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look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body and fashion it like unto his glorious body, according to the power whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.' (Phil. iii. 20, 21.)"
Since Mr. Laing's work was published,-in fact, within the last few days, -tidings have arrived from Germany of a character which must excite both anxiety and alarm. In two different districts, riots and bloodshed have occurred. Nor can we report,as we should be rejoiced to do,--that the seceders have been blameless, and have merely "suffered wrong." In one case, Ronge having used violent language against the Romish church, was attacked by some of its partisans. His friends were not satisfied with his rescue, but they must needs attack and almost destroy the house of his assailant. In the other instance, Prince John of Saxony having received the greatest insults from the populace, ordered the military to fire, and many lives were sacrificed.
All this is most lamentable, and we confess that we see no relieving feature in the whole affair. A persecution of the seceders, by the Romanists, patiently borne, we should have bailed as a sign of the greatest promise. When Satan, or “the Dragon," or " the Beast,” are excited to “make war," then we feel assured that they are really alarmed ;— we surmise that there are some of God's saints to be exterminated, if possible; and we know, too, that Almighty power is engaged in their defence. But nothing of this kind can be predicated of a common street-brawl. “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
On the whole, then, we must wait, and observe patiently the progress of events. Even if no more shall result, than a weakening of Babylon, for so much let us be thankful, -though far less cheering, -oh! how far less delightful and encouraging, than a real coming out of Babylon, of those of Christ's hidden ones who are still lingering within her walls, and whose exodus would be the final token, that “her sins have reached unto heaven, and that God hath remembered her iniquities.”
LITERARY HISTORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
THE LITERARY HISTORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
8vo. London: Seeleys. 1845.
This has been termed the age, and this the land, of Bibliolatry. We“ rejoice with trembling" in such a national distinction, and only hesitate as to how far it justly attaches to us. True, there is an active circulation of the inspired volume among our people, and comparatively perhaps, a reverence for the Scriptures as the sole rule of faith"; but we are not sure that we discover similar evidences of a popular love for the word of life. Take, by way of illustration, the case of one of our favourite authors. Shakespeare, e. g. is loved : and how “ many infallible proofs' » do we discover of the public taste for his writings! What antiquarian research, what critical acumen, what an amount of poetry, of sentiment, of eloquence, have been lavished upon their literary history! We have a Shakespeare Society, “Beauties of Shakespeare," "Female Characters of Shakespeare, Shakespeare Jubilees. And as for an autograph of the potent enchanter, why, it would have been a fortune to the poet himself! It is no part of our object to bring an indiscriminate or “railing accusation” against this kind of enthusiasm. There is a certain degree of homage due to those "powers that be," to whom it is given to sway the sceptre of mind. But there is, on the other hand, such a thing as a literary hyperdulia, and it seems difficult to escape the charge, when we seek in vain for traces of a corresponding appreciation for that volume in which are bid not only unsearchable riches of truth, but inimitable beauties of sentiment and character, of idea and expression. Most entirely do we believe with the estimable author of the work before
“Noman is truly religious who does not love his religion; and love, as well as reverence, the Sacred Books in which that religion is comprised. Yet, the New Testament is recognized as the Rule of Faith by multitudes who never have given the Divine volume an intelligent perusal, much less have learned to appreciate the internal evidence of its Inspiration, in the matchless narratives of the Evangelists, or in the profound wisdom and sublime eloquence of the Epistles. There have been critics, it is true, who have admired the Books of the New Testament as compositions, and yet have not received the apostolic doctrine. But that believer is the more inexcusable, who, while deferring to the authority of the Scriptures, can be satisfied without making himself familiar with all the treasures of wisdom which they contain, and with all the sources of interest which on a devout perusal they disclose.”—(Pref. p. viii
In the complaints and regrets to which we have just given ex
pression, we were not unmindful that there were British names, second to none, in this department of sacred literature. We should have been even better pleased with our author's labours, if he had still more consistently remembered what he so justly remarks, after a passing acknowledgment to the works of Michaelis, Hug, Neander, and other continental critics
“But, at a time wlien it is too much the fashion to exalt the Biblical seholars of Germany at the expense of our native literature, it may be pardonable to express the conviction, that, in his peculiar line of investigation, Dr. Lardner still claims to rank as facilé princeps, the solidity of his judgment being equalled by the accuracy of his researches, the caution of his decisions, and the prodigious range of his learning. What has been added to the product of his stupendous labours by subsequent writers, has partaken of the character of speculation, more than of induction; and in many instances, his great work supplies the best refutation of the crude opinions of less sober and carëful inquirers.”—(Pref. p. ix.)
Our opening observations pointed merely to that dearth of popular treatises on the literary history of the Bible, which seemed to argue a want of popular interest in the study. This desideratum, so far as relates to the New Testament, it has been the object of the writer now before us to supply. At once then we are led to suggest a doubt how far a volume of 600 octavo pages realizes the notion of a “popular manual,” and to express the conviction that it would in every sense be improved by being " razéed," after the model of Mr. Nicholls's work. That is a truly popular manual," and, with some modifications and additions, might have rendered even this superfluous. As it is, we heartily greet the appearance of the present publication. We have read it with much interest, and think it capable of being rendered a very delightful and useful volume It is not easy to speak too warmly of the general tone and spirit which pervades it. Without entering into any speculation as to the " literary history" of the work, we will simply bear our cordial tribute to the manifest love for the subject, the seriousness, the general moderation and candour, the absence at once of sectarian narrowness and pedantic dogmatism, by which it is characterized. True, we cannot affirm, with the pious and learned non-conformist (Dr. J. P. Smith), who has given it the sanction of an introductory recommendation, that few indeed are the opinions here maintained, to the truth of which we could not heartily subscribe ;” but, whilst in various instances it will be our duty to dissent from the author's conclusions, we shall differ with reluctance, and only with a view to the ultimate improvement of the work.
The literary history of the New Testament is a department
of investigation distinct from, and subsidiary to, its external evidence. !
The inquiry into the authenticity and genuineness of the Scriptures of the New Testament, including, by necessary consequence, their inspiration and authority, is of the first importance. Not so, however, those critical and historical inquiries, the chief aim of which is, to illustrate the literary character of the compositions, to explain the allusions, or to detect the historical and biographical marks to be found in them. To a lover of the Scriptures, such inquiries are a source of both pleasure and advantage. They are like deciphering the hand-writing, tracing out the fainily history, or dwelling on the cherished peculiarities of a friend. But, to one who takes this line of examination to gratify a sceptical curiosity, or even as a means of establishing bis faith, such inquiries are adapted to afford as little profit as satisfaction.
"Christianity-and the same may be said of the Book of God-never reveals itself fully except to our love, Sympathy is the only key that will put us in possession of the true beauties and full import of the Sacred Writings.” - (pp. 3, 4.)
Assuming then, the inspiration of our sacred volume, the author very seasonably remarks upon the principles which led to the determination of the canon.
“ The notion, that any authoritative decision was requisite to settle the Canon of the New Testament, is not only erroneous, but of dangerous tendeney, inasmuch as it requires what, in point of fact, cannot be adduced ; for such decision, to be authoritative, must beat upon it the marks of infallibility, and must be that of an authority universally acknowledged. It is sometimes alleged, that the council of Laodicea (about 363) first settled the Canon, because, appended to its last canon, directing that only the canonical books of the Old and New Testament should be read in the Church, is given a catalogue or enumeration of the books. But, how valuable soever the catalogue may be, as evidence of what was the received opinion of that age, the authority of that council is too late to determine anything that was not already established by sufficient evidence, which happily renders its decision, in that respect, superfluous. The council of Laodicea was not, indeed, a general, but only a provincial council. If, then, in the time of Eusebius of Augustine, of Cosmas of Alexandria, and of 'Cassiodorius, (that is, from the beginning of the fourth to the middle of the sixth century, there was no canon of the New Testament established by any authority universally acknowledged ; yet at the same time, a very general agreement among all Christian churches, (an agreement absolutely unanimous in respect to twenty books of the twentyseven, viz. the four Gospels, the Acts, all the Epistles which bear the name of Paul, and two of the Catholic Epistles-such agreement being distinctly traceable in existing documents up to the apostolic age,) it is upon the evidence furnished by that agreement, not upon any posterior authoritative decision, that, apart from the internal evidence, the canonicity of the sacred books must be based. In fact, there is nothing to preclude differences in the present day respecting the Canon, any inore than in the days of Eusebius or of Chrysostom, except the additional light which Biblical criticism has thrown upon the internal evidence, together with our knowledge of the slender reasons which led to the partial doubt or difference of opinion in respect of their Apostolic authority.” (pp. 8, 10.)
The order in which the several books of the New Testament are considered, is for the most part that of time; and there seems something almost startling in the boldness with which their chro
61 61 61 62 62 63?
nology is decided. We extract from Appendix B.; and as almost every date passes under review, feel tempted to take up the gauntlet, , and do combat concerning it.
60 ?(!) Epistle of James
44 (!) Ephesians I. Peter 48 (!) II. Timothy
51 ? Colossians, 1. Thessalonians
52 Philemon II. Thessalonians
Acts I. Corinthians
56 Philippians Titus
56 (!) Hebrews 1. Timothy
56 (!) Jude. II. Corinthians 57 II. Peter
. 58 Apocalypse The notes of modest interrogation are the author's; those of unsophisticated admiration are our own.
The observations on the proto-evangelist are for the most part satisfactory; especially the rejection of the tradition respecting the Hebrew original. The character of the second gospel is well brought out and illustrated, as “ abounding in picturesque and interesting touches, such as could have been supplied only by a writer personally acquainted with the scenes described, and either himself an eye-witness of the occurrences, or deriving his information from an original source.” But we should have thought that it appertained to a “Literary History of the New Testament ” to have exhibited more of the minute and latent indications of Peter's superintendence of this gospel. This is a point of peculiar interest, if not importance; and the more obvious traces are so distinctly marked, that we have often fancied we could hear the son of Jonas saying to“ Marcus his son,” “Ah! I well remember that day, and the very place where the Lord was standing—the very look he gave me, and the very tone his voice !” There are, however, many circumstances besides those usually noticed, which harmonize with the supposition that the evangelist was the amanuensis or interpreter of the apostle. As a sample of these, we venture to offer one or two from our own “Collectanea."
St. Mark is the first who records the cure of the demoniac in the synagogue of Capernaum. Matthew omits the incident altogether. Can we then suggest the probable reason for the greater precision of the former? We think it is discoverable in the close connexion between that miracle and the one which immediately followed, in which, it will be observed, Peter was personally interested. "And forthwith (ečbéas) when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew,