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ledge of Scripture truth is often far in advance of that of the artists, for it must be owned that the artistic conceptions and creations very often violate probability, as well as clash with the simple statements of the Bible. We cannot wonder at this ; indeed, we should wonder if it were otherwise. Painters and sculptors, like poets, claim a licence to introduce historical and other improbabilities, to increase the effect of a work of imagination. Some of the sketches here reproduced are extraordinary specimens of this artistic licence. Many of them are worthy of study as embodying the highest conceptions of the age in which the artists happened to live, and others are curious for their bearing upon known or obscure traditions. To the cultivated and refined taste, these volumes will be sure to commend themselves.
The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuch, considered in connection with
Parts II. and III. of Bishop Colenso's “ Critical Examination." By a LAYMAN OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. London: W.
Skeffington. It augurs very well for this book that Dr. Thomson, the Archbishop of York, has accepted its dedication to himself. But the “ Layman" has also the advantage of a previous introduction to the religious world. His reply to Dr. Colenso's first volume on the Pentateuch was very favourably noticed, not only by ourselves, but by most of the literary journals. More than that, Dr. Colenso himself classed it with those replies " which, from their general fairness, and their tone of courtesy .and Christian feeling, demand and have received my respectful attention.” It is true that, for some reason or other, his tendency to blame English writers oozes out, and he says, “The book, though ably and pleasantly written, will be found to be full of fallacies. Of these i fallacies" specimens are given, which the “ Layman" now takes the opportunity of commenting upon in an appendix. Our own opinion of this unhappy controversy has been already expressed. It raises few new questions, if any; but it is the gathering up and redisposing and garnishing of those which have occupied the attention of successive generations, from Celsus, Porphyry, and Manichæus down to the present day. We do not mean that all are of equal antiquity, but that some of them are, and that the rest are developments and new applications of the old fundamental objections to Moses and the Old Testament. The polemical wheel goes round and round from age to age, sometimes faster, and sometimes slower: the faster it goes the less men distinguish, and the more they blend and confound things that are quite separate, and are seen to be so by such as are not whirled round with the combatants. Even so long since as Augustine's time, it was matter of public and common notoriety that the Old Testament was fair game, open to all comers, without the conditions—a fair field and no favour; for the bishop of Hippo thus writes to a friend :
" Nam bene nosti quod reprehendentes Manichæi Catholicam fidem, et maxime Vetus Testamentum discerptentes et dilanientes, commovent imperitos. Et quia sunt ibi quædam quæ suboffendunt animos ignaros et negligentes sui,
quæ maxima turba est, populariter accusari possunt, defendi autem populariter propter mysteria quæ his continentur non a multis admodum possunt. Qui vero pauci hoc facere noverunt non amant propatula et famigerula quædam in disputatione certamina: et ob hac minime noti sunt, nisi his qui eos instantissime requirunt. De hoc igitur Manichæorum temeritate qua Vetus Testamentum et Catholicam fidem reprehendunt, accipe, obsecro, quæ me moveant."e
On the general question of the authenticity of the Pentateuch, we cannot possibly have a doubt so long as it is plainly taught by our Lord Jesus Christ. This may be called uncritical; but we are quite sure that faith will stand by us longer than criticism, especially when that faith is in the Word of Christ. We cannot but regard the declarations of Christ as worthy of far inore serious consideration than they have received in this controversy. It almost looks as if Dr. Colenso himself dare not face them, because of the reverence he has for that divine Person. The index to his Part I. gives exactly six New Testament texts, quoted in the body of the book, but only two of them from the Gospels (Matt. i. 17, p. 29; Mark vi. 40, p. 49). The first of these passages is in an extract from Hengstenberg, and the second in a sentence, intimating that some persons quote it to illustrate Ex. iii. 18. Neither Christ nor the Gospels once appear in this first part, except in this way, and in a few references in the introduction, where they all occur at pages 30, 31. On principle, then, it would seem that he excludes the words of Christ from the discussion; but whether he would exclude them on principle, if they were in his favour, we know not. A curious illustration of this matter is supplied in Part IV., chapter 28 : “Scripture references to the creation, the fall, and the deluge. Would it be believed that from these 6 Scripture references” the New Testament is silently dropped bodily? Are there no references there to the creation, the fall, and the deluge? or is it not Scripture ? or has Dr. Colenso a justifiable motive for acting as he does in regard to it? If he gives no explanation of this act of violence to the Christian conscience, he will stand lower than heretofore in our estimation-he may not care for that; but we shall not be alone. He will either be branded with dishonour as uncandid and unfair, or with incompetency, because he does not even know what witnesses he ought to call. The Gospel testimony to the Pentateuch reaches beyond its credibility and authenticity, and touches very closely upon that other great question of the day, “What is the Word of God ?" As an example of the different bearings of some of our Lord's references to the Pentateuch, we beg to instance one very likely to be passed over ; it is in Matt. xxii. 31, and was spoken to the heretical Sadducees, just after hearing their questions about the marriage law, and saying, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” The words are,
“ Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham,” etc. Here we have God speaking to the Sadducees of Christ's day, while addressing Moses at the bush. Without demanding assent to the verbal inspiration theory, we cannot see how, on
· De Utilitati Credendi, lib. i. NEW SERIES. —VOL. V., No. X.
any theory of special divine inspiration, the words recorded by Matthew can do other than faithfully reflect the doctrine taught by our Saviour.
We have made the “ Layman’s” book a peg upon which to hang the previous remarks, not because we had forgotten his book, but really because we feel the importance and value of it. It is one of the few publications in this miserable controversy which one cannot well afford to neglect. We can only say of it, that it is the image of candour, and that the writer is not the man to go the whole hog, as the vulgar proverb is, and to say he believes a thing when the truth is he really doubts it. Next to his candour, we mention bis intellectual furniture and qualifications as of a very superior order. And, then, he is a man of faith, enlightened and intelligent faith, not a man of words and outside show, but one who knows in what religion consists. Finally, the author writes well, and, in our days, that is like the visa to a passport, an outward matter, but without which travellers cannot get along comfortably, if at all.
A Chronological Synopsis of the Four Gospels. By KARL WIESELER.
Translated by the Rev. EDMUND VENABLES, M.A. Cambridge:
Deighton, Bell and Co. DR. WIESELER has a very good name among the scholars of Germany, and he has been especially known by the volume now in our hands. Twenty years have elapsed since its first appearance, but it contains so much of permanent value, that we only wonder it has not been produced in English before. Very many good books are called forth by passing controversies, but for that very reason have a diminished value when the excitement has subsided. A few only of those originated by current disputes retain their acknowledged worth and importance. It so happens with regard to Dr. Wieseler's subject, that it always has been discussed, and probably will continue to be discussed. For ourselves, we have long abandoned our early hope of discovering a certain harmony of the four Gospels. In regard to St. John, everybody knows this, that centuries ago it rebelled against the harmonists, who confessed themselves defeated, and allowed it to stand alone : the other three, the synoptists only, were disintegrated by the harmonists, and rearranged as one body according to their will. The more we think of harmonies, the less we approve them. We venture to say that if the biographers of Wellington, or Washington, or any other great man, were to fall into the hands of harmonizers, neither the biographers nor their heroes would have much reason to congratulate themselves. In regard to man's books the process must fail : why should it be insisted upon in regard to God's book? And as it is with harmonies, so is it to some extent with chronological synopsis. Is it so much as reasonable to expect that the many incidents related in the four Gospels, or in some only as the case may be, and which we have seen are not the disjointed fragments of a Mosaic, the original pattern of which we can hope to restore-can all be dated according to the course of the almanac? It is not likely, and the only approximation to a chronological synopsis must be content to fix the great landmarks, and to leave minor matters indeterminate. But this may be no real disadvantage. If neither of the Evangelists kept a diary, it must have been because it was not necessary. Nor do we think that more than a very few of the dates of events in our Saviour's life are of any real importance, and they are connected with the very dates set down by the Evangelists. Dr. Wieseler has not been unaware of this, and hence be says, “I have felt it my duty to devote my chief attention and labour to the establishment of certain fundamental dates, e. 9., our Lord's birth, his baptism, the length of his public ministration, and our Lord's death." The four here named reduce themselves to three,—the birth, the baptism, and the death of our Lord—for the ministry reached from the baptism to the death.
Dr. Wieseler's inquiry is distributed under six sections:-1. The birth and childhood of Christ: 2. From the beginning of the ministry of John and Christ, to Christ's return to Galilee from Jerusalem : 3. From Christ's return to Galilee to his journey to the feast of tabernacles : 4. From this point to the last entry into Jerusalem : 5. Thence to the death and burial : 6. From the burial to the ascension. The longest discussion is of the time of our Lord's birth, extending over about ninety pages. It exhibits the results of very laborious investigation, and probably refers to all that had been advanced in Germany up to the time when it was written. By way of appendix the translator has added to it a summary of the enquiries of Zumpt as to Quirinus. The translator bas introduced a few other notes in the course of the book, chiefly to supply other references. He might have gone further, and commented upon what seemed to him inconclusive, but he has not done this, and he has acted wisely, as the work is for those who will for the most part prefer to exercise their own judgments. There are certainly not a few points on which most men, perhaps, will fail to agree with the author, and he has not always been remarkably judicious in his treatment of them. But for all this it is better that he should be allowed to speak for himself in an avowed translation. Of the translation we have nothing to say but that it has been conscientiously performed, and that we are glad Mr. Venables has executed it. He quotes Bishop Ellicott's remark, that such a translation would be a very welcome aid to the general reader, and the remark is a just one. The translation is now an accomplished fact, and we hope the general reader will welcome it. The volume has been printed at the University Press, and with clearness and accuracy. Nature and Grace. Sermons preached in the Chapel Royal, White
hall, in the years 1862–1864. By WILLIAM Magan CAMPION,
B.D. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, and Co. The sermons are twenty-one in number, and are upon practical and important subjects. The very first, on "The teaching of Nature and
of Revelation" (St. Matt. vi. 28) brings us into contact with some of those principles which force themselves upon our attention, but not always, alas, with beneficial results. We quite agree with Mr. Campion's utterances upon the subject, and regard them as alike honourable to his candour and clear sightedness. Nature, he says, is not antagonistic to the Bible; neither is true science, and therefore Christians may rejoice in their deeper study. The second and third sermons, on “Man's knowledge of God," are reverent and discreet, and equal to anything we have lately seen addressed to general readers upon that subject. The “Obscurities in Scripture" is a discourse, which, if issued in a cheap form for popular circulation, might be very serviceable at a tiine when the apostles of "secularism” openly teach that if the Bible is God's Book it must have no obscurities. We venture to commend the topics of this sermon, and of the next (the fact of our Lord's resurrection), to those who minister in our larger towns and cities. Facts have lately come before our notice which lead us to believe that both subjects are very
much discussed in the lower strata of society. “Life and immortality brought to light through the Gospel," " Christ the head of the new creation,” “The perfect humanity of Christ,” “ Christianity not asceticism,” and “The suffering Saviour," are the titles of sermons abounding in excellent lessons. “The sinner under nature and under grace," is a good subject, soundly treated ; and so is the next on “The nature of faith,” “Looking unto Jesus," "The influence of the Holy
" Spirit” (in two discourses), “Retribution,” and “ Retribution and the new creation," are clear and practical. "Circumspectness of conduct "
” is also good, and “The unity of the Church" is liberal and intelligent. We have seldom met with a volume of sermons better than these, or even equal to them. They have been evidently composed with much care, and are alike honourable to the intellect and to the heart of the preacher. It must not be supposed, however, that by this commendation we commit ourselves to every statement and explanation contained in the volume. There are interesting and important topics in regard to which we find it necessary to preserve our neutrality. Were we to open our pages to their discussion, or even to the expression of an opinion upon them, we should deviate from the characteristic course of this journal from the beginning. To this category belong ecclesiastical questions, properly so called, and questions as to the nature and efficacy of the sacraments,
Theological and Homiletical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles,
specially designed and adapted for the use of ministers and students. From the German of G. V. LECHLER, D.D., and K. GEROK. Edited by J. P. LANGE, D.D. Translated by Rev. Paton J. Gloag.
Vol. I. Edinburgh : T. and T. Clark. ANOTHER of the volumes of Dr. Lange's useful “ Bibelwerk," a commentary which is the joint production of a certain number of scholars and critics, not forty,” but fewer. On previous occasions we have