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biassed judgment, and is careful to give fair play to his opponents; and in order to do justice to this characteristic, I have, in quoting from Strauss' work, given the words of his English translator instead of my own, so that there might be no danger, through my own prepossessions, of my misinterpreting him.
The quotations of Scripture are taken from the authorized version.
The method of treatment employed by the author is a new one in this country. He does not attempt to explain the miracles, still less does he exclude from them the supernatural element; but, as will be seen in his introduction, he takes the broad ground of the omnipotence of God, which no theist can deny, and then shows the probability of Jesus having performed miracles, by suggesting and explaining the motives which might have induced Him to put forth His almighty power.
THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.
I. THE PROBLEM.
DAVID FREDERICK STRAUSS, in his work on the Life of Jesus, seeks in two ways to free the German people from the oppressive yoke of faith, in order to furnish a contribution towards the solution of that problem which, according to his view, is offered to Protestantism.
He endeavours, on the one hand, to prove the incredibility of the sources, that is, the unauthenticity of the four Gospels, partly on account of the want of a sufficient testimony from without; partly on account of the relation in which they stand one to another; and partly from the tendency each has to follow the other, and thus betray a much later time of authorship. On the other hand, his exertions are directed towards the extirpation of what he calls the 'miracle delusion.' He wishes to show that Christianity is no supernatural revelation; that its Founder is no God-man; and that His life was no chain of miracles, but that, in reality, everything happened quite naturally ;—and his assurance is, that by this means he will break up that authority which demands a blind obedience; that he will remove from the spiritual office—from the priesthood, standing in a position above the congregation—the historical basis indispensable to it; and lastly, that he
will prepare a ground for the planting of the essentials of Christianity which would then remain, the real sav. ing truths, in the place of its transitory elements, of its already half-destroyed covering.
Whoever feels himself compelled, either for the sake of the duties belonging to his office, or from a pure impulse from within, to endeavour to assist in paralyzing the effects of a work whose author may be considered to have spoken the last word in the cause of unbelief, must necessarily accompany the author of the Life of Jesus on one of two paths.
paths. However, the reflection occurs, whether it be possible to treat it in the nature of an alternative, as these paths by no means run parallel, and whether it be possible to restrict oneself to one or the other. Whoever declines to believe in miracles, can hardly fail to be prejudiced against the credibility and authenticity of those records in which such deeds of God are related and testified to; at least he would reserve to himself a position within which the arbitrary will of criticism could, without hindrance, dispose of them. And, on the other hand, to him who considers the Gospels as later inventions of the Christian Church, not only the necessity, but even the motive is present, yea, every interest, to prevent his acknowledging miracles. No one has drawn the knot of this connection so close as Strauss himself. “If a miracle,' as he expresses it, “is incompatible with history, the Gospels can be no historical sources; and if the Gospels are really historical records, miracles are not to be separated from the history of the life of Jesus.' The question is equally the same, if, while the two-edged sword with which he conducts the combat delivers its blows not preponderatingly on one of its sides, its other is used only as a weapon for subsidiary services. We leave on one side the question as to which of the two