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the palm. For there is a fine breeding which is not superficial, and is far more valuable than outward graces of inanner ; it is the breeding of men, who, though they spoke through their noses and cut their hair ungracefully short, yet refrained from those habits of slitting the noses and cutting off the ears of their enemies—which were persistently practised by the Cavalier apostles of 'sweetness and light.'


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As anything like a full and complete review of this bulky and erudite work is manifestly impracticable within the space at our command, it will be necessary to give the reader some general idea of its scope and purpose, and then to select one or more prominent features in it for illustrative criticism. The first part, in six chapters, relates to the general subject of Miracles, covering much the same ground, and expanding the positions assumed in his Essay on Miracles, by Hume, and by Prof. Baden Powell in his contribution to Essays and Reviews. There is nothing absolutely new in the work before us, under this head, except the learning and research employed to enforce the old theses of sceptical rationalism. The propositions laid down by the Scottish philosopher were briefly these : That it is not contrary to experience that testimony, however honestly given, should be false ; but it is contrary to universal experience that miraclesthat is interferences with the uniform order of nature-should be true ; consequently no amount of testimony can prove a miracle so as to overcome its antecedent improbability. The author of Supernatural Religion occupies precisely the same ground with Hume ; but he has all the advantages in his favour of later scientific knowledge and trenchant literary criticism. The uniformity of nature has received fresh form and emphasis during the last thirty years, and this fact alone, supplemented by the destructive distillation of the sacred writings in German alembics, has given new vigour to the school of doubt. We

do not propose to enter upon this branch of the subject because it would lead us too far from what is pre-eminently the distinctive feature of the work under consideration. Still it may not be amiss to suggest a few general reflections upon the primary argument. The first point which strikes one is the very important question involved in the phrase "unirersal experience.' Our author certainly cannot mean by it the experience of all ages, or even of all competent observers in any one age, if we except the last eight or ten centuries of the Christian

So far from contending that miracles were contradictory to universal ex. perience in Apostolic times, he is at considerable pains to prove that they were looked upon as so certainly matters of fact as to surprise no one. If the works of Jesus did not at once convince the unbelieving Jew, it was not because he disputed the reality of the miracles, but because, being matters at that day of 'universal experience,' they were not striking and exceptional enough to form a stable basis for belief in the Saviour's divine mission. It is therefore conceded that, during the life of Christ, ‘universal experience' attested precisely the reverse of Hume's postulate. Is it fair to project the experiences of the eighteenth or nineteenth century into the first, and characterize it as universal, simply because it was Hume's and is ours ? The more reasonable method would certainly seem to be that which treats any particular age in the light of its own experience, and declines to gauge its marvels or even its credulity by modern standards. The ridicule cast upon Jewish superstition may have some justification; but surely the men of early times were far more competent to judge of phenomena passing before them than we can be after a lapse of nearly two millenniums, with only a fragmentary and uncritical record of the facts before us. There is another consideration of no little importance in this connection. The mental and spiritual life of the world has had its epochs, like the material earth upon which we live and move. The anthropomorphic views of Deity in patriarchal times, subjected now to much uncalled for ridicule of an irreverent sort, formed an early link in the spiritual progress of the race, to be followed out not merely in Scripture, but in the poetry and philosophy of India,

Greece and Rome. It dous certainly appear strange that, notwithstanding the universal application of developinent to an extent which seems somewhat like a craze, writers will persist in applying nineteenth century criticism to facts or statements recorded in the first Christian age. And this is the more remarkable, because long before Mr. Darwin formulated his theory of species, evolution was applied to religion, notably in that treatise edited by Lessing, on the ‘Education of the Race,' which was rather feebly reproduced by Dr. Temple, now Bishop of Exeter, in the first of the Essays and Reviews. Instead of wondering that miracles ceased to be performed, as reason assumed the reins snatched from the wavering grasp of imagination, we ought to expect from analogy that miracles would be real and potent in that stage of human progress where they filled a fitting and salutary place in the Divine order. Let the collected books, which together form what we have learned to call The Book,' have had what origin they may, they certainly represent the development of religion in humanity as clearly and as orderly in progress, as the material story registered in the stony work of nature lying in ponderous tomes beneath our feet. Throughout the New Testament, and it seems to us one of the clearest proofs of the Divine mission of Christ, there are constant references to the blind backwardness of the past, and the lamentable unpreparedness of the present. From the Sermon on the Mount, until the last recorded utterance of the Saviour, we detect an under-current of grief at the need for signs and wonders—the necessity for appeals to a morbid love of the marvellous, rather than to a rational recognition of Divine truth for its own sake. Whence came that ineffable disdain for wonder-working, which runs subtilely, yet distinctly, through the record of that unique and marvellous career, unless from above ? Nor is it only in the recorded words of the Master that we trace the same reluctant concession to the needs of imperfect spiritual development. As He is represented (John xvi. 12.) as telling His disciples of miny things He had to say to them, they were still unable to bear, with the promise of the Spirit to guide them step by step into highertruths, not yet comprehensible ; so St. Paul, whose allusion to

‘milk for babes ' need hardly be recalled, but for the striking illustration it gives of what may be termed the undercurrent of the Gospel : ' And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spirituul, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat ; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.' (1 Cor. iii. 1, 2.) Christ and the great Apostle of the Gentiles recognised fully the conditions of success with the age in which they lived, and the great superiority of the Saviour over His disciples is shown not less in the absence of dogmatism and the ever-living presence of Divine tenderness to the superstitious fetters which bound the reason in swaddlingclothes, than in the higher and more salient features of His life and teaching. It was the age of miracles, and they were deemed, at all events, the inevitable concomitants of authoritative teaching; and so, though not always taken to be conclusive proofs, they were necessary a ljuncts to the work which Jesus had to do. With Him, it was, as we have said, a yielding to human weakness and imperfect development, against which He, ever and anon, rebelled in spirit. Knowing what was in man, our Lord knew the conditions of the undertaking before Him, and He performed miracles merely because they were necessary to that initial success in an imaginative age, by means of which alone faith could pass through the mists of credulity and superstition until it firmly grasped the hand of reason in the ages yet to come. It was a step, in fact, in the spiritual education of the race, now no longer required, but none the less salutary and requisite at so early a stage in human progress. At all events, it seems irrational now to appraise the value of New Testament miracles by the light of modern science or the testimony of modern experience. The wonders of healiny mercy wrought by our Lord in an age of miracles must be judged by the standard of that time, and not by any light, or any supposed deduction from experience in ages so far removed from the feelings, the sympathies, the prejudices or the demands which faith made upon spiritual claims to authority in those simple times when the sacred feet of Jesus trod the streets of Jerusalem, and were nailed to the cross of Calvary



In the second part of the work, an exhaustive criticism of the first three or Synoptic Gospels, as they are usually termed, appears. The writer's object is to show from the silence' of all the early writings of the Church, that these Gospels, at least in their present form, were unknown before the end of the first century, or perhaps well on in the early part of the second. Considering that this por Tisdi of Supernatural Religion occupies no less than three hundred and fifty pages, closely printed, it will manifestly be out of the question to attempt a comprehensive survey of what consists in great part of verbal or textual comparisons between primitive Christian literature and the passages in the Gospels to which reference is apparently made. Still some idea of the scope of the work may be given by particular examples. First of all, however, it may be well to offer a few preliminary observations, suggested by an attentive perusal of this part. It appears to us that the author has overlooked some important facts, which should receive due weight in a judicial view of the question. In order to establish the fact that there are many other Gospels of equal authority with those which remain, the notable words are quoted from the prologue of the Third Gospel in the received Canon :

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most snrely believed among us,' &c., 'it seemed good to me also to write out in order the sacred narrative for the benefit of Theophilus. (Luke i, 1-4.) Now whilst we freely admit that the words of the Evangelist exclude all notion of verbal or even plenary inspiration in any sense, because no writer consciously under the direct and unerring guidance of the Divine Spirit could have used such larguage, it is not difficult to gather much more from this opening dedication than our author cares to find there. The writer of the Gospel, whether St. Luke or another, does not write to correct, but merely to confirm by repetition the facts' even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye. witnesses, and ministers of the word.' And the reason why he added another to the many Gospels, was not because they erred by excess or defect, but that 'having had a perfect understanding of all things from the first,' he might cor

roborate the universally received account of the Lord's life, ministry, death and resurrection, as it was obtained from

eye witnesses.' It requires but a very slight reference to the statc of that age, to see the eminent propriety of such a

Where a particular Gospel had gained special authority or currency as that according to the Hebrews is said to have secured amongst the Ebionites, copies would, of course, be made in the painfully slow and laborious way necessary before the invention of printing. But where a disciple had peculiar facilities for learning the facts from eyewitnesses,' instead of copying other narratives, he would naturally compile one himself ; and thus each original Gospel would form the fruitful nucleus from which in tinie a progeny of copies would issue. Thus every fresh manuscript would be an independent means of propagating the story and the faith transmitted from the Apostles. Now that there should be omissions in some of these accounts supplied in others, is very natural. We may even go further, and concede the probability that in Oriental versions of the history there would be much imaginative colouring ; and such appears to have been the case with the Ebionitish Gospel, which, with many others, perished according to the principle of natural selection—the survival of the fittest.'

Our author, strange to say, takes no account of the marvellous agreement between the Christian writings which quote sayings of our Lord, and the same sayings as they are recorded in our extant Gospels. Considering that in the early centuries, writers were eminently uncritical, and quoted from a variety of accounts written by individuals widely diverse in memory, ability, temperament and methods of treatment, and separated by distance, at a time when steam, electricity and printing were unknown, the concord of tradition and patristic literature with the Gospel story, as it now stands in the New Testament Canon, is one of the most striking proofs that we have in substance now, what the writer of the third Gospel says was ' most surely believed' amongst the contemporaries of the Apostles from the beginning.

That there should be some variations in statement was inevitable, considering the circumstances under which the various accounts were com

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piled; but this substantial harmony as the Lord Jesus which he spake teaching to the salient facts and maxims of the gentleness and long-suffering : Be pitiGospel is certainly, as noteworthy as it is ful (or merciful) that ye may be pitied ; marked and indisputable. That no par- forgive, that it may be forgiven to you ; ticular narrative was held in special re- as ye do, so shall it be done to you; as verence, or deemed of paramount au- ye give, so shall it be given to you'; as thority throughout the churches, when ye judge, so shall it be judged to you ; as each church or Christian community ye show kindness, shall kindness be appealed to the one happened to pos- shown to you ; with what measure ye sess, was a matter of course, and would mete, with the same shall it be measured sufficiently account for the reference to you.' Now it is quite true the form made not so much to books, as directly to of the exhortations differs from that of sayings or acts of Christ. There is no ana- Matthew or Luke ; but there is no dislogy, it may be remarked, between the case cordance in meaning whatever. Cleof quotations from the Old Testament and ment had probably never seen one of our references to the Gospel History. The Gospels, and had learned what he knew former had long since been crystallized of the Sermon of the Mount from other into permament form. Wherever there sources. If our author, or the acute were two or three Jews collected there German critics, upon whose labours he

a copy of the Law, the Hagio- draws so extensively, could have disgrapha and the Prophets, every letter of covered any material discrepancy, whewhich was guarded with jealous and al- ther dogmatical or historical, something most superstitious care.

The stress certainly could be made of it. But from which the author lays upon this point

Clement down to Eusebius there are subseems forced, not to say misplaced. stantially the same history, the same

And now let us descend to one or two moral and doctrinal teaching, the same comparisons instituted in the work be- story of miracle, culminating in the refore us, selecting the earliest example surrection and ascension of our Lord. cited. It is unnecessary to enter into As against the theory of verbal inspirathe dispute about the date of Clement tion of precisely four Gospals amongst so of Rome it may not be amiss, however, many, the argument may be conclusive ; to note that our author, as usual, strives but as against the universal concord of to post-date even Clement's First Epistle all the writers, whether they were to Corinthians. Whether the writer were eye-witnesses, or received the facts at the person of the same name mentioned second-hand, it does appear to us that in one of the canonical Epistles (Philip- this method of mere textual criticism pians iv. 3) or not, there seems to be no is futile. The crucial question is, reasonable doubt that he was a contem- can any material difference of opinion bé porary of the Apostle Paul; at all events, proved, or even gathered by inference, the two epistles must have been written between those who described the career somewhere between A. D. 75 and A. D. of Jesus and his teaching during the 100. The very fact that they were orig- first three centuries, whether they wrote inally included in the Canon, if it proves in Syria, Asia Minor, Africa or Italy? If nothing else, attests their ancient origin. not, it is surely fair to conclude that the As it is admitted that Clement's works Gospel history is, as it now stands in have suffered from interpolation, the al- the New Testament, substantially the lusion to the blessed Judith' after the same which was 'most surely believed' 'blessed Paul,'although urged by Hitzig among Christians in the primitive age of and Volkmar, of the Rationalistic school, the Saviour, His Apostles, and their proves nothing. Now in chap. xiii. of early disciples. An objector may certhe First Epistle, although, as our author tainly be at liberty to protest against remarks, Clement nowhere refers to our hearing any testimony in favour of a Gospels by name, the substance is there. supernatural history if he pleases, and In Supernatural Religion, the passages

there the matter must rest; but to imare presented in parallel columns with pugn the evident fact that the testimony the corresponding texts from Matthew was given with singular unanimity on all and Luke. As the reader may be sup- essential points, without urging any proof posed to be acquainted with the latter, we of material variance, is surely an uutenmay briefly cite the words of Clement : able position. After a careful perusal of * Especially remembering the words of Supernatural Religion, both in


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earlier edition and pow, once more, in dred and fifty pages (pp. 550-697), are its present form, we cannot call to mind occupied with a searching examination a single instance in which the author has of the fourth Gospel, ascribed to St. adduced one doubt as to the facts re- John. Here the same plan is followed, corded in the Gospels, or one serious but with important modifications, arisdivergence of opinion in matters of ing from the application of twosubsidiary Christian faith and morals, as they were tests. There are other writings, ascribed enunciated from the month of our Lord to the beloved disciple—three Epistles himself. It is true that in the Shepherd and the Apocalypse. The last, at all or Pastor of Hermas, in Papias of Biera- events, the author is inclined to admit polis, and other writers afflicted with to be St. John's, and he, therefore, enOrientalism, we find marvellous supple

an elaborate comparison mentary additions ; but nowhere, whe- between the language, the prevailing ther the writers be Syrian, Greek, conceptions, the dogmatic views, and the Alexandrian or Roman, is there any conflicting hopes and aspirations exhibdiscord as regards the main facts or ited in the Gospel and the Revelation the cardinal principles of primitive respectively. He urges, that it is imposChristianity.

sible that the same writer, even at widely We had intended to re specially to separated interva in his career, could the Ignatian controversy, but our space have composed both works. His style, will not admit of it. Those who desire no less than the sympathies in them to examine it will find all material in being essentially and irreconcilably dithese volumes used in connection with

The other test has also much Dr. (now Bishop) Lightfoot's papers in force. The author points out that in the Contemporary Review (1875), and in the Gospel there are plain misconcepthe latest edition of Canon Westcott's tions which could hardīy have been pos*History of the Canon of the New Testa- sible with a Jew, born and reared in Palesment, during the first Four Centuries.' tine. There are explanations offered of Any intention of entering into minute Jewish customs, not always correct, criticism of this elaborate work has al- which the Apostle St. John would not ready been disclaimed; and having thus, have written ; and finally, there is a by a single example, disclosed the au- total discordance in the views John is thor's method, we must pass to his con- known to have held in opposition to clusions so far as the Synoptic Gospels are Paul, but in unison with James and Peconcerned. Having examined each of the ter, of which traces are to be found in writers, orthodox and heretical, whose the Epistles of the great Apostle of the works are extant, either in fragmentary Gentiles, and in the introductory chapor complete form, he thus sums up : ters of the Apocalypse. The conclusion After having exhausted the literature here is, that whilst there is not one par and the testimony bearing on the point ticle of evidence during a century and a we have not found a single distinct half after the events recorded in the trace of any one of those Gospels during fourth Gospel, that it was composed by the first century and a half after the the son of Zebedee, there is, on the death of Jesus. It is admitted that contrary, the strongest reason for bePapias, a very inexact man, and much lieving that he did not write it.' This prone to colouring his facts, states that inference we content ourselves with Matthew wrote à Gospel in Hebrew, simply stating ; to another, for reasons which contained the discourses of Jesus; already given, we demur: 'Enough has but it is urged that this description does been said to show that the testimony of not answer to the extant Gospel which the fourth Gospel is of no value towards passes under the Evangelist's name, and establishing the truth of miracles and further, that the latter is an original the reality of Divine Revelation.' work written in Greek, and not, by any The remainder of this work forming possibility, a translation from the He- the third volume in the English edition, brew. Papias also declares that Mark deals with the Acts of the Apostles, the

wrote down from the casual preaching Epistles and the Apocalypse, followed by of Peter, the sayings and doings of Jesus, a concluding part devoted specially to but without orderly urrangement, and the Resurrection and Ascension. So far our author argues that this could not as the Acts are concerned, it will be nebe our second Gospel. Nearly one hun- cessary to confine this notice to a brief


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