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by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world. It is as “bearing our sins," and being “made a curse for us” on the cross, that this cross becomes the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, and that his blood cleanseth from all sin. It is by his Holy Spirit, as a Divine Person—not as a mere " enthusiasm of humanity,” indwelling and in working in us that we are made “new creatures in Christ Jesus." The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. As to all this, let history be our witness. Where has Christianity been a power on earth, after the divinity, vicarious sacrifice, resurrection of Christ, and the renewing work of the Holy Ghost have died out from the faith of men? Indeed, when these have gone, what of Christianity is left? The philanthropic virtues still surviving among Socinians are but the inheritance handed down from the ancestral faith they have repudiated; the last reflections and radiations from that Sun of Righteousness which is now left beyond the horizon of their faith.
We see announced as in preparation another work by the author of “Ecce Homo,” entitled, “Christ as the Creator of Modern Theology and Religion.” We look for little light on this subject from one who is capable of offering the contents of this volume as a fit presentation of Christ-one which he may fairly summon men to behold as a just portraiture of the Incarnate Son of God.
We cannot better give a summation of our views of this production than in the concluding words of the article in the London Quarterly Review for April, 1866, above referred to.
“ To refute all the errors which abound in Ecce Homo,' would be tedious and useless. The author claims to have studied the subject with especial regard to the facts, and he perverts the commonest particulars, which lie on the surface of the Gospels. He writes with an affectation of philosophical depth, and numerous passages in his treatise exhibit either ignorance or defiance of the elementary principles which are familiar to children and peasants. He disguises every-day truths by a pomp of disquisition and a wordiness of style which darken what is simple instead of elucidating what is obscure. His diffuse phraseology is wanting in precision, and his ideas
are often in the last degree vague and sometimes contradictory. His performance is just the reverse of its pretensions, and is inaccurate, superficial, and unsound. Whatever may be his creed —which he has carefully concealed—his want of candour in dealing with his authorities, his presumption, and his rashness, deserve the severest censure.
That his book should have obtained the suffrages of any members of the Church of England, is melancholy evidence of their slight acquaintance with their faith and their Bibles. i i.. Happily, there is a vast body of educated men who are better informed, and while error is perpetually changing its form and is only born to die, the grand truths of Christianity are passed on with accelerated impulse from generation to generation. They were never more in the ascendant than now; and there is this good, at least, in the assaults of adversaries, that they promote inquiry and help to establish the revelation they were designed to overthrow."
Art. VII.— The Hebrew Prophets, translated afresh from the
original with regard to the Anglican version, and with illustrations for English readers. By ROWLAND WILLIAMS, D. D., Vicar of Broad-Chalke, Wilts, formerly Fellow and Tutor of King's College, Cambridge. Vol. I. - The Prophets of Israel and Judah during the Assyrian Empire. 8vo. Pp. 450. London and Edinburgh. 1866.
This book has no particular claim to attention from any novelty in its contents, its methods or results. It is, however, noteworthy as marking a fresh stage in the process which has for some time been going forward, and which bids fair to transfer to our own religious literature, if not to our own shores, the battle which has been waging in Germany from the beginning of the present century.
The English and American churches are accustomed to contests with avowed opposers, with philosophical deists who deny the reality of revealed religion, and frivolous scoffers who mock
at sacred things and point their profane jests at the inspired word of God. These have assailed not the essence of Christianity, but its evidences. The ponderous blows which were given or received, and the poisoned arrows which were discharged or warded off, did not affect the contents of the Scriptures so much as their claims upon men's credence and obedi
Friend and foe alike united in the confession that this . volume professed to be a supernatural communication from God, and that it contained a definite system of doctrines and precepts propounded to men as a divine rule of faith and duty. By deist, infidel, and Christian, the Bible was understood substantially alike. The question in dispute was not what it claimed to be, nor what it taught; but whether its claims were valid, and its teachings true and authoritative.
At the opposite extreme from these battles with the open antagonists of all revealed religion, lay the controversies on points of doctrine with which our churches were familiar among themselves. Here the divinity and authority of the Scriptures did not come into question. Whatever skirmishing there might be over minor and unessential details, or however the dispute might wax hot over weighty and momentous doctrines vital in their bearing on evangelical religion, the foundations were left untouched. To the combatants on either side, the Bible was the word of God and contained a system of truth divinely authoritative.
A far subtler and bolder form of attack than either of these indigenous species of warfare has, however, been developed abroad. It proceeds not from professed foes outside the church, but from men who call themselves Christians, and who resent as unfounded and malignant the charge of heresy or unbelief,—who occupy prominent positions in evangelical communions and fill noted theological chairs,—men in some cases of immense and varied learning, who make the Scriptures the study of their lives, and are enthusiastic in their admiration of the sacred writers. And these men fortified by their position in the church, by their extensive research and their unquestioned ability, as well as by their professions of candour and of respect and veneration for the Scriptures, direct their assault not merely at the external evidences of revealed religion, nor
at particular doctrines of the word of God which may be more or less important, but by a dexterous use of criticism and philology they undertake to explode all that has been most surely believed from the days of the prophets and apostles. The entire supernatural view of religion is simply a stupendous mistake and misunderstanding; and nothing more is needed to demonstrate this than a careful study of the volume which Christendom has made the basis of its faith. The inner mechanism of these books sufficiently explains their true character. There was no miracle, no prophecy, no immediate revelation in the case. Before a fair and candid interpretation and an intelligent criticism all mystery disappears, and the literary products of Palestine are to be classed with those of Greece and Rome and other lands. The inspired men, the psalmists and the prophets of the Hebrews, were simply sages, poets, and orators, admirable for their genius and penetration, their eloquence and poetic fire, but in no other sense the messengers of God or the interpreters of his will, than the same classes are among every people and in every age.
As remote though not uninterested spectators, we have been wont to look serenely on this scene of strife, congratulating ourselves on. our safe distance and our sheltered position. We have been affected by it much as we used to be by the clangour of transatlantic arms before these last few terrible years, while we securely trusted that the shock of war could never reach ourselves. From these vain dreams we were rudely roused by the breaking out of the late rebellion. It was not an affair with the Indian tribes menacing our outposts, which the despatch of a few regiments might quell. It was not a mere question of policy to be settled peacefully at the polls.
It was a desperate struggle for the nation's life against those who had sworn to support the Constitution, but who hoped by a bold coup d'état to seize upon the government, possessing themselves of the national forts, supplies, and ammunition, turning our own guns upon us, and beleaguering the capitol.
The warning notes of preparation for a like struggle over the essentials of the Christian faith are already sounding in our ears; and its friends and defenders must equip themselves thoroughly for it. Hitherto it has been chiefly the light
skirmishes that have appeared upon the field, but the tramp of the heavy armed legions is close behind them.
German opinions and conclusions have been imported piecemeal, and sometimes even ludicrously and unskilfully urged after they had been abandoned by their authors, like foreign fashions thrown upon the market after the commodities had ceased to be saleable at home. German books of the destructive sort have been translated and circulated among us, but as these were prepared for another public, and presupposed a very different state of popular opinion and a widely variant taste, they had little influence on the general mind. There were those, however, to whom these novelties proved welcome, and by whom their startling conclusions were eagerly embraced. This number has been steadily increasing, and as a consequence these ideas are becoming naturalized; they are cast into the forms of English thought, wrought into shapes more captivating to English minds, and native centres created for their wider and more vigorous dissemination. Writers in leading Quarterlies, and even in influential daily journals, have put forth these views in laboured articles and in sprightly paragraphs. Men of eminence in letters and science, and dignitaries of the church, have tacitly assumed their correctness or entered the lists in their defence. The only Introduction to the Old Testament from an English pen, which makes any pretension to represent the existing state of Biblical learning, is wholly in the same interest, the awkward and ill-digested, but learned and copious treatise of Davidson. And now in the volume under consideration a beginning is made at new translations and commentaries, from which the idea of a supernatural revelation is carefully excluded, and every occasion seized to scout the notion as the offspring of bigotry and prejudice, or the remnant of an antiquated superstition.
The author, Rowland Williams, D. D., is well known by his paper on Bunsen's Biblical Researches, in the famous “Essays and Reviews,” by a volume of sermons in the same vein, en. titled, “Rational Godliness,” by his Christianity and Hinduism, and other minor publications.
The estimate which he puts upon the prophets will appear from such expressions as the following: “The words were
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