Apostles  of  Christ.  There 
can  be  no  question  that  the  earlier  Fathers  believed  in  the  con- 


Ncuncler,  •  History  of  Doctrines,'  i.  280.     (Buhn.; 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  201 

timmtion  of  the  miraculous  powers  of  the  Apostolic  age  down  to 
their  own  times,  and  hence  they  looked  themselves  for  a  spe 
cial  illumination  from  the  Holy  Ghost.  Yet,  even  so,  they 
distinguished  carefully  between  the  gift  of  infallibility  in  things 
spiritual  vouchsafed  to  the  writers  of  the  New  Testament,  and 
the  gift  of  Divine  illumination  to  themselves  and  their  own 
contemporaries.* 

5.  The  Church  of  the  middle  ages  had,  for  the  most  part,  a 
belief  similar  to  that  of  the  earlier  Fathers.  Visions,  and 
dreams,  and  sensible  illuminations  were  still  expected.  Miracu 
lous  powers  and  Divine  inspiration  were  still  believed  to  reside 
in  the  Church  ;  but  the  Scriptures  were  not  the  less  esteemed  as 
specially,  and  in  a  sense  distinct  and  peculiar,  the  lively  oracles 
of  God.  Still  the  bold  speculations  of  Abelard,  in  the  twelfth 
century,  reached  the  doctrine  of  inspiration  as  well  as  other 
deep  questions  of  theology.  The  Prophets,  as  he  taught,  had 
sometimes  the  gift  of  prophecy  and  sometimes  spoke  from  their 
own  minds.  The  Apostles  too  were  liable  to  error,  as  St.  Peter 
on  the  question  of  circumcision,  who  was  reproved  by  St.  Paul.t 
Abelard's  tendency  was  rationalistic.  But  here  a  very  important 
phenomenon,  not  confined  to  the  middle  ages,  but  very  ap 
parent  then,  deserves  our  careful  attention.  In  all  ages  of  the 
Church  we  find  frequent  tendencies  to  mysticism.  The  desire 
for  a  kind  of  ecstatic  vision  of  things  Divine,  of  abstraction  from 
the  external  world,  and  an  absorbed  contemplation  of  the  Deity, 
is  natural  to  enthusiastic  temperaments,  and  is  not  uncommon  in 
times  of  dogmatic  controversy.  The  state  so  sought  after  seems 
to  offer  a  refuge  from  the  strife  of  tongues,  from  the  din  and 
noise  and  uncharitableness  of  the  world  and  the  Church  without. 
Those  who  have  taken  this  line,  indulged  in  this  spirit,  have,  of 
course,  a  firm  belief  in  the  communion  of  the  Christian  soul  with 
the  Spirit  of  God,  and  look  for  constant  revelations  from  the 


*  Ignatius  claims  for  himself  that  he 
knew  the  doctrines  which  ho  taught, 
not  from  man,  but  from  the  testimony 
of  the  Spirit  ('ad  Philadelph.'  7) ;  but 
then  he  clearly  distinguishes  between 
himself  and  the  Apostles.  "  I  do  not 
enjoin  you  as  Peter  and  Paul  ;  they 
were  Apostles,  1  a  condemned  man." 
(•ad  Eph.' 15.)  And  Tertullian,  who 
took  a  peculiarly  high  view  of  the 


tian,  says  distinctly  that  "  all  the  faith 
ful  have  the  Spirit  of  God,  but  all  are 
not  Apostles."  "The  Apostles  have 
the  Holy  Spirit  in  a  peculiar  sense." 
('De  Exhortatione  Castitatis,'4.)  See 
Westeott,  '  Introd.  to  the  Gospels,'  pp. 
386,  400. 

t  '  Sic  et  Non.'  Ed.  Hencke,  p.  10 
Sec  Neander,  'Hist,  of  Doctrine,'  vol.  ii. 
p.  4!»2. 


Divine  illumination  of  the  true  Chri.-- 

u  2 


292  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

Divine  to  the  human  intelligence.  The  mystic  is  transported 
out  of  self,  and  aims  at  frequent  supernatural  communion  with 
God.  To  such  a  person  the  condition  of  the  devout  soul  is 
a  condition  of  constant  inspiration.  It  is  very  true  that  the 
Holy  Spirit  is  ever  present  with  the  Church,  ever  dwells  in  the 
souls  of  Christians,  is  our  teacher  and  guide  in  all  things,  is 
ever  ready  to  enlighten  our  understandings,  as  well  as  to  convert 
our  hearts.  But  this  truth  of  Scripture,  pressed  to  the  extent  of 
mysticism,  breaks  down  the  boundary  between  the  inspiration  of 
Prophets  or  Apostles,  and  the  enlightenment  of  the  Christian 
soul.  The  genuine  mystic  is  himself  in  a  state  of  the  highest 
inspiration.  The  intuitions  of  his  spirit  enable  him  to  see  things 
invisible.  High  doctrine  concerning  the  Church  is  favourable 
enough  to  such  a  view  of  things.  Belief  in  the  infallibility  of 
the  existing  Church,  in  its  miraculous  powers,  and  in  frequent 
revelations  to  the  higher  Saints,  looked  all  this  way.  Again,  it 
is  well  known  how  mysticism  tended  to  Pantheism.  Striving 
after  absorption  in  God,  ineu  learned  to  identify  their  own  minds, 
more  or  less,  with  Deity.  The  Divine  Spirit  was  believed  to 
dwell  in  all  human  souls,  and  needed  only  to  be  stirred  up 
within  them.  The  inclination  to  look  wholly  within,  neglect  of 
the  objective,  cultivation  only  of  the  subjective — all  this  too 
readily  takes  a  pantheistic  direction.  And  so  we  find  many  sects 
of  medieval  mystics  lapsing  at  length  into  pure  Pantheism — a 
state  of  belief  in  which  it  is  plain  enough  that  anything  like  the 
Christian  doctrine  of  the  inspiration  of  the  Scriptures  is  impos 
sible,  as  it  cannot  be  distinguished  from  the  illumination  of  any 
devout  mind,  or  from  the  inspirations  of  genius.  This  is  a  thing 
of  great  importance  to  observe,  as  it  shows  itself  in  subsequent 
ages  of  Church  History.  Mysticism  and  extreme  spiritualism 
destroy  any  definite  doctrine  of  the  inspiration  of  Scripture,  and 
they  very  readily  glide  into  Pantheism. 

6*.  The  Reformation,  of  course,  introduced  much  thought  and 
controversy  about  Scripture.  "  The  sufficiency  of  the  Scriptures 
for  salvation "  became  a  Reformation  watchword :  Scripture, 
the  written  word  of  God, — not  the  unwritten  record  of  the 
Church,  Tradition.  The  natural  inclination  was  to  a  very  high 
esteem  of  .the  Bible,  as  the  definite  deposit  of  Christian  truth,  in 
contradistinction  to  the  indeliniteuess  of  the  traditions  of  the 
Church,  and  of  that  teaching  of  the  Holy  Spirit  ever  present  with 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  293 

the  Church,  on  which  the  Roman  divines  insisted.  Neverthe 
less,  the  tendency  of  the  Reformation  was  to  boldness  of  thought 
and  freedom  of  inquiry.  Erasmus,  the  great  forerunner  of 
Luther,  had  from  his  critical  investigations  been  led  to  a  some 
what  freer  view  of  inspiration  than  had  been  common  before 
him.  He  thought  it  unnecessary  to  attribute  everything  in  the 
Apostles  to  miraculous  teaching.  Christ  suffered  the  Apostles 
to  err,  and  that  too  after  the  descent  of  the  Paraclete,  but  not  so 
as  to  endanger  the  faith.*  Even  Luther,  the  great  master 
mind  of  the  age,  with  his  strong  subjective  tendency,  and  with 
his  indomitable  boldness,  ventured  to  subject  the  books  of  the 
New  Testament  to  the  criterion  of  his  own  intuition.  The 
teaching  of  St.  Paul  penetrated  and  convinced  his  soul  ;  St. 
James  seemed  to  contradict  St.  Paul ;  and  his  Epistle  was 
rejected  as  an  Epistle  of  straw.  There  is  reason  to  believe  that 
lie  afterwards  regretted  and  retracted  ;  but  words  once  spoken 
reach  far  and  wide,  and  can  never  be  unsaid  again. 

7.  The  tendency  of  Calvin  and  the  Calvinist  reformers  was 
less  subjective  and  more  scholastic  than  that  of  Luther  and  the 
Lutherans.  Their  distinct  and  definite  system  of  doctrine,  like 
that  of  their  forerunners  Augustine  and  Aquinas,  naturally 
found  a  place  for  the  plenary  and  even  verbal  inspiration  of  the 
Scriptures,  so  that  some  of  the  Swiss  Confessions  speak  of  simple 
dictation  by  the  Holy  Ghost.  The  Remonstrants  or  Arminians, 
on  the  other  hand,  were  more  disposed  to  Rationalism  than  the 
generality  of  the  reformed  ;  and  writers,  like  Grotius  and  Epis- 
copius,  made  clear  distinctions  between  the  Divine  and  the 
human  elements  in  the  writers  of  the  Old  and  New  Tes- 
taments.-f 

The  Socinians  were,  of  course,  the  most  rationalising  sect  of 
those  which  early  sprang  from  the  Reformation,  a  fungus- 
growth,  rather  than  one  of  the  natural  branches.  At  first,  how 
ever,  they  took  the  same  view  as  other  Protestant  writers  of  the 
authority  of  Holy  Writ,  only  they  were  less  sensitive  about 
difficulties  and  apparent  discrepancies  in  Scripture,  and  more 


*  Non  cat  necesse  ut  quicquid  fuit  in 
Apostolis  protinua  ad  miraculum  vo- 
ceraus.  Passus  cst  errare  suos  Christus, 
ctium  post  acceptum  Paracletum,  sed 
non  usque  ad  fidei  pcriculum. — Erasm. 
Epistt.,  lib.  ii.,  to  in.  iv.  Edit.  Basil. 


t  E.  g.  A  Spiritu  Sancto  dictari  his- 
torios  non  fuit  opus.  Satis  fuit  scrip- 
toreiu  memoria  valere. — Grotius,  Vol. 
pro  pace  Eccles.,  torn.  iii.  p.  672.  Lend. 
1G79. 


294  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

disposed  to  cut  and  square  it  so  as  to  accord  with  what  appeared 
to  them  to  be  reason  and  common  sense.  This  tendency  more 
and  more  fully  developed  itself.  The  modern  Unitarian  is  a 
genuine  Rationalist  often  little  different  from  a  Deist. 

The  mystical  spirit,  which  had  long  been  swelling  up  under 
the  weight  of  the  Medieval  Church,  sometimes  wholly  within  it, 
sometimes  bursting  forth  from  the  pressure,  showed  itself  in 
many  places  and  many  forms,  after  the  triumph  of  the  Ixeforma- 
tion.  Its  elevation  of  the  subjective  over  the  objective,  of  the 
inward  life  over  the  outward  letter,  led  insensibly  to  a  disregard 
of  the  Bible  in  comparison  with  the  internal  testimony  and  the 
intuition  of  the  soul.  The  Anabaptists  of  Germany  were  of  the 
coarsest  class  of  mystics.  Among  the  best  have  been  the 
Quakers  in  this  country.  The  leading  principle  of  George  Fox, 
their  founder,  was  the  doctrine  of  the  Inward  Light.  This  is 
the  time  principle  of  all  knowledge  of  religion.  The  outward 
Word  is  chiefly  valuable  as  it  stirs  up  the  Word  within.  The 
highest  source  of  knowledge  is  this  inward  illumination.  All 
outward  forms,  all  outward  tests,  all  creeds  and  confessions,  are 
strictly  forbidden.  Even  the  Bible  must  be  subordinated  to  the 
light  of  God  within.  It  is  evident  that,  on  this  principle,  there 
can  be  no  distinction  between  the  inspiration  of  Prophets  and 
Apostles  and  the  inspiration  of  every  devout  soul.  It  is  also 
observable  IIOAV  this  theory  produces  results  like  those  which 
spring  from  the  Roman  doctrine  of  tradition.  The  written 
Word  of  God  is  no  longer  the  final  court  of  appeal  in  controver 
sies  of  doctrine.  The  Church  of  Rome  finds  an  infallible  inter 
preter  in  that  Divine  Spirit  which  ever  dwells  in  and  guides  the 
Church.  The  mystic  has  an  infallible  interpreter  in  his  own 
bosom,  who  not  only  opens  his  understanding  that  he  may 
understand  the  Scriptures,  but  communicates  directly  and  sen 
sibly  truth  to  the  soul.  It  is  also  very  deserving  of  remark, 
however  painful  it  may  be,  that  at  one  time  the  Quakers  were 
rapidly  hurrying  into  Rationalism,  and  even  Socinianism — the 
coldest  forms  of  unbelief — from  the  warm  mysticism  of  their 
first  founders. 

To  come  nearer  to  our  own  times,  the  whole  spirit  of  the  last 
century  in  Germany  was  subjective.  There  seemed  a  reaction 
from  the  positive  spirit  of  the  seventeenth  century,  which  has 
been  called  the  middle  a£e  of  the  Reformation.  Pietism  was 


ESSAY  VII.] 


INSPIRATION. 


295 


the  form  taken  by  the  religious  revival,  a  form  which  was  emi 
nently  subjective,  and  which  partook  much  of  the  mystical. 
The  philosophical  spirit  was  of  the  same  character.  The  very 
principle  of  illuminism  (auklarung)  was,  that  there  is  in  man's 
inmost  consciousness  an  intuitional  knowledge  of  truth.  Its 
motto — "  Wahr  ist  was  klar  ist,"  "  that  is  true  which  is  clear," 
— sufficiently  indicates  its  character.  Proceeding  from  such  a 
ground,  and  raising  Natural  Religion  to  the  rank  of  a  Revelation, 
Tollner,  the  disciple  of  Wolff,  reduced  Scripture  to  the  level  of 
a  natural  light.*  At  the  same  time,  the  Pietists  used  the  Bible, 
not  so  much  to  be  the  source  of  truth  and  the  fountain  of  faith, 
as  for  a  book  of  devotion  and  to  raise  pious  emotions.f  In  both 
ways  there  was  a  move  towards  the  confounding  of  the  light  of 
Nature  with  the  light  of  Revelation,  of  the  light  of  the  Spirit  in 
the  devout  or  illuminated  soul  with  the  light  which  had  been 
specially  vouchsafed  to  Prophets  and  Apostles  for  communicating 
God's  truth  to  the  world. 

8.  In  the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century,  the  Deism, 
which  had  been  troubling  England,  had  passed  through  the 
alembic  of  French  scepticism,  and  now  settled  down  in  a  shower 
of  Rationalism  on  Germany.  The  Rationalism  of  Paulus,  the 
Pantheism  of  Hegel,  the  historical  myth  of  Strauss,  derive  their 
pedigree  from  the  writings  of  Lord  Herbert  of  Cherbury,  Toland, 
Tindal,  and  other  English  Deists  of  the  seventeenth  and  early 
eighteenth  centuries,  through  the  school  of  Rousseau  and  Vol- 
taire.J  The  special  principle  of  Lord  Herbert  and  his  followers, 
the  Deists,  was  that  there  were  several  positive  religions — 
Christianity,  Judaism,  Mohammedism,  &c.  In  the  main  all 
these  are  the  same.  The  general  religion  is  at  the  bottom  of  all 
of  them,  i.  e.,  the  Religion  of  Nature,  a  religion  founded  in  the 
natural  perception  of  truth,  the  intuitional  consciousness  of  the 
human  mind.  Positive  religions  may  be  very  good  for  practical 
purposes ;  but  all  that  is  positive  in  them  is  evil,  or  at  the  best 
worthless ;  the  valuable  part  being  that  which  they  hold  in 
common  of  the  general  religion.  It  was  this  principle  which 
passed  through  the  various  forms  of  French  infidelity,  German 


*  See  Kalmis,  '  Hist,  of  German 
Protestantism,'  English  Translation,  by 
Meyer,  p.  116. 

t  Ib.,  p.  100,  116.. 


J  See  Ksihnis  as  above,  p.  31,  &c. 
McCaul's  'Rationalism  and  Deistic  In 
fidelity,'  passim. 


296  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

Rationalism  and  Pantheism,  and  which  has  been  brought  back 
to  us,  as  the  highest  result  of  modern  discoveries  in  science 
and  mental  philosophy.  How  it  was  calculated  to  act  upon 
the  theory  of  inspiration,  and  to  unsettle  it  even  with  those 
who  had  not  become  either  Rationalists  or  Deists,  it  is  needless 
to  remark.  Where  a  shadow  of  infidelity  is  obscuring  the 
light,  many,  who  are  not  wholly  under  its  darkness,  will  yet 
pass  through  the  penumbra  that  surrounds  it.  Even  the  apolo 
gists  in  the  last  century,  from  the  wish  to  take  positions  which 
were  impregnable,  surrendered,  at  least  for  argument's  sake,  the 
higher  ground  of  their  forerunners  in  the  faith.  And,  in  the  like 
manner,  among  the  German  divines,  who  still  held  Christian 
and  orthodox  opinions,  there  was  a  tendency  to  depart  from  the 
higher  doctrine  of  inspiration  held  by  the  Church  and  the  Re 
formers  ;  to  speak  of  degrees  of  inspiration,  of  fallibility  in 
things  earthly,  of  a  Divine  influence  elevating  the  mental  facul 
ties  of  the  sacred  writers ;  not  simply  to  ascribe  all  to  the  direct 
teaching  of  the  Spirit  of  God.* 

9.  Distinct  theories  of  inspiration  wrere  in  old  times  seldom 
propounded,  even  where  some  attention  was  directed  to  the  ques 
tion.  Definite  controversies  upon  it  scarcely  arose.  The  present 
century  has  been  rife  in  both ;  and  they  have  prevailed  not  a 
little  among  ourselves.  Several  causes  have  contributed  to  call 
them  forth.  First,  and  chiefly,  the  spread  of  rationalising  spe 
culations,  and  the  consequent  unsettling  of  faith. t  Next,  the 
greater  attention  which  has  been  paid  to  the  criticism  of  the 
liible,  and  especially  of  the  New  Testament,  has  exposed  to  view 
some  of  the  difficulties  concerning  the  origin  of  the  books  of  the 
Bible,  concerning  the  historical  accuracy  of  some  statements, 
concerning  the  slight  apparent  variations  in  the  testimony  of  the 
Evangelists.  In  ordinary  historians  these  would  puzzle  no  one. 
The  strictest  integrity  is  compatible  with  slight  inaccuracy  or 
divergence  of  testimony  ;  but  if  all  was  the  work  of  God's  Holy 
Spirit,  speaking  through  human  agents,  the  least  discrepancy  is 
formidable.  Hence  the  human  element  has  been  thought  more 


*  Sec  Kahnis,  pp.  116,  117. 

t  It  is  important  to  observe,  that 
this  was  first  in  tima  as  well  as  in 
importance.  Dr.  McCaul  has  shown 
clearly  ('  nationalism  and  Deistie  In- 


opinions  in  Germany  was  first,  the 
criticism  came  afterwards.  Faith  in 
Revelation  was  shaken  by  Deisrn  and 
nationalism,  and  then  the  unfriendly 
criticism  was  brought  to  bear  upoii  the 


fidelity  ">  *hat  the  spread  of  unbelieving    ;    records  of  Christianity. 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  297 

of  among  modern  critics,  and  by  some  has  been  elevated  above 
the  Divine.  Thirdly,  the  rapid  discoveries  of  modern  science 
have  been  supposed  to  contradict  the  records  of  the  Old  Testa 
ment  Scriptures ;  and,  in  order  to  account  for  such  a  contradic 
tion,  efforts  have  been  made  to  interpret  anew  the  words  of 
Moses ;  and,  where  these  have  proved  unsatisfactory,  many  have 
more  or  less  believed  that  the  writers  of  the  historical  books 
were  merely  chroniclers  of  historical  events  or  collectors  of  an 
cient  records,  the  providence  of  God  having  watched  over  the 
preservation  of  such  records,  but  the  Spirit  of  God  having  in  no 
sense  dictated  them.  Still  freer  views  have  been  propounded  ; 
but  this  may  suffice  as  the  expression  of  the  thoughts  of  serious 
men. 

10.  One  of  the  first  among  ourselves  to  put  forth  a  bold  theory 
of  inspiration  was  Coleridge.  His  '  Confessions  of  an  Enquiring 
Spirit '  was  indeed  not  published  till  after  his  death ;  but  the 
tone  of  many  former  writings  is  much  the  same.  In  the 
posthumous  work  just  mentioned  he  unfolds  his  theory  pretty 
freely.  Of  the  Bible  he  speaks  as  a  library  of  infinite  value, 
as  that  which  must  have  a  Divine  Spirit  in  it,  from  its  appeal 
to  all  the  hidden  springs  of  feeling  in  our  hearts.  "  In  short," 
he  writes,  "  whatever  finds  me  bears  witness  that  it  has  proceeded 
from  a  Holy  Spirit."  (Letter  i.)  "  In  the  Bible  there  is  more 
that  finds  me  than  I  have  experienced  in  all  other  books 
put  together ;  the  words  of  the  Bible  find  me  at  greater  depths 
of  my  being ;  and  whatever  finds  me  brings  with  it  an  irre 
sistible  evidence  of  its  having  proceeded  from  the  Holy  Spirit." 
(Letter  ii.)  But  then  he  protests  against  "  the  doctrine  which 
requires  me  to  believe  that  not  only  what  finds  me,  but  all 
that  exists  in  the  sacred  volume,  and  which  I  am  bound  to 
find  therein,  was  not  only  inspired  by,  that  is,  composed  by  men 
under  the  actuating  influence  of,  the  Holy  Spirit,  but  likewise 
dictated  by  an  Infallible  Intelligence ;  that  the  writers,  each  and 
all,  were  divinely  informed,  as  well  as  inspired."  The  very 
essence  of  "  this  doctrine  is  this,  that  one  and  the  same  Intelli 
gence  is  speaking  in  the  unity  of  a  person,  which  unity  is 
no  more  broken  by  the  diversity  of  the  pipes  through  which  it 
makes  itself  audible,  than  is  a  tune  by  the  different  instruments 
on  which  it  is  played  by  a  consummate  musician  equally  perfect 
in  all.  One  instrument  may  be  more  capacious  than  another, 


AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII 

but  as  far  as  its  compass  extends,  and  in  what  it  sounds  forth,  it 
will  be  true  to  the  conception  of  the  master."  Such  a  doctrine, 
he  conceives,  must  imply  infallibility  in  physical  science  and  in 
everything  else  as  much  as  in  faith,  in  things  natural  no  less 
than  in  spiritual.  He  expresses  a  full  belief  "  that  the  word 
of  the  Lord  came  to  Samuel,  to  Isaiah,  to  others,  and  that 
the  words  which  gave  utterance  to  the  same  are  faithfully  re 
corded."  But  for  the  recording  he  does  not  think  that  there 
was  need  of  any  supernatural  working,  except  in  such  cases  as 
those  in  which  God  not  only  utters  certain  express  words  to  a 
prophet,  but  also  enjoins  him  to  record  them.  In  the  latter 
case  he  accepts  them  "as  supernaturally  communicated  and 
their  recording  as  executed  under  special  guidance."  The  argu 
ments  of  Coleridge  are  calculated  rather  to  pull  down  than  to 
build  up.  He  brings  many  reasons  against  a  rigid  mechanical 
theory,  against  a  belief  that  the  Bible  is  simply  the  voice  of 
God's  Holy  Spirit  uttered  through  different  organs  or  instru 
ments  ;  but  he  does  not  fix  any  limit,  he  does  not  say  how  far 
he  admits  Divine  teaching  or  inspiration  to  extend,  nor  does  he 
apparently  draw  any  line  of  distinction  between  the  inspiration 
of  holy  men  of  old  and  the  spiritual  and  providential  direction 
of  enlightened  men  in  every  age  and  nation. 

Wherever  Coleridge  has  trodden  Mr.  Maurice  follows  him  ; 
not  that  he  is  a  servile  imitator,  but  he  is  a  zealous  disciple,  and 
one  who  generally  outdoes  his  master.  In  his  '  Theological 
Essays '  he  begins  to  speak  of  the  inspiration  of  poets  and  pro 
phets  among  the  Greeks ;  he  speaks  again  of  the  quickening 
and  informing  spirit,  to  which  all  good  men  ascribe  their  own 
teaching  and  enlightenment ;  he  quotes  the  language  of  our 
Liturgy  as  ascribing  to  "  God's  holy  inspiration"  the  power  of 
"  thinking  those  things  that  be  good ;"  and  then  he  asks  the  ques 
tion,  "  Ought  we  in  our  sermons  to  say,  '  Brethren,  we  beseech 
you  not  to  suppose  the  inspiration  of  Scripture  to  at  all  resemble 
that  for  which  we  have  been  praying ;  they  are  geuerically  and 
essentially  unlike ;  it  is  blasphemous  to  connect  them  in  our 
minds;  the  Church  is  very  guilty  for  having  suggested  the 
association  ?' "  Proceeding  in  this  course  he  naturally  arrives 
at  the  conclusion  that  all  which  is  good  and  beautiful  comes 
from  the  inspiration  of  the  Spirit  of  God,  and  that  the  sacred 
words  of  Scripture  came  in  the  same  manner  from  the  same 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  299 

Spirit.  (See  Essay  xiii.)  In  some  of  his  writings,  especially  in 
his  work  on  '  Sacrifice,'  he  appears  to  have  earned  his  disbelief 
of  a  more  special  inspiration  of  Holy  Scripture  to  a  greater 
length  than  in  his  '  Theological  Essays,'  as  where  God's  tempting 
of  Abraham  to  slay  his  son  is  attributed  to  a  horrible  thought 
coming  over  him  and  haunting  him. 

A  very  able  and  interesting  writer  on  the  samo  side  of  the 
same  subject  is  Mr.  Morell  in  his  '  Philosophy  of  Religion.'  The 
work  is  one  of  considerable  acuteness  and  philosophical  power. 
The  writer's  theory  of  inspiration  is  based  on  his  theory  of  the 
human  mind.  The  different  powers  of  consciousness  he  classes 
thus : 

Powers  of  Consciousness  . .   to  which  correspond  . .   Emotions. 

1.  The  Sensational  „  „  The  Instincts. 

2.  The  Perceptive  „  „  The  Animal  Passions. 

3.  The  Logical  „  „  Eelational  Emotions. 

4.  The  Intuitional  „  „  ^Esthetic,  Moral,  and 

Religious  Emotions. 

Now,  the  intuitional  consciousness,  he  contends,  is  that  which 
alone  is  properly  susceptible  of  religious  impressions  and  reli 
gious  truths.  Eevelation  he  considers  to  involve  an  immediate 
intuition  of  Divine  realities.  All  revelation  implies  an  intelli 
gible  object  presented,  and  a  given  power  of  recipiency  in  the 
subject,  which  power  is  lodged  in  the  intuitional  consciousness. 
In  distinguishing  revelation  and  inspiration,  he  defines  "  revela 
tion,  in  the  Christian  sense,  as  that  act  of  the  Divine  power  by 
which  God  presents  the  realities  of  the  spiritual  world  imme 
diately  to  the  human  mind,  while  inspiration  denotes  that  espe 
cial  influence  wrought  upon  the  faculties  of  the  subject,  by  virtue 
of  which  he  is  able  to  grasp  these  realities  in  their  perfect  fulness 
and  integrity."  (p.  150.)  "  God  made  a  revelation  of  Himself 
to  the  world  in  Jesus  Christ ;  but  it  was  the  inspiration  of  the 
Apostles,  which  enabled  them  clearly  to  discern  it." 

Mr.  Morell  argues  that  "  the  canonicity  of  the  New  Testament 
Scriptures  was  decided  upon  solely  on  the  ground  of  their  pre 
senting  to  the  whole  Church  clear  statements  of  Apostolical  Chris 
tianity.  The  idea  of  their  being  written  by  any  special  command 
of  God,  or  verbal  dictation  of  the  Spirit,  was  an  idea  altogether 
foreign  to  the  primitive  Christians"  (p.  1G5).  "The  proper  idea 
of  inspiration,  as  applied  to  the  Holy  Scriptures,  does  not  include 


300  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

either  miraculous  powers,  verbal  dictation,  or  any  distinct  com 
mission  from  God."  ( Ib.}  On  the  contrary,  it  consists  "  in  the 
inipartation  of  clear  intuitions  of  moral  and  spiritual  truth  to  the 
mind  by  extraordinary  means.  According  to  this  view  of  the 
case,  inspiration,  as  an  internal  phenomenon,  is  perfectly  consistent 
with  the  natural  laws  of  the  human  mind — it  is  a  higher  kind  of 
potency,  which  every  man  to  a  certain  degree  possesses"  (p.  16(5). 
This  view,  he  thinks,  "  gives  full  consistency  to  the  progressive 
character  of  Scripture  morality"  (p.  107).  "It  gives  a  satisfac 
tory  explanation  of  the  minor  discrepancies  to  be  found  in  the 
sacred  writers"  (p.  170),  whether  those  discrepancies  be  between 
Scripture  and  science,  or  in  statements  of  facts,  or  in  reasoning. 
In  every  case  in  which  the  moral  nature  is  highly  purified,  and 
so  a  harmony  of  the  spiritual  being  with  the  mind  of  God  pro 
duced,  a  removal  of  all  outward  disturbances  from  the  heart, 
"What,"  he  asks,  "is  to  prevent  or  disturb  the  immediate  intui 
tion  of  Divine  things  ?  '  Blessed  are  the  pure  in  heart,  for  they 
shall  see  God '  "  (p.  180). 

It  is  clear  that  this  theory  makes  great  purity  of  heart,  or 
liigh  sanctification,  equivalent  to,  or  the  unfailing  instrument  of, 
inspiration.  If  one  man  is  a  better  Christian  than  another,  and 
so  has  a  purer  heart,  he  must  be  more  inspired  than  the  other. 
Hence,  if  a  man  of  modern  times  could  be  found  of  a  higher  re 
ligious  tone  and  character  than  an  Apostle,  he  would  have  a 
higher  intuition  of  Divine  things,  and  therefore  would  know 
Christian  truth  more  infallibly.  Moreover,  it  appears  that  the 
value  of  the  Scriptures  consists,  not  in  their  proceeding  from  any 
direct  command  of  God,  or  from  any  infallible  guidance  of  His 
Spirit,  but  in  their  embodying  the  teaching  and  experience  of 
men  whose  hearts  were  elevated,  and  so  their  understandings 
enlightened  ;  to  tliis  it  being  added,  in  the  case  of  the  New  Tes 
tament,  that  the  writers  were  such  as  were  specially  qualified  to 
represent  the  Apostolical  Church,  and  so  to  transmit  its  spirit 
and  teaching  to  us. 

A  writer  of  less  ability,  but  more  boldness,  Mr.  Mac  Naught 
of  Liverpool,  has  carried  the  same  theory  to  its  furthest  limits. 
He  defines  inspiration  to  be  "  that  action  of  the  Divine  Spirit  by 
which,  apart  from  any  idea  of  infallibility,  all  that  is  good  in 
man,  beast,  or  matter,  is  originated  and  sustained"  (p.  130, 
Second  Edition).  He  denies  all  distinction  between  genius  and 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  301 

inspiration.  He  doubts  not  that  "  David,  Solomon,  Isaiah,  or 
Paul  would  have  spoken  of  everything,  which  may  with  pro 
priety  be  called  a  work  of  genius,  or  of  cleverness,  or  of  holiness," 
as  "  works  of  the  Spirit  of  God,  written  by  Divine  inspiration." 
(p.  132.) 

11.  The  historical  sketch  thus  rapidly  given  seems  to  show 
that  there  have  always  been  some  slight  differences  of  tone  and 
opinion  touching  this  important  question,  but  that  these  differ 
ences  have  never  so  markedly  come  out  as  in  the  nineteenth 
century.  The  subject  at  present  causes  great  anxiety,  and  not 
without  reason.  Many  feel  that,  if  they  must  give  up  a  high  doc 
trine  of  inspiration,  they  give  up  Christianity ;  and  yet  they 
think  that  a  high  doctrine  is  scarcely  tenable.  Such  a  feeling  is 
not  unnatural,  and  yet  it  is  not  wholly  true.  All  the  history, 
and  even  all  the  great  doctrines  of  the  Gospel,  might  be  capable 
of  proof,  and  so  deserving  of  credence,  though  we  were  obliged 
to  adopt  almost  the  lowest  of  the  modern  theories  of  inspiration. 
For  instance,  all,  or  almost  all,  the  arguments  of  Butler,  Paley, 
Lardner,  and  other  like  authors,  are  independent  of  the  question, 
"What  is  the  nature  and  degree  of  Scriptural  inspiration?" 
Paley,  for  instance,  undertakes  to  prove  the  truth  of  Christ's 
resurrection  and  of  the  Gospel  history,  and  thence  the  truth  of 
the  doctrines  which  Christ  taught  to  the  world.  But  this  he 
argues  out,  for  the  most  part,  on  principles  of  common  historical 
evidence.  He  treats  the  Apostles  as  twelve  common  men,  of 
common  honesty  and  common  intelligence.  If  they  could  not 
have  been  deceived,  and  had  no  motive  to  deceive  the  world, 
then  surely  we  must  accept  their  testimony  as  true.  But  if 
their  testimony  is  true,  Jesus  Christ  must  have  lived,  and  taught, 
and  worked  miracles,  and  risen  from  the  dead,  and  so  in  Him  we 
have  an  accredited  witness  sent  from  God.  His  teaching,  there 
fore,  must  have  been  the  truth  ;  and  if  we  have  good  grounds  for 
believing  that  His  disciples  carefully  treasured  up  His  teaching, 
and  faithfully  handed  it  on  to  us,  we  have  then  in  the  New  Tes 
tament  an  unquestionable  record  of  the  will  and  of  the  truth  of 
God.  Even  if  the  Apostles  and  Evangelists  had  no  special 
inspiration,  yet,  if  we  admit  their  care  and  fidelity,  we  may  trust 
to  their  testimony,  and  so  accept  their  teaching  as  true. 

So  then,  even  if  we  were  driven  to  take  the  lowest  view  of  in 
spiration,  we  are  not  bound  to  give  up  our  faith.  External 


302  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

evidence  must  almost  of  necessity  begin  by  taking  low  ground. 
It  must  treat  nothing  as  certain  until  it  is  proved.  It  must  not, 
therefore,  even  presume  that  witnesses  are  honest  till  it  has 
found  reason  to  think  them  so  ;  and,  of  course,  it  cannot  treat 
them  as  inspired  till  it  meets  with  something  which  compels  an 
acknowledgment  of  their  inspiration.  This  is  taking  the  ex- 
tremest  case,  one  in  which  we  altogether  doubt  the  inspiration 
of  the  Apostles.  A  fortiori,  we  need  not  throw  away  all  faith,  if 
we  should  be  led  to  think  that  some  books  of  the  Old  Testament 
are  only  historical  records,  collected  by  Jewish  antiquarians,  and 
bound  up  with  the  writings  of  prophets,  as  venerable  and  valu 
able  memorials  of  the  peculiar  people  of  God.  All  this  might 
be,  and  yet  God  may  have  spoken  by  holy  men  of  old,  and  after 
wards  more  fully  by  His  Son. 

Some  Christian  controversialists,  who  take  high  ground  them 
selves,  write  as  if  they  thought  that  Christianity  was  not  worth 
defending,  unless  it  was  defended  exactly  on  their  principles. 
The  minds  of  the  young  more  especially  are  sometimes  greatly 
endangered  by  this  means.  The  defender  of  the  Gospel  may  be 
but  an  indifferent  reasoner.  He  fails  to  make  his  ground  sure 
and  strong.  His  reader  finds  more  forcible,  at  least  more 
specious,  arguments  elsewhere.  He  thinks  the  advocate  he 
rested  on  defeated,  his  arguments  answered  and  upset,  and  Chris 
tianity  itself  seems  lost.  Now,  we  nlay  surely  begin  by  saying, 
that  the  question  of  inspiration  is,  within  certain  limits,  a  ques 
tion  internal  to  Christianity.  No  doubt,  it  may  materially  affect 
the  evidences  of  Christianity  ;  but  the  questions  of  verbal  inspi 
ration,  mechanical  inspiration,  dynamical  inspiration,  and  the 
like,  are  all  questions  on  Avhich  persons  believing  in  the  Gospel 
may  differ.  There  is  a  degree  of  latitude  which  must  be  fatal  to 
faith  ;  but  within  certain  limits  men  may  differ,  and  yet  believe. 
We  shall  be  wise  to  take  safe  ground  ourselves,  and  to  bear  as 
charitably  as  we  can  with  those  who  may  take  either  higher  or 
lower.  Only  it  cannot  be  concealed  that  the  temper  of  mind 
which  disposes  to  a  very  low  doctrine  of  inspiration  is  one  that 
may  not  improbably  lead  in  the  end  to  the  rejection  of  many 
religious  truths — to  scepticism,  if  not  to  unbelief. 

12.  It  seems  pretty  generally  agreed  among  thoughtful  men 
at  present,  that  definite  theories  of  inspiration  are  doubtful  and 
dangerous.  The  existence  of  a  human  element,  and  the  existence 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  303 

of  a  Divine  element,  are  generally  acknowledged  ;  but  the  exact 
relation  of  the  one  to  the  other  it  may  be  difficult  to  define.  Yet 
some  thoughts  may  aid  us  to  an  approximation  to  the  truth,  per 
haps  sufficiently  clear  for  practical  purposes. 

13.  In  the  first  place,  then,  let  us  consider  for  a  moment  what 
is  the  real  principle  which  seems  to  actuate  those  writers  and 
thinkers,  of  the  present  day  especially,  who  endeavour  to  root 
out  all  distinction  between  the  inspiration  of  the  Apostles  and 
Prophets,  and  the  ordinary  illumination  of  good  and  wise  men. 
Is  it  not  that  morbid  shrinking  from  a  belief  in  anything  mi 
raculous  in  religious  history,  now  so  commonly  prevalent  ?  that 
fear  to  admit  the  possibility  that  the  Creator  of  the  universe 
should  ever  specially  interfere  with  the  universe  which  He  has 
created  ?     There  can  be  no  question  but  that  that  inspiration  of 
Holy  Scripture  in  which  the  Church  has  generally  believed  is  of 
the  nature  of  a  miracle ;  and  so  its  rejection  follows  upon  the 
rejection  of  miracles  in  general.     Many  marvellous  things  exist 
in  nature,  things  at  least  as  marvellous  as  any  miracles  recorded 
in  Scripture.    It  is  marvellous  that  the  worlds  should  have  come 
into  being,  and  should  all   be  under  the  government  of  the 
strictest  laws  and  the  most  undeviating  rules — that  life  should 
exist  at  all — that  new  life  should  be  constantly  bursting  forth — 
that  eyes  should  open  curiously  formed  to  see,  and  ears  curiously 
constructed  to  hear ; — all  this,  and  much  beside,  is  as  marvellous 
as  the  suspension  of  a  natural  law,  as  the  restoring  life  to  the 
body  from  which  it  had  gone  forth,  as  the  giving  sight  to  the 
blind,  or  hearing  to  the  deaf.     But  the  latter  startles  us  into 
conviction  that  some  living  personal  being  of  creative  power  has 
newly  put  forth  his  strength :  the  former  state  of  things  is  so 
general,  uniform,  and  constantly  recurring,  that  we  can  go  on  as 
usual  without  much  thinking  of  it,  call  it  Nature,  or  perhaps 
Deity,  or  any  other  abstract  generality,  and  so  rest  satisfied. 

14.  Without  doubt  we  witness  in  the  universe  the  constant  pre 
valence  of  general  laws,  and  the  regulation  of  all  things  by  them. 
In  proportion  to  this  general  constancy  is  our  natural  expecta 
tion  that  it  will  continue.      And,  moreover,  even  though  we 
may  be  led  to  believe  that  the  whole  must  have  been  framed, 
and  that  the  laws  must  have  been  given  by  a  creative  intelli 
gence  ;  still  the  uniform  operation  of  those  laws  disposes  us  to 
doubt  the  probability  that  they  will  ever  be  interfered  with  by 


304  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

the  hand  that  first  ordered  them.  This  doubt  is  strengthened 
by  the  belief  that  the  wisdom,  which  first  gave  being  to  an 
universe,  could  never  have  wrought  so  imperfectly  as  that  its 
active  interference  should  afterwards  be  needed,  to  remedy 
defects  or  to  repair  the  machinery.  And  all  this  might  perhaps 
be  probable  enough,  if  we  could  see  but  a  natural  creation,  and 
if  there  were  no  moral  and  rational  creation  too.  But  suppose 
it  to  be  true,  that  there  is  in  the  physical  universe,  and  more  or 
less  connected  with  matter  and  the  laws  of  matter,  a  multitude 
of  intelligent,  rational,  moral,  and  accountable  beings ;  some 
more  powerful  than  others ;  some,  the  angels,  wholly  good ;  some, 
the  evil  angels,  wholly  bad ;  some  of  a  mixed  character,  like 
man  ;  all  capable,  more  or  less,  of  communication  with  each  other 
—those  indeed  of  mixed  character  closely  connected  with  matter, 
joined  to  material  bodies,  whilst  the  more  powerful  intelligences, 
good  and  evil,  are  freer  and  more  independent  of  mere  physical 
influences :  suppose,  too,  that  there  is  one  great  Intellect,  one 
Sovereign  Mind,  who  made  all,  and  who  governs  all ;  with 
premises  like  these,  where  is  the  improbability  that  there  should 
be  occasional  interferences  with  natural  laws  ?  Life  does  not 
exist  at  all  without  producing  some  interference  with  the  mere 
laws  of  matter  and  motion.  Where  intelligent  beings  exist 
capable  of  acting  on  material  substances,  they  ever  do  mould 
those  material  substances  to  their  will,  and  make  the  laws  of 
nature  serve  them.  If  created  intelligences  superior  to  man 
have  any  power  to  act  through  material  instruments,  we  should 
expect  that  they  could  only  act,  as  man  does,  by  taking  advan 
tage  of  the  laws  by  which  matter  is  guided,  and  so  controlling 
one  law  by  bringing  a  more  powerful  law  to  bear  upon  it.  Even 
of  the  providence  of  the  Supreme  Being,  if  that  providence  be 
continually  at  work,  controlling  the  moral  and  intellectual,  and 
upholding  the  material  creation,  it  is  most  probable  that  such 
providential  agency  would  be  exercised  in  overruling  and 
directing  natural  causes  and  laws  rather  than  in  displacing  or 
superseding  them.  But  there  certainly  seems  no  a  priori 
improbability  that  the  Creator  should  be  also  the  Ruler  of  the 
universe  ;  that  where  the  creation  is  moral  and  intelligent,  He 
should  rule  and  interfere  as  He  might  not  where  it  was  simply 
material  or  animal ;  that,  where  moral,  personal  beings  were 
acting  upon  one  another,  striving  to  benefit,  and  striving  to 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  305 

ruin  one  another,  He  too  at  times  should  be  at  hand,  to  punish 
or  to  protect.  And  so  the  doctrine  of  a  special  providence 
seems  only  consistent  with  the  belief  in  a  personal  God.  But 
the  step  from  thence  to  a  belief  in  miracles  is  no  great  stride. 
For,  if  the  great  personal  Creator  rules  and  guides  and  inter 
feres  in  the  affairs  of  His  creation,  though  He  would  be  likeliest 
to  do  so  commonly  by  mere  guidance  of  natural  laws,  yet,  if 
there  were  need  or  occasion  for  it,  it  must  be  quite  as  easy  for 
Him  to  interfere  by  the  entire  suspension  of  those  laws,  or  by 
a  temporary  alteration  of  them.* 

15.  Indeed  it  is  hard  to  see  how  miracles  should  appear  either 
impossible  or  improbable ;  but  either  on  the  theory  that  what 
we  see  commonly  we  must  see  always,  or  else  on  the  theory 
that  there  is  no  personal  providence  of  God.  And,  in  short,  is 
it  not  true,  that  the  natural  tendency  of  those  who  try  to  get  rid 
of  miracle  and  special  inspiration  is  to  the  resolving  of  provi 
dence  into  law,  and  of  God  into  simple  intelligence  ?  We  are  all 
well  aware  that  we  see  the  government  of  law,  not  only  in  the 
physical,  but  even  in  the  intellectual  world ;  and  there  are 
those,  who,  from  observing  this,  have  been  led  to  a  belief  in  law. 
and  nothing  but  law.  God  with  them  is  but  law  ;  and  provi 
dential  or  moral  government  gives  place  to  mere  necessity.  Of 
course,  this  is  simple  Atheism,  and  involves  all  the  difficulties, 
as  well  as  all  the  miseries,  of  Atheism.  And  yet,  surely  it  is 
more  consistent  and  logical  than  the  system,  which  does  not 
deny  the  wisdom  that  seems  to  have  planned  and  still  seems  to 
order  all  things,  but  which  yet  shrinks  from  acknowledging  the 
distinct,  individual  personality  of  the  Creator,  His  personal 
presence  to  all  the  universe  which  He  has  created,  His  superin 
tending  providence  over  it,  and  His  active  interference  in  it. 
Unquestionably  this  latter  is  the  doctrine  of  the  Hebrew  Bible, 
and  that  which  Jesus  Christ  taught  in  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount. 
But  philosophic  religion  talks  to  us  of  a  general  principle  of 


*  Of  course,  if  Professor  Baden 
Powell's  theory  be  true,  that  the  phy 
sical  arid  the  spiritual  worlds  are  so 
separate  that  they  can  never  come  into 
contact,  then  all  this  is  impossible. 


soul  and  body  must  be  impossible  ;  at 
all  events,  all  religious  knowledge  must 
be  impossible.  It  can  be  founded  on 
no  evidence,  and  can  result  only  from 
certain  convictions  of  the  mind,  wholly 


But  then   all   creation    is  impossible.       incapable  of  being  tested  as  to  their 
The  spiritual  could  never  have  created       truth, 
the   material.     Indeed,    the    union,  of    I 


306  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

intelligence  diffused  throughout  all  things,  moving,  and  breathing 
in,  and  animating  all  beings.  Now  this  general  principle  of 
intelligence  sounds  philosophical  enough;  but  how  can  it  be 
reconciled  with  what  Englishmen  call  common  sense  ?  What, 
on  principles  of  common  reason,  can  be  meant  by  intelligence 
where  there  is  no  intellect,  or  a  great  principle  of  mind  where 
there  is  no  personal  mind  at  all  ?  We  know  what  is  meant  by 
the  intelligence  of  a  man,  or  the  intelligence  of  a  beast — intelli 
gence  being  the  power  of  perceiving,  understanding,  and  reason 
ing  predicable  of  the  mind  of  that  man  or  that  beast.  In  like 
manner  we  can  understand  that  if  there  be  one  great  infinite 
mind,  then  infinite  intelligence  may  be  predicable  of  that 
infinite  mind.  But  to  say  that  there  is  any  general  principle 
of  intelligence  separable  and  distinguishable  i'rom  any  particular 
mind,  is  surely  to  palter  with  us  in  a  double  sense.  We  can  no 
more  appreciate  intelligence  as  separated  from  the  intellect  of 
which  it  is  a  quality  or  attribute,  than  we  can  understand  agency 
without  an  agent,  potency  without  a  power,  sight  without  a  seer, 
thought  without  a  thinker,  or  life  without  that  which  lives.  In 
short,  may  we  not  demur  altogether  to  mere  abstractions,  except 
as  they  may  exist  in  the  mind,  or  in  systems  of  philosophy  ? 
And  so,  is  not  the  conclusion  inevitable,  that  our  real  alterna 
tive  lies  between  a  mere  Stoical  law,  a  Buddhist  Kharma,  blind 
and  inexorable,  working  in  matter,  it  is  useless  to  inquire  whence 
or  how — between  this  and  a  belief  in  a  God,  personal,  present, 
Maker,  Ruler,  Guider  of  all  things,  and  of  all  men  ? 

16.  Give  us  this,  as  the  Bible  gives  Him  to  us:  and  though 
we  should  never  expect  Him  to  be  perpetually  setting  aside  the 
laws  which  He  has  made  for  the  universe,  yet  we  need  not — 
rather  we  cannot — believe,  that  He  should  be  so  inevitably  fet 
tered  by  them,  as  that  He  should  not  continually  guide  them  for 
the  good  of  His  intelligent  and  moral  creatures — guide  them,  as 
in  a  less  degree  those  creatures  themselves  can  guide  them,  or 
that,  when  He  may  see  fit,  He  should  not  suspend,  or  even  for  a 
season  alter  them.  And  if  this  latter  contingency  should  over 
take  place,  we  should  naturally  expect  that  it  would  be  never  so 
probable  as  when  it  was  His  pleasure  to  communicate  to  rational 
beings  some  special  revelation  of  His  will,  and  to  teach  them 
concerning  Himself  what  they  might  not  be  able  to  learn  from 
mere  natural  phenomena. 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  307 

Can  there  be  any  inconsistency  in  such  a  putting  aside  of  the 
veil  of  nature,  and  giving  man  a  somewhat  clearer  vision  of  God  ? 
Doubtless,  other  courses  are  possible.  God  might  be  pleased, 
instead  of  making  any  objective  communications  to  mankind,  to 
breathe  silently  into  each  individual  spirit,  and  to  teach 
separately  each  one  of  His  will  and  of  Himself.  But  no  one 
has  a  right  to  say  that  such  must  be  God's  plan  of  action — that 
such  only  is  consistent  with  Divine  wisdom,  or  human  capacity, 
or  philosophical  theology.  If  God  be  not  the  mere  pervading 
intelligence,  which  informs  the  universe,  but  which  can  exert 
itself  only  through  the  medium  of  things  in  the  universe ;  if,  on 
the  contrary,  He  is  a  personal,  present  ruler  and  guide,  there 
can  be  no  inconsistency  in  the  belief  that  He  may  at  times  let 
Himself  be  heard  by  those  who  can  hear  Him — in  other  and 
clearer  tones  than  the  voices  of  mere  natural  phenomena,  or 
even  of  the  intuitional  consciousness. 

17.  Now,  the  common  course  which  we  see  philosophic  scepti 
cism  taking  at  present  is  this :  First,  there  is  a  doubt  about 
miracles,  then  about  special  inspiration.  To  build  our  faith  in  any 
degree  on  miracles  is  unwise.  Inspiration  is  wholly  a  question  of 
degree.  One  man  has  by  the  teaching  or  breathing  of  God's  Spirit 
greater  insight  into  spiritual  truth  than  another.  The  Apostles, 
doubtless,  had  an  unusual  brightness  of  such  vision,  and  so  we 
may  truly  call  their  writings  inspired ;  but  the  difference  between 
their  inspiration  and  that  of  St.  Augustine,  or  even  of  Plato,  is 
but  a  difference  of  degree.  Next  comes  a  doubt  or  a  denial  of 
the  existence  of  personal  spiritual  beings.  The  devil,  Satan, 
wicked  spirits,  are  but  names  for  a  general  evil  principle,  which 
we  cannot  but  see  and  feel  influencing  and  pervading  ourselves 
and  all  things  around  us.  Angels  are  soon  placed  in  the  same 
category ;  and  the  last  step  of  all  reduces  God  Himself  to  a 
principle  of  intelligence,  if  it  does  not  go  yet  farther,  and  make 
Him  but  a  law. 

But  in  all  honesty,  is  there  a  middle  course  ?  Does  not 
the  Bible  at  all  events — Old  Testament  and  New  alike — 
speak  of  a  present,  personal  God,  of  a  multitude  of  personal 
spiritual  beings  —  some  good  and  others  evil  —  working 
around  us  and  within  us,  of  miracles  wrought  by  teachers  sent 
from  God,  of  predictions  uttered  before  the  event,  of  holy 
men  of  old  moved  by  the  Spirit  of  God  to  speak  things,  which 

x  2 


308  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [KssAvVJl. 

could  be  known  to  none  but  God  Himself?  It  is  quite 
impossible  to  get  rid  of  all  this,  and  to  retain  the  Bible  as 
in  any  proper  sense  true.  Let  it  be  said,  that  good  men  who 
wrote  books  of  the  Bible  were  good  men,  but  spoke  according 
to  the  prejudices  of  their  times.  They  believed  in  prophecies 
and  miracles,  and  evil  spirits,  and  so  spoke  of  them.  Their 
inspiration  quickened  their  intuitions,  but  it  did  not  make  them 
infallible,  and  so  in  these  matters  they  may  have  erred.  But,  if 
Christianity  be  Christianity,  and  not  a  system  of  mere  morals 
and  philosophy,  there  was  One  Man,  who  was  so  much  more 
than  man,  that  if  we  disbelieve  Him,  we  make  God  Himself  a 
liar.  And  may  we  not  ask,  if  His  discourses  be  not  so  unfaith 
fully  handed  down  to  us,  that  we  might  as  well  or  better  not 
have  them  at  all,  whether  He  did  not  perpetually  appeal  to 
miracles,  whether  He  did  not  continually  quote  prophecies  as 
fulfilled,  or  soon  to  be  fulfilled,  whether  He  did  not  speak  much 
of  angels  and  devils,  whether  He  did  not  in  the  most,  signal 
manner  promise  to  His  disciples  the  guidance  and  teaching  of 
His  Holy  Spirit,  to  bring  to  their  remembrance  all  that  He  had 
said  to  them,  and  to  lead  them  into  all  truth  ?  Is  it  possible  to 
reject  all  this  without  rejecting  Christ  ? 

18.  And  so  much  of  miracles  and  inspiration  generally.  Now 
let  us  take  a  few  facts,  and  see  what  they  seem  to  teach  us. 
We  have  a  number  of  different  books  written  in  different  styles, 
indicating  the  different  characters  of  the  writers.  At  times,  too, 
there  appear  slight  diversities  of  statements  in  trilling  matters 
of  detail.  Here  we  mark  a  human  element.  If  God  spoke,  it 
is  plain  that  He  spoke  through  man ;  if  God  inspired,  He 
inspired  man.  Even  the  Gospel  miracles  were  often  worked 
with  some  instrumental  means  ;  no  wonder,  then,  that  when 
God  would  teach  men,  He  would  teach  through  human  agency. 
And  the  difference  of  style — perhaps  the  slight  discrepancies  in 
statements — seem  to  satisfy  us  that  some  portions  at  least  of  the 
Bible  were  not  simply  dictated  by  God  to  man  ;  there  was  not 
what  is  called  mere  mechanical  or  organic  inspiration  ;  God  did 
not  simply  speak  God's  words,  using  as  a  mere  machine  man's 
lips  to  speak  them  with.  Of  course,  we  must  not  forget  the 
benefit  we  derive  from  these  differences  between  writers  of  the 
same  narrative.  The  apparent  or  trifling  discrepancies  in  the 
statements  of  the  different  Evangelists,  for  instance,  convince  us 


KHSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  309 

that  they  were  independent  witnesses,  aiid  that  the  whole  story 
did  not  arise  from  some  well  concerted  plan  to  deceive  the 
world :  the  homely  and  even  barbarous  style  of  some  of  the 
writers  proves  to  us  that  they  were  really  fishermen,  and  not 
philosophers  ;  and  so  we  have  a  convincing  evidence  that  the 
deepest  system  of  theology,  and  the  noblest  code  of  ethics  ever 
propounded — the  one  stirring  the  depths  of  the  whole  human 
heart,  the  other  guiding  all  human  life — came,  not  from  the 
profound  speculations  of  the  wisest  of  mankind,  but  either  from 
God  Himself,  or  else  from  a  source  more  inexplicable  and  im 
possible  ;  from  the  poor,  the  narrow-minded,  and  the  untaught. 
But  whilst  we  see  the  benefit  of  all  this,  and  admire  the  wisdom 
which  so  ordered  it,  we  learn  from  it  that  there  must  have  been 
a  human  element  in  Scripture ;  that  God  may,  nay  must,  have 
spoken,  but  that  He  dealt  His  own  common  dealing  with  us — 
that  is,  He  used  earthly  instruments  for  giving  heavenly  bless 
ings,  human  means  for  communicating  Divine  truth. 

Now,  let  us  look  the  other  way.  Scripture  is  not  a  mere 
system  of  theology,  nor  is  it  a  mere  historical  record.  If  it  were 
either  or  both  of  these,  and  nothing  more,  of  course  we  could 
believe  that  nothing  might  be  needed,  beyond  the  quickening  of 
the  intuitional  consciousness,  to  enable  men  to  conceive  its 
truths  and  to  communicate  them  to  others.  There  is,  however, 
as  has  been  already  noticed,  a  distinctly  miraculous  element  in 
it ;  and  here,  if  we  admit  its  existence,  we  cannot  fail  to  see  the 
working  of  a  present,  personal  God.  Take  away  the  miraculous 
element,  and  we  may  easily  get  into  any  kind  of  philosophical 
abstraction.  '  Admit  it,  and  we  are  brought  back  again  into  the 
intelligible  region  of  common,  plain  sense. 

If  anything  in  the  world  can  be  supernatural  or  miraculous, 
it  surely  must  be  the  infallible  foreknowledge  of  future  events. 
No  elevation  of  the  intuitional  consciousness  can  account  for 
such  foreknowledge.  None  can  certainly  foretel  the  future,  but 
one  who  can  certainly  guide  the  future.  Do  we,  then,  admit 
that  any  of  the  prophets  in  the  Old  Testament  were  enabled  to 
foretel  coming  events,  the  events  of  the  Gospel  history  in  par 
ticular  ?  Some  modern  writers  go  so  far  as  to  deny  this  in  toto. 
According  to  them  every  prophecy  of  the  Old  Testament  con 
cerned,  primarily  at  least,  contemporaneous  history,  or  history  so 
nearly  contemporaneous,  that  it  required  only  common  foresight 


31U 


AIDS  TO  FAITH. 


[ ESSAY  VI I. 


and  "  old  experience  "  to  look  into  it.  Burke  early  shadowed 
forth  the  French  Revolution  :  Isaiah,  on  the  same  principle, 
could  forewarn  Israel  of  its  dangers,  threaten  sinners  with  punish 
ment,  and  promise  protection  to  penitents.  Of  course,  we  can 
understand  such  a  view ;  but  can  we  admit  it  and  not  reject 
Christianity  ?  And  let  us  remember  that,  in  arguing  on  the 
nature  of  inspiration,  we  are  not  arguing  in  proof  of  Christianity ; 
but  that,  admitting  the  truth  of  Christianity,  we  are  inquiring 
into  somewhat  which,  as  has  been  already  observed,  is  really  in 
ternal  to  Christianity.  Most  Christians  are  ready  to  believe  that 
the  passages  of  the  Old  Testament  to  which  our  Lord  and  His 
Apostles  appealed,  as  proofs  of  His  Divine  mission  and  of  the 
truth  of  their  teaching,  were  really  predictions,  and  not  guesses. 
This  is  not  the  place  to  enter  at  length  into  such  a  question. 
But,  if  we  just  think  of  what  Jacob  said  of  Shiloh — Moses,  of  a 
prophet  like  himself — David  and  others,  of  a  great  Son  of  David 
—Isaiah,  in  his  ninth  and  fifty-third  chapters,  of  a  Child  born,  a 
Son  given,  called  Mighty  God,  Eternal  Father,  Prince  of  Peace, 
and  of  a  righteous  Servant,  on  whom  the  LORD  should  lay  the 
iniquity  of  us  all — Daniel,  of  Messiah  the  Prince,  cut  off,  but  not 
for  Himself,  and  of  one  like  a  Son  of  Man,  to  whom  a  kingdom 
is  given  by  the  Ancient  of  days,  an  everlasting  kingdom,  a  do 
minion  that  shall  not  pass  away — Haggai,  of  the  glory  of  the 
second  temple,  so  much  surpassing  that  of  the  first — Malachi,  of 
the  forerunner  of  the  Messiah — and  many  prophecies  of  like 
kind ;  we  shall  feel  that  the  burden  of  proof  must  lie  with  those 
who  deny,  not  with  those  who  believe,  that  there  were  prophets, 
who  bore  witness  to  the  coming  of  the  Christ  centuries  before 
His  birth.*  We  may  remember  that  these  predictions  have 
been  preserved  to  us  both  in  the  original  Hebrew,  and  in  trans 
lations  made  from  the  Hebrew  before  the  birth  of  Christ,  made, 
not  by  Christians,  but  by  Jews — that  the  more  ancient  Jews  did 
undeniably  interpret  these  prophecies,  as  pointing  forward  to  a 


*  It  matters  little  to  this  argument 
whether  all  the  books  of  the  Old  Testa 
ment  were,  written  by  those  whose 
names  they  bear ;  whether,  for  in 
stance,  the  last  chapters  of  Isaiah  were 
Isaiah's  or  sume  other's  ;  whether  the 
book  of  Daniel  was  written  at  the 
time  of  the  captivity,  or  not  collected 
till  some  centuries  later.  It  is  certain 


they  were  all  written  before  Christ ; 
and  if  in  them  there  be  found  pro 
phecies  of  the  Messiah,  prophecies,  be 
they  many  or  few,  like  precious  stones 
imbedded  in  a.  rock ;  we  have  then  the 
phenomenon  existing,  and  we  have  to 
explain  how  it  came.  Idoneum,  opinor, 
testimonium  divinitatis  veritas  divina- 
tionis.  'Tert.  Apolog.  c.  20.) 


ESSAY  VII.]  INSPIRATION.  311 

prince  who  should  be  sent  from  heaven  to  save  their  own  nation, 
and  to  bless  other  nations  in  them.  Comparatively  modern  Jews 
have  explained  some  of  these  prophecies  away,  because  they  too 
manifestly  favour  the  Christians ;  but  even  so,  they  continue  to 
believe  that  the  Scriptures  foretold  a  Messiah.  Moreover,  we  have 
the  clearest  testimonies  from  Jews  and  Gentiles  alike  (Jews  and 
Gentiles  who  never  became  Christians,  and  so  are  independent 
witnesses)  that  in  the  East  generally,  Ortente  toto,  and  especially 
among  the  Israelites  themselves,  there  had  prevailed  an  ancient 
and  constant  persuasion  that  by  Divine  appointment  a  Deliverer 
was  to  arise  out  of  Judea,  who  should  have  dominion ;  and, 
moreover,  that  he  was  impatiently  expected  in  the  reigns  of  the 
early  emperors  of  Rome.  Jews,  who  have  lived  since  those 
times,  have  confessed  that  the  period  presignified  is  apparently 
past.  Now,  it  is  quite  certain  that  the  most  remarkable  and 
most  influential  religious  teacher  that  ever  lived  in  any  nation 
upon  earth  did  arise  and  live  in  Judea,  at  the  time  so  marked 
and  agreed  on.  It  is  undoubted  that  He  declared  the  predictions 
in  question  to  have  pointed  to  Him.  His  followers  have  always 
claimed  them  as  fulfilled  in  Him.  Of  all  religious  revolutions, 
nay,  of  all  revolutions,  moral,  spiritual,  social,  or  political,  ever 
produced  in  the  world,  He  has  produced  the  greatest,  the  most 
influential,  the  most  extensive.  As  Christians,  we,  of  course, 
believe  that  He  was  the  Christ ;  and  we  are  justified  in  urging 
on  the  Jews  such  considerations  as  the  above,  in  proof  that  their 
own  cherished  Scriptures  pointed  to  Him. 

Now,  if  the  prophets  really  did  centuries  before  foresee  an 
event,  most  unlikely,  but  which  we  have  witnessed  as  true,  they 
must  have  had  something  more  than  the  inspiration  of  genius, 
or  than  the  exalting  of  their  intuitional  consciousness.  For, 
whatever  degree  of  insight  into  the  truth  of  things  spiritual  we 
may  attribute  to  such  intuitional  consciousness,  and  whatever 
communion  it  may  give  with  the  mind  of  God,  it  can  hardly  be 
said  to  make  us  partakers  of  God's  omniscience,  or  to  endue  us 
with  His  powers  of  foresight. 

One  of  the  favourite  modes  of  evading  such  conclusions  as 
this,  and  so  one  of  the  favourite  positions  of  the  low  iuspirationists 
is,  that  Nihil  in  scripto  quod  non  prius  in  scriptore  ;  a  man  can 
speak  nothing  but  what  he  thinks.  In  a  sense  this  is  true 
enough ;  and,  as  a  general  rule,  we  may  suppose  the  holy  men 


312  AIDS  TO  FAITH.  [ESSAY  VII. 

of  old,  wuo  spake  as  they  were  moved  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  to 
have  been  first  gifted  with  the  knowledge  of  the  future,  and  then 
moved  to  communicate  that  knowledge  to  others.  But  still,  if 
there  be  an  overruling  and  over-guiding  Providence  as  well  as  an 
informing  and  inspiring  Spirit,  may  not  a  man  be  guided  to 
speak  unconsciously  words  of  deep  import  ?  We  see  this  in  the 
Old  Testament  in  the  case  of  Balaam.  If  the  history  of  him  be 
not  a  false  legend  or  a  mere  myth,  the  Almighty  told  him  that 
he  was  to  speak  to  Balak  that  word  which  was  put  into  his 
mouth.  His  will  was  quite  the  other  way.  He  Milled  to  curse 
Israel,  and  so  to  obtain  from  Balak  the  wages  of  unrighteous 
ness  ;  but  his  own  will  was  overruled  by  the  direct  command  of 
God.  If  Balaam  prophesied,  if  he  prophesied,  as  most  Christians 
have  believed,  not  only  of  the  future  fortunes  of  Israel,  but  of 
the  future  coming  of  Christ ;  it  is  certain  that  his  extraordinary 
knowledge  could  not  have  been  the  result  of  his  purity  of  heart 
qualifying  him  to  see  God,  could  not  have  come  from  the  clear 
ing  away  of  those  clouds  of  sin,  and  therefore  of  error,  which 
darken  the  mental  vision  ;  for  his  heart  was  set  upon  covetous- 
ness,  and  he  perished  with  the  enemies  of  God.  The  same,  or 
much  the  same,  may  be  said  of  Caiaphas,  who  was  altogether 
bent  on  evil,  and  yet  of  whom  the  Evangelist  testifies  that 
"  being  High  Priest  that  year  he  prophesied."  If  miracles  are 
impossible,  of  course  all  this  is  impossible.  But  how  miracles 
can  be  impossible,  unless  God  is  impossible,  it  seems  that  we 
have  yet  to  learn. 

Though,  therefore,  we  may  not  generally  look  for  a  work  of 
the  Spirit  through  the  mere  bodily  organs  of  men.  without  an 
elevation  of  their  souls ;  we  surely  have  no  power  to  limit  the 
operations  of  God,  or  to  say  that  He  may  not,  if  He  will,  use  the 
very  unconscious  words  of  wicked  men  as  well  as  the  heart  ser 
vice  of  pious  men. 

10.  But  farther,  is  it  not  true  that  Almighty  God  has  made  even 
acts  and  histories  to  prophesy,  independently  of  any  utterance  of 
men's  mouths?  Are  there  not  types  in  the  Law, and  through  all 
the  Old  Testament  history,  which  have  their  antitypes  in  the 
New  Testament  ?  There  are  those,  no  doubt,  who  will  say  that 
we  can  find, historical  parallels  in  profane,  as  readily  as  in  sacred, 
history.  But  are  these  really  to  be  compared  with  the  sacrifice 
of  Isaac  typifying  the  death  and  resurrection  of  Christ — with  the 


ESSAY  VII.]  »  INSPIRATION.  313 

history  of  Joseph,  sold  by  his  brethren,  and  then  exalted  to  be 
their  prince  and  saviour — with  the  brazen  serpent,  lifted  up  to 
heal  all  that  looked  on  it — with  the  passage  of  the  Red  Sea,  and 
other  parables  put  forth  by  the  history  of  the  Exodus — with  the 
priesthood  of  Aaron,  the  passover,  the  ceremonies  on  the  day  of 
atonement,  and  the  many  Levitical  rites  forepicturing  Christ — 
with  the  kingly  types,  such  as  David  and  Solomon — with  the 
prophetic  parallelism  of  Elijah  and  John  the  Baptist