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of standing up vigorously for the principle of Church Rates on the ground that we cannot afford to part with so large a portion of the Church's due, and at the same time of confining their expenditure to strictly legal purposes. We have great hopes, that even if no such settlement as the above should be attempted, the question would ere long right itself, and the agitation subside, if we could float through another Session or two: but it is essential to be on the watch, as the opponents of the rate are quite as well aware as its defenders that the Church is gradually tiding over the difficulty, by showing that her work is worth being paid for; and it is as much their policy to hasten the discussion to a conclusion as it is ours to let the legislature of the country, and the public itself have an opportunity of being fully informed before any steps are taken for changing the law.
RAWLINSON'S BAMPTON LECTURES.
The Historical Evidence of the Truth of the Scripture Records,
stated anew, with special reference to the Doubts and Discoveries of Modern Times; in Eight Lectures, delivered in the Oxford University Pulpit, at the Bampton Lecture for 1859. By GEORGE RAWLINSON, M.A., Late Fellow and Tutor of Exeter College. London : John Murray, Albemarle Street; Oxford : J. H. and James Parker. 1859.
"Sed nil dulcius est, bene quam munita tenere Edita doctrinâ sapientium templa serena.” If we were to take this sentiment of the heathen poet, and to read “ fide credentium” for “ doctrinâ sapientium," it would very nearly express our own feelings upon opening a new treatise upon Christian evidences. Accustomed as we are, both by habit and education, to regard faith as the soul's highest walk, and to count upon the addition of heavenly knowledge to divine faith as being vouchsafed to us in exact proportion to our implicit obedience to our Blessed LORD's holy will; and, further, to look upon the combined influence of faith, knowledge, and purity as shed over our sorrow-ridden souls, but as a power which enables us, in a larger measure, to realize the doctrine of the Communion of Saints-it seems hard to have to turn away from the jewel to the casket, from the truth to its medium, from the spirit to the letter.
It is the world that will not let alone the Bible and the Church. Infidelity attacks the Christian's armour before the soldier himself is slain. Books on the external evidences of Revelation are needed
| Lucretius, ii. 7, 8.
now perhaps more than ever they were. The late lamented Archdeacon Hardwick felt this acutely, and so he wrote his valuable " CHRIST and other Masters.”i Mr. Rawlinson had resolved some time ago to bring his own powers of mind, his scholarship, his circumstantial acquaintance with the progress of Oriental discovery, to bear upon the same subject, and the result of his labour is presented to us in the Bampton Lectures for 1859. To many a lecturer it would have been no enviable lot to have followed such a
as Professor Mansel; but this treatise on external evidence seems to form a proper sequence to the metaphysical discussions of the preceding lectures; or rather we would suggest that Mr. Rawlinson's book be read first and Professor Mansel's afterwards that the objective historic grounds upon which our religion is based be examined first, and that the subjective mental process which determines the “limits of religious thought” be subsequently investigated. We ought to travel from physics to metaphysics (hence of course the term metaphysics)—from history to philosophy-from Christian evidence to Christian faith.
Mr. Rawlinson's book belongs to a class of works that are almost exclusively confined to our own country-that it seems to be the special prerogative of the English Universities to produce. It is at Oxford and Cambridge that we see ofttimes so inseparably blended the Christian scholar with the Christian gentlemanaccurate and profound learning, combined with a chastened intellect and high cultivation. Oxford has produced her Henry Fynnes Clinton, and Cambridge her Professor Mill. We feel at home with Mr. Rawlinson at once. His notes (which occupy more than 220 closely-printed pages) command us to respect the text, even where we differ from it; they are forged of the true metal, and will pass as current coin with those who from their knowledge of antiquity respect its treasures and admire its wisdom, while the highest Antiquity of all has not been disregarded by him. The more important of the Christian Fathers have been consulted, and their opinions ever treated with respect. And if the fulness of the evangelical doctrines is not brought out as many would have wished to see it, we must remember that these Bampton Lectures are written for the world, and not for the Church, and that historical evidence is a sphere which is widely separated from disciplinal contemplation.
The first lecture treats of the true historical basis of Revelationof the various theological schools
of the canons of external evidence -of the value and admission of miracles ; it is introductory to the other four lectures, upon the Old Testament. It is its historical basis which separates the Christian religion from every other form of belief ever presented to the world, while this foundation upon fact is yet related most nearly to a personal influence; Moses and
1 Ecclesiastic, No. LXXV. p. 101 seq.
our Blessed Lord, both quicken the actual events upon which their respective dispensations rest. The records of Christianity, as Butler 1 says, “profess to contain a kind of abridgment of the history of the world.” The two elements, common to the religions of Greece, Rome, India, Persia, and Egypt—the myth and the legend—are wanting in the Christian system. “In the beginning" there was a true creation by the Almighty; the book of Genesis does not relate a myth, that is, a fact conceived from an idea, or a legend, which, taking a fact, “modifies its basis at its pleasure." As, then, the Bible contains a real history, dealing in neither myth nor legend, it is evident from time to time that its historical grounds will be canvassed. The credibility of early history has, in the last few years, been carefully examined. We are all more or less familiar with the labours of Pouilly, Beaufort, Niebuhr, Otfried Müller, Böckh, Thirlwall, Grote, Mure, Merivale, and Sir G. C. Lewis, from which "a new antiquity has been raised up out of the old, while much that was unreal in the picture of past times, which men bad formed to themselves, has disappeared.”Mr. Rawlinson is far from desiring to exempt the Bible from a similar scrutiny from that which has been applied to profane history. His opinion on this point is very definitely stated.
“It was not to be expected—nor was it, I think, to be wishedthat the records of past times contained in the Old and New Testaments should escape the searching ordeal to which all other historical documents had been subjected, or remain long, on account of their sacred character, unscrutinised by the inquirer. Reverence may possibly gain, but faith, I believe-real and true faithgreatly loses by the establishment of a wall of partition between the sacred and the profane, and the subtraction of the former from the domain of scientific inquiry.”3
As Christianity is true, it will be the gainer by such an investigation—its facts be more vividly apprehended. "We cannot altogether agree with the sentiment, that to sever profane from sacred history, " is to make the sacred narrative grow dim and shadowy, and to encourage the notion that its details are not facts in the common and every-day sense of the word.” Niebuhr began his historical researches with some such a notion as this, and it is well known what able help he furnished to such men as Eichhorn, Vatke, De Wette, who did for the Old Testament what Paulus and Strauss have done for the New. Mr. Rawlinson has been very happy in his delineation of the successive developments of the Neologian School-a painful subject at the best, which shows the creature opposed to the Creator, and substitutes for Him the darkened aberrations of a perverted intellect arrayed in opposition to the revealed purpose of the Most Higb. There is one circumstance mentioned by Mr. Rawlinson that we Analogy, pt. ii. ch. vii.
2 Lect. p. 6.
3 Lect. vii.
ought not to pass by. Our journal has lifted up its voice against the Rationalism which is now infecting so many members of the Church of England, and in a series of papers which appeared in some of our former numbers, the name of Professor Powell was conspicuously brought forward. The literal sense of Scripture has to be denied before its facts can be adequately reasoned away, and says Mr. Rawlinson, “the name of Origen was produced from the primitive and best ages of Christianity, to sanction this system of interpretation and to save it from the fatal stigma of entire and absolute novelty.” But Strauss himself acknowledges that Origen “ does not speak out freely,” that “his rule was to retain the literal together with the allegorical sense”—a rule which he broke only in “a few instances.” Mr. Rawlinson considers it to be doubtful whether Origen himself ever really gave up the literal and histo
“The whole subject,"2 he says, " was elaborately, and I believe, honestly discussed in one of the celebrated Tracts for the Times.” It was reserved for the Savillian Professor of Geometry, at Oxford, to tax "not Origen only, but the Fathers generally, with the abandonment of the historical sense of Scripture.”3
Mr. Rawlinson's object in these lectures is “to examine the sacred narrative on the positive side,”—" to meet the reasoning of the historical critics on their own ground”-“to review the historical evidence for the orthodox belief.” And with this object in view four canons of historical criticism are propounded. I. The evidence of a credible contemporary witness; II. Evidence obtained at second hand; III. Evidence obtained from a vast mass of oral tradition ; IV. Evidence derived from the traditions of one race supported by the traditions of another.
a new and distinct ground of likelihood comes into play. It may be as strong as the highest, and it may be almost as weak as the lowest, though this is not often the case in fact."4 This kind of evidence has often been appealed to by the profane historians,—as by Niebuhr, who denies that the Etruscans were colonists from Lydia, because the fact had no Lydian tradition to rest upon-by Kendrick6 who decides that the Phænicians migrated from the Persian Gulf, on account of the double tradition in favour of the theory.
To these four canons, Mr. Rawlinson adds certain corollaries, treating of direct records, such as the state-papers and letters of Ezra and Esther-and of indirect records, the compilations "of diligent inquirers concerning times or scenes in which they have themselves had no part.” On the force of cumulative evidence we cannot quite agree with the writer. He brings forward Bp. . Butler's statement, that “Probable proofs by being added not
i Lect. p. 11.
6 Phænicia, ch. iii. p. 46. 7 Anal. pt. ii. c. vii.
In this case,
only increase the evidence but multiply it ;” and this, not in an arithmetical ratio merely but in a geometrical proportion. We think that the difficulty of establishing the perfect independence of the witnesses, renders the application of cumulative evidence in the majority of cases a very delicate and nicely balanced process. The narrative of Aristeas concerning the LXX. will explain to many of our readers what we mean.
Finally Mr. Rawlinson most ably combats a canon of evidence laid down by Strauss and others of his school, which states that “no just perception of the true nature of history is possible without a perception of the inviolability of the chain of finite causes and of the impossibility of miracles.” He proves that Revelation is itself miraculous—that miracles are not impossible to the nature of God --that it is He Who works in and through matter-tbat growth, and change, and motion, and decay, and assimilation, are to His dealings with matter—as sanctification and enlightenment, and inward comfort, and the gift of the clear vision of Him, are to His dealings with ourselves—that Hooker's Worker of all in all, is the great first cause, Who never, even for one moment, deserts the second causes. Too true it is, that the same materialistic atheism, of which Plato gives us a sample in the Anaxagorean fragment contained in his Phædo,” is living amongst us still; “it uses a religious nomenclature—it is no longer dry and hard and cold, all matter of fact and common sense, it has become warm in expression, poetic, eloquent, glowing, sensuous, imaginative. The course of nature' which it has set up in the place of God, is, in a certain sense deified; no language is too exalted to be applied to it—no admiration too great to be excited by it; it is 'glorious' and 'marvellous,' and 'superhuman,' and 'heavenly,' and 'spiritual,' and
divine,' only it is ' Ir not HE, a fact or a set of facts, not a Personality; and so it can really call forth no love, no gratitude, no reverence, no personal feeling of any kind; it can claim no willing obedience—it can inspire no wholesome awe—it is a dead idol after all, and its worship is but the old nature worship; man returning in his dotage to the follies which beguiled his childhood losing the CREATOR in the creature, the workman in the work of bis hands."3 Our author next asserts miracles to be an essential part of the Divine economy, neither does he hold it to be
necessary to “surrender to the sceptic the whole mass of heathen and ecclesiastical miracles ;"4 referring his readers in the notes to Mr. J. H. Newman's “ Essay on Miracles,” prefixed to the Oxford Fleury's Ecclesiastical History, as well as to the "History of the Arians” which proceeded from the same accomplished pen.
The preliminary matter having been discussed in the first lecture, in the second Mr. Rawlinson proceeds to notice the two Strauss, Leben Jesu, 13.
2 Phædo, § 46. * Pp. 30, 31.
4 P. 32.