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precisely that which self introspection discovers to every unprejudiced mind. To pursue the right, to do good, is far more difficult than to do evil : but •lust or covetousness' is only regarded by Paul as sin, when a man is conscious of the conviction that such desire ought to be resisted, and yet, nevertheless, determines to yield to it, and thus allows himself to swerve from that faithfulness to conviction upon which righteousness depends.
* It is, however, sufficiently evident, that Paul ascribes the entrance of sin and of death among men (that is, the introduction of both evils into the world, and not the entering of sin into human nature) to the time of the first pair, but he does not therefore maintain with the scholastics—more especially as the passage in Genesis does not reveal one word to that effect—that in consequence of the first transgression, sin passed upon all men. Paul, on the contrary, truly and distinctly affirms, that death passed upon all men ; but why? because that all have sinned : all men, both with and without the law."
“Man is born a sensual being, and learns only by slow degrees to will in obedience to the dictates of his reason, and he is consequently ever liable to sin, and this, according to the Bible explanation, is the cause wherefore, in the divine order of nature, it is appointed that man shall put off his mortal body-shall die. Did each individual continue always in the same corporeal state of existence, in that one stage of being, in which condition, before he had yet attained fixed determination of purpose, he has frequently acted in opposition to his better knowledge-he would always remain too much subjected to the influence of those early years of self-discipline."
“ The leading idea in the Apostle's writings, that the righteousness which is pleasing to God consists in fidelity to conviction, led me also to understand the true signification of another point of doctrine, treated of in the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians.
“ I now clearly discerned on what grounds Paul so strenuously contends against the too human and Judaical practice of doing a thing only because it is commanded in God's law,—whereas it is a full conviction of the rightness and goodness of the command which can alone produce a real acquiescence. Love to God and devotion to his will is the fervent spontaneous feeling of him only who determines to bring every thought and action into harmony with that will, not from a sense of fear, not from a hope of reward, but from a deep inward conviction that He is the Highest Good.”
We must quote another passage from this portion of the volume, giving Dr. Paulus's view of the Messiahship of Jesus.
“ It is usual to understand and to explain the New Testament writings as if they insisted merely or chiefly on the recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. But it is too little borne in mind that this belief of his Messiahship was of highest moment on this account-it served to fix the attention of his contemporaries, and of the Jews in particular, both in and out of Palestine, upon Jesus, and to induce an earnest reverence for his authority. It was in the character of Messiah that Jesus was able by means of his teaching, his life, and his entire faithfulness to conviction, even unto death-the painful death of martyrdom-to guide his followers to the kingdom of God. The acknowledgment, that Jesus was 'the Christ of God,' was important as a means to an end. Jesus required belief on him as the Messiah, in order that the confident persuasion that he taught and acted in the character of Messiah might lead the believer to the conception of a spiritual kingdom of God-of a spiritual worship of God—a worship consisting in the devotion of the heart to that which is in itself true."
“ The notion of a 'Messiah,' or ' Anointed' of Jehovah, as it has at all times been understood by the Jews, included the obligation on the part of the Messiah to regard himself, and to deport himself, as the sub-regent of God. As such he was to govern God's people in a manner pleasing to God, and to bring them into entire conformity with the will of God.”
“ The New Testament represents Jesus as the Messiah in the highest and truest sense :-not as seeking to establish the kingdom of God described by the later Prophets, a kingdom in which the power of Jehovah should be manifested in the subjection of all nations to her Temple, and the people of the Temple—but as aiming to produce an internal revolution in the hearts of men, by means of conviction :-conviction of the holy spirituality required by God, and of the paternal love of the Heavenly Father. The Evangelists undoubtedly insist upon the recognition of the Messiahship of Jesus, but altogether with this view—that men may be led through belief on Jesus, as the Christ, to God, that God may be all in all.””
A spirit of free inquiry had been already awakened in Germany before Dr. Paulus appeared upon the field of religious controversy. It was however reserved for him to carry out to its fullest extent that system of interpretation which Eichhorn and others had applied to the Old Testament Scriptures. It was between 1773 and 1778, that Lessing published, at Wolfenbüttel, the “ Fragments of Reimarus." This bold step produced a powerful movement throughout the entire German theological world. Suspicion of divers pious frauds had been thrown upon the early history of Christianity, and many of the most distinguished theologians found it impossible to escape the conclusion that the Reformers, though they had recognized the uncertainty and invalidity of tradition, in so far as it was made the foundation of Popish abuses, had nevertheless too readily, and without investigation, admitted the authority of tradition in matters of history, and upon those points of belief upon which the Reformed and Roman Catholic churches had not come into collision, and more especially upon the critical question concerning the origin and authenticity of the New Testament writings.
Is it admissible to regard an author as a near witness of an event from which he is removed several generations? Is the testimony of a great grandson as to what his great grandfather thought, believed, and experienced, to be relied on? particularly if this descendant does not state upon what grounds a tradition, current in his day, appeared to him credible. And are such considerations to be altogether overlooked in weighing the scanty evidence of Justin Martyr, and of Irenæus ?
A further investigation respecting the date, genuineness, and authenticity of the New Testament text was now become unavoidable. It was not to be denied that no one knew by whom, in that early period of Christianity, of which there is no history,-hut during which some of the principal churches (those of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Ephesus, and Rome) came into existence—these Scriptures were discovered, edited, declared to be authentic, and constituted the guide in all matters of church instruction and doctrine. No one knew upon what grounds, and after what examination, these Gospels had been recognized as genuine, nor how far the alterations of transcribers, &c., had been strenuously guarded against, or carelessly permitted.
“ Often must a secret conviction have intruded itself upon the mind, that these points had been assumed and treated as matters of certainty from a feeling of the extreme importance that they should be implicitly believed. How frequently are the most weighty questions, particularly in theology, disposed of in his manner : it was wished that the thing might be so, it was of highest moment that it should have been so-in short it was so, it must actually have been so, have happened so.”
It was about the year 1784, that Paulus's attention was directed to these Fragments, and the various investigations and controversies to which they had given rise; and he acknowledges that they had considerable influence on his opinions, and the expositions given by him in his public lectures.
“ In judging of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, I began to distinguish between the religious doctrines and precepts—partly essential, and partly relating to the opinions of the time, which they have transmitted to us. I saw that the former were in themselves immutably true, or were, at any rate, characterized by a high degree of relative probability. That it was consequently of small importance by whom, upon what grounds, or upon what assumptions,-in what words, and in what dress belonging to the age, these truths had been set forth and brought into clearer light. The conviction that the true is true on account of its own intrinsic truth, and not on account of him who proclaims it, had already at this time forced itself upon my mind-a conviction which the researches of my whole life have served to strengthen and confirm.
' " Let the religious instructor never represent that which is in itself essentially true, as if its truth depended upon the external circumstances and history of its communication ; however important these may be as directing attention to the truths conveyed. It is the fault of the teacher if either his own or his hearer's belief in a religious doctrine or precept be made to rest upon an historical tradition, or a transmitted text. These, indeed, make known the doctrine, but they do not constitute it true or false ; neither can the uncertainty which may attach to the record in anywise affect that which is inherently true.”
" It is much to be regretted that the church has always represented the only saving faith as deriving its truth from external authority. Christians are therefore accustomed, from childhood, to regard the inherently true—the essential in religion—as if its truth depended upon the miraculous—the supernatural by which it is accompanied. Divest their faith of the incomprehensibilities by which it is supposed to be supported, and you destroy it. Their belief is based upon the marvellous, a species of evidence which is in its nature transitory; or else it is grounded upon the artificial and complicated evidence derived from miracles—a chain of almost interminable length. The consequence is, that the moment you question the foundation you appear to them to bring religion itself into danger. They do not reflect that we feel wonder only because we are ignorant of the cause which has produced a result we know not how to account for ; that, could we ascertain all the circumstances of the case, the probability is that the connection between the cause and effect would at once become apparent to us. This is particularly true with respect to occurrences of which we possess only a very incomplete detail. We have a narrative of some certain facts—we find it impossible to account for these given facts, and we infer the presence of miraculous agency—that is to say, because we are unable to discover the natural operating causes, we suppose and conclude the cause to be necessarily supernatural. Let us take an example. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read that Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, called four fishermen from their employment, and from their aged father : that these men not only immediately left their nets and followed Jesus, but that they became the most zealous amongst his disciples. This calling of these four men, apparently strangers, appears, when thus briefly narrated, without further explanation, sudden and unaccountable, so altogether unnatural, that it must often have excited great surprise, did not the Gospel of John inform us that these men were already disciples of the Baptist, and that they had been taught by him to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah—of whom John was the forerunner, who should prepare his way before him. We find also, that they returned to their occupation of fishing till such time as Jesus should require them to be his constant companions.
“By studying such examples, quite unfettered by secondary considerations, anxious only to seek out the truth, I soon learned to inquire, in all cases, whether because no adequate natural causes were assigned by the Evangelists for the facts they record, it was therefore to be assumed that no natural causes had produced them. Was it not ad
missible to entertain the suspicion that these men had in some instances omitted to state the natural causes-seeing that to narrate circumstantially and satisfactorily what had happened was matter of difficulty to them?
“In my first course of lectures I adhered undeviatingly to the following rules of exposition.
“ First, Most accurately to compare the given circumstances, in order as far as possible to ascertain from the record itself what might have been the originating cause of the facts narrated.
“ Secondly, Whenever explanatory causes failed, or were not discoverable, to abstain from substituting mere suppositions.
“Thirdly, As rigorously, on the other hand, to reject the conclusion, that because we are left in total darkness respecting the natural causes, that therefore no natural causes had existed.”
“ Before we are justified in referring events to an unknown agencyto the immediate operation of a spiritual and invisible power-it must first be made apparent not merely that we are ignorant of the natural operating causes, but that no natural cause can be assigned.”
“ The narratives in the Gospels are so simply and naturally told, that a person, habituated to close historical investigation, will frequently be able to recognize, in these short representations, traces of the manner in which the events came to pass ; indeed, far oftener than might on a first reading have been expected. A large proportion of the cures which Jesus is recorded to have wrought, relate to the casting out of devils. A careful examination and consideration of the accounts given in the Synoptics, of the first cure of this description, convinced me that Jesus had not originated this species of healing; and also that the occasion for working this cure had not been sought after on his part. The Gospels relate that Jesus, after that he had been teaching with great effect in the synagogue—for all were amazed—was suddenly accosted by a man, standing there, who supposed himself to be possessed by an unclean spirit. This man, recognising, in him who could preach with so much power, “the Christ,' and connecting and identifying himself with the devil within him, was alarmed, and gave utterance to the fear that had seized him. His exclamation signified his belief, which as a Jew he naturally entertained—that the evil spirit within him must now retire-that it would no longer be able to retain its hold on him, in the presence of the Holy One of God.”
" Jesus did not seek to work this cure, much rather does it appear that the healing of the possessed was, in this first instance, forced upon him, though the same kind of cure was often subsequently repeated by him for the benefit of those suffering under similar delusion. Many believed they were possessed by demons, who would be forced to retire at the command of the Christ.' Thus did a previously existing, and at that time prevailing notion furnish Jesus with frequent opportunities for the exercise of benevolence. It does not follow from this that Jesus regarded the possession of devils, and the evil effects produced on the human frame, as a physical malady. That such was not his view is, I think, undeniable ; first, because the whole of the New Testament pre
Vol. III. No. 13.—New Series,